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Auto Focus does not determine exposure. Only sharpness. "Wrong" exposure could be due to the metering mode being set in Spot Metering. Set it back to Evaluative Metering which may improve the overall even exposure of your shots. Test your shots in full auto or P mode. M (Manual) mode will require you to check the exposure setting manually (you can see the indicator in the viewfinder when you half-press the trigger)
I have the SAME problem. I wrote to Canon and they told me to shut off the camera, take the battery out and wait 20 MINUTES! I can't WAIT that long, especially when I'm WORKING! I rely on this camera to work! Its annoying! Then they said if that doesn't work, to SEND IT IN and if its under warranty, they'll fix it for free.. if its NOT, then I have to pay for it. BUt the "technical team" will make the decision.
You are probably going to need a faster lens to get pictures like you want, like around the 1.* range. If you have the ASA at 1600 and aperture at the minimum in Av mode, try and keep the exposure time to 1/focal distance. Such as, if you are shooting 200 mm lens then maximum exposure time is 1/200 second. If you zoom out a bit to 50 mm then it may look better too. You may as well turn the megapixels down too because otherwise you'll just see the blur even more, I'd suggest 3.2 megapixels that will look good in 4x6 photos or on the web. Other than that, try and take pictures where the action is coming at you or going away. Get as close as possible too, so that you don't have to zoom as much. At the H.S. football games I go to it seems like they let anyone down near the field who has a big lens.