AFC GAMES: Indy over JAX(at London), BALT over Oak, HOU over Tenn, N.ENG over Buf
NFC GAMES: Car over ATL, Dal over SF, ARIZ over L.A.Rams
INT-CONF GAMES: WASH over Cleve, Seat over NYJ, Den over TB, SD over N.Orl
THUR NITE: CIN over Mia
SUN NITE: PITT over K.City
NFC NORTH: MINN over NY Giants(Mon Nite), Det over BEARS
LAST WEEK 9-7
Teams in ALL CAPS are HOME TEAMS
Monthly Archives: September 2016
Bears stay winless, lose to Cowboys 31-17
ARLINGTON—Dak Prescott led scoring drives on all four Dallas possessions in the first half before throwing his first career touchdown pass in fellow rookie Elliott’s first 100-yard game, and the Cowboys beat the winless Bears 31-17 on Sunday night to snap an eight-game home losing streak.With his second straight win, Prescott doubled the number of victories the Cowboys (2-1) had in 14 games without the injured Romo over three seasons before the fourth-round pick showed up.Prescott’s first TD pass was a 17-yarder to Dez Bryant for a 31-10 lead in the fourth quarter, and he’s up to 99 throws without an interception to start his career. Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz has 102, and those are the two highest career-opening totals for a rookie in NFL history.
”Dak’s handled every opportunity he’s had right from the start really, really well,” coach Jason Garrett said. ”No different tonight.”
Brian Hoyer had trouble moving the Bears offense early with Jay Cutler sidelined by a sprained right thumb as the Bears fell behind 24-3 at halftime and dropped to 0-3 for the second time in two seasons under coach John Fox.Making his 27th career start for his fourth different team, Hoyer was 30 of 49 for 317 yards – a good portion of that with the game out of each late in the fourth quarter – and threw for two scores to Zach Miller.
”We haven’t played a complete game,” Fox said. ”This week was the reverse of what we’ve had. We played very poorly in the first half.”
Elliott finishing with 140 yards on 30 carries and a 14-yard run when he hurdled safety Chris Prosinski. The Cowboys kept giving him the ball while trying to work the clock with a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter a week after he was benched because of two fumbles in a win over Washington.It didn’t even bother Prescott that Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith missed just the second game of his six-year career after his back tightened up during the week.Prescott was 19 of 24 for 248 yards in Dallas’ first home win since last year’s opener, which was a week before the first of two broken left collarbones that kept Romo out of 12 games last season.Romo is expected to miss about another month after breaking a bone in his back in the preseason.Prescott had one of three rushing touchdowns for the Cowboys, who have seven this season after getting eight all of last year, when they finished 4-12.Because the Bears fell behind again, they couldn’t do much with the running game. They had just 15 carries for 73 yards and lost leading rusher Jeremy Langford to an ankle injury in the second half.
NOTES—It was the Bears first game without linebackers Danny Trevathan (sprain thumb) and Lamarr Houston (season-ending left ACL year). And the Bears struggled to slow the Cowboys, getting outgained 274-114 in the first half. Dallas had a 19-4 edge in first downs before halftime and finished with 447 yards, including 199 on the ground…..The Cowboys were on their way to a score on a fifth straight possession when Terrance Williams fumbled at the end of a 47-yard catch on the opening drive of the second half. The Bears turned that into the first of Hoyer’s two TDs to Miller, a 2-yarder on fourth down to cut it to 24-10…..Bears S Harold Jones-Quartey left with a concussion in the first half and didn’t return. … The Cowboys lost another lineman when LG La’el Collins missed the second half with a sprained foot. Ron Leary, the starter who lost his job to Collins this season, was his replacement.
Wildcats misery continues with 24-13 loss to Nebraska
EVANSTON—It looks as if No. 20 Nebraska’s return to the Top 25 won’t be a one-week affair.
Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw for 246 yards and ran for a career-high 132 yards to lead the Cornhuskers to a 24 -13 victory over Northwestern on Saturday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.Nebraska (4-0) remained unbeaten coming off a tight win over Oregon that vaulted the `Huskers into The Associated Press poll for the first time since December 2014.They lost two fumbles near the NU goal line in the first half, but scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to stretch their lead from three to 11.
”We got two touchdowns early in the game, but there’s no points on the board,” coach Mike Riley said. ”So how are you going to react to that? I’m really pleased with our reaction.”
The Wildcats (1-3) matched their loss total from last year when they went 10-3.Armstrong went 18 of 29, hitting Alonzo Moore with a 59-yarder in the first half and throwing a 4-yard touchdown strike to Cethan Carter that made it 17-7 early in the third after Aaron Williams intercepted Clayton Thorson’s pass in the end zone.Terrell Newby ran for 69 yards and a touchdown . Moore had 72 yards receiving, and Nebraska finished with 556 yards in all.Thorson threw for 249 yards and had a 42-yard touchdown run. But he also threw two interceptions and was sacked four times, bringing his Big Ten-leading total to 15.Austin Carr had another big game for Northwestern with 109 yards receiving and a touchdown, giving him at least one scoring catch in three straight games. But a team that seemed to be getting on track with last week’s win over Duke after opening with losses to Western Michigan and Illinois State came up short against the resurgent Cornhuskers.
”These guys better figure it out pretty quick,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said. ”They better walk out of the locker room. They better hug whoever they love. They’d better go to bed and they’d better wake up and they’ve got to get ready to get their rear ends coached off this week because that’s what’s gonna happen. I’m not gonna sit here and I’m not gonna take it and I’m not gonna accept it. They’d better buckle it up. They’d better start hydrating right now because it’s not acceptable the way we’re playing.It starts and ends with me so I’m gonna fix it.”
Nebraska drove 80 yards for a touchdown after Williams picked off Thorson in the end zone on the opening drive of the second half, with Carter’s 4-yard TD catch making it 17-7.Northwestern answered with a 24-yard TD pass from Thorson to Carr, but Jack Mitchell’s extra-point attempt hit the left upright. The Cornhuskers then went 79 yards with Jordan Westerkamp running it in from the 10 to boost the lead to 24-13.The Cornhuskers ultimately took charge after those early turnovers and continue to roll along in their second season under Mike Riley. It’s a big improvement over last year, when they had to rally to finish 6-7.Fitzgerald has been criticizing his team for not finishing drives. He’ll probably have more to say about it, considering Northwestern racked up 388 yards. But the defense had its difficulties, too.Nebraska certainly appeared to strengthen its standing in the poll with this win, taking control after a shaky first half.While Fitzgerald said Jack Mitchell will continue to handle kickoffs, field-goal duties and extra points are now up for grabs. Mitchell will be competing this week with Matt Micucci after he booted a 27-yard field goal wide right and hit the upright on a missed PAT.The Cornhuskers return home to face Illinois, which handed them one of their most disappointing losses a year ago. That was on a last-second touchdown and extra point in Champaign.NU goes on the road for the first time when it visits Iowa – a 14-7 winner at Rutgers after a surprising loss to North Dakota State.
Duke surprises ND on late field goal
SOUTH BEND—Duke coach David Cutcliffe need not have worried about AJ Reed’s confidence.After the freshman missed his first three college field goal attempts, Cutcliffe talked this week about being concerned about Reed’s body language after his miss against Northwestern last week. He opted against trying for a field goal with the score tied at 28 early in the fourth quarter, explaining afterward he didn’t think a field goal would be enough.But fourth-and-goal with the ball on the 1-yard line, Notre Dame (1-3) with no timeouts and 1:27 on the clock, he said he didn’t hesitate to turn to Reed. The result was a 38-35 upset of Notre Dame on Saturday.
”That unit there, they believe in him and he’s got a lot of talent. I know when it came down there at the end – the field goal – there was no doubt in my mind he was going to make it,” he said.
Reed said he knew his teammates were behind him.
”They were all telling me that they had my back and that they knew I was going to get it done for them,” he said.
The kick made for a devastating second straight home loss for Notre Dame, which started the season ranked No. 10 with hopes of vying for a playoff spot. Coach Brian Kelly said afterward that nearly every position will be up for grabs and said he might consider playing quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who he had hoped to redshirt.
”I told our guys essentially that we’re going in the wrong direction. We’re not going to continue to go in this direction. We’ll have to re-evaluate what we’re doing, who we’re doing it with, and how we’re doing it,” he said.
Daniel Jones threw for three touchdowns, including a 64-yard scoring pass to Anthony Nash midway through the fourth quarter to tie the score as Duke (2-2) beat the Irish for just the second time in five tries. The first win was in their first meeting, a 9-7 victory in Durham, North Carolina, in 1958. Jones was 24 of 32 passing for 290 yards and Duke rushed for 208 yards.
”I think we were, as a team, executing at such a high level. We weren’t perfect by any stretch, but overall, we were executing more consistently than we had been,” Jones said.
Shaun Wilson returned a kickoff 96 yards for a score to spark the Blue Devils after Notre Dame, which had struggled with big deficits in two earlier losses , jumped to a 14-0 lead.The Irish defense continued to struggle, giving up 30 or more points against Power Five teams for the seventh time in their last nine games. The student section chanted ”Fire VanGorder,” referring to defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder.
Kelly, who talked about his frustration with the play of the defense a week earlier, said the coaching of the defense is one of the few areas he wasn’t disappointed in. He said Duke was grittier and more determined than the Irish.The Blue Devils defense continued to struggle to stop big plays, allowing 10 passes of 20 yards or more. But they came up with the big plays when they had to, forcing three turnovers while allowing one.The Irish came out with the sense of urgency Kelly preached all week after falling behind by double digits in losses to Texas and Michigan State, jumping to a 14-0 lead. But they couldn’t keep the momentum going, and struggled to do anything consistently well.The Irish travel to East Rutherford, New Jersey, to play Syracuse, the first of three neutral-site games they will play this season.
Western stuns Northern, keeps Huskies winless
DEKALB—Sean McGuire threw for 315 yards and a touchdown, the Western Illinois defense came up with two late stops, and the FCS Leathernecks upset Northern Illinois 28-23 on Saturday.Western Illinois (3-0) snapped a 15-game losing streak against FBS teams. The Leathernecks are 7-29 against FBS foes – with all their wins against the Mid-American Conference.Northern Illinois quarterback Anthony Maddie was stopped short on fourth-and-2 at the Leathernecks’ 19-yard line with 2:50 left. On the Huskies next drive, Maddie’s pass attempt on fourth-and-3 at the Leathernecks’ 9-yard line was deflected and fell incomplete to preserve the win.Steve McShane’s 11-yard touchdown run put the Leathernecks on top, and Jamie Gilmore’s 1-yard plunge made it 14-0 with a minute remaining in the first quarter.Maddie and Ryan Graham combined to pass for 251 yards and two scores for NIU (0-4), which has lost seven straight dating to last season.It was the first meeting between the two schools since 2009.
GROBBER’S NFL WEEK THREE PICKS
AFC GAMES: MIA over Clev,Den over CIN, TENN over Oak,Balt over JAX, S.Diego over IND, KC over NY Jets
NFC GAMES: NYG over Wash, LA Rams over TB, SEAT over S.Fran
INTER=CONF GAMES: Ariz over BUFF, Pitt over PHIL
THUR NIGHT: N.ENG over Hous
MON NIGHT: N.ORL over Atl
NFC NPRTH GAMES: CAR over Minn, GB over Det, DAL over Bears(Sun night).
HOME TEAMS IN ALL CAPS
Eagles used Bears turnovers(3)to pull away 29-14.
Carson Wentz followed up an impressive NFL debut with another solid performance, throwing for 190 yards and a touchdown, and the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Chicago Bears 29-14 on Monday night.Wentz showed plenty of poise, just as he did in his debut against Cleveland.Playing in the city where he was drafted by the Eagles with the No. 2 overall pick, he completed 21 of 34 passes and played turnover-free ball in his second straight game despite absorbing several big hits.
”Throughout the week, I just realized I’m going back to kind of where my life changed so to speak,” Wentz said. ”It was cool to be back here, especially to come out here with the win.”
Ryan Mathews ran for two scores, and the Eagles (2-0) scored a pair of touchdowns late in the third quarter to break open a two-point game.While Philadelphia was pulling away, Jay Cutler walked to the locker room with a right thumb injury and did not return.That was the biggest blow for the Bears (0-2), who lost several players and fell again after opening with a loss at Houston. It’s not the sort of start they envisioned in their second year under coach John Fox after finishing last in the NFC North. But they continued to struggle at home, where they were 1-7 a year ago.Cutler, who completed 12 of 17 passes for 157 yards, walked to the locker room following an interception by Nigel Bradham late in the third quarter. Cutler was seen having his right hand examined on the sideline early in the third following a strip-sack by Destiny Vaeao, though he said it happened sometime earlier in the game. That play just aggravated it.Brian Hoyer took over for Cutler and was 9 of 12 for 78 yards.Along with the injury, Cutler got an earful from injured Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee. Cameras caught the two having a heated exchange following the interception.
”He’s a passionate guy,” Cutler said. ”Everybody’s got a lot vested into this. He does as well. No one likes to lose. No one likes to lose in that type of fashion. He’s upset, I’m upset. Everyone in that locker room is upset right now.”
The Eagles were leading 9-7 late in the third when Mathews bounced off the line and spun outside before lunging in for a 3-yard touchdown.With Cutler throwing off his back foot on the next play from scrimmage Bradham intercepted a pass apparently intended for Alshon Jeffery, who was about 10 yards behind him, at the 30 and returned it to the 2.Wentz then hit Trey Burton with a touchdown pass to make it 22-7 with four seconds left.Eagles coach
Doug Pederson on Wentz: ”He took care of the football and made some nice, tough throws. It wasn’t perfect. But at the same time, he’s seeing things really well. And he’s commanding the huddle and dialog on the sideline with the players and coaches is something that a nine or 10-year vet would do.”
Fox on being 0-2: ”It’s two games and we have 14 games left. Right now all our focus very quickly will go to Dallas to go on the road Sunday night.”.Cutler set up the game’s first touchdown when he spun to his left and unloaded a 49-yard heave to Jeffery that put the ball on the 5 in the opening minute of the second quarter. Langford ran it in from the 1, giving Chicago a 7-3 lead.
NOTES—Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and several teammates raised their right fists during the national anthem in a protest prior to their game. Jenkins said Saturday he would lead teammates in a demonstration against social injustice. Cornerback Ron Brooks and defensive end Steven Means joined him. It was not clear if another Eagles player joined in. Jenkins had insisted the protest would not be ”an anti-police thing” and that police ”are a key part of the solution in this issue.”….Bears Linebacker Lamarr Houston left the game with a left knee injury that Fox said ”seems to be substantial.” Houston was hurt trying to rush the passer in the second quarter and walked gingerly toward the sideline after being tended to by team medical personnel. … Nose tackle Eddie Goldman was taken from the field on a cart with an ankle injury early in the fourth quarter after he was at the bottom of the pile on a running play. … Safety Adrian Amos and cornerback Bryce Callahan exited with concussions in the third quarter. … Safety Chris Prosinski injured his right calf, and running back Ka’Deem Carey strained his hamstring.The Bears have lost 11 of their last 12 Home Games.
36-0 run carries MSU to win over Irish.
SOUTH BEND—Twelfth-ranked Michigan State didn’t panic when No. 18 Notre Dame scored three straight touchdowns to cut a 29-point lead to 36-28 with just over six minutes left.The Irish didn’t get any closer after Kizer was sacked for a 5-yard loss by Raequan Williams on third-and-2 and Notre Dame punted with 3:37 left in the game and the Spartans (2-0) ran out the clock.
”I thought our guys played very confidently,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. ”I’m not sure at the end if their coach was confident, totally. But we found a way and our guys kept playing.”
ND coach Brian Kelly said the Irish would have had a chance if not for missed tackles, a problem that’s plagued them in both losses this season.
”We had great situation there late to make a couple tackles, and we just simply didn’t make it,” he said.
Tyler O’Connor, a fifth-year senior making his third career start, was 19 of 26 passing for 241 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on a deflected pass. He said beating the Irish, the team he grew up cheering for was a ”dream come true.”
”I didn’t even dream about it, it was so surreal, to come in here and play and start in a game, and then take a knee in Notre Dame Stadium, and throw up your hands and realize you’ve won. It’s a tremendous feeling,” he said.
Gerald Holmes ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns, including a 73-yard score, saying he was inspired by the death of his grandmother.
”I was in the middle of meetings and I broke out in tears and ran out. But I knew I had a game today and I got the motivation from her to come out here and ball,” he said.
He credited the offensive line for his big run.
”They probably blocked the best they ever have since I’ve been here,” he said.
Dantonio said he couldn’t recall the last time the Spartans dominated as they had late in the second quarter and early in the third.
”It got tougher and tougher in the fourth quarter running the football. … They kept playing and fought their way back into the football game right there at the end.”
Kelly said the mistakes were too much.
”We got too far behind. When you get into that kind of hole it’s hard to dig out of,” he said.
The Spartans record streak of being ranked will stretch to 45 straight weeks, dating back to Oct. 27, 2013 with the win over the Irish and they are likely to move up in the AP poll.With two losses in the first three games for the first time since 2011, the Irish could fall out of the poll for the first time since the end of the 2014 season.MSU’s offense showed there was no need for concern after an unimpressive opening-game victory over FCS Furman, beating Notre Dame to end a three-game losing streak to the Irish. Good pressure by Michigan State’s front seven and good coverage by the secondary kept Kizer scrambling at times and the Irish couldn’t get their running game going.Mistakes hurt the Irish from the start, with an opening kickoff return for a touchdown by C.J. Sanders being called back on a holding penalty by Jalen Elliott. A bouncing punt hit Notre Dame’s Miles Boykins and was recovered by Michigan State long snapper Collin Caflisch at the Notre Dame 38 early, and Sanders fumbled at the end of 19-yard catch that Michigan State linebacker Jon Reschke recovered. Fans booed Notre Dame with 5 minutes left in the third quarter following a pair of runs for no gain.The Spartans begin Big Ten play hosting Wisconsin, which they haven’t faced since a 16-13 overtime victory in 2012 to end the Badgers’ 21-game home winning streak.The Irish begin a stretch of three straight games against ACC teams, which Notre Dame is a member in for most sports aside from football, when it plays Duke. Notre Dame is 3-1 all-time against the Blue Devils.
Thorson,Jackson lead Cats to first win, 24-13 over Duke
EVANSTON—Clayton Thorson threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns, Justin Jackson rushed for 94 yards, and Northwestern defeated Duke 24-13 on Saturday night.After being held to 7 points by Illinois State last week, Northwestern (1-2) scored on the game’s opening drive. Thorson connected with Garrett Dickerson for a 26-yard touchdown reception, capping a 10-play, 75-yard drive. NU capitalized on Blue Devils’ punter Austin Parker’s gaffe in the third quarter to take a 14-7 lead. Duke (1-2) was lined up to punt, Parker dropped the snapped and wasn’t able to get the punt away. Northwestern took over at the Duke 44. On the next play, Thorson found Solomon Vault wide open in the middle of the field for the go-ahead touchdown.Thorson also connected with former walk-on Austin Carr on a 58-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.Duke quarterback Daniel Jones threw for 279 yards and one interception. Jela Duncan had 53 yards rushing and a touchdown.Byron Fields picked off Thorson’s pass at the Blue Devils’ 1, which set up a 99 yard, 12 play Duke drive to tie the game at 7 with 3:03 left in the second quarter. The scoring drive was highlighted by Shaun Wilson’s 39-yard catch from Jones.Thorson was hurried or on his back for most of the game. Duke was throwing a number of blitz packages at the Northwestern offensive line, which they weren’t able to pick up.The Blue Devils failed to finish on multiple drives. Late in first quarter on fourth-down and 10 at the Wildcats’ 38, it looked as if Duke was going to convert on a fake punt, but Erich Schneider, who was wide open in the middle of the field, slipped on the grass and fell before he had a chance to catch Parker’s pass. Jones threw a pick at the NU 22 at the end of the first quarter to Godwin Igwebuike and AJ Reed missed a 48 yard field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter.Northwestern: Despite Thorson getting sacked five times, Northwestern showed some life on offense. The opening scoring drive featured Jackson, then Thorson was able to open it up in the air in the second half.The Blue Devils visit struggling Notre Dame on Saturday….The Wildcats season-opening four-game home stand continues Saturday night against Nebraska, who beat Oregon.
EIU surprises ISU 24-21
NORMAL—Mitch Kimble passed for 108 yards and two touchdowns and Eastern Illinois capitalized on three turnovers to hold off Illinois State 24-21 on Saturday in the 105th Mid-America Classic.The Panthers (2-1) took a 24-7 lead early in the fourth quarter on Devin Church’s 30-yard TD run. The Redbirds replied with a 58-yard scoring run by Jake Kolbe and a 2-yard TD catch by Spencer Schnell with 36 seconds left. But the Redbirds didn’t recover the onside kick.The Redbirds couldn’t overcome miscues and a missed field goal that led 10 first-half points for the Panthers.Vince Spiller recovered a fumble by ISU’s Jamal Towns, setting up Nick Bruno’s 42-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead. Te Stone-Davis intercepted a pass by Kolbe in the second quarter, and Kimble hit Addison Bounds on a 4-yard touchdown pass four plays later.The Redbirds (2-1) scored in the third quarter on Kolbe’s 16-yard TD pass to Christian Gibbs, but Kimble replied with a 34-yard TD strike to Ben Odugbesan on the next EIU possession.