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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) Pat McAfee Jersey , 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), 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 Jack Doyle Jersey , 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.Howie Roseman wrapped his arms around Doug Pederson on the sideline in the final minute of Philadelphia’s lopsided win over Minnesota in the NFC championship game and flashed a big smile.
The most criticized team executive in the city engineered a dramatic turnaround.
After finishing last in the NFC East last season, the Eagles (15-3) are in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots (15-3).
Radio hosts, columnists, writers, fans and even bloggers are not blasting Roseman anymore because he made all the right moves to build a team that’s one victory away from the franchise’s first NFL title since 1960.
It’s been quite a journey for Roseman, the once-exiled executive vice president of football operations.
Roseman rose from being a non-paid summer intern in 2000 to youngest general manager in the NFL at age 34 in 2010. But in January 2015, Roseman lost control of personnel decisions in a power struggle with former coach Chip Kelly.
Owner Jeffery Lurie elevated Roseman to his current position, but gave Kelly full control on the draft, trades and all player moves.
Kelly bombed and was fired less than 12 months later. Roseman, after spending a year self-reflecting, regained control over personnel decisions. He hired Pederson to coach and Joe Douglas to be vice president of player personnel and quickly began undoing the mess Kelly created.
Roseman traded players Kelly signed to horrible contracts – DeMarco Murray and Byron Maxwell – and built enough assets to help the Eagles move from No. 13 in the draft to the second spot. With the second overall pick in 2016, the team selected Carson Wentz from North Dakota State.
Wentz is the main reason Philadelphia was in position to get to the Super Bowl. He had an MVP-caliber season before tearing his ACL in Week 14 when the Eagles secured the NFC East title.
The Eagles didn’t crumble after losing their franchise player because they have a solid backup in Nick Foles . Kelly traded Foles, one season after he was offensive MVP of the Pro Bowl. Roseman brought Foles back last March Adam Vinatieri Jersey , giving him an $11 million, two-year deal to provide insurance behind Wentz.
Foles shredded the Vikings and their top-ranked defense last week.
”It’s a credit to Howie and Joe to bring a guy like that in here who is very capable of getting the job done,” Pederson said.
Many of the players Roseman acquired before the season made big plays in the 38-7 rout over Minnesota. He signed wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, running back LeGarrette Blount and cornerback Patrick Robinson to team-friendly contracts in free agency. They combined to score Philadelphia’s five touchdowns.
”He’s a very, very smart guy,” Lurie said. ”In the role today to be in charge of football operations, it is so much more than simply what has been in the past decades with scouting. Scouting is a big part of it, but you have to manage in so many ways short-term needs, midterm needs, long-term needs.”
The Eagles entered the season with modest expectations, but Wentz was spectacular and the defense was excellent. After a 7-1 start, Roseman bolstered the offense by getting running back Jay Ajayi from Miami for a fourth-round pick. Ajayi has become a valuable addition.
”We found ourselves in an interesting situation where this is Year 2 of the plan but we have a quarterback that was advancing by leaps and bounds and a team that was playing great, great defense, and an offensive line that was really good,” Lurie said.
”We thought: `Why can’t we win it all?’ We took an approach where we were going to do everything possible that could help our team this year Marvin Harrison Jersey , and at the same time not relinquish any options going forward. I think that was the key to the strategy. We were aggressive at the trade deadline because we thought we had a chance. Normally you wouldn’t do that, but we thought we had a chance.”
Other key starters Roseman acquired in trades or free agency since reclaiming his role as personnel boss: defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, cornerback Ronald Darby, safety Rodney McLeod, Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks, left guard Stefen Wisniewski and kicker Jake Elliott. He also drafted starting cornerback Jalen Mills in the seventh round in 2016 and starting left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai in the fifth round that year.
The Eagles have overcome season-ending injuries to Wentz, nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, return specialist/running back Darren Sproles, special teams captain Chris Maragos and kicker Caleb Sturgis because of the depth of a roster Roseman put together.
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