Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday

13) Texas 48, Oklahoma 45— Sooners were -3 in turnovers, trailed 45-24 with 9:00 left in game, but rallied to tie game before Texas won it with 40-yard FG with 0:09 left. Total yardage was 532-501 Oklahoma, but the there turnovers sunk them. 

My question is this: Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray can also play next year for the Sooners, but he’s signed to play minor league ball for the Oakland A’s. As good a football player as Murray is, why would he give up his last year of college and a potential pro career? To me, Murray is a lot like Michael Vick as a QB— I’m an A’s fan, I hope he gives up football, but…….

12) Miami 28, Florida State 27— Seminoles led 27-7 with 5:00 left in third quarter, but Miami scored two TD’s within 0:42 late in third quarter and pulled out a dramatic win, dropping FSU to 3-3 this season, 1-3 in ACC games. 

Neither team completed more than half their passes- they combined to convert only 10-34 on third down. Total yardage was 306-200, Miami; FSU is 8-9 in its last 17 games overall. 

11) Iowa State 48, Oklahoma State 42— Loudest people in the Golden Nugget sportsbook this afternoon were three Cyclone fans who were very….enthusiastic. Freshman QB Brock Purdy was 18-23 passing for 315 yards and four TD’s. Iowa State had 30 points at halftime. 

10) Florida 27, LSU 19— Wonder how many SEC head coaches went to HS in New Hampshire and went to college at D-III Ursinus. Dan Mullen is a good coach; his teams play sound football and Florida is lucky to have him. Mullen was Alex Smith’s QB coach at Utah, under Urban Meyer. 

9) Pitt 44, Syracuse 37 OT— Kicker for Syracuse made a 54-yard FG on a wet field at Heinz Field (NFL kickers have trouble kicking there) to give the Orange a 37-34 lead, but Pitt tied it on a 45-yard FG with 0:09 left, then won in OT. There was a 75-minute rain delay in this game. 

Pitt’s kicker made 54 and 55-yard FG’s, too. Second straight brutal loss for Syracuse, which got beat by Clemson’s 3rd-string QB 27-23 last week. 

8) Colorado 28, Arizona State 21— Buffaloes are 5-0 for first time since 1998. Colorado was 8-16 on third down, 2-2 on fourth down. 

Early in 4th quarter, with score 28-21, ASU had 4th-and-goal from the 3-yard line, but instead of kicking the easy FG and getting closer, Sun Devils went for it, failed and never came close to scoring again. Herm Edwards isn’t a great game manager. 

7) Upsets of the Day:
— San Diego State (+14) 19, Boise State 13
— Northwestern (+10) 29, Michigan State 19
— New Mexico (+9) 50, UNLV 14
— Iowa State (+9) 48, Oklahoma State 42
— UAB (+8.5) 28, Louisiana Tech 7

6) NC State 28, Boston College 23— Bad beat if you had the Wolfpack, -5.5. NC State led 28-3 with 2:00 left in third quarter- BC covered spread on a blocked punt with 3:33 left in the game. 

Yardage was 533-318, NC State; Wolfpack was 10-15 on third down, BC was 1-10. 

5) Baylor 37, Kansas State 34— Bears kicked FG with 0:08 left for the win; game was 20-14 after third quarter, but teams combined for 37 points in 4th quarter to put game over total. 

Charlie Brewer is Baylor’s QB; both his dad and grandfather played QB for Texas. Think he’ll be fired up when Baylor plays the Longhorns? 

4) Western Michigan 27, Eastern Michigan 24— Eagles lose by three points for third week in a row; they’re 14-2-1 vs spread in last 17 games as road underdogs. 16 of EMU’s last 31 games were decided by 5 or fewer points; Eagles are 7-9 SU in those games. 

3) San Diego State 19, Boise State 13— Boise is now 3-15 vs spread in last 18 games as a home favorites. Aztecs won despite gaining only 267 yards with only nine first downs. 

2) South Carolina 37, Missouri 35— Tigers had gone ahead on a 57-yard FG with 1:18 left, but Gamecocks got walk-off winner, a 33-yard FG with 0:02 left. Mizzou ran ball for 286 yards on a rainy day in South Carolina; there was a 76-minute lightning delay with only 2:42 left in the game- the 57-yard FG was kicked after the delay. 

Carolina backup QB, senior Michael Scarnecchia threw for 249 yards, three TD’s in his first college start. Gamecocks were down 23-14 at halftime.

1) Texas A&M 20, Kentucky 14 OT— Wildcats missed a 43-yard FG short in OT— ball hit the crossbar, then Aggies scored TD to hand Kentucky its first loss of season- Kentucky had tied game with a defensive TD with 4:21 left.

A&M outgained Kentucky 390-178, held Wildcats to only 8 first downs. 

 

Saturday’s List of 13: College football trends on non-top 13 games

13) Northern Illinois won its last six games with Ball State, winning last three visits to Muncie by 7-14-12 points; under Carey, Huskies are 13-6 as road favorites. Ball State is 2-6 in its last eight games as home underdogs. 

12) Road team won last four Old Dominion-Florida Atlantic games; Monarchs won 42-24/31-28 in last two visits to FAU. Monarchs are 4-9 in last 15 games as road underdogs- their last three games went over. FAU is 0-4 vs spread this year, but is 6-2 in last eight games as home faves. 

11) Michigan won its last three games with Maryland by combined score of 122-13; Terrapins are 15-11 in last 26 games as road underdogs. Under Harbaugh, Wolverines are 11-11 as home favorites, 14-14 as double digit favorites. 

10) Cincinnati won its last two games with Tulane, 17-16/38-14; both of those games were in New Orleans. Bearcats are 1-6 vs spread in last seven games as home favorites- their last three games stayed under. Under Fritz, Green Wave is 4-6 as road underdogs. 

9) Western Michigan won its last four games with Eastern Michigan, taking last two here, 45-31/51-7. Eagles are 12-2 in last 14 games as road underdogs- they’re 0-6 SU in last six OT games. Average total in Western’s I-A games: 69.3. 

8) Central Michigan won last two games with Buffalo, 51-14/20-14; Chippewas are 4-3 as home underdogs under Bonamego. Under Leopold, Buffalo is 11-9-1 coming off a loss; their last four games went over. Bulls are 2-3 in last five games as road favorites. 

7) Akron won four of last five games with Miami, winning last two here, 35-13/29-19. Zips are 8-14-2 vs spread in last 24 home games. Under Martin, Miami is 13-8 as road underdogs; they were outgained 562-349 in a 40-39 loss to Western Michigan last week. 

6) Road team won both Illinois-Rutgers Big 14 meetings; Illini won 24-7 in last visit here. Since ’14, Illinois is 2-0 as road favorite; under Smith, they’re 5-5 vs spread on road, but in their last two games, Illini allowed total of 1,217 yards. Rutgers gave up 149 points in its last three games. 

5) Boise State won its last two games with San Diego State, 38-29/31-14; Broncos are just 3-14 vs spread in last 17 games as home favorites- they’re 15-20 in last 35 games when laying 10+ points. Under Rocky Long, Aztecs are 9-8 vs spread as road underdogs. 

4) Under MacIntyre, Colorado is 13-5 as home favorites; they’re 6-3 last nine times they laid less than 10 points. Arizona State won five of its last six games with Colorado; they’re 3-1-1 in last five games as road dogs, but 7-17-1 in last 25 games as single digit underdogs. 

3) UCLA is 0-4 this season, with last three losses by 22+ points each; since ’14, Bruins are 0-5 as home underdogs. Under Petersen, Washington is 9-6 as road favorites; there I-A road wins this season are by 14-7 points. UCLA allowed 460 yds/game in its last three games. 

2) Arizona won its last two games with Cal Bears, 49-45/45-44; Wildcats are 0-2 at home vs I-A teams, losing by 5-4 points. Since ’12, Arizona is 9-7 as home underdogs. California is 2-6-1 in its last nine games as road favorites; they lost last two visits here by total of five points. 

1) UNLV has QB injury issues; Rogers has boot on left foot. Backup Gilliam is 0-1 passing; played in JC LY after red-shirting at Cal in ’16. UNLV is 4-7 in its last 11 games as home faves. New Mexico lost 52-43 at home to Liberty LW; they’re 15-10 in last 25 games as road underdogs. 

Friday’s List of 13: Random stuff with the weekend here…….

13) Took a walk on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas this afternoon; there were three guys who appeared to be close to my age (in my 50’s) who were naked except for a thong, and they were posing for pictures, in exchange for money. Ummm, no thanks. 

Can’t help but be curious, though, how much cash they make in a day. 

12) Brewers 3, Rockies 2 (10)— Mike Moustakas got the game-winning hit (should Colorado have walked him and pitched to Manny Pina?) after the Brewers blew a 2-0 ninth-inning lead. Rockies were playing in their 4th city in five days; Game 2 is Friday, also in Milwaukee. 

11) Colorado Buffaloes have a WR named Laviska Shenault who I think will be an NFL player, but the reason he plays football is unusual, and a little sad. 

When Shenault was 10 years old, his dad was hit by a car and killed, with Laviska watching; from that point on, the young man starting growing his hair out in dreadlocks and vowed never to cut his hair, to honor his late father.

When he got to high school and was a hotshot basketball player, Shenault was told he couldn’t play on the school’s team unless he cut his hair, but Shenault declined, started concentrating instead on playing football. Not really sure what the basketball coach was thinking about, but this young man is two years away from playing football on Sundays. 

10) Was nice to read an Andy Reid quote today about how much Alex Smith helped Patrick Mahomes LY, when Mahomes was Smith’s backup with the Chiefs. Not all QB’s are helpful to their backups, seeing how backups have sometimes taken the starter’s job. Lot of $$$ at stake. 

9) 24 college football coaches are making $4M+ this season, led by Nick Saban’s $8.3M. 

8) 58% of NFL plays last season were passes; so far this year, that number is up to 61%. 

7) In 63 NFL games this season, there have been 72 games where a receiver gained 100+ yards. 

All of last season, in 256 games, there were 140 receiving games of 100+ yards. 

6) Houston 41, Tulsa 26— Golden Hurricane led 23-17 after three quarters, but Cougars stormed back and now they’re 4-1, while Tulsa is 0-4 vs I-A opponents. 

5) Games scoring zero or one run this season: Orioles 40, Cubs 39. Surprising. 

4) Top college football teams at going over the total:

Rice 5-0; South Alabama, Utah State 4-0; Appalachian State, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico, Ohio U, Toledo, all 3-0. Missouri 3-0-1

3) Former major league pitcher Mark Mulder is playing in the PGA’s Safeway Open this week, on a sponsor’s exemption. Mulder shot +3 Thursday, and actually beat five pro golfers.

2) Patriots 38, Colts 24— Julian Edelman was back and New England scored 38 points, which is no huge surprise. Andrew Luck threw for 365 yards and didn’t have all that much help from his receivers, who dropped several passes. 

1) Dodgers 6, Braves 0— Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed four hits in seven scoreless IP for LA. 

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud……

13) One of the coolest things about coming to Las Vegas is that this is the big leagues of gambling; sometimes I lose sight of that on my visits here. Tuesday, a guy cashed $41,500 worth of baseball futures winnings and used that money on five futures wagers on NBA/NHL teams, and a baseball bet. 

Full disclosure: this gentleman likes the Heat/Mavericks in NBA, Sharks/Sabres in NHL, and the Brewers to win the World Series. 

12) After scoring a TD with 0:26 left in Sunday’s game and up 31-12, Jacksonville went for two points; why? Does Doug Marrone hate the Jets? Did the Jets get mad? Why is this smart? 

Just kick the PAT and go home; whats the point of making an enemy for the future? Was he paying back something from his past? 

11) Patrick Mahomes sat the first 15 games LY and then played the last game; did sitting and watching almost a whole season of games help him this season? Is it fair to throw a rookie into the fray right out of college, especially if he left college early? 

These are billion dollar questions that NFL teams have to answer. Answer them wrong, and you’ll be looking for a new job. 

10) One person on ESPN who is well worth watching: Scott Van Pelt on the late SportsCenter. He is smart, has a sense of humor and his people work at their jobs- they provide good info. 

9) 76ers-Mavericks are playing two games in China this weekend; hopefully no one will steal anything and embarrass our country, the way the UCLA kids did last year. 

8) Was fun to flip channels Monday night and find an Orlando-Philly preseason game; I’m a basketball guy, though more of a college hoop guy, but was fun to see some NBA games on the tube. 

7) Le’Veon Bell will return to the Steelers during their bye week (Week 7) so he’ll miss two more games. Would be interesting to see the greeting he gets from teammates when he returns. 

6) Tampa Bay did the expected and named Jameis Winston starting QB for their game next week; Buccaneers have their bye this week. 

Did Ryan Fitzpatrick do enough to earn a contract from yet another team next year? 

5) Scapegoat: a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of expediency.

Arizona fired hitting coach Dave Magadan this week. Yup, it was all his fault; maybe they shouldn’t have put a humidor in the stadium, to deaden the baseballs. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t Magadan who decided to do that. 

4) Minnesota Twins surprisingly made the playoffs LY, went 78-84 this year, and then fired Paul Molitor Tuesday after four seasons running the team. Why? 

The worst part of the Analytics Era is that the pencil pushers don’t value managers nearly enough, and believe me, I’m a pencil pusher myself. But I know how important a manager is in setting the tone for the team and keeping things positive. 

Computers and charts don’t win games; players do, and the human interaction between players and coaches is very important. 

3) Backup PG DJ Augustin has finally found a home with the Orlando Magic; this will be his third year in Orlando, after he played for seven different teams in five years, from 2012-16. 

2) Last six times Baltimore Ravens beat their rivals the Steelers, they went 4-2 vs spread the next week, so not much post-victory letdown for them. 

1) Surprising fact: Over last 23 years, only five times has the team with the best regular season record won the World Series

Wednesday’s List of 13: In praise of these A’s……..

13) Last three years, Oakland A’s finished last in AL West, winning 68-69-75 games. 

A’s have the lowest payroll in the major leagues, but they made the playoffs this season, going 97-65, something no one thought possible back in the spring.  Great managing job by Bob Melvin; this is 4th time in last seven years Oakland is in the playoffs, but first time since 2014. 

How they’ve gotten to this point is really pretty amazing. 

12) Oakland has used 53 players this season, 33 of them pitchers. 

Their two best starting pitchers right now are Mike Fiers and Edwin Jackson; Fiers’ first game with the A’s was August 8, Jackson’s first game was June 25. Jackson is pitching for his 13th major league team. 

11) Kendall Graveman was Oakland’s Opening Day starter; he lasted until May 11 before he blew his arm out. 

Sean Manaea pitched a no-hitter against Boston, but he got hurt August 24 and is done until 2020. A’s went 16-11 in Manaea’s starts this year- they acquired him in the Ben Zobrist trade when Kansas City made their World Series run in 2015. 

Gossett, Triggs, Montas, Blackburn started a combined 31 games; A’s went 17-14 in those games. 

10) February 12, 2016, the A’s traded two minor leaguers to Milwaukee for Khris Davis, who has gone on to hit 133 homers, knock in 335 runs. Pretty good trade. 

One of the minor leaguers, Jacob Nottingham, has appeared in nine major league games. Davis is mostly a DH, so he wouldn’t have done Milwaukee much good, but a damn good trade. 

9) On March 12, 2018, Oakland signed C Jonathan Lucroy, giving their pitchers/defenses an anchor, the team a leader. Lucroy hasn’t hit much, but this will be his third straight year in the playoffs (Texas 2016, Colorado 2017). His acquisition was huge for the A’s. 

8) Ramon Laureano is a 24-year old OF who hit .227 in the AA Texas League LY; when you hit .227 in the hitter-friendly Texas League, it is usually time to start looking for a new career, but since making his Oakland debut August 3, Laureano has an on-base% of .364, is a terrific CF with a great arm- he doubled a runner off first base in Anaheim with a throw that went 107 yards in the air!!!! 

A’s got him from Houston in a trade for a pitcher who went 5-8 in A ball this year. 

7) When they make Moneyball 2, the story of Stephen Piscotty’s family will be front/center. St Louis was going to trade Piscotty last winter, but his mother had Alzheimer’s and he wanted to be close to her in her final months, so Piscotty asked to be traded to the A’s or Giants. 

Last December, he got traded to Oakland and has hit 27 homers with 88 RBI, many of them in key spots. Quite a story. 

6) Last July, the A’s were awful and Washington needed bullpen help to make the playoffs, so Oakland dealt Doolittle/Madson to Washington for Blake Treinen and two minor leaguers (one of whom is Jesus Luzardo, a big prospect).

Treinen has turned into one of the best closers this season, with 38 saves. Luzardo is expected to be a star down the road. 

5) 41-year old Fernando Rodney (acquired August 9) and Jeurys Familia (July 21) pitch the 7th and 8th innings if the A’s are winning. When your starting pitchers are mostly all hurt and have a hard time finishing six innings, you load up on relievers and hope the starting pitcher gets 15 outs. Lou Trivino pitched the 6th inning most of the season, when needed. 

4) Oakland’s infielders are very good; a pair of Matts, Chapman/Olson are young corner infielders who appear headed for stardom. Chapman and Nolan Arenado and the two best defensive 3B in the major leagues right now. 

Marcus Semien/Jed Lowrie give the A’s solid defense up the middle and timely hitting- Lowrie knocked in 99 runs. It is so unusual for a playoff team to have starting pitching being the weakest part of the team. 

3) On June 5, the A’s lost 6-4 to the Angels, dropping them to 34-36; since then, Oakland is 63-29, the best record in MLB during that time. An astounding turnaround. 

2) Bob Melvin managed the Mariners for two years, Arizona for five; this is his 8th year with Oakland, his hometown team. Can’t imagine why he got fired from the other places; he is calm, smart and guys play their butts off for him, otherwise a 34-36 team wouldn’t go on a 62-27 run. Excellent manager. 

1) This is the 50th anniversary of the A’s first season in Oakland, after they moved west from Kansas City. It has been a great season for these guys; hopefully it’ll last another month or so

Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but……

13) You don’t think pro football players are tough? Vikings’ long snapper Kevin McDermott lost the tip off of his left pinky Thursday, when it got caught in a player’s helmet. He didn’t just lose his fingernail, he lost the tip of his finger, and later on, he came back into the game, missing only one punt snap while they bandaged up the finger. 

12) Bad beat from late Saturday night: USC was -3.5 over Arizona, and led 24-14 in the last 2:00. Wildcats had 4th-and-goal inside the 10-yard line, but instead of kicking the easy FG to make the game a one-score game, Kevin Sumlin goes for it and Arizona scores a TD with 1:40 left. 

Now all they all have to do to cover the spread is make the extra poi— you got it, they missed, and USC won 24-20, covering by half a point. 

11) UMass football coach Mark Whipple was suspended without pay for one week by the school, after he drew an analogy to rape while discussing a sequence in his team’s game.

On UMass’ radio broadcast after the Minutemen’s 58-42 loss at Ohio U, Whipple referred to a play on which he believed the Bobcats should have been called for pass interference, saying, “We had a chance there … and they rape us, and (the referee) picks up the flag.”

No bueno. Choose your words better, coach. 

10) Billy McKinney is a 24-year old OF for the Blue Jays who was a first round pick of the Oakland A’s five years ago. Weird thing is, he’s already been traded three times:

— July 5, 2014, A’s traded him to the Cubs as part of the Jeff Samardzija/Addison Russell swap.
— July 25, 2016, Cubs traded him to New York as part of the Aroldis Chapman trade.
— July 26, 2018, New York traded him to Toronto as part of the JA Happ swap. 

9) After a 56-27 loss to Notre Dame last week, Wake Forest fired defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel; their defense scored two TD’s Saturday in a 56-24 win over Rice. Obviously Rice isn’t close to being as good as Notre Dame, but did the coaching change make a difference? 

8) With Sam Bradford the #3 QB in Arizona now, he loses an active roster bonus of $312,500 per game, not that he is hurting for money. Bradford banked $65M in the five years he played for the Rams, so he should be OK financially. 

7) The grandfather of Rams’ WR Cooper Kupp was an offensive lineman in the NFL for 11 years; he played for the Saints in their early days, where he blocked for Archie Manning.

6) NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes will wear Hartford Whaler throwback uniforms for their December 23 home game; very cool green uniforms with the great Whaler logo. Hurricanes were the Hartford Whalers from 1972-97, before moving from Hartford to Raleigh. 

5) Tony Parker looks weird in a Charlotte Hornets’ uniform; he played 17 years for the Spurs. Some things you just get used to. 

4) There is a US Senator from Rhode Island named Sheldon Whitehouse; if you’re a politician and your last name is Whitehouse, don’t you have to run for President?

3) Brewers 3, Cubs 1……….Dodgers 5, Rockies 2

Colorado visits Wrigley Field tonight in the NL Wild Card game. 

2) Last week, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto started showing a presentation to his class of 500 students, but instead of his presentation showing on the screen, a hard core porn movie appeared. Whoops. 

1) Last three games the Pittsburgh Steelers played at home, they allowed 37.7 ppg. Atlanta is coming to Steel City this coming Sunday; Falcons’ defense is a mess, too.

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday

Bengals 37, Falcons 36— Atlanta is first team since ’66 Giants to score 35+ points two weeks in a row, and lose both games (Giants lost 72-41 @ Washington, 49-40 @ Cleveland in consecutive games, going 1-12-1 after a 6-0 preseason). Falcons’ defense is really bad. 

Cincy scored on a 13-yard pass to AJ Green with 0:07 left for the win, ending a 16-play, 75-yard drive. Bengals lost TE Eifert in 3rd quarter, with what looked like a broken ankle. 

Texans 37, Colts 34— Coaching Malpractice 101- With 0:27 left in OT, Houston had 4th and 4 on its own 43-yard line. You punt the ball and take the tie, right? It is still early in the season. 

Colts went for it, threw an incomplete pass, and three plays later, Houston kicked field goal to win the game. This is Grade A stupidity; in a 16-game season, you can’t give a game away!!!! There is a proper time to be conservative- this was it. 

Bright spot for Indy was Andrew Luck, who led a 9-play, 85-yard drive that tied game 31-all with 0:45 left in regulation. Luck passed for 464 yards; Colts shouldn’t have lost this game. 

Titans 26, Eagles 23 OT— Tennessee scored on a 10-yard pass with 0:05 left in OT to pull out a game they trailed 17-3 early in third quarter. Titans are 3-1, with three consecutive wins, all by three points. 

Eagles in red zone; four drives, one TD, three FG’s
Titans in red zone: four drives, three TD’s, one FG

Why did the NFL shorten overtimes to 10:00? OT football is fun, ties not so much. 

Cowboys 26, Lions 24— Dallas drove 55 yards in nine plays and kicked winning FG at gun; they are 2-0 at home, 0-2 on road. Dallas led 20-10 after third quarter, but Lions scored two TD’s in 4th quarter. Rookie kicker Maher kicked four FG’s for the Cowboys. 

Dallas had five plays of 20+ yards, more than they had (4) in first three games combined. 

Patriots 38, Dolphins 7— Miami coach Adam Gase has some serious coaching to do this week, after his 3-0 team came north and got their butts kicked very soundly. Dolphins have now lost ten games in a row in Foxboro. Patriots are 25-11 vs spread coming off a loss. 

Tom Brady tied an NFL record by throwing a TD pass to his 70th different receiver (Cordarrelle Patterson). Check the quiz on this site if you know who the other guy is. 

Packers 22, Bills 0— Total yardage was 423-145, which sums it up; sometimes when play a rookie QB on the road, bad things happen. Hey, Jared Goff was 0-7 as a starter two years ago, and he’s doing pretty well now. Since 2008. Bills are 22-39-2 vs spread coming off a win. 

One thing about Green Bay; Aaron Rodgers obviously has an injured knee, but in last 5:00 of this game, Rodgers was in game, throwing ball and scrambling. Why? Nothing good can come from that— thats where the coach has to step in and either run the ball on every play or sub Rodgers out for the backup. 

Jaguars 31, Jets 12— Total yardage was 503-178; Jaguars averaged 9.4 yards per pass play. I mean, Jacksonville was -3 in turnovers, still won by three TD’s. That doesn’t happen much. 

Pains me to type this, but New England outscored the rest of the AFC East (Miami, Jets, Bills) Sunday, 38-19. 

Bears 48, Buccaneers 10— Ryan Fitzpatrick era came to a crushing end; Bucs were down 38-3 at the half and Jameis Winston played the whole second half. Chicago averaged 12.7 yards per pass attempt; when was last time they did THAT? Bears are already +6 in turnover margin. 

Mitchell Trubisky is first Bears’ QB to throw 5+ TD’s in a game since Johnny Lujack threw six on December 11, 1949, against the Chicago Cardinals at Wrigley Field. 

Seahawks 20, Cardinals 17— In a game in a dome where both teams missed two FG’s, Seattle K Janikowski nailed a 52-yarder at the gun to even Seattle’s record at 2-2, while Arizona drops to 0-4, losing Josh Rosen’s first NFL start. Not often a road team wins while going 0-10 on 3rd down conversions; Seattle ran ball for 171 yards, had 9-yard advantage in field position. Total yardage was 331-263, Seahawks. 

Home side is now 0-7-1 in last eight series games; Seattle is 5-0-1 in last six visits here; Arizona is 12-6-1 in last 19 games as home underdogs. 

Raiders 45, Browns 42 OT— Gruden gets his first win in decade in game his team trailed 28-14 in 3rd quarter; Oakland tied game with 0:30 left in regulation, won it on 29-yard FG in OT. 

Browns aren’t a joke anymore; Mayfield threw for 295 yards in his first NFL start, but Cleveland turned ball over four times (-2)- they’ve had a very interesting month, with two brutal losses and a tie, wrapped around a win over the Jets. 

Saints 33, Giants 18— New Orleans was in red zone four times in 2nd quarter, kicked four FG’s, leaving door open for Giants, but Saints scored TDs on both 2nd half drives and had 389-299 edge in yardage for game, holding Beckham to 7 catches for 60 yards. 

Saints wore throwback uniforms, the kind Charlton Heston wore in the 1969 movie Number One, when he played an aging Saints’ QB. I’ve tried to find the movie to watch it, but have seen on the Interweb that Heston didn’t like the movie and tried his best to squelch its distribution- he broke a rib filming the football scenes. 

Chargers 29, 49ers 27— Think about this, the 49ers were -1 in turnovers, lost field position by 19 yards (an awful lot), scored only 13 points on four red zone drives, and only lost by two points!!! 

49ers scored a defensive TD; yardage was 368-364, so they hung in with backup QB Beathard as a 10-point underdog, averaging 7.6 yards/pass attempt- thats bad news for the Chargers. LA is now 2-8 vs spread last ten times they laid double digits. Over is 4-0 in Charger games this year. 

Ravens 26, Ravens 14— Baltimore led 14-0 early, fumbled on goal line when it looked like it would be 21-0, then Steelers tied game in 2nd quarter, before Ravens outscored them 12-0 in 2nd half, with Tucker booting four FG’s, second week in row Steelers didn’t score in 2nd half. 

Ravens are 8-2-1 vs spread in last 11 divisional road games; they outgained Steelers 451-284, had 16-yard edge in field position, were 8-17 on third down (Steelers were 2-12). When was last time Steelers had a game where they ran ball 11 times for 19 yards? 

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday

13) Clemson 27, Syracuse 23— Clemson’s week with their QB’s:
— Quarterback A is named the new starter.
— Quarterback B, the former starter, decides to transfer.
— Quarterback A gets hurt in the second quarter.
— TV announcers wonder if Quarterback B has withdrawn from school yet.
— Quarterback C (a redshirt freshman) comes in, rallies Clemson from a 23-13 deficit with a last-minute TD; he was 7-13 for 83 yards. Big day for him. 

12) Ohio State 27, Penn State 26— Nittany Lions led 13-0 after a 93-yard TD pass in the 2nd quarter, then led 26-14 with 8:00 left, but Ohio State had drives of 75-96 yards in last 6:30 to pull out a big road win. 

It is great to have a senior QB because at the end of the game in critical spots, the senior QB makes big plays, but on 4th-and-5 in the last minute, Penn State handed off instead of letting their terrific QB McSorley make a play, and they got stopped. 

11) Northern Illinois 26, Eastern Michigan 23 OT—  From 2012-15, Eastern Michigan was 7-41. Since start of ’16, they’re 14-16, but 0-6 in overtime games. Coach Chris Creighton has turned the program around, but it has to be frustrating- they lost last two weeks by FG in OT.  

10) Kentucky 24, South Carolina 10— Wildcats are 3-0 in SEC play for first time since 1977, when I was a college freshman with an excellent head of hair. These days? No more hair. 

Not only is Kentucky 5-0, they’ve already beaten Florida, South Carolina and Miss State, three quality wins- their game at Texas A&M next week will be fun to watch. 

9) Fresno State 49, Toledo 27— Bulldogs are 13-5 in 1+ seasons under Jeff Tedford; they were 10-28 the three seasons before he got there. 

Tedford was Aaron Rodgers’ college coach at Cal, later a head coach in the CFL. Why exactly did Cal fire him? He had winning seasons nine of his 11 years in Berkeley (82-57, 50-45 in Pac-12). 

8) Washington State 28, Utah 24— Gardner Minshew threw an 89-yard TD pass with 4:14 left as the Coogs improved to 4-1. Wazzu had zero rushing yards in this game. Zero- they threw the ball for 445 yards. 

Minshew is a grad transfer from East Carolina; only reason he is in Pullman is because the kid who was supposed to be Wazzu’s QB this season took his own life last January- that tragedy opened the door for Minshew to transfer in and he is having a big season. 

7) Upsets of the Week:
— Tulane (+13.5) 40, Memphis 24
— Army (+8) 42, Buffalo 13
— Georgia State (+7.5) 46, UL-Monroe 14
— Louisiana Tech 29 (+7.5), North Texas 27
— Florida (+7) 13, Mississippi State 6
— Nevada (+6.5) 28, Air Force 25
— Liberty (+6.5) 52, New Mexico 43

6) Arizona State 52, Oregon State 24— Sophomore RB Eno Benjamin ran the ball 30 times for 312 yards, which is a new ASU record. In this pass-happy era, Herm Edwards’ Sun Devils ran the football 48 times for 396 yards. 

5) Colorado 38, UCLA 16 (Friday)— If you had the Buffaloes to be the last unbeaten team in the Pac-12, a) pat yourself on the back, b) unless you’re lying, which you probably are. 

Colorado QB Montez is very good, a mobile field general; their WR Shenault will be in the NFL fairly soon. 

4) Army 42, Buffalo 13— This could be the Cadets’ best team in 20+ years (they went 10-2 in ’96 under current Chiefs’ DC Bob Sutton). Whipping a pretty good Buffalo team suggests that last week’s OT loss at Oklahoma wasn’t a big a shock as we thought it was. In their last two games, Army has converted 22-35 third down plays. 

3) Michigan 20, Northwestern 17— Wildcats led 17-0 five minutes into the 2nd quarter, then didn’t score again and suffered a bitter loss. Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald is a pretty cool guy, but he fired his headset down when this game ended. 

This was the 3rd-biggest comeback win in Michigan football history. 

2) Western Michigan 40, Miami OH 39— Broncos’ QB Wassink was 27-42/439 yards passing with five TD’s, no INT’s. Wassink ran two yards for the winning score with 2:53 left in a game they trailed 33-21 in third quarter. 

1) Middle Tennessee State 25, Florida Atlantic 24— Down 24-17 in last minute, Blue Raiders scored TD with 0:38 left, went for two points and the win; coach’s son Brent Stockstill threw for the two points, as MTSU wins a game they once trailed 21-3. 

Saturday’s List of 13: Trends on non-top 13 college football games

13) Army lost in OT at Oklahoma LW; they’re 9-4-1 vs spread in last 14 games as a single digit underdog. Under Monken, Cadets are 7-7-2 as road underdogs. Buffalo is 3-0-1 in last four games as a home favorite. Home side won last three series games, with all three games decided by 8 or fewer points. 

12) Northern Illinois won its last six games with Eastern Michigan, last two 30-27/31-24. NIU is 10-5 as road underdogs under Carey, 0-2 this year. Since ’08, EMU is 5-12 as home favorites, 3-3 in last six. Eagles are 14-15 SU in their last 29 games, after going 7-41 from 2012-15. 

11) Syracuse upset Clemson at home LY, after losing 54-0 in Death Valley two years ago; under Babers, Orange are 7-3 as road underdogs- they covered seven of last nine games when getting 20+ points. Since 2008, Tigers are 12-21 when laying 20+ points. 

10) Air Force won three of last four games with Nevada, with average total in those games, 84. Wolf Pack lost 45-48 OT/48-31 in last two visits here. Nevada is 4-9 in its last 16 games as home favorites, 7-9 in last 16 games as single digit dogs. Since 2009, Falcons are 8-16 as MW home favorites. 

9) Arizona State/Oregon State split last six meetings; Beavers lost 30-17/35-20 in last two trips to Tempe. Since ’12, ASU is 19-11 as home favorites; they covered only one of last five when laying 20+ points. Since 2014, OSU is 7-14-1 as road underdogs, 2-4-1 when getting 20+ points. 

8) Underdogs covered five of last six Georgia-Tennessee games. Dawgs beat Tennessee 41-0 in Knoxville LY; prior to that, previous five meetings were all decided by 7 or fewer points, with average total of 67. Vols are 0-6 vs spread last six times they got 20+ points. 

7) TCU won four of last five games with Iowa State, losing 14-7 (-6 in Ames LY; Cyclones are 6-4 as road underdogs under Campbell, 5-2 in last seven games as double digit dogs. TCU lost last two games to Ohio St/Texas; they’re 2-9-1 in last dozen games as home favorites. 

6) Not only is Nebraska 0-3 for first time since 1945; they’re 0-9 vs spread in last nine home games; Cornhuskers won four of last five games with Purdue, winning 27-14/35-14 in last two games played here. Underdogs are 22-7 vs spread in Purdue’s last 29 road games; since 2012. Boilers are 0-3 as road favorites. 

5) Louisiana Tech won three of last four games with North Texas, but Mean Green upset Tech 24-23 in Ruston LY- road teams won four of last five series games. Since 2011, UNT is 14-7 as home favorite, but only 2-5 in last seven C-USA games as a HF. Tech is 11-3 in last 14 games as a road underdog. 

4) Western Kentucky won three of last four games with Marshall, but lost 30-23 (+10) in Huntington LY. Since 2014, Marshall is 8-6-1 as road favorites; they’re 6-3-1 in last 10 games as single digit dogs. Since 2009, Hilltoppers are 12-5 as home underdogs. 

3) Florida Atlantic beat Middle Tennessee 38-20 LY, ending 9-game series skid; under Kiffin, FAU is 9-3 vs spread as favorites, 3-1 on road. Since ’08, Blue Raiders are 4-10 as home dogs. Owls lost last visit to Murfreesboro 77-56 two years ago. 

2) Boise State won five of last six games with Wyoming, losing 30-28 (-14) in last visit to Laramie, two years ago (Josh Allen was Wyoming’s QB). Since ’08, Boise is 37-16 as a road favorite- they’re 15-19 in last 34 games when laying 10+ points. 

1) Michigan beat Northwestern 38-0 at home in 2015, teams’ last meeting; Wolverines won last three visits to Evanston, by 1-8ot-18 points. Since ’13, Michigan is 5-8 as road favorites; they’re 17-18 in last 35 games as double digit favorites. Wildcats are 7-3 in last 10 games as double digit underdogs. 

Friday’s List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind……

13) Rams 38, Vikings 31— Scouting in football is very important: 

— Rams WR Cooper Kupp went to college at Eastern Washington.
— Vikings WR Adam Theilen went to college at Mankato State. 

Two damn good players; teams with really good scouts found them. 

12) Oklahoma Sooners had the ball for only 15:19 vs Army last week, Sooners’ lowest TOP in any game since at least 1995.

11) Cleveland Indians will end the regular season with a winning record against their division, but a losing record against everyone else; they’re first playoff team to do that since the 2009 Minnesota Twins, who got swept in the ALDS. 

10) Last week, Seattle RB Chris Carson carried the ball 32 times, most by any Seahawk since Week 12 of 2006, when Shaun Alexander carried it 40 times.

9) Since Bill Lazor became the Bengals’ OC, only Tom Brady, Russell Wilson have thrown more TD passes than Cincy QB Andy Dalton.

8) Elsewhere…..Denver Broncos’ TE Jake Butt tore his ACL and is expected to miss the remainder of the season; he got hurt going thru what basically was a walk-thru. Freak injury 

7) Actor John Hurt has died in 45 different movies, making him the unofficial leader in on-screen deaths.

6) This from Darren Rovell of ESPN:

20 years ago, when Mark McGwire hit his 70th home run of the year for the Cardinals, Phil Ozersky, a fan making $30,000 a year, caught the baseball. Cardinals asked him for the ball in exchange for a signed bat, ball and jersey. Ozersky said he also wants to meet McGwire. McGwire declined. 

Three months later, Ozersky sold ball for $3.05M. Thats million, with an M. 

5) Former NBA star Amare Stoudemire is still playing basketball, for a pro team in Israel that is also the co-owner of. 

4) Rockies 5, Phillies 3— Philly went 0-8 on their road trip, their worst road trip since 1883. Thats 18-83, not 19-83. 

On August 5, Phillies were 63-48 and stop the NL East after beating the Marlins; they’re 15-33 since then. 

3) Thursday afternoon, in the midst of an 12-1 blowout of Tampa Bay, CC Sabathia drilled Jesus Sucre of the Rays, in retaliation for an inside pitch a Tampa pitcher had thrown earlier. Sabathia was ejected from the game, leaving him two innings short of a $500,000 innings bonus. 

Will they give him the $500K for being a good teammate? 

2) Miami 47, North Carolina 10— Maybe the UNC players shouldn’t sell the sneakers/gear they get for free, then they wouldn’t get suspended, then their team wouldn’t get whacked just about every week. Miami came in struggling, but had a big night here. 

1) Weird stat: in the 57-year history of the Mets, Jacob deGrom may become the first Mets pitcher ever to finish the season with a 10-9 record.

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud…..

13) Baseball season ends Sunday; every major league game will start at 3pm ET, to make it more interesting for teams competing in the pennant races. Interesting idea they’ve been doing for a while now. 

12) Now this is a rivalry; Giants’ P Madison Bumgarner asked for his last start of the year to be pushed back to Friday, so he can pitch against the Dodgers and hopefully knock them out of the playoff race. 

11) Congrats to Felix Hernandez; the Mariners’ pitcher became an American citizen Tuesday, so good for him!!! His teammate Hector Cruz will join him as an American citizen next week. 

10) Mariners’ OF/2B Dee Gordon has batted 585 times this season; he’s walked nine times, and has an on-base %age of only .288. 

9) Vince Velasquez has started 30 games for the Phillies this year, but pitched total of only 146.1 IP, the least IP per start ever by someone who started 20+ games. 

8) As recently as five years ago, 36 major league pitchers threw 200+ innings; so far this season, only eight pitchers have thrown 200+, with two or three more expected to get there by the end of the week, when the regular season ends. More and more, pitchers are getting coddled. 

7) Bears’ 16-14 win in Arizona Sunday was a big win for them; from 2014-17, Chicago was 8-21 in games decided by 7 or fewer points. Finding a way to win is important. 

6) Speaking of which, Arizona Cardinals were 21-12-1 under former coach Bruce Arians in games decided by 7 or fewer points. Would’ve been interesting to see Arians work with rookie QB Josh Rosen, who makes his first start Sunday against the Seahawks. 

5) All-time record for most home runs hit on the road by one team in a season is 138, set by the 2001 San Francisco Giants. A’s have 132 homers on road this year, with three games left. 

4) Phillies lost their first three games in Denver this week by a combined score of 34-4; not a gutty effort by this team, who seem to have packed it in under rookie manager Gabe Kapler. 

Colorado won, Dodgers lost Wednesday, so Rockies are in first place in NL West, and Dodgers lead St Louis by a game for the second Wild Card spot. Brewers/Cubs clinched playoff spots last nite. 

3) If I ain’t startin’, then I’m departin’…….Clemson QB Kelly Bryant is leaving the school, after the Tigers named freshman Trevor Lawrence the starter for the rest of this season. 

New rule they put in this year; you can red-shirt as long as you play in only four of fewer games, which is where Bryant is now— he can play one year somewhere else down the road.

2) Tennessee Titans WR Richard Matthews was a  no-show at practice on Wednesday, then told a local media outlet that he plans to “move on” from the team.

Matthews texted this to a media person Wednesday night: ”Everything is good! Just wasn’t happy with what was going on barely getting any playing time. It was time to move on.” 

So far this season, Matthews has caught three passes for 11 yards; he caught 53 passes for 795 yards in 2017, when Tennessee had a different coaching staff.

1) Happy 73rd birthday to Dave Duncan, former catcher/pitching coach who won two World Series rings with the A’s— he was one of the best pitching coaches ever. 

Wednesday’s List of 13: NFL stats, and other stuff…….

13) Tampa Bay Bucs play in Chicago Sunday, then have their bye week; Ryan Fitzpatrick just became the first QB EVER to throw for 400+ yards three games in a row. Problem is, he isn’t the Bucs’ starting QB; he is the backup who started while Jameis Winston was suspended for off-field issues. 

If Winston is on the Tampa Bay roster next March 13, the Bucs will owe him $20.9M; thats going to be a very interesting decision. Fitzpatrick will be 36 in late November, so he isn’t the QB of the future in the Big Sombrero. Question is: if not Winston, then who?

12) Arizona Cardinals are switching to rookie Josh Rosen as their starting QB for their home game with Seattle Sunday; Arizona put Rosen in the game with about 4:15 left Sunday and the Cardinals down 16-14— very difficult spot to be put in, for his NFL debut. 

In their first three games, Arizona’s offense:
— Total yards: 213-137-221
— 3rd down conversions: 1-8, 3-12, 3-10
— Turnovers: 2-1-4 (minus-3 for season)
— Cardinals had zero red zone snaps in their last two games.
— Arizona has been scoreless in four of six halves this season.

In other words, Rosen’s starting won’t hurt any. 

11) Happy 85th birthday to the great Hubie Brown, who won 528 games and two NBA Coach of the Year titles; he is still an excellent basketball analyst for ESPN. 

Long time ago, October 15, 1984 to be exact, Knicks-Bulls played an exhibition game in Glens Falls, an hour from where I live- Michael Jordan was a rookie, but he wasn’t “Michael Jordan” yet, just the 3rd pick in the NBA Draft. 

Friend of mine and I went to Glens Falls during the day and walked in the arena while the Knicks were having their walk-thru. No one stopped us, so we went down to the floor and sat down on the end of the Knicks’ bench and watched practice. When I stretched my legs, my feet were on the court- it was awesome. 

10) After practice, I talked to Bernard King, the Knicks’ star and Hubie Brown; both guys were nice to me, Coach Brown talked to me for 10 minutes about what stats (analytics now) are good to use and what ones aren’t. That was a good day 

10) Clemson named true freshman Trevor Lawrence starting QB for this week vs Syracuse; the previous starter, Kelly Bryant, is apparently not happy and may transfer— he had a meeting with Dabo Swinney on Monday. The meeting was said to be “emotional”; Bryant didn’t practice on Monday or Tuesday.

9) Garbagemen come thru my neighborhood at 5:40am on Tuesdays, when it is still very dark out- now that is a bad job, especially in winter, when it is cold as hell. In summers, the sun is actually out at 5:40, so it might not be so bad. What time do these guys have to get up? Yuk. 

8) Angels’ DH/P Shohei Ohtani will undergo elbow surgery next week; not sure what that means for his availability as a hitter next spring, but he won’t pitch at all next season.

7) Seems like NFL bye weeks are more stretched out this season; Panthers-Redskins are off this week; Rams-Chiefs don’t have their bye until Thanksgiving weekend, after their Mexico City tilt. 

6) NFL teams who scored most pts/possession in the red zone this season:
Ravens 6.92 ppp, Chiefs 6.67, Bengals 6.50, Seahawks 6.33

Seattle scored 38 points on only six red zone drives, T3rd least in NFL. Arizona has only been inside opponents’ red zone twice.

Teams with worst ppp in red zone:
Cardinals 3.00, Jets 3.33, Titans 3.83, Broncos 3.88

5) NFL teams who allowed fewest pts/possession in the red zone this season:
Titans 2.60, Dolphins 2.67, Eagles 3.25, Jaguars 3.67

Teams who’ve allowed most ppp in red zone:
Panthers 7.14, Bucs 6.56, Chiefs 6.44, Falcons 6.27

4) NFL teams who scored most ppp on drives starting 75+ yards from goal line:
Chiefs 2.94, Falcons 2.90, Ravens 2.87, Bengals 2.60

Teams who scored fewest ppp on drives starting 75+ yards from goal line:
Cardinals 0.65, Vikings 0.80, Jets/Texans 0.86

3) Teams with most plays of 20+ yards this season:
Bucs 21, Chargers 20, Chiefs 19, Broncos 18, Bengals 17

Teams with fewest plays of 20+ yards:
Cowboys 4, Titans 5, Cardinals/Bears/Patriots 6. 

2) Teams who allowed fewest plays of 20+ yards:
Cowboys 4, Redskins 6, Jaguars 7, Ravens/Browns, Lions, Seahawks 9

Teams who allowed most plays of 20+ yards:
Chiefs/Steelers 20, Chargers/Raiders 17, Panthers 16

1) Buffalo has gone 3/out on 18 of its 35 drives this season.
Rams have gone 3/out on one of their 27 drives. 

Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but……

13) Someone in Las Vegas Saturday bet $5,000 on the Cleveland Browns to win the AFC at 50-1; they win one game in 635 days and a guy is dropping five grand on them to get to the Super Bowl. 

Someone else risked $9,000 to win $450 ($450!!!!) on the Vikings Sunday; all they had to do was beat the 17-point dog underdog Buffalo Bills. 

Gambling and winning is difficult. 

12) Then again, a gambler at Buffalo Bill’s casino in Primm, NV hit a $25, 8-team parlay Saturday, using eight “under” bets on college football totals. Winning wager was worth $4,500.

11) There are bitter losses, then there is Oregon’s home loss to Stanford Saturday night. 

— Ducks led 24-7 at halftime.
— Oregon had ball in Stanford territory up 24-7 in 3rd quarter; Stanford’s defense picks up an Oregon fumble and runs 80 yards for a TD.
— Ducks had ball in Stanford territory in last minute, appeared to have first down that would have ended game, but runner fumbled, Cardinal recovered and they tied game with a FG.
— Stanford wins the game in OT.  

10) Minnesota Twins have allowed 10 walk-off homers this year, an all-time record; they’ve had 15 walk-off losses, which is one short of the all-time record, held by five teams:

1924 Phillies
1943 St Louis Browns
1966 Red Sox
1969 Giants
1975 Houston Astros

9) Lookalikes, when they both have a hat on: Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt and Indians’ manager Terry Francona. 

8) Eli Manning makes roughly $200,000 a year (give-or-take $20K) to do a for short spot each week with Mike Francesa on WFAN in New York City during the football season. Thats a lot of cash to pay a guy for spewing cliches while failing to appear interested. 

7) Sounds like the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves are off to a great start this season; the star player wants to be traded, the coach and the GM don’t want to trade him, but the owner does, so he orders the reluctant GM to engage in trade talks. Could be a long winter for the Wolves. 

Minnesota also signed its other star, All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns to a 5-year, $190M super-maximum contract extension. Apparently the two stars didn’t get along well. 

6) Things you don’t see in lot of places: After the A’s game Saturday night, 40 or so fans lined up on the third base line, the players/coaches took their jerseys off, signed them and gave them to the corresponding fan who won the contest to win that person’s jersey. Pretty cool promotion.

5) ESPN play-by-play guy Joe Tessitore is a little bit of a hype master; Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes is off to a great start in his career, but you’re not “a superstar” after four games. 

4) If you’re counting New England out as a Super Bowl contender this year, remember that the Patriots were 1-3 in ’01 and won the Super Bowl; they were 2-2 in ’03 and won the Super Bowl, and were 2-2 in ’14 and won the Super Bowl.

That said, Miami is 3-0 and everyone else in the AFC East is 1-2. Dolphins are visiting Foxboro Sunday, and that suddenly becomes a much more important game. 

3) With Jimmy Garoppolo done for this year, 49ers’ coach Kyle Shanahan said he’s working out several FA QBs tomorrow; Tom Savage. Kellen Clemens. TJ Yates. Nick Mullens will be promoted from the practice squad. Matt Moore may also try out. 

CJ Beathard is now the 49ers’ starting QB. 

2) Steelers 30, Buccaneers 27— Pittsburgh hung a 30-spot on the Bucs in the first half; Tampa Bay turned ball over four times before halftime. Hard to win that way. 

Bucs stormed back in second half, but fell short; Ryan Fitzpatrick is first player in NFL history to throw for 400+ yards in three consecutive games.

1) Meanwhile, in St Pete, the Rays lost 4-1, which means the Oakland A’s are in the playoffs, and I really, really enjoyed typing this sentence. Later this week, I’ll have a lot more on this gritty, gutty team that has pulled off a baseball miracle this season.

Tickets for postseason games in Oakland go on sale Friday morning at 9am, PST

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday……

Bills 27, Vikings 6— Three of first five times Buffalo had ball, they started drive in Viking territory; Bills had 22-yard edge in field position in winning Josh Allen’s first career road start- they led 27-0 at the half. Underdogs of 16+ points are now 6-75 SU in their last 81 games; this was biggest upset in NFL since Redskins Dallas on Dec. 3, 1995.

Minnesota ran ball only six times for 14 yards in this game; they turned ball over three times. 

Lions 26, Patriots 10— Detroit outgained Patriots 414-209, but they also kicked four FGs while scoring only two TD’s, a red flag for their offense. New England should get Gordon/Edelman back at WR soon; they need ‘em- Patriots averaged only 4.3 yards/pass attempt. Big night for former Patriot assistant coach Matt Patricia- his first win as an NFL head coach. 

Saints 43, Falcons 37 OT— Last four times New Orleans had ball, they ran 38 plays 247 yards, four TD’s; they had only one TD on their first eight drives. Game turned when Saints blocked a punt when trailing 21-16- they scored on a 16-yard drive after that, only one of ten TD drives in this game that was shorter than 75 yards. Atlanta gained 9.4 yards/pass attempt, but their defense fell apart down the stretch. 

Chiefs 38, 49ers 27— Overshadowing this game is Garoppolo blowing out his knee, a disaster for San Francisco. Chiefs’ offense was perfect in first half; five drives, 41 plays, 295 yards, five TD’s and a 35-10 lead. KC now has 15 TD’s, only two FGA’s this year. Home side has now won last ten games in this series. CJ Beathard takes over at QB; would the Niners take a look at bringing back Colin Kaepernick? 

Rams 35, Chargers 23— Rams lost both starting CB’s during this game; they play Minnesota on Thursday, which could be dicey. In this game, Rams blocked punt for a TD, only TD scored all week in NFL by defense/special teams. Teams combined to convert 15-24 on third down in this game; Rams had three TD drives of 75+ yards- they didn’t have one longer than 59 yards in first two games. 

Dolphins 28, Raiders 20— Oakland is 0-3 despite leading all three games at halftime; they’ve been outscored 64-17 in second half this season. Miami averaged 13.3 yards/pass attempt, including a 52-yard TD on a trick play that gave Miami the lead for good with 7:18 left. Fish are now +4 in turnovers- over is 12-4 in their last sixteen home games.

Eagles 20, Colts 16— Wentz was 25-37/227 passing in his 2018 debut; Eagles outgained Colts 379-209 for game, overcoming -2 turnover ratio. Indy is obviously much-improved with Luck back at QB; they scored only 16 points on five red zone drives, though and were 2-12 on third down, after going 20-33 in first two games. Philly had a TD drive that lasted over 11:00. 

Panthers 31, Bengals 21— Teams with -4 turnover ratios rarely win; Dalton threw four picks, allowed 230 rushing yards (McCaffery had 28 carries for 184 yards, after catching 14 passes for 102 yards LW). Cincy had eight plays of 20+ yards; Carolina has allowed 15 such plays in their last two games.  All three Bengal games this year went over the total. 

Ravens 27, Broncos 14— More and more I hear that “….the first four games of NFL season are for evaluation”, since starters don’t play much in preseason these days. Home side is 3-0 vs spread in Raven games. Denver is now 1-10 in its last 11 road games; they’re 4-12 vs spread in last 16 games as road underdogs. Ravens scored first TD on 6-yard drive after a blocked punt; 

Titans 9, Jaguars 6— First NFL game this season with no TD’s; there was only play of 20+ yards. Gabbert started at QB, got knocked goofy, Mariota threw for only 100 yards. Tennessee has now won five of last six games vs Jacksonville; first downs in this game were 15-12, Titans. Rams had 14 first downs in first quarter alone Sunday. 

Redskins 31, Packers 17– In first half, Redskins had ball six times; they ran 33 plays for 323 yards scoring four TD’s- they led 28-10 at the half on a rainy day. Adrian Peterson had 19 carries for 120 yards. Thru three games, Green Bay has only 36 points on nine red zone drives. Over is now 14-3 in Green Bay’s last 17 road games. 

Giants 27, Texans 22— Houston’s two running backs ran ball combined 14 times for 23 yards; Watson threw for 385 yards, but they’ve got no balance and now O’Brien is on the hot seat. Manning was 25-29/297 passing as Big Blue silences the back pages of the tabloids for a week. Bekcham had nine catches for 109 yards; his presence is opening up chances for other guys to catch passes. 

Bears 16, Cardinals 14— Arizona put rookie QB Josh Rosen in for his NFL debut with 4:31 left and Cardinals down 16-14; I’ve never seen a coach put a young QB on the spot like that before. He threw INT’s on both his drives, though one was on 4th down so he had to force ball in. 

Arizona led 14-0 in first quarter; after that, they ran 39 plays for 120 yards and zero points. Redbirds turned the ball over on all four of their second half possessions. 

Seahawks 24, Cowboys 13— Seattle won its last ten home openers, and 15 of last 16; they were +3 in turnovers here. In three games, Cowboys have only four plays of 20+ yards; they’ve scored total of 21 points in losing both their road games, are 8-38 on third down. Under is 15-2-1 in Seahawks’ last 18 home openers. Under is 18-7 in Cowboys’ last 25 road games. 

Sunday’s List of 13; Wrapping up a sports Saturday

13) Couple of Week 3 NFL trends to consider:
— Over last five years, teams playing their home opener in Week 3 are 6-11-1 vs spread; 4-8-1 if favored, 2-3 if an underdog. Chiefs-Seahawks-Texans are in that boat this week.

— Teams playing their road opener in Week 3 are 8-9 vs spread; 2-3 if favored, 6-6 if an underdog. Packers-Broncos-Saints are in that boat this week. 

12) Old Dominion 49 (+27.5), Virginia Tech 35— Monarchs are in their fifth season of I-A football; they lost 52-10 to Liberty earlier this month, but they pulled a shocker here, beating a Tech squad that recruits heavily in ODU’s talent-rich backyard. 

Old Dominion scored four 4th quarter TD’s, on drives of 75-67-75-79 yards; they put up 632 yards on the Hokies. 

11) Oklahoma 28, Army 21 OT— Sooners were 30-point favorite; they needed OT to win, after Cadets ran 87 plays from scrimmage, converted 13-21 third down plays, 4-5 fourth down plays. Oklahoma averaged 8.9 yards per play but ran only 40 plays the whole game. 

10) Stanford 38, Oregon 31 OT— Ducks are on their third head coach in three years; am guessing Mario Cristobal will stay for a while, but his clock management needs some work. 

Ducks led this game 24-7 at the half, but Stanford fought back, forced an Oregon turnover with 0:50 left, and tied the game at the gun, then won it in OT.

If Stanford coach David Shaw wanted to be an NFL head coach, he’d get a lot of offers.  

9) Texas 31, TCU 16— Tom Herman is now 6-1 vs spread as an underdog in his four years as a head coach. TCU turned ball over four times (-4) in this game; hard to win that way. 

Who made TCU’s schedule? Ohio State/Texas on consecutive Saturdays? No bueno. 

8) Upsets of the Day:
— Old Dominion (+27.5) 49, Virginia Tech 35
— Texas Tech (+14.5) 41, Oklahoma State 17
— Kentucky (+10) 28, Mississippi State 7
— Purdue (+7) 30, Boston College 13
— Illinois State (I-AA team) 35, Colorado State 19

7) Penn State 63, Illinois 24— Illinois led Penn State 24-21 early in third quarter Friday night; they lost 63-24, biggest loss since 2003 by a team that led at any point in second half. 

Nittany Lions outscored their last three opponents 108-0 in second half. 

6) Buffalo 42, Rutgers 13— Why is Rutgers in the Big 14? Not only were the Scarlet Knights a 6-point home underdog in this game, Buffalo got a $920,000 check just for showing up playing the game.

Here’s the thing; if you pay a team $920,000 to show up, you’re supposed to beat them. 

5) Georgia 43, Missouri 29— Dawgs scored a defensive TD, scored another TD on a blocked punt; total yardage was only 445-393 Georgia, but Mizzou turned ball over time three times (plus the BP), completed less than half their passes and Georgia won a game that seemed closer than it actually was. 

All three of Georgia’s offensive TDs were on plays of 33+ yards

4) Texas-San Antonio 25, Texas State 21— Difference in game was Roadrunners’ defense; they scored a TD in the first minute, and a safety in last 2:00 of this game. 

3) Florida 47, Tennessee 21— Volunteers aren’t very good; they turned ball over six times in this game. Some assistant coaches are more recruiters than tacticians; Tennessee needs some serious recruiters on their staff, because this roster lacks a quarterback, to start…….

2) Utah State 42, Air Force 32— Guy at SouthPoint casino Saturday night risked $72,000 to win $20,000 on Utah State to win SU— he banks the $20,000 with Utah State winning this game. Aggies were a 10-point favorite. 

1) South Carolina 37, Vanderbilt 14— Andy Ludwig is the offensive coordinator at Vanderbilt; he’s worked at 13 different schools in his 32-year college coaching career. Guy must be awful good at packing.