Update on the latest in sports:
Rams clinch NFC West title
UNDATED (AP) – The Los Angeles Rams put together a fourth-quarter push to clinch the NFC West and moving ahead of New Orleans for the best record in the conference.
Todd Gurley ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns as the Rams knocked off the Lions, 30-16 in Detroit. Los Angeles led just 16-13 until Gurley scored on fourth-quarter runs of 13 and two yards.
Jared Goff had a quiet afternoon for the high-powered Rams, completing 17 of 33 for 207 yards, one TD and one interception.
Aaron Donald helped seal the win by forcing Matthew Stafford to fumble midway through the fourth quarter, leading to Gurley’s first touchdown.
The Rams are 11-1 and one game ahead of the Saints in the battle for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
In other NFL afternoon action:
– The Chiefs are an AFC-best 10-2 after Patrick Mahomes (mah-HOHMZ’) threw for 295 yards and four more touchdowns in a 40-33 shootout win over the Raiders in Oakland. He connected on two short touchdown passes to Travis Kelce in the first half and joined Peyton Manning and Tom Brady to throw for 40 TDs through 12 games. Spencer Ware ran for 47 yards and a score in his first start since Kansas City released running back Kareem Hunt over his assault of a woman in February.
– Bill Belichick earned his 250th coaching victory and Tom Brady threw for 311 yards and a score as the Patriots dumped the Vikings, 24-10. Brady is now tied with Peyton Manning for the most scoring passes in the regular season and playoffs with 579, and he’s tied for third with 508 regular-season TD passes. James Develin added a career-high two touchdown runs as the 9-3 Patriots won for the eighth time in nine games and dropped the Vikings to 6-5-1.
– Michael Badgley kicked a 29-yard field goal as time expired to send the Chargers to a 33-30 victory at Pittsburgh. Badgely had three attempts to win it, but the Steelers were called for offsides on the first two tries before he sent the 9-3 Chargers to victory. Philip Rivers completed 26 of 36 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns, and Keenan Allen caught 14 passes for 148 yards and a score. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 281 yards and two scores for the Steelers, whose lead in the AFC North is down to a half-game over Baltimore.
– Rookie Lamar Jackson ran for a touchdown and the Ravens’ defense turned in a dominating performance, leading to a 26-16 victory over the feeble Falcons. Justin Tucker kicked four field goals and Tavon Young scored after scooping up a fumble by Matt Ryan. Baltimore held the Falcons to just 131 total yards and improved to 3-0 since Jackson replaced the injured Joe Flacco.
– The Bears scored 10 points over the final 73 seconds of regulation, only to suffer a 30-27 overtime loss to the Giants. Aldrick Rosas drilled a go-ahead, 44-yard field goal in OT before New York stopped Chicago on downs to end the Bears’ five-game winning streak. Odell Beckham Jr. grabbed a short TD pass on fourth down and tossed his second scoring strike of the season by hitting Russell Shepard on a 49-yard option throw.
– Deshaun Watson threw a touchdown pass and the Texans intercepted rookie Baker Mayfield three times, returning one for a score in their ninth straight win, 29-13 over the Browns. Lamar Miller had 103 yards rushing and DeAndre Hopkins had seven receptions for 91 yards. Houston extended its team-record winning streak and became the first team to win nine in a row immediately following an 0-3 start.
– The Seahawks blew past the 49ers, 43-16 as Russell Wilson threw three first-half touchdowns on just four completions. Wilson also had a fourth TD toss and was 11 of 17 for 185 yards. The 7-5 Seahawks stayed in the middle of the NFC playoff race by jumping to a 20-0 lead and cruising to their ninth straight victory over their NFC West foe.
– The Jaguars delivered one of the most dominant defensive performances in franchise history, carrying the team to a 6-0 victory against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. The Jaguars needed that kind of effort to make up for a lackluster offense and end a seven-game skid while also snapping Indy’s five-game winning streak. Luck completed 33 of 52 passes for 248 yards and an interception. He was sacked three times.
-Zane Gonzalez kicked a 44-yard field goal with 1:41 left before Green Bay’s Mason Crosby missed a 49-yard attempt as time expired to send the Cardinals to a 20-17 victory. Crosby pushed his kick wide right, with the flags atop Lambeau Field blowing in toward the field at the time of the kick.
– The Titans erased a 16-point deficit and downed the Jets, 26-22 on Marcus Mariota’s (mar-ee-OH’-tahz) 11-yard scoring pass to Corey Davis with 36 seconds left. Mariota heard boos midway through the game before finishing 20 of 35 for 282 yards, two TDs and an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Mariota also led the 6-6 Titans with 42 yards rushing and helped Tennessee send the 3-9 Jets to their sixth consecutive loss.
– Rookie Phillip Lindsay ran for a career-high 157 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Broncos got their third straight victory, 24-10 over the Bengals. Denver has improved to 6-6 by knocking off the Chargers, the Steelers and the Bengals since its bye week to stay in contention in December.
– Jameis (JAY’-mihs) Winston threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Buccaneers to a 24-17 victory over the reeling Panthers. The Bucs won for the second straight time since Winston regained his starting job with team mired in a four-game losing streak. The Panthers have lost four straight after a 6-2 start.
– Jordan Phillips drew a costly penalty for taunting his former team, setting up a touchdown with nine minutes left that helped the Dolphins rally past the Bills 21-17. Miami turned away two Bills drives down the stretch.
McCarthy fired by Packers
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) – A 20-17 home loss to the lowly Cardinals has prompted the Packers to make a coaching change.
Mike McCarthy has been fired with the team in serious danger of missing the playoffs for the second straight year. Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin was promoted to interim head coach.
The 2016 Packers opened 4-6 but won eight straight to reach the NFC championship game, but the team was 7-9 last year and has fallen to 4-7-1 this season.
Packers president Mark Murphy issued a statement saying the 2018 season “has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers.”
Sooners join Tide, Tigers, Irish in football’s Final Four
UNDATED (AP) – Oklahoma proved to be the biggest winner of Saturday’s conference championship games.
The Sooners have landed the fourth spot in the CFP rankings and will take on Alabama in the national semifinals. Oklahoma got in following its win over Texas in the Big 12 title game and Georgia’s loss to the Crimson Tide in the SEC championship game.
The second semifinal will have No. 2 Clemson against No. 3 Notre Dame. The Tigers held their place in the rankings with a lopsided win against Pittsburgh in the ACC title game.
If Alabama and Clemson win their semifinals, they would meet in the playoff for a fourth straight season and play for the national title for the third time in four years.
The top four in the AP college football poll mirrors the CFP rankings. Fifth-ranked Ohio State is followed by Georgia, UCF, Michigan, Washington and Florida.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS
Alabama quarterback to have ankle surgery
UNDATED (AP) – Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (TOO’-ah tag-ah-vy-LOH’-ah) will have surgery on his right ankle and is expected to need two weeks to recover.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban tells ESPN that Tagovailoa has a high ankle sprain and will have it scoped. He says recovery time for most of his players for this procedure has typically been “a two-week deal.”
Saban is hoping Tagovailoa will be back by the time No. 1 Alabama starts practice for the Orange Bowl semifinal game against No. 4 Oklahoma on Dec. 29.
In other college football news:
– Bill Snyder is retiring as the coach of Kansas State, ending his three-decade relationship with the program that included 27 years on the sideline interrupted by a brief retirement. The 79-year-old Snyder decided to step away Sunday, a day after the Wildcats finished a 5-7 season with a disheartening loss to Iowa State that eliminated them from bowl eligibility.
– Michigan receivers coach Jim McElwain has been named head coach at Central Michigan. He replaces John Bonamego, who went 1-11 in his fourth season after taking the Chippewas to three straight bowls.
– Southern Mississippi, Louisiana-Monroe, Miami (Ohio) and Wyoming are bowl-eligible but they will all be home for the postseason. The 39 bowl games did not have enough spots to accommodate 82 eligible teams.
Kuzma leads Lakers’ 120-96 rout of Suns for 3rd straight win
UNDATED (AP) – The Los Angeles Lakers remain hot since opening their LeBron James Era with five losses in seven games.
Kyle Kuzma delivered 23 points and James had 22 before both sat out the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ third home victory in four days, a 120-96 romp over the Suns. JaVale McGee had 14 points and eight rebounds over three quarters of the Lakers’ 12th win in 16 games.
Devin Booker scored six points for Phoenix before leaving with a strained hamstring in the second quarter. The injury doesn’t bode well for the Suns, who own the NBA’s worst record at 4-19 and have dropped five in a row.
Checking out Sunday’s other NBA action:
– Jimmy Butler scored 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter of the 76ers’ 103-95 win against the Grizzlies. Ben Simmons had 19 points and 12 rebounds for Philadelphia, which has won four straight overall and is a league-best 13-1 at home.
– Harrison Barnes scored 30 points and Dorian Finney-Smith delivered a go-ahead tip-in with 35 seconds left as the Mavericks topped the Clippers, 114-110. Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan had 16 points and 23 rebounds in his first game against his former team.
– The Spurs rolled to a 131-118 win over the Trail Blazers behind DeMar DeRozan’s season-high 36 points. LaMarcus Aldridge added 29 points and Rudy Gay had 18 as San Antonio bounced back from a pair of blowout losses.
– The Heat rallied from down 19 early to beat the Jazz, 102-100 on Dwyane Wade’s two free throws with 3.2 seconds remaining. Hassan Whiteside scored 23 points and grabbed 20 rebounds for Miami.
– Anthony Davis provided 36 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists in the Pelican’s 119-109 victory at Charlotte. Jrue Holiday added 19 points and eight assists as New Orleans won for just the second time in seven games.
Warriors center Damian Jones sidelined
UNDATED (AP) – Golden State Warriors center Damian Jones has been sidelined for a significant amount of time because of a torn left pectoral muscle.
Jones got hurt with 5.7 seconds remaining in the third quarter of a loss Saturday at Detroit.
He is averaging 5.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-TOP 25 SCHEDULE
Tennessee, Ohio State get easy wins
UNDATED (AP) – Sixth-ranked Tennessee cruised to victory in its tuneup for next Sunday’s showdown against top-ranked Gonzaga in the Jerry Colangelo Classic at Phoenix.
Admiral Schofield scored 16 points and the Volunteers improved to 6-1 with a 79-51 trouncing of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Kyle Alexander had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Vols, who held the Islanders to 32.3 percent shooting.
Tennessee played without guard Lamonte’ Turner, who has been dealing with a recurring shoulder injury that caused him to miss the Vols’ first three games of the season.
The other top-25 team in action was No. 16 Ohio State, which opened its Big Ten schedule by clobbering Minnesota, 79-59. Andre Wesson scored 16 points and Kaleb Wesson had 15 for the 7-1 Buckeyes.
Ducks stage stunning rally to beat Caps
UNDATED (AP) – Even defending Stanley Cup champions can blow a four-goal lead, as the Washington Capitals proved on Sunday.
The Ducks scored five unanswered goals over a 20 1/2-minute stretch to turn a 5-1 deficit into a 6-5 triumph at Washington. Pontus Aberg scored twice in the third period, including the game-winner with 5:05 remaining.
Ryan Getzlaf (GETS’-laf) had a goal and two assists and Rickard Rakell (rah-KEHL’) added a goal and an assist in Anaheim’s highest-scoring game of the season.
Evgeny Kuznetsov (kooz-NEHT’-sahv) and Chandler Stephenson each had a goal and an assist for Washington, which chased John Gibson after scoring three times in the first 13 1/2 minutes.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
– The Jets wiped out a 3-0 Rangers lead before Mark Scheifele (SHY’-flee) scored the deciding shootout goal to complete Winnipeg’s 4-3 win at New York. Scheifele also ignited Winnipeg’s third-period comeback before Jack Roslovic and Bryan Little added goals in the Jets’ third consecutive win.
– Semyon Varlamov (SEHM’-yahn vahr-LAH-mahv) picked up his 24th career shutout and first of the season by making 24 saves to lead the Avalanche past the Red Wings, 2-0. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist, and Gabriel Landeskog (LAN’-dehs-kahg) also scored as Colorado improved to 9-0-2 over its last 11 games.
– The Sharks’ four-game slide is over after Martin Jones handled 39 shots in a 3-1 triumph at Montreal. Justin Braun, Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski tallied to help San Jose drop the Canadiens to 1-3-0 on their current five-game homestand.
– Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm each had a goal and an assist as the Flames edged the Blackhawks, 3-2. Derek Ryan also scored and Johnny Gaudreau had two assists to help the Pacific Division leaders win for the third time in four games.
– Alec Martinez scored with 2:13 left, Jonathan Quick stopped 34 shots for his 50th career shutout and the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0. Martinez tipped Jake Muzzin’s pass past goalie Petr Mrazek to help the Kings end a two-game skid.
Kings lose Kovalchuk
UNDATED (AP) – Los Angeles Kings forward Ilya Kovalchuk (KOH’-vul-chuhk) will be sidelined for about four weeks after undergoing a procedure on his ankle.
The veteran Russian forward has five goals and nine assists in 25 games since returning to the NHL this season. He hasn’t scored in his past 11 consecutive games, and his role has shrunk in recent weeks with the struggling Kings.
Rahm ends year with 3 titles
NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) – Jon Rahm turned a potential shootout into a Bahamas breeze by closing with a 7-under 65 for a five-shot victory in the Hero World Challenge.
Starting in a three-way tie with Tony Finau and Henrik Stenson, Rahm took the lead when Finau made bogey on the par-3 eighth hole, and the Spaniard never trailed the rest of the way.
Rahm has won three titles in each of his first two years on the PGA Tour.
Tiger Woods shot 73 and finished 17th in the 18-man field.