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49ers hold off late push to eliminate Cowboys

49ers hold off late push to eliminate Cowboys

Elijah Mitchell ran for 96 yards and a touchdown while the San Francisco 49ers' defense overcame the loss of star end Nick Bosa to hold the Dallas Cowboys in check during a 23-17 win Sunday in the NFC wild-card round in Arlington, Texas.

Jimmy Garoppolo hit 16 of 25 throws for 172 yards with an interception for the 49ers, who will travel to top-seeded Green Bay next weekend for the NFC semifinals. Deebo Samuel added 110 yards from scrimmage, 72 on the ground, with a touchdown.

Samuel's 26-yard scoring run, one play after Dak Prescott was intercepted by K'Waun Williams, gave San Francisco a 23-7 advantage with 5:50 left in the third quarter.

Greg Zuerlein's 51-yard field goal and Prescott's 5-yard touchdown run pulled the Cowboys within six points with 8:02 left. But Dallas' last chance ended when Prescott ran 17 yards up the middle to the 49ers' 24-yard line and could not spike the ball to stop the clock before time expired. Dallas was out of timeouts.

Bosa (concussion) didn't play in the second half, but sixth-seeded San Francisco still held third-seeded Dallas to 307 total yards and sacked Prescott five times. Prescott completed just 23 of 43 passes for 254 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Dallas hurt its cause with 14 penalties for 89 yards. Four of them gave the 49ers first downs.

San Francisco initiated the scoring on the game's first possession, marching 75 yards in just seven plays. Mitchell stepped into the end zone from the 4 on a toss sweep, slicing just inside the front right pylon at the 10:54 mark.

Gould upped the lead to 10-0 on the 49ers' second drive, drilling a 53-yard field goal with 4:56 left. He connected from 40 yards out with 9:44 remaining in the first half, capping a drive of nearly eight minutes to make it 13-0.

Dallas finally got some traction on the next possession, going 67 yards in nine plays to get on the board. Prescott hooked up with Amari Cooper for a 20-yard touchdown pass with 5:24 on the clock to cut the deficit to 13-7.

Gould sent San Francisco into the locker room with a 16-7 lead after converting from 52 yards out with 3:08 left.

49ers star DE Nick Bosa (concussion) exits vs. Cowboys

49ers star DE Nick Bosa (concussion) exits vs. Cowboys

The San Francisco 49ers were dealt a blow in their bid to upset the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday when star defensive end Nick Bosa was declared out for the second half after suffering a concussion late in the first half.

Bosa was trying to get to quarterback Dak Prescott when he was held by La'el Collins. As Bosa was falling, his head hit the hip of a teammate. Bosa walked off the field under his own power but couldn't pass concussion protocol before the second half.

In the first half, Bosa had three tackles and a half-sack, helping San Francisco mount a consistent pass rush. Prescott absorbed three sacks.

At the time of the injury, the 49ers led 16-7, and they boosted the lead to 16 points later in the stanza.

Bosa had 15.5 sacks in the regular season, which ranked fourth in the NFL.

Bengals star DE Trey Hendrickson placed in concussion protocol

Bengals star DE Trey Hendrickson placed in concussion protocol

Cincinnati Bengals standout defensive end Trey Hendrickson is in the concussion protocol, coach Zac Taylor said on Sunday.

Hendrickson was injured during the third quarter of Saturday's 26-19 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Taylor said Hendrickson will need to complete the team's concussion process before he could be cleared to play in next weekend's divisional playoff round.

"It's really a daily thing, the process will start on Tuesday him getting cleared and then he's got to do physical activities and get back to contact practice," Taylor said. "There's certainly enough time in the week to get that done if he's feeling up to it and clear day-to-day."

Hendrickson had a key sack and forced fumble on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to set up a Cincinnati field goal on Saturday.

In the regular season, the 27-year-old Hendrickson racked up 14 sacks, which ranked fifth in the NFL, while earning his first Pro Bowl selection. His career-best total topped the 13.5 he had in 2020 for the New Orleans Saints.

Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi injured a foot in the third quarter and Taylor said doctors are still determining the seriousness. Ogunjobi recovered the fumble that Hendrickson forced.

Defensive tackle Mike Daniels (groin) was injured and will likely sit out next week.

Taylor said there was "a chance" defensive tackle Josh Tupou could return. He missed the game against the Raiders with a knee injury.

Report: Bengals-Raiders officiating crew done for playoffs

Report: Bengals-Raiders officiating crew done for playoffs

The officiating crew for Saturday's Las Vegas Raiders-Cincinnati Bengals AFC wild-card game is not expected to work again this postseason, according to a report from ESPN that cited an unnamed league source.

The crew, led by referee Jerome Boger, fell under scrutiny for a few issues, most notably a whistle that was blown during a play that saw Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow throw a touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd in the back of the end zone late in the second quarter.

The report indicated that the officials, an assembly of members from other regular-season crews, as is customary during the postseason, would not receive high grades for the game.

On the play, Burrow was scrambling and released the football just before he stepped out of bounds. Replay indicated that the whistle, which the officials called inadvertent, came while the ball was in the air and just before Boyd made the catch. The defender closest to Boyd appeared to ease up on the play just before the catch was made.

However, the officiating crew "determined that they had a whistle, but that the whistle for them on the field was blown after the receiver caught the ball," according to Walt Anderson, the league's senior vice president of officiating, who spoke to a pool reporter after the game.

The Bengals extended their lead to 20-6 with the score, and held on for a 26-19 win thanks to a goal-line interception of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr in the closing seconds.

Buccaneers take care of business, handle Eagles 31-15

Buccaneers take care of business, handle Eagles 31-15

Tom Brady threw for two touchdowns as the second-seeded Tampa Bay Buccaneers opened defense of their Super Bowl crown Sunday with a smooth 31-15 victory over the seventh-seeded Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC wild-card playoff game in Tampa, Fla.

Brady completed 29 of 37 passes for 271 yards in an efficient performance, enabling Tampa Bay to stay home next weekend for a conference semifinal. Mike Evans caught nine passes for 117 yards and a score.

Philadelphia's Jalen Hurts struggled for most of his first playoff start, connecting on 23 of 43 passes for 258 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. The Eagles weren't able to run the ball successfully until the game was out of reach, enabling the Buccaneers to tee off on Hurts.

While Tampa Bay sacked the mobile Hurts just twice, it mounted steady pressure and did a solid job of covering his wide receivers. Sixteen of Hurts' completions were to tight ends and running backs.

The Buccaneers set an immediate tone by marching 75 yards on the game's first possession. Giovani Bernard got the score on a 2-yard run at the 10:05 mark of the first quarter.

Tampa Bay made it 14-0 with 25 seconds left in the quarter when Ke'Shawn Vaughn plunged in from the 1 to finish a 70-yard yard that lasted four minutes. On its next possession, Tampa Bay chewed up 53 yards and nearly five minutes to set up Ryan Succop's 34-yard field goal that made it 17-0 with 9:20 remaining in the half.

By that point the Eagles had managed just one first down on three possessions.

The Buccaneers used Eagle turnovers to put the game away in the third quarter. When Jalen Reagor muffed a punt, Ross Cockrell recovered for Tampa Bay, and five plays later, Brady hit Rob Gronkowski with a 2-yard touchdown pass.

Two minutes later, Hurts was intercepted by Shaquil Barrett, and Brady hit Evans with a 36-yard touchdown on the next play.

Philadelphia made the final score respectable with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Boston Scott ran 34 yards with 12:08 left and Hurts hit Kenneth Gainwell for a 16-yard score with 4:45 remaining.

Steelers face long odds to keep season alive at K.C.

Steelers face long odds to keep season alive at K.C.

The Super Bowl defeat suffered by the Kansas City Chiefs last season provides motivation entering the playoffs but remains a setback that can be compartmentalized.

After all, considerable work remains for the two-time reigning AFC champion before booking a Super Bowl appearance in mid-February. The path begins to unravel Sunday when the Chiefs host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild-card round at Kansas City, Mo.

The Chiefs are easily the biggest favorites of Wildcard Weekend, with the line at 12.5 points at BetMGM and FanDuel. That has led to split action, with Pittsburgh backed by 55 percent of the bets and 50 percent of the spread-line money at BetMGM while Kansas City has been supported by 55 percent of both markets at FanDuel.

"It's in the back of my mind but for the most part it's a new year," Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said about the NFL's ultimate prize. "You've got to focus on things that have happened this year. We're on a goal to prove to ourselves who we think we are, and we know we are, and that's Super Bowl champions."

The Pittsburgh matchup will be a rematch of a Dec. 26 clash Kansas City dominated 36-10 with Kelce sidelined in COVID-19 protocol. The Chiefs went on to go 12-5 while winning nine of their final 10 games and claiming their sixth consecutive AFC West title.

Kansas City has reached the AFC championship game in each of the previous three seasons, primarily engineered by stalwart quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

"When you get to that playoff game day, you have a little bit different intensity knowing that every play is critical and it could really end your season by making a mistake," Mahomes said. "At the same time, you want to be loose, you want to have fun and you want to enjoy it."

Mahomes passed for 258 yards and three touchdowns in the first meeting with the Steelers. The Chiefs also forced three turnovers and limited Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to 159 yards passing.

The Chiefs' defensive intensity that day followed a trend that began after acquiring a longtime Steeler, Melvin Ingram. Ingram proved instrumental a week ago when he crashed into the backfield to generate a bone-jarring strip the Chiefs converted into a late touchdown return in a 28-24 win at Denver.

"He's the swag champ," Kelce said, adding that "you saw how much more fun people were having" after Ingram joined the defensive front.

At times, Mahomes has struggled with his accuracy, but he overcame an early-season rash of mistakes to lead the Chiefs to the league's third-best production, 396.8 yards on average.

He passed for 4,839 yards while counting on Kelce and Tyreek Hill as 1,000-yard receivers. The committee approach to the backfield could continue with Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder) ruled out and Darrel Williams (toe) listed as questionable.

Second-seeded Kansas City, a two-time Super Bowl champion, will make its seventh consecutive postseason appearance and last faced Pittsburgh in the playoffs in 2016. The Steelers won 18-16. Pittsburgh, a six-time Super Bowl champion, reached the playoffs for the second straight season but last won a postseason game in 2016.

Roethlisberger, whose career could end with the Steelers' next loss as he considers retiring from football, lamented the long odds his team faces after going 9-7-1 and drawing the No. 7 seed.

"I would assume, as a group, you understand that we probably aren't supposed to be here," said Roethlisberger, who is dealing with a strained pectoral and shoulder.

"We probably are not a very good football team. Out of 14 teams I think are in, we're probably number 14. We're double-digit underdogs in the playoffs. So, let's just go play, have fun and see what happens."

Tongue in cheek? Probably. A dose of realism? Yes, that too.

Still, Pittsburgh got in by defeating Baltimore in the season finale and getting help from Jacksonville beating Indianapolis and Las Vegas beating the Los Angeles Chargers in overtime.

Running back Najee Harris (elbow) was deemed good to go on Saturday. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster also is expected to be activated from injured reserve, where he's been since sustaining a shoulder injury in October. Cornerback Arthur Maulet (concussion) also has been cleared to play against the Chiefs.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin gained some satisfaction getting to restrict the all-out aggression of Harris, a 1,200-yard rusher as a rookie.

"It's a good issue and problem to have," Tomlin said, "when you have a guy that's wired the way that he's wired."

Cowboys slight home favorite ahead of 49ers showdown

Cowboys slight home favorite ahead of 49ers showdown

The Dallas Cowboys have Super Bowl dreams but perhaps the toughest matchup of all the home teams in the NFL Wild Card round.

That's because the NFC's third seed drew the sixth-seeded San Francisco 49ers in the late-afternoon window on Sunday.

The Cowboys opened as 3.0-point favorites at BetMGM and FanDuel.

The line has moved to 2.5 at the former, with the 49ers backed by 54 percent of the bets and 51 percent of the spread-line money. The action has favored Dallas more at FanDuel, where the team is being backed by 55 percent of the bets and 67 percent of the money.

San Francisco boasts a strong running game and a stronger run defense. It enters with momentum after finishing a 10-7 season with seven wins in their last nine games.

"We know we have a chance to do something special," 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. "You don't get that opportunity every year. I've been on a number of teams that went to the Super Bowl... there's a feeling and you want to make them count as long as you have them."

Some believe the 49ers' chances of making a deep postseason run hinge on what Garoppolo does. The version of him that led a rally from a 17-0 second quarter deficit in a 27-24 overtime win at the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday can help San Francisco win multiple playoff games.

Garoppolo connected on 23 of 32 passes for 316 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, spearheading an 88-yard touchdown drive in the final 90 seconds that forced overtime. And he did that with a thumb injury suffered in a Dec. 23 loss at Tennessee that will require surgery when the season ends.

When asked about the thumb on Wednesday, Garoppolo said, "It was a little sore after the (Rams) game, but it's feeling great right now."

The 49ers are seventh in the league in rushing at 127.4 yards per-game despite losing Raheem Mostert after two carries in the season opener with a knee injury. Rookie Elijah Mitchell returned from a December injury to average 102 yards per-game over his last two outings.

San Francisco also expanded Deebo Samuel's role when necessary, using him like Atlanta used Cordarrelle Patterson. In addition to his 1,405 receiving yards, Samuel rushed for 365 yards this season -- good enough for second on the team -- and led the club with eight rushing scores.

But the game's most intriguing portion figures to occur when Dallas (12-5) owns the ball. That's because its high-powered offense must cope with a defense ranked second in the league against the rush and fifth in the league in sacks with 48.

The good news for the Cowboys is that left tackle Tyron Smith has been activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list and is expected to start. That should ease the mind of quarterback Dak Prescott, who will lean on Smith to keep the likes of Nick Bosa from disrupting his pocket.

Prescott is coming off a highly efficient, highly productive performance in Dallas' final regular season game. In a 51-26 road rout of Philadelphia on Jan. 8, Prescott completed 21 of 27 attempts for 295 yards and five touchdowns in three quarters and 22 seconds of action.

The Cowboys finished the season as the NFL's top-scoring team at 31.2 points per game and set a franchise record with 22 different players scoring at least one touchdown.

Prescott spread the wealth around, with CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz and Amari Cooper each catching at least 68 passes. Four other players caught between 35 and 47 balls, and Ezekiel Elliott squeaked out a 1,000-yard season on the ground with 87 yards at Philadelphia, giving him 1,002 in the regular season.

The matchup also features a reunion of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. They were together in Atlanta when the Falcons made Super Bowl 51 with Quinn as the head coach, only to infamously blow a 28-3 lead and lose in overtime to the New England Patriots.

Quinn invoked the memories of some early 90s playoff showdowns between these franchises when asked about this game.

"I can hear (John) Madden and (Pat) Summerall talking it through," Quinn said. "My first Dallas and Niner playoff game -- I'm pretty fired up to do it, man."

The 49ers and the Cowboys have met in the playoffs seven previous times, but this will be their first postseason matchup since Jan. 15, 1995, a 38-28 49ers win.

Cowboys linebacker Keanu Neal was ruled out with a biceps injury along with backup running back Tony Pollard (foot). Backups Luke Gifford and Francis Bernard are expected to be called upon to play more significant roles with Neal out.

The 49ers listed four players as questionable on their final injury report: linebackers Azeez Al-Shaair (knee) and Marcell Harris (Achilles), punter Mitch Wishnowsky (concussion) and safety Talanoa Hufanga (knee).

Eagles' Josh Sweat out vs. Bucs after 'life-threatening' situation

Eagles' Josh Sweat out vs. Bucs after 'life-threatening' situation

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Josh Sweat will not play in Sunday's NFC wild-card game against the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers after overcoming a "life-threatening" situation, the team said.

Sweat was listed as questionable with an illness this week, however the Eagles released a statement on Sunday morning that shed light on the situation.

"On Tuesday night, Josh Sweat was admitted to the hospital," the statement said. "He underwent an emergency procedure due to the severity. The doctors addressed a life-threatening situation. In the following days, Josh and our medical team did everything possible to help him return. He improved every day but it was determined by the doctors today that he was not quite ready. The fact that Josh came so close to playing is a credit to his toughness and our medical staff."

The Eagles said Sweat's procedure was not for a ruptured appendix.

Sweat, 24, recorded 45 tackles, 7.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 16 games (13 starts) this season. He has 105 tackles, 17.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in 55 career games (16 starts) since being selected by the Eagles in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Joining Sweat as inactive for the Eagles on Sunday were quarterback Reid Sinnett, defensive backs Andre Chachere, Tay Gowan and Kary Vincent Jr., running back Jason Huntley and guard Nate Herbig.

The Buccaneers listed running backs Ronald Jones II and Kenjon Barner, cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, quarterback Kyle Trask, wide receiver Cyril Grayson, guard Nick Leverett and tight end Codey McElroy as inactive.

Patriots' Bill Belichick says he plans to coach in 2022

Patriots' Bill Belichick says he plans to coach in 2022

Bill Belichick says he plans to coach the New England Patriots in 2022.

"I'd say that would be accurate," Belichick said Sunday when asked about returning for a 23rd season with New England.

Belichick, who turns 70 in April, has coached the Patriots since 2000, winning six Super Bowl championships.

New England's season ended Saturday with a 47-17 wild-card loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Including his tenure with the Cleveland Browns (1991-95), Belichick has won 290 regular-season games. He ranks third all-time behind Don Shula (328) and George Halas (318).

Reports: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson to explore options

Reports: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson to explore options

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson wants to explore his options this offseason, sources told NFL Network.

Wilson has not demanded a trade, per Sunday's report, but he intends to investigate other destinations that might give him a better shot at winning another championship.

Prior to the Seahawks' Week 18 win at Arizona, Wilson said his plan was to win more Super Bowls with Seattle.

"For me, I think what I'm really super passionate about obviously, my goal is to win more Super Bowls," Wilson said. "And my plan is to win them here. It's that simple. There's nothing really else other than that."

Wilson, 33, made 14 starts in 2021, missing games for the first time in his 10-year career due to injury. He passed for a career-low 3,113 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions.

He signed a four-year, $140 million extension in April 2019 that comes with a $37 million salary cap hit in 2022.

Josh Allen throws for 5 TDs as Bills maul Patriots

Josh Allen throws for 5 TDs as Bills maul Patriots

Josh Allen passed for 308 yards and five touchdowns as the third-seeded Buffalo Bills dominated the visiting New England Patriots 47-17 in an AFC wild-card matchup on Saturday night in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Allen (21-of-25 passing) guided the Bills to touchdown drives on their first seven possessions, a first for any team in a postseason game in the Super Bowl era. Devin Singletary rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns for the Bills. Allen added 66 yards rushing.

"We were ready to play. A lot of preparation went into this one," Allen told the CBS broadcast in a postgame interview. "We just kept the momentum rolling all day today."

Buffalo will face either Kansas City or Cincinnati in the divisional round next weekend.

Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones went 24-of-38 passing for 232 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his first playoff start. Kendrick Bourne had seven catches for a team-high 77 yards and two TDs for New England.

New England was playing its first playoff game without Tom Brady at quarterback since a loss at Jacksonville in the wild-card round on Jan. 3, 1999.

It was the first playoff meeting between the AFC East rivals since a then-Boston Patriots team earned a 26-8 win at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo on Dec. 28, 1963, in a divisional round game. The teams split their two regular-season meetings this season.

Allen led the Bills to touchdown drives in each of their four first-half possessions as Buffalo built a 27-3 halftime lead. It marked the largest halftime deficit for the Patriots in coach Bill Belichick's tenure.

Jones was intercepted on the Patriots' opening drive of the second half. On the next drive, Allen hit Emmanuel Sanders on a 34-yard bomb for another touchdown to make it 33-3 at the 8:48 mark of the third.

With the game already in hand, Jones tossed a three-yard pass to Bourne for the QB's first postseason TD with 4:12 to go in the third.

Allen added a 19-yard scoring pass to Gabriel Davis and a one-yard TD toss to Tommy Doyle in the fourth quarter as the Bills ran up the score. Jones added another four-yard TD toss to Bourne late in the fourth.

Buffalo marched 70 yards on nine plays on the game's opening drive to score as Allen found Dawson Knox for an eight-yard TD with 9:45 left in the first quarter.

On the ensuing drive, Jones drove the Patriots to the Bills' 34-yard-line before his pass intended for wideout Nelson Agholor was intercepted by Micah Hyde in the end zone for a touchdown.

Allen and Knox connected again for an 11-yard touchdown with 40 seconds left in the quarter to make it 14-0.

Singletary had a pair of TD rushes in the second quarter, scoring on a three-yard rush with 7:20 on the clock and again on a 16-yard scamper with 1:53 remaining.

Nick Folk's 44-yard field goal six seconds before halftime put New England on the board.

DT Christian Barmore, LB Dont'a Hightower active for Patriots

DT Christian Barmore, LB Dont'a Hightower active for Patriots

Defensive tackle Christian Barmore and linebacker Dont'a Hightower were active for the New England Patriots on Saturday night in their AFC wild-card game against the host Buffalo Bills.

Both players are dealing with knee injuries and were listed as questionable for the contest. Barmore was injured in the regular-season finale against the Miami Dolphins while Hightower missed that contest with his ailment.

Barmore, a rookie, had 46 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 17 regular-season games. Hightower recorded 64 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 15 contests.

Two healthy defenders, linebacker Chase Winovich and defensive tackle Carl Davis, are among the inactivates. Left tackle Isaiah Wynn (ankle, hip) was previously ruled out.

Running back Matt Brieda and defensive end Efe Obada are among Buffalo's inactives.

Rams S Taylor Rapp (concussion) ruled out vs. Cardinals

Rams S Taylor Rapp (concussion) ruled out vs. Cardinals

Los Angeles Rams free safety Taylor Rapp was ruled out of Monday night's NFC wild-card game with the Arizona Cardinals due to his concussion.

Rapp was unable to clear the protocol and Los Angeles coach Sean McVay on Saturday termed his upcoming absence as "a big loss for us."

The 24-year-old Rapp was hurt during the regular-season finale against the San Francisco 49ers.

"He's doing everything in his power to get back as quickly as possible," McVay told reporters.

In addition to Rapp (94 tackles, four interceptions), Los Angeles lost 23-year-old strong safety Jordan Fuller (114 tackles) to a season-ending ankle injury.

The injuries led the Rams to lure six-time Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle out of retirement. Los Angeles signed Weddle to its practice squad and McVay said Weddle will be activated prior to Monday's game.

Weddle, 37, hasn't played in an NFL game in just over two years when he played in the Rams' final regular-season game in 2019.

"He's done a great job," McVay said of Weddle. "He's brought a great energy. He's a great communicator. He's a great leader. He'll be ready to go. What exactly that role looks like, we're still working through. Got a lot of confidence in (expected starters) Nick Scott and Terrell Burgess as well."

Also, running back Buddy Howell (hamstring) is doubtful and receiver Van Jefferson (shoulder) is questionable.

Arizona listed six players as questionable, including running back James Conner and left guard Justin Pugh (calf).

Bengals defeat Raiders for first playoff win since 1991

Bengals defeat Raiders for first playoff win since 1991

Joe Burrow passed for 244 yards and two first-half touchdowns as the Cincinnati Bengals ended a 31-year postseason losing streak with a 26-19 victory over the visiting Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday afternoon.

Evan McPherson kicked four field goals for the Bengals.

Cincinnati advanced out of the opening round of the playoffs for the first time since the 1990 season.

"It's a great win for us, for the city and the organization, but, you know, we expected this. So, it's not gonna be a big celebration like it was when we won the division," Burrow said. "We took care of business, now it's on to the next round."

Cincinnati led by 10 points after McPherson's fourth field goal, a 28-yarder, with 6:46 to play.

The Raiders pulled to within 26-19 on the ensuing drive on Daniel Carlson's 28-yard FG - his fourth of the game as well -- with 3:37 remaining. Las Vegas converted a huge fourth-and-5 from its own 44-yard line to keep alive the drive.

The Bengals could not run out the clock, giving Las Vegas the ball at its own 35 with 1:51 to play. The Raiders moved to the Cincinnati 9-yard line but failed to get the tying score on four snaps, the final one ending with an interception by the Bengals' Germaine Pratt with 12 seconds to play.

Derek Carr threw for 310 yards and a touchdown in the loss for Las Vegas, completing passes to seven different receivers. Josh Jacobs rushed for 83 yards on 13 carries.

The Raiders, making their first playoff appearance since 2016, have not recorded a postseason victory since the 2002 season.

"The Bengals beat us today -- we came up short today," Carr said. "Honestly, I'm just trying to hold back emotion because I didn't plan on that happening. You know, I didn't expect it to have to go that way. I just felt so confident in the game plan. So, it's just hard right now. But looking at the season, you definitely have some pieces there. It'll be interesting to see what happens."

Las Vegas got on the board on its opening drive, moving 47 yards to Carlson's 47-yard field goal with 9:28 to play in the first quarter. Cincinnati answered with Burrow's 7-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Uzomah and a 7-3 lead with 4:35 left in the quarter.

On the ensuing possession, Carr fumbled while being sacked from behind by the Bengals' Trey Hendrickson, with the loose ball picked up by Larry Ogunjobi and returned to the Las Vegas 15-yard line. Cincinnati settled for a 31-yard FG by McPherson that expanded its advantage to 10-3.

The teams traded field goals early in the second quarter, with McPherson hitting from 30 yards at the 10:23 mark and Carlson converting from 28 yards out with 7:58 to play until halftime.

Burrow added to the Bengals' lead with a scrambling, 10-yard TD pass to Tyler Boyd with 1:51 left in the half. That left plenty of time for Carr, who drove to a 14-yard scoring pass to Zay Jones to pull the Raiders to within 20-13 at the break.

The only scoring in the third quarter was a 43-yard field goal by McPherson on the Bengals' opening drive of the half that pushed their lead to 23-13.

Carlson hit from 34 yards away on the second play of the fourth quarter to bring the Raiders within a touchdown, 23-16.

Buccaneers activate LB Lavonte David, RB Giovani Bernard from IR

Buccaneers activate LB Lavonte David, RB Giovani Bernard from IR

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated standout inside linebacker Lavonte David and running back Giovani Bernard off injured reserve on Saturday, one day before the NFC wild-card game against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles.

David (foot) missed the final three weeks of the regular season, while Bernard (hip, knee) missed the last four games. The Buccaneers said both players are questionable to play against the Eagles.

David recorded 97 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles in 12 games this season. He fell just shy of reaching 100 stops for the ninth time in 10 seasons, all with Tampa Bay.

Bernard caught 23 passes for 123 yards and three touchdowns and rushed eight times for 58 yards in 12 regular-season contests. Bernard is in his first campaign with the Buccaneers after playing eight seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Bengals DT Josh Tupou inactive vs. Raiders

Bengals DT Josh Tupou inactive vs. Raiders

Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou is one of the team's inactives for Saturday's AFC wild-card game against the visiting Las Vegas Raiders.

Tupou injured his knee during last Sunday's 21-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns. He didn't practice all week and was listed as doubtful.

Tupou started nine of 17 games played this season and had 12 tackles.

The Raiders will have defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins on the field. He was questionable with back and knee injuries.

Hankins had 38 tackles in 14 regular-season games.

Ex-NFL player Junior Siavii dies at 43

Ex-NFL player Junior Siavii dies at 43

Former NFL defensive tackle Junior Siavii died after being found unresponsive in a federal prison. He was 43.

The Kansas City Star reported he was pronounced dead Thursday afternoon at a hospital, where he was taken after being found in his cell at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan. He was awaiting trial on gun and drug trafficking charges.

His cause of death was not announced.

Siavii had been at the medium-security prison since Dec. 17, the newspaper reported. He was arrested in 2019 on suspicion of illegal firearms possession and later indicted on charges of trafficking methamphetamine.

The Kansas City Chiefs selected Siavii with the 36th overall pick of the 2004 NFL Draft. He appeared in 26 games with the Chiefs, missed three seasons with injuries and returned to the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys in 2009. He later played with the Seattle Seahawks before retiring in 2011 because of injury.

The 6-foot-5 Siavii was a native of American Samoa and played in college at Oregon.

In all, Siavii appeared in 56 games (six starts) and recorded 56 tackles (six for loss), three quarterback hits and one fumble recovery.

Steelers RB Najee Harris (elbow) expected to face Chiefs

Steelers RB Najee Harris (elbow) expected to face Chiefs

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris has been removed from the injured list and is expected to face the host Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday night's AFC wild-card game.

Harris, 23, injured his elbow in last Sunday's 16-13 overtime victory over the host Baltimore Ravens. He was a full participant in Friday's practice and the team listed him as questionable for Sunday's game.

"It was sore for a couple of days but it's feeling better," Harris said after Friday's practice.

The 24th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Alabama product finished fourth in the league with 1,200 rushing yards, which led all rookies this season. In addition to seven rushing touchdowns, Harris has 74 receptions for 367 yards and three more scores.

In the Steelers' 36-10 loss at Kansas City on Dec. 26, Harris rushed for a game-high 93 yards on 19 carries. He also had five catches for 17 yards.

Reports: Vikings seeking interviews with 7 head-coach candidates

Reports: Vikings seeking interviews with 7 head-coach candidates

The Minnesota Vikings reportedly have a list of seven prospects to replace fired head coach Mike Zimmer.

According to multiple reports Saturday, the Vikings have requested permission to interview candidates with head-coaching experience, as well as some who would be first-time head coaches.

Among those the Vikings are seeking to interview are offensive coordinators Nathaniel Hackett (Green Bay Packers), Kellen Moore (Dallas Cowboys) and Kevin O'Connell (Los Angeles Rams), as well as a quartet of defensive coordinators: Dan Quinn (Cowboys), Jonathan Gannon (Philadelphia Eagles), Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and DeMeco Ryans (San Francisco 49ers).

Bowles and Quinn have head-coaching experience. Bowles posted a 24-40 mark with the New York Jets (2015-18), while Quinn led the Atlanta Falcons to a 43-42 record (2015-20).

With openings with the Vikings, Jaguars, Bears, Broncos, Raiders, Giants, Dolphins and Texans, the competition will be high for some of these coaches.

Hackett is on the list of the Jaguars, Bears and Broncos, for example. Those three, plus the Dolphins, have sought to interview Quinn.

The Vikings fired Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman on Monday after the team finished 8-9 and out of the playoffs. Zimmer compiled a 72-56-1 regular-season record in eight seasons in Minnesota.

Texans interview Brian Flores for coaching job

Texans interview Brian Flores for coaching job

One day after announcing the firing of head coach David Culley, the Houston Texans interviewed former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores for the same position Friday.

Flores, 40, was fired after three seasons in Miami in which the Dolphins managed two winning seasons but failed to make the playoffs. Flores amassed a 24-25 record in that span.

Flores also interviewed Friday for the Chicago Bears' open head-coaching job.

Culley, 66, guided the Texans to a 4-13 record in his lone season on the job. He did so without having access to quarterback Deshaun Watson, who demanded a trade before sitting out the season in the wake of 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and misconduct.

Flores is the first known candidate to interview in Houston. The news came on the same day that Caserio told reporters that firing Culley was "one of the hardest decisions I've made in my life."

Houston also fired offensive coordinator Tim Kelly on Thursday.


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