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Colts' Quest for 16-0 Derailed by Chargers (AP)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, top, is sacked by San Diego Chargers defender Shawne Merriman in the first quarter of an NFL football game in Indianapolis Sunday, Dec. 18, 2005.  (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)AP - The perfect season is over. Take heart, Colts fans: There's always the Super Bowl.


Bungles No More: Cincy Clinches Title (AP)
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Chad Johnson (85) pulls in a 1-yard touchdown pass during first quarter of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2005. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)AP - The Cincinnati Bengals clinched their first division title since 1990, Carson Palmer set a team record for touchdown passes and Deltha O'Neal for interceptions.


Bears Win Big Over Falcons in Rex's Return (AP)
Chicago Bears quarterback Rex Grossman throws during the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons in NFL football action Sunday, Dec. 18, 2005 in Chicago. Grossman, who has been injured since the pre-season, came off the bench and led the Bears to a touchdown in the third quarter. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)AP - Rex Grossman energized the crowd, then warmed up the Chicago Bears' offense with quick decisions and precise throws. Grossman added a different dimension after relieving the struggling Kyle Orton in the third quarter, and the Bears rolled to a 16-3 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night at frigid Soldier Field.


Garciaparra Agrees to Terms With Dodgers (AP)
Chicago Cubs shortstop Nomar Garciaparra throws to first base in this Aug. 15, 2005, file photo, in Houston. Garciaparra may be joining the Los Angeles Dodgers, a source close to the negotiations tells the Associated Press. Garciaparra met with team executives on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2005, and Garciaparra and his wife, former soccer star Mia Hamm, visited Dodger Stadium on Friday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip,file)AP - Five-time All-Star Nomar Garciaparra agreed to a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Redskins Blow Out Cowboys for 3rd Straight (AP)
Washington Redskins linebacker Marcus Washington (53) and defensive lineman Cornelius Griffin (96) celebrate a second-quarter sack of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Drew Bledsoe, on ground at right, in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 18, 2005, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)AP - From the raucous pregame chants of "We Want Dallas" to the seven sacks, four turnovers and four touchdowns passes, the Washington Redskins' biggest victory over the Dallas Cowboys was one long celebration.


Chargers Beat Colts, Bengals Make Playoffs (AP)
Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, left, complains about a call to official Michael Banks in Indianapolis Sunday, Dec. 18, 2005. The Chargers defeated the Colts 26-17.  (AP Photo/Tom Strattman)AP - With their perfect season gone, the Indianapolis Colts can concentrate on the postseason. Those playoffs will include the Cincinnati Bengals for the first time in 15 years, after they won the AFC North; the two-time defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, winners of the AFC East, and the Denver Broncos. All three won their way in this weekend.


NBA Today (AP)
AP - Detroit at Memphis (8 p.m. EST). The Pistons are an NBA-best 18-3.

Column: Charlie Hustle Still Hustling (AP)
Pete Rose sits at a table waiting to sign autographs at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 16, 2005. Rose holds the Major League Baseball record for most hits with 4,256 and is not in the Hall of Fame. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)AP - Pete Rose was working his day job, which on this day meant he was inside a ritzy shopping mall at Caesars Palace, pen in hand.


Soccer: Keller Remembers 15 Year in Europe (AP)
AP - Kasey Keller has a first-hand feel for how much more respect American soccer players get around the world these days.

Hockey Today (AP)
AP - Los Angeles at Vancouver (10 p.m. EST). The Canucks, with the league's best home record at 13-1-1, host the Kings.

Still the one, just 13-1
The Colts will miss out on a perfect season, but they remain the team to beat.

Colts' hopes of unbeaten season end (AP)
Perfection is now a thing of the past for the Indianapolis Colts. Looking ahead isn't so grim, though -- especially with the Super Bowl still in their sights. "It's tough to go 16-0. You have to play well every week," coach Tony Dungy said after his team was beaten 26-17 by San Diego to end its 13-game winning streak.

Seahawks top Titans, win 10th straight (AP)
The Seattle Seahawks don't want to worry about what any other team in the NFL is doing. With each victory, they are closer to making that reality. Matt Hasselbeck threw three touchdown passes, including a 2-yarder to Darrell Jackson in the fourth quarter, and the Seahawks rallied for a 28-24 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday that clinched a first-round bye for the NFC West champions.

Steelers stop Vikes' six-game win streak (AP)
Minnesota's six-game winning streak was built on a steady dose of losing teams. Then Pittsburgh came to town. The Steelers forced three turnovers and a safety in an 18-3 victory over the Vikings on a sluggish Sunday afternoon, with the only touchdown coming on Ben Roethlisberger's 3-yard run in the second quarter.

'Skins get seven sacks, dominate Cowboys (AP)
A perfect day for the Washington Redskins would include a complete, start-to-finish, no-let-up humiliation of the Dallas Cowboys. Make it a game that puts the playoffs within serious reach, and you've got sheer nirvana. From the raucous pregame chants of "We Want Dallas" to the seven sacks, four turnovers and four touchdown passes, the celebration never stopped in Sunday's 35-7 blowout,...

Grossman returns, Bears smother Falcons (AP)
Rex Grossman had waited a long time for this -- nearly 15 months -- so he was surprised and thrilled when the call finally came. After replacing the struggling Kyle Orton in the third quarter, Grossman warmed the crowd and then the Chicago Bears' offense in a 16-3 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night at frigid Soldier Field.

Panthers reclaim top spot in NFC South (AP)
A quarterback that got away ruined the Saints' one last chance to win a game in front of Louisiana's disaster-weary fans. Former New Orleans backup Jake Delhomme led Carolina back into first place in the NFC South on Sunday, throwing for a touchdown and running for another as the Panthers defeated New Orleans 27-10.

Bengals win first title since 1990 (AP)
The Cincinnati Bengals have shed their laughingstock image, winning their first division title since 1990 against a team that fits their former reputation. Carson Palmer threw three touchdown passes in the first half and Deltha O'Neal had one of three interceptions to lead the Cincinnati Bengals to a 41-17 victory over Detroit.

Jags win, move closer to playoff berth (AP)
Jack Del Rio walked out of the locker room and sighed loudly. It was all the Jacksonville coach needed to say about this one. David Garrard ran for a touchdown, Josh Scobee kicked the winning field goal and Jacksonville edged lowly San Francisco 10-9 on a cold and dreary Sunday. The Jaguars (10-4) moved closer to a playoff berth, but they made it more difficult than it should have been and raised...

Broncos clinch, but Smith unsatisfied (AP)
It'll take a lot more than the Denver Broncos clinching a playoff berth to excite Rod Smith. The 11-year receiver is already focusing on the Broncos' next goal: Winning a playoff game, something the team hasn't done dating back to its second consecutive Super Bowl title in 1999. Denver has since gone 0-3 in the postseason.

Anthony's ascension
LeBron might be one of the NBA's best, but Carmelo isn't far behind.

McGrady leads Yao-less Rockets to win (AP)
Tracy McGrady followed a bad play with a very good one. It gave the Houston Rockets an improbable victory. McGrady's driving left-handed layup with 0.3 seconds left lifted the short-handed Rockets to a 76-74 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night. The Rockets (10-13) won for the seventh time in nine games despite the absence of All-Star center Yao Ming, who missed his first game this season...

Kidd powers Nets to rout of Warriors (AP)
The New Jersey Nets got out and ran, and the Golden State Warriors couldn't keep up. Jason Kidd fell one rebound shy of a triple-double, finishing with 24 points and 13 assists to lead the Nets over the Warriors 118-90 Sunday night. Vince Carter scored 25 points for the Nets, who had their best first quarter of the season and never trailed.

Few watch Blazers' 97-92 win over Wizards (AP)
It was more about the start than the opponent for Juan Dixon. Juan Dixon scored 20 points against his former team and the Portland Trail Blazers held off the Washington Wizards 97-92 on a snowy Sunday night. It was his first start for the Trail Blazers, who signed him as a free agent in the offseason.

Brown, Hornets upend Spurs 89-76 (AP)
P.J. Brown and his New Orleans Hornets teammates wanted some respect. After getting involved in an altercation earlier in the game, the 12th-year veteran helped them earn it. Brown also sparked the Hornets' decisive run in an 89-76 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night. "The young guys, they want to be on TV.

Howard, Terry, Harris spark Mavs to win (AP)
With the Minnesota Timberwolves sending most of their players after offensive rebounds, the Dallas Mavericks decided to send most of their guys the other direction. It worked -- for Dallas, that is -- as Devin Harris and Josh Howard led a series of fast breaks early in the fourth quarter that sent the Mavericks rolling past the Timberwolves 102-95 on Sunday night for their eighth win in nine...

Mavs guard fined for cheering Redskins (AP)
Mavericks guard Darrell Armstrong was so happy his beloved Washington Redskins beat the Dallas Cowboys that he grabbed a microphone before Sunday night's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves and hollered, "How 'bout those Redskins!" It's going to cost him $1,000. Dallas coach Avery Johnson announced the fine during his postgame news conference and team owner Mark Cuban later verified it was...

Resurgent Hawks top Nuggets in OT (AP)
After a horrible start, it appears that the Atlanta Hawks have found a way to win. Josh Smith scored on a layup with 42 seconds left in overtime to snap a tie and Tyronn Lue hit a 3-pointer with 5.6 seconds remaining Sunday to clinch the suddenly rejuvenated Hawks' 110-107 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

Agent: Artest wants to remain a Pacer (AP)
Ron Artest doesn't want to be traded by the Indiana Pacers after all, his agent says. Artest said last weekend that his past in Indiana haunts him, and he is interested in being traded to the New York Knicks or Cleveland Cavaliers. But Mark Stevens, Artest's agent, told The Associated Press on Saturday that Artest holds out hope he can remain with the Pacers.

James has 41, Cavs hand Riley first loss (AP)
Pat Riley, meet LeBron James. James helped spoil an otherwise perfect week for the returning Miami coach, scoring 41 points and taking over late to give the Cleveland Cavaliers a 115-107 victory over Riley and the Heat on Saturday night. Riley, coaching against James for the first time, was impressed.

Power rankings
With Marty Turco and Mike Modano playing like Olympians, the Stars have been anything but mediocre.

Gretzky's priority not with Olympic team (AP)
The Canadian Olympic team is not counting on Wayne Gretzky, who has taken an indefinite leave with the Phoenix Coyotes to be with his ailing mother. Gretzky is the hockey team's executive director for the Turin Games. He announced Saturday he was putting his NHL coaching career on hold. His mother, Phyllis, is battling lung cancer.

Luongo stops 53, Panthers end road skid (AP)
Roberto Luongo made sure the Washington Capitals didn't have much to show for their franchise-record 55 shots. Luongo made a season-high 53 saves to help the Florida Panthers end a 13-game road losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Capitals on Sunday night. "Once they got on a roll, they were firing it from every angle possible," Luongo said.

Surging Stars continue mastery of 'Hawks (AP)
Dallas coach Dave Tippett saw plenty of room for improvement after the streaking Stars' latest victory. Mike Modano and Jere Lehtinen each had a goal and an assist in the Stars' 5-3 win over Chicago on Sunday night. Jussi Jokinen, Jason Arnott and Nathan Perrott also scored for Dallas, which has won seven of its last eight games and 12 of 14.

Sakic's two goals lead Avs past Rangers (AP)
Nineteen seconds after scoring on a breakaway, Joe Sakic had to quickly figure out a new way to get a puck past Kevin Weekes. A TV timeout and a perfect record in penalty shots provided all the answers to the Colorado Avalanche captain. Sakic scored twice in the second period to supply all the offense the Avalanche got in a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Sunday night.

Ducks end Sharks' six-game win streak (AP)
The Anaheim Mighty Ducks blew one-goal leads four times against the new-and-improved San Jose Sharks before Rob Niedermayer bailed them out. Now, Joe Thornton knows the taste of defeat on the West Coast. Niedermayer scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period and the Ducks beat San Jose 5-4 on Sunday night to snap the Sharks' six-game winning streak.

Lemieux has recurrence of heart problem (AP)
Penguins owner-captain Mario Lemieux had a recurrence of his irregular heartbeat and didn't travel to Buffalo for Saturday's game against the Sabres. "He didn't make the trip because in the third period last night he was having a recurrence of an irregular heartbeat," Penguins general manager Craig Patrick said between periods of Saturday's game.

Coyotes lose after Gretzky leaves (AP)
The Phoenix Coyotes don't know when coach Wayne Gretzky will be back behind the bench. Their first game without him prompted many questions about how they will play without him. Just hours after Gretzky took an indefinite leave from the team to return to Canada to be with his mother who has lung cancer the Coyotes lost 4-1 to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.

Sabres' Biron wins 13th straight start (AP)
Martin Biron is on a roll, and his teammates don't want it to end. Biron made 30 saves in winning his 13th straight start and the Buffalo Sabres withstood Pittsburgh's late rally to beat the Penguins 4-3 Saturday night. "It's definitely about team," said Biron, who became the first NHL goalie in nearly a decade to win 13 consecutive starts.

Osgood improves to 15-0 vs. Lightning (AP)
Chris Osgood extended his dominance against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Osgood made 28 saves and Pavel Datsyuk had two goals and an assist to help the Detroit Red Wings beat Tampa Bay 6-3 on Saturday night. The goalie has never lost to the Lightning, going 15-0 in his career against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

All good things ...
Where should the NASCAR season end? Our readers chime in.

Auto Racing 2005: Stewart grows up amid youth movement (SportsTicker)
MOORESVILLE, North Carolina (Ticker) - In a season where youth was not only served it was showcased, Tony Stewart topped the auto racing headlines by simply growing up.

Judge: Speedway lawsuit against NASCAR will stay in Kentucky (AP)
A federal judge has ruled that Kentucky Speedway's $400 million antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR will be heard in Kentucky and not moved to a Florida court.

Talladega Superspeedway to get first repaving since 1979 (AP)
Talladega Superspeedway will be repaved next year, the first time since 1979, and several drivers say they're looking forward to a smoother ride.

NASCAR champ to drive midget races under his own name (AP)
Tony Stewart will drive a midget car again, and won't try to fool anybody. The two-time NASCAR champion will drive in a pair of U.S. Auto Club indoor midget car races at Fort Wayne, where he won a 60-lap feature a year ago under an assumed name in an old junker he bought during a poker game the night before.

Iowa Speedway project gets more financing (AP)
NEWTON, Iowa - An Iowa-based construction company said it has obtained the financing to complete construction of...

Price of returning racing to North Wilkesboro is $12 million (AP)
A grass-roots group is lobbying to return racing to North Wilkesboro Speedway, but a $12 million price tag might be too steep for Wilkes County. That's the asking price of Bruton Smith and Bob Bahre, who own the former NASCAR track. A group calling itself Save the Speedway, which wants to bring racing back to the .625-mile oval, retired an online petition last week after gathering 4,582 signatures.

NASCAR's Pacific Northwest expansion plan faces tough road (AP)
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Is the land of lattes ready to join NASCAR Nation? The sport's leaders are betting on it with a...

Motorsports companies down after NASCAR TV deal disappoints (AP)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Shares of motorsports companies fell Thursday after NASCAR's new television rights...

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