Patriots

Ravens set a team record vs. the Raiders

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Ravens set a team record vs. the Raiders

From Comcast SportsNetBALTIMORE (AP) -- The Baltimore Ravens enjoyed a record-setting day at the expense of the mistake-prone Oakland Raiders, who matched a dubious franchise mark that had not been broached in over three decades.Joe Flacco threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns, Jacoby Jones ran a kickoff back for 105 yards, and Baltimore set a club record for points in a 55-20 rout Sunday.It was a rare blowout for the AFC North-leading Ravens, who won their previous five games by a total of 23 points.Asked how such a thing could happen, coach John Harbaugh replied, "I have no answer for that. Sometimes it just goes that way, right? Our guys made some plays."Quite a few, actually. The Ravens (7-2) scored on six of their first seven possessions, special teams contributed two touchdowns and Torrey Smith caught TD passes of 47 and 20 yards.Flacco and the resurgent Baltimore offense made it look easy against the struggling Raiders (3-6), who have yielded at least 40 points in two straight games for the first time since 1962. The 55 points tied an Oakland record for points allowed, set in 1961 and matched in 1981."We had too many mental errors on defense, gave up too many big plays, we turned the ball over too many times and we didn't execute on special teams," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "When you do those things, it generally results in something like that."Baltimore led 27-10 at halftime. In the third quarter, Smith scored twice and holder Sam Koch scored on a fake field goal to make it 48-17.In the fourth quarter, Jones scored on a kickoff return for the second time this season for a 55-20 lead. Baltimore's previous record for points in a game was 48, against Detroit in December 2009."Obviously, we had success," said Flacco, who also ran for a score. "We ran the game plan and it worked well. We stuck with it. We scored points early and continued to score them."Baltimore has 15 straight home wins, the longest current streak in the NFL.Carson Palmer went 29 for 45 for 368 yards and two touchdowns for Oakland. He was mercifully pulled in the fourth quarter."Rough, rough, rough, rough game," Palmer said. "We didn't play any good in any facet of the game. Came in and got outplayed by a good football team. It's very frustrating. We got to put this one in our rear view mirror, because it's going to be a tough one to get past."Playing without injured running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson, the Raiders gained only 72 yards on the ground.Baltimore didn't punt until the third quarter, and even that turned out well. Phillip Adams fumbled, the Ravens recovered the ball and Flacco promptly threw a touchdown pass to Smith.Later in the quarter, Koch ran 7 yards for a touchdown to cap a 74-yard drive.Burned for 251 yards on the ground last week by Tampa Bay rookie Doug Martin in a 42-32 defeat, Oakland shored up its run defense to stop Ray Rice. So Flacco went to the air, repeatedly hitting tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson over the middle in the first half before going long and outside to Smith in the third quarter.Flacco went 21 for 33 and did not play in the fourth quarter.Rice ran for 35 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. He finished the afternoon with 5,034 yards rushing for his career, joining Jamal Lewis as the only players in Ravens history to top 5,000.The Ravens won without defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and cornerback Jimmy Smith. Ngata dressed but rested a shoulder injury, and Smith could not get warmed up properly from a groin injury, according to Harbaugh.The Raiders used a 55-yard pass from Palmer to Darrius Heyward-Bey to close to 20-10 with 1:39 left in the second quarter. It was the ninth straight game in which Oakland scored in the final two minutes of the first half.But that gave Flacco enough time to add another touchdown before the break. He went 5 for 6 for 73 yards before Rice ran for a 7-yard score.Oakland's first possession ended with Palmer flat on his back. On a fourth and 1 from the Baltimore 44, Palmer took the snap from center and took one step backward before right guard Mike Brisiel stepped on his right foot. The Ravens then moved 22 yards before Justin Tucker kicked a field goal.After an Oakland punt, Flacco completed an 18-yard pass to Pitta and connected with Dickson for 40 yards before scoring on a 1-yard run to make it 10-0.Early in the second quarter, Raiders cornerback Michael Huff intercepted a pass at the Baltimore 19 to set up a field goal by Sebastian Janikowski.Flacco responded by covering 80 yards in six plays for a 17-3 lead. After completing a 47-yard pass to Jones and a 19-yarder to Dixon, Flacco tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Pitta.The Raiders followed with their first drive that included multiple first downs, but that ended poorly, too. Paul Kruger picked off a short pass and took it to the Oakland 32, which led to field goal.NOTES:Oakland LB Travis Goethel left in the first quarter with a knee injury and did not return. Oakland CB Michael Huff was kicked in calf, and S Matt Giordano and TE Brandon Myers sustained concussions. ... Baltimore is 7-1 against Oakland (including playoffs) and 5-0 at home. ... Jones is the first Ravens player to have two KO returns for TDs.

Report: In threatening Goodell, Cowboys owner insults Kraft

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Report: In threatening Goodell, Cowboys owner insults Kraft

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, upset over the six-game suspension of his star running back Ezekiel Elliott, has been fighting against a contract extension for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

How hard has he been fighting? Enough to reportedly insult Patriots owner Robert Kraft in the process. 

ESPN reports that on a conference call in August with Goodell and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash when Jones was informed of Elliott’s suspension for domestic violence incidents, Jones told the commissioner, “I’m going to come after you with everything I have.” He then invoked Kraft’s response to Deflategate and Tom Brady’s four-game suspension.

“If you think Bob Kraft came after you hard, Bob Kraft is a p—-y compared to what I’m going to do,” Jones told Goodell, according to ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham.

Elliott, like Brady, abandoned his court fight this week and will serve his suspension. Kraft, of course, produced the Wells Report in context website, but grudgingly accepted the NFL’s penalty in the Deflategate case. Jones has threatened to sue the NFL if Goodell’s contract extension is approved.   

 

Blakely: Work in progress, but oh, what progress

Blakely: Work in progress, but oh, what progress

BOSTON – The words of Stephen Curry following the Celtics’ 92-88 win over his Golden State Warriors had an off-handed, end-of-the-night throwaway feel to them, a statement that would soon be forgotten after the Warriors reel off what should be a long string of victories going forward.
 
“They’re playing the best right now in the East,” Curry said of the Celtics, who now have a 3-2 edge in their past five meetings following Thursday night’s thriller. “And obviously until they beat Cleveland, who's done it three years in a row … so we’ll see.”

CELTICS 92, WARRIORS 88

We already have, folks.
 
The Celtics and the Warriors are both quick to remind us all that we are only a month into the season and that there’s still lots of basketball to be played.
 
But the big takeaway from Thursday was that the Celtics’ ascension to the top of the NBA mountain is a matter of when, not if, it’ll happen.
 
Because what we’re seeing now is a team that is very much a work in progress, yet one that still manages to win games on a lot of nights that they have no business winning.
 
Think about it.
 
They shot 32.9 percent against the Warriors, the best team in the NBA, and still managed to get the win. According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, it was only the second time in the past 35 years that the Celtics shot less than 33 percent from the field and still managed to win.
 
That speaks to how well Boston defended the Warriors, who came in averaging a league-best 119.6 points per game.
 
But more than that, it shows this team has a will to win that’s almost unheard of for a group whose pieces are so relatively new to one another.
 
Of the 14 Celtics with guaranteed contracts on the roster, all but four are in their first season in Boston.
 
But even with the new guys coming together quicker than anticipated, Boston should not all of a sudden be considered the favorites in the NBA.
 
Even with the victory, Boston still has some ground to make up if they are to be on the same level as Golden State, a franchise that has been to the NBA Finals each of the past three seasons and has emerged a champion twice.
 
“It takes a lot of basketball to get there,” said Warriors guard Klay Thompson. “They have a good, young, hungry team. You have to give them credit. They have a better record than us, so you can say they’re better now.”
 
And while Thompson didn’t place an emphasis on it, the last word in his comments, “now,” is why Thursday’s victory leaves the Celtics cautiously optimistic.
 
Because as we’ve seen time and time, regular-season success does not always travel well beyond that and into the playoffs.
 
Still, Thursday’s win provides something for Boston beyond hope and optimism.
 
They now have results to go with the work they’ve put in to be a better team and compete with the league’s best.
 
And they’ve done it under less-than-ideal circumstances.
 
Gordon Hayward went down with an ankle injury less than five minutes into the season and he’s expected to be lost for the rest of the season. Al Horford missed two games while recovering from a concussion while Kyrie Irving missed a game after suffering a facial fracture.
 
So in other words, the Big Three that Boston was set on unleashing to the rest of the world has logged less than five minutes together all season.
 
And yet there are the Celtics (14-2), tops in the NBA while riding a historic 14-game winning streak, and there's reason to believe that maybe, just maybe, these two will be the last teams standing when all is said and done and some of those customary throwaway lines uttered by Curry might have some value after all if these two wind up meeting in the NBA Finals.

“I hear the weather is great here in June,” Curry said.