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Bills force late fumble to beat Patriots – TSN

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Jerry Hughes has too often watched the Patriots snatch victory away from the Buffalo Bills in what has been an AFC East rivalry that for too long tilted in New England’s favour.

How exciting it was for Buffalo’s veteran defensive end to eagerly watch from the sideline as Josh Allen knelt three times to run out the clock to close out a 24-21 win Sunday.

“Man, that was fun,” said Hughes, who was 2-12 during his first seven seasons against New England. “It feels good, to be honest with you, to be on the other side of the spectrum, to be watching our offence hit that victory formation. It felt amazing.”

And it nearly didn’t happen.

Bills backup defensive lineman Justin Zimmer, who opened the season on the practice squad, and safety Dean Marlowe, playing in place of injured starter Micah Hyde (concussion), combined to create the decisive play with the Patriots in position to at the very least tie the game.

Zimmer punched punched the ball out of quarterback Cam Newton’s arms. The fumble was recovered by Marlowe at the Buffalo 13 with 31 seconds left to secure what can be regarded as Buffalo’s most meaningful victory in 20 years over the Bill Belichick-coach Patriots.

In getting off to a 6-2 start for a second consecutive season, the Bills did so against a Patriots nemesis that entered the game having beaten Buffalo in each of the past seven meetings and 35 of the previous 40, dating to Belichick’s arrival in Foxborough.

“Honestly, I don’t know what to feel right now,” Zimmer said. “I’m still just like breathing heavy from the game, just excited. It’ll probably take me a good 24 hours to realize kind of everything that happened.”

Of course, Tom Brady had something to do with that string of domination before leaving New England to sign with Tampa Bay this off-season. Brady went 32-3 against Buffalo in setting the NFL record for most wins over one opponent.

Minus Brady, the Patriots are suddenly in freefall. Their 2-5 start is their worst since 2000, and New England’s four-game skid matches its longest since 2002. Their string of an NFL-record 11 straight division titles is suddenly in jeopardy, as might be their 19 consecutive seasons with a winning record.

“This is the third time we’ve been in this situation this year and unfortunately haven’t been able to make enough plays to win,” said Belichick, referring to one-score losses to Seattle and Denver.

Newton called the the fumble “unacceptable.”

“It affects me more that I still am jeopardizing this team’s success because of my lacklustre performances protecting the football,” Newton said. “Coach trusts me with the ball in my hands and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve got to do a better job of protecting it.”

Newton finished 15 of 25 for 174 yards passing, and added 54 yards rushing plus a touchdown. Damien Harris had 102 yards rushing and scored on a 22-yard run.

A week after being benched following a three-interception outing in a 33-6 loss to San Francisco, Newton was efficient in putting the Patriots in position to win.

After Buffalo went ahead on Tyler Bass’ 28-yard field goal with 4:06 remaining, Newton methodically marched the Patriots 60 yards on 11 plays, and was facing second-and-10 from Buffalo’s 19.

Lining up in a shotgun formation, Newton took the snap and followed a line of blockers to his left. What he didn’t see was Zimmer diving in from behind and punching out the ball, which rolled directly into Marlowe’s arms.

“I was like, five-points of pressure,” Marlowe said of how tightly he gripped the ball. “I’m not letting it go because I’m coming up with this ball.”

Bills rookie Zack Moss scored two touchdowns rushing. Allen went 11 of 18 for 154 yards passing and also scored on a 2-yard run in a game Buffalo never trailed. He had one interception, which led to the Patriots cutting Buffalo’s lead to 7-6 on Nick Folk’s 33-yard field goal with 8 seconds left in the first half.

The game was played in an empty stadium, and amid wet, blustery conditions with the temperature dropping to the low 40s by the fourth quarter. Winds off nearby Lake Erie were persistent at between 17 and 25 MPH.

The Patriots were without several key starters. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore was sidelined by a knee injury. New England was also down its top two receivers this season with Julian Edelman placed on injured reserve after having knee surgery this week, and N’Keal Harry sidelined by a concussion.

TAKE THE POINTS

Belichick elected to take the points and not risk a sack in the final seconds of the first half. With no timeouts remaining and facing third-and-1 at the Buffalo 16, the Patriots elected to have Folk kick to cut the Bills’ lead to 7-6.

INJURIES

Patriots: DL Lawrence Guy did not return after hurting his shoulder in the second half. … LB Ja’Whaun Bentley hurt his groin in the fourth quarter.

Bills: C Mitch Morse did not return after sustaining a head injury on Buffalo’s opening drive. … RB/special teamer Taiwan Jones was ruled out after hurting his hamstring in the third quarter.

UP NEXT

Patriots: Travel to face the winless New York Jets next Monday night, Nov. 9.

Bills: Host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in a stretch of facing three NFC West opponents in five weeks.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Report: Lamar Jackson tests positive; Ravens closing facility until Monday – theScore

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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has tested positive for COVID-19, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports.

The Ravens are closing their team facility until Monday at the earliest, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP, is the latest in a long line of Ravens players affected by the virus, and the reported developments throw the status of Sunday’s game against the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers into doubt. Should the game proceed as scheduled, backup quarterback Robert Griffin III would likely start for Baltimore.

The matchup between the AFC North rivals was supposed to cap off the NFL’s Thanksgiving tripleheader. Instead, the league announced Wednesday the game would be moved to Sunday.

Baltimore already has 10 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and it appears Jackson could soon join them. The team first placed third-string quarterback Trace McSorley and defensive back Iman Marshall on the reserve list last Friday before Sunday’s loss to the Tennessee Titans.

The Ravens then placed running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins and defensive tackle Brandon Williams on the reserve list Monday while announcing that multiple members of the organization had tested positive for COVID-19. Linebacker Pernell McPhee joined them Tuesday, while defensive end Calais Campbell and offensive linemen Matt Skura and Patrick Mekari hit the list Wednesday. Baltimore placed defensive end Jihad Ward on the list Thursday morning.

Baltimore disciplined a staff member Wednesday for reportedly failing to report his COVID-19 symptoms and failing to consistently wear a mask or tracking device inside the team facility.

Head strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders was the staff member in question, sources told Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. The team has reportedly suspended Saunders.

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Twitter Reaction: Fans reveal their favourite Rogers Centre memories – Sportsnet.ca

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There are no certainties just yet, but there is a possibility the Toronto Blue Jays could have a new home stadium.

Early Friday morning, the Globe and Mail reported that Rogers Communications Inc., the parent company of the Blue Jays as well as Sportsnet, and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. are working with city, provincial and federal officials on a plan to demolish the Rogers Centre. The plan would reportedly rework half of the property into a new, baseball-first stadium at the south end and the other portion into residential towers, office buildings, stores and public space.

Of course, the Internet immediately became abuzz with thoughts and opinions on the matter, with Sportsnet’s Sid Seixeiro leading one particular conversation:

Never failing to deliver, fans, pundits and sports teams alike responded with a plethora of great moments. Here are some the best:

https://twitter.com/alexfan590/status/1332344752222728192

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Rogers Centre plans on hold amid pandemic despite report of possible demolition – CBC.ca

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Rogers Communications Inc. says it was exploring the future of its Toronto stadium prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the virus has caused it to put those plans on hold.

The telecommunications company and owner of the Blue Jays baseball team says its primary focus this year is keeping staff safe and maintaining operations, and it has no update on the status of the Rogers Centre stadium.

The statement comes after the Globe and Mail reported Friday that Rogers and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. were looking to tear down the stadium as part of a larger development project.

Citing unnamed sources, the Globe says the two companies would build a new stadium half the size on the southern part of the current site and use the remaining land for residential towers, office buildings, stores and public space.

Brookfield declined to comment on the matter.

The Rogers Centre, formerly known as the SkyDome, opened in 1989 and seats more than 53,000. 

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