Bills’ Hamlin says ‘heart is with’ team at game, he’s home
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who is still recovering after going into cardiac arrest on the field in Cincinnati two weeks ago, says he will be cheering from home Sunday during Buffalo’s wild-card playoff home game against the Miami Dolphins. Hamlin tweeted less than an hour before kickoff, saying there is nothing he wants more than to be with his teammates. But he says he is supporting them from home as he focuses on his recovery. Hamlin visited teammates at the Bills’ stadium on Saturday but has not been seen in public. since his Jan. 2 collapse.
UGa football player killed in wreck after title celebration
Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and a recruiting staff member have been killed in a car wreck hours after the Bulldogs celebrated their second straight national championship. The school announced their deaths and said two other members of the football program were injured in the crash. They were not immediately identified but the school said both were in stable condition. The 20-year-old Willock was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the vehicle, 24-year-old Chandler LeCroy, was transported to a hospital where she died from her injuries. She worked as a recruiting analyst for the Bulldogs.
Lawrence rallies Jaguars from 27 down to beat Chargers 31-30
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Trevor Lawrence followed four interceptions with four touchdown passes — one of the most improbable turnarounds in NFL postseason history — and rallied the Jacksonville Jaguars to a 31-30 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. Lawrence engineered the winning drive, highlighted by Travis Etienne’s 25-yard run on a fourth-and-1 play, and put the Jaguars in position for Riley Patterson’s 36-yard field goal on the final play. It capped a 27-point comeback, the third largest in playoff history. Patterson’s kick barely stayed inside the right upright and set off a raucous celebration for a franchise that had won just four games the previous two years.
Herbert, Staley ponder what went wrong in collapse at Jags
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Justin Herbert sat in silence at his locker for roughly 15 minutes and stared into the distance. He had taken off his cleats but was still wearing most of his grass-stained uniform. It was a defining scene for a team devastated by a collapse no one could have seen coming. And it made this much clear: Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers won’t get over this loss anytime soon. The Chargers did little in the second half, allowing Trevor Lawrence to follow four interceptions with four touchdown passes and rally Jacksonville from a 27-0 deficit. LA lost 31-30 on Riley Patterson’s 36-yard field goal on the final play.
Brady plays down his perfect record against favored Cowboys
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tom Brady isn’t fazed by being a home underdog in the NFL playoffs for the first time in his career. After all, no one has enjoyed more postseason success than the seven-time Super Bowl champion, who begins his quest for a record eighth ring when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Dallas Cowboys in a NFC wild-card matchup Monday night. Brady owns a slew of playoff records, including most games played, wins, passing yards and touchdown passes. The 45-year-old quarterback has one more thing going for him — the Cowboys have never beaten him. Not that Brady believes career accomplishments or being 7-0 against America’s Team will have any bearing on Monday night.
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: Saturday night thriller gets action started
The rest of the NFL playoffs have a lot to live up to after Saturday’s display. Rookie Brock Purdy nailed his postseason debut with the San Francisco 49ers with a 41-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars pulled off a jaw-dropping 27-point comeback in a 31-30 stunner against the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday night. The games continue with three more Sunday including Miami at Buffalo, Baltimore at Cincinnati and the New York Giants at Minnesota. The opening weekend wraps up Monday night with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Dallas Cowboys.
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.
Rockets, Kings players fined; 2 suspended for altercation
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Houston’s Garrison Mathews and Tari Eason and Sacramento’s Malik Monk are facing fines for an on-court altercation during Friday’s game. Jalen Green and Jae’Sean Tate with the Rockets also are suspended one game without pay for leaving the bench area. The NBA announced the discipline on Sunday. Mathews was fined $35,000 for initiating the altercation after pursuing a loose ball and taunting Monk. Monk was fined $25,000 for continuing the altercation and taunting Mathews. Eason’s $30,000 fine involved escalating the situation and making inadvertent contact with a referee during the fourth quarter. Green and Tate served their suspensions Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Morant says sensational slam in Indy was his best one yet
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — To Ja Morant, the answer was a slam dunk. His ferocious jam Saturday night was his best one yet. Morant’s dunk came in the third quarter of the Memphis Grizzlies’ 130-112 victory over the Indiana Pacers. He drove left into the middle of the lane, put the ball in his right hand and pulled his arm far back to easily throw it down over leaping Pacers big man Jalen Smith. He says it topped his collection of sensational slams because of the difficulty. Teammates leaped off the bench in excitement and reaction followed quickly on social media. Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell urged Morant to do the slam dunk contest.