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Colts grab tiebreaker in AFC South by beating Titans – TSN

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NASHVILLE — Coaches and quarterbacks change for the Indianapolis Colts. What remains the same is they keep beating Tennessee in its own building.

Philip Rivers threw for 308 yards and a touchdown, and Nyheim Hines scored twice as the Colts trounced the Titans 34-17 Thursday night to grab the head-to-head edge atop the AFC South.

The Colts (6-3) will host the rematch in Indianapolis on Nov. 29 after helping coach Frank Reich improve to 4-1 against Titans coach Mike Vrabel. Indianapolis is 14-5 at Nissan Stadium.

“We get a huge special teams touchdown and then offensively, shoot, we were rolling pretty good all day,” said Rivers, in his first season with the Colts after spending 16 with the Chargers. “We were very balanced, kind of got in a rhythm with the no-huddle. This was a huge road division win.”

Indianapolis came in with the NFL’s best defence in terms of fewest yards allowed. The Colts smothered a Tennessee offence that had been averaging 384.6 yards per game, 10th-best in the league, and ranked seventh averaging 29 points. E.J. Speed also blocked a punt that T.J. Carrie returned 6 yards for a TD late in the third quarter.

The Colts outgained Tennessee 430-294, though Derrick Henry ran for 103 yards.

The Titans (6-3) lost for the third time in four games as they head into the toughest stretch of their season, with Indianapolis the first of four straight opponents currently with winning records.

Tennessee led 17-13 at halftime. Indianapolis took advantage of the Titans’ special teams woes to score twice in the third quarter for a 27-17 lead.

The Titans went with a third different punter in three games, promoting Trevor Daniel after signing him to the practice squad last weekend. Daniel’s first punt went 17 yards, and Hines scored four plays later on a 2-yard TD run. The Titans gave Daniel no help on his second, with Speed easily breaking through for the block.

Stephen Gostkowski then missed a 44-yard field goal wide right early in the fourth.

“We’re going to have to evaluate everything that we do,” Vrabel said.

The Colts padded their lead to 34-17 with backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett capping the next drive with a 2-yard TD run with 9:21 left.

“We finished the way we needed to finish,” Reich said.

Indianapolis’ final margin would’ve been larger, but the Colts settled for a 43-yard field goal at the end of the first half and the Titans forced a turnover on downs on Indianapolis’ opening drive of the third.

RIVERS PASSES MARINO

Rivers came in needing only 4 yards passing to move by Hall of Famer Dan Marino for the fifth-most in NFL history. He passed Marino on the Colts’ first play from scrimmage with an 11-yard pass to rookie Jonathan Taylor. Rivers now has 61,666 yards for his career. He also made his 233rd consecutive start and is one away from tying Eli Manning for the 10th-longest streak in league history.

The Colts used a lot of no-huddle to put Rivers in control of the offence and take advantage of a struggling Titans defence.

“He’s just really good in that mode,” Reich said. “Very accurate, good checks in the run game, he was really in it tonight.”

BIRTHDAY PRESENT

Hines finished with 12 carries for 70 yards and a TD, and caught five passes for 45 more yards and another TD. He called this his best birthday ever.

“I’ve never had a game like this on my birthday, so my 24th birthday is going to be one I’m always going to remember,” Hines said. “I knew one thing: I didn’t want to settle for average, I wanted to play great. ”

HEAVY HEART

Titans wide receiver Corey Davis played a day after his older brother, Titus, died at age 27 from a rare form of kidney cancer. Davis did not practice Wednesday hours after his brother died. He was crying before kickoff, then finished with a team-high five catches for 67 yards.

Davis’ brother told their sister the receiver should play regardless, and Davis said he felt his brother with him in the game.

“Since I was a little kid, I was always chasing after him and trying to be like him,” Davis said. “I wore his number every year to copy him. He thought it was annoying, but I looked up to him tremendously. That was my idol, my hero. I tried to honour him tonight.”

INJURIES

Colts cornerback Xavier Rhodes went down on the second play from scrimmage. He walked off on his own and was back before the first quarter ended. Reich said cornerback Kenny Moore II will have an MRI on his ribs Friday.

Tennessee centre Ben Jones hurt a knee but returned. Titans left guard Rodger Saffold limped to the sideline late in the second quarter with an injured ankle, but he also returned. Defensive lineman Larrell Murchison hurt his back.

UP NEXT

Colts host Green Bay on Nov. 22.

Titans visit Baltimore on Nov. 22.

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at https://twitter.com/TeresaMWalker

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

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By the Numbers: Comparing Metcalf to Megatron – TSN

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After D.K. Metcalf’s monster performance against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football, the second-year wide receiver said he had a chip on his shoulder following comments made to him by Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

Metcalf revealed after the game Schwartz said to him, “I was in Detroit with Megatron, but you’re not there yet.”

While there may have been a misunderstanding about the comment – Schwartz later clarified he meant to compliment Metcalf as the closest thing to Calvin Johnson, the three-time All-Pro receiver that retired after the 2015 season, Schwartz has seen – Metcalf used it as motivation to finish the game with 10 receptions for a career-high 177 yards.

The 22-year-old Metcalf has been outstanding for the Seahawks since the club selected him in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Has he been as good as Johnson through the first year and a half of their careers? Is he on his way to becoming the next Megatron?

TSN.ca takes a closer look at Metcalf’s early-career numbers and compares them to Johnson’s statistics at the same time of his career.

  • Metcalf accounted for 77 per cent of the Seahawks’ 230 passing yards. It was the third-highest percentage by a single receiver in the past five seasons, but strangely not even the highest percentage of Week 12. Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant caught the lone completion by fill-in QB Kendall Hinton against the New Orleans Saints.
  • Metcalf’s 177 receiving yards were the fifth-most in Seahawks’ history, behind three games by Hall of Famer Steve Largent and one by fullback John Williams.
  • Metcalf leads the league with 1,039 receiving yards and his nine receiving touchdowns are fifth in the NFL.
  • With his 177 receiving yards on Monday, Metcalf became the fastest Seahawks receiver to eclipse the mark in just the 11th game of the season.
  • His 1,039 receiving yards are also the fifth-most by a player in his first or second year in the league through 11 games in the past 30 years.
  • His 1,939 career receiving yards are just 88 behind Joey Galloway’s 2,027 for most through two seasons in Seahawks franchise history.

Metcalf vs. Megatron (through the first 27 games of their career)

  • Metcalf has 116 receptions on 190 targets for 1,939 yards and 16 touchdowns.
  • Johnson had 101 receptions on 200 targets for 1,727 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2007-2008.
  • Johnson would finish his sophomore campaign with 78 receptions for 1,331 yards and 12 touchdowns.
  • Metcalf is on pace to finish his sophomore season with 84 receptions for 1,511 yards and 13 touchdowns, projected over a full 16-game schedule.
  • Johnson wouldn’t earn a trip to the Pro Bowl until his fourth season with the Lions and his best work came in seasons 5-7 when he named an All-Pro in three straight seasons.
  • He would twice surpass Metcalf’s projected receiving yards total for this season (1,511) with 1,681 yards in 2011 and 1,964 yards in 2012.

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Raptors finalize their 2020-21 training camp roster – Sportsnet.ca

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The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday that they have finalized their 2020-21 training camp roster.

There is a maximum of 20 players allowed on the roster at this time.

In addition, the Raptors announced that restricted free agent Oshae Brissett and free agent centre Henry Ellenson have each signed multi-year contracts. Toronto also finalized contracts with both of their 2020 draft picks, with Malachi Flynn signing a rookie scale deal and Jalen Harris signing a two-way contract.

The Raptors officially signed free agent forwards Alize Johnson and Yuta Watanabe to one-year exhibit-10 deals.

Terrence Davis remains on the roster after his arrest in New York City for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend back in October. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 11.

As Sportsnet’s Michael Grange explained, the situation with Davis continues to be uncertain and his future in Toronto is in doubt despite being included on the training camp roster.

“At this point, its a matter between the NBA and the union,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said in a media availability Tuesday.

Individual workouts and training camp will take place Saint Leo University near the Raptors’ temporary home in Tampa Bay, Fla., from Dec. 1 to Dec. 11.

2020-21 Toronto Raptors Roster

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Why Greg Vanney decided to step away from Toronto FC and what's next – MLSsoccer.com

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USA Today Sports Images

Sitting for his first (virtual) press conference no longer part of the Toronto FC organization he had been with since 2013, Greg Vanney warned he might not get through his long list of thank-yous without getting emotional. 

He almost made it.

Around the eighth minute of what would be 10 minutes of heartfelt thank-yous, Vanney got to thanking his players and people at the club. There was a palpable silence— you could feel the lump in his throat as he tried to gather himself to continue. He took a few seconds.

Then Vanney leaned back, one last push to collect himself, which revealed he was wearing a Toronto FC warm-up jacket, the club crest over his heart, including the star above the logo to signify their MLS Cup triumph in 2017.

“I’ll never forget this journey,” Vanney said. “There’s so many people who have meant so much to me, are so important to me. Much will be written about the successes and failures, but what means most to me are people at the club I’ve meant and the experiences we’ve had together. That’s what you never forget.”

The successes outweigh the failures.

Toronto have been one of the best teams in MLS under Vanney after enduring a very difficult start to life in MLS, failing to make the playoffs in each of their first eight seasons. Vanney leaves a club that won a historic treble in 2017 with MLS Cup, the Supporters’ Shield and Canadian Championship. TFC have been to a further two MLS Cup finals as well as a Concacaf Champions League final, falling in penalties to Chivas, nearly becoming the first MLS club to win that trophy. Vanney lists failing to win the CCL as his biggest regret.

“One of the most important decisions I made of my career is that I believed in Greg Vanney and Tim Bezbatchenko at the time as general manager that they had what it took to bring this team to new heights,” club president Bill Manning said. “He more than paid back that decision with a number of trophies.”

Greg Vanney departs Toronto FC as the most successful coach in club history. | USA Today Sports

The news came as a big jolt to the MLS community when Toronto announced Vanney would be stepping away. His reign in Toronto was the third-longest active tenure in the league and reports had suggested as recently as October that a contract extension was essentially done, just needing signatures.

Those signatures never came. Why? 

“This was a difficult decision, one that I processed for an entire difficult year and came to a conclusion that it’s the right time for myself and my family to move forward and take a different step,” Vanney said. “This profession is about a journey, and in this journey, we have different experiences. I’ve taken every ounce of what I can from this experience and I think it’s time for myself and my family to move on.”

The decision had nothing to do with finances or other contract details. 

“We tried to show Greg how much we valued him and wanted him to continue as head coach. … As the season wound down to a close, we did ask Greg for a decision,” Manning said. “We felt we couldn’t go further into the offseason without knowing what position we’d be in with our head coach.”

“Along the way, we had a lot of incredible memories and did a lot of incredible things,” Vanney added. “The club is destined to keep doing that. It’s time for somebody else to take that.”

For the first time in close to a decade, Vanney and Toronto will go their separate ways for the future. The club are beginning their search for a head coach while Vanney ponders what’s next. 

“I’m a builder, I like to build things,” Vanney said. “I like projects. This club is in a really good place, there’s not a lot of building to do. This club is positioned to be great.”

Vanney doesn’t have a timeline for when he’ll put his hardhat on and get back to building. A lot of speculation has linked him with the vacant LA Galaxy job, considering he spent seven seasons with the club during his playing career and also went to nearby UCLA for college. 

“I do need to catch my breath and regroup a bit, but anyone who knows me, knows I don’t sit still very well,” Vanney said. “It won’t be a long thing.”



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