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Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
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Follow live: Patriots hold edge on Steelers

Tom Brady has passed for two touchdowns to Chris Hogan to keep New England in front.

AP Images/Jim Mahoney
1hMike Reiss

Patriots president takes jab at fired Colts GM

Patriots president Jonathan Kraft expressed little sympathy for fired Colts GM Ryan Grigson, who alerted the NFL about New England's deflated footballs ahead of the 2015 AFC Championship Game.

AP Photo/Ron Jenkins
6mTim MacMahon

Lakers suffer worst loss in franchise history

The Los Angeles Lakers suffered a 122-73 rout at the hands of the Mavericks, the worst loss in Lakers history. Forward Julius Randle said his team should be embarrassed by the effort.

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Ryan shows off the wheels for rushing TD in win (0:19)
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Berman gets a surprise on NFL Countdown (2:12)
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Kelce writes a check for his fine on NFL Countdown (1:18)
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Chriss skies for the authoritative one-handed alley-oop (0:22)
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LeDay throws down monster dunk on defender (0:15)
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Miller scores the OT winner for Rangers (0:26)
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Crosby's goal is exclamation point in Pens' win (0:30)
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Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
19hBrett Okamoto

Ortiz submits Sonnen in career finale

In the final bout of his 20-year career, former UFC champion Tito Ortiz made quick work of Chael Sonnen via first-round submission at Bellator 170 on Saturday.

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Daley knocks out Ward with flying knee (0:49)
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UNC ball boy drains three half-court shots (1:11)

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ESPN Stats and Information  

Patriots are 14-0 when leading at the half this season. Steelers are 2-4 when trailing at halftime.

Chriss elevates for one-handed alley-oop
NBA 

Marquese Chriss almost jumps out of his shoes getting up for the one-handed dunk off of T.J. Warren's lob.

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NBA 

Kevin Seifert NFL Nation 

There wasn't a single accepted penalty in the first half of the AFC Championship Game. That's notable in any contest, but especially when the referee – Terry McAulay – ranked second in the NFL in penalty calls per game during the regular season. The NFL uses all-star crews in the playoffs, which often tweaks or eliminates recent trends.

Dave Tuley ESPN Staff Writer 

Patriots lead Steelers 17-9 at halftime. The ViewFromVegas is New England covered as a 3.5-point first-half favorite while it went over the first-half betting total of 24.5 points. For the playoffs, first-half faves (all home teams) have gone 7-3 ATS while first-half overs lead 6-4.

Jeremy Fowler ESPN Staff Writer 

The Steelers have two things working: Big Ben having a resurgent game and offensive line is moving people. But can defense take calculated risks after a brutal first 20 minutes? Sitting back in zone isn't working.

Towns breezes by Faried for hammer dunk
NBA 

Karl-Anthony Towns easily drives past Kenneth Faried and throws down a powerful, one-handed dunk.

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NBA 

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Patriots WR Chris Hogan is emerging as an early standout performer as he has seven catches for 117 yards (2 TDs) with 7:43 remaining in the second quarter. Some trickery produced Hogan's second touchdown, as it came on a flea-flicker and went for 34 yards. This is Hogan's first career multiple-TD game, regular season or playoffs.

Matt Bowen ESPN Staff Writer 

Patriots caught the Steelers with the flea-flicker. Both the FS and the backside CB took the bait. Eyes in the backfield. That allowed Chris Hogan to get over the top of the defense on the post after Dion Lewis pitched the ball back to Tom Brady. Patriots jump to a 17-6 lead over the Steelers.

Matt Bowen ESPN Staff Writer 

Quick cut from DeAngelo Williams on the TD run. Bend the ball back and then find some daylight to get into the end zone. After the missed extra point, it's a 10-6 Patriots lead over the Steelers in the second quarter.

Jeremy Fowler ESPN Staff Writer 

Eli Rogers told me this week he thought it's taken a whole for Ben Roethlisberger to look his way consistently because of lack of true slot wide receiver the last few years. He's feeding him today with three catches for 33 yards.

Matt Bowen ESPN Staff Writer 

Tom Brady finds a wide open Chris Hogan in the end zone to push the Patriots lead to 10-0 over the Steelers. That was a post-wheel concept. And it sends two receivers through the zone (outside one-third). With the Patriots picking up the pressure, Brady had time to slide out of the pocket and target Hogan.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

Tom Brady's 16-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hogan with 2:47 remaining in the first quarter has given the Patriots a 10-0 lead, with running back James White's blitz pickup up the middle keeping the pocket clean for Brady, who was able to slide to his left and survey his options before finding a wide-open Hogan. It started with good pass protection.

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

MVP frontrunner Matt Ryan standing tall after leading his team to the Super Bowl.

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

The celebration is on for the NFC champs. Falcons going to the Super Bowl.

Rob Demovsky ESPN Staff Writer 

"If this shows us anything it's how important homefield advantage is," Aaron Rodgers said. "We've played in three of these now, all on the road."

Jones has a day to remember in blowout win
NFL 

Falcons WR Julio Jones turns the NFC title game against the Packers into his own personal highlight reel by scoring a pair of remarkable touchdowns and adding one of the best catches of the playoffs.

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NFL 

Matt Bowen ESPN Staff Writer 

If the Steelers sit back in zone-coverage, Tom Brady is going to target open throwing windows. Saw that on the opening drive with Julian Edelman on the crossing route. Five-yard throws turns into an explosive gain with Edelman's ability after the catch. Patriots kick a field goal and take an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

From the Patriots record books: Stephen Gostkowski's 31-yard FG to give New England a 3-0 lead was his 27th career postseason field goal, breaking Adam Vinatieri's old franchise record.

Dave Tuley ESPN Staff Writer 

Steelers-Patriots is under way. The ViewFromVegas is New England closed as a 5.5-point home favorite (7 of 13 Vegas books on the Don Best screen) over Pittsburgh after being -6 most of the week. The over/under closed at 50.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

In a surprise, the Patriots won the opening toss and elected to take the ball. They are usually a team that defers the choice to the second half.

Dave Tuley ESPN Staff Writer 

More ViewFromVegas of Falcons' 44-21 over the Packers: Green Bay won the second half 21-20, but Atlanta covered as a 4-point second-half underdog. The second half went over the betting total of 30.5 points. The Falcons' win and cover improves favorites (all at home) to 7-2 ATS so far in the NFL playoffs and overs are now 6-3.

Dave Tuley ESPN Staff Writer 

Falcons rout Packers 44-21 to advance to Super Bowl LI. The ViewFromVegas is Atlanta covered as a 6-point home favorite and the game went over the betting total of 60.5 points, the highest-ever NFL playoff over/under.

Rob Demovsky ESPN Staff Writer 

Here's how bad it was for the Packers. They had to finish Sunday's NFC title game with defensive tackle Letroy Guion playing on the offensive line because of injuries. It was the final straw in the Packers' 44-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Matt Bowen ESPN Staff Writer 

Packers had matchup issues all day vs. Julio Jones. Inside crossing routes, the deep dig (square-in), the out route, back-shoulder fade, etc. Jones showed the ability to win at the line of scrimmage and separate to the ball. The WR finished with 180 yards and two touchdowns on nine receptions in the Falcons 44-21 win in the NFC Championship.

Kevin Seifert NFL Nation 

Too soon? The Packers will have the No. 29 overall pick in the 2017 draft, regardless of what happens tonight in the AFC Championship Game. Their 10-6 regular-season record was worse than either the Steelers (11-5) or Patriots (14-2).