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Steelers Rally Past Bengals in 2nd Half (AP)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half of their NFL playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2006, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)AP - A low hit on Carson Palmer changed everything.


Palmer Tears ACL, Will Need Surgery (AP)
Cincinnati Bengals running back Rudi Johnson (32) pats quarterback Carson Palmer (9) on the back after Palmer injured his knee against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first half of their NFL playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2006, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)AP - Carson Palmer's first playoff game ended on his first pass. Now, the Cincinnati Bengals are concerned about his long-term future.


Texas QB Vince Young Headed to NFL Draft (AP)
Vince Young, foreground, the quarterback who led Texas to its first national championship in 36 years announces on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2006, in Austin, Texas, that he will make himself eligible for the NFL draft. (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)AP - Vince Young is headed to the NFL.


Panthers Defense Overwhelms Giants (AP)
New York Giant's quarterback Eli Manning (10) is sacked by the Carolina Panthers' Jordan Carstens (67) and Julius Peppers (90) for a six yard loss in the third quarter of their wild card playoff football game at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Sunday, Jan. 8, 2006. Giants' Kareem McKenzie (67) tries to block on the play.   (Bill Kostroun/AP Photos)AP - The Carolina Panthers beat the New York Giants at their own game, in their own place.


McGrady Taken to Hospital With Back Injury (AP)
Houston Rockets' Tracy McGrady is loaded into an ambulance after experiencing severe back spasms  in the final seconds of the second quarter  against the Denver Nuggets in their NBA basketball game on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2006 in Houston. Rockets' trainer Keith Jones is left. McGrady was transported to the hospital.  (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)AP - Houston star Tracy McGrady left the Rockets' game Sunday night against Denver with a recurrence of severe back spasms.


Steelers rally past Bengals in AFC wild card game (Reuters)
Pittsburgh Steelers split end Antwaan Randle El (82) breaks a tackle by Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Brian Simmons during the first half of their AFC Wildcard playoff game in Cincinnati, Ohio, January 8, 2006. Pittsburgh won 31-17. (John Gress/Reuters)Reuters - Ben Roethlisberger threw three touchdown passes to lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 31-17 win over Cincinnati in the AFC wild card game at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday.


Sharp-Shooting Heat Oust Trail Blazers (AP)
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, left, stuffs the ball over Portland Trail Blazers center Theo Ratliff during second half  NBA basketball action in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 8, 2006.  Wade led the Heat in scoring with 31 points to beat the Blazers 118-89.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)AP - Dwyane Wade and Jason Williams combined for 51 points to lead the Miami Heat over the Portland Trail Blazers 118-89 on Sunday night.


Reds UT Ryan Freel Arrested in Tampa (AP)
AP - Cincinnati Reds utility player Ryan Freel was arrested on an alcohol-related charge at a pool hall early Sunday, police said.

Trinidad Seeks Soccer Tickets Amid Dispute (AP)
AP - Trinidad's government asked the country's soccer federation for World Cup tickets on Friday following allegations of cronyism and ticket price gouging against a top soccer official.

Preds Hand Blackhawks 10th Straight Loss (AP)
Nashville Predators goaltender Chris Mason (30), right, makes a save on a Chicago Blackhawks' Martin Lapointe shot during the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Jan. 8, 2006 in Chicago.(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)AP - Yanic Perreault had two goals and Steve Sullivan scored on a third-period penalty shot to help the Nashville Predators hand the Chicago Blackhawks their 10th straight loss, 5-1 on Sunday night.


Redskins' do-it-all D
TAMPA, Fla. – Washington's best offense was its defense, which never rested against the Buccaneers.

Palmer tears ACL, Steelers rout Bengals (AP)
Carson Palmer stood his ground and held the ball an extra second, waiting for rookie Chris Henry to run past a defender and get open. That one second changed everything. Steelers nose tackle Kimo von Oelhoffen dived at Palmer on his first pass Sunday, hitting Palmer at the knee and knocking the Pro Bowl quarterback out of the game with a torn ligament.

Panthers shut down Giants, win 23-0 (AP)
The Carolina Panthers' defense played like coach John Fox was in the New York huddle, spying on his former team. The Giants had no such insight into the Panthers, allowing Steve Smith and DeShaun Foster to beat them at their own game in their own place. Fox had Carolina prepared for everything New York attempted, rattling Eli Manning into four turnovers, and Smith scored two touchdowns to lead the...

Palmer's knee injury worries Bengals (AP)
Carson Palmer's first playoff game ended on his first pass. Now, the Cincinnati Bengals are concerned about his long-term future. Palmer tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee when Pittsburgh's Kimo von Oelhoffen hit him a moment after he threw his first pass Sunday in a 31-17 playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

McGinest leads Patriots into next round (AP)
Willie McGinest's career was headed downhill. Serious injuries sidelined him, he lost his starting position and the Patriots were a bad team. Now they're one of the best in NFL history and McGinest is a big reason. "A couple years ago, people counted me out," the 34-year-old outside linebacker said, "but I have a commitment to the game like no other.

Redskins beat Bucs with little offense (AP)
How did the Washington Redskins manage to win an NFL playoff game with only 120 yards of offense? That's like shooting nothing but bogeys to win a major golf tournament. Or winning the local bowling league with a bunch of gutter balls. There are plenty of ways to express it, but the fact is that the Redskins set a new standard for futility in their 17-10 wild-card win over Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Big Ben polished in second postseason (AP)
The Cincinnati Bengals lost the quarterback who got them to the playoffs. The Pittsburgh Steelers don't think it mattered because they had a far different quarterback than that who failed them in the postseason a year ago. Ben Roethlisberger looked confident, in control and polished Sunday in leading the Steelers to a 31-17 wild-card victory in Cincinnati, their first road playoff win in four tries...

Chiefs close on agreement with Edwards (AP)
The Kansas City Chiefs were close to coming to terms with Herman Edwards on a contract that would make him their next head coach, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Saturday night. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations, said the team was hopeful of finishing the deal Sunday and formally introducing...

Manning stumbles in playoff debut (AP)
By the time Eli Manning threw his third interception of the day, only a few scattered fans were left to boo. Everyone else had seen enough. Manning put together his worst performance of the season in a 23-0 debacle against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, showing how far he has to go to lead the Giants deep into the playoffs.

NFC matchups for second round set (AP)
Do-overs, all over the place. All four of next weekend's playoff games will be rematches from the regular season: Washington vs. Seattle and New England vs. Denver on Saturday, Pittsburgh at Indianapolis and Carolina at Chicago on Sunday. The Panthers manhandled the Giants at the Meadowlands on Sunday 23-0, becoming the first road playoff team to post a shutout since 1980.

Houston has a problem
The star power is there, but the Rockets' supporting cast doesn't fit into coach Jeff Van Gundy's style of play.

Carter's 3 gives Nets 10th straight win (AP)
Vince Carter stuck it to his former fans -- then called it his greatest shot ever. Carter made a fadeaway 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds left and finished with 42 points against his old team Sunday, leading New Jersey past the Toronto Raptors 105-104 for the Nets' 10th straight victory. Carter scored 24 points in the fourth quarter and was booed every time he touched the ball, but he silenced the crowd...

Anthony's last-second shot lifts Nuggets (AP)
Long after Houston star Tracy McGrady was removed from the floor on a stretcher and taken to a hospital because of back spasms, Denver's Carmelo Anthony hit a baseline jumper with a second left to give the Nuggets a 92-90 victory over the already injury-depleted Rockets on Sunday night. McGrady missed a long jumper in the final seconds of the first half, then crumpled to the floor, grabbing his...

Pacers use 3s to rout Kings 108-83 (AP)
Stephen Jackson scored 17 of his 31 points while hitting five 3-pointers in the third quarter, and Jermaine O'Neal had 12 points and eight rebounds in his return to Indiana Pacers' lineup in a 108-83 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night. Fred Jones scored 18 points for the Pacers, who hit 13 3-pointers and cruised to their second straight victory on a tough road trip thanks to two...

Knicks win season-high third straight (AP)
The New York Knicks are enjoying their best stretch of the season, and they know who is mostly responsible for it. Stephon Marbury had 23 points and a season-high 15 assists, the final one setting up rookie David Lee for the tiebreaking basket with 21 seconds left, and the Knicks beat the Seattle SuperSonics 120-116 Sunday for their season-high third straight win.

Wade, Williams propel Heat to big win (AP)
Dwyane Wade and Jason Williams combined for 51 points to lead the Miami Heat over the Portland Trail Blazers 118-89 on Sunday night. Wade had 31 points and seven assists, while Williams had 20 points and eight assists and Miami shot 58.8 percent (47-of-80) from the field. The pair sat out the Heat's 111-93 loss at Phoenix on Friday night with injuries.

Bryant scores 50, Lakers defeat Clippers (AP)
The time off must have done Kobe Bryant a lot of good. Going on a scoring spree for the second night in a row, Bryant had 50 points Saturday night to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 112-109 victory over the Clippers. That ran his total to 98 points in two nights -- he had 48 in the Lakers' win over Philadelphia in his first game back from a two-game suspension.

Duncan won't play in 2008 Olympics (AP)
Tim Duncan has officially notified USA Basketball that he will not be a part of the U.S. team that will compete at this year's world championships and the 2008 Olympics. Jerry Colangelo, managing director of USA Basketball, said Saturday that Duncan's agent, Lon Babby, had called with the news earlier this week.

Jazz beat Pistons again, 94-90 in OT (AP)
The Utah Jazz seem to have a secret that the rest of the NBA would love for them to share. The problem is, the Jazz aren't sure why they appear to be the only team in the NBA that the Detroit Pistons can't beat. Andrei Kirilenko had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and former Pistons player Mehmet Okur added 13 points and 17 rebounds as the Jazz beat Detroit for the second time this season, 94-90 in...

Marion, Nash propel Suns past Spurs (AP)
This season's Phoenix Suns can play rough. They proved it Saturday night against the defending NBA champs. Shawn Marion and Steve Nash triggered a fourth-quarter surge that lifted the Suns over San Antonio 91-86, snapping the Spurs' five-game winning streak in a matchup of division leaders. Marion scored 11 in the fourth quarter to finish with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Power rankings
Despite having lost nearly 200 player games to injury this season, the Flyers have held on to the No. 2 spot in the rankings.

Stars overcome 3-0 deficit, defeat Wings (AP)
Detroit coach Mike Babcock was at a loss to explain his team's collapse. "I don't know what happened," said Babcock after the Red Wings blew a 3-0 lead in a 6-3 loss to Dallas on Sunday night. "We lost our composure and turned the puck over and just couldn't get settled down again." Jere Lehtinen scored two goals, Niklas Hagman, Philippe Boucher, Niko Kapanen, and Mathias Tjarnqvist also scored for...

Preds hand 'Hawks 10th straight loss (AP)
The Nashville Predators took full advantage of a timely game against the free-falling Chicago Blackhawks. Yanic Perreault had two goals and Steve Sullivan scored on a third-period penalty shot to help Nashville hand Chicago its 10th straight loss, 5-1 on Sunday night. The losing streak is the Blackhawks' longest since a team-record 12-game slide at the end of the 1950-51 season.

Berard's hat trick lifts Jackets to win (AP)
Rick Nash's return to the Columbus lineup has made life easier for Bryan Berard and the rest of the Blue Jackets' power play. Berard scored three power-play goals for his first career hat trick, Sergei Fedorov added four assists and the Blue Jackets beat the Phoenix Coyotes 5-2 on Sunday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

Rangers obtain F Petr Sykora from Ducks (AP)
The New York Rangers obtained forward Petr Sykora and a 2007 fourth-round draft choice from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for defenseman Maxim Kondratiev on Sunday. The 29-year-old Sykora has scored at least 20 goals in each of his last six NHL seasons. He had seven goals and 13 assists in 34 games for Anaheim this season.

Panthers rally, beat Caps in shootout (AP)
Thanks to Roberto Luongo, the Florida Panthers ended a grueling road swing with five points and a break-even record. Luongo made two shootout saves, Nathan Horton and Joe Nieuwendyk scored shootout goals and the Panthers beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 on Sunday. "It was a must-win for us, obviously," said Panthers center Olli Jokinen, who scored twice.

Atlanta sweeps Pens in home-and-home set (AP)
Ilya Kovalchuk had some more fun at Sidney Crosby's expense. Kovalchuk had two goals in the Atlanta Thrashers' 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night to push his NHL-leading total to 32. On Friday night, he had two goals -- and taunted Crosby -- in a 6-4 win in Atlanta. "I'm more happy we got the two points," Kovalchuk said.

Jurcina sparks Bruins past Lightning 6-3 (AP)
Boston defenseman Milan Jurcina could hardly be blamed for being a little greedy. Jurcina scored the first two goals of his NHL career and Patrice Bergeron had the go-ahead goal to lead the Boston Bruins to a 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lighting on Saturday. With the Bruins trailing 3-1, Jurcina scored midway through the second period.

Habs score four in first, top Sens 4-1 (AP)
Radek Bonk finally got to celebrate a goal, but Canadiens teammate Mathieu Dandenault missed out on his chance. Cristobal Huet made 40 saves, and Bonk and Dandenault ended lengthy goal droughts as Montreal scored four times in the first period to beat the Ottawa Senators 4-1 on Saturday. Bonk hadn't scored in 44 regular-season games when he tipped Bouillon's point shot past goalie Ray Emery to put...

Gerber leads Hurricanes past Islanders (AP)
Martin Gerber and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Islanders from start to finish. Gerber made 30 saves for his sixth career shutout, and the Hurricanes scored three goals in a 6:14 span in the second period to beat the Islanders 3-0 on Saturday night for a home-and-home sweep. "We came out good from the start," Gerber said.

Trading Paint: Welcome back
It's a new year, and NASCAR fans have plenty to say as the offseason rolls on.

Said and Lepage win bobsled races, Trickle flips (AP)
Boris Said and Kevin Lepage came out with victories, while Dick Trickle added another memorable chapter to his remarkable career. Said won the first race of the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge on Saturday at Mount Van Hoevenberg, Lepage took the second race, and the 64-year-old Trickle got a turn named after him when he flipped his sled on consecutive runs.

France's Stephane Peterhansel wins seventh stage of Dakar Rally (AP)
Stephane Peterhansel of France won for the second time in the Dakar Rally, taking the seventh stage Friday in the grueling road race. Fellow Frenchman Luc Alphand was second, 4 minutes, 23 seconds behind, and claimed the overall lead with a time of 22 hours, 32 minutes, 41 seconds. He was followed by Peterhansel, 3 minutes,12 seconds behind.

NASCAR narrows potential Hall of Fame to three cities (AP)
NASCAR has narrowed the possible sites for its first official Hall of Fame to Atlanta, Charlotte or Daytona Beach, Fla., and expects to pick a winning city by the end of March.

Bill Elliott to race in Daytona 500 (SportsTicker)
MOORESVILLE, North Carolina (Ticker) - Bill Elliott was a long-time Ford driver who closed his career with Dodge. Now he will try a Chevrolet in the 2006 Daytona 500.

Elliott to enter Daytona 500 (AP)
Two-time Daytona 500 champion Bill Elliott will enter the race this year in a car fielded by MB2 Motorsports.

NASCAR drivers in a unique challenge -- piloting a bobsled (AP)
When NASCAR ace Ken Schrader was a kid, his father decided to make him a race car driver. Nearly a half-century later, Schrader will be in a bobsled to raise money for the Olympic-bound U.S. men's and women's teams. Schrader's father took an old truck axle, imbedded it vertically in concrete and strung a cable to little Kenny's go-kart.

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.

NASCAR to restructure regional tours in 2007 (SportsTicker)
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) - NASCAR announced Wednesday that it will restructure its regional touring series divisions beginning in 2007.

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