Bengals remain without rushing touchdown

Published: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 @ 9:47 AM

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 28:  Jeremy Hill #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Paul Brown Stadium on August 28, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 28: Jeremy Hill #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Paul Brown Stadium on August 28, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Bengals are 1-3, and one reason why is the team’s inability to cross the goal line on the ground.

Cincinnati is one of two teams without a rushing touchdown. That’s despite boasting three starting caliber backs in Joe Mixon, Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard.

Bernard scored from 61 yards in a win over the Browns Sunday on a screen pass. If the Bengals hope to claw back into the race in a weak AFC North, their rushing attack could pave the way.

Denver Broncos will likely activate WR Hunter Sharp off practice squad

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 1:13 AM

The Denver Broncos have been hit hard by the injury bug at wide receiver in 2017.

After losing Cody Latimer to a knee injury in Week 3, Denver also saw Emmanuel Sanders and rookie Isaiah McKenzie go down against the New York Giants in Week 6 with ankle injuries. That leaves the Broncos with three healthy wide receivers – Demaryius Thomas, who also suffered a deep bruise that required an MRI against the Giants, Bennie Fowler III, and Jordan Taylor – on their roster heading into their Week 7 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Assuming Latimer won’t be able to return until Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs as expected, the Broncos will have no choice but to sign at least one more wide receiver to their active roster prior to their game against the Chargers.

The most likely candidate? Former Utah State standout Hunter Sharp, who is currently on the Broncos’ practice squad.

“You just have to be ready to play,” Fowler said on Monday afternoon. “We have some key players out in Isaiah [McKenzie], ‘E’ (Emmanuel Sanders) and Cody [Latimer] out right now. We have to get those guys healthy. But, me, D.T. (Demaryius Thomas), ‘Sunshine’ (Jordan Taylor) have to get ready to go. Hunter [Sharp] will probably be activated. You just have to be ready to go.”

The Broncos will have to make room for Sharp on their 53-man roster, of course. The most obvious answer would be to move offensive lineman Billy Turner, who suffered a broken hand that required surgery against the Giants, to Injured Reserve.

This situation is worth monitoring over the next couple of days. The last thing the Broncos needed at this point in time was to be short-handed on the offensive side of the ball.

Former Oregon star Marcus Mariota throws Titans to win over Colts on ‘Monday Night Football’

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 12:44 AM

Marcus Mariota, a quarterback whose mobility is as much a weapon as his arm, has been sidelined by a hamstring injury. Even the injury couldn’t keep him from a victory on Monday Night Football.

Trailined 19-15 late in the third quarter, Mariota engineered a slow march down the field at Nissan Stadium, using 15 plays to gain 87 yards and capping it with a handoff to DeMarco Murray, who ran 3 yards through a tackler into the end zone to grab a 22-19 lead early in the fourth. The best came less than five minutes later, with the game tied at 22-22.

Mariota, a passer who thrives in a rollout-based offensive scheme, instead stood tall in the pocket, stepping up and launching a perfect pass to a wide-open Taywan Taylor for a 53-yard touchdown, which would prove to be the difference needed for a prime-time win.

Mariota finished with a line of 23-of-32 passing for 306 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Thanks to a late, 72-yard touchdown run from Derrick Henry, the Titans exited with a 36-22 win and a .500 record through six games. After suffering through six quarters of Matt Cassel and two defeats, Tennessee is undoubtedly glad to have Mariota back.

Jameis Winston: Buccaneers QB day-to-day with shoulder sprain

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 12:38 AM

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston suffered a sprained AC joint in his right (throwing) shoulder against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 6, and remains day-to-day leading up to the team’s Week 7 matchup against the Buffalo Bills, according to head coach Dirk Koetter.

Winston’s MRI showed no structural damage in his shoulder, so his status will be completely dependent on how well he responds to rest and treatment.

“Jameis is as tough as they come, but we’ll be able to see at some point this week how it’s affecting his velocity,” Koetter said on Monday afternoon (via Jenna Laine of ESPN). “That was the thing yesterday, when Jameis said he needed to come out – Jameis loves to compete and loves to play – but he just felt like he couldn’t drive the ball down the field like he needed to. We’ll just have to see how his days, how his recovery and how his treatment goes.”

Winston suffered the injury on Tampa Bay’s first drive of their game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon when he took a big hit from Pro Bowl outside linebacker Chandler Jones. He was replaced by journeyman veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who went on to complete 22-of-32 passes for 290 yards, three touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 102.3.

The Buccaneers continue their season on Sunday in a road game against the Buffalo Bills.

Predicting A-10 standings: One writer’s take

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 8:12 PM

St. Bonaventure's Matt Mobley and Jaylen Adams celebrate a basket in the first half against Dayton on Jan. 3, 2017.
St. Bonaventure's Matt Mobley and Jaylen Adams celebrate a basket in the first half against Dayton on Jan. 3, 2017.

The 2016-17 Atlantic 10 season ended with a joyous moment (a Senior Night victory over Virginia Commonwealth) and then two surprising defeats (losses to George Washington and Davidson) for the Dayton Flyers. The 2017-18 season begins with uncertainty.

What should everyone expect from a team that graduated four senior starters and lost one returning letterwinner to injury and another to suspension? Dayton enters the season with 10 scholarship players, half of whom have never played a college game, plus a new coach in Anthony Grant.

That makes predicting Dayton’s finish in the A-10 harder than ever. Street and Smith’s Magazine picked the Flyers to finish eighth. John O’Connor, of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, also picked the Flyers eighth. J.P. Butler, of the Olean Times-Herald, picked them fifth.

RELATED: Ranking Dayton’s 18 A-10 games

I voted Dayton first in the last two preseason polls, and that was the consensus opinion. Dayton lived up to that hype, splitting the title in 2016 and winning it outright for the first time ever in 2017.

My prediction this season: Dayton will finish fifth. Here’s my rundown of how I think the standings will look in March (last year’s A-10 record and finish in parantheses):

1. St. Bonaventure (11-7, 5th): Most people are predicting Rhode Island to win the A-10, and that’s a solid choice. I’m sure the Rams will be the preseason favorite in the poll released Tuesday at A-10 Media Day. However, I’m picking the Bonnies in a slight upset. They return the top scoring tandem in the league: senior guards Jaylen Adams (20.6 points per game) and Matt Mobley (18.5).

Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley claps after a stop by his team against Dayton in the first half. DAVID JABLONSKI / STAFF(Staff Writer)

2. Rhode Island (13-4, 3rd): The Rams won the conference tournament last season. They return one of the league’s top players: fifth-year senior guard E.C. Matthews, who averaged 19.3 points in the A-10 tournament.

3. St. Joseph’s (4-14, 13th): Injuries played a big part in the Hawks’ struggles last season. Two years ago, they placed fourth and won the A-10 tournament. They should be much improved with senior point guard Shavar Newkirk (20.3) returning from a torn ACL. Junior guard Lamarr Kimble (15.5) is another player to watch.

4. Virginia Commonwealth (14-4, 2nd): Like the Flyers, VCU enters a new era. Will Wade left for LSU. Mike Rhoades takes over. The Rams lost six of their top eight scorers, but this is a program that always finds a way. It has played in six straight NCAA tournaments.

Dayton players (left to right) Jeremiah Bonsu, Trey Landers, Josh Cunningham, Joey Gruden and John Crosby react on the bench to a made free throw in overtime against Davidson on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, at Belk Arena in Davidson, N.C. David Jablonski/Staff(Staff Writer)

5. Dayton (15-3, 1st): To compete for a third straight title, the Flyers need redshirt junior forward Josh Cunningham and junior forward Xeyrius Williams to play like all-conference players and for junior point guard John Crosby to be one of the most improved players in the conference.

RELATED: Flyers won’t use short-handed roster as excuse

6. Saint Louis (6-12, 11th): The Billikens should be another team that makes a major jump in the second season for coach Travis Ford. Five transfers who sat out last season give them a chance to contend: guard Javon Bess, of Michigan State; forward D.J. Foreman, of Rutgers; guard Adonys Henriquez, of Central Florida; center Rashed Anthony, of Seton Hall; and guard Ty Graves, of Boston College.

7. Richmond (13-5, 3rd): The Spiders return two double-digit scorers: redshirt junior guard Khwan Fore (11.2) and sophomore guard De’Monte Buckingham (10.5).

Davidson's Peyton Aldridge, left, shoots over Dayton's Dyshawn Pierre on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, at John M. Belk Arena in Davidson, N.C. David Jablonski/Staff(David Jablonski)

8. Davidson (8-10, 9th): Senior forward Peyton Aldridge (20.5) is one of the favorites to win A-10 Player of the Year.

9. La Salle (9-9, 8th): The Explorers return three of their top four scorers, including redshirt senior forward B.J. Johnson (17.6).

10. George Washington (10-8, 6th): Senior forward Yuta Watanabe (12.2) is the team’s top returning scorer. The Colonials have finished in the top six four seasons in a row.

11. Massachusetts (4-14, 12th): Matt McCall is one of four new head coaches in the league. He replaces Derek Kellogg, who was fired after nine seasons.

12. George Mason (9-9, 7th): The Patriots were one of the league’s most improved teams last season, boosting their overall record from 11-21 to 20-14. They return two double-digit scorers in the backcourt: guards Otis Livingston II (14.3) and Jaire Grayer (11.4).

13. Duquesne (3-15, 14th): The Dukes lost 14 of their last 15 games. Their new head coach is Keith Dambrot, who coached Akron the last 13 seasons.

14. Fordham (7-11, 10th): The Rams finished last five times in six seasons (2009-14) but have escaped the basement in recent seasons. Junior guard Joseph Chartouny is their top returning scorer (12.1).