Wizards

Broncos, Peyton Manning await battered Browns

201212161347496731572-p2.jpeg

Broncos, Peyton Manning await battered Browns

BEREA, Ohio (AP) Preparing to play Peyton Manning was challenging enough for the Cleveland Browns even before losing three more starters.

Coach Pat Shurmur said Friday that wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, tight end Jordan Cameron and defensive back Tashaun Gipson will not travel to Denver to play the Broncos (11-3).

With playoff hopes dashed and a losing season assured, the Browns (5-9) will try to halt Denver's nine-game winning streak. Going in with a depleted defense isn't the best way.

``It's definitely not what you hope for, but it seems like it's been that way all year,'' linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. ``We lost Chris (Gocong) and Scott (Fujita) early and stuff piles up. Some of these young guys have played here and there and now they will get a full test. We believe in them.''

But how much faith is reasonable against the top-rated quarterback in the AFC this year. The big year has brought Manning's career totals to 152 wins, 430 touchdowns and nearly 59,000 yards passing.

``You don't sleep well the night before,'' veteran cornerback Sheldon Brown said. ``You have to understand you are going to give up plays against him. You've got to make sure you make the tackles so you can live to see another down.''

A week ago, rookie Kirk Cousins shook off an early interception by Cleveland's T.J. Ward to lead Washington past the Browns in his first career start.

Now, Ward and replacement Gipson along with starting linebacker James-Michael Johnson are out. Veteran cornerback Dmitri Patterson was released after the loss to Washington, too.

``We've got to put together a plan,'' Shurmur had said earlier in the week before the injuries continued to mount. ``We have to go play fast, aggressive.''

Eric Hagg will start at free safety, with Usama Young shifting to Ward's strong safety spot. Hagg had a season-high seven tackles in a win at Oakland on Dec. 2, but was inactive the past two weeks.

``I think he's learned that he can play in this league,'' Shurmur said of Hagg, a seventh-round pick in 2011 from Nebraska.

``He does a good job in coverage. Anytime you play for a while and then you don't play, it gives you a little better view of it while you're watching it. I'm sure he's learned something as he's prepared.''

Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said preparing for the 36-year-old Manning can be frustrating.

``He's effective against almost everything you do,'' Jauron said. ``You will blitz. He reads it awfully quickly like he does most things in football. You've just got to keep mixing it up and then fight for 60 minutes and hope you can get some breaks.

``There are very few teams that have any kind of record against him over the years. He doesn't win every one of them so we'll prepare and go out there and try to play our best game.''

Jackson said putting pressure on Manning would be best, though he pointed out that the Broncos' offensive line knows their primary project is protecting the future Hall of Famer.

``He's not sacked that much because he gets rid of the ball so quickly,'' Jackson said. ``All these years, his linemen know that if Peyton gets time, he's going to do damage.''

The Broncos are running better since Knowshon Moreno became the starter four weeks ago. He has averaged 97.8 yards on the ground since. His production keeps a defensive line from trying to tee off against Manning.

``He's a good runner from the shotgun and he has a feel for finding a hole and he can break a tackle,'' Shurmur said. ``He's a really good fit for them.''

Shurmur hopes that rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden can put together some long scoring drives to take the pressure off Cleveland's defense.

``What's important is scoring points,'' Shurmur said. ``It makes sense for their offense to not be on the field. I'll take it the other way. We can't have a whole bunch of three and outs.''

Shurmur said he hasn't looked past the Broncos or the final game in Pittsburgh, though finding a way to win either game wouldn't hurt his chances of coming back for a third year. Earlier in the week, he reminded players that they are playing for individual pride as well.

``What we owe ourselves and each other is that you prepare as well as you can, you get hydrated, you get on the plane go out and play good football, and try to win.''

Notes: LB Tank Carder, claimed on waivers from Buffalo in September, will make his first career start in place of Johnson. ... WR Josh Cooper will take Massaquoi's place. ... TE Alex Smith missed practice with an undisclosed illness. ... Shurmur hopes DL Frostee Rucker (hip) will play. ... RB Trent Richardson has 11 rushing TDs. One more will give him the most by a Browns player since Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly had 16 in 1968.

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Wizards vs. Spurs Game 12: TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

Wizards vs. Spurs Game 12: TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

The Wizards host the Spurs Wednesday at Capital One Arena with both teams looking to get back into the win column.

Scott Brooks' squad was unable to grab the victory on the road in Orlando Sunday as the Wizards (3-8) fell to Magic, 125-121. Bradley Beal put up 34 points and eight assists in the effort but that was not enough. C.J. Miles and Davis Bertans contributed 21 and 15, respectively.

The Spurs fell to the Mavericks on Monday night, 117-110. The Spurs have now lost eight of their last nine games and are sitting at 5-9 in the Western Conference. DeMar DeRozan scored a season-high 36 in the losing effort. 

In their last matchup on Oct. 26, the Spurs came out on top of D.C. with a 124-122 victory. 

Here is everything you need to know: 

SPURS @ WIZARDS HOW TO WATCH

What: San Antonio Spurs @ Washington Wizards, Game 12

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.

When: Wednesday, November 20 at 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Spurs @ Wizards will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington Plus (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Spurs @ Wizards on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports MyTeams App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

SPURS @ WIZARDS TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

7:00: Spurs @ Wizards (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

10:00 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

SPURS @ WIZARDS INJURY REPORT:

Spurs: Dejounte Murray (Day-to-day, illness)

Wizards: John Wall (OUT, Left Achilles rehab), Ian Mahinmi (OUT, Right Achilles strain)

SPURS @ WIZARDS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bradley Beal, G, Wizards (30.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 6.9 apg): Over Beal's last three games, the star shooting guard is averaging 40.7 points, 8.0 assists, and 4.7 rebounds.

Rui Hachimura, PF, Wizards (13.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.7 apg): Hachimura struggled against the Magic, shooting 3-for-7 in the losing effort. 

DeMar DeRozan, SG, Spurs (19.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.8 apg): DeRozan's season-high 36 points was not enough to put the Spurs ahead of the Mavericks on Monday night. Luka Doncic led the Mavs with 42 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists. 

MORE WIZARDS NEWS

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Hathaway spits, Panik scores and Boyd produces

Hathaway spits, Panik scores and Boyd produces

WASHINGTON -- The Capitals won 5-2 on Monday against the Anaheim Ducks in a game that very much took a backseat to the fight that erupted in the second period.

You can read a recap of the game here.

Observations from the win

Take off your fan hat for a minute when watching Hathaway

I love fans. I have a job because of fans. You guys love hockey so much you want people like me to write about hockey so that you can read about hockey when you're not watching hockey. But when you watch the Hathaway fracas, you guys have to take a step back and take off the fan hats.

Hathaway spit on a dude. You can't have that.

Yes, Erik Gudbranson socked him while he was being held back by the refs. That's bad. Yes, I can understand why he would be pissed. Honestly, he should have just tried to punch him back. But...

Hathaway spit on a dude. You can't have that.

I got a lot of reaction from fans saying "It was his mouth guard," "Some spit came out of his mouth when he was punched, but it wasn't a spit," "What about Brad Marchand licking people?" "The rules say game misconduct, not an automatic match penalty, so clearly the suspension should be rescinded!

Let's try to look at this objectively.

Hathaway after the game admitted to spitting on Gudbranson, albeit in the most awkward way possible.

"The refs were trying to break it up," he said, "And it felt like there was a couple sucker punches thrown and I got there one quick and then reacted a little emotionally and unfortunately spit came out of my mouth after I got sucker punched and it went on to him.”

One player spit on another, it was caught on camera and he admitted to it afterward.

The gaggle of penalties the referees called was a mess and half of them were wrong. Having said that, they got Hathaway right by tossing him and supplementary discipline is likely coming.

"It has no place," Hathaway said. "It was an emotional play by me. You don’t plan any of that stuff in your head and it was a quick reaction and unfortunately the wrong one for me to a sucker punch.”

Journalist note

Hathaway did not have to talk after the game. A lot of players don't talk after a bad game or a bad situation like this. Hathaway did. That does not absolve him from spitting, but I thought it was worth noting that he did not hide away from the media. He came out and answered our questions. I'm sure it wasn't fun, but he did it. Good on him.

Oh yeah, there was a hockey game....

It was easy to forget that an actual game was being played with everything going on in the second period. I have to admit that I did not even notice that Stephenson scored. When Brendan Leipsic came in and decked Derek Grant, my eyes were glued to everything going on below the goal line. I literally did not know there was a goal until I watched the replay and realized, oh...Stephenson scored?

By the way, the Ducks and Caps play again on Dec. 6.

Don't Panik

Panik has played well since returning from injury and finally, finally he was rewarded with a goal. He spoke after the game about how his game improved after the injury and that has been clear to me ever since he returned.

Travis Boyd is an NHL player

Boyd added another assist in this game as he set up Panik 50 seconds in.  He now has six points in eight games played. Most importantly, he has a cap hit of only $800,000. He needs to stick around in Washington.

Turning point

Stephenson's goal simultaneously marked the moment the game was out of reach, and the moment neither team cared what the score was anymore.

Play of the game

This was a real pretty move by Evgeny Kuznetsov. I thought he was shooting, John Gibson thought he was shooting, the Ducks thought he was shooting, but he wasn't.

Stat of the game

There were 50 total penalty minutes handed out for the second-period brawl:

Hathaway received a five-minute major for fighting and a 10-minute match penalty
Brendan Leipsic received a double-minor for roughing
Gudbranson received a minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct
Brendan Guhle received a double-minor for roughing
Nick Ritchie received a game (10-minute) misconduct

Quote of the game

The entire scrum erupted when Leipsic knocked Grant over with an incredible hit. From there all hell broke loose. Stephenson was asked about Leipsic after the game:

"Since growing up, playing against him since I was 15, and you know he's been the exact same. He catches guys by surprise. I've seen him knock guys that are twice his size on their ass. So he's pretty stocky and a little fire hydrant out there."

Fan predictions

This is impressive. Hathaway fought...the entire Ducks team. Ovechkin and Jakub Vrana both scored while Boyd assisted on the first goal.

Nailed it. This makes me feel sorry for the one fan who predicts a Radko Gudas goal every single game....

Yikes. This is awkward.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: