Lions rout Jaguars 31-14 behind Leshoure's 3 TDs


Lions rout Jaguars 31-14 behind Leshoure's 3 TDs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Detroit Lions didn't need to rally in this one.

Mikel Leshoure ran for three touchdowns, Calvin Johnson got involved early and the Lions turned in their most complete victory of the season, 31-14 over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

Detroit dominated from start to finish, building a three-score lead before halftime and coasting after the break. It was a much different feeling for the Lions (4-4), who trailed in the second half in each of their other wins.

Leshoure finished with 70 yards rushing and scored on runs of 7, 1 and 8 yards, becoming the first in franchise history to run for three touchdowns in the first half. Not even Hall of Famer Barry Sanders accomplished that feat.

Johnson, who got off to slow starts in Detroit's last three games, had five receptions for 99 yards before the Jaguars (1-7) even recorded a first down. He finished with seven catches for 129 yards despite playing through a knee injury.

Matthew Stafford completed 22 of 33 passes for 285 yards, building on last week's impressive outing against Seattle.

The Jaguars, meanwhile, failed to get much going a week after playing Green Bay tough in a 24-15 loss.

Blaine Gabbert completed 27 of 38 passes for 200 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Rashad Jennings, starting his second game in place of Maurice Jones-Drew, ran for 45 yards.

Jacksonville opened with three straight three-and-outs and had one first down when Leshoure found the end zone for the third time.

It was the latest debacle for the Jaguars, who have been blown out in four home games. They were far from competitive against Houston (27-7), Cincinnati (27-10) and Chicago (41-3), and now have been outscored 126-34 at EverBank Field this season.

Jacksonville trailed 24-0 before getting on the scoreboard. Gabbert found Micheal Spurlock for a 5-yard TD with 8:36 remaining. The Jaguars made the 2-point conversation, but it did little to change the momentum.

The Lions answered with an 80-yard touchdown drive, capped by Joique Bell's 10-yard scoring run. Bell ran 13 times for 73 yards.

Ryan Broyles caught six passes for 52 yards.

Newly acquired receiver Mike Thomas, traded from Jacksonville to Detroit on Tuesday, played sparingly against his former team.

The Lions played without both safeties, Amari Spievey and Louis Delmas, but the Jaguars failed to take advantage of their backups. Gabbert misfired on just about every deep pass.

Gabbert also was plagued by more drops. A week after Jacksonville had nine drops, Marcedes Lewis, Jennings, rookie Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson botched catches.

Jennings had one go off his hands, resulting in an interception. Gabbert and Blackmon miscommunicated on a deep pass, and Blackmon did little to break up another pick.

Gabbert connected on a 6-yard score to Blackmon with 50 seconds remaining - with just a few thousand fans remaining in the stands.


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Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game


Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game

You thought the Caps had a goalie rotation before, but now they have added a third netminder in the mix.

Pheonix Copley has been recalled from the Hershey Bears and will backup Philipp Grubauer for Washington's game in Detroit, the team announced Thursday.

The move comes in response to an injury concern for Braden Holtby.


Dallas Stars forward Remi Elie collided with Holtby midway through the third period on Tuesday as Holtby was extending to make a save. Holtby reacted awkwardly to the collision and could be seen skating and flexing his leg during the next stoppage.

With only nine games remaining in the regular season, Holtby's injury is a major concern. Given his recent struggles, the final few weeks of the season offered a chance for Holtby to get his game back to form. Just where his game will be when he is 100-percent healthy again is certainly a storyline to watch.


The good news for Washington, however, is that Grubauer is perhaps more ready this season to lead the team than he ever has been and confidence in him around the team should be high.

Since Thanksgiving, Grubauer has played in 22 games with a 17-11-4 record, a .939 save percentage, 1.85 GAA and two shutouts. No goalie who has played in 20 games or more has registered a better save percentage or GAA. He will certainly be looked upon to carry the load until Holtby returns. Whether this means he now has the inside track on starting in the playoffs, however, remains to be seen. That will depend largely on just when Holtby is ready to return and how Grubauer plays down the stretch.

Copley, 26, has gone 14-16-6 with two shutouts, a .898 save percentage and 2.86 GAA in 38 games in Hershey this season. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Washington in 2014. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues in the package that netted the Caps T.J. Oshie, but was reacquired by Washington in Feb. 2017 in a trade deadline deal that included Kevin Shattenkirk.

At the time, it was believed Copley would be the team's backup for the 2017-18 season with Grubauer likely headed to Vegas in the expansion draft. Vegas, however, took Nate Schmidt instead which led to Copley spending the season in Hershey. The Caps now will be happy for the extra goalie depth for as long as Holtby's health remains a concern.

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Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


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