#1 Minnesota dominated the opening half of the second period, von sakura698 16.09.2019 07:55

The Carolina Panthers didnt win a football game for over eight weeks at one point this season and now they are set to host a wild- card playoff game as the favorite. Albert Pujols Angels Jersey . Such is life in the war of attrition that is the NFL. The NFC South champions will open up the NFL postseason on Saturday against an 11-win Arizona team that will likely be relying on its third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley. Despite ping-ponging from Carson Palmer to Drew Stanton back to Palmer and back to Stanton before Lindley due to injuries the Cardinals tied a franchise record with the 11 victories and have won 21 total games in their first two seasons under the likely NFL Coach of the Year, Bruce Arians. Arizona has also won four of its past six postseason games, including a 33-13 win at Carolina on Jan. 10, 2009 in the divisional round, the only prior matchup between these teams in the playoffs. Its a whole new season now, Arians said. Were all 0-0 and were in the tournament. Were going to get ready for this playoff game. Were not planning on being one-and-done. Few ever plan to be one-and-done but the Cardinals have an uphill battle in trying to avoid that fate. Arizona comes in having lost two in a row, including a 20-17 Week 17 loss at the 49ers in what turned out to be Jim Harbaughs final game as San Franciscos head coach. Lindley did throw his first two career touchdown passes to Michael Floyd in the setback and completed 23-of-39 passes for a career-high 316 yards but he also was picked off three times. Floyd, meanwhile, made eight catches for 153 yards and Kerwynn Williams ran it 17 times for 67 yards. Its a loss and no one wants to lose in the NFL, but I think we gained some confidence, said Lindley. We ran the ball a lot better this week. We did a great job of pass protection ... Floyd had a great day. Despite their less-than-stellar record, the Panthers enter the tournament red hot, having won four straight while outscoring opponents 111-43 over that span. Under head coach Ron Rivera, Carolina became the first team to win back-to- back NFC South division titles after a dominating 34-3 winner-take-all road win at Atlanta last weekend. In the month of December, the Panthers formula for turning things around was running the football coupled with stingy defense, ranking second in the NFL in both rushing offense (199.3 yards per game) and points allowed (10.8 points per game) during the month. We put ourselves in this position by playing the way we did in December, Rivera said. Weve won the NFC South two years in a row and thats something to build on as we move forward as a football team. Against the Falcons, Carolina returned two Matt Ryan interceptions for touchdowns and scored a total of 21 points off three turnovers. The Panthers defense harassed Ryan all day, piling up six sacks and hurrying the veteran QB into uncharacteristic mistakes, resulting in an overthrown pass that was returned 31 yards for a touchdown by Roman Harper in the second quarter. Later in the third quarter, an underthrown pass was picked by Tre Boston and returned 84 yards to put the game out of reach. They played the way you need to play in these types of situations, said Ryan. They executed at a high level and we did not, across the board. Cam Newton didnt have to do much against the Falcons, and finished with 114 yards passing and a touchdown while adding 51 yards on the ground, including a 4-yard touchdown scramble after an Atlanta fumble in the first half. This game meant so much to, not only myself, but my teammates, said Newton. We were playing for so much. We did a lot that a lot of people didnt expect us to do. Jonathan Stewart carried the ball 13 times for 49 yards while starting again in place of DeAngelo Williams, who sat for the fourth straight game with a broken hand. Carolina leads its all-time series with the Cards by an 8-5 margin, including the prior postseason loss. In the playoffs as a whole the Panthers are 6-5 all-time while the Cardinals are under water at 6-7. The winner this week will advance to face either top-seeded Seattle or No. 2 Green Bay in the divisional round. If Dallas beats Detroit on Sunday, the winner will play at the Seahawks. If Detroit wins, the winner travels to Green Bay. WHAT TO WATCH FOR If you are wondering why Arians is the odds on favorite to win his second Coach of the Year award, consider this: Injuries have been an issue for Arizona dating all the way back to training camp when star defensive tackle Darnell Dockett was lost for the season to a knee injury. When you add it all up, the Cards have been without 21 different players at some point this season and that group has missed a collective 109 games. Add in suspended star linebacker Daryl Washington and those numbers jump to 22 and 125. The health at the quarterback position has been particularly troubling. Palmer has missed 10 games, first with a nerve issue in his shoulder before a season-ending ACL tear. His backup, Stanton, then went down with a knee injury of his own, which has been complicated by an infection. Palmer won all six of his starts this season and 13 of 15 dating back to 2013 so this is a completely different club with him under center, one that was on its way to earning the top seed in the conference. Without Palmer or Stanton, Arizonas big-play defense will have to carry the day if the team hopes to leave the Tar Heel State with a win. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is getting a lot of bites as a head-coaching candidate because he has cobbled together a solid unit despite the absence of stalwarts like Washington, Dockett and John Abraham (concussion issues.) The group isnt that great on paper, ranked 24th in the NFL by allowing 368.2 yards per game, but it does force the issue as evidenced by the teams plus-8 turnover ratio, which is third in the NFC. Talented cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie are prone to taking chances but can shift momentum at any time with their impressive man- to-man coverage skills. The Cardinals defense had 18 total interceptions in the regular season with four players snaring three-or-more, safety Rashad Johnson (four) and Cromartie, Peterson and fellow corner Jerraus Powers with three apiece. The Panthers offense is the definition of mediocre, 16th in a 32-team league at 346.7 ypg but they have some real threats in rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin as well as star tight end Greg Olsen, who both finished with over 1,000 receiving yards. Carolina could also get a boost in the backfield with the potential return of Williams from the broken hand. The veteran was actually probable last week but was deactivated because he was deemed a liability in pass protection. Stewart, meanwhile, has been solid in his absence, rushing for 486 yards since Williams was forced to the sideline. (Williams is a) part of why we are where we are today, Rivera said. When hes healthy and ready to go hell get his opportunities to get on the field. Arians, meanwhile, is very concerned with the dual threat Newton brings to the table, calling him tougher to defend than other QBs who have a similar skill set like Seattles Russell Wilson and the Niners Colin Kaepernick. He presents different problems than Colin and Russell, Arians said. Hes more of a combination of both those guys. He can really throw the football extremely well from the pocket. It presents a multitude of problems for us. The Panthers wont be having those same problems. There is no other way to say it than other than Arizona is behind the 8-ball on offense with Lindley, who simply isnt a competent starter at this level. Conversely the Panthers defense has been hitting its stride lately and finished the season 10th overall (339.8 ypg) after the strong December. Without the exiled Greg Hardy, linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis are the unquestioned difference makers. The All-Pro Kuechly led NFL with 153 tackles and also leads with 473 stops since entering the league in 2012. His running mate, Davis, is almost as productive, finishing second on the club in tackles with 100. In Hardys absence. Charles Johnson has taken over as the units best pass rusher with 8 1/2 sacks, his fifth consecutive season with eight-or-more QB takedowns. The consistent Johnson is the only NFC player with 50-or-more sacks (52 1/2) and 13-or-more forced fumbled (13) since 2010. The defensive backfield is headlined by Harper, who led the team with a career-high four interceptions, but really took off when rookies Boston, Harpers running mate at safety, and cornerback Bene Benwikere entered the lineup. We were trying to find answers as a coaching staff, the right combination of guys -- and we found it, Rivera said when discussing his rookies. With all three levels hitting on all cylinders in December the group has limited opposing quarterbacks to a 64.6 passer rating -- second only to the Seahawks dominant defense. Lindley, meanwhile, is 1-5 as a starter as a professional and had thrown an NFL-record 229 pass attempts without a touchdown before finding Floyd on a gimmick flea-flicker play last week. It was good to get the monkey off my back a little bit, Lindley said. The real hope, though, is that Stanton could make the miracle recovery and be under center by Saturday. Hes progressing and nothings really changed, Arians admitted when asked about Stanton. Weve got our fingers crossed that possibly he could go later in the week. OVERALL ANALYSIS Since 1936, no team has scored fewer points than Arizona over the final six games and still made the playoffs. The Cardinals have continually called Stantons knee injury a sprain. In reality, though, it was a partially torn ACL and a Grade 2 MCL sprain further exacerbated by an infection which had to be drained. Hes not walking through that door at Bank of America Stadium on Saturday to save Arizona. Carolina, though, is bringing what has been the second best defense in football over the past month. It tells you that no matter what you do during the regular season, it just doesnt matter, Stewart said of his teams renewed optimism. Things amp up to a whole different notch in the playoffs. Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Panthers 21, Cardinals 17 Justin Bour Jersey . - Whether its because of her improved play or the reason for it, Michelle Wie appears as comfortable on and off the golf course as at any time in her career. Darin Erstad Angels Jersey . -- The Chicago Bears have agreed to terms with safety Brock Vereen and QB David Fales on four-year contracts. http://www.baseballangelslockroom.com/reggie-jackson-angels-jersey/ . -- Cam Newton pranced into the end zone, placed his hands over his chest and did his familiar Superman pose.SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau found the perfect way to celebrate their new contract extensions. Thornton scored his second goal of the game with 1:30 remaining in overtime to lead the San Jose Sharks to their sixth straight win, 3-2 over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night. Marleau also scored as the two longtime Sharks shined one day after signing three-year deals that will keep them in San Jose through the 2016-17 season. "For me and Patty both to score, its a great night for us," Thornton said. Antti Niemi made 20 saves and Joe Pavelski and Matt Irwin had two assists apiece as the Sharks overcame a 2-0 deficit to get their third six-game winning streak of the season. "Theyre our guys, and we need them when were down," Irwin said. "Jumbo got us to within one and Patty tied it up and obviously Jumbo won it in overtime. Theyre our guys. Its just kind of ironic what happened." Matt Cooke and Keith Ballard scored for the Wild, who built an early lead on the opener of a four-game road trip but still lost for the ninth time in their past 10 trips to San Jose. Darcy Kuemper made 29 saves as Minnesota lost for just the fourth time in 12 games this month. "We got a point against a good team in a tough building to play," Ballard said. "For the most part we played a fairly solid game. We werent the best at times. But we hung in there and even after they got those two quick goals, I thought we responded pretty well. We just couldnt find the time to get the third one tonight." Thornton and Pavelski combined on the game-winning play by causing a turnover at the blue line. Pavelski then fed Thornton, who beat Kuemper with a wrist shot from the top of the circle to end it with his ninth career overtime goal and first since Nov. 26, 2008, against Chicago. Pavelski assisted on both of Thorntons goals in a bit of a role reversal after Thornton helped set up many of his 19 goals in the previous 21 games. "Ive been teelling Pav, Youve been scoring too much. Los Angeles Angels Jerseys. Start passing the puck. And he finally listened," Thornton said. "I dont too often, but Pav just made two good plays and luckily I put them in." The Wild struck first on a nifty play by Cooke midway through the first period. Cooke deflected Thorntons cross-ice pass to Brad Stuart in the neutral zone. Cooke then beat Stuart to the loose puck and skated in on Niemi before beating him with a forehand for his eighth goal. They added onto the lead early in the second when Mikael Granlund fed Ballard for a one-timer that beat Niemi. It was Ballards first goal since Oct. 6, 2011, for Vancouver against Pittsburgh, ending a drought of 114 games without a goal. But that was all the Wild would get as they managed just 12 shots in the final 39-plus minutes. They spent much of the game on the defensive as they won just 18 of 59 faceoffs. "We lost the extra point because of the face-off circle tonight," coach Mike Yeo said. "We spent the entire night chasing and its inevitable that they will put you on your heels and give them some momentum. We never started with the puck. That was the big story." Minnesota dominated the opening half of the second period, limiting San Jose to one shot in the first 11-plus minutes before Thornton and Marleau delivered a day after getting their new contracts. Thornton struck first when Pavelski fed him for a one-timer that he knocked past Kuemper on a knuckler. Just 49 seconds later, Marleau scored his 22nd of the season when Tommy Wingels fanned on the original shot but still managed to get the puck to Marleau, who deflected it past Kuemper to tie the game. NOTES: Thornton has 40 career multigoal games. ... Minnesota F Jason Pominville got his 500th career point with an assist on Ballards goal. ... San Jose juggled its top two lines the second half of the game with Matt Nieto playing with Thornton and Pavelski and Brent Burns moving to a wing with Marleau and Wingels. ' ' '

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