Ravens

Cotton notes: Stoops happy to be back in Oklahoma

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Cotton notes: Stoops happy to be back in Oklahoma

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) When Mike Stoops got fired as Arizona's head coach last season, he had several opportunities for his next employment.

The one that made the most sense was returning to Oklahoma as part of brother Bob's staff again.

``It's a great program, it's working with your brother, it's familiarity, and you get to coach some awfully talented players,'' Mike Stoops said. ``There were a lot of other enticing opportunities. When everything started adding up, I felt Oklahoma was the best opportunity for me.''

Stoops is Oklahoma's associate head coach and defensive coordinator, and also coaches defensive backs.

The 12th-ranked Sooners earned a share of their eighth Big 12 title this season, going 10-2 in the regular season. They played No. 10 Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night.

Stoops led Arizona to three consecutive bowl games, and his 2010 team reached No. 9 in the polls. The Wildcats had lost 10 of 11 games when he was fired midway through the 2011 season, finishing 41-50 in his seven-plus seasons.

Before that, Stoops was co-defensive coordinator for the Sooners from 1999-2004, and helped the Sooners win the 2000 national championship.

``It's been fun being at Oklahoma. I think being with Bob is certainly, it's been a unique experience again,'' he said. ``After eight years, it's a little different getting back into it. ... Nothing has really changed, but everything has changed.''

There is one really big difference after being a head coach, and now being an assistant again.

``I like giving orders better than I like taking them,'' he said, smiling.

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ONE MORE YEAR?: Texas A&M leading tackler Damontre Moore played his final college game Friday night in the Cotton Bowl. The defensive end announced earlier this week that he was bypassing his senior year for early entry in the NFL draft.

Many projections have Moore being among the top NFL draft picks.

That could also be the case for Aggies junior offensive tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, though neither beforehand if they expected to the Cotton Bowl to be their last game at Texas A&M.

``I love the school, I love A&M. It was the best decision of my life just coming here,'' Joeckel said. ``It's going to be hard to leave all the people, no matter what happens, it's going to be hard.''

There are a few Oklahoma juniors that could have played their finales.

Safety Tony Jefferson, the Sooners' leading tackler, wouldn't talk this week about the grade he received from the NFL Draft advisory board.

Other Oklahoma underclassmen who could consider bypassing their senior seasons are cornerback Aaron Colvin, fullback Trey Millard and receiver Kenny Stills.

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EXTRA POINTS: Texas A&M and Oklahoma were both 6-0 away from home during the regular season. ... The date for next year's Cotton Bowl hasn't been announced yet. This was the third consecutive season when the Cotton Bowl was played in prime time on a Friday night in the days before the BCS national title game. In that slot next January, the Orange Bowl is already set. ... The National Anthem was performed by the Gatlin Brothers, who also had that honor at the Cotton Bowl in 1979 and 1991. ... Former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer and former Texas A&M coach Jackie Sherrill both attended the game.

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Lamar Jackson becomes first QB to rush at least 70 yards in five straight starts

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Lamar Jackson becomes first QB to rush at least 70 yards in five straight starts


With Lamar Jackson under center for the past five games, the Ravens offense’ has relied on his legs to move the ball. The rookie quarterback has struggled at times throwing the ball, but utilizing the read options, Jackson has had no such problems making an impact. 

On Sunday against the Buccaneers, Jackson had 100 yards rushing going into the fourth quarter. With that, he became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for at least 70 yards in five straight starts.  The streak started with a bang in the Ravens 24-21 win over the Bengals when Jackson rushed for 119 yards  It was followed by games of 71 and 75 yards against the Raiders and Falcons and a 67-yard game in Week 14’s loss against the Chiefs. 

He knows the risks running quarterbacks face,  but winning is his No. 1 priority. 

"I’m going to put it all on the line," Jackson said in an interview with ESPN. "I want to win. I hate losing. I hate that feeling. You have to deal with it the next week. So, I want to win regardless. If it happens, it’s going to happen. I’ve been good so far.”

Coming into Week 15, the Ravens were fourth in the NFL in rushing yards. The team has rushed for at least 190 yards since Jackson took over.

At feat that hasn’t been achieved since the Steelers did it in 1976. With Jackson continuing to dazzle defenders, Baltimore will continue to maintain its dominance in the ground game. 

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It was ugly and boring, but the Redskins won a wild and important game in Jacksonville

It was ugly and boring, but the Redskins won a wild and important game in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE -- The Redskins played one of the ugliest games of the NFL season on Sunday, but they got an extremely important win, and in the end, that's all that matters. 

Across the league, offenses are getting more inventive and creating new ways to move the football through the air. That didn't happen in Jacksonville.

What did happen was a gutty performance from fourth-string quarterback Josh Johnson, a great pass rush, and an opportunistic defense combined to grind out a victory. 

The team overcame some mistakes and proved they will still play for head coach Jay Gruden. There's a lot to unpack, let's dive in. 

1. Not Too Bad:

Josh Johnson played well on Sunday, finishing with 151 passing yards and completing 16 of 25 passes. He connected with Jeremy Sprinkle for a late touchdown to tie the game, and never made the kind of killer mistakes that often bury a team playing backup QBs. 

2. Beast Mode: 

The Redskins defensive front played a monster game, sacking Jags QB Cody Kessler six times. Ryan Kerrigan and Jonathan Allen each logged two sacks on Kessler, and Kerrigan moved into second place all-time on the Redskins sack list. Now with 82.5 sacks, Kerrigan trails only Dexter Manley on the Washington franchise list. The defense also limited the Jags to under 200 yards of total offense. 

3. Secret Formula:

The formula for the Redskins when they got out to a 6-3 start was fairly simple; control time of possession and win the turnover battle. That worked on Sunday. The Redskins won the clock battle and forced two turnovers from Kessler. The late interception from Fabian Moreau was a huge play for the Redskins, as it kept the Jags from a field goal attempt when the game was tied at 13 with less than five minutes remaining. Then a good drive from Johnson led to the game-winning 36-yard field goal from Dustin Hopkins. 

4. The Curse Continues:

Penalties have been killing the Redskins for weeks, and Sunday's game was no different. The team finished with six penalties for 48 yards, and on a number of first down plays, flags brought the gains back. Morgan Moses added to his league-leading penalty total, a title that nobody wants. The Redskins offensive line is a mess due to injuries, playing their 10th guard of the season, but still, the pace of penalties demands attention and correction. 

5. Not so Special:

 The Redskins defense didn't give up any touchdowns, but the Redskins special teams did. Late in the first half, Maurice Harris got the mistake train rolling when he tried to field a punt with the sun directly in his eyes. Rather than just letting the ball go, Harris attempted a backward over-the-shoulder catch. It didn't work. He muffed the punt and had to retreat about 10 yards to fall on the football. From there, the offense went 3-and-out and had to punt. Then that punt got returned for a touchdown, with a remarkable missed tackle from Byron Marshall. Seriously watch this. 

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