Falcons stun Niners…Seahawks grab control of division
UNDATED (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers clinched a playoff berth this afternoon, but they also lost control of first place in the NFC West.
Matt Ryan hit Julio Jones for a five-yard touchdown with 2 seconds left to send the Falcons past the Niners, 29-22. Jones was called short of the goal line with the Falcons trailing 22-17, but a replay showed the ball breaking the plane with the Jones in the air while being tackled by Jimmie Ward.
Kyle Juszczyk recovered a fumble on the punt return team early in the fourth quarter then caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Garoppolo (gah-RAH’-poh-loh) two plays later to give the 49ers some breathing room before Atlanta rallied.
The 11-3 Niners are in a virtual tie for first with Seattle, but the Seahawks hold the tiebreaker.
Russell Wilson threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns in the Seahawks’ 30-24 victory over the Panthers. Seattle scored on its first three possessions as Wilson completed 8 of 10 passes for 175 yards, with 19-yard touchdown passes to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Chris Carson added a 16-yard touchdown run to make it 20-7 before finishing with 133 yards rushing and two scores.
Elsewhere during Week 15 of the NFL’s 100th season:
— The Packers were winners in their 200th meeting with the Bears as Aaron Jones ran for two scores and Davante Adams caught another in Green Bay’s 21-13 victory. Aaron Rodgers completed just 16 of 33 passes for 203 yards, but that was enough for the NFC North leaders to improve to 11-3. Adams finished with 103 yards on seven catches to help Green Bay drop the Bears to 7-7.
— The Vikings stayed a game behind the Packers as Dan Bailey kicked four field goals and Ifeadi Odenigbo scored Minnesota’s second defensive touchdown in three games in a 39-10 thrashing of the Chargers. Mike Boone ran for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and Kirk Cousins threw for 207 yards and a TD for the 10-4 Vikings. Los Angeles led 10-9 midway through the second quarter before Minnesota scored 30 unanswered points.
— Patrick Mahomes (mah-HOHMZ’) threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns in the Chiefs’ ninth consecutive win over the Broncos, 23-3. Tyreek Hill caught five passes for 67 yards and two scores, and Travis Kelce (KEHL’-see) hauled in 11 catches for 142 yards to become the first tight end in NFL history with four consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Rookie Drew Lock was 18 of 40 for 208 yards and an egregious interception in the end zone as Denver fell to 5-9 while Kansas City moved to 10-4.
— Stephon Gilmore returned one of his two interceptions 64 yards for a score as the Patriots knocked off the Bengals, 34-13 to clinch an AFC playoff berth. Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes to move within one of Peyton Manning’s all-time NFL record. The 11-3 Patriots broke a two-game losing streak with four interceptions in the second half.
— The Texans grabbed control of the AFC South lead as Deshaun Watson threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-21 victory at Tennessee. Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked a 29-yard field goal with 3:26 left for the winning margin as Houston improved to 9-5 to take a one-game lead over the Titans for the division. Ryan Tannehill threw for 279 yards, ran for a 1-yard TD, but also was intercepted at the goal as the Titans ended a four-game winning streak.
— Carson Wentz capped a 75-yard scoring drive by tossing a four-yard TD pass to Greg Ward with 26 seconds left to lift the Eagles past the Redskins, 32-27 and boost Philadelphia’s chances of making the playoffs as NFC East champions. Wentz was 30 of 43 for 266 yards and three touchdowns for the 7-7 Eagles, although he also had a disastrous turnover that allowed Washington to go ahead late in the game. Miles Sanders grabbed a scoring pass and rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown.
— Philadelphia and Dallas remain tied for the NFC East lead after Dak Prescott threw two touchdown passes and Ezekiel Elliott ran for two scores in a 44-21 win over the Rams. The Cowboys offense produced a season high in points to go with 475 yards, including scoring drives of 90 and 97 yards. Todd Gurley had 11 carries for 20 yards as Los Angeles dropped to 8-6.
— The Raiders dropped their final scheduled game at the Oakland Coliseum as the Jaguars rallied for a 20-16 win against the Silver and Black. Jacksonville trailed 16-3 until Gardner Minshew threw two TD passes to Chris Conley in the final 5:15. Minshew led a 65-yard drive that was capped by his four-yard TD toss to Conley with 31 seconds left, dropping the Raiders to 7-7.
— The Browns’ playoff hopes are over after Baker Mayfield lost a battle of former Oklahoma quarterbacks and teammates, 38-24 at Arizona. Kyler Murray completed 19 of 25 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown, and he also ran for 58 yards. Kenyan Drake ran for a season-high 137 yards and scored a touchdown in every quarter.
— The Buccaneers earned a 37-17 win over the Lions as Jameis (JAY’-mihs) Winston became the first player in NFL history to throw for 450 yards in consecutive games. Winston threw three of his four TD passes in the first half and finished with a career-high 458 yards passing one week after throwing for 456 yards. The 7-7 Buc have won four straight and five of six, while the Lions have dropped seven straight to fall to 3-10-1.
— Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning threw two touchdowns in what might have been his final home start for the Giants, a 36-20 victory against the Dolphins. Manning was 20 of 28 for 283 yards and three interceptions before being taken out of the game to a rousing reception at the Meadowlands on New York’s final series. Saquon (SAY’-kwahn) Barkley ran for 112 yards and scored two walk-in touchdowns to help the 3-11 Giants end their team record-tying nine-game losing streak.
Magic hand Pelicans franchise-record 12th straight loss
UNDATED (AP) — The Indiana Pacers dominated the fourth quarter to pick up their third straight win.
Backup guard Aaron Holiday scored 12 of his 23 points in the final period as the Pacers whipped the Hornets, 107-85. The Hornets rallied to cut Indiana’s lead to 70-66 entering the final quarter before Holiday and the Pacers pulled away.
Myles Turner had 14 points and 10 rebounds to help the Pacers improved to 11-3 at home and 18-9 overall.
Checking out Sunday’s other NBA action.
— The Pelicans absorbed their team-record 12th straight loss as Jonathan Isaac had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Magic past New Orleans, 130-119. Orlando center Nikola Vucevic (NEE’-koh-lah VOOCH’-uh-vihch) returned from a sprained ankle to score 20 points over 29 minutes in his first game since Nov. 20.
T25 MEN’S BASKETBALL
Wofford stuns North Carolina
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Wofford has done it to North Carolina once again.
Trevor Stumpe dropped in 19 points and the Terriers rode a 16-0 run in the second half to a 68-64 win over the 17th-ranked Tar Heels. Storm Murphy added 15 points and Messiah Jones had 13 points for Wofford, which also beat North Carolina two years ago at the Smith Center.
Wofford made four 3-pointers during its decisive spurt, a 6-minute stretch in which the Tar Heels missed 10 consecutive shots.
North Carolina played without injured starters Cole Anthony and Leaky Black.
Indians send Kluber to Texas for DeShields, Clase
UNDATED (AP) — The Texas Rangers have added a two-time Cy Young Award winner to their starting rotation.
The Indians have traded Corey Kluber (KLOO’-bur) to the Rangers for outfielder Delino DeShields (deh-LY’-noh deh-SHEELDZ’) and pitching prospect Emmanuel Clase.
Kluber is coming off his worst season since 2012 as broken arm limited him to seven starts. He was 2-3 with a 5.80 ERA this year, one season after recording his first 20-win season.
Kluber is 98-58 with a 3.16 ERA and 1,461 strikeouts in 1,341 2/3 innings over 208 major league games, including 203 starts.
DeShields stole 24 bases last season while batting .249 with 32 RBIs.
In other MLB news:
— A person with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press that longtime Giants ace Madison Bumgarner has accepted a five-year, $85 million contract with the Diamondbacks. Bumgarner was 9-9 with a 3.90 ERA in 34 starts this year, his first full season since 2016. The 2014 World Series MVP still needed to pass a physical to complete the contract.
Jets dump Flyers
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — The Philadelphia Flyers are limping home after an 0-3 road trip.
Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele (SHY’-flee) each had a power-play goal and two assists in the Jets’ 7-3 rout of the Flyers. Winnipeg scored twice on a five-minute power play midway through the second period after Philadelphia left winger Joel Farabee crashed into Mathieu Perreault long after the winger gave up the puck.
Kyle Connor added a goal and an assist, Neal Pionk (PEE’-ahnk) set up three tallies and Connor Hellebuyck (HEH’-leh-buhk) made 29 saves to help the Jets improve to 20-11-2.
Sabres demote under-performing center Mittelstadt to minors
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Sabres have assigned under-performing second-year center Casey Mittelstadt to the minors. The 21-year-old has four goals and five assists in 31 games this season.
AP source: Indians send Kluber to Texas for DeShields, Clase
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Indians are close to completing a trade that will send two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
The person told The Associated Press on Sunday that the teams have been discussing the deal and finalizing terms. Cleveland will get outfielder Delino DeShields and pitching prospect Emmanuel Clase for the 33-year-old Kluber.
The 33-year-old Kluber has been one of the AL’s most dominant pitchers for six seasons. He won the Cy Young in 2014 and 2017.
The right-hander missed most of last season after his arm was broken by a line drive on May 1 in Miami. Kluber nearly made it back in time to help Cleveland’s playoff push but suffered an oblique injury that ended his comeback.
The Indians picked up his $17.5 million contract option for 2020 immediately after last season. His deal includes a club option for $18 million for 2021.
A three-time All-Star, Kluber is 98-58 with a 3.16 career ERA.
US Keeps Presidents Cup
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The United States has maintained possession of the Presidents Cup with a dominant performance against the International Squad on the last day of play.
The Americans took eight of a possible 12 points in singles play, beginning with Tiger Woods’ record-breaking 27th Presidents Cup point. The team captain won all three of his matches during the tournament to help the U.S. take the event for the 11th time in 13 tries.
Woods put together a strong 3-and-2 victory over Abraham Ancer. That was followed by victories for Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay. Wins by Xander Schauffele (SHOW’-flee) and Webb Simpson put the Americans on the verge of the title before Matt Kuchar (KOO’-chur) secured it by halving Louis Oosthuizen (WUHST’-hy-zehn). Kucher wrapped it up with a birdie on 17.