Chiefs storm back to beat Texans…Packers lead at halftime
UNDATED (AP) — The Green Bay Packers were able to stay ahead after building a sizeable lead. The Houston Texans weren’t as fortunate.
The Packers forged a 21-3 halftime lead before holding off the Seattle Seahawks, 28-23 to advance to the NFC championship game against San Francisco. Aaron Rodgers connected with Davante Adams for two touchdowns while completing 16 of his 27 passes for 243 yards and no interceptions. Adams racked up 160 yards on eight receptions, while Aaron Jones carried 21 times for 62 yards and two scores.
Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith each had two of Green Bay’s five sacks of Russell Wilson, who threw for 277 yards and a TD. Preston Smith sealed the victory by sacking Wilson just before the two-minute warning, forcing the Seahawks to punt.
Wilson also led Seattle with 64 yards on seven carries, and Marshawn Lynch ran for a pair of touchdowns.
The Chiefs spotted the Texans a 24-0 lead before Kansas City moved into the AFC championship game against the Tennessee Titans.
The Chiefs stormed back with four straight touchdowns in the second quarter of completing a 51-31 rout of the Texans. Patrick Mahomes (mah-HOHMZ’) Jr. was outstanding after a rough first period, completing 23 of 35 passes for 321 yards and five touchdowns. Mahomes’ most productive target was Travis Kelce (KEHL’-see), who scored three TDs in the first half and finished with 10 receptions for 134 yards.
Kelce became the first pass-catcher with three touchdowns receiving in a single quarter in postseason history. He was the catalyst as Kansas City needed just 4 minutes and 50 seconds of possession time in the second quarter to score four TDs.
Damien Williams rushed for a pair of scores and had a TD reception as the Chiefs became the first team in NFL history to win a playoff game by at least 20 points and trailing by at least 20.
The Chiefs fumbled a punt return, had their own punt blocked for a score and committed plenty more mistakes in becoming just the fourth home team in NFL history to trail 21-0 after the first quarter.
The Chiefs and Texans combined to set a postseason record with 52 points in the first half.
DeShaun Watson was 31 of 52 for 388 yards and two touchdowns for Houston.
AP source: Browns hire Stefanski
UNDATED (AP) — Kevin Stefanski was the runner-up for the Cleveland Browns’ head coaching position last winter. He finally got the gig.
A person familiar with the decision says the Browns have chosen the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator to replace Freddie Kitchens, who was dismissed after one season and a 6-10 record. The hiring came a day after Minnesota lost to San Francisco in the NFC divisional round.
The 37-year-old Stefanski has been with the Vikings since 2006 and oversaw an offensive attack that flourished this season, headed by quarterback Kirk Cousins, running back Dalvin Cook and receiver Adam Thielen (THEE’-lihn).
Stefanski is the sixth coach hired by Browns owner Jimmy Haslam since he bought the team in 2012.
In other NFL news:
— Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman has been arrested in Southern California on suspicion of misdemeanor vandalism after jumping on the hood of someone’s car. Police say Edelman caused unspecified damage when he jumped on the vehicle Saturday night on a commercial block of Beverly Hills.
T25 MEN’S BASKETBALL-SCHEDULE
Purdue defense bottles up No. 8 Spartans in 71-42 upset
UNDATED (AP) — It was a tough day for Michigan basketball. The eighth-ranked Michigan State Spartans were blown out at Purdue and the 19th-rated Michigan Wolverines fell apart in the closing minutes at Minnesota.
Trevion Williams contributed 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists while the Boilermakers were orchestrating a strong defensive performance in a 71-42 stifling of the Spartans. Michigan State had won eight straight before shooting a season-worst 35.5% and setting season lows with 18 field goals and two 3-pointers, all while accumulating a season-high 18 turnovers.
Cassius Winston finished with a team-best 10 points but committed nine turnovers in the Spartans’ worst offensive display since a 42-41 loss at Illinois nearly eight years ago.
In Minneapolis, the Golden Gophers went on a late 11-0 run to pull out a 75-67 victory against the Wolverines. Daniel Oturu scored a career-high 30 points for Minnesota, including a basket with three minutes left to put the Gophers ahead for good.
Marcus Carr had 21 points and 12 assists for Minnesota.
In other top-25 results:
— Precious Achiuwa shot 9-for-12 while providing 22 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks in leading No. 21 Memphis to a 68-64 victory over South Florida. Tyler Harris had 17 points for the Tigers.
— No. 23 Wichita State blew a nine-point lead in the final minute of regulation before knocking off UConn, 89-86 in double-overtime. Jaime Echenique led four Wichita State players in double figures with 19 points before fouling out, while Dexter Dennis and Erik Stevenson each scored 16 in the Shockers’ ninth consecutive win.
— Colorado ripped Utah, 91-52 as Evan Battey provided 17 points and 10 rebounds for the 25th-ranked Buffaloes. McKinley Wright added 16 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for the Buffs, who were never threatened after building a 26-7 lead.
Jazz extend win streak
UNDATED (AP) — The Utah Jazz were able to extend their winning streak on Sunday despite the absence of leading scorer Donovan Mitchell.
It’s now a nine-game winning streak for the Jazz after Bojan (BOY’-ahn) Bogdonovic scored 31 points in a 127-116 downing of the Wizards. Rudy Gobert (goh-BEHR’) dropped in 21 points and had 14 rebounds for the Jazz, who overcame a 15-point deficit in the third quarter to win for the 14th time in 15 games.
Jordan Clarkson added 17 of his 23 points in the second half as Utah won while Mitchell sat out with an illness.
Checking out Sunday’s other NBA action:
— The Knicks ended a five-game losing streak by rallying from a 13-point, third-quarter deficit to beat the Heat, 124-121. Julius Randle scored 26 points, RJ Barrett chipped in 23 as the Atlantic Division cellar-dwellers knocked off the Southeast Division leaders. Jimmy Butler had 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who blew a lead down the stretch for the second time during their weekend stay in New York.
— DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points and the Spurs rallied from 18 down to beat the Raptors, 105-104. Rudy Gay contributed 15 points for San Antonio, which trailed 82-69 to begin the fourth before opening the quarter with a 19-5 run. Serge Ibaka (ih-BAH’-kah) had 21 points and a season-high 15 rebounds for Toronto.
— Kyrie Irving returned from a two-month absence to score 21 points in 20 minutes of the Nets’ 108-86 pounding of the Hawks. Irving shot 10 for 11 from the field after missing 26 games with a right shoulder impingement. Cam Reddish scored 20 points for the Hawks, who played without star guard Trae Young because of a left hamstring injury.
— Jonas Valanciunas (yoh-nuhs val-ehn-CHOO’-nuhs) had 31 points on 13 of 17 shooting and grabbed a season-high 19 rebounds in leading the Grizzlies’ 122-102 thumping of the Warriors. Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 21 points in helping Memphis earn its fifth consecutive win. The Warriors dropped their eighth in a row despite D’Angelo Russell’s game-high 34 points.
— Kelly Oubre (OO’-bray) Jr. furnished 25 points and grabbed 15 boards as the Suns downed the Hornets, 100-92. Phoenix won despite a quiet night from Devin Booker who had just 12 points on 3 of 12 from the field. Deandre Ayton had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Suns.
Pens inch closer to Caps
UNDATED (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins have continued their surge toward the NHL’s Metropolitan Division lead by completing a sweep of their three-game road trip.
Tedd Blueger (BLOO’-gur) scored in the eighth shootout round to give the Pens a 4-3 victory at Arizona. Jared McCann, Patric Hornqvist and Brandon Tanev scored in regulation for the Penguins, who also got a shootout goal from Bryan Rust.
Tristan Jarry had 25 saves for Pittsburgh, which has gone 14-3-1 in its last 18 games to get within four points of the division-leading Capitals with one game in hand.
Hall had a goal and an assist in the Coyotes’ third straight loss since a four-game winning streak.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— The Lightning’s team record-tying 10-game winning streak ended as a former teammate led the Devils to a 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay. Louis Domingue (doh-MIHNG’) stopped 26 shots and blanked the Bolts after Tyler Johnson scored in the second period. Andy Greene and Miles Wood each had a goal and an assist for the Devils, who cooled off the Lightning after knocking off the league-leading Capitals the previous night.
— Mike Hoffman scored twice and Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck (TROH’-chehk) each had a goal and two assists as the Panthers hammered the Maple Leafs, 8-4. Jonathan Huberdeau (HOO’-bur-doh) added a goal and an assist to surpass Olli Jokinen (OH’-lee YOH’-kih-nehn) as Florida’s all-time points leader. Mitchell Marner scored two goals for the Maple Leafs, who hadn’t allowed eight goals since November 2014.
— Juuse Saros (YOO’-see SAH’-rohs) turned back 28 shots for his first shutout of the season and eighth of his career to lead the Predators past the Jets, 1-0. Saros made a one-goal lead stand up after Kyle Turris (TOOR’-his) beat Connor Hellebuyck (HEH’-leh-buhk) 11:53 into the contest. Hellebuyck stopped 31 shots in Winnipeg’s sixth consecutive home loss.
— Bo Horvat scored twice and Elias Pettersson notched his 21st goal of the season in the Canucks’ 4-1 win at Minnesota. Vancouver was 0-for-18 on the power play before Pettersson scored with the man advantage to open the scoring midway through the second period. Horvat scored the game-winner in the Canucks’ ninth victory in 11 games, 13 seconds after Marcus Foligno (foh-LEE’-noh) tied the game for Minnesota.
— Evan Rodrigues hadn’t scored in 25 games this season before netting two in the first five minutes of the Sabres’ 5-1 rout of the Red Wings. Zemgus Girgensons (ZEHM’-guhs GUR’-gehn-suhnz), Zach Bogosian and Rasmus Ristolainen (rihs-toh-LAY’-nehn) also scored to back Linus (LEE’-nuhs) Ullmark’s 21 saves. Buffalo moved back over .500 with its third win in five games.
AP source: Rangers get 3B Frazier
UNDATED (AP) — A person familiar with the deal says the Texas Rangers have agreed on a one-year, $5 million contract with third baseman Todd Frazier, pending a successful physical.
The 33-year-old Frazier batted .251 with 21 home runs and 67 RBIs in 133 games for the Mets last season.
Third base is one of the primary needs for the Rangers, who lost out on their pursuit of free agent Anthony Rendon (rehn-DOHN’) when he signed with the division rival Angels.
Djokovic leads Serbia to win over Spain in ATP Cup final
SYDNEY (AP) — Novak Djokovic (NOH’-vak JOH’-koh-vihch) has led Serbia to the inaugural ATP Cup title. He followed up a win over top-ranked Rafael Nadal with a victory in the deciding doubles encounter in Sunday’s final against Spain.
The second-ranked Djokovic leveled the final for Serbia with a 6-2, 7-6 win over Nadal and teamed with Victor Troicki to beat Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4.
Nadal withdrew from the doubles match, citing fatigue.
Serena Williams ends 3-year title drought
AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — Serena Williams ended a three-year title drought when she beat fellow American Jessica Pegula (peh-GOO’-luh) 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday to win the singles final at the ASB Classic in New Zealand.
Williams hadn’t won a title since the Australian Open in January 2017, and not since she became a mother to her daughter Olympia.