Jags QB Lawrence makes playoff history with 4 1st-half picks
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence became the third quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw four interceptions in the first half of a playoff game. Detroit’s Gary Danielson and Denver’s Craig Morton are the others. Lawrence’s nightmarish start left the Jaguars in a 27-0 hole against the Los Angeles Chargers before he connected with Evan Engram for a touchdown just before halftime. Lawrence completed 10 of 24 passes for 77 yards in the opening 30 minutes, with a passer rating of 24.5. It had been 0.0 before the touchdown. Jacksonville turned the ball over a fifth time when a punt hit Chris Claybrook’s helmet, and the Chargers recovered.
Purdy’s 4 TDs lead 49ers past Seahawks 41-23 in playoffs
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Brock Purdy threw three touchdown passes and ran for a fourth score in his playoff debut, leading the San Francisco 49ers to a 41-23 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in a wild-card game. Purdy picked up where he left off in the regular season for the 49ers and showed few signs of playoff jitters by winning his sixth straight start since replacing an injured Jimmy Garoppolo early in a Week 13 win over Miami. The Niners advanced to the divisional round where they will host either Minnesota, Tampa Bay or Dallas next weekend. The Seahawks kept it close before a strip sack by Charles Omenihu late in the third quarter spoiled a red zone drive.
NFL playoffs: Four QBs make postseason debuts Saturday
Four teams get the NFL’s postseason started on Saturday, featuring four quarterbacks making their postseason starting debuts. Seattle veteran Geno Smith spent years trying to find a starting job before settling with the Seahawks this season. They will travel to face rookie Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers in Saturday’s first game. The nightcap features two of the league’s up-and-coming young quarterbacks: Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers head to Jacksonville, where they’ll face 2021 No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars. There will be three more games on Sunday and one more on Monday this weekend.
AP source: Hamlin visits teammates for 1st time since injury
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Damar Hamlin visited with teammates at the Bills’ facility on Saturday for the first time since being discharged from a Buffalo hospital. The visit came 12 days after the Bills safety went into cardiac arrest and needed to be resuscitated on the field during a game in Cincinnati. Bills linebacker Matt Milano posted a photo on his Instagram account of a smiling Hamlin shaking hands with a teammate. A person with direct knowledge of Hamlin’s schedule confirmed to The Associated Press the player’s visit. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because Hamlin has kept his schedule and recovery private.
Calipari, Kentucky silence doubters, beat No. 5 Tennessee
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Antonio Reeves scored 18 points and Oscar Tshiebwe had 15 points and 13 rebounds to lead Kentucky to a 63-56 victory over No. 5 Tennessee on Saturday. Kentucky led 58-50 with 3:28 left in the game. Two free throws by Santiago Vescovi and two buckets by Uros Plavsic closed the gap to two with less than a minute to play. A Wildcat turnover gave Tennessee a shot to tie or take the lead, but Zakai Zeigler and Plavsic missed down low. The Wildcats showed a physical presence and dominated the Volunteers on the boards. Plavsic scored 19 points for Tennessee.
Buckley makes a pair of eagles and leads the Sony Open
HONOLULU (AP) — Hayden Buckley has a two-shot lead in the Sony Open as he goes after his first PGA Tour victory and a spot in the Masters. It took a lot to get there. Buckley holed out from 133 yards for eagle on No. 10. And then he finished with an eagle on the par-5 18th. That gives him a two-shot lead over Chris Kirk, Ben Taylor and David Lipsky. He also has a little separation. That didn’t look possible at one point Saturday because eight players were tied for the lead. Andrew Putnam had a 62 and was three shot back.
Detroit Mercy’s Davis sets NCAA career 3-point record
DETROIT (AP) — Antoine Davis of Detroit Mercy set the NCAA record for career 3-pointers on Saturday, hitting a career-best 11 3s and scoring a season-high 41 points in an 87-75 win over Robert Morris. Davis shot 11 for 18 from long distance and was 15 for 26 overall. His 11 3-pointers increased his career total to 513, eclipsing the previous record of 509 by Fletcher Magee of Wofford from 2014-19. Davis entered the game chasing Magee and Oakland’s Travis Bader (504 3s from 2010-14). The 24-year-old Davis has 3,232 career points, good for third in NCAA history. He is 17 points away from second place and 435 points behind Pete Maravich’s NCAA record of 3,667.
Rashford scores again as Man United beats Man City 2-1
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Marcus Rashford struck the winner as Manchester United came from behind to beat Manchester City 2-1 in the Premier League. United issued a statement of its title intent with victory in the 189th Manchester derby to move within a point of the reigning champions. Substitute Jack Grealish had put City ahead in the second half, but goals from Bruno Fernandes and Rashford secured the win for Eric ten Hag’s team at Old Trafford. Ten Hag says, “The belief is back and we’re in a good direction.”
Cubs to give Sandberg statue, not ready to reunite with Sosa
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs plan to honor Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg with a statue outside Wrigley Field and put him in an exclusive club that includes Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Ferguson Jenkins and Harry Caray. Chairman Tom Ricketts surprised Sandberg with the announcement Saturday that the statue “is in progress” during a question-and-answer session with fans, drawing a standing ovation in a crowded ballroom. They weren’t as happy when he told them there has been no progress toward welcoming back Sammy Sosa. Ricketts says he remains hopeful a reunion will happen. The Cubs expect to unveil Sandberg’s statue in 2024. The slugging and slick-fielding second baseman says it “means so much to me because Wrigley Field was always my friend and so friendly to me.”
Nadal in rut, Djokovic on roll as Australian Open approaches
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal acknowledges feeling vulnerable as the Australian Open approaches. He is the defending champion but also has lost six of his past seven matches. Novak Djokovic says he likes his chances at a place he could not compete at a year ago because is not vaccinated against COVID-19. And why wouldn’t he feel confident? He has claimed nine titles at Melbourne Park and has won 30 of his past 31 tournament matches overall. Nadal and Djokovic are two long-time rivals who have a lot in common but could hardly be facing more contrasting circumstances with the 2023 Grand Slam season beginning Monday.