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Sports Then and Now



Scoreless In Seattle: Week 14 NFL Storylines 3

Posted on December 12, 2012 by Andy Larmand

As Christmas approaches, some NFL coaches were doing whatever they could to get back on the nice list in the eyes of their owners. Teams that hadn’t been doing a lot of winning this year found ways to get the job done in upset style in Week 14, but some, however, continued to fall face first into the snow (or desert sand).

No. 1: Peyton Manning got the Broncos to the 10-win mark for the first time since 2005 as he has the team poised to make a playoff run.

Peyton Manning highlighted the weekly Thursday night game as he threw for 300 yards for the first time since Week 10 at Carolina, but threw just one touchdown pass after eight in his previous three games. This marks the seventh time in his career that he has thrown 30 or more touchdowns in a season. He also turned the ball over at least once for the sixth straight game, but his Broncos still won their eighth straight, beating division rival Oakland 26-13 on Thursday night to improve to 10-3 on the year. The eight-game win streak is the longest for the Broncos since 1997-98 and with their 10th win of the year, they have hit double-digits in wins for the first time since 2005. The Denver D picked off at least one pass for the ninth straight game. Denver’s five-game lead in the AFC West is tied for the Falcons for the largest division lead through 14 weeks.

Rookie running back Doug Martin, a regular name in this post, became the first rookie running back since 2008 to record 1,500 yards from scrimmage in Tampa Bay‘s last-second 23-21 loss to the Eagles. Philly won for the first time in nine weeks behind Nick Foles, who threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner as time expired. He became the second rookie in as many weeks to win a game with a TD pass as time expired (Luck). All seven of Tampa Bay’s losses this season have been by eight points or fewer. The Eagles now have as many wins (one) since Oct. 1 as the Phillies.

Don’t look now, but the Jets – yes, the New York Jets – have won two straight after picking up their first ever win in Jacksonville Sunday by a score of 17-10 and are now being considered as a team with a chance to sneak into the playoffs. Mark Sanchez was back in there, but the Jets found the endzone twice on the ground and picked Chad Henne off twice en route to their second straight win and third in four games. Montell Owens scored his first rushing touchdown since 2008 for the Jags, who have lost two straight. Sanchez didn’t throw an interception for just the fourth time this year.

The joke that is the Arizona Cardinals just keeps getting funnier as they dropped their ninth straight game after starting the season 4-0. They didn’t just lose though – they lost 58-0 (not a misprint) to the Seahawks. The Seattle defense forced eight turnovers (four fumbles, four interceptions) and led 38-0 at halftime – their largest halftime lead since 1977. Marshawn Lynch ran for three touchdowns on just 11 carries and finished with 128 yards – his first multi-TD game of the year. Larry Fitzgerald remainedinvisible as he caught just one ball for two yards and Arizona quarterbacks John Skelton and Ryan Lindley combined to go 19-of-39 for 111 yards and four interceptions. The 58-point margin of victory is the largest in Seahawks history and the 58 points are the most the team’s ever scored in a single game. Not surprisingly, the 58-point loss is good for the worst in the 92-year history of the Cardinals.

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Sanchez Finally Benched: Week 13 NFL Storylines 0

Posted on December 05, 2012 by Andy Larmand

Mark Sanchez may have pulled off a miracle by remaining in the New York lineup for 12 weeks, but it appears his reign as starter may be over after being replaced in the 2nd half of Sunday’s game. Surprisingly, without “butt fumble” in there, the Jets got a win. So did 15 other teams.

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez may have finally found something he’s good at: holding the clipboard and keeping Tim Tebow (left) company on the New York bench.

The Saints traveled to Atlanta to take on the division-leading Falcons on Thursday night in a game that they had to have to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Drew Brees, however, threw FIVE interceptions and saw his NFL-record streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass end at 54 in a row. This was the first time since Oct. 4, 2009 that Brees did not throw a touchdown pass in a game and the first time he, or any Saints quarterback, has ever thrown five picks. Roddy White had no catches in the 1st half for the first time in his last 78 games. His first catch came with less than two minutes left in the 3rd quarter.  With four on the night, tight end Tony Gonzalez now has at least 70 receptions in 10 straight seasons, tying the NFL record, and 13th season overall, tying that record as well. Matt Bryant made a 55-yard field goal in the 4th quarter and has now been good on his last seven kicks of 50 yards or more. Atlanta improved to 11-1 with the 23-13 win and has won 46 of 47 games when holding a lead at any point in the 4th quarter. The Falcons converted on just one 3rd down in the game (1-11). With the Tampa Bay loss to Denver, the Falcons clinched the NFC South for the second time in three seasons.

Stevan Ridley scored a rushing touchdown in his fifth straight game as the Patriots improved to 9-3 and won the AFC East, beating the Dolphins 23-16 in South Florida. Tom Brady did throw his first interception in his last 202 passing attempts in the 1st quarter – that had been the longest active streak in the NFL. He also threw a touchdown pass in his 44th straight game – the longest active streak in the NFL since Brees’ was snapped on Thursday night. With a second quarter reception, Wes Welker went over 1,00 yards receiving for the fifth time in his career, extending his Patriots record and he tied Jerry Rice‘s all-time record with 17 10-reception games. He had 10 catches for 89 yards…in the 1st half! If that wasn’t enough his 12 catches for 103 yards got him to the 10-catch, 100-yard mark for the 16th time in his illustrious career – the most all-time. Ridley became the 12th Patriot to run for 1,000 yards in a season. The Patriots clinched the AFC East for the fourth straight year and have won 20 straight games in the second half of the season. Brady became the first QB in NFL history to win 10 division titles. Finally, the Pats have won 12 straight regular season December games, dating back to 2009 and are currently on a six-game winning streak.

Something had to give in the Meadowlands as the 4-7 Jets hosted the 4-7 Cardinals – losers of seven straight following their undefeated start. It certainly was not a pretty thing to watch. Sanchez gave Brees a run for his money, throwing three interceptions in a game that ended 7-6 in their favor. He was finally pulled by Rex Ryan, but not for Tim Tebow – for Greg McElroy, who promptly threw a TD pass. Tebow was inactive for the game with a rib injury. The Cardinals have lost eight straight following this ugly game. New York improved to 4-111 in their history when scoring seven points or less in a game. Arizona did not convert on a 3rd down the entire day (0-15). The Jets improved to 1-6 all-time in games that Sanchez has thrown three or more interceptions. The two teams combined for more punts (16) than points.

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Week 8 NFL Storylines 0

Posted on October 31, 2012 by Andy Larmand

Matt Ryan’s three 1st half touchdowns helped the Falcons improve to 7-0 with a Week 8 victory over the Eagles.

It was a week for offenses to shine in Week 8 as five NFL teams picked up wins by 20 or more points and a total of five teams put up 30 or more points.

The 49ers, Broncos, Patriots, Dolphins and Bucs all won by 20 or more and those teams with the exception of the 49ers all put up 30 or more points. The Falcons also put up 30 against the Eagles en route to their seventh win of the year while staying undefeated.

Atlanta became the sixth NFL team to start a season 7-0 and score at least 23 points in each of those games. They also improved to 15-0 when Matt Ryan throws three or more touchdown passes in a game. Philly had been 13-0 following bye weeks under head coach, Andy Reid.

The Saints couldn’t win their third straight and fell to 2-5, but Drew Brees threw a touchdown pass in his 50th straight game to extend his own record. New Orleans fell to Denver 34-14 on Sunday night. Peyton Manning and the Broncos improved to 4-3 and it was the first time that they have won back-to-back games this year.

Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, didn’t let the time change or long flight to London affect him as he also threw a touchdown pass again and this marks 40 straight games for him – still 10 behind Brees for the all-time record. More notable for the Patriots, they gained 473 yards of total offense against the Rams, marking the 17th straight game that they have recorded more than 350. This broke the all-time record set by those Rams in 1999-00.

The Patriots’ offensive explosion left plenty of storylines and it was hard to just pick a few. The 45-7 win for New England was the largest of the weekend and in two games in London since 2009, the Pats have outscored their opponents 80-14 (beat Tampa 35-7 in 2009).

Four different Pats scored touchdowns and both Rob Gronkowski and Brandon Lloyd caught two apiece. It was the 50th time that Brady has had a game with three or more touchdown passes, which is good for fourth all-time. Wes Welker recorded at least one reception in his 102nd straight game. Believe it or not, the Rams scored the first seven points of the game before New England rifled off 45 unanswered.

The last two times Bill Belichick and Jeff Fisher have met, Belichick has outscored him 104-7. Also, Rams receiver, Chris Givens, caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Sam Bradford and now has a 50+ yard reception in five straight games. Bradford was also sacked at least once in his 24th straight game.

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NFL: The Storylines From Week Five 0

Posted on October 10, 2012 by Andy Larmand

Drew Brees celebrates with teammate, Devery Henderson after he threw a record-breaking touchdown pass on Sunday. Bress now has a TD pass in 48 straight games – breaking the record set by Johnny Unitas.

As always, it was another exciting week in the NFL with records being broken, upsets being recorded and Tim Tebow leading the Jets to a win. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

Nevertheless, it was still another very exciting week in football that made us fans all grateful that we get to watch the game every week – and that the replacement referees are gone for good.

Now’s the part when I reminisce about both the good and the bad that the games had to offer.

First and foremost, Saints quarterback, Drew Brees threw a touchdown pass in his 48th straight game – a new NFL record. The previous record was 47 held by Johnny Unitas. The record-breaking pass was one of four for him on the night and came in the 1st quarter to Devery Henderson from 40 yards out. More importantly, the Saints picked up their first win of the season, 31-24 over the Chargers.

Five teams did not allow a touchdown in their Week 5 games. It’s not surprising that three of them were the Ravens49ers and Bears. It is surprising, however, that the other two were the Rams and the Chiefs. The Chiefs were the only team to not allow a touchdown and lose the game. The Ravens beat them, without scoring a touchdown, 9-6.

Two teams – the Bears and the 49ers won by more than 38 points. The 49ers beat the Bills 45-3 and the Bears crushed the Jaguars 41-3.

The Cardinals suffered their first loss of the year, falling to the Rams 17-3 on Thursday night.

San Francisco set a franchise record with 621 yards of total offense in their win against Buffalo. It was also the most yards that the Bills have ever given up. Alex Smith threw for 303 yards and three TD’s. The Bills also became the first team to allow 550+ yards of offense in consecutive weeks since 1950.

The Bears recorded an interception return in their third straight game for the first time in their history. Charles Tillman returned a Blaine Gabbert pick 36 yards in the 2nd quarter to make the score 13-3 Bears.

The Patriots scored 3+ rushing touchdowns in consecutive games for the first time since 1978. Touchdowns were scored by Shane VereenStevan Ridley and Tom Brady. Brady also threw a touchdown pass in his 38th straight game – remaining ten behind Brees for the all-time record.

Green Bay blew an 18-point halftime lead to the Colts and lost the game 30-27. Andrew Luck threw two touchdowns and Reggie Wayne had 212 yards receiving as the Pack blew their largest halftime lead since 1957.

In case you were wondering, the Browns are still winless. They fell to 0-6 after blowing a 14-0 lead against the Super Bowl Champion Giants. Dating back to last season, Cleveland has now lost 11 straight which is tied for the longest losing streak in its franchise history. On the bright side, rookie running back, Trent Richardson, recorded  a rushing touchdown in his fourth straight game.

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Gridiron Grunts: Giving Football Fans the Inside Scoop 10

Posted on September 03, 2011 by Joe Gill

Gridiron Grunts is fun and easy to use!

In this age of social media, fans are getting up close and personal with their favorite celebrities and athletes. We all know about Twitter and Facebook, but now NFL fans have their own social media medium. It’s called Gridiron Grunts.

You may ask, what is a grunt? A Grunt is an audio message that lasts 0-45 seconds. Instead of texting or calling your friends, you can send them an audio “grunt” from your smartphone (IPHONE and Android are now available!)

Sounds cool huh?

I was able to chat with co-founders Jeb B. Terry Jr and Ryan Nece, former NFL players and teammates during their time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, about their social medium application that connects you with your friends and favorite NFL personalities like Wes Welker, Philip Rivers and Chris Johnson.

ST&N: How was Gridiron Grunts born?

Gridiron Grunts: GRIDIRON GRUNTS™ started as a conversation over dinner. A colleague of mine and I were talking about business and football and we landed on the idea of selling QB cadences as ringtones. We believed that fans would like to hear their favorite QB saying: “Blue 80, Blue 80, Set Hut, Hut, Hut”, and other variations of course.

The GRIDIRON GRUNTS™ platform transformed from a ringtone marketplace into a fan engagement and sports media network allowing athletes to create and control their own media. Our goal is to help athletes manage their brand and content while connecting with their fans. GRUNTS™ accomplishes that by distributing authentic content without the filter of traditional media, straight from the source in real time. The athletes don’t have to worry about being misquoted or misinterpreted; their content is all on GRIDIRON GRUNTS™ for everyone to listen to.

The network also allows all users to GRUNT back and forth for free. It’s as if you are sending a voice memo or voice text to one or all of your friends at once.

ST&N: Did you both come up with concept while you played together in Tampa?

GG: No, the concept was thought of after we played. I was in the middle of getting my MBA at UNC Kenan Flagler’s business school when we started the business. Ryan and I have been great friends since playing together and we always bounce business ideas off of one another. I approached Ryan to get his thoughts and advice after developing the initial idea. He obviously liked the idea and joined Gridiron Ventures, LLC to help refine and build the business. Our Chief Creative Officer, Joel Cave, also has been involved from the beginning and is an integral part of our company.

ST&N: How did you get all these NFL players involved?

GG: We got the current roster involved by tapping our own personal networks of both players and agents. We also went to every major NFL event and spoke with anyone that would listen. We have had success attracting athletes because it is a no risk proposition for them. We provide them with the means to communicate directly to their fans in an easy and unique way. All an athlete has to do is speak into his phone and press submit. His GRUNT is then pushed to every one of his subscribers immediately. This is an opportunity for players to conduct their own postgame interviews on their own time.

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Patriots’ Welker Sustains Knee Injury In Loss To Texans 0

Posted on January 03, 2010 by Todd Civin
Wes Welker suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Texans.

Wes Welker suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Texans.

With wide out Wes Welker being carted off the field with what appears to be a serious injury to his left knee, fans of the New England Patriots have already begun asking the question why.

Why did coach Bill Belichick decide to play his starters in a near meaningless game? Why did we have to lose the heart and soul of our offense? Why have our play-off hopes been dashed for the second year in a row.

With the Patriots driving down the field in the first quarter of their game with the Houston Texans, Welker, who entered the game with a league leading 122 receptions, caught a ball from quarterback Tom Brady in the left slot and ran for a first down before getting his foot caught in the Texans turf and immediately grabbing for his left knee.

Welker was being covered by safety Bernard Pollard, though the injury was sustained before Welker was hit.

With Brady, receiver Randy Moss and the Patriots trainer looking on, Welker was helped from the field and was seen with a towel over his head in a display of obvious pain and disappointment. He was carted off the field to the Patriots looker room with approximately six minutes to play in the first quarter.

Many fans believe that any hopes of the Patriots competing in the upcoming AFC playoffs rest squarely on the shoulders of the diminutive receiver who has caught 345 passes over three years with the Patriots and is a key component to their effective passing offense.

The Patriots missed the playoffs last season after Brady was injured in the first period of their first game against the Kansas City Chiefs when he was hit below the knee by Pollard, who played for the Chiefs at the time. Despite an 11-5 record the Patriots missed the playoffs.

Entering today’s game with a 10-5 record, the Patriots have clinched the AFC East and a home game for the first round of the playoffs and are playing today’s game simply to determine whether they would be a number three or four seed.

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

      Read more »

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