Rams stay in playoff hunt, end Seahawks’ 5-game streak
LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Todd Gurley flattened Tre Flowers with a brutal stiff arm on his path to Los Angeles’ final touchdown, the Rams delivered a clear message right to the face of the Seahawks and the NFL.
Although it’s too soon to say whether the Rams solved their offensive problems in time to make the playoffs, the team that dazzled the league in the past two seasons will be dangerous down the stretch.
“We’re finally playing the way we should have been playing,” Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald said.
Jared Goff passed for 293 yards and two touchdowns, Gurley ran for 79 yards and that decisive fourth-quarter TD and the Rams prevented Seattle from clinching a playoff berth with a 28-12 victory Sunday night.
From start to finish in their final game under the Coliseum lights, the Rams (8-5) looked like their most dangerous selves of the previous two seasons. In their fifth win in seven games, the Rams had little trouble derailing the powerful Seahawks’ five-game winning streak.
“I think this is a different team now with a different mentality,” left tackle Andrew Whitworth said. “I think we’re shooting our shot in the next three weeks. You can certainly see signs of last year. You don’t control your future, but we control how we come out here.”
Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp caught TD passes while the Rams kept their playoff hopes burning with an aggressive, inventive game plan on both sides of the ball. They also left the Seahawks reeling from their first road defeat of the season after sacking Russell Wilson five times.
Los Angeles still trails Minnesota (9-4) by a game for the second wild card spot and its third straight playoff berth, but its chances improved with this critical division win.
The Seahawks (10-3) fell out of first place in the NFC West with just their second loss since Sept. 22.
“This was a rough night,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We did not do what we planned to do at all. You’ve got to hand it to them. They played great. They did everything they wanted to do.”
Chargers end skid, hand Jaguars 5th straight lopsided loss
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone sat slumped in a chair in his office, his head down and his face planted in both hands.
Marrone looked about like his team played: uninspired and ready for the season to be over.
Philip Rivers threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns on his 38th birthday, including an 84-yarder to Austin Ekeler that was the longest completion of the quarterback’s 16-year NFL career, and the Los Angeles Chargers routed the Jaguars 45-10 Sunday to end a three-game skid.
It was Jacksonville’s fifth consecutive lopsided loss, all by at least 17 points. The 1986 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the last NFL team to drop five straight by at least 17.
Jacksonville’s last two have been embarrassments at home — both essentially over by halftime.
The latest one could be the end of Marrone’s tenure in Jacksonville. It’s hard to imagine owner Shad Khan keeping Doug Marrone any longer, not following another lackluster effort against another sub-.500 team. The Jaguars have now dropped 19 of their last 25 games — 11 of those by double digits.
“Eventually, if you don’t win enough games and they think it’s better to go with someone else, then obviously that’s out of my hands,” Marrone said. “I just keep doing the best job I can and keep fighting.”
The Chargers (5-8) scored on four of five possessions in the first half, picking apart Jacksonville’s beleaguered defense and taking a 24-3 into the locker room. It was a welcome cushion for a team whose eight losses each came by seven points or fewer.
“A little too little, too late in terms of our postseason hopes and the expectations coming into this season,” said Rivers, whose team was officially eliminated from the postseason. “But we still talk about finishing strong. Every game matters. … All around a good day. It was a fun day.”
Davis scores 50, powers Lakers to 142-125 win over T-Wolves
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anthony Davis hit a long floater with 4:39 remaining to reach 50 points for the first time with the Los Angeles Lakers. The shot that got him to the half-century mark was hardly representative of the work that preceded it.
Davis had a relentless series of fast-break points, second-chance opportunities and attacks in the paint that pummeled the Minnesota Timberwolves, a performance Lakers coach Frank Vogel described as a “smash mouth way of getting 50.
“No 3s, 20 for 29, and then living at the free throw line, post ups, offensive rebounds, crashes, all those types of things. Just an old-school performance and one for the ages,” Vogel said.
Davis had a season-high 50 points and the Lakers improved to a league-best 21-3 with a 142-125 win over the Timberwolves on Sunday night.
Davis was 20 of 29 from the field and made all 10 of his free throws to go along with seven rebounds and six assists, reaching the 50-point mark for the fourth time in his career.
“It was very special to do something like this in front of these great fans, a historical franchise and my teammates, especially the way we’ve been playing,” Davis said. “It was nothing but amazing.”
LeBron James had 32 points and 13 assists despite committing four fouls in the first half. Alex Caruso added 16 points as the Lakers won their fourth straight and improved to 10-2 at home.
While it looked like it could be a special night for Davis as he hit his first six shots, including a thunderous dunk on a no-look alley-oop from James as he racked up seven of the Lakers’ first nine points, the eighth-year forward was a bit more cautious.
“I mean, I’ve had nights where I started off like that and ended up with 30 and didn’t score in the second half,” Davis said.
Leonard, Harrell lead Clippers past Wizards 135-119
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers are making progress.
The Washington Wizards want the refs to make more calls.
Kawhi Leonard had 34 points and 11 rebounds as the Clippers bounced back from their worst loss of the season by pulling away for a 135-119 win over the Wizards on Sunday night.
Paul George scored 27 points and Montrezl Harrell had nine of his 20 in the fourth quarter for Los Angeles, which improved to 4-6 away from home two games into their six-game trip.
The victory came two days after Los Angeles, now second in the Western Conference, opened the trip with a 119-91 loss at East-leading Milwaukee.
“I think the key to it is just getting more games, more times on the court,” said George, one of several Clippers who battled early season injuries while searching for team chemistry. “That’s really the only way we’re going to learn to trust, learn to play with confidence with one another, and learn to play together.”
After seeing Leonard and George held to just 30 points combined against the Bucks, this time the Clippers frustrated one of the NBA’s elite scorers, holding Bradley Beal to 20 points on 5-for-18 shooting.
Nine of Beal’s points came from the foul line, and the Wizards’ 30 foul shots were three more than the Clippers had. But Beal believed he and his teammates got the short end.
“It’s completely unfair and unacceptable,” Beal said, “that they allow a lot of stuff to go on with me out there and not get calls. Period.”
UCLA routs Denver 81-62 behind Riley’s career-high 21 points
LOS ANGELES (AP) — It was Cody Riley’s turn and he made the most of it.
The sophomore had career-highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds to help UCLA rout Denver 81-62 on Sunday in the Bruins’ first game in a week.
Riley became the sixth different player to lead the Bruins in scoring through 10 games.
“It was just my teammates,” Riley said. “They found me in the right spots and got me going early.”
Freshman Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 16 points for the Bruins (7-3) who led all the way in the teams’ first meeting since 1976. They improved to 11-1 all-time against Denver, having won the last five games in a row.
Riley scored eight of UCLA’s first 10 points to open the second half, capped by a dunk off Tyger Campbell’s miss. Riley later fouled out.
“He can score if you don’t double him,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said of Riley. “He’s got to learn to play smarter with his fouls.”
The Bruins raced to an 11-0 lead to start the game, including six by Riley. They shot 50% and scored 19 points off Denver’s turnovers in the half.
The Pioneers twice closed within one before UCLA outscored them 17-7 to head into halftime leading 43-32. Jaquez hit two 3-pointers in the spurt and Riley added five points.
Denver never got a run together in the second half when they trailed by 21 points, allowing the Bruins to play stretches with their reserves. After making six 3-pointers in the first half on 60% shooting, the Pioneers made just one by Ade Murkey in the second half.
“For us, it’s a lesson more than a loss,” Pioneers coach Rodney Billups said. “When we share the ball and move the ball, we’re going to get some wins. We won’t see another UCLA on our schedule.”
Flynn’s late 3 lifts San Diego St past San Jose St 59-57
SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego State was a second away from its first loss when Malachi Flynn let fly with a long 3-pointer.
It found nothing but net, sending Viejas Arena into a frenzy and continuing the Aztecs’ remarkable start.
Flynn hit a 3-pointer with nine-tenths of a second left to give the cold-shooting Aztecs a thrilling 59-57 victory over San Jose on Sunday for the Aztecs’ first 10-0 start in nine seasons.
“That’s what he does. That’s why he’s here, to take important shots,” coach Brian Dutcher said about Flynn, a transfer from Washington State. “He makes hard shots and I can’t say I’m surprised. You know he wants a shot and he stepped up and made a really timely one.”
Flynn made just 3 of 13 shots.
“This one was huge, definitely.,” Flynn said. “This has been the best one yet just because right now we’re still undefeated, so that was big. San Jose came out to play today but we kept with it.”
SDSU (2-0 Mountain West Conference) is off to its best start since opening 20-0 behind Kawhi Leonard in 2010-11. That team finished 34-3 after reaching the Sweet 16 for the first time.
Mark Scheifele scores twice, Jets beat Ducks 3-2
WINNIPEG (AP) — Nikolaj Ehlers took on Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf in Winnipeg’s victory over the Ducks.
The 6-foot, 172-pound Ehlers, known for his quick feet, clashed with Getzlaf, who is 6x-foot-3 and 225 pounds. Both threw a couple punches in the brief, second-period bout.
“Out of character? This is my third fight now,” joked Ehlers, who’s in his fifth NHL season. “I’m a fighter. (Getzlaf) gave me a cross-check after I passed it and then, yeah, I think it was kind of a mutual thing. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Mark Scheifele scored twice, the second on a power play with 4:22 left for his 400th NHL point. He beat goalie John Gibson over the glove for his 13th of the season.
Jets captain Blake Wheeler called Ehlers a “sick man” for taking on Getzlaf.
“What a hell of a job by a little guy,” Wheeler said. “That dude has got some fire in his belly, for sure. That was pretty awesome.”
Jets coach Paul Maurice joked that he sent Ehlers over the boards to take on Getzlaf, then added the Danish player native better keep his gloves on to avoid injury.
“That was foolish, wasn’t it?” Maurice said. “But God bless him, don’t do it again. Ever.”
Anti-doping agency imposes 4-year ban on Russia
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Russia was slapped Monday with a four-year ban from international sports events, including next summer’s Tokyo Olympics, over a longstanding doping scandal, although its athletes will still be able to compete if they can show they are clean competitors.
The ruling by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s executive committee means that Russia’s flag, name and anthem will not appear at the Tokyo Games, and the country also could be stripped of hosting world championships in Olympic sports.
The sanctions are the harshest punishment yet for Russian state authorities who were accused of tampering with a Moscow laboratory database. Russia’s anti-doping agency can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 21 days — an action it has signaled it would take.
“Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order … but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial,” WADA president Craig Reedie said.
Russian athletes can compete in major events only if they are not implicated in positive doping tests or if their data was not manipulated, according to the WADA ruling.
For soccer’s 2022 World Cup, WADA said the Russian team will play under its name in the qualifying program in Europe. If it qualifies to play in Qatar, the team name must be changed to something neutral that likely would not include the word “Russia.”