Mahomes, Chiefs Roll Over Steelers

January 17, 2022 3:14 am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Patrick Mahomes threw for 404 yards and five touchdowns, Travis Kelce caught a TD pass and threw another one, and the Chiefs sent Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger into his expected retirement with a 42-21 win in the wild-card round of the playoffs Sunday night. Byron Pringle caught touchdown passes from both Mahomes and Kelce, and Jerick McKinnon and Tyreek Hill also reeled in scoring catches for the Chiefs. Their pursuit of a third straight AFC title now includes a date with the Bills next week. The 39-year-old Roethlisberger finished with two TD passes in his likely finale.

Tampa Bay & San Francisco Advance To NFC Divisional Round

January 17, 2022 3:17 am

Tom Brady threw for 271 yards while the Buccaneers were building a 31-0 lead in a 31-15 rout of the Eagles in the NFC wild-card round. The seven-time Super Bowl winner finished off the Eagles with TD passes of 2 yards to Rob Gronkowski and 36 yards to Mike Evans, improving his dazzling playoff record to 35-11 in a record 46 postseason starts.  Brady was 29 of 37 for 271 yards without an interception.  Evans had nine receptions for 117 yards for the defending Super Bowl champs, capping his TD with a somersault in the end zone.  Philadelphia didn’t score until Boston Scott’s 34-yard run in the fourth quarter.  Jalen Hurts threw for 258 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the Eagles.  The Bucs will host the winner of Monday’s game between the Rams and Cardinals.
The 49ers have advanced to the NFC divisional round by holding off the Cowboys, 23-17 near Dallas.  Receiver Deebo Samuel ran 26 yards for a touchdown that put the Niners ahead, 23-7 in the third quarter, one play after Dak Prescott was intercepted. Eli Mitchell carried 27 times for 96 yards, including a four-yard TD.  Prescott threw for 254 yards and a TD. He also ran for a score and later got Dallas to the San Francisco 24, but the clock ran out before the Cowboys could get off a snap.  Next up for the 49ers is a trip to Green Bay to face the top-seeded Packers.

Djokovic Heads Home After Deportation From Australia

January 17, 2022 3:20 am

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Novak Djokovic is heading home to Serbia after his deportation from Australia over its required COVID-19 vaccination ended his hopes of defending his Australian Open title. An Emirates plane carrying Djokovic from Melbourne touched down in Dubai early Monday and a few hours later he was seen on a flight heading to the Serbian capital of Belgrade. Djokovic had argued in an Australian court he should be allowed to stay and compete under a medical exemption due to a coronavirus infection last month. But Australian authorities revoked his visa and said they needed to keep their borders strong and Australians safe.

Smith-Schuster, Harris Will Both Play For Steelers

January 16, 2022 7:42 am

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers received an unexpected boost on Saturday when they activated JuJu Smith-Schuster off injured reserve ahead of Sunday’s visit to Kansas City. Smith-Schuster hasn’t played since injuring his right shoulder during a victory over Denver on Oct. 10. He underwent surgery a few days later and was expected to be lost for the season. Instead, Smith-Schuster returned to practice this week, wearing thicker shoulder pads in an effort to protect his right shoulder. His teammates raved about his conditioning, and his presence gives the seventh-seeded Steelers (9-7-1) a much-needed set of sure hands and — potentially — a physical blocker in the running game as they try to upset the second-seeded Chiefs (12-7) on Sunday night. Smith-Schuster has 15 receptions for 128 yards this season, becoming a de facto running back of sorts as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s preferred target in an offense heavily reliant on short passes. To make room for Smith-Schuster on the roster, the Steelers released punter Corliss Waitman, meaning rookie Pressley Harvin III will handle the punting duties at Arrowhead Stadium. Waitman kicked well while filling in for Harvin during a blowout loss in Kansas City last month. The team also announced rookie running back Najee Harris will carry no injury designation into the game after initially listing him as questionable Friday on the injury report.

Bengals Win First Playoff Game Since 1990

January 16, 2022 7:49 am

CINCINNATI — Paul Brown Stadium nearly shook in triumph. The city of Cincinnati might have, too. Its latest hero, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, merely seemed to shrug after leading his team to its first playoff victory in 31 years, 26-19 over Las Vegas on Saturday in an AFC wild-card game. Burrow led an efficient offense that scored on six drives, Evan McPherson became the first rookie to make four field goals without a miss in a postseason debut, and Germaine Pratt sealed it with a fourth-down interception in the dying seconds. It was a victory three decades in the making for the Bengals (11-7). After going from worst to first in the AFC North with a generally young roster, they ended that embarrassingly long postseason drought that included eight consecutive defeats.

Josh Allen, Bills Crush Patriots

January 16, 2022 7:48 am

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The lingering sting of being embarrassed on home turf by the New England Patriots didn’t sit well with defensive end Jerry Hughes and the Buffalo Bills. On Saturday night, the Bills did something about it by erasing any doubt of who now rules the AFC East. Josh Allen set a team playoff record with five touchdown passes, including two to Dawson Knox, and Devin Singletary ran for two scores in the first half of a 47-17 throttling of the division-rival Patriots in a wild-card playoff game. Meanwhile, Hughes was part of a defense that ended Mac Jones’ rookie season by intercepting him twice, sacking him three times and limiting him to throwing two mean-nothing touchdown passes in the second half with the game well out of reach.

Penguins Get OT Win Over Sharks

January 16, 2022 7:44 am

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Jake Guentzel scored 37 seconds into overtime, Luis Domingue had 40 saves in his season debut and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 Saturday night. Guentzel and Kris Letang each had a goal and an assist as the Penguins won for the 12th time in 14 games. Sidney Crosby assisted Guentzel’s winner, his 19th goal. Rudolfs Balcers scored San Jose’s only goal, and Adin Hill had 25 saves. Domingue, Pittsburgh’s third-string goalie, got the chance to make his debut after starter Tristan Jarry gave up six goals in Thursday’s 6-2 loss to Los Angeles. Backup goalie Casey DeSmith is in COVID-19 protocols. Domingue appeared in just one game last season with Calgary.

Pitt Beats Louisville At The Pete

January 16, 2022 7:46 am

PITTSBURGH — Jamarius Burton scored 20 points and John Hugley added 19 and Pittsburgh won for the second time in three games with a 65-53 win over Louisville on Saturday. Burton and Hugley each collared eight rebounds and Mouhamadou Gueye and Femi Odukale both scored 10. El Ellis made 2 of 3 foul shots with 7:37 left before halftime for a 22-17 Louisville lead. Pitt responded by outscoring the Cardinals 11-2 to go up 28-24 and never trailed again. The Cardinals missed 10 of 11 from the floor, including a dunk, heading into the break. Dre Davis’ layup with 14:40 left put Louisville ahead by four, but an 18-6 spurt over the next 7 1/2 minutes gave Pitt its largest lead at 54-38 when Burton hit a jumper. Despite shooting 4 for 18 from 3-point range, the Panthers found better results inside the arc shooting 20 for 37 (54%).

Steelers Have Been In Similar Situation Before

January 15, 2022 4:05 am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger are brutally honest about the Steelers’ chances of advancing past the wild-card round of the playoffs Sunday night, especially given the Chiefs humiliated them just a few weeks ago in Arrowhead Stadium. In fact, the Steelers’ likely soon-to-retire quarterback admitted, “We probably aren’t supposed to be here.” But the Steelers have won a Super Bowl playing in the wild-card round before, so they know that anything can happen. And the pressure is all on the AFC West champion Chiefs, who have been to three straight conference title games and the past two Super Bowls.

Latest NFL Coaching Carousel Leaves Tomlin As Only Black Head Coach

January 15, 2022 4:05 am

UNDATED (AP) – The NFL has taken several steps to improve diversity among leadership positions, yet Mike Tomlin is the only Black head coach after Brian Flores and David Culley were fired this week. League officials want to see immediate improvement, but are optimistic that numbers will increase at both coach and GM positions based on the interview requests teams have made so far. The Fritz Pollard Alliance, which advocates for diverse hiring, said in a statement that the firing of Flores and Culley is a “disappointment given efforts to increase the representation of Black coaches as head coaches in the NFL.”