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10 Things: Raptors’ five-game win streak ends in bitter fashion

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Here are 10 takeaways from the Toronto Raptors‘ 102-101 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

One — That was a bitter way to end the five-game win streak. The Raptors led for the entire game, save for the final five seconds, as a slew of unfortunate decisions went against them. It was not a well-officiated game in the slightest, with a missed travel call, a missed goaltending, and a handful of over-the-back decisions that all burned the Raptors in the fourth quarter — allowing the plucky Cavaliers to complete their valiant comeback. The Raptors didn’t do themselves that many favours either by not capitalizing on opportunities in the fourth, including missed point-blank looks or ill-advised jumpers, but they were just one possession short tonight.

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Two — The Raptors were not happy about the whistle in this game, and for good reason. Despite it being even in points in the paint, the Cavaliers took 19 free throws compared to only nine for the Raptors. It was absurd to see how much contact was permitted in this game, with Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley constantly banging into people in the lane, but none of it was called. Allen finished the game without a single foul on his ledger, while OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes combined to take 40 field goals without a single trip to the foul line. Anunoby and head coach Nick Nurse both made passive-aggressive digs at the officials tonight, who were shockingly bad. There were even sequences where the Cavaliers were trying to intentionally foul, and even those were somehow missed.

Three — Anunoby got himself a reasonable look at the end. He was the obvious candidate to take the last shot since VanVleet was cold, and the Raptors did create a switch on the inbound where Anunoby found himself matched up against Allen. Anunoby smartly turned down the contested three out top in favour of a drive to the baseline, where he found a pocket of space between two defenders to rise up for a short jumper. The look went long, but Barnes crashed the glass from the weak side and nearly tipped it in for the game-winner. Anunoby will be a popular pick for the last shot this season, particularly in short-clock situations, because his size allows him to create space to fire it off. The execution was good, he just missed it.

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Four — Fred VanVleet might regret some of the shots he took in the fourth, where he was just 2-of-9 from the field. To his credit, VanVleet took plenty of difficult fourth-quarter shots in their recent games, but the matchup wasn’t there for him tonight. Collin Sexton hounded VanVleet, pushing and shoving him all over the floor without a call from the officials, and VanVleet responded to the aggression by forcing off-balanced looks.

Sexton fought hard to stay in front, and instead of resetting the play, VanVleet tried fadeaways and other off-balanced techniques to get his shot off which resulted in some pretty bad misses. And of course, it didn’t help that VanVleet had a layup that was goaltended by Cedi Osman in the last three minutes which could have flipped the game. In any case, it will always be a struggle for VanVleet to create space late in games because of his size, yet the Raptors need him to be aggressive at all times, so he will need to pick his opportunities a bit better.

Five — Barnes was up and down in his return from a sprained thumb. He was adjusting his hand throughout the game, which is hardly surprising given that he jammed his thumb last week, and it likely impacted his touch as Barnes missed a few of the push shots and short jumpers which have sustained him early on this season. Defensively, there were also a few sequences where Barnes was outmatched by Mobley’s length in the post, as Mobley was able to muscle to his spots and shoot over the top.

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But on the whole, Barnes was aggressive, he snagged six offensive rebounds, and was just as much of a problem for the Cavaliers in terms of his physical play. Late in the game, Barnes was tied up on a loose ball and flipped a 7-footer in Allen flat on his back, which is just one of many displays of outrageous strength for the rookie forward.

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Six — Gary Trent Jr. created two deflections on the final play for the Cavaliers. Both times he stripped Sexton, who had a hellacious night shooting 4-of-17 while being hounded constantly by Trent Jr., but both times Sexton was able to salvage the possession. That was the level at which Trent Jr. played all night, where he collected six steals and two blocks in an all-out effort on the defensive end.

Offensively, Trent Jr. played within himself, found gaps in the defence from both the arc and at the basket, while peppering in some fairly difficult makes. It might have been the best game he’s played as a Raptor when you account for both sides of the ball. Even though starting lineup changes are inevitable, there is no way Nurse can bench Trent Jr. while he is in this type of groove.

Seven — Pascal Siakam is nearing his return. Siakam got full clearance to return from the surgeon, and has already been in live practices over the past week. He was on the floor before the game participating in his usual warmup routine, going for a good 30 minutes on 1-on-1 drills and rounds of three-point shooting, before capping off his workout with an acrobatic dunk.

The Raptors have two days off for practice on Monday and Tuesday, before playing the Celtics on Wednesday, and if all goes well, Siakam will be back in the starting five to give the Raptors a fully healthy rotation for the first time all season. The main beneficiaries will be Anunoby and VanVleet, who won’t have to play so many minutes with Siakam coming in to share the load offensively.

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Eight — The fit with Siakam will be interesting, and it does force a concession somewhere in the lineup. The best option would be to put Siakam in place of Precious Achiuwa, who is the most underperforming member of the current starting lineup. The only downside to this move would be that the Raptors would be undersized in the paint, with one of Siakam, Anunoby, or Barnes having to wrestle with centers on a consistent basis, but the Raptors would undoubtedly have their best five players on the floor. Swapping Siakam in for Trent Jr. is another possibility, but that leaves them too light on shooting and Trent Jr.’s defence will be missed. Siakam could also come in for Barnes, but he’s already too productive to ever think of benching. Either way, it feels like the Raptors will have to sacrifice size or shooting.

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Nine — Siakam’s return will push Chris Boucher out of the rotation entirely. Boucher has been a train wreck all season, making rookie mistakes on defence that even the Raptors’ rookies wouldn’t do, while also being a non-factor offensively. Nurse benched Boucher after a disastrous first shift that saw Boucher get outmuscled in the post for an and-one, fail to rotate over at the rim for a layup, brick an open three, fumble a pass out of bounds, while also leaving his feet on a pair of pump fakes that allowed the Cavaliers to score.

Last season, Boucher was a productive player at a position of weakness, who made many of the same mistakes but hit just enough sidespin threes to make it work. Now he’s hitting under 20 percent from three, and all that’s left are the same unforced errors that would make even the most patient of coaches go bald. The offence will come around eventually, but he will always be limited by his inability to read the game. Rookies like Barnes and Dalano Banton have more discipline a month into their careers than Boucher who is now in his fourth season with the Raptors.

Ten — Nurse continues to use a platoon at backup point guard to great effect. Banton brings a change of pace and a dose of size which comes in handy around the rim, as he scored a quick 11 points in just nine minutes of play. Malachi Flynn is in for his quickness on defence against smaller guards, and for his outside shooting, and he collected three steals while knocking in a three. Flynn even took some of Svi Mykhailiuk’s minutes tonight, although that was more about the matchup than it was about Mykhailiuk’s individual production.





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NFL Injury Report: Vikings’ Cook exits, Tagovailoa returns after head injury

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Several marquee names around the NFL suffered injuries during Week 3, most notably Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook.

Here is a look at some of the notable injuries.

Cook exits with shoulder injury

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Cook was ruled out of the Vikings’ Week 3 game against the Detroit Lions after suffering a reported shoulder injury.

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On a first-down rush at the 0:52 mark in the third quarter, Cook would fumble the ball after bumping into an offensive lineman. He would exit the game afterwards.

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Cook rushed 17 times for 97 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game.

Alexander Mattison replaced Cook in the backfield, scoring a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Tagovailoa injures head, stumbles, returns to game

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Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa briefly left Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills, returning despite appearing to be disoriented by a head injury.

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Tagovailoa hit his head on the turf and missed the Dolphins’ last three offensive snaps of the first half, then was back on the field for the start of the second half after evaluation for what the team announced as a head injury.

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Tagovailoa was facing a third-and-3 play from the Miami 21 when he scrambled and found Jaylen Waddle for an 8-yard gain. After releasing the ball, Tagovailoa got hit — a two-hand push in the chest — by Buffalo linebacker Matt Milano, who was flagged for roughing the passer.

Tagovailoa fell backward, the back of his helmet bouncing off the grass. He remained down for a few seconds, then rolled to his feet, jogged forward a few steps and stumbled to the ground again briefly.

A pair of offensive linemen held him up at that point, ensuring he wouldn’t fall again, and Dolphins’ medical personnel ran onto the field to check him further. They walked him off the field, directly into the tunnel leading to the Miami locker room area.

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On the first play of the second half, Tagovailoa found Tyreek Hill for a 22-yard gain and showed no ill effects from the hit.

Montgomery hurts ankle and knee

Starting running back David Montgomery exited the Chicago Bears’ game against the Houston Texans due to a reported ankle and knee injury.

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He was initially ruled doubtful to return and ultimately would not re-enter the game.

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Montgomery rushed three times for 11 yard before exiting.

The fourth-year pro was replaced by Khalil Herbert.

-With files from Associated Press





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Favre also sought welfare money for football facility, according to texts – Sportsnet.ca

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JACKSON, Miss. — After Mississippi spent millions of dollars in welfare money on Brett Favre’s pet project, a university volleyball arena, the retired NFL quarterback tried two years later to get additional cash from the state’s welfare agency for another sports facility, new court documents show.

The governor at the time, Republican Phil Bryant, texted in 2019 with Favre, who wanted to build an indoor practice facility for the University of Southern Mississippi’s football team. Bryant told him federal money for children and low-income adults is “tightly controlled” and “improper use could result in violation of Federal Law.”

Text messages between Bryant and Favre are in court documents filed Friday by Bryant’s lawyers, which seek to show the governor was willing to help Favre raise private money for the volleyball facility starting in 2017 and was unaware for more than two years that welfare money was going to the project.

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Mississippi’s largest-ever public corruption case has ensnared several people, including a pro wrestler whose drug rehab was funded with welfare money.

The state has filed a civil lawsuit against Favre and others to recover more than $20 million in misspent welfare money intended to help needy people in one of the country’s poorest states. Bryant and Favre are not facing criminal charges, and Bryant is not among those named in the state’s civil lawsuit.

A former director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, John Davis, pleaded guilty Thursday to federal and state felony charges in a conspiracy to misspend welfare money. Davis was appointed by Bryant in February 2016 and fired by him in July 2019. Davis has agreed to testify against others.

Attorneys for a nonprofit organization being sued, Mississippi Community Education Center, sent a subpoena to Bryant in late July, seeking communication between the former governor and any other person about the volleyball arena.

The nonprofit was run by Nancy New and her son, Zachary New, who in April pleaded guilty to state charges of misusing welfare money. They also agreed to testify against others.

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In the court filing Friday, Bryant objected to producing documents unless it was under a protective order to prevent public release of the contents.

“This motion was brought in bad faith and solely to annoy, embarrass, and oppress Governor Bryant because he refused to turn a blind eye to the crimes perpetrated by New and Davis,” Bryant’s attorneys wrote.

Favre’s request for money from the Mississippi Department of Humans Services to fund the football facility went nowhere. Favre made the request July 28, 2019, as he was unsuccessfully trying to recruit the son of another retired NFL player, Deion Sanders, to the university in Hattiesburg.

Favre played football at the University of Southern Mississippi before going to the NFL in 1991. Bryant and New are also alumni, and Favre wrote to Bryant that having an indoor practice facility would give the football program “instant credibility.”

Favre’s daughter started playing volleyball at the university in 2017. The new court papers said Bryant first learned Favre was trying to raise money for a volleyball arena on April 20, 2017, when Favre texted the governor to say he and his wife, Deanna, were building the facility.

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“I need your influence somehow to get donations and or sponsorships,” Favre texted Bryant. “Obviously Southern has no money so I’m hustling to get it raised.”

The documents said Bryant replied a few hours later, “Of course I am all in on the Volleyball facility. … One thing I know how to do is raise money.’”

In July 2017, Favre texted Bryant about the volleyball facility again, asking “if we can find a contractor that would say hey rather than give you money I’ll build for free!! Maybe you know of someone.”

Bryant replied he was “all over it.”

“It is important to note that, in these early text messages, Favre never mentioned the use of public funds, much less the use of TANF funds for the construction of the facility,” Bryant’s attorneys wrote Friday. “At this time, the discussions between Favre and Governor Bryant were focused on private donations and corporate sponsorships.”

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In July 2017, court records show Davis and Nancy New met about using welfare money to fund the volleyball arena, with Davis committing $4 million. New’s nonprofit later paid Favre $1.1 million for speaking engagements to help him pay for the arena. Favre never made the speeches and later repaid the money, although he has not repaid $228,000 in interest.

Bryant’s attorneys wrote that the governor first learned Human Services was involved with funding the volleyball arena in a text message he received from Favre on July 16, 2019. “I want you to know how much I love Nancy New and John Davis,” Favre wrote. “What they have done for me and Southern Miss is amazing.”

Favre wrote there were plans to do workshops and youth clinics in the volleyball facility with a program run by Nancy New.

“And also I paid for 3/4 of Vball facility and the rest was a joint project with her and John which was saving me 1.8 million,” Favre texted Bryant. “I was informed today that she may not be able to fund her part. I and we need your help very badly Governor and sorry to even bring this up.”

Bryant’s attorneys wrote that “Favre began a campaign to aggressively lobby the governor to help him cover the debt on the USM Volleyball Center.” They also wrote Favre had not paid for three-quarters of the construction costs, and Human Services committed more than $1.8 million to the project.

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According to Friday’s court documents, Bryant and Favre met Sept. 4, 2019, with the new Department of Human Services director, retired FBI agent Christopher Freeze. Favre texted Bryant after the meeting: “We obviously need your help big time and time is working against us.” Favre also mentioned the volleyball facility could be named for Bryant, who was in his final months as governor.

Bryant responded: “We are going to get there. This was a great meeting. But we have to follow the law. I am to old for Federal Prison.” He added a smiling emoji with sunglasses.

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NFL scores, schedule, live Week 3 updates: Jaguars get out to fast start against Justin Herbert, Chargers

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It’s Week 3 of the 2022 NFL season, and we’re keeping you updated on all the action and biggest storylines throughout the day. The Week 3 slate has some fantastic matchups and storylines, and we’re here to help you watch it unfold. Check back often to find out everything you need to know.

Week 3 schedule

Thursday

Steelers at Browns, 8:15 p.m. ET (Gametracker)

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Sunday 

Ravens 37, Patriots 26 (Recap)
Eagles 24, Commanders 8 (Takeaways)
Dolphins 21, Bills (Takeaways)
Bengals 27, Jets, 12 (Recap)
Vikings 28, Lions 24 (Takeaways)
Bears 23, Texans 20 (Recap)
Colts 20, Chiefs 17 (Recap)
Titans 24, Raiders 22 (Recap)
Panthers 22, Saints 14 (Recap)
Jaguars at Chargers, 4:05 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Falcons at Seahawks, 4:25 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Packers at Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Rams at Cardinals, 4:25 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
49ers at Broncos, 8:20 p.m. ET (Preview)

Monday

Cowboys at Giants, 8:15 p.m. ET (Preview)

Mike the magnificent 

There was nothing Jaguars cornerback Tyson Campbell could do. He blanketed Mike Williams in the font-left corner of the end zone, and yet Williams still hauled in a dime from Justin Herbert for the 15-yard touchdown. Chargers are on the board.

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Herbert sloppy

Justin Herbert was a game-time decision with fractured rib cartilage, and he’s looked like someone playing injured in the first half against the Jaguars. He’s committed two turnovers — an interception that led to Jacksonville’s second field goal and a fumble that led to its first touchdown — and all of the sudden the Chargers are in a 13-0 hole.

Kupp TD

At this point, you should just pencil in a Cooper Kupp touchdown every time the Rams take the field. This time, though, he fooled the Cardinals defense by taking a jet sweep and skirting around left edge for a 20-yard score. Great start for Los Angeles.

Dolphins are 3-0!

Who would have thought! Even having given up a late safety and allowing the Bills to get to their 41-yard line, the Dolphins ended up with the win after the Bills couldn’t get the spike off before time expired. Miami is a legit contender in the AFC.

Vikings ahead!

The Vikings spotted the Lions a 14-point lead, quickly erased that, AND THEN went down 24-14 entering the fourth quarter. Yet when you’re playing the Lions, you’re never out of it. After Austin Seibert missed a 54-yard field goal with about 75 seconds to play, Kirk Cousins orchestrated the game-winning drive that he capped with laser to a streaking K.J. Osborne for the 28-yard score. And while the Lions got to midfield in their attempt to steal the game in the final seconds, all hope was lost when Josh Metellus came down with the interception.

Game-sealing INT!

Just when it seemed like the Colts were going to drop to 0-3 on the season, they saved their season by shocking Kansas City with a touchdown in the final minute and then sealed the upset with an interception from Rodney McLeod.

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Colts go ahead

The Chiefs’ plethora of miscues gave the Colts one too many chances. And with the game on the line, Matt Ryan delivered. He found Jelani Woods for a 12-yard touchdown with under 30 seconds to play to give Indianapolis the improbable lead.

Roquan Smith INT –> Game-winning FG!

The Bears are very grateful that they were able to retain Roquan Smith after his contract situation led to a trade request. Smith made one of the biggest plays of the season, as his interception set up Chicago’s game-winning field goal from Cairo Santos as time expired.

Mac Jones with two INTs

Mac Jones’ rushing ability today? Impressive, especially for him. His passing prowess? Not so much. While he’s thrown for more than 250 yards, he’s thrown two interceptions, the last of which was a killer for a Patriots team trying to take the lead. Instead, Marlon Humphrey picked Jones off in the end zone to halt a huge drive for New England.

Waddle behind the defense

With catches of 32 and 45 yards, Jaylen Waddle set up the Dolphins with a golden chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter. And Miami did not squander the opportunity. Chase Edmonds‘ three-yard rushing score put his team ahead.

End zone INT

When trying to avoid an 0-3 start, here’s a tip: Don’t throw red zone interceptions. Not great from Derek Carr here with the Raiders trying to erase a double-digit deficit. 

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Baker goes DEEP

It’s been a rough start to the 2022 season for Baker Mayfield, but the former Browns quarterback made a play when his team needed it early in the fourth quarter. Well, actually, it was Laviska Shenault Jr. who did all the work, catching the ball behind the line of scrimmage before juking one defender, cutting across the face of another and then streaking down the left side for a 67-yard score.

Lamar dealing again

Make that 10 passing touchdowns in fewer than three games for Lamar Jackson, who is going to get PAID this offseason if he keeps playing like this. He needs to give a lot of credit to Devin Duvernay on the latest score, as the wide receiver made a beautiful jumping catch in the corner of the end zone.

Herbert breaks free

Khalil Herbert, a sixth-round pick in 2021, had one 100-yard game in 19 tries entering Sunday’s game against the Texans. He’s up to 119 midway through the quarter, a lot of which came after David Montgomery left the game with an ankle/knee injury. Herbert set up Chicago on the edge of the red zone by breaking off a 52-yard run, and he was rewarded a few plays later by scoring his second touchdown of the game.

Devonta Smith COOKING

The Commanders defense has zero answer for second-year wideout Devonta Smith. He’s got seven receptions for 156 yards and a touchdown … IN THE FIRST HALF! It’s been ALL Eagles the first 30 minutes.

Blocked FG!

It’s been ALL Panthers in the first half. Even when the Saints finally sustain a drive and attempt a short field goal, it’s blocked. How about Carolina shutting out New Orleans in the first half? Did not see that coming.

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Offseason acquisition A.J. Brown has been great for the Eagles the first two weeks, and it’s been more of the same in the first half against Washington. Three receptions, 60 yards and his first touchdown since arriving in Philadelphia.

Lamar to Andrews x2

Reigning first-team All-Pro Mark Andrews is off to a terrific start in 2022. He’s been awesome in the first half Sunday, catching a pair of touchdowns from Lamar Jackson to give the Ravens a halftime advantage.

Mac Jones … rushing score? 

Who said Mac Jones can’t move (when necessary). With the pocket collapsing on second-and-goal, the second-year quarterback saw an opening and took it, waltzing into the end zone from three yards out.

First-career TD

The Texans seemed to have gotten a steal in running back Dameon Pierce, a fourth-round rookie out of Florida. After a quiet NFL debut, Pierce rushed for 69 yards last week and already has 66 in Week 3 to go along with his first-career score.

Eagles swallowing Wentz

More than 19 minutes into the game, Carson Wentz has completed just two passes. The Eagles defense, meanwhile, has brought down their former quarterback FIVE TIMES. The fifth takedown, courtesy of Brandon Graham, resulted in a fumble that led to Philadelphia’s first score — a 22-yard pitch and catch from Jalen Hurts to Dallas Goedert.

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Burrow to Boyd

As Tyler Boyd caught a Joe Burrow pass on a routine slant, two Jets defenders ran into each other while the smooth Boyd spun away. From there, Boyd outran the rest of the defense for a 56-yard score. The Bengals offense is finally coming alive in Week 3.

A catch or not a catch?

It was a heck of a grab from Devonta Smith for a 45-yard gain late in the first quarter. But upon further review, it didn’t look like Smith got his left foot down. It didn’t matter, because Commanders coach Ron Rivera threw the challenge flag too late. Luckily, the defense bailed out its coach by holding Philadelphia to a field goal.

Scoop and score!

One second, Alvin Kamara was trying to find a cut back lane. The next, Marquis Hayes was running free the other way after a beautiful strip from Frankie Luvu. With nothing but green grass in front of him, Hayes rumbled 44 yards for a touchdown to open the scoring.

Eight straight!

That’s how many games in a row the loaded Buffalo Bills have scored an opening-drive touchdown. Not a great start for the Dolphins, who gave up a 10-play, 75-yard possession that ended with Josh Allen finding Devin Singletary for the two-yard score.

Titans strike first

The Titans moved right down the field for an opening-drive touchdown against the Bills on Monday night — then proceeded to do nothing else in a 41-7 rout. Tennessee is hoping that’s not the case again Sunday after going 12 plays and 75 yards for the score — courtesy of Geoff Swaim.

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Moore muffs the punt

What a start for the Colts! After a quick three-and-out, Indianapolis got a massive gift when second-round rookie Skyy Moore muffed the punt deep inside Chiefs territory. Three plays later, Kansas City saw itself down a touchdown after Matt Ryan’s one-yard touchdown pass to third-round rookie Jelani Woods.

One of the weirdest streaks in the NFL

If the Dolphins fall to the Bills on Sunday, fans have the perfect excuse. They won’t have to blame the loss on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who has been exceptional through two games, and they won’t have to stomach voicing the phrase “but the Bills are the Super Bowl favorites!” 

You know why? Because Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen doesn’t have an “o” in his last name. That’s it.

Since the start of the 2021 calendar year, the Dolphins are 0-9 when the opposing starting quarterback doesn’t have an “o” in his last name. Conversely, they’ve won 11 straight against quarterbacks whose last name includes an “o.” This has held true for 20 STRAIGHT GAMES. The last time it didn’t happen was Week 16 of the 2020 season, when Ryan Fitzpatrick’s miraculous completion helped lift the Dolphins over the Raiders and signal-caller Derek Carr.

So there ya have it Dolphins fans; it looks like you’ll be 2-1 heading into Week 4. But don’t fret. With the next three games against the Bengals (Joe Burrow), Jets (potentially still Joe Flacco) and Vikings (Kirk Cousins), the good times should continue to roll in Miami.

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