<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Sports News, Photos, and Scores for the Padres, Chargers and More]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Thu, 02 Oct 2014 08:01:50 -0700 Thu, 02 Oct 2014 08:01:50 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Police Sent to Donald Sterling's Home by Wife Shelly]]> Thu, 02 Oct 2014 01:42:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/stivianosterling.jpg

Beverly Hills police were called to the home of Donald Sterling after his wife Shelly reported a burglary, but found no crime.

Instead, officers found Sterling hosting V. Stiviano — the woman whose recordings of him making racist remarks led to his removal as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers and a lifetime ban from the NBA.

Lt. Lincoln Hoshino says officers were called to the home by Shelly Sterling at 1:40 p.m. Wednesday and were there for roughly 15 minutes.

Hoshino says they found "no criminal activity whatsoever" and Stiviano was her husband's invited guest.

In March, Shelly Sterling sued Stiviano, seeking the return of more than $2.5 million in gifts Stiviano allegedly received from her husband.

Shelly Sterling's attorney said he had no knowledge of the incident.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Banged Up Bolts]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 21:19:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chargers+jags+nfl+7.jpg

At Chargers Park on Wednesday the players not practicing made more news than those who were. Fourteen players total saw no or limited practice time.

Center Rich Ornberger, receiver Malcom Floyd, running back Ryan Mathews, linebacker Jerry Attaochu and linebacker Manti Te'o did not participate at all.

Linebackers Donald Butler, Jarret Johnson, Dwight Freeney, tight end Ladarius Green and cornerback Jason Verrett saw limited action at practice.

Also of concern is the status of defensive lineman Corey Liguet. He suffered a concussion Sunday against the Jaguars.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Receivers in Friendly TD Battle]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 15:58:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/keenan+allen+touchdowns.jpg

Chargers receiver Keenan Allen may have coined his own nickname.

“Leroy Decoy,” he said with a smile after Sunday’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Why is a guy who just racked up career highs with 10 catches and 135 receiving yards calling himself the decoy? It’s probably because everyone around him is making even bigger plays.

There’s Eddie Royal and his four touchdowns in the last two games. Then you have Malcolm Floyd, who has a pair of TD grabs as he continues resurgence in his 10th year with the team. And don’t forget Antonio Gates almost single-handedly beating the Seattle Seahawks with his trio of scores.

Meanwhile, Allen leads the team with 22 catches on 29 targets for 244 yards. But zero of quarterback Philip Rivers’ touchdown passes has gone his way.

It’s hard out here for a former Rookie of the Year, but Allen isn’t complaining.

“I’ll be that guy all day if we keep winning,” he said.

You won’t find any of them among the leaders in any of the league’s top receiving categories this year. At the same time, you’d be hard pressed to find a more productive – and deeper – group of receivers anywhere in the league than the Chargers have.

“During the week you try to make all the plays work,” Royal said. “And when you draw them up, everyone is scoring a touchdown. So you just never really know who’s going to get it.”

Chargers coach Mike McCoy said there’s no animosity among a group who strives to each other better.

“I think we’ve got a very unselfish bunch of guys,” he said. “I think it’s the whole group. Philip’s got plenty of weapons to go to. You get into third down situations and pick your poison. If you’re going to take one thing away, you gotta cover another guy.”

McCoy’s point can be illustrated in both of Royal’s scores on Sunday. Each was on a big play – 43 and 47 yards – that came after Rivers looked at different receivers on each drive.

“We started getting first downs, got in a rhythm,” Rivers said. “They know to just keep going.”
Another seasoned veteran on the receiving corps, Royal knows touchdowns can be fleeting. So he’s not putting too much stock in his impressive run.

“It happened to be me the last two weeks,” he said. “So next week you don’t know which guy it is, just execute each play the right way and we’ll see.”

Allen credits a solid week of practice for his success on Sunday. And he hasn’t offense to his lack of end zone looks … yet.

“Phil likes to spread the ball around,” he said. “We’re definitely unselfish. I don’t really take it to heart when I don’t get in the end zone. As long as we’re winning games.”

Royal says it will only be a matter of time.

“We’re gonna try to get him in the end zone,” he said. “He’s a playmaker out there. It’s gonna happen sooner or later. And he’s playing great football right now. I’m glad he’s on our team.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jeter on His Career: Never Wanted to Embarrass Parents]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:25:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Derek_Jeter209740927409.jpg

Newly retired New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter said he avoided scandal and controversy during his storied career because he did not want to humiliate his parents.

“I’ve always had tried to treat people with respect, the way I wanted to be treated,” the 14-time All Star said in a “Today” show interview that aired Wednesday. “I’ve always been very cautious with what I do. I started at a young age and I’ve always had the mentality that I never wanted to embarrass my parents. That fear is still there.”

The final player to wear a single-digit number for the Yankees, Jeter spoke with "Today's" Matt Lauer less than 24 hours after he played his last game at the stadium, which he won with a walk-off single.

“Fifty thousand people. I’ve never been an actor on Broadway, but it feels like you’re on a stage when you play at Yankee stadium,” Jeter said. “And that’s the feeling I’ve always had. To have everyone there standing up, cheering for you and saying thank you, just never want to play another game out there.”

The 40-year-old star shortstop, who received gifts from other ballclubs on his way out, said he was most surprised at the send-off he got from the Yankees' arch rivals at Fenway Park on the last day of his career.

A pregame ceremony honoring the retiring captain produced numerous standing ovations from the Boston crowd. Jeter told Lauer that there were plenty of times when Red Sox fans would “stand and say some things" during his 20-season career. "But it was never an ovation.”

Jeter hit an RBI single at his last at bat at Fenway. The final hit left him with a .310 career batting average, raising it from .30945 to .30951.

The baseball star already has some post-retirement plans. He has launched Jeter Publishing, his imprint with Simon & Schuster and The Players' Tribune, a publishing portal where athletes will be able to share their stories without having to deal with reporters.

"I realize I’ve been guarded. I learned early on in New York, the toughest media environment in sports, that just because a reporter asks you a question doesn’t mean you have to answer," Jeter said in a statement on the site that posted Wednesday. "I attribute much of my success in New York to my ability to understand and avoid unnecessary distractions."

Jeter told Lauer it feels good so far to be retired.

“It’s funny, because someone had mentioned to me I went from an old man in baseball to a young man in life. And I liked how that sounded. So, I consider myself young again," he said.

One thing he rules out is coming out of retirement.

“I played my last game. That’s one hundred percent,” he assured Lauer.



Photo Credit: Today]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers D Picks It Up (and Off)]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:35:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/chargers+interceptions.jpg

After coming oh-so-close through the first three games, the Chargers defense was finally able to break through with a pair of interceptions on Sunday.

Safety Eric Weddle and cornerback Brandon Flowers each had a pick in the 33-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, as the team forced three turnovers without committing any. That brings the team’s turnover ratio to a sparking plus-five through the first quarter of the season.

“Creating three turnovers was big,” Chargers coach Mike McCoy said. “On the back end, we really didn’t give up too many plays.”

Both interceptions came at critical times. Flowers’ pick came on the first defensive series of the second half. He jumped Cecil Shorts’ route at midfield, stepping in front of the pass and taking it back into Jaguars territory.

Weddle’s came midway through the fourth quarter as Jacksonville drove into Bolts territory, squelching the last chance the Jags had to get back into the game.

"I think they come in bunches at times," McCoy said of creating turnovers. "You do certain things, you force teams to throw the football when you stop the run. You get good pressure up front. We’ve had our hands on plenty of balls this year. We might not have caught every one of them, obviously, but they made the plays today when they were there."

“When we had a chance to make plays, we made plays,” said Flowers. “I made it my duty to get one today.”

After Sunday’s catch, he now has 18 interceptions in his seven-year career. Defending Shorts – the Jags’ top receiver – for most of the day, Flowers played in all but three defensive snaps.

“Show ‘em one thing and play another,” he said of his strategy on the play.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Tickets Need to be Sold to Avoid Blackout]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:40:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chargers+jags+nfl+8.jpg

Three-thousand tickets are still available for Sunday’s Chargers-Jets game, and if they’re not sold, the game could be blacked out.

The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday targeted the sports blackout rule, voting 5-0 to eliminate the longtime rule that prevents home sports game from being aired if the game isn’t sold out.

That doesn’t mean the blackouts will be gone for good, though, as the NFL has long backed them as a way to maintain robust ticket sales. Plus, they could still occur locally under existing contracts between the NFL and broadcasters, according to Politico.

Last Sunday’s Chargers-Jacksonville game was nearly blacked out until the last several thousand tickets were bought by a handful of local businesses.

If this Sunday’s tickets aren’t sold by Thursday, the game will be blacked out.

Last year, the only two NFL games were blacked out in local markets, including the Bengals against the Charges in San Diego on Dec. 1.

The FCC’s chairman said it’s time sports fans are able to watch the games they want.

“For 40 years, these teams have hidden behind the rule of the FCC,” FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said. “No more.”

An NFL spokesman said Tuesday the league is reviewing the rule change.

The spokesman said the league will work to “find new ways to bring more people to the game and bring the game to more people.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Michael Phelps Arrested for DUI in Maryland]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:21:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tlmd_080212_phelps20i.jpg

Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps was arrested and charged with DUI and other charges in Maryland early Tuesday morning.

Tuesday afternoon, Phelps pleaded for forgiveness on Twitter, writing, "I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility... I am deeply sorry."

Police say Phelps was clocked driving 84 mph in a 45 mph zone on southbound Interstate 395 leaving Baltimore.

An officer then followed Phelps' white 2014 Land Rover through the Fort McHenry Tunnel on northbound Interstate 95, said Maryland Transportation Authority Police.

Phelps was speeding and crossing double lines in the tunnel, they said.

The officer stopped Phelps just beyond the tunnel’s toll plaza. Authorities say he appeared to be under the influence and failed a series of field sobriety tests. Phelps was cooperative during the process, they said.

Phelps was arrested around 1:40 a.m., TMZ first reported. He was charged with DUI, excessive speed and crossing double lane lines, and was later released.

The swimmer posted a series of tweets Tuesday afternoon, apologizing for the incident. "I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility," he said in part. "I know these words may not mean much right now but I am deeply sorry to everyone I have let down."

Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete in history with 22 medals: 18 gold, two silver and two bronze. He won an unprecedented eight gold medals in eight events at the Beijing Games in 2008, and returned to win four more golds at the London Games in 2012.

The swimmer said after the London Games that he was finished with competitive swimming. But he recently returned to the pool, competing in significant championship events this summer. He has not yet confirmed his plans for the Summer Games in Rio in 2016.

Phelps has been charged with DUI previously. In November 2004, he was stopped by state troopers in Salisbury, Maryland, after failing to stop for a stop sign. He was 19 at the time.

In that case, Phelps pleaded guilty to driving while impaired. He was fined $250 and was ordered to serve 18 months probation.

During an interview with Matt Lauer on "Today," Phelps called the event an isolated incident and said he had "let myself down and my family down... I think I let a lot of people in the country down."

Phelps faced further controversy when a photograph surfaced in February 2009 showing him with a water pipe used to smoke tobacco or marijuana.

Phelps publicly apologized and admitted that the image, taken at a student party at the University of South Carolina, was authentic. The brouhaha surrounding the photo resulted in the swimmer losing Kellogg's as a sponsor and a three-month suspension from USA Swimming.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Clock is Now Ticking on McKenzie]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 08:25:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/167*120/regggMck.jpg

Yes, Dennis Allen is gone.

Dropping 10 straight games and having an 8-28 record is certainly grounds for dismissal. Clearly, the Raiders weren’t progressing under their third-year head coach.

But certainly the Raiders’ woes weren’t all because of the coaching.

General manager Reggie McKenzie is now on the clock, too. If owner Mark Davis wants to see results, how much more time will he give McKenzie?

McKenzie came to Oakland with an impeccable reputation as a football man. He was part of the brain trust that built the Green Bay Packers organization. He was a scout, first and foremost.

Yet McKenzie has whiffed badly as a judge of quarterbacks, trading veteran Carson Palmer – who has played well in Arizona – and bringing in two veterans who bellyflopped in Oakland, Matt Flynn and Matt Schaub.

Plus, his second draft class has been notable only for its lack of impact. Top picks D.J. Hayden and Menelik Watson have spent far more time off the field with injuries than in the lineup. Both need playing time to show if they can play – but can’t seem to stay healthy.

As Bill Williamson of ESPN.com wrote Tuesday, McKenzie’s roster “should be better.”

“The Raiders’ issues can no longer be blamed on Al Davis, who died nearly three years ago. It’s on McKenzie now," he wrote. 

“McKenzie and Allen took over a team that won eight games in back-to-back seasons. The Raiders have matched that total in 2¼ years. McKenzie has to come up with some answers or he will likely join his guy (Allen) as one of Oakland’s failures.”

A turnaround on the field this season seems unlikely. Rookie starting quarterback Derek Carr is hurt and may be out of the lineup a while, plus the running game is absent and the defense is leaky.

So, will Davis pull the trigger on McKenzie the day after the 2014 season comes to an end? Or give him one more shot – with perhaps the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft?

McKenzie’s third draft class, after all – with Carr, Khalil Mack, Gabe Jackson and T.J. Carrie, among others – looks like it can play.

But trusting McKenzie for the long-term health of this franchise, at this point, would seem only to be a leap of faith.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wrigley Field Renovation Begins]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 02:00:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Wrigley_reno_.jpg

Construction on the $575 million Wrigley Field renovation project officially went into high gear Monday.

The Chicago Cubs wasted zero time between the end of the baseball season last week and the start of construction.

Over the next six months, workers will expand the bleachers in both outfields, push the stadium's footprint further onto both Waveland Avenue and Sheffield, and lay the foundation for seven new outfield signs along with a 2,400 square foot video scoreboard in right field. The Red and Purple parking lots will also be excavated to make room for underground players' locker rooms and lounges.

Some fans are excited about the changes but others are worried about losing the historic venue's character.

"I don't want to see it get too doctored up with too much commercial-ness, but I appreciate what they're trying to do. I support the Ricketts," a Cubs fan told NBC 5 near the stadium.

"I just think the neighborhood feel of the ballpark's going to be greatly diluted, or maybe disappear," another fan said.

A pending lawsuit looms over the project. Eight nearby rooftop owners are suing the city claiming the project violates their profit-sharing agreement with the team.

The first phase of renovations is expected to completed by Opening Day 2015.

<![CDATA[Bud's Back]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:36:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/preller+1.jpg

As expected there will be no change at manager for the Padres in 2015. In a dugout press conference on Monday General Manager made official what most close to the Padres already knew, Bud Black is keeping his job.

"I think at the end of the day we have a common sense of what we need to do to the ball club. I think there is a mutual respect there," Preller said.

In eight seasons as skipper of the Padres Black has two winning seasons ('07 & '10). He is under contract through 2015.

Photo Credit: Matthew Wood/NBC7]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Run Aground]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 17:04:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/164*120/Donald+Brown+Chargers+-+Jaguars.jpg

The Chargers are 3-1, all alone in first place in the AFC West. Through those first four games, Philip Rivers has been arguably the best quarterback in football. So, all is well is Chargers Land, right?

Not exactly. Rivers has had to be as good as he's been because the Chargers running game is borderline non-existent.

"The big negative, obviously, is the running game," said Chargers head coach Mike McCoy on Monday, a day after his team beat Jacksonville 33-14 despite rushing for only 42 yards on 20 carries. "It's nowhere near where it needs to be."

The Bolts are the only team in football averaging less than three yards a carry (2.4 to be exact).

"We should run the football better," said McCoy. "I've seen it done with the guys we have."

However, they don't currently have some of the guys they have. Injuries to Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead are tough to overcome. Could it simply be the Chargers don't have enough talent right now to run the ball?

"No, we have plenty of talent here," said McCoy. "We have plenty of talent to run the ball. It's execution. We have to execute it better."

If it's not talent, then let's look at other factors. They have played some dominant defenses. The Bills, Cardinals and Seahawks are ranked 3rd, 4th and 5th, respectively, against the run. It's too early in the season to tell if the Chargers are not running well because the teams they've faced are really good, or if the teams they've faced are really good because they've played the Chargers. It's probably a bit of both.

"Yeah, there are some good defenses, but we've got a good offense," said McCoy. "I know we can run the football better. We will run the football better. We have to run the football better."

The Bolts may have a solution. Rookie Branden Oliver showed enough against the Jaguars (nine carries for 23 yards) to provide a glimmer of hope, especially if the guys up front get just a couple more blocks.

"He did a great job," said McCoy. "He's just going to get better with time. If we get him a few more creases, there are going to be some explosive plays."

The Chargers could use a few of those next Sunday against the Jets. New York comes to Qualcomm Stadium with the NFL's #1 run defense.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[10 Random Questions with DJ Fluker ]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:31:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP549508450744.jpg

Pro football player Daniel Lee Jesus "D.J." Fluker, 23, joined the San Diego Chargers in 2013.

The New Orleans, LA native has made San Diego - and the Q - his home.

We wanted to get to know more about him so we asked him the following 10 random questions.

NBC7: What was your first car?
1994 green Ford Explorer

NBC7: What’s your favorite food?

NBC7: What’s your typical breakfast?
“I usually eat at Waffle House. We get the All-American breakfast – pancakes, waffles, gotta get the pancakes, eggs and ham – gotta have it all.”

NBC7: Where’s one place on Earth you’d like to go?
“Brazil. I would love to go there. Probably won’t come back though." (laughs)

NBC7: Necktie: Full Windsor, half Windsor or bolo?

NBC7: What music do you listen to before a game?
Mix of gospel and a little hip-hop now and then.

NBC7: Do you have any pets?
“No, Thank God. “

NBC7: What’s the last movie you saw?
“'Purge.' It was interesting, A little bit crazy.”

NBC7: What’s your favorite TV show?
“'Family Guy.' Love Stewart”

NBC7: Best first choice for a pickup basketball team – Danny Woodhead or you?
“If you want that power guy in the middle, you call Fluke. But you want Woodhead for the point man so I suggest you go with him.”

Watch NBC 7's Football Night in San Diego on Sundays after NBC Sunday Night Football to see these and other stories on the San Diego Chargers.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Scenes From Chargers-Jaguars]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:37:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chargers+jags+nfl+5.jpg Photos from the Chargers' 33-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jets' Geno Smith Curses at Fan]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 05:33:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Geno-Smith-Lashes-Out-0925.jpg

Geno Smith completely lost his cool — and maybe a bit of his grip on the Jets' starting quarterback job.

Frustrated after a third straight loss and calls for his backup increasing, Smith was caught by a TV camera yelling an expletive at a heckler in the stands as he walked off the MetLife Stadium field following a 24-17 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

"Before we start this off, first of all I want to apologize if any kids saw me saying any negative remarks walking off the field," Smith said to open his postgame news conference. "I kind of let my temper get the best of me in that situation, and it's a part of my learning process."

Smith had two more turnovers as chants of "We Want Vick!" echoed throughout the stadium at times, perhaps none louder than after he was intercepted by Darius Slay in the fourth quarter.

"That stuff, to me, is B.S.," wide receiver Eric Decker said of the chants.

Asked what he thought when he heard the calls for Vick, defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was blunt.

"Shut up," Richardson said. "If that's the case, produce a child who can come and make it to the NFL and let's see what he's got. Other than that, just shut up."

Vick didn't get into this one, and coach Rex Ryan confirmed that Smith will start again for the Jets (1-3) next Sunday at San Diego despite his struggles.

"No, I'm not going to replace him," Ryan said. "I feel good about Geno. I think he will get it turned (around). He's a tough, resilient young man. I think we're going to win. We'll win soon."

Smith was 17 of 33 for 209 yards, including an 11-yard TD pass to Decker, but threw an interception and lost a fumble — giving him seven turnovers in four games.

That's what has many fans frustrated, tired of the mistakes being made by the second-year quarterback.

"He's got to keep his composure, no matter how frustrated he gets," Richardson said. "But it happens."

Despite the skid and the struggles, the Jets players insist they still believe in Smith as the starting quarterback.

"One hundred percent, yeah," Decker said. "It's hard to see him take, really, all the criticism. It's not just him. Everyone is doing this together. ... We've got to make some plays for him, take some pressure off him."

Matthew Stafford got the Lions up and down the field — even without Calvin Johnson being much of a factor.

Stafford threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score and the Lions overcame Johnson being limited by an ankle injury. Jeremy Ross and Eric Ebron caught scoring passes for the Lions, who are off to a 3-1 start for the second straight season. Stafford finished 24 of 34 for 293 yards, and appeared unfazed by his top receiver being in and out of the game.

Johnson was clearly impeded by his injured ankle, which had him questionable for the game. He had just two catches for 12 yards, but Golden Tate picked up for him, catching eight passes for 116 yards.

"We knew Calvin was going to be limited today and we were hoping to not have to use him unless it was an emergency," wide receiver Golden Tate said. "I think we responded well."

The Jets, who made it close on Chris Johnson's 35-yard run with 6:58 left, fell to 1-3 for the first time in Ryan's six seasons as coach.

New York stayed in it by scoring on its first possession of the second half, an 11-yard touchdown from Smith to Decker midway through the third quarter that made it 17-10.

But the Lions reclaimed control on Stafford's 1-yard run for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to give Detroit a 24-10 lead. Stafford's run — upheld by video review — capped a 14-play, 90-yard scoring drive.

"We have the ability," Decker said. "It's about executing the plays. Period."

NOTES: On New York's next possession after Slay's interception, former Jets safety James Ihedigbo had a strip sack of Smith on New York's next possession. The fumble was recovered by Darryl Tapp. ... Jets WR David Nelson (left ankle) and S Calvin Pryor (thigh) left and didn't return. CB Antonio Allen also had a significant limp after the game. Lions RB Joique Bell was being evaluated for a head injury, while running back Theo Riddick and fullback Montell Owens left with hamstring injuries. Neither coach had any updates.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Padres End Season With Loss]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 00:13:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/178*120/456113122_8.jpg

In a season where the pitching has been their strong suit, it let the Padres down in their final game of 2014. Starter Robbie Erlin (4-5) didn't make it out of the second inning in the Friars 9-3 loss to the Giants at AT&T Park.

Reliever Nick Vincent got knocked around in a four-run seventh inning that put the game away for the Giants.

The Padres ended the season at 77-85, a two-game improvement over the past two years.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Cruise to Victory Over Jaguars]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:15:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chargers+0928.jpg

It wasn't as easy as expected for the Chargers on Sunday. At the end of the day, they came away with another dominating performance.

Philip Rivers picked apart yet another defense and the Chargers cruised to their third straight victory, 33-14 over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday.

The Chargers quarterback threw for 29 of 40 for 377 yards and three touchdowns. It's his 24th straight game with a TD, breaking a franchise record he set in 2010.

The Bolts trailed for much of the first half before pulling away with 23 straight points in the final 31 minutes.

"We started getting first downs, got in a rhythm," Rivers said.

Eddie Royal caught a pair of touchdowns -- both in the first half -- for the second straight game.

"Those big plays kinda were there before and we just missed on them, so it’s good to have success on them," he said. "We work so hard on them during the week in practice and it’s just good to see us get touchdowns and big plays on those."

Keenan Allen had 10 receptions for 135 yards, setting single-game career highs for each.

"It was a lot of fun," he said. "I felt like every catch was a big catch. I just got in the mood, got in the zone and Philip kept throwing the ball. Whenever he threw it, I just kept coming down with it, trying to make a play."

"It was his day," Chargers coach Mike McCoy said of Allen.

Things started slow for the Chargers, favored by 13 points coming in. Blake Bortles hit Nic Jacobs for a 2-yard score midway through the second quarter to give the Jags a 14-10 lead.

But the Bolts (3-1) bounced back late in the second quarter on Royal's second touchdown, a 43-yard strike that put the Chargers up by 3 at the half.

"Once we settled down, we started playing football the way we needed to," McCoy said.

They added to that on a nine-play drive to start the second half, culminating in a nice 24-yard TD reception by Malcolm Floyd.

"I just got outside of him, slipped the fade and (Rivers) put it in a great spot where I could catch it," Floyd said.

Nick Novak added a trio of field goals to give the Chargers their final margin of victory. He finished with four FGs on the day.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jaguars at Chargers: Who To Watch For]]> Sat, 27 Sep 2014 22:03:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/163*120/Rivers+In+Jacksonville.jpg

The point of this weekly segment is to highlight players who aren't the typical superstars. Guys like Philip Rivers. This week we will do that, but first we do have to talk about Philip Rivers.

The Chargers quarterback's recent performances against the Jaguars are just too darn good to not talk about.

Rivers is 3-1 in four career starts against the Jags. His lone loss came in 2007, by a touchdown in northern Florida. 2007 also happens to be the last year the Jags went to the playoffs.

Since then, it's been all Rivers all the time. In three games since, all wins (played in 2010, 2011 and 2013), the Chargers have outscored Jacksonville 100-33, with Rivers being almost ruthlessly efficient.

In the three games combined, Philip has completed 66 of 83 passes (a ridiculous 79.5% completion rate) for 913 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions. Last year in Jacksonville, Rivers completed his first 14 passes and only missed four throws.

Jacksonville comes in to the game with the worst passing defense in the NFL. It's not just that they're ranked 32nd, it's that they're not even close to the team that's ranked 31st (Denver). The Jags are allowing 21 more passing yards a game than the Broncos. For a little perspective, 21 yards is also the difference between Denver and Baltimore, but the Ravens are ranked 25th, meaning there are five more teams grouped in there.

In Week 2, Redskins QB Kirk Cousins came off the bench and threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns. The very next week against the Giants, with a full week to prepare, Cousins was picked off four times and lost a fumble.

The Jags aren't just bad, they're on the road to being historically bad.

Yes, it's only a three-game sample, but with the way Rivers has played against Cardinals, Seahawks and Bills (three of the league's better pass defenses), it stands to reason he's in for a mammoth game Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium.

However, he won't be able to rely on his usual crew to do it. Injuries have made a rather large dent in the Chargers available roster for this game. And that brings us to this week's players to watch:

Johnnie Troutman or Chris Watt or Doug Legursky, C:

When asked who would be the starting center if Rich Ohrnberger can't play, all head coach Mike McCoy would say is, "We have a plan in place." Well, Ohrnberger can't play, so that plan had better be a good one. Interestingly, for as bad as the Jaguars have been on defense, they do have a good pass rush. Jacksonville is second in the NFL with 10 sacks, so they have the ability to get after the QB. The center helps with line calls, a vital part of blocking, especially when Rivers changes the play at the line of scrimmage, something he has done plenty of the last two years. Whomever does do the snapping will have to know the scheme well enough to put guys in place to give Rivers time to pick apart the porous Jags defense. Troutman has been in the system the longest, but only played a few pre-season snaps at center. Watt is a rookie who played guard at Notre Dame but has been groomed to move to center since the Draft. Legursky has started NFL games at center, including Super Bowl XLV against the Packers, but has only been in San Diego for three weeks. The saving grace here is offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris, one of the top three line coaches in the game. If anyone can get a guy ready to have success on short notice, it's Coach Joe D.

Richard Marshall, S/CB:

The Jags are giving Blake Bortles, the 3rd overall pick in the Draft, his first NFL start at the Q. The kid is big, strong and mobile, and he likes to get the ball down field. That can be good for an offense because it adds the threat of big plays. But, it can also be good for a defense because more balls in the air mean more chances for interceptions and Bortles doesn't really know how to read an NFL defense all that well yet. Cornerback Jason Verrett is questionable with a hamstring injury so Marshall, who's been playing mostly safety this season, could have more chances to move back to his native CB spot. This is a guy with 18 career interceptions, but he's yet to snag one in 19 games with the Bolts. Something tells me he'll be in the right spot to pick one off, something no member of the Chargers defense has done this year.

John Phillips, TE:

No Ryan Mathews. No Danny Woodhead. Possibly no David Johnson, who's questionable to play. So, John Phillips becomes one of the most valuable assets on the offense this weekend. He's played all three games and not even been targeted in the passing game. But, with Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green, catching the ball is not Phillips' job. He's an exceptional blocker, both in the run game and pass protection. The Bolts will not stop trying to run the ball and just have Rivers throw in 60 times (although something tells me Philip would not mind that too much). They need balance, and even though Brown only averaged 2.0 yards on his 31 carries last weekend in Buffalo and we're not sure how much confidence they have in Branden Oliver yet, offensive coordinator Frank Reich will abandon the ground game. So, Phillips will be a vital piece to make that work. Oh, and don't be surprised to see Rivers peek over and see if he can sneak a pass or two his way, as well.

Derek's Prediction:

People have tried to convince me all week this is a "Trap Game." That's not only false, it's factually incorrect.

A trap, by definition, must be designed to have no way out. After this game, the Chargers play the Jets, Raiders and Chiefs. That's not exactly a Murderer's Row a team might catch itself looking ahead to.

With the injuries, it probably won't be as one-sided as it would be, and jokes aside, Jacksonville does have a puncher's chance to win this one. I've seen stranger things happen in sports. It's just not going to happen this week.

Rivers once again dissects the Jaguars secondary en route to a multiple touchdown, zero turnover day. The ground game is good enough and the defense forces Bortles in to a few bad throws, actually holding on to a couple this time.

Consider this payback for pawning off Derek Cox on San Diego last year.

Chargers 34, Jaguars 20

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Peavy, Giants Top Padres]]> Sat, 27 Sep 2014 20:06:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/178*120/456210204.jpg

For seven and a half years, Jake Peavy was among the most popular of Padres players. In 2009, he was traded to the White Sox, and stayed in the American League with Chicago and Boston until this year, when a mid-season trade to San Francisco sent him back to the N.L. West.

During all that time away, Peavy never had a chance to face the team for which he won the 2007 Cy Young Award. That changed on Saturday at AT&T Park, when the Giants met the Padres in the final game of the season.

Alas, there was none of the nostalgia you'd expect. It's only been five years, but the only guys still with the franchise from Jake's time are outfielder Will Venable, pitcher Tim Stauffer, manager Bud Black and pitching coach Darren Balsley.

So, it was really just another day at the office for Peavy, who threw 5.0 innings, allowing one run and taking a no-decision in a game the Giants eventually won 3-1. The only run Jake allowed came on a sacrifice fly by Yasmani Grandal that brought home (quite fittingly) Venable.

Padres starter Eric Stults was, as he's been for the last couple of months, fantastic. The lefty allowed one run in 7.0 innings, but since he once again received little run support (Stults was backed up by the 4th-fewest runs of any starter in the league) he took a no-decision.

With the game tied 1-1 in the 8th inning, Dale Thayer loaded the bases on a single, a fielder's choice, an error and two walks. After striking out Pablo Sandoval for the second out, Thayer gave up a bloop single to Brandon Crawford and the winning runs scored.

The Padres and Giants play the final game of the regular season (which will not be the final game of San Francisco's year) on Sunday in San Francisco. San Diego sends LHP Robbie Erlin to the mound against Chris Heston, who will make his first career Major League start.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Eagles Coach Sends Gift to Girl]]> Sat, 27 Sep 2014 05:26:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/215*120/Devon-Still-and-Daughter.jpg

Chip Kelly may be all-business on the football field, but the Eagles head coach proved to be a true class act off the gridiron after he showed his support for an NFL player and his young daughter who is battling cancer at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Kelly sent a gift basket and flowers to 4-year-old Leah Still Friday after her successful operation. Leah’s father, defensive tackle Devon Still, posted a photo of the gift on his Instagram page, thanking Kelly and the Eagles.

Still and his daughter have captured the hearts of millions of people nationwide as she continues to receive treatment at CHOP. The Delaware native and former Penn State Nittany Lion was cut from the Cincinnati Bengals in August. However, the Bengals re-signed Still to their practice squad in order to help him pay for his daughter’s medical treatment after she was diagnosed with cancer.

After the Bengals decided to donate proceeds from his jersey sales to the Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati and pediatric cancer care and research, Still’s No. 75 jersey quickly became the team’s top seller.

Still has kept his followers updated on his daughter’s progress, posting a video of a pep talk he gave her prior to her surgery.

Still later announced Thursday a surgeon at CHOP was able to remove her tumor, lymph nodes and right adrenal gland where her cancer originated. He also stated however that his daughter’s battle was far from over, as doctors still need to remove the cancer from her bone marrow.


Photo Credit: NBC10.com
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<![CDATA[Padres Reach 77 Wins]]> Sat, 27 Sep 2014 00:03:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/178*120/456166226.jpg

In 2011 and 2012, the Padres finished with 76 wins. Actually, the Padres had finished with 76 wins in four of the previous 14 seasons.

So, when they beat the Giants 4-1 behind a gem by Ian Kennedy on Friday night in San Francisco, there was a bit of a reason to celebrate.

The Friars earned their 77th win of 2014, meaning they will not be an even 10 games under .500 for the third straight year.

Seth Smith and Rene Rivera had big hits in a 3-run 7th inning that gave Kennedy all the cushion he needed. Ian threw 7.0 innings, striking out six while only allowing one unearned run.

Ian also went over the 200 innings pitched mark, the third time he's done that in his career. Kennedy is the first Padres right-handed pitcher to throw 200 innings since Jake Peavy in 2007.

The Padres can get ambitious and go for their 78th win on Saturday afternoon at AT&T Park.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Injury Report: Jags vs. Chargers]]> Sat, 27 Sep 2014 09:51:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/176*120/455878674.jpg

The biggest problem an NFL team can face is TMZ.

But, the second biggest problem an NFL team can face is injuries, which is the plague currently working its black magic on the San Diego Chargers.

The injury report is out for Sunday's home game against Jacksonville. We knew Ryan Mathews and Manti Te'o would not play, that's not a surprise.

But, the Bolts also won't have versatile linebacker Reggie Walker, who's out with an ankle injury. Linebacker Jerry Attaochu is doubtful (that means only a 25-percent chance he'll play), as is center Rich Ohrnberger, who's been really good filling in for Nick Hardwick.

Tight ends Ladarius Green and David Johnson are a 50-50 shot at suiting up. Same for defensive back Jason Verrett. That's a lot of change at only a few positions.

So, who's actually going to play?

The Bolts are already thin at outside linebacker, with Melvin Ingram out until at least November. The veterans, Dwight Freeney and Jarret Johnson, will have to play a lot of snaps. They'll be backed up Tourek Williams, who's in his second year, and Cordarro Law, the rookie they just brought up from the practice squad who spent the last two seasons with Calgary in the Canadian Football League.

Kavell Conner will start next to Donald Butler on the inside, with Andrew Gachkar and the freshly signed Kevin Reddick ready to launch on Alert 5.

Another huge concern is at center. It's looking like either Johnnie Troutman, who worked at center in the pre-season but has never started a game there; Chris Watt, a rookie from Notre Dame who was a guard in college; or Doug Legursky, the former Steelers center who was signed after Hardwick went on injured reserve, will get the start.

If there's a positive in any of this, it's Philip Rivers. He's worked with less before and pulled out wins. Add in the fact they're playing the 0-3 Jaguars, and if a team had to choose a week for a rash of injuries, this would be the one to pick.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Tight End Ladarius Green Injured]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:58:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/keenan+allen+ladarius+green+top+target.jpg

The Chargers added another player to their injury list.

Tight end Ladarius Green hurt his hamstring and had to miss some of practice Thursday.

That makes 13 of their 53 guys who have some kind of ailment, and even of them - Ryan Mathews, Manti Te'o, Jerry Attaochu, David Johnson, Rich Ohrnberger, Jason Verrett and Reggie Walker - have not practiced at all this week.

If anyone but Jacksonville was coming to town this Sunday, I'd be concerned.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jeter's Nephew Tips Hat]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 15:09:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-09-26+at+9.59.36+AM.jpg

There were many emotional moments during Derek Jeter’s final home game at Yankee Stadium Thursday night, but the most adorable was a simple tip of the cap from his young nephew.

Little Jalen was there in the stands and watched as his famous uncle hit the walk-off single that would end his reign in the Bronx.

The Captain’s biggest fan grabbed the brim of his Re2pect cap and tipped it to Jeter. It’s a moment you can watch over and over again.

Jeter plans to play three more games, but Thursday night was his last at shortstop.

When the Yankees head to Fenway Park in Boston, Jeter plans to be the designated hitter.

Photo Credit: MLB
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<![CDATA[Road Weary]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 00:10:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/178*120/456115160.jpg

Thursday was National Comic Book Day. So, in honor of the occasion, the Padres and Giants turned AT&T Park in San Francisco in to "Bizarro World."

The Padres offense scored a lot of runs. The Padres pitching staff gave up a lot of runs. Everything was backwards, and the Giants came out with a 9-8 win and a Wild Card spot (which they had already locked up because of the Brewers losing in the afternoon, but celebrating after a win is still more fun).

Andrew Cashner allowed six runs in 5.0 innings, putting San Francisco up 6-0. That's usually far too much for the Padres to overcome, but lo and behold, they pulled it off.

In the 6th inning, Will Venable and Yasmani Grandal hit home runs.

In the 7th inning, Grandal hit a grand slam and Rene Rivera smashed a solo homer, giving San Diego's hitters eight runs in a mere two innings. There have been times this season the Friars haven't scored eight runs in an entire series.

However, the normally reliable bullpen could not hold the lead. Blaine Boyer surrendered three runs in the 7th, giving the Giants the last runs they needed. It's the first time this season the Padres have scored at least seven runs and not won a game.

A night after beating the Rockies at home to finish with a 48-33 record at Petco Park (a new high mark for their 10-year-old home) the Padres were done in by their inability to win away from the East Village.

Only five teams in baseball have a better home record than the Padres. All five of them are going to the playoffs, while the Friars will finish under .500.

So, it appears they've solved the mystery of how to win at Petco. Now they have 29 other ballparks to figure out.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Derek Jeter Through the Years]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 06:14:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/153334595.jpg A look back at some of the most memorable moments of the Captain's career.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Derek Jeter's Last Game at Yankee Stadium]]> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 23:46:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/456108670.jpg As if on cue, the rain let up, a rainbow came out and Derek Jeter began his final home game with one more jolt.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Avoid Blackout for Sunday's Game]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:54:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chargers+blackout+lifted+jags.jpg

Chargers fans hoping to watch Sunday’s game on TV can breathe a sigh of relief. The game won’t be blacked out.

It will be shown live on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. (on CBS) as the Bolts host the Jacksonville Jaguars.

As of Tuesday, more than 5,000 tickets were still available. But an alliance between Union Bank, Donovan’s Steak & Chop House, KFMB, the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians and the Brigantine Family of Restaurants guaranteed the purchase of enough tickets to lift the NFL’s local blackout on games that aren’t sold out.

Tickets purchased by the groups will be given to local youth organizations and the Armed Services YMCA.

Some tickets still remain for those who want to see the game in person. They can be purchased on the Chargers website or at Qualcomm Stadium.

As of Thursday afternoon, tickets were going for as cheap as $60 on the Chargers site. You can get a pair for just $28.20 on secondary sales site StubHub.

Of course, if you do go, don’t expect a close game. The Chargers are favored by 13 points over the winless Jags.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>