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Kyle Schwarber, Red Sox slam Astros 12-3, lead ALCS 2-1

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 22:38

BOSTON — Kyle Schwarber hit a grand slam — Boston’s third in two games — and the Red Sox routed the Houston Astros for the second straight time, winning 12-3 on Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven AL Championship Series.

One game after J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers each cleared the bases, Schwarber hit a second-inning 3-0 pitch 430 feet into the right field grandstand. Boston is the first team ever with three slams in a postseason series.

Martinez and Devers each homered again, Christian Arroyo also hit one, and Kiké Hernández had two more hits for Boston, which could advance to the World Series with victories at Fenway Park in Games 4 and 5 on Tuesday night and Wednesday. The Astros need to win at least one to send the series back to Houston.

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez gave up five hits, including Kyle Tucker’s three-run homer, and struck out seven. He retired Carlos Correa to end the sixth and walked off the mound tapping his wrist to clap back at the Astros shortstop, who used the same gesture after a tiebreaking homer in Game 1 to signal that it was Houston’s time.

Things have changed.

The Red Sox had 11 hits in all, becoming the first team in major league history to reach double digits six straight times in a single postseason. Hernandez has 18 hits during the playoffs and is batting .500, both leading the majors.

Capitalizing on two Astros errors and the struggles of Houston starter José Urquidy, the Red Sox opened a 9-0 lead for the second game in a row.

Rodriguez, who missed all of last season with COVID-related heart problems, retired the first six batters before running into the trouble in the third, when Tucker made it 9-3.

Rodriguez’s effort enabled Red Sox manager Alex Cora –celebrating his 46th birthday — to keep Nick Pivetta fresh for a Game 4 start. Urquidy gave up six runs, five earned, on five hits and two walks, striking out one in 1 2/3 innings.

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Right fielder Hunter Renfroe ended the game with a diving catch on Correa’s liner.

ERRORS

To the delight of the Fenway fans, who targeted him with profane chants for his role in the Astros 2017 cheating scandal, Jose Altuve struggled at the plate and in the field.

A Gold Glove and AL MVP-winner, the three-time batting champion went 0 for 4 and let Arroyo’s chopper bounce off his chest for an error with the bases loaded in the second inning. One batter later, Schwarber hit Boston’s third grand slam in 11 innings.

The Red Sox, who only had three grand slams during the regular season, matched the 1998 Atlanta Braves as the only clubs to hit three in a single postseason. Boston has 20 homers this postseason, matching the 2004 Astros for the most through the first eight games of the playoffs, per MLB.com.

Altuve also waved at a throw from Martín Maldonado on Hunter Renfroe’s stolen base in the third; the error went to the catcher. The throw to third was also wild, but the Astros were saved another error when the ball missed the dugout and bounced off the padding back toward the field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: Manager Dusty Baker said outfielder Jake Meyers, who injured his left shoulder crashing into the wall in Game 4 of the Division Series, is doing better and could start as soon as Tuesday.

UP NEXT

The teams play Game 4 on Tuesday night. The Red Sox are expected to rely on RHP Nick Pivetta, who was 9-8 with a 4.53 ERA in the regular season. Houston could call on RHP Zack Greinke.

Rapper formerly known as Kanye West is now just Ye

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 21:51

LOS ANGELES — Kanye is now Ye.

A Los Angeles judge on Monday approved the request of the rapper, producer and fashion designer to legally change his name from Kanye Omari West to just Ye, with no middle or last name.

“There being no objections, the petition for change of name is granted,” Judge Michelle Williams Court said in court documents.

The petition filed Aug. 24 cited “personal reasons.”

He has called himself Ye on his social media pages for years. He tweeted in 2018 that he wanted the change saying, “the being formally known as Kanye West. I am YE.”

The moniker was also the title of his 2018 album. He has said in interviews that, along with being a shortening of his first name he likes, that it’s a word used throughout the Bible.

The 44-year-old is in the middle of a divorce with Kim Kardashian West, who did not ask that her last name be changed back to just Kardashian when she filed to split from him in February. The couple’s four children also have his former last name.

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Boy, 14, dies after auto-pedestrian crash at Village Green Park in Aurora

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 21:37

A teenage boy was killed Monday after he was run over by a stolen minivan in Aurora, according to police.

Around 7:50 p.m., police responded to a call of an auto-pedestrian crash in the parking lot of Village Green Park, located at 1300 South Chambers Circle. The driver of the 2006 Chrysler Town and Country minivan had left the area on foot, according to Aurora police.

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When first responders arrived, they found a 14-year-old boy trapped beneath the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to investigators, the boy was “hanging on the front of the vehicle when he slid off, fell underneath, and was then run over.”

The vehicle’s driver, described as “a juvenile female,” later returned to the crash scene and talked with the investigators.

No arrests have been made. It is an ongoing investigation, according to Aurora police.

The boy’s identity will be released by the Arapahoe County Coroner’s Officer following a positive identification and after his next of kin have been notified.

18-year-old man dies from fatal shooting in Aurora

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 21:23

An 18-year-old man has died after he was shot in an Aurora residential parking lot on Monday, according to police.

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Officers arrived around 3:45 p.m. to a report of a shooting in the parking lot of the Sable Cove Townhomes in the 14500 block of East Ford Place, according to Aurora police. There they found the man who had shot. He was taken to the hospital where he later died from his injuries.

His identity will released by the Arapahoe Cuonty Coroner’s Officer after he is positively identified and his next of kin are notified.

Police say they believe there was an altercation between two men in the parking lot when the other man shot the victim.

No arrests have been made.

Trump files lawsuit to keep Jan. 6 documents from Congress

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 21:18

By JILL COLVIN, COLLEEN LONG and ZEKE MILLER

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump on Monday sought to block the release of documents related to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection to a House committee investigating the attack, challenging President Joe Biden’s initial decision to waive executive privilege.

In a federal lawsuit, Trump said the committee’s August request was “almost limitless in scope,” and sought many records that weren’t connected to the siege. He called it a “vexatious, illegal fishing expedition” that was “untethered from any legitimate legislative purpose,” according to the papers filed in federal court in the District of Columbia.

Trump’s lawsuit was expected, as he had said he would challenge the investigation and at least one ally, Steve Bannon, has defied a subpoena. But the legal challenge went beyond the initial 125 pages of records that Biden recently cleared for release to the committee. The suit, which names the committee as well as the National Archives, seeks to invalidate the entirety of the congressional request, calling it overly broad, unduly burdensome and a challenge to separation of powers. It requests a court injunction to bar the archivist from producing the documents.

In a joint statement late Monday, Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the panel’s vice chairwoman, said they would fight the lawsuit, which they said is “nothing more than an attempt to delay and obstruct” the investigation.

“There’s a long history of the White House accommodating congressional investigative requests when the public interest outweighs other concerns,” Thompson and Cheney said. “It’s hard to imagine a more compelling public interest than trying to get answers about an attack on our democracy and an attempt to overturn the results of an election.”

The Biden administration, in clearing the documents for release, said the violent siege of the Capitol more than nine months ago was such an extraordinary circumstance that it merited waiving the privilege that usually protects White House communications.

Trump’s lawsuit came the evening before the panel is scheduled to vote to recommend that Bannon be held in criminal contempt of Congress for his defiance of the committee’s demands for documents and testimony. In a resolution released Monday, the committee asserts that the former Trump aide and podcast host has no legal standing to rebuff the committee, even as Trump’s lawyer has asked him not to disclose information. Bannon was a private citizen when he spoke to Trump ahead of the attack, the committee said, and Trump has not asserted any such executive privilege claims to the panel itself.

The resolution lists many ways in which Bannon was involved in the leadup to the insurrection, including reports that he encouraged Trump to focus on Jan. 6, the day Congress certified the presidential vote, and his comments on Jan. 5 that “all hell is going to break loose” the next day.

“Mr. Bannon appears to have played a multi-faceted role in the events of January 6th, and the American people are entitled to hear his first-hand testimony regarding his actions,” the committee wrote.

Once the committee votes on the Bannon contempt resolution, it will go to the full House for a vote and then on to the Justice Department, which would decide whether to prosecute.

In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, the White House also worked to undercut Bannon’s argument. Deputy Counsel Jonathan Su wrote that the president’s decision on the documents applied to Bannon, too, and “at this point we are not aware of any basis for your client’s refusal to appear for a deposition.”

“President Biden’s determination that an assertion of privilege is not justified with respect to these subjects applies to your client’s deposition testimony and to any documents your client may possess concerning either subject,” Su wrote to Bannon’s lawyer.

Bannon’s attorney said he had not yet seen the letter and could not comment on it. While Bannon has said he needs a court order before complying with his subpoena, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former White House and Pentagon aide Kashyap Patel have been negotiating with the committee. It is unclear whether a fourth former White House aide, Dan Scavino, will comply.

The committee has also subpoenaed more than a dozen people who helped plan Trump rallies ahead of the siege, and some of them have already said they would turn over documents and give testimony.

Lawmakers want the testimony, and the documents, as part of their investigation into how a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6, a violent effort to halt the certification of Biden’s election win. The committee demanded a broad range of executive branch papers related to intelligence gathered before the attack, security preparations during and before the siege, the pro-Trump rallies held that day and Trump’s false claims that he won the election, among other matters.

Trump’s lawsuit says the “boundless requests included over fifty individual requests for documents and information, and mentioned more than thirty individuals, including those working inside and outside government.”

The files must be withheld, the lawsuit says, because they could include “conversations with (or about) foreign leaders, attorney work product, the most sensitive of national security secrets, along with any and all privileged communications among a pool of potentially hundreds of people.”

The suit also challenges the legality of the Presidential Records Act, arguing that allowing an incumbent president to waive executive privilege of a predecessor just months after they left office is inherently unconstitutional. Biden has said he would go through each request separately to determine whether that privilege should be waived.

While not spelled out in the Constitution, executive privilege has developed to protect a president’s ability to obtain candid counsel from his advisers without fear of immediate public disclosure and to protect his confidential communications relating to official responsibilities.

But that privilege has had its limitations in extraordinary situations, as exemplified during the Watergate scandal, when the Supreme Court ruled it could not be used to shield the release of secret Oval Office tapes sought in a criminal inquiry, and following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Monday’s lawsuit was filed by Jesse Binnall, an attorney based in Alexandria, Virginia, who represented Trump in an unsuccessful lawsuit late last year seeking to overturn Biden’s victory in Nevada. Trump and his allies have continued to make baseless claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Trump’s suit quotes from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 ruling in a case by House committees seeking the then-sitting president’s tax returns and other financial records. But that case involved courts enforcing a congressional subpoena. The high court in that case directed lower courts t o apply a balancing test to determine whether to turn over the records — it’s still pending.

White House spokesman Mike Gwin said, “As President Biden determined, the constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself.”

___

Associated Press Writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Nomaan Merchant and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.

Suspected bank robber shot by police in Colorado Springs identified

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 21:04

The identity of a bank robbery suspect who was hospitalized after he was shot by police officers was revealed Monday by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

Christopher Ryan Bayless, 33, has been charged with two counts of first-degree attempted murder and five counts of first-degree attempted assault, the sheriff’s office said in a release.

The police shooting occurred around 4 p.m. on Oct. 7 at Maizeland Road and North Academy Boulevard, according to the release. Detectives from the Colorado Springs Police Department stopped a vehicle “believed to be involved in two bank robberies,” according to police.

When they approached, the suspect fired at least one round at the detectives, according to the release. “At least one detective fired at least one round in return,” the release said. At least one of the shots struck the suspect, who was placed in custody and given medical aid before taken to the hospital “with life-threatening injuries.”

The detectives were not injured and were placed on administrative leave per the department’s policy.

El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is the lead investigative agency for the police shooting.

The sheriff’s office is asking anyone with any more information on this to call its tip line at 719-520-6666.

Keeler: Is Broncos GM George Paton just John Elway 2.0? Quarterback’s still problematic. So’s depth. The secondary. And the offensive line.

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 20:18

If Broncos fans think the bottom of the AFC West standings is depressing, look at everybody at the top for a second. Check out the one common element.

Buffalo? Franchise quarterback. Baltimore? Franchise quarterback. Cincy-freaking-nati? Franchise quarterback. Chargers? Raiders? Franchise quarterback. Franchise quarterback.

Dallas? Green Bay? Tampa? Arizona? Los Angeles Rams? Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback, quarterback, quarterback. Not a Trent Dilfer or Brad Johnson in the bunch. Or a Sam Bradford.

Everybody else? Pretending. Including everybody at UCHealth Training Center.

For Broncos general manager George Paton, the honeymoon’s over. Done. Finito. At 3-3 after a 3-0 start, the ills that plague the Broncos roster aren’t all that different from the ones we were moaning about last Halloween.

It all feels like John Elway 2.0, doesn’t it? Subpar offensive line play. Brain cramps in the secondary. A head coach who throws silly flags and an offensive coordinator who whips out pencils. A quarterback who can’t play from behind.

Yeah, but you said Teddy Bridgewater was the …

Hang on, hang on. I said Bridgewater is the best, most capable option if a.) your alternative is Drew Lock; and b.) you’ve got a defense that can win the games he can’t.

Now that Steady Teddy doesn’t have b.), Fangio’s continued employment is even more of a slap in the face to Broncos Country.

Paton doled out a whopping $40.3 million this season to his secondary, according to Spotrac.com. Given a choice, would you rather have Justin Fields or Mac Jones learning the NFL ropes at Dove Valley right now? Or Patrick Surtain II running around in Orange and Blue, watching helplessly as opposing quarterbacks keep torching his teammates?

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But the injuries …

But nothing. The Broncos lost with Josey Jewell. They’re losing without him. Uncle Vic is 3-0 against the NFL’s junior varsity. He’s 0-3 against teams with a pulse. A pulse and a quarterback.

But Ben Roethlisberger …

Threw for 253 yards and two scores. In the face of Fangio’s so-called strength. Given $40.3 million on the Broncos secondary, you hope Paton keeps his receipts.

Since 2019, the only constants on Bryant Street have been Uncle Vic and a losing streak that sinks the season before Election Day. This one came late, but it’s here. A team full of veterans on one-year contracts keeps playing, and coaching, as if it wants this era over with. Right along with the rest of us.

Cripes, are Broncos fans sick of watching this team get dunked on at Mile High. Did you see Aaron Rodgers strutting around Soldier Field this past Sunday? Did you hear what he told the Windy City lady who’d allegedly flipped him the double bird?

The closest we’ve come to that here was Lock dancing in the face of the Chargers last year.

We keep saying it, and Broncos general managers keep ignoring it: The NFL is closer than ever to a Madden video game. More space for receivers to work. Enforced freedoms and protections for quarterbacks. Pass and move, pass and move.

It doesn’t matter how many injuries you have at middle linebacker if you’ve got a gun-slinger who can put the fear of Yahweh into the opposition’s entire defensive staff. If you’ve got a signal-caller who can do what the Raiders’ Derek Carr did at the end of the second quarter, marching Vegas 82 yards in 31 seconds for a touchdown, and a double-digit lead, that essentially iced the tilt at halftime.

The modern game is about the 2-minute drill. Who can run it. Who can’t. Who can make magic out of nothing. Who can crush souls and break wills with three or four flicks of the wrist.

Bridgewater doesn’t break wills so much as bend them and hope. Since Week 1 of the 2020 season, he’s completed 67 of 113 throws within the last two minutes of a half, good for a 59.2% clip, with seven touchdowns and five picks. Lock, for all the Twitter love, has been a coin flip in those same situations: 47 for 94 (50%), three touchdowns, five picks.

Compare that with the NFL teams in the penthouse, and the depression starts to set in again.

The Chargers’ Justin Herbert over the last two seasons has completed 77 of 115 throws within the final two minutes of a half, a 66.9% pace, with six touchdowns and two picks. Arizona’s Kyler Murray isn’t far behind: 59 of 91 passes (64.8%), three scores, no interceptions. Rodgers: 53 for 82 (64.6%), 10 touchdowns, no picks.

Until Paton can do what Elway hasn’t since 2016, and find a soul-crusher of his own, nothing changes but the names. Nothing substantial, at any rate.

To put it another way: The Raiders came to Mile High without a coach but with a healthy Carr leading the charge. The Seahawks went to Pittsburgh without a healthy Russell Wilson but with Pete Carroll raring to go. Guess which team won?

Washington State coach Nick Rolovich fired for refusing COVID-19 vaccine

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 19:55

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington State fired football coach Nick Rolovich and four of his assistants on Monday for refusing a state mandate that all employees get vaccinated against COVID-19, making him the first major college coach to lose his job over vaccination status.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, had set a deadline of Monday for thousands of state employees, including the Cougars’ coach, to be vaccinated. Rolovich applied for a religious exemption, which was denied Monday, Washington State athletic director Pat Chun said.

Defensive coordinator Jake Dickert will be elevated to acting coach and his first game in charge will be Saturday at home against BYU.

“This is a tough day for Washington State football,” Chun said at a news conference. “Nobody wants to be here.”

Also fired for refusing vaccination were assistant coaches Ricky Logo, John Richardson, Craig Stutzmann and Mark Weber. Chun said there may be no precedent for a team losing its head coach and so many assistants in the middle of a season.

“Our student-athletes are the biggest losers in this,” he said.

Rolovich was not immediately available for comment.

The 42-year-old Rolovich was the highest-paid state employee with an annual salary of more than $3 million in a contract that runs through 2025. He had said he wouldn’t get vaccinated but wouldn’t specify his reasons. He was the only unvaccinated head coach in the Pac-12 and had worn a mask during games.

Rolovich was fired for cause, which means the university does not have to honor the rest of his contract, although lawsuits over the decision are likely. The Washington State athletic department is currently facing a shortfall of more than $30 million.

Around the country, many college football coaches have publicly advocated for vaccination, including Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Alabama’s Nick Saban. Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin said not getting vaccinated would be irresponsible and bragged about his team being 100% vaccinated.

Many coaches have talked about their teams’ high vaccination rates, though schools are not under any obligation to share those numbers.

Unlike last season, when COVID-19 cases swept through major college football, postponing and canceling games weekly, no games have needed to be rescheduled because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Rolovich was hired from Hawaii two years ago, after Mike Leach left for Mississippi State, and led Washington State to a 1-3 record in the Pac-12 in a 2020 season cut short because of the pandemic. Washington State has won its past three games and is 4-3 this season, including a 34-31 win over Stanford last Saturday. He finishes with a 5-6 record at the Pullman campus in southeastern Washington.

Rolovich revealed in July that he would not get vaccinated and couldn’t attend Pac-12 media day in person because of it.

He said in mid-August that he intended to follow the new mandate requiring vaccinations for every state employee but repeatedly declined to say how.

After refusing for weeks to reveal his plans, Rolovich on Oct. 9 confirmed he was seeking a religious exemption to the mandate. He has not specified his religious beliefs.

Chun said he met with Rolovich over a period of several months, but could not change the coach’s mind.

“He was resolute in his stance,” Chun said.

Rolovich needed to prove a sincerely held religious belief that prevented him from getting vaccinated in his exemption application. The application was put before a committee that reviewed the requests without knowing names of the applicants.

To continue coaching, Rolovich needed to receive the religious exemption and also to have Chun determine that Rolovich could do his job while keeping the public safe. In addition to his work as a coach, Rolovich oversaw a youth football program and participated in promotional and fundraising events.

Dickert is in his second season as Washington State’s defensive coordinator and came to Pullman after three seasons at Wyoming. He has not previously been a head coach.

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Chun said the school is looking to hire assistants immediately to fill the vacancies on the staff.

Washington State President Kirk Schulz said nearly 90% of WSU employees and 97% of students had been vaccinated. Fewer than 50 of some 10,000 employees have sought exemptions, Schulz said.

The vaccine issue has percolated all season, dividing Washington State fans and providing a continual distraction.

“There was a lot of frustration with such a prominent employee choosing to be unvaccinated,” Schulz said.

Players stood up for their coach as the season progressed. Quarterback Jayden de Laura told a sideline reporter after Saturday’s win: “Stop hating on Rolo. We love him.”

Wide receiver Travell Harris commended Rolovich after the game for being a “players’ coach.”

“He’s a coach we all love to play for,” Harris said.

Denver DMVs closed Monday, Tuesday to address 52-day backlog

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 19:16

All Denver Department of Motor Vehicle branches will be closed Monday and Tuesday so officials can chip away at a 52-day backlog in registrations and titles.

The “two-day sprint” is expected to reduce the backlog by at least 10 days — or 22% — DMV officials said in a news release last week.

“The mail backlog is leading to increased traffic in the branch locations, increased calls to Denver 311 and the DMV branches as well as increased frustration and wait times for customers,” DMV officials wrote.

The department cited “significant turnover” in recent months, reporting as high as 40% vacant positions as of late August/early September, a DMV spokesperson said.

Twenty-six new employees will begin training next week to start work in November, while current DMV staff will be working overtime hours during the week and on the weekend.

DMV offices will reopen Wednesday, and officials encouraged drivers to complete title and registration online at denvergov.org/dmv or mydmv.colorado.gov.

MSU Denver climbs to No. 1 in Division II volleyball poll for the 1st time in program history

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 19:08

The Metropolitan State University of Denver’s volleyball team reached new heights Monday as it climbed to No. 1 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Division II poll.

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It’s the first time in program history that the Roadrunners have reached No. 1. MSU Denver — which received 38 of the 47 first-place votes — had been No. 2 the past three weeks, matching its highest ranking in the 2003 season.

The ‘Runners (16-2) moved past formerly top-ranked Washburn after beating Chadron State, 3-0, and Colorado School of Mines, 3-2, this past weekend. Washburn (18-2) dropped to No. 2 after suffering a 3-2 loss to Northwest Missouri State on Friday.

Mines (16-2) is the only other Colorado team ranked in D-II, coming in at No. 7.

MSU Denver puts its 14-match winning streak on the line this coming weekend on a road trip against Adams State on Friday and New Mexico Highlands on Saturday.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Altitude-Comcast dispute: We can’t take “our fans for granted”

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 18:47

NBA commissioner Adam Silver called it “extremely frustrating” that Nuggets games are still unavailable to a majority of Denver cable television subscribers due to the ongoing Altitude Sports-Comcast impasse.

With the Nuggets days from tipping off the 2021-22 season on Wednesday, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment remains mired in a dispute with Comcast and, to a lesser degree, DISH Network, that has kept its regional sports network off those providers’ platforms since late August 2019.

Asked by The Denver Post during a virtual news conference Monday what the league was doing to address the issue, Silver was sympathetic but didn’t offer much in the way of short-term solutions. He did, however, provide a cautionary tale about not finding a suitable solution to the dispute.

“It’s a really tough period right now because this industry is going through a transition,” Silver said. “There’s no question about it. We have to be mindful of not taking our fans for granted. At some point, if our product becomes unavailable to them, they’re going to look for alternative ways to entertain themselves.”

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Evander Kane suspended 21 games by NHL for COVID violations

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 17:43

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The NHL has suspended San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane for 21 games for submitting a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

The league on Monday announced the suspension without pay and said Kane will not be eligible to play until Nov. 30 at New Jersey. Kane will forfeit about $1.68 million of his $7 million salary for this season with the money going to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

The league also announced that a concurrent investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse made against Kane by his estranged wife, Anna, could not be substantiated.

“I would like to apologize to my teammates, the San Jose Sharks organization, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols,” Kane said in a statement. “I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counseling to help me make better decisions in the future. When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey.”

The Sharks have not said what Kane’s status will be after the investigations. Kane had not been around the team since the start of training camp while these investigations were ongoing in an agreement between him and the team.

“While we are encouraged by Evander’s commitment to moving forward, we are extremely disappointed by his disregard for the health and safety protocols put in place by the NHL and the NHLPA,” the team said in a statement. “We will not be commenting further on Evander’s status prior to the conclusion of the NHL’s mandated suspension.”

Kane had previously been cleared by the NHL in an investigation into allegations made by Anna Kane that he bet on hockey games, including some against the Sharks.

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But the league did determine that Kane violated the COVID-19 protocols. A person familiar with the investigation said earlier this month that the league was looking into allegations that Kane submitted a fake vaccination card. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details weren’t made public.

Using a fake vaccination card is illegal in both the United States and Canada, as well as against NHL rules.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said last week that only four players on active rosters hadn’t been vaccinated.

Kane, 30, is three seasons into a $49 million, seven-year contract. He’s with his third organization after being drafted by and debuting with Atlanta/Winnipeg and a stint in Buffalo.

Last season, he had 22 goals and 27 assists in 56 games.

Avalanche returns to pre-COVID normalcy on three-game trip

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 17:37

WASHINGTON — Restaurant reservations were probably made long before the Avalanche arrived here Monday afternoon.

The Avs, who face the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Tuesday night, embarked on their first road trip of the season — and the first time since March 8, 2020, in San Jose, that they are allowed to dine wherever they want the night before a game. Because of the pandemic, the NHL didn’t allow teams to leave their hotels and eat out in the 2020 playoff “bubbles” in Edmonton and Toronto and throughout the shortened 2021 season.

But players and staff can now again enjoy visiting all NHL cities without restrictions.

“I know a lot of guys are looking forward to getting out going to some of our favorite restaurants on the road,”  Avs defenseman Erik Johnson said. “And having a day off in Florida, we’ll see the beach and just kind of relax and get kind of back to a normal routine that we have around the road.”

Colorado’s three-game trip includes Thursday at the Florida Panthers and Saturday at the Tampa Bay Lightning, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. The Avs, still without star center Nathan MacKinnon (COVID protocol), didn’t practice Monday but will have a morning skate Tuesday.

Depending on test results, there is a chance MacKinnon travels here Tuesday in time for the game, but that would require negative COVID tests from Sunday and Monday, and results aren’t known until the day after the test. Avs coach Jared Bednar on Sunday said MacKinnon had another positive test on Saturday, which is why he was ineligible to fly here with the team.

Defenseman Jack Johnson, meanwhile, made the trip with the Avs after two consecutive negative tests.

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The Avs (1-1) on Monday recalled forwards Martin Kaut and Mikhail Maltsev from the AHL’s Colorado Eagles, and both are expected to play against the Capitals when first-line left wing and team captain Gabe Landeskog concludes his two-game suspension for boarding in last week’s opener.

Colorado, which is up against the $81.5 million salary cap, is carrying just 11 eligible forwards after reassigning Dylan Sikura to the Eagles on Monday. When Landeskog and MacKinnon return, the Avs will be back to their ideal number of 13.

“Every team goes through (adversity) at some point during the year,” Johnson said. “We have a pretty deep roster so guys can step up and fill spots on the power play and guys in the minors can come up and help. We’ll get it out of the way now, hopefully.”

Footnotes. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is set to play in his 1,200th career game, a number no other player in franchise history has reached. The 733-goal scorer (fifth all-time) will become the fifth active player to reach 1,200 games, joining Joe Thornton, Zdeno Chara, Dustin Brown and Ryan Suter. And Ovechkin will join Alex Kovalev, Sergei Gonchar and Sergei Fedorov as the only Russians to play in 1,200 NHL games. Since he made his debut on Oct. 5, 2005, Ovechkin has missed just 42 games. … According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Avs briefly spoke to Buffalo executives about a possible trade for elite-but-injured center Jack Eichel, who has a $10 million cap hit through 2025-26. “Colorado said to them, ‘Before we even talk about any of this, will you retain (salary)? We can’t do it unless you’re willing to retain.’ Buffalo said no.”

CHSAANow.com prep football rankings, Week 9: After No. 1 Valor Christian, teams play musical chairs in 5A

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 17:34

Valor Christian continued its run at the top of Class 5A in this week’s CHSAANow.com prep football rankings, but then it becomes a game of musical chairs for the remaining nine spots.

Legend (8-1) leaps over Cherry Creek (6-2) for the No. 2 spot. And Arapahoe (7-1), who edged out the Bruins 13-10 on Friday, jumped up four spots into No. 4 on the list. Pomona (5-3) re-enters the poll at No. 9 after clobbering then-No. 6 Arvada West, 42-14.

The top spot in the other classes remained the same with Montrose (4A), Roosevelt (3A), Eaton (2A), Limon (1A), Haxtun (8-man) and Cheyenne Wells (6-man) remaining at the No. 1 positions.

Here’s this week’s rankings:

Class 5A Team Record Points Pvs LW 1. Valor Christian (14) 8-0 149 1 W 2. Legend 8-1 121 3 W 3. Cherry Creek (1) 6-2 114 2 L 4. Arapahoe 7-1 102 8 W 5. Columbine 6-2 68 4 W 6. Ralston Valley 7-1 65 7 W 7. Grandview 6-2 58 5 W 8. Regis Jesuit 5-3 46 9 W 9. Pomona 5-3 43 – W 10. ThunderRidge 7-1 40 10 W Dropped out: Arvada West (6). Others receiving votes: Arvada West 18, Legacy 1. Class 4A Team Record Points Pvs LW 1. Montrose (16) 8-0 250 1 W 2. Dakota Ridge (6) 8-0 228 2 W 3. Pine Creek (2) 7-1 220 3 W 4. Erie (1) 8-0 185 4 W 5. Loveland (3) 7-1 168 6 W 6. Palmer Ridge 7-1 167 5 W 7. Ponderosa 6-2 87 8 W 8. Chatfield 6-2 75 – W 9. Fountain Fort-Carson 7-1 62 9 W 10. Golden 7-1 38 7 L Dropped out: Vista Ridge (10). Others receiving votes: Vista Ridge 15, Pueblo West 10, Denver South 9, Fruita Monument 8, Aurora Central 7, Bear Creek 4, Palmer 3, Cheyenne Mountain 1, Longmont 1, Skyline 1, Vista PEAK 1. Class 3A Team Record Points Pvs LW 1. Roosevelt (15) 7-0 177 1 W 2. Lutheran (3) 7-0 161 2 W 3. Mead 5-1 130 4 W 4. Fort Morgan 6-0 124 3 W 5. Durango 5-2 105 6 W 6. Holy Family 5-2 85 7 W 7. Frederick 5-1 62 5 L 8. Palisade 5-2 44 8 W 9. Pueblo South 5-2 41 9 W 10. Pueblo East 4-3 17 – W Dropped out: Evergreen (10) Others receiving votes: Northridge 12, Evergreen 9, Green Mountain 6, Pueblo Central 6, Steamboat Springs 4, Eagle Valley 2, Summit 2, Discovery Canyon 1, Glenwood Springs 1, Thomas Jefferson 1. Class 2A Team Record Points Pvs LW 1. Eaton (14) 7-0 162 1 W 2. The Classical Academy (3) 6-0 146 2 W 3. Resurrection Christian 5-1 125 3 W 4. Moffat County 7-0 115 4 W 5. Delta 6-1 106 6 W 6. Severance 6-1 91 5 L 7. Bayfield 5-1 46 10 W 8. Brush 5-2 41 8 W 9. Elizabeth 5-2 29 9 W 10. Basalt 5-2 27 7 L Dropped out: None. Others receiving votes: University 11, Platte Valley 8, Kent Denver 6, Montezuma-Cortez 6, Alamosa 5, The Academy 5, Rifle 3, La Junta 2, Northfield 1. Class 1A Team Record Points Pvs LW 1. Limon (15) 7-0 195 1 W 2. Centauri (5) 6-0 185 2 W 3. Florence 7-0 155 3 W 4. Buena Vista 8-0 134 4 W 5. Wray 5-2 108 5 L 6. Holyoke 5-2 83 8 W 7. Meeker 5-2 60 10 W 8. Strasburg 4-3 53 7 W 9. Wiggins 5-2 39 6 L 10. North Fork 5-2 33 9 W Dropped out: None. Others receiving votes: Yuma 18, Monte Vista 10, Burlington 6, Bennett 5, Flatirons Academy 4, Gunnison 3, Highland 3, Banning Lewis 2, Manual 2, Peyton 2. 8-man Team Record Points Pvs LW 1. Haxtun (10) 7-0 136 1 W 2. Mancos (4) 5-0 128 2 W 3. Vail Christian 7-0 94 3 W 4. Dayspring Christian 6-2 87 6 W 5. Sanford 5-2 65 4 L 6. Akron 5-2 53 7 W 7. Dove Creek 5-2 52 8 W 8. Holly 6-1 45 9 W 9. Sedgwick County 4-3 42 5 L 10. Calhan 6-1 40 – W Dropped out: Pikes Peak Christian (10). Others receiving votes: Crowley County 8, Swink 5, Front Range Christian 4, Merino 4, Fowler 2, Pikes Peak Christian 2, Simla 2, Byers 1. 6-man Team Record Points Pvs LW 1. Cheyenne Wells (15) 8-0 150 1 W 2. Stratton 6-1 126 2 W 3. Granada 6-1 120 4 W 4. Fleming 7-1 110 3 W 5. Idalia 5-2 83 5 W 6. Sierra Grande 6-0 70 7 W 7. Prairie 5-3 68 8 L 8. Cheraw 5-3 25 10 W 9. Branson/Kim 6-1 22 6 L 10. Genoa-Hugo 5-1 21 9 L Dropped out: None. Others receiving votes: Briggsdale 15, Arickaree/Woodlin 10, Hi-Plains 3, Hanover 2.

Police investigating vandalism incidents at two Denver schools as potential hate crimes

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 17:30

Two Denver schools — including a Jewish day school — were vandalized over the weekend and are now being investigated by police as possible hate crimes.

Graffiti painted near the George Washington High School baseball field on Saturday night included homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic messages, said Kristin Waters, the school’s principal.

Denver Public School officials were on-site Sunday afternoon to make a report, though the school wasn’t informed of the incident until Monday morning, Waters said in an email to families. The hateful graffiti has since been removed.

“We will not tolerate this reprehensible act of hate in our community and condemn these actions,” Waters wrote in the email, adding that the school’s social-emotional support team will be available for students this week.

Denver Public Schools Safety and Security is investigating the incident, while a Denver police spokesman confirmed that the incident is being investigated by the department’s bias-motivated crimes team.

Just a mile down the road, an individual or multiple suspects threw a rock through one of the windows at the Denver Academy of Torah and damaged an electrical box, police said in a statement.

The Anti-Defamation League reported that when a neighbor confronted the suspect, the individual shouted an anti-Semitic slur.

Kelley Schuler, the school’s director of operations, would only say they experienced “an act of vandalism” and that the school is working with the authorities.

Police are also investigating the Denver Academy of Torah incident with the bias-motivated crimes team, a spokesperson said, and investigators are trying to determine if the incidents are related.

Scott Levin, regional director for the Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region, called the incidents “deeply disturbing.”

“This type of hateful behavior will not be tolerated in our community,” he said in a statement. “All students, whether they attend a religious school or a public school, deserve to learn in an environment free of intimidation and intolerance.”

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Hate crimes reported to law enforcement in Colorado increase 34% between 2019 and 2020, according to FBI statistics.

And there were 60 anti-Semitic incidents reported to the ADL last year — the second-highest number over the past decade, according to the organization’s 2020 audit.

Anyone with information about either crime is encouraged to to call Denver Police at 720-913-7867(STOP) and can remain anonymous.

WNBA looks ahead to 2022 season with potential changes

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 16:48

Candace Parker made the biggest move last offseason choosing to return home to Chicago. The decision paid off as the WNBA star led the Sky to the franchise’s first championship.

Chicago will have choices to make if it wants to become the first repeat champion since the Los Angeles Sparks did it in 2001-02. WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper is an unrestricted free agent, as are married Sky teammates Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley.

Besides Chicago, the rest of the WNBA could have a different look next year with potential movement as some of the league’s biggest names are available.

In the past, many of the WNBA’s top players didn’t move too often, but the collective bargaining agreement that was ratified in 2020 has allowed for more player movement by reducing the number of times teams could potentially force their top player to stay by coring them. While it’s unlikely, regular-season MVP Jonquel Jones of Connecticut and former top award winners Breanna Stewart of Seattle and Tina Charles of Washington all could change teams this offseason.

Stewart just recently had surgery for a minor repair and reinforcement of the Achilles tendon in her left leg, the team announced Thursday. It wasn’t the same Achilles she tore overseas a few years ago. She potentially will be headed overseas at some point this winter to play on her Russian league team.

Many of the WNBA’s players have already headed overseas to play in their winter leagues to supplement their incomes.

League greats Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi will also have to make choices whether they want to come back and play. Bird, who turned 41 over the weekend, said she’ll sit down with her family and discuss whether she wants to play another year in Seattle. The Storm will be back in their new renovated home arena next year which could be a huge reason for the league’s all-time assist leader to return.

Taurasi has one year left on her contract in Phoenix, and said that she’ll sit down with her wife Penny Taylor and figure out what she wants to do. The couple just welcomed their second child before the WNBA Finals.

Here are a few other things that could change next year:

SEASON FORMAT

The WNBA continues to grow with strong ratings and social media engagements. Next season will potentially have a 36-game schedule — the most the league has played. There’s also discussions of a new playoff format that’s supported by players and coaches, as well as some league executives. The current structure, which has been in place since 2016, rewards the top teams with byes until the semifinals and has single elimination games in the opening two rounds.

This season marked the first time that neither one of the top two teams made the WNBA Finals since the league changed its postseason format. Chicago was a six seed and Phoenix a five. The Sky won the championship in four games to cap off the league’s 25th season.

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“I’m sure whatever we change it to in the next three to five years, we’ll be looking at it again because there’s pros and cons to every different playoff format,” Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said during her state of the league address at the Finals. “So we want to be very thoughtful about what we do.”

EXPANSION

The WNBA is also looking into adding more teams.

“Expansion is on the horizon,” Engelbert said.

She said that the league is conducting a data analysis to find potential expansion cities using about 15 metrics to evaluate different locations and hopes to have a more concrete answer during the 2022 season.

“The data looks like it’s going to read out some interesting information for us to start having exploratory discussions with certain cities,” Engelbert said, “Make sure that we can find great ownership groups to support a WNBA team and great fan bases. So that’s why I think looking at how those cities are already supporting the WNBA, whether it’s viewership, merch sales or other things or whether they’re supporting women’s sports or women’s college basketball are great indicators of how it would get supported if a WNBA team were to go in that market.”

HEALTHY RETURN

Elena Delle Donne missed most of the season while recovering from a back injury as she played in only three games. The Washington Mystics star is hoping to be ready to go for 2022 after also missing 2020 because of fear of complications from getting the coronavirus.

Denver deputy involved in Michael Marshall’s 2015 jail death fired for slamming handcuffed man face-first into courthouse floor

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 16:21

A Denver sheriff’s deputy connected with the high-profile 2015 jail death of Michael Marshall was fired this month for slamming a handcuffed man facedown into the floor of the city’s courthouse earlier this year.

Department of Public Safety officials fired Bret Garegnani on Oct. 7 in connection with the March 8 incident in the courthouse. Garegnani failed to try to de-escalate the situation or use less-forceful tactics and instead engaged in “serious and abusive conduct,” city officials found.

Garegnani never acknowledged he acted inappropriately during the seven-month disciplinary process, according to disciplinary documents obtained by The Denver Post through a public records request.

“It is remarkable that (the handcuffed man) was not seriously injured as a result of this incident,” Denver Public Safety Chief Deputy Director Mary Dulacki wrote in Garegnani’s disciplinary letter. “However, the risk of death or significant injury cannot be understated, particularly in circumstances such as here, where an inmate who was handcuffed behind his back, was taken to the ground face-first, and piled on top of by a 350-pound deputy.”

Dulacki noted that Garegnani “should be keenly aware of the potential risks affiliated with uses of force” because of his involvement with the 2015 death of Marshall, who died nine days after asphyxiating on his vomit during a Nov. 11, 2015, struggle with Garegnani and other deputies in the Downtown Detention Center.

Marshall was in jail on a $100 bond for disturbing the peace and trespassing and was experiencing a psychotic episode when deputies piled on him in an attempt to restrain him after he tried to walk out of a room.

Public safety leaders tried to suspend Garegnani for 16 days for continuing to press on Marshall’s upper body even after nurses asked him to stop. Garegnani successfully appealed the discipline and it was overturned by the Career Service Authority. No deputies were disciplined or criminally charged in connection with Marshall’s death, though the city paid a $4.6 million settlement to Marshall’s family.

The March courthouse incident began when Garegnani was called to courtroom 4G to take a man into custody, according to Garegnani’s disciplinary letter. The man, who is identified in the documents only by his initials, tried to walk out of the courtroom when he was remanded to jail. But Garegnani stopped him and walked him to the door inside the courtroom that leads to the rooms deputies use to hold people during court hearings.

The man continued to yell while he was handcuffed and led into a small corridor between the courtroom and the jail area. Video of the incident shows the handcuffed man walk into the corridor, which has doors at both ends, and turn sharply toward Garegnani and another deputy following behind him. Garegnani pushed the man against the wall, then picked him up by the back of the jacket and his legs and threw him face-first to the ground.

The two deputies pinned the man to the ground facedown for 2.5 minutes before rolling him to his side, the video shows. The handcuffed man was transported from the room in a wheelchair because he said he could not walk. The man did not suffer any serious injuries.

Garegnani reported that he used force on the man because the man “suddenly and aggressively turned toward me and started walking aggressively toward me” and appeared to try to escape again.

“I then take control of (the man) and controlled him to the ground,” Garegnani wrote in his initial report, describing his actions.

Garegnani estimated the man was approximately 5-feet-8-inches tall and weighed 130 pounds and said he is 6-feet-6-inches tall and weighed about 350 pounds. Deputies had not yet searched the man for weapons, Garegnani said.

After watching the video later, Garegnani told investigators he still believed the takedown was the correct action. Garegnani joined the sheriff’s department in 2008.

“I feel that I handled it the exact way that I was taught to handle situations like this,” Garegnani told investigators, according to the letter.

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Dulacki disagreed. She found that Garegnani should’ve instead tried to de-escalate the situation by talking to the man, or called for additional assistance. There was minimal risk the man could escape from the small room because his hands were restrained behind his back and there were two deputies next to him. Dulacki said Garegnani’s decision to forcibly hold the man on the ground for minutes after the takedown was questionable at best.

“Deputy Garegnani failed to make a reasonable decision based on common sense and good judgment when he needlessly performed a takedown of (the man), while he was handcuffed behind his back, that could have caused a vital area of his body (his head) to impact the ground,” the letter states.

Garegnani’s attorneys did not return a request for comment Monday.

Both the handcuffed man and a captain at the Denver Sheriff Department flagged the incident for review by the Administrative Investigations Unit.

“He just felt like he was superior knowing that his job is to protect and serve me,” the man told investigators, according to the disciplinary letter. “That’s his job. But he did not protect or serve me.”

LA County wants Vanessa Bryant to undergo psychiatric exam

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 16:21

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County is seeking to compel psychiatric evaluations for Kobe Bryant’s widow and others to determine if they truly suffered emotional distress after first responders took and shared graphic photos from the site of the 2020 helicopter crash that killed the basketball star, his teenage daughter and seven others, court documents say.

Vanessa Bryant, whose federal lawsuit against the county alleges invasion of privacy, has claimed in court papers that she has experienced “severe emotional distress” that has compounded the trauma of losing her husband and 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

Kobe Bryant and the others were killed Jan. 26, 2020, when the helicopter they were aboard, on their way to a girls basketball tournament, crashed in the hills west of Los Angeles amid foggy weather. Federal safety officials blamed pilot error for the wreck.

Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit contends first responders, including firefighters and sheriff’s deputies, shared photographs of Kobe Bryant’s body with a bartender and passed around “gratuitous photos of the dead children, parents and coaches.” The Los Angeles Times first reported that a sheriff’s department internal investigation found deputies shared photos of victims’ remains.

None of the first responders were directly involved in the investigation of the crash or had any legitimate purpose in taking or passing around the grisly photos, the suit contends. Gov. Gavin Newsom last year approved legislation prompted by the helicopter crash that makes it a crime for first responders to take unauthorized photos of deceased people at the scene of an accident or crime.

“Ms. Bryant feels ill at the thought of strangers gawking at images of her deceased husband and child, and she lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online,” court documents say.

Attorneys for Los Angeles County want the court to order Bryant and other family members of the people who were killed in the crash, including children, to undergo psychiatric evaluations as independent medical examinations. The lawyers propose that the evaluations be audio- and video-recorded and last eight hours for adults and four to six hours for children.

The county contends that while the families “have undoubtedly suffered severe distress and trauma from the crash and resulting loss of their loved ones, their distress was not caused by (the first responders) or any accident site photos that were never publicly disseminated.”

LA County attorneys wrote in court papers that such psychiatric examinations are “necessary to evaluate the nature and extent” of the families’ alleged injuries.

Vanessa Bryant’s attorneys, in filings submitted Friday, said the county is resorting to “scorched-earth discovery tactics” designed to bully her and the family members of other victims into “abandoning their pursuit of accountability.”

Attorneys for Los Angeles County, in a statement Monday to The Associated Press, said the county has “great sympathy” for Bryant’s losses.

“It’s horrific, the worst imaginable,” they said in the statement. “But she sued the County for something that didn’t happen. There’s been no public disclosure of crash site photos, none. So we see this case as a money grab and are doing what’s necessary to defend our client.”

Attorneys for Bryant declined to immediately comment on Monday afternoon.

Broncos Fifth Quarter: Who was at fault on Las Vegas’ seven completions of at least 25 yards?

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 15:30
Upon Further Review

1. Raiders carve up secondary. Assigning responsibility as best we can on Las Vegas’ seven completions of at least 25 yards — 49-yard touchdown to WR Henry Ruggs III (CB Ronald Darby/S Justin Simmons), 25 to WR Hunter Renfrow (zone), 33 to TE Darren Waller (CB Bryce Callahan), 31 to RB Kenyan Drake for a TD (ILB Alexander Johnson), 29 to RB Josh Jacobs (screen, missed tackle by ILB Micah Kiser), 40 to Ruggs (Darby) and 51 to WR Bryan Edwards (Callahan).

2. Little pass rush … again. The Broncos’ defense sacked QB Derek Carr twice, but both were after lengthy scrambles outside the pocket. The Broncos rushed at least five players on 10 of Carr’s 30 drop-backs (33.3%). The sacks were by Callahan and S Kareem Jackson near the sideline. The defensive linemen had only two disruptions (a knockdown by DeShawn Williams and pressure by Dre’Mont Jones).

3. No answer for Vegas pass rush. Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley rushed five or more players on only four of QB Teddy Bridgewater’s 59 drop-backs. No matter, the Raiders were charted for 21 disruptions, the most allowed by the Broncos this year. The five sacks were booked to LT Garett Bolles/C Lloyd Cushenberry, Bridgewater, RT Bobby Massie/RG Graham Glasgow, coverage sack and Cushenberry/Massie.

4. Empty calories. The Broncos have entered the fourth quarter of their three losses trailing by 10 to Baltimore, 18 to Pittsburgh and 21 to Las Vegas. That has allowed opposing defenses to soften their coverage and the Broncos have gone the empty calorie route. In the last three fourth quarters, the offense has gained 44.6% of their yards (468 of 1,049) — 85 of 254 vs. Baltimore, 205 of 374 at Pittsburgh and 178 of 421 vs. Las Vegas.

5. Blocking nobody. In the second quarter, the Broncos had second-and-9 from their 34. RB Melvin Gordon got the carry and headed right. DE Maxx Crosby easily shed Fant’s block, but Gordon got by Crosby. Then Fant ran right by CB Casey Hayward as if he was running a route. Unblocked, Hayward made the open-field tackle for a four-yard gain. Gordon looked right at Fant as if to say, “What was that, man?”

6. Williams’ leap. Rookie running back Javonte Williams still can’t get on the field more than Gordon, but he seems to produce an energy-creating play in every game. On Sunday, it was his 30-yard run from the Vegas 47. Williams started right, got a good block from Fant (who held up S Johnathan Abram), broke CB Arik Robertson’s diving tackle attempt at the line and jumped over S Tre’von Moehrig for his final three yards.

Four Key Numbers 8.2

Yards per snap by Las Vegas, tied with Buffalo last year as the largest allowed average of coach Vic Fangio’s tenure.

6.8%

Rate of QB Teddy Bridgewater’s drop-backs in which Las Vegas rushed at least five players, a season low for a Broncos opponent.

11th

The Broncos’ pass defense has sunk from third in the NFL after Week 3 to 11th after Sunday’s games.

0

Possessions the Broncos started in Las Vegas territory. The average starting position was their 22-yard line (worst of the season).

Talking Points

Playing time breakdown. The Broncos’ 81 offensive snaps were 12 more than the previous high against Jacksonville in Week 2. LT Garett Bolles missed the final 10 snaps (lower leg/foot) and was replaced by Calvin Anderson. Among the skill-position players, WR Tim Patrick and TE Noah Fant played 72 snaps apiece, followed by WR Courtland Sutton 71, WR Kendall Hinton 51, RB Melvin Gordon 43 and RB Javonte Williams 38. WR John Brown, called up from the practice squad, played only six snaps and wasn’t targeted. On defense, S Justin Simmons and CB Ronald Darby played all 56 snaps and 15 players saw at least 15 snaps of work.

Struggling downfield. Las Vegas feasted on its down-field passes, but the Broncos largely fired blanks. QB Teddy Bridgewater was 2-of-7 passing for 52 yards on attempts of at least 16 “air” yards, with both completions to Fant (26 yards apiece) in garbage time. In quarters 1-3 of the last three games, the Broncos have only seven explosive plays (rush of at least 12 yards/pass of at least 16).

Final turning point. Leading 17-7, the Raiders put the game away on their initial second-half possession. RB Kenyan Drake scored an 18-yard touchdown run untouched when DL Shamar Stephen, ILB Justin Strnad, NT Mike Purcell and S Justin Simmons couldn’t get off their blocks.

Extra points

NT Mike Purcell had two of the Broncos’ three missed tackles (ILB Micah Kiser had the third). … Drawing penalties by the Raiders were Purcell, DE DeShawn Williams and WR Kendall Hinton…. TE Noah Fant (two), WR Courtland Sutton and WR Tim Patrick were called for penalties. … All of RB Mike Boone’s six snaps in his debut came as the second tailback on the field and he caught a pop pass from QB Teddy Bridgewater for a three-yard gain.

Browns RB Kareem Hunt out weeks with calf injury, Baker Mayfield TBD

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 15:15

CLEVELAND — The Browns will be without one of their best offensive players for quite a while.

He might have company on the sideline.

Punishing running back Kareem Hunt is expected to miss at least one month because of a significant calf injury sustained against Arizona on Sunday, one of several key injuries to a Cleveland team with little time to heal.

The Browns are also awaiting further tests on quarterback Baker Mayfield’s injured left shoulder, and they aren’t sure yet if he — or other starters, including running back Nick Chubb and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. — will be able to play Thursday night when Cleveland hosts the Denver Broncos.

“I’ll have a better sense tomorrow with a lot of these guys. I don’t know is the truth. I have to see how Baker and all these guys respond over the next 24 hours,” Stefanski said on a Zoom call.

Hunt, who has rushed for 361 yards and five touchdowns this season, got hurt in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 37-14 loss to the Cardinals.

Stefanski said that Hunt, who along with Chubb gives Cleveland one of the NFL’s best rushing attacks, will likely go on injured reserve, which means missing at least three games.

Stefanski said Hunt’s injury is more in the ballpark of four to six weeks.

The Browns (3-3) were already missing Chubb due to a calf injury, along with starting offensive tackles Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills Jr., before Hunt went down without any contact on a passing play as Cleveland tried to rally.

Hunt had to be helped from the field and the sight of the hard-charging 26-year-old being carted to the locker room left a few teammates shaken.

“Him and Nick and some of the guys we play with, they just put everything they have on the line every time they touch the ball,” said left guard Joel Bitonio. “Sometimes this guy falls, he’s hurdling over guys at the line of scrimmage and stuff, and he just wants to win so bad.

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“I really do feel like he represents how the Cleveland Browns want to play football.”

The Browns are badly banged up.

Mayfield, who has been playing with a partially torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, had his shoulder twice pop out of the socket while committing three turnovers in the lopsided home loss.

Mayfield twice went into the sideline medical tent for treatment left FirstEnergy Stadium with his arm in a sling. During his postgame news conference, Mayfield said “absolutely” when asked if he would come back on a short week to face the Broncos.

Stefanski didn’t seem quite as confident.

“We’ll make sure to work through all that in the next couple days and obviously take what the medical staff says, what Baker says, and we do that for all of our players,” Stefanski said. “That’s making sure we make prudent decisions with all these guys.”

Case Keenum, who has 62 career starts, is Mayfield’s backup.

Mayfield has been dealing with the partial tear since injuring his shoulder in Week 3 against the Houston Texans when he tried to make a tackle after throwing an interception. He’s worn a harness the past four weeks.

Mayfield led the NFL in completion percentage through two games, but he hasn’t been the same since getting hurt. He had two fumbles and an interception, and was sacked three times by the Cardinals.

Beckham finally connected more with Mayfield and had a team-high five catches for 79 yards. However, he took a hard shot to his right shoulder in the first half and had to go to the locker room for evaluation and treatment.

Also, Browns rookie starting linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah will likely join Hunt on injured reserve after suffering a high ankle sprain in Cleveland’s second straight loss.

The second-round draft pick had been playing well.

Injuries have been a major issue for the Browns, but they’re hardly alone as numerous teams have been hit hard. Stefanski can’t dwell on them with a game in three days.

“We are still devising that game plan, and that is what we have to do,” he said. “We have to be fluid in what we do. The truth is we may not know who is available to us for another 24-48 hours.

“That is what we have to do. That is no different than everybody in the NFL right now. You have guys who may make it to the game and may not, and that is just life in the big city.”