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The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

David Murphy: Jalen Hurts will be the Eagles starter in 2022, but a loss to the Bucs sure makes you wonder about his skill set

Sports / Football /

They were there. That’s the thing. Were they there in abundance? Maybe not. But this was the postseason. And the throws it takes to win playoffs games were there to be made.

There was Quez Watkins with a step on man coverage, about to clear the top of the defense with nobody between him in the end zone. There was Jalen Hurts, looking some ...Read more

Ben Frederickson: How a Christmas ornament came to define the Rams relocation lawsuit saga

Sports / Football /

ST. LOUIS — Soon after a $790 million wire transfer from the NFL arrived in St. Louis just in time for the holidays, Bob Blitz did a little online shopping.

He sent his Team STL teammates, from secretaries who plowed through piles of paperwork, to attorneys who clashed with the league’s best suits, a small pouch tied up with ribbon.

Inside...Read more

Rich Sugg/The Kansas City Star/TNS

The end of Ben: A timeline of retirement talk from Ben Roethlisberger

Sports / Football /

PITTSBURGH — As he said himself, the writing was on the wall for Ben Roethlisberger entering this season. There was a will-he-or-won’t-he-return story line that loomed over the early portion of the offseason, and with this being the last year on his contract, the exit plan was clear.

But when did the 39-year-old first start down the path of...Read more

Rich Sugg/The Kansas City Star/TNS

Ron Cook: A painful end to Ben Roethlisberger's career

Sports / Football /

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ben Roethlisberger did a terrific job Sunday night. Unfortunately for him and the Pittsburgh Steelers, his best work came after the 42-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs ended his career and the team’s season.

“God has blessed me with an ability to throw a football and blessed me to be able to play in the greatest city ...Read more

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America/TNS

KC Chiefs walloped Steelers again, this time in NFL playoffs. Bills visit next Sunday

Sports / Football /

KANSAS CITY, Mo. The Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers traded a combined seven punts in the first quarter of a game that started as a defensive struggle at Arrowhead Stadium.

And it took a second-quarter defensive touchdown by the Steelers to awaken the sleepwalking Chiefs.

After Steelers pass rusher T.J. Watt opened the scoring ...Read more

Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images North America/TNS

Dieter Kurtenbach: Deebo Samuel leads the way to a playoff win over the Cowboys as Jimmy Garoppolo, Kyle Shanahan crumble in second half

Sports / Football /

The Niners are advancing in the playoffs.

But not without some trademark stress and puzzling play down the stretch.

The Niners beat the Cowboys 23-17 in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, and will play the Packers next weekend in the divisional round.

It was San Francisco’s first road playoff win since January 2014.

Here were the studs and duds of ...Read more

Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images North America/TNS

49ers head to Green Bay for another playoff matchup with Packers

Sports / Football /

NFC’s top team Green Bay Packers will host sixth-seeded San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field

After holding on to get a road playoff win over a longtime rival in the Cowboys, the 49ers will … head back on the road to face a longtime rival in the Packers.

And while the Dallas-San Francisco rivalry started back in the 1970s, the 49ers rivalry...Read more

Eagles-Buccaneers analysis: Jalen Hurts and Jalen Reagor took steps back as the Birds got bounced

Sports / Football /

TAMPA, Fla. — The nose of the football slipped past Jalen Reagor’s fingertips and tumbled onto the grass below. After he declined to signal for a fair catch, the former Eagles’ first-round pick then failed to secure the punt, muffing yet another opportunity in the third quarter. An assortment of Buccaneers mobbed Reagor and pounced on the ...Read more

Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times/TNS

When it comes to football IQ, the Bucs may be in a class of their own

Sports / Football /

TAMPA, Fla. — Like the team he just beat, the old guy was also one step ahead of the crowd on Sunday.

While players from the Bucs and Eagles were still glad-handing each other at midfield, while fans were still dancing and cheering in the aisles after a rare playoff game at Raymond James Stadium, Bruce Arians made a hustler’s getaway.

With...Read more

Monica Herndon/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Jalen Reagor muff in loss to Bucs could be seen coming a mile away, except by the Eagles

Sports / Football /

TAMPA, Fla. — The Eagles had just forced Tom Brady and the Buccaneers into their third straight three-and-out series as Jalen Reagor settled under a punt early in the third quarter. They trailed, 17-0, but they had more than enough time to mount a comeback as the ball descended from the sky.

The wind at kickoff was officially out of the west ...Read more

Tom Pennington/Getty Images North America/TNS

Instant analysis of 49ers' 23-17 win over Cowboys in a harrowing, wild-card finish

Sports / Football /

The 49ers advanced with a 23-17, wild-card win over the Cowboys to next face the No. 1 seed Green Bay Packers

ARLINGTON, Texas — Advancing with a playoff win over the Dallas Cowboys never gets old nor boring for the 49ers.

Sunday’s 23-17, wild-card victory came with a hold-your-breath, heart-stopping fourth quarter.

Next up is a trip to ...Read more

Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Von Miller takes aim at Super Bowl run: Rams 'brought me here for the playoffs'

Sports / Football /

As kickoff neared before Super Bowl 50, Von Miller quietly prepared while a boisterous teammate stalked the Denver Broncos locker room.

"Who ready?" cornerback Aqib Talib repeatedly asked. "Who scared?"

Talib went from locker to locker. He stared into the eyes of every player, posing his questions like a mantra as the Broncos readied to play ...Read more

Norm Hall/Getty Images North America/TNS

Analysis: What the latest Russell Wilson report means for the Seahawks

Sports / Football /

SEATTLE — The headline on a story Sunday morning on NFL.com — the league’s sanctioned website — was catchy.

“Seahawks QB Russell Wilson wants to explore options this offseason,” was the headline emblazoned across the top of a story written by one of the network’s main information reporters, Ian Rapoport.

And as expected, the ...Read more

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images North America/TNS

Jerome Boger and his crew yanked from playoffs after blowing Bengals-Raiders game: report

Sports / Football /

Jerome Boger and the rest of the officials that worked Saturday night’s Bengals-Raiders game are probably out for the rest of the playoffs, according to an ESPN report Sunday morning.

It’s little consolation to Raiders fans after Saturday night’s debacle. And although leaking to Adam Schefter that Boger’s crew is out for the rest of the...Read more

Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times/TNS

The only records left for Tom Brady to break are his own

Sports / Football /

TAMPA BAY, Fla. — The milestones keep looming larger. And grayer.

When the Bucs beat the Eagles 31-15 on Sunday, Tom Brady became the oldest starting quarterback to win a playoff game. He broke the record he set last season. And in 2020.

In fact, there have been only 12 playoff games won by a starting quarterback past the age of 40, and ...Read more

Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times/TNS

Bucs' stars return on defense, handle Eagles in playoff opener

Sports / Football /

Shaquil Barrett’s interception, which leads to a touchdown, is one of three turnovers forced Sunday.

TAMPA BAY, Fla. — Shaquil Barrett (knee) was among the many players missing from the Bucs’ starting lineup for the final two games of the regular season.

Well, Shaq is back and so is the Bucs defense.

The Pro Bowl linebacker made a ...Read more

MONICA HERNDON/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Eagles' Josh Sweat ruled out vs. Bucs after having a life-threatening situation addressed

Sports / Football /

TAMPA, Fla. — The Eagles were without top edge rusher Josh Sweat on Sunday as they faced the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC wild-card round.

Sweat was ruled out after he underwent an emergency procedure earlier in the week to address a life-threatening situation, the team announced in a statement.

“On Tuesday...Read more

Bob Levey/Getty Images North America/TNS

LZ Granderson: The NFL fails on Black leadership. So do most institutions in America.

Sports / Football /

LOS ANGELES — There are three things in life in this country you can always depend on: death, taxes and sports journalists admonishing the NFL for its lack of Black head coaches.

With the Houston Texans firing David Culley after just one season, the league is now down to a single Black head coach, the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin. And ...Read more

Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images North America/TNS

Patriots' season comes to bitter cold end in Buffalo as Josh Allen tosses five TD passes in blowout

Sports / Football /

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Saturday night’s AFC wild-card game at Highmark Stadium was never in doubt.

As soon as the Buffalo Bills touched the ball following the opening kickoff, you knew it. The Patriots never stood a chance. For the Pats’ defense, it was a nightmare in Orchard Park, and very similar to the group’s effort, or lack thereof, ...Read more

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America/TNS

John Romano: Ancient Brady + broken receivers = NFL's top offense in Tampa Bay

Sports / Football /

TAMPA, Fla. — Imagine the regular season as a journey. A vacation, if you will.

You start off with all kinds of hopes and plans. The caravan is gassed up and the schedule stretches out ahead like an invitation to better days.

And then your tight end breaks down.

And a receiver goes missing.

Before you know it, there are leaks in the ...Read more