AP Sports

AP Scorecard
December 31, 2018
Monday, December 31st
December 31, 2018
AP Sports





Update on the latest in sports:





Ravens take AFC North…Eagles extend season…Chiefs claim top seed


UNDATED (AP) – The Baltimore Ravens were able to lock up the AFC North title and the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs, which left the Pittsburgh Steelers out of the postseason for the first time since 2013.


The Ravens reached the playoffs for the first time in four years by rushing for 296 yards in a 26-24 victory over the visiting Browns. Lamar Jackson rushed for two TDs and accounted for 90 yards on the ground. Kenneth Dixon had 117 yards rushing for Baltimore, which was 4-5 before Jackson took over for injured quarterback Joe Flacco.


Cleveland got to the Baltimore 39 with 90 seconds left before three straight incompletions by Baker Mayfield were followed by a fourth-down interception by linebacker C.J. Mosley.


In Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger (RAHTH’-lihs-bur-gur) passed for 287 yards and a touchdown as the Steelers downed the Bengals, 16-13. Roethlisberger finished the season with a career-best and NFL-high 5,129 yards passing, but the Steelers needed three field goals by Matt McCrane to improve to 9-6-1.


McCrane connected on kicks of 39, 47 and 35 yards, the last coming with 1:56 to go that put Pittsburgh in front to stay. But the field goals weren’t enough to save the Steelers, who needed Tennessee and Indianapolis to tie their game at Nashville.


The Colts are in the AFC playoffs as the No. 6 seed after earning a 33-17 winner-take-all against the Titans. Andrew Luck threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns to improve to 11-0 versus the Titans.


Marlon Mack ran for 119 yards and a TD for the 10-6 Colts, who are in the playoffs despite a 1-5 start.


Indianapolis will take on Houston in the wild-card round.


In other games on the final week of the 2018 NFL season:


– The Eagles have worked themselves into the playoffs at 9-7 as Nick Foles tied Philip Rivers’ NFL record by completing 25 straight passes in a 24-0 shutout of Washington. Foles also threw for 221 yards and two scores before leaving the game because of a chest injury. Philadelphia gave up just 89 yards, edged Minnesota for the final NFC playoff berth and earned a wild-card game matchup with the Bears in Chicago. The Redskins end up 7-9 despite a 6-3 start.


– The Bears knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs as Jordan Howard rushed for 109 yards and two TDs in Chicago’s 24-10 win at Minnesota. Tarik Cohen scored the last touchdown on a short run with 7:46 left to cap a 16-play drive for the 12-4 Bears. The Vikings netted just 164 total yards as Kirk Cousins completed 20 of 33 passes for 132 yards and a TD to Stephon Diggs.


– Kansas City finally clinched its third consecutive AFC West title and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs with a 35-3 pounding of the Raiders. Patrick Mahomes (mah-HOHMZ’) threw for 281 yards, highlighted by a 67-yard TD pass to Tyreek Hill and an 89-yard TD toss to Demarcus Robinson for the 12-4 Chiefs. That gave the first-year starter 5,097 yards and 50 touchdown passes, joining Peyton Manning as the only QBs to hit 5,000 and 50 in the same season.


– The Chargers improved to 12-4 with a 23-9 win at Denver, but they have to settle for the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs following Kansas City’s rout of Oakland. Philip Rivers was just 14 of 34 for 176 yards and a touchdown and two interceptions, but Los Angeles still managed to end up 12-4. Kyle Emanuel returned a fumble 18 yards for the Chargers’ first TD, and Casey Hayward Jr. picked off a two-point conversion attempt and ran it back 102 yards to put the Chargers ahead 16-9 with 10:10 to play.


– The Patriots claimed a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs as Tom Brady threw for three first-half touchdowns in a 38-3 trouncing of the Jets. Brady completed 24 of 33 passes for 250 yards and four scores overall to help New England finish 11-5. Sam Darnold completed 16 of 28 passes for the 4-12 Jets, but he accounted for just 167 yards and had a fumble that gave New England a touchdown.


– The Texans wrapped up the AFC South title at 11-5 by silencing the Jaguars, 20-3. Deshaun Watson threw for 234 yards and ran for a touchdown to help Houston secure its fifth division title. DeAndre Hopkins had 147 yards receiving against Jacksonville, which finished 5-11 just a year after reaching the AFC championship game.


– The Rams secured the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs as Brandin Cooks and Josh Reynolds caught two touchdown passes apiece from Jared Goff in a 48-32 victory against the 49ers. Cory Littleton returned one of his two interceptions for a TD as the 13-3 Rams forced four turnovers and wrapped up their winningest regular season since 2001. Nick Mullens passed for 282 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions for the 4-12 49ers, who wrapped up their fifth consecutive non-winning season.


– Cole Beasley made a lunging catch in the end zone on a 32-yard pass from Dak Prescott with 72 seconds left before a two-point conversion pass to Michael Gallup gave the Cowboys a 36-35 win over the Giants. Prescott threw for four touchdowns and the Cowboys moved to 10-6 with their seventh win in eight games. Blake Jarwin became the first Dallas tight end since Billy Joe DuPree in 1973 to grab three TD passes. Giants rising star Saquon (SAY’-kwahn) Barkley joined Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James as the only rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards, but New York finished 5-11.


– Seattle has the No. 5 seed in the NFC and a wild-card meeting at Dallas after Sebastian Janikowski made a 33-yard field goal on the final play of the Seahawks’ 27-24 win against the Cardinals. Chris Carson rushed for a career-high 122 yards and a touchdown, but Seattle’s offense stumbled. Russell Wilson got sacked six times and a litany of special teams mistakes allowed Arizona to stick around far longer than expected.


– Having already wrapped up the top seed in the NFC playoffs, the 13-3 Saints rested many of their starters in a 33-14 loss to Carolina. Undrafted rookie Kyle Allen passed for 228 yards and two touchdowns before injuring his shoulder in the fourth quarter of the Panthers’ first win in eight games. The 7-9 Panthers led 23-0 at halftime, marking the first time since coach Sean Payton was hired by New Orleans in 2006 that the Saints were shut out at home in a first half.


– Matthew Stafford threw for 266 yards and two scores to T.J. Jones before the Lions’ defense completed a 31-0 shutout of the Packers. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers never finished the game after suffering a concussion early in the second quarter. Matt Prater (PRAY’-tur) tossed a touchdown pass after faking a field-goal try to help Detroit end up 6-10 and drop the Packers to 6-9-1.


– Bills rookie Josh Allen had a career-best three touchdown passes and scored two more rushing in a 42-17 thrashing of the Dolphins. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams closed his 13-year career in Buffalo with a tackle for a loss and was part of a defense that forced four turnovers, including three by Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Miami ends up 7-9, while the Bills finish 6-10.


– Matt Ryan’s first career reception went for a touchdown and the Atlanta quarterback also threw for 378 yards and two scores in a 34-32 victory against the Buccaneers. The Falcons blew an 11-point lead before Matt Bryant nailed his second field goal of the afternoon, a 37-yarder as time expired for the 7-9 Falcons. Jameis (JAY’-mihs) Winston rallied the 5-11 Bucs from a 31-20 deficit to a one-point lead with just over five minutes to go.




Jets, Bucs drop coaches


UNDATED (AP) – The New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are making head coaching changes after finishing last in their respective divisions.


The Jets have dismissed Todd Bowles after a 3-3 start turned into a 4-12 disaster. Bowles was head coach for four years, guiding the team to a 10-6 record in his first season before going 14-34 the rest of the way.


Dirk Koetter was let go by the Buccaneers following a three-year run. The Bucs have posted back-to-back 5-11 seasons after going 9-7 in Koetter’s first year at the helm.




Raptors continue mastery of struggling Bulls


UNDATED (AP) – The Toronto Raptors have followed their worst loss of the season with a shaky win over one of the NBA’s worst teams.


Kawhi (kah-WY’) Leonard scored 27 points and Pascal Siakam (see-AH’-kam) had 20 with 12 rebounds as the Raptors beat the Bulls for the seventh straight time, 95-89. Ahead 68-65 to start the fourth, the Raptors got back-to-back 3-pointers from Delon Wright and Siakam and held a 74-65 lead at 10:10.


Toronto is 27-11 and three percentage points behind the Bucks for the league’s best record.


Checking out Sunday’s other NBA action:


– C.J. McCollum scored 35 points on 13 of 18 shooting in the Trail Blazers’ 129-95 rout of the 76ers. Al-Farouq Aminu (al fah-ROOK’ ah-MEE’-noo) had 16 points, Damian Lillard 15 and Jusuf Nurkic NUR-kihch) 14 for Portland.


– Kentavious (kehn-TA’-vee-uhs) Caldwell-Pope scored a season-high 26 points and Josh Hart added 22 to lift the Lakers over the Kings, 121-114. Brandon Ingram added 21 points as Los Angeles earned its first win since LeBron James was sidelined with a groin injury suffered on Christmas Day.


– The Timberwolves earned a 113-104 win at Miami as Karl-Anthony Towns delivered 34 points, 18 rebounds, seven assists and six blocks. The only other player in NBA history to have that many points, rebounds, assists and blocks in the same game was Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar against Phoenix in November 1975.


– Rookie Luka Doncic scored 25 points and young backcourt mate Dennis Smith Jr. hit the go-ahead layup in the final minute of the Mavericks’ 105-103 verdict over the Thunder. DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 17 rebounds to help Dallas overcome Paul George, who scored Oklahoma City’s final 13 points to finish with a game-high 36.


– Evan Fournier’s running jumper in the lane at the buzzer sent the Magic past the Pistons, 109-107. D.J. Augustin led Orlando with 26 points and eight assists, and Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon each scored 22.




Miami coach retires


UNDATED (AP) -Mark Richt has stepped down as Miami’s football coach, an announcement that caught the school off-guard and comes just days after the end of an underachieving season.


The 58-year-old Richt said he was not forced out, and that the decision to retire was his.


Miami struggled to a 7-6 record this season, falling to Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl on Thursday night. The Hurricanes have lost nine of their last 16 games going back to a 10-0 start last season.


Richt was 26-13 at Miami, and 171-64 in 18 seasons between Georgia and the Hurricanes.


In other college football news:


– Houston has fired coach Major Applewhite after two seasons. The Cougars went 8-5 this season and were ranked for one week in October, but they finished their season with a 70-14 loss to Army in the Armed Forces Bowl.


– Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor is forgoing his final year of college eligibility and entering the NFL draft.




Wolverines dump Binghamton


ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) – Second-ranked Michigan is heading into the new year with an unblemished record after a lopsided win over Binghamton.


The Wolverines are 13-0 after Iggy Brazdeikis scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half of a 74-52 rout of the Bearcats. Jordan Poole had eight points for Michigan, which led just 46-43 before reeling off a 19-4 run.


Isaiah Livers scored 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting for the Wolverines, who have won 27 of its last 28 games.




Knights whip Coyotes


GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – The Vegas Golden Knights won Sunday’s lone NHL game.


Brandon Pirri (PEER’-ee) and Paul Stastny (STAS’-nee) each had a goal and an assist as the Knights picked up their third straight win, 5-1 at Arizona. Brad Hunt, Cody Eakin and Ryan Carpenter also scored to back Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped 29 shots and helped Vegas improve to 3-4-1 in the second of back-to-back games this season.




Byfuglien has lower-body injury


UNDATED (AP) – Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice says defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (BUHF’-lihn) will be “out for a while” after leaving Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury in the third period.


Maurice says Byfuglien will not need surgery, but likely will not play until after the All-Star break at the end of January.


The 33-year-old Byfuglien leads all Jets defensemen with 29 points, including four goals.


In other NHL news:


– The Oilers have acquired defenseman Alexander Petrovic from the Panthers for defenseman Chris Wideman and a conditional third-round pick in the 2019 draft.




Halos finalize Lucroy pact


UNDATED (AP) – The Los Angeles Angels have finalized their one-year contract with two-time All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy (LOO’-kroy), two days after agreeing to a deal.


Yahoo Sports says the package is worth $3.35 million.


The 32-year-old Lucroy batted .241 with four homers, 51 RBIs and a .617 OPS in 126 games with the Athletics this season, leading a pitching that that won 97 games and earned an AL wild-card berth.


In other MLB news:


– The Blue Jays have acquired left-handed pitcher Clayton Richard and cash considerations from the Padres for Canadian outfielder Connor Panas. The 35-year-old Richard was 7-11 with a 5.33 earned-run average in 27 starts for San Diego last season.



AP-WF-12-31-18 1224GMT