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Catch up with all of Week 10's NFL action

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Catch up with all of Week 10's NFL action

From Comcast SportsNet
ATLANTA (AP) -- John Kasay kicked a 26-yard field goal in overtime to give the New Orleans Saints a 26-23 victory over Atlanta after Falcons coach Mike Smith decided to go for it on fourth down deep in his own territory Sunday. The Falcons (5-4) rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, tying it on Matt Bryant's 27-yard field goal on the final play of regulation. In overtime, Atlanta appeared to pick up a first down on a pass to Mike Cox, but he was ruled just short after referee Terry McAuley looked at the replay. Then, stunningly, Smith decided to go for it on fourth down from his own 29. Michael Turner was stuffed, and Kasay kicked the winning field goal for the Saints (7-3). New Orleans took control of the NFC South race, snapping Atlanta's three-game winning streak. But this one will be long remembered for Smith's gutsy call that backfired horribly. PATRIOTS 37, JETS 16 EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes, two to Rob Gronkowski, and New England took control of the AFC East with a convincing victory over New York. After the Jets cut it to 23-16 early in the fourth quarter, Brady coolly led the Patriots (6-3) down the field on an 84-yard drive that was capped by an 8-yard touchdown catch by Deion Branch. New England linebacker Rob Ninkovich sealed the victory -- which snapped a two-game skid -- on the Jets' next possession with a 12-yard interception return for a touchdown midway through the final quarter. The game was a showdown for the top spot in the division, but it was no contest as the Patriots took over sole possession by snapping the Jets' three-game winning streak. It was also the first home loss for the Jets (5-4). CARDINALS 21, EAGLES 17 PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- John Skelton threw a 5-yard TD pass to Early Doucet with 1:53 left to lift Arizona. Michael Vick had another so-so performance and the Eagles (3-6) blew a fourth-quarter lead for the fifth time this season. Starting for the injured Kevin Kolb, Skelton threw three touchdown passes to lead the Cardinals (3-6). Larry Fitzgerald had two TD catches and made a sensational, over-the-shoulder diving catch to set up the go-ahead score. The defending NFC East champion Eagles were expected to be Super Bowl contenders after a slew of big-name acquisitions in the offseason. Instead, they've lost seven of their past eight home games. BRONCOS 17, CHIEFS 10 KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Tim Tebow hit Eric Decker on a 56-yard touchdown pass, one of his two completions in the game, to lift Denver. Denver (4-5) played almost the entire game without leading rushers Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno. McGahee hurt his hamstring and Moreno went down with a knee injury in the first quarter. Lance Ball ran for 96 yards and Tebow added 44 yards and a touchdown on the ground, helping the Broncos win for the third time in four games with the former Heisman Trophy winner under center. Matt Cassel was 13 of 28 for 93 yards and a touchdown for Kansas City (4-5), which followed up a 31-3 loss to previously winless Miami with another miserable showing at home. STEELERS 24, BENGALS 17 CINCINNATI (AP) -- Rashard Mendenhall ran for a pair of touchdowns, and Pittsburgh intercepted rookie Andy Dalton twice in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh (7-3) got a needed win by putting together long, balanced drives while thousands of Steelers fans waved Terrible Towels in the first sellout crowd of the season at Paul Brown Stadium. Dalton handled most of what Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau threw at him. He had two more touchdown passes, giving him 14 overall -- the most by a rookie quarterback in his first nine games since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. At the end, a Steelers defense that's finally getting healthy and forcing turnovers got to him. Cornerback William Gay anticipated Dalton's throw and stepped in front of Jerome Simpson for a clinching interception inside the Pittsburgh 20 with 2:27 left. 49ERS 27, GIANTS 20 Justin Smith batted down Eli Manning's pass in the closing seconds of a comeback try and San Francisco won its seventh straight game. Manning completed a pair of long fourth-down passes and got the Giants (6-3) down to the 10, but on fourth-and-2 with 1:51 left, Smith made a leaping right-handed smack of the ball. In a game between division leaders, the 49ers (8-1) didn't rely on Frank Gore, whose franchise-record streak of five straight games with 100 yards rushing ended with a knee injury. BEARS 37, LIONS 13 CHICAGO (AP) -- Charles Tillman and Major Wright returned interceptions for touchdowns early in the third quarter, and Chicago picked off Matthew Stafford four times. The four interceptions by Stafford matched his season total entering the game and helped knock the Lions (6-3) into a second-place tie with Chicago in the NFC North. He was also involved in a skirmish that led to an ejection of Chicago's D.J. Moore early in the fourth quarter. By then, the Bears (6-3) had locked up their fourth straight win thanks to a dominant defensive effort and another punt return for a touchdown by Devin Hester, who ran one back 82 yards. That extended his NFL record to 12. SEAHAWKS 22, RAVENS 17 SEATTLE (AP) -- Steven Hauschka matched a franchise record with five field goals, Marshawn Lynch scored on a 1-yard plunge and Seattle forced three turnovers. A week after staking claim to the lead of the AFC North with a thrilling last-second win at Pittsburgh, the Ravens flopped on the West Coast in an all too similar fashion to letdowns twice already this season. After routing Pittsburgh in its opener, the Ravens (6-3) were dominated in a loss at Tennessee. Just a few weeks ago, after an impressive win over AFC South-leading Houston, the Ravens lost to Jacksonville. Lynch finished with 109 yards rushing and another 58 receiving for Seattle (3-6). JAGUARS 17, COLTS 3 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Blaine Gabbert threw for a touchdown and Maurice Jones-Drew ran for another score to keep Indianapolis winless. Jones-Drew carried 25 times for 114 yards and became the second player in franchise history to top 6,000 yards rushing. It was the first road win of the season for Jacksonville (3-6). Indianapolis remained the NFL's last winless team, dropping to 0-10 for the first time since 1997. Gabbert hooked up with Jarrett Dillard on an 11-yard TD pass late in the third quarter to break a 3-3 tie, and Jones-Drew capped an 8-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run late in the fourth to seal it. TEXANS 37, BUCCANEERS 9 TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Matt Schaub threw for two long touchdowns, while Arian Foster, Ben Tate and Derrick Ward each ran for scores to help AFC South-leading Houston. The Texans (7-3) extended their winning streak while playing without star receiver Andre Johnson to four consecutive games and head into their bye week with their best record through 10 games. The Bucs (4-5) have lost three straight and four of five following a 3-1 start. Jacoby Jones filled in for Johnson with an 80-yard TD reception on the first play from scrimmage. Foster turned a short pass into his second 78-yard scoring reception of the season for Houston. Meanwhile, the NFL's top-ranked defense had four sacks, three interceptions and recovered a fumble. TITANS 30, PANTHERS 3 CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Chris Johnson ran for a season-high 130 yards and a touchdown, and Tennessee used a stifling defense to frustrate rookie Cam Newton. The Titans (5-4) sacked Newton five times and took away Carolina's long passing game. Carolina (2-7) came in ranked fifth in the league on offense and first in plays of 20-plus yards, but the Titans limited Newton to 209 yards passing and held Steve Smith, the NFC's leading receiver, to 33 yards. Johnson had 174 yards from scrimmage and eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the first time since Oct. 2. Marc Mariani returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown, and Matt Hasselbeck threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Damian Williams. COWBOYS 44, BILLS 7 ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Tony Romo guided touchdown drives on his first four possessions, throwing for the score on three of them, and Terence Newman returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown. The Cowboys (5-4) have won consecutive games and could be at the start of a big surge. Their next three foes went into this weekend a combined 6-18. Romo completed his first 13 passes, including TD strikes of 34 yards to Dez Bryant and of 58 and 5 yards to Laurent Robinson. He finished 23 of 26, setting the franchise record for single-game accuracy by hitting 88.5 percent of his passes. The Bills are 5-4. DOLPHINS 20, REDSKINS 9 MIAMI (AP) -- Reggie Bush scored two touchdowns and Miami twice intercepted Rex Grossman to earn their first home victory in nearly a year. The Dolphins ended a franchise-record streak of seven consecutive losses in Miami since last Nov. 14. Grossman was a surprise starter, replacing John Beck four weeks after being benched. Grossman threw for 215 yards but was sacked three times and had a passer rating of 58.7. Miami (2-7) won for the second week in a row after starting 0-7. The Redskins (3-6) dropped their fifth consecutive game, the longest losing streak of Mike Shanahan's career as a head coach. RAMS 13, BROWNS 12 CLEVELAND (AP) -- Phil Dawson missed a 22-yard field goal attempt after a bounced snap with just over two minutes left as Cleveland bungled another chance to win a game. Dawson made four field goals in blustery conditions, but his line-drive attempt with 2:09 sailed left and capped a series of late gaffes by the Browns (3-6). Long snapper Ryan Pontbriand's snap appeared to hit the right leg of one of Cleveland's linemen, causing the ball to skip back to holder Brad Maynard, who did a great job of placing the ball. However, Dawson's timing was thrown off and he missed the chip shot. Steven Jackson rushed for 128 yard for the Rams (2-7).

Cubs' Twitter trolls Brewers, Christian Yelich after Yu Darvish's stellar start

Cubs' Twitter trolls Brewers, Christian Yelich after Yu Darvish's stellar start

The Cubs' Twitter account has been saving this one for nine months.

First, let us present you with this doozy of a tweet from the Cubs after Thursday's 4-2 win over Milwaukee.

If you recall, Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich went at Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish on Twitter last November. A since-deleted tweet from Yelich's account to Darvish read "nobody needs help facing you."

A video circulated in November that showed Darvish step off the rubber while Yelich was in the batter's box during a 2019 Cubs-Brewers game. Some suggested Darvish stepped off because Yelich's eyes moved, also suggesting Yelich was looking for signs stolen via technology.

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In response to the video, Darvish explained his actions from that game, clarifying he wasn't accusing Milwaukee of stealing signs.

Here we are nearly a year later, the Cubs' Twitter playing off Yelich's tweet after Darvish dominated Milwaukee. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, allowing a hit (a solo homer) and two walks while striking out 11.

If you're wondering, Yelich went 0-for-2 with a hit by pitch against Darvish on Thursday.

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Cubs rotation weathers surprise break, shakeup to be as dominant as ever

Cubs rotation weathers surprise break, shakeup to be as dominant as ever

Hair flowing out from under his cap, Yu Darvish held his right leg up at a right angle and watched Brewers’ Omar Narvaez swing late on a high fastball.

If Darvish stuck an arm out, his body would be in the shape of a K, fitting for yet another strike out.

In the Cubs’ 4-2 win against the Brewers on Thursday, Darvish allowed just one hit and one run in seven innings. In fact, in the Cubs’ past three games no starter has given up more than a run, and all pitched at least six innings.

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“It makes my job really easy,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “It’s fun to sit back and not have to worry about too much until the sixth or seventh inning.

The Cubs rotation has been a strength all season. Entering play Thursday, the Cubs starters had the third-best ERA in Major League Baseball (2.65). But this recent string of especially dominant performances came under unusual circumstances: right after a surprise four-day break.

Starting pitchers enjoy a consistent schedule through most of the season. They generally pitch every fifth or sixth day, with a bullpen in between starts.

But the postponement of the St. Louis series, due to more positive tests in the Cardinals organization, threw off that routine for the Cubs starters. The Cubs left St. Louis last Friday without having played a game.

The Cubs coaching staff had a decision to make: skip the pitchers scheduled to start in those un-played games, or shuffle the rotation? They did a little bit of both.

Jon Lester, who was originally scheduled to start last Friday, threw his regular in-between-starts bullpen on Saturday and drew the first start of the Cleveland series.

Then, the rotation picked up at the beginning. The Cubs’ first three games back had Lester, Kyle Hendricks and then Darvish taking the mound. All had dominant outings, despite the extra days rest.

"There have been so many things going on this whole year,” Hendricks said, “I think that nothing's going to faze us now.”

Having Mills and Lester swap places also split up the two most similar pitchers in the Cubs rotation. Hendricks and Mills are both soft-throwing, crafty right-handers. With Mills pitching fifth and Hendricks first, they threw on consecutive days as the rotation turned over.

Now, left-handed Lester will pitch in between the two, giving hitters a different look.

“We talked about it a little bit,” Hendricks said after his start Wednesday. “I think it's a little overblown, the effect of it. I think the last two games that I've pitched behind (Mills) I just haven't made a lot of good pitches, I was kind of off a little bit. Today I just made better pitches. ... And honestly, seeing how he attacks guys helps.”

Even so, Lester set the bar high out of the break and then Hendricks matched his one-run six innings.

“We’re not talking about it, but we’re putting pressure on each other,” Darvish said. “That’s a good pressure for us.”

On Thursday, Darvish said he stuck to mixing in his knuckle curve ball early in counts, as he’d begun to do against Pittsburgh two weeks before. He had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning Thursday but gave up a solo home run to Justin Smoak. Darvish recorded a season-high 11 strikeouts.

“I thought he had really good command of his off-speed stuff tonight,” Ross said after the game. “… Really kept them off balance. You really didn’t see a whole lot of good swings until that homer form Smoak.”

Next, the streak will be in the hands of Tyler Chatwood and Mills. Chatwood had a dud of an outing the last time he pitched, allowing eight runs on 11 hits at Kansas City. But he averaged over nine strikeouts in each of his first two outings.  And Alec Mills has a 1.38 ERA, the second best on the team, behind Lester (1.06).

Both have been integral parts of the rotation overperforming, after the Cubs front office was up front about its starting-pitching depth concerns ahead of the season.

After Thursday’s game, the Cubs rotation has improved to a 2.55 ERA, with a 12-3 record.

 

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