NFL playoffs: Cowboys beat Bucs, divisional round awaits
A scintillating wild-card weekend in the NFL playoffs ended with a snoozer. The Dallas Cowboys cruised to a 31-14 win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night. The Cowboys’ first road playoff win in 30 years was largely devoid of drama after a weekend full of tight games and incredible comebacks. Now it’s on to the divisional round, which begins Saturday. In the AFC, the Chiefs will host the Jaguars while the Bills host the Bengals. In the NFC, the Cowboys travel to the 49ers while the Giants hit the road against the Eagles.
Prescott outshines Brady, Cowboys dominate Buccaneers 31-14
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Dak Prescott outplayed Tom Brady, throwing for four touchdowns and running for another to lead the Dallas Cowboys to a 31-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFC wild-card playoff game. Prescott completed 25 of 33 passes for 305 yards and played turnover-free ball for the first time in eight games as the Cowboys dominated the listless Bucs in what may turn out to be Brady’s last game in a Tampa Bay uniform. Dallas beat Brady for the first time in the seven-time Super Bowl champion’s career and won in the postseason on the road for the first time in 30 years to earn a trip to San Francisco to face the 49ers in the NFC divisional round next Sunday.
Tampa Bay’s Russell Gage carted off field vs. Dallas
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage was taken off by stretcher late in the fourth quarter of a wild-card playoff game against Dallas. Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles said Gage had movement in his extremities. He was taken to a hospital with a concussion and was being evaluated for a neck injury. Gage was injured Monday night when he stumbled on a route, went to the ground, couldn’t make the catch and took a hard shot to the neck from Donovan Wilson. He appeared to try to get up but couldn’t and slammed his hand into the ground in frustration.
After playoff dud, Brady faces choice of whether to continue
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — If Tom Brady retires in the offseason, he’ll walk away following one of the worst playoff games of his career. The seven-time Super Bowl champion had a tough night against Micah Parsons and the Dallas Cowboys, tossing his first red-zone interception with the Buccaneers in a 31-14 loss that ended Tampa Bay’s up-and-down season Monday night. Brady won’t be returning home to the Bay Area for a rematch against Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC divisional round. He may be going home for good, however. The 45-year-old, five-time Super Bowl MVP already retired once after last season only to return 40 days later. He said he’ll take more time to make his decision this time around.
Cowboys’ Brett Maher misses 4 extra points, converts 5th try
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Dallas Cowboys kicker Brett Maher missed four straight extra points in his team’s NFC wild-card game against Tampa Bay, becoming the first player in NFL history to miss that many in a game. Maher’s misses were the only thing going wrong for the Cowboys, who led the Buccaneers 24-0 after his 0-fer. Maher finally kicked one through the uprights on his fifth try, giving Dallas a 31-6 lead in the fourth quarter. The NFL said Maher was the first kicker to miss four extra points in a game since the statistic was first tracked for individual players in 1932.
Jim Harbaugh calls Michigan president to say he’s staying
Jim Harbaugh is staying at Michigan, a decision he personally gave the school president on Monday to end another round of speculation that he would return to the NFL. Harbaugh says his heart is at the University of Michigan. Harbaugh and the school have not reached an agreement on a contract extension but both sides plan to work on a new deal this week, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details of the negotiations were not announced.
Houston, KU stay atop Top 25 while FAU enters for 1st time
Houston and Kansas remain firmly atop The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll after a record weekend of Top 25 losses. Florida Atlantic took advantage of the chaos to crack the rankings for the first time in school history. Eleven ranked teams went down Saturday, tying a record that has stood for nearly 12 years, while UConn and Marquette lost Sunday to help give the AP poll one of its biggest shakeups in recent history. Clemson, Baylor and Rutgers joined FAU in entering the poll. That came at the expense of San Diego State, Duke, Wisconsin and Missouri.
Zach Edey scores 32, No. 3 Purdue beats Michigan State 64-63
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Zach Edey made a go-ahead shot at the front of the rim with 2.2 seconds left and finished with a career-high 32 points and 17 rebounds to help No. 3 Purdue hold off Michigan State 64-63. Tyson Walker put the Spartans ahead with 11 seconds remaining with a mid-range jumper, giving him a season-high 30 points, but they could not stop the 7-foot-4 Edey on the ensuing possession or make a shot just before the buzzer. The Boilermakers have won 17 of their first 18 games. The Spartans dropped a second straight game.
At Australian Open, some players say they ignore the bracket
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Some players at the Australian Open claim they do not want to know which opponents could stand between them and a championship. And so they say they try to avoid looking at the bracket at the Grand Slam tournament that began this week at Melbourne Park. Some say they do that for superstitious reasons. Others insist that policy allows for better focus. But there are players, such as U.S. Open semifinalist Frances Tiafoe, who say that is all nonsense. He says it just makes sense to know what the potential path through the field entails.
Baylor out of women’s AP Top 25 for 1st time since 2004
Baylor’s 19-year run in The Associated Press women’s college basketball poll is over. The Bears had been ranked for 365 consecutive polls before falling out Monday after losing twice last week. Baylor had been in the AP Top 25 since January 2004, including a 21-week run at No. 1 in 2011-12. Only Tennessee and UConn have had longer streaks in the 46-year history of the poll. While Baylor is out, South Carolina continued its stay at No. 1. The Gamecocks were the unanimous choice again from a 28-member national media panel. They have held the top spot for 30 consecutive weeks. Ohio State, LSU, Stanford and UConn round out the top five teams.