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Falcons get Devonta Freeman in running rhythm at perfect time

Devonta Freeman wasn’t going down. No chance.

The Atlanta Falcons running back took a second-quarter handoff from Matt Ryan, shrugged off a weak, one-arm tackle attempt by San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aaron Lynch, lowered his shoulder to barrel over safety Jaquiski Tartt, then didn’t even flinch as cornerback Rashard Robinson twisted his face mask. It was all part of Freeman’s remarkable 9-yard touchdown run that was an immediate response to his first fumble of the season — right at the goal line — on the preceding drive.
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Devin Taylor Authentic Jersey And Succop was short from 53 yards on the final play of regulation — but it was washed away by Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s timeout. Given a second chance, Succop found the range and lifted the Titans to a 19-17 win that improved their record to 8-6.

“I felt like I hit the first one good, and when it came up short, there was a second in my mind where I wasn’t sure if I could even reach from there,” said Succop, who played for the Chiefs from 2009 to 2013. “So on the second one, I kind of just had to throw technique out the window a little bit and really go after it and hit it as hard as I could.”

During the timeout, Succop said he re-tied the shoe on his plant foot to prepare to go at the kick extra hard.

But earlier in the fourth quarter, Tennessee coach Mike Mularkey had his offense try for a two-point conversion after Derrick Henry’s second touchdown with 3:12 remaining, rather than having Succop attempt the extra point. The Chiefs covered a play that had Marcus Mariota looking to the right flat, and he wound up with a short incompletion.

Tennessee got the ball down 17-16 and moved 40 yards in 1:07 to set up Succop’s heroics.

Reflecting on the 53-yard field goal, Succop said that if given 10 chances at the kick, “I don’t know if I could make one.”

He did, though.

Russell Wilson has a Super Bowl win to his credit and has the Seattle Seahawks in perennial contention

Chicago Bears wide receiver Marquess Wilson fractured his left foot for the third time since 2015 and is out indefinitely, coach John Fox announced Friday.

“They’re still evaluating if he needs surgery,” Fox said. “It is the same basic injury [he’s suffered before]. They don’t know the exact extent, but it is re-broken and they’re still evaluating.”

Russell Wilson has a Super Bowl win to his credit and has the Seattle Seahawks in perennial contention. Andrew Luck, the No. 1 pick in 2012, can be there, provided injury and ineffectiveness around him in Indianapolis don’t take their toll.

On Sunday night at AT&T Stadium, when the Dallas Cowboys take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two more quarterbacks with the chance to be heirs to the current 30-somethings will play against each other — Dak Prescott and Jameis Winston.
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J.J. Jansen Game Jersey Winston, the No. 1 overall pick last year out of Florida State, has 8-5 Tampa Bay on a five-game winning streak and in playoff contention. Prescott has helped the Cowboys to an 11-2 record, tied with Brady’s New England Patriots for the NFL’s best.

Despite one more year of NFL experience, Winston is a year younger than the 23-year-old Prescott.

A few years ago, they met at the Manning Passing Academy.

“I like his game. He’s a great leader,” Prescott said of Winston. “It showed in college, to go undefeated and win the national championship as a freshman, you’re doing something right.”

Winston has more touchdown passes in 13 games (23) than he did last season (22). He is completing 61.7 percent of his passes, compared to just 58.3 percent a year ago. After throwing eight interceptions in the first four games this season, he has just four in the past nine games.

Most importantly, Winston has the Buccaneers in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

“At any position, but especially at the quarterback position, experience is still the best teacher,” Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter said.

Both Gobert and Hayward could still improve

GobertGobert leads the league in field-goal percentage, and he’s sniffing 70 percent at the line. He’s not worried about getting fouled any more, and when big men cross that Rubicon, they become much more confident cramming dunks.
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Opponents barely even try shooting around the basket when Gobert is on the floor, per, and he’s (literally) the biggest reason only 19 percent of opponent 3s come from the corners — the third-lowest mark in the league. With Gobert enveloping the paint, Utah’s help defenders can stick close to shooters dotting the arc.

Game Cyrus Jones Jersey Both Gobert and Hayward could still improve. Hood could blossom into a borderline All-Star. Exum is only 21, and he can credibly guard multiple positions — and even supply some emergency rim protection:

That’s not ideal timing, since Favors will be, barring an extension, on an expiring contract — and tough to trade for good return.

The new CBA could help Utah there, too. The league and union have discussed giving capped-out teams more financial flexibility in offering extensions, though it’s unclear if any such change will end up in the new deal. That would pump up Favors’ trade value, since any team trading for him — or anyone else on an expiring contract — would have a better chance at locking him up long-term before he hits the market. Teams with cap room (like Utah now) already have leeway in extending guys, and that should remain the case under the new CBA, sources have said.

With or without Favors, this may not be a “championship-level” nucleus in a superstar-driven league. But it could be a damn good team for a long time, and sometimes funny things happen to teams who hang around the 50-win range. If enough players hit, the Jazz could turn into a version of the 2003-04 Pistons — a huge, defense-first team with a bunch of (allegedly) second-tier stars who combined to form something greater.

If you don’t have a top-10 player, maybe having five top-30 guys will do the trick. It’s certainly worth investigating, especially with players who believe so deeply in themselves. “I think we can beat anybody,” Gobert said. “Defensively, we can be the best. We are not scared of anyone.”

Dexter Fowler and Adam Eaton bring similar, notable value

It has been a busy couple of days for top-of-the-order hitters moving to NL contenders, with the St. Louis Cardinals reportedly signing free agent Dexter Fowler away from the Cubs and the Washington Nationals trading for Adam Eaton. Each ranked as a high-end outfielder in 2016. Fowler had the first 4-WAR season of his career. Eaton, playing right field, turned in a 6-WAR season with the help of some outstanding defensive play.

The Fowler move was a counterpunch for the Cardinals in a couple of respects. With Eaton off the board, it reduced their number of outfield options. And getting Fowler meant helping themselves while taking away a key player from a division rival.
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And though there are many difference between the two players, there are a number of ways in which the Cardinals basically got a match for Eaton (contracts notwithstanding).

But much like the guys behind Door No. 5, when it comes to the dudes behind Door No. 6, there are flaws abound. Treinen¡¯s never done it before, so it remains to be seen whether he has closer DNA. Shawn Kelley had trouble keeping the ball in the park to the tune of a 4 percent home run rate, the eighth highest among NL relievers (min. 50 innings pitched). And Glover has a five-plus ERA in all of 19 2/3 career innings.
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So where does that leave the Nationals? Well, they¡¯re no stranger to closer issues. In 2012 and 2014, they got bounced from the NLDS thanks largely to heartbreaking, late-game meltdowns by the back end of the bullpen. In 2015, they went big and acquired Jonathan Papelbon, but that didn¡¯t work out so well either. Last season, they traded for Melancon at the deadline, and although he was solid as advertised, they still got jacked up by the Dodgers in the division series.

Heading into 2017, their roster says they¡¯re the presumptive favorites to repeat as NL East champs. But for that to happen, and more importantly for them to go deep into the playoffs, they¡¯ll need a guy that can consistently close the door. But first they¡¯ll need to open the door. Only time will tell which door that is.

Bosa said he believes the Chargers can turn things around in the final four games

While Bosa, who missed the first four games of the regular season with a hamstring issue, has exceeded expectations on the field, his impressive performances have not always led to wins, as they did at Ohio State in college.

¡°You can¡¯t expect to win games when you throw them away like that,¡± Bosa said after San Diego¡¯s latest loss. ¡°On both sides of the ball we didn¡¯t make plays when we had to.¡±

While frustrated, Bosa said he believes the Chargers can turn things around in the final four games.

Game Youth Thomas Vanek Jersey ON SUNDAY NIGHTS, Thomas goes home, lies down with his wife and three kids and watches the late football games. He is happy that his children are all under the age of 4 and don’t know whether he’s won or lost. They kiss his wounds and take his mind off of the sacks and the scoreboard and the large bags of ice wrapped around his knees.

“I hope that someday the kids will think what he did for a living was pretty cool,” Annie says in an email. “But for right now they just think he wears a funny helmet and tights.”

Maybe someday, they’ll know why Thomas did this, why he kept pushing that boulder up even though it kept crashing down on him.
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“I’m hired to do a job,” he says. “They expect me to do a job, and that job requires me to get my butt up and get back to the huddle, get the play and go do it another time. And until I can’t physically get up, I’m going to do that.

“Until they pull me out of the game and say, ‘You’re not doing it well enough,’ I’m going to just keep getting up.”

Packers vs. Washington 2016 picks and predictions: Experts mainly favor Washington in Wild Card game

The Green Bay Packers fell to the Minnesota Vikings in the regular season finale and therefore made it into the postseason as a wild card team as opposed to a third seed. This means they don’t get to host a game at Lambeau Field in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, but many would argue they’re better off.

A victory over the Vikings would have forced them into playing host to the Vikings again a week later in the Wild Card round, while many believe the team they will play instead, Washington, isn’t nearly that strong. Losing to Minnesota also has the added benefit of avoiding a third game between the two this season, especially if the tough Seattle Seahawks can down Minnesota on Sunday.

Game Womens Zach Bogosian Jersey Despite those two disastrous quarters, the Texans were somehow still in the game going coming out of the half, but it was just more of the same from there on out. Houston couldn’t mount much of a fight –Hoyer added another pick for good measure — and Kansas City ran away with it with a Chris Conley touchdown catch and a Spencer Ware touchdown run.

The night game, well, it was not boring. The Steelers completely dominated a rain-soaked and sloppy first three quarters and took a 15-0 lead into the final frame, and for a while there, it looked pretty possible that neither home team in Saturday’s action would come out with any points on the board.

Daniel Alfredsson Game Jersey Looking to run the clock out, Jeremy Hill fumbled on the next play from scrimmage, and Ben Roethlisberger returned to the game to become the savior for the city of Pittsburgh. He proceeded to lead the Steelers on a 9-play, 74 yard drive (while barely throwing beyond the line of scrimmage) that culminated in a game winning field goal by Chris Boswell. This game-winner was aided by two straight personal foul penalties by the Bengals — a hit to the head by Vontaze Burfict and an incident in the ensuing scrum by Pacman Jones — and it was a chaotic ending to an ugly, insanely strange game.

If you can¡¯t stop Dontari Poe, you can¡¯t stop the Chiefs

As I was re-watching the TV copy of all the wild card games with the NFL GamePass app (shitty on all devices except … my Microsoft Surface tablet, you know, the official tablet of all the NFL) before the all-22 was posted, I considered coming up with a Hoss Of The Week recipient for the first week of the playoffs. Then, I noticed that a lot of the teams that lost had defensive lineman who had big days (Whitney Mercilus, I’m looking at you). For the teams that won, several of the best performances were right around the same amount of outstanding. That made it untenable for me to try to choose just one.
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Meanwhile, the ground game succeeded early on due to the resurgent efforts of free agent addition Chris Johnson. After some disappointing years in Tennessee and New York — not to mention a scary offseason drive-by shooting that took the life of one of his friends — Johnson found the fountain of youth in the desert. In 11 games, he ran for 814 yards at a 4.2 clip, his best numbers on a per game basis since 2012.

But before the issue was resolved, Jones, suffering from bad effects of a synthetic drug and seeking assistance from the police, was on his knees, with his hands behind his head, facing towards the ground, as they came towards him. And when they got closer, when they began to run towards him, he laid flat on his stomach, spread his arms wide out and calmly told the officers: “I’m Chandler Jones.”
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Then Tuesday morning a light bulb came on … I woke up and turned on the light like I always do so I can find my Surface and get to watching the all-22. A while after that, another light bulb came on! Well, this one was more of an idea rather than an actual light bulb.

What I noticed was that in each game one guy on each of the teams that didn’t have to clean out their lockers this week not only had a good game, but they also had a specific play or plays that made a huge impact on the outcome of game, plays that likely won’t even show their name on most standard stat sheets.

Still, while the Packers have just now rediscovered their mojo, the Cardinals never lost theirs. Quarterback Carson Palmer enjoyed the best season of his career, completing 63.7 percent of his passes for a whopping 4,671 yards, 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The main beneficiary of his success was veteran wideout Larry Fitzgerald, who led the team with 1,215 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. It was Fitzgerald’s first season with over 1,000 yards receiving since 2011.

Bulls’ Gibson putting in work, staying focused in contract year

The media played it for all the laughs and clicks it could get, LeBron James was a good sport and Dwyane Wade had a blast teasing his blue-pinstriped BFF from the Cleveland Cavaliers as James paid off a World Series bet Friday evening.
But Taj Gibson was not amused. Nothing against the frivolity per se, but Gibson wasn¡¯t going to let himself get drawn in, lest he drop his guard.

“LeBron, he’s that dude, man,” Gibson told reporters after Chicago¡¯s unexpected 111-105 victory at the United Center. “I’m happy to be able to say that for most of my career I was able to play big games against him. Playoffs, regular games, rivalries, whatever you want to call it, because he’s the man.

It’s impossible to know what these Celtics truly are or what they might become. Boston has rarely put together a full 48-minute effort and sweats out wins against subpar competition as emphasized during this weekend’s back-to-back wins against the Sacramento Kings and Philadelphia 76ers without Joel Embiid.

Elite Brent Celek Jersey Boston’s schedule is about to crank into overdrive. The Celtics play nine of their next 14 games on the road, including visits to four of the current top six teams in the West over the next two weeks. A return trip to Cleveland, where Boston lost in early November, looms at the end of the month.

The Celtics are going to have to play better than they have lately to keep their heads above water. Despite winning six of their last eight, Boston’s play hasn’t inspired much confidence. The Celtics have won five straight away from TD Garden, but the combined records of those five teams entering Sunday’s action was 33-67 (.330 winning percentage).
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On Monday, the Celtics drop in on a Rockets team that went 4-1 on a recent five-game road trip that included a double-overtime victory over Golden State. The Rockets own the third-best offensive rating in the league and sit seventh in net rating (plus-3.3). For sake of comparison, Boston is 12th in the league in net rating at plus-2.0 (but has the potential to elevate higher as its defensive rating stabilizes).

Gronkowski already has missed three games this year and played a limited role in two others

Eric Karabell’s Week 13 watch list includes Rob Gronkowski’s intriguing position and his thriving team, each in search of aid
The strength of the Patriots’ offense, especially over the past decade under the on-again, off-again stewardship of Josh McDaniels, has been its ability to change its shape. Having Tom Brady helps, of course, but we saw how effective the offense could be during the first three weeks of the season, with Garoppolo at quarterback and Gronkowski either out or a shell of his usual self. The Patriots have managed to transition from a spread attack with Randy Moss and Wes Welker to the two-tight-end sets of Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez to an offense that incorporates both. They’ve overcome subpar offensive lines and managed to get the most out of players other teams weren’t interested in, such as Julian Edelman, Dion Lewis and Martellus Bennett.
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Bennett looms large in how the Patriots will handle the Gronkowski mess. The goal for this year was to build an offense around the twin terrors of Gronkowski and Bennett, who would be able to stay on the field and dictate mismatches regardless of the defense’s personnel choices. Injuries have prevented them from ever really pulling that off. By the time Gronkowski made it back from his hamstring injury, Bennett got hurt, suffering an ankle injury in a three-touchdown performance over the Browns.

What’s next for Gronk?

Gilbert Perreault Elite Jersey This is the thorniest question of them all, and the one that is toughest to answer. Gronkowski has made critical decisions in his professional career with his back in mind. In 2009, Gronkowski missed his junior season at Arizona and underwent his first back surgery. He subsequently decided to go pro instead of returning to school to rebuild his stock, which almost never happens. Organizations passed on Gronkowski out of concerns about his back and the missing year of tape, which is how a Hall of Fame tight end gets taken 17 picks after Tim Tebow and falls to the Patriots in the second round.

While the tight end emerged as a star and was mostly injury-free before suffering a high ankle sprain during the 2011 playoffs, it became clear that Gronk (or his representation) was concerned about his long-term ability to stay on the field. It’s hard to otherwise explain the deal he chose to sign before the 2012 season, just two years after entering the league. While reports at the time suggested that the six-year, $54 million deal was the biggest contract ever handed out to a tight end, the structure was incredibly team-friendly and contained just $12.9 million in guaranteed money.

Texans star J.J. Watt donates $10K to help high schooler

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt donated $10,000 to a Houston area high school football player who is in a coma after he was injured in a game last weekend.

Grant Milton, a senior at The Woodlands High School, suffered an injury in a playoff game on Saturday that required emergency surgery.

A GoFundMe page was started to accept donations toward medical costs and living expenses while the family is dealing with the injury. Watt included a note with his donation, saying, “If there’s anything that I can do to help, please let me know. Sending my best wishes to Grant and the entire Milton family.”

Maybe this was Manning’s way of making sure the silent game doesn’t send the rookie into a funk. Or maybe he really did feel badly about how it all went down.

Either way, the Giants are going to need Shepard moving forward. He’s second on the team with 44 catches, 476 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

Manning is going to need his No. 2 target to produce down the stretch, beginning this Sunday when they play a difficult game on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Shepard is confident it will happen.

Limited Womens Richard Hamilton Jersey Brees said he sees frustration bubble up in a teammate every week or two since he’s been in New Orleans.

“Listen, there’s not a guy who works harder in here than Brandin Cooks and expects more out of himself and wants to be a part of what we’re doing and our success,” Brees said. “That was just one of those games where there was opportunities called for him and the coverage kind of rolled his way or whatever it was and the ball ended up going elsewhere. And it was just one of those bad luck things for him personally, I guess.

Limited Womens Nick Foles Jersey “But obviously as a team we were rolling. And that just opens up opportunities for other people. And I think Brandin recognizes that, we talked about it after the game. And, listen, if we can go out and score 49 points and play like that and win every week, then I think everybody would be OK with it.”