#SportsReport: Saints Crush Colts; Brees Sets TD Record
Drew Brees has added his name to one more NFL record. Brees is the league's all-time leader in touchdown passes after tossing four more in the Saints' 34-7 thrashing of the Colts in New Orleans. The scoring strike that broke Peyton Manning's record of 539 career touchdown passes came in the third quarter, when Brees hit tight end Josh Hill for a 5-yard score.
He came into the game already holding NFL records for completions and passing yards before helping the Saints improve to 11-3. Brees also broke a single-game record for completion percentage by connecting on 29 of his 30 attempts for 307 yards in a little more than three quarters. The 6-8 Colts dropped their fourth in a row to eliminate themselves from playoff contention.
In other NFL news, Josh Gordon has received yet another indefinitely suspension from the NFL. The Seattle Seahawks wide receiver has been punished for violating league policies on performance enhancers and substances of abuse. Gordon was reinstated by the NFL in August after having been suspended indefinitely in December 2018, missing the final three games of last season for violations of the league's substance abuse policy. This is the eighth time in his career Gordon has been suspended either by the league or his team.
The Falcons will play their final two games without Takk McKinley after the third-year defensive end hurt his shoulder in an upset victory at San Francisco. McKinley left the game midway through the first quarter and did not return.
The Jaguars tried to fine former defensive end Dante Fowler more than $700,000 for missing "mandatory" appointments with a team trainer or physician. An arbitrator recently ruled in favor of the NFLPA and negated the fines levied against Fowler and other Jaguars players in 2018. The arbitrator affirmed that under the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement teams cannot require rehabilitation or medical appointments at team facilities during the offseason.
Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in 48 points and grabbed 14 rebounds Monday night, but it wasn't enough to stop the Dallas Mavericks from ending the Milwaukee Bucks' 18-game winning streak. And the Mavs didn't even need their top player to pull off the victory. Seth Curry and Kristaps Porzingis each scored 26 points to help the Mavericks hang on for a 120-116 triumph against the Bucks in Milwaukee. Dallas was 16 of 41 from 3-point range, including four 3s each by Curry and Porzingis. The Mavericks were without Luka Doncic because of a sprained right ankle, yet they still improved to 18-8 to stay atop the Southwest Division. Antetokounmpo received little support as the Bucks lost for the first time since Nov. 8 at Utah. The winning streak was their longest since a franchise-record 20 consecutive victories by the 1970-71 championship team.
The Rockets set a franchise record by overcoming a 25-point deficit to beat the Spurs, 109-107. Russell Westbrook scored 31 points and James Harden had 28 as Houston eclipsed the 23-point deficit it faced in a victory against Portland in January 1977. Harden made two free throws to extend the lead to 109-106 with 16.2 seconds left.
The Thunder also pulled off a stunning comeback by crawling out of a 26-point hole in a 109-106 downing of the Bulls. Chris Paul hit five 3-pointers while scoring 19 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter. Paul also had nine rebounds and 10 assists for Oklahoma City, which trailed 55-29 midway through the second quarter after Chicago turned 12 Thunder turnovers into 26 points.
Pascal Siakam dropped in 33 points and Kyle Lowry registered his 110th double-double for the Raptors in a 133-113 rout of the Cavaliers. Lowry had 20 points and 11 assists to tie Antonio Davis for the third-most double-doubles in team history. Norman Powell finished with 26 points for the Raptors, who have won two straight at home since dropping three in a row in Toronto.
The Grizzlies won for the fourth time in five games as rookie Ja Morant had 20 points and 10 assists to lead a 118-111 victory over the Heat. Memphis scored 11 straight points for a 115-107 lead on a Morant drive with 2:31 left. Jonas Valanciunas finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis.
Bradley Beal scored 15 of his 35 points while the Wizards were shooting a blistering 81% in the first quarter of a 133-119 victory at Detroit. Isaiah Thomas returned from a calf injury and scored 23 points for Washington, while Davis Bertans added 17. Derrick Rose and Markieff Morris each scored 22 points for Detroit, which played without injured stars Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.
Damian Lillard scored 27 points, including a crucial three-point play with 26 seconds left as the Trail Blazers rallied past the Suns, 111-110. CJ McCollum had a team-high 30 points and helped the Blazers come back from a 16-point, first-half deficit. Kelly Oubre Jr. had 24 points for Phoenix, including a four-point play that put the Suns ahead, 110-108 with 32 seconds remaining.
In men’s college basketball, Rider topped Marist 74-64.
In women’s college basketball, UConn took down DePaul 84-74.
Texas Tech was the only top-25 men's basketball team in action on Monday, playing hours after entering the AP poll. The 24th-ranked Red Raiders almost made it a short stint in the rankings before rallying in the second half to beat Southern Miss, 71-65. Terrence Shannon scored 18 points for Texas Tech, which trailed by two with three minutes remaining before improving to 7-3. Davide Moretti scored 17 points and hit a punctuating 3-pointer that helped the Red Raiders extend the nation's second-longest active home nonconference winning streak to 52 games. Texas Tech was back in the poll after knocking off previous No. 1 Louisville last Tuesday.
Kansas has become the fifth team to occupy the top of The Associated Press men's basketball poll already this season. The Jayhawks picked up 47 of 65 first-place votes to move up one spot on the rankings. They unseated Louisville, which dropped to third following last Tuesday's 70-57 loss to Texas Tech. Gonzaga claimed 15 first-place votes to climb from sixth to second. Former No. 1 Duke moved up three spots to fourth, just ahead of Ohio State. Kentucky, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia and Baylor round out the top 10.No. 23 Penn State is ranked for the first time in 23 years. The poll doesn't include North Carolina, which had been ranked since February 2014.
Roman Josi had two goals and an assist in the Predators' third win in five games, 5-2 over the Rangers. Rocco Grimaldi, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis also scored to back Juuse Saros, who stopped 39 shots. Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin tallied for New York.
The Washington Capitals may own the NHL's best record, but they are suddenly having trouble beating the Columbus Blue Jackets. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice and Joonas Korpisalo notched his third career shutout with 30 saves as the Jackets beat the Caps for the second time in a week, 3-0. Eric Robinson put Columbus on the board midway through the first period. The win was just the second in eight games for the Blue Jackets, with both coming against Washington. The Capitals still have 53 points, five more than Boston and St. Louis for the NHL's overall lead.
The Blues picked up a 5-2 win against the Avalanche as David Perron completed his fifth career hat trick. Vince Dunn and Jordan Kyrou also scored for the Blues, who now top the Central Division by three points over Colorado. The Blues are 17-3-0 against the Avs since April 5, 2011.
Connor McDavid set up first-period goals by Leon Draisaitl and Zack Kassian to help the Oilers down the Stars, 2-1. Draisaitl's power-play goal was Edmonton's 10th in its last eight games. Mikko Koskinen made half of his 34 saves in the third period and blanked Dallas until Tyler Seguin's goal with 2:37 to play.
Noel Acciari registered his first career hat trick and the Panthers snapped a three-game losing streak by trouncing the Senators, 6-1. Jonathan Huberdeau had four assists, giving him 400 career points in 500 NHL games. Aleksander Barkov, Mike Matheson and Dominic Toninato also tallied and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 29 shots while making his sixth straight start.
In NHL news, the Arizona Coyotes have added a former MVP to their lineup as they try to capture both their first division title and playoff berth since 2012. The Coyotes have acquired high-scoring winger Taylor Hall from the Devils for three prospects and two draft picks. Arizona also gets forward Blake Speers and sends forwards Nick Merkley and Nate Schnarr and defenseman Kevin Bahl to New Jersey, along with a 2020 first-round pick and a conditional third-rounder in 2021. Rumors of Hall's departure began to percolate when he was a healthy scratch for back-to-back games. He has scored six goals and 25 points in 30 games this season and averaged nearly one point a game in his three-plus seasons with New Jersey. Hall won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's top player after producing 39 goals and 93 points for the 2017-18 Devils.
The Kings have placed veteran forward Ilya Kovalchuk on waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. The 36-year-old Kovalchuk had three goals and nine points in 17 games for Los Angeles and hasn't played since Nov. 9. The 11-time All-Star has scored 436 goals and 859 points in 897 NHL games.
The Blackhawks have determined that assistant coach Marc Crawford will remain suspended until Jan. 2 following an investigation into his behavior in previous jobs. Several former players accused Crawford of physical and verbal abuse in recent weeks. Crawford on Monday apologized to four players who spoke publicly about the coach's actions.
Former AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello and the New York Mets finalized a $10 million, one-year contract. Porcello is a right-hander who turns 31 on Dec. 27. He joins a rotation that includes Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz. He was 14-12 with a 5.52 ERA in 32 starts last year in his fifth and final season with Boston. His best year for the Red Sox was 2016, when he went 22-4 and won the AL Cy Young.
The Rays and Japanese outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo have finalized a two-year contract worth about $12 million. Tsutsugo batted .272 this year with 29 homers and 79 RBIs. He has a .285 average with 205 homers and 613 RBIs during 10 seasons with Yokohama, including 44 homers and 110 RBIs in 2016.
The Pirates have acquired catching help by signing Luke Maile to a one-year deal. Maile is considered an above average defensive catcher but has struggled at the plate throughout his career, batting .198 with two homers and 60 RBIs in 215 games with Toronto and Tampa Bay.
The Associated Press has released its All-America team and it is full of players from LSU and Ohio State.Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow of LSU highlights the first-team offense. Defensive end Chase Young of Ohio State leads the defense. The top-ranked Tigers also placed receiver Ja'Marr Chase and cornerback Derek Stingley on the first team. Young was joined on the first team by Ohio State teammates Wyatt Davis, a guard, and Jeff Okudah, a cornerback. Ohio State led all teams with seven players selected to the three All-America teams, including second team quarterback Justin Fields. Across all three AP All-America teams, the SEC had 18 players in all. The Big Ten had 17. The Pac-12 had 13 players, the Big 12 had 10 and the ACC had eight.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy has released a report calling on NCAA schools to do more to provide health care to their student athletes. The report is the last of three from the Connecticut Democrat dealing with issues surrounding players and the money generated by college athletics. Murphy co-chairs a bipartisan congressional working group on athlete compensation with Utah Republican Mitt Romney. The Connecticut Senator also announced they would meet Tuesday with NCAA President Mark Emmert to discuss developing national policies for paying athletes. His latest report recommends the NCAA require full health coverage for athletes and allow players to see doctors who are not associated with their athletic program or school. Murphy also wants schools to guarantee four-year scholarships for athletes, including those who become injured, and allow players to transfer immediately from programs if they believe their health is at risk.
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