Drew Brees passed for 376 yards and two touchdowns Marquis Haynes Jersey , and the New Orleans Saints held off Carolina’s late comeback bid to seal a 31-26 victory in their NFC wild-card game on Sunday.
The Panthers had a first down on the Saints 26-yard line with 58 seconds left, but heavy pressure by All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan a couple plays later induced an intentional grounding penalty on Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, making it third-and-25 on the Saints 34 and a required 10-second runoff left 22 seconds on the clock.
After an incompletion in the end zone on third down, Vonn Bell sacked Newton on a safety blitz, ensuring the Saints (12-5) swept all three meetings with Carolina (11-6) this season, in addition to winning their first playoff game in four seasons.
Brees’ touchdowns went for 80-yards to Ted Ginn and 9 yards to tight end Josh Hill. Fullback Zach line and running back Alvin Kamara each ran for short touchdowns, the latter set up by Michael Thomas 46-yard reception.
Thomas caught eight passes for 131 yards on a day when the Saints needed the passing game to compensate for a ground game that struggled to get going.
JAGUARS 10, BILLS 3
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Blake Bortles put together one decent drive all day, doing as much with his legs as his arm, and the defensive-minded Jacksonville Jaguars eked out an ugly and sometimes unwatchable victory against the Buffalo Bills in an AFC wild-card game.
In the postseason for the first time since January 2008, the third-seeded Jaguars (11-6) advanced to play at No. 2 seed Pittsburgh next week.
The sixth-seeded Bills (9-8) will head home after ending the longest, current playoff drought in North American professional sports.
Bortles was a big reason Jacksonville won the game and a big reason it was so close. He was off most of the day, misfiring short and long Ryan Getzlaf Jersey , but made up for it with 88 yards rushing – becoming the second starting quarterback in the past 25 years to win a playoff game with more rushing yards than passing (87). Atlanta’s Michael Vick also did it against the St. Louis Rams in the 2004 playoffs.
Bortles’ TD pass to backup tight end Ben Koyack late in the third quarter was his best throw of the game, helping Jacksonville win its first playoff game at home since the 1997 season.
The Bills finished with 263 yards, with 119 of those coming from hobbled running back LeSean McCoy (ankle). Quarterback Tyrod Taylor left the game after being thrown to the ground by Dante Fowler Jr. and hitting his head hard. Nathan Peterman entered the game with 1:27 remaining. All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey tipped and then intercepted Peterman’s third pass, and the Jaguars ran out the clock.
BOSTON — Last Saturday in Seattle, Mariners left-hander Wade LeBlanc pitched what had to be the game of his journeyman career in outdueling Steven Wright and handing the Boston Red Sox a 1-0 defeat.
The Mariners haven’t won since as they head into Friday night’s rematch between the two pitchers in the opener of a three-game series on Friday night at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox won the Sunday game in Seattle and then lost the first two games in Minnesota before rebounding a 9-2 win and Rick Porcello’s ninth win of the season on Thursday.
After losing the game Sunday, the Mariners were swept in a three-game series by the Yankees in the Bronx — to start a difficult 10-game swing through the East that concludes with a four-game series in Baltimore.
LeBlanc, who has been pitching well in his latest role, is 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA and has yielded only 11 earned runs in nine starts — capped by 7 2/3 shutout innings (two hits, no walks, nine strikeouts) against the Red Sox.
He is just 33-35 with a 4.23 ERA in his career, but much of the negative numbers are in the past — at least for now.
After beating the Red Sox, he said, “That’s a stout lineup over there, but the fact that me and Z (catcher Mike Zunino) were able to mix things up and put them in the rocking chair makes things easier. Everything was executed and that’s really all I can say. It’s the most important thing for me — it’s to execute pitches. Today Ryan Kesler Jersey , me and Z were able to do that.”
But the team has faltered since, blowing a 5-0 lead in Wednesday’s game before losing 4-3 on Thursday.
“Coming in here, we have been playing very good baseball,” said Seattle manager Scott Servais, whose team has dropped five of its last seven. “We know what kind of ballclub they have with the power and the bullpen. I thought we were right in the game the last couple of days.
“But you have to hit on the road. You have to get big hits on the road. We just didn’t get it done. It doesn’t detract or take away from anything that we’ve done to this point. Our guys are not down at all.”
The Boston bats snoozed through the first two games in Minneapolis, wasting starts by Chris Sale and David Price. The bats broke out Thursday, avoiding the sweep and leaving the Red Sox (50-26) as one of three American League teams with 50 wins.
“I think it was just a couple of tough days,” Mookie Betts, who hit is 19th homer of the season Thursday, said after the game. “We came out ready to swing it and it just showed what we can do.”
Wright has been outstanding since making his delayed 2018 debut (after knee surgery and a 15-game MLB suspension). He is 2-1 with a 1.23 ERA and gave up just the one losing run in the matchup with LeBlanc.
“He’s been great. Outstanding, really,” Cora said. “I heard a lot of good things about him before I got here and he’s showed why.”
He is 2-2 with a 1.31 ERA in four games (two starts) against the Mariners. Kyle Seager is 3-for-9 and Nelson Cruz 2-for-6 (both .333), and Zunino is 1-for-8 (.125) and Dee Gordon 1-for-6 (.167) against the knuckleballer.
LeBlanc is 1-0 with a 3.24 ERA in three career starts against Boston. The Current Red Sox roster is a combined 3-for-16 against him. J.D. Martinez is 2-for-3 (.667) and no one has with more than three at-bats against him.