Redskins

Titans enjoy relief of victory no matter how ugly

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Titans enjoy relief of victory no matter how ugly

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Titans finally have their first victory in a month. It was an ugly game against the New York Jets that they had no business winning, and that's OK with them.

Yes, winning really is all that matters.

The Titans overcame a blocked field goal, two shanked punts by the player who's been their most reliable and an offense that managed one drive when it mattered most. There were a few highlights in Monday night's ugly 14-10 win: a franchise-record touchdown run from Chris Johnson, and the defense forced five turnovers and had four sacks.

Coach Mike Munchak called the win good for not just all the coaches and players but for everyone associated with the team after a tough stretch the past few weeks.

``So I think last night was just a feeling of relief,'' Munchak said Tuesday. ``Playing hard and not always playing our best or making all the plays that were there, but hanging together for four quarters. It was interesting all the way to the end and win a football game. It's exactly what we needed and helps to build on the next one.''

That may be easier said than done. Unlike the bumbling Jets, the Titans (5-9) visit Green Bay (10-4) on Sunday. The Packers have clinched the NFC North and want momentum going into the postseason.

Tennessee players had Tuesday off. When they return to practice, coaches will have a few decisions to make.

The staff must decide who starts at center now that Kevin Matthews has a high right ankle sprain that will keep him out the rest of the season, the fifth offensive lineman lost to injury this season and the second center. Rookie Kendall Wright, their leading receiver with 62 catches, thought he cracked a rib and was being evaluated Tuesday.

``We won is all that matters right now,'' Munchak said. ``We need to figure out for the next game how to score more points and build off of that. So you'd rather build off of at least we found a way to win a football game.''

The Titans still have plenty to figure out after the win in which the final three plays sum up just how ugly it was.

Johnson ran for 2 yards on third-and-8, getting the ball out to the Tennessee 6. Brett Kern, the punter who had been averaging 42.2 net yards on his punts this season, shanked a punt under pressure that fluttered through the air only 19 yards. That set the Jets up to win the game at the Tennessee 25 with 47 seconds left.

Only Mark Sanchez's inability to corral a low snap in the shotgun that rookie linebacker Zach Brown covered up sealed Tennessee's first win since beating Miami 37-3 on Nov. 11.

``It's been like that all season,'' Titans safety Michael Griffin said after the game. ``It was no different. I'm just glad we were finally able to get things turned around and have the ball finally bounce our way.''

Really the only offensive highlights for the Titans came on Johnson's 94-yard TD run in the second quarter, padding his NFL record to six TDs of 80 yards or longer. It was Johnson's third such TD this season, tying him with Barry Sanders in 1997 as the only NFL players to notch three TDS of 80 yards or longer in a single season.

Jake Locker ran for a 13-yard touchdown on a quarterback sweep left late in the third quarter that provided the winning margin. The other big highlight is Locker did not turn the ball over once after losing nine turnovers combined the previous three games. The Titans are 3-1 this season when not turning the ball over even once.

Tennessee went three-and-out six times and didn't score a single point off the five turnovers despite Jason McCourty's first interception setting them up at their own 48 late in the first half and his second put them at the Jets 46 early in the third.

The Titans also had a season-high both with 14 penalties and 111 yards, which Munchak called part of ``growing up.''

Kern, who a career-long 71-yarder earlier this season, also had another poor punt that set up the Jets at the Titans 35 for New York's lone touchdown. Kern took to Twitter after the game to apologize.

But a defense that came in 31st giving up 29.9 points per game got a season-high in turnovers, including four interceptions. McCourty doubled what he had this season, while Griffin came in with only one.

The Titans also may get middle linebacker Colin McCarthy back after he missed three games with a concussion, which would be a big boost too.

``We're trending in the right direction,'' Munchak said.

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NFL Draft 2019 Redskins live blog: First round draft updates, analysis

NFL Draft 2019 Redskins live blog: First round draft updates, analysis

The 2019 NFL Draft is finally upon us. You can trash the mock drafts and take a break from the Twitter rumors as we'll soon know what each team is really planning.

Tonight, Thursday, April 25, NFL teams will look to find their next franchise player in the form of the most talented college prospects in the country.

Taking place in Nashville, Tennessee, this year's draft promises to be as exciting as ever with numerous storylines dominating the event. Will Kyler Murray go No. 1? Where will the other QBs fall, and will a team move up to grab one? What defensive players go first? All these questions and more will be answered soon enough.

The Arizona Cardinals will kick off the festivities at 8:00 p.m. ET as they possess the first overall pick in the draft.

As for the Redskins, they'll be picking at No. 15, though there has been no shortage of rumors that a move could be made to climb up the order.

Once the commissioner takes the stage, all predictions go out the window. Luckily, we'll have you covered with all the picks, trades and moves here in the live blog and draft tracker.

NFL Draft 2019 Redskins First-Round Tracker and Live Updates:

6:30 p.m. - Less than two hours until the clock starts ticking, there's plenty of information to get caught up on. Here's what you need to know:

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Wizards 2018-19 end of season grades: Bradley Beal

Wizards 2018-19 end of season grades: Bradley Beal

Now that the dust has settled for the 2018-19 Wizards season, it's time to review the roster and hand out individual grades...

Who: Bradley Beal, shooting guard

2018-19 stats: 36.9 mpg, 25.6 ppg, 5.5 apg, 5.0 rpg, 1.5 spg, 0.7 bpg, 2.7 tov, 47.5 FG%, 35.1 3P% (2.5/7.3), 54.0 eFG%, 80.8 FT% (4.4/5.5), 113 ortg, 114 drtg

Best game: 1/13 vs. Raptors - 43 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds, three steals, two blocks, 6-12 3PT

Grade: A+

Season review: One could argue that nobody deserves a higher grade in the Wizards organization for their 2018-19 season than Bradley Beal, who had by far the best individual year of any player on the team. He had high expectations coming into the season and exceeded them, taking the next step from an All-Star to a legitimate All-NBA candidate.

Beal also continued to represent the organization well in public. He spoke for the team after many difficult losses with poise and maturity. And he brought positive attention to the franchise for his charitable efforts, recently being named as a finalist for the league's community assist award.

Beal's on-court performance was a shining light amid a disastrous season overall for the team. He set career-highs in scoring, rebounds, assists, steals and free throw attempts. He played in all 82 games for the second straight season and never complained despite leading the NBA in minutes.

The most impressive part of Beal's season may be how he responded when John Wall went down due to injury. Wall last played on Dec. 26 and in the next 47 games, Beal averaged 27.2 points, 6.0 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals. 

Beal's final numbers put him in elite company. He became the first 25-5-5 player in Wizards/Bullets franchise history. He was one of only six players to reach that mark this season, a list that includes Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, James Harden, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry.

Even as the season was winding down and the Wizards were well out of playoff contention, Beal gave an honest and consistent effort. That stood out in a year in which some of his teammates did not play hard and were called out by head coach Scott Brooks and team leaders for doing so. 

Now Beal, of course, had many reasons to keep giving 100 percent. With the numbers he has put up, he could make All-NBA in late May and, if he does, will qualify for a supermax contract. That could mean tens of millions more on his next deal, if he chooses to sign back with the Wizards.

As Beal looks ahead to this summer and next season, another question is how much better he can become. He took a significant step from the All-Star year he had in 2017-18. What if he makes another, similar leap?

Beal upped his scoring average by three points year-over-year. Another jump like that could put him in the MVP conversation, depending on how the Wizards finish in the standings.

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