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🏈I’m gonna be your number one

November 23, 2020
SOURCE: UA ATHLETICS/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: UA ATHLETICS/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: For the first time since 2018, there’s a unanimous No. 1 in the college football rankings. Meanwhile, some close games in the NFL kept us on the edge of our couch all Sunday long. Bring on the drama.

Who’s the unanimous No. 1?: After handing Kentucky an embarrassing 63–3 loss on Saturday, the Alabama Crimson Tide kept their top spot in the rankings for a third straight week. Wide receiver (WR) DeVonta Smith set an SEC record on Saturday by hauling in the 32nd touchdown (TD) of his career. Roll, and we cannot stress this enough, Tide.

  • Alabama will have its last test on Saturday when they host No. 22 Auburn. If the Tide can pick up the Iron Bowl victory, it’ll be smooth sailing to the College Football Playoff selection on December 20th.

Tell me about the NFL: There were some heartbreaking injuries on Sunday, most notably to Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback (QB) Joe Burrow, who went down with what’s expected to be a torn ACL. We hate to see it. Now, onto some highlights you will want to watch.

  • Checkmate: Tennessee Titans running back (RB) Derrick Henry ran for this walk-off TD to lift the Titans to a 30–24 overtime (OT) victory over the Baltimore Ravens. All hail the King.
     
  • Shake of a lamb’s tail: Dallas Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb made this impossible catch against the Minnesota Vikings look easy.
     
  • Thielen good: Vikings WR Adam Thielen then responded with an incredible catch of his own. The acrobatic one-handed grab marked his eighth TD of the season. He added number nine minutes later, but the Vikings still couldn’t snag the win, losing 31–28 to the Cowboys.
🏀🏈

Turn the car around

November 23, 2020
SOURCE: PATRICK MCDERMOTT/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: PATRICK MCDERMOTT/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: The Washington Football Team (WFT) brought the holiday cheer yesterday with a key win, while the Wizards rang in NBA free agency with all the theatrics. ’Tis the season.

🏈Sweet, sweet victory: Winning feels so good. The WFT are still in the NFC East race, thanks to yesterday’s 20–9 triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals and the division-leading Philadelphia Eagles’ loss. With WR Terry McLaurin continuing to shine, never say never.

  • This game marked QB Alex Smith’s first win since his gruesome leg injury, yet dealt a blow to opposing QB Joe Burrow, who sustained a season-ending ACL tear. Defensive end Chase Young, who had himself a game, wished former Ohio State teammate a speedy recovery. We agree, Chase.

🏀Hello, goodbye: The John Wall for Russell Westbrook trade still hasn’t materialized. But that hasn’t stopped Wall from expressing his desire to leave the Wizards, just after the Wiz re-signed Dāvis Bertāns to a monster deal in hopes of seeing that sharpshooting meld with Wall’s return from injury. New guy Robin Lopez summed up our feelings perfectly.

🏈🏀

From the mixed-up files of the 215

November 23, 2020
SOURCE: GREGORY SHAMUS/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: GREGORY SHAMUS/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: We’re looking for anything (babies, basketball and even the MLS) to take our minds off the Eagles after their 22–17 loss to the Cleveland Browns yesterday.

🏈Same sh!t, different day: It’s never good when the first score of a game is a pick-six off your QB. Unfortunately, that set the tone for the game as QB Carson Wentz threw another interception early in the second quarter. That brings his season total to 14, the most of any QB in the league. Wentz struggled yesterday, but it was not entirely his fault: he faced constant pressure, with the offensive line allowing four sacks. Ouch.

  • Defensively, the Birds tired against the Browns’ relentless rushing offense, giving up 15 points in the second half.
  • With all NFC East teams at three wins, and the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers up next, we’re definitely nervous about the Eagles’ playoff chances.

🏀Signed, sealed, delivered: After the glitz and the glam of the NBA Draft, the Sixers started free agency period with a bang, signing former LA Laker Dwight Howard to a one-year deal. We’re excited, even if the relationship started out on an awkward note.

  • Then, yesterday afternoon, the Sixers traded Zhaire Smith to the Detroit Pistons for Tony Bradley, adding yet another big man to the roster. There are lots of free agents still on the market, and we’re excited to see what, if any, moves Philly will make.

Secure the ’ship: The Union begin the first round of the 2020 Audi MLS Cup against the New England Revolution tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET. Entering the tournament as the top seed, it’s time for the squad to finish out their fairytale season by bringing the hardware home.

🏀Mo money, mo problems

November 23, 2020
SOURCE: TRAVIS BELL/SIDELINE CAROLINA
SOURCE: TRAVIS BELL/SIDELINE CAROLINA

The GIST: While it might not be safe to go to a movie theater right now, the NBA free agency has given us all the Blockbuster action we need. Plus, there’s even more to watch, with college basketball finally tipping off on Wednesday. Getcha popcorn ready.

Exciting! Tell me about free agency: Big names are on the move, including forward Gordon Hayward, who is leaving the Boston Celtics for the Charlotte Hornets (and a cool $120 million). And former Toronto Raptors Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol will trade in their snow boots for swim trunks after signing two-year deals with the LA Clippers and Lakers, respectively.

  • Meanwhile, some players are staying put but making headlines by securing the bag. Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell signed a five-year, $195 million (!!!) contract extension. Yeah, dinner is definitely on him.

Are there any other players to watch for?: A handful of free agents remain unsigned, including LA Lakers star Anthony Davis. We expect Davis to stay with the defending champions, but he’s in no rush to put pen to paper.

And what’s up in college basketball?: After the 2019–20 season abruptly ended in March (still shook that happened this year), a new college basketball season finally begins on Wednesday.

  • On the women’s side, watch out for No. 1 South Carolina, led by legendary coach Dawn Staley and reigning national freshman of the year Aliyah Boston. No. 3 UConn will also rely on young talent, including 2020 top recruit Paige Bueckers.
     
  • For the men, keep tabs on No. 2 Baylor and returning point guard Jared Butler, who averaged 16 points per game last season. No. 3 Villanova is the other team to watch, led by senior guard Collin Gillespie. Bring on the madness!
🏀🏈

Truth hurts

November 23, 2020
SOURCE: DAVID J. PHILLIP/AP PHOTO
SOURCE: DAVID J. PHILLIP/AP PHOTO

The GIST: This weekend was a flurry of activity in Beantown: the Patriots lost (sigh), the Celtics made a ton of personnel moves and the Revolution squeaked into the first round of MLS playoffs. Dig in!

🏈Houston, we have a problem: Yesterday, Houston defensive end J.J. Watt batted away the Pats’ slim postseason hopes, as the Pats fell 27–20 to the Texans. Houston’s QB Deshaun Watson incinerated the Pats’ defense, which was also burned by former Patriot WR Brandin Cooks. This loss stings.

  • Curiously, the Pats didn’t run much, but instead relied on QB Cam Newton’s passing. Although WR Damiere Byrd reeled in a career-high 132 receiving yards, those yards ultimately couldn’t make up for the Pats’ lack of a run game.
  • To make matters worse, RB Rex Burkhead, who was having a career season, left in the third quarter with a knee injury. Devastating.

🏀Not too good at goodbyes: With NBA free agency and trade season in full swing, the Celtics saw a lot of departures: Gordon Hayward to the Charlotte Hornets, Enes Kanter to the Portland Trail Blazers and Brad Wanamaker to the Golden State Warriors. Eek.

  • On top of giving Jayson Tatum a five-year, $195 million extension (!!!), the Celts also brought in Tristan Thompson and the Kardashians to provide a powerful frontcourt presence. But Hayward’s exit means the team still needs scoring depth at wing, so we’re giving the Celtics a B grade for their moves thus far.

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Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60. He is largely considered one of the greatest soccer players of all time, and left a permanent mark on the game.
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Maradona captained Argentina to a 1986 World Cup win and scored his most famous goal, known as the “Hand of God.” He also spent time playing for Barcelona and Napoli, whom he helped lead to the Serie A title.
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