#SportsReport: Bills Beat Steelers; Patriots Down Bengals
The Bills secured an AFC playoff berth as Josh Allen threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Kroft with 7:55 to play in their 17-10 victory at Pittsburgh.
Buffalo scored on two possessions in the fourth quarter and got consecutive interceptions by Jordan Poyer and Levi Wallace on Pittsburgh's last two possessions to ice the win for the 10-4 Bills. The 8-6 Steelers had an opportunity to leapfrog the Bills for the top AFC wildcard spot before ending a three-game winning streak.
Stephon Gilmore returned one of his two interceptions 64 yards for a score as the Patriots knocked off the Bengals, 34-13 to clinch an AFC playoff berth. Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes to move within one of Peyton Manning's all-time NFL record. The 11-3 Patriots broke a two-game losing streak with four interceptions in the second half.
Carson Wentz capped a 75-yard scoring drive by tossing a four-yard TD pass to Greg Ward with 26 seconds left to secure the Eagles' win over the Redskins, 37-27 and boost Philadelphia's chances of making the playoffs as NFC East champions. Wentz was 30 of 43 for 266 yards and three touchdowns for the 7-7 Eagles, although he also had a disastrous turnover that allowed Washington to go ahead late in the game. Miles Sanders grabbed a scoring pass and rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown.
Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning threw two touchdowns in what might have been his final home start for the Giants, a 36-20 victory against the Dolphins. Manning was 20 of 28 for 283 yards and three interceptions before being taken out of the game to a rousing reception at the Meadowlands on New York's final series. Saquon Barkley ran for 112 yards and scored two walk-in touchdowns to help the 3-11 Giants end their team record-tying nine-game losing streak.
The San Francisco 49ers clinched a playoff berth on Sunday, but they also lost control of first place in the NFC West. Matt Ryan hit Julio Jones for a go-ahead, five-yard touchdown with 2 seconds left to send the Falcons past the Niners, 29-22. Jones was called short of the goal line with the Falcons trailing 22-17, but a replay showed the ball breaking the plane with the Jones in the air while being tackled by Jimmie Ward. Kyle Juszczyk recovered a fumble on the punt return team early in the fourth quarter then caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Garoppolo two plays later to give the 49ers some breathing room before Atlanta rallied. The 11-3 Niners are in a virtual tie for first with Seattle, but the Seahawks hold the tiebreaker.
Russell Wilson threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns in the Seahawks' 30-24 victory over the Panthers. Seattle scored on its first three possessions as Wilson completed 8 of 10 passes for 175 yards, with 19-yard touchdown passes to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Chris Carson added a 16-yard touchdown run to make it 20-7 before finishing with 133 yards rushing and two scores.
The Packers were winners in their 200th meeting with the Bears as Aaron Jones ran for two scores and Davante Adams caught another in Green Bay's 21-13 victory. Aaron Rodgers completed just 16 of 33 passes for 203 yards, but that was enough for the NFC North leaders to improve to 11-3. Adams finished with 103 yards on seven catches to help Green Bay drop the Bears to 7-7.
The Vikings stayed a game behind the Packers as Dan Bailey kicked four field goals and Ifeadi Odenigbo scored Minnesota's second defensive touchdown in three games in a 39-10 thrashing of the Chargers. Mike Boone ran for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and Kirk Cousins threw for 207 yards and a TD for the 10-4 Vikings. Los Angeles led 10-9 midway through the second quarter before Minnesota scored 30 unanswered points.
Patrick Mahomes threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns in the Chiefs' ninth consecutive win over the Broncos, 23-3. Tyreek Hill caught five passes for 67 yards and two scores, and Travis Kelce hauled in 11 catches for 142 yards to become the first tight end in NFL history with four consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Rookie Drew Lock was 18 of 40 for 208 yards and an egregious interception in the end zone as Denver fell to 5-9 while Kansas City moved to 10-4.
The Texans grabbed control of the AFC South lead as Deshaun Watson threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-21 victory at Tennessee. Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked a 29-yard field goal with 3:26 left for the winning margin as Houston improved to 9-5 to take a one-game lead over the Titans for the division. Ryan Tannehill threw for 279 yards, ran for a 1-yard TD, but also was intercepted at the goal as the Titans ended a four-game winning streak.
Philadelphia and Dallas remain tied for the NFC East lead after Dak Prescott threw two touchdown passes and Ezekiel Elliott ran for two scores in a 44-21 win over the Rams. The Cowboys offense produced a season high in points to go with 475 yards, including scoring drives of 90 and 97 yards. Todd Gurley had 11 carries for 20 yards as Los Angeles dropped to 8-6.
The Raiders dropped their final scheduled game at the Oakland Coliseum as the Jaguars rallied for a 20-16 win against the Silver and Black. Jacksonville trailed 16-3 until Gardner Minshew threw two TD passes to Chris Conley in the final 5:15. Minshew led a 65-yard drive that was capped by his four-yard TD toss to Conley with 31 seconds left, dropping the Raiders to 7-7.
The Browns' playoff hopes are over after Baker Mayfield lost a battle of former Oklahoma quarterbacks and teammates, 38-24 at Arizona. Kyler Murray completed 19 of 25 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown, and he also ran for 58 yards. Kenyan Drake ran for a season-high 137 yards and scored a touchdown in every quarter.
The Buccaneers earned a 37-17 win over the Lions as Jameis Winston became the first player in NFL history to throw for 450 yards in consecutive games. Winston threw three of his four TD passes in the first half and finished with a career-high 458 yards passing one week after throwing for 456 yards. The 7-7 Buc have won four straight and five of six, while the Lions have dropped seven straight to fall to 3-10-1.
The Brooklyn Nets have put an emphatic end to the Philadelphia 76ers' five-game winning streak. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 24 points, including an explosive one-handed dunk, in the Nets' 109-89 thumping of the Sixers. Joe Harris had 16 points for Brooklyn, which bounced ended a two-game skid and bounced back from Saturday's loss at Toronto. DeAndre Jordan had 13 points and 11 rebounds while helping the Nets' reserves outscore the Philadelphia bench, 40-23. Ben Simmons scored 20 points and Tobias Harris chipped in 17 for the 76ers.
Nikola Jokic made a late go-ahead 3-pointer and finished with scored 25 points to help the Nuggets hold off the Knicks, 111-105. Will Barton had 16 points, Gary Harris added 15 and Jamal Murray had 14 in the Nuggets' 12th straight victory over the Knicks in Denver.
LeBron James scored 32 points and the Lakers extended their winning streak to seven with a 101-96 victory over the pesky Hawks. Anthony Davis scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for Los Angeles, while James chipped in 13 rebounds and seven assists.
Backup guard Aaron Holiday scored 12 of his 23 points in the final period as the Pacers whipped the Hornets, 107-85 for their third straight win. Myles Turner had 14 points and 10 rebounds to help the Pacers improved to 11-3 at home and 18-9 overall.
The Kings crushed the Warriors, 100-79 as Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 25 points and Buddy Hield added 19 in Sacramento's fourth victory in five games. The Kings shot a season-best 60% in beating Golden State for only the fourth time in their last 25 meetings.
The Pelicans absorbed their team-record 12th straight loss as Jonathan Isaac had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Magic past New Orleans, 130-119. Orlando center Nikola Vucevic returned from a sprained ankle to score 20 points over 29 minutes in his first game since Nov. 20.
In women’s college basketball, UMass beat Siena 61-55, and Marist downed Green Bay 72-60.
In men's top-25 basketball, Wofford has done it to North Carolina once again. Trevor Stumpe dropped in 19 points and the Terriers rode a 16-0 run in the second half to a 68-64 win over the 17th-ranked Tar Heels. Storm Murphy added 15 points and Messiah Jones had 13 points for Wofford, which also beat North Carolina two years ago at the Smith Center. Wofford made four 3-pointers during its decisive spurt, a 6-minute stretch in which the Tar Heels missed 10 consecutive shots. North Carolina played without injured starters Cole Anthony and Leaky Black.
Meanwhile, Minnesota has given head coach Richard Pitino his first victory over a top-5 squad. Marcus Carr scored a career-high 35 points and Daniel Oturu added 14 with 13 rebounds as the Golden Gophers handed third-ranked Ohio State its first loss of the season, 84-71. Carr shot 12 for 17 from the floor to lead a determined bounce-back from a 20-point loss at Iowa earlier in the week. Freshmen D.J. Carton finished with 19 points and fellow backup E.J. Liddell added 14 off the bench, both season highs. But the Buckeyes dropped to 9-1.
The Philadelphia Flyers are limping home after an 0-3 road trip. Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele each had a power-play goal and two assists in the Jets' 7-3 rout of the Flyers. Winnipeg scored twice on a five-minute power play midway through the second period after Philadelphia left winger Joel Farabee crashed into Mathieu Perreault long after the winger gave up the puck. Kyle Connor added a goal and an assist, Neal Pionk set up three tallies and Connor Hellebuyck made 29 saves to help the Jets improve to 20-11-2.
The Golden Knights were 6-3 winners over the Canucks behind Max Pacioretty's two goals and two assists. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 shots to improve to 12-2-1 in his career against Vancouver.
Patrick Kane notched his first hat trick of the season and the Blackhawks stopped a four-game slide by topping the Wild, 5-3. Brandon Saad and David Kampf also scored for Chicago, which handed Minnesota just the second regulation loss in its last 16 games.
Anze Kopitar's two goals were the difference in the Kings' 4-2 win over the Red Wings. Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli also scored and Jack Campbell stopped 22 shots in the Kings' third win in four games.
Justin Kripps of Canada has won another four-man bobsled World Cup race in Lake Placid, New York. German sleds grabbed silver and bronze. The U.S. saw Hunter Church finish fifth and Codie Bascue cross the line in seventh. Sliding now goes into its holiday break before the World Cup seasons resume in Europe early next month. Bobsled and skeleton are in Winterberg, Germany, the first weekend of January. Luge starts up again at Altenberg, Germany, in the second week of January.
The Texas Rangers have added a two-time Cy Young Award winner to their starting rotation. The Indians have traded Corey Kluber to the Rangers for outfielder Delino DeShields and pitching prospect Emmanuel Clase. Kluber is coming off his worst season since 2012 as broken arm limited him to seven starts. He was 2-3 with a 5.80 ERA this year, one season after recording his first 20-win season. Kluber is 98-58 with a 3.16 ERA and 1,461 strikeouts in 1,341 2/3 innings over 208 major league games, including 203 starts. DeShields stole 24 bases last season while batting .249 with 32 RBIs.
A person with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press that longtime Giants ace Madison Bumgarner has accepted a five-year, $85 million contract with the Diamondbacks. Bumgarner was 9-9 with a 3.90 ERA in 34 starts this year, his first full season since 2016. The 2014 World Series MVP still needed to pass a physical to complete the contract.
The U.S. Military Academy and Naval Academy have launched separate investigations into possible “white power” hand gestures flashed by a few students at the Army-Navy football game. Public affairs officers at both academies said via email Sunday that officers have been appointed to conduct internal investigations and determine if disciplinary action is needed. Several West Point cadets and Naval Academy midshipmen in the stands appeared to display the hand signal during an ESPN broadcast segment Saturday. The gesture is similar to the “OK” hand sign. U.S. Coast Guard leaders reprimanded an officer who used a similar hand sign during a television broadcast last year.
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