Heartbreakingly for Falcons fans, that was almost as close as Edelman got to securing the ball. When Alford¡¯s leg hits the ground, it bounces back up and kicks the ball mostly out of Edelman¡¯s hands; as the ball slips toward the turf, it¡¯s kept alive by Falcons safety Ricardo Allen. There is an instant when all hangs in the balance: The ball is a few inches off the ground and a few inches away from Edelman¡¯s nose. Edelman¡¯s hands look a little over a foot apart, and they quickly clamp down on the ball an instant before gravity remembers to pull it back to Earth.
This remains the only Super Bowl ever to open at pick-em. The line soon moved to San Francisco -2 before the Bengals actually closed as 1-point favorites. San Francisco led 20-0 at halftime and while Cincinnati scored a touchdown to cut the 49ers lead to five with 20 seconds left, they never threatened to win. This was the highest over/under in Super Bowl history to this point at 48 points, and the game finished just 1 point below the number.
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Elite Kids Steven Stamkos Jersey Quinn knew upon taking the Falcons job in 2015 that he had championship-caliber pieces in Ryan and game-changing wide receiver Julio Jones. It was more a matter of finding the right complements to surround his featured players.
The Falcons signed four-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack last offseason to stabilize an offensive line that started the same five in every game of the season — the only NFL team to do so. The additions of wide receivers Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel, who was claimed off waivers from the Browns, alleviated some of the defensive attention from Jones, as did the drafting of rookie tight end Austin Hooper. And the late commitment to seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end Freeney bolstered the pass rush, while his veteran presence helped in the development of second-year pass-rusher Vic Beasley Jr., who led the NFL with 15.5 sacks.
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The legal backlash, meanwhile, is just beginning. Elijah is one of three named plaintiffs in Ward’s lawsuit, which the lawyer has moved from Florida to Washington state. Ward claims more than a thousand potential clients have inquired about joining the suit. It alleges that Valve “knowingly allowed, supported, facilitated and/or sponsored illegal gambling.” Valve is seeking arbitration instead of a trial, a move Ward says he’ll resist.
Ward has also filed a suit in Miami on behalf of 44 plaintiffs that accuses Martin and CSGO Lotto of engaging in “deceptive trade practices.” Martin’s lawyer is seeking to get the case dismissed. He’s also trying to fend off a Federal Trade Commission inquiry into whether the YouTube star violated a law that bars celebrities from shielding their ownership in products they pitch.
A spokesman for the FTC said the agency does not comment on active investigations.
In a video message to his viewers last summer, Martin seemed contrite, saying, “I do feel like I owe you guys an apology. … I truly, honestly hope you guys give me an opportunity to get your trust back.” But the video was taken down shortly after it was posted. His lawyer said Martin would have no further comment. Cassell, who offered his own apology on Twitter, did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Allen had 8.5 tackles for loss in his final five games. He’s a true game-wrecker, with 15 QB hurries and 10.5 sacks. Allen’s excellent combination of quickness and power makes him one of the best interior pass-rushers we’ve studied in this draft class. He constantly pushes the pocket and brings tremendous experience to the table, with 56 games played.
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The 2015 NFL Supplemental Draft is set for Thursday and there are seven players eligible to be taken. The big name is former Clemson offensive tackle Isaiah Battle, who might have been considered a high-round pick had he played another season with the Tigers. Battle has shown flashes of top-level play at his position, but is it enough for a team to put forward a pick within the first few rounds?
That’s the big question of the day.
Players are eligible for the supplemental draft if they were not eligible for the regular NFL Draft for whatever reason. Usually, players go this route for academic or disciplinary reasons. In Battle’s case, he claims things changed in his personal life that resulted in him needing to turn pro sooner rather than later.
The order of draft priority for the supplemental draft is essentially determined by record, but there’s actually a bit of a lottery system at play behind the scenes. All 32 teams are placed into three tiers, the first of which includes teams with six or fewer wins. The team with the worst record gets the best chance at earning top priority within that group. The second tier consists of the rest of the non-playoff teams and uses the same weighted system.
The final group consists of the 12 playoff teams from last season, and also follows the same weighted system as the previous two tiers.
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DYNASTIES: What does it take to make an NFL dynasty, the kind of team that can win multiple Super Bowls over the course of a decade or more? More importantly, which teams have those ingredients?
STADIUM MONEY: San Diego just approved money to do the environmental impact report for the proposed Mission Hills stadium. That’s fresh off the heels of a report that the NFL told the city to move fast if they want to keep the Chargers.
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The Rising Stars game isn’t enough. We need Joel Embiid in the Big Boy Game on All-Star Sunday. I’ll admit that I haven’t done my full breakdown on the East reserves yet to see if there’s really room for him — that comes later this week — but I’ll also admit that I’m flat-out rooting for Embiid now. This isn’t about his recent streak of eight 20-point games in a row despite logging less than 30 minutes in all eight. It’s not even about the Sixers’ recent uptick in the standings. It’s all about the spirit this guy has, after losing his first two full seasons to injury and all the losing Philadelphia endured along the way, on top of the great numbers. It’s a pleasure to watch how much Embiid enjoys his job.
Authentic Mike Fisher Jersey List all of the alibis you want. The Cavs never win in Utah. They got into Portland extremely late because of last week’s nasty weather in the Pacific Northwest before the second night of a back-to-back. Their shooters have gone uncharacteristically cold. All of that might be true, but Cleveland has looked a little more raggedy than anyone would have expected on its first trip of the season to the Western Conference. Interesting situation to monitor heading into Cavs-Warriors II: Coach Ty Lue’s crew is shooting just 32.1 percent from 3-point range in January, which ranked third-worst in the league for the month as of Sunday — better only than Philly (29.9 percent) and OKC (31.1 percent). Newly acquired Kyle Korver, of course, should be able to help with that.
This is indeed the toughest week ?of Golden State’s season so far, but it’s a biggie for the Rockets as well, with their first two-game blip under coach Mike D’Antoni still fresh in their memory and the Warriors coming to town Friday night looking to avenge that double-overtime loss on their own floor to Houston on Dec. 1. The Dubs (117.5 PPG) and Rockets (114.9) are trying to become the first pair of teams to average better than 114 points per game since the 1990-91 campaign, when four teams (Denver, Golden State, Phoenix and Portland) did it. James Harden, meanwhile, entered Sunday night’s gimme in Brooklyn creating the exact same number of points per game — 28.6 — with his scoring and his assisting.
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Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell ran for 170 yards on 30 carries Sunday night in an 18-16 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, setting an NFL record for the most rushing yards in a player’s first two postseason games.
Bell ran through the Miami Dolphins for 167 yards on 29 carries in the AFC wild-card round.
Antonio Brown posted a 17-minute video on Facebook from the Steelers locker room that captured the voice of Mike Tomlin telling the team to “keep a low profile” as it prepares for the Patriots.
Winners of nine straight, the Steelers seem to understand what it takes to win in January. And now it’s onto New England.
Who needs to reach the end zone when you have Le’Veon Bell chewing up yards and the clock, and Chris Boswell setting an NFL playoff record with six field goals?
“The coaches put a lot of trust in me to get the job done,” Bell said of Sunday’s performance. “Just run hard. Just picked my spots where I could and run hard.”
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That was also to Brown, with the Steelers trailing 7-3 in the first quarter. The 52-yarder set up Chris Boswellâ€™s second of six field goals for the game and improved the Steelersâ€™ chance of winning by 11 percent.
The other big leverage-swinging play in this game was Alex Smith being intercepted by Ryan Shazier after the Steelers took the lead in the second quarter. Shazierâ€™s pick increased the Steelersâ€™ chance of winning by 13.5 percentage points.
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New Orleans Saints running back C.J. Spiller underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Friday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Spiller is now expected to miss the remainder of the preseason, but the team does expect him back for the regular season opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 13.
Spiller did limited work in training camp earlier in the week, missed a scrimmage on Friday and did not participate in the team’s preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens. Spiller joined the Saints this season after five seasons with the Buffalo Bills, who took him with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Indianapolis, led by Andrew Luck, has become one of the AFC’s elite teams, with only the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos seemingly standing in the way of a potential Super Bowl run. Have they done enough to make it over the hump and snag Luck’s first Lombardi Trophy?
These are questions that won’t be answered in Sunday’s preseason contest between the two teams, admittedly. But it is the first look we’ll get at the both of them, as the final two teams to get their preseasons underway. They’re going to meet in the only game on Sunday.
For Philadelphia, we won’t get to see starting quarterback Sam Bradford, as he’s still not quite recovered from the ACL injury he sustained last season. Instead, Mark Sanchez will make the start for the Eagles, and we’ll likely get a good dose of Tim Tebow for that game. We’ll probably have to wait to see DeMarco Murray’s first action as an Eagle, but Ryan Mathews should at least get a series or two.
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When I presented this quandary to Kim Gandy, the president and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, she sighed. “If any of us knew the answer to that, we’d have a Nobel Peace Prize,” she said. Gandy, like many experts in the field, believes that instead of touting its stringent policies, the NFL should make it known that it’s prioritizing the needs of survivors. She doesn’t think the league should eliminate penalties altogether, but she worries about their unintended consequences. “Often, the result is that victims won’t call or ask for help,” she says.
“What feels good and what is right, especially in cases of domestic violence, are very different things,” Moskovitz explained. “Zero-tolerance and similar get-tough penalties haven’t worked when used in the criminal justice system. Expecting them to work in sports would be, at best, naive.”
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“Often, the result is that victims won’t call or ask for help.”
And yet, while I don’t object to Tyreek Hill finding work in the NFL, I believe that Oklahoma State was right to release him when it did. I believe that Oklahoma should’ve cut Joe Mixon from its team after he punched a female student and that Greg Hardy has no place in football. I hold these beliefs even though I agree with Moskovitz’s critical assessment of zero tolerance, and I haven’t figured out how to reconcile them.
Coming off a [rookie] season where he didn’t do much, then he goes out and makes a great catch to win the Super Bowl. After that, he’s just gotten better and better and he’s played against better players. We put him in tough situations a lot and he comes out and shows that he likes that and proves he can do it.”
“Malcolm competes very hard, he’s got a great attitude and gives great effort on the football field no matter what the situation is,” he said. “He’s durable, he’s tough, he loves to play, loves to compete. It doesn’t matter who it’s against. You can put him up there in any situation and he’s going to compete and he’s going to have fun doing it.”
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The Giants weren’t particularly impressive on Sunday Night Football as they beat the 49ers, but in moving to 3-2 they’re firmly in command of the NFC East, for now. What I like about the Giants is that when healthy, they’re capable of putting up a lot of points. They are currently seventh in the NFL in points per game and as long as Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle get back onto the field, they’ll be dangerous.
With Josh McCown under center, the Cleveland Browns suddenly look like viable challengers in the AFC North. The Baltimore Ravens are in a death spiral and the Steelers are still without Big Ben, so that power vacuum gives the Browns a shot. McCown threw for 457 yards in a winning effort in Baltimore, and if the offense can continue to improve and score points, Cleveland has the defense to contend.
For now, both White and the Falcons are expressing their commitment to each other, but the trade deadline will be the true test of that commitment.
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The long travel also doesn’t bode well for a Week 6 game against the Arizona Cardinals, despite the fact that it’s in Pittsburgh. After a win over the Detroit Lions, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians spoke about the advantage that his team will have against the weary Steelers in six days.
“It is always a big advantage to play an East Coast team the week after they have to play Monday night on the West Coast, because they are still trying to recover from the short week and the long flights.”
The Chargers enter Monday as a 3.5-point favorite, despite boasting the same 2-2 record as the Steelers.
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The league is betting that sort of versatility proves more entertaining than even a polished, repetitive post-up game or some Shaq-style brutality. They’re probably right. (They are also pining for a new Shaq-ish player to bring some diversity. “If there’s another Shaq,” Vandeweghe said, “you can bet that team will post up a lot.”)
Switching will become an even more sought-after skill as the cleanest way to snuff the drive-and-kick attack. Coaches say they will spend more time coaching that, and teaching proper defensive positioning — stances, footwork — so that guys of all sizes are better at keeping opponents out of the paint. “That technique on the ball is going to be so much more important than ever,” Thibodeau said. “You have to contain dribble penetration.”
Casey said he might devote more time to a zone defense in future seasons. A few team officials even proposed scrapping the defensive three seconds rule so that plodding rim protectors could stay on the floor.
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Embiid drops to 73rd.
That’s still a solid return on the 96th pick. But thanks to Embiid’s back-to-back policy, you’re not actually getting top-30 production. Even if it feels like it when he’s on the court.
You’re getting eighth-round production.
With all of the hype and momentum building around Embiid, you would be derelict to not at least put out some trade feelers. If the back-to-back policy sticks (as it should), Embiid will miss at least 11 of his team’s remaining 49 games.
Now, that’s only a 22 percent production drop, so Embiid’s prospects will improve in ROS terms. I still say explore offers. Because his value is about to peak.
And a closer look at the schedule reveals the peak’s precise date.
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With Dwyane Wade resting his knee and Rajon Rondo out of the rotation, Jimmy Butler had the green light all night and he made the most of it. The last time Wade sat, Butler went for 40 points. Monday night? He went for 52, including 17 in the final four minutes. Butler virtually beat the Hornets on his own as the next highest scorer for the Bulls was Nikola Mirotic with 12 points.
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The A¡¯s weren¡¯t literally sold this winter, but it almost feels like they were. Managing partner Lew Wolff was the despised face of the group, and when he divested and stepped down it symbolized a changing of the guard. The figurative king is gone, which is the first step toward finding a better one. Majority owner John Fisher is now the managing partner, and Dave Kaval is the new team president.
As you can see above, the Habs have some large contracts coming off the books at the end of next season, most notably Alexei Emelin¡¯s $4.1 million-average deal, and Tomas Plekanec¡¯s recent two-year extension. That¡¯s more than enough space to both find cheaper replacement options (or at least offer new extensions at lesser values), and increase Price¡¯s salary.
With that situation considered, next on the to-do list is getting a new deal for Alex Galchenyuk before this season comes to a close. Marc Bergevin took a gamble on a two-year bridge deal with the young player, and now that Galchenyuk has emerged as a top player in the league, he will need to commit a significant portion of cap space to the team¡¯s number-one centre.
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