GROBBER’S NFL WEEK 7 PICKS

AFC GAMES; Jax over INDY, NY Jets over MIA, Denv over LA Chargersm PITT over Cin
NFC GAMES: Ariz over LA RAMS, Dal over SF, Seat over NYG
INT-CONF GAMES: BUFF over T.Bay, Tenn over CLEVE
THUR NIGHT: K.City over OAK,
SUN NIGHT:N.ENG over Atl,
MON NIGHT PHIL over Wash
NFC NORTH GAMES: MINN over Balt, N.Orl over GB, Car over BEARS
Teams in ALL CAPS are HOME TEAMS.

Hawks flat in 5-2 loss in St.Louis

ST. LOUIS—Jaden Schwartz had his third career hat trick to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Blackhawks 5-2 on Wednesday night.Schwartz has four goals and six assists this season and has at least one point in six of the Blues’ first seven games. It was his 51st career multi-point game and fourth this season.Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist, Kyle Brodziak also scored, and Jake Allen made 22 saves. The Blues snapped a two-game losing streakDuncan Keith and Ryan Hartman had late goals for Blackhawks, and Corey Crawford made 28 saves.Schwartz opened the scoring at 4:46 of the first period, tucking in a backhander off Tarasenko’s feed.Schwartz left the game eight minutes later after going awkwardly head-first into the boards after getting tangled with Richard Panik on a partial short-handed break.Schwartz returned in the second period, and gave the Blues a 2-0 lead at 5:59. Allen’s outlet pass off the boards created a 2-on-1 with Schwartz and Sammy Blais. It was Allen’s fourth career assist.Tarasenko made it 3-0 two minutes later, scoring his fifth of the season by stripping Artem Anisimov in front of the Blackhawk net.St. Louis outshot the Hawks 26-8 in the first two periods, including 17-4 in the second. The four shots in each of the first two periods were a season low for the Blackhawks in a period.Brodziak scored at 7:01 of the third. It was the first time this season the Blues’ third or fourth line scored.After Keith and Hartman scored for the Hawks, Schwartz completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal.

NOTES—Blackhawks television analyst Eddie Olczyk, who is battling colon cancer, received a standing ovation from the crowd of 18,752 after being recognized late in the first period. Olczyk was back in the booth for the first time since his diagnosis in August. … Blues F Alexander Steen (broken left hand) was activated from injured reserve and made his season debut. To make room, the Blues waived F Wade Megan. … Blues F Paul Stastny is one point shy of 600 for his career. … Blackhawks C Nick Schmaltz returned after missing four games…..The Blackhawks host Edmonton on Thursday night.

Bulls Mirotic & Portis get into fight during practice-Niko to miss several weeks.

Bulls Logo

The Bulls issued a statement Tuesday acknowledging that forwards Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis were involved in a physical altercation during practice that left Mirotic with a concussion and maxillary fractures.

“Chicago Bulls forwards Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic had a physical altercation during today’s practice. As a result of the incident, Mirotic suffered a concussion and maxillary fractures. Surgery is likely required. Mirotic is out indefinitely. The Bulls are evaluating disciplinary action. An update will be provided when applicable.”

Mirotic was briefly hospitalized following the altercation with Portis. Mirotic stayed down for several minutes after the scuffle, early estimates on the injuries sustained from the altercation will keep him sidelined “a few weeks” following surgery.

A source who spoke to Mirotic after he was released from the hospital said the forward suffered two fractures and placed an early estimate for his absence at “a few weeks, at least.” He possibly will have to wear a mask upon that return.Mirotic left European basketball in 2014 to join the Bulls and resigned with the team this offseason. He has been teammates with Portis since 2015. Portis was selected with the 22nd overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Bulls. Reportably, the two players have been going at it for quite some time . This has been three years in the making, a source said. Mirotic has broken bones in his face, apparently instigated, and Portis punched him.Mirotic averaged 10.6 points and 5.5 rebounds while knocking down 41.3 percent of his shots last season. Portis averaged 6.8 points and 4.6 rebounds off the bench in his second season in the NBA. It remains to be seen if Portis or even the injured Mirotic will be suspended by the team for their disciplinary actions.

Bears stun Ravens in OT 27-24

BALTIMORE—When the Bears weigh the good and bad facets of their performance against the Baltimore Ravens, it’s likely they will come up with this conclusion: ‘Who cares? We won’. After blowing a 14-point lead, allowing two long kick returns and committing two turnovers, the Bears used a 40-yard field goal by Connor Barth in overtime to secure a 27-24 victory Sunday.

”You got to be able to take whatever situation you get and make something out of it,” defensive end Akiem Hicks said. ”I wanted to get a good W, go home and relax. The coming down to the wire thing is not my favorite style, but . however you get it, you just got to appreciate it.”

Jordan Howard ran for 167 yards, including a 53-yarder that set up the game-winning score for the Bears (2-4), whose two wins this season have come in overtime.Howard’s long run in OT put Chicago at the Baltimore 40. After rookie Mitchell Trubisky completed an 18-yard pass to Kendall Wright, Barth delivered the decisive kick.

”It wasn’t always perfect – it seldom is – but we’re just happy to get out of here with a win,” Bears coach John Fox said.

Making his first career start on the road, Trubisky directed a conservative game plan that leaned heavily on the run. The first-round draft pick completed 8 of 16 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.

”We took what the defense gave us,” the rookie said. ”The run game was working, so let’s keep pounding the rock.”

Howard had 36 carries and the Bears gained 231 yards on 54 attempts.

”Whatever it takes to win,” Fox stressed. ”This week, we had to run the ball – and we did.”

Baltimore (3-3) trailed 17-3 in the third quarter and 24-16 late in regulation before capitalizing on special teams play to get back in the game.Bobby Rainey took a kickoff 96 yards for a score to begin the comeback and Michael Campanaro brought back a punt 77 yards for a touchdown with 1:37 remaining. The 2-point conversion was successful , setting up overtime.

”Those two special teams touchdowns were huge,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

The Ravens weren’t the only ones to capitalize on big plays. The Bears used a halfback pass from Tarik Cohen to Zach Miller for a first-half score, and Adrian Amos returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown for a 24-13 lead with 5:08 left.Baltimore was in position for the go-ahead score when Amos got his first career interception on a pass that bounced off the chest of receiver Chris Moore, who was covered tightly by Kyle Fuller.The Bears forced three turnovers and frustrated quarterback Joe Flacco throughout the afternoon. Operating without injured receivers Jeremy Maclin (inactive) and Breshad Perriman (second-quarter concussion), Flacco went 24 for 41 for 180 yards with two interceptions.Trubisky put the Bears ahead 17-3 in the third quarter with an on-the-run, 27-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dion Sims, who outfought Tony Jefferson for the ball in the end zone.That put the Ravens in a precarious position, especially with a struggling offense.Rainey alleviated the pressure by taking the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. After being tripped by a teammate, Rainey popped to his feet, broke right and went the distance.Campanaro did his part later, but it wasn’t enough.

”Sometimes your special teams kick in and score two touchdowns, which is great,” tight end Benjamin Watson said. ”But Chicago did a better job of closing than we did.”

The Ravens were coming off a 30-17 win in Oakland in which they did not commit a turnover, didn’t allow a sack and were penalized only once.In this one, Baltimore gave the ball away twice, permitted two sacks and was flagged five times – in the first half.The Ravens pretty much knew the Bears were going to run, and still the Bears did so – quite effectively.

”Too many yards rushing,” Harbaugh lamented. ”They blocked well, they had good backs that broke some tackles.”

Especially Howard.Bears DB Sherrick McManis left with a hamstring injury. … RB Benny Cunningham left with a hamstring injury.Sunday, the Bears host the Carolina Panthers, who will have a few extra days of rest after playing on Thursday night.

The Bears last win in Baltimore was December 5,1965 over the Colts at Memorial Stadium. This was obviously their first win ever over the Ravens in Baltimore.

Hawks rally past Preds on Saad’s OT goal

This time, the Blackhawks made a big play at a key moment against the Nashville Predators.Brandon Saad scored his sixth goal 3:05 into overtime, and the Blackhawks beat the Predators 2-1 on Saturday night in their first meeting since last year’s playoffs.Saad beat Pekka Rinne with a one-timed deflection as he cut across the crease from the left side, making the most of a pinpoint cross-ice pass from Patrick Kane.

”It always feels nice to contribute to wins,” Saad said. ”It was just a great pass. I hopped on the ice, and Kaner makes a great tic-tac-toe play.”

Corey Crawford had 37 saves for the Hawks, who wasted six power-play chances. The Blackhawks were swept by the Predators in the first round of the postseason last April.

”It’s a big win against them,” Crawford said. ”It’s kind of nice to beat them from last year, but it’s a new season.They’re a tough team to play against.”

Patrick Sharp scored with 5:36 left in the third period, spoiling Rinne’s shutout bid and sending the game to overtime.

”I think it was just tough sledding out there,” Sharp said. ”That’s a well-coached team, pretty disciplined through the neutral zone.We had to kind of grind it out a little bit.”

After Cody Franson held in a Nashville clearing attempt on the right boards, the puck bounded to rookie John Hayden. He fed Sharp to the right off the crease and the veteran forward beat Rinne with a backhander on the Blackhawks 26th shot.Filip Forsberg scored a power-play goal late in the second period for Nashville. It was his fifth goal in five games.The Predators picked up right where they left in the playoffs last year, shutting down the Hawks high-scoring attack. The Predators outscored the Blackhawks 13-3 in their playoff sweep in their first step on the way to the Stanley Cup Final.Rinne made 33 saves Saturday night, but wasn’t tested until late.The Predators played with a shuffled defense with Roman Josi and Yannick Weber out with short-term injuries. Ryan Ellis is sidelined until December following offseason knee surgery.Nashville dominated a scoreless first period while giving the Hawks limited space. The Predators kept up their close checking in the second and jumped in front on Forsberg’s goal on their 29th shot with 1:44 left in the period.P.K. Subban slid a low shot from the top of the slot through traffic toward Crawford. Scott Hartnell, parked in front in the crease, deflected the puck to the left side of the net and a wide-open Forsberg, who picked up his fourth goal in three games.Ryan Hartman shot wide on a breakaway at 8:32 of the second. Crawford stopped Viktor Arvidsson, alone at the edge of the crease with 30 second left in the period, to keep it at 1-0.

NOTES—Josi missed his third game injured. Weber sat out his first after taking a high hit on Thursday versus Dallas. … D Anthony Bitetto jumped in for his second game this season. … Nashville C Nick Bonino didn’t play in the third period, but Laviolette didn’t have an injury report postgame. … Nick Schmaltz missed his fourth game, but coach Joel Quenneville said the forward is close to returning. … Connor Murphy was a scratch for the second time in three games.

 

Cats win first ever meeting from Maryland as Jackson becomes all-time NU rushing leader

Image result for northwestern wildcats logo

COLLEGE PARK—With record-setting Justin Jackson leading the way, Northwestern got its groove back on offense and cruised to a much-needed victory.Jackson scored two touchdowns and ran for 171 yards to become the Wildcats’ career rushing leader , and Northwestern beat Maryland 37-21 Saturday for its first Big Ten win of the season.Jackson has 4,639 yards on the ground over four seasons at Northwestern. He moved past Damien Anderson (4,485) to the top of the school list and also supplanted Anderson as the Wildcats’ career leader in all-purpose yards with 5,350.

”It’s special with Justin. It’s unbelievable,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said. ”I think at times we all take for granted special players just because they’re so consistent. But it seems like just yesterday that Justin came into our program, and now to have him at this mark, I’m incredibly proud of him and honored to be his coach.”

Clayton Thorson completed 27 of 49 passes for 293 yards and a touchdown to help the Wildcats (3-3, 1-2) avoid their first 0-3 start in the conference since 2013.Northwestern ran 93 plays and amassed 531 yards in a reversal of form following last week’s 31-7 loss at home to Penn State.

”Great job bouncing back by our offense, especially our offensive line,” Fitzgerald said. ”I think they shut the noise off and went to work.”

Jackson gave credit for his record to the offensive line, most notably center Brad North.

”It means a ton doing it with these guys around me,” Jackson said. ”Brad has been my center for three years, so it’s very cool to have some consistency back there.”

D.J. Moore had career highs with 12 catches and 210 yards receiving for Maryland (3-3, 1-2).Max Bortenschlager went 17 for 38 for 255 yards and three touchdowns (two to Moore) in his third college start. He was returning from a hard hit to the helmet that put him on the sideline for the fourth quarter last week in a 62-14 loss to Ohio State.

Bortenschlager started the season as the Terrapins’ third-string quarterback but became the starter after Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill sustained season-ending knee injuries.The defense, however, allowed 30 first downs and the Wildcats turned 10 third downs into a new set of downs.

Rutgers snaps 16 game Big Ten losing streak with win over Illini

Illinois Fighting Illini

CHAMPAIGN—After a 56-0 beat down by then-No. 11 Ohio State two weeks ago, Rutgers had hit rock bottom – particularly in the Big Ten.The Scarlet Knights tried to turn their lowest point into a turning point on Saturday, managing nearly 400 yards of total offense in a 35-24 win over Illinois.Gus Edwards led the way for Rutgers (2-4, 1-2), rushing for 91 yards and two touchdowns as it ended a 16-game losing streak in the Big Ten.The Scarlet Knights led the entire way for their first conference victory since 2015 at Indiana.

”Nobody gave us a chance to come out here and win a football game,” Rutgers coach Chris Ash said. ”I know that, but nobody gave up on each other in that locker room.”

Rutgers rushed for a season-high 274 yards. Edwards, Raheem Blackshear and Josh Hicks all scored touchdowns. Blackshear provided the most exciting run – a 19-yard gain up the middle on the Scarlet Knights’ second possession that he finished by running over defensive back Jalen Dunlap at the goal line.Jeff George Jr. was 20-of-38 passing for a career-high 308 yards and a pair of touchdowns for Illinois (2-4, 0-3). George also threw two interceptions, totaling 12 in seven career games for the Illini, who have now lost six consecutive Big Ten games.

”Losing at home like that, it’s a tough deal,” George said. ”We’ve got to find a way to be more competitive as a whole team – each individual player, myself included.”

The Scarlet Knights offense wasn’t nearly as effective through the air. Ash benched Kyle Bolin – who started in the team’s first five games – and went with Giovanni Rescigno, who completed 5 of 10 passes for 89 yards.

GROBBER’S NFL WEEK 6 PICKS

AFC GAMES-HOUST over Cleve, N.Eng over NYJ, OAK iver LA Chargers, KC over Pitt
NFC GAMES-WASH over S.Fran, T.Bay over ARIZ
INTER CONF GAMES-ATL over Mia, JAX overLA Rams
THURS NIGHT-CAR over Phil
SUN NIGHT-DENV over NY Giants
MON NIGHT-TENN over Ind
NFC NORTH GAMES- G.Bay over MINN, N.ORL over Det, BALT over Bears
HOME teams in ALL CAPITALS

Hawks, Crawford beat Habs in their Home Opener 3-1.

MONTREAL—It was only a matter of time before Alex DeBrincat scored his first NHL goal.The 5-foot-7 right winger, who was a scoring machine for the Erie Otters in junior hockey, got his first as a Blackhawk and set up one for Artem Anisimov as the Hawks spoiled the Montreal Canadiens’ home opener with a 3-1 victory on Tuesday night.And tallying his first against a Vezina Trophy winner like Carey Price made it that much better.

”It’s pretty cool,” said DeBrincat. ”He’s a great goalie. I was lucky enough to get one past him.”

The 19-year-old DeBrincat was drafted 39th overall by the Hawks in 2016, on a pick obtained in a trade from Montreal, in the midst of a junior career that saw him score 167 goals in 193 games over three seasons for Erie.Last season, he was voted top player in the Ontario Hockey League after a 65-goal season.So it was no surprise for him to find the net at the next level of hockey.

”You want to score your first goal but you know it’s not going to be easy,” the Michigan native said. ”I tried to keep it out of my mind. It was bound to come sooner or later.”

Brandon Saad also scored for thge Hawks (3-0-1), which was coming off an overtime loss Monday night in Toronto.Tomas Plekanec scored for Montreal (1-3-0) when he picked off a Ryan Hartman pass in the Blackhawks zone, wheeled and scored on a wrist shot inside the near post 1:15 into the game.Patrick Sharp intercepted a Jordie Benn clearing attempt and fed DeBrincat for a one-timer goal at 17:53. Only 19 seconds later, Saad got this fifth goal of the season on a tap-in while finishing a three-man rush with Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik.DeBrincat made the decisive pass in a tic-tac-toe play with Cody Franson that Anisimov finished with a tap-in on a power play 10:44 into the second frame.The Canadiens, who outshot the Blackhawks 42-25, have lost three in a row and scored only four goals in as many games. They went 0 for 5 on the power play and are now 0 for 14 for the season.Coach Claude Julien juggled his lines halfway through the game, which produced several good chances but no goals against Corey Crawford, who shut Montreal down after the early Plekanec goal.

”Confidence is low now,” said Julien. ”We have to fight our way through this. ”We don’t want to make excuses, we want to find solutions. That’s how you become a mentally hard team. We could use some puck luck, but there are lots of things we can do about it. I see the potential on this team that we are going to turn this around. We don’t lack confidence, we’re just squeezing the stick a little.”

The Blackhawks host Minnesota on Thursday.

Trubisky debuts, Bears fall to Vikes on last second field goal.

Case Keenum gave the Vikings the lift they needed, and that was just enough to spoil Mitchell Trubisky’s highly anticipated debut.Keenum led three second-half scoring drives after Sam Bradford’s troublesome left knee flared up again, and the Minnesota Vikings beat Trubisky and the Bears 20-17 on Monday night.Kai Forbath kicked a 26-yard field goal in the closing seconds after Harrison Smith intercepted Trubisky, and the Vikings (3-2) came away with the win after dropping two of three.

”I didn’t know (if I would play),” Keenum said. ”That’s something I’ve tried not to think about. I tried to approach the week like I was starting. I did the same thing I did the previous four weeks. I did the same thing I’ve done every week I’ve been in the NFL. I’ve tried to prepare like I’ve been the starter.”

Called on after Mike Glennon struggled in the first four games, Trubisky played like he belonged. The No. 2 overall pick was 12 of 25 for 128 yards with a touchdown.The interception came after the Bears (1-4) took over on their 10 with 2:32 left in the game. Smith picked off a pass intended for Zach Miller on the right sideline at the 22.The Vikings got the ball at the 28, and Forbath booted the winner with 16 seconds left.Sidelined the previous three games because of swelling and soreness in his surgically repaired left knee, Bradford aggravated the joint when he was tackled in the first half.With limited mobility, he completed just 5 of 11 passes for 36 yards and was sacked four times – including a safety by Leonard Floyd. Bradford was listed as limited in practice during the week, though coach Mike Zimmer said there was ”no doubt” he would play.He wasn’t sure how much more time Bradford will miss.

”We wouldn’t put him on the field if he wasn’t healthy enough to play,” Zimmer said. ”He was very confident about it. He felt good about it. The medical people felt good about it. Everybody. We practiced on turf for two days this week, too, so that’s even a little bit harder on the legs. But I don’t think there was any doubt whatsoever he was ready to go.”

Keenum replaced him with 25 seconds left in the first half and went 17 of 21 for 140 yards and a touchdown.Jerick McKinnon had a 58-yard touchdown run. Everson Griffen contributed a strip-sack against Trubisky that led to a field goal, and the Vikings beat the Bears on the road for just the third time in 17 games.The Bears simplified their offense for Trubisky, with fewer receivers and extra blockers at times. But he still showed the mobility and arm strength that convinced general manager Ryan Pace to trade up a spot with San Francisco to grab him on draft night.

”I was trying to just (elevate teammates) with my presence, how much I love this game and how much I love this team,” he said. ”I think they have faith in me. They believe in me when I’m in that huddle and when I’m making plays.”

Jordan Howard ran for 76 yards. Pat O’Donnell threw a 38-yard touchdown to Benny Cunningham on a fake punt. Floyd had two sacks.Minnesota was leading 3-2 when Keenum hit Kyle Rudolph for a 13-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter. The Vikings celebrated by playing duck-duck-goose in the end zone – a play Rudolph called in the huddle before the TD.The Bears lined up to punt on a fourth down at the Minnesota 38 on the next possession. But O’Donnell passed to a wide-open Cunningham, who spun around Marcus Sherels on the way to the end zone, cutting it to 17-9.The Bears used another trick play to tie it.The Vikings’ Andrew Sendejo tipped a pass right to Zach Miller in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown. The trickery came on the two-point conversion.Trubisky handed the ball to Howard, who gave it to Miller. Miller then pitched it to Trubisky, who ran it in on the right side to tie it at 17-all with 12:24 left in the game.LB John Timu left with a knee injury early in the third. He was hurt trying to tackle Latavius Murray and had to be helped off the field. … LB Willie Young (triceps) and cornerback Marcus Cooper (back) were inactive…..The Bears visit Baltimore Sunday.