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Chiefs, Jaguars left in race for No. 1 draft pick

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Chiefs, Jaguars left in race for No. 1 draft pick

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The joke running through Jacksonville these days carries the same punch line as the one in Kansas City:

``Our team is so bad it can't even stink in the right year.''

The Chiefs and Jaguars will vie for the top pick in the NFL draft in separate games Sunday. But the value of ``winning'' the race to the NFL's worst record is debatable in a year without a clear, franchise-changing prospect.

There's no Andrew Luck in this unlucky draft.

No Robert Griffin III, either.

Just a collection of talented young players who could fill holes at left tackle or linebacker or defensive end, but hardly push the needle for teams in desperate need of massive overhauls.

The Chiefs and Jaguars are both 2-13, but the Chiefs hold the tiebreaker for the No. 1 spot because of their weakness of schedule. The only way Jacksonville can jump them is if they lose to the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City beats the Denver Broncos, who are playing for an opportunity to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

That would give the Jaguars the worst overall record by themselves.

``You don't want to be in this position,'' Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said. ``Just like we didn't want to be in that position in Atlanta when we drafted Matt Ryan (in 2008). But if you pick up the right guy, it can make a huge difference for you and get you out of that position.''

The Jaguars have never drafted first overall. They had the second choice in their expansion year of 1995 and again the following season. But they're also the only team in the NFL to pick in the top 10 each of the last six seasons, counting the upcoming draft.

That's a big reason why general manager Gene Smith, the architect of their past four drafts, might not be around to make their choice, regardless of whether it's No. 1.

Kansas City is in similar shape.

The Chiefs have never had the No. 1 pick as members of the NFL - they chose Hall of Fame defensive tackle Buck Buchanan first overall in 1963, when they were still a part of the AFL. The closest they've come since the merger is second overall in 1978, `79 and again in 1988.

That's a big reason why GM Scott Pioli could be on the way out, too: Pioli's Chiefs could be historically bad.

One thing Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel isn't thinking about is how valuable a loss to the Broncos would be in relation to the first overall pick.

``I think you play to win,'' Crennel said Wednesday. ``Whether you win or lose, that's what everybody looks at and that's what counts. Nobody puts an asterisk in that win-loss column, saying they lost because they wanted the first pick, something like that.''

The Chiefs and Jaguars are both desperate for a quarterback in a year in which the crop of players at football's marquee position is thin. West Virginia's Geno Smith, USC's Matt Barkley and North Carolina State's Mike Glennon are considered the top talents available, but most analysts have been putting their value somewhere in the mid-20s of the first round.

That means the Chiefs and Jaguars would be reaching for a franchise quarterback.

``This year, there's no strength at the top,'' ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said on a recent conference call with reporters. ``You don't have the quarterback, you don't have the running back, you don't have the cornerback or safety.''

Not like last year, when Luck and Griffin were available.

The Colts managed to snag the former Stanford quarterback with the first overall pick, giving them a flawless bridge from their Peyton Manning past to their Luck-filled future.

Now, after losing 14 games last season, Indianapolis is back in the playoffs.

That's right where the Redskins could be this weekend after choosing Griffin, last year's Heisman Trophy winner, at No. 2. Washington needs to beat the Dallas Cowboys or have the Vikings and Bears both lose Sunday to get into the postseason.

Just how valuable is that franchise quarterback?

``It's hard to win in this league if you don't have one,'' said Bruce Arians, who served as the Colts' interim coach until Chuck Pagano's return this week.

The gap between choosing first and second has proven sizeable some years. In 2009, the Lions landed Matthew Stafford with the first overall pick. The Rams at No. 2 wound up with offensive tackle Jason Smith, who has started just 26 games and is already on his second team.

It was a similar story in 2004, when the Chargers picked Eli Manning first and then shipped him to the Giants. Oakland had the second pick and grabbed offensive tackle Robert Gallery, who has been a productive player but far less valuable than Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP.

Whoever is in charge has to get it right, too, for the first pick to matter.

The Raiders failed to do that in 2007, when they chose JaMarcus Russell first. He was out of the league after three years, while the Lions' second overall pick, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, just broke Jerry Rice's record for yards receiving in a single season.

Smith and Pioli may be out of jobs come Monday, though, and who the Chiefs and Jaguars will have orchestrating their draft is about as clear as whom they'll select.

Perhaps that's why Crennel was channeling his inner Herm Edwards on Wednesday.

``We play to win the game,'' he said, when asked about a loss guaranteeing the Chiefs the first overall choice. ``That's the only way I know how to do it.''

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AP Sports Writer Mark Long in Jacksonville, Fla., contributed to this story.

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Justin Tucker missed a game-tying PAT, but the Ravens aren't fazed at all

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USA TODAY Sports

Justin Tucker missed a game-tying PAT, but the Ravens aren't fazed at all

Justin Tucker making an extra point for the Baltimore Ravens is a sure thing.

As sure as the sun will rise each morning, Tucker's dependability and success have been a constant for the team. But on an afternoon where winds of around 17 mph were a factor though 60 minutes, Tucker's success came to a shocking halt. 

After Joe Flacco and the offense made their way downfield, Flacco found wide receiver John Brown in the end zone to make the score 24-23 with 24 seconds left in regulation.

In walked the most accurate kicker in NFL history to do what he's done so many times before; keep the Ravens in the game. As the ball sailed off Tucker's foot, it took a right and became the first point-after-touchdown the kicker has ever missed.

"I felt like when the ball came off my foot, that I hit it just how I wanted to," Tucker said at the podium following the Ravens' Week 7 loss to the Saints. "Don't get me wrong, today was a challenging day to kick the ball in our stadium, to the right of our bench."

Two hundred and twenty two-straight PATs. 222 consecutive makes, including 112 consecutive since PATs were moved back to the 15-yard line in 2015. Tucker was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September, marking the fifth time he's been awarded the honor.

From the field to the press box and all the way to the nosebleeds, M&T Bank Stadium was in shock. 

"A lot of things go through your mind, but I've been there plenty of time," Flacco said. "If you play football long enough, you're going to be there at some point. We're a very tight team here, and the first thing you think about is your brother and him dealing with it. Justin's the best in the world at what he does, and he's the most confident person that I know. It's not going to be an issue." 

"We're a tight group – we are light years better than we've been in the past," safety Eric Weddle said in the locker room after the loss. "Shoot, 'Tuck' is going to win us some games. We're not worried about that missed kick. Shoot, I think it's the first extra point ever that he's missed. Let's not get on him too hard. He's going to be hard on himself. That wasn't the only reason we lost." 

The support for Tucker, in what was a one-off for their teammate, was apparent throughout the entire locker room. When Tucker took to the podium to address the media, long snapper Morgan Cox and punter Sam Koch stood in the interview room while their kicker tried to explain what went wrong in a show of support.

"This one just happened to get away from me," Tucker added. "I'll have to look at it. I can't tell you exactly what happened, but at the end of the day, I feel like I cost us the game. Every single one of my teammates thus far has told me the opposite, and no one plays wins or loses a game, but that's a tough thing to grapple with when you're the guy in the situation at the end of the game."

Even members of the Saints were in disbelief. Almost everyone was mentally preparing for overtime as Tucker's accuracy is known around the league.

"When [Tucker] missed it, I thought, 'Let's get up and get out of here,'" running back Mark Ingram said. "I mean, that guy is good, so I was shocked."

"I automatically was thinking about overtime and what we were going to do," quarterback Drew Brees added. "I was very, very surprised when he missed it."

What the Ravens and fans alike can take solace in is that Tucker's stats speak for themselves showing more positive plays than negative. While it was probably the most heartbreaking loss they've had since Week 17 of the 2017 season, Tucker's point of emphasis when speaking with the media postgame was about more than a missed extra point.

"But, more than anything, I just wanted to be here [at the podium]," he said. "If I was going to ever teach my son or any young person about accountability, I felt like it was really important that I stand up here and answer whatever questions you guys may have."

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By the numbers: Bradley Beal on pace to become one of NBA history's best three-point shooters

By the numbers: Bradley Beal on pace to become one of NBA history's best three-point shooters

Bradley Beal topped Gilbert Arenas for first place in career three-pointers in Wizards/Bullets franchise history on Saturday night in the Wizards' loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Beal, only 25, has put himself in some good company over the years with his outside shooting. Here are some numbers to put it all in perspective.

By The Numbers: Bradley Beal's historic shooting numbers

2,208: Beal made his record-breaking, 869th three on his 2,208th attempt. It took Arenas 2,430 attempts to get there in a Wizards uniform. Arenas, however, reached the mark in 357 games compared to Beal's 408. Beal, now at 2,209, is second on the franchise list for career three-pointers attempted. Based on his career attempts averages, he should get there this season.

100: Beal has made at least 100 three-pointers in five straight seasons entering 2018-19. That is a franchise record. The longest such active streak is held by Jamal Crawford at 14. The longest streak in NBA history is held by Ray Allen at 17.

39.4: Beal's career three-point percentage. He is one of only five players ever to shoot at least 39 percent from beyond the arc while making two or more threes per game in their careers. The others are Kyle Korver, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Buddy Hield, who has only played in 164 games compared to Beal's 408.

223: Beal set the franchise record for three-pointers made in a single season back in 2016-17. He passed Arenas, who twice got to 205, in 2004-05 and 2006-07.

41: Beal also passed Arenas for the most games in franchise history with five or more three-pointers made. Arenas is in second with 40, while Trevor Ariza is in a distant third with 15. Otto Porter Jr., for comparison, has done it nine times. Beal's 41 games with five threes or more rank 18th among active players. Curry is way ahead of everyone else with 183.

37: Beal is one of just eight players ever to begin his career with six straight seasons of 37 percent or better from three. The other seven is mostly a who's who of three-point specialists like Curry, Thompson, Korver and J.J. Redick.

20: Shooting 37 percent or better from three while also scoring 20 points or more is rarer than you may think. Beal has done it twice in his career, same as LeBron James, Damian Lillard and Kawhi Leonard. Only 11 players have accomplished the feat more often. Dirk Nowitzki has done that in nine seasons, most all-time, while Kevin Durant is second with eight.

872: Speaking of Durant, this isn't a historic number, it's just an interesting coincidence. Since Beal entered the league before the 2012-13 season, he and Durant have been nearly identical as three-point shooters. Beal has made 870 threes, while Durant has knocked down 872. Beal has shot 39.4 percent, while Durant has hit 39.6 of them. Another guy who has been extremely similar to Beal is Danny Green, who now plays for the Raptors. He has hit 858 threes during that span at a 39.2 percent rate.

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