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Dallas Keuchel strikes out 10, Astros beat Yanks in ALCS opener
HOUSTON — Dallas Keuchel dominated the Yankees again, striking out 10 in seven scoreless innings to lead the Houston Astros over New York 2-1 on Friday night in the AL Championship Series opener. Keuchel entered with a 1.24 ERA against the Yankees in regular season starts plus six shutout innings in the 2015 AL wild card game, He allowed four hits — all singles — walked one and joined Nolan Ryan and Mike Scott as the only Astros pitchers to reach double digits in strikeouts in a postseason game. “It’s just a good combination of command and pitchability,” Keuchel said. “When I’m behind in the count, I feel just as good as if I’m 0-2. I think that’s one of the biggest keys for me recently.” “He’s got that late movement on both sides of the plate,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit RBI singles in the fourth off loser Masahiro Tanaka, and left fielder Marwin Gonzalez threw out Greg Bird at the plate trying to score on Aaron Judge’s two-out single in the fifth. Bird homered off Ken Giles with two outs in the ninth, and the closer struck out pinch-hitter Jacoby Ellsbury. Giles escaped a two-out jam in the eighth by strikeing out Didi Gregorius. Greeted by MVP chants each time to the plate, Jose Altuve had three more hits and at 11 for 19 (.579) has the most hits in a team’s first five postseason games since Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki in 2001. Houston is in the Championship Series for the first time since beating St. Louis in 2005. The Yankees, who overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat Cleveland in the Division Series, lost their sixth straight ALCS game since 2010. After the Astros totaled eight runs in the first innings of their four AL Division Series games, Tanaka kept the Astros hitless until Altuve’s infield single rolled through the pitcher’s legs in the fourth. Altuve swiped second before scoring on Correa’s single. Gurriel followed with a two-out single, his 10th hit of the postseason. Bird singled to start the fifth and Matt Holliday, making his first appearance of the postseason, reached when Altuve dropped his slow bouncer to second for an error. Judge singled with two outs and Gonzalez, throwing with such force that he fell to the ground, made a one-hop throw to catcher Brian McCann, who tagged the sliding Bird. to tag Bird at home to end the inning. The call was upheld in a video review. Primarily an infielder, Gonzalez had just two outfield assists in the regular season. He beat his hand into his glove three times in celebration after watching McCann make the tag. Related ArticlesOctober 13, 2017 Chicago Cubs plane diverted to Albuquerque for medical issue October 12, 2017 Cubs come back on Max Scherzer to beat Nationals in NLDS Game 5 October 12, 2017 Dallas Keuchel looks to continue success against Yankees in ALCS October 12, 2017 Gio Gonzalez named Nationals starter for Game 5 of NLDS vs. Cubs October 11, 2017 Yankees complete comeback, beat Indians in Game 5 of ALDS UP NEXT Yankees: Luis Severino will make his third start of this postseason on Saturday. Severino yielded three runs and four hits in seven innings of a win in Game 4 of the ALDS to bounce back after allowing three runs and getting just one out in the wild-card game. “I feel good, I feel confident in myself,” he said. “I knew that that first start I did, that wasn’t me, and I made adjustments. That’s how we do it; we make adjustments and the second start I put in place those adjustments and did good.” Astros: Justin Verlander is scheduled to make his 18th playoff start on Saturday. Verlander got the win in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Red Sox and picked up win No. 2 of this postseason when he made his first career relief appearance in Game 4. He’s 9-5 with a 3.36 ERA and 115 strikeouts in his postseason career. [...]
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Rockies 2017 retrospect: Young pitchers made strides, offense disappointed
The image lingers: Charlie Blackmon, standing in the center of the jubilant Rockies clubhouse at Coors Field, drenched in champagne and beer and encircled by teammates chanting, “M-V-P! M-V-P!” The Sept. 30 snapshot captured the night the Rockies clinched the National League’s second wild-card spot and qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2009. They finished with an 87-75 record, the third-best record in franchise history. And, despite an 11-8, one-and-done loss to Arizona in the wild-card game, 2017 was a leap forward for the Rockies, who snapped a streak of six consecutive seasons of losing baseball during which they had averaged 92 losses. A closer look at key statistics reveals the good and bad, and points to major questions for  2018: Getting started: General manager Jeff Bridich‘s blueprint was clear. He invested money last winter to shore up a collapsed bullpen and counted on his young starters to mature. Despite expected hiccups and some late-season fatigue, the kids for the most part delivered. Colorado’s four rookie starters — Kyle Freeland, Jeff Hoffman, German Márquez and Antonio Senzatela — started a combined 93 games, with the Rockies going 53-40. The quartet had a combined ERA of 4.65.  Freeland (11-11), Marquez (11-7) and Senzatela (10-5) were the first rookie trio to win at least 10 games for the same team in more than a decade, since Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and Scott Olsen did it with Miami in 2006. Overall, Rockies starters went 63-56, the fifth-most wins in the NL and the second-most in franchise history. The starters’ 4.59 ERA was the fifth-lowest in franchise history and the ninth-lowest in the NL. Unless the Rockies sign a veteran starter (unlikely), or engineer a trade for one (possible), three of the rookies will join Jon Gray, 25, and Chad Bettis, 28, in the starting rotation next season. The future is in young hands. Bullpen rebuild: The Rockies 2016 bullpen was a disaster, as evidenced by its NL-worst 5.10 ERA. To rectify that, Bridich signed right-handed closer Greg Holland to a contract that eventually paid him $15 million. Colorado also signed left-hander Mike Dunn to a three-year, $19 million deal. At the trade deadline, Bridich acquired right-hander Pat Neshek from Philadelphia, and Neshek delivered – until the playoff loss – going 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA and issuing just one walk vs. 24 strikeouts. On balance, Rockies relievers improved significantly, compiling a 4.40 ERA, the seventh-lowest in franchise history. Colorado’s 47 saves were the most in franchise history and the fourth-most in MLB. Holland had 41 of those saves, tying a franchise record. Bridich also had made it clear that he wanted relievers who could get strikeouts when the going got tough. The strategy worked, at times, as the bullpen’s 549 strikeouts were the second-most in franchise history. Related ArticlesOctober 12, 2017 Greg Holland declines option with Rockies, according to report, will become free agent October 9, 2017 Lunch Special: Could Jonathan Lucroy and Greg Holland return to the Rockies next year? October 8, 2017 GM Jeff Bridich facing critical free-agent decisions as Rockies enter offseason October 7, 2017 Kiszla: Thank you, Carlos Gonzalez, for bringing joy as big as the Rockies to LoDo for 9 years October 6, 2017 MLB finds no evidence that Diamondbacks used Apple Watch to steal signs from Rockies Moving forward, however, huge questions loom, especially with Holland, Neshek and left-hander Jake McGee (0-2, 3.61 ERA) all becoming free agents. That leaves the Rockies without a closer and two key set-up men. Holland, who declined his $15 million player option, seems unlikely to re-sign with Colorado. Moreover, there are questions about whether not the Rockies should spend big money to bring him back. After a sensational start, Holland slumped. From June 15 on, he went 3-6 with four blown saves in 22 opportunities and a 5.51 ERA. The Rockies might have a closer on their roster, with hard-throwing but still raw Carlos Estevez a candidate. Or the club could convert one of their young starters into a closer. The bottom line: the bullpen needs shoring up, again. Hit and miss. On the surface, the Rockies’ offense looked powerful, as it finished first in the NL in batting average (.273) and runs scored (824). MVP candidates Nolan Arenado and Blackmon each hit 37 home runs and combined for 234 RBIs, while first baseman Mark Reynolds, 34, added 30 home runs and 97 RBIs. Dig a bit deeper, however, and it’s clear that the Rockies’ offense was a disappointment. Despite playing half their games in a hitting friendly park, Coors Field, their 192 home runs ranked 21st in the major leagues during a season in which an all-time r [...]
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No. 6 Highlands Ranch football outslugs No. 9 Fountain-Fort Carson in Mount Lincoln action
One of the biggest complaints about the waterfall system currently used in Colorado high school football is that its top-heavy leagues — often headlined by one elite team — result in blowout after blowout during the second half of the regular season. Such was not the case Friday night at Shea Stadium, as No. 6 Highlands Ranch outslugged No. 9 Fountain-Fort Carson 38-24 in a back-and-forth battle in the Mount Lincoln conference, which very well could be the deepest league in Class 5A with No. 1 Valor Christian (7-0), Lakewood (5-2) and Poudre (4-2) also of note. Two clutch second-half drives by Highlands Ranch were the difference in the game, while junior running back Dominic Bettini had three touchdowns as the Falcons’ big men controlled the trenches when it mattered most. “Coming in, we knew it was going to be a dog fight,” Bettini said. “Fountain’s a really good team, and it’s a league game, so when they tied it in the third quarter, we looked at each other on the sideline and said, ‘OK, let’s go.’ Because this is what we strive for — a rough, physical dog fight.” Highlands Ranch grabbed the momentum on the game’s first play from scrimmage, when senior safety Joseph Alber — also the team’s starting quarterback for the night — intercepted Trojans senior Eric Donnell to set up an early 3-0 Falcons lead. “I knew it was going to be a pass from his eyes, and from our film work, we saw that he liked to chuck it up and trust his guys,” Alber said. “I knew that if I hung back in the secondary, I could swat the ball down or make a play on it.” But Donnell led his offense down the field on the ensuing drive, which ended in a chip-shot field goal that sailed wide left. The Falcons compounded that missed kick with an impressive response drive, this time marked by a 65-yard touchdown run by Bettini to make it a 10-0 advantage with 11:22 to play in the second. But Fountain-Fort Carson took advantage of a muffed punt inside Falcons territory to get on the board next, with Donnell’s screen pass to senior running back Gavin Green cutting the score to 10-7. The teams continued to trade scores throughout the rest of the first half, with an Alber 1-yard touchdown run and a Fountain-Fort Carson 35-yard field goal to send the teams into the half with Highlands Ranch leading 17-10. And even though the Trojans were able to strike first in the second half via another Donnell touchdown pass that tied the game at 17, it was the Falcons who owned the rest of the game via one touchdown run by junior Jacob Krzeminski and two more by Bettini. “It’s an honor running behind those guys,” Bettini said. “Two of them (center Drake Nugent and guard Austin Johnson) have college offers already, and the whole line simply doesn’t get enough credit as a whole. They were as good tonight as they’ve been all fall.” Highlands Ranch (6-1) hosts Valor Christian next Friday, while Fountain-Fort Carson (4-3) plays at Legend on Thursday night. “We’ve got to stick to our guns against Valor, and stick to our game plan,” Bettini said. “We’ve circled them on our calendar as a really big game, and we have high expectations for ourselves.” Listen to the archived broadcast: [...]
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Prep football rundown: How 5A, 4A ranked teams fared in Week 7 action
Here’s how the teams in the Post Preps power rankings fared in Week 7 in the second week of conference play around the state. The next power rankings come out Monday afternoon. 5A FOOTBALL No. 1 Valor Christian (7-0) beat Lakewood (5-2) 41-7 in another blowout victory for the clear championship favorite, as senior Easton Cecil’s rushing touchdowns and an interception by senior defensive back Alexis Chavez-Salinas were among many Eagles highlights. No. 2 Pomona (5-2) beat Hinkley (1-6) 42-7 on Saturday in a Mount Evans league game. No. 3 Eaglecrest (7-0) beat Rangeview (1-6) 48-7 behind a big second-half effort, with senior tailback Kenny Wantings’ four rushing touchdowns — made possible by a dominant Raptors offensive live — leading the way. No. 4 Regis Jesuit (6-1) beat Douglas County (1-6) 47-0 on Thursday as senior defensive end Jake Heimlicher, senior linebacker Tama Tuitele and the stout Raiders defense limited the Huskies to just 45 total yards. No. 5 Cherry Creek (5-2) beat Denver East (1-6) 56-28 on Thursday as junior Alex Padilla threw for 217 yards and three touchdowns, while the Bruins used eight different rushers to rack up 333 yards and four scores. No. 6 Highlands Ranch (6-1) beat No. 9 Fountain-Fort Carson (4-3) 38-24 thanks to junior running back Dominic Bettini’s three rushing touchdowns and the Falcons’ big men controlling the trenches when it mattered most. No. 7 Grandview (5-2) beat Smoky Hill (1-6) 47-0 on Thursday in the third consecutive win for coach John Schultz’s squad, which looks to be saving its best football for the second half of the season. No. 8 Columbine (6-1) beat Mullen (3-4) 41-24 on Thursday thanks to senior running back Conner Snow’s 130 yards and two touchdowns, plus 102 yards and two touchdowns through the air by junior quarterback Logan Dearment. No. 9 Fountain-Fort Carson (4-3) lost to No. 6 Highlands Ranch (6-1) 38-24 in a tough Mount Lincoln conference loss for the Trojans, who with dual-threat quarterback Eric Donnell leading the way are a 5A playoff sleeper. No. 10 Fairview (6-1) beat ThunderRidge (2-5) 31-21 thanks to an explosive first quarter in which the Knights scored on their first three possessions and sophomore quarterback Aidan Atkinson threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns. 4A FOOTBALL No. 1 Ponderosa (7-0) beat Sand Creek (1-6) 47-0 as senior linebacker Ian Clear recorded a pick-six for the second straight week while senior Jevon Glover ran for three scores behind what’s looking like the most talented line in all of 4A. No. 2 Pine Creek (6-1) beat No. 8 Pueblo West (6-1) 21-14 on Thursday as sophomore David Moore III ran for 104 yards and a score, and senior cornerback Xavier Hill added a fumble recovery on defense. No. 3 Chatfield (6-1) beat Adams City (2-5) 57-0 as the Chargers defense, headlined by senior middle linebacker Cameron Manzanares, pitched its third shutout of the fall and fifth game in which the unit has allowed one score or fewer. No. 4 Windsor (6-1) beat No. 5 Monarch (6-1) 35-17 as fourth-quarter touchdown runs by senior running back Jaedyn Traut and senior quarterback Connor Apodaca iced the game for the Wizards. No. 5 Monarch (6-1) lost to No. 4 Windsor (6-1) 35-17 despite taking a 17-14 lead in the third quarter, after which Windsor controlled the tempo and momentum of the Northern League affair. No. 6 Fruita Monument (7-0) remained unbeaten with a 48-6 win over Thornton (0-7) on Saturday afternoon. No. 7 Loveland (7-0) beat Niwot (0-7) 63-0 on Thursday as the Indians got off to a 28-0 lead after one quarter thanks to two rushing scores from senior Zach Weinmaster, another one from junior Cody Rakowsky and a passing touchdown by junior Riley Kinney. No. 8 Pueblo West (6-1) lost to No. 2 Pine Creek (6-1) 21-14 on Thursday as the Cyclones couldn’t rally from a 14-0 halftime deficit on the road at District 20 Stadium. No. 9 Standley Lake (6-1) beat Wheat Ridge (2-5) 42-24 on Thursday thanks to two passing touchdowns from junior Alex France and 236 yards and three touchdowns from senior running back Ty Webber. No. 10 Skyline (6-1) beat Greeley Central (2-5) 70-44 via touchdown runs by junior running back Jeremy Hollingsworth and junior quarterback Nate McGregor, as well as a Moses Rivera pick-six, that gave the Falcons a quick 21-0 lead. [...]
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7 takeaways from Denver Nuggets’ open scrimmage at Fort Carson
COLORADO SPRINGS — As the Denver Nuggets move closer to the start of the 2017-18 regular season, they traveled South Friday for a rare open scrimmage at Fort Carson. The Blue team, which featured the Nuggets’ projected starters, beat the White team 84-65. Here are seven observations from the scrimmage. 1. Lineup notes. The point guard running with the rest of the starting lineup (Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap, Wilson Chandler and Gary Harris) was Jamal Murray, who also got the start in Denver’s preseason finale against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Jameer Nelson also got some minutes with the starting group, and played a stretch alongside Murray, who shifted to shooting guard. The second unit (White team) was Emmanuel Mudiay, Will Barton, Juancho Hernangomez, Kenneth Faried and Mason Plumlee. Trey Lyles and Torrey Craig were the other reserves on the Blue team, while Malik Beasley, Tyler Lydon, Darrell Arthur and Monte Morris were also on the White team. Following the scrimmage, coach Michael Malone said there is no additional clarity on the starting point guard and backup power forward competition, though he mentioned Lyles “looked really good” after playing sparingly during the Nuggets’ last two preseason games. “Those battles are still ongoing,” Malone said. “(It’s a) tremendous problem to have. Next Wednesday, obviously, in Utah, (I) won’t be able to play everybody. But we’re gonna use the next couple days to kind of fine-tune and pinpoint who’s gonna give us the best chance to win.” 2. Leaving the Fort unscathed. Malone called the scrimmage “pretty competitive for the most part” and was pleased that nobody got hurt. The Blue team started slow, trailing 17-13 after the first quarter, before seizing the lead and pulling away. And because the scrimmage was public, the coaches did not exactly dip deep into the playbook. “You could see the coaches were a little bit more laid back today,” Harris said. “But it was fun.” 3. Jokic is Jokic. The Nuggets did not release public stats, but Jokic had to flirt with 30 points. And his spin move is still nifty. 4. Will the Thrill. Will Barton looked sharp again, drilling two early 3-pointers, slamming down an alley-oop in the first half, hitting a runner in the lane near the end of the third quarter and converting a tough finish in traffic in the final period. Related ArticlesOctober 13, 2017 Gary Harris says signing lucrative contract extension “hard to describe” October 13, 2017 Kickin’ it with Kiz: Will angry Nuggets fans ever let the team retire the number of Carmelo Anthony? October 12, 2017 Denver Nuggets aim to fix rebounding woes before start of regular season October 12, 2017 Kiszla: When push comes to shove, will Nuggets be tough enough to make the NBA playoffs? October 12, 2017 Gary Harris signs 4-year, $84M contract extension with Denver Nuggets 5. Mudiay’s solid. This was probably the best Mudiay has looked in a public setting since the preseason opener at Golden State two weeks ago. He finished an alley-oop dunk in the final minute of the first half and confidently knocked down some key second-half jumpers. 6. Other highlights. In the second quarter, Plumlee dunked over a flopping Harris, who could only grin as he pulled himself up off the ground. Late in the scrimmage, Lyles followed a Murray missed 3-pointer with a one-handed dunk. 7. For the troops. Malone said the most important part of Friday was to “put on a show for the soldiers — the men and women who sacrifice every day for us.” “Basketball, mission accomplished,” Malone said. “But more importantly, (Friday was about) reminding our guys how grateful we should be for what the military does for us on a daily basis.” [...]
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Garett Bolles hasn’t been perfect. But he’s so far proven why the Broncos wanted him.
Garett Bolles was weeks away from his 25th birthday when the Broncos drafted him 20th overall last spring. With only a year of FBS experience, Bolles was an oversized kid with a grit on the field and eagerness off it. He was a father. He was a husband. He was the atypical first-rounder. And he was exactly who the Broncos wanted as their left tackle. “We just really thought that athletically, the way he plays the game, the mentality he brings to the game, he was in our mind the best left tackle in the draft,” general manager John Elway said then. Bolles, a gentle giant with a mean streak, had no idea what he was in for then. Rookies rarely do, especially when thrown into the fire as a full-time starter on the offensive line. But in the six months since he held his son, Kingston, on a stage in Philadelphia on draft night, donned his first Broncos hat while being introduced at the team’s training facility, and befriended the team’s star pass-rushers who would test him daily at practice, Bolles has more than earned his keep as a bona fide starter. When Bolles debuted in the Broncos’ opener against the Chargers, he became the sixth rookie to start at left tackle for Denver since 1968, when lineups started being tracked. For two seasons the Broncos’ revolving door of tackles has spun with seemingly no end in the wake of Ryan Clady’s knee injury in 2015. Though his career is young, Bolles has provided stability. In four games, he has played 93.2 percent of the offense, third-most on the line behind center Matt Paradis and right tackle Menelik Watson. Pro Football Focus (PFF) grades Bolles as the 35th-best tackle in the league overall and tied for fourth in run-blocking, which is his strength. “They drafted me for a reason, to come in here and bring something that the O-line was missing,” Bolles said. “They brought in Menelik (Watson) and they brought in Ron Leary, so we just came in here and did what we needed to do.” But perfect, he hasn’t been. He was never expected to be in Year 1. “For a young lineman it’s always your assignment,” coach Vance Joseph said. “Fronts move at different pressures. He’s made some error with that, we all have. He’s gotten better with every game we’ve played. Again, it’s a lack of experience sometimes, seeing certain twists and certain pressure. As far as blocking his guy one-on-one, he can do that.” Though the Broncos’ line collectively has struggled with pass protection, Bolles has allowed only one of the 13 sacks on quarterback Trevor Siemian, and 14 total pressures while facing some of the league’s elite rushers. “I think just getting better every week. It’s not just one phase of it. We go against some great pass rushers so he’s kind of learning how to play against each guy,” offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said. “He’s still learning, but he’s really doing a good job.” Related Articles Broncos Q&A: Brandon Marshall opens up about NFL’s national anthem controversy Broncos rule out WR Cody Latimer, Giants rule out seven players Giants at Broncos: Who has the edge? The NFL could mandate players stand for the anthem. Players, Broncos included, are divided in their opinions. Broncos’ Von Miller: “You have to be desperate for a win or it’s not going to happen.” In his first NFL game, Bolles was tasked with containing Los Angeles Chargers’ Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. In Week 2, he took on the league’s current sack leader, Dallas’ DeMarcus Lawrence. In Week 3, he faced the Bills’ stout front seven that includes Jerry Hughes and Lorenzo Alexander. And in Week 4, he was introduced to Oakland’s reigning defensive player of the year Khalil Mack. The Broncos gifted Bolles with three months of facing Von Miller and, when healthy, Shane Ray in organized team activities and training camp. Bolles’ introduction to the NFL was also an introduction to the game’s toughest pass rusher. In between one-on-one drills in camp, Miller would often take Bolles to the side to show him why and how he got beat, and to teach him hand technique and footwork. “We drafted Garett Bolles and after about a week of training camp he was our best pass protector, so he played,” Joseph said. “It was about him earning a job. Now if he wasn’t ready to play and wasn’t one of our best tackles, he wouldn’t be the starter. He was one of our better guys blocking Von and blocking those guys on our defense, which is a tough deal. He did a good job versus those guys so we thought he could play. It’s panned out so far.” The lessons were critical to Bolles’ NFL start. They were also part of [...]
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Titans wide receiver regrets tweeting threat to quit football over anthem protest
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews says he made a bad decision on Twitter to threaten to quit football if the NFL institutes a new rule mandating players stand for the national anthem. Asked Friday if he stands by that initial statement, Matthews said “not right now.” “Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that,” Matthews said. “I know the owners got a meeting next (week). Let’s just hope we don’t get to that.” Matthews quickly deleted the tweet Thursday before practice, but his comments had been caught by a screen grab. Matthews said he was scrolling through Twitter during some free time when he responded to a question from a Nashville TV reporter. Then he hit delete. “Sometimes people, as you all know, tweet some ignorant things out at some moments, and that was an ignorant thing I tweeted out at that given moment,” Matthews said. “And I take full responsibility, and that’s why it went down right after. Somebody caught me with a screen shot.” One of the Titans’ starting receivers, Matthews has stayed in the locker room during the national anthem through the last two games in protest of President Donald Trump’s comments on NFL players. Matthews was not available Thursday after practice before the locker room closed to reporters. Matthews is in the second of a three-year deal with Tennessee. He has started 13 of his 21 games since joining the Titans as a free agent last season, and he has 20 catches for 284 yards and a touchdown this season. His father is a retired master sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, and his half brother also served in the Marines before being killed in Afghanistan in October 2015 as a private defense contractor. The receiver wears a bracelet with his brother’s name and the Marine logo. Related ArticlesOctober 14, 2017 Kiszla: The more boring the Broncos get on offense, the better football team they become October 13, 2017 Ezekiel Elliott to miss Cowboys’ next six games after court reinstates suspension October 12, 2017 Carson Wentz throws 3 TD passes, Eagles beat Panthers 28-23 October 12, 2017 The NFL could mandate players stand for the anthem. Players, Broncos included, are divided in their opinions. October 12, 2017 John Kelly pushes back against perception of White House chaos Matthews said he had not talked with coach Mike Mularkey or Titans general manager Jon Robinson about his tweet. Matthews said it’s unfortunate he brought this distraction to the Titans (2-3) who host Indianapolis (2-3) on Monday night. He said he takes full responsibility for what happened with his social media flurry. “In my eyes, it just gives everybody an eye-opener of what African-Americans, minorities have to go through by just making decisions that we feel are right,” Matthews said of the reactions he gets on social media. Notes: Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota practiced Friday but was limited again. LT Taylor Lewan (left knee) practiced fully. The Titans will update the status of injured players Saturday afternoon for Monday night’s game. [...]
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Kiszla: The more boring the Broncos get on offense, the better football team they become
Watching the Broncos play is a good way to induce a nap on the couch. They play boring football. But get used to it. Boring football is the best way for Denver to make itself a Super Bowl contender. John Elway, the Hall of Fame quarterback, has turned the Broncos into a ground-and-pound team. The “Star Wars” numbers of Peyton Manning? They’re gone, and not coming back anytime soon. Denver coach Vance Joseph is channeling his inner Bill Parcells. Throw the rock? Forget that noise. Maybe Pro Bowl receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders should change their jersey numbers to something more appropriate, like 62 and 79. They are now $21 million worth of skilled blocking talent. And don’t even bother to ask Joseph where the offensive fireworks have gone. “I view it as we’re 3-1,” said Joseph, proud of the team’s stellar record. “I’m not concerned about the numbers.” But the numbers don’t lie. And the statistics through four games of this young NFL season are revealing. Denver is running for 4.4 yards per carry, up from 3.6 yards last season, an improvement from 28th to 10th among 32 NFL teams. Denver has thrown the football on 51.7 percent of its snaps this season, which ranks 29th in the league and has turned Siemian into the ultimate game-manager. Pass attempts per game are down significantly from 2016, while running plays called on first down have increased significantly. And perhaps most important of all, the Denver offense ranks No. 4 in the league when it comes to time of possession, at 32 minutes, 38 seconds, up from 28th in 2016, when the Broncos went three-and-out far too often. When Elway spent time and effort beefing up his offensive line after Denver missed the playoffs in 2016, it wasn’t in the hope of turning quarterback Trevor Siemian into Aaron Rodgers. It was a practical response to building a team around linebacker Von Miller and a championship-caliber defense. Former coach Gary Kubiak and his staff were slammed a year ago for painfully conservative play-calling. It also was widely touted that new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy would allow the Broncos to open up their attack. But the game plan for this team was established by Elway way back in November 2014, when an aging Manning was ineffective throwing the football 54 times during a 22-7 loss at St. Louis, and the Broncos have been honing a smash-mouth style of play for nearly three years. Denver is now firmly established as a run-first team that wants to force the opposition into costly mistakes. It’s not always pretty. But it can be effective in the cold weather of the playoffs. The recent hand-wringing about failure to get Thomas and Sanders more touches is overblown, because so long as Denver keeps winning, the receivers won’t gripe. Related Articles Lunch Special: Denver sports chat with Mark Kiszla Kiszla: When push comes to shove, will Nuggets be tough enough to make the NBA playoffs? Kiszla: Here is NFL’s chance to be better than Washington politicians in tackling anthem controversy Kiszla: Thank you, Carlos Gonzalez, for bringing joy as big as the Rockies to LoDo for 9 years Lunch Special: What’s been the biggest surprise of the Broncos’ season so far? “We’re trying to score points any way we can,” McCoy said. Might he open up the offense if defenses begin stacking the box against Denver? Of course. But consider this: In 18 NFL starts, Siemian’s record when he throws the ball fewer than 35 times is 8-1. And when Siemian throws it 35 times or more? His record is 3-6. The way the Broncos are set up, points will only be easy to come by in games when cornerback Aqib Talib takes an interception to the house or a turnover gives the Denver offense a short field, as was the case in the rout of Dallas. What the Broncos really want is an offense that shortens the clock, leaving a well-rested defense to turn every game into a long, miserable day for the opposing quarterback. Boring? Only if Denver loses. [...]
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Avalanche dominates, but wins a tight one over Anaheim
An offensive attack not seen in years at the Pepsi Center developed Friday night. In dominating possession, limiting turnovers, using tremendous speed and creating second chances on seemingly every rush, the Avalanche played a thrilling brand of hockey before an appreciative, long-suffering crowd. The Anaheim Ducks were severely winged. Colorado, however, failed to capitalize on 6-of-8 power plays and had two disallowed goals because of goaltender interference to skate away with a tight triumph. A power-play goal by Avs defenseman Tyson Barrie broke a 1-1 tie at 14:21 of the third period and led to a 3-1 victory after a 190-foot empty-net goal by defenseman Nikita Zadorov with 0.5 seconds left. Suddenly, the 2016-17 last-place Avalanche is 4-1 and looking like a playoff contender. After the game, the thought-to-be serious injury to standout center Nathan MacKinnon became a relief. MacKinnon left the game in the first period with an eye injury, after he was high-sticked in the face by the Ducks’ Derek Grant, who was trying to lift MacKinnon’s stick beside the Anaheim net. Avs coach Jared Bednar said MacKinnon should be fine and play Saturday in Dallas. “He had some vision problems immediately after but right now things have settled down and he should be good to go for tomorrow,” Bednar said. Said Avs captain Gabe Landeskog: “We were scared for him there. Really scared for him. Let alone losing him for the game or for the season, it’s the rest of your life. You only have two eyes.” Former Ducks goalie Jonathan Bernier got the start for Colorado, which outshot Anaheim 30-8 through two periods and 39-18 for the game. The Avs appeared to go ahead 2-0 in the second period but forward Blake Comeau was called for goalie interference on Reto Berra before linemate Matt Nieto shot the puck past Berra, the former Av. Related ArticlesOctober 13, 2017 Avalanche rookie Tyson Jost out 1-2 games with bone bruise October 12, 2017 Nathan MacKinnon doing everything but scoring goals for Avalanche October 12, 2017 Adam Foote joins Denver NHL player agency KO Sports Inc. October 11, 2017 Avalanche hang on to beat Bruins in home opener at Pepsi Center October 11, 2017 Nail Yakupov glad to be in Colorado with Avalanche The Avs used their coach’s challenge to try to overturn the call on the ice, but instead only lost their timeout as the call stood. In the third period, after the Ducks tied it 1-1 with a short-handed goal, Alex Kerfoot’s goal was disallowed because referees ruled Kerfoot interfered with Berra before a shot from the point caromed in the net off Kerfoot’s back. Colorado might have overturned the call with a coach’s challenge, but had already used it. Bernier improved to 1-1 and the Avs are now 2-0 at home. “Last two games have been pretty easy for the goalies, especially tonight,” Bernier said. “We played the right way for 60 (minutes). We used our speed. We cycled the puck. We spent a lot of time in their zone. We wore them down.” Injury-plagued Anaheim played without a handful of its best players in forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler and defensemen Kevin Bieksa, Sami Vantanen and Hampus Lindholm. But the Ducks managed to stay in the game with their penalty kill and their short-handed goal by defenseman Brandon Montour early in the third period. “I liked a lot of what we did,” Bednar said. “No. 1, we were skating tonight. We were skating back into our zone, getting give guys in there to break out and we did that cleanly a lot. And then up ice we were relentless on the puck. We created power plays. We created secondary opportunities by tracking the puck, forcing turnovers and stealing pucks. We were skating and we were relentless on it.” Colorado was scheduled to depart for Dallas following the game and will play the Stars on Saturday night to begin a two-game trip. The Avs play at Nashville on Tuesday. [...]
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Film study: What went wrong on the big plays the Broncos have allowed?
The No Fly Zone has been giving up some big plays. No defense, no matter how good, can prevent all big plays (at least in the NFL). The 2000 Ravens gave up 33, 20+ yard passes and nine that were 40 or longer. They also allowed (only!) three runs of 20 yards or more and no runs of 40 or more. You find the same thing if you look at other elite defenses from the past 20 years in the NFL. They still give up the occasional big play. Some times the defense can do everything right and the opposing offense just makes a great play, but more often than not, when a big play happens, someone on the defense made a mistake. The No Fly Zone gave up a total of 32 passing plays of 20 yards or more in 2016. They have already allowed 10 so far this year, putting them on pace for about the same number that the 2015 version of the No Fly Zone allowed - 41. The Denver Broncos defense has also allowed one long run (the first run of the season against them went for 21 yards). I decided to try and determine what happened on the 11 big plays that our defense has allowed this year and the one big play that didn’t happen (Jared Cook’s dropped TD from last game). Here is a listing of them chronologically and then I will follow will film review to help us figure of what happened on most of these plays and why. Date Tm Quarter Time Down ToGo Location Score Detail Yds 9/11/2017 Chargers 1 12:30 1 15 SDG 6 0-0 Melvin Gordon left guard for 21 yards (tackle by Justin Simmons) 21 9/11/2017 Chargers 4 7:07 1 10 DEN 38 20-24 Philip Rivers pass complete deep left to Travis Benjamin for 38 yards, touchdown 38 9/17/2017 Cowboys 4 14:32 2 13 DEN 28 16-35 Dak Prescott pass complete deep left to Jason Witten for 28 yards, touchdown 28 9/24/2017 Bills 2 15:00 3 6 BUF 30 0-3 Tyrod Taylor pass complete short left to Jordan Matthews for 28 yards (tackle by Darian Stewart) 28 9/24/2017 Bills 2 14:07 2 8 DEN 40 0-3 Tyrod Taylor pass complete deep right to Kaelin Clay for 28 yards (tackle by Brandon Marshall) 28 9/24/2017 Bills 3 7:40 1 10 BUF 31 13-16 Tyrod Taylor pass complete deep left to Nick O'Leary for 31 yards 31 9/24/2017 Bills 3 6:54 2 3 DEN 31 13-16 Tyrod Taylor pass complete deep right to Jordan Matthews for 25 yards (tackle by Chris Harris) 25 10/1/2017 Raiders 2 4:33 3 6 RAI 16 10-7 Derek Carr pass complete short right to Jalen Richard for 20 yards (tackle by Darian Stewart) 20 10/1/2017 Raiders 2 3:46 1 10 RAI 36 10-7 Derek Carr pass complete deep right to Johnny Holton for 64 yards, touchdown 64 10/1/2017 Raiders 4 8:03 1 10 RAI 18 16-7 EJ Manuel pass complete deep left to Jared Cook for 28 yards (tackle by Todd Davis) 28 10/1/2017 Raiders 4 7:30 1 10 RAI 46 16-7 EJ Manuel pass complete short middle to Seth Roberts for 22 yards (tackle by Chris Harris) 22 10/1/2017 Raiders 4 5:32 3 10 DEN 20 16-7 E.Manuel pass incomplete deep middle to J.Cook. 0 Gordon’s big run The Chargers started with a false start so they are in 1st and 15. They’ve got their fullback offset, TE right and twins left. We are in our base with a single high safety deep (Justin Simmons out of the picture), Darian Stewart is walked up to 5 yards from the LOS. Chris Harris Jr and Aqib Talib are showing man coverage. San Diego LA runs a trap by pulling their LG. Derek Wolfe does what you are supposed to do when you feel a trap block, dive to clog the hole. Shaq Barrett gets blocked well by their FB. Brandon Marshall gets held by their RT (shown circled in red while getting hugged). Domata Peko and Adam Gotsis are just out of reach of Gordon when he slips through the hole. Stewart gets caught in the wash and Melvin Gordon is running free until Simmons can bring him down 21 yards later. Without the un-called holding penalty, this would have been a two or three yard gain as Marshall would have easily made the stop. No real blame on the D for this big play. Travis Benjamin’s 38-yd TD catch Prior to this play Stewart, Harris and Will Parks are all talking about who is covering whom. LA has 4 receivers with Antonio Gates and Travis [...]
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Broncos-Giants injury update: The Giants are down a lot of players this week
The New York Giants will be down eight players this week and that doesn’t even include Odell Beckham or Brandon Marshall. The Denver Broncos will have no excuses if they somehow lose to the winless and hapless New York Giants. Those tend to be the worst kinds of games, since winning in the NFL is almost always razor thin. The Broncos will be without Cody Latimer and Paxton Lynch again this week, but other than that it will be all hands on deck. However, the Giants will be without a lot of starter-quality talent. STATUS DEFINITIONS: Did not participate (DNP); Limited: means less than 100 percent of a player’s normal repetitions; Full: 100 percent of player’s normal repetitions; Out: will not play; Doubtful: Unlikely to play; Questionable: Uncertain to play. [...]
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‘Thursday Night Football’ Snares 14.6M Viewers, Down Despite Eagles’ Win – Update
UPDATED, 2:05 PM: Last night’s Thursday Night Football turns out to be, to paraphrase Herman’s Hermits, a case of third verse same as the first. With the final numbers now in, the Philadelphia Eagles vs. the Carolina Panthers game saw the City of Brotherly Love team win, the national anthem not shown and CBS and the NFL Network down from last week. Snagging 14.6 million viewers over the two outlets, the 2017-2018 Week 6 match-up is down 5% from the New England Patriots victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. [...]
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[Mile High Sports] – Casey Light | Mile High Sports
... ess otherwise noted. SUBSCRIBE LISTEN LIVE Broncos Rockies Nuggets Avalanche Rapids Buffs Rams Friday, October 13, 2017 LOG IN Welcome! Log into your account Fo ... [...]
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