ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have earned their second Super Bowl berth by clobbering the Green Bay Packers, 44-21 in the NFC championship game. Matt Ryan threw for four touchdowns and ran for another while completing 27 of his 38 passes for 392 yards and no interceptions. Julius Jones had nine receptions for 180 yards and two TDs, including a 73-yard grab-and-run that put the Falcons up 31-0 on their second offensive play of the second half.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The New England Patriots are the first team in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl nine times following their 36-17 rout of Pittsburgh in the AFC championship game. Chris Hogan grabbed two of Tom Brady’s three touchdown passes and finished with nine receptions for 180 yards. Brady also hit Julian Edelman for a TD and was 32 of 42 for 384 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
UNDATED (AP) — Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura and former major league infielder Andy Marte (mahr-TAY’) were killed in separate auto accidents in the Dominican Republic. Ventura was 25 years old, while Marte was 33. Ventura was 38-31 with a 3.89 ERA in four major league seasons with Kansas City, helping the team win two pennants and the 2015 World Series.
La QUINTA, Calif. (AP) — Hudson Swafford is a first-time winner on the PGA Tour after rallying to take the CareerBuilder Challenge at La Quinta Country Club. Swafford followed three straight birdies with a par on the final hole to complete a one-stroke win over third-round leader Adam Hadwin. Swafford fired a 5-under 67 on Sunday for a 20-under total that earned him just over $1 million and a spot in the Masters.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Second seed Serena Williams has reached the Australian Open quarterfinals by beating No. 16 Barbara Strycova (STROH’-koh-vah), 7-5, 6-4. The six-time Australian Open champ had 23 unforced errors in the first set and needed eight set points to clinch it. Williams is three match victories away from her 23rd Grand Slam singles title.