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Turner believes Falcons can fix holes in run game

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Turner believes Falcons can fix holes in run game

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner has heard the critics say that he's too slow and too old to convert short-yardage downs.

He couldn't disagree more.

``Everybody's going to nitpick,'' Turner said on Thursday. ``We're a different team this year, obviously, with philosophies and things like that, but I mean we're 8-1. That's the bottom line. To get Ws. We're not worried about it.''

Coming off their first loss of the season, Turner and the Falcons were punchless in short-yardage situations last week at New Orleans.

The two-time Pro Bowl running back was held to his least productive day in five seasons with Atlanta, running 13 times for 15 yards.

But Turner said that the Falcons have done far more right offensively this season than they've done wrong.

Atlanta ranks fourth in passing and seventh in scoring, but just 26th in rushing. Turner insists that the Falcons only need to make a few corrections against Arizona (4-5) on Sunday to get the running game operating efficiently.

Last week was ugly. On eight plays, New Orleans stuffed Turner either for no gain or lost yardage. The worst came on third-and-goal at the 1 in the game's final 2 minutes.

The Falcons lined up in a seven-man front, sent tight end Michael Palmer in motion and had fullback Mike Cox ready to take on a defender to spring Turner.

Instead, a blocking breakdown by left tackle Sam Baker trigged a collapse that allowed three Saints to tackle Turner in the backfield. On the next snap, Matt Ryan's go-ahead touchdown pass to Roddy White was knocked down.

Turner gave the Saints credit instead of blaming his teammates.

``Sometimes defenses are going to have good schemes against us and be able to get good penetration and things like that,'' Turner said. ``It's just something we have to handle and run different types of plays sometimes and just clean it up.''

Still, the problems must be corrected quickly. The Falcons want to repair the blow to their collective ego from last season's 24-2 playoff loss at the New York Giants.

Three times they lined up to convert short-yardage plays against the eventual Super Bowl champions and three times they failed.

It wasn't the first game in which Atlanta and Turner had struggle struggles. In 40 attempts inside the opponents' 10-yard line last season, Turner averaged a paltry 1.1 yards. The year before, he had just 1.3 yards on 41 attempts.

``We don't take anything for granted,'' Turner said. ``You've got to expect things to get tougher as the years go on and especially if you're a good team, people are going to give you their best shot. So we have to be prepared for everybody's best shot.''

For this same problem to be cropping up again seems like a bad harbinger.

``It's inexcusable,'' tight end Tony Gonzalez said. ``We are too good to let that happen. We should be able to convert those downs especially with a guy like Michael Turner back there. We should be able to get that first down, and I think we will in the future. It's just all about execution, and guys all being on the same page.''

It didn't take long for offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to see the problems on film.

On several short-yardage plays that failed, the Falcons either missed a blocking assignment, didn't account for an all-out blitz or had multiple issues in protection.

``Yeah, it's a bad thing,'' Koetter said. ``If you had a magic wand and could wave it, then it would be easy to fix everything if you had that magic wand. Again, that's one part of the game. We came up short in that part and eventually that added up to us coming up short on the scoreboard.''

Turner believes that the Falcons must stay persistent and not give up on themselves just because a few plays didn't go their way.

``Of course, of course, but it seems like everybody's finding what's wrong with us and finding reasons to doubt us more than just say things that we're doing good at,'' he said. ``But that's fine. Nobody's putting any more pressure on us than we're putting on ourselves. Our expectations are high, and we take pride in being great and doing the things we need to get better at. We can obviously see it, and we'll take care of it.''

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Capitals vs. Canucks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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Capitals vs. Canucks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Washington Capitals (3-2-2) head to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada after an overtime/shootout loss against the Florida Panthers last Friday. 

The Caps are determined to avoid the devastation they felt in the first period when they gave away four goals to the Panthers. They will need to focus in the power plays and avoid penalties at all costs.

Many fans were looking forward to the reunion with former player Jay Beagle, who is now centerman for the Canucks, but he is unfortunately out on injury. However you can look out for Caps Nic Dowd, who will have his own homecoming game against his former team. 

Here is everything you need to know about Capitals vs. Canucks which takes place at 10:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.
 

CAPITALS vs. CANUCKS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. Vancouver Canucks, Game 8 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season

Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

When: Monday, October 22 at 10:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals vs. Canucks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Washington Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals vs. Canucks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS vs. CANUCKS SCHEDULE

9:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
9:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
10:00 PM: Capitals vs. Canucks
12:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live

CAPITALS vs. CANUCKS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Lars Eller, F, Capitals: In his last game, he had a three-point night with three assists. He is a messaive help and shined within the trio of Vrana and Connoly on Friday.

Tim Schaller, F, Canucks: He was struggling in the preseason but came back with a vengeance. He assisted with a penatly kill and is a key component in fourth line. 

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

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Wizards vs. Trail Blazers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Wizards vs. Trail Blazers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Wizards head to the West Coast to open a road swing against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.

Wizards (0-2) are looking for their first win when the head into Portland to face Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers (2-0).

After this game, the Wizards have a tough stretch ahead of them before playing in D.C. again, playing at: Golden State, Sacramento, LA (Lakers) and Memphis.

WIZARDS vs. TRAIL BLAZERS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Miami Heat, 2018 NBA regular season Game 3
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Ore.
When: 10:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Trail Blazers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Trail Blazers on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the new MyTeams App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. TRAIL BLAZERS TV SCHEDULE

8:30 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

9:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

9:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

10:00 PM: Wizards @ Portland Trail Blazers (LIVE)

WIZARDS vs. BLAZERS INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: Dwight Howard remains day-to-day with a back injury.
Trail Blazers: None

WIZARDS vs. BLAZERS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bradley Beal, Wizards: After becoming the Wizards franchise leader in 3 points on Saturday, it is likely Beal will have a lot to prove to help the team get its first win.

Otto Porter, Jr., Wizards: Porter has had a slow start, so will he take more shots in Portland?

Damian Lillard, Portland: The Blazers' star is leading the way this season averaging 28.5 ppg and 6.5 assists per game. 

WIZARDS vs. BLAZERS SERIES HISTORY 

Number of all-time Meetings: 111 games
Regular Season Record: Blazers lead 57-54
Last Meeting: Wizards won 106-92 in December 2017