4 ways the Seahawks’ 41-38 win over the Texans was the most bananas game

The Seattle Seahawks improved to 5-2 with a hard fought victory at home over the Houston Texans in Week 8, and the 41-38 win had to be seen to be believed.

Both quarterbacks had four touchdowns and two each in the fourth quarter. Prior to Sunday, the Seahawks defense hadn’t given up a fourth quarter touchdown all season. But Watson got his first with an impressive escape from the Seahawks pass rush and a second touchdown when DeAndre Hopkins weaved through the defense for a 72-yard burst.

Ultimately though, it didn’t matter because Wilson found Jimmy Graham with 21 seconds left to win the game.

The aerial battle between the two quarterbacks alone made the game extremely fun to watch.

Diagnosing the Warriors’ early-season ills hasn’t been difficult. Their top-ranked offense is more statistically efficient than last year’s title squad, but their defense — 26th in the league — has been a dispassionate slow dance. On Monday, the defensive work was prompt and, most important, fully engaged.

The performance wasn’t the sort of masterpiece that last year’s second-ranked defense turned in consistently, but the Warriors’ clean, crisp switch-a-thon returned to the perimeter. When the Clippers moved into dribble handoffs, they found a defender meeting them on the other side of the action.

The pyrotechnics on the other end were as familiar as they were prolific. The Warriors came into the game leading the league in minutes with a lead of six points or greater, yet had compiled a record of only 4-3.

Harris has further to go than Thompson on the defensive end

The Cavs are deeper than ever in wings, unlocking all sorts of small lineups. Jae Crowder is the best two-way wing LeBron has had in his second Cleveland stint. Dwyane Wade can captain the offense while LeBron rests, and flash back to their Heatles-era wink-wink chemistry when they share the floor. If Thomas flounders defending Golden State, Lue could ditch point guards and experiment with funky groups featuring four wings and one big man. (Thomas has fared surprisingly well against Golden State on both ends.)

Every permutation of Oklahoma City and Cleveland still shelters at least one one-way player. That is normal, even for champions! These teams are all awesome! Last season’s Cavaliers were awesome — one of the greatest offensive teams ever! Regular awesome probably won’t be good enough against a Warriors team that should be even better after a year getting to know Durant.

Of particular interest is Harris’ ability to stretch the floor in Denver’s high-octane offense playing off of Jokic. As the charts show, Harris is every bit as effective a catch-and-shoot threat that Thompson was back in 2012-13, though with less volume. Harris also shot a blistering 54 percent from the corners, which ranked second among the more than 100 players that attempted at least 60 of them. Offensively, Harris is every bit as advanced as Thompson was at this same point, which is frightening to consider, given Thompson’s ability to go scorched earth.

Harris has further to go than Thompson on the defensive end, where he gives up three inches and thus doesn’t have the size to check as many positions as effectively. According to Synergy, Harris ranked in just the 15th percentile in points per play allowed in the half-court, though some of that can be attributed to scheme and Denver’s generally porous defense overall. Regardless, he ranked among the league’s worst shooting guards in defensive RPM last season, despite having the tools to become a plus defender.

My golf handicap should be a lot better than it is right now.

The Heat are closer to the relentless perpetual motion machine that finished 30-11 than the sad-sack 11-30 outfit that was ready to pull the ol’ tankeroo in January. They won’t win 75 percent of their games, and probably not even 60 percent, but they’re going to be a problem.

But he did weather a small crisis early in his first season. After a crushing 3-2 loss in San Francisco on a 10th-inning homer by Brandon Crawford on April 8, he hosted an impromptu postgame symposium with the veterans that delayed the team bus for 90 minutes. The next night, they turned the tide with a 3-2 victory in 10 innings.

He went on to win Manager of the Year honors by embracing both the old Dodger way of using players in multiple roles — Campanis called it “coconut snatching” — and a new-age use of the bullpen. In fact, Roberts set a major league record for pitching changes in a season with 606.

In the National League Division Series against the Nationals, he used six different pitchers to wangle a 4-3 win in Game 5 — Clayton Kershaw got the save. In the NL Championship Series, the Dodgers ran into the Cubs — and destiny. Even in defeat, Roberts left on a graceful note Authentic Jalen Collins Jersey by embracing Joe Maddon in a Wrigley hallway after Game 6.

“It was a really busy summer.”

Across the country in Denver, Smart was on his own Authentic Sven Baertschi Jersey social media summer hiatus. In the process of dropping 20 pounds, Smart had just completed a workout with NBA legend Chauncey Billups when his agent texted to say that Smart could be part of Boston’s impending trade with Cleveland.

Andrew Luck throwing, but begins Colts camp on PUP list

Andrew Luck is throwing, but his surgically repaired shoulder is not quite 100 percent.

The Colts placed their Pro Bowl quarterback on the physically unable to perform list on Monday, but Luck is still expected to be the team’s Week 1 starter.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard said Monday Luck is in the midst of the throwing part of his shoulder rehab. Luck can come off the PUP list at any point during the preseason and is on track to start under center when the Colts begin the regular season on Sept. 10 against the Rams.

Peep how long the line is outside the gym for tonight’s LaMelo Ball vs Zion Williamson face-off in Las Vegas.

Tournament officials were given the official OK to play the game only moments before the scheduled tipoff, as fans, some of whom had waited hours, stood six and seven deep to see Williamson’s SC Supreme defeat the LaVar Ball-coached Big Baller team, 104-92.

“Unreal. Never seen anything like it,” Kansas coach Bill Self, who was on hand for the game, told ESPN.

In addition to Self, NBA players Damian Lillard, Thon Maker, Jamal Murray, Andrew Wiggins and Lonzo Ball, LaMelo’s oldest brother, were in attendance.

LeBron James reportedly had planned to watch the showdown from courtside, but — according to ESPN, which cited an unidentified source — he didn’t get out of his vehicle after he arrived and talked with people connected to the tournament. He opted to avoid the situation, citing “security concerns,” ESPN’s source said.

“They oversold this,” a law enforcement official told ESPN.com. “Way oversold.”t_rangers_049-115x115

NFL voted on rule changes for the 2017 season, and we graded each one

At the NFL Spring League Meeting in Chicago this week, team owners voted on a number of rule changes. These were changes that were still pending after owners voted to approve eight new rules for 2017 at the owners’ meetings in Phoenix in March.

Some of the new rules, like allowing teams to return two players from injured reserve instead of one, stand to have a significant positive impact on teams. Others, like shortening regular season overtime by five minutes, probably won’t do much toward improving player safety, which was its purpose.

Here’s a rundown of all of the rule changes that the league will put into place for next season, as well as the ones that won’t be happening for 2017.

NFL OT has been cut from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. But does it matter?

In 2017, teams will have the same leeway, but with two players instead of one. That way, unlucky teams struck by the injury bug will have more opportunities to field a competitive team as the season winds down. Rather than shutting down a star player for the season if he needs 10 weeks to rehab an injury, teams can now hold out extra hope he’ll return in time for a playoff push.

2017 NFL mock draft: Miami Dolphins grab Desmond King

Between 2009 and 2015 the Miami Dolphins had between six and eight wins every season. In 2016 they finally started to push through by going 10-6. With key players like quarterback Ryan Tannehill, defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, safety Reshad Jones, and others all locked up for multiple years, it’s time for Miami to really make a push.

To do that, they really need to hit on a two or three picks in the 2017 NFL draft to push them over the top to contend with the New England Patriots in the AFC East. Kevin Nogle of The Phinsider is up in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft to find a player who can help Miami take a step.

On paper, adding Lynch would be a major boost for an offense already ripe with talent. With Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Jared Cook, and a great offensive line, all the Raiders are missing is a game-changing running back.

Unfortunately, NFL teams don’t operate like Madden franchises. A player’s potential fit with a team has a lot more to do with scheme than it does with narratives.

In this case, it’s safe to wonder if the Raiders are even looking for a bruiser who can grind out yards between the tackles. Last year, under offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, Oakland generally operated out of shotgun, even implementing spread concepts. Though Musgrave is no longer with the team, the Raiders’ offseason additions of Cook and deep threat Cordarrelle Patterson suggest the team’s offense could keep some of the concepts Musgrave introduced over the past two years.


Hall of Fame Steelers owner Dan Rooney dies at age 84

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced the death of owner and chairman Dan Rooney at age 84 on Thursday.

Rooney was the son of Art Rooney, the first owner of the team, and he eventually inherited the team, serving as its president from 1975 until 2002. His contributions to the sport of football and the NFL — which included the institution of the “Rooney Rule” and required minority candidates to be interviewed for coaching and executive positions — Rooney was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

“I didn’t put much stock into the offer,” his dad said to the Tampa Bay Times. “We politely said thanks but no thanks. He’s going to college.”

The five-star small forward will instead take the college route to the NBA, where he will likely be a one-and-done. He’s currently the No. 8 player in the class of 2017, according to 247sports.com, and also one of the top uncommitted recruits in the country. Duke, North Carolina, and Kentucky are getting most of the Crystal Ball predictions, but Knox won’t announce his decision until April 28 or May 1.

Since the age requirement for the NBA Draft was implemented in 2005, a small number of elite high school recruits have chosen to eschew college for a basketball gap-year after high school. Jennings was first when he chose to play in Italy in 2009, after his SAT scores had him deemed academically ineligible for the NCAA. He instead earned $1.2 million in contracts and endorsements that season, according to the New York Times.

Mudiay was the next notable recruit to follow, playing in the Chinese Basketball League after he graduated in 2014, earning a $1.2 million contract from the team. Though slightly different, last season, Thon Maker won a petition to enter the draft due to age, after spending a season at a prep school in Canada.

Kurt Russell led them to a gold medal over the Soviet Union

“It’s something we’re very proud of and humbled by the fact that the 30 other NFL teams have enough confidence is us to give us the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl,” Mara said. “It’s an obligation that we have to do a good job in making it the best possible week and game that we can. We’re looking forward to it, there’s a lot of work to be done and we think it’s going to be a great week, it’s going to be a great game.”

‘We’re very proud of and humbled by the fact that the 30 other NFL teams have enough confidence is us to give us the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl.’ – John Mara
“I think that we’re ready for anything that might come along. Obviously we’re used to dealing with all kinds of weather conditions in this area and we’ll be ready for anything. Certainly we hope we have nice weather, particularly on game day, but if not we’ll adjust accordingly and it will still end up being a great game,” Mara said.

Those weren’t NHL players. They were just college guys and amateurs. And Kurt Russell led them to a gold medal over the Soviet Union. What a moment!

I admit it sucks that NHL players won’t be at the Olympics. But doesn’t that kind of even the playing field a bit? Is Canada really a heavyweight if a bunch of kids from juniors are playing pros from Switzerland? Wouldn’t it be cool if College Star A from your college is playing for the gold medal in the Olympics? That’s grassroots interest that could be a great result of this decision.

Some players griped about young players not getting a chance at the Olympics now. Quite the opposite, actually! You’re only going to get young players from North America. Imagine the prospect development that comes out of playing on the biggest stage in the world before you even play a single NHL game.

“I think the overwhelming sentiment of the teams is that it’s very disruptive on the season and there is somewhere between fatigue and negativity on the subject,” Commissioner Bettman said at the conclusion of the General Managers’ meetings on March 8 in Boca Raton, Fla.
Somewhat ironic that they follow up opinions from fans with a Bettman quote about how the owners feel.

fans are left wondering how a game that appeared to be firmly in hand got away from them

The idea of “tanking” a season and the logic behind it, insomuch as you can call it “logic,” is something that I find to be completely idiotic. It has never made any sense, it doesn’t make any sense now, and it won’t make any sense going forward. I’m sure that we’ve had this discussion before, and I was hoping that it would be a while before we’d have to have it again, but this is the situation we’re in right now. Let me explain why the idea of “tanking” a season is stupid.

The first part of this is quite simple. . .you are not going to get a group of professional athletes, led by professional coaches, to simply give up and stop attempting to win football games. That’s not how it works. You’re talking about a group of individuals that have excelled at this profession their entire lives, and then asking them to do something that goes completely against the way they’ve been programmed all these years. Think about this. . .every single college football player in America was a star in high school. Every single professional football player in America was a star in college. They’ve built their entire lives around being the best of the best at what they do. And you really think they’re going to be receptive to someone saying, “Yeah, you know, if you could just go out there and maybe not try as hard in this game, that would be pretty awesome. We’re playing for draft position, you know.” Yeah. . .I have my doubts.

As for the Redskins, fans are left wondering how a game that appeared to be firmly in hand got away from them. The offense looked unstoppable for a half, but then familiar problems crept back. The offensive line stopped protecting Robert Griffin III, and Washington managed just three points in the second half. On defense, the secondary was once again a sieve.


This photo of Adam Jones’ heroic World Baseball Classic catch belongs in a museum

Saturday night, the U.S. advanced to the World Baseball Classic semifinals after defeating the Dominican Republic 6-3. Part of that victory goes to Adam Jones, who made a heroic leaping catch against his Orioles teammate Manny Machado. The catch was so good, Machado couldn’t help but show respect to Jones for taking that homer away from him:

The undercard was exciting, getting started with a lightweight showdown between Ryan Martin and Bryant Cruz. Martin’s high-tempo offense kept Cruz on the defensive for too long, and the fight was eventually stopped in Martin’s favor in the eighth of 10 rounds.

After that, Carlos Cuadras took a controversial unanimous decision win over David Carmona. Cuadras was heavily favored for the fight, but Carmona seemed to have the edge overall and it’s surprising that two judges saw the fight as 97-93 in Cuadras’ favor. That would have set up Cuadras for a potential rematch with Roman Gonzalez for the flyweight title, but those plans were thrown away when Gonzalez suffered defeat in the final undercard fight.

That fight saw him lose a 12-round majority decision to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. It’s the first time that Gonzalez has lost a fight as a professional. He clearly won his share of rounds and looked good doing it, but he was knocked down in the first round. Despite Rungvisai losing a point due to repeated headbutts, he ended up with the win, though one judge saw it as a 113-113 draw.16