Thursday Night Football Thriller
It is October and that means all things pumpkin and spooky. To close out September, Thursday Night Football gave us a thriller, when the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-21, to improve to 3-1. Wait, the Bengals are 3-1, you ask? Yes. Yes, they are.
Up 14-0 late in the second quarter, the Jaguars failed to convert on a 4th-and-1 play at the goal line, and they never recovered, as Bengals’ quarterback Joe Burrow went to work on a comeback. Burrow, who finished the night 25-of-32 for 348 yards and two touchdowns, threw for 253 of those yards and both TDs in the second half. The victory was sealed on an Evan McPherson 35-yard field goal, and the Jaguars fell to 0-4.
Jacksonville head coach Urban Meyer called the loss “heartbreaking,” while the team also lost wide receiver DJ Chark early in the game to a broken left ankle.
Homecoming at Foxborough
We are all, quite literally, waiting all weekend, day, everything for Sunday night, as Tom Brady will make his return to Foxborough to face Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. This will be Brady’s first game at Gillette Stadium since leave New England and signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As you may recall, Brady has since won a Super Bowl. The Patriots have not won much of anything. With that being said, the average cost of a ticket for the game is $1,101, so, yeah, people are excited.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski is also hoping to play against his former team, but he is currently a game-time decision with a rib injury. LB Jason Pierre-Paul’s (hand, shoulder) status is also up in the air, while the Bucs are without cornerback Jamel Dean. Tampa Bay is currently without two of its three starting corners, so the newly signed Richard Sherman will be active.
The Bucs should handle the Patriots pretty easily, but the fireworks and drama will be unmatched.
National Women’s Soccer League
On Thursday, The Athletic published an investigation that talked to several National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) players who played under coach Paul Riley, who most recently coached the North Carolina Courage. Riley was fired on Thursday after allegations of more than 10 years of sexual coercion and inappropriate comments about the sexual orientation of players and about players’ weight. The Athletic talked to more than a dozen players from every team Riley coached since 2010.
As a result of this week’s events, the NWSL will not play any of its scheduled games this weekend. In a statement, commissioner Lisa Baird said, “This week, and much of this season, has been incredibly traumatic for our players and staff, and I take full responsibility for the role I have played. I am so sorry for the pain so many are feeling. Recognizing that trauma, we have decided not to take the field this weekend to give everyone some space to reflect.”
MLB’s National League Playoff Race
I love the smell of baseball in October. Major League Baseball’s playoffs start next week and whoever said there’s no crying in baseball never met the Los Angeles Dodgers. Anyhoo, the National League teams are set, but it’s a matter of who ends up where.
The Atlanta Braves are National League East champions for the fourth-straight time, while the Milwaukee Brewers have clinched the National League Central. The San Francisco Giants have a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers going into the final weekend of the regular season, meaning one of the two best teams in baseball will be the Wild Card and will play the St. Louis Cardinals in a do-or-die playoff game next week.
And if the Giants and Dodgers are tied come Sunday, they will have a tie breaker at Oracle Park Monday. My anxiety is through the roof. But it’s fine, like totally fine 😬.
The Wild American League Wild Card Race
The Tampa Bay Rays are again the AL East champs, while the Houston Astros have won the AL West (don’t get me started). The Chicago White Sox have won the AL Central, but it’s the AL Wild Card that is going to make for a very interesting baseball weekend.
The New York Yankees currently hold the first wild-card spot and should they win out, they will host Tuesday’s AL Wild Card Game. The Seattle Mariners and the Boston Red Sox are tied for that second spot, while the Toronto Blue Jays are a game behind both. This weekend, the Yankees host the Rays, the Red Sox are at the Nationals, the Mariners host the Angels, and the Blue Jays host the Orioles.
Get out your peanuts and rally caps. We’ve got October baseball.