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Pats beat KC in OT, back in Super Bowl

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) It's the dead of winter, meaning the weather in New England can be brutal. And that the Patriots are headed to the Super Bowl.

It took them overtime and more of Tom Brady's brilliance to get there - for the third straight year. While the folks back home dealt with a frigid storm, Brady blew through Kansas City's exhausted defense on a 75-yard drive to Rex Burkhead's 2-yard touchdown run in a 37-31 victory Sunday for the AFC championship.

The drive, during which New England (13-5) had three third-down conversions, was reminiscent of when the Patriots beat Atlanta in the only Super Bowl to go to OT two years ago.

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Rams make Super Bowl on 57-yard FG in OT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) A big comeback. A blown call. And, finally, a booming kick that sent the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl.

After rallying from an early 13-0 deficit, the Rams stunned the New Orleans Saints with Greg Zuerlein's 57-yard field goal in overtime for a 26-23 victory in the NFC championship game Sunday - an outcome that might not have been possible without an egregious mistake by the officials in the closing minutes of regulation.

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Payton: NFL says refs blew crucial call

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Sean Payton was glassy-eyed, calm and shrugged his shoulders at times, seemingly resigned to New Orleans' bitter fate - as unfair as he thought it was.

And the Saints coach said NFL executives he spoke with by phone after a 26-23 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Rams agreed with him that officials on the field missed two obvious penalties on one late, game-turning play that might have prevented the Saints from advancing to the Super Bowl.

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Pats-Rams to be past vs. future showdown

It began in 2002, back when the Rams were in St. Louis and the Patriots were a plucky underdog standing in the way of a potential dynasty.

So much has changed.

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Pats early favorites in Las Vegas books

LAS VEGAS (AP) Oddsmakers made the Super Bowl essentially a tossup in opening lines Sunday, though bettors quickly turned the New England Patriots into a slight favorite in what is expected to be the most heavily bet - at least legally - title game ever.

Early bets moved the line at many books so the Patriots were either one- or two-point favorites. The over-under was 58 at some books, 58.5 at others.

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Chiefs' Mahomes left on sideline in OT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Patrick Mahomes struggled in the first half and dazzled in the second Sunday night.

Nobody knows how he might have fared in overtime.

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Rams' Gurley struggles in NFC title game

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The Los Angeles Rams are headed to the Super Bowl despite one of the worst games of Todd Gurley's career.

The star running back carried the ball just four times for 10 yards Sunday, caught one pass for 3 yards and let a couple of passes slip through his hands - one of which led to an interception that set up a New Orleans Saints' field goal.

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Chiefs' D collapses in loss to Patriots

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The dominant storyline all week had been how the AFC championship game represented a passing of the torch, from Tom Brady to Patrick Mahomes and the New England Patriots to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Must have lit a fire under the Pats.

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Cowboys fire much-maligned OC Linehan

DALLAS (AP) Scott Linehan is out as offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys, less than a week after coach Jason Garrett sent mixed messages about the future for the oft-criticized assistant.

Garrett, in a statement released by the team Friday, described the move as a mutual decision after he and Linehan had some open and positive discussions this week. Linehan, who just completed his fifth season in Dallas, had one more season left on his contract.

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Jaguars re-sign S Wilson to 3-year deal

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars have re-signed safety Jarrod Wilson to a three-year contract.

Wilson was set to become a restricted free agent on March 13.

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