December 4, 2020

It was a wild weekend in the NFL (and sports in general)


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Here’s what you need to know right now from the world of sports:

It was an especially wild Sunday in the NFL

We’re nearing the halfway point of the regular season, and the trade deadline is next Tuesday (should be a slow news day). This is about the time when we start getting a good feel for who’s a contender and who’s not. But the NFL has a way of turning the tables every week, and yesterday was no exception. Here are the most interesting things that happened in Week 7:

And then there was one (perfect team). Pittsburgh (6-0) is the last undefeated, untied squad left after winning yesterday’s battle of unbeatens vs. Tennessee 27-24 — despite getting just one catch for minus-2 yards from Canadian star rookie receiver Chase Claypool. Seattle suffered its first loss — 37-34 in overtime to Arizona — by blowing a wild Sunday nighter that saw MVP frontrunner Russell Wilson throw three interceptions. One of them, at the Cardinals’ goal-line, would have been returned for a touchdown had hulking Seattle receiver DK Metcalf not made possibly the play of the year so far by racing nearly the entire length of the field to make the tackle just short of the end zone.

Tom Brady had another great game. He threw for four touchdowns and ran in another in Tampa Bay’s blowout of Las Vegas. Brady now has 18 TD passes and only four interceptions in his first year with Tampa. And the 5-2 Bucs got even more potent this weekend by signing Antonio Brown. The ultra-talented but problematic receiver, who played one game with Brady last season before New England cut him in the wake of sexual-assault allegations against him, can return to the field for the first time in more than a year once his suspension for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy expires next week.

Brady’s old team had another awful game. Patriots QB Cam Newton turned in his second straight miserable performance since testing positive for the coronavirus and was even benched during a 33-6 loss to San Francisco. New England is just 2-4 and in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008, which was the year Brady got knocked out for the year with a knee injury in the season opener.

It’s getting really ugly for the Cowboys. The former Super Bowl contenders have dropped two straight and been outscored 63-13 since losing star quarterback Dak Prescott for the year to a brutal leg injury. And they had to turn to third-stringer Ben DiNucci during yesterday’s fiasco at Washington after Andy Dalton suffered a concussion on a vicious hit. Dallas is 2-5 and can probably pack it in already despite being in the comical NFC East, where Philadelphia somehow leads with a 2-4-1 record.

Todd Gurley made a big mistake. The Atlanta Falcons aren’t going anywhere this year, so this won’t really matter to them. But all they had to do to win their game vs. Detroit was run down the clock against the timeout-less Lions and kick a chip-shot field goal to move ahead as time expired. Instead, Gurley accidentally ran the ball into the endzone, delighting those that have him in fantasy leagues but also giving Detroit the ball back with about a minute left and down by six. The Lions marched down for a TD as the clock ran out, then made the extra point to pull out the improbable win.

Odell Beckham is out for the year. The star Browns receiver confirmed today that he tore an ACL in yesterday’s wild 37-34 win over Cincinnati. Much-maligned Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield threw his fifth TD pass with 11 seconds left in that one to win it and up Cleveland’s record to a surprising 5-2. But now he’ll be without one of the most talented players in the game.

For more on Sunday’s results, read this Week 7 roundup.

Following the Seahawks’ 37-34 overtime loss to the Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Steelers are now the NFL’s only remaining undefeated team. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Quickly…

The Dodgers are one win away from taking the World Series. Last night’s 4-2 victory over Tampa Bay gave L.A. a 3-2 lead in the series. Clayton Kershaw struck another blow against the “choker” label that has dogged him in recent years by pitching 5⅔ good (not great) innings and catching Tampa’s Manuel Margot trying to steal home to pick up his second win of the series. Game 6 is Tuesday night and a win would give the Dodgers their first championship since 1988. Read more about L.A.’s Game 5 victory and watch that failed attempt to steal home here.

Longtime CFL team owner David Braley died. He didn’t just own one team — he owned three over the course of his time in the league. Two of them at the same time. Besides the B.C. Lions, which he bought in 1997 and held until his death today at age 79, Braley also owned the Hamilton Tiger-Cats from 1989-90 and the Toronto Argonauts from 2010-15 (making him the only person in CFL history to own multiple teams at once). Braley also had a brief stint as the CFL’s interim commissioner, and he served three years in the Canadian Senate after Stephen Harper appointed him in 2010. Braley was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2012. Read more about him here.

And in case you missed it…

A few other things from the weekend you should know about:

UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov won the biggest fight of the year and then said he’s retiring. After choking out Justin Gaethje in the second round of their lightweight title bout in Abu Dhabi on Saturday to run his pro record to 29-0, the 32-year-old Khabib announced he was walking away from mixed martial arts. This was surprising but not a complete shock. Nurmagomedov had hinted at retirement before, and he’d just finished perhaps the most difficult fight of his career. Not only was Gaethje a dangerous challenger, but Khabib had to face him without his father (and lifelong trainer), who died of coronavirus complications over the summer. Khabib said he promised his mom this would be his last fight. If that’s the case, the sport has lost the fighter many consider the greatest ever. But many MMA fans are still hoping he’ll return for a much-talked-about dream bout vs. his idol, Canadian Georges St-Pierre, who some believe is the greatest of all time. St-Pierre is 39 and he retired in February 2019, but there’s hope he could be talked into a megafight vs. Nurmagomedov. Read more about Khabib’s big win and big announcement here.

Alphonso Davies is out 6-8 weeks with an ankle injury. The 19-year-old Canadian suffered ligament damage during Bayern Munich’s 5-0 rout of Eintracht Frankfurt in a Bundesliga match on Saturday. It was a non-contact injury, happening when Davies tried to change direction near midfield as Eintracht advanced the ball. He went down immediately and was in considerable pain before being helped off the field. Davies won the Bundesliga rookie of the year award last season, when he helped Bayern capture both the German and UEFA men’s Champions League titles. He’s the only Canadian national-team player to ever do the latter. Watch the play where Davies was injured here.

Canadian boxer Custio Clayton’s big fight ended in a draw. The undefeated welterweight was looking to become the first Black Nova Scotian to hold a boxing world title since 1900 when he faced Kazakhstan’s Sergey Lipinets for the IBF interim championship on Saturday night in Connecticut. Clayton (and many people watching) thought he won it. But only one judge gave the fight to Clayton and the other two scored it even, making the official result a majority draw. Watch highlights of the bout here.

Lewis Hamilton became the winningest driver in Formula One history. The 35-year-old Englishman won the Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday to move past Michael Schumacher with his 92nd career F1 victory. Hamilton is also closing in on his seventh drivers’ title, which would match Schumacher’s record. With five races left in the season, he has a big lead over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. Read more about Lewis’ record-breaking win in Portugal here.

Canada won its first (and last) medal of the Grand Prix of Figure Skating season. Keegan Messing took bronze in the men’s competition at the season-opening Skate America event in Las Vegas. That’ll do it for Canadians because, due to the pandemic, skaters are limited to one Grand Prix event this year and it has to be in the country where they live and train. Messing is based in Alaska. Canadian-based athletes lost their only chance to compete when Skate Canada International, which was supposed to take place in Ottawa this weekend, was cancelled. Two-time world champion Nathan Chen of the U.S. won the men’s event at Skate America by landing five quads over two programs, which was enough to overcome a shaky free skate. Read more about what happened in all four events in Vegas and watch highlights here. And watch Canadian skaters Dylan Moscovitch and Asher Hill give their takes on the latest edition of That Figure Skating Show.

Canadians won four medals at the first big judo meet since the pandemic started. Jessica Klimkait got things started Friday by winning gold in the women’s 57-kilogram division at the Grand Slam event in Budapest. On Saturday, Antoine Valois-Fortier added a silver when he lost the men’s 81-kg final, while Arthur Margelidon won the bronze match in the men’s 73 kg. Shady El Nahas capped the weekend off with a bronze in the men’s 100-kg division on Sunday. Klimkait is now ranked No. 1 in the world in her weight class, ahead of fellow Canadian Christa Deguchi.

The International Swimming League’s new (and only) Canadian-based team made its debut. The expansion Toronto Titans finished third (out of four teams) in their inaugural match, which took place Saturday and Sunday in Budapest. Two-time world champion Kyle Masse won her 100-metre backstroke race for the Titans and finished second in the 200 back and fourth in the 50 back. Fellow Canadians Rebecca Smith (200m freestyle) and Kelsey Wog (200 breaststroke) also won races for Toronto. The fourth match of the ISL season, which includes three U.S.-based teams and one from Hungary, wraps up Tuesday. Watch it live here.

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