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Josh Allen throws for 2 TDs, Bills beat Patriots 24-10

Source image: https://apnews.com/article/new-england-patriots-buffalo-bills-nfl-sports-178dac4e9f87956bf6369ee4b2bba445

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills had done everything this season, except earn a victory in their division.

They’re hoping their first will be the one that helps put them back on the path to winning it again.

Josh Allen threw two touchdown passes and the Bills beat the New England Patriots 24-10 on Thursday night for their first AFC East win of the season.

Devin Singletary had a 1-yard touchdown run to help the Bills (9-3) win their third straight and take a half-game lead in the division over Miami. Buffalo had been 0-2 against division foes.

“We know these games that are coming up, they matter,” Allen said. “The ones in December and January, they matter. We’ve got to find ways to go win some football games.”

Allen became the first player in NFL history with three seasons of 25 passing TDs and five rushing scores.

Including the playoffs last season, the Bills have won their last three meetings with New England (6-6).

Allen went 22 of 33 for 223 yards, consistently buying time in the pocket and finding soft spots in the Patriots’ zone. The Bills have struggled at times in the red zone, but went 3 for 3 on Thursday.

Despite playing without top pass rusher Von Miller, who suffered a knee injury in a Thanksgiving win over Detroit, Buffalo’s defense held the Patriots to three points over the final three quarters.

New England has lost two straight since posting a season-best, three-game win streak.

“There’s a lot of things we need to do better,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.

A week after putting together his most complete effort of the season, New England’s Mac Jones was flustered and unsure for most of the night. He finished 22 of 36 for 195 yards and a touchdown. The Patriots were 3 of 12 on third down and 0 for 1 in the red zone.

“We want to win. And we’re not doing that,” Patriots center David Andrews said. “We’ve got to find ways to win. Whatever that is.”

Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds said the plan was to make Mac Jones beat them with his arm.

“We just knew we had to make them one dimensional, whatever that was,” said Edmunds, who had six tackles. “Our focus is ahead, not looking back.”

The Bills started slowly on offense, settling for a field goal on their first possession.

Trailing 7-3, Allen went to work during Buffalo’s next two opportunities.

He led his team 82 yards in nine plays, ending the drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs on the first play of the second quarter.

Following a Patriots punt, Allen capped a 14-play, 56-drive by eluding the Patriots’ pass rush and tiptoeing along the sideline before throwing across his body for an 8-yard TD pass to Gabe Davis.

The Patriots came in banged up on their offensive line and got creative to get their first points of the night.

After going three-and-out on their opening drive, New England inserted speedy cornerback and return man Marcus Jones for his first offensive snap of the season.

He made the most of it, catching a quick screen from Jones, finding a seam and sprinting through Buffalo’s secondary for a 48-yard touchdown.

That was about the only highlight for the Patriots.

They punted on three straight possessions, then failed to get anything out of Allen’s fumble after Nick Folk hit the crossbar on a 48-yard field goal attempt with 10 seconds left in the half.

SHORT-HANDED

Both teams played with key contributors unavailable.

Miller was placed on injured reserve Thursday and will miss at least four games. Starting left tackle Dion Dawkins (ankle) also sat and was replaced by David Quessenberry, who gave up a sack on Buffalo’s opening drive and appeared to aggravate his troublesome knee.

Just before halftime, Quessenberry was also responsible for letting Josh Uche get to Allen for a strip-sack that was recovered by Matt Judon.

Patriots center David Andrews returned after his one-game absence due to a thigh injury, but New England was missing starting running back Damien Harris (thigh) along with tackles Isaiah Wynn (foot) and Yodny Cajuste (calf/back).

Recent practice squad addition Conor McDermott stepped in to start at right tackle. Trent Brown started at left tackle but was dealing with an illness.

INJURIES

Bills: DT Jordan Phillips left with a shoulder issue. … Quessenberry left late in the third quarter with an ankle injury. TE Dawson Knox walked to the sideline with a toe injury but later returned. … CB Tre’Davious White left briefly in the second quarter with a stinger but was cleared to return.

MILESTONE

Diggs finished with seven catches for 92 yards, and his second-quarter TD catch was his 10th receiving score of the season, tying the career high he set last season.

He is the first player in team history to record multiple seasons with 10-plus receiving TDs.

STREAK ENDS

Buffalo went 23 straight drives over more than two games without punting against the Patriots before the streak ended with Sam Martin’s punt with 3:04 left in the second quarter.

DISQUALIFIED

Bills safety Damar Hamlin was ejected with 2:54 left in the game after being called for unnecessary roughness for his hit on defenseless Patriots receiver Jakobi Meyers in the end zone.

UP NEXT

Bills: Host the New York Jets on Sunday, Dec. 11.

Patriots: At Arizona on Monday, Dec. 12.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Source: https://apnews.com/article/new-england-patriots-buffalo-bills-nfl-sports-178dac4e9f87956bf6369ee4b2bba445

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Report: NWSL to expand in Boston, Utah and California

The National Women’s Soccer League is close to expanding by three teams, which will be in Boston, Utah and the San Francisco area, according to a Friday report in the Wall Street Journal.

The women’s pro league previously indicated it would add at least two teams by 2024. The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported that the franchises in northern California and Utah are set to start play next year, with Boston to join at a later date.

The NWSL did not confirm the report in a statement Saturday to The Associated Press, saying: “We remain engaged in our expansion process and are excited about our prospects. When we have news to share, we will do so.”

The NWSL has 12 teams, after Angel City in Los Angeles and the San Diego Wave joined the league last year.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that the Boston and Bay Area groups will pay about $50 million in franchise fees. The Utah team will pay a reduced fee because of a previous agreement struck when the Utah Royals folded in the 2020 season.

Before the NWSL draft earlier this month, league commissioner Jessica Berman said it would be “somewhere between days and months, more like weeks, when we’ll be in a position to share information” about an expansion.

“What I can say is that I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we have in front of us,” she added.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Former MVP Candace Parker to sign with champion Aces

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former two-time MVP Candace Parker announced on social media Saturday that she would sign with the defending champion Las Vegas Aces.

Parker spent the past two seasons playing for her hometown Sky, leading Chicago to the WNBA championship in 2021. She also won the 2016 title playing for the Los Angeles Sparks.

She posted on Instagram that Chicago would always be her home, but “my family’s home is on the west coast.

“To play for a championship close to home is the perfect situation for us. I’m looking forward to continuing the journey this summer in Las Vegas.”

The free-agent signing period begins Wednesday, and the Aces can’t comment until then.

Parker, a 6-foot-4 forward/center, adds to an already loaded lineup that includes reigning MVP A’ja Wilson, who also won the league’s top award in 2020. Wilson also was last season’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Chelsea Gray was MVP of the WNBA Finals and Kelsey Plum MVP of the All-Star Game. Wilson, Plum and Jackie Young were All-Star starters.

Parker and Gray were teammates on Los Angeles’ 2016 title team.

The Aces traded one of their key pieces, two-time Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby, to the Sparks on Jan. 21, creating speculation Las Vegas was creating salary cap room to sign a big-name player.

Parker, the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year and the 2016 Finals MVP, certainly fits that bill. Even at 36 last season, she averaged 13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists for the Sky.

“Candace has done so much for our franchise in her time here,” Chicago coach and general manager James Wade said in a statement. “I understand her reasons for wanting to be closer with her immediate family. We wish her nothing but the best. She will always be a part of the Sky family. We will celebrate her time here as she deserves.”

Losing her is a big blow to the Sky, who made the semifinals in last season’s playoffs before losing in five games to the Connecticut Sun. Kahleah Copper is the only starter under contract for next season, so the Sky could head into a rebuild.

“I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to win a championship in my hometown and parade down the same streets I watched the Bulls parade down as a young girl first falling in love with the game of basketball,” Parker posted.

Parker joins the Aces at a time the Women’s National Basketball Players Association said it wanted that organization investigated regarding allegations that Hamby made after being traded. She posted on Instagram she was “lied to, bullied, manipulated, and discriminated against” because she is pregnant with her second child.

The Aces still have not commented on Hamby’s allegations.

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AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Estrada, Hofstra end No. 18 Charleston’s 20-game win streak

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — This season, Hofstra has been a one-man show. This time, Aaron Estrada had some help as the Pride ended the nation’s longest winning streak.

Estrada scored 25 points, but just two in the second half, while Darlinestone Dubar added 18 as Hofstra had four players in double figures to knock off No. 18 College of Charleston 85-81 on Saturday — ending the Cougars’ 20-game win streak.

“That’s a really big for our program,” Hofstra coach Speedy Claxton said. “To beat a nationally ranked team on their home court when they’ve got it rolling like they do speaks volumes about our kids.”

Claxton saw a team effort to take down the hottest team in the country.

“It wasn’t just Aaron,” Claxton said. “He had a great first half, but we had other guys step up and make baskets or get rebounds when we really needed them.”

The loss ended Charleston’s spotless run that began after losing to then-top-ranked North Carolina on Nov. 11.

Hofstra, the CAA’s leader in field-goal shooting, used that to move past Charleston in the second half as it made 18 of 32 attempts. The Pride led 76-69 with 6:10 to play before the Cougars cut it to two points on Ryan Larson’s foul shots with 2:02 to play.

But Charleston managed just two free throws after that and missed all four 3-pointers they tried.

This is the second straight season the Pride have beaten a Top 25 team. A year ago, Hofstra defeated then No. 24 Arkansas 89-81. The Pride’s only other victory against a Top 25 team came against Southern Illinois in 1976.

Hofstra (15-8, 8-2 Colonial Athletic Association) beat the Cougars (21-2, 9-1) at their own game — 3-point shooting. The Pride were 11 of 22 from 3-point range and overall shot 56 percent from the floor in the second half.

Estrada, who had 23 points in the opening half, shredded the Cougars defense at will. Estrada was 5 of 9 from 3-point range.

“Estrada is a great player, hit a bunch of tough shots, especially in the first half,” Charleston coach Pat Kelsey said. “Hofstra is a very, very talented team. It’s not just Estrada. They were better than us tonight.”

Then Estrada took over. The CAA’s leading scorer at 21.1 points a game scored 16 of the next 24 points for the Pride, including four 3-pointers.

Ante Brzovic’s dunk at the buzzer gave the Cougars a 46-44 advantage at halftime.

Tyler Thomas had 17 points and eight rebounds for Hofstra.

Brzovic finished with 18 points to lead the Cougars.

BIG PICTURE

Hofstra: The Pride are on a roll in 2023. winning seven of their past eight games, including three in a row.

College of Charleston: The Cougars chances of receiving an NCAA Tournament at-large bid took a major blow with the loss to the Pride. Despite having the nation’s longest win streak for three months, Charleston will most likely have to win the CAA Tournament in March to advance to the NCAAs.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

The Cougars’ 20-game win streak wasn’t the only streak to end on Saturday. College of Charleston played 14 of its first 23 games at TD Arena to start the season and were a perfect 13-0 at home before facing the Pride. Charleston’s 13-game home win streak included three wins in the Charleston Classic. The Cougars became the first mid-major program to win the ESPN event, beating Virginia Tech 77-75 in the championship game. Charleston will finish the season playing four of their final eight games on the road.

POLL POSITION

Charleston’s first loss in nearly three months might drop the Cougars from the national rankings. They have been part of the last four rankings, entering at No. 23 before reaching No. 18 this past week.

UP NEXT

Hofstra returns home to play Towson on Thursday night.

College of Charleston starts a two-game road trip at Drexel on Thursday night.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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