Update on the latest sports
Analysis: Teammates gave Damar Hamlin the ultimate tribute
An emotional week for the NFL filled with fear, tears, prayer and uncertainty ended with exciting games, dramatic finishes and a celebration for Damar Hamlin. When Hamlin left the stadium in an ambulance Monday night fighting for his life, football didn’t matter. A pivotal game between the Bills and Bengals suddenly was irrelevant. The primary concern for players, coaches, the league and fans around the world became Hamlin’s health. The 24-year-old Bills safety went into cardiac arrest after making a tackle and needed to be resuscitated on the field in a scary scene witnessed by millions watching “Monday Night Football.” For a couple days, it was unknown when the NFL would resume playing.
NFL playoffs: Seahawks are in field after Lions stun Packers
The NFL’s Week 18 saved its best drama for the final game of the weekend. The Detroit Lions rallied to beat Green Bay 20-16 on Sunday night to deny quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers a spot in the postseason. The Lions were eliminated from playoff contention earlier Sunday when the Seahawks beat the Rams, but played the role of the spoiler. Instead of the Packers, it’s the Seahawks who will be the No. 7 seed in the NFC. They’ll travel to face division rival San Francisco in next weekend’s wild-card round.
Shiffrin can break Vonn’s record — if she can stay awake
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (AP) — Staying awake might be Mikaela Shiffrin’s biggest challenge as she prepares to try to set a record for women’s World Cup skiing victories. Shiffrin poured out her emotions after matching Lindsey Vonn with career win No. 82 in an early morning giant slalom in Slovenia on Sunday and now needs to refocus and shift her sleeping patterns in time for a slalom to be held under the lights in Austria on Tuesday. She noted that “if I have a good first run then I don’t start until 9:45 in the second run and normally I’m well asleep by then. So we have to change the whole rhythm again.”
Rodgers, Packers lose 20-16 to Lions, miss playoffs
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers threw a late interception on the final pass of what might be his last game, and the Green Bay Packers lost 20-16 to the Detroit Lions to miss the playoffs. After winning four straight games and receiving plenty of help from other teams, the Packers had control of their postseason fate heading into the final game of the NFL regular season. But they fell short against the Lions, who had been eliminated from the playoffs earlier Sunday. Seattle instead earned the NFC’s final playoff spot and will play at San Francisco in the opening round. The Packers missed the playoffs for the first time in Matt LaFleur’s four seasons as coach.
Houston Texans fire coach Lovie Smith after just one season
HOUSTON (AP) — Lovie Smith has been fired as coach of the Houston Texans on Sunday night after just one season where the team went 3-13-1. It’s the second straight season in which the Texans have fired a coach after just one year. They parted ways with David Culley last January after he went 4-13 in his only season.
TCU’s improbable season comes at perfect time for Big 12
LOS ANGELES (AP) — TCU’s unlikely run to the College Football Playoff championship has come at a most fortuitous time for the Big 12. The third-ranked Horned Frogs face No. 1 Georgia on Monday night at Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, California, for the CFP title. The Big 12 seemed in real danger of falling apart or being relegated to second-tier status during the summer of 2021 when it was revealed flagship members Texas and Oklahoma were planning to leave the league and join the Southeastern Conference. TCU became the first Big 12 team to win a playoff game and is the first from the league to play for a national title since 2009.
Rob Gronkowski will try a field goal in live Super Bowl ad
Rob Gronkowski will be back on a football field for the Super Bowl. The four-time All-Pro tight end will attempt to make a field goal in Arizona on Feb. 12 during a live Super Bowl television commercial for FanDuel. It will be a high-stakes kick for Gronkowski, a four-time Super Bowl champion with New England and Tampa Bay who is used to performing under pressure. Anyone who places a Super Bowl bet of $5 or more on FanDuel will win a share of $10 million in free bets if Gronkowski makes the field goal.
Chelsea in free fall as new leadership faces early problems
Chelsea is in free fall under its new leadership. The team finds itself in 10th place in the Premier League approaching the halfway point of the season and is already out of both domestic cup competitions. The club’s new American leadership implemented sweeping changes to the playing squad, the coaching staff and the board after former owner Roman Abramovich sold up and they haven’t yet worked. Recently hired manager Graham Potter is highly rated but has never previously coached at this level. The pressure is already mounting on Potter after just one win from Chelsea’s last eight matches.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2023: Ash Barty still in news, not on court
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Ash Barty finished 2022 the way she started it. She was in the spotlight even if it was nine months after she retired at age 25 while the No. 1-ranked woman in tennis. Barty won’t be defending the title she won a year ago when the 2023 Australian Open begins next week. That made her the first Australian player in 44 years to win a singles trophy at the tournament. She is still a celebrity at home and still in the news. Barty got married in 2022, wrote a book, worked on her golf game, won two major Australian sports awards and just announced she is expecting a baby.
Nets top Heat 102-101, lose Durant to right knee injury
MIAMI (AP) — Royce O’Neale’s putback with 3.2 seconds left put Brooklyn to stay, and the Nets defeated the Miami Heat 102-101 on Sunday night in a game where Kevin Durant left early with a right knee injury. Kyrie Irving scored 29 to lead the Nets, who have now won 18 of their last 20 — after winning only nine of their first 20 games. Durant had 17 before departing and Seth Curry scored 14 for Brooklyn. Nic Claxton had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets. Jimmy Butler scored 26 for Miami, which got 24 from Tyler Herro. Butler missed a contested shot at the rim on the game’s final play.