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Posts of author "lucy"

New York Giants strong safety Landon Collins answers a question during a postgame press conference after an NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo)

The New York Giants’ 27-22 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday dropped their record to 0-5 for the NFL’s 2017 season. History says the Giants will spend the rest of the season playing out the string. All-Pro strong safety Landon Collins says otherwise.

“We’re still playing for the Super Bowl,” Collins said after the loss. “We still have a chance. It’s not over yet. We still have division games. We still can win. I remember a 9-7 team winning it all, so we’ve still got a chance.”

Only one team in NFL history has opened a season with an 0-4 record and gone to the playoffs that year — the 1992 San Diego Chargers. No team that started a season with five straight losses has reached the postseason.

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Intro: What were the main takeaways from Sunday’s 2017 Week 5 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers? Here are Five Things Learned, presented by McDonald’s.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts moved to 2-3 on the season Sunday afternoon with their 26-23 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The game was a back-and-forth trade of field goals until the third quarter, when the Colts would finally find the end zone — thanks to a spectacular Marlon Mack 22-yard touchdown run — and by the 9:56 mark of the fourth quarter, after another 49ers field goal, Indianapolis appeared to be well in control after a three-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jacoby Brissett, putting his team up 23-9.

But as they had done in their three games prior to Sunday’s battle, the 49ers continued to scratch and claw, and at the 20-second mark of the fourth quarter, they capped their game-tying 14-0 run with a six-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brian Hoyer to fullback Kyle Juszczyk to force overtime.

In that extra period, after a 49ers interception on the Colts’ initial drive, and then a punt on San Francisco’s ensuing possession, the home fans were sent home happy when Adam Vinatieri hit his fourth field goal of the day, this time from 51 yards out, to earn a 26-23 overtime victory.

“Obviously great to get the win,” Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said. “We make it harder sometimes than it has to be. Credit the Niners, they played their tails off. It was a heck of a ball game; it was a slugfest. They made plays, we made plays and we found a way just to make a few more at the end.”

Here are the FIVE THINGS LEARNED from Sunday’s victory over the 49ers:

• RETURN OF THE MACK: The Colts selected Marlon Mack in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft to add a completely different gear to their crop of running backs; a speedster capable of breaking big plays any time he has the ball in his hands. Unfortunately for Mack and the Colts, a shoulder injury suffered Week 2 had kept Mack off the field the last two weeks heading into Sunday’s game against the 49ers. Mack was able to make up for lost time, however, turning in a career day against the San Francisco defense, as he logged nine carries for 91 yards (10.1 avg.) with a touchdown, oftentimes kicking things outside and using his quickness to break tackles and gain yards in big chunks. Mack also nearly had a second rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter, when he bounced another run to the right end, evaded would-be tacklers, lost his balance along the sidelines but still managed to stay in-bounds and dive into the end zone, but a replay showed his knee was down just short of the goal line.

• THE GOAT: On a day in which the Colts would honor the greatest quarterback of all-time, Peyton Manning, the man who will likely soon own every major kicking record there is in the NFL shined in the actual game. Adam Vinatieri on Sunday hit all four of his field goal attempts, two of which — including the game-winner in overtime — came from 50-plus yards. Just about every kick he hits ties or breaks a record, which was certainly the case on Sunday: he moved into second place all-time in NFL history in field goals made (539); he became the third player in NFL history to accumulate 2,400-plus points; and he now has 10 career game-winning field goals in overtime, the most in NFL history. Vinatieri, the league’s oldest player at 44 years old, just keeps, well, kicking.

• SAME STORY: One of the major storylines now for the past four games for the Colts has been the team’s second-half struggles. On Sunday, for the second time in three weeks, the Colts had at least a two-score fourth-quarter lead, at home, yet their opponent would be afforded the opportunity to get back into the game. Against the Cleveland Browns two weeks ago, Indianapolis was able to close it out in regulation, but on Sunday against the 49ers, the Colts would need an overtime period — and an interesting, up-and-down overtime period at that — to escape with the win. “It’s good to get the win. We’ll take it right now any way we can. But you’re exactly right, you’re up 14 (points) in the fourth, you’ve got to find a way,” Pagano said. “They made plays, they got hot, they found the tight end, they got something going and the guy made some plays. We made a few more than they made in overtime.”

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Cleveland makes roster move Monday after Jets game

The Cleveland Browns have signed OL Andrew Wylie to the practice squad. To make room on the roster, the team released OL Travis Averill from the practice squad.

Wylie is 6-5, 310 pounds and in his rookie NFL season. Originally signed by the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent, he spent all of the preseason with the Colts and was waived during final roster cuts. Wylie was then added to the Colts’ practice squad, which he was a member of for the first three weeks this season before being released on Sept. 26.

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QB Kevin Hogan has completed 68.4 percent of his passes this season and looks poised to take over the starting job. Jason Miller/Getty Images

BEREA, Ohio — Hue Jackson will take another day or two before announcing his starting quarterback for Sunday’s Cleveland Browns game at Houston.

Which is all well and good, except that the Browns head coach more or less made the decision in last Sunday’s loss to the Jets. When Jackson pulled DeShone Kizer at halftime of the Jets game after talking the QB up since training camp, he made it next to impossible to go back to Kizer immediately. Everything Jackson said Monday also pointed to Kevin Hogan taking over under center.

“My decision is what is best for the team. What is best for our team to put us in position to win?” Jackson said. “Also, what is best for DeShone? It’s not just for the team, but what is best for him just so that he can feel like, ‘OK, I am moving further along in this process, and I’m understanding what I need to do to be better.’ All of that will go into my decision-making.”

Jackson’s move 4½ games into the rookie’s career shows that the coach’s confidence is not where it needs to be. Kizer has to feel it, the team has to see it. Going back to him right away might only further jumble Kizer’s mind.

Hogan played far better than Kizer on Sunday, going 16-for-19 and leading the offense to 14 second-half points. His year of experience in the offense shows in his quick decision-making and ability to get rid of the ball.

He has taken advantage of his opportunities from preseason through Sunday, completing 26 of 38 passes (68.4 percent) for 377 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, a rating of 104.8.

Based on that alone, Hogan should get the start. Hogan has to prove he can sustain this kind of production.

Kizer’s numbers do not make a compelling case. He might be at the point in his young career when taking a step back and observing might help him learn and get refreshed.

Heading into Monday night’s game, he ranked last in the league in completion percentage, yards per attempt and rating among qualifying quarterbacks. He ranks first in interceptions. He sits last in the league in Total QBR, while the rookie the Browns passed on drafting in the first round — Deshaun Watson — ranks first.

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TitansOnline.com Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt offers six hot topics from head coach Mike Mularkey’s Monday afternoon press conference.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans coach Mike Mularkey met with reporters on Monday at Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after the team’s 16-10 loss to the Dolphins.

Here’s a look at six hot topics as he looked ahead to next Monday’s game against the Colts:

Questionable calls

Mularkey was asked about an unfortunate sequence of calls that went against the Titans, and changed the game early on Sunday.

Late in the first quarter, a 59-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Cassel to tight end Delanie Walkerwas called back because of an offensive pass interference penalty on tight end Jonnu Smith.

Mularkey said Smith was just running a route, and “you see it all the time.”

Two plays later, Cassel was hit as he threw the ball, and it initially looked like it would be ruled an incomplete pass. But officials instead ruled Cassel fumbled the ball forward, and the Dolphins were awarded a touchdown – a 38-yard fumble recovery by safety Reshad Jones.

So instead of the Titans leading 7-3, they trailed 10-0.

Mularkey reiterated on Monday his players told him they heard a whistle on the play that was ruled a fumble, which should have blown the play dead. Mularkey said the officials also made no signal on the play. Mularkey said the fact the ball traveled 13 yards forward was another indication it was an incomplete pass, and not a fumble.

“What really gets you is the two defenders that are coming on the field from their sideline, making it 13 defenders on the play,” Mularkey said. “There’s 13 Miami Dolphins on the field when that play is taking place. So their guys thought that was a dead play, too. That is illegal as well, and I am very shocked they didn’t see that in the review – they had 13 players on the field.”

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The Steelers handed the ball off to Le’Veon Bell 15 times against the Jaguars but the running back managed just 3.1 yards per carry. Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH — These numbers seem unavoidable against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ five-turnover dismantling against the Jacksonville Jaguars:

The Steelers are 10-0 since 2013 when Le’Veon Bell gets 25 or more carries.

Bell’s 3.1 yards per carry Sunday was hardly a solution in the 30-9 loss to the Jaguars, but the Steelers handed the ball off to Bell 15 times against (at least on paper) the worst rushing defense in the NFL.

They shouldn’t make the same mistake this Sunday in Kansas City, the spot where Bell broke off 170 yards on 30 carries in last year’s playoffs.

Pound the ball with Bell. Throw to Antonio Brown fairly often. Figure out the supporting cast as you go.

In 2014, when Ben Roethlisberger was one of the league’s hottest quarterbacks, airing it out was a sound strategy. Those Steelers could throw on anybody. The seemed galaxies away from those heady days in the aftermath of Roethlisberger’s five-interception performance on 33-of-55 passing.

The deficit forced the Steelers to throw more, but it’s almost as if an offense waiting to experience a passing-game explosion like old times grabbed for glory Sunday, to spectacular failure.

Not that Roethlisberger’s play won’t improve. He could find his groove again. There’s too long a track record. But the Bell-heavy plan late last year rode the Steelers to seven straight wins, and in their biggest offensive productions — 26 points against the Minnesota Vikings and at the Baltimore Ravens — Bell got a combined 62 carries.

There’s a reason they ride Bell when they do. This isn’t the same offense as 2014, despite some of the same parts. The dynamics of the passing game have shifted unless they can rediscover them. The Steelers still have untapped playmaking in Martavis Bryant, who can’t seem to find a rhythm with Roethlisberger.

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For the first time since 2015, the Denver Broncos will wear all blue for their Sunday Night Football matchup against the New York Giants.

The Denver Broncos have been known for their orange jerseys and white pants since they were revived in the 2012 season. There are a few times where the team will wear the blue ones.

For the Sunday Night Football matchup against the New York Giants, the Denver Broncos will trade in orange for blue. The team announced on Monday that they will wear blue jerseys and blue pants for the game.

Denver has not worn all blue since the 2015 season. They did wear blue jerseys twice last season when they welcomed the Houston Texans and New England Patriots.

The blue jerseys remind me of the late 1990 glory years. Seeing players like John Elway, Terrell Davis, Shannon Sharpe, and Steve Atwater wearing those glorious jerseys was a sight to behold. However, the blue was more utilized with the white pants.

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The Denver Broncos plan to continue limiting running baxk Jamaal Charles’ workload.

Running back Jamaal Charles has been a pleasant surprise for the Denver Broncos in 2017.

When Charles signed with the Broncos in May, it was unclear what type of role the three-time All-Pro would have in Denver’s offense. After all, he was coming off another significant knee injury he suffered in 2016, and it was widely believed that his body would never again hold up to the grind of playing in the NFL.

After locking up a roster spot with his play in his only preseason appearance against the Green Bay Packers, Charles has proven in four regular season games that he still has a lot of the explosiveness that made him a star for the Kansas City Chiefs.

He has accumulated 175 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries, and he has 3 receptions for 21 yards. More importantly, Charles has been a near-perfect compliment to the bruising running style of C.J. Anderson.

When asked if the Broncos plan on continuing to limit Charles’ workload, first-year coach Vance Joseph didn’t beat around the bush.

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The Madrid derby takes place on November 18 with the playoff matches to be held between November 9 and November 14

Real Madrid are fearing some of their top names could be called into World Cup qualifying playoff action just days before Los Blancos face Atletico in La Liga.

The Madrid derby takes place on November 18 with the playoff matches to be held between November 9 and November 14.

That means a clutch of big names could be forced into two crunch international fixtures prior to one of the biggest games of the Spanish domestic season.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale are all facing possible playoff situations with Portugal, Croatia and Wales respectively.

Wales are bidding for a playoff spot against Ireland this evening (Image: PA Wire)

Croatia's Luka Modric celebrates after scoring their first goal

Modric and Croatia are still hoping for top spot in Group I (Image: Reuters)

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Chances are not easy to come by at Real Madrid and even less so in the last few seasons if you happen to be a right-back. Dani Carvajal’s unassailable position as first choice has been as constant as the Spain international’s performance since returning to the Bernabeu from Bayer Leverkusen in 2013. His name is one of the first on any team sheet drawn up by coach Zinedine Zidane.

This has been particularly true at the outset of 2017-18, with Carvajal the only player to have completed the full 90 minutes of Madrid’s opening 11 games.

However, Zidane will be unable to rely on the defender’s incredible durability for at least a month after Carvajal was diagnosed with pericarditis, causing his endurance run to come to an end against Espanyol.

Having previously missed only 11 games through injury during the Frenchman’s tenure, the absence of Carvajal is almost uncharted territory for Zidane. Last season, Danilo was the nominal backup, but despite a marked improvement towards the end of his brief Madrid career, Zidane was never fully confident in his ability to deputise for the Spain full back. During one game last season Zidane went so far as to drop Lucas Vazquez back rather than turning to the bench-warming Danilo.

Eyebrows were raised on deadline day when it became apparent that Madrid were making no moves in the right-back market, but Zidane believed the answer to any potential period of absence for Carvajal was already in-house in the shape of 18-year-old Achraf Hakimi.

Not only did Zidane not move to replace Danilo, he also vetoed a loan deal for Achraf to spend the season at Alaves at the 11th hour.

The Frenchman is no stranger to bringing through youth talent, a legacy of his time working with the academy sides and managing Castilla, but those eyebrows were lifted to Carlo Ancelotti heights when Zidane confirmed Achraf’s promotion to the senior squad ahead of more experienced Castilla full-back Alvaro Tejero.

Clearly, Zidane had seen enough of the youngster to sway his opinion and the Frenchman has proved on several occasions that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough and if you’re not, you’re moved on like Martin Odegaard or his own son, Enzo.

“He was outstanding,” Zidane said after the 18-year-old’s debut against Espanyol. “Achraf has shown that he can play and I am not scared to throw him in going forward. He is the second-choice right-back and so if Carvajal is not available, he can play.”

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