AP NEWS

Weekend Sports In Brief

January 13, 2020 GMT

NFL

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers connected with Davante Adams eight times for 160 yards and two touchdowns, Green Bay’s spruced-up defense fended off a spirited Seattle rally, and the Packers held on for a 28-23 victory to reach the NFC championship game for the third time in six years.

Aaron Jones rushed for 62 yards and two first-half scores for the Packers (14-3), who will travel next weekend to take on top-seeded San Francisco.

Russell Wilson carried the Seahawks (12-6) on yet another comeback, this time from a 21-3 halftime deficit, but the Packers forced a punt shortly before the two-minute warning on the second sack of the game by Preston Smith. That was Green Bay’s fifth of the game. Za’Darius Smith, the other big-money free agent added to the defense last spring, had two sacks, too.

The Seahawks never got the ball again.

Rodgers sealed the win with two third-down throws: a 32-yard strike to Adams on third-and-8 with 2:19 left and then for 9 yards to Jimmy Graham on third-and-9 right after the two-minute warning to take down a Seahawks team that was 8-1 on the road this season entering the game.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs are back in the AFC championship game. How they returned to the brink of their first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years was unlike anything anybody could have imagined.

After digging a 24-0 hole against Houston early in the second quarter, Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the high-flying Chiefs embarked on the biggest comeback in franchise history. Their young superstar proceeded to throw for 321 yards and five touchdowns, Travis Kelce and Damien Williams reached the end zone three times apiece, and Kansas City reeled off 41 consecutive points in a 51-31 victory over the Texans in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The Chiefs (13-4), who lost to the Patriots in overtime in last year’s conference title game, will play Tennessee next Sunday for a spot in Miami.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Jimmy Garoppolo threw a TD pass on his opening drive as a playoff starter and then watched San Francisco’s defense and running game take over from there in the 49ers’ 27-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round Saturday.

The Niners’ first playoff game in six seasons and first ever at Levi’s Stadium turned into a lopsided one as top-seeded San Francisco (14-3) turned a pair of second-half turnovers by Minnesota (11-7) into 10 points.

Richard Sherman set up Tevin Coleman’s second short touchdown run of the game with an interception against Kirk Cousins and Marcus Sherels’ fumbled punt led to a field goal that made it 27-10 early in the fourth quarter.

San Francisco didn’t allow Minnesota to gain a first down for more than 27 minutes of game action starting late in the second quarter.

The Niners will host the NFC championship game next week against the winner of Sunday’s game between Seattle and Green Bay.

BALTIMORE (AP) — One week after dominating defending Super Bowl champion New England, Derrick Henry gained 195 yards rushing and threw a 3-yard touchdown pass in a 28-12 victory over the Ravens.

Baltimore (14-3) had won its last 12 games, with quarterback Lamar Jackson setting records and looking unstoppable. On Saturday night, it was Henry who was unstoppable.

Plus, Tennessee’s defense had two interceptions of Jackson, who also lost a fumble, and the Titans (11-7) twice stopped Baltimore on fourth-and-1.

Henry’s jump-pass to Corey Davis displayed yet another of his skills. He has completed three throws in four attempts in his career.

NEW YORK (AP) — Jimmy Johnson, who coached the Dallas Cowboys to two Super Bowl championships in the 1990s, has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The hall announced his selection Sas part of a centennial class that was chosen on Wednesday by a special committee.

A successful college coach at Oklahoma State and Miami, where he won a national championship in 1987, Johnson was hired in 1989 by new Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. His initial team went 1-15, but Johnson rebuilt the roster — including trading star running back Herschel Walker to Minnesota for a slew of draft picks and players who were converted into draft choices. That deal is considered among the most one-sided in sports history, and it netted, among others, the draft pick that brought Emmitt Smith to Dallas.

Johnson left the Cowboys after the back-to-back championships for the 1992 and ’93 seasons in a dispute with Jones. But the roster he built, under his college rival Barry Switzer, won the 1995 NFL crown, too.

NEW YORK (AP) — Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Cowher, an analyst for CBS, was surprised by the announcement made live on air in studio before the Tennessee Titans-Baltimore Ravens AFC divisional round playoff game Saturday night.

Hall President and CEO David Baker delivered the news to Cowher during CBS’s “The NFL Today” pregame show broadcast.

An emotional Cowher, now 62, hugged Baker and then his wife Veronica and daughter Meagan, who were standing off to the side of the set. The rest of Cowher’s CBS broadcast team, including James Brown, Boomer Esiason and Phil Simms, also gave him congratulatory hugs.

GOLF

HONOLULU (AP) — Cameron Smith of Australia won his first PGA Tour title on his own when he least expected it.

Two shots behind with two holes to play, Smith made an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole to force a playoff against a faltering Brendan Steele, and won the rain-soaked Sony Open with a two-putt par from 10 feet on the first extra hole.

Steele had a three-shot lead when he holed a bunker shot for birdie on the 11th hole and he never trailed the entire day until it fell apart at the end. He missed a 6-foot par putt on the 17th, and then hit a wild hook from the fairway on the par-5 18th and never had a reasonable look at birdie.

On the 10th hole for the playoff, Steele was in ideal position in the fairway, 88 yards from the hole, when he hit wedge over the green. He chipped off the mud and wet grass to 15 feet and missed the par putt. Smith, who had driven into right rough, chased his shot to 10 feet.

NBA

DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 20 points and 15 rebounds, and the Denver Nuggets withstood a big rally to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 114-104 on Sunday night.

Trailing by as many 20 points in the second half, Los Angeles had pulled within six with 1:11 remaining when Patrick Beverley was called for a foul on Jokic. Clippers coach Doc Rivers was incensed over the call and was given two technical fouls and tossed from the game. Jamal Murray hit both free throws to give the Nuggets some much-needed breathing room.

Murray finished with 19 points and reserve Michael Porter Jr. provided a spark by scoring 13 as the Nuggets bounced back from a loss to struggling Cleveland the night before at home.

NEW YORK (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored 21 points in 20 minutes of an easy return from a two-month absence with an injured right shoulder, leading the Brooklyn Nets to a 108-86 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

Irving shot 10 for 11 from the field after missing 26 games with an impingement. The shoulder looked fine and his handle looked as good as ever while he dribbled his way around a hopeless Atlanta defense.

Energized by his return that still seemed a ways away just a week ago, the Nets led by 39 points and won their second straight after dropping seven in a row.

BOXING

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields remained undefeated and won the 154-pound championship with a unanimous decision over overmatched Ivana Habazin on Friday night.

Shields (10-0, 2 KOs) already won the middleweight and super middleweight crowns in her brief career and become the fastest fighter in boxing history — either male or female — to become a three-division world champion. That milestone is skewed a bit because women’s boxing doesn’t have the depth of talent or years of title fights as men, but it’s still one more achievement reached for the Flint, Michigan, fighter.

She won on the scorecards 99-89, 100-90, 100-89 to bring home the junior middleweight title.

Shields won Olympic gold in 2012 in London and repeated the feat four years later in Rio de Janiero.

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