FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Tom Brady redemption tour is headed to the Super Bowl.
After beginning the 2016 season suspended for four games for his role in the “Deflategate” scandal, the New England quarterback relentlessly carried the Patriots to an unprecedented ninth appearance in the title game, and his seventh.
Brady threw for a franchise playoff-best 384 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-17 rout of the helpless Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in New England’s sixth consecutive AFC championship game.
The Patriots, who have won nine in a row, are early 3-point favorites heading to face Atlanta in two weeks in Houston, seeking their fifth NFL title with Brady at quarterback and Bill Belichick as coach. Belichick’s seventh appearance in a Super Bowl will be a record for a head coach.
Brady was banned by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell when New England (16-2) went 3-1 to open the schedule.
Since his return in Week 5, the only defeat came at home to Seattle, and Brady, 39, had one of the best seasons of a Hall of Fame-caliber career.
He punctuated that in dreary weather similar to the 2014 conference title game that precipitated the deflated footballs investigation by flattening Pittsburgh’s secondary.
“This is my motivation right here, all these fellas in front of me, these guys,” Brady said, pointing to his teammates and ignoring mentions of “Deflategate.” ”The boys showed up to play today.”
Brady’s main weapon was Chris Hogan. The previously unheralded receiver found open spaces everywhere on the field against a leaky secondary. Hogan caught nine balls for 180 yards and two scores.
“It’s been a long journey, but I’ve worked really hard to get to this point,” said the product of Monmouth — yes, Monmouth. “I couldn’t be happier to get to be a part of this thing, this team — this whole thing.”
Top wideout Julian Edelman added eight receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown as Brady tied Joe Montana’s playoff record with nine three-TD passing performances. Brady also had his 11th 300-yard postseason game, extending his NFL record, completing 32 of 42 throws.
“We won a lot of different ways under a lot of different circumstances,” Brady said. “Mental toughness is what it is all about and this team has got it. We’ll see if we can write the perfect ending.”
The ending for Pittsburgh (13-6) was anything but perfect. It lost star running back Le’Veon Bell late in the first quarter to a groin injury.
That didn’t seem to matter much in a record 16th conference title match for the Steelers, who made mistakes in every facet of Sunday’s game. The 19-point loss ended their nine-game winning streak
The franchise that has won the most Super Bowls, six, and the most postseason games, 36, never seemed likely to challenge in the misty rain.
“We’ve got to be capable of overcoming those things,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “Injuries and so forth are part of the game. The reality is we didn’t make enough plays in any of the three phases. The game kind of unfolded in the way they would like it to as opposed to the way we would like it to. Not only in score, but in style of play and so forth. We didn’t get a lot accomplished tonight.”
Hogan’s second touchdown came on a flea-flicker and he easily beat safety Mike Mitchell to the corner of the end zone. At that point, Hogan had seven catches for 117 yards and the first multi-touchdown game of his four-year career.
His first score made it 10-0 and came after Brady could have taken a nap before throwing, a common occurrence against a nonexistent pass rush. Hogan was all alone in the back of the end zone for the 16-yard score.
Pittsburgh had drawn to 10-6 on DeAngelo Williams’ 5-yard run to cap an 84-yard drive. Veteran Williams is a nice security blanket in the backfield, though he’s no Bell these days.
Still, he contributed on a 70-yard drive toward the end of the second quarter that appeared to be capped by Jesse James’ TD reception. But video review showed James down at the 1, and the Steelers couldn’t get into the end zone, Chris Boswell connecting for a 23-yard field goal.
The Steelers never threatened to get back into it. LeGarrette Blount punctuated the romp with a bruising 18-yard run on which he carried nearly the entire Pittsburgh defense with him. He then scored from the 1.
By the end, the crowd was chanting “Where is Roger?” and celebrating yet another Super Bowl trip for the Patriots.
Soon after, tight end Martellus Bennett was boogeying with the cheerleaders, pompoms in hand , and owner Robert Kraft was accepting the Lamar Hunt Trophy.
“For a number of reasons, all of you in this stadium understand how big this win was,” Kraft said. “And we have to go to Houston and win one more.”
The Patriots are 6-1 in conference championship games played at home and 9-4 overall. Belichick and Brady have won 24 playoff games together, most in league history by a head coach and starting quarterback. No other coach-QB combo has even participated in that many postseason games together. … Brady’s 24 playoff wins are the most by a starting quarterback in league history.
Stephen Gostkowski’s 31-yard field goal to open the scoring set a franchise record with 27, surpassing Adam Vinatieri’s 26. Gostkowski is fourth all-time. He made a 47-yarder in the third quarter, a 26-yarder in the fourth, but he missed an extra point.
Boswell, who set an NFL mark with six field goals in the Steelers’ 18-16 win at Kansas City last week, missed an extra point wide left and made a 23-yard kick.
Steelers: Bell’s early departure left him with 20 yards on six carries and no receptions.
Patriots: DB Nate Ebner left with a head injury.
SUNDAY WALKS IN THE PARK
The previous time before Sunday that both conference championship games were decided by at least 19 points was the 1978 season. The Falcons beat the Packers 44-21 for the NFC title.
After winning the AFC East with the conference’s top record, New England defeated the Texans 34-16 and the Steelers to reach Super Bowl 51 in Houston on Feb. 5; New England won the 2002 and 2005 Super Bowls after beating Pittsburgh for the AFC championship.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP—NFL
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Actress Chante Adams had just graduated from Carnegie Mellon University when she got a call from a casting agent who wanted her to audition to be the lead in the Roxanne Shante biopic “Roxanne, Roxanne.” Adams had no feature credits to her name and a background in theater. But the agent saw something in her at CMU’s senior showcase, where students perform in front of agents, managers and casting directors, and sought her out.
Soon enough, what began as “oh, cool, my first audition” became Adams’ first film role in the anticipated pic about the life of hip-hop pioneer Roxanne Shante from director Michael Larnell. “Roxanne, Roxanne,” which co-stars “Moonlight’s” Marhershala Ali and Nia Long, and premieres Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival.
AP: How familiar were you with Roxanne Shante?
CHANTE ADAMS: Not very. I wasn’t born until ’94! Her era was definitely the ’80s. I knew of her, I knew who she was. I had older siblings, and I kind of knew her through them and the hip-hop music they listened to. But I didn’t know much about her, so after I got the first audition, I went straight into research mode. I saw the video for “Roxanne’s Revenge” and was like “Oh my God, we kind of look alike!”
AP: You only had a week and a half from being cast to shooting. How did you prepare?
ADAMS: Hours and hours of research. I’m pretty sure I’ve watched very single video on the internet that exists of Roxanne Shante — every interview, every music performance, and just using that to get it down. I met her once before we started filming, and that was such an honor. I was so lucky to be able to do this biopic while she is still here so I can make sure I got it right.
AP: What did you talk about with Roxanne?
ADAMS: She was just telling me about her life. It was me, her, Nia Long and Michael. She was giving me pointers on the voice, and she was telling Nia about her mom. She told me she was going to be on set as much as possible, but there’s some stuff that she won’t be on set for because it’s a little difficult to relive that. I understood that and understood that I had to take that into my own hands and do what I could with it. She was on set a few times a week, which I loved. Anytime I had a question or needed advice, it was awesome to have her right there. I could go straight to the source
AP: Was there a particular scene she helped you with?
ADAMS: There’s a scene where she’s stealing from a department store. I did the scene how I imagined you would steal from a department store, because I don’t know. She was there and we were about to wrap and she told Michael “we need to do it again because she’s not stealing right.” She basically came over to me and taught me the correct way to steal clothes. She was like “No, you can’t look at the clothes, you can’t look at the bag, just grab it, keep your eyes up, you can’t make it look suspicious.” So she taught me the proper way to steal clothes from a department store.
AP: What’s next for you?
ADAMS: Just to continue in the film world for right now. Ride the “Roxanne, Roxanne” wave and, you know, we’ll see where it goes!
Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr
When you share a room with a sibling, sometimes you just need some alone time. And then there are times after a particularly homework-heavy school week when you’d just prefer to spend Saturday in bed. Thanks to a new high-tech smart bed, both are possible—not to mention pretty awesome.
A king-sized, ultra modern bed frame, iNyx essentially functions as a self-contained bedroom. It features a large home theater screen, which slides down at the foot of the bed so you can watch your favorite movies and shows, play games and go online. It also has a built-in HD projector in the headboard and a 5-point sound system to immerse you in your digital experiences. Thirsty? Cup holders to the rescue, of course.
When you want privacy, you simply lower the bed’s retractable blinds. And LED lighting overhead can mimic a sky full of stars. There’s even an aroma dispenser system to freshen things up.
The price tag’s pretty steep at $4,999, but developers hope to get the cost down over the next few years. Plus, pay just $100 and you can give it a trial run for 24 hours. So what do you say? Would you want to get some shut-eye in one of these?
Vote and tell us what you think — you can even submit video comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will feature the results of the poll and some of your comments on the show!
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest from the Australian Open on Sunday (all times local):
Defending champion Angelique Kerber has joined fellow top-ranked Andy Murray on the sidelines of the Australian Open, losing 6-2, 6-3 to American CoCo Vandeweghe in the last match on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.
Hours earlier, Murray was beaten in four sets by 50th-ranked Mischa Zverev. And the same court saw Kerber, who beat Serena Williams in the final last year, also drop out of the tournament in the fourth round.
Vandeweghe will next play French Open champion Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals.
Roger Federer may be one of the greatest tennis players of all time, but he’ll freely admit — he’s not the best singer.
After Federer’s fourth-round win over Kei Nishikori, former Grand Slam winner Jim Courier interviewed him in Rod Laver Arena about the match and then surprised him with a special video that Federer had posted on Twitter the day before.
In the clip, Federer is singing Chicago’s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” with fellow players Tommy Haas and Grigor Dimitrov, while David Foster, who wrote the 1982 hit song, accompanied them on piano.
After a few seconds, Courier wanted to know who was off-key? Was it Federer?
“I thought it was terrible acoustics in that room,” Federer said, laughing. “I didn’t even know that song that well. The lyrics were not my thing. My voice was playing up a little bit.”
Haas, however, knew the song well and saved the group, Federer said.
“I think he just looks good,” Federer said. “His voice is terrible.”
Roger Federer wasn’t about to go the way of Andy Murray, rebounding from a slow start to beat fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 to advance to the Australian Open quarterfinals for the 13th time in 14 years.
Federer’s match on Rod Laver Arena began not long after the day session crowd had cleared from top-seeded Murray’s four-set loss to 50th-ranked Mischa Zverev. It turns out the biggest beneficiary of that loss will be Federer, who plays Zverez in the quarterfinals.
At first, it looked as if Federer might join Murray on the sidelines. He fell behind 4-0 and 5-1, rallied to level at 5-5 only to see Nishikori stage a resurgence in the tiebreaker.
Federer, playing his first official tournament since returning from a six-month layoff with a left knee surgery, had break points in the second and fourth games of the fourth set, but it was Nishikori who made the vital break to send it to a decider.
Trailing 3-0 in the final set, Nishikori called for a trainer and took a medical timeout for treatment on his back. Federer completed the win some 30 minutes later, breaking Nishikori’s serve for the eighth time to end the match in 3 hours, 24 minutes.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has ended Daniel Evans’ strong run at the Australian Open, beating the British player 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals.
Evans had beaten 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic in the second round and local hope Bernard Tomic in the third before running into Tsonga, who lost the Australian Open final in 2008 to Novak Djokovic.
Tsonga next plays U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka, who had his major breakthrough in Australia in 2014.
French Open champion Garbine Muguruza needed just 65 minutes to beat Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-3 and advance to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open.
It is Muguruza’s best finish in five trips to the Australian Open.
“It means a lot, I always come here very motivated,” Muguruza said. “To be in the quarterfinals is a great achievement. When you win one (major), you have that self-confidence and that belief in yourself that you can do it again.”
Muguruza’s opponent in the quarterfinal will be determined later Sunday when defending champion and No. 1-ranked Angelique Kerber plays CoCo Vandeweghe.
U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka has advanced to the Australian Open quarterfinals in three tough sets over Andrea Seppi, winning 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4) on Margaret Court Arena.
Fourth-seeded Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian titlist, will face the winner of the later match between 2008 Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Dan Evans.
Top-seeded Andy Murray is out of the Australian Open, beaten 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 by 50th-ranked Mischa Zverev.
Murray, who has lost five Australian Open finals, dropped his serve eight times in the Rod Laver Arena afternoon match that went 3 hours, 34 minutes.
Zverev, a German lefthander and the older brother of Alexander Zverev, who lost to Rafael Nadal in the third round on Saturday, advances to a quarterfinal against the winner of the later match between Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori.
It’s the first time since 2002 that neither the No. 1 nor the No. 2 seed has reached the Australian Open quarterfinals.
Murray joins six-time defending champion Novak Djokovic, beaten in the second round by wild-card entry Denis Istomin, on the sidelines for the second week at Melbourne Park.
Venus Williams has advanced to the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park for the second time in three years, beating Mona Barthel 6-3, 7-5.
Williams broke Barthel’s serve in the 11th game of the second set and served out, clinching the 1-hour, 36-minute fourth-rounder on her first match point.
Williams, who lost the 2003 final at Melbourne Park to her younger sister Serena, will next play Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who beat fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets earlier Sunday.
Since losing that final in ’03, Venus advanced to the quarterfinals three other times in Melbourne, but hasn’t got past that stage.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is the first player through to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, beating two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-3 in a fourth-round match at Rod Laver Arena.
Pavlyuchenkova led 2-0 in the second set before Kuznetsova broke back. Pavlyuchenkova then broke her fellow Russian’s serve again at 3-all, and once more in the final game, clinching the match in 68 minutes on her second match point when Kuznestova hit a forehand into the net.
“I’m kind of shocked a little,” she said afterward. “But at the same time, so happy.”
Pavlyuchenkova will play either Venus Williams or Mona Barthel in the quarterfinals. Williams and Barthel play the next match at Rod Laver.
Defending champion Angelique Kerber and four-time winner Roger Federer attempt to book quarterfinal spots Sunday on Day 7 of the Australian Open.
Under sunny skies and an expected high temperature of 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova kicked things off at Rod Laver Arena with a fourth-round match against fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Following that match, Venus Williams was scheduled to play Mona Barthel. Top-seeded Andy Murray has the last match on the main court, playing Mischa Zverev.
Federer was set to take on Kei Nishikori in a night match, followed by Kerber’s match against CoCo Vandeweghe of the United States.
Also in action was U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka, playing Andreas Seppi in an afternoon match at Margaret Court Arena.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Backstage photos from the black-tie inaugural balls. A quick peek out the Truman Balcony to admire the view of Washington. A visit to the basement White House bowling alley.
President Donald Trump’s grown children and their families have reveled in the first hours as the first family and have enthusiastically documented it all on social media.
The Trumps’ Twitter and Instagram accounts reveal much of the Trump clan is as comfortable with social media as its patriarch. Each of the grown children tracked their historic day as many Americans would — one post at a time.
The build-up to the inauguration began days ago as daughter Tiffany Trump and Lara Trump, who is married to Trump’s son Eric, posted photos of themselves prepping for some of the week’s black tie-events. Lara Trump included a caption that read “Dinner date” and a smiling face emoji.
Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest child, documented much of his Inauguration Day on Instagram. He first posted a photo of his family riding in a presidential limousine on the way to the U.S. Capitol on Friday. Later, he posted a video of him dancing with his wife, Vanessa, at a ball, and then for his nightcap, an encounter at the family’s new Washington hotel with the cast of the reality show “Duck Dynasty” and a slightly disheveled Fox News personality Sean Hannity.
Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to the president, chronicled her family’s ride to the inaugural parade with an Instagram of the two of the couple’s children secure in car seats rolling to the viewing stand. Each held a distraction in hand — one a tablet, the other a smartphone — a detail likely to earn knowing nods from many parents.
The Trump clan spent Friday night at the White House, as Trump himself had promised in the days before. Ivanka and Jared were spotted snapping photos Saturday morning on the Truman Balcony.
Later, the Trumps tested out the bowling alley.
Donald Trump Jr. posted a video of his wife and children bowling in the lanes installed in the basement of the White House by President Richard Nixon in 1969.
Reach Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire
LANGLEY, Va. (AP) — On his first full day in office, President Donald Trump on Saturday berated the media over its coverage of his inauguration, and turned a bridge-building first visit to CIA headquarters into an airing of grievances about “dishonest” journalists. But it was Trump who spread inaccuracies about the size of the crowds at his swearing in.
Standing in front of a memorial for fallen CIA agents, Trump assured intelligence officials, “I am so behind you.” He made no mention of his repeated criticism of the intelligence agencies following the election, including his public challenges of their high-confidence assessment that Russia meddled in the White House race to help him win.
“There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and CIA than Donald Trump,” he said, blaming any suggestion of a “feud” on the media.
Trump’s decision to travel to CIA headquarters so quickly after taking office was seen as an attempt at a fresh start with the intelligence agencies he will now rely on for guidance as he makes weighty national security decisions. Following his private meeting with top CIA leaders, Trump said the U.S. had been “restrained” in its efforts to combat terrorism, calling the threat “a level of evil we haven’t seen.”
But in unscripted, stream-of-consciousness remarks, Trump appeared more focused on settling scores with the media.
He defensively touted the crowd size for his swearing-in ceremony, wrongly claiming that the throngs on the National Mall stretched “all the way back to the Washington Monument.” Photos and video clearly showed the crowd stopping well short of the landmark.
Trump’s visit took place as throngs of women, many of them wearing bright pink, pointy-eared hats, descended on the nation’s capital and other cities around the world for marches organized to push back against the new president. Hundreds of protesters lined the motorcade route as Trump sped back to the White House, many screaming and chanting at the president.
The Washington rally alone attracted more than 500,000 people by the unofficial estimate of city officials. It appeared to be more people than attended Trump’s inauguration on Friday, but there were no comparable numbers. The city did not release an estimate for the inauguration. The National Park Service does not provide crowd counts.
During his remarks at the CIA, the president claimed the inaugural crowds topped 1 million people, offering no evidence.
Suggestions that weak enthusiasm accompanied his inauguration clearly irked the new president. Shortly after his remarks, he dispatched his press secretary, Sean Spicer, to the White House briefing room to aggressively reinforce the message.
“There’s been a lot of talk in the media about holding Donald Trump accountable. And I’m here to tell you that it goes two ways. We’re going to hold the press accountable as well,” Spicer said in his first on-camera appearance at the White House.
Trump, and later Spicer, also slammed a Time magazine reporter for incorrectly reporting Friday that Trump had moved a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. out of the Oval Office. But Trump followed with a misstatement of his own, saying the reporter had not corrected the mistake. In fact, the item was quickly retracted.
High-level CIA brass stood largely silent during Trump’s remarks, though some of the roughly 400 other officers in attendance cheered on the president during his remarks.
California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, slammed Trump for using his CIA visit to squabble over media coverage.
“He will need to do more than use the agency memorial as a backdrop if he wants to earn the respect of the men and women who provide the best intelligence in the world,’ Schiff said.
Former CIA Director John Brennan went further. His former aide Nick Shapiro released a statement saying “Brennan is deeply saddened and angered at Donald Trump’s despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of CIA’s Memorial Wall of Agency heroes. Brennan says that Trump should be ashamed of himself.”
The inaugural celebrations have been shadowed by reports that the CIA and other federal agencies are investigating Russian interference in the presidential election on behalf of Trump. McClatchy reported that the investigation included whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided Trump. The New York Times said agencies were examining intercepted communications and financial transactions between Russian officials and Trump’s associates.
FBI Director James Comey has declined to confirm or describe the nature of the government’s investigation, both during a congressional hearing and in closed-door meetings with members of Congress.
Saturday marked the end of three days of inaugural celebrations, with Trump and his family attending a national prayer service traditionally held for the new president. The president and his wife, Melania, and Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, sat in a front pew at Washington National Cathedral for the morning service.
The interfaith service is a tradition for new presidents and is hosted by the Episcopal parish. But the decision to hold a prayer session for Trump sparked debate among Episcopalians opposed to his policies.
Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington wrote in a blog post that while she shared “a sense of outrage at some of the president-elect’s words and actions,” she felt an obligation to welcome all people without qualification, especially those who disagree and need to find a way to work together.
Trump arrived at the cathedral mid-morning. The service included readings and prayers from Protestant, Jewish, Sikh, Mormon, Buddhist, Roman Catholic, Baha’i, Episcopal, Hindu and Native American leaders. But the program was remarkable for the large number of evangelicals participating, including two former presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest evangelical denomination. Several speakers had served as Trump advisers and supporters who spoke at the Republican National Convention.
AP Religion Writer Rachel Zoll in New York and Associated Press writers Jonathan Lemire and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.
Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC and Jill Colvin at http://twitter.com/colvinj