Sunday, January 17, 2016
The Arizona Cardinals went from frustration to jubilation within 10 minutes, overcoming a Hail Mary pass by Aaron Rodgers on the last play of regulation to advance to the NFC championship game.
Larry Fitzgerald grabbed a five-yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer just 65 seconds into overtime to cap a wild finish in the Cardinals' 26-20 win over the Green Bay Packers. Two play earlier, Palmer scrambled out of danger and hit a wide open Fitzgerald, who turned the pass into a 75-yard play on the first play from scrimmage in OT.
Fitzgerald ruined what was turning into a memorable game for the Packers. The game was extended when Aaron Rodgers heaved a 41-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Janis on the final play of regulation before Mason Crosby the game-tying extra point. It came just over a month after Rodgers threw a Hail Mary to beat the Lions in Detroit.
Fitzgerald finished with eight receptions for 176 yards after grabbing just one pass for six yards in the first half. Palmer was 25 of 41 for 349 yards, two TDs and two interceptions.
Rodgers also threw for two touchdowns and was 24 of 44 for 261 yards and one interception. Eddie Lacy had 89 yards rushing for the Packers, who end the season 11-7.
The Cardinals next face the winner of Sunday's game between the Carolina Panthers and visiting Seattle Seahawks. If the Panthers beat the Seahawks, they will host Arizona next Sunday. A Seattle win would set up a Seahawks-Cardinals conference title game in Arizona.
Meanwhile the New England Patriots are back in the AFC championship game for the fifth straight year.
Tom Brady hit Rob Gronkowski for a pair of scoring passes and scored on a one-yard run as the Pats beat Kansas City 27-20. Gronkowski had touchdown catches of 8 and 16 yards and finished with seven receptions for 82 yards. The All-Pro tight end was in top form after spending the last two weeks recovering from knee and back injuries.
Brady was 28 of 42 for 302 yards and no interceptions to help the Patriots beat a team that had won 11 straight games to reach the divisional round. Brady and Gronkowski connected for a TD on the game's first drive to put New England ahead to stay.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith completed his first five passes and finished 29 of 50 for 246 yards, one TD and no interceptions. He hit Albert Wilson for a 10-yard touchdown to get Kansas City within 21-13 late in the third quarter, but a pair of Stephen Gostkowski field goals gave the Patriots a 27-13 lead with 10:20 remaining.
New England now awaits the winner of Sunday's game between the Steelers and Broncos in Denver. The Patriots will host the Steelers or visit Denver in the conference title game next Sunday.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ The Tennessee Titans have hired Mike Mularkey as their head coach, choosing to keep the man who handled the final nine games after they fired Ken Whisenhunt (WIHZ'-en-hunt). Mularkey becomes the 18th coach in franchise history, and the third since Jeff Fisher left in January 2011.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Former Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin is the new offensive line coach with the Indianapolis Colts. Philbin spent the past four seasons as head coach of the Dolphins, going 24-28 before being fired during the 2015 season.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Former Colts head coach Ted Marchibroda has died at age 84. He coached the Colts twice, in Baltimore from 1975-79 and in Indianapolis from 1992-95. He led the Colts to the playoffs three times in Baltimore and once in Indianapolis before returning to Charm City as the Ravens' first head coach.
After finishing with the Ravens in 1998, Marchibroda spent the next seven seasons working on Indy's radio broadcasts.
The Capitals and Sabres were separated by 31 points when the two teams took the ice in Buffalo on Saturday. That didn't stop the Sabres from beating the Eastern Conference leaders.
Chad Johnson stopped 33 shots and Evander Kane had a goal and an assist as Buffalo beat the Caps 4-1. Cody Franson scored a power-play goal and Tim Schaller had a short-handed tally while the Sabres built a 4-0 lead. Johnson was perfect until Marcus Johansson scored 2:54 into the third period.
The Sabres won for only the third time in 10 games and ended Washington's five-game winning streak.
It was the Capitals' second regulation loss in their last 17 games and keeps their lead in the Metropolitan Division at 16 points over the New York Rangers and Islanders. Caps goaltender Braden Holtby had been 20-0-2 since a Nov. 10 loss to Detroit.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
- The Rangers beat Philadelphia 3-2 in a shootout as Henrik Lundqvist turned back 34 shots in becoming the first goaltender in NHL history to record at least 20 wins in each of his first 11 NHL seasons.
- Jori Lehtera scored 2:04 in overtime to complete the Blues' 4-3 win over the Canadiens in St. Louis.
- Pekka Rinne stopped 29 shots and Shea Weber set up goals by Eric Nystrom and Roman Josi in Nashville's 3-0 shutout of Minnesota.
- Patrice Bergeron scored twice before Brad Marchand's goal with 47 seconds left gave Boston a 3-2 victory against Toronto.
- Cory Schneider recorded his third shutout of the season by handling 38 shots in New Jersey's 2-0 win over Arizona.
- Mika Zibanejad scored a tiebreaking, power-play goal with 6:50 left while Ottawa was turning a 3-1, third-period deficit into a 5-3 win at Los Angeles.
- Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored twice and set up Tomas Hertl's goal 72 seconds into overtime to carry San Jose past Dallas 4-3.
- Mark Fayne scored midway through the third period before Teddy Purcell notched the lone shootout tally in Edmonton's 2-1 verdict over Calgary.
- Columbus beat Colorado 2-1 on Jack Johnson's tiebreaking goal with 67 seconds remaining.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Kings have come to terms on an eight-year, $80 million contract with centre Anze Kopitar. He was scheduled to be a free agent this summer, but the deal keeps the two-time Stanley Cup champion with his only NHL franchise through 2024.
The 28-year-old Slovenian star has been Los Angeles' leading scorer each of the previous eight seasons.