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Roethlisberger throws an incomplete pass on third down and the Steelers’ drive stalls

Kris Dunn, Chicago Bulls (Rostered in 39.6 percent of ESPN leagues): There was some talk of Dunn as a deep sleeper in the offseason, if only for the opportunity to play plenty of minutes for the Bulls. It took some time to earn lots of minutes, but Dunn has averaged 31.8 MPG during his past seven games (all starts), and the results have been impressive. The sample is small, but it’s nice to see Dunn sinking more than half of his 3-point attempts and with a slick overall line that includes 17 PPG, 7.6 APG, 5.3 RPG and 2.1 SPG over this recent surge.

Roethlisberger hits Antonio Brown down the sideline for a 34-yard gain and Pittsburgh moves into field goal range. Brown has 213 receiving yards in the game.

Touchdown Ravens. Baltimore advances to the Steelers 25 on a pass interference penalty. Then, after two runs by Collins and a short pass from Flacco, Javorius Allen punches it in from 9 yards out to give the Ravens a 38-29 lead with 6:44 to play.

And remember, when the Giants took the bad delay-of-game penalty at a crucial point in a September loss to the Lions, McAdoo threw Manning under the bus and blamed it on “sloppy quarterback play.”

It was always someone else’s fault. More often than it ever should have been, the head coach was the one assigning some level of blame.

Field goal Steelers. Chris Boswell enters and kicks a 52-yard field goal to increase Pittsburgh’s lead to 17-7 with 4:14 to play in the half.

Ben Roethlisberger completes another long pass to Antonio Brown. This one goes for 43 yards as Pittsburgh moves to the Baltimore 28.chargers_024-180x180

This game certainly lived up the hype, but left many with a sour taste in their mouth.

Despite the win, the Eagles lost Carson Wentz to a knee injury. Bettors were hurt pretty badly as well, specifically those who took either the Rams at the closing line of +2, the second-half line of -2.5, or had them in a teaser.

All of those wagers were losers after a wild play to end the game. Trailing 37-35 with just one second left on the clock, the Rams tried to play the lateral game, which actually led to a touchdown — only not for Los Angeles. Philadelphia’s Brandon Graham scooped up the loose ball and ran it into the end zone to give the Eagles an eight-point win.

“I was surprised he got back up”: Jared Goff led the Rams to victory despite being on the receiving end of two sacks from fellow Cal alumnus Cameron Jordan, the second leaving the Saints defensive end surprised at Goff’s durability. “I was joking with him that I was surprised he got back up after that second sack, but he responded well,” Jordan said. “That is something that I expect nothing less from another Cal Bear player.”

There’s some reason to believe the prime for NBA players has extended because of an increased focus on maintaining health and performance, as well as improved techniques and technology. Just as James is historic in the minutes he has played since a young age, so too is his dedication to playing at a high level. His business partner, Maverick Carter, told Bill Simmons last year that James spends $1.5 million a year on his body. That investment appears to be money well spent.

The Patriots won’t have Rob Gronkowski, but they’ll have their red-hot running game in a rematch from just two weeks ago, this time with their defense facing Jay Cutler. Tom Brady will again have fun attacking the Dolphins’ overmatched corners, and there’s a good bet for another Cutler pick six against a talented secondary that’s playing much better than it was earlier in the season.
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Brown held on for the tying touchdown and neither player was ejected.

After re-watching video of the play, the Raiders coach admitted to reporters Monday that Stewart’s hit wasn’t as malicious as he first thought.

“In looking at it, and being honest, I think Amari did duck his head as the guy was approaching,” he said (via the East Bay Times). “That makes it a little harder on the defender and that was probably the one piece that I didn’t have access to prior to that comment.

With the Vikings losing to the Carolina Panthers, oddsmakers were planning to make the Eagles the solo favorites in the NFC. Instead, the Westgate installed Minnesota as the favorite in the NFC at +275. The Eagles are next at 7-2 (+350, followed by the New Orleans Saints at 9-2 (+450), the Rams at 11-2 (+550) and Falcons at 6-1. The Eagles moved down to 12-1 to win the Super Bowl.

The New England Patriots remain the consensus Super Bowl favorites and are 2-1 at the Westgate, followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers at 7-2.

Smith-Schuster came under fire for his brutal hit on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict in the fourth quarter that was deemed a “dangerous and unsportsmanlike” act followed by an inappropriate celebration. Smith-Schuster wasn’t ejected for the block that sent Burfict off the field on a cart but was penalized for unnecessary roughness and taunting as he stood over the injured Burfict.

Later in the fourth quarter, Iloka seemingly retaliated when he “violently struck a defenseless receiver” and slammed Steelers wideout Antonio Brown with a brutal helmet shot in the end zone.

“We have to be more consistent and make the right plays every time,” Simmons said. “When we make mistakes and do not have guys like Joel and Cov to make up for it, it gets tough. We have to just come together as a team and get through it.”royals_008

NFL schedule: Week 11 game times, TV coverage

More interesting matchups are set for Week 11 of the NFL season, including Tom Brady and the Patriots taking on the Raiders in Mexico City. In a key NFC encounter, the Rams will face the Vikings in Minneapolis.

Wilson, who threw for 238 yards and two touchdowns Thursday, was still sacked five times behind his struggling offense line, which also lost recently-acquired Duane Brown to a first-half ankle injury. Wilson’s mobility may be on display all season long, but he has proven up for the task.

Seahawks committing way too many penalties — The Seahawks committed 12 penalties for 108 yards Thursday, while helping the Cardinals convert six first downs via penalties through two-plus quarters of play. Seattle now has 94 penalties this season after 16 last week.

“I take all that s— back I said yesterday,” Arians said during his Monday afternoon news conference. “That was a damn good call, and we busted an assignment at the point of attack. That was an easy pickup.”

“We’ll stick with Blaine and watch Drew get healthy and then make a decision as we go forward, but we’ll stick with the way it is right now,” he said.

These Celtics, Stevens pleaded, were not sitting around talking about their accomplishments. Inside the Celtics locker room, that sentiment was relayed to third-year guard Terry Rozier, who pondered it for a moment.

MLB, however, wants the 20-second pitch clock. And whether the union agrees or not, MLB has the power to implement this and other rules for the 2018 season.
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Why Bill Belichick is in no rush to return to Mexico City

We dealt with it. Players did a great job dealing with all the challenges that we had to deal with. I think we’re fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there. I mean you have two NFL franchises in an area that I don’t know how stable the geological plates that were below us [were], but nothing happened, so that was good.”

Admittedly, it’s difficult sometimes to tell when Belichick is serious and when’s he’s saying something tongue-in-cheek, but when he said, “I think we’re fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there … nothing happened, so that was good,” it hit as off-key to some.

“Outrageous ignorance of a ‘genius’ of the NFL,” ESPN Mexico’s Poncho Vera tweeted in response, per Google Translate. “(T)hat’s why you have to take professional sports for what they are: a show.”

Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb each had 24 points for the Hornets, who overcame a nine-point fourth quarter deficit. The Hornets wrapped up a perfect three-game homestand.

John Wall had 31 points and 11 assists, and Bradley Beal added 22 points for the Wizards.

The Hornets battled back behind the gritty play of Walker. He made a driving layup with 17 seconds left and then added two free throws with 2 seconds remaining to tie it.

Howard blocked Beal’s baseline jumper at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime.

Charlotte carried the momentum into the extra period with Walker knocking down a leaning 3-pointer from the top of the key after a scramble for a loose ball. Lamb followed with a block and a coast-to-coast layup for a 5-point lead.
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Keselowski was in position to win when Joey Logano developed a tire problem with about 10 laps remaining in regulation.

Eric Karabell wraps up an exciting Sunday of football, assessing the fantasy value of the many stars from the Texans-Seahawks clash and more.

Ryan Kerrigan, LB, Washington Redskins: Kerrigan left the game against the Cowboys during the second quarter and was spotted getting medical attention on the Redskins’ sideline. He was designated as questionable to return because of a groin injury but made his return later on in the second quarter.

Jeff Allen, OG, Houston Texans: A knee injury sidelined Allen during the second quarter of the game against the Seahawks and he was declared questionable to return.

“Dimanchophobia” is the fear of Sunday. The Browns must have a serious case of it, because they’ve lost 25 straight games played on Sunday, which, according to Elias Sports Bureau, is tied for the longest Sunday losing streak in NFL history (1976-77 Buccaneers). The Browns’ remaining eight games are all Sunday games.

Had his Team Penske teammate pitted under green to fix the tire, Keselowski likely would have coasted to the win and earned a spot in the finale.

A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract extension is “getting done” and previous issues surrounding the deal have been resolved.
There is a growing difference of opinion among owners about Goodell’s overall performance as commissioner, according to sources. The owners on Thursday’s conference call are generally unhappy with Goodell and the NFL’s front office for a variety of reasons, including the player protests staged during the national anthem, issues regarding the relocation of teams to Los Angeles and the league’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case, according to sources.

“You don’t get to have this many messes over the years like Roger has had and survive it,” one owner said during the call.flames_024

The Steelers and Jaguars are both 3-2 after Sunday, and both are difficult to figure out.

The last pass of the game for Bortles came in the middle of the third quarter before the pair of pick sixes allowed the team to focus entirely on the run.

Jacksonville ended the game with 18 consecutive running plays, milking clock and grinding away with Leonard Fournette, who had 181 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including a 90-yard burst in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

The Steelers and Jaguars are both 3-2 after Sunday, and both are difficult to figure out.

When Jacksonville is clicking, it has a defense that’s a nightmare to score on and an offense that can grind away with Fournette. But then it can also be a team that struggles to move the ball with Bortles and makes egregious errors.

Pittsburgh earned impressive wins over the Vikings and Ravens but now has bad losses to the Bears and Jaguars on the record.

It’s impossible to pick just one, especially when there are 14 players — including Aaron Rodgers and his broken collarbone — on this week’s injury report. But the focus should be on the offensive line, given how important it’ll be to new starting quarterback Brett Hundley’s success. Of the three starters who dropped out of last Sunday’s loss at Minnesota, left tackle David Bakhtiari (hamstring) and right tackle Bryan Bulaga (concussion) at least practiced on a limited basis Wednesday.

Michael Floyd (hamstring) joined Stefon Diggs (groin) on the injury report this week, leaving Minnesota with five active receivers in practice. After missing practice last week and Sunday’s game, Diggs remains the biggest injury concern despite Minnesota having three other non-participants on Wednesday: Sam Bradford (knee), Nick Easton (calf) and Anthony Barr (concussion/ankle). lakers_017

Giants vs. Broncos odds 2017: Winless New York huge underdog against Denver on Sunday night

The New York Giants are 0-6 straight up and 2-4 against the spread over their last six games. With plenty of bad news on the injury front, the Giants will have a hard time trying to earn their first win of the season this Sunday night against the Denver Broncos.

Twitter made an attempt to keep the games, with Facebook and YouTube trying to pry the rights away.

Two other teams that have exceeded preseason expectations to this point will clash when the Los Angeles Rams visit the Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5). Both teams are off to 3-2 SU starts, with Jacksonville sitting atop the AFC South and Los Angeles tied with Seattle for the top spot in the NFC West.

The road team is 0-4 SU and 1-3 ATS in the last four meetings between the Rams and Jaguars.

Ben Roethlisberger’s confidence seemed shaken in a post-game press conference after his five-interception performance against Jacksonville last week. The veteran quarterback will get a much tougher test this week when his Steelers visit the Kansas City Chiefs (-4), who are off to a perfect 5-0 SU and ATS start to the 2017 season.

The teams traded punts on the first four possessions, with Minnesota kickers Ryan Longwell and Chris Kluwe doing their best to kick away from the All Pro Hester. The week before, the Packers neutralized Hester on kickoffs, holding him to zero returns with a mix of squibs and pooch kicks.

But keeping the ball from Hester is easier said than done, as Kluwe acknowledged while watching a Bears-Vikings game in 2013:

Goddammit announcers. You can’t say “Why kick it to Hester” on a fucking kickoff. If you kick it short, they’re two passes away from a FG.falcons_001

The last set of names we’re going to discuss this week are the outliers.

The Red Sox ball girl was called for interference when she tried to field Gattis’ fair-ball grounder down the third base line in the eighth. Instead of a potential double, Gattis was sent back to first; pinch-runner Cameron Maybin took second on a wild pitch and scored the go-ahead run on Reddick’s single.

Arrieta dropped his only decision of the season to the Nationals and is 1-2 with a 5.48 ERA in nine career starts against Washington.

With his team’s season on the line, Nationals manager Dusty Baker will stick with scheduled Game 4 starter Tanner Roark. Baker said earlier Tuesday that he would consider sending Stephen Strasburg to the mound if the game was pushed to Wednesday.

Strasburg held the Cubs without a hit for 5 2/3 innings in Game 1 before Chicago pulled out a 3-0 victory.

But after Tuesday’s game was pushed back to Wednesday, Baker announced Roark will remain the Game 4 starter. Asked about Strasburg’s availability — even out of the bullpen — Baker said Strasburg was “under the weather” and cited a change in weather, air conditioning in the team hotel and mold in Chicago.

Baker said Strasburg will start Game 5 if the series shifts back to Washington.

Those on the road and on the rise in Week 5 included Alex Smith, Kelvin Benjamin and Leonard Fournette. Players who couldn’t manage to inspire the fans already predisposed to liking them over the past seven days included Amari Cooper, Jameis Winston, Mike Evans and Dez Bryant. The specialists have detected something troubling here, folks. Feel free to get a second opinion, but I wouldn’t be so quick to ignore the situation.steelers_010

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch continued to sit during the anthem.

“It’s really disheartening when everything that I was raised on was to be the best person I could be to help people that need help and the vice president of the United States is trying to confuse the message on what we’re trying to put out there. I don’t know what else to say about it.”

Around the NFL on Sunday, at least seven players from two teams knelt during the national anthem while three Miami Dolphins players and the Tennessee Titans’ Rishard Matthews remained in the tunnel or locker room for the anthem.

Eddie Lacy, RB, Seattle Seahawks: With Chris Carson’s (ankle surgery) season finished, Lacy became fantasy owners’ most popular pick from the Seahawks’ backfield in Week 5, his 50.7 percent ownership and 17.0 percent start rate in ESPN leagues easily greater than Thomas Rawls’ 34.3 and 5.6 percent and J.D. McKissic’s 9.2 and 1.9 percent. Lacy unfortunately flopped, his 3.8 PPR fantasy points worst of the three, despite his managing the most carries of the trio (nine, compared to Rawls’ eight and McKissic’s two). It was the ninth time in his 23 games played since the beginning of 2015 that Lacy finished with five PPR fantasy points or fewer.

The Lions can feel pretty confident that Cooter, still only 33, won’t pull a Sean McVay quite yet and get his own head-coaching gig in the near future. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has seen his name come up in several head coach searches, but the Lions are lucky to have had him in place for the entire Caldwell tenure. As both are an extension of Caldwell, it’s easy to get player-friendly schemes designed to bring out the best in each individual.

There has been dysfunction in the past in play-calling and producing complementary football in Detroit. That’s no longer the case, as the plan is firmly in place to keep everyone on the same page week after week, season after season.x (7)