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Jaguars lock up top pick in 2021 draft with loss to Bears – Sportsnet.ca

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Jaguars lock up top pick in 2021 draft with loss to Bears – Sportsnet.ca


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jimmy Graham disappeared into a tunnel following his second touchdown catch of the day. He re-emerged after what seemed like forever and found a group of Chicago teammates waiting to celebrate.

It was symbolic of the Bears’ season. The team that lost its sixth consecutive game earlier this month has now won three in a row and is on the verge of making the expanded NFC playoffs.

Mitchell Trubisky accounted for three scores, including two TD passes to Graham, and the Bears pounded Jacksonville 41-17 Sunday in a game that meant as much to the Jaguars’ long-term future as it did to Chicago’s short-term fate.

The Bears (8-7), who gained control of their post-season path when Arizona lost to San Francisco on Saturday, can make the playoffs for the second time in three years by beating Green Bay at home next week.

“With where we’re at right now as a team, it’s definitely different,” Chicago coach Matt Nagy said. “Green Bay is a hell of a football team and there’s a reason why they’re sitting right now as the No. 1 seed. For us, we’ve got to worry about us. …

“We’re guaranteed one more game, nothing else. If we do well in that one game, then we’ll have an opportunity for more. But we can’t worry about that. We just worry about us.”

The Jaguars (1-14), meanwhile, set a franchise record by losing their 14th consecutive game and locked up the top pick for the first time in franchise history when the New York Jets beat Cleveland 23-16 a few minutes later.

Hello, Trevor Lawrence!

Bears fans could be seen in every direction at TIAA Bank Field, and the visiting team gave them plenty to cheer about with 28 straight points to start the second half. Numerous Jaguars fans celebrated, too, clearly wanting Lawrence to land in Jacksonville.

It sure seems like a reality for the small-market team that’s spent the better part of the last two decades searching for a franchise quarterback. The potential game-changing moment came on the same day the Jags reached a new low for losing.

The Bears’ playoff chances appeared to be a long shot following a sixth straight loss. But they responded by winning three in a row, thanks mostly to a suddenly potent offence.

Chicago scored 30 or more points for the fourth consecutive week, the first time the Bears have accomplished the feat since 1965. This one came courtesy of a strong second half. Trubisky started the scoring spree with a 6-yard run and later connected with Graham for the second time.

David Montgomery and rookie Artavis Pierce also scored on the ground.

“It does give us confidence,” Trubisky said. “It all starts with an expectation, just having a high expectation for us in this offence that, `This is what we’re capable of and nothing less is going to be acceptable.”‘

Trubisky completed 24 of 35 passes for 265 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. His performance was far from perfect. His interception came in the end zone late in the first half — he inexplicably scrambled and threw into a crowd — with the Bears in field-goal range, and he nearly had another early in the third.

But safety Jarrod Wilson dropped the ball and then dropped to the ground to do 10 pushups.

Allen Robinson finished with 10 catches for 103 yards against his former team. Robinson spent the first four years of his NFL career with the Jaguars.

Graham had four receptions for 69 yards.

Former Bears quarterback Mike Glennon made his fourth start of the season for Jacksonville after competing with Gardner Minshew in practice and had two touchdown passes and two interceptions. Glennon nearly had a third turnover, but nose tackle Bilal Nichols dropped a ball at the line of scrimmage that hit him in the chest.

“It was definitely an interesting week,” Glennon said. “But no excuse for anything like that. We came out pretty well. It was a 10-10 ballgame, but then a poor decision by me before the half and then they got three points and it seemed like it went kind of downhill from there. Unfortunately, we couldn’t kind of recover from there.”

KEY INJURIES

Jaguars fullback Bruce Miller was ruled out with a concussion after a helmet-to-helmet hit on Bears punt returner Anthony Miller.

UP NEXT

Bears: Can clinch a playoff berth by beating Green Bay in Chicago next Sunday.

Jaguars: Finish the season at Indianapolis, where nothing can change their enviable draft position.

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Berrettini ends Murray’s comeback at Queen’s

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Berrettini ends Murray’s comeback at Queen’s

Andy Murray‘s grasscourt return was cut short in brutal fashion at Queen’s Club as Italian top seed Matteo Berrettini dished out a 6-3 6-3 defeat to the former world number one on Thursday.

The 34-year-old two-time Wimbledon champion, playing in his first singles tournament on grass for three years, could not handle the ferocious pace of Berrettini as he slid to defeat.

Murray eased past Benoit Paire in his opening match on Tuesday but world number nine Berrettini was too big a step up.

Berrettini’s huge first serve and forehand did most of the damage but the Italian also showed plenty of silky touch on the slick lawns to register his first career win over Murray.

Berrettini, 25, finished the match off with a powerful hold of serve, banging down four massive first serves before sealing victory with a clubbing forehand winner.

He faces British number one Dan Evans in the quarter-final after Evans beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

Murray, a five-time winner of the traditional warm-up event but now ranked 124 after long battles with hip injuries including resurfacing surgery in 2019, has been handed a wildcard for the Wimbledon championships.

Apart from a slight groin niggle, Murray said he was reasonably happy with his condition, considering this was only his third Tour-level tournament of the year.

“I think obviously I need to improve,” Murray told reporters. “I actually felt my movement was actually quite good for both of the matches. My tennis today was not very good today. That’s the thing that I’ll need to improve the most.

“I felt like today that that sort of showed my lack of matches.”

Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez, who won the singles title in 2019 and the doubles alongside Murray, was beaten 6-2 6-3 by Canada‘s Denis Shapovalov.

(Reporting by Martyn HermanEditing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)

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Be Like the King of the North Division and Develop Skills

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North Division

It’s been a year unlike no other for Canadian hockey teams, with COVID-19 travel restrictions forcing the creation of a new NHL division made up entirely of Canadian teams. The previous generation of NHL hockey was known as the “Dead Puck Era” because referees tolerated slowing down the game with clutching and grabbing.

The leading scorers today score in jaw-dropping fashion and routinely pull off stickhandling dangles that were unimaginable until only recently. The Canadian team that will win the North Division will be the one with the most skill.

Here are the training aids that will help you develop your skills all year long.

Passers

Innovators like HockeyShot Canada make “passers” so that players can develop pinpoint accuracy and the soft hands necessary to cradle and control a pass when it lands on your stick. The high-quality rubber bands return the puck with the same force which passed it, so you can give yourself one-timers or work on accuracy.

Whether you’re on a two-on-one, sending a breakout pass from the defensive zone, or holding down the blue line on the power play, every positional player needs to pass accurately.

Shooting

A player is lucky to get a few shots on net each game, and they can’t let them go to waste. Until recently, players needed to rent ice in the off-season to practice their shots in realistic game-like conditions.

Now, players can use shooting pads at their home that let pucks glide as they do on real ice. Shooting is perhaps the one skill that requires the most repetition because one inch can be the difference between going bar-down and clanking one wide off the post.

Practice your quick release and accuracy and develop an arsenal of shots, including wrist shots, slapshots, one-timers, and more. The more tools in your tool kit, the deadlier a sniper you’ll be.

Stick Handling

Having the puck on your stick is a responsibility, and you don’t want to cough it up to the other team and waste a scoring chance or lose possession. The ability to stickhandle helps you bide time until a teammate is open, so you can pass them the puck and continue attacking.

If you’re on a breakaway, you may want to deke the goalie rather than shoot if your hands are silky enough. Develop stickhandling skills, and you’ll keep goalies and opponents guessing – being unpredictable helps make a sniper’s job easier.

Of course, you also need to handle the puck in your own zone without causing a turnover. Stickhandling is a crucial skill in all areas of the ice.

When the coach sends you over the board, you need to be prepared for whatever comes your way. Maybe you’ll get the puck in the slot or somewhere else, but when it’s playoffs, you always need to be ready. The Kings of the North Division have all of the above skills and more, and you can too if you practice all year.

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Australia swim trials calendar shift to reap Tokyo rewards

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Australia swim trials calendar shift to reap Tokyo rewards

Australia broke with tradition to hold its swimming trials just six weeks before the start of the 2020 Olympics and former world champion Giaan Rooney said the move could reap rich rewards in Tokyo after disappointments at London and Rio.

Australia has typically held its trials up to six months before an Olympics but that gap has been drastically cut this year with swimmers vying for Tokyo spots this week in Adelaide.

Rooney, who won individual world titles at Fukuoka and Montreal and a relay gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics, said Australia is gearing up for a much improved Games after its swimmers flopped at Rio and London.

“I think we needed to make it work,” she told Reuters. “The shift started about a year ago to bring the trials into line with the rest of the world and qualify five or six weeks before.

“In sport and swimming, six months is a long time,” Rooney added. “From a coaching perspective, it’s much better to know you have chosen the team in form.”

After winning five gold medals at Sydney 2000 and seven in Athens, the Australian team was rocked by accusations of disruptive behaviour by some of its top sprinters at the 2012 Olympics.

Australia won just one gold medal in the London pool and three in Rio five years ago.

Australia knew something had to be done if it was to close the gap on the powerful Americans and moving the trials is part of the strategy.

“I think it’s to make your swimmers more resilient to change,” Rooney said.

“In the USA they get to race every week regardless of illness or breakups and under all circumstances. Nothing rattles them.

“Australia doesn’t have that racing continuity. This is about making sure you are prepared for anything. I think our swimmers are more resilient than they have been in the past decade, COVID is part of this.”

Rooney said there might even be an “upside” for Australia with the Olympics postponed by a year due to the global health crisis, with the emergence of swimmers like teenager Kaylee McKeown, who broke the women’s 100m backstroke world record on Sunday.

“We are now talking about athletes who are not only going to make the Olympics but are medal chances,” Rooney said.

“We wouldn’t have been talking about her this time last year. She might not have been ready for a position on the team. She is now a legitimate gold medal chance in Tokyo once she gets there.”

For all her confidence about Australia’s performance in Tokyo, Rooney was wary of making predictions about a gold rush for her compatriots.

“I think this will be a more successful Olympics for us than Rio in the pool but individual goal medals will still be difficult to come by,” said the 38-year-old.

“The biggest challenge is to make the jump from minor medals to gold.”

 

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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