Top takeaways from Rams’ ‘Monday Night Football’ win over the Bears

Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Vincent Frank | Last updated 10/26/20

Monday night saw the Los Angeles Rams rebound from a Week 6 loss to the division-rival San Francisco 49ers . It came against a previously 5-1 Chicago Bears team that had success earlier this season despite struggles on offense.

That was pretty much the name of the game for head coach Matt Nagy and the Bears on Monday night. Chicago could not get anything going on the ground, and Nick Foles continued to struggle under center.

On the other hand, the Rams watched quarterback Jared Goff put up a mistake-free performance while dominating on the defensive side of the ball. Here are the biggest takeaways from this Week 7 “Monday Night Football” matchup that saw the Rams come out on top by the score of 24-10.

Chicago Bears offense will be its undoing


Nick Foles threw two picks in the loss vs. the Rams. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears must add some reinforcements on offense ahead of the NFL trade deadline if they want to be taken seriously as a legit playoff contender. Despite boasting a 5-1 record heading into Monday night, most saw this club as a pretender. That’s primarily because the team’s offense just has not been able to get it going.

This continued big time against the Rams in Los Angeles. Foles put up just 230 net passing yards on 44 dropbacks. He also threw two interceptions, including this one in the end zone with Chicago looking to make it a one-score game.

The Bears’ rushing attack didn’t do Foles any real favors, either. Struggling sophomore back David Montgomery went for all of 48 yards on 14 attempts. All said, the Bears put up 14 first downs en route to another brutal showing on offense.

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Buccaneers officially sign Antonio Brown

By Blake Harper | Last updated 10/27/20

Antonio Brown has officially signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, adding another great receiving option to an offense that is already overflowing with elite talent. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the signing is officially done, allowing Brown to take the field as soon as Week 9, though that will obviously be decided based on his health and conditioning. 

The deal is expected to have a max value of $2.5 million, with several incentives in place based on performance. This is a huge discount for the team, but given Brown’s remarkable destruction of his reputation over the last year-and-a-half, it makes sense that he is taking much less money than he probably believes he is worth. 

On July 31, the NFL announced Brown would face an eight-game suspension before being allowed to return due to violating the league’s Personal Conduct Policy, including having allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against him.

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Todd Gurley costs Falcons win with accidental touchdown

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports By Steve DelVecchio | Last updated 10/25/20

Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley has scored many touchdowns during his career, but the one he had in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions was the only regrettable one of his career.

The Falcons were trailing 16-14 late in the fourth quarter and had the ball deep in Detroit territory. After putting together a methodical drive and forcing the Lions to use all of their timeouts, Atlanta could have run the clock all the way down and kicked an easy game-winning field goal. However, Todd Gurley had a huge mental lapse and forgot he wasn’t supposed to score a touchdown.

Gurley realized at the last second that he should not have scored, but the ball had already broken the plane.

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Odell Beckham Jr. feared to have ‘major’ knee injury

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Larry Brown | Last updated 10/25/20

Odell Beckham Jr. is feared to have suffered a “major” knee injury during the Cleveland Browns’ win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Beckham suffered a knee injury trying to make a tackle after a Baker Mayfield interception midway through the first quarter of Cleveland’s 37-34 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Beckham was down in pain after hurting his knee and limped to the locker room. He was quickly ruled out for the rest of the game.

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said after the game that Beckham would undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of his injury.

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Clayton Kershaw sets postseason strikeouts record in strong Game 5 start

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Larry Brown | Last updated 10/26/20

The Los Angeles Dodgers are a victory away from winning their first World Series since 1988, and Clayton Kershaw has been a driving force behind their run.

The Dodgers southpaw pitched 5.2 innings for the win in his team’s 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 of the World Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas on Sunday night. He allowed two runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out six.

The six strikeouts give Kershaw 207 for his postseason career, which breaks Justin Verlander’s record of 205.

Kershaw breaking Verlander’s record is really proof of how many opportunities the veteran has gotten to pitch in the postseason. The Dodgers have missed the playoffs only three times since Kershaw joined the club in 2008.

Despite his reputation for struggling in the postseason, Kershaw has gone 4-1 with a 2.93 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 30.2 innings in the 2020 playoffs. This has been the best postseason of his career.

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NFL Week 7: Picks and preview

Posted 2 days ago | By Chris Mueller

Week 7 of the NFL season marks the debut of Le’Veon Bell in Kansas City, and brings the league one week closer to Antonio Brown’s reinstatement, an event that already has potential suitors lining up. The Cardinals, fresh off a drubbing of the Cowboys, get a chance to show that they’re for real in the NFC West when they take on unbeaten Seattle, while the Patriots try to even their record at 3-3 and build momentum after an uneven start that has them looking up at the majority of the AFC. Tom Brady gets a Monday night showdown with Jon Gruden, while the Steelers and Titans meet in a battle of unbeatens, with the victor gaining the inside track to the AFC’s number one seed. All members of the NFC East are also playing games this week, too, but wouldn’t it just be best if we tried to avoid that fact altogether?

(BYE: Indianapolis, Miami, Minnesota, Baltimore)

Point spreads are from BetOnline.ag, and are current as of 11 a.m. ET Thursday.

NOTE: Pick with spread is in bold. 

Last Week: 6-8    Season: 46-44-11 of 14

NY GIANTS (1-5) AT PHILADELPHIA (1-4-1) (Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET)

NY GIANTS (1-5) AT PHILADELPHIA (1-4-1) (Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET)
Jerry Habraken via Imagn Content Services, LLC

TV: NFL NETWORK        Line: Philadelphia -4.5


What you need to know:  There isn’t much to say about the Giants, who got their first win of the season last week against Washington. The offense is still anemic, but if you’re a glass-half-full type, it is worth noting that the defense is playing well of late, particularly against the run; three of the Giants’ last four opponents have failed to crack 100 yards on the ground. The Eagles gave a good accounting of themselves against Baltimore, very nearly pulling off a stunning comeback after falling behind 17-0, but they didn’t, and now find themselves at 1-4-1 on the year. Incredibly enough, that’s good for second in the NFC East, and well within striking distance of the Cowboys. Now that Dak Prescott is out, the Eagles ought to win the division, but for that to happen, Carson Wentz has to re-establish himself as one of the league’s better quarterbacks.

On the spot: Giants TE Evan Engram . Engram has caught just 57 percent of his targets this year, and has yet to catch a touchdown. That’s not good enough for someone thought to be one of Daniel Jones‘ most dynamic targets.

Eagles QB Carson Wentz: Wentz wasn’t great against the Ravens, but overall he played by far his cleanest game of the year. For the Eagles to turn their season around, Wentz has to find a way to bring his “A” game every week.

The pick: Eagles 27, Giants 16

DETROIT (2-3) AT ATLANTA (1-5) (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

DETROIT (2-3) AT ATLANTA (1-5) (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

TV: FOX        Line: Atlanta -1


What you need to know:  The Lions are lingering around the edges of the NFC playoff picture, and a win in this game would put them in good position to challenge for a wild card spot, with over half the season remaining. Detroit’s problem, in a word, is consistency. The Lions look great to start games, but can’t finish; even individual players have it happen. D’Andre Swift, who went over 100 yards last week, dropped a sure touchdown pass that cost Detroit a win in Week 1. Matt Patricia needs to find a way to bring out the best in his team week after week, or else it will be a typical lost season for the Lions. Atlanta might not be quite as bad as their record suggests, but they are still massively deficient on the defensive side. The Falcons are particularly bad against the pass, which means that this game could also feature a Matthew Stafford breakout. Atlanta already doesn’t have much to play for this season, barring a sudden dramatic turnaround at the top of the NFC South, 

On the spot:  Lions RB D’Andre Swift. Swift reached 100 yards last week in minimal action, but Atlanta is strong against the run. Swift is starting to siphon carries away from Adrian Peterson, and if he plays well again, could start to put a tight grip on the starting running back gig.

Falcons RB Todd GurleyGurley has looked solid, if unspectacular, this season. He’s coming off his worst game of the year, however, and if the Falcons are going to make some sort of midseason push to respectability, he needs to be at the forefront.

The pick: Lions 34, Falcons 31

CLEVELAND (4-2) AT CINCINNATI (1-4-1) (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

CLEVELAND (4-2) AT CINCINNATI (1-4-1) (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

TV: CBS        Line: Cleveland -3.5


What you need to know:  Baker Mayfield hasn’t been good, despite Cleveland’s 4-2 record. He was wretched against the Steelers, staring down Austin Hooper on what turned into a Minkah Fitzpatrick pick-six, and never looking comfortable in the pocket. At some point, and probably soon, Mayfield has to start playing better or Cleveland is going to have to confront the fact that their search for a franchise quarterback is ongoing. If Mayfield’s play is worse than his team’s record, there is an argument to be made that Joe Burrow is performing better than Cincy’s 1-4-1 mark indicates. Burrow’s numbers aren’t great, and he hasn’t thrown a touchdown in his last two games, but he’s hanging tough despite taking plenty of hits, and still completing his fair share of passes down the field. Cincinnati isn’t a good team, but the early returns on Burrow are more encouraging than not. 

On the spot: Browns QB Baker Mayfield. Mayfield’s game against the Steelers was Pro Football Focus’ third-lowest-graded performance by a quarterback this season. He has been totally ineffective in traditional drop-back settings, and if he doesn’t turn things around fast, will deserve to be benched.

Bengals FS Jessie Bates IIIBates has an interception and is allowing just a 30.8 passer rating when targeted this year. If Cincy is going to spring an upset, they could use a splash play or two against a quarterback prone to giveaways.

The pick: Browns 31, Bengals 23

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Saints willing to trade All-Pro WR Michael Thomas?

By Erin Walsh | Last updated 10/24/20

Michael Thomas is out for the fifth straight time this season, and the New Orleans Saints might be ready to move on from their top wide receiver for more reasons than one.

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, “some in league circles” believe the Saints could be willing to trade Thomas. Florio also adds that Thomas could be interested in moving on from the club.

The 27-year-old was initially ruled out for three weeks due to an ankle injury. The Saints then punished him for punching a teammate, benching him during Week 5 against the Los Angeles Chargers. He was on track to play this week, but a hamstring injury suffered during practice ruined any chance of that. 

Before this season, Thomas missed just one game during his rookie campaign in 2016 with an unspecified foot injury.

While trading Thomas isn’t impossible, the Saints will be slapped with a $20 million cap charge in 2021 if they deal him, Florio says. With teams being affected financially by the coronavirus pandemic, the Saints might not be willing to have $20 million dedicated to a player who no longer is on the team. 

If the Saints don’t pull the trigger and trade Thomas this season, they’ll be faced with plenty of questions about his status within the organization, as Florio writes:

“If no one makes an offer that gets the Saints to pull the trigger, the team and Thomas will have the rest of the season to determine whether they can coexist. If that offer comes from a contender for whom Thomas would like to play, it makes sense to monitor the situation.”

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College football world reacts to Jaylen Waddle’s season-ending injury

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Grey Papke | Last updated 10/24/20

The college football world sent numerous well wishes to Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle after he suffered a season-ending injury on Saturday.

Waddle, one of the most exciting players in the country, was ruled out for the season at halftime of Saturday’s game against Tennessee with a lower-leg injury. The injury prompted an outpouring of support for the wide receiver, including from former Alabama players and even a rival.

Among the ex-Alabama players to wish Waddle well were Mack Wilson, Raekwon Davis, and Mac Hereford.

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Walker Buehler makes some history with strikeout total in Game 3

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Larry Brown | Last updated 10/23/20

The Los Angeles Dodgers won Game 3 of the World Series 6-2 over the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas on Friday night, and Walker Buehler’s pitching helped them get the victory.

Buehler allowed just one run on three hits and a walk in six innings and left with a 6-1 lead. He struck out 10 batters in the outing.

According to MLB Communications, Buehler is the first pitcher in World Series history to record double-digit strikeouts in no more than six innings pitched.

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2020 NBA Draft to be virtual experience on Nov. 18

By Zac Wassink | Last updated 10/22/20

Much like this year’s NFL Draft, the 2020 NBA Draft will be unlike any other because of concerns related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The Association and ESPN jointly announced on Thursday that the draft held on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the ESPN studios in Bristol, Conn., will be a virtual experience for those not in attendance. ESPN, ESPN Radio and the ESPN App will air the draft. Broadcasts start at 7 p.m. ET. 

While commissioner Adam Silver and deputy commissioner Mark Tatum will announce draft selections from the studio, chosen players will conduct interviews virtually from their homes or other safe locations away from large gatherings to prevent any potential spread of the virus. 

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