Wizards

Discipline issues contributing to Chiefs losses

Discipline issues contributing to Chiefs losses

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Romeo Crennel isn't sure why the Chiefs decided to start playing Dance Dance Revolution on the turf of Heinz Field with a national television audience watching on Monday Night Football.

He is sure he didn't like it.

The Kansas City coach said Tuesday that he plans to speak to his team about discipline issues that cropped up during an overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, including one instance in which the Chiefs were flagged for a group celebration on a touchdown that didn't happen.

``It was a surprise to me,'' Crennel said of the sudden celebrations.

Perhaps the Chiefs were simply channeling their inner Fred Astaire, or auditioning for ``A Chorus Line,'' since there might be several of them searching for jobs come January.

The personal foul-inducing dance occurred early in the third quarter.

Steelers backup quarterback Byron Leftwich, pressed into service following a shoulder injury to Ben Roethlisberger, threw an incompletion that was initially ruled a fumble.

Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston picked up the bouncing ball and ran 21 yards for a touchdown that would have given his team a 16-10 lead. The second-year pro started gyrating in the end zone, and was quickly joined by veteran Derrick Johnson, safety Eric Berry and a handful of others.

Whistles were blown. Flags were thrown.

Then a video review determined it wasn't a fumble, giving Pittsburgh the ball back, along with the sobering news that the person foul penalty would still be enforced. The Steelers got a free first down out of the deal, one of three caused by Kansas City penalties.

``I'm going to emphasize to the guys those kinds of penalties are hurtful to the team,'' Crennel said, ``and we don't need them, and then we'll see if we need to sit people or not.''

It wasn't even the first instance of taunting by the Chiefs, though.

There was the time that wide receiver Dwayne Bowe stuck out the ball at chasing Pittsburgh defenders as he trotted into the end zone for another would-be touchdown. Another brief celebration ensued, only for a holding call on Branden Albert to nix the precious points.

``It's always frustrating when you think you have a touchdown pass, and all of a sudden you see a flag on the field,'' said Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, who started again in place of injured Brady Quinn. ``It is unfortunate and it's always tough to overcome that.''

Then there was the dancing following the sack that knocked Roethlisberger from the game.

It might have been the most humorous moment of the night.

Houston and fellow pass rusher Tamba Hali sandwiched the Steelers' quarterback on the first drive of the third quarter. The two linebackers left Roethlisberger lying in a heap, and offered up their best homage to the 1980s hip-hop duo Kid `n Play with a well-executed collaboration.

That dance wasn't received well, either.

``So 2 defenders can choreograph the Kid and Play dance after a sack, but we can't do jack together when we score a TD?'' Browns tight end Benjamin Watson asked on Twitter.

The discipline issues, which contributed to six penalties for 76 yards and left Kansas City 2 for 13 on third downs, overshadowed what might have been the Chiefs' best game of the year.

Sure, they managed to stage a franchise-record comeback to defeat the New Orleans Saints - still their only victory of the season - but that's increasingly looking like a fluke. Against the Steelers, the Chiefs put together a game plan that shut down the Pittsburgh offense, allowed Cassel to manage the game, and kept Kansas City within striking distance in the closing minutes.

Cassel's interception in overtime - the Chiefs' NFL-leading 30th turnover of the year - ultimately allowed Shaun Suisham to kick the winning field goal for Pittsburgh.

``We're disappointed about the final result, but I really think our team played a much more competitive game overall than we have been playing,'' Crennel said. ``We had some opportunities to win the game, but there are things we have to polish up and get correct so we can win the game.''

The Chiefs came out of the game with several notable injuries.

Wide receiver Jon Baldwin landed on his head while trying to make a catch, and Crennel said he will be evaluated further on Wednesday for what could be a concussion. Tight end Jake O'Connell sustained a high ankle sprain, defensive tackle Dontari Poe bruised his knee, and offensive guard Jon Asamoah has a hand injury.

Crennel said he isn't sure about their status for Sunday's game against Cincinnati.

Crennel also wouldn't commit to a starting quarterback for the Bengals game because Quinn still hasn't been cleared following the concussion he sustained three weeks ago against Oakland.

``Brady said that he is ready to go, and I'm sure he is excited about the possibility, but at this point, I can't make a determination until I can find out exactly what the prognosis is for him,'' Crennel said. ``I'll find out and then we'll go from there.''

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The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards returned to Washington, D.C. on Friday down 0-2 to the Raptors in their best-of-seven 2018 NBA Playoffs first-round series

The team lost a close one in Game 1 and was run out of the building in Game 2. Game 3 was must-win, and the Wizards knew what needed to happen in order for them to secure the victory.

"Everybody eats." 

That's the phrase that has defined the Wizards throughout much of the season They are at their best when John Wall is making players and feeding his teammates.

On Friday night, the Wizards beat the Raptors 122-103 to force at least a Game 5. Wall finished with 28 points and 14 assists.

Bradley Beal finally broke out of his slump for 28 points and  Marcin Gortat, Mike Scott and Kelly Oubre all chipped in with at least 10 points.

But the stat sheet wasn't the only place where everybody eats.

Here's Marcin Gortat from Game 3. 

But if pantomiming isn't your thing, here is Bradley Beal actually eating popcorn during Game 3.

So what did we learn in Game 3? Well, for starters: "Everybody Eats" is not just a motto, it is a way of life.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

GORTAT DITCHES MOHAWK, TEAMMATES APPROVE

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WILD GAME 3

BEAL GOT AN APOLOGY FROM SCOTT BROOKS

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With Playoff Beal back, the Wizards are revitalized in playoff series vs. Raptors

With Playoff Beal back, the Wizards are revitalized in playoff series vs. Raptors

The Toronto Raptors were only going to hold Bradley Beal down for so long. After two so-so games to begin the Wizards-Raptors playoff series, the All-Star shooting guard was bound to find his way offensively and that arrival came in a Game 3 win on Friday night.

Beal was brilliant and much more in line with what he's shown in the postseason throughout his career. Game 2 was his worst playoff game as an NBA player, he scored only nine points. Game 3 was one of his best on the postseason stage, or at least one of his most timely and important.

The Wizards needed more from Beal to give themsevles a chance in this series. An 0-3 deficit would have been a death sentence. His production is so key to their success that head coach Scott Brooks and point guard John Wall met with Beal in between Games 2 and 3 to figure out how to get him going.

Whether that was the catalyst or not, the results followed. Beal poured in 28 points in 10-for-19 shooting with four rebounds, four assists and three steals. He hit four threes, more than he had in the first two games combined.

Beal wasted no time to make an impact scoring the ball. His first points came on a quick burst to the basket where he stopped on a dime, turned around and banked it in. By the end of the first quarter, he had 12 points in 11 minutes.

“I just wanted to be aggressive, get shots that I wanted which is what they were going to force me to take," Beal said.

After Game 2, Brooks and Beal described how physical the Raptors were defending him. They were holding on to him and staying close, even when he wasn't moving off the ball.

Brooks saw a difference in how Beal responded to that in Game 3.

"Brad came out and was looking to go towards the basket and not just letting them hold him and going along with it. He didn’t want to dance with his opponent, he wanted to get away from them. That was a critical part of his success," Brooks said.

Beal's 28 points were as much as he scored in Games 1 and 2 together and just about what he averaged through four games against the Raptors during the regular season (28.8). By halftime of Game 3, Beal had 21 points on 8-for-11 from the field.

Beal hit two threes in the first quarter and another two in the second quarter. Several of those threes were set up by Wall, who used the meeting with Brooks and Beal to ask how he can set him up better as the point guard.

In Game 3, they were on the same page.

"I do think this man [John Wall] next to me, he creates and facilitates for the whole team and gets everybody easy shots," Beal said. "I talk to you guys all the time and I can’t tell you the last time I actually got a regular catch and shoot three just in a regular half court set. When he came back, I got like three or four off the bat."

What Beal did in Game 3 is what the Wizards are used to seeing from him this time of the year. Despite being only 24 years old, he has a strong track record in the playoffs.

Through 37 career postseason games, Beal is averaging 22.3 points, more than his career average of 18.7 in the regular season. In each of his previous three postseason runs, he has averaged more points during the playoffs than he did in the regular seasons leading up.

That production has earned him the nickname 'Playoff Beal' and when he goes off like he did in Game 3, good things usually happen. The Wizards are 10-6 in the playoffs during his career when he scores 25 points or more.

Wall also boasts impressive career numbers in the playoffs. When the Wizards have both of their stars playing at their best, they are hard to beat. With peak Beal on board, this series looks a lot different than it did not that long ago.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

GORTAT DITCHES MOHAWK, TEAMMATES APPROVE

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WILD GAME 3

BEAL GOT AN APOLOGY FROM SCOTT BROOKS

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