NFL SCOREBOARD

Seattle 38 Atlanta 25

Baltimore 38 Cleveland 6

Buffalo 27 NY Jets 17

Las Vegas 34 Carolina 30

Chicago 27 Detroit 23

Jacksonville 27 Annapolis 20

Green Bay 43 Minnesota 34

New England 21 Miami 11

Washington 27 Philadelphia 17

LA Chargers 16 Cincinnati 13

New Orleans 34 Tampa Bay 23

Arizona 24 San Francisco 20

LA Rams 20 Dallas 17

 

NFL WEEK 2

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns (Thu) 8:20p (ET) 8:20p NFLN

Sunday, September 20, 2020

New York Giants at Chicago Bears 12:00p (CT) 1:00p CBS

Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys 12:00p (CT) 1:00p FOX

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers 12:00p (CT) 1:00p FOX

Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts 1:00p (ET) 1:00p FOX

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins 1:00p (ET) 1:00p CBS

San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets 1:00p (ET) 1:00p FOX

Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles 1:00p (ET) 1:00p FOX

Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00p (ET) 1:00p CBS

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00p (ET) 1:00p FOX

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans 12:00p (CT) 1:00p CBS

Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals 1:05p (MST) 4:05p FOX

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans 3:25p (CT) 4:25p CBS

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers 1:25p (PT) 4:25p CBS

New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks 5:20p (PT) 8:20p NBC

Monday, September 21, 2020

New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders (Mon) 5:15p (PT) 8:15p ESPN

 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 3

Friday, Sept. 18

Campbell at Coastal Carolina | 7 p.m. | ESPN3

Houston at No. 16 Memphis — POSTPONED

 

Saturday, Sept. 19

Virginia at No. 20 Virginia Tech — POSTPONED

No. 21 BYU at No. 22 Army — POSTPONED

Tulsa at No. 11 Oklahoma State | 12 p.m. | ESPN

Houston at Baylor | 12 p.m. | Fox

Austin Peay at No. 13 Cincinnati | 12 p.m. | ESPN+

Syracuse at No. 25 Pitt | 12 p.m. | ACC Network

No. 19 Louisiana at Georgia State | 12 p.m. | ESPN2

Boston College at Duke | 12 p.m. | ESPN3

Liberty at Western Kentucky | 12 p.m. | ESPNU

Navy at Tulane | 12 p.m. | ABC

No. 24 Appalachian State at Marshall | 1:30 p.m. | CBSSN

South Florida at No. 7 Notre Dame | 2:30 p.m. | USA

Stephen F. Austin at UTSA | 3 p.m. | ESPN3

Charlotte at No. 12 North Carolina | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN3

No. 14 UCF at Georgia Tech | 3:30 p.m. | ABC

The Citadel at No. 1 Clemson | 4 p.m. | ACC Network

Florida Atlantic at Georgia Southern | 4 p.m. | ESPN2

Troy at Middle Tennessee | 4 p.m. | ESPNU

SMU at North Texas | 6 p.m. | CBSSN

Central Arkansas at Arkansas State | 7 p.m. | ESPN+

No. 17 Miami (Fla.) at No. 18 Louisville | 7:30 | ABC

Texas State at UL Monroe | 7:30 p.m. | ESPNU

Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN2

Wake Forest at NC State | 8 p.m. | ACC Network

Abilene Christian at UTEP | 9 p.m. | ESPN3

 

NBA PLAYOFFS

Denver 111 LA Clippers 98

 

NHL PLAYOFFS

Tampa Bay 4 NY Islanders 1

 

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL – INTERLEAGUE

Kansas City 11 Pittsburgh 0

Toronto 7 NY Mets 3

LA Angels 5 Colorado 3

Seattle 7 Arizona 3

LA Dodgers 8 Houston 1

 

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL – AMERICAN LEAGUE

NY Yankees 3 Baltimore 1

Boston 6 Tampa Bay 3

Chicago White Sox 5 Detroit 2

Minnesota 7 Cleveland 5

Texas 6 Oakland 3

 

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL – NATIONAL LEAGUE

Atlanta 8 Washington 4

Miami 2 Philadelphia 1

Chicago Cubs 12 Milwaukee 0

Cincinnati 10 St. Louis 5

San Diego 6 San Francisco 0

San Diego 3 San Francisco 1

Miami 8 Philadelphia 1

 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 3

Friday, Sept. 18

Campbell at Coastal Carolina | 7 p.m. | ESPN3

Houston at No. 16 Memphis — POSTPONED

 

Saturday, Sept. 19

Virginia at No. 20 Virginia Tech — POSTPONED

No. 21 BYU at No. 22 Army — POSTPONED

Tulsa at No. 11 Oklahoma State | 12 p.m. | ESPN

Houston at Baylor | 12 p.m. | Fox

Austin Peay at No. 13 Cincinnati | 12 p.m. | ESPN+

Syracuse at No. 25 Pitt | 12 p.m. | ACC Network

No. 19 Louisiana at Georgia State | 12 p.m. | ESPN2

Boston College at Duke | 12 p.m. | ESPN3

Liberty at Western Kentucky | 12 p.m. | ESPNU

Navy at Tulane | 12 p.m. | ABC

No. 24 Appalachian State at Marshall | 1:30 p.m. | CBSSN

South Florida at No. 7 Notre Dame | 2:30 p.m. | USA

Stephen F. Austin at UTSA | 3 p.m. | ESPN3

Charlotte at No. 12 North Carolina | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN3

No. 14 UCF at Georgia Tech | 3:30 p.m. | ABC

The Citadel at No. 1 Clemson | 4 p.m. | ACC Network

Florida Atlantic at Georgia Southern | 4 p.m. | ESPN2

Troy at Middle Tennessee | 4 p.m. | ESPNU

SMU at North Texas | 6 p.m. | CBSSN

Central Arkansas at Arkansas State | 7 p.m. | ESPN+

No. 17 Miami (Fla.) at No. 18 Louisville | 7:30 | ABC

Texas State at UL Monroe | 7:30 p.m. | ESPNU

Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN2

Wake Forest at NC State | 8 p.m. | ACC Network

Abilene Christian at UTEP | 9 p.m. | ESPN3

 

AP HEADLINES

JAGS BEAT COLTS

Gardner Minshew threw three touchdown passes, including a 22-yarder to Keelan Cole in the fourth quarter, and Jacksonville opened the season by stunning Indianapolis 27-20 and spoiling Philip Rivers’ debut with the Colts.

Not bad for a team that was supposedly giving up on the season before it even played a down.

“We’re going to do our best to make sure we’re worth watching,” Minshew said.

The Jaguars entered Week 1 as the NFL’s biggest home underdogs, with talk of tanking being the most prevalent preseason topic surrounding the revamped team. It led to tempered expectations that may have contributed to a sparse crowd: only 14,100 of 16,800 tickets available were distributed for the league’s lone game played with fans in the stands Sunday.

Minshew gave the faithful plenty to celebrate. The second-year pro completed 19 of 20 passes for 173 yards and no turnovers. He connected with DJ Chark, rookie Laviska Shenault and Cole for scores – and looked sharp all day. Minshew’s only incompletion was a catchable ball early.

Jacksonville had plenty of other young guys step up, validating decisions to part ways with running back Leonard Fournette, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and safety Ronnie Harrison about two weeks before the opener.

Undrafted rookie running back James Robinson accounted for 90 yards, including 62 on the ground. He also hurdled linebacker Anthony Walker after a reception.

“I didn’t think he had that in him,” coach Doug Marrone said.

First-round pick CJ Henderson had an interception. Fellow first-rounder K’Lavon Chaisson would have had one, too, but it was negated by a penalty away from the play. And Shenault, a second-round selection, proved to be a versatile threat capable of creating mismatches all over the field.

Henderson’s pick turned the momentum in the second quarter. He also sealed the victory by getting a hand on a fourth-down pass intended for T.Y. Hilton in the waning seconds.

“I lost the game,” Hilton said. “The drops, never should have had them.”

 

BENGALS LOSE OPENER AGAINST CHARGERS

Heisman winner Joe Burrow ran 23 yards untouched for a touchdown – the best moment of his NFL debut – but the Los Angeles Chargers roughed him up and rallied for a 16-13 victory Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Playing in empty Paul Brown Stadium, Burrow got his first snaps in the NFL and learned the hard way what it’s like to face a tough front line.

The Bengals (0-1) also had an in-character finish. A.J. Green was called for offensive interference in the end zone in the closing seconds, and Randy Bullock missed a 31-yard field goal try with 2 seconds left.

A line anchored by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III held the quarterback from national champion LSU to 23 of 36 passing for 192 yards with three sacks and a costly interception. Twice, Burrow overthrew open receivers for what would have been touchdowns.

He moved the Bengals to the LA 23-yard line in the closing minutes and made a rookie mistake, forcing a shovel pass that Ingram picked off. Then, he moved them into range again, but Bullock missed.

Los Angeles (1-0) got the better of the matchup between teams that picked in the top 6 of the draft. Both took quarterbacks, but the Chargers decided to let Justin Herbert watch and learn while Tyrod Taylor moved into Philip Rivers’ role.

Taylor finished 16 of 30 for 208 yards. Joshua Kelley ran 5 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Cincinnati won two games last season, giving it the first overall pick, and has dropped 22 of its last 25 games overall.

The Bengals took a low-risk approach with Burrow, using a lot of short passes. Burrow was under consistent pressure from the Chargers’ line.

His first NFL score came on a designed draw play that surprised the Chargers. The middle of LA’s defense opened, and Burrow ran 23 yards untouched, slamming the ball to the ground in celebration.

Burrow overthrew John Ross and wide-open Green on back-to-back plays in the third quarter, wasting two touchdown opportunities.

 

BROWNS GET SHUTDOWN BY RAVENS DEFENSE

There were no fans in the seats, no preseason games to draw from and an eerie, unfamiliar silence before each snap.

In spite of it all, two constants prevailed in the matchup between the Cleveland and Baltimore: Reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson was the focal point of a high-powered Ravens offense, and the Browns lost another opener.

Jackson threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns, and the Ravens rolled to a 38-6 victory Sunday to spoil the debut of Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski.

The COVID-19 pandemic kept the seats empty and the play was sloppy following a summer without any games. That hardly mattered to Jackson, who looked every bit as good – maybe even better – than he did in 2019 while helping Baltimore compile an NFL-best 14-2 record.

“The guy was incredible last year,” said tight end Mark Andrews, who caught two touchdown passes. “To me, he’s obviously the best player in the world, and his arm reflects that.”

A year ago, the multi-faceted Jackson set an NFL single-season record for yards rushing by a quarterback and threw 36 TD passes. This time, facing a Cleveland secondary depleted by injuries, he completed 20 of 25 passes and racked up a team-high 45 yards on the ground.

The Browns were incapable of stopping him. As a result, Cleveland still hasn’t opened with a victory since 2004.

“I think he’s a very talented football player,” Stefanski said of Jackson. “We’re not surprised with the plays he made today.”

Neither were the Ravens.

“Lamar Jackson just played a phenomenal game in every single way,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He was probably the biggest difference in the game.”

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield threw an interception on the opening series, the first of three Browns turnovers. Those miscues, two missed kicks by Austin Seibert and an unsuccessful fake punt call by Stefanski contributed to the rout.

“Very disappointed, obviously,” said Stefanski, the former offensive coordinator of the Vikings. “But credit goes to the Baltimore Ravens. They deserved to win. They outcoached us, they outplayed us. We did a lot of things losing teams do.”

Mayfield went 21 for 39 for 189 yards and was sacked twice.

 

BEARS RALLY TO BEAT LIONS

Mitchell Trubisky missed many targets, sailing some passes high and leaving other throws behind teammates, until it mattered most.

Trubisky perfectly lofted a 27-yard go-ahead touchdown pass into the fingertips of Anthony Miller with 1:54 remaining and the Chicago Bears held on to beat the Detroit Lions 27-23 on Sunday.

“We knew we weren’t out of it when we were down 17,” Trubisky said.

Detroit drove to the Chicago 16 with a chance to win on the final possession, and rookie running back D’Andre Swift dropped a pass in the end zone.

“What a break,” Bears coach Matt Nagy acknowledged.

On the next snap, Matthew Stafford threw another incomplete pass as time expired to complete the collapse.

Trubisky threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to help Chicago rally from a 23-6 deficit. It looked familiar to Lions fans: Detroit opened last season by blowing an 18-point lead at Arizona and settling for a tie. That began a trend of blown leads and Detroit finished with a 3-12-1 record.

Trubisky, who held off Nick Foles to keep his job, completed 20 of 36 attempts for 242 yards with three touchdowns, including short passes for scores to Jimmy Graham and Javon Wims.

“He made some huge, huge throws, had some great moments,” Graham said. “The kid wants it. The kid believes.”

Stafford was 24 of 42 for 297 yards with a TD pass to T.J. Hockenson in the third quarter – and an interception that put Chicago in position to take its only lead of the game. He tried to force a pass to Marvin Jones that was deflected to Kyle Fuller.

“There’s plays we all wish we had back,” Stafford said. “I can’t turn the ball over in the fourth quarter, there’s no question about that.”

Adrian Peterson ran for 93 yards on 14 carries in his Detroit debut, just four days after signing with the team, and he plans to lead the franchise with his play and words.

“We can’t let this define us,” Peterson said.

 

BRADY PICKED OFF TWICE IN LOSS

Drew Brees and Tom Brady, the two leading passers in NFL history, couldn’t muster vintage performances in the first NFL game featuring two starting quarterbacks in their 40s.

But while Brees avoided game-turning mishaps with an offense he’s led since 2006, Brady suffered some costly cross-ups with his new team.

Brady threw two interceptions in his Tampa Bay debut, Alvin Kamara scored touchdowns running and receiving, and the New Orleans Saints beat the Buccaneers 34-23 on Sunday.

“I made some just bad, terrible turnovers,” Brady said. “I obviously have got to do a lot better job.”

The first of Brady’s interceptions led to Kamara’s 6-yard touchdown run. The second pick thrown by the new, 43-year-old Bucs QB – who left the New England Patriots in free agency after 20 years and six Super Bowl triumphs – was returned 36 yards for a touchdown by Janoris Jenkins.

“Win the turnover battle like we did, have a turnover for a touchdown, you’re a 90-something percent winner in those games,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “Just a lot of things happened in that game that despite how you play, those things can help you win games. The energy and effort I was pleased with.”

The 41-year-old Brees passed for 160 yards and two TDs. He did not turn the ball over and took only one sack. His first TD pass was a dump-off to Kamara from 12 yards out. In the fourth quarter he hit free-agent signing Emmanuel Sanders for a 5-yard score.

“I’d probably say I played awful,” Brees said. “Certainly, we are used to playing at a much higher level offensively and especially in the passing game. So, we’ll get that back on track.”

Still, Brees found satisfaction in beating Brady’s Bucs.

“Of course, it’s significant and it’s unique and I’d be lying to you if I said to you it didn’t mean a little bit more,” Brees said. “I’ve got so much love and respect for (Brady) and what he’s able to accomplish.

“We played against each other in college, for goodness sake, in 1999,” Brees continued. “At the end of the day, I think we would both pinch ourselves if you told us back then we’d have the opportunity to play this long and be a part of so many great teams and so many great moments, historic moments.”

 

SEATTLE WINS AT ATLANTA

The Seattle Seahawks let Russell Wilson do the cooking.

The only thing he burned was the Atlanta Falcons.

Showing what he can do when given a chance to open up the offense, Wilson threw four touchdown passes to lead the Seahawks to a 38-25 victory over the Falcons in the season opener Sunday.

Wilson dished out throws to nine receivers, finishing 31 of 35 for 322 yards. He also carried the ball three times for a team-high 29 yards rushing.

“We wanted to spread the ball around,” Wilson said. “We wanted to get the ball to a lot of different guys. We wanted to be aggressive in our approach.”

That sort of talk will surely be pleasing to Seahawks fans, who have pleaded with the team to “Let Russ Cook” – essentially a call to be more aggressive offensively from the start rather than relying on Wilson to keep leading dramatic comebacks.

How did that work out?

The Seahawks threw on 21 of their first 35 plays. More tellingly, Wilson dropped back to pass on seven of 12 first-down plays in the opening half, and ran it himself two other times. There were only three handoffs in those situations.

“Russell was in total command of the game,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.

Wilson threw a pair of TD passes in the first quarter as Seattle built a 14-12 halftime lead. He added two more in the third quarter to put the Falcons away in a game played with no fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The biggest play of all came after the Falcons made what looked to be a crucial stop, leaving the Seahawks with fourth-and-5 at the Atlanta 38. The offense stayed on the field, but instead of going for the first down with a short throw, Wilson lofted one to DK Metcalf, who was streaking toward the end zone.

Metcalf beat cornerback Isaiah Oliver and hauled in the perfectly thrown ball without breaking stride to push Seattle to a 21-12 lead.

“They made a good stop on third down and were all celebrating,” Wilson said. “I looked at the sideline and said, `OK, let’s go after ’em.’ I wanted to be aggressive.”

On the ensuing possession, Atlanta attempted a fake punt on fourth-and-2 from its own 33. Blocking back Sharrod Neasman took a direct snap and had enough for the first down on a run up the middle, only to fumble the ball away. It was recovered by Seattle’s Freddie Swain at the 36.

Five plays later, Wilson zipped his fourth TD pass of the game, a 7-yarder to new tight end Greg Olsen. The 35-year-old was let go after spending the last nine years at Carolina, where he faced the Falcons twice a season.

Wilson hooked up with running back Chris Carson on his first two scoring passes.

 

BILLS OPEN WITH WIN OVER THE JETS

Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills got the season off to a throwing start.

In overseeing three consecutive first-half touchdown drives, Allen became Buffalo’s first quarterback to top 300 yards passing in nearly three-plus years in a 27-17 season-opening win over the New York Jets on Sunday.

The Bills overcame injuries to two starting linebackers, while Allen overcame his own sloppiness in picking apart a rebuilt Jets secondary after star safety Jamal Adams forced his trade to Seattle this offseason.

“We wanted to start off and get the ball into our playmakers’ hands outside and let them do their thing,” Allen said. “But we still have to find more ways to get into the end zone. We left too many points out there. I take that responsibility on myself.”

Allen was referring to losing two fumbles in the first half, both times inside Jets territory.

Blemishes aside, Allen spread the ball to his upgraded group of receivers, which now features the addition of Stefon Diggs, in finishing 33 of 46 for 312 yards with two touchdowns, plus another one rushing. Tyrod Taylor, Allen’s predecessor, had 329 yards passing in a overtime loss to Miami on Dec. 24, 2016.,

Diggs had eight catches for a team-leading 86 yards in his Bills debut after being acquired in a trade with Minnesota in March. John Brown had six catches for 70 yards and a touchdown.

Buffalo’s defense was a force despite losing Matt Milano to a hamstring injury in the second quarter, and after the outside linebacker intercepted Sam Darnold’s weak pass over the middle. Middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds did not return after hurting his shoulder while trying to tackle Jets receiver Jamison Crowder, who scored on a 69-yard touchdown catch and run, which briefly cut Buffalo’s lead to 21-10 with 5:10 left in the third quarter.

The Bills defense, however, came through on New York’s next possession. Safety Jordan Poyer stripped the ball from tight end Chris Herndon, and the fumble was recovered by Jerry Hughes at the Jets 38 two plays into the fourth quarter.

The turnover led to Tyler Bass hitting a 22-yard field goal – after the rookie missed his first two attempts wide right.

Coach Sean McDermott was unable to provide any updates on his injured players, but was impressed how the Bills persevered through injuries, turnovers, and Bass’ inconsistencies.

 

RAIDERS DEFEAT PANTHERS ON THE ROAD

Comparisons to all-time greats are a dangerous business. Raiders coach Jon Gruden apparently doesn’t care.

Josh Jacobs followed his strong rookie season by running for 93 yards and three touchdowns, Derek Carr threw for 239 yards and a score, and the Las Vegas Raiders hung on to beat the Carolina Panthers 34-30 on Sunday to spoil Matt Rhule’s coaching debut.

It was the Raiders’ first game since moving from Oakland to Las Vegas.

“That was a little bit like Walter Payton used to play,” Gruden said. “It was hot as hell. He got beat up early. He insisted on coming back and he insisted on getting the ball as a runner and receiver. He is special. He deserves some national attention – and I hope you give it to him.”

Jacobs’ 6-yard run around the right end with 4:14 left put the Raiders ahead for good after they’d surrendered a 12-point fourth quarter lead.

Jacobs laughed at being labeled special, and was more concerned about the yards he left on the field.

“There is still a lot I can convert,” said Jacobs, who ran for 1,150 yards and seven TDs in 13 games in 2019. “I know there were a couple of plays I look back and, man, I missed the hole, I missed the backdoor cut. Things like that.”

The Raiders scored on six of their first eight possessions against a young Carolina defense that started three rookies. But they needed a defensive stop to seal the victory.

Trailing 34-30, Panthers new offensive coordinator Joe Brady called a handoff to fullback Alex Armah – instead of All-Pro Christian McCaffrey – on fourth-and-inches at midfield, He was stopped at the line with 1:11 left. McCaffrey racked up 134 yards from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns.

Rhule took blame for the call the game,.

“It’s a play we were all on board with,” McCaffrey said, referring to Armah picking up a first down on a similar play earlier.

After going three-and-out on their first drive, the Raiders scored on five straight possessions to take a 27-15 lead.

Carolina battled back, turning heavily to their star McCaffrey late in the third quarter. He got 11 touches and picked up 64 yards on one drive that culminated in his 3-yard TD run. Later, Teddy Bridgewater found Robby Anderson for a 75-yard strike on a blown coverage. Bridgewater went back to Anderson for the 2-point conversion to take a 30-27 lead. The free agent pickup from the Jets finished with six catches for 115 yards.

 

GREEN BAY SURPRISES VIKINGS AT HOME

After Green Bay won last season at Minnesota to clinch the division, Aaron Rodgers paused to take a video of some jubilant Packers fans still lingering in the stadium as he walked to the bus.

This victory over the Vikings was just as memorable, albeit barely audible.

Rodgers took full advantage of the young cornerbacks and the empty building in Minnesota, beginning his 13th season as Green Bay’s starting quarterback by passing for 364 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Packers past the Vikings 43-34 on Sunday.

“It was one of the strangest experiences I’ve had in the NFL, being in a stadium like this to have memories of some really rocking times,” said Rodgers, who threw for only three scores over his first four visits to U.S. Bank Stadium.

Davante Adams thrived all over the field with a franchise-record-tying 14 catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard each reached the end zone, too, as Green Bay had its way with a Minnesota defense renovated this year out of salary-cap necessity as hefty new contracts were given to quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Dalvin Cook.

“It was just locking in and tapping into getting ready to play here in front of zero thousand fans,” said Adams, who tied Don Hutson’s mark from Nov. 22, 1942.

Aaron Jones rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown for the Packers, who posted their highest score against the Vikings since a 44-31 victory at the Metrodome on Oct. 27, 2013. This was the most points Minnesota has allowed since coach Mike Zimmer was hired in 2014.

“It’s not what we’re used to here. It’s not what we’re about here, and we’ve got to do everything we can do move on from this and improve drastically,” safety Harrison Smith said.

Cook rushed 12 times for 50 yards, two touchdowns and two 2-point conversions. Adam Thielen caught six passes for 110 yards, two scores and another 2-pointer, but Cousins underthrew him in the final minute of the first half. Jaire Alexander, who also recorded a safety on an untouched cornerback blitz in the second quarter, made the bobbling interception.

Then Rodgers hit Valdes-Scantling on a fade route up the right sideline with rookie Cameron Dantzler in position but too late to turn for the ball, a 45-yard touchdown that gave Green Bay a 22-7 lead with 11 seconds left in the first half.

 

PATS OPEN WITH WIN AND NO BRADY

The Cam Newton era for the New England Patriots arrived on the ground.

Newton looked just fine as Tom Brady’s replacement, rushing for two touchdowns Sunday, and the Patriots beat the Miami Dolphins 21-11 to open the season.

Newton rushed for 15 times for 75 yards and threw for 155 yards, leading a Patriots offensive attack that did most of its damage via the rushing game in their first game since the departure of Brady to Tampa Bay as a free agent.

“It was relatively picking up right where I remember the game to be,” said Newton, played for the first time in more than a year. “I think it was just a feeling-through process as well with (offensive coordinator) Josh (McDaniels), coach Bill (Belichick), as well as (quarterbacks coach) Jedd (Fisch) to understand what they have. … We made the adjustments and we executed.”

Newton’s 75 yards were the most by a Patriots quarterback since Steve Grogan had 81 in 1977.

Sony Michel added a touchdown for New England, which had 217 of its 357 yards on the ground. Newton was 15 of 19 passing.

Newton said not even a postgame scrum in which a Dolphins player “got under my skin” by grabbing his chain could ruin the day.

“It’s football,” Newton said. “For me no matter who it is, I play with a competitive edge and I respect the other team to have a competitive edge as well.”

Most of the sights and sounds normally associated with Gillette Stadium’s usually raucous crowd were silenced by a Massachusetts COVID-19 ordinance prohibiting fans from attending for at least the first two games of the season.

Aside from the play on the field, the only familiar staples of a normal game day were the presence of Patriots mascot and cheerleaders, though they cheered from a concourse high above New England’s entrance tunnel.

It didn’t seem to bother the Patriots, who had plenty to cheer about.

Miami struggled for most of the game offensively and lost top receiver DeVante Parker, who left in the third quarter with a hamstring injury.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was 20 of 30 for 191 yards and three interceptions. Miami was held to 269 total yards.

 

WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAMS WINS OPENER

The Washington Football Team played like a group of guys determined to make a name for themselves.

Peyton Barber ran for two touchdowns and Dwayne Haskins rallied Washington from a 17-point deficit to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-17 Sunday in coach Ron Rivera’s debut.

Haskins jumped in to give his teammates a halftime speech because Rivera was getting a pre-planned IV in his first game since learning he has a form of skin cancer.

“When playing quarterback, I’ve learned over the years that there’s opportunities in a game or in the locker room before the game to fire guys up,” said Haskins, who was 17 of 31 for 178 yards and one TD. “I thought we were kind of in a lull. … Trying to find a way to motivate the guys and we found a way to come back in the second half and win.”

After falling behind 17-0 following a pair of touchdown passes by Carson Wentz, Washington relied on a punishing defense and opportunistic offense in its first game since owner Dan Snyder finally agreed to change the team’s name and former employees alleged sexual harassment within the organization.

Rivera lived up to his “Riverboat Ron” nickname earned in nine seasons with Carolina. Rivera went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Eagles 5 with the score tied midway through the fourth quarter.

Barber ran for the first down and then scored from the 3 to give Washington a 24-17 lead.

“I did that because I wanted the guys to make sure they understood that I believed in them,” Rivera said about going for it. “My first couple years as a head coach I made that mistake, not showing the team early enough that I believed in them, so it took us a little bit longer. I want these guys to know I believe in them, I believe that we could get that first down, and they did.”

Zach Ertz dropped a pass on fourth-and-3 from the Eagles 42 on the ensuing drive and Dustin Hopkins kicked a 40-yard field goal to make it 27-17.

Wentz was sacked eight times and threw two costly interceptions behind an injury-depleted offense line featuring two guys – right tackle Jack Driscoll and right guard Nate Herbig – starting their first career games.

“We can’t have the mistakes, we can’t have the sacks, we can’t have the turnovers and expect to win, especially against a division opponent,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said.

 

RAMS OPEN WITH WIN

The Los Angeles Rams ran through their tunnel and into empty SoFi Stadium for the very first time amid sparkling fireworks, flashing lights and the prerecorded cheers of fans watching from home.

So this isn’t the Hollywood ending that anybody pictured on a landmark night for professional football’s return to Los Angeles.

The Rams will still take plenty of sweet memories from this inaugural game.

Malcolm Brown rushed for a career-high 79 yards and two touchdowns, Jared Goff passed for 275 yards and Los Angeles beat the Dallas Cowboys 20-17 on Sunday night.

“It was a special day,” said Goff, who went 20 for 31. “It’s not the way you’d imagine it, but I think we’ll look back on this a long time from now and realize the importance of it, but it was really cool to go out there and get a win and play really well.”

Robert Woods had six catches for 105 yards as the Rams improved to 4-0 in season openers under coach Sean McVay and spoiled the debut of Mike McCarthy, Dallas’ first new head coach in a decade.

“To be at this stadium for the first time and break it in with a win, that’s what you work for, that’s what you practice for,” said Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who had the first sack in stadium history.

Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown and caught another scoring pass, but the Cowboys began a season of high expectations by losing three starters to injury in the first half and then failing to mount a late comeback in a scoreless fourth quarter for both teams.

“We needed to find a way to win it, and we didn’t get it done,” McCarthy said. “I thought we did a real good job getting ready. We are playing a team that has experience. You can see how efficient they are on offense in their fourth year. Our defense played a lot of snaps.”

Dak Prescott passed for 266 yards and a touchdown, but Dallas managed three points on its six drives in the second half.

Dallas managed only 15 net yards on its final 10 plays of the game. Michael Gallup made a long catch that would have put the Cowboys in field goal range with 21 seconds left, but was called for offensive pass interference for contact with Jalen Ramsey.

“It was a huge chance,” Prescott said. “We had a big two-minute drive at the end of the half. We were still able to move and get some progress, but we didn’t get it done. But it is Game 1.”

 

NUGGETS DO IT AGAIN, FORCE A GAME 7

Flights home from the NBA’s bubble are planned whenever a team is on the cusp of elimination, just in case they’re needed.

Denver is in no hurry to board that plane.

The never-say-die Nuggets pulled off another season-saving comeback – and, after rallying from 19 points down with 22 minutes remaining, they’ll see the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 7 on Tuesday night for a berth in the Western Conference finals.

Nikola Jokic had 34 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, and the Nuggets topped the Clippers 111-98 on Sunday to even their West semifinal series at three games apiece. The Nuggets will try to become the first team in NBA history to rally from a pair of 3-1 deficits in the same postseason, after doing so against Utah in the West first round.

“I’m running out of adjectives, superlatives, whatever you want to call it to speak on our team,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “That is a tough, resilient group of you-know-whats. I love our team. I love our team. I love our toughness.”

Jamal Murray scored 21 for Denver, which got 16 from Gary Harris, 13 from Michael Porter Jr. and 10 from Monte Morris. The Nuggets outscored the Clippers 62-27 over a dizzying 20-minute stretch of the second half, turning everything around.

“I don’t know how we did it, to be honest,” Jokic said. “That’s an amazing team. They are really talented, well-coached. They’re really scary.”

Paul George had 33 points, Kawhi Leonard scored 25 and Lou Williams had 14 for the Clippers, who are now 0-7 in games where they could clinch a trip to the conference finals.

The Clippers were outscored by 29 after halftime, their worst such deficit of the season.

“It’s frustrating,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “Listen, when you decide to be a coach it’s not going to be roses every day. We clearly have the right formula as far as how we’re playing and then we keep losing it.”

The Nuggets were down 16 at the half – the fourth time out of six games in the series when they trailed by at least that many in a game – and eventually fell behind by as many as 19 in the third quarter.

“I just think we’re a really good team,” Murray said. “It shouldn’t get to this point.”

Of course, the Nuggets flourish when they’re in trouble.

They saved their season in Game 5 of the opening round by rallying from 15 points down in the third quarter against Utah to set the tone for a rally from a 3-1 series deficit. They saved themselves again in Game 5 of this series, getting down by 16 before coming back to save the season again.

On Sunday, it was more of the same.

George hit a 3-pointer shortly after halftime for a 19-point lead and Leonard made a pair of free throws with 8:27 left in the third quarter to put the Clippers up 73-55. That’s apparently when the Nuggets decided it was time to get going.

Over the next 10 minutes, the Nuggets outscored the Clippers 30-8. Denver had eight different players score in that stretch, Murray and Morris scoring seven apiece, and the big deficit became an 85-81 lead with 10:16 left.

“It’s not that we don’t respect them,” George said. “We respect the opponent. They got this far for a reason. They’ve been together for a while so they’re a connected group. They’ve been here. They’ve been a part of a lot of Game 7s.”

Another one awaits.

“It’s going to sound weird or funny or whatever, but we don’t care,” Jokic said. “We’re just going to go there and have fun.”

 

D’ANTONIO WON’T RETURN TO ROCKETS

Mike D’Antoni has told the Houston Rockets that he will not be back as coach with them next season, essentially choosing free agency over a return to the club with whom he has spent the last four seasons.

D’Antoni told the Rockets on Sunday – not even a full day after the team’s season ended with a playoff loss to the Los Angeles Lakers – that he would seek coaching options elsewhere for next season and not return to Houston. Team owner Tilman Fertitta confirmed the move later Sunday.

“I would like to thank Mike D’Antoni and his wife, Laurel, for their incredible contributions to the Houston Rockets organization and the Houston community,” Fertitta said. “Mike is a true professional and an amazing basketball mind. He is a winner, and we have been blessed to have such an outstanding coach and leader to work with the past four seasons.”

ESPN first reported the 69-year-old coach’s decision.

It was not totally unexpected; the Rockets and D’Antoni couldn’t agree on an extension last year, meaning he was coaching this season with no guarantee of his future in Houston. D’Antoni had already been mentioned as a potential candidate for vacancies in Indiana and Philadelphia, but when the season ended Saturday night there appeared to be at least some hope of his remaining in Houston.

“We’ve got a great organization, great city, great fans, team’s great,” D’Antoni said after the Game 5 loss to the Lakers. “I mean, everything’s good here. We’ll see what happens, but I couldn’t ask for a better situation. I had four years and hopefully it keeps going. You just never know.”

But sometime between late Saturday night and early Sunday afternoon, he knew that it was time to move on.

Houston becomes the eighth team that will be going through a coaching change since the end of the regular season – March 11 for eight clubs that didn’t qualify for the NBA’s restart bubble, and mid-August for the league’s 22 other franchises.

In recent weeks, Brooklyn has hired Steve Nash and New York hired Tom Thibodeau. Chicago, Indiana, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia and now Houston are vacant.

D’Antoni was with the Rockets for four seasons. Houston went 217-101 in his regular-season contests, a .682 winning percentage.

 

LIGHTNING BEAT ISLANDERS

While the New York Islanders were celebrating Brock Nelson scoring the first goal of the game, Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde was steaming about giving it up. Coach Jon Cooper decided to keep him on the ice for some redemption.

“I’m not really happy out there after that goal,” Gourde said. “I’m like, ‘Let’s go back out there and try to have an O-zone shift where we can actually get momentum back.'”

They did more than that. Gourde set up Blake Coleman to tie it 15 seconds after Nelson’s goal, Ondrej Palat added another 12 seconds later and the quick-strike Lightning moved within a victory of the Stanley Cup Final with a 4-1 victory Sunday in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final.

“Getting scored on doesn’t sit real well, but credit to Coop keeping us out there, giving us a shot to go get it back,” Coleman said. “Any time you can respond quickly in a game, it’s going to swing the momentum right back. Then obviously our big boys took over from there.”

Those big boys were the Lightning’s best players. Brayden Point scored in his return after missing Game 3 before leaving in the third with injury, fellow top liners Palat and Nikita Kucherov set him up for that goal, defenseman Victor Hedman played 29:12 and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 26 saves.

That combination has Tampa Bay the verge of its first Cup Final appearance since 2015.

“All the guys are pretty excited to play for the big prize, but we have business to do here,” said Vasilevskiy, who has played every minute of every Lightning game this postseason. “We have to win the fourth one first.”

The Lightning won their third game of the series during the furious 27 second stretch with three goals. That’s also where the Islanders lost it

“You want to follow up a goal with a good shift and have a good response and kind of stay on it, and they had a better response than we did and got two quick ones,” Nelson said. “That was the difference: really 30 seconds there. If you hang on there for a bit, it’s a different game.”

Coach Barry Trotz wants strong shifts out of his players to start and end each period and following any goal. “We didn’t do it twice,” he said. “That’s on us.”

 

MILLS THROWS NO-HITTER

From college walk-on to major league starter, Chicago Cubs right-hander Alec Mills had to earn most every break he got.

On the brink of big league history, he was happy to welcome this bit of luck: expecting to see two-time batting champion Christian Yelich in the on-deck circle, Mills looked over and saw his backup instead.

“That kind of surprised me,” he said.

This one surprised just about everyone.

Mills cruised through baseball’s second no-hitter this season in just the 15th start of his career, completing the gem in a 12-0 romp over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

Mills got Jace Peterson – who replaced Yelich, the 2018 NL MVP, on defense late in the blowout – to hit a routine grounder to shortstop Javier Baez with two outs in the ninth. Baez completed the play, and the Cubs swarmed around Mills, tearing off his cap and pulling at the smiling right-hander’s uniform after his first career complete game.

“It just hasn’t really hit me yet,” the 28-year-old said. “It’s kind of crazy, I didn’t even know how to celebrate. Just something that all came together today. Obviously a memory I’ll have forever.”

Mills (5-3) threw 114 pitches and hardly had any close calls in Chicago’s 16th no-hitter. Avisail Garcia almost got to him twice, hitting a line drive to right in the first and nearly legging out an infield hit to shortstop in the sixth. Garcia crossed first and immediately called to the Brewers dugout for a review, but after a very brief stoppage, the Brewers opted not to challenge.

Mills would have faced Garcia again in the ninth, but Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell pulled the 2017 All-Star along with Yelich in the eighth with his team trailing big. Mills struck out Garcia’s replacement, Tyrone Taylor, for the second out in the ninth.

“Taylor hitting there and then Peterson, I had no idea they were in the game,” Mills said.

Mills struck out five and walked three. His five strikeouts are the fewest in a Cubs no-hitter since Ken Holtzman in 1969. He only induced five swings and misses, tied with Oakland’s Dallas Braden during his perfect game in 2010 for fewest in a no-hitter since at least 1988, per Stats Inc.

 

REDS DOWN CARDINALS

Andrew Miller loaded the bases with a hit batter, followed with a tying four-pitch walk, then threw a wild pitch that put Cincinnati ahead in a three-run seventh inning as the Reds kept up their slim playoff hopes with a 10-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.

St. Louis, second in the NL Central at 20-20, dropped four games behind the division-leading Chicago Cubs (28-20) with two weeks left. The fourth-place Reds are 21-26 and also trail Milwaukee (20-24) .

The Cardinals led 5-3 before Nick Castellanos’ RBI single in the sixth off Alex Reyes.

“That was one of my favorite games I’ve been a part of, really,” Reds manager David Bell said. “So many guys on this team really stepped up and came back and got a really important comeback win.”

Mike Moustakas drew a one-out walk in the seventh, and John Gant (0-3) relieved and allowed Tyler Stephenson’s single. With a 1-0 count to Brian Goodwin, athletic trainer Adam Olsen came to the mound, and Gant was removed due to groin discomfort.

Miller hit pinch-hitter Aristides Aquino with a 1-2 pitch, then walked Freddy Galvis on four pitches as the tying run came home. Miller started Jose Garcia with an inside slider in the first that got by Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina as Tyler Stephenson scored for a 6-5 lead. Garcia followed with an RBI groundout.

“To score runs like that, that’s what we want,” Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez said, “We don’t want to throw away the situation like that.”

Suarez hit his team-leading 13th home run in the eighth off Jake Woodford, and Aquino added a two-run homer in the ninth against Nabil Crismatt, Aquino’s first home run since he hit his 19th of last season on Sept 29.

Archie Bradley (2-0) pitched two hitless innings for his first win since he was acquired from Arizona on Aug. 31. Raisel Iglesias pitched around a walk in two hitless innings for his seventh save in nine chances.

“We have a chance to make a run here,” Bradley said. “The numbers may not be great. There’s a lot of teams ahead of us, things like that, but I believe, I know the guys in there believe, and today was a big showing for that.”

Tyler Mahle allowed three runs, four hits and four walks, throwing 77 pitches in 2 2/3 innings.

 

WHITE SOX BEAT TIGERS AGAIN

Eloy Jimenez homered, Yoan Moncada had three hits and the Chicago White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 5-2 on Sunday for their fourth straight win.

AL Central-leading Chicago tuned up for a big series against Minnesota with its ninth consecutive victory against Detroit. The second-place Twins visit the Windy City on Monday for the opener of a four-game set.

“The next series is important; we know that,” Moncada said through a translator. “But we have to keep doing what we’ve been doing – just take it day by day.”

Jimenez had two hits and two RBIs for the White Sox, who have won eight of nine overall. Jose Abreu had a run-scoring single for his major league-best 48th RBI.

Detroit lost for the fifth time in six games. Jorge Bonifacio had two hits and two RBIs, and Spencer Turnbull (4-3) allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings.

“Turnbull had great stuff today,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Just a lot of pitches. They rode balls through. They didn’t kill him by any means, but they rode some balls through.”

Jimmy Cordero (1-2) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win, and Alex Colome got three outs for his 11th save.

Chicago starter Jonathan Stiever got off to a shaky start in his major league debut, allowing two walks and a single to his first three batters. But the right-hander limited the damage to one run on an RBI single by Bonifacio.

Stiever, a fifth-round pick in the 2018 draft who had never pitched above Single-A before Sunday, retired his last nine batters before he was lifted with two out in the fourth.

“In the second, third and fourth I was just getting ahead in the count,” Stiever said. “That’s how I pitch. That was the frustrating part for me in the first.”

The White Sox tied it on Moncada’s RBI double in the second. Jimenez then made it 2-1 with a solo drive in the fourth for his 13th homer.

Chicago broke it open with three runs in the fifth. Tim Anderson and Abreu had run-scoring singles and Jimenez added a run-scoring groundout.

Detroit closed out the scoring in the ninth with an RBI single by Bonifacio off Steve Cishek.

 

PUJOLS HITS 660 IN ANGELS WIN

A few weeks ago, Albert Pujols received a text out of the blue: “It’s your time now. Go get it.”

That meant a lot coming from none other than Willie Mays, the Hall of Famer he was trying to catch.

Pujols tied Mays for fifth place on the career homer list with a two-run shot in the eighth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels rallied for a 5-3 win over the slumping Colorado Rockies on Sunday.

“To be able to have my name in the sentence with Willie Mays is unbelievable,” Pujols said. “I’m really humbled.”

Trailing 3-2, the 40-year-old Pujols lined a fastball from Carlos Estevez (1-3) into the empty seats in left field for his 660th homer. He was eagerly greeted by his teammates following his first homer since Aug. 4.

“I was just telling them, `Finally, I hit one in the air,'” Pujols cracked.

Pujols now trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696) on the career home run list.

“Everybody knew what was at stake. Everybody knew what was going on,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “It was almost like a walk-off reaction when he hit it. Everybody was thrilled for him.”

The ball was easily retrieved from the stands with no fans to fight over the keepsake – or celebrate the milestone. Pujols will keep the ball, but his bat went to third base coach Brian Butterfield, a Mays fan.

The secret to Pujols’ prodigious power? He doesn’t try to go deep. That simple.

“You go out there and try put a good swing,” Pujols said. “Every 660 that I have now, that’s what I try to do every time.”

It was a crazy day at the plate for the Angels, who had more walks (10) than hits (six). They also had a hit batter and reached on an error as the Rockies pitching staff struggled to find the strike zone.

Andrew Heaney (4-3) threw seven efficient innings for Los Angeles, allowing three runs and no walks while striking out eight. Matt Andriese tossed two solid innings to earn a save for the second straight game.

The Angels took two of three from the Rockies and wrapped up a six-game trip with a 3-3 mark.

“It was a perfect moment for him and for us,” Maddon said. “We’re still not out of this thing mathematically and to get a big knock like that, it can help pick up our spirits for the next couple of days.”

Colorado continued its fall after an 11-3 start. The team dropped to 10-22 since Aug. 9.

 

WINNERS AND LOSERS FROM WEEK 2 OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL

The 2020 college football season is underway with the ACC and Big 12 kicking off their seasons in Week 2. While nearly every team showed a lot of rust, including top-25 programs, football fans were delighted to see games back on television Saturday, with some top-25 upsets mixed in.

We saw the action in Week 2 get started early with a clash between the BYU Cougars and Navy Midshipmen. What some hoped would be a competitive game turned into a blowout, as BYU’s defense crushed the Midshipmen into dust.

If Week 2 is any indication of what’s to come, we’ll be seeing plenty of upsets this season. The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns stunned the Iowa State Cyclones, headlining a day that saw quite a few surprising performances.

With the first big week of the 2020 college football schedule in the books, let’s examine the winners and losers from Week 2.

Winner: Cam’Ron Harris, running back, Miami Hurricanes

We saw flashes of explosiveness from Harris in 2019, but he was stuck behind DeeJay

Dallas on the depth chart. The Hurricanes knew they had something special in this 5-foot-10 running back and it’s evident he will be a focal point of their offense this season. Given what we saw in Week 2, that is the right decision.

Harris scorched the UAB Dragons defense on seemingly every carry. He started his night with a six-yard run and kept picking up huge chunks, including a 66-yard trip to the end zone, after that. The junior racked up 134 rushing yards and two scores on the day, with Miami taking its foot off the brake in the fourth quarter holding a three-score lead. Once D’Eriq King settles in, this offense will be even more explosive.

Loser: Navy Midshipmen’s offense

If there was any doubt Malcolm Perry was a special college player, it should be erased after Navy’s season-opening loss. The passing attack has never been this program’s strength, but it was efficient with Perry at quarterback and his skills as a runner were legendary. With him now in the NFL, the Midshipmen are trying to make things work with a quarterback rotation and the results are alarming.

While Perry posted a 181.6 quarterback rating this past season, Navy quarterback Dalen Morris and Perry Olsen combined for an 81.5 rating against BYU. Even more problematic, the two quarterbacks couldn’t get anything going on the ground. Navy’s offense averaged 3.1 yards per carry and the Midshipmen failed to find the end zone for the first time since Nov. 3, 2018. It could get ugly this season for Navy.

Winner: Neal Brown, head coach, West Virginia Mountaineers

The Mountaineers had plenty of excuses to struggle in their season opener. A shortened summer with little time to practice reflected in nearly every football program showing rust in Week 2. Worse yet for the Mountaineers, they came into Saturday with 11 players suspended for violating team rules. With little time to prepare and playing without key starters and depth, West Virginia could have come out slow.

Instead, the Mountaineers exploded out of the gate to a 42-7 lead at halftime. On offense, junior quarterback Jarrett Doege picked up three first-half touchdowns, while running back Leddie Brown gashed Eastern Kentucky for three scores. Not only did West Virginia roll to a 56-10 victory, freeing up snaps for inexperienced players, it also didn’t record a turnover and dominated time of possession. That’s all a credit to Brown, who clearly has his team prepared for battle this season.

Loser: Brock Purdy, quarterback, Iowa State Cyclones

Before the summer, many talked about Purdy as a potential first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He exploded as a sophomore with 3,982 passing yards and 35 total touchdowns, which generated plenty of hype coming into 2020. If his first start this year is an indicator of what’s to come, NFL teams will avoid him. Purdy could never find an answer for Louisiana’s defense, even with weeks to prepare for his opponent. He averaged an atrocious 4.1 yards per attempt and completed just 16-of-35 passes. The Ragin’ Cajuns did an excellent job causing all kinds of problems for the Cyclones and it got to Purdy, with only 145 passing yards on the day. He’ll have two weeks to prepare for TCU, but No. 23 Iowa State’s margin for error this season is now razor-thin before it even faces Big 12 foes.

Winner: Asante Samuel Jr, cornerback, Florida State Seminoles

If seeing this name makes you feel old, you’re not alone. Asante Samuel retired from the NFL in 2014, walking away with two Super Bowl rings, 51 interceptions and six defensive touchdowns in an incredible career. Now, his son is making the same kind of impact at Florida State.

A four-star recruit in 2018, Asante Samuel Jr. quickly became one of the top cornerbacks in college football. He put in the work this offseason to get better and we saw the results in Week 2. If he keeps this up, Samuel Jr. could be a first-round pick in 2021 and make his own legacy.

Loser: Sam Howell, quarterback, North Carolina Tar Heels

When Trevor Lawrence came out of the gate slow in 2019, he was criticized for making some poor decisions and falling a bit short of massive expectations. Entering his sophomore campaign, Howell should be held to a similar standard and he wasn’t sharp in Week 2. Howell’s day started nicely with an 11-yard touchdown strike, but he ran into some issues in the first half. He threw an interception in the first quarter and wasn’t quite as sharp with his throws. A slow start led to North Carolina

’s offense holding a 7-3 lead at halftime. When Howell returned, he threw another pick and it led to points for Syracuse. This wasn’t a terrible game. Completing 25-of-34 attempts for his 295 yards is respectable, but the bar is higher for a star quarterback with the talent to one day be the No. 1 pick in an NFL Draft.

Winner: Sincere McCormick, running back, UTSA Roadrunners

One of the best things about college football returning is the emergence of unheralded, young stars at smaller programs. McCormick didn’t attract much attention as a freshman with the Roadrunners, but the 5-foot-9 running back impressed coaches with 983 rushing yards and eight touchdowns last season. In Week 2, he put himself on the national radar. When UTSA put the football in McMormick’s hands, great things happened. He turned Texas State’s defense into dust, burning them for 197 rushing yards on 29 carries. The sophomore also helped make life easier for dual-threat quarterback Frank Harris, who had a strong day through the air and on the ground. After setting numerous UTSA freshman records this past season, McMormick is well on his way to an even better sophomore year.

Loser: James Blackman, quarterback, Florida State Seminoles

Blackman barely clung to the starting gig in 2019, after entering the summer with plenty of hype. Under new head coach Mike Norvell, Florida State hoped Blackman would take a step forward this season and get something out of his potential. We hope reality is settling in for the Seminoles after Week 2.

Things looked promising after Florida State jumped out to a 7-0 lead, thanks to Blackman’s touchdown. Unfortunately, that was one of the few positives for this offense. Blackman completed just 23-of-43 attempts for 198 yards and the Seminoles couldn’t crack the end zone in the final three quarters. It’s not all his fault, Florida State’s offensive line is a giant turnstile, but it’s clear Norvell needs to find a long-term answer at QB1.

Winner: Trevor Lawrence, quarterback, Clemson Tigers

2020 is the year of Trevor Lawrence. It started with Clemson’s star quarterback and his fiancee raising money for COVID-19 relief, beating archaic NCAA rules in the process. He then stepped up as a leader, joining teammates in protests across campus and calling for equality. With the offseason behind him, Lawrence is showing why he’ll be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. This wasn’t one of those starts where Lawrence posted jaw-dropping statistics. He didn’t need to do it, we’ve seen it plenty on times. In Week 2, it was the breathtaking throws. Hitting receivers perfectly in stride, fitting the football in impossibly tight windows. He made the passes All-Pro quarterbacks make. Lawrence essentially declared for the NFL Draft before Week 2. But, before he leaves Clemson, he’s got the Heisman Trophy and another national championship in his sights.

 

CINK WINS SAFEWAY OPEN

Stewart Cink’s long wait is finally over. He doesn’t have to worry about being cast as a villain, either, as was the case when Cink outlasted fan favorite Tom Watson to win the 2009 British Open.

Sparked by a strong short game, Cink won the season-opening Safeway Open at 47 years old Sunday for his seventh PGA Tour victory and first since that win at Turnberry 11 years ago.

Making it more special? Cink won with 23-year-old son Reagan alongside as his caddie, with wife Lisa – in her fifth year of cancer remission – watching from beyond the ropes.

“I definitely had a lot of emotions out there today,” Cink said. “I just was overcome at a few times with a feeling of gratitude and just feeling like how fortunate I am to be in the position that I’m in. It all just kind of poured together into feeling like, `Wow, this is really special.'”

Cink closed with a 7-under 65 at Silverado Resort – rebounding from a bogey on the 17th with a birdie on the 18th – for a two-stroke victory over Harry Higgs.

Cink is the oldest PGA Tour winner since Phil Mickelson at 48 at Pebble Beach in February 2019. Cink’s last victory came at the expense of then-59-year-old Watson at Turnberry, with Cink winning a four-hole playoff.

That was somewhat of an awkward win because many fans were pulling for Watson, relegating Cink to basically a supporting role.

“I always felt like Tom deserved every bit of the accolades he got from his performance that week,” Cink said. “People ask me this all the time, I feel like I won the Open Championship that year. I don’t feel like I took it out of Tom’s hands or I disappointed the world. I don’t mind sharing the spotlight with him for that. In the end I got the Claret Jug.”

This time the spotlight was all Cink’s, sort of.

Reagan Cink convinced his father to let him caddie this week, and it wasn’t just ceremonial, either. Stewart Cink noted that his son gave him sage advice throughout the week, particularly as the two were walking off the second hole in the final round.

“He said, `Dad you know what, your tangibles are really, really good right now . your club, your ball, your putting. Let’s just take care of the intangibles today.’ He made a great point,” Cink said. “To do it with Reagan on the bag, his fourth time caddying, was a 25 cherries on the top.”

Cink did it the old fashioned way Sunday, with a short game that repeatedly put him in great shape on the greens. He one-putted 10 times, scrambled for pars after driving into the sand twice and had eight birdies to finish at 21-under 267.

Higgs shot a 68.

 

SCHEFFLER OUT OF U.S. OPEN WITH COVID-19

Scottie Scheffler became the second player forced to withdraw from a major championship because of the coronavirus with a positive test result that knocks him out of the U.S. Open this week at Winged Foot.

The USGA said Scheffler, the leading candidate as PGA Tour rookie of the year, was asymtomatic and at home in Dallas.

Scheffler was replaced in the field by Branden Grace, who was the first alternate based on the Aug. 23 world ranking. Oddly enough, Grace had to withdraw from the PGA Championship last month when he tested positive for the virus.

“We are sorry to lose a member of the USGA family in this year’s U.S. Open field,” said John Bodenhamer, the USGA senior managing director of championships. “Scottie has had a phenomenal rookie season and we look forward to welcoming him back to the U.S. Open Championship for many years to come.”

Scheffler’s history with the USGA dates to his victory in the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur.

An All-American at Texas, where he graduated in four years with a business degree, Scheffler has played so well as a rookie that he qualified for the Masters – rare for a rookie without winning – and a strong performance at East Lake last week in the Tour Championship enabled him to finish No. 5 in the final FedEx Cup standings.

He played in the final group with Dustin Johnson at the PGA Championship and tied for fourth.

Grace was tied for the lead in the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay when he sent his tee shot out-of-bounds and onto the railroad tracks right of the 16th fairway and tied for fourth.

More recently, he was one birdie out of the lead going into the weekend at the Barracuda Championship, which uses the modified Stableford scoring system, when he tested positive for the coronavirus and had to withdraw from the weekend and the follow week’s PGA Championship.

Grace also holds the major championship record with a 62 in the third round at Royal Birkdale in the 2017 British Open.

 

LEE WINS ANA TITLE

Mirim Lee ran toward the water for the winner’s leap into Poppie’s Pond, and there was no blue wall to stop her.

How she even got to that point as the ANA Inspiration champion was shocking even to Lee.

She chipped in twice to stay in the hunt for a major title that for the longest time looked as though it would come down to Nelly Korda or Brooke Henderson. And then after a 5-wood that caromed off a temporary blue wall behind the 18th green and kept it from going in the water, Lee chipped for eagle and a 5-under 67.

That got her into a three-way playoff, and Lee ended it quickly.

She hit 5-wood just through the green – no help needed from the wall on that one – chipped to 5 feet and made the birdie putt. Korda missed the 18th fairway for the second time and made par, while Henderson’s 7-foot birdie putt in the playoff stayed left of the hole.

“I must be a little crazy for winning,” Lee said through a translator.

Asked on television off the 18th green if she was in disbelief, Lee was too busy wiping away tears to answer, so the translator finally offered, “Yes.”

So was everyone.

Korda, the 22-year-old American going for her first major, had a two-shot lead with four holes to play and didn’t have a good look at birdie the rest of the day and shot 69. Henderson, at 23 already with more LPGA victories (9) than any Canadian, also used the wall as a backstop to set up a birdie on the 18th to rally from a double bogey and join the playoff.

Lee never looked like a winner until she calmly poured in the birdie putt in the playoff, the first major championship for the 29-year-old South Korean ranked No. 94 in the world.

It was another wild finish in the LPGA major that moved from the first weekend of April to the 100-degree heat of September, and no one was more surprised than Lee.

“I think I had a bit of luck that helped me,” she said.

Lee chipped in for birdie on No. 6. Her biggest shot came on the 16th, a pitch-and-run from 90 feet to a back pin that dropped for an unlikely birdie. The only time she lost hope was after her bogey on the par-3 17th, leaving her two shots behind with one hole to play.

“My plan for 18 was just to have a birdie and do what I have to do to keep my head up,” she said. “And when the shot went in, I think I was really surprised.”

The wall became a big part of the story.

The tournament erected it in place of a hospitality chalet that was not needed this year because there were no spectators or clients allowed as a precaution during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The chalet in normal years has served as a buffer for shots struck too hard, but it served no purpose except for some signage that didn’t really stand out. It kept the 18th green from being the island it is, and it played a huge role for Lee and for Henderson in the final hour.

“The fact is, it has been way too artificial,” Hall of Famer Judy Rankin said on the Golf Channel broadcast. “There was no real reason for it to be there. There were not spectators, or clients or anything like that. And it has affected play way too much.”

Lee practiced that shot earlier in the week. “I definitely thought to utilize the back board,” she said of her shot.

 

THIEM WINS US OPEN

A U.S. Open unlike any other finished unlike any other – with an unprecedented fifth-set tiebreaker as Dominic Thiem became the first man in 71 years to win the final after dropping the opening two sets.

So close to defeat in a nearly empty Arthur Ashe Stadium – fans were banned because of the coronavirus pandemic – Thiem slowly but surely turned things around against a faltering Alexander Zverev and pulled out a 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6) victory at Flushing Meadows for his first Grand Slam title.

The match ended with both men fighting leg cramps and, clearly, nerves.

“Somehow,” said Thiem, a 27-year-old from Austria, “the belief today was stronger than the body, and I’m super happy about that.”

When a backhand from Zverev landed wide on the third championship point, a weary Thiem dropped to his back way behind the baseline and covered his face with his hands. When he arose, he was met by Zverev, who walked around the net to clasp hands, then embrace his friend and foe, two sights rarely seen in this era of social distancing.

Thiem then rested his head on the shoulder of the taller Zverev, who himself came within two points of what would have been his first major triumph.

“I wish we could have two winners today,” Thiem said. “I think we both deserved it.”

He is the first man to win the American Grand Slam tournament after trailing 2-0 in sets in the final since Pancho Gonzalez did it against Ted Schroeder in 1949 at an event then known as the U.S. Championships and held in Forest Hills.

The event never had been settled by a fifth-set tiebreaker; no major tournament ever had until Novak Djokovic edged Roger Federer that way at Wimbledon in 2019.

 

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1903       In an afternoon game called because of unusual darkness, Giants’ pitcher Red Ames, making his major league debut, tosses a five-inning no-hitter against the Cardinals. The New York right-hander, who will also no-hit the Superbas on Opening Day in 1909 before yielding a single with one out in the tenth, will have both of his no-hit bids discounted after the 1991 change of rules no longer give credit for no-hit performances in games played for less than nine innings or for contests where the first hit is given up in extra innings.

1913       Although Larry Cheney gives up fourteen hits, the Cubs right-hander earns his 20th victory when he blanks the Giants at Chicago’s West Side Grounds, 7-0. The contest marks the first time a team has been shut out after collecting that many hits.

1923       Red Sox first baseman George Burns completes an unassisted triple play against the Indians as he gathers in Frank Brower’s line drive, tags Rube Lutzke coming from first, and beats Riggs Stephenson back to second.

1941       Cardinals right-hander Howie Krist, with his 6-5 victory over the Giants at Sportsman’s Park, finishes the season with a perfect 10-0 record. Spud’s spotless season establishes a National League record for the most wins in a season by a pitcher without a defeat.

1942       The Yankees win their 13th American League pennant when they beat Cleveland at League Park, 8-3. The Bronx Bombers will finish the season 103-51, nine games ahead of Boston, but will lose the World Series to the Cardinals in five games.

1951       Preacher Roe wins his 20th game of the season when the Dodgers beat the Pirates at Forbes Field, 3-1. The 36 year-old southpaw will finish the season with a 22-3 record.

1951       Browns rookie left fielder Bob Nieman hits consecutive dingers off Mickey McDermott, becoming the first player to hit home runs in his first two major league at-bats. In his third trip to the plate, the 24 year-old freshman beats out a bunt for a base hit in the team’s 9-6 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

1954       In the Giants’ 1-0 victory over the Redbirds, Willie Mays strokes a first-inning double and scores the game’s lone run. The two-bagger is the ‘Say Hey Kid’s’ 82nd extra-base hit of the season, breaking the team record established by Mel Ott.

1955       Herb Score whiffs nine batters in the Indians’ 3-2 loss to the Senators at Griffith Stadium to establish a new rookie record for strikeouts in a season, surpassing Grover Cleveland Alexander’s mark of 227 strikeouts set in 1911. The American League Rookie of the Year will finish the campaign with 245 punch outs, a total which will not be topped until 1985 when Mets right-hander Dwight Gooden strikes out 251 batters.

1968       In a nationally televised game, Denny McLain becomes a thirty-game winner when the Tigers rally for two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat Oakland 5-4. The Detroit right-hander, who will finish the season 31-6, is the first hurler to accomplish the feat since Dizzy Dean reached the milestone in 1934.

1969       With more than two weeks left in the season, the Orioles clinch the first-ever American League East title when they beat Cleveland at Memorial Stadium, 7-3. The heavily-favored Birds will sweep Minnesota, the AL West Champs, to capture a pennant, but will lose the World Series in five games to the Amazin’ Mets.

1974       The Nettles for the second time in their careers both hit home runs in the same game when Graig goes yard in the first frame with Tiger southpaw Mickey Lolich on the mound, and his brother Jim takes Yankee right-hander Pat Dobson deep in the second inning of New York’s 10-7 victory in Detroit. In 1972, the siblings also hit round-trippers as opponents in the same contest but playing with different teams.

1975       Playing in his 242nd major league game as a teenager, Brewers shortstop Robin Yount breaks Mel Ott’s forty-seven year-old record. The youthful infielder was 18 years, two months, and six days old when he made his debut with Milwaukee in 1973.

1976       At Memorial Stadium, Dennis Martinez makes his major league debut, pitching 5.2 innings of shutout baseball in relief to get the win in the Orioles’ 9-7 victory over the Tigers. The Granada native, who will win 245 games, is the first person from Nicaragua to appear in a major league game.

1978       In the Braves’ 4-0 decision over the Giants, Jim Bouton, who will finish his career with a 62-63 record, notches his last major league win, limiting the opponents to three hits in six innings of work. The victory marks the first time since 1970 that the 39 year-old ‘Bulldog’ has won a game in the big leagues.

1986       At Royals Stadium, Kansas City rookie outfielder Bo Jackson hits his first major league home run. The 475-foot blast hit by the NFL running back is the longest homer ever hit in the ballpark.

1986       Bob Brenly, usually a catcher, ties a major league record by making four errors in one inning playing third base. The Giants infielder makes amends by hitting two homers, including the ninth inning game-winner that gives San Francisco a 7-6 walk-off victory over the Atlanta at Candlestick Park.

1987       The Blue Jays blast a major league record of ten home runs in an 18-3 rout of the Orioles at Exhibition Stadium. Ernie Whitt goes deep three times, Rance Mulliniks and George Bell each hit a pair, and Lloyd Moseby, Rob Ducey, and Fred McGriff each go deep once, with Baltimore’s Mike Hart adding one to tie the two-team major league mark of 11.

1987       In the seventh inning of an 18-3 rout of the Orioles at Exhibition Stadium, Kelly Gruber, appearing as a pinch-hitter, makes all three outs by hitting into a double play and then finishing the seven-run frame with a strikeout. In between his at-bats, there are five singles and two home runs.

1987       In an 18-3 Toronto blowout, which features the visitors hitting a major league record ten home runs, Orioles’ manager Cal Ripken Sr. puts Ron Washington at shortstop, ending his son’s record streak at 8,243 consecutive-innings, a span of 904 games.

1988       In his first start against his former club, Mike Boddicker beats the Orioles, 4-1, with Red Sox outfielder Mike Greenwell hitting for the cycle. Last month, Baltimore traded the popular right-hander, who had spent nine years with the club, to Boston in return for Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling.

1990       Mariner Ken Griffey and his son, Junior, become the first father and son to hit homers in the same major league game. The back-to-back blasts are given up by Angel hurler Kirk McCaskill.

1991       Baltimore’s Juan Bell’s tenth inning at-bat against Eric Bell is not a ringing success when he flies out to Albert Belle in left field. The Orioles drop the Memorial Stadium contest to the clangorous Cleveland club in 11 innings, 6-5.

1993       Mike Piazza sets the major league record for home runs by a rookie catcher when he hits his 29th round-tripper, a first-inning two-run shot off San Diego’s Doug Brocail over the center field fence at Jack Murphy Stadium. The National League’s eventual Rookie of the Year, who will finish the season with 35, breaks the mark set by Matt Nokes, who was a freshman backstop for the Tigers in 1987.

1994       Due to the strike, 26 of the 28 MLB team owners vote to cancel the remainder of the season, making baseball the first major professional sport to lose an entire postseason because of a labor dispute. The 232-day work stoppage will result in 948 canceled games, shortening both the 1994 and 1995 seasons.

1996       Todd Hundley, the son of former Cubs backstop Randy Hundley, passes Roy Campanella as the all-time leader in homers by a catcher. The 27 year-old All-Star 41st round-tripper of the season, which was also establishes the single-season record for the Mets, helps the team come back from a five-run deficit and eventually beat the Braves, 6-5.

1996       Mark McGwire hits his 50th home run off Cleveland hurler Chad Ogea, becoming the 13th player in major league history to reach that plateau. The A’s first baseman gives the milestone ball to his eight year-old son, Matthew.

1998       At Kauffman Stadium, the Royals become the fifth team in baseball history to score in every inning. The eight innings of consistency lead to a 16-6 win over the A’s.

1998       The Braves clinch their seventh straight division title, taking the NL East crown with a 4-2 victory over Philadelphia at Turner Field. Only seven professional sports franchises have finished first during the regular season at least seven times in a row.

1999       With a 12-2 pounding of the Phillies at the Astrodome, Houston establishes a club record with a twelve-game winning streak. The Astros’ victory also extends Philadelphia’s losing streak to 11 consecutive games.

2002       The Devil Rays, playing the 148th game on the schedule, suffer their 100th defeat, losing to the Blue Jays at the SkyDome, 8-4. Tampa Bay (48-100) becomes the first team to lose 100 games in consecutive seasons since Toronto accomplished the dubious mark for three straight years, starting in 1979.

2002       Barry Bonds ties Hank Aaron for the most 100-RBI seasons by a National League player as he drives in his 100th run of the season for the 11th time in his career. The major league record is 13, shared by Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, and Babe Ruth.

2002       🇹🇼Chin-Feng Chen becomes the first Taiwan-born player to appear in the major leagues as he walks and scores as a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers against the Rockies. The 24 year-old first baseman-outfielder played for the 1990 Taiwan team which won the Little League World Series.

2003       Vladimir Guerrero, homering in his final at-bat, hits for ‘Le Carrousel’ at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. The Expos right fielder, facing the Mets southpaw Tom Glavine, doubled (2nd), singled (3rd), tripled (5th), and then completed the sixth cycle in team history by going deep off Dan Wheeler (7th).

2003       Dropping a 7-2 decision to Kansas City at Comerica Park, the Tigers become the first team in 34 years to lose 110 games in a season. The defeat sets a dubious franchise mark for losses in a year, surpassing the 1996 Detroit squad that finished the season with a 53-109 record.

2005       Braves’ center fielder Andruw Jones hits his 50th home run in the eighth inning of a 12-4 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Curacao native is the first major leaguer to reach the plateau since Alex Rodriguez hit 57 homers playing shortstop for the Rangers in 2002.

2005       As a tribute to his mother, Roger Clemens pitches on the day his mom Bess passes away. The ‘Rocket’ gets the win as the Astros beat the Marlins, 10-2, the score his Mom predicted when she told him she wanted him to start that night.

2005       On his way to home plate to score ahead of Tony Graffanino, who homered over the left-field wall, Gabe Kapler ruptures his Achilles tendon while rounding second base, and he cannot continue around the bases. After a delay of five minutes, the Red Sox outfielder needs to be carried off the field and is replaced in the basepaths by pinch-runner Alejandro Machado to finish the trip around the diamond in Boston’s 5-3 win over Toronto at the Skydome.

2007       Ten year-old Bosox fan Griffin Whitman is disappointed when Yankees outfielder Shelley Duncan, when asked for an autograph, writes in the boy’s spiral-bound notebook, “RED SOX SUCK!” before signing his name. The 27 year-old flychaser, whose dad is the respected pitching coach of the Cardinals, is surprised by the negative reaction of the family.

2008       In an Astros home game moved to Miller Park due to Hurricane Ike, Chicago right-hander becomes the first Cubs pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Milt Pappas accomplished the feat against the Padres in 1972 when he no-hits Houston in the Milwaukee ballpark, 5-0. The Cubs’ right-hander gem, in which only a fourth-inning walk to Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence being by a hit by a pitch in the fifth spoils a bid for a perfect game, is the first neutral-site no-hitter thrown in in major league history.

2008       Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, with his eighth-inning thievery in a 7-4 loss to the Braves at Shea Stadium, becomes the first player to have four straight seasons of 50 or more stolen bases playing for a New York area team, which also includes Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants. The accomplishment extends the infielder’s own record, as he is also the only Gotham major leaguer to achieve the feat for three consecutive years.

2011       With their 3-2 loss to St. Louis, the Pirates extend their record streak of consecutive losing seasons to 19 straight years, the longest in American professional sports history. The Bucs, who led the NL Central by a half-game on July 20, have lost 38 of 54 contests since then, leaving the team with a 67-82 won-loss record.

2011       Braves’ fireballer Brandon Beachy establishes the modern franchise record for strikeouts in a season by a rookie pitcher when he whiffs eight batters in 4.1 innings, bringing his to total to 160. Irv Young struck out 156 in 1905 when the team played in Boston and were known as the Beaneaters.

2011       After missing fifty contests for a PED infraction in April 2008 while playing for the Giants, Eliezer Alfonzo becomes the first player to be suspended twice under the MLB drug program. The Colorado catcher will appeal the 100-game suspension, having the ban overturned for procedural reasons when the handling of his urine sample doesn’t follow the protocol outlined in baseball’s agreement with the players.

2014       With Cub runners on first and second in the fourth inning of the team’s 7-3 victory over Chicago, the Pirates turn an 5-4-3 around-the-horn triple play when third baseman Josh Harrison fields Matt Szczur’s hard grounder, stepping on the bag to force Chris Valaika before firing the ball to second to Neil Walker to retire Mike Ott. The second baseman’s relay to first sacker Andrew Lambo completes the first triple killing in the 14-year history of PNC Park.

2014       Jonathan Papelbon is ejected for grabbing his crotch, responding to the boos from the Citizens Bank Park crowd after he gives up four runs in the ninth inning of Phillies’ 5-4 loss to Miami. The apologetic closer, who insists he wasn’t making a vulgar motion toward fans, will be suspended for seven games and fined by Major League Baseball for making a lewd gesture and for bumping Joe West, the ump who will also receive a one-day suspension for pulling on the reliever’s jersey after he threw the player out of the game.

2017       After Francisco Lindor’s ties the game with a two-out, two-strike double in the ninth, the Indians win their 22nd consecutive game in the next inning when Jay Bruce hits a walk-off double to give the team 3-2 victory over the Royals at Progressive Field. The win will be the Tribe’s only walk-off during the longest major league winning streak since the 1916 Giants set the record with 26 straight without a loss.

2019       For first time since records have been kept since 1908, a team wins a nine-inning game with just one baserunner when the Diamondbacks beat the Reds, 1-0. The lone run in the Chase Field contest scores when Jarrod Dyson’s sacrifice fly plates Nick Ahmed, who doubled and advanced to third on an error leading off the third inning.

 

WORLD SERIES HISTORY-2016: Chicago Cubs (4) vs Cleveland Indians (3)

The 2016 World Series was the 112th edition of Major League Baseball’s World Series, a best-of-seven playoff between the National League (NL) champion Chicago Cubs and the American League (AL) champion Cleveland Indians, the first meeting of those franchises in postseason history.

Corey Kluber made World Series history by striking out eight hitters in the first three innings of Game 1. In the first, the Indians loaded the bases off Jon Lester on a single and two walks before Jose Ramirez’s single drove in a run, then Lester hit Brandon Guyer with a pitch to force in another. Perez’s home run in the fifth made it 3-0 Indians. In the eighth, Justin Grimm walked Guyer with two outs and allowed a single to Lonnie Chisenhall, then Hector Rondon allowed Perez’s second home run of the night. Andrew Miller and Cody Allen finished the victory for the Indians despite Miller having to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, and the Indians took Game 1 of the series 6-0.

Looking to tie the series at one game apiece, the Cubs sent Jake Arrieta to the mound against the Indians’ Trevor Bauer. The Cubs also featured six players under age 25 in the starting lineup, a postseason record. The Cubs started things off early as Kris Bryant singled in the first inning and Anthony Rizzo doubled to score Bryant and give the Cubs an early 1-0 lead. The Cubs struck again in the third following a two-out walk by Rizzo and a single by Ben Zobrist. A single by Kyle Schwarber scored Rizzo from second and pushed the Cubs’ lead to 2-0. Bauer was forced from the game in the fourth, and the Cubs struck again in the fifth. Rizzo walked again off Zach McAllister, and Zobrist tripled to plate Rizzo. Another run-scoring single by Schwarber off Bryan Shaw and a bases-loaded walk by Addison Russell pushed the lead to 5-0. Arrieta continued to pitch well, walking three batters but holding the Indians without a hit into the sixth inning. In the sixth, a double by Jason Kipnis ended the no-hitter, moved to third on a groundout and scored the lone Indians run of the game on a wild pitch by Arrieta. Arrieta allowed another single and was lifted for reliever Mike Montgomery. Both teams threatened in the seventh but could not score and, following a single by Mike Napoli in the bottom of the eighth, Aroldis Chapman entered to finish the game for the Cubs. The win marked the Cubs’ first World Series game victory since 1945, and tied up the series at one game all.

Chicago pitcher Kyle Hendricks started against Cleveland pitcher Josh Tomlin during Game 3, a low-scoring contest where the only run came off a Coco Crisp single that scored Michael Martinez from third in the seventh inning. Tomlin, Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw, and ;Cody Allen combined to shut out the Cubs. Allen earned his sixth postseason save as Javier Baez struck out swinging to end the game, leaving the tying and winning runs in scoring position.

The Cubs struck first in Game 4 when Dexter Fowler doubled to lead off the first and scored on Anthony Rizzo’s one-out single, but Kluber held them to that one run through six innings before Francona turned it over to the bullpen. In the second, Carlos Santana’s leadoff home run off Lackey tied the game; then, with two on, Kluber’s RBI single put the Indians up 2-1. Next inning, Jason Kipnis hit a leadoff double and scored on Francisco Lindor’s single. In the sixth, Lonnie Chisenhall’s sacrifice fly with two on off Mike Montgomery made it 4-1 Indians. Next inning, Justin Grimm allowed a leadoff double and one-out hit-by-pitch before being relieved by Travis Wood, who gave up a three-run home run to Kipnis put to the Indians ahead 7-1. The Cubs got one run back in the eighth, but the Indians were now just one win away from a World Series championship.

Jose Ramirez hit a home run for Cleveland in the second inning pf Game 5, but the Cubs, facing elimination, scored three runs in the fourth inning off Trevor Bauer. Kris Bryant led off the inning with a home run. Anthony Rizzo then doubled and Ben Zobrist singled. Addison Russell’s RBI single put the Cubs up 2-1. After Jason Heyward struck out, Javier Baez’s bunt single moved Zobrist to third before David Ross’s sacrifice fly made it 3-1 Cubs. The Indians cut their deficit to 3-2 off Lester in the sixth on Francisco Lindor’s RBI single that scored Rajai Davis from second base. With the tying run on second base in the seventh inning, Maddon brought in Aroldis Chapman, who threw 2.2 scoreless innings, earning his first save of the 2016 World Series.

How do you force a Game 7? Score three runs in the first inning, all with two outs, then hit a grand slam in the fourth inning. The Indians nipped away in the fourth, fifth, and ninth inning, but starting with a 7-run lead meant this Fall Classic was going to come down to a single deciding game, a true Fall Classic.

Game 7 of the 2016 World Series would go down as a classic, some calling it the greatest Game 7 in World Series history. The pitching matchup featured Kyle Hendricks, who had started Game 3 for the Cubs, and Corey Kluber, who had won games 1 and 4 and was pitching on three days’ rest.

Dexter Fowler led off the game with a home run for Chicago off Kluber, becoming the first player ever to hit a lead-off home run in a World Series Game 7! The Indians tied the game in the bottom of the third inning with an RBI single by Carlos Santana, but the Cubs scored two runs in the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly by Addison Russell (Kris Bryant running aggressively to tag up from third on the short fly ball and slide under the tag at home) and a double by Willson Contreras. To start the fifth inning, Javier Baez hit a home run to center on the first pitch he saw to knock Kluber out of the game. Andrew Miller came on in relief and gave up a walk to Bryant and RBI single to Anthony Rizzo to push the lead to 5-1 (Bryant’s aggressiveness again instrumental as he was attempting to steal second on the hit, allowing him to score all the way from first).

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Hendricks retired the first two batters. A two-out walk to Santana persuaded Joe Maddon to relieve his starter. This move, along with others throughout the series, would be highly criticized afterward, as it appeared to some that Hendricks was pulled out too soon.

Jon Lester, who had started Games 1 and 5, came on in relief for the first time since the 2007 ALCS, coincidentally also against the Indians. David Ross committed a throwing error that allowed Jason Kipnis to reach base and put runners on second and third. A wild pitch that ricocheted off Ross’s helmet allowed Santana and Kipnis to score, narrowing the Cubs’ lead to 5-3. To atone for his blunders, the 39-year-old Ross hit a home run to center, in his final at-bat of his career, in the top of the sixth to make it a 6-3 game, becoming the oldest player to hit a home run in a World Series Game 7.

Lester retired the first two batters in the eighth inning, but was pulled after a Jose Ramirez single. Maddon opted to use Aroldis Chapman, who had thrown 42 pitches in Game 5 and was used in Game 6 despite the fact that the Cubs had already built a large lead. Brandon Guyer promptly hit a run-scoring double off Chapman, making the score 6-4. The next batter was Indians center fielder Rajai Davis, who unexpectedly hit a dramatic home run off Chapman, just barely clearing the left field wall and the left field foul pole, scoring Guyer.

With the game tied 6-6 after nine innings, a sudden cloudburst resulted in a 17-minute rain delay. During the delay, Cub right fielder Jason Heyward called his teammates into a weight room behind Chicago’s dugout and told them, “We’re the best team in baseball. Stick together and we’re going to win this game.”

When play resumed in the top of the tenth, Kyle Schwarber led off with a single off Bryan Shaw to right and was replaced by pinch runner Albert Almora. Kris Bryant then hit a deep fly ball to center, and Almora tagged up to second base, in what was called the “savviest baserunning play of the season.” After an intentional walk to Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist stepped up to the plate. Zobrist delivered a clutch RBI double into the left field corner, scoring Almora, and breaking the tie. After another intentional walk to Addison Russell, Miguel Montero singled into left, scoring Rizzo and making the score 8=6.

Carl Edwards was called on to finish off the Indians in the bottom of the tenth, but after retiring the first two hitters, he walked Brandon Guyer, who took second base on defensive indifference. Davis, following up on his eighth-inning heroics, lined a single to center, making it a one-run game. Maddon called on Mike Montgomery, who had zero career saves. Montgomery retired Michael Martinez with an infield grounder fielded by Bryant, who threw to Rizzo to end the game, series, and the Cubs’ 108-year world title drought.

The Cubs, playing in their eleventh World Series and their first sinc 1945, won their third championship and first since 1908, ending the longest world championship drought in North American professional sports history.

 

MLB STANDINGS

American League
East
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Tampa Bay 30 17 .638 16 – 8 14 – 9 23 – 12 0 – 0 0 – 0 5 – 5 L 1
Toronto 26 20 .565 3.5 12 – 7 14 – 13 17 – 13 0 – 0 0 – 0 6 – 4 W 2
NY Yankees 26 21 .553 4 18 – 7 8 – 14 17 – 13 0 – 0 0 – 0 5 – 5 W 5
Baltimore 20 26 .435 9.5 10 – 15 10 – 11 11 – 18 0 – 0 0 – 0 4 – 6 L 5
Boston 17 31 .354 13.5 8 – 17 9 – 14 11 – 23 0 – 0 0 – 0 5 – 5 W 1
Central
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Chi White Sox 30 16 .652 14 – 9 16 – 7 0 – 0 22 – 10 0 – 0 8 – 2 W 4
Minnesota 30 18 .625 1 21 – 5 9 – 13 0 – 0 20 – 14 0 – 0 8 – 2 W 3
Cleveland 26 21 .553 4.5 12 – 11 14 – 10 0 – 0 16 – 16 0 – 0 3 – 7 L 6
Detroit 20 26 .435 10 10 – 11 10 – 15 0 – 0 9 – 19 0 – 0 3 – 7 L 3
Kansas City 20 28 .417 11 10 – 13 10 – 15 0 – 0 13 – 21 0 – 0 6 – 4 W 6
West
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Oakland 29 17 .630 18 – 7 11 – 10 0 – 0 0 – 0 23 – 11 6 – 4 L 1
Houston 23 24 .489 6.5 16 – 6 7 – 18 0 – 0 0 – 0 15 – 15 2 – 8 L 1
Seattle 21 25 .457 8 11 – 8 10 – 17 0 – 0 0 – 0 15 – 16 7 – 3 W 2
LA Angels 20 28 .417 10 12 – 12 8 – 16 0 – 0 0 – 0 16 – 20 7 – 3 W 2
Texas 17 30 .362 12.5 13 – 13 4 – 17 0 – 0 0 – 0 11 – 18 4 – 6 W 1

 

National League
East
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Atlanta 28 19 .596 15 – 8 13 – 11 19 – 14 0 – 0 0 – 0 5 – 5 W 2
Miami 23 21 .523 3.5 6 – 11 17 – 10 16 – 14 0 – 0 0 – 0 6 – 4 W 2
Philadelphia 23 22 .511 4 15 – 10 8 – 12 19 – 13 0 – 0 0 – 0 4 – 6 L 2
NY Mets 21 26 .447 7 10 – 13 11 – 13 13 – 17 0 – 0 0 – 0 5 – 5 L 2
Washington 17 28 .378 10 9 – 16 8 – 12 9 – 18 0 – 0 0 – 0 5 – 5 L 2
Central
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Chi Cubs 28 20 .583 16 – 12 12 – 8 0 – 0 21 – 15 0 – 0 5 – 5 W 2
St. Louis 20 20 .500 4 11 – 11 9 – 9 0 – 0 13 – 12 0 – 0 5 – 5 L 1
Milwaukee 20 24 .455 6 9 – 12 11 – 12 0 – 0 13 – 14 0 – 0 4 – 6 L 2
Cincinnati 21 26 .447 6.5 8 – 11 13 – 15 0 – 0 15 – 18 0 – 0 5 – 5 W 1
Pittsburgh 14 30 .318 12 9 – 14 5 – 16 0 – 0 12 – 15 0 – 0 4 – 6 L 4
West
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
LA Dodgers 33 14 .702 16 – 8 17 – 6 0 – 0 0 – 0 22 – 11 6 – 4 W 1
San Diego 31 17 .646 2.5 18 – 6 13 – 11 0 – 0 0 – 0 20 – 13 8 – 2 W 7
San Francisco 23 24 .489 10 14 – 9 9 – 15 0 – 0 0 – 0 15 – 17 5 – 5 L 3
Colorado 21 25 .457 11.5 10 – 14 11 – 11 0 – 0 0 – 0 13 – 15 4 – 6 L 2
Arizona 17 31 .354 16.5 11 – 13 6 – 18 0 – 0 0 – 0 11 – 25 3 – 7 L 2