the Cardinals in 1924 and tied by Mark Whiten for

Yes, Gennett makes this list here, too, because his RBI total Tuesday was even rarer than his home run total. He became just the 14th player since 1900 to collect 10 or more RBIs in a game. He had a run-scoring single in the first inning; a grand slam in the third; a two-run homer in the fifth; a solo shot in the sixth; and another two-run homer in the eighth. He was two RBIs short of the major league record set by Jim Bottomley for . . . the Cardinals in 1924 and tied by Mark Whiten for . . . the Cardinals against . . . the Reds in 1993. Oh, and Whiten also had four homers in that game.

Roethlisberger and Brown (the other two Killer B’s) are indispensable to the Steelers, of course. Bell has managed to surpass them as their most indispensable player, which enhances his MVP credentials by it’self. The season he had qualifies him, as well: fifth in the league in rushing, second in yards per game, third in yards from scrimmage and all-purpose yards.

The last time he played a full 16 games, in 2014 (albeit then missing their playoff loss to the Ravens), Bell gained 2,215 yards from scrimmage, averaging 138.4 per game. This season, he averaged 157.0 projecting to 2,512, three more than Chris Johnsons NFL record from 2009.

The three games he missed that makes it problematic, maybe. Hes in the same boat as Tom Brady, while rarely, if ever, mentioned in the same argument about how much it counts when players dont play full seasons, and when they dont play for disciplinary reasons.

Or, in this case, if the reasons arent ripe for a national debate, as Deflategate was. Bells suspension, as was his previous ban, was marijuana-related, which is no minor matter in league circles, but it doesnt approach the volume of discussion that Bradys four games out do.steelers_037

Bill Belichick downplays home field, disses ‘Dallas and Kansas City’

Ouch. The Cowboys, top-seeded in the NFC like the Patriots were in the AFC, lost as a host to Green Bay in the divisional playoffs. The Chiefs, No. 2 behind the Patriots in the AFC, met the same fate in the same round at Arrowhead Stadium against Pittsburgh.

He’s a smart guy but sometimes he doesn’t do smart things, general manager Jerry Reese said, via NFL Media, adding it’s time for OBJ to grow up.

Eli Manning wasn’t as harsh.

Odell is passionate. He wants to win, Manning said. This is important for him. He wanted to go out and have the best game of his career.

Manning also added (via New York Daily News ), You do things, you’ve got to back it up, referring to OBJ.

Beckham, who had four catches for 28 yards Sunday, will be remembered for his two dropped passes in the wake of a media storm created by a social media photo showing Beckham and several teammates on a boat grabbing some sun earlier in the week in Miami.

Not a good day to be Odell Beckham Jr. or an inanimate surface near the visiting locker room at Lambeau Field.

The A’s are second-worst in the American League in strikeouts with 527, and have struck out 10 times or more in 29 games this year. They’ve also struck out 13 or more times seven times this season, including a 14 K game vs. the Yankees and Sabathia the very next day.

No, managers and front office guys aren’t going to panic the fan base in pressers and comments to media members, especially in a year when they consider themselves surprising contenders. But there should also be a modicum of honesty with the fans and even themselves.

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The Mariners took another “can’t miss” two-way prospect

A stronger case can be made for McKay as the first overall selection if he were solely a first baseman, but the result would be the same: His stats would likely get him into the first round, but would fail to separate him from the other perceived first-round bats such as Virginia’s Pavin Smith, Vanderbilt’s Jeren Kendall or Missouri State’s Jake Burger, meaning Minnesota would, with millions on the line, go in another direction with their pick. hat McKay is a combination of these two scenarios, a first-round pitcher and first-round hitter, has created an illusion that has launched him from solid first-rounder to possible top-pick in the draft.

Recent draft history also provides a cautionary tale for the Twins. The Mariners took another “can’t miss” two-way prospect, Virginia’s Danny Hultzen, with the second-overall pick in the 2011 draft, only to see him fail to live up to his billing in four injury-plagued seasons in the minors.

I think it’s only going to get bigger. I think we all acknowledge we’re sitting on a great asset for the network. Major League Baseball, at some point — and this is Greg Amsinger’s opinion, I don’t speak on behalf of the network — but I do believe there will be a day where Major League Baseball does not schedule baseball games on the night of the draft. It makes all the sense in the world. People all the time say, “Well, the NFL Draft is a big deal, Greg.” Well, OK, let’s play a game. Let’s see the ratings for the NFL Draft if you air it Sunday, Week 4 of the regular season of the NFL and it airs at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Let’s see the ratings if that was the case. No. No one would watch. You’ve got markets, the loyal fan bases and they’re watching their teams play. And when you air nine games on the night of the draft, that’s 18 TV markets that have loyal fan bases, and you understand why they’re watching their favorite team play instead. But I do think this network is going to enjoy an even larger audience when Major League Baseball recognizes this is something important. I think they already do, but there are scheduling conflicts everyone has to deal with. But I think in the next five years, you will see a day they leave that open, that schedule will not have a game and it will be the only baseball event of the night. nike_cardinals_1618

Super Bowl 2017: Falcons far behind Patriots in Super Bowl wins

A Falcons Super Bowl win in 2017 would be a franchise first, and in order to make it happen, Atlanta would need to beat two multi-Super Bowl champions. First the Green Bay Packers, whom they defeated in the NFC championship game, and now the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.

The Falcons, who have been around since 1966, have only been to one Super Bowl despite 12 playoff appearances before this season. Their sixth division title and 13th postseason appearance in franchise history features arguably the best team Atlanta has ever fielded. Is this the year?

“There was one guy standing over my left shoulder and one guy over my right shoulder,” Castonzo said. “They were talking to me in each ear asking (questions) like, ‘What do you like to drink?’ I said, ‘I don’t really drink that much.’ The other guy said, ‘Nah, you drink. You smoke weed?’ I said I don’t do that. And then the other guy says, ‘What, are we talking cocaine here?’

“They kept going back and forth. It was like a comedy routine.”

Tennessee Titans right tackle Jack Conklin found himself being led down a similar road at the 2016 Combine but the No. 8 pick in last year’s draft found a way to halt it.

“Somebody asked me, ‘A shot of whiskey or a Budweiser?’” Conklin said. “I said, ‘I wouldn’t have either in here right now.’ They actually laughed so I figured that was a good one.”

But sometimes, certain questions can’t be laughed away.

At the 2006 Combine, New Orleans Saints defensive end Darryl Tapp said one team “questioned my desire to play ball because I came from a two-parent household and they didn’t think I needed to play football.”

“This was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard in my life,” Tapp said.

Tapp immediately told his agent and hoped that squad wouldn’t be drafting him. Tapp felt fortunate when going in Round 2 to Seattle.seahawks_009

Top prospect Malik Hooker to miss NFL combine after surgery

It helps the coach to have the ultra competitive and driven Brady as his team leader. Brady always finds an edge. If it’s not to avenge his Deflategate suspension, he can always go back to his standard “prove everyone wrong for having made me wait until the sixth round to get drafted.”

But more than anything, winning championships is what drives Brady, and it’s clear how much he loves football. His intensity, competitive fire and team-first attitude are infectious, and it’s obvious that his teammates are motivated to play well for him and follow his lead.

Malik Hooker’s NFL career is being affected by injuries before it’s even started.

The former Ohio State safety and top prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft won’t be participating in the scouting combine after undergoing surgeries Tuesday to repair a torn labrum and hernia.

According to Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, who first reported the news, Hooker played through the pain of the injuries late this season and won’t be ready to work out for scouts in March.

Hooker, who had two years of college eligibility remaining before declaring for the draft Jan. 2, had seven interceptions, three for touchdowns, and 74 tackles in 13 games en route to unanimous All-America honors this season.
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It’s been a long time since a woman called an NFL game

Mitchell Trubisky drove to Bears camp in his grandmother’s 1997 Toyota Camry, and I applaud him for it

Why the Chicago Bears traded up from the third to the second pick in the 2017 NFL draft to select quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is still kind of a head scratcher. But there’s nothing curious about the rookie quarterback’s choice in cars.

A car serves one function — getting you from point A to point B. In selecting an automobile, it is my personal feeling that the two most important factors are reliability and fuel efficiency. The trusty Camry checks both of those boxes, and it has the consumer and industry recognition to prove it.

Thirty years ago, longtime news anchor Gayle Sierens became the first woman to do play-by-play for a regular season NFL game. Sierens, a seasoned news anchor, called a Seahawks-Chiefs matchup in the final week of the 1987 season, and she did so well that NBC Sports tried to lock her in for six games in the 1988 season. The local NBC affiliate Sierens worked for in Tampa, Fla., didn’t want her to miss that much work, so it didn’t happen.

It’s been a long time since a woman called an NFL game, but Mowins will change that this season. The matchup between the Chargers and Broncos is part of a Monday Night Football doubleheader to kick off the season. The normal Monday Night Football crew of Jon Gruden and Sean McDonough will be calling the Saints and Vikings game earlier that night.yankees_1092_6e22755ac0c004f0-180x180

NFL Draft grades: Winners, losers of Rounds 2-3, from Dalvin Cook to Joe Mixon

Round 2 and Round 3 of the 2017 NFL Draft are in the books, which means it’s already time to do some grading on what happened Friday night.

While some teams made more great picks, others had more whiffs. Some falling players landed in good spots, while others weren’t drafted at all.

Here are the winners and losers of Day 2, with the best and worst developments involving two first-round talents at running back.

During a bang-bang play in which Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop drove his helmet into Newton, Bishop was called for roughing but was not fined.

That was on the heels of Newton getting two such calls in his debut at Arizona, vs. both Cardinals linebacker Clark Haggans and cornerback Richard Marshall. Later in the Green Bay game, Riveron’s crew again was quick with the flag when Aaron Rodgers took a tough hit from Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy.

In his first two NFL games, Newton got three roughing calls. He got a league-leading eight in his favor as a rookie.

In 2015, Newton got zero roughing calls during his MVP- and NFC-winning campaign. Last season, he got only two despite the post-game spotlight after that Week 1 mess in Denver.

Riveron, in his new job “overseeing all aspect of the league’s officiating department,” naturally should make QB protection a point of emphasis. Ron Rivera and the Panthers shouldn’t hesitate, then, to bring it back up in regards to Newton.

Carolina’s offseason has been about trying to better protect Newton, whether that means improving its offensive line, getting more players to ease his rushing burden or getting him more options to get the ball out quicker.

Riveron’s hire only adds to the help.

Predators’ Vernon Fiddler ejected for kneeing Blues defenseman in Game 2

Nashville Predators forward Vernon Fiddler was a hero in Game 1 but put his team in a bad place with a game misconduct in Game 2.

The veteran center was forechecking deep in the St. Louis Blues’ zone in the second period when Blues defenseman Colton Parayko carried the puck out from behind the net. Fiddler met him, went to lay a hit, and caught Parayko knee-on-knee.

Parayko was shaken up but returned for the ensuing five-minute Blues power play. Fiddler got a five-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct.

Fiddler might expect a suspension for the hit, but it’s the playoffs and the NHL is notoriously hard to pin down on discipline expectations this time of year. If he is out for a game or two, it might not be a big deal; Fiddler hadn’t played since early April due to injury and is a fourth-line center at most these days.

Though, with winger Kevin Fiala out for the season, it would hurt Nashville’s depth even more.

Everyone had to play a new role. This is why I moved to the next level, and the coach began to trust me more. I took this opportunity. But the main thing is that I was doing everything to help my team.

Denver drafted a pair of scoring guards in the first round last year in Jamal Murray and Malik Beasley. Anunoby would give them a versatile defensive complement who could switch screens and check big wings. He tore his ACL in January and his offensive skill set is unrefined, but he projects as the best defender in this class when he’s healthy.

Miami Heat — Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
Allen was a five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American who flew under the radar a bit at Texas. That’s mostly because the Longhorns fell way short of preseason expectations and finished just 11-22. Allen’s combination of length (7’5.5 wingspan) and foot speed makes him worth the investment at this point for Miami.
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Nick Saban doesn’t think that will be a problem

In an SEC carnival of violence, Fournette was often the main attraction. And it’s always been this way, since the moment he burst onto the scene as a dominant running back out of New Orleans in the class of 2014. He was a five-star recruit that year, the No. 1 player in the country on the 247Sports Composite.

Though Howard was an important piece of the Alabama offense, he wasn’t utilized like the mismatch machine he appears to be. After shredding the combine’s agility drills, it’s clear he has the size and quickness to leave opposing linebackers swatting at air. Despite that, he only averaged three receptions per game as an upperclassman.

Nick Saban doesn’t think that will be a problem, however. The Alabama head coach thinks Howard will be a great pro, even if Lane Kiffin’s offense failed to make him a star.

After earning a first-round grade, he’ll be expected to contribute much more with the Bucs. He showed flashes of that ability at the Senior Bowl, where he dazzled scouts and made some NFL executives — and Howard himself — wonder why he wasn’t used more in Tuscaloosa.

Melifonwu turned heads when he tested out as one of this year’s most electrifying athletes back in March. The 6’4 safety posted the second-best broad jump of all time (11’9), cleared an insane 44 inches with his vertical leap, and ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash to establish himself as an elite prospect.

Melifonwu was one of the most consistent bright spots during a bleak stretch of Connecticut football. The Huskies went just 14-35 in his four seasons with the program. He emerged as a starter after a redshirt freshman year, then he proceeded to get better and better as the team’s last line of defense. His 73 solo tackles in 2016 ranked eighth in the nation. He added four interceptions to prove his worth as a two-way defender in center field.
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Why Dan Feeney should be a long-term starter for the Chargers

Dan Feeney isn’t the kind of blocker who can clear out defenders while protecting his quarterback’s blindside on the edge. He’s the kind of blocker who can anchor an offensive line from the interior.

The Indiana graduate doesn’t have the upside of some of the other members of his class, but his combination of size, strength, and experience makes him a low-risk pickup at the 2017 NFL draft. The Chargers made him part of their plans after selecting him with the 71st pick.

The two-time first-team All-American is one of the draft’s most accomplished players. Feeney came to Bloomington as an unheralded, three-star recruit and left as one of the most reliable athletes in program history. With the burly blocker clearing a path, the Hoosiers played in back-to-back bowl games for the first time since 1991.

Cleveland got off to a good start this offseason by shoring up the offensive line, which surrendered an NFL-high 66 sacks and 140 quarterback hits last year. The Browns signed former Green Bay Packers center J.C. Tretter and paid a boatload of money to right guard Kevin Zeitler. They extended left guard Joe Bitonio, and with perpetual All-Pro Joe Thomas anchoring the left tackle spot, the remade line is solid.

Although the Browns’ offensive line didn’t give him much help last season, Isaiah Crowell rushed for nearly 1,000 yards. Just imagine what he should be able to do behind the improved line.

After playing things close to the vest (he was 11 for 15 for 91 yards against Penn State), he let ’er rip. In Peterman’s last six games, he completed 85 of 148 (57 percent) for 1,630 yards, 16 touchdowns, and five interceptions. The result: A high pick rate, a low completion rate, three losses … and a three-game span in which Pitt scored 175 points. He threw five touchdown passes in an upset of Clemson, then completed just nine for 251 and four touchdowns in a 76-61 shootout win over Syracuse.

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