NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The New Orleans Saints are back in the NFC title game following a 10-year absence and will host the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday. The Saints trailed 14-0 until Drew Brees (breez) engineered scoring drives of 92, 79 and 67 yards in their 20-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Michael Thomas had 12 receptions for 171 yards, including a two-yard scoring grab that put the Saints ahead late in the third quarter.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – The New England Patriots will be making their eighth consecutive appearance in the AFC title game when they visit the Chiefs in Kansas City next Sunday. Sony Michel scored three touchdowns and gained most of his 129 yards while the Patriots were building a 35-7 halftime lead in a 41-28 trouncing of the Los Angeles Chargers. James White tied Darren Sproles’ NFL postseason record with 15 catches, and Julian Edelman contributed nine receptions for 151 yards.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Representatives of the Oakland Athletics and Major League Baseball met Sunday with Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, according to a person with direct knowledge of the session. The meeting came a day before the Oklahoma quarterback’s deadline to enter the NFL draft. Oakland executives remained confident as recently as the baseball winter meetings last month in Las Vegas that Murray would report to spring training this year and pursue baseball.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Rafael Nadal is back in competition after a long layoff due to injury. It’s like he’s been there all along. Second-seeded Nadal started off the Australian open with a 5-4, 6-3, 7-5 win over Australian wild-card entry James Duckworth. Fifth-seeded Kevin Anderson also advanced. Women’s second seed Angelique Kerber is through to the second round with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Polona Hercog. Maria Sharapova needed just 63 minutes to beat British qualifier Harriet Dart 6-0, 6-0. Fifth seed Sloane Stephens also won.
HONOLULU (AP) – Matt Kuchar blew a two-stroke lead with three early bogeys before closing with a 4-under 66 to win the PGA’s Sony Open by four strokes over Andrew Punam. The two were tied with five holes remaining before Putnam bogeyed 14 and Kuchar followed with two straight birdies for a 22-under total in his second victory of the season. Putnam closed with a 68 and moved into the top 50 for the first time in his career.