- Associated Press - Monday, January 11, 2021

NFL

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Playing with first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski, Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio and top cornerback Denzel Ward back in Cleveland after all tested positive for COVID-19, the Cleveland Browns raced to the biggest first half by a road team in NFL playoff history, then held on to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 48-37 on Sunday night.

Baker Mayfield threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns, including a screen pass that Nick Chubb turned into a 40-yard score that halted Pittsburgh’s momentum after the Steelers pulled within 12. Kareem Hunt added 48 yards and two touchdowns on the ground while Cleveland’s defense forced five turnovers to hand the Steelers their fifth loss in six games after starting 11-0.

The victory was the Browns’ first postseason triumph of any kind since beating New England on New Year’s Day 1995 - three months before Mayfield was born - and their first playoff win on the road since Dec. 28, 1969.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Lamar Jackson ran for 136 yards and a 48-yard touchdown while throwing for 179 more and the Baltimore Ravens rallied from 10 points down and beat the Tennessee Titans 20-13 in their AFC wild-card game.



Baltimore also shut down 2,000-yard rusher Derrick Henry and held Tennessee to its fewest points all season.

The Titans had the ball and a chance to tie when Marcus Peters intercepted Ryan Tannehill’s pass intended for Kalif Raymond with 1:50 left.

The Ravens snapped a string of 21 straight games lost by the franchise in either the regular season or playoffs when trailing by 10 or more.

Henry had his worst performance this season with 18 carries for 40 yards.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Drew Brees completed 28 of 39 passes for 265 yards, connecting with Michael Thomas and Latavius Murray for touchdowns, and the New Orleans defeated the Chicago Bears 21-9 in an NFC wild-card game.

Alvin Kamara rushed for 99 yards and added a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter after sitting out the regular-season finale and not practicing this past week because of COVID-19 protocols.

The victory for the Saints and Brees, who turns 42 on Friday, sets up a divisional-round meeting next weekend in the Superdome with Tampa Bay and 43-year-old QB Tom Brady.

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) - Tom Brady threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers past Washington 31-23 in their NFC wild-card game Saturday night for their first playoff victory since the 2002 season.

Brady was 22 of 40 passing and at 43 years, 159 days passed George Blanda as the oldest player to throw a TD pass in a playoff game. A 36-yard scoring connection with Antonio Brown was Brady’s longest in the playoffs since 2011.

SEATTLE (AP) - Cam Akers rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown, Darious Williams returned Russell Wilson’s interception 42 yards for a score, and the Los Angeles Rams beat the Seattle Seahawks 30-20 in their NFC wild-card playoff game.

The best defense in the league during the regular season carried its dominance into the playoffs - even while missing unanimous All-Pro tackle Aaron Donald for much of the second half. No team was better at limiting yards or points than the Rams and they continued to torment Wilson and the Seahawks.

Donald, before leaving with a rib injury, and Jalen Ramsey were superb. But so were other role players such as Troy Reeder, Jordan Fuller and Leonard Floyd. Floyd had two of the Rams’ five sacks. Two of the others belonged to Donald. The Rams allowed just 278 total yards and 11 first downs.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Buffalo earned its first playoff victory in a quarter century when Josh Allen threw two touchdown passes, scored another rushing, and Micah Hyde batted down Philip Rivers’ desperation pass for a 27-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Buffalo snapped an 0-6 postseason skid by winning its first playoff game since a 37-22 win over Miami on Dec. 30, 1995. And it came in the Bills’ first home playoff game in 24 years, with a limited number of 6,700 fans in attendance for the first time this season.

Allen finished 26 of 35 for 324 yards, with a 5-yard touchdown to Dawson Knox and a 35-yarder to Stefon Diggs.

The game wasn’t decided until the final play, when Rivers faced fourth-and-11 from the Buffalo 47. Rivers heaved a deep pass for T.Y. Hilton, who was surrounded by defenders in the right side of the end zone. Hyde broke through the crowd of bodies, leaping up and batting the ball to the ground.

GOLF

KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) - Harris English completed his turnaround from a seven-year drought with a victory that he felt was long overdue, making a 6-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole against Joaquin Niemann to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

English ran off four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the back nine to catch Niemann. Needing a birdie on the 18th at Kapalua, English hit a 3-iron so pure from a downhill lie that it rolled out to 10 feet for an eagle putt that he narrowly missed, settling for a 4-under 69 to force extra holes.

In the playoff, he lagged a long putt from off the front of the green to 6 feet for the winner.

KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) - The PGA of America cut ties to President Donald Trump when it voted Sunday to take the PGA Championship event away from his New Jersey golf course next year.

The vote comes four days after the Trump-fueled riot at the nation’s Capitol as Congress was certifying the election victory of President-elect Joe Biden. This is the second time in just over five years the PGA of America removed one of its events from a Trump course.

The PGA of America, which has some 29,000 golf professionals who mostly teach the game, signed the deal with Trump National in 2014.

It canceled the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in 2015 at Trump National Los Angeles Golf Club after Trump’s disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants when he announced he was seeking the Republican nomination for president. The event was canceled for good the following spring.

NBA

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Kawhi Leonard scored a season-high 35 points, going over 10,000 in his career, and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied to beat the Chicago Bulls 130-127 on Sunday.

Leonard reached the milestone on one of his five 3-pointers in the third quarter, when he scored 21 points. His points and 3-pointers made were the most in a single quarter in his career. Leonard’s last 3-pointer in the quarter gave the Clippers their first lead since they scored the game’s first basket. In all, he had seven 3-pointers, tying his career high.

HOUSTON (AP) - Anthony Davis had 27 points, LeBron James added 18 and the Los Angeles Lakers won for the sixth time in seven games with a 120-102 victory over the Houston Rockets.

It was a testy game that included five technical fouls, two flagrant fouls and the first-half ejections of Markieff Morris and DeMarcus Cousins.

Davis, who sat out on Friday with a groin strain, helped the Lakers finish with 62 points in the paint in a game in which they led by as many as 27.

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