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  • Lions off to 3-1 start Sep 28, 2014 3:20 PM
    Matthew Stafford threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score and the Detroit Lions overcame Calvin Johnson being limited by an ankle injury to beat the New York Jets 24-17 on Sunday. Jeremy Ross and Eric Ebron caught scoring passes for the Lions, who are off to a 3-1 start for the second straight season. Stafford finished 24 of 34 for 293 yards. Johnson, who was in and out of the game, was clearly impeded by his injured ankle. He had just two catches for 12 yards. Golden Tate had a big game, catching eight passes for 116 yards. A struggling Geno Smith had two more turnovers as chants of “We Want Vick!” echoed throughout MetLife Stadium at times. The Jets, who made it close on Chris Johnson’s 35-yard run with 6:58 left, fell to 1-3 for the first time in Rex Ryan’s six seasons as coach.

     
  • Gore powers 49ers past Eagles Sep 28, 2014 10:11 PM
    SANTA CLARA, Calif. — An off-balance Colin Kaepernick improvised, threw across his body and across the field, finding Frank Gore open near the opposite sideline more than 20 yards away. Gore bailed out a broken play and helped get the San Francisco 49ers back on track with a big day. He caught that career-best 55-yard touchdown and ran for 119 yards in his first 100-yard game of 2014, leading San Francisco past Philadelphia 26-21 on Sunday to hand the Eagles their first loss. “I don’t think I’ve ever had one quite like that,” Kaepernick said. “It was a great job by Frank.” “Great job by Kap,” Gore offered, standing next to his quarterback on the postgame podium. Coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t see Gore open and had no idea where Kaepernick was going on that play. “Kap did a great job keeping his eyes up field. I had no idea. When he stopped, pulled it up and started to throw, I didn’t know where he was going with the ball,” Harbaugh said. “The speed, the angle, the way he got into the end zone was something. I didn’t think he was going to get it in.” Regardless, the 49ers got Gore involved in the offense again, and it returned them to their winning ways. Hard-nosed defense helped, too. At least for one Sunday, it seems the Niners reclaimed their offensive identity and defensive swagger. The 49ers (2-2) avoided their first three-game losing streak under Harbaugh, containing the league’s top passer. Nick Foles threw two incomplete passes from the 1 in the waning moments after gaining six first downs on a lengthy drive, more than the five the Eagles managed before that. “We just didn’t execute, it’s as simple as that,” Foles said. “I’m not going to break it down or anything.” Foles completed a 22-yard pass to Jeremy Maclin on the right sideline on that late drive. The 49ers challenged whether he had possession, but the play stood, costing the 49ers their final timeout. The Eagles couldn’t pull off the second-half magic that had carried them in their three wins. On a day the 49ers gave up big plays on special teams, Gore delivered. Kaepernick also threw a touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson and Phil Dawson kicked four field goals — two of at least 46 yards. Kaepernick finished 17 for 30 for 218 yards, two TDs and four sacks. Darren Sproles had a career-best 82-yard punt return for a touchdown, Malcolm Jenkins ran an interception 53 yards for a score for the Eagles (3-1). Brad Smith recovered Trey Burton’s blocked punt against Andy Lee for a TD. The 49ers produced in the second half for the first time this season to give Harbaugh a win against former Pac-10 foe Chip Kelly. Antoine Bethea intercepted his first pass with the 49ers and forced a fumble, then the secondary kept the pressure on in the red zone. Perrish Cox made an interception with 41 seconds left to seal it. Gore’s score on the first play of the second quarter was the longest TD catch by a running back this season. “It was an improvisational play, but that’s one of his strengths,” Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis said of Kaepernick. “It’s the skill set that he possesses. He’s able to make plays like that happen.” But on San Francisco’s next series, Kaepernick threw right to Jenkins and he broke three tackles on the way to the end zone. The 49ers won their first game at new Levi’s Stadium, where thousands of fans skipped out at halftime. San Francisco outgained the Eagles 232-73 in the first half, but still trailed 21-13. Then Johnson tiptoed both feet inbounds inside the left pylon in the third quarter for a 12-yard catch, the first second-half TD of the season for San Francisco after it had been outscored 52-3 after halftime in the first three games. Dawson kicked a 51-yarder before halftime, but the NFL’s most-penalized team hurt itself with seven more flags for 60 yards in the first half and 10 total for 80 yards — but none on defense. The Eagles also had 10 penalties for 70. San Francisco right tackle Anthony Davis made his season debut but went down on the final play of the first quarter when Kaepernick took a sack right into the back of Davis’ left knee. Tight end Vernon Davis was sidelined with a back injury early in the third quarter and he was still experiencing spasms after the game, though an X-ray was negative. Davis missed last Sunday’s loss at Arizona with a hurting left ankle. Foles was 21 for 43 for 195 yards and two interceptions. NOTES: Foles missed a chance to join Peyton Manning, Steve Young, Kurt Warner and Drew Brees as the only QBs to open the season with four straight 300-yard passing games. ... 49ers Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree had five catches each.

     
  • Rivers’ 3 TD passes carry Chargers over Jags Sep 28, 2014 10:11 PM
    Philip Rivers showed Blake Bortles how it’s done. Rivers threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns, two to Eddie Royal, and the San Diego Chargers turned back an early scare from the rookie Bortles and the winless Jacksonville Jaguars for a 33-14 victory Sunday. Passing more because the Chargers’ running game is nonexistent due to injuries to Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead, Rivers had his second three-touchdown game of the season. He went 29 of 39. His passer rating was 130; last week it was 131.4 in a 22-10 win at Buffalo. “We weren’t as balanced but we were rolling pretty good in the passing game,” Rivers said. “We spread the ball around today and that was pleasing. It was a collective effort.” Royal had scoring catches of 47 and 43 yards, his second straight two-touchdown game. The Chargers (3-1) extended their winning streak to three. Royal had five catches for 105 yards. Keenan Allen had 10 for 135, both career highs, and Malcom Floyd had a 24-yard touchdown catch. “We saw some things on film that we wanted to take advantage of,” Royal said. “We were throwing the ball well today. Philip looked great. You never know who is going to get the ball. It just happened to be me the last two weeks.” Bortles made his first start for the Jaguars (0-4) and played well for the most part, especially in the first half. He threw one touchdown pass, was intercepted twice and twice had Jacksonville in the lead in the first half. Bortles was 15 of 18 for 149 yards in the first half, which ended with San Diego up 17-14. “I thought we had a decent first half and we have to continue to carry that over to the second half,” Bortles said. “He’s a great quarterback,” said San Diego cornerback Brandon Flowers, who had an interception. “He has a strong arm. He came out like, firing. Did a great job of moving the offense. We just had to get settled in, show them one thing and play another thing. We did a great job on trying to disguise. “I think he’s going to be a real good quarterback in the league.” It was the fifth straight game the Jaguars lost by double digits dating to last season’s finale. They’ve been outscored 152-58 this season. Although the Chargers looked out of sync at times, Rivers helped keep it together. After Toby Gerhart gave Jacksonville a 7-3 lead on a 1-yard run early in the second quarter — the Jaguars’ first TD rushing since Nov. 24 — it took Rivers and the Chargers only five plays to answer. Rivers noticed linebacker Geno Hayes covering Royal, who got wide open for a 47-yard reception to put San Diego up 10-7. Bortles then took advantage of a breakdown in coverage when he completed a 44-yard pass to Allen Hurns, who made a tumbling catch at the Chargers 2. Bortles found Nic Jacobs in the end zone on the next play. Two drives later, Royal found a seam in coverage on third-and-10 from the 43, hauled in Rivers’ pass and outran the coverage to put the Chargers ahead 17-14 a minute before halftime. The Jaguars turned to Bortles at halftime of a blowout loss to Indianapolis a week earlier. He was the fifth Jaguars QB to start a game during his rookie season. All five lost their first start. The third pick overall in the May draft, Bortles was 29 of 37 for 253 yards against San Diego. He was intercepted by Flowers in the third quarter at the Jacksonville 40, setting up Nick Novak’s 34-yard field goal for a 27-14 lead. Novak finished with four field goals. The Chargers ran for only 42 yards. “We don’t have a choice. We have to get better,” coach Mike McCoy said. “The way we are throwing the ball we are going to keep throwing it.” As for the Jaguars, “It went from, ‘It’s what’s going on?’ to now our guys are saying, ‘This is what it could be,’ if we play more consistently,” coach Gus Bradley said. NOTES: Jacksonville cornerback Dwayne Gratz sustained a concussion midway through the second quarter. He was down for several minutes before getting up and walking off on his own power. He was taken straight to the locker room. ... Jaguars wideout Cecil Shorts left with a hamstring injury. ... San Diego cornerback Shareece Wright sustained a knee injury.

     
  • Forte finally gets Bears’ run game going Sep 28, 2014 10:05 PM
    Despite their blowout loss to the Packers Sunday at Soldier Field, the Bears' offense was finally able to get the ground game going with 235 yards, including 122 by Matt Forte, who became just the second player in franchise history with more than 10,000 career yards from scrimmage.

     
  • Buccaneers rally late to stun Steelers Sep 28, 2014 4:06 PM
    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went from woeful to winners in 10 days. Mike Glennon hit a diving Vincent Jackson for a 5-yard touchdown with seven seconds remaining to lift Tampa Bay to a stunning 27-24 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. The Buccaneers (1-3) lost to Atlanta by six touchdowns a week ago but bounced back. Glennon passed for 302 yards in his first start of the season, including a 41-yard catch-and-run by Louis Murphy that set up Jackson’s score. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 314 yards and three touchdowns but Pittsburgh (2-2) couldn’t protect a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter. Antonio Brown caught seven passes for 131 yards and two scores, and Heath Miller added a career-high nine grabs. The Steelers committed 13 penalties for 125 yards.

     
  • Zimmermann throws 1st Nationals no-hitter Sep 28, 2014 3:27 PM
    Jordan Zimmermann pitched the first no-hitter for the Washington Nationals, the gem preserved when defensive replacement Steven Souza Jr. made a diving catch in left field for the final out in a 1-0 victory over the Miami Marlins in a regular-season finale Sunday. Zimmermann (14-5) allowed only two baserunners, finishing with 10 strikeouts and one walk in the fifth no-hitter in the majors this year. Christian Yelich almost wrecked Zimmermann’s bid with two outs in the ninth inning. He sent a long drive to left-center, and Zimmermann leaned his head back and winced, thinking his no-hitter was lost. But Souza, who made his big league debut this year and took over for Ryan Zimmerman to begin the ninth, ran hard into the gap, extended his glove for the sensational catch. Souza used his bare hand to squeeze the ball in his mitt as he fell. Souza hopped up and punched the air. Zimmermann, watching from the mound, raised both arms overhead and pumped his right fist. “I thought that was a double for sure, and here he comes out of nowhere and makes the play,” Zimmermann said. It was the fifth time there has been a no-hitter on the final day of the season. Last year, Henderson Alvarez of the Marlins threw one against Detroit to close the season — on Sunday, he was Miami’s starting pitcher against Zimmermann. The Nationals put a stirring finish to a regular season in which they finished with the best record in the National League.

     
  • Cubs’ Castro looks ahead with optimism Sep 28, 2014 6:01 AM
    Starlin Castro pushed himself and pushed himself, but he was not able to play again this year for the Cubs since suffering a high-ankle sprain on Sept. 2. Although frustrated by that, Castro voiced optimism that good things are on the way for the Cubs.

     
  • It’s a wrap: Sox fall to Royals in Konerko’s final game Sep 28, 2014 4:49 PM
    Paul Konerko was 0-for-3 in his final game with the White Sox on Sunday. Konerko is heading into retirement and the Sox are heading home after losing to the Royals 6-4.

     
  • Oakland A’s clinch wild card berth Sep 28, 2014 5:51 PM
    ARLINGTON, Texas — The Oakland Athletics finally clinched their third consecutive playoff berth — on the last day of the regular season after a prolonged slump. Sonny Gray threw a six-hitter to win for the first time in five September starts, Josh Reddick had an RBI triple and Oakland beat the Texas Rangers 4-0 Sunday to clinch the American League’s second wild card. The A’s lost 30 of their previous 45 games before winning game No. 162. They play the win-or-go-home wild-card game Tuesday night at Kansas City, which won five of the seven games in the season series against Oakland (88-74). After winning the AL West title the past two seasons, Oakland went into its game Aug. 10 with a 72-44 record that was the best in the majors. That was good for a four-game lead in the AL West and an 11-game edge in the wild-card standings. Adam Dunn, acquired by the A’s on Aug. 31, is going to the playoffs for the first time after playing his 2,001st career game — the most by any active player before getting to the postseason. The 34-year-old Dunn is in his 14th season and has said he plans to retire after this season when his contract is set to expire. He waived his no-trade clause for the Chicago White Sox to complete the deal, and previously played for Cincinnati, Arizona and Washington. Gray (14-10) was 12-3 at the end of July, but was 1-7 in his 11 previous starts before Sunday. The right-hander struck out five with no walks in his second career complete-game shutout, both this season against Texas. Nick Martinez (5-12) finished his rookie season allowing two runs and four hits over 5 2-3 innings. He struck out two without a walk. Brandon Moss led off the Oakland second with a double to center, and Reddick followed with a triple over the head of center fielder Leonys Martin. Reddick scored on Stephen Vogt’s bloop single to make it 2-0. Texas had two runners on with no outs in the fifth after Tomas Telis doubled and Ryan Rua got an infield single on a ball that ricocheted off Gray’s left foot. Trainers checked on Gray, who then got out of the inning by striking out Luis Sardinas before Adam Rosales grounded into a double play. Oakland lost five of seven down the stretch to the Rangers, who finished 67-95 overall for their most losses since 99 in 1985. But they were 14-8 under interim manager Tim Bogar after Ron Washington resigned Sept. 5 for personal reasons. UP NEXT Athletics: Midseason addition Jon Lester (16-11 overall, 6-4 in 11 starts for Oakland) is set to start Tuesday night at Kansas City. Rangers: For the first time in five seasons, the Rangers are done after 162 games. Next is the offseason, when the first order of business will be to determine if Bogar will be their manager next season. TRAINER’S ROOM Athletics: Manager Bob Melvin didn’t even check with 3B Josh Donaldson before putting him in the lineup. Donaldson is still sore after awkwardly banging his left knee diving for a ball Friday night, but stayed in that game and played Saturday, when he homered and had a nice defensive play. “There is a lot of character involved in that,” Melvin said. Rangers: Texas used the disabled list 26 times this season for 21 different players who missed a combined 2,011 games. Among the players on the 60-day disabled list that will have to be added back to the 40-man roster are Prince Fielder, Yu Darvish and Shin-Soo Choo.

     
  • Romo leads Cowboys past Saints 38-17 Sep 28, 2014 11:04 PM
    ARLINGTON, Texas — Tony Romo’s back appears to be getting better by the day, and the Dallas Cowboys’ beleaguered defense held on after a strong start. Romo threw three touchdowns passes — two to Terrance Williams — and DeMarco Murray ran for a pair of scores in another 100-yard game in Dallas’ 38-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night. The Cowboys kept Drew Brees and the Saints scoreless in the first half after giving up an NFL-record 40 first downs in a 49-17 blowout loss in New Orleans last year. Brees led two scoring drives early in the fourth quarter to cut a 31-3 deficit in half before the Cowboys regained control. “I think we’re a different team than we were last year,” Romo said. “What you find is you forget it’s the Saints and Drew Brees and just go play.” Dallas reached 3-1 for the first time under coach Jason Garrett after also starting 2-1 the three previous seasons. The Cowboys are tied with Philadelphia for the NFC East lead. The Saints (1-3) couldn’t sustain the momentum from their win over Minnesota and lost to the Cowboys in Texas for the first time since 1991. The Cowboys had 445 yards against former Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who directed the scheme that led to one of the franchise’s worst offensive performances in years last season, about 10 months after they fired him. Romo was 22 of 29 for 262 yards without an interception. He finished an 80-yard drive to open the game with a 6-yard pass to a leaping Williams in the end zone and found him again for 23 yards to put Dallas up 24-9 with 19 seconds left in the first half. The 34-year-old quarterback coming off back surgery scrambled for 21 yards on third down a play before Murray broke free in the secondary and fell across the goal line on a 28-yard run for a 31-3 lead in the third quarter. Dez Bryant had a 18-yard scoring catch late in the fourth quarter to secure the second win for Dallas in the past 10 games against New Orleans. Murray’s first touchdown, a 15-yard run virtually untouched around right end, was set up when Bruce Carter tipped Brees’ pass and Justin Durant intercepted it at the New Orleans 39. The NFL’s leading rusher joined Emmitt Smith as the only Dallas running backs with 100 yards in the first four games of a season, and he didn’t fumble in the first quarter for the first time this season. He had 149 yards. “I’ve always had confidence in myself and my ability and the guys I run behind,” Murray said. The Cowboys led 24-3 at halftime, when Brees had only 84 yards passing after throwing for 838 yards and seven touchdowns without an interception in his past two starts against the Cowboys, both New Orleans wins. The Saints had a team-record 625 yards against Dallas a year ago. But the former Texas high school star got going in the second half at the $1.2 billion home of the Cowboys, about 200 miles from his high school home in Austin. Brees had 256 of his 340 yards passing after halftime, throwing for touchdowns of 12 yards to Josh Hill and 13 yards to Jimmy Graham to get the Saints to 31-17 early in the fourth quarter. The Saints had a chance to get closer, but a drive stalled and punter Thomas Morstead was tackled for a 2-yard loss while trying to throw a pass on a fake punt. Dan Bailey had a 51-yard field to give Dallas a 1-0 lead in the second quarter. It was the 29th straight made field goal for Bailey, who broke Chris Boniol’s franchise record of 27 last week at St. Louis.

     
  • Images: Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers Sep 29, 2014 9:55 AM
    The Chicago Bears faced the Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Bears were defeated in their first meeting by a score of 38-17 to their long time rivals.

     
  • Blackhawks blank Oilers in preseason tilt Sep 28, 2014 10:17 PM
    SASKATOON, Saskatchewan — Scott Darling made 26 saves, and Garrett Ross and Teuvo Teravainen scored 54 seconds apart in the second period to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in a preseason game on Sunday. Ross and Teravainen’s quick strikes gave Chicago a 3-0 lead. Bryan Bickell scored in the first period, and Andrew Shaw and Kris Versteeg added goals in the third. Versteeg scored after he was sent in on a breakaway against Oilers goalie Richard Bachman by a setup feed from Bickell. Bachman made 17 saves for the Oilers. The game was played in front of a crowd of 10,303 spectators at Saskatoon’s Credit Union Centre.

     
  • Rodgers, Packers air it out against Bears Sep 29, 2014 5:05 AM
    The Bears' were defenseless against quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense in a 38-17 defeat at Soldier Field that left both NFC North foes at 2-2, one game behind the Detroit Lions. The Bears' offense piled up 496 yards, including 225 on the ground, but quarterback Jay Cutler's 2 TD passes were offset by a pair of interceptions.

     
  • 5 questions facing the Bulls as camp begins Sep 28, 2014 10:33 PM
    When the Bulls open training camp with Monday's media day, it won't be all about Derrick Rose. Or Pau Gasol. Here are five relevant questions as the Bulls get ready to open a season with high expectations.

     
  • Ominous finish to first half for Bears Sep 28, 2014 9:21 PM
    With the chance to regain the leda Sunday the first half ends with the Bears coming up inches short of the goal line, and after that it was all Packers on their way to a 38-17 victory.

     
  • Cubs see bigger, better things for 2015 Sep 28, 2014 8:04 PM
    The Cubs capped off their 2014 season with a 5-2 victory at Milwaukee. Although they finished with a losing record of 73-89, it marked improvement over last year, and it had first baseman Anthony Rizzo talking about big things for next year.

     
  • Rozner: For next act, Bears’ defense vanishes Sep 28, 2014 8:03 PM
    Aaron Rodgers executed and Bears’ defense was consistently terrible, but nearly all the blame goes to the pass rush, which was nonexistent against a Packers offensive line that had been awful for three weeks.

     
  • Imrem: These aren’t your dad’s Bears, Packers Sep 28, 2014 8:01 PM
    Black and blue looked more like pretty pastels as the Packers and Bears combined for 854 total yards. Vince Lombardi and George Halas must have been wondering "what the heck is going on here?"

     
  • Konerko’s 16-year run with Sox comes to an end Sep 28, 2014 6:41 PM
    Paul Konerko played his final game for the White Sox Sunday in a 6-4 loss to the Royals at U.S. Cellular Field. After 16 seasons with the Sox, Konerko is retiring from baseball.

     
  • Bears Bites: Not many reasons to smile Sep 28, 2014 4:12 PM
    After starting out the season 1-2, Rodgers told freaked-out Packers fans to chillax. If Jay Cutler tried to do the same thing this week after a 2-2 start, how do you think Bears Nation would respond? Think we all know the answer.

     
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