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Tuesday's Sports in Brief

Tuesday's Sports in Brief

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Serena Williams' dominating run at the majors ended in a painful loss to American teenager Sloane Stephens.

After the biggest victory of her life, the 19-year-old Stephens is headed to the semifinals of the Australian Open.

Williams hurt her back in the eighth game of the second set, slowing down her serve, restricting her movement and causing her obvious pain.

Stephens kept her composure, blocking out the injury issue on the other side of the net, and rallied for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory on Wednesday.

It was Williams' first loss since Aug. 17, and her first defeat at a Grand Slam tournament since last year's French Open.

The 15-time major winner hadn't lost a match at a Grand Slam tournament since the French Open, where her first-round exit sparked her resurgence in the second half of 2012 that included titles at Wimbledon, the London Olympics, the U.S. Open and the WTA Championship.

Stephens next plays defending champion Victoria Azarenka.

In the men's draw, U.S. Open champion Andy Murray moved into the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 win over unseeded Jeremy Chardy of France.

PRO FOOTBALL

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) - Former Oakland coach Bill Callahan denied allegations made by two of his former players that he ``sabotaged'' the Raiders in their Super Bowl loss to Tampa Bay 10 years ago.

Former Raiders receivers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice both said in recent interviews they believe Callahan undermined his own team in the Super Bowl in 2003 because of his close friendship with Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden by altering the game plan less than two days before Oakland's 48-21 loss.

``... I am shocked, saddened and outraged by Tim Brown's allegations and Jerry Rice's support of those allegations made through various media outlets over the last 24 hours,'' Callahan said Tuesday in a statement. ``To leave no doubt, I categorically and unequivocally deny the sum and substance of their allegations.''

NEW YORK (AP) - Sean Payton is back as coach of the New Orleans Saints.

Payton's season-long suspension for his role in the Saints' bounty program was lifted by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell nearly two weeks earlier than expected.

The decision allows Payton to attend the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Saturday, where some of the top college players available for the NFL draft will be competing.

NEW YORK (AP) - The NFL is looking into Tom Brady's leg-up slide that hit Ravens safety Ed Reed in the AFC championship game.

League spokesman Greg Aiello said ``any play of that nature is routinely reviewed.''

Brady could be subject to a fine if the league believes he violated any player safety rules.

Reed says Brady attempted to apologize this week for the slide.

``He actually reached out to me, texted me,'' Reed told WJZ-FM in Baltimore.

NEW YORK (AP) - Jets coach Rex Ryan was uninjured in a three-car accident in eastern Pennsylvania last week.

A team spokesman confirmed that Ryan was issued a warning and no citation after the accident on Jan. 14 in Bethlehem, Pa..

No one in the other two cars was injured in the accident, which was first reported by Deadspin.com.

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Hall of Famer Charlie Joiner retired from his job as wide receivers coach for the San Diego Chargers, ending his 44 years in the NFL as a player and coach.

GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) - Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Jay Ratliff is free on bond after his arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

The 31-year-old nose tackle was arrested shortly after midnight after his pickup truck sideswiped a tractor-trailer on Texas 114 about 20 miles northwest of Dallas.

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that coach Jason Garrett may give up play-calling duties on offense.

Speaking to reporters at Senior Bowl practices, Jones said offensive line coach Bill Callahan could inherit play-calling duties, but stopped short of saying a decision had been made.

ATLANTA (AP) - A 46-year-old man was arrested in a stabbing near the Georgia Dome following the Falcons' NFC Championship game loss.

Georgia Dome spokesman Jason Kirksey says James Lewis McCoy of Villa Rica was arrested by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority Police Department. Information on McCoy's charges was not immediately available.

BALTIMORE (AP) - Fans watching NFL games on television have grown accustomed to the imaginary yellow line that runs across the field in accord with the first-down marker.

That first-down line could one day become part of the in-game experience at all 32 NFL stadiums.

Alan Amron, with financial backing from former NFL player and broadcaster Pat Summerall, has developed the First Down Laser System. Amron said the system projects a first-down line across the field that can be seen in the stadium and on TV.

The league is intrigued, but not completely sold on the idea - not yet anyway.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - The woman whose photo was used as the ``face'' of the Twitter account of Manti Te'o's supposed girlfriend says the man allegedly behind the hoax confessed and apologized to her.

Diane O'Meara told NBC's ``Today'' show that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo used pictures of her without her knowledge in creating a fake woman called Lennay Kekua. Te'o asserts he was tricked into an online romance with Kekua and, until last week, did not understand he was being hoaxed.

O'Meara went to high school in California with Tuiasosopo, but she says they're not close. She said he called to apologize Jan. 16, the day Deadspin.com broke the hoax story.

PRO BASKETBALL

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson had a stern warning for Seattle SuperSonics fans who are excited about the prospect of the NBA returning to the Puget Sound next season.

``Don't celebrate too early,'' he said.

In front of a cheering City Hall crowd filled with fans and public officials, Johnson introduced the first part of his four-step plan to keep the Sacramento Kings in California's capital city.

The three-time NBA All-Star guard turned mayor said he has secured 20 investors who have pledged at least $1 million each to be part of a local group to buy the franchise. Johnson said the major partners he hopes will anchor the last-ditch deal to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle will be revealed as soon as this week.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The Memphis Grizzlies traded Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a future first-round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Jon Leuer.

The trade is the first big move by the Grizzlies' new ownership and clears about $6 million in salary in getting Memphis under the luxury tax threshold this season. The Grizzlies rank fourth in the West and are 6-4 over their past 10 games after the NBA's best start this season.

The deal gives the lottery-bound Cavs another first-round pick to improve a team entering Tuesday night's home game against Boston with a 10-32 record - second-worst in the Eastern Conference. Speights also will help replace center Anderson Varejao who will miss the remainder of the season after developing a blood clot in his right lung.

BASEBALL

CINCINNATI (AP) - The Reds will host the 2015 All-Star game at Great American Ball Park, the city's first since 1988, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

Commissioner Bud Selig will discuss the decision on Wednesday in Cincinnati, where he's also appearing to promote Major League Baseball's latest urban youth academy, according to the person speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made.

The Cincinnati Enquirer first reported the decision.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax is going to work for the Los Angeles Dodgers as a special adviser.

The team announced that the 77-year-old Koufax would join them.

Koufax will be a special adviser to team chairman Mark Walter. The former Dodgers great also will work with pitchers during spring training, a role he's held for several years.

CYCLING

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) - Welshman Geraint Thomas won the short but demanding second stage of cycling's Tour Down Under on Wednesday, avoiding a 15-man fall near the finish that brought down world champion Philippe Gilbert.

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Ravens at Seahawks Week 7: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Ravens at Seahawks Week 7: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

The Ravens have four wins already this season, but none stand out as a signature victory.

The Ravens blew the doors of future 0-16 Miami Dolphins, then got past Arizona, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati by six, three and six points, respectively. The combined record for those three? 4-13-1.

Now, two of those games weren't really as close as the final score made it look. But for a team with designs on contending in the AFC, it's a little concerning that Baltimore's point-differential would be negative-15 if you take out the 59-0 win in Miami that, frankly, shouldn't count.

All that came against a pretty light schedule. The Ravens have only face two non-terrible teams, but they lost to both. Now? Their schedule takes another step up in difficulty, and the first stage comes in Seattle.

The Ravens are traveling across the country to face the 5-1 Seahawks, who are flying high thanks to their quarterback, Russell Wilson. Wilson would be something close to the consensus MVP if the season ended today, thanks to his 1,704 yards, 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions.

The Seahawks own one of the most fearsome home field advantages in football, making this one of the toughest tests of the Ravens' season. 

This battle looks especially important, considering the gauntlet awaiting Baltimore after their Week 8 bye. Five of their next six games beginning in Week 9 are vs. New England, vs. Houston, at Los Angeles (Rams), vs. San Francisco, and at Buffalo. Those teams are a ridiculous 22-6 this season, so the Ravens need to stock up on as many wins as possible during the rest of their schedule.

They'll look to enter their bye with some momentum behind an MVP candidate of their own, albeit not one quite on Wilson's level just yet, in Lamar Jackson.

Jackson continued his own stellar start to the season in Week 6, becoming the first quarterback to ever pass for 200 yards and rush for 150 in a regular season game. He also became the first player in NFL history to earn both the FedEx Air Player of the Week and Ground Player of the Week in the same season.

His dual-threat dominance has keyed a resurgent Ravens offense, forced to carry a surprisingly-struggling defense. The Ravens are hoping their in-season acquisition of cornerback Marcus Peters will provide a jolt to their injured secondary.

Speaking of the secondary, safety Earl Thomas is making his long-anticipated return to Seattle on Sunday, a reunion you don't want to miss.

This is one of the biggest games on the slate in the NFL this weekend, and it's one of the biggest swing games for the Ravens' season. Two franchises defined by their defenses will be carried by their high-octane offenses in what should be a terrific atmosphere.

Here's everything you need to know about the game. 

RAVENS AT SEAHAWKS WEEK 7:

Who: Baltimore Ravens at Seattle Seahawks

What: Week 7 of the regular season

When: Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, 4:25 p.m. ET

Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA

TV Channel: FOX

Live Stream: FOX Sports, FuboTV

Radio: WBAL New Radio 1090, 98Rock and 101.5 FM

Weather: High of 53 degrees, 5-10 mph winds, strong chance of rain (80 percent)

RAVENS 2019 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE:

Week 1: Sun., 9/8 at Dolphins, 1:00 p.m. (W, 59-10)

Week 2: Sun., 9/15 vs. Cardinals, 1:00 p.m. (W, 23-17)

Week 3: Sun., 9/22 at Chiefs. 1:00 p.m. (L, 33-28)

Week 4: Sun., 9/29 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m. (L, 40-25)

Week 5: Sun., 10/6 at Steelers, 1:00 p.m. (W (OT), 26-23)

Week 6: Sun., 10/13 vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m. (W, 23-17)

Week 7: Sun., 10/20 at Seahawks, 4:25 p.m.

Week 8: BYE week

Week 9: Sun., 11/3 vs. Patriots, 8:20 p.m.

Week 10:  Sun., 11/10 at Bengals, 1:00 p.m.

Week 11: Sun., 11/17 vs. Texans, 1:00 p.m.

Week 12: Mon., 11/25 at Rams, 8:15 p.m.

Week 13: Sun., 12/1 vs. 49ers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 14: Sun., 12/8 at Bills, 1:00 p.m.

Week 15: Thu., 12/12 vs. Jets, 8:20 p.m.

Week 16: Sun., 12/22 at Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 17: Sun., 12/29 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m.

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Ravens look for more AFC North separation, 5-2 record headed into bye week

Ravens look for more AFC North separation, 5-2 record headed into bye week

The Ravens have their toughest individual test of the season on Sunday.

Against MVP favorite Russell Wilson, the Ravens will need their best performance of the year. And if they’re able to get that, they’d be three games over .500 headed into their bye week with the Patriots looming. 

The rest of the division aside, the opportunity is there for the Ravens to pull ahead in the NFC North and the potential playoff race.

“It won’t make or break us, but it will go a long way in setting us up for where we’re headed down the road and what kind of season we’re going to have,” head coach John Harbaugh said. 

The Ravens currently have a two-game lead in the division with the Browns and Steelers on a bye week. With a win, their lead would move to two and a half games ahead of their bye next week. 

After that, the Patriots come to Baltimore for Sunday Night Football.

First, however, the Ravens are focused on the Seahawks, no matter how boring that may sound.

“I’m going to give you the cliché, but it’s the truth,” Harbaugh said bluntly. “We just have to focus on Seattle. So, how the schedule fell or how we fit...It’s better to be 4-2 than 3-3 or 2-4, but not as good as 6-0 or 5-1. That’s my thought on it. And 5-2 would be a lot better than 4-3.”

In order to get to 5-2, the Ravens will need to go through Wilson and his excellent season thus far. He hasn’t thrown an interception, has 17 total touchdowns and is on pace for nearly 5,000 yards from scrimmage. 

“He’s playing at an MVP level, and I agree with that,” defensive coordinator Don Martindale said. “It’s sort of like playing against Steph Curry in basketball, if you will. You can pick him up from half court, and he’s going to try to drive by you when you’re saying ‘keep him in the pocket,’ or you can slack off, and he’s going to pull up and hit a three.”

Baltimore will get new addition Marcus Peters into the fold to help with a growingly injured secondary. He’s already played Seattle this season, so the Ravens are hoping he’ll be able to draw on that knowledge to face Wilson and the rest of the Seahawks offense.

But perhaps the biggest story of the secondary is the return of Earl Thomas to the Seattle. 

The last time he was in a Seahawks uniform, he was carted off with a broken leg and flipped off his own sideline. He’ll return to his former team of nine years on Sunday.

“Hopefully they (the fans) respect what I've done, and I'll get a couple cheers, not too many boos,” Thomas said. “And whatever happens, happens, but hopefully it's love."

Aside from all of that, the Ravens say they’re not focused on 5-2 or what could come with a win over one of the NFL’s best teams and quarterbacks.

“We need to be 1-0 this week,” Harbaugh said. “We need to play our best football of the year in Seattle to win the game, and that’s what we’re planning on doing. And that’s what we’re going to work for.”

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