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Gushue Falls to 2-1: Smith Makes Shot of the Tournament – VOCM

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It was a classic matchup at the Tim Hortons Brier last night between defending champ Brad Gushue and former champ Kevin Koe.

They were tied in the eighth end but Koe eventually put it away 9-7 to remain undefeated.

Gushue, whose next match comes tonight against Saskatchewan, falls to 2-1.

Greg Smith, representing NL, dropped to 0-4 after an 11-4 loss to Nova Scotia.

Down 7-1 and nothing to lose, Smith made the shot of the tournament in what TSN is calling the “Rock Around the Clock.” Smith plays tonight against winless PEI.

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Wentz leads Colts to rain soaked road win over 49ers – Sportsnet.ca

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Colts coach Frank Reich wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice.

After being burned by a conservative third-down run call late in a loss to Baltimore two weeks ago, Reich put the ball in Carson Wentz’s hands this time — and it paid off.

Wentz threw a 28-yard TD pass to Michael Pittman Jr. to finish off the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night in a rain-soaked 30-18 victory.

Instead of playing for a field goal the way he did late against the Ravens that contributed to an overtime loss, Reich stayed aggressive even in the treacherous conditions.

“I felt like something about learning the lesson from the Ravens game,” he said. “We had a third-and-8 and I called a run. I told the guys, `I’m not doing that again. I’m throwing a pass.’ I don’t care what anybody says. It really comes from trusting your quarterback and trusting your receivers.”

Wentz and Pittman earned that trust, delivering numerous big plays during a driving rain storm that could have made throwing deep difficult.

Pittman had four catches for 105 yards and a touchdown. He also drew two other pass interference calls as Wentz repeatedly looked his direction as the Colts (3-4) overcame the wet conditions and an early nine-point deficit to win for the third time in four games following an 0-3 start to the season.

“It seems like he just goes into a kind of a beast mode kind of deal,” running back Jonathan Taylor said of Pittman. “When the ball is in his hands, he’s like, `No one is stopping me.’ And if the ball is in the air, he’s like, ‘This ball is mine, or it’s a PI. This is my ball.'”

The 49ers (2-4) dropped their fourth straight game and remained winless at home for more than a year since beating the Rams on Oct. 18, 2020, as the return of starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo failed to provide any spark on a wet night.

Garoppolo threw for 181 yards, lost a fumble, threw two interceptions and struggled to push the ball downfield in his first game back after missing one game with a calf injury.

“The NFL is a crazy thing,” Garoppolo said. “One week, you’re on top. One week, you’re at the bottom of it. Every team has its ups and downs. We’re at the lower point right now. But we can fight back.”

Wentz and the Colts were able to do just enough on offense thanks to three pass interference penalties for 97 yards and a productive game on the ground from Taylor, who ran for 107 yards and a score.

Wentz threw an 11-yard TD pass to Mo Alie-Cox in the first quarter and then led two short TD drives following fumbles by San Francisco, leading to his 1-yard score late in the first half and Taylor’s 5-yard run that made it 20-12 late in the third.

Garoppolo led a TD drive early in the fourth, cutting the deficit to 20-18 on a 14-yard throw to Deebo Samuel. But his 2-point try was batted down at the line.

The Colts then put it away by driving for a field goal and getting the late TD pass from Wentz to Pittman on another short field after Xavier Rhodes intercepted Garoppolo.

“I’ve got to catch them,” Pittman said. “Carson can really throw it out there, so I just got to make sure that I’m the one who comes down with it.”

IN THE SLOP

The driving rain storm had a big impact on the game, especially during a stretch midway through the second quarter.

Colts running back Nyheim Hines got wide open downfield on a third-down pass that slipped right through his hands.

Indianapolis then punted and Brandon Aiyuk muffed the ball before kicking it back nearly 20 yards into the end zone. He recovered it and it was ruled a touchback because he never had possession.

Wentz and Garoppolo both fumbled snaps that they recovered later in the quarter before Samuel lost a fumble for San Francisco at his own 28 on a perfect punchout by Darius Leonard.

That set up a 1-yard run by Wentz that gave the Colts a 13-12 halftime lead.

TAKE IT AWAY

The Niners came in with a league-low two takeaways but doubled that total in the first half.

Taylor fumbled on Indianapolis first play from scrimmage and Fred Warner recovered to set up a field goal by Joey Slye that made it 9-0.

Wentz then made an inexplicable decision early in the second quarter. As he was trying to run away from Nick Bosa, Wentz appeared to flip the ball forward right into Azeez Al-Shaair’s hands. It was ruled a fumble.

INJURY REPORT

Colts: CB BoPete Keyes (hamstring) left in the first half and didn’t return.

49ers: LT Trent Williams was scratched after aggravating an ankle injury last week in practice. Rookie Jaylon Moore made his first career start in his place. … S Jaquiski Tartt (knee), DE Dee Ford (head injury) and CB Emmanuel Moseley (back) all left the game.

UP NEXT

Colts: Host Titans on Sunday.

49ers: Visit Chicago on Sunday.

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Time For Maple Leafs To Admit The Kyle Dubas Experiment Has Failed – The Hockey Writers

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It’s still in early in the season, but based on the reactions from Toronto Maple Leafs’ fans on Sunday, you’d never know the organization has 76 games to pull their season around and get things back on track. No, after a 7-1 loss at the hands of a very depleted Pittsburgh Penguins team, Leafs Nation is freaking out over a terrible start and a lack of production from some key contributors on this Leafs’ roster.

Mitch Marner has one assist in six games. Auston Matthews has played three since returning from injury and has no points. John Tavares has three points in six but is clearly slowing down. Nick Ritchie hasn’t popped up on the scoresheet yet and Ondrej Kase has one goal and no helpers. The team leader in points is the player most fans often talk about trading and everyone on the roster not named Morgan Rielly, Travis Dermott, and Michael Amadio is either even or a minus player.

These six games are being seen as a microcosm of a much larger problem, one that has plagued this franchise for a few seasons now. The window to win is rapidly closing and the prospects for the roster being productive while together are dwindling. The exodus started this past offseason and it will only continue.

Dubas Hasn’t Come as Advertised

Two people are responsible for this and one more than the other. You can’t blame the GM without pointing a finger at the person who hired him, but the GM has been the one pulling the trigger on a series of poor decisions that have clearly caught up to this team.

When Brendan Shanahan hired Kyle Dubas to be his new general manager in July of 2014, the decision was seen as progressive and astute. Dubas was young, he had a strong handle on analytics and he was bringing in a fresh perspective. The thought was he’d crunch the numbers, look at this team in a different way and make changes accordingly.

Kyle Dubas, general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Alana Davidson/NHLI via Getty Images)

While much of the number-crunching speculation turned out to be true, one of the first big moves Dubas made was signing John Tavares to a massive contract in free agency. Tavares was a player the Leafs didn’t need, but he wanted to come home to Toronto and Dubas wanted to make a splash. Both the GM and the player got what they wanted.

Immediately the team transitioned into salary cap crisis mode. Giving Tavares $11 million over the course of seven seasons meant the Leafs were inevitably going to run into issues re-signing Nylander, Matthews and Marner. All contracts got done, but all negotiations were a bit contentious with the exception of Matthews who was pretty much going to get whatever he wanted.

Related: Maple Leafs Are Playing the Blame Game

Dubas went to work trying to plug holes in goal and on the blue line and while he was successful in some regard, he had to make sacrifices when he came to a number of crossroads. Essentially, Dubas has been lauded for his ability to work the salary cap with his numbers guy Brandon Pridham. The reality is, the two men are being applauded for barely being able to keep the team above water based on their cap restrictions.

Series of Wrong Decisions

Starting with the Tavares signing — Tavares is a great player but he wasn’t a necessity for the Maple Leafs — Dubas fell down a rabbit hole of transactions that haven’t panned out for Toronto. He moved Nazem Kadri for Tyson Barrie (who left in free agency then led the NHL in points for a defenseman), he traded a number of players to create cap flexibility, he made trades and signed free agents that barely moved the needle, and he lost big names to free agency, simply because he couldn’t afford to keep them.

Toronto Maple Leafs Zach Hyman
Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Zach Hyman (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)

The latest losses might be among the team’s most painful. Zach Hyman reportedly left the Maple Leafs over a no-trade clause. While there was talk the money was a big issue, Elliotte Friedman has reported that Hyman simply wanted security. Dubas wasn’t in a position to give it to him and the Edmonton Oilers were. Meanwhile, Frederik Andersen left for the Carolina Hurricanes (for a reasonable $4.5 million over two seasons) leaving the Maple Leafs without a proven starter. Jack Campbell might be the real deal, but he’s going to cost a pretty penny to keep as he’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Nick Foligno was a disaster of a trade. Joe Thornton didn’t pan out. The grit is essentially all but gone and the future isn’t looking as bright as it should for a GM who was going to find gems in the draft others couldn’t find.

What Has Dubas Left This Team With?

What’s perhaps more concerning than what Dubas has done with the roster is what he can do moving forward. As the prospect of going deep in the playoffs dwindle, some important pieces will likely be moving on.

Morgan Rielly Toronto Maple Leafs
Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Few expect Rielly to remain with the club after this season. He’s going to get paid on the open market and the Leafs simply can’t afford him. Meanwhile, even though he seems to love this team, Campbell could dart in free agency if the right offer comes along and Dubas can’t match. There’s always talk Auston Matthews might want to head home to Arizona and the best players on the team are taking all sorts of heat from the fan base as they band together in the face of unscrupulous critcism.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Campbell, Spezza, Engvall & Calling All Leaders

Right or wrong, Dubas has committed to his core four guys: Tavares, Matthews, Marner and Nylander. He seems unwilling to trade any of them, even though almost everyone knows that’s the one thing that can help him balance out his roster. His formula for winning hasn’t worked and Dubas seems relentless in his need to beat a dead horse.

What might be the most troubling is that if he makes a move, it will likely be the wrong one. The player with the most tradeable contract is Nylander, yet he leads the team in scoring and might be the most naturally skilled player of the four. Tavares isn’t going anywhere thanks to a full no-move clause and the fans seems to be chasing Marner out of town, which will inevitably bite the Maple Leafs in the a– if and when he’s traded.

As Corey Landberg accurately wrote on Twitter, “Imagine being Kyle Dubas and walking into Matthews, Marner, Nylander entering their prime, Rielly and Kadri on great contracts, a solid goalie, depth all over the roster and then you turn them into this crap 4 years later.”

Fans are losing their minds over the rough start to the 2021-22 season and many are blaming Dubas. What’s crazy is that this downward trend started a while ago. The 7-1 loss to the Penguins only shined a light on something most fans should have been aware of.

Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”

Other content contributions include: NHLtradetalk.com, The Sportster and hosting weekly video casts, THW News and Rumors Rundown, plus Oilers Overtime.

For interview requests or to provide content info, follow Jim on Twitter or his social media accounts. They appear under his photo on articles like this one.

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Bucs fan who gave back Tom Brady's 600th TD game ball may have lost $500K – Yahoo Canada Sports

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The Tampa Bay Bucs fan who gave back Tom Brady’s 600th career touchdown pass game ball missed a chance to cash in. 

Sports memorabilia experts told Yahoo Sports the prized ball is worth as much as a fleet of luxury cars or even a new house.  

The ball could fetch “minimum $500,000” at auction, Ken Goldin, founder and executive chairman of Goldin Auctions, said. Chris Ivy of Heritage Auctions echoed that valuation. Ezra Levine, CEO of the sports memorabilia investment platform Collectible declared the ball worth “easily $500,000-plus” and probably “closer to $750,000.”

Brady became the first player in NFL history to throw 600 touchdown passes on Sunday in the first half of Tampa Bay’s 38-3 thrashing of the visiting Chicago Bears. Mike Evans caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Brady to increase the Bucs’ lead to 21-0.

Either Evans was unaware of the significance of the touchdown, or he experienced a temporary brain cramp. Evans gave a fan wearing his No. 13 jersey the game ball and the team had to negotiate to get it back.

On the CBS broadcast, Tony Romo and Jim Nantz speculated that the Bucs must have offered “a million” or “a date with Gisele” Bundchen in exchange for the ball. Minutes later, CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson reported the asking price wasn’t nearly that steep.

Two Bucs beat writers tracked down the fan at his seat in the first row behind the end zone. Greg Auman of The Athletic and Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times reported the fan identified himself as Byron Kennedy, 29, a resident at Largo Medical Center in Largo, Florida.

TAMPA, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 24: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears in the game at Raymond James Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

TAMPA, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 24: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears in the game at Raymond James Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Kennedy might be dismayed to learn that the game ball from Tom Brady’s first touchdown pass sold at auction in June for more than $428,000. Levine said the 600 TD game ball would go for more “given the historic accomplishment.” 

A Bucs spokesman did not immediately return an email from Yahoo Sports seeking confirmation of what the team offered the fan in exchange for the ball. If a Brady autograph and some other swag is all that he received, then Levine and Goldin say the fan may have given away a fortune.

“Unused signed jersey and autographed photo would be lacking by $497,500,” Goldin said.

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