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News, Scores, Teams, Stories & More on Northeast OH Sports on cleveland.com

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    The Buckeyes responded with a strong second half and disposed of TCU on Saturday night.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State football team did not get a bump from Saturday's win over TCU, staying at No. 4 in the new Associated Press Top 25 poll released Sunday afternoon.

    Alabama, Georgia and Clemson are No. 1, 2 and 3. Clemson dropped from the No. 2 spot it held a week ago. All are 3-0.

    Wisconsin dropped to No. 18 after becoming the first top-10 team to be upset by an unranked team, losing at home, 24-21, to BYU on Saturday.

    Top-ranked Alabama strengthened its hold on No. 1 with 58 first-place votes. Clemson had three first-place votes.

    LSU is up to No. 6 after its 22-21 win Saturday over Auburn.

    Ohio State plays at home against Tulane on Saturday in a 3:30 kickoff that will mark Urban Meyer's return to the sideline after a three-game suspension.

    The complete poll:

      Record Pts Prv
    1. Alabama (58) 3-0 1521 1
    2. Georgia 3-0 1416 3
    3. Clemson (3) 3-0 1405 2
    4. Ohio St. 3-0 1357 4
    5. Oklahoma 3-0 1283 5
    6. LSU 3-0 1241 12
    7. Stanford 3-0 1055 9
    8. Notre Dame 3-0 1034 8
    9. Auburn 2-1 958 7
    10. Washington 2-1 947 10
    10. Penn St. 3-0 947 11
    12. West Virginia 2-0 841 14
    13. Virginia Tech 2-0 816 13
    14. Mississippi St. 3-0 790 16
    15. Oklahoma St. 3-0 587 24
    16. UCF 2-0 556 18
    17. TCU 2-1 502 15
    18. Wisconsin 2-1 486 6
    19. Michigan 2-1 448 19
    20. Oregon 3-0 399 20
    21. Miami 2-1 362 21
    22. Texas A&M 2-1 193 -
    23. Boston College 3-0 130 -
    24. Michigan St. 1-1 86 25
    25. BYU 2-1 75 -

    Others receiving votes: Iowa 64, Boise St. 62, Duke 61, Colorado 49, California 40, Kentucky 38, South Florida 14, Texas 12, NC State 10, Arizona St. 9, Missouri 8, Utah 6, San Diego St. 5, North Texas 4, South Carolina 4, Washington St. 2, Syracuse 2.


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    The Browns forced two more turnovers in the first half, but they only could turn them into six points.

    NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Scribbles in by Browns notebook as they lead the Saints, 6-3, at the half.

    1. Love the way Terrance Mitchell hit Michael Thomas, forcing the Saints receiver to fumble. Then safety Damarious Randall came up and recovered it. Randall is a major upgrade at free safety from Jabrill Peppers, who never was comfortable in that position. Randall also made a great play on a deep pass to Ted Ginn Jr., breaking up a possible touchdown throw from Drew Brees.

    2. After Randall made that excellent pass break up, Mitchell forced another fumble -- and recovered it. Randall left the game in the second quarter because of injury. Briean Boddy-Calhoun took over a free stafety.

    3. The Browns defense forced just 13 turnovers last season. They had eight in the first six quarters of 2018.

    4. It appears Gregg Williams has his guys ready this season in terms of finding ways to force turnovers. They are aggressive and quick. It's his second year as defensive coordinator, and you can see how the players are now comfortable with his defensive schemes.

    5. Larry Ogunjobi is strong against the run and had a terrific sack of Brees. Ogunjobi was outstanding against Pittsburgh in the opener, and the defensive tackle continues to impress.

    6. The Browns offense only was able to turn those two turnovers into three points. The Browns have not been able to run the ball well, New Orleans putting lots of defenders on the line of scrimmage. Tyrod Taylor has to hit some medium- and longer-range passes to create some room to run.

    7. Todd Haley came out with a variety of short passes and running plays to open the game, the best way to approach the Saints in the Superdome early in the game. The Browns stayed away from false-start penalties and dealt well with the crowd noise.

    8. Special teams scare me. Britton Colquitt had a 29-yard punt on his first kick of the game. The good news was a strong 39-yard field goal by Zane Gonzalez. He then kicked another 39-yarder.

    9. The Browns had the worst red-zone defense in the NFL this season. The Saints had the ball in the 3-yard line and a first down. A pass interference penalty by T.J. Carrie set up New Orleans for a TD. But the Browns defense shut down the Saints, forcing a field goal. On the defensive line, Trevon Coley and Chris Smith did a good job against the run.

    10. The Browns held the Saints to 14 yards rushing in eight attempts.

    11. Carlos Hyde carried the ball 10 times for 23 yards. The Browns had only 106 yards on offense. Taylor was 10-of-11 passing for 66 yards, but he couldn't put together any extensive drives.


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    Terry Francona's plan to rest his regular starters for the playoffs includes a common sense approach.

    With playoff baseball right around the corner, cleveland.com is taking a look at the biggest issues facing Terry Francona and the Cleveland Indians. As the 2018 regular season winds down, the answers to these questions will reveal whether or not the Tribe is Ready for October.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Manager Terry Francona says he will navigate the final two weeks of the regular season using a common sense approach when it comes to resting his regular starters ahead of the playoffs.

    Following a scheduled off day on Monday, Francona will sit players only when they need it, rather than risk removing them too much from their regular routines.

    "Sometimes when you're competing, if you try care for somebody, it almost doesn't work," Francona said. "You play the game the right way, and if we think we need to take a guy out of a game at some time, we will."

    Francona and bench coach Brad Mills put together Sunday's lineup during the sixth inning of Saturday's blowout win against Detroit knowing that they planned to give guys like Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Michael Brantley a break on Sunday and piggyback that on Monday's scheduled off day.

    Mills posted the lineup before the team celebrated its AL Central Division championship to give the backups who were going to play on Sunday plenty of notice.

    "Once the game's over, all hell breaks loose," Francona said. "I wanted to give Millsy time to go up and post (the lineup) so he didn't have to go and find everybody and guys would know before they went home."

    The timing of Monday's off day is ideal for setting up the stretch run, Francona said.

    "If I had to draw it up, this is exactly how I would have drawn it up," he said. "The guys that have played pretty much every day get (Sunday) and (Monday). Then we can come back and it gives us 12-13 games to kick it back in and get prepared for the next step."


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    Christian Guess, who starred the last two years at Shaker Heights, announced Friday night on Twitter that he is enrolling at the Southeastern Conference school to continue his education and basketball career. Watch video

    SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Christian Guess is taking his high flying basketball game to Missouri.

    The 6-foot-6 guard, who starred the last two years at Shaker Heights, announced Friday night on Twitter that he is enrolling at the Southeastern Conference school to continue his education and basketball career.

    He had Division I college interest, which included West Virginia, but awaited clearance from the NCAA Eligibility Center.

    Missouri announced his addition Saturday.

    "Man has this been a journey," Guess wrote Friday in his announcement. "I want to thank my mother and family for always believing in me and having my back through the ups and downs."

    Guess also thanked his coaches, including one at rival Garfield Heights in Sonny Johnson, who put in a word with Missouri's staff.

    The area embraced Guess, who said last season he struggled with his emotions, grades and surroundings. It led to him transferring before his junior season from Glenville to Shaker Heights, where coach Danny Young made a personal goal to steer Guess toward his goals of continuing basketball beyond high school.

    RELATED: Guess' maturation part of winding road that brought him to Shaker Heights.

    "I'm happy for Chris," Young said Sunday. "I'm happy that he was able to pull himself together academically. He bought in. We pulled a lot of resources in around him to get his GPA up to around 3.0 and get those courses."

    On the court last season, Guess averaged 26.2 points. He set Shaker's single-game scoring record with 57 points in a December victory at Mentor and helped the Red Raiders to an OHSAA Division I regional semifinal run that ended against state finalist Solon.

    Off the court, Young credited Shaker's Innovative Center for "at-risk" high school students in helping Guess catch up with his NCAA-certified courses.

    The coach learned of Missouri's interest in recent weeks, when coach Cuonzo Martin inquired about Guess.

    "He grilled me," Young said of Martin, whose program finished 20-13 last season with a 10-8 mark in the SEC. "'How was he on and off the court? Technical fouls? Is he tough enough? Can he play at that level? Can I take him into Kentucky and that environment?' I just checked all of the boxes, yes."

    Martin stopped by last week for a home visit with Guess, Young said.

    The Missouri coach came away believing in Guess, telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Saturday, "If you watch him play, he has a lot of flare, a lot of energy. Where he stands right now, I think he has the ability to NBA player. The unknown is going through the day-to-day grind."

    Contact sports reporter Matt Goul on Twitter (@mgoul) or email (mgoul@cleveland.com). Or log in and leave a message below in the comments section.


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    The Browns should be 2-0. Instead, they still haven't won.

    NEW ORLEANS -- This is the type of game that haunts you...for the second straight week.

    The Browns lost to the Saints on Sunday in a game that they should have won, just like they tied the Steelers on Sunday in a game they should have won.

    Opportunity knocked again and again and the Browns simply couldn't answer. They tried. They just couldn't.

    It's the little things. It's a defense answering the bell again and again, only to let Ted Ginn run free on the play that set up the game-winning field goal.

    It's an offense that managed to make one incredible play to tie the game but was mostly dead prior to that. A few first downs, and that last incredible throw to Antonio Callaway wouldn't have been necessary.

    Then there's the kicking. This team simply doesn't have the margin for error to overcome two missed extra points and two missed field goal. It's why the Browns could find themselves looking for a new kicker on a short week.

    No one expected the Browns to win either of these first two games. When the games are there for the taking, though, you better take them. It's how you leave 0-16 and 1-31 behind. It's how you show the league that this isn't the same old Browns.

    These are the types of opportunities you regret missing for a long time.


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    The Browns lost 21-18 to the Saints after blowing a fourth-quarter lead and Zane Gonzalez missing multiple kicks.

    NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Antonio Callaway thought for a moment that he made folks forget about Josh Gordon, but it wasn't to be.

    His 47-yard touchdown catch that made it 18-18 went for naught as the Browns lost 21-18 Sunday to the Saints on a 44-yard Wil Lutz field goal.

    Browns kicker Zane Gonzalez, who had a nightmare day, was wide left on a 52-yard field goal with 3 seconds left. He also missed the extra point on Callaway's TD that tied the core at 18, a 44-yard field goal, and another extra point.

    The Browns blew their fourth-quarter lead when Tyrod Taylor threw an interception with 4:57 remaining.

    Taylor finished the game 22-of-30 passing for 246 yards with the TD and that interception. His rating was 94.6.

    The Saints' Michael Thomas (two TDs) then beat his old Ohio State teammate Denzel Ward for the gamewinning 5-yard touchdown catch with 2:40 left in the game. Alvin Kamara tacked on a two-point run to put the Saints ahead 18-12 for their first lead of the game.

    Taylor took over with 2:40 left and fired the 47-yard bomb to Callaway with 1:16 left in the game to tie it 18-18. Unfortunately for the Browns, Gonzales whiffed again.

    The Saints took over at their 25 with 1:16 left, and Drew Brees hit Cleveland native Ted Ginn Jr. with a 42-yard pass to the Browns' 25. Lutz kicked a 44-yard field goal that would be the eventual game-winner with 21 seconds left.

    The Browns fell to 0-1-1 and the Saints improved to 1-1.

    The Browns headed into the game under adversity with star receiver Josh Gordon sitting at home and preparing to be released or traded Monday. Callaway replaced him and came up with the big catch, but the euphoria was short-lived.

    The Browns defense dominated most of the game, getting two strips from cornerback Terrance Mitchell and a crucial third-down sack from him. They also got a pair of sacks from Larry Ogunjobi on third down that thwarted the high-flying Saints.


     Michael Thomas' TD

    Thomas caught a 2-yard pass from Drew Brees with 8:41 left in the game to cut the Saints' deficit to 12-10. It marked Thomas' 27th catch in the first two weeks of the season to set an NFL record.  The previous record was 26 by Andre Rison in 1994.

    Rashard Higgins' drop and Zane Gonzalez' missed field goal

    The Browns were driving to extend their 12-3 lead in the fourth quarter, but Rashard Higgins dropped a short third-down pass over the middle, and then Gonzalez's 44-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left with 14:16 remaining. The missed kick followed Gonzalez's missed extra point on Carlos Hyde's 1-yard TD run. Gonzalez had a field goal blocked in overtime last week in the 21-21 tie with the Steelers.

    Larry Ogunjobi's third-down sacks

    Larry Ogunjobi blew up two Saints drives with a pair of 11-yard sacks on third down. The first came on third and 7 from the 15, and Lutz pushed the 44-yard field goal attempt wide left to keep the score tied at 3. Ogunjobi did it again in the third quarter to thwart another drive with the Browns up 12-3. He had a third sack wiped out by an illegal-contact penalty against Derrick Kindred.

    Carlos Hyde's TD run

    Hyde ran around the left side and stretched the ball over the pylon for a 1-yard TD that put the Browns up 12-3 with 6:43 left in the third quarter. Unfortunately for the Browns, Gonzalez missed the extra point. The drive featured an 18-yard catch by Callaway and a 16-yard pass-interference call against the Saints on a pass in the end zone to Duke Johnson, taking the ball to the 1.


    Taylor's first-half numbers

    Taylor, who went 15-for-40 last week, improved upon his completion percentage in the first half, but still didn't have much to show for it. He completed 10-of-11 attempts for 66 yards and was sacked once. He earned a 91.7 first-half rating. His longest pass was a 22-yarder that led to Gonzalez's second 39-yard field goal with 1:55 left in the half that put the Browns up 6-3.
     
    Brees also had good first-half numbers but only three points on the board. He completed 15-of-19 attempts for 124 yards, earning a 93.9 rating.

    Mitchell's two strips

    Cornerback Terrance Mitchell had two third-down strips in the first half to thwart the Saints' high-powered offense.The first one came on third and 2 on the Saints' opening drive when he pried the ball loose from Thomas after an 8-yard catch. Damarious Randall recovered, and the Browns converted it into a 39-yard Zane Gonzalez field goal.

    The Saints responded with a field goal of their own after they had a 2-yard shovel pass for a touchdown wiped out by a holding penalty. Lutz booted a 31-yarder to tie it with 2:47 left in the first.

    Mitchell struck again with 10:39 left in the half when he stripped Ginn after a catch for no gain. Mitchell recovered that time to give the Browns the ball back at the Saints' 46, but they were unable to cash in. After an overthrown pass to David Njoku on third and 1, the Browns went for it on fourth down but Duke Johnson was stopped for no gain.

    The two first-half takeaways gave the Browns eight on the season, but only 10 points to show for them.

    Next

    The Browns will host the Jets Thursday night in a nationally televised NFL Network game.


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    What grade would you give Tyrod Taylor for his play on Sunday against the Saints?

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - Earlier this week, Saints quarterback Drew Brees said Baker Mayfield "can be a lot better than me." Not on Sunday, of course. That's because Mayfield watched from the sideline as Tyrod Taylor started his second game as Browns quarterback.

    Mayfield will eventually start a game, but we're all left wondering when that will be. And that brings us to Taylor's performance against the Saints. Was it good enough to keep Mayfield on the sideline?

    Taylor finished 22-of-30 for 246 yards, with a touchdown and an interception (94.6 QB rating). The interception set up the Saints to take an 18-12 lead with 2:40 to play. The touchdown was a 47-yard pass to Antonio Callaway that tied the game with 1:16 to play. Taylor's bottom line was hurt by Zane Gonzalez, who missed two field goals and two extra points.

    Taylor was 15-of-40 for 197 yard last week against the Steelers. He threw an interception and a touchdown for a quarterback rating of 51.8. He also rushed/scrambled eight times for 77 yards and a touchdown and was sacked seven times.

    That performance didn't impress fans, as 43 percent gave him a C, and 35 percent voted for a D.

    What grade do you give Taylor for his play against the Saints? Check out the poll below, and you can explain your answer in the comment section.


    0 0

    The Cleveland Browns are good enough to win a game, but who knows when that will happen?

    NEW ORLEANS, La. -- You could feel it coming.

    The sense of doom in the Superdome...or on your television sets.

    The rapid pulse and the sinking heart of a team that should win a game...but still doesn't know how.

    Browns fans, didn't you sense it even before the Browns lost, 21-18, in New Orleans?

    Your team had a 12-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Your defense had been sensational. Your offense even put together a 69-yard touchdown drive.

    "I think we're starting to show we can be a good ball-control offense," Browns guard Joel Bitonio said.

    They did that. The Browns offense chewed up a lot of the clock. They kept quarterback Drew Brees and the high-powered Saints offense off the field for a long time.

    It was a good game plan.

    And the Browns defense was close to sensational. It forced two turnovers. It held the Saints to just 62 yards rushing.

    "The Browns are a different team," Brees insisted. "I look at the tape and that's a team that's going to win some games."

    Brees is telling the truth.

    The Browns are better. The talent has improved.  

    But will they ever win?

    That's the problem when a team hasn't won a game since December 24, 2016.

    Brees kept talking about how his team "needed someone to make a play...just give us a chance."

    The Browns did.

    The Saints made some key plays -- and kicks.

    And the Browns?

    They missed two extra points. They missed two field goals.

    They threw one interception at a very bad time. They had a defensive breakdown when it hurt the most.

    But they still played a pretty good game.

    And lost.

    This is just depressing.

    WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN

    "That was an unbelievable play near the end of the game," Brees said.

    The Saints quarterback was talking about the eye-popping, 47-yard touchdown pass from Tyrod Taylor to Antonio Callaway. It was a clutch fourth-down throw and catch.

    "A big, big-time play," Browns receiver Jarvis Landry said.

    It could have been a game-winning play.

    It tied the score, 18-18, with 1:16 left.

    Then Zane Gonzalez prepared to kick the extra point.

    Here's what I said to no one in particular right before the kick: "I have a feeling he'll miss it."

    That's because Gonzalez had already missed an extra point...and a 44-yard field goal...and he had a field goal blocked near the end of last week's 21-21 tie with Pittsburgh.

    He probably felt like Charlie Brown kicking, waiting for someone to pull the ball away at the last second.

    This game was in the Superdome. No wind. Artificial surface.

    Ideal kicking conditions.

    No reason to think he'd miss...other than the Browns don't know how to win and their special teams are an embarrassment.

    "It was rough," said Gonzalez, almost in a whisper.

    He also missed a 52-yard field goal with eight seconds left to tie the game.

    "If we just make a field goal," said a discouraged Landry, shaking his head.

    NOW WHAT?

    Don't you want me to scream about special teams...again?

    OK, I will.

    ARRGH!!!

    They've been awful from the start of training camp. While Gonzalez is the worst offender, he's not alone.

    I can tell you how the Browns went from four pre-snap penalties in the Pittsburgh game to none in the noisy dome.

    I can tell you Todd Haley put together a smart, run-based game plan for the offense and how the line did a much better job protecting Taylor.

    I can tell you Gregg Williams coordinates an impact defense that has forced eight turnovers in two games.

    I can tell you Larry Ogunjobi is turning into a monster in the middle of the defensive line.

    I can tell you about Damarious Randall emerging as a play-maker at free safety.

    I can tell you a lot of good things about the Browns.

    But I can't tell you when they'll win.

    "There's a good football team in that room," Browns coach Hue Jackson said.

    Because the problem right now is, they can't win because they haven't won...and the only way to change that is to win.

    I'd start with changes on the special teams.


    0 0

    Gonzalez didn't shy away from the blame on Sunday, but the Browns have to decide what to do with Gonzalez following missed kicks.

    NEW ORLEANS -- Kicker Zane Gonzalez had a chance at redemption for the Browns. That tends to happen in sports -- a player struggles and then the spotlight ends up right back on them at a pivotal moment.

    Trailing 21-18 to the Saints, Gonzalez, who had already missed two extra points and a field goal, had his shot to send the game into overtime and at least partially wash away a brutal second half.

    "Hit it straight, line up, head down, follow through," Gonzalez said, walking through his approach to the 52-yard field goal attempt, "and pushed it."

    Wide right, and the Browns are two kicks away from 2-0. The margins in the NFL are thin, though, and instead they sit at 0-1-1.

    "I had more than enough opportunities," Gonzalez said after Sunday's loss. "Let the team down, let the city down and it's on me. I take full responsibility for it."

    Gonzalez's struggles started after Carlos Hyde ran the ball in from a yard out with 6:43 left for the game's first touchdown. Gonzalez missed the extra point.

    Gonzalez had a shot to extend the lead with 14:21 left in the fourth quarter, but sent his 44-yard field goal try wide left. He missed an extra point following Tyrod Taylor's 47-yard dime to Antonio Callaway that would have broken an 18-all tie. Then there was the kick that could have sent the game into overtime.

    This followed a week in which Gonzalez had a potential game-winning kick blocked against the Steelers.

    "We make the kick here and we make the kick in overtime (last week) ... and we would be feeling differently," Browns coach Hue Jackson said.

    Jackson said he told Gonzalez to keep his head up and Gonzalez's teammates were supportive.

    "It's tough, man," left guard Joel Bitonio said. "Anybody can be in that situation, and it's unfortunate. He's beating himself up more than anybody."

    The question facing the Browns now is how to approach their kicking situation with a short turnaround. They play the Jets on Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium. That gives the Browns three days to bring kickers in for a workout and get one in the building should they decide to move on from Gonzalez.

    In 2016, the Browns lost kicker Patrick Murray to an injury late in the week before they played at Miami. They signed Cody Parkey the day before the game and he missed three of six kicks, including a potential winning kick. The Browns lost that game in overtime. Parkey went on to have a solid season and is now kicking for the Bears after losing a training camp competition to Gonzalez in 2017.

    Kicking is kicking, on the one hand, but the more time a kicker has to practice the operation with a new holder and long snapper, the better.

    "We will address all of that once we get in (the office) tomorrow," Jackson said regarding whether the Browns have time to work out kickers between now and Thursday.

    The most obvious name to bring up is former Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey. He was cut after seven seasons in Dallas and has made 88 percent of his career field goal attempts. He made 15-of-20 kicks a season ago in 12 games.

    ProFootballTalk.com, citing a source with knowledge of the situation, reported on Sunday that "Bailey is waiting for the 'right team.' He has, per the source, turned down four 'very good offers,' and more calls have been made to his agent based on Sunday's outcomes."

    While it seems unlikely now, if the Browns decide to stick with Gonzalez, Jarvis Landry has a simple message for him.

    "Make the field goal," Landry said. "Make the field goals. That's it."

    Gonzalez will have a long flight home and a long night wondering if he'll get that opportunity for the Browns again.


    0 0

    Callaway must grow up fast to replace Josh Gordon, but his big 47-yard TD on fourth down was a good first step.

    NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Antonio Callaway discovered on Saturday night that he's now the Browns' starting X receiver in place of Josh Gordon, and he responded with a big-time 47-yard touchdown catch from Tyrod Taylor.

    The catch came fourth down and tied the Saints 18-18 with 1:16 left.

    Unfortunately for the Browns, Zane Gonzalez missed the extra point -- and three other kicks  -- and the Browns went on to lose 21-18 Sunday. But the Browns' fourth-round pick served noticed that he's out to make you forget Gordon's gone, likely as of Monday when the Browns release or trade him.

    "That's just a taste of what I can do,'' said Callaway, who caught three of four targets for 81 yards in his first NFL start.

    With the Browns trailing 18-12, Callaway turned on his afterburner speed, got behind cornerback Ken Crawley on a post route in the end zone and caught the ball from Tyrod Taylor with his outstretched hands in full stride with Crawley right on his back. He also had the awareness to keep both feet inbounds in the back of the end zone.

    Jackson addressed his players about Gordon and 'nobody flinched'

    "It's big-time,'' said Browns receiver Jarvis Landry. "It's big-boy football. And that's what we expect out of him to do. You're going to hear a lot more out of him this year, just like that.''

    Callaway, who comes with baggage of his own, knows the team is counting on him to fill Gordon's enormous Pro Bowl shoes. When Gordon was on his game, he was to the Browns what Michael Thomas is to the Saints.

    "I'm ready,'' said Callaway, the Browns' fourth-round pick.

    Landry, who's been commissioned by offensive coordinator Todd Haley to take Callaway under his wing, knows that the rookie must grow up fast.

    "Yeah, of course, of course,'' he said. "And Ty trusts him equally as he trusts everybody else. Obviously that's a big fourth down and in situations like that you see a quarterback throw it to a guy, you know, and he trusted him to make a play and he did. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome effort.''

    Callaway used his natural speed to dash past Crawley at about the 20, and then his excellent hands came through.

    "When he stepped into the pocket he launched it,'' Callaway said. "I saw the release. I knew it was coming but then it disappeared in the light a little bit, so I knew I still had to run, so I just kept running and when I looked up again, I saw the ball.''

    At first, Landry, who was also running deep, thought the ball was for him.
     
    "I was actually running right there as well and I thought it was overthrown,'' said Landry. "I thought Ty was throwing it to me and it was overthrown, and then I looked and I seen Antonio hit another gear there at the end and put his hands out and made a catch and got his feet in.''

    Taylor never hesitated to throw to the rookie, who dropped a slant earlier in the game.

    "Callaway's a great player,'' he said. "I have tremendous confidence in his talent. I told him in the huddle, if we get a chance, we're going over top and he was able to make a play. He's a fast guy that you see track the ball and went and got it, so he's a fierce competitor. We're going to need him to continue to keep making plays for our success for the remainder of this season.''

    He noted that "Callaway has tremendous speed. You see it time in and time out at practice and he always says he'll run down and get it if you put it out there. It stood true today. He went out there and made a play. Maybe he can hit another gear, but he was able to make that play while still keeping his feet inbounds. It was definitely progress to see from him and definitely a confidence booster for him.''

    Coach Hue Jackson was proud of his rookie.

    "That was a big-time catch,'' he said. "For him to go get that ball, he's got burst. He can go get a ball and he's got to continue to do that for us.''

    The Browns may or may not sign a big-name receiver such as Dez Bryant to replace Gordon.

    "I've been around these guys that are here more so than anybody else that's out there right now for us,'' said Jackson. "Let's see if we can grow these guys, how they can compete and make plays for us, and if we think we need to do something more, then we will.''

    In the meantime, Callaway must act and prepare like a seasoned pro. He must study film like the great receivers do, and stay on the straight and narrow. He still considers Josh Gordon like a big brother, but he must follow a different lead.

    "He knows the opportunity that's in front of him,'' said Taylor. "He stepped up to it today in a big way. Of course, it wasn't in a winning effort by us, but i think he made a lot of strides today this will only build confidence for him moving forward."


    0 0

    Terry Francona's usual lineup had the day off as the Cleveland Indians fell to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- One day after a division-clinching blowout victory, the Cleveland Indians lineup looked drastically different in a 6-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field.

    Manager Terry Francona rested several starters, including American League MVP candidates Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor. In fact, new third baseman Josh Donaldson was the only Tribe regular starter in the lineup among the top six hitters in Francona's batting order.

    Yet the Indians had a chance to win late, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning after an RBI single by Adam Rosales cut the Tigers' lead to 2. 

    Detroit's Shane Green got Rajai Davis to pop out to shortstop for his 30th save, as the Tigers took two of three games from the Indians in the final series of the season between the two clubs. 

    Indians starting pitcher Shane Bieber (10-4, 4.50) surrendered an early run, but appeared to settle down after the first inning. He retired 10 of the next 12 batters he faced following Jim Adduci's RBI sacrifice fly.

    But the rookie struggled to get through the fifth inning, allowing base hits to three of the next five Tigers hitters before Adduci hit a three-run homer that just cleared the wall in left for a 5-3 Detroit lead. Tigers hitters were 4-for-9 against Bieber the third time through the order.

    "He was up (in the strike zone) today more than he's been," Francona said. "Even with his breaking ball. He ended up paying for it."

    Bieber would not use fatigue as an excuse for missing his locations as the game wore on.

    "I just need to focus a little bit more," he said. "You may get away with more mistakes earlier in the game than later in the game, they're definitely going to punish you the second or third time they've seen you. I just need to be sharper." 

    Andrew Miller relieved Bieber and gave up a solo home run to Tigers outfielder Mikie Mahtook in the eighth. It was the second straight appearance that Miller has allowed an earned run following his return from the disabled list Sept. 10 with a pair of scoreless outings in Tampa Bay.

    Miller worked 1 1/3 innings and threw 18 pitches (12 strikes). Francona said the ace reliever keeps making progress every time out.

    "Up to that point it was his best velocity that we've seen," Francona said. "His breaking ball continues to be good. He just got in a 3-2 count and got one up too much. That's still another good step in the right direction."

    The Indians took a 3-1 lead in the fourth against Detroit starter Francisco Liriano (5-10, 4.54) behind an RBI double by Eric Haase and an RBI groundout by Erik Gonzalez. Hasse's hit and RBI were the first of his big-league career.

    "On a day where we're letting the guys who have grinded take a deep breath, watching him catch a full game, get his first hit, first RBI, that's really exciting," Francona said. "He's worked so hard behind the plate. His throwing and his transfer is so much better than we even saw in spring training."

    Greg Allen doubled and scored on an RBI single by Yandy Diaz to get the Indians on the board in the first.

    What it means

    Cleveland finishes the regular season 13-6 against Detroit and slips to 22-7 in its last 29 games against the Tigers.

    The pitches Liriano threw 94 pitches, 54 (57 percent) for strikes. Bieber threw 93 pitches, 69 (74 percent) for strikes.

    Thanks for coming

    The Indians and Tigers drew 24,862 fans to Progressive Field. First pitch was at 1:10 p.m. with a temperature of 83 degrees. The three-game weekend series drew 78,346 to the ballpark.

    Next

    The Indians are off Monday and open a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field beginning Tuesday. Chicago lefty Carlos Rodon (6-5, 3.10) faces Tribe right Corey Kluber (18-7, 2.91) in the opener at 7:10 p.m. SportsTime Ohio, WTAM and WMMS will carry the game.


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    The Browns lost to the Saints on Sunday. Cleveland.com reporters Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe discuss where the team goes from here. Watch video

    NEW ORLEANS - Saints kicker Wil Lutz kicked a 44-yard field goal with 21 seconds left, Browns kicker Zane Gonzalez pushed the second of his two missed field goals wide right in the final seconds, and the Browns lost 21-18 Sunday. Their winless streak is at 19 games.

    Gonzalez also missed two extra points, one week after his potential winning field goal was blocked in a season-opening tie with Pittsburgh. His final miss came from 52 yards.

    Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor was 22 of 30 for 246 yards, one TD and one interception.

    Cleveland.com reporters Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe break down the game in the video above.


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    The Buckeyes host Tulane on Saturday in Ohio Stadium.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State football opened as a 34-point favorite for its final non-conference game against Tulane on Saturday afternoon in Ohio Stadium. The line has since moved to show the Buckeyes as 35.5-point favorites, according to OddShark.

    The Buckeyes and Green Wave will kick off at 3:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network. It will be the first game back on the sideline for Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.

    OSU (3-0) is 2-1 against the spread this season. Tulane (1-2) is also 2-1 against the spread.

    The 34-point opening line is the largest of the season thus far for No. 4 Ohio State, which just beat No. 17 TCU 40-28 last Saturday.


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    Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe talk about the Browns' loss to the Saints.

    NEW ORLEANS -- The Browns lost to the Saints on Sunday in New Orleans. Zane Gonzalez missed four kicks, including a game-tying field goal.

    Mary Kay Cabot and I talked about that in our postgame podcast. We also talked about:

    • The play of the offense.
    • The quarterback situation.
    • The importance of Thursday night against the Jets.
    • Another strong performance by the defense.

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    Two players to watch on Saturday against Tulane, coming off a win over TCU. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State finishes non-conference play on Saturday against Tulane.

    You may be thinking that this is the worst opponent on OSU's schedule this year, but per Bill Connelly's S&P+ analytics ratings, that distinction belongs to Rutgers. In case you needed numbers to tell you that the team that just lost to Kansas is bad.

    Tulane (1-2) is actually better than three of Ohio State's opponents this year, per S&P+, so maybe there's something to learn? Probably not. The Buckeyes are five-touchdown favorites and are expected to roll in Urban Meyer's return to the sideline.

    Still, coming off a 40-28 win over TCU last Saturday in Arlington, Texas, there are players we're wondering about and will be watching a little more closely than others when the Buckeyes and Green Wave kick off at 3:30 p.m.

    Doug Lesmerises and I are looking at the offense (yes, even with the defense again giving up some big plays against TCU). Doug will be watching running back J.K. Dobbins and I'll be watching center Michael Jordan.

    We discuss why in the video above. Let us know in the comments section which players you'll be keying on when Ohio State hosts Tulane.


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    The Browns are a good kicker from being 2-0, and the players know it.

    NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Scribbles in my notebook after the Browns' 21-18 loss to the New Orleans Saints:

    1. The Browns are already approaching a dangerous state of mind. It happens to all losing teams at some point. The score is close. The clock is ticking down. The team has played well enough to win. The players, coaches and everyone who cares about the team begin to wonder, "What will go wrong this time?"

    2. That's one of many reasons the Browns need a new kicker by Thursday night's game against the New York Jets. Once again, the score could be very close. They can't have Zane Gonzalez in that position again. His confidence --at least with the Browns -- is shot. He has missed three field goals and two extra points in the first two games of the season.

    3. This is not to dismiss Gonzalez as an NFL kicker. Most of them endure some terrible stretches, sometimes being cut. But Gonzalez has done little in his 18 games with the Browns to inspire confidence. He already has missed more extra points this season (two) than in all of 2017 (one). He was 15-of-20 (75 percent) in field goals last season. You want your kicker to be at least 80 percent. The good ones approach 90 percent. He is 2-of-5 this season.

    4. Gonzalez was the 2016 Lou Groza Award winner as the top kicker in college football. But this is a pass/fail business. I thought Ross Martin kicked better in training camp than Gonzalez. Maybe I was biased because he's from Solon and Walsh High, although I've never met him. The Browns should bring him back for a tryout as soon as Monday.

    5. I was in the group of media people listening to a discouraged Jarvis Landry after the game. The receiver said, "Make the field goals." He has been here for two games and he's already sick of the special-teams breakdowns and other careless mistakes preventing this team from finally winning a game. Landry had a solid game with five catches for 69 yards.

    6. When Antonio Callaway caught that 47-yard TD pass, I was thinking, "That's a Josh Gordon play." Actually, it's a Josh Gordon of 2013 play. Callaway also galloped 15 yards on a reverse. The rookie from Florida is gifted and could become a big-play receiver.

    7. The Browns are built on a rugged defense and a power running game. The other element is Tyrod Taylor not turning the ball over very much. Taylor did have a costly interception Sunday. But overall, it was a solid game for the quarterback: 22-of-30 passing for 246 yards and the TD pass to Callaway. The defense did its part. The running game was barely OK, but it still chewed up a lot of clock.

    8. This approach will lead to a lot of close games. It will put pressure on special teams, not just the field-goal kicker. They can't allow long returns. It would help if the Browns actually could get something positive from their own kickoff and punt return men.

    9. Larry Ogunjobi had two sacks. A third was wiped out by a penalty in the Browns secondary. He has three sacks in two games. With defensive end Myles Garrett receiving so much attention from opposing blockers, it's opening up the middle of the line for a strong rusher such as Ogunjobi to make an impact.

    10. Ogunjobi was an analytics pick by the Sashi Brown front office. He played at North Carolina-Charlotte. He is the first player from that school to be drafted. UNC-Charlotte didn't have football until 2013.

    11. The Browns are struggling to figure out how to involve Duke Johnson Jr. in the offense. He caught two passes for a total of 7 yards. He carried the ball three times for 3 yards.

    12. Tight end David Njoku had some nice moments in training camp. He's not done much in the regular season. He has seven catches, but the longest is for 8 yards.

    13. I don't think the Browns taking Josh Gordon off the roster had an impact on the game -- at least in terms of his teammates. Most of them are far more accustomed to playing without Gordon than with the often-suspended receiver.



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    Check here for the FedExCup Playoffs 2018 Top 30 in the standings for the TOUR Championship this week.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy are among the Top 30 in the FedExCup Playoffs 2018 standings. Those 30 comprise the field for the TOUR Championship this week.

    Bryson DeChambeau, who won the first two of the four playoff events, is No. 1 in the standings. He is followed in the top five by Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas.

    Keegan Bradley is No. 6. Bradley defeated Rose in a playoff on Monday to win the BMW -- the third postseason event. Sunday's final round had been postponed because of weather. Bradley opened the BMW at No. 52.

    Mickelson, 48, is No. 14 and Woods, 42, is No. 20. McIlroy is 17th.

    Patton Kizzire claimed the 30th spot. Jordan Spieth is on the outside looking in at No. 31.


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    Ohio State lost its best player against TCU. Jones showed he might be No. 2 on that list.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State lost its best player in the third quarter against TCU. Did the Buckeyes' second-best player then take things over?

    That's a nuanced conversation, who is the second the best player on this roster? Best is easy. It's defensive end Nick Bosa. Not close. But when he exited the win against TCU with an injury, Dre'Mont Jones showed two things:

    He's a first-round NFL talent, like Bosa.

    He can take over games, like Bosa.

    "When we lost Nick it was kind of a little bit of a wake-up call, because we lost our best guy." Jones said. "So we knew we had to go out there and play. There's no one to rely on, we have to go play. We have to rely on ourselves and each other. After a hard first half, we did."

    After Bosa went out on the third play of the third quarter, Jones had five tackles, two for loss, a sack and an interception return for a touchdown that helped swing the game. He was suddenly very noticeable. His presence was felt as the defensive line as a whole rallied after losing its All-American pass rusher.

    On the first play after Bosa's injury, Jones shot into the backfield and nearly met TCU running back Sewo Olonilua as he received the ball from quarterback Shawn Robinson. No gain. In the fourth quarter, with TCU down two scores and closing in on a touchdown, Jones shed his blocker and chased down Robinson for a 12-yard sack. That ended TCU's last legitimate scoring threat.

    Jones' touchdown, though, stands out. The quick step to get into the backfield, the vision to see that Robinson was thinking shovel pass and the awareness to get in the right spot before taking it for a score.

    "With a quarterback like that, I know he likes to run," Jones said. "On that play in particular he was a little hesitant running on the outside, so I kinda sat back to see what would happen, and I read it perfectly. The ball came directly to me."

    Bosa may end up being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Before worrying about that, OSU will first wait to hear his status moving forward.

    Any time without him is a negative for the Buckeyes.

    But in case there was any doubt, Jones showed on Saturday that OSU has another disruptive, game-changing defensive lineman who should also be walking across that draft stage next April.


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    Urban Meyer released a statement on Monday morning as he resumes full head coaching duties this week. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer released a statement on Monday morning as he returns to full head coaching duties this week. Meyer released the statement via his personal Twitter account.

    "What I've learned from this experience will make me a better manager and a better leader," he wrote. "I'm working to ensure I do a better job."

    Meyer's full statement can be read below:

    Meyer is set to meet with the media at 11:45 a.m. Monday.

    The second part of his two-part interview with ESPN is also set to air on Monday morning, before his scheduled news conference.

    In the first interview segment with ESPN, Meyer admitted that it was a "bad decision" to hire former assistant coach Zach Smith in 2012. Smith had been investigated, but never charged, for alleged domestic violence incidents against his now ex-wife in 2009 and 2015.

    Meyer fired Smith on July 23, and was suspended a month later after a university investigation found that Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith were negligent in their handling of Zach Smith as an employee. The investigation determined that neither Meyer nor Gene Smith deliberately covered for Zach Smith in light of the domestic abuse allegations against him, and they do not condone domestic violence.

    They were suspended for keeping Zach Smith employed despite other transgressions in his personal and professional life, including substance abuse issues and shirking his responsibilities as an assistant coach at Ohio State.

    Meyer has attempted to set the record straight on that both through Twitter statements and in his interview with ESPN amid characterizations from some in the national media that he condoned domestic violence.

    "I want to be clear: I do not -- never have and never will -- condone domestic abuse," Meyer wrote Monday while admitting he should have done a better job in his handling of Zach Smith.

    Meyer also thanked offensive coordinator Ryan Day, who served as acting head coach during Meyer's three-game suspension, and led the team to a 3-0 start.

    In the second part of his interview with ESPN, Meyer said he felt his suspension was "fair," but also "firm, harsh and tough."

    He told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi that he wanted to do the interview to push back against the notion that he was suspended for condoning domestic violence.

    "I want the truth to be out there," Meyer said. "The truth is I made an error. I erred in supporting and trying to help a troubled employee." 

    Meyer admitted that his comments at Big Ten media days, when he seemed to deny any previous knowledge of a domestic abuse incident involving Zach Smith in 2015, had a big hand in the series of events that ultimately led to his suspension. Meyer reiterated in his interview that he did not deliberately lie at media days.

    A portion of the university's investigative findings detailed that Meyer expressed concern about the media's ability to gain access to his phone via public records requests, and discussed with director of football operations Brian Voltolini how to adjust the settings on his phone so that it would not retain messages older than one year.

    The report determined that such actions represented a "consciousness of guilt," even if investigators ultimately could not determine whether Meyer actually deleted text messages.

    "I made it very clear that I did not delete messages off my phone," Meyer said. "I also made it very clear that I don't understand how to change the setting on my phone. The report also said they couldn't tell if there was ... With all due respect to the report, there was no 'consciousness of guilt' about what was on my phone. None. If you're asking me if there was 'consciousness of guilt' on Urban Meyer in regard to text messages or deleted messages, there's zero. None."

    Meyer admitted to being "exhausted" on Aug. 22, when the university announced his suspension and then held a news conference with Meyer, Gene Smith and university president Michael Drake after a long day of deliberations on the investigation.

    Meyer drew criticism for his demeanor and answers to questions that day, including refusing to say the name of Courtney Smith -- Zach Smith's ex-wife -- when asked directly if he had a message for her.

    He apologized to Courtney Smith two days later via a statement on his Twitter account, and numerous times during his two-part interview with ESPN.

    "Not with much compassion," is how Meyer characterized his words on Aug. 22.

    Which led him down a path of Twitter statements to correct misspoken words, and ultimately to his interview with ESPN five days out from him returning to the sideline on Saturday against Tulane.

    "I wanted to do this interview," he said. "I wanted to make sure, I think there's been a time period where people believe that I was suspended because I turned my back on domestic violence. That shook me to the core."


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    Gonzalez, who had already missed two extra points and a field goal, missed wide right with 3 seconds left to cement the Saints' victory.

    BEREA, Ohio -- The Browns are holding kicker tryouts today after Zane Gonzalez's performance in Sunday's loss at New Orleans, clevleland.com has learned.

    With the Browns trailing 21-18, Gonzalez, who had already missed two extra points and a field goal, missed wide right with 3 seconds left to cement the Saints' victory.

    The loss left the Browns at 0-1-1.

    Gonzalez's tough day started after Carlos Hyde ran the ball in from a yard out with 6:43 left for the game's first touchdown. Gonzalez missed the extra point.

    Gonzalez had an opportunity to extend the lead with 14:21 left in the fourth quarter, but sent his 44-yard field goal try wide left. He missed an extra point following Tyrod Taylor's 47-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Callaway that would have given the Browns a 19-18 lead.

    Last week, Gonzalez had a potential game-winning kick blocked against the Steelers, leaving the game a 21-21 tie.

    The Browns have a short week if they are intent on finding a new kicker. They play the Jets on Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium. 

    NFL Network's Mike Garafolo is reporting that the Browns will take a look at veterans Blair Walsh and Cairo Santos, who kicked for Kansas City from 2014 to 2017. Current Browns general manager John Dorsey was GM of the Chiefs from 2013 to 2016.

    In 2016, the Browns lost kicker Patrick Murray to an injury late in the week before they played at Miami. They signed Cody Parkey the day before the game and he missed three of six kicks, including a potential winning kick. The Browns lost that game in overtime. Parkey went on to have a solid season and is now kicking for the Bears after losing a training camp competition to Gonzalez in 2017.


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