Weekend Sports In Brief
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Alex Smith threw two touchdown passes and Washington beat the Philadelphia Eagles 20-14 Sunday night to capture the lowly NFC East.
Washington became the first team in the Super Bowl era to reach the playoffs following a 2-7 start. Washington earned the NFC’s No. 4 seed and will host Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) in a wild-card game next Saturday night.
It didn’t hurt the visitors that Eagles coach Doug Pederson switched to third string quarterback Nate Sudfeld early in the fourth quarter. Sudfeld hadn’t thrown a pass since 2018 and was picked on his second attempt. He also lost a fumble.
Led by Smith and first-year coach Ron Rivera, who overcame a form of skin cancer during the season, Washington (7-9) is the third team to win a division title with a losing record during a full 16-game season. Seattle (2010) and Carolina (2014) previously did it and each won a playoff game.
HOUSTON (AP) — Already a back-to-back rushing champ before the game even started, Derrick Henry became the eighth player in NFL history to run for 2,000 yards in a season,.He finished with a career-high 250 yards as the Titans beat the Houston Texans 41-38 to win their first AFC South title since 2008.
Henry, who entered the game with 1,777 yards rushing, reached 2,000 on a 6-yard run in the fourth quarter.
CHICAGO (AP) — The Green Bay Packers clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a 35-16 win over the playoff-bound Chicago Bears.
Aaron Rodgers threw for four touchdowns, breaking his franchise record for scoring passes in a season to help the Packers (13-3) earn a bye while winning their sixth in a row
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns are back in the playoffs, qualifying for the first time since 2002 by surviving a late Pittsburgh rally for a 24-22 win over the Steelers, who rested quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and several other starters.
The Browns (11-5) nearly blew a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter, but stopped Pittsburgh’s 2-point conversion attempt and then recovered an onside kick with 1:22 left to hold on.
A week of COVID-19 disruptions concluded in celebration as the Browns ended what had been the NFL’s longest postseason drought. Their reward: Another game against the AFC North champion Steelers, in Pittsburgh next weekend.
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Jets fired coach Adam Gase, ending a frustrating and disappointing tenure after just two loss-filled seasons.
Hired by the Jets in January 2019, Gase went 9-23 with New York, including an 0-13 start that was the worst in franchise history — overshadowing even the 1996 squad that went 0-8 on the way to a 1-15 finish, and is generally recognized as the team’s worst.
The move was announced by the team a few hours after New York lost 28-14 at New England on Sunday to end the season 2-14.
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Devon Achane had two late touchdown runs, including a 76-yarder with 3:44 left that put Texas A&M ahead to stay, and the fifth-ranked Aggies beat No. 14 North Carolina 41-27 in the Orange Bowl on Saturday night to cap a winless bowl season for the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Kellen Mond passed for 232 yards and ran for a score for the Aggies (9-1) in their first Orange Bowl since 1944. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher improved to 3-0 in Orange Bowls, winning two previous ones at Florida State.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Matt Corral threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns to help Mississippi beat No. 7 Indiana 26-20 in the Outback Bowl.
Corral’s 3-yard pass to Dontario Drummond put the Rebels (5-5) ahead for good with 4:12 remaining. Ole Miss came through with one more stop for its first non-losing record since going 6-6 in 2017. First-year coach Lane Kiffin was rewarded before the game with a new contract.
Drummond finished with six catches for 110 yards. Corral completed 30 of 44 passes without an interception, including a 5-yard throw to Casey Kelly that put Ole Miss up 13-3 midway through the second quarter.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Breece Hall ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns, Brock Purdy accounted for two scores and No. 12 Iowa State beat No. 25 Oregon 34-17 in the Fiesta Bowl.
The Cyclones (9-3) used their ball-control offense to dominate the time of possession and keep Oregon’s offense off the field for long stretches to win their first New Year’s Six bowl.
Hall, an AP All-American, had 34 carries and his ninth 100-yard game this season. Purdy, who went to high school in nearby Gilbert, threw for 156 yards and a touchdown on 20-of-29 passing, adding a touchdown on the ground. Iowa State had a time of possession advantage of more than 25 minutes.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A.J. Rose ran for a career-high 148 yards, Chris Rodriguez added 84 yards and two scores and Kentucky held off No. 24 North Carolina State 23-21 in a chippy Gator Bowl.
Christopher Dunn missed two field goals for the Wolfpack (8-4), who trailed 16-14 late when Bailey Hockman threw his third interception of the game. Rodriguez scored on the ensuing play, going nearly untouched for 26 yards.
NC State got a final chance after Jordan Houston scored with 1:10 remaining. But Allen Dailey recovered Dunn’s onside kick, and the Wildcats (5-6) ran out the clock.
Coach Mark Stoops got a Gatorade bath following the team’s third straight bowl victory, which ended a tumultuous season that included the loss of offensive line coach John Schlarman.
DALLAS (AP) — Quentin Grimes hit a go-ahead 3-pointer to ignite a 10-0 run to start the second half for No. 5 Houston and the Cougars rebounded from their first loss with a 74-60 victory over previously undefeated SMU.
That 3-pointer by Grimes from the top of the key to put Houston (8-1, 3-1 American) ahead to stay on the first shot after halftime and Justin Gorham then made a 3. Grimes also had a layup and two free throws in that game-turning run in just over 2 1/2 minutes.
Marcus Sasser led Houston with 17 points, and Gorham had 11 points and 19 rebounds. DeJon Jarreau scored 15 points.
Kendric Davis led SMU (6-1, 2-1) with 23 points.
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Michaela Onyenwere had a career-high 33 points along with 10 rebounds and No. 11 UCLA held off No. 8 Oregon 73-71, snapping the Ducks’ 27-game winning streak.
In addition to the longest active winning streak in the nation, the Ducks (8-1, 6-1 Pac-12) had won 24 straight conference games and 22 consecutive games at Matthew Knight Arena.
Charisma Osborne added 22 points for the well-rested Bruins (6-2, 4-2), who had not played since Dec. 21 when they fell to No. 1 Stanford 61-49 at Pauley Pavilion.
Te-Hina Paopao had 19 points while Angela Dugalic added 13 for the Ducks, who trailed by as many as 11 points in the final quarter.