AP Sports

AP Scorecard
January 4, 2021
Tuesday, January 5th
January 4, 2021
AP Sports



Update on the latest sports


NFL playoff matchups almost set
UNDATED (AP) – The NFL playoff scenario is complete. The Tennessee Titans have won the AFC South, while the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts have locked up wild-card spots in the conference.
The Washington Football Team took the NFC East by finishing one game ahead of Dallas and New York. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams and Chicago Bears will go to the NFC playoffs as wild cards. The Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, Giants and Cowboys missed out on playoff berths.


Here’s how things shook out in Week 17:
– Derrick Henry ran for a career-high 250 yards and the Titans captured the AFC South for the first time in 12 years with a 41-38 triumph over the Texans. Henry finished the regular season with a franchise-record 2,027 yards rushing to become the eighth player in NFL history to run for 2,000 yards. Houston tied the game on a field goal with just 18 seconds left, but Tennessee pulled it out when Sam Sloman’s 37-yard kick bounced off the upright and through as time expired. Titans QB Ryan Tannehill threw for 216 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more scores.


– The Browns are a playoff team for the first time since 2002 following a 24-22 win over the AFC North-champion Steelers. Nick Chubb had a touchdown run, Baker Mayfield threw a TD pass and the Browns hung on after taking a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter. Mason Rudolph’s 2-yard TD pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster with 1:23 left pulled the Steelers within 24-22. But Rudolph badly overthrew rookie Chase Claypool on the 2-point attempt before the Browns recovered the onside kick.


– The Ravens used a club-record 404 yards rushing to clinch a playoff spot and hammer Cincinnati, 38-3. Lamar Jackson threw three touchdown passes and became the first NFL quarterback to rush for more than 1,000 yards in two consecutive seasons, collecting 97 against the Bengals before taking a seat in the third quarter. Rookie J.K. Dobbins rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns for the 11-5 Ravens, including a 72-yard scoring romp in the third quarter. Baltimore won its fifth straight game and advanced to the postseason for a third consecutive season.


– Jonathan Taylor rushed for a franchise-record 253 yards and two scores as the Colts doubled up the Jaguars, 28-14 to clinch an AFC playoff berth. Taylor sealed the victory for the 11-5 Colts by running 45 yards for a TD with 3:35 left. Philip Rivers threw for another score and the Indianapolis defense shut out the Jaguars over the final quarter to help preserve the win. Jacksonville lost its final 15 games and will have the No. 1 overall draft pick in April.


– Josh Allen and the Bills ended the Dolphins’ bid for an AFC playoff berth with a 56-26 rout of Miami. Allen threw three touchdown passes and Isaiah McKenzie scored three times, including a punt return of 84 yards. The 13-3 Bills blew the game open by scoring on four consecutive second-quarter possessions. Buffalo’s 56 points were the second most in team history, and Allen set a single-season team record with 4,544 yards passing.


– Washington’s Alex Smith threw two touchdown passes in a 20-14, division-clinching win at Philadelphia. Smith threw a 13-yard TD pass to Logan Thomas in the second quarter to give Washington a 17-14 lead it never relinquished. The go-ahead toss came after Jalen Hurts scored on a pair of 6-yard TD runs for the Eagles. Washington gets into the postseason at 7-9, which means six non-playoff teams missed out despite matching or topping that record.


– Russell Wilson connected on two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Tyler Lockett as the Seahawks rallied for their fourth straight win, 26-23 versus the 49ers. Wilson finished 20 of 36 passing for 171 yards, and Lockett provided 90 yards on 12 catches for the 12-4 Seahawks. Alex Collins ran for an 8-yard touchdown with 1:49 left to put the Seahawks ahead 26-16. Seattle had a slow start and appeared in serious trouble when Jeff Wilson Jr. ran for a 7-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to push the 49ers ahead, 16-6.


– The Buccaneers claimed the fifth seed in the NFC playoffs as Tom Brady threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns in a 44-27 thumping of the Falcons. Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin each caught scoring passes for Brady, who set a club record with 40 TD throws. Godwin finished with 133 yards receiving, while Brown logged 138 on 11 catches in his best game since joining Tampa Bay. But star receiver Mike Evans was carted to the locker room with a left knee injury late in the first quarter and didn’t return.


– The Bears snared an NFC playoff berth despite a 35-16 loss to the Packers. Aaron Rodgers threw for four touchdowns, breaking his franchise record for scoring passes in a season and helping Green Bay take home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs. Rodgers joined Peyton Manning as the only players to throw for at least 45 touchdowns in multiple seasons. Davante Adams broke Sterling Sharpe’s record for receptions in a season and tied his mark for touchdown catches in a year.


– Chicago made the playoffs by virtue of the Cardinals’ 18-7 loss to the Rams. Los Angeles QB John Wolford passed for 231 yards and rushed for 56 more in his NFL debut. Troy Hill returned an interception 84 yards for a touchdown as the Rams claimed their third postseason berth in four years under head coach Sean McVay. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray finished with 87 yards passing after sitting out for most of the first three quarters with an ankle injury.


– The Saints wrapped up the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs by picking off five passes in a 33-7 throttling of the Panthers. Drew Brees (breez) threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns for New Orleans, which managed to gain 156 yards on the ground despite the absence of Alvin Kamara (kah-MAH’-rah) and Latavius Murray due to COVID-19 concerns. Ty Montgomery ran for 105 yards on 18 carries to help the 12-4 Saints become the first team to sweep the NFC South since the division was formed in 2002.


– The Giants kept their NFC East title hopes alive for about seven hours by holding off the Cowboys, 23-19. The outcome hung in the balance until rookie Xavier McKinney intercepted Dallas’ Andy Dalton in the end zone with 1:15 remaining, leaving both teams 6-10. Daniel Jones was 17-of-25 passing for 229 yards and two touchdowns, helping New York end the Cowboys’ seven-game winning streak in the rivalry.


– Justin Herbert threw for 302 yards and accounted for four touchdowns as the Chargers whipped the short-handed Chiefs, 38-21. Mike Williams, fill-in tight end Donald Parham Jr. and running back Austin Ekeler had touchdown catches for the Chargers, though Ekeler’s season ended with a concussion late in the first half. Kansas City already had wrapped up the No. 1 seed and the AFC’s lone first-round bye, so coach Andy Reid chose rest over reps by sitting quarterback Patrick Mahomes (mah-HOHMZ’), safety Tyrann Mathieu and several of his best players.


– Cam Newton had three touchdown passes and caught another in the Patriots’ 28-14 downing of the Jets. Newton also ran for 79 yards and posted his first multi-touchdown passing game of the season, going 21 of 30 for 242 yards as New England finished 7-9. Sam Darnold was 23 of 34 for 266 yards, a touchdown and two second-half interceptions for the Jets, who led 14-7 before ending up 2-14. After the game, the Jets announced that head coach Adam Gase was fired after two seasons and just nine wins.


– Darren Waller caught Derek Carr’s 2-point conversion pass with 24 seconds left to send the 8-8 Raiders past the Broncos, 32-31. Josh Jacobs’ 1-yard TD run capped a seven play, 77-yard drive before head coach Jon Gruden went for the win instead of the tie. Las Vegas ended a nine-game losing streak in season finales despite turning the ball over four times.


– Kirk Cousins threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns in guiding the Vikings’ offense in a 37-35 win over the Lions. Alexander Mattison ran for 95 yards and a TD, but his biggest gainer was a 16-yard scamper on fourth-and-1 that allowed the 7-9 Vikings to run out the clock. Detroit’s defense broke franchise records by allowing 519 points and 6,716 yards, breaking marks set by its winless team in 2008.


Curry puts 62 on Blazers
UNDATED (AP) – How hot was Stephen Curry against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday? He managed to outscore the Blazers’ All-Star backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum while setting a career high for points.
Curry torched the Trail Blazers for 62 points in leading the Golden State Warriors to a 137-122 victory. Curry had the highest-scoring game in the NBA this season, finishing 18 for 31 and 8 of 16 on 3-pointers after beginning with a 21-point first quarter. He had his 10th career 30-point half to help the Warriors take a 66-54 at the break.
Curry’s only blemish was watching his team-record streak of successful free throws end at 80.
Lillard finished with 32 points and McCollum had 28 for Portland.


In Sunday’s other NBA action:
– LeBron James had 22 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists for the Lakers in a 108-94 downing of the Grizzlies. Anthony Davis added 17 points and nine rebounds, while Montrezl (MAHN’-trehz) Harrell added 16 points and nine boards in the Lakers’ third win in a row.


– Paul George poured in 39 points and the Clippers led by as many as 31 before holding off the Suns, 112-107. George was 7 of 10 from 3-point range and Los Angeles was 17 of 29 overall.


– Zach LaVine (lah-VEEN’) delivered 39 points and Coby White scored 21 of his 23 in the second half to lead the Bulls to a 118-108 victory over the Mavericks. Jalen Brunson had 31 points for the Mavericks while starting in place of All-Star guard Luka Doncic (DAHN’-chihch), who was out with a left quad injury.


– Jayson Tatum nailed a fallaway with 2.9 seconds left to give the Celtics a 122-120 victory over the Pistons. Tatum came within two rebounds of a triple-double, finishing with 24 points and 12 assists. Jaylen Brown shot 13 of 16 while scoring a team-high 31 points, including 3-pointer that gave Boston a last-minute lead.


– Bojan (BOY’-ahn) Bogdanovic scored 28 points and the Jazz drained a season-high 21 3-pointers in a 130-109 pounding of the Spurs. Donovan Mitchell added 22 points and nine assists in 29 minutes as the Jazz sat their starters for half of the fourth quarter.


– Jamal Murray scored 26 of his season-high 36 points by halftime and Nikola Jokic (nih-KOH’-lah YOH’-kihch) recorded his fourth triple-double of the season as the Nuggets whipped the Timberwolves, 124-109. Jokic contributed 19 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists despite getting into early foul trouble for the second straight game.


– Bradley Beal had 27 points, 10 rebounds and the assist on Thomas Bryant’s go-ahead dunk with 14.9 seconds left in the Wizards’ 123-122 verdict over the Nets. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant missed jumpers on the last possession, dropping the Nets to 3-4.


Cougars top Mustangs
UNDATED (AP) – Fifth-ranked Houston was able to rebound from its first loss of the season by beating a state rival.
Quentin Grimes hit a go-ahead 3-pointer to ignite a 10-0 run that started the second half of the Cougars’ 74-60 win against previously undefeated SMU.
Marcus Sasser led Houston with 17 points and Justin Gorham added 11 with 19 rebounds.
Grimes got into early foul trouble and didn’t score in the first half before finishing with 11 points.


In other top-25 men’s basketball action:
– Michigan remains unbeaten after Hunter Dickinson scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half of the 16th-ranked Wolverines’ 85-66 rout of No. 19 Northwestern. Chaundee Brown, Franz Wagner and Eli Brooks scored 14 points apiece for the Wolverines, who are the last Big Ten team without a loss.


– Liam Robbins had 27 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks to help 21st-rated Minnesota coast to a 77-60 victory over No. 25 Ohio State. Marcus Carr added 15 points and Gabe Kalscheur scored 13 in Minnesota’s third win in four games all against top-25 teams.


Montgomery fired by Huskies
DEKALB, Ill. (AP) – Northern Illinois has fired men’s basketball coach Mark Montgomery after a 1-7 start.
Montgomery had just two winning seasons since taking over in 2011 and led the Huskies to a 124-170 record. After going 18-13 last year, their lone victory this season was over Chicago State last month.


Pens’ Mariano gets extension
UNDATED (AP) – The Pittsburgh Penguins have taken a leap of faith with John Marino by giving the 23-year-old defenseman a six-year contract worth an average of $4.4 million per season.
The deal caps a meteoric rise for Marino, who was acquired from Edmonton in July 2019 for a sixth-round pick. Marino impressed as a rookie last season, registering six goals and 26 points while compiling a plus-17 rating in 56 games.


Elsewhere around the NHL:
– The Blackhawks have re-signed restricted free agent Dylan Strome (strohm) to a two-year contract. The 23-year-old Strome had 12 goals and 38 points in 58 games last season.


– The Canucks have received provincial approval to play in British Columbia this season. British Columbia is the second province to officially OK NHL games, following Alberta.


Marlins added bullpen depth
MIAMI (AP) – The Miami Marlins hope they’ve upgraded their bullpen by working out a one-year, $850,000 package with lefty Ross Detwiler.
The 34-year-old Detwiler pitched in 16 games out of the bullpen for the White Sox last year, going 1-1 with a 3.20 ERA in 44 innings. He broke into the majors in 2007 and has a 4.56 ERA in 224 games for seven teams.
The Marlins also announced the signing of catcher Sandy Leon to a minor league contract.



AP-WF-01-04-21 1145GMT