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Chiefs offense hums in 41-14 rout of Patriots
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Perhaps the Kansas City Chiefs gave their neighbors across the parking lot a little bit of inspiration with their impassioned performance against New England. Jamaal Charles returned from an ankle injury to score three touchdowns, Alex Smith threw for 248 yards and three scores, and the Chiefs routed the Patriots 41-14 on Monday night, getting the sports week off to a smashing start in Kansas City with the Royals preparing to open the baseball playoffs on Tuesday. "To have back-to-back events like this, Monday night football and a home playoff game, yeah, it's special," Smith said. "Right next door to each other." Arrowhead Stadium, which was packed to the brim in red-clad Chiefs fans, is just a short walk from Kauffman Stadium, which will surely be packed with blue when the Royals end a 29-year playoff drought against the Oakland Athletics in the AL wild-card game. Several members of the Royals even showed up for the Chiefs-Patriots game, including starting pitcher James Shields, drawing huge roars when they were shown on the big screens. And some of the Chiefs said they were thinking about returning the favor, including wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Regardless, the Chiefs will be able to spend Tuesday in a celebratory mood. They held the Patriots' Tom Brady to 159 yards passing and a touchdown, picking him off twice and returning one for a touchdown. Brady was also strip-sacked by Tamba Hali to set up a Chiefs field goal, capping off a miserable night for the two-time NFL MVP. "It was just a bad performance by everybody," Brady said. "We need to make sure we never have this feeling again. We've got to figure out what we have to do better." The Chiefs forced the Patriots to air it out by stuffing Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. And when Brady dropped back, their front seven ran roughshod over New England's suspect offensive line. It hardly helped the Patriots offense that it was trying to operate on the same night Chiefs fans were trying to reclaim the record for loudest outdoor sports venue. The record was set in the first half, when Guinness World Records noted a noise level of 142.2 decibels - breaking the mark of 137.6 that Seattle Seahawks fans set last season. "My ears are still ringing," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said with a smile. Kansas City had 303 yards of offense by halftime, the most against any Belichick-coached team in the first half of a game. That includes his years coaching in Cleveland. "We just never got anything going. Nothing," Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. "They just executed. They executed perfectly. We were always out of the game, it seemed." Here are a few of the reasons why the Patriots were thumped so soundly: RUN, RUN, RUN: Charles looked just fine on his sprained right ankle, running for 92 yards. He was spelled by Knile Davis, who added 107 yards on 16 carries. "We kept each other fresh," Davis said. "When he went in, he did his thing. When I went in, I did my thing." TENSE MOMENT: Charles briefly went to the locker room after stumbling into the end zone on his third touchdown of the game. He appeared to grab his hamstring, and Reid said that he received an IV, indicating that he might have been cramping. "I feel sore," Charles admitted afterward. BRADY'S STRUGGLES: Brady is completing just 59 percent of his passes through his first four games, his worst rate since becoming the Patriots' starter in 2001. He is also averaging less than 200 yards passing per game. "I wouldn't say we've had a very productive four games to start, but hopefully we can learn from it and understand the things that we're doing wrong," he said. "There's nobody going to dig us out of the hole. We've kind of created it for ourselves and we're going to have to look each other in the eye and see what kind of commitment we're willing to make." KELCE STARS: Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who is quickly becoming one of Smith's favorite targets, had eight catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. "We know what we can do on our offense and our defense," Kelce said. "Our defense got a lot of turnovers today, and that was awesome to see." GAROPPOLO PLAYS: Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo got into the game in the fourth quarter for New England, when the outcome was already decided. He was 6 of 7 for 70 yards with a touchdown. "I am a relief pitcher, pretty much," he said, "so that is my job." Tue, 30 Sep 2014 07:04:00 +0000
Michigan AD apologizes for mistakes with QB injury
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Roughly 12 hours after embattled Michigan coach Brady Hoke said he'd been given no indication that quarterback Shane Morris had been diagnosed with a concussion, athletic director Dave Brandon revealed in a post-midnight statement that the sophomore did appear to have sustained one. That capped a bizarre day in which Michigan tried to address questions about the coaching staff's handling of Morris, who took a violent hit in the fourth quarter of Saturday's loss to Minnesota. "In my judgment, there was a serious lack of communication that led to confusion on the sideline. Unfortunately, this confusion created a circumstance that was not in the best interest of one of our student-athletes," Brandon said in a statement released shortly before 1 a.m. Tuesday. "I sincerely apologize for the mistakes that were made. "We have to learn from this situation, and moving forward, we will make important changes so we can fully live up to our shared goal of putting student-athlete safety first." Morris took a crunching hit from Theiren Cockran on Saturday and briefly looked as if he was having trouble standing, but he remained in for the next play and threw an incompletion before coming out of the game. Devin Gardner replaced him, but later on that drive, his helmet came off at the end of a play. While Gardner sat out for a play, as required, Morris went back in and handed the ball off to a running back. Asked Monday if Morris had been diagnosed with a concussion, Hoke said: "Everything that I know of, no." Hoke said Morris would have practiced Sunday night if not for a high ankle sprain. But in his statement, Brandon said: "As of Sunday, Shane was diagnosed with a probable, mild concussion, and a high ankle sprain. That probable concussion diagnosis was not at all clear on the field on Saturday or in the examination that was conducted postgame. Unfortunately, there was inadequate communication between our physicians and medical staff, and Coach Hoke was not provided the updated diagnosis before making a public statement on Monday." Brandon said he has had numerous meetings since Sunday to determine what happened with Morris. He said Morris had been treated for a sprained ankle earlier in the game, and medical staff on the sideline believed that was why he stumbled while trying to walk around after being hit by Cockran. "The team neurologist, watching from further down the field, also did not see the hit. However, the neurologist, with expertise in detecting signs of concussion, saw Shane stumble and determined he needed to head down the sideline to evaluate Shane," Brandon said. As for how Morris went back in after Gardner's helmet came off: "Shane came off the field after the (incomplete pass) and was reassessed by the head athletic trainer for the ankle injury," Brandon said. "Since the athletic trainer had not seen the hit to the chin and was not aware that a neurological evaluation was necessary, he cleared Shane for one additional play." Brandon said the neurologist and other team physicians were not aware Morris was being asked to return to the field, and Morris left the bench when he heard his name called and went back into the game. "Under these circumstances, a player should not be allowed to re-enter the game before being cleared by the team physician. This clearly identifies the need for improvements in our sideline and communication processes," Brandon said. Brandon said Morris was examined for a concussion after the game and wasn't diagnosed with one at that point. Hoke was already facing pressure over Michigan's performance this season. The Wolverines fell to 2-3 after losing 30-14 at home to Minnesota. If there was one major point Hoke seemed to stress Monday, it was that he doesn't have input into whether a player is healthy enough to play. If a player shouldn't be going back in the game, that is the trainer's call. "I knew the kid had an ankle injury," Hoke said. "That's what I knew." Tue, 30 Sep 2014 06:57:00 +0000
Bills bench quarterback Manuel, to start Orton
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) EJ Manuel is out as the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback, and veteran Kyle Orton is in. Coach Doug Marrone's patience ran out following two straight losses that exposed 2013 first-round draft pick Manuel's lack of development. Marrone benched Manuel on Monday, one day after he completed less than half his passes and threw two interceptions in a loss to Houston. Orton will start Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions. The Bills signed Orton on Aug. 30 to back up Manuel. "It's not all EJ's fault," Marrone said, "but we need to get better production, obviously, out of that position. "We have to make adjustments. We've got to make some changes because we can't keep going in the direction that we're going." Manuel started 14 games over the past two seasons. The Bills (2-2) have sputtered on offense during two straight losses. Manuel had a season-low quarterback rating of 59.4 and threw an interception to J.J. Watt that was returned for a momentum-changing touchdown Sunday during the 23-17 loss. Manuel has completed just 58 percent of his passes through four games this year. "We've got to get better in a lot of situations," Marrone said. "Just the overall offense in itself. You can start on first downs, which we're not doing a good job of. Third downs, red zone touchdowns, I think all those things that you see, again, it's not pinning it just on one player, but we all have to do a better job in those areas." Marrone had previously said he wanted to be patient with Manuel's development. Orton, a nine-year NFL veteran, spent the past two seasons in Dallas before being cut by the Cowboys in mid-July after he skipped the team's offseason workouts amid reports he was considering retirement. Orton has a 35-35 career record split among four teams since being selected by Chicago in the fourth round of the 2005 draft. He has been a starter with every team he has joined, as well as a backup, and spent two years behind Tony Romo in Dallas. Marrone said he made the decision to change quarterbacks, then informed general manager Doug Whaley, Manuel, and the rest of the team. "This decision was based on what's giving us the best opportunity to win," Marrone said. "I believe that we have a playoff-caliber team. I think that we have to play better than we did the last two weeks, though." While Manuel has size and mobility, his decision-making and leadership have been questioned. He acknowledged needing better command of the offense days before the season opener, and understood he had plenty to prove as a bona fide starter. Manuel also faced injury issues last year that hampered his development. He missed six regular-season games and went 4-6 in 10 starts. The Bills invested heavily to improve their offense this season in order to give Manuel every chance to succeed. They made the biggest splash in the draft when they traded next year's first-round selection to move up five spots and select dynamic receiver Sammy Watkins with the No. 4 pick. The Bills also used three of their seven selections on offensive linemen, and acquired wide receiver Mike Williams in a trade with Tampa Bay. Marrone said as Orton began practicing with the team that the Bills first targeted Orton early in training camp as a backup; the need for a contingency plan emerged when former backups Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel didn't show enough progress. Before being informed of the change, Bills players backed Manuel earlier Monday. "You can't put it all on him," tight end Scott Chandler said. "I think he made a lot of great plays, a lot of great throws that we didn't help him out on." "It's not a one-man show," running back C.J. Spiller said. "In this league, the quarterback is the focal point and the emphasis of wins and losses of teams. Obviously, he didn't have his best day, and we didn't give him a lot of help either, as well." NOTES: DT Kyle Williams (knee) and LB Nigel Bradham (knee) had MRIs, but a team spokesman said their status for next week is not yet known. G Chris Williams (back) has a chance to play this week, Marrone said. Williams did not make the trip to Houston. Rookie Cyril Richardson started in his place. . The Bills extended their streak of games with a sack to 17 with two against the Texans. It's the team's longest streak since it went 29 straight games with a sack from Oct. 27, 1996 to Oct. 4, 1998. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 22:18:00 +0000
Cardinals running back facing 9 charges for hitting wife
PHOENIX (AP) Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer has been formally charged with assaulting his wife during two arguments in July at their Phoenix apartment. An indictment publicly released late Friday charges Dwyer with felony aggravated assault and eight misdemeanors, including assault, criminal damage and disorderly conduct. Investigators say Dwyer broke his wife's nose with a head-butt during a July 21 argument and engaged in a dispute the following day in which he punched his wife and threw a shoe at his 17-month-old son, who wasn't injured. Dwyer had been booked on Sept. 17 on suspicion of aggravated assault against his son, but the indictment doesn't charge him with any crimes related to the child. Prosecutors say it's not unusual for grand juries to return slightly different charges than those initially brought in a case. A message left for Jared Allen, an attorney representing Dwyer, wasn't immediately returned Monday. Police say the first dispute between the couple erupted after Dwyer's wife learned about his recent phone contact with another woman and came to believe her husband was cheating. The arrest came at a time when the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell are under fire over a series of violent off-the-field encounters involving some marquee players, including Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy. The NFL has said the Dwyer case will be reviewed under the league's personal-conduct policy. The day after his arrest, the Cardinals placed Dwyer on the reserve/non-football illness list, meaning he can't play for Arizona again this season. An Oct. 6 status conference has been scheduled for Dwyer. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:40:00 +0000
Twins fire manager Ron Gardenhire after 13 seasons
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) He was the third base coach who gave Kirby Puckett a high-five to punctuate his winning homer in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series. He was the trusting candidate who took Minnesota's managing job when many thought the Twins were about to be contracted in 2002. He was the affable everyman who presided over the team's turn-of-the-century renaissance and turned the AL doormat into a six-time division champion. Ron Gardenhire was just about everything in the 27 years he spent in the Twins organization. But even he couldn't survive the worst four-year stretch in franchise history. The Twins fired Gardenhire on Monday, saying it was time for a new voice after his 13-year tenure concluded with 383 losses over the last four seasons. "The reason for this change, I think it's safe to say, the last couple years we have not won enough games," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "That's what it comes down to. It's nothing more, nothing less than that." The move was made with one season left on Gardenhire's contract, ending the second-longest active tenure in the major leagues behind Mike Scioscia of the Angels. Gardenhire played an integral role in the franchise's turnaround, guiding the Twins to the playoffs six times in nine seasons from 2002-10. But Gardenhire's teams only got out of the first round once, and his postseason record was 6-21 with the last win coming in 2004. The Twins have long been the model of stability in not only baseball but major professional sports, with only two managers over the last 28 years and two general managers over the last 20 seasons. But all the losing of late became too much to overcome. Over the last four years, the Twins went 78-148 from Aug. 1 on for an abysmal .345 winning percentage. "I'm gone, I'm outta here because we didn't win," Gardenhire said. "That's what it gets down to in baseball. That's what it should get down to. You have to win on the field and these last four years have been tough for all of us." The Twins finished this season at 70-92, making Gardenhire just the fourth manager in the game's history to preside over at least four straight 90-loss seasons with the same team, joining Connie Mack of the Philadelphia Athletics (nine), Zach Taylor of the St. Louis Browns (four) and his predecessor with the Twins, Tom Kelly (four). Kelly returned for one more season after his streak, and he retired after an 85-77 finish in 2001. "One of the things we hope to get back to here is a winning culture across our organization, and not just with the major leagues," Twins President Dave St. Peter said, later adding, "That's clearly one of the goals with this move is to jumpstart that. Not to say that Ron wasn't capable of that ... but I think we believe very strongly that we've gotten away from that in recent years." In an era when job security for managers is seemingly measured in months, Gardenhire's longevity has been truly unique. The outspoken and fiery Gardenhire quickly became one of the faces of the franchise, as synonymous with the Twins as the interlocking T and C on their caps. He took over for the revered Kelly, who won two World Series championships, just as the organization was starting to regain its footing after years of bad baseball. "I feel like he's my brother, not my manager," said a glassy-eyed Ryan, who has known Gardenhire dating to their days together in the New York Mets system in the 1980s. Ryan spent some time away from the organization this year to get treatment for cancer. He said Monday that a recent physical came back favorable and that he will return to the Twins next season. Ryan offered Gardenhire a chance to remain in the organization, but Gardenhire doesn't believe he's done managing just yet. "I would have loved to have won a World Series, but that didn't happen," Gardenhire said. "Maybe it's still to come." Gardenhire clashed with some players over the years, but there was an expectation and hope among the players that he would return. "We as players had a responsibility to the organization, fans, and coaches to win this season," starting pitcher Phil Hughes tweeted. "We failed." Gardenhire joined the organization in 1987 and was added to Kelly's staff in 1991. His record as Twins manager was 1,068-1,039. He won the American League Manager of the Year award in 2010, the last time the Twins not only made the playoffs but had a winning record. "As good as it gets in my opinion. Comes to the park ready to win each and every day. Kind of a players' manager," second baseman Brian Dozier said last week. "Always in good spirits. He knows the game better than anybody I've been around. I 100 percent want him back." The contracts of Gardenhire's coaches were expiring, but some of them could be brought back. Bench coach Paul Molitor is sure to be considered for Gardenhire's replacement, but Ryan's search will spread outside the organization, too. "Sometimes people need to hear a different voice," Gardenhire said. "They need a new face. I just want this organization to win; I'll be rooting just like everybody else." The run of futility has disillusioned a once-passionate fan base, with attendance in Target Field's fifth year the lowest for the Twins since 2004. Owner Jim Pohlad said dwindling attendance had "virtually zero" impact on the decision and they would have brought Gardenhire back next season if Ryan recommended it. "He connected with me and our family way more than any single person in our entire career as owners of the team," Pohlad said. "He's just a special guy. He's loved. He's loved by us. I'll always remember him as a winner." Tue, 30 Sep 2014 01:54:00 +0000