It made sense that Andy Reid spoke in baseball metaphors after Kansas City whipped the New England Patriots on Monday night, with the Royals poised to end a long playoff drought just across the parking lot from Arrowhead Stadium.
He may have stretched things a bit when it came to Jamaal Charles, though.
”It’s a heck of a thing to bring 25 off the bench as a relief pitcher,” Reid said. ”That’s a pretty good player. To add him back to the mix is something.”
Relief pitcher? How about staff ace.
Charles returned from an ankle injury to score three touchdowns, Tom Brady was picked off twice by the opportunistic Chiefs, and Kansas City routed New England 41-14 to hand Bill Belichick one of his worst losses as coach of the Patriots.
Charles, who missed last week’s win in Miami with a sprained ankle, ran for 92 yards and a score. The Pro Bowl running back also caught two short touchdown passes from Alex Smith, who had 248 yards passing and three touchdowns in a sharp performance before a raucous crowd.
”Coach said he was going to look for me, and see how it feels during the game,” Charles said, ”and I guess I started feeling like myself. He didn’t want to take me out.”
The Chiefs (2-2) ended a four-game skid at Arrowhead Stadium dating to last season by making things miserable on Brady, who had one of his two picks returned for a touchdown.
Brady also was strip-sacked and finished 14 of 23 for 159 yards and a touchdown.
”It was just a bad performance by everybody,” Brady said. ”We need to make sure we never have this feeling again. We’ve got to figure out what we have to do better.”
With the game out of hand, the Patriots gave rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a chance to play. He threw a late touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski to complete the scoring.
”Just wanted to play everybody,” Belichick said.
The Chiefs forced the Patriots to air it out by stuffing Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. And when Brady dropped back, their front seven ran roughshod over New England’s suspect offensive line.
It hardly helped the Patriots’ offense that it was trying to operate on the same night Chiefs fans were trying to reclaim the record for loudest outdoor sports venue. The record was set in the first half, when Guinness World Records noted a noise level of 142.2 decibels – breaking the mark of 137.6 that the Seattle Seahawks’ fans had set last season.
”My ears are still ringing,” Reid said with a smile.
Dennis Allen is out as Oakland Raiders head coach, a source told FOX Sports.
Allen was fired after the team returned from a 38-14 loss to Miami in London that dropped the Raiders to 0-4. Rather than tell Allen in person or on the cross-atlantic flight, a source tells FOX Sports that Allen was fired Monday night via telephone.
It wasn’t immediately known who will assume the head coaching position on an interim basis.
Allen, 42, was a rising assistant as Denver’s defensive coordinator when hired by Oakland in 2012. Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie faced the daunting task of trying to win after inheriting a roster with subpar talent and salary-cap problems following the death of team owner Al Davis.
Mark Davis, who took control of the team following his father’s passing, initially expressed patience with Allen and McKenzie under those circumstances. Davis, though, made it clear during the offseason that he expected better results in 2014 after consecutive 4-12 records.
Instead, the Raiders have failed to score more than 14 points in any game this season while starting a rookie quarterback in Derek Carr. The low point came Sunday as the Dolphins (2-2) scored 38 unanswered points in the first three quarters. Carr is now expected to miss time after announcing he had suffered a sprained knee and ankle against Miami.
The quarterback position proved especially problematic for Allen. He was forced to use five different starters in a 36-game span following McKenzie’s ill-fated trades for veterans Matt Flynn (2013) and Matt Schaub (2014) as well as the decision to deal Carson Palmer to Arizona in the 2013 offseason. Palmer has an 11-6 starting record with the Cardinals.
The Raiders haven’t made the playoffs or posted a winning record since the 2002 seaso
The NFL admits officials were wrong to penalize Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah for going to knees and saying a prayer after he scored a touchdown in Monday’s win over the New England Patriots.
“Husain Abdullah should not have been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct following his fourth quarter touchdown,” NFL spokesman Michael Signora wrote in an email to USA TODAY Sports.
“Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d) states ‘players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground.’ However, the officiating mechanic in this situation is not to flag a player who goes to the ground as part of religious expression, and as a result, there should have been no penalty on the play.”
Abdullah will not be fined, Signora said.
Abdullah, a Muslim who sat out the 2012 season to go on a pilgrimage, told reporters after the game he believed he was flagged for first sliding to his knees – not performing the Sajdah, a religious prostration. But the NFL moved quickly to clarify the situation.
Going to the ground in celebration is forbidden by NFL rules unless the player is praying. Former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, among other Christian players, have made it a regular part of the game.
The Seattle Mariners played the final game of the season in split screen.
Part of attention was transfixed on field and making sure the Mariners closed with a victory in the hope it had postseason meaning. The other was on the out-of-town scoreboard hoping for the result they needed in Texas.
”This was a very hard game to manage. I had one eye on the scoreboard and one eye on what was happening on the field. That was kind of tough,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said.
The Mariners did their part with a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels as Felix Hernandez put the final notch on what could be a Cy Young Award season by throwing five shutout innings to secure the American League ERA title.
Seattle started the day needing a win over the AL West champion plus an Oakland loss at Texas to force a one-game playoff on Monday for the AL’s second wild card. The Mariners did their part, but the A’s completed a 4-0 victory as Seattle was in the fifth inning and finished one game ahead of the Mariners.
It made for an awkward afternoon of emotions. The excitement and anticipation of possibly forcing a 163rd game was replaced by disappointment when the Oakland result went final.
Ultimately, the Mariners should be satisfied. Seattle’s 87 wins in the first season of All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano were its most since 2007 and made September baseball relevant in the Pacific Northwest for the first time in a decade.
”To be able to play 162 games and every single one of them mean something, you can’t ask for much more than that,” Seattle’s Dustin Ackley said.
The Oakland game was on in the Mariners video room but most players were getting updates from the scoreboard. Austin Jackson noticed at one point that Texas had runners on first and third and no outs. But he was left to wonder what happened as the Rangers score never changed from zero.
Oakland already led 2-0 when Hernandez threw his first pitch at 1:10 p.m. PDT. Fans at Safeco Field let out a collective groan and a smattering of boos when the A’s took a 4-0 lead in the ninth inning. A brief ”Let’s go Texas!” chant started in the fifth inning with Hernandez on the mound but died off quickly.
At 2:46 p.m. PDT, the A’s closed out their victory in Texas. The fans at Safeco Field responded with a brief standing ovation in the middle of Kendrys Morales’ at-bat after the A’s score was shown as final on the scoreboard.
Hernandez allowed just one hit – Albert Pujols broken-bat blooper in the first inning – and struck out seven. Hernandez (15-6) had a 2.14 ERA, bettering the 2.17 of Chicago’s Chris Sale. Thanks to a scoring change announced on Saturday that changed four runs to unearned from his previous start, Hernandez entered the finale with a chance to pass Sale and win the ERA title.
Hernandez started the sixth inning getting C.J. Cron to ground out. McClendon gave Hernandez his moment in the spotlight, pulling him to a standing ovation with fans twirling the yellow ”K” towel handed out before the game. Hernandez tipped his cap and saluted the fans, appearing the fight back tears.
”We’re going to build a great thing here,” Hernandez said. ”We’ve got the pieces. We’re going to be good.”
One out later, Cano was replaced to a standing ovation to complete his first season in Seattle after signing a $240 million, 10-year contract. Hernandez was the first at the top of the dugout to greet Cano, who hit .314 with 14 homers and 82 RBIs.
”I just thought, our fans should have an opportunity to thank them for the tremendous years both of them have had,” McClendon said. ”I thought our fans were just tremendous in that respect. Both of those guys grinded it out all year and they’re big-time players and I thought they deserved that.”
No. 1 FSU struggled to win, one college coach lost his job and running backs are bumping quarterbacks out of the national spotlight.
They headline the list of top 10 things we learned during another action packed college football weekend.
1. This isn’t the Florida State of last season. The Seminoles may be undefeated, but they sure don’t look unbeatable. The defense is giving up twice as many points and total yards, while turnovers have put FSU on the wrong end of the scoreboard early in games. And yet the ‘Noles continue to find ways to survive.
2. The SEC West is about to get real. We’re about to find out who the best teams are in the toughest division in college football. Six ranked teams are set to face off against each other next week, including Texas A&M at Mississippi State, Alabama at Ole Miss and LSU at Auburn.
3. Texas A&M is much more than just offense. The knock on Kevin Sumlin’s program has been it’s all offensive flash and no defensive substance. That’s changed this season, with the Aggies stopping teams late, allowing just 27 second-half points in five games.
4. The SEC East is still a mess. The SEC East continues to be anyone’s guess right now. Missouri’s loss to Indiana last week had everyone writing off the Tigers, but a come-from-behind win over South Carolina on the road makes Mizzou the favorite heading into next week’s battle with Georgia.
5. Is this the year of the running back? Quarterbacks have hogged the national spotlight, but that’s about to change thanks to Georgia’s Todd Gurley, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah. The trio rushed for a combined 597 yards and seven touchdowns in big wins during the weekend.
6. The Charlie Weis Era ends with a thud in Kansas. Weis was supposed to be the big name hire who was going to put the Jayhawks back on the map, but instead the program got lost along the way to the tune of a 6-22 overall record. Kansas fired Weis Sunday, with school officials citing “lack of on-field development.”
7. Brady Hoke may not be far behind. Michigan’s loss to Minnesota may not have sealed his fate, but his decision to allow quarterback Shane Morris to return to the game after being carted off the field with a possible concussion didn’t help his cause. The move was immediately questioned by critics and Hoke had no good answers.
8. Michigan State and Ohio State continue to make their case. Week 2 losses by these two powers had many knocking the Big Ten out of the four-team College Football Playoff race. The schools will need to build on big offensive showings they delivered during the weekend to impress playoff selection committee members.
9. Is Notre Dame a playoff contender? The Fighting Irish may be 4-0, but their body of work isn’t the most impressive — especially as Michigan continues its downward spiral. Some pundits see this team a legitimate contender, but we’ll see if that’s the case after showdowns with Stanford and FSU.
10. UCLA is scary when the Bruins are running on all cylinders. For weeks now, we’ve wondered what is up with UCLA after single-digit wins over Virginia, Memphis and Texas. But Thursday’s night’s 62-27 rout over Arizona State was a masterpiece for Jim Mora and company. The Bruins went on an impressive 52-10 run that put the game out of reach for the Sun Devils.
Baseball postseason schedule. Times for division series, league championship series and World Series TBA. *-if necessary.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WILD-CARD GAME
Tuesday, 8:07 p.m. ET, Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals, TBS
NATIONAL LEAGUE WILD-CARD GAME
Wednesday, 8:07 p.m. ET, San Francisco Giants at Pittsburgh Pirates, ESPN
AMERICAN LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES
AL wild-card winner vs. Los Angeles Angels
Game 1, Thursday, A’s or Royals at Angels, TBS
Game 2, Friday, AL wild card at Angels, TBS
Game 3, Oct. 5, Angels at AL wild card, TBS
Game 4*, Oct. 6, Angels at AL wild card, TBS
Game 5*, Oct. 8 AL wild card at Angels, TBS
Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore Orioles
Game 1, Thursday, Tigers at Orioles, TBS
Game 2, Friday, Tigers at Orioles, TBS
Game 3, Oct. 5, Orioles at Tigers, TBS
Game 4*, Oct. 6, Orioles at Tigers, TBS
Game 5*, Oct. 8, Tigers at Orioles, TBS
NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES
NL wild-card winner vs. Washington Nationals
Game 1, Friday, NL wild card at Nationals, Fox Sports 1
Game 2, Saturday, NL wild card at Nationals, Fox Sports 1 or MLB Network
Game 3, Oct. 6, Nationals at NL wild card, Fox Sports 1 or MLB Network
Game 4*, Oct. 7, Nationals at NL wild card, Fox Sports 1
Game 5*, Oct. 9, NL wild card at Nationals, Fox Sports 1
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Game 1, Friday, Cardinals at Dodgers, Fox Sports 1
Game 2, Saturday, Cardinals at Dodgers, Fox Sports 1 or MLB Network
Game 3, Oct. 6, Dodgers at Cardinals, Fox Sports 1 or MLB Network
Game 4*, Oct. 7, Dodgers at Cardinals, Fox Sports 1
Game 5*, Oct. 9, Cardinals at Dodgers, Fox Sports 1
AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Game 1, Oct. 10, AL lower seed at AL higher seed, TBS
Game 2, Oct. 11, AL lower seed at AL higher seed, TBS
Game 3, Oct. 13, AL higher seed at AL lower seed, TBS
Game 4, Oct. 14, AL higher seed at AL lower seed, TBS
Game 5*, Oct. 15, AL higher seed at AL lower seed, TBS
Game 6*, Oct. 17, AL lower seed at AL higher seed, TBS
Game 7*, Oct. 18, AL lower seed at AL higher seed, TBS
NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Game 1, Oct. 11, NL lower seed at NL higher seed, Fox
Game 2, Oct. 12, NL lower seed at NL higher seed, Fox Sports 1
Game 3, Oct. 14, NL higher seed at NL lower seed, Fox Sports 1
Game 4, Oct. 15, NL higher seed at NL lower seed, Fox Sports 1
Game 5*, Oct. 16, NL higher seed at NL lower seed, Fox Sports 1
Game 6*, Oct. 18, NL lower seed at NL higher seed, Fox
Game 7*, Oct. 19, NL lower seed at NL higher seed, Fox Sports 1
Game 1, Oct. 21, NL champion at AL champion, Fox
Game 2, Oct. 22, NL champion at AL champion, Fox
Game 3, Oct. 24, NL champion at AL champion, Fox
Game 4, Oct. 25, NL champion at AL champion, Fox
Game 5*, Oct. 26, NL champion at AL champion, Fox
Game 6*, Oct. 28, NL champion at AL champion, Fox
Game 7*, Oct. 29, NL champion at AL champion, Fox
There have been few times in NFL history where a head coach has had as much success with a team as Jim Harbaugh has had with the San Francisco 49ers but still been considered persona non grata. The 2-2 Niners have reached the NFC Championship game in each of Harbaugh’s three seasons with the team, yet there is still speculation that the team wants him out. According to Deion Sanders, a quality win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday didn’t change any of that.
After the 49ers came from 21-10 down to beat the Eagles, Sanders said on the NFL Network that Harbaugh’s players want him gone.
“They want him out. They’re not on the same page,” Sanders said, per Gregg Rosenthal of Around the League. “I really want to know if they’re really playing for the head coach. I got a question with that. Are you really down with your head coach, San Francisco 49ers? Because the way it looks and what I’m hearing, you’re really not down for your head coach. And that’s a problem.
“They really got some problems that we hear rumblings. We all know people inside locker rooms.”
As Rosenthal noted, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport also reported on Sunday that the complaints of several veteran Niners players are growing “louder and louder” because Harbaugh treats his players like children. That’s consistent with what Rapoport said earlier this month about Harbaugh losing his locker room.
At this point, it is starting to look like Harbaugh could be fired if the Niners wind up missing the playoffs. There have been some rumblings about Michigan being interested in him, but some believe the Wolverines would actually be more likely to target Jim’s brother John.
As long as he keeps winning, Harbaugh will keep the critics at bay. But if the Niners start losing, the team might pounce on the opportunity to use it as an excuse to push him out.
|Green Bay at Chicago||10:00 am||FOX||Soldier Field -|
|Detroit at N.Y. Jets||10:00 am||FOX||MetLife Stadium -|
|Carolina at Baltimore||10:00 am||CBS||M&T Bank Stadium -|
|Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh||10:00 am||FOX||Heinz Field -|
|Tennessee at Indianapolis||10:00 am||CBS||Lucas Oil Stadium -|
|Miami at Oakland||10:00 am||CBS||Wembley Stadium -|
|Buffalo at Houston||10:00 am||CBS||NRG Stadium -|
|Jacksonville at San Diego||1:05 pm||CBS||Qualcomm Stadium -|
|Atlanta at Minnesota||1:25 pm||FOX||TCF Bank Stadium -|
|Philadelphia at San Francisco||1:25 pm||FOX||Levi’s Stadium -|
|New Orleans at Dallas||5:30 pm||NBC||AT&T Stadium -|
|Monday, Sep. 29|
|New England at Kansas City||5:30 pm||ESPN||Arrowhead Stadium -|