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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Tom Brady threw for 232 yards and a touchdown, Antonio Brown made a grand return to the lineup after missing the last eight games and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Carolina Panthers 32-6 on Sunday to clinch their first NFC South title since 2007.
In his first game since Oct. 13, Brown saw a prominent role on offense with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin sidelined with injuries, catching 10 passes for 101 yards while being targeted 15 times by Brady.
Ronald Jones carried 20 times for 65 yards and a touchdown filling in for the injured Leonard Fournette, and Tampa Bay got big offensive contributions from unheralded players Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Cyril Grayson.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes threw for 258 yards and three touchdowns, Byron Pringle caught two of the TD passes, and the Chiefs beat the Steelers 36-10 on Sunday to clinch their sixth consecutive AFC West title.
The Chiefs improved to 11-4 and remained a game ahead of Tennessee for first place in the AFC with their eighth straight win. That would give them the conference’s lone first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
Already on the playoff bubble, the Steelers dropped to 7-7-1 and further behind the Bengals in the AFC North.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 159 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw an interception and lost a fumble on a lousy day for the Steelers.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers has overtaken Brett Favre to become the Green Bay Packers’ leader in career touchdown passes.
Rodgers threw his 443rd career touchdown pass with an 11-yard completion to Allen Lazard in the first quarter of the Packers’ game Saturday with the Cleveland Browns.
Favre threw 508 touchdown passes during his Hall of Fame career, but only 442 of them with Green Bay. Favre threw 22 touchdown passes with the New York Jets in 2008 and 44 with the Minnesota Vikings from 2009-10.
The NBA’s virus numbers continue to rise.
By Sunday evening, the number of players disclosed by teams as being in the protocols was up to 116. The real number, considering some teams had yet to update injury reports, was believed to be slightly higher.
It may continue to grow for the foreseeable future.
Expanded testing, agreed to earlier this month, went into place Sunday for players who have yet to receive their booster shots. The new testing plan is expected to remain in place until Jan. 8, after weeks of urging by the league and the National Basketball Players Association for players to get boosted.
The NHL is emerging from an extended holiday break with taxi squads and other roster revisions, a move made to guard against more disruptions to the season amid more players and coaches going into COVID-19 protocol Sunday.
Each team will be allowed to have a taxi squad of up to six players and to make emergency recalls from the minors if COVID-19 absences would cause anyone to play without a full lineup. Taxi squads, which were used during the shortened 2021 season, are set to be in effect until at least the All-Star break in early February.
Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the new roster rules in an email to The Associated Press.
BOSTON (AP) — The Fenway Bowl and Military Bowl were canceled due to the pandemic on Sunday as coronavirus outbreaks at Virginia and Boston College forced them to call off their postseason plans.
The game scheduled for Wednesday at Fenway Park was to pit the Cavaliers against SMU. The Military Bowl scheduled for Monday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, between Boston College and East Carolina was canceled because of positive COVID-19 tests at BC.
Also Sunday, Miami said it would not play in the Sun Bowl, which was scheduled for Friday against Washington State. The Hurricanes have been dealing with a virus outbreak for several days.
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (AP) — Martha Earnhardt, the matriarch of one of NASCAR’s best-known families, has died. She was 91.
Grandchildren Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kelley Earnhardt Miller said in a statement that she died Saturday night.
Martha Earnhardt was married to Ralph Earnhardt from 1947 until the NASCAR driver’s death. Her son, the late Dale Earnhardt Sr., was a seven-time NASCAR champion and father of of Dale Jr. and Kelley.