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Bob Stoops leads Sooners across Oregon at Alamo Bowl; Caleb Williams is on vacation

Williams, the freshman quarterback, met the media for the first time in his college football career after Oklahoma triumphed 47:32 over Oregon on Wednesday night. (Author: Gardener)

OregonPlease log in to read further. Enjoy unlimited items at one of our lowest prices ever. You are the owner of this item. You are authorized to edit this article. Bob Stoops leads Sooners across Oregon at Alamo Bowl; Caleb Williams Goes On Vacation Bob Stoops Leads Sooners Via Oregon To Alamo Bowl; Caleb Williams Goes On Vacation SAN ANTONIO - Caleb Williams ’roller coaster season - on and off the field - ended with wearing a celebratory cowboy hat to a winning press conference. The freshman quarterback met the media for the first time in his college football career after Oklahoma triumphed 47:32 over Oregon on Wednesday night. Williams' success in the first year leaves fans pondering his future. But will that include a return to OU, where the Alamo Bowl title could be a stepping stone into 2022? Williams said it had been a tumultuous month with Lincoln Riley lost, a major bridging session with interim coach Bob Stoops, and ongoing talks with new head coach Brent Venables and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby. When asked directly if he expected a return to OU next season, he dodged the question like being some lightning linebacker from Oregon to be with my boys and make sure all my boys that won't be here next year ... my family. I haven't been on vacation in a long time. After all of these ups and downs, I want to go on vacation and spend quality time with my family and focus on it. That's it "Williams has had many conversations" with Lebby the quarterback added that he spoke to the Sooners' new offensive coordinator ator every day in San Antonio. The presence of Venables in training and on the sidelines has not escaped Williams either. "He's got a lot of energy, a lot of passion for what he's doing," said Williams. “Oklahoma picked the right man to come in here and be the boss. We'll see how Oklahoma fares and how I make a gift to Stoops from the Alamo Bowl. In return, the coach made it a "big play" trophy. Williams led eight consecutive scoring drives against the Ducks. He worked with Cale Gundy, who called Plays for the first time in nearly three decades of coaching. While Williams was solid (21 of 27 passes, 242 yards, three touchdowns), it was the running game that was at the center of Oklahoma. Kennedy Brooks, who was named the most attacking player in the game, finished with 142 rushing yards and tied with his career with three touchdowns. Eric Gray finished things 82 yards while Marcus Major finished things 54 yards. "(The offensive line) dominated the whole game," said Brooks. They did this job this week and we knew we had to win this game and be the most physical team. That's what they did. ”Brooks started with a 16-yard touchdown run that led to the 6-0 after Gabe Brkic missed a PAT attempt. Oregon (10-4) took advantage of Camden Lewis's 24-yard field goal to make the 6 '-3 before the Sooners blew up for 24 unanswered points to take a 30-3 lead at halftime OU. Pat Fields finished with a team high of nine tackles to earn the best defensive player of the game award. “In the second half we were a little happy with the first half and the guys just didn't do their job. Maybe we didn't have any gaps in the games, we didn't get the communication. ”OU scored three direct touchdowns to take the big lead during the break. Williams hit Drake Stoops with a 6 yard pass and then hit with a 55 yard pass with Marvin Mims for 23-3. The Sooners 'two-minute offense ended with Brooks' 29-yard scoring run with 36 seconds to go. Oregon made a valiant comeback attempt, but the hole was too deep. Hey man, we've come too far to really let the bad half define us, '”said Ducks interim coach Bryan McClendon. “Ultimately, there is no game that you can get out of a 30-3 deficit. The only thing we can do is go out there and hold off one play at a time and go out and carry on. ”Oklahoma ended with a 560 yard offense (318 rushing, 242 passing). The team averaged 7.6 yards per rush, which is what most of Oregon has allowed since the 2016 season. “I'm really proud of the way these guys competed and played here today. And really the work they put in over the last month to prepare for it, ”said Stoops. “They were really invested and through some adversity they came together as a team and realized that they represent the Sooners. They played like the Sooners. * I understand and agree that registering on or using this site constitutes acceptance of their user agreement and privacy policy. I cover the University of Oklahoma football and men's basketball teams. Your notification has been saved. There was a problem saving your notification. Email notifications are only sent once a day and only when there are new matching articles. Please log in to use this feature Log in # 14 OU: 47, # 15 Oregon: 32: Check out all of our Alamo Bowl coverage here when Stoops walked on the field during pre-game warm-up there was applause from the fans. You have no notifications. Get the latest news straight to your device.

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Has Tua Tagovailoa shown the Miami Dolphins enough to build their future around him?

Miami has the resources to take a bold move at QB or continue to provide assistance to its young starter. Tagovailoa's advances could make the decision easy. (Author: Gardener)

the Miami DolphinsMIAMI - Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took the podium on November 17, days after the Miami Dolphins beat the Baltimore Ravens - his first win since the season opener. It was about two weeks after the November 2nd trading deadline; Gone were the questions about the dolphins' belief in Tagovailoa and what it had to prove. It was replaced by questions about the dance he performed after rushing to the game-defining touchdown. He smiled at the questions, his typically truncated answers replaced with a demonstration of the "smeeze" dance he allegedly learned from former Alabama teammate Najee Harris. If Tagovailoa had gripped the lectern even tighter this season, he would have left its mark, but now he looked more relaxed than he had all year round. After the Ravens victory, Miami's fans sang Tagovailoa's name. "It makes me feel good, but the fans can't go in there and play for me. He has continued to show progress and the Dolphins (7-7) are rolling, six consecutive winners entering the matchup on Monday (8:15 p.m. ET ) a, ESPN) against the New Orleans Saints. Despite the increase, Miami probably has to go to the Saints (7-7), the Tennessee Titans (10-5) and vs, a bigger one is coming this off-season - the same, that Tagovailoa has heard since arriving in Miami, Is he the guy? And finger injuries, but his efficient play has helped fuel Miami's winning streak. "He's a very instinctive person who is a very talented natural passer who has played some quality football "said ESPN analyst Louis Riddick to be nice data points for them to help them make decisions." The Dolphins are expected to have the second-most cap-spot in the NFL (more than $ 73 million) this off-season, with three first-round picks on the next two drafts - plenty of resources to take a bold move towards a new QB or build to do around Tagovailoa. Miami's interest in Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, the pro bowler with 22 active civil lawsuits of alleged sexual assault and inappropriate behavior emerging against him, was by far the most debated topic of the season and for the first two months. "We're very happy with Tua. We think he's doing well," said Grier on November 3rd thinking he can be. "Miami has been unbeaten as of the deadline and Tagovailoa has 74.5% of his passes for 1,101 Completed yards, seven touchdowns, and three interceptions in five games in the winning streak. Week 16, the completion percentage was the best in the league among quarterbacks who played four or more games in that range, with yards and touchdowns in 18th and 16th place, respectively Los Angeles Chargers Pro Bowler Justin Herbert, who was selected 6th in the 2020 draft - Tagovailoa took one selection to Miami. "Actually, it's not even worth it as an organization or a fan base," said Kimes. “The question is, how does Tua compare to your other options? Based on what I've seen, it seems pretty clear to me that what you've seen from Tua is superior to what you would get [in draft 2022] first round in 2022 but none in the top 7 picks. NFL teams don't design a first-round quarterback - or the top 10 especially - without believing that they have elite traits. For Tagovailoa those traits are accuracy and "I mean his accuracy is great," said tight end Mike Gesicki. I love playing with him and a lot of guys play because of his playing position. "In Week 16, Miami's Offensive was 23rd overall and 21st on the score (20.4 points per game), but Tagovailoa was efficient at of execution - mainly because Flores and Co-Offensive Co-ordinators George Godsey and Eric Studesville built it around its strengths. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Dolphins played the fifth highest rate in the NFL in 30% of their games Games rank Tagovailoa with 71 QBR and 74% completion rate in eighth and fifth places respectively among qualified passers-by. They also implemented more run-pass option games, similar to what he played in Alabama. "The position of playing like Drew Brees, would enable Tua to be that efficient rhythm and timing thrower, "Bowen said. Most of her offense are second level throws, and what Tua has done well this season is that he is able to quickly read the first, second, and third [reads] and perform the available throws. "You have to plan your offensive around your quarterback's throwing abilities, and this is it." The dolphins also try to circumvent some of their offensive shortcomings. Beginning Week 16, Miami ranked last in the pass block win rate on NFL Next Gen Stats, but fixed that by creating games for Tagovailoa to get rid of the ball quickly - he has the third fastest average time to get in the NFL throw at 2.51 seconds. "[This is] the way to overcome this Achilles' heel of waiting for this line of attack to develop," said Reid. Tagovailoa is one of the league's most efficient passers-by when he gets the ball out within 2.5 seconds; his 74.5 QBR in such situations is the third best in the NFL and he has a 9: 1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. However, for throws longer than 2.5 seconds, his QBR drops to 62.8 and his touchdown-to-interception ratio drops to 5-7. This is the main reason it averages 6.88 air yards per attempt, the fourth fewest among qualified passers-by. "It's pretty obvious, everyone in Miami knows that you have to do whatever you can to fix the offensive line," said Kimes, suggesting that the team address the need for a freelance agency. "By the way, there are quarterbacks who play behind bad offensive lines, but you can see that they don't have it anyway. That's not Tua - I think it's really impressive that he has improved despite his offensive line." worse from year one to year two. "If repairing the offensive line is high on Miami's to-do list this off-season, Reid said surrounding Tagovailoa with guns is second. Grier signed the wide this off-season Receiver Will Fuller on a one-year contract for $ 10.6 million and designed Tagovailoa's former college teammate Jaylen Waddle overall No. 6 in draft 2021 to redesign the wide receiver corps. Ultimately, the quartet from Tagovailoa, Fuller, Waddle played and DeVante Parker didn't snap a single snap. Miami also ranks 28th in rushing (86.6 yards per game). "I want to see them improve the parts around him before I judge him," Reid said of Tagovailoa . "I know Grier is stingy when it comes to accepting running backs early, before the third day [of draft], but I think they have to get one. Even if he got back to Alabama, Tua needed a strong running game behind him. ”When asked if he had any concerns about Tagovailoa's game, ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky mentioned health and arm strength. "I wouldn't panic at this position, but I think if [the Dolphins] did it would be why," Orlovsky said. After Orlovsky's point, Tagovailoa has made four passes that have traveled at least 30 yards (22nd place) and while efficient during the winning streak, Miami's 31-24 win in Week 15 against the New York Jets (3-11) wavered more in spite of Tagovailoa's game than because of it. He completed 16 of 27 (59%) for 196 yards and two touchdowns, but threw two costly interceptions. The second, a mid-fourth quarter pick-six, was twenty-four. But he made plays when needed, including a crowd-pleasing nine-yard run as he dropped his shoulder against Jet cornerback Michael Carter. "Tua was nowhere near his best game, but when he had to throw throws in time, he did," said Riddick. “If he had to run, he ran. And he made some throws that were great for ball contact and placement. "The question surrounding Tua is, in a high-level game, can he be able to take the game as the thrower?" said Bowen. Miami's three remaining games are against teams ranked in the top 10 expected defensive points since the Dolphins' winning streak began in Week 9. An exemplary, not only efficient victory by Tagovailoa in each of these matches would be the strongest game of his career so far. But as Kimes puts it, very few NFL teams win games because of their quarterbacks - think Kansas City (Patrick Mahomes), Tampa Bay (Tom Brady), and Green Bay (Aaron Rodgers). However, many have quarterbacks that help their team win. Tagovailoa deserves another year in her opinion to show which category it belongs in. "Right now the decision is not a difficult decision - it won't be a difficult decision until 2023, but by then you ideally have a lot more information," she said. "Tua showed you that his bottom is pretty high I think. I can say I don't think as high as Justin Herbert's, but I can also say that we don't know where he is based on the last two . " The question is, how can we improve this football team so that we can evaluate Tua and that if we decide to walk away from him, we will set up the next quarterback to be successful. "

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Betty White shares her secret for long life in a new interview

Betty White celebrates her 100th birthday on January 17th by gracing the cover of People. (Author: Gardener)

Betty WhiteBetty White celebrates her 100th birthday on January 17th by gracing the cover of People. In the cover story, published in the week of January 10th, the prolific actress reveals her secret to a long, fulfilling life. White is not a fan of Hollywood's health food trends. For lunch she also likes to eat a sandwich with peanut butter, bologna and iceberg lettuce on white bread. According to her almost ten-year-old chief assistant Kiersten Mikelas, White's mother prepared the snack for her as a child. On a more serious note, White gave some advice on how to live a joyful life: "Try every moment." She definitely adopts the motto and tells People that she "is so happy to be in such good health and so happy at this age." to feel good ". Today, White spends her time in Los Angeles doing crossword puzzles, playing card games and watching the animal documentaries "Jeopardy!" and golf tournaments. She also takes time each day to honor her late husband, Allen Ludden. "She keeps a photo of him on her bedside table and kisses him every morning," shared Mikelas. White and Ludden, her third husband, tied the knot in 1963. The two stayed married until 1981 when Ludden died of stomach cancer at the age of 63. Although White hasn't been on screen in a few years, there's no doubt that she still has her comedic charm and timing. Mikelas told People that she recently spoke to White about a possible reunion with an ex-boyfriend. "Betty said, 'Well, if he doesn't want to be exclusive, fuck him," laughed her assistant. "Then she paused, looked at me, and said, 'But don't fuck him." This is Betty, quirky, cheeky and cute all at the same time. "People also interviewed some of White's celebrity friends on her centenary birthday. Ryan Reynolds, who starred alongside White on The Proposal in 2009, also praised her timeless comedic skills. "Betty is spinning like I've never seen before, so it looks seamless," he said. Reynolds later joked that White was "a typical Capricorn" because she spends her days sleeping and her nights "men drinking and nibbling". She added, "With humor, kindness and a vodka on ice to toast the fact that she's a badass who left us all to rubble." Carol Burnett spoke about White's beloved reputation in Hollywood and recalled working on "The Carol Burnett Show". She is not a stalker. She's not a prankster. White plans to celebrate her birthday next month with a small gathering and a few animals. "I'll surround myself with as many animals as possible," she said. Fans can also join the celebration by attending a screening of the one-day theater show, Betty White: 100 Years Young, distributed by Fathom Events. The film will be showing in 900 theaters nationwide on her birthday, January 17th, Variety reported. “100 Years Young” offers a look behind the scenes of White's life as well as an insight into her relationship with her employees and her work as an animal rights activist. The film also invites viewers to White's birthday party along with guests such as Reynolds, Burnett, Tina Fey, Lin Manuel-Miranda, Morgan Freeman and White's longtime crush Robert Redford. This story first appeared on TODAY.com.

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John Madden looked at Fox's '' All Madden '' document three days before his death

John Madden spent Christmas with his family looking at the FOX Sports document "All Madden". Tom Rinaldi and Joel Santos tell how they told the story. (Author: Gardener)

John MaddenSpending Christmas with friends and family, John Madden watched FOX Sports' documentary "All Madden," a tribute described by directors Tom Rinaldi and Joel Santos as a "love letter" to the life and legacy of the Pro Football Hall of Famer . "John asked to see it," Santos USA told TODAY Sports during a joint interview with Rinaldi on Wednesday. "It was our wish to give him and his family a gift for Christmas." Three days later, Madden died at the age of 85. From NFL games to college sports scores, all the top sports news you need to know every day. Rinaldi and Santos set out 10 months ago to highlight Madden's multigenerational football career - from his Super Bowl winning coaching days to his groundbreaking broadcast career to naming one of the most popular video games ever made - in the movie, however the documentary took on a new meaning after his death. "We're really stunned by the timing and broken," said Rinaldi on Wednesday. OBIT: Hall of Fame coach and legendary NFL analyst John Madden dies aged 85 in Pontiac, Michigan for an upcoming Super Bowl broadcast on CBS. All Madden features interviews with Madden himself, his family and other great footballers, including Lawrence Taylor and Bill Belichick, both of whom are notoriously mothers of the press. But of 38 interview film requests, Rinaldi said: "We have 38 yes." "He was really blown away ... it made (Madden) its impact and the fact that so many people loved him," said Santos. Rinaldi added, "Now that John has died, I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that each of these people who have sat down with us and shared their time, thoughts and hearts are all the better feels for doing this. " . "Madden had a playful review that highlighted his ubiquitous sense of humor until his last days." He joked about the one thing he didn't like ... Dave Casper called him a cartoon character, "Santos recalled. Here are a few highlights from "All Madden," which will air at 9:00 pm on FS1 ET and 10:30 pm ET on Wednesday and on FOX at 8:00 pm ET on Thursday. Here's how to watch the John Madden documentary: “All Madden” is available for streaming and will be re-aired on TV Age 42: “I've given all I had and basically it's that simple. Santos described Madden, "watching his life" in his last days on earth, as "poetic". Madden rose to fame over decades coaching the renegade Oakland Raiders, reaching seven AFC title games and winning the Super Bowl after the 1976 season. Madden said he was retiring because coaches "can take it" when you're "responsible for everything". You live and die with no answer. "He said Virginia, his 62-year-old wife, noted that he was" no longer enjoying life. "Virginia Madden said in the film that they were the couple's two children - Joe and Michael - took off school for announcing: "He was crying. It wasn't what he wanted to do, but I think he knew he had to do it. I said to him, 'John, we don't need football. NFL fans celebrate John Madden's life with clips from his legendary broadcasting career. The documentary focused on Madden the father, as well as the well-known soccer coach, broadcaster and video game influencer. “I love my father. I was known as John Madden's son all my life. That was a pretty cool thing, "Mike Madden said to his father." All of your careers have been Hall of Fame ... even as your role as a father. You're a Hall of Fame guy. "After interviewing Virginia, Mike, and Joe Madden, Santos said it was clear the film wasn't going to be about" famous people telling you how good Madden was, "though There are plenty of them too. It got "All Madden" on everyone's mind, not just soccer fans. Rinaldi told USA TODAY Sports that Madden asked his children and grandchildren what they loved about the documentary after it aired for Christmas Mike Madden would be sure to ask his dad his thoughts too. "He loved it," said Rinaldi. Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor let Santos and Rinaldi know that he doesn't interview anyone - not New York Giants and not even for the NFL. "I don't do any of this (expletive)," Taylor said loudly to Santos. But then he said, 'Oh, this is for John Madden? Santos said Taylor was "hard to track" but he admitted a really convincing interview Documentary, Taylor recalled his time on the All Madden team. He said Madden's support motivated him to play hard on days when he didn't have to. "(When) I know John Madden is running the game, I have to give him what he gives me," Taylor said during the film. Former Oakland Raiders trainer John Madden points to a bust of himself during his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio August 5, 2006 Madden even got Bill Belichick to speak. Rinaldi said they were originally scheduled for a 20 minute interview but Belichick exceeded 20 minutes, which is unusual for the Patriots coach. Santos said, "His answers have this personal joy for you when he talks about John and their relationship." At the end of the interview, Santos and Rinaldi asked all participants: "What is your message for Joh n?" Belichick replied, "I love you. I love everything you've done for football. Sports coverage without Madden is hard to imagine, but he was initially" not interested "in it, his agent Sandy revealed Monday. In fact, Madden said Monday TV reporter referred to as “hairstyles.” He thought Howard Cosell was “Bologna.” “I didn't mean to broadcast ... I didn't think what they were doing was the right thing to do, so I wasn't a fan of them,” Madden said, but he did admitted that returning to everyday activities after winning the Super Bowl "was too slow for me. Madden said he agreed to give the air a shot after initially declining CBS's offer to broadcast six or seven games. He was up-and-coming with Bob Costas for an "audition" at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1979 to, as Costas put it, "see if John was good enough to be somewhere on their list." " "I've never been in a cubicle in my life," Madden recalled. I thought what should I do with this guy? "" I just remember how much fun it was, "Costas said, joking that" it was better than great for (Madden) and reasonably fine with me. "Madden traveled cross-country and covered the NFL, but he didn't earn frequent flyer miles by air. He's claustrophobic," said Michael Madden. Madden had a panic attack while training from Tampa and vowed never to fly again. "I'll either get up, pull the door open and jump out, or I'll take it out. I said," If we land and I'm still alive, I would never get on a plane again, and I didn't. I want to a bus, "he recalled. All Madden "will air Wednesday, December 29th at 9:00 pm ET and 10:30 pm ET on FS1 and Thursday, December 30th at 8:00 pm ET / PT on FOX. NFL Network will air Thursday , will air “All Madden.” This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: It's “Poetic”: John Madden Saw Fox 'All Madden' document three days before his death

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Rams turned to another page, overcoming Matthew Stafford's mistake

Beating the Vikings despite three interceptions gives the Rams a boost as they prepare for the Baltimore Ravens this weekend. (Author: Gardener)

RamsQuarterback Matthew Stafford had one of his worst days at the Rams and one of his best on Sunday. Stafford threw three interceptions, his most in one game that season, and had a pass rating of 46.8, the lowest in a game in nine years. But the Rams beat the Minnesota Vikings 30:23, showing that they cannot live and die and win with Stafford while losing the battle for sales. I hope I don't have to, ”said Stafford on Wednesday after the Rams (11-4) started training for Sunday's game against the Ravens (8-7) in Baltimore. Before the Vikings game, the Rams were 10-0 if they had a passer rating of 95 or higher, 0-4 if they were out of air, and 10-0 if they were equal or better if they lost the ball, 0-4, if giveaways are outnumbered. In the three defeats of the Rams in a row, Stafford had five interceptions and one fumble, each of which led to the opponent's touchdown. But that was when the Rams were too dependent on the Stafford to Cooper Kupp passport connection before the running game with Sony Michel began, the defense was in place and the specialty teams started playing games. "Games like last week are playing," said Stafford. "I was happy that we were resilient as a team and that we ran the ball well enough to take the win." This time, three Stafford turnovers resulted in 10 points. The groundbreaking games were all Rams: Travin Howards intercepting a Kirk Cousins ​​pass in the end zone and Brandon Powell's punt return for a touchdown. "If you have sales, you should lose the game," said Rams linebacker Von Miller. “It just shows you the type of specialty teams we use, the type of defense we play and how resilient the offense is. If the Rams, who lost 4-0 in December, face Baltimore, which went 0-4, the odds could be high. Stafford will be working against a defense who gives up an NFL worst 8.2 yards per pass attempt. The Rams will play against a team with a turnover of minus 10 (fourth worst in the league). Potential NFC playoff opponents Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Arizona and Philadelphia are all in the top 10 in yards-per-pass defense. Green Bay, Dallas, Tampa Bay, and Arizona are the top 10 in terms of revenue difference. Rams coach Sean McVay saw another reason why one of Stafford's worst games was one of his best: what the quarterback did after losing the ball this time. In the fourth quarter, he completed six of eight passes for 77 yards and one touchdown (a 144.3 rating), which led the Rams to 10 points. "There are a lot of guys who would have collapsed in situations like this," McVay said on Monday. I think his teammates picked him up a bit and then he played the games when he had to. ”For Stafford, who is trying to make an 'important step' in the Passing Yards (49,448) on the 12th Rams by beating the Vikings. "I expect to play a lot better than last weekend and I hope I can do that in Baltimore." Powell was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after his 61-yard punt return for a touchdown helped the Rams beat the Vikings. It was the second punt-return touchdown in the NFL that season. ... Safety Taylor Rapp (shoulder) and defensive lineman Greg Gaines (hand) were out of practice on Wednesday, and center Brian Allen (knee) was limited in number according to the Rams' injury report. ... Raven quarterback Lamar Jackson (ankle) was restricted in training after missing two games with an ankle injury. Coach John Harbaugh said he was "hopeful" that the Pro Bowler will play on Sunday but replacement Tyler Huntley will be ready. ... The Rams put running back Raymond Calais on the COVID-19 reserve list; he remains on casualty reserve. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth was the only player from the Rams' active roster on the COVID list on Wednesday. He went on the list on Christmas Day and missed the Vikings game.

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Why did LeBron James make this mistaken observation of the Warriors?

SFGATE Warriors columnist Alex Siquig theorizes about LeBron James' latest weird ... (Author: Gardener)

LeBron JamesAs you may have seen, LeBron James recently provoked the ire of Golden State Warriors fans, along with pedants, scolding, and objective fact checkers. The following sentences, delivered after another frustrating loss for the Lakers: “Nobody will feel sorry for our record. Nobody is going to feel sorry for the boys because everyone, except I think, like Golden State and Phoenix, all have the boys. ”Quite a quick, startlingly untrue comment claiming that the Warriors have removed their entire roster amid the recent COVID-19 Set up ascent to storm through the ranks of the NBA. James was thoroughly pillaged for his mistake; in fact it was "darkened" again and again in the linguistic usage at the time. So how is it that James could make such an obvious, unenforced mistake? Aside from his advanced age of nearly 37, there is only one logical answer: He didn't. This is LeBron James we're talking about folks! He knows exactly how many warriors have been quarantined due to the league's health and safety protocols, what their biggest fears are, and what their career field goals percentage is. A basketball genius, LeBron is not sloppy when it comes to branding, narration, and spin. For the most part, he was a competent, mega-successful, popular floor general who lived his best life in the spotlight. He is completely right to complain about the disturbing, possibly avoidable effect that COVID has on the season, but is also wise if he is embedding a small passive-aggressive snipe on his old rivals in the process. As the fictional handsome villain Don Draper famously said, "If you don't like what they're saying, pretend the warriors are all sane." Do the Warriors miss boys? At the time the LeBron Burning comments fell, Golden State was without the services of starters Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins, as well as Damion Lee and Moses Moody, with Andre Iguodala in and out of the rotation since he was a little older than me and one knee had problems. You can even point out, if you go for violence, that this latest run back to the top without the amazing and heartwarming talents of Klay Thompson, the sharp-shooting cool guy who loves to take boat trips with his dog, took place. (James Wiseman, who fits anywhere in this roster, isn't there either.) Fortunately, Wiggins and Poole have since been released to return, but Draymond Green will, as befits such a team player and sticky man, take her place in isolation. The only way to read LeBron's comment benevolently is if he sees Steph Curry as the only Warriors player who actually counts, and by that metric, yes, OK, he's right. Curry was more or less durable, so the warriors must be considered "healthy" by then. But again, LeBron's comment doesn't exactly focus on truth or accuracy or that noise. This is LeBron James moving the Overton Championship Window. He's done it before. Do you remember 2015 when he called the Warriors the healthiest team in league history? Whatever it's worth, I'm generally Pro-LeBron James, despite some occasional questionable behaviors, like posting one of those adorable COVID-skeptical Spider-Man memes or being accepted on Space Jam: A New Legacy “To play along. Far too many Warriors fans seemed busy tearing down LeBron just to get Steph up like this was ancient Rome and you can't admire Pompey Magnus and Julius Caesar at the same time. I am describing the overly sensitive urge to push back in response to the confusing but sometimes noisy cohort of people who genuinely believe that Steph Curry is an overrated systems player and not a league-changing revolutionary. Personally, I am not forced to rush to the post to talk garbage about LeBron, and I try not to be a total spoilsport when it comes to things like this - it is professional sport, not a civil war in Yemen, after all. Basically: James can be silly, but let's not declare DEFCON every time he has a slight malfunction. After all that has been said, my answer to LeBron's slip is 1) who cares, and 2) I secretly care a little, if for no other reason than at least want to understand. The Warriors are blessed with togetherness, chemistry, and a pursuit of victories this season. On 101, where people say a little less "hella", the atmosphere wasn't that great. I believe 98% of the world predicted the Lakers' impending mediocrity when it emerged that their master plan was to trade several proven LeBron system players for Russell Westbrook while Alex Caruso took his hairline and defensive enthusiasm to Chicago and holes with him geriatric millennials like Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza and Rajon Rondo. James is in the process of streamlining a dumpster fire. The Los Angeles Lakers have been irrationally constructed since their first game, a deflationary loss to the… Golden State Warriors. If it were another franchise that was blessed with the Team of Destiny vibe while James' own squad battled to shut down Pandora's chicken-coming home-to-roost box, maybe it wouldn't feel so cosmically unfair, but there they are again. the Golden State Warriors and their joy and their percentage of the profits. 4 of the Best Dog Leashes for Running Poor Yankee Candle Reviews Could Predict Waves of Covid-19 The new reality is that the Warriors might actually be back, like in real life. For one guy in particular, LeBron James, this is downright horrific. Only the San Antonio Spurs defeated the King as many times as Steve Kerr's Warriors, and the Spurs were established giant slayers long before Steph Curry was given permission by Don Nelson to shred his conscience on the pitch. James may underestimate these warriors, he may not. Maybe he's nibbling on facing them off-season and beating the paper tigers like he did in the first play-in game last season, or maybe he prays to the playoff seeding gods every night for one Avoiding a possible high-profile loss that subjects him to the discourse again. I did not have a chance to ask James his opinion on this matter. Whether or not James fears the insurgent warriors is immaterial. Much more likely is something more prose and relatable: the warriors annoy him. The applause for having played “right”. LeBron's rivalry with Golden State has never felt particularly friendly, which is understandable. While the Warriors were at the top of the full squad, LeBron put his team 2-1 ahead in the final, with Matthew Dellavedova and Timofey Mozgov as his most trusted teammates. And as much as the phrase “living rent-free in my head” bothers me personally, the Warriors, if not exactly these Warriors, actually live rent-free in LeBron James' head. They hang in his darkest thoughts, go through his fridge, piss on his toilet seat, steal the best wine, let the cats escape by leaving the front door open. The Bay Area dynasty, against which he rushed for four years in its mid-prime, should be dead and buried this time around, not rise from the dead and be the focus of the conversation. I'm not sure there is a metaphor that can properly express the frustration of losing to the same team in the final in three out of four attempts, with a sweep and a gentleman sweep included in those losses. James may be the second best NBA player of all time, but how could he not consider the weight of three additional titles - titles that would have bolstered his GOAT case would have been the Golden State Warriors of all people. just stayed where they belonged, in the NBA's doomed basement? At least he witnessed the shame of the 3-1 collapse of Golden State. He really had to maintain a saint's temperament not to feel lingering bitterness about being caught in this temporal loop of defeat only to escape, win a pandemic championship, and then get on the first bus back into purgatory. With this intertwined history in mind, it is extremely logical to understand why James might be tempted to take some glamor from the Warriors' recent triumphs. Pretty much everyone does it from time to time, from grumpy retired players to shocked rival coaches to James Harden after every playoff loss. LeBron is the rare player with the pedigree and stature to avoid passive-aggressive sniping as much as possible. He's so indisputably great that he doesn't necessarily have to rate anyone negatively. He is no longer considered the best player in the world. He is very deep behind enemy lines (age 30). The future, an incredibly scary place in the best of times, has never been so uncertain. In this phase when the years are fading, there is no more time for missed opportunities and missed opportunities. This is the frustrating dance of a man chasing his final big moments. Circle Back: Why Did LeBron James Call The Warriors Sane When They Clearly Aren't? James understands, like his avowed enemy Donald Trump, that it is a step in power to put something demonstrably untrue into the airwaves. In fact, it could go as far as to say that the secret behind his comment was an immediate cause the Warriors lost their hearts in the first half of their game against the Denver Nuggets. But it's ok like that. It means the Warriors are back, and if the Lakers ever make it by the end of the season, we may be presented with one last exciting, controversial playoff series against our old, dangerous friend. Or maybe LeBron just pronounced himself wrong.

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After another tough feat, the Patriots' apparently stingy defense seeks answers

The Patriots have allowed 60 points in their last two games after the hot start of the season for the defense. (Author: Gardener)

PatriotsC. Jackson (right) had some problems with Bills recipient Stefon Diggs. When asked about his reaction to the film about Sunday's loss to the Bills, Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson came up with a word. Jackson allowed his second touchdown of the season on Sunday, a 12-yard score from star receiver Stefon Diggs in third place in the second quarter. But the game he probably most wants back came on Buffalo's last drive of the game. Bill's quarterback Josh Allen aimed at Diggs again, only this time the ball sailed over his head. Jackson was in the perfect position to secure the interception, but the ball bounced off his hands. "I left a lot of pieces out there," said Jackson. “I've had a few opportunities to do plays and I haven't. Later on that drive, on a fourth and a 1, with the Patriots trailing by five and needing a stop, Allen scrambled away from linebacker Jamie Collins and then past Jackson for the first down. Three games later, on a third and 10, Allen Diggs tossed a shovel pass, who held Jackson off and fought for the extra distance to convert another critical first down. Jackson was by no means the main culprit in New England's 33-21 defeat. The defensive mistakes were everywhere as Allen and the Bills Offensive racked up 428 yards (314 through the air, 114 on the ground) in 75 games. Despite missing two receivers, Buffalo battled a defense that ranks in the league's top five in several key categories. Wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, who had a total of seven receptions for 38 yards and stepping into the game, appeared for a team high of 125 yards on 11 catches. The Patriots were supposed to have an advantage against Buffalo's makeshift offensive line, but the unit protected Allen well, giving him an average of 3.34 seconds to throw and preventing any sacks. On extended dropbacks where he had at least four seconds to throw, Allen 7 went for 12 (58.3 percent) for 100 yards and a touchdown. Safety Adrian Phillips admitted that Allen had too much time on the defense. "If you play good quarterbacks and quarterbacks that feel comfortable sitting in their pockets and can take off and run whenever they want, you have to somehow get the ball out of their hands," said security guard Adrian Phillips. Get it to throw before the receiver breaks off its route. After strengthening the team in their seven-game winning streak, New England defense has not reached its usual standard lately. "On the defense we know we haven't played the way we normally play," said Phillips. We didn't have the mojo like we usually have. ”Allen may have blown the Patriots, but in Week 15 the Colts slashed them for 226 yards, including 170 from MVP contestant Jonathan Taylor. In the last two games, the Patriots have allowed their opponents to convert third place 44.4 percent of the time, well above their season average of 35.8 percent. Volin: Did Patriots quarterback Mac Jones hit the dreaded rookie wall? According to Pro Football Focus, outside linebacker Matthew Judon has recorded only one quarterback push with no sacks, quarterback hits or tackles in the last two games. The Patriots have two more games to go to get back on track before the competition in the playoffs mounts. Next up are the Jacksonville Jaguars, bottom 27 in the league by total yards (4,620) and last in passing touchdowns (9). But the level of competition will surely increase in the playoffs. Possible wildcard opponents for the Patriots are the Bills, who have shown that they are capable of beating the Patriots; the Cincinnati Bengals with star quarterback Joe Burrow; and the Tennessee Titans, who recently welcomed Wide Receiver A. In the meantime, however, there is an urgent need for the defense to step up. "It's only that point in the season where you can ask me a question and I can tell you a lot of things that we have to do [and] how that should work, but if we don't, it isn't really "Will be important," said Devin McCourty. “At the beginning of the season we talked about how we could get better. We talked about improving every day. Now two games are still missing. We don't have time to gradually improve. ”“ We know what to do, ”added Jackson. “We just have to do it. Stop talking about it and just do it. "

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Raiders' Carl Nassib remains a powerful NFL trailblazer months after its appearance

Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib came out gay in June. Months later, his story remains one of the most important of the year. (Author: Gardener)

Carl NassibIt was in June when the Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib became the first active player to come out gay. Since then, all these months later, three important things have happened: He donated $ 100,000 to The Trevor Project, a nonprofit that supports LGBTQ + people through crisis intervention, suicide prevention, and resources for mental health issues. It was a powerful move that probably saved someone's life. The NFL doubled Nassib's donation, and the project says that in the days following Nassib's announcement, traffic on its website rose 350 percent. From NFL games to college sports scores, all the top sports news you need to know every day. "The Trevor Project has long had a strong presence in our community," Ryan O'Callaghan, who played in the NFL for Kansas City and New England from 2006-2011, told NFL.com. You can look up the statistics for depression and thoughts of suicide and actually suicide within the LGBTQ community, and they are way too high, especially when compared to the average American. The Trevor Project was there for a lot of people. More: Fan at Raiders game to openly support gay DE Carl Nassib: "It hit a nerve when he came out" Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib (94) pushes Cleveland Browns quarterback Nick Mullens (9) for a pass during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, December 20, 2021, in Cleveland. Second, Nassib has undoubtedly made it easier for the next NFL player or player in other sports to come out. Nassib has followed a path embarked on by pioneers like Michael Sam and made his own groundbreaking mark. Third, and perhaps the most important, Nassib played football after he announced. In this case, silence is good. It's one of the greatest indicators of progress in the NFL. While we are digesting the mostly horrific year of tragedy and loss, Nassib's story is one of the most important because it normalized being gay in the NFL, which would have been a ridiculous thought until recently. Obviously, when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, it was a significant and historic achievement. Decades later, it is Robinson's true legacy to see players of color throughout the sport doing what they loved without controversy. Gamers' blackness is still a source of pride for them (there is no such thing as a color-blind society), but it's not the most important factor. They are primarily baseball players. The same goes for Nassib. Being gay is probably not the only thing that defines him. Being a soccer player partially does it. Nassib obviously takes pride in being gay, but the fact that it's barely mentioned now is an accomplishment in itself. This is Nassib's greatest gift to football, sports, and the country. All the months after he came out, the progress has been remarkable, for the silence was noisy. "Someone like Carl who comes out normalizes being gay for a lot of teens," said O'Callaghan. “There are a lot of kids out there to point at and say, 'Hey, he's gay too. I bet you wouldn't make fun of him. ' It goes far. "It will go on for a long time. This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: Raiders' Carl Nassib remains a powerful NFL trailblazer months after its release

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Steelers upset Browns to keep playoff hopes alive, Chiefs defeat Bengals in shootout

Pete Prisco reveals his tips for week 17, including the Ravens Stun the Rams (Author: Gardener)

BrownsWe only have two weeks of the regular season left, which means it's crunch time for NFL teams and those of us who do NFL picks. Last week didn't go as planned for me as I drove 8-8 ATS, 11-5 Straight Up and 2-4 with my best bets as part of the Pick Six podcast. That brings my season records to 125-112-3 ATS, 148-91-1 straight and 51-48 with my best bets. I need to close better than just being solid for the past two weeks. Let's go into the playoffs with two outstanding weeks. Can I get the triple crown with winning weeks in all three areas? Let's just hope COVID doesn't brutalize the picks as it has for the past few weeks. If the Eagles win their last two, they'll be in the playoffs. That makes this a huge game for them. The Eagles wiped Washington out two weeks ago with their stormy attack that will also be decisive in this game. The Washington defense is in trouble and Jalen Hurts will take advantage of that. Visit SportsLine now to see which teams are winning and covering the spread, all from a proven computer model to a 134-96 reel at NFL picks. The Saints were crippled by COVID, so they had almost no chance against Miami on Monday night. But they should bring a lot of guys back here against a Carolina team that isn't doing very well. Carolina's offensive line is bad while the Saints front is good. That's a combination that will result in a Saints win with a couple of big takeaways. Tom Brady has to lick his chops as he prepares to face this Jets Defense that is bad and has been hit hard by COVID. The Bucs defeated Carolina on the street last week and they're going to do the same to the Jets here. The Bucs Pass Rush will own the line of scrimmage and force many short fields. The Dolphins are playing in a short week after a Monday win, while the Titans are rested after a Thursday. The Titans played much better on offense with A. J. Brown against the 49ers, but this Miami defense plays well. Look for a low score game that the Titans win. Ryan Tannehill takes a win against his former team. The Jaguars are a complete disaster, and now they are playing back-to-back street games against a Bill Belichick team that have suffered a home defeat. The Raiders almost have to have it to stay alive in the playoff pursuit, while the Colts can complete a playoff spot with a win. The Colts could do without quarterback Carson Wentz because of COVID, which would make Sam Ehlinger a starter. The Colts have played really well over the past two weeks and used their running game with Jonathan Taylor so maybe they can get over it. This is the game of the week. The Bengals ride high after defeating the Ravens last week while the Chiefs are the top seeds in the AFC. This game features two teams that will make big changes after the season. I think the bears defense is the best unit in the game, and it will play that way too. The Giants can't protect everyone who plays quarterback. The Bills now occupy first place in the AFC East after beating the Patriots last week. Look for Josh Allen and his gang for another great day on the offensive. The Texans impressed last week when they beat the Chargers, but this is a tough journey for a team that plays for free. The 49ers need this game in the worst possible way. I think Davis Mills is going to have some problems this week as the 49ers' pass frenzy keeps him very busy. The 49ers are recovering from the loss to the Titans - even if Trey Lance is for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. Both teams suffered heavy losses last week and must now regroup with their playoff lives at stake. The Chargers were bad at losing to the Texans, but I think they're recovering here. Denver will run the ball on the Chargers poor defense but I don't think it's enough. Crippled by injury and COVID, the Ravens barely look like the same team we saw seven weeks ago. But they're getting guys back this week, and one should be Lamar Jackson as a quarterback. The Rams play back-to-back street games and Matt Stafford has had some problems lately. Look for the Ravens fighting for their playoff lives here and causing a slight surprise. This is one of the dog games of the week with two non-playoff teams. The Lions are playing a second straight street game while Seattle is at home after losing to the Bears on Sunday. The Lions should have Jared Goff back which will help them stay in this game. The Cardinals have lost three times in a row but are still in the playoffs. You have to play better. Dallas seemed to be putting things right against Washington last week, especially on the offensive. The cowboys will use their running game to push the cardinals around in this game. The Vikings still have slight playoff hopes while the Packers try to secure the number 1. Aaron Rodgers will lead Green Bay to victory in a multi-goal game as both defenses are busy. Those two still have playoff hopes, but the loser is dead. The Browns are going to get a lot of people off the COVID list again, which will help. The Steelers looked horrible last week when they lost to the Chiefs, but when they're back home to a rival they'll play a lot better. The Steelers will find a way to win this one.

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Rick Gosselin's Week 16 NFL Ranking

The NFC holds four of the top 5 spots in this week's poll and is owned by the NFC, where the Packers, Cowboys, Buccaneers, and Rams all have teams that can win a Super Bowl (Author: Gardener)

Rick Gosselin'sEditor's Note: Rick Gosselin is his 49th season reporting the NFL in 2021. He has covered the Lions, Giants, Chiefs and Cowboys and 38 Super Bowls throughout his career. Gosselin is also one of 12 voters for the AP 32, the weekly NFL team rankings run by the Associated Press. 1. Green Bay. How important is home advantage to the Packers? Green Bay is the only NFL team to be unbeaten 7-0 at home this season. The 12-3 Packers close their home schedule against the Vikings this weekend. Green Bay has won its last 12 regular season games at Lambeau. The last team to beat the Packers? The Cowboys are the highest scoring team in the NFL, largely thanks to their division. Dallas feasted on NFC East. The 11-4 Cowboys are the only team in the NFL that is still unbeaten 5-0 in the division game and outperforming their NFC East enemies 186-81 this season. Dallas has beaten 56 points on Washington, 44 points on the Giants and 41 on the Eagles this season. When NFC East coached Hall of Famers Joe Gibbs, Jimmy Johnson, and Bill Parcells in the 1990s, it was the best league in football. The 11-4 Chiefs end their season trying to cement the top seed in the AFC with a few street games, and travel to Cincinnati and Denver. This is good news for Pro Bowl WR Tyreek Hill. Seven of his nine touchdown receptions this season have hit the streets, as have two of his three 100-yard games. 4. Tampa Bay. The 11-4 Buccaneers and Chiefs are the only two teams that are unbeaten in the interconference game. Kansas City finished their game plan against the NFC with a 5-0 record. Tampa Bay are 4-0 and will close their interconferences with the New York Jets this weekend. Tom Brady is 29-7 all-time against the Jets with 57 TD passes and only 15 interceptions. Cooper Kupp has a season that will last forever. He leads the NFL in catches (132), yards (1,734) and touchdowns (14). He has received at least 90 yards in 11 consecutive games and 14 of his 15 games this season. He takes a series of four consecutive 100-yard games in competition on Sunday in Baltimore and leads the NFL with 10 100-yard games. The only game he hit less than 92 yards was against Arizona in Week 4, when he caught a season low of five passes for 64 yards. Jonathan Taylor took 374 yards in the last two games of the season to become the ninth 2,000-yard rusher in NFL history. He is capable of big numbers after storming 185 yards against the Bills, 172 yards against the Jets and 170 yards against the Patriots this season. Taylor plays a series of three consecutive 100-yard games in this weekend's home game against the Raiders. His 9-6 Colts then round off the season in Jacksonville. Taylor leads the NFL with nine 100-yard rushing games this season. The 9-6 Bills have their first chance to win consecutive AFC East titles since 1990-91. The Bills and Patriots are both 9-6, but Buffalo holds the tie-breaker. The Bills can close the deal with a win - and the schedule favors them. The last two games are at home and Buffalo is heavily favored against both the Falcons and the Jets. The Buccaneers lead the NFL with 12 individual 100-yard reception games and Tom Brady has split the fortune among four recipients: Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski. The 10-5 Titans have half as many 100-yard games as the Bucs, but Ryan Tannehill did an equally good job as Brady distributed the fortune around his reception corps. Four different recipients have combined for these six 100-yard days for the Titans - A. J. Brown, Marcus Johnson, Julio Jones, and Nick Westbrook. The 9-6 Patriots have made the playoffs 17 times in the Bill Belichick era. If they don't catch the Buffalo Bills at AFC East, the Patriots will do something they have never done under Belichick - qualify as a wildcard for the playoffs. The other 17 playoff games all came off as AFC East champions. The last time the Patriots made the postseason wild card was in 1998 under Pete Carroll. The only other time Belichick wildcarded a team into the playoffs was with the Browns in 1994. Joe Burrow is believed to have received Baltimore's Pro Bowl vote as quarterback. In two games that season, Burrow insisted 941 yards and seven touchdowns against Baltimore, allowing the 9-6 Bengals to take control of AFC North at the defending champion's expense. Burrow was the first quarterback to be in a game for 500 yards this season when he threw 525 yards against Baltimore last weekend - after setting fire to the Ravens for 416 yards in the first meeting. Josh Jacobs was one of only nine backs to storm over 1,000 yards in 2020. But he won't rejoin that brotherhood this season. Not with just 677 yards over 15 weeks. Jacobs rushed 70 yards in one game against the Giants in week eight, and then 80 yards in one game against Dallas in week 11. Jacobs finally stormed to his first 100-yard game against Denver on the 15th weekend, winning 129 yards with 27 carries to keep playoff hopes for the 8-7 Raiders alive. The Eagles have won three in a row and five of the last six to return to the playoff pursuit at 8-7. Philadelphia did it on defense, keeping five of their last six opponents under 20 points. The Eagles did not allow a 300-yard passer, 100-yard receiver, or 100-yard rusher during this stretch. Philadelphia has climbed from 15th in defense to fifth in the NFL in the past six weeks. 10-5 Despite a three-game losing streak that pushed the Cardinals wild, Arizona is next to Buffalo, San Francisco and Tampa this week. one of only four teams that are in the top 10 on the offensive and defensive bay. The 10-5 Cardinals are also one of only two teams that are in the top 10 offensively, both in a rush and in the passing game with the Cowboys. To defend with Joey Bosa, the Chargers need more of their pass frenzy than they get. Los Angeles ranks 21st in the NFL with 31 sacks. The Chargers have been pegged to a sack or less in seven games that season. They've only got one sack each in their last two games against Kansas City and Houston and both lost 8-7, putting their playoff hopes on a ventilator. Bosa has 9½ bags but needs help. Josh Johnson has thrown passes in just three games and only started once this NFL season - yet he has a 300-yard pass for two different teams. He passed for 317 yards and three touchdowns for the Jets in a November game against the Colts from the bench, then for 304 yards and two TDs in a starting assignment for the Ravens against the Bengals last weekend. Interestingly, Johnson, 35, played his college football for Jim Harbaugh in San Diego and delivered on an NFL field for John Harbaugh last weekend. The only team hotter than the Dolphins in the NFL right now is the Chiefs. Kansas City has won eight in a row and Miami's winning streak is seven. That has allowed the Dolphins to beat a 1-7 start and push them into the playoff competition at 8-7. If Miami makes the playoffs, the Dolphins deserve it. In the last two games they face the leaders of the AFC South, Tennessee, and the long-time archenemy of the AFC East, New England. Deebo Samuel ranks third in yards from scrimmage in the NFL behind RB Johnathan Taylor of the Colts and WR Cooper Kupp of the Rams. Samuel is both a running back and a wide receiver. He has played 301 yards and seven touchdowns and caught 70 passes for 1,247 yards and five scores. He was chosen as a wide receiver for his first Pro Bowl. He has only thrown 20 touchdown passes, the fewest in a full season since 2010. Roethlisberger, 39, has passed less than 160 yards in each of his last two starts, losing to Tennessee and Kansas City that put the 7th playoff hopes 7-1 Steelers. Pittsburgh ends with division games against Cleveland and Baltimore, two more playoff bubble teams. RB Dalvin Cook was voted for the NFC in the Pro Bowl - but it's the two starts he's missed recently that have shaken Minnesota's playoff hopes. In his last four games, he stormed 205 yards in one win over Pittsburgh and 89 more in another win over Chicago. But injuries kept him out of the games against the Lions and Rams, and the Vikings both lost 7-8. He leads the NFC at 1,067 yards, so any absence creates a huge void in the Minnesota offensive. QB Matt Ryan went out of his way to keep a 7-8 team from Atlanta in the playoff chase without much offensive star power. In his last four games with 125 passes, he has thrown no interception. His only catch in the last five weeks came from a Hail Mary at the end of the first half against Jacksonville. But he threw four at Green Bay last weekend and now has eight in his last five starts ... and the Browns are quickly fading out of the AFC playoff race with a 7-8 record. As with the Steelers and Browns, Denver's playoff hopes hang by a thread with just seven wins over the past two weekends. And the Broncos have possibly the biggest job of the three with end-of-season games against the 8-7 Chargers and 11-4 Chiefs. He missed last week's loss to Las Vegas and remains on the concussion log this week. Like last week: 22 Ian Book was the 60th distinct quarterback to start an NFL game for the Saints on Monday night this season. It's the first time since 2010 that the NFL has to go to the bench to start 60 different quarterbacks in one season. Book was the fourth quarterback to start for the 7-7 Saints that season, after Jameis Winston, Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill. The offensive line should be a strength for Washington this season. But center Chase Roullier and right tackle Sam Cosmi have missed eight games and Pro Bowl Guard Brandon Scherff missed six games. He was sacked five times in one game from Denver and Tampa Bay and four times from Dallas and Green Bay. Last Week: 24 DE Robert Quinn was one of the few bright spots of this lost season for the 5-10 Bears. Quinn leads NFC in sacks at 17, only half a sack behind NFL leader T. J. Watt with two games to play. The Bears rank fifth in the NFL with 42 sacks and have a top 10 defense. But an offense that can't happen (32nd in the NFL) and can't score (28th in points) has let the Bears down. Seattle opened the year with Chris Carson, but his season lasted only four games before sustaining a neck injury. But an abdominal injury plus a positive Covid test handed the position over to Rashad Penny in December. He has stormed over 130 yards in two of his three starts for the 5-10 Seahawks. The pass frenzy has become an issue for the 5-10 panthers, especially at home. Carolina hasn't had a sack at home since November 21st. In the two home games since then, the Falcons and Buccaneers both kept their quarterbacks upright. The Panthers have failed to fire the quarterback in four games this season, and three of them have come home - all lost. The Jets have allowed the league's worst 449 points this season - 173 more than they have scored. The Patriots hit 54 on the Jets, both Buffalo and Indianapolis rang the doorbell at 40, and Cincinnati, Miami, New Orleans and Philadelphia hit 30 - and all of those point blasts against the 4-11 Jets have occurred in the past 10 weeks. Trevor Lawrence was drafted first in the 2021 NFL draft, Zach Wilson second, Trey Lance third, Justin Fields eleventh and Mac Jones 15th. Davis Mills was the 67th player selected overall and the eighth quarterback. But he has the most 300-yard passes in this draft class of three. Lawrence and Jones each have two, while Wilson, Lance, and Fields all have none. Rex Burkhead gave the Houston Texans their first 100-yard rushing game last weekend, as did rookie Michael Carter for the New York Jets. This leaves the Giants as the only team in the NFL this season without a single 100-yard rushing game - and that with Saquon Barkley, who is in their backcourt. The Lions have shown glimmers of hope this 2-12-1 season. Everyone was in the playoff competition at the time. The Lions also lost by field goal or less to Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland and Minnesota. First year coach Dan Campbell established a running game - or at least before D'Andre Swift went down with a shoulder injury in week 11. He came out of consecutive 130 yard rushing games. He's not Barry Sanders, but Swift is giving the Lions a chance to play the ball forward. As precise as both his Florida and Ohio State teams were, the teams coached by Urban Meyer had a lot of practice at kick-off. You'd think that would be one of the Jaguars' strengths in Meyer's debut season in the NFL. There have been eight touchdown kickoffs that season, and the Jaguars have been killed for three of them. The Jaguars have each allowed a touchdown kick-off in the past two weeks. Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week : 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last Week: 32 Last week: 32

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