#SportsReport: Saints Clinch Division...Dolphins Stun Pats...Bears Silence Rams
The New Orleans Saints became the second NFL team to clinch a division title by rallying to victory at Tampa.
The Saints trailed 14-3 at halftime before Drew Brees threw for a touchdown and ran for another in a 28-14 decision over the Buccaneers. He shrugged off a pair of turnovers to throw a 1-yard TD pass to Zach Line, then scored on a 1-yard sneak. Brees completed 24 of 31 passes for 201 yards and one interception.
Michael Thomas had 11 receptions for 98 yards as the Saints avenged a season-opening loss to Bucs and also rebounded from a defeat the previous week at Dallas.
The 11-2 Saints claimed the NFC South and moved closer to wrapping up a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The best finish of the day belonged to the Miami Dolphins as they pulled out a 34-33 win over the Patriots on the game's final play. The Pats were 16 seconds away from a 33-28 victory until Miami scored on a pass and double-lateral that was capped by Kenyan Drake's 52-yard run.
Ryan Tannehill was 14 of 19 for 265 yards, the last 14 of which allowed Miami to improve to 7-6 and drop the Patriots to 9-4.
Tom Brady had 358 yards passing and three touchdowns for the Patriots, who failed to clinch the AFC East.
Elsewhere around the league:
The 9-4 Bears stifled the Rams in a battle of NFC division leaders as Eddie Goldman led a dominant defensive effort in Chicago's 15-6 victory at Soldier Field. Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff threw a career-high four interceptions and was sacked three times, with Goldman getting to him for a tiebreaking safety early in the third quarter. Bradley Sowell became the first Bears offensive lineman in 11 years with a touchdown reception when he caught a 2-yarder from Mitchell Trubisky in the third quarter. The Rams were held to 214 total yards and dropped to 11-2, tying them with the Saints for the top record in the conference.
The Chiefs clinched an AFC playoff berth with a 27-24 win over the Ravens on Harrison Butker's 36-yard field goal in overtime. Patrick Mahomes threw for 377 yards and two touchdowns, including a 5-yard pass to Damien Williams that tied the game with 53 seconds left in regulation. Tyreek Hill caught eight passes for 139 yards for the 11-2 Chiefs, including three in overtime to set up the eventual winning field goal. The 7-6 Ravens ended a three-game winning streak and stayed a half-game behind Pittsburgh for first place in the AFC North.
Derek Carr threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Derek Carrier with 21 seconds left before Chris Boswell slipped on a potential game-tying, 40-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the Raiders' 24-21 win over the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger returned from a rib injury to lead a go-ahead touchdown drive that Carr answered for the Raiders. Roethlisberger finished 25 for 29 for 282 yards and two TDs, but the Steelers dipped to 7-5-1 with their third straight loss.
The Chargers improved to 10-3 and took a major step toward earning an AFC playoff berth by holding off the Bengals, 26-21. Philip Rivers threw for 220 yards and Michael Badgley kicked four field goals, including a team-record 59-yarder that helped Los Angeles stay two games behind the AFC West-leading Chiefs. Austin Ekeler rushed for 66 yards on 15 carries for the Chargers with Melvin Gordon missing his second straight game due to a knee injury.
The Texans' nine-game winning streak is over, and their lead in the AFC South is down to two games after Andrew Luck threw for 399 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Colts to a 24-21 win at Houston. T.Y. Hilton had 199 receiving yards and Zach Pascal grabbed a 12-yard TD pass that put the Colts up 24-14. Deshaun Watson threw for 267 yards and a late fourth-quarter touchdown for the 9-4 Texans.
The Cowboys stayed atop the NFC East as Dak Prescott threw his third touchdown pass to Amari Cooper on the first possession of overtime to complete a 29-23 victory against the Eagles. The Cowboys finished with 576 yards, their most since gaining 578 against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973. Carson Wentz threw for three touchdowns, including a pair of tying scores in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers continued to play themselves out of the NFC playoff hunt with their fifth straight loss, 26-20 to the Browns. Jarvis Landry caught a touchdown pass and ran for one to help Cleveland keep its faint playoff hopes alive. Baker Mayfield finished 18 of 22 for 238 yards, including his 51-yard TD to Landry.
Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and set an NFL record for interception-free football while leading the Packers past the Falcons, 34-20 in Green Bays's first game under interim coach Joe Philbin. Aaron Jones ran for a 29-yard score in the third quarter, while the defense limited quarterback Matt Ryan following a game-opening touchdown drive. The Packers moved to 5-7-1 and sent the Falcons to their fifth consecutive loss, clinching Atlanta's first losing season in four years.
Denver damaged its playoff hopes with a 20-14 loss to San Francisco as George Kittle became the 49ers' first tight end with a 1,000-yard season. Kittle caught an 85-yard touchdown pass on the way to 210 yards receiving, four shy of the NFL record held by Shannon Sharpe. His long TD reception on a pass from Nick Mullens early in the second quarter put the Niners up 13-0 against the 6-7 Broncos.
Saquon Barkley ran for a 78-yard touchdowns and Eli Manning threw for three scores while the Giants were building a 40-0 lead in a 40-16 shellacking of the Redskins. Barkley finished with 170 yards rushing and the Giants' defense recorded three interceptions and five sacks in the team's fourth win in five games since a 1-7 start. The 6-7 Redskins dropped their fourth in a row and did little under starting quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was 6 of 14 for 38 yards and two picks before being pulled in favor of Josh Johnson.
Darius Slay returned an interception 67 yards for a touchdown in the Lions' 17-3 win at Arizona. Zach Zenner's 1-yard touchdown run with 4:05 to play put the game out of reach. The 5-8 Lions dropped the Cardinals to 3-10 by winning in Arizona for the first time in nine tries since 1993.
Elijah McGuire scored on a fourth-and-goal run from the 1 with 1:17 remaining to push the Jets past the Bills, 27-23. Sam Darnold returned to the game and completed three of five passes for 52 yards on the go-ahead drive to help New York end a six-game losing streak. Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen ran for 101 yards and a TD and was 18 of 36 for 206 yards and two interceptions.
In Monday’s NFL Matchup:
Minnesota takes on Seattle at 8:15 p.m.
Ravens denounce racist and homophobic tweets:
The Baltimore Ravens are condemning racist and homophobic tweets made by fullback and defensive lineman Patrick Ricard six years ago as "totally unacceptable."
Ricard posted at least six tweets in 2011 and 2012 in which he used a derogatory word.
The second-year player's tweets surfaced Saturday night.
In other NFL news:
— Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said the organization was aware of three separate off-field incidents that led to the release of star running back Kareem Hunt, including the alleged assault in a Cleveland hotel that was captured on a security camera. The team's owners also said the NFL was made aware of each of the cases.
Harold Baines and Lee Smith will be spending a few days in Cooperstown next year.
Baines was a surprising selection for the baseball Hall of Fame, while Smith was a unanimous choice by the 16-member Today's Game Era Committee at the winter meetings.
Baines batted .289 with 384 home runs and 1,628 RBIs in a 22-year career. He never drew more than 6.1 percent in five elections by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, far from the 75 percent required.
Smith recorded 478 saves and was 71-92 with a 3.03 ERA, earning seven All-Star appearances in an 18-year career. He never reached 51 percent in 15 BBWAA elections.
Former manager Lou Piniella received 11 votes, one shy of induction.
The Milwaukee Bucks have become the first team to beat the Toronto Raptors twice this season.
Malcom Brogdon hit tying and go-ahead 3-pointers in the final 67 seconds of the Bucks' 104-99 win at Toronto. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 19 points and matched a season high with 19 rebounds for Milwaukee, while Brogdon added 18 points.
Brook Lopez contributed 19 points as Milwaukee improved to 17-8.
Serge Ibaka mscored 22 points for the Raptors, who are a league-best 21-7 despite losing their last two games.
Checking out Sunday's other NBA action:
DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay and LaMarcus Aldridge each had at least 20 points and combined for more than half of San Antonio's offense in a 110-97 win against the Jazz. DeRozan had 26 points and eight rebounds, Gay added 23 points with 15 boards and Aldridge finished with 20 points in the Spurs' second straight victory.
Jrue Holiday scored 37 points and Julius Randle added 28 to send the Pelicans past the Pistons, 116-108. Pelicans star Anthony Davis left with a right hip injury after a first-quarter collision with Blake Griffin, but he returned in the second half and finished with just six points.
The Hornets were 119-107 winners over the Knicks as Kemba Walker furnished 25 points and Jeremy Lamb added 19. Lamb's layup with 8:50 left in the third quarter gave the Hornets their biggest lead at 77-49.
Monday on the Court:
The 76ers host Detroit at 7 p.m.
Boston faces off against New Orleans at 7:30 p.m.
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Kansas will likely reclaim the No. 1 ranking when the Associated Press men's basketball poll is released on Monday.
Top-ranked Gonzaga suffered its first loss of the season as Admiral Schofield scored 25 of his 30 points in the second half of No. 7 Tennessee's 76-73 win over the Zags in the Colangelo Classic. Schofield put the Vols ahead by nailing a 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining.
Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke had 21 points each for the Bulldogs.
In other Top 25 action Sunday:
Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome combined to score 29 points as No. 4 Virginia held off Virginia Commonwealth 57-49. Guy scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half, while Jerome put up 11 of his 14 after the break.
Sixth-ranked Nevada pulled out a tougher-than-expected 74-66 triumph over Grand Canyon behind Jordan Caroline's 22 points and 14 rebounds. The Wolf Pack finally put it away in the final two minutes, going on a 9-0 run to go up 71-61 and improve to 10-0.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 19 points to lead No. 15 Virginia Tech to an 81-44 victory over South Carolina State. Alexander-Walker hit 8 of 11 shots, including three 3-pointers in the Hokies' third straight win.
Columbia edged Iona 74-71
Old Dominion topped Fairfield 79-69
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Dartmouth defeated Fairfield 59-46
Iowa State is extending football coach Matt Campbell's contract through 2024.
The Cyclones also say they'll allocate an extra $1 million for assistant coaches and support staff.
Terms of Campbell's new deal were not disclosed. He and Iowa State agreed to a 6-year, $22.5 million contract last November.
In other college football news:
Coach Jim Harbaugh says he is staying at Michigan, responding to speculation he's returning to the NFL. Michigan won 10 games this season for the third time under Harbaugh but dropped to 0-4 against rival Ohio State.
Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray is apologizing for anti-gay tweets posted to his Twitter account several years ago, when he was 14 and 15. The Oklahoma quarterback tweeted that they don't reflect who he is or what he believes. The Sooners junior has signed a $4.66 million contract with the Oakland Athletics after he was selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft in June.
The Winnipeg Jets climbed within a point of first place in the NHL's Central Division by blitzing the Philadelphia Flyers.
Josh Morrissey scored one of Winnipeg's three power-play goals and the Jets got goals from seven players in a 7-1 rout of the Flyers. Mark Scheifele assisted on all three of Winnipeg's second-period goals.
Kyle Connor, Brandon Tanev, Dustin Byfuglien also scored for the Jets, as did Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little and Tyler Myers.
Winnipeg is 18-9-2 and one point behind Nashville and Colorado.
In other NHL games:
The Canucks rocked the Blues, 6-1 as Brock Boeser scored his second career hat trick and Elias Pettersson had a goal and four assists. Bo Horvat and Nikolay Goldobin also scored for the Canucks, who have won consecutive games for the first time since winning three straight from Oct. 29 through Nov. 2.
The Bruins beat the Senators, 2-1 on Torey Krug's goal 3:07 into overtime. Brad Marchand had the regulation goal and Tuukka Rask turned back 27 shots for Boston.
Alex Tuch's 10th goal of the season was the eventual game-winner as the Golden Knights picked up their fifth straight home victory, 4-2 against the Stars. Ryan Carpenter, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith also scored to support Marc-Andre Fleury's 22-save performance.
Mikko Koskinen notched his third shutout of the season and the Oilers improved to 7-2-1 under Coach Ken Hitchcock by downing the Flames, 1-0. Connor McDavid provided the only scoring with his 16th of the season to help Edmonton stop Calgary's five-game winning streak.
Daniel Sprong and Ryan Getzlaf scored in the shootout to lead the Ducks to a 6-5 victory over the Devils. Jakob Silfverberg, Kiefer Sherwood, Brandon Montour, Pontus Aberg, Ondrej Kase scored in regulation for Anaheim, with three of the goals deflected off New Jersey players.
Tomas Tatar scored on a deflection with 77 seconds remaining to push the Canadiens to their third straight win, 3-2 at Chicago. Patrick Kane scored twice in the Blackhawks' ninth straight loss.
Monday on the Ice:
The New York Islanders host Pittsburgh at 7 p.m.
The New York Rangers take on Tampa Bay at 7:30 p.m.
The New Jersey Devils go against San Jose at 10:30 p.m.
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