Chiefs Shut Down Cowboys; Chargers Hold Off Steelers
The Kansas City Chiefs have not solely relied on their defense to get victories in recent seasons, but Sunday was one of those rare occasions. The D shut down the Dallas Cowboys, led by Chris Jones' 3.5 sacks and forced fumble for a 19-9 victory at home. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw two interceptions in to the hands of Charvarius Ward and L'Jarius Sneed, holding the road team to just three field goals from Greg Zuerlein. That helped overcome the Chiefs' struggles on offense, as Patrick Mahomes threw for just 260 yards with an interception and a fumble. Clyde Edwards-Helaire did have 63 yards and a touchdown in his return from injured reserve, as Kansas City moved to 4-0 this season against the NFC East. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers gave a valiant effort to come back on the road Sunday night, but the Los Angeles Chargers escaped with a thrilling 41-37 victory. Justin Herbert's 53-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams with 2:17 left in the fourth won the game for the home team, who blew a 17-point lead in the final 15 minutes. The Steelers took the lead with a 24-point quarter, but the Chargers hung on for their fifth comeback win of the season, and sixth victory overall. Herbert became the fifth quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 300 yards and have at least 90 yards rushing in the same game. On Sunday, those totals included 382 yards through the air and 90 on the ground, which was the most for a Chargers QB in franchise history.
Other key scores saw Jonathan Taylor go off with five touchdowns, including four on the ground, as the Indianapolis Colts downed the Buffalo Bills, 41-15. Devonta Freeman's late touchdown helped the Baltimore Ravens overcome not having Lamar Jackson for a 16-13 win over the Chicago Bears. Greg Joseph's 29-yard field goal as time expired gave the Minnesota Vikings a 34-31 upset of the Green Bay Packers. And Joe Mixon ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns, helping the Cincinnati Bengals snap a two-game skid with a 32-13 rout of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Florida Fires Head Football Coach Dan Mullen
The Florida Gators were just in the SEC Championship Game last season, and now as this season comes to an end, they will be preparing to search for a new coach. The team fired head coach Dan Mullen on Saturday, this after a 24-23 overtime loss to Missouri last Saturday. The defeat was their fourth in a row against a Power 5 opponent, as they are now just 2-9 against Power 5 teams since the beginning of the 2020 season. The now former Gator coach was reportedly given the option to coach the season finale against Florida State, but he turned it down and did not want to be a distraction. Over four seasons with the Gators, he went 34-15, including the SEC Title Game loss to Alabama last season. Assistant coach Greg Knox was named interim coach for the final game of the season, and then they will hire their fourth coach over the past eight seasons.
Suns Roll to Extend Win Streak; LeBron Ejected in Lakers' Comeback
The Phoenix Suns are wasting no time or energy in extending this solid win streak since their 1-3 start to the season, as they blew past the Denver Nuggets, 126-97, on Sunday night for their 12th straight win. The Suns totaled 48 points in the first quarter alone to get off to a red hot start, led by Cam Johnson's career-high 22 points, while Deandre Ayton added 21 in the rout. Chris Paul had nine points and 10 assists, while being one of several starters that rested in the second half, this after they shot 77.3% from the floor in the opening 12 minutes, including 7-of-8 from three-point range. And the Los Angeles Lakers' 121-116 comeback win over the Detroit Pistons was overshadowed by an altercation involving LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart. After James punched Stewart in the face during a battle for the rebounds, a bloodied Stewart attempted numerous times to get to James before getting ejected. And even then, he was seen rushing in to the locker room, seemingly heading to where the Lakers' room was located. LeBron was also ejected for the incident, while Russell Westbrook somehow got a technical foul, and both James and Stewart are expected to be suspended for the incident.
Other key scores saw Jordan Pool and Andrew Wiggins each surpass 30 points in the Golden State Warriors' 119-104 win over the Toronto Raptors. DeMar DeRozan posted 31 points, while Zach LaVine added 21 as the Chicago Bulls rallied for a 109-103 victory against the New York Knicks. And Paul George had a big third quarter scoring 12 of his 29 points, as the Los Angeles Clippers ended a two-game skid with a 97-91 win against the Dallas Mavericks.
Kings Fire Head Coach Luke Walton
The Sacramento Kings have the expectations of finally being contenders in the Western Conference playoff picture, and that so far is not the case. And Sunday was the day they did something about it, as they fired head coach Luke Walton after just two-plus seasons with the team. This move comes after the Kings dropped seven of their past eight games and started the season at 6-11, which is good for just 12th in the Western Conference standings. Those losses included against struggling teams like Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, and San Antonio Spurs. The team promoted veteran coach Alvin Gentry to the interim coach position, which could become permanent once the team decides what direction they want to go in. Gentry will get a pay raise and is under contract with New Orleans through the 2022-2023 season as he takes over his sixth NBA team. Walton went 68-93 over his run with the Kings, despite talents like De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and Buddy Hield coming through to give them a spark, but their 26th rank in defensive efficiency has haunted them this season.
Suns' Frank Kaminsky Out Indefinitely
The Phoenix Suns will be without big man Frank Kaminsky, who was ruled to be out indefinitely on Sunday with a right knee injury. The former Wisconsin Badger was diagnosed with a stress reaction in the knee, which caused him to miss the previous two games. Before that absence, he played in just four minutes in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves last week. The center is having a solid season in a reserved role, averaging 10.6 points per game on 54.5% shooting along with 4.6 rebounds per contest.
Purdue Wins Tip-Off Tournament; Tennessee Bounces Back
The sixth-ranked Purdue Boilermakers got themselves an early season statement at the Tip-Off Tournament Sunday afternoon, winning the whole thing with an 80-74 victory against the fifth-ranked Villanova Wildcats. Zach Edey had 21 points to lead Purdue, who rallied from an 11-point deficit in the second half, moving to a perfect 5-0 on the season. Edey hit nine of his 12 shots on the night, while Caleb Fust and Isaiah Thompson each had 12 points in the win. They relied on their dominance down low to pull away, outrebounding Nova, 38-26, and outscoring them, 38-18 in the paint. On the same floor later in the day, the 17th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers bounced back with an 89-72 rout of the 18th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. Zakai Zeigler had 18 points and five assists, while Kennedy Chandler avenged a tough performance on Saturday with 14 points, eight assists, and five rebounds. The Vols dropped a 71-53 game to Villanova on Saturday, while UNC fell short against Purdue.
Other college basketball scores included the unranked Arizona Wildcats sending the fourth-ranked Michigan Wolverines to their second loss of the week with an 80-62 win in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, No. 23 St. Bonaventure moved to 5-0 with a 70-54 blowout of Marquette.
Lightning Win Shootout Over Wild; Flames Blank Bruins
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Minnesota Wild played to a shootout on Sunday night before Steven Stamkos scored the lone goal in it for a 5-4 Lightning victory. Brian Elliott stopped all three shots in the shootout, helping the home team overcoming a two-goal lead in the third period. The Wild got empty net goals from Kevin Fiala and Joel Eriksson Ek over a 2:09 stretch in the third to force overtime. Although, they failed to score during a 90-second power play in overtime before falling later on, but this was the second straight night that the Lightning blew a third-period lead. Tampa Bay escaped this one thanks in part to two goals from Anthony Cirelli, while Pat Maroon and Alex Barre-Boulet each found the back of the net as well. Meanwhile, Dan Vladar haunted his former team with 27 saves as the Calgary Flames shut out the Boston Bruins, 4-0, on the road. Andrew Mangiapane had a short-handed goal, while Johnny Gaudreau and Noah Hanifin each scored at the TD Gardne. The Flames have now won three straight games and improved to 9-2-2 away from home this season. They also sent goalie Jeremy Swayman to his first loss at the TD Garden after an 8-0-0 start in his career, as the Bruins also saw their three-game winning streak snapped and just their second home loss in eight games.
Other key scores saw Mitch Marner score twice in the Toronto Maple Leafs' 3-0 shutout win over the New York Islanders. Jaden Schwartz totaled four points with a goal and three assists as the Seattle Kraken took down the Washington Capitals, 5-2. And Ryan Lindgren's late goal in the final seconds of the third period gave the New York Rangers a thrilling 5-4 victory against the Buffalo Sabres.
Lightning's Brayden Point Ruled Out
The Tampa Bay Lightning have found their groove after a slow start to the season, but the inevitable injury bug is now coming through. The team announced that center Bradyen Point is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury, which is news that came through during the first period of their game Sunday against the Minnesota Wild. The injury reportedly occurred during the third period of Saturday's 5-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils, this after he was tripped up and crashed hard in to the boards. The center had an NHL-leading 14 goals during last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs, which was the second straight season that he led the playoffs in goals. He joins Nikita Kucherov on the Tampa Bay sidelines, as Kucherov has missed 14 straight games with a lower-body injury, and is expected to be out for another four to six weeks.