The NFL honors Newtown, 49ers survive furious Pats rally, Falcons wax Giants, Broncos win 9th straight, Michigan football suspension, NBA News and Notes, Jim Boeheim, Corinthians top Chelsea + Free Play for Monday, December 17, 2012

The NFL honors Newtown

The sports world continued to honor the victims of the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. Around the NFL, there was a minute of silence before each game, flags flew at half mast and every team did something to honor the victims in their own way. New England, the closest home and approximately 120 miles from Newtown, lit 26 flares ….. one for each of the victims before their game with the 49ers.

49ers blow 31-3 lead but hold off Pats 41-38

The New England Patriots stormed back from a 31-3 third quarter deficit to tie the 49ers at 31-all but former-Oregon Duck rookie LaMichael James ran the ensuing kickoff back 68 yards to set up a Colin Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree touchdown on the next play and seal the deal for San Francisco. The game was played in a light to driving rain that was likely responsible for eight fumbles, three of which were lost. Tom Brady threw 65 time for 443 yards and a score, his 46th straight game with a touchdown pass, but was picked twice. Frank Gore led a San Francisco rushing attack that shredded the Pats for 180 yards. In all, bot teams combined for 903 yards of offense on a nasty rain night.

Falcons crush Giants in statement game

The Falcons are 12-2, tied for the nest record in the NFL, but because of their recent playoff failures ….. don’t get a lot of respect around the league. That might change after Sunday’s 34-0 trouncing of the New York Giants. Matty Ice was a surgical 23-28 for 270 yards and three scores. Eli Manning was 13-25 for 161 yards but his pick on the Giants first possession set the tone for the game and put New York behind the eight ball from the git go. The Giants dropped from the top of the NFC East to third after wins by the Redskins and Cowboys. All three teams are 8-6 but the Skins and Cowboys own the tie-breakers.

Broncos spank Baltimore for 9th straight win

The Denver Broncos jumped out to a 17-0 halftime lead at Baltimore and then cruised to a 34-17 victory, their ninth straight win. Peyton Manning didn’t have the sparkling numbers that he’s had in recent weeks(17-28, 204 1-0) but he did beat Baltimore for the ninth straight time and ended a five-game Bronco skid at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens were supposed to test the Broncos but were were down 34-3 and scored twice in garbage time to make things respectable.

NBA News and Notes

Through a quarter of the NBA schedule, Portland’s Damian Lillard has clearly established himself as this year’s top rookie. Sunday, he added to his potential Rookie-of-the-Year resume with a cold-blooded three at the buzzer to beat New Orleans 95-94. The former Weber State point guard had 16 points including with winning trey as the Blazers almost blew a 12-point fourth quarter lead. Ryan Anderson had 26 points including several long threes to bring New Orleans back. Greivis Vasquez added 23-8-11 in a losing effort.

Damian Lillard’s dagger three at the buzzer sinks the Hornets

Boeheim set for win No.900 tonight

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim is poised to become just the third men’s basketball coach to notch 900 wins when his No.4 ranked Orangemen host Detroit tonight at the Carrier Dome. Mike Krzyzewski (936) and Bob Knight (902) are the only men’s coaches in Division I history to win that many games. Boehein is 899-304 in his 37 year career at his alma mater. The Orange are 19-point favorites over the visiting Titans. The game will be shown on ESPN2 tipping off at 7:00 PM EST.

Corinthians top Chelsea 1-0 to take Cub World Cup

On Sunday in Japan, Brazil’s Corinthians beat Champions League winner Chelsea 1-0 to claim their second Club World Cub. Paolo Guerrero scored on a header after a scramble in front of the Chelsea net to tally the winner. The win ended a five-year run by the Europeans in the tournament. Corinthians won the inaugural edition in 2000 and joined Barcelona as the only two-time winner of the competition.

Free Play

(NCAAB) Valpo -3.5 over Oakland (Monday, December 17, 7:00 PM EST)

Free Pick record in December: 7-8