Weekend Sports In Brief
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Hobbled but happy, Aaron Rodgers might have felt a bit lucky, too. No matter: The All-Pro quarterback and his Green Bay Packers are one step away from the Super Bowl.
More stationary than usual because of a left calf injury, Rodgers rallied the Packers from an 8-point deficit with two second-half touchdowns passes to beat Dallas 26-21 Sunday.
The Packers (13-4), helped immensely by a video reversal with 4:06 remaining, went undefeated at Lambeau Field this season. They head to Seattle next weekend for the NFC title game. The Seahawks (13-4) beat Green Bay in the season opener, 36-16.
Green Bay might not have had any time left in its season if not for referee Gene Steratore’s decision. Dez Bryant’s leaping, bobbling 31-yard catch at the Packers 1 on a fourth-and-2 play was challenged by Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy. Instead of first-and-goal for Dallas (13-5), the ball went over to the Packers.
DENVER (AP) – Andrew Luck has his signature NFL win, and it came against his predecessor, at that.
Hardly pressured all afternoon, Luck threw two touchdown passes and led the Indianapolis Colts past Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 24-13 on Sunday.
The Colts (13-5) advanced to the AFC championship game at New England (13-4).
The Broncos (12-5) are left to deal with the hangover of yet another playoff debacle – and maybe questions about Manning’s future as well as that of coach John Fox. Manning, who joined the Broncos in 2012 after his release from Indy, has gone one-and-done in the playoffs a record nine times in his otherwise stellar career, including twice in Denver, where he’s 38-10 in the regular season, but just 2-3 in the playoffs.
SEATTLE (AP) – Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes, Kam Chancellor returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown, and the Seattle Seahawks beat the Carolina Panthers 31-17 on Saturday night in the NFC divisional playoff game.
Wilson hit Doug Baldwin on a 16-yard touchdown in the first quarter, found Jermaine Kearse on a 63-yard score in the second quarter and capped the night with a 25-yard TD pass to Luke Willson early in the fourth quarter.
The Seahawks never trailed and became the first defending Super Bowl champion to win a playoff game the following season since New England in January 2006.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – Tom Brady’s third touchdown pass gave New England its first lead with about five minutes remaining and the Patriots reached their fourth straight AFC championship game with a 35-31 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday.
Justin Tucker had given the Ravens a 31-28 lead on a 25-yard field goal with 10:17 left. Then Brady directed a masterful 74-yard drive. He completed eight of nine passes for 72 yards – and ran for a first down – and put the Patriots ahead with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Rex Ryan is switching teams – not divisions – after reaching an agreement to coach the Buffalo Bills.
A person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press the former New York Jets coach accepted in principle the Bills’ contract offer after two days of discussions. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bills have not discussed their search to replace Doug Marrone, who stepped down abruptly Dec. 31.
The offer came Sunday, a day after the Bills identified Ryan as a finalist and met with him for a second time in South Florida, where new owners Terry and Kim Pegula live. Ryan was one of 12 candidates to interview for the job since last weekend.
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau has resigned as the defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 77-year-old LeBeau had been with the organization for 16 seasons, including serving as defensive coordinator from 1995-96 and from 2004-14. He was also the team’s secondary coach from 1992-94.
He was inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) – Jimmy Walker and Hideki Matsuyama were tied for the lead going into the final round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Matsuyama shot a 7-under 66 on Sunday to match the best score of the week. He made three straight birdies on the front nine and back nine, and closed with a delicate pitch down the slope to 2 feet for birdie on the par-5 18th.
Walker began to pull away with five birdies in 10 holes. But he didn’t make another birdie until a 4-foot putt on the last hole for a 67. They were tied at 17-under 202.
Bae Sang-Moon (69) and Patrick Reed (68) were two shots behind. Defending champion Zach Johnson, among four players tied for the lead, stumbled to a 73 and was six shots behind.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – The Anaheim Ducks retired Teemu Selanne’s jersey in the Honda Center rafters Sunday, honoring the beloved forward who became their franchise scoring leader during his 21-season NHL career.
Eight months after Selanne ended a record-setting career spent mostly in Orange County, the Ducks raised his No. 8 in an emotional pregame ceremony for the franchise’s most popular player and the 11th-leading goal-scorer in NHL history.
Commissioner Gary Bettman, Ducks owner Henry Samueli and Selanne’s family joined two decades of teammates in honoring the Finnish Flash before the Ducks beat the Winnipeg Jets – Selanne’s first NHL club – in a shootout. After the ceremony, the two teams warmed up in replicas of every jersey worn by Selanne with the two clubs – everything from the Ducks’ current look to the franchises’ mid-1990s sweaters.
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) – Roger Federer turned the Brisbane International final into a grand occasion Sunday, beating the up-and-coming Milos Raonic in three see-sawing sets to register his 1,000th career match win.
It’s a grand number for a 17-time Grand Slam champion, making him the only player after Jimmy Connors (1,253) and Ivan Lendl (1,071) to win 1,000 times on the men’s professional tour.
CHENNAI, India (AP) – Stan Wawrinka’s preparations for the defense of his Australian Open title appear on track as he notched a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 victory over Slovenian qualifier Aljaz Bedene to win the Chennai Open.
It was the second consecutive title victory at Chennai and third overall for the Swiss top seeded player, who did not drop a set in the tournament.