Andy Behrens makes a fantasy manager with Tony Pollard on his bench feel even worse than he already does after this loss.
Andy Behrens makes a fantasy manager with Tony Pollard on his bench feel even worse than he already does after this loss.
The Toronto Raptors cling on to another win over the Charlotte Hornets thanks to two clutch stops by Stanley Johnson.
The Bills offense has been fantastic all season. The defense took center stage on Saturday.
Mitch Marner had a goal and two beauty assists as the Maple Leafs held on for a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.
Los Angeles had the No. 1 defense in the regular season, but that didn't bother the Packers.
The Beard is off and running in Brooklyn.
Jacob Markstrom's 32-save shutout against his former club spurred the Calgary Flames to a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
The Ravens QB picked a bad time to throw the first red-zone pick of his career.
Jeff Petry and Tomas Tatar each scored twice Saturday as the Canadiens dropped the Oilers 5-1.
When Green Bay drafted Jordan Love in the first round last spring instead of help at other positions, the reaction was swift. But the last laugh is only two games away.
Max Holloway put on the performance of a lifetime on Saturday.
Deshaun Watson is reportedly upset at the hiring mess. Jack Easterby, in the center of it, is lashing out at others.
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are a juggernaut at the height of its powers, but it would be unwise to sleep on Baker Mayfield and the Browns.
Raptors Over Everything host William Lou breaks down Toronto's second consecutive win over the Charlotte Hornets.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — In what was supposed to be a showdown between Buffalo’s Josh Allen and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, Taron Johnson literally stole the show. If not for the wall separating the field from the stands in the back of the east end zone, the Bills cornerback might still be running after returning an interception 101 yards for a touchdown that propelled Buffalo to its first AFC championship game appearance in 27 years. Johnson’s pick-6 of Jackson’s pass with 41 seconds remaining in the third quarter helped secure a 17-3 win over the Ravens in a divisional-round playoff game Saturday night. “We’re excited. It’s not done yet, we’re not done yet,” Johnson exclaimed. “It’s just a blessing. Our defence stepped up to the challenge." Johnson’s return matched the longest in NFL history and punctuated a stellar defensive outing in which Buffalo (15-3) limited the NFL’s top running offence to 150 yards on 32 carries. Jackson, last season's NFL MVP, was sacked three times and did not return after sustaining a concussion following the final play of the third quarter, and two plays after Johnson scored. He finished 14 of 24 for 162 yards passing, while being limited to 42 yards rushing on nine carries. Allen, an MVP candidate this year, finished 23 of 37 for 206 yards and a touchdown. In a season in which the Bills relied mostly on their dynamic Allen-led offence to outscore opponents, the third-year quarterback was gratified to see Buffalo’s defence make a difference in a game the pass-happy attack was kept mostly in check. “I can’t say enough words for what that game was for our defence,” Allen said. “Taron Johnson’s is a play that people are going to remember for a long time here in Buffalo, potentially a franchise-altering play.” The Bills advanced to the AFC championship game for the first time since 1994 on their way to making — and losing — their four consecutive Super Bowl appearance. Buffalo also extended a season in which it has broken numerous droughts by claiming its first AFC East division title in 25 years and, with last week’s victory over Indianapolis, winning its first post-season game since the same year. The Bills, have won eight straight to match their best streak since 1990 and will play the winner of the AFC’s other divisional playoff between Cleveland and Kansas City on Sunday. The fifth-seeded Ravens (12-6) had their season come to an end after leading the NFL in yards rushing for a second consecutive year. Baltimore clinched its third playoff berth in three years by winning its final five regular-season games. The winning streak came after a 1-4 skid capped by a 19-14 loss at Pittsburgh on Dec. 2 in a game rescheduled three times due to COVID-19 issues. “It’s a sad moment, but this team has been through a lot,” tight end Mark Andrew said. “It’s tough right now, but teammates and coaches and camaraderie, it was a group of special guys that worked hard, came to work every day and didn’t take anything for granted. We’re going to hold our heads high and come back and work.” Tied at 3 after the first half, the Bills took control in the third quarter. Buffalo went ahead 10-3 on Allen’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs to cap an 11-play, 66-yard opening drive. The Ravens threatened to answer on their next drive, which ended with Johnson’s interception. With Baltimore facing third-and-goal from the 9, Johnson jumped in front of the pass intended for Andrews and took off up the right sideline. He followed teammate Tre’Davious White, who made sure Jackson didn’t have an angle to push Johnson out of bounds. Johnson, who also returned an interception for a score in a 26-15 win over Pittsburgh on Dec. 13, said he initially thought about going down after catching the ball, before seeing no one in front of him. “I caught the ball and kind of looked down, but then I looked up and saw a whole bunch of green grass to that side of me,” he said. “At that point, there’s one person I have to beat. And that’s No. 8 (Jackson).” Johnson’s interception return matched Packers defensive back George Teague’s INT return in Green Bay’s 28-24 win over Detroit in a wild-card playoff on Jan. 8, 1994. Things turned worse for Baltimore two snaps later, when Jackson was forced out of the game. Facing second-and-10 at Baltimore’s 25, centre Patrick Mekari snapped the ball over Jackson’s head. The quarterback turned and chased the bouncing ball down inside the 5, turned and quickly threw it away as Tremaine Edmunds had him by the legs and Trent Murphy fell on top of him. Jackson’s injury left Tyler Huntley to finish the game after being promoted off the practice squad. “I’m not frustrated at all,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in announcing Jackson sustained a concussion. “The players are disappointed. It’s tough to lose a game. Our guys played like crazy, and if you don’t win the game you’re going to feel it.” MISSING KICKS Gusting winds played havoc with the kickers. Baltimore’s Justin Tucker, the NFL’s most accurate kicker, hit the left upright from 41 yards and the right upright from 46 yards, before hitting a 34-yard attempt. It was the first time he missed twice from inside 50 yards in the same game. Buffalo rookie Tyler Bass missing two of three field goal attempts — a 43-yarder that was wide right in the second quarter and a 44-yarder that sailed wide left with 5:30 remaining. PRACTICE SQUAD TO PLAYOFFS Huntley, who had attempted just five passes in two appearances this season, finished 6 of 13 for 60 yards on three drives, the final two in which Baltimore turned the ball over on downs. UP NEXT Ravens: Season over. Bills: Advance to AFC championship game for first time since 1994, where they’ll face Cleveland or play Kansas City for a second time this season following a 26-17 loss to the Chiefs on Oct. 19. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL John Wawrow, The Associated Press
SCOREBOARD Sunday, Jan. 17 Cleveland at Kansas City, 3:05 p.m. ET, CBS. The Browns (12-5) are coming off their first playoff win since the 1994 season and take on the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (14-2) for the first time in the post-season. Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski will make his playoff head coaching debut after missing last week’s wild-card game due to COVID-19. Left guard Joel Bitonio and cornerback Denzel Ward also missed the game because of coronavirus protocols, but are expected to play Sunday. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are trying to become the first AFC team to host three consecutive conference championship games with a victory. Kansas City coach Andy Reid would tie the Steelers’ Chuck Noll for the fifth-most post-season wins with his 16th on Sunday. Tampa Bay at New Orleans, 6:40 p.m. ET, Fox. It's a matchup of quarterbacks whose combined ages on game day (85) will be the highest in NFL history with the Buccaneers' Tom Brady (43) and Saints' Drew Brees (42). Last week's win for the Buccaneers (12-5) was their first since winning the Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 season. Brady, who has won a record 31 post-season games, is slated to make his NFL-record 43rd playoff start. The Saints (13-4) won both regular-season meetings between the NFC South rivals. Brees will make his 18th career playoff start and has won nine post-season games, all with New Orleans after going 0-1 in the playoffs with the Chargers. __ STARS Passing — All-Pro Aaron Rodgers, Packers, threw two touchdown passes and also ran for a score as top-seeded Green Bay defeated the Los Angeles Rams 32-18 in an NFC divisional playoff game Saturday. — Josh Allen, Bills, went 23 of 37 for 206 yards and a touchdown in Buffalo's 17-3 victory over Baltimore in an AFC divisional playoff game Saturday night. ___ Rushing — Aaron Jones, Packers, ran for 99 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries in Green Bay's 32-18 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. ___ Receiving — All-Pro WR Stefon Diggs, Bills, had eight receptions for 106 yards and a TD in Buffalo's 17-3 victory over Baltimore. — All-Pro WR Davante Adams, and Allen Lazard, Packers. Adams caught nine passes for 66 yards and a touchdown, and Lazard had four receptions for 96 yards and a score to help Green Bay top the Los Angeles Rams 32-18. ___ Special Teams — Mason Crosby, Packers, kicked field goals of 39 and 24 yards in Green Bay's 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams. ___ Defence — Taron Johnson, Bills, returned an interception of Lamar Jackson 101 yards for a touchdown to help seal Buffalo's 17-3 win over Baltimore. — Kenny Clark and Rashan Gary, Packers. Each had 1 1/2 sacks in Green Bay's 32-18 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. ___ MILESTONES Aaron Rodgers’ 1-yard touchdown run in Green Bay's 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams was the first by a Packers quarterback in a playoff game at Lambeau Field since Bart Starr’s winning sneak in the Ice Bowl against Dallas on Dec. 31, 1967. ... The Packers became the first playoff team in NFL history to have more than 475 yards of total offence, more than 175 yards rushing, no sacks allowed and no turnovers in a game. ... Buffalo's Taron Johnson tied the NFL playoff record for longest interception return for a touchdown when he took one 101 yards in the Bills' 17-3 win over Baltimore. Green Bay's George Teague also had a 101-yard INT return for a TD against Detroit in the 1993 NFC wild-card round. STREAKS & STATS The Packers reached the NFC championship game for the fourth time in the last seven seasons with a 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams as they chase their first Super Bowl berth in a decade. It will be their first at Lambeau Field since hosting for the 2007 season, when they fell to the New York Giants 23-20 in overtime. ... Buffalo's Josh Allen joined Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes (2019) and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger (2005) as the only QBs under the age of 25 with multiple wins and a passer rating of over 100 in a single post-season. Both Mahomes and Roethlisberger went on to win the Super Bowl in those seasons. ... Buffalo has won eight straight, matching its best streak since 1990. PACKERS PROTECTORS Green Bay didn’t allow Aaron Rodgers to be sacked by the Los Angeles Rams' top-ranked defence in the Packers' 32-18 victory despite playing without injured All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari. The offensive line also cleared the way for Aaron Jones to run for 99 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries, including a 60-yard burst to open the second half. Rodgers called the Packers’ O-linemen “the star of the game tonight.” DOUBLE DOINKS Baltimore's Justin Tucker was 11 for 11 on field goal attempts inside of 50 yards during his post-season career entering the Ravens' game at Buffalo on Saturday night. But he went 0 for 2 in the 17-3 loss, hitting the left upright on a 41-yard attempt and hitting the right upright on a 43-yarder — both in the first quarter. Tucker also missed a 52-yarder in Baltimore's 20-13 win at Tennessee last week. SIDELINED Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson did not return after being evaluated for a concussion following the final play of the third quarter of the Ravens' 17-3 loss at Buffalo. Facing second-and-10 at Baltimore’s 25, centre Patrick Mekari snapped the ball over Jackson’s head. The quarterback turned and chased the bouncing ball down inside the 5, turned and quickly threw it away as Tremaine Edmunds had him by the legs and Trent Murphy fell down on top of him. Jackson’s injury left Tyler Huntley to finish the game after being promoted off the practice squad. ... Green Bay running back A.J. Dillon injured his quadriceps when he fumbled in the fourth quarter of the Packers' 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams. ... Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald played one week after a injuring his ribs, but the unanimous All-Pro selection clearly wasn’t himself and had just one assist. Los Angeles played without leading receiver Cooper Kupp (knee) and usual starting left guard David Edwards (ankle). SPEAKING — “I’m definitely a little emotional, just thinking about what we’ve been through. It got me emotional with the crowd out there today.” — Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who will play a conference championship game at home for the first time in his Hall of Fame-caliber career after the Packers beat the Los Angeles Rams 32-18. The game at Lambeau Field was played in front of 8,456 fans, a crowd that included paying spectators for the first time all season. — “You saw our defence. The game plan our coaching staff put for that offence was unbelievable. You don’t get style points for winning in the playoffs. You either go home or you advance to the next round. We’re on to the next one.” — Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen after the Bills advanced to the AFC championship game for the first time in 27 years with a 17-3 win over Baltimore. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — Marcus Johansson scored with 11 seconds remaining in overtime Saturday night and the Minnesota Wild defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 for the second straight game after trailing by two goals after two periods. Johansson's wrist shot went was near the top of the net and beat Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick on his stick side. Ryan Suter sent it to overtime with 2 seconds remaining with a snap shot near the blue line that Quick was unable to get his glove on. Matt Roy could have put the Kings up by two goals with 36 seconds remaining, but his shot hit the right post on an empty-net situation. Matt Dumba and Joel Eriksson Ek also tallied goals for Minnesota, and Jordan Greenway had a pair of assists. Cam Talbot made 30 saves for the Wild, who have won their first two games for the first time since 2015-16. Gabriel Vilardi, Blake Lizotte and Alex Athanasiou scored for Los Angeles while Jeff Carter had two assists. Quick stopped 40 shots. QUICK START Dumba put the Wild up 1-0 just 21 seconds into the game when he threw it on net and it deflected off Kings defenceman Kurtis MacDermid and past Quick. It is the quickest goal by a defenceman in team history and tied for the eighth-fastest goal in Minnesota history UPON FURTHER REVIEW Vilardi's goal tied it at 1 with 3:02 remaining in the first period. Officials originally determined there was no goal, but it was overturned when replays showed the puck crossed the goal line before the net came off its moorings. MILESTONE Suter became the second active NHL defenceman and 28th all-time to reach 500 assists on Dumba's goal. It was also his 300th with the Wild, making him the second player in team history to reach that mark. GOOD EARLY IMPRESSION Athanasiou has a pair of goals in his first two games with LA. He signed two days before the start of training camp after splitting time between Detroit and Edmonton last season. The 26-year-old forward gave the Kings a 3-1 lead midway through the second period on a rebound off a 2-on-1 break after Talbot stopped Jeff Carter’s first shot. ICE CHIPS Wild: Dumba owns 10 first goals of a game for Minnesota, which is second in team history amongst defencemen (Suter has 11). ... Wild defencemen have eight of the team's 18 points (three goals, five assists). Minnesota was fourth in the league last season in points scored by defencemen with 168. Kings: G Cal Petersen and defencemen Sean Walker and Kurtis MacDermid were activated to the roster after being unavailable due to COVID-19 protocols. ... Carter owns 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists) in 34 games against the Wild. UP NEXT Wild: Continue their four-game road trip on Monday against the Anaheim Ducks. Kings: Host the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. ___ More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Joe Reedy, The Associated Press
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Don’t tell Aaron Rodgers the lack of capacity crowds in a pandemic will limit the Green Bay Packers' home-field advantage in the NFC championship game. He's been waiting too long for this moment to have any such negative thoughts. Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and also ran for a score as the top-seeded Green Bay Packers beat the Los Angeles Rams 32-18 in an NFC divisional playoff game Saturday. He will play a conference championship game at home for the first time since taking over as Green Bay's starting quarterback in 2008. “I'm definitely a little emotional, just thinking about what we've been through,” said Rodgers, who went 23 of 36 for 296 yards. “It got me emotional with the crowd out there today.” Rodgers threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adam s and a game-clinching 58-yarder to Allen Lazard with 6:52 left. Rodgers also had a 1-yard touchdown run, the first by a Packers quarterback in a playoff game at Lambeau Field since Bart Starr’s winning sneak in the Ice Bowl against Dallas on Dec. 31, 1967. The Packers (14-3) reached the NFC championship game for the fourth time in seven seasons as they chase their first Super Bowl berth in a decade. It will be their first NFC title contest at Lambeau Field since hosting for the 2007 season, when they fell to the New York Giants 23-20 in overtime. Rodgers was on Green Bay's roster during that 2007 season backing up Brett Favre. Green Bay won the Super Bowl for the 2010 season as the NFC’s No. 6 seed, and has lost at Seattle, Atlanta and San Francisco in its last three conference championship game appearances. Saturday’s game showed what a home-field edge can mean. The Packers played in front of 8,456 fans – a crowd that included paying spectators for the first time all season – but that small crowd made plenty of noise as the Packers built an early lead amid snow flurries. Rodgers said it felt like there were 50,000 fans. Running back Aaron Jones said it seemed more like 80,000, while Lazard added that “it felt like 90,000 honestly.” That crowd chanted “M! V! P!” during the closing minutes to salute Rodgers. “It's hard to really put into words how special that feeling is, but you can feel it,” Rodgers said. “It's so palpable. You can feel the energy in the stadium. It's just different. It's different playing in front of a crowd. It's a little more special and obviously more sweet.” Rodgers helped Green Bay's potent offence overpower the Rams' vaunted defence for much of the day. The Packers didn't allow any sacks despite playing without injured All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, while Green Bay sacked Jared Goff four times. Jones ran for 99 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries, including a 60-yard burst to open the second half. Rodgers called the Packers' offensive linemen “the stars of the game tonight.” “Definitely not happy,” Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers said. “A lot of the guys feel like it’s on them. ‘I messed up, or I failed you.’ Everybody had their hand in it. We just weren’t clicking on all cylinders.” Goff was 21 of 27 for 174 yards and a touchdown less than three weeks after undergoing thumb surgery, and Cam Akers rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown. The Packers scored on each of their first five series and led 25-10 early in the third quarter. After the Rams (11-7) finally forced a punt midway through the third quarter, they capitalized with Akers’ 7-yard touchdown run on a direct snap. They cut it to 25-18 with a nifty 2-point conversion: Van Jefferson caught a pass from Goff and lateraled to Akers, who strolled into the left corner of the end zone. The Rams forced another punt and got the ball at their 6, but Kenny Clark's sack stalled the drive. “I really thought that was going to be our chance to get back and potentially go drive and score and tie the football game up, and you never know what happens from there,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. Green Bay’s A.J. Dillon fumbled on the ensuing series, but Rodgers recovered at the Packers 31 and advanced 3 yards. Three plays later, Rodgers hit Lazard, who caught the ball around the Rams 25 and raced into the end zone. “We were definitely feeling a little bit of pressure," Lazard admitted. ”I think it’s more so just our expectation is to go out and score every single drive because we know that the only people that are stopping us is us.? DONALD LIMITED DT Aaron Donald played one week after a rib injury knocked him out of a 30-20 playoff victory at Seattle, but the unanimous All-Pro selection clearly wasn't himself and had just one assist. “This guy is the epitome of a warrior,” McVay said. "I love him. The plan going in was seeing how he feels.” Cameras showed Donald in tears on the Rams’ sideline after the Packers wrapped up the game. INJURY REPORT The Rams played without leading receiver Cooper Kupp (knee) and usual starting left guard David Edwards (ankle). For Green Bay, Dillon injured his quadriceps when he fumbled. UP NEXT The Rams' season is over. The Packers host either the New Orleans Saints or Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Jan. 24. ___ Follow Steve Megargee at https://twitter.com/stevemegargee ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL Steve Megargee, The Associated Press
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Taron Johnson returned an interception a record-tying 101 yards for a touchdown to send the Buffalo Bills to their first AFC championship game appearance in 27 years with a 17-3 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night. Johnson’s pick-6 of Lamar Jackson’s pass with 41 seconds remaining in the third quarter secured the win over the Ravens in a divisional-round playoff game. The interception return matched the longest in NFL playoff history and punctuated a stellar defensive outing in which Buffalo (15-3) limited the NFL’s top running offence to 150 yards on 32 carries. Jackson was sacked three times and did not return after being evaluated for a concussion following the final play of the third quarter, and two plays after Johnson scored. Jackson’s injury left Tyler Huntley to finish the game for the Ravens (12-6) after being promoted off the practice squad. The game was decided in the third quarter, when the Bills went up 10-3 on Allen’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs to cap an 11-play, 66-yard opening drive. PACKERS 32, RAMS 18 GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and also ran for a score and top-seeded Green Bay defeated Los Angeles in an NFC divisional playoff game. Green Bay’s potent offence overpowered the Rams’ vaunted defence for much of the game. The Packers didn’t allow any sacks despite playing without injured All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, while Green Bay sacked Jared Goff four times. The Packers reached the NFC championship game for the fourth time in the past seven seasons as they chase their first Super Bowl berth in a decade. It will be their first at Lambeau Field since hosting for the 2007 season, when they fell to the New York Giants 23-20 in overtime. The Packers (14-3) often seemed on the verge of putting the game away. But the Rams (11-7) continued to hang around. Green Bay finally sealed the victory with a 58-yard touchdown from Rodgers to Allen Lazard with 6:52 left. Rodgers went 23 of 36 for 296 yards, while Aaron Jones ran for 99 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries. Goff was 21 of 27 for 174 yards and a touchdown less than three weeks after undergoing thumb surgery, and Cam Akers rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL The Associated Press
Aaron Rodgers is thankful for the chance to play a conference title game at home for the first time in his career. Josh Allen is just happy to get into one wherever it happens to be. Rodgers threw two TD passes and ran for another score to lead the top-seeded Green Bay Packers into the NFC championship game with a 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams in the first game Saturday. Allen threw a TD pass to Stefon Diggs and Taron Johnson returned an interception by Lamar Jackson a record-tying 101 yards for a touchdown to lead the Buffalo Bills past the Baltimore Ravens 17-3 for a spot in the AFC championship game in the night matchup. The Bills followed up their first playoff win in 25 years with a strong performance against the Ravens. They will either visit Kansas City or host Cleveland next week with a spot in the Super Bowl on the line. Buffalo won this game with its defence, holding Baltimore to three points on five trips inside the 30 and then taking the game over when Johnson tied an NFL playoff record with his 101-yard return that made it 17-3. “We got the job done,” Allen said. “You don’t get style points for winning in the playoffs. You either go home or you advance to the next round. We’re on to the next one.” This will be the Bills first trip to the conference championship game since the 1993 season when they beat Kansas City before going on to lose their fourth straight Super Bowl. Rodgers and the Packers started fast by scoring on their first five drives of the game and then he put it away with a 58-yard TD pass to Allen Lazard in the fourth quarter in the first game this season with fans in Green Bay. “It’s special,” Rodgers said. “There’s absolutely nothing like it. We have really missed that part of this experience. To run out of the tunnel tonight with fans was unbelievable. It’s hard to explain how much the presence means on the field and just having that energy from the crowd.” Now Rodgers will get to play in front of the home crowd in the NFC title game for the first time in his career, having gone on the road the previous four times he reached the game, including last season at San Francisco. The previous time the Packers hosted the conference championship game came in Brett Favre’s final start for Green Bay at the end of the 2007 season in a 23-20 overtime loss to the Giants. Rodgers and the Packers will host the winner of Sunday’s game between Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in the NFC title game Jan. 24. Rodgers had earlier thrown a 1-yard TD pass to Davante Adams and joined Joe Flacco as the only players to throw at least two TD passes in eight straight playoff games. Rodgers also ran for a score when he eluded Leonard Floyd with a pump fake before running it in from 1 yard. No Packers QB had run for a TD in the playoffs at Lambeau Field since Bart Starr’s iconic sneak that beat the Cowboys in the Ice Bowl 1967 and sent Green Bay to a second straight Super Bowl. SUNDAY Browns (12-5) at Chiefs (14-2) Cleveland’s reward for its first playoff win in more than a quarter century was a trip to Kansas City to take on Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl Champions. The Browns have ended a few droughts the past few weeks, getting into the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and then winning their first playoff game since the 1994 season with a 48-37 victory at Pittsburgh despite being without coach Kevin Stefanski and several key contributors because of COVID-19 protocols. Baker Mayfield and crew will be at close to full strength this week, but will have a much tougher time against a Chiefs team that has lost only once in its past 24 games with Mahomes starting. Buccaneers (12-5) at Saints (13-4) This is the first playoff matchup in NFL history with two starting quarterbacks in their 40s with the 43-year-old Brady facing the 42-year-old Brees. The two quarterbacks are the most prolific ever to play the game with Brady ranking as the all-time leader in TD passes and ranking second in yards, while Brees leads in yards and is second in TDs. The playoff results have been much different, with Brady making a record nine Super Bowls with six titles, while Brees won in his only trip to the title game. But Brady’s past success was all in New England and now he is trying to do it with a different franchise and against a team that had his number in the regular season. The Saints became the only team to sweep the season series against Brady, winning 34-23 at home in Week 1 and 38-3 at Tampa Bay in Week 9. Brady threw five of his 12 interceptions in those games. But the Bucs have hit their stride after a late-season bye and Brady has 14 TD passes and only one interception during a five-game winning streak. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL Josh Dubow, The Associated Press
EDMONTON — Carey Price and the Canadiens achieved a major feat Saturday night — stopping Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl from burying the puck in Montreal's net. Keeping the dynamic duo from wreaking havoc was a job for the entire squad en route to the Canadiens 5-1 win over the Oilers, said defenceman Jeff Petry. “The five guys that were on the ice, it was everyone’s responsibility," he said. Goalie Carey Price took a large share of the responsibility, stopping 34-of-35 shots for the Canadiens (1-0-1).McDavid had an opportune chance to get Edmonton (1-2-0) on the board near the end of the first frame, stealing the puck deep in Oilers territory and using his infamous speed to streak down the ice on a breakaway. He unleashed a wrist shot but Price was ready and made the save.The Oilers sniper was limited to just a secondary assist on Slater Koekkoek's third-period goal Saturday night. Draisaitl was held off the score sheet.Price wants to play against the world's best and considers McDavid to be just that. “He’s so talented with his speed and his hands and his vision. And it’s a pleasure to share the ice with him," the goalie said. Saturday night's game could have had a much different result if not for Price's performance, said Canadiens right-winger Brendan Gallagher. "He’s so calm, he’s so cool. He just allows you to keep momentum on your side," Gallagher said. "We’re pretty lucky to play in front of him every night.”Deep offence was also key to Montreal sealing its first victory of the season. Petry and Tomas Tatar had two goals apiece. Jake Evans also scored, and Gallagher and Phillip Danault each contributed a pair of assists. “That’s going to be a strength for us all year long. We’re pretty confident with the depth that we have," Gallagher said"If we can hold each other accountable to show up and come at teams in waves like that … we can come at teams four lines deep. We feel like anyone who’s on the ice can get the job done.”That depth was evident midway during and Oilers power play midway through the second period. Price stopped a grade-A chance from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in tight and Montreal came away with the puck, leading to a two-on-one at the other end of the ice. Evans waltzed in and took a shot that ricocheted off the pads of Edmonton goalie Mikko Koskinen, then back to the centreman's stick. His second attempt was a success, sailing in just below the crossbar for a short-handed goal that put Montreal up 4-0.Koskinen stopped 30-of-35 shots on the night. McDavid said he and his teammates didn't do what they needed to do early and ended up chasing for much of the game.“They were definitely quicker than us," he said. "We’ve got to be better, we’ve got to win more battles. They were definitely the more rested team and they showed that, but I didn’t think our battle level was good enough.”Oilers coach Dave Tippett said there were parts of the game that he liked, but his team made mistakes that allowed the Canadiens to expand their lead. “You’ve got to continue to pound away, you’ve got to find ways to win games and you’ve got to do that with consistency in how you play," he said. "We’ve just got to take some mistakes out of it that are giving some holes away.”Edmonton won't have to wait long for a chance at revenge. The Oilers will once again host the Canadiens Monday for the second half of the back-to-back series. Montreal coach Claude Julien said his group can't head into the matchup thinking they have an edge based on Saturday's result. “Teams adjust. There’s also a sense of revenge with a loss," he said. "We park this win and we take the two points because they’re important, but then we have to realize we’ll probably have an even tougher opponent two days from now.”NOTES: The Oilers claimed goalie Troy Grosenick off waivers from the L.A. Kings Saturday. Edmonton has also placed netminder Mike Smith on the long-term injury list. … Koskinen played in his 100th regular-season NHL game. … Edmonton right-winger Zack Kassian was out for the game following the birth of his second child, a daughter named Olivia.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. The Canadian Press