A Sports Filled Holiday Weekend In Review
Sunday was the clincher for a few NFL teams – a playoff clincher.
The Pittsburgh Steelers nailed down the AFC North title by defeating the Baltimore Ravens 31-27. The Steelers (10-5) won their sixth straight game when receiver Antonio Brown caught a short pass, fought through some tackles and stuck the ball over the goal line with nine seconds left.
Later Sunday evening, the Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) hammered the Denver Broncos 33-10. The Chiefs earned at least a wild-card berth. Both of last season’s Super Bowl teams (champion Denver, runner-up Carolina Panthers) will be absent from the playoffs; the last time neither of the championship game’s participants made it back the following year was 2003.
The Houston Texans (9-6) clinched the AFC South on Saturday night by beating the Cincinnati Bengals 12-10 in a contest so ugly and awful it should never again be spoken of in polite company.
A byproduct of Kansas City’s win was a playoff berth for the Miami Dolphins (10-5). They’ve been missing from the postseason since the 2008 season. The New York Giants (10-5) also return to the playoffs for the first time since 2011, thanks to a loss by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Also worth noting: The Tennessee Titans lost quarterback Marcus Mariota to a broken fibula just a few hours before Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr suffered the same injury on Saturday. Their seasons are over.
NBA: Christmas Day generally belongs to basketball and Sunday’s marquee matchup was outstanding. The Cleveland Cavaliers came from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to beat the Golden State Warriors 109-108. Kyrie Irving hit a jump shot with 3.4 seconds left. … LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 33 points for San Antonio as the Spurs defeated the Chicago Bulls 119-100.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman