Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Sports

Ravens present special issue

RECOMMENDED READING


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — It's a bad time for the Patriots to allow points late in halves and long kickoff returns throughout the game.

Fix that fast or the Ravens and speedster Jacoby Jones could run them right out of the postseason.

New England advanced to Sunday's AFC Championship Game with a 41-28 win over Houston despite giving up kickoff returns of 94 and 69 yards — the longest the Patriots allowed this season.

Baltimore moved on with a 38-35 double-overtime win at Denver after Jones caught a 70-yard touchdown from Joe Flacco with 31 seconds left in regulation. That's the same Jones who led the NFL in average kickoff return yardage (30.7) and brought back two of them for touchdowns.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick is emphasizing, as he does every week, the need to stop kickoff returners and keep teams from scoring with time running out in either half — Houston scored 10 points in the last 1:15 of the first half and 15 in the game's last 12 minutes.

"We always think that the end of the half can get a little different than the rest of the game because of situational play," Belichick said Tuesday. "Also, sometimes offensively, teams change their method of attack and what they're doing and how they're doing it and that kind of thing. So you have to adapt and adjust to what they do."

COMING THROUGH: The Ravens overcame an assortment of injuries — 13 players with starting experience were sidelined during the regular season, and that was just on defense — and the late-season firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

Yet Baltimore pressed on.

"I think that we are battled-tested," guard Marshal Yanda said. "We went through a lot of injuries. We went through line shuffles. We went through losses. … It's all about just battling through it and trying to get hot and trying to play your best football at the end of the year. I think we're doing that. We are just going to have to do a lot of things to continue to do that."

Comments
American Athletic Conference power rankings, Week 13

American Athletic Conference power rankings, Week 13

Memphis has locked down the West Division.All that's left is to settle the East with Friday's "War on I-4" between UCF and USF.USF has won six of the eight meetings in the rivalry, but the stakes never have been greater. The winner advances to play M...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
More attractive landing spot for coaches, UF or FSU?

More attractive landing spot for coaches, UF or FSU?

GAINESVILLE — Unless Chip Kelly has made up his mind by the time you read this, the Gators are still looking for a new football coach.There's a chance the rival Seminoles aren't far behind. Industry insiders are speculating that Texas A&M could...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Fennelly: USF-UCF rivalry needs more than directional disrespect

Fennelly: USF-UCF rivalry needs more than directional disrespect

TAMPA — It’s the biggest football game in USF history. It’s two days and 90 miles away. USF at UCF. The 9-1 Bulls against the 10-0 Knights. It’s USF coach Charlie Strong against UCF/Florida/Nebraska coach Scott Frost. It̵...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Call Missouri jinxed, but Michael Porter Jr. injury is its own story

Please repeat after me: There is no such thing as jinxes, hexes, ghosts or cartoonish black clouds looming with personalized curses for select targets.Honest.But, boy, are there coincidences — even if some say there is no such thing as those, either....
Updated: 8 hours ago

Giants are NFL’s most disappointing team this season, but Broncos are close

The New York Giants made the playoffs for the first time in four years last season under the guidance of coach Ben McAdoo, setting high expectations for the 2017 campaign. They pushed those expectations even higher with the addition in free agency of...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Cambridge Christian’s Caleb Young makes up for lost season

Cambridge Christian’s Caleb Young makes up for lost season

TAMPA — For Cambridge Christian, last Friday’s Class 2A region final against Indian Rocks Christian represented a hurdle that the Lancers couldn’t quite clear a year ago. For one Lancer in particular, it was the Golden Eagles themselves that brought ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs journal: Defense struggling to get off the field on third and long

Bucs journal: Defense struggling to get off the field on third and long

TAMPA — Third and long, normally an ideal situation for an NFL defense, continues to be a problem as the Bucs try to get opposing offenses off the field.In the second half of Sunday’s game, the Dolphins converted six third downs when they needed 8 ya...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Browns welcome Gordon to practice

Browns welcome Gordon to practice

CLEVELAND — Every day he stays committed and sober, Josh Gordon takes another step toward playing again in the NFL. The long walk and wait are nearly over. The wide receiver, who squandered millions in potential earnings and derailed a promising care...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs-Falcons: Has this former Buc become a pass-rushing force?

Bucs-Falcons: Has this former Buc become a pass-rushing force?

TAMPA — The Bucs face the defending NFC champions twice in their final six games. As they prepare to go to Atlanta on Sunday, former Tampa Bay first-round pick Adrian Clayborn is enjoying quite a two-week run.Clayborn, 29, had six sacks Nov. 12 in a ...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Chip Kelly is not the best candidate for Florida job

For the sake of a beleaguered and bedraggled fan base, here’s hoping Chip Kelly becomes the next head coach of the Florida Gators even though I think he’s not a great fit — culturally, geographically and philosophically — at UF.Gator Nation needs som...
Updated: 8 hours ago