Daily Archive : Sunday December 2, 2012



    Libertyville considers higher tax levy

    Libertyville trustees on Tuesday, Dec. 12 will vote on the 2012 tax levy, which is projected to result in an increase of $16 in village tax for a home valued at $300,000.

    Mike DeMeritt of West Chicago, is a runner who competes each year in a 100-mile race in Wisconsin to raise money for DuPage PADS. DeMeritt sometimes trains at the Lincoln Marsh in Wheaton.

    West Chicago runner goes the distance for PADS

    Each June for the past three years, West Chicago's Mike DeMeritt has run in a 100-mile race in southern Wisconsin. He navigates rocky terrain, hills, rolling meadows and other obstacles in a round-the-clock, ultra race all for a good cause: to raise money for DuPage Public Action to Deliver Shelter.

    Downtown St. Charles is visible looking south along the Fox River, as is a view of the bike path and railroad bridge that crosses the river north of the dam.

    Reader proposes linear park for St. Charles

    Dave Heun talks to a reader with a unique suggestion for the abandoned rail line and trestle that cuts through the near north side of St. Charles: a linear park. It could happen and it would be something beneficial for city residents.

    “The Twlight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2,” the last installment of the “Twilight” franchise has kept its hold on the box office for the third straight week.

    'Twilight,’ ‘Skyfall’ top box office again

    The "Twilight" finale and "Skyfall" continued to dominate the box office on a typically slow post-Thanksgiving weekend that brought big business for holdover films but a poor start for Brad Pitt's new crime story. Sunday studio estimates put "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2" out front for the third-straight weekend with $17.4 million domestically.


    D300 union not happy with board’s final offer

    Members of the Community Unit District 300 teacher's union on Sunday said they would not accept the final offer for a new contract from the school board, setting the stage for a tense last day of negotiations before a strike could start as early as Tuesday. "We put what the board is calling their final proposal in front of our members and they gave us a resounding no on accepting it," said Mike...


    Fog warning overnight in the suburbs

    The National Weather Service has issued a dense fog advisory for the Chicago area for overnight Sunday after an usually warm December weekend.According to the advisory, "an unseasonable warm and moist airmass has settled over Norther Illinois and Northwestern Indiana. As widespread cloud cover clears out temperatures will drop quickly allowing for fog to form and quickly reduce visibility."


    Crash involving stolen car kills two in Campton Hills

    A Wisconsin woman driving a stolen vehicle caused two crashes in the Western suburbs Saturday night, including a multiple-car pileup that killed herself and another driver, officials said. Campton Hills police responding at 8:46 p.m. to a four-car crash at 42W761 Route 38 determined that a vehicle driven by Jennifer Liston, 30, of Madison, Wis., was traveling at a high rate of speed when the...

    2012 Kennedy Center Honorees and members of the band Led Zeppelin, from left, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and Robert Plant arrive at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors Performance and Gala Sunday at the State Department in Washington.

    Letterman, Hoffman, Led Zeppelin honored by Obama

    David Letterman's "stupid human tricks" and Top 10 lists vaulted into the ranks of cultural acclaim Sunday night as the late-night comedian received this year's Kennedy Center Honors with rock band Led Zeppelin, an actor, a ballerina and a bluesman. President Obama described all of the honorees as artists who “inspired us to see things in a new way ... to appreciate how much beauty there is...

    A demonstrator chants slogans as several thousand supporters of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi surrounded the Supreme Constitutional Court on Sunday to prevent the judges from entering and ruling on the legitimacy of the nation’s Islamist-dominated constituent assembly.

    Egypt’s: High court suspends work as political crisis deepens
    Egypt's top judges suspended work indefinitely after Islamist supporters of President Mohammed Morsi swarmed the highest court Sunday, chanting "We will not leave!" shouting insults and blocking the judges from entering on the day they had been expected to dissolve the country's Islamist-dominated constitution-writing panel.

    Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Republicans have to stop using fuzzy “political math” and say how much they are willing to raise tax rates on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans and then specify the spending cuts they want.

    ‘Cliff’; Talks stalemated over tax hikes

    As the White House and Republican leaders enter the final month of negotiations to avoid a year-end "fiscal cliff," both sides struck an uncompromising tone Sunday, as warnings mounted that they will be unable to forge an agreement to stop an automatic series of deep spending cuts and large tax hikes that could push the economy into recession.

    Laura Thome, of Algonquin, helps her granddaughter, Kayleigh DeGeorge, 4, put ornaments on her Yule log during the Yule Log Open House Sunday at the Stillman Nature Center in South Barrington. Visitors learned to make festive yule logs for decorations out of natural materials.

    Yule log tradition continues at South Barrington nature center

    Families who came to the Stillman Nature Center in South Barrington Sunday not only enjoyed nature on a rare 60-degree December day, but also prepared for the holidays by decorating Yule logs and finding a use for an otherwise invasive species.

    Palestinians hold pictures of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as they celebrate their successful bid to win U.N. statehood recognition in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday.

    Palestinian president returns triumphantly from UN

    The Palestinian president returned triumphantly to the West Bank on Sunday, receiving a boisterous welcome from thousands of cheering supporters at a rally celebrating his people's new acceptance to the United Nations.

    UN Ambassador Susan Rice continues to be the focus of a partisan battle over her qualifications to possibly succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as U.S. secretary of state.

    Partisan split over UN Ambassador Rice widens

    The partisan political divide over the potential nomination of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to be secretary of state intensified Sunday with Republicans questioning her fitness for the job and Democrats defending her.

    Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Dr. Bill Hazel speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. Conservative opponents of President Barack Obama’s health care law are leaning on lawmakers to turn down the Medicaid money.

    Brinksmanship on Obama Medicaid expansion for poor

    It's health care brinksmanship, with hundreds of billions of dollars and the well-being of millions of people at stake.President Barack Obama's health care law expands Medicaid, the federal-state health program for low-income people, but cost-wary states must decide whether to take the deal.


    Election for Congressman Jackson’s seat April 9

    The special election to replace former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. will be held April 9. Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Sunday to approve the date. Jackson resigned last month citing his health and acknowledging he’s under federal investigation.

    School for thousands of public school students is about to get quite a bit longer. Five states will announce Monday they will add at least 300 hours of learning time to the calendar in some schools starting in 2013.

    5 states to increase class time in some schools

    Five states were to announce Monday they will add at least 300 hours of learning time to the calendar in some schools starting in 2013. Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee will take part in the initiative, which is intended to boost student achievement and make U.S. schools more competitive on a global level.

    John “Jack” Ryan, shown with his wife Martha, was a former Geneva alderman, firefighter and longtime community supporter. He died Thursday at 78.

    John ‘Jack’ Ryan loved Geneva, volunteering

    John "Jack" Ryan was a businessman, a proud father and one of Geneva's biggest fans. The 78-year-old former owner of Ryan Automotive, chairman of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce board of directors and Geneva Fire Department on-call paramedic died Thursday after years of failing health.

    Dan Rutherford

    State treasurer Rutherford inches closer to run for governor

    In what could be a step toward an anticipated gubernatorial campaign, Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford posted a survey question online Sunday that asks visitors whether they would support him in a run for governor. The question appeared on the downstate Republican's HYPERLINK "danrutherford.org"website, Facebook page and via his Twitter account. Underneath the question on Rutherford's...


    Summer jobs open at Mundelein pools

    Applications are being accepted beginning Dec. 10 for a variety of aquatic facility positions at the Mundelein Park District's Barefoot Bay Family Aquatic Center, Spray Park and Diamond Lake Beach.

    Santa waits on the Lisle Metra platform Sunday before boarding the Polar Express train heading to the “North Pole”. The “Polar Express” was not directly connected to Lisle’s Once Upon a Christmas celebration at Lisle Station Park, but the timing of the train and festival made it possible for visitors to participate in both events.

    A holiday celebration rolls into Lisle

    Unseasonably warm temperatures led to a large turnout at Lisle's Once Upon a Christmas celebration Sunday. Many families went to the celebration, and then hopped on the "Polar Express" train at the Lisle Metra station.


    Mundelein students to learn self defense

    Two Mundelein police officers will conduct self-defense classes for female Mundelein High School students on Wednesday, Dec. 19.


    Grayslake museum holiday event is Dec. 9

    The Grayslake Historical Society will host a special holiday open house from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Grayslake Heritage Center and Museum, 164 Hawley St., in downtown Grayslake.


    North Aurora cop honored for saving man from jumping onto interstate

    A seven-year veteran of the North Aurora Police Department will be honored Monday for helping save the life of a man in August who threatened to jump off the Randall Road bridge over Interstate 88. Officer Mark Shillair, 33, will receive the department's Lifesaving Medal at the village board meeting.


    Waukegan attorney holds gift drive

    Waukegan attorney Elliot Pinsel is holding his 20th annual gift drive for people in need. Pinsel has more than 650 paper "ornaments" with gift suggestions on a tree with the first name of the designated recipient written on them.


    Just who was St. Nicholas?

    The Bartlett History Museum is hosting a free event about the legend of St. Nicholas on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Bartlett Village Hall, 228 S. Main St. St. Nicholas will explain popular holiday symbols, legends and worldwide traditions.

    White Oaks at Heritage Woods of South Elgin offers 32 apartment homes for seniors older than 65 with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. It’s an addition to the Heritage Woods assisted-living facility that opened in 2009.

    Residents find freedom, affordability at dementia care sites

    Almira Behrendt, 94, proudly shows off her new studio apartment in White Oaks at Heritage Woods of South Elgin, an assisted living facility offering affordable dementia care. White Oaks is part of a five-site pilot project adding specialized dementia care facilities to the state's Supportive Living Program.

    Katie Anderson-Tedder, a fourth generation candy maker, is in charge of the chocolate delights at Anderson Candy Shop in Barrington. Anderson-Tedder and her sister, Susanne, designed the “Give Back Box” as a holiday fundraiser for Family Health Partnership Clinic.

    Holiday chocolate sales to benefit McHenry health clinic

    Katie Anderson-Tedder is a fourth generation candy maker at Anderson's Candy Shop, which has a new location in Barrington. Her mother died in 2009 from a cancer that spread because her lack of insurance kept her from doctors when she needed them most. Anderson-Tedder and her sister designed the "Give Back Box" as a holiday fundraiser for a charity health clinic in McHenry County.


    US-Afghan base attacked in eastern Afghanistan

    Taliban suicide bombers attacked a joint U.S.-Afghan air base in eastern Afghanistan early Sunday, detonating explosives at the gate and sparking a gunbattle that lasted at least two hours with American helicopters firing down on the militants.

    Timothy Geithner, U.S. treasury secretary, right, arrives Thursday to the U.S. Capitol in Washington. President Obama is ready for difficult concessions to reach a deficit deal, but GOP lawmakers must first commit to higher tax rates on the rich and specify what additional spending cuts they want in a deal to avoid the looming “fiscal cliff,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said.

    ‘Fiscal Cliff’ talks: Geithner invites GOP counteroffer

    President Obama is ready for difficult concessions to reach a deficit deal, but GOP lawmakers must first commit to higher tax rates on the rich and specify what additional spending cuts they want in a deal to avoid the looming "fiscal cliff," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said. "The ball really is with them now," Geithner, one of the White House's chief negotiators with Capitol Hill, said...

    A demonstrator chants slogans Sunday as several thousand supporters of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi surrounded the Supreme Constitutional Court on Sunday to prevent the judges from entering and ruling on the legitimacy of the nation’s Islamist-dominated constituent assembly.

    Egypt’s top court suspends work indefinitely

    Egypt's top court said it was suspending its work indefinitely to protest "psychological and physical pressures" after supporters of the country's Islamist president prevented judges from entering the courthouse Sunday to rule on the legitimacy of a disputed constitutional assembly.

    Police officers and firefighters gather Sunday at the exit of the Sasago Tunnel on the Chuo Expressway in Otsuki, Yamanashi Prefecture, central Japan. Police said that parts of the tunnel collapsed Sunday morning, trapping an unknown number of vehicles as smoke from a fire inside prevented rescuers from approaching.

    7 missing in collapse of highway tunnel in Japan

    At least seven people were feared missing and several dead after about 150 concrete panels fell from the roof of a tunnel on the main highway linking Tokyo with central Japan. Efforts to rescue any survivors trapped inside the tunnel were hindered by heavy smoke after one vehicle caught fire inside the Sasago Tunnel, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) outside Tokyo.

    Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Waller says he’ll retire Monday with “head held high” and no regrets about how four high-profile overturned cases were handled by his office.

    No regrets for Michael Waller as he leaves office

    Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller will retire Monday after 22 years as the county's top prosecutor. Despite criticism he's faced in the past two years stemming from four high-profile cases overturned because of evidence of wrongful prosecutions and false confessions, Waller says he'll leave office with his "head held high" and with no regrets over how those cases were handled by his...


    Think safety when toy shopping for your dogs

    Shopping for your pet for Christmas? Witht the variety of toys available for canines these days, make sure to put safety at the top of your list while shopping.

    Surrounded by the trappings of a career with the Bears that saw him named MVP of the Super Bowl and make the Hall of Fame, Richard Dent talks about the violence and injuries that are part of the game.

    Richard Dent talks about life after football, concussions

    As the MVP of the Chicago Bears only Super Bowl triumph, Richard "The Sackman" Dent earned his Hall of Fame status by roughing up opposing quarterbacks. Now, a soft-spoken businessman in Long Grove, Dent talks about the vilolence and injuries that are part of the game he loves.


    Jordan Lynch and the NIU Huskies will play Florida State in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1.

    NIU’s Orange Bowl berth sparks controversy

    By finishing 15th in the final BCS standings, the Huskies are going to the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day in Miami over such NCAA powers as Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Oklahoma. News of the Orange Bowl berth was met with immediate controversy.

    Major Wright is unable to stop Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice as he scores the winning touchdown Sunday overtime at Soldier Field.

    Smith blames himself, defense for Bears’ meltdown

    With the game on the line, the normally stout Bears defense was no match for Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, who guided his team to a 23-17 victory with back-to-back TD drives at the end of regulation and in overtime that covered 177 yards.

    Roberto Garza blocks after Jay Cutler takes the snap Sunday at Soldier Field. Cutler said he thought the offensive line “did an OK job.”

    Smith says he should have kicked FG

    Bears coach Lovie Smith's decision to disdain the short field goal and go for the first down on fourth-and-short early in the second quarter came back to haunt the team in Sunday's overtime loss, and the coach blamed himself.


    Hamilton has torn plantar fascia

    An MRI exam on Sunday revealed Bulls guard Richard Hamilton has a torn plantar fascia in his left foot. No timetable was given for his return. Hamilton, 34, suffered the injury with 3:15 left in the third quarter of Saturday's 93-88 win over Philadelphia.

    Bulls forward Taj Gibson, left, shoots against Philadelphia 76ers center Lavoy Allen during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012. The Bulls won 93-88.

    Has big contract affected Gibson’s play?
    When Taj Gibson drained his first shot attempt, an 18-foot jumper, on Saturday night against Philadelphia, it was sort of a déjà vu moment. Didn't he used to do that all the time? His 7.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and .440 field-goal percentage this season are all career-lows.


    It's official: NIU going to Orange Bowl

    MIAMI — What a weekend for Northern Illinois: Win a conference championship, lose a coach and bust the BCS.The Huskies are headed to the Orange Bowl, set to make their Bowl Championship Series debut against Florida State. Northern Illinois won the Mid-American Conference title on Friday, lost coach Dave Doeren to North Carolina State on Saturday, and then spent Sunday anxiously waiting to see if it cracked the top 16 in the final BCS standings.By 0.0404 points, the Huskies did just that and will play in Miami on Jan. 1 as their reward.The MAC champions (12-1) were 15th in the final BCS standings. Finishing in the top 16 and ahead of the champion of a qualifying conference — they actually finished ahead of two, Big East winner Louisville and Big Ten titlist Wisconsin — meant the Huskies were automatically BCS-bound, earning them this date with the Atlantic Coast Conference champion Seminoles (11-2).Northern Illinois is the first MAC school to reach the BCS. The Huskies were 21st in last week's BCS standings, meaning they not only needed to beat Kent State — which entered championship week as another BCS hopeful — in the MAC title game to have a shot, they also needed some help to reach the top 16. And enough help came, particularly with Nebraska losing badly in the Big Ten title game, along with UCLA and Texas both falling over the weekend.So it's the Huskies and Seminoles, a matchup that surely very few people would have expected when the season began.And while Northern Illinois will be a fun story line throughout bowl season, the Huskies earned their way into the conversation. Since last Oct. 2, Northern Illinois is 21-1, the best record in the country. For comparison's sake, that's two more wins than Alabama and four more than Notre Dame — the Crimson Tide and Fighting Irish are this year's title-game qualifiers — over that stretch.In fact, all that separated Northern Illinois from being perfect this season was one measly point.If it wasn't for an 18-17 loss against Iowa on Sept. 1, the Huskies might have been coming to Miami with an undefeated record. Northern Illinois led Iowa by eight points with 10 minutes to play, then gave up the game-deciding touchdown with 2:15 left.Otherwise, who knows? Maybe NIU would have found some way to bust into the BCS title game, also to be played in Miami this season.Florida State earned its Orange Bowl trip by topping Georgia Tech 21-15 in the ACC title game on Saturday night.For Florida State, it's the ninth trip to the Orange Bowl and the Seminoles' first since the end of the 2005 season a triple-overtime defeat to Penn State, in a game that pitted Joe Paterno against Bobby Bowden.Consider: The Seminoles have been in more Orange Bowls than Northern Illinois has been in bowls, period. This trip to Miami will be the eighth postseason game for the Huskies, who lost to South Florida in the International Bowl three seasons ago, then beat Fresno State (Humanitarian Bowl) and Arkansas State (GoDaddy.com Bowl) in the past two years.The stakes are a tad higher this time around.The Huskies' getting into the BCS mix came at Oklahoma's expense.Oklahoma (10-2) won a share of the Big 12 title and lost only to Kansas State and Notre Dame. Kansas State earned the Big 12's automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl, but the Sooners seemed like a lock to get an at-large bid most likely to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans to play Florida.Instead, Louisville is going there to meet the Gators, and Oklahoma is on the outside looking in of the BCS picture despite finishing 11th in the final standings, ahead of four teams that will actually be playing in the biggest-money games.


    Cutler’s spectacular play wasn’t enough

    Spectacular performances by quarterback Jay Cutler and wide receiver Brandon Marshall weren't enough to save the Bears from a 23-17 overtime loss to the Seahawks Sunday.

    Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald high-fives Ibraheim Campbell in a 2011 game in Nebraska. Fitzgerald’s Wildcats will play in the Gator Bowl against Mississippi State on New Year’s Day.

    Northwestern to play Mississippi State in Gator Bowl

    Northwestern is going to the Gator Bowl. "It's going to fun," Wildcats coach Fitzgerald said. "You always love to compete, and when you get to compete against a friend, it kind of makes it that much more special. ... It's not about us. It's about the young me in our program."


    Steelers stun Ravens 23-20

    BALTIMORE — Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t have done it any better.Third-string quarterback Charlie Batch directed a 61-yard drive in the closing minutes, and Shaun Suisham kicked a 42-yard field goal as time expired to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a 23-20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.Playing without the injured Roethlisberger for a third straight week, the Steelers turned to the 37-year-old Batch for the second game in a row. He went 25 for 36 for 276 yards, threw a touchdown and rallied the Steelers past their arch rivals in the AFC North.Pittsburgh trailed 13-3 in the first half and 20-13 in the fourth quarter before coming back. Batch missed a wide open Mike Wallace in the end zone near the end of the first half, but the veteran quarterback more than made up for it after halftime.Pittsburgh (7-5) snapped a two-game losing streak and kept alive its slim hopes of overtaking Baltimore (9-3) in the division. The teams have split their games this season, with each team winning by three points. The Ravens could have clinched a playoff berth with a victory. Instead, Baltimore had its 15-game home winning streak snapped and also lost for the first time in 13 games against division foes.Batch outplayed Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, who went 16 for 34 for 188 yards and fueled Pittsburgh’s comeback by losing a fumble in the fourth quarter.One week after committing eight turnovers in a loss to Cleveland, the Steelers gave the ball away three times against Baltimore. The Ravens converted two of the takeaways into touchdowns, and the third — a leaping interception by Ed Reed in the end zone — kept a 20-13 lead intact with 10:59 left.Pittsburgh got the ball back, however, when James Harrison forced a fumble by Flacco at the 27. Batch threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller to tie it with 7:24 to go.The next time Pittsburgh got the ball back, Batch showed his poise with a beat-the-clock march. The key play in the final drive was a 15-yard completion to Wallace on a third-and-7.After generating only 93 yards in offense in the first half, the Steelers opened the third quarter with a 78-yard touchdown drive to pull even at 13. Batch threw a 43-yard pass to Miller before Jonathan Dwyer scored on a 16-yard run.Later in the quarter, Batch connected with Emmanuel Sanders near midfield with no defender in sight. But Sanders inexplicably lost his grip on the football after taking two steps, and the Ravens recovered on the Baltimore 37.The Ravens turned the miscue into a 20-13 lead. Flacco completed a 19-yard pass to Dennis Pitta before Ray Rice took a handoff, veered right, then broke left and outside for a 34-yard score.The bickering between these two familiar foes began with the opening kickoff, when several players had to be separated after Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones downed the ball for a touchback. Flacco then threw six straight passes before the Ravens had to punt, and Batch moved the Steelers 48 yards in 11 plays to set up a 46-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.Baltimore tied it early in the second quarter when rookie Justin Tucker capped a 40-yard drive with a 45-yard field goal. Then, after Pittsburgh went three-and-out, a pass interference call against Cortez Allen accounted for 30 yards in a 54-yard drive that produced Tucker’s second field goal.Just when it appeared the Ravens were taking control, Flacco threw an up-for-grabs floater that was intercepted by Ryan Clark near midfield. Pittsburgh gave it right back, though, when wide receiver Antonio Brown took a handoff and ran left before throwing a pass across the field that was picked off by Corey Graham.Baltimore didn’t waste the gift. Flacco connected twice with Anquan Boldin during a four-play, 69-yard drive, including a 31-yard touchdown throw just beyond Allen’s reach to make it 13-3.


    Browns snap road skid with 20-17 win over Raiders

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Brandon Weeden and the Cleveland Browns get to experience a happy plane ride home for a change.Weeden threw for a career-high 364 yards and a touchdown and the Cleveland Browns did just enough to snap a 12-game road losing streak by beating the Oakland Raiders 20-17 on Sunday.Weeden hit fellow rookie Josh Gordon on a 44-yard score in the second quarter and Trent Richardson scored on a 3-yard run after Sheldon Brown made a key interception deep in Cleveland territory when the Raiders (3-9) were driving for the potential tying or go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.It all added up to the first road win for the Browns (4-8) since beating Indianapolis 27-19 in the second game of the 2011 season.The skid started a few weeks later with a loss in Oakland and went deep into this season.The Raiders have lost five straight for the first time since a six-game losing streak in Lane Kiffin’s first year as coach in 2006, much to the dismay of the small crowd that repeatedly booed the home team’s mistakes.The biggest came when rookie Juron Criner used a double move to get behind Brown and Carson Palmer underthrew the deep ball with Oakland already in position for a game-tying field goal. Brown intercepted the pass at the 6-yard line and Weeden engineered an impressive drive beginning with 9:31 to play.Weeden completed an 11-yard pass on third-and-3 to Gordon to get the Browns started and also had a big 22-yard pass to tight end Benjamin Watson. Weeden then converted a fourth-and-1 sneak from the Oakland 45 and Desmond Bryant jumped offside on a third-and-1 from the Raiders 10. Richardson scored two plays later to give the Browns a 20-10 lead with 3:27 to go as the Browns won for the fourth time in seven games since an 0-5 start to match last season’s win total. The improvement since the early struggles may help second-year coach Pat Shurmur convince new owner Jimmy Haslam that he deserves to keep his job.The Browns have been improved defensively of late and Weeden had one of his best games as a pro. He completed 25 of 36 passes and overcame two first-half interceptions to lead the impressive late drive.Richardson ran for 72 yards and Gordon had six catches for 116 yards as Cleveland got big days from its three rookie starters at the offensive skill positions.The Raiders didn’t get nearly enough big plays. Palmer was 34 for 54 for 351 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown to rookie Rod Streater. He added a 17-yard TD pass to Brandon Myers with 1 second left but it was too late. Myers caught 14 passes for 130 yards.Oakland showed signs of life late in the third quarter when Desmond Bryant blocked a 28-yard field goal attempt by Phil Dawson. That was Dawson’s first miss in more than a year after 29 consecutive makes.Four plays later, Streater made a good adjustment on a deep pass from Palmer that cut Cleveland’s lead to 13-10. But that’s as close as the Raiders got.After getting outscored by 90 points during what general manager Reggie McKenzie recently described as a “terrible November,” the Raiders didn’t get off to a much better start in December.They punted on their first four possessions of the game and fell behind 10-0 as Dawson kicked a 41-yard field goal early in the second quarter and Gordon beat Ron Bartell deep on a 44-yard touchdown pass later in the second.Sebastian Janikowski got Oakland on the board with a 51-yard field goal, but was wide right on a 61-yarder at the end of the half.


    Dalton’s 6-yard TD lifts Bengals over Bolts

    SAN DIEGO — All Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals had to do was bide their time against the San Diego Chargers.Sure enough, the Chargers forked over another fourth-quarter lead.Dalton scrambled up the middle for a 6-yard touchdown with 4:11 left for the go-ahead score and the Cincinnati Bengals won their fourth straight game, 20-13 over the staggering San Diego Chargers on Sunday.On second-and-goal, Dalton pump-faked right and then ran up the middle, dived for the end zone and got the ball across for a 17-13 lead. The Bengals (7-5) remained tied with Pittsburgh in the race for the AFC’s second wild-card berth. The Steelers and Bengals are two games behind the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens, who lost to Pittsburgh.The Chargers were shut out in the second half after taking a 13-10 halftime lead.The Chargers (4-8) lost their fourth straight game and for the seventh time in eight games, and remain only mathematically alive in the wild-card chase. Denver won the AFC West with a 31-23 victory against Tampa Bay.Philip Rivers had two turnovers in the final 3:54. On the first Chargers’ possession after Dalton’s TD, defensive end Carlos Dunlap sacked Rivers, forced a fumble and recovered at the 13 to set up Mike Nugent’s 24-yard field goal for a 20-13 lead. Rivers was then intercepted in the end zone by Reggie Nelson on fourth-and-10 from the Bengals 17 with 49 seconds left.The Bengals overcame three turnovers, including two interceptions by Dalton. One of them was returned 31 yards for a touchdown by Demorrio Williams. The Bengals took the game’s opening kickoff and moved 91 yards, capped by Dalton’s 19-yard pass to tight end Jermaine Gresham for a 7-0 lead. Dalton threw an incompletion on fourth-and-9 from the Chargers 35, but Chargers cornerback Shareece Wright was called for holding and the drive continued at the San Diego 30.The Chargers had a nice drive of their own and had a first-and-goal from the Bengals 7. But Rivers fumbled when he was hit going back to pass. Tight end Antonio Gates recovered at the 16. The Chargers reached the 2-yard line but had to take Nick Novak’s 20-yard field goal that pulled them to 7-3.Two plays into the next Bengals drive, Williams intercepted Dalton and returned it 31 yards down the left sideline to give the Chargers a 10-7 lead. It was Williams’ second interception returned for a touchdown this season.The Bengals drove deep on the Chargers again and had a first-and-goal on the 5. A.J. Green was wide open in the end zone but Dalton overthrew him. BenJarvus Green-Ellis gained 4 yards to the 1, but an incomplete pass forced the Bengals to settle for Nugent’s 19-yard field goal and a 10-10 tie.San Diego made it to the Bengals 1 with a second before halftime and had to settle for Novak’s 19-yard field goal for a 13-10 lead.


    Manning throws 3 TDs in Denver win

    DENVER — Peyton Manning threw three touchdowns, including one to defensive tackle Mitch Unrein, to help the Denver Broncos wrap up the AFC West with a 31-23 victory Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Broncos (9-3) won their seventh straight and the Tampa Bay (6-6) loss clinched the NFC South for Atlanta, which won on Thursday.Manning threw for 242 yards. He now has 29 touchdown passes on the season, moving past Jake Plummer and John Elway for the most by a Denver quarterback in a single year. Manning threw two of the scores to Demaryius Thomas, who finished with eight catches for 99 yards. Broncos linebacker Von Miller returned an interception for his first NFL score.The Broncos held Tampa running back Doug Martin to 56 yards on 18 carries.

    Lovie Smith looks down at the end of the game Sunday.

    Gotta wonder where Smith’s head was ... and is now

    The Bears might want to readjust their sights. Not long ago they were aiming at the NFL's supposed elite teams like the 49ers, Texans, Packers, Giants and Patriots. Now the Bears have to wonder why they couldn't beat Seattle at home on Sunday.

    Brian Urlacher stops Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate from scoring at Soldier Field on Saturday.

    Rookie QB embarrasses Bears defense

    The vaunted Bears defense looked old and slow in crunch time as a rookie quarterback shredded them twice when it mattered most. But the Bears love to bounce back and stick it to the critics. They have that chance now.

    Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson warms up before Sunday’s game against the Bears at Soldier Field.

    Grading the Bears against the Seahawks

    Grading the Bears against the Seahawks

    Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall and quarterback Jay Cutler react from the bench as the Seahawks score near the end of regulation Sunday at Soldier Field.

    Bears drop overtime stunner to Seattle

    Jay Cutler threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Marshall added 165 yards receiving, but the Bears came up short late in the game and in OT.

    Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall and quarterback Jay Cutler sit sullen on the bench as the Seattle Seahawks score a touchdown at Soldier Field on Sunday. The Bears lost in overtime 23-17.

    Images: Bears vs. Seahawks
    The Chicago Bears faced off with the Seattle Seahawks Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago.The Bears lost the game in overtime by the score of 23-17.


    Rams edge 49ers in overtime

    ST. LOUIS — No way the St. Louis Rams wanted another tie.So Greg Zuerlein kicked a 54-yard field goal with 26 seconds left in overtime to give the Rams a 16-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers 16-13 on Sunday, avoiding a second tie in three weeks against the NFC West leaders.The rookie’s winning kick came after he sent the game into overtime with a 53-yard field goal as time expired in regulationThe Rams (5-6-1) scored twice in the final 3:04 of regulation, getting their lone touchdown when rookie Janoris Jenkins returned an errant pitchout by Colin Kaepernick 2 yards for a score. They’ve won two straight after an 0-4-1 skid.The 49ers (8-3-1) failed to take advantage of a 14-yard punt by rookie Johnny Hekker to midfield when David Akers was barely wide right on a 51-yard attempt with 4:11 to go in overtime. Akers is just 7 for 15 from 40 yards and beyond.Zuerlein is 7 for 11 from the 50 and beyond and had plenty of distance on the kick on fourth-and-inches. Before the 53-yarder at the end of regulation, he had missed four of his previous seven attempts including a 58-yarder near the end of the half.The last time teams tied twice in a season was in 1963 in games between the Eagles and Steelers. The last time teams had two ties in a season was in 1973 when it happened to four teams.The first 49ers-Rams meeting this season was the NFL’s first tie in four seasons, and was a lot more wide open with both teams missing chances to end it in overtime.Most of the game was a defensive struggle, nothing like the 24-all tie in San Francisco. Michel Crabtree was a rare offensive standout with seven catches for 101 yards, while rookie Chris Givens had 11 receptions for 92 yards.Akers’ 33-yard field goal put the 49ers ahead with 1:38 remaining, a score set up by Kaepernick’s 50-yard carry on a rollout. It left just enough time for Sam Bradford to guide the Rams 45 yards in seven plays.The 49ers’ Frank Gore scored the only offensive touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run late in the first quarter.Kaepernick’s run to the St. Louis 14 at the two-minute warning behind a convoy that included Gore, who upended linebacker Rocky McIntosh. It compensated somewhat for his errant pitchout that handed the Rams their lone touchdown and set up the go-ahead field goal.Kaepernick was well off the mark on a pitch to Ted Ginn Jr. from the 17, and Jenkins fell on it at the 2 before flopping into the end zone. The second-round pick out of North Alabama returned two interceptions for touchdowns last week in a victory at Arizona.Kendricks beat coverage from Patrick Willis as the Rams succeeded even after a false start penalty on tackle Rodger Saffold.A questionable roughing the passer penalty on Rams end Robert Quinn contributed to a 13-play, 94-yard drive starting from the 1 that set up a 23-yard field goal by Akers for a 10-2 lead with 8:43 to go. The Rams aired several slow-motion replays of Quinn, while getting blocked by two players, tapping Kaepernick’s facemask with his helmet after a throw.Kaepernick also hit Crabtree for a 30-yard gain on the drive.The Rams failed on fourth-and-1 from the 4 earlier in the game when Bradford couldn’t connect with Austin Pettis in the right corner of the end zone against double coverage, leaving them with nothing to show for their best possession of the game. St. Louis had four first downs, matching the first-half total, while going 74 yards on 11 plays in nearly seven minutes.Both teams kept it close to the vest in the first half with the 49ers outgaining the Rams 113-85 and putting together one nice drive, going 60 yards on 11 plays with three third-down conversions, capped by Gore’s 1 yard scoring run late in the first quarter.Kaepernick scrambled for one of the first downs and threw for two others, the last a 7-yard catch by Mario Manningham to the 1 one play before the touchdown.


    McElroy replaces Sanchez, leads Jets to 7-6 win

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Third-stringer Greg McElroy stepped in for a struggling Mark Sanchez and energized the New York Jets to a 7-6 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.With Tim Tebow inactive as he heals from two broken ribs, coach Rex Ryan pulled Sanchez for McElroy — as the crowd at MetLife Stadium cheered wildly — late in the third quarter. McElroy led the (5-7) Jets to their only points of the day with an impressive drive, connecting with Jeff Cumberland on a 1-yard touchdown. That ended up being the winning score.Fans chanted “Mc-El-roy!” throughout the first three quarters as Sanchez went 10 for 21 for 97 yards and three interceptions.While the Jets’ quarterback situation is unclear, the sagging Cardinals (4-8) have their own troubles at the position. Ryan Lindley was ineffective in his second NFL start as Arizona lost its eighth straight game after a 4-0 start.


    Bills top Jaguars 34-18

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — With his job security in question, Ryan Fitzpatrick came through with one his most complete performances of the season.Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes and scored on a 1-yard run to lead the Bills to a 34-18 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. He led five consecutive scoring drives that produced 27 points — three touchdowns and two field goals.The Bills (5-7) won despite finishing the game without their top two receivers after Stevie Johnson left late in the third quarter after hurting his left hamstring.Johnson scored on a 13-yard catch earlier in the quarter before leaving the game. The Bills were already minus receiver Donald Jones (calf).Fred Jackson had 101 yards rushing and fellow running back C.J. Spiller capped the victory with a 44-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter in helping Buffalo score more than 20 points for only the third time in eight games. Buffalo also won for only the third time in nine games.Fitzpatrick, who has faced criticism for his inconsistent play, finished 9 of 17 for 112 yards. His only miscue was an interception in the first half, which prompted a number of boos from the crowd.The Bills’ defense responded by limiting Jacksonville to just 236 yards. Mario Williams had a sack, his sixth in four games and team-leading 9 1/2, in which he stripped the ball from Chad Henne and recovered the fumble.The Jaguars (2-10) were unable to carry over much momentum a week after they ended a seven-game skid with a 24-19 win over Tennessee. Henne scored on a 1-yard run, and also connected with Cecil Shorts III for a 5-yard touchdown a play after Bills backup punt-returner Justin Rodgers’ fumbled a punt inside his own 10 early in the fourth quarter.Otherwise, the Jaguars had difficulty moving the ball. After going ahead 10-7 on Henne’s 1-yard run with 3:47 left in the second quarter, they managed just five first downs on their next four possessions, which ended with a lost fumble, a failed fourth-down conversion and two punts.The Bills went ahead for good with 1:56 left in the second quarter when Fitzpatrick hit tight end Scott Chandler for an 11-yard touchdown.Williams’ forced fumble, which he recovered at the Jaguars 14 set up Rian Lindell’s 29-yard field goal. Fitzpatrick then opened the second half by capping an eight-play, 57-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Johnson.Fitzpatrick had entered the game having managed just three touchdown passes in his previous four outings. The loss spoiled first-year Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey in his first return to Buffalo since he abruptly resigned after two seasons as Bills coach in January 2006.Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny had an interception against his former team.The Bills’ defense did the rest in shutting down a Jaguars offense that had been showing signs of a spark in its previous two games since Henne took over the starting duties in place of injured Blaine Gabbert (shoulder/forearm).After going 33 of 59 for 615 yards and six TDs in his past two games, Henne struggled against Buffalo. He finished 18 of 41 for 208 yards and a game-ending interception that was picked off by safety Jairus Byrd.Already playing without running back Maurice Jones-Drew (foot), the Jaguars lost his backup Rashad Jennings, who sustained a head injury early in the second quarter. Shorts scored on a 5-yard catch before leaving the game with a head injury in the fourth quarter.Fitzpatrick and Johnson have combined for 22 touchdowns, moving into a tie for fourth on the team list in joining Jim Kelly and Pete Metzelaars.Chandler’s touchdown was his sixth of the season, matching the team’s single-season record for tight ends shared by himself (2011), Metzelaars (1992) and Jay Riemersma (1998).


    Pats clinch AFC East title in Miami

    MIAMI — With the game on the line, the quick-strike New England Patriots showed they can grind out a drive, too. As a result, they’re the AFC East champions.Tom Brady had his least efficient game of the season and even threw an interception, but he led a clock-consuming drive in the fourth quarter Sunday that helped the Patriots beat Miami 23-16 to clinch their fourth consecutive division title.Brady finished 24 for 40 for 238 yards and was sacked four times. But with the Patriots nursing a 20-13 lead midway through the fourth quarter, he led a 16-play drive that took more than seven minutes and led to a field goal.A botched punt, roughing-the-punter penalty and fumble by Miami resulted in 17 New England points, and another penalty negated a Dolphins touchdown.The Patriots (9-3) have won six consecutive games and are assured of their 12th winning season in a row. The Dolphins (5-7) hurt their already slim playoff chances and lost to New England for the fifth consecutive time.Brady was intercepted for the first time in 203 passes, and for only the fourth time this year, and his passer rating was a season-low 74.8. He had at least four passes dropped, including a throw to Wes Welker in the end zone.The Patriots kept their play-calling conservative and finished with a season-low 321 yards. But when they took over at their 20 leading by a touchdown in the fourth period, they produced their best drive of the day. It covered 77 yards, setting up Stephen Gostkowski’s third field goal with 1:10 to go.Trevor Scott led New England’s stout defensive effort with two sacks, including one to force a fumble that set up a field goal. Jerod Mayo sacked Ryan Tannehill on third down midway through the fourth quarter, forcing the Dolphins to settle for a field goal.Welker tied Jerry Rice’s NFL record by making at least 10 receptions for the 17th time. He had 12 catches for 103 yards and a score.Tannehill went only 13 for 29 for 186 yards, but finished two runs with brazen acrobatic leaps. He vaulted over the goal line to elude linebacker Rob Ninkovich on a 2-yard touchdown run.The botched punt on the Dolphins’ opening series led to a New England touchdown. With the ball wet following a brief shower, punter Brandon Fields dropped a low snap and was tackled at his 12. The Patriots scored five players later on Stevan Ridley’s 2-yard run.The roughing-the-punter penalty on Miami’s Jimmy Wilson gave the Patriots a first down deep in their territory, jump-starting a 75-yard drive that ended with Welker’s 7-yard touchdown catch.Miami’s Reshad Jones made a one-handed interception and returned the ball 30 yards for a touchdown, but the score was negated by a penalty on Reggie Bush for an illegal block. New England then held, and Dan Carpenter kicked a 44-yard field goal.


    Luck-led Colts rally to beat Lions 35-33

    DETROIT — Andrew Luck took full advantage of his last shot to lead the Indianapolis Colts to a stunning victory.Luck threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Donnie Avery with no time left to lift the Colts to a 35-33 comeback win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.With the final seconds ticking away, the rookie quarterback moved up in the pocket and flipped a short pass to Avery. The receiver ran untouched into the end zone to complete a rally that started with the Lions up 12 points midway through the fourth quarter. The Colts (8-4) stayed in control of the AFC wild-card race by winning for the sixth time in seven games.Luck has won more games (eight) than any rookie quarterback drafted No. 1 overall in the Super Bowl era. He broke the mark by Sam Bradford, who helped St. Louis win seven games two years ago, and also surpassed Jim Plunkett in New England during the 1971 season. He made up for matching a season-high three interceptions by doubling his previous season high with his fourth TD on a fourth-down play that started with 3 seconds left.Luck was 24 of 54 for 391 yards.Fellow rookie T.Y. Hilton had six receptions for 100 yards and Avery had five catches for 91 yards and two scores, the first of which gave the Colts their only lead — until his second one won the game.Detroit (5-8) lost for the fourth straight time, including three in a row at home after leading in the final quarter.Calvin Johnson had a career-high 13 receptions for 171 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown that gave Detroit a 31-20 lead late in the third quarter. Johnson made a one-handed grab that set up Mikel Leshoure’s TD in the second quarter. Johnson had at least 125 yards receiving for the fifth straight game, matching an NFL record set in 1966 by Pat Studstill with the Lions.Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 pick overall in 2009, was 27 of 46 for 313 yards with two TDs and an interception late in the first half that hurt his team’s chances of adding to its 24-13 lead.Luck helped Indy move a step closer toward being in the playoffs for the 10th time in 11 seasons, only this time without Peyton Manning. The former Stanford star had two interceptions in the first half and he threw a third in the fourth quarter. He has thrown 13 of his 16 interceptions on the road.Luck’s yard TD pass to Avery put the Colts ahead 7-3 in the first quarter — and Detroit didn’t let them lead again until it mattered most.The Lions couldn’t pull away because they often had to settle for field goals.Jason Hanson made four for the fourth time this year, including a 31-yard kick that gave Detroit a 33-21 lead with 8:41 left. But the Lions fell to 1-3 in 2012 when he kicks that many field goals.Luck threw his third TD pass to LaVon Brazill, who got behind cornerback Drayton Florence, to make it 33-28 with 2:34 left.Detroit picked up a first down on the ensuing drive when Cassius Vaughn was called for pass interference against Johnson. The Lions, though, couldn’t move the chains again to run out the clock and that proved costly.Nick Harris’ poor punt from the 50 gave Luck the ball at his 25 with 1:07 to and no timeouts. Luck ran for 9 yards on the next snap, converted a third down with a pass to Reggie Wayne and made the right plays with his feet, right arm and mind to give the NFL’s feel-good team of the year another win.Interim coach Bruce Arians, filling in for Chuck Pagano, who has leukemia, improved to 7-2 in charge of the Colts. They’re hoping to have Pagano back on the sideline for the last game of the regular season on Dec. 30 at home against Houston.


    Packers beat Vikings, tie Bears for division lead

    GREEN BAY, Wis. — Morgan Burnett’s two big plays overcame a whole bunch of them by Adrian Peterson. Burnett picked off Christian Ponder twice, James Starks had Green Bay’s first rushing touchdown in almost two months and the Packers overcame a monster day by Peterson for a 23-14 victory Sunday over the Minnesota Vikings. Peterson finished with 210 yards, the most he’s had since blowing out his ACL and MCL last December. But the Vikings (6-6) clearly felt the absence of Percy Harvin, who missed his third straight game with a sprained ankle, and Ponder didn’t help matters with his interceptions, one in the end zone and the other around the Green Bay 10.The Packers turned both miscues into field goals and Starks’ 22-yard score gave Green Bay its 10th straight victory against an NFC North opponent. The win, coupled with the Bears’ loss to Seattle, puts the Packers in a tie for the NFC North division lead, with three of their last four games against NFC North foes, including a Dec. 16 game against Chicago and the Dec. 30 season finale in Minnesota.Starks finished with 66 yards rushing and James Jones had Green Bay’s other touchdown, a 32-yard score on the very first drive. Aaron Rodgers was 27 of 35 for 286 yards. No. 1 receiver Greg Jennings, back in the lineup for the first time since Sept. 30 after tearing an abdominal muscle, had four catches for 46 yards. Mason Crosby kicked field goals of 30, 47 and 31 yards, a sign he may finally be coming out of his slump. Ponder was 12 of 25 for 119 yards. He had only two completions to a wide receiver, both coming late in the fourth quarter. With Jennings back in the lineup, the Packers were almost back to full strength on offense and they showed just how dangerous they can be. Spreading around the ball to more teammates on the first two drives than some offenses manage in an entire season — eight, with a pass also thrown Jennings’ way — Rodgers and the Packers had a 10-0 lead after two drives. But after Jordy Nelson, Rodgers’ second-favorite target, was hurt during the second drive and right tackle T.J. Lang injured his ankle in the second quarter, the Packers lost their rhythm. Peterson, meanwhile, was keeping the Vikings going. His 82-yard scoring run in the second quarter, his longest of the year, gave the Vikings a 14-10 lead. He put the Vikings in great position to pad that lead, ripping off a 48-yarder on the first play of the second half to put Minnesota at the Green Bay 12. But Ponder got flushed out of the pocket and his heave into the end zone went right to Burnett. The Packers couldn’t get a touchdown, with Rodgers overthrowing in the end zone on third-and-7. But after looking as if they were going for it on fourth-and-7 from the 29, drawing a timeout from the Vikings, the Packers took a chance with Crosby again. This time, it paid off as his kick wobbled through the uprights for a 47-yard field goal.Rodgers was picked off on a trick play, but the Packers defense bailed him out, stuffing Peterson for no gain on third-and-1. A bad Kluwe punt gave the Packers the ball at their own 49, and Starks bolted 22 yards for the score four plays later to give Green Bay a 20-14 lead. It was Green Bay’s first rushing touchdown since Oct. 7, a span of seven games and 22 touchdowns. Burnett picked Ponder off again on the next drive, and Crosby kicked his third field goal of the day to seal the win.


    Texans clinch playoff berth in Tennessee

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Houston Texans are heading back to the playoffs for a second straight year and already have set a franchise record for wins in a season.Their defense made sure they didn’t need overtime for this latest win, 24-10 over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.Rookie linebacker Whitney Mercilus recovered a fumble and had two sacks as the Texans (11-1) remain tied with Atlanta for the best record in the NFL with their sixth straight win. After needing overtime the past two games, the Texans forced six turnovers they turned into 10 points and had six sacks of Jake Locker when the Texans weren’t batting down a handful of other passes.Houston swept Tennessee (4-8), the team it replaced in Houston, for only the second time. Matt Schaub threw for 207 yards and two touchdowns, and Arian Foster ran for a TD. The Titans debuted new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, but they didn’t help him out much as receivers repeatedly dropped balls.Tennessee scored on a 34-yard pass from Locker to Kenny Britt late in the third quarter to pull within 24-10. The Titans even had third-and-3 at the Houston 7 early in the fourth quarter before Jared Cook had a pass go off his hands, then Locker was sacked on the next play. Tennessee turned it over on downs with 4:28 left after driving to the Houston 33.Darryl Sharpton got the third interception off Locker with 2:05 left. Locker finished with two fumbles and three interceptions.The Texans avoided all the late-game dramatics needed in beating first Jacksonville, then Detroit in overtime in a span of five days. But their injury list grew.Linebackers Bradie James and Brooks Reed, cornerback Johnathan Joseph and right tackle Derek Newton all sat out. Cornerback Brice McCain hurt his foot and couldn’t finish. Tight end Garrett Graham also suffered a head injury and couldn’t finish.Houston improved on last season’s 10 wins with Schaub completing four of his first five passes for 78 yards on the opening drive. Schaub also connected with James Casey on a 5-yard pass for a 14-3 lead in the second quarter. By halftime, Schaub was 15 of 24 for 167 yards with a 110.9 passer rating, and he finished 21 of 35, completing passes to eight teammates, including himself off a batted ball he pulled in for a 6-yard loss.Shaun Cody tipped Locker’s pass to Houston linebacker Tim Dobbins, a Nashville native, who ran it 7 yards to the Tennessee 3 before Locker knocked him up into the air. Arian Foster scored on a 2-yard TD run two plays later for a 21-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Shayne Graham added a 50-yard field goal in the third quarter after Mercilus recovered Locker’s fumble forced by Antonio Smith. That was all Houston needed on a day where the defense disrupted Tennessee repeatedly, even though the Titans wound up with a 354-332 edge in total offense. J.J. Watt had another sack, giving him 15 1-2, adding to his franchise record for a season. Smith also had a sack and recovered a fumble by Chris Johnson that he ran to the end zone where the lineman waved the ball in the air, thinking he had a TD in the second quarter.But officials had whistled the play dead at the spot of the turnover.


    Chiefs top Panthers in wake of tragedy

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Against the backdrop of an unthinkable tragedy, the Kansas City Chiefs gave themselves a reason to be proud Sunday.Brady Quinn threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns, and Jamaal Charles ran for 127 yards in the Chiefs’ 27-21 victory over their Carolina Panthers. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak during one of the most difficult seasons the franchise has ever experienced.The win came just one day after Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend multiple times at a residence near Arrowhead Stadium, then drove to the team’s practice facility and turned the gun on himself as general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel looked on.Pioli walked through the press box before the game and said he was doing “OK,” though he didn’t stop to talk. Crennel was on the sideline coaching his team to an uplifting victory.

    Trainers look at Bears QB Jay Cutler after Cutler took a late hit by Houston Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins. Cutler missed one game with a concussion but returned last week against the Vikings.

    Amid Cutler, Smith trauma, NFL truth a mirage

    Telling the truth about injury can cost players their livelihood, and yet the concussion discussion is all about honesty. But as NFL fans, do we really want to know the truth?

    Wisconsin running back James White celebrates with his team after scoring on a 10-yard touchdown run Saturday during the second half of the Big Ten championship game against Nebraska in Indianapolis.

    Ball helps Badgers rush past No. 14 Nebraska 70-31

    Montee Ball ran for 201 yards and three touchdowns, and Wisconsin rushed for the 539 yards to rout No. 14 Nebraska 70-31 in the Big Ten title game on Saturday night. The Badgers (8-5, 4-4 Big Ten) are the first team to reach the Rose Bowl with five losses, are the first Big Ten team to make it in three straight years since Michigan in the late 1970s.


    Deere, Warren plow past New Trier

    Adrian Deere scored a season-high 20 points, and Warren’s boys basketball team defeated host New Trier 66-60 in a tightly contested nonconference game Saturday night.Dre Von Hill added 18 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, for the Blue Devils, who improved to 5-2 with their fourth win in a row and second in as many nights.Steven Cook and Stas Banas scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, for New Trier (4-2).Woodstock 36, Wauconda 35: The visiting Bulldogs lost another heartbreaker, as they fell to 1-5 with the nonconference defeat.Four of Wauconda’s losses have been decided by seven or fewer points.Austin Swenson had 9 points, 4 assists and 4 steals for the Bulldogs. Ricky Sidlowski and Dion Head added 8 points apiece for Wauconda. Devon King contributed 7 rebounds and 4 blocked shots, and Kody Thomas tallied 7 points.


    Dayton beats cold-shooting Northern Illinois 60-43

    Dayton held Northern Illinois to five points in the first half en route to a 60-43 victory on Saturday. The five points were the fewest scored in a first half since Notre Dame limited California to five on Nov. 26, 2010.


    Swanson grabs second place Cougar Classic

    Getting to the top of the leaderboard was Eric Swanson's goal Saturday afternoon at Brunswick Zone Vernon Hills. He came close, as the Vernon Hills competitor placed second behind the tournament champion Lucas Korntved of Machesney Park Harlem by 41 pins, 1,407-1,366 over 6 games bowled in the ninth annual Cougar Classic.



    One of US richest finds himself on the hot seat

    Last week, federal authorities arrested Mathew Martoma, a former portfolio manager at an affiliate of the Stamford, Conn.-based firm owned by Steven A. Cohen, on charges he used illegal tips about an experimental Alzheimer's drug to net more than $276 million for his fund and others. Court papers don't name Cohen and federal authorities won't discuss their investigation of him. But the heat may be on him anyway.

    Local and international activists march to demand urgent action to address climate change at the U.N. climate talks in Doha, Qatar, Saturday.

    New Zealand: forget Kyoto, write new climate deal

    Highlighting a rift between the rich countries and emerging economies like China, New Zealand's climate minister staunchly defended his government's decision to drop out of the emissions pact for developed nations, saying it's an outdated and insufficient response to global warming.

    A motorcyclist rides between lanes as traffic backs up on U.S. highway 101 before the start of the Memorial Day weekend in Mill Valley, Calif. The United Nations climate chief is urging people not to look solely to their governments to make tough decisions to slow global warming.

    Carbon pollution up to 2 million pounds a second

    The amount of heat-trapping pollution the world spewed rose again last year by 3 percent. So scientists say it's now unlikely that global warming can be limited to a couple of degrees, which is an international goal.


    Reports: Delta in talks for Virgin Atlantic stake

    Delta Air Lines Inc. is mulling the purchase of a 49 percent stake in British airline Virgin Atlantic Airways from Singapore Airlines Ltd., according to media reports.

    Rose Wang, owner of Binary Group, works in her office in Rosslyn, Va. Small businesses with 50 workers or more will be required to provide health insurance Jan. 1, 2014. Wang, who has about 70 employees, will instead have to decide whether she’ll cover them, or pay a penalty for not providing insurance.

    Pay a penalty? Business owners face health care dilemma

    Rose Wang looks at her staff of 70 employees and wonders if she'll have to lay off some of them to comply with the health care law. Wang already provides insurance, but she has struggled with premiums that have soared as much as 60 percent annually, so she requires employees to contribute to their coverage. She's worried because she doesn't know how much she'll have to pay under the Affordable Care Act.


    T. Rowe: Low rates are market’s biggest ‘anomaly’

    It's not all about the "fiscal cliff." That's a refreshing sentiment while stock markets are being held in thrall by every comment from lawmakers in Washington on the state of budget negotiations. Bill Stromberg, director of global equity and global equity research at Baltimore, Md.-based T. Rowe Price Group Inc., says that the "cliff" shouldn't be investors' main focus.

    Leaders (like most people) like to hang out with others who share similar interests and backgrounds. They may even live near people who are similar in social class, education or circumstances. Yet, this can make them almost immune to the issues facing other types of people.

    Career Coach: Tips for Avoiding the Leadership Bubble

    After the presidential election, numerous experts talked about how the Republicans were out of touch with the very people they needed to vote for them. That thinking holds true for any leadership position. Leaders must understand their diverse constituents — a task that can sometimes be easier said than done.

    A woman wades across a channel that Superstorm Sandy cut from the ocean to the Barnegat Bay in Mantoloking N.J., severing the devastated barrier island in two. Filling in that new waterway was among the first major reconstruction tasks undertaken in the aftermath of the storm. Even with federal reimbursement for much of the cleanup and rebuilding expenses, hard-hit towns could be facing property tax hikes next year as a result of the unexpected costs, and the loss of millions of dollars of taxable property.

    The reward for surviving Sandy may be higher taxes

    Superstorm Sandy may have one more nasty surprise still to come: higher taxes. The storm left fewer properties standing, often wrecking waterfront communities that paid the highest taxes because of the desirability of living near the water. Unless shore towns get a big influx of aid from the state and federal governments, which are themselves strapped for cash, they will have no choice but to raise taxes on homes and businesses that survived to make up for the loss.

    The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division has a list of criteria an internship program must meet to be exempt from minimum wage and overtime rules. In a nutshell, the program has to be designed for the benefit of the interns, not the employer.

    Work Advice: Those Infernal ‘Internships’

    Karla L. Miller writes an advice column on navigating the modern workplace. Each week she will answer one or two questions from readers. This week's question deals with internships that feel more like real jobs without the pay and benefits.

    Since the start of the downturn, major chains such as Dollar General Corp. and Family Dollar Stores Inc. have accelerated their growth by transforming stores with wider aisles, better lighting and more name brands. The result is that they’re shedding their image as depots for misfit merchandise and pulling in a wider range of shoppers.

    Dollar stores get spruced up; deals less clear cut

    Since the start of the downturn, major chains such as Dollar General Corp. and Family Dollar Stores Inc. have accelerated their growth by transforming stores with wider aisles, better lighting and more name brands. The result is that they're shedding their image as depots for misfit merchandise and pulling in a wider range of shoppers.

    Bill Acosta sorts Tuesday through his numerous diplomas, awards and other important documents in his basement office on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, New York. Acosta, who is a veteran and has a long record of government service, is upset that FEMA or any other government agency was unable to offer him financial assistance.

    New York City flood protection won’t be easy

    If metropolitan New York is going to defend itself from surges like the one that overwhelmed the region during Superstorm Sandy, decision makers can start by studying how others have fought the threat of fast-rising water. And they must accept an unsettling reality: Limiting the damage caused by flooding will likely demand numerous changes, large and small, and yet even substantial protections will be far from absolute.

    Cars are parked Tuesday near empty spots at a residential building in Hong Kong. Investors looking for new areas to park their cash in Hong Kong are driving up prices for parking spaces, sparking fears of a bubble in the Asian financial center. Prices for parking spots in Hong Kong are nearing historic highs, the side effect of government curbs to cool the housing market amid worries of overheating following the latest round of economic stimulus in the U.S.

    Hong Kong car park investment craze raises bubble fear

    nvestors looking for new places to park their cash in Hong Kong are driving up prices for parking spaces, sparking fears of a bubble in the Asian financial center. Prices for parking spots in Hong Kong are nearing historic highs, the side effect of government curbs to cool the housing market amid worries of overheating following the latest round of monetary stimulus in the U.S. last month.

Life & Entertainment

    Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli is set to headline the Allstate Arena in Rosemont on Sunday, Dec. 2.

    Sunday picks: Bocelli aims for joy in holiday concert

    Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli headlines the Allstate Arena tonight with the World Festival Symphony and guest vocalist Katherine Jenkins. The touring Moscow Ballet brings its “Great Russian Nutcracker” to the Akoo Theatre at Rosemont today. Experience the tradition of winter visits with neighbors during Candlelight at the Inn at Garfield Farm Museum. Band of Horses and Alabama Shakes join forces for a holiday show tonight at the Chicago Theatre.


    Treatment begins with ‘change in culture,’ expert says

    For Dale Mildenberger, the issue of chronic concussions in sports can't be solved by better treatment, better equipment or better awareness of the damage a head injury can cause. Treatment must start at the source of the issue: battling a belief ingrained in the culture of sports that downplaying injuries is not just an expectation, but a requirement.

    A skier makes his way down the slopes in Aspen, Colo.

    Colorado's ski areas hoping for a rebound from disappointing 2012

    A disappointing snow year in much of Colorado ski country last season has the state's resorts and hotels hoping that snowboarders and skiers will burn off some pent-up demand for deep snow this winter. Hotels and resorts in fact are offering discounts and value-oriented deals for those willing to commit early to a Colorado ski trip. “They will come back if the weather is halfway normal,” said David Perry, senior vice president of the mountain division of Aspen Skiing Co.

    Polar Adventure Days will be held at Chicago's Northerly Island.

    On the road: Head Northerly to Polar Adventure Days

    Northerly Island is the perfectly named place for a day of outdoor winter activities courtesy of the Chicago Park District's eighth annual Polar Adventure Days. The fun, family event features enough action to warm body and brain. Also, see Santa Claus arriving on a tugboat at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum during the Christmas Tree Ship Celebration in Manitowoc, Wis.

    A family decides on a Christmas tree during a visit to Richardson Farm in Spring Grove.

    Cutting your own Christmas tree a fun family outing

    If you want to add a natural element to your holiday decorations, a real Christmas tree may be just the thing. Cut-your-own tree farms offer a chance to find that perfect centerpiece for your holiday celebration along with providing a fun outing for the family. Many tree farms offer activities for children such as meeting Santa, petting farm animals, going on wagon rides or warming up with a cup of hot apple cider.


    Planning can help ease those holiday travel headaches

    Airport travel today is difficult for even the frequent flier, but frustrations increase at holiday times. And for senior passengers not used to dealing with long lines and heavy crowds, the challenge can be overwhelming. There are some things you can do to make the journey easier.


    AC units in windows need winter protection

    Q. Should I cover my window air conditioner? I have no one to help and wonder if I can do this myself. I'm a senior citizen. What type of cover should I buy, and how do I measure for it?


    Short trips still tough on engine

    Q. The dealer recommended I have the timing belt changed at a cost of $489.95, transmission flush at $169.95 and coolant flush at $139.95. I keep my 2008 Elantra in the garage when not in use. It is in showroom condition and only has 22,000 miles on it. Is this necessary?


    Zone control systems adjust ducts, room temperatures

    Q. Some rooms in our house are too hot or too cold and someone is always complaining. What can we do to even out the room temperatures to keep everyone happy. Will doing this lower our utility bills?

    New bridge faucets are a modern take off the original design, and can be wall mounted or deck mounted right on the sink.

    Bridge-style faucet makes splash in kitchen

    Q. I'm going to install a new kitchen faucet and sink in the near future. I'm looking at the new bridge-type faucets. When did they come on the scene, how are they installed, and what special considerations do I need to address?

    It's best to carefully shake heavy, wet snow off plants while it's snowing to minimize damage to the plants.

    How to keep snow, animal damage to a minimum

    As winter approaches, the major outdoor gardening tasks will be removing snow and monitoring for animal damage. Install protection now for plants that are likely to be damaged by animals. It is best to keep checking your garden throughout the winter to catch any problems with animals in the early stages so that you can take corrective action as needed.


    “Doc McStuffins’ tops ‘Dora’ among preschoolers

    Walt Disney's "Doc McStuffins" has emerged as the top-rated cable TV show for preschoolers, edging out long-running hit "Dora the Explorer" by Viacom's Nickelodeon.

    The Kirtley family home, 1667 Keim Circle, overlooks the rolling hills of a golf course. This decade-old house exudes warmth and hospitality and is professionally decorated.

    One of Genva’s most notable homes highlights house tour
    Looking for holiday decorating ideas? Get inspired at Geneva's annual Christmas House Tour Dec. 7 and 8. The tour features five distinctive homes ranging from an 80-year-old Tudor in Geneva's historic district to a modern-day beauty overlooking the rolling hills of the Eagle Brook Country Club golf course.


    Sellers refuse to release $900 to pay for taxes due

    Q. My husband and I closed on our first home last December. The attorneys could not agree how to prorate real estate taxes so about $1,500 was held out of the money seller received from the sale until the actual 2011 real estate tax bill came out.

    Actor and singer Lou Wegner, the founder of Kids Against Animal Cruelty, with his rescued dogs, from left, Kippy, Pearl, Draco and Henry in Burbank, Calif.

    Growing animal rescue group the work of teen actor

    The person behind one of the country's fastest-growing animal rescues can't even vote yet. And neither can most of the people leading its 10 chapters across the nation. Lou Wegner, a 16-year-old actor and singer from Columbus, Ohio, started Kids Against Animal Cruelty when he was 14. The organization, which uses social networking to encourage adoptions at high-kill animal shelters, has helped 20,000 pets escape euthanasia in two years.

    Singer, dancer, actress Chita Rivera in a performance of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” in New York.

    Chita Rivera, almost 80, can’t sit still

    Even when she should be relaxing, Chita Rivera just can't. Currently starring in the ensemble musical "The Mystery Of Edwin Drood," the two-time Tony Award-winning singer, dancer and actress spends some time backstage during the show in her dressing room — and isn't used to it. "I play solitaire. I read. I'm thinking of doing needlepoint," she says with a big laugh. "In my DNA, I'm a dancer and we don't sit still. It's just a different formula. I'm loving it. But it's different."


    More buyers drive sales of RVs in 2012

    The RV industry's recovery from the Great Recession has picked up speed. Recreational vehicle makers are churning out higher numbers of travel trailers bound for dealers' lots and, ultimately, campgrounds.

    This silk handkerchief was made during Benjamin Harrison’s successful run for the presidency in 1888.

    Valuing a collectible from the 1888 presidential campaign

    Q. I had my granddad’s silk handkerchief framed under glass. (I hope it was not glued down.) On the bottom is printed, “PATENTED June 28, 1888, A.S. Rosenthal & Co. N.Y.” How would my piece compare to campaign buttons? And what might be the value?


    Loner gal pal can’t be happy, right? Wrong

    Q. I’m male, late 30s. I’ve been seeing a woman, and getting along with her in many great ways, for over a year. One of her strengths is her ability to get along in life on her own; she’s a fairly independent, “lone wolf” type, not afraid to disappear to a foreign country, or the wilderness, by herself.


    Mums are annuals if planted in fall

    Q. Why do mums that I add to my garden in the fall, fair to survive our winters?



    Editorial: Help give kids Hope for the Holidays

    A Daily Herald editorial calls attention to the Hope for the Holidays fund-raising drive that originated from a simple suggestion by a reader.


    Austerity and morality

    Columnist Michael Gerson: The ultimate challenge of austerity politics is to reduce the size of the government without dishonoring the values of the nation.


    Don’t just complain, get involved
    A Streamwood letter to the editor: My heartfelt suggestion to those of us who were disappointed election night is to participate. Run for office. Work for a candidate who reflects your beliefs and concerns. Remember, merely casting one's vote is no longer enough.


    Obama too concerned about appearances?
    An Elk Grove Village letter to the editor: The families of these people deserve the truth; unfortunately, they stand little chance of ever getting it from this administration. Once again the word "shameful" can be used when discussing our current leadership.


    Force politicians to say they lied?
    A Geneva letter to the editor: An article in the Nov. 28 issue of the Daily Herald, "Big tobacco companies ordered to say they lied," gave me a great idea. Would U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler consider applying this same concept to many if not all of our politicians and to all of those in government positions of power, either appointed or elected? I wonder ...


    Legislature must address pensions
    Once again Illinois General Assembly members profited by pandering to their constituents, ignoring the state pension plan debacle and getting re-elected.Now the truth comes out. The Wall Street Journal recently reported Illinois’ abysmal pension investments earnings. In fiscal 2012, the Teachers’ Retirement System had a 0.76-percent return and the State Employees Retirement System earned a measly 0.05 percent. Worse yet, the General Assembly Retirement System had a negative 0.14-percent return. The pension plans assume investments would yield an 8-percent return to help fund defined benefit pension obligations.The state estimates unfunded pensions at $95 billion based on the 8-percent assumption. Any shortfalls eventually have to be made up with larger contributions from taxpayers, or unions and participants need to agree to contribute considerably more. Participants should also be demanding pension boards and fund managers be accountable for their investment incompetency.Like the foolish assumption of an 8-percent return rather than a more realistic 4- to 5-percent return, some voters and plan participants apparently are assuming the politicians will finally get around to making some structural changes like converting to a define-contribution plan. However, there is no evidence the Democratically-controlled legislature will turn their back on their union buddies.If the General Assembly during the lame duck session chooses to continue to abdicate their fiduciary role to maintain financially viable state pension plans, the plans could become “unfixable” and insolvent. Some participants and politicians may be so delusional as to think the feds will bail out Illinois. While marijuana is illegal in Illinois, you have to ask yourself what are they smoking in Springfield?Mike TennisSleepy Hollow


    Licenses for illegal immigrants smokescreen
    An Elgin letter to the editor: These drivers licenses are not about public safety, it's just to coddle illegals for votes and all these roadside safety checks are just for revenue, not safety.


    Overhaul, simplify our tax code
    A Carol Stream letter to the editor: A debate rages in Washington over whether the tax rates should be raised for all Americans or just those over a certain income level. The issue promises to continue to divide America.


    Obama in role of proactive leadership?
    A Wheaton letter to the editor: If the posture of our State Department is any indication of how our people in Benghazi were treated and protected, no wonder we lost four American heroes.


    Cameras in the courtroom: It’s ‘not entertainment’

    Decades after they're been allowed elsewhere, cameras finally made their way to a suburban courtroom two weeks ago. But how prevalent such coverage will become might be stunted by an indifferent public and cautious judges, DuPage Editor Jim Davis observes.


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