Photo by Tristan Tamayo/Inquirer.netBarangay Ginebra didn’t even need its import Justin Brownlee to play in the fourth quarter on Wednesday.Brownlee had already done his work through three quarters and the Gin Kings outclassed an overmatched Kia Picanto side, 120-99, in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.ADVERTISEMENT Reden Celda had a team-high 21 points for the Picanto, who slid to 0-4.RELATED VIDEO LeBron James scores 31 points, Lakers beat Rockets 787 earthquakes recorded in 24 hours due to restive Taal Volcano OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson View comments Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles03:13Robredo pushes back, asks what’s the real figure on drug war01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite Ginebra flaunted its depth and had eight players scoring at least eight points led by Brownlee and Slaughter, who finished with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists in just his third game back since being sidelined for 10 months due to an ACL injury.Even the 37-year-old Mark Caguioa, who is in his 15th season in the league, got into the scoring act and came away with a season-high 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field in less than 14 minutes off the bench.The Gin Kings, who climbed to 2-1, never trailed and led by as much as 34, 98-64. They went on a 16-2 run in the first three and a half minutes of the third quarter to take a 74-45 lead and put the game away for food.Ginebra clicked on both ends of the floor, assisting on 39 out of its 44 made field goals and limiting Kia import Markeith Cummings to just 14 points on 6-of-20 shooting from the field with five turnovers in 35 minutes.The Gin Kings’ assist total was the most in 14 years, according the league head statistician Fidel Mangonon. Ginebra guard Scottie Thompson dished out a game-high 10 assists.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES PSC partners with USANA Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend MOST READ McGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC return ‘I’m out!’: PewDiePie releases last video before taking break from YouTube Indian national gunned down in Camarines Sur Marcosian mode: Duterte threatens to arrest water execs ‘one night’ The versatile forward had his fingerprints all over the game, nearly having a triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists with two blocks to boot in close to 32 minutes of action.The Gin Kings, who are even deadlier than before with the 7-foot Greg Slaughter getting back into top form, just had too much firepower for the Picanto.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’“We kind of displayed all of our weapons tonight, all of our weapons came in play,” Ginebra head coach Tim Cone told reporters.“I just thought we had too many weapons for Kia, too many people they had to account for,” said Cone. “But I’m really happy with the focus of our guys, coming out and sustaining it for 48 minutes.” Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Kawhi Leonard, Clippers rally to beat Pelicans
HE SAID “I love Hart football” – Hart kicker Paul Weinstein, after kicking a 45-yard field goal Friday to beat Valencia 17-14. DID YOU KNOW? AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week This is a memorable anniversary year for Canyon and Hart – and a not-so-memorable one for Antelope Valley. Twenty years ago, Canyon defeated Antelope Valley 9-7 to win the 1985 Southern Section Coastal Conference championship – Canyon’s third consecutive section title. Ten years ago, Hart defeated Antelope Valley 35-28 in the 1995 Southern Section Div. II championship, one of Hart’s biggest upset victories. The Antelopes had returned most of its top players after defeating Hart 36-15 in the Div. II final the previous season. SPOTLIGHT Saugus’ Casey Stevenson, who made a career-best nine receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-28 victory Friday over Burbank – including the winning, 11-yard score with 29 seconds to play – is enjoying quite a season. Stevenson, who is also a top baseball player, has 37 receptions for 473 yards, and he’s averaging 25 yards as a kick returner. The 6-foot-1 senior also has four tackles as a reserve defensive back. OFFBEAT After seven weeks as one of the area’s most productive receivers, Golden Valley’s Martel Hammond switched to running back against Salesian of Los Angeles last Saturday – and, boy, was he sore afterward. Not one to tip-toe into his new role, Hammond carried 30 times for 65 yards and a TD and caught two passes to lift Golden Valley to a 24-14 win for the school’s first varsity victory. On Monday, he could barely walk but was all smiles. “Oh, I’m sore, but it’s worth it,” Hammond said. With Golden Valley down to its fourth-string quarterback, coach Rob Swartz felt like he had no choice but to switch Hammond to the backfield. “He’s one of our best athletes, and we had to figure out a way to get Martel the football as much as possible,” Swartz said. OFF THE CHART The area’s biggest players: Name, SchoolHT/WT J.T. Hartmire, Hart6-2, 315 Henry Diaz, Burbank6-2, 310 Ramsen Golpashin, Saugus6-4, 305 Christian Sanchez, Valencia6-0, 289 Josh Velasquez, Golden Valley6-4, 275 Jon Warren, Hart6-1, 270 Marc Manfro, West Ranch6-0, 270 NUMBERS GAME 4 Blocked kicks by Valencia’s Rickie Crouch, a senior transfer from Crenshaw of Los Angeles, who has developed into one of the Foothill League’s most effective special-teams players. TONIGHT’S GAMES GAME OF THE WEEK VALENCIA (7-1) at CANYON (7-1) Player to watch: Randy Rigg, DB, Canyon. After intercepting two passes last week – one a 26-yard TD return – Rigg hopes to impress against a Valencia team that loves to pass. Outlook: This is a big one, as two of the Southland’s premier programs go head-to-head in a showdown featuring lots of big-play performers on both sides. Valencia, coming off a disappointing 17-14 loss to Hart, has a great one-two punch in QB Michael Herrick and RB Shane Vereen. Herrick, closing in on the state’s career yardage record, has passed for 2,212 yards and accounted for 18 TDs (10 passing, eight rushing). Vereen has rushed for 1,125 yards (9.1 avg.), caught 35 passes and accounted for 19 TDs. The swift junior has 12 100-yard rushing performances in 17 games the past two seasons. Canyon’s J.J. DiLuigi has rushed for 1,087 yards, caught 14 passes for 303 yards and scored 30 TDs. He’s averaging 43.5 yards on kick returns. Since a surprising upset loss to Simi Valley in Week 3, Canyon has won five in a row, by an average margin of 34.8 points. The Cowboys, expected to be without LB Tyler Hawkins (concussion), anticipates a stiff challenge. Valencia averages 35.5 points and 466.1 yards – best among schools from the Santa Clarita, San Fernando, Conejo and Antelope valleys. A loss by Valencia probably means at best a third-place finish in the Foothill League, which could cost the Vikings a home seed in the first round of the Div. II playoffs. HART (7-1) vs. BURBANK (3-5) at Burroughs HS, 7 p.m. Player to watch: Steve Burton, DL, Hart. Burton, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound returning starter, has recovered from a broken thumb and returned to the lineup last week for the first time since the season opener, helping Hart to a 17-14 victory over Valencia. He wore a soft cast but managed to make three tackles and cause a fumble. Outlook: Hart is riding high after last week’s dramatic victory over Valencia, and the Indians figure to be a heavy favorite. Burbank has won just three league games the past 12 seasons. Hart’s Tyler Lyon has passed for 957 yards and seven TDs, and rushed for two TDs. Several Hart starters suffered minor injuries against Valencia, including leading WR Troy Yudin (concussion), leading rusher Delano Howell (ankle) and multipurpose standout Robbie Casselberry (stomach/foot). All except Howell are expected to start. Yudin (43 receptions, eight TDs) was held without a reception last week for the first time in his two-year career, although he came through with an important fourth-quarter INT. A year ago, he burned Burbank for four receptions for 186 yards and two TDs. Hart’s defense, led by LBs Patrick Sarkissian, Griffin Cannon and Chris Hickok, DL Wilfred Aka and DBs James Wheeler and Anthony Luna, has allowed an average of 270.1 yards,and held five opponents to two or fewer TDs. Burbank has lost three in a row. Robert Linda has passed for 519 yards but just one TD since taking over for injured Jason Barbic five weeks ago. Marcus Hood has rushed for 860 yards (6.4 avg.) and nine TDs, and Jason McNeil has 34 receptions and six TDs. BURROUGHS (3-5) vs. SAUGUS (3-5) at College of the Canyons, 7:30 p.m. Player to watch: Ryan McKillop, LB, Saugus. McKillop’s job isn’t complicated. He needs to focus on RB Thomas Kyle, one of the league’s top breakaway threats. Outlook: Saugus ought to be fired up. The Centurions must finish with two victories to have a realistic chance of making the playoffs. Saugus got back on track last week with a dramatic 35-28 victory over Burbank, driving 99 yards in the waning minutes to snap a five-game losing streak. Zach Summers has passed for 960 yards and eight TDs, and he’s also a talented scrambler who has scored five TDs. In critical situations, he almost always looks for Casey Stevenson (37 receptions, five TDs). Kyle, a three-year standout, has rushed for 884 yards, caught 17 passes and scored nine TDs, several 50 yards or longer. GOLDEN VALLEY (1-7) at CARPINTERIA (5-3), 7:30 p.m. Outlook: Golden Valley is coming off its first victory in school history but can’t expect a day at the beach at Carpinteria, an annual Div. XI playoff contender coming off a loss to state power Oaks Christian of Westlake Village. Golden Valley’s Martel Hammond, a productive WR, switched to RB last game and rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries in a milestone 24-14 victory over Salesian of Los Angeles. DL Mike Spagnola is the team’s key tackler. Carpinteria coach John Hazelton coached at Montclair Prep of Panorama City and Burbank and also was an assistant coach for one season at USC. STANDINGS FOOTHILL LEAGUE TeamLeagueOverall Hart3-07-1 Canyon3-07-1 Valencia2-17-1 Saugus1-23-5 Burroughs0-33-5 Burbank0-33-5 Others: Golden Valley 1-7 (freelance); West Ranch 1-1 (freelance). SEASON LOGS CANYON (7-1, 3-0) 55at Leuzinger0 42Burroughs/R21 27Simi Valley34 42South Torrance6 21Crespi0 45Burbank10 55Saugus at COC7 42Burroughs/B7 TonightValencia Nov. 10at Hart GOLDEN VALLEY (1-7) Home: Canyon HS 0Burbank66 14Knight24 14Pioneer Valley67 7dtpostAlemany38 14Palos Verdes62 14Quartz Hill51 7at Ontario Christian56 24Salesian14 Tonightat Carpinteria Nov. 11St. Genevieve HART (7-1, 3-0) Home: College of the Canyons 7Moorpark6 21at St. Bonaventure33 38Westlake7 23at Birmingham13 34Loyola27 14Saugus7 55at Burroughs21 17at Valencia14 TonightBurbank at Burr HS Nov. 10Canyon SAUGUS (3-5, 1-2) Home: College of the Canyons 57at Blair0 48Pasadena7 21Chino48 7Notre Dame21 0at St. Francis20 7at Hart14 7Canyon55 35at Burbank28 TonightBurroughs Nov. 11Valencia VALENCIA (6-2, 2-1) 35at Bishop Amat21 51Birmingham30 48El Toro20 30St. John Bosco3 28at Notre Dame35 36at Burroughs/B21 42dtpost!3 17Hart14 Tonightat Canyon Nov. 11at Saugus 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. 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Seconds out, round two.Pull up your ringside seat and get ready for the latest instalment of your friendly neighbourhood west London derby.As you may have heard by now, QPR go toe to toe with Chelsea at Loftus Road for the second time in three months as the pair clash in Saturday’s fourth-round FA Cup tie.In the first game we had two red cards, a plethora of yellows and a shock win for Rangers – even if they were outplayed by nine men for the majority of it.Oh, and John Terry was alleged to have racially abused Anton Ferdinand.Apart from that, it was pretty dull.Last time around Rangers had the element of surprise, with Chelsea seemingly unaware this was a London derby.“Hopefully amidst all the bad feeling a football match will break out and if it does, expect Fernando Torres to miraculously rediscover his shooting boots.”They began to get the picture when they stepped off the team coach into a bear pit, while their Spanish playmaker quickly realised the art of taking a corner while a baying mob are breathing down your neck is not simply a case of mind over Mata.Once they threw caution to the wind, the Blues looked a formidable outfit but QPR somehow held on for what was arguably Neil Warnock’s greatest win at the club.This time, the game will have the added spice (like it needs any) of former Chelsea darling Mark Hughes at the helm looking to put one over his old paymasters.Sparky has been busy this week, signing Taye Taiwo on loan from AC Milan and Manchester City’s Nedum Onuoha.I already tried cracking the lame gag that if QPR win on Saturday, Hughes will order his players to do a lap of Onuoha, but after the pasting I received on Twitter, rest assured I won’t be repeating it on here.Chelsea, meanwhile, have gone off to Mallorca for some warm weather training ahead of Saturday’s game, although if they wanted to properly acclimatise they’d have been better off soaking in the white hot atmosphere of Mount Vesuvius.The two clubs took the unusual step of issuing a joint statement warning fans about their conduct at the match, while there were rumours that Ferdinand had been asked to shake Terry’s hand – although if I were him I’d adopt the Elvis Costello stance and let it dangle.The bookies meanwhile, never ones to miss a trick, were giving odds of 20/1 that the pair swapped shirts afterwards. I think more accurate odds would be slim to none and slim’s left town.Just in case fans hadn’t got the message, QPR issued a reminder on their website the day after the statement, which read: “Queens Park Rangers Football Club is committed to confronting and eliminating discrimination, whether by reason of race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, ethnic and national origin, disability, nationality, religion or belief or gender reassignment.”All very admirable, but where exactly does marital status fit in to the insults category?Bound to score.Can’t say I’ve ever heard anyone shout: “Oi, you @!*@$!* divorcee, do you want some?”Hopefully amidst all the bad feeling a football match will break out and if it does, expect Fernando Torres to miraculously rediscover his shooting boots.The Spaniard has netted five goals in 42 appearances for the Blues so far – or £10m a pop if you prefer – and has long since broken David Blaine’s 40-day world record for doing nothing inside a box.But QPR are usually very accommodating when it comes to helping players rediscover their form – or hosting Loftus Road parties for champions elect on the final day of the season, so Torres will never have a better chance of filling his boots.The striker mis-fired again in last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Norwich, with manager Andre Villas-Boas insisting he was simply “unlucky”.Sorry, AVB, I don’t buy that. If you want proper misfortune, I’ll refer you to the words of Tommy Cooper: “I’ve always been unlucky – I once had a rocking horse and it died.”Rangers meanwhile enjoyed back-to-back wins for the first time this season as the rather fortunate defeat of MK Dons was followed by a more comprehensive victory over Wigan.Tommy Smith and Akos Buzsaky held their own goal of the day competition, while Joey Barton was playing his first game since his Twitter rant at Warnock.Booed by some Warnock loyalists and serenaded with “Joey Barton, he Tweets what he wants” by others, the midfielder had a decent enough game, given that he’d missed the last three through suspension.Personally I think he should put down Nietzche and George Orwell for a while and drink in the words of that other well-known philosopher Ronan Keating, who sagely opined “You say it best when you say nothing at all”.This week Barton joined representatives from every Premier League club in naming their favourite books as part of a worthy initiative aimed at encouraging children to read.He opted for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but the choice that caught my eye was made by Newcastle’s Mike Wiliamson – Bob Wilson’s Ultimate Collection Of Peculiar Sporting Lingo.Words fail me.Follow Chris on Twitter read more
West London’s cruiserweight prospect Deion Jumah will feature on the undercard of the heavyweight clash between David Haye and Tyson Fury in Manchester on 28 September.Jumah’s opponent will be confirmed shortly and it will be the 24-year-old’s third professional bout – and his first in Britain.Twice an ABA champion, Jumah has enjoyed wins in Denmark and Germany since being snapped up by leading European promoters Sauerland Promotions.He has recently been training at Haye’s Vauxhall gym along with George Groves, who will face Carl Froch for the super-middleweight world title in November.Like Groves and James DeGale, Jumah is a product of the Dale Youth Boxing Club in Notting Hill.See also:Jumah set for British pro 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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook read more
Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa “We don’t have any other motivation except to win the championship,” said Ayo.“In the first round, there were lots of distractions, simple schemes on defense that sometimes we cannot execute; we tended to gamble a lot. We were very undisciplined in the first round. But they became different come the second round because they just surrendered to the system and overcame the distractions.”It wasn’t smooth-sailing for the Archers in their Final Four rematch with the Falcons as they came out cold from beyond the arc, missing their first 17 three-point shots.Jolo Go hit one from the corner with 8:18 remaining that set off the endgame run that took the fight out of the Falcons. More than the shot, Abu Tratter’s pick to free up Go caught Ayo’s attention.La Salle stifled Adamson in the final period, holding the Falcons to just 12 points.ADVERTISEMENT But the defeat left a bitter taste in Adamson coach Franz Pumaren’s mouth. Pumaren was heard complaining about the officiating as he walked to the dugout after the game.“This was the worst officiating (I experienced in the UAAP),” Pumaren was seen telling the referees. “You did not give us a chance to play.”Adamson was called for 33 fouls, 21 more than La Salle, which went 26-of-39 from the free throw line. Adamson, in contrast, made just two of its five foul shots.“I don’t want to sound sour-graping but I guess everyone saw the game,” said Pumaren. CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA All’s well in Ateneo as Final 4 approaches Trailing for most of the match, Ben Mbala (23) and La Salle fended off the challenge posed by Sean Maganti (left), Papi Sarr and hard-fighting Adamson. —AUGUST DELA CRUZDown by six at halftime to a hot-shooting Adamson team, La Salle coach Aldin Ayo took his players to task for their sloppy play, sensing a hangover from the big win over rival Ateneo almost a week ago.“Are you playing like this because its not Ateneo?” the fiery coach asked his team.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort View comments Read Next Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “This is the more important game. Some of you are not focused that’s why we can’t execute our plays.”Ayo finally got his response in the final period, where the Green Archers blitzed the Falcons on their way to an 82-75 victory that booked a return trip to the finals of UAAP Season 80 at Smart Araneta Coliseum.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutBen Mbala scattered 27 points, Leonard Santillan wound up with 15 and Ricci Rivero finished with 14 points as the Archers rolled to their eighth straight victory after rallying from 15 points down.The Archers now await the winner of Sunday’s clash between top seed Ateneo and Far Eastern U for the best of three Finals that starts next Saturday. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kris Aquino ‘pretty chill about becoming irrelevant’ LATEST STORIES Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 read more
PASADENA, CA – JANUARY 01: Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks to avoid a sack by linebacker Roquan Smith #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs in the second half in the 2018 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield began his college career at Texas Tech in 2013, spending one season as a member of the Red Raiders. During his time in Lubbock, he developed a bond with a longtime Tech athletics department staffer named Jennie Bailey.Bailey lost her fight with cancer early this morning at the age of 55. Mayfield paid tribute to Bailey on his Instagram with a very touching post.Well-done, Baker. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bailey’s family, friends and the Texas Tech athletic community. read more
Rose Bowl GiftsOne of the more underrated parts of the bowl game experience for coaches and players? The free swag you receive just for showing up. Gifts could include anything from headphones, video game systems, clothes, watches and more.By the looks of these two videos posted by the Rose Bowl on Instagram, Iowa and Stanford players were not disappointed with the options they encountered in the Rose Bowl gift suite. Gift suite time for @hawkeyefootball. #RoseBowlA video posted by Rose Bowl Game (@rosebowlgame) on Dec 21, 2015 at 6:59pm PST @stanfordfball and the #RoseBowl Game gift suite!A video posted by Rose Bowl Game (@rosebowlgame) on Dec 21, 2015 at 6:57pm PST Definitely some quality stuff to choose from. What would you have picked?
Trina Roache APTN National NewsA Mi’kmaq boxer from New Brunswick set his sights on a Canadian title Tuesday night.Nathan Millier fought for the light heavyweight championship in Toronto.Millier started boxing six years ago.But he’s been fighting his whole life.
There’s a bit of a schism in sports fandom. On one side there are those who want more and more statistical analysis (Hi, everybody!); on the other there are those who think stats are overused and blanch at how sabermetrics and analytics have changed what it means to be a good fan.But I have a theory about this latter group: In general, they’re not really anti-stats. Virtually every argument about sports on TV or online is made using stats of one sort or another.1My wife, who is not a sports fan herself, describes “Pardon The Interruption” as “a bunch of guys shouting numbers at each other until a bell rings.” A typical exchange between talking heads includes one guy emphasizing one set of stats (“He throws a lot of touchdowns!”), which is then countered by another (“But he throws too many interceptions!”). Almost no sports fans are truly anti-stats, they’re just anti-complicated, hard-to-understand stats.And to some extent, they’re right. Over-reliance on advanced metrics can lose the forest for the trees, and vice versa. But, ideally, good stats aren’t meant to eradicate classic storylines or debates, but to lend context to them (and hopefully to shed new light on difficult questions along the way). As usual, let me illustrate with an example using Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers.The Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers each played the Buffalo Bills in Weeks 14 and 15 of this season, respectively. In both games, the MVP-candidate QBs “struggled” statistically. This shouldn’t be a total surprise: Despite having games against Manning, Rodgers and Tom Brady, Buffalo has had arguably the best defense in the NFL this year (judging by expected points denied per play).But Rodgers’s and Manning’s stats seemed particularly bad. Each threw two interceptions, no TDs and fewer than 200 yards. Manning’s 51-game TD streak ended, and Rodgers threw just his fourth and fifth INTs of the season.The media wasn’t kind to either quarterback, but much of it was particularly brutal to Manning. Here’s the Colorado NBC affiliate: “Denver wins despite Manning’s worst game as a Bronco.” Meanwhile, a number of stories about Green Bay’s loss emphasized Rodgers’s lack of interceptions this year or the fact that his receivers dropped or tipped some key passes.But not all no-TD, two-INT, 180-yard games are created equal. For example, Manning’s two interceptions were pretty “good” as far as interceptions go: the first was 42 yards downfield (which is practically a punt), and the other was 18 yards downfield on a third-and-12 — with the Broncos up 21-3. In general, it’s a bad idea to judge a QB who throws a small number of passes in a game his team led wire to wire.Besides, touchdowns and interceptions can be fickle: For example, sometimes a significant part of QB efficiency can be accounted for by whether his team likes to run or pass on first-and-goal from the 1-yard line. But a QB often has just as much of an effect on his team’s ability to run the ball as he does on its ability to throw it. (If all teams played optimally, game theory suggests he should affect them about equally, because opposing defenses should adapt to a stronger passing game by devoting more resources to it.)With some exceptions, it generally makes more sense to judge a QB by the outcomes of his team’s offensive drives. From this perspective, the difference between Manning vs. Buffalo and Rodgers vs. Buffalo was pretty stark. Here are the outcomes of each player’s drives by situation:Denver started out its game against Buffalo with a punt, then scored TDs on three of its next five drives (also, one of those drives ended in field goal range after Jacob Tamme fumbled a completed catch). Up 18 points in the second half, its offense stalled, particularly as it attempted to run more. But even counting those possessions, 10 (non-end-of-game) drives were turned into three TDs and one field goal. This may have been a bit of an off day for Peyton Manning, but that’s a good day for most QBs. Denver’s 2.18 points per drive was only slightly below its season average of 2.33, and was better than 24 teams have averaged in 2014. Green Bay’s offense, on the other hand, started out cold (punting on three of its first four drives), and basically stayed that way — ultimately scoring only 13 points on 13 drives.The point here isn’t to knock Rodgers or Green Bay. The Rodgers-led offense still leads the league with 2.7 points per drive this year, and with his TD/INT ratio (so beloved by media everywhere) still a league-best 7/1, Rodgers is still probably the MVP frontrunner. But we should understand the limitations of first-order stats that people are shouting about, and how they can be deceptive. What context do they include, and what do they ignore?Chart of the weekThe Seattle Seahawks’ defense has its own deceptive stats. The defending champions are in an odd spot. If the playoffs started today, the 10-4 Seahawks would play a wildcard game on the road against the 6-8 New Orleans Saints. And depending how the next two weeks go, they could easily end up as the top seed in the NFC, or out of the playoffs entirely.Two weeks ago, I introduced some “scoring curves,” and showed how Seattle’s defense (with the team 8-4 at the time) flirted with league average in many situations (such as when its opponent has a long way to go for a touchdown). Many readers expressed skepticism, particularly because Seattle has the best defense in the NFL by the old “yards allowed” metric, and is among the league leaders in points allowed per game (as well as yards per play against).I partially agree: I find it very unlikely that Seattle’s defense is average or below average. And I’m tempted to go further and say that it’s unlikely this defense is much worse than last year’s squad. But the stats show the defense has had a pretty huge regression to the mean in measurable defensive outcomes.To show just how much these kinds of things vary from season to season, I’ve plotted each team’s expected points allowed per play on offense vs. expected points allowed per play on defense, and then shown how this year’s iterations compare with last year’s:Seattle has had a pretty big decline on the defensive side, but this is to be expected: Last year’s results were a big outlier, and outliers are more likely to regress toward the mean. For example, Denver’s incredible 2013 offense declined similarly. Both remain among the top tier of teams for each respective side, but are much closer to the pack than they were last year.Once again, the context here is important, and this time for either side of the advanced-stats debate: Simply looking at basic defensive stats and saying that everything is fine with the Seahawks’ D misses a dramatic decline. But simply looking at the magnitude of the decline without considering the context would overvalue its importance.Twitter question of the week Like many counterfactuals, this is not an easy question to answer definitively, since having a kicker who is automatic from long range might have all kinds of ripple effects on the game that we can’t really foresee.(Although unlike many counterfactuals, it’s not a completely crazy idea: Thinking about a kicker who can usually nail it from 70 yards seems ridiculous to us now, but NFL kickers have steadily gotten better for at least 80 years, and they haven’t slowed down yet. In the 1960s, kickers made 13 of 129 kicks — 10.1 percent — from 50+ yards. In the past five years alone, NFL kickers have made 422 of 675 such attempts — for 62.5 percent. Since 2010, kickers have even made seven of 31 tries from 60+ yards — 22.5 percent.)If we simply replaced all a kicker’s misses with makes, an “automatic” kicker wouldn’t be worth much more than the worst kicker in the league. There’d be a few salvaged points here and there, but nothing major (kickers these days just don’t miss that often).But the real fun starts when we think about how a team would use a truly “automatic” kicker differently.To simplify the question, let’s assume the kicker makes 100 percent of his kicks instead of 95 percent — he’s “RoboKicker.” Using ESPN’s expected points model, we can identify all situations where a team would definitely want to make a FG attempt on fourth down if it knew it could automatically earn three points. A made kick is actually worth slightly less than that because the kicking team has to give up possession whether it makes the kick or not, but we’ll charitably give it full credit.2The actual value is probably somewhere around 2.6 points, but I think the charitable number is appropriate since the kicker is likely to be at least moderately more valuable strategically. So if a team is in RoboKicker’s range, it should want to attempt a field goal any time it’s fourth down and the expected value of its possession is less than three points. The value it gains from having that option is the difference between the two, and the kicker’s total value added is the sum of all those differences.This plot shows how much RoboKicker would be worth for an average team (since 2006) in expected points added per game, based on his range:This assumes the kicker would be just a normal kicker from longer distances than the one he’s automatic from, though if he was automatic from 50 yards he would probably be pretty good from 60,3Though if he were actually a robot, this may not be the case, as he would probably make about the same kick every time. which would carry additional value. But this is a fair first-order guess.The second wrinkle to @MattGlassman312’s question is its bit about RoboKicker being a No. 1 pick or an MVP. To answer that, we have to start to answer how valuable a No. 1 pick or an MVP is.Let’s use Peyton Manning as our stand-in for “best player in the league,” which helps us to answer at least the spirit of the question. When Manning was injured, the Indianapolis Colts’ average margin of victory dropped by 14.6 points per game (though this may have been in part because they were tanking so that they could draft Andrew Luck). And when Manning joined Denver, the Broncos’ average MOV rose by 17.1 points per game. But let’s assume that those years were outliers and assume that a typical MVP is worth about 10 points per game. To surpass that, RoboKicker would need to be able to hit from around 80 yards. (I confess, this is further out than I would have guessed.) Then, considering that even No. 1 picks have only about a 50 percent to 60 percent shot of ever making a Pro Bowl — much less of being MVP — I’d say being automatic from 50 to 60 yards would probably be sufficient to be worth the top pick in the draft most years.The Hacker Gods read FiveThirtyEight (or just love Andrew Luck)Last week’s games had a few outcomes consistent with this column’s most frequently asserted stereotypes. Most intriguingly, we saw win curve standout and two-time Gunslinger of the Week winner Andrew Luck4He won in Week 1 and again in Week 14 — you don’t remember? digging his own hole by throwing an early pick-6 that put the Colts down 7-0, and then climbing out of it to come back and win against the Houston Texans. This follows a similar Week 14 victory against the Cleveland Browns, when Luck was down 14 points in the second half after an early pick-6 (and a third-quarter fumble-6).If you’ve been reading Skeptical Football, you’ll know I’m generally pro-interception (at least certain kinds) — but as an indirect indicator of taking good risks. Normally, a quarterback will lose the games in which he throws interceptions. But so far in his young career, it seems like Luck has an uncanny talent for winning and throwing INTs in the same game. So, naturally, that got me wondering how these results compare to Peyton Manning’s and those of all other quarterbacks (since 2006):Luck shows a similar propensity for winning as his predecessor in Indianapolis, regardless of scenario. But the big caveat is that interceptions are often a function of losing as well as a cause of it. Generally this is because QBs make rational risk adjustments that lead to more interceptions when they’re behind.5There is also a smaller opposite effect, which is that QBs sometimes throw slightly more interceptions than expected in games they’re winning by wide margins, presumably because teams start playing a basic offensive set in blowouts rather than taking the extraordinary risk-avoidance measures they do to protect smaller leads. (Weird things happen in the NFL.) So to isolate the situations we’re most interested in, I limited the comparison to the number of interceptions thrown while the QB’s team was trailing (including only games in which the QB’s team trailed at some point):This is, of course, a small sample for Luck: He has two wins in the six games in which he threw two trailing INTs, and two wins in the five games he threw three. But those four wins in 11 games (36.4 percent success rate) are already more than Manning. Since 2006, Manning has just three wins in 24 games (12.5 percent) in which he threw two or more trailing interceptions, and all QBs since 2006 have only 56 wins in 1,025 such games (5.5 percent).Naturally, this relates back to my gunslinger hypothesis (that a quarterback can throw too few interceptions as well as too many). Andrew Luck is an example of someone who throws more interceptions than usual when his team is down, but wins more often. Overall, Luck has thrown one or more INT in 55.9 percent of games (19 of 34) in which he trailed and has won 52.9 percent of them (18 of 34). Other QBs have thrown one or more INT in 49.3 percent of games where they trailed, winning only 42.3 percent.You can continue like this for more drastic circumstances (more likely to require heavy risk-taking): Of the 19 games where Luck threw 1+ trailing INT, he threw 2+ in 57.9 percent (11 of 19) and won 36.8 percent (7 of 19). Other QBs have thrown an additional INT in 38.0 percent of such games and won only 16.3 percent (439 of 2,697).6And, if you need more: Of the 11 games in which Luck threw 2+ trailing INTs, he threw 3+ in 45.5 percent (5 of 11) and won 36.4 percent (4 of 11). Other QBs threw an additional INT in 30.3 percent of such games, and won only 5.5 percent.In other words, Andrew Luck is to gunslinging what Aaron Rodgers is to gunholstering.7However, for all that sound and fury about Luck, the actual Week 15 gunslinger winner was Mark Sanchez, who had two trailing interceptions for Philadelphia (in the third and fourth quarters), yet managed to take the lead (albeit briefly) in a game where the Eagles once trailed 21-0.Bonus chart of the weekAfter making the “team movement between 2013 and 2014” chart earlier, I thought it would be interesting to see how each team’s offensive and defensive performance has varied over the past five years. For this chart, I plotted expected points added per drive on offense and expected points denied per drive on defense for each of the last five years, and then connected them so you can see how each team has changed. Some teams have much tighter “shot groups” (Cleveland, New England) than others (Chicago, New York Giants), but I’ll leave you to look for yourself:Reminder: If you tweet questions to me @skepticalsports, there is a non-zero chance that I’ll answer them here.Charts by Reuben Fischer-Baum. read more
Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum revealed how manager Jurgen Klopp helped them bounce back from back-to-back defeats.After starting their opening 21 games unbeaten in this season’s Premier League, Liverpool were handed a first defeat in their first game of 2019 at Manchester City on January 3.The Reds’ morale was handed another blow just four days later when they went crashing out in the third round of the FA Cup to Wolves.But Liverpool have since responded strongly to those setbacks with wins over Brighton and Crystal Palace to help maintain their four-point lead over City at the top of the Premier League.Now Wijnaldum has revealed exactly how Klopp got through to the squad following their disappointing results at the beginning of the new year.“You always learn from a defeat, even more than when you win games because when you win, you don’t see everything you did wrong,” said Wijnaldum on the club website.“When you lose games you analyse them more than when you win. Of course, we learned. Every team learns when they lose a game.Chelsea hat-trick hero Tammy Abraham hopes for more Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Tammy Abraham hopes this season will be his big breakthrough at Chelsea after firing his first hat-trick for the club in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Wolves.“What I learned the most was that we still need to keep the confidence; in Jurgen, we have a manager who can help us with that.“That’s what he said after the games against City and Wolves – that we must keep the confidence and maybe even work harder than before.“He gave us the feeling that we had to deal with it and work even harder to make it better.”Wijnaldum, who missed the last game against Palace, has made 27 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions this season.The Netherlands international will be aiming to make his return to the team ahead of Wednesday night’s Premier League game against Leicester City at Anfield.The match between Liverpool and Leicester will begin at 21:00 (CET). read more