Capitals

NFL Today, Week 13

NFL Today, Week 13

SCOREBOARD

Monday, Dec. 3

N.Y. Giants at Washington (8:30 p.m.). Robert Griffin III leads the Redskins (5-6) against Eli Manning and the first-place Giants (7-4) in an NFC East matchup.

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STARS

Passing

-Andrew Luck, Colts, was 24 for 54 for 391 yards and four touchdown passes and three interceptions in Indianapolis' 35-33 win over Detroit. Luck has 3,596 yards passing, the most by a rookie in his first 12 games. Luck's total already ranks third in NFL history for the most by a rookie in a single season, trailing Cam Newton (4,051) and Peyton Manning (3,739).

-Russell Wilson, Seahawks, was 23 for 37 for 293 yards and two touchdowns in Seattle's 23-17 overtime win over Chicago. Wilson has thrown a game-winning touchdown pass in the final two minutes of regulation or overtime three times. That is the most by a rookie since at least the 1970 merger.

-Aaron Rodgers, Packers, was 27 for 35 for 286 yards with a touchdown and an interception in Green Bay's 23-14 win over Minnesota.

-Brandon Weeden, Browns, was 25 for 36 for a career-high 364 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in Cleveland's 20-17 win over Oakland.

-Matthew Stafford, Lions, was 27 for 46 for 313 yards and two TDs and an interception in Detroit's 35-33 loss to Indianapolis.

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Rushing

-Adrian Peterson, Vikings, had 21 carries for 210 yards and a career-long 82-yard touchdown in Minnesota's 23-14 loss to Green Bay.

-Jamaal Charles, Chiefs, had 27 carries for 127 yards in Kansas City's 27-21 win over Carolina.

-BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals, had 25 carries for 118 yards in Cincinnati's 20-13 win over San Diego.

-Fred Jackson, Bills, had 25 carries for 109 yards in Buffalo's 34-18 win over Jacksonville.

-Shonn Greene, Jets, had 24 carries for 104 yards in New York's 7-6 win over Arizona.

-Bryce Brown, Eagles, had 24 carries for 169 yards in Philadelphia's 38-33 loss to Dallas.

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Receiving

-Calvin Johnson, Lions, had 13 catches for 171 yards and a touchdown in Detroit's 35-33 loss to Indianapolis. Johnson is the first player in NFL history with four consecutive games of at least 140 yards receiving in a season. He had at least 125 yards receiving for the fifth straight game, matching an NFL record set in 1966 by Pat Studstill with the Lions.

-Wes Welker, Patriots, had 12 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown in New England's 23-16 win over Miami. It was the 17th game in Welker's career in which he had at least 10 catches, tied with Hall of Famer Jerry Rice for the most in NFL history.

-Brandon Myers, Raiders, had 14 receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown in Oakland's 20-17 loss to Cleveland. He tied Tim Brown's franchise record for catches in a game.

-Brandon Marshall, Bears, had 10 catches for 165 yards in Chicago's 23-17 loss to Seattle.

-Josh Gordon, Browns, had six receptions for 116 yards in Cleveland's 20-17 win over Oakland.

-Steve Smith, Panthers, finished with five receptions for 120 yards in Carolina's 27-21 loss to Kansas City.

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Special Teams

-Jason Hanson, Lions, was 4 for 4 on field goals in Detroit's 35-33 loss to Indianapolis.

-Greg Zuerlein, Rams, made a 53-yard field goal at the end of the regulation and a 54-yarder in overtime in St. Louis' 16-13 win over the 49ers.

-Shaun Suisham, Steelers, made a 42-yard field goal as time expired to give Pittsburgh a 23-20 victory over Baltimore Ravens.

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Defense

-Morgan Burnett, Packers, had two interceptions in Green Bay's 23-14 win over Minnesota.

-Carlos Dunlap, Bengals, had two sacks, forced two fumbles (recovering one) in Cincinnati's 20-13 win over San Diego.

-Whitney Mercilus, Texans, recovered a fumble and had two sacks in Houston's 24-10 win over Tennessee.

-Demorrio Williams, Chargers, returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown in San Diego's 20-13 loss to Cincinnati.

-Von Miller, Broncos, returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown in Denver's 31-23 win over Tampa Bay.

-Janoris Jenkins, Rams, had a 2-yard fumble return for a touchdown in St. Louis' 16-13 overtime win over San Francisco. It was his third defensive score in two weeks.

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PLAYOFF BOUND

Four teams clinched playoff berths on Sunday, including three division winners. The Atlanta Falcons clinched the NFC South with Tampa Bay's loss at Denver. The New England Patriots clinched the AFC East with a 23-16 win at Miami. The Denver Broncos clinched the AFC West with a 31-23 win over Tampa Bay. The Houston Texans clinched a playoff berth with a 24-10 win at Tennessee.

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BIG WIN FOR THE CHIEFS

Just one day after linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and then turned the gun on himself, the Kansas City Chiefs banded together to play their finest game of the season, an inspired 27-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers that ended an eight-game losing streak suddenly rendered trivial. ``As far as playing the game, I thought that was the best for us to do, because that's what we do,'' coach Romeo Crennel said, tears forming in the corners of his eyes. ``We're football players and football coaches and that's what we do. We play on Sunday.''

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STREAKS

Tom Brady of the Patriots is the first starting quarterback in NFL history to win 10 division titles. The Patriots have won six consecutive games and are assured of their 12th winning season in a row. ... Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning tied Hall of Famer Joe Montana for the second-most division titles in NFL history with nine. ... The Broncos won their seventh straight game. ... Green Bay's win over Minnesota was its 10th straight over an NFC North opponent. Green Bay has won 24 of its past 26 regular-season games at home. ... The Texans set a franchise record for wins in a season and clinched a second straight postseason berth with a win over Tennessee. Houston is 6-0 on the road this season, the only unbeaten team away from home. ... The Arizona Cardinals were 0 for 15 on third down in a 7-6 loss to the New York Jets. ... The Raiders have lost five straight for the first time since a six-game losing streak in Lane Kiffin's first year as coach in 2006 and have been eliminated from playoff contention for a 10th straight year. ... The Lions lost for the fourth straight time, including three in a row at home after leading in the final quarter. They're the first team to lose three straight games when leading with 2 minutes left in regulation since San Diego did it in 2000, according to STATS LLC, and the first since at least 1983 to blow leads that late in three home games in a row. ... The Browns snapped a 12-game road losing streak with a 20-17 win over Oakland. The Browns won for the fourth time in seven games since an 0-5 start to match last season's win total. ... Cleveland's Phil Dawson had made a career-high 29 straight field goals before he had a third-quarter attempt blocked. ... Baltimore had its 15-game home winning streak snapped and also lost for the first time in 13 games against division foes. Baltimore's last defeat at home was against Pittsburgh in December 2010.

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STATS

Indy's Andrew Luck and Seattle's Russell Wilson became the first pair of rookie quarterbacks in NFL history to throw a game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute of regulation or overtime on the same day. ... Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is one of only seven players in NFL history to reach 8,000 yards rushing in 85 games or fewer. He joins Eric Dickerson (73), Jim Brown (80), Earl Campbell (83), Barry Sanders (83), Edgerrin James (84) and Emmitt Smith (85). ... The attendance of 43,641 was the lowest at Oakland since the Raiders drew 32,218 on Oct. 3, 2010.

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MOVE OVER TROY

Tony Romo set a Dallas Cowboys record with his 166th touchdown pass, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl champion Troy Aikman. Romo's record-breaking pass was a 23-yard touchdown to Dez Bryant in the third quarter of Sunday night's game against Philadelphia. It came in Romo's 89th career start.

Aikman started 165 games for the Cowboys from 1989-2000.

Romo is still second to Aikman for attempts, completions and yards passing.

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SPEAKING

``I can't say there are many Seattle fans in the locker room, but we appreciate the help.'' - Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers on the Seahawks' overtime win over Chicago that gave the Packers (8-4) a share of the division lead with the Bears.

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``Calvin Johnson is always a bright spot. Maybe I should have had him on defense for the last play.'' - Lions coach Jim Schwartz after his star receiver had a career-high 13 receptions for 171 yards before Andrew Luck threw a game-winning TD pass on the final play in Indy's 35-33 win.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Caps GM Brian MacLellan addresses latest Andre Burakovsky trade rumors

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USATSI

Caps GM Brian MacLellan addresses latest Andre Burakovsky trade rumors

Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky dodges trade rumors like Indiana Jones escaped giant rolling stones.

When Burakovsky made it through the Feb. 25 NHL trade deadline still with Washington it appeared he was here to stay a while longer. He even played better down the stretch. But that might not have been enough to save him. 

Multiple NHL sources said Wednesday that Burakovsky would likely be dealt at this weekend’s NHL Draft in Vancouver. There is no question he is drawing interest from teams around the league.  

“We'd like to keep him around, but obviously his name is out there a little bit, so we do talk to some teams about him,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said in a conference call on Thursday. “But we're not going to move him unless we get something we're comfortable with back.”

MacLellan, as blunt a general manager as there is in the NHL, might be employing semantics there. The Capitals are trying to get what they can and won’t undercut their own leverage by saying Burakovsky is out the door.

Burakovsky has frustrated coaches and executives alike in Washington. He flashes great potential and has the pedigree to be a solid middle-six forward. But he’s been stuck on 12 goals three years in a row and can’t seem to find a consistent role. Last year he was a healthy scratch six times. 

Injuries played some role in that in previous years. But Burakovsky hasn’t taken advantage of his opportunities, either. Yet he has also come up with some incredible goals. Three times he’s scored in a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. No one can forget his goals against Tampa Bay in the 2018 Eastern Conference Final that secured Washington’s trip to the Stanley Cup Final. He’s also entering his age-25 season and had 17 goals in his second season in the NHL. 

But with a $3.25 million qualifying offer due Monday and the salary cap possibly tighter than expected, Washington might not have a choice even if it has a last-second change of heart on trading Burakovsky. 

It’s not know exactly what kind of deal the Capitals are pursuing: A one-for-one deal with a player who has his own issues? A mix of draft picks and prospects who won’t contribute to a team in “win-now” mode? Washington could always pull back – as they did at the deadline. But without knowing what MacLellan feels he needs from a Burakovsky trade it’s hard to know what would give him another chance to stay.

MacLellan wouldn’t even commit to tendering Burakovsky that $3.25 million qualifying offer by Monday’s deadline. He said Washington will take a look at the salary cap once the NHL gets around to announcing it hopefully by Saturday at the draft. Then they’ll check back with the agents of all their RFAs – Jakub Vrana is safe - and decide how to proceed. 

But if they don’t qualify Burakovsky, the one other RFA they have the rights to who would draw interest around the league, he becomes an unrestricted free agent and can sign anywhere. Hard to see how that benefits the Capitals to lose an asset they claim to value for nothing. Time is running short.

“Andre had a frustrating year this year, but I think he finished it up well,” MacLellan said. “I think from the trade deadline on, I thought he had a good playoffs. We like the player. There's been some inconsistencies there, but when he's on his game, he's a good player.”

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Uncertainty over NHL salary cap has Caps GM Brian MacLellan frustrated

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Associated Press Images

Uncertainty over NHL salary cap has Caps GM Brian MacLellan frustrated

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan had a number in his head. It is the most important one for any NHL executive heading into the offseason: $83 million. 

That was the expected salary cap for the 2019-20 season and – with some small margin for error – the amount MacLellan and his staff used to formulate their offseason plan. But it is June 20 and the number that was originally at $83 million could drop to as low as $81.5 million, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. 

Given that Washington has some carryover for bonuses and overages from last season worth about $1.150 million, it could be working with a cap number as low as $80.35 million. That is not ideal for a team where every dollar could spell the difference between upgrading its middle-six forwards or adding a veteran fourth-line player. 

The NHL is expected to come to an agreement with the NHL Players’ Association soon and let teams know the number by Saturday, the second day of the entry draft in Vancouver. That’s a few days later than normal, however, and forces GMs to make decisions during the draft regarding trades and picking prospects they otherwise might not.   

"It's frustrating. We've been projecting using that 83 (million dollars) number for the last part of the year,” MacLellan told reporters in a conference call on Thursday. “At some point, we switched back to the 82.5 because there was some rumblings there, and now it seems to be going back a little further. I know it seems like it's not a large amount of dollars, but it does impact teams that are right at the number as far as salary.”

On an $82 million cap, the Capitals have about $9.7 million in room according to the great web site CapFriendly.com. But they need to sign restricted free agent Jakub Vrana and add four other bottom-six forwards and a depth defenseman. That is an extremely tight fit and might rule out some free agent options MacLellan had interest in. 

The free-agent “interview” period begins Sunday when teams can talk to agents of pending free agents and gauge what their demands will be and if they are a fit when the market opens on July 1. 

That, in turn, effects negotiations with Vrana and any other RFAs (Andre Burakovsky, Chandler Stephenson, Christian Djoos) that Washington might want to bring back. Burakovsky is likely to be traded at the draft this weekend, according to multiple NHL sources with knowledge of Washington’s thinking. A further budget crunch would seem to seal his fate.  

MacLellan wouldn’t confirm that and even said “we like the player.” But Burakovsky is due a $3.25 million qualifying offer by Monday so the decision might have been made for them. If the cap is the worst-case scenario ($81.5 million) the Capitals are in a real bind. But they’d like to know for sure.   

“When you see it go down to maybe 81.5, I think there's a pause on our part,” MacLellan said. “We want to see the number before we move forward because it's going to affect our roster decisions even on the bottom end - on fourth line and what we have to do going forward because the margins are that slim for us."

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