Nationals

Jaguars finally win at home, beating Titans 24-19

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Jaguars finally win at home, beating Titans 24-19

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Jacksonville's locker room had a much different feel Sunday afternoon.

The sound system was thumping. Coach Mike Mularkey was chest-bumping everyone around. And players were downright giddy about getting two days off.

No doubt, winning provided some much-needed relief for the Jaguars.

Chad Henne threw two touchdown passes, sparking the NFL's worst offense for the second consecutive week, and the Jaguars beat the Tennessee Titans 24-19. Jacksonville (2-9) snapped a seven-game losing streak and was competitive at home for the first time in six games.

``It's good to have something good happen, really good,'' said Mularkey, who rewarded players by giving them Monday and Tuesday off. ``They needed that. A lot of people needed that. It was well earned.''

Henne was the key.

Making his first start in more than 13 months, Henne found Cecil Shorts III for a 59-yard touchdown in the third quarter and hooked up with rookie Justin Blackmon for a 7-yard score in the fourth. It was similar to what he did last week at Houston, when he came off the bench in place of injured starter Blaine Gabbert and threw for 354 yards and four touchdowns.

``Hopefully this builds confidence for everybody throughout these next five games, builds new life,'' said Henne, who hadn't won a start since December 2010.

Henne completed 17 of 26 passes for 261 yards, most of them to Shorts (4 catches for 105 yards) and Blackmon (5 for 62). Shorts set a franchise record with his fourth reception of at least 50 yards this season, surpassing the previous mark set by Keenan McCardell in 1998 and tied by Jimmy Smith the following year.

``It just seems that everything is clicking right now,'' Blackmon said.

It was far from perfect, though. Henne's first pass was tipped and intercepted. He also was sacked seven times, including two instances that took the Jaguars out of field-goal range.

But he made up for those mistakes with clutch throws, the kind Jacksonville had been missing much of the season - especially at home.

The Jaguars were outscored 153-44 in five losses at EverBank Field. They trailed 3-0 after Henne's interception, but slowly seized control by holding the Titans to field goals most of the day.

Tennessee had the ball inside Jacksonville's 25-yard line six times - and came away with just one touchdown.

Rob Bironas made four field goals and was wide left from 42 yards away. His miss loomed large late in the game.

The Titans (4-7) cut the lead to 21-19 on Jake Locker's 6-yard pass to Kenny Britt with 4:52 remaining and had the ball with a chance to take the lead. But linebacker Russell Allen tipped Locker's pass over the middle, and safety Dwight Lowery - back on the field after a five-week absence - hauled in his first interception of the season.

Josh Scobee's 41-yard field goal with 24 seconds remaining left the Titans in desperation mode for the final few snaps.

Locker completed 23 of 40 passes for 261 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions. His final heave was picked off.

Chris Johnson ran 21 times for 80 yards, including a 31-yard run on Tennessee's lone touchdown drive.

The talk in the Titans' locker room afterward, though, focused on being flat despite having two weeks to prepare.

``I don't think guys expected to come in here and just walk out and win the game,'' coach Mike Munchak said. ``Every team in the NFL is a good football team. If you don't think that, you're mistaken. I don't think our team prepared that way. I don't think we came here with that mindset today. We just didn't execute as well as we needed to to win the game.''

The Titans had won two in a row on the road and looked to stay in the playoff hunt with a win after their bye week. Now, they're probably a long shot in the AFC postseason picture.

``This makes it tougher and tougher to keep your playoff hopes alive when you drop games like this,'' linebacker Zach Brown said. ``We felt like this was a game where we were supposed to win.''

NOTES: The Jaguars lost three defensive starters: CBs Derek Cox (hamstring) and Aaron Ross (dehydration) did not play the second half, and DE Austen Lane (leg) came out late. ... The Titans are now 3-2 in games decided by seven points or less this season.

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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Phillies are 2-for-2.

Tuesday night's game was postponed following a two-hour rain delay. Monday's game was postponed after a three-hour rain delay.

Tuesday's game will be made up as part of a split day-night doubleheader Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., bumping a four-game series to a five-game series. The Nationals and Phillies are scheduled to also play a split day-night doubleheader Wednesday.

The day was not without news. Nationals ace Max Scherzer broke his nose in batting practice when a ball bounced off his bat and struck him in the face. Scherzer was attempting to bunt at the time.

Scherzer's injury and the multiple postponements throw the Nationals' pitching plans into disarray. They're not sure if Scherzer will pitch as expected Wednesday. It appears Austin Voth, who was scratched from his Thursday start for Triple-A Fresno, will be available to pitch in one of the Wednesday games -- should they be played. More rain is expected Wednesday.

The Nationals will bump Patrick Corbin, who was slated to pitch again Tuesday, into a Wednesday spot. Wednesday's other starter is TBA. It could be Scherzer if he is ready. It could be Erick Fedde, and Voth could be used in the bullpen as the 26th man. That would provide Scherzer a chance to pitch Thursday and Strasburg on Friday against Atlanta. 

Or, Scherzer could be provided more time off. There's a lot to sort out once again thanks to the rain.

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Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

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USA Today

Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

This summer is shaping up to be lucrative for NBA free agents and big man Bobby Portis is well-positioned to cash in. After spending the final three months of the 2018-19 season with the Wizards, Portis is already seeing a healthy market develop ahead of the June 30 start of the league's negotiating period, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

The Wizards are likely to first extend a qualifying offer on June 30 to make him a restricted free agent. According to Spotrac.com, it will be about $3.6 million and that will give the Wizards the right to match an offer sheet from another franchise.

But teams are already indicating they want Portis, who is just 24 and coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds in 50 games. That market includes 5-10 teams and could grow once free agency opens.

Portis is expected to draw interest from the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Bucks, Magic and Knicks among others, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Despite restricted free agency, Portis has a few things working for him. For one, there are a lot of teams with cap room. Spending won't reach 2016 levels, when the new CBA spiked the salary cap, but there will a lot of money to go around.

Also, guys in Portis' tier will only be helped if the top free agent options continue to dwindle. Klay Thompson looks more likely than ever to stay in Golden State after tearing his ACL. Winning a title could increase the odds Kawhi Leonard re-signs in Toronto, according to reports. And Kevin Durant's torn Achilles has thrown a wrench into the plans of teams with the most money to spend.

There is also the possibility Kemba Walker stays in Charlotte. And Kyrie Irving signing with Brooklyn, if it happens, would leave others exploring backup plans.

Portis isn't directly competing with any of those players, but could benefit if the top options are off the market. His name will only move up the list if that is the case.

Portis also has a unique selling point going for him. He shot 39.3 percent from three this past season and held a 40.3 percent clip to close the year in his 28 games with the Wizards. Three-point shooting is more valuable than ever and he brings that to the table at 6-foot-10.

Portis, who averaged 3.8 three-point attempts per game this past season, was one of only six players 6-10 or taller to shoot at least 39 percent on 3.5 attempts or more (min. 50 G). 

The question for Portis will be whether he gets the money he wants. He turned down an extension with the Chicago Bulls last fall just hours before the deadline to sign one. According to the Chicago Tribune, the deal was worth about $50 million and he wants to be paid in the range of $16 million annually. His asking price was partly why the Bulls traded him to the Wizards in February.

Even if the Wizards clear money, and they are expected to free up some by declining Jabari Parker's $20 million team option by the June 29 deadline, Portis could price himself out of Washington. It might not even take $16 million per year for that to happen.

The Wizards are set to operate through free agency with interim team president Tommy Sheppard at the helm, as the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. Sheppard making the call increases Portis' odds of staying, but that doesn't mean the price will match for both sides.

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