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Patriots Beat New York Jets 31-21 (AP)
New England Patriots' Teddy Bruschi grimaces after getting injured during the first quarter against the New York Jets during NFL football Monday night, Dec. 26, 2005, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)AP - The New England Patriots came up with a headline-grabber for ABC's final Monday night football game: Mike Vrabel, star receiver.


Arenas Helps Wizards Rally to Beat Lakers (AP)
Washington Wizards' Gilbert Arenas, center, drives between Los Angeles Lakers' Lamar Odom, left, and Chris Mihm, right, during the first half of NBA basketball action on Monday, Dec. 26, 2005, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)AP - Gilbert Arenas scored 34 points and keyed a second-half comeback to lead the Washington Wizards over the Los Angeles Lakers 94-91 Monday night for their third straight victory.


Carter, Nets Down Rival Knicks 109-101 (AP)
New Jersey Nets Vince Carter (15) drives past New York Knicks Maurice Taylor (2) in the second quarter of their game. Monday, Dec. 26, 2005, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)AP - Vince Carter scored 27 points and Richard Jefferson added 23 to lead the New Jersey Nets to their sixth consecutive win, a 109-101 victory over the New York Knicks on Monday night.


Rangers Land Free Agent Pitcher Millwood (AP)
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Kevin Millwood throws against Kansas City Royals' Terrence Long in the first inning in this file photo from Sept. 24, 2005, in Kansas City, Mo.  Millwood reached a preliminary agreement on a $60 million, five-year contract with Texas,Monday Dec. 26, 2005, giving the Rangers the legitimate No. 1 starter they have been seeking. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga/File)AP - Free agent pitcher Kevin Millwood reached a preliminary agreement Monday on a $60 million, five-year contract with Texas, giving the Rangers the legitimate No. 1 starter they have been seeking.


Williams' Record Performance Leads Memphis (AP)
Memphis running back DeAngelo Williams runs during the second quarter in the Motor City Bowl football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Monday, Dec. 26, 2005. Williams set an NCAA record with his 34th 100-yard rushing game Monday against Akron. Williams shared the record with Archie Griffin of Ohio State and Tony Dorsett of Pittsburgh, both Heisman Trophy winners in the mid-1970s. Griffin set the mark in 42 games, and Dorsett matched it in 43 games, one fewer than Williams.  (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)AP - DeAngelo Williams set an NCAA record with his 34th 100-yard rushing game and scored three touchdowns, leading Memphis to a 38-31 victory over Akron in the Motor City Bowl on Monday.


Column: 'MNF' Helped NFL Become a Pastime (AP)
FILE ** This Jan. 1972 photo, released by ABC, shows, from left, Don Meredith, Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford, the broadcasting team for Monday Night Football. Television sports reaches the end of one era and the beginning of another Monday night when ABC signs off on its prime-time weeknight coverage of the NFL for the final time and hands off to sister network ESPN. (AP Photo/ABC)AP - There will still be football on Monday night. And Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, weekend and holiday nights, whatever night Guy Fawkes Day falls on and, for that matter, just about any night of the regular season the NFL pleases. None of them will seem quite as special anymore, especially when the games are clunkers like Patriots 31, Jets 21.


Trail Blazers Dethrone Kings 105-92 (AP)
Portland Trail Blazers guard Martell Webster, right, goes up for a dunk over Sacramento Kings guard Jason Hart, during the second quarter of a NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Dec. 26, 2005. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)AP - Zach Randolph had 22 points and nine rebounds, Juan Dixon added 21 points and the Portland Trail Blazers sent the Sacramento Kings to their fifth straight loss, 105-92 on Monday night.


Indians, Johnson Agree to One-Year Deal (AP)
AP - Free agent pitcher Jason Johnson agreed to a $4 million, one-year contract with the Cleveland Indians on Monday, just hours before Kevin Millwood agreed to join the Texas Rangers.

PSV Eindhoven Back on Top in Dutch League (AP)
AP - Goals from Arouna Kone and American DaMarcus Beasley enabled PSV Eindhoven to reclaim the lead in the Dutch league with a 2-0 victory Monday over NEC Nijmegen.

Flames Defeat Canucks 2-1 in Vancouver (AP)
Calgary Flames' Kristian Huselius fires the puck past Vancouver Canucks goalie Alex Auld (35) during the first period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, Canada, Monday, December 26, 2005.(CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody)AP - Robyn Regehr scored a power-play goal midway through the third period to lift the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.


Peak performers
After hitting rock bottom, the Patriots, Redskins and Steelers are back on top of things again.

Pats beat Jets in Monday Night finale (AP)
The New England Patriots came up with a headline-grabber for ABC's final Monday night football game: Mike Vrabel, star receiver. A linebacker who has made frequent productive appearances on offense for New England, Vrabel had two short touchdown receptions, lifting the two-time NFL champions past the befuddled New York Jets 31-21.

Hundreds pay respects to Colts' Dungy (AP)
Tony Dungy and his wife stood for more than three hours Monday night, greeting hundreds of mourners with handshakes and hugs. From NFL players past and present to well-wishers off the street, all came to offer the couple condolences for the loss of their son. The Indianapolis Colts coach and his wife, Lauren, will bury 18-year-old James Dungy on Tuesday.

Pats LB Bruschi leaves with leg injury (AP)
Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi was helped off the field with a left leg injury late in the first quarter of Monday night's game against the New York Jets. Bruschi was hurt on a punt, and tried to walk off on his own. But he winced as he put his leg down, and two trainers escorted him to the sideline.

Monday Night Football signs off on ABC (AP)
Al Michaels turned to Frank Gifford, patted his former broadcast partner on shoulder and said simply: "I can't thank you enough." Football fans feel the same way about "Monday Night Football." After 36 years on ABC, the television phenomenon concluded its network run with a game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets.

Bears defy odds, prepare for playoffs (AP)
Not too long ago the notion seemed, to be kind, farfetched. The playoffs? Yeah, right. The Chicago Bears were 1-3 after losing at Cleveland in early October. "There was no doubt in anyone's mind we had the personnel to do it," linebacker Brian Urlacher said after Sunday's 24-17 victory at Green Bay. The Bears celebrated Christmas by locking up their first postseason appearance since 2001, winning the...

Seahawks RB Alexander mourns aunt (AP)
Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander will travel in the coming days to be with his family in Ohio following the death of his aunt early Monday morning. Alexander said he hopes to rejoin his Seattle teammates before Sunday's regular-season finale at Green Bay. The NFL rushing leader needs a touchdown to break Priest Holmes' single-season record of 27.

Redskins' Brunell says he's 'day-to-day' (AP)
Joe Gibbs interrupted Christmas Day, his only day off in the entire season, to make an anxious phone call about the status of Mark Brunell's knee. "I was concerned," Gibbs said. "I wanted to see what happened overnight. He gave me a good report." Washington Redskins director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer told Gibbs the knee had very little swelling.

Parcells keeps his focus on coaching (AP)
Bill Parcells doesn't seem to act like he plans to quit coaching any time soon. With the Dallas Cowboys still trying to make the playoffs, he appears as focused as ever. At 2 a.m. Christmas morning, Parcells was in his office watching film and already preparing for the regular season finale. On Monday, he released inconsistent kicker Billy Cundiff.

Jags QB Leftwich clear to practice (AP)
Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich has received medical clearance to return to practice Wednesday and could play in the regular season finale against Tennessee. Leftwich already has declared himself ready to play -- and wants to avoid being rusty for the first round of the AFC playoffs -- but coach Jack Del Rio said Monday he plans to wait until later in the week to decide between Leftwich and...

The one and only
If there were any doubts about Detroit being the NBA's top team, there aren't anymore after its rout of the Spurs.

Arenas carries Wizards past Lakers (AP)
Gilbert Arenas outdueled Kobe Bryant and helped the Washington Wizards to their third straight win. Arenas scored 34 and keyed the Wizards' second-half comeback, leading Washington to a 94-91 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night. Bryant finished with 31 points, and hit two key 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter to keep the Lakers in the game, but he couldn't get off a potential...

Riley mulls sumo idea to aid Shaq (AP)
Shaquille O'Neal laughed at the idea: diaper-clad men of gargantuan size summoned as battering rams to make the NBA's most imposing big man even better. Don't laugh, Shaq. It might happen. Coach Pat Riley is talking about adding extra bulk -- and he means real tonnage -- to Miami Heat practices. Riley's idea?

Spurs' Parker cited in car with Longoria (AP)
Spurs guard Tony Parker was cited for impeding traffic and failing to produce a valid Texas driver's license during a traffic stop in which girlfriend and "Desperate Housewives" actress Eva Longoria was his passenger, police said. An officer on a bicycle saw the stopped car holding up traffic early Saturday and rapped the hood with his hand, according to a police report.

Carter leads streaking Nets by Knicks (AP)
Larry Brown was worried about stopping the New Jersey Nets' perimeter game. Turns out, the New York Knicks never figured it out. Vince Carter scored 27 points and Richard Jefferson added 23 to lead the Nets to their sixth consecutive win, a 109-101 victory over the New York Knicks on Monday night. "When V.C.

James rallies Cavaliers past Bulls (AP)
The Chicago Bulls tried almost everything to stop LeBron James. But James shook off some desperation grab-and-hold tactics by Chicago's Andres Nocioni to score 12 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 102-91 victory over the Bulls on Monday night. "He believed he could guard me, I guess," James said after surpassing 30 points for the 16th time this season and...

Suns ride Diaw to win over T-Wolves (AP)
Boris Diaw's teammates scanned the stat sheet in the Phoenix locker room and did a double-take when they saw his line. "Boris had 31 and 11!?" laughed Raja Bell, as he looked across at Shawn Marion. Diaw sure did, sparking a Suns team that was at its up-tempo best. Paced by a career-high 31 points, 11 rebounds and five assists from the versatile forward, Phoenix raced past the stumbling Minnesota...

Sonics overcome Pierce, Celtics (AP)
Ronald Murray scored a season-high 29 points, two short of his career high, and the Seattle SuperSonics overcame Paul Pierce's 43 to beat the Boston Celtics 118-111 on Monday night. Murray was outstanding in the second half, going 8-of-10 while filling in for the ill Luke Ridnour. Murray scored 18 in the third quarter and Nick Collison scored six of Seattle's last nine points as the Sonics won at...

Harris, Mavericks roll over Pacers (AP)
Between Devin Harris swishing a 20-footer that was supposed to be a pass and Jerry Stackhouse taking off for a powerful dunk that showed how healthy his knee is, the Dallas Mavericks moved to the top of the Western Conference with a flourish Monday night. Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points and Harris added 12 of his 20 in a first-quarter run that sent the Mavericks racing past the Indiana Pacers...

Kirilenko, Jazz edge Grizzlies in OT (AP)
Andrei Kirilenko scored a season-high 24 points in his return to the lineup, grabbed 14 rebounds and made two key defensive plays in the game's final moments, lifting the Utah Jazz to a 105-102 overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. Mehmet Okur had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and made a 3-pointer in overtime to put Utah ahead 102-100.

Power rankings
Dallas takes over the top spot as even Buffalo threatens to overtake the struggling Senators.

Boyle OT goal gives Lightning victory (AP)
The struggling Tampa Bay Lightning got a much-needed lift from captain Dave Andreychuk and defenseman Dan Boyle. Andreychuk had two goals, and Boyle scored with 33.6 seconds left in overtime as the Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-4 victory on Monday night. Boyle's goal on his own rebound from in close moved the defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning within eight points of the Southeast...

Garnett gets 2nd shutout for Thrashers (AP)
Michael Garnett has made the most of his chance to impress Atlanta Thrashers coach Bob Hartley. Kari Lehtonen's return from injured reserve Monday will probably mean less ice time for Garnett, but the rookie goaltender won't mind. "Everything I achieve is a major step." Garnett said. "From just playing to doing this now, it's pretty crazy." Garnett became the first Atlanta goaltender to post...

Hedberg gets two assists and 25 saves (AP)
Dallas goalie Johan Hedberg had a big game on offense and defense. Hedberg had two assists and 25 saves Monday night to lead the Stars to a 6-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Hedberg, who got the start while Marty Turco stayed in Dallas with the flu, is the first goalie to have a multipoint game since Colorado's Patrick Roy had two assists against Nashville on Dec.

Regehr helps Flames beat Canucks (AP)
Robyn Regehr scored a power-play goal midway through the third period to lift the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night. With Todd Bertuzzi in the penalty box for holding the stick of rookie Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf during a physical battle in the corner, Regehr hit a slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle 8:34 into the final period.

Redden's two goals power Senators (AP)
The Ottawa Senators' power play unit is working as well as ever now that they've got one of their key components back in the lineup. Wade Redden had two goals and two assists and the Ottawa Senators scored three power-play goals in the opening period to beat the New York Rangers 6-2 on Monday night. Redden, who scored a career-high four points, set up power-play goals by Dany Heatley and Daniel...

Handzus SO goal lifts Flyers to win (AP)
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP)-- The Philadelphia Flyers' longest road trip of the season already is producing lengthier games. Needing an overtime session to win at Pittsburgh last Friday, the Flyers stretched Monday night to a shootout before beating Florida 3-2 to improve to 2-0 on a franchise high 11-game road trip.

Drury, Miller power Sabres (AP)
The Buffalo Sabres shrugged off a shaky start to do what they've been doing well lately -- win. Chris Drury had a goal and two assists, and Ryan Miller made 16 saves to help the Sabres to a come-from-behind 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders on Monday night. Down 3-1 after one period, the Sabres scored five straight goals, three on the power play, to help secure their second straight win, and...

Leafs, Belfour stymie Devils (AP)
The Toronto Maple Leafs didn't get much time to celebrate their small winning streak. Within minutes of the 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night that gave the Maple Leafs consecutive wins for the first time since Nov. 26-28, Toronto found out Jason Allison fractured a finger. And the Maple Leafs could be without Darcy Tucker as well when they try to make it three straight wins on...

Hejduk rallies Avs past Coyotes (AP)
In the new NHL, a 3-0 deficit is nothing anymore, even for a Colorado team that's having so much trouble in goal that its former starter was in street clothes and his replacement was yanked after just 3 minutes. The Avalanche needed just 8 minutes to tie Phoenix, then scored four times in the third period for a 7-4 victory Monday night.

Offseason capsules: Wallace, Rudd, Raines
Yahoo! Sports breaks down the '06 Cup field – and a couple of guys who are moving on.

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.

Legge completes Champ Car test (AP)
Katherine Legge spent two days this week testing a Champ Car to see if she's ready to become the first female driver in the open-wheel series. The 25-year-old Legge ran a total of 238 laps for PKV Racing on the road course in Sebring, Fla. It was just the second time in a Champ car for the British racer, who ran 70 laps at Sebring in a test for Rocketsports Racing on Dec.

Kyle Busch to run full season in NASCAR Busch Series in 2006 (SportsTicker)
CONCORD, North Carolina (Ticker) - Despite making a splash in his first season on NASCAR's premier series, Kyle Busch has some unfinished business in the Busch Series.

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.

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