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🏈NFL Week 7 Woes: Antonio Brown, COVID-19

October 26, 2020
SOURCE: JOHN KUNTZ/CLEVELAND.COM
SOURCE: JOHN KUNTZ/CLEVELAND.COM

The GIST: If 2020 were an NFL week, Week 7 would be it.

Care to explain?: To start, Antonio Brown is about to return to the NFL. We can only scratch the surface on his long list of off-field drama, but suffice it to say, he’s had a troublesome few years. His history — which includes an ongoing sexual assault lawsuit — apparently isn’t bad enough for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, however.

  • The Bucs will reportedly sign AB to a one-year, max $2.5 million deal that would reunite him with his old New England Patriots teammate, quarterback (QB) Tom Brady. Brown will be eligible to start for the Bucs in Week 9, once he’s done serving the remainder of his eight-game suspension for violating the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy. Ugh.

What else?: COVID-19 continues to rear its ugly head. Jacksonville Jaguars running back (RB) Ryquell Armstead is out for the rest of the season due to COVID-19 complications. The second-year RB has been hospitalized twice since his diagnosis in August. Just awful.

  • Four Buffalo Bills tight ends (TE) had to sit out during yesterday’s win after TE Dawson Knox tested positive, and the Las Vegas Raiders had to send their offensive line home from practice on Wednesday after tackle Trent Brown tested positive. Meanwhile the Tennessee Titans have been fined $350,000 for COVID-19 protocol violations.

Wow. Any on-field news?: You bet. Here are a few of Week 7’s lowlights from the gridiron:

  • Dallas Cowboys QB Andy Dalton suffered a terrible head injury following an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit in a 25–3 loss to the Washington Football Team. Rattling.
  • The New England Patriots’ 33–6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers saw three interceptions from QB Cam Newton and was the worst home defeat of Bill Belichick’s Pats coaching career.
  • And king of the one-handed catch Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a nasty knee injury during his Cleveland Browns’ close win over the Cincinnati Bengals. We’re ready for Week 8 now, please.
🏈🏀

Recap: First Week of Big Ten Football

October 26, 2020
SOURCE: MARC LEBRYK/USA TODAY SPORTS
SOURCE: MARC LEBRYK/USA TODAY SPORTS

The GIST: With overtime (OT) upsets and show-stopping season debuts, the first weekend of Big Ten football did not disappoint. Meanwhile, with just under a month out from tip-off of the college basketball season, (bubble!) tournaments are being finalized. Can we get a hell yeah?!

Hell yeah! What happened in the Big Ten?: Highlights from the first weekend include Rutgers snapping a 21-game (!!!) conference losing streak with a 38–27 win over Michigan State. In other upset news, Indiana pulled off a truly wild finish, defeating previously ranked No. 8 Penn State 36–35 thanks to a (somewhat controversial) two-point conversion in OT. It’s a game of inches!

  • To top off a thrilling weekend of on-field action, the Big Ten also made history during Saturday night’s Michigan vs. Minnesota game. The primetime contest featured the first-ever all-Black crew to officiate a game in Power Five history. Progress, people!

What about the other conferences?: With most of the other Week 8 games panning out as expected, there wasn’t too much disruption in the Top 25 rankings. No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama both earned commanding, expected victories over unranked opponents to maintain their top spots. Yawn.

And what’s the basketball news?: Plans are being finalized to host some early nonconference games in a bubble at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut from November 25th to December 5th. Over 30 women’s and men’s teams — including powerhouses like the UConn women’s team and the preseason favorite Baylor men — will enter what organizers are calling “Bubbleville” (how...creative).

Dodgers One Win Away From World Series Title

October 26, 2020
SOURCE: MLB/TWITTER
SOURCE: MLB/TWITTER

The GIST: The LA Dodgers are just one game away from winning the World Series. But based on what we’ve seen so far, we’re not sure the Tampa Bay Rays will let them off that easy.

Tell me everything!: Down 2-1 in baseball’s biggest series, the Rays ended Saturday night’s Game 4 with a stunning walk-off run from Brett Phillips to win 8–7 and even up the series. But in keeping with the back and forth wins of the series so far, Game 5 was all Dodgers.

  • The SoCal boys started with a 3–0 lead and never gave it up, even after a third inning push from the Rays. Pitcher Clayton Kershaw was not only instrumental in the 4–2 win, but he had himself a night, passing Justin Verlander to become the MLB’s leader in postseason strikeouts with 207. Sheesh.

What now?: Tomorrow night’s Game 6 could really go either way. But it’s not the only matchup we’re looking forward to: the race to the most homers in a single postseason is a nail-biter, too.

  • Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena and Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager have been trading the top spot over the past few games, with Arozarena currently leading the all-time list with nine. Tune in to Game 6 at 8:08 p.m. ET tomorrow to see if Seager can take back the lead — and maybe win the World Series, too.
⛸️🏆

Bits & Bites: Dunn to Portland is Done Deal

October 26, 2020
SOURCE: ROBIN ALAM/ISI PHOTOS
SOURCE: ROBIN ALAM/ISI PHOTOS

🏎 Formula One: As if there was ever any doubt, Lewis Hamilton has now firmly cemented his status as the greatest race car driver of all time (sorry, Ricky Bobby!). Hamilton won his 92nd career Grand Prix in Portugal yesterday, beating Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 career wins. Drive fast, sing, use his international platform to call for social equality...what can’t this man do?

⛳️LPGA: Danielle Kang almost had matching Drive On Championship trophies this year, but fellow American Ally McDonald spoiled that dream. After leading the whole weekend, McDonald notched her first ever LPGA title yesterday, finishing with a 16 under par score, just one stroke ahead of Kang. Not a bad 28th birthday for the champ!

⚽️Soccer: The NWSL offseason is proving eventful. The league announced a blockbuster trade on Thursday that saw U.S. women’s national soccer team (USWNT) star Crystal Dunn traded from the North Carolina Courage to OL Reign and finally to the Portland Thorns, where Dunn will join her World Cup–winning teammates Lindsey Horan and Becky Sauerbrunn and international goals leader, Canadian Christine Sinclair.

  • Meanwhile, across the pond, women’s league soccer is taking a break while national teams qualify for 2022’s UEFA Women’s Euro Cup (talk about getting an early start). The qualifying round continues tomorrow, so pick a European country to support and follow along here.

Skating: Move aside, Adam Rippon — America has a new sweetheart. The 2020–2021 Grand Prix of Figure Skating started this weekend with the Skate America event, and Mariah Bell stole the show. The 24-year-old won her first career top-level competition after a free skate routine to an ABBA medley, which should help her secure an elusive Olympic team spot.

  • For the first time since 1983, all four events were won by American skaters. That’s mostly due to COVID-19 travel restrictions for international competitors, but whatever, we’ll take it.

🏈Jets, Giants Lose This Week

October 26, 2020
SOURCE: HARRY SCULL JR. /BUFFALO NEWS
SOURCE: HARRY SCULL JR. /BUFFALO NEWS

The GIST: The Jets’ winless streak continued with a loss to the Buffalo Bills this week, while the Giants’ loss on Thursday shifted the team’s focus from salvaging this season to rebuilding for 2021 (honestly, same). New York football is breaking more hearts than this season of The Bachelorette.

Thanks for playing: For a hot second, it looked like the Jets were going to notch their first win. QB Sam Darnold and the team snagged an early 10–0 lead and surprisingly looked like a functional football team. But it didn’t last long: 18 unanswered points later, the Bills handed the Jets their seventh loss of the season. Sigh.

  • Even though the Jets lost, head coach Adam Gase earned some props by relinquishing his play-calling powers to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. We’d say the attempt to jumpstart the offense kind of worked?
  • Still, with a brutal schedule ahead of them, don’t count on the Jets winning any time soon.

Onto the next one: ICYMI, the Giants lost 22–21 to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, dropping to 1-6 and essentially ruining their playoff hopes along the way. The G-men have seemingly already started to plan for next year, trading linebacker Markus Golden back to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick in 2021.

  • Golden was drafted by Arizona in 2015 and came to the Giants as a free agent. Consider Golden the first of many dominoes to fall.

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Former Oregon Ducks superstar Sabrina Ionescu, who signed a contract with Nike following her epic four-year career with the Ducks, gifted the current Oregon team with a custom pair of Nike Air Zoom’s that Ionescu was going to wear in her first year in the WNBA. 🔥
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(c/o - @oregonwbb @sabrina_i)Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was a vibe yesterday ahead of his squads 43-16 W over the Denver Broncos yesterday. 🔥
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(c/o - @killatrav)Major League Baseball took massive financial losses in order for the 2020 season to take place. WOW.
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The Athletic's Evan Drellich reported that the league totaled $3 billion in revenue in 2020 while expenses were $6.1 billion. MLB's revenue in 2019 was $10.7 billion. #thegist