New Orleans — FOOTBALL
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees set the NFL record for yards passing in a season, breaking the mark Dan Marino held for 27 years, and the New Orleans Saints won the NFC South with a 45-16 victory over Atlanta.
Brees threw for 307 yards and four touchdowns, the last a 9-yard strike to Darren Sproles that set the record with 2:51 to go. It was Brees' final pass of the game and it gave him 5,087 yards passing — with one game still to play. Marino had 5,084 yards for the Miami Dolphins in 1984.
Brees had four touchdowns passes to push his career total to 276, moving him ahead of Joe Montana (273) and Vinny Testeverde (275) for ninth place on the career list. Brees also became the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for more than 5,000 yards twice. He had 5,069 in 2008.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings expect star running back Adrian Peterson to recover from left knee surgery for two torn ligaments in time to start next season.
Peterson tore his ACL and MCL when he was hit in the side of the knee by Washington safety DeJon Gomes in the third quarter of Minnesota's road victory Saturday. Peterson will undergo surgery within the next seven to 10 days, according to Minnesota head trainer Eric Sugarman.
Sugarman outlined an eight-to-nine-month recovery for Peterson, who signed a seven-year, $100 million contract extension before the first week of the season.
NEW YORK (AP) — Syracuse was No. 1 for the third straight week in The Associated Press' Top 25.
The Orange (13-0) received 54 first-place votes from the 65-member media poll. Ohio State was second, followed by Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Baylor and Duke. Ohio State received five No. 1 votes.
San Diego State moved into the poll for the first time this season at No. 25. Xavier, which lost three straight games after several players were suspended for fighting, dropped out from No. 14.
In the women's poll, Baylor was still the unanimous choice as the No. 1 team.
The Lady Bears (12-0) received all 40 first-place votes for the fourth straight week after blowing out McNeese State in their only game. UConn remained second, followed by Notre Dame, Stanford and Maryland.
NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA's season-opening five Christmas games averaged 6.2 million viewers based on fast national ratings, up from 6 million last year.
The Bulls-Lakers matchup was the third most-watched regular-season game ever on ABC, behind only season's highly anticipated Heat-Lakers showdown and another meeting between Miami and LA in 2004.
Chris Paul's Clippers debut in the nightcap against the Warriors earned a 2.2 rating, up 69 percent over last season's Portland-Golden State telecast in the same slot. It was ESPN's highest-rated Christmas prime-time game. Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned to a program.
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Rockets signed free-agent center Samuel Dalembert.
The 6-foot-11 Dalembert agreed to a multiyear contract last week. He averaged 8.1 points and 8.2 rebounds for Sacramento last season.
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Texas Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba was suspended from Venezuela's professional baseball league for 66 games for striking an umpire.
Torrealba issued an apology, saying he was embarrassed about his argument with a plate umpire after striking out Friday. He angrily put a hand on the umpire's mask and shoved him. He was then ejected.
Torrealba plays for the Caracas Lions.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Carolina's Cam Ward became the first NHL goalie to score since Nashville's Chris mason in 2006 when he was credited with a bizarre empty-net goal in the Hurricanes' 4-2 victory over New Jersey.
New Jersey forward Ilya Kovalchuk's errant pass for Adam Henrique from the end line went the length of the ice and into the empty net with 29.4 seconds left. Officials initially awarded the goal to Brandon Sutter, but a postgame review determined he never touched the puck.
TORONTO (AP) — A day after Toronto coach Ron Wilson tweeted that he had signed a new contract, general manager Brian Burke made it official. Terms of the deal weren't released.
Wilson was in the final season of a four-year contract.
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Charlie Coyle had a hat trick and Kyle Rau added two goals to help the United States open the world junior championship with an 11-3 victory over Denmark in Group B play.
Also, Mark Stone had three goals and an assist in Canada's 8-1 victory over Finland. In Group A in Calgary, Sweden beat Latvia 9-4, and Russia topped Switzerland 3-0.