SAN FRANCISCO - The Giants boasted a physical, intimidating defense with athletic linebackers and stout linemen capable of stifling the NFL's most productive offenses. San Francisco featured a high-powered passing attack led by an eventual Hall of Fame quarterback in his prime with receivers capable of turning short passes into big gains.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Tom Brady walks silently to the chair at his locker. He talks quietly with Deion Branch in the adjacent stall. Later, he puts on his jacket and heads for the exit.
MIAMI (AP) - LeBron James shook off flu-like symptoms to score 31 points, Chris Bosh scored 15 and the Miami Heat won their second straight, topping the Los Angeles Lakers 98-87 on Thursday night.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Colin Greening and the Ottawa Senators are right at home on the road.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Jaroslav Halak made 15 saves for his second straight shutout, and Alex Pietrangelo scored with 5:14 left in the St. Louis Blues' 1-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Roger Federer made the most of his rare opportunities Friday against the fastest serve in tennis, cashing in with some classic returns in a 7-6 (6), 7-5, 6-3 win over Ivo Karlovic to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - The Giants' Eli Manning has been forced to escape the shadow of superstar big brother, Peyton. San Francisco's Alex Smith? He only has a pair of Hall of Famers in Joe Montana and Steve Young hanging over him in 49ers lore.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - San Francisco tight end Delanie Walker has returned to practice for the first time since breaking his left jaw in two places late in the regular season and hopes to be healthy enough to play in the NFC championship game.
By JOSH DUBOW
SEATTLE (AP) - For this year at least, Lorenzo Romar is a big fan of an odd scheduling quirk in the Pac-12.
MIAMI (AP) - Kobe Bryant is 33 years old, has spent nearly half his life in the NBA, is dealing with a significant wrist injury and has taken about 3,000 more shots in his career than any other active player.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning missed part of Wednesday's practice session with an illness that coach Tom Coughlin called "a stomach bug, hopefully a 24-hour deal."
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Serena Williams was only two points from her 500th career match win when she tumbled to the court in the second round of the Australian Open.
SANTA CLARA - When addressing his 49ers this week, Jim Harbaugh can point to the monumental miss in his 15-year NFL career: He came a Hail Mary short of making the Super Bowl. He still has an out-of-whack right pinkie and noticeable hitch in his step to show for his time in the league.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Nets coach Avery Johnson had a sense that his team's home woes would come to an end against the Golden State Warriors.
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) - Emily Lillard scored the first goal of the University of Miami's women's soccer season. And she's a goalie.
CHESTER, Pa. (AP) - Sheanon Williams scored the go-ahead goal in the 72nd minute to help the Philadelphia Union beat the San Jose Earthquakes 4-2 on Sunday night.
NEW YORK (AP) - Two 23-year-olds, Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov, broke through to their first major semifinals at Wimbledon.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - When lawmakers carved out an exemption for fantasy sports in a 2006 law targeting online poker, no one predicted that it would spawn an online gambling operation that may someday rival the millions wagered daily in Las Vegas sports books.
CHICAGO (AP) - A former San Diego State football player has asked a federal judge to reject the recently proposed $75 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA, saying it unfairly forces athletes who suffered head injuries to forfeit hundreds of millions of dollars in potential damages.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A lawsuit filed by Kansas and Arizona will be argued before a federal appeals court panel this week as the states seek to force federal election officials to impose proof-of-citizenship requirements on national voter registration forms.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - The San Francisco 49ers re-sodded the field at Levi's Stadium from goal line to goal line and sideline to sideline with longer grass Friday and they expect no problems for Sunday's preseason game against the San Diego Chargers.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - With a stable of running backs now complementing quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers offense could be as potent as ever this season.
OAKLAND (AP) - Sean Doolittle couldn't find much fault with his latest outing, which was strange considering the Athletics' closer nearly ruined Sonny Gray's best start in more than four weeks.
WASHINGTON (AP) - As the deficit grew from two to four to eight, even the Washington Nationals - who grew so accustomed to comeback, last-at-bat heroics during their 10-game winning streak - had to admit that their good thing was coming to an end.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The wait is almost over.
PARAMUS, N.J. (AP) - Now that the majors are over, Adam Scott is going after the only big prize left this year - a shot at the $10 million FedEx Cup title.
PITTSBURGH (AP) - There were times during John Orozco's grueling rehab after he tore the ACL in his left knee during a post-Olympic tour two years ago that he figured his gymnastics career was done.
BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) - Kevin Harvick has become the best qualifier in NASCAR's top series, at least for this season.
CINCINNATI (AP) - As his term winds down, baseball Commissioner Bud Selig hasn't changed his outlook on Pete Rose's lifetime ban for gambling.