Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the recap of the WrestleMania of pro football.
Trailing 20-10, the Kansas City Chiefs scored three touchdowns in the final six minutes, 13 seconds Sunday to beat San Francisco 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium.
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In securing the franchise’s second NFL title and first in 50 years, the Chiefs rebounded from at least 10 points down to win each of their three playoff games, something no NFL team ever had done.
Defensive tackle Frank Clark said he predicted his team’s latest comeback out loud on the field early in the fourth quarter when, he claimed, some of the 49ers already were celebrating.
“I went out on the next drive and told them, ‘Ya’ll .... going home just like the rest of ’em,’ ” Clark said. “Excuse my French. They told me to slow down on the cussing, but it’s the end of the season so we gonna vibe.”
In advancing to Miami, Kansas City overcame a 24-0 deficit in the divisional round to Houston and a 10-0 hole in the AFC championship against Tennessee.
The title-clinching rebound was orchestrated by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who passed for two fourth-quarter touchdowns and was named the game’s most valuable player.
“We’re a mentally tough team,” safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “I think coach (Andy) Reid does a good job of getting us right mentally, physically and, you know, even emotionally.”
Reid, 61 and in his 21st season, earned his first championship after entering Sunday with the most career victories of any NFL coach to never win a Super Bowl.
Kansas City’s 21-point fourth quarter matched the most productive in Super Bowl history and came immediately after Mahomes had one of the poorest stretches of his young career.
He threw interceptions on the Chiefs’ first two drives of the second half as they went from tied 10-10 at halftime to trailing by two scores.
“Obviously, the third quarter didn’t go the way I wanted it to go,” Mahomes said. “I tried to force some things…(But) the guys believed in me and gave me confidence to keep fighting.”
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For the season’s first two months, the Bruins were close to the edge. Their defense was pitiful, their ballhandling sloppy and their ability to close out games just a suggestion.
In recent weeks, UCLA (12-10, 5-4 Pac-12 Conference) has made drastic improvements in each of those categories to win two consecutive games and four of five, putting it just 1½ games behind first-place Oregon in the conference standings.
The Bruins’ latest triumph, a 73-57 victory over Utah, came thanks largely to Tyger Campbell, whose up-and-down season took a dramatic turn for the better. Campbell finished with a career-high 22 points and eight assists to go with only one turnover, a stunning breakthrough for someone who entered the game averaging 3.4 points in Pac-12 play and had not scored in double figures since late December.
“It’s tough being a young guy when everybody expects the world from you in your first year,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said of Campbell, who was sidelined last season by major knee surgery and wore a bulky brace until only recently. “Unfortunately, that’s how college basketball has changed for the worse. But he stood in there and kept working and got better.”
Campbell thrived in pick-and-roll situations, particularly during a second half in which he made six of nine shots while scoring 16 points and helping his team withstand every threat.
UCLA guard Japreece Dean scored 18 points as No. 8 UCLA topped No. 19 Arizona State, 70-61.
Charisma Osborne added 15 points and Michaela Onyenwere had 14 to help the Bruins (19-2, 8-2 Pac-12) bounce back from Friday’s blowout loss against No. 16 Arizona.
UCLA trailed 34-32 at halftime but forced five turnovers while outscoring Arizona State 20-10 in the third quarter. Osborne had 10 points in the period.
UCLA scored 24 points off Arizona State’s 16 turnovers. The Bruins committed just 10 turnovers.
Aari McDonald scored 20 points and Dominique McBryde scored 10 in the fourth quarter when No. 16 Arizona pulled away for its fifth straight win, 73-57, over USC on Sunday.
The Wildcats led 50-46 entering the fourth quarter. McBryde scored five points and Cate Reese six in building the lead to 10 points midway through the quarter.
Alissa Pili scored 21 points but only had two in the fourth quarter for the Trojans (11-10, 3-7), who lost to No. 19 Arizona State 76-75 in triple overtime on Friday.
Novak Djokovic was looking weary and worn down. He felt dizzy and trailed Dominic Thiem in the Australian Open final — miscues mounting, deficit growing.
Djokovic did what he does, though. He refused to lose, waited for a chance to pounce and found his best tennis when absolutely necessary. Even threw in a wrinkle, serve-and-volleying twice when facing break point.
Regaining his stamina and strokes, and showing some gutsy creativity, Djokovic came back to edge Thiem 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 Sunday night for an eighth Australian Open title, second in a row, and 17th Grand Slam trophy overall.
“I was on the brink of losing the match. Dominic disrupted my rhythm in my game at one point. He was a better player,” Djokovic said. “Probably one point — and one shot — separated us tonight.”
Nonetheless, Djokovic improved his record in semifinals and finals at Melbourne Park to 16-0 and assured himself of returning to No. 1 in the rankings, replacing Rafael Nadal.
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Helene Elliott: Thai-Son Kwiatkowski finds the silver lining in his dark clouds
Defensive backs coach Greg Burns, inside linebackers coach Johnny Nansen, and defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a will not return, according to a person with knowledge of the decision. Only new safeties coach Craig Naivar, hired last week, remains on USC’s defensive staff.
The Trojans plan to hire replacements at cornerbacks coach and defensive line coach, but will not replace Nansen as linebackers coach. Defensive coordinator Todd Orlando is expected to take on the responsibility of coaching linebackers, as he did in his previous two stops, at Texas and Houston.
At the end of December, Anthony Lynn said he had “no problem betting” on himself, regarding his somewhat tenuous contract situation with the Chargers.
The team has concurred by signing the coach to an extension beyond the 2020 season, a source with knowledge of the deal confirmed Sunday.
Lynn, 26-22 in three years with the Chargers, had one season remaining on the contract he signed when hired in January 2017. The exact length of his extension was not immediately known.
After going 12-4 and winning a playoff game in 2018, the Chargers struggled with injuries and turnovers this year in finishing 5-11.
TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE
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San Antonio at Lakers, 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570
BORN ON THIS DATE
1918: Sprinter Helen Stephens (d. 1994)
1938: Boxer Emile Griffith (d. 2013)
1940: Football player Fran Tarkenton
1945: Football player Bob Griese
1951: Swimmer Felipe Munoz
1952: Former Angel Fred Lynn
1954: Former King Tiger Williams
1960: Pro wrestler Kerry Von Erich (d. 1993)
1960: Pro wrestler Marty Jannetty
1968: Former Laker Vlade Divac
1969: Basketball player Robert Pack
1969: Golfer Retief Goosen
DIED ON THIS DATE
2014: Tennis player Louise Brough, 90
2015: Golfer Charlie Sifford, 92
2019: Ski jumper Matti Nykänen, 55
Fred Lynn hits the first All-Star game home run. Watch it here.