Saturday, April 21, 2018
Sports

Around the NFL

Fab five

1. Texans 2. Falcons

3. Cardinals 4. Ravens

5. 49ers

Best bet

49ers (2-1) over Jets (2-1)

San Francisco will rebound from last week's upset loss to the Vikings, taking advantage of not dealing with Revis Island.

Number of the week

8 Sacks by the Seahawks during the first half against the Packers on Monday, more than 23 teams have currently

Perspective, please

Though Cowboys Tony Romo boasts the third-best career passer rating in NFL history (96.6), he is not revered as much as the likes of the Giants' Eli Manning, Patriots' Tom Brady and Packers' Aaron Rodgers. But Romo doesn't feel slighted or overlooked, pointing out he's missing one big thing those other guys have: a Super Bowl ring.

"I think the reason we play sports is to win a championship and to get to that ultimate goal," Romo said. "And until you do that, you're never going to take the step that is needed to becoming one of the all-time greats.

"I think the Mannings, the Bradys have done that and put themselves in that position, and that's why they're there. That's just exactly the way it's supposed to go. I'm glad it's that way. It's hard to get into that company because you have to do it consistently for a long time and you've got to win a championship."

High praise

At 2-1, the Vikings are one of the league's surprise teams. One reason is ex-Gator star Percy Harvin, who has 277 yards on a league-high 27 catches. He also is fourth in the league at 30 yards per kickoff return and has 42 rushing yards on just eight carries.

"Percy's the best player in the NFL right now," Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway said. "I'd like to see anybody challenge that with the way he's carrying the football and the way he's really driving our team along."

Times wires contributed to this report.

Three games doesn't a season make, but as the NFL hits the end of its first quarter this week, several premier teams find themselves in a hole. The Saints are 0-3 and heading to Lambeau Field. The Patriots are under .500 for the first time in seemingly a decade. The Lions are so out of synch, they can't even figure out which game-deciding play they're calling. We break down how high the panic meter should be for last seasons's playoff teams that are struggling on a scale of 1 to 10.

Saints (0-3)

The Saints miss suspended coach Sean Payton more than anyone envisioned. But while quarterback Drew Brees vows they will bounce back, they need more from a defense that appears out of whack. Panic meter: 8

Patriots (1-2)

Quarterback Tom Brady & Co. aren't finishing games like we're used to seeing. Both losses came on last-second field goals (one missed, one made). Odds are coach Bill Belichick will rally the troops. Panic meter: 3

Steelers (1-2)

The Steelers look old. Having to play without their best defensive players, linebacker James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu, hasn't helped, but there's only so many fourth-quarter comebacks quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can conjure up. Panic meter: 6

Lions (1-2)

The way the Lions lost (gave away) last week's game to the Titans was fitting for how their season has gone. And in a division with the Packers, Bears and upstart Vikings, there could be trouble in Motown. Panic meter: 6

Packers (1-2)

Everyone knows the Packers should be 2-1 after the replacement officials blew the final call in Monday's loss at Seattle. They're still the class of the NFC North, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers will bring them back. Panic meter: 2

Not so Golden

Seahawks receiver Golden Tate, below, found himself part of the hottest topic around the league after being credited with catching the controversial winning touchdown Monday against the Packers. But Tate, who admitted he committed pass interference by shoving cornerback Sam Shields on the play, also was on the receiving end of a lot of negativity."I've been called a cheater, I don't have any dignity, I'm not a Christian," Tate said; "a lot of hurtful things."

Bush's boast

The fact Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis tore his left ACL last week was devastating to his team, which built its defense around the All-Pro. But he got no pity from Dolphins running back Reggie Bush, left, who believed the injury was karma for how New York attacked the running back. Bush hurt his left knee during the game but is expected to be back today.

"It's like the old saying: What goes around comes around," Bush told a radio station, according to the Palm Beach Post. "They talked all week about putting hot sauce and this and that, and they ended up losing their best player for the rest of the season. So it's sad that it happened because of that, but I'm going to be back."

Jets coach Rex Ryan said Bush "misinterpreted" his comment about hot sauce.

"But the next time we play him," Ryan says, "he's going to get attention from us."

The teams play again Oct. 28.



Overblown officials

There's no question having the regular game officials back in action is a big boost to the NFL— and its fans. But come on. People are acting as if it's the best thing to hit the league since the forward pass. Don't forget the regular officials have (and will continue to) make mistakes, too. Coaches, players and fans have complained about them over the years. That won't change. SI.com's Don Banks put it best: "After the full-on debacle of the replacement ref experiment — which blew up in the NFL's collective face many times over — any mistake made by the regular refs will be magnified like never before. In short, the pressure is on, and there won't be much margin for error."

Overblown officials

There's no question having the regular game officials back in action is a big boost to the NFL— and its fans. But come on. People are acting as if it's the best thing to hit the league since the forward pass. Don't forget the regular officials have (and will continue to) make mistakes, too. Coaches, players and fans have complained about them over the years. That won't change. SI.com's Don Banks put it best: "After the full-on debacle of the replacement ref experiment — which blew up in the NFL's collective face many times over — any mistake made by the regular refs will be magnified like never before. In short, the pressure is on, and there won't be much margin for error."

 
Comments
Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

DUNEDIN — After losing a four-run lead thanks to a bad sixth inning, it would have been easy for Clearwater Central Catholic to fold against Dunedin in the final of the 49th annual Dunedin Spring Tournament. But quality relief pitching from Gar...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

ST. PETERSBURG — Roughly four hours before taking the field against his former team Friday, Rays outfielder Denard Span spoke admirably about the Minnesota Twins, their organization in general, even hometown icon Joe Mauer.But business is busin...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up the ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blue line. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by (Lightning...
Updated: 2 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 20

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 15, Central 0
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

ST. PETERSBURG — For a change, the physically snake-bitten Rays got some vigor, versatility and even a veteran presence back in their lineup  when INF Brad Miller was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list.To make room, they DFA'd INF/OF...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Really, it’s time to look ahead

Really, it’s time to look ahead

BRANDON — Three things that popped into my head as the Lightning and Devils get ready to play Game 5 this afternoon at Amalie Arena.1. I’m going to do something that a hockey team in the playoffs would never do, not in a million years.I’m going to ta...
Updated: 3 hours ago
LeBron James, Cavs show unity with coordinated suits

LeBron James, Cavs show unity with coordinated suits

The Cavaliers, with an assist from a New York-based designer, made their first big play Friday night just by entering the arena. As they paraded into Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis before Game 3 of their playoff series with the Pacers, the C...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

BRANDON – Devils top defenseman Sami Vatanen had not traveled to Tampa as of Friday afternoon, according to coach John Hynes, and his availability for Game 5 Saturday against the Lightning is in doubt.Hynes, however, did not rule out Vatan...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

TAMPA — Private developers would bear much of the cost of a new Rays stadium in Ybor City under a plan Hillsborough County officials are putting together.Developers would benefit by cashing in on commercial, retail and other construction around a ne...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Racing schedules for 2018-19 parimutuel seasons released

OLDSMAR — Eight is not enough at Tampa Bay Downs, at least when the thoroughbred racing facility on Race Track Road opens its 93rd season July 1.The final card of what will be the Downs' sixth annual two-day Summer Festival of Racing will featu...
Updated: 5 hours ago