Category Archives: NFL Football

NFL Football

Big 12 preview: It’s still Kansas’ world

The tale of the Big 12 this season is familiar.

Since 2005, two years before Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone, Kansas has won at least a share of every Big 12 championship. In 2003-04, Bill Self’s first season, the Jayhawks finished tied for second. What a letdown.

But the program matched UCLA’s record of 13 consecutive conference championships last season, and with Devonte’ Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk and Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman anchoring the backcourt, only the foolish would pick against Kansas to extend its streak.

Kevin Durant had 31 points, 11 rebounds and six assists to help rally the Warriors from 18 points down and beat the Wizards 120-117 on Friday night, a game marred by a fight between Green and Washington’s Bradley Beal that led to both being tossed.

Stephen Curry added 20 points, eight assists and five rebounds, hitting two 3s and two free throws in the final minute of the third quarter to get Golden State within 97-87 heading into the final 12 minutes. Then Klay Thompson and Durant made 3s early in the fourth for a four-point game. Thompson scored 18 points.

Durant’s jumper with 1:20 to go put Golden State up by five, but the Warriors still needed his two free throws with 9.4 seconds left. John Wall missed an off-balance 3 then Washington couldn’t capitalize on one final chance.

Then Nick motioned down the hall, where the family waiting room was jammed with relatives of survivors. “Not everyone has the same amount of support I do,” he told the Golden Knights. “I have a professional hockey team coming to visit me.”
nike_patriots-334

Marcell Dareus Jersey admits trade from Bills to Jags ‘overwhelming’

In a span of seven minutes, Marcell Dareus used the words shocking, overwhelming and emotional to describe what he’s felt since he was traded to the Jaguars on Friday evening.
Reebok NHL Women's Robert Bortuzzo White Away Authentic Jersey - #41 St. Louis Blues
From the phone call from the Buffalo Bills informing him of the trade to his arrival in Jacksonville amid the annual Florida-Georgia game at EverBank Field to meeting the coaching staff to quiet moments in his hotel room, Dareus said he was still trying to adjust even as he participated in his first practice Monday morning.

“Little overwhelming,” Dareus said. “Kind of saw some things happening but at the same time I was getting prepared for the Womens Roberto Luongo Jersey game and we had a game plan in and I was practicing all week and I’m just zoned in, trying to keep negativity out. And when I got the call and things happened the way it did, I can’t Michael Thomas Authentic Jersey lie it did make me a little emotional because I know [Saturday] it is a one-way ticket [to Jacksonville].

“We had a lot of turnovers. It was one of the worst quarters we’ve ever had,” Porzingis said. “But, we are going to learn from this game.”

The game was tied 77-77 when Doug McDermott’s 3-pointer put the Knicks back in front for good with 1:09 left in the third.

New York led 84-81 going into the final quarter. Will Barton brought the Nuggets to within one, 89-88, with 9:50 left in the game.

But, Hardaway Jr. scored the Knicks’ next 11 points, including three 3-pointers, and Porzingis’ jumper with 5:35 left gave New York a 104-95 lead.

“I made some big shots and I was happy about that,” Hardaway Jr. said. “They were contested, but once you see one go down and you start feeling yourself a little bit it helps my confidence and the team’s confidence.”

Redskins, Cowboys fight to keep in sight of Eagles

At the rate they are going, the Washington Redskins probably won’t run out of healthy players for at least a few more weeks.

Problem is, they have 10 games remaining.

“When a guy slides, the target is very small. I just think it (Flacco’s slide) was a second late, which is why I hit him, to be honest with you, “Alonso said. “At first I was anticipating I thought he was going to slide. And then it got to a point where I was like, ‘I got to him,’ because he slid too late.”

Alfred Morris, RB, Dallas Cowboys (36.7 percent): Although Ezekiel Elliott is set to play in Week 8, we don’t know if that will be case in Week 9 as we await the next step in the process tied to his suspension. With that said, both Morris and Darren McFadden should be added on a just-in-case basis. Morris would be the back I slightly prefer among Cowboys fill-ins, though it could prove to be a shared job.

Despite Jerry Jones’ admonition about players protesting during the anthem, David Irving raised his fist briefly, according to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. Defensive end Damontre Moore saluted after the anthem was finished.

Irving said after the game that he is not concerned about facing discipline for raising his fist, according to Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News.

Davis said last season he could see himself playing six more years, and he wasn’t joking. Gruden takes Davis seriously from watching how the veteran “runs around like a 20-year-old kid.”

“The guy’s a freak,” Gruden said. “He’s the most impressive guy I’ve been around really as far as taking care of his body, and whatever he’s doing, he needs to tell all our young guys to do it because he’s amazing.”
nike_49ers_2375_23a0570cc7179cf3-150x150

Your guide to Wednesday’s LDS games: Indians, Nationals asking who’s available for elimination games

Happy Wednesday! We get a Game 5 that is one of the juiciest Division Series games we’ve ever had, with the Yankees of all teams playing underdog versus the mighty Indians. As a bonus, we also get Game 4 between the Nationals and Cubs. We won’t, however, be getting Stephen Strasburg.

Smart, giving up 6 inches, got a hand on the ball and clung to it as Holmes tried with two arms to prevent Smart from wrestling it away. Eventually, as the two do-si-doed, the ball popped loose near the free throw line. Smart immediately launched himself between the legs of T.J. McConnell and snared the loose ball. Smart even had the presence of mind to roll on his back and somehow feed teammate Terry Rozier, who then lobbed an alley-oop that rookie Guerschon Yabusele finished with a layup.

Yates: It’s Roethlisberger, given his supporting cast. The offensive line is a tenured and cohesive group that has standout players, his receivers are highlighted by arguably the best in the game with Brown and Le’Veon Bell is a game-changer. It’s difficult to pinpoint why Roethlisberger’s most recent struggles (six interceptions over his past two games and just one touchdown) have occurred. Pittsburgh has a tough test to get on track as it faces the league’s best team, Kansas City, this week.

The Memphis Grizzlies also had a stronger track record of exceeding projections early in the Grit n’ Grind era. (Memphis beat its retroactive RPM projection by at least six wins each season from 2009-10 to 2012-13.) To the extent the Grizzlies have exceeded expectations lately, it has often been by outperforming their point differential.

I’d give Memphis a pretty good shot at beating this year’s RPM projection (also 34.8 wins before accounting for schedule) just because it’s so low.

But Smart also knows how much he impacts winning, and box score stats cannot fully quantify his impact. So when Stevens highlighted Smart’s hustle during that recent film session, it resonated with Smart.
ravens_068

Will Johnson: “Of all the plays Johnny made, that’s the most speechless I’ve been.”

Linebacker Jatavis Brown, the Bolts’ leading tackler, suffered a right foot injury during the opening quarter of last week’s loss to the Eagles. Brown wore a protective boot on Monday but said after the Chargers’ medical staff evaluated him that he would be good to play Sunday against the Giants. However, Brown’s injury status is worth monitoring this week. Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said Brown wouldn’t practice Wednesday. — Eric D. Williams

McCarron threw an interception. A&M took over and what came next was a play that won’t soon be forgotten: On third-and-goal from the Alabama 10-yard line, Manziel ran into right tackle Jake Matthews, bobbled the football, caught it, rolled to his left and found a wide-open Ryan Swope in the back of the end zone.

Will Johnson: “Of all the plays Johnny made, that’s the most speechless I’ve been.”

Kingsbury: “I just remember the whole crowd was going crazy … and then it was complete silence when Ryan catches that ball.”

Nico Johnson: “When I saw Johnny drop the football, pick it up and shake three or four guys, and rolled out and shook another guy and threw it off his back foot in the back of the end zone for a touchdown, I was like, ‘This is not meant for us to win today, man.’ It had that feeling like nothing would go our way.”

A stunned crowd watched as Alabama went three-and-out and the Aggies marched downfield yet again. Sure enough, just as Sumlin told his players earlier that week, they were up 20-0 — except it was still the first quarter.
texans_042

Bartolo Colon designated for assignment by Braves

Veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon has been designated for assignment, the Braves announced Thursday.

The Braves called up left-handed pitcher Rex Brothers from Triple-A Gwinnett in a corresponding move.

Colon, who returned to action Wednesday after being on the disabled list since June 6, said he felt good in his first game back despite giving up six runs on eight hits with three walks over four innings in a 7-4 loss to the Padres.

“I felt good, I just feel like I’ve kind of hit a rough streak to be honest and it’s tough to just snap out of it,” Colon said through a translator after the game, via ESPN. “The reality is that I’ve been getting hit hard, and that’s the truth and you can’t dance around it.”

Colon, 44, was 2-8 with an 8.14 ERA in 13 starts while dealing with a strained oblique and stiff back this season after being an All-Star with the Mets last year.

A player who is “Designated For Return” must have suffered a major football-related injury or non-football-related injury or illness after reporting to training camp and must have been placed on the applicable Reserve List after 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the final roster reduction.

A player whom the club wishes to designate for return is permitted to return to practice for a period not to exceed 21 days. The club is required to notify the League office that the player has been “Designated For Return” on the first day the player begins to practice. The player cannot be returned to the Active/Inactive List until eight weeks have elapsed since the date he was placed on Reserve.browns_032

College football’s leaping rule could be getting big expansion

23, like the NFL, has a rule designed to prevent players from landing on each other while trying to block kicks. Through what’s known as the “leaping” rule, both the professional and college games prohibit players from running and jumping to block a kick and then landing on another player from either team. The landing portion is key.

In college, that’s probably about to change. The NCAA’s College Football Rules Committee is proposing a rule change that would outlaw defenders running toward the line of scrimmage and hurdling blockers — whether they land on them or not. Such a rule change won’t be official until it gets approval from the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is slated to discuss it on April 19.

The same rules committee decided not to change the sport’s controversial targeting rule this season. It recommended that players be required to wear kneepads that cover their knees, so players like Pitt’s Ejuan Price might not be able to wear shorts. It also recommended that players’ nameplates be included in the horse-collar tackle rule.

The leaping rule isn’t invoked often, but it can be a big deal.
Michigan State lost a game at Indiana last season after a Spartan defender hurdled Indiana’s protection unit. The Hoosiers kicker missed his field goal attempt in overtime, but he got another try because of the leaping foul, and he hit it.

Watch Michigan State’s No. 34, Drake Martinez, the leaper:

Mount Etna is one of the world’s most-active volcanoes and some adventurous skiers took it on themselves to explore a massive smoldering lava bomb when it came rolling down the slope past them.

When it finally came to a resting spot the skiers got astonishingly close. For all they knew it was a Godzilla egg. Okay, probably not — but we can dream.

Bengals’ Andrew Whitworth likely to test free agency

“Cincinnati’s been wonderful and it’s been something that I enjoyed thoroughly. I loved the challenge and the opportunity and I still love it,” Whitworth told SiriusXM NFL Radio this week, via ESPN.com. “I’ve enjoyed our adventure together and I hope it continues, but for me, it’s just been one of those things. Being a mentor and a leader, I’ve always urged guys if you’re ever allowed to be a free agent to take advantage of that opportunity.”

It’s no surprise that the Bears are turning the page at quarterback. When general manager Ryan Pace and John Fox arrived in Chicago two offseason ago, they immediately — and unsuccessfully — shopped Cutler around the league. When backup Brian Hoyer showed initial promise as an injury fill-in last October, Fox made it clear that he would usurp Cutler’s starting job if he maintained that pace.

Although Cutler went on to reclaim the QB1 spot when Hoyer went down with a season-ending injury, he ended up missing the final six games with a labrum tear that required surgery to his throwing shoulder. Rapoport reported Friday that Cutler is continuing to rehab following surgery and is expected to pass a physical by March.

What is Cutler’s trade value in advance of his age-34 season?

The Bears couldn’t find a taker two years ago. He’s now coming off of the second-lowest passer rating of his career. He hasn’t played a full 16-game season since his first year in Chicago, back in 2009. He has been benched for Jimmy Clausen and statistically outplayed by several of his backups. Perhaps most problematic, he has feuded with multiple teammates and coaches.

In other words, the Bears will eventually release Cutler once they find his replacement.

Philip Rivers, Chargers agree on 4-year contract extension

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has agreed to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced on Saturday. It’s a four-year extension that will keep him with the team through 2019. The deal is worth approximately $84 million in new money, with $65 million guaranteed, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

That means Rivers is just about on par with the other highest-paid quarterbacks of the league. All of Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and Drew Brees are making an average of at least $20 million per season, and Rivers’ deal fits right in that tier. Rodgers still leads the group with an average of $22 million per season.

Rivers was already set up for significant payday, but the numbers likely went up when Ryan Tannehill and Cam Newton both signed massive contracts. Tannehill is earning an average of $19.25 million per season through 2020 with the Miami Dolphins, while Newton is making more than $20 million per season in Carolina with his five-year, $103.8 million extension.

Kickers have made nearly 93 percent of 33-yard field goals over the last five years, so it remains to be seen if this rule change will dramatically affect how the game is played. So far this preseason, clubs have converted 4 of 13 two-point conversions.

If those numbers hold out into the regular season, the two-point conversion probably won’t become a bigger part of the game. NFL coaches are generally a conservative bunch, and the extra point remains a high percentage play. But it can no longer be taken for granted, as Parkey reminded us Sunday.

Jay Gruden defends coaching gambles as players praise aggressiveness

The decisions were curious and didn’t work out. The natural inclination is to rip the coach. Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden certainly left himself open to second-guessing after taking gambles that even at the time seemed curious.

Full disclosure: I didn’t like Christian Okoye Authentic Womens Jersey the 55-yard field goal attempt with a kicker who hasn’t been in the same groove; I did not like the onside kick almost midway through the fourth quarter. Neither move worked out, and both failures left the Dallas Cowboys in great field position — once at their 45-yard line, the other time at their 47. And each one led to a touchdown drive.

The Cowboys entered Thursday with a two-game Thanksgiving losing streak. The last time the Cowboys lost three in a row on Thanksgiving was a four-game run of defeats from 1986-89. Last year the Cowboys trailed the Panthers 23-3 at halftime. The year before, they trailed 23-7 to the Philadelphia Eagles at halftime.

“It’s a huge swing,” right guard Zack Martin said. “Last year was ugly. I don’t know if we’ve ever, since I’ve been here, got beat like that [33-14 to the Panthers]. To come in here, short week and just focus and prepare the right way and get a big win, that’s huge for us.”

Since their last Super Bowl season in 1995, the Cowboys have had just six seasons with at least 10 wins. They won 12 games in 2014. They won 11 in 2009. They won 13 in 2007.

Turnovers determine the results of a lot of games, but that’s particularly true for De’Anthony Thomas Authentic Womens Jersey the Chiefs, who have forced at least two turnovers in six of their seven victories this season. The Chiefs don’t get a lot of big offensive plays and they tend to stall once inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, so they depend on turnovers to provide field position and to directly score points.

Cam Newton’s performance in Oakland: The Carolina Panthers are two games out of first place in the NFC South and will need a monster game from Newton to end the Raiders’ four-game winning streak.