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2015 NCAA Tournament: Latest UPDATES – EOTM Sports News

By Cain Cawthon

Can anyone stop the Kentucky Wildcats? (Don McPeak/USA TODAY Sports)

Latest Updates

With the bracket set, it’s time to take a deeper dive into the Field of 68. Read on to find first-round Cinderellas, teetering top seeds and more.

Picking favorites in the NCAA tournament is the smart play, but what makes March Madness great is the upsets and Cinderella teams who pull off something special. (Read More)

Most vulnerable top seeds

They’re the best teams in the nation. But when one loss can banish anyone from the bracket, it just takes one slip-up to shatter dreams of ladders, scissors and a nylon necklace – even for those occupying the top seed lines. (Read More)

Selection Sunday’s biggest snubs and surprises

The NCAA tournament selection committee made its decision, and as usual, the final cuts were the cruelest. (Read More)

Get 2015 NCAA tournament emoji

Show your March Madness spirit with these mascot emoji. Find your favorite team, save the emoji to your phone and text it to your friends. Because nobody uses their words anymore. (Download Here)

[Tournament schedule, TV times, more information]

Care about college basketball? Root for Iowa State, Villanova, Notre Dame and North Carolina

Once they put aside educational allegiances and office-pool interests, college basketball fans should root for the handful of dangerous teams who play with a combination of pace and skill that doesn’t require toothpicks to keep eyelids open. (Read More)

When it’s Kentucky vs. the field, the field is the underdog
eSportsonline

The bracket does not feature a handful of favorites and a swath of dark horses, all jockeying for position, elbowing one another out of the way. It features Kentucky and everyone else. (Read More)

The bracket is unveiled

The first region has been revealed, starting with Kentucky, unsurprisingly, as the overall No. 1 seed in the Midwest. Here’s how the bracket shakes out so far:

Midwest

1. Kentucky vs. 16. Manhattan/Hampton
2. Kansas vs. 15. New Mexico State
3. Notre Dame vs. 14. Northeastern
4. Maryland vs. 13. Valparaiso
5. West Virginia vs. 12. Buffalo
6. Butler vs. 11. Texas
7. Wichita State vs. 10. Indiana
8. Cincinnati vs. 9. Purdue

Quick take: Kansas hangs on to a No. 2 seed despite losing in the Big 12 title game, but their reward is a spot in Kentucky’s bracket. Meanwhile, the ACC tournament champs end up as the best 3-seed, with Notre Dame getting the nod in the Midwest. In terms of early bubble talk, Purdue, Indiana and Texas ended up on the good side of the bubble. And neither the Boilermakers nor the Hoosiers came particularly close to the cutline, which is surprising.

East

1. Villanova vs. 16. Lafayette
2. Virginia vs. 15. Belmont
3. Oklahoma vs. 14. Albany
4. Louisville vs. 13. UC Irvine
5. Northern Iowa vs. 12. Wyoming
6. Providence vs. 11. Boise State/Dayton
7. Michigan State vs. 10. Georgia
8. North Carolina State vs. 9. LSU

Quick Take: The Cavaliers couldn’t hang on to a No. 1 seed, but they did end up a No. 2 in what looks like a navigable bracket — except for the part where they have to play Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans in the second round. Boise State’s loss in the Mountain West semifinals has put them into the play-in game in Dayton … against Dayton. That seems, um, interesting. LSU was another team many thought may miss the cut, but like Purdue, they land a No. 9 seed.

South

1. Duke vs. 16. North Florida/Robert Morris
2. Gonzaga vs. 15. North Dakota State
3. Iowa State vs. 14. UAB
4. Georgetown vs. 13. Eastern Washington
5. Utah vs. 12. Stephen F. Austin
6. SMU vs. 11. UCLA
7. Iowa vs. 10. Davidson
8. San Diego State vs. 9. St. John’s

Quick Take: Let’s start with the UCLA Bruins … CBS analyst Doug Gottlieb said during the selection special that there’s not a reasonable person in the country who believes UCLA belongs in the bracket. He’s not too far off. The Bruins finished 5-10 against the RPI top 100. That not only got UCLA into the field, the Bruins don’t even have to play a first-four play-in game. That’s stunning. On the top half of the bracket, Duke looks like a safe bet to advance. At the bottom, a potential Iowa State-Gonzaga clash in the Sweet 16 would produce a thriller.

West

1. Wisconsin vs. 16. Coastal Carolina
2. Arizona vs. 15. Texas Southern
3. Baylor vs. 14. Georgia State
4. North Carolina vs. 13. Harvard
5. Arkansas vs. 12. Wofford
6. Xavier vs. 11. BYU/Ole Miss
7. VCU vs. 10. Ohio State
8. Oregon vs. 9. Oklahoma State

Quick Take: With the final region revealed, hope dies for a Murray State miracle bid. BYU and Ole Miss will get the opportunity to earn the 11-seed with the play-in game in Dayton. Wisconsin, winners of the Big Ten tournament Sunday, gets the No. 1 seed, but if everything proceeds according to seed-strength, they’ll have to top a very dangerous Arizona team in the Elite Eight.

In all, the Big 12 and the Big Ten emerge with the most bids, sporting seven apiece.

UCLA made the tournament, and no one is happy about it

This year’s utterly head-scratching decision was the inclusion of UCLA, which not only made the field despite a suspect resume, but also wasn’t even chosen as one of the four teams that will head to Dayton for the play-in games early this week. (Read More)

Dick Vitale plants a kiss on Ashley Judd with a capital ‘K

Dick Vitale got a little frisky with actress and Kentucky superfan Ashley Judd before the Wildcats’ win over Arkansas in the SEC championship game on Sunday. (Read More)

The Bubble

Sorting through Saturday’s results

See who clinched an automatic bid to the Big Dance and whether the bid thieves still lurk in the shadows of Selection Sunday’s conference championships. (Read More)

Breaking down the bubble

Who are the last teams in? First ones out? Take an in-depth look at the top candidates for an at-large bid, from the locks to the leftovers based on historical analysis. (Read More)

[Sign up for the Post's Bracket Challenge 2015]

Visualizing the bubble

What the heck does the bubble look like? What provides its shape? See where every Top 100 RPI fits and what it means for their status in the NCAA tournament field. (Read More via Washington Post)

SEE ALSO: 50 Cent says he’s betting $1.6 million that Floyd Mayweather will beat Manny Pacquiao, Report


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The New England Patriots overcome two 14-point deficits to beat Ravens late – Recap

By Cain Cawthon

Follow us @eotmonline on Twitter |EOTM.Media on Facebook

The Baltimore Ravens were brilliant on fourth downs, but the New England Patriots won the fourth quarter.

In a classic game, the Ravens and Patriots traded shots all day, but in the end it was the AFC’s top-seeded Patriots who survived a pair of 14-point Ravens leads — the first team in postseason history to do so — to win 35-31.


Credit: NFL.com

Joe Flacco, whose second interception of the game inside of the final two moments ended Baltimore’s best chance of late-game heroics, was on fire early. He finished the game 28-of-45 passing for 292 yards and four touchdowns. Tom Brady overcame a slow start to complete 33 of 50 passes for 367 yards with three touchdowns (plus a rushing score) and an interception.

But he had help from Julian Edelman, who threw his first career touchdown pass on a trick play, and — in his finest game as a Patriot — Danny Amendola, who caught two touchdown passes in the game after catching only one all regular season.

The Patriots will host the AFC championship game next week in Foxborough against the winner of the Indianapolis Colts-Denver Broncos game on Sunday. The victory was the 20th for Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, passing Don Shula and tying him with Tom Landry for the most in NFL postseason history.

The Ravens wasted little time getting going. The Patriots sat back in a zone early and were shredded by  Flacco, who hit on his first eight passes (to six different receivers) and 9 of 10 with two touchdown passes.

On the first surgical drive, Flacco found Kamar Aiken for a 19-yard catch and run for a fast 7-0 lead. Then, after a Patriots three-and-out, Ravens receiver Steve Smith — a longtime playoff assassin — caught three passes for 44 yards combined on the first two drives, including a 9-yard touchdown to give the Ravens a 14-0 lead.

The Patriots responded quickly. Brady went to work with three big passes — two to Rob Gronkowskifor first downs, and one to Edelman to put the ball at the Baltimore 1-yard line. After a first-and-goal loss of 4 yards and a drop by Edelman, Brady scrambled into the end zone to cut the Ravens’ lead in half.

Things got chippy after that, serving as a reminder that these two teams aren’t exactly on the friendliest terms. Ravens receiver Torrey Smith was flagged for an after-the-play unsportsmanlike conduct flag, and then Patriots special teamer Chris White followed that with an equally boneheaded taunting call a few plays later.

The Patriots chipped away with short, rhythm passes on their next drive, surviving shaky blocking up front and the loss of center Bryan Stork with a knee injury. During the drive, Brady set a new NFL record for career postseason pass yards, and he capped it off with a TD pass to Amendola, who made Ravens safety Matt Elam miss a tackle en route to the end zone.

Dont'a Hightower (54), Devin McCourty (32) and Logan Ryan (26), celebrate after a final Hail Mary by the Ravens was turned aside. - Image credit: Jim Davis/Global

With the game tied, the Ravens lost momentum. On a curious 3rd-and-1 call, the Ravens were stopped short of a first down when they forwent a handoff to Justin Forsett, who had rushed 10 times for 78 yards to that point, for an end-around to rookie wide receiver Michael Campanaro, who was cut down for no gain.

Brady got the ball back and had a chance to do what he has done so well most of the season: lead a two-minute scoring drive. But after connecting on a few passes, Brady threw a bad interception — his eighth in four playoff games against the Ravens — to linebacker Daryl Smith.

Then Patriots corner Darrelle Revis was flagged for a huge pass interference — the first against him all season — while covering Steve Smith, who got the better of Revis on this day, setting up the Ravens in business with the 20-yard call.

Stay in-the-know about the latest Sports, Life, Money, Tech, and Travel stories. You'll get your first 2 months of USA TODAY for $25 (charged monthly). All print subscribers receive the e-Newspaper included with their subscription.Flacco got hot again, finally connecting with Owen Daniels for a back-shoulder pass to the seam in the back of the end zone for a brilliant score and a 21-14 Ravens lead with 10 seconds remaining in the half.

The Patriots took a knee, leaving the field to boos at the half.

They got the ball first to start the second half but were stopped; a missed pass-interference call against Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, who clearly grabbed Gronkowski early, didn’t help matters.

The Ravens went to work quickly. Campanaro caught a 14-yard pass, helped by a huge Steve Smith block on Patriots corner Kyle Arrington. Then the Ravens — after a wasted timeout — went for it on 4th and 6 from the New England 36. It turned out to be a great call. Torrey Smith caught a fade pass on the 1, despite being interfered with by Brandon Browner.

Smith’s 15-yard taunting penalty moved the ball back from the doorstep of the end zone, but a swing pass to a wide-open Forsett — Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins was the guilty defender — allowed him to walk into the end zone, stunning the Gillette Stadium crowd with the score 28-14 Ravens.

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‎With the Patriots’ offensive line looking vulnerable, New England went into a quick passing game and essentially used four offensive linemen and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui on the line with success. John Harbaugh ran on the field to protest a catch by Hoomanawanui in the red zone because he had lined up at left tackle. But what Harbaugh — who was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for his protest — didn’t realize was that Shane Vereen lined up on the line but declared himself ineligible. Brilliant coaching here from Belichick.

A nine-play drive — all throws — ended in Gronkowski barreling in for a 5-yard score and the Ravens’ lead cut to 28-21. Gronkowski would finish with seven catches for 108 yards — his second career postseason 100-yard game.

After a Ravens three-and-out, Edelman unleashed his first career NFL pass — a 51-yard score and a stunning play that would tie the game.

Flacco then was picked off by Patriots safety Devin McCourty three plays later, ending his interception-less streak at 197 passes — the second-longest in NFL history behind Drew Brees’ 226.

The Patriots couldn’t capitalize on the momentum, however. They went three-and-out on the ensuing possession but appeared to make another game-changing play on defense, as Flacco took a coverage sack and fumbled backward, which was recovered by Collins at the Baltimore 4-yard line. That stunning play, however, was wiped out because Revis again was penalized against Steve Smith — for defensive holding, which was a backbreaking call but a good one.

The Ravens took advantage, engineering a systematic, 16-play drive covering 73 yards and ending in a Justin Tucker 25-yard field goal and a 31-28 edge early in the fourth quarter.

The Patriots were not done. They survived a Vereen fumble (which was overturned properly on replay), used a Brady sneak to convert a first down (their first run of the second half after more than 20 straight pass plays) and converted a huge third down when Amendola reached past the sticks on a catch and run.

For the game, the Patriots rushed 13 times for 14 yards — a shocking 1.1-yard average.

The drive ended when Brady threw a gorgeous fade pass to Brandon LaFell from 23 yards out — the Patriots’ first lead of the game — with 5:13 remaining in the game. With that pass, Brady passed his boyhood idol Joe Montana for the all-time lead with 46 postseason touchdown passes.

That put the game in the hands of the Patriots’ defense, which — despite a few big plays — had come up mostly small to this point.

Flacco faced a 4th-and-3 with 2:14 left, and after a timeout to get the play call in order, he hit Daniels on a thread for 17 massive yards. In a game in which the Ravens were a mere 1-for-9 on third down, they were a miraculous 3-for-3 on fourth downs.

But just when it looked like Flacco and the Ravens might sink the Patriots, he was intercepted on a deep shot into the end zone when it looked like Torrey Smith gave up on a ball that ended up in the hands of Patriots safety Duron Harmon.

After the Ravens stopped the clock and got the ball back one more time, their final gasp — a Flacco heave into the end zone — fell incomplete as Steve Smith couldn’t come up with the game-ending pass.

News Source: YAHOO Sports


Chicago Bears Report – NFL Updates

By: Cain Cawthon

CHICAGO – Another talented Chicago Bears team is in the midst of another disappointing season. With the exception of the vaunted ’85 squad and a handful of other deep playoff runs, disappointment is often the norm in the Windy City.

(Photo: Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images)

Just ask Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers, Hall of Fame Bears who never once played in the postseason despite legendary careers that ran concurrently.

“Butkus and Sayers were cheated. They were cheated,” their former Chicago teammate, linebacker Doug Buffone, says in A Football Life: Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers. “They were cheated because they (did) not put ballplayers around them. They expected Butkus and Sayers to take ‘em to the championship. You can’t do that. Shame on the Chicago Bears. Shame on them.”

Hard to believe that such a pair of luminary talents who played together for seven years only finished above .500 twice with their 9-5 rookie campaign the zenith of the Bears’ collective success with Butkus and Sayers.

Landing two Canton-bound players in one draft — Butkus went third overall in 1965 and Sayers came off the board one pick later — usually translates to Super Bowl success as the Pittsburgh Steelers (four Hall of Famers in 1974 draft), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks in 1995 draft) and Baltimore Ravens (Ray Lewis and Jonathan Ogden in 1996) can attest.

But maybe Chicago’s struggles only serve to illustrate the greatness of its famed dynamic duo. In 1969, the Bears’ 1-13 record was tied for the worst in the NFL. Yet Butkus was honored as the defensive player of the year while Sayers, who was coming back from his first major knee injury, won the rushing title with 1,032 yards.

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As it typically does, A Football Life does a nice job adding new layers to well-known NFL legends.

Butkus, known as one of the league’s most ferocious players in his day — the late Deacon Jones called him an “animal” and “stone maniac” — squirms when asked about some of the stories that have followed him.

Question from NFL Films producer: “Did you ever hit a guy out of bounds?”

Butkus: “Maybe.”

Q: “Did you ever give a guy a little extra (on a tackle)?”

Butkus: “Yep.”

Q: “Did you ever spit on (Vikings center) Mick Tingelhoff’s hands?”

Butkus: “No way. I spit on the ball.”

Q: “Did you ever bite an opposing player?”

Butkus: “I think it’s just another one of those stories, grows after the years. … I had a ball.”

Sayers did for a while, too. His 22 touchdowns in 1965 remain a record for rookies. But his career is as noteworthy for the knee injuries that derailed it prematurely — Sayers only played four full seasons — as it is for his slithery moves and breakaway speed.

Sayers blew out his right knee for the first time on Nov. 10, 1968. The emotional scars remains.

“Sometimes I cry about it because I didn’t get a chance to play the game,” said Sayers, his voice still dripping with pain and emotion.

“I wish they had better doctors back then.”

Sayers was forced to retire after the 1971 season while Butkus was done in by his own creaky knees two years later.

Yet four decades later, these close friends remain the standard bearers subsequent Bears are measured against.

A Football Life: Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers premieres Friday night on NFL Network at 10 p.m. ET.

News Source: USA Today


New York Jets force four turnovers, stymie Ben Roethlisberger to snap skid

Published by EOTM News Editor on November 9th, 2014 - in EOTM Sports News, NFL, Sports News

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — On a rare day for Rex Ryan, the embattled coach of the struggling New York Jets was able to smile after a game for the first time since Week 1.

The Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger being tackled by Quinton Coples (98) and Dawan Landry. After throwing 12 touchdown passes in two games, Roethlisberger had one on Sunday. - Image Credit: Barton Silverman/The New York Times

It’s been that long since the Jets had won, so the relieved Ryan was feeling pretty good after a stunning 20-13 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

“All right!” Ryan exclaimed. “Finally!”

After record-setting back-to-back victories, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was humbled Sunday in a sloppy performance, Scott Brown writes. Story

Finally, indeed. Michael Vick threw two touchdown passes and the Jets (2-8) forced four turnovers, including two interceptions by Jaiquawn Jarrett, while shutting down Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers (6-4) and ending an eight-game losing streak.

“This team deserved to win, man,” Ryan said.

Roethlisberger threw six touchdown passes in each of his last two games, and was playing in front of a MetLife Stadium crowd that appeared nearly half-filled with Terrible Towel-waving Steelers fans. But the Jets wouldn’t allow Roethlisberger to get into much of a rhythm.

“There’s nothing mystical about the outcome of that football game,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “We talked all week about why that team struggled: because they were minus in the turnover ratio. … Well, they weren’t today. They were plus-4.

“You’re going to lose football games when you’re minus-4 in the turnover ratio, and we did today.”

Roethlisberger finished 30 of 43 for 343 yards and connected with Martavis Bryant for an 80-yard TD with 1:16 left. The Steelers attempted an onside kick, but Eric Decker recovered to seal it for the Jets — who avoided setting a franchise mark for consecutive losses.

“You can’t turn the ball over, and we did it too much,” Roethlisberger said. “This stings.”

The Jets weren’t happy, though, that Mike Mitchell tried to break up their victory formation, leaping over the top of center Nick Mangold, who slammed the Steelers safety to the ground, causing a brief shoving match.

“It’s a dirty play,” Mangold said.

But the Jets won by playing mostly a clean game Sunday, successful for the first time since beating Oakland on opening day.

“Today,” Vick said, “was going to be our day.”

Vick, who became the first quarterback in NFL history to run for 6,000 career yards, threw touchdown passes to T.J. Graham and Jace Amaro. Vick was 10 of 18 for 132 yards and ran eight times for 39 yards, and Ryan announced that the veteran will start again against Buffalo after the bye week.

The victory might help temper frustrations of Jets fans, one of whom had a banner-toting plane urging the team to fire general manager John Idzik circle the practice field early in the week. There was another one circling the stadium Sunday, which read: “JETS REBUILDING SINCE 1969.”

But, heading into the bye, Ryan’s job, as well as Idzik’s, appears safe — for now.

The Jets looked good on their first possession, but the 14-play drive stalled at the Steelers 5 and New York Nick Folk made a 23-yard field goal.

After Jarrett sacked Roethlisberger on third-and-15 to force a punt, the Jets got right back on the scoreboard. Vick had plenty of time and zipped a perfectly placed pass into the hands of a sprinting Graham, who ran it into the end zone for a 67-yard touchdown.

The Jets got the ball right back when Muhammad Wilkerson forced a fumble by Antonio Brown and Jarrett recovered. Jarrett finished with two interceptions, a sack and a fumble recovery after drawing the late start after first-round pick Calvin Pryor was benched.

After a sack on first down, Vick scrambled for 18 yards, including a shake-and-bake move that buckled Steelers cornerback Brice McCain’s knees. Three plays later, Vick found Amaro and made it 17-0 with 19 seconds left in the opening quarter.

“That’s what happens when you turn the ball over,” Roethlisberger said. “You dig yourself a hole.”

Pittsburgh appeared on its way to its first score with a long drive in the second quarter helped by a personal foul penalty on New York’s Jason Babin. But at the Jets 10, Roethlisberger had his short pass attempt tipped by Marcus Williams right into Jarrett’s hands.

The Jets, who came in with three takeaways all season, got their third of the first half when Brown muffed Ryan Quigley’s punt and Graham recovered. But Folk was wide left on a 45-yard attempt.

In the final quarter, Pittsburgh had first-and-goal from the 1, but was stuffed on four straight plays — including a penalty on the Jets and LeGarrette Blount losing 8 yards on a run. Shaun Suisham’s 27-yarder made it 20-6 with 7:21 left.

“It’s a team we should beat,” Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons said. “But this is the NFL. You have to go in their house and you can’t go in here and win if you have four turnovers and none on defense.”

Game notes

Suisham hooked a 23-yard attempt wide left on the first play of the fourth quarter. … Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell had eight catches for 33 yards, giving him 55 receptions for the season, surpassing John L. Williams (51 in 1994) for the most in team history by a running back. … Brown was held to 74 yards receiving, the first time this season he failed to get 80 or more.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

Kansas City Royals roll past San Francisco Giants to force Game 7 in World Series

By Cain Cawthon

Follow us:@eotmonline on Twitter |EOTM.Media on Facebook

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Ned Yost wanted a seven-game World Series. Now he’s got it.

The Kansas City Royals pummeled the San Francisco Giants 10-0 in Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night, setting up a winner-takes-all one-game championship showdown Wednesday night at 8:07 p.m. ET at Kauffman Stadium.

Mike Moustakas after hitting a double that drove in Alex Gordon in the second inning. He was one of 11 Royals to go to the plate and one of eight who recorded hits during the inning. Credit Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Earlier in the week, with the series tied at two games apiece, Yost, the Royals’ manager, professed that he secretly wanted a seven-game series, just for the thrill of it. And now baseball has just that, its absolute apex, a World Series game that will crown a champion for 2014.

Before the game, when asked about a hypothetic game Wednesday, Yost said: “There is tomorrow.” It was not defensive so much as definitive, and behind a seven-run second inning and seven shutout innings from rookie starter Yordano Ventura, the Royals embodied Yost’s prophecy.

The second inning began with an Alex Gordon single, followed with another from Salvador Perez and unknotted the scoreless tie with a Mike Moustakas double. He and Perez scored on a Nori Aoki single, Lorenzo Cain followed with another run-scoring single and Eric Hosmer chased in a pair of runs with a ball that bounced in the infield, over shortstop Brandon Crawford’s head and into left field. A Billy Butler double added another run, and just like that, 33 minutes later, the Royals led 7-0 and the pregame fear that coursed through 40,372 evaporated.

Image credit: USA Today Sports

Ventura made sure to keep it that way. He became just the 12th player ever 23 years old or younger to throw at least seven shutout innings in a World Series game. Though wild – he yielded five walks – the Giants couldn’t square up his high-90s fastballs and mustered three hits against him.

It was the exact performance Kansas City needed, one that gave the Royals the peace of mind to rest their bullpen leading into the final day of the season.

“Anytime you can get to a Game 7,” said Jeremy Guthrie, the Royals’ starter in the seventh game, “you realize anything can happen.”

The beauty of Game 7 lies in that open canvas on which Yost and Giants manager Bruce Bochy will endeavor to paint their masterpiece. It is Yost’s first postseason; it is Bochy’s crack at a third championship in five seasons. And should the game remain close early on, an antithesis of Game 6, the managers will matter.

Because even the slightest crack in the pitcher foundation could result in a mudjacking from the bullpen. How early will Yost go to his three-headed relief monster, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland? How liberally will Bochy use his ace, Madison Bumgarner, the hero of Games 1 and 5 who is available to pitch out of the bullpen Wednesday?

Game 7 of the World Series is the greatest because in the NBA Finals teams don’t change strategy and in the Super Bowl teams stick to what has worked the previous 18 game days. Baseball turns into a fundamentally different game, one of feints and dekes, of strategy and tactics, of the truest embodiment of the following aphorism.

There are no finer words in sports than Game 7 of the World Series.

Source: Yahoo Sports


Seattle Seahawks’ new nickelback Marcus Burley tested by Chargers

Published by EOTM News Editor on September 14th, 2014 - in Breaking News, EOTM Sports News, NFL, Sports News

Source: SeattleTimes.com

In every game, at every level he has played, Marcus Burley’s expectation has been the same.

The Seahawks’ Marcus Burley breaks up a pass intended for Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb. -- Image credit: John Lok / The Seattle Times

“You always have to go out there and every play think that the ball is coming to you,’’ said Burley, a Seahawks cornerback.

That could be truer than ever Sunday when the Seahawks play the San Diego Chargers in a 1:05 p.m. game at Qualcomm Stadium.

The Seahawks enter the game off a 36-16 win over the Green Bay Packers a week ago Thursday that reinforced their standing as a team that might have the best chance of repeating as Super Bowl champions since the 2004 New England Patriots.

About the only reason for worry as Seattle left CenturyLink Field that night was the status of the nickelback spot — the extra defensive back who comes in for obvious passing situations — with Jeremy Lane leaving in the third quarter with a groin injury.

That’s where Burley enters the story.

Burley, who had been with the team for just five days — acquired in a trade from Indianapolis for a sixth-round draft pick in 2015 — played the final 25 snaps of his first NFL game in relief of Lane.

A few days later, the team placed Lane on injured reserve with a designation to return. That means Lane can return in eight weeks.

It also means that, for now, Burley is the nickelback.

“We’re looking for Marcus to do a real nice job and take that spot over,’’ coach Pete Carroll said.

Burley was not drafted in 2013 after playing for FCS power Delaware.

The native of Richmond, Va., started 31 games at Delaware, where his biggest honor was being named All-Colonial Athletic Association as a junior.

He possessed one trait that enticed NFL scouts, though.

“He had that one thing you can’t really coach or teach, which is speed,’’ said Henry Baker, Burley’s position coach at Delaware his last two years. “The one thing I told him is, ‘As long as you can run, someone will find you.’ ’’

A 4.34 time in the 40 at his Pro Day got him on the NFL’s radar, and Burley last season had stints on practice squads with Jacksonville, Philadelphia and St. Louis.

Baker says Burley took what he could out of each experience last season.

“He wasn’t a guy to hang out or do those types of things,’’ Baker said. “He was a guy who was always studying, trying to perfect his craft.’’

So Baker wasn’t surprised that Burley had a breakthrough in camp with the Colts, which led to the trade to the Seahawks, who were looking for options at nickelback behind Lane after failing to find any during their own training camp.

Carroll said he has been most impressed that Burley hasn’t seemed fazed by playing alongside Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.

“As we’ve learned more about him, we realized that he’s a real serious competitor, a real bright kid that wants to learn,’’ Carroll said.

Seattle was in the nickel for 57 of 62 snaps against the Packers. The Seahawks might not go to the defense as often against San Diego, but Burley should still be tested plenty by the Chargers. Led by veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, San Diego averaged 270 passing yards in 2013, fifth in the league.

The Chargers got off to a rough start Monday with an 18-17 loss at Arizona in which Rivers was just 21 of 36 for 238 yards.

Rivers said he won’t copy the lead of Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and try to avoid Sherman. But with an offense predicated on spreading the ball around, Rivers figures to look more often toward Byron Maxwell, and to Burley when he’s on the field.

As Carroll put it this week, Seattle is “challenged” in depth at the cornerback spot. Also out is Tharold Simon, sidelined at least another few weeks after having minor knee surgery.

To help out, Seattle this week also signed cornerback Josh Thomas, who played for Carolina the past three years. Thomas, though, was signed to play as an outside corner primarily, and also isn’t yet acclimated to Seattle’s defense. Backup safety DeShawn Shead can also play corner but also is more experienced outside.

So for now, the nickelback job is Burley’s. And if it’s speed that got him to this point, he’s hoping to take this job and run with it.

“I feel like it’s a great opportunity,’’ he said. “I’ve just got to keep my head in the playbook and take full advantage of it.’’

Source: SeattleTimes.com

49ers-Cowboys final score: Dallas down, San Francisco handles business

Published by EOTM News Editor on September 7th, 2014 - in EOTM Sports News, NFL, Sports News

By Cain Cawthon

Follow us: @EOTMOnline on Twitter | EOTM.Media on Facebook

(ESPN) – A few thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys’ 28-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at AT&T Stadium:

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

What it means: Simply disastrous. The Cowboys know the defense will be limited but the offense can’t simply give away games. That’s what they did against the 49ers. On the first play of the game, Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith had a false start on his way to a poor outing. On the second snap, Pro Bowl running back DeMarco Murray had a fumble returned 29 yards for a touchdown. Two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo was intercepted three times in the first half. All of it led to a 28-3 halftime deficit and effectively sapped the energy out of the home opener. The Cowboys, coming off three straight 8-8 seasons and with expectations extremely low, could not have looked more incompetent.

Stock watch: On more than one occasion in the offseason — training camp and preseason — Romo said he believed he would be a better player after undergoing his second back surgery in less than a year. Maybe things will change in the final 15 games, but Sunday was one of Romo’s worst. Romo has long felt he needed practice to be at his best, but he was limited in the spring, never practiced more than three straight days in camp and played only 50 official snaps in two preseason games. He was out of sync the entire day and took big hits as well, getting sacked three times. It was the seventh time he has been picked off three times in a half in his career and the first since Week 8 in 2012.

 

Image Credit: USA Today

Red-zone woes: When the Cowboys had a chance to keep it close in the first half they imploded in the red zone. On the drive after Murray’s fumble, Romo appeared to check out of a running play at the San Francisco 2 and was dropped for a 9-yard sack. The Cowboys settled for a field goal on the drive. On first-and-goal from the 5 in the second quarter, Romo was intercepted in the end zone when he forced a throw to Jason Witten. It wasn’t until the second half that the Cowboys ran it inside the 5 and they waited until fourth down to give the ball to Murray, who scored on a 2-yard run with 29 seconds left in the third quarter.

Game ball: DeMarco Murray finished with 118 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, but his fumble on the opening drive played too big of a part in the loss to earn this honor. Linebacker Rolando McClain, after two retirements and playing his first game since Nov. 25, 2012, when he was with the Oakland Raiders, finished with eight tackles. In a physical game, McClain was able to show up. So there’s that.

What’s next: The Cowboys travel to Nashville, Tennessee, next week to take on the Tennessee Titans (1-0). It will be the Cowboys’ first trip there since 2006. They won, 45-14.

Source: ESPN

Michael Sam down but not Out after St. Louis Rams cut

Published by EOTM News Editor on August 30th, 2014 - in Breaking News, EOTM Sports News, NFL, Sports News

By Cain Cawthon

Follow us: @eotmonline on Twitter |EOTM.Media on Facebook

If Michael Sam is going to be the first openly gay player to make an NFL regular-season roster, it won’t be with the St. Louis Rams.

DE Michael Sam was a seventh-round draft pick by the Rams.(Photo: Jeff Haynes, AP)

At least not right away.

Sam was among final four players released by the Rams on Saturday as the team finalized its 53-man roster.

He will now be subject to waivers and could be claimed by another team, meaning he would automatically make that club’s roster and find a new home by the end of the weekend. If he is unclaimed, Sam may still wind up on the Rams’ 10-man practice squad.

“I want to thank the entire Rams organization and the city of St. Louis for giving me this tremendous opportunity and allowing me to show I can play at this level,” Sam said via his Twitter account Saturday afternoon.

“I look forward to continuing to build on the progress I made here toward a long and successful career. The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I’ve always known. The journey continues.”

St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher called Sam to inform him of the team’s decision around 3:30 ET. Sam, who was in Columbia, Mo., on Saturday to watch his former Missouri Tigers teammates open their season, will meet with Fisher in St. Louis on Sunday.

“I was pulling for him, and it just didn’t work out,” Fisher said.

Sam was one of hundreds of players released Saturday. But because of the cultural significance of his status as the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL, his release certainly generated the most intrigue.

But what made his preseason memorable was that for him and his teammates, it was about his status as a football player, not as a trailblazer.

“There was no distraction. If someone perceived or thought there might be a distraction, they weren’t in the building,” Fisher said.

“This was a football decision. Mike fit in very well. Fun to be around, a good teammate. There was no issue there.”

In some ways, St. Louis was the perfect spot for Sam to begin his NFL career. He was drafted by one of the NFL’s most respected head coaches in Jeff Fisher and joined a team with strong veteran leaders like fellow defensive end Chris Long. Sam also initially remained close to Columbia, Mo., where he had been open about his sexuality to his Missouri teammates and on campus for a year without issue.

But though Sam flashed the pass rush ability in the preseason that helped make him the SEC’s co-defensive player of the year in 2013 — he had three sacks in four games — the Rams determined he wasn’t one of the five best players at a position where the team was already loaded with talent.

The top four defensive ends were clear: starters Long and Robert Quinn and top reserves William Hayes and Eugene Sims. The emergence of undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks, who showed the ability to capably play all four defensive line positions, meant there was no room left for Sam.

“Mike played well, and he has the ability to play some place,” Fisher said. “It has to be right place, has to be a fit.”

To Wade Davis, a former NFL player and now the executive director of the You Can Play Project, the best spot for Sam would be back with the Rams as part of their 10-man practice squad.

RELATED:NFL Draft 2014: Michael Sam going undrafted ‘would’ve been seen as homophobic,’ report

Davis, who came out as gay after his playing career was over, told USA TODAY Sports that remaining in St. Louis would help Sam’s long-term development because of the coaching he would receive there.

“He’s proven he needs more snaps,” said Davis, who spent time with Fisher and St. Louis Rams general manager Les Snead earlier this week.

“By drafting him, they showed a level of investment in him already.”

Read the full story via USA Today.


Tiger Woods is pain-free but struggles at PGA Championship – EOTM Sports News

Published by EOTM News Editor on August 7th, 2014 - in Breaking News, EOTM Sports News, Sports News

PGA Championship news courtesy of USA Today

LOUISVILLE – From the outset Tiger Woods wasn’t right.

While his troublesome back was a bit stiff, his game, on the other hand, was far from being in good health in Thursday’s first round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.

Tiger Woods hits a shot out of the fairway on the first hole during the first round of the 2014 PGA Championship. Woods finished with a 3-over 74 at Valhalla.(Photo: Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports)

Just four days removed from being forced to withdraw in the final round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational when he dislodged something in his back after landing on his right leg with a thud in a bunker, Woods never found a comfort level on the massive ballpark here despite optimal scoring conditions featuring cloud cover, moderate temperatures and little wind.

He signed for a 3-over-par 74 and is nine behind clubhouse leaders Lee Westwood and Kevin Chappell.

SEE ALSO: David Price on #Rays trade: ‘Absolute sadness’ 

“The man looks like he needs to play some golf,” said Padraig Harrington, who was grouped with Woods and Phil Mickelson. “He looked kind of raw.”

Woods wouldn’t disagree.

On his first hole, his tee shot found a bad lie in the rough. On his second hole his tee shot found a quirky lie just short of a bunker. On his third hole, his iron from the fairway came up 20 yards short.

After he made the turn he made bogeys on his first two holes, driving his first tee shot 40 yards left of the fairway and his second tee shot into a hazard.

In all he hit just 10 of 18 greens and 8 of 14 fairways. He needed 30 putts.

“It wasn’t very good,” Woods said after his round. “A lot of bad shots and I never got a putt to the hole. I hit all my lines but just for some reason I thought they were going to be a little bit quicker, and I didn’t make the adjustment well enough. I had plenty of looks to turn my round around and then post something even par, even under par.”

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When he was asked if his poor play was the result of limited practice and far too few competitive rounds, Woods shrugged.

“Well, it is what it is,” he said. “I have the same opportunity as everybody else and just didn’t get it done. … I had my swing dialed in on the range. Unfortunately, I didn’t carry it to the golf course.”

Woods said his stiff back was a bit of an issue on the course but he said he’s used to dealing with it. He did not go to the range following his round, opting instead to seek treatment and then rest “to make sure this thing is nice and loose for tomorrow.”

Woods is now in jeopardy of missing the cut, which could end his season. Unless he plays and wins next week’s Wyndham Championship, he will miss the FedExCup Playoffs. And if he is not one of Tom Watson’s three captain’s picks for the Ryder Cup, Woods possibly wouldn’t play until October in Argentina in an unofficial team event.

“I have to get to under par by the end of tomorrow. Or end of my second round. If we get storms, it could be Saturday,” Woods said. “If I get under par for two rounds that will be right in the ball game.”

Westwood experienced few problems as he followed up a 63 in the last round at Bridgestone with his best round in his PGA Championship career.

“I think it probably clicked before then,” Westwood said of his game, referring to Sunday’s round. “I started to feel like my swing was coming around. I got Mike (Walker, his swing coach) the Monday before last week, and we did some work. That tends to be when I do my best work, on the range away from tournaments, and I started to hit it well.”

Westwood, like Woods, is trying to make the Ryder Cup team. Westwood, a stalwart for Europe for years, can still qualify for the team with a good week.

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“I’m still trying to qualify for the team to free up a pick for Paul (McGinley, Europe’s captain),” Westwood said. “I don’t want to rely on a pick. I always think that there comes a bit more pressure if you’re a selection, as well, obviously, because you’ve got to try and sort of justify your pick almost. And I don’t want to be in that position. I’d rather qualify for the team.

” … I’ve had chats with Paul and he said, ‘You know, try and show some form.’ I don’t know whether he’s just looking for a reason to pick me, but I’ve shot 63 last Sunday and I’m leading a major this week. So I’m ticking that box for him, and I think he probably looks back at my record and sees that I’ve played eight (Ryder Cups), so knows that I’ve got a fair amount of experience.”

News Source: USA TODAY