Chargers stun Broncos 27-20 (Yahoo Sports)
Now, Peyton Manning gets a chance to rest. Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers kept Manning on the sideline most of the game and handed the Denver Broncos and unexpected and harmful 27-20 loss Thursday night. Rivers threw two touchdown passes to Keenan Allen and kept the Chargers' offense on the field for nearly 39 minutes, keeping their playoff hopes alive while turning Denver's supposedly easy road to the AFC West title and top seeding in the conference into something much different. The Broncos gained 13 yards on the 13 plays they ran after taking a 10-3 lead late in the first quarter.
The father benched Robert Griffin III. The son would rather have him on the field. Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Thursday he wasn't consulted on coach Mike Shanahan's decision to sit Griffin, adding that he finds it ''a little disappointing'' that the franchise quarterback won't be playing for the rest of the season. ''If it was about really football, I think you would talk to the offensive coordinator,'' Kyle Shanahan said. That's out of my realm.'' Kyle Shanahan said he made out two game plans this week for at Atlanta while waiting for Mike Shanahan to announce that Kirk Cousins will start the final three weeks.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 31 points and a career-high 25 rebounds, prompting Portland fans to chant ''MVP! MVP!'' during the Trail Blazers' 111-104 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night. Robin Lopez added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers, who sit atop the Western Conference standings at 19-4. Dwight Howard had 32 points and 17 rebounds for the Rockets, who beat the Blazers 116-101 on Nov. 5. That was one of just two losses at home this season for Portland.
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett share a championship with Doc Rivers and a bond that didn't break when they ended up on opposite coasts. ''I'll always have a special place for Doc,'' Garnett said. Andray Blatche and Joe Johnson each scored 21 points in the Brooklyn Nets' 102-93 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, making Pierce and Garnett winners in their first matchup with Rivers. Brook Lopez had 16 points and Deron Williams 15 for the Nets, who won their season-high third straight.
Texas coach Mack Brown declined to say Thursday whether the Alamo Bowl will be his final game, amid intense speculation following another disappointing season that began with the Longhorns talking about becoming national championship contenders again. Speaking to reporters for the first time since multiple published reports this week indicated that he might step down, Brown said he has yet to talk with new Texas athletic director Steve Patterson and university President Bill Powers about the job he has held since 1998. Brown deflected several other questions about his future during a news conference in San Antonio about Texas' bowl game against Oregon on Dec. 30.
Winston, Donald, McCarron headline awards night (Yahoo Sports)
Jameis Winston walked away with another major award Thursday night, the latest national prize to put on his mantle. He might want to save a spot for the Heisman Trophy. The Florida State star headlined a big night for the Atlantic Coast Conference, winning the Davey O'Brien Award as the country's top quarterback at the annual College Football Awards Show at Disney. Winston also won the Walter Camp player of the year award in a separate announcement.
The Chicago Bears insisted all along that quarterback Jay Cutler would get his job back once he was ready, no matter how well Josh McCown was playing. Coach Marc Trestman said Cutler will start Sunday at Cleveland after missing four games because of a high left ankle sprain. ''I don't think that risk was part of this decision,'' Trestman said. Trestman said there was no swelling or any ''residual issues'' from that, and he was a full participant in Thursday's practice.
Robinson Cano seemed to be next in line as the player to wear pinstripes for his entire career, all set to follow the path laid before him by mentors named Jeter, Posada and Rivera. And then the Seattle Mariners blew him away with an offer of financial and career security the New York Yankees never came close to matching. ''The one thing in Seattle is I get the chance. I'm going to do my best and play the same way I was playing in New York and go out there and do my business and win games.'' Cano never stopped smiling on Thursday as he was introduced as the Mariners' new All-Star second baseman.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' checklist for playing Sunday has two primary items on it: taking the majority of first-team snaps in practice Friday, and getting good results from a scan on his healing left collarbone. If both those things happen, Rodgers could be back under center for the first time since breaking his collarbone Nov. 4 against Chicago. Asked after Thursday's practice if he is holding out hope of playing Sunday, Rodgers paused before replying, ''Yes.'' He says he'll need to get most of the work in Friday's practice after sharing snaps with backup Matt Flynn for the past two days, and the team will likely want team physician Patrick McKenzie to examine him.
Four people were stabbed in the parking lot at Sports Authority Stadium after the Denver Broncos' game Thursday night. The Denver Police Department says on its Twitter page one person is in critical condition. The Denver Post (http://bit.ly/18HGZb1) reports there were multiple eye-witnesses. Police say that the incident was called in at 9:55 p.m. Stadium Management Company says in a emailed statement that it is ''aware of an incident that occurred in a parking lot adjacent to Sports Authority Field at Mile High'' and it is working with authorities.