The Kansas City Chiefs have moved on in the NFL playoffs after a 22-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns. And they closed out the win despite losing quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the third quarter due to a concussion.
Backup Chad Henne, who is 35 years old, helped ice the game with a long third-down scramble and then a daring fourth-down completion to Tyreek Hill with just over a minute left. The Chiefs say Mahomes is doing great. Referring to Henne, Mahomes tweeted after the game "HenneThingIsPossible." The Chiefs now head to their third straight AFC title game and will face the Buffalo Bills next Sunday.
Tom Brady's best game in three tries against New Orleans has the Buccaneers moving on in the NFL playoffs and Saints quarterback Drew Brees headed home — perhaps for good. Brady and the Bucs' offense turned three of the Saints' four turnovers, which included three Brees interceptions, into touchdowns, and Tampa Bay beat New Orleans 30-20 in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. Two touchdowns came on short passes to Mike Evans and Leonard Fournette. Brady also scored on a 1-yard run. The Bucs advanced to the NFC championship game in Green Bay.
In NFL news, the Los Angeles Chargers have hired Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley to become the team's head coach. The Chargers made the decision Sunday after having a second interview with Staley. The interview was held a day after the Rams were eliminated from the playoffs with a 32-18 loss to the Green Bay Packers. The 38-year old Staley was in demand with interviews also scheduled with the Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles. Staley has been an NFL assistant for only four years. He joined the Rams this past season after being a linebackers coach with the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos.
Julius Randle scored 20 points with 12 rebounds and RJ Barrett had 19 and 11 to help the New York Knicks snap a five-game losing streak and beat the Boston Celtics 105-75. Jaylen Brown scored 25 for Boston, which had the best record in the Eastern Conference after winning five in a row but suffered its biggest blowout and lowest-scoring output of the season. All-Star Kemba Walker made his season debut after missing the first 11 games with a left knee injury but left in the third quarter with a rib injury. Fellow Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum missed his second straight game with COVID-19. The Knicks led by as many as 11 in the first quarter and made it 15 in the second before scoring the first 10 points in the third quarter to open a 58-35 lead. The Celtics never got closer than 18 after that.
In other Sunday action:
Marcus Morris Sr. scored a season-high 20 points to lead seven players in double figures, and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Indiana Pacers 129-96 for their first four-game winning streak of the season. Paul George and Luke Kennard also scored 20 points each. Doug McDermott led the Pacers with 23 points, making five 3-pointers. Domantas Sabonis added 19 points and 14 rebounds. Indiana closed within two points early in the third before the Clippers ran away. They outscored the Pacers 37-14 the rest of the quarter to lead 100-75 going into the fourth.
Zion Williamson had 31 points and six rebounds, Steven Adams made a pair of clutch free throws with 17.9 seconds remaining, and the New Orleans Pelicans overcame a 43-point performance by Sacramento's De'Aaron Fox and beat the Kings 128-123. Brandon Ingram scored 22 points, Eric Bledsoe added 21 and Adams had 12 points and 15 rebounds to help the Pelicans end a five-game losing streak. Fox had a career-high point total and added 13 assists for the Kings, who have lost eight of 10.
Reserve Jordan Clarkson scored 23 points, Donovan Mitchell added 18 and the Utah Jazz beat the Nuggets 109-105 in a rematch of their thrilling first-round playoff series last season that Denver captured in seven games. Rudy Gobert finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds in a game in which Mitchell struggled with his shot, going 7 of 20 from the field. But Mitchell hit a clutch fadeaway with 1:01 remaining and with Denver staging a late rally. Nikola Jokic finished with 35 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists, while Jamal Murray chipped in 30 for the Nuggets.
Lauri Markkanen had 29 points and 10 rebounds, and Garrett Temple scored 15 of his season-high 21 points in the second quarter to help Chicago end a four-game losing streak. Dallas star Luka Doncic passed Michael Jordan on the career list with his 29th triple-double, finishing with 36 points, 16 rebounds and 15 assists, including a behind-the-back pass to Willie Cauley-Stein for a dunk. Doncic is tied with Grant Hill for 15th place.
Another NBA game was called off Sunday because of coronavirus concerns, and the Memphis Grizzlies said center Jonas Valanciunas will not play Monday because of the league's health and safety protocols. The NBA said the Philadelphia at Oklahoma City game, scheduled for Sunday night, could not be played because the 76ers did not "have the league-required eight available players to proceed" because of contact tracing. It was the 13th game called off since Jan. 10 because of virus issues, a span in which the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have stiffened protocols and even added testing with hopes of keeping the season going without much in the way of additional problems.
In women’s college basketball, Maine downed UAlbany 63-47, No. 24 Syracuse pounded Miami 99-64, and NJIT took down Hartford 65-51. In men’s college basketball, UAlbany topped NJIT 83-71, UMass ripped Fordham 65-46, Vermont drubbed Maine 88-60, and UMBC outscored Hartford 57-49.
In top-25 men's basketball:
Luka Garza had 17 points and 10 rebounds in just 24 minutes as No. 5 Iowa rolled to a 96-73 victory over Northwestern. Joe Wieskamp had 16 points and CJ Fredrick added 13 as the Hawkeyes won their fifth straight. Iowa and Michigan are tied for the conference lead. Garza, who entered averaging 27.6 points, sat out the final 12 minutes because of the lopsided score. He was 7 for 12 from the field and scored all of his points in the first half. Pete Nance had 16 points and Boo Buie added 12 for Northwestern, which dropped its fifth in a row.
Quentin Grimes scored 18 points, Justin Gorham added 15 points and nine rebounds and No. 11 Houston used a dominant first half to cruise to a 75-58 win over UCF. Grimes scored in double figures for his 11th straight game after opening the season with eight points against Lamar. Houston won its fourth straight game since its loss to Tulsa, its only defeat of the season. The Cougars shot 42%, including 8 of 25 on 3-pointers. Jamille Reynolds scored 14 points, and Dre Fuller Jr. and Darin Green Jr. each had 12 points for UCF.
Tyrece Radford scored 20 points to help No. 20 Virginia Tech hold off Wake Forest 64-60. Radford made 6 of 7 shots, then went 6 for 6 at the foul line in the final 45.4 seconds. Virginia Tech won despite committing 15 turnovers while having quiet days from top scorers Keve Aluma and Jalen Cone. But the Hokies still improved to 5-1 in the ACC for the first time since 2007. Ismael Massoud scored 12 points for Wake Forest, which was playing a fourth straight game against a ranked league opponent.
In college basketball news:
No. 4 Texas' scheduled basketball game at Iowa State on Wednesday night has been postponed. The Big 12 Conference said it will work with the schools to reschedule the game. Iowa State hasn't played since falling to Texas Tech on Jan. 9.
The Atlantic Coast Conference says Wednesday's men's basketball game between North Carolina State and No. 18 Virginia has been postponed. The league announced the postponement Sunday due to a positive COVID-19 test, quarantining and contact tracing within the Wolfpack program.
Nebraska men's basketball program will pause for at least seven more days after coach Fred Hoiberg and 11 other staffers or players tested positive for COVID-19. The Cornhuskers' home game against Minnesota on Wednesday and game at Iowa next Sunday have been postponed. The schools will work with the Big Ten Conference to reschedule.
Jake Guentzel beat Ilya Samsonov in the fourth round of a shootout and the Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their first win of the season with a 4-3 victory over Washington. Casey DeSmith stopped 20 shots in regulation then turned aside T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin in the shootout as the Penguins avoided their first 0-3 start since 2015-16. Evan Rodrigues, Colton Sceviour and Marcus Pettersson all scored their first goals of the season for Pittsburgh. Ovechkin got his 707th career goal to move within one of Hall of Famer Mike Gartner for seventh on the all-time list.
Also Sunday, Keith Yandle got his 100th career goal, Chris Driedger made 23 saves and the Florida Panthers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. Eetu Luostarinen scored his first NHL goal, and Aaron Ekblad, Patric Hornqvist, and Jonathan Huberdeau also scored for Florida, which had three goals in the third period to pull away in its delayed opener. The Panthers were to have played Dallas last week twice, games that were called off because of a COVID-19 outbreak among the Stars.
Marshall has given Alabama's Charles Huff his first head coaching job. Marshall announced Huff's hiring Sunday. Huff has spent the past two seasons as the Crimson Tide's associate head coach and running backs coach and is widely known as a top recruiter. Huff is Marshall's first Black head football coach. He is a 2005 graduate of Hampton. Huff replaces Conference USA coach of the year Doc Holliday, whose contract was not renewed. Marshall started the season 7-0 and moved up to No. 15 in The Associated Press poll before losing its final three games. Marshall's Board of Governors is scheduled to meet Monday to approve Huff's contract.
Also, Sarah Fuller, the first woman to score in a Power Five conference football game, says she's been invited to attend President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. Fuller posted on social media that she was honored to be invited and noted the inauguration "is especially meaningful for American women and girls." Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will become the first woman to hold that office. Attendance at the inauguration will be strictly curtailed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and security measures put in place after a violent mob supporting President Donald Trump invaded the U.S. Capitol.
A person familiar with the deal says the Boston Red Sox have reached an agreement with left-hander Martín Pérez on one-year contract. The deal was confirmed to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because it could not be announced until Pérez completed a physical. The contract would reportedly pay Pérez $4.5 million this season, with a $6 million option or $500,000 buyout for 2022. Pérez went 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, when he was the only starter in the Red Sox rotation to make all 12 of his scheduled starts.
An additional 25 tennis players have been forced into quarantine in Australia ahead of the season's first tennis major after a fifth person tested positive for the coronavirus test after arriving on a charter flight. That takes the total number of competitors isolating in hotel rooms to 72 on Sunday. Australian Open organizers say the latest positive test came from a passenger on a flight from Doha, Qatar, who was not a member of the playing contingent. But all 58 passengers, including the 25 players, will be confined to their hotel rooms for two weeks. Organizers had previously announced that 47 players had to quarantine after four COVID-19 cases emerged from two other charter flights bringing players, staff, officials and media to Australia. No players are among the five people who have tested positive.
Kevin Na had to rally to win the Sony Open. He got up-and-down from behind the 18th green for a final birdie to shoot 65 for a one-shot victory over Chris Kirk and Joaquin Niemann. Na won for the fifth time in his PGA Tour career. Kirk had reason to feel like a winner, too. He stepped away from the game in the summer of 2019 to treat alcoholism and depression. He was given a medical extension for lost time, and this was his last event to earn enough points to regain full status. He did just that.
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