Tampa Bay Buccaneers must solve prime-time problems to realize Super Bowl dreams

With the scoreboard reading 38-3 after a humiliating loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians told what he described as a “pissed off” locker room that everyone needed to “look in the mirror.”

The Buccaneers came up empty once again on national television, and this time, it meant being swept by a divisional opponent, knocking the Bucs out of first place in the NFC South.

“[It] really couldn’t have gotten much worse than the Sunday night game — that was rock bottom,” tight end Cameron Brate said. “Nothing worked. Everyone played terribly.”

But it wasn’t just Sunday night. The Bucs are 7-3 for the first time since 2010, but they’re 1-2 in prime-time games, rare commodities until this year. Those games have become both a gift and a curse, thanks to Tom Brady being the quarterback, and something the Bucs will have to overcome if they want to reach the postseason and secure a seventh championship for Brady.

“We have stunk in those games,” Arians said.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale3

On the one hand, prime-time games provide rare national exposure for players such as Lavonte David, who is arguably one of the best inside linebackers in the league the past eight seasons but has reached the Pro Bowl only once. On the other hand, the Bucs have played lousy in their prime-time games, averaging 15.67 points and giving up 27 points per game this season, compared to scoring 35.57 and giving up 20.71 in 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET games.

This week, Arians overhauled the team’s practice schedule in preparation for Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Rams (8:15 p.m. ET, Monday Night Football on ESPN). First, he gave his players Wednesday off to rest after treating it as a bonus practice before the team’s first Monday night game. Then the Bucs had their normal 11:25 a.m. practice Thursday, followed by a 7:30 p.m. practice Friday at Raymond James Stadium and a Saturday night practice at the facility.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“We’ve got to try something because we’ve had really, really poor starts in night ballgames,” said Arians, who will also have the Bucs do some work Monday morning in hopes of getting off to a better start. “What we’re trying to do now is practice at night so that we know when to rev it up.”

Brate added, “Obviously, we have a night game coming up this week, and if things go the way that we think, where we’re playing playoff games, then we’re gonna be on that stage definitely more often toward the end of the year as well, so it’s something that we’ve gotta kind of figure out.”

Liverpool’s Jota upset by FIFA 21 upgrade snub

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota has said he feels let down by the 80 rating he has been given in EA Sports’ “FIFA 21” game.

The Portugal international, who joined Liverpool from Wolves in September for £41 million, won the inaugural ePremier League Invitational in April — beating Trent Alexander-Arnold — to show he knows what he is talking about when it comes to FIFA.

“I think they were taken by surprise with my move to Liverpool,” Jota told Portuguese channel TVI. “They thought I was going to stay at Wolves and didn’t even bother to upgrade my card’s attributes.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

“Although I was one of the best scorers in the Europa League, unfortunately, they did not bother to change my card.”

Jota scored 44 goals in a total of 131 appearances for Wolves, including hat tricks in last season’s Europa League wins over Besiktas and Espanyol.

His rating in the virtual football game has remained the same as in last year’s edition.4

Jota has scored seven goals in 11 appearances since joining Liverpool.

The 23-year-old was named Player of the Week in the last round of the Champions League after his hat trick in Liverpool’s 5-0 win over Atalanta.

A big fan of the virtual game since his childhood, Jota has shared his results online with fans.

“I like to play FIFA, I always liked it, it was something I always did and I still do,” Jota said. “After I got home from school, I would do my homework and then I would start playing. I also went to the backyard to play ball, but I always spent a lot of time holding on to the controller. “nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Jota is nevertheless looking forward to receiving his Pro Player Card, a special 99-rated card real-life footballers receive in FIFA Ultimate Team.

“As long as they send me my 99 card, which it seems every professional player is entitled to, I am happy,” he said.

Cleveland Indians’ Shane Bieber unanimously wins American League Cy Young Award

Cleveland Indians ace Shane Bieber was the unanimous winner of the AL Cy Young Award on Wednesday, capping an impressive rise by the right-hander to his status as one of the game’s best pitchers.

Using a versatile repertoire that includes a looping curveball and a wipeout slider, Bieber went 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 77⅓ innings during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, leading the majors in ERA and strikeouts and tying Yu Darvish for the most wins.

Bieber became the second player in franchise history to win the AL pitching Triple Crown, joining Hall of Famer Bob Feller in 1940. He was the first pitcher to lead the majors in all three categories since Johan Santana for Minnesota in 2006.cheap nfl nike jersey

Twins right-hander Kenta Maeda finished second in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, followed by Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu.4

Bieber was the first unanimous American League winner since Justin Verlander for the Detroit Tigers in 2011. It was the 10th time that an AL pitcher was listed first on every ballot.

“Today’s a good day regardless,” Bieber said. “It just makes it that much better that we were able to take this thing home and that it was unanimous.”

The 25-year-old Bieber, a former walk-on at UC Santa Barbara, was selected by Cleveland in the fourth round of the 2016 amateur draft. He made his major league debut in 2018 and went 11-5 with a 4.55 ERA. He really started to show off his potential last year, winning the MVP award at the All-Star Game and finishing with 15 wins and a 3.28 ERA.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Before this season started, Bieber got a text from former Indians teammate Trevor Bauer, who was traded to the Cincinnati Reds last year. The right-handers had the same Las Vegas odds for the Cy Young Award.

“I said … why don’t we go 2-for-2, or something like that?” Bieber said.

Bauer on Wednesday became the first pitcher to take home the NL honor for the Reds, the majors’ oldest franchise.

Bieber and Bauer, two California natives, made it an Ohio sweep on the mound in 2020. They are the third pair of former teammates to win Cy Young Awards in the same season, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau. Greg Maddux and Dennis Eckersley in 1992 and Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello in 2016 also accomplished the feat.

Bieber gives Cleveland its fifth Cy Young Award since CC Sabathia won in 2007. Cliff Lee won in 2008, and Corey Kluber took home the honor in 2014 and 2017. Gaylord Perry in 1972 is the only other Cy Young winner for the Indians.

Vibrant Leicester go second with 4-1 win at Leeds

Jamie Vardy inspired and Youri Tielemans scored twice as Leicester City enjoyed an impressive 4-1 win at Leeds United on Monday which moves them up to second in the Premier League.

The Foxes, who have now won all four away games this season, grabbed the lead in the second minute when Vardy intercepted a poor back-pass from Leeds defender Robin Koch and set up Harvey Barnes to slot home.

Brendan Rodgers’ side doubled their lead in the 21st minute when Marc Albrighton whipped in a cross and Vardy’s low header struck Leeds keeper Illan Meslier in the face and fell to Tielemans to fire home.cheap nike nfl jersey

Leeds came out strongly after the break and pulled a goal back three minutes after the restart when a deep cross from Stuart Dallas went through a crowded box and into the far corner of the net.

Pablo Hernandez then hit the bar for Leeds with a fine effort from the edge of the box but Leicester restored their two goal advantage with a beautifully worked third goal.3

Substitute James Maddison found Cengiz Under who showed great finesse to pick out Vardy who slotted home.

Maddison was involved with the fourth goal, in stoppage time, when Mateusz Klich challenged him from behind and after a VAR review, referee Andre Marriner awarded a penalty which Tielemans confidently converted.

“I thought my players were brilliant. We had to be tactically disciplined and then play when we had the ball,” Rodgers said. “If we get to March, April and we are in that position [second], then it will be nice, but there is a long way to go.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Leicester are on 15 points, just one point behind leaders Liverpool.

Leeds are 12th on 10 points and their Argentine manager Marcelo Bielsa struck a self-critical tone.

“In the first 30 minutes we defended poorly and after we didn’t create enough danger. That is one of the main responsibilities of the manager,” Bielsa said.

“I am not taking the blame, just stating the players were not correctly distributed. The players are disappointed.”

Miami Heat president Pat Riley ready to run it back next season with similar team

Pat Riley is always looking for ways for the Miami Heat to improve. This offseason has him wondering if that might come from within.

The Heat president on Friday said that the top offseason priority for the Eastern Conference champions “is to take care of the players that we have” — such as free-agent-to-be Goran Dragic — while maintaining salary-cap flexibility to add an impact player in a 2021 offseason that could see many stars on the move.

“We have a good idea of what we want to do,” Riley said in his annual end-of-season media availability.

No plan can be considered completely firm yet; the NBA board of governors met Friday, simultaneous to Riley speaking, to discuss ideas about when it might be feasible to start next season. And the financial details for next season remain unclear as well, such as salary-cap changes and luxury-tax numbers. All that will have an obvious impact on every team’s plans, Miami’s included.

But Miami is clear on some matters: The Heat have no intention of letting extension-eligible All-Star center Bam Adebayo leave, and Riley said keeping this past season’s team as close to intact as possible has crossed his mind.cheap nike nfl jerseys china4

Kelly Olynyk has a player option for about $12 million, while Meyers Leonard, Jae Crowder, Solomon Hill and Derrick Jones Jr. are among the Heat’s free agents.

“We know what our priorities are,” Riley said. “It is to take care of the players that we have, that we have to make decisions on almost immediately. We know Bam has a decision to make and we do with him. We know the guys that have sacrificed for us that we really like, our free agents, especially Goran.”

The Heat might have ended up as the surprise of the league this season, with All-NBA player Jimmy Butler’s arrival leading a turnaround that saw Miami go from missing the 2019 NBA playoffs to winding up in this season’s finals as a No. 5 seed. Riley raved about what Butler has brought to the Heat, and also lauded coach Erik Spoelstra for doing what he called a masterful job this season.

“Spo was the coach of the year, for me,” Riley said.

The Heat have long been expected to be a major player in the 2021 free-agent season, when names such as two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and many others could potentially choose to hit the market.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

What they do in this offseason will obviously affect their spending power next year.

“I just think we need to remain fluid,” Riley said. “Once we get all the numbers and we get everything down, we get the schedule, we know when the dates are, and what the rules are in everything, once we get all of that, we’re going to remain fluid. And whatever presents itself to us, we’ll look at it.”

Milwaukee Bucks’ George Hill supports local organization urging early voting

Milwaukee Bucks guard George Hill said the importance of Wisconsin in the upcoming election caused him to fly back here this weekend to assist in a local voting drive.

Hill, who lives in San Antonio, worked alongside about 50 volunteers from the Milwaukee-based organization Common Ground, walking through local neighborhoods Saturday to encourage people to vote early.

“This [state] could make or break the election,” Hill said. “To spend a couple of dollars to get on a flight to come back here, to get out and knock on doors and go around this city, to show them that I care for them just as much as they care for themselves, and show them that we need them, we need them, we need their voices, we need their communities to be better and things like that, it’s all worth it at the end of the day.”nfl jerseys cheap nike

Hill wore a shirt with the message “VOTE” and a Bucks logo plus a mask with the message “Votes Count In the 414” as he walked through several blocks in various neighborhoods with a group that included Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry. Milwaukee’s area code is 414.3

They occasionally would greet residents at their homes or stop people walking or driving by them. Hill would ask whether they had voted and would remind them of the importance of voting.

“I’m not here to say vote for one side or the other,” Hill said. “But I’m here to say use your voice and vote. Our ancestors, our fathers and things like that fought for this right. You should take advantage of it and get out and vote and use it.”

Hill made this visit nearly two months after he and his Bucks teammates opted against playing a first-round playoff game with the Orlando Magic to protest the shooting by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, of Jacob Blake, a Black man. The Bucks’ decision led to an NBA-wide postponement of playoff games.

Now that the season is complete and Hill is out of the playoff bubble at Walt Disney World, he has continued doing community outreach through youth-mentorship programs at his home in Texas, as well as his work Saturday in Milwaukee.

Earlier this month, Hill was one of five NBA players to receive the NBA Community Cares Assist Award, along with the Sacramento Kings’ Harrison Barnes, the Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Chris Paul and the Dallas Mavericks’ Dwight Powell.

“You always try to figure out different ways you can strike change and be accounted for,” Hill said. “When I first got to the NBA, Coach Pop (Gregg Popovich) told me one thing that always stuck with me, is: How do you put your whole fingerprints on the world and leave your mark?cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“Sometimes you have to stand up for what’s right, and sometimes that may be ruffling feathers and may be frowned upon by everyone else, but at the end of the day, in your heart, knowing you’re on the right side of history and knowing that you did the right thing, good or bad, you have to live with that.”

Hill and Common Ground were walking through Milwaukee neighborhoods encouraging voting on the same day President Donald Trump was scheduled to visit the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, an indication of Wisconsin’s importance in the upcoming election.

Los Angeles Rams’ defense powers bounce-back win over Chicago Bears

The Los Angeles Rams’ defense dominated from the opening kickoff, the offense picked up the pace as the night wore on, and special teams even made its presence felt as punter Johnny Hekker kept the Chicago Bears at bay.

The Rams earned their first win over a team with a winning record when they defeated the Bears 24-10 on Monday night at SoFi Stadium. The Rams improved to 5-2. The Bears fell to 5-2.

The victory proved the Rams’ ability to bounce back after they fell last week at the San Francisco 49ers in their first division game.

“The players came out, they performed, they were ready to go from the jump,” Rams coach Sean McVay said after Monday’s contest. “I thought it was reflective of the urgency that we had in the week of practice.”

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald kept the pressure on Bears quarterback Nick Foles, as the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year anchored a physical effort that held the Bears to a season-low 10 points and 279 total yards of offense.cheap nike nfl jersey

“Defense just kind of suffocated them all game,” said Rams wide receiver Josh Reynolds, who caught four passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.

Foles completed 28 of 40 passes for 261 yards with two interceptions.4

Donald and defensive tackle Greg Gaines combined for a sack in the first half, and outside linebacker Leonard Floyd took Foles down twice. The Rams finished with four sacks.

“I wanted to be calm but with high intensity to go out and execute at a high level,” said Floyd, whom the Bears released in the offseason, despite exercising the fifth-year option on his rookie contract a year earlier. “We proved that we was the better defense today.”

The Rams’ defense, which first-year coordinator Brandon Staley implored throughout the week to play physical after it missed several tackles in Week 6, didn’t stop with an aggressive approach up front.

In the third quarter, cornerback Troy Hill tipped a Foles pass in the end zone, and safety Taylor Rapp intercepted the ball to halt a scoring threat with the Rams ahead 17-3. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey picked off a Foles pass late in the fourth quarter to secure the win.

“I was pleased with everything that they did,” said McVay, who awarded game balls to Floyd and Staley, who served as the Bears’ outside linebackers coach in 2018 under Matt Nagy. “I thought they flew around. I thought we were great really in every area of the game.”

Facing a stout Chicago defense, Rams quarterback Jared Goff overcame a sluggish start and remained poised after Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack forced a strip sack on the opening drive of the second half.

Goff rebounded by leading two consecutive touchdown drives that gave the Rams a 24-3 lead with 1:39 to play in the third quarter, before the offense effectively ran time off the clock.

“We did well. That defense is tough,” said Goff, who completed 23 of 33 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns. “There was a couple careless errors by me that we got away with, but that’s the game. I thought we were able to distribute the ball pretty well and make some plays.”nike nfl jerseys cheap china

On special teams, Hekker pinned the Bears at or inside their 10-yard line five times, the most in his career and the most in a game this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Hekker’s final punt, which was downed at the Bears’ 5-yard line, drew an on-field celebration that included a chest bump from Donald.

San Francisco 49ers place running back Raheem Mostert on injured reserve

The San Francisco 49ers placed running back Raheem Mostert on injured reserve Saturday, a move that had been expected all week.

Mostert suffered a high ankle sprain in last Sunday night’s win against the Los Angeles Rams. On Monday, coach Kyle Shanahan said Mostert was expected to miss some time, but the Niners waited until they made decisions about other roster movement before making the move official.

Now that he’s on injured reserve, Mostert must miss the next three games before he’s eligible to return, though he could be out longer. In addition to placing Mostert on IR, the 49ers activated safeties Jared Mayden and Johnathan Cyprien from the practice squad for Sunday’s road game against the New England Patriots.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

That means San Francisco has an open spot on the roster heading into next week, a spot that likely will be filled by linebacker Jordan Willis. A league source told ESPN’s Rich Cimini that the Niners and New York Jets agreed on a trade earlier this week that sends Willis to the Bay Area. Willis must pass COVID-19 protocols before the deal can be made official. The earliest that can happen is Monday, according to league guidelines.4

Without Mostert, the 49ers are expected to lean on a running back group consisting of Jerick McKinnon, JaMycal Hasty and, potentially, Jeff Wilson against New England. Wilson is listed as questionable with a calf injury, but he practiced all week, and a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he is expected to play.

“Jeff got more [work] as the week went,” Shanahan said Friday. “Today, he got a little bit more than he had the last two days, but again, it was walk-through. So it was nice to have him out there for about 10 plays yesterday. I’m hoping this flight [to Massachusetts] will treat him right and he’ll give us the green light on Sunday.”

The 49ers could be getting more depth at running back next week, as Tevin Coleman continues to make progress from the knee injury that sent him to injured reserve on Sept. 23. Coleman has been working on a side field in practice this week and is nearing a return, though next week might be considered a bit ambitious.nike jerseys nfl cheap

“Tevin, outside chance [to return] next week,” Shanahan said. “I’m hoping that he can come back, but it’s definitely not a guarantee. We’ll probably find out a little bit more later in the week next week. If not that, hopefully the week after.”

Mayden and Cyprien will provide safety depth Sunday after the Niners ruled out starters Jaquiski Tartt (groin) and Jimmie Ward (quadriceps) on Friday afternoon. Marcell Harris and Tarvarius Moore are the team’s only other healthy safeties.

Man United’s Solskjaer defends Greenwood amid breach of discipline reports

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has launched a strong defence of Mason Greenwood insisting the striker has never been late for training.

Greenwood was left out of the squad for the wins over Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain prompting speculation he was being punished for a breach of club discipline.

“He made a mistake with England this summer and suddenly all the English press go after him,” Solskjaer told a news conference on Friday.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“He’s a fantastic boy to work with and I have to disappoint you, he’s never ever late for training, he’s never a problem when he’s at the training ground.4

“I’ve seen the stories and some ex United players talking about him and they don’t really know what they’re talking about. We have photographers outside the training ground every day and they can see he’s on time every day. I don’t know where these stories have come from.

“He’s got a good family behind him, a good background in the academy and he’s a good trainer, he trains really well, and I cannot believe all these stories about him not being professional. That’s something we have to deal with many players, many other players at United have had that.”

As well as Greenwood, Solskjaer also expects to have captain Harry Maguire and striker Edinson Cavani available to face Chelsea after the pair missed the 2-1 win over PSG on Tuesday.

With Anthony Martial suspended, Cavani could make his debut after returning to training following a spell in quarantine following his free transfer move on deadline day.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“I hope and expect all three to be available for selection,” Solskjaer added. “We’ve got a training session this morning [Friday] but they’ve all got a chance, all of them.

“Edinson wants to tick all the boxes that he’s gone through in his programme to be ready and make an impact. We will have a discussion. It seems positive with Mason and Harry.”

Man United vs. Chelsea a reunion for former PSG stars Edinson Cavani, Thiago Silva

A few weeks ago, the pair of longtime teammates would have never thought that the next time they’d met would be on opposing sides of a big Premier League match. Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva have left both Paris and Paris Saint-Germain behind them, leaving in a bit of an acrimonious way for the former, and a disappointing one for the later. On Saturday, they should face each other on either side of the Manchester United-Chelsea divide.

For PSG fans, it will feel strange to see them in different shirts. Silva, 36, has already played four games with the Blues but after eight great years in the French capital, it’s still difficult to believe that he’s no longer the Ligue 1 champions’ captain. Cavani, 33, missed the trip to Paris with United so he could keep training in Manchester and be available for this huge game. He trained really well all week and could make his United debut this Saturday at Old Trafford, especially with Anthony Martial still suspended following his red card in the 6-1 defeat vs. Tottenham.

Cavani deserved a better conclusion in Paris. The Uruguayan striker is synonymous of PSG’s greatest era and yet, he’s not synonymous of the greatest achievement of this generation of players: the 2020 Champions League final. “Edi,” still bitter that his deal (which expired in June) was not extended despite him wanting to stay, refused to stay at the club for the conclusion of the European season.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale3

Some fans didn’t forgive him. Others didn’t like the fact that although he left the club on June 30, he waited until September to say a proper goodbye to them, via social media, but having moved on, the 33-year old would love to be involved on Saturday. His last game was his 301st and last appearance for PSG, against Borussia Dortmund on March 11. He is, and might always be, the club’s top scorer, with 200 goals in 301 games in all competitions across seven glittering seasons. There was his attitude, his work rate, his famous goal celebration. But above the goals, there was his incredible mentality and his love for the club and for the supporters.

On the pitch, Thiago Silva has already become indispensable for Frank Lampard. When they spoke prior to him joining Chelsea, Lampard told Silva that he wanted him to be his leader, to lead by example with his experience and help the younger players. This is what he is doing. His Premier League debut at West Bromwich was tough — he made one crucial error that helped the Baggies race to a 3-0 lead — but since that day, Chelsea have kept two clean sheets in the two games he played in, at home against Crystal Palace in the Premier League (4-0) and in the Champions League against Sevilla (0-0).

The Brazilian is still not at his best and is still getting to know his new teammates. He’s working on building his relationship with the likes of Kurt Zouma and Edouard Mendy, talking to them regularly outside of training. He’s also very close to Cesar Azpilicueta, and has been really impressed by the talent of Reece James.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

For his first big encounter in England, Silva’s really hoping that he will face Cavani. There will certainly be no secret between them. They have faced each other a million times at training. They know each other’s weaknesses better than anyone else and after the game on Saturday, they will surely spend time catching up on each other’s fresh starts, or reminiscing about the old days.

Overall, the fans will always have great memories of Cavani and of Silva despite any lingering unhappiness over their exits. They will probably watch Man United vs. Chelsea on Saturday with interest, and maybe a little tear in their eyes, too.