The All-Red Rematch


By: Jeff Yoder

Welcome Back

It was a weekend of champions! Some thrilling NFC and AFC title games have set us up for a familiar Super Bowl pairing, and we’ve got grand slam hardware to give away from Melbourne. Plus, did you miss Luka Doncic’s 73-point night? That’s not a typo. The NBA’s scoring surge is out of control.

Give me 2-3 minutes and you’ll know everything that went down this weekend in sports.

Letter Rip!


The All-Red Super Bowl Rematch

Photo: Patrick Smith / Getty Images

Chiefs (AFC) & 49ers (NFC) Win Conference Titles — in Very Different Ways — to Meet in Super Bowl LVIII

It’s all red for Super Bowl LVIII! The NFL’s conference championships were both decided by one score on Sunday in a thrilling penultimate round of football, although how both games played out was quite different. The Chiefs held off the Ravens (17-10) thanks to a pair of red zone turnovers by Baltimore down the stretch, and the 49ers rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit to put a stop to the Lions’ storybook run (34-31). Only two teams remain. It’s a rematch of Super Bowl LIV in 2020. We’ll have plenty of time in the next two weeks to preview the big game, but let’s start with recaps from yesterday’s exciting conference battles.

AFC Championship: Chiefs def. Ravens (17-10)

Were we foolish to forget about the Chiefs when the playoffs began? Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid have proven once again to be the league’s modern-day dynasty. But this time, the defense (and Travis Kelce) were the reason. The Chiefs took an early 17-7 lead against the Ravens in yesterday’s AFC title game, and then put the clamps on. Kelce had a historic day (11 catches, 116 yards, 1 TD) en route to breaking Jerry Rice’s record for the most playoff receptions in NFL history (151). The Ravens actually dominated the second half on offense, but they couldn’t come away with points. A fumble by WR Zay Flowers at the goal line and another interception by Lamar Jackson in the end zone left Baltimore with just 3 points down the stretch. The Ravens also had some costly late penalties. Kansas City didn’t score at all in the second half, but the defense earned the win. And for the fourth time in five seasons, the Chiefs will represent the AFC in the big game.

NFC Championship: 49ers def. Lions (34-31)

The NFC title game boasted significantly more offense than its AFC counterpart, but it was a tale of two halves. Dan Campbell had the Lions ready, and Detroit went up 14-0 in a blink with some explosive plays in the first quarter. Even though San Francisco answered, it was 24-7 at halftime. All signs pointed to a Lions-Chiefs Super Bowl and a rematch of this year’s season-opener back in September. The 24-7 scoreline marked the largest halftime deficit by a home team in a conference championship over the last 15 years. But as SportsCenter’s Scott Van Pelt likes to say, San Francisco “signed up for 60.” The 49ers rung up 17 points in the 3rd quarter to notch an almost-instant comeback. Brandon Aiyuk’s miracle catch off a defender’s helmet ignited the momentum shift. Running back Christian McCaffrey (24 touches, 132 yards, 2 TDs) was the 49ers’ engine once again. The Niners tacked on 10 more in the 4th for 27 unanswered points in just under 20 minutes. Detroit scored a desperation touchdown with a minute to go, but they failed to recover an onside-kick attempt. It’s the 49ers’ second trip to the Super Bowl in the last five years.

The All-Red Super Bowl Rematch

In case you forgot, the 49ers and Chiefs met in Super Bowl LIV (2020) just one month before COVID-19 stopped the sports world. Kansas City won that battle (31-20) with Mahomes and the Chiefs scoring 21 unanswered in the 4th quarter to surmount a 10-point deficit against Jimmy Garoppolo. The rosters look different this time around, but it’s another chapter in the all-red rivalry.

Super Bowl LVIII

Chiefs vs. 49ers (Feb. 11, 6:00 pm ET)

Read More

CBS Sports: Aiyuk-Kidding Me? Sensational Catch Sparks 49ers’ Comeback

Yahoo! Sports: 49ers Pull Off Epic 17-Point Comeback to Beat Lions

B/R: Chiefs’ Travis Kelce Breaks Jerry Rice’s NFL Record for Playoff Catches

Sporting News: Baltimore’s Self-Inflicted Penalties, Turnovers Costly in AFC Championship Loss



Sabalenka & Sinner Take Melbourne

Photo: Andy Cheung / Getty Images

Australian Open Champs: #2 Aryna Sabalenka (Women) Repeats & #4 Jannik Sinner (Men) Rallies to Wins 1st Major

Two weeks of excitement in Melbourne has now come to a close, and the first grand slam champions of 2024 received their crowns. Aryna Sabalenka captured her second straight Australian Open title on Saturday with a smooth straight-set victory against the challenger, #12 Qinwen Zheng. Zheng had a spectacular run in Melbourne, but Sabalenka was too good from start to finish. She didn’t drop a set during her entire two-week run. On the men’s side, #4 Jannik Sinner did the unthinkable Sunday morning after taking down #1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Sinner rallied from two sets down against #3 Daniil Medvedev to win his first career grand slam with three consecutive sets in a four-hour stunner. The 22-year-old Italian could be a slam contender for years to come.

Women’s Australian Open Final

#2 A. Sabalenka def. #12 Q. Zheng (6-3, 6-2)

Men’s Australian Open Final

#4 J. Sinner def. #3 D. Medvedev (3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3)

It’s Sinner’s first and Sabalenka’s second, and that’s a wrap down from Melbourne! We’ll have sporadic tennis coverage over the next few months, but we’ll lock back in for the French Open in May-June.

Read More

CBS Sports: Aryna Sabalenka Defeats Qinwen Zheng to Win 2nd Straight AUS Open

AP: Soccer-Mad Italy is Now Obsessed With Tennis Player Jannik Sinner After Australian Open Title



Luka Doncic’s 73-Point Masterpiece

Photo: Todd Kirkland / Getty Images

Luka Doncic Pours In 73, Devin Booker Drops 62 to Cap NBA Scoring Surge Week (Four 60-Point Games)

Open the floodgates! The NBA’s January scoring surge is shattering records left and right. Just a few days after Joel Embiid (70) and Karl-Anthony Towns (62) had a historic same-day scoring night, Luka Doncic (73) and Devin Booker (62) did it again on Friday. There were more 60-point games in the last week than most entire NBA seasons. Doncic’s sizzling 73 goes down as the 4th-highest (tied) in NBA history. Only Wilt Chamberlain (100 & 78) and Kobe Bryant (81) have scored more in a game. Feed the hot hand!

Luka Doncic Pours in 73 Points

Doncic was downright untouchable in Atlanta on Friday, shooting 25-for-33 with eight 3s, 10 rebounds and seven assists. He had 41 at the half — a nod to Dirk Nowitzki’s number — before breaking Nowitzki’s Mavericks’ franchise record (60) with nearly a quarter to play. Multiple and-ones down the stretch got him over the 70-point milestone for the highest-scoring game in the NBA this year. (Mavs def. Hawks, 148-143)

Devin Booker Drops 62 Points

While Luka was going lights out in Atlanta, Booker and the Suns were on the road in Indiana on Friday. He went 22-for-37 with six 3s en route to a season-high 62 points, but the Suns struggled in the 4th quarter and watched a lead slip away against the Pacers. Even still, it was the Suns’ fourth-straight game with a 40-point scorer (Kevin Durant: 2, Devin Booker: 2). (Pacers def. Suns, 133-131)

Steph (46) & LeBron (36-20-12) Put on a Show

There were a handful of other 40-point performances over the weekend, including 46 points from Steph Curry in a wild double-overtime game with the Lakers where 38-year-old LeBron James (36-20-12) had a ridiculous 30-20-10 night. (Lakers def. Warriors, 145-144, 2OT)

We’re seeing eye-popping stats everywhere we look in the NBA.

Read More

ESPN: Mavs’ Luka Doncic Dazzles With 73 Points, Tied for 4th in NBA History

SI: Dirk Nowitzki, NBA World Go Bonkers as Luka Doncic Scores 73 Points



Oilers Streak Watch: 16 (And Waiting)

Photo: Andy Devlin / Getty Images

Oilers Win 16th Straight Game to Pull Within 1 of Record, But the NHL All-Star Break Awaits

The Edmonton Oilers’ winning streak continued over the weekend with a 4-1 victory against the Nashville Predators, and they’re now on the brink of history. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl both scored, and the duo combined for five assists in the win. The Oilers have now won 16 consecutive games dating back to Dec. 21. They need one more to tie the 1992-93 Penguins for the NHL record (17 games). 

Longest Winning Streaks (NHL History)

1. Penguins (1992-93): 17 Games

T2. Oilers (2023-24): 16 Games

T2. Blue Jackets (2016-17): 16 Games

T4. Islanders (1981-82): 15 Games

T4. Penguins (2012-13): 15 Games

Watch: Oilers Beat Predators (4-1) to Win 16th Straight Game

The only problem now? The waiting game. As hot as they’ve been, the Oilers won’t play again until next Tuesday (Feb. 6) due to this week’s NHL All-Star break. When they come back, they’ll go on the road to Las Vegas to face the defending champions, the Golden Knights. Mark your calendar for that one.

Read More

NHL: Oilers Take 16-Game Win Streak Into Extended Break

Sporting News: How Oilers’ Streak Compares to Penguins’ Record-Setting Run



Soccer (FA Cup)

Man. City def. Tottenham (1-0)

*Nathan Ake’s 88th-Minute Goal Wins It

PGA Tour

Matthieu Pavon (-13) Wins Farmers Insurance Open

NCAA Basketball Scoreboard

M: #1 UConn def. Xavier (99-56)

M: #2 Purdue def. Rutgers (68-60)

*Zach Edey Surpasses 2K Points, 1K Rebounds

M: #3 N. Carolina def. Florida State (75-68)

M: #23 Iowa State Upsets #7 Kansas (79-75)

W: #1 S. Carolina def. Vanderbilt (91-74)

W: Washington State Upsets #2 UCLA (85-82)

W: #3 Iowa def. Nebraska (92-73)

*Caitlin Clark Scores 38 Points

W: #15 Notre Dame def. #8 UConn (82-67)





Today’s Must-Watch List

With football, tennis and hockey taking a short break, basketball dominates the early week. February is All-Star month (NHL & NBA), Super Bowl LVIII, the Daytona 500, and then… Brackets! The madness is coming.


Pelicans at Celtics (7:30 pm ET)

Suns at Heat (7:30 pm ET)

Timberwolves at Thunder (8:00 pm ET)

Bucks at Nuggets (9:00 pm ET)