The Kansas City Chiefs had lost Patrick Mahomes to a blackout and were at risk for losing the game.
At that point their defense and Chad Henne — their defense and Chad Henne?! — alongside a gutsy call by Andy Reid kept their expectations of a Super Bowl rehash alive, holding off the Cleveland Browns 22-17 on Sunday to progress to their third consecutive AFC title game.
With their star quarterback decreased to an onlooker, the frequently failed to remember bundle inverse Mahomes’ powerful offense constrained the Browns to punt in the fading minutes. At that point, his 35-year-old reinforcement demonstrated some moxie with a 13-yard third-down scramble and nervy fourth-down finishing to Tyreek Hill — when pull out all the stops Reid chose to take the plunge — that gave the Chiefs (15-2) a first down with a little more than brief left and permitted them to run out the clock.
“That’s why we love Big Red. He’s always on time,” Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “He’s like our spirit warrior out here behind the scenes. He’s always trying stuff. We always knew he has one play on the table.”
Or then again, as Mahomes composed on Twitter after the success: “#HenneThingIsPossible.”
“We go through all those Saturday night with the quarterbacks, those situations: ‘Fourth-and-1 to win the game, what do you want?’” said Reid, who never once thought about punting on fourth down. “My coaches were on board, they all did a great job with the spot, with the calls, everything — they were spot-on. It was a great job.”
Mahomes hadn’t played in 21 days, since the Chiefs secured the AFC’s favorite in Week 16, yet he barely thought twice prior to leaving halfway through the second from last quarter. He completed 21 of 30 for 255 yards and a TD, and ran for another score.
Harrison Butker added three field objectives for the Chiefs, who almost blew a 19-3 lead yet made due to turn into the primary AFC group to have three continuous meeting title games. They’ll confront the Buffalo Bills next Sunday.
“It stings,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. “We came here to win and didn’t get the job done. There is a finality to that.”
Dough puncher Mayfield tossed for 204 yards with a score and a pick for the Browns (12-6), who were falling off their first season finisher win since the 1994 season. Yet, their failure to drive for the triumphant score — they punted with 4:23 left in the game — and guarded disappointment shielded them from dominating two season finisher matches in a season unexpectedly since 1950.
“It came down to us on defense and we let it slip,” Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett said. “We had two opportunities. We didn’t make it happen. It was right in front of us and we just — this time we didn’t get it done.”
Mahomes finished 11 of his initial 12 passes and drove the Chiefs to consecutive scores to begin the game. He ran for the first and let Travis Kelce transform a dump-off into a 20-yard get for the other, making him the main player since the 49ers’ Steve Young in 1995 with three straight season finisher games with TDs on the ground and through the air.
Indeed, Mahomes was so sharp passing in the principal a large portion of that he even finished a celebratory hurl to a fortunate fan in the most distant scopes of Arrowhead Stadium’s upper deck following his score hike.
After the groups traded field objectives, with Butker breaking the Chiefs season finisher record with a 50-yarder into the breeze, the Browns walked for what might have been an energy swinging score heading into halftime. In any case, exactly when Rashard Higgins attempted to extend over the objective line, the Chiefs’ Daniel Sorensen showed up to convey a hit, popping the ball into the end zone for a touchback — the call remained after a video survey.
The whole appearance of the game changed from the get-go in the second from last quarter, however.
To start with, the Browns held the Chiefs when Mayfield tossed a block attempt and Butker missed a field objective. At that point, Mayfield drove them energetically the alternate way, covering a 77-yard drive with a TD toss to Jarvis Landry. Lastly, approximately 17,000 fans permitted in the arena because of pandemic were left sitting in shocked quiet when Mahomes was handled around the head with 7:27 left in the quarter and left folded on the turf close to midfield.
Mahomes, as of now tottered by a foot injury, staggered as he attempted to get to his feet. He was ultimately served to the blue tent on the sideline, at that point raced to the storage space, where he was assessed for a blackout.
“It kind of knocked the wind out of him and everything else,” Reid said after the game. “He’s doing great right now, which is a real positive as we look at this. He passed all the deals he needed to pass and we’ll see where it goes from here.”
The energy at last turned, the Browns started to lean intensely on their vaunted run game, which had created only 18 yards in the main half. Scratch Chubb changed over on fourth down with a hard run, at that point Hunt followed another fourth-down transformation on a similar drive by hitting the end zone against his previous group to make it 22-17 with 11:07 to go.
It stayed with Cleveland when Karl Joseph took out Henne in the end zone a couple of moments later, however the Chiefs stuffed Chubb on first down, constrained an inadequacy and eventually made Cleveland punt.
Henne’s gutsy scramble and Reid’s similarly challenging fourth-down consider shielded the Browns from getting another opportunity.
“It’s a little different when your quarterback goes down, someone so important to your offense and your team,” Kelce said, “but you have to throw it all into the same bucket of, ‘When adversity hits, what are you going to do? Where does your mind go? Where do we go from here as a team?’ We rallied around Chad, gave him some confidence, knowing we were out there making plays every single snap, just like if Pat was out there.”
BACK ON THE FIELD
Stefanski made his season finisher head training debut subsequent to missing a week ago’s down in Pittsburgh due to COVID-19. Expert Bowl OL Joel Bitonio and CBs Denzel Ward and Kevin Johnson likewise were back from their diseases.
Browns: LT Jedrick Wills Jr. left with a lower leg injury on their first hostile play. His reinforcement, Kendall Lamm, left with an elbow injury, compelling Blake Hance to show up.
Chiefs: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (lower leg) was latent subsequent to getting back to rehearse this week unexpectedly since mid-December. CB Bashaud Breeland left in the final quarter with a blackout.
The Chiefs start getting ready for the Bills next Sunday. They beat them 26-17 in Buffalo in Week 6.
Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell available to play in Game 6 of Jazz vs. Clippers
The Utah Jazz will at last have their All-Star backcourt back exactly when they need it most. The top-cultivated Jazz reported Friday evening that Mike Conley would be accessible against the fourth-seeded LA Clippers in an must-win Game 6 at Los Angeles.
Donovan Mitchell is likewise available after being considered questionable because of right ankle soreness.
Conley’s return is particularly remarkable, as the veteran playmaker has not played since Game 5 against Memphis (June 2) because of a right hamstring strain. The 33-year-old point guard was instrumental in Utah’s first-round prevail upon the Grizzlies, scoring 20 focuses or better in Games 1-3.
Mitchell, in the mean time, has been battling a right ankle injury that unmistakably hampered him in Utah’s Game 5 defeat to the Clippers on Wednesday. The double cross All-Star shot only 6-for-19 from the field, incapable to muster the consistent explosiveness to counter the as of late intensely hot Paul George, who has assisted LA with holding onto a 3-2 series lead.
The Jazz, who own the NBA’s best record inside and out without precedent for establishment history, are looking for their first Finals billet since 1998.
The Clippers are vying for their own first-historically speaking outing to the conference finals, however should do as such without All-NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard, who missed Game 5 and will pass on Game 6 with a sprained right knee.
LB Jerome Baker agree to three-year, $39 million contract extension with Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins have agreed to terms with linebacker Jerome Baker on a three-year contract extension worth $39 million, including $28.4 million guaranteed, his representative, Drew Rosenhaus, revealed to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Dolphins later reported the extension however didn’t disclose financial terms.
Baker is one of the Dolphins’ defensive leaders and welcomes energy on and off the field. He represents considerable authority in pass coverage, and assisted the Dolphins with developing the most noticeably awful scoring defense (30.9 points per game allowed) in 2019 to the fifth-ranked scoring defense (21.1) in 2020.
A 2018 third-round pick, Baker was moving toward the last year of his rookie deal. He was gotten some information about his pending free agency and where he saw Miami in the image. It was a foretelling of this deal.
“I want to play here for the rest of my career. I love it here. I love the fans. I love the organization. I love everybody here,” Baker said. “Yeah, I definitely see myself playing here for a long time.”
Bread cook, 24, gets his desire, as he’s presently scheduled to remain in Miami for the following four seasons.
Presently eyes go to another of the Dolphins’ 2018 draft picks and 2022 pending free agent tight end Mike Gesicki for an potential extension.
Baker had a career-high seven sacks and seven tackles for loss last season in a new hybrid linebacker role. He also eclipsed 100 tackles (112) for the second consecutive season and still can’t seem to miss a game in his NFL career.
French Open 2021: Novak Djokovic tops Rafael Nadal to reach final match
Sprinting, sliding and stretching, anticipating each other’s moves for four sets and over four hours, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal produced a masterpiece in the French Open semifinals.
Djokovic halted Nadal’s offered for a fourteenth French Open title and gave the King of Clay simply his third loss in 108 matches at the tournament by returning to win a thrill ride of an semifinal 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2 at Roland Garros on Friday night.
In one more display of tremendous tennis between the rivals, the match lasted on for 4 hours, 11 minutes. In the wake of trailing 0-2 in the fourth set, Djokovic rattled off six consecutive games to avenge his loss to Nadal in last year’s final.
“Just one of these nights and matches that you will remember forever,” said the top-cultivated Djokovic, who arrived at his 6th last at the clay-court major tournament to tie Bjorn Borg for No. 2 in the occasion behind Nadal (13).
“Definitely the best match that I was part of ever in Roland Garros, for me, and (one of the) top three matches that I ever played in my entire career — considering quality of tennis, playing my biggest rival on the court where he has had so much success and has been the dominant force in the last 15-plus years. And the atmosphere, which was completely electric.”
The 34-year-old Djokovic will look for his second prize at Roland Garros and a nineteenth significant title generally speaking when he plays in Sunday’s last against fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is only 22.
It will be the 29th career Grand Slam last for Djokovic, and the first for Tsitsipas, who beat Alexander Zverev in five sets in an semifinal match prior Friday.
Nadal had won the past four titles in Paris, part of his assortment of 20 Slams, attached with Roger Federer for the most by a man in tennis history.
Nadal, a 14-time winner of the French Open who turned 35 last week, fell to 105-3 in his profession at Roland Garros. His first loss came against Robin Soderling in 2009; the following against Djokovic in 2015.
“Each time you step on the court with him,” Djokovic said, “you know that you have to kind of climb Mount Everest to win against this guy here.”
Nadal and Djokovic truly riled up the group at Court Philippe Chatrier.
Halfway through the third set, Djokovic won a 23-stroke point with a forehand winner and windmilled his arms about half-dozen times, earning a standing ovation and chants of “No-vak! No-vak!” On the following point, Nadal produced a forehand winner and screamed, prompting chants of “Ra-fa! Ra-fa!” and a wave in the stands.
Nadal said the defining moment came when Djokovic saved a set point while down 6-5 in the third.
“Anything could happen in that moment,” Nadal said. “I make a double fault and then [miss on] an easy volley in the tiebreak. … These kinds of mistakes can happen. But if you want to win, you can’t make those mistakes. That is it. Well done for him. A good fight out there. I tried my best and today was not my day.”
The third set alone endured 60 minutes, 33 minutes, and a 11 p.m. nationwide curfew in time set up due to COVID-19 was drawing closer. Djokovic’s past match had been deferred over 20 minutes while the audience – limited to 5,000 individuals under Covid limitations – was gotten out of the arena, yet a declaration was made Friday to tell everybody the public authority consented to allow them to remain until the finish of the match.
Prior drones in French of “We won’t leave! We won’t leave!” were replaced by choruses of the national anthem and cheers of thanks for President Emmanuel Macron.
Nadal recovered from the dropped third-set tiebreaker to steal a break at the start of the fourth.
Neither would surrender or yield, yet Djokovic crushed spirit to 2-all and was on his way.
“Something clicked,” Djokovic said.
Nadal noted thereafter that playing in the cooler night air implied balls bounced lower, lessening the impact of his lefty forehand’s heavy topspin.
“That’s more favorable for him, the conditions,” Nadal said. “By the way, doesn’t matter. That’s tennis. The player who gets used to the conditions better is the player who deserves to win. So no doubt, he deserved to win.”
The intensity was palpable from the beginning of the evening, and Nadal zoomed to a 5-0 lead on the way to winning the main set. It was reminiscent of last year’s final, which he won 6-0, 6-2, 7-5. That was just the fourth shutout set lost by Djokovic in 341 vocation Grand Slam matches up to that point – and the first in a major final.
Nadal tumbled to 259-7 in majors in the wake of winning the first set; as per ESPN Stats and Information research. Two of those seven misfortunes presently have been to Djokovic.
There wouldn’t be another Friday, on the grounds that Djokovic made two key tactical adjustments – moving a lot further back than expected to return serve and choosing to zero in on serving toward Nadal’s strike – and quickly made clear this would be an exemplary between two of the best ever at what they do.
They defended in ways rarely seen. Tracked down the right blend of force and contact. Conjured up impossible-at-first-glance winners that nobody else would attempt, not to mention effectively utilize. Returned just as anybody, combining to generate 38 break points.
It was the 58th matchup between the opponents, more than some other two men in the game’s proficient time. Djokovic currently drives 30-28, however he trails 10-7 in Slam meetings and 7-2 at the French Open.
Djokovic won the French Open in 2016 and could join Rod Laver and Roy Emerson as the lone men to win every one of the four Grand Slam tournaments twice.
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