Month: March 2017

Rob Gronkowski becomes fastest tight end in history to catch 40 touchdowns

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski made history on Monday Night Football.

With his touchdown in the third quarter, Gronkowski became the fastest tight end in history to reach 40 career touchdowns, according to the Patriots’ official Twitter account. Gronkowski accomplished the feat in 47 games, shattering Antonio Gates’ mark of 71 game.

At this pace, Gronkowski could be the all-time touchdown king among tight ends when it’s all said and done. Of course, keeping up this ridiculous pace won’t be easy.

Toledo’s defense had plenty of strengths in 2017; the Rockets were efficient on standard downs and strong at creating third-and-longs. They were disruptive up front, and they didn’t allow a ton of big passes.

They were incredibly all-or-nothing in run defense, however, and if they weren’t creating second-and-long, they were getting gashed on first down. Plus, though they didn’t give up many explosive passes, the ones they allowed were poorly timed: in their first two losses (BYU, Ohio), they allowed 22.3 yards per completion.

Toledo’s defense was easily the most volatile in the MAC, allowing the lowest success rate and the biggest big plays.

Woodside spread the ball around beautifully; about 26 percent of his passes went to Z-receivers, 24 percent to slot receivers, 17 percent to tight ends, 17 percent to X-receivers, and 16 percent to running backs. He loses his slot man (Corey Jones) and his tight end (Michael Roberts), plus Hunt, but this incredible variety, plus the return of star Z-man Cody Thompson (1,269 yards, 13.1 per target), suggests Toledo should handle those losses.
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Peyton Manning has been enjoying the best season of his career

This is a team based entirely on its offense. Sure, the defense may improve as Von Miller gets back into football shape after a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy to start the season, but they will always have to carry the rest of the team.

Limited Tuomo Ruutu Jersey Peyton Manning has been enjoying the best season of his career, which is really saying something. Manning has already thrown for 2,919 yards and 29 touchdowns against only six interceptions. Manning has an outside chance to throw for 6,000 yards, an absurd number that would shatter the previous record of passing yards in a season set by Drew Brees at 5,476.

Defensively speaking, the Broncos rank 24th in yards allowed per game and 25th in points given up at 27.3. Denver’s biggest problem, by a mile, is the pass defense. The Broncos surrender 299.1 yards per game, only better than the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles

Kids Corey Coleman Jersey Coming off a bye week, the Jaguars had an opportunity to fix some issues. Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country examined what changes the team may make against Tennessee:

Bradley talked once again about making things simple, and it’s possible they just added too much to a young team too quickly after the Broncos game. With now two weeks to self evaluate and prepare for the Tennessee Titans, it makes me wonder if we’ll see more from the defense like we saw much of the first half, rather than the past two games.

The New Orleans Saints will be without Jonathan Vilma for the rest of the season. The linebacker was placed on injured reserve Thursday after making his season debut last week against the New York Jets. He played just 12 snaps before being sidelined permanently. Vilma did not suffer a setback on his surgically repaired knee, but according to head coach Sean Payton, it was clear from Sunday’s game that the linebacker needed more rest.

Jon Gruden likely to coach Raiders or Falcons if he returns, per report

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Former NFL head coach Jon Gruden is likely to coach either the Oakland Raiders or the Atlanta Falcons if he decides to return to the profession, according to a report from CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora.

Gruden has been a member of ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast since 2009, and has repeatedly turned down coaching offers from various teams during that time. La Canfora notes that the Raiders make sense for Gruden, however, given his ties to the organization:

Over at Big Blue View, Ed Valentine writes about the turning point in the contest:

The game turned in the third quarter. Just when things were looking like they might get away from the Giants with Oakland leading 20-14 the defense came up big again. Oakland got the ball at the Giants’ 48-yard line following a 27-yard punt by Steve Weatherford. On third and nine at the Giants’ 33, Terrell Thomas intercepted a Pryor pass for Denarius Moore and returned the ball to the Oakland 5-yard line.

As for the Raiders, the loss drops them to 3-6 on the campaign and all but finishes any playoff dreams. Despite a multitude of chances, Oakland could not get the offense rolling all day, gaining only 213 total yards and going 2 of 12 on third down.

Aaron Williams Jersey Levi Damien of Silver And Black Pride wrote about Pryor’s last four games, which reminded him of an ex-Oakland quarterback:

Over the past four games, Terrelle Pryor has had a passer rating of 42.0 (45.7, 25.7, 55.7, and 40.9) with 1 passing touchdown to 8 interceptions. The last quarterback to have a four-game stretch that bad was JaMarcus Russell who had a passer rating of 41.2 (47.6, 46.0, 22.6, and 48.5) over the first four games of the 2009 season.

NFL free agency rumors: Cowboys will reportedly release Tony Romo barring ‘major upset’

Despite rumors of a trade, Tony Romo will reportedly be cut by the Cowboys, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Schefter tweeted Saturday that barring a major upset the Cowboys will have to release the four-time Pro Bowler.

After Britt made his decision, his social media feed was flooded with people wondering why the Browns? Well, he answered their question.

Ppl ask why Cleveland? Me : why not Cleveland? Why not go somewhere to make a change and start something new.
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That’s certainly an admirable position to take. Instead of joining an already successful team, you go out and build it. That’s exactly what Cleveland is trying to do with its large number of free agent signings along with its stockpile of incoming draft picks.

Meanwhile, reports instantly surfaced that they were trying to trade Osweiler for, yes, more picks. Which presumably also gets back that cap space they spent on him 鈥?which also presumably has cap implications if they can鈥檛 trade him.

They also might end up having to play him. That鈥檚 going to hang over them until they either find another quarterback somewhere, or until opening day, when they have to send someone out there to take snaps.

Limited Mens Zach Brown Jersey So yes, after all this, they still have the same questions: Where will they get their next quarterback, and how 鈥?and are they really going to kick this can down the road again? It looks kind of like the Browns are playing chess, and also like they鈥檙e playing with a live grenade.

The present and future aren’t always determined by the past, even on historically wretched franchises like this one.

North Carolina is situation is different.

Bouye cashed in on his breakout year, as he made a ton of big plays for Houston all over the field last season. Now his wares will greatly boost a rival is secondary, giving Jacksonville a strong duo with 2016 first-round pick Jalen Ramsey manning the other corner.

Now, there are stark differences between Connecticut in 2011 and North Carolina this season. UConn was able to preserve its conference is reputation in large part because it finished the regular season in ninth-place in the 16-team Big East before winning five games in five days at Madison Square Garden, and then six more in the Big Dance.

North Carolina is situation is different. The Tar Heels won the ACC is regular season title by two full games, earned a No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament, and were one of the betting favorites in Las Vegas heading into last week is first-round action. If UNC cuts down the nets in Phoenix in a couple of weeks, the narrative is more likely to resemble something along the lines of at least there was one legitimate team from that otherwise fraudulent conference than it is actually, we were right; the ACC was great all along.

Regardless, Roy Williams’ third national championship seems like the only way for the 2016-17 ACC to save any portion of its face at this point.

No surprise here, as King is one of the most outspoken and fun players in the NFL. He is never shy about speaking his mind, so he took to Twitter to try to convince Lynch to join the Raiders.

While wearing pink shoes to honor those stricken with breast cancer isn’t a new occurrence in today is basketball world, not everyone is rocking the pink to pay homage.

I am a sneakerhead, and I just want to stand out on the court, Iona is Taylor Bessick stated quietly after the Gaels’ 93-77 loss to Oregon in the first round of the tournament.

I love these shoes, and I am a sneakerhead. They give me a confidence and I know that hardly anyone else has these, so I wear them with pride.
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Zach Britton not questioning manager after wild-card loss

SARASOTA, Fla. — Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton says he never felt Buck Showalter needed to talk to him about why he didn’t pitch in the American League wild-card game, “or explain it to me or justify his reasons.”

In a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, Showalter used Mychal Givens, Donnie Hart, Brad Brach, Darren O’Day and Brian Duensing in relief of starter Chris Tillman before handing the ball to Ubaldo Jimenez with one out and the bases empty in the 11th inning. Jimenez allowed singles to Devon Travis and Josh Donaldson and an upper-deck home run to Edwin Encarnacion in a five-pitch span to allow Toronto to advance to the American League Division Series and end the Orioles’ season.
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Showalter had a short response to a question about that game: “I don’t even think about it. Supposedly, you [media types] all do. But I haven’t read any of it.”

Lundqvist suffered a strained hip March 7 against the Florida Panthers and has missed three games.

“He’s going through the on-ice process right now with [goaltender coach Benoit Allaire],” Vigneault said, according to NHL.com. “That’s a very important position, so we’ve got to make sure he’s 100 percent.”
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Lundqvist became the first goalie in NHL history to record at least 30 wins in 11 of his first 12 seasons after a win earlier this month.

“He’s going to skate every day unless they feel they need to give him a rest, but I talked to him just before coming here and he’s feeling a lot better,” Vigneault said.

NFL injury roundup: Danny Amendola, Aqib Talib practice again; DeMarcus Ware sits out

As the NFL prepares for Week 8, some teams are fairing better than others in the injury department. The AFC East has been plagued by injuries all season, but the Bills and Patriots have received positive news on some of their most important players on Thursday. Here is the latest injury news from around the NFL:

Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola and cornerback Aqib Talib practiced for the second straight day on Thursday, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Amendola missed the Patriots’ Week 7 loss to the Jets with a concussion, and Talib sat out with a hip injury.

George Johnson Game Jersey “I hadn’t seen a second of Boise State,” Giannini told Sports on Earth on Monday. “In the NCAA tournament, the challenge isn’t the chronological turnaround, but the familiarity turnaround. In-season game preparation is like getting ready for a dinner with an old friend. An NCAA Tournament matchup is like a blind date.”
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That Explorers squad would go on to a Sweet 16 berth.

The thing to consider is the lower-seeded team a First Four squad would be playing in the actual first round of the tournament doesn’t know much about the opponent. either.

In an interview with CBS during the selection show, Villanova’s Jay Wright said that for higher-seeded teams that have to wait on the play-in game, they don’t have as much time to prep because they don’t know who they’ll play. So everyone’s on a relatively quick turnaround here, and it’s a way to level the playing field for the lower seed. Now, that ain’t helping a 16-seed against a Goliath No. 1, but it isn’t a giant detriment to teams closer in seed.

The higher seed, especially if they’re from a one-bid league, has now played as many as four games that are do-or-die by the time they make it to the First Four, and being able to deal with tourney pressure is a big part of March (see: Vanderbilt).

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6 stats proving the Phoenix Suns are the buzzer-beater kings of the NBA

Devin Booker beat the Mavericks on Saturday night with this game-winning buzzer-beater. Watch this. It’s a treat:

The thing is…the Suns are secretly the most clutch team in the NBA? At least by one measure. They hit buzzer-beaters more than anyone (cool!), and so far they do it exclusively with former Kentucky Wildcats (kinda hilarious!).

Perhaps the strangest phenomenon that exists in all of college basketball right now is the one that surrounds Gonzaga. In two decades, the Bulldogs have made the previously unfathomable trek from “lovable Cinderella” to “lovable mid-major that’s somehow competing with the big boys” to “perpetually overrated team that the media won’t stop shoving down our throats.”

The notion that Gonzaga “always underachieves” is, on its face, false. This year will be the Zags’ 19th consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament. In their previous 18 appearances, they matched or exceeded their expectations based on their seed 12 times.

The memory that sticks out to most Gonzaga nonbelievers is 2013. That year, Mark Few’s team was a controversial No. 1 seed that was pushed by Southern in the first round and then upset by Wichita State two days later. Never mind that the Shockers went on to the Final Four and gave eventual national champion Louisville its biggest scare. The damage was done, and the Bulldogs were labeled as pretenders.

I’m not here to argue one way or the other about Gonzaga’s merits as a No. 1 team or its credentials as a Final Four contender/pretender. I’m just here to tell you what’s going to happen: Mark Few’s team is going to pop up Sunday night as a No. 1 or a No. 2 seed, and America is going to label whichever region it lands in as the weakest of the tournament’s four.16

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