Created: Mon, 16 Dec 2013 01:16:15 EST
Updated: Mon, 16 Dec 2013 01:16:15 EST
Panthers draw even with Saints...Dolphins and Vikings pull off upsets
UNDATED (AP) — The New Orleans Saints have company atop the NFC South.
The Carolina Panthers bounced back from last Sunday's loss at New Orleans as Cam Newton threw for 273 yards and a touchdown in a 30-20 triumph over the New York Jets. Newton completed 16 of his 24 passes, including a 72-yard scoring strike to DeAngelo Williams.
Williams ran for 81 yards and had 87 receiving yards as the Panthers won for the ninth time in 10 games. Captain Munnerlyn had two sacks and returned an interception for a score to help Carolina improve to 10-4, tying them with New Orleans for the NFC South lead.
Kellen Clemens threw a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes to set the tone in the Rams' 27-16 victory over the Saints. Zac Stacy added a 40-yard scoring run while the Rams were building a 27-3 lead.
The Saints didn't get into the end zone until Drew Brees (breez) threw for a pair of TDs in the fourth quarter. Brees passed for 393 yards but had two interceptions.
Kansas City has become the fourth NFL team ever to make the playoffs a year after losing at least 14 games, clinching an AFC berth by destroying Oakland 56-31. Jamaal Charles and Alex Smith led the Chiefs' assault while the Kansas City defense caused Matt McGloin to throw four interceptions and lose a fumble. Charles tied a franchise record with five touchdowns and gained 215 yards from scrimmage. Smith was 17 of 20 for 287 yards and five touchdowns as the Chiefs improved to 11-3, tying them with Denver for first place in the AFC West.
The NFC East and North races are just as cloudy as ever following Green Bay's 37-36 comeback win at Dallas. The outcome keeps the Packers within a half-game of Chicago for the NFC North lead and leaves the Cowboys one game behind Philadelphia atop the NFC East.
The Packers improved to 7-6-1 by scoring two touchdowns in the final 4:17. Matt Flynn hit James Jones for a three-yard TD pass before Eddie Lacy's one-yard scoring run put the Packers ahead for the first time all afternoon. Flynn threw for 299 yards and four touchdowns, while Lacy had 141 yards on the ground.
Tony Romo passed for 358 yards, two touchdowns and two big interceptions for the Cowboys, who led 29-17 before falling to 7-7.
Jay Cutler returned to the Bears lineup and after a rusty start to the game led Chicago to a 38-31 win over the Browns in Cleveland. Cutler, who missed Chicago's previous four games with a sprained left ankle, threw a 4-yard TD pass to Earl Bennett with 5:41 left to give the Bears a record of 8-6. The Browns fell to 4-10, giving them at least 10 losses in six straight seasons.
The Eagles had their five-game winning streak snapped by the Vikings in Minneapolis 48-30 as Matt Cassel (KAS'-uhl) passed for 382 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a score. Eagles signal caller Nick Foles had a big day, passing for 428 yards and three touchdowns, but it wasn't enough as the Eagles fell to 8-6 to stay one game ahead of Dallas in the NFC East. The win for the Vikings was their fourth against 9 losses and a tie.
Playing in front of their own fans, the Miami Dolphins beat the Patriots 24-20. The win keeps the Miami playoff hopes alive. Tom Brady's latest comeback bid came up short as his fourth-down pass was intercepted by reserve safety Michael Thomas in the end zone with 2 seconds left. The loss knocked the Patriots down to 10-4, while the Dolphins are now 8-6.
Pittsburgh rolled to a 30-20 win over Cincinnati, giving Baltimore a chance to pull within one game of the AFC North leaders if the Ravens beat Detroit on Monday. Antonio Brown caught a 12-yard scoring pass from Ben Roethlisberger (RAWTH'-lihs-burgur) with 2:16 left in the first quarter, 64 seconds before Brown returned a punt 67 yards to give the Steelers a 21-0 lead. Roethlisberger was 20 of 25 for 191 yards to help the Steelers keep their faint playoff hopes alive.
Seattle continues to set the pace in the NFL with a record of 12-2. The Seahawks walked all over the Giants 23-0 as the defense picked off New York quarterback Eli Manning five times. The Seahawks have won six times on the road, a franchise best, and they are closing in on the NFC West title and their best overall record since they were 13-3 in 2005. The loss assures the Giants of their first losing record since 2004 as they are 5-9.
Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes, and Robert Mathis broke the Colts' single-season and career sacks records to lead the AFC South champion Colts past Houston 25-3. Luck finished 19 of 32 for 180 yards with one interception and needed only two quarters to put up 20 points. The Colts are 9-5 while the Texans have lost 12 straight and are 2-12 on the season.
San Francisco's 49ers have another 10 win season on their hands. Vernon Davis caught a touchdown pass for the fifth straight game and Michael Crabtree scored his first TD since returning from injury to help the Niners beat the Buccaneers 33-14. Phil Dawson had another good game for the 49ers as he kicked four field goals. San Francisco is 10-4 while the Bucs are 4-10.
Arizona blew a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter before beating Tennessee 37-34 on Jay Feely's 41-yard field goal with 10:18 left in overtime. Feely's kick came after Antoine Cason intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick at the Arizona 30 on the first possession of OT.
Rashard Mendenhall ran for 69 yards and two short touchdowns, while Andre Ellington added 71 rushing yards on 10 carries. Carson Palmer was 20 of 30 for 231 yards and no interceptions as the 9-5 Cardinals stayed one game back for the second NFC wild-card berth.
EJ Manuel threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score as the Bills beat the Jaguars in Jacksonville 27-20. The 5-9 Bills scored 10 points in the final 2:14 of the first half for a 20-10 lead. The 4-10 Jaguars rallied to tie the game in the fourth on Chad Henne's 13-yard TD pass to Marcedes Lewis. Manuel answered, though, capping an 89-yard drive with a 1-yard TD pass to Frank Summers.
Robert Griffin III's fill-in had a big day at quarterback for Washington. Kirk Cousins passed for 381 yards and three touchdowns, but it wasn't enough as the 'Skins lost in Atlanta 27-26. Desmond Trufant deflected Cousins' pass on a potential winning 2-point conversion with 18 seconds remaining to give the Falcons their fourth win in 14 games. The Redskins are 3-11.
Brown explains resignation
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas coach Mack Brown has told reporters he could have stayed on as head football coach but decided to resign because his teams haven't been living up to the winning standard he helped create. Brown's teams won 10 games every year from 2001-09 and won the national championship after the 2005 season. Brown, who coached the Longhorns for 16 seasons, also won two Big 12 titles.
Blazers, Thunder squeak by
UNDATED (AP) — The Portland Trail Blazers barely managed to maintain sole possession of the NBA's Western Conference lead.
Damian Lillard canned a fadeaway with one-tenth of a second left in overtime to give the Blazers a 111-109 triumph at Detroit. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points for Portland, which rallied from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Lillard finished with 23 points as the Trail Blazers picked up their fourth straight win and improved to 21-4, one game better than San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
The Thunder held off Orlando 101-98 as Kevin Durant finished with 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Russell Westbrook chipped in 20 points, 12 boards and six helpers to help the Thunder post their sixth straight win.
Also in the NBA:
— Sacramento dumped Houston 106-91 behind Rudy Gay's 26 points in his Kings home debut. DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and 10 rebounds as the Kings won for only the third time in their last 11 games.
— Minnesota hit a season-high 12 3-pointers in a 101-93 decision over the Grizzlies in Memphis. Kevin Love led the way with four threes, 30 points and nine rebounds.
— Wilson Chandler and J.J. Hickson each had 19 points in Denver's 102-93 home win against New Orleans. The Nuggets improved to 14-9 despite Ryan Anderson's 26 points for the Pelicans.
— Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic (DRAH'-gihch) and Channing Frye combined for 65 points as the Phoenix Suns beat Golden State 106-102 for their fifth consecutive win. Bledsoe finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, Dragic had 21 points and Frye added 20.
League issues two suspensions
NEW YORK (AP) — Portland center Meyers Leonard and Philadelphia center Daniel Orton were each suspended for one game without pay by the NBA for their altercation Saturday night. Leonard initiated the incident by slamming Orton to the floor, and Orton retaliated by elbowing Leonard in the mouth in the fourth quarter of Portland's 139-105 victory in Philadelphia.
Leonard sat out Portland's game at Detroit on Sunday, and Orton will miss Philadelphia's game at Brooklyn on Monday night.
The Orange lead the way
UNDATED (AP) — In college basketball, second-ranked Syracuse is now 10-0 after a 68-63 overtime win over St. John's. The Orange had to rally in OT after The Red Storm outscored Syracuse 36-29 in the second half.
C.J. Fair and Tyler Ennis each had 21 points in the win.
Tenth-ranked Villanova beat La Salle 73-52 as Darrun Hilliard scored 21 points and Josh Hart added 13. The Wildcats are unbeaten in 10 games this season, three wins shy of matching the program-best 13-0 start in 1937-38.
And No. 24 Missouri is 10-0 after Jabari Brown scored 15 points in a 66-60 win against Western Michigan. Jordan Clarkson and Earnest Ross both added 12 points to the win.
Wings fall again...Hawks end Kings' streak
UNDATED (AP) — It was a lost weekend for the Red Wings as they followed Saturday's 4-1 loss to visiting Pittsburgh by falling to Tampa Bay 3-0 in Detroit.
Tyler Johnson, J.T. Brown and Terry Purcell (PUR'-sul) scored to help the Lightning deal the Wings their fifth consecutive loss. Ben Bishop turned back 28 shots for his sixth career shutout as the Lightning moved two points ahead of Detroit in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Red Wings are just 5-8-6 at home this season.
Also on ice:
— Rookie Antti Raanta (AN'-tee RAHN'-tayh) made 21 saves and Jonathan Toews (TAYVZ') set up two of Chicago's three first-period goals in a 3-1 triumph over Los Angeles. Marian Hossa (HOH'-sah) had a short-handed goal to help the Blackhawks end the Kings' six-game winning streak.
— Anaheim beat Edmonton 3-2 on Dustin Penner's goal with 3:17 remaining. Nick Bonino and Teemu Selanne (TAY'-moo she-LAH'-nee) also scored for the NHL's second-best team, which is two points behind the Blackhawks.
— Jesse Winchester and Nick Bjugstad (BYOOG'-stad) scored in a 2:27 span in the second period of Florida's third straight win, 3-1 at Montreal. Scott Clemmensen stopped 17 shots as the Panthers dealt the Canadiens their third loss in four games.
— Washington scored three unanswered goals in the final 8:40 of the third period before Eric Fehr (fehr) and Jason Chimera (chih-MEHR'-uh) scored in the shootout to give the Capitals a 5-4 comeback win over Philadelphia. Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 27th goal to tie the game with 48 seconds left in regulation.
— Benoit Pouliot (POO'-lee-aht) scored the Rangers' fourth and final shootout goal in a 4-3 triumph against Carolina. The Rangers were in danger of falling to 0-4-1 on their nine-game homestand until Chris Kreider tallied with 7:53 left in regulation.
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Jets forward Anthony Peluso has been suspended for three games for boarding Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski in Winnipeg's 6-4 loss to Dallas Saturday night. Peluso was assessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct on the play in the second period. Peluso will forfeit more than $8,600 in salary.