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🏈Going back to back

November 10, 2020
SOURCE: GREG FIUME/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: GREG FIUME/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: It’s the second week of multi-day football for New York, but this week we’re hoping for back-to-back wins after the Giants scored their second win of the season against the Washington Football Team (WFT) yesterday.

Anotha’ one: The Giants jumped out to an early lead and were able to fend off the WFT to secure their second win of the season 23–20. QB Daniel Jones looked cool and confident, completing 23 of 34 passing attempts, notching his longest completion of the season and committing no turnovers (ahem, who is he?).

  • The G-men also benefited from the WFT’s sloppy play, as they committed five messy turnovers. The game ended on one of Washington's errors, when New York defensive back Logan Ryan intercepted back-up QB Alex Smith’s pass. Ryan dedicated the game to his wife after a serious medical scare, and we’re thrilled the team could help him snag this win for her.

It’s Monday Night: The Jets will take on the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football, and while we probably wouldn’t have said this at the beginning of the season, the 2-5 Pats might just be battered and bruised enough for the Jets to beat. The Pats still have a relatively strong defense, but their injury-decimated offense has struggled. Lately, the Pats have had to rely on their running game, something the Jets defend fairly well.

  • The Jets won’t be playing at full steam either, as QB Joe Flacco will fill in for Sam Darnold while he’s out with a shoulder injury. TBH, Darnold has gone three straight games without a touchdown pass, so it’s about time someone else stepped in.
🏈

It ain’t pretty

November 10, 2020
SOURCE: USA TODAY
SOURCE: USA TODAY

The GIST: While LeBron was celebrating a future return to the White House, not all of LA’s teams were popping champagne after this weekend’s outcomes.

🏈Pac-12, start your engines: With only three minutes to save the game, USC said no problem. In a fan-less Coliseum, USC woke up from a sleepy and sloppy start to defeat Arizona State 28–27. However, with a shorter season and a weaker schedule, the Trojans will need sharper wins to make the College Football Playoff.

  • Unlike the Trojans, UCLA fell short of a comeback of their own with a 48–42 loss to Colorado. There weren’t high expectations, but the underachieving Bruins still managed to disappoint. Womp womp.

In misery: Can’t blow a double-digit lead if you never have one, right? Unfortunately, the Chargers found a new way to lose in a 31–26 heartbreaker to the Las Vegas Raiders. With one second left, it looked like tight end Donald Parham Jr. hauled in the game-winning touchdown, but it was overturned upon review. Pain.

⚾️Not dodging disaster: Dodger third baseman (now free agent) Justin Turner, who tested positive for COVID-19 during Game 6 of the World Series, will not face discipline from the league for his reckless decision to return to the field for the championship celebration. However, the damage is already done: county health officials announced that nine members of the Dodgers organization tested positive for COVID-19 as of Saturday. Yikes. Mask up!

Nobody likes us, and we don’t care

November 10, 2020
SOURCE: PHILADELPHIA UNION/TWITTER.COM
SOURCE: PHILADELPHIA UNION/TWITTER.COM

The GIST: With the country’s eyes on Philadelphia this week, it was amazing to see how impactful Philly athletes, including Gritty, were in encouraging civic engagement. But with the election mostly behind us and the Eagles on a bye, let’s dive into the Union’s best-in-the-league regular season performance.

Show me some hardware: Yesterday, the Union beat the New England Revolution 2–0 to close out the regular season. Forwards Sérgio Santos and Cory Burke each found the back of the net by being at the right place at the right time. With this win, Philly achieved a 14-5-4 (wins, draws, losses) record, securing the Supporters’ Shield.

  • The Shield is the first trophy the Union have won in their 10-year history, and the club owes much of this success to Sporting Director Ernst Tanner. He was brought on in 2018 and, since then, has successfully revamped the Union’s roster and their mentality.

For all the marbles: The top-ranked Union now have 10 days to rest and prepare for the Audi 2020 MLS Cup while the lower-ranked qualifying teams in the Eastern Conference compete in play-in games on November 20th. The Union will face the lower-seeded team of the two play-in winners in Round One, and thanks to that No. 1 ranking, the Union will host all of their games throughout the tournament.

  • While we wait for playoff soccer to start, sit back, relax, and hope goalkeeper Andre Blake will return in time for the playoffs. Let’s go!
🏈

Not thrilled

November 10, 2020
SOURCE: AP PHOTO
SOURCE: AP PHOTO

The GIST: It was a football frenzy in Chicagoland this weekend as the Bears extended their losing streak to three games and our college teams faced off against more Big 10 foes.

🏈Don’t panic?: The Bears were in hibernation for most of their game against the Tennessee Titans yesterday, digging themselves into a 17-point hole heading into the fourth quarter. Thankfully, they woke up just in time to score two touchdowns and a field goal to make the final 24–17 score less embarrassing.

  • The Bears offense hasn’t been able to come up with answers as to why it keeps getting worse. Nothing they’ve tried has produced winning results, and now with three straight losses and tough upcoming opponents, it’s hard not to enter panic mode thinking about the playoff chances of the once 5-1, and now 5-4 Bears.

College recap: While we all know what the Fighting Irish were up to this weekend, let’s catch up with the rest of our Chicagoland college squads. The Northwestern Wildcats keep proving their Top 25 status with another win, this time over the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Wildcats are in a great position in the Big 10 now that Maryland, whom Northwestern beat in the first game of the season, has defeated two Big 10 powerhouses in Penn State and Minnesota.

  • The U of I Illini looked messy in a 41–14 loss to the Minnesota Gophers, helping the Gophers along by giving up over 100 yards (!!!) in penalties. Now at 0-3, it’s looking like this might not be the year of the Illini.

⚽️On the pitch: The Chicago Fire ended regular season play with a 4–3 loss to NYC FC (FC stands for Football Club) yesterday. This “Decision Day” loss sealed them as the 11th seed in the East and knocked them out of the MLS Cup for the third straight season. Womp.

🏈Say “cheese”

November 10, 2020
SOURCE: NIC ANTAYA/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: NIC ANTAYA/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: What would a week in the NFL be without some off-field drama and on-field shenanigans? Welcome to Week 9.

Give me the details!: On Saturday, it was revealed that players from the league-worst New York Jets alerted the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) about secret cameras they found in their training facility locker room. The cameras were reportedly hidden in smoke detectors.

  • We’re not totally sure what these cameras were looking for or who installed them, but the NFLPA has pledged to investigate. Meanwhile, the Jets are still searching for their first win, but likely won’t find it against the New England Patriots tonight at 8:15 p.m. ET.

Anything else?: Last week the Las Vegas Raiders and head coach, Jon Gruden, were fined for repeated COVID-19 protocol violations. In addition to the fines they received earlier this season, the Raiders were docked another $500,000 and lost a 2021 sixth-round draft pick, while Gruden was fined $150,000. The Raiders, Gruden and a few players have been fined a total of $1.185 million.

  • BTW, this is the same team that is without right tackle Trent Brown for at least another month, due to complications from COVID-19. SMDH.

And what happened on the field?: Outside of the NFL’s longest game of hot potato, it was a scary scene yesterday when Washington quarterback (QB) Kyle Allen took an awkward hit that made his ankle bend in a way that ankles should not bend. Allen was replaced with QB Alex Smith, who threw his first touchdown since suffering his own nasty leg injury (and 17 subsequent surgeries) in 2018.

  • Elsewhere, the Miami Dolphins defense recorded their second fumble recovery TD in two games while on their way to a wild upset win over the Arizona Cardinals; the Pittsburgh Steelers are 8-0 for the first time in franchise history; Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady suffered the largest loss of his career; and Indianapolis Colts QB Philip Rivers tried — and miserably failed — to make a tackle. Fun times.