Orioles

Dolphins want to get ground game going

Dolphins want to get ground game going

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) The Miami Dolphins' offense has stalled, and the long list of reasons includes too many turnovers, not enough big plays and too many rookie moments by quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

So what bugs offensive coordinator Mike Sherman the most? None of the above.

``Aw, just the run game,'' Sherman said Monday. ``Everything jells around the run game. If you can run the ball, you can throw the ball. It just makes life a lot easier.''

The Dolphins haven't rushed for 100 yards since September, which helps explain why the offense has scored one touchdown in the past 10 quarters. As a result, Miami (4-6) takes a three-game losing streak into Sunday's game against Seattle (6-4).

``The running game hasn't been effective lately,'' guard Richie Incognito said. ``That puts a lot of pressure on the rest of the offense. We know we have to get the running game going and execute better. It comes down to guys winning one-on-one blocks.''

It also comes down to Sherman jump-starting an offense that showed promising signs before the recent lull. He's among the newcomers to Miami under first-year head coach Joe Philbin, and the recent lack of productivity has made Sherman's game plans and play calling targets for criticism.

Philbin defended Sherman's scheme and said the problem has been execution.

``Collectively we have a good bit of experience in the league as a staff,'' Philbin said. ``I think we know things that can work in this league, and things that aren't real sound and don't work.''

Miami's lack of a deep threat at receiver has allowed opposing defenses to gear for the run, but Sherman said predictability hasn't been a problem. The offense varied its personnel packages in the past two games and lost both - against Tennessee and Buffalo, two of the league's worst defenses.

The Dolphins had seven turnovers in the two defeats, including five interceptions by Tannehill. Their longest gain was 19 yards, and they went 5 for 23 converting third-down situations.

``My goal is obviously for us to be better than we are right now, which isn't very good,'' Sherman said. ``We need to function better as an offense.''

During one stretch Miami went 27 consecutive offensive possessions without a touchdown.

``It's really frustrating,'' Tannehill said, ``especially with some of the success we had earlier in the year being able to move the ball.''

Early in the year, Miami ran the ball well. Reggie Bush ranked second in the league in rushing after two weeks, but he has netted only 82 yards during the losing streak.

Against Buffalo last Thursday, Miami's running backs managed only 53 yards in 23 carries, an average of 2.3 per play. Bush lost 5 yards on one carry and 4 on another, creating long-yardage situations that have been part of Miami's third-down problem.

``You want your run game to get you into manageable third downs,'' Sherman said.

Fits and starts are to be expected when players are still learning an offense, Sherman said. He predicted they'll become more comfortable with his system in his second or third year with Miami.

But the schedule won't wait, and the Dolphins must find a way now to shake their scoring slump.

``I've been in situations where you hit a wall, and you fight your way through it,'' Sherman said. ``This wall has been extended a little bit too long for my liking. We have to go out and play better and coach better and try to break through this thing.''

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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

BALTIMORE -- Mike Clevenger pitched a two-hitter in his first career complete game, and the Cleveland Indians hit three solo homers off Chris Tillman in a 4-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

Jose Ramirez went 3 for 4 with his team-leading fifth home run. Yan Gomes and Yonder Alonso also went deep for Cleveland, which came into the game ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs and last in batting average.

Clevenger (2-0) hardly needed the offensive support. Pitching on seven days' rest, the right-hander struck out three, walked two and allowed only one runner past first base.

The only two hits he allowed were singles by Manny Machado in the fourth inning and Chance Sisco in the fifth.

It was Clevenger's 35th career start. His previous longest outing was 7 1/3 innings, earlier this month against Kansas City.

While Clevenger is unbeaten in 11 starts since July 31, Tillman has experienced an opposite fate. This was his 22nd straight start without a victory, dating back to his first outing last season.

Tillman (0-4) gave up four runs, eight hits and a walk in six innings. The three home runs were one more than he yielded in his first three starts this season.

Michael Brantley hit a run-scoring groundout in the first inning and Gomes connected in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.

The Orioles put runners on the corners with one out in the fourth, their lone threat against Clevenger, who responded by retiring Tim Beckham on a short fly to left and getting Anthony Santander to ground out.

Ramirez led off the sixth with a drive to left, and Alonso hit a two-out shot that landed on Eutaw Street beyond the right-field scoreboard.

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Tarik's 3 Stars: Nick Backstrom the OT hero in series-changing Game 5 win

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Tarik's 3 Stars: Nick Backstrom the OT hero in series-changing Game 5 win

Nicklas Backstrom tipped in a Dmitry Orlov shot in overtime, and the Caps beat the Blue Jackets 4-3 in Game 5 to take a three-games-to-two series lead in their 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round series.

Washington can now clinch the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Monday night in Columbus.

The Capitals gave up the first goal in the game for the first time in the series. But the Capitals had an answer. The Capitals then took the lead. But the Blue Jackets had an answer. The Capitals took the lead again in the second period, but the Blue Jackets tied the game in the third.

But Nicklas Backstrom had the answer in overtime.

Tarik El-Bashir's 3 Stars of Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Game 3 

1. Nicklas Backstrom, Capitals

Backstrom delivered the Caps’ biggest goal of the season 11:53 into the extra session by knocking a point shot by Dmitry Orlov down and past Sergei Bobrovsky, who was the Blue Jackets’ best player in overtime.

The goal was Backstrom’s first of the series.

He also recorded an assist.

2. Matt Calvert, Blue Jackets

The third line winger scored nine goals in the regular season. After popping a couple in Game 5, he’s now got three in this series.

And Saturday’s was a doozy. After T.J. Oshie mishandled the puck at the blue line, Calvert was off to the races. He whiffed on his wrist shot but still managed to get the puck (and himself) in the net to even things, 2-2, early in the second period.

3. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Capitals

Kuzy was arguably the Caps’ most active forward.

Early in the second period, the smooth-skating center finished a three-on-one with a sneaky wrister that slithered through Bobrovsky’s pads. Kuznetsov also nearly set up Alex Ovechkin at the doorstep with a ridiculous slap pass. Alas, Ovi was turned by Bob, who went into the full splits to get a piece of the puck.

 

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