TAMPA, Fla. (AP)Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes in the final three minutes, helping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rally from a 13-point deficit to beat the New Orleans Saints 17-16 and tighten their grip on first place in the weak NFC South.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion tossed a one-yard TD pass to rookie Cade Otton, finishing a 91-yard drive to pull within 16-10 with exactly three minutes remaining. He got the ball back with 2:29 to go, then won it with a 6-yard throw to another rookie, Rachaad White, with 3 seconds left.
Andy Dalton threw for 225 yards and a touchdown without an interception for New Orleans, but the Saints ultimately paid for having to settle for three field goals by Wil Lutz on drives deep into Bucs territory.
The Bucs (6-6) extended their division lead over the Atlanta Falcons to 1 1/2 games. The last-place Saints (4-9) missed out on opportunity to pull into a tie for second with the Falcons. None of the four teams in the NFC South has a winning record.
Brady, who before the game exchanged greetings with the biggest prize on this winter’s baseball free agent market AL MVP Aaron Judge, finished 36 of 54 for 281 yards and two touchdowns.
OWING MILLS, Md. (AP) – Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh sounded doubtful about Lamar Jackson’s availability for this weekend’s game at Pittsburgh.
Jackson left Sunday’s 10-9 win over Denver with a knee injury. Harbaugh said after the game that it was not a season-ending type of injury. On Monday, he provided an update, saying Jackson was ”kind of week to week.”
Jackson left the game after taking a sack on the final play of the first quarter. This is around the same point in the season when he injured his ankle last year. He wasn’t able to return from that, and Baltimore’s late-season slide left the team out of the playoffs.
Backup Tyler Huntley threw for 187 yards with an interception. He led a 91-yard drive late in the fourth quarter for the game’s only touchdown.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The short-lived Baker Mayfield era is over in Carolina.
The Panthers waived the struggling quarterback after the 2018 No. 1 draft pick asked for his release. Mayfield would be subject to waivers and become a free agent if he goes unclaimed.
The move does not come as a surprise, because Sam Darnold replaced Mayfield after his failed second stint as starting quarterback, and the Panthers like what they have in backup P.J. Walker. The move gives Mayfield a chance to potentially land with a team that needs quarterback help.
San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson all suffered injuries over the weekend.
Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks said Mayfield asked for his release once he informed the quarterbacks that Darnold would be the team’s starter and Walker would be the backup this Sunday at Seattle.
SAN DIEGO (AP) – The Philadelphia Phillies landed Trea Turner, agreeing to a $300 million, 11-year contract with the dynamic shortstop.
The deal includes a no-trade clause, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because there was no immediate announcement.
Turner joins a Philadelphia team that made it to the World Series this year before losing to the Houston Astros. He also reunites with slugger Bryce Harper after the two played together with the Washington Nationals from 2015-18.
Turner was terrific in his first full season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, batting .298 with 21 homers and a career-high 100 RBIs for the 2022 NL West champions. He also swiped 27 bases and scored 101 runs.
SAN DIEGO (AP) – Justin Verlander agreed to an $86.7 million, two-year contract with the New York Mets, reuniting the AL Cy Young Award winner with Max Scherzer and giving the team a high-profile replacement for Jacob deGrom.
The contract is worth $43,333,333 per season and includes a vesting player option for 2025 at $35 million, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because there was no immediate announcement.
Verlander, who turns 40 in February, leaves World Series champion Houston to step in for deGrom, who left New York after nine seasons when he agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract with Texas last week. It also puts Verlander on the same team as Scherzer after they played together with the Detroit Tigers from 2010-14.
Depending on the final details, it appears Verlander’s deal matches Scherzer’s for baseball’s record for highest average annual salary. Scherzer finalized a $130 million, three-year deal with New York a year ago.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Clayton Kershaw needed only a few days to make up his mind to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2023.
After the Dodgers had an MLB-leading 111 victories during the regular season only to get ousted by the San Diego Padres in the NL Division Series, the star pitcher returned to his offseason home outside Dallas. He and his wife, Ellen, talked things over and the Dodgers won out again.
Kershaw re-signed for one year at $20 million with the NL West champions. The deal includes a $5 million signing bonus payable on June 30, a salary of $15 million and a hotel suite on road trips.
For the second straight year, the Dodgers didn’t extend a qualifying offer to the three-time Cy Young Award winner. Instead, they gave him additional time to mull his future, and he once again decided to stay with the only franchise he’s ever played for during his 15-year major league career.
SAN DIEGO (AP) – Brian Cashman is staying with the New York Yankees, signing a four-year contract to remain the team’s senior vice president and general manager.
Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement with Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner since early November, when his five-year contract expired.
The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.
Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge. Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.
While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.
Quarterbacks Stetson Bennett of Georgia, Max Duggan of TCU, C.J. Stroud of Ohio State and Caleb Williams of Southern California were announced as finalists for the Heisman Trophy.
The award given to the outstanding player in college football, determined by a vote of more than 900 sports journalists and past winners, will be presented Saturday at the Lincoln Center in New York.
Conspicuously absent from the list of finalists is Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker, who was the leader of the nation’s No. 1 offense before his season ended Nov. 19 because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Bennett had been a bit under the radar as a Heisman candidate and perhaps a mild surprise to be one of the top four vote-getters for no reason other than that his statistics don’t jump off the page.
Kyrie Irving’s relationship with Nike is officially over, the shoe and athletic apparel maker said, a move that came a month after the company suspended the Brooklyn guard as part of the fallout over his tweeting a link to a film containing antisemitic material.
It was not a surprise breakup, especially after Nike co-founder Phil Knight said in the days after the company suspended Irving that he had doubts there would be any reconciliation.
Irving’s agent and stepmother, Shetellia Riley Irving, told The New York Times that the sides ”mutually decided to part ways and we just wish Nike all the best.” Irving, without mentioning Nike by name, appeared to address the matter on his Twitter account Monday afternoon.