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#SportsReport: Eagles Top Giants; Dolphins Beat Patriots

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It took the final game of the NFL regular season to determine the playoff pairings for the wild-card round. There was good news for fans of the 49ers, Eagles, Packers, Chiefs and Titans, while the Seahawks, Cowboys, Patriots, Steelers and Raiders either lost out on first-round byes or missed the postseason altogether. 

The 49ers won the NFC West and the No. 1 seed in the conference playoffs with a 26-21 win over the Seahawks. But the victory wasn't certain until receiver Jacob Hollister was stopped by rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw on fourth-and-goal just inches short of the goal line on the final play. Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 285 yards and Raheem Mostert ran for a pair of second-half touchdowns to help the Niners claim home-field advantage for the first time since 1997. Marshawn Lynch ran for 34 yards and a TD in his return to the NFL, but the Seahawks had to settle for the fifth seed in the conference playoffs.

The Eagles are NFC East champions after Boston Scott ran for three touchdowns in the second half of their 34-17 win over the Giants. Scott scored two short TDs after Jake Elliott's 50-yard field goal broke a 17-17 tie in the fourth quarter. Scott also had 54 yards rushing and 84 receiving to help Philadelphia finish 9-7 and hold off Dallas for the division crown. Carson Wentz threw for 289 yards, including a 24-yard TD pass to Josh Perkins.

The Packers gained the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs by knocking off the Lions, 23-20 on Mason Crosby's 33-yard field goal as time expired. The 13-3 Packers fell behind by two touchdowns in the second quarter and didn't lead until Crosby made his second game-winning kick against Detroit this season. Aaron Rodgers was 27 of 55 for 323 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, while Aaron Jones ran for 100 yards on 25 carries.

The Chiefs closed out a 12-4 regular season with their sixth straight win, a highlight-laden 31-24 decision over the Chargers. Mecole Hardman returned a kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown and Damien Williams took a handoff 84 yards for another score. Patrick Mahomes threw for 174 yards and a touchdown, and Williams finished with 124 yards rushing on just 12 carries. Philip Rivers threw for 281 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in what could be the veteran quarterback's final game for the Chargers.

The Chiefs actually gained a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs with New England's 27-24 loss to the Dolphins. The Patriots led until Ryan Fitzpatrick tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mike Gesicki with 24 seconds remaining. Fitzpatrick's game-winning toss came after Tom Brady's 13-yard scoring strike to James White put the Pats in front 24-20 with 3:53 left. New England finishes the regular season 12-4 and will play in the opening weekend of the postseason for the first time since 2009. The Patriots have never won a Super Bowl after playing in the wild-card round.

The Titans have grabbed the second AFC wild card and earned a meeting with the Patriots next weekend by thumping the Texans, 35-14. Derrick Henry rushed for a season-high 211 yards and three touchdowns for the 9-7 Titans, who won in Houston for the first time since Jan. 1, 2012.

Ryan Tannehill passed for 198 yards and two touchdowns for Tennessee and will make his playoff debut in his eighth NFL season. Rookie receiver A.J. Brown had 124 yards receiving and a touchdown.

In other action on the final Sunday of the NFL's 100th season, Dak Prescott threw four touchdown passes to help the Cowboys crush the Redskins, 47-16, but the win was rendered meaningless with the Eagles' win over the Giants. Prescott was 23 of 33 for 303 yards, although he fell one yard short of Tony Romo's single-season club record of 4,903 yards passing. Michael Gallup had three scoring receptions for Dallas.

The Ravens will carry a 12-game winning streak into the AFC divisional round after a 28-10 drubbing of the Steelers. Baltimore's first touchdown followed a fumble by Steelers rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges. The Ravens' special teams also produced as Jordan Richards recovered a Pittsburgh fumble in the end zone to help Baltimore end up a conference-leading 14-2.

Sam Darnold hit Jamison Crowder for a tiebreaking, 1-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to send the Jets past the playoff-bound Bills, 13-6. Darnold threw 13 scoring passes while New York was going 6-2 in the second half to avoid its fourth straight season with double-digit losses. Matt Barkley was 18 of 35 for 232 yards, two interceptions and a lost fumble after Buffalo starter Josh Allen was lifted in the first quarter.

The Saints finished a 13-3 campaign by thrashing the Panthers, 42-10. Drew Brees threw for 253 yards and three touchdowns, and Alvin Kamara ran for two scores as New Orleans handed Carolina its eighth straight loss. The only thing that went right for the 5-11 Panthers was Christian McCaffrey joining Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk as the third player in NFL history to record 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season.

Eddy Piñeiro's fourth field goal of the game was a 22-yarder with 10 seconds left to give the Bears a 21-19 victory over the Vikings. Rookie David Montgomery had 23 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown to help the Bears beat the 10-6 Vikings for the fourth consecutive time. Minnesota rested most of its starters after securing the second NFC wild-card berth.

Tyler Higbee and Robert Woods caught touchdown passes from Jared Goff in the fourth quarter of the Rams' 31-24 win over the Cardinals. Goff passed for 319 yards and hit Cooper Kupp for 99 yards and an early TD to help the Rams secure their third consecutive winning season. The Los Angeles defense had four takeaways in the final NFL game at the 96-year-old Coliseum.

The Raiders were losers in their final game as an Oakland franchise, 16-15 at Denver. Rookie Drew Lock had 177 yards passing, including a short scoring pass to Andrew Beck. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw for a touchdown with seven seconds remaining, but his pass for the two-point conversion was blocked by Shelby Harris.

Deion Jones returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in overtime to give the Falcons a 28-22 win over the Buccaneers. Atlanta's Matt Ryan completed 30 of 51 passes for 313 yards and one touchdown, but the 7-9 Falcons needed a field goal on the final play of regulation to extend the game and win for the sixth time in eight games. Jameis Winston became the first Tampa Bay quarterback to pass for 5,000 yards in a season, and he also finished with a league-high 30 interceptions and the Bucs ended up 7-9.

Andy Dalton threw for a touchdown and ran for another in his farewell as a franchise quarterback, leading the Bengals past the Browns, 33-23. The Bengals complete a 2-14 season that matched the worst in team history and allowed them to secure the first overall pick in the upcoming draft for the first time since 2003. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield went 12 of 27 for 279 yards, ending his second NFL season with fewer touchdown passes and more interceptions than last year as Cleveland finished a disappointing 6-10.

Gardner Minshew turned in his best performance in two months by throwing for 295 yards and three touchdowns and leading the Jaguars to a 38-20 victory over the Colts. Minshew connected with Keelan Cole, Ryquell Armstead and Dede Westbrook for scores as Jacksonville finished 6-10 amid reports that head coach Doug Marrone could be let go. Jacoby Brissett fumbled on consecutive drives, ending any chance Indianapolis had to end the season at .500.

The NFL playoffs will begin Saturday with the Bills visiting the Texans before the Titans take on the Patriots in Foxborough. Sunday's action will conclude with the Eagles entertaining the Seahawks after the Saints battle the visiting Vikings. The Ravens, Chiefs, 49ers and Packers will enjoy a free weekend while preparing for the divisional round.

In NFL news, the Browns are in the market for a new head coach. Again. Freddie Kitchens was let go after the Browns finished 6-10 in his only full season as head coach. He failed to lead a talented roster to the postseason and paid the price. The next head coach will be the sixth for the Browns since Dee and Jimmy Haslem took control of the team in 2012.

NBA

The Oklahoma City Thunder have done a nice job pushing themselves back into the NBA's Western Conference playoff race after a 5-10 start. The Thunder are seventh in the conference at 17-15 following a 98-97 victory over the defending-champion Raptors in Toronto. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander matched his career-high with 32 points for the Thunder, who have won six of their last seven and 11 of 15. Gilgeous-Alexander made the go-ahead basket on a jump shot with 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter, then grabbed the rebound on a missed 3-pointer by VanVleet. Chris Paul had 25 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists as Oklahoma City handed the Raptors their third loss in four games. Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet each scored 20 points for Toronto.

Anthony Davis had team highs of 23 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers in a 108-95 downing of the Mavericks. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was 4-for-5 from beyond the arc and finished with 19 points off the bench while helping Los Angeles hold Dallas to 36% from the field.

Will Barton scored 19 points, including two free throws with eight seconds left to help the Nuggets hold off the Kings, 120-115. Rookie Michael Porter Jr. had a season-high 19 points and six rebounds in his first career start as Denver won for the ninth time in 10 games.

Lonzo Ball drained a career-high seven 3-points while scoring a season-high 27 points in the Pelicans' fourth consecutive win, 127-112 over the Rockets. E'Twaun Moore hit five 3s and scored a season-high 25 points for New Orleans, which trailed by nine early in the fourth quarter before rallying against a team that played without starters James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Clint Capella.

Dillon Brooks scored 20 points and rookie Brandon Clarke provided 18 more as the Grizzlies dealt the Hornets their fifth straight loss, 117-104. Jonas Valanciunas finished with 16 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. added 14 with 12 rebounds for Memphis.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

In men’s college basketball yesterday, Siena defeated Holy Cross 74-62, Colorado ripped Iona 99-54, Hartford edged Northwestern 67-66, and UConn routed NJIT 69-47.

In women’s college basketball, Monmouth beat UAlbany 53-41, Louisville defeated Syracuse 62-58, Merrimack topped Vermont 78-53, and Quinnipiac crushed Hartford 87-50.

In men's top-25 basketball, second-ranked Ohio State suffered its second loss of the season by scoring a season-low for points while committing a season-high for turnovers and fouls. The Buckeyes also wasted a nine-point, first-half lead in a 67-59 loss to No. 22 West Virginia at Cleveland. The Mountaineers went ahead for good on a basket by Derek Culver with 3:31 left. Miles McBride kept West Virginia in front by scoring six of his season-high 21 points in the final 2:22. Kaleb Wesson had 17 points and nine rebounds for the 11-2 Buckeyes, who had 22 turnovers and committed 25 fouls in losing for the second time in four games.

Isaiah Moss drained three straight 3-pointers to help fifth-ranked Kansas pull away in the second half of a sloppy 72-56 win at Stanford. Moss finished with 17 points and Udoka Azubuike grabbed 13 rebounds as the 10-2 Jayhawks overcame 21 turnovers.

Chris Duarte shot 6-for-9 from 3-point range while scoring a season-high 31 points to lead No. 6 Oregon's 98-59 pounding of Alabama State. Anthony Mathis had 15 points as the 11-2 Ducks won their fifth in a row.

Auburn is 12-0 after Danjel Purifoy had 17 points and nine rebounds to lead the eighth-ranked Tigers to an 86-59 thumping of Lipscomb. Jamal Johnson matched his season high with 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.

No. 11 Michigan rolled to an 86-60 rout of UMass Lowell behind Jon Teske's 25 points and eight rebounds. Elis Brooks had 15 points for the 10-3 Wolverines.

Anthony Cowan Jr. furnished 19 points as 13th-ranked Maryland beat Bryant, 84-70. Aaron Wiggins added 15 points and Jalen Smith had 11 points and 10 rebounds as the 11-2 Terrapins stopped a two-game skid.

Kihei Clark scored five points during a 12-0 second-half run that sent No. 16 Virginia past Navy, 65-56. Braxton Key led the 10-2 Cavaliers with 15 points, Mamadi Diakite chipped in 13 and Clark added 10 with 13 assists.

Mike Watkins and Lamar Stevens each delivered 19 points and Watkins finished with 10 boards as 20th-rated Penn State dumped Cornell, 90-59.

Kyler Edwards and Jahmi'us Ramsey scored 20 points apiece as 23rd-ranked Texas Tech defeated Cal State Bakersfield, 73-58.

No. 25 Iowa coasted to a 93-51 rout of Kennesaw State as Luka Garza contributed 23 points and Ryan Kriener added a career-high 20.

NHL

Jake DeBrusk scored two power-play goals in an 18-second span early in the third period to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead in a 3-2 victory against the Sabres. David Pastrnak added his team-high 28th goal and Tuukka Rask stopped 24 shots as Boston pulled within two points of Washington for the Eastern Conference lead.

The Islanders had dropped four of five and trailed 1-0 before scoring three times in the third period of a 3-1 win at Minnesota. Ryan Pulock and Matt Martin scored 97 seconds apart early in the final period before Tom Kuhnackl added an insurance tally to back Semyon Varlamov's 25-save performance.

The Flyers made it five wins in their last six games by downing the Ducks, 2-1 on a goal by Kevin Hayes at 3:53 of overtime. Brian Elliott made 27 saves, Sean Couturier scored in the first period and Jakub Voracek had two assists for Philadelphia.

The Devils pulled out a 4-3 win at Ottawa on Jack Hughes' goal less than a minute into overtime. Nico Hischier and Nikita Gusev had power-play goals for New Jersey.

The St. Louis Blues have expanded their lead in the NHL's Central Division and Western Conference races by stretching their winning streak to a season-high eight games. Jaden Schwartz scored twice and Jordan Binnington made 25 saves to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-1. Ryan O'Reilly and Robert Thomas also scored for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who have outscored opponents 32-16 during the winning streak.

Jonathan Huberdeau collected four of his line's nine points by furnishing two goals and two assists in the Panthers' 6-5 win over the Canadiens. Aleksander Barkov netted a pair and had an assist, while linemate Mike Matheson added a goal and two helpers.

Brayden Point scored a power-play goal in the third period to send the Lightning past the Red Wings, 2-1. Tampa Bay has won 16 consecutive regular-season games versus Detroit, the longest winning streak in Lightning franchise history.

Tyler Myers and Tanner Pearson each provided two goals and an assist in the Canucks' 5-2 win over the Flames. Jake Virtanen added a goal and an assist to Vancouver's fifth straight win.

Roope Hintz provided the go-ahead goal while the Stars erupted for four goals in the third period of a 4-2 verdict over the Coyotes. Hintz's team-leading 13th goal of the season made it 3-2 with 4:09 left to play.

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane scored shootout goals to cap the Blackhawks' comeback in their fourth victory in four games, 3-2 at Columbus. The Blue Jackets led 2-0 until Dylan Strome and Erik Gustafsson scored in the third period.

MALE ATHLETE OF THE DECADE

LeBron James has been selected as The Associated Press male athlete of the decade. James won three NBA championships, played in eight straight finals and changed teams three times over the last 10 years. He was a runaway winner in a vote of AP member sports editors and AP beat writers, easily outpacing runner-up Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt.

© The Associated Press 2019. All Rights Reserved.