- Ben Rohrbach at Ball Don't Lie1 day ago
We’re just two years removed from the Philadelphia 76ers nearly knocking off the Boston Celtics for a shot at the Miami Heat in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals, and not a single player remains from that roster. Gone is every pick predating Michael Carter-Williams, and yet the Sixers’ brass is banking on a rebuilding strategy that will rely heavily upon new-ish general manager Sam Hinkie’s draft success.
It’s not such a bad bet gambling on Hinkie, especially since he’s enjoyed a bit of good fortune the past two years. Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s former right-hand man landed last year’s Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams, with the No. 11 pick when draft duds littered the top 10, and he came away with perhaps the best player in this past June’s draft, Joel Embiid, at No. 3.
Throw in possibly the best player from the 2013 NBA draft (Nerlens Noel), the potential steal of this year’s edition (Dario Saric), and a couple more first-round selections in 2015, and Philadelphia seems to have a solid foundation for the future. Then again, we said that back in the 2011-12 season, too.
The Philadelphia Eagles had two tries from the 1-yard line in the final minutes Sunday to sink San Francisco’s ship, but the 49ers’ defense held strong and may have saved their season.
Facing a 1-3 start in the brutal NFC West, the Niners clawed their way back to 2-2 with a 26-21 victory. It wasn’t pretty, as they trailed 21-13 at the half, but at least Jim Harbaugh’s charges aren’t completely staring down the barrel of a schedule that includes the Broncos, Chargers, Cardinals and Seahawks (twice).
A loss would’ve sent the Super Bowl hopeful 49ers spiraling into last place in the division, and would've all but ended their chances of reaching a fourth-straight NFC championship game.
As the two-minute warning passed, San Francisco's secondary left nobody open on a pair of passing attempts from the 1, and the Niners again stopped the Eagles in the final minute. On Phiadelphia's final drive, Perrish Cox’s interception ended any hopes the Eagles had at a fourth consecutive comeback. Cox also recovered a fumble in the Niners defense's four-turnover effort.Sun, Sep 28Philadelphia21 - 26San FranciscoGame Recap
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt spent much of the first half against the Buffalo Bills screaming at his fellow linemen for failing to get into proper pre-snap position. Maybe he grew tired of yelling by the third quarter, opting instead to demonstrate his ability to read an offense in remarkable fashion.
The two-time returning All-Pro selection snatched Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel's short pass to Fred Jackson out of thin air, returning it 80 yards for the first regular-season pick-six of his illustrious career.
Watt demonstrated all that makes the 25-year-old so special in the course of the play — the brains reading Manuel, the agility making the catch and the speed outrunning would-be tacklers. As if anybody could've taken the 6-foot-5, 290-pound specimen down even if they had caught him.
Watt's pick-six gave the Texans a 14-10 lead after Buffalo scored the first 10 points of the game, and the first interception of teammate Darryl Morris' career ultimately sealed Houston's 23-17 victory.Sun, Sep 28Buffalo17 - 23HoustonGame Recap
Leodis McKelvin must've seen film from Houston Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins' ridiculous one-handed catch against the New York Giants last week — the NFL's Catch of the Year had it not been erased by an illegal-formation penalty — because the veteran Buffalo Bills cornerback flipped the script on Sunday.
McKelvin stole another improbable snag right out of Hopkins' hands with an acrobatic interception six minutes before the half, marking Houston's second turnover in as many drives.
A two-time All-Pro kick returner, McKelvin stated his case for consideration on the defensive side of the ball, making his second pick of the season to give the underdog Bills the ball with a 10-0 lead. He also had an INT in Buffalo's 29-10 win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 2.
- Ben Rohrbach at Shutdown Corner3 days ago
As if Dan Snyder didn't have enough controversy on his plate — getting leveled in this season's "South Park" premiere and again by the "Daily Show" a day later for his insistence on keeping a racially charged mascot — the Washington Redskins owner is washing down that crow with expired World Cup beer.
In a nifty piece of investigative journalism by The Washington Post's Dan Steinberg, we learned the Redskins are indeed still selling the since expired Budweisers at FedEx Field.
- Ben Rohrbach at Shutdown Corner3 days ago
Washington Redskins tight end Niles Paul lay motionless on FedEx Field late in the second quarter, his hands seemingly frozen in carbonite as refs ruled his brief grasp of the ball an incompletion and tossed flags signaling an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless receiver by two New York Giants safeties.
Inside of two minutes in Thursday night's game, the play fell under official replay review, and the call was reversed. Paul's two steps and a "football move" — in this case ducking his helmet and shoulders to absorb the hit from Antrel Rolle and Quintin Demps — gave young Niles a 28-yard reception.
Unfortunately, the catch also gave Paul a concussion that ruled him out for the remainder of the game.
Both the initial call and the reversal of it raise some interesting questions for the NFL's competition committee, the first of which Vikings safety Harrison Smith raised on Twitter in the aftermath of Paul's injury.
Hope Niles Paul is ok, and that hit on #TNF brings up the question: When is a receiver no longer defenseless?
- Ben Rohrbach at Shutdown Corner4 days ago
With all the controversy that's followed the NFL this season, the football headlines have sorely lacked some good ol' fashioned player-on-player hijinks to lighten the mood. Thanks be to Carolina Panthers DeAngelo Williams for temporarily breaking up the more serious midweek banter.
In response to Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith's promise of "blood and guts" upon facing the Carolina Panthers for the first time, his former longtime teammate Williams answered the call by wearing ski goggles during Thursday's media session.Sun, Sep 28Carolina10 - 38BaltimoreGame Recap
- Ben Rohrbach at Ball Don't Lie5 days ago
Paul George spent months marketing himself as PG-13 leading up to his jersey number switch from 24 to the world's unluckiest number last month, but the Indiana Pacers star is reportedly proving worthy of the MPAA's "parents strongly cautioned" warning for different reasons.
A Manhattan judge blasted George for his role in an ongoing paternity petition, falling just short of calling the injured All-NBA selection a "deadbeat dad," even if the New York Post didn't.
“Even though it is all but certain that (George) is the father of the 5-month-old baby girl at the center of this case,” Justice Matthew Cooper writes, “he has gone to every length imaginable to avoid taking responsibility for his actions."
- Ben Rohrbach at Shutdown Corner5 days ago
When broadcasters kept referring to the Microsoft Suface tablets used on NFL sidelines as iPads in Week 1, the technology company that paid $400 million to become "the official sideline technology sponsor of the NFL" expressed some concern.
But two weeks later players are turning the table(t) on Microsoft.
In the first year of the league's official switch from paper playbooks to tablets, a number of players expressed displeasure with the switch for one simple reason — battery life — in a Wall Street Journal article about the struggles some veterans over the age of 30 are experiencing with the new technology.
Here's a smattering of the criticism levied toward tablets in the piece.
- Ben Rohrbach at Shutdown Corner5 days ago
Domonique Foxworth is a smart man. The former NFL Players Association president enrolled at Harvard Business School this past September upon retiring from the league after six seasons. When he speaks, people still listen, and he spoke bluntly about his disdain for both the sport he loved and NFL owners.
In an interview on WNYC's "Death, Sex & Money" podcast, Foxworth discussed the latter two of those topics extensively, expressing a fondness for the notoriety he enjoyed and paychecks he cashed as a young defensive back for the Broncos, Falcons and Ravens from 2005-11. But things change.
A key member of the NFLPA in some capacity since 2007 — as a player representative, vice president and ultimately the union's president until this past February — Foxworth's direct dealings with owners on important issues both on (concussions) and off the field (domestic violence) formed his strong opinions.