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Bradford has 2 TDs to lead Rams over Bucs 28-13

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Bradford has 2 TDs to lead Rams over Bucs 28-13

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The St. Louis Rams are getting accustomed to Janoris Jenkins doing special things when the rookie cornerback gets his hands on the football.

Jenkins scored his fourth touchdown of the season Sunday, returning a first-half interception 41 yards to help the NFL's youngest team stay in the running for a winning record with a 28-13 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

``I'm just trying to make plays for my team and just trying to be accountable,'' said Jenkins, a second-round draft pick who has scored on three of his four interceptions and also returned a fumble for a TD. ``Every man has got to do his job, and I just want to be able to do my job for these guys I'm out there with.''

Jenkins took advantage of receiver Mike Williams slipping to the ground to pick off Josh Freeman's sideline throw. He did a tight-rope act to stay in bounds, then took off up the field.

The Rams weren't surprised where he wound up.

``I just turn and block, just like in practice. I don't even have to look, and then I turn around and see him in the end zone,'' defensive end Chris Long said. ``He's a special talent, a dangerous player when he's got the ball in his hands.''

St. Louis (7-7-1) won for the fourth time in the past five games, with Sam Bradford throwing for a pair of touchdowns and Steven Jackson rushing for 81 yards and one TD to move within 10 yards of reaching 1,000 for the eighth consecutive season. Tight end Lance Kendricks scored on an 80-yard reception and finished with four catches for 119 yards.

A victory in next week's finale at Seattle will give the Rams their first winning record since 2003.

That's a huge step for a team that won two games in 2011.

``We've got seven wins now,'' first-year coach Jeff Fisher said. ``I don't think many people thought we would do that, but we've got a chance to get eight, so that's what our focus is.''

Bradford connected with Kendricks on the first play of the third quarter to build on a 14-6 halftime lead. The Rams' defense did its part, too, with four interceptions and five sacks.

The offense turned two of the turnovers into touchdowns.

Despite the victory, the Rams were eliminated from playoff contention. But with a winning record still within reach, players were in a festive mood after the game.

``Obviously it's frustrating,'' Bradford said of not making the playoffs. ``That's why you play the game. You play for the opportunity to win championships. You obviously can't do that if you don't get into the playoffs, so it's a little bit disappointing.''

It's nice, though, to still have something to play for next week.

``This is a chance to finish out on a winning note and a chance to be undefeated in the division,'' Fisher said. ``If we're able to do that, I'd say then we can jump into the offseason with optimism for next year.''

Tampa Bay (6-9) turned the ball five times and was stopped on downs twice inside the Rams 10 en route to its fifth straight loss. The Bucs also had five turnovers the previous week in a 41-0 loss at New Orleans.

Freeman completed 30 of 54 passes for 372 yards and one TD, however, the Bucs simply were unable to overcome his mistakes.

The fourth-year pro has thrown eight interceptions in the past two weeks after only having three passes picked off over the previous eight games.

``I've got to take the blame as the quarterback,'' Freeman said. ``Saints game, this game, not really the brand of football I want to play.''

NOTES: Tampa Bay outgained the Rams 429 yards to 285. ... Bradford was 13 of 27 for 196 yards, one interception and no sacks - ending a stretch in which the St. Louis quarterback was sacked in a league-high 30 consecutive games. ... Freeman has thrown for 3,843 yards, a Bucs single-season record.

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3 Caps who impressed against the Blues in preview of the season opener

3 Caps who impressed against the Blues in preview of the season opener

Nicklas Backstrom scored with less than seven seconds remaining to give the Capitals the 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday in a preseason preview of the regular-season opener. Radko Gudas and Richard Panik also scored.

Here are three players who impressed for the Caps.

1. Richard Panik

Panik got plenty of practice on the penalty kill with 4:16 of shorthanded ice time shorthanded. In that time he gave a glimpse of why he was so coveted by the Caps as a free agent.

In the first period, Panik pounced on a loose puck at the top of the faceoff circle in the defensive zone. Seeing he had room to work with, he did not just clear it down the ice and instead elected to skate up with it. He fought off the backcheck from Tyler Bozak through the neutral zone, drew an additional two Blues players to him, then drew a holding call from Bozak because he would not give up the puck.

Panik's 4:16 of penalty kill time was more than top penalty killer Carl Hagelin's 2:26, though the fact that Hagelin took two minors on the night probably had something to do with it.

Late in the game, Panik was also added to the power play as a sixth attacker with the goalie pulled. He would score the game-tying goal with just 1:09 left in regulation.

2. The goalies

Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov both played about a half of the game. It is really hard to evaluate a goalie on just 30 minutes of work, so I will give a shoutout to both as both played very well.

Vanecek got the start. He looked a little awkward at first, but settled in as the game went along for a solid performance. He stopped 13 of the 14 shots he faced with the only goal he allowed a weird deflection off of Brett Leason’s skate.

Samsonov took over about halfway through the second period and within minutes found himself defending the net on a 5-on-3 penalty kill. The penalty killers helped out their young netminder allowing only one shot on goal, but it was a good one. Colton Parayko one-timed a slap shot, but Samsonov was there to stop with no rebound. Soon after the penalty was over, Vladimir Tarasenko was all alone in front of the net, but was denied by Samsonov’s who stretched the blocker to deny the high shot.

Sanford scores on the PP. Samsonov wasn't tight against the post. Showed him too much daylight and Sanford made him pay.

Samsonov finished with 11 saves on 12 shots.

3. Connor McMichael

Boy, somebody got a confidence boost from Monday’s game. 

McMichael was given a second preseason game as a reward for his solid performance on Monday and he definitely showed off the confidence that comes along with being a first-round draft pick.

In the first period, McMichael found himself all alone with the puck on a mini-breakaway on Jordan Binnington. Just a reminder, this is the Binnington who was the starting goalie for the Stanley Cup champions.

So what did McMichael do? He skated to the front and tried the stick between the legs shot. It may not have worked, but you have to respect the confidence this kid had just to try, though no doubt the coaches probably had a few words for him in the locker room about it.

There was one area in which McMichael struggled, however, and that was on the faceoff where he lost all five draws he took on the night.

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

After a thrilling back-and-forth contest to start the WNBA Semifinals, the Washington Mystics and Elena Delle Donne are back in action to host the Las Vegas Aces for Game 2.

Washington took Game 1 97-95 over Las Vegas in their first game in nine days to start the series. Rusty and stuttering out of the gate, the Mystics were able to gut out a win after an explosive run in the third and early fourth quarter. 

Emma Meesseman (27 points) led the charge for Washington. In the third quarter, she took over the game totaling 13 of the team's 26 points and got the Mystics back in control of the contest. Elena Delle Donne finished with 24 points and hit the game-clinching basket in the final minute of regulation.

A'ja Wilson had 23 points in a losing effort, despite playing all but three minutes. Off the bench, Kelsey Plum emerged with 16 points to give the Aces an additional spark. 

Game 2 is on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. The best-of-five series features the high-powered and No. 1 seeded Mystics against the most defensively sound squad in the No. 4 seeded Aces.

The Aces entered the series with a ton of momentum, fresh off one of the craziest wins in WNBA history. They gut-punched the top seed in the opening half and nearly stole it in the closing seconds. Nevertheless, it appears the Mystics with the third-best offense in the WNBA's existence found their footing and will be better prepared for Game 2. 

ACES VS. MYSTICS GAME 2:

Who: Las Vegas Aces at Washington Mystics

What: WNBA Semifinals Game 2

When: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington D.C.

TV Channel: ESPN2

Live Stream: WatchESPN

MYSTICS vs. ACES WNBA SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE:

Game 1: Mystics 97, Aces 95 (Mystics lead 1-0)

Game 2: Thurs, Sept. 19: Aces at Mystics, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 3: Sun, Sept. 22: Mystics at Aces, 5:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 4: Tue, Sept 24: Mystics at Aces, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

Game 5: Thurs, Sept. 26: Aces at Mystics, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

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