Ravens

Alabama rallies from 11 down, beats Vandy 58-54

Alabama rallies from 11 down, beats Vandy 58-54

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Trevor Lacey hit a 3-pointer with 56.8 seconds left, giving Alabama its first lead of the game, and the Crimson Tide wound up edging Vanderbilt 58-54 Saturday afternoon for their first win at Memorial Gym since 1990 after trailing by as much as 11 in the second half.

Alabama (14-7, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) hadn't won here since Wimp Sanderson was coach, and it looked like that drought would reach 12 straight for most of the game. But the Tide rallied despite hitting only one field goal after Andrew Steele's 3-pointer with 5:57 left, and the Tide won for the sixth time in seven games, finishing on an 18-3 run.

Lacey had a game-high 17 points. Steele added 13 points off the bench, and Rodney Cooper had 11.

Vanderbilt (8-12, 2-6) didn't hit a field goal after Kyle Fuller's 3-pointer with 7:10 left. Kedren Johnson had 15 points and Fuller 13.

The Crimson Tide came in tied with Kentucky for third in the SEC and traveling after edging Arkansas 59-56 in a late game Thursday night. Vanderbilt was well-rested after a 58-57 loss at Tennessee on Tuesday night, and the Commodores outshot Alabama 48.7 percent (19 of 39) to 38 percent (19 of 50) and outrebounded the Tide 31-27.

Vanderbilt was having its best shooting game this season, hitting around 60 percent in building a 51-40 lead on Fuller's third 3 of the game with 7:10 left. Then a team that came in next to last in the SEC scoring an average 59.6 points a game reverted to form and just couldn't close out against an Alabama defense that is the SEC's second-best, allowing 58.5 points per game.

The Tide finally started having success with the press defense and finished with 12 steals. Lacey tied it at 53 for the first tie of the game with a pair of free throws with 3:29 remaining, and Alabama was 9 of 13 at the line in the final 5:07. Both teams missed chances to score on their next two possessions, including a shot by Nick Jacobs that went in and out for Alabama.

Johnson hit a free throw for Vanderbilt to give the Commodores their last lead with 2:14 to go. Finally, Lacey threw up his fourth 3-point attempt from a couple of steps behind the arc to put Alabaam ahead to stay.

Josh Henderson, who had just played his way back into the starting lineup for Vanderbilt, had a layup attempt blocked by Jacobs, and Fuller missed a layup down the stretch. Cooper and Lacey each hit a free throw to clinch the comeback.

The Commodores opened the game with a 3-pointer by Sheldon Jeter. Alabama turned it over on its first two possessions by walking, and the Tide also missed six of their first eight shots. Vandy led by as much as eight twice, the last on a 3-pointer by Fuller 32 seconds before the break and a 31-23 halftime edge.

Quick Links

Peter King awards two Ravens with weekly honors for defensive performance vs. Titans

Peter King awards two Ravens with weekly honors for defensive performance vs. Titans

The Baltimore Ravens' Week 6 dominate performance over the Tennessee Titans is gaining national attention. 

A historic game that displayed the offense and defense firing on all cylinders, it's hard to pinpoint who had the biggest impact. 

So in his latest edition of Football Morning in America, NBC Sports' Peter King awarded not one, but two Ravens with weekly honors.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Za'Darius Smith

Against the Titans, Smith led the Ravens defense with three sacks and five tackles in their historic 11-sack game. On of three Defensive Players of the Week, King explained why Smith's performance stood out.

In the most dominant defensive performance of this ultra-offensive season, the Ravens shut out Tennessee 21-0 and had 11 sacks. Another one of GM Ozzie Newsome’s draft gifts that keeps on giving, Smith (2015, round four, Kentucky) contributed three sacks of Marcus Mariota and five tackles in a virtuoso game. Net passing yards for Mariota: 51.

Smith, who's entering the final year of his rookie NFL contract, has shown over six games he deserves to get paid in the offseason. So far this season the 26-year-old has 20 combined tackles, 5.5 sacks and one forced fumble. 

COACH OF THE WEEK: Don "Wink" Martindale

In his first season as defensive coordinator, Don "Wink" Martindale has seamlessly made the transition from linebackers coach to leading the NFL's No. 1 scoring defense (12.8). But what impressed King the most from the 21-0 shutout was how Martindale's squad got to Mariota from every direction. 

When a unit records more sacks (11) than completions allowed (10), the leader gets an award. Those are the rules. Martindale’s pass rushers got to Marcus Mariota every possible way—up the middle, around the edges, in the pocket, on bootlegs, you name it. The total set a new franchise record and was one short of the single-game NFL mark of 12. And it came with a familiar face watching: Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees used to hold the same position in Baltimore. Shout out to the Ravens social media team for renaming the account RavenSSSSSSSSSSS, one ‘S’ for each sack.

This Ravens defense, who has always been known for its dominance, is ranked first in points allowed (12.8), first in yards allowed (270.8), second in passing yards allowed (188.0) and third in rushing yards allowed (82.8) heading into Week 7. In addition, they have yet to surrender a second half touchdown all season. Trusting of the talent this roster holds, the respect "Wink" has for his players is equally reciprocated. 

"It was really emotional when they told us we had 11 sacks," linebacker Patrick Onwuasor said postgame. "We just went out there and we were like, ‘We have to get Coach Wink . We have to put the Gatorade on him.’ So, we tried to turn him around so he couldn’t see it coming, and we had to get him real good."

Martindale will now face the No. 1 scoring offense in the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. 

MORE RAVENS NEWS:

Quick Links

Week 7 NFC East Update: As Giants derail rest of division rebounds

odell_zeke_dak_usat.jpg
USA Today Sports

Week 7 NFC East Update: As Giants derail rest of division rebounds

In Week 5, every NFC East team suffered an embarrassing defeat. In Week 6, every NFC East team rebounded, except for the New York Giants.

The Redskins rebounded from their ugly Week 5 loss in New Orleans with a home win over a strong Carolina team. Dallas logged the division's best win, stomping Jacksonville 40-7, while the Eagles took no mercy on the Giants, beating them 34-13.

Now, three teams sit at the top with three wins, while the Giants lag quite far behind in the basement. Here's the update:

Washington Redskins (3-2)

Only by virtue of an early bye week do the Redskins rank slightly ahead of the Eagles and Cowboys, thanks to a .600 winning percentage. This week will change that, as the Redskins play their first NFC East division game when they host the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. Defensively, Washington should match up well with Dallas, a run-first team that is challenged in the vertical pass game. But the Redskins have plenty to deal with internally, including major injuries at WR as well as a four-game losing streak to their rival. The Redskins haven't beaten the Cowboys at home since 2012. 

Up next: Oct. 21st vs Dallas (4:25 p.m.)

Dallas Cowboys (3-3)

Coming off their most impressive win of the season, Dallas will march into Washington on Sunday full of confidence and defensive swagger. The Cowboys defense held the Jaguars to only 204 total yards last Sunday and posted three sacks with two turnovers. The strength of the Dallas defense comes up front, with a menacing defensive line that confuses their offensive counterparts with significant movement and stunts at the snap of the ball. Now, all of that said, the Cowboys posted their standout defensive numbers against Blake Bortles and a bad Jaguars offense that was playing without injured running back Leonard Fournette. The Cowboys defense is good, but maybe not quite as good as they looked against Jacksonville. It's also a good time to point out that on the 2018 season, Dallas is 3-0 at home, and 0-3 on the road.

Up next: Oct. 21st @ Washington (4:25 p.m.)

Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)

Don't look now but the defending Super Bowl champs might be getting their act together. The Eagles scored more than 30 points for the first time this year in a demolition of the Giants last Thursday night, and snapped a two-game losing streak. Carson Wentz threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns, his best performance since coming back from knee surgery. Defensively, the Eagles sacked Eli Manning four times, but rookie sensation RB Saquon Barkley was able to gash Philly on the ground. The Panthers will present a very strong run game this Sunday and if Philly is all the way back, they need their stout run defense from 2017 to reappear. 

Up next: Oct. 21st vs Carolina

New York Giants (1-5)

Woof. Not much to celebrate in the Big Apple. It's become very obvious that Eli Manning is no longer a starting caliber QB, but the Giants have no other real options. And for all the complaints about Eli and the Giants offensive line, the defense hasn't been very good either. New York has a -45 point differential on the year. The Giants need to rebuild their offense around Saquon Barkley, who has looked outstanding, and hope Eli can hit Odell Beckham on play action. Barkley must get more carries for the Giants; that's the only way to salvage an already broken season.

Up next: Oct. 22nd @ Atlanta (8:15 p.m.)

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: