Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Sports

Rivers, Chargers hand Broncos rare loss at home

DENVER — Peyton Manning wanted more rest. He got plenty Thursday thanks to Philip Rivers and a Chargers defense that slowed down the Broncos with an unexpected and harmful loss.

Rivers passed for two touchdowns to Keenan Allen and kept San Diego's offense on the field for nearly 39 minutes in a 27-20 stunner over the Broncos, whose easy road to the AFC West title and top seeding in the conference got an unexpected jolt.

Disorganized on defense and never able to crank things up on offense, Denver gained 13 yards on the 13 plays it ran after taking a 10-3 lead late in the first quarter. That covered four fruitless drives during which the Broncos went three and out three times and picked up one first down.

"The longer you keep the ball and the less he has it, the better off you're going to be," said Chargers coach Mike McCoy, Manning's former offensive coordinator.

Rivers finished 12-for-20 for 166 yards in improving to 28-6 in December. Ryan Matthews matched his season high with 127 yards on 29 carries.

After Denver's long dry spell on offense, San Diego (7-7) led 24-10, and though the Broncos (11-3) had overcome double-digit deficits four times this season to win, it wasn't happening this time as Denver lost to a division foe for the first time in 11 games.

Manning's final numbers were decent — 27-for-41 for 289 yards and two touchdowns — but padded during desperation time.

It was Denver's first regular-season defeat at home in 14 games, dating to September 2012 against Houston.

"They obviously did a better job getting ready on a short week than we did," Broncos coach Fox said.

Not having to worry about Wes Welker (concussion), the Chargers blanketed the other receivers and turned former Jefferson High and Gators standout Bubba Caldwell into Manning's prime target. Caldwell led Denver with six catches for 59 yards and two touchdowns.

The Broncos must sweat out the race in the AFC. Their three losses are now equal with New England and Kansas City. Denver owns the tiebreaker against the Chiefs but not against the Patriots.

Bears back to Cutler: Quarterback Josh McCown will return to a reserve role this week behind starter Jay Cutler when the Bears play the Browns, coach Marc Trestman said. Cutler missed the past four games with a sprained left ankle but was cleared to play Thursday and will be back in the lineup. McCown passed for a career-high 348 yards and threw four touchdown passes against the Cowboys; posted the league's third-highest QB rating in seven starts; and guided the Bears back into contention in the NFC North. Trestman made it clear for weeks that when Cutler was healthy, he would play. That time has come. "Josh has done exactly what we've asked him to do, he's performed very, very well as a backup and he understands his role," Trestman said.

Cardinals: Rookie safety Tyrann Mathieu will have surgery today to repair torn ligaments in his left knee.

49ers: Linebacker Patrick Willis is not concerned about a letdown against the Bucs this week as his team comes off a big win over NFC West rival Seattle. "We understand every game is important to us. We understand that last week was a very big game, a rivalry game, but this week is just as important," he said.

Falcons: Coach Mike Smith said he has not ruled out safety Thomas DeCoud (concussion), who has not practiced this week, for Sunday against Washington.

Jaguars: Rushing leader Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) and receptions leader Cecil Shorts (groin) missed a second straight day of practice. Coach Gus Bradley said both could practice today, but that it could "go all the way up to game time" before deciding if they will play.

Jets: Cornerback Antonio Cromartie (concussion symptoms) is still going through the NFL's protocol on head injuries and was limited in practice. He said he is awaiting word from doctors and wearing a red no-contact jersey.

Packers: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (broken collarbone) said he is awaiting results on a scan and hoping to get the majority of first-team snaps in practice today. If all goes well, he hopes to start this week against Chicago. He has been sharing snaps with backup Matt Flynn for the past two days.

Comments
Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

TAMPA — He's 30."I know. I'm getting old," Gerald McCoy said Tuesday, shaking his head.He's still a young man, of course. But in football years, McCoy has finally reached a black balloon birthday. This is his ninth season with the Bucs, which i...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Lightning journal: You gotta love Game 7s

Lightning journal: You gotta love Game 7s

TAMPA — Welcome to Game 7, the most fun a player can have if he's fortunate enough to play in one. At least, that is how Lightning D Anton Stralman sees tonight's Eastern Conference final finale."I take pleasure in playing a Game 7," Stralman s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
do your thing, mr. do-it-all

do your thing, mr. do-it-all

TAMPA — He’s the Lightning’s best player. He’s its most important player.Well, other than goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. That’s a given. Every team relies most heavily on its goalie.But if the Lightning is going win a nerve-racking, heart-stopping, nail-...
Updated: 1 hour ago
FSU starter Josh Ball faces Title IX suspension over dating violence accusation

FSU starter Josh Ball faces Title IX suspension over dating violence accusation

Florida State starting offensive tackle Josh Ball faces a university suspension after a Title IX investigation found him responsible for dating violence.The suspension came to light in a Facebook post Monday afternoon by Sandra Sellers, an FSU studen...
Updated: 2 hours ago
HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

Former Gators and Bucs linebacker Scot Brantley, also once a popular sports radio host in Tampa, is battling Alzheimer's Disease and has been rejected from the NFL's concussion settlement, according to tonight's episode of HBO's "Real Sports with Bry...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 Mr. Essential

Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 Mr. Essential

TAMPA — He's the Lightning's best player. He's its most important player.Well, other than goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. That's a given. Every team relies most heavily on its goalie.But if the Lightning is going win a nerve-racking, heart-stopping,...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 to-do list

Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 to-do list

TAMPA — By now there are no more secretes. After six games over 11 days, the Lightning know all the Capitals' habits , and the Caps know all the Lightning's.To Lightning coach Jon Cooper the outcome of tonight's Game 7 of the Eastern Conference...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Academy at the Lakes wins first state softball title

Academy at the Lakes wins first state softball title

VERO BEACH —Academy at the Lakes waited two weeks to play in the Class 2A state softball tournament in hopes of winning what has been an elusive title.The Wildcats completed the first task Monday, cruising to a mercy-rule win over Fort Pierce John Ca...
Updated: 3 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Faria on the mound

For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Faria on the mound

UPDATE, 6:04: Cash said the Rays don't know yet if Wendle will be  back Thursday or Friday, though with the Sox starting RHP Rick Porcello on Thursday that would make sense. …  Cash said OF Carlos Gomez (groin strain) will run the bas...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Mike Evans is one of just three receivers in NFL history to open his career with four straight 1,000-yard seasons, but he understands one area where he can make a big improvement in 2018: yards after the catch."I think last year was my worst year in ...
Updated: 4 hours ago