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Justin Fields’ failed 4th-and-1 play halts the Chicago Bears’ momentum. What the QB had to say about the call — and the replay.

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Justin Fields’ Failed 4Th-And-1 Play Halts The Chicago Bears’ Momentum. What The Qb Had To Say About The Call — And The Replay.
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Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields was firm when asked about the critical fourth-and-1 play in the Green Bay Packers’ 27-10 victory Sunday night at Lambeau Field.

Did Fields think he crossed the goal line midway through the fourth quarter?

“Yeah,” Fields said.

How much would it have changed the game if the officials agreed?

“It changes everything,” he said.

The Bears were trailing 24-10 with 8 minutes, 13 seconds left when they lined up inside the 1-yard line. Fields took a shotgun snap and surged forward behind a scrum of players that included right guard Lucas Patrick, tight end Cole Kmet and running back David Montgomery. Fields wriggled forward toward the line, but officials ruled he didn’t make it across.

Bears coach Matt Eberflus challenged the ruling, and the replay was shown over and over on the video board and TVs in the stadium. Ultimately, the call on the field stood, and the Packers went on to eat up more than five minutes before Mason Crosby’s 28-yard field goal made it a three-score game.

Any chance for a Bears rally petered out.

“I saw the replay up top and it looked like it was in, but there probably just wasn’t enough evidence to overturn it,” Kmet said. “Tough call there. I thought we were gaining momentum there at the end and it would have been a good position for a comeback.”

Beyond whether Fields made it across the goal line, the play call to line up in the shotgun formation when the Bears were inside the 1 will be examined thoroughly in the week ahead.

Eberflus and Bears players said they practiced the play all week and were comfortable with it being called.

“You outnumber the box,” Eberflus said. “So you’re using your quarterback as a runner. You’ve got an additional blocker, so you like your numbers in the box there. That’s why we called it. It was the best play we had right there at the time.”

Said Fields: “It’s us versus them. It’s just the trenches. It’s our O-line versus D-line and we’ll never know if I got in or not. But just a tribute to those guys for fighting on that.”

One play earlier, Fields was ruled to have scrambled for a 6-yard touchdown, but that replay showed his knee was down before he hit the pylon with the football.

That set up the critical play, one of many the Bears will examine in the days ahead, as left guard Cody Whitehair already was ready to do after the game.

“I could have helped ID it a little bit better with the noise and stuff,” Whitehair said. “I kind of left Braxton (Jones) out to dry over there, but we’ll get that corrected and it won’t happen again.”

The Bears needed a desperate comeback because their offense couldn’t get going after scoring a touchdown on its first drive.

The Bears came out in the second half intent on running the ball, sticking with it even as time began ticking down. David Montgomery racked up 122 yards on 15 carries — 8.1 yards per carry — and Khalil Herbert had four carries for 38 yards.

But Fields completed just 7 of 11 passes for 70 yards with no touchdowns and a late interception. He was sacked three times for a loss of 22 yards. Equanimeous St. Brown was the Bears’ leading receiver with two catches for 39 yards, and Darnell Mooney was the only other wide receiver with a catch for minus-4 yards.

“(Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy) said before the game that we were going to run it down their throats,” Fields said. “D-Mo, I don’t know what he ate today, but he was going crazy. O-line did a great job blocking and he did a great job running. My job isn’t to call the plays. My job is to execute the play that is given to me the best I can.”

It wasn’t nearly enough to match Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense, which bounced back from a poor first outing in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings to put up 414 yards. Rodgers threw for 234 and two touchdowns, and Aaron Jones rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown.

Those numbers meant the Packers weren’t left examining the what-ifs of one play.

“We’ll let this sting for 24 hours and then get back to it tomorrow,” Kmet said. “Just move on and keep getting better every week.”


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All the off-screen RHOBH drama to catch up on before the finale

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Kyle vs Garcelle

During an April 13 appearance on Watch what’s happening liveGarcelle revealed where she is with some of them RHOBH co-stars, including Kathy (who seemed to be at odds with several Housewives in the aforementioned Season 12 trailer, including her own sister, Kyle). Ask by Andy Cohen though she and Kathy are currently closer than Kathy and Kyle, Garcelle replied, “Absolutely.”

Kyle admitted to being “shocked” by the comment during an Amazon live stream the following day. “I mean, he’s someone who’s known my sister for two seasons on a reality show,” she said of Garcelle. “Kathy was barely on last season because she was busy with Paris’ wedding. [Garcelle] compares knowing someone from a reality show for a few seasons to living as sisters, whether Kathy and I have a problem right now or not.”

Garcelle later told E! News that she reached out to Kyle the same day “and apologized if I hurt her feelings. I felt really bad.”


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Dave Hyde: Dolphins followed concussion protocol and medical advice about Tua Tagovailoa, but is system ‘broken’ as some think?

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Dave Hyde:  Dolphins Followed Concussion Protocol And Medical Advice About Tua Tagovailoa, But Is System ‘Broken’ As Some Think?
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When Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said Monday he welcomed an NFL and NFL Players Association investigation, he was right on one count.

“We have nothing to hide,’ he said.

From the moment quarterback Tua Tagovailoa hit his helmet on the field Sept. 25 against Buffalo, shook his head, collapsed to the ground and needed help getting off the field, the Dolphins followed concussion protocol and what doctors counseled, according to two league sources.

So why the furor? Part was what came next: Tua didn’t just return to that game but was involved in a scarier scene last Thursday in Cincinnati, when he hit his head again and was taken off the field on a stretcher. Part of the furor, too, was how his staggering off the field was handled — or, as many thought, should be handled differently.

“This is an uncomfortable but a healthy conversation,’’ a league source said. “It’s made everyone think about how to improve this.”

Tua went into the locker room complaining of back pain, even though he hadn’t exhibited any outward signs his back was hurt on the play in question or in staggering off the field. But a couple of plays earlier, his back had been awkwardly bent.

Was the problem just his back? Did it have to be a binary issue of either his head or his back — could it have been both? Might Tagovailoa, like Tampa Bay tight end Cameron Brate complaining of a shoulder problem after being concussed Sunday night, have found an end run to avoid the NFL’s concussion protocol?

“The system is broken,’ Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy said on NBC Sunday night in regard to the issues around Brate and Tagovailoa.

The system was followed in Tagovailoa’s case, too, as the investigation will find, the two league sources said.

“There are a lot of questions, but it’s important to know everyone did their job,’ one league source said.

New England coach Bill Belichick is noted for saying, “Do your job.” He says it should be amended to, “Do your job well.” That’s a more difficult question, everyone agreed.

An independent neurologist, called in NFL’s concussion protocol the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant, tested Tagovailoa for a concussion in the Dolphins locker room at halftime of the Buffalo game and concluded he could return to play. The scene of Tua shaking his head and collapsing on the field didn’t matter, the independent neurologist said, according to a source. Only the testing did.

That led to the independent doctor being fired by the NFLPA, which pays half his salary, according to the protocol. The NFL, which pays the other half, also did not announce his firing.

The league and players union did offer a joint statement on amending the protocol so any player displaying, “Gross Motor Instability,” like Tagovailoa would be held out of a game. The idea is it’s easier to spot a player shaking his head and wobbling off the field than to be certain of a concussion test during a game.

Tagovailoa played well that game against Buffalo, too, though medical officials shrug at that relevance. There’s anecdotal evidence of concussed players acting fine and performing well. One famous example: Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman doesn’t remember the second half of the 1992 NFC Championship Game. He later realized he still had the affects of a concussion in the Super Bowl that the Cowboys won.

Tagovailoa was tested last week and special care was taken before Thursday’s game at Cincinnati. He passed the tests before an even scarier scene played out in that first half. He was spun to the ground by defensive tackle Josh Tupou and hit his head hard on the ground, his arms and hands frozen in a “fencing posture,” of people suffering head trauma.

He was taken off the field on a stretcher. His two games with head trauma were linked, rightly or wrongly, with the medical truth that one concussion makes a person more susceptible to a second one.

The conversation went off the rails in some manner. Former NFL coach Rex Ryan said Sunday on ESPN that McDaniel should have kept Tagovailoa off the field against Buffalo. He called the entire situation an, “epic fail, and a fail on the coach, too.”

McDaniel doesn’t deserve that. Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Johnson had the more measured approach on Fox Sports for how a coach handles injuries during a game.

“The procedure is — and this is what I followed — if a player’s injured and taken off the field, you don’t have any more contact with that player,’ he said. “Then your medical team will come up to you and say, ‘Hey, the player’s good to go, you can put him back in,’ or, ‘Hey, we’re going to hold him out of the game.’ … McDaniel has to trust his people, and that’s what he did.”

There’s no great conclusion other than the Dolphins followed protocol and Tagovailoa has been ruled out Sunday against the New York Jets. Dungy sounds right about the system being broken. An NFL medical official sounds right, saying, “The brain is a mysterious thing.”

A league source sounds right, summing up this loud week in saying, “Don’t forget it’s a violent game.”


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Protect the parody of the police, for our good: NPR

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Protect The Parody Of The Police, For Our Good: Npr
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The United States Supreme Court building in Washington.

Patrick Semansky/AP

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Patrick Semansky/AP

Protect The Parody Of The Police, For Our Good: Npr

The United States Supreme Court building in Washington.

Patrick Semansky/AP

WASHINGTON — The Onion has some serious things to say in defense of parody.

The satirical site that manages to persuade people to believe in the absurd has filed a brief in the Supreme Court in favor of a man who was arrested and prosecuted for mocking the police on social media.

“As the world’s premier parodists, The Onion writers also have a personal interest in preventing political authorities from jailing comedians,” The Onion’s attorneys wrote in a brief filed Monday. “This brief is submitted in the interest of at least mitigating their future punishment.”

The court filing doesn’t entirely keep a straight face, calling the federal justice system “total Latin twists.”

The Onion said it employed 350,000 people, was read by 4.3 trillion people and “became the most powerful and influential organization in human history”.

The Supreme Court case involves Anthony Novak, who was arrested after impersonating the Parma, Ohio police force in Facebook posts.

The posts ran for 12 hours and included an ad for new police officers “strongly urging minorities not to apply”. Another post promoted a fake event where child sex offenders could be “removed from the sex offender registry and accepted as an honorary police officer”.

After being acquitted of the criminal charges, the man sued the police for violating his constitutional rights. But a federal appeals court ruled the officers had “qualified immunity” and dismissed the lawsuit.

One question is whether people could have reasonably believed that what they saw on Novak’s site was real.

But the onion said Novak was under no obligation to post a disclaimer. “Simply put, for the parody to work, it must plausibly mimic the original,” The Onion said, noting its own tendency to mimic “the dry tone of an Associated Press report.”

More than once, people have reposted Onion’s claims as true, including when he reported in 2012 that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was the sexiest man alive.

The memoir ends with a familiar plea for the court to hear the case and a twist.

“The petition for certiorari should be granted, the rights of the people vindicated, and various historical wrongs righted. The Onion would welcome any of the three, especially the first,” the Onion lawyers wrote.

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How Chicago Cubs prospect Jordan Wicks — armed with new pitch — is setting himself up a big 2023 season

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How Chicago Cubs Prospect Jordan Wicks — Armed With New Pitch — Is Setting Himself Up A Big 2023 Season
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For left-hander Jordan Wicks, the big-league dream felt much closer over the weekend.

The Chicago Cubs brought 14 of their minor-league players to Wrigley Field for a multiday development camp at the ballpark. The group included some of their most highly-rated prospects: outfielders Pete Crow-Armstrong (No. 1 by Baseball America), Brennen Davis (No. 2), Owen Caissie (No. 8), first baseman Matt Mervis (No. 20) and pitchers Wicks, Ben Brown (No. 11) and DJ Herz (No. 13).

The orientation included a tour of the ballpark and facilities, meeting with Cubs coaches and major-league players, and preparing their respective offseason programs.

“We definitely go out on the field and imagine being out there,” Wicks said Sunday. “Who knows how far away it is?”

Wicks’ season set him up for an important 2023 that could put him on the cusp of the majors. Excluding a late-season injury shortened start, he posted a 2.95 ERA over his last 19 starts, which included surrendering one run or less in his final five outings at Double-A Tennessee. The underlying numbers suggested Wicks’ slow start, posting a 5.65 ERA through four starts with High-A South Bend, was somewhat out of his control.

“It was a lot of bad breaks in-game — soft contact hits, stuff that just didn’t really go my way,” Wicks recently told the Tribune. “And I was able to continue through that and power through it and make the best out of it.”

By mid-September at Tennessee, Wicks self-assessed his pitch mix was “10 times better” than where his stuff began at the beginning of the season, citing the confidence in all of his pitches. The Cubs’ 2021 first-round pick overcame a .359 Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) with South Bend, sixth highest among High-A pitchers this year (min. 50 innings). His main goal coming into the year was to improve his breaking balls. Wicks believes he succeed in that quest.

“It’s helped a lot in terms of giving them different things to think about,” Wicks said, “and it’s also helped to make the changeup even better.”

During the two months of the season, Wicks added another element to his repertoire: a cutter. Wicks called it a “pitch limiter.” It helps him generate more weak contact, record quicker outs and, ideally, lower his pitch count as he progresses through a start. He initially started incorporating the cutter into games in August.

“It’s done exactly what we wanted to which is limit pitches and be able to attack hitters,” Wicks said. “It has definitely done its job.”

The Cubs introduced the idea to Wicks shortly after he was promoted to Tennessee in mid-July. Based on Wicks’ pitch usage and his strengths and weaknesses, the Cubs’ pitching infrastructure — including their Research and Development department — thought the 23-year-old could handle adding a new pitch in-season and quickly take to it. Minor-league pitching coordinator Casey Jacobson recalled Wicks mentioning he thought adding a cutter would work well for him after one of his first starts with Tennessee.

The pitch could be a great weapon for Wicks against right-handed hitters to avoid overusing his changeup while complementing his devastating slider to put away lefties.

“It speaks to his aptitude, like, he knew that he’s got the two breaking balls right now, but they’re on the slower side in terms of velocity,” Jacobson said. “So you want something that’s a breaking ball that has some more pace and that’s kind of what we identified as well.

“It was a good situation where all the stars aligned.”

Left triceps tightness sidelined Wicks for 12 days, but he returned Sept. 2 and tossed seven shutout innings with two hits, no walks and eight strikeouts over his final two regular-season starts. After tightness cropped up in his one-inning start Aug. 20 that saw the lefty uncharacteristically surrender six runs (five earned), Wicks and the Cubs wanted to play the situation conservatively so late into the season.

Extended rest between starts resolved the issue. Getting minor-league pitchers through a full season is important in exposing them to the grind of a long season and understanding what it takes to get through that type of schedule. Sometimes that means learning how to bounce back and overcome from nagging stuff or injuries.

Jacobson was glad Wicks informed the team about his triceps tightness, something pitchers might experience late in the season.

“But rather than throw through it and maybe something worse happens, he’s honest with us up front,” Jacobson told the Tribune. “We can take care of it and we can get in front of it. Our training staff knocked that thing out of the park in a short amount of time. That’s obviously really good for him from a competitiveness standpoint, from his psychological standpoint, because he doesn’t want to be sidelined.”

Although he did not pitch during the Smokies’ postseason run, Wicks ultimately finished with 94⅔ innings between High-A South Bend and Double-A Tennessee, just shy of his combined total last year with Kansas State and South Bend. While increasing innings are important, big-picture development is part of the equation too.

“You’re challenging them with a different rest cycle — it’s not once a week anymore, they’re cutting off a recovery day that they might have had in college, the travels’ a little bit different, the training is probably a little bit different,” Jacobson said.

“We can take the next step then and he’s getting the chance now to throw on what would be major-league rest once a month. It’s something that these guys need to get exposed to, so that we can get their body to adapt to it.”


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Magic’s loss to Grizzlies gives insight into what Orlando needs to improve

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Magic’s Loss To Grizzlies Gives Insight Into What Orlando Needs To Improve
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Ahead of the Magic’s 109-97 preseason-opening loss to the Memphis Grizzlies Monday, coach Jamahl Mosley made clear what Orlando had been focusing on during training camp.

Get back in transition defensively. Protect the paint. Move the ball while also taking care of it.

After allowing 50 points in the paint, 30 fastbreak points and finishing with 25 turnovers that led to 33 Memphis points, it’s clear more work is needed.

“It was a great challenge for our guys,” Mosley said. “It was an opportunity for them to understand the level of growth and the things we’re going to have to continue to do to get where we’re trying to go.”

For most of the game, the Magic looked like a team that missed two days of training camp because of Hurricane Ian and is still working to understand one another.

But Orlando’s struggles with giveaways weren’t exclusive to Monday.

The Magic were one of the league’s more turnover-prone teams last season. They often have the right pass in mind but attempt it a second or two too late. Or don’t force the defense to collapse enough on drives and try to pass through clogged lanes.

A handful of Orlando’s giveaways are easily correctable — stepping out of bounds, traveling and offensive fouls.

“A lot of us have to get used to playing with each other,” said Paolo Banchero, who finished with 8 points (2-9), 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 4 turnovers in his preseason debut. “I feel like our process was a little different than most teams with the way we had to deal with training camp and cancelations. Coach told us before the game to treat preseason as extended training camp, getting used to the game and each other.”

The loss was a wake-up call but the Magic maintained their perspective.

It was just the first of five preseason exhibitions.

A lot of the areas the Grizzlies, who had the league’s second-best record in 2021-22 at 56-26, dominated Orlando in — especially points off turnovers and in the paint — are ones they thrived in last season.

The Magic’s performance wasn’t all bad, either.

They moved the ball well when they weren’t giving it away, finishing with 23 assists on 35 field goals. Their halfcourt defense was solid. They created open looks from beyond the arc (18-54 on 3s) but they didn’t make enough of them, also a struggle for last year’s team.

“These are great learning opportunities for each of these young men and our staff to be able to teach the things we’ll need to do to continue to grow,” Mosley said. “When and where we’re making passes, transition defense, how we’re getting back. [This] is going to be great teaching tape for us.”

Watching game film will be imperative to figure out how to cut out those mistakes. But what the Magic struggled at is clear.

“You can never not learn something from film,” said Cole Anthony, who led Orlando with 17 points (6-10, 4-8 on 3s) and 5 rebounds. “The main thing I can say is I don’t even have to watch the film to tell you we need to cut down the turnovers. We had 25 for 33 points for them. We cut that in half and we’re looking at a different ball game.

“It’s early. It’s going to be a lot of mistakes, but I think we can cut this stuff out sooner rather than later so by the time the regular season rolls around, we’re doing something, moving in the right direction and winning some games.”

This article first appeared on Email Khobi Price at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.


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Herschel Walker paid for girlfriend’s abortion, report says

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Herschel Walker Paid For Girlfriend’s Abortion, Report Says
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DUNWOODY, Ga. (AP) — Herschel Walker, who has vehemently opposed abortion rights as the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Georgia, paid for an abortion for his girlfriend in 2009, according to a new report published late Monday. The candidate called the accusation a “flat-out lie” and said he would sue.

The Daily Beast spoke to a woman who said Walker paid for her abortion when they were dating. The news outlet reviewed a receipt showing her $575 payment for the procedure, along with a get-well card from Walker and her bank deposit records showing the image of a $700 personal check from Walker dated five days after the abortion receipt.

The woman said Walker encouraged her to end the pregnancy, saying that the time wasn’t right for a baby, The Daily Beast reported.

In a statement, Walker said he would file a lawsuit against the news outlet on Tuesday morning.

“This is a flat-out lie — and I deny this in the strongest terms possible,” he wrote.

Matt Fuller, the politics editor for The Daily Beast, tweeted in response: “I can tell you we stand behind every word and feel very solid about the story.”

Later Monday night, Walker appeared on Sean Hannity’s program on Fox News, where Walker was asked if he recalled sending a $700 check to a girlfriend.

“Well, I sent money to a lot of people,” he said. “I give money to people all the time because I’m always helping people. I believe in being generous. God has blessed me. I want to bless others.”

The allegation against Walker is the latest in a series of stories about the football legend’s past that has rocked the first-time candidate’s campaign in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country. Earlier this year, Walker acknowledged reports that he had three children he had not previously talked about publicly.

Walker has often boasted of his work helping service members and veterans struggling with mental health. Yet The Associated Press reported in May that various records showed he overstated his role in a for-profit program that is alleged to have preyed upon veterans and service members while defrauding the government.

The AP also has reported that a review of public records detailed accusations that Walker repeatedly threatened his ex-wife’s life, exaggerated claims of financial success and alarmed business associates with unpredictable behavior. Walker himself has at times discussed his long struggle with mental illness.

As a Senate hopeful, Walker has supported a national ban on abortions with no exceptions for cases involving rape, incest or a woman’s health being at risk — particularly notable at a time when Roe v. Wade has been overturned by the Supreme Court and Democrats in Congress have been discussing codifying abortion rights into federal law.

“I’m for life,” Walker has said repeatedly as he campaigns. When asked about whether he’d allow for any exceptions, he has said there are “no excuses” for the procedure.

As the Republican nominee, Walker has sidestepped many questions about his earlier support for a national abortion ban, instead trying to turn the issue against his Democratic rival, Sen. Raphael Warnock, who supports abortion rights. Walker often characterizes abortion as “a woman killing her baby” and says he doesn’t understand how Warnock, a Baptist pastor, can support the procedure being legal.

Campaigning in Dunwoody, an Atlanta suburb, on Monday night, Warnock stressed his support for abortion rights.

“I have a profound reverence for life. I have a deep and abiding respect for choice. I believe a patient’s room is too small and cramped a space for a woman, her doctor and the United States government,” he said, emphasizing Walker’s support for a national ban.

Warnock was dismissive when told of The Daily Beast story and when asked whether it might affect the outcome in Georgia. “I’ll let the pundits decide,” he said.

Walker’s son, Christian Walker, criticized his father in a series of tweets late Monday, saying his family “asked him not to run for office.”

“I don’t care about someone who has a bad past and takes accountability,” Christian Walker tweeted. “But how DARE YOU LIE and act as though you’re some ‘moral, Christian, upright man.’ You’ve lived a life of DESTROYING other peoples lives. How dare you.”

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