Redskins

Chargers sack Jets' McElroy 11 times in 27-17 win

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Chargers sack Jets' McElroy 11 times in 27-17 win

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Sack after sack, the San Diego Chargers made things downright miserable for Greg McElroy.

The Chargers took McElroy down 11 times, tying the team record and ruining the New York Jets quarterback's first NFL start in place of the benched Mark Sanchez in a 27-17 victory Sunday.

McElroy, the third-stringer, moved the offense for the Jets (6-9) early but faced pressure all game. With a chance to get New York back into it with less than 5 minutes remaining, McElroy was taken down by Shaun Phillips - the Chargers' eighth sack of the game - and lost the ball. Phillips, who had 2 1/2 sacks recovered and San Diego sealed the win, but not before sacking McElroy three more times.

Kendall Reyes finished with 3 1/2 sacks and Corey Liuget two for the Chargers (6-9), who also had 11 against Dallas in 1986 and finished one off the NFL mark set by several teams, last by the Giants in 2007.

With Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith facing uncertain futures, it was a dominant effort for the defense with one game left.

McElroy became the first Jets quarterback to be sacked 11 times since David Norrie by Dallas in 1987, a game played by replacements.

``It was great on their part,'' said Rex Ryan, guaranteed his first losing season as Jets coach, ``but ridiculous on our part.''

With most of the pregame drama centered around whether Sanchez or Tim Tebow would back up McElroy - turned out, it was both - Philip Rivers threw touchdown tosses of 37 yards to Danario Alexander and 34 yards to Antonio Gates to lead the Chargers.

It was the 82nd touchdown catch of Gates' career, snapping a tie with Lance Alworth for the franchise lead.

Rivers was a modest 11 of 22 for 165 yards, while McElroy finished 14 of 24 for 185 yards with an interception and the lost fumble. Both offenses struggled, though, as San Diego went 2 of 12 on third downs, while New York was 2 of 11.

Ryan had Sanchez and Tebow active for the home finale, the first time all three quarterbacks were available for a game. With the decision, Ryan avoided having to designate either Sanchez or Tebow as the No. 2 quarterback Sunday. Both were listed as the backup on the team's flip card in the press box.

Ryan benched Sanchez after the quarterback had five turnovers in New York's 14-10 loss at Tennessee last Monday night. Tebow was leapfrogged on the depth chart earlier this week when Ryan chose to start McElroy over the popular backup for Sunday's game.

Ryan announced after the game that McElroy would start the season finale next Sunday at Buffalo.

The Jets ran the wildcat a handful of times - but with wide receiver Jeremy Kerley instead of Tebow, who stood on the sideline the entire game without getting a snap.

Several times throughout the game, with the defense on the field, McElroy and Sanchez often sat with offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, while Tebow was off to the side talking with other teammates.

McElroy jogged onto the field to big cheers from the crowd that filled MetLife Stadium only halfway.

Moments later, the fans were booing as Micheal Spurlock took a punt 63 yards for a touchdown to put the Chargers up 7-0 just under 2 minutes into the game.

Spurlock caught the punt, got some good blocks and then stiff-armed Robert Malone before zipping into the end zone.

It was the first punt returned against the Jets for a touchdown since Oakland's Phillip Buchanon took one 78 yards in 2003 - a span of 150 games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

The Jets came right back, though, to tie it at 7 on Shonn Greene's 1-yard touchdown run - two plays after McElroy nearly ran it in from the 8 but was ruled down just short of the goal line.

Throwing another wrinkle into the Jets' quarterback quandary, after McElroy completed a short pass to Greene, who turned it into a 30-yard rumble, Kerley - out of the wildcat - took the direct snap and lofted a 42-yard pass that hung up in the air but was snagged by Clyde Gates.

After a three-and-out by San Diego, McElroy led the Jets back into the end zone as Greene plowed in for another 1-yard score to give New York a 14-7 lead.

It was the first time the Jets had at least two touchdowns in the opening quarter since 2009 at Oakland.

San Diego got to the New York 16 on a fourth-down conversion by Alexander, who caught a short slant pass from Rivers and took it 18 yards.

But consecutive holding penalties on tackle Mike Harris pushed the Chargers back to the 36. Four plays later, Nick Novak kicked a 46-yard field that was negated by yet another mistake, this time because the Chargers had 12 men on the field.

Punter Mike Scifres ran out onto the field, and then Turner took a timeout before sending Novak out again. Novak tied a season high by making a 51-yarder to cut the deficit to 14-10.

The Chargers opened the second half with a 37-yard touchdown catch by Alexander that gave San Diego the lead.

McElroy made his first costly mistake of the game late in the third quarter when his long pass intended for Gates was intercepted by Corey Lynch. Novak kicked a 27-yard field goal moments later to make it 27-14.

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Redskins schedule preview: Week 15 vs. Jaguars

Redskins schedule preview: Week 15 vs. Jaguars

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the game against the Jaguars. 

Week 15 December 16, TIAA Bank Field

2017 Jaguars: 10-6, First in AFC South, lost AFC championship game 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 9

Early line: Redskins +8

Key additions: G Andrew Norwell, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, WR Donte Moncrief, 

Key losses:WR Allen Hurns, WR Allen Robinson

Biggest questions: 

  • QB Blake Bortles was very inconsistent during the season and there was talk of the team looking for a replacement for him prior to their run in the playoffs. Does he have what it takes to get the team back into serious contention. 
  • The team also got an inconsistent season out of RB Leonard Fournette, the No. 4 pick in the draft. Can he put together the monster season that would justify his draft status and help elevate the Jaguars to elite status. 
  • The Jaguars went from 25thin scoring defense in 2016 to second last year. Will they fall back to the pack this year?

Series history

The Redskins lead the all-time series 5-1. The Jaguars only win against them came in 2002.

Series notables

The first time: September 28, 1997, Jack Kent Cooke Stadium—In the second game ever played at the Redskins’ new stadium, Jacksonville took a 9-0 lead in the second quarter, but then-Jags QB Mark Brunell threw a pair of interceptions that set up two Washington touchdowns and the Redskins won 24-12. Gus Frerotte threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns and Terry Allen gained 122 yards on 36 carries. 

The last time: November 14, 2012, FedEx Field—Jay Gruden got his first win as the Redskins’ head coach in this one. Robert Griffin III went out of this game early with an injury and Kirk Cousins passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns in his place. It was the defense that dominated this game, racking up 10 sacks, tying the team record set in 1977. Ryan Kerrigan got four of those sacks, tying the team individual record for sacks in a game. The Redskins won 41-10.

The best time: October 1, 2006, FedEx Field—A taught, exciting game came to an explosive end when Santana Moss snared a pass that Mark Brunell perhaps should not have thrown and streaked to the end zone, giving the Redskins a 36-30 overtime win over Jacksonville.

The reason the throw was risky was that two defenders were near Moss as Brunell fired it to the speedy receiver. Somehow both of them missed it. Moss grabbed it, spun around and bolted the rest of the way to complete the 68-yard game winner.

It was Moss’ third touchdown reception of the day. In the first quarter, he caught a long pass from Brunell and executed a nifty spin move near the goal line to complete the 55-yard touchdown play. An eight-yard Moss TD catch early in the third quarter put the Redskins up by 10 but the Jags battled back to tie it with six seconds left. That set up Moss’ overtime heroics. 

The worst time: November 10, 2002, Alltel Stadium—The Redskins came into the game riding a two-game winning streak and at 4-4 they were squarely in playoff contention. A strong running game had been their best asset during their surge to .500 and, with the Jaguars sporting the worst run defense in the NFL, there was every reason to believe that the Redskins would take the land route to another win.

But coach Steve Spurrier had different ideas. "I was dumb enough to think we could throw it up and down the field," Spurrier said. "We ran a little bit here and there. We had a little success there early, and I got away from it too much. The second quarter, I kept thinking at midfield, we could throw the ball from there. But we didn't do it very well. So, looking back, I called a lousy game."

His defense didn’t play very well either. The Redskins scored first but the Jaguars scored 26 unanswered points and came out with a 26-7 win.

Redskins schedule series

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS  and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS  and on Instagram @RichTandler

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Chris Paul is reportedly recruiting LeBron James to the Rockets, which would change East dramatically

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USA Today Sports Images

Chris Paul is reportedly recruiting LeBron James to the Rockets, which would change East dramatically

Next to actually signing LeBron James himself, there is another scenario involving the NBA's best player that should sound great to Eastern Conference teams. That is if James decides to leave the conference altogether for a team in the West, and it sounds like Chris Paul is trying to make that dream come true.

Paul, according to ESPN, is actively recruiting James to join the Houston Rockets. The Rockets won an NBA-best 65 games in the 2017-18 season and fell one win short of reaching the NBA Finals.

Here is what Adrian Wojnarowski said as transcribed by Pro Basketball Talk:

Chris is going to return there. And listen, right now, Chris Paul’s focus isn’t so much on his own free agency. He’s trying to recruit LeBron James to Houston, and somebody close to him said to me he is as focused on recruiting LeBron as anything he’s done in this league. He wants to find a way.

There's no doubt Houston would give James an opportunity to contend and maybe even win championships. They were up 3-2 on the Warriors in the conference finals before losing the final two games. Paul missed the last two games of the series due to injury.

If the Rockets were that close without James, adding him would likely push them over the hump. Even with the Warriors being as good as they are, the Rockets would be a super team on a level rarely seen in NBA history. James and Rockets guard James Harden are the two frontrunners for MVP. Then there's Paul, a perennial All-NBA guard who is a surefire Hall of Famer once his playing days are over.

If James went West, that would break the streak of his teams winning the Eastern Conference playoff bracket eight years in a row. The conference would be more wide open than it has been in nearly a decade, giving teams like the Sixers, Celtics, Raptors, Wizards and others a better shot at reaching the Finals.

One alternative is James leaving Cleveland to form another titan within the East. That could happen if he goes to Philly or Boston or somewhere else with some pieces already in place. It's conceivable that James stays in the East and does so with a team that is much better than the Cavs squad he led to the Finals this past season.

On the face of it, James would probably be smart to not go to Houston. As good as the Rockets are and as stacked as they would be if he joined them, he would then subject himself to battling the Warriors in the conference finals or earlier. If winning is his No. 1 goal, he is better off continuing to dominate the East and focus on improving his chances of beating the Warriors once he sees them in the Finals.

Still, Paul can dream. And if James does go West, no one in the East will complain.

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