Barry Church’s hit on Rob Gronkowski was ‘his job,’ Richard Sherman says

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was knocked out of Sunday’s AFC championship game after a helmet-to-helmet hit delivered by Jaguars safety Barry Church. The play resulted in a 15-yard penalty against Jacksonville. This is the exact type of dangerous blow the NFL wants to remove from the sport.

It was a great win, Graves said. That was a well-played game, a great crowd and a great atmosphere for women’s basketball.

Kat Tudor scored 17 points and Marie Gulich 16 for Oregon State after they had combined for 62 points in the Beavers’ 85-79 overtime win Friday.

Sabally had 13 points in the first half after scoring just three in the first game. She was 9 of 15 from the field and 3 of 7 from the arc to go with five assists.

She was looking to be a lot more aggressive off the dribble and around the basket, and that was great to see, Graves said. When she does that with the other kids we’ve got, it gives us a whole new dimension.

The Ducks asserted themselves early with defense, holding OSU to 25 percent shooting (6 of 24) in the first half. The Beavers had no points in the paint by the break, and the nation’s best 3-point shooting team was only 1 of 7 as Oregon built a 40-18 lead.

But as soon her game ended, the midfielder learned about Philadelphia’s 38-7 win over Minnesota on the other side of the country. She reacted accordingly.

Rockets: It was the second time in five games that Paul had scored 30 points or more. … Ryan Anderson had 13 rebounds. … Paul also had seven assists and three steals.

Durant on the improvement of the Rockets this season: I think the difference between them this year and last year — obviously everybody is going to say CP (Paul) — but they’re just playing harder. They’re playing harder on the defensive side of the ball.jaguars_001-223x223

Vikings fans warned to be careful around Eagles fans in Philadelphia

Vikings fans headed to Philadelphia for Sunday’s NFC championship game, be forewarned: Eagles fans are a hard-core bunch.

Still, people can change. It’s been years since Philly fans were blasted for booing Michael Irvin as he lay motionless on the field after a hard hit (they actually were booing Deion Sanders, by the way). It’s been years since an enthusiastic fan fired off a flare gun in the stands.

The Eagles even released a humorous video during the holiday season, essentially apologizing to Santa for that infamous 1968 snowball incident at old Franklin Field.

Meanwhile, Minnesota Public Radio is preparing for Sunday’s big game by paying tribute to some Philadelphia musical artists such as Hall & Oates and The Roots, mixed among some of Twin Cities’ best such as Prince. This is definitely going to be a clash of cultures.

The wild-card round of the NFL playoff schedule featured six teams that didn’t make the postseason last year only the Chiefs and Falcons returned as contenders. The Titans, Rams, Bills, Jaguars, Panthers and Saints were the relative newcomers hoping to advance to Round 2. The wild-card results sent Kansas City, Los Angeles, Buffalo and Carolina back home.

The Patriots, Steelers, Eagles and Vikings clinched first-round byes for the playoffs and hosted games in the divisional round. The Patriots, Eagles and Vikings won at home in order to advance and host conference title games, sending the Titans, Falcons and Saints packing. The Steelers, however, lost to the Jaguars at home in the divisional round.sabres_1395

Julie Johnston Ertz gets news of Eagles’ Super Bowl berth, reacts accordingly

U.S. Soccer star Julie Johnston Ertz was not able to watch her husband, Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, play in Sunday’s NFC championship game. She had her own game, the U.S. Women’s National Team’s season-opener against Denmark in San Diego, which ended up being a 5-1 victory for the Americans.

Hawks: The team’s best 3-point veteran shooters, F Ersan Ilyasova and G Marco Belinelli, were a combined 0 for 12 beyond the arc. Atlanta finished 11 for 48. … The Hawks have dropped three straight in the Bulls series after winning seven in a row.

Chicago did as it pleased in the first half, dishing out 18 assists on 21 field goals to begin the third quarter with a 55-38 lead. They scored the game’s first 14 points in the paint on five dunks, and Atlanta had no one capable inside to defend Lopez, who had 16 before intermission on 8 for 9 shooting.

Portis finished with 14 points and Justin Holiday had 13 for the Bulls.

We knew it was going to be an important game for us after a tough loss against Golden State, Nikola Mirotic said. I think that game gave us confidence that we can beat any team in the league.

Well, allow Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman to explain why Church’s decision in real time isn’t so easy.

The hit on Gronk is the only way Church could have done his job without just obliterating Gronks knee. If he would have just hit him low most ppl would calm him dirty. So there is nothing he can do to make everyone happy and do his job. Unless you think he should let him catch

Sherman also seemed to take umbrage with a pass interference call on the same drive, a penalty that put the Patriots in the red zone and led to a touchdown just before halftime.patriots_115_a82f5d9946a8dcd7-180x180