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Romo making big plays for Cowboys

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Romo making big plays for Cowboys

IRVING, Texas (AP) Tony Romo's spectacular scramble provided a big boost for the Cowboys.

Many were impressed after Romo escaped the grasp of an Eagles pass rusher by starting backward and then reversing to go toward the line of scrimmage.

He made another defensive lineman miss with a quick cut to his right, which set him up perfectly to throw 25 yards to Miles Austin.

Something else was unique about Sunday. Romo had the play that changed the game, and avoided turnovers.

That's been an elusive combination, and one of the reasons the Cowboys (4-5) have struggled at times.

Without the play, Dallas would have punted and gone to the fourth quarter trailing 17-10.

Instead, Dallas tied the game, and the Cowboys pulled away for the 38-23 win.

They scored on a punt return, an interception and a fumble, a first for that trifecta in franchise history.

There was a sense, though, that everything could have been different without the play from Romo, who connected on a 30-yard touchdown to Dez Bryant three plays after the scramble - on another third down.

``Well, like I said after the game, in some ways you just kind of have a sensation that it's an important time to obviously try and get a first down, and that was a point in the game that I felt like it was in our best interest as a football team to take that chance,'' Romo said. ``You know watching it back afterward, there are just some things you feel, see and react to.''

Dallas coach Jason Garrett gets concerned about the sometimes freewheeling Romo, who has a reputation of carelessness when it comes to protecting the ball.

He leads the NFL with 13 interceptions, and he enters Sunday's home game against Cleveland (2-7) knowing he threw nine of them in his past two starts at home.

But Garrett, the former NFL quarterback, marvels at plays like the one Sunday. It wasn't the first from Romo.

``I know what a melee that whole thing feels like,'' Garrett said. ``These guys are all around you. You feel like you're going the wrong way. He just has this great poise about him as an athlete where he can just kind of feel what the heck's going on, keeps his eyes up, sees down the field. It's pretty unique.''

Garrett said Romo learns how to keep the ball close to his body while he's scrambling, and he did it with both big moves on the play against the Eagles.

The coach and his quarterback are always talking about the ad-lib plays - those that worked and those that didn't.

``You just have to be careful,'' Garrett said. ``Is this really what you wanted to do? The risk and reward of this 3-yard gain as opposed to another play where you make the third-and-5 where he makes six guys miss and throws it to Miles for a 25-yard gain.

``It's a little bit of a balancing act, but again, we never want to stifle him to the point where he's not being who he is.''

Romo threw nine interceptions in 2009 and had just 10 last season, when the Cowboys missed the playoffs by losing to the New York Giants in the regular-season finale.

The fact that he threw nine interceptions in just two of his home games this season also means he has only four in the other seven games.

``I don't know. I mean, how many games have we had at home? Three?'' Romo said. ``I think we're going to be better than the last two.''

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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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