AP Friday Sports Roundup
Cards wrap up playoff berth
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals have become the second NFL team to wrap up a playoff berth, thanks to a little thievery by one of their oldest newcomers.
The Vikings were one play away from attempting a game-tying field goal until 35-year-old Dwight Freeney stripped quarterback Teddy Bridgewater of the ball in the closing seconds to preserve the Cardinals' 23-20 win over Minnesota. Bridgewater had marched the Vikings to the Arizona 31 and was about to pass when the 14-year veteran and first-year Cardinal slammed the quarterback's arm, allowing Calais Campbell to recover the fumble with five seconds left. The game-clinching defensive stop came after Chandler Catanzaro nailed a 47-yard field goal with 1:23 remaining.
Carson Palmer threw a 65-yard scoring pass to John Brown and hit Michael Floyd for a 42-yard TD, but the Cardinals blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter before improving to 11-2. Palmer was 25 of 35 for 310 yards and no interceptions, while David Johnson carried 19 times for 92 yards.
Bridgewater passed for 335 yards and a touchdown for the 8-5 Vikings, who were playing without four defensive starters.
Adrian Peterson ran for an eight-yard TD but had just 69 yards on 23 carries.
Broken hand for Watt...Gronk back at practice
UNDATED (AP) — J.J. Watt says he won't let a broken hand prevent him from playing Sunday against New England.
The defensive end plans to take aim at Tom Brady this weekend despite breaking his left hand in Wednesday's practice.
Watt leads the NFL with 13 ½ sacks and is sporting a black cast covering his left hand and wrist.
In other NFL news:
— Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was back on the practice field Thursday, just 11 days after spraining his right knee and suffering a bone bruise in a loss to the Denver Broncos. With no timeline set on his return, Gronkowski was back after missing four New England Patriots practices.
— Cleveland Browns tight end Gary Barnidge has received a three-year contract extension. The 30-year old has a team-high 60 receptions for 817 yards this year.
— Hall of Fame coach and former NFL broadcaster John Madden has been released from the hospital after undergoing open-heart surgery. The league says Madden left a San Francisco hospital on Wednesday and is expected to make a full recovery. The 79-year-old coached the Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, leading the team to a Super Bowl victory after the 1976 season.
— Authorities say a body believed to be that of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler's brother-in-law has been discovered in southern Utah, nearly two weeks after his car was found abandoned. The Grand County Sheriff's office said that crews on Thursday discovered the remains believed to be that of Michael Cavallari in a steep and rocky area. Cavallari was arrested in Southern California on an allegation of making threats four days before his 2014 Honda Civic was found in Utah.
Sixers dumped again
NEW YORK (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers have stretched their season-opening road losing streak to 13 games by falling to one of the NBA's other weak teams.
Andrea Bargnani (bahrn-YAH'-nee) scored a season-high 23 points and Brooklyn opened the fourth quarter with an 18-6 run to take control in a 100-91 win over the Sixers. Thaddeus Young had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets, who allowed only 13 first-quarter points en route to the sixth victory in their last seven home games.
The 76ers dropped their fourth in a row and fell to 1-22, putting them on pace to shatter the record for fewest wins in an 82-game NBA season. The 1972-73 Sixers went 9-73.
In other NBA action:
— Kevin Durant's seventh career triple-double consisted of 25 points, 12 boards and 10 assists in Oklahoma City's 107-94 home win against Atlanta. Russell Westbrook had 23 points and 10 assists, while Serge Ibaka had a season-high 23 points and 10 rebounds in the Thunder's third consecutive win.
— The Bulls' three-game skid is over after Pau Gasol scored 24 points and Jimmy Butler added 14 in an 83-80 triumph over the Los Angeles Clippers in Chicago. Clippers All-Star Blake Griffin had a team-high 18 points but was ejected for a hard foul against Taj Gibson midway through the third quarter.
— Sacramento earned a 99-97 win over New York behind DeMarcus Cousins' 27 points and 11 rebounds. Rajon Rondo just missed a triple-double, finishing with 16 points, 12 assists and nine boards for the Kings.
All-Star guard may return sooner than expected
CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt says All-Star guard Kyrie (KY'-ree) Irving might make his season debut Friday in Orlando or Saturday in Boston.
Irving has been out since breaking his left kneecap in last season's NBA Finals.
Fellow starting guard Iman Shumpert is also close to a return after missing Cleveland's first 21 games with a wrist injury sustained before training camp.
NBA great dies
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Basketball Hall of Famer and 12-time NBA All-Star Dolph Schayes has died at 87. Schayes was diagnosed with terminal cancer six months ago and died after being stricken with a severe infection, according to his son Danny Schayes.
Dolph Schayes was the franchise player for the old Syracuse Nationals from 1948-1963 and was voted one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.
Handing out hardware
ATLANTA (AP) — Some of the top college football awards were handed out on Thursday.
Alabama running back Derrick Henry came away with both the Walter Camp and Maxwell Awards as the college player of the year. He rushed for 1,986 yards to break Herschel Walker's SEC single-season record. Henry capped a big night when he won the Maxwell Award, given to the college player of the year.
Deshaun Watson of Clemson has won the Davey O'Brien Award, given to the nation's best quarterback. Watson threw for more than 3,500 yards with 30 touchdowns and ran for almost 900 yards with 11 touchdowns to lead the 13-0 Tigers to a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Baylor's Corey Coleman has won the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's outstanding receiver. Coleman 74 receptions for 1,363 yards and 20 touchdowns for the Bears this year.
Joshua Garnett of Stanford has won the Outland Trophy as the nation's most outstanding interior lineman. Garnett helped clear running room for Stanford's star running back Christian McCaffrey
Tyler Matakevich of Temple has won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation's defensive player of the year. It was the second major award for Matakevich, who won the Bronko Nagurski Award on Monday.
Desmond King is the first Iowa player to win the Jim Thorpe Award for the nation's best defensive back. The junior cornerback led Iowa with eight interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown, this season.
The Lou Groza award went to UCLA's Ka'imi Fairbairn, who made 20 of 23 field-goal attempts and each of his 44 extra points in 2015. Fairbairn scored over 100 points in each of his four seasons with the Bruins.
Utah's Tom Hackett has won the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top punter. He also won the award last season before averaging a career-best 47.8 yards a kick this year.
The Heisman Trophy will be presented Saturday in New York.
Dykes gets raise, extension
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — California football coach Sonny Dykes has agreed to a two-year contract extension that will increase his pay immediately and hypothetically keep him locked up through the 2019 season.
Dykes had two years remaining on his original five-year deal. He guided them to a 7-5 record this year and a berth in the Armed Forces Bowl against Air Force later this month, the team's first bowl appearance since 2011.
New deal for coach
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Football coach Pat Narduzzi has earned a contract extension at Pittsburgh. After leading the Panthers to a record of 8-4 and a second-place finish in the ACC behind North Carolina in the Coastal Division, his contract has been extended through the 2021 season.
T25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Cyclones beat Hawkeyes
AMES, Iowa (AP) — The fourth-ranked Iowa State Cyclones needed a huge rally to stay unbeaten.
Monte Morris hit a runner with nine seconds left to cap a game-ending, 9-0 run that lifted Iowa State past Iowa 83-82. The Hawkeyes led by 20 in the second half until the Cyclones finished the game on a 32-11 spurt to improve to 8-0.
Morris and Jameel McKay each had 20 points to help Iowa State overcome Jarrod Uthoff's 32 points.
Meetings over, sluggers still waiting
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The winter baseball meetings ended Thursday in Nashville without any blockbuster signings for hitters.
Baseball executives headed home with top free-agent sluggers still on the market. Outfielder Jason Heyward and first baseman Chris Davis figure to strike the largest deals among hitters. Second baseman Daniel Murphy also remains available, just weeks after he was named MVP of the NLCS.
The top pitchers already have signed, with David Price getting a $217 million, seven-year contract with Boston and Zack Greinke a $206.5 million, six-year deal with Arizona.
Among the lesser deals:
— The Los Angeles Angels have acquired infielder Yunel Escobar from the Washington Nationals for right-handed pitchers Trevor Gott and Michael Brady, along with cash considerations. Escobar played third base last season and batted .314 with nine homers and 56 RBIs in 139 games. Gott went 4-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 48 games as a rookie last season.
— The Pirates have acquired some bullpen help, signing free-agent right-hander Juan Nicasio to a one-year package. The 29-year-old Nicasio was 1-3 with a 3.86 ERA and one save for the Dodgers this year in 52 relief appearances and one start. Pittsburgh snared him a week after he was released by Los Angeles.
— The Royals have finalized a three-year, $25 million deal that brings pitcher Joakim Soria back to Kansas City. Soria was one of the game's premier closers during his first stint in Kansas City, but he missed the 2012 season for Tommy John surgery and the Royals decided not to exercise their option on him. Soria was 3-1 with 24 saves and a 2.53 ERA for the Tigers and Pirates last season.
— A person familiar with the deal has told The Associated Press that free agent shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera has agreed to a two-year, $18.5 million contract with the Mets, pending a physical. The 30-year-old switch hitter hit .265 with 15 homers and 58 RBIs for Tampa Bay last season.
— The Angels have come terms with outfielder Craig Gentry on a $1 million, one-year contract. The 32-year-old Gentry spent the last two seasons with Oakland and hit .120 this year in 26 games.
— The Braves have dealt away young catcher Christian Bethancourt to the San Diego Padres for right-handed pitcher Casey Kelly and minor league catcher Ricardo Rodriguez.
Wings rally late to beat Habs
UNDATED (AP) — The Montreal Canadiens' losing streak continues to grow after they blew a third-period lead for the second straight game.
The Habs were ahead 2-1 until Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm scored 71 seconds apart to lead the Red Wings' 3-2 triumph over the Canadiens in Detroit. Helm's second goal of the night came with 6:01 remaining and sent the Canadiens to their fourth consecutive loss.
Petr Mrazek topped 23 shots in the Red Wings' fourth victory in five games.
The Wings are second in the Atlantic Division and only four points behind the first-place Canadiens.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— Jaromir Jagr's 731st career NHL goal put Florida ahead to stay just 51 seconds into a 4-1 win over Washington. Jagr tied Marcel Dionne for fourth on the all-time goal list and helped the Panthers deal the Capitals just their second loss in nine games.
— Patrick Kane notched a third-period goal to stretch his team-record point streak to 24 games, but James Neal scored twice and Pekka Rinne stopped 35 shots as Nashville thumped Chicago 5-1. Craig Smith and Filip Forsberg scored 37 seconds apart to put the Predators ahead 3-0 late in the opening period.
— Claude Giroux provided the eventual game-winner and had an assist as the Flyers topped the Blues 4-2 in St. Louis. Michal Neuvirth stopped 35 shots to help the Flyers move back over .500.
— Mathieu Perreault delivered the eventual game-winner and had three assists as the Jets outscored Columbus 6-4 at Winnipeg. Dustin Byfuglien and Drew Stafford each added a goal and two assists in the Jets' third win in four games.
— Nikita Kucherov scored twice and Valtteri Filppula provided the game-winner 25 seconds into the third period of Tampa Bay's 4-1 triumph against Ottawa. Ben Bishop stopped 30 shots and was perfect until Cody Ceci beat him with 7:54 to play.
— Calgary has a season-high, four-game winning streak after Sean Monahan scored twice and Johnny Gaudreau furnished the game-winner with 4:50 left in a 4-3 triumph over Buffalo. The Sabres lost for the 10th time in 13 games despite Rasmus Ristolainen, who recorded a hat trick during an 11:48 span of the third period.
GOLF-FRANKLIN TEMPLETON SHOOTOUT
Kuchar-English duo leads
NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — Matt Kuchar and Harris English are the leaders of the Franklin Templeton Shootout after they flirted with the tournament scoring record in the first round. Kuchar and English opened with an eagle on No. 1 and followed with three straight birdies en route to a 14-under 58.
Billy Horschel-Hunter Mahan and Graeme McDowell-Gary Woodland are tied for second with 59s.