Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Sports

Young Bengals now are better prepared

CINCINNATI — The crowd, the intensity, the feeling that everything was riding on every play. Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict was overwhelmed by all of it at the start of his first playoff game.

The Bengals lost in Houston 19-13 last season, when Burfict was a rookie.

"There's a different speed to the game," Burfict said. "It was kind of shocking to me being in the playoffs my first year. I had to adapt to it. The first time I went out there on the field in the playoffs, I thought, 'Man, is everybody going faster, or am I just moving slow?'

"I understand that now. We've got a lot of guys who understand how the playoffs work."

The Bengals will have a lot of young players in the playoff spotlight today.

Rookie running back Giovani Bernard gave the Bengals a new dimension, piling up 1,209 yards on runs and catches. Rookie tight end Tyler Eifert was sixth on the team in receiving with 39 catches for 445 yards. Burfict led the team in tackles.

Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, who missed most of his rookie season in 2012 because of injury, moved into a starting role late in the season because of injuries.

He had a pair of interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown, during a 34-17 win over the Ravens last week.

"It was a big game," said Kirkpatrick, who has been burned in coverage several times this season. "I really needed it.

I haven't made plays like that in so long. It was a burden off my back."

Marvin Jones, a fifth-round pick from California in 2012, missed time during his rookie season because of a knee injury but developed into a complement for star receiver A.J. Green.

Jones had three catches for only 34 yards during Cincinnati's playoff loss last season. He and Charger rookie receiver Keenen Allen (also a star at Cal) will have big roles today.

"We have had a lot of time to talk about everything," Jones said. " 'When we are on the big stage, maybe we'll be on the same team? What if we play against each other?' Stuff like that. It's happened in his first year in the league. It's pretty cool to see that happen."

The Chargers also have young players in big roles.

Their starting right tackle, D.J. Fluker, is a rookie. On defense, end Kendall Reyes and linebacker Melvin Ingram are in their second seasons while linebacker Manti Te'o is a rookie.

San Diego's Mike McCoy, himself in his first season as coach, has already warned the young players they "have no idea the speed of the game."

"Each round, the stakes go up," said McCoy, previously an assistant with the Broncos.

"Everyone's (playing) survival of the fittest week in and week out now."

Comments
Warriors keep Cavaliers reeling

Warriors keep Cavaliers reeling

CLEVELAND — Kevin Durant scored 32, Stephen Curry added 23 and the Warriors won their 13th straight road game with a 118-108 Martin Luther King holiday victory Monday night over the Cavaliers, their struggling NBA Finals foes. Durant scored 16 in the...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Kerber continues to play well

Kerber continues to play well

MELBOURNE, Australia — Former champion Angelique Kerber continued her resurgent run with a 6-0, 6-4 win over fellow German Anna-Lena Friedsam to reach the second round of the Australian Open early today. Kerber raced through the first set in 17 minut...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Gary Trent, Duke rally past Miami with 18-0 run

Gary Trent, Duke rally past Miami with 18-0 run

CORAL GABLES — Gary Trent scored a season-high 30 and No. 5 Duke needed less than three minutes to erase a 13-point second-half deficit, scoring 18 consecutive points to overtake No. 25 Miami 83-75 on Monday night. The Blue Devils scored 15 in six po...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Seguin sends Stars past Bruins in OT

Seguin sends Stars past Bruins in OT

BOSTON — Former Bruins first-round draft pick Tyler Seguin, hearing it from his old fans, scored on a delayed penalty in overtime to lead the Stars to a 3-2 victory over Boston on Monday. Boston rallied from a 2-0 deficit to force overtime and earn a...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Hillsborough TE/LS Wilson Morse this year’s Bill Minahan scholarship recipient

Hillsborough TE/LS Wilson Morse this year’s Bill Minahan scholarship recipient

TAMPA — The fourth annual pick for the Bill Minahan Award was a tough choice indeed.It came down to five Hillsborough County football players — Hillsborough's Wilson Morse, Berkeley Prep's Nicholas Petit-Frere, Gaither's Camden Roth, Stei...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Tuesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballWisconsin at Purdue7 p.m.ESPNLouisville at Notre Dame7 p.m.ESPN2Georgia at LSU7 p.m.ESPNUVanderbilt at Mississippi State7 p.m.SECClemson at North Carolina7 p.m.Fox SunCincinnati at UCF7 p.m.CBSSNWomen: Michigan at Ohio State7 p...
Updated: 7 hours ago

MAKING NEWSMCCUTCHEN JOINS LONGO IN SAN FRANCISCOAfter acquiring 3B Evan Longoria from the Rays, the Giants deal for another franchise face, getting Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen. 6CVikings’ kneel helps Saints coverVikings fans were celebrating, but in...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Sports in brief

BASEBALLGIANTS ACQUIRE PIRATES STAR MCCUTCHENSAN FRANCISCO — The Giants found the outfielder they were looking for this winter, acquiring Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates on Monday less than a month after dealing for Rays longtime 3B Evan Longoria. ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Shrine Game journal: Homecoming for Utah OL Salesi Uhatafe; Quinton Flowers works on snaps

ST. PETERSBURG — Salesi Uhatafe is back in his hometown, and though he moved to Texas when he was still a baby, it’s very much a homecoming as the former Utah offensive lineman plays in Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field."I’ll probab...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Iowa State’s two-way star Joel Lanning practicing at linebacker for East-West Shrine Game

Iowa State’s two-way star Joel Lanning practicing at linebacker for East-West Shrine Game

ST. PETERSBURG — Joel Lanning has the unique distinction of being listed as an "LB/QB" on the West roster for Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field.And while the former Iowa State star spent the entire practice at middle linebacker Mond...
Updated: 9 hours ago