Daily Archive : Sunday December 8, 2013


    A Vernon Hills Public Works snowplow clears Fairway Drive as snow blanketed the suburbs Sunday, causes numerous minor crashes, authorities said.

    Wintry mix makes for dangerous driving

    Authorities reported numerous minor crashes and spinouts across the suburbs today as a wintry mix of snow and ice made travel hazardous in some areas. The National Weather Service predicts a total of 1 to 2 inches of accumulation this afternoon and possibly another inch of snow tonight. Football fans will need to bundle up when the Chicago Bears host the Dallas Cowboys tonight.


    Accident halts finale of St. Viator festival

    A dance moderator has an accident that forces Viator to cancel the finale of its Winter Arts Festival.

    An elder woman prays for former South African President Nelson Mandela in the crowed street outside his old house in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday.

    South Africans of all faiths pray for Mandela

    In death, Nelson Mandela unified South Africans of all races and backgrounds Sunday on a day of prayer for the global statesman — from a vaulted cathedral with hymns and incense to a rural, hilltop church with goat-skin drums and barefoot dancing. Mandela was remembered in old bedrocks of resistance to white domination as well as former bastions of loyalty to apartheid.

    Steve Patzer, of St. Charles, decorates his house with Christmas lights Monday. His three daughters are coming home for the holiday, along with some spouses and even three grandchildren. He says he began decorating the house to surprise the girls when they would come home from college, and he’s been keeping the tradition going every year since.

    Images: The Week in Pictures
    This edition of The Week in Pictures features kids shopping for families in need, people decorating for the holiday season, and hundreds and hundreds of Santas running.

    Dozens of pilot whales are stranded in shallow water in a remote area of Florida’s Everglades National Park on Dec. 4.

    Officials find 11 dead whales in Fla. Keys

    National wildlife officials say 11 whales believed to be part of a pod that was stranded in the Everglades are dead. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration official Blair Mase says wildlife workers spotted the dead whales Sunday afternoon on Snipe Point, about six miles north of Sugarloaf Key. That brings the overall death toll to 22.

    Janet Perkins, president of the Portland, Maine, chapter of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, said the group is not keen on the law that went into effect Friday, legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

    Woman’s Christian Temperance Union targeting pot

    The mansion that serves as Maine headquarters of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union lay largely fallow until recently, with drug needles, liquor bottles and pornographic magazines littering the grounds. Now, in the state where Prohibition had its roots and in a city that just legalized recreational marijuana, the WCTU is overhauling the building and looking to reinvent itself.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS This is an example of a counterfeit bottle of wine displayed in a lab run by the French Finance ministry in Bordeaux, southwestern France. Counterfeiting has dogged wine as long as it has been produced, but it is getting more sophisticated and more ambitious.

    As wine fakers get sharper, industry fights back

    Counterfeiting has likely dogged wine as long as it has been produced. In the 18th century, King Louis XV ordered the makers of Cotes du Rhone to brand their barrels with “CDR” before export to prevent fraud. But it is getting more sophisticated and more ambitious, particularly as bottle prices rise due to huge demand in new markets, mainly in Asia.


    Arlington Hts. authorities investigate vehicle fire

    Arlington Heights firefighters responded to a vehicle fire Sunday afternoon in a parking lot near 41 S. Evergreen, in the village’s downtown. There were no injuries, and no property damage aside from the unoccupied Jeep, which authorities said caught fire about 2 p.m. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

    Proponents and opponents of a plan for the Atlanta Braves to build a new baseball stadium in Cobb County hold up their respective signs before the start of a Cobb County commission hearing on the subject, in Marietta, Ga., Nov. 26.

    Tea party battles business over Braves stadium

    A deal for hundreds of millions of dollars in public money to draw the Atlanta Braves north of their downtown home is pitting conservative tea party activists against the elected and civic leaders in the staunch Republican county, with opponents saying the use of public money to help a private business is not what American capitalism should be about.

    Visitors were treated to traditional Christmas cookies Sunday as part of Kline Creek Farm’s representation of an 1890s Christmas. The program, which continues through Dec. 30, gives visitors an idea of how the holidays were celebrated more than 120 years ago.

    It’s beginning to look like (an 1890s) Christmas at Kline Creek

    Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago showed visitors on Sunday how Christmas was celebrated on a farm in the 1890s. The living history museum will continue to offer guided tours of its farmhouse throughout the month of December.


    Mundelein board meets Monday

    The Mundelein village board will meet tonight to discuss the 2013 property tax levy, changes to traffic rules and other business.

    Visitors enter the oldest church in Geneva, the Unitarian Universalist Society, Sunday during the city’s annual Steeple Walk. The Geneva Cultural Arts Commission sponsors the event, in which participants visit four city churches and enjoy musical performances at each.

    Steeple Walk highlights music, history of Geneva churches

    Dozens braved the chilly temperatures, snow and slippery pavement Sunday to take part in the Geneva's annual Steeple Walk. Participants visited four churches in the city and enjoyed a brief musical performance at each.

    Jerod Loeb

    Gift honors late Buffalo Grove police and fire official

    The Joint Commission is donating $10,000 to the village of Buffalo Grove in honor of Dr. Jerod Loeb, a Buffalo Grove fire and police commissioner who lost his two-year battle with prostate cancer on Oct. 9 at age 63.

    The Madison, Wis., based Snuggle House, owned by Matthew Hurtado, seen here, offers people the chance to snuggle with professional cuddlers for $60 an hour. City officials suspect this may be a thinly veiled brothel.

    No hugs allowed? Madison targets pro cuddlers

    Wisconsin’s ultra-liberal capital city is a place where just about anything goes, from street parties to naked bike rides. But city officials say a business is pushing even Madison’s boundaries by offering, of all things, hugs. For $60, customers at the Snuggle House can spend an hour hugging, cuddling and spooning with professional snugglers.

    Sarah Jones, a former Dixie Heights High School teacher and Cincinnati Ben-Gal cheerleader, is suing a controversial gossip website and its owner over lewd comments.

    Internet giants weigh in on defamation lawsuit

    From Twitter and Facebook to Amazon and Google, the biggest names of the Internet are blasting a federal judge’s decision allowing an Arizona-based gossip website to be sued for defamation by a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader convicted of having sex with a teenager.


    Dist. 128 board meets today

    The Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 board will meet today to discuss staffing changes, a plan to fix flooding at Libertyville High School and other issues.


    Cumberland Circle improvements to be discussed

    A public hearing regarding the Phase I design of proposed improvements to Cumberland Circle — the traffic circle at Golf and Wolf roads in Des Plaines, is scheduled for 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11 at Chippewa Middle School, 123 N. Eighth Ave.


    Burgers raise money for March of Dimes

    A Stevenson High School Burger Challenge at Tom and Eddie’s restaurant in Vernon Hills raised $136 for the March of Dimes.


    Open house on long-range transporation plan

    An open house regarding the proposed Lake County Year 2040 Transportation Plan will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Lake County Division of Transportation office, 600 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville.

    Northwest Flyers President J.P. Skip Barchfeld helps Santa get out of a helicopter Sunday as he arrives for Santa’s Flight to Schaumburg at the Schaumburg Regional Airport. The holiday event, sponsored by the Schaumburg Park District and The Northwest Flyers, drew about 300 to the airport for a visit with Santa, along with games and crafts.

    No reindeer necessary for Santa’s Schaumburg visit

    Santa Claus came to town Sunday, but Rudolph, Donner, Blitzen and the rest of the reindeer gang was nowhere to be found. Instead, the Jolly Old Elf arrived by helicopter to the Schaumburg Regional Airport, where he was greeted by about a couple hundred excited youngsters and their families for the Schaumburg Park District’s annual “Santa’s Flight to Schaumburg.”


    Bollig visits Elk Grove Village

    Brandon Bollig of the Chicago Blackhawks is coming to Coach’s Corner, 152 W. Biesterfield Road, Elk Grove Village, from 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18. He’ll hold a question and answer session and an autograph signing.


    Suit: Carpentersville cop’s laptop to blame for crash that injured sisters

    Two Gilberts sisters have sued a Carpentersville police officer, the police department and village, seeking damages from a May crash in which the officer claimed his front-seat laptop computer partially blocked his view. “That’s what he said in the police report,” said David Petrich, attorney for plaintiffs Alli and Crystal Giblin.

    In this image from video provided by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, a man kicks the wrong leg as a doctor checks his reflexes in an ad from the Midwestern insurer. Wellmark launched ads recently in Iowa and South Dakota poking fun at technical problems that have plagued the federal governmentís insurance enrollment website while trying to lure away some potential customers.

    Iowa insurer pokes fun at federal website in ads

    A Midwestern company not participating in the federal health insurance marketplace next year launched ads recently in Iowa and South Dakota that poke fun at the technical problems that have plagued the federal government’s enrollment website.

    Pro-European Union activists shout slogans during a rally in the Independence Square, Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday. The third week of protests continue Sunday with an estimated 200,000 Ukrainians occupying central Kiev to denounce President Viktor Yanukovychís decision to turn away from Europe and align this ex-Soviet republic with Russia.

    Ukraine sees largest anti-govt protest since 2004

    Hundreds of thousands of protesters poured into the streets of Ukraine’s capital on Sunday, toppling a statue of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin and blockading key government buildings in an escalating standoff with the president over the future of the country.

    Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s former wife, left, and South African President Jacob Zuma, right, attend a memorial service for Mandela at the Bryanston Methodist Church in Bryanston suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday. South Africa is readying itself for the arrival of a flood of world leaders for the memorial service and funeral for Nelson Mandela.

    Presidents, royalty expected for Mandela memorial

    The memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela on Tuesday is poised to be one of the largest such gatherings in generations with tens of thousands of local mourners and dozens of foreign leaders expected. South African officials say the normal seating capacity of Johannesburg’s FNB stadium probably won’t suffice to accommodate all mourners.

    Members of the African National Congress sing to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela outside his old house in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday. South Africans flocked to houses of worship Sunday for a national day of prayer and reflection to honor Mandela, starting planned events that will culminate in what is expected to be one of the biggest funerals in modern times.

    Friend: Mandela not on life support in final hours

    Nelson Mandela wasn’t on life support and had many family members and doctors close by in his final hours, a family friend who was at his bedside said Sunday. Bantu Holomisa told The Associated Press that he had been called to Mandela’s home on Thursday by the family so he could visit the anti-apartheid icon before he died.

    South Korean President Park Geun-hye, right, shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden before their meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Friday.

    Analysis: Crises in Asia let Biden show U.S. resolve

    From one capital to the next on his Asian tour, Vice President Joe Biden found himself at the center of disputes. The intense diplomacy on issues far removed from Washington made clear the degree to which leaders in Asia still look to America to try to solve problems when it seems like no one else can.

    Christine Amario charts some information in the nursing lab classroom, part of the career-science-and math-oriented curriculum at Wheeling High School.

    Was STEM a success? Wheeling High say yes

    Wheeling High School and its innovative math-and-science-based STEM approach to education have drawn praise far and wide. Despite that, its standardized test scores remain flat. Educators say that hardly makes the program a failure. Compared to similar schools with similar numbers of at-risk students, WHS is a success, they say.

    Teachers' Retirement System Executive Director Dick Ingram answers questions during a 2012 meeting in Schaumburg about proposed pension changes.

    Should state workers retire before pension law kicks in?

    Big changes to Illinois' pension plans come with talk of teachers and other state workers considering retiring early to try to avoid cuts, potentially leaving schools and agencies short of seasoned help. But it's not clear retiring early would be such a good idea for many of them.

    Instead of requesting a dream vacation or a chance to swim with dolphins, Ravina Thakkar asked Make-A-Wish to help her become a published author. Ravina and her mom, Krishna, celebrate the success on Ravina's 14th birthday with her novel, published this week by Sourcebooks of Naperville.

    One girl's novel request for Make-A-Wish

    Instead of using her Make-A-Wish wish for a vacation or a chance to swim with dolphins, Ravina Thakkar wanted to realize her dream of becoming a published author. The eighth-grader will be signing copies of her new book Sunday at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville.

    OMGIMAGES Even if the weather outside is frightful, holiday lights will make your yard delightful.

    There’s still time to enter our holiday lights contest

    Yeah, it’s cold outside, but those holiday lights aren’t going to hang themselves. Bundle up and start decorating. You could win a snowblower for your efforts.


    Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford is helped off the ice after suffering an injury during the first period Sunday night.

    Crawford injured in Blackhawks’ victory

    The Blackhawks might be struggling on the penalty kill, but there was nothing wrong with the power play Sunday night. Scoring 2 power-play goals in the first 10 minutes and 3 for the game, the Hawks rode the quick start to a 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers at the United Center to end a three-game losing streak. The victory was tempered, however, by an injury to goalie Corey Crawford in the first period.

    Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad (20) celebrates scoring a goal against the Florida Panthers during the third period of an NHL hockey game on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, at United Center.

    Without Crawford, Blackhawks top Panthers

    Patrick Sharp had a goal and two assists, and the Blackhawks scored a season-high three times on the power play in a 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Sunday night at United Center.The Blackhawks used their potent offense to win after starting goalie Corey Crawford left in the first period because of a lower-body injury.Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook and Brandon Saad each had goal and an assist, and Michal Handzus and Andrew Shaw also scored. Patrick Kane had three assists for Chicago, which ended a three-game losing streak — its longest regular-season skid since February 2012.Rookie Antti Raanta, recalled after veteran backup Nikolai Khabublin was injured on Nov. 16, stopped 29 of 31 shots for the win in relief of Crawford, who made four saves.Crawford was forced out with 6:15 left in the first, and the Blackhawks ahead 2-0, moments after he went down to make a right pad save on Marcel Goc. He was unable to get back up on his skates, and had to be helped from the ice by teammates and a trainer.Raanta was able to finish the game despite being elbowed in the head by Florida’s Jimmy Hayes in a collision midway through the third period.Dylan Olsen and Goc scored for Florida. Scott Clemmensen made 26 saves in his third start and fifth appearance this season.The Blackhawks went 3-for-4 on the power-play and stopped all five Florida advantages.Olsen, a defenseman who was traded from Chicago to Florida on Nov. 14, connected in his first game against his former team.Sharp and Seabrook scored power-play goals in the first period to give Chicago a 2-0 lead.Sharp opened the scoring 1:10 in. His shot from the top of the slot sailed past Clemmensen.Seabrook made it 2-0 when he pinched to the right circle, took a cross-ice pass from Saad, and fired in a low shot.Raanta made a couple of close-in saves late in the first to preserve the lead.Hossa increased Chicago’s advantage to 3-0 just 37 seconds into the second, popping in a rebound of Sharp’s shot.Olsen cut it to 3-1 at 4:05 when he closed in from the left point and beat Raanta with a high screened shot.Goc trimmed it to 3-2 with an unassisted goal after Raanta failed to clear the puck off the boards.Handzus’ goal with 2:34 left in the second made it 4-2.Shaw’s power-play goal at 2:44 of the third, extended Chicago’s lead to three goals.Hayes knocked off Raanta’s mask at 8:39 of the third when he drove hard to the net.Saad completed the scoring on a breakaway with 56 seconds left.

    Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith, right, defends against Bulls forward Taj Gibson on Saturday night at the United Center.

    Dunleavy sees hope for Bulls

    The Bulls endured another ugly, shorthanded loss on Saturday against Detroit. But to someone who has seen his fair share of rough times in the NBA, Mike Dunleavy still feels good about the Bulls' chances of putting things back together this season.


    Wolves rally late, win in shootout

    The Chicago Wolves scored with 17.6 seconds left to tie the game in regulation and went 3-for-4 in the shootout to defeat the Oklahoma City Barons 5-4 on Sunday at the Allstate Arena.


    Kruger weighs in on Blackhawks’ penalty-kill woes

    Marcus Kruger has been the Blackhawks’ best penalty killer over the past two seasons, and Sunday he weighed in on a problem that continues to be a sore spot in an otherwise stellar year. The Hawks started the action Sunday still ranked 29th in the NHL in penalty killing.

    Northern Illinois head coach Rod Carey will lead his team Dec. 26 onto the field at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

    NIU going to Poinsettia Bowl

    SAN DIEGO — Star dual-threat quarterback Jordan Lynch and the No. 24. Northern Illinois Huskies will face Mountain West Conference Mountain Division champion Utah State in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 26 at Qualcomm Stadium.Northern Illinois (12-1) saw its hopes of playing in a BCS game dashed by a 47-27 loss to Bowling Green in the Mid-American Conference title game.Lynch ran for 1,881 yards, an NCAA record for quarterbacks, and passed for 2,676.Utah State (8-5) lost 24-17 to No. 21 Fresno State in the inaugural Mountain West title game Saturday night. It will play in its school-record third straight bowl game.


    Wind a bigger factor than cold for Bears’ offense

    Bears coach Marc Trestman says the expected cold weather Monday night won't affect his team's offense much, as long as the low temperatures aren't accompanied by high winds.

    Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin (1) celebrates his touchdown catch against Duke in the second half of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship NCAA football game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013.

    Florida State, Auburn to meet in BCS title game

    As college football prepares for the final Bowl Championship Series, featuring a Florida State-Auburn championship game, it’s easy to see why the coming four-team playoff won’t solve all the postseason problems.Heck, we might just miss the BCS. Maybe?It sort of worked out this season. Top-ranked Florida State (13-0) was the only team to get through the regular season unbeaten, and the Seminoles did it in dominating fashion. Auburn (12-1) won the Southeastern Conference, and among the teams with imperfect records the Tigers’ resume is best.The pairings become official Sunday night when the final BCS standings came out, but there’s no question about 1 and 2. It’ll be the `Noles and Tigers at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 6 for the national championship.In the other marquee bowls:Ÿ Alabama will play Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.Ÿ Clemson will play Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.Ÿ Michigan State will play Stanford in the Rose Bowl.Ÿ Baylor will play UCF in the Fiesta Bowl.Of course, Big 12 champion Baylor (11-1) and Big Ten champion Michigan State (12-1) might argue with that top two. But over 16 seasons college football fans have built up what can be called BCS acceptance, learning to live with the fact that there is only room for two.Fans of particularly aggrieved teams (2000 Miami, 2004 Auburn, 2008 Texas, just to name a few) still burn over the slights. Generally, though, by the time the championship game kicked off, most everybody was on board.Now think about this season playing out under next season’s format. In the new world order known as the College Football Playoff, a selection committee will pick four teams to play in two national semifinals. The winners play for the national title.So how would a panel that includes Tom Osborne, Archie Manning and Condoleezza Rice sort out this season’s top four?Florida State and Auburn, of course. And .... Baylor and Michigan State? But what about Pac-12 champion Stanford (11-2)? Sure the Cardinal have two losses, but as Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said Saturday at the end of a week in which he and the rest of the SEC practically begged voters to overlook the number in the loss column and focus on quality of opposition: “I have nine words. Strength of schedule. Strength of schedule. Strength of schedule.” Among this season’s best teams, Stanford played the toughest schedule.And what about Alabama (11-1)? The two-time defending national champions only lost once in stunning fashion to Auburn.“We’re not a natural playoff sport,” said Duke coach David Cutcliffe, who was the offensive coordinator at Tennessee when it won the first BCS championship game against Florida State in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl. “I think we can make this work with four.“And the reason I think we’ll make this work is I think what we’re all going to find out is the arguments are going to get bigger. We’re going to go from a few schools being angry to a lot of schools being angry, and maybe that’s going to be a good thing. I just want to be in the argument.”Florida State showed Cutcliffe how far away Duke is from being in the argument in a 45-7 victory Saturday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.The Seminoles’ season has been defined by blowouts. Their average margin of victory is 42 points, and they could become just the third team in major college history to win all of its games by at least 14. The only drama this season in Tallahassee, Fla., came off the field, when quarterback Jameis Winston was investigated for sexual assault. The state attorney said there was not enough evidence to charge the redshirt freshman with a crime two days before the Seminoles beat Duke.Winston is the runaway favorite to win the Heisman Trophy next Saturday. He would be the ninth Heisman winner to play in the BCS title game.

    Michigan State’s Connor Cook holds a rose after Michigan State defeated Ohio State, 34-24 in the Big Ten Conference championship NCAA college football game Saturday Dec. 7, 2013, in Indianapolis.

    Stanford, Michigan State headed to 100th Rose Bowl

    PASADENA, Calif. — Michigan State and Stanford have been selected for the Rose Bowl’s centennial.The No. 4 Spartans will face the fifth-ranked Cardinal on Jan. 1 in the 100th edition of the Rose Bowl game, pitting two venerable programs in Pasadena’s traditional Midwest-West Coast intersectional matchup.Michigan State (12-1) upset Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game on Saturday to earn its first trip to Pasadena since Jan. 1, 1988, when the Spartans beat USC 20-17.Stanford (11-2) is back in Pasadena for the second straight season after trouncing Arizona State in the Pac-12 title game on Saturday. The powerful Cardinal held off Wisconsin 20-14 last season for the school’s first Rose Bowl victory in 40 years.

    Greg Maddux might not say he think it’s a slam-dunk that he will be an overwhelming first-ballot Hall of Famer, but most everybody else sure says so.

    Will Maddux approach Seaver for highest Hall vote?

    Tom Seaver has the highest percentage of votes ever for the Baseball Hall of Fame at 98.84. If there were any justice, Greg Maddux would come close if not eclipse that number when it’s announced in early January that he’s been elected.

    Coach Marc Trestman knows his offense can’t keep failing on short-yardage situations if the Bears are to stay in the playoff hunt.

    Bears’ offense needs to step up the short game

    Short-yardage situations have been a long shot for the Bears' offense in recent weeks, and that need to improve tonight against the high-scoring Dallas Cowboys in a nationally televised contest at Soldier Field.


    Rivers helps Chargers beat Giants

    SAN DIEGO — Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers still have Eli Manning’s number.Not the one briefly issued to Manning at the 2004 NFL draft, of course. Just another victory against him.Rivers found rookie Keenan Allen for two of his three touchdown passes, and the Chargers beat Manning and the New York Giants 37-14 Sunday to keep alive their long-shot playoff hopes.The Chargers (6-7) won for just the second time in six games.Manning dropped to 0-3 against San Diego since 2004, when the Chargers took him with the No. 1 overall draft pick and then sent him a short time later to the Giants for Rivers and a handful of draft picks. The Giants (5-8) were pushed closer to elimination from the playoff picture.Manning was picked off twice, the first time when Donald Butler came up with a deflected pass midway through the first quarter. Three plays later, Allen got open for a 43-yard play that he completed by lunging for the pylon for the score.Allen had three catches to push his season total to 61, breaking LaDainian Tomlinson’s team rookie record of 59 in 2001.Rivers was 21 of 28 for 249 yards before being replaced by Charlie Whitehurst with more than five minutes left.Manning was 20 of 32 for 259 yards, with one TD.Allen also had a 4-yard TD catch and Danny Woodhead grabbed a 6-yard scoring reception.Manning also lost to the Chargers in 2005, when Drew Brees was still their starting quarterback, and in 2009, when Rivers threw three touchdown passes, including a last-minute, game-winner to Vincent Jackson.New York lost for just the second time in seven games following an 0-6 start.The Chargers are tied with the New York Jets, one game behind Baltimore and Miami in the race for the second AFC wild-card spot. The Chargers visit Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Thursday night. The Broncos beat the Chargers 28-20 on Nov. 10.Allen was hurt while making a 12-yard catch late in the first quarter and went into the locker room. He returned late in the second quarter and caught his second scoring pass to give San Diego a 17-0 lead.A 36-yard field goal by Nick Novak and Rivers’ TD pass to Woodhead — which was set up by Marcus Gilchrist’s recovery of Andrew Brown’s fumble — helped the Chargers take a 24-0 halftime lead.The Chargers blew a 24-0 halftime lead to Peyton Manning and the Broncos last year, but weren’t about to do to same to Manning’s little brother and the Giants.Rivers was sacked by Justin Tuck and fumbled on the first possession of the second half, with Cullen Jenkins recovering at the 18 to set up Peyton Hillis’ 1-yard scoring run.Rivers appeared to injure his neck when he dove for the loose ball but stayed in the game.Ryan Mathews scored on a 1-yard run to cap an 11-play, 80-yard drive that was all on the ground except for a pass from Rivers to Vincent Brown that drew a 36-yard pass interference call against linebacker Spencer Paysinger.Manning threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Myers and Novak added field goals of 27 and 43 yards, all in the fourth quarter.


    Cardinals beat Rams 30-10

    GLENDALE, Ariz. — Carson Palmer completed 27 of 32 passes, 12 of them to Larry Fitzgerald, and the Arizona Cardinals ended an eight-game losing streak against NFC West foes by beating the St. Louis Rams 30-10 on Sunday.Palmer, questionable for the game with a sore right elbow, threw for 269 yards and a touchdown as the Cardinals (8-5) won for the fifth time in six games. Arizona’s Karlos Dansby returned an interception 23 yards for a touchdown and John Abraham tackled Kellen Clemens for a safety.Tavon Austin’s 56-yard run set up the only touchdown for the Rams (5-8), a 1-yard run by Zac Stacy. Austin injured his left ankle on the play and didn’t return.The Cardinals lost rookie safety Tyrann Mathieu in the third quarter with a left knee injury.


    Dawson field goal lifts 49ers over Seattle

    SAN FRANCISCO — Phil Dawson kicked a 22-yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining and the San Francisco 49ers held off the Seattle Seahawks 19-17 on Sunday.Frank Gore broke a 51-yard gain with just more than four minutes left to set up the go-ahead 11-play, 76-yard drive as the 49ers (9-4) kept the playoff-bound Seahawks (11-2) from clinching the NFC West on San Francisco’s home field.Dawson’s fourth field goal of the day gave him 20 straight converted field goals, a franchise record topping Joe Nedney’s 18 consecutive in 2006-07.Russell Wilson threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Luke Willson and Marshawn Lynch ran for an 11-yard score for Seattle, denied a franchise-best sixth road victory.The 49ers are unbeaten at home against the West since losing to the Seahawks on Oct. 26, 2008.

    Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker scores against the Tennessee Titans during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Denver.

    Broncos beat Titans 51-28

    DENVER — The freezing cold didn’t bother Peyton Manning and it certainly was no problem for Matt Prater. The Broncos kicker lashed a record-setting 64-yard field goal through the icy air Sunday to highlight a 51-28 victory over the Tennessee Titans. The Broncos (11-2) wrapped up a playoff berth, putting Manning in the postseason for the 13th time.Manning, whose ability in the cold has been a topic of debate all month in Denver, showed very few signs of distress in clear, 18-degree weather. It hardly was like the snowy, wacky day all across the NFL. Denver’s quarterback completed a team-record 39 passes and matched the franchise high with 59 attempts. He finished with 397 yards, and led the Broncos past the 50-point mark for the third time this year. But Manning and Prater were about the only Broncos clicking on all cylinders on the day coach John Fox rejoined the team and coached from the sideline after missing four games because of heart surgery. The special teams gave up a 95-yard kickoff return — the second return of 90-plus it has allowed in the last two games. The Titans (5-8) burned the Denver defense frequently, most notably when Ryan Fitzpatrick (13 for 24, 172 yards) picked on rookie cornerback Kayvon Webster on the first drive for a 57-yard completion to Justin Hunter that set up the game’s first touchdown. There were about a half-dozen dropped passes and the Broncos had a whale of a time punching the ball in from the 1. They snapped the ball 11 times from that distance in order to get two touchdowns and a field goal. It turned Prater’s record-setting attempt into much more than a theatrical flourish, which is what most field goals are for a team that has now put up 515 points through 13 games. Denver had cut a 21-10 deficit to 21-17 before halftime and a penalty forced Manning to start from his 15 with 52 seconds left. An 18-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas got the ball near midfield with 7 seconds left. Then Manning completed a quick 7-yard pass to Jacob Tamme, who went out of bounds with 3 seconds to go. On came Prater. With the mercury at 14 degrees, he lined up on the right hash mark at his 46, just a few steps over from the eye of the Broncos logo at midfield. The kick cleared the crossbar with a bit of room to spare, and holder Britton Colquitt jumped piggyback onto the kicker to celebrate. Prater broke a record held by four kickers, set first in 1970 by Tom Dempsey and most recently by David Akers, whose kick last season in Green Bay bounced on the crossbar before going over. Manning led the Broncos on an 80-yard scoring drive to open the third quarter and the Broncos didn’t trail again. The quarterback’s 4,522 yards and 45 touchdowns this season remain on pace to break the NFL records of 5,476 and 50.

    Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater, left, celebrates a 64-yard field goal with Britton Colquitt during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Denver.

    Prater kicks record 64-yard field goal

    DENVER — Denver kicker Matt Prater kicked an NFL-record 64-yard field goal as the first half expired in the Broncos’ game against Tennessee on Sunday.Prater’s kick on a clear day in 14-degree weather with nary a hint of wind barely cleared the crossbar.Prater spread his arms and hollered. His holder, Britton Colquitt, jumped on his back in jubilation as their teammates rushed into the tunnel for halftime.The record-breaking kick cut Tennessee’s lead to 21-20 at the break.The 64-yarder bested the record of 63 set by New Orleans’ Tom Dempsey in 1970 and tied by Denver’s Jason Elam in 1998, Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski in 2011 and San Francisco’s David Akers last season.Janikowski’s and Elam’s kicks also came in Denver’s thin air. Prater has long said he figured his only chance of breaking the record would be to do it in September before the weather gets nasty in Denver.But this was the coldest game of the season for the Broncos, although the temperature at kickoff of 18 degrees was much better than it had been during the week, when the Broncos practiced in temperatures ranging from zero to 3 degrees.It didn’t appear Prater would get his chance at a long field goal when the Broncos got the ball with 52 seconds left in the first half because Steven Johnson’s block-in-the-back penalty moved Denver back to its 15-yard line. Then, a false start on right tackle Orlando Franklin moved them back to the 10.They lost their last timeout when receiver Wes Welker was injured moments later, so they ran a play to Jacob Tamme, who got out of bounds at the Tennessee 46 with 3 seconds left.That brought out the field goal unit and Colquitt lined up at the right hash mark on the 46 on Denver’s side of the 50-yard line.Titans kick returner Leon Washington lined up at the back of the end zone, ready to return the ball if it fell short — after all, nobody had ever kicked one that far in a game, although kickers nowadays routinely kick them farther in warm-ups without a rush or pressure.All Washington had, however, was the best view of the longest field goal in NFL history, turning to watch it clear the crossbar, then trotting off the field as the officials raised their arms in the air.

    Auburn’s Jordan Granger (25) and Illinois’ Joseph Bertrand (2) battle for the rebound as Illinois’ Jon Ekey (33) looks on in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Atlanta.

    Illinois builds early lead, beats Auburn

    ATLANTA — Rayvonte Rice scored 22 points Sunday and Illinois made a season-high 12 3-point shots in an 81-62 rout of Auburn in Philips Arena. The junior guard and his teammates seemed to feel more at home than when in Atlanta five days earlier.The Illini (8-1) led 60-47 late in their game Tuesday at nearby Georgia Tech only to lose 67-64 after the Yellow Jackets closed with a 19-4 blitz.Sunday in Philips Arena, where Auburn (4-3) was considered the “home” team one year after playing Illinois at Chicago’s United Center, Illinois led 41-17 at halftime, and by 32 in the second half. They shot 61.5 percent (32 of 52), and 52.2 percent from beyond the arc (12 of 23). “The thing I liked the most was our guys’ response after Tuesday night,” said Illinois coach John Groce. “I thought we got off to a great start at both ends. In the first half, the offense and the defense were both an A . . . the best 20 minutes we’ve played this year.”Rice, the Illini’s leading scorer at 18 points per game, didn’t score in the first 15:34. His layup with 4:26 remaining triggered a 15-2 Illinois run, however, to close the first half. Fellow junior Tracy Abrams added 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists as the visitors played like they owned the place. It appeared there were more Illinois fans in Philips than Auburn fans less than 24 hours after the Tigers beat Missouri in the SEC football Championship Game across the street in the Georgia Dome.“We just came out and threw the first punch; coach emphasized that,” Rice said after making 8 of 12 shots, including a pair of treys. “We were definitely mad about the loss at Georgia Tech.”Former Auburn star Charles Barkley was in attendance and the Tigers could have used the 1984 SEC Player of the Year.Senior guard Chris Denson entered the game as the SEC’s leading scorer at nearly 22 points per game, but with Rice and Joseph Bertrand chiefly tasked with defending him, Denson scored just eight points on 3-for-7 shooting.Illinois was averaging just over six made 3-pointers a game, yet topped that in the first half in making 7 of 13 while Auburn missed all four of its shots from distance.“With their defensive scheme (designed) to cut off penetration and cutting off drivers . . . our guys saw that and were willing to kick it out, make the extra pass and be unselfish,” Groce said. “Fortunately, we made some shots.”Auburn (4-3) was led by junior guard KT Harrell’s 23 points, and freshman point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen added 13 in a return to his hometown.The Tigers, however, shot just 40 percent and that number was bumped up as they warmed up late while closing the game with a 22-8 run mostly against younger Illini players. Auburn shot just 6 of 23 (26.1 percent) in the first half.Auburn starting power forward Jordon Granger did not score and center Benas Griciunas had just two points. “We let our anemic offense . . . how many possessions in a row did we go and not score?” said Tigers coach Tony Barbee. “We’re not getting any production out of our (power forwards) and (centers). Nothing.”Abrams was in the middle of just about everything that Illinois did on the way to a 41-17 halftime lead. He hit 3-of-5 3-pointers and scored 11 points while grabbing four rebounds with two assists and a pair of steals.Illinois scored the final 11 points of the first half.The Illini’s previous high for 3-pointers made was 10, against Bradley, in an 81-55 win on Nov. 17.

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, right, celebrates his go-ahead touchdown pass with center Ryan Wendell (62) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots came from behind to win 27-26.

    Pats beat Browns with TD after onside kick

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes in the final 61 seconds, helping the New England Patriots rally for a 27-26 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.The Patriots (10-3) cut the deficit to 26-21 on Brady’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman with 1:01 left. Then Kyle Arrington recovered the onside kick at the Cleveland 40-yard line.Brady completed a 10-yard pass to Danny Amendola. Then Leon McFadden was called for defensive pass interference in the end zone. That put the ball at the 1 where Brady connected with Amendola again.The Browns (4-9) then moved the ball to the Patriots 40 with 1 second left, but Billy Cundiff missed a 58-yard field goal.New England lost tight end Rob Gronkowski to a leg injury in the third quarter.

    Green Bay Packers’ Andrew Quarless (81) is congratulated by Jarrett Boykin (11) after catching a touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis.

    Packers end 5-game slide, beat Falcons

    GREEN BAY, Wis. — Matt Flynn threw for 258 yards and the Packers’ struggling defense forced a key fourth-quarter turnover in a 22-21 win Sunday over the Atlanta Falcons to snap a five-game winless slide.Mike Neal’s sack forced Matt Ryan to fumble. Defensive lineman Johnny Jolly scooped up the loose ball and celebrated with a little belly dance at chilly Lambeau Field. Four plays later, Flynn found Andrew Quarless for a 2-yard touchdown pass for the go-ahead score with about 12 minutes left for the Packers (6-6-1).The score completed a comeback from an 11-point halftime deficit and whipped the fans swathed in parkas and knit caps into a frigid frenzy. It was 9 degrees when the game started, with a wind chill of minus-1.Matt Bryant missed a 52-yard field goal with 6:42 left for Atlanta (3-10).

    Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) catches a 9-yard touchdown pass against Indianapolis Colts free safety Darius Butler (20) in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Cincinnati.

    Bengals beat Colts to stay perfect at home

    CINCINNATI — Andy Dalton regained his passing touch on a wintery afternoon, keeping the Cincinnati Bengals firmly in control of the AFC North.Dalton threw for three touchdowns and ran for another on Sunday, giving his best performance since October, and the Cincinnati Bengals remained perfect at home with a 42-28 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.The Bengals (9-4) improved to 6-0 at Paul Brown Stadium on a cold, windy day — 28 degrees at kickoff with a wind chill of 19 and light flurries.Dalton threw for three touchdowns as the Bengals went up 21-0 and stayed ahead. His 8-yard run finished it off in the fourth quarter. Dalton was 24 of 35 for 275 yards without a sack or interception.BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs — one of them on a review that overturned a call — as the Bengals piled up 430 yards.The Colts (8-5) had another slow start in the cold, falling behind 21-0 before Andrew Luck threw four touchdown passes to keep them close. They never caught up as Dalton got the better of a head-to-head matchup of up-and-coming quarterbacks from Texas. Despite the loss, the Colts were in position to clinch the AFC South later Sunday if Tennessee lost at Denver.Indianapolis is in good shape but has some concerns. The Colts were drubbed 40-11 in Arizona two games ago and needed Adam Vinatieri’s five field goals to beat Tennessee 22-14 last week.The Bengals are having their best season at home since 1988, when they won all eight regular-season home games and two playoff games on the way to a second Super Bowl appearance and loss to San Francisco.They’re in position to clinch their first AFC North title since 2009 with two home games in the last three weeks.Dalton was the AFC’s offensive player of the month for October, but has been inconsistent since then. He was sharp from the outset on Sunday, completing 6 of 7 for 81 yards on the Bengals’ first drive, including a 29-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones.The Colts have been outscored 49-9 in the first quarters of their past six games.The Bengals got a pivotal touchdown on a reversed call with 1:06 left in the first half. They went for it on fourth down from the Colts 1-yard line, and Green-Ellis tripped and his knee hit at the 1 before he stretched into the end zone. He was initially ruled down — he started tripping after nose tackle Josh Chapman dived and swiped at his foot — but the officials overturned the call, deciding Green-Ellis had tripped on his own.Trailing 21-0, Luck finally rallied the Colts.He completed a slant pass that Da’Rick Rogers took 69 yards for a touchdown and another short pass that LaVon Brazill turned into a 19-yard touchdown, slipping through the hands of six defenders.Dalton and the Bengals never let the Colts get closer than seven points.Both teams reconfigured their offensive lines because of injuries. Cincinnati’s had a good day in the cold. Dalton wasn’t sacked, and Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard ran for a combined 147 yards.

    Miami Dolphins tight end Charles Clay (42) celebrates with Mike Pouncey (51) and Daniel Thomas (33) after scoring a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013.

    Dolphins shake off snow, Steelers

    PITTSBURGH — Once the Miami Dolphins got used to the snow, the Pittsburgh Steelers were no problem.Charles Clay caught two touchdowns, including a 12-yard pass from Ryan Tannehill with 2:53 remaining and the Miami Dolphins beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-28 on Sunday.Daniel Thomas ran for 105 yards and a score. His zig-zag 55-yard yard burst at snowy Heinz Field set up Clay’s game-winner. Tannehill completed 20 of 33 passes for 201 yards and three scores for the Dolphins (7-6). Miami blew a 10-point third-quarter lead but rallied to win for the third time in its last four games.Ben Roethlisberger passed for 297 yards and three scores but the Steelers (5-8) lost their second straight game to all but end any outside shot of making the postseason. Antonio Brown raced into the end zone after a series of laterals on the final play, but officials ruled he stepped out before scoring.

    New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) spikes the ball after scoring on a touchdown run against the Oakland Raiders during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J.

    Smith leads Jets to victory over Raiders

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Geno Smith did it all for the New York Jets’ suddenly resurgent offense.A week after being benched, the rookie quarterback threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score. The Jets set a season high for points and stopped a three-game skid with a 37-27 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.Chris Ivory had a touchdown run, Nick Folk kicked three field goals and Antonio Allen blocked a punt and returned it for a score to help the Jets (6-7) in the AFC playoff hunt. Smith ended a miserable stretch that included getting benched last week by throwing his first touchdown toss since Week 7. He finished 16 of 25 with an interception, and ran five times for 50 yards.The win also prevented the Jets’ first four-game losing streak under coach Rex Ryan.Matt McGloin threw two touchdown passes and fullback Marcel Reece, starting because Oakland was down three injured running backs, had a 63-yard touchdown run for the Raiders (4-9). Oakland has lost three straight overall, and 13 in a row in games played in the Eastern time zone.With the Jets leading 3-0 after Folk’s 41-yard field goal, Smith threw his 20th interception, to Kevin Burnett. The sparse crowd at MetLife Stadium booed loudly, but Sebastian Janikowski missed a 52-yard field goal.Despite Smith’s turnover, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg went right back to the pass on the next drive. Smith lofted a pass that a leaping Jeremy Kerley came down with for a 25-yard touchdown and a 10-0 lead.It was Smith’s first TD pass since Oct. 20 against New England and his second in eight games. It was also New York’s first touchdown of any kind in nine quarters.Terrelle Pryor came in at quarterback on Oakland’s third offensive series, possibly to take advantage of his athleticism and offset the Raiders’ lack of running backs with Darren McFadden, Rashad Jennings and Jeremy Stewart all inactive with injuries.Pryor led a drive capped by a 41-yard field goal by Janikowski. Then McGloin returned and, on third-and-9 from the 3, Ed Reed got his 62nd career interception and first as a Jet to give New York the ball at the 4. Folk made a 23-yard field goal.Allen blocked Marquette King’s punt, recovered it and returned it for a touchdown to put New York ahead 20-3. Oakland got on the scoreboard right away in the second half as Reece zipped up the middle for a 63-yard touchdown. The Jets came right back as Smith ran left and had a clear lane into the end zone for an 8-yard score — his fourth of the season.McGloin connected with Rod Streater on a 48-yard touchdown pass on a ball threaded between Reed and Antonio Cromartie, who smacked into each other.But Ivory blasted into the end zone from 15 yards, slipping out of three tackle attempts and dragging a fourth Raiders defender over the goal line for a 37-20 lead. The play was set up by Smith’s 32-yard scramble.McGloin connected with Mychal Rivera on a 1-yard touchdown with 2:24 remaining. McGloin was 18 of 31 for 245 yards and two scores.

    Philadelphia Eagles’ DeSean Jackson (10) is tackled by Detroit Lions’ Jeremy Ross (12) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Philadelphia.

    McCoy runs for 217, Eagles beat Lions

    PHILADELPHIA — LeSean McCoy rushed for a franchise-best 217 yards, including touchdowns of 57 and 40 yards, and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame two TD returns by Jeremy Ross to beat the Detroit Lions 34-20 in blizzard conditions Sunday.Ross returned a punt 58 yards for a score and ran a kickoff 98 yards. But McCoy ran 57 yards up the middle to tie it, and Nick Foles connected with Riley Cooper on the 2-point conversion. Foles sneaked in from the 1 and Chris Polk had a 38-yard TD run to cap a 28-point fourth quarter for the Eagles (8-5).The Eagles, looking to go worst-to-first in the NFC East, won their fifth straight game and temporarily took sole possession of first place. Dallas (7-5) plays at Chicago on Monday night.The Lions (7-6) have a half-game lead over the Bears in the NFC North.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Timothy Wright (81) scores past Buffalo Bills free safety Aaron Williams (23) on a five-yard touchdown reception during the second quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.

    Glennon throws 2 TD passes, Bucs beat Bills

    TAMPA, Fla. — Rookie Mike Glennon rebounded from one of his worst performances of the season to throw two touchdown passes and lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a 27-6 victory over the struggling Buffalo Bills on Sunday.Bobby Rainey scored on an 80-yard run on the second play of the day, and the Bucs (4-9) intercepted EJ Manuel four times en route to their fourth win in five games following an 0-8 start.Manuel, Buffalo’s first-round draft pick out of Florida State, was sacked seven times and doubled his interception total for the season.The Bills (4-9) have lost five of six, are assured of finishing without a winning record for the ninth straight season, and also are likely to extend the NFL’s longest playoff drought to 14 seasons.

    Kansas City Chiefs running back Cyrus Gray picks up wide receiver Dexter McCluster after McCluster returned a punt for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against Washington in Landover, Md., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013.

    Chiefs thump Washington to break 3-game skid

    LANDOVER, Md. — The first quarter was so lopsided that nearly all the footprints in the snow were on one side of the 50. That discrepancy was quickly corrected when the teams changed sides, just part of the visual record of the Kansas City Chiefs’ thorough embarrassment of Washington.After three straight losses, the Chiefs found an opponent that offered little resistance. They scored on their first four possessions, sacked Robert Griffin III five times and Kirk Cousins once, and returned both a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown in Sunday’s 45-10 rout.The score was 17-0 after the first quarter and 38-10 at halftime. Quintin Demps immediately answered the lone Washington touchdown with a 95-yard kickoff return that resembled at times a winter stroll, part of a stunning tally of 321 return yards by Kansas City in the first half alone. The Chiefs (10-3), who lost two to the Denver Broncos sandwiched around a defeat to the San Diego Chargers, went back to doing what they did so well during their 9-0 start — beat up on a bad team. Washington (3-10) certainly qualifies: Sunday’s game was their fifth straight loss, and coach Mike Shanahan appears increasingly likely to be gone after a third losing season in four years. Fans quickly deserted Washington’s first snowy home game in decades, and those that stayed had plenty to boo all game long. The Chiefs took the opening kickoff and gained 8, 9, 22 and 13 yards on their first four plays. Washington was a team with nothing to play for, and they looked like it. Shanahan eventually pulled the plug on Griffin, inserting backup Kirk Cousins for the final quarter.Alex Smith completed 14 of 20 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Jamaal Charles ran 19 times for 151 yards and a score, and his 35-yard, right-then-left scamper was a highlight of the second half. Dwayne Bowe caught four balls for 69 yards and a TD. Dexter McCluster took a punt 74 yards for a score and set up another TD with a 57-yard return. Tamba Hali had a pair of sacks, and Derrick Johnson set up a touchdown with a 40-yard interception return.The runbacks by Demps and McCluster were the ninth and 10th return touchdowns for the Chiefs this season: four on interceptions, two on fumbles, two on punt returns and two on kickoff returns. Third-round pick Knile Davis scored his first rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter, leaping over his own man and breaking a tackle for a 17-yard run. Griffin, who endured yet another week of questions about his relationship with Shanahan, hit 12 of 26 passes for 164 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Alfred Morris ran for 31 yards on 12 carries, although that was enough to put him over 1,000 yards for the season.

    Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, left, hands the ball off to running back Ray Rice as snow falls in the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Baltimore.

    Ravens rally past Vikings on icy field

    BALTIMORE — Joe Flacco threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to rookie Marlon Brown with 4 seconds left, capping a flurry of scores on an icy field and giving the Baltimore Ravens a 29-26 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.Following a first half played in a driving snowstorm, the teams combined for five touchdowns in the final 125 seconds. Brown’s catch concluded a five-play, 80-yard drive that took 41 seconds. It came after Matt Cassell threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to Cordarrelle Patterson with 45 seconds remaining. Just before that, Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones took a kickoff 77 yards for a score, which followed a 41-yard TD run by Toby Gerhart, who had replaced an injured Adrian Peterson.Baltimore (7-6) has its first three-game winning streak this season and the inside track for the second AFC wild card.Minnesota (3-9-1) lost Peterson in the second quarter with an ankle injury.

    St. Charles East's Amanda Hilton jumps into the arms of teammate Hannah Nowling as time expires in their win Saturday.

    St. Charles East wins with balance

    Every basketball coach strives for balanced scoring. One would be hard-pressed to find any more balance than St. Charles East exhibited during its Upstate Eight Conference River Division girls basketball clash with cross-town rival St. Charles North Saturday.


    Arogundade’s clutch as Viator tops Proviso E. in OT

    With the clock running down in overtime, Ore Arogundade was right on time. The St. Viator senior standout banked home the game-winning 5-foot runner with three seconds left to give the Lions a dramatic 79-77 victory over Proviso East at the Mac Irvin Diabetes Classic at Larkin High School in Elgin.

    Stanford head coach David Shaw holds up the Pac-12 Championship Trophy after the NCAA Pac-12 Championship football game win against Arizona State Saturday, in Tempe, Ariz. Stanford defeated Arizona State 38-14.

    Stanford beats ASU 38-14 in Pac-12 title game

    Stanford’s players stood on the makeshift stage in the end zone, waving red roses as coach David Shaw accepted the Pac-12 championship trophy. After all the Cardinal had been through this season, they earned a chance to repeat as Rose Bowl champions. This trip to Pasadena might be even sweeter than the first one.

    Michigan State’s Josiah Price celebrates a nine-yard touchdown reception Saturday during a Big Ten Conference championship football game against Ohio State in Indianapolis.

    No. 10 Michigan St. shocks No. 2 Ohio St. 34-24

    Michigan State shook up the BCS title chase again Saturday night. The No. 10 Spartans regained the lead on Connor Cook’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Josiah Price with 11:41 left and upset No. 2 Ohio State 34-24 to take the Big Ten title and put Auburn back in the national title hunt.


    Aircraft diverted from the Philadelphia International Airport lineup on the ramp at Lehigh Valley International Airport Sunday in Allentown, Pa. Heavy snow and icing conditions forced the aircraft to divert from landing at Philadelphia.

    Storm along East Coast dumps snow, snarls traffic

    A powerful storm that crept across the country dropped snow, freezing rain and sleet on the Mid-Atlantic region and headed northeast Sunday, turning NFL playing fields in Pennsylvania into winter wonderlands, dumping a foot of snow in Delaware and threatening a messy Monday commute in the northeast corridor.

    Corporate support for gay and transgender rights is reaching workers in new corners of the country and economy six months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, according to a new report card from the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group.

    Gay partner benefits growing at Fortune 500 firms

    The Human Rights Campaign found that more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies and 90 percent of all large employers it surveyed are offering health insurance and other spousal benefits to same-sex domestic partners of their employees.

    CEO Josh Tetrick, left, watches as research and development chef Trevor Niekowal, right, makes a plant-based scrambled egg at Hampton Creek Foods in San Francisco.

    Food-tech startups aim to replace eggs and chicken

    The startup is housed in a garage-like space in San Francisco’s tech-heavy South of Market neighborhood, but it isn’t like most of its neighbors that develop software, websites and mobile-phone apps. Its mission is to find plant replacements for eggs. Inside, research chefs bake cookies and cakes, whip up batches of flavored mayonnaise and pan-fry omelets and French toast — all without eggs.

    Ken Statz, a health insurance broker, has been stymied in his efforts to enroll clients through the online HealthCare.gov web site.

    Insurance agents feeling left out of ‘Obamacare’

    Brokers around the country are finding frustration as they try to help customers navigate the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces while earning the commissions they’ve long built their businesses around. Some insurers and insurance agents are calling on President Barack Obama’s administration to allow them to bypass healthcare.gov and enroll consumers directly.

    Victims of Bernie Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme, Morton Chalek, 91, standing, a WWII vet, and his friend Fran Reiss, 79, a retired educator, pose in the apartment they share. With the fifth anniversary of Madoff’s fraud approaching, Chalek and Reiss are among a legion of former investors still struggling to move on after seeing their life savings go up in flames.

    Madoff fraud still stings ex-clients 5 years later

    With the fifth anniversary of the exposure of Bernie Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme approaching, a legion of former investors are still struggling to move on after seeing their life savings go up in flames.

    This handout product image provided by trytheworld.com shows the company's subscription offering. Trytheworld.com sends subscribers a box of hard-to-find items like jams, fine teas and films from a different city (Paris, Tokyo and Rio) every two months for a $45 fee for each box. (

    Services send mystery boxes of socks, sex toys

    Sex toys. French films. Star Wars action figures. Erotic photos. What do these things have in common? They're the gifts that keep on giving — about every month. Dozens of online subscription businesses have popped up offering to ship boxes of different goodies within a given niche or theme, like makeup or travel, each month. Most often, the exact products remain a mystery until they're shipped.


    Amazon, Postal Service may want to think about a merger

    The news that Amazon had essentially hired the U.S. Postal Service to deliver on Sundays was both surprising and completely sensible. So why stop there? Amazon and the USPS have lots more to gain from each other -- and an outright merger might maximize the best qualities of both.


    Schools play catch-up as e-cigarettes catch on

    E-cigarettes are beginning to show up in the hallways of the nation’s middle schools and high schools. Just as health officials have begun to debate their potential dangers and school districts have started to pay attention to them, educators are grappling with how to deal with students who are found puffing on e-cigarettes while at school.

    In a year when one toy has yet to emerge as the must-have of the season, analysts say retailers and consumers are reverting to the basics: cars, dolls, Legos and bicycles. But that may not be enough to save what many expect to be a slow holiday shopping season.

    Old-school toys dominate holiday lists

    In a year when one toy has yet to emerge as the must-have of the season, analysts say retailers and consumers are reverting to the basics: cars, dolls, Legos and bicycles. But that may not be enough to save what many expect to be a slow holiday shopping season. “There are no hot toys this year; there really aren’t,” said Gerrick Johnson, a toy industry analyst at BMO Capital Markets. “We don’t have a Tickle Me Elmo or a Zhu Zhu Pet or a Cabbage Patch Kid -- nothing that is approaching phenomenon status.”

    Associated Press File Photo In this February 1989 file photo, airplanes line up on the runway of New York’s La Guardia Airport cued for takeoff. On Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that LaGuardia Airport is set to receive $37.5 million in federal and state funds for five projects that will protect the runways and flood barrier berms breached by Supertsorm Sandy.

    Pilots said to need training after losing skills to automation

    Airline pilots have lost flying skills as automation takes over mundane tasks and may be startled when systems don’t behave as expected, both of which have contributed to crashes, a U.S. government and industry report concluded.


    Bigger worries are swirling around small stocks

    Small stocks have brought big joy this year, but they’ve been so generous that some mutual fund managers question how much they have left to give. Stocks of smaller companies have surged even more than the broader market, which itself is closing in on its best year in a decade. The average small-cap growth mutual fund is up 35 percent this year, compared with 29 percent for large-cap growth funds, according to Morningstar.

    Co-founders Tom Montgomery, left, and Preston Rutherford, right, stand behind a laptop showing an Instagram from a holiday photo shoot at the headquarters of Chubbies Shorts in San Francisco. Chubbies uses Facebook for marketing tools like videos that users will share with their friends. It uses Twitter for conversations with customers, and posts photos on Instagram to create buzz about their products.

    Businesses give big ‘like’ to Pinterest, Instagram

    Small businesses are using social media to promote their businesses and lure shoppers this holiday season — and they’re not just on Facebook. Or Twitter. Pinterest and Instagram are getting big “likes” from business owners. Facebook and Twitter may have a broader reach, but some owners are finding that Pinterest and Instagram help them connect with their target audience. Pinterest’s users are primarily women, while Instagram appeals to young adults. Also, the services rely heavily on photos, giving businesses a chance to show off more of what they have to offer.

    Heidi Lappetito pedals her cargo bike while making a delivery of frozen salmon into Port Townsend, Wash. Nearly all deliveries of the wild Pacific salmon the Cape Cleare Fishery makes to its local customers is done by cargo bikes hauling loads of up to 180 pounds, about five miles into town. People in the Pacific Northwest are pushing the limits of what they can carry using so-called cargo bikes, shuttling children, groceries, fish and kegs of beer.

    Cargo bikes the new minivan for cycling families

    One fisherman uses a bike to deliver hundreds of pounds of salmon to local markets. A mom who regularly shuttles her two kids around town once tried to haul a twin mattress home. Cyclists are pushing the limits of what they can haul on cargo bikes — sturdy two-wheelers built to haul lots of stuff. The so-called SUV of bicycles are increasingly popular in pedal-friendly communities.

    Winnebago motor homes are shown on a lot, in Jefferson, Iowa. Led by sales growth for towable RVs and pricier stand-alone motor homes, recreational vehicle makers expect to ship more than 300,000 units to dealers in 2013 for the first time since the economic downturn.

    RV industry shows more signs of recovery

    RV manufacturers expect to pass another milestone in their steady recovery from the recession that landed the industry in a deep ditch. Led by sales growth for towable RVs and pricier stand-alone motor homes, recreational vehicle makers expect to ship more than 300,000 units to dealers’ lots this year for the first time since the economic downturn battered the industry in 2008 and 2009.


    How to keep change going in your office

    Try to get any new programs or initiatives started in an organization and you are likely to run into some resistance. In fact, I have never known anyone who has not encountered at least some friction with an organizational change. What is it about change in our companies that leads to opposition? People often think what they currently have is perhaps more valuable than it is.

Life & Entertainment

    The recipients of the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors, from left, Billy Joel, Martina Arroyo, Herbie Hancock, Shirley MacLaine, and Carlos Santana, give their applause Sunday during the Kennedy Center Honors Gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

    Joel, MacLaine, Santana receive Kennedy Center honors

    The “Piano Man” who became one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time with such hits as “Just the Way You Are,” “Uptown Girl” and “Allentown” was awarded the nation’s highest honor Sunday for influencing American culture through the arts. Billy Joel joins Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, opera star Martina Arroyo and actress Shirley MacLaine in receiving the Kennedy Center Honors. All of them have been playing music, dancing or singing since they were children — and they have never stopped.

    This image released by Disney shows Elsa the Snow Queen, voiced by Idina Menzel, in a scene from the animated feature “Frozen.” The animated musical took the top spot at the box office in its send weekend of release with a $36.1 million haul.

    ‘Frozen’ tops box office with $31.6M

    In its second weekend at the box office, the Disney animated tale “Frozen” finally cooled off “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” while the week’s lone new wide-release “Out of the Furnace” wasn’t a match for either blockbuster. According to studio estimates Sunday, “Frozen” led the multiplexes with a haul of $31.6 million over the weekend, taking over the top spot from “Catching Fire.”

    Justin Timberlake, center, performs on stage at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles. Though Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” is a best-seller, he was largely shut out of the top Grammy categories.

    Not so justified: Justin Timberlake’s Grammy snub

    Justin Timberlake may have earned seven Grammy nominations, but he still has reason to cry himself a river: The pop star was shut out of the top Grammy categories — album, song and record of the year — though his comeback effort, “The 20/20 Experience,” is 2013’s best-selling release.

    Spool party: For this foyer arrangement, the stylists centered the theme on a red-and-white-striped stocking.

    Boost your home’s holiday spirit with delightful displays

    No holiday room is complete without a festive focal point that has plenty of personality. With that in mind, Country Sampler stylists joined forces to design a variety of yuletide vignettes that look right at home in any space.

    Dancenter North stages "The Magic of the Nutcracker" at Libertyville High School.

    Sunday picks: Dancenter North brings 'Nutcracker'

    Dancenter North performs "The Magic of the Nutcracker" at Libertyville High School Sunday. The Mount Prospect Community Band performs its annual holiday concert at Trinity United Methodist Church. And the African Children's Choir performs spirituals, gospel and dance in Waukegan.

    The Tea Can Company showcases Wedding Tea Specials, a range of personalized products offered by The Tea Can Company, from left, Tall Tins, Organza bags and Mini Tins, for weddings and bridal showers. The wedding favor, that little thank-you-for-coming gift, has risen to new heights with the bride and groom giving guests a wide range of favors that are meaningful to them.

    Favors for wedding guests get personal, creative

    Jillian Mackey had seen wedding favors that seemed like an afterthought, and she knew she did not want to give one of those — an impractical trinket that would likely get tossed in the trash or thrown in a drawer. The idea was to create a favor that was personalized and different, “something I could really feel came from us as a couple, that we had actually put time and effort into,” Jillian Simms said.

    The royal family spends the winter, and especially Christmas, at Sandringham, an estate in Norfolk north of London. From Easter through October, the royals depart and the house is open for public tours.

    Visit the residences where England's newest heir to the throne may spend the holidays

    Where will baby Prince George be on Dec. 25? Most likely at his great-grandparents' country estate. Or perhaps with his parents in their palace apartment in London. Or maybe mum and dad will take George to the Isle of Wight to see where his fifth great-grandparents celebrated the Yuletide with their nine children. You can visit each of them, just not when the royals are around.


    Book notes
    Author Ari Shavit discusses his book "My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel" at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Highland Park Public Library, 494 Laurel Ave., Highland Park.

    Chris Wallace marks his 10-year anniversary hosting “FOX News Sunday” this weekend.

    Chris Wallace marks 10 years as Fox host

    Chris Wallace may have fewer Sunday-morning viewers than his rivals on the weekly political chat shows, but he concedes nothing on quality. The “Fox News Sunday” host said: “I think we separate what’s important from what isn’t. I like where we stand.” Wallace is in a celebratory mood. This weekend marks the 10-year anniversary of when the longtime NBC and ABC newsman jumped to Fox for the Sunday-morning job.

    The lobby of Hotel Terra in Jackson Hole, Wyo., shows a contemporary look in contrast to the rustic chalet-style designs traditional in ski lodges.

    Ski lodges moving toward a more modern look

    The rustic ski lodge has been a staple of ski towns pretty much since the first resort was erected on the side of a mountain. A drastic design shift has taken place the past few years. Chandeliers made of antlers, animal trophies on the wall, paintings of cowboys and snow-covered buffalo are out. Clean lines, contemporary art and open floor plans are in. After decades of rustic traditions, the ski lodge is getting a modernist upgrade to keep up with the new breed of traveler.

    Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver in a scene from “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

    The Coens abide: Joel & Ethan on refusing maturity

    “If you’re trying to assign the trait of maturity to us, frankly, it won’t wash.” A conversation with the filmmaking brothers Ethan and Joel Coen has only just gotten started when Ethan, quite gleefully, puts a stop to any discussion of growth, evolution or development.

    The U.S. Olympic competition uniform for men snowboarders, unveiled by manufacturer Burton Tuesday, are built around the competition jacket with squares of stars, stripes and plaids.

    Hint of hippie in Burton Olympic snowboarder look

    The U.S. snowboarders will be showing off a patchwork of styles in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Their uniforms, unveiled by manufacturer Burton Tuesday night, are built around the competition jacket with squares of stars, stripes and plaids. The design was inspired by a handcrafted patchwork quilt spotted at an antiques fair, according to the Vermont-based company.

    Bidet toilet seats are getting a lot of attention these days as American homeowners consider their bathroom-technology options.

    Bidet toilet seats are becoming more common

    Q. We are planning a bathroom renovation. I want to add a separate bidet plumbing fixture next to our toilet, but my wife says a bidet will take up too much space.


    What’s the next big thing in the kitchen

    Lou Lenzi, industrial design director at GE Appliances, was the guest recently on The Post’s Home Front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt:

    On their blog, Bryan Mason and Jeanine Hays chronicle how they blend culturally relevant elements with modern decor.

    To love, honor and cherish good design

    On their blog, AphroChic, Philadelphia husband-and-wife design team Bryan Mason and Jeanine Hays chronicle how they blend culturally relevant elements (African textiles, tribal statues) with modern decor. It’s a worldly yet approachable look they show off in their new book, “Remix: Decorating With Culture, Objects and Soul.”


    Moisture within double-paned window inhibits the view

    Q. We have a passive solar house built in Shelburne, Vt., during the “first” energy crisis in the 1970s It includes three large double-paned windows, directly facing south, of course. These are the original windows.


    Associated Press A Nativity scene is displayed for the holiday season in the rotunda of the Illinois State Capitol in 2011 in Springfield.

    Editorial: Christmas and the role of government

    A Daily Herald editorial says we don't need government endorsement to celebrate Christmas. We just need government to stay out of the way.


    Obama resilient in face of flagging poll numbers

    Columnist Gene Lyons: For a guy whose presidency was supposed to be on life support, Barack Obama has certainly had a productive couple of weeks. With his poll numbers sinking toward George W. Bush territory — 53 percent in a recent CNN survey said he’s not a strong or decisive leader — Obama took bold action on two issues that dramatized the power of the presidency.


    Mortality in the near distance

    Columnist Michael Gerson: Cancer is a horror, but it is also a metaphor. Each of us is conceived with a seed of mortality that can’t be surgically removed. It grows until it kills us, hopefully after a long life that honors the incredible, temporary privilege of living.


    Still hope for legal challenge to ACA
    A Grayslake letter to the editor: If you think the Supreme Court settled the matter, don’t count your chickens just yet.


    Let’s vote in leaders who care about America
    A letter to the editor: Delay the mandate, penalties, enrollment dates? Why delay something we already know is a monumental failure? Don’t delay Obamacare. Repeal it!


    Just make it official: no Christmas, only Holiday
    A Schaumburg letter to the editor: I want to make a statement regarding Holiday, the day formerly known as Christmas. Because we live in a diverse nation where all cultures are celebrated and appreciated, it is fitting that the name Christmas be changed to be more inclusive and less divisive. Holiday does that quite well.


    Don’t vote for any Democrats, Republicans
    A Wheeling letter to the editor: It is my opinion that there is only one rational way to solve nation’s governance problem: dissolve both of the dominant political parties, Democrats and Republicans.


    Where’s the balance on pension debate?
    A St. Charles letter to the editor: Section 1, Page 7 of my Dec. 3 Daily Herald, states, “Asian nations dominate test.” On Page 8, the Herald argues support of SB1 with cuts to both working and retired teachers. Why would anyone in this state want to teach children, teenagers or college students when the only surety teachers can expect is worse treatment in the future?


    Better plan needed for Armstrong Park
    A Carol Stream letter to the editor: Sixteen-foot berms around retention basins in Armstrong Park in Carol Stream? Really? They will keep the walking path around the outside of the berm, but so what? If there’s no water, or no water visible from the path, the park loses its best feature.


    Glen Ellyn choking on its traffic
    A Glen Ellyn letter to the editor: As a relatively new driver in the Glen Ellyn area, I find traffic here more erratic and disorganized as one approaches downtown than almost anywhere else I’ve driven. The abundance of one-way streets, roadside parking spots, and train crossings seems to cripple effective traffic flow and I rarely shop or eat downtown because of the fuss.


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