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Newton stars as Patriots top Ravens – TSN

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Patriots have had trouble finishing off games at times this season. They got an assist from Mother Nature to help close out their biggest victory.

Cam Newton threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score and the Patriots fought through rain and wind to hold off the Baltimore Ravens 23-17 on Sunday night.

Damien Harris ran for a career-high 121 yards to help the Patriots (4-5) win consecutive games for the first time this season. Newton was 13 of 17 for 118 yards. His touchdown pass, on a short sprint-out to Rex Burkhead in the first quarter, was his since first since Week 3 — a span of four games.

“Just finding ways to win. That’s pretty much been it,” Newton said about the past two wins. “Having good weeks in practice and following it up with in-game performances. … We’ve just got to keep doing that moving forward.”

The Ravens’ road winning streak ended at 10. Baltimore (6-3) is 0-6 in the regular season in New England.

Lamar Jackson was 24 of 34 for 249 yards and two touchdowns for the Ravens.

“We’re ticked off. Nobody likes losing,” Jackson said. “We have a lot of talent on our team. We’ve got to regroup.”

New England bottled him up on the ground for most of the game, limiting him to just 11 rushes for 55 yards.

“Overall certainly we played it much better than we did last year,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.

Down 23-17, Baltimore had a chance to take the lead with 7:09 left in the fourth quarter. But the possession quickly fell apart after an errant snap by centre Matt Skura resulted in a 16-yard loss.

The Patriots got the ball back and were able to pick up enough first downs to run down the clock to just over a minute to play before putting the ball back.

As rain and wind pelted the field, the Ravens started the drive with a penalty, pushing them back to their own 9. Facing fourth-and-26 on the 21, Jackson had J.K. Dobbins open along the sideline, but Dobbins bobbled the ball for an incompletion and turnover on downs.

The loss came with additional costs for Baltimore, which will also be without one of its best blockers for the foreseeable future after tight end Nick Boyle was carted off the field with 6:24 left in the third quarter. The team said he suffered a knee injury when he had his left pinned underneath him while being tackled by Terez Hall following a 4-yard reception.

Coach John Harbaugh said Boyle is done for the season.

With rain being blown sideways across the field due to a persistent 15 mph wind that gusted higher than that, both quarterbacks threw sparingly early on. The passes they did attempt were often no more than 15-yard quick-outs or shorter dump-offs.

Most of the exceptions were by the Patriots.

They used some trickery just before halftime to take a 13-10 lead. Facing second-and-6 on the Ravens 24, Newton threw what appeared to be a wide receiver screen to Jakobi Meyers. But Meyers pivoted and lofted a pass to a wide-open Rex Burkhead for a touchdown.

“It’s something we practiced over the last couple of weeks. Just didn’t know when it was going to come up,” Meyers said. “I was just trying to be playmaker.”

Harbaugh acknowledged it was a mental miscue by linebacker Patrick McQueen.

“Rookie mistake. He was on his guy, hesitated a bit. Burkhead made a really nice play on it,” Harbaugh said.

Baltimore was without two stalwarts on defence with tackle Calais Campbell (calf) and linebacker L.J. Fort (finger) both out. Cornerback Jimmy Smith is also sat with an ankle injury.

“It’s impossible to measure it but I’m sure it had an impact,” Harbaugh said.

New England kept things going on its opening drive of the third quarter.

First, Harris broke a 25-yard run to get into Ravens territory. That was followed by Newton connecting with Meyers on a 26-yard pass that also included an unnecessary roughness call on cornerback Marcus Peters for a hit out of bounds. Newton ran it in on the next play from 4 yards out to make it 20-10.

INJURIES

Ravens: DT Brandon Williams left with an ankle injury did not return. … CB Terrell Bonds needed help getting off the field in the third quarter after suffering a knee injury.

FAST QUARTER

Because of the inclement conditions, both teams relied mostly on running the ball in the first period. Of the 27 plays in the quarter, 17 were running plays. The result was a period that lasted just 28 minutes.

MR. TAKEAWAY

Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson’s interception in the closing seconds of the second quarter was his sixth pick of the season. He now has an interception in five straight games, a new franchise record.

UP NEXT

Ravens: Host Tennessee next Sunday.

Patriots: At Houston next Sunday.

___

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

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Goff, defence leads Rams to win over Brady and Bucs – TSN

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TAMPA, Fla. — Jared Goff likes how the Los Angeles Rams are shaping up.

“We can be as good as we want to be, honestly,” the fifth-year quarterback said after Monday night’s 27-24 victory over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “We’ve got it all in front of us. Everything is there for us to take.”

Goff threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns, and Matt Gay kicked a 40-yard field goal with 2:36 remaining to lift the Rams back into first place in the NFC West.

Goff completed 39 of 51 passes, including short scoring throws to Robert Woods, Van Jefferson and Cam Akers. The Rams’ defence pressured Brady all night and sealed the win with rookie safety Jordan Fuller’s second interception of the six-time Super Bowl champion.

Goff threw a pair of interceptions, too, helping the Bucs remain close in the second half.

But when the Rams (7-3) needed him to stand tall, he rebounded to lead them right down the field to retake the lead after Brady tied it with his second TD pass.

“I’ve always believed in myself in any situation, but when you actually do it in a tough environment, it makes you feel good,” Goff said.

“Jared just continued to demonstrate resilience,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “I love the fact he was outstanding from the jump. We had that one little mistake, and he just kept competing. What he did in terms of leading us down the field at the most important moment was critical.”

Cooper Kupp had 11 receptions for 145 yards and Woods finished with 10 catches for 130 yards. Both caught passes on the eight-play, 53-yard drive Goff led to move Los Angeles into position for Gay’s winning kick.

Brady was 26 of 48 for 216 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams sacked him once after getting to Russell Wilson six times in the previous week’s 23-16 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

“Disappointed. I have to do a better job,” Brady said.

Tampa Bay was limited to a touchdown and field goal in the second half, both set up by interceptions thrown by Goff.

“They did a good job preventing (the big play),” Brady said. “They play a defence that makes them tough to hit. Not impossible, but we didn’t hit any.”

Gay, a 2019 Bucs draft pick who was released after a rookie season marked by inconsistency, is the Rams’ third kicker in four weeks.

“I found out on Monday that the Rams were bringing me in,” Gay said. ”It was a quick flight so I could begin testing so I could be eligible for the game. Saturday was the first day I could be in the building. Luckily we played Monday night.”

The Bucs (7-4) fell to 1-3 in four prime-time games despite avoiding the type of slow start that hurt them in losses to the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints and nearly cost them in a narrow victory over the New York Giants.

Coach Bruce Arians adjusted the team’s preparation schedule last week, holding two practices at night — one at Raymond James Stadium.

“Everybody is disappointed. Everybody was ready to play,” Arians said. “We played a good football team. Nobody’s head is down.”

Brady answered a 10-play, 80-yard, 7-minute, 55-second drive Goff led to give the Rams a 7-0 lead with a couple of long scoring drives of his own to put the Bucs up 14-7 with a 9-yard TD pass to Mike Evans.

Goff threw first-half TD passes to Woods and Jefferson, then used Woods’ 20-yard catch and run to the Tampa Bay 20 to set up Gay’s 38-yard field goal as time expired to give Los Angeles a 17-14 lead at halftime.

With the Bucs trailing 24-17, Brady took advantage of Goff throwing his second interception of the night. Chris Godwin’s 13-yard TD catch made it 24-all, setting the stage for Goff to move the Rams downfield for the go-ahead field goal.

Fuller, a sixth-round draft pick who came off injured reserve last week, ensured Los Angeles improved to 32-0 when leading at halftime under McVay.

“I was just in my zone, and the quarterback ended up throwing it in my direction,” said Fuller, who interestingly — like Brady — was selected 199th overall in the draft.

“I was just telling myself, ‘Don’t drop it, don’t drop it, don’t drop it.’ The second one was kind of the same,” Fuller added. “I was just reading the quarterback’s eyes and was able to go out there and get it.”

HISTORIC CREW

An all-Black officiating crew worked an NFL game for the first time in league history.

Referee Jerome Boger led the crew, which also included umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, line judge Carl Johnson, side judge Dale Shaw, field judge Anthony Jeffries and back judge Greg Steed.

The members of Monday night’s officiating crew have a combined 89 seasons of NFL experience and have worked six Super Bowls.

The first Black official in any major sport was Burl Toler, hired by the NFL in 1965.

INJURIES

Rams: Did not announce any injuries during the game.

Buccaneers: LG Ali Marpet missed his third consecutive game due to a concussion. … LT Donovan Smith injured his left ankle on the first offensive play of the game, but returned. … CB Jamel Dean left in the third quarter with a concussion.

UP NEXT

Rams: Host NFC West rival San Francisco next Sunday.

Buccaneers: Remain at home to host defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City on Sunday.

___

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

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Raptors smoothly mix present and future in pivoting from Gasol and Ibaka to Baynes, Len – Toronto Sun

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Article content continued

The Bucks, finalist Miami, Raptor-beaters Boston, a more balanced Philadelphia squad and Brooklyn should all be solid and another team or two usually are a lot better than expected, but this Raptors group should be in the mix in the East.

Of course getting back to where they want to be, contenders again for the NBA title, will take that second part of the plan paying off next off-season.

In the meantime, expect a competitive, fundamentally sound, reasonably deep Toronto Raptors team to take the court in Tampa Bay in 2020-21.

Considering who has exited, that doesn’t sound too bad.

BOOSTING THE BENCH

The Raptors should have an intriguing bench after adding centre Alex Len and guard/forward DeAndre Bembry to the mix.

Len, a 7-footer who split last season with Atlanta and Sacramento, was once highly-regarded enough to be in contention for the first pick of the 2013 draft by Cleveland. He ended up going fifth to Phoenix and has averaged eight points and 6.3 rebounds in 467 games. Injuries have been a major factor for the Ukraine native, but when he plays he has shown he can defend, rebound, score inside and step out with mixed success.

He’ll backup fellow newcomer Aron Baynes, with Canadian Chris Boucher likely to split time between power forward and centre.

Bembry, 6-foot-5, is known for his effort level, defence and athleticism. He can handle the ball a bit and create, but has struggled to shoot from everywhere on the floor aside from right at the rim, where he’s a good finisher. Bembry has shot just 27% from three in 189 career games, but with the status of two other potential Nick Nurse options uncertain, could be in the mix for some playing time.

Guard Terence Davis is facing legal issues and the Raptors will make a call on whether to cut or keep him by Nov. 29. Nurse favourite Patrick McCaw has not played since March due to a knee issue.

@WolstatSun

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Memo details updates to NFL's COVID-19 protocols; masks required for players on sidelines – NFL.com

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Major updates to the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols were sent to all clubs on Monday in a memo obtained by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Among the updates are a mandate for players to wear face coverings on the sideline if they are not wearing a helmet or entering a game starting with games played this Thursday. Those who do not subject to discipline.

The memo delivered a particularly pointed message noted by Pelissero: “Players who fail to wear masks on the sidelines will be subject to discipline. Clubs are required to enforce these rules. Violations by players and/or staff will result in accountability measures being imposed upon the Club.”

As coronavirus positive cases rise throughout the country, it is another step taken by the league to aid in combatting the spread of COVID-19 and it altering the 2020 season.

Some additional points of note:

  • Beginning Week 12, the maximum number of players able to travel to road games will be reduced to 62. To ensure equity, teams must submit a list of players designated as eligible to attend and/or play by 4 p.m. ET the day before game day to the league office.
  • Play-callers will no be required to wear a face mask or double-layered gaiter in addition to a face shied to be consistent with all other coaches who choose to wear face shields.
  • Postgame interactions between players and/or staff will be limited.
  • Starting Nov. 30, access to club facilities will be limited to those designated as “Essential Football, Essential Support or Other Medical/Special Services.” All others must now work remotely or a separate facility.
  • Beginning with Week 13 games, all members of teams’ traveling parties must wear N95 or KN95 masks on the team plane and on the team bus.

The memo was sent on a day in which notable NFL players such as Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen, Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson and multiple Baltimore Ravens were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

All 32 NFL teams currently are operating under the league’s COVID-19 intensive protocol for the remainder of the 2020 season.

The full updated protocol can be viewed below.

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