Other Sports

Cowboys can focus on NFC East after win at Philly

201211111805651349206-p2.jpeg

Cowboys can focus on NFC East after win at Philly

IRVING, Texas (AP) Talk of who's replacing Dallas coach Jason Garrett figures to be secondary - at least this week - to how the Cowboys can stay in the NFC East race.

A week after losing in Atlanta, when speculation centered on whether Sean Payton was coming to Dallas, the Cowboys won at Philadelphia on the same day a report surfaced that Mike Holmgren was interested in joining the Cowboys.

Garrett spent all week deflecting the Payton questions, and owner Jerry Jones did more of the same with Holmgren on Sunday, when the Cowboys beat the Eagles 38-23 in what amounted to an elimination game for any realistic playoff hopes.

Tony Romo started the rally with a spectacular scramble and throw that saved a drive and led to a long scoring toss to Dez Bryant. The Cowboys secured the win by scoring fourth-quarter touchdowns on a punt return, an interception and a fumble. It was the first time Dallas had all three in one game.

The Cowboys will try to keep it going Sunday against Cleveland, where Holmgren has been ousted as president, but is scheduled to remain in an advisory role until the end of the season. He's admittedly unsure whether he wants to coach again, but strongly denied a report he was interested in Dallas if Garrett were fired.

``Hey, look, it gets back to football, but you lose another game and there's going to be more talk,'' tight end Jason Witten said. ``We know what's at stake, and I thought it was big of our team to go find a way to win, and hopefully we'll build on that.''

Last week was actually busier than just replacement talk for Garrett and Jones. The Dallas owner started a dialogue with former coach Jimmy Johnson by claiming he had always been in charge of football decisions with the Cowboys. Credit was part of the reason for their acrimonious split in 1994 after consecutive Super Bowl wins, so naturally Johnson shot back.

Johnson, though, went a little further, calling the Cowboys' practice facility a ``country club'' and forcing Garrett, one of his former quarterbacks, to answer still more questions. When he took the job, Garrett made it clear he wanted to use the Johnson model of accountability and discipline to try to make Dallas a winner again.

The best answer anyone could have given came Sunday against the Eagles, which might help explain Garrett's firm hug around the neck of Dwayne Harris after the punt returner who replaced the inconsistent Bryant sprinted 78 yards in front of the Dallas bench to give the Cowboys the lead for good at 24-17.

``We have a good approach and a mindset of we don't worry about that outside noise and we know when you're 3-5 that's going to come,'' Witten said. ``I thought Jason Garrett did a great job of letting our team (know) ... don't worry about anything else other than having a good practice today and going on the road and finding a way to get a win.''

Now that the Cowboys have barely survived a stretch of four road games out of five, they get five of the next six at home, starting with three straight. After the Browns on Sunday, Washington visits on Thanksgiving followed by a rematch with the Eagles on Dec. 2.

A trip to Cincinnati is followed by home games against Pittsburgh and New Orleans. The Steelers are the only team in that six-game stretch with a winning record right now.

The Cowboys are also just one game behind in the loss column to the NFC East-leading New York Giants, who have lost twice since getting out of Texas with a win when an apparent decisive catch by Bryant was overturned on replay.

``We know we have a shot. But we're not looking around to see what everyone else is doing,'' cornerback Brandon Carr said. ``If the Giants lose, win, draw, however it may be, that has nothing to do with us.''

The Dallas offense had two important answers to seven-point leads for Philadelphia, with the second one tying the game at 17 on a 30-yard throw from Romo to Bryant. Three plays earlier, Romo kept the drive alive by avoiding a sack twice and finding Miles Austin for 25 yards on third down.

Romo mixed that sort of playmaking with better ball protection. He didn't have an interception for the second straight week and might even give up his NFL lead in that category (13) with another turnover-free game.

``The offense is taking care of the ball, and we got the special teams' first score of the season,'' Carr said. ``Everybody's warming up.''

And moving on from the drama of a week ago, Garrett said.

``Today is clean up yesterday and starting to get ready for Cleveland,'' he said. ``All the other stuff is not something we can control or want to be focused on.''

NOTES: DL Kenyon Coleman is out for the season with a torn triceps muscle, an injury sustained in the third quarter Sunday against Philadelphia. ... RB DeMarco Murray, who has missed four games with a sprained foot, was back at practice for limited activity last week. Garrett said it isn't known whether he'll return Sunday against Cleveland.

---

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

---

Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter athttps://twitter.com/lschuylerd

NASCAR at New Hampshire: everything you need to know about racing this weekend

new-hampshire-nbcsw.png
Brian Fluharty/USA Today Images

NASCAR at New Hampshire: everything you need to know about racing this weekend

Still not over that finish from Kentucky Speedway? Good, us either. NASCAR is right back after it this weekend in the Granite State and New Hampshire Motor Speedway for some short-track summer action.

Here's what we're watching for on Sunday afternoon in the Foxwoods Resort 301 (3 p.m. EST on NBCSN).

NEW HAMPSHIRE STATISTICS
New Hampshire Motor Speedway: 1.058-mile oval in Loudon, N.H.
Race information: 318.46 miles, 301 laps
Stage lengths: 75 laps, 75 laps, 151 laps
Defending winner: Kevin Harvick
Most wins: Jeff Burton (4)

WEEKEND SCHEDULE

NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Friday, July 19

12:05 – 12:55 p.m. – Cup practice (NBCSN)

1:05 – 1:55 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

3:35 – 4:25 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

4:35 p.m. – Cup qualifying (single vehicle/two laps all positions) (NBCSN, Performance Racing Network)

Saturday, July 20

10:05 – 10:55 a.m. – Cup practice (CNBC)

11:15 a.m. – Xfinity qualifying (single vehicle/two laps all positions) (NBCSN)

12:35 – 1:25 p.m. – Final Cup practice (NBCSN)

4 p.m. – Roxor 200 Xfinity race (stages 45/90/200 laps = 211.6 miles) (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, July 21

3 p.m. – Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 (stages 75/150/301 laps = 318.46 miles) (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Is It Time For SHR To Panic?

Past the halfway point in the 2019 season, Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske, Hendrick Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing and Spire Motorsports (!) have visited Victory Lane.

Notably absent is Stewart-Haas Racing.

2014 Monster Energy Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick had five wins at this point last season, Clint Bowyer had two, and the duo of Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch had been running consistently inside the top five and top 10. This season, they're a step behind.

Whether it's the adjustment to the new Ford Mustang or the new aerodynamic rules package for this season, SHR is behind, there's no sugarcoating it.

Although Harvick is safely in the playoffs, Almirola is in but does not have a large buffer, Bowyer is on the bubble and Daniel Suarez is on the outside looking in.

Harvick did win this race last season, and another checkered flag for the No. 4 camp this weekend would go a long way confidence wise for the organization.

More Sticky Stuff

PJ1 is back, and it seems here to stay.

The sticky adhesive that was put down last weekend in Kentucky, as well as multiple times last season, has been applied at NHMS and will be applied next weekend at Pocono Raceway as well. The adhesive is in hopes to create more racing lines and in turn, a better on track product.

With temparatures this weekend reaching upwards of triple digits, the PJ1 will become more active earlier on. The hotter it is, the more grip the substance has.

Lobstah

New England NASCAR trips and somewhat cringeworthy New England NASCAR accents go hand in hand. Like it or not, that's part of it, right?

The winner of each NHMS race gets a big ole lobster to celebrate with. But don't give one to Denny Hamlin. We remember what happened to him a couple years back, right?

2019 NASCAR STANDINGS

Next week, NASCAR heads to the Pocono Raceway for the second time this season for the Gander Outdoors 400 on Sunday, July 28 at 3:30 p.m. EST on NBCSN.

Quick Links

Nationals Roundup: Late Victor Robles magic not enough as Braves walk-off Nats

victor-robles-7-19.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Nationals Roundup: Late Victor Robles magic not enough as Braves walk-off Nats

As you would expect a first-place NL East team to do, the Atlanta Braves bounced back to even the series with Washington Friday night inside SunTrust Park. Josh Donaldson erased Victor Robles' game-tying, two-run home run with his walk-off single in the ninth. Atlanta improved to 59-40 and increased its lead over the Nationals to 6.5 games with a 4-3 final. 

Consider these notes as Washington grinds through a pivotal series in Atlanta: 

Player Notes:

Washington's first-year lefty didn't have his best stuff going Friday night in Atlanta. Patrick Corbin tossed just five innings allowing eight hits, two runs, two walks on 100 pitches. He struck out five Braves on his 30th birthday. 

The Nationals' third baseman has brought new meaning to the word 'consistency' all year long in his first season as an All-Star. Two games into this four-game series in Atlanta, Anthony Rendon has five hits, a walk, and 2 RBI.  

Victor Robles brought the fireworks in the ninth at SunTrust Park. The 22-year-old delivered a game-tying, two-run home run off Luke Jackson. The long-ball traveled a whopping 446 feet. 

The Fernando Rodney experience was alive and well. Davey Martinez made the questionable decision to bring his 42-year-old back out in the ninth for a second consecutive inning. It backfired. Just 14 of his 32 pitches were thrown for strikes. 

Injuries: 

SP Max Scherzer: Back, Expected to be out until at least Jul 25

RP Jonny Venters: Back, Expected to be out until at least Jul 26

SP Jeremy Hellickson: Shoulder, Expected to be out until at least Jul 20

RP Justin Miller: Shoulder, Expected to be out until at least Jul 20

RP Koda Glover: Elbow, Expected to be out until at least Aug 7

RP Austen Williams: Shoulder, Expected to be out until at least Jul 26

Coming Up:

Saturday 7/20: Nationals at Braves, 7:20 p.m., SunTrust Park 

Sunday 7/21: Nationals at Braves, 7:20 p.m., SunTrust Park 

Monday 7/22: Nationals vs. Rockies, 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park 

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: