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🏈Patriots Take Painful Loss

October 26, 2020
SOURCE: KATHRYN RILEY/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: KATHRYN RILEY/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: Yesterday, the Patriots were absolutely pummeled by the San Francisco 49ers 33–6. Just like a middle school dance, the Pats’ third straight loss was painful and embarrassing.

Six points?: It was ugly. All six points came from field goals as QB Cam Newton struggled. His sloppy play (read: turnovers) led to Jarrett Stidham replacing him in the fourth quarter, but Stidham didn’t fare much better, taking an interception himself. We chalked up last week’s loss to a lack of practice, but this one is inexcusable.

And the defense?: Also ugly. The 49ers totaled 301 yards in the first half alone, marking the most allowed at home by the Patriots in the first half under head coach Bill Belichick (meaning over 20 years). They gave up three touchdowns to Niner RB Jeff Wilson Jr. and made former Patriot backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s return to Foxboro too sweet. No sugarcoating it.

Who’s next?: Oh, just the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills (aka the Pats’ divisional foes). Sunday’s game is a must-win. Buckle up.

⛸️🏆

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.

🏈Eagle Still Atop NFC East

October 26, 2020
SOURCE: TIM HAWK/NJ ADVANCE MEDIA
SOURCE: TIM HAWK/NJ ADVANCE MEDIA

The GIST: Still heartbroken from Penn State’s loss to Indiana? Same. But cheer up, at least the Eagles are still atop the NFC East.

It’s lonely at the top: ICYMI, the Eagles barely beat the NY Giants on Thursday Night Football, scoring a miraculous last-minute touchdown to steal the game from their divisional foe 22–21. Thankfully, because the NFC East is very bad, the Birds’ second win of the season granted them the top spot in their division.

  • To earn a playoff berth, the Eagles have to either win their division or have one of the top three records in their conference. At 2-4-1, their only hope is staying in control of the NFC East.

When opportunity knocks: The NFC East is a hot mess, with three of the four teams recording only two wins each. To make matters more confusing, the Eagles have lost to the Washington Football Team (WFT) but beat the Giants, the WFT have lost to the Giants but beat the Cowboys, and the Cowboys have lost to the WFT but beat the Giants. Wild.

  • The Eagles will have their first chance against the Cowboys on Sunday. The Cowboys were originally projected to take the division; however, with the unfortunate loss of starting QB Dak Prescott and second-string QB Andy Dalton, the Birds are serious contenders.
  • With nine games left in the season, the division is anyone’s to claim. Fly Eagles, fly!

🏈Washington Football Team Earn Win Over Cowboys

October 26, 2020
SOURCE: EMILEE FAILS/WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM
SOURCE: EMILEE FAILS/WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

The GIST: The Washington Football Team (WFT) grabbed a much-needed victory over the shorthanded Dallas Cowboys yesterday to end a five-game losing streak. A win’s a win!

Finally!: You’re telling us! The WFT picked up their second win of the season with a dominant 25–3 win against their NFC East rival. The defense was firing on all cylinders, recording six sacks, their highest tally since the season opener.

  • The offense was clicking, too. RB Antonio Gibson had 128 rushing yards and paid homage to LeBron James with his touchdown celebration, while QB Kyle Allen showed off his arm by going deep to wide receiver Terry McLaurin. We love to see it.

Any other good news?: Yes! Head coach Ron Rivera finishes the last of his cancer treatments today. Rivera said, “what I’ve been told is it’s headed in the right direction.” So good to hear.

Who are they playing next week?: Actually, the WFT have a Week 8 bye. They return on November 8th for a rematch against the NY Giants...and so will some fans in the stands.

  • FedEx Field will house around 3,000 fans, under the 10% capacity threshold set by the Maryland governor. Stay safe and mask up, D.C.!