Bucs’ Arians: ‘Obviously, Frank(Reich) trusts Carson(Wentz)’

In 2017, Indianapolis Colts QB Carson Wentz had an MVP caliber season. Before tearing his ACL late in that season, Wentz had the Eagles in a position to be the top seed in the NFC. Ultimately,  the Eagles would make and win Super Bowl 52.

Wentz threw for 3296 yards with 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions in 2017.  Colts head coach Frank Reich was Wentz’s offensive coordinator from 2016-2017 and would take the Colts head coaching  job in 2018. The sixth-year quarterback had solid seasons in Philadelphia after Reich left before it all fell apart for him in 2020, where he threw 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Wentz would get benched and lose his starting job to Jalen Hurts.

In the offseason, Wentz and Reich were reunited when Philadelphia traded him to the Colts, and after 11 games, Wentz is having a solid season with 18 touchdowns and only three interceptions. After starting the season 1-4, the 6-5 Colts have won three straight and five of their last six and are 1/2 game behind the Chargers for the seventh and final playoff spot in the AFC.

On Friday, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, whose team will travel to Indy to battle the Colts, sees a bond between Wentz and Reich.

“It’s huge. Trust is the whole thing,” Arians said about Wentz and Reich’s relationship. “Obviously, Frank trusts Carson. He went out and got him and got [him] the contract. There is a ton of trust, and you see Carson – you can see the way he is playing that he knows somebody that trusts him is calling the plays.”

For Tampa Bay to get the win on Sunday, they must contain the NFL’s leader in rushing yards and touchdowns in Jonathan Taylor(1122 yards and 13 touchdowns). The second-year running back had 185 yards and four touchdowns in Indy’s rout of the Bills last week, but Taylor also does damage outside of the backfield as he has 32 receptions for 322 yards and two touchdowns, which concerns Arians.

“Big, big – he is great in the screen game, but he can go out and run routes,” Arians said about Taylor. “He had a lot of David Johnson in him when we worked him out. He could be a wide receiver if he wanted to be – he’s got the size and speed. [He is a] tremendous athlete. He is dangerous anywhere in space.”

Tampa will have to limit both Wentz and Taylor if they hope to defeat the red-hot Colts on Sunday.

Eagles’ Srianni: ‘I think [QB] Jalen [Hurts] is a special player that forces defenses to play different’

For the second straight game, and the third time in four games, the Philadelphia Eagles(5-6) ran for over 200 yards, and for the second straight game, they got a defensive touchdown as they defeated the Saints(5-5) 40-29 to get their first win of the season at Lincoln Financial Field. 

Philadelphia rushed for a season-high 242 yards against the NFL’s No. 1-ranked rushing defense. The Eagles’ 242 rushing yards are the club’s most in a game since posting 246 yards against the Saints’ defense last season.

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts, who threw for 147 yards and rushed for 69 yards and a franchise-record-tying three touchdowns, including a game-clinching 24-yard touchdown run, gave his thoughts on the team’s identity on offense.

“We’re going to continue to attack, continue to play our game. I’ve always been asked about the identity of this football team,” Hurts said. “Early on in the season, everybody is asking me the question. Whether I answered it or I didn’t answer it, I think identity is not being able to run the ball or ‘we’re a running team,’ ‘we’re a passing team,’ or ‘we’re a team that doesn’t give up big explosive plays.’ That’s not what identity is. Identity is a mentality. It’s a mentality; it’s an approach; it’s the detail you put in day in and day out throughout the week. It’s being physical; it’s wanting it, it’s effort. It’s all of those things…

“We just want to continue to control the controllables. Continue to connect with one another and know that everybody has each other’s backs out there in the field, and continue to move forward with that mentality of ‘rent is due every day.’ That’s the identity of this football team.”

According to Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, Hurts’ running ability impacts how defenses play them.

“I think [QB] Jalen [Hurts] is a special player that forces defenses to play different,” he said. “You look at the tape, and again I think I told you guys early in the week, you look at the stat sheet, you look at where they are, you look at their defense, but you also want to do what you do well. We know we have been running the ball well, and it’s a little different when Jalen is in there.”

Eagles rookie WR DeVonta Smith, who caught four passes for 61 yards, added on the running game: “When the run game is working the way it was working today, you’re going to stick to it.”

Defensively, Philadelphia produced three takeaways, two by LB T.J. Edwards(interception,  fumble recovery), and Darius Slay had a huge pick-6 before halftime to give the Eagles a 27-7 lead going into the break. 

With the win, the Eagles move up in the standings. Philadelphia is currently 1/2 game behind the 7th(Saints) and 6th(Vikings) seeded teams, so they are in a playoff race at this point, which, no matter how it ends, will be a great experience for many of the young players on this team.

Best of the Rest:

-Sunday’s game marked the first time Philadelphia has rushed for 200+ yards in consecutive games since the 1978 season, when the team did so in three straight games (9/17/78-10/1/78). The Eagles’ three 200+ yard games are their most in a season since 2013 (five games).

-Philadelphia’s 242 rushing yards are the club’s most in a game since posting 246 yards against the Saints’ defense last season on 12/13/20 at Lincoln Financial Field.

-The Eagles’ 50 rushing attempts were their most in a game since 10/5/97 vs. Washington, when they produced 203 yards and three touchdowns on 50 carries in a 24-10 victory. The last NFL team to record 50+ attempts in a game was Baltimore on 1/3/21 at Cincinnati (54).

Jags’ Lawrence feels he is doing a better job of avoiding turnovers

The 2021 NFL season for the Jacksonville Jaguars(2-7) is about growing and getting better each and every week. Before Sunday’s 23-17 road loss to the Colts, Jacksonville had won two out of three after starting the season 0-5.

Against the Colts on Sunday, the Jaguars trailed 17-0 in the first quarter but were able to cut the lead to 20-17 in the fourth, but with the score 23-17 and less than a minute to go, Trevor Lawrence fumbled the ball on a scramble, and the Colts would hold on for the win.

Lawrence struggled on Sunday as he was 16/35 for 162 yards, and he was disappointed that he could not will his team to victory.

“I was super disappointed in how it ended,” Lawrence said. “[I] had the ball in my hands, and the game ended that way instead of us scoring and going up there, but the defense really rallied behind me. The locker room picked me up and just said, ‘stuff like that’s going to happen, and we all have to play better.’ [I] just appreciate those guys, and I think it’s cool the group we have. I know there’s a lot of times that fingers can start getting pointed at each, and you start bickering and kind of start turning on each other, and we haven’t done that at all. I think you’ve seen how we’ve gotten better every week and even last week.

“You have to finish those games, and that would’ve been huge for us, but moving forward, it’s like how much we’ve grown since Week 1. We get down 17-0 with two minutes left in the first quarter earlier in the season; I’m not sure how we would’ve responded. Just seeing how we fought back, stayed in the game, didn’t panic, and had a chance to win it, you see how much better we’ve gotten. We’re going to get there. We’re going to finish those games.”

Earlier in the season, Lawrence had issues with turnovers. In the first three games, he threw seven interceptions. In the next six games, he threw only three interceptions, so he has cleaned that up, and according to Lawrence, that has been his most significant improvement

“Obviously, I had some bad turnovers earlier in the year,” he said. “It took me a couple weeks, got those out of my system. But that’s one thing I try to pride myself on is being coachable and getting better. Obviously, there’s going to be new things every week. Some areas you might take a step back and be like, ‘Okay, I need to really hone in on that again and go back to the drawing board, work on that in practice.’ But then there’s some things that you consistently work on every week, and you just want to see that improvement. I think in general, just taking care of the ball, not putting it in harm’s way since the first couple games, that’s been the biggest improvement.”

Lawrence has to be better than he was on Sunday, but like the Jaguars, he’s a work in progress.

Bucs place Sherman on injured reserve

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed cornerback Richard Sherman on injured reserve, the team announced on Wednesday.

According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Sherman, 33, suffered a grade 2 calf strain before the game against Washington. The 11-year veteran will be out for at least three weeks, but it could be longer. 

“‘Sherm’ strained his calf before the game,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said on Monday. “I doubt seriously if he’ll be back anytime soon.”

The five-time Pro Bowler joined the Buccaneers in September and was battling a hamstring injury that he suffered in Week 6 against the Eagles. 

Tampa Bay’s secondary has been decimated by injuries this season, including injuries to starting corners Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting, and now they are without Sherman.

In three games this season, Sherman had 11 tackles and a fumble recovery.

 

 

 

Bucs’ Arians: ‘We are doing one hell of a job on Monday through Friday, but we are not showing up on Sundays’

For the second straight game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers(6-3) lose on the road, and this time against a very beatable opponent in the Washington Football Team(3-6) as the world champions fell to Washington 29-19 on Sunday at FedExField.

After the game, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians was not very happy about the team’s performance following their bye week.

“That display was very reminiscent of the last one,” Arians said. “It’s baffling to me after the week of practice I watched these guys have that we could play that poorly. We played with enough passion and energy for about eight or nine minutes to win games in this league. We got to show up on Sundays. We are doing one hell of a job on Monday through Friday, but we are not showing up on Sundays.”

Tampa Bay never led in this one and trailed 13-0 in the second quarter, and Washington would take a 16-6 lead into halftime. The Buccaneers would draw closer in the third when Tom Brady connected with Cameron Brate on a six-yard touchdown reception to cut the lead to 16-13, but Washington responded with an eight-play, 71-yard drive that ended with Antonio Gibson’s one-yard touchdown run.

After the Buccaneers cut Washington’s lead to 23-19 in the fourth, Washington would go on a 19-play, 80-yard drive that took 10;29 and concluded with Gibson scoring again from one yard out to put the game away.

Washington’s 19-play, 80-yard, 10:29 fourth-quarter touchdown drive was the longest fourth-quarter drive in Washington franchise history in terms of plays since 2001. In addition, per Stathead, it was the longest fourth quarter drive in terms of time of possession
resulting in a touchdown in the NFL since 2001.

“That’s very disappointing for us,” Arians said about Washington’s game-clinching drive. “We pride ourselves on defense, and we lost too many games and given up the lead too many times in the fourth quarter.”

Ir wasn’t a good game for Tampa’s defense and wasn’t a good game for Brady, who threw two interceptions on consecutive possessions in the first quarter, which led to 10 Washington points.

It was the first time Brady has been intercepted twice in the first quarter of a game since 2012.

“It has nothing to do with his receivers; it is on him,” Arians said about Brady’s interceptions.

Brady, who threw for 220 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions, added on the loss: “We just never really played on our terms. We played from behind the whole game. They played a good game. They had a good plan.”

This was a big win for Washington as they got revenge after losing to Tampa Bay in the playoffs last season. However, Washington’s star DE Chase Young did leave in the first half with an apparent knee injury.

“We know it’s a knee, there’s some concern,” Washington head coach Ron Rivera said postgame about Young. “We’ll have him evaluated tomorrow, potentially an ACL but we’re not sure yet. Once we get the evaluation, we’ll know for sure.”

Regarding the Buccaneers, they’re struggling right now.

Simply put, the Buccaneers have to start playing better if they want to turn things around.

Best of the Rest:

-Washington QB Taylor Heinicke completed 26-of-32 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown, and a 110.4 passer rating. He also rushed three times for 15 yards.

-Washington defeated Brady for the first time since September 28, 2003. It is the second time the team has ever beaten the three-time NFL MVP.

-Buccaneers DT Vita Vea was carted off in the fourth was apparent knee injury.

 

 

Eagles get a big win over Broncos in Denver

On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles(4-6) used a dominant run game, big plays from DeVonta Smith, and an opportunistic defense to knock off the Broncos(5-5) 30-13 at Empower Field at Mile High.

The Eagles rushed for 214 yards against the Broncos, led by Jordan Howard’s 83 yards and Boston Scott’s 81 yards. Also, Jalen Hurts, who ran for 53 yards, became the first Eagles QB to have 50+ rushing yards in four consecutive games since 2011. This was the third-straight game in which the team has recorded 175+ rushing yards. Philadelphia has also rushed for 200+ yards in two of their last three games.

In addition, Hurts to Smith(four catches 64 yards, two touchdowns) worked very well for the Eagles. The two connected on two touchdowns, including a leaping 36-yard touchdown reception by Smith in the first quarter that gave Philadelphia an early 10-0 lead.

Denver would ultimately tie the game at 10, but Hurts would connect with Smith on a five-yard touchdown pass to give the Eagles a 17-10 lead in the second quarter. According to Sportradar, Smith, who celebrated his birthday on Sunday, became just the third Eagle to post multiple touchdowns on their birthday; he also became the first Eagles rookie to record multiple receiving touchdowns in a single game since 2014.

The Eagles took a 20-10 lead into halftime, and late in the third, with the team leading 20-13, the Broncos had a big 4th and one deep in Eagles’ territory, and Broncos RB Melvin Gordon was stripped by Eagles LB Davion Taylor, which was scooped up by Darius Slay who would return it 82 yards for a touchdown to give Philadelphia a commanding 27-13 lead.

“Big Play Slay” made the play of the game, and with the Eagles struggling offensively in the second half, his return for a touchdown was huge.

Philadelphia now returns home to face the sixth-seeded Saints(5-4) next Sunday, and don’t look now, but the Eagles are in a playoff race at this point. They are one game behind the seventh-seeded Carolina Panthers(5-5), so if they can beat the Saints, Philly could get one step closer to the playoffs.

In the end, there’s still a lot of football left.

Best of the Rest:

-Hurts went 16-of-23 for 178 passing yards and two touchdowns.

-K’Von Wallace kept Denver off the board following their first possession of the third quarter when he blocked a 22-yard FG attempt by Broncos K Brandon McManus. He became the first Eagle to register a blocked FG since Derek Barnett on 11/22/20 against the Browns.

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on win over Boston: ‘There is no basketball reason why we should have won’

With 3:06 left in the third quarter, the Cleveland Cavaliers trailed the Boston Celtics 72-53. However, Cleveland outscored Boston 38-17 the rest of the way and would defeat Boston 91-89 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Saturday night.

After losing to Washington on Wednesday night, Cleveland(9-5) has now won two straight. Boston’s(6-7) two-game winning streak was snapped on Saturday night.

Here is the Great, Not so Great, and the Bottom Line of Cleveland’s big win over Boston.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Evan Mobley has been exceptional in the first 14 games of his career, and after a slow start, he was outstanding on Saturday night. Mobley scored 12 of his 19 points in the fourth. He added nine rebounds, three blocks, and two steals. He made big shots down the stretch and made great plays on defense, including this block on Jayson Tatum.

In addition, according to the Cavs, Mobley became the fastest player in team history to reach 200 points and 100 rebounds.

-Darius Garland led the Cavs with a season-high 22 points to go along with six assists and four rebounds. Garland also hit the game-winning free throws after he was fouled by Marcus Smart on his drive to the basket with 09.4 seconds left. It was Garland’s second straight game with 20-plus points and six-plus assists.

-Cedi Osman brought energy and effort off the bench against Boston. He scored all nine of his points in the fourth. Osman, who played the whole fourth quarter, also had three rebounds, two steals, and a block in the final period. 

-Ricky Rubio also was big-time off the Cavs’ bench. He did not shoot it that well from the field(4/17 FG), but he did score four of his 16 points and had five of his seven assists in the final quarter, including a beautiful lob pass to Jarrett Allen to give the Cavs an 89-87 lead with 35.4 seconds left in the game. Rubio also added five rebounds.

Fourth Quarter: Cleveland trailed by as many as 19 in the third but cut it to 12, heading into the fourth. The Cavs went on an 11-0 run to start the final period to cut the lead to one. Led by the lineup of Mobley, Rubio, Osman, Denzel Valentine, and Dylan Windler, Cleveland scrapped, clawed and got back into the game. Ultimately, Garland and Allen returned to put the Cavs over the top. The Cavaliers outscored the Celtics 25-15 in the final period, and Boston shot only 30%  from the field.

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

The First Three Quarters: Boston held the Cavaliers to only nine points in the first quarter on 15% shooting from the field and six turnovers, which led to 11 Celtic points. The second quarter was a little better for Cleveland, but they trailed 52-38 at halftime. The Cavs did outscore the Celtics by two in the third, but they were down as many as 19 that quarter. 

-Isaac Okoro was 0/7 from the field and finished with two points in 18 minutes of action.

Bottom Line:

What an amazing comeback by the never-say-die Cavaliers. They definitely should have lost this game, but they found a way, and it appears this team has the heart, the scrap, and the toughness to keep finding a way.

“There is no basketball reason why we should have won, but there was a collective spirit,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said postgame.

What’s Next:

Cleveland battles the Celtics again at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Monday night as they conclude their four-game homestand.

Best of the Rest:

-Boston’s Dennis Schroder had a game-high 28 points; Jayson Tatum had 21 points, and Robert Williams added 12 points, a game-high 16 rebounds, and three blocks.

-Jarrett Allen chipped in with 11 points and eight rebounds for the Cavaliers.

-Both teams were missing key pieces as Boston was without Jaylen Brown(hamstring), Al Horford(back), and Josh Richardson(knee). Cleveland was still without Kevin Love(Reconditioning) and Lauri Markkanen(Health and Safety Protocols), and they were missing reserve Lamar Stevens.

Watch below as Garland, Mobley, and Osman react to Cleveland’s big win over Boston:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington’s Rivera on Buccaneers: ‘They get Tom(Brady), and then you see everything come together’

In 2020, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers(6-2) went out and got maybe the greatest quarterback of all time in Tom Brady, who ultimately led the team to their second championship in team history.

Before Brady, the Buccaneers had not made the playoffs since 2007, and the year before Brady came along, Jameis Winston did throw for over 5000 yards and 33 touchdowns. However, Winston did throw 30 interceptions, and Tampa finished 7-9.

The Buccaneers had a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, but they needed a leader; they needed a player who could take them to the next level, and Brady was that guy.

During Tampa’s run to the Super Bowl, they won three times on the road, including against the Washington Football Team(2-6) at FedEx Field in the Wild Card round, and they return to FedEx Field on Sunday to battle the Washington Football Team.

On Friday, Washington head coach Ron Rivera discussed how Brady pushed the Buccaneers over the hump.

“I think you started off by saying it perfectly: Tom Brady,” Rivera said about how Brady being the difference in Tampa. “I think that really speaks for itself. You look at the year before they got Tom, and they were close. But they hadn’t gotten over the hump. They get Tom, and then you see everything come together. You get a guy with his experience, his years in the league, his six Super Bowl rings before he got his seventh, and that’s going to speak very loudly in your locker room. For any team in this league, that’s the biggest difference.”

Washington is still looking for a franchise quarterback. They started the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick, who got injured. Taylor Heinicke has had his moments, but it’s safe to say he’s not the guy. Washington has some talent on their roster, but they need a quarterback, and there are not many times where quarterbacks as good as Brady become available, so it will probably have to come through the draft.

 

Deron Williams to battle Frank Gore on undercard of Paul-Fury

Three-time NBA All-Star and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Deron Williams will take on legendary San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore in a professional heavyweight boxing match that will take place on the undercard of Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury, live on SHOWTIME PPV on Saturday, December 18 at AMALIE Arena in Tampa. The four-round heavyweight bout will be contested with a 215-pound contractual limit as the two legends make their professional boxing debuts. 

#PaulFury: One Will Fall is produced and presented by Most Valuable Promotions and SHOWTIME Sports® and promoted in association with Tony and Bryce Holden of Holden Productions. The pay-per-view telecast begins live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, is produced and distributed by SHOWTIME PPV and will feature Paul and Fury in the main event in an eight-round cruiserweight bout contested at a 192-pound catchweight. Seven-division world champion Amanda Serrano will face off against interim lightweight titlist Miriam Gutiérrez in a 10-round lightweight bout in the co-main event.

Before his NBA debut, Williams attended University of Illinois where he played college basketball and led them to the Final Four in 2005. He subsequently landed the third overall NBA draft pick from the Utah Jazz. Aside from his time in the NBA, Williams also earned gold medals for the U.S. national team in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games. In his boxing debut, fans can expect to see Williams’ all-around athleticism as he taps into his lifelong love for combat sports. As a child, Williams’ first sport was wrestling, which he competed in for eight years. During that time, he won two state titles. His passion for combat sports has remained an integral part of his training regime ever since. 

“Combat sports have been a part of my life since my youngest days. Before I was a basketball player, I was a wrestler,” said Williams. “Since 2015, I have had the privilege of owning an MMA gym, and through that I have trained in various martial arts to stay active. Over the last year, I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to translate my training into a professional debut. I’m making that happen on December 18 against Frank, one of the physically strongest NFL players in history.”

A University of Miami alum, Gore was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2005 as a third-round draft pick and remained a key player of the team for 10 straight seasons. During his time as a Niner, the running back gained notoriety for his rare and impressive athletic ability. Gore received five Pro Bowl selections, earned the title of rushing yards leader and played in Super Bowl XLVII throughout his stint on the 49ers. Gore said goodbye to the Bay Area in 2014 and continued his NFL career playing for the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. Ranked third in all-time rushing yards and holding the NFL record for most games played as a running back, Gore’s boxing debut is a must see. 

“I’m excited to be fighting on this card and can’t wait to show the world what I’ve been working on,” said Gore. “Boxing has me excited, and on December 18 expect fireworks!”

One Will Fall is the second live sporting event co-produced by Most Valuable Promotions. Jake Paul and Nakisa Bidarian created MVP on the premise that content is king, and fighters are the creators of the content in martial arts. Paul and Bidarian will be executive producers of the #PaulFury event.

Jags’ Lawrence on win over Bills: ‘That’s one of the best defensive performances I’ve seen’

On any given Sunday, anything can happen in the NFL, which was on full display at TIAA Bank Field as the Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the Buffalo Bills(5-3).

Coming into this game against Jacksonville, Buffalo was averaging 29 points per game. However, the Bills’ offense did not score a touchdown against the Jaguars, and they would lose 9-6.

There was no touchdowns on Sunday as both defenses came to play.

The six points were the fewest points Buffalo has scored since the 2019 season. Bills QB Josh Allen threw for 264 yards but had no touchdowns and threw two picks. He also lost a fumble. In addition, the Jaguars sacked Allen four times and limited Buffalo to 72 rushing yards. It was the third consecutive game the Jaguars have allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards.

The Bills’ Josh Allen struggled on Sunday, but Jacksonville’s Josh Allen was big time. 

Allen sacked Allen, marking the first time a player sacked a QB with the same first and last name in NFL history. Allen finished the game with a career-high eight tackles, including two tackles for loss and 1.0 sack. He also recorded the first interception of his career, becoming the second defensive lineman in franchise history to post at least 1.0 sack, one interception, and one fumble recovery.

“We’re not going nowhere,” Allens said postgame. “We’ve got — we’re going to build on this. I’m glad I’m not up here saying, oh, we’ve got to do better. No. When we’re on our stuff, we can be a really great defense, and it showed today. Our defensive line can go against any offensive line any time of the week, any offense, stop any run, stop any pass. We did what we needed to do.”

Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence, who was 18/26 for 118 yards, interception and left the game with an ankle injury but returned, was very impressed by the defense.

“I mean, it’s great. It speaks to the progress that we’re making,” Lawerence said. “I mean, our defense today, that’s one of the best defensive performances I’ve seen, and that’s a great offense. Obviously, Josh Allen, quarterback, and their wideouts and O-line, all those guys, they’re great players, and to see what our defense did, all the takeaways, the big stops on third and fourth down. I mean, it was just fun to watch.”

After losing their first five games, Jacksonville has now won two of three. This game was all about the defense, and the Jaguars’ defense shut down the Bills’ offense and led the team to victory.