#SportsReport: Chiefs Open NFL Season With Win; Azarenka Upsets Williams At U.S. Open
The Kansas City Chiefs appear to have another offensive weapon after opening their Super Bowl title defense with a 34-20 win over the Houston Texans. Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran through the rain for 138 yards and a touchdown in his first game since the Chiefs grabbed him in the first round of the NFL draft out of LSU.
The pint-sized dynamo unleashed a wicked stutter-step before running 27 yards for his first career TD. Meanwhile, the Chiefs' aerial attack is as potent as it was during their Super Bowl run. Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes Jr. threw for 211 yards, including scoring strikes to Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs have won 10 straight dating to last season, including their come-from-behind 51-31 victory over the Texans in the divisional round of the playoffs. Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score, but he also was under relentless pressure and was intercepted once. David Johnson provided the biggest bright spot for Houston, running for 77 yards and a score.
The game was attended by a socially-distanced crowd of about 17,000 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Chiefs lined up along the goal line about 30 minutes before kickoff and watched a video of Alicia Keyes performing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which is often considered the Black national anthem. The Texans had already left the field when the demonstration occurred. They remained there until R&B duo Chloe x Halle finished a virtual performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner," then ran onto the field to a chorus of boos from fans.
In NFL news:
The Jets have signed former Rams and Giants linebacker Alec Ogletree to their practice squad. The 28-year-old Ogletree adds depth to the Jets' inside linebacker spot.
Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton injured his right shoulder while landing awkwardly after catching a high pass in practice. Sutton's injury occurred 48 hours after the Broncos lost star linebacker Von Miller to a serious ankle injury on the final play of another practice.
Black and white Dolphins players and coach Brian Flores have released a video on social media saying they'll protest racial injustice by remaining in their locker room during the national anthem. The two-minute, 15-second video features nearly 20 players trading stern rhymes about the nation's social protest movement.
Forbes estimates the Cowboys are the NFL's most valuable franchise at $5.7 billion. It's the 14th consecutive year they've held that distinction. According to the magazine, Jerry Jones' team is also the most valuable franchise in the world. On average, each team in the NFL is worth $3.05 billion, an increase of 7% from last year. The Cowboys, Giants, Patriots and Rams are worth at least $4 billion.
Anthony Davis has powered the Lakers to within one victory of a potential all-Los Angeles Western Conference finals in the NBA playoffs. Davis had 29 points and 12 rebounds while dominating the paint in the Lakers' 110-100 win over the Houston Rockets. Davis also helped Los Angeles compile a 52-26 rebounding edge. Houston also had trouble stopping LeBron James, who finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists. Alex Caruso chipped in 16 points and Rajon Rondo had 11 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. The Rockets showed fortitude after trailing by 23 midway through the third quarter. An 18-2 run got Houston within 103-96 as the Lakers turned the ball over on four consecutive possessions during that stretch. L.A. recovered to take a 3-1 lead in the conference semis. Game 5 is Saturday.
The Dallas Stars had to go into overtime to take a 2-1 lead in the NHL's Western Conference final against Vegas, but the extra session didn't last long. Alexander Radulov scored 31 seconds into OT to give the Stars a 3-2 win over the Golden Knights. Radulov tallied on the only shot of the period, beating Robin Lehner with a wrist shot for his third career overtime goal. The Knights tied it twice in the third period before falling. Shea Theodore and Mark Stone sandwiched goals around Jamie Benn's score to extend the game. Vegas outshot the Stars 18-4 in the third period and 40-23 for the game. Anton Khudobin stopped 38 shots for the Stars, who resume the series on Saturday.
In NHL news:
The league has slapped Tampa Bay Lightning forward Alex Killorn with a one-game suspension that will be served during Game 3 of the NHL's Eastern Conference final on Friday. Killorn was punished and issued a one-game suspension for his blindside hit that rammed New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson face-first into the boards. Killorn was issued a match penalty and ejected for the hit 5:55 into the game. The Lightning won the game, 2-1 and own a two-games-to-none lead in the series.
Sean Couturier is the third Flyer to be chosen as the league's top defensive forward. The center was revealed as the Frank J. Selke Trophy recipient Thursday, finishing ahead of four-time winner Patrice Bergeron of the Bruins and Ryan O'Reilly of the Blues, last season's winner. Couturier received 117 first-place votes and was named on 163 of the 170 ballots cast by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Victoria Azarenka is the latest player to step in between Serena Williams and a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title. Azarenka beat Williams for only the fifth time in 23 meetings, shaking off a poor start before earning a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory. That puts Azarenka into the final for the first time in seven years. Williams appeared physically worn as she completed her fourth consecutive three-set match, two weeks shy of her 39th birthday. She took a five-minute medical timeout for a tape job after clutching her left ankle.
Next up for Azarenka is Naomi Osaka, who is in the final for the second time in three tries. Osaka finally surged ahead midway through the last set with the only service break she would get to beat Jennifer Brady, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3. The 2018 Open champ got a little help from a fortunate net-cord and an incorrect line call to oust the American in the first semifinal match of the day. Each player hit 35 winners and combined for just 42 unforced errors in the 1-hour, 45-minute match.
Rafael Devers slammed a two-run homer and provided a tie breaking, RBI single in the seventh inning to push the Red Sox past the Rays, 4-3. Bobby Dalbec also went deep for the fifth straight game to help Boston overcome home runs by Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Lowe.
Elsewhere in the majors:
The Braves fell behind 5-0 before Freddie Freeman homered twice and Dansby Swanson belted a tie breaking shot in the eighth inning of a 7-6 triumph over the Nationals. Ronald Acuña Jr. also hit a two-run homer for the Braves, who weathered another ineffective outing from their makeshift rotation.
Jorge Alfaro capped a two-RBI night by slashing a walk-off, RBI single in the ninth to complete the Marlins' 7-6 comeback win over the Phillies. Starling Marte tied it with a three-run double in the eighth and finished with four ribbies to help Miami win the opener of a COVID-induced, seven-game series.
It's been a rough two days for the Detroit Tigers. About 24 hours after absorbing a 19-0 loss to the Brewers, the Cardinals tagged them for a 12-2 setback in Game 1 of a doubleheader. Yadier Molina crushed a go-ahead, two-run homer in the second inning while wearing No. 21 in honor of fellow Puerto Rican, Roberto Clemente. Molina jumped into the air after passing first base and appeared to wipe away a tear with his uniform sleeve as he approached home plate. Lane Thomas, Tyler O'Neill, Paul Goldschmidt and Rangel Ravelo also homered for St. Louis, which has won five of seven. Ravelo's estimated 487-foot blast is the longest in Cardinals history since the Statcast era. Jeimer Candelario homered for the Tigers. Detroit gained a split by scoring five times in the seventh and final inning to beat the Redbirds, 6-3. Candelario homered in both ends of the doubleheader and put the Tigers ahead with a two-run single in Game 2 Jorge Bonifacio smacked a two-run homer in Detroit's third win in 10 games.
Carson Kelly launched a two-run homer and Christian Walker added a two-run double as the Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers for the first time in eight meetings, 5-2. Madison Bumgarner surrendered back-to-back homers by Corey Seager and AJ Pollock but worked through five innings to help Arizona win for only the third time in 21 games overall.
Jorge Ona socked his first big league homer and Manny Machado also went deep in the Padres' 6-1 win at San Francisco. Mitch Moreland put San Diego ahead with a two-run double in the first before scoring on Austin Nola's two-bagger later in the inning.
Wilsson Contreras tied a career high with four hits and rookie Nico Hoerner added three RBIs as the Cubs topped the Reds, 8-5. Ian Happ drove in two runs and Hoerner, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Cameron Maybin each had two hits as the Cubs broke out of an offensive funk.
The Athletics knocked off the Astros, 3-1 as Sean Manaea carried a perfect game into the sixth inning to win his fourth straight start. Matt Olson's two-run homer helped Oakland move 6 1/2 games ahead of second-place Houston in the AL West.
Brady Singer fell four outs shy of a no-hitter before the Royals completed an 11-0 thumping of the Indians. Maikel Franco and Adalberto Mondesi each hit three-run homers and Edward Olivares added a solo shot to back Singer, who left after Austin Hedges broke up the no-hitter with a single.
The Yankees and Orioles were postponed by rain in New York. The game has been rescheduled as part of a Friday doubleheader.
In MLB news:
The Atlanta Braves' banged-up starting rotation suffered another setback Thursday when left-hander Tommy Milone was placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation. Milone has a 14.90 ERA in three starts for NL East leaders since being acquired from the Orioles at the trade deadline. He allowed eight runs in 3 1/3 innings in the Braves' 29-9 victory over Miami on Wednesday night. The Braves recalled right-hander Huascar Ynoa to the active roster and outrighted utilityman Charlie Culberson to the team's alternate training site. Atlanta has six pitchers on the IL, including ace Max Fried.
The Giants have released Pablo Sandoval, parting ways for a second time with the former fan favorite and 2012 World Series MVP. The 34-year-old Sandoval was batting .220 with one home run and six RBIs in 33 games.
Former All-Star infielder Jake Lamb has been designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks after struggling for nearly three straight seasons. The 29-year-old looked like a future star at third base just a few years ago. He made the NL All-Star team in 2017 before setting career-highs with 30 homers and 105 RBIs that year. Since then, he's battled injuries and inconsistency while hitting just 12 homers over the past three seasons.
Bubba Wallace is leaving Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of the season. NASCAR's only full-time Black driver told the team Thursday that he would not sign a contract extension. He will finish the final nine races. The 26-year-old Wallace has driven Petty's iconic No. 43 the last three seasons. He has a career-best five top-10 finishes this season and is ranked a career-best 23rd in the Cup Series standings. Wallace did not make the playoffs in any of his three Cup seasons and is winless at NASCAR's top level.
After initially being ruled out for the season with a coronavirus-related heart condition, Georgia State freshman quarterback Mikele Colasurdo has been cleared to play. The school says follow-up cardiac evaluations showed Colasurdo does not suffer from myocarditis or any other heart ailment that would prevent him from taking the field. Colasurdo initially planned to sit out the season after being stricken with COVID-19 over the summer break.
In other college football news, the University of Texas will require students to pass a COVID-19 test funded by the school before they'll be allowed to attend the No. 14 Longhorns' season opener against UTEP on Saturday night. Texas has up to 3,000 student tickets available for the football game. To claim a ticket, a student must pass a university-provided rapid test the day before the game.
Russell Knox shot a 9-under 63 to take the first-round lead in the Safeway Open, the first event of the new PGA Tour season. After missing the FedExCup playoffs by two spots to close last season, Knox had seven birdies and eagled the 550-yard, par-5 fifth hole. Sam Burns, Cameron Percy and Bo Hoag are a stroke back.
Nelly Korda is the first-round leader at the ANA Inspiration. With heat-baked greens so firm she couldn't find pitch marks, Korda hit hybrid off the tee on the par-5 18th with a front pin. That set her up for a wedge to 3 feet below the hole for birdie and a 6-under 66, giving her a one-shot lead. Two-time major champion In Gee Chun had to scramble for par on the 18th for a 67. Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden matched that score with a par on her closing hole.
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