From Comcast SportsNetCINCINNATI (AP) -- Joaquin Arias hit a grounder toward third base and took off, covering those 90 feet in a blink as a full-to-capacity ballpark went silent with angst.Which would get there first, the infielder or the ball? Who would win the decisive playoff dash?"That's the fastest I've ever run to first," Arias said.Fast enough to extend the San Francisco Giants' season one more day.Reds third baseman Scott Rolen bobbled the short-hop, giving Arias enough time to beat the throw as the go-ahead run scored for a 2-1 victory Tuesday night that avoided an NL division series sweep.Hardly able to get a hit the last two games, the Giants turned a passed ball and a misplayed grounder into a win that cut their series deficit to 2-1 and extended Cincinnati's 17 years of home postseason futility."These are the type of games we've played all season long," said Sergio Romo, who pitched the last two innings for the win. "We are a gritty and grinding team."And, with their season on the line, a little lucky, too."We got a break there at the end," manager Bruce Bochy said.Left-hander Barry Zito will pitch Game 4 on Wednesday for the Giants, who have won the last 11 times he started. The Reds have to decide whether to try ace Johnny Cueto, forced out of the opener in San Francisco on Saturday with spasms in his back and side.Manager Dusty Baker said after the game that they hadn't decided whether to let Cueto try it, bring back Mat Latos on short rest again, or replace Cueto with Mike Leake, who wasn't on the division series roster.Switching out Cueto would leave the Reds ace ineligible to pitch in the championship series should the Reds get that far."It's very difficult, but it all depends on if your ace can't go or whatever it is," Baker said. "That's part of the conversation -- us going without him. We realize what's at stake."They were hoping to avoid having to make that choice. One grounder forced the issue.The Giants managed only three hits against Homer Bailey and the Reds bullpen, but got two of them in the 10th -- along with a passed ball by Ryan Hanigan -- to pull it out. San Francisco won despite striking out 16 times.Rolen, an eight-time Gold Glove winner, couldn't cleanly come up with Arias' grounder, which put him in a tough position."I've gone through the play many times in my mind between then and now, and I think I would play it the same way," Rolen said. "It hit my glove. I just couldn't get it to stick."The Reds haven't won a home playoff game since 1995, the last time they reached the NL championship series. One win away from making it back there, they couldn't beat a Giants team that has barely been able to get a hit.San Francisco got only two hits while losing 9-0 on Sunday night, setting up that 2-0 deficit in the series. The Giants had only one single in seven innings off Homer Bailey, making his first start at Great American Ball Park since his Sept. 28 no-hitter in Pittsburgh.Fortunately for the Giants, Bailey's one lapse led to a run. He hit a batter, walked another and gave up a sacrifice fly by Angel Pagan in the third inning.That was it until the 10th, with the Giants going down swinging -- the Reds set a season high with 16 strikeouts. Closer Aroldis Chapman got a pair of strikeouts on 100 mph fastballs during a perfect ninth inning, keeping it tied at 1.San Francisco's one-hit wonders finally got it going against Jonathan Broxton, who gave up leadoff singles by Buster Posey -- the NL batting champion -- and Hunter Pence, who pulled his left calf on a wild swing before getting his hit.With two outs, Hanigan couldn't come up with a pitch, letting the runners advance. Moments later, Cincinnati's chance for a sweep was over.Instead, a Reds team that lost a lot -- closer Ryan Madson in spring training, top hitter Joey Votto for six weeks at midseason, Baker for the NL Central clincher, Cueto in the first inning of the first playoff game -- ended up with another playoff loss at home.Baker was back in the home dugout at Great American for the first time in nearly a month, recovered from an irregular heartbeat and a mini-stroke. After a pregame ovation, he settled in his red folding chair with a toothpick on his lips.The 63-year-old manager watched his pitching staff dominate again, but fail to get that breakthrough win. This time, the offense came up short, getting only four hits.Cincinnati hasn't won a home playoff game since beating the Dodgers 10-1 at Riverfront Stadium for a three-game division sweep in the 1995 NLDS. They then got swept by Atlanta.They didn't get back to the playoffs again until 2010, when they got no-hit by Roy Halladay and swept by the Phillies in the opening round.The second-largest crowd in Great American history was still getting the hang of playoff rooting. A video board message instructed the 44,501 fans not to wave white rally towels while the Reds were in the field -- could be distracting.Didn't take long to get those towels twirling. Brandon Phillips led off with a single, but was thrown out at third when he tried to advance on a ball that got away from Posey. It was costly -- the Reds went on to score on a walk and a pair of singles, including Jay Bruce's RBI hit to right.The Reds got only one more hit the rest of the way.NOTES:The game started 3 minutes late because a sign-waving fan ran onto the field. He was tackled by police in center field. ... Giants avoided their third playoff sweep in franchise history. ... The Giants haven't lost three in a row since they dropped five straight from July 25-30. ... Tom Browning, who pitched the Reds' previous no-hitter -- a perfect game against the Dodgers in 1988 -- threw the ceremonial pitch. ... Bailey fanned six in a row, matching the Reds' postseason record. ... The only larger crowd at GABP was for the 2010 playoff game against Philadelphia.
When Mike Locksley was hired to become the University of Maryland's newest head football coach earlier this month, it was expected that his biggest impact would come on the recruiting trail. Locksley has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best recruiters of talent in the DMV, and his hometown connections were a major draw for the university and its boosters.
His recruiting acumen doesn’t just apply to players, it seems. He’s begun putting together a coaching staff at Maryland, and many of the rumored candidates would represent major “gets” for a school of Maryland’s stature and reputation.
Former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has accepted a position as tight ends coach and associate head coach for the Terps, Jeff Ermann of InsideMdSports reported on Tuesday.
Jones was a head coach for a decade prior to spending 2018 as an offensive analyst for Alabama, an off-field position. In the years prior, he spent time at Central Michigan, Cincinnati, and most recently Tennessee. He holds a career record of 84-54, and is 4-2 all-time in bowl games. He had a winning record at each school.
The title of associate head coach is a nice addition for Jones, but a former SEC head coach who experienced some success would seem to be somewhat overqualified for a position coach. Jones, similarly to Locksley, was attempting to rehabilitate his reputation under Nick Saban at Alabama, and is likely aiming to return to head coaching one day.
It’s still a nice coup for Maryland, as Jones comes to College Park with a reputation as a good offensive mind and a stellar recruiter. Jones signed multiple top-10 recruiting classes at Tennessee, and while coaching in the SEC has certain advantages, his recruiting acumen fits in well with Locksley.
It remains unclear how much of an overhaul Maryland’s coaching staff will undergo under Locksley, though it stands to reason there will be some turnover. 24/7 Sports is also reporting that Locksley will be bringing on John Papuchis to coach special teams and linebackers, and Cory Robinson, a former director of player personnel at Maryland under Randy Edsall. Robinson’s role is not yet specified, though based on his experience it is assumed he’ll be working with defensive backs.
Elijah Brooks, longtime head coach at local powerhouse DeMatha, has also been rumored to be joining the Maryland staff, though it has not been reported at this time.
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It was a wild Week 14 for the AFC to say the least.
There was the Miami Miracle and the Indianapolis Colts bringing the Houston Texans' nine-game winning streak to a halt.
January football is so close we can almost taste it. Here's where things stand in the AFC as we head into Week 15.
AFC Playoff Standings:
1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-2, 4-0)
The Baltimore Ravens weren't going to make this easy for the Chiefs, but Patrick Mahomes' ridiculous playmaking couldn't be stopped.
The Chiefs clinched a playoff berth in the 27-24 overtime win and can clinch the AFC West with a win over the Los Angeles Chargers Thursday night.
Remaining Games: Chargers (10-3), @Seahawks (8-5), Raiders (3-10).
2. New England Patriots (9-4, 3-1)
A crazy 69 yard walk off touchdown from Dolphins' Kenyan Drake put the Patriots two games back of the Chiefs for the one seed and without home field advantage if they face them in the postseason.
Now as they head to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers, a bye week in January could be on the line.
Remaining Games: @Steelers (7-5-1), Buffalo (4-9), Jets (4-9)
3. Houston Texans (9-4, 3-2)
The Texans' nine-game win streak came to an end Sunday when Andrew Luck and the Colts earned a 24-21 win in Houston.
Still two full games up of the Colts and Tennessee Titans in the AFC South, a bye week seems far-fetched as the Patriots hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over them.
Remaining Games: @Jets (4-9), @Eagles (6-7), Jacksonville (4-9)
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5-1, 3-1-1)
Sunday was a debacle for the Steelers. Big Ben suffered a rib injury but came back in the fourth to lead his team down the field before kicker Chris Boswell's foot slipped out from underneath of him in what would have been the game-winning field goal.
The 24-21 loss leaves the Steelers just half a game up of the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North as they host the Patriots Sunday and still have to visit the Saints. The division, and the playoffs, aren't a lock for the Steelers.
Remaining Games: Patriots (9-4), @Saints (11-2), Bengals (5-8)
5. Los Angeles Chargers (10-3, 2-2)
After narrowly beating the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21 Sunday, the Chargers have a short week as they head to Kansas City to face their division rivals on Thursday night.
A win over the Chiefs keeps the AFC West title up for grabs.
Remaining Games: @Chiefs (11-2), Ravens (7-6), @Denver (6-7)
6. Baltimore Ravens (7-6, 2-3)
Ravens-Chiefs was one of the most entertaining games of the 2018 season and proved that Lamar Jackson and the No. 1 overall defense can hang with the best.
The good news is that they're still half a game back of the Steelers in the AFC North. The bad news is that they're in a four-way race with the Colts, Titans and Dolphins for the final playoff spot.
Three wins to close out the season is crucial.
Remaining Games: Buccaneers (5-8), @Chargers (10-3), Browns (5-7-1)
In The Hunt:
7. Indianapolis Colts (7-6, 3-2)
Ending the Texans' nine-game win streak on the road is certainly impressive as it kept the Colts' playoff hopes alive.
Their remaining games won't make the road to the playoffs easy, but they do hold the tiebreaker over the Dolphins.
Remaining Games: Cowboys (8-5), Giants (5-8), @Tennessee (7-6)
8. Miami Dolphins (7-6, 4-1)
The Dolphins just continue to surprise us. Their 34-33 win over the Patriots was the highlight of everyone except Patriots fans' Sunday.
The final playoff spot will be hard to reach as they sit behind the Colts but ahead of the Titans in head-to-head record.
Remaining Games: @Vikings (6-6-1), Jacksonville (4-9), @Bills (4-9)
9. Tennessee Titans (7-6, 3-2)
The Titans earned an AFC win over the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, but their playoff hopes aren't within close reach.
They are no longer in the sixth playoff spot tiebreaker as they are behind both the Colts and the Dolphins.
Remaining Games: @Giants (5-8), Redskins (6-7), Colts (7-6)
10. Denver Broncos (6-7, 2-2)
The Broncos lost to the San Francisco 49ers 20-14 Sunday, which some would say is not great for a team trying to wiggle their way into the playoffs.
Remaining Games: Browns (5-7-1), @Raiders (3-10), Chargers (10-3)
11. Cleveland Browns (5-7-1, 2-1-1)
Browns fans have a lot to be excited about as Baker Mayfield is a force and they earned another home win on Sunday against the spiraling Carolina Panthers.
With two division games still to be played, the Browns have a slight chance at the playoffs. Nonetheless, the 2018 season is hopefully the start of a new era for this organization.
Remaining Games: @Broncos (6-7), Bengals (5-8), @Ravens (7-6)
12. Cincinnati Bengals (5-7, 1-3)
Hue Jackson's bad luck continues with the Bengals as the playoffs are nowhere in sight.
Remaining Games: Raiders (3-10), @Browns (5-7-1), @Steelers (7-5-1)
Eliminated: Oakland Raiders (3-10), New York Jets (3-10), Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) and the Buffalo Bills (4-9)
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