Nationals

Dolphins miss playoffs but beat Bills 24-10

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Dolphins miss playoffs but beat Bills 24-10

MIAMI (AP) The whistle had blown and Reggie Bush stood in the end zone, holding the ball for a touchdown as he wiggled his right leg to free it from the annoying grasp of a Buffalo Bills defender.

Bush repeatedly shook loose Sunday, catching passes for two scores and running for a third to help the Miami Dolphins beat the hapless Bills 24-10.

The win kept Miami's slim playoff hopes alive for another six minutes. By the time they reached the locker room they had been eliminated because of Cincinnati's victory at Pittsburgh.

``It's hard to win in this league,'' Bush said. ``We've got to a do a better job obviously next season.''

Miami will sit out the playoffs for the 10th time in 11 years.

``The NFL has a system in place - six teams earn a spot in the playoffs,'' first-year coach Joe Philbin said. ``It is what it is.''

The Bills (5-10) came into the game assured of missing the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season. Coach Chan Gailey's team reached a double-digit loss total for the third year in a row, but he said he's not worried about his job security.

``No, I worry about getting better ... playing to our abilities, which we haven't done,'' he said. ``And that's my responsibility to get that done.''

The Bills missed a chance at a sweep of the season series with Miami.

``We came into this game playing for pride,'' said C.J. Spiller, who rushed for 138 yards. ``We were just trying to get the respect that we know we don't have right now.''

Respect has been elusive for the Dolphins, who need a win in Sunday's finale at New England to avoid their fourth consecutive losing season. There were signs of progress against Buffalo, with an efficient offense and a stingy defense that suddenly began forcing turnovers.

Safety Reshad Jones recovered two fumbles and made an interception at the Miami 1 with 71 seconds left to seal the victory. The Dolphins managed four takeaways playing with a patchwork secondary that included starting cornerback Dimitri Patterson, acquired Tuesday after being waived by Cleveland.

The Dolphins took advantage of Buffalo's woeful run defense by netting 182 yards on the ground while averaging 5.2 per carry. Lamar Miller had 73 yards, Bush 65 and Tannehill 44.

The Dolphins recovered three fumbles, doubling their season total, but their most spectacular takeaway was Jones' interception. Jones leaped at the line of scrimmage to snare Ryan Fitzpatrick's pass and clinch the win.

``He just made a heck of a play,'' Fitzpatrick said.

The Dolphins' flurry of takeaways came after they had one in their previous seven games.

``They come in bunches,'' linebacker Karlos Dansby said. ``We stuck with it.''

Along with the turnovers and 11 penalties, missed chances hurt the Bills. Stevie Johnson lost a fumble at the Miami 17 and dropped a pass in the end zone, when Buffalo settled for a field goal.

``Especially the first half there, I think that's as poor as we've played offensively since I've been here,'' Fitzpatrick said.

Buffalo settled for a field goal after Johnson's dropped pass. The ruling appeared questionable, but the Bills didn't challenge the call.

``If the ball rolls out without (the receiver) coming up with it and giving it to the official, they're not going to ever give it to you,'' Gailey said. ``So you're wasting a challenge there.''

NOTES: Miami CB Sean Smith hurt his left knee in the second half. ... For the Bills, TE Scott Chandler left the game in the first quarter with a left knee injury. FB Dorin Dickerson was carted off the field late in the fourth quarter with a right ankle injury. ... SS Da'Norris Searcy hurt his groin in the second quarter. CB Stephon Gilmore left with a head injury in the third quarter. ... TE Michael Egnew, Miami's third-round draft pick, was active for the first time and played seven snaps.

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Scott Boras: Davey Martinez gave ‘a real lesson’ in how to believe in his players

Scott Boras: Davey Martinez gave ‘a real lesson’ in how to believe in his players

When the Nationals stumbled out to a 19-31 start to last season, Davey Martinez didn’t panic.

He was only in his second season as an MLB manager, but Martinez had a roster of players far more talented than what its record was leading others to believe. Amid swirling rumors about his job status and the future of the franchise, Martinez trusted that his players would be able to turn things around.

Five months later, those very same players took down the Houston Astros in seven games to win D.C. a World Series title for the first time since 1924. Longtime baseball agent Scott Boras, who represented several stars for Washington such as Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg, was among those who was particularly impressed with the way Martinez kept his clubhouse together.

Boras talked with NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas and Chase Hughes on Friday’s episode of the Nationals Talk podcast about what stood out to him when it came to Martinez’s approach.

“I really credit Davey Martinez because the one message he kept giving everyone was a true lack of concern for the moment and trusting very much about who all those players were,” Boras said. “Every player brought that to my attention at the end of the year, where this was not a compromised manager.

“This was not someone who questioned who we were. It was not someone who showed up and was really making more out of the future other than, ‘Be who you are today and go forward.’”

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW ON THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

With sports pushed to the side while the world grips with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, fans have a lot of more important things on their minds than baseball right now. Yet Boras felt that Martinez’s approach was something everyone should try to emulate when dealing with the uncertainty that the future holds.

“It’s a real lesson for a lot of people,” Boras said. “I think particularly when you’re in an environment, ironically that’s in Washington, D.C., [with] what we’re going through with this pandemic and the focus on our leadership and our country…we really have to make sure that we’re looking about what’s within and not looking about the vague aspects of what the future may bring.

“The Washington Nationals represented their city and our country really well with that message.”

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Nationals' championships rings filled with flash and memories

Nationals' championships rings filled with flash and memories

Salivating and awe came first. Distribution will have to wait.

The Nationals revealed their jewel-laden championship ring during a slow-moving, hour-long telecast Sunday night which was originally supposed to include select players receiving their rings. After pushback from the players -- who wanted to receive the rings together when it was safe to do so -- the night was converted to more of a reveal than reaction.

The ring itself included several nods to the D.C. area, markers from the championship season, and specific personalizations.

Here’s a blow-by-blow:

-- The ring is 14-karat white and yellow gold

-- The “W” logo is made from 30 rubies to represent the 30 runs the team scored in the four World Series game

-- Around the logo are 58 pavé-set diamonds

-- Above and below the logo or the words “World Champions” set over the ring via 32 sapphires. This number represents the sum total of the team’s 2019 walk-off wins (7), shutout wins (13), longest winning streak (8 games), and playoff rounds won (4).

-- An additional 108 diamonds are featured along the ring top, representing the number of regular season and postseason wins (105), plus one diamond for the World Series title and two diamonds for the locations -- Washington and Montreal -- of the franchise.

-- The top and bottom of the ring have 12 rubies to represent the total number of postseason wins

-- On the left side in yellow gold is the player’s name

-- Beneath the name is a flag, the Capitol Building and the Roman numerals MMVI to represent the year the Lerner family purchased the franchise

-- The player’s number is in diamonds on the bottom left side

-- “Fight Finished” is on the right side

-- The interior of the ring is engraved with a shark symbol holding a yellow gold trophy. So, yes, a nod to “Baby Shark” has made it onto the rings

-- Also on the interior are the team logos of each opponent the Nationals defeated in the postseason

-- “Go 1-0 every day” is also engraved inside

-- In total, the average championship ring contains 170 total diamonds, 32 custom-cut sapphires, 31 custom-cut rubies, and 24 princess-cut rubies for a precious total stone carat weight of 23.2 carats.

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The lead up of the ring reveal included congratulatory messages from a slew of people associated with the Nationals in the present and past.

Former closer Chad Cordero and catcher Brian Schneider started the video messages. Denard Span and Adam LaRoche followed. Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, former Redskins player Brian Mitchell, chef José Andrés and Dr. Anthony Fauci were among several others to send congratulations.

In a post-reveal show, the players emphasized they were looking forward to receiving the rings in a group.

“I think the only thing better than seeing it is going to be wearing it,” Howie Kendrick said.

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