Redskins

Rodgers throws 6 TDs in Packers' rout of Houston

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Rodgers throws 6 TDs in Packers' rout of Houston

HOUSTON (AP) Aaron Rodgers ran into the end zone, spiked the ball and performed the ``championship belt'' gesture that's become his trademark.

A holding call wiped out the play, about the only thing that didn't go Green Bay's way in Houston on Sunday night.

The reigning MVP set a career high and tied a franchise record with six touchdown passes and the Packers played their best game of their so far inconsistent season in a 42-24 rout of the previously unbeaten Texans.

Jordy Nelson caught three touchdown passes and James Jones had two, including a beautiful, diving one-hander in the fourth quarter for the Packers (3-3). Tight end Tom Crabtree had the other, a 48-yarder that Rodgers released just before taking a hit from Texans' outside linebacker Brooks Reed.

``This was an important game for us,'' Rodgers said. ``We had a couple not go our way, games we should have won and 2-4 would have been very difficult.''

Rodgers completed 24 of 37 passes for 338 yards. He tied Matt Flynn's game record for TD passes, set in last year's regular-season finale against Detroit with Rodgers resting on the sideline in advance of the playoffs.

Green Bay's offense came in ranked only 21st this year. Rodgers was openly disappointed in his own play, and the offensive line had also been an issue, allowing 21 sacks.

It somehow clicked against the league's third-ranked defense. The Texans had given up a total of six TD passes in their first five games.

``This is just a team that has a lot of pride in our locker room,'' Rodgers said. ``I said it this week, there's not any quit in that locker room. It's almost better when people are doubting us a little bit, I think. We kind of band together. People tried to pull us apart this week and we stuck together and found our motivation.''

The Packers heard criticism from fans in Green Bay all week after blowing a 21-3 halftime lead to the Indianapolis Colts. Another loss would have dropped them to 2-4 for the first time since 2006, and they missed the playoffs that season.

Instead, they put themselves right back in the thick of their divisional race.

Arian Foster scored two touchdowns, but ran for only 29 yards for the Texans (5-1). The loss leaves the Atlanta Falcons (6-0) as the only unbeaten team in the NFL.

Houston, meanwhile, badly missed star linebacker Brian Cushing, who was placed on injured reserve after tearing a knee ligament in last week's 23-17 win over the New York Jets.

But there was more to the Texans' collapse than just that.

Rookie DeVier Posey lined up offside on a Green Bay punt, resulting in a Packers' first down. Rodgers then lofted a perfect pass to Nelson over the shoulder of cornerback Johnathan Joseph for a 41-yard touchdown, stunning the noisy crowd.

Houston's offensive line also looked shaky. The Packers sacked Matt Schaub on each of Houston's first two series, forcing quick punts. Schaub was only sacked three times in the first five games.

Houston defensive end J.J. Watt sacked Rodgers, and fired up the fans by mimicking Rodgers' ``championship belt'' pose after the play. Watt, who finished with two sacks, came into the game with 7 1/2 sacks, just behind Green Bay's Clay Matthews, who led the league with eight and didn't have one against the Texans.

That didn't faze Rodgers, who eluded a rush from Connor Barwin and completed a 24-yard pass to Randall Cobb, who had seven catches for 102 yards. Jones made a diving, fingertip catch in the end zone just before the end of the first quarter for a 14-0 lead.

Rodgers completed 15 of 21 passes for 187 yards and was only sacked once in the first half.

``He put on a show tonight,'' Texans coach Gary Kubiak said of Rodgers.

Not that they needed it, but the Texans helped Rodgers with untimely penalties.

A holding call wiped out an 11-yard touchdown run by Rodgers. But Barwin stepped on another player's back trying to block Mason Crosby's field-goal attempt, resulting in a first down.

Safety Danieal Manning was called for a personal foul after a whistle on a third-down play, and Rodgers threw another TD pass for a 28-10 lead.

``That's discipline,'' Kubiak said, ``and discipline starts with me.''

NOTES: Packers LB D.J. Smith and RB Brandon Saine left the game with ``significant'' knee injuries, according to the team. ... Rodgers surpassed his previous career high (5), set in the second-to-last game of last season, against Chicago. ... The Packers improved to 19-5 in Sunday night games. ... Texans WR Andre Johnson caught eight passes for 75 yards, going over 10,000 yards receiving in his career. ... The Texans made a field goal for the 16th consecutive game, a franchise record. ... The announced attendance was 71,702, a record for a regular-season game at Reliant Stadium.

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Why Daniel Jones might make sense if the Redskins truly believe they’re ‘close’

Why Daniel Jones might make sense if the Redskins truly believe they’re ‘close’

Daniel Jones seems unlikely to be the best quarterback in the 2019 rookie class. He also seems unlikely to be a bust.

Given the Redskins' history at the quarterback position, both recent and ancient, Jones’ lack of sexy upside might be his most attractive quality. 

Polarizing might not accurately portray this class of QBs. Divisive might be the better word. 

Kyler Murray ranks as the top prospect, and seems likely to be drafted first overall by the Arizona Cardinals. Still, some teams don’t believe he has the size or commitment to make it as an NFL signal caller.

After Murray there’s even less consensus. 

Dwayne Haskins has a big arm and great size, but only started one year in college and didn’t show much ability to read defenses in the Ohio State offense. Drew Lock makes some 'Wow!' plays, but then he also makes terrible plays. His most consistent traits are arm talent and inconsistency. 

In some order, Murray, Haskins and Lock probably mark the top three rated passers in the 2019 draft. 

Then comes Jones. 

The Duke quarterback does nothing that screams first-round pick. His combine numbers were good and his game film seems good. At the same time, there aren’t any real knocks against him either, other than Jones doesn’t have the super star potential the other three have shown. 

Jones isn’t a sexy pick. He’s not even a PG13 make-out scene pick. 

And that might be just what the Redskins want. 

For months, the Washington front office has repeatedly talked about being “close.” Close to what remains a question, but it must at least mean competing for the NFC East title and winning a playoff game. 

Well, of all the rookie passers, Jones might be the one that presents the least risk. He might not make jaw dropping deep throws or electric moves outside of the pocket, but he probably won’t throw 20-plus interceptions either. 

Last year, the Redskins traded for Alex Smith to run their offense. Smith’s best traits are controlling the football and making the smart, not sexy, play. 

You know what rookie could fit that mold? 

Certainly isn’t Murray. Probably isn’t Lock. And Haskins likely needs to sit a year to learn NFL offenses. 

Jones, however, has been playing in a pro system for years at Duke. He’s been coached by the Manning-Whisperer in David Cutcliffe. 

Veteran NFL personnel executives believe in Jones in a major way. Gil Brandt, a Hall of Fame former Cowboys GM, compared Jones to Peyton Manning. Seriously.

"When you watch him and you go back (20) years and watch Peyton Manning, you are watching the same guy. He's athletic," Brandt said on an SiriusXM pre-draft conference call. "He doesn't have a rocket for an arm, but neither did Peyton. Very smart."

ESPN's Mel Kiper believes Jones will be the best QB in this draft. Former Redskins GM Charley Casserly thinks Jones is the most ready for the NFL of any 2019 passer.

Add all of that up, and the Redskins taking Jones with the 15th overall pick starts to make sense. Then go back and listen to some Jay Gruden quotes, and it makes even more sense. 

Speaking at the NFL League Meetings in Arizona last month, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden explained that he likes winning low-scoring, grinding football games. 

"You try to protect the football and let the strength of your football team carry you through the tough times and hopefully your team or offense or special teams or offense will come through and make a play at a critical time," Gruden said. " It was a great recipe for us early. I like playing that way."

Of the rookie quarterbacks the Redskins might be able to get, Jones could be best suited for that style, especially in 2019. Not every analyst believes in Jones, including NBC Sports' Chris Simms. He doesn't even rate Jones in the top four QBs available this fall.

Regardless of the analysts, the Redskins believe they’re close, and need a quarterback that won’t lose them games. Of the rookie collection, Jones best fits that role.

Just by his risk taking nature, Lock will probably lose some games as a rookie. Maybe throughout his career. Haskins can play but the speed of the NFL will require a major adjustment for his game. Murray is dynamic, but his skill set requires a complete offensive overhaul for whatever team takes him. 

Add any of those three QBs to the Redskins and it’s hard to imagine the team competing for the playoffs in 2019. In the penultimate year of his contract, Gruden needs to compete for the playoffs in 2019. 

Last season, ugly or not, the Redskins legitimately looked on their way to a playoff spot. In Week 10, the team was 6-3. Injuries derailed those plans, but the roadmap was established. 

Even at 6-3, the Redskins hardly played aesthetically pleasing football. It sure as hell wasn't sexy. 

If the Redskins want to recreate that formula, and build on it for the future, Jones might be the best pick. 

In football, in sports, even in life, sometimes the best course of action is to avoid a major mistake and play it safe. 

The Redskins tried to that last year with Smith, but a broken leg disrupted the plan. 

It's entirely possible the Redskins don't take a quarterback in the first round, but if they do, Jones offers the best chance for a mulligan.

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Late comeback falls short as Twins complete sweep

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Late comeback falls short as Twins complete sweep

After dropping both games of the doubleheader on Saturday, the Orioles comeback bid was just short on Sunday, as they fell 4-3 to the Minnesota Twins.

The loss marked a sweep for the Twins, and the second time the Orioles have been swept in Camden Yards this season.

PLAYER NOTES:

ORIOLES:

Outfielder Dwight Smith, Jr. is not expected to miss time due to injury, according to manager Brandon Hyde. Smith was removed during Sunday's loss with what was considered to be right quad tightness. While he may be held out a couple days, do not expect him to end up on the injured list.

Second baseman Johnathan Villar continues to impress early on in 2019. Villar stole his sixth base of the season (in 23 games) on Sunday, also adding three hits and an RBI during the loss. He continues to be a bright spot for a young Orioles team.

The Orioles defense did not help starting pitcher Dylan Bundy, who gave up four runs (two earned) over six innings on Sunday. In the first inning, Smith Jr. lost a fly ball in the sun that resulted in a three-base error, leading to two runs. Regardless, Bundy moved to 0-3 on the season with a 6.56 ERA, neither of which is very good.

TWINS:

Relief pitcher Taylor Rogers earned his second save of the series -- and third of the season -- on Sunday. Despite allowing a run, he could be emerging as the Twins go-to ninth inning arm, but manager Rocco Baldelli could continue to move forward on a game-by-game basis.

Outfielder Max Kepler missed the entire series against Baltimore with what was described as just an illness. His health is something to keep an eye on moving forward, as Kepler has not played since Thursday.

WHITE SOX:

Outfielder Jon Jay is traveling with the team, but it is unlikely if he will play in any of games in the upcoming series against Baltimore. Jay has yet to play this season after suffering a hip injury late in Spring Training.

Starting pitcher Lucas Giolito also will miss the entire series against Baltimore with a hamstring injury that sent him to the injured list. The right-hander has not had the best start to 2019, as he has a 5.30 ERA through four starts.

INJURIES:

OF Dwight Smith, Jr.: Quadriceps, day-to-day

RP Richard Bleier: Shoulder, 10-Day IL

SP Nate Karns: Arm, 10-Day IL

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, 60-Day IL

COMING UP:

Monday 4/22: White Sox @ Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards 

Tuesday 4/23: White Sox @ Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards 

Wednesday 4/24: White Sox @ Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards 

Source: Rotoworld

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