Monday, October 24, 2011

Six Stories for Monday

Big sports night with Game 5 of the World Series and Monday Night Football, but here's some other stories to read about:

DeMarco! Polo?
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If you didn't know who DeMarco Murray was before yesterday, you should certainly know who is now. The 71st overall pick in this year's draft from Oklahoma took full advantage of his increased playing time yesterday and had a game for the ages. Running against the disappointing Rams defense, Murray went 91 yards for a touchdown the first time he touched the ball and never looked back. When all was said and done, the 23 year old rookie running back had broken Emmitt Smith's Cowboys single game rushing record of 237 yards, turned in the highest rushing total for a player this season, tallied the second most rushing yards in a game for a rookie in NFL history, and put together the 9th biggest rushing game of all time. Final tally: 25 carries for 253 yards. Not a bad day especially when you consider that entering play yesterday, Murray had just 24 career carries for 71 yards and on touchdowns. Five running backs were drafted ahead of Murray in the draft this year. Here's how he stacks up with them after yesterday:

Tony Gonzalez Continues to State Case for being Best Tight End EVER
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The 35 year old Gonzalez hauled in 5 passes for 62 yards in yesterday's 23-16 win over the Lions giving him 1,104 receptions in 15 years with the Chiefs and Falcons. With the 5 receptions yesterday, Gonzalez passed wide receivers Cris Carter (1,101) and Marvin Harrison (1,102) and moved into second place on the all-time receptions list behind only the great Jerry Rice. To catch Rice, all Gonzalez needs to do is catch 445 more passes. No big deal.

Saints Put Up Video Game Numbers in 62-7 Route of Indy
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I actually missed this game last night in favor of watching Game 4 of the World Series. What transpired was one of the biggest routs in NFL history. New Orleans racked up 557 yards of total offense, Drew Brees threw more touchdown passes (5) than incompletions (4), and the Saints finished up with 36 first downs (a team record) and 62 points, the most scored in a game in over a quarter century. You have to go all the way back to 1985 when the Jets overcame a 14-0 first quarter deficit and beat Tampa Bay 62-28 ot find another team that scored that many points. Games like this aren't uncommon in college football, but you just don't see this in the pros. It's literally something straight out of a video game. That's how on the Saints were last night, and just how bad the Colts have become as they drop to 0-7. Hard to believe what a difference Peyton Manning can make.

MLS Gears Up for Postseason
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The MLS regular season concluded this weekend and now ten teams remain in the quest for the 2011 MLS Cup. The wild card round kicks off this week as FC Dallas will host the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday and the defending champion Colorado Rapids host the Columbus Crew on Thursday. The winners of the two wild card matches will then advance to the Conference Semifinals this weekend. Here's a quick glance at your ten playoff teams:

Western Conference

Los Angeles Galaxy - 19-5-10, 67 pts - Top Scorer: Landon Donovan (12)
Seattle Sounders FC - 18-7-9, 63 pts - Top Scorer: Fredy Montero (12)
Real Salt Lake - 15-11-8, 53 pts - Top Scorer: Alvaro Saborio (11)

Eastern Conference

Sporting Kansas City - 13-9-12, 51 pts - Top Scorer: Kei Kamara (9)
Houston Dynamo - 12-9-13, 49 pts - Top Scorer: Geoff Cameron (5)
Philadelphia Union - 11-8-15, 48 pts - Top Scorer: Sebastien Le Toux (11)


FC Dallas - 15-12-7, 52 pts - Top Scorer: Brek Shea (11)
Colorado Rapids - 12-9-13, 49 pts - Top Scorer: Jeff Larentowicz (7)
Columbus Crew - 13-13-8, 47 pts - Top Scorer: Andres Mendoza (13)
New York Red Bulls - 10-8-16, 46 pts - Top Scorer: Thierry Henry (14)

Remembering Neil O'Donnell
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Carson Palmer's "coming out of retirement" to play this past weekend got me thinking of another incident when a quarterback was called upon to lead his team after spending the bulk of the season at home on his couch. Heading into the final week of the 2003 regular season, the Titans were in serious trouble at the quarterback position. Steve McNair, the starter, had been dealing with a slew of injuries including a strained calf and a sprained ankle. Meanwhile the backup, Billy Volek, had his spleen lacerated two weeks prior so he was unavailable. So with the AFC South division title on the line, Jeff Fisher opted to go with Neil O'Donnell, who had been called out of retirement just 10 days prior as a result of Volek's injury. The 37 year old veteran, who hadn't started a game in over two years came out for one final game and completed 18 of 27 passes for 232 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Titans defeated Tampa Bay 33-13. I miss the Titans being good...

Ovechkin and the Caps Last NHL Unbeaten
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In a battle between the last two undefeated teams in the NHL on Saturday, the Washington Capitals made a statement with a resounding 7-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The Capitals are now 7-0 on the year and over their last four games, have outscored their opponents 17-4. Thirteen different players have scored for Washington this year led by 4 goals apiece from Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera. Goalie Tomas Vokoun allowed 5 goals in his first start, but has surrendered just 6 over his last five starts as the Caps are on a roll to start the season. Washington is on the road against Edmonton and Vancouver this week as they look to extend their winning streak.

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