Drew Brees

Ionescu's "freaking amazing" evening at the ESPYS

Ionescu's "freaking amazing" evening at the ESPYS

The 2019 ESPY Awards recognized athletic achievements from some of the most renowned athletes and entertainers including Oregon’s own triple-double queen Sabrina Ionescu.

Wooden Award winning Ionescu brought her twin brother, Eddy, and her parents to the award show on Wednesday night at The Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

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How would Eddy describe the night? A “freaking amazing” evening that was even more special because the Ionescus made it a family affair.

By the way, Eddy hopes to walk on the Ducks men’s basketball team this season. 

The Ducks women’s basketball star was nominated for two awards; Best Record-Breaking Performance and Best College Athlete against the likes of New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, Golden State’s Klay Thompson, high school track star Matthew Boling, Duke’s Zion Williamson, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray and UCLA softball player Rachel Garcia.

Brees received the ESPY for best record-breaking performance for becoming the NFL's all-time leading passer. Williamson grabbed the title for best college athlete.

The Ionescus didn’t come back with hardware but did get to meet some iconic athletes at the star-studded affair. To name a few; Brees, retired basketball player Julius Erving. Houston Rockets’ PJ Tucker and Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart.  

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll reacts to Rams-Chiefs Monday Night shootout

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USA Today

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll reacts to Rams-Chiefs Monday Night shootout

Like most of the football-loving world, Seattle coach Pete Carroll watched Monday Night's offensive explosion between Kansas City and the Los Angeles Rams with admiration for the back-and-forth contest that featured a seemingly endless amount of big plays. 

The Rams won 54-51 in the third highest scoring game in NFL history. 

“Some really good defensive coordinators on those staffs too, I want you to know that, that were coaching ball last night," Carroll told reporters Tuesday during his weekly press conference. "The offenses were just crazy – it was crazy. There was some huge defensive plays in that game, but there was so much offense and just so much explosion in all. It was as good a game as I can remember seeing. It reminds you like the old AFL games back in the day, it was just such a shootout. It was amazing.”

The NFL has seen a rise in scoring this season led by Kansas City (9-2), the Rams (10-1) and New Orleans (9-1). Some of that is because of the fleet of hot young quarterbacks in the league, led by Kansas City's Pat Mahomes II and the Rams' Jared Goff, along with elite veterans like Drew Brees of the Saints and Indianapolis' Andrew Luck, who is having a career resurgence after a shoulder injury sidelined him last season. Another reason is the seemingly endless number of rule changes over the years that have benefited the offense. This, of course is nothing new. The NFL has been sweeting the rules to benefit offenses for decades. 

“Yeah, I’ve said it before that it certainly has – this was the whole idea," Carroll said. "But I don’t think that’s the reason. I think it’s just ball continues to evolve in the throwing game, it continues to evolve, the level of the play of the quarterback position continues to evolve. Even when you look at Drew Brees, he’s maybe having his best year ever, you know, and he’s been playing for forever."

Indeed, offenses have evolved. More receivers are on the field more often and defensive backs can't touch them to make it more difficult to get open.

"The most difficult part for the defenses is there’s just no hands – you can’t grab anything at all," Carroll said. "That used to be somewhat allowed, but that’s a stricter part of it and you saw a lot of penalties last night just – illegal hand stuff, guys trying to stay with people. So that’s, that’s part of it.”

Carroll said there's no doubt the changes are designed to create a more wide-open game. 

"It’s trying to make the game as explosive and exciting as possible," Carroll said. "Offense really does that for a lot of people. Protecting players too there has been a factor as well. It’s all fine, you know, it’s just the way it is. It’s relative and we’re coached and officiated the same, so it doesn’t matter.”

So where does Seattle fit in all of this? The Seahawks have an elite quarterback who has at times been known to light up the scoreboard as he did in the second half of the 2015 season when over seven games he threw 24 touchdown passes with just one interception. However, Seattle is all about running the football - the Seahawks lead the NFL in rushing - and playing defense. That strategy almost resulted in upset wins over the Rams, who won 33-31 at Seattle and 31-25 at home against the Seahawks. 

Seattle hosts Kansas City on Dec. 23. 

"I don’t mind being different at all," Carroll, who ran a traditional pro-style offense in college at USC, as well. "I didn’t mind it when we were in college either. We weren’t spreading out and doing all the stuff that other people were doing. We were running a pretty balanced attack back in the day and ran for a lot of yards (with) a lot of big time running backs. I think it’s a great way to play."

Is there anything Drew Brees can't do?

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USA Today Img.

Is there anything Drew Brees can't do?

Doesn't seem possible, but Drew Brees is getting better and better. The 39-year-old future Hall of Famer is putting up numbers this season alone that cause your jaw to drop. If you are reading this, Drew Brees has beaten your team; he defeated the then undefeated Los Angeles Rams last week; and today, he put up 51 points on the Cincinnati Bengals. Numbers galore.

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Brees finished his day 22-for-25 for 265 passing yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Brees has this Saints team rolling and arguably the hottest team not just in the NFC but in the NFL right now.

The Saints (8-1) return home to face the reigning Super Bowl Champ Philadelphia Eagles (4-4) in New Orleans.

Good job, Raiders -- going for two is often the smart play

Good job, Raiders -- going for two is often the smart play

I don't claim to be a statistical wizard like these guys, and can't tell you too much about the percentages of such things, but I've watched a lot of football games in my time -- too many, perhaps -- and I think the Oakland Raiders made a brilliant move by going for two after a late touchdown Sunday at New Orleans.

Winning the game in regulation -- and the odds are close to 50-50 on two-point conversions -- seemed much preferable to giving the ball back in overtime to Drew Brees, who had already passed for 423 yards. It makes sense, if the coach is secure enough to handle the second-guessing if it doesn't work, to just go for it.

What I've seen most is college teams reluctant to make the same gamble. And I've watched several games when I think they should have. Tired teams on the road at the end of one of those four-hour college games should consider going for two, rather than heading out for overtime periods when their defense is getting run out of the stadium.

Especially in college games, when the rule is now that if the teams are still tied after two overtimes they must then go for two after every touchdown, anyway. Just go for two after a TD late in regulation when the momentum is going your way and you've likely had the opponent's defense on the field for a while. I especially like this without a timeout prior to the PAT. Good teams have excellent two-point plays in their arsenal just for such situations. Score and go for two -- fast.

I would think the Oregon Ducks would profit from such a strategy this season. I think they are going to be a scoring machine without much defense -- college football's version of Loyola-Marymount basketball in the old days. And a team like that should choose to decide a game with its offense, rather than its defense.

Go for two. And if you don't make it, know that at least you've made an aggressive move that shows confidence in your team. And as a coach, if you fail to convert, you've taken the heat off your team for losing a close game and put it on your own shoulders for what will be called a bad gamble by the second-guessers.

And as a coach, taking the heat off your team is always the right move.