What 5 Things You Need To Know On Wednesday

1. Influence:

About a decade ago, Eric Musselman recalls, NBA players doing elaborate two-ball dribbling drills before a game would elicit laughter.

“I can vividly remember being in Orlando with Coach (Chuck) Daly and trying to do two-dribbles with guys and they wouldn’t do it,” said Musselman, a longtime NBA coach who’s now coaching the University of Nevada men’s team. “Then you try to explain to them, ‘Hey look, this is going to help with your hand speed. This is going to help with ball speed, and this is going to make you ball-friendly.’ I used those three terms, and guys wouldn’t do it or another assistant coach would kind of snicker……

Read: How the Golden State Warriors are influencing college basketball

2. Who’s Next?

With the NBA trade deadline right around the corner and rumors heating up, which five players are most likely to be dealt?

Despite the 2015-16 NBA season being quiet in terms of trades so far, we could see that change in an instant with the February 18 deadline right around the corner. The rumors are heating up, the speculation is getting more ridiculous, and the trade machine experimentation is crazier than ever. If we step away from that craziness for a minute, though, which five players are most likely to be traded?

Read: NBA Trade Deadline: The 5 players most likely to be dealt

3. Steve Smith HOF?

Steve Smith has been one of the most explosive young wideouts in NFL history, one of the most productive old receivers in NFL history and perhaps the greatest small wide receiver in NFL history.

As the 2016 Pro Bowl captains, Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin recently vouched for Smith as a legend who will some day join them in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

No doubt I see him there,” Irvin said at the Pro Bowl, via theRavens‘ official website. “He’s an incredible player, he’s been an incredible player for a long time. There’s no doubt in my mind that, one day, he shall definitely wear a gold jacket.”

Read: Jerry Rice, Michael Irvin: Steve Smith is a Hall of Famer – NFL.com

4. Phil Is Back:

Month No. 1 on the PGA Tour has invited questions about bounce–backs (Rory McIlroy) and burnout (Jordan Spieth). But one question looms largest as we pause amid the Phil Swing — last week’s Farmers Insurance Open, outside San Diego, and this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open — during which the Tour visits Mickelson hometowns 1 and 1A, respectively.

How much does Lefty have left?

Read: Phil Mickelson Is Flashing His Old Form — Good and Bad | Golf.com

5. Harbaugh Pokin’ The Bear?

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Aside from the typical drama that often accompanies national signing day, it’s been a relatively quiet month for college football since the 2015 season officially came to an end.

Unlike a year ago, there haven’t been any surprise returnees likeCardale Jones, any juicy graduate transfer speculation as there was with Everett Golson and Braxton Miller or even any new head coaches making a significant splash by generating publicity at their new schools. Even national signing day was relatively quiet, with the usual suspects of schools—Alabama, Florida State, LSU and Ohio State—winding up withthe nation’s top-ranked classes.

Read: The Growing Feud Between Jim Harbaugh and the SEC Is Great for College Football

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What You Need To Know For Wednesday, Dec. 30 2015

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1.

Degenerate Me

Last weekend was a monster for us junkies, despite what looked like insane violence on many football fields – or is it because of it? (shrugs shoulders)  Only the wetheads worry about blood on the grass during times like these, when the football gets better each week and the money you pillage from suckers, lines your pockets like fine silk.  The best being yet to come, except for maybe place like Cleveland and San Francisco who are more like bloated dead bodies floating along the ethereal abyss.

Playing with House-Money has always been risky – however, last week was swimming with sharks.  Many high-altitude rollers got eaten alive on Sunday – those that survived were clubbed like baby seals, causing an eruption of fear and grief in homesteads from coast to coast.  Strong men wept, and women hurled themselves savagely down dirty stairwells in filthy towns like Boston and Cleveland – Cripes, even in the frozen snow out here in the Rockies.

But me?  My own luck was splendid, as the Marquis used to say, as I repeatedly fleeced and humiliated two of the cruelest and most depraved degenerates in America, the infamous McCutcheon brothers from Pittsburgh.  T’was wonderful.  The arrogant swine got exactly what they deserved – a massive public beating they will never forget.  They came out here with huge wads of ca$h and revenge in their hearts for the losses they suffered last year in the very same bunker – where their doom is a constant companion.  It’s even worse during bowl-season.

2.

C’Ya Chipster

Good luck Chipster – your 1st lesson as a professional was a hard one.  You found out that going 10-6, 10-6 and 6-9 don’t mean much in Philly.  Never you mind that the Eagles have no idea how to win, because they haven’t since…….ummm, hold on, it’s right here in my notes….oh yeah, 1960.  It was 20 years later since they returned to play for a title, and another 24 until the next one – losing both – so it’s likely not until 2024 that they contend anyway.

Besides looking for another job in the #NFL – Tennessee, maybe? – you have to deal with Screamin’A dustin’ off an old narrative; as he did appearing on Mike and Mike this morning telling a classic Screamin’A story about a time he was “stopped on the street” by some Eagles players who came up to him and started talking about Chip Kelly.  Sensationalism!

The point is – you had all the control Chip and made some shaky decisions and never quite won enough to earn the cache you need.  Just remember, Bill was run out of Cleveland and it also took awhile in Foxboro before he became the man he is today – You just keep it 100 Chipster and if it doesn’t work out here, you’ll have your pick of places in college – like Baton Rouge if Les doesn’t change.

+ GOODBYE, MR. CHIP: PHILLY FIRES KELLY – Read More

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3.

(Can’t) Hold That Tiger

The Tigers wrapped up a very memorable, drama-filled football season with a record-setting 56-27 win over Texas Tech in the Advocare Texas Bowl, and it sure does feel good. One could argue that last night’s game doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot, but after losing three of the previous four bowl games, and enduring a three-game losing streak in the month of November, it’s nice to head into the offseason on a high note. With last night’s win, the Tigers ended the season 9-3, and let’s not forget that this would have almost certainly been a 10-win season had the season-opener against McNeese State been played.

Source: Dandy Don’s LSU Recruiting and Sports News – LSU Football and More!

4.

Today in History

On December 30, 1978, Ohio State University (OSU) makes the decision to fire its 65-year-old football coach, Woody Hayes, one day after Hayes punched a player on the opposing team near the end of the Gator Bowl.

Source: OSU fires coach Woody Hayes for attacking an opposing player – Dec 30, 1978

5.

Out of Chaos Comes Order

Social issues are a minefield for athletes.  Michael Jordan was never going to be confused for Kareem when it came to social justice and attitudes.  No one is, and athletes that came after never wanted to jeopardize their image to their corporate masters – just as players today are more conscious of their “brand” then they are at times with their play.

Yet, Lebron speaks out after advocates ask him to strike games to honor Tamir Rice – is this what we want our athletes to do when every social crisis occurs?  Read more here.

Source: LeBron Speaks Out After Advocates Ask Him To Strike Games To Honor Tamir Rice

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6.

The More You Know

Week 17 – Situational Trends

By Week 17 Vegas knows which teams are truly bad. In the last five years, home underdogs of a touchdown or greater in the last week of the regular season have gone 1-33 SU and 14-20 (41%) ATS.

  • Games Matching this Criteria: Browns (+10) vs. Steelers and Dolphins (+9) vs. Patriots.

The Cardinals and Chiefs are on fire each having won nine straight games. The last 30 teams to win that many games in a row went 22-8 straight-up in their next matchup but 12-17-1 (41%) against-the-spread.

  • Games Matching this Criteria: Chiefs (-6.5) vs. Raiders and Cardinals (-4.5) vs. Seahawks.

Tom Brady and the Patriots don’t lose often but when they do, New England typically wins (40-10 straight-up) and covers (34-16 against-the-spread – 68%) the next week.

  • Games Matching this Criteria: Patriots (-9) at Dolphins.

  • ATL -4 vs. NO The Falcons are 7-3 against-the-spread in their last ten games as home favorites against the Saints.
  • AZ -4.5 vs. SEA Carson Palmer is 7-1-1 against-the-spread at home with Arizona against non-divisional opponents but 3-3 ATS vs. the NFC West.
  • BAL +7 @ CIN In the last five years, AFC North teams that have been underdogs of a touchdown or greater to the Bengals are 0-5 straight-up and 1-3-1 ATS.
  • BUF +3 vs. NYJ The Bills are 8-2 against-the-spread in their last ten home games against the AFC East.
  • CAR -10.5 vs. TB Cam Newton has never lost as a touchdown or greater favorite, he is 11-0 straight-up and 6-5 ATS.
  • CHI -1 vs. DET The Bears are 2-7-1 against-the-spread in their last ten games against the Lions.
  • CIN -7 vs. BAL The Bengals are playing for a bye in the AFC. All-time, teams that have been favored by a touchdown over the Ravens are 5-1 straight-up.
  • CLE +10 vs. PIT Cleveland has lost eight straight as double-digit underdogs against AFC North rivals but the Browns went 5-3 ATS in those games.
  • DAL -3 vs. WAS The Cowboys are 1-5 against-the-spread at home this year and are now 3-11 ATS the last three years when Tony Romo doesn’t start.
  • DEN -7.5 vs. SD Denver is 3-6-1 against-the-spread in its last ten home games as touchdown or greater favorites.
  • DET +1 @ CHI Detroit is 2-18 straight-up in its last 20 games as road dogs against the NFC North, the Lions went 9-10-1 ATS in those games.
  • GB -3 vs. MIN The Packers can clinch the NFC North with a win, Aaron Rodgers is 18-4 straight-up (14-7-1 ATS) vs. the division as a home favorite.
  • HOU -6.5 vs. JAX The Texans clinch the AFC South with a win, Houston is 15-7 straight-up all-time as a home favorite against the division.
  • IND -6 vs. TEN Indy needs a win (plus a lot of help) to make the playoffs. The Colts are just 3-4 straight-up (3-4 ATS) in home games this year.
  • JAX +6.5 @ HOU The Jags have been road dogs in 13 straight games vs. division opponents. Jacksonville went 8-4 ATS in its previous 12 games.
  • KC -6.5 vs. OAK KC has won nine straight (including four in a row vs. the AFC West) and is 7-2 against-the-spread during the winning streak.
  • MIA +9 vs. NE The Dolphins have been underdogs to the Patriots in 25 straight games, Miami went 11-13 ATS in the previous 24 contests.
  • MIN +3 @ GB The Vikings can clinch the NFC North with a win but Minnesota hasn’t won in Green Bay since 2010 and is 1-4-1 ATS in its last six games in Lambeau.
  • NE -9 @ MIA New England clinches home-field advantage with a win, the Pats have won 18 straight as touchdown favorites vs. the AFC East ( but are only 6-10-2 ATS)
  • NO +7 @ ATL This is the fifth straight division game in which the Saints have been underdogs, New Orleans covered the previous four.
  • NYG -3 vs. PHI The Giants are 2-8 ATS in the team’s last ten home games against the Eagles.
  • NYJ -3 @ BUF The Jets can clinch a playoff berth with a win against the Bills but New York has lost and failed to cover in four straight vs. Buffalo.
  • OAK +6.5 @ KC The Raiders are 14-6 against-the-spread in the team’s last 20 road games against division rivals.
  • PHI +3 @ NYG Philly is 8-2 against-the-spread in its last ten road games as underdogs against division opponents.
  • PIT -10 @ CLE Big Ben has been a double-digit road favorite seven times in his career and failed to cover in each game (including losing outright last week).
  • SD +7.5 @ DEN Philip Rivers has won six of his last ten trips to Denver and the Chargers went 7-1-2 against-the-spread in those games.
  • SEA +4.5 @ AZ In Russell Wilson’s career, the Seahawks following a loss in the regular season are 11-6 against-the-spread the next week.
  • SF +3.5 vs. STL The 49ers have been home dogs to the Rams 11 times. San Francisco is 3-8 straight-up and 5-5-1 ATS.
  • STL -3.5 @ SF The Rams aren’t favored on the road often (just 10 times in the last ten years), but when they are St. Louis covers (7-3 ATS).
  • TB +10.5 @ CAR The Bucs have lost six straight as double-digit dogs to divisional rivals but Tampa Bay went 3-3 against-the-spread in those games.
  • TEN +6 @ IND The Titans have failed to cover in seven straight road games against division rivals (1-6 straight-up as well).
  • WAS +3 @ DAL The Washington professional football team is 8-2 ATS in its last ten trips to Dallas.

10 Things We Learned from #NFL Week 16

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A lot was decided around the NFL during the second-to-last weekend of regular season action.

The Minnesota Vikings clinched a playoff berth in the NFC while the New York Jets inched closer to a postseason spot themselves by virtue of a curious decision from the New England Patriots.

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers blew a golden opportunity against an injury-riddled Baltimore Ravens team.

On the other hand, Brandon Weeden led his Houston Texans (yes, that’s a thing) to a blowout win over the Tennessee Titans to pretty much lock up the AFC South.

Here are your top-10 takeaways from this weekend in the NFL.

1.

New England Patriots overthink it in big loss to the New York Jets

Bill Belichick’s career as a mad scientist is by now well known. An evildoer to those who goes up against him, this future Hall of Fame head coach actually found a way to get in his own way on Sunday.

The seen was about as surreal as it gets. Heading into overtime against the Jets in New Jersey, the Patriots (obviously) won the toss. Instead of electing to receive the ball and give Tom Brady an opportunity to win the game, New England decided to kick off.

Making matters even more interesting, the Patriots believed they could choose what direction they kicked. NFL rules clearly state otherwise heading into overtime.

New York proceeded to drive down the field 80 yards on five plays en route to a game-winning touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Eric Decker.

It was one of those things you just don’t see. Coach Belichick and the Patriots getting in their own way during a pivotal moment in a game.

It also set the Jets up perfectly to earn a playoff spot. With a win over the Bills in Buffalo next week (or a Steelers loss), they will earn their first playoff appearance since the 2010 season.

2.

Green Bay Packers absolutely crushed by unstoppable force in the desert

How can a team with an opportunity to clinch a division title and inch closer to a first-round bye in the playoffs perform the way Green Bay did in Arizona on Sunday? It really is unfathomable.

The Cardinals sacked Aaron Rodgers eight times, forced four turnovers and allowed a total of 77 passing yards. In fact, Green Bay racked up 178 total yards while converting 5-of-17 third-down opportunities in the team’s 38-8 loss.

Defensively, the Packers didn’t do much better. Rookie running back David Johnson racked up 127 yards on 12 touches before Arizona decided to call off the dogs before three quarters had even been completed.

By virtue of this loss, Green Bay now heads into a Week 17 game with Minnesota still looking to clinch the NFC North title. If not, the team might have to open the season on the road against what is suddenly a red-hot Washington Redskins team.

Yeah, it was a brutal loss all the way around.

For the Cardinals, it could not have been more spectacular. They head into Week 17 with an opportunity to earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs after winning their ninth consecutive game.

They do so as the hottest team in the NFC and as a near unstoppable force. After all, Arizona has won nine consecutive games by an average of nearly two touchdowns.

Let that sink in before picking any other team to come out of the NFC.

3.

About those Seattle Seahawks

Playoff positioning was the only thing at stake for Seattle as it hosted the suddenly resurgent St. Louis Rams on Sunday. Though, said positioning was pretty darn important.

With wins in their final two games, the Seahawks could have clinched the fifth seed in the NFC. This means that they would have headed to D.C. to take on an eight or nine win Washington Redskins team.

Seattle now finds itself as the likely sixth seed, which would force it to play in either Green Bay or Minnesota in the wild card round. No one wants to play in those stadiums as a road team in January.

Sunday’s 23-17 loss to the Rams was a mix of fluky action and some tremendous struggles from the home team.

On the second half drive that saw St. Louis take a two-score lead, the Rams recovered two ridiculous fumbles en route to a touchdown — the last of which was pure hustle on the part of center Tim Barnes.

Outside of that, Seattle turned the ball over three times, including a Russell Wilson fumble deep in St. Louis territory late in the final stanza.

That was the fluky. Now on to the struggles.

Without the services of both Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls, running backs combined for 21 rushing yards on 16 attempts.

Meanwhile, Seattle’s vaunted defense failed to get to Case Keenum for a single sack on the afternoon. That enabled the Rams to come away with a win despite the fact that their journeyman quarterback threw for a whopping 103 yards.

In reality, Seattle needs to play better football if it is going to win even one postseason game.

Considering what we saw in the five weeks prior to Sunday’s performance, we know Pete Carroll and Co. have the talent to do just that. We just don’t know if they will be able to show consistency on both sides of the ball in order to get it done.

4.

Pittsburgh Steelers blow it against hapless Baltimore Ravens team

Pittsburgh lost a game to a team that started Ryan Mallett under center, Baltimore’s fourth starting quarterback this season.

In doing so, Mike Tomlin and Co. find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the AFC playoff picture heading into Week 17.

It was pretty much a disaster from the get go. Pittsburgh capped off a promising opening drive by failing to convert on a fourth and one from Baltimore’s 25.

It then proceeded allow Mallett to lead the Ravens down the field on a 15-play, 75-yard touchdown-scoring drive to give the Ravens a 7-0 lead.

Baltimore wouldn’t look back. It added two field goals — one immediately following a Ben Roethlisberger interception — to take a 13-3 lead into the half.

After some drama in the second half, Pittsburgh simply couldn’t get out of its own way in a disheartening 20-17 loss to its division rivals.

Heading into Week 16, Pittsburgh had one of the two wild card spots in the AFC on lock down. By virtue of its loss and the Jets win, Mike Tomlin and Co. need some major help to even make the playoffs.

If the Steelers fail to get said help, 2015 would go down as a disastrous season for the franchise.

There’s no reason why a team with this much talent, especially on offense, could possibly fail to make the playoffs. And in the end, that failure is squarely on Tomlin’s shoulders.

5.

Clueless in Santa Clara

What? Seriously, what the heck is Jim Tomsula talking about here? We really would love to know what the follow up question was to this dumpster fire of an answer.

Less than two hours before, the San Francisco 49ers were penalized for coming on to to the field too early in the third quarter. That’s about as amateur as it gets.

Down just 20-17 at the half against the Detroit Lions, San Francisco found itself outscored 12-0 in the final two quarters to drop its 11th game of the season.

To make matters more disturbing for those of us looking for a silver lining, the 49ers coaching staff completely screwed the pooch once again.

After racking up 122 yards on 20 carries in the first half, San Francisco attempted just three runs in the second half. Those three runs went for a combined negative one yard as the team was shut out in the final two quarters.

Talk about adjusting out of a sound game plan to create a mess we have seen too many times from San Francisco’s sideline this season.

As much as some of us wanted to defend Tomsula earlier in the year, it’s readily apparent that the 49ers’ coaching staff is simply in over its head.

With one game remaining in what has been a disastrous season in Santa Clara, it will be interesting to see if we start hearing rumors of some dramatic changes within the team’s front office and coaching staff over the next several days.

Simply put, it’s become rather embarrassing for one of the most historic franchises in the NFL. What happens from now on will tell us whether the ownership group is okay with it.

6.

Inspired Atlanta Falcons end Carolina Panthers pursuit of perfection

Cam Newton and Co. had to be feeling good heading into Atlanta Sunday afternoon. After all, the Panthers had just obliterated Atlanta 38-0 two weeks prior.

What ended up happening was one of the most surprising outcomes of the NFL season thus far.

Atlanta held Newton to 142 yards through the air without a passing touchdown en route to a 20-13 take down of the Panthers at home on Sunday.

It was a banner defensive performance by the Falcons defense in a game that kept the team’s playoff hopes alive for just a few minutes.

While Atlanta will not be playing meaningful January football after a 5-0 start to the season, coming out victorious against the previously undefeated Panthers gives them something small to build off of heading into the offseason.

For the Panthers, this loss doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot. They are still in the driver’s seat for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

They also don’t have to go through said playoffs with the distinction of being an undefeated regular season team — something that would have added a bit more pressure to a team without a ton of playoff experience and with minimal margin for error in a stacked NFC.

7.

Washington Redskins prove to be the class of the east

Kirk Cousins threw another four touchdowns en route to a division-clinching win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday night.

More than anything else, the fact that this division is wrapped up prior to Week 17 is rather interesting.

It tells us a story of a Redskins team that’s in its own class when it comes to the NFC East.

Whether this translates to playoff success is anyone’s guess. Entrenched in as the No. 4 seed in the NFC, Washington has nothing to play for against the Dallas Cowboys next week, meaning that it could very well head into the postseason with an 8-8 record.

As it is, Washington is right there among the hottest teams in the NFL right now.

And in reality, the Redskins’ turnaround has more to do with quarterback play than anything else. Cousins has now thrown eight touchdowns compared to zero interceptions over the past two games and boasts a 20-to-3 split since consecutive two-interception performances back in mid October.

If Cousins is able to keep up this ridiculously high level of play, Washington stands a decent chance of advancing beyond the wild card round.

That’s only magnified by the fact that he’s combined for 20 touchdowns and just two interceptions at home on the season.

This was all made possible by a 38-24 win over a Philadelphia Eagles team that headed into Saturday night controlling its own destiny in the NFC East.

Putting up that performance in front of a national audience on the road against a division rival is mighty impressive. It also might change our opinion of the Redskins heading into the playoffs.

8.

Frank Gore turns back the clock in helping Indianapolis avoid elimination

The Indianapolis Colts simply needed to win a game in order to even have a shot at the AFC South title. Turning back the clock some, the 32-year-old Gore did everything in his power to lead the fledgling team to a huge win against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Gore’s 37-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter put Indianapolis up eight. He then added an 11-yard scoring scamper late in the second quarter to give the Colts a two-score lead heading into the half.

Despite struggling to score in the second half, Indianapolis held off a hapless Dolphins team 18-12 to head into Week 17 with a small chance to save what has been a lost season up to this point.

The Colts would need 10 different things to break their way from here on out to earn that trip to the playoffs. This leaves the team with a 0.03 percent chance of playing football beyond next week.

But at least for one day, Gore showed everyone why he still has something left in those tires.

9.

Minnesota Vikings force do-or-die game for NFC North title

Following a 38-17 dismantling of the Chicago Bears last week, Minnesota headed into Week 16 with an opportunity to win the NFC North. That still remains the case after a second consecutive blowout win, this time by the score of 49-17 against the New York Giants.

Finding his way back after struggling over the past three games, Adrian Peterson netted 104 yards and a touchdown on 22 attempts.

Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater put up yet another stellar game in what was a tremendous overall performance from the Vikings.

It was the defense that did the heavy lifting here, though. Minnesota forced three Eli Manning interceptions, including a pick-six by Harrison Smith late in the second quarter to blow the game wide open.

With both sides of the ball playing great football, Minnesota now heads to Green Bay to take on a struggling Packers team with a chance to earn an unlikely division title.

If it’s able to do that, some unlucky team will have to play outdoor football in Minnesota in January — proving that home-field advantage may in fact be of utmost importance for the surprising Vikings.

10.

The Kansas City Chiefs keep winning

It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination. Kansas City held off a game Cleveland Browns team at home Sunday for its ninth consecutive win, clinching a playoff spot in the process.

In fact, the game hung in the balance with Cleveland’s final drive stalling with the team down by four inside the Chiefs 35-yard line.

But at the end of the day, Kansas City found a way to get the job done. Not only did Andy Reid’s squad clinch a spot in the postseason after a one-year hiatus, it put the pressure on the Denver Broncos to win Monday night.

It also proved to the rest of the AFC that it could win a game playing less-than-stellar football. That’s a huge bonus for a team that could possibly find itself playing playoff football in the midst of a whopping 10-game winning streak.

The biggest factor Sunday was a lack of mistakes from the Chiefs. They turned the ball over just one time while committing five penalties in the 17-13 win over a last-place Browns team.

This performance won’t be good enough come January. It, did however, add another layer to what we have seen from the Chiefs over the past two-plus months.

In this, Kansas City proved itself worth to be mentioned among the top teams in the NFL.

Source: Top 10 takeaways from NFL Week 16 action

#NFL Week 16 – United Stats of America – Elias Sports Bureau

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NFL

Falcons rebound from huge loss to hand Panthers their first loss

The Falcons ended Carolina’s bid for a perfect season with a 20-13 win over the Panthers. Atlanta’s victory came just two weeks after Carolina routed the Falcons, 38-0. But there have been many precedents for such a reversal of form. Since 1970, 12 other teams won a game against an opponent that beat them by at least 38 points earlier that season. And like Atlanta, which had a 7-7 record heading into Sunday’s game, none of those 12 teams had a winning record at the time of its turnaround victory.

Carolina had won 18 consecutive regular-season games (and 10 in a row during December), tying the third-longest winning streak in NFL history. The only other teams to win 18 straight games were Indianapolis (23, 2008-09) and New England twice (18 in 2003-04 and 21 in 2006-08).

nullFitzpatrick, Marshall, and Decker are too much for the Patriots

Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes to Brandon Marshall and an overtime game-winner to Eric Decker in the Jets’ 26-20 win over the Patriots. It was the eighth game this season in which both Marshall and Decker caught TD passes, an NFL record for games in which a pair of teammates both had touchdown receptions. The previous mark was set by Cris Carter and Randy Moss with the Vikings in 1998.

With his first catch of the day, Marshall broke the single-season team record that Al Toon set in 1988. Only two other franchises have a single-season record for receptions that has stood that long: the Titans’ record was set by Charlie Hennigan with the Houston Oilers in 1964 (101); and the Browns’ mark was set by Ozzie Newsome in 1983 (89).

The Patriots lost only one other game on a touchdown pass in overtime and it took a pair of future Hall of Famers to do it. In 1981, Lynn Swann scored from 24 yards out on a pass by Terry Bradshaw to give the Steelers an OT victory over New England.

An amazing streak comes to an end in Seattle’s loss

The Rams took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and were never caught, holding on for a 23-17 victory at Seattle. That ended the Seahawks’ extraordinary streak of 62 games in which they led at some point, corresponding exactly to Russell Wilson’s tenure with the team. Check this out: Not only was that the longest such streak in NFL history; but half of the 32 current NFL teams have never had such a streak even half as long as Seattle’s, including three clubs that date back to the 1930s: the Bears, Packers, and Redskins.

nullWeeden finds success in Houston

Brandon Weeden passed for 200 yards and two touchdowns in the Texans’ 34-6 victory over the Titans. It was Weeden’s first win as a starting quarterback since 2012 with Cleveland. He was the first QB in the NFL’s expansion era to start for a first-place team in the month of December having lost his last 10 starts.

Weeden led Houston on touchdown drives of 65, 80, and 34 yards on Sunday. Coming into the game, he had produced a TD on only two of his last 27 drives. He hadn’t thrown two or more TD passes in the same game since Dec. 1, 2013, in the Browns’ 32-28 loss at Jacksonville.

nullSaints’ combo is tough to beat

Drew Brees passed for 412 yards in the Saints’ 38-27 win over the Jaguars. It was the 13th time that Brees topped the 400-yard mark, but this was the first of those games in which a teammate gained at least 100 yards rushing. Tim Hightower gained 122 yards on 27 carries. Over the last five seasons, the only other player to supplement a teammate’s 400-yard passing performance with 120 or more rushing yards was James Starks of the Packers in 2013. Starks rushed for 132 yards and Aaron Rodgers passed for 480 in a 38-20 win over the Redskins.­

Incidentally, that’s a combination that has never been beaten in the NFL. Teams with a 400-yard passer and a teammate with at least 120 rushing yards have a 7-0-1 record.

nullSmith and Chiefs win ninth consecutive game

The Chiefs extended their winning streak to nine games with a 17-13 victory over the Browns. That matches the longest winning streak of Alex Smith’s NFL career; he previously won nine consecutive starts with Kansas City in 2013 and eight straight with the 49ers in 2011. Only four other quarterbacks won eight consecutive starts in one season for each of two different teams: Jack Kemp, Earl Morrall, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning.

nullGillislee caps unexpected December with big game vs. Cowboys

Mike Gillislee, who spent the first three months of the season on the practice squads of the Cardinals and Bills, gained 93 yards on nine carries and scored a late insurance touchdown in Buffalo’s 16-6 win over Dallas. Gillislee finished the month with 239 yards on 23 carries. His average of 10.4 yards per carry was the fourth-highest in one calendar month by a running back with at least 20 rushing attempts. The only RBs with higher marks were Lenny Moore (12.7 yards per carry in Oct. 1956), Hugh McElhenny (11.6 in Oct. 1952), and Bruce Harper (10.6 in Oct. 1983).

nullFreeney and the Cardinals sack the Pack

Arizona sacked Packers passers nine times, including three by Dwight Freeney, in a 38-8 rout of Green Bay. It was the Cardinals’ highest single-game total since 1986, and the most sacks in one game against the Packers since 1982.

Freeney, who turned 35 in February, had five games with three or more sacks over his first five seasons in the league. But this was his first such game since 2006. Over the last 10 seasons, the only players as old as Freeney with three or more sacks in one game were Michael Strahan (at age 35 in 2007) and 37-year-old James Harrison three weeks ago.

nullPackers suffer their worst loss with Rodgers at QB

Green Bay’s 38-8 loss was its largest margin of defeat in a game started by Aaron Rodgers. While it’s impressive that Rodgers started 117 games before his first 30-point loss, Packers fans can take pride in the fact that Brett Favre started an NFL-record total of 200 regular-season games before losing one by 30 points, and Bart Starr didn’t lose by 30 points or more until start #143 in 1970, with a pair of Super Bowl victories to his credit.

nullCarey scores two short TD for Bears

Second-year running back Ka’Deem Carey scored on a 1-yard run and a 1-yard catch in the Bears’ 26-21 victory at Tampa. Carey was the second Chicago player to score on rushing and passing plays in the same road game this season, following rookie Jeremy Langford who did it at St. Louis last month. The only other Bears player to do that on the road in the last two decades was Matt Forte (at Detroit in 2008).

Since 2000, three other players scored 1-yard TDs by rushing and receiving in the same game: Marshall Faulk (2001), Pierre Thomas (2013), and Eddie Lacy (2014).

nullMallett wins debut with the Ravens

Ryan Mallett, making his first start for the Ravens, passed for a career-high 274 yards and a touchdown in a 20-17 victory over the Steelers. Mallett was the fourth different quarterback to start for Baltimore in its last six games, following Joe Flacco, Matt Schaub, and Jimmy Clausen. Over the last five seasons, the only other team to start four different QBs in a span of six games was Green Bay in 2013 (Aaron Rodgers, Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien, and Matt Flynn).

Like the Panthers, who also lost on Sunday, Pittsburgh had won its last 10 games in the month of December.

nullStafford maintains sharp form in win over 49ers

Matthew Stafford threw a pair of touchdown passes in the Lions’ 32-17 win over the 49ers. Stafford, who set a team record for completion percentage in one game last week, has now thrown 14 TD passes over his last five games. He has been picked off only once in his last 225 throws dating to November 15.

Source: Elias Says: Sports Statistics

5 Things To Know: Tuesday Morning Quarterback

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GettyImages-500378698

1. NFC (L)East:

Depending on your loyalties – that was an exciting finish.  But cripes, the game was a joke.  It’s getting old to continue to write about the stench that wafts off the screen on Monday Night’s.  At one point, there were more penalties than points.

Thank you DeSean Jackson, without your ego, back-tracking, losing 7yds and then the ball – Dallas would have never scored a touchdown, like the three games prior.  Dallas is now 1-game back from the playoffs, with a log-jam at the top.

+ MNF is touchdown-free until very late

Monday Night Football was a battle of field goals until Darren McFadden broke a 9-9 tie with a six-yard touchdown run with 1:14 to play. Then DeSean Jackson’s 28-yard scoring catch with 0:44 remaining tied the score at 16 before Dan Bailey kicked a game-winning field goal to send the Cowboys home with a win. The last time two NFL teams exchanged touchdowns inside the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter after neither one had reached the end zone to that point came in the opening week of the 2009 season. The Bengals’ Cedric Benson scored a rushing touchdown with 38 seconds remaining but the Broncos’ Kyle Orton responded with an 87-yard TD pass to Brandon Stokley with just 11 seconds left in Denver’s 12-7 win.

+ Another close one on ESPN

The Cowboys’ 19-16 win was the seventh straight Monday Night game to be decided by no more than eight points. That ties the longest single-season streak in the history of the program, set in 1974 (October 7 through November 18).

+ Jones recovers fumble on his own punt

The Cowboys’ only touchdown Monday came two plays after punter Chris Jones recovered DeSean Jackson’s fumble on Washington’s 15-yard line. Jones is the first player to recover an opponent’s fumble of his own punt since the Bears’ Brad Maynard, against the Packers in 2007.

2. United Stats of America – Sunday Recap

Newton keeps the Panthers perfect

  • Cam Newton’s fifth touchdown pass of the day, a 15-yarder to Jerricho Cotchery with 65 seconds to play, was the game-winner as the Panthers improved to 12-0 with a 41-38 victory at New Orleans. In NFL history, there was only one other touchdown in the last 2 minutes of the fourth quarter by which a team with at least 10 wins maintained a perfect record. In 2007, the Patriots improved to 12-0 when Tom Brady found Jabar Gaffney with an 8-yard pass with 44 seconds to play at Baltimore. Of course New England finished that season with a 16-0 mark.For those hoping to see another 16-0 season this year, consider this: Newton has a 15-3 record in games played in December, with 33 touchdown passes in those games.
A masterwork by Mariota

  • Marcus Mariota answered a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes by Blake Bortles in a span of 103 seconds with an 87-yard go-ahead TD run, and the Titans held on for a 42-39 victory over the Jaguars. That was the second-longest game-winning fourth-quarter TD run in NFL history, two yards short of the record set by Kenny King of the Raiders against the Chargers in 1980.altx-logo-white_SMALLEarlier in the fourth quarter, Mariota had stretched Tennessee’s lead to nine points with a 47-yard pass to Dorial Green-Beckham. Only one other player in NFL history threw a touchdown pass and scored a TD, both longer than 40 yards, in the same quarter: Tobin Rote of the Packers in the third quarter of a 31-28 loss to the New York Yankees in 1951.

    It was the fourth game this season in which Mariota passed for at least three TDs, tying an NFL record for rookies set by Peyton Manning in 1998. Mariota also became the fourth player in NFL history with three TD passes and 100 rushing yards in the same game. The others were Rote, in that aforementioned 1951 game, Randall Cunningham (1990), and Michael Vick (2010).

Gabbert wins it with his arm after a long run to tie the game

  • Blaine Gabbert became the first player in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass in overtime after scoring a TD in the final 2 minutes of the fourth quarter. Gabbert’s 71-yard connection with Torrey Smith gave the 49ers a 26-20 win at Chicago. Gabbert scored on a 44-yard run with 1:42 to play.So on the same day, Gabbert and Mariota both scored a TD longer than 40 yards and threw a TD pass longer than 40 yards. Over the last 25 years only one other player had such a game: Cam Newton, who did it twice (2011 against the Bucs and 2012 against the Falcons).

Eagles defeat Patriots with stunning turnaround

  • The Eagles rallied from a 14-0 deficit to score 35 straight points and then held on for a 35-28 victory at New England. That was the longest streak of unanswered points in a game against a team coached by Bill Belichick. The Eagles’ win also snapped the Patriots’ streak of 62 wins in home games in which they led by as many as 14 points.Of course, the Patriots also led by 14 points in last week’s loss at Denver. No other team has lost consecutive games this season after holding a lead of at least 14 points in both. In fact, the only other team to do so since 2012 was Minnesota last December.

    Philadelphia scored on an interception return, a punt return, and the recovery in the end zone of a blocked punt. It was only the second time the Patriots allowed three TDs in a game on plays other than runs or passes. The Raiders scored on a pair of pick-6’s and a fumble recovery in a 35-20 win at Foxboro Stadium in 1985.

Wilson passes Peyton Manning with recent TD surge

 

  • Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes in the Seahawks’ 35-7 win at Minnesota. With that performance, and with the help of eight TD passes in his two previous games, Wilson moved past altx-logo-white_SMALLPeyton Manning into second place among active players with an average of one TD for every 17.2 passes. Only Aaron Rodgershas a higher rate (one every 15.5 passes).Wilson’s ability to find the end zone is noteworthy considering no player has caught more touchdown passes from him than Doug Baldwin with 18, including two on Sunday. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Jay Cutler, Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco, Andrew Luck, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Cam Newton, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Tony Romo, Matt Ryan,Matthew Stafford-see where we’re going here?-they all have thrown at least 20 TD passes to a single player over the last four seasons.

Chiefs continue their rampage through the AFC West

  • After taking a week off for a home victory against Buffalo, the Chiefs resumed their successful road tour against division rivals with a 34-20 win at Oakland. Last month, Kansas City posted big wins at Denver (29-13) and San Diego (33-3). This is only the second season in team history in which the Chiefs won three road games against division opponents by at least 14 points. They also did so in 1995, when there were five teams in the AFC West (the current group plus Seattle).

Another strong offensive performance by the Steelers

  • The Steelers amassed 522 yards in their 45-10 rout of the Colts on Sunday night. It was the fourth straight game in which Pittsburgh gained at least 450 yards, tying the longest such streaks in NFL history. Two teams did so in the last century: the Houston Oilers in 1961 and Miami in 1984. Two other teams did so in the 2000s: Kansas City in 2004 and New England in 2011.

3. Warriors v Pacers:

The Golden State Warriors, who roll into Indianapolis for a clash with the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night looking for a 23-0 start to the season, are good. Real good. Historically good, in fact. What’s behind their dominance? There are many things, but here are five good ones from Ethan Sherwood Strauss, from ESPN:

Source: Five reasons the Golden State Warriors just keep winning

4. Blown Out

Today in Sports History

On this day in 1940, the Chicago Bears trounce the Washington Redskins in the National Football League (NFL) Championship by a score of 73-0, the largest margin of defeat in NFL history. The Bears, coached by George Halas, brought a 6-2 record to their regular-season meeting with the Redskins in Washington on November 17, 1940. After Chicago lost 3-7, the Redskins coach, George Preston Marshall, told reporters that Halas and his team were “quitters” and “cry babies.” Halas used Marshall’s words to galvanize his players, and the Bears scored 78 points in their next two games to set up a showdown with the Redskins in the league’s championship game on December 8, also in Washington.
Source: Bears beat Redskins 73-0 in NFL Championship game – Dec 8, 1940

5. Ultimate Value Lineup – Week 13

All we want to do is provide you valuable information at a great price.  We’ve already helped hundreds of people learn how to make some extra lettuce playing fantasy sports; so let us Teach You How to #win!

Giving you the Perfect Lineup is easy and we tweet it, post it on Facebook and create an entire post about our RESULTS, so……What about if you had the greatest value lineup of all time?  A Lineup that every player chosen had low ownership, way less, and never cost you more than $6k – well my friends this is the Ultimate Value Lineup – culled directly from the numbers and our reports – look for us on twitter when we post the less than 12% lineup and follow along with the value-madness!!!

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wk13_DK_LT10%_UltimateVL

 

5 Things To Know: Tuesday Morning Quarterback

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1. Block Six:

Football has been very good to me, and even recently.  Some people might tell you I am sportin’ a nice winning streak, however, for powerful reasons of karma I will deny it. One of the things I have learned in my career as a degenerate, is that clucking when you get lucky and #win a few will cradle you into a vortex of doom, gloom and unacceptable beatings –  very soon.  It happens every time.

You just don’t want that kind of voodoo while you’re winning.  It has happened before.  The last time I shot my mouth off, I got stabbed from behind by my own Saints.  Baffled and humiliated in public kinda-stuff, no less.  People called me a wet-head and tried to then crowd me into sucker-bets.  I felt so damaged that I started betting on Denver.

So, if you watched last night’s game, and lord only knows you did because you had Josh McCown, Barnidge and maybe Buck Allen – you saw enough by halftime.  If you you are the suffering type then you stayed thru it all like a trooper and saw a block-6 from Baltimore to #win the game.  Crazy how things happen when you change the channel because you’d rather watch hoops.  Besides who wouldn’t rather watch Golden St instead of Matt Schaub against Cleveland – Cripes! If you need a #MNF recap of that awful game, read more about it here…

2. United Stats of America – #MNF + Sunday Recap

Ravens win on “kick-six”

  • Will Hill returned Travis Coons’s blocked field-goal attempt 64 yards as time expired to give the Ravens a 33-27 win at Cleveland. It was the second time in NFL history that a team scored a game-winning “walkoff” touchdown by returning an opponent’s blocked or missed field-goal attempt. The Broncos’ Louis Wright took a blocked field goal to the house in overtime against the Chargers in 1985.
Another close game for Baltimorealtx-logo-white_SMALL
  • The Ravens have played 11 games, and none have been decided by more than eight points. Baltimore is the fourth team in NFL history to play 11 straight “one-possession” games within a season (i.e. decided by eight points or less when the two-point conversion is available, seven or less otherwise), and the first to do so in each of its first 11 contests. San Diego played 12 straight one-possession games in 1989; Washington played 11 in a row in 1967; and Cincinnati played 11 straight in 2003.

Dansby joins greats with INT-TD

  • Karlos Dansby’s 52-yard return of a Matt Schaub interception gave the Browns the lead early in the third quarter of Cleveland’s loss to Baltimore. It was Dansby’s sixth career interception return for a touchdown, tying Hall-of-Famers Bobby Bell and Derrick Brooks for the most all-time by an NFL linebacker.

+ Brady matches Marino on TD list

  • Tom Brady tied Dan Marino on the career passing touchdowns list after throwing three TDs against the Broncos on Sunday night. Brady now has 420 passing touchdowns in his career, tied with Marino for third-most among all quarterbacks behind Peyton Manning (539) and Brett Favre (508). When Marino retired after the 1999 season, he had 78 more TD passes than anyone else in NFL history. Fran Tarkenton (342) and John Elway (300) rounded out the top three at that time; those two now rank sixth and seventh respectively

+ Smith goes deep for a change in Chiefs’ victoryaltx-logo-white_SMALL

  • The Chiefs extended their winning streak to five games after defeating the Bills, 30-22, at Arrowhead Stadium. Alex Smith threw a pair of touchdown passes in the win, including a 41-yard bomb to Jeremy Maclin in the second quarter which traveled 34 yards in the air from the line of scrimmage. Smith had not thrown a touchdown pass that traveled at least 30 yards in the air from the line of scrimmage since October 7, 2012, when he connected on a deep pass to Michael Crabtree for the 49ers, also against the Bills.

+ 12 scores in 12 weeks for Eifert

  • Tyler Eifert caught one of those touchdown passes from Dalton, marking the tight end’s 12th TD reception of the season. The only other tight end in the last 50 seasons to score at least 12 touchdowns through the first 12 weeks of a season is Julius Thomas, who caught 12 touchdown passes from Peyton Manning through 10 weeks for the Broncos last season.

+ No TDs for Saints

  • The Saints could not find the end zone in Houston, having to settle for a pair of field goals in the second quarter. A zero in the touchdown column is a rare sight for the Saints, especially with Drew Brees at the helm. Coming into Sunday, Brees had thrown at least one touchdown pass in each of his last 45 games, and 99 of his previous 100. In fact, the last time the Saints failed to record a touchdown of any kind in a game was Week 16 of the 2005 season against the Lions, when Brees was still taking snaps for the Chargers. The streak of 155 games with a touchdown for New Orleans is the second-longest streak of its kind in NFL history. The record is held by the Browns, who crossed the goal line in 166 consecutive games from 1957 to 1969.

3. 76ers v Lakers:

Kobe announces his retirement and no one can find a way to get this game on TV?  It’s Kobe’s return to his hometown of Philly!  Is it because Kobe threatens to go 0’fer 37?  Maybe Jahlil will break another law on his way to the game?  Sure the 76ers have 0 wins.  But just because this game isn’t on ESPN, NBA TV, or TNT doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist – or does it?  If Kobe scores 30pts then someone did some video-splicing for those highlights.

4. Grabbin’ Dem Ballz

Tomorrow in Sports History

On December 17, 2000, during a 17-0 victory by the San Francisco 49ers over the Chicago Bears, San Francisco’s wide receiver Terrell Owens sets a new league record: 20 catches in a single game.Drafted by the 49ers in the third round of the 1996 NFL draft, Owens was thrilled to join his hero, Jerry Rice. During his college career at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, he had worn Rice’s number (80). Early in the 1997 season, when Rice tore his ACL, Owens stepped up and became a star performer for the 49ers, grabbing 60 receptions for 936 yards and eight touchdowns over the season. After 16 straight winning seasons, the 49ers faltered in 1999 and stumbled to a 4-12 record. At the end of the season, the star quarterback Steve Young retired.

+ 1903 First airplane flies

Near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. Orville piloted the gasoline-powered, propeller-driven biplane, which stayed aloft for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet on its inaugural flight.

5. Ultimate Value Lineup – Week 12

All we want to do is provide you valuable information at a great price.  We’ve already helped hundreds of people learn how to make some extra lettuce playing fantasy sports; so let us Teach You How to #win!

Giving you the Perfect Lineup is easy and we tweet it, post it on Facebook and create an entire post about our RESULTS, so……What about if you had the greatest value lineup of all time?  A Lineup that every player chosen had low ownership, way less, and never cost you more than $6k – well my friends this is the Ultimate Value Lineup – culled directly from the numbers and our reports – look for us on twitter when we post the less than 12% lineup and follow along with the value-madness!!!

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wk12_DK_LT10%_UltimateVL

 

Ray Lewis Explains ‘How He Did It’ In New Book

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ray lewis

1. No Weapon

Ray Lewis has a new book and ESPN is Car-Washing their own employee.  If you watch Ray Lewis, you’re surprised he wrote a book, clearly it was dictated more than written, with some fancy editor doing the spit-shine into the wee hours to make it presentable/readable.  It is still surprising how he has a job and has avoided any criticism in the deaths of two men, when people are being fired at ESPNThis Is Sportscenter.

Never forget that “No Weapon”-Ray has as many Superbowl rings as murder indictments.  He was there, he knows what happened and maybe he never actually killed anyone, but maybe he was just the mob boss in the crime – still guilty.  Hearing how he explains it all in his book, makes it more a “crime of passion” with no real explanation of what happened – he was just straight pimpin yo.

Source: Ray Lewis discusses Atlanta murder trial in new autobiography – CBSSports.com


 

2. Are We There Yet?

The 20-year saga of the NFL’s absence from the nation’s second-largest market, Los Angeles, appears poised to come to an end.

The lack of a team in L.A. has not been for lack of effort or attention. I remember my first NFL owners’ meetings, when I joined the Packers in 1999; a key agenda item of the meetings was—you guessed it—Los Angeles. At that time, the brief momentum for L.A. fizzled as an expansion team was placed in Houston, with the $700 million expansion fee paid by Texans owner Robert McNair.

Since the Rams and Raiders left L.A. in 1995……

Source: The Race for L.A. Heats Up

pablo (10)

What do I have to do for you to make me a sandwich Wednesday…

larrybrown_smu

No Larry, it’s now 3x’s

Good coach? Sure.  Only guy to win a NCAA and NBA Title – says so right here on the label.  Yet, it seems to also come with a warning – may be hazardous to your postseason.  He is the king of implosion.  Just ask UCLA and Kansas.  UCLA’s 1980 Final Four was vacated because of the use of ineligible players – at Kansas it was recruiting violations – and now SMU.  Word is the 76ers are also banned from the postseason because of the association with Larry Brown.

Is Larry the only guy? No.  While I am sure he is being taken to task for his latest indescretion, he is not the only one.  Let’s not forget Calipari also has left programs on the sanctions-alter, and UNC seems to have a different scandal every recruiting class.  It appeared to me to be inevitable.  SMU has a history and SMU president R. Gerald Turner pushed hard to hire Larry Brown to make basketball relevant, where they have not before – Irony is Mr.Turner being the co-chair of the Knight Commission on Athletic Reform.

In other words, same ol’story for SMU, Larry Brown and college athletics – maybe we should stop pretending that collegiate sports are not big-business.


For the last #StrikeZone Tuesday of the season, here is the #DraftKings PERFECT LINEUP:

92915_perfectlineupX2


RavensSaintsLions

Going from winless to winning is a thing.  It can happen.  Let me take you back to a time when Lifehouse was “Hanging by a Moment” – Harry Potter was looking for his Sorcerer’s Stone – and the professional football club from our Nation’s Capital was becoming the butt of late-nite jokes.  It was Schottenheimer’s only year in Washington and they had started 0-5 – then they beat the Panthers and rolled off 5 straight, before finishing the season 8-8.

That is mediocre, but let’s also remember the NFC West a few years ago and the NFC South last year – 8-8 could get you into the playoffs.  So, here’s to you – Lions, Ravens and Saints, because we have also seen teams get off to fast starts and blow it down the stretch – so keep your head up and gosh-darn-it you guys aren’t the 49ers, go out and win one!


This is the new Red-Menace and should also be the number 1 team in the country.  Crazy, maybe, but remember that is just a term of Art – Did you watch what Michigan did to BYU Saturday?  These same Utes beat those guys and also did something I have not seen in a long, long, long, time in Eugene – hammering Oregon 62-20!  62! In Oregon!  Show me another team in the country that has two wins that look that good.  I’ll accept the season is early, as long as you accept that pre-season polls are stupid.  The rest of my, would be top 4, if the season ended today for the playoffs are in order: UCLA, OleMiss and Notre dame.

Speaking of Michigan – We all believed that Harbaugh might have a little Miracle-Max in him.  He turned Stanford around.  He made the 49ers contenders.  We just all gave him a pass this year, because the Wolverines were not supposed to be any good, etc…It might be time to stop assuming Michigan will lose to Michigan State and Ohio State. These Wolverines are much, much better than last year’s group. The Wolverines still need to prove they can play at this level consistently – but if they keep improving, they could make things very interesting in the Big Ten East.

You have to admire Charlie Strong and what he is doing at Texas.  You see, Texas has been close to a breakthrough since making redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard the quarterback and Jay Norvell the primary play-caller, but another special teams gaffe cost the Longhorns on Saturday. Against Cal on Sept. 19, a missed extra point that would have forced overtime, resulted in a 45–44 loss. Against Oklahoma State, a dropped punt snap allowed the Cowboys to kick a game-winning field goal and escape Austin with a 30–27 victory.

Longhorns fans can complain about the officials—and yes, we all appreciate the irony of Texas fans complaining about the Longhorns not getting calls—but if they can clean up their special teams, it may not matter which calls Texas gets or doesn’t. At some point, Texas has to break through with a win—doing that this week against TCU would obviously be huge, but will be terribly difficult—but the Longhorns are on the correct path.


We can count all the instances of happenstance
and bad luck and rule that a coach and team ultimately had as good a chance of winning as they did of losing. But eventually we must draw the line somewhere. We have chosen as a society to draw that line at the final score. Bill Parcells certainly understood all of the factors that decide the outcome of a football game, and he still spoke the words that ring true in football and in life. “You are,” Parcells famously said, “what your record says you are.”

tnsad2For Tennessee fan – the answer lies in something Jones said a few minutes after the question about the two-point conversion chart. (Jones said the Volunteers have a standard chart, but if they do use the one made famous by Dick Vermeil, they ignored it at Florida.) Jones was trying to explain how his team would bounce back from the loss when he said this: “It doesn’t define who we are.”

Yeah it does, unfortunately.

Football final scores are the results of thousands of small decisions and the outcomes of those decisions. Sometimes those decisions are out of a coach’s control, and sometimes teams are plain unlucky. Jones didn’t send a 12th player out with the field goal unit Saturday. Somebody just got excited and ran onto the field at the wrong time. If that doesn’t happen, Medley kicks a 50-yarder. Maybe he makes it, and the honeymoon for Jones continues in Knoxville. Jones probably couldn’t have known that two timeouts called before fourth downs Saturday to get the desired personnel on the field would cause Florida counterpart Jim McElwain to rethink kicking and put his offense back in. Both decisions led to Florida first downs, and the second—late in the third quarter—led to a Florida touchdown.  It must be painful for Vols fans to always be looking to next year for their breakout game – to make a statement – maybe they will find a smarter coach…

In honor of all sad fans across the country – may these pictures say a 1,000 words of sadness:

ausad2

aubsadness

arksad

arksad2

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Are These the Uniforms Worn to a Funeral?

Magic Bullets:

#1 – meh

The uniforms look like something you’d wear at a funeral, or as a waiter at a really bad sports bar trying to class-up the joint from all the mouth-breathers who order a basket of fries and a diet coke, to sit their all day – I’ve seen it a hundred times…But, the ‘9ers did win and kept the Vikings from getting into the endzone, winning the game 20-3.

The game was like watching someone play Madden against their little brother and seeing Carlos Hyde left – Carlos Hyde right – Carlos Hyde scores, with a dash of a pass here and there, just so the little brother knows you can.  It was the only takeaway from the game – that and Adrian Peterson.  I guess people forgot A.P. did not play last year, or assumed that he’d just pick up where he left off, but he’s 30 and he needs his sea-legs.  A.P. still drug a few defenders downfield as a glimpse, but the real surprise was the ‘9ers D – it was legit all night.


#2 – uh-oh

What I saw in the first game is this: Julio Jones is a bad Mutha..shut your mouth…but I’m talking about Jones – actually I knew that already, and if he’s healthy, he’s the best WR out there.

No, No, what I saw was a Falcons D I haven’t seen before, it was if they were angry AND had a plan.  The Offense will score points, and if the defense plays with that intensity the rest of the way, it’s their division to lose.  Sure, Atlanta has weaknesses on the O-line and running the football, and that could be their achilles heel – just like we saw last night against the Eagles.  The ability to sustain drives to eat the clock, makes running the ball, critical – meaning, Atlanta will be in shoot-outs all year if they cannot fix that. But, all the pieces Quinn needs to turn Atlanta into a top-tier defense aren’t on the roster yet. The metamorphosis he’s caused with the pieces he inherited and the few he piece-mealed together during the offseason, look fierce. This unit moves fast, hits hard and if Monday is an indicator, will improve dramatically and quickly.

As for the Eagles – how many times do we have to see the same story – down two scores at halftime – come out and light it up.  Is the Chipster losing his Sinatra ways?  With less than four minutes on the clock in the fourth quarter and an offense that was finally moving the ball well in the second half, the Eagles had the ball at the Atlanta 26-yard line, but were stuffed on third down. That’s when Coach Kelly decided to … kick a field goal?

Hey, where’s Chip and what have you done with him? Of course, Eagles kicker Cody Parkey missed the 44-yarder and, after a subsequent drive ended in a Sam Bradford interception, that was that.

No lead seems to be safe in the Georgia Dome, even with this new staff in place (remember the 2012 NFC Championship?), but Falcons’ Fans can appreciate a bizarre and suddenly, conservative Kelly late in the game.


#3 – Perfect

Week one is in the books, and a few peeps woke up today with several ZEROES in their bank acct they did not have yesterday – like you Jeremy Bronson – winner of $1,000,000 and first place finisher in Fanduel’s $5M NFL Sunday Million (1 Million to 1st) contest – Congratulations!!!  We ourselves played and cashed 78% of our lineups.  Go to the TheDiRTCanon.com and signup today and we will Teach you how to #win!!!

Here are week 1’s perfect lineups:

Fanduel

FD_perfectL_wk1

DraftKings

 

DK_perfectL_wk1


#4 – other news

From what I saw – I thought I’d give a way-to-early prediction of who IS NOT going to the Superbowl this year – feel free to disagree, but these are the facts as I see them…

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have some excellent weapons on the offense, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can throw all day long anywhere on the field.

However, anyone who witnessed the league’s season-opener against the Patriots had to have been blind not to see the gaping holes in the Steelers’ defense. In their first game without Dick LeBeau leading the way, Pittsburgh allowed Tom Brady to toss four touchdowns—three of which went to Rob Gronkowski, who wasn’t even covered on his first score.

Big Ben is good, but he’s not good enough to overcome this abysmal defense.

Indianapolis Colts

ColtsThe Colts offense under quarterback Andrew Luck does not have a problem putting up points.

Unfortunately, the sketchy Colts defense also doesn’t have a problem giving up points. Last year, Indy’s defense allowed the seventh-most passing touchdowns and sixth-most rushing touchdowns.

And, while the Colts made some enhancements over the offseason, the last time we checked, Frank Gore, Andre Johnson and rookie wide receiver Phillip Dorsett don’t play defense, and the O-line is still terrible!

They’ll need to pull a magic rabbit out of their hat if they’re going to advance in the playoffs and succeed in beating some of the AFC’s stiffer competition.

Baltimore Ravens

Ravens fatThe Ravens have severe age-gap issues.

They feature senior citizens at their top running back and wide receiver positions this year.  Steve Smith Sr. is 36 years old while Justin Forsett is pushing 30. Additionally, Forsett is not working under coordinator Gary Kubiak this time around, whereas last year he achieved a league-high 5.1 yards per carry. He also recorded personal highs of 1,266 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, both of which could be a struggle to achieve again this season.

Furthermore, the team has a rookie tight end, and its rookie receiver and first-round draft pick Breshad Perriman will struggle to get up to full speed once he finally is cleared to play this year, after missing the entire preseason with a knee injury.

Between the old guys and new guys, there are just too many things that could go wrong for the Ravens this season.

Chicago Bears

Bears-300x260The Bears possess one of the largest fan bases around. However, the fans can’t make Jay Cutler suddenly develop good judgment in 2015. He’s notoriously wild and last year threw 18 interceptions.

Additionally, the team shipped its top wide receiver Brandon Marshall out of town, and the team’s first-round draft pick Kevin White is in jeopardy of missing his entire rookie season.

Defense is also a big problem. In 2014, the Bears allowed the second-most touchdowns and the third-highest passing yards in the league.

Unfortunately, Matt Forte won’t be enough to carry the team to a championship game.  However, John Fox will have them competitive.

Denver Broncos

Broncos funnyIt could be many years before we see the Broncos in a SuperBowl again.

The last time the team made the trip to the championship game, quarterback Peyton Manning and the rest of the offense choked, horribly. Remember that 43-8 slaughter by the Seahawks?  Pepperidge Farms remembers…

That loss was preceded by the record-breaking season Manning achieved in 2013 when he passed for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns. Manning has since been on the decline, and his arm strength is still a question mark entering the 2015 season.

If the Broncos couldn’t win the Super Bowl after Manning posted record-breaking stats, there’s no way the team even makes it to the big game this year – let alone the ‘offs.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys funnyThe Cowboys are coming off one of their better years, and actually winning a playoff game, albeit dubiously—the first postseason appearance since 2009. Although this could give fans the impression this team is ready to take the next step, in fact the Cowboys could be poised to take several steps back, due to a questionable ground game – you let DeMarco go?

Tony Romo will be forced to throw more than the team wants him to, and that means more mistakes, as we’ve seen before.  The Cowboys will be a good team in 2015, just not spectacular enough to get to Super Bowl 50.


#5 – Baseball

We still got baseball tonight and in 3 weeks it’s the playoffs – so in the meantime we move ever closer to one of the greatest sports months – October!  Baseball Playoffs, Basketball, Hockey and Football all together – #Murica!  I’m still working on the numbers to give you guys the edge you need for tonight’s 15 games on DraftKings and I will have those posted, no later than 3pm MST – you will find all of the info you need, under the Baseball DiRTy Plays tab.

Weekend Update: Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride

It was a glorious weekend outside the DirtCanon Bunker – the College Football was fresh, the NFL was tasty.  Even my attorney showed up for the festivities of our Launch Party Sunday – he even paid!  But let’s get down to what we saw this weekend and Arkansas you are on the clock:

How does that taste Bert…dont care if its Bret, you’re now Bert…you mouthed off about Ohio State’s schedule and you get blown up at home, by Toledo?! That’s a MAC school, they are maybe the 4th best team in Ohio – you s’posed to be SEC.  In fact you were s’posed to be a team that road-grades its way to victory. That Oline, that running game – you have no business throwing the ball 53 times on Toledo – Bert you lost your balls, you get paid too much money to act like a Nutt

Auburn still needs help from the Refs, and this time it is to defeat Jacksonville St in OT.  Not a misprint, Auburn is terrible and with Tennessee’s choke-job to Oklahoma in double OT – the SEC is in danger ofsingle logo_small becoming ACC bad.  Sure, there were some bright spots, Kentucky snapped their 22-game loser-streak on the road beating South Carolina and LSU escaped Starkville.  But SEC-fan, you might want to start getting used to chants of “OVER-RATED”  – clap, clap, clap-clap-clap…

Notre Dame is cursed.  Last year, defensive injuries derailed a promising start to the season. This year it is the offense. Starting quarterback Malik Zaire fractured his ankle in Notre Dame’s 34–27 victory over Virginia, joining running back Tarean Folston, (who was lost last week) on the won’t-play-again-this-season list.

On a brighter side, the week 2 odds that were posted on Friday did fairly well.  On the highlighted picks – we were perfect SU and 68% ATS – overall, we were 89% SU and 63% ATS – just good enough to not be addicted and still better than anywhere else.

Here are some other Saturday thoughts I cannot put anywhere else:

  • Two wins to start the 2015 season has pushed Ohio State’s nation’s best winning streak to 15 straight.  Up next are TCU (10), Memphis (nine), Western Kentucky (seven), Michigan State (six) and Navy (five).
  • The “honor” of the longest losing streak had belonged to Georgia State, which had lost 12 in a row until Saturday night’s 34-32 win over New Mexico State.  The win also marked GSU’s first-ever win over an FBS-level team as an FBS team themselves.
  • Additionally, Colorado ended its 10-game losing streak, the longest amongst Power Five teams, with a 48-14 win over UMass.  With those outcomes, UNLV now owns the nation’s longest losing streak at eight straight.
  • Notre Dame, UCLA and USC are the only teams that have never played a non-FBS/Div. 1-A school since the current setup was established in 1978.  Following the 2016 season, and because of a conference mandate, Big Ten teams will no longer be permitted to schedule games against FCS programs.
  • V’Angelo Bentley is the only player in Illinois history to record a kickoff return, punt return, interception return and fumble return for touchdown in his career. Harold “Red” Grange is the only other Illini player with kickoff, punt and interception returns for TDs, but he never returned a fumble for a score.
  • Dalvin Cook‘s 266 yards rushing were the second-most in Florida State history?  Cook’s performance is topped only by Greg Allen‘s 322 yards in 1981

 

Manning vs. Flacco

Remember this post from March?  When we told you that “It’s hard to watch your heroes fall and attempt to hang on to long.  Age always wins“.  Well it seems wearing a swim-shirt was the fore-shadowing we needed on the final season of the Great Peyton Manning.  No touchdowns during the pre-season and none yesterday against Baltimore.   It was the 20th NFL season opener in which both starting QBs were coming off a season of at least 25 touchdown passes. It was the first of those games in which neither threw a TD pass. (Note: Tony Romo vs. Eli Manning on Sunday night was the 21st such meeting.)  For Baltimore, the rest of the season seems to be a more difficult one as they lose Suggs with a torn achilles.  But the issue is still Denver winning with a punchless offense – maybe someone should set Peyton up with DirecTV, because this cable-version of Peyton is hard to watch.

A first-of-its-kind matchup produces a historic performance

The last time Marcus and Jameis met on the field was in January, at the Rose Bowl – and the results were the same then as they were yesterday.  It was the first-ever opening-day matchup of rookie quarterbacks chosen first and second in the NFL Draft. But by halftime, it was all about Marcus Mariota, with number-one pick Jameis Winston earning only an interesting footnote, albeit an unwanted one.  Marcus was 13-16 with 4 touchdown passes – the only other player to do that in their first game was Fran Tarkenton – except Marcus threw 4 in the first half!  The Titans scored 35 points by halftime of their 42-14 win. Last year they NEVER scored more than 28 points in a game while going 2-14.  As for Jameis, he is has played 28 games in college and the pro’s, going 26-2 – his two losses are both to Mariota.

Sure, it’s only one game but seeing Mariota finish his first professional game with a perfect passer-rating that puts him ahead of Tom Brady (2nd) and Aaron Rodgers (3rd) gives the Titans hope that they chose correctly.  As for Winston’s role in this historic matchup, his first pass was intercepted by Coty Sensabaugh, who returned it 26 yards for a touchdown. Over the last 30 years, only two other players threw a pick-6 on the first pass of their NFL career: Jay Schroeder in 1985 and, believe it or not, Brett Favre in 1991.  It was not all bad for Jameis, he did finish ahead of Luck, Manning and Flacco in passer-rating Sunday.

Rodgers owns Cutler & the Bears

James Jones (two TD grabs Sunday) being back in Green Bay might be a lot more important to the Packers’ Super Bowl chances than we all thought.  The Packers defeated the Bears, 31-23, at Soldier Field in the 11th regular-season meeting of Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler as starting quarterbacks. With that victory, Rodgers improved his record against Cutler to 10-1, with his only loss coming five seasons ago at Chicago – Cutler has now thrown at least 1 INT in every game against the Packers. The last QB to win at least 10 of his first 11 starts against another quarterback was Terry Bradshaw against Brian Sipe (1976-81).

In Rodgers’ last three games against the Bears he has completed 74 percent of his passes for 806 yards with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions. He is the first player to throw 13 TDs over three games against one opponent since Dan Marino did it against the Jets (1985-86). No other player has ever thrown 13 TDs and fewer than three INTs over three games against one team.

Note that Rodgers also led the Packers to a win over Cutler and the Bears in the NFC Championship Game after the 2010 season.

Rams win

Irony is after an offseason of debate about throwing at the goal line in their Super Bowl XLIX loss, the first play of the Seattle Seahawks’ season fittingly was a handoff to Marshawn Lynch. So was the last play … which got blown up on fourth-and-1 as the nullRams defeated the Seahawks, 34-31 in overtime, on a 37-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein. But it was Nick Foles, in his Rams debut, who completed a pass unlike any other in the team’s long NFL history. Foles found Lance Kendricks for a 37-yard touchdown with 53 seconds to play and Zuerlein’s extra point evened the score at 31-31. It was the first game-tying or go-ahead TD pass of 20 yards or longer in the final 60 seconds of the fourth quarter in Rams history.  In other news – what were you thinking Pete Carroll with an onside kick in OT?

nullLockett ends longest return drought

Tyler Lockett opened the scoring in the Seahawks’ loss at St. Louis with a 57-yard punt return. Only three other rookies in NFL history scored on a first-quarter punt return in their team’s opening game of a season: George Atkinson of the Raiders (1968), Deion Sanders of the Falcons (1989), and Dale Carter of the Chiefs (1992).

Allen huge in San Diego’s comeback victory

Philip Rivers completed 35 passes for 404 yards, including 15 to Keenan Allen, in the Chargers’ 33-28 come-from-behind victory over the Lions. Allen set a record for pass nullreceptions in a season-opening game. The previous mark was 14, set by Andre Rison in 1994 and matched by Marshall Faulk in 2002.

San Diego trailed Detroit, 21-3, in the second quarter. Only one other team in this century overcame a deficit that large to win its season-opening game, and Chargers fans should remember the other well. Two years ago, San Diego squandered a 28-7 lead in losing its opener to Houston, 31-28, on Monday Night Football.

New York Blows it – Romo saves Cowboys

The optimists in Big D said the O-line was good enough to offset the loss of DeMarco Murray. But the Cowboys managed just 80 yards on the ground Sunday against a Giants defense that rarely stopped the run in 2014. Dallas only had less than 90 rushing yards nullonce last year, when the Giants only held two opponents below 80.  New York should’ve left Dallas with a W. But poor clock management — namely failing to milk it while opting to throw near the goal line on their final drive — provided Tony Romo with the opportunity to craft a successful comeback.  Tony Romo threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten with 7 seconds to play and Dan Bailey added the extra point to give the Cowboys an unlikely 27-26 victory over the Giants. That was the latest game-winning fourth-quarter TD pass in Cowboys history. The previous mark was set in a 17-14 win over the Redskins in 1967 when Don Meredith connected with Dan Reeves for a 36-yard TD with 10 seconds to play.

Dallas’ victory was unlikely in this sense: The Cowboys committed three turnovers and the Giants none. Over the past three seasons (2012-14), there were 100 regular-season games in which a team turned the ball over at least three times and had no takeaways; only three of those teams won.

nullBrees ties dubious NFL record in loss

Drew Brees passed for 355 yards in the Saints’ 31-19 loss at Arizona, his fifth straight season reaching the 300-yard mark in New Orleans’ first game. That tied the NFL record for consecutive season openers with at least 300 passing yards. Kurt Warner set that mark from 1999 through 2003.  Carson Palmer threw three touchdown passes in his first game since last season’s ACL injury. Palmer has a 14-2 record in his last 16 starts

Marshall and the Jets

The Browns have now lost an NFL-record 11 straight openers, and Brandon Marshall might be the safety net the Jets need to stabilize their uneven passing game. He excelled in the red zone and bailed out Ryan Fitzpatrick by ripping the ball away from Browns safety Tashaun Gipson after an interception.  With that, the Todd Bowles era started with a strong defensive performance as the Jets forced the Browns into five turnovers and posted a 31-10 victory. During six seasons under Rex Ryan, the Jets ranked 19th among the 32 NFL teams with an average of 1.5 takeaways per game. They had only one game with as many as five takeaways under Ryan, forcing six turnovers in a 38-7 win over Buffalo in 2011.

Bills knock the Colts down a peg

The Colts were chic Super Bowl picks in many quarters, but didn’t look ready for the Bills, who shut Indianapolis out in the first half before winning 27-14.  The Bills were sending seven defenders at Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck on seemingly every passing down, especially early in the game. The all-out blitzes worked in Buffalo’s decisive upset.null

Making his first NFL start, the new Bills quarterback justified Rex Ryan’s faith in him by playing efficient, virtually mistake-free football. Taylor passed for 195 yards and a TD while adding 41 yards with his legs. Ground and pound, baby.  The Colts’ struggles to stop the run have carried over to this season. The Bills ran 36 times for 147 yards and two touchdowns – leading a terrific start to Karlos Williams’ NFL career, as he gave the Bills a 16-0 lead on a 26-yard touchdown run on his first carry. It had been 20 years since any NFL player scored an opening-game TD of 20 yards or longer on the first carry of his career. The last player to do so was Michael Westbrook of the Redskins, with a 58-yard TD run in a 27-7 opening-day victory over the Cardinals.

But guess what? A few hours later, Ameer Abdullah of the Lions did it as well, capping Detroit’s opening drive with a 24-yard TD run on his first carry.

nullIt’s getting absurd in KC

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith threw three touchdowns but none to a wide receiver – again. Smith’s last TD to a receiver was Dec. 8, 2013.  On the other hand, Travis Kelce became the first Chiefs tight end to catch two touchdown passes in a game since Tony Gonzalez left Kansas City following the 2008 season. Gonzalez caught two or more TDs in a game 14 times for the Chiefs.

What about Bob?null

Another strong performance by a tight end was turned in by Tyler Eifert, who caught nine
passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns in the Bengals’ 33-13 win at Oakland. Eifert was the first Cincinnati TE with two TD receptions in a 100-yard game since Bob Trumpy scored three times in a 5-for-159 performance against the Houston Oilers in 1969.

Same Ol’Philbin, Same Ol’Washington

The Miami Dolphins are continuing a disturbing trend during coach Joe Philbin’s tenure with the team: They play down to lesser opponents. The offense came out flat in the first half at Washington, rushing for only 2 yards. But the most concerning questions from Miami’s victory were mental lapses on defense.

For Washington, things were looking good for the home team early on Sunday. But then Ryan Tannehill found Rishard Matthews for a 3-yard TD late in the first half to narrow the Redskins’ lead to 10-7, and the Dolphins scored 10 points in the fourth quarter for a 17-10 victory. Washington was the first home team to lose its season opener after scoring the game’s first 10 points since 2002, when the Jets rallied from a 10-0 deficit for a 37-31 win at Buffalo.  From the media-generated-controversy department – Why was CBS giving viewers constant reaction shots from RGIII — following many of Kirk Cousins’ throws?

Somethings never change

The Kelvin Benjamin-less offense produced just 263 yards and one touchdown – ouch. The supporting cast around Newton will likely add pressure on Carolina’s defense, nullespecially if MLB Luke Kuechly’s concussion proves severe.  In other news, Josh Norman intercepted Blake Bortles and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown in the Panthers’ 20-9 win over the Jaguars. That was a problem for Bortles as a rookie last season, when he tied for the NFL lead by throwing four pick-6’s, which was also a single-season team record.