NCAA

Eagles coordinator set for Saints, second chance

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Eagles coordinator set for Saints, second chance

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Todd Bowles didn't have much success in his debut as Eagles defensive coordinator.

His encore won't be any easier.

After the surging Atlanta Falcons put on an offensive show in Philadelphia en route to a 30-17 win last Sunday, Bowles gets a second chance on Monday in New Orleans. The Saints (2-5) are struggling in their own right, but can still put up big numbers, especially at home.

``The quarterback. The way they attack you. They're always going downfield and they're passing the ball a lot,'' Bowles said of the Saints. ``They're trying to keep you on your heels, and they're an attacking offense.''

The Eagles (3-4) could use some of that, too. Though Bowles' unit allowed 392 total yards, Philadelphia's offense didn't help vs. the Falcons.

``They are fixable. Like I said, we took a lot of good things out of the ballgame,'' Bowles said of his defense. ``There were a lot of things (that we did in) training camp and OTAs, Day 1 kind of things that shouldn't have happened and didn't happen. We corrected them in the meeting and we'll go from there.''

The Eagles have lost three in a row since starting 3-1, and are 0-1 since coach Andy Reid fired Juan Castillo and replaced him with Bowles. Philadelphia is 2 1/2 games behind the Giants in the NFC East, after owning first place just one month ago.

``It was tough because we didn't win,'' Bowles said of his debut. ``Then, the penalties and the third downs. It was one person here and one person there. You can't just single out anything. As a whole on defense, we have to get it done. It wasn't frustrating for me. It was frustrating that we lost. It was frustrating how we didn't play the way we normally play, but you write it off as a bad game and you look forward to the next week.''

Should the Eagles be able to run the ball effectively vs. the Saints, the defense would stay a bit fresher after being on the field for 32:55 against Atlanta. It wasn't a banner day last week for the running game - tailback LeSean McCoy had 16 carries for 45 yards and quarterback Michael Vick had seven for 42 - but offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg sees some positive signs.

``I thought we were in a pretty good rhythm. Now, we've got to execute just a little bit better on a couple of those (runs),'' he said. ``We had some drives. We've got to be better and we've just got to play at a higher level on a consistent basis.''

The same can be said for the Saints. Quarterback Drew Brees leads an offense that has thrown up 190 points, but New Orleans opened with four straight losses, including two at home.

``They attack you with the running backs, the tight ends, and the wide receivers. You got to have a good overall game plan against them, and you have to hope that he is off a little bit,'' Bowles said of Brees. ``You have to hope they are a little bit worn down. He's been tough for years now. It's not just this game. He's been tough against everybody. They are the number-one pass offense in the league for a reason.''

The Eagles have two division games up next - vs. Dallas and at Washington- after the Saints game, and a Monday win could go a long way toward a potential turnaround. Philadelphia is just 1-2 on the road this season.

``We've got to play loose and free and we've talked about that,'' Mornhinweg said. ``Just simply (be) unafraid to make a mistake. If we make one, we correct it. It's that simple and certainly that mentality will help us just a little bit with some of our dynamic ability there.''

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NOTES: New Orleans RB Darren Sproles has undergone hand surgery and won't be able to play Monday. Interim coach Joe Vitt revealed the seriousness of the injury after Friday's practice. He wouldn't say which hand was injured or even when Sproles was hurt. ... Eagles special teams coordinator Bobby April said WR Damaris Johnson will return punts vs. the Saints. ``Damaris will be the guy. I know he's looking forward to it,'' April said. ``He's from New Orleans. It'll be a big homecoming for him and I think he'll play really well.'' ... The Saints are 1-2 at home this season.

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Pittsburgh at Wake Forest How to Watch: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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Pittsburgh at Wake Forest How to Watch: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Pittsburgh Panthers are gelling as a football team, winning three straight games heading into this weekend. Pitt is now 5-1 in the ACC this season, and they currently sit atop the standings in the Coastal Division.

They'll be looking to make it four in a row by beating the Demon Deacons, who are 2-4 in  conference play and 5-5 overall. Wake Forest won their first two games of the year, and have gone 3-5 since, though they are coming off a strong 27-23 victory at 14th-ranked NC State last week.

Still, Pitt is favored by 6.5 points. A win today would help the Panthers maintain control of their own destiny within the ACC Coastal.

Here's how to watch.

PITT PANTHERS vs. WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS: HOW TO WATCH

What: Unviersity of Pittsburgh Cavaliers at Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Where: BB&T Field, located in Winston Salem, NC.

When: Saturday, November 17 at 12 p.m. EST

TV Channel: The Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

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Tom Wilson does the little things in Capitals’ 3-2 overtime win at Colorado

Tom Wilson does the little things in Capitals’ 3-2 overtime win at Colorado

To call it a hit is generous. To call it a huge play is accurate. 

Capitals forward Tom Wilson backed into a loose puck along the boards in the defensive zone of Friday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. He waited for a hit sure to come from behind. 

Colin Wilson, the Avalanche center, moved in to dislodge the puck. Instead he got dislodged from gravity. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Tom Wilson, barely moving and braced for contact, used his own leverage to launch Colin Wilson into the air, arms and legs akimbo. 

By the time Colin Wilson crashed to the ice, Tom Wilson had chipped a blind backhand pass to center ice, where Alex Ovechkin stopped it with his skate, dropped it to teammate Nicklas Backstrom, who gave it back as they entered the offensive zone. Ovechkin crossed from left to right and ripped a shot past former teammate Philipp Grubauer in goal for Colorado. 

It was a wonderful pass from Backstrom, who put the Avalanche on their heels. Ovechkin’s shot was a bullet that left little chance for Grubauer. But make no mistake – it all started with Wilson, who was prepared to take a hit to make a play. It is those little things that the Capitals missed during Wilson’s 16-game suspension by the NHL. It was the little things that helped them to a 3-2 overtime victory.  

“[Wilson] brings so much energy to this group,” Backstrom said. “He’s everywhere out there. That’s what we need. He’s playing PK, he’s playing power plays, he’s doing everything. He’s a valuable guy in this group so we’re happy to have him back.”

The game-winning goal in overtime by Backstrom was a perfect example. Wilson took a drop pass from defenseman John Carlson 12 seconds into overtime with Washington on a 4-on-3 power play. That’s when he went to work. 

For six seconds Wilson and Avalanche center Carl Soderberg did battle along the right boards high in the offensive zone. Just as Wilson was knocked to the ice, he slipped a pass back to Backstrom alone at the point. 

With Soderberg on top of him and both out of the play, Wilson watched Backstrom take advantage of the extra space in what effectively became a 3-on-2. He passed to Carlson in the right faceoff circle and then got the puck back in the high slot and beat Grubauer blocker side for the win. That doesn’t happen without Wilson. 

“When you’re playing with good players, you just try and keep it simple, win your battles and they’ll do the rest,” Wilson said. “And that’s exactly what happened on both those plays. At the end there, I thought about throwing it across the ice a couple times, but I’m not that comfortable out there yet so just kind of ragged on the wall and waited. Nicky got open for me and made it easy, I just threw it over to him and it was in the back of the net.”  

The Ovechkin goal put Washington ahead 2-1 at 18:29 of the second period. The Backstrom winner came 22 seconds into overtime. Wilson, in his third game back after his original 20-game suspension was reduced by a neutral arbitrator, played a career-high 24 minutes, 24 seconds. He moved to the power play for 4:19 with T.J. Oshie out with an upper-body injury and contributed 1:35 on the penalty kill – a little less than usual. 

Wilson played on the PK for 5:23 in his first game back Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild. He scored a goal in that game, too, by driving the net hard and has been a jolt of energy for a team that was scuffling coming into a difficult four-game road trip. The Capitals are 2-1-0 with one game left Monday at the Montreal Canadiens. 
 
“Tom is one of those guys that was vocal in our room, vocal on the bench that we’re fully in control of that game still even though we gave up the late goal,” Washington coach Todd Reirden said. “But that’s a tough start [after the suspension], three in four, and then add in the altitude and the minutes that we’re counting on him playing because they aren’t easy minutes. And then obviously having to chase around that top line tonight from Colorado is no easy task. Just really happy with the fact that we got him back a little earlier than was originally set up for us. It’s been a good bounce for our team.” 

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