Three takeaways from Seahawks’ win over Cardinals

The Seahawks defeated the Cardinals 22-16 Thursday in Arizona thanks to some big plays from Russell Wilson.

Most of the game was choppy with penalties and injuries ruining flow, but Wilson entertained with his legs and arm to help the Seahawks (6-3) gain ground on the Rams (6-2) in the NFC West.

The Seahawks potentially lost All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman for the year after he left the game with a heel injury, and he indicated that it could be a serious injury. Still, the Seahawks continued to apply pressure on hapless Drew Stanton, forcing poor throws and stifling Peterson on the ground.

Seattle has now won five of its last six games, and defensive pressure is a big reason why they’ve enjoyed recent success.

The Broncos have lost five straight games and they have not been competitive in those matchups, losing them all by double-digits and a combined total of 97 points. Even worse, they lost by 28 and 25 points in back-to-back blowout losses to the Eagles and the Patriots. The Broncos are also the only team to lose to the Giants this season.

“You’re going to lose football games in this league, but the way it’s gone about it, not being competitive is probably the thing that concerns me the most,’’ Elway said. “I think we have it on our football team. We’ve got to learn to be able to battle through those. Obviously, they’ve come in clumps and we haven’t been able to overcome it. But until we do overcome that, you know, it’s going to tough to win football games.’’nike_patriots_2110

Case Keenum gets solid reviews from Vikings coach Mike Zimmer

Case Keenum has been called excitable. His accuracy has been critiqued.

One thing he’s never been knocked for is being overly conservative. That’s a big plus in the eyes of Vikings coach Mike Zimmer.

“I don’t know if he would have put it in the same spot four weeks ago,” Thielen said. “He’s just starting to realize how we like the ball and what we do best as receivers and tight ends and running backs. I think he’s always had a ton of confidence about what he can do individually, but now it’s kind of gaining that confidence in other guys.”

Philadelphia, with the NFL’s top record, now owns a four-game lead over the 5-5 Cowboys in the NFC East with a perfect 4-0 division record heading into Week 12. While the Eagles have a playoff berth all but locked up, the Cowboys are going to need to start winning without Ezekiel Elliott and get some help if they are to reach the postseason.

Carson Wentz got off to a hot start but a quiet second quarter left the Eagles trailing 9-7 at halftime. The Dallas defense was solid in the first half, at one point holding the Eagles to four consecutive 3-and-outs but in the second half, things quickly changed. The first three Eagles’ possessions resulted in TD drives of 75, 90, and 85 yards, all but breaking the Cowboys spirit in the third quarter.

After Philadelphia went up 29-9, a sack-fumble returned for a touchdown followed by Dak Prescott’s third pick prematurely ended his night.

Steelers’ Marcus Gilbert suspended 4 games for drug violation

The NFL has suspended Pittsburgh Steelers starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert four games for violating the league policy against performance-enhancing substances.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement that the organization was “disappointed” and that Gilbert will not appeal his suspension.

“Marcus Gilbert missed a significant amount of time. Chris Hubbard’s play made it a nondiscussion,” Tomlin said. “We didn’t talk about it a bunch because his play was above the line. … You guys know our mentality. The standard is the standard.”

For insurance, the Steelers have second-year tackle Jerald Hawkins and have added tackle Jake Rodgers to their practice squad.

Gilbert is the third Steeler in as many years to miss multiple games because of suspension, joining Martavis Bryant (four games in 2015, all of 2016) and Le’Veon Bell (two games in 2015, three in 2016).

Tyler Ennis also scored and Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter each had two assists as the Wild snapped a two-game losing streak. Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves.

Niederreiter has scored in five straight games, the second-longest streak in franchise history.

Jordan Nolan scored twice for the Sabres. Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart also had goals. Robin Lehner made 17 saves after replacing Chad Johnson following the first period. Johnson stopped 10 shots.

The Wild scored three goals in a 5:29 span in the first period and led the rest of the way.

Foligno fed his former Sabres teammate Ennis for the first goal nine minutes into the game. Granlund scored unassisted to put the Wild ahead with 7:32 remaining in the period.

Connor McDavid is really good at hockey, but really bad at …

Most players can pinpoint the exact moment they realized Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid was special.

“I played against him when he was 12,” Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski said. “I remember he was the best kid on the ice — by far.”

For Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, the epiphany came on one of the first plays of a November 2016 game in Edmonton. “[McDavid] was skating so fast up the ice,” Kane recalled. “Our defenseman was going backward. He had to turn around and skate forward — like, directly at our net. McDavid still got a breakaway and got a shot off.”

Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans’ brother filmed Saban doing the Electric Slide, and it went viral. If you scour the internet, you’ll find him doing the Cupid Shuffle and The Wobble. “Hey,” Saban said, “I’ve been able to step through ever since I was in high school.”

After the owners finished, Troy Vincent stood up. He was offended by McNair’s characterization of the players as “inmates.” Vincent said that in all his years of playing in the NFL — during which, he said, he had been called every name in the book, including the N-word — he never felt like an “inmate.”

That sparked a back-and-forth with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones who said NFL owners are historically responsible for the success of the NFL. However, McNair later pulled Vincent aside to apologize for the comment and then released a statement Friday after his words were made public in ESPN’s report.

It would have made for about 90 seconds of complete bonkers celebration in Houston, and then we would have gone to bed early because the game wouldn’t have been close anymore. Instead, Stripling walked off the mound with a big “thanks, God” smile and we got two more innings of exciting baseball.

Picking the four playoff teams right now

The College Football Playoff committee will announce its first rankings of the season on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN). How do Mel Kiper and Todd McShay see their top four after Week 9?

The Crimson Tide are the clear best team in college football. Their 33.3-point margin of victory per game is tops in FBS, they rank No. 2 in yards allowed per play (3.9), and they rank No. 3 in offensive points per game (42.1). This is a balanced juggernaut of a team with NFL talent all over the field. LSU at home next weekend will be fun to watch, but I don’t think the Tigers have the offense to keep up. Then there’s the final regular-season game at Auburn.

Bellinger lined a fastball to the opposite field over Marwin Gonzalez into the quirky corner next to the left-field scoreboard, chasing starter Charlie Morton. He came home on Forsythe’s two-out single off Will Harris.

Pay attention to where the committee ranks Oklahoma and Washington. It will tell us a lot about who’s really on the outside and how far they have to climb to get back in.

Todd Bowles, head coach, New York Jets. Coaching in the NFL cauldron is a difficult thing anyway. Doing it with a bad team in New York is exponentially more distracting. I’ve got tremendous respect for Bowles, for getting his team to 3-2 with a quarterback put on the street by the Cleveland Browns, a tattered offensive line, and a defense that gave up 45 points in Week 2 in Oakland. Bowles has proven against the odds that coaching, and a smart plan, matter.

Nick Folk, kicker, Tampa Bay. The difference in New England’s 19-14 win over Tampa on Thursday night? Simple: Stephen Gostkowski, 4-for-4 on field goals. Nick Folk, 0-for-3 on field goals.

Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback, Pittsburgh. For his five interceptions, and for a 21-point loss to the Jaguars at home. Both stunners.canadiens_400_4cc90d3813a8efd3-180x180

I’m going with the rare Building Block and Fade from the same team.

Listen, Wiggins is an elite athlete and I love what that should mean for his fantasy upside. The key word there being “should.” In his four games playing alongside Butler, 38.2 percent of Wiggins’ field goal attempts have been from distance — a rate that is way up from his career 15.1 percent entering this season.

Romo telestrates in yellow how wide the safeties are. Then he draws a circle around the middle of the field, with the center right around the 31-yard line—where the Raiders must reach for the first down. The area is empty. Totally devoid of Chiefs.

“The area to throw to is right here in the middle!” Romo says, voice rising to the importance of the game, the season, for Oakland.

The offensive balance has been staggering. Sixteen players have scored goals, including all but one forward (Brendan Leipsic), while five Knights have scored winning goals.

“Everyone is eager,” said forward Cody Eakin. “Everyone wants to prove to themselves or prove to someone else that they’re here for a reason. You look around the room and you see 25 good players. ‘Eager’ is the word to use.”

Hopes are dwindling as the Pac-12’s overall stock sinks, and the Cardinal toyed with certain elimination on Thursday at Oregon State. But the fact remains that Stanford has not lost since Week 3, and an opportunity remains to win the Pac-12 and to make a statement against Notre Dame.

There’s an exception to every rule, right? NC State, like Stanford, has lost twice — and once by a three-score margin. But the Wolfpack are unbeaten in the ACC, with an opportunity against Clemson, then perhaps to defeat an unbeaten Miami for the league title. Would it be enough? Only if total chaos erupted elsewhere.canadiens_001_aeb1bf0fe25cbb3b-180x180

Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley to get suspension

New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley is being suspended by the NFL for an undisclosed violation, a league source confirmed Tuesday.

Kerley practiced with the Jets on Tuesday, declining to answer any questions about a pending suspension.

Jalin Marshall is on the practice squad and Nick Marshall no longer is with the team.

Kerley, a fifth-round pick of the Jets in 2011, returned to the team in September after being released by the San Francisco 49ers. He wanted so badly to return that he initiated talks by reaching out directly to coach Todd Bowles.

In seven seasons, Kerley has 268 catche for 3,109 yards and 13 touchdowns.

The Rams are on their bye week, and first-year coach Sean McVay might have a new play for the offense when they face on the Giants on Nov. 5.

McVay appeared on the Rich Eisen Show on Friday and broke down a play drawn up by rapper Snoop Dogg.

“Don’t be surprised if you see this against the New York Football Giants.” ??

McVay was impressed by the play, which Snoop named, “Fake 31, Fake 24 Z-reverse.”

“I think it looks like something the Rams offense needs to think about putting in,” McVay told Eisen, saying Snoop “has some good X’s and O’s.”

McVay, who has the Rams leading the NFC West at 5-2, said the play could get slot receiver Tavon Austin involved with “a little misdirection” for running back Todd Gurley.

“Don’t be surprised if you see this against the New York Football Giants,” McVay said. “This is something that is going to get logged away in the Rams playbook.”

Snoop Dogg, who coaches youth football, drew up the play in a recent appearance on Eisen’s show and said he’d like to see the play executed by Ben Roethlisberger, Rob Gronkowski and Le’Veon Bell.blues-017

Texans’ Christian Covington likely out for rest of season with torn biceps

Texans defensive end Christian Covington is likely out for the season with a torn biceps, coach Bill O’Brien said Monday.

Covington suffered the injury in the second half of Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks and was ruled out for the remainder of the game. Covington has seen an increased role since Texans defensive end J.J. Watt broke his leg in Week 5 and started Sunday in Seattle.

George Bollas completed 16 of 35 passes for 140 yards and ran for 84 with a touchdown for the Golden Flashes (2-7, 1-4).

The draft has a lot of players with exciting and diverse talents. That is particularly true among defensemen. There should be a whole bunch taken in the first round, with several in the first half of the first round. We haven’t seen the number of blueliners selected in the first round hit double digits since the 2012 draft, when 13 were selected, but this year is going to get close to that. Dahlin is obviously at the top, but there are so many others, including four in the top eight of this ranking.

It is an especially deep crop of dynamic puck-moving defensemen under 6-feet tall. That group includes the University of Michigan’s Quinn Hughes and Bryans IF’s Adam Boqvist, with others such as Ty Smith of the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes and Ryan Merkley of the OHL’s Guelph Storm falling in line. As the NHL continues to look more and more like a rush league, where a premium is placed on highly skilled defensemen with top-end passing skills, this year’s draft is very much on trend.blues-009

Giants suspend CB Janoris Jenkins after he fails to return from bye week on time

Jenkins’ suspension is the second for the Giants in recent weeks. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was also suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules after he was told he would be benched for his actions late in a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and then eventually walked out of a team meeting.

The Giants (1-6) are in the midst of a disappointing season where they have dealt with multiple suspensions and the loss of a good chunk of their receiving corps. Star wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall are out for the season.

Jenkins was signed prior to the 2016 season as a free agent after four years with the Rams. He made the Pro Bowl in his first season with the Giants.

It was a sellout crowd at Oracle Arena for opening night of the Warriors’ 2017–18 NBA season. As if meeting the new-look Houston Rockets was not enough, the crowd was treated to a long-awaited ring ceremony. It was a well-deserved celebration of Golden State’s title. Fans were greeted with a 2017 Championship t-shirt and light-up bracelet so they could fully participate in the experience. A crowd of almost 20,000 came to witness Golden State officially receive their rings for a fifth franchise championship—and second in the past three years.

Before Queen’s “We are the Champions” blared throughout a glowing arena with a standing crowd of overjoyed fans, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver congratulated and introduced the team. Each member of the Warriors received some impressive new hardware. Jason of Beverly Hills was the jeweler responsible for the design of this record-breaking ring. Each ring contains more diamonds than any other in the history of America’s four major sports. chargers_043

Chiefs vs. Texans 2017 odds: Pick’em betting matchup in Houston on Sunday night

The Kansas City Chiefs are the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL with a record of 4-0 straight up and against the spread. The Chiefs will try to remain undefeated with a road win this Sunday night against the Houston Texans.

Fitzpatrick is basically the NFL’s Final Destination, and on Sunday the Buccaneers quarterback claimed a new victim in Jameis Winston when he injured his shoulder against the Cardinals. The run of misfortune that befalls starting QBs is astronomical when Fitzpatrick is on the team, and The Washington Post took notice.

Like Pantene, Fitzpatrick’s curse might not happen overnight — but it will happen. When Fitzgerald is the backup or benched, the quarterback in front of him will go down, normally in an unforeseen way. His list of victims is impressive:

Fitzpatrick is a Harvard-educated, bearded, specter of misery. His list of exploits is impressive, his tally of victims vast. Fitzpatrick might come to a town near you, and watch out if he does — because misfortune is about to befall your quarterback.

Dave Toub: “I thought about (not kicking to Peterson) for a second. I decided I knew how good our coverage team is.”

Lovie Smith: “We haven’t gone into many games where we don’t kick the ball to the player.”

Robbie Gould: “Did we think about not kicking to him? No. We kicked to him. We have the best special teams in the National Football League.”

Peterson fielded the kick at the 8 and wasn’t touched until midfield. Ricky Manning Jr. dragged him down to save the touchdown and basically end the game. The Vikings ground the clock down to four seconds remaining and called their first timeout at the 37. It would be a 55-yard field goal.

“It was on line,” Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell said later. “I couldn’t tell how far it cleared, but I knew it wouldn’t be much.”