Brees, Saints pull away late for 21-9 playoff win over Bears
Brees completed 28 of 39 passes for 265 yards, connecting with Michael Thomas and Latavius Murray for touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints defeated the Chicago Bears 21-9 in an NFC wild-card game Sunday. Brees' first touchdown pass in the opening quarter was 11-yards over the middle to Thomas, back from a three-game absence to help heal a nagging ankle injury. The 2019 Offensive Player of the Year missed nine games this season and had not caught a touchdown pass since December 2019. That marked the second time this season a Bears player was thrown out for action taken against Gardner-Johnson after the whistle. The Bears have reached the playoffs twice since Pace took over in 2015, both times under Nagy, who was hired in 2018.
Saints rout Panthers 33-7 to earn No. 2 seed in NFC playoffs
The Saints (12-4) will host the seventh-seeded Chicago Bears in the wild-card round next Sunday at 4:40 p.m. EST. He also ran for five TDs, but the Panthers struggled to make winning plays late in games all season with Bridgewater at the helm. That leaves questions about his future as the Panthers starting QB, especially with the team having a top 10 draft pick in 2021. UP NEXTSaints: The four-time defending NFC South champions host the Bears next Sunday in the playoffs. Panthers: After failing to make the playoffs for the third straight season, Carolina will look to the NFL draft to upgrade a number of pressing needs.
Kamara on COVID-19 list, could miss Saints' playoff opener
(AP Photo/Butch Dill)NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Saints have placed running back Alvin Kamara, who leads the club in both yards rushing and receiving, on their COVID-19 reserve list. The move means Kamara is unavailable for Sunday's regular-season finale at Carolina and also could miss the Saints' first playoff game if New Orleans is unable to move up to the NFC's top seed. Kamara has 932 yards and 16 TDs rushing to go with 756 yards and five TDs receiving this season. His touchdowns rushing and 21 total touchdowns from scrimmage are Saints single-season records. Murray has 656 yards and four TDs rushing this season and in 2019 had 100-yard rushing performances in both games Kamara missed with leg injuries.
Mahomes' theatrics highlight Chiefs' 32-29 win over Saints
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) passes in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. The victory kept the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (13-1) in pole position to capture the AFC's lone playoff bye as a No. Mahomes' second TD toss looked more like a basketball assist, a chest-pass to tight end Travis Kelce cutting behind blockers for a 1-yard score. With two timeouts remaining, the Saints kicked deep, but could not prevent Mahomes and Co. from running out the clock. Saints: Receiver Tre'Quan Smith and safety Marcus Williams each left with ankle injuries in the second half.