ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott ran toward the tunnel, raising his arms to the fans and tossing them souvenirs after the Dallas Cowboys manhandled the Philadelphia Eagles in prime time.
The scene was a stark contrast to almost a year earlier, when the star quarterback was in tears as he rode on a cart through the same spot after the gruesome ankle injury that ended his season.
Prescott threw for three touchdowns in his first home game since the injury, Trevon Diggs returned an interception 59 yards for a score and the Cowboys beat the Eagles 41-21 on Monday night.
“Just thankful for everything that I’ve been through, all of the hard work that made me account for just to be back out here doing what I love,” Prescott said. “It’s the greatest place to play football.”
Ezekiel Elliott ran for a season-high 95 yards and two touchdowns, and tight end Dalton Schultz had the first two-TD game of his career.
Except for a fumble in the end zone that gave the Eagles (1-2) their first touchdown, Prescott was efficient, going 21 of 26 for 238 yards without an interception in the first NFC East game for both teams.
Prescott’s first game at AT&T Stadium since the season-ending compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle in Week 5 last year against the New York Giants was also the return to full capacity after the pandemic-imposed limits last season. There were 93,267 fans inside with the retractable roof open at the $1.2 billion facility.
“A guy like Dak, he’s going to be psyched regardless,” Elliott said. “There’s not any extra he can get besides just the competitor he is, the player he is.”
The Cowboys (2-1) had a 19-1 edge in first downs late in the first half, but the Eagles were down just 20-7 at the break. After Javon Hargrave forced Prescott’s fumble and caught the ball for the score, the Eagles stuffed the QB on a fourth-down sneak at the other end.
Diggs stepped in front of a pass from Hurts to the sideline on the third play of the second half and ran untouched for his first career TD while becoming the first Dallas player with a pick in each of the first three games since Everson Walls in 1985.
Diggs and Cincinnati’s Logan Wilson share the NFL lead with three interceptions.
Hurts had completions of 41 yards to Quez Watkins, 38 yards to tight end Dallas Goedert and 27 yards to tight end Zach Ertz while finishing 25 of 39 for 326 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. Plenty of the Texas native’s passing yards, and the second TD, came with the game out of reach.
“I didn’t do a good enough job of leading,” Hurts said. “I didn’t do a good enough of running our offense, doing the things I need to do. This one’s on me.”
Prescott’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Schultz put the Cowboys ahead for good at 14-7 late in the first quarter, and a 2-yarder to Cedrick Wilson on fourth down essentially put the game away at 34-14 early in the fourth.
Any doubt was erased when rookies Micah Parsons and Osa Odighizuwa shared a sack of Hurts on a desperation try on fourth-and-9 midway through the fourth quarter. Odighizuwa had his first career sack in the first half, dropping Hurts for an 11-yard loss.
Schultz, who led Dallas with 80 yards receiving, scored again on a 22-yarder in the fourth quarter.
Tony Pollard added 60 yards rushing on 11 carries as the Cowboys finished with 160 yards on the ground against the NFL’s No. 2 run defense.
“They had a good game plan to run the ball, we were second and 4, second and 3,” Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. “One thing we’re known for is stopping the run. We couldn’t get off the field.”
HALL OF FAME RINGS
Jimmy Johnson, who coached the Cowboys to a pair of Super Bowl titles in the 1990s, made a rare appearance on their home field when he was presented his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring at halftime along with safety Cliff Harris and receiver Drew Pearson. All three were inducted this summer.
Johnson started his speech by thanking owner Jerry Jones and ended it with the famous line he first shouted after an NFC championship game win over San Francisco during the 1992 season: “How ’bout them Cowboys!” Johnson and Jones split acrimoniously after another Super Bowl title to finish the 1993 season. The two hugged before Jones put the ring on Johnson.
Eagles: LG Isaac Seumalo was taken off on a cart after injuring his right foot in the fourth quarter. The Eagles were already without LT Jordan Mailata (knee) and RG Brandon Brooks (chest strain). S K’Von Wallace injured his left shoulder in the first quarter trying to tackle Elliott and didn’t return.
Eagles: Defending AFC champion Kansas City visits Sunday with the Chiefs coming off consecutive losses for the first time since October 2019.
Cowboys: Carolina visits Sunday with the Panthers seeking their first 4-0 start since the 2015 season, when they started 14-0 and lost to Denver in the Super Bowl.
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Schwarber hits grand slam, Red Sox hammer Astros to take ALCS lead – Sportsnet.ca
BOSTON — Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez walked off the mound with a six-run lead and a message for Carlos Correa and the rest of the Houston Astros:
Now it’s Boston’s time.
Tapping his wrist to mimic Correa’s Game 1 celebration, Rodriguez rode four more Boston homers — including Kyle Schwarber’s record-setting grand slam — to a 12-3 victory Monday night as the Red Sox took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven AL Championship Series.
The taunt drew a rebuke from Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who reminded his pitcher that they still need two more wins to advance to the World Series for the fifth time since 2004. Games 4 and 5 are at Fenway Park on Tuesday night and Wednesday.
“It’s not that I’m mad at him,” said Cora, who was celebrating his 46th birthday. “We don’t act that way. We just show up, we play, and we move on.”
One game after J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers each hit grand slams, Schwarber hit a second-inning 3-0 pitch 430 feet into the right field grandstand.
Boston is the first team ever with three slams in a postseason series.
“Electrifying. It’s unbelievable,” outfielder Alex Verdugo said. “You can have a big swing and get four runs in on just that one play — it’s huge.
“It’s one of the best plays in baseball, man. You give up a grand slam, it takes a lot out of you,” he added. “And just to kind of keep stepping on their neck and adding the pressure, it’s huge.”
Martinez and Devers each homered again, Christian Arroyo also hit one, and Kike Hernandez had two more hits for Boston, which opened 9-0 leads and coasted to victory in back-to-back games. Right fielder Hunter Renfroe ended it with a diving catch of Correa’s sinking line drive.
“They count as one (loss),” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “We come back and win tomorrow and the series is even. You don’t like it tonight, but you come back in the morning.”
Rodriguez gave up five hits, including Kyle Tucker’s three-run homer, and struck out seven. He retired Correa to end the sixth and let the Astros shortstop know that his gesture in Game 1 was not appreciated.
Cora chastised Rodriguez before giving him a hug when he reached the dugout.
“He just told me `Don’t do that,’” said Rodriguez, who said he would apologize to Correa if he sees him. “It was something that was part of the moment. But (Cora) just told me, ‘We don’t do that here. Stay humble. Just go out there and play hard every time.”’
“Besides that,” Cora said, “he was outstanding.”
Correa said he “loved every single bit of it.”
“It’s just the way baseball should trend, moving forward,” he added. “You need to let the players have fun.”
Boston matched a franchise record with its seventh straight postseason win at home. The Red Sox had 11 hits in all, becoming the first team in major league history to reach double digits six straight times in a single postseason.
Hernandez, who has 18 hits during the playoffs and is batting .500 — both leading the majors — left the game after six innings.
Asked why, Cora said with a smile: “He has been running the bases a lot in the last few days, or weeks, or whatever.”
The Red Sox capitalized on two Astros errors and the struggles of Houston starter Jose Urquidy, who gave up six runs, five earned, on five hits and two walks, striking out one in 1 2/3 innings.
Rodriguez, who missed all of last season with COVID-related heart problems, retired the first six batters before running into the trouble in the third, when Tucker made it 9-3.
His outing enabled Cora to keep Nick Pivetta fresh for a Game 4 start.
To the delight of the Fenway fans, who targeted him with profane chants for his role in the Astros 2017 cheating scandal, Jose Altuve struggled at the plate and in the field.
A Gold Glove and AL MVP-winner, the three-time batting champion went 0 for 4 and let Arroyo’s chopper bounce off his chest for an error with the bases loaded in the second inning. One batter later, Schwarber hit Boston’s third grand slam in 11 innings.
The Red Sox, who only had three grand slams during the regular season, matched the 1998 Atlanta Braves as the only clubs to hit three in a single postseason. Boston has 20 homers this postseason, matching the 2004 Astros for the most through the first eight games of the playoffs, per MLB.com.
Altuve also waved at a throw from Martin Maldonado on Hunter Renfroe’s stolen base in the third; the error went to the catcher. The throw to third was also wild, but the Astros were saved another error when the ball missed the dugout and bounced off the padding back toward the field.
Astros: Baker said outfielder Jake Meyers, who injured his left shoulder crashing into the wall in Game 4 of the Division Series, is doing better and could start as soon as Tuesday.
The teams play Game 4 on Tuesday night. The Red Sox are expected to rely on Pivetta, who was 9-8 with a 4.53 ERA in the regular season. Houston will call on RHP Zack Greinke, with RHP Cristian Javier ready to follow the veteran. Greinke has been limited over the past two months due to a neck issue and a positive COVID-19 test.
Canada's women's team drops third straight game with 8-0 loss to Drumheller Dragons – The Globe and Mail
The Drumheller Dragons held Canada’s women’s hockey team off the scoresheet Monday, blanking the national squad 8-0 in a tune-up game.
Adam Raesler scored a hat trick for the Alberta Junior Hockey League side, while Luke Fennig added a pair of goals. Ty Daneault, Grayson Dietrich and Ty Whitford all scored singles.
Canada’s Kristen Campbell stopped 19-of-22 shots in two periods of work and Emerance Maschmeyer made six saves in relief.
Eric Ward saved all five shots he faced in 29 minutes of play for the Dragons and Garrett Fuller finished out the game, making six stops.
Neither side capitalized with the man advantage, with Team Canada going 0 for 3 on the power play and Drumheller going 0 for 2.
Canada has now lost three games in a row to junior-A hockey teams as it prepares for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Olympics-Small minority of U.S. Olympians oppose COVID-19 vaccine mandate, say officials
The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) said on Monday its decision to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for those competing at next year’s Beijing Olympics has been met with some resistance.
In a bid to create a safe environment and restore some level of consistency in planning, the USOPC announced last month that Team USA athletes hoping to compete in the Beijing Olympics will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“The response is as you would expect: Within our general population, there are some people who are extremely happy that we introduced this policy,” Jonathan Finnoff, the USOPC’s chief medical officer, said during the virtual Team USA media summit.
“And there are others that are upset and would like to not have any mandate regarding vaccinations.”
According to Finnoff, it is only a “very small minority” of Team USA athletes who oppose the mandate and the USOPC is having one-on-one conversations with each one to discuss their feelings and explain why the decision was made.
Last month’s announcement by the USOPC came days before the International Olympic Committee said the Beijing Olympics would have tight COVID-19 measures in place to ensure the safety of all participants during the Feb. 4-20 event.
Finnoff said the “more stringent” Beijing measures, which he added unlike the USOPC’s rules will not grant religious exemption, would supersede the U.S. policy.
Any athlete who is granted a medical exemption will have to go through a 21-day quarantine in Beijing before they can begin training ahead of their event.
“These are challenging times but the vaccine policy that we’ve put in place and that China has put in place is going to make the Games as safe as possible,” said Finnoff.
USOPC Chief Executive Sarah Hirshland said the COVID-19 mandate is all about the safety and health of the team.
“The presence of this virus makes the challenge greater for all of us in a Games environment but we are committed to doing everything we can to mitigate illness and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Hirshland.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
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