Redskins

Manning joins exclusive club in win over Steelers

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Manning joins exclusive club in win over Steelers

From Comcast SportsNet

DENVER (AP) -- Denver quarterback Peyton Manning has become the third player in NFL history to throw 400 career touchdown passes.

Peyton joined Dan Marino and Brett Favre in the select group when he connected with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas for 71 yards early in third quarter to give Denver a 14-13 lead.

Favre has 508 career TD passes and Marino has 420.

Manning is the fastest to accomplish the feat. He reached the milestone in his 209th game and first with the Broncos. Marino reached 400 in his 227th game and Favre did it in his 228th game.

Manning, who signed as a free agent with Denver in March, spent his first 14 seasons with Indianapolis.

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At long last, finally some good news for Alex Smith and Redskins, per report

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USA Today Sports

At long last, finally some good news for Alex Smith and Redskins, per report

Since breaking the tibia and fibula in his right leg in mid-November, Alex Smith endured an intense recovery that included surgeries to fix the spiral fractures in his bones as well as multiple procedures to fight off infection in the leg. 

The good news, finally, is that Smith is now out of the hospital and his prognosis has improved to the point that he might be able to return to the football field in 2019, ESPN reported.

Without Smith, the Redskins have been in a tailspin.

The team has lost four straight, including an embarrassing home loss to the New York Giants where Washington trailed 40-0 in the second half. 

After losing Smith, backup quarterback Colt McCoy broke his leg two weeks later in Philadelphia. Without a third QB anywhere on the roster, McCoy's injury forced the Redskins to turn to QB Mark Sanchez, who played terrible in his only start against New York. In the second half of that game, 'Skins coach Jay Gruden turned to Josh Johnson, another journeyman who has played on 12 teams in his career. On Sunday, Johnson will make his first start since the 2011 season when the Redskins face the Jaguars. 

On a personal level, Redskins fans should be happy that finally good news is emerging for Smith.

On a football level, Redskins fans should be equally happy that Smith might be able to return to the field next year. He will count for more than $20 million against the salary cap next season, healthy or not, and then $21 million in 2020.

Washington would be wise to add another QB in the 2019 NFL Draft, but with the type of money committed to Smith for the next few seasons, the team would face significant financial hurdles if he's not on the field. 

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Even with everything going right for the Capitals, the penalty kill continues to struggle

Even with everything going right for the Capitals, the penalty kill continues to struggle

It’s hard to punch holes in a team that has won five straight and 12 of its last 14, but if there is one cause for concern in recent days for the Capitals it is the penalty kill.

Washington gave up three power play goals to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday and another two to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. In fact, Buffalo’s power play actually scored three times, but the first penalty to Michal Kempny on Saturday expired just as the goal was scored, literally exactly two minutes after the penalty was called. Officially, it was not considered a power play goal, but with the door just opening for Kempny to return, the Caps were still obviously shorthanded when the goal was scored.

Washington struggled on the penalty kill at the start of the season, but things improved dramatically when Tom Wilson returned from suspension. From Nov. 13 – when Wilson made his season debut – to Dec. 14, the penalty kill managed to kill off 85.-4 percent of the power plays it faced. The last two nights, however, the PK managed only 44.4-percent and that’s not counting the Sabres’ third goal that came as the penalty expired.

“We’ve got to continue to get better there,” Reirden said. “We had a stretch where we were doing a better job and then now it's finding its way, multiple ways, different ways into our net. That's not a winning recipe for success.”

So concerned about the penalty kill was Reirden after Friday’s game that he broke up the team’s red-hot fourth line in an attempt to add in another penalty killer. Reirden said before the game that the team’s metrics indicate Chandler Stephenson – who was a healthy scratch on Friday – is one of their better penalty killers. In order to get him back into the lineup, Reirden scratched Dmitrij Jaskin despite the incredible stretch he, Nic Dowd and Travis Boyd have enjoyed in recent days.

Washington may have gotten the win on Saturday, but in terms of improving the penalty kill, the move did not work.

The numbers from Saturday may be bad, but if you are looking for a silver lining, it is the fact that none of Buffalo’s three goals seem to have come as a result of a defensive breakdown. Jack Eichel netted the kinda-sorta power play goal when goalie Pheonix Copley gave up a rebound right to him on the far-side. Eichel then made a great individual effort to score the second goal, victimizing Dmitry Orlov with some fancy stick work and tucking the puck into the net just over the shoulder of Copley. Rasmus Dahlin scored the third goal when a Jeff Skinner shot from the slot was blocked and came straight to the rookie defenseman.

“They weren't exactly tic-tac-toes,” Devante Smith-Pelly said. “It happens. We’ve just got to stay the course and continue to get better.”

Of those three goals, the only one that looked like a bad play was the third as two Caps collapsed on Skinner leaving Dahlin open, but the point remains that the penalty kill did not appear to be egregiously bad.

Regardless of whether the goals are the result of breakdowns or bad luck, however, the fact is that the penalty kill is charged with keeping the puck out of the net it is has not been able to do so of late.

The Caps are off on Sunday, but will have two days of practice before Wednesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, plenty of time to shore things up on a suddenly leaky PK.

Said Reirden, “It's an area that we've got to work on here while we've got some practice time this week before we play Pittsburgh.”

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