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Arsenal facing make-or-break 6 days

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press It's a six-day stretch that could make or break Arsenal's season and prompt renewed scrutiny into the machinations of a club that appears to have issues at every level. A home game against Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday, soon followed by the visit of Manchester United in the FA Cup. Lose both matches and Arsenal's bid for domestic silverware will be over for another season. Finishing in the top four of the league, and thereby qualifying for the Champions League, would also be highly unrealistic. And it won't even be February. It wasn't so long ago that Unai Emery was making a mockery of any fears he would struggle to oversee a smooth transition from Arsene Wenger's 22-year reign. The team was on a 22-match unbeaten run in all competitions. Emery's high-energy pressing game was working and the goals were flowing, even if there were some slight concerns about the defense. Tottenham, Arsenal's big rival, was trounced 4-2 in the North London derby. "We've got out Arsenal back," chanted gleeful Arsenal fans. Then came the slide. The first worrying signs came in a 3-2 loss at lowly Southampton on Dec. 16 that ended Arsenal's four-month unbeaten run. Then there was the elimination at the hands of Tottenham in the English League Cup quarterfinals, before a 5-1 mauling by Liverpool in the league at Anfield on Dec. 29 which revived memories of the defensive horror shows from the darkest days in the final years of the Wenger era. More recently, there was the timid 1-0 loss at West Ham on Saturday when Arsenal had two shots on target. If Arsenal loses to Chelsea, it will drop nine points adrift of the top four and probably into sixth place — the position it finished in Wenger's last year. Arsenal will be left relying on winning a cup competition — the FA Cup or, perhaps more likely, the Europa League — to salvage anything from its season. The problems won't end there. Mesut Ozil is the club's marquee and highest-earning player — reportedly getting 350,000 pounds a week ($450,000) — yet is regularly left out by Emery, just as he was against West Ham on Saturday. Ozil, a mercurial player with a languid approach, doesn't fit Emery's preferred style and so is proving to be a very expensive commodity. Another midfielder, Aaron Ramsey, has also been in and out of the team this season and is reportedly close to signing for Juventus. "At certain times, you have to provoke friction with footballers," Emery said this week, perhaps with a nod to his relationship with Ozil. "From that friction, you can get something more out of them, something from inside." Without its two most creative attacking midfielders, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan currently injured, Arsenal lacks any playmaking ability or balance behind the two strikers, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. Meanwhile, Emery's team has kept only three clean sheets in 22 league games. "There are times," Emery said, "when defensively we have not been very solid but we have still won because offensively we have created a lot of chances. So, at the moment, I am still leaning toward making sure the team doesn't lose what it has." Emery doesn't have the option of buying his way out of trouble. He said last week that there is no money available for permanent signings, only loans, with Arsenal having spent 70 million pounds on four players in the offseason and a club-record 56 million pounds on Aubameyang last January. In an attempt to formalize a structure to the technical staff above the manager, Arsenal created the positions of head of football relations (Raul Sanllehi joined from Barcelona) and head of recruitment (Sven Mislintat joined from Borussia Dortmund) in 2017. No way was Emery going to have the same power as Wenger. Yet sections of the British media are reporting this week that Mislintat is on his way out as part of a power struggle in the wake of the departure of chief executive Ivan Gazidis, who left for AC Milan in October. So, potential upheaval behind the scenes. No money to spend. Apparent rifts with key players. And a defensively suspect team that has lost four of its last eight games. It's a huge week coming up for Arsenal and Emery, for whom the enormity of the task in replacing Wenger might finally be sinking in......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 17th, 2019Related News

‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ review: Relentlessly enjoyable

In a year that is proliferated with superheroes, it wouldn’t be unlikely for moviegoers to give Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman’s astoundingly inventive Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse just a shrug and go about their day getting excited for the next Avengers installment.  Unabashedly fun.....»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsDec 15th, 2018Related News

Rising New Jersey Fil-Am gymnast to compete for PH in world meet

PARAMUS, New Jersey -- Corinne Bunagan, a 15-year-old Filipino American gymnast from Ramsey, New Jersey, will represent the Philippinesat the Gymnastics World Championships in late October. The only bigger competition is the Olympics.   Bunagan's family decided to pull her out of school midway through sixth grade so she could train more. She practices six hours a day and follows an online curriculum. She is set to graduate in the spring of 2021.   Bunagan is arguably one of the best gymnasts in the United States, being the first gymnast from ENA to compete in Gymnastics World Competition. But she is not yet part of the American gymnastic elite, says her train...Keep on reading: Rising New Jersey Fil-Am gymnast to compete for PH in world meet.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Sep 19th, 2018Related News

NFL preseason games see players demonstrate during anthem

By The Associated Press Player demonstrations took place during the national anthem at several early NFL preseason games Thursday night. In Philadelphia, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback De'Vante Bausby raised their fists during the anthem, and defensive end Chris Long placed his arm around Jenkins' shoulder. Jenkins had stopped his demonstration last December. Defensive end Michael Bennett walked out of the tunnel during the anthem and walked toward the bench while it played. It appeared all the Steelers stood. "Everybody is waiting for what the league is going to do," Jenkins said. "We won't let it stop what we stand for. I was very encouraged last year with the direction and that obviously took a different turn. "I think it's important to utilize the platform as we can because for whatever reason, we have framed this demonstration in a negative light, and often players have to defend why we feel the need to fight for everyday Americans, and in actuality we're doing the right thing." At Miami, Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson and defensive end Robert Quinn protested during the anthem. Stills and Wilson kneeled behind teammates lined up standing along the sideline. Quinn stood and raised his right fist. There were no apparent protests by the Buccaneers. Stills kneeled during the anthem during the 2016-17 seasons and has been vocal discussing social injustice issues that inspired the protest movement by NFL players. Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a leader of the movement, tweeted support for Stills and Wilson. "My brother @kstills continued his protest of systemic oppression tonight by taking a knee," the tweet said. "Albert Wilson joined him in protest. Stay strong brothers!" And in Seattle, three Seahawks players ran into the tunnel leading to the team's locker room prior to the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Defensive linemen Branden Jackson and Quinton Jefferson, and offensive lineman Duane Brown left the field following team introductions and before the start of the anthem. They returned to the sideline immediately after it concluded. All three were among a group of Seattle players that sat during the anthem last season. In Jacksonville, four Jaguars remained in the locker room during the national anthem, and team officials said it would be up to the players to explain why they weren't on the field. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, linebacker Telvin Smith, and running backs Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon joined teammates on the sideline after the anthem. "As a man, I got certain beliefs," said Smith, who wore "Salute the Service" cleats. "You know what I mean? This is not going to become a distraction, and Jacksonville's not going to become a distraction for this team. I got beliefs. I did what I did. I don't know if it's going to be every week, can't answer if it's going to be every week. "But as a man I've got to stand for something. I love my team, I'm dedicated to my teammates, and that's what we're talking about. I did what I did. It was love. I hope people see it and respect it. I respect views." At Baltimore, both teams stood, but while most of the Ravens lined up shoulder to shoulder on the sideline, second-year linebacker Tim Williams stood alone in front of the bench with his back toward the field. All of the players on each team at New England appeared to stand for the national anthem, some bowing their heads and others placing their hands on their hearts. The Patriots observed a moment of silence beforehand for Weymouth, Massachusetts, police officer Michael Chesna, who was killed last month in the line of duty. The league and the players' union have yet to announce a policy for this season regarding demonstrations during the anthem after the league initially ordered everyone to stand on the sideline when "The Star-Spangled Banner" is played, or remain in the locker room. "The NFL has been engaged in constructive discussions with the NFL Players Association regarding the anthem and issues of equality and social justice that are of concern to many Americans," league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email. "While those discussions continue, the NFL has agreed to delay implementing or enforcing any club work rules that could result in players being disciplined for their conduct during the performance of the anthem. "Meanwhile, there has been no change in the NFL's policy regarding the national anthem. The anthem will continue to be played before every game, and all player and non-player personnel on the field at that time are expected to stand during the presentation of the flag and performance of the anthem. Personnel who do not wish to do so can choose to remain in the locker room. "We remain committed to working with the players to identify solutions and to continue making progress on important social issues affecting our communities."  .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsAug 10th, 2018Related News

‘Kasal’: Romantic roundelay goes for the jugular

  Love and its vagaries are given a winking makeover in Ruel Bayani's "Kasal." But, with tongue firmly in cheek and its heart transparently displayed on its sleeve, Bea Alonzo's romantic roundelay with Paulo Avelino and Derek Ramsey eventually manages to transcend kitsch and storytelling contrivances after a predictable start. As it breaks out of the confining limitations of traditional screen romances, the film introduces a different kind of relationship that refuses to apologize for the involuntary beating of its unconventional heart. Indeed, love in its purest form knows no gender, age or social status. Shot at happiness Lia Marquez's (Bea) fairy-tale romance w...Keep on reading: ‘Kasal’: Romantic roundelay goes for the jugular.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: May 19th, 2018Related News

Liverpool into Champions League, Man City reaches 100 points

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool qualified for the Champions League at the expense of Chelsea, Swansea was relegated, and champion Manchester City made it to 100 points as the loose ends were tied up on a typically high-scoring final day of the Premier League season on Sunday. It was also the end of an era in England's top flight, with Arsene Wenger taking charge of his final game as Arsenal manager after 22 seasons. He went out with a 1-0 win at Huddersfield. Liverpool only needed to draw with Brighton to secure another season in the Champions League, but manager Juergen Klopp fielded an attacking team and was rewarded with a 4-0 victory at Anfield. Mohamed Salah scored one of the goals, taking the Egyptian to a league-high 32 goals for the campaign — the most in a 38-game Premier League season. That meant Chelsea will not be playing in Europe's elite competition for the second season in three years. The London club finished fifth after a 3-0 loss at Newcastle, in what could prove to be Antonio Conte's last league game as manager. The final-day "miracle" that Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal required didn't happen, with the Welsh club losing 2-1 to Stoke to end its seven-year stay in the league and ensure Southampton stayed up. Swansea had needed to win and Southampton to lose to Man City, with a 10-goal swing in goal difference. So it didn't matter that Southampton conceded late to lose 1-0 to City, although that did mean Pep Guardiola's side became the first team to post 100 points in a Premier League season. It is the latest milestone reached by City, which has also claimed the most total wins (32), goals (106), victories in a row (18) and away wins (16) in this record-breaking season. The 19-point margin to second place Manchester United is also a record, as is the goal difference of plus 79. Tottenham beat Leicester 5-4 in the highest-scoring game of the day to secure third place above Liverpool. United was already assured of second place before its 1-0 win over Watford, in Michael Carrick's final game for the club. ANOTHER TROPHY FOR SALAH Fittingly, it was Salah who guided Liverpool back into the Champions League and he ended a sun-kissed afternoon at Anfield lifting the Golden Boot for being the Premier League's top scorer this season. His 32-goal haul was two more than Harry Kane, the winner for the past two seasons. There were wonderful scenes soon after as Liverpool's fans cheered Salah's daughter, Makka, as she kicked about a ball on the field. Dejan Lovren added a second before Dominic Solanke and Andrew Robertson scored their first goals for Liverpool to complete a routine victory in its last match before playing the Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 26. Liverpool ended up in fourth place for the second straight season. Chelsea ended the season without even a whimper, and in the Europa League. Four days after drawing 1-1 at home, the deposed champions looked bedraggled in losing to Newcastle thanks to goals by Dwight Gayle and Ayoze Perez, who scored twice in the second half. SWANSEA DOWN Swansea fans channeled their anger toward chairman Huw Jenkins and the club's American majority shareholders, Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien, after the team's relegation was confirmed with a loss to a team that started the day in last place. Jenkins was conspicuous by his absence from his customary seat in the directors' box but that did not prevent Swansea supporters urging Jenkins to "get out of our club" from the first minute. Andy King's goal gave Swansea hope of an unlikely final-day comeback, but Badou Ndiaye and Peter Crouch scored to ensure already relegated Stoke would not end the season bottom. That position went to West Bromwich Albion, which lost 2-0 at Crystal Palace. WENGER'S FAREWELL In the 22nd minute, Huddersfield fans joined Arsenal supporters in rising to their feet inside the John Smith's Stadium to applaud Wenger in his 1,235th game in charge of the Gunners. A plane flew over the stadium, carrying the message "Merci Arsene, we will miss you too" in response to Wenger's goodbye speech last week at the Emirates Stadium. "I should have announced every week my goodbye," Wenger said, "because people have been so nice with me." Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the final scorer of the Wenger era, sliding in to convert Aaron Ramsey's cross in the 38th minute for the only goal. Arsenal finished sixth in the Premier League — the lowest under Wenger, who will stay working. "Whether that is managing or not... I am addicted and I don't think that can be cured," Wenger said. CITY'S CENTURY City left it to virtually the last kick of its last match to reach the magical 100-point barrier. Gabriel Jesus, on as a substitute, found space to lift the ball over goalkeeper Alex McCarthy in the fourth minute of additional time, prompting wild celebrations among City's players. Pep Guardiola reacted to the team's 106th league goal of the season by leaping out of his seat in the dugout and punching the air. Jesus removed his shirt and twirled it in celebration in front of City's supporters. The players were still on the field 20 minutes after the final whistle. City will celebrate on the streets of Manchester on Monday with an open-top bus parade......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsMay 13th, 2018Related News

Wicked good: LeBron undaunted by Boston, Celtics mystique

By Tom Withers, Associated Press INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — There haven’t been any championship banners hoisted into Boston’s hallowed rafters since 2008. LeBron James won’t let go of the rope. Cleveland’s star has bounced the Celtics from the playoffs four times in the past seven years, and James carries a six-game postseason winning streak at Boston into this year’s Eastern Conference finals, which open Sunday (Monday, PHL time) at TD Garden. As a member of both the Miami Heat and Cavaliers, James — whose success against Boston did a 180-degree turn with a mesmerizing Game 6 performance in 2012 — has made the Celtics green(er) with envy. But while the 33-year-old has the utmost respect for the NBA’s most decorated franchise, James’ admiration hasn’t stopped him from standing in the way of Boston stuffing more Larry O’Brien trophies into its crowded case. And if he beats the Celtics again and advances to his eighth straight NBA Finals, James would join a club currently exclusive to Boston players with legendary status. Only Bill Russell (10), Sam Jones (9), Tommy Heinsohn (9) and Frank Ramsey (8) have played in more consecutive Finals than James, who said he hasn’t reflected on the possibility of admission to their group. “I do know that this is my eighth straight conference finals and I have an opportunity to play for a championship if I’m able to be successful in this conference finals, so I don’t take that for granted,” James said Friday (Saturday, PHL time). “You dream about being able to play in big games in the NBA. Even when I got to the NBA that was one of my only goals — to be as great as I can be, to play in big games in the NBA and be remembered — and I think I’ve done that in my career. “Just trying to add onto it while I can.” Early in his career, James saw the Celtics as a postseason exit ramp. The “Big 3” Boston team featuring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen ousted him and the Cavs in 2008 and 2010, the latter series ending with James famously storming off the floor and pulling off his jersey to foreshadow his free-agent departure later that summer for South Beach. He avenged that loss the following year in the conference semifinals, and then in 2012, James had one of his most magnificent postseason exhibitions of his career in Boston. With the Heat down 3-2 in the series, James scored 45 points on 19 of 26 shooting and added 15 rebounds as Miami forced a Game 7 and went on to win consecutive titles. Since then, he’s 8-1 against the Celtics with a four-game sweep in 2015 and a five-game dusting last year in the conference finals. James has scored 979 points in 34 playoff games against the Celtics, the most by one player against a single team. And in his past six games on Boston’s parquet, he’s averaging 34.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists. James has eight playoff wins in Boston, more than all but four current Celtics. One of them, Jaylen Brown, knows what’s coming. “Physically, he is more superior than any guy that is on the floor,” Brown said. “He’s 260-plus pounds. Can run like a gazelle. Athletic. He’s physical. He’s just unstoppable. We gotta be mentally locked in and have a mindset to try and do the best we can. LeBron is top 3, top 5 of all-time. He’s going to do what he does. We just gotta take away the other guys and have a great mindset of mentally being locked in every possession.” Boston’s notorious crowd is known for rattling opposing players. In the first round, Celtics fans taunted Milwaukee guard Eric Bledsoe with chants of “Who Is Bledsoe?” after he unwisely made a comment about Celtics playoff phenom Terry Rozier. James and his teammates know they’ll have their ears rung as well. “One of the rowdy environments,” Cavaliers forward Kyle Korver said. “Boston is fun. They have a great crowd. They’re ready to get behind their team. There’s been moments where I’ve been on a team where there’s a decent lead and then they make one shot and the place just erupts. You’re like, ‘Man, they’re going to come back.’ You just feel it. It’s a great place to play, especially in the playoffs.” Boston’s roar only seems to strengthen James, who appreciates the passion and pride in the Celtics. “Just the history, you look up in the rafters and you see all the greats that has either played there or the previous arena they played in,” he said. “It’s a sports town. You look at the Patriots. You look at the Bruins. You look at the Red Sox. You add them, look at all that history. It’s just a sports town. If you’re not green, they don’t mess with you.” ___ AP Sports Writer Kyle Hightower in Boston contributed to this report......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsMay 12th, 2018Related News

The NBA’s Final Four: Cavs, Celtics, Warriors, Rockets

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press The franchise with the most titles. The best player of this generation. The reigning champions. The probable MVP. The NBA has its Final Four. It certainly does not disappoint. Boston’s win over Philadelphia on Wednesday night (Thurday, PHL time) brought down the curtain on the postseason’s second round — one that wasn’t exactly loaded with drama, since it was the first time since 2002 that none of the NBA’s four conference semifinal series went past five games. Cleveland swept Toronto, while Houston, Golden State and the Celtics all prevailed by 4-1 counts. Everyone gets to catch their collective breaths for a few days, with the league going dark until the weekend. Cleveland and Boston don’t tip off the Eastern Conference finals until Sunday (Monday, PHL time), and the Warriors and Rockets start their West title series on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). And yes, the Cavaliers and Warriors are four wins away from a fourth consecutive meeting in the NBA Finals. A few things to know going into the conference finals: LEBRON, OF COURSE Any list of anything this time of year basically has to start with LeBron James, still generally considered the best player on the planet even at 33-years-old and in his 15th NBA season. Cleveland’s star is trying to reach the NBA Finals for the eighth consecutive season — something only four other players have done, and they were all Boston Celtics. Bill Russell went to 10 straight title series, Sam Jones and Tom Heinsohn went to nine, and Frank Ramsey went to eight. James is already the NBA’s all-time playoff leader in points, steals and minutes played. He’s fifth in playoff wins with 152, behind only Derek Fisher (161), Tim Duncan (157), Robert Horry (155) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (154). CAVS-CELTICS HISTORY This is the eighth time Cleveland and Boston have met in the postseason. Boston has won four of the previous seven meetings, but Cleveland has won the last two — including the East finals last season. WARRIORS-ROCKETS HISTORY This is only the third Golden State-Houston playoff meeting, and all have come in the last four seasons. The Warriors are 2-0 in the series, winning both times in five games — the 2015 West finals and a first-round matchup in 2016. SEEKING 10 Golden State is trying to reach the NBA Finals for the 10th time, a mark that two other franchises have reached. The Los Angeles Lakers have made The Finals on 31 occasions (winning 16 titles), and the Celtics have gone 21 times (winning a league-high 17 titles). If the Warriors successfully defend their NBA title and go back-to-back, it’ll be the franchise’s sixth time as the last team standing — and would tie Chicago for the third-most championships in league history, behind the Celtics and Lakers. MVP WATCH Houston’s James Harden seems like the probable winner of the NBA’s MVP award this season, with the only other realistic candidate for top honors probably LeBron James. They won’t know who won until June 25 (June 26, PHL time) — after the season. Regardless, they could wind up adding to a recent trend. The league MVP has played in the NBA Finals in four of the last six seasons — James and the Miami Heat won titles in 2012 and 2013, Stephen Curry and the Warriors won in 2015 and lost to Cleveland in 2016. MATTER OF TIME Ray Allen is still the league’s all-time leader in playoff three-pointers made, with 385. LeBron James and Stephen Curry are coming his way. James is No. 2 on the all-time list with 346 playoff three-pointers. Curry is No. 3 with 329 — in only 79 playoff games. Allen played in 171, and James has played in 228. WELL DONE, SCHEDULE MAKERS Here’s how the NBA season began, back on Oct. 17 (Oct. 18, PHL time): Boston at Cleveland, and Houston at Golden State. Almost seven months later, the conference finals begin with Cleveland at Boston, Golden State at Houston. WIN GAME 1 Winning Game 1 of any NBA playoff series is important; under this format that the league has been using since 1984, teams that take 1-0 series leads ultimately win those matchups about 80 percent of the time. That’s even more pronounced in this round. Of the 68 teams that have taken 1-0 series leads in the conference finals, 57 have gone on to make the NBA Finals. But four times in the last seven years, a team has dropped Game 1 in this round and made The Finals anyway. MORE DAYS OFF? The NBA Finals start May 31 (June 1, PHL time). That means there could be a lot of days without basketball before then. If both series end in sweeps — unlikely, of course, but possible — the Boston-Cleveland winner would have 10 days off before The Finals and the Houston-Golden State winner would have nine. Starting Thursday (Friday, PHL time), there will be no games five times in a nine-day span. There’s no games until Sunday (Monday, PHL time), and there’s no games in either series on May 17 and 18 (May 18 and 19, PHL time). Those needing a basketball fix on those last two days, fret not — there will be NBA Combine activities going on in Chicago on those two days. POOL UPDATE The NBA’s playoff pool for this season is $20 million, and here’s a look at how much the four remaining teams have made so far in this postseason — along with a look at what they could get. Rockets: $2,322,122. Would finish with $4,669,069 if they lose the NBA Finals, $5,864,018 if they win the title. Celtics and Warriors: $1,646,226 each so far. They’d get $3,993,173 if they reach The Finals and lose, $5,188,122 if they win the championship. Cavaliers: $1,478,543. Would finish with $3,825,490 if they lose the NBA Finals, $5,020,439 if they win the title. Teams use the playoff pool largely for bonuses for players and staff after the season. The 12 playoff teams that have already been eliminated will be getting checks adding up to about $7 million from the league......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsMay 10th, 2018Related News

Jaguars Jalen Ramsey tells fans we’re going to Super Bowl

By Mark Long, Associated Press JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey did pretty much the same thing that upset his Jacksonville Jaguars teammates last week. He started looking ahead. Ramsey told thousands of fans awaiting the team’s return from Pittsburgh late Sunday that the Jaguars “are going to the Super Bowl and we are going to win that (expletive).” Jacksonville (12-6), of course, has the AFC championship game at New England remaining before even getting to the Super Bowl. The small-market franchise is winless in seven games in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and 1-10 all-time against the Patriots (14-3). Ramsey’s comments surely will find their way north. “You come back and you’ve got all the fans here and things of that nature,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “Obviously that’s something that everybody, they want to do when you get close. Whether you have to say it or not? The one thing I do know is the road to it always leads through New England. “Our focus isn’t on anything else but the New England Patriots. It will be a great challenge for us obviously.” The Jags took exception to the Steelers talking about facing the Patriots instead of them, and used it as motivation in a 45-42 victory Sunday. Nonetheless, they stood behind their outspoken and ultra-talented defender. “To me, it’s just a man that has confidence in his team,” defensive tackle Abry Jones said. “What’s he going to say? He knows what we’re going up there to do. It’s not like he ain’t saying nothing that’s not true.” Fellow defensive tackle Malik Jackson said the difference between Ramsey’s remarks and comments from Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, running back Le’Veon Bell and safety Mike Mitchell is the timing. “We’re so close that I think it’s OK to say, ’Hey, we’re going to do this,’” Jackson said. “It’s one of those things that I think he believes in himself after the game he just had, locking down one of the best receivers in the game. “He’s pretty hyped and he wants to let everybody know he’s hyped, so I think he’s just happy and he understands that we have a giant in front of us and we’ve just got to pay all the attention to this team. “We don’t even know who’s going to play in the Super Bowl because we’re not looking ahead to that.” Ramsey was unavailable during the team’s open locker room session Monday. “He’s going to talk, but we’re going to show up,” defensive end Yannick Ngakoue said. “I just don’t like when people talk all week. You talk reckless and you lose.” The Jaguars voiced their displeasure with being overlooked by the Steelers last week and were really vocal after the victory at Heinz Field. Players yelled, “Where’s Mike Mitchell at now” as they came off the field. “I feel like they took us lightly. I don’t know why because we whooped them the first time,” Ngakoue said. “You’ve got to respect all your opponents. That’s why we’re not big in trash-talking. We’re big in playing on Sunday. “Real guys, real people don’t talk. We throw the first punch. We threw the first punch and we got the victory.” And now they have a matchup against the NFL’s most successful franchise over the past two decades. The Jaguars are 1-3 against New England in the postseason, with the lone victory coming after the 1998 season — before coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady teamed up to take five Super Bowl titles. Jacksonville’s win came against coach Pete Carroll and backup quarterback Scott Zolak. The Jags are 0-7 against the Brady-Belichick combination. “We’re not going to go out there like the Steelers the week before and talk about people in a bad way and give them bulletin board news,” Jackson said. “We just continue to work and earn respect. ... We just keep proving people wrong. (Blake Bortles) keeps proving people wrong, and we just keep going on it and pounding people. It’s just awesome to see and awesome to be a part of. “We understand we have to do what we have to do or we’ll be watching the Super Bowl at home like everybody else.”.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 16th, 2018Related News

8 Steelers, 6 Eagles and Saints highlight Pro Bowl squads

NEW YORK (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers lead the NFL in one category this season: most Pro Bowl players. Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell and Ben Roethlisberger are among eight Steelers selected for the all-star game. They will be joined on Jan. 28 in Orlando, Florida, by tackle Alejandro Villanueva, guard David DeCastro, center Maurkice Pouncey, kicker Chris Boswell, and linebacker Ryan Shazier, who is injured. Brown, also injured but expected back for the playoffs, was voted a starter, as were Bell and the three offensive linemen. The Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints each placed six players in the game in balloting announced Tuesday. Four rookies were chosen in voting by NFL players, coaches and fans: running backs Alvin Kamara of the Saints and Kareem Hunt of the Chiefs, cornerback Marshon Lattimore of the Saints, and safety Budda Baker of the Cardinals as a special teamer. Two long snappers will be selected by each coach; the losing AFC and NFC team with the best record will have its coaching staff work the Pro Bowl. Twenty-four of the 86 Pro Bowl selections are newcomers. That includes two of the three Rams specialists chosen: kicker Greg Zuerlein and return specialist Pharoh Cooper. Rams punter Johnny Hekker is a repeat Pro Bowler. “The presence of five of our players on the Pro Bowl roster is a testament to the collective effort of our football team,” Rams coach Sean McVay said in a release. “While we emphasize football as a team sport, we appreciate their individual contributions to our overall success. We’re extremely proud of them.” Five teams have no representatives: the Jets, Browns, Colts, Bears and Packers. Other AFC offensive starters: Patriots QB Tom Brady and FB James Develin; Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins; Chiefs TE Travis Kelce; Titans T Taylor Lewan; and Raiders G Kelechi Osemele. On defense, it will be Jaguars DE Calais Campbell and CBs Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye; Ravens S Eric Weddle and LB C.J. Mosley; Broncos LB Von Miller; Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney; Chargers DE Joey Bosa; Titans DT Jurell Casey; Bengals DT Geno Atkins; and Miami S Reshad Jones. Starting on offense for the NFC: Eagles QB Carson Wentz, who is injured, TE Zach Ertz and G Brandon Brooks; Falcons WR Julio Jones and C Alex Mack; Vikings WR Adam Thielen; Rams RB Todd Gurley; Cowboys T Tyron Smith and G Zack Martin; Redskins T Trent Williams; and 49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk. Defensive starters for the NFC: Vikings DE Everson Griffen and CB Xavier Rhodes; Cardinals LB Chandler Jones and CB Patrick Peterson; Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence; Eagles DT Fletcher Cox; Rams DT Aaron Donald; Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan; Panthers LB Luke Kuechly; Seahawks S Earl Thomas; and Giants S Landon Collins. Other AFC specialists are Titans punter Brett Kern, Chiefs returner Tyreek Hill, and Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsDec 20th, 2017Related News

Colts celebrate Manning's return with 26-23 win over 49ers

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — After blowing a 14-point lead in the final eight minutes of regulation and surviving an interception in scoring position in overtime, Marlon Mack's 35-yard run set up Adam Vinatieri for a 51-yard field goal as the Indianapolis Colts beat the San Francisco 49ers 26-23 on Sunday. Vinatieri made four field goals to move into second on the NFL's career list, one ahead of Gary Anderson (538). Mack and Jacoby Brissett each scored on TD runs for the Colts (2-3), who have won both games against winless teams. San Francisco (0-5) is one of three teams that still has not won this season. The Browns and Giants are the others. In many ways, the mistake-prone game became a sideshow for what happened around it. While many showed up to thank Manning, who played his final home game in Indy on Jan. 8, 2011, most didn't anticipate becoming part of another political statement. Vice President Mike Pence, the former Indiana governor, left shortly after about a dozen San Francisco players dropped to their knees for the national anthem. The Colts locked arms, but none took a knee. Some reports indicated Pence's walkout was planned. President Donald Trump later tweeted: 'I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.' And Peyton Manning was inducted into the Colts' Ring of Honor. strong>PACKERS 35, COWBOYS 31 /strong> ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Aaron Rodgers threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams with 11 seconds remaining, lifting Green Bay over the Dallas Cowboys in another thriller nine months after the Packers' divisional playoff win on the same field. Rodgers capped a 75-yard drive in just 1:02, going toward the same end zone as in the playoff game. Adams, active 10 days after leaving the field on a stretcher on a helmet-to-helmet hit that resulted in a suspension for Chicago linebacker Danny Trevathan, had seven catches for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Dak Prescott had given Cowboys the lead on an 11-yard touchdown run with 1:13 remaining to cap a 17-play drive that lasted almost nine minutes. Dallas (2-3) has already matched the number of losses from the magical rookie season for Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. The Packers (4-1) had gone ahead earlier on Damarius Randall's 21-yard interception return for a touchdown, the third of five lead changes in the fourth quarter. Green Bay rallied from 15 points down in the first half. Aaron Jones had 19 carries for 125 yards and a TD, becoming the first Green Bay running back with 100 yards in his first start as a rookie since Samkon Gado in 2005. Elliott finished with 116 yards on 29 carries. Prescott was 25 of 36 for 251 yards and three first-half touchdowns, two to Cole Beasley and one to Dez Bryant. Rodgers was 19 of 29 for 221 yards and three touchdowns and set up the winning score with an 18-yard scramble. strong>CHARGERS 27, GIANTS 22 /strong> EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AP) — Philip Rivers threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Melvin Gordon with 2:58 to play and the Chargers rallied to beat the Giants in a game worthy of two teams that started the season 0-4. The touchdown pass was Rivers' third of the game and came three plays after Kyle Emanuel had a sack, forced fumble and recovery against Eli Manning at the Giants 11-yard line. It also came four plays after Odell Beckham Jr. hurt an ankle and become the fourth Giants receiver knocked out of the game. Rivers also hit Gordon on a 6-yard TD pass in the second quarter and had a 25-yarder to tight end Hunter Henry in the third as the Chargers ended a nine-game losing streak dating to late November. Manning had given the Giants a 22-17 lead early in the fourth quarter with a 48-yard TD pass to a wide-open Beckham. New York missed the 2-point conversion attempt after being hit with a delay of game penalty. Manning, who was sacked five times, also threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to backup Roger Lewis Jr. in the third quarter. Orleans Darkwa scored on a 23-yard run and the Giants got a safety in scoring their first first-quarter points this season. strong>JAGUARS 31, STEELERS 9 /strong> PITTSBURGH (AP) — Telvin Smith and Barry Church returned a pair of Ben Roethlisberger's interceptions for touchdowns and Jacksonville stunned Pittsburgh. Jacksonville (3-2) beat the Steelers for the first time in a decade by relying heavily on the NFL's top-ranked pass defense. The Jaguars picked off Roethlisberger five times in all and sacked him twice. Rookie Leonard Fournette ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns for the Jaguars, who are over .500 after five games for the first time since 2010 and have already matched their victory total from 2016. Roethlisberger completed 33 of 55 for 312 yards and his career-high five interceptions, the most by a Pittsburgh quarterback since Mark Malone threw five against Cleveland in 1987. A week after a sideline outburst generated headlines and drew Roethlisberger's ire, wide receiver Antonio Brown caught 10 passes for 157 yards for Pittsburgh (3-2). Brown was also the intended receiver on a pair of third-quarter passes the opportunistic Jaguars turned into points. The Steelers led 9-7 when Roethlisberger looked left for Brown. Jacksonville defensive lineman Abry Jones tipped it into the hands of Smith, who chugged 28 yards to put Jacksonville in front with 6:38 left in the period. The Jaguars defense struck again on Pittsburgh's next series. Roethlisberger tried to hit Brown down the sideline. Jalen Ramsey deflected it and Church came down with it. A 51-yard sprint later and Jacksonville had turned a two-point deficit into an 11-point lead without taking an offensive snap. strong>EAGLES 34, CARDINALS 7 /strong> PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Carson Wentz threw a career-best four touchdown passes and the Eagles continued their impressive start. Wentz tossed three scoring passes in the first quarter, including 59 yards to Torrey Smith, 11 yards to Zach Ertz and 15 yards to Trey Burton. He connected with Nelson Agholor for a 72-yard TD in the third quarter that left six-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson shouting on the sideline. The Eagles (4-1) have won three straight games. Carson Palmer and Arizona's one-dimensional offense were held to 279 yards. The Cardinals (2-3) have alternated losses and wins since Week 1. Wentz torched a secondary that features Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, finishing 21 of 30 for 304 yards. Peterson held Alshon Jeffery to three catches for 31 yards, but Wentz spread the ball around. strong>DOLPHINS 16, TITANS 10 /strong> MIAMI GARDENS, Florida (AP) — Jay Cutler finally silenced the boobirds with a fourth-quarter touchdown pass, and the Dolphins overcame another dismal offensive showing. The jeers started in the first quarter of the Dolphins' home debut, and soon the crowd was chanting for backup quarterback Matt Moore. But coach Adam Gase stuck with Cutler, who capped a 58-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry for the tiebreaking score. The Titans (2-3) played without quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was inactive because of a left hamstring injury suffered a week ago. Replacement Matt Cassel went 21 for 32 for 141 yards and was sacked six times. Miami (2-2) came in ranked last in the NFL in points and yards per game, and struggled against a Titans team that allowed 57 points against Houston a week ago. strong>PANTHERS 27, LIONS 24 /strong> DETROIT (AP) — Cam Newton showed he was very focused on football, throwing three touchdowns to help the Panthers build a lead big enough to hold off the Lions. The Panthers (4-1) scored 24 straight points after trailing 10-3 early in the second quarter. Detroit rallied, but could not stop Newton on his last drive to get the ball back. Newton came under fire for making sexist comments to a female reporter this week. He apologized after losing an endorsement deal and getting criticized by the NFL. He was 26 of 33 for a season-high 335 yards. On perhaps the game's key play, he converted a third-and-19 from the Carolina 24 with a sharp, 17-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 2:00 left while clinging to a three-point lead against a team out of timeouts. Newton threw a 6-yard TD pass to rookie Christian McCaffrey to pull the Panthers into a 10-10 tie early in the second quarter and a 10-yard pass to Devin Funchess for a tiebreaking score with 48 seconds left in the first half. With a perfectly lofted 31-yard pass to Benjamin, the 2015 NFL MVP put Carolina up 24-10 early in the third. Detroit (3-2) struggled to move the ball in the air and on the ground until late in the game. strong>BENGALS 20, BILLS 16 /strong> CINCINNATI (AP) — A.J. Green had a hand in three turnovers that kept it close, but the receiver also pulled off a 77-yard touchdown and another long catch that set up a score. After losing their first three games, the Bengals (2-3) have salvaged their season by getting the ball to their playmakers at decisive moments. Green's 47-yard catch set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Joe Mixon that put Cincinnati ahead to stay in the fourth quarter. The Bills (3-2) got off to an encouraging start by relying heavily on kicker Stephen Hauschka and a defense that led the league, allowing only 13.5 points per game in the first four. The combination wasn't enough this time. Buffalo's depleted offense couldn't take advantage of Cincinnati's three turnovers. Tyrod Taylor's off-target pass was picked off near midfield with 2:14 left, clinching it for Cincinnati. Taylor finished 20 of 37 for 166 yards and was sacked six times. The Bengals changed offensive coordinators after failing to get a touchdown in their first two games. Green complained that they weren't getting the ball to their difference makers. He made the difference Sunday, catching seven passes for 189 yards. strong>JETS 17, BROWNS 14 /strong> CLEVELAND (AP) — Josh McCown came back to Cleveland and beat the team that cut him, throwing two touchdown passes and leading the surprising Jets over the winless Browns, who benched rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer and fell to 1-20 under coach Hue Jackson. McCown went 1-10 in two seasons as a starter for the Browns, who released him on Feb. 7 in a cost-cutting move. The 38-year-old wasn't seeking revenge, but he got it with two second-half scoring tosses. McCown threw a 2-yard TD pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the third quarter and a 24-yarder to Jermaine Kearse in the fourth to give the Jets (3-2) a 17-7 lead en route to their third straight victory. Kearse's TD capped a 97-yard drive after Jackson decided not to try a potential tying field goal — rookie kicker Zane Gonzalez missed two attempts in the first half — and went for it on fourth down. However, running back Isaiah Crowell was stopped short by New York's defense. Jackson also decided to replace Kizer in the second half for backup Kevin Hogan, perhaps a sign the coach is worried about losing his job. Hogan threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end David Njoku. The Browns (0-5) dropped to 2-30 in their past 32 games, but they did finally get to see No. 1 overall draft pick Myles Garrett. Garrett, who missed Cleveland's first four games with a high ankle sprain, got a sack on his first play and finished with two. strong>RAVENS 30, RAIDERS 17 /strong> OAKLAND, California (AP) — Joe Flacco hit Mike Wallace on two deep passes to spark Baltimore's struggling offense, and the Ravens got a fumble return for a touchdown by Jimmy Smith to beat short-handed Oakland. Flacco had struggled to get the ball downfield in losing the past two weeks. He changed that on the opening drive of the game for the Ravens (3-2) when he connected on a 52-yard pass to Wallace that set up an early touchdown and established the tone for the day. The Raiders (2-3), playing without injured star quarterback Derek Carr and two key cornerbacks, played from behind all game as Smith returned Jared Cook's fumble 47 yards for a touchdown that made it 14-0 just 3:50 in. Backup quarterback E.J. Manuel , making his fourth start in the past three seasons, threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree and led another TD drive that ended in Marshawn Lynch's 3-yard run . He finished 13 for 26 for 159 yards. But that wasn't nearly enough for the Raiders, who have dropped three straight following a 2-0 start, putting a severe dent in their hopes to challenge in the AFC West. strong>SEAHAWKS 16, RAMS 10 /strong> LOS ANGELES (AP) — Russell Wilson passed for 198 yards and a touchdown, and Earl Thomas forced two of the Rams' five turnovers in Seattle's win. Jimmy Graham scored late in the first half in a defense-dominated win for the Seahawks (3-2), who shut out the NFL's highest-scoring offense in the second half of their second straight win over their NFC West rivals. Thomas made enormous defensive plays early and late for Seattle. The veteran safety stripped the ball from Todd Gurley at the goal line to kill the Rams' opening drive, and he intercepted Jared Goff's fluttering pass at midfield with 6:02 to play. Sheldon Richardson also came through with two big plays, diving to intercept a deflected pass in the third quarter before scooping up Goff's fumble near midfield with 2:45 left. Goff moved the Rams 55 yards in the final 1:09, but Seattle's defense made its final stop. Rams rookie Cooper Kupp barely missed a diving TD grab on third down, and Goff's fourth-down pass to Kupp was too low. Tavon Austin rushed for a 27-yard TD for Los Angeles (3-2), and Goff went 22 of 47 for 288 yards with three costly turnovers. .....»»

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