Capitals

Brady, like Kaepernick, once replaced injured QB

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Brady, like Kaepernick, once replaced injured QB

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The veteran quarterback ran up the sideline back in his own territory, took a hard shot from the linebacker and went down.

He stayed in the game but couldn't finish it and lost his starting job. The career of the player born in Washington state and chosen with the top pick in the NFL draft would never be the same.

No, not Alex Smith.

Try Drew Bledsoe.

On Sunday night, the pros who replaced veteran standouts meet when Tom Brady leads the New England Patriots against Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers.

By the time Bledsoe, the top pick in 1993, recovered from a sheared blood vessel in his chest in 2001, Brady was entrenched at quarterback. Now, 11 years later, Brady says he didn't feel awkward despite Bledsoe's disappointment at losing his job after being injured.

``It was a long time ago for me, but there was nothing like that on our team,'' he said Wednesday. ``I had great support from all of the quarterbacks, especially Drew, at the time. I don't really know what's going on in San Francisco.''

That's where Smith, the No. 1 draft choice in 2005, suffered a concussion on Dec. 2 in a collision with Jo-Lonn Dunbar of the St. Louis Rams near the left sideline on a 4-yard run to the 49ers 26-yard line.

He kept playing, completing his final five passes on the series. He finished it off with a 14-yard scoring throw to Michael Crabtree early in the second quarter.

Kaepernick replaced Smith for the next series and he hasn't played since.

Bledsoe's injury came in the second game of the 2001 season on an 8-yard run when he was hit in the fourth quarter at the right sideline by Mo Lewis of the New York Jets. He stayed in the game until being replaced by Brady for the final series.

The young backup completed four of five passes to the Jets' 29 but threw incompletions on the final four plays of the Jets' 10-3 win.

So what's it like for the young guy to replace the old guy?

``Am I an old guy or a young guy now?'' Brady said with a smile.

He's 35 now with three NFL championships, two Super Bowl MVP awards and two league MVP awards. When he took over, he was 24 and Bledsoe was 29 with three Pro Bowl appearances.

``As a player, you just try to focus on what you have to do to help the team win,'' Brady said. ``When you're not playing, you support the guys that are playing. You help out in practice and then when you get your opportunity, you try to go in there and support the team by playing.

``Ultimately it's about winning games. It's not about an individual. It's about doing what's best for the team. So when you play, you've got to play well.''

Bledsoe was cleared for the 10th game in 2001 and was the No. 2 quarterback but didn't play in it. His next chance came when Brady hurt his left ankle in the second quarter of the AFC championship game.

In his first game in more than four months, Bledsoe threw an 11-yard touchdown pass for a 14-3 halftime lead, then led a field-goal drive and helped take time off the clock with clutch third-down completions. The Patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 24-17.

``I compare it to giving a starving man a little taste,'' he said then.

But four days before the Super Bowl, coach Bill Belichick announced that Brady would start. And the sixth-round pick delivered, throwing for 145 yards and one touchdown as the Patriots secured the first of their championships with a 20-17 upset of St. Louis.

Now, San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh has chosen Kaepernick over Smith to lead the offense down the stretch. At 9-3-1, a win Sunday would clinch the NFC West title if the Seattle Seahawks lose. The 49ers would still clinch a playoff spot if both win.

``I really don't want to compare it to any other situation, but I think it was a unique situation here,'' Harbaugh said of the quarterback changes. ``Two guys that we believe in, believe can win games for us, and picking one. It's who do you think can give us the best chance for this game?''

Smith and Bledsoe were upset to lose their jobs after being hurt.

``I want to play as bad as I ever wanted anything,'' Bledsoe said at the time. ``I mean, it's the Super Bowl. It's what you play for.''

But Brady had gone 13-3 in his starts, so he got the call and the Patriots won the championship. Now Kaepernick is 3-1 as a starter. And that's what counts, not the feelings of the quarterbacks.

So the considerations in deciding who should play - the recovered veteran or the promising second-year pro - are simple.

``To win. There are no other considerations,'' Belichick said. ``That's the only thing we're really here for is to win. What else is there? I don't know.

``What else is there to talk about?''

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

When: 8:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blackhawks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Blackhawks game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals (33-17-7) take on the Blackhawks (24-26-8) Saturday, February 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Chicago.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 7:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 8:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 11:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 12:30 a.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

7:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
8:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:30 p.m. — Capitals at Blackhawks
11:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
12:30 a.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Blackhawks game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Alex Chiasson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

The 2018 NBA All-Star Saturday Night is here with the three-point contest, dunk contest and skills competition set for Los Angeles.

Here is all you need to know: TV and live stream info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

2018 NBA ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Where: Staples Center
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: TNT
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)

PODCAST: ALL-STAR WEEKEND PREVIEW, WIZARDS AT THE BREAK 

Skills competition

Participants: Lou Williams, Clippers; Jamal Murray, Nuggets; Al Horford, Celtics; Spencer Dinwiddie, Nets; Joel Embiid, Sixers; Buddy Hield, Kings; Lauri Markkanen, Bulls; Andre Drummond, Pistons

What to know: This year's crop has a fascinating mix of guards and big men and don't sleep on the seven-footers. Embiid in particular has a unique skillset for his size. Still, it's tough to beat the guards. Watch out for Dinwiddie, who is the best passer of the bunch.

RELATED: BETTING ODDS FOR DUNK CONTEST, THREE-POINT CONTEST

Three-point contest

Participants: Klay Thompson, Warriors; Eric Gordon, Rockets; Devin Booker, Suns; Paul George, Thunder; Wayne Ellington, Heat; Bradley Beal, Wizards; Kyle Lowry, Raptors; Tobias Harris, Clippers

What to know: Thompson and Gordon enter the contest as past champions, as Thompson won it in 2016 and Gordon took it home last year. Thompson has the best three-point percentage among the group and is the favorite, but watch out for Beal, a past runner-up, and George who has the second best percentage. Also, Booker is one of the game's best young players and has a very smooth stroke from three.

RELATED: WIZARDS/BULLETS HISTORY ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Dunk contest

Participants: Dennis Smith Jr.; Mavericks; Donovan Mitchell, Jazz; Larry Nance Jr., Cavaliers; Victor Oladipo, Pacers

What to know: This is all about the rookies, Smith and Mitchell, who most are predicting to win. Oladipo has been in the contest before, but didn't win. He's also the only All-Star of the bunch. Nance is the only guy who isn't a guard and his father won it back in 1984. It will be interesting to see if he does some sort of nod to his old man, now 34 years later.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS