BRONCOS WRAP UP TOP SEED, HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE IN AFC PLAYOFFS
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Peyton Manning set the NFL single-season yards record and threw four touchdown passes to clinch the top seed in the AFC playoffs for the Denver Broncos with a 34-14 victory Sunday over the Oakland Raiders. Manning needed one half to add the yards record to the touchdown mark he set last week and assure the Broncos (13-3) would have home-field advantage in the playoffs. He threw touchdown passes to Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno in the first quarter and two to Demaryius Thomas in the second. He broke Drew Brees’ record of 5,476 yards set in 2011 with a 5-yard pass to Thomas with 13 seconds left in the half to make it 31-0. Manning finished the season with 5,477 yards and 55 touchdown passes.
AVS LOSE AGAIN
DENVER (AP) – Blake Wheeler scored at 4:58 of overtime and the Winnipeg Jets beat the slumping Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Sunday night. Al Montoya stopped 33 shots and Andrew Ladd also scored for Winnipeg. Wheeler won it for the Jets when he shoved the puck past Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov with time ticking down in the extra period. Varlamov made 35 saves and Nathan MacKinnon scored for Colorado, which has lost four straight – three after regulation. Ladd gave the Jets a 1-0 lead with 8:18 remaining in the third period. It was his 10th goal of the season. MacKinnon answered 29 seconds later when his shot went off defenseman Zach Bogosian’s skate and past Montoya.
ELSEWHERE IN SPORTS….
NFL COACHES GET PINK SLIPS
Barely 12 hours after the NFL season ended, five head coaches were unemployed. Fired on Monday were Washington’s Mike Shanahan, Detroit’s Jim Schwartz, Minnesota’s Leslie Frazier and Tampa Bay’s Greg Schiano. The Cleveland Browns didn’t even wait that long, dismissing Rob Chudzinski on Sunday night after just one season on the job.
Schiano only got two years with the Buccaneeers. Shanahan, who won two Super Bowls in Denver in the 1990s, spent four seasons with the Redskins. Frazier had a little more than three seasons with the Vikings and Schwartz coached the Lions for five seasons.
One coach allegedly on the hot seat was retained: Rex Ryan, who has one more year on his contract, is staying with the New York Jets.
UNDATED (AP) – The Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles won NFC division titles yesterday. Aaron Rodgers threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb with just 38 seconds remaining to give the Packers a 33-28 win over the Bears in Chicago. Nick Foles threw for two touchdowns and NFL rushing champ LeSean McCoy finished with 131 yards on 27 carries.
SAN DIEGO (AP) – The San Diego Chargers are in the AFC playoffs for the first time in five years, thanks to losses by Baltimore and Miami. The Chargers rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter and beat Kansas City 27-24 in overtime. Nick Novak drilled a 36-yard kick with 5:30 left in OT before the Chiefs were stopped on 4th-and-15 at the San Diego 41.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – IOC President Thomas Bach says he has full confidence that Russian authorities will deliver “safe and secure” games in Sochi despite the two suicide bombings yesterday and today, some 400 miles away. The International Olympic Committee says Bach has written to Russian President Vladimir Putin to express his condolences following the attacks in Volgograd that killed more than 30 people.
GRENOBLE, France (AP) – Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher remains in a medically-induced coma following a skiing accident yesterday, and doctors in France say they don’t know what the outcome will be following brain surgery. The retired German driver was skiing with his son in a French Alpine resort when he fell and hit his head on a rock. He was wearing a helmet.