Weekend In Review – NFL Playoff Field Finalized As 49ers Top Seahawks, Setting The Stage For Black Monday Firings

Reviewing any sports action you may have missed over the weekend A dozen NFL teams continue their seasons in the playoffs. The non-combatants get to work trying to fix...

(Photo Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)

Reviewing any sports action you may have missed over the weekend

A dozen NFL teams continue their seasons in the playoffs. The non-combatants get to work trying to fix their myriad problems.

First, the playoffs. Then, Black Monday.

The San Francisco 49ers let the Seattle Seahawks get within about three inches of the goal line in the final seconds before securing a 26-21 victory that clinched the NFC West and the overall No. 1 seed in the NFC. The top two seeds get a bye in the first round of the playoffs. So the 49ers (13-3) earn some rest while the Seahawks (11-5) travel to play the Philadelphia Eagles (9-7), who clinched the NFC East by beating the New York Giants 34-17. More about the Giants in the Black Monday section.

The Tennessee Titans (9-7) completed the AFC field, clinching the final wild-card spot with a 35-14 victory over the Houston Texans (10-6). The Titans advance to play the New England Patriots (12-4), whose stunning 27-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins (5-11). The Pats had earned first-round byes for nine consecutive year but saw it slip away as they lost at home to the Fins for the first time since 2008.

The playoff lineup: Saturday, Buffalo Bills (10-6) at Texans, 4:35 p.m., ESPN/ABC; Titans-Patriots, 8:15 p.m., CBS. Sunday, Minnesota Vikings (10-6) at New Orleans Saints (13-3), 1:05 p.m., Fox; Seahawks-Eagles, 4:35 p.m., NBC.

And now for Black Monday: It began Sunday evening when the Cleveland Browns fired first-year coach Freddie Kitchens after a 6-10 season underscored by a loss in the finale to the hapless Cincinnati Bengals. Monday morning brought the dismissal of Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen (no official word yet on interim coach Bill Callahan but it appears former Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera will replace him) and the firing after two seasons of Giants coach Pat Shurmur (9-23).

College football: No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Clemson meet Jan. 13 for the national championship. In the semifinals Saturday, LSU crushed No. 4 Oklahoma 63-28, with Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow passing for 493 yards and having a hand in eight touchdowns. Clemson (14-0) won its 29th consecutive game, erased a 16-0 deficit and crafted a 29-23 win over Ohio State (13-1).

Basketball: Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Decade. … With James Harden and Russell Westbrook sitting out, the Houston Rockets fell 127-112 to the New Orleans Pelicans. … In college hoops, No. 22 West Virginia surprised No. 2 Ohio State 67-59.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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