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Brady tops Manning, Patriots beat Broncos 31-21

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Brady tops Manning, Patriots beat Broncos 31-21

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Tom Brady and the New England Patriots hurried to beat the Denver Broncos.

Brady led four scoring drives of at least 80 yards while using a no-huddle offense for most of the first three quarters and won his marquee matchup with Peyton Manning, 31-21 on Sunday.

The pregame hype surrounded the meeting of star quarterbacks, but for Brady it was a team victory.

``It's Patriots-Broncos,'' he said. ``It was a great team win. We got some turnovers from our defense and I thought offensively capitalized at times.''

The up-tempo attack helped.

``We're just trying to put a lot of pressure on those guys to get their calls in and line up and play against us,'' Brady said. ``We can go pretty fast at home if we can communicate really well.''

Even Manning, no slouch at operating without a huddle, was impressed.

``They certainly did a good job of staying on the field,'' he said.

The Patriots had a more than 11-minute lead in time of possession, 35:49 to 24:11, even though Denver had studied their fast pace. The Broncos still had trouble making substitutions to fit the plays they thought the Patriots would run.

``It caught us off guard,'' linebacker Joe Mays said. ``We knew they were fast and that they were going to get to the line of scrimmage and snap the ball, but it's different seeing them on film and playing against them.''

The Patriots (3-2) ran 54 times for 251 yards, led by Stevan Ridley's career-high 151, and Brady threw 31 passes, completing 23 for 223 yards and a touchdown. The defense sacked Manning twice and recovered three fumbles. One led to a touchdown and the other ended a drive at the New England 11-yard line with 3:42 left after Denver had rallied from a 31-7 deficit in the third quarter.

``Any time you turn the ball over, it hurts you,'' Broncos coach John Fox said. ``You go on the road ... against a very good football team and, particularly offensively in their tempo and their skill set, makes for tough slugging.''

Brady is 9-4 against Manning, who left the Indianapolis Colts after missing all of last season following neck surgery.

Manning was 31 of 44 for 345 yards and three touchdowns but lost a fumble on a third-quarter sack.

``This is not a team you want to fall behind to,'' he said after failing to pull off his 37th fourth-quarter comeback.

The Broncos (2-3) cut into a 31-7 deficit with about five minutes left in the third quarter on Manning's scoring passes of 2 yards to Eric Decker and 5 yards to Brandon Stokley with 6:43 left in the game.

The Patriots then lost the ball on Ridley's fumble and Manning completed a 28-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas to the Patriots 14-yard line. But two plays later, Willis McGahee fumbled and Jermaine Cunningham recovered.

``We can build on that'' ability to whittle a big deficit, Manning said. ``I do think that will help us win a game at some point.''

The Patriots set a franchise record with 35 first downs and gained 440 yards one week after gaining 580 yards against the Bills. The Broncos sputtered after beating the Oakland Raiders 37-6. Their previous two losses were by just six points to the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans.

``I know they've been great teams we've lost to, which still doesn't make it any easier,'' Manning said.

The Patriots went four-and-out on their first possession, then scored on their next three - covering 84 yards to Brady's 8-yard pass to Wes Welker, 80 yards to Shane Vereen's 1-yard touchdown run and 93 yards to Stephen Gostkowski's 23-yard field goal for a 17-7 halftime lead.

They scored twice in 18 seconds in the third quarter on Brady's 1-yard run and Ridley's 8-yard dash after Manning was sacked and fumbled on the first play after the kickoff.

The Broncos never led, but did tie the game 7-7 on Manning's 1-yard pass to Joel Dreessen.

Brady and Manning first faced each other in the third game of the 2001 season. The Patriots won 44-13 in Brady's first career start.

There were plenty of close games in subsequent regular-season matchups, with six of the previous seven decided by seven points or less.

Ridley had his third 100-yard rushing game of his career, all this season. Welker, the NFL's leading receiver last year with 122 catches, had 13 for 104 yards.

``There were a few times where I didn't get open,'' he said, ``but for the most part I feel like I got open a lot and was able to make some plays.''

He had a pretty good quarterback throwing to him.

``Nobody I'd rather have than Tom Brady,'' New England coach Bill Belichick said, ``but Manning's a great player.''

Notes: Denver rushed for just 70 yards, 51 by McGahee. ... The Patriots rushed for more than 200 yards in consecutive games for the first time since 1978. ... Manning extended his NFL record to 66 games with at least 300 yards passing.

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

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

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

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

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

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

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

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

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers 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.

CAPITALS-SABRES 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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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197