Ocho figures to be in element in Indy


Ocho figures to be in element in Indy

FOXBORO - Back in July, Chad Ochocinco ended his first press conference with the Patriots media by asking for a group hug. He promised he'd be engaging, entertaining. He'd whisper to each media member individually that, if we just give him some time to get the offense down, he'd "give you guys the best (stuff) you ever had."Sounded great. Unfortunately, football -- the reason most of the media was there in the first place -- got in the way. Almost immediately, it was obvious Ocho was having trouble doing something really important. Catching the football.
He slogged along through camp -- even catching a touchdown pass in the Patriots first preseason game. Hekept mostly quiet except to say he was dangerously close to breaking out. When he figured it out, he'd share his thoughts. When the regular season started and it was apparent he was an afterthought in the Patriots offense, Ochocinco began retreating further. He declined interview after interview. Then, in the third game of the season, Ocho dropped a certain fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Tom Brady. After the game, he declined to speak to the media as a whole but did speak individually to a few reporters. And that has basically been it. He decided the football media in New England was against him and went to radio silence. Given he was on his way to a 15-catch season, he was left to his own devices because -- really -- what else could one ask him except why he was such a disappointment for 6 million. But now, after being inactive for the AFC Championship game, Ochocinco is again holding court. Selectively. He spoke Thursday to the Associated Press, a Canadian TV station, and had pancakes with a NECN reporter. He was charming. Of course, the interviews were on his terms. With his football relevance now nil, it clears the way for the Chad Ochocinco Brand to be advanced. Football, it seems, has merely been a conduit for him to become a celebrity. That's his vocation. "This is the whole point of Twitter, which is good for me," Ocho told the AP. "The mainstream media, they had control of my image, telling people what I'm about. Twitter allows me to take back that control. It cuts out the middleman and lets me show who I really am."Having observed the guy for this season up close and followed his career, it's not hard to figure out who he really is. Intelligent. Funny. Conniving. Introspective. Isolationist. Needy. Generous. It's ironic, that football allowed Chad Johnson to turn himself from a player into Chad Ochocinco, entertainment entity. He's worked extremely hard at creating his brand. But in order to get to the most precious pulpit in sport -- a seat on a stage at the Super Bowl -- he had to shut up and go underground lest his overpaid, irrelevant behind get cut. But he's played it shrewdly. And now, the man who's played one snap in the playoffs, can don his sunglasses and hold court as a member of the New England Patriots, AFC Champions.

Rookie Dak Prescott solid again, Cowboys beat Bears, 31-17


Rookie Dak Prescott solid again, Cowboys beat Bears, 31-17

ARLINGTON, Texas - Maybe the Cowboys will be OK without quarterback Tony Romo this time. The future of the Dallas running game with Ezekiel Elliott looks pretty good, too.

Dak Prescott led scoring drives on all four Dallas possessions in the first half before throwing his first career touchdown pass in fellow rookie Elliott's first 100-yard game, and the Cowboys beat the Chicago Bears 31-17 on Sunday night to snap an eight-game home losing streak.

With his second straight win, Prescott doubled the number of victories the Cowboys (2-1) had in 14 games without the injured Romo over three seasons before the fourth-round pick showed up.

Prescott's first TD pass was a 17-yarder to Dez Bryant for a 31-10 lead in the fourth quarter, and he's up to 99 throws without an interception to start his career. Philadelphia's Carson Wentz has 102, and those are the two highest career-opening totals for a rookie in NFL history.

"Dak's handled every opportunity he's had right from the start really, really well," coach Jason Garrett said. "No different tonight."

Brian Hoyer had trouble moving the Chicago offense early with Jay Cutler sidelined by a sprained right thumb as the Bears fell behind 24-3 at halftime and dropped to 0-3 for the second time in two seasons under coach John Fox.

Making his 27th career start for his fourth different team, Hoyer was 30 of 49 for 317 yards - a good portion of that with the game out of each late in the fourth quarter - and threw for two scores to Zach Miller.

"We haven't played a complete game," Fox said. "This week was the reverse of what we've had. We played very poorly in the first half."

Elliott finished with 140 yards on 30 carries, including a 14-yard run when he hurdled safety Chris Prosinski. The Cowboys kept giving him the ball while trying to work the clock with a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter a week after he was benched because of two fumbles in a win over Washington.

"Made a lot of good runs tonight, a lot tough runs, a lot of NFL runs," Garrett said. "He's physically tough. He's mentally tough."

It didn't even bother Prescott that Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith missed just the second game of his six-year career after his back tightened up during the week.

Prescott was 19 of 24 for 248 yards in Dallas' first home win since last year's opener, which was a week before the first of two broken left collarbones that kept Romo out of 12 games last season.

Romo is expected to miss about another month after breaking a bone in his back in the preseason.

Prescott had one of three rushing touchdowns for the Cowboys, who have seven this season after getting eight all of last year, when they finished 4-12.

Because the Bears fell behind again, they couldn't do much with the running game. They had just 15 carries for 73 yards and lost leading rusher Jeremy Langford to an ankle injury in the second half.