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After losing Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs and Chad Henne hold off Browns 22-17

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The Kansas City Chiefs had lost Patrick Mahomes to a blackout and were at risk for losing the game.

At that point their defense and Chad Henne — their defense and Chad Henne?! — alongside a gutsy call by Andy Reid kept their expectations of a Super Bowl rehash alive, holding off the Cleveland Browns 22-17 on Sunday to progress to their third consecutive AFC title game.

With their star quarterback decreased to an onlooker, the frequently failed to remember bundle inverse Mahomes’ powerful offense constrained the Browns to punt in the fading minutes. At that point, his 35-year-old reinforcement demonstrated some moxie with a 13-yard third-down scramble and nervy fourth-down finishing to Tyreek Hill — when pull out all the stops Reid chose to take the plunge — that gave the Chiefs (15-2) a first down with a little more than brief left and permitted them to run out the clock.

“That’s why we love Big Red. He’s always on time,” Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “He’s like our spirit warrior out here behind the scenes. He’s always trying stuff. We always knew he has one play on the table.”

Or then again, as Mahomes composed on Twitter after the success: “#HenneThingIsPossible.”

“We go through all those Saturday night with the quarterbacks, those situations: ‘Fourth-and-1 to win the game, what do you want?’” said Reid, who never once thought about punting on fourth down. “My coaches were on board, they all did a great job with the spot, with the calls, everything — they were spot-on. It was a great job.”

Mahomes hadn’t played in 21 days, since the Chiefs secured the AFC’s favorite in Week 16, yet he barely thought twice prior to leaving halfway through the second from last quarter. He completed 21 of 30 for 255 yards and a TD, and ran for another score.

Harrison Butker added three field objectives for the Chiefs, who almost blew a 19-3 lead yet made due to turn into the primary AFC group to have three continuous meeting title games. They’ll confront the Buffalo Bills next Sunday.

“It stings,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. “We came here to win and didn’t get the job done. There is a finality to that.”

Dough puncher Mayfield tossed for 204 yards with a score and a pick for the Browns (12-6), who were falling off their first season finisher win since the 1994 season. Yet, their failure to drive for the triumphant score — they punted with 4:23 left in the game — and guarded disappointment shielded them from dominating two season finisher matches in a season unexpectedly since 1950.

“It came down to us on defense and we let it slip,” Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett said. “We had two opportunities. We didn’t make it happen. It was right in front of us and we just — this time we didn’t get it done.”

Mahomes finished 11 of his initial 12 passes and drove the Chiefs to consecutive scores to begin the game. He ran for the first and let Travis Kelce transform a dump-off into a 20-yard get for the other, making him the main player since the 49ers’ Steve Young in 1995 with three straight season finisher games with TDs on the ground and through the air.

Indeed, Mahomes was so sharp passing in the principal a large portion of that he even finished a celebratory hurl to a fortunate fan in the most distant scopes of Arrowhead Stadium’s upper deck following his score hike.

After the groups traded field objectives, with Butker breaking the Chiefs season finisher record with a 50-yarder into the breeze, the Browns walked for what might have been an energy swinging score heading into halftime. In any case, exactly when Rashard Higgins attempted to extend over the objective line, the Chiefs’ Daniel Sorensen showed up to convey a hit, popping the ball into the end zone for a touchback — the call remained after a video survey.

The whole appearance of the game changed from the get-go in the second from last quarter, however.

To start with, the Browns held the Chiefs when Mayfield tossed a block attempt and Butker missed a field objective. At that point, Mayfield drove them energetically the alternate way, covering a 77-yard drive with a TD toss to Jarvis Landry. Lastly, approximately 17,000 fans permitted in the arena because of pandemic were left sitting in shocked quiet when Mahomes was handled around the head with 7:27 left in the quarter and left folded on the turf close to midfield.

Mahomes, as of now tottered by a foot injury, staggered as he attempted to get to his feet. He was ultimately served to the blue tent on the sideline, at that point raced to the storage space, where he was assessed for a blackout.

“It kind of knocked the wind out of him and everything else,” Reid said after the game. “He’s doing great right now, which is a real positive as we look at this. He passed all the deals he needed to pass and we’ll see where it goes from here.”

The energy at last turned, the Browns started to lean intensely on their vaunted run game, which had created only 18 yards in the main half. Scratch Chubb changed over on fourth down with a hard run, at that point Hunt followed another fourth-down transformation on a similar drive by hitting the end zone against his previous group to make it 22-17 with 11:07 to go.

It stayed with Cleveland when Karl Joseph took out Henne in the end zone a couple of moments later, however the Chiefs stuffed Chubb on first down, constrained an inadequacy and eventually made Cleveland punt.

Henne’s gutsy scramble and Reid’s similarly challenging fourth-down consider shielded the Browns from getting another opportunity.

“It’s a little different when your quarterback goes down, someone so important to your offense and your team,” Kelce said, “but you have to throw it all into the same bucket of, ‘When adversity hits, what are you going to do? Where does your mind go? Where do we go from here as a team?’ We rallied around Chad, gave him some confidence, knowing we were out there making plays every single snap, just like if Pat was out there.”

BACK ON THE FIELD

Stefanski made his season finisher head training debut subsequent to missing a week ago’s down in Pittsburgh due to COVID-19. Expert Bowl OL Joel Bitonio and CBs Denzel Ward and Kevin Johnson likewise were back from their diseases.

INJURIES

Browns: LT Jedrick Wills Jr. left with a lower leg injury on their first hostile play. His reinforcement, Kendall Lamm, left with an elbow injury, compelling Blake Hance to show up.

Chiefs: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (lower leg) was latent subsequent to getting back to rehearse this week unexpectedly since mid-December. CB Bashaud Breeland left in the final quarter with a blackout.

UP NEXT

The Chiefs start getting ready for the Bills next Sunday. They beat them 26-17 in Buffalo in Week 6.

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Carlos Alcaraz defeats Novak Djokovic to win Wimbledon

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This time, Carlos Alcaraz was prepared right away. Alcaraz started off slowly, losing the first set against Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final a year ago. It took him five sets to win his maiden title at the All England Club.

The game that started Sunday’s rematch felt monumental: 20 points in over 15 minutes hinted at an engaging, back-and-forth contest that would go a long time. Both guys had their moments of genius. However, Alcaraz was superior. And for almost the entire next two hours, too.

Alcaraz won 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (4) against Djokovic to win a second straight Wimbledon title and his fourth Grand Slam overall. Alcaraz applied the skills he acquired from 2023 to 2024. And to consider: He is only 21 years old.

Alcaraz, who won the French Open last month and is now only the sixth man to win on both the red clay at Roland Garros and the grass at the All England Club in the same season, said, “At the end of my career, I want to sit at the same table as the big guys.” Alcaraz received the gold trophy from Wimbledon from Kate, the Prince of Wales. “That’s my main goal. That’s my dream right now.”

Alcaraz raised his record to 4-0 in major finals, including the 2022 U.S. Open; among men, only Roger Federer started his career with a 7-0 record.

The 37-year-old Djokovic, who had knee surgery less than a month ago, said of Federer, “He just was better than me in every aspect of the game.” Djokovic was aiming to become the first player in tennis history to win 25 Grand Slam events and tie Federer’s men’s record of eight Wimbledon victories. “In movement, in the way he was just striking the ball beautifully, serving great. Everything.”

Alcaraz experienced a single, fleeting glitch during a five-point period that nearly brought him to tears. It occurred when he was serving at 5-4, 40-love, and one point away from the championship. But he made a double error. Then a backhand was missed. Next, a volley. Next, a forehand. And one more forehand. All at once, it was five. Alcaraz suddenly seemed unsettled. Djokovic may feel hope suddenly.

There was intrigue all of a sudden.

but just for a little while. Alcaraz pulled together, reached the decisive vote, and ended the dispute.

Djokovic remembered, “We went toe to toe” last year.

He went on, “This year,” “it was nothing like that. It was all about him. He was the dominant force on the court and deserved to win.”

On a gloomy afternoon at Centre Court, Djokovic was not playing at his best, sporting a gray sleeve on his knee. There’s no doubt that Alcaraz had a significant role in this.

It turns out that up until the third set, the first game was the most competitive part of the match.

Not that there weren’t any signs of anticipation along the road. More so, the conclusion never truly appeared in doubt.

“The first game was incredible. One of the longest first games I’ve ever played,” Djokovic remarked. “That set the tone. He was coming out from the blocks ready to battle and ready to play his best level right away, which wasn’t the case last year.”

In the opening set, Djokovic double-failed, giving up a 5-1 lead. He started the second game with a volley into the net, down by a break, and ended it with a double fault. When Djokovic finally got going in the third, he recorded his first break of serve of the day. Fans screamed his two-syllable moniker, “No-le! No-le!” and others answered in unison,  “Let’s go, Carlos! Let’s go!”

However, given that there were real doubts about whether Djokovic would be able to compete at all in Wimbledon, this was not the body-contouring, all-out Djokovic that everyone is used to seeing.

In his matches against Alcaraz, Djokovic would sometimes land awkwardly after serving or take cautious steps in between points, almost like he was barefoot on the warm sand of a beach. When Djokovic got to the net, he only won 27 of the 53 points, missing volleys that he usually makes. Once he closed an early 11-stroke exchange with a volley, Djokovic sighed and made his way to his sideline seat to get a purple-and-green towel to wipe away perspiration. It seemed to be saying, “Come on, Carlitos, pick on someone your own age,” on his face.

Alcaraz excelled in almost every aspect, ranging from simple shots to those that others would never attempt. Although Djokovic did put an overhead shot away to earn that point, he once jumped and wrapped his racket all the way around his back to get the ball over the net. Forehand winners, Alcaraz missed the doubles alley by a considerable margin. points obtained with drop shots. Serves with a maximum velocity of 136 mph (219 kph). 14 break points total—five of which were converted—while facing just three.

Alcaraz received a lot of praise from Djokovic two days prior to the championship match when he said, “I see a lot of similarities between me and him.”

Indeed. And keep in mind that Alcaraz is only getting started.

Alcaraz declared, “I want to keep going.”

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Ostapenko Loses to Krejikova in a Match between Former French Open Champions

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Under sunny skies on Wednesday, Barbora Krejcikova advanced to her maiden Wimbledon quarterfinal by defeating Latvian 13th seed Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 7-6 (4) in a match between former French Open champions.

Ostapenko’s attempt to win a second Grand Slam championship after winning her first in 2017 fell apart on Court One, but the 31st-seeded Czech player maintained her cool from the back of the court to force her opponent into 35 unforced errors throughout the match.

Though Krejcikova’s first Grand Slam victory came at Roland Garros in 2021, she had never before amassed a five-match winning streak on grass.

“There have been many doubts from the inside, but also from outside — from the outside world,” stated Krejcikova, who had a meager 6-9 record when she joined the All England Club in 2024. “But I’m super happy than I never gave up and that I’m standing here right now.”

The 27-year-old Ostapenko had a strong serve but had trouble placing it; in the first set, she landed fewer than half of her first serves. The 2021 French Open winner, Krejcikova, broke in the third game and won the first set.

In the second set, Ostapenko came back to break her opponent and take a 4-1 lead. But errors plagued her once more, and Krejcikova prevailed in four games to take a 5-4 lead.

The match proceeded to a tiebreaker, where Krejcikova’s outstanding crosscourt forehand struck the far line to give her a mini-break. She then used that opportunity to close out the match and earn her first victory against the Latvian in their last four meetings.

In the semifinals, Elena Rybakina, the 2022 Wimbledon winner, will play Krejcikova.

While Rybakina relished the unusual opportunity to see the sun, she had no desire to stay on Centre Court longer than required, as she defeated Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-2 to terminate her quarterfinal challenge.

Rybakina improved to 19-2 at Wimbledon in four visits by using her eighth ace to close out the victory.

“Definitely, I have an aggressive style of game,” Rybakina stated. “I have a huge serve, so it’s a big advantage.”

Her match lasted one hour and one minute, which was less time than Krejcikova’s second set against Ostapenko, during which Ostapenko once told her coach to go out of the stands.

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Angel Reese Establishes a WNBA Record for the Most Double-Doubles in a Row

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In her team’s 84-71 loss against the Seattle Storm on Sunday, freshman phenom Angel Reese of the Chicago Sky created WNBA history by recording her 13th consecutive double-double, a new league record.

Reese broke the W’s previous milestone of 12 straight double-doubles, set by all-time great Candace Parker in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, with 17 points and 14 rebounds in the game.

“I’m just trying to be consistent for my teammates, doing whatever I can to help my team,” Reese replied. “I think I didn’t do enough tonight, but just being able to be there for my teammates and knowing that I have a job to do every day no matter if I’m a rookie or a vet.”

First-year head coach Teresa Weatherspoon described Reese’s accomplishment as “absolutely amazing to see.” “She might be surprising herself, but she’s not surprising me. It’s something that she can do because it’s something that she puts the work in to be able to do. And it’s a will and want-to… it’s awesome to see the work that you have to put in to be able to do this.”

In just 20 games, Reese also hit the 275-point, 225-rebound, and 30-steal milestones. Yolanda Griffith (1999) was the only player to record such figures in less games.

At this point in the season, Reese has 14 double-doubles, which ties him for seventh most in rookie history. Tina Charles has the first-year double-double record with twenty-two.

“It’s great for me to be able to know where I’m at right now, and obviously I’m not satisfied with where I’m at,” Reese stated. “I have coaches and teammates around me that believe in me and trust me and I just continue to trust the process of everything. I’m grateful. I’m blessed and lucky to be named with these amazing players. They’ve always been super nice to me. They’ve always been helpful and inspiring to me. I’ve watched them all my life and finally to be here in this moment and break their records and being able to be up there with them is really cool.”

The rookie has long looked up to Parker, a star who played two seasons with Reese’s Sky and led them to the franchise’s lone championship in 2021. Reese mentioned that she had also grown close to Parker’s mother.

“To continue to be named with her, I want to win, and being able to come out and come to Chicago and represent her city and bring a championship home is going to be what’s important for me and what I look forward to,” Reese said regarding Parker.

Reese, who has battled with efficiency at times this season, went 8 of 15 from the field on Sunday. In six of Chicago’s last 11 games, Reese has shot at least 50% from the field.

Regarding Reese’s in-season progress, Weatherspoon remarked, “It’s a level of confidence to do way more than what people think she can.” “She’s able to trust herself, trust her training, and shoot the ball when she’s open, believing and trusting that she can make those shots because when you put the work in, there’s no reason not to trust your training. And she’s doing that.

“She has gotten really, really good at finishing around the rim, getting our offensive rebounds and putbacks, or just simply getting positioned in our offensive sets and just finishing and finishing with power around the rim. So it’s really, really good to see. She’s only going to get better as we move forward.”

Reese, the No. 7 overall pick who had an outstanding career at Maryland and LSU (where she won the national title in 2023), was one of just two rookies to be chosen a 2024 All-Star, along with Caitlin Clark last week. Leading candidates for Rookie of the Year, the two will play together on Team WNBA when they face the American Olympic team in the WNBA All-Star Game later this month.

Reese’s teammate Marina Mabrey described him as “a joy to watch.” “She’s so consistent. She comes in every day and battles and fights and she’s super physical for a rookie, which is really hard to do. That’s usually one of the biggest transitions and she kind of just jumped in there and did all the dirty work, and now it’s all paying off for her. And this is just the beginning, so I’m excited to see where it goes.”

The Sky lost on Sunday, dropping to ninth in the rankings but still having a chance to make the playoffs.

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