Bears vs. Jets 2017 final score: 3 things we learned in the Bears’ 27-19 victory

Last week, the Chicago Bears waited until the fourth quarter to put everything together. Monday night, Chicago came out firing right away and had to hold on as things got tight late.

Capitalizing on a number of early New York Jets miscues, the Bears dispatched the Jets 27-19 as Jay Cutler improved to 7-1 as Chicago’s quarterback on Monday Night Football.

The Bears (2-1) didn’t blow the Jets’ (1-2) doors off, and New York was able to move the ball on Chicago, especially as the Bears’ defense was once again decimated by injuries. The Bears simply took advantage of the opportunities the Jets gave them by scoring touchdowns, and that wound end up being the difference.

New York had a chance on its last drive, taking the ball to the Bears’ 9-yard line, but Chicago’s pieced-together defense held up.

The Bears’ injuries continue to mount, but Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall prove just how tough they are. Though both are dealing with injuries, the Bears’ wide receivers continue to play through pain. Jeffery (hamstring) was targeted often Monday night, and was able to catch eight passes for 105 yards.

Marshall actually left in the second quarter when he aggravated his right ankle injury, but returned in the second half and caught a touchdown pass that was called back by a Bears penalty.

Now we all know that Condoleeza Rice is also a member of Augusta National which makes you wonder if there are may be some backchannel meetings going on just in case the shit hits the fan and Rice herself will be named the next office secretary to Roger Goodell.2

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NFL picks and predictions, Titans vs. Colts: Indianapolis appears a safe bet

The Indianapolis Colts(1-2) enter Week 4 with few doubters for Sunday’s home game against the Tennessee Titans (1-2), as many are predicting the Colts to come out victorious. The Colts began the season with two consecutive losses but bounced back last Sunday with a resounding win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Meanwhile, the Titans looked fantastic in their season opener, pounding the Kansas City Chiefs 26-10 before dropping ugly games to the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals.

Indianapolis was expected by most pundits to win the AFC South for the second straight year, but it has suffered a bevy of injuries. Middle linebacker Jerrell Freeman has missed time with a hamstring injury, while outside linebacker Robert Mathis is out for the season after tearing his Achilles tendon.

“I really hope someone calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell. If one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone. The commissioner is a liar, and I get to talk about that on my podcast. Please, call me and say I’m in trouble, I dare you.”

The suspension given to Simmons by ESPN for criticizing Goodell is actually one week longer than the original suspension given to Rice for knocking out his girlfriend in an Atlantic City elevator. Simmons’ rant happened after ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” released a report on how the Ravens and NFL attempted to cover up the incident.

ESPN has issued a statement on Simmons’ suspension:

“Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards. We have worked hard to ensure that our recent NFL coverage has met that criteria. Bill Simmons did not meet those obligations in a recent podcast, and as a result we have suspended him for three weeks.”

The Ravens have since released Rice after the video of him striking his now-wife was circulated by TMZ.2

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The Pacers lost six straight games entering the All-Star break.

Brooks Orpik, D, Washington Capitals: “I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a place that has good ice. I think Pittsburgh actually has good ice, after years of Sidney [Crosby] going over … it started with all of us bitching about it. It finally got to the point where Sid would go every day and constructively sit down with the guys who ran the rink and tell them exactly what he felt was wrong with it. It was good dialogue between them, and the ice started getting better and better. That’s the one place I think is consistently pretty good.

David Perron, LW, St. Louis Blues: “I think we all understand the business. There’s concerts, there’s different things. I don’t think it’s great. I think there’s different things in between periods. There are shows. There are so many people skating on the ice. … The temperature when [the stands are] filled up is hot. I wouldn’t want to be the guy trying to fix it because I’m not sure where to start, but it’s definitely something we have to look at.”

The Pacers lost six straight games entering the All-Star break. They sit sixth in the Eastern Conference at 29-28.

ESPN first reported earlier this week that the Philadelphia 76ers’ Jahlil Okafor was among the targets Bird has pursued to fortify the roster around George, Myles Turner and Jeff Teague.

Indiana can’t offer George one of the league’s new designated player extensions — in excess of $200 million, in this case — unless he makes one of the league’s three All-NBA teams this season. The 26-year-old, having recovered admirably from the gruesome leg fracture he suffered on Team USA duty in the summer of 2014, is averaging 22.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game this season.

In his first full day in charge, after Tuesday’s stunning promotion from an advisory role in the wake of the twin dismissals of longtime Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss, Johnson arrived at the Lakers’ offices early Wednesday to work the trade phones and, yes, throw in a call to Bird.235000253135345325-C201-2

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NFL Combine 2016: Wide receiver drills

The NFL Combine will feature a host of top collegiate wide receivers in the country starting on Feb. 17, one year after standout NFL rookies Odell Beckham, Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin took center stage in Indianapolis to showcase their talents before scouts and coaches.

The highlight of the event for the wide receivers is The Gauntlet, a turn-and-catch drill combined with a 53-yard sprint across the field where each player will have to catch seven passes from coaches and five different quarterbacks. All of this is done while they run at full speed in a straight line.

It’s the ultimate test of coordination and vision for these prospects, and it simulates game-like conditions by requiring a high amount of concentration. Running routes with precise timing is key at the next level, and the prospects will have an opportunity to prove they can make the adjustment.

Receivers can also improve their draft stock in the combine’s main events:

For wideouts, the 40-yard dash can mean the difference between being a first-round selection or late-round flier. Past players such as Arizona Cardinals wideout John Brown, who recorded a 4.34-second 40 last year, used a fast time to vault their status. This time around will be no different in the marquee event.

Of course, not all of those teams need a center. And the trick is that while playing with those elite power forwards might maximize Okafor’s skills, it’s probably not the best complement for the existing star. The Kings aren’t likely to kick Cousins out of the post for Okafor, for example.

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Carson Palmer is back, but he thought long and hard about retiring

Philip Rivers seems to be reluctantly embracing the team’s move from San Diego to Los Angeles, but it’ll be interesting to see how he feels after a full season there. At 35 years old and with his fortune made, he has to be thinking about when it’s time to wrap it up and go home to all those kids.

Carson Palmer is back, but he thought long and hard about retiring. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said last August, “That’s all I think about,” when asked whether he ponders life after Palmer. That pondering should ramp up this offseason.

Eli Manning and the Giants’ offense had issues in 2016, averaging only 19.4 points per game (26th in the league).

“The players are going to be pushed by him daily, and he’s going to push us to another level to be great,” Allen said. “I think he’s a good person for the job because he’ll put the work in.”

Manuel will have to deal with scrutiny, of course, but expect him to be unfazed. Folks will bring up the story of him asking then-draft prospect Eli Apple, now with New York Giants, if he liked men during an interview at the NFL combine. Manuel was publicly reprimanded by the organization and required to go through sensitivity training; he apologized for the embarrassment he caused.

If Manuel’s defense falters in matchups against Drew Brees, Jameis Winston and Cam Newton next season, he’ll certainly hear criticism. But again, it’s not his personality to be rattled, no matter the situation.

“All of these things I don’t have an answer to — we just have to work through it.”

Jared Goff threw five touchdown passes and seven interceptions as a rookie.

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NFL fines William Gay, DeAngelo Williams for uniforms publicizing domestic violence, cancer

“There is a long-standing policy for all players regarding uniforms that is league-wide for all 32 teams. The league works with the clubs and players to raise awareness collectively for breast cancer during the month of October.”

The NFL didn’t fine him for dyeing his hair pink or wearing pink toenail polish after Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Earlier this year, Cam Heyward, another Steeler, received a fine for wearing eye black that said “Iron” and “Head” to honor his father, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, who died of cancer in 2006. But last week Heyward wore eye black that said, “Tackle” and “Cancer.” The league approved this eye black and did not fine Heyward.

Slate called the fines hypocritical and blasted the league for only caring about issues if it can further its brand.

But Gay told Kinkhabwala that he’s glad that his fine increases awareness about domestic violence.

“People now know what purple means. We’re taking steps.”

Will Ferrell plans to play ball in spring training — and play ball and play ball and play ball.

The comedian plans to play every position while making appearances at five Arizona spring training games on Thursday. He will play for all 10 teams involved, HBO and Major League Baseball announced Wednesday.

The Blackhawks’ offense has been solid without Hossa in the mix, scoring nine goals and grabbing three out of a possible four points in the standings despite their overtime loss Wednesday.

The Blackhawks did make a roster tweak earlier this week when they sent Ryan Hartman back to the AHL, and so the team’s third line will have a slightly different make-up for the game. Tanner Kero will remain at center and Marko Dano will play left wing, but Viktor Tikhonov will play on the right side after Hartman was there for the previous three games.

From there, it got worse for the visitors—much worse. At halftime, the Jazz led by 27 points. That difference would jump up to 40 points after three quarters.

The fourth quarter started with Bryant coming out for a short stint on the court, but Lakers coach Byron Scott pulled out his aging superstar almost immediately in order to allow the crowd to acknowledge Bryant’s exit. Bryant got a standing ovation and heard his name chanted loudly and clearly.

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Rollins’ Homers in 9th to Lift White Sox Past Athletics 5-4

Having grown up in the Bay Area, Chicago White Sox shortstop Jimmy Rollins knew his ball might get caught up in the cool night air at the Oakland Coliseum, so he hustled around the bases as quickly as possible.

He could have slowed to a trot rounding first.

Doolittle, who missed 121 games a year ago with shoulder and rotator cuff issues, took the loss. It was Oakland’s second straight one-run defeat after leading the majors in that category last year.

“It’s tough to come back in here after a one-run loss at home after trying to come back from a one-run loss,” Doolittle said. “I’m disgusted with myself.”

Nate Jones (1-0) pitched one inning for the win and David Robertson worked a scoreless ninth for his second save.

Yonder Alonso and Jed Lowrie drove in two runs apiece for the A’s. Oakland has lost 13 of its last 18 against Chicago.

53 AND COUNTING

Quintana allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts but was saddled with the 53rd no-decision of his career — most in the majors since 2012. Oakland rallied for two runs in the eighth off Zach Duke and Jones.

“The most important thing here is taking the W,” Quintana said. “That’s part of the game. It happens sometimes. We won the game, that’s most important.”

Rollins hit a tiebreaking homer off closer Sean Doolittle with two outs in the ninth inning and the Chicago White Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 5-4 on Tuesday night.

Signed to a minor league deal by the White Sox in February, Rollins connected on a 2-2 pitch from Doolittle (0-1) after Chicago’s bullpen blew a two-run lead in the eighth.

“I hit it good but with this thick air you just never know what’s going to happen,” Rollins said. “I got a good amount of backspin on it and it stayed up just long enough.”

Todd Frazier also homered for Chicago, a three-run shot in the fifth. Austin Jackson added an RBI infield single and Adam Eaton had three hits.

Rollins’ first home run of the season came three innings after he grounded into a double play with the bases loaded. It also bailed out Chicago’s bullpen after starter Jose Quintana left with a two-run lead.

“I don’t know if that’s the way you draw it up, but it’s a nice team win,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We’re going to hit some homers — Jimmy with the big one.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

White Sox: Chicago has won six straight at the Coliseum. … Ventura needs one win to reach 300 for his career. … Jose Abreu struck out three consecutive times after singling in his first at-bat.

Athletics: Starting pitcher Chris Bassitt was drafted by the White Sox in 2011. He gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings. … Liam Hendriks retired all eight batters he faced.

UP NEXT

White Sox: LHP Carlos Rodon, who went 9-6 last season, faces Oakland on Wednesday. The 23-year-old Rodon finished fifth among rookies a year ago with 139 strikeouts.

Athletics: Gray makes his delayed season debut against Chicago. Gray has never defeated the White Sox and has an 8.10 ERA in two starts against them.

FLU BUGS A’S

The flu is apparently working its way through the Athletics’ clubhouse. Oakland ace Sonny Gray was scratched from his opening day start Monday and sent to the hospital with possible food poisoning, though he now says it might have been a 24-hour flu bug. Fellow starting pitcher Kendall Graveman was also not feeling well and spent the day trying to recover, though he is expected to make his scheduled start on Thursday.

“I’ve had this Purell hand dispenser in here for years and now everybody doesn’t think I’m so crazy,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “We had (head athletic trainer Nick Paparesta) address the team and go over what we can try to do to combat that. We’re going to do the best we can.”

Ventura said his ballclub dealt with a similar issue in spring training.

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