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. The Cowboys earned a trip to San Francisco to face the 49ers in the NFC divisional round next Sunday.
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.
Andy Murray edges Berrettini in 5 sets at Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Andy Murray has beaten a top-20 opponent at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since 2017. The three-time major champion blew a big early lead, then needed to save a match point and wound up eliminating 13th-seeded Matteo Berrettini in five sets in the first round of the Australian Open. The match was played under a closed roof at Rod Laver Arena because the tournament’s heat rule was invoked. Murray raced through the first two sets in less than 1 1/2 hours before the big-hitting, big-serving Berrettini turned things around and took the match to a fifth. Murray wound up winning 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (10-6).
LeBron drops 48, Lakers beat Rockets 140-132 to snap skid
LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James had a season-high 48 points and nine assists, and the Los Angeles Lakers snapped a three-game skid with a 140-132 victory over the Houston Rockets. Russell Westbrook scored 24 for the Lakers, who never pulled away in another poor defensive game. James’ brilliance in his third 40-point game since turning 38 years old on Dec. 30 was just enough to hold on. Alperen Sengun scored a career-high 33 points in the Rockets’ 11th consecutive loss.
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 fingers. 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.
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.