January 5, 2020 8:16 am
HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson’s teammates talked all week about how they never feel as if they’re out of any game when No. 4 is on the field. On Saturday Watson showed why the Houston Texans have so much trust in him, when the quarterback’s dazzling performance late after a tough start led them to a playoff victory. Watson spun out of a would-be sack and coolly completed a pass that set up the winning field goal in overtime as the Texans rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit for a 22-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the playoffs. Both teams punted on their first possessions of overtime — the first extra period in an AFC wild-card game since January 2012. On Houston’s next drive, Watson evaded a sack by wriggling away from one defender and bouncing off another before rolling out to find Taiwan Jones for a 34-yard reception to set up first-and-goal. Ka’imi Fairbairn then kicked a 28-yard field goal to lift Houston to the victory. The Texans (11-6) advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs next weekend where they’ll face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
January 5, 2020 8:14 am
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — When the eerie Foxborough fog lifted, it became clear that New England’s reign atop the NFL was ending. Derrick Henry ensured that with the kind of dominating playoff performance usually reserved for Tom Brady and the Patriots. Henry rushed for 182 yards and a touchdown while Tennessee’s defense stymied Brady and perhaps ended his championship-filled New England career with a 20-13 wild-card victory Saturday night. Brady vows to be back on an NFL field next season, but his contract with the Patriots is done. Doing the most moving forward Saturday night was Henry, who had a total of 184 yards rushing in two playoff games two years ago. He nearly got that against the league’s top-ranked defense in boosting the Titans (10-7) into the divisional round at No. 1 seed Baltimore.
January 4, 2020 3:46 am
UNDATED – The 15 modern-era player finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 have been announced, and the list includes first-year eligible players Troy Polamalu and Reggie Wayne. LeRoy Butler, Torry Holt, Sam Mills, Zach Thomas and Bryant Young are first-time finalists who previously have been eligible for the Hall. The other player finalists are Steve Atwater, Tony Boselli, Isaac Bruce and Alan Faneca, along with Steve Hutchinson, Edgerrin James, John Lynch and Richard Seymour.
January 3, 2020 3:48 am
UNDATED (AP) – No. 23 Cincinnati has capped its 11-3 season by taking the Birmingham Bowl. Desmond Ridder ran for 105 yards and three touchdowns while also throwing a scoring pass as the Bearcats blew out Boston College, 38-6. Cincinnati outgained the Eagles, 459-164 in reaching 11 wins for the second straight season and fourth in program history. Michael Warren Jr. had 105 yards rushing for the Bearcats. BC scored its only points on special teams as Mike Palmer blocked a field goal and Brandon Sebastian scooped it up and returned it 67 yards in the third quarter.
In Thursday’s other bowl game: Tennessee scored two touchdowns in a late 30-second span to erase a double-digit deficit before holding off Indiana, 23-22 in the Gator Bowl. The Hosiers led 22-9 before Quavaris Crouch scored on a 1-yard plunge and Eric Gray recovered a surprise onside kick that barely went the mandatory 10 yards. Gray scored from 16 yards out a few plays later to put the Vols on top for good.
January 2, 2020 3:45 am
NEW YORK (AP) – David Stern, who spent 30 years as the NBA’s commissioner and oversaw its growth into a global power, has died. He was 77. The league says Stern died Wednesday after suffering a brain hemorrhage Dec. 12. Stern had been involved with the NBA for nearly two decades before becoming commissioner in 1984. By the time he left in 2014, a league that had struggled for a foothold had grown into a more than $5 billion a year industry and become perhaps the world’s most popular sport after soccer.
December 31, 2019 3:40 am
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Justin Champagnie scored 21 points and Pittsburgh held off Canisius 87-79 on Monday. The freshman got the game started with a personal 8-0 run and he finished by tying a career-high scoring output and six rebounds. Xavier Johnson also had 16 points and added eight assists for Pitt. Majesty Brandon scored 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting while Jalanni White scored 14 points and cleaned up nine rebounds for Canisius.
December 30, 2019 3:47 am
CLEVELAND (AP) – Miles McBride scored six of his season-high 21 points in the final 2:22 and No. 22 West Virginia rallied to beat No. 2 Ohio State 67-59. The Mountaineers trailed by nine late in the first half but went ahead for good at 55-54 on a push-shot by Derek Culver with 3:31 left. McBride, a freshman guard, followed with two free throws and an 18-foot jump shot to extend the lead to 59-54. Ohio State was held to a season low in points and committed season highs of 22 turnovers and 25 fouls.
December 30, 2019 3:46 am
BEREA, Ohio (AP) – The Cleveland Browns have fired coach Freddie Kitchens after a season that didn’t come close to meeting expectations. Kitchens was let go just hours after the Browns were beaten by the two-win Cincinnati Bengals to finish 6-10 and miss the playoffs for the 17th straight year. Kitchens was a surprising hire a year ago because he lacked head coaching experience. He failed to lead a talented roster to the postseason and paid the price. Owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam will look for a new coach, the sixth since they took control of the team in 2012.
December 30, 2019 3:46 am
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) – Mike Watkins scored 16 of his 19 points in the first half and No. 20 Penn State beat Cornell 90-59. Lamar Stevens added 19 points, Myreon Jones scored 18, Izaiah Brockington had 11 and Watkins added 10 rebounds for the Nittany Lions. They won their 13th straight home game. Penn State led for all but 2:01 after Stevens took over midway through the first half. The big forward broke a 9-all tie with three-straight baskets that made it 16-9. Jimmy Boeheim scored 17 points for the Big Red.
December 29, 2019 7:59 am
PITTSBURGH (AP) — For the second straight night, the Pittsburgh Penguins scored three first-period goals against the Nashville Predators. This time, Pittsburgh had to gut it out after the Predators rallied to tie the score. Jake Guentzel’s power-play goal with 1:03 remaining put Pittsburgh ahead for good as the Penguins beat the Predators 6-4 on Saturday night. On the winning goal, Bryan Rust’s initial point shot missed the net. Evgeni Malkin gathered the puck behind the net and gave it to Guentzel, who tucked it inside the left post for Pittsburgh’s third power-play score. Rust scored twice, including an empty-netter, and added two assists as Pittsburgh won for the ninth time in 11 games. Alex Galchenyuk and Kris Letang scored power-play goals, while Dominik Kahun also scored for Pittsburgh, which has points in 13 of its last 16 against Nashville dating back to Oct. 21, 2010. Evgeni Malkin extended his point streak to five games with three assists and Matt Murray stopped 44 shots to win for the second time in nine starts. It was his first win since Dec. 7 at Detroit and his first home win since Nov. 9 against Chicago. Pittsburgh and Nashville played the second straight of a home-and-home, back-to-back. The Penguins chased a Predators goaltender in the first period for the second straight night, this time with three goals in the first 10 minutes of the game. A day earlier, Pekka Rinne was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots. On Saturday, Juuse Saros gave up three goals on eight shots. Rinne stopped 25 of 27 shots in relief. Pittsburgh scored twice in the first 1:05 of the game. Rust opened the scoring 32 seconds in with his 15th of the season and sixth goal in his last seven games. Kahun scored his ninth of the season just 33 seconds later on a behind-the-net feed from Galchenyuk. Letang scored a power-play goal, a slap shot from the right point at 9:04 of the first to give Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead. Arvidsson got Nashville on the board with his ninth of the year, a power-play goal at 4:07 of the second period. But Galchenyuk answered with his second goal in two games, a power-play score at 8:02, as Pittsburgh regained its three-goal lead. The Penguins’ three-goal lead didn’t last. Nashville scored twice in the final 3:57 of the second period and again in the third, but Pittsburgh’s late power-play goal was the difference.