Monthly Archives: December 2016

That’s a Steelers smack in the face

Saturday released a lot of pent-up emotion for Tracy Howard and his Browns teammates, but now the focus must turn to the immediate and long-term future.

“I feel better today than I did at any time during this year, to be honest with you,” coach Hue Jackson said.

Which is fine. But cold, hard reality awaits Sunday and when the season ends.

The Browns have to win in Pittsburgh to avoid a 1-15 finish, which would be the worst in the team’s 66-year history. Not since 2009 has an NFL team finished 1-15, with the St. Louis Rams having that dubious honor. And not since 2003 have the Browns won in Pittsburgh, a streak of 12 games in a row. In seven of the past eight, the Browns have not scored more than 14 points.

That’s a Steelers smack in the face.

Other issues also remain.

Limited Youth Ryan Kelly Jersey A favorite target of quarterback Jameis Winston, Brate’s absence was felt in the fourth quarter when, down 31-21, Winston failed to connect with backup Brandon Myers in the end zone on two consecutive plays from the Saints’ 17-yard line. The drive stalled at the New Orleans 17 and the Bucs settled for a field goal, ultimately losing 31-24.

Brate caught a 12-yard touchdown strike from Winston in the second quarter Saturday, tying Jimmie Giles’ franchise record for most touchdowns by a tight end in a single season (eight). That record has stood since 1985. A touchdown against the Carolina Panthers this Sunday would have broken it.
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Brate finishes his season with 57 catches for 660 yards. His eight touchdown catches are the most in the league among tight ends and are second on the Bucs behind Mike Evans.

The Bucs also placed cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah on IR with an undisclosed injury and re-signed running back Russell Hansbrough.

Rams vs. Seahawks 2015 live stream: Start time, TV schedule and how to watch online

The Seattle Seahawks (9-5) rallied nicely after losing four of their first six games and managed to clinch a spot in the postseason with a win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 15, their fifth consecutive victory.

Unfortunately, the Seahawks lost too many games early in the season and they are unable to win the NFC West, which has been clinched by the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona will be fighting for a first-round bye over the next two weeks, while the Seahawks will jockey with either the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings or Atlanta Falcons for the fifth seed.

The Packers currently hold the lead in the NFC North and, like the Seahawks, have clinched a playoff berth. But they can still lose the division to the Vikings, especially with a Week 17 game against their rivals. While they battle it out, Seattle will just try and ensure they don’t wind up with the sixth seed, as one spot can make a huge difference.

On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals’ defense has also played a significant role in the team’s strong season. The unit ranks sixth in points allowed (19.2 per game) thanks in large part to the tremendous play of its secondary.

Game Kids Winston Guy Jersey Cornerback Patrick Peterson has returned to form in 2015. Quarterbacks mostly avoid throwing in his direction, and the ones who have tried haven’t enjoyed much success. Peterson has two interceptions and a defensive passer rating of 55.2 through 15 weeks, the latter among the better marks in football.

Game Kids Tony McDaniel Jersey Unfortunately, Arizona lost talented defensive back Tyrann Mathieu earlier this week to a knee injury. Mathieu played both cornerback and safety for the Cardinals defense and proved capable in both roles. The secondary remains a strong unit, but it lost some of its playmaking ability.

while Langston trained in Los Angeles, the disarray continued

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had always been a refuge for Langston and Sabrina Galloway — a college town that has inspired generations of athletic greatness. Langston’s father played high school ball there and ultimately went to training camp with Julius Erving and the New York Nets; Sabrina’s father played football at LSU.

When Langston was a local basketball star, and Sabrina a volleyball standout, they met through a mutual friend.

“You knew your neighbors, you know your church family,” Sabrina said. “That saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’? That’s kind of how the South is. It’s a melting pot already, Louisiana is. You go anywhere, someone’s gonna say hello to you.”

Baton Rouge was spared some of Louisiana’s recent traumas. The worst of Hurricane Katrina missed by 80 miles or so. Hurricane Gustav came three years later but is mainly remembered for knocking out the power for a couple of weeks.

But one summer upended Baton Rouge unlike ever before.
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Derrick Rose had 24 points, a team-high 6 assists and 2 blocks. Joakim Noah posted 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Kristaps Porzingis had 21 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. Most importantly, of course, Carmelo Anthony had 35 points, which included several clutch 3s in the second half to help the Knicks rebound from a 15-point deficit.
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In short, Tuesday’s game was probably what Jackson and the rest of the Knicks’ leadership envisioned when they traded for Rose and signed Noah over the summer.

“Every night isn’t going to be like that,” Rose said late Tuesday night, “but whenever it is, we’re pretty tough to beat.”

The Knicks improved to 15-13 and remain in the midst of a group of Eastern Conference teams competing for a playoff spot.

Perhaps more importantly, they snapped a three-game losing streak that threatened to snowball into something far worse had Anthony not lifted the Knicks to a comeback.

Lions TE Eric Ebron (knee) active against Giants

Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron, who was limited by a knee injury in practice this past week, is active Sunday against the New York Giants.

Ebron, who was listed as questionable by the Lions on Friday, is still experiencing some lingering pain and soreness, a source told ESPN’s Adam Caplan.
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Born in Newark, New Jersey, Ebron has referred to Sunday’s game as a homecoming as he faces the team he rooted for growing up.

“It’s going to be a dream come true, honestly, in my eyes,” Ebron said last week. “It should be fun, man. I’m just going to unleash everything I got within that four quarters, man — every little ounce of energy I got.”
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Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts, hip, (Q): Allen is listed as questionable because of a hip injury that may have hindered his performance last week. Not that one should expect the three-touchdown output of Week 13, but at least Allen is expected to play after a full practice session Friday. With Donte Moncrief out for this game, Allen could be a beneficiary. Fantasy owners should confirm his status before kickoff.

Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills, knee, (Q): Clay has been on the injury report as questionable for multiple weeks but has played through his knee ailment. He missed only one game and that was so he could be present for the birth of his child. Expect Clay to play again this week after practicing on a limited basis both Thursday and Friday.

This space is intended for a list of key players, not including those who have been moved to injured reserve status, who are officially listed as “Out” for the upcoming game.

Bill Belichick resigned as the head coach of the New York Jets just one day after accepting the position in January 2000

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Tony Romo bobbled the snap on what would have been a field goal from essentially extra-point distance. Romo still could¡¯ve achieved a first down or touchdown (it was fourth-and-1 from the 2) when he picked up the ball, but he was tackled short of the marker by Jordan Babineaux. The Seahawks hung on to win 21-20.

In 2000, when Parcells stepped down from the Jets, defensive coordinator Bill Belichick was contractually promoted to be the head coach. That lasted 24 hours, when Belichick hastily resigned from that arrangement to make a disputed move to the Patriots.

Bill Belichick resigned as the head coach of the New York Jets just one day after accepting the position in January 2000. Al Pereira/Getty Images
It got ugly, but Tagliabue also brokered a deal that opened the door for Belichick to become the Patriots coach. The Jets received New England’s first-round draft pick in 2000 and their fourth- and seventh-rounders in 2001. The Patriots got a fifth-rounder in 2001 and a seventh-rounder in 2002.

Limited Kids Rod Gilbert Jersey “I think it’s worked out pretty well for the Patriots,” said a purposefully understated Accorsi.

In 2002, Jon Gruden was at the center of the biggest coach “trade” of all, enabling him to leave the Oakland Raiders for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The late Raiders owner, Al Davis, extracted first-round picks from the Bucs in 2002 and 2003, second-round picks in 2002 and 2004 and a reported $8 million in cash. Gruden got the frustrated Bucs over the hump by leading them to their first Super Bowl title that very first season — over the Raiders.

“Steep price, but they got their Lombardi trophy and Gruden did it with Brad Johnson at quarterback,” Accorsi said.

Khalil Mack, who has a strip-sack in three straight games, is riding an eight-game streak with at least one sack.

¡°He¡¯s just a freak of nature, just so quick and twitchy the way he moves,¡± Bosa, who has 6.5 sacks in nine games, said of Mack this week.

The Packers’ offense finally came to life near the end of the third quarter

The game’s first turnover also came in the third quarter. Bridgewater, scrambling under duress, threw a poor ball into traffic and got picked off by Micah Hyde, who for his part made an impressive one-handed grab.

However, the game’s next turnover dramatically flipped the game. Everson Griffen strip-sacked Rodgers and Captain Munnerlyn scooped up the ball for a 55-yard touchdown, giving the Mens DeShawn Shead Jersey Vikings a 20-3 lead.

The Packers’ offense finally came to life Kids Edwin Encarnacion Jersey near the end of the third quarter. Rodgers shook off his previous turnover and led the team down 80 yards, capped off with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Richard Rodgers. That cut the Packers’ deficit to 10 points and brought the Lambeau Field crowd back to life.

Despite Peterson leaving the game with a back injury, the Vikings attempted to play clock control with Jerick McKinnon on their next drive. Penalties cut that drive short and they punted it back to Green Bay. Rodgers promptly marched back towards the red zone, looking like vintage Aaron Rodgers with laser strikes down the field for chunk yards. Crosby hit his second field goal of the night to cut Minnesota’s lead to seven.

On the ensuing kickoff, Cordarrelle Patterson took it deep into Packers territory and nearly sprung a back-breaking touchdown, but coughed up the ball, giving possession right back to Green Bay. Just two plays later, Rodgers hits James Jones for a 32-yard gain to the Vikings’ 23-yard line.

The Packers were facing fourth-and-goal at the 13-yard line, but were forced to burn a timeout before the two-minute warning. On the next play, Rodgers threw an interception to Xavier Rhodes in the end zone, killing Green Bay’s comeback attempt. Green Bay got one more chance to tie the game and tried another Hail Mary miracle, but this time Rodgers’ pass was batted down.

Kenley Jansen makes serious commitments in a short span

It was a wedding and a renewal in a matter of two days for Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.

Talk about closing a deal.

Jansen walked down the aisle to get Josh Harrison Kids Jersey married in his native Curacao on Saturday, even though he did not know what city he might be located in next season and what his pay scale might be, although he probably had a good idea on that one.

So as closers Mark Melancon and Aroldis Chapman signed lucrative deals during last week’s winter meetings, with the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees, respectively, Jansen waited. He still had plenty of reasons to raise a toast.

Now he has another reason — a five-year, $80 million contract to return to the Dodgers, even though not long ago it seemed as if the club might be unwilling to sign each of the players in its high-profile Game Christine Michael Sr Jersey free-agent trio of Rich Hill, Justin Turner and Jansen.

If it doesn’t happen this winter, it’ll probably happen next July or next winter, because small-market teams like the Pirates do not have access to talent in the way big-market teams do, and Pittsburgh would have to sacrifice player value in keeping McCutchen all the way to the time when he can walk out as a free agent after 2018.

Maybe one or two of them flame out. Maybe all three of them flame out, and Eaton ends up being the missing link that puts the Nationals over the top and helps lead them to the Promised Land.

Moore said. “I can’t tell you who.” The Royals finalized a trade to send Wade Davis to the Cubs today. The addition of right fielder Jorge Soler gives the Royals more flexibility to listen to offers for Jarrod Dyson, who is also a year from free agency.

Patriots signed WR they made look foolish on Colts’ horrible fake punt last season

The Patriots have added wide receiver Griff Whalen to the roster, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, but New England probably won’t be running any fake punts with him.

Last season, when Whalen was with the Indianapolis Colts, the Colts ran perhaps the worst fake punt in the history of the NFL against the Patriots. It was so laughably bad that it’s still difficult to believe they actually tried it.

Whalen was the snapper on the play.

The fake was an epic failure, and it is clear that Whalen wasn’t supposed to actually snap the ball. As a matter of fact, Chuck Pagano questioned the wisdom of snapping the ball the moment Whalen walked off the field.

Ronald Gasser, 54, was taken into custody at the scene, but released overnight without being charged, according to Gasser was identified as the shooter Thursday, and reportedly stayed at the scene and turned his gun over to officers.

On Tuesday, Gasser was reportedly jailed on a count of manslaughter, according to the New Orleans Advocate.

The incident occurred around 4 p.m. ET, and McKnight was pronounced dead at the scene.

McKnight spent his college career at USC, and he was drafted by the Jets in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Pete Carroll, who was McKnight’s coach at USC, paid tribute to his former player:

Deeply saddened by the loss of Joe McKnight. This is a terrible tragedy. Everyone loved Joe and we are going to really miss him.

McKinght spent the 2013 season out of the NFL and signed with the Chiefs prior to the 2014 season, but tore his Achilles during practice in late September and spent the rest of the season on injured reserve.

Cowboys have reclaimed their status as America’s Team

The Dallas Cowboys have reclaimed the rock star status they had in the 1990s when they dominated headlines and the NFL, winning three Super Bowls.

America’s Team is back.

They own the NFL’s best record at 11-1. They have big-time star power in Dak, Zeke and Dez — dudes are so popular they don’t even require last names.

They have the NFL’s best offensive line, which gets more attention and accolades than any offensive line in recent memory.

They have an All-American dude and probable future Hall of Fame player in tight Jason Witten, and a juicy storyline in the plight of quarterback Tony Romo, the 10-year starter who now rides the bench because (Dak) Prescott has been too good to replace.

The Cowboys won 12 games and the NFC East title in 2014, but that team had a different feel to it.

That’s no longer the vibe.

Elliott gained 261,024 Twitter followers last month and (Dez) Bryant added 232,815. Elliott and Prescott rank 1-2 in Pro Bowl voting, and four other players — including kicker Dan Bailey and punter Chris Jones — lead their positions in voting.

Elliott (1), Prescott (2), Witten (11) and Bryant (14) rank among NFL’s top 15 players in jersey sales.

“This team is very much where we were when we went 11-5 right before we started our Super Bowl run in terms of that energy,” Smith said. “In terms of that excitement. In terms of that belief.

“That belief is starting to permeate throughout the entire organization, and people are starting to truly believe that we got another run, we got another shot. I believe this team is poised to do great things going forward.”

It would be easy to be distracted, especially for rookies. Coach Jason Garrett won’t let it happen.

He demands players stay in the moment, focusing on the meeting right now — not the walk-through practice in an hour. It’s an approach that works, and for the vast majority of the players on this roster, it’s the only message they have ever heard.

3 ways the Seahawks win with Doug Baldwin

It doesn’t get talked about enough that Baldwin led the NFL in touchdowns this season (14, tied with Brandon Marshall and Allen Robinson), and one of the most ridiculous catches I’ve ever seen in my life didn’t even reach the viral status that other big time catches might garner. I am, of course, talking about Baldwin’s seemingly impossible leaping grab in Seattle’s win over the Vikings in -15 degree wind chill in Minnesota on Sunday.

Still, Baldwin has taken his game to an elite level this season for the Seahawks, and he finished second in the NFL in drop rate (78 of 80 catchable balls, according to PFF) and catch rate (78 receptions on 99 targets) while catching a career high 78 passes for 1,069 yards.

The unassuming 5’10, 189-pound former undrafted free agent out of Stanford went on an absolute tear across the league in the second half of the season. Along the way he joined Calvin Johnson (2011) and Cris Carter (1995) as the only three players in the league’s history with four straight games with multiple reception scores.

“I think the biggest difference in this season is that I know what I am capable of,” Thomas said. “I’ve never challenged myself as much as I am now. I’m coming off a torn labrum. Some people have told me I should play it safe. They tell me not to take chances. I’m always going to bring my best to the team. I just go for it. I am who I say I am.”

Thomas employs a scholarly approach to football.

Listen to his analysis of this game’s starting quarterbacks.

On the snap of the football, however, Avril dropped a couple of steps back and started mirroring Teddy Bridgewater just in case he wanted to take off running. Wright was lined up as the edge rusher to the right, so when he dropped with McKinnon, the Seahawks technically didn’t have an edge rusher on either side.

To make up for this, the Seahawks lined up outside linebacker Bruce Irvin and inside linebacker Bobby Wagner in both A gaps and sent them on a blitz, which gave ultimately gave them four rushers on the play. At the same time, that also left the Vikings with five linemen to block four rushers. Somebody was going to have to beat two people.

That somebody was Michael Bennett.