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home : sports : college/pro November 27, 2020

Silent Night: Virus putting college basketball traditions on hold
There is a tradition at Taylor University, a small NAIA school in Indiana, where the entire crowd sits in complete silence until the men’s basketball team scores its 10th point of the game and sets off a wild celebration.

Thanks to the scourge of COVID-19, there will be no Silent Night game this year. Only silence.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020


Playoff rankings: 'Bama, ND, Clemson, Ohio St.; Cincinnati 7
Alabama was No. 1 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season Tuesday night, followed by Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State.

Texas A&M was fifth and Florida sixth, giving the Southeastern Conference three of the top six teams. Alabama is No. 1 in the CFP rankings for a record 19th time.

Unbeaten Cincinnati from the American Athletic Conference at seventh has the best ranking for a non-Power Five team in the seven-year history of the selection committee's top 25.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Pittsburgh Steelers have found ways to slow down Ravens' Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson's energy is palpable.

It pulses every time the NFL's reigning Most Valuable Player has the ball in his hands, a kinetic energy fueled by the Baltimore quarterback's unique skillset, one most teams in the league have struggled to grasp let alone stop.

Yet something happens when Jackson faces the Pittsburgh Steelers. The electricity that comes so easily against others vanishes. Jackson's surehandedness too. He gave it away three times in Pittsburgh last season as Baltimore relied on the defense and Justin Tucker's ever-reliable right leg to survive in overtime.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Big Ten: What to look for in Week Six
This isn't a game of the week in the traditional sense, but it's sure to draw lots of eyeballs. Penn State is 0-5 for the first time, the quarterback situation is murky and coach James Franklin doesn't appear to have any answers. The state of Michigan's program is summed up by the fact it needed three overtimes to beat Rutgers and improve to 2-3. Jim Harbaugh has one more year left on his contract. The question is whether he'll be at Michigan after next month.
Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Goff throws for 376 yards, 3 TDs in Rams' 27-24 win vs Bucs
Jared Goff likes how the Los Angeles Rams are shaping up.

"We can be as good as we want to be, honestly," the fifth-year quarterback said after Monday night's 27-24 victory over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "We've got it all in front of us. Everything is there for us to take."

Goff threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns, and Matt Gay kicked a 40-yard field goal with 2:36 remaining to lift the Rams back into first place in the NFC West.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

New Cubs prez Hoyer's goal: Retool, but stay competitive
While the window is just opening on Jed Hoyer's time as the Chicago Cubs' president of baseball operations, it's closing on the Cubs' championship-winning core.

The Cubs gave Hoyer a five-year contract on Monday that runs through the 2025 season, one week after his friend and mentor Theo Epstein stepped down as team president. The 46-year-old Hoyer was promoted from general manager to replace Epstein, who oversaw drought-busting championships with both Boston and Chicago.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Lions stumble into Thanksgiving game after abysmal defeat
As poorly as the Detroit Lions have played this season, this might have been a new low.

That meant some predictable questions for coach Matt Patricia.

The Lions were shut out 20-0 Sunday by a Carolina team that was missing its quarterback and star running back. It was the first time Detroit went scoreless since 2009. The Lions managed only 10 first downs and 185 total yards, utterly failing to take advantage of a weakened opponent.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Blackhawks hire Coyne Schofield as development coach
Kendall Coyne Schofield figures there will be a time in her new role as player development coach that a Chicago Blackhawks prospect will razz her for preaching one thing and doing the opposite on the ice herself.

She's not worried about how she'll be received as a woman in a men's professional sport.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Uncharacteristic mistakes result in Packers' collapse against Colts
The Green Bay Packers have succeeded this season by protecting leads, taking care of the football and controlling the clock.

They failed to do any of those things Sunday.

Green Bay committed four turnovers and squandered a two-touchdown halftime advantage in a 34-31 overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts.  The defeat caused the Packers (7-3) to fall behind New Orleans (8-2) in the race for the NFC's best record.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Early mistakes by Vikings too costly to overcome versus Cowboys
The Minnesota Vikings stumbled through the first half, an uneven and undisciplined performance that was a little unlucky, too.

As well as they played against the Dallas Cowboys after that, those early mistakes made their margin for error too small to overcome.

The same might ultimately be said about their 2020 season. With their 31-28 defeat, the Vikings (4-6) squandered a prime opportunity to pull within one game of the final wild-card spot in the NFC.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Steelers dominate skidding Jaguars 27-3 to remain unbeaten
Pittsburgh's latest victory was picture perfect.

The Steelers defense gathered in the end zone after each turnover — four times in all — and posed for the cameras. Some of the celebrations were planned, some candid, most cheesy..

All of them well-deserved.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Bama now unanimous Number 1; Northwestern to eleven
Alabama is now a unanimous No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll, and Northwestern moved up to No. 11 on Sunday for its best ranking in 24 years.

For the second straight week, the top eight teams in the poll held their spots. The Crimson Tide received all 62 first-place votes after beating Kentucky 63-3, making Alabama the first unanimous No. 1 this season and the first team to do it in the regular season since 2018.

Notre Dame was No. 2, followed by Ohio State, Clemson and Texas A&M. Florida was No. 6, and No. 7 Cincinnati and No. 8 BYU also held their spots.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Bears seek answers for offense as they stumble into bye
The Chicago Bears switched quarterbacks early in the season and changed who calls plays last week, all in an effort to spark the one of the NFL's worst offenses.

So far, nothing's worked.

They can't pass, can't run, can't block. Above all else, they're not getting the touchdowns they need from their anemic offense.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Raptors not allowed to play in Canada, head to Tampa
The Toronto Raptors will start the NBA season next month in Tampa, Florida, because of travel restrictions by the Canadian government stemming from the pandemic.

The Raptors had been looking at other sites for several weeks, including Sunrise, Florida, the home of the NHL's Florida Panthers. But with NBA training camp less than two weeks away and a season starting Dec. 22, the Raptors were pressed to make a final decision.

Instead, they will play home games at Amalie Arena, home of the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Late interception helps Minnesota beat Purdue 34-31
The end of this pass-and-catch clinic put on by Purdue and Minnesota boiled down to an alleged push — followed by a game-sealing interception.

As the Boilermakers seethed, the weary Gophers were relieved after a game both teams won't soon forget.

Josh Aune picked off Jack Plummer with 44 seconds left at the Minnesota 13-yard line after a disputed penalty on Purdue gave the beleaguered Gophers defense a big lift and preserved a 34-31 victory over the Boilermakers on Friday night.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Drew Brees to miss at least 3 games
The Saints placed quarterback Drew Brees on injured reserve Friday, meaning he'll miss at least three games with rib injuries.

Brees was unable to finish last Sunday's game after absorbing a heavy hit on a sack attempt by 287-pound San Francisco defensive tackle Kentavius Street, who was penalized for roughing on the play.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Murray, Cardinals get shut down by Seahawks
Kyler Murray was crunched on Arizona's second drive of the game. A rude hello from Seattle's L.J. Collier and Carlos Dunlap that left Murray with a sore right shoulder.

After not being touched by the Seahawks in their first meeting, Murray quickly knew this time was going to be different.

"They definitely played for me in certain situations but like I said, we put up 21, had a chance to win the game at the end, but throughout the game, we started slow and kept shooting ourselves in the foot," Murray said.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Colts versus Packers headlines packed NFL schedule
It's difficult to sneak up on anybody in the NFL, given the attention the sport gets everywhere.

Yet the Indianapolis Colts have been something of a hidden secret at 6-3. If you're surprised to see them tied with Tennessee atop the AFC South, it's excusable.

After beating the Titans, should they handle one of the NFL's elite teams, the Packers, on Sunday, well, evaluations of the Colts will change from outsider to contender.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Bulls draft FSU's Williams at No. 4
Arturas Karnisovas understood how important it was to set the tone by getting his first draft pick for the Chicago Bulls right as he tries to set them on a championship course.

He also hopes they're never in this position again.

The Bulls drafted versatile Florida State forward Patrick Williams with the No. 4 pick on Wednesday night, the next step for a rebuilding team with a new front office.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Illini, Huskers both looking to build off 1st wins
A couple teams trying to establish some mojo meet when Nebraska hosts Illinois on Saturday.

Both programs are in building mode, and both are coming off their first wins.

"Guys in this building can't win one and relax," Nebraska coach Scott Frost said. "They have to let that elevate them and go back out on the field and and work that much harder to get even better and keep moving this ball down the field."

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Nick Foles could be available despite hip injury
Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy on Tuesday indicated a desire to keep his offense's play-calling in the hands of coordinator Bill Lazor even after their lowest yardage output in almost three years during a 19-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Now he just needs to determine who can actually execute those plays on the field.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Theo Epstein steps down after nine seasons leading Cubs
Listening in on fans' conversations during his walks home from Wrigley Field, Theo Epstein could sense their excitement as the Chicago Cubs set themselves up to capture that long-awaited World Series championship.

It was as if they were all in it together.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Wait is over: Delayed NBA draft finally makes debut today
There was no dancing on the court after a March Madness victory. No bounding onto the stage in a spiffy suit to meet the commissioner in June.

The coronavirus pandemic wiped out the traditional end of a college career and the usual start of a pro one. Players such as Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball and James Wiseman should be about a month into their rookie seasons by now, but their plans were put on hold.

After multiple delays, the NBA draft finally arrives Wednesday. Like everyone else in 2020, this year's class of players has tried to make the best of their difficult circumstances.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Vikings overcome Patterson return, beat Bears 19-13
Kirk Cousins will take a victory any day of the week. That he finally got one on a Monday night didn't seem to matter.

Cousins threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns, and the Minnesota Vikings overcame a 104-yard kickoff return by Chicago's Cordarrelle Patterson to beat the Bears 19-13.

Cousins won for the first time in 10 career Monday night starts. He hit Adam Thielen with a 6-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to put Minnesota ahead by the final margin, and the Vikings (4-5) held on for their third straight win. They also snapped a four-game losing streak against Chicago (5-5).

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Chris Paul to Suns in blockbuster trade
Chris Paul holds a $44 million option for the 2021-22 season, a massive payday that may have kept some teams from trying to trade for the All-Star point guard.

The Phoenix Suns weren't deterred.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

March Madness in one place? NCAA looking at Indianapolis
The University of Maryland-Baltimore County pulled off one of the greatest upsets in American sports history at the 2018 NCAA Tournament, knocking off Virginia to become the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1.

The madness kept coming that March from Pittsburgh to San Diego. Top-ranked Xavier lost in the second round and so did No. 2 seeds North Carolina and Cincinnati. Two third-seeded teams were bounced early, as were three No. 4 seeds during an opening weekend that epitomized the beloved spectacle the NCAA Tournament has become.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

McCourt's late field goal sends Illinois past Rutgers
When it was clear the game would be coming down to his kicker, Lovie Smith had no doubt the third time would be the charm for James McCourt in the waning moments of a 10-point comeback.

McCourt overcame two long misses in the fourth quarter to hit a 47-yard field goal with three seconds left to lift Illinois past Rutgers 23-20 for the Illini's first win of the season.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Fading Bears look to stop skid vs. resurgent Vikings
The Chicago Bears are piling up losses, looking more like a team fading from contention in the NFC North than one poised to make a run at the division.

Despite the recent defeats, they insist they are not a beaten team.

The Bears get a chance to prove it in primetime and stop a three-game losing streak when they host the resurgent Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Cardinals-Bills thriller highlights NFL Sunday roundup
Kyler Murray completed a stunning 43-yard desperation pass to DeAndre Hopkins with 2 seconds left to lift the Arizona Cardinals to a 32-30 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

The catch was as sensational as the throw.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Iowa drubs Minnesota 35-7 for 6th straight series win
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Iowa's defense clamped down hard on Minnesota all night, coming awfully close to its first shutout in the series since 2009.
Saturday, November 14, 2020

Nagy hands play calls to coordinator
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy is handing off play-calling duties, after all.

Nagy said Friday he's giving that job to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor in an effort to lift an offense that ranks among the NFL's worst.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Marlins hire Kim Ng as MLB's first female GM
MIAMI (AP) — Kim Ng started her Major League Baseball career as an intern, and three decades later she's still on the rise while shattering ceilings.
Saturday, November 14, 2020

Ramsey vs. Metcalf could be big showdown
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Count Brandon Staley among those excited to see Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf face off on Sunday.
Saturday, November 14, 2020

Perfect Steelers facing COVID-19 concerns ahead of Bengals visit
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Cam Heyward can't figure out how the math works. The Pittsburgh Steelers keep winning games. And yet the veteran defensive tackle keeps hearing noise about how unimpressively the NFL's last unbeaten team is doing it.
Saturday, November 14, 2020

Packers' Lewis ready to face his former team, Jaguars, for first time

(AP) — Green Bay Packers tight end Marcedes Lewis says it took him "about a good year" to get over the way his 12-season tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars ended.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Dosunmu, Garza, Butler named preseason All-Americans
(AP) — The coronavirus pandemic initially clouded Luka Garza's decision whether to stay at Iowa or leave for the NBA. The uncertainty of the 2020-21 college basketball season and NBA draft made a tough choice even tougher.
Friday, November 13, 2020

Colts beat Titans 34-17, grab AFC South lead
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Coaches and quarterbacks change for the Indianapolis Colts. What remains the same is they keep beating Tennessee in its own building.
Friday, November 13, 2020

Big Ten: A rough start for trio of storied programs
(AP) — When Nebraska hosts Penn State this weekend, it will be a matchup between two of the most storied programs in the Big Ten — neither of which has played like it so far in 2020.
Friday, November 13, 2020

Mizzou basketball eyeing odd season
There are two ways to look at Missouri's basketball program as it heads into the new season.

One way is to look at the Tigers' experience: They have 88.2% of their minutes back, their top eight players when it comes to minutes per game and the most veteran — and arguably deepest — team not only in the SEC but perhaps the country.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Cleveland's Bieber, Cincinnati's Bauer win Cy Young Awards
Shane Bieber and Trevor Bauer love to talk pitching. They bonded as teammates with the Cleveland Indians, and stayed in touch after Bauer was traded to the Cincinnati Reds last year.

Bieber got a text from Bauer before this season started. The right-handers had the same Las Vegas odds for the Cy Young Award.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Alabama-LSU, Texas A&M-Tennessee games postponed
No. 1 Alabama at LSU and No. 5 Texas A&M at Tennessee will not be played Saturday because of COVID-19 issues, raising the number of Southeastern Conference games postponed this week to three.

The SEC said Tuesday that the Aggies and Volunteers will be rescheduled for Dec. 12, but the Crimson Tide's game against the defending national champion Tigers is in danger of not being played at all after COVID-19 cases in LSU's program.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

No. 8 Illini return with high expectations behind star duo
They're back.

The return of stars Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn has brought a sense of optimism and high expectations to an Illinois program that saw a magical season abruptly halted by the pandemic in March.

Dosunmu, a dynamic 6-5 junior, and Cockburn, a 7-foot sophomore, both tested the NBA draft waters before deciding to return for a shot at a Big Ten title if not a national championship. It was a boost Illinois fans needed over the long summer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Zags edge Baylor for top spot on preseason NCAA poll
Just about the only thing Gonzaga has left to accomplish under Mark Few is win a national championship.

The 'Zags scratched another first off the list Monday: They will open the season at No. 1.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Patriots storm back to beat Jets 30-27, end four-game skid
Cam Newton and the New England Patriots appeared headed to a fifth straight loss — this one against the winless New York Jets, of all teams.

Then came the fourth quarter, and potential embarrassment turned into big-time relief.

Nick Folk kicked a 51-yard field goal as time expired to win it 30-27 on Monday night after Newton rallied the Patriots from a 10-point deficit to avoid the franchise's first five-game skid since 1995.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Bears' offense struggles again in 24-17 loss to Titans

 The Chicago Bears can score really well in the fourth quarter. 

 

Dominate even. 

 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Elliott drives from back of the field to first NASCAR title

The new face of NASCAR circled Phoenix Raceway for a celebratory lap of his finest achievement. Chase Elliott, NASCAR's most popular driver, was now a Cup champion, too. 

He came upon teammate Jimmie Johnson, who banged doors with Elliott. Then the seven-time champion, in his final race, gave Elliott a fist bump. 


Monday, November 9, 2020

Sunday NFL recap

Drew Brees threw for 222 yards and four touchdowns, regaining the NFL career TD pass lead and lifting the New Orleans Saints into first place in the NFC South with a 38-3 rout of Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday night.

 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Red Sox bring back Alex Cora as manager
BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox are bringing back Alex Cora, rehiring the manager that led them to the 2018 World Series title less than a year after the team let him go because of his role in the Houston Astros' cheating scandal.
Saturday, November 7, 2020

Steelers offense is at ease operating on the fly
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers spent the first half against Baltimore stuck in neutral. James Conner couldn't get anything going on the ground. Ben Roethlisberger couldn't find any rhythm. And the NFL's last unbeaten team couldn't have looked more listless offensively.
Saturday, November 7, 2020

Bears, Titans both looking to snap 2-game skids
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans are not happy. Their sizzling start during which they won their first five games is a distant memory with the fresh pain of back-to-back losses for the first time since December.
Saturday, November 7, 2020

As Cook thrives, Vikings turn strong-arm strategy to Lions
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have rarely shied from a ground-oriented approach on offense in seven seasons under coach Mike Zimmer, never more apparent than in their last game.
Saturday, November 7, 2020

DeChambeau's big swing is the talk of the Masters
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The scene was straight out of the World Long Drive Championship spectacle. Bryson DeChambeau would consider that a compliment.
Saturday, November 7, 2020

NASCAR title path now clear with Harvick out of way
AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Kevin Harvick was a sure bet to make the NASCAR finale and likely close out one of the most dominant seasons of the decade.
Friday, November 6, 2020

Gophers, Illini square off looking for first win of season
(AP) — Minnesota has a golden opportunity to notch its first win of the season on Saturday when it travels to Illinois to face a team decimated by COVID-19 protocols.
Friday, November 6, 2020

Rodgers leads Pack past undermanned 49ers, 34-17
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers took advantage of the undermanned San Francisco 49ers rather than sympathizing with the team that dominated his Green Bay Packers twice last season.
Friday, November 6, 2020

NBA players approve plan to start season on Dec. 22
(AP) — The National Basketball Players Association voted Thursday to support the notion of starting this coming season on Dec. 22, the date that the league has been targeting in its talks about how and when to get teams back on the floor for a planned 72-game season.
Friday, November 6, 2020

In virus era, bubbles proving to be effective tool
The NBA wants to be back in December. The NHL is aiming at games resuming in January. Baseball's spring training may begin in February, like normal.

They almost certainly won't be in bubbles if and when any or all of that happens.

But many of the lessons learned from being in some form of a bubble environment — where the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball each crowned a champion after finding a way to finish their seasons in most unusual circumstances — could apply to whatever the new definition of normal is for those and other sports.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Trubisky injured versus Saints
Mitchell Trubisky's brief appearance last week was a painful one for the Chicago Bears' former starting quarterback.

Trubisky injured his right shoulder when he was tackled running the ball on his lone snap in an overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints, coach Matt Nagy said Wednesday.

In his first appearance since he was replaced by Nick Foles during the Week 3 win at Atlanta, Trubisky came on in the first quarter on Sunday. He landed awkwardly on his throwing shoulder, Nagy said, when he was tackled by linebacker Alex Anzalone and jogged off the field.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Lions put Stafford on Reserve COVID-19 list
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, although his wife Kelly said on social media he tested negative.

It was the second straight day the team gave a player the designation. The Reserve/COVID-19 list was created for players who either test positive or have been in close contact with an infected person.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

College hoops scheduling still chaotic as season nears
The NCAA's announcement of a college basketball start date led to huge scramble as schools tried to fill out schedules altered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead of getting easier with time, the task of building schedules has become more difficult as the season's start date nears.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Crew chiefs feel the heat to be perfect in NASCAR finale
The NASCAR championship was in clear reach when Denny Hamlin made his final pit stop in last year's title-deciding finale. With everything on the line, his crew chief went with an aggressive adjustment aimed at gaining one last burst of speed.

Chris Gabehart called for a large, thick patch of tape across the front right side of the No. 11 Toyota. It was a gamble Gabehart was willing to take, believing "you've got to dance with the fire to beat these guys."

He got burned.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Wisconsin-Purdue game now off amid Badgers' outbreak
Wisconsin has canceled Saturday's home game against Purdue, the second straight game the 10th-ranked Badgers have called off as COVID-19 cases within their team continue to rise.

School officials announced Tuesday that three more players and two additional staffers have tested positive since Saturday, bringing the program's total number of active cases to 27. That includes 15 players and 12 staffers.

All team-related activities for Wisconsin remain paused indefinitely.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Arenado, Gordon each win 8th Gold Glove
Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado won his eighth consecutive Gold Glove and right fielder Mookie Betts snared his fifth in a row on Tuesday, his first with the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers after four with Boston.

Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon also won his eighth Gold Glove — and fourth straight — in his final major league season.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Brady, Succop lift Buccaneers over Giants, 25-23
Tom Brady has felt uncomfortable against the New York Giants before. Most notably in a couple of Super Bowl losses.

 He recognized Monday night's 25-23 victory by his Tampa Bay Buccaneers wasn't very artistic. At least, for the star quarterback, it had a better ending.

"We obviously didn't play the way we're capable of, but it was good to get a win," Brady said.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Betts, deGrom in the hunt for historic NL awards
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts could become the second player to win the MVP award in each league, and New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom is in the running for his third consecutive NL Cy Young Award.

The competition, of course, is tough.

Betts, Freddie Freeman and Manny Machado are the top finishers for NL MVP in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. DeGrom, Trevor Bauer and Yu Darvish are the finalists in the NL Cy Young race.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

SEC fines Florida's Mullen $25K
Florida coach Dan Mullen did more to inflame than extinguish a tense situation against Missouri, drawing a public reprimand and a hefty fine.

The Southeastern Conference docked Mullen $25,000 on Monday for his role in a benches-clearing brawl against the Tigers on Saturday night.

The league also issued half-game suspensions for Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey, offensive lineman Dylan Spencer and defensive lineman Markell Utsey.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

NFL scores around the league Sunday
The Pittsburgh Steelers rallied behind Ben Roethlisberger to remain the lone unbeaten team in the NFL, beating error-prone Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens 28-24 on Sunday in a duel for first place in the AFC North.

Roethlisberger threw a pair of second-half touchdown passes to bring Pittsburgh (7-0) back from a 10-point halftime deficit. After completing only four passes for 24 yards in the first half, the 38-year-old finished 21 for 32 for 182 yards.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Will Lutz makes field goal in OT, Saints beat Bears 26-23
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints kept their cool in another tight spot and again came away with a narrow victory.

Brees threw two touchdown passes to regain the NFL's career lead from Tom Brady, Wil Lutz nailed a 35-yard field goal in overtime and New Orleans beat Chicago 26-23 on Sunday.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Maryland shocks Minnesota 45-44 in OT on missed conversion
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — A back-and-forth game that featured comebacks by both teams, a dozen touchdowns and more than 1,100 yards in offense seemed destined to reach a second overtime before ending abruptly on — of all things — a botched conversion kick.
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Lester, Kluber, Hand boost free agent total to 175 players
NEW YORK (AP) — Jon Lester, Corey Kluber and Brad Hand were among 15 more major leaguers who became free agents Friday when teams declined their 2021 options, many the victims of budget cuts following a regular season without fans due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Saints look to stay on roll, Bears seek bounce-back win
CHICAGO (AP) — Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints come into Chicago rolling along with three straight wins as they try to build on yet another unbeaten October. They're hitting their stride, steadying themselves after a shaky start.
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Vikings' slide dulls rematch with Packers
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — When the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings faced off in the season's opening weekend, it was billed as a showdown between NFC North's two top contenders.
Saturday, October 31, 2020

White Sox hire Tony La Russa as manager
CHICAGO (AP) — Tony La Russa didn't envision returning to the dugout when he stood at the podium in Cooperstown six years ago and took his place alongside baseball's greats.
Friday, October 30, 2020

Ryan, Falcons avenge earlier loss to Panthers, 25-17
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — This time, the Atlanta Falcons finished.

Matt Ryan threw for 281 yards and ran for a touchdown, Younghoe Koo made four field goals and the Atlanta Falcons held on to beat the Carolina Panthers 25-17 on Thursday night behind a strong defensive performance to avoid a series season sweep.

Friday, October 30, 2020

NCAA weekend preview
(AP) — The potential Big Ten game of the year lost some luster last week.
Friday, October 30, 2020

Fitting finale: Dodgers win title, Turner tests positive
No large dogpile, just a small huddle instead; no champagne; and a mask on nearly every face — the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated their first World Series title since 1988 in a manner no one could have imagined prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

They started the party without Justin Turner, too, after their red-headed star received word of a positive COVID-19 test in the middle of their clinching victory.

Turner was removed from Los Angeles' 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6 on Tuesday night after registering Major League Baseball's first positive test in 59 days. He wasn't on the field initially as the Dodgers enjoyed the spoils of a title earned during a most unusual season.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Big Ten pondering what happens when outbreak hits QBs
Wisconsin may be facing the type of nightmare scenario that coaches feared as soon as the coronavirus pandemic arrived.

What happens if an outbreak hits a team's quarterback room?

Wisconsin isn't commenting on the COVID-19 testing results of individual players, but CBS Sports first reported that quarterback Graham Mertz has tested positive a second time. Under Big Ten protocols, that means Mertz can't play for at least 21 days.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Browns, Bills, Bears winning while being outscored
Cleveland, Buffalo and Chicago have piled up wins early this season, even if they haven't come in dominating fashion.

Those three teams are all 5-2 after seven games despite being outscored by the opposition. The Browns have been outscored by 21 points thanks to blowout losses to Pittsburgh and Baltimore, while the Bills have been outscored by four points and the Bears by two.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Rays, Dodgers grateful to have fans at neutral-site Series
Individual whistles echo during quieter moments, and a single fan with enough persistence can leave an impression with a chant during World Series games with the smallest crowds in more than 100 years.

Because of the coronavirus, this year's Fall Classic is being held at a neutral site. A team from each coast is playing in Texas, drawing fans from Los Angeles and Tampa, Florida — along with curious Rangers supporters seeing the home squad's new retractable-roof stadium for the first time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Rams dominate on defense, beat Bears 24-10
The Rams could tell Leonard Floyd was playing with an uncommon fury against his old team, and the rest of the Los Angeles defense followed his lead.

By the time the Rams were done with the Chicago Bears on Monday night, Floyd had two sacks and the game ball — and Los Angeles had a decisive, energizing victory over a fellow NFC contender.

Josh Reynolds and Gerald Everett caught touchdown passes from Jared Goff, and the Rams won a matchup of dominant defenses, beating the Bears 24-10.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Wisconsin QB may have tested postive for COVID
Wisconsin says nobody who played in the season opener Friday night tested positive for COVID-19 or reported having any symptoms beforehand, amid weekend reports that quarterback Graham Mertz has tested positive.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Wisconsin State Journal  reported Mertz would be taking a second test to determine whether his first test was a false positive. The Journal-Sentinel reported Mertz's positive test came Saturday, one day after the Badgers' 45-7 home victory over Illinois.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

American runner loses appeal to race with prosthetic legs
An American runner who uses two prosthetic legs lost an appeal Monday in his bid to try to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a decision by the governing body of track and field that had ruled Blake Leeper gets a competitive advantage against able-bodied runners because of the added height his prostheses give him.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Court seeks 15-month sentence in Ohio St. threat
A California man's anger over his sports teams' setbacks went far beyond the average fan's emotions and must be punished with time in prison, the government said ahead of the man's sentencing in federal court.

Daniel Rippy, of Livermore, California, used Facebook Messenger to threaten a shooting at Ohio State University during its annual game against Michigan, and vowed to hurt players on the football team and then-head coach Urban Meyer, authorities said.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

NASCAR's Cup playoff at misty Texas speedway put on hold another day
The NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Texas was pushed back yet another day without drivers completing any more laps Monday.

Eight hours after the race was scheduled to resume on a misty day with temperatures in the low 40s Fahrenheit (single digits Celsius), NASCAR postponed it and decided to try again Tuesday.

Similar weather conditions were in the forecast for Tuesday and into Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

No. 17 Hoosiers now moving beyond upset to take another big step
Coach Tom Allen and the No. 17 Indiana Hoosiers celebrated wildly after Saturday's monumental upset of Penn State.

On Sunday, they were rewarded with their highest ranking since November 1993.

By Monday, everyone was back to business in Bloomington, looking to take the next step in the program's steady, years-long progression: staying in the Top 25.

"We've got a lot of guys who went through the course of last season where we won enough games to become nationally recognized and we didn't stay there very long. That's a fact," Allen said. Monday. "So a big win, no question about it, a historic win. But it's in the past."

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Kershaw stops steal of home, hands Dodgers 3-2 Series lead
As much as Clayton Kershaw has dominated hitters throughout a glittering career, he has not silenced those who cite his lack of baseball's ultimate accomplishment.

With a gritty performance, plus one particular delivery home that will long be remembered, he hushed the skeptics and moved the Los Angeles Dodgers within a victory of their first World Series title since 1988.

"He's a phenomenal pitcher on the biggest stage," reliever Blake Treinen said after Kershaw beat the Tampa Bay Rays for the second time in six days, a 4-2 win Sunday night that gave the Dodgers a 3-2 Series lead. "I think a lot of credit goes to what he's been able to do in this World Series for us."

Monday, October 26, 2020

Sunday NFL recap
Zane Gonzalez made a 48-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in overtime to give the Arizona Cardinals a 37-34 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night in a thriller that featured 1,091 total yards, huge plays, crucial mistakes and — finally — a winner.
Monday, October 26, 2020

Mertz, No. 14 Badgers rout Illinois in Big Ten opener
Wisconsin's Graham Mertz gave a star-making performance on the opening night of the Big Ten's pandemic-delayed season.

Mertz threw five touchdown passes to match the Wisconsin record in a commanding first career start and the No. 14 Badgers beat Illinois 45-7 on Friday night.

"The kid's definitely smooth," said tight end Jake Ferguson, who caught seven passes for 72 yards and three touchdowns. "He was smiling cheek to cheek after the first touchdown. He knew, and everybody in that huddle knew, we were rolling. It's just awesome to see that out of him."

Saturday, October 24, 2020

NBA eyeing Dec. 22 as start to new season
The NBA may be back before Christmas and fans could return to games at some point next season, if one plan considered by the league's board of governors becomes reality.

The board is targeting a Dec. 22 start to what would be a season of 70 to 72 games, with the NBA Finals ending in June again as has been in the case for many years, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person, who spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because no plan has been finalized, said the possibility of fans being at games would hinge on how a particular market is faring against the coronavirus at that time.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Buehler leads Dodgers over Rays 6-2 for 2-1 Series lead
Walker Buehler pitched in the World Series like the Los Angeles Dodgers' aces of old.

Think Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela and Orel Hershiser, all leaders of title runs.

Now Buehler has the Dodgers two wins from the championship that has eluded them since 1988.

Buehler struck out 10 over six innings in a pulsating performance, and Los Angeles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 on Friday night for a 2-1 World Series lead.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Carson Wentz rallies Eagles to 22-21 win over Giants
Hurried, harassed and hit repeatedly, Carson Wentz completed the comeback this time.

Wentz threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Boston Scott with 40 seconds remaining and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame an 11-point deficit in the final seven minutes to beat the New York Giants 22-21 on Thursday night.

Wentz led a depleted offense to 22 fourth-quarter points only to miss a 2-point conversion at the end in a 30-28 loss to Baltimore on Sunday.

He wouldn't be denied against the Giants.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Bears, Rams hunting for respect
The Chicago Bears don't get much respect for a 5-1 team. They can only win ugly, or so the conventional wisdom goes, and their luck is supposedly going to end when they meet an elite opponent.

The Los Angeles Rams (4-2) looked like an elite opponent until last week, when an unsightly loss to San Francisco led to a re-evaluation of just how good this team is as well.

Friday, October 23, 2020

No. 18 Michigan faces difficult opener at Minnesota
Michigan hasn't left Minnesota with a loss since 1977.

This time, the only fans in the seats will be family members of the players, drastically reducing the disadvantage for the visitors.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Penn State's Pat Chambers resigns
Pat Chambers resigned as Penn State's basketball coach Wednesday following an internal investigation by the school into allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Chambers, 49, had been at Penn State for nine years and was coming off the team's best season under his directions.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Lowe homers twice, Rays hold off Dodgers to even Series
Brandon Lowe kept finding his name near the top of Tampa Bay's lineup even as his offensive struggles continued to mount this postseason.
After Lowe finally busted out in Game 2 of the World Series, the Rays and Dodgers are tied deep in the heart of Texas.
"Sometimes guys, you've got to allow them to go through some tough patches," manager Kevin Cash said. "He will go quiet for a little while, but he can get as hot as anybody in baseball."

Lowe hit two home runs to the opposite field, Tampa Bay's bullpen held on late and the Rays beat Los Angeles 6-4 on Wednesday night.

"Yeah, those felt really good," said Lowe, a 2019 All-Star who led the Rays with 14 homers and 37 RBIs this season. "It felt great to kind of get back and contribute to the team. They've been doing so well for the past month — it felt really good to get back and actually start doing stuff again."

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Illinois seeks to stun No. 14 Badgers for 2nd straight season
Illinois at No. 14 Wisconsin, Friday at 8 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network).

Line: Wisconsin by 19 1/2.

Series record: Wisconsin 42-37-7

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Kershaw, Dodgers top Rays 8-3 in Series opener
Clayton Kershaw, Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts — the Los Angeles Dodgers stars all shined.

Nothing out of the ordinary there, even if the setting was surreal.

Baseball's best team during the pandemic-shortened season showed off its many talents in the first World Series game played at a neutral site, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 8-3 Tuesday night.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Clippers hire Lue as new coach
The Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday confirmed their hiring of Tyronn Lue to replace Doc Rivers as coach.

Lue spent last season as an assistant on Rivers' staff. Rivers coached the Clippers for the last seven seasons and is now guiding the Philadelphia 76ers.

The team will introduce Lue virtually on Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Tagovailoa replaces Fitzpatrick as Miami's starting QB
Tua Tagovailoa now has a role to match his jersey number. He's the Miami Dolphins' No. 1 quarterback.

The former Alabama star will make his first NFL start next week for the Miami Dolphins, who are turning to him to replace Ryan Fitzpatrick, a person familiar with the team's decision said Tuesday.

The person confirmed the decision to The Associated Press on condition on anonymity because the Dolphins hadn't made an announcement.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Steelers' Spillane primed to replace injured Bush
Robert Spillane doesn't have Devin Bush's pedigree. He doesn't have Bush's speed or game experience either.

That doesn't mean, however, that Spillane or the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers believe he can't fill in capably while Bush recovers from the torn ACL in his left knee he sustained in last Sunday's win over Cleveland, an injury that ended the 2019 first-round pick's season after just five games.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

NFL teams are going for two at record-setting rate in '20
Never before have NFL teams gone for 2-point conversions as often as they have this season, even if the decision sometimes has backfired.

The 58 attempts through six weeks are the most at this juncture of the season since the NFL adopted the 2-point conversion in 1994.

Going for 2 was a big part of the story line from this past weekend.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Tucker still mum on QB as Michigan St. opener nears
Mel Tucker's success in his first season as Michigan State's coach may be determined in large part by who is playing quarterback.

Right now, there's no indication of who that's going to be.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Chiefs, Edwards-Helaire run over Bills, 26-17
Patrick Mahomes didn't mind taking a back seat to rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the Kansas City Chiefs' running attack.

With the Buffalo Bills working hard to limit deep throws by the strong-armed Mahomes, he gladly kept handing off the ball, and Kansas City beat Buffalo 26-17 on Monday night in a game that was originally scheduled for last Thursday.

"You know my nature, I want to throw it deep every time. We want to go down and throw these long touchdowns," said Mahomes, the 2018 MVP. "But if teams are going to play us like this, we've got to show we can run the football."

Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

It's almost 'go time' for Big Ten; Buckeyes favored again
The wait is almost over for the Big Ten.

The ACC, Big 12 and SEC have been playing anywhere from three to five weeks amid the pandemic, and all the players and coaches around the Big Ten could do is watch.

"Most of it's been torture, just not being able to play games," Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. "There's been a part of it I've actually enjoyed, but for the most part it's been hard and I just want to be playing, get these guys on the field and get rolling."

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Murray has happy homecoming, Cards cruise past Cowboys
Maybe Kyler Murray will lose a game on the home field of the Dallas Cowboys one of these days.

It wasn't going to be on a night when the Arizona quarterback watched the star running back of his hometown team have another night of fumble-itis.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Foles, stingy defense lead Bears past Panthers 23-16
Bears coach Matt Nagy has found plenty to criticize about his team this season, even though Chicago keeps winning.

On Sunday, Nagy went out of his way to give credit where it was due.

"Hey, our defense played lights out today," Nagy said. "They played awesome against a good offense."

Monday, October 19, 2020

Bellinger HR sends Dodgers to 3rd World Series in 4 years
The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated as Cody Bellinger's drive soared deep into the Texas night. Bellinger flung his bat off to the side and strutted up the first-base line.

All the way to the World Series.

Bellinger hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh inning, and the Dodgers advanced to the Fall Classic for the third time in four years by topping the Atlanta Braves 4-3 in Game 7 of the NL Championship Series on Sunday.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Sunday NFL roundup
Tom Brady outplayed Aaron Rodgers in a rare meeting between the Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.

It was the 43-year-old Brady's first signature victory since signing with the Bucs (4-2) after a historic 20-year run with the New England Patriots, which included nine NFL title game appearances and six championships.

Monday, October 19, 2020

College coaches still scrambling to fill hoops schedules
(AP) — College coaches endured a tense time waiting for the NCAA to green light the 2020-21 basketball season.
Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Bears are winning without style
(AP) — The Chicago Bears are off to their best start in eight years. They're just not racking up style points to go with those victories.
Saturday, October 17, 2020

IBCA advocates for return of high school basketball
CHRISTIAN COUNTY — It was July 29 when the Illinois High School Association announced their plans to shuffle the high school sports schedule. That schedule moved football, boys soccer, and volleyball to a spring season, while adding a summer season for the 2020-2021 school year.
Saturday, October 17, 2020

Running back Mike Davis off to fast start as Panthers face Bears
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers running back Mike Davis said the key to his success this season has been that he "runs angry."
Friday, October 16, 2020

Springer, Altuve homer to keep Astros alive in ALCS
SAN DIEGO (AP) — José Altuve and the Houston Astros are eager to match the 2004 Boston Red Sox in the history books.
Thursday, October 15, 2020

Dodgers score 11 in first inning, beat Braves 15-3
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers were already having a grand time before Max Muncy's big slam capped the highest-scoring inning in a major league playoff game.
Thursday, October 15, 2020

Coming off bowl season, Illini eye bigger things in Big Ten
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois appears poised to make a statement in the Big Ten. And coach Lovie Smith sees no reason why his team can't.
Thursday, October 15, 2020

Jets cut Le'Veon Bell
The New York Jets surprisingly released disgruntled running back Le'Veon Bell on Tuesday night, ending a disappointing tenure after less than two full seasons.

The team issued a statement from general manager Joe Douglas in which he said the Jets made the move after having several conversations with Bell and his agent during the last few days and exploring trade options.

"The Jets organization appreciates Le'Veon's efforts during his time here and we know he worked hard to make significant contributions to this team," Douglas said. "We believe this decision is in the best interests of both parties and wish him future success."

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Freeman, Albies homer, Braves hang on for 2-0 NLCS lead
Ozzie Albies homered into the Braves bullpen in the ninth inning for the second straight night, and Mark Melancon once again caught the ball on the fly.

Atlanta had a five-run lead at the time. By the time the reliever was summoned to the mound, the lead was down to two. Melancon held on once again.

Freddie Freeman also homered for the second night in a row, and the streaking Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-7 on Tuesday to take a 2-0 lead in the National League Championship Series.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Rays beat Astros 5-2, move within 1 victory of World Series
Kevin Kiermaier and the Tampa Bay Rays — with big assists from two former Padres who know Petco Park's outfield well — are one win from the second World Series berth in franchise history.

Joey Wendle hit a go-ahead, two-run single two batters after another critical error by José Altuve, and the Rays beat the Houston Astros 5-2 on Tuesday night for a 3-0 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Brees, Lutz lift Saints past Chargers, 30-27 in OT
Drew Brees keeps coming through in the clutch in his 20th season, while the Los Angeles Chargers keep squandering the heady play of promising rookie quarterback Justin Herbert.

The 41-year-old Brees became the oldest quarterback with more than 32 completions in an NFL game, Wil Lutz kicked a 36-yard field goal in overtime and New Orleans' defense stopped receiver Mike Williams just short on fourth down to preserve a 30-27 victory over the seemingly star-crossed Chargers on Monday night.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Margot's homer, catch highlight Rays' 4-2 win over Astros
Back in the ballpark where he started his big league career, Manuel Margot of the Tampa Bay Rays had a breakout game in the AL Championship Series with a three-run home run and a spectacular catch while tumbling over a wall in right field.

Asked which was bigger in the 4-2 victory against the Houston Astros, Margot said through a translator: "Definitely the home run. The home run didn't hurt."

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

White Sox, Renteria split
Rick Renteria fostered a culture that allowed young players to develop into stars. And just like the last time, he lost his job after helping start a turnaround.

The Chicago White Sox and their manager agreed to split following a disappointing finish to a breakout season in which they made the playoffs for the first time in 12 years.

Chicago announced Monday that Renteria won't return after he led the White Sox to a 35-25 record in his pandemic-shortened fourth season. They ended a string of seven consecutive losing seasons with their first playoff appearance since 2008.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Bubble Kings: Lakers down Heat for 17th NBA title
The ultimate anguish. The ultimate joy.

This season, for LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, had it all. And it ended in the only fashion that they deemed would be acceptable, with them back atop the basketball world..

For the first time since Kobe Bryant's fifth and final title a decade ago, the Lakers are NBA champions. James had 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Lakers beat the Miami Heat 106-93 on Sunday night to win the NBA Finals in six games.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Elliott wins at Roval
Kyle Busch, leading a race he had to win, not once believed he was driving toward a season-saving victory. He doesn't even think he can get to victory lane this year.

"Do we even have a shot to win? I don't think we have a shot," Busch said after he was eliminated from the playoffs Sunday.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Sunday NFL roundup: Scores from around the league
Derek Carr threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns, outplaying Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes along the way, and the Las Vegas Raiders nearly shut out the potent Kansas City offense in the second half to rally for a 40-32 victory Sunday that ended the Chiefs' franchise-record 13-game winning streak.
Monday, October 12, 2020

"Chairman" Whitey Ford, Hall of Fame ace for Yankees, dies at 91
During an era when the Yankees won the World Series so routinely it was joked that rooting for them was like rooting for General Motors, their ace pitcher owned the most fitting nickname: "The Chairman of the Board."

Whitey Ford, the street-smart New Yorker who had the best winning percentage of any pitcher in the 20th century and helped the Yankees become baseball's perennial champions in the 1950s and '60s, died Thursday night. He was 91.

The team said Friday the Hall of Famer died at his Long Island home in Lake Success, New York, while watching the Yankees in a playoff game. His wife of 69 years, Joan, and family members were with him.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Goalies get shuffled around in NHL free agency; Lightning depleted
It didn't take long for the bubble to begin bursting on the Tampa Bay Lightning's Stanley Cup party.

The effects of a flat salary cap took its toll on the Lightning less than two weeks after winning their second Stanley Cup. Tampa Bay bid farewell to defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who signed with Anaheim, and the team was forced to place center Tyler Johnson on waivers as the NHL's free agency period opened Friday.

In the meantime, the league's higher profile free agents such as defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and winger Taylor Hall, remained on the market with a $81.5 million cap — unchanged from last year — adding a layer of uncertainty to a coronavirus pandemic-altered economy.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Heat force Game 6, top Lakers to stave off elimination
Jimmy Butler was slumped over a video board behind the baseline in the final seconds, exhausted, gasping for air.

He gave it all.

The Miami Heat needed nothing less.

The NBA Finals — and Miami's title chances — are not over, not after Butler and the Heat pulled off a virtuoso performance in Game 5 on Friday night. Butler had 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, and the Heat held off Los Angeles 111-108 to cut the Lakers' lead in the title series to 3-2.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

MLB roundup: Dodgers, Astros, Yanks, Braves all win
Carlos Correa hit a go-ahead, three-run homer after Michael Brantley's two-run shot in the fourth inning, helping the Houston Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 11-6 on Thursday to win their home-run heavy AL Division Series in four games.

Correa drove in five as the Astros — October villains to many a year after their sign-stealing scandal was exposed — advanced to the AL Championship Series for the fourth consecutive season. It will be their first ALCS under Dusty Baker, their 71-year-old manager. Baker earned his first closeout win since the 2003 NL Division Series and improved to 4-13 in closeouts.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Foles beats Brady again, Bears squeeze by Bucs
Tom Brady held up four fingers as if he had one more play remaining, one more opportunity to pull out the win. If that's what he was thinking, the three-time MVP would not say.

Brady fell to Nick Foles again, appeared to lose count of downs on his final play with seconds remaining, and the Chicago Bears beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-19 on Thursday night after Cairo Santos kicked a 38-yard field goal with 1:17 remaining.

DeAndre Houston-Carson broke up Brady's fourth-down pass with 33 seconds left after Santos kicked the go-ahead field goal. Brady put up four fingers, as if he had one more down. Instead, Chicago took possession and came away with a narrow victory.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Brady, Buccaneers look to keep rolling versus Bears
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Tom Brady in the offseason hoping the six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback could help them end a 12-year playoff drought and capture the biggest prize of all.

They're off to a good start.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Rays hit 3 HRs to beat Yanks 8-4 for 2-1 lead in ALDS
Randy Arozarena homered for the third straight game and Kevin Kiermaier and Michael Perez also went deep for the Tampa Bay Rays, who beat the New York Yankees 8-4 Wednesday night to move within one victory of reaching the AL Championship Series for the first time in 12 years.

New York slugger Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run shot in the eighth inning to become the first player with a homer in each of his team's first five games of a single postseason. Stanton has six homers and 13 RBIs in those five games.

The Rays took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five Division Series. Game 4 is Thursday night at Petco Park, which has yielded 16 home runs in three games — nine by Tampa Bay.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

THS girls swim in Jacksonville
The THS girls swim team traveled to Jacksonville on Monday, October 5 to take on Routt Catholic. According to head coach Melissa Brookens, “The freshman/sophomore Tornadoes competed and fought hard against the upperclassmen and placed well in their events.”
Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Lakers top Heat 102-96, take 3-1 lead in NBA Finals
LeBron James woke up from his gameday nap Tuesday and decided it was time to send his Los Angeles Lakers teammates a message.

He grabbed his phone and told the Lakers they were facing a must-win game.

"I felt that vibe. I felt that pressure," James said. "I felt like, for me personally, this was one of the biggest games of my career."

Message delivered.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Rodgers, Tonyan lead Packers past Falcons, 30-16
The Green Bay Packers needed someone to step forward when injuries left their top two wide receivers unavailable.

That made it the perfect showcase for tight end Robert Tonyan to continue his breakthrough season.

Tonyan caught three of Aaron Rodgers' four touchdown passes, Za'Darius Smith recorded three sacks and the Packers remained unbeaten with a 30-16 victory over the winless Atlanta Falcons on Monday night.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Stanton, Yanks power past Rays 9-3 in ALDS opener
Giancarlo Stanton and the Bronx Bombers made themselves right at home in Petco Park on a warm October evening in Southern California.

Stanton hit a grand slam in the ninth inning for New York's fourth home run of the game, and the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 9-3 on Monday in the opener of their AL Division Series at Petco Park.

Stanton homered to straightaway center field on a 2-2 pitch from John Curtiss. The slugger took several steps with his bat still in his hands as he watched the ball sail through the pleasant San Diego evening air before beginning his trot.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Texans fire coach Bill O'Brien after 0-4 start
The Houston Texans had faith that coach Bill O'Brien was the man to lead them to their first championship.

So much faith in fact that they made the unusual move of making him the team's general manager this off-season, too.

But O'Brien didn't perform well in either role, leading to his firing on Monday.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Chiefs lean on D to beat Pats 26-10 in COVID-19-delayed game
It's hard enough to slow down Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs under the best of circumstances.

Try doing it with your star quarterback shelved by COVID-19, a 40-year-old journeyman taking his place, your top running back headed to injured reserve and a flight that didn't land in Kansas City until shortly before kickoff.

Yet the New England Patriots still managed to give the Chiefs fits for most of the way Monday night, hanging within a field goal of the Super Bowl champs until late in the third quarter. It wasn't until Tyrann Mathieu took an interception back for a touchdown in the fourth that Kansas City clinched its 26-10 victory at Arrowhead Stadium.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Bears, Foles run out of rally magic, lose to Colts
Nick Foles could stage no magical comeback Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

Facing a smothering defense, the Chicago Bears had difficulty coming up with yards — let alone points — in a 19-11 defeat.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Cook has 2 TDs, Vikes get 1st win, 31-23 over Texans
In a battle between winless teams that made the playoffs last year, one was going to emerge thinking it could turn its season around and the other was going to end up even more desperate.

The Minnesota Vikings have reason for optimism after holding off a late rally by the now-despondent Houston Texans on Sunday.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Butler's big night helps Heat cut Lakers' lead to 2-1
Biggest moment of his career. Best game of his life.

Jimmy Butler is clearly not ready to go home quite yet. With a triple-double, he joined NBA Finals lore — and the short-handed Miami Heat might have made this title matchup a series after all.

Butler finished with 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists, and the Heat beat the Los Angeles Lakers 115-104 on Sunday night to get within 2-1 — doing so with starters Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic still unable to play because of injury.

"I tell Coach all the time, 'I'm ready for this,'" Butler said. "The biggest stage, whatever you ask me to do, I can do."

Monday, October 5, 2020

Bob Gibson, fierce Hall of Fame Cardinals ace, dies at 84
Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, the dominating St. Louis Cardinals pitcher who won a record seven consecutive World Series starts and set a modern standard for excellence when he finished the 1968 season with a 1.12 ERA, died Friday. He was 84.

The Cardinals confirmed Gibson's death shortly after a 4-0 playoff loss to San Diego ended their season. He had long been ill with pancreatic cancer in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.

Gibson's death came on the 52nd anniversary of perhaps his most overpowering performance, when he struck out a World Series record 17 batters in Game 1 of the 1968 World Series against Detroit.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Foles gets nod as Bears prepare for challenge against Colts
The Chicago Bears traded for Nick Foles in the offseason to push Mitchell Trubisky for their starting quarterback job.

The Super Bowl 52 MVP knocked him out of the No. 1 spot. Now, he has another chance to show he's more than just a reliable backup.

After coming in to lead a big comeback last week, Foles will make his first start for the unbeaten Bears when they host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Tatis, Myers homer twice, Padres stay alive with 11-9 win
Fernando Tatis Jr. had been waiting for a breakout game, and boy did "El Niño" get it.

The 21-year-old budding superstar, who grew up in the game at the feet of his big league father, hit two home runs and drove in five to boost the San Diego Padres to an electrifying 11-9 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night that forced a deciding Game 3 in their NL wild-card series.

Wil Myers also homered twice and Manny Machado connected, but Tatis — with his signature exuberance and flair — was the one who carried the party at empty Petco Park.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Broncos top winless Jets 37-28 for first victory of season
It was sloppy and downright ugly at times. It was a victory, though, and Vic Fangio and the Denver Broncos are relieved to finally get one — no matter how it looked.

Melvin Gordon sealed the Denver Broncos' first win of the season with a 43-yard touchdown run with 1:48 remaining, and the defense made just enough plays in the fourth quarter to beat the bumbling — and still winless — New York Jets 37-28 on Thursday night.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Commiss. decline CFP expansion after Pac-12 request
The conference commissioners who manage the College Football Playoff decided to stick with a four-team format during this pandemic-altered season after the Pac-12 made a request to consider expansion.

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said Wednesday that Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott asked the rest of management committee to consider having eight teams play for the national championship this season. ESPN first reported Scott broaching the subject.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Goldschmidt, Cardinals win 7-4 in Padres' return to playoffs
Given a chance to catch their breath after a crazy month and a half, the St. Louis Cardinals settled into the playoffs with yet another win against the San Diego Padres.

Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run home run during a four-run first inning, St. Louis' bullpen held strong after starter Kwang Hyun Kim stumbled in his playoff debut and the Cardinals ruined the Padres' long-awaited return to the playoffs with a 7-4 victory Wednesday in the opener of their NL wild-card series.

The Cardinals got a welcome two days off before this series began. They came after a season-closing grind that saw them play 53 games in 44 days, including 11 doubleheaders, with only two days off. The team had its season suspended for 14 games from late July to mid-August after 10 players and eight staff members tested positive for COVID-19 and had to scramble to fit in the makeups.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Fans to be allowed at World Series, NLCS in Arlington, Texas
Fans can take themselves out to the ball game for the first time this season during the NL Championship Series and World Series at new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

Major League Baseball said Wednesday that approximately 11,500 tickets will be available for each game. That is about 28% of the 40,518-capacity, retractable-roof stadium of the Texas Rangers, which opened this year adjacent to old Globe Life Park, the team's open-air home from 1994 through 2019.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Tampa Bay Lightning capture Stanley Cup title
The joyful yells from the bench could be heard in the empty arena in the final seconds and the roar from players when Commissioner Gary Bettman called for Steven Stamkos to accept the Stanley Cup echoed even louder.

The triumph of winning the NHL championship in a bubble was certainly no less sweet for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Chiefs down Ravens 34-20
It wasn't just that Patrick Mahomes threw for a ton of yards and four touchdowns. Most impressive was how he did it.

Mahomes juked, danced, and jumped in and out of the pocket. Sometimes he just dropped back and fired pinpoint throws downfield. He tossed shovel passes and flung it sidearmed.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Finals are set: LeBron, Lakers will meet Butler, Heat
LeBron James vs. the Heat.

Pat Riley vs. the Lakers.

Get ready for the NBA Finals — a title series like none other, to end a season like none other.

The matchup is set, with the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers emerging as the last two teams standing in the chase to be crowned champions of the most tumultuous season in NBA history. The Heat won the Eastern Conference title Sunday night, finishing off Boston a day after the Lakers won the Western Conference crown.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Bears complete stunning comeback over Falcons
Nick Foles rekindled that Super Bowl magic.

The result was a stunning victory for the Chicago Bears.

Taking over for the erratic Mitchell Trubisky in the third quarter, Foles threw three touchdown passes in the final 6 1/2 minutes Sunday to lead the Bears to a 30-26 triumph over the shell-shocked Atlanta Falcons.

While the Falcons became the first team in NFL history to blow fourth-quarter leads of at least 15 points in back-to-back games, the Bears improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2013.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Bubble won't be back for full 2020-21 NHL season
The 64 days spent in the NHL playoff bubble feel like six months to Barclay Goodrow.

"It's tough," the Tampa Bay Lightning forward said. "It's been a grind."

It's a grind he and players won't do again next season. The league and Players' Association will meet within the next two weeks to discuss the many possibilities of what the 2020-21 season could look like, but there's no desire to stage it entirely within quarantined bubbles.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Rodgers, Packers unbeaten with 37-30 victory over Saints
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers sounds increasingly enamored with the scheme and play-calling philosophy of second-year head coach Matt LaFleur.

The Packers are unbeaten and putting up some of the best offensive numbers in the NFL. So why not?

Rodgers passed for 283 yards and three touchdowns, and the Packers scored 10 points in the final nine minutes to pull out a 37-30 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night.

"We've gotten in a good flow," Rodgers said. "I feel so much more comfortable in the offense this year, and I think Matt has really settled in to the rhythm of the play calling, and it's made my job a lot easier."

Monday, September 28, 2020

Steelers stay perfect, keep Texans winless in 28-21 victory
The Pittsburgh Steelers spent two quarters trying to hem in Deshaun Watson. It didn't take. After watching the Houston quarterback move the Texans up and down Heinz Field with remarkable ease, the Steelers blew up their meticulously put-together game plan and went back to their default setting: attack.

Might want to stick with that one. Probably for good.

Slicing into the backfield relentlessly, the Steelers put the clamps on the Texans in the second half to rally for a 28-21 victory that pushed them to 3-0 for the first time in a decade. Houston managed just 51 yards and two first downs over in the final 30 minutes to fall to 0-3.

"We didn't blink, man," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Lions snap 11-game skid
It was the kind of moment that had stymied the Detroit Lions so many times during their 11-game losing streak: A potential game-winning play, a gut-punch penalty that reversed it and the realization that nothing was going to come easy.

But Matthew Stafford has seen a lot during his 12 seasons in the NFL. He wasn't going to let this opportunity slip away.

"I've been doing this a long time," Stafford said. "I feel real comfortable in that situation. I love it."

Monday, September 28, 2020

Jefferson's breakout not enough, as Vikings falter at finish
Justin Jefferson blew by the closest man in coverage to make a wide-open catch, sprinted parallel to the sideline and broke through two tackle attempts around the 20-yard line before veering toward the end zone.

The last part of Jefferson's first NFL touchdown was so easy he took the opportunity to slow down and tap dance across the goal line, giving the Minnesota Vikings a 12-point lead over Tennessee midway through the third quarter.

If only Jefferson and the Vikings found the end of the game so trouble-free.

Monday, September 28, 2020

MAC returns with 6-game football season starting Nov. 4
The Mid-American Conference, the first major college football league to postpone its season because of the pandemic, became the final one to jump back in, making it 10 out of 10 conferences that will play in the fall.

As university presidents in the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Mountain West have done over the last 10 days, MAC leaders on Friday voted unanimously to reverse their August decision to push football to spring. The MAC will instead open its season Nov. 4.

Just like the other conferences returning to fall ball, the MAC cited advancements in COVID-19 antigen testing as key to the change of direction. The conference will begin testing athletes four times per week, starting Oct 5.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Celtics control 2nd half, top Heat to win Game 5 in East
Their season saved for at least two more days, Boston coach Brad Stevens offered the most succinct assessment of his Celtics.

"We're prideful," Stevens said.

Celtic Pride. It was on display Friday night — when Jayson Tatum and his teammates announced very loudly that they're not ready to see the world that exists outside the NBA's restart bubble quite yet.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Stars now in 3-1 Cup hole
No U.S.-born player has scored more playoff goals than Joe Pavelski. No player has put more pucks in the net during a single postseason this late in his career.

That may not be enough for Pavelski and the Dallas Stars, who are in a deep, deep hole in the Stanley Cup Final.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Falcons face 2-0 Bears on heels of nightmarish loss
Let's see if the Atlanta Falcons can put another nightmarish loss behind them.

The team that infamously squandered a 28-3 advantage in the 2017 Super Bowl suffered an improbable defeat in Week 2 of this NFL season, blowing a 20-point lead to the Dallas Cowboys and giving up an onside kick that set up a game-winning field goal on the final play.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Molina leads Cards over Brewers to open key 5-game set
Despite having no fans to witness his career milestone, Yadier Molina's teammates managed to make it special for him anyway.

Molina singled twice to reach 2,000 career hits and the St. Louis Cardinals began a five-game series between playoff contenders by beating the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 Thursday night.

Rookie Dylan Carlson homered, doubled and drove in three runs as the Cardinals (28-26) kept their slim lead over Cincinnati (29-28) for second place in the NL Central. St. Louis trails division leader Chicago by 2 1/2 games.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Kuhl goes 7 sharp innings, Pirates beat slumping Cubs 7-0
Chad Kuhl pitched seven sharp innings and Colin Moran and Bryan Reynolds each homered in three-hit games in the Pittsburgh Pirates' 7-0 victory over the slumping Chicago Cubs on Thursday.

Kuhl (2-3) retired the first nine batters and had a no-hitter until Anthony Rizzo doubled to the wall in right-center with one out in the sixth inning.

The right-hander finished his comeback season on a strong note. He allowed two hits, struck out five hits and gave up three walks. He sat out last season while rehabbing after Tommy John surgery.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Fall college football revived on West Coast
A major college football season that was in peril six week ago as conferences succumbed to concerns about COVID-19 is reconstituting.

The West Coast got back in the game Thursday night, The Pac-12 set Nov. 6 to start a seven-game season, joining the Big Ten in overturning August decisions to punt on fall football. The Mountain West followed up a few hours later by announcing it is aiming to kick off Oct. 24.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Fitzpatrick handles Jaguars again, this time with Dolphins
Ryan Fitzpatrick handles the Jacksonville Jaguars as well as anyone in the NFL.

It doesn't matter which uniform the journeyman quarterback is wearing, either.

Fitzpatrick accounted for three touchdowns and led Miami to a 31-13 victory Thursday night, becoming the first NFL quarterback to notch six wins over the same opponent with six teams.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Saints need better Brees versus Rodgers and potent Packers
Unless Drew Brees musters his first vintage performance of 2020, the Saints could struggle to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and the recently potent Packers.

The first two weeks of this season have seen two of the finest quarterbacks in NFL history on divergent paths.

The Packers (2-0) are scoring more than 40 points per game. Rodgers has passed for six touchdowns and has yet to be intercepted.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Gale Sayers, Bears Hall of Fame running back, dies at 77
Gale Sayers, the dazzling and elusive running back who entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame despite the briefest of careers and whose fame extended far beyond the field for decades thanks to a friendship with a dying Chicago Bears teammate, has died. He was 77.

Nicknamed "The Kansas Comet" and considered among the best open-field runners the game has ever seen, Sayers died Wednesday, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Relatives of Sayers had said he was diagnosed with dementia. In March 2017, his wife, Ardythe, said she partly blamed his football career.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Bulls snag big name, hire Billy Donovan
Billy Donovan wasn't on the market for long — hardly a shocker given he's won everywhere he's coached.

That he's headed to Chicago might be a surprise, only because big and bold moves have been few and far between for the team. Then again, these aren't the same old Bulls.

Chicago struck it big Tuesday, hiring Donovan and landing one of the top candidates on the market to lead a rebuilding team with an overhauled front office.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Gomber pitches playoff-hunting Cards to 5-0 win
Austin Gomber heard longtime Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright say that his goal before pitching a complete game against Milwaukee last week was to throw no more than 12 pitches in any inning.

Sounded like a good idea to him.

With the same target in mind, the reliever-turned-starter proceeded to throw six innings of four-hit ball in a crucial spot start against Kansas City on Tuesday night. And with Dylan Carlson and the rest of Gomber's offense providing support, the Cardinals rolled to a 5-0 victory that gave them the slightest of cushions in the race for a playoff spot.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Cubs clinch playoff spot despite 3-2 loss to Pirates
The Chicago Cubs clinched a playoff spot under rookie manager David Ross, returning to the postseason after a one-year absence despite losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 Tuesday night on a walk-off home run by Jacob Stallings.

The NL Central-leading Cubs were assured a spot in the expanded playoff field when Philadelphia was swept in a doubleheader at Washington.

The Cubs began the day with a 4 ?-game lead over St. Louis and Cincinnati in the division standings and a magic number of four to clinch the title. Chicago missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 2014.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Olympics CEO suggests relaxed entry rules
Tokyo Olympics officials are proposing that the government relax immigration regulations to allow athletes to enter the country before next year's postponed games and train during a 14-day quarantine period, Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee said on Wednesday.

"We have to consider the uniqueness of the athletes and also their activities," Muto said, speaking in Japanese following a meeting of a task force considering countermeasures against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The International Olympic Committee, Tokyo city and national government officials, and members of the organizing committee are holding virtual meetings on Thursday and Friday focused on finding ways to hold the delayed Olympics during a pandemic.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Minnesota star WR wants to opt back into season
Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman has decided to opt back in for the 2020 football season in light of the Big Ten's resumption of fall competition, contingent on the star junior gaining the necessary eligibility clearance.

Coach P.J. Fleck confirmed Tuesday that Bateman, who won the conference's receiver of the year award in 2019, has rejoined the Gophers for practice.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Murray, Nuggets hang on in Game 3, cut Lakers' lead to 2-1
They had just lost a playoff heartbreaker, and two nights later the Denver Nuggets quickly went from in control to in trouble.

Escaping trouble is what these Nuggets do best.

"Everybody always has us packing our bags and leaving, but we're not ready to go," coach Michael Malone said. "For some reason we love this bubble."

They'll get at least two more games in it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Raiders open Las Vegas stadium with 34-24 win vs Saints
Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders delivered a performance worthy of their fancy new home.

Too bad none of their fans were able to see it in person.

Carr threw three touchdown passes  and the Raiders gave their new fans in Las Vegas plenty to celebrate even if they weren't allowed in the stadium by beating the New Orleans Saints 34-24 on Monday night.

The new $2 billion stadium in the desert held its first event following the Raiders' move from Oakland without any fans because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Lightning beat Stars 3-2 in Game 2
Nikita Kucherov and the Tampa Bay Lightning got themselves up off the ice to get even in the Stanley Cup Final.

After the Lightning got knocked around in Game 1, and Kucherov took some more hard hits early in Game 2, he had the primary assists on power-play goals by Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat in the first period. Kevin Shattenkirk then scored for an early three-goal lead and Tampa Bay held on for a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Monday night.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Trubisky throws 2 TDs, Bears edge Giants
The Chicago Bears were happy with another close win, while the New York Giants have greater concerns than their 0-2 record: a potentially serious injury to star running back Saquon Barkley.

Mitchell Trubisky threw two touchdown passes and the Bears hung on to beat the Giants 17-13 on Sunday.

The Bears (2-0) chewed up New York early on, grabbing a 17-0 halftime lead, and withstood a big push a week after rallying from 17 down at Detroit for their first season-opening win in seven years.

"Like, 2-0 is not a bad situation," defensive tackle Akiem Hicks said. "I don't care how you get it.. Two-and-oh is delicious. I'll eat that every day of the week."

Monday, September 21, 2020

Jones' big day helps Packers beat Lions 42-21
Aaron Jones wanted to do a Lambeau Leap even without fans in the stands.

He gave himself plenty of opportunities.

Jones rushed for a career-high 168 yards and scored three touchdowns, including a 75-yard breakaway, as the Green Bay Packers rallied from an early 11-point deficit to beat the Detroit Lions 42-21 on Sunday.

After his first touchdown of the day, a 7-yard reception from Aaron Rodgers, Jones did a different kind of Lambeau Leap. He jumped atop a green tarpaulin that covered the first several rows of the stands; the pandemic didn't allow for any spectators. Most of the tarps had advertisements on them.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Steelers hold off Driskel, Broncos 26-21
A game seemingly in hand suddenly on the cusp of slipping away, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin didn't overthink things. His team's defense is built on one principle: attack.

Needing a stop to turn back the surprisingly resilient Denver Broncos, the Steelers dialed up one final blitz in an afternoon filled with them.

Safety Terrell Edmunds raced in unblocked to take down Denver backup quarterback Jeff Driskel on fourth-and-2 at the Pittsburgh 15 with less than two minutes to play to preserve a 26-21 victory Sunday. The sack was Pittsburgh's seventh of the day.

Monday, September 21, 2020

DeChambeau carves up US Open
Golfers like to say they win when it's their week, when a swing adjustment suddenly clicks or because they're driving the ball and putting it just that little better than everyone else. Bryson DeChambeau has a different take: He thinks every week belongs to him.

Over the course of four days, DeChambeau unnerved the folks who run the U.S. Open and carved up Winged Foot's unyielding reputation one divot-sized slice at a time. By the end, he was the only player to beat par, which also happened to be enough to beat his closest pursuer, Matthew Wolff, by a whopping six shots. In the bargain, DeChambeau turned one of the golf's foundational myths — the game is about how many, not how — inside out.

"I don't really know what to say because that's just the complete opposite of what you think a U.S. Open champion does" said Rory McIlroy, who counts the 2011 U.S. Open among his four major championship wins. "Look, he's found a way to do it.. Whether that's good or bad for the game, I don't know, but it's just not the way I saw this golf course being played or this tournament being played."

Monday, September 21, 2020

Second City? White Sox, Cubs close in on division titles
Powered by the steady presence of José Abreu, the White Sox revival is roaring on the South Side.

On the North Side, Yu Darvish is pitching like an ace again, and the Cubs are eyeing another October run.

Chicago's major league teams are linked by more than just geography these days. They also share a most enviable position this time of year — first place.

"I think that every time we take the field, we feel invincible," White Sox rookie Luis Robert said through a translator.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Taylor's hefty workload pays off as Colts beat Vikings 28-11
Jonathan Taylor looked right at home in his first NFL start.

He made Sunday's hefty workload look pretty easy, too.

The 21-year-old running back rushed 26 times for 101 yards and scored his first NFL touchdown, leading the Indianapolis Colts past Minnesota 28-11.

"After the first carry, you kind of get in that mindset, you realize it's football and you focus and lock in and you go play after play," he said. "You do that, and pretty soon it's the fourth quarter."

Monday, September 21, 2020

Packers wary of Lions after uncomfortable sweep last season
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The past two games between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions exemplified the biggest difference between these two teams.
Saturday, September 19, 2020

Bears look to build on opener, Giants seek 1st win for Judge
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bears came into the season determined to show they're more like the team that won the NFC North in 2018 than the one that missed the playoffs a year ago.
Saturday, September 19, 2020

Stars, Lightning meet in nontraditional Stanley Cup Final
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The leaves are starting to change color around the NHL playoff bubble, and, at most, seven games remain before the Stanley Cup is handed out.
Friday, September 18, 2020

Big Ten teams now sprinting toward strange season
Now that the Big Ten has a rescheduled kickoff weekend, coaches and players can start the sprint to opening day.

Expect a wild ride.

After canceling spring football, limiting and sometimes pausing offseason workouts, shutting down full-contact practices and eventually postponing the season, the league's 14 university presidents and chancellors have given teams five weeks to accomplish what typically takes months — getting into football shape by late October for the start of a most unusual season.

"We're going to be ready to play on (October) the 24th," Ohio State coach Ryan Day said, referring to the new opening weekend. "You know, the ramp up to that, and the 20 hours (of weekly practice), and putting on pads has been well thought out. So we'll be ready. We'll play with depth."

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Brewers, Cardinals split DH
Brent Suter and three relievers combined on a two-hitter, Ryan Braun hit his 350th career homer and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-0 Wednesday night to split a doubleheader..

The Cardinals took the opener 4-2 behind Adam Wainwright's four-hitter.

St. Louis manager Mike Shildt ran the team in the opener. He missed the nightcap while serving a one-game suspension, imposed by Major League Baseball after tempers flared during the Brewers' 18-3 romp Tuesday night.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Báez, Cubs beat Indians for 4th straight
Javier Báez's RBI single in the 10th inning lifted the Chicago Cubs to their fourth straight win, 3-2 over the Cleveland Indians, on Wednesday night in a game that was briefly delayed when a drone entered Wrigley Field and landed on the outfield grass.

Automatic runner Ian Happ advanced to third when Kris Bryant greeted Phil Maton (2-2) with a groundball single to open the 10th.

After Anthony Rizzo was walked intentionally, Maton fanned Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber. Then Báez's liner to left scored Happ and sent the Indians to their eighth straight loss, their longest slide since June 2013.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Robinson expects to stay with Bears for rest of year
Star receiver Allen Robinson said he expects to remain with the Chicago Bears the rest of the season, though he wouldn't say if he requested a trade.

Robinson is in the final season of his three-year, $42 million contract and is seeking an extension. He deleted references to the Bears from his social media accounts on Tuesday, and the Chicago Tribune reported he asked to be traded if they can't agree to a new deal.

"I'm not gonna get into that detail," Robinson said Wednesday. "But like I said before, my heart and spirit has never wavered as far as the city of Chicago and playing for this organization. Obviously you dive into the business of the game and there's different variables that go into that. But how I feel about my teammates, how I feel about this team, how I feel about this city and everything like that has never wavered."

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Yelich, Braun lead Brewers to 18-3 romp over Cardinals
Christian Yelich broke out of his slump with a home run and three hits, Ryan Braun also went deep and the Milwaukee Brewers romped to an 18-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

Keston Hiura and Daniel Vogelbach also homered for the Brewers.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Cubs walk off 6-5 over Indians after consecutive HBPs
Willson Contreras and Cameron Maybin were plunked by consecutive pitches from Cleveland reliever Nick Wittgren in the ninth inning, forcing home the winning run as the Chicago Cubs beat the Indians 6-5 Tuesday night.

Cleveland's Francisco Lindor hit a tying, two-run homer in the top of the ninth, but the Indians couldn't take advantage.

Left-hander Oliver Pérez (1-1) allowed a one-out walk to Kris Bryant in the bottom of the inning. Anthony Rizzo followed with a single that advanced Bryant to third. Wittgren drilled Contreras with a 1-1 fastball, then hit Maybin with a bases-loaded changeup.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Big Ten changes course, will now play fall football
Big Ten is going to give fall football a shot after all.

Less than five weeks after pushing football and other fall sports to spring in the name of player safety during the pandemic, the conference changed course Wednesday and said it plans to begin its season the Oct. 23-24 weekend. Each team will have an eight-game schedule.

The Big Ten said its Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously Tuesday to restart sports. The vote last month was 11-3 to postpone, with Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska voting against.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Cards, Brewers split pair as both games go extra innings
The St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers hadn't faced each other all season before this week despite playing in the same division.

They spent Monday making up for lost time.

Both games of their doubleheader split went into extra innings, with the winning team coming from behind each time. The Brewers won the opener 2-1 in eight innings and were three outs from a sweep before the Cardinals rallied to take the nightcap 3-2 in nine innings.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Steelers top Giants 26-16
There was one overriding reason Ben Roethlisberger worked so hard to return from a major elbow injury.

His team.

Roethlisberger, who missed the final 14 games last season after elbow surgery, threw for three scores and the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the New York Giants 26-16 at an empty and eerie MetLife Stadium on Monday night. He also got all the help he could ask for from his defense and backup running back Bennie Snell.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Trubisky surges late, Bears beat Lions 27-23
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.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Cubs' Alec Mills no-hits Brewers for 12-0 win
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.

Monday, September 14, 2020

No defense: Rodgers, Packers win shootout over Vikings 43-34
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.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Brady vs. Brees is tastiest of NFL opening matchups
Life at 40. Well, 41 and 43.

How sweet it can be.

In the first matchup of 40-plus quarterbacks in NFL annals, during one of the most anticipated openers the league has seen — though it won't be seen by fans at the Superdome because of the coronavirus pandemic — Tom Brady makes his Buccaneers debut against that youngster Drew Brees and the Saints.

For now, all those doubts about the NFL actually starting on time can be shoved aside as the sporting world savors these two QB codgers. They are the top two in yards and TDs passing, and it's the first game since 1998 (Dan Marino and John Elway) featuring the 1-2 career yards passing leaders.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Celtics' young core heads back to East finals, once again
Marcus Smart is 26. Jaylen Brown is 23. Jayson Tatum is 22.

The Boston Celtics aren't old, by any measure.

That doesn't mean they are lacking for experience — or don't already know what it's like to play in the Eastern Conference finals.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Thielen to guide young Vikes group without Diggs
For most of Adam Thielen's career, he was widely viewed as the overachieving small-school wide receiver who needed a rookie tryout camp just to get an offseason roster spot with the Minnesota Vikings and worked his way up from the practice squad to become a starter.

Now, he's by far the most experienced player in his position room, tasked with helping guide a young group past the departure of longtime pal and pass-catching partner Stefon Diggs.

"It helps me stay young, I think," Thielen said.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Trubisky says he's ready to lead Bears
Mitchell Trubisky watched as the Chicago Bears traded for Super Bowl 52 MVP Nick Foles to compete with him for the starting quarterback job.

He saw the team that drafted him with the No. 2 overall pick in 2017 decline its fifth-year option. And he didn't flinch.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Reds blank Cubs 3-0
Trevor Bauer tossed three-hit ball into the eighth inning to outpitch Chicago Cubs ace Yu Darvish and lift the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-0 victory Wednesday night.

Mike Moustakas hit a three-run homer in the first inning as Darvish's seven-start winning streak was snapped.

Bauer (4-3) struck out 10 and walked none in 7 2/3 innings while tying his season high with 112 pitches. The right-hander dropped his three previous starts, including a 3-0 loss to Darvish on Aug. 29 in Cincinnati.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Mills sharp, Bote has 2 RBIs as Cubs beat Reds 3-0
Alec Mills watches Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks pitch, and he wants to help carry the load for Chicago's rotation.

He certainly did his part Tuesday night.

Mills pitched six sharp innings and David Bote drove in two runs, leading the Cubs to a 3-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Taking the mound on a wet, windy and cool night at Wrigley Field, Mills (4-3) permitted four hits, struck out six and walked three in his first win since Aug. 24. The right-hander went 1-3 with a 7.66 ERA in his previous five starts for the NL Central leaders.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Butler, Heat punch a ticket into the NBA's final four
Jimmy Butler set the tone for the Miami Heat season on the first day of training camp.

He got to the gym at 3:30 a.m., letting teammates know how hard he expected them to work. And then he filmed himself singing throughout the drive to the team hotel, letting teammates know how much fun they were going to have.

The formula is already a success.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Baylor 3rd B12 team to put off opener
Baylor became the third Big 12 team forced to postpone its scheduled season opener this weekend after Louisiana Tech reported multiple positive COVID-19 tests Tuesday, less than two weeks after a hurricane affected its campus.

Louisiana Tech athletic director Tommy McClelland said Tuesday night that it wasn't possible for the Bulldogs to play Saturday at Baylor because of the positive tests and contact tracing that would keep other players out the game.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

BYU rolls past Navy 55-3 in season-opener with no fans
BYU coach Kalani Sitake did a fine job of keeping his players safe from COVID-19 while getting them ready to open a new football season.

Ken Niumatalolo wished he could have done the same thing at Navy.

Tyler Allgeier ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns, and the Cougars put the clamps on Navy's usually potent triple option in a season-opening 55-3 rout Monday night inside an eerily empty stadium at the Naval Academy.

BYU scored touchdowns on each of its first two possessions, led 31-0 at halftime and coasted to its most lopsided victory since a 70-6 blowout of Wagner in October 2015.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Hendricks goes eight innings, Cubs beat Cardinals 5-1
Kyle Hendricks hit his spots and kept hitters off balance. It was a command performance at a big moment for the Chicago Cubs.

Hendricks went eight innings, and the NL Central-leading Cubs beat the second-place St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 on Monday.

Led by Hendricks and a 10-hit attack, Chicago closed out the five-game series on a winning note after losing three straight. It leads the defending division champions by 2 1/2 games.

Hendricks (5-4) gave up a run and seven hits in his second straight win. He also struck out four and walked none in his 38th consecutive start with two walks or less — the most by a Cubs pitcher since at least 1901.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Keep fighting! Serena Williams yells herself to Open win
Her breathing loud enough to hear in an empty Arthur Ashe Stadium, her third-set deficit a point from growing to 3-1 against someone who beat her less than two weeks earlier, Serena Williams scrambled to extend a 13-stroke exchange until her opponent netted a forehand.

"Keep fighting!" Williams exhorted herself.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

NFL faces tough times for 2020, then bright economic outlook
Let's get this straight from the outset: If the NFL has no fans at any games this season — or doesn't have much of a season at all — it will not go out of business.

Sure, the 32 teams and the league itself will lose millions, very possibly billions of dollars. Its broadcast partners will take a hit harder than any that Von Miller has delivered on the field. Same for sponsors and advertisers who pinpoint pro football as the best way to reach fans (read: consumers).

Monday, September 7, 2020

Pandemic could lead to pandemonium on offensive lines
The coronavirus pandemic could lead to pandemonium on offensive lines throughout the NFL.

With no on-field offseason programs, no preseason games, no extensive hitting in training camps, chaos rather than cohesion could be the truism for blockers.

Don't think for a minute that won't affect even the best offenses.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Goldschmidt homers as Cardinals beat Lester, Cubs 7-3
Paul Goldschmidt's drive got up and just kept going, soaring out of a windy Wrigley Field on Sunday night.

When it landed, St. Louis was well on its way to another big win in Chicago.

Goldschmidt hit a three-run homer off a struggling Jon Lester, and the Cardinals gained ground in the NL Central race with a 7-3 victory over the Cubs.

St. Louis pulled within 1 1/2 games of Chicago with its third consecutive win over the division leaders, sweeping a doubleheader on Saturday after the Cubs won 4-1 in the series opener Friday night. The longtime rivals have one game left in their pandemic-shortened season series on Monday.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy saw a different version of Mitchell Trubisky than he has in the past.

The explanation Nagy offered Sunday for selecting Trubisky over Nick Foles in the Bears' quarterback competition had more to do with Trubisky's strides as a quarterback than any disadvantage Foles faced from a lack of offseason work in the team's offense because of the league's COVID-19 restrictions.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Authentic wins KY Derby
Bob Baffert endured the lowest of lows and highest of highs within minutes in the Kentucky Derby.

He was bummed before the horses left the paddock after Thousand Words reared up and fell on its side, getting disqualified and injuring Baffert's assistant trainer. That emotion was quickly replaced by Authentic's front-running victory that gave Baffert a record-tying sixth Derby win.

Then Baffert found himself down again, literally, getting knocked to the grass by a skittish Authentic in the winner's circle.

Monday, September 7, 2020

WADA to consider sanctions if US holds funding
(AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency will consider rules changes that would allow it to sanction the United States if it stops paying its annual dues to the drug-fighting organization.
Saturday, September 5, 2020

Cubs, Pedro Strop reach deal
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs agreed to a minor league deal with Pedro Strop on Friday, bringing back the popular reliever after he was released by Cincinnati.
Saturday, September 5, 2020

Washington releases Adrian Peterson
(AP) — Washington released veteran running back Adrian Peterson on Friday, a stunning move by first-year coach Ron Rivera in the name of getting younger.
Saturday, September 5, 2020

Anunoby beats buzzer, stuns Celtics
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The Toronto Raptors were a half-second away from falling into the abyss that no NBA team has ever escaped. Down by two points, down by two games, the reigning champions needed a miracle.
Friday, September 4, 2020

'Game-changer': Rapid, daily virus testing coming to Pac-12
(AP) — The Pac-12 could be playing football and basketball sooner than expected after the conference announced Thursday that each of the 12 schools will soon have the capacity to perform daily, rapid COVID-19 tests on athletes.
Friday, September 4, 2020

White Sox rout Royals
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Luis Robert's 458-foot home run capped a second five-run inning of the night for Chicago as the White Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals 11-6 Thursday night.
Friday, September 4, 2020

Baez and Hendricks lead Cubs over Pirates
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Javier Baez hit a three-run home run and Kyle Hendricks pitched one-run ball over six innings Wednesday night to lead the Chicago Cubs to an 8-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Thursday, September 3, 2020

Votto single in ninth lifts Reds to 4-3 win over Cardinals
CINCINNATI (AP) — Joey Votto's single in the bottom of the ninth inning drove in Shogo Akiyama with the winning run as the Cincinnati Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 on Wednesday night.
Thursday, September 3, 2020

What's the rush? QB pressure has been priority in NFC North
(AP) — The pressure has clearly been on in the NFC North.

Oh, there's the usual urgency around Super Bowl aspirations and on-field improvement. Aaron Rodgers has reached the final stretch of his time in Green Bay.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Miller drives in 7 as Cardinals pound Gray, Reds 16-2
Brad Miller homered twice and drove in a career-high seven runs, and the St. Louis Cardinals pounded Sonny Gray and the Cincinnati Reds 16-2 on Tuesday night.

Miller sparked St. Louis' six-run first inning against Gray with a two-run double that glanced off the glove of diving first baseman Joey Votto and bounced down the line. He hit a two-run shot in the second, an RBI single in the fifth and another two-run homer in the eighth, clanging a drive off the foul pole in right.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Big Ten presidents voted 11-3 to cancel fall season
A court filing disclosed Monday shows Big Ten Conference presidents voted 11-3 to postpone the football season, bringing some clarity to a key question raised in a lawsuit brought by a group of Nebraska football players.

The vote breakdown was revealed in the Big Ten's response to the lawsuit.

The court documents did not identify how each school voted, but a person familiar with the outcome told The Associated Press that Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio State voted against postponing the fall football season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Big Ten was not planning on making the specifics of its vote public.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Talk of 'fake bubble' on US Open's Day 1
For all of the obvious concessions to the coronavirus at the no-fans-allowed U.S. Open — near-empty arenas; silence pierced by the occasional clap, sneaker squeak or roaring jet; a lack of line judges — the aftereffects of one player's positive test caused the biggest stir on Day 1.

Yes, plenty of matches were played amid a pandemic at the first Grand Slam tournament in nearly seven full months.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

DeJong grand slam helps Cardinals hold off Reds 7-5
Paul DeJong slugged his first career grand slam, helping Dakota Hudson to his first win of the season as the St. Louis Cardinals held on to beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-5 on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series.

The Cardinals loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth inning on Kolten Wong's single and walks by Paul Goldschmidt and Brad Miller. DeJong capitalized, sending Anthony DeSclafani's full count pitch over the center field fence for his second homer of the season.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Chicago Cubs get Maybin, 2 lefty relievers in 3 trades
The Chicago Cubs acquired veteran outfielder Cameron Maybin and two left-handed relievers in three trades on Monday, adding some help for the pursuit of their first division title since 2017.

The NL Central leaders sent minor league infielder Zack Short to Detroit for Maybin, who is batting .244 with a homer and two RBIs in 14 games this year. The Cubs got Andrew Chafin and from Arizona for a player to be named or cash, and will get $370,373 from the Diamondbacks on Oct. 16 to offset part of Chafin's salary. Josh Osich was acquired in a deal with Boston for a player to be named or cash.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Wainwright throws complete game, Cardinals top Indians
Adam Wainwright turned back the clock with a complete game on his 39th birthday as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cleveland Indians 7-2 Sunday.

Wainwright threw a four-hitter for his 23rd career complete game and first in four years. The Cardinals snapped a four-game skid in which they scored six total runs.

"It's just, you know, a lot of hard work from a lot of different people have gone into making me able to pitch this year and pitch well," an emotional Wainwright said. "You know, when you think you're done three years ago, and you're able to complete a game a couple years later, it's a crazy life, a crazy game."

Monday, August 31, 2020

Schwarber's 9th inning HR makes history, Cubs pound Reds
With one massive drive in the ninth inning, Kyle Schwarber made history for the Chicago Cubs.

Schwarber, Jason Heyward and Ian Happ became the first starting outfield to hit multiple homers in the same game, and the Cubs pounded the Cincinnati Reds 10-1 on Sunday for a split of their four-game series.

Schwarber hit the first and the last of the Cubs' season-high six homers, belting a solo drive in the fourth against Luis Castillo (0-5) and a grand slam off José De León in the ninth. Heyward connected for solo drives in the fourth and sixth, and Happ hit a two-run shot in the fifth and a solo homer in the seventh.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Packers believe team continuity will bring break-through season
The Green Bay Packers are counting on consistency to get them over the top after finishing a game away from the Super Bowl three of the last six years.

Green Bay returns much of the nucleus of a team that went 13-3 and won the NFC North while benefiting from good fortune. The Packers stayed healthy last season and also went 9-1 in games decided by eight points or fewer.

"You can't take anything for granted in the NFL, and no two seasons are alike," Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. "This year certainly has some unique circumstances, and we talked about that all offseason. Whoever can handle these circumstances the best will have a tremendous jump on everybody else."

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Roethlisberger says he is finally pain free and ready to sling it
The chronic ache in his right arm, the one that served as Ben Roethlisberger's companion for years, is gone.

No more fibbing about being fine when offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner asks how he's feeling. No more gritting his teeth and trying to ignore it when the longtime Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback tries to throw the ball down the field. No more going through training camp with shackles on trying to manage something that ultimately became unmanageable.

Midway through his 17th training camp, Roethlisberger insists his patched up right elbow isn't just serviceable, it's potentially better than it's been in years. He points to his active practice schedule as proof.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Bears looking to bounce back with Trubisky or Foles at QB
The Chicago Bears went into last season with soaring expectations, their sights set on a deep playoff run and even a trip to the Super Bowl.

They went in the wrong direction.

Instead of establishing themselves as a championship contender, the Bears were a major disappointment. And now, they're trying to bounce back after going from winning the NFC North at 12-4 in coach Matt Nagy's first season to missing the playoffs with an 8-8 record.

Saturday, August 29, 2020










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