Jaylen Samuels latest cog in Steelers’ plug-and-play run game

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That Samuels, a fifth-round rookie, just ripped off 142 yards against New England — the most ever by a Steelers player against the Patriots, according to ESPN Stats & Information — is a credit to both Samuels’ development and a Steelers offense that has had success with a variety of backs.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Le’Veon Bell will seek an all-world contract for his All-Pro production, averaging nearly 130 total yards per game since 2013. His numbers are so prolific they prompted him to sit out the entire 2018 season to make sure nothing happens to them.

But when Bell’s out of the game, the Steelers can get their numbers, too.10

DeAngelo Williams rushed for 1,250 yards and 15 touchdowns on 298 carries from 2015 to ’16, starting 14 games with Bell out.

James Conner, who’s working his way back from a high ankle sprain, has 1,053 yards and 12 touchdowns on 233 career carries. Though Conner’s production dipped in November, he was the AFC’s most potent weapon in October and has a conference player of the month award to show for it.

In 12 games and two starts, Samuels has 201 yards on 42 carries.

Those three have combined for 2,504 yards on the ground while in Pittsburgh, along with 982 yards on 126 receptions. In a little more than two years of starter’s work, that’s nearly 3,500 yards — not Bell-level production, but solid nonetheless.

Even Jordan Todman and Fitz Toussaint, who are both out of the league, combined for 123 yards on 28 carries in a 2016 playoff win over Cincinnati.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“That just shows we’ve had good running backs,” guard David DeCastro said with a smile.

DeCastro doesn’t need to say it, but one of the league’s most consistent offensive lines, a high-level quarterback and weapons on the outside open rushing lanes for backs. What Bell did with those lanes won’t be overlooked and will get him seriously paid.

How Germany helped flip the NFC Pro Bowl fan voting

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San Francisco 49ers linebacker Mark Nzeocha isn’t a household name. At least not in America.

But in his home country of Germany, Nzeocha’s name is starting to ring out like the most famous German professional athlete in American sports: legendary Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

For proof of Nzeocha’s blossoming fame in his home country, look at fan voting for this year’s Pro Bowl. Amid the usual suspects topping the ballot, there sits Nzeocha as the leading vote-getter in the NFC for the special-teams spot.

Fan voting ended Thursday with Nzeocha racking up 183,150 votes, most among all special-teamers. According to the NFL, roughly 80 percent (146,520) of Nzeocha’s votes came from Germany. Nzeocha had support from all over Germany, not just his tiny home municipality of Neusitz. Unless, of course, every person in Neusitz voted for Nzeocha roughly 71 times.9

“Honestly, it means the world,” Nzeocha said. “The football community in Germany is so small and it’s such a tight-knit group, it’s just like if one of us makes it, everyone is behind him. Which is super, super cool to see. … It’s still a new sport in Germany and the interest is growing, which is really cool to see. I guess they have shown all the Sunday games on free TV now and more and more people are really getting into the sport, which honestly can only help the sport in Germany and it helps the NFL, too, just expanding the platform. It’s a great thing.”

According to Motzkus, the broadcast for each week’s games featured reports on Nzeocha and the network’s website featured information on Nzeocha and Pro Bowl voting. Beyond that, RanSport and NFL Deutschland made regular use of their social media channels, putting out tweets that could be retweeted by fans, which would count as a vote for Nzeocha. One such tweet from RanSport on Nov. 29 garnered 805 retweets, good for as many votes.

“Mark gets the support of the whole football nation in Germany,” Motzkus said. “We are very proud to have a player in the best football league of the world. He has a lot of supporters in his homeland.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Among them is the German fan organization that specifically supports the 49ers, known as “The Niners Empire Germany.” That group also did extensive work to get out the vote for Nzeocha.

You might be a better hitter than these five pitchers

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One of major league baseball’s great unanswerables is how hard it is. We know it’s extremely hard. The best in the world often struggle at it. But we don’t know how hard — how hard it would be for, say, you.

That’s because managers don’t play a random sample of us against the stars. They play only the very best, and even those very best players are quickly removed if they don’t look credible against the other very bests. The only exceptions to this design are when batters pitch, and when pitchers bat, because in neither event was the player selected for his skill at the task. Instead he is, as close as we get to see,nfl nike jerseys cheap china a randomly assigned adult attempting to do a major league act against a major league player.

But even position players pitching are a flawed experiment, because they all have great arms and they mostly pitch only when the competitive environment has unraveled. If we got to see designated hitters pitch in two high-leverage moments every game, then maybe we’d start to learn about how hard pitching actually is, but we don’t.10

Thankfully, we do get to see that on the other side. One or two times in every National League game the pitcher has to bat. The skill set for which the pitcher was selected from a very young age has virtually nothing to do with hitting, besides general athleticism, awareness of baseball strategy and a desire to go outside. While we can assume that the average pitcher will be a much, much better hitter than the average adult — just as he’s probably a better football player and badminton player than the average adult — the very bottom of the group should theoretically be pretty close to Like Us. If Aaron Nola were only as good at hitting as you are — if he simply couldn’t identify a 95-mph fastball quickly enough to convincingly swing at it — he’d still have ended up a major league pitcher. cheap nike nfl jerseys from china His inability to hit wouldn’t have been any obstacle to his progression to the majors.

Again, most pitchers won’t be that guy. But almost 400 pitchers were forced — forced, not selected — to bat in the majors this year. At least one of them has to be that guy, and by that guy, I mean: You. The person who meets this standard will be baseball’s true hero. It’s easy to go on TV and do something you can do. It’s courageous to go on TV and do something you outrageously can’t.

Orioles looking to new manager Brandon Hyde to help lead rebuild

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Hyde takes over for Buck Showalter, who was fired after Baltimore finished 47-115 — the worst record in the majors. This will be Hyde’s first stint as a major league manager.

Hyde, 45, was selected by general manager Mike Elias, who began an extensive search for Showalter’s replacement after being hired last month to replace Dan Duquette.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

“I believe that we have found the ideal leader for the next era of Orioles baseball,” Elias said of Hyde.

Hyde worked as Chicago’s bench coach this year under manager Joe Maddon. He was in the second of three seasons as Cubs first-base coach when the team won the World Series in 2016.9
Prior to joining the Cubs, Hyde spent nine seasons in the Miami Marlins organization. He was Miami’s bench coach from June 2010 through the end of the 2011 season.

“Brandon’s deep background in player development and major league coaching — most recently helping to shape the Cubs into a world champion — has thoroughly prepared him for this job and distinguished him throughout our interview process,” Elias said.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Elias and Hyde will seek to develop a team that shifted into rebuild mode last July under Duquette, who traded away many of the team’s stars — most notably Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman — for 15 prospects and international bonus pool money in moves that cut payroll from $151 million to $136 million.

On the day he was introduced by Baltimore, Elias spoke about the significance of landing the right manager to shape the Orioles into a team that can be competitive in the AL East.

“This is an important hire,” Elias said on Nov. 19. “… It’s not something you rush. We want to get the right person for this time.”

Thousands celebrate Vietnam’s AFF Cup triumph over Malaysia

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Football fever gripped Vietnam again on Saturday night as thousands of fans flocked to the streets of the capital Hanoi to celebrate their country’s victory over Malaysia in the AFF Cup final.

Nguyen Anh Duc’s sixth minute volley secured a first regional title since 2008 for Vietnam and after the final whistle the streets around the My Dinh Stadium were soon teeming with flag-waving fans.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

The supporters lit flares, waved national flags, blew vuvuzelas and honked car horns in a party atmosphere, a rare sight in the southeast Asian country but one seen three times this year after Vietnamese soccer success.

Similar celebrations occurred when Vietnam reached the final of the under-23 Asian Cup in January and again when they reached the semifinals of the Asian Games tournament in August.10

All three teams were coached by Park Hang-seo and his contribution was recognised by a number of South Korean flags carried by the revellers.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“It is truly wonderful,” Hanoi resident Vu Tong Tien told Reuters.

“We have so much to thank Mr Park Hang-seo for. Thank you Mr Park for bringing us this festive atmosphere and a success that the whole nation have been waiting for. Really, thank you, Mr Park Hang Seo.”

The feeling of affection is clearly mutual for the man some Vietnamese have dubbed the “wizard.”

“We got a lot of love from the Vietnamese people,” Park said in the post-match press conference.

“I really appreciate them and their amazing support. It really is an honour for me to receive that kind of huge support and love.”

Malaysia needed to score to have any hope of winning the title after a 2-2 draw in the opening leg in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

Vietnam crowned Southeast Asia’s best, Malaysia defy expectations

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Ten years after winning their first AFF Suzuki Cup, Vietnam won a second on Saturday, turning the streets of Hanoi and Saigon red with delight as fans celebrated 3-2 aggregate victory over Malaysia.

In the end, Vietnam were just a little too good for their regional rivals over the two legs. And the same was true in the tournament overall. The Golden Stars were consistently the best team from the beginning — a 3-0 win over Laos — to the end, a 1-0 second leg victory over Malaysia.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Vietnam had stars such as Nguyen Quang Hai, the best player at the tournament, and capable of pulling the strings in attack at the tender age of 21. They had goalscorers, like Nguyen Anh Duc, whose early second leg volley in Hanoi did so much to deflate Malaysian hopes. After that it was always going to be be hard going. Vietnam also had the best defence in Southeast Asia with just four goals conceded in eight games, and the mighty Moscow-born Dang Van Lam in between the sticks.9

Most important of all, the tournament champions had Park Hang-seo on the sidelines — or “The Korean Hiddink.” After taking over the team in 2017, the South Korean has made what has always been a talented team harder to beat. His brand of counter-attacking football, balanced with a fitter and stronger team of players has worked. It is no surprise that he has reached hero status in the country and a documentary on his life that was released into nationwide theatres last week is going to be playing for some time to come.

It is the way it happened that really impressed however. Under Cheng Hoe, the team is attack-minded and aggressive. There is a defensive core set up with the central pairing working together well for the most part, flanked by exciting full-backs. Holding midfielders have performed with energy and intelligence with speedy and skilful wingers ready to run at defenders and get behind backlines. It has been exciting to watch.

And the nation has been excited and has put aside its recent frostiness to embrace the team with warmth, affection and passion. The nights at the Bukit Jalil with numerous attendances of over 80,000 with an atmosphere off the scale will be the enduring image of the tournament for many.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

For Malaysia, the challenge is to keep this fire burning, to allow it to grow and fuel a sustained rise to the top of Southeast Asian football. There is still much to be done but the start has been impressive and magnificent to watch.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 44 tie career high, shed taste of sour loss

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Giannis Antetokounmpo had not let Wednesday’s loss to the Indiana Pacers go when he took the court in Cleveland on Friday night.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

Using his performance in Indianapolis as fuel, Antetokounmpo exploded for 44 points, tying his career high, to lift the Milwaukee Bucks past the Cleveland Cavaliers.10

“I think he’s a competitor — he wants to be great,” coach Mike Budenholzer said after the 114-102 victory. “Anytime he doesn’t meet the standards and expectations he sets for himself, the next game he is going to come out with a very aggressive mindset.”
Against the Pacers, Antetokounmpo scored just 12 points on a season-low seven shot attempts. Afterward, he sat for nearly 20 minutes in silence, staring at his phone and icing his feet and knees, reflecting on the game.

On Thursday afternoon, he slunk away from practice in Indianapolis and shut himself away to watch film with Budenholzer.

He showed up at Quicken Loans Arena early Friday night to get in an extended pregame workout. He was the first player ready to tip off and the first man in a Bucks uniform out on the court after the halftime break.

Against Cleveland, Antetokounmpo was looking to score from the get-go, scoring his first points off a dunk. With Khris Middleton (finger) and Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring soreness) out of Milwaukee’s lineup, Antetokounmpo played 38 minutes.

When Antetokounmpo rested in the third quarter, the Cavaliers were able to go on a 10-0 run to slice the Bucks’ once-commanding lead to seven points.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

“It’s a game I had to put in the past,” Antetokounmpo said of Wednesday’s showing. “Today was a great win for us. We have to keep building, keep getting better.”

Pushes, scowls erupt in OKC rout of Chicago; cooler heads prevail

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An otherwise ho-hum blowout by the Oklahoma City Thunder over the Chicago Bulls became suddenly tense Monday night when a squabble spilled over into courtside fans and players and coaches tried to separate the teams.

It started with Russell Westbrook and Kris Dunn in the third quarter of the Thunder’s 121-96 win, as Westbrook and Dunn traded contact, to which Dunn responded with a shove. Thunder forward Jerami Grant then ran over and confronted Dunn and Bulls big men Robin Lopez and Bobby Portis arrived to interject. Lopez then lightly head-butted Grant as they spilled into the first row of courtside seats, and Grant pulled Lopez down into the fans.

“I’m just trying to get people out of the way,” Boylen said. “I saw [Grant] come across the court and into the pile. I have nothing against Grant. I’m just trying to get him out of the way. I could tell he was upset. I’m just trying to help, just trying to help guys. There’s no … as a coach, you’re kind of looking out for everybody. I’ve been in a couple of those before and you’re just trying to get people away.”buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

Said Grant, when asked if he had an issue with Boylen grabbing him: “Trying to protect his team. Yeah. Pretty much it … it’s a scuffle. Stuff is going to happen.”9

It was an unusual scene with the potential to escalate into a bad situation, as Lopez was highly agitated and aggressively going after Grant, all while being right in front of the first row of fans.

“It felt like I got twisted and flipped a little by someone by that bench there,” Lopez said. “I don’t know. After that, something happened.“cheap nike nfl jerseys china

There were four technicals assessed for the tussle, two to each side — Westbrook and Grant, Dunn and Lopez.

“Man,” Westbrook said when asked if he was surprised to receive a technical. “Next question.”

Westbrook recorded his seventh triple-double of the season with 13 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists but was not interested in discussing the incident.

“Next question,” he said when asked about his reaction to Boylen’s grabbing Grant.

Boylen, who recently took over for Fred Hoiberg and made headlines with his practice approach and objective to reset the Bulls culture, said he liked to see his team not back down.

“That’s all we’ve been talking about is fighting for each other, and we talk about being a pack of wolves, man,” Boylen said. “I thought we had some of that. I liked the look in our guys’ eyes when that happened. It bonded them a little bit. That’s what we’ve been talking about. Those things are going to come up again, it happens in the league. I think we’ll be ready for it next time to handle it even better.”

Sam Darnold biggest reason Jets’ potential opening is attractive

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The New York Jets are expected to hire a new coach after the season, and that new coach will inherit a roster that needs major work on both sides of the ball, especially the offense. There’s a reason why they’ve won only 14 games in the past three seasons.

But they have a quarterback, and that will make the job attractive.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Unlike current coach Todd Bowles, who inherited the mistake-prone Geno Smith when he got the job in 2015, the next coach will start his tenure with a potential star in Sam Darnold. He won’t have to worry about signing a free-agent Band-Aid, and he won’t have to travel the country scouting pro days because his guy already is in the building.10

Darnold will be only 22 years old in 2019, having benefited from a season’s worth of experience and scar tissue — the battle wounds of an up-and-down rookie year. With proper coaching and an improved supporting cast, he should be so much better next season.

“Darnold is special,” Jets cornerback Trumaine Johnson said after New York’s 29-22 loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday night. “You see it. He’s special, man. He kept us in the game, for sure.”

“Great performance,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien, a longtime quarterbacks guru, said of Darnold. “He has a great future in this league.”

Imagine if Darnold gets a wide receiver the caliber of Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins, or even someone close to that. Imagine if he gets Le’Veon Bell at running back. Imagine if Chris Herndon continues to develop at tight end. Imagine if the Jets can make a couple of upgrades on the offensive line.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

That’s a lot of imagination, underscoring how far the Jets (4-10) need to go before they’re a contender. Unfortunately for Bowles, he probably won’t be around to enjoy the fruits of a fully developed Darnold. It’s too bad, because Darnold has a chance to end the franchise’s decadeslong quarterback curse.

It wasn’t pretty, but for at least one more night, the Browns are still in the playoff hunt

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“Right now for these young guys in there, every game is important,” said interim coach Gregg Williams, who improved to 4-2 since he took over for Hue Jackson. “We’ve been playing each and every week like it’s a playoff. So they’re pretty experienced right now.”
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The Browns will need help on Sunday. According to ESPN Stats & Information, if Pittsburgh (vs. New England), Indianapolis (vs. Dallas) and Tennessee (at the New York Giants) all win, the Browns are eliminated from the postseason regardless.

Which means the Browns will be fans of the Patriots, Cowboys and Giants — they need only one of the three to win to stay alive heading into their Dec. 23 game against the Bengals.9

Saturday’s game was a struggle — for both teams. But the Browns got a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Baker Mayfield and some big runs from Nick Chubb (100 yards on 20 carries) as they beat the Broncos for the first time since 1990.

“No, it definitely wasn’t our best game, starting with myself,” Mayfield said. “But coming out with a win on the road is hard. And we did that.”nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Mayfield was nowhere near as effective as he had been the previous four games, but when it mattered most, he came through. After a T.J. Carrie fourth-quarter interception, Mayfield hit Jarvis Landry for 12, Rashard Higgins for 16 and Landry again for 6 before he found Antonio Callaway for the 2-yard touchdown that provided the winning margin.

Denver would get a field goal to cut the lead to one, but Chubb broke a 40-yard run and the Browns were able to keep the ball until 1:49 remained. On fourth-and-1 from the 10, Williams bypassed a field goal attempt and went for the win, but Chubb was stopped for a 2-yard loss.

“The easy thing to say is yeah, you can kick a field goal and make them score a touchdown, but if you get the first down nobody is going to say a thing,” Mayfield said. “We’re aggressive.”