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Cushing focuses on health after injury

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Cushing focuses on health after injury

HOUSTON (AP) Texans linebacker Brian Cushing is focused on his recovery in the wake of a season-ending knee injury.

Cushing, Houston's leading tackler, was hurt in the Texans' 23-17 win over the New York Jets on Monday night on a low, rolling hit by guard Matt Slauson. He was placed on injured reserve with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Cushing had a protective black sleeve over his left knee when he walked into the locker room on Friday. Tim Dobbins will start in his place when the Texans (5-0) play Green Bay (2-3) on Sunday night.

``It's all part of the game,'' Cushing said. ``The next step is just to get healthy, get back on the field as fast as I can.''

A first-round draft pick in 2009, Cushing has no timetable for the necessary surgery or a return to football activities. He plans to attend as many team meetings and practices as possible while he recovers.

``I want be around, I want to be here for the guys, and help them the best I can, whether it's in spirit, or coaching tips or whatever,'' said Cushing, one of the team's emotional leaders. ``I've got a new role now, and I've accepted it.''

Slauson was not flagged on the play, but he was fined $10,000 this week by the NFL. Cushing wouldn't say if he thought Slauson's hit crossed the line.

``Whether it was or it wasn't, I'm not playing for a while,'' Cushing said. ``That's not going to change my opinion on anything. I'm not a guy that's going to look back at the past and see what I could've done differently. I'm going to look into the future and see how I can improve.''

Cushing has only missed four games in three NFL seasons, and that was to serve a suspension in 2010 for a positive test for a banned substance. His last major injury came during his junior season at Southern California, when he missed three games with a sprained left ankle.

``When you sign up for this game, I understand this is part of it,'' Cushing said.

The Texans' defense ranks third overall (275.6 yards per game), and Cushing has been its top playmaker under second-year coordinator Wade Phillips. He led the team with 114 tackles in 2011 and had an interception and a forced fumble to go along with his 38 stops this year.

He vowed to return in a confident proclamation on Twitter on Wednesday - and added a bold guarantee.

``Trust me when I say I'll be back better than ever,'' Cushing wrote. ``I appreciate all the love and want u to know WE are STILL winning THIS year's Super Bowl.''

Cushing acknowledged on Friday that the tweet drew ``a lot of mixed reactions,'' but he was only trying to send a positive message to his teammates.

``Whatever I can do to help these guys, I'm going to do it,'' he said.

Houston was crippled by injuries to key players in 2011 and still won the AFC South with a 10-6 record. Cushing thinks navigating through last season's issues will help the Texans now.

``We definitely dealt with a lot of adversity last year, especially from an injury standpoint,'' Cushing said. ``This is a mentally strong team that's built with a lot of depth. I'm not too concerned about that.''

Houston coach Gary Kubiak said this week that Dobbins was ``the best option'' to take over Cushing's role. Dobbins played his first four NFL seasons with San Diego, including one season under Phillips.

Cushing doesn't think Dobbins will need much 1-on-1 mentoring moving forward.

``Tim's played a lot of football, he's been in every single meeting I've been in,'' Cushing said. ``He's learned all the same stuff as me. He's a good player and I have a lot of confidence in him and if he has any questions, I'll be sure to answer them.''

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Gonzaga beats DeMatha on Hail Mary in bonkers WCAC championship game

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Gonzaga beats DeMatha on Hail Mary in bonkers WCAC championship game

The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) has a long history of football excellence, and the 2018 championship game was no exception. 

No. 2 Gonzaga College High School defeated No. 1 DeMatha Catholic High School, 46-43, in the title game at Catholic University of America on Sunday night thanks to three lead changes in the final 60 seconds and a game-winning Hail Mary. 

After allowing  DeMatha to race out to a 20-point lead, the Purple Eagles scored in the second quarter on a one-yard rushing touchdown. Dean Engram, son of Baltimore Ravens’ WR coach Bobby Engram, caught a 35-yard pass to score again for Gonzaga, closing the deficit to just six at 20-14. DeMatha rushed in another touchdown and intercepted Gonzaga’s next pass before entering the half at 26-14.

Both powerhouses scored a touchdown in the third, leaving the teams to fight until the very end of the fourth quarter in order determine the 2018 championship. That's when things got extra weird.

With 39 seconds left, Gonzaga's Sam Sweeney caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Williams to give the Eagles a 40-36 lead. 

But on the ensuing kickoff DeMatha senior Dominic Logan-Nealy returned the kick to the end zone, giving DeMatha a 43-40 lead with just 15 seconds left.

Gonzaga would get another crack at the title, and they did not let it go to waste. Williams hurled a desperation pass to the end zone with no time remaining. Eagles' receiver John Marshall got his hands on the pass and snagged the game-winning touchdown catch to give Gonzaga the stunning 46-43 win. 

The winners immediately rushed to celebrate with their student section, but the protective fencing separating the two was ultimately torn down.

The WCAC champions end the year 9-3. Head Coach Randy Trivers emotionally addressed his troops after their battle, reminding them that Gonzaga won their first title on Catholic University of America’s field:

DeMatha ended its season 8-3.

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NFC East Update: Division race tightens as Redskins stumble, Cowboys surge

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USA Today Sports

NFC East Update: Division race tightens as Redskins stumble, Cowboys surge

When the sun came up Sunday morning, the Redskins held a two-game lead in the NFC East and looked to have a clear route to a division title. 

By the time the sun went down, a lot changed. 

Washington lost at home in a crazy game to Houston, but big picture, the more important outcome was the broken leg for Alex Smith. The Redskins now turn to backup Colt McCoy, and while the Burgundy and Gold remain in first place, their lead shrunk.

  1. Washington Redskins (6-4, 2-0) - Talk about a roller coaster game. The Redskins got down early to the Texans, trailing 10-0 in the first quarter, but fought all the way back. In the process, the team lost Smith for the season, but McCoy played well when he entered the game. A veteran in Jay Gruden's system, McCoy should be able to step in and run the offense without any hesitation. Will that be enough? What isn't being talked about in Washington: a suddenly slumping run defense. A huge game looms Thursday against Ezekiel Elliott and a surging Cowboys squad. Up next: Nov. 22 @ Dallas, 4 p.m.
  2. Dallas Cowboys (5-5, 2-1) - It seemed like the Cowboys season was over a few weeks ago after a humbling home loss on Monday Night Football to the Titans. Two weeks later, the script has flipped. Dallas won their second straight game on Sunday, holding off a late Atlanta rally and winning the game on a last-second field goal. Elliott went for 201 total yards from scrimmage and the Cowboys young defense continued to make impressive plays. Jerry Jones' team struggles on the road, but at home, the Cowboys are 3-1 this season. Up next: Nov. 22 vs Washington, 4 p.m.
  3. Philadelphia Eagles (4-6, 1-1) - Fans waiting for the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles to get it together might want to stop waiting. Philly got boat raced in New Orleans on Sunday, losing 48-7 and dropping to two games below .500. Carson Wentz threw three INTs in New Orleans and really, while the QB was bad in the Superdome, it's hard to pin the Eagles' woes on any one thing. The offense hasn't been very good, and the defense hasn't either. Sitting just two games back of the 'Skins and one behind Dallas, don't count the Eagles out yet. But don't really count them in either. Up next: Nov. 25th vs New York Giants, 1 p.m.
  4. New York Giants (3-7, 0-3) - Don't look now but the Giants might be the hottest team in the division. Or at least not the coldest team in the division. The Giants won their second game in a row on Sunday, a nail-biting 38-35 victory over Tampa. New York got out to a big lead before the Bucs crept back in it, but powered by four combined TDs between Saquon Barkley and Eli Manning, the Giants did enough. Simple arithmetic suggests the Giants are closer to a Top 5 draft pick than a playoff run, but hey, they haven't been eliminated yet. Crazy things happen in this league. Up next: Nov. 25th @ Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

 

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