Drew Brees passed for 376 yards and two touchdowns Customized Tennessee Titans Jerseys
, and the New Orleans Saints held off Carolina’s late comeback bid to seal a 31-26 victory in their NFC wild-card game on Sunday.
The Panthers had a first down on the Saints 26-yard line with 58 seconds left, but heavy pressure by All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan a couple plays later induced an intentional grounding penalty on Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, making it third-and-25 on the Saints 34 and a required 10-second runoff left 22 seconds on the clock.
After an incompletion in the end zone on third down, Vonn Bell sacked Newton on a safety blitz, ensuring the Saints (12-5) swept all three meetings with Carolina (11-6) this season, in addition to winning their first playoff game in four seasons.
Brees’ touchdowns went for 80-yards to Ted Ginn and 9 yards to tight end Josh Hill. Fullback Zach line and running back Alvin Kamara each ran for short touchdowns.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Blake Bortles put together one decent drive all day, doing as much with his legs as his arm, and the defensive-minded Jacksonville Jaguars eked out an ugly and sometimes unwatchable 10-3 victory against the Buffalo Bills in an AFC wild-card game Sunday.
In the postseason for the first time since January 2008, the third-seeded Jaguars (11-6) advanced to play at No. 2 seed Pittsburgh next week.
The sixth-seeded Bills (9-8) will head home after ending the longest, current playoff drought in North American professional sports.
Bortles was a big reason Jacksonville won the game and a big reason it was so close. This was far from a passing clinic. It was more like a painful exercise in overcoming poor passing.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Marcus Mariota led Tennessee to three second-half touchdowns, incredibly throwing one of his TD passes to himself , and the Titans rallied from a 21-3 deficit to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 22-21 on Saturday for their first playoff win in 14 years.
Mariota threw for 205 yards and two scores, including the 22-yard go-ahead strike to Eric Decker with just over six minutes left that ushered the Titans into the divisional round of the playoffs.
They’ll head to New England or Pittsburgh next week.
Derrick Henry had a career-high 156 yards rushing and another score for Tennessee (10-7), while a defense that was fileted by Alex Smith and the Chiefs (10-7) during the first half pitched a shutout in the second half – dooming the Kansas City franchise to another humiliating postseason defeat.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons showed the upstart Los Angeles Rams what playoff poise is all about.
Ryan passed for 218 yards and hit Julio Jones for an 8-yard touchdown with 5:48 to play, and the defending NFC champion Falcons advanced from the wild-card round with a methodical 26-13 victory over the Rams on Saturday night.
Devonta Freeman rushed for an early score and Matt Bryant kicked four field goals for the Falcons (11-6) Customized Washington Redskins Jerseys
, who spoiled the Rams’ first playoff game in 13 years while showing off the postseason poise they earned from last season’s journey to the Super Bowl.
Atlanta never trailed at the Coliseum while winning playoff games in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history.
The Falcons advanced to face the top-seeded Eagles on Saturday in Philadelphia.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Brandon Ingram had 20 points and seven assists, and the Los Angeles Lakers snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 132-113 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night.
Julius Randle had 15 points and nine rebounds in this sixth straight start, while Lonzo Ball finished with 13 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
Los Angeles led by as many as 26 points – its biggest margin this season – and enjoyed a strong shooting night. The Lakers made 55.8 percent of their field goals, and shot 44.4 percent from 3-point range. Even free throws went in for the Lakers, who came into Sunday as the worst team in the league in that category. Los Angeles made 20 of 25.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Keita Bates-Diop scored a career-high 32 points, and Ohio State stunned No. 1 Michigan State 80-64 on Sunday.
The overachieving Buckeyes put together an electrifying 12-0 run to finish the first half and kept their foot on the gas to give first-year coach Chris Holtmann a signature win.
Ohio State (13-4, 4-0 Big Ten) won for its third straight in taking down the best team it is likely to see this season. The mistake-prone Spartans (15-2, 3-1) lost for the first time in the last 15 games, dating back to a seven-point loss to then-No. 1 Duke on Nov. 14.
KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) – A new year brought out the best in Dustin Johnson, who powered his way to an 8-under 65 and an eight-shot victory in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
In a field that featured the top five players in the world, Johnson made a strong opening statement that a No. 1 ranking he has held for nearly a year might be difficult to take away.
Johnson stretched a two-shot lead to six shots at the turn, then delivered the biggest moment of the week with a drive on the par-4 12th hole that stopped 6 inches from the cup for a tap-in eagle. He also drove the par-4 14th hole.
He finished at 24-under 268. The eight-shot margin of victory was his largest ever, and it was one short of the tournament record set by David Duval since this event moved to Kapalua in 1999. Jordan Spieth also won by eight shots in 2016.
For the Chicago Cubs, the last few days have felt like Christmas in July.
The team has won five games in a row and will try to stretch it to six on Wednesday afternoon in a Fourth of July matinee.
“Everything is believable Tre'Quan Smith Color Rush Jersey
,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters when asked about his team’s recent hot streak. “We believe in everything right now. Santa Claus is absolutely true.
“When you get to that point and you get that kind of confidence, you don’t want to do anything to nick it.”
Chicago (48-35) has climbed 13 games above .500 to match its high-water mark. The Cubs have a chance to set a new high when they host the Detroit Tigers (38-49) in the finale of a two-game series at Wrigley Field.
All of the Cubs’ five wins during the streak have been in come-from-behind fashion.
“One of our concepts is to score first,” Maddon said. “One of our concepts is to win the inning. But I think this is maybe the residue of our starting pitching not being what it probably is. We’ve given up more runs early from our starters that we didn’t anticipate happening.
“But it’s a tightly knit group. They’re there to pick everybody else up. So, OK, they’ve scored a couple runs. There’s no quit. The chatter in the dugout is great, all that stuff is outstanding. I just think that the come-from-behind component right now is based on our starters not pitching to their capabilities yet.”
That said, the Cubs will look for a solid start from left-hander Jose Quintana (6-6, 4.31 ERA) in his 17th start of the season. The 29-year-old has allowed three earned runs or fewer in nine of his past 12 starts.
In 18 career starts against the Tigers, Quintana is 5-5 with a 4.37 ERA. The Colombia native has walked 26 and struck out 82 in 111 1/3 innings.
The Tigers will counter with veteran left-hander Francisco Liriano (3-4, 3.99 ERA), who is scheduled to make his 13th start of the season. The burly southpaw carries a career record of 105-103 with a 4.14 ERA in 335 career games.
More than a few teams could be scouting the 34-year-old Liriano as the trade deadline approaches. He is coming off a quality start against the Toronto Blue Jays but has not logged a victory since April 17 against the Baltimore Orioles.
In 14 career starts against the Cubs, Liriano is 5-4 with a 3.27 ERA. He most recently faced the club in 2016, when he posted an 0-2 record with a 7.63 ERA in three starts with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Toronto Blue Jays.
The Tigers could turn to a six-man rotation in the next couple weeks, which is fine with Liriano.
“I think that would work,” Liriano said recently to mlive.com. “It wouldn’t bother me at all. I don’t know about any other guys. (Blaine) Hardy has been doing a great job, so it’s hard to put him in the bullpen with the way he’s throwing the ball right now. I think that’s a great idea.”
Injured Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (shoulder) is not expected to play Wednesday. He is hitting .280 with nine home runs and 36 RBIs in 66 games this season.