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Houston prepares for 1st Thanksgiving game

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Houston prepares for 1st Thanksgiving game

HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Texans won't have long to lament the mistakes they made against the Jacksonville Jaguars before rallying for a wild 43-37 overtime win.

They've got a quick turnaround before playing their first Thanksgiving game against Detroit where they'll look to improve on their franchise-best 9-1 start.

Coach Gary Kubiak said playing four days after an overtime game, ``is tough, but I think that's what builds the character of your team.''

He said they'll have very light workouts this week and most of their preparations for the Lions will be mental instead of physical.

The good news for his team is that it won't play again until Dec. 2 after this one.

``As hard as it is, you get a chance to give the guys a break after the game,'' he said. ``You've got a big period between that and your next game, so I think that gets them excited.''

Now the Texans face the NFC's top offense as they begin a three-game road swing that could be critical to their playoff positioning. They'll play AFC South foe Tennessee before a Monday night matchup at New England.

Houston receiver Andre Johnson, who has been with the team since its second season, is thrilled to be doing so well after years of struggling. But he isn't surprised by the success this season.

``It just feels like it's supposed to happen. This is where we are supposed to be,'' he said of being tied for the NFL's best record. ``It feels normal. I think if we had a worse record, guys would be upset and probably going crazy around here. But we knew what type of team we had coming into the season and we knew what we had to do to get to where we want to go. So far we've been doing it.''

Houston's normally dominant defense struggled Sunday. The Texans made up for it on offense. Their 640 yards were a franchise record, and Matt Schaub and Johnson both had career days.

Schaub threw for 527 yards and career-high five scores as the Texans rallied from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit.

Schaub's yards tied for second most in NFL history. Johnson's 273 yards receiving on 14 receptions - both career highs - were the most in the NFL since 2000.

Johnson, who scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime, enjoyed the game, but noted that it isn't how they prefer to play offensively.

``It was fun as an offense, but we try to run the ball, that's our main thing,'' he said. ``When we run the ball well we have a lot of control of the game, so it hasn't changed. It was just situations in that game where we had to throw the ball more to win.''

Kubiak has been pleased with the work of Arian Foster, who is fourth in the NFL with 949 yards rushing, but leads the league with 249 carries.

Houston has had to rely more heavily on him in the past three games with backup Ben Tate out with a hamstring injury. Tate has made significant progress in the past few days, and Kubiak said there's a ``good chance'' he could play Thursday.

The Texans gave up a season-high 458 yards on Sunday and cornerback Kareem Jackson said a lot of the problems came down to poor tackling.

``We obviously didn't play up to our standard,'' Kubiak said. ``We gave up big plays. We had a few assignment issues, which is unusual for us. That's something we've got to fix.''

Despite the problems, Kubiak believes the unit can gain confidence from the fact that it stopped the Jaguars late.

``When it was crunch time we found a way to make some plays to give the ball back to the offense and find a way to win,'' he said. ``It's nice to be able to (have) those problems and still win.''

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Capitals stars react to losing Barry Trotz as head coach

Capitals stars react to losing Barry Trotz as head coach

LAS VEGAS—Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom weren’t expecting to lose their head coach less than two weeks after winning the Stanley Cup.

But business is business, Ovi said, and Barry Trotz is handling his by attempting to capitalize on claiming the championship.

“It’s sad,” Ovechkin said on the red carpet at the NHL Awards, where he accepted his seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy on Wednesday night. “Obviously, we won together.”

The Caps’ captain also thanked Trotz for directing him—and his teammates—to new heights.  

“First of all, [I want to] thank him for a great job to be our coach, to be our dad, to give us a chance to win,” Ovechkin said. “But then again, it’s a business. You never know what’s going to happen. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be fine and I wish him luck.”

Backstrom, meanwhile, said he was caught off guard by Trotz’s decision to step down over a contract stalemate with the team. Trotz asked for $5 million per for five seasons; the Caps balked over the terms Trotz’s camp sought.   

“I was a little surprised, obviously,” Backstrom said. “I heard the scenario.”

Like Ovechkin, though, Backstrom praised the job Trotz did during his four-year tenure.

“He’s done a great job in Washington,” Backstrom said. “We obviously have him to thank for a lot. He’s done a tremendous job of schooling us and winning a championship. No one is going to take that away from him.”

Trotz’s next move is unclear, but he’s a free agent and currently eligible to negotiate with any team. The Islanders are the only team with an opening for a head coach.

As for Washington, GM Brian MacLellan said that associate coach Todd Reirden will get the first crack at replacing Trotz.

Ovechkin said he thinks Reirden would be a good fit.

“We all respect Todd,” Ovechkin said. “We all like him. Again, it’s not our thing to say who’s going to be head coach, but if it’s going to be Todd, it’s going to be fun.”

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A drawing of the moment Ovi lifted the Stanley Cup makes the moment joyful all over again

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Daniel Duffy on Twitter/@RealArtOfWords

A drawing of the moment Ovi lifted the Stanley Cup makes the moment joyful all over again

How do you make a photo of Alex Ovechkin hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time even more memorable?

You make it out of all the Capitals' game scores this year, of course.

Capitals fan and artist Daniel Duffy (@RealArtOfWords) posted a phenomenal finished piece commemorating the Cup win on Wednesday, June 20. It's a little meta and astounding to look at, but very fun to try and read. If you want to relive the glory that was the parts of the 2017-18 Capitals season, check out the piece.

The piece, which appears to be done in a traditional medium like pen or marker, holds the team faced, arena played at, and final score of every game. It uses six colors and over sixty lines of text. Ovechkin roars as he holds the Stanley Cup overhead, the white away jersey shaded with bits of grey text. It takes a skilled eye to sort text and colors into shapes and shading, but Daniel did a fantastic job! It's awesome to see a fanbase create different interpretations of iconic moments. We'll surely see more of Ovechkin in this moment.

Just as we thought we were going to get tired of the celebration, fans find new ways to surprise us. Stay creative, Caps fans!

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