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|# 08 Oct, 2018 07:03|
ORCHARD PARK Jake DeBrusk Jersey , N.Y. (AP) — Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton doesn’t believe he could have scripted a better visit to Buffalo on Sunday.
The donation he made to Buffalo’s Roswell Park Cancer Institute to open the day was special. The two standing ovations he received from Bills fans before the preseason game were chilling.
And Dalton was able to keep his emotions in check on the first snap from scrimmage to hit John Ross for a 57-yard touchdown pass in leading the Bengals to a 26-13 victory.
“It was a good day. I think the way it started was the best part,” Dalton said. “The game went well, too.”
The Bills could not say the same about their offense, and a three-way quarterback competition that remains unsettled.
Rookie Josh Allen struggled in his first preseason start , while getting little protection from an offensive line that allowed five sacks in the first half alone. He finished 6 of 12 and was sacked for more yards (39) than he had passing (34).
“I didn’t do a good enough job getting the ball out on time,” the first-round pick said. “I’ve got to do a better job, but there’s a lot to learn from.”
Dalton eased whatever concerns the starters raised with their sputters in last week’s 21-13 win at Dallas by producing three scoring drives — two touchdowns and a field goal — over five series against the Bills.
Dalton finished 11 of 16 for 180 yards and two touchdowns — including a 14-yarder to A.J. Green — to celebrate the warm reception he received in Buffalo nine months after playing a key role in the Bills making the playoffs and ending a 17-year playoff drought.
It happened in the final minute of the season finale against Baltimore on New Year’s Eve. Dalton’s 49-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to Tyler Boyd sent the Bengals to a 31-27 win, and eliminated the Ravens from playoff contention.
Bills fans responded immediately by making over $450,000 to Dalton’s charitable foundation.
“It’s a crazy story, and it’s been fun to be on this side of it,” Dalton said. “The best part is all the money that was raised.”
Buffalo’s offense continues to raise concerns two weeks before opening the regular season at Baltimore.
Allen generated just three first downs before being forced out of the game in the final minute of the first half. He was escorted off the field to be evaluated for a possible concussion after being tackled by Carlos Dunlap in the end zone.
Though Allen was cleared to return, he stayed on the sideline while Nathan Peterman finished the game.
This was a week after the starters went three-and-out in four series and starter AJ McCarron was sacked once and hit several other times before being sidelined with an injury to his right throwing shoulder in a 19-17 win at Cleveland.
“It’s disappointing,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “We’re going to make sure we’re helping him with protection and catching the football and not beating ourselves with penalties. Let’s just start there.”
Linebacker Carl Lawson had 2 1/2 of the Bengals five sacks in the first half, and nearly had an interception. He was in position to pick off Allen’s underthrown pass up the right sideline only to have tight end Charles Clay break it up.
The Bengals led 23-0 before the Bills mounted a comeback with two scores late in the third quarter.
Peterman hit Jason Croom for a 17-yard touchdown Shaq Lawson Jersey , and then Travaris Cadet scored on a 1-yard run on a drive set up by Rafael Bush intercepting Bengals backup Matt Barkley’s pass. Peterman finished 16 of 21 for 200 yards, and upped his preseason total to 33 of 41 for 432 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert had one catch for 11 yards while targeted three times in making his preseason debut. The Bengals’ 2013 first-round draft pick is coming off back surgery and was limited to playing just two games last year.
Bengals: Left tackle Cordy Glenn stood on the sideline, but did not return after hurting his right shoulder in the first quarter. Coach Marvin Lewis said Glenn was fine. Guard Christian Westerman (back) and running back Jarveon Williams (left knee) did not return.
Bills: Backup linebacker Julian Stanford did not return after hurting his nose in the first half. RB LeSean McCoy (hip/groin) and left tackle Dion Dawkins (hip) did not play after being injured in practice this week.
The Bengals stood together along the sideline except for Dunlap, who stood on the field at the 45 with his hand on his chest. No member of the Bills appeared to protest.
Bengals: Host Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night.
Bills: At Chicago Bears on Thursday night.
The ”Death Lineup” breathed new life into the Golden State Warriors.
It was yet another reminder: In the NBA playoffs, where even a brief downward slide can be enough to end a season, even the best teams won’t hesitate when they feel a need to shake up their starting lineups.
Desperate times in the first round sent Cleveland to desperate lineup measures. Toronto, the team that finished with the NBA’s second-best regular season record, sought a spark by changing its starting five against the Cavs for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Utah showed Houston a new look Sunday in Game 4 of their West semifinal matchup, and while the Jazz slowed the high-powered Rockets at times they still fell into a 3-1 series deficit.
And then there’s the Warriors, who were coming off a big loss in Game 3 against New Orleans so they put their five best players – Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green – on the floor Sunday to start a game for the first time all season. The result was a rout , one that allowed the Warriors to head home with a 3-1 lead in their series against the Pelicans.
”Anytime we’ve been in any danger over the years Patrice Bergeron Jersey , we’ve sort of gone to this lineup,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ”The lineup worked or whatever, but it’s not about the lineup. It’s really not.”
All due respect to Kerr, he might be overstating that one.
Golden State’s starting five on Sunday – some call it ”The Death Lineup” because of how opponents tend to succumb against it, others prefer ”Hamptons Five” because Curry, Thompson, Iguodala and Green were the players who went to the Hamptons two summers ago in an effort to lure Durant to the Warriors – was absolutely dominant. NBA.com charted them as being on the floor together for 18 minutes, during which they outscored the Pelicans 52-26.
Every other Warriors lineup used over the other 30 minutes played the Pelicans even, 66-66.
”We got momentum on our side really early,” Curry said. ”Every single person on the floor in that lineup is a playmaker. And so we have multiple options and just look for the best shot on every possession.”
It wasn’t exactly an in-case-of-emergency-break-glass move by the Warriors.
But these NBA playoffs have seen some of those as well.
Cleveland, which has a chance to win its way back into the Eastern Conference finals for the fourth consecutive year on Monday night if it can finish off a sweep of Toronto, almost didn’t even get to this round. Facing a win-or-else Game 7 in the first round, the Cavaliers put LeBron James, Kevin Love Womens Ryan Kerrigan Jersey , J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson – the four holdovers from their 2016 NBA championship team – out to start with Kyle Korver.
It was their first time starting together this season. James survived cramps, scored 45, and the Cavaliers held off Indiana to advance. They haven’t lost since.
”All five of us, we knew what we could get out of each other,” James said afterward. ”We’ve been in situations before. We’ve played in big games before. That’s a comfort.”
Toronto could use some of that comfort.
Since James entered the league, only one No. 1 seed has gotten swept in the conference playoffs – Atlanta, in 2015, by James and the Cavaliers. Toronto shook up its lineup in Game 3 on Saturday night by trying Fred VanVleet instead of Serge Ibaka, but the Raptors fell into the dreaded 3-0 series deficit when James made a running bank shot at the buzzer for the win.
Everything is on the table for the Raptors now.
”You realize how big it is in this moment to get a victory,” Raptors star DeMar DeRozan said.
Sometimes, even subtle changes pay off nicely.
Boston inserted role player Semi Ojeleye into its starting lineup before Game 5 of the Celtics‘ first-round series against Milwaukee. Ojeleye’s role: Find a way to slow down Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Ojeleye was on the floor to help open the next three games, the first starts of his rookie season. He scored 10 points in those games, though none of that mattered much to the Celtics. His primary role was defense, since Antetokounmpo averaged 27.8 points on 62 percent shooting in the first four games of the series.
With Ojeleye in the lineup Oscar Dansk Jersey , Antetokounmpo averaged 23 points on 50 percent shooting in the last three games – and seemed particularly out of sorts in Game 5, the first one where the Celtics made the change.
Boston won that night by five points, and wound up surviving the series in seven games.
”He did a great job,” Antetokounmpo said, tipping his cap to Ojeleye. ”He played hard. He competed.”
And that’s the secret, Kerr said. It’s not about the names, he insists. It’s about how well they perform.
It’s become a bit of a running joke around the Warriors that Kerr won’t reveal his starting lineups until he absolutely has to, no matter how many times he is asked.
But this time, after the results on Sunday, Kerr isn’t holding his cards to his chest. Game 5 is on Tuesday night. The ”Death Lineup” starts.
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