KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The New England Patriots are headed to their third straight Super Bowl, once more thanks to Tom Brady's brilliance.
The five-time NFL champion guided the Patriots 75 yards after winning the overtime coin toss, and backup Rex Burkhead's 2-yard TD lifted New England past Kansas City 37-31 for the AFC championship Sunday night.
The drive, during which New England had three third-down conversions, against an exhausted defense was reminiscent of when the Patriots beat Atlanta in the only Super Bowl to go to OT two years ago.
"Overtime, on the road against a great team," Brady said. "They had no quit. Neither did we. We played our best football at the end. I don't know, man, I'm tired. That was a hell of a game."
New England (13-5) benefited from two critical replay reviews and made its ninth Super Bowl with Brady at quarterback and Bill Belichick as coach.
"This is crazy," Brady said. "What a game."
Awaiting them in Atlanta are the Los Angeles Rams, who won 26-23 in overtime in New Orleans for the NFC championship. The Rams last made the Super Bowl in 2002 while based in St. Louis, losing to the Patriots.
It's the first time both conference title games went to OT. The last time both visitors won conference championship matches was 2012.
Several times, the Patriots appeared to have it won, only to see Kansas City (13-5) come back in spectacular fashion.
Brady, at 41 already the oldest quarterback to have played in a Super Bowl, drove New England 65 yards in 1:24 to Burkhead's go-ahead 4-yard touchdown with 39 seconds left in regulation. That was enough, though, for his far younger counterpart, the 23-year-old Patrick Mahomes, to take the Chiefs 48 yards to Harrison Butker's 39-yard field goal with 8 seconds left to force overtime.
It was a sizzling offensive showing in the fourth quarter after defense had been in charge most of the way. Indeed, the Chiefs were blanked in the opening half for the first time all season.
And they never saw the ball in overtime, which along with the two replay decisions might call into play NFL rules and officiating.
No matter to New England, which became the third franchise to reach three Super Bowls in a row. And Belichick now has 30 postseason victories, more than Bill Walsh and Don Shula combined. That Hall of Fame coaching duo also won five Super Bowls; Belichick shoots for No. 6 in two weeks.
Reid's decision to defer after winning the opening coin toss proved unwise as New England had 22 plays in the opening period, and Kansas City had seven. Then, the Chiefs lost the more important toss before overtime. Less than five minutes later, they were headed to the offseason.
UP NEX T
The Patriots head to Atlanta to play the Rams in the Super Bowl.
Kearney, NE – The Tri-City Storm captured a thrilling overtime victory over the Muskegon Lumberjacks by a final score of 3-2 Saturday night at the Viaero Center in Kearney. Khristian Acosta and Connor McMenamin scored goals in regulation time, and Filip Forsmark netted his 7thgoal of the season in overtime to give the Storm a 3-2 win over the Eastern Conference leading Muskegon Lumberjacks. Tri-City returns home Friday night to host the Youngstown Phantoms, puck drop is set for 7:05pm.
Tri-City’s Khristian Acosta gave the Storm a lead just over three minutes into the opening period. Acosta’s goal was assisted by Benji Eckerle and was scored at the 3:25 mark of the 1st period. The Lumberjacks answered back with goals from Zack Nazzarett and Max Ellis at 16:56 and 18:56 of the 1st period. Despite being outshot 17-10 in the 1st period, Muskegon carried a 2-1 lead into the 2nd period.
No goals were scored in a penalty filled 2nd period, and the Storm trailed 2-1 entering the 3rd period. During the 2nd period, Storm goaltender Isaiah Saville left the game due to injury and was replaced by Jake Barczewski. Barczewski played the final 39:39 of the game and stopped all 11 Lumberjacks shots.
Connor McMenamin tipped a puck behind Muskegon goaltender Brandon Bussi to tie the game 2-2 with under five minutes to play in regulation. Zac Jones and Ronnie Attard recorded assists on McMenamin’s goal scored at 15:27 of the 3rd period. Tri-City outshot Muskegon 13-6 in the 3rd period and forced overtime on McMenamin’s late goal. In overtime, each team traded chances, but it was Tri-City’s Filip Forsmark who netted the game winning goal. Keaton Pehrson set up Forsmark’s game winning goal at 1:58 of the overtime period. Tri-City outshot Muskegon 43-23 and skated away with a 3-2 overtime win in one of the season’s most thrilling games.
Lincoln - Hannah Whitish and Taylor Kissinger combined for 19 points in the fourth quarter, while Nicea Eliely sparked the Huskers with five steals in the final period, as Nebraska stormed back from a nine-point deficit with less than eight minutes to play for a 63-57 women's basketball win over No. 23 Minnesota at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Sunday evening.
Freshman Sam Haiby, a 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., capped Nebraska's 25-11 fourth-quarter outburst with the game's final four points in the last 20 seconds to seal the win over the Golden Gophers. Haiby matched Minnesota's first-team All-Big Ten senior point guard Kenisha Bell for game-high scoring honors with 16.
Nebraska improved to 4-3 in the Big Ten and 9-9 overall with its first win over a top-25 opponent this season, while Minnesota slipped to 2-5 in the conference and 13-5 overall.
Nebraska, which trailed 46-38 at the end of three quarters, got its first three-pointer of the game from Kissinger to open the fourth quarter. The Huskers, who averaged 7.5 threes per game coming into the contest, were 0-for-7 from long range against the Gophers in the first 30 minutes.
However, Minnesota answered with baskets from Jasmine Brunson and Kenisha Bell to take its biggest lead at 50-41 with 7:47 to play. Haiby finished a layup to cut the margin before Whitish trimmed the lead to 50-45 with 6:24 left and force a timeout by Minnesota.
The Gophers then got their second three-pointer of the game, a right wing triple from Destiny Pitts to regain a 53-45 margin with six minutes left. That was the last field goal of the game for Minnesota, as Nebraska's 1-3-1 defense shut down the Gophers from the field the rest of the way and shut out Minnesota entirely for the last four minutes.
In fact, in the final six minutes Minnesota only got a missed three-pointer from Brunson with 3:52 left to the rim, as the Huskers forced five Minnesota turnovers and blocked two shots down the stretch. Eliely got four of her career-high six steals during the final six minutes, while Kissinger and Ashtyn Veerbeek both recorded big blocked shots for the Big Red.
Meanwhile, the Huskers answered with a three-point play from Kissinger with 5:48 left, followed by two three-pointers from Whitish and another three-pointer from Kissinger to tie the game at 57 and force another timeout by Minnesota with 3:03 left.
In the final three minutes, Minnesota got no shots to the rim while Whitish and Haiby combined to go 4-for-4 at the line and Haiby all but clinched the Husker victory with a strong drive and finish with 19.5 seconds left. Nebraska outscored the Gophers 18-4 in the final six minutes and 25-11 in the fourth quarter, while closing the game on a 12-0 run.
It was Nebraska's second fourth-quarter comeback to victory in Big Ten play, joining a 30-13 fourth-quarter outburst after trailing Michigan in the conference opener.
"Our team keeps fighting and they have shown their commitment to stick with it even when things might not be going that well," Nebraska Coach Amy Williams. "We know we can play a lot better basketball than we played today, but it was exciting in the fourth quarter when we hit some shots and the crowd got going. It was like a wave of excitement that everybody got caught up in."
While Haiby finished with 16 points to lead the Huskers, Whitish scored 10 of her 12 points in the fourth period and Kissinger got all nine of her points in the game in the final period. Nebraska's leading scorer coming into the game, freshman Leigha Brown, also produced nine points in the first three quarters to keep the Huskers within striking distance. Veerbeek pitched in six points, five rebounds and a career-high-matching three blocks.
Nebraska held Minnesota to just 37 percent (20-54) shooting, including just 2-for-9 (.222) from three-point range. The Gophers also hit just 65.2 percent (15-23) of their free throws while committing 17 turnovers in the game.
The Huskers finished at 44 percent (22-54), including 8-for-13 (.615) in the fourth quarter. The Huskers went just 4-for-16 (.250) from beyond the arc, but 4-for-9 in the final period, and knocked down 83.3 percent (15-18) of their free throws. Nebraska committed 13 turnovers in the game, but just two in the decisive fourth quarter.
Nebraska's fourth-quarter eruption allowed the Huskers to overcome a season-worst 43-24 (-19) rebound margin. It was NU's first negative double-digit rebound margin of the season.
After a tight game throughout the first half, Minnesota took a 27-26 lead to the locker room at the half thanks to a last-second three-pointer from Irene Garrido-Perez. It was the first three of the game by either team.
The first half featured six ties and 15 lead changes with Nebraska building a pair of five-point leads, while Minnesota never led by more than a single point.
The Huskers, who led 14-11 at the end of the first quarter, trailed by just one at the half despite being out-rebounded 24-15 in the half and going without a first-half three.
Haiby and Veerbeek led the Huskers with six points apiece in the half, while Brown pitched in four points. Whitish, Kate Cain, Eliely and Maddie Simon each scored two points for the Big Red in the low-scoring half.
As a team, Nebraska hit just 36 percent (9-25) of its shots but did convert 8-of-9 free throws.
The Golden Gophers were led by 10 points from Bell on 3-of-10 shooting and 4-of-6 free throws. Pitts, who finished with 10 points, added five first-half points, while Annalese Lamke, who also finished with 10 points, pitched in four in the opening 20 minutes.
Minnesota hit 33.3 percent (10-30) of its first-half shots, including 1-of-5 threes, while converting 6-of-10 free throws. Minnesota committed eight turnovers, while forcing seven by the Huskers.
Nebraska returns to Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday, as the Huskers play host to Northwestern. Tip-off between Nebraska and the Wildcats is set for 7 p.m., with tickets available now on Huskers.com.
Kearney, NE – The Tri-City Storm dropped the first game of a two game season series to the Muskegon Lumberjacks tonight at the Viaero Center by a final score of 3-2. After falling behind 3-0 in the 2nd period, Tri-City netted two 3rd period goals but was unable to tie the game to forcer overtime. Brendan Budy and Connor McMenamin scored the Storm’s goals in Friday’s home loss to Muskegon. In the loss, Tri-City dropped to 2nd place in the USHL league standings and will host league leading Muskegon again tomorrow night at the Viaero Center. With a win tomorrow, Tri-City would retake Muskegon for the top spot in the league standings. Puck drop for tomorrow’s Storm home game is set for 7:05pm. Tickets can be purchased online at www.stormhockey.com or by calling 308-338-8144.
Muskegon got on the board halfway through the 1st period on a goal from Cam McDonald at the 9:32 mark of the period. McDonalds goal was unassisted and put the Lumberjacks out in front 1-0. Muskegon outshot Tri-City 12-9 in the 1st period and carried a 1-0 lead into the 2ndperiod. Muskegon scored its 2nd goal of the game less than four minutes into the 2nd period to increase the lead to two goals. Alex Gaffney’s goal scored at 3:43 of the 2nd period was his 9th of the year and was assisted by Owen Farris. Alex Yakovenko netted his 11thgoal of the season in the final minute of the period to push the Muskegon lead to three goals. Yakovenko’s goal at 19:13 of the 2nd period was assisted by Egor Afanasyev, and gave the Lumberjacks a 3-0 lead. Muskegon outshot Tri-City 9 to 8 in the 2nd period.
The Storm got on the board at 11:52 of the 3rd period on Brendan Budy’s 3rd career goal. Budy’s 3rd period goal marked his 3rd consecutive game soring a goal, and the even strength marker brought the Storm back within two goals of the Lumberjacks lead. Zac Jones recorded his 21st assist of the 2018-2019 regular season on the goal. Tri-City added an additional goal at 18:35 of the 3rd period to cut the Muskegon lead to only one. Captain Connor McMenamin scored his 11th goal of the season off of a faceoff win from Brendan Budy and a shot from Ronnie Attard that created a rebound and scoring chance in front of Lumberjacks goaltender Brandon Bussi. The Storm outshout the Lumberjacks 14-2 in the 3rd period but fell by a final score of 3-2. Isaiah Saville made 20 saves on 23 shots in net for Tri-City. Tonight’s game marked only the 2nd time this season Tri-City has dropped back to back games.