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Bradford leads Rams to 15-12 win over Bills

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Bradford leads Rams to 15-12 win over Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Steven Jackson has been around for enough of the bad times in St. Louis to appreciate what it means to still be in the playoff hunt at this time of year.

Slim as the Rams' hopes might be, Jackson's going to enjoy this as much - and for as long - as he can.

``At this point in December, for us to still have meaningful games, for guys to come collectively together as a team, it means a lot,'' the veteran running back said. ``This team is definitely showing growth and maturity.''

After five consecutive losing seasons, the Rams (6-6-1) took their latest step forward under first-year coach Jeff Fisher with a 15-12 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. A week after rallying St. Louis to a 16-13 overtime win over San Francisco, quarterback Sam Bradford produced his second consecutive fourth-quarter comeback with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Gibson with 48 seconds remaining.

They've now won three straight for the first time since closing the 2006 season with a 3-0 finish. They won on cold, wet day, with temperatures in the high 30s and a light rain falling for much of the second half. And victory came on the road, where the Rams were 1-3-1 this season, and 8-36-1 since 2007.

``I think this team grew up a little more today,'' Bradford said. ``When it mattered, the guys stepped up and made plays.''

The defense did its part by making five sacks and forcing two turnovers, including when linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar ended the Bills' final drive by intercepting Ryan Fitzpatrick pass.

And then there was Bradford, who directed the decisive 14-play, 84-yard drive in which he twice converted on third down, and also hit receiver Austin Pettis while facing fourth-and-1.

``Sam's not a guy who gets flustered,'' Fisher said.

No, that's the M.O. of a Bills team that at 5-8 continues to find ways to lose, and is all but mathematically certain of extending the NFL's longest active playoff drought to 13 years.

``Yeah, we have to develop a killer instinct,'' Fitzpatrick said. ``As an offense, we have to put them away, and we didn't do that today.''

The offense settled for two field goals and running back Fred Jackson's fumble in three drives inside the Rams 25 in the first half.

And the defense unraveled when it mattered by squandering a lead in the final 70 seconds for the second time at home this season. The other time that happened came in 35-34 loss to Tennessee on Oct. 21.

What's worse, safety George Wilson twice had chances to intercept Bradford on the final drive, only to drop the ball each time.

``You have to be a finisher in this league,'' Wilson said. ``Those are the plays you replay over and over in your head, wishing that the ball would've bounced your way.''

Much of the blame is starting to be directed at third-year head coach Chan Gailey, who was once again being second-guessed for his play-calling.

Despite having three timeouts, and the ball on the Rams 34 with 38 seconds left in the second quarter, the Bills mismanaged the clock by getting off only three plays for 10 yards before settling for Rian Lindell's 40-yard field goal.

And questions remained as to why Gailey was overly cautious in limiting the workload of running back C.J. Spiller, the team's most dynamic weapon. Despite leading the NFL in averaging 6.62 yards per carry, Spiller only had three carries for 27 yards in the second half, and finished with seven carries for 37 yards.

Gailey chalked it up to his two-back rotation. And when it came time to run the ball, Jackson happened to be the one on the field.

``Bottom line, we could not make plays,'' Gailey said. ``It is a bitter pill to swallow.''

NOTES: Fitzpatrick finished 25 of 33 for 247 yards with a 2-yard touchdown to Lee Smith, and an interception. ... Bradford finished 19 of 39 for 209 yards, an interception and hit Chris Givens on a 2-point conversion. ... Jackson had 64 yards rushing and scored on a 1-yard plunge, while Gibson made six catch for 100 yards. ... Bills DE Mario Williams had a sack, his sixth in four games to give him a team-leading 10 1/2. ... Bills RB Fred Jackson's status is uncertain after he was carted off from the sideline after hurting his right leg late in the fourth quarter.

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Capitals make another round of cuts sending several players to Hershey

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USA Today Sports

Capitals make another round of cuts sending several players to Hershey

With Hershey Bears training camp set to start on Monday, the Caps have sent a number of players to the AHL in the latest round of roster cuts. Mathias Bau, Hampus Gustafsson, Beck Malenstyn, Mason Mitchell, Brian Pinho, Kristofers Bindulis, Tobias Geisser have all been returned to Hershey. Grant Besse, who was on an AHL contract, has been returned as well. Mark Simpson has been released from his tryout agreement.

Of the players returned, there are no major surprises. The Caps only have room to add a fourth line center and possibly one or two extra forwards as well as a backup goalie and none of the players listed were in serious contention for taking one of those spots.

The moves cut Washington’s roster down to 43. The maximum roster allowed in-season is 23 players, provided the salaries fit under the $79.5 million salary cap ceiling.

The latest round of cuts still leave up for grabs the fourth line center job as Nic Dowd, Travis Boyd and Jayson Megna still remain on the current roster.

After playing four preseason games, the Caps have three more contests remaining before the start of the season. With plenty of prospects still on the roster, you can expect several of those players to be in the lineup for Tuesday’s game in St. Louis.

“For me, it's really important, really important for the overall direction of our organization to have our young players playing games,” head coach Todd Reirden said Friday. “We have to have them playing games. We can easily put out almost our entire roster to play [Friday’s] game, but that is not where we're at. We're about developing players within our organization, seeing where they're at, gauging the success that maybe they've already had in terms of their careers and seeing whether they're ready for this step or not.

“For the first four games you go through for sure a trial and error and you get to really gauge where your prospects are at. I've always felt strongly about that with young players and given them an opportunity to either stay or leave. It is in their hands. They're making the decisions for me.”

 

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Redskins reportedly cut Breshad Perriman, promote Kapri Bibbs

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USA Today Sports

Redskins reportedly cut Breshad Perriman, promote Kapri Bibbs

After the Redskins signed receivers Michael Floyd and Breshad Perriman earlier this week, many wondered how long the team would carry seven wide receivers on the 53-man roster. The answer turns out to be not very long at all.

According to multiple media reports, the Redskins released Perriman today. He was a first-round draft pick of the Ravens in 2015 and was touted as a rare combination of size (6-2, 215) and speed (4.24 in the 40 at his pro day). But a variety of injuries derailed his career before it got started. Baltimore released him on September 1 and he was a free agent until the Redskins signed him on Monday.

What this week amounted to was a three-day competition between Floyd and Perriman for one roster spot. The Redskins liked Floyd, who has had a more productive NFL career than Perriman, and they made the move.

Floyd is likely to be inactive tomorrow when the Redskins host the Packers. They then have a bye and will see if they can get him involved in the offense when they play the Saints on October 8.

As a corresponding move, the Redskins promoted running back Kapri Bibbs from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. He was very close to making the team when they did the final roster cuts, but he was caught in a numbers game. He will take the running back spot vacated when Rob Kelley was moved to injured reserve earlier this week.

Bibbs likely will join Floyd on the inactive list tomorrow. He is considered to be a third-down back and as long as Chris Thompson is healthy, Bibbs is unlikely to see much action.

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