Hall of Fame class has something for everybody
From bone-rattling tacklers Troy Polamalu, Steve Atwater and Cliff Harris to hard-charging runner Edgerrin James to the pass-catching brilliance of Isaac Bruce and Harold Carmichael, the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2020 has something for everyone.
Colts QB Rivers, 39, retires from NFL after 17 seasons
“Every year, Jan. 20 is a special and emotional day,” Rivers said in a statement posted on the team’s website. “It is St. Sebastian’s Feast day, the day I played in the AFC championship without an ACL, and now the day that after 17 seasons, I’m announcing my retirement from the National Football League. I am grateful to the Chargers for 16 seasons, and the Colts for the 17th season.”Rivers was one of a kind. In the 2006 season opener, Rivers made his starting debut — and then the next 251 in a row including the playoffs. “My son never did throw a big ball like I did at that age and he throws it the exact same way,” Rivers said.
Super Host: Bucs become 1st to play Super Bowl at home
The Buccaneers defeated the Packers 31-26 to advance to the Super Bowl. Tampa Bay (14-5) is the first team to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium. The prize is much different this year, though, because the Super Bowl will be played in front of a far smaller crowd than usual. The first Super Bowl in 1967 was played in front of 61,946 fans at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Eagles backup Nick Foles threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, a sign of things to come in the Super Bowl against New England.
Brady vs. Brees: A matchup for the ages and aged
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)The NFL has never seen a playoff matchup quite like the upcoming one between Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Drew Brees’ New Orleans Saints. Brees has thrown for more yards than any QB in the regular season with 80,358 and ranks second in TD passes with 571. Brady holds the mark for touchdowns with 581 and trails only Brees in yardage with 79,204. The combined age of the starting quarterbacks will be an NFL-record 85, surpassing the 84 from their two starts in the regular season this season. The team that swept the regular season series won 14 of the previous 22 matchups, which bodes well for the Saints this week.
Tom Brady excited, ready to lead Buccaneers into playoffs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass during an NFL football practice Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)TAMPA, Fla. – New team, same ole Tom Brady. Brady led New England to the Super Bowl nine times in 20 seasons, appearing in 41 playoff games and winning 30 — both records. “When he first signed I said, ‘OK, we’ll be a 40 (touchdown) and 10 (interception) team,’” Arians said. “It’s a never-ending thing with him, the perfectionist, to get everything right in practice,” Arians added.
Week 17 scoring bonanza caps record-setting season
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)The Week 17 scoring bonanza provided the perfect finish to a record-setting season on offense. Teams combined for 100 touchdowns in the final week of the season for the second-most in NFL history in a single week behind only the 104 scored in Week 14 of the 2013 season. He became the first player with at least 4,500 yards passing, 35 TD passes and five TD runs in a single season. The Browns joined the 2012 Colts (minus-30) as the only teams to win 11 games in a season when they were outscored. EVEN STEVENIn a bit of a statistical oddity, the Vikings gained the exact same number of yards this season as they allowed: 6,292.
Brady throws for 4 TDs, Bucs pull away from Falcons 44-27
“It meant the world for him to get that record and, then, to have an easy touchdown," Bucs coach Bruce Arians said. Brady joined Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Dan Marino as the only players with multiple seasons of at least 40 TD passes. “Whatever happens for me as a quarterback is reflective of what we do as an offense,” Brady said. " The latter trimmed Atlanta’s deficit to 30-27 before Brady put the game away with two late drives. Brown had his most productive day since joining the Bucs midway through the season with 11 catches for 138 yards.
The Latest: Derrick Henry has 5th-best season in NFL history
___7:07 p.m.Derrick Henry has become the eighth man in NFL history to run for at least 2,000 yards in a single season. Henry came into Sunday’s regular season finale needing 223 yards rushing to become the second man in franchise history to reach 2,000. Henry came in with 1,777 yards rushing this season, and he now is 88 yards away from becoming the eighth man in NFL history to run for 2,000 yards. The Titans lead Houston 17-9 at halftime with NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry running for 113 yards and a touchdown in the first half. The Green Bay Packers have set an NFL season record for second-quarter points.
A bonus for NFL fans in Week 16: 4 straight days of games
They do have a sack in an NFL-record 71 straight games and have sacked Philip Rivers 15 times during seven games while he played for the Chargers. Rivers has had two or more TD passes in five straight games. He had career bests of 10 catches for 163 yards last week, and Ridley's seven 100-yard games lead the NFL. The 19 straight seasons without losing both games to a divisional opponent is an NFL record. The Jaguars have allowed at least 24 points in each of those 13 games, an NFL record.
Colts recover another late fumble, beat Texans 27-20
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal (14) makes a catch under pressure from Houston Texans free safety Eric Murray (23) in the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard made his final punch count Sunday. Bobby Okereke recovered the skittering ball in the end zone for the Colts' second win in three weeks over the Texans — in almost the exact same way. Watson answered by marching the Texans to the Colts 21. Sanchez punted in that week's game, a loss to Tennessee.
A winner: Chiefs vs Saints, with Brees back to face Mahomes
1 conference seed is tight, with the Packers one game ahead of the Saints, the Rams and Seahawks one game behind. Drew Brees will be active after missing four games with fractured ribs and a collapsed lung, making for an intriguing matchup with Patrick Mahomes. The Bills (11-3) scored twice in a 17-second span in the third quarter to ice their fourth straight victory that officially ended the New England Patriots’ 11-year reign atop the division. The Ravens have run for at least 100 yards in 36 straight games, seven short of the NFL record set by Pittsburgh from 1974-77. Baltimore is averaging 173.8 yards on the ground and topped 200 yards in each of the past two games.
Packers withstand late rally to outlast Eagles 30-16
The only other players with at least 400 touchdown passes are Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Dan Marino and Philip Rivers. He has 36 touchdown passes this year and is the first player to throw at least 35 in five separate seasons. Rodgers doesn't have the footballs from his 100th, 200th or 300th touchdown passes. His 400th touchdown pass was a 9-yarder to Adams that capped a 99-yard drive in the third period. Philadelphia’s rally started with Hurts' 32-yard touchdown pass to Greg Ward on fourth-and-18.
Jake Scott, former Miami safety, Super Bowl MVP, dies at 75
Scott, the star safety who was the most valuable player in the Super Bowl that completed the Dolphins 1972 perfect season, died Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Atlanta. Scott played in three consecutive Super Bowls, won back-to-back championship rings and made the Pro Bowl five years in a row with Miami. At Georgia, Scott was an All-American and the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 1968. Shula suspended Scott and then traded him to the Redskins for safety Bryant Salter, who lasted only one season. He grew up in Athens, Georgia, and was recruited as a receiver by Dooley, who then moved Scott to safety.
Colts grab AFC South tiebreaker by beating Titans 34-17
Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Coaches and quarterbacks change for the Indianapolis Colts. Philip Rivers threw for 308 yards and a touchdown, and Nyheim Hines scored twice as the Colts trounced the Titans 34-17 Thursday night to grab the head-to-head edge atop the AFC South. The Colts (6-3) will host the rematch in Indianapolis on Nov. 29 after helping coach Frank Reich improve to 4-1 against Titans coach Mike Vrabel. Indianapolis took advantage of the Titans' special teams woes to score twice in the third quarter for a 27-17 lead. He passed Marino on the Colts’ first play from scrimmage with an 11-yard pass to rookie Jonathan Taylor.
AFC features plenty of star power even without Tom Brady
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)The AFC doesn’t lack for drama or star power even though Tom Brady has taken his talents to Davis Beach. WEST: The Chiefs (8-1) are still the class of the conference despite a hiccup against the resurgent Raiders (5-3), who won 40-32 at Arrowhead Stadium on Oct. 11. Mahomes became the fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach 100 TD passes, doing it in 40 games, four fewer than Dan Marino. The Broncos (3-5) have been waylaid by injuries and COVID-19 opt-outs, exposures and infections and Drew Lock went 45 drives without a TD pass.
Chiefs escape with 33-31 win when Panthers FG is wide right
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) runs toward the end zone to score against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. His kick dropped just outside the uprights, though, allowing the Chiefs to escape. McCaffrey finished with 18 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown while catching 10 passes for 82 yards and another score. Panthers coach Matt Rhule said all week that McCaffrey would get a full load if he was able to take the field. It took nine plays and consumed nearly nine minutes before McCaffrey reached the end zone, keeping the potent Kansas City offense on the sideline.
Ravens set NFL record for 20-point games with win in Indy
(AP Photo/AJ Mast)INDIANAPOLIS – Lamar Jackson fast-tracked the Baltimore Ravens' latest record-breaking achievement. He opened the second half with an up-tempo game plan that got Indianapolis' defense out of sync. After punting on their first five possessions and watching the defense score the Ravens' only points of the first half, Jackson switched it up. “I’m glad we did," Harbaugh said when asked about going fast in the second half. Linebackers Darius Leonard and Anthony Walker also were injured in the second half.
AP source: Tagovailoa replaces Fitzpatrick as Miami starter
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) looks to pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)MIAMI – Tua Tagovailoa now has a role to match his jersey number. He’s the Miami Dolphins’ No. At Alabama, Tagovailoa wore Marino's No. Tagovailoa went 2 for 2 for 9 yards against the Jets. At Alabama, Tagovailoa threw 76 touchdown passes in 24 starts over his final two seasons.
Chiefs, Edwards-Helaire run away with 26-17 win over Bills
“But if teams are going to play us like this, we’ve got to show we can run the football.”Mission accomplished. Led by Edwards-Helaire’s 161 yards rushing, the Chiefs finished with 245 — the most since Mahomes took over as starter in 2017. The Chiefs, who were originally scheduled to play three games in 11 days, wound up having two more days of rest than the Bills. During that drive, Buffalo’s Justin Zimmer stripped the ball from Edwards-Helaire at the Kansas City 30. Kansas City had four drives of 10 plays or more and dominated time of possession by more than 15 minutes.
Brady outplays Rodgers, Buccaneers rout Packers 38-10
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass against the Green Bay Packers during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)TAMPA, Fla. – So much for Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers. A stingy Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense turned a rare meeting between the Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks into a mismatch on Sunday. Safety Mike Edwards ran the other back 38 yards to the Packers 2 to set up another TD. Gronkowski led the Bucs with five receptions for 78 yards — his best game since ending a one-year retirement to join Brady in Tampa Bay. BRADY VS. RODGERSBrady and Rodgers split their two previous head-to-head meetings, with the Packers winning 26-21 in 2014 at Green Bay and New England winning 31-17 at home in 2018, while Brady was playing for the Patriots.