AP Sources: NFL discussed cancellations due to COVID-19
(AP Photo/Nick Wass) (Nick Wass)With a surge of COVID-19 cases threatening to disrupt the NFL season last week, the league discussed canceling games for the first time since the pandemic began. Both reps spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the conversations. “So, the NFL’s position last week was that those three games were going to be canceled," Tretter said Wednesday. “They weren’t going to be played, and if they weren’t played then nobody on either team was going to be paid. ___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://apnews.com/hub/pro-32 and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLCopyright 2021 The Associated Press.wftv.com
After losing Mahomes, Chiefs and Henne hold off Browns 22-17
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chad Henne celebrates after a run during the second half of an NFL divisional round football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in Kansas City. – The Kansas City Chiefs had lost Patrick Mahomes to a concussion and were in danger of losing the game. With their star quarterback reduced to a spectator, the oft-forgotten bunch opposite Mahomes' high-powered offense forced the Browns to punt in the waning minutes. After the teams swapped field goals, with Butker breaking the Chiefs playoff record with a 50-yarder into the wind, the Browns marched for what could have been a momentum-swinging score heading into halftime. First, the Browns held the Chiefs when Mayfield threw an interception and Butker missed a field goal.
Browns guard Bitiono back for playoffs after COVID-19
Browns Pro Bowl left guard Joel Bitonio will be activated from the COVID-19 list Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, after missing last weeks playoff win over Pittsburgh. The Pro Bowl left guard was activated from the COVID-19 list Friday after missing last week’s wild-card win over Pittsburgh. It was a devastating development for Bitiono, who had endured so much losing with the Browns before this turnaround season. "Elated for Joel,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said on Zoom call with local writers. On Thursday, coach Kevin Stefanski returned in person to the team after also missing last week's game with COVID-19.
Stefanski out of basement, back with Browns after COVID-19
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski looks on from the sidelines during an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Pittsburgh. Positive COVID-19 tests have knocked Stefanski out of Cleveland's wild-card game at Pittsburgh on Sunday night the Browns' first playoff appearance since the 2002 season. (AP Photo/Justin Berl, File)CLEVELAND – Browns coach Kevin Stefanski doesn't plan a trip downstairs to his basement any time soon. Stefanski returned to the team's facility Thursday, 10 days after the first-year coach tested positive for COVID-19 and he was forced to miss Cleveland's playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Stefanski will make his playoff debut on the sideline this week when the Browns play the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
The Latest: MLS's Canadian teams to face challenges again
Garber said while he felt for the challenges facing the Canadian teams, the league had to abide by made-in-Canada health guidelines. Green Bay (13-3) hosts the Los Angeles Rams (11-6) in a NFC divisional playoff game Saturday. Also, Thursday night’s Southeastern Conference women’s basketball game featuring No. ___Georgetown has canceled its men’s basketball game against DePaul on Wednesday night, citing a COVID-19-related issue with the program. ___Two SMU men’s basketball games scheduled for this week have been postponed because of a positive COVID-19 case and ensuing contact tracing issues in the program.
Same old Browns? Hardly. Cleveland drills Steelers 48-37
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) celebrates as he walks off the field following a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. The Cleveland Browns overcame all of it. The Browns dismantled the Pittsburgh Steelers 48-37 in the wild-card round Sunday night, picking up the franchise’s first postseason victory in more than a quarter-century and earning a trip to Kansas City next Sunday to face the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs. The kick bounced into the end zone for a touchback and Mayfield calmly took Cleveland 80 yards in six plays. So much for the Browns being the Browns, a winking assessment Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster made about Cleveland in the middle of the week.
The Latest: Browns open 28-0 lead over Steelers
The Browns have raced to a 28-0 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns’ 28 points are the most by any team in the first quarter of a playoff game since the 1970 merger. So, this will be the first NFL playoff game ever pitting two quadragenarian quarterbacks. Drew Brees is trying to join Brett Favre and Tom Brady as quarterbacks to win a playoff game after turning 40. That was his third career playoff game with 150 or more rushing yards, one game shy of Hall of Famer Terrell Davis’ record.
Brady and Bucs, plus Bills and Rams win NFL wild-card games
The first tripleheader of NFL wild-card games saw Tom Brady extend his postseason record for victories to 31 with a 31-23 win for Tampa Bay at Washington on Saturday. After a quarter-century, the Bills got one of those triumphs that Brady collects — and they even figured out how to stop a Hail Mary. The previous playoff win was over Miami on Dec. 30, 1995. And it came in the Bills’ first home playoff game in 24 years, with a limited number of fans in attendance (6,700) for the first time this season. The Ravens averaged an NFL-best 191.9 yards rushing per game and their 3,071 yards rushing were third highest in NFL history.
Browns finally practicing for playoffs after COVID-19 delays
(AP Photo/David Richard)CLEVELAND – The Browns can finally practice for the playoffs. The Browns have been kept off the field and limited to virtual meetings in advance of Sunday night's wild-card game in Pittsburgh. On Thursday, quarterback Baker Mayfield said he hadn't thrown a football since last weekend, when the Browns clinched the AFC's No. The league maintains the game will be played as scheduled despite the Browns being without Stefanski and other players due to the virus. The Browns have seven players and six coaches, including Stefanski, who are unable to be around the team due to COVID-19 protocols.
Mahomes leads champion Chiefs to 14-2 mark in stacked AFC
While the Chiefs get another week’s rest, the six other AFC playoff teams get going this weekend. For just the second time since the 1970 league merger, every team in the AFC playoffs has at least 11 wins. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 54, 31-20 over the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 2, 2020, at Miami. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 43, 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Feb. 1, 2009, at Tampa, Florida. Their pass rush is nearly nonexistent with 19 sacks, the fewest by a playoff team since Denver had 19 in 1979.
Browns don't practice again as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on team
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield looks to throw during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Cleveland. However, a league spokesman said Thursday there “is no change to the status of the game” at Heinz Field. As his first postseason appearance draws near, Mayfield said he's been doing all he can at home to get ready. For special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, Sunday's game is a scenario he knew was possible due to the pandemic. “Make no mistake, this is Kevin’s team,” said Priefer, a Cleveland native.
The Latest: Rutgers women's basketball at Ohio State shelved
(AP Photo/Justin Berl, File)The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___The women’s Big Ten basketball game on Sunday between Rutgers and Ohio State in Columbus has been postponed due to an increase in positive COVID-19 tests within the Rutgers program. The Creighton women have paused team activities and postponed three games because of a recent positive COVID-19 test result. ___The Tulsa-Central Florida men’s basketball game scheduled for Saturday at Tulsa has been postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests and subsequent contact tracing among UCF athletes. ___The Georgia State women’s basketball team has postposed two more Sun Belt Conference games after additional positive tests for COVID-19. 5 South Carolina has paused team activities and postponed its women’s basketball game with Georgia on Thursday night.
Browns' Stefanski: 'We've got to find a way' vs Steelers
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski looks on from the sidelines during an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Pittsburgh. Positive COVID-19 tests have knocked Stefanski out of Cleveland's wild-card game at Pittsburgh on Sunday night the Browns' first playoff appearance since the 2002 season. Beating the Pittsburgh Steelers is all that matters. Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, who previously worked with Stefanski in Minnesota, will serve as Cleveland's acting head coach. “So, ton of confidence in Coach Priefer, he knows this team very, very well from a roster standpoint, also based on how we play.
Cruel twist: Browns lose coach for playoffs due to COVID-19
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski looks on during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Cleveland. Stefanski, who in his first year returned the Browns to respectability, can only coach virtually from home this week. I feel for all the guys that won’t be able to play for the first playoff game. The Browns are the second team to be without its coach during the pandemic. Detroit interim coach Darrell Bevell sat out the Lions’ Dec. 26 game at Tampa Bay because of COVID-19 protocols.
No preseason, no problem: NFL rookies shine in strange year
Young and Jefferson made the Pro Bowl, and surely more rookies would have joined them as alternates at the league’s now-canceled all-star game. “It’s crazy unusual for a rookie, I think, to have the type of leadership that Chase has, genuine leadership,” Washington quarterback Alex Smith said. “I think a lot of young guys, especially high picks, I think you feel pressure to do it some way or somehow. “Talk about a rookie coming in, starting every game and just being focused,” Browns Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio said of Wills. “We’re growing and we’re starting to get a hang of the game,” said Dolphins right tackle Robert Hunt, a second-round pick and one of six Miami rookies starting on offense.
Camp injuries, virus protocols had some NFL teams scrambling
I think theres a lot of teams in the league right now that are dealing with all kinds of injuries.He's right. Teams all over the league were sent scrambling during camp. Certainly not during training camp when players are going hard to make the roster as the start of the regular season rolls closer. It's the soft tissue injuries and those things that you are trying to prevent with the ramp-up period," Bitonio said. That will certainly be something to monitor as the regular season begins and teams deal with injuries and potential replacements.
Browns' Mayfield admits he was 'lost' in chaotic 2019 season
(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)BEREA, Ohio Baker Mayfield knew he needed to drop some weight, and maybe a little of the attitude. If there was anything the Browns' self-assured quarterback learned during a chaotic, losing 2019 season in Cleveland it was that he had to change. I would say I lost myself not having that success, not finding out what was working, he said. For Mayfield, this past offseason provided the chance for a restart, and the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner and 2018 No. Mayfield said he got out of shape last season partly because injuries prevented him from working out the way he would have liked.