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Lindley, Cards struggle again in 7-6 loss to Jets

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Lindley, Cards struggle again in 7-6 loss to Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt considered a quarterback change before sticking with the struggling Ryan Lindley.

The argument for a switch - as the New York Jets did with Mark Sanchez - was compelling during the Cardinals 7-6 loss on Sunday, their eighth straight defeat.

Lindley had a miserable game: 10 for 31 for only 72 yards, one interception and a dismal 28.0 quarterback rating.

``We talked about it,'' said Whisenhunt. ``As the head coach, you have to make those decisions. You always do what you think gives you the best chance. That's what we did.''

Whisenhunt deflected some of the blame from the quarterback to receivers running incorrect routes. In the final analysis, Lindley needed to make some plays for the Cardinals (4-8) to finally get a win.

``He's got to throw the ball better in situations than he did,'' Whisenhunt said.

Lindley agreed.

``I missed some throws,'' he said. ``You can't have that. They did a good job of covering some stuff, but there was stuff that was open. I didn't hit it.''

In contrast, a quarterback change sparked the Jets.

It was an ugly performance by New York, until third-stringer Greg McElroy came in - not Tim Tebow -and made his case for taking over as the starting quarterback.

McElroy stepped in for a struggling Sanchez and energized the Jets. With Tebow inactive as he heals from two broken ribs, coach Rex Ryan pulled Sanchez for McElroy - as the crowd at MetLife Stadium cheered wildly - late in the third quarter.

``It's just something that I sensed, that I felt,'' Ryan said. ``When you're around this game long enough, you get that feeling that, `You know what? I've seen enough, and it's time to make that change.'''

McElroy then led the Jets (5-7) to their only points of the day with an impressive 10-play drive, rolling out to his right on a bootleg and tossing a 1-yard pass to a wide-open Jeff Cumberland in the back of the end zone 5 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Fans chanted ``Mc-El-Roy!'' throughout the first three quarters as Sanchez went 10 of 21 for 97 yards and three interceptions, including two by former Jets safety Kerry Rhodes.

McElroy, reading the plays off his left wristband after getting few snaps in practice all week, was cheered with each completion, including a 13-yard toss on third down to Jeremy Kerley with 3 minutes left that helped seal the victory. McElroy finished 5 of 7 for 29 yards.

Sanchez left with 4:48 left in the third quarter and the Jets trailing 3-0 after having a pass batted down by Ronald Talley. Sanchez was met on the sideline by Ryan, who said something to his quarterback as McElroy began to warm up.

``From the get-go, from the first play, it just wasn't my day,'' Sanchez said.

It should make for an interesting week around Jets camp. If Tebow is healthy enough to play, he could be in line to start next week - at Jacksonville against his hometown Jaguars.

If not, Ryan will have to take a hard look at McElroy, a seventh-round pick out of Alabama last year who missed all last season with a thumb injury.

While the Jets' quarterback situation is unclear for the rest of this season, the sagging Cardinals have their own troubles at the position. Lindley was ineffective in his second NFL start. Arizona finished 0 for 15 in third-down situations.

Lindley was harassed by a Jets defense that was terrific in keeping the Cardinals out of the end zone, taking advantage of a rookie quarterback making his second NFL start, playing for Kevin Kolb who missed his sixth straight game with a rib injury.

On McElroy's second drive of the game, he completed a swing pass to Kahlil Bell, who fumbled the ball and Daryl Washington recovered deep in Jets territory.

Lindley connected with Michael Floyd on a 16-yard gain, but things stalled again for the Cardinals and they settled for Jay Feely's 35-yard field goal that made it 7-6 with 10:39 left.

The only scoring in the opening half came on Feely's 48-yarder as time expired. The 10-play drive was helped by a fake punt on fourth-and-7 from the Cardinals 25 when Rashad Johnson took the direct snap and zipped downfield 40 yards for the biggest play of the game to that point.

After two incompletions and a 5-yard toss to Rob Housler, Feely - an ex-Jet - came out and broke the scoreless ``slugfest.''

Things got started on an ominous note for the Jets as Sanchez was intercepted by Rhodes on New York's first offensive play of the game. Ryan criticized Rhodes in his book ``Play Like You Mean It'' last year for being a ``selfish'' player, and New York traded him after the 2009 season.

``There was no edge,'' said Rhodes, playing down a feud with Ryan. ``It was my first opportunity to come back and play well in front of friends and family.''

Arizona couldn't take advantage as the Cardinals went for it on fourth-and-1 from the 17 and Beanie Wells lost a yard.

NOTES: New York's Nick Folk hit the left upright on a 46-yard field-goal attempt and dinged a 52-yarder off the right upright. ... The Jets, ranked 30th against the run, held the Cardinals to 67 yards rushing, 40 coming on Johnson's fake punt. ... Shonn Greene quietly had his second 100-yard rushing game of the season, 104 on 24 carries. ... Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald was held to one catch for 23 yards.

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MLS postpones DC United match against Toronto FC amid health concerns

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MLS postpones DC United match against Toronto FC amid health concerns

D.C. United’s opening match of the MLS is Back tournament against Toronto FC on Sunday was postponed minutes before play was set to begin.

The league announced that upon testing both clubs for the coronavirus Saturday, one player received “an initial unconfirmed positive” and another’s test came back inconclusive. Citing health protocols that require all players to be retested before playing again, the MLS decided to reschedule Sunday’s match.

RELATED: FC DALLAS WITHDRAWS FROM MLS IS BACK TOURNAMENT AFTER 10 POSITIVE COVID-19 TESTS

According to The Washington Post’s Steven Goff, MLS deputy commissioner Mark Abbott told reporters on a conference call that the positive test came from a sample of a D.C. United player. Rookie forward Erik Sorga was originally slated to be on the team’s bench but was dropped off the game-day roster with no announcement coming from the club.

Goff also reported that the MLS cleared both teams to arrive at the complex in Orlando for the match Sunday. D.C. United did so while Toronto FC stayed back.

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Will another injury to Steven Stamkos put him in jeopardy for the game against the Capitals?

Will another injury to Steven Stamkos put him in jeopardy for the game against the Capitals?

Tampa Bay Lightning player Steven Stamkos is a superstar, but has not had great injury luck over the course of his career. Bad luck has sprung up again for the Lightning captain as he suffered a lower-body injury during the team's Phase 2 voluntary workouts and will be limited at the start of training camp.

General manager Julien BriseBois told reporters Saturday that Stamkos is expected to be ready for the return of the season.

"We don't have a specific timeline for when he will be a full participant in camp," BriseBois said. "But we expect he will be ready in time for games."

RELATED: 7 THINGS TO WATCH IN THE ROUND-ROBIN THAT WILL TELL US IF THE CAPS ARE CUP CONTENDERS

Tampa Bay will begin its postseason in a round robin tournament against the top seeds in the East. Their first game will be Aug. 3 against the Capitals.

Stamkos underwent core muscle surgery on March 2. The recovery timeline was six to eight weeks which he has clearly passed and it is believed this new injury is not related. Still, this will be a tough blow for Stamkos who will now have to be limited at the start of camp after missing the last seven games before the season was paused.

Washington was a perfect 3-0-0 against the Lightning this season. While Stamkos is expected to be ready for games, this is an injury the bears watching, especially if it drags further and further into camp.

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