AP Sports SummaryBrief at 7:58 p.m. EST
Hamlin in their hearts, the NFL pays tribute to No. 3
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Players and fans across the NFL paid tribute to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin on Sunday, the first time most across the league resumed playing since his terrifying cardiac arrest during a game last week. Hamlin’s number “3” was on display everywhere across the league, outlined on 30-yard lines on fields, worn on special patches on the Bills uniforms and featured on jackets and sweatshirts and even on red hearts dangling from the tailgate tents outside the Bills home stadium.
NFL playoffs: Dolphins, Jaguars back; Patriots head home
The Miami Dolphins are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2016. So are the surprising Jacksonville Jaguars, returning to the postseason for just the second time since 2007. Among those headed home: The New England Patriots and six-time Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Belichick. The NFL’s postseason field is largely set after Sunday afternoon’s games. The only remaining drama is if the Green Bay Packers to the playoffs by beating the Detroit Lions on Sunday night. If the Packers lose, the Seattle Seahawks will sneak into the bracket.
Bills win for Hamlin and eliminate Patriots from playoffs
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Nyheim Hines ignited an emotionally charged atmosphere celebrating injured Bills safety Damar Hamlin by returning two kickoffs for touchdowns, and Buffalo clinched the AFC’s No. 2 playoff seed with a 35-23 win over the New England Patriots. The loss, coupled with Miami beating the New York Jets, eliminated the Patriots from the playoffs for the second time in three years, and just the fourth time in 23 seasons during Bill Belichick’s coaching tenure. Buffalo will now host their division rival Dolphins in the wild-card round next weekend. With the game in hand, Bills players held up three fingers in honor of Hamlin’s number with the crowd chanting “Hamlin! Hamlin!” in honor of the safety who is recovering in a Cincinnati hospital after going into cardiac arrest on Monday.
Bengals’ Mixon celebrates TD with coin flip
CINCINNATI (AP) — Joe Mixon and the Cincinnati Bengals are still flipping out over the NFL’s plan to determine home-field advantage in the playoffs. Mixon referenced the NFL’s decision to use a coin flip as a tiebreaker Sunday by celebrating a 1-yard touchdown run against the Baltimore Ravens by taking a coin out of his glove and flicking it. He and several teammates then kicked it on the ground. The league decided to add a coin flip to settle some potential playoff scenarios after Monday night’s game between the Bengals and Buffalo Bills was declared a no-contest after Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field.
Bucs’ Brady breaks own record but suffers 1st losing season
ATLANTA (AP) — Tom Brady broke his own NFL mark for most completions in a season, quickly gaining the needed nine connections in Tampa Bay’s 30-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. He played into the second quarter and then was taken out to avoid injury with the playoffs just a few days away. The loss dropped the NFC South champion Buccaneers to 8-9, the first time a team quarterbacked by Brady has finished a season below .500. Brady had a record 485 completions with the Buccaneers in 2021, and the 45-year-old began the day only nine away from a new mark.
Seahawks keep postseason hopes alive, top Rams 19-16 in OT
SEATTLE (AP) — Jason Myers kicked a 32-yard field goal midway through overtime, and the Seattle Seahawks kept their playoff hopes alive with a 19-16 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Myers missed from 46 yards when he hit the upright on the final play of regulation. Given another shot in overtime, the Pro Bowler connected on his fourth field goal of the game and the Seahawks’ postseason chances stayed alive for a few more hours. Seattle eliminated Detroit from playoff contention but still needed a Lions win or tie against Green Bay on Sunday night to reach the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in the NFC.
Purdy leads 49ers to 10th straight win, 38-13 over Cardinals
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Brock Purdy threw three touchdown passes for his sixth straight game with multiple TDs and the San Francisco 49ers clinched the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs with a 38-13 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Purdy overcame two sacks from J.J. Watt in the final game of Watt’s stellar career and connected with George Kittle twice and Christian McCaffrey once on TD passes to lead the Niners to their 10th straight win to end the regular season to clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC. The Cardinals ended the season with seven straight losses to tie a franchise record for losses in a season.
Dolphins clinch playoff berth after beating Jets 11-6
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Jason Sanders kicked a go-ahead 50-yard field goal with 18 seconds left and helped send the Miami Dolphins to their first playoff berth since 2016 after barely squeaking by the New York Jets 11-6. The Dolphins snapped a five-game losing streak and then had to wait a few minutes for Buffalo to defeat New England 35-23 to make their postseason appearance official. “We’re In” was displayed on the videoboard at Hard Rock Stadium. The Jets ended the season with six straight losses and finished a disappointing collapse for Robert Saleh’s squad. New York failed to score a touchdown in its final three games.
Hurts returns from injury, leads Eagles to No. 1 seed in NFC
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jalen Hurts returned from a sprained right shoulder and threw for 229 yards under a conservative game plan in his first game in three weeks and the Philadelphia Eagles finally clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a 22-16 win over the New York Giants on Sunday night. The Eagles clinched the NFC East. They also earn home field throughout the playoffs. Hurts was 20-of-35 passing and threw one interception. The Giants play next week at Minnesota.
Bears get No. 1 pick after Texans rally for win at Indy
CHICAGO (AP) — Thanks to an old friend, the Chicago Bears are on the clock for the NFL draft. Chicago will pick No. 1 for the first time since 1947 after it lost 29-13 to the Minnesota Vikings in its season finale. It was the 10th straight loss for the Bears, extending a franchise record. Even with all that misery, the Bears were headed for the No. 2 selection before Lovie Smith coached Houston to a wild 32-31 victory at Indianapolis. The 64-year-old Smith coached the Bears from 2004-12, going 81-63 and making the playoffs three times.
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