Darvish fans 11, Padres get 2 big homers to beat Dodgers 6-2
Yu Darvish struck out 11 in six brilliant innings to become the fastest big leaguer to reach 1,500 for his career, Manny Machado and Jake Cronenworth homered and the San Diego Padres beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2 in the opener of a three-game series between the NL West rivals.
AP source: Eagles send Carson Wentz to Colts for draft picks
FILE - Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz (11) passes during an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Philadelphia, in this Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, file photo. The Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to trade Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts, according to a person familiar with the deal. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz, File)PHILADELPHIA – Carson Wentz helped steer the Philadelphia Eagles to the franchise’s only Super Bowl title and later received the richest contract in team history. The Eagles agreed to trade Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts, according to a person familiar with the deal. AdThe deal reunites Wentz with Colts coach Frank Reich, who served as Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator his first two seasons in the league.
Tom Brady has denied 27 QBs in unparalleled playoff success
Brady is shooting for his seventh ring when he leads the Buccaneers (14-5) against the reigning champion Chiefs (16-2) in Super Bowl 55 on Sunday. Brady's postseason record includes a 33-11 mark, 14 conference championship appearances and 10 trips to the Super Bowl. If the Bucs dethrone the champs, Mahomes would become the sixth quarterback Brady has beaten multiple times in the playoffs. Although he’s not showing his age, 43, Brady will be the oldest to play in a Super Bowl, displacing Colts kicker Matt Stover, who was 42 in Super Bowl 44. Unlike Warner, he wasn't going to get ahead of himself and talk about anything but the Super Bowl title in front of him.
Bills among the NFL's 4 defenses peaking in the postseason
Buffalo Bills' Micah Hyde (23) celebrates with teammates after an NFL divisional round football game against the Baltimore Ravens Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Leslie Frazier’s faith in his Bills defense never wavered even at the lowest point of Buffalo’s season. It was mid-November and the Bills were entering their bye week on the heels of a 32-30 defeat at Arizona. In the NFC, the Packers are allowing an average 306 yards offense over their past seven outings. Here comes Patrick Mahomes, should he clear the NFL’s concussion protocol, and the league’s top-ranked offense.
Colts QB Rivers, 39, retires from NFL after 17 seasons
“Every year, Jan. 20 is a special and emotional day,” Rivers said in a statement posted on the team’s website. “It is St. Sebastian’s Feast day, the day I played in the AFC championship without an ACL, and now the day that after 17 seasons, I’m announcing my retirement from the National Football League. I am grateful to the Chargers for 16 seasons, and the Colts for the 17th season.”Rivers was one of a kind. In the 2006 season opener, Rivers made his starting debut — and then the next 251 in a row including the playoffs. “My son never did throw a big ball like I did at that age and he throws it the exact same way,” Rivers said.
Browns advance, Brees to meet Brady, Lama Jackson a winner
The Browns not only snapped a 17-game skid at Heinz Field, they manhandled the mistake-prone archrival Steelers 48-37 Sunday night. After two postseason flops, Jackson was his usual dynamic and decisive self in leading the Ravens to a 20-13 wild-card victory at Tennessee. Browns 48, Steelers 37In their first playoff road victory since 1969, the Browns (12-5) overcame all sorts of problems and history. Baker Mayfield threw for three touchdowns and the Browns got their first playoff win in 26 years. While leading his new team, the Buccaneers (12-5), to their first playoff win since Tampa Bay won the 2002 championship, Brady extended his record for playoff victories to 31.
Colts' comeback bid falls short in 27-24 loss to Bills
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) reacts during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Buffalo Bills, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Colts coach Frank Reich couldn’t manufacture another comeback in Buffalo. We just didn’t get it done.”After squandering scoring opportunities through three quarters, the Colts finally mustered a response when trailing 24-10. Rivers engineered consecutive touchdown drives over a six-minute span before coming up empty on the Colts' final possession. The game ended with Rivers throwing three consecutive incompletions, including a 47-yard desperation pass intended for T.Y. “He exceeded expectations on what he brought to the team this year on and off the field,” Reich said.
Bills beat Colts 27-24 for 1st playoff win in 25 years
In a season in which the Bills busted numerous slumps, Allen became Buffalo's first starter in a quarter century to win a playoff game. Made enough plays to win,” Allen said. The Colts responded with a seven-play, 75-play drive capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass to Pascal. Rivers’ pass for Michael Pittman glanced off the diving receiver’s fingertips on fourth down. Facing fourth-and-3 from the Colts 26, Allen drew defensive end Kemoko Turay offside with a second left on the play clock.
The Latest: Heinicke starts for Washington vs. Brady, Bucs
So Taylor Heinicke is getting his second career NFL start when Washington hosts Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wild card playoff Saturday night. Metcalf to cut the Los Angles Rams' lead to 13-10 in the second quarter of their wild card game. They held off Philip Rivers and the Indianapolis Colts 27-24 in the first of six wild card games this weekend. Four of those teams play on what the NFL is calling “Super Wild Card Weekend” with Green Bay earning the NFC’s first-round bye. Washington won the middling NFC East despite a 7-9 record to earn a home wild card game.
Reich remains focused on game with return to Buffalo looming
FILE - Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich stands on the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland, in this Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, file photo. Reich, a former quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, returns to Orchard Park, N.Y. for an NFL wild-card football game against the Bills on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. This week will be different, though, as Reich takes his new team to his old stomping grounds for Saturday's wild-card game. But when Josh McDaniels backed out of his deal to join the Colts, Reich was perfectly positioned to return to another of his favorite cities, Indianapolis. “We’re each our best when we’re ourselves," Colts quarterback Philip Rivers said.
Mahomes leads champion Chiefs to 14-2 mark in stacked AFC
While the Chiefs get another week’s rest, the six other AFC playoff teams get going this weekend. For just the second time since the 1970 league merger, every team in the AFC playoffs has at least 11 wins. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 54, 31-20 over the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 2, 2020, at Miami. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 43, 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Feb. 1, 2009, at Tampa, Florida. Their pass rush is nearly nonexistent with 19 sacks, the fewest by a playoff team since Denver had 19 in 1979.
Chargers fire head coach Anthony Lynn after 4 seasons
FILE - In this Dec. 15 2019, file photo, Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn speaks after an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, in Carson, Calif. The Los Angeles Chargers have fired coach Anthony Lynn less than two seasons after he led the franchise to the AFC divisional round. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo, File)COSTA MESA, Calif. – A four-game winning streak at the end of the season wasn't enough to save Anthony Lynn's job with the Los Angeles Chargers. Lynn led the franchise to the playoffs in 2018 but Los Angeles had losing records the last two seasons. Hired by the Chargers in January 2017, Lynn was the first Black head coach in franchise history and had one year remaining on his contract.
The Latest: Henry runs for 2k, Titans' doink wins AFC South
Henry came into Sunday’s regular season finale needing 223 yards rushing to become the second man in franchise history to reach 2,000. He came in as the NFL’s rushing leader for a second straight season with a career-best 1,777 yards rushing. The Green Bay Packers have set an NFL season record for second-quarter points. With the run Newton also passed Grogan for the single-season team record for rushing yards by a quarterback. Newton entered the game 26 yards behind Grogan, who had 539 rushing yards in 1978.
No preseason, no problem: NFL rookies shine in strange year
Young and Jefferson made the Pro Bowl, and surely more rookies would have joined them as alternates at the league’s now-canceled all-star game. “It’s crazy unusual for a rookie, I think, to have the type of leadership that Chase has, genuine leadership,” Washington quarterback Alex Smith said. “I think a lot of young guys, especially high picks, I think you feel pressure to do it some way or somehow. “Talk about a rookie coming in, starting every game and just being focused,” Browns Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio said of Wills. “We’re growing and we’re starting to get a hang of the game,” said Dolphins right tackle Robert Hunt, a second-round pick and one of six Miami rookies starting on offense.
A bonus for NFL fans in Week 16: 4 straight days of games
They do have a sack in an NFL-record 71 straight games and have sacked Philip Rivers 15 times during seven games while he played for the Chargers. Rivers has had two or more TD passes in five straight games. He had career bests of 10 catches for 163 yards last week, and Ridley's seven 100-yard games lead the NFL. The 19 straight seasons without losing both games to a divisional opponent is an NFL record. The Jaguars have allowed at least 24 points in each of those 13 games, an NFL record.
Colts recover another late fumble, beat Texans 27-20
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal (14) makes a catch under pressure from Houston Texans free safety Eric Murray (23) in the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)INDIANAPOLIS – Philip Rivers threw a late, tiebreaking touchdown to Zach Pascal and the Indianapolis Colts defense recovered a fumble in the end zone with 19 seconds left Sunday to seal a 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans. Watson answered by moving the Texans to the Colts 21. Coutee had five catches for 53 yards and one score before the fumble, and David Johnson had 11 receptions for 106 yards. Sanchez punted in that week's game, a loss to Tennessee.
A winner: Chiefs vs Saints, with Brees back to face Mahomes
1 conference seed is tight, with the Packers one game ahead of the Saints, the Rams and Seahawks one game behind. Drew Brees will be active after missing four games with fractured ribs and a collapsed lung, making for an intriguing matchup with Patrick Mahomes. The Bills (11-3) scored twice in a 17-second span in the third quarter to ice their fourth straight victory that officially ended the New England Patriots’ 11-year reign atop the division. The Ravens have run for at least 100 yards in 36 straight games, seven short of the NFL record set by Pittsburgh from 1974-77. Baltimore is averaging 173.8 yards on the ground and topped 200 yards in each of the past two games.
Hilton, Taylor lead Colts' 44-27 rout of fading Raiders
Indianapolis Colts cornerback Isaiah Rodgers (34) jumps over Las Vegas Raiders fullback Alec Ingold (45) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)LAS VEGAS – Frank Reich found himself regularly amazed while he watched everything his Indianapolis Colts accomplished in their first trip to Sin City. He also marveled at the breakaway speed of Jonathan Taylor, who outran the Raiders' entire secondary on a 62-yard TD sprint. Moreau eluded two defenders on a 47-yard catch-and-run TD shortly before Agholor's 21-yard TD reception put the Raiders up 14-10 early in the second quarter. BIG CATCHMoore blew both teams' minds with his interception in the second quarter.
Matchup of division leaders: Seahawks vs Giants. The Giants?
(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)In this strangest of NFL seasons in this weirdest of years, here's a matchup of division leaders you wouldn't expect: Seattle hosting the New York Giants. “If you win your division, you win your division,” Carroll says, and he knows: Seattle went 7-9 in 2010 and won the NFC West, then beat New Orleans in a playoff game. Patrick Mahomes has thrown for at least 300 yards seven times this season and has 22 straight games with at least one TD passing. New England has won the past five meetings, including a 2018 divisional playoff game. Chargers WR Keenan Allen leads the NFL with 85 receptions and has a TD catch in five straight games.
Colts grab AFC South tiebreaker by beating Titans 34-17
Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Coaches and quarterbacks change for the Indianapolis Colts. Philip Rivers threw for 308 yards and a touchdown, and Nyheim Hines scored twice as the Colts trounced the Titans 34-17 Thursday night to grab the head-to-head edge atop the AFC South. The Colts (6-3) will host the rematch in Indianapolis on Nov. 29 after helping coach Frank Reich improve to 4-1 against Titans coach Mike Vrabel. Indianapolis took advantage of the Titans' special teams woes to score twice in the third quarter for a 27-17 lead. He passed Marino on the Colts’ first play from scrimmage with an 11-yard pass to rookie Jonathan Taylor.
AFC features plenty of star power even without Tom Brady
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)The AFC doesn’t lack for drama or star power even though Tom Brady has taken his talents to Davis Beach. WEST: The Chiefs (8-1) are still the class of the conference despite a hiccup against the resurgent Raiders (5-3), who won 40-32 at Arrowhead Stadium on Oct. 11. Mahomes became the fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach 100 TD passes, doing it in 40 games, four fewer than Dan Marino. The Broncos (3-5) have been waylaid by injuries and COVID-19 opt-outs, exposures and infections and Drew Lock went 45 drives without a TD pass.
Mahomes piles up big numbers at Arrowhead - on Election Day
Patrick Mahomes piled up some very big numbers at Arrowhead Stadium last week. Five days before throwing for four touchdowns and nearly 400 yards in the Kansas City Chiefs’ 33-31 victory over the Carolina Panthers, Mahomes helped turn his home stadium into a giant polling place on Election Day. Chiefs president Mark Donovan and head coach Andy Reid were among the first to vote at Arrowhead on Tuesday. “Don’t be mad at paying customers when the product stinks and they are upset about what they’re watching. Not just one half.”___Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Rivers' 3 TDs in 2nd quarter help Colts beat Lions 41-21
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Detroit. Rivers threw three touchdown passes in the second quarter to help the Colts surge past Detroit for a 41-21 victory Sunday following a first quarter in which they averaged a little more than 1 yard rushing on 10 carries. Rivers threw passes to 11 teammates. Hines had so much energy he celebrated each of his two touchdowns in the second quarter with moves that would make a gymnast proud, pulling off roundoffs into full twists in the end zone. Three plays later, Rivers threw a 7-yard, tiebreaking touchdown pass to Jack Doyle.
Rivers throw 3 TD passes as Colts rally past Bengals 31-27
(AP Photo/AJ Mast)INDIANAPOLIS – Philip Rivers never flinched with the Indianapolis Colts facing a 21-0 first-half deficit Sunday. He went back to work and joined MVP quarterbacks Bert Jones and Peyton Manning in the Indianapolis Colts' record book. ... Mixon left in the first half with a right foot injury but returned at the start of the second half. ... DT Christian Covington and CB William Jackson III both got hurt in the second half and returned later. ... CB Xavier Rhodes and WR Marcus Johnson also were shaken up in the second half but returned.
Mayfield throws 2 TDs, Browns hold off Colts to move to 4-1
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins (82) and quarterback Baker Mayfield celebrate after a 15-yard touchdown by Higgins during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)CLEVELAND – Bill Belichick was their coach and Nick Saban on his staff the last time Cleveland Browns were this good this early. Just three years removed from 0-16, the Browns are 4-1 for the first time since ‘94 — Belichick’s fourth season. “We needed a play to be made — and I’m greedy when it comes to that.”On the Colts' next possession, Browns safety Sheldrick Redwine, who came in while Harrison was being evaluated for a concussion, picked off Rivers. Mayfield showed patience on his 2-yard scoring pass to Hunt, which gave the Browns a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.
The Latest: Cowboys edge Giants with field goal on last play
Prescott was playing the Giants in the first visit of his former coach, Jason Garrett, now New York’s offensive coordinator. A week after giving up a franchise-record 307 yards rushing, the Cowboys allowed Devonta Freeman 20 yards on three carries. The Giants extended the lead to 14-3 when Kyler Fackrell returned an interception by Dak Prescott 46 yards for a touchdown. Atlanta cornerback Kendall Sheffield suffered a right ankle injury in the second quarter and was listed as questionable to return. Smith is one injury to Allen away from completing his remarkable comeback to play in an NFL game again.
NFL facing unending series of questions, uncertain answers
Perhaps the biggest headlines Brady drew recently came when he defied players' union recommendations to cease informal practices with teammates as a coronavirus precaution. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)In seven weeks, the NFL expects to kick off its 101st season with the Super Bowl champion Chiefs hosting Houston. Still set on conducting a somewhat normal training camp, though without any preseason games, and then opening the regular season on time, the NFL pushes onward. We could have a ton of social distance, more than we have with our football team, Chiefs coach Andy Reid says. Perhaps the biggest headlines Brady drew recently came when he defied players' union recommendations to cease informal practices with teammates as a coronavirus precaution.
Prescott set for franchise tag without long-term Dallas deal
Dak Prescott will play whatever becomes of the 2020 season under the one-year franchise tag after the Dallas Cowboys and their star quarterback couldn't agree on a long-term contract. Clubs had until Wednesday afternoon to reach multiyear deals with players given the franchise tag. Green and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue of Jacksonville haven't signed the one-year contract that goes with the tag. If so, his fate will be different than the other two QBs who have played under the franchise tag. Anthony Harris of Minnesota and Denver's Justin Simmons are set to play under the $11.4 million tag for a safety.
Lynn: Kaepernick fits Chargers style but no workouts planned
Kaepernick was a second-round draft pick in 2011 who the next year led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl. The Chargers could explore bringing Kaepernick in for a workout depending on what happens during the preseason, Lynn said. Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last week that he received a call from another team about Kaepernick. Carroll and the Seahawks brought Kaepernick in for a workout in 2017 and had another planned in 2018 but it was canceled. Lynn was the offensive coordinator for most of the 2016 season in Buffalo, where Taylor was his quarterback.