NFL Capsule: Rams at Buccaneers

NFL Capsule: Rams at Buccaneers

ST. LOUIS (6-7-1) At TAMPA BAY (6-8)

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

OPENING LINE - Buccaneers by 3

RECORD VS. SPREAD - St. Louis 9-5; Tampa Bay 7-5-2

SERIES RECORD - Rams lead 11-8

AP PRO32 RANKING - Rams No. 18; Buccaneers No. 20

LAST MEETING - Buccaneers beat Rams 18-17, Oct. 24, 2010

LAST WEEK - Rams lost to Vikings 36-22; Buccaneers lost to Saints 41-0





STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Mathematically, Rams remain in contention for playoff berth and can finish with winning record by beating Bucs, then closing with win over Seattle. Tampa Bay has dropped four straight and already assured of missing postseason for the fifth straight year. ... St. Louis third-year QB Sam Bradford threw for a career-best 377 yards in last week's loss to Minnesota and has topped 3,000 yards passing in a season for the second time in his career. ... Rams RB Steven Jackson is 91 yards shy of rushing for 1,000 yards for eighth consecutive year. He went over 10,000 for his career last week. ... St. Louis rookie CB Janoris Jenkins is tied for NFL lead with two interceptions returned for touchdowns. He's also scored on fumble return, giving him three TDs in past four games. ... Bucs QB Josh Freeman had one of worst games of career in last week's loss at New Orleans, throwing four interceptions and losing fumble. He's thrown for 3,471 yards and 25 touchdowns while joining Brad Johnson as only players in franchise history with three consecutive 3,000-yard seasons. ... Tampa Bay rookie RB Doug Martin has rushed for 1,250 yards and third in league with 1,647 total yards from scrimmage. He needs to average 176.5 yards per scrimmage in team's remaining two games to join Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James as only rookies to finish with 2,000 yards from scrimmage. ... Bucs DT Gerald McCoy, who has a career-best five sacks, played at Oklahoma with Bradford and was third overall pick in 2010 draft - two spots behind Rams QB. They also faced each other as rookies, with Freeman throwing TD pass in closing seconds for 18-17 Bucs win.


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3 things to watch in Caps vs. Panthers

3 things to watch in Caps vs. Panthers

The Capitals play their last home game of October on Friday as they host the Florida Panthers (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington). Here’s what you need to watch.

Dmitrij Jaskin is back in

Todd Reirden has made one adjustment to the lineup for Friday’s game, putting Dmitrij Jaskin back in on the fourth line in place of Nathan Walker. Jaskin has yet to record a point since joining the Capitals, but that has a lot to do with where he was coming from.

“This team is based on being creative and it's probably something that I missed in the last few years,” Jaskin said following Friday’s morning skate.

In St. Louis, Jaskin was coached by Mike Yeo and, before him, Ken Hitchcock. Both coaches preach a hard-nosed offensive style based more on effort and being defensively responsible than skill. Coming to a team like Washington then, a team that encourages skill and creativity on offense, is a pretty dramatic change.

Jaskin has played a very safe style since coming into the lineup. It’s good to be defensively responsible, but not if it completely chokes the life out of the offense. Jaskin is hardly generating any offense at all thus far since coming to Washington.

After a few more practices, can it finally spark some skill and creativity from Jaskin?

Can the Caps get the bottom six back on track?

The Caps have gotten only two goals in six games from their bottom six and both came in the team’s blowout opening win against Boston. The third and fourth lines generated some chances on Wednesday, but afterward, Reirden stressed that the team needed to see more production from its depth forwards.

“We've got to continue to get scoring depth wise if we want to have success in this league,” he said. “That's where everything's headed is you can't rely on your top guys to come through for you every night and we'll continue to focus on finding the right chemistry with that third and fourth line to be able to give us some added offense there as well.”

Florida could provide a good opportunity for those players to get some points on the board.

Starting goalie Roberto Luongo is out with an injury and James Reimer will get the start on Friday. In three games, Reimer has a GAA of 3.62 and save percentage of .885.

As a team, the Panthers currently rank 24th in goals against per game with 3.50.

Two teams in need of a win

Florida is still searching for its first win of the season with a 0-2-2 record. It is still early, but this is a Panthers team with playoff aspirations and you don’t want to dig yourself in too deep a hole to start or it becomes very difficult to dig out.

The Caps, meanwhile, will be playing in their final home game of October. They leave Saturday for Vancouver to kick-off a three-game Western Canada trip. They then will face the Canadiens in Montreal on Nov. 1 before finally returning home.

Washington’s next home game will not come until Nov. 3. That makes Friday’s game a big one for the Caps as they try to secure two points before hitting the road.

“It's definitely a big game,” Reirden said. “We want to build on some of the things we were able to accomplish last game. It's difficult anytime you go out west with time changes and different stuff. We know that [Florida is] going to be a desperate team that hasn't had the start that they want and they're talented so it's an important game for us to go on the road on a winning note.”


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5 must-see moments from Wizards' last-second loss to Heat

5 must-see moments from Wizards' last-second loss to Heat

The Washington Wizards lost to the Miami Heat 113-112 on Thursday night in their 2018-19 regular-season opener. Here are five plays or moments worth revisiting...

Five Must-See Moments from Wizards vs. Heat

1. BooooOubre

Someone was in the Halloween spirit. Two weeks before the holiday arrives, Kelly Oubre Jr. is already wearing costumes.

He showed up to the game wearing chains and holding a skull. Perhaps this was intended to send a message to his arch-rival, Kelly Olynyk, who now plays for the Heat:

More on Oynyk later...

2.  Flashes of brilliance from Wizards bench

Though the Wizards' bench produced mixed results, there were many moments where they flashed the potential to be much-improved year-over-year. The guard combination of Tomas Satoransky and Austin Rivers, in particular, is enticing. 

On this play, they were on the same page as Rivers caught the defense sleeping and Satoransky found him with a well-timed bounce pass:

3. Jason Smith makes the most of opportunity

With Dwight Howard out, head coach Scott Brooks had to turn to Ian Mahinmi as the starter and that meant Jason Smith as his backup. Smith had an uneven night battling Hassan Whiteside, but made some nice plays on the offensive end. 

On this one, he finished an alley-oop assisted by Wall:

Smith also had this dunk just a few minutes earlier:

Smith had four points and six rebounds.

4. Wall-Star Mode

This was the best play of the night. Wall, who had been getting into the lane with ease for much of the first half, exploded to the rim and threw down one of his signature left-handed hooks:

Wall had 26 points, nine assists, three blocks, and a steal.

5. Olynyk sinks Wizards ... again

Okay, back to Olynyk. He was booed all night by Wizards fans, who remember his incident with Oubre in the 2017 playoffs, but the Heat center had the last laugh. He was in perfect position to grab an offensive rebound and lay it in for the go-ahead points in the final seconds:

That was Miami's 22nd offensive rebound of the night. What a tough way for the Wizards to lose their opener, on a complete lapse in focus right when it counted most.