National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Rodgers, Cobb lead Packers over Bears, 33-28

CHICAGO (AP) Aaron Rodgers fired a 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb in the final minute, and the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 33-28 to capture the NFC North championship.

Back after missing seven games with a broken left collarbone, Rodgers found a wide open Cobb on fourth-and-8 at the 48 to wipe out a one-point deficit with 38 seconds left.

Green Bay will host San Francisco next weekend.

The Bears had one final drive, but Jay Cutler's deep pass to Alshon Jeffery was intercepted by Sam Shields on the final play.

That gave the Packers (8-7-1) their third straight division title and fifth postseason appearance in a row. It also kept the Bears (8-8) out of the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Jets owner says coach Rex Ryan will return

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) Rex Ryan is staying put as coach of the New York Jets.

Owner Woody Johnson announced after the team's 20-7 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday that Ryan, who has one year remaining on his contract, will return next season. The decision ended several weeks of speculation surrounding the fate of the popular coach.

It was not immediately clear if Ryan will coach through his existing deal or be given a contract extension. Neither Johnson nor general manager John Idzik would discuss details related to Ryan's contract.

Ryan's job status was uncertain heading into the regular-season finale at Miami since the Jets have gone three straight years without a playoff appearance. It was also speculated Idzik could want to hire his own coach heading into his second season on the job.

It was an unusual setup, with Johnson choosing last January to retain Ryan despite firing general manager Mike Tannenbaum. Johnson hired Idzik to replace Tannenbaum, with the condition that Ryan remain as coach.

Neither Johnson nor Idzik previously commented on the situation, and Ryan said he hadn't heard what his fate would be.

Ryan appeared loose after his final regular-season practice Friday - looking like anything but someone on the verge of losing his job. Then his team beat its division rival Sunday.

The Jets opened 5-4 and as one of the NFL's most surprising teams led by rookie quarterback Geno Smith heading into their bye week. But they set an NFL record by alternating wins and losses through their first 10 games. A three-game skid sent New York from controlling its playoff fate to barely in the postseason picture.

After the Jets were eliminated a few weeks ago, there were serious questions whether Ryan would be retained.

Ryan received overwhelming support from fans, players and ex-players taking to social media to state their case why he should stay. Ryan received a Gatorade bath on the sideline after the win Sunday.

One fan started an online petition urging Johnson to save Ryan's job, and it received nearly 500 signatures. Many reporters and columnists were also in favor of Ryan getting another chance, in light of the coach far exceeding the grim expectations outside the organization heading into training camp, and managing a break-even record despite injuries to key players throughout the year.

Despite their personalities being opposites - Ryan sometimes brash and humorous, Idzik low-key and buttoned up - a somewhat toned-down Ryan described his relationship with Idzik as "great" several times. The GM also was complimentary of Ryan in his few meetings with the media throughout the season.

Ryan and Idzik will now look forward to building next season's team with plenty of issues to consider, starting with quarterback. The Jets must determine whether Smith can be their quarterback of the future, and whether they'll draft another player to compete with him or sign a proven veteran.

New York will likely part with quarterback Mark Sanchez and wide receiver Santonio Holmes to save money on the salary cap, and there are several potential key free agents, including right tackle Austin Howard, right guard Willie Colon and kicker Nick Folk.

Expectations were extremely low for this year's team. One major factor was the trade of the Jets' best player - Darrelle Revis - to Tampa Bay, a big blow to Ryan's defense. There was also a dearth of game-changing talent on offense, and an underwhelming yet closely contested quarterback competition between Sanchez and Smith, a second-round draft pick. That was settled only when Sanchez was lost for the year with a shoulder injury in the third preseason game.

New offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was forced to try to develop Smith on the fly. After a solid first few games, Smith became a turnover machine before bouncing back in his last four outings of the season, in which the Jets went 3-1 to finish .500.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Panthers clinch NFC South, edge Falcons 21-20

ATLANTA (AP) Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes, Greg Hardy had a team- record four sacks and the Carolina Panthers clinched the NFC South title by beating the Atlanta Falcons 21-20 on Sunday.

The Panthers (12-4) clinched a first-round bye and home-field advantage for at least one game as the No. 2 seed in the NFC. Carolina could move up to the No. 1 seed with losses by Seattle and Arizona in late games.

Carolina set a team record by sacking Matt Ryan nine times. The defense also produced a touchdown on Melvin White's 7-yard interception return in the second quarter.

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez had four catches for 56 yards and was honored at halftime in his final regular-season game. He has announced plans for retirement.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Bengals eliminate Ravens with 34-17 win

CINCINNATI (AP) Andy Dalton threw for two touchdowns, ran for another and set a pair of Bengals passing records on Sunday, leading Cincinnati to a 34-17 victory that eliminated the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.

It was an erratic performance by the third-year quarterback, who threw four interceptions as well. The Bengals (11-5) head into the playoffs as AFC North champions.

The Ravens (8-8) lost their last two games, becoming the 15th Super Bowl champ that failed to reach the playoffs the following season and the sixth in the last 12 years.

In Cincinnati, there's only one thing in mind: finally win a playoff game. The Bengals haven't done that since the 1990 season, tied for the seventh-longest streak of futility in NFL history.

Most of the focus will be on Dalton, who broke Carson Palmer's club records for touchdown passes and yards passing.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Titans beat Texans 16-10, Houston nabs No. 1 pick

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Chris Johnson ran for 127 yards and a touchdown in what might be his last game with the Titans, who beat the Houston Texans 16-10 Sunday for a win that may help coach Mike Munchak's argument to stay on the job in 2014.

With their 14th straight loss, the Texans (2-14) clinched the No. 1 selection in next May's draft for the next head coach owner Bob McNair hires.

The Titans (7-9) scored 16 straight points in snapping a five-game home skid that was their longest since leaving Houston for Tennessee in 1997. They also won a second straight game for the first time since September, when they started 3-1.

Rob Bironas kicked three field goals, including a season-long 55-yarder. Linebacker Akeem Ayers intercepted a pass and forced a fumble as the Titans got four turnovers they turned into 10 points.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Dodgers talk to Puig after his latest arrest

LOS ANGELES (AP) The Dodgers have told outfielder Yasiel Puig the organization is "very disappointed" with his behavior in the wake of his second arrest this year for reckless driving.

The team issued a statement Sunday that said Puig's behavior "is a very serious issue to us." The Dodgers said they would continue to educate the 23-year-old Cuban defector and strive to further develop his growth off the field.

Puig was arrested Saturday in Naples, Fla., after the Florida Highway Patrol clocked him going 110 mph in a 70-mph zone.

Authorities said Puig was arrested and charged with reckless driving and taken to the Collier County Jail for processing. Puig lives in the Miami area during the offseason.

In April, when he was still in the minors, Puig was charged with reckless driving and speeding after Chattanooga, Tenn., police clocked him going 97 mph in a 50-mph zone. The charges were dismissed in November after Puig completed community service in Los Angeles.

Puig was an instant sensation with the Dodgers last season, batting .319 with 19 home runs and 42 RBIs. He helped them reach the NL championship series, where they lost to St. Louis, and he was runner-up for the Rookie of the Year award.

Puig signed a $42 million, seven-year contract in June 2012, a record for a Cuban defector. He received a $12 million signing bonus and made $2 million last season.

Chiefs, 49ers get 8 players each for Pro Bowl

HONOLULU (AP) Kansas City and San Francisco will have plenty of clout in Honolulu if they don't make it to New Jersey for the Super Bowl.

The NFL revealed Friday that the Chiefs and 49ers each had eight players voted into the Pro Bowl, including running backs Jamaal Charles of Kansas City and Frank Gore of San Francisco.

Denver quarterback Peyton Manning was selected to his 13th Pro Bowl after receiving the most votes among fans, 1.43 million. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees was second among fans with 1.2 million votes.

The NFL combines votes from fans, players and coaches to determine 86 of 88 Pro Bowl players; the other two players are long-snappers selected by Pro Bowl coaches. Voting ended Thursday.

Under a new format this year, NFL greats Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will divvy up the players in a two-day draft before the Jan. 26 game. Offensive and defensive players with the most votes who don't make it past the divisional playoff round will serve as active player captains.

Charles said Friday night on a reveal show on the NFL Network that he should be picked first.

"I think I got the best skillset of anybody on the roster," Charles said. "I think I can play wide receiver and then put the ball in my hand, also. The only thing I can't do is throw the ball."

Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly said he'll be fine wherever he's picked.

"I don't know, you got to get the guy who scores points," he said.

The schoolyard-style selections mean it's likely teammates will be forced to play on opposite sides. Players on the winning team will earn $53,000 while the losers will get $26,000 under the collective bargaining agreement.

San Francisco linebacker NaVorro Bowman said he thinks it would be weird to have to tackle Gore or Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis.

"I might not tackle him," Bowman said. "Just let him score and get his yards or whatever. Yeah, that'd be weird because that hasn't happened since training camp."

Rice and Sanders playfully bantered about possible selections, with Sanders saying he wanted players on his roster who haven't been to many Pro Bowls.

"If you have five years or more, don't even worry about it I'm not going to pick you," Sanders said. "Go play for Jerry."

Rice said later: "You're trying to bait me - that's not going to happen."

Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman received 552,600 votes by fans, the most for any defensive player. Houston defensive end J.J. Watt had just under 410,000 fan votes.

San Francisco is set to send eight players to the game for the second year in a row, though its players missed the game earlier this year because they made the Super Bowl, losing to Baltimore.

Kansas City's eight selections are up from six last year. The Chiefs are 11-4 this year - up from 2-14 last year - and the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs heading into a largely meaningless game for them against San Diego on Sunday.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Friday he has never been big on Pro Bowl selections.

"I'm happy for the guys when and if they make it. I'm proud of them for it," Reid said. "But we don't get caught up in all of the individual accolades. (We're) just getting ourselves ready to play."

Manning was one of five players selected from Denver, which has a shot at putting up the most points of any team in NFL history.

All but five teams had at least one player selected. Atlanta, Green Bay, Jacksonville and both New York teams had zero players selected.

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Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia

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AP sports writers Dave Skretta in Kansas City, Mo., and Arnie Stapleton in Denver contributed to this report.

Hawks lose Horford to torn right pectoral muscle

ATLANTA (AP) Al Horford, the Atlanta Hawks' leading scorer and rebounder, is out indefinitely with a torn right pectoral muscle, leaving his status for the remainder of the season in question.

Horford left during the first overtime of Thursday night's 127-125 double-overtime win at Cleveland and did not return. The Hawks said an MRI and examination on Friday by Dr. Michael Bernot in Atlanta revealed the complete tear of the muscle.

"We will work with Al and complete our due diligence to determine the next best steps for him," Hawks general manager Danny Ferry said in a statement. "Injuries are part of the challenge of an NBA season."

For the Hawks (16-13), the loss of Horford for the season or even for an extended period could be devastating. Following Josh Smith's exit to Detroit as a free agent, Horford has taken leadership with point guard Jeff Teague and power forward Paul Millsap.

Horford has proved to be a good fit in first-year coach Mike Budenholzer's offense. He leads the team with 18.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.

It's uncertain how the team will adjust to Horford's injury. Pero Antic, who replaced Horford Thursday night, may be the most likely candidate to move into the starting lineup.

Antic has averaged 3.6 points while playing 10.5 minutes per game.

Horford, in his seventh season from Florida, set career highs with his averages of 17.4 points and 10.2 rebounds last season.

Forward DeMarre Carroll is day to day with a sprained right thumb.

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