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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

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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

Lions have longest playoff drought after Bengals top Raiders

Sports / Football /

DETROIT — Let's go streaking (but not the good kind).

The Detroit Lions now own the longest streak in the NFL without a playoff win.

The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Las Vegas Raiders, 26-19, in AFC wild-card action Saturday, snapping a 31-year drought without a postseason victory.

The Lions have gone 30 years since their last playoff win, ...Read more

Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster will play at Kansas City; Pressley Harvin will punt

Sports / Football /

PITTSBURGH — After two days of practice, the Steelers are bringing back JuJu Smith-Schuster to the active roster, almost exactly three months from what he thought was a season-ending shoulder injury. The team announced the move Saturday afternoon, shortly after Smith-Schuster tweeted that he gets “another chance to take the field with this ...Read more

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David Murphy: Biggest game of a big-game life: Nobody has more to gain or lose from Eagles-Bucs than Jalen Hurts.

Sports / Football /

PHILADELPHIA — It is bigger than the game against Clemson. It is bigger than either game against Georgia. It is bigger than the Heisman Trophy stage. Jalen Hurts has seen plenty of days that cause sleepless nights. On Sunday, he will awake to the biggest.

I might feel bad about writing such a thing if I thought that Hurts might read it. ...Read more

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Mac Engel: Widow of Cowboys great Ralph Neely says his final years were destroyed by CTE

Sports / Football /

FORT WORTH, Texas — As a result of playing football, Ralph Neely had dementia, a bad back, a bad neck, replaced knees, a hip and a shoulder, scoliosis of the spine, and by the end he was in so much pain he told his wife he no longer wanted to live.

"He said he would do it all over again," said Neely's widow, Janis, in a phone interview.

Last...Read more

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2022 NFL mock draft (Version 1.0): First-round projections with top 18 picks locked in

Sports / Football /

With the conclusion of Week 18, it’s officially draft season for more than half the NFL.

The top 18 picks are solidified, with the Jacksonville Jaguars claiming the No. 1 overall selection for the second year in a row. Here are The Baltimore Sun’s initial projections for the first round, which begins April 28 in Las Vegas:

— Note: Picks ...Read more

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Vahe Gregorian: 'Rainbows, flowers and awesome' faded. Then Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes got even better.

Sports / Football /

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Patrick Mahomes betrayed some fleeting moments of mortality earlier this season, you'd have thought this revolutionary star had burst just like a supernova.

Kaboom, just like that, no more was he the stellar force who had transformed everything for and about the Chiefs.

No longer was he the guy who stoked them to ...Read more

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Gerry Dulac: Remembering the Steelers' most improbable playoff victories

Sports / Football /

PITTSBURGH — Max Starks was there in 2005 when the Steelers went back to Indianapolis to play the No. 1 seed Colts in an AFC divisional-round playoff game. Two months earlier, they had lost to the Colts, 26-7, a game in which Peyton Manning threw an 80-yard touchdown to Marvin Harrison on their first play from scrimmage, rocking the already ...Read more

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New aim for All-Pros Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Cooper Kupp: Rams playoff stars

Sports / Football /

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Rams apparently cannot stop collecting star players to fulfill a mandate to play in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium.

It started in January when they traded for Matthew Stafford. It continued in November when they traded for linebacker Von Miller and signed free agent receiver Odell Beckham Jr. This week, they ...Read more

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Ranking the 14 NFL playoff starting QBs

Sports / Football /

The NFL playoffs have arrived.

This time of year on the football calendar is when quarterbacks are asked to rise to an even greater challenge as teams fight to reach the Super Bowl. And most of the time, a team can only reach that championship game if their QB performs like a star.

There are 14 QBs with their eyes on Super Bowl LVI and their ...Read more

Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times/TNS

What if this is the last time we see Tom Brady?

Sports / Football /

TAMPA, Fla. — Tom Brady has been asked about retirement more times than you can shake a walking stick at.

The 44-year-old typically smiles and says only that he knows his body won’t give out before he gives up football to spend more time with his family.

But as Sunday’s wild-card playoff game against the Eagles approaches, Bucs ...Read more

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Dieter Kurtenbach: Here's why it's nothing but good vibes around the 49ers as they head into the playoffs

Sports / Football /

Jimmy Garoppolo says he has a good feeling about this 49ers team as they head into the playoffs.

You know what? I do too.

The Niners have their flaws, no doubt, and Garoppolo doesn't crack the top 10 of playoff quarterbacks this season, but the 49ers have multiple reasons to believe in themselves and their chances in the tournament.

Health

...Read more

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Rob Gronkowski has been priceless for Bucs in biggest moments

Sports / Football /

TAMPA, Fla. — Rob Gronkowski needed one more reception — his seventh of the game — to reach another $500,000 performance bonus in the fourth quarter of the Bucs’ 41-17 win over the Panthers last Sunday.

Having already earned a half-million dollars earlier in the game for a receiving yardage bonus, he saddled up to Mike Greenberg, the ...Read more

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'I am not ready to go home': T.J. Watt, unanimous All-Pro, must be clutch for Steelers

Sports / Football /

PITTSBURGH — T.J. Watt isn't sweating the sack record — at least not anymore. There was a glimmer of hope that his first-quarter takedown of Tyler Huntley would be changed from just a forced fumble to a full sack to give him full ownership of the single-season record, but Watt is putting that in the rearview, and 22 1/2 is where it will ...Read more

Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS

'Sign me up': Eric Weddle unretires to join Rams on a possible Super Bowl run

Sports / Football /

LOS ANGELES — The word "crazy" came up several times during a 46-minute video call in which Eric Weddle discussed his decision to come out of retirement and sign with the Rams this week. So did the words "surreal" and "mind-boggling."

At one point, Weddle was asked if it was "nuts" to think the 37-year-old safety, a full two years removed ...Read more

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Vahe Gregorian: Steelers' discard of Melvin Ingram vital to Chiefs. But they needed luck to land him.

Sports / Football /

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When the Chiefs were trudging along at 4-4 entering their game against Green Bay, we were struck by the question of how much their funk was about inexplicably plummeting into a crummy team and how much was about twists of fortune.

Or maybe it was somewhere in between — considering the uncharacteristic blooper reel of ...Read more

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Sam Farmer's NFL wild-card playoff picks

Sports / Football /

Los Angeles Times’ NFL writer, Sam Farmer, examines this week’s playoff matchups in the NFL wild-card round. Lines according to FanDuel. Last week’s record 10-6 (.625); season 174-97-1 (.642). Using point spreads with the scores Farmer had predicted, the record against the spread last week would have been 10-6 (.625); season 135-135-2 (....Read more

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Chiefs make it official: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire ruled out vs. Steelers

Sports / Football /

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs will not have their starting running back for the first round of the playoffs.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid announced Friday that Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who is still recovering from a shoulder injury, will not play in Sunday night's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium.

"He tested it out a few ...Read more

RICK MOON/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS

Mac Engel: 'Throw up the X' started not with Dez Bryant, but Cowboys-49ers and T.O.

Sports / Football /

FORT WORTH, Texas — The lowest point of the Dallas Cowboys in the last 25 years starts with the San Francisco 49ers, and a specific moment that featured the original "X" thrown up by someone long before Dez Bryant made it fashionable.

Bryant is credited as the creative genius who made "throw up the X" a thing, but video evidence conclusively ...Read more