Chiefs Eliminate Bills in Wild OT Contest; Rams Escape Tampa Bay With Win
The Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills put on an instant classic in the AFC Divisional Round on Sunday evening, but once again, Patrick Mahomes topped Josh Allen in the playoffs. Mahomes connected with Travis Kelce in the corner of the end zone in overtime, giving the Chiefs a wild 42-36 win on their home field. The two teams gave us the wildest final two minutes of regulation you will ever see, combining for 25 points over the final 1:54 of the fourth quarter. That included Josh Allen connecting with Gabriel Davis for two go-ahead touchdowns, while Harrison Butker forced overtime with a 48-yard field goal as time expired. Mahomes drove the Chiefs in to field goal range with just 18 seconds on the clock for that game-tying kick, and finished with 378 yards and three touchdowns, including a 68-yard strike to Tyreek Hill during the wild final minutes. Allen did everything he could to finally advance his Bills, throwing for 329 yards, with his top target being Davis, who had eight catches for 201 yards and a playoff record four touchdowns. The loss for Buffalo was their ninth straight playoff loss on the road, including last year in Kansas City. The Chiefs are once again one win away from the Super Bowl, and will play host to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game next Sunday.
The Los Angeles Rams were dominating on the road Sunday afternoon, looking to cruise to the NFC Championship Game, but then Tom Brady started doing Tom Brady-type things late. After the Bucs rallied from a 27-3 deficit, Matt Stafford powered the Rams on a quick drive down the field, setting up Matt Gay for the game-winning 30-yard field goal for a 30-27 road win, advancing to host the NFC Championship Game next Sunday. Stafford threw for 366 yards and two touchdowns, connecting with Cooper Kupp for a clutch 44-yard reception, setting up Gay to win the game. That big throw overcame the Bucs tying the game on Leonard Fournette's nine-yard touchdown run with 42 seconds remaining, this after the Bucs forced the fourth fumble of the day from the road team. Stafford and Kupp connected for a big 70-yard touchdown earlier in the game, and the QB also found Kendall Blanton for a score one week after getting the first playoff win of his 13-year NFL career. Brady, who is reportedly set to consider retirement this off-season, threw for 329 yards, one touchdown, and one interception while getting sacked three times and losing one fumble. The Rams get their third win against the Bucs over the past two seasons, and prevent them from becoming the first repeat Super Bowl Champions since the New England Patriots in 2004. They return back out west to the home of the Super Bowl, hosting their NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers for the NFC Title Game next Sunday.
Poole, Warriors Hold Off Jazz; Tatum Goes Off For 51 in Celtics' Win
The Golden State Warriors earned themselves a much-needed quality victory after a rough stretch as of late, holding off the Utah Jazz at home, 94-92, on Sunday night. Jordan Poole led the way with 20 points, helping the Warriors overcome another rough shooting night for Steph Curry. The two-time NBA MVP finished with just 13 points, going 1-for-13 from three-point range and 5-for-20 overall. Damion Lee also stepped up with 12 points off the bench, including four clutch three-pointers. The Warriors scored just 11 points in the final 12 minutes, but held the Jazz to 17 in that frame, as the road team shot 37.8% on the night. Poole had a big night while starting in place of Klay Thompson, who was a late scratch with soreness in the surgically repaired left knee.
Jayson Tatum reminded the NBA world that despite his Boston Celtics hovering around .500, he is still a major scoring threat in the league. The forward went off for 51 points, including 48 in the first three quarters alone, as the Celtics blew past the Washington Wizards, 116-87, on Sunday. Tatum connected on nine shots from three-point range and finished 18-of-28 from the floor overall. That helped him reach 31 points by halftime, and it was a driving layup with 4:30 left in the game that got him to 50. The Wizards never led in a game that saw head coach Wes Unseld Jr. return to the sidelines from his COVID protocol break, but Bradley Beal had just 19 points to lead the way for the home team. The Wizards have now dropped three in a row, falling a game under .500 on the season, while the Celtics moved back to the .500 mark with the road victory.
Other key scores saw Luka Doncic post 37 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds in the Dallas Mavericks' 104-91 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Duncan Robinson scored 25 points as the Miami Heat held off the Los Angeles Lakers, 113-107. Anthony Edwards' 25 points powered the Minnesota Timberwolves over the Brooklyn Nets, 136-125. Trae Young put up 30 points in the Atlanta Hawks' 113-91 rout of the Charlotte Hornets. R.J. Barrett had a double-double of 28 points and 14 rebounds in the New York Knicks' 110-102 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers. And C.J. McCollum had 19 points and 10 rebounds as the Portland Trail Blazers got past the Toronto Raptors, 114-105.
Bucks' Allen Suspended One Game For Flagrant
The Milwaukee Bucks will be without Grayson Allen for one game, as the forward was suspended by the league for his hard flagrant foul against Alex Caruso on Friday night. The incident sent Caruso to the sidelines for six to weight weeks, as the fractured wrist will require surgery. Allen was ejected from Friday's 94-90 Bucks' win over the Chicago Bulls after a flagrant 2 foul that sent Caruso hard to the ground in the second quarter. The Bucks said they "disagree" with the suspension, while Bulls head coach Billy Donovan was not happy with the play, and Caruso was upset with Allen not even checking on him. The Bucks' tough player will serve the suspension on Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and will be set to return on Friday night against the New York Knicks.
Penguins Rally For Shootout Win Over Jets
The Pittsburgh Penguins needed a rally on their home ice, but they got just that on Sunday afternoon to get past the Winnipeg Jets in a shootout for a 3-2 victory. Kasperi Kapanen and Jeff Carter scored nine seconds apart in the third period, helping the home team erase a two-goal deficit to force overtime. Sidney Crosby went on to score the only shootout goal, helping the Penguins to their fifth straight victory. Their All-Star goaltender Tristan Jarry made 27 saves on the night, and the Penguins moved past the Washington Capitals and in to third place in the Metropolitan Division with 26 victories and 57 points on the season.
Other key scores saw Carl Grundstrom score the tiebreaking goal in the Los Angeles Kings' 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. Justin Faulk had a goal and an assist in the St. Louis Blues' 3-1 victory against the Vancouver Canucks. And the Seattle Kraken scored twice in the third period to upset the Florida Panthers at home, 5-3.
Lewis, Marquette Tops Xavier at Home
The Marquette Golden Eagles earned themselves a ranked upset win on Saturday afternoon, topping the 20th-ranked Xavier Musketeers, 75-64, on their home floor. Justin Lewis stayed hot, leading the way with 20 points and 13 rebounds, as they held off a late comeback attempt from the road team for their 14th win of the season. Darryl Morsell added 19 points and Kam Jones chipped in 12, as the Golden Eagles earned their sixth straight win, moving to 6-3 in conference play. They shot 53% from the floor in the second half, which is where Xavier struggled. The Musketeers hit their first six shots of the second half, and then went 5-of-26 from the floor the rest of the way. The road team dropped to 4-3 in conference play despite Paul Scruggs' 13 points, while Colby Jones added 12 points, six rebounds, and four assists in the loss.
Other ranked scores saw the third-ranked Arizona Wildcats rout California, 96-71, behind Christian Koloko's 19 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks. The fourth-ranked Purdue Boilermakers bounced back with an 80-60 rout of the Northwestern Wildcats, as Sasha Stefanovic had 22 points. And the 21st-ranked Providence Friars got 18 points from Nate Watson to hold off the Butler Bulldogs, 69-62.
Georgia WR Jermaine Burton Transferring to Bama
Wide receiver Jermaine Burton is making an interesting call in the transfer portal, deciding to stay in the SEC Conference by transferring from the Georgia Bulldogs to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Burton made this announcement on Sunday, almost two weeks since the Bulldogs topped the Tide in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Burton was second on the Bulldogs this past season with 497 receiving yards, and tied for second with five receiving touchdowns. He initially chose Georgia over the likes of LSU, Alabama, Arizona State, and Oregon as the No. 99 recruit in 2020, but he is now one of eight players transferring from Georgia. Despite this loss, the Bulldogs will be returning four of the six top players in receiving yards, along with quarterback Stetson Bennett next season.