Good morning sports fans, it's Chris Bengel filling in on this beautiful Friday. We have a ton going on in the sports world from a crazy finish on Thursday Night Football to some rather big NBA news.
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Good morning to everyone but especially to...
The Chiefs walked off the victory with a 34-yard game-winning touchdown catch from tight end Travis Kelce. Kelce proved to be the difference for Kansas City, as he hauled in 10 passes for a whopping 191 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Chiefs won the game in overtime thanks to a few key plays:
- On 2nd-and-10 at the Chiefs 25-yard line, Patrick Mahomes passed to Kelce for 27 yards
- On 2nd-and-10 at the Chargers 48-yard line, Mahomes found Tyreek Hill for 14 yards to move the chains
- On 1st-and-10 at the Chargers 34-yard line, Mahomes threw to Kelce for the 34-yard game-winning touchdown
This one had to hurt extra badly for the Chargers, because they had Kansas City on the ropes late in the fourth quarter. With Los Angeles up 28-21 and 1:48 left in the game, Mahomes hit Hill for a 20-yard gain on third-and-10. Then two plays later, facing a second-and-9 from the Chargers' 39, a 32-yard run from Mahomes' set up his game-tying touchdown pass to Kelce with 1:16 left in regulation.
The Chiefs then won the coin toss at the start of overtime, and Justin Herbert and the Chargers didn't even get to touch the ball.
With the win, the Chiefs, now 10-4, have become the favorite to win Super Bowl LVI, according to our friends at Sportsline. Before the game, Sportsline's simulation model gave Kansas City a 12.2% chance at winning it all. Following the victory, their chances got bumped up to 16.7% -- higher than any team in the league.
- Former Central Florida star quarterback Dillon Gabriel is transferring to UCLA.
- The NWSL Expansion Draft went down last night. Check out winners and losers and how it all panned out right here.
And not such a good morning for...
It's been a season to forget for New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson because he has not played. And it's still continuing to get worse. On Thursday, the team announced that Williamson will be reevaluated in 4-6 weeks after he received an injection in his injured right foot.
Williamson had surgery to repair his fractured foot prior to the start of the 2021-22 season. However, following that procedure, his foot hasn't healed properly and he hasn't played in a game this season. It was thought that Williamson would begin practicing earlier this month, but that never came to fruition. According to the team announcement, Williamson is slated to only participate in "low impact, partial weight-bearing activities for an extended period."
As our NBA scribe James Herbert explained, this news isn't just bad for Zion, but for the Pelicans too.
- Herbert: "In the short term, this shrinks New Orleans' already slim odds of sneaking into the playoffs. Without its franchise player, New Orleans has gone 9-21 on the season, with the 26th-best offense, 26th-best defense and 26th-best net rating in the NBA."
Williamson was a fascinating prospect when he entered the league. However, since being drafted No. 1 overall by the Pelicans, he's only played in 85 total games in two seasons.
It'll be interesting to see if we ever see Williamson on the court at all this season at this rate.
Who will replace Urban Meyer in Jacksonville? 🏈
The Jacksonville Jaguars dropped a bombshell on the rest of the league on Wednesday evening when they announced that the team was firing head coach Urban Meyer. Meyer went 2-11 in his 13 games with the Jaguars, which included quite a bit of drama along the way.
With Meyer out the door, Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will take over as the interim head coach for the remainder of the 2021 season. Once the season concludes, Jacksonville will be forced to begin its search for a new head coach just one year after hiring one.
CBS Sports NFL scribe Jeff Kerr put together a list of five candidates that the Jaguars should consider:
- Doug Pederson
- Eric Bieniemy
- Josh McDaniels
- Brian Daboll
- Jim Caldwell
According to our friends at SportsLine, Pederson currently is the favorite to get the job with +300 odds. He sat out the 2021 season after parting ways with the Philadelphia Eagles following the 2020 season.
The Jaguars do have a significant amount of talent on the offensive side of the ball. The team has a franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, a star running back in James Robinson and playmaking receivers like Laviska Shenault and Marvin Jones. An offensive-minded head coach may be the way to go -- and Pederson definitely fits that bill.
There's a new team atop our NBA Power Rankings 📈
The NBA season is more than a quarter of the way complete and we're starting to separate the pretenders from the contenders. Our NBA expert Colin Ward-Henninger has revealed the latest edition of his Power Rankings and here is how the top 10 -- which features a new team at No. 1 -- shook out:
- 1. Utah Jazz
- 2. Golden State Warriors
- 3. Phoenix Suns
- 4. Brooklyn Nets
- 5. Cleveland Cavaliers
- 6. Memphis Grizzlies
- 7. Milwaukee Bucks
- 8. Miami Heat
- 9. Chicago Bulls
- 10. Los Angeles Clippers
As we get closer to the new year, it's safe to say the Jazz have easily been one of the most impressive teams in the league. They currently have a 20-7 record are winners of eight straight games.
- Ward-Henninger: "There is no hotter NBA team than the Jazz, whose winning streak now sits at eight games after three more blowout victories this week over the 76ers, Wizards and Clippers. The offense has been nearly unstoppable, putting up 124.1 points per 100 possessions this week behind 25.7 points per game from Donovan Mitchell on 52/42/83 shooting splits. Rudy Gobert is doing it on both ends, averaging 19 points, 16.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game this week on 74 percent shooting. Utah has rightfully earned the No. 1 spot."
The NBA seems to be more wide-open than it's been in quite some time. As tremendous as the Jazz have been, it's also hard to ignore the Phoenix Suns, considering that they're still playing at a high level despite being without star guard Devin Booker. Future Hall of Famer Chris Paul has been absolutely sensational as the team has won 21 of their last 23 games and sits just two spots below the Jazz in our rankings.
NFL updates COVID-19 protocols amid outbreaks 🏈
The NFL has been dominated by a spike in COVID-19 cases of late with many players landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list over the last week. On Thursday, the league announced that it is updating the current COVID-19 policies.
The league sent a memo to all 32 teams that detailed the changes on Thursday. Among the major updates are:
- Masking will be required inside the team facility regardless of a player's vaccination status
- Masks won't be required outdoors or during practices
- Weight rooms can't have any more than 15 players working out in a single room regardless of vaccination status
- In-person meetings are prohibited unless they are held outdoors or in the practice bubble with individuals being socially distanced
The Cleveland Browns have been one of the teams that has been hit the hardest by the rising number of COVID-19 cases. The team currently has 20 players that have tested positive for COVID-19 this week alone.
Among the players that have landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list is Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. On Thursday, Mayfield took to social media and expressed his displeasure for how the league is handling the team's situation.
- Mayfield: "Actually caring about player safety would mean delaying the game with this continuing at the rate it is. ... but to say you won't test vaccinated players if they don't have symptoms, then to pull this randomly. Doesn't make any sense to me."
The Rams are also in the same boat as the Brown, as they have 25 players currently sidelined to being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. There has been no official talk from the NFL regarding postponing upcoming games.
What we're watching this weekend 📺
🏀No. 25 Texas Tech at No. 5 Gonzaga, 1 p.m. on CBS
🏈Patriots at Colts (-2.5), 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network
🏀Cavaliers at Bucks, 9 p.m. on NBA.tv