Sharks

Cam Newton sends Eagles to 7th straight loss

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Cam Newton sends Eagles to 7th straight loss

From Comcast SportsNetPHILADELPHIA (AP) -- This was the Cam Newton who was the talk of the NFL last season.Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more to lead the Carolina Panthers to a 30-22 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night in a matchup of teams with the worst records in the NFC.Newton, who hadn't played up to his sensational rookie season, showed no signs of a sophomore slump against Philadelphia's porous pass defense. He finished 18 of 28 for 306 yards and had a passer rating of 125."I think my best game is still to come," Newton said. "I'm still focused on getting better each and every week."Bryce Brown set a club rookie record with 178 yards rushing, including TD runs of 65 and 5 yards, but the Eagles (3-8) still lost their seventh straight game.Brown, filling in for injured running back LeSean McCoy, surpassed Correll Buckhalter's rookie mark of 134 yards rushing in his first start since his senior year at Wichita East High School in 2008. But Brown also lost two fumbles, including one in Panthers' territory.Fellow rookie Nick Foles was so-so in his second straight start for Michael Vick, who also sat out with a concussion. Foles was 16 of 21 for 119 yards."The most important thing for me was for us to get the win and that didn't happen tonight," Brown said. "I felt like a lot of that had to do with my two turnovers. It really, really cost us."Carolina (3-8) went ahead 24-22 early in the fourth quarter on Graham Gano's 23-yard field goal.Then the Panthers finally stopped Brown when it mattered most, stuffing him on a fourth-and-1 to take over on downs at their 40. Newton led them downfield, running in from the 2 to make it 30-22. Gano, signed last week, missed the extra point. But Brandon Boykin fumbled after a 44-yard kickoff return, the Panthers recovered and held the ball the final 4:29."It's been a long time in coming," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. "Lots of people contributed and made plays. Real proud of what we did and the things we did to give ourselves a chance to win."Newton, the No, 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, lived up to the hype by throwing for 4,051 yards with 21 TD passes and 14 TDs on the ground in his first year. He entered this game with only nine TD passes and four TDs rushing, a major disappointment for Panthers fans.But Newton outshined a rookie seventh-round pick in his Monday night debut."We took some plays off his plate and really tried to balance it out and spread it among other players and he has really responded very well to those things," Rivera said. "I think we had to interpret it as giving him a breath once in a while. These last few weeks, he's played like the guy we believe he could become."Newton had a 24-yard TD toss over the middle to a wide-open Gary Barnidge for a 7-3 lead. He connected with Brandon LaFell on a 43-yard pass to make it 14-3 later in the first quarter. LaFell was wide open on the play, taking advantage of another breakdown in coverage in the secondary.Since Todd Bowles replaced Juan Castillo as defensive coordinator, the Eagles have allowed 13 passing touchdowns and haven't had an interception in five games.Newton led a 95-yard drive to open the third quarter, finishing it off with a 1-yard leap to give the Panthers a 21-15 lead. Newton hit Louis Murphy for a 55-yard gain on a second-and-11 from Carolina's 16.A 51-yard pass interference call on Haruki Nakamura on Foles' deep pass to Jeremy Maclin put Philadelphia at the Panthers 5. Brown then ran in for the go-ahead score.Brown broke loose early in the second quarter to get Philadelphia within 14-12. Brown started up the middle, cut outside and outran the defense down the right sideline for the seventh-longest TD run by a Philadelphia rookie. The Eagles inexplicably tried a 2-point conversion and failed."Bryce did what we thought he could do," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "He's a talented kid. It's a shame he had the two fumbles. He was on a roll. Those things cost you. He'll learn from it. He's got a great future."Alex Henery's 45-yard field goal gave them a 15-14 lead. Henery kicked a 41-yarder to cut it to 14-6 in the second quarter. It was his 18th straight field goal, setting a team record.The Eagles haven't won since beating the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants to go 3-1, leaving fans and media to speculate about Reid's job. Owner Jeffrey Lurie already has said that an 8-8 record would be "unacceptable" this year. The Eagles would have to finish 5-0 just to get there."I'm not worried about all the other things," Reid said. "We haven't talked about that. He's been supportive. Obviously he's competitive and wants to win games."Fans known for their hostile behavior have become apathetic toward their beloved Eagles. The Linc was about one-third empty for pregame introductions and plenty of seats remained empty at the start. There were boos early when the Eagles fell behind, but they lacked the usual luster.The Panthers have shown they're better than their record. They have lost six games by less than a touchdown, including a 2-point loss at Atlanta and a 1-point loss at Chicago."It's a huge stage, Monday Night Football, on the road," tackle Jordan Gross said. "It was just big for us and big for the guys on the team who haven't experienced something like this."The injury-depleted Eagles lost wide receiver DeSean Jackson (sternum) and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (tail bone) in the first half.Notes: Neither Vick nor McCoy have been cleared to return to practice. ... The Eagles inducted five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Troy Vincent and longtime front office executive Leo Carlin into the team's Hall of Fame at halftime. ... Brown's 65-yard TD run was longest for Eagles since McCoy's 66-yarder, against New York Giants, Nov. 1, 2009. ... Buckhalter had 134 yards rushing vs. Arizona on Oct. 7, 2001. ... Newton led the Panthers with 52 yards rushing.

Bad offense, not bad officiating, is main culprit for Sharks' skid

Bad offense, not bad officiating, is main culprit for Sharks' skid

For just the second time this season, the San Jose Sharks have lost consecutive games.

It’s the first time since the club opened the season 0-2, and were outscored 9-4. San Jose played much better in Thursday’s loss to Florida and Saturday’s defeat at the hands of Boston than they did to start the campaign, but have now been on the wrong side of four goal reviews.

The Sharks have lost each of the last two games by two goals, so there’s an understandable temptation to chalk these losses up to questionable officiating. Yet even if you disregard the notion that the officials got each call right (which they did), it’s one that must be resisted.

Their actual lack of offense, not a perceived lack of good officiating, is the main culprit behind the losing streak.

Timo Meier’s goal on Saturday stands as San Jose’s lone tally on this three-game homestand. It’s not for a lack of trying: The Sharks pumped 72 shots on net in the last two games, but could not solve Roberto Luongo or Anton Khudobin.

You can blame the officiating in San Jose’s last two losses all you want, but a good offensive team would have converted subsequent chances to make up for the goals taken off the board. The Sharks have not been a good offensive team this season, and could not make up for it.

San Jose’s inability to finish chances has been their main weakness all season, but they were still able to win games thanks to their defense and goaltending. The latter’s lapsed at times over the last two games, and the former let them down on Saturday when Aaron Dell allowed three goals on only 20 shots.

But that, as well as the discussion around the recent officiating, only serves to mask the Sharks’ real issue. San Jose just simply cannot score.

They’ve only scored on 7.41 percent of their shots this season, according to Natural Stat Trick, which is the third-worst rate in the league. There’s too much talent on the roster to expect that to continue all season, but the Sharks faltered offensively down the stretch last season, too.

Plus, they’re relying significantly on players on the wrong side of 30. Brent Burns, 32, hasn’t scored a goal, and Joe Pavelski, 33, is on pace to score fewer than 20 goals.

He hasn’t failed to reach that mark in a decade. At some point, it must be asked: are the Sharks just unlucky, or is age catching up to their star players?

The answer is probably a bit of both. How much of a role either factor has played is up for debate, but that either has led to San Jose’s failure to score goals is not.

Poor officiating is easier to diagnose than a poor offense, but it’s the latter, not the former, that’s responsible for the Sharks’ most recent skid.

Gameday: How the well-rested Nets will test the Durant-less Warriors

Gameday: How the well-rested Nets will test the Durant-less Warriors

Roughly 20 hours after winning in Philadelphia, the Warriors on Sunday take their act to Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where they’ll be without Kevin Durant as they try to sweep a back-to-back set for the first time this season.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 2pm, with tipoff scheduled for 3:05pm.

It’s the third back-to-back set of the season for the Warriors (12-4), who have split the first two. This one follows a stirring comeback victory over the 76ers on Saturday and it comes against a Nets team sure to test their endurance.

That test is automatically tougher with Durant, who scored scored 27 points against Philly but will be sidelined Sunday with an ankle sprain.

Brooklyn (6-9) is playing without two guards who figured prominently in their plans, as both Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell are out with injuries.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 11

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Spencer Dinwiddie. Curry broke out his mini-slump in the third quarter Saturday in Philly, scoring 20 points on 6-of-7 shooting, including 4-of-4 from deep. He’ll see plenty of Dinwiddie, whose wingspan approaches 6-9. Starting in place of the injured D’Angelo Russell, Dinwiddie has become a solid catalyst for Brooklyn’s fast-paced offense. His 5.57-1 assist-to-turnover ratio leads all NBA point guards. If he plays exceptionally well, the Nets may have a legitimate chance.

INJURY REPORT:
Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L ankle sprain) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Nets: G Jeremy Lin (ruptured patellar tendon) and G D’Angelo Russell (L knee surgery) are listed as out.

GAME OFFICIALS:
Kane Fitzgerald (crew chief), Ben Taylor and Scott Wall.

LAST 10:
Warriors: 8-2, Nets: 3-7.

SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors swept two games against Brooklyn in each of the last two seasons and have won 14 of the last 19 overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
THE GAS TANK: After expending a lot of energy in wiping out a 24-point second-half deficit against the 76ers, the Warriors now confront the NBA’s most hyperactive team. Brooklyn leads the league in pace for the second consecutive season under coach Kenny Atkinson. The Nets are rested and they want to run. With the Warriors shorthanded and coming off a game on the previous night, Brooklyn will push at every opportunity.

TRUST THE D: The Nets rank second in field-goal attempts but 25th in field-goal percentage and 26th in 3-point percentage. They rely on volume to stay in games, and sometimes it’s enough. The Warriors, with the exception of the first half on Saturday, have tightened their defense and now rank fifth in defensive rating. They may have to go deep into the bench, but they’re defense should hold up.

THE GLASS WAR: On sheer rebounding numbers the Warriors and Nets are about equal, thanks largely to Brooklyn ranking second behind Phoenix in both field-goal attempts and missed shots. Where the Warriors separate is in rebounding percentage, where they rank sixth and Brooklyn is 25th. If the Warriors can stay even on the glass against a team that also is comfortable playing “small,” it likely will be enough to put them over the top.