GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona’s Jordan Hicks didn’t dare turn around as Minnesota’s potential game-winning field goal floated toward the uprights. Instead, he watched the videoboard for a moment and then locked eyes with Ezekial Turner, who had been knocked to the turf, his expression slowly turning to disbelief.
The Cardinals were 2-0. After being really good in a season-opening win last week, they enjoyed a little good fortune in Week 2.
Kyler Murray threw for 400 yards and three touchdowns, and the Cardinals beat the Vikings 34-33 on Sunday after Greg Joseph missed a 37-yard field goal wide right in the final seconds.
“I’d rather be lucky than good sometimes,” Cardinals tight end Maxx Williams said. “We got the ‘W’ with that missed field goal and I’m gonna celebrate it. It’s hard to be 2-0 in this league, it’s hard to win games in this league.
“It doesn’t matter how it happens.”
It was a fitting end to a seesaw game that saw the lead change hands eight times. The dizzying offensive pace — Arizona had a 24-23 halftime lead — slowed considerably in the final minutes, and there were no touchdowns in the final quarter.
Murray also ran for a touchdown and threw two costly interceptions, including one that was returned for a score. But there were a lot more good moments than bad.
“The game is really slowing down for him,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “He’s doing stuff that he did at the collegiate level where he’s very confident in legs and moving around, extending plays.”
The Cardinals looked as if they were about to lose before Joseph’s last-second miss. He made two 52-yard field goals earlier in the game, giving no indication he’d have trouble pushing the Vikings to a win.
It’s another dispiriting setback for the Vikings (0-2), who lost in overtime at Cincinnati last weekend. Kirk Cousins threw for 244 yards and three touchdowns while Dalvin Cook ran for 131 yards on 22 carries.
Minnesota’s Nick Vigil returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the third quarter, jumping in front of a pass Murray intended for Rondale Moore. It gave the Vikings a 30-24 lead.
Murray shook off the mistake and led the Cardinals on an eight-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass to veteran A.J. Green. It was Green’s first touchdown for the Cardinals and gave them a 31-30 lead.
The teams traded field goals in the fourth, with Matt Prater‘s 27-yard kick giving Arizona a 34-33 lead with 4:25 left.
It looked as if another field goal would decide the game, but Joseph’s kick drifted right as the Cardinals celebrated. Joseph made a clutch 53-yard field goal last week to push the game to overtime.
It didn’t work out this time.
“I felt good about that kick,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “I knew he had missed the extra point earlier but he has been kicking good, we are indoors, perfect surface. I am thinking this should be an easy one here.”
Arizona led 24-23 at the break after Prater booted a franchise-record 62-yard field goal as time expired in an action-packed first half.
“I thought the end of the half was a huge swing,” Kingsbury said. “Matt hits a 62-yarder that gives us that momentum and we were able to hang on at the end. It was good. Week 1 we didn’t face adversity. We faced a bunch today and still found a way to get it done.”
Murray scampered out of the pocket late in the second quarter, spinning away from two defenders before finding a wide-open Moore for a 77-yard touchdown pass, giving the Cardinals their first lead at 21-20.
The Vikings’ secondary moved toward the line of scrimmage when Murray started scrambling and didn’t see Moore, who had settled behind the defense and didn’t have a defender within several yards. Moore — a rookie who was a second-round draft pick out of Purdue — finished with 114 yards receiving.
Minnesota responded with a quick drive downfield that was capped by Joseph’s 52-yard field goal.
The Vikings scored on just the second play of the game when Cousins found a wide-open K.J. Osborn for a 64-yard touchdown. There appeared to be a miscommunication in the Cardinals secondary on the play: Cornerback Byron Murphy stayed with Osborn for a few moments before stopping, and there wasn’t any help from the safeties deep.
DeAndre Hopkins caught a touchdown pass for the Cardinals. Osborn led the Vikings with 91 yards receiving.
Prater’s 62-yard field goal just before halftime nearly matched his NFL record of 64 yards that he set in 2013 while with the Denver Broncos.
The 37-year-old, two-time Pro Bowl kicker was acquired in the offseason as an upgrade for Zane Gonzales, who made some big kicks in 2020 but was also inconsistent.
Prater’s kick on Sunday had plenty of distance in the indoor setting, spitting the uprights with some room to spare.
Patrick Peterson returned to the desert after signing with the Vikings during the offseason. The three-time All-Pro played his first 10 seasons with the Cardinals and had 28 interceptions.
Peterson had a fairly quiet game, finishing with two tackles.
Vikings: Minnesota was without a handful of defensive contributors, including linebacker Anthony Barr (knee) and defensive end Everson Griffen (concussion).
Cardinals: Cornerback Marco Wilson (ankle) and right tackle Kelvin Beachum (ribs) both left the game with injuries.
The Vikings play at home for the first time this season when they host the Seattle Seahawks.
The Cardinals travel to face the Jacksonville Jaguars. Three of Arizona’s first four games this season are on the road.
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Red Sox’s two grand slams lead ALCS rout of Astros – Sportsnet.ca
HOUSTON — J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers helped the Red Sox have a grand old time in Houston.
Boston became the first team to slug two grand slams in a postseason game, with Martinez and Devers connecting in the first two innings of a 9-5 win over the Astros on Saturday that tied their AL Championship Series at one game apiece.
Martinez made it 4-0 with his opposite-field shot off rookie Luis Garcia with two outs in the first. It was the first career playoff slam for the four-time All-Star, who began his career with the Astros.
Garcia exited with right knee discomfort after walking the first batter of the second inning. Jake Odorizzi took over, and shortly after a 13-minute delay while the right-hander warmed up on the field, Devers connected with one out for slam No. 2.
“J.D.’s swing was huge to get us on the board early, and then Raffy, same thing, another granny,” red-hot teammate Kike Hernandez said. “Has that ever happened before?”
It has now.
Game 3 is Monday night in Boston. It’s the first of three consecutive home games for the Red Sox, back in the playoffs for the first time since winning the 2018 World Series after downing Houston in the ALCS.
Hernandez, who Boston manager Alex Cora referred to Friday night as “en fuego” after a two-homer performance in Game 1, remained on fire Saturday. He had two hits, highlighted by a solo homer in the fourth inning.
Hernandez has been this postseason’s hottest hitter, leading all players with 16 hits, five homers and four doubles. His nine extra-base hits are also the most in these playoffs and tied a Red Sox postseason record with Mike Lowell (2007), Kevin Youkilis (2007) and David Ortiz (2004 & 2007).
“The importance of the game is allowing me to stay focused and stay locked in,” Hernandez said.
Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi permitted five hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings.
The Astros captured a 5-4 win in the series opener as they rallied behind homers from Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa before falling into the huge hole early in this one.
“That’s a tough team,” Cora said. “It’s never comfortable with them because they’re a swing away from getting back in the game.”
The Red Sox were up 9-0 when Houston got on the board with an RBI double by Kyle Tucker with two outs in the fourth. The Astros cut the lead to 9-3 when Yuli Gurriel followed with single to right field that scored two more.
Gurriel and Jason Castro added solo homers in the ninth off Darwinzon Hernandez before Ryan Brasier got the final out.
“At the end, it was a little too close for comfort, but we got it done,” Hernandez said.
The injury to Garcia is another blow to a Houston team trying to reach the World Series for the second time in three years. The Astros are already reeling after an injury to staff ace Lance McCullers Jr. that kept him off the roster for this series.
They won the championship in 2017, a crown tainted by the team’s sign-stealing scandal.
When McCullers went out, manager Dusty Baker said the team would just have to “hit more” to absorb the loss. But now that the rotation is further depleted, it’ll be an even taller task for this powerful lineup outgunning a Boston team whose offense has outpaced everyone this postseason.
Odorizzi was left off the Division Series roster after a disappointing first season in Houston before getting a spot in this round after the injury to McCullers. He allowed seven hits and four runs in four innings Saturday in a performance that certainly isn’t good news for a team that is running short on starters.
TOUGH UP TOP
Altuve and Michael Brantley, the top two hitters in Houston’s lineup, are a combined 2 for 17 in the series with a hit each, including Altuve’s homer in Game 1.
There’s a day off Sunday before Houston’s Jose Urquidy makes his first start this postseason in Game 3 Monday. The Red Sox have yet to name their starter.
'It was surreal': University of Toronto student suits up for Toronto Maple Leafs – CTV News Toronto
By day, he’s a university student and the goalie for the University of Toronto’s men’s hockey team. By night, or at least for one night, he was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I keep remembering little details every once in a while,” Alex Bishop told CTV News Toronto. “Saying, oh, that was really cool, or that was really cool – but I think it’ll definitely take a couple of days.”
The morning after his NHL debut, Bishop admitted it still hadn’t sunk in.
“It’s not really something that you sit at home and think, ‘oh, maybe I’ll get to sit on an NHL bench tonight.’ It just doesn’t go through your head.”
Bishop first heard of the potential opportunity on Friday morning through a message from his coach. The Leafs’ Petr Mrázek was out with a groin injury, and the team’s salary cap limitations prevented them from calling up a back-up goalie until Sunday.
Saturday morning he was on the ice, practicing with the team he’s grown up idolizing.
“It was surreal for sure,” Bishop said, adding that the players “were all very, very nice- like super welcoming.”
As for taking shots from the professionals he usually watches on television, Bishop said it wasn’t as daunting as one would think.
“As soon as you get on the ice, it’s just hockey — just different players and different shooters. I tried to just look at it that way but at the same time, try to soak it all in and say, I’m here, this is really cool.”
But he admitted it was a different story when it came time to walk out onto the ice at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday night as the Leafs faced the Ottawa Senators.
“Even just walking to the bench, there’s fans on your left, fans on your right, the cameras are flashing, the horns are going crazy. It’s something you’ve seen on TV, and even if you’re at the game, you hear it, but to be experiencing it first hand, it’s indescribable.”
Bishop spent the game sitting at the end of the bench, never taking the ice. But he says that’s just fine with him.
“I just don’t think it really could have worked out better. I was able to be there the whole game and didn’t have to go in, so, best-case scenario.”
Bishop says he enjoyed everything about the night, including the chance to experience the things most fans never get to see.
“Just kind of being around the team and seeing just a little bit of what goes on behind the scenes on game day — what they do to prepare, and then obviously having a courtside seat to an NHL game is definitely not something to complain about.”
It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a life-long fan of the team, something passed down to him from his father. Bishop says the Leafs got tickets for his mom, dad, and sister to watch the game. They were also given Leaf jerseys with his name and number on the back.
Barring another series of unfortunate events for the Leafs, the former Quebec Major Junior Hockey League player will suit up again for the U of T Varsity Blues.
“We’re a real, strong team,” Bishop said, “I think we have a good chance to go a decent way this year, so I’m hoping we can do that.”
As for what’s next for Bishop: midterms. He has one on Tuesday and another on Thursday, though he admits he usually crams for midterms, so his brief NHL career didn’t interrupt his studying too much.
It will be a busy week for Bishop and one he says he’ll likely never forget.
“It really isn’t lost on me that this is like.. an opportunity that not many people get. So I was very fortunate in being able to do this.”
Watt forces fumble in overtime, Steelers edge Seahawks – TSN
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin insists there is nothing “mystical” to the way outside linebacker T.J. Watt goes about his business.
The perennial All-Pro is talented. He’s focused. He’s relentless. And as of last month, he’s also one of the highest-paid defenders in the NFL.
And he’s playing like he’s worth every penny.
Watt strip-sacked Seattle quarterback Geno Smith in the waning minutes of overtime on Sunday night. Teammate Devin Bush pounced on the loose ball to set up Chris Boswell’s game-winning 36-yard field goal as the Steelers escaped with a 23-20 victory.
“I don’t think anyone is surprised about his ability to deliver in those moments,” Tomlin said of Watt.
Maybe, but Watt’s second sack of the night, the one that helped the Steelers (3-3) win their second straight to reach .500 heading into their bye week, began innocently. Watt wasn’t sure he had a path to Smith only to somehow thread his way to the former starter turned longtime backup. One mighty chop at Smith’s right arm and the ball was on the ground.
“I don’t think I had a good rush or anything,” Watt said.
In the end, it didn’t matter. Watt finished a remarkable game in which he knocked down three passes and recorded three tackles for loss by making the play that allowed Pittsburgh to avoid a deflating setback.
The Steelers have won two straight following a 1-3 start and will have two weeks to get ready for a visit to Cleveland on Halloween.
“It’s kind of crazy, don’t know if it’s really sunk in yet,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “We got to our goal, which was to get to .500 before the bye, get healthy and get prepared for a long stretch.”
Roethlisberger threw for 229 yards and a touchdown and rookie running back Najee Harris added 83 yards rushing and caught his second scoring toss of the season. Eric Ebron scored the third rushing touchdown of his career as the Steelers found creative ways to move the ball with star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster lost for the season with a shoulder injury.
“We’ve got a lot of players that can make plays,” said Pittsburgh wide receiver Diontae Johnson, who caught nine passes for 71 yards. “They showed that.”
Smith, starting in place of injured Russell Wilson, completed 23 of 32 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown in his first start in nearly four years. Alex Collins ran for 101 yards while filling in for injured starter Chris Carson, the first 100-yard rushing game by a Seahawk since Dec. 15, 2018.
Smith’s late miscue, however, dropped Seattle to 2-4.
“I thought he played tough as hell,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of Smith. “He was clear and calm and poised exactly like you’d hope he’d be. The game was not too big for him at all.”
The Seahawks played the final 3:10 of regulation and overtime without linebacker Darrell Taylor, who left on a stretcher and was taken to the hospital with an undisclosed injury. Taylor fell to the ground during a 3-yard gain by Harris with the Steelers driving near midfield. Taylor was on the ground for more than 10 minutes while being attended to by medical staff. Players from both sides came out to offer support.
Coach Pete Carroll said after the game that Taylor’s preliminary CT scans were clear. The team said Taylor had feeling in all of his extremities and the 24-year-old rookie was expected to fly home with the team.
“He was so mad to be taken off the field like that. He wanted to get up,” Carroll said. “They wouldn’t let him do it, because they had to do all the secure methods to take care of him. He didn’t want any part of that.”
Seattle was trailed by three with time winding down in regulation when driving when Smith connected with D.K. Metcalfe near the Seahawks sideline. Rather than step out of bounds with his team out of timeouts, Metcalfe opted to turn upfield. The ball was stripped out of his hands by Pittsburgh’s James Pierre. Seattle wide receiver Freddie Swain fell on it at the Steelers 25.
Smith scrambled to get the Seahawks to the line of scrimmage and appeared to spike the ball with a second left. Officials, however, halted the game to review whether Metcalfe caught the pass inbounds. The call stood on review and the game clock was reset to 3 seconds, giving Smith enough time to spike it so Jason Myers could come on and pull the Seahawks even at the gun with a 43-yard field goal.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who is on the NFL’s competition committee, called the review “an embarrassment.”
“I hated it. I hated it,” Tomlin said. “I cannot believe that game was stopped to confirm catch/no catch in that moment.”
Seattle: Cornerback Sidney Jones left in the third quarter with a chest injury. … Left guard Damien Lewis was carted to the locker room in the third quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return.
Steelers: Rookie left tackle Dan Moore Jr. exited in the fourth quarter with a hip injury.
Seattle: Host New Orleans on Monday, Oct. 25.
Pittsburgh: Are off next week, then travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns on Oct. 31. Cleveland took two of three meetings with Pittsburgh in 2020, including a blowout victory in the first round of the playoffs.
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
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