Redskins

Georgia survives to set up showdown with Florida

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Georgia survives to set up showdown with Florida

ATLANTA (AP) Cheering for Florida was easy for Aaron Murray and the Georgia Bulldogs when the Gators were playing South Carolina.

Now comes the hard part: It's No. 12 Georgia's turn to play the undefeated and No. 3 Gators in Jacksonville, Fla.

Florida's 44-11 victory over South Carolina on Saturday made it possible for Georgia to control its fate in the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division.

Georgia (6-1, 4-1 SEC) trails only Florida (7-0, 6-0) in the East after struggling to beat Kentucky 29-24 on Saturday night. Murray lifted the Bulldogs with his career-best 427 yards passing and four touchdowns.

If Georgia wins the rest of its conference games, it would finish with no worse than a tie for first with Florida in the division and would play in its second straight SEC championship game.

``We know what this game means for us and for Florida,'' Georgia coach Mark Richt Sunday night. ``I would say our guys are excited about the opportunity to play this game and have it mean as much as it means right now.''

Richt said he doesn't expect defensive end Abry Jones, who hurt his left ankle in the first quarter of Saturday night's game, to play against Florida.

``Right now at this minute I'd say there's a good chance he'll be out,'' Richt said.

Richt said Jones will be checked by team doctors on Monday.

Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones missed the Kentucky game because of a sprained right ankle and is expected back this week.

``My hope is he'll be able to practice as early as Monday,'' Richt said. ``... He's definitely been making progress. I think there's a very good chance he'll play, but again if he's not healthy enough to go then we're not going to do it.''

Georgia's defense has struggled even with Abry Jones and Jarvis Jones healthy and starting. The low point of the season came when the Bulldogs were overwhelmed in a 35-7 loss at South Carolina on Oct. 6.

South Carolina has lost back-to-back road games against LSU and Florida, opening the way for Georgia to move back into contention in the SEC East.

After the embarrassing loss to South Carolina, this will be Georgia's second chance to prove it can beat a highly ranked team.

``We want to play better, that's for sure,'' Richt said. ``It's a big game. No one is going to be able to act like it's not a big game.

``If Florida wins I think they've clinched it. If we win it we've still got some work to do but we're in good shape. So it's a big game for both teams. Both teams want to win badly.''

Murray, a junior, became Georgia's leader with 75 career touchdown passes, passing David Greene. His 426 yards passing were the most for the Bulldogs since Eric Zeier's 441 against Vanderbilt in 1994.

Despite Murray's big day, Georgia barely won.

Murray said Georgia's season will be defined by the Florida game, not the margin of victory against Kentucky.

``We're not worried about it,'' Murray said. ``At the end of the day, it all depends on how we play next Saturday. We know we have to play an unbelievable game offensively, defensively and special teams if we want to have a chance to win that game, so we just have to be ready to go.''

Georgia has conference games remaining against Mississippi and Auburn after its annual trip to Jacksonville.

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Get ready for the NFL Draft, and get ready for plenty of surprises

Get ready for the NFL Draft, and get ready for plenty of surprises

In some circles of modern culture, producing shocking commentary or content seems like the top goal. Being shocking gets clicks, gets attention, and in turn, gets dollars. 

On NFL Draft night, nothing should be shocking. Remember, last season there was no way Jonathan Allen would fall to the Redskins at 17. There was no way Kansas City would trade up for QB Patrick Maholmes. There was no way Chicago would trade up for Mitchell Trubisky. But all those things happened.

Sure, for months draft experts have expounded about what will happen, but the truth is, once the Browns are on the clock, nobody actually knows anything. 

With that in mind, let's look at a bunch of options that should not shock Redskins fans. 

  • Don't be shocked if Washington takes Minkah Fitzpatrick. They want him.
  • Don't be shocked if the Redskins draft Da'Ron Payne over Vita Vea. Washington loves Payne's potential to be a disruptor in the pass game and his incredible strength. 
  • Then again, don't be shocked if the 'Skins take Vita. Plenty of folks like him too. 
  • Don't be shocked if a team makes a move for Louisville QB Lamar Jackson. That could happen after the Redskins pick at 13, but Washington's pick could also prove important in the race for the former Heisman Trophy winner.
  • Derwin James will be on the 'Skins list, but don't be shocked if he goes off the board before the Redskins pick. 
  • Don't be shocked with a trade back, but remember that isn't the goal. With four QBs expected in the Top 10, an elite talent should make it to Washington at 13. If that happens, the Redskins should take advantage of adding a blue chip to their squad. 
  • Don't be shocked if Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds ends up wearing the Redskins draft hat. Also, don't be shocked if he plays some outside linebacker in the Washington 3-4 scheme, not just the inside LB role most project for Edmunds. 
  • Don't be shocked if a seemingly sure thing slips all the way to 13. Perhaps that's Quenton Nelson? Or Denzel Ward? Remember, there was no way Jon Allen was supposed to fall to 17 last year.

There are some things Redskins fans should be shocked by. 

  • Washington should not trade up. 
  • Washington should not draft a running back at 13 unless Saquon Barley is available. He won't be.
  • Washington should not draft a wide receiver at 13. 
  • If one of the top four QBs is available at 13, Washington should vigorously work the phones to move the pick. Move down a few spots and get Payne should be the exact plan in that scenario. Arizona at 15 needs a QB. 

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Fourth quarter has been an issue for the Wizards in series vs. Raptors

Fourth quarter has been an issue for the Wizards in series vs. Raptors

It was all going so well for the Wizards in Game 5 on Wednesday night until just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. That's when their offense went from good enough to win to bad enough to alter a series and put their 2017-18 season on life support.

The Wizards head back to Washington down 3-2 and have only themselves to blame. From the 4:05 mark in the fourth quarter all the way until 16.2 seconds remining in the game, they did not score a single point. Meanwhile, the Raptors kept rolling and finished that stretch on a 14-5 run. 

The Wizards missed 11 of their final 15 shots. They stopped moving the ball and moving off the ball and even some of their open shots clanged off the backboard or the rim.

It was a stunning display of offensive ineptitude from a team that was above average in scoring during the regular season. 

"We just missed some shots," guard Bradley Beal said. "We feel like we got some good ones, especially down the stretch."

The Wizards managed 20 points in the fourth quarter and 15 came in the first 7:55 of the frame. That would put them on pace for a solid quarter. If they maintained that course, they may have won the game.

Instead, the fourth quarter amounted to a disaster and it cost them dearly. Teams that lose Game 5 to break a 2-2 tie have a 17.2 percent chance of winning the series, based on the league's history.

Otto Porter went scoreless and took one shot in the fourth quarter of Game 5. John Wall had two of his seven turnovers and shot 2-for-6.

"I had two crucial turnovers trying to split screens in the fourth quarter," Wall said. "Just bad reads on my part."

Beal shot 1-for-6 from the field and 1-for-4 from three. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who shot just 40.3 percent from the field during the regular season, took six shots in the fourth quarter, tied for most on the team. He made two of them and missed all three of his threes.

The Wizards had six of their 18 giveaways in the fourth. Though they outrebounded the Raptors 50-35 for the game, they were outdone 15-12 in the frame.

The Wizards' scoreless drought of three minutes and 49 seconds in the fourth quarter was perhaps foreshadowed by some problems with their offense early in the game. There were plenty of stretches characterized by bad shots, turnovers and a lack of passing.

The Wizards' 21 assists in Game 5 were their fewest in the playoffs so far.

"We need more ball movement," Beal said. "We need more player movement. We were way too stagnant."

The fourth quarter has been an issue all series. Only once, in Game 2, did they outscore the Raptors in the final frame. 

The Wizards rank 14th out of 16 playoff teams in fourth quarter points (23.4/g) and dead-last with a 40.4 field goal percentage and 28.1 three point percentage.

This is a bit of a carryover from the regular season. Only five teams shot worse than the Wizards in the fourth quarter (43.7%) and only five teams allowed more points (26.5) to their opponents.

Washington has had issues closing games all year and throughout this series. Wednesday night was an extreme example and it has them just one loss away from elimination.

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