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PA Sports

Jalen Johnson stars as Hawks outlast Embiid-less 76ers, 139-132 in overtime

ATLANTA (AP) — This time, Jalen Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks finished a close win at home. Johnson hit two tying free throws in overtime and then added a go-ahead 3-pointer with 39 seconds remaining, sending the Hawks to a 139-132 victory over Tyrese Maxey and the Philadelphia 76ers on ...

Evgeni Malkin leads Penguins past Flyers 4-1 in scrappy contest

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in a scrappy contest on Monday night. Rickard Rakell, Erik Karlsson and Chad Ruhwedel also scored for Pittsburgh, and Alex Nedeljkovic made 36 saves. "I ...

The Steelers are heading back to the playoffs after Titans hand Jaguars crushing loss PITTSBURGH (AP) — Left for dead in mid-December, the Pittsburgh Steelers are heading back to the playoffs anyway. Pittsburgh clinched a wild-card spot when Tennessee upset Jacksonville, giving the Steelers a playoff berth that seemed unlikely following a three-game skid that included losses to lowly Arizona and New England. Pittsburgh bounced back to finish the season with a three-game winning streak, culminating in a victory over rival Baltimore in Week 18. The Steelers will play either Buffalo, Kansas City or Miami on the road in the first round of the playoffs. Pittsburgh hasn’t won a postseason game since beating Kansas City in the divisional round in 2016. PITTSBURGH (AP) — Left for dead in mid-December, the Pittsburgh Steelers are heading back to the playoffs anyway. Pittsburgh clinched a wild-card spot Sunday when Tennessee upset Jacksonville, giving the Steelers (10-7) a playoff berth that seemed unlikely following a three-game skid that included losses to lowly Arizona and New England. Coach Mike Tomlin inserted third-stringer Mason Rudolph at quarterback after getting blown out at Indianapolis on Dec. 16, and Rudolph responded by helping Pittsburgh reel off three consecutive wins over Cincinnati, Seattle and AFC North champion Baltimore on Saturday. The Steelers will be either the sixth or seventh seed in the AFC, pending the result of Buffalo’s Sunday night game against Miami. A Dolphins win would send Pittsburgh to Kansas City next weekend, and a Bills victory would bring the Steelers to Buffalo. If Miami-Buffalo is a tie, the Dolphins will host the Steelers. Pittsburgh hasn’t won a playoff game since beating Kansas City in the divisional round of the 2016 postseason. The Steelers have lost each of their last four playoff games decisively, falling to New England in the 2016 AFC Championship, Jacksonville in the division round in 2017, Cleveland in the first round in 2020 and Kansas City in the first round in 2021. Pittsburgh will have to move forward without star outside linebacker T.J. Watt. The perennial All-Pro and Defensive Player of the Year candidate left the victory over Baltimore with a knee injury that is expected to sideline him indefinitely. J.J. Watt — T.J.’s retired brother — wrote on social media that the Steelers’ star pass-rusher has a Grade 2 MCL strain and the expectation is he’ll need a “couple weeks of rest/recovery.” The Steelers have endured a topsy-turvy season that included them getting off to a 6-3 start despite getting outgained in each game. They then dropped four of five, including a loss to Cleveland on Nov. 19 that led to embattled offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s firing two days later. The offense momentarily perked up in a win over Cincinnati, but starting quarterback Kenny Pickett injured his right ankle in the second quarter against Arizona on Dec. 3. Mitch Trubisky took over and was largely ineffective as the Steelers fell to the Cardinals, Patriots and Colts to fall outside the playoff picture. Tomlin turned to Rudolph, one of the longest-tenured players on the team who had spent two-plus years buried on the bench, in search of a spark. He provided one that has propelled the Steelers back to the playoffs. Rudolph has thrown for 719 yards and three touchdowns without an interception, with Pickett — now fully recovered from ankle surgery — serving as the backup on Saturday in Baltimore. While Tomlin said last week he would wait to decide who would get the ball should Pittsburgh’s season extend beyond Week 18, it’s almost certain that Rudolph will get a chance to continue his unlikely renaissance against the Bills or Dolphins. ___ AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Left for dead in mid-December, the Pittsburgh Steelers are heading back to the playoffs anyway. Pittsburgh clinched a wild-card spot Sunday when Tennessee upset Jacksonville, giving the Steelers (10-7) a playoff berth that seemed unlikely following a three-game skid that ...

Eagles complete late-season collapse, finish 1-5 stretch with 27-10 loss to New York Giants By DAN GELSTON AP Sports Writer EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles finished the season on a 1-5 freefall following a 27-10 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday night. The Eagles earned the No. 5 seed and will open the NFC playoffs next week at Tampa Bay. Injured starters DeVonta Smith, Darius Slay and D’Andre Swift were unable to play for the Eagles. Fletcher Cox also sat out. Wide receiver A.J. Brown left the game with a knee injury. Jalen Hurts hurt his middle finger on his passing hand and was eventually pulled with the game out of reach. EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Jalen Hurts’ dangling, contorted finger needed a quick fix. As Hurts waited on the sideline for a tape job, he casually, innocently extended his middle finger — though no doubt, in a game that rapidly spiraled into a disaster, Eagles fans everywhere were doing the same to their televisions. From best team in the NFL for the bulk of the season to one of the worst ones down the stretch, the Eagles are suddenly on the brink of a potential offseason of upheaval. Hurts, A.J. Brown and a host of injured, ineffective Eagles can only hope they bottomed out Sunday — a 1-5 finish headed into the postseason that raised doubts about the state of the franchise — in a 27-10 loss to the New York Giants. The Eagles (11-6) earned the No. 5 seed and will open the NFC playoffs next week at Tampa Bay. “It’s about how you respond to it, and we’ve got to respond,” Hurts said. “This is what it is.” If recent weeks are any indication, it could be a short playoff run for the NFC champions. The Eagles entered the game with an outside shot at the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. They didn’t get the needed help in Washington, where the Dallas Cowboys won the game, the NFC East title and the second spot in the conference. It didn’t matter anyway. The first blow came when injured starters DeVonta Smith, Darius Slay and D’Andre Swift were unable to play. Fletcher Cox also sat out. Most of the rest of the Eagles took the game off, too. How else to explain an embarrassment of effort and execution in easily the worst game in coach Nick Sirianni’s three seasons? The Eagles had the dubious distinction of topping last week’s 35-31 home loss to Arizona as the most inexcusable defeat in Sirianni’s tenure. “The feeling I’m getting from this team is very scary right now,” Cox said. “Obviously, everybody’s pretty sad. We just got beat up by a pretty bad football team, let’s just say that. We get to go out and play again next week.” With the No. 2 seed never really in reach — the Cowboys were 13½-point favorites — Sirianni could have rested his starters and played it safe for the fifth seed. But out the starters came, and in they went to the sideline medical tent. Hurts didn’t seem too harmed when last season’s NFL MVP runner-up took a hard hit to the right middle finger on his throwing hand. He was rattled on an incomplete pass attempt on fourth-and-3 from the Eagles’ 48-yard line. Hurts got his finger taped and put on a glove for some warmup passes. He took off the glove and didn’t miss a snap. Hurts was 7 of 16 for 55 yards and one interception. Hurts says he’s taking the injury — “a really unfortunate, crazy thing,” he said — day by day ahead of the Buccaneers game. With fellow 1,000-yard receiver Smith already out with an ankle injury, Brown crumpled to the ground and grabbed his right knee on the MetLife Stadium turf. The same turf where Jets QB Aaron Rodgers suffered torn a left Achilles tendon. The same turf other NFL players have trashed and urged for a change to natural grass. Brown wasn’t using crutches and didn’t appear to be in a brace after he left the game. Sirianni said he hoped Hurts and Brown would be fine for the playoff game. This week, the talk radio hot takes and social media outrage in Philly will be focused solely on Sirianni’s fate. A road playoff game. No division title. It was inconceivable after the Eagles followed a Super Bowl loss with a 10-1 start. “I don’t have any lack of faith or trust in Nick Sirianni,” center Jason Kelce said. The Eagles joined the 2022 Miami Dolphins and 1986 New York Jets as teams to lose five of their last six games and still make the playoffs. As the losses piled up, Sirianni stripped defensive coordinator Sean Desai of his play-calling duties. Matt Patricia wasn’t the answer. The offensive line couldn’t handle blitzes or any serious pressure. The Eagles tensed up — Brown, a co-captain, stopped talking to the media for two weeks — and they tried to put on a unified front in the locker room when pressed on dissension within the team. But a win against the Giants could have settled nerves, soothed stomachs in Philly. After all, the Eagles had won five straight against New York and 13 of 15 overall (playoff included) and represented the only win in the December collapse. Look up, though, and there was New York’s Saquon Barkley running for one touchdown, then another. Hurts had a pass intercepted. Marcus Mariota replaced Hurts and promptly threw an interception. Tyrod Taylor threw for 229 yards in the first half, and the Giants led 24-0. Sirianni waved the white flag and pulled his starters. The game was lost. The season could be next. “Ever since, what was it, four or five weeks ago, when we clinched the playoffs, I think everybody’s just been waiting for the playoffs,” tight end Dallas Goedert said. “Not something that is a great thing. But I think everybody is going to be ready to go and we’re going to show the world what we’re capable of.” INJURIES Eagles S Sydney Brown also left the game with a knee injury suffered on a tackle in the first quarter. UP NEXT Eagles: Hurts threw for a touchdown, ran for another and led the Eagles to a 25-11 win over Tampa Bay in September. Giants: With another season out of the playoffs, the Giants can only look forward to the draft. ___ AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Jalen Hurts' dangling, contorted finger needed a quick fix. As Hurts waited on the sideline for a tape job, he casually, innocently extended his middle finger — though no doubt, in a game that rapidly spiraled into a disaster, Eagles fans everywhere were doing ...

Rossi scores in OT to lift Wild past Blue Jackets 4-3; Fleury gets win No. 551

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Marco Rossi scored 3:05 into overtime and the Minnesota Wild rallied from three one-goal deficits to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 on Saturday night, giving Marc-Andre Fleury his 551st career win. Fleury, who stopped 25 shots including one that would have sealed a ...

Johnny Gaudreau’s shootout goal lifts Blue Jackets over Flyers 3-2

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Johnny Gaudreau scored in the shootout, Damon Severson and Jake Bean netted goals in the third period and the Columbus Blue Jackets came back to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Thursday night. Gaudreau, Columbus' first shooter, beat Flyers goalie Samuel Ersson and ...

Ovechkin scores as Washington uses fast start to beat Crosby and Penguins 4-3

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Alex Ovechkin scored a power-play goal during Washington's fast start, and the Capitals beat Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 on Tuesday night. Ovechkin and Crosby faced off for the 67th time in the regular season. Crosby finished with a goal and an assist, but ...

Broome leads No. 25 Auburn to 88-68 win over Penn with 24 points, 12 boards

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn big man Johni Broome had been doing just about everything but hitting 3-point shots. He flashed that part of his game on Tuesday night, too. Broome had 24 points and 12 rebounds and snapped a 10-game stretch without a 3 in leading No. 25 Auburn to an 88-68 victory ...