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#SportsReport: Bills clinch second consecutive AFC East title; Washington destroys Giants

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TENNIS:

An Australian judge has reinstated tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa, which was canceled last week because he is unvaccinated for COVID-19.

Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly also ordered the government to release Djokovic from Melbourne hotel quarantine within 30 minutes of his decision.

The Australian government canceled the visa shortly after Djokovic arrived in Melbourne last week because officials decided he didn’t meet the criteria for an exemption to an entry requirement that all non-citizens be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Djokovic is in Australia to compete in the Australian Open, which he has won nine times.

The judge noted that Djokovic had provided officials at Melbourne’s airport with a medical exemption given him by Tennis Australia.

NFL:

The Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts won’t be playing next week. That’s great news only to the Titans.

The Titans have wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs and a first-round bye with a 28-25 win at Houston. Ryan Tannehill was 23 of 32 for 187 yards and four touchdowns as Tennessee finished 12-5 to edge Kansas City for the top seed. Tannehill threw three touchdown passes in the second quarter to put the Titans up 21-0 at halftime before Tennessee escaped with a win.

The Colts eliminated themselves from the AFC playoffs with a stunning 26-11 loss at Jacksonville. NFL rushing champ Jonathan Taylor was held to 77 yards and the Jaguars turned a pair of Carson Wentz turnovers into 10 points to improve to a league-worst 3-14.

First overall pick Trevor Lawrence had his best game of the season, completing 23 of 32 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns.

Elsewhere around the NFL:

The Buccaneers hammered the Panthers, 41-17 to secure the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. Tom Brady completed 29 of 37 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns before taking the last half of the fourth quarter off, finishing with a career-best 5,316 yards passing and a Bucs single-season record 43 TD passes. Mike Evans caught two of Brady’s TD passes, giving him a club-record 14 scoring receptions this year.

The Bills clinched their second consecutive AFC East title after Devin Singletary scored twice in the final 8:21 in a 27-10 win over the Jets. The Bills limited the the Jets to a franchise-low 53 yards of total offense and four first downs, the fewest allowed by Buffalo in franchise history. Buffalo also sacked Jets rookie Zach Wilson nine times, the most by Buffalo since getting 10 in a 23-0 win over Washington in 2011.

The Steelers and Raiders are going to the playoffs as AFC wild cards after Daniel Carlson drilled a 47-yard field goal as time expired in overtime, giving Vegas a 35-32 win over the Chargers and eliminating Los Angeles. Derek Carr threw two scoring strikes to Hunter Renfrow and Josh Jacobs rushed for 132 yards and a TD. Justin Herbert threw for three TD's, including a last-second scoring toss in regulation before the Raiders earned their fourth straight win. A tie would have put the Chargers in the postseason.

The Steelers avoided elimination when Chris Boswell made a 36-yard field goal with 1:56 remaining in OT to complete their 16-13 win over the Ravens. Ben Roethlisberger threw for a touchdown and kept the winning drive alive with a fourth-down pass that moved the chains. Roethlisberger said it was likely the final regular-season game in a career that spanned 18 seasons.

Jaylen Waddle had a touchdown grab and set the NFL rookie record for receptions in the Dolphins’ 33-24 victory against the Patriots. Duke Johnson rushed for 117 yards and a score to help Miami complete its first sweep of New England since 2000. Jones completed 20 of 30 passes for 261 yards for the Patriots, who are going to the playoffs as a wild card.

The 49ers clinched a playoff spot by beating the Rams for the sixth straight time, 27-24 in overtime. Robbie Gould nailed a 24-yard field goal in OT before Ambry Thomas picked off a pass to secure San Francisco’s second postseason berth in eight years. Jauan Jennings caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Garoppolo with 26 seconds left in regulation, salvaging the Niners’ playoff hopes.

The Rams still claimed the NFC West title with the Cardinals’ 38-30 loss to Seattle. Russell Wilson threw for three TDs and Rashaad Penny ran for 190 yards and a touchdown. James Conner scored two touchdowns in the third quarter before Arizona lost for the sixth time in 10 games after a 7-0 start.

The Saints were 30-20 winners over the Falcons, but San Francisco’s win knocked New Orleans out of the playoffs. Trevor Siemian led back-to-back scoring drives following two Atlanta turnovers late in the first half, and the Saints overcame the loss of quarterback Taysom Hill to an injury. The Falcons were hurt by three turnovers, including two fumbles by running back Mike Davis.

Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes before sitting out the second half of the Packers’ 37-30 loss to the Lions. Backup Jordan Love threw two interceptions late in the game, dropping the NFC’s No. 1 seed to 13-4. Detroit took a 24-13 lead early in the third on a reverse flea-flicker with Jared Goff throwing a 36-yard touchdown pass to Brock Wright.

Kirk Cousins passed for 172 yards and three touchdowns in the second half to lead a Vikings comeback in a 31-17 downing of the Bears. Justin Jefferson had the tying score and K.J. Osborn caught the go-ahead touchdown while Minnesota outscored Chicago, 28-3 in the second half. Darnell Mooney had 12 catches for 126 yards to pass the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the Bears, who may have played their final game under head coach Mike Nagy.

Washington was a 22-7 winner at the Giants as Antonio Gibson ran for a career-high 146 yards, scored a touchdown and became the team’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2018. Bobby McCain returned the first of his two interceptions 30 yards for a touchdown, and Joey Slye kicked three field goals as Washington finished 7-10. The Giants are 10-22 in two seasons under coach Joe Judge, whose future with the team is believed to be tenuous.

Case Keenum threw touchdown passes to Jarvis Landry and Demetric Felton as the Browns beat the AFC North-champion Bengals, 21-16. Keenum filled in for Baker Mayfield, who will undergo shoulder surgery on Jan. 19. Cincinnati played without starting QB Joe Burrow, who is nursing injuries heading into the playoffs.

Vic Fangio has been fired as coach of the Broncos after going 19-30 in three seasons.

The move comes one day after Denver’s season-ending 28-24 loss to Kansas City. Fangio had a fourth year left on his contract with a team option for 2023.

Fangio got the job after more than three decades as an assistant, and he burnished his reputation as a defensive master during his time in Denver.

The Broncos finished 7-10 this season. They went 7-9 in Fangio’s first year and 5-11 last season.

NBA:

The Brooklyn Nets have ended their five-game home losing streak, though they struggled to do it.

Rookie Cam Thomas drained a runner in the lane with 1.4 seconds left in overtime to push the Nets past the Spurs, 121-119. Thomas bailed out his team after Brooklyn coughed up a 10-point lead in the last four minutes of regulation.

Kevin Durant scored 28 points for the Nets and James Harden had 26 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds.

Elsewhere around the NBA:

Klay Thompson scored 17 points in his return from two devastating injuries that sidelined him more than 2 1/2 years, helping the Warriors earn a 96-82 win over the Cavaliers. Thompson was 7 of 18 from the field and 3 of 8 from 3-point range while playing 20 minutes.

The Grizzlies earned their team-record ninth straight win as Ja Morant delivered 16 points and a breathtaking block in a 127-119 victory over the Lakers. Desmond Bane had 23 points, Jaren Jackson Jr. added 21 and Memphis won for the 12th time in 13 road games.

The Bulls’ nine-game winning streak is over after Luke Doncic torched them for a triple double to lead the Mavericks to a 113-99 victory. Doncic had 22 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists for his third triple-double of the season, while Josh Green and Maxi Kleber had season highs with 18 points each for Dallas.

Pascal Siakam had 29 points and 10 rebounds to the Raptors’ sixth consecutive win, 105-101 versus the Pelicans. Fred VanVleet scored 32 points to help Toronto move three games over .500 for the first time since opening the season 6-3.

The Clippers earned a 106-93 win over the Hawks as Amir Coffey tied a career-high with 21 points and Serge Ibaka added 16. Coffey made 8 of 12 field goals and 5 of 8 3-pointers. Bogdan Bogdanovic and Trae Young led the Hawks with 19 points each.

The Nuggets were 99-95 winners over the Thunder behind Nikola Jokic’s 22 points and 18 boards. Austin Rivers scored a season-high 22 points and Jeff Green added 16 points for Denver, which jumped out to a 22-4 lead.

The Timberwolves earned their fourth straight win as Karl Anthony-Towns poured in a season-high 40 points to lead a 141-123 rout of the Rockets. D’Angelo Russell added 22 points and 10 assists for Minnesota, while Jarred Vanderbilt chipped in with career-highs of 21 points and 19 rebounds.

Kyle Kuzma had 27 points and a career-best 22 rebounds for the Wizards in a 102-100 comeback over the Magic. Bradley Beal scored 20 points and Washington improved to 6-18 after trailing heading into the fourth quarter.

Anfernee Simons had a game-high 31 points and Jusuf Nurkic just missed a triple double as the Trail Blazers handed the Kings their fourth straight loss, 103-88. Nurkic furnished 14 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists in Portland’s first win in three games.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL:

Ohio State is 4-1 in the Big Ten after holding off Northwestern.

E.J. Liddell scored a career-high 34 points as the 13th-ranked Buckeyes beart the Wildcats, 95-87. Liddell scored 17 points in the first five minutes, including a career-high five 3-pointers in that span. He set a personal best in field goals made, finishing 12 of 20 from the field.

Wisconsin also earned a Big Ten win despite blowing a 21-point lead in a 70-69 victory at Maryland. Tyler Wahl scored a career-high 21 points and Johnny Davis added 19 in the Badgers’ fifth win in a row.

In men’s college basketball, Siena overcame Fairfield, 69-62. On the women’s side, Duke bested Syracuse, 74-65 and UConn defeated Creighton, 63-55.

NHL:

The St. Louis Blues picked up two points after being 47 seconds away from a regulation loss.

The Blues stretched their home point streak to 12 games by scoring a pair of power-play goals in the final minute of a 2-1 win over the Stars.

Jordan Kyrou won it with 29 seconds left, 18 seconds after Ryan O’Reilly tied the game with St. Louis on a 6-on-4 advantage.

Jordan Binnington stopped 26 shots for the Blues, who are 11-0-1 in their last 12 in St. Louis.

Also on NHL ice, rookie Trevor Zegras had a goal and an assist before scoring again in the shootout to send the Ducks past the Red Wings, 4-3. Lukáš Dostál made 33 saves and won his NHL debut for Anaheim with two stops in the tiebreaker.

The NHL has postponed two games scheduled for Monday night because of COVID-19 issues.

The league said Sunday that the Lightning’s game at New Jersey and the Senators’ game at the Edmonton Oilers were called off. The Devils and Oilers are the teams affected by COVID-19.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL:

The administrators who manage the College Football Playoff will report on the progress of expansion talks to a presidential oversight committee on Monday. Executive Director Bill Hancock says the group made progress during two days of CFP management meetings, but he gave no indication on whether a consensus was reached on a new format.

All the conferences support expanding the playoff from four teams, but the process has bogged down as the commissioners wrangled over how and when.

PGA:

Cameron Smith got the new year off to a record start at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

He knocked in a three-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 65 and a one-shot victory over Jon Rahm.

Smith shattered the PGA Tour record for 72-hole score under par at minus-34. The previous record was 31 under by Ernie Els at Kapalua in 2003.

The conditions have never been more ideal for scoring in 24 years at Kapalua, and it showed. Three players in tour history had ever reached 30 under or better. Three players did it this week.

FIGURE SKATING:

Nathan Chen blazed through an entertaining free skate Sunday to win his sixth consecutive title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, solidifying his status as one of the favorites for next month’s Beijing Olympics.

Chen won the title by nearly 26 points over 17-year-old wunderkind Ilia Malinin. Vincent Brown took the bronze medal by less than a point over Jason Brown.

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