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Bears force 5 turnovers in routing Titans 51-20

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Bears force 5 turnovers in routing Titans 51-20

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Chicago Bears are proving to be exceptionally dangerous on defense, not that coach Lovie Smith is ready to dub this the best unit he's ever coached.

Not yet anyway.

Charles Tillman forced four fumbles, and Brian Urlacher became the latest defender to return an interception for a touchdown as the Chicago Bears scored their most points since 1980 in blowing out the Tennessee Titans 51-20 Sunday.

Smith said it's a little early to decide just how good these Bears are.

``We like where we are right now,'' Smith said. ``I know this defense is doing some things that no other defense has done that I've been a part of. You know scoring touchdowns, the amount of takeaways we've been able to get. That is special what we have going at the halfway point.''

The Bears (7-1) reached the midpoint having won six straight, and Tillman, the NFC defensive player for October, made sure they avoided a sluggish start by stripping the ball from Titans receiver Kenny Britt on Tennessee's first offensive play. Tillman followed that up by knocking the ball away from Chris Johnson twice and finally from tight end Jared Cook.

``I have never seen anything like it,'' Urlacher said. ``Every week it seems like we are talking about one of those two corners doing something like that. A defensive lineman I can understand getting sacks, but as a corner to get four like that, it's unbelievable.''

The Bears topped the 50-point mark with 10 minutes left when Jay Cutler and Marshall connected on their third TD pass, and Chicago posted its highest-scoring game since matching a team record in a 61-7 win over Green Bay on Dec. 7, 1980. The Bears kicked it off with a franchise-record 28 points in the first quarter keyed by creating three turnovers in the first 13 minutes, resulting in 14 points.

Urlacher became the latest Bears defender to score on an interception return. They have done it a club record seven times - no other NFL team had returned six for TDs through the first seven games of any season.

``We have been waiting for Brian to really step up like that,'' Smith said. ``Outstanding job by him. Touchdown, caused fumble, recovered fumble. The defense was a frenzy out there, really taking the ball away.''

The Titans (3-6) wound up allowing their most points since being routed 59-0 on Oct. 18, 2009, by New England, and it easily was a low point for a team that came in allowing 32.1 points per game.

``I don't think there is any way to explain it other than the fact we did our best to give that game away in the first quarter,'' Titans coach Mike Munchak said.

Making it worse was that coaches had warned the Titans all week about protecting the ball from the Bears.

``I don't think I've ever seen them do such an amazing job of getting the ball out,'' Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. ``Partly credit them. Right now for us, we are blaming ourselves.''

Tennessee's lone highlight when Chris Johnson scored on an 80-yard run in the fourth quarter. Johnson finished with 141 yards against the NFL's best rushing defense, with a big chunk coming when he broke out and went up the right sideline with 10:09 left in the fourth quarter. It was his fifth TD of 80 yards or longer, padding his NFL mark in that category.

Turnovers are becoming contagious for the Bears, and the quick start helped the offense ease through another slow start. Chicago wound up outgaining Tennessee 358-333 despite holding the ball for 37 minutes. Cutler finished with 229 yards passing despite watching the final 10 minutes.

Corey Wootton returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. Matt Forte also ran for a touchdown in the first quarter and finished with 103 yards rushing on 12 carries. Robbie Gould kicked three field goals with a long of 39.

Chicago fans took over LP Field, booing any video highlights featuring the rival Packers and frequently chanting ``Let's go, Bears.''

``It was weird,'' Cutler said of all the Bears fans. ``I had to hush the crowd down in the red zone, and they got quiet really quick. We have the best fans in the world.''

That prompted an apology from Titans receiver Nate Washington to the Tennessee fans who stuck it out to the end.

``We've just got to do better,'' Washington said.

NOTES: Cutler finished with a 138.1 passer rating, and his teams now are 26-0 including playoffs when he posts a rating of 100 or better. ... Cutler was sacked 11 times in the previous two games, and Tennessee finished with three sacks. ... The Bears topped the 24 points they scored in the first quarter Oct. 29, 2006, against San Francisco. ... The Titans now have allowed at least 30 points in seven of nine games this season. ... Johnson tied Jim Brown for the second-most 110-yard rushing games in a player's first five seasons with 28.

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The Caps showed flashes of their mentality with shorthanded win in Colorado

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The Caps showed flashes of their mentality with shorthanded win in Colorado

On November 16, 2017, the Washington Capitals were handed a brutal 6-2 loss in Denver at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche. It was the second blowout loss the team had suffered in as many games and dropped the Caps’ record to 10-9-1. That moment would be the low point of the season.

A year to the day, the Caps returned to Denver. They were given every reason to quit Friday and repeat last year’s disastrous result and yet, the Caps rallied for a 3-2 overtime win to improve their record to 9-7-3.

Coming off a loss Wednesday in Winnipeg, Washington found out earlier on Friday that the team would be without both T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov who had both suffered injuries against the Jets. In net, Braden Holtby was out as well meaning the Caps would have to turn to backup goalie Pheonix Copley for his third start in as many games. Backing him up would be Ilya Samsonov, a highly touted prospect but a player without a single minute of NHL experience.

And, just in case that all did not seem daunting enough, the Caps also spotted the Avalanche a 1-0 lead just 68 seconds into the game.

One year ago, the Caps gave up the first goal of that game just 17 seconds in. When Colorado scored early again, it felt like Friday’s game was going to end up being just like that blowout loss from a year ago.

But it didn’t.

“We were shorthanded, everyone stepped up,” Tom Wilson said. “We talked about guys stepping up before the game and we got it done.”

The Capitals battled back and took control of the game in the first and second periods, tallying two goals to take a 2-1 lead. A late goal by Colorado would tie the game, but Todd Reirden reminded his players of what happened in Montreal – a game in which the Caps gave up three goals in the final four minutes of the game to lose 6-4 – and challenged them not to let that happen again. The team responded.

With all the momentum on the side of the Avalanche, Devante Smith-Pelly drew a holding penalty with less than two minutes remaining and Nicklas Backstrom would score on the resulting power play in overtime.

“When you have a lot of guys hurt, it was nice to see that we really got together, played a good defensive game, everyone was on the same page and blocking shots and doing all the little things right,” Backstrom said.

The game was reminiscent of the Game 6 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs last season. With one win separating them from advancing to the conference final, Washington had to somehow find a way to beat their biggest rival in Pittsburgh and they had to do it with no Nicklas Backstrom, Andre Burakovsky or Tom Wilson. When their backs were against the wall, the Caps responded and managed to defeat the defending Stanley Cup champions 2-1 in overtime.

“It was important for guys to step up in different situations with obviously very key guys out, but we did it in the playoffs,” Smith-Pelly said. “We had key guys out at times. I guess this group is used to guys coming in and out and stepping up.”

The Caps returned most of their Stanley Cup winning roster for the 2018-19 season and fans have been waiting for this year’s team to start playing like last year’s again. A record of 8-7-3 heading into Friday’s game was hardly what people expected from this team early on.

But the win in Colorado was one of the team’s most impressive wins of the season, and perhaps the closest Washington has come since the 7-0 win in the opener to looking like that championship squad. Not because they looked dominant – they didn’t – but because when their backs were against the wall, you saw what this team was really made of mentally. Every time they were challenged in the playoffs – whether it was going down 2-0 to Columbus, playing the unbeatable Penguins, facing elimination against Tampa Bay or facing the red-hot Vegas Golden Knights – the Caps responded.

On Friday, Washington was challenged and again, and the Caps responded.

Last year’s game in Colorado proved to be a turning point. The team was at a cross-roads. They could check out and watch the inevitable coaching and roster shakeup happen, or they could rally to save the season. The Caps made a choice and the rest is history.

Maybe Friday’s game will mean nothing in the greater context of the 82-game season, or maybe this game will again prove to be a turning point. Maybe in the spring we will again circle Nov. 16 and remember it as the game in which the defending champs put the rest of the league on notice that they’re still here, they’re still the champs and they’re not going down without a fight.

“Every time we have injuries, it’s going to happen and it’s going to get other guys to get that opportunity,” Backstrom said. "I thought we played pretty good today, we didn’t give them a whole lot. That was a nice win, we needed that.”

UVA vs. Georgia Tech How to Watch: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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UVA vs. Georgia Tech How to Watch: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Virginia Cavaliers football team is coming off a 21-pt victory last week and has won four of their last five games, yet is an underdog on the road against Georgia Tech.

UVA, at 4-2 (7-3 overall), is trying to stay alive in the ACC Coastal, led by the Pitt Panthers entering Saturday's action. Georgia Tech is also coming into the game on a hot streak, having won five of its last six matchups.

The Yellow Jackets are two games behind Pitt in the loss column, sitting at 4-3 in ACC play, and will finish up their regular season next week at 5th-ranked Georgia. UVA will wrap up on the road as well, facing in-state rival Virginia Tech.

Georgia Tech is favored over UVA by 4.5 points. Here's how to watch.

UVA CAVALIERS vs. GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS: HOW TO WATCH

What: University of Virginia Cavaliers vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field, located in Atlanta, GA.

When: Saturday, November 17 at 3:30 p.m. EST

TV Channel: The Virginia Cavaliers vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)