A Sports Filled Weekend It Was
The AFC West is really the wild, wild west. Consider Sunday’s fun and games.
The Oakland Raiders (9-2) watched the Carolina Panthers score the first 25 points of the second half but then rallied for a 35-32 victory, allowing them to clinch their first winning season since 2002 and to hold on to first place in the division.
Later in the evening, the Kansas City Chiefs downed the error-prone Denver Broncos 30-27 on a 34-yard field goal by Cairo Santos with 14:58 of the 15-minute overtime period elapsed. The Chiefs (8-3) and Broncos (7-4) will still be heard from in the playoff chase.
In other games, the Miami Dolphins (7-4) won their sixth straight, stopping the San Francisco 49ers near the goal line on the last play for a 31-24 victory. The 49ers (1-10) have lost 10 straight. The New York Giants (8-3) have also won six straight. They beat the Cleveland Browns 27-13. Jason Pierre-Paul had three sacks, a forced fumble and returned a fumble 43 yards for a touchdown to beat the Browns (0-12).
The Associated Press poll has Alabama (12-0) on top, Ohio State (11-1) second, Clemson (11-1) third and Washington (11-1) fourth. Ohio State’s 30-27 win over Michigan dropped the Wolverines to fifth. The College Football Playoff rankings come out Tuesday night. They’re the ones that count heading into a weekend of conference championship games. More about that later this week.
The end of dismal college football seasons also means the end of employment for some coaches. Texas, 16-21 in three seasons under Charlie Strong, fired him and hired Houston’s Tom Herman (22-4 in two seasons). Florida Atlantic fired Charlie Partridge after three seasons, all of which ended with 3-9 records…Nevada fired Brian Polian after four seasons and a 23-27 record…San Jose State fired Ron Caragher after four seasons, none of which concluded with a record above. 500.. And, in an odd early-season move, the NHL’s Florida Panthers canned coach Gerard Gallant for no apparent reason. So it goes.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman