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Phillies First Ones In...
Add-on posted early Wednesday a.m.
Philadelphia at Houston…Games 1 and 2 in Houston, Friday and Saturday.
Houston made a rather astounding sixth straight ALCS and then knocked off the Yankees in four. They won the World Series in 2017, lost in 2019 and 2021.
Philadelphia last won the World Series in 2008 and lost in 2009, its last appearance until now.
Houston is a decided favorite, but Philadelphia has Bryce Harper, a man on a mission…a player who has fully embraced the moment, unlike so many others who wilted under the pressure.
In 11 postseason games, Harper is 18-for-43 (.419), six doubles, five home runs, 11 RBIs, a 1.351 OPS. The spotlight is on him once again and it will be fascinating to see how he does.
But here in New York, it’s all about the absolutely pathetic Yankees, who on July 8 were 61-23 with a 15 ½-game lead in the AL East, and seemingly on the way to a 110-win season.
But they went 38-40 the rest of the way, signaling trouble in the postseason, as they didn’t even win 100.
And then, despite managing to beat Cleveland in five in the ALDS, they hit just .173 in the nine games overall, after being swept by the Astros.
Aaron Judge…5-for-36, .139 (1-for-16 in the ALCS), 15 strikeouts, .490 OPS.
Josh Donaldson…5-for-29, .172, 0 RBI, 16 strikeouts (all in the last seven games).
Oswaldo Cabrera…supposedly the young spark the team needed…2-for-28, .071, 12 strikeouts.
What a disaster.
So you can imagine the conversation on sports radio in my area Monday after the Yanks’ Game 4 debacle, when New York, up 5-4 in the seventh, essentially lost the game on a botched double-play grounder, Gleyber Torres the culprit; the error followed by Yordan Alvarez lacing a game-tying single, and then Alex Bregman rapping a tie-breaking hit for the 6-5 win and the sweep.
General Manager Brian Cashman must be fired, ditto manager Aaron Boone.
But it’s up to owner Hal Steinbrenner, who everyone around here knows is not like his dad, Boss George. Hal is actually nice guy. But the Yankees need a guy like his father to shake things up and spend money (including on Aaron Judge).
The Yankees also have a good farm system and it’s time for some of the kids to get a real good look in spring training.
But they have dead weight, like Josh Donaldson’s contract, where he’s owed another $30 million, including a 2024 buyout.
Not an easy job for a new GM, but change is necessary if the Yanks are to avoid losing to the Astros in the ALCS a fourth time since 2017.
However, reports today have Hal bringing back Cashman, whose contract is up. If Cashman returns, he’s likely to keep Boone. That would drive Yankees fans crazy.
--Down in Miami, the Marlins are hiring Skip Schumaker as their new manager. He spent the 2022 season as bench coach for the Cardinals, and previously coached and was associate manger in San Diego.
--Mattress Mack, better known to his family members as Jim McIngvale, is known for his huge sports bets. He won big on the 2020 Super Bowl, but he loses a lot.
Like last season, when he lost $3.25 million on the Astros to win the World Series, which would’ve returned $35.6 million, but they lost to the Braves.
This year he bet $10 million on Houston and he’s just four wins from winning $75 million, which would be the largest recorded payout in legal sports betting history.
By Sunday evening, following the Jets’ win at Denver, fans were depressed on the news rookie running back sensation Breece Hall had most likely torn his ACL, which we learned Monday he had, and was out for the season.
Hall had 463 yards in the first seven games, 5.8 per carry, and was 42 for 285 (6.8) his last three. Just sucks.
Ditto the loss of starting offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker, out for the year with a torn triceps injury.
So much for the 5-2 start…as there is no one to replace Hall in particular, and only or two trade targets that other franchises will be after as well (like the Rams’ Cam Akers). That was the feeling Monday morning.
But then, out of nowhere, Jets GM Joe Douglas pulled off a coup in exchanging a conditional draft pick (a sixth-round that could be a 2023 fifth-rounder) for the Jaguars’ James Robinson, just 24, a guy who had a 1,000-yard season as a rookie, suffered a torn ACL himself at the end of last season, but is back and has 340 yards this year thus far, only he was losing playing time to Travis Etienne.
It's a steal. Now just keep Robinson healthy.
Jets fans hopes are restored!
--Monday night, New England hosted Chicago, with the Patriots having won two straight and seemingly on a roll, with backup quarterback Bailey Zappe filling in ably for the injured Mac Jones.
But Jones returned Monday, he sucked, Bill Belichick replaced him with Zappe, and he sucked (2 INTS and a lost fumble), and the Bears, who suck and are unwatchable, beat the Pats 33-14, both teams now 3-4.
Bears QB Justin Fields did have 82 yards rushing.
Meanwhile, there is a quarterback controversy in New England, the fans wanting Zappe over Jones.
--Sunday night, Miami (4-3) beat struggling Pittsburgh (2-5) 16-10 as Tua Tagovailoa made his return from his concussion issues, 21/35, 261, 1-0, while the Steelers’ Kenny Pickett threw three interceptions. Long, long season for Pittsburgh fans.
--Jarrett Bell / USA TODAY, on Tom Brady’s 3-4 start with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“What a weird year for Brady. He retired in February, then unretired 40 days later. His gritty, offensive-minded coach, Brcue Arians, retired and handpicked defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as his successor. Know, too, that with Arians stepping aside, the heat on Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich has risen.
“Add the absence of (Rob) Gronkowski to the equation and it is undoubtedly a factor linked to the sorry red zone results (tied for 20th in the NFL after 6 weeks with a 50% TD rate) that have bogged down Brady. As good as wideout Mike Evans is, Gronk was only Brady’s premium security blanket near the goal line – and a threat that opened up room for the likes of Evans and Chris Godwin. And now he’s gone.
“On top of that, the O-line has been in flux with three starters gone from last year’s unit, including Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen, who went down early in training camp with a serious knee injury and has yet to return.
“Then it became much more dramatic. Brady, as meticulous as they come, took a 12-day personal leave of absence from his training camp routine as reports swirled regarding the status of his marriage with supermodel Gisele Bundchen. In recent weeks, the reports have only intensified.
“It’s fair to wonder whether Brady’s reported marital discord – against the backdrop of Bundchen’s public comments in recent years about concerns over Brady’s long-term health, and particularly risks associated with concussions – has anything to do with what’s not happening on the field.
“Then again, Brady’s off-the-field situation flows with a bigger theme: When it rains, it pours.”
--Alex Ovechkin scored his third goal of the season as the Capitals beat the Devils Monday nigh, 6-3.
Which gives Ovechkin 783 for his career, second behind Gordie Howe’s 801, with only Wayne Gretzky having more than that, 894.
With four more, Ovechkin would pass Howe (786) for most goals in NHL history with one franchise.
--Golden Knights forward Phil Kessel had quite a night Tuesday. He became the NHL’s new “iron man” and scored his 400th goal at the same time in Vegas’ 4-2 win over San Jose. The 35-year-old winger has now appeared in 990 consecutive games, a streak that started Nov. 3, 2009.
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle set the consecutive game record last season and then retired. Prior to Yandle, the record holder was former Montreal forward Doug Jarvis, who appeared in 964 games in a streak that ended in 1987.
--Steven Alker picked up his fifth PGA Tour Champions event last Sunday, winning the Dominion Energy Charity Classic at The Country of Virginia, outside Richmond.
But he dropped the tournament’s prize, made out of glass, and somehow it didn’t break!
Two tournaments left for the Schwab Cup title.
--Jim Nantz announced he will no longer call the NCAA Basketball Tournament, to be replaced by Ian Eagle (a popular choice).
It only makes sense. Nantz is 63, has two young kids through his second marriage, and will remain the lead voice on CBS Sports’ golf coverage, as well as continue to work with Tony Romo as the network’s top NFL broadcast team. At least this move affords him a month off he wouldn’t otherwise have.
--We note the passing of “Will & Grace” star, and character actor/comedian Leslie Jordan, 67.
Jordan crashed his BMW into the side of a building in Los Angeles on Monday morning. It’s believed he suffered a medical emergency while behind the wheel.
Jordan, who was just 4 feet, 11 inches tall, rose to television fame in the 1990s with roles in sitcoms including “Hearts Afire” and “Murphy Brown.”
In recent years, however, he became bigger than ever, appearing in “American Horror Story” and clocking up more than 5.8 million followers on Instagram, where he shared humorous stories in his trademark Southern drawl.
The stories, which often revolved around his childhood in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and his early years in Hollywood, gained fame during the early days of Covid, with millions of housebound Americans struggling to deal with it.
During one candid and hilarious confession, Jordan admitted to watching porn during the stay-at-home orders, quipping: “Oh, don’t judge me… it’s better than CNN!”
Next Bar Chat, Sunday p.m.
Add-on up top by noon, Wed.
[Posted early Sunday p.m., before late sports action]
Cleveland Browns Quiz: [Because someone has to do it.] 1) Name the only three QBs with 20,000 yards passing in a Browns uniform. 2) All three in No. 1 had 100+ touchdown passes. Name the fourth with 100, who threw for 13,361 yards. 3) Name the six running backs in Browns history with 5,000 yards. 4) Name the six receivers with 5,000 yards. [This one is impossible…unless you know your Browns history, 1946-56.] Answers below.
--Having lost the first two games to the Astros in Houston, 4-2 and 3-2, the Yankees had gone nine straight games with six or fewer hits, the longest such streak in franchise history. [The seven playoff games thus far, plus the final two regular-season contests against the Rangers.]
This is remarkable.
Aaron Judge in the postseason is 5-for-28, .179, 2 home runs, 3 RBIs.
Giancarlo Stanton…4-for-24, .167, 2 home runs, 6 RBIs.
Gleyber Torres…4-for-27, .148, 0 homers, 1 RBI.
Oh, and the Yanks struck out 17 times in Game 1, and another 13 times in Game 2.
So Saturday evening, the Yanks, back home at the Stadium, packed house, had ace Gerrit Cole on the mound against Houston’s Christian Javier (11-9, 2.54, regular season).
The Yankees aren’t getting back in the series without their offense getting their act together.
And then they lost Game 3, 5-0, with three hits.
Cole gave up five runs (three earned) in five+ innings.
Harrison Bader dropped a 2-out fly ball hit by Christian Vasquez as he tried to avoid Aaron Judge in the second inning, and then Cole served up a two-run homer to Chas McCormick, the next batter after Vasquez, and that was it.
Javier gave up one hit in his five innings and the Astros’ pen did the rest.
Imagine paying big money to see your Yankees and they once again don’t even put up a fight.
Aaron Judge was booed a second time as his dream season becomes a total nightmare, going 0-for-4 with two more strikeouts, making him 1-for-12 in the series, 5-for-32 in the postseason with 14 strikeouts.
The thing is, as Judge goes, the team goes. It was that way all season. I feel sorry for the guy. He literally has zero support. Great teams that win championships have more than one key cog, but not these Yankees. Pathetic.
So would the Yanks fall to the Astros in the ALCS for the third time (2017 and 2019 the others)?
--Down in Philadelphia, the Phillies took a 3-1 series lead into this afternoon’s contest against the Padres.
Before a frenzied crowd Friday, the Phils triumphed 4-2 over San Diego, as Philadelphia shortstop Jean Segura, playing in his first postseason in his 11-year career, had a most memorable evening.
One minute, Segura was blowing a routine double-play ball and apologizing to Phillies starter Ranger Suarez.
The next moment, he was spiking his bat into the ground after getting a huge go-ahead, two-run single.
Seconds later, his head was down after getting immediately picked off first base.
And then he made a dazzling, diving stop on Ha-Seong Kim’s sharp groundball to end the seventh inning
Then Saturday night, the Padres jumped off to a 4-0 first-inning lead, knocking out Phillies starter Bailey Falter in the process, but the Phils knocked out San Diego’s Mike Clevinger in the bottom of the first as they scored three runs to cut it to 4-3.
And then after San Diego took a 6-4 lead in the fifth on a two-run homer by Juan Soto, Rhys Hoskins keyed a 4-run bottom of the fifth with his second homer of the game, the Phils taking an 8-6 lead on the way to a 10-6 win for the 3-1 series lead.
Kyle Schwarber clubbed his third home run in the four games, and J.T. Realmuto hit a solo shot in the seventh.
So it was on to Game 5 and the Phillies closed it out, 4-3, on a dramatic eight-inning, 2-run homer from their leader, Bryce Harper. He has embraced the city, the fans have embraced him, and he has come through like the true MVP he is. I love when the greats come through in the clutch.
Good for Philly…as much as it pains me to write this.
--In a bit of a surprise, the Texas Rangers have hired Bruce Bochy as their manager, bringing the three-time World Series champion with 2,003 career victories out of retirement to take over a team that has had six consecutive losing seasons.
Bochy, who signed a three-year contract, is 67 and hasn’t managed since 2019, when he stepped away after 13 seasons and the three World Series titles with the San Francisco Giants (2010, 2012, 2014).
Rangers GM Chris Young, who pitched for San Diego in 2006, Bochy’s final season with the Padres before going to the Giants, said: “As we went through the interview process, Bruce’s passion and excitement about returning to the dugout was very evident.”
The White Sox, Royals and Marlins still have manager openings.
College Football Review
[Comments written prior to release of new AP Poll…]
No real surprises this week, with No. 1 Georgia and 4 Michigan idle. Ole Miss wasn’t exactly a surprise, but TCU is proving to be as exciting a team as there is in the nation.
2 Ohio State (7-0) whipped Iowa (3-4) as the Hawkeyes committed six turnovers. Ugh. C.J. Stroud didn’t hurt his Heisman hopes with another four touchdown passes, though Iowa’s defense actually did a good job in holding the Buckeyes to just 360 yards. Iowa’s offense, though, blows…158 yards, and their only score was on a fumble return.
3 Tennessee (7-0) took advantage of a lesser opponent, UT Martin (4-3) of the Ohio Valley Conference, to play five quarterbacks in a 65-24 win that covered the spread of 39 in the process. So Vols fans, still recovering from their hangover from last Saturday’s win over Alabama, cashed in more bets. Because at the end of the day, boys and girls….
5 Clemson (8-0) had its hands full with 14 Syracuse in Death Valley. Coach Dabo Swinney pulled quarterback DJ Uiagalelei after he coughed it up three times and the Tigers were down 21-7 to the Orange in the second quarter.
Swinney then went with highly-touted freshman Cade Klubnik, and while Klubnik racked up a whopping 34 yards of total offense, he provided a spark, and running back Will Shipley did the rest…27 carries for 172 yards and two touchdowns, including a late 50-yard touchdown scamper.
In the end, Clemson handed the Orange their first loss, now 6-1, 27-21.
With the Tigers’ remaining schedule, it’s pretty much clear sailing…12-0 at the time of the ACC Championship.
6 Alabama (7-1) rebounded from the Tennessee loss with a solid 30-6 win over 24 Mississippi State (5-3), the Bama ‘D’ holding social commentator Will Rogers to just 231 yards through the air, a measly 3.9 yards per attempt.
Rogers said after, “Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects,” which left reporters shaking their heads.
7 Ole Miss stumbled, suffering its first loss, now 7-1, in losing at LSU (6-2) 45-20, as Brian Kelly picked up a needed big win, the Tigers no doubt back in the top 25 this week.
Quarterback Jayden Daniels had two touchdowns passing, and three rushing.
The aforementioned 8 TCU (7-0) Horned Frogs came from down 28-10 to 17 Kansas State (5-2) in the second quarter to win it 38-28. TCU is specializing in come-from-behind victories.
So TCU is potentially headed on a collision course for the Big 12 Championship and a possible CFP bid with 11 Oklahoma State (6-1), which will be back in the top ten following an important 41-34 win over 20 Texas (5-3), as Longhorns QB Quinn Evers was picked off three times.
TCU had the exciting 43-40 double overtime win over the Cowboys last week.
Meanwhile, 9 UCLA’s bubble was burst in Eugene, as 10 Oregon (6-1) prevailed over their old mentor, Chip Kelly, 45-30, handing the Bruins their first loss at 6-1. This was a biggie for UCLA and they blew the opportunity to really step up.
Bo Nix was outstanding for the Ducks, 22/28, 283, 5-0, and 51 yards rushing.
But so much for the hoped-for mammoth UCLA-USC tilt down the road for a potential CFP bid.
Down in Winston-Salem, N.C., in a kind of bizarre game that could have easily been much closer, 13 Wake Forest improved to 6-1 with a 43-15 win over Boston College (2-5), Demon Deacon Sam Hartman with five more touchdown passes.
But B.C. quarterback Phil Jurkovec was just 20 of 38 and had All-World receiver Zay Flowers (10-135-1) open all day, only to miss him time and again on what would have been game-changing plays.
Next up for the Deacs, who can still have that “special” season, is Louisville (4-3), who defeated Pitt (3-4) 24-10 yesterday. Malik Cunningham, a dangerous weapon at quarterback for the Cardinals, returned from his concussion issue and was far from spectacular, but he will present problems for Wake.
Duke (5-3) picked up a good win at disappointing Miami (3-4) 45-21. Remember when Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke was a preseason Heisman candidate? He’s been a mess.
And remember when Texas A&M was supposed to be good? Jimbo Fisher’s team is now 3-4 after falling to South Carolina (5-2) 30-24, despite outgaining the Gamecocks 398-286. It didn’t help A&M that it gave up a 100-yard kickoff return to open the game.
Yup, $100 million for Fisher to do what? This will be the fifth straight season without 10 wins, though the Aggies were 9-1, AP final No. 4 in 2020, which was the f’ed up Covid season.
In the Group of Five, New Year’s Six bowl bid contest, as of today, it’s boiling down to 21 Cincinnati (6-1), who beat SMU (3-4) 29-27, and 25 Tulane (7-1), 38-28 winners over Memphis (4-4).
The Bearcats and Green Wave face off Nov. 25.
Lastly, Rutgers snapped a 21-game conference home losing streak (read that again) in beating Indiana (3-5) 24-17. This is a big win for the Scarlet Knights…very much needed.
And now your new AP Poll!!!
1. Georgia (31) 7-0
2. Ohio State (18) 7-0
3. Tennessee (13) 7-0
4. Michigan 7-0
5. Clemson (1) 8-0
6. Alabama 7-1
7. TCU 7-0
8. Oregon 6-1…quack quack…
9. Oklahoma State 6-1
T-10. USC 6-1
T-10. Wake Forest 6-1
12. UCLA 6-1
13. Penn State 6-1
14. Utah 5-2
15. Ole Miss 7-1
16. Syracuse 6-1
17. Illinois 6-1
18. LSU 6-2
19. Kentucky 5-2
20. Cincinnati 6-1
21. North Carolina 6-1
22. Kansas State 5-2
23. Tulane 7-1
24. N.C. State 5-2
25. South Carolina 5-2
Not a great week coming up…Ohio State at Penn State (eh), Kentucky at Tennessee (eh eh), and Oklahoma State at Kansas State.
But the following week, Tennessee at Georgia…ergo, will the Vols be caught looking ahead?
Yes, I’m pinching myself with the Deacs at No. 10, but one game at a time, boys! No let up at Louisville.
--San Jose State football player Camdan McWright died Friday morning in a traffic crash when he was hit by a school bus while riding an electric scooter. He was 18 years old.
There are an increasing number of people in my area who ride these scooters and they are so incredibly dangerous.
According to the California Highway Patrol, McWright “entered an intersection at the crosswalk and was crossing to the opposite sidewalk. He was in the crosswalk when he was struck by the bus.
“[He] did sustain fatal injuries immediately at the scene.”
But the school bus, which was carrying 14 students, had a green light when it entered the intersection.
The scooter McWright was on was a rental from the company Lime and he was not wearing a helmet. The accident was two block from the campus.
McWright was a freshman running back from Los Angeles. He had carried the ball three times thus far this season for the Spartans.
--New York football fans couldn’t believe the Giants were a 3-point underdog to the Jaguars in Jacksonville, but then the Jags had a 17-13 lead heading to the fourth quarter.
Jacksonville, though, went for it at 4th-and-1 from the Giants’ 20 with about 12:00 to play, Trevor Lawrence was stuffed, and then it was the Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley show, 10 plays, 79 yards, one long run after another, and the Giants went ahead 20-17 with about 6:00 to play.
But while Lawrence and the Jags offense couldn’t do anything, Saquon twice in the final minutes failed to stay in bounds to keep the clock running and it almost proved deadly.
After the Giants took a 23-17 lead on a Graham Gano field goal, Lawrence still had over a minute left and it became a penalty-fest, the Giants with one infraction after another, and it came down to a final Lawrence pass and, dramatically, the Giants ‘D’ stopped the play at the one-yard line. Terrific ending, though it literally took about two days to play the final 2:00…or so it seemed. I mean I washed my car, did grocery shopping, drank six beers….
Barkley rushed for 110 yards on 24 carries, and Jones had 107 and a touchdown on just 11 carries.
So the Giants are 6-1! The Jags 2-5 after their fourth straight loss. Jacksonville fans, all 42 of them (reader Steve G. among them) deserve better. The team is not that bad.
--The Jets were in Denver, looking to go 5-2, and it was a struggle. After a first-half 62-yard TD run by rookie sensation Breece Hall, he went out with a knee injury (status unknown), and Zach Wilson was hardly impressive.
But the Jets defense was, albeit Denver without Russell Wilson (more on him below).
And somehow the Jets pulled it out, 16-9. Boy, if ever the statement a ‘W’ is a W was true, this was it. We’ll sort it all out in the Add-on. Multiple injuries needing updates. Hopefully, Hall’s is minor.
--Tom Brady sucks and Tampa Bay is 3-4 after a 21-3 loss to the pathetic Panthers (2-5), who in their first game without Christian McCaffrey, saw D’Onta Freeman and Chubba Hubbard combine for 180 yards on the ground in just 24 carries.
Brady, who stupidly opted to come back this season, was 32/49 but for only 290 yards, 81.2. Bucs fans should hope he just walks away and fights it out with Gisele in “Divorce Court,” the thrilling new series on “E!”
--Speaking of aging quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers couldn’t rally his slumping Packers (3-4) against the Washington Red Clouds (I’ve decided I’m going with my name for the franchise, and everyone can sue me…because it was easily the best one), falling 23-21, Washington 3-4.
Rodgers picked up only 179 yards on 34 attempts, and the Green Bay running game was non-existent, 38 yards on 12 carries.
Packers fans should be apoplectic, Fred Sanford-like.
--The Ravens (4-3) eked out a 23-20 win over the Browns (2-5) despite being outgained 336-254. This must have been a brutal game to watch.
--Joe Burrow and the Bengals are back, now 4-3, 4 of their last 5, as Burrow threw for 481 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-17 win over the Falcons (3-4). Tyler Boyd and Ja’Marr Chase combined for 16 receptions, 285 yards and 3 touchdowns.
--Dak Prescott returned for the Cowboys (5-2) and after being down 6-3 at the half to the lowly Lions (1-5), scored 21 in the second half for the 24-6 win; Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott combining for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.
Frankly, whether you like the Cowboys or not, it’s better for us football fans if they are good, and thus entertaining. We sure see them enough.
But I can’t help but note that the Lions’ six points were courtesy of Summit’s Michael Badgley.
Badgley, who you’ll recall went 4-for-4 in field goals with the Bears in his lone game this season, and then was signed to the Lions’ practice squad, got a chance today and hit his two field goal attempts, from 40- and 53-yards.
So the dude is 6-for-6 with two teams this season. Hell, it’s a bit unsettling I’m sure for Badgley, but he’s developing a reputation that should keep him earning good paychecks, even if sporadic, for some time.
--The Titans are 4-2, 19-10 winners over the Colts (3-3-1), as Derrick Henry continues to run like the Henry of old, 30 carries, 128 yards, and it’s an easy formula for QB Ryan Tannehill…just hand the ball to the beast, eat up clock, and let the almost always solid Tennessee defense do the rest.
--All the talk early this week was about the Christian McCaffrey trade, the star running back dealt from Carolina to San Francisco for a second- , third- , and fourth-round pick in the 2023 draft and a 2024 fifth-round pick.
McCaffrey was one of the best players in football, 2017-2019, including being the fastest player in NFL history to reach 3,000 yards rushing and 3,000 receiving.
And he was one of three players to have 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a season (2019).
But he was injured most of 2020-21.
This season he was back…393 yards rushing, 277 receiving in the first six games on an awful 1-5 team.
The 49ers, 3-3 and with one of the two best defenses in football (along with the Bills) have Super Bowl aspirations and see McCaffrey as the missing piece to team with Deebo Samuel and George Kittle on offense.
McCaffrey, 26, returns to the area where he starred in college at Stanford.
Many experts, though, give the Panthers a lot of credit because they added a 2, 3 and 4 to their original picks in the 2023 draft…Rounds 1, 2, 4 and 5.
--Into the December file goes Jets wide receiver Elijah Moore. Moore requested a trade Thursday after being sent home following a blow-up with a coach, and he was inactive Sunday against the Broncos.
“To ask him to play a football game with where he is from a mental standpoint wouldn’t be fair to him, in my opinion,” coach Robert Salah told reporters. “But that’s strictly my decision.”
Salah said the Jets won’t grant Moore’s trade request, saying they hoped to work out their differences once Moore rejoins the team.
The NFL trade deadline is Nov. 1.
A source told ESPN that Moore had a heated exchange with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, who is not exactly a hot head.
What sucks is that the Jets are obviously off to a great start, 4-2, and Moore is one of their core young players going forward. He showed great promise as a rookie (43 rec., 538 yards, 5 touchdowns), but he’s been upset at little how he has been used this season, 16 receptions, 28 targets.
Moore went public with his feelings Sunday after the Jets upset the Packers – a game in which he had no official targets, tweeting, “I don’t understand” why he wasn’t a bigger part of the offense.
You won the game, a big one at Lambeau Field, jerk. Be a team player!
At the time, Salah chalked it up to Moore’s competitiveness, calling it an “admirable” trait.
That was Monday, but then Moore wouldn’t let it go. Exactly what the Jets didn’t need.
To replace Moore, the Jets activated receiver Denzel Mims for the first time. Mims, who requested a trade in the preseason, was a healthy scratch for the first six games.
Jerry Brewer / Washington Post
“The myth of Russell Wilson is dying. What’s left of it probably will be gone by season’s end, and good riddance. As painful as it is to watch Wilson play poorly and endure ridicule that betrays his character, he is desperate for an image reset that his brazen pursuit of more fame won’t allow.
“Wilson has spent more than a decade in the NFL winning, thrilling and turning his underdog story into an iconic tale. With a Houdini act that may take him to the Hall of Fame, he redefined the modern-day possibilities for quarterbacks under 6-foot. He attained celebrity in a largely faceless game. Yet for all his good traits and good deeds, his ascension came with a perception of inauthenticity that fuels those who mock him now. It’s not that they are rooting for him to fail. They are sneering at the awkwardness of a man who has abandoned self-awareness.
“The football struggles are concerning enough for Wilson, who will miss only his fourth game in 11 seasons Sunday because of a hamstring injury. He forced a trade to the Denver Broncos, and he has debuted there with the worst six-game stretch of his career. But he’s still straining to be funny in strange commercials that seem like unintentional parodies. And on his social media accounts, long tolerated only because he is a wonderful quarterback, Wilson presents himself like the caricature of an icon rather than a real person….
“Wilson can play better, and he will play better. But there is no way back to the likability he enjoyed with the Seattle Seahawks. He is something different now: naked in ambition, diminished in popularity, exposed in Denver. Instead of acclaim, the most valuable thing Wilson can seek is identity. He is challenged now to truly find himself, if he’s still capable….
“For the first time since Wilson became a household name, the focus isn’t on what more he can accomplish. The concern is what he has left to salvage. Without question, the myth is dying. Now the actual man must make a decision: Vanish with it, or discover who he really is.”
--We note the passing of former New York Jets great, Dave Herman, who was a stalwart on the offensive line from 1964-73, and helped protect Joe Namath in the team’s historic Super Bowl III win.
Herman mostly played right guard, but in the 1968 postseason, coach Weeb Ewbank moved Herman to right tackle, where he ended up being tasked with Bubba Smith, the Colts star defensive end, in the Super Bowl.
After his playing career, he did Jets game on the radio with Marty Glickman.
Herman, 81, was diagnosed with CTE in 2014.
--Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Charley Trippi died at the age of 100 on Wednesday, his alma mater, Georgia, announced. He is widely known for his versatility, having played running back, quarterback, defensive back, punter and returner in his career. In 1946 he earned the Maxwell Award as the nation’s most outstanding college football player.
Trippi’s college career was interrupted by two years of service in the military during World War II.
--This week’s PGA Tour event, the CJ Cup at Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeland, S.C., had one of the stronger fields ever for a fall tour event, 21 of the world’s top 30, 15 of the top-20 ranked players.
And heading into the final round….
Rory McIlroy -13…attempting to become No. 1 in the world
K.H. Lee -12
Kurt Kitayama -12
Jon Rahm -12
And Rory did it, barely, as I watched the closing holes, one shot over Kitiyama.
Win No. 23 on the PGA Tour for McIlroy and that No. 1 ranking for a ninth time in his career.
--Cameron Young was named the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year, making it back-to-back for Wake Forest, teammate Will Zalatoris the 2021 recipient.
Young still doesn’t have a win, but he had five second-place finishes in the 2021-22 season, including at the Genesis, Wells Fargo, and The Open Championship.
Young also picked up over $6.5 million in prize money, the most money in a single season by a rookie in tour history.
It’s way too early to give a damn, though I did watch the entire Knicks-Pistons game Friday night, the home opener for my Knickerbockers at the Garden, and New York played well, 130-106 win. Julius Randle seems to have an entirely different attitude, and Jalen Brunson, the point guard we have needed for years, had zero turnovers in his first two games (15 assists).
Over in Brooklyn (1-1), it’s about Ben Simmons and whether he can return to his old self, namely playing good defense and distributing the ball to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
The Celtics are 3-0, and the 76ers are 0-3. Thankfully, the City of Brotherly Love has the Phillies and Eagles.
But the big story in the NBA early on is the Lakers, who lost their first two and one thing is clear, they must jettison Russell Westbrook.
Or as the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Plaschke writes:
“Enough bricks. Enough glares. Enough pouts. Enough is enough.
“The Lakers need to trade Russell Westbrook now.
“Stop waiting. Stop pondering. Stop posturing. Stop shopping.
“The Lakers need to trade Russell Westbrook before his reckless play and divisive personality cost them whatever chance this otherwise feisty team has at a rewarding season.
“They can surprise. They can entertain. Their new coach Darvin Ham appears capable of building a new culture that can shake up the Crypt and scare a few people. Believe it or not, they could even make the playoffs.
“Yet they can’t do any of this while Westbrook and his clanks and his complaining are allowed to create a sort of mud into which this shiny new car’s back tires are sinking.
“They can’t move forward with him. They are eventually going to spin into oblivion because of him. They need him gone now.”
The Lakers then lost this afternoon to the Trail Blazers (3-0), L.A. 0-3, as Westbrook went 4-for-15 from the field, 0-for-3 from three.
The season starts in just a few weeks and the ACC released its preseason poll and it was no surprise that it’s North Carolina first, Duke second.
The Tar Heels are AP preseason No. 1 after returning four starters from its runner-up finish in the NCAA championship game, center Armando Bacot leading the way.
Duke, as usual, has the strongest freshmen class.
Wake Forest is picked ninth out of the 15 teams in the conference, which I’d actually be satisfied with. We’ll see how good a coach Steve Forbes is as a slew of transfers have once again come into the program and can he meld them into a cohesive unit?
--Double the action this week…Wednesday…Liverpool beat West Ham 1-0, Newcastle edged Everton 1-0, Tottenham fell to Manchester United 2-0, and Chelsea and Brentford tied, 0-0.
Saturday, Liverpool continued to struggle to be consistent, falling to Nottingham Forest 1-0, Chelsea and Man U played to a 1-1 draw, and Manchester City beat Brighton 3-1.
Today, Southampton had a big 1-1 draw with Arsenal; Leicester had a big 4-0 win over the Wolves; and my Spurs lost another, this one 2-1 to surging Newcastle. Ugh.
Standings…11/12 of 38 – points…
1. Arsenal…11 – 28
2. Man City…11 – 26
3. Tottenham…12 – 23
4. Newcastle…12 – 21
5. Chelsea…11 – 21
6. Man U…11 – 20
8. Liverpool…11 – 16
--Kyle Larson, not one of the Round of 8 drivers for the NASCAR Cup Series title, won today’s event at Homestead-Miami. One more race to go before the finale…the top four drivers going for all the marbles. More in my Add-on.
--Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin, who made it to billionaire status about as fast as anyone I can remember, legitimately, has completed his divestment as a limited partner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils because of looming conflicts in the expansion of his Fanatics business into sports betting and individual player partnerships.
Fanatics has grown into a $20 billion-plus company that sells licensed professional and college merchandise online But the expansion into sports betting and negotiating individual partnership deals created numerous conflicts. He had come under scrutiny by some in the NBA because prior to the 76ers trade involving James Harden, Rubin had a close relationship with the overrated ‘star.’ Now Rubin can do as he pleases since he’s no longer a part-owner of the teams.
--From a piece by Susan Pinker in the Wall Street Journal:
“Dogs are champion sniffers, equipped with 100 to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses – compared with a mere 6 million in our own – and an olfactory cortex 40 times as large as ours. They can be trained to detect disease in human beings, including cancer cells, a latent epileptic seizure, or a Covid infection, just by sniffing – no blood samples, biopsies, MRIs, antigen or PCR tests required.”
OK, we all knew this. But can they detect stress?
Pinker: “Until recently, evidence that dogs can sniff out our psychological states remained anecdotal. ‘The assumption that dogs can identify a person’s psychological state is the reason why we have service dogs for PTSD, anxiety disorders and depression,’ says Clara Wilson, a researcher at the Animal Behavior Centre at Queens University Belfast. ‘It seems so obvious that no one has tested the idea empirically. Until now.’”
Well, I won’t get into the elaborate testing procedure that researchers put four dogs through that were trained to detect and react to the smell of human stress, but, “The results offered overwhelming confirmation that dogs can smell psychological states as well as physical ones. On average, the four dogs picked out the stress sample 94% of the time, with individual dogs ranging between 90% and 97% accuracy. ‘There’s a smell to stress,’ Ms. Wilson concludes. ‘If we can add it to the dog’s repertoire, we can use it to identify anxiety and panic attacks before they occur.’”
--A toddler died after being trampled by a giraffe on a conservancy in South Africa, while her mother is in critical condition.
The 16-month-old girl lived with her mother at the luxury Kuleni Game Park. Police are trying to figure out what happened as it’s unusual for giraffes to attack people and they are a common feature in game lodges in South Africa.
“Giraffe” is No. 46 on the All-Species List. “Man” is now No. 398.
--In Florida’s annual 10-day contest to see who can round up the most pythons, perhaps the most important contest in the world, participants removed 230 Burmese pythons from the Everglades, thus saving countless little mammals, and small babies.
Nearly 1,000 people from 32 states, Canada and Latvia took part in the Florida Python Challenge, where the goal is to remove as many of this invasive species as possible.
And the winner of the $10,000 (yes, $10,000) top prize for capturing the most snakes was Matthew Concepcion, who caught 28 – 13 more than the second-place winner.
You rock, Matthew! The world thanks you.
Heck, run for President!
Dustin Crum won a $1,500 prize for capturing the longest python at over 11 feet. Goodness gracious.
Top 3 songs for the week of 10/24/81: #1 “Arthur’s Theme” (Christopher Cross) #2 “Endless Love” (Diana Ross & Lionel Richie…ugh…) #3 “Start Me Up” (The Rolling Stones)…and…#4 “For Your Eyes Only” (Sheena Easton) #5 “Step By Step” (Eddie Rabbitt…underrated artist…) #6 “Private Eyes” (Daryl Hall & John Oates) #7 “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (Stevie Nicks (with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers) #8 “Hard To Say” (Dan Fogelberg #9 “The Night Owls” (Little River Band) #10 “I’ve Done Everything For You” (Rick Springfield…time to go back to the 60s…)
Cleveland Browns Quiz Answers: 1) 20,000 passing yards…Brian Sipe (1974-83), 23,713, 154 TD passes; Otto Graham (1946-55), 23,584, 174 TDs; Bernie Kosar (1985-93), 21,904, 116 TDs. 2) Frank Ryan (1962-68) had 134 touchdown passes (13,361 yards). 3) 5,000 rushing yards….Jim Brown (1957-65), 12,312; Leroy Kelly (1964-73), 7,274; Mike Pruitt (1976-84), 6,540; Greg Pruitt (1973-81), 5,496; Nick Chubb (2018-22), 5,465*; Kevin Mack (1985-93), 5,123. 4) 5,000 receiving yards….Ozzie Newsome (1978-90), 7,980; Dante Lavelli (1946-56), 6,488; Mac Speedie (1946-52); 5,602; Ray Renfro (1952-63), 5,508; Gary Collins (1962-71), 5,299; Paul Warfield (1964-77), 5,210. Warfield averaged 20.1 yards per reception for his career.
*Add 91 yards for Chubb, today’s total against the Ravens on 16 carries.
Add-on up top by noon, Wed.