Ravens set a team record vs. the Raiders


Ravens set a team record vs. the Raiders

From Comcast SportsNetBALTIMORE (AP) -- The Baltimore Ravens enjoyed a record-setting day at the expense of the mistake-prone Oakland Raiders, who matched a dubious franchise mark that had not been broached in over three decades.Joe Flacco threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns, Jacoby Jones ran a kickoff back for 105 yards, and Baltimore set a club record for points in a 55-20 rout Sunday.It was a rare blowout for the AFC North-leading Ravens, who won their previous five games by a total of 23 points.Asked how such a thing could happen, coach John Harbaugh replied, "I have no answer for that. Sometimes it just goes that way, right? Our guys made some plays."Quite a few, actually. The Ravens (7-2) scored on six of their first seven possessions, special teams contributed two touchdowns and Torrey Smith caught TD passes of 47 and 20 yards.Flacco and the resurgent Baltimore offense made it look easy against the struggling Raiders (3-6), who have yielded at least 40 points in two straight games for the first time since 1962. The 55 points tied an Oakland record for points allowed, set in 1961 and matched in 1981."We had too many mental errors on defense, gave up too many big plays, we turned the ball over too many times and we didn't execute on special teams," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "When you do those things, it generally results in something like that."Baltimore led 27-10 at halftime. In the third quarter, Smith scored twice and holder Sam Koch scored on a fake field goal to make it 48-17.In the fourth quarter, Jones scored on a kickoff return for the second time this season for a 55-20 lead. Baltimore's previous record for points in a game was 48, against Detroit in December 2009."Obviously, we had success," said Flacco, who also ran for a score. "We ran the game plan and it worked well. We stuck with it. We scored points early and continued to score them."Baltimore has 15 straight home wins, the longest current streak in the NFL.Carson Palmer went 29 for 45 for 368 yards and two touchdowns for Oakland. He was mercifully pulled in the fourth quarter."Rough, rough, rough, rough game," Palmer said. "We didn't play any good in any facet of the game. Came in and got outplayed by a good football team. It's very frustrating. We got to put this one in our rear view mirror, because it's going to be a tough one to get past."Playing without injured running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson, the Raiders gained only 72 yards on the ground.Baltimore didn't punt until the third quarter, and even that turned out well. Phillip Adams fumbled, the Ravens recovered the ball and Flacco promptly threw a touchdown pass to Smith.Later in the quarter, Koch ran 7 yards for a touchdown to cap a 74-yard drive.Burned for 251 yards on the ground last week by Tampa Bay rookie Doug Martin in a 42-32 defeat, Oakland shored up its run defense to stop Ray Rice. So Flacco went to the air, repeatedly hitting tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson over the middle in the first half before going long and outside to Smith in the third quarter.Flacco went 21 for 33 and did not play in the fourth quarter.Rice ran for 35 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. He finished the afternoon with 5,034 yards rushing for his career, joining Jamal Lewis as the only players in Ravens history to top 5,000.The Ravens won without defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and cornerback Jimmy Smith. Ngata dressed but rested a shoulder injury, and Smith could not get warmed up properly from a groin injury, according to Harbaugh.The Raiders used a 55-yard pass from Palmer to Darrius Heyward-Bey to close to 20-10 with 1:39 left in the second quarter. It was the ninth straight game in which Oakland scored in the final two minutes of the first half.But that gave Flacco enough time to add another touchdown before the break. He went 5 for 6 for 73 yards before Rice ran for a 7-yard score.Oakland's first possession ended with Palmer flat on his back. On a fourth and 1 from the Baltimore 44, Palmer took the snap from center and took one step backward before right guard Mike Brisiel stepped on his right foot. The Ravens then moved 22 yards before Justin Tucker kicked a field goal.After an Oakland punt, Flacco completed an 18-yard pass to Pitta and connected with Dickson for 40 yards before scoring on a 1-yard run to make it 10-0.Early in the second quarter, Raiders cornerback Michael Huff intercepted a pass at the Baltimore 19 to set up a field goal by Sebastian Janikowski.Flacco responded by covering 80 yards in six plays for a 17-3 lead. After completing a 47-yard pass to Jones and a 19-yarder to Dixon, Flacco tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Pitta.The Raiders followed with their first drive that included multiple first downs, but that ended poorly, too. Paul Kruger picked off a short pass and took it to the Oakland 32, which led to field goal.NOTES:Oakland LB Travis Goethel left in the first quarter with a knee injury and did not return. Oakland CB Michael Huff was kicked in calf, and S Matt Giordano and TE Brandon Myers sustained concussions. ... Baltimore is 7-1 against Oakland (including playoffs) and 5-0 at home. ... Jones is the first Ravens player to have two KO returns for TDs.

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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NBA Notes: League seems to be on upward surge in interest and ratings


NBA Notes: League seems to be on upward surge in interest and ratings

For so many years the NFL has had an almost impenetrable veneer in the way it has successfully pivoted away from a myriad of scandals that would have at the very least delivered a significant, noticeable blow to most professional leagues.

But that Teflon-tough image has taken a whacking of late with the league dealing with what has been for the most part an across-the-board ratings dip in its programming.

The NFL’s slide comes at a time when the NBA seems to be on a upward surge in terms of interest and ratings.

Kevin Durant’s decision to leave Oklahoma City and play for Golden State is a needle-mover across the NBA landscape. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to defend their NBA title – a phrase no one thought they would ever hear even when James signed on for a second tour of duty – will certainly generate tons of interest.

The Boston Celtics added Al Horford to a team that many believe will be among Cleveland’s stiffest challengers, in addition to being a team that has played Golden State as well as anyone the last couple of years.

There are many hands responsible for the NBA having such a strong position on the professional sports landscape, chief among them being former commissioner David Stern.

He was in town last week as part of the Shamrock Foundation’s annual Gala.

Stern gave a rundown of what he’s been up to since passing the commissioner’s torch to Adam Silver.

He said he has been a senior advisor to a venture capital firm, counsels several start-up companies and of course a senior advisor to the NBA.

But it’s what he’s not doing – negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with the player’s union – that seemed to bring him the most joy.

“That’s when I got the least amount of sleep,” quipped Stern.

But those sleep-deprived marathon sessions with owners and union leaders, have helped bring the league to where it is today – thriving with its players and the profits both seem to be reaping.

That’s why the reports of the NBA and the player’s union being close to coming to terms on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, make a lot of sense. The NBA or the player’s union can opt-out of the current CBA prior to Dec. 15, although that’s looking less likely to happen because of what should be a new deal that better reflects the economic changes that currently exist in the NBA.

This past summer saw the salary cap in the NBA balloon to $94.14 million after having been $70 million for the 2015-2016 season.

With both NBA players and owners profiting significantly from the new TV deal, most of the changes to come about (paying players on the rookie scale more money; increasing the dollar amounts for veteran’s minimum and team exception contracts) are just common sense rule changes that have both sides closer to getting something done sooner rather than later.

And while he’s not directly involved in any of the current dealings, what he accomplished prior to retiring as commissioner certainly laid the groundwork for what appears to be a relatively smooth negotiation period.

“I didn’t project anything other than I was leaving it in the most spectacular of hands with an All-Star executive cast and they would just do what’s right for the league and they have,” Stern said.

And as far as the current talks that have reportedly been ongoing for months, Stern understands all too well that the last CBA talks which led to a shortened, 66-game season led to changes that has both players and owners feeling better about current negotiations.

“I’m proud to say the league has gotten to a very good place in terms of the player’s share, the owner’s share and where they can all see this is something that pays to keep going,” Stern said. “It’s fun to watch from a distance and not be involved.”



So much for that logjam in the frontcourt for the Philadelphia 76ers. The latest big man to go down with an injury is Nerlens Noel who recently had “minor” surgery on his left knee that will sideline him for reportedly three-to-five weeks. Keep in mind that the Everett, Mass. native missed his entire rookie season following left knee surgery, although the Sixers indicate this was an arthroscopic procedure and is considered minor. He joins No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons who suffered a foot injury that’s expected to keep him out until at least January. That means a lot of the trade rumors involving Noel (and Jahlil Okafor to a certain extent too) should cool off for a little bit.



Signing with Toronto during the offseason was supposed to be Jared Sullinger's chance at a fresh start. Unfortunately for him, things are looking a lot like they did in his early days in Boston. Concerns about his back dropped his draft-day stock from a likely lottery (top-14) pick, to falling in the Celtics' lap at No. 21. During his rookie season, he played well but had to have season-ending back surgery. With the Raptors, it appears he will miss some time early on due to a foot injury that occurred in the team's first preseason game which has kept him out of action ever since.  

“May be a little while before he comes back,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey told reporters recently. “He may get checked out just to see what else is going on.”

Sullinger’s weight was an issue during his time with the Celtics. It’s unclear what impact if any, it had on his current injury or whether it’s a factor in the injury keeping him out indefinitely. 



We have seen Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest) in lots of different basketball roles from hitting big shots to just hitting people.

But as a coach? That is reportedly being discussed by the Los Angeles Lakers brass as they try to trim their training camp roster down to 15 players.

MWP is likely on the outside of the 15-man roster now, but the Lakers still want him to be part of the organization. While it may seem a bit of a stretch at first, he does bring a wealth of basketball experience to the table, a player how has seen the highs and lows of the game in a way few players can fully understand or speak about with a great amount of credibility.



The LaMarcus Aldridge trade talk will be one of the storylines this NBA season. The Boston Celtics will continue to be discussed as a possibility, but the team to watch is the Phoenix Suns. They came close to convincing him when he left Portland for San Antonio. Phoenix provides him a team that can be built around him (which he wants), lots of shots (which he wants) and a team with no pressure on his back to lead them to major success (yup, he wants that too). … Michael Carter Williams’ stock seems to continue to tumble after winning the league’s rookie of the Year award. He’s going into his fourth season and he’s already on to his third team. … Multiple league executives believe Devin Booker is the best 20-and-under player in the NBA right now. He's good, but I'd probably take Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns.