The premise of a pooch punt is to pin the opposing team deep in its own territory. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger pulled off the strategy to perfection in a victory over the Cleveland Browns Sunday. The University of Redlands had a much different outcome as the Bulldogs tried to pull off the move Saturday against the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders in a first-round game of the NCAA Division III National Championships Saturday.
Facing a fourth-and-21 on the UMHB 35 down 14-0 to the Cru in the third quarter, Redlands punter Kevin Russell attempted to play field position. But after return man Eric Allen received the kick on his own 10-yard line, it was off to the races. He got a few blocks and dodged a few tackles then cut across the field to score on a 90-yard return. UMHB eventually won the game 35-7 to become just the second D-III program (Mount Union is the other) to win at least one postseason game in each of the last ten years.
Moving to the NFL, the New England Patriots came back from a 24-0 halftime deficit to defeat the Denver Broncos 34-31 in overtime thanks to a mistake by Broncos cornerback and special teams player Tony Carter. Carter accidentally touched the ball on a punt in the extra period and the Patriots recovered, setting up a Stephen Gostkowski 31-yard field goal to win it.
Stand by your Dan
Finally, the Los Angeles Dodgers shored up the back end of their starting rotation. The reigning NL West champions signed free-agent pitcher Dan Haren to a one-year, $10 million contract. The deal also includes a vesting option for 2015.