Aaron Judge Getty New York Yankees
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Good morning to everyone but especially to...

AARON JUDGE

If the last week or so of stress, anticipation, pressure and walks was weighing on Aaron Judge, he certainly didn't show it. That is, until the seventh inning Wednesday, when he could take it all out on Tim Mayza's 3-2 sinker that didn't sink. Judge ripped a 117.4-mile-per-hour drive to left field for his 61st home run of the year, tying Roger Maris' AL single-season record.

It was his hardest-hit home run of the year. In fact, it was his hardest since 2017.

  • Judge had been riding a seven-game homerless streak, tied for his second-longest this season.
  • It's hard to fault him too much: In the 34 plate appearances between No. 60 and No. 61, he walked an absurd 13 times as it seemed like no one wanted to be on the wrong side of history.
  • Oh, and the Yankees went 6-1 during Judge's homerless streak and clinched the AL East as well.

Here's where Judge's latest blast puts him on the all-time list:

  • 1. Barry Bonds, 73, 2001
  • 2. Mark McGwire, 70, 1998
  • 3. Sammy Sosa, 66, 1998
  • 4. Mark McGwire, 65, 1999
  • 5. Sammy Sosa, 64, 2001
  • 6. Sammy Sosa, 63, 1999
  • T7. Aaron Judge, 61, 2022
  • T7. Roger Maris, 61, 1961

Judge has not been one to pile up empty stats. The Yankees are going to be the No. 2 seed in the AL, and with their other big-name batters being up-and-down all year, Judge was the one constant, coming through in clutch situation after clutch situation. His 24 game-tying or go-ahead home runs are most in MLB this year, as are his three walk-off homers. Even Wednesday, the Yankees had coughed up an early 3-0 lead against the Blue Jays before Judge's two-run blast made it 5-3. Oh, and remember, he's also right in the Triple Crown race.

What made last night even more special was that Judge's mother, Patty, as well as Roger Maris Jr. were there to witness it, from right behind the Yankees' dugout. Judge tipped his helmet toward his mother, who was grinning ear-to-ear. A wonderful moment for an incredible accomplishment.

For more from the historic blast:

Now for the not-so-fun news for the Yankees fans. Judge is in the final season of his contract. He's putting up historic numbers and many teams would love to have him. Here's who could actually pull it off.

Honorable mentions:

Not so honorable mentions

Hurricane Ian update: NFL sets alternate location for Chiefs-Buccaneers if needed 

US Bank Stadium Getty Minnesota Vikings
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Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida on Wednesday, wreaking havoc on much of the western side of the state. We talked about the impacts of the storm on the sporting world -- especially for college football -- in Wednesday's newsletter, and we now have more details about how it could impact other sports.

Thursday Night Football preview: How do Dolphins continue strong start? 🏈

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USATSI

The last time Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow met on a football field, they treated us to one of the most memorable games of the 2019 college football season. Burrow threw for 393 yards and three touchdowns to lead then-No. 2 LSU to a 46-41 win over then-No. 3 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Tagovailoa wasn't too shabby either, throwing for 418 yards and four scores. Their roads diverged after that: LSU would go on to win the CFP National Championship, while Tagovailoa would play in his final college football game the next week, suffering a dislocated hip against Mississippi State.

Now, both are among the top young quarterbacks in the league as they meet for the first time as pros tonight -- provided Tagovailoa can play -- with the 3-0 Dolphins visiting the 1-2 Bengals.

  • Tagovailoa's journey has included several injuries and two unremarkable seasons, but he's finally broken through in his third year. His eight touchdown passes this season are tied for third-most in the NFL, and his 117.8 passer rating is second. He is questionable for tonight's contest with back and ankle injuries.
  • Burrow tore his ACL in his rookie year but came back and led the Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance last year. After a slow start to this season, he threw three touchdowns in a blowout win over the Jets on Sunday.

This one could come down to the Bengals' loaded receiving group against the Dolphins' talented secondary, writes our NFL expert Jared Dubin.

  • Dubin: "The Bengals will likely have to depend on Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and Hayden Hurst winning on an individual level in order to move the ball. That group is, of course, more than capable of doing just that. Particularly with No. 2 corner Byron Jones still sidelined and Xavien Howard playing through a soft-tissue injury... This defense was on the field for NINETY plays just a few days ago, and could suffer from some fatigue here."

For Jared's full preview, click here, and for Tyler Sullivan's betting preview, click here.

QB power rankings... and ones in danger of losing their spot 🤔

Trevor Lawrence Getty Jacksonville Jaguars
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All eyes will be on Burrow and Tagovailoa tonight, but the quarterback position in general is always a big talking point, and -- perfect timing -- we have a new version of Cody Benjamin's Quarterback Power Rankings as we head into Week 4, and another young quarterback has moved up several spots since the season started.

  • Benjamin: "14. Trevor Lawrence -- All that pre-draft talk of 'generational talent' is finally starting to pay off. Lawrence is slinging it into tight windows with confidence under Doug Pederson, looking quite a bit like Justin Herbert in recent weeks."

That's high praise, especially considering Herbert is fourth in Cody's rankings. Lawrence can take another step forward when he takes on Jalen Hurts (10th on the list) and the Eagles this weekend.

On the other end of the starting quarterback spectrum are the ones in danger of being benched. Our NFL guru Joel Corry has three candidates who could take a seat soon, including two in their first year with a new team.

What we're watching Thursday 📺

🏈 Utah State at No. 11 BYU, 8 p.m. on ESPN
🏈 Dolphins at Bengals, 8:15 p.m. on Prime Video