Daytona 500 announces 4th consecutive sellout
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Daytona 500 is a sellout for the fourth consecutive year.
Daytona International Speedway announced Saturday that all reserved grandstand seats have been purchased for the 61st running of "The Great American Race."
Track president Chip Wile says "this is a tribute to our fans."
Some specialty tickets remain, including access to premium hospitality areas, the infield and the pre-race concert featuring country singer Jake Owen.
Texans star J.J. Watt to serve as Daytona 500 grand marshal
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Houston Texans star J.J. Watt will serve as the grand marshal for the Daytona 500, making him the first NFL player to give the command for drivers to starts their engines before NASCAR's most famous race.
Daytona International Speedway made the announcement Monday, six days before the 61st running of "The Great American Race."
NFL Today, Conference Championships
Sunday, Jan. 27
AFC vs. NFC in Pro Bowl, 3 p.m. EST. The NFL's all-star game will be played in Orlando, Florida, with Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, Todd Gurley and J.J. Watt all among those voted as starters.
Chiefs atop AFC playoff puzzle for 1st time since 1997
For the first time in a decade, the top seed in the AFC playoffs goes to a team not led by Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.
The Kansas City Chiefs earned the No. 1 seed for the first time since 1997 after switching from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes , the sensational second-year star who reminds so many of Brett Favre.
Healthy Watt and Watson lead Texans into playoffs
HOUSTON (AP) — Last year at this time, Houston's J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson were rehabbing after serious injuries cut both of their seasons short and contributed to the Texans' terrible 4-12 season.
Healthy and thriving this season, the stars lead the AFC South champion Texans into Saturday's wild-card game against Indianapolis.
"We talked about times like this when we were in the training room, what we wanted to accomplish and what we were working toward," Watt said.
Texans clinch AFC South title with 20-3 win over Jaguars
HOUSTON (AP) — After the Houston Texans fell to 0-3 with a loss at home to the New York Giants on Sept. 23, they appeared to be headed for a second straight losing season.
Instead, the Texans (11-5) won their next nine games and 11 of their last 13, capped by Sunday's 20-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, to clinch the AFC South title.
Wild and crazy season ends with lots of playoff uncertainty
In a wild and crazy season, the biggest remaining tumult is in the AFC South.
Houston leads and takes the division title by beating struggling Jacksonville. A Texans loss, however, gives the winner of the prime-time game between the Colts and Titans in Nashville the crown, dropping Houston into a wild card.
Texans are 6th team since 1980 in playoffs after 0-3 start
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans are the sixth team since 1980 and the first in 20 years to make the postseason after a 0-3 start.
"When you start off 0-3 and you're sitting here at 10-5 with a chance to win the division on Sunday you've done a lot of good things over the course of those games since we were 0-3," defensive end J.J. Watt said. "But we have to make sure that we do what we need to do to make sure that doesn't all go to waste."
Texans lose to Eagles 32-30, lose control of No. 2 seed
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Deshaun Watson made one big play after another to rally the Houston Texans back from a 13-point deficit to take the lead only to watch the defense let it slip away.
The Texans missed an opportunity to clinch the AFC South and lost control of the No. 2 seed when Jake Elliott kicked a 35-yard field goal as time expired to give the Philadelphia Eagles a 32-30 victory on Sunday.
Eagles again counting on Nick Foles in high-stakes games
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Nick Foles understands his Super Bowl MVP trophy isn't going to help when J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney are chasing after him.
No matter the pressure, he usually stays calm and plays with poise.
The Philadelphia Eagles are again counting on Foles to win high-stakes games. Foles, who was 3-0 in the playoffs last season, led the 14-point underdog Eagles to a victory on the road against the Rams last week to keep them in the playoff race.
Late penalty helps Colts snap Texans’ 9-game winning streak
HOUSTON (AP) — With two minutes remaining, the Houston Texans down 24-21 to the Indianapolis Colts and needing a critical stop at midfield on third-and-1, Andrew Luck tried and tried to draw the Texans offside.
With the play clock dwindling and the Colts facing having to burn a timeout, Luck gave it one last try.
Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney took the bait.
Texans get 9th straight win, 29-13, win over Browns
HOUSTON (AP) — After the Houston Texans extended their franchise record with a ninth straight win on Sunday, J.J. Watt was asked to reflect on how far the team has come in the past year.
"I was on the couch a year ago so this is a lot better," said Watt, who missed the last 11 games of Houston's 4-12 2017 season with a broken leg. "I was in a lot of pain. So it's good for us to be winning ... this is what it's supposed to feel like. Honestly this is how you dream it up."
Mayfield, Cleveland face big test with Houston’s pass rush
HOUSTON (AP) — The Cleveland Browns have done a great job of protecting Baker Mayfield recently, and have the longest active streak in the NFL by not allowing a sack in 125 snaps.
Things will get more difficult for the Browns (4-6-1) on Sunday when they visit the Houston Texans (8-3) and their defense led by pass-rushing stars J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Watt is tied for second in the NFL with 11 1/2 sacks and has 19 quarterback hits, and Clowney has seven sacks and 15 quarterback hits.
Houston’s Watt still looking for more in comeback season
HOUSTON (AP) — On the day J.J. Watt was selected AFC defensive player of the week, the defensive end who missed most of the last two seasons with serious injuries was asked if he's all the way back.
His simple answer: "No."
As well as Watt is playing in his comeback, he still believes he can do much more for the Houston Texans, starting with helping them extend their winning streak to nine games with a victory Sunday over Cleveland.
Texans beat Titans 34-17 for team-record 8th straight win
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans wanted to honor their late owner and founder Robert "Bob" McNair, who died last week at age 81.
They knew the perfect way to do that Monday night was to keep their winning streak going.
Deshaun Watson threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score as the Texans set a franchise record with their eighth straight victory, 34-17 over the Tennessee Titans.
ICYMI in NFL Week 11: Alex Smith leg break like Theismann’s
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — As much as the NFL would rather if everyone discussed all of the yards and TDs produced in game after game, and for whatever advancements have been made in player safety over time, pro football is, at its core, a brutal sport — and what happened to Alex Smith's right leg is not very different from what happened to Joe Theismann's right leg, exactly 33 years apart.
The Latest: Lions rookie RB Johnson leaves with injury
The Latest on Week 11 in the NFL (all times EST):
Detroit rookie Kerryon Johnson left the game against Carolina in the third quarter with an apparent left knee injury and is questionable to return.
Johnson has 87 yards on 15 carries on the day, including Detroit's only touchdown so far. The Lions lead 13-7.
- Wisconsin State JournalJ.J. Watt picked as UW-Madison commencement speaker for class of 2019February 7, 2019
- Norfolk Daily NewsAFC Divisional Round breakdown: Colts vs. ChiefsJanuary 11, 2019
- Post-BulletinWild-card breakdown: Indianapolis Colts at Houston TexansJanuary 5, 2019
- Norfolk Daily NewsUnlocked Chicago Bears newsletter sample: 'Ask Hub'December 13, 2018
Thomas wins homecoming as Texans escape Denver 19-17
DENVER (AP) — For the first time in his life, Demaryius Thomas celebrated Brandon McManus missing a field goal.
Thomas won his hasty homecoming Sunday when his ex-teammate's windless 51-yard attempt drifted wide right, allowing the Houston Texans to escape Denver with 19-17 win .
Peterson, Watt, Luck, A-Rod? Who is top comeback player?
Of all the NFL seasonal awards, the one shaping up as the closest and most intriguing is for Comeback Player of the Year.
Chiefs’ Dee Ford lining himself up for big payday next year
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Dee Ford insists he isn't motivated by money, and considering he's making nearly $9 million this season, the Chiefs linebacker is probably telling the truth when he claims he has everything he needs.
Well, he'd better start building a list wants.
After four years spent scratching at his potential, only to have injuries get in the way, the former first-round draft pick is having a breakout season in a contract year.
Steelers’ Watt among several fined by NFL for QB hits
NEW YORK (AP) — Pittsburgh's T.J. Watt has been fined $20,054 by the NFL for his hit on Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, and the Steelers linebacker says he will appeal it.
Watt rolled into the right leg of Ryan during the Steelers' 41-17 victory last Sunday and was called for roughing the passer. Watt, who had three sacks and was named the AFC defensive player of the week, said earlier in the week that he pulled his hands off the quarterback and that can be seen in the film.
Watt’s fast start triggering “Blitzburgh” resurgence
PITTSBURGH (AP) — T.J. Watt is not trying to match his older brother sack for sack. Honest.
It's just sort of happening that way for the second-year Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, whose six quarterback takedowns through the first five weeks of the season have him tied with Cincinnati defensive end Carlos Dunlap and Houston Texans star J.J. Watt — the oldest of the three Watt brothers in the NFL — for the league lead.
Texans and Cowboys prepare for rare meeting
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston star J.J. Watt knows how important Sunday night's game against the Dallas Cowboys is to fans of both teams.
But the way the Texans' season has gone so far, Watt isn't concerned about the significance of this in-state rivalry and is simply worried about helping his guys turn things around.
"I'm sure there's definitely something there for the fans on both sides, but ... they could be lining up anybody over there," Watt said. "We need to win this game."
Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence showing he’s no 1-year wonder
FRISCO, Texas (AP) — As DeMarcus Lawrence prepares to share the field with J.J. Watt for the first time in the regular season, Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli figures it's time to say his best defensive end shares the elite company of the Houston Texans star.
Texans win but still have more work to do
HOUSTON (AP) — After finally getting their first win this weekend, the Houston Texans know that they still have plenty of work to do if they hope to get on a roll and turn their season around.
The Texans (1-3) squandered an 18-point lead on Sunday before beating the Colts 37-34 in overtime to end a nine-game losing streak going back to last season.
Coming up next is a showdown with in-state rival Dallas, a team that enters the game at 2-2 after a victory over Detroit this weekend.
Giants’ Rebuilt O-line to face tough test in Brees, Saints
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants' reconstructed offensive line will face its second consecutive stern test when the New Orleans Saints visit MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
The Saints (2-1) feature one of the NFL's premier defensive ends in Cameron Jordan, who is tied for the league lead with four sacks. The primary job of blocking him will go to Chad Wheeler, a second-year tackle who went undrafted out of Southern California.
Texans visit Colts desperate for 1st win
HOUSTON (AP) — A season so promising just a few short weeks ago is on the verge of falling apart for the Houston Texans.
One of only three winless teams in the NFL, the Texans are desperate to get a victory on Sunday against the Colts and try to salvage their season.
"We have to win this game," safety Tyrann Mathieu said. "We just have to win."
Winless Texans search for ways to turn things around
HOUSTON (AP) — With J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson healthy and back on the field for the Houston Texans, expectations were high they'd turn things around after last year's dreadful season.
Instead, Sunday's 27-22 loss to the New York Giants put them into an 0-3 hole and had coaches and players searching for answers.
"We've got to figure something out," Watt said. "I told the guys in there: 'We're at the bottom. You've got to find a way to claw your way out of the bottom.'"
Texans-Giants game features top WRs in Hopkins, Beckham
HOUSTON (AP) — It will be a showcase of two of the NFL's best receivers in DeAndre Hopkins and Odell Beckham Jr. when the Houston Texans and New York Giants meet on Sunday with both teams looking for their first win.
Hopkins likes Beckham's determination and grit, and sees similarities between himself and the New York star.
"Of course. He makes plays no matter where the ball is," Hopkins said. "He's not the tallest, I'm not the tallest, but he (goes) up and gets it. He just makes plays."
Vrabel gets 1st win as Titans dig deep to beat Texans 20-17
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — No Marcus Mariota. Both starting offensive tackles out, along with the top backup against Houston and three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.
Mike Vrabel gave the NFL a glimpse at just how much of a difference he and his assistants can make for the Tennessee Titans as the rookie picked up his first victory as a head coach.
Health not translating into victories for now 0-2 Texans
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Deshaun Watson is back and starting at quarterback. J.J. Watt also is running around on defense along with Whitney Mercilus.
Health has yet to translate into victories for the Houston Texans.
Watson threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns Sunday, but he made a mistake that absorbed the final 17 seconds in a 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Succop kicks 31-yard field goal as Titans edge Texans 20-17
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee played without its starting quarterback and top three offensive tackles against J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus and the rest of Houston's challenging defense.
Mike Vrabel and his assistants responded with a few timely tricks for the Titans.
Ryan Succop kicked a 31-yard field goal with 1:00 left, and the battered Titans held off the Texans 20-17 on Sunday for Vrabel's first victory as an NFL head coach against the team he worked for the past four seasons.
Von Miller misses Khalil Mack, Case Keenum sure won’t
DENVER (AP) — Von Miller might be the only one at Denver Broncos headquarters lamenting Khalil Mack's startling trade from the Oakland Raiders to the Chicago Bears.
"I mean, honestly, I was shocked," Miller said. "I always felt like Khalil and Aaron Donald were untradeable guys. J.J. Watt, I thought guys like that were untradeable. Then they traded him. A guy like Khalil, he only comes around once every lifetime. You want to keep guys like that."
Texans’ Watt looks to build on return from injury in Game 2
HOUSTON (AP) — J.J. Watt got better as the season opener went on, his first game since breaking his leg last October.
"Whatever it was, knocking rust off in the first half or just getting back up to speed in a full game, but definitely started to feel more like myself in the second half," Watt said of the loss in New England.
After getting through that game, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year is looking to make more of an impact this week when the Texans visit Tennessee.
Healed and revamped, Texans ready to take on Brady, Patriots
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Injuries prevented the Texans from finding out exactly what their team could have been last season.
Star defensive end J.J. Watt, linebacker Whitney Mercilus and quarterback Deshaun Watson were among 21 Houston players that spent time on injured reserve during the 2017 campaign. The season predictably imploded, ending with six straight losses.
Watt returns looking to bounce back after 2 major injuries
HOUSTON (AP) — J.J. Watt smiles and chuckles quietly when asked if he's heard from Houston Texans fans who can't wait to see if he'll be the player he once was.
Watt returns Sunday after injuries limited him to eight games over the last two seasons.
NFL 2018: Questions abound, from anthems to rule changes
NEW YORK (AP) — Rules changes and U.S. anthem demonstrations seem to have people inside and outside the NFL obsessed as the opening kickoff of the season approaches.
Yes, the Super Bowl champion Eagles and Atlanta Falcons will open things on Thursday in Philadelphia. What many people wonder: Will there be any social injustice protests during "The Star-Spangled Banner?" And will players, coaches and officials have a handle on the adjustment to use of the helmet in making a hit.
NFL 2018: Questions abound, from anthems to rule changes
NEW YORK (AP) — Rules changes and national anthem demonstrations seem to have folks inside and outside the NFL obsessed as the opening kickoff of the season approaches.
Yes, the Super Bowl champion Eagles and Atlanta Falcons will open things on Thursday night in Philadelphia. What many folks wonder: Will there be any social injustice protests during "The Star-Spangled Banner?" And if players, coaches and officials will have a handle on the adjustment to use of the helmet in making a hit.
NFL 2018: Jags look to repeat as AFC South champs
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — For so very long, the AFC South easily ranked among the NFL's worst divisions.
Texans Preview Capsule
HOUSTON TEXANS (4-12)
New faces: S Tyrann Mathieu, G Senio Kelemete, G Zach Fulton, OT Seantrel Henderson, CB Aaron Colvin, QB Brandon Weeden, TE Jordan Akins.
Key losses: LB Brian Cushing, OT Jeff Allen, OL Xavier Su'a-Filo.
Texans star JJ Watt’s Hurricane Harvey effort raises $41.6M
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Texans star J.J. Watt said Monday that he has distributed the $41.6 million his foundation raised to help rebuild the Texas Gulf Coast after Hurricane Harvey.
An online fundraiser Watt launched after the storm hit Texas last year went viral and far exceeded his original goal of raising $200,000.
Watt, Suh back on field in Rams’ 21-20 win over Texans
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Even after everything J.J. Watt has accomplished in football, he still relished the chance to walk on — and off — the field for his first game action since breaking his leg.
Todd Gurley, Jared Goff and the rest of the Los Angeles Rams' offense won't get any action at all in this preseason, but they insist they'll still be ready for the games that count.
McVay might hold QB Goff out of Rams’ third preseason game
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley hopes there will be a time when the NFL does away with preseason games entirely, saying that "everyone's dream is not to play in the preseason."
In the meantime, Gurley will have to settle for Rams coach Sean McVay making his dream come true.
FANTASY PLAYS: Evaluating strength of schedule in football
One key to fantasy football success comes from looking at strength of schedule. It shouldn't be the only way you build a winning squad, but matchups help make sure you're playing meaningful games in December rather than looking ahead to baseball.
Texans’ Watt eager to return, move past injury woes
HOUSTON (AP) — Nearly 11 months from his most recent NFL game, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt isn't hiding his eagerness to get back on the field.
The three-time Defensive Player of the Year hasn't played since he suffered a broken left leg against Kansas City in Week 5 last season. The prior year, he missed the final 13 games of the 2016 season with a back injury that required surgery.
McGlinchey excited for big test this week vs. Watt, Clowney
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Mike McGlinchey's first test as an NFL tackle came against one of the league's top pass rushers in Dallas' DeMarcus Lawrence.
Things will only get tougher this week when McGlinchey must contend with three-time former AP Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney when the 49ers travel to Houston for two days of practice against the Texans before an exhibition game on Saturday.
Texans donate old turf to school flooded in Hurricane Harvey
HOUSTON (AP) — A high school hit hard by Hurricane Harvey is getting a new playing surface thanks to the Houston Texans.
The Texans said Monday that they're donating the turf they played on at NRG Stadium last season to C.E. King High School after its field was destroyed in flooding from Harvey, which hit the area last August.
Chiefs S Sorensen to miss start of season after surgery
The Kansas City Chiefs will be without starting safety Daniel Sorensen for the start of the season after he had surgery to repair a broken shin bone and damage to his left knee.
Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder described the injury Saturday as a tibial plateau fracture, which involves the upper part of the shin. Sorensen also damaged his medial collateral ligament and tore his meniscus when he was hurt during a special teams drill last week.
J.J. Watt wins Walter Payton Man of the Year Award
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt won the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award on Saturday night.
The award recognizes a player's contribution in his community and to society in general. It was given out at NFL Honors, when The Associated Press announced its individual NFL awards.
Tight ends Benjamin Watson of the Baltimore Ravens and Greg Olsen of the Carolina Panthers also were finalists.