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Cowboys’ Trevon Diggs historic 2021 season fueled by high expectations: ‘I can get as many INTs as I want’

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The only thing more impressive than breaking history is seeing someone whose expectations for themselves are so high that doing it feels routine, akin to breathing because hey, that’s what you’re supposed to do, right? This is how elite of a talent cornerback Trevon Diggs has proven to be for the Dallas Cowboys, both physically and mentally, with the latter driving the former into what’s become a season wherein he’s now one step away from adding another franchise record to his young resume — the Washington Football Team and quarterback Taylor Heinicke becoming his latest victim on Sunday.

After seeing the Cowboys offense stall on the opening drive of the game, Heinicke felt frisky and decided to drop back on his first play from scrimmage and target Diggs with a deep ball down the right sideline. In the spirit of channeling head coach Ron Rivera ahead of the first WFT beatdown at the hands of the Cowboys, that decision was a “big mistake” by Heinicke, and the result was Diggs reeling in his 11th interception of the season and, in the process, tying legendary defensive back Everson Walls for the franchise’s single-season record.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m still ready at the end of the day,” said Diggs following the 56-14 rout over WFT. “They wanted to try me on the first play. So, I knew it was going to be that type of game — just a lot of action and balls up in the air. I was just on it. 

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“I was prepared. I was ready for it. They put their best guy on me, so let’s see what happens. But they wanted to spice it up in the beginning for sure.”

Feel free to insert the appropriate Michael Jordan meme here, because Diggs took it personal.

“I was in my feelings like, ‘Wow, they really just did that,’” Diggs added. “It gave me a little bit more to go out there and put out my best. At the end of the day, it’s football and you really don’t know what to expect.”

Diggs wasn’t the only person on the field stunned by Washington’s first scripted play.

“The message was clear and vivid: we’re not coming to play [around],” said safety Jayron Kearse. “We’re not coming to play [around]. If that’s what you want to do, put the ball in the air, we’re going to take the ball. It’s just that simple. If they wanted to run the ball, we were going to take the ball from them that way. 

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“It was mind-boggling for me. Of all people, you test him?”

Despite the inaccurate narrative that paints Diggs as a player who isn’t good in coverage, the second-year phenom has not only amassed 11 interceptions (1st in NFL), but also 21 pass break ups (t-1st in NFL), and those are numbers that best players like J.C. Jackson, Jalen Ramsey and, well, everyone who sits at second place and lower. Diggs joins rookie sensation and fellow first-time Pro Bowler Micah Parsons as a frontrunner for NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and his 14 career interceptions and two defensive touchdowns have come in only 26 career NFL starts, meaning there’s a very good chance he’s just getting started.

“I feel like it’s normal,” said Diggs of his INT tally. “I feel like I can get as many picks as I want. I just need the opportunities and good positioning. I’m going to make it happen. The sky’s the limit, so we’ll see.”

And after seeing his ratings on EA’s “Madden 21” discount his abilities, he’d like to have a word with the developers.

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“I need to be like a 97 speed, 98 catching, 98 jump and I need an X-factor, too,” he said. “I’m probably 80’s now in route-running. I can still go out there and do it, but get me up there.”

But when it comes to the reality of what Diggs and the Cowboys defense is doing in 2021, the truth remains that it’s indeed special, and special isn’t normal — or you’d call it normal and not special. 

“It’s amazing,” said Diggs of the lights-out play of a defense that leads the league with 34 takeaways with two games remaining in the regular season to add to that count. “Everybody’s clicking. Everybody’s just vibing. Everyone wants to make plays. 

“If you see the next man make a play, you want to make a play. If you see him make a play, the next person wants to make a play — we’ve got this energy and this vibe on defense that’s unmatched.”

The Cowboys clinched a playoff berth and the NFC East before kickoff against Washington, but Diggs joined Dak Prescott and the rest of the team in being unaware of ahead of the rematch against Washington.

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“It wasn’t addressed at all,” he said. “We just went out there and played this game like we were trying to win the division. It’s just another game. We did that and completed the mission.”

That mission is to appear in and ultimately win Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in February, and landing the No. 1 seed along with home field advantage and the NFC’s only first-round bye would go a long way to helping them achieve it. Seeing Prescott and the offense revived in electric fashion helps their odds as well, needless to say, and the first true complete game of the season for the Cowboys showed they might just be the team everyone should nervous about playing in January — particularly if the defense continues to bully teams as they’ve done for most of the season.

Elite defenses travel very well, and the Cowboys inarguably have one that Diggs believes is the best around.

“I feel like we’re getting back to what we were doing at the beginning of the season,” he said. “And we’re doing it at the right time, going into the playoffs. I’m excited to see what the Dallas Cowboys have in store.”

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Three Stars from Day 3 of WJC: Canada’s McTavish joins elite company – Sportsnet.ca

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Canada and the U.S. dominated in their second game of the tournament while Czechia and Finland went toe-to-toe and needed a shootout to determine a winner on Day 3 of the World Junior Hockey Championship.

The Canadian team rebounded from a sluggish performance with an 11-1 win over Slovakia, a game in which captain Mason McTavish added his name to the country’s record books.

Against Switzerland, the United States took their game to another gear that their opponent could not match as they cruised to a 7-1 victory to improve to 2-0 at the tournament.

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Finland dropped a crucial point as they had to overcome a 2-0 deficit but were able to pick up the shootout win over their rival Czechia.

Here is a look at the top performances from Day 3 of the world juniors.

3rd Star: Luke Hughes, USA

Coming from a great hockey family, Luke Hughes is making most of his opportunity as one of the top defencemen for the U.S. 

The younger brother of Quinn and Jack displayed his mobility and vision against Switzerland with a three-point effort. He now has five points in his first two games of the tournament — more than either of his brothers ever achieved at this event in fewer games.

Hughes leads all defenceman in scoring so far in the tournament and is tied for fourth overall.

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The 18-year-old played 21:18 against the Swiss to lead the U.S. in ice time playing on the top pairing with Brock Faber. His play from this point will be a crucial part of his team’s success given the creativity he displayed, especially on Matt Coronato’s goal in the second period.

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He made another top-notch set up on Thomas Bordeleau’s power-play goal in the third period as he delayed enough to get the defenders to pull towards his side of the ice.

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2nd Star: Carter Mazur, USA

Coming into the tournament, Carter Mazur is looking to build off an impressive season at the University of Denver. 

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While he was in a scoring slump in his first NCAA season, the Detroit Red Wings prospect made a call to his NHL team’s assistant director of player development, Daniel Cleary. After that, he would go on to finish with 14 goals and 38 points in 41 games.

Those tips have now turned Mazur into a scoring machine as he accounted for two of the team’s seven goals and was also named the player of the game as the top line of Mazur, Landon Slaggert, and Thomas Bordeleau had an impressive performance against Switzerland

After a scoreless first period, Mazur wasn’t going to make any mistake on a point-blank chance in front of the net with Mackie Samoskevich making a great pass from behind the net.

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With the Americans looking to add to their lead, Mazur was once again the beneficiary of a great pass from Slaggert as he made no mistake from the front of the net.

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He added another assist on Slaggert’s goal later in the period for his third point of the game. Through his first two games at the world juniors, Mazur has four points and is tied for sixth in scoring.

1st Star: Mason McTavish, Canada

On a night where Canada dominated from start to finish, Mason McTavish joined some elite company with a night he’ll certainly remember for a long time.

The 19-year-old joined Mario Lemieux, Simon Gagné, Brayden Schenn, Taylor Raddysh, Maxime Comtois and teammate Connor Bedard as the only players to score four goals in a single world junior game for Canada. The tournament record for goals in a single game is held by Sweden’s Ola Rosander who had six back in 1987.

With his performance against Slovakia in a dominant win for Canada, McTavish now sits atop the scoring lead with eight points in two games after registering six points in this game.

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McTavish scored his first goal of the game on a breakaway — with Canada already leading 5-0 midway through the second — making no mistake to beat Tomas Bolo, who came into the game after starter Simon Latkoczy was pulled going into the second period.

His second goal came off a great play by Joshua Roy who flipped the puck in the air to Brennan Othmann who then set up McTavish as he finished with a backhander to put Canada up 7-1. McTavish would complete the second-period hat trick, a day after Alexander Blank did the same for Germany, after a selfless pass from Roy on a 2-on-0 break.

Canada would capitalize on a turnover on McTavish’s fourth goal as Othmann set him up alone in front of the net and he made no mistake.

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There was some doubt about whether McTavish would suit up for Canada after playing a fair amount of hockey last season. Making his NHL debut with the Anaheim Ducks, the third overall pick from the 2021 NHL Draft played in a total of 72 games between the NHL, AHL, OHL, Memorial Cup and the Olympics.

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Instead, McTavish decided to join the team in Edmonton and take on the role as captain where he has excelled centring Canada’s top line with Bedard and and a rotation of Roy and Othmann.

Canada will now look forward to a matchup against Czechia with a chance to improve to 3-0.

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Field of Dreams Game 2022: A celebration of baseball memories in an Iowa cornfield

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The Field of Dreams is an opportunity for fans and players alike to reflect on the people and places that taught them to love baseball, Jake Mintz writes.



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Ravens extend NFL record for consecutive postseason wins following Thursday’s victory over the Titans

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USA Today

The No. 21 is now synonymous with the longest winning streaks in NFL regular and preseason history. the 2003-04 Patriots won 21 consecutive games, an NFL record. On Thursday night, the Ravens won their 21st consecutive preseason game after securing a 23-10 decision against the Tennessee Titans

Baltimore has not lost a preseason game since 2016. Joe Flacco was their starting quarterback when the streak began, while Steve Smith Jr., who this past year was eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the first time, was heading into his final NFL season. Baltimore’s roster also included Terrell Suggs, who was entering his second-to-last season with the franchise. 

Along with not losing preseason games, another constant in Baltimore over the past six years has been kicker Justin Tucker, who is entering his 11th season with the Ravens. Tucker’s field goals of 47, 25 and 47 yards on Thursday night helped Baltimore pull out the win after falling behind midway through the second quarter. 

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The Ravens won Thursday’s game by winning the turnover margin while holding the Titans to 1 of 3 red zone efficiency. One of those turnovers was scooped up by Kyle Hamilton, the Ravens’ first-round pick in this past year’s draft. 

Baltimore won despite the efforts of Malik Willis, the Titans’ rookie quarterback who overcame a slow start to score his first NFL touchdown, a 7-yard run early in the second quarter. Speaking of quarterbacks, the Ravens received a strong night from Tyler Huntley, who completed all but two of his 18 pass attempts that included his game-winning touchdown pass to Shemar Bridges



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