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Brady finds a positive in recent struggles

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Brady finds a positive in recent struggles

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Tom Brady found something encouraging in his toughest stretch of the season.

He knows he and his New England Patriots can come back from a huge deficit.

The two-time NFL Most Valuable Player had his three lowest passer ratings of the season in his past four games. His 68.9 on Dec. 16 in a 41-34 loss to the San Francisco 49ers was his worst in his last 49 regular-season games. But at least he rallied them from a 31-3 deficit to tie that game with four touchdowns in 15 minutes.

``If we're down 28 points again, which I hope we're not, at least you can say, `Well, we've come back from this before,' `` Brady said Wednesday. ``So I think you can draw on those experiences, but this week is going to be its own separate game and we're going to have to go out there and earn it.''

The Patriots showed that comeback ability a year ago against the Miami Dolphins, the team they'll meet in the regular-season finale on Sunday. In last season's matchup at Gillette Stadium in the next to last game before the playoffs, the Patriots overcame a 17-0 halftime deficit by scoring the next 27 points and won 27-24.

This year, the Patriots (11-4) have clinched the AFC East title. The Dolphins (7-8) are out of the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

New England can be seeded in any of the conference's top four spots. The Houston Texans, Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens also will finish in the top four with the top two getting first-round byes.

But the Patriots could be eliminated from the No. 1 position by the time their game starts at 4:25 p.m.

Houston (12-3) would clinch it with a win over the Indianapolis Colts (10-5) in a 1 p.m. game. Denver (12-3) is currently in second place in the AFC and is home against the weak Kansas City Chiefs at 4:25 p.m. Baltimore (10-5) is in fourth and visits Cincinnati at 1 p.m.

Coach Bill Belichick isn't focusing on all the possibilities.

``We're doing everything we can to get ready for the Dolphins,'' he said. ``I've been around this league long enough to know that you can't predict how things are going to go on Sundays in the NFL. We'll control what we can control, which is to get ready and play Miami.''

Brady is taking the same approach.

No matter what Houston does, ``I don't think that changes what our goal is for the weekend,'' he said. ``We're trying to win this game regardless. It could be different if some other teams win, but that's really out of our control.''

The Patriots had won seven straight games, capping that stretch with wins over the Dolphins, 23-16, and Texans, who entered that game with the NFL's best record but lost 42-14.

But in the two games since then, New England got off to poor starts in the loss to San Francisco and a 23-16 win over the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday.

``We put a lot into the preparation throughout the course of the week and you'd love for it to go well,'' Brady said. ``Sometimes it doesn't always go very well. But you put as much into it the following week as well.''

In his first 11 games, Brady threw three interceptions and was sacked 15 times. In his last four games, he's had five interceptions and 11 sacks.

``It's about playing consistent football and I think we've got to do a better job of that,'' he said. ``We've still got a chance to improve it. And really, if we're consistent this week, which I hope we are, that's ultimately what's going to help us win this game, not really what happened in the previous month or two months.''

The Patriots have been far from the dominant team they were most of the season. Five of their first eight wins were by 21 points or more. Two of their last three were by seven.

One of those was against Miami on Dec. 2. The Dolphins had cut the lead to 20-13 on Dan Carpenter's 33-yard field goal with 8:28 left in the game. Then the Patriots put together a time-consuming drive that resulted in Stephen Gostkowski's 20-yard field goal with 1:10 remaining. Carpenter kicked a 42-yarder, but the Patriots recovered the onside kick, ending the Dolphins chances.

``It is pretty fresh in our mind of how they played us, the things they do well,'' Brady said. ``Certainly, they gave us everything we could handle. They're a good team. There's nothing easy about this team.''

Win or lose, the Patriots will be heading to the playoffs. They could play in the wild-card round the following weekend. Or, if they're seeded first or second, they'd have the weekend off before hosting a divisional playoff game.

For now, the focus is on the Dolphins.

``Right now what matters is just our performance in this game,'' Belichick said. ``How that affects some other week, I don't know. Right now, we just want to take advantage of our opportunity to prepare and play well and coach well this Sunday. That's really what it's about.''

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How to watch Capitals vs. Sabres NHL 20 simulation

How to watch Capitals vs. Sabres NHL 20 simulation

Monday night was supposed to be another night of Capitals action with a game against the Buffalo Sabres. Unfortunately due to the NHL’s hold on the season in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the show can not go on as originally planned. 

However, with some minor adjustments to the presentation, there is still a way to keep things going. 

Monday night at 7 p.m. ET the Capitals will be taking the ice to play the Sabres as planned, only this time it will be virtual ice on an NHL 20 simulation. 

In partnership with Monumental Sports Network, NBC Sports Washington will be airing all Wizards and Capitals games in simulated NBA 2K20 and NHL 2K20 games. The format of these games includes watching the simulated versions of Caps games based on the existing schedule with the bonus of commentary from NBCSW’s experts. 

To make things even more fun, in between the simulation and the re-air of the simulation, there is a chance to relive a classic Caps game. So don’t forget to stick around and re-watch Dowd and the Capitals dominate the Penguins from earlier this season. 

Here's everything you need to know to watch. 

When: Monday, March 30 at 7 p.m. ET

Where:

  • NBC Sports Washington (channel finder
  • Any of our 24/7 authenticated streaming platforms
  • Monumental Sports Network via its website www.monumentalsportsnetwork.com or via any of its available apps on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Xbox.

Broadcast schedule: 

7:00 PM: NHL 20 Simulation: Capitals @ Buffalo Sabres (P)
8:00 PM: NHL Classics: Capitals @ Pittsburgh Penguins (R) 
10:30 PM: NHL 20 Simulation: Capitals @ Buffalo Sabres (R)

Starting lineups: 

Capitals: TBD
Sabres: TBD

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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LeBron James scores 36, Wizards still top Lakers in NBA 2K simulation

LeBron James scores 36, Wizards still top Lakers in NBA 2K simulation

These 2K simulations certainly do agree with the Wizards. Coming off a stunning victory over the Bucks Friday, Washington turned around on the second night of a back-to-back and beat the Lakers 73-66 at virtual Capital One Arena. 

LeBron James was a one-man wrecking crew for LA, Bradley Beal led the scoring attack for the Wizards and Thomas Bryant got revenge on the team that waived him. 

Here's how the Wizards picked up their fourth-straight 2K win. 

Offensive rebounds

The Lakers are one of the biggest teams in the NBA with James, Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard playing heavy minutes, but it was the Wizards who dominated the boards in this one. 

Bryant led the way for Washington on the glass with seven of his 13 rebounds coming on the offensive end. The Lakers shot the ball significantly better than the Wizards (47% to 39%) but Washington was simply overwhelming them on the glass to create more opportunities. 

Washington grabbed 18 offensive rebounds compared to the Lakers' eight, and it ended being the major difference in the result. 

LeBron's one-man show

The real-life Lakers' biggest weakness is their lack of playmaking outside of James. In a game where James had everything working for him, the Lakers struggled to get anything going whenever he didn't have the ball. 

Rajon Rondo struggled mightily despite tallying eight assists (2-11 FG) and Davis had a bad game relative to his standards (10 points, one rebound, three blocks).

I'd be curious to see what virtual LeBron would have to say about his teammates after this particular game. 

Thomas Bryant's revenge

As we stated before, Bryant was waived by the Lakers after his rookie season and his virtual self took it all out on his former team Saturday night. 

He dominated the boards and once again protected the paint in a way that would make Elvin Hayes proud. He finished with eight points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. 

With Bryant playing the way he has been the last few simulations, the Wizards' defense has been exceptional. Outside of defensive versatility, having a strong defensive center anchoring the defense is paramount to an effective unit. 

Other parting thoughts

Jerome Robinson continues to play well as a starter, scoring 13 points in 19 minutes. The Wizards didn't get that long of a look at Robinson before the NBA suspended its season.

After acquiring him at the trade deadline in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, it'd be another steal by Tommy Sheppard if Robinson can play like this consistently in real life. 

Instead of erupting in the fourth quarter to help the Wizards secure a win, Beal went off for 14 points in the third this time. He finished with 24 points and went 12-for-30 from the field.

Markieff Morris made a return to DC in this one. The Lakers uniform looks weird on him. 

It's hard to capture just how quick Ish Smith is in a video game, but this spin move came pretty close. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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