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The Orioles are nearing a record turnaround. Brandon Hyde’s players believe he should be AL Manager of the Year.

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The Orioles Are Nearing A Record Turnaround. Brandon Hyde’s Players Believe He Should Be Al Manager Of The Year.
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When Jordan Lyles’ free agency began pointing toward Baltimore, he started hearing insights about his potential new manager from connections they shared in the game. His initial impressions of Brandon Hyde had been “hard-nosed” and “a little rough around the edges,” gained from a distance last year as the veteran right-hander watched highlights of Hyde having a swear-filled spat with Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Robbie Ray.

The eventual American League Cy Young Award winner, Ray seemingly believed the Orioles, who homered twice off him in early September while mired in a season that reached 110 losses, were stealing signs, and Hyde took exception to the accusation that gamesmanship was the only way his team could have success against a pitcher of Ray’s caliber. That back-and-forth, which Hyde quickly apologized for, was the byproduct of something Lyles has learned is central to the Orioles’ manager: He cares about his players.

“He’s all about the player,” Lyles said. “I haven’t heard one negative thing about him.”

A year later, Ray is a member of the Seattle Mariners, and Hyde’s Orioles are chasing his former team, his current one and the Tampa Bay Rays for a wild-card playoff spot in what could be the major leagues’ most remarkable turnaround since the turn of the 20th century. Even if the Orioles do not secure a postseason berth, Lyles and many of his teammates believe what the club has achieved under Hyde’s guidance makes him the logical, if not only, choice to be the American League Manager of the Year.

“I’d kind of be surprised if he didn’t win it,” center fielder Cedric Mullins said. “Just one of those things where he’s had to manage tough teams in the past. For the turnaround to be as quick as it has been this year for us, that definitely makes him deserving of that, for sure.

“We’ve kind of shocked the world a little bit.”

Inheriting a team that lost 115 games in 2018, Hyde suffered at least 108 losses in his first two full seasons as the rebuilding organization handed him rosters built with meager payrolls and fringe major leaguers. The only reprieve was the shortened 2020 season, in which Baltimore was in playoff contention until late in the year but still managed one of the majors’ five worst records.

This year was expected to be more of the same, with a payroll still among the league’s lowest. Instead, after sweeping a two-game series with regional rival Washington, Baltimore is 75-67, four games behind the Rays for the American League’s third wild-card spot. Since 1900, only one team has won more games the season after a campaign with at least 110 losses. The Orioles have 20 games left to catch the 2005 Arizona Diamondbacks’ 77 victories.

“I think he should be the front-runner for American League Manager of the Year, for sure,” Lyles said. “Especially what was expected or thought of from people outside the clubhouse about this team.”

Added reliever Dillon Tate, who has played under Hyde longer than any active Orioles pitcher: “In terms of how people have viewed this organization and this team for the last few years, there isn’t anybody that’s more deserving for that award than Hyder.”

Hyde said patience and positivity are the most important traits a manager can have amid a rebuild, and his players said he’s continually displayed both. In discussing the club’s improved performance, Hyde has often directed his joy toward his players, knowing how much the success means to them after many troubled seasons.

“We’ve come a long way in a few years in a short amount of time,” Hyde said. “I don’t think people really understand how hard that is. … If you look around, we don’t have guys making much money compared to the rest of the league. We have guys playing hard and playing to win, and they’re exciting to watch.”

Both Lyles and right-hander Tyler Wells praised how Hyde has handled pitchers’ workloads, giving players the best chance to succeed by ensuring they’re well rested. Wells said Hyde is consistently in communication with pitching coaches and training staff about his workload as he comes off two lost seasons, another spent as a reliever and now an oblique injury.

“He’s paid such attention to the small details,” Wells said. “His dedication to that communication and that attention to detail has really shown up in these games and put us in the position that we’re in right now.”

Among Hyde’s most significant duties this season has been welcoming many of the organization’s top prospects to the majors and helping them handle the expectations associated with that status. No player arrived facing greater pressures than Adley Rutschman, the catcher whose selection with the first overall draft pick during Hyde’s first season supplied a central building block in Baltimore’s rebuild.

During Rutschman’s early days as a major leaguer, Hyde continually publicly expressed how he just wanted the game’s No. 1 prospect to be himself and not try to be any more than that. That’s an example of the “feel” Rutschman said Hyde has repeatedly displayed as his manager, consistently knowing what players need in the moment. Rutschman said Hyde is “as deserving as he can be” for Manager of the Year.

“I got nothing but positive things to say about him,” Rutschman said. “He just does a great job with the guys, the interactions, managing the game and having that feel, how to talk to guys. He has a good feel for the clubhouse and the guys in it. You can tell he knows what he’s doing. Everyone has a ton of respect for him and what he does.”

That includes the players who endured that losing with Hyde. Many holdovers from past seasons noted that Hyde is largely managing the team the same way he has in the past, but the availability of better players has helped him display his capabilities in the role.

“He’s got a lot of pieces in that bullpen to maneuver with now, and you can see night in and night out, the guys come through in any situation they put them in,” outfielder Austin Hays said. “We’ve got a lot of depth on this team on the bench. You can see how he’s maneuvering the lineups just to put guys in the right spots and in the right situations, and it’s working out.

“I think it just shows you that he’s built to be on a team that has depth and has pitching and can change the lineup in a lot of different ways.”

His personality, meanwhile, remains the same.

“One of the best things about Hyder is that he’s consistent,” Wells said. “He’s a consistent person. We’re always having fun. He’s in the mix of it and he’s always sitting there joking with guys, talking with guys. Very, very personable, but he’s also a leader. He’ll tell you what he needs to tell you, given certain circumstances. When times get tough, like what we’ve been through the last few years, he’s been the same guy as what he has been this year.”

Lyles said Hyde has routinely asked the team’s handful of veterans for a pulse of the clubhouse and is always open to their input. What he’s seen from Hyde daily lines up far more with what he heard during free agency than in last season’s highlight.

“He just wants it to be a tight-knit group where everyone believes in one another and just you can be open to come to him at any time, baseball wise or personal life stuff,” Lyles said. “He’s very comfortable to be around.

“With how young this clubhouse is, it can be intimidating for player versus manager, especially a rookie or young guy, second-, third-year guy, but he’s thrown that out the door.”

Perhaps Hyde’s most important impact this season was guiding the Orioles through a trade deadline that saw them lose two significant contributors in first baseman/designated hitter Trey Mancini, the club’s longest-tenured player, and All-Star closer Jorge López as the club’s forward-thinking process continued even with the team unexpectedly contending. Hays said in a team meeting that followed those trades, Hyde told the players that his nightly focus was to win games in the present and he expected the same of them. The Orioles have gone 24-16 since trading Mancini on Aug. 1.

“He’s done a tremendous job just trying to keep us together and keep us focused on one goal, which is winning games,” Mullins said.

Other candidates for the award, voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America, are Seattle’s Scott Servais, Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash and Houston’s Dusty Baker. But each is leading a team that won at least 90 games last year and entered this one perceived as capable of doing so again. They may well lead their team to the playoffs while Baltimore comes up short, but that the Orioles are in this position at all is, to Hyde’s players, a tribute to him.

“Given what everyone thought this year was going to be for us and considering it another ‘rebuilding’ year,” Wells said, “I would most certainly say that he’s done a hell of a job.”

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Rihanna to headline the Super Bowl halftime show

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Rihanna To Headline The Super Bowl Halftime Show
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Rihanna will be the “Only Girl” at the Super Bowl halftime show.

The “Umbrella” singer announced her new gig Sunday, sharing a photo on social media of a hand holding a football in the air that was then retweeted by the NFL and Roc Nation, which has a long-term deal with the NFL to “advise” on the halftime show performer.

“Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who has surpassed expectations at every turn,” Roc Nation founder Jay-Z said in a statement. “A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent artists ever. Self-made in business and entertainment.”

Seth Dudowsky, who oversees music at the NFL, also called her a “once-in-a-generation artist who has been a cultural force throughout her career.”

With week 3 of the NFL underway, Super Bowl 2023 is still almost five months out but the headlining gig was already cause for rampant rumor-mongering.

Taylor Swift, who has a new album due out in October, was the talk of the town late last week, but reportedly passed until she rerecords all of her albums to get out from under the control of former manager Scooter Braun.

The “Shut Up and Drive” singer was previously offered the stage at the 2020 championship, but turned down the job in support of Colin Kaepernick.

“I just couldn’t be a sellout, I couldn’t be an enabler,” she told Vogue in October 2019. “There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”

Super Bowl LVII is scheduled to be played on Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

Last season’s final game was headlined by Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent at SoFi Stadium.

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Nearing a return, Twins outfielder Trevor Larnach suffers setback with wrist

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Nearing A Return, Twins Outfielder Trevor Larnach Suffers Setback With Wrist
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Nearly three months after having a bilateral repair to address a core muscle injury, outfielder Trevor Larnach was on the verge of returning to the Twins — possibly even this weekend. He felt great, he said, and he was excited to get back to try to help an injury-depleted Twins’ roster.

And then, another setback, the latest twist to a frustrating season for Larnach. This one appears as if it will end his season, though the Twins have not yet made that announcement. During a rehab game with the Triple-A Saints this week, Larnach took a swing and felt something with his wrist.

“The next day, I couldn’t hold a bat,” he said. “Ever since then, it’s been rehab again, so as frustrating as it is, there’s not much I can do about it.”

Larnach, 25, played five rehab games for the Saints, the last coming on Sept. 21, before he was shut down. He was in the Twins’ clubhouse on Sunday morning, though not because an activation is near, manager Rocco Baldelli said.

“He’s here more to get looked at, spend a little time around the guys, too, but mainly to get seen by the medical guys,” Baldelli said.

Larnach has played in just 51 games this season for the Twins after being recalled from Triple-A, where he started the season, in early April. Larnach dealt with a groin strain in May before landing on the IL again in late June. He hit .231 with a .712 OPS, but he spent most of the season mired in the rehab process down at the Twins’ complex in Fort Myers, Fla.

While outside doctors initially gave him an optimistic outlook of six weeks to heal after his core muscle surgery, he quickly came to realize that he would need more time than that to recover after his late-June surgery.

“You learn really quick that that’s not really even reasonable, especially for a professional athlete trying to play at their highest level,” Larnach said. “It wasn’t really relevant to me. I had to take a step back to look at what I needed to do to feel really good. I did that, and I learned a lot from it.”

The rehab process, he said, had him working constantly, with the Twins’ training staff, at home on his own and with specialists as he tried to get back. Should he be healthy enough, Larnach said he has given some thought to the possibility of playing winter ball to make up for some of the playing time he missed this season.

“Trust me: I wasn’t there for a vacation. I was there to try and be healthy as soon as possible. I learned from it,” Larnach said. “I felt great coming back. I thought I did a really, really good job going through that whole process. But then this thing was just kind of really, really unexpected.”

LEWIS UPDATE

Royce Lewis, another big piece of the Twins’ future, was in the clubhouse over the weekend, reuniting with his teammates and writing hand-written thank-you notes to those who had helped him this season.

The 23-year-old shortstop has been rehabbing in Fort Myers after undergoing a second surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament in June. At this point, he hasn’t been doing much activity, though he said he’s in a stage where he’s slowly starting to transition to add in more. Lewis plans to stay in Fort Myers through October before heading home to continue his rehab.

Lewis missed all of last season after tearing his ACL before spring training. After a year-long rehab process, Lewis returned healthy and performed well both at Triple-A and his brief taste of the majors —  he slashed .300/.317/.550 with a .867 OPS in 12 games with the Twins — before reinjuring his knee during a collision with the outfield wall.

“Obviously (the) same injury, but totally different. The procedure was different. Everything about it feels different,” Lewis said. “I feel a lot better than I did before. I don’t know why that is, but I’ll take it.”

BRIEFLY

The Twins played a video tribute to Kurt Suzuki, who is set to retire after this season. Suzuki played for the Twins for three seasons between 2014-16. The 38-year-old catcher has played for the Angels the past two seasons.

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Rihanna will headline the Super Bowl halftime show

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Rihanna Will Headline The Super Bowl Halftime Show
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Rihanna will be the “Only Girl” at the Super Bowl halftime show.

The “Umbrella” singer announced her new gig Sunday, sharing a photo on social media of a hand holding a football in the air that was then retweeted by the NFL and Roc Nation, which has a long-term deal with the NFL to “advise” on the halftime show performer.

With week 3 of the NFL underway, Super Bowl 2023 is still almost five months out but the headlining gig was already cause for rampant rumor-mongering.

Taylor Swift, who has a new album due out in October, was the talk of the town late last week, but reportedly passed until she rerecords all of her albums to get out from under the control of former manager Scooter Braun.

The “Shut Up and Drive” singer was previously offered the stage at the 2020 championship, but turned down the job in support of Colin Kaepernick.

“I just couldn’t be a sellout, I couldn’t be an enabler,” she told Vogue in October 2019. “There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”

Super Bowl LVII is scheduled to be played on Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

Last year’s show was headlined by Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent at SoFi Stadium.

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Week 3 updates: Boos out at Soldier Field as Chicago Bears trail Houston Texans — and they could be without RB David Montgomery

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Week 3 Updates: Boos Out At Soldier Field As Chicago Bears Trail Houston Texans — And They Could Be Without Rb David Montgomery
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The 1-1 Chicago Bears will host the 0-1-1 Houston Texans at Soldier Field in a Week 3 matchup. Here’s the latest updates.

Get our free Bears alerts | Get Brad Biggs’ 10 thoughts on the Bears first | More Bears news

At halftime

As the clock ran out in the second quarter with the Texans leading the Bears 14-13 some boos could be heard across Soldier Field.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields completed just 4 of 11 passes for 45 yards, no touchdowns, an interception and an 11.6 passer rating in the half, which ended with the Texans’ third sack as time ran out. The Bears had timeouts to use but didn’t to try to get in a deep shot.

Playing without David Montgomery, who left in the first quarter with right knee and ankle injuries, running back Khalil Herbert rushed for 64 yards and rookie Trestan Ebner rushed for 23 yards. Fields also had 47 yards rushing.

The Bears were threatening to retake the lead late in the second quarter but couldn’t come up with a big play.

On third-and-5, Fields hit tight end Cole Kmet with a 24-yard pass — Kmet’s first catch of the year — to get to the Texans’ 27-yard line. But the Bears offense stalled three plays later when Jerry Hughes sacked Fields for a loss of 9 yards. Bears kicker Cairo Santos made a 50-yard field instead to cut it 14-13.

Santos made a 47-yard field goal on the game’s opening drive for a 3-0 lead. And Herbert scored on an 11-yard touchdown run after Montgomery left the game to make it 10-0.

But Davis Mills’ 4-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Akins cut the Bears’ lead to 10-7. That drive included a 52-yard pass to Chris Moore.

And the Texans took a 14-10 lead on Dameon Pierce’s 1-yard touchdown run with 7:32 to play in the second quarter. Pierce had four carries for 41 yards on the drive, which started with Desmond King’s 30-yard punt return.

Bears safety Eddie Jackson forced a fumble and had an interception in the first quarter.

The Texans recovered the fumble, but the pick came at a key moment. With the Texans threatening to take a lead at the Bears’ 7-yard line, cornerback Kindle Vildor broke up Davis Mills’ pass to Brandin Cooks in the end zone. Jackson grabbed it out of the air but stepped out of the back of the end zone. The Bears got the ball on their 20.

Jackson’s pick came after Fields threw a pass to Kmet that Texans safety Jalen Pitre intercepted.

Injury update

David Montgomery went down with a right leg injury midway through the first quarter. After the trainers tended to him for a few minutes, he walked off the field on his own into the medical tent. He then left the tent to go to the locker room.

The Bears announced Montgomery has a knee and ankle injury and is doubtful to return. Wide receiver Byron Pringle also is doubtful to return because of a calf injury.

Running back Khalil Herbert entered the game after Montgomery left and had carries of 8 and 11 yards and then scored on an 11-yard touchdown run to put the Bears up 10-0 midway through the first quarter.

Week 3 inactives announced

Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson will miss Sunday’s game against the Texans with a quad injury he suffered in practice Thursday.

But linebacker Roquan Smith, who missed practice all week with a hip injury, will play.

Linebacker Matt Adams, safety Dane Cruikshank and rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. all are inactive with hamstring injuries. Tight end Ryan Griffin will sit out with an Achilles injury, and offensive lineman Ja’Tyre Carter also is inactive.

Johnson’s absence is big for a young Bears secondary. Opposing teams largely have stayed away from targeting Johnson, instead going after rookie Kyler Gordon, who moves between outside cornerback and nickel, and Kindle Vildor. Gordon had a rough night against Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Week 2.

For the Texans, tight end Brevin Jordan, wide receiver Tyler Johnson, defensive back Isaac Yiadom, linebacker Jake Hansen, offensive lineman Austin Deculus and defensive lineman Kurt Hinish are inactive.

Soldier Field guide — and a weather report

There’s a slight chance of rain in Sunday’s forecast, but nowhere near the amount of precipitation fans endured in the Week 1 win over the 49ers (so, no Slip ‘N Slide celebrations this time around). The expected high is set for 69 degrees, with wind of the WNW at 19 mph.

Chicago experiences higher temperatures longer than outlying suburbs due to the heat-island effect. Its location next to Lake Michigan’s warm waters explains why the city and nearby suburbs freeze later in the year than their farther-out counterparts.

Locally, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting temperatures leaning above normal and “equal chances” of above or below precipitation from October through December.

If you’re headed to Soldier Field, here’s our guide — including where (and what) to tailgate. And no, you won’t be hearing the Bear Raid siren this year.

OC defends the Bears’ run-pass balance

The comparisons were all over social media this week.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields has 28 pass attempts in two games this season. Every other team in the league has at least 28 completions and 52 attempts.

The Bears’ measly passing-game numbers, which total 15 completions and 191 yards, have dominated talk, with coach Matt Eberflus saying the Bears need to strive for a better balance in the running and passing games.

Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy understands it: “I love to throw because I’m a quarterback guy, right?”

And surely Getsy knows Fields needs to throw to develop in his second season. But Getsy also believes in following a plan tailored to what a defense is presenting them. Read the full story here.

Latest stadium news from Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights officials rejected a petition to ban village financial incentives for Chicago Bears or any other business, stating that the petition didn’t have enough valid signatures — and warning that such a move would hurt businesses and taxpayers.

The petition calls for the village to create an “Anti-Corporate Welfare Ordinance” that would prohibit any financial or other incentive to a business to operate in the village. The petition was submitted by Americans for Prosperity Illinois, part of a libertarian group backed by the conservative Koch brothers. Read the full story here and read all our coverage here.

Miss anything this week? Catch up on our coverage.

  • 5 things to watch in the Bears-Texans game — plus our Week 3 predictions
  • Column: Patience is required to evaluate QB Justin Fields — especially with the Bears offense around him
  • Bears QB Justin Fields says ‘my job is not to call pass plays’ after attempting only 11 passes in a lopsided loss
  • 12 eye-catching numbers as the Bears prepare to face the Texans
  • Column: Justin Fields apologized to Bears fans. It was mature and sincere — but also unnecessary.
  • Bears Q&A with Brad Biggs: Do the coaches doubt Justin Fields as a passer? What is with Kyler Gordon’s rookie struggles?

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Three shot in St. Paul Saturday night at large gathering on White Bear Avenue

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St. Paul police are investigating a shooting Saturday night in which three people were shot at a strip mall where a large group of people were gathered, several of them reportedly under the influence or inebriated.

None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, police say.

About 11:30 p.m. officers were called to the 1600 block of White Bear Avenue on a report of a man shot. When the arrived they found two additional shooting victims, according to police Sgt. Mike Ernster.

All three had gunshot wounds in their lower extremities, such as their legs and buttocks, and were taken to the hospital, Ernster said.

A fourth man was treated for a laceration to his head. It wasn’t clear whether the cut came from a fight or a fall from the confusion when the shooting started, Ernster said.

The location of the shooting was at a strip mall that holds an event center where more than 300 people can gather. It was unclear what type of event, if any, was being held, Ernster said, but a large number of people were at the location when police arrived. Officers said some of those they encountered were under the influence or inebriated.

As of Sunday the shootings were still under investigation.

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Tua Tagovailoa exits Dolphins-Bills game after late hit, is questionable to return

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Tua Tagovailoa Exits Dolphins-Bills Game After Late Hit, Is Questionable To Return
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Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa left the team’s game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday after a late hit that resulted in a roughing-the-passer penalty deep into the first half.

Tagovailoa escaped pressure on a third-and-3 play right before the two-minute warning, threw a pass that was completed to wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, and was pushed to the ground after the throw by linebacker Matt Milano. The back of Tagovailoa’s head banged against the ground in a whiplash effect.

Tagovailoa was walked off the field and into the locker room, under his own power, with trainers alongside him. He is officially questionable to return with a head injury.

The Dolphins have a quick turnaround for Thursday Night Football, facing the Bengals on the road in Cincinnati and Tagovailoa’s availability for that game could be in doubt.

The Dolphins and Bills were tied at 14 at the time of the injury and going into halftime. Tagovailoa was 8 of 10 for 76 yards with a touchdown pass when he exited. Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater then entered for Miami’s third-year signal-caller.

It’s the third consecutive time Tagovailoa gets hurt in a meeting with the Bills. In last year’s Week 2 meeting in Miami Gardens, an A.J. Epenesa hit sidelined Tagovailoa with fractured ribs and put him on short-term injured reserve to miss the ensuing three weeks. In the 2021 Oct. 31 game in Orchard Park, Tagovailoa finished the game but came away with a finger injury on his throwing hand that cost him the next one and a half games.

The Bills struck first on their opening drive Sunday that was capped by a fourth-down 1-yard pass from Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen to an open Devin Singletary in the end zone. Allen was 6 of 6 for 70 yards on the opening series after his first completion, a 28-yard strike over the middle to Stefon Diggs, was nearly a fumble lost with Diggs losing the back. It was ruled that cornerback Xavien Howard barely contacted the receiver.

The Dolphins defense set the offense up to tie later in the first quarter. Jevon Holland broke free on a safety blitz for a strip-sack on Allen, and outside linebacker Melvin Ingram recovered the fumble at the Buffalo 6-yard line. Miami scored on a Chase Edmonds plunge from a yard away after a pass to Trent Sherfield got the team to the 1-yard line.

Buffalo responded early in the second quarter with Allen again finding another South Florida product, Isaiah McKenzie, wide open for a short touchdown pass. The Bills picked up the Dolphins blitz on third-and-goal from the 8-yard line, with Singletary blocking Holland in the backfield.

Tagovailoa responded with a nine-play, 83-yard drive yard that was capped by a touchdown pass to practice-squad elevation River Cracraft, his second touchdown in as many weeks up from the practice squad. Tagovailoa threw a dart to Cracraft for the 11-yard scoring strike after also completing chunk plays to Waddle and Tyreek Hill earlier in the drive.

This story will be updated.

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