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Recap: Another flashy Diggs play in 2nd preseason game

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Recap: Another flashy Diggs play in 2nd preseason game

It was a 62-yard punt return and near-touchdown that highlighted Stefon Diggs' preseason NFL debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was another special teams outburst that highlighted the former Maryland Terrapin's encore, too.

With 14:11 remaining in the third quarter on Saturday night vs. Tampa Bay, Diggs took a punt from Michael Koenen at his own 40-yard line. Then he did that thing with which many from College Park are familiar, finding a hole and cutting up the field, then dancing and dipping to tack on another 10 yards or so to the end. 

In all, Diggs returned the ball 37 yards to Tampa Bay's 23-yard line, setting up the Vikings for a drive beginning just outside of the red zone. He finished the game three punt returns for an average of 18.3 yards per return.

On the offensive side of the ball, Diggs lacked a big play, but still showed flashes of what he does best -- working in space.

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His first catch (which may or may not have hit the turf) was a bubble screen that allowed him to elude defenders as he often does, turning a short pass into an 15-yard gain.

There were two missed scoring opportunities that stand out, with fault for one likely falling on Diggs and the other more the fault of rookie quarterback (and Old Dominion product) Taylor Heinicke.

On the first, Diggs nearly had his first career touchdown on a pass from Shaun Hill. The throw may have been a bit high, but the outstretched Diggs saw the ball skip off his fingertips in the end zone and fall incomplete on a corner post route as a defender closed in.

On the second with 12:26 to play in the fourth quarter, Diggs put a double move on a Tampa Bay cornerback as he ran a go route down the far sideline that freed him up for a clear path to the end zone. Heinicke, though, was looking at the near sideline and overthrew target Ryan Whalen.

Stretching the field, though, won't be Diggs' focus once he cracks the regular wide receiver rotation. It is those bubble screens and slants where he will make his money, where he can take a short gain and turn it into a big play by making defenders miss.

Diggs finished the game with two catches for 26 yards and the Vikings topped the Buccaneers, 26-16.

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Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:

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Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.

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Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

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USA TODAY Sports

Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Vincent Trocheck scored on the power play with 18.7 seconds remaining and the Panthers escaped with a 3-2 victory on an emotional night in Sunrise, Fla.

Trocheck’s goal was Florida’s second in the final four minutes…and the Caps were left to lament yet another incomplete performance. Washington has now lost three of its last four games and fell to 4-5-2 in February.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Vincent Trocheck, Panthers

Trocheck did what Trocheck does in the third period: The Florida forward scored a clutch goal in the final seconds, redirecting a Jonathan Huberdeau shot through Brooks Orpik’s legs and past Braden Holtby. Eller was in the penalty box when Trocheck scored his 13th third period goal of the season.

2-Andre Burakovsky, Capitals

After losing a goal to Eller in the first period, Burakovsky made sure he didn’t go home empty handed. No. 65 scored on the power play in the second period to put the Caps ahead 2-1. It was Burakovsky’s third goal in six games. He also earned a secondary assist on Eller’s redirection score.   

3-Braden Holtby, Capitals

Following a handful of un-Holtby-like performances lately, Holtbeast roared Thursday night at BB&T Center. He made at least one game-saving stop in each period: an arm save on Trocheck in the first period; a pad stop on Denis Malgin in the second and another extended pad stop on Evgenii Dadonov in the third. Holtby finished with 30 stops.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.