<![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 Sun, 23 Nov 2014 04:45:26 -0800 Sun, 23 Nov 2014 04:45:26 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Chargers Finalize Injury Report (We Think)]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 23:41:19 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/176*120/491456531.jpg

The Chargers host the Rams on Sunday, and if the Bolts offense is going to continue to struggle like it has been (a distinct possibility against a Rams defense that held the Broncos to seven points last week), San Diego's defense is going to have to be at least as good as it was a week ago against the Raiders.

One of the guys who really made a name for himself in helping the Bolts hold Oakland to six points was defensive tackle Ryan Carrethers. The rookie from Arkansas State made his first career N-F-L start and turned the head of head coach Mike McCoy.

"He really stepped up his game, which was great to see," said McCoy on Monday.

The progress Carrethers has made since training camp was obvious. He made three tackles and disrupted several other plays. But, he was held to just 24 snaps because he sustained an elbow injury. It looked pretty bad coming off the field on Sunday. On Monday, McCoy was asked how Ryan was doing.

"Doing good," said McCoy. "He felt great last night."

So great, in fact, that Carrethers did not practice all week and has already been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Rams. It's good timing that veteran Sean Lissemore is returning from his leg injury. And I suppose, in a week where we had to wonder just what part of quarterback Philip Rivers is hurt, and how severe that injury is, we should just expect to never know how a player is doing.

Speaking of Rivers, the Rams have one of the most imposing pass rushes in football. Their head coach, Jeff Fisher, has told his players to take shots at the stars of other teams in the past. And, don't forget St. Louis defensive coordinator Gregg William is the guy who helped orchestrate the bounty scandal in New Orleans. Rivers knows he's going to take some body shots. But, he knew that when St. Louis appeared on the schedule.

"I don't expect I'll get hit any harder on Sunday than they already try to," said Rivers. "That's part of it. They can only hit us in so many areas now. Those defensive guys don't have a lot of room. The midsection is one of those areas they're allowed to hit, so I'm sure it'll be just like always."

Have we mentioned Philip Rivers is tough lately?

Safety Jahleel Addae and center Rich Ohrnberger are the only other question marks for the Chargers. Everyone else will be available to play.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Buffalo Bills Hitch Rides Aboard Snowmobiles]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:53:34 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/KRAIG+URBIK1.JPG

Up to seven feet of snow wasn't going to stop the Buffalo Bills from flying out to Detroit for Monday’s game against the Jets — even if some players needed a novel way to get to the Bills’ stadium and a bus to the airport.

“Just texted with a Bills player who was picked up on a snowmobile to head to his game,” tweeted Albert Breer, national reporter for the NFL Network. “So in 10 years of covering the NFL, that’s a first.”

The game was supposed to have been played in Buffalo on Sunday, but was moved to Detroit because of the deadly storm.

The blizzard dropped 85 inches of snow on Buffalo, enough to bury Snookie, Jim Kelly and even Yao Ming.

On The MMQB, Peter King describes the planning that went into the "snowmobile rescues."

"I have covered the NFL for 30 years, and I must say I have never heard an NFL executive say he hoped a snowmobile would come up big for his team in advance of a game with big playoff implications," he wrote.



Photo Credit: EMILY URBIK
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<![CDATA[Lakers Look to Sweep Roadie in Dallas]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:52:22 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Mavericks-Kobe-Dirk-Nowitzki.jpg

On Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Dallas Mavericks to conclude a road trip that will be viewed as a success regardless of what happens at the American Airlines Center. The Mavs lost three of their first seven games, but Dallas has won five straight entering Friday night.

Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki have been splitting Dallas' scoring load this season with Ellis averaging 19.7 points per game and Nowitzki averaging 19.1 points per game. Ellis is coming off a 34-point outing against the Washington Wizards, but the 36-year-old Nowitzki was drawing praise for hitting a big three late in the game.

On the subject of 36-year-olds, Kobe Bryant still leads the NBA in scoring with 27.5 points per game. In Houston, he scored 29 points and logged 40 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back. At this point, the on-court evidence makes it impossible to question the shooting guard's condition and recovery from major injuries.

Bryant may be the ringleader, but he has help.

Jordan Hill has already collected six double-doubles through 12 games this season. In particular, Hill has been finishing games with put-backs and offensive rebounds that have been crucial in winning games. With 4.7 offensive rebounds per game, Jordan Hill leads the NBA. Also, the big man's jump shot started falling again, and Hill appears comfortable in the Lakers' offense.

If Hill has been finishing strong, Carlos Boozer has been doing the opposite. Boozer has been aggressively scoring the basketball early in games before trailing off a bit in second halves. Against Houston, Boozer struggled mightily in the third and fourth quarters. With Hill and Boozer taking turns offensively, the Lakers appear to be developing a formula for success.

The Lakers' biggest asset at the moment--excluding Kobe Bryant--is Nick Young. The lively personality has drawn significant attention for entering a team locker room that was bordering on toxic and changing it into a happy environment where guys started having fun again. Most importantly, Young's return has resulted in two wins straight wins.

The Lakers and Mavericks tip-off in Dallas at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Notes: Steve Nash and Julius Randle remain sidelined for the remainder of the season. Ryan Kelly is out due to a torn hamstring. Wayne Ellington returns after missing six games due to a family tragedy.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Add to 40-Man Roster]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:52:05 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/178*120/lee+copy.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers, Thursday, added pitchers Zach Lee and Chris Reed and outfielder Scott Schebler to the organization’s expanded 40-man roster.

What that does is make all three, technically, Major League players and even if they are assigned to a minor league club, which is the most likely scenario, it moves their names up the list of potential call ups to the 25-man Major League team should they be called upon.

Lee, 23, ended this past season in Triple-A Albuquerque with a 7-13 record with a 5.18 ERA and is rated by Baseball America as the Dodgers fourth-ranked prospect.

The right-hander was the team’s top pick in the 2010 draft and named the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year in 2013. With the Dodgers bullpen still in need of a makeover, it’s quite possible Lee could be in the running for a long reliever spot come Spring Training.

Reed finished last season with a 4-11 record and a 4.26 ERA between stops in Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Albuquerque. The 24-year-old also made the all-star team as part of the Lookouts.

The minors are for development not numbers but Reed’s 9-31 record and 4.12 ERA in four minor league seasons is a bit of an eyebrow raiser.

Schebler is rated by MLB.com as the Dodgers ninth-best minor prospect and he’s proved it on the field. Schebler has shown that he’s a legitimate power hitter by blasting 28 home runs in Double-A in 2014, after hitting 27 the year before in the High-A California League. But, just like a power hitter Schebler strikes out way too much. He’s whiffed 250 times in the past two seasons combined.

At 24 years old Schebler is at the age when teams decide if a player will be part of the future, or a placeholder for the next crop of younger talent.

Schebler will have a shot to show what he’s made of in 2015 with his new promotion.

The Dodgers now have 39 players on their 40-man roster.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jose Canseco Pranks Everyone with Finger Hoax]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:56:59 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP565783519558.jpg

Looks like Jose Canseco gave everyone the finger. 

The former Major League Baseball player took to Twitter at the end of October to announce that he had shot off his middle digit and had it reattached during surgery. Last week, Canseco claimed that the mangled finger fell off during a poker tournament because it had been “very loose” and “smelling really bad.” He also said he would be selling the thumb and gun that shot it off on eBay a few days later.

“Maybe I will make it a package the chrome 45 caliber Remington with the finger both for sale a package deal," he tweeted on Nov. 17.

But despite continuing to post on social media about the plan, Canseco reportedly will not be selling his appendage to the highest bidder—it was all just a prank.

When TMZ reporters followed up about the details of the unique eBay sale, Canseco finally admitted it was all a hoax, the site reported. He said he thought of the whole plan when he saw a fake finger in a Halloween store. 

What remains true, NBC Sports reports, is that the prankster did shoot off his finger but had it successfully reconnected with surgery.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Chargers Playoff Watch: Who to Root For]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 12:12:51 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/ryan+mathews+practice.jpg

As we zoom through the final third of the NFL season, the playoff picture is starting to become clear for the Chargers.

At this point, the important thing is to be in the conversation, exactly where the Bolts find themselves. Let’s take a look at what they’ll need to do and who to root for in the upcoming Week 12.

First of all, you hate to get too melodramatic with more than a month left in the season, but the Chargers (6-4) more or less saved their playoff chances by hanging on for an ugly 13-6 victory over the winless Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

A loss there and …  well, we don’t even want to think about that.

Now they face the 4-6 St. Louis Rams at home on Sunday in another one of those win-or-you’re-in-trouble games. Its importance is heightened when you look at the rest of the schedule: Five games against teams with records of 6-4 or better, including both AFC West co-leaders in the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.

Looking at the Chargers’ place in the AFC standings, it’s a big ol’ mess in the hunt for the two wild card spots. Right now the Bolts are in eighth place, but tied in record with three other teams – Miami, Baltimore and Cleveland. The Dolphins lead the Chargers after beating them earlier this season, while the Chargers have the tiebreaker edge over the Ravens and Browns because of a better conference record.

The Chiefs (7-3) are alone in fifth place, but would take over the No. 2 seed if they pass the Broncos for the division lead. The Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4) are alone in sixth place. Here is a look at the wild card standings:

5. Kansas City – 7-3
6. Pittsburgh – 7-4
7. Miami – 6-4
8. Chargers – 6-4
9. Baltimore – 6-4
10. Cleveland – 6-4

So, who should Bolts fans be rooting for this weekend? Here’s a breakdown of games affecting their postseason hopes.

First, the biggest game of the week is the Broncos hosting the Dolphins on Sunday at 1:25 p.m. Since we can’t root for both teams to lose, the best situation would be for a Miami win. In fact, just plan on rooting against the Broncos and Chiefs the rest of the season. But Bolts fans are used to that.

Speaking of, the Chiefs get the aforementioned winless Raiders on Thursday night. Yes, Oakland is 0-10, but they’ve been competitive in a number of games – including both contests with the Chargers. The game is in Oakland, where it’s never easy to play. Don’t hold your breath on a Kansas City loss, but crazier things have happened.

In other important games, the Browns play on the road at the Atlanta Falcons at 10 a.m. while the Ravens head to New Orleans to play the Saints on Monday night. Bolts fans will be rooting hard for the NFC teams in those games.

The Steelers have their bye this week.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Get Second Road Win in Houston]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 06:37:42 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Rockets-Kobe-Bryant_11-19-14.jpg

On Wednesday night, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers continued to play competitive basketball despite playing their second road game in as many nights, and the Lakers came away winners for only the third time in the 2014-15 season.

With Dwight Howard ruled out due to a strained right knee at the last moment, the Lakers went inside early and often. At the half, the Lakers had outscored Houston 24-14 in points in the paint. By the final buzzer, the Lakers held a 38-20 advantage in that category.

Defensively, the Lakers were packing the paint and preventing Houston from getting layups and fast break points. However, Houston took advantage of the Lakers' poor three-point defense. The Rockets made nine of their 19 shot attempts from the outside in the first half, and Kostas Papanikolaou was especially lethal off the bench.

The Greek national made four of his five shots from long distance to help Houston to a two-point lead at the halftime intermission.

In the second half, the James Harden came to life. After only scoring only four points in the first half, Houston's star player scored 13 points in the third quarter to provide the Rockets with a five-point lead entering the fourth quarter.

The deficit was partially due to Bryant struggling from the field in the third period. Bryant only made two of his 11 shots in the quarter, but he did find Jordan Hill on three straight baskets. Also Bryant was able to get to the foul line and entered the final quarter with 20 points and six assists.

As such, the Lakers were within striking distance on the road entering the fourth quarter.

At the start of the final period, the Lakers looked to Carlos Boozer for points. Boozer made five of nine shots in the first half, but he missed on three straight shots to start the fourth quarter. Combined with the Rockets hitting their 15th three-pointer of the night, the Lakers fell behind by seven points.

Immediately, Lakers' coach Byron Scott brought back Hill and Bryant. Approaching the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter, the Lakers had already taken the lead behind a flurry of baskets from Nick Young. From there on out, the see-saw battle began.

Bryant continued to struggle with his shot in the fourth quarter and Harden continued to heat up. The Rockets stretched their lead to five-points at the two-minute mark.

Bryant, who had missed three of his four shots in the quarter, made a fall-away jump shot from the top of the key and got fouled in the process. After the free throw, the Lakers were within two points with 1:43 to play in the game. At the one-minute mark, the Lakers trailed by only one, as the chase was on.

Then, Wesley Johnson stepped forward and made a crucial steal on Harden before finishing at the rim and completing the three-point play. With the play, the Lakers took a two-point lead that they would never relinquish.

Bryant would finish with a game-high 29 points, and the Lakers won 98-92. Next, LA will travel to Dallas in the hopes to sweep the road trip. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rivers Ready for Rams]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:53:29 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/Rivers+hurt+Raiders.jpg

On Monday Chargers head coach Mike McCoy was on his own answering (or not answering) questions regarding the injury status of quarterback Philip Rivers.

Wednesday he was at the podium again after practice and didn't mince words when asked about his starting quarterback. "He looked great on the practice field today and will play on Sunday, " McCoy repeated three times to start his press conference.

But unlike Monday, Rivers spoke to the media and did his best to set the record straight, "I feel good. It's part of playing the position, but I feel as good as I could ask for at this point in the season."

Chest injury / full participation is how Rivers was listed on the official Wednesday practice report. "Shoot, if we told you every nick and knack we had it would be a long list, things you wouldn't care to hear about and things not worth reporting, that's for sure, " Rivers joked.

So it looks as though "rib-gate" is now in the rear view mirror. "It's nothing that is going to linger or cause me to miss any time, " Rivers added.

The Chargers (6-4)  face the Rams (4-6) at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[USC's Josh Shaw Won't Be Charged]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 18:29:56 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/lafile-usc-football-player-josh-shaw.jpg

Josh Shaw has been cleared to play football for USC after prosecutors declined to files criminal charges against him, the school's athletic director announced Tuesday.

Shaw, a senior defensive back and co-captain, had been suspended since he lied to school officials about how he sprained his ankles in a preseason fall.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office said that it will not file domestic charges against Shaw after he jumped from a balcony following an argument with his girlfriend in late August.

USC also conducted its own internal investigation of Shaw.

"Based on these investigations and their conclusions, and the 10-game suspension Josh has served for code of conduct violations, we have made the decision to reinstate him," said USC athletic director Pat Haden.

Haden said coach Steve Sarkisian can decide whether to use Shaw in the Trojans' final two games of the regular season.

"I’ve welcomed Josh Shaw back to the team. I’m now in the process of evaluating how Josh can contribute to the team’s success," Sarkisian said in a statement Tuesday.

The No. 19 Trojans (7-3, 6-2 Pac-12) will play their crosstown rivals, the No. 9 UCLA Bruins, on Saturday.

The Trojans likely could use Shaw's help in their patchwork secondary, where Shaw's absence has forced the Trojans to use untested youngsters.

USC's starting cornerbacks are junior Kevon Seymour - Shaw's roommate - and rising freshman Adoree Jackson, while underclassmen Chris Hawkins, John Plattenburg, Leon McQuay III and Jonathan Lockett have received extensive playing time along with senior safety Gerald Bowman.

But Shaw hasn't practiced with the Trojans since training camp, and it's unclear whether he is in game shape, let alone fully versed in the Trojans' defensive playbook.

With several years of heavy NCAA sanctions finally nearing an end, USC strived to stay out of the district attorney's investigation to avoid any suggestion that the school was influencing the process. The school also reportedly worried that Shaw's legal representation could complicate his eligibility, but apparently decided those concerns were unfounded.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mark Cuban Hopes Lakers "Suck Forever"]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 23:29:27 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mark-cuban2.jpg

What does Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban think about the struggling Los Angeles Lakers franchise? He wants it to stay that way - forever.

In a radio interview with NBC4's Fred Roggin on The Beast 980, Cuban shared his thoughts about several topics in the world of sports, including the competitive balance in the NBA.

Asked if the deep-pocket Lakers, who were 1-9 before the start of Tuesday's game against the Atlanta Hawks, should change their strategy to acquiring marquee players, Cuban had this to say:

"As far as the Lakers, I think there's going to be a lot of teams that are going to be focusing and saying, 'Look, I've got a ton of cap room. Free agent A, B and C, why don't you guys come together and come play for me?' LA has always been considered a destination, so maybe they feel that's a valid strategy. I don't know. But you know me, Fred. Personally, I just hope they suck forever."

Cuban may have crushed the hearts of Laker fans, but he was careful not to step on Kobe Bryant's toes.

Citing the advancement of medical science and the benefits of diets, Cuban said he thinks the aging franchise player is "young" at 36.

"Even though Kobe's got a lot of mileage on his body, he's not what we would consider old anymore," Cuban said. "Kobe is still going to be a beast because he's just got that mental fortitude and that desire to win."

The Fred Roggin Show interview can be heard on The Beast 980’s website, by clicking here.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Aztecs Squeak by Utah]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 22:57:16 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/aztecs+steve+fisher+preseason.jpg

A national television audience got a glimpse of San Diego State basketball first hand as the Aztecs faced Utah as part of a 24-hour Tip-Off Marathon of college hoops.

Maybe it was the unusual start time for a mid-week game (1:00 pm PST), because for most of the contest it looked as if neither team wanted to win. The 16th ranked Aztecs and 25th ranked Utes combined for 29 turnovers and missed a total of 67 shots. At halftime Utah led 18-17.

After a jittery first half Steve Fisher's squad settled down. Led by senior J.J. O'Brien double-double the Aztecs had a comfortable 10-point lead with just under a minute remaining.

Utah rallied to make things interesting in the closing seconds. They trailed by just three with 20-seconds left after a three-pointer by Jordan Loveridge. But the Aztecs hit six of their final seven free throws to ice the game. State improved to 2-0 after beating Utah 53-49.

Fisher was not surprised the game was so difficult, "If you're around long enough you know games have a feel about them. You have to grind out a win and continue to compete and that's the feel this game had."

A pair of Aztec freshmen got their first taste of big time college basketball. Guard Trey Kell had five points on 1-5 shooting in 24-minutes of action. Kevin Zabo contributed four points off the bench.

The Aztecs host CSU-Bakersfield on Thursday before heading to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational over the weekend.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Attempt To Clarify Rivers' Health Status]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 06:39:43 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/223*120/Philip_Rivers_WIDE1226.jpg

On Sunday night, after the Chargers' lackluster win over the Oakland Raiders, tight end Antonio Gates shared some personal information about the health of quarterback Philip Rivers.

"For those who don't know, he's been dealing with a rib injury," Gates said, "a very severe rib injury. So he's been toughing it out these last three, four weeks."

On Monday afternoon, the spin doctors arrived at Chargers Park.

"Philip's never missed a snap in practice," said head coach Mike McCoy. "He hasn't been in treatment with James (Collins, the Chargers Head Athletic Trainer). So I would not say it's a severe injury."

Gates also claimed his comments were taken out of context, saying he was simply referring to the overall physical and mental toughness of Philip Rivers, not making any kind of diagnosis of the quarterback's health. However, I find it difficult to see how specifically identifying a man as having a rib injury can be taken out of context.

On Monday McCoy was asked several different ways to clarify the status of Rivers' health. Here's a quick sampling of his responses.

"He has not missed a snap at practice, and he has not been getting treated for a rib injury."

"Like I just said, he has not missed a snap and he played the rest of the game, so he'll be fine."

"Like I said, he has not missed a snap. He is not getting treatment for that. We'll give you an injury report on Wednesday."

Then McCoy was asked a point-blank question: Is Philip Rivers healthy?

He paused a beat and answered, "Yes."

So, somewhere the is a disconnect. McCoy guards his players' injury information like he's a HIPAA compliance lawyer, so he must have been irked that Gates would divulge the extent of a malady. It makes sense that Gates' sudden backtracking was an edict from above.

The timing of Rivers' performance dropoff matches with what Antonio said Sunday night. A player as good as Philip Rivers who was playing as well as Philip Rivers was does not simply fall off a statistical cliff without reason. You know, like an injury. But McCoy outlined several other possibilities:

The other guys on offense.

"When you have a breakdown, a poor route, when Keenan Allen falls down in Denver, is that Philip's fault? No. When a quarterback gets pushed and throws it up over an offensive lineman and the ball takes off on him? That's going to happen."

It is admirable for McCoy to want to protect his players. However, in today's N-F-L, leaving injuries unreported is not a very good idea.



Photo Credit: Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[5 Questions With Laz: Bolts Must Toughen Up]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 14:13:02 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chargers+raiders+nfl+qualcomm+4.jpg

NBC 7 Sports Director Jim Laslavic and I get together every week to talk Chargers football and the issues of the week in the NFL.

This week we talk about Sunday’s not-so-convincing win over the Oakland Raiders, injury updates and what it will take to make the playoffs.

Here are Five Questions with Laz:

1. Can you remember another game where the punters were that big of a story?

Not really. Mike Scifres (Chargers) and Marquette King (Raiders) each punted nine times. Neither had a touchback. Scifres averaged 42.2 yards and did a great job pinning the Raiders deep in their own territory.

King, averaged just under 50 yards, with a long punt of 62 yards. It was a field position game – a throwback kind of a game.

Scrifres has never made it to a Pro Bowl, but he is easily among the best in the game again this season.

2. Which of the key players coming back from injury were you most impressed with?

Hands down, Ryan Mathews. He showed a great burst. His numbers were solid: 16 carries for 70 yards. But when he had some running room, he showed a great burst of speed.

He seemed to slow down late in the game. He needs to be in top form for the rest of the season.

On defense, all three linebackers played well enough. It’s sometimes overlooked how much of a coordinated effort it takes to play defense.

It’s important to have fresh bodies out there this time of year. They all need to play well for the team to have any chance over the next six games. Again, they played well enough against a bunch of players who are in midseason form.

3. The Broncos and Chiefs both looked mortal on Sunday. What does that do for the Chargers' chances of winning the division?

They’re one game out of first place in the AFC West with six to play. Not bad at all. But keep an eye on the Chiefs. The played well yesterday, beating the Seahawks.

The Chiefs’ defense has allowed the fewest points in the AFC. They get to play Oakland twice over the final month and a half. They also have games at Arizona and Pittsburgh and host the Broncos and Chargers. So like all three teams still in the chase in the AFC West, they still have a lot of work to do.

Last year, three teams made it to the playoffs out of the division. I said before the season, it’s likely only one will advance this year. I’m sticking with that prediction.  

4. Just how badly do you think Philip Rivers has been hurting?

I’ll give the company line: I’m not a doctor so I can’t comment. I do know this: He is one tough guy. All the great quarterbacks are smart and tough.

My teammate Dan Fouts was that way. He was the toughest guy on the roster. Same for Philip.

It’s never good to talk about injuries. The less said, the better. The Saints got in trouble a few years back for “targeting” players. It happens all the time. As a player, we always knew the opponent’s injuries. The coaches would review them with us on an almost daily basis.

If you had a chance to gang tackle, you were encouraged to take the best shot possible.

5. That's now been three straight sub-par performances all around. Time to panic?

Here’s the deal. They need to get tougher up front on both sides of the football. Take care of the football and play defense.

To be a champion you must practice like a champ. Prepare like a champ. Play like a champ.

This team still has a chance to beat some good teams and make a playoff run. But again, it’s a line of scrimmage game. And right now, they’re not tough enough up front.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Need to Fix Fourth-Quarter and Red Zone Offense]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 10:00:45 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/kolynvgiants.jpg

With the 49ers holding just a 16-10 lead entering the fourth quarter vs. the Giants this past Sunday, San Francisco needed a score to put the game out of the reach.

But in the final period, the 49ers' first possession stalled at the Giants 40, forcing a punt. Their second and third possessions also resulted in punts.

That lack of production from the 49ers offense put enormous pressure on the 49ers defense – which came through with a goal-line stand and two fourth-quarter interceptions.

But the game highlighted a huge weakness for the Niners this season: the offense has yet to score a touchdown in the final quarter. That lack of late scoring has resulted in the 49ers having to rely on their defense to hold late, slim leads, or contributed to at least two of the team’s four losses – a 28-20 decision to the Bears in September and a 13-10 defeat to the Rams on Nov. 2.

Plus, the 49ers are having trouble scoring touchdowns throughout games when in the red zone. Against the Giants Sunday, San Francisco was touchdown-less in four trips inside New York’s 20. The Niners are just 13-for-33 in red-zone efficiency this season, the second-worst mark in the NFL. Their 39 percent efficiency is way down from last season’s 53 percent.

As the 6-4 49ers prepare to host Washington this Sunday, it’s a fact the team is well aware of and working to fix. In a season where every victory is important for the 49ers as they chase a wild-card spot, there’s going to be times when San Francisco will need to punch in a touchdown late in the game to seal a victory or pull off a comeback. This Sunday’s game against a struggling 3-7 Washington team may not require it, but the Thanksgiving night game vs. Seattle at Levi’s Stadium could likely come down to just one, late score.

Fortunately, the 49ers at least have a reliable kicker in Phil Dawson, who kicked three field goals Sunday in the win over New York.

“Glad we made them, the field goals were important,” 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh told the media. “They were the result of some very good drives. You’d like to get the touchdown, but you do come away with points on the board and those are critical. You do what you have to do to win the game.”

But there’s no doubt winning games down the stretch will come down to punching in a few more touchdowns -- especially late in the game -- instead of settling for Dawson field goals.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Say Ryan Kelly To Miss Six Weeks]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 08:04:43 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lakers_Ryan-Kelly-out-6-weeks.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers' fears were confirmed on Monday afternoon when the team announced that Ryan Kelly would miss a minimum of six weeks after tearing his right hamstring.

Kelly spent all of training camp on the shelf with a hamstring injury before hurting his opposite hamstring. On Sunday night against the Golden State Warriors, Kelly drew some contact and landed. Immediately, he was unable to run. On the next whistle, he headed to the locker room.

With the Lakers taking off for Atlanta on Monday morning, Kelly stayed back and visited with Dr. Luga Podesta of Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic.

An ultrasound revealed that the 23-year-old had torn his right hamstring, and the prognosis called for six weeks on the shelf, at minimum. Only lasting one full game, Kelly averaged 3.7 points, 1.7 rebounds and 8.2 minutes over three games in the 2014-15 season.

"I really like Ryan with the way he plays, and he knows how to play," Lakers' coach Byron Scott said after Sunday's loss to the Warriors. "He's going to give you everything he's got. Unfortunately for him and us, we haven't seen enough of that because of the injuries that he's had."

In his rookie season, Kelly often featured as a power forward that could stretch the floor. In 59 games, Kelly averaged 8.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 22.2 minutes. Scott said earlier that Kelly provided a different look, as none of the Lakers' other big guys can step outside and shoot three-pointers.

If the 23-year-old can recover in the minimum time listed, he should return at about the same time as the New Year. At that point, the 1-9 Lakers will be nearly 40 percent done with the 2014-15 season.

]]>
<![CDATA[USC vs. UCLA: Winner "Predicted" Via Cocktails]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 13:17:54 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/gamedrinkmesshall1.jpg

Game day, as every true-blue (or blue-and-gold or cardinal-and-gold) fan knows, doesn't start on game day.

The action starts way, wayyy beforehand and way off the football field, when pundits start punditing and tailgate parties are concocted and the prediction rituals begin in ridiculous, if delightful, earnest. (Which food will your dog eat, the kibble sitting on the poster with Team A's insignia or Team B's?)

And when the Bruins and Trojans squads square off, as they will for the 82nd time on Saturday, Nov. 22, the "who'll win?" showdowns often flower in the most interesting, and flavorful, of spots around Southern California. Look to Messhall Kitchen, in Los Feliz, for a prime example. The restaurant is staging a 21-and-over guessing event happening right up to game time.

The upshot? Whether more Messhall patrons order USC's Red Rush -- a drink made with bourbon, raspberries, honey, and lemon -- or UCLA's Bees Knees, which has gin, honey, lemon, and blueberries.

Love the color coordination, Messhall. Keeping this rivalry thematic, through-and-through.

Bartenders are keeping a tally of which cocktail is higher on the request list, so look for who is winning the cocktail contest on a board near the bar.

Is this board a crystal ball, one that looks straight into the heart of the heated contest, which'll draw the devoted to the Rose Bowl on Nov. 22? Time, as they say, will tell, as it does with all sports-focused prediction games. But we raise our glass to such funny face-offs, as they give the fans a way to work out some of that game-day anticipation in whimsical and strange ways.

Also, the dog eating the kibble from the bowl placed on the team's logo? Let's be honest: Fido is typically right more often than he is not.



Photo Credit: Messhall Kitchen]]>
<![CDATA[Canseco May Sell His Shot Finger, Gun on eBay]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 09:57:12 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Jose-Canseco-1.jpg

Jose Canseco says he's parting with his finger forever — for a price.

The former major leaguer tweeted Monday that he'll sell his detached digit, along with the gun with which he accidentally shot it off. He tweeted last week that the operation to reattach the finger had failed, and it had fallen off during a poker game.

Canseco said he is also selling the chrome-plated .45-caliber handgun he was cleaning when he accidentally shot off the middle finger on his left hand.

In a series of tweets posted Friday afternoon, Canseco said his finger fell off during a poker game Thursday night, even after he had it surgically reattached. (Warning: The below tweets might seem disturbing to some.)

Canseco was apparently unaware that a bullet was in the chamber when he was cleaning the gun, Las Vegas Metro Lt. Mark Reddon told NBC News.

"It was a serious hand injury," but not a serious medical injury, Reddon said. "There was nothing suspicious. There was no alcohol involved, just a misstep with a handgun."

Canseco began his long major-league career in the 1980s with the Oakland Athletics before going on to play for the Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox and other teams.

He has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during his MLB career. After retiring, he also competed in mixed martial arts and boxing.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Rice in China to Promote NFL]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 00:33:27 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/rice-horz.jpg

San Francisco 49ers legendary wide receiver and NFL Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice is in China trying to entice the world's most-populous country to tune into NFL football on every given Sunday, according to reports.

An NBC News crew captured Rice in the moment in Beijing, where NFL officials are "demystifying the game" by "putting footballs in [Chinese peoples'] hands."

On Sunday, Rice put on a clinic, which one young fan described as "the greatest football experience of my life."

There is also already a flag football league in Beijing, but NBC noted the country is "with little history of contact sports like American football."



Photo Credit: Mathew Luschek]]>
<![CDATA[Scenes From Chargers Win Over Raiders]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 17:32:59 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Chargers+Raiders+nfl+qualcomm+1.jpg Photos from Sunday's Chargers win over the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Tony Hawk Rides Hoverboard]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 05:28:20 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-11-17+at+3.26.35+PM.png

The hoverboard is reality, and Tony Hawk has taken a spin on it.

The pro skateboarder tested the $10,000 prototype Hendo Hoverboard after husband and wife Greg and Jill Henderson launched a Kickstarter to fund it. 

In the video, Hawk performs a few tricks on the board, which hovers an inch off the ground and uses magnets, though he also ends up falling several times.

Hawk had caught attention for another hoverboard video earlier this year — a fake video made by Funny or Die that featured the skateboarder, musician Moby and others riding boards high into the sky, in a prank for which Hawk eventually apologized.  


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<![CDATA[Chargers and Raiders Fans Tailgate]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 11:52:37 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/raiders+chargers+tailgate+12.jpg Chargers and Raiders fans tailgated outside of Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego before Sunday's NFL game.

Photo Credit: Matthew Wood/NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Raiderette Opts Out of Class Action Wage Labor Settlement With Raiders]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 18:42:11 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/caitliny5.JPG

A Raiderette who sued the Oakland Raiders over the wages she was paid is rejecting a settlement in another cheerleader's lawsuit, saying it doesn't do enough to fix what she calls the misogynistic culture of the NFL.

Caitlin Y. had danced in the front of the Raiderettes’ cheerleading line for three years. Now, ever since she sued the Raiders and the NFL in June, she says she has been relegated to the second row.

“I’m not in the front anymore,” the 27-year-old ballet dancer told NBC Bay Area in an exclusive interview. “I’ve been put in the back. But that’s OK. It’s all about being part of the team.”

Caitlin, who has accused the team and the league of wage theft and "deplorable" working conditions, formally opted out of a $1.25 million class-action settlement Monday in a fellow cheerleader's suit, saying it doesn't go far enough.

"It doesn’t include the entire NFL," Caitlin, who works as the PR director for a family-run Mountain View skin care company, explained. "It’s a league-wide issue that affects cheerleaders on all teams, not just ours. By accepting this, the NFL gets off the hook."

Caitlin — who like many other NFL cheerleaders prefers not to use her last name, for fear of stalking — wants to push harder for the Raiders and the NFL to pay more, and pay it evenly among cheerleaders across the league.

Her decision to opt out means she will not take the roughly $20,000 owed to her as part of the class action settlement tentatively reached in September, her lawyer Drexel Bradshaw explained. In the formal “objection” filed in Alameda County Superior Court, her attorneys argue that the Raiderettes as a whole are “owed millions and millions.”

Specifically, the legal filing says the class action underpays the Raiderettes somewhere between $1.5 million and $2.7 million – or at least $17,000 per Raiderette per year. The lawyers plan to argue this in court on Feb. 26 during a class action hearing.

"This is far, far from over," he said.

The Raiders have repeatedly declined comment, as has the NFL, whose spokesman and attorneys have not returned calls and emails. The NFL has argued in court, however, that the labor dispute was solely between the cheerleaders and the Raiders, and that the league does not belong in the suit.

Caitlin will not pinpoint a dollar amount that she thinks she should be paid. But she says the class action amount — roughly $5,000 a year for each year worked for each of the 90 cheerleaders — is not enough and doesn’t address the root of the problem.

But she and her lawyer both say that the Raiderettes should be paid more than minimum wage, which was $9 in Oakland at the time.

“These women should be paid more than the Raiders’ mascot, who makes $45,000 a season, plus a pension,” Bradshaw said. “They are obviously athletes and classical dancers, and to pay them $9 an hour is laughable. The guy pouring beer at the concession stands makes more than that.”

Bradshaw said Caitlin is rejecting the payout because the settlement doesn’t address the "misogynous" nature of the NFL, which has come under fire for how it responds to domestic violence accusations against players.

The settlement, if approved by the court, would resolve a similar wage suit brought by another Raiderette, Lacy T., in January and would include 90 other cheerleaders. That suit, the first of its kind in the country, was the force behind a new contract that ensures the Raiderettes make $9 an hour for all hours they work — not just for games.

Even as Caitlin opts out of the class-action settlement in that suit, she and her co-plaintiff — Jenny C., a former Raiderette who now lives in Las Vegas — plan to keep pursuing their joint suit against the NFL. Their suit accuses the league of violating antitrust laws by "acting in concert with teams to depress the wages of all NFL cheerleaders."

Lacy’s lawyer, Sharon Vinick of Oakland, isn’t quite sure why Caitlin wouldn’t buy in to the class action. “We obviously believe it’s an outstanding settlement,” she said. Vinick added while she agrees that the Raiderettes are still “woefully underpaid,” she does not think the Raiders have a legal mandate to pay them more, and that there is no legal basis for suing the NFL, because “the women don’t work for the NFL.”

But a labor expert sees it differently.

"It's understandable that some cheerleaders might find the settlement inadequate," said San Francisco State University Professor and Director of Labor and Employment Students John Logan. "The settlement... puts the cheerleaders, who have a high-profile job in a multi-billion dollar industry, on the same level of poverty-wages as WalMart or McDonald's workers. WalMart and McDonald's workers deserve more, and it's not hard to understand why some NFL cheerleaders believe they deserve more."

While she does want more. Caitlin will not discuss the details of how she's being treated on the team as she pursues her legal claims. She would not disparage the Raiders or her fellow cheerleaders. She insisted she doesn't mind that she doesn't dance in the front anymore; she just wants to dance and get paid fairly for it.

"I know that I’m lucky to have this job," she said. "I love this job. I love being a cheerleader, and I love the Raiders. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be treated with respect or paid adequately for the skills that I've trained for my whole life and I use on game day."



Photo Credit: Michael Koo
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<![CDATA[Extent of Rivers' Injury Revealed]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 13:20:22 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/Rivers+hurt+Raiders.jpg

The Chargers beat the Raiders 13-6 on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium in a game that will never be described as balletic. Offensively, it looked a lot like San Diego's recent 3-game losing skid, which coincided with a sudden drop off in the play of quarterback Philip Rivers.

Over their first six game, Rivers had 20 touchdowns and two interceptions. In their next three, Philip threw six touchdowns and six picks.

Philip was turnover-free against Oakland with one touchdown pass, but he was not sharp. After the game, longtime friend Antonio Gates gave us a reason why.

"For those who don't know, he's been dealing with a rib injury," said Gates. "A very severe rib injury, so he's been toughing it out these last three, four weeks."

That timeline takes us back to the home loss to Kansas City, where Philip took a few shots and snapped his NFL-record streak of games with a QB Rating of at least 120. The Raiders sacked Rivers twice and hit him four times. On two occasions, Philip limped off the field.

However, as leaders do, Rivers refuses to reveal the extent of his injury.

"Oh, I just got rolled up on one, and I just kind of landed and got my wind on the other," said Rivers. "I'll be fine."

He no doubt feels that way, but a source with knowledge of the situation says Philip has bruised ribs and possible cartilage damage. It's not dangerous, but it is extremely painful. Yet he plays on, a testament to his toughness.

"Nothing is going to take him from that game unless he in unable to walk out there," said safety Darrell Stuckey. "He's a guy that has the tenacity, that has the leadership, that has the ability to fight through whatever he wants to because that's the competitive player he is. We're fortunate to have him as the quarterback and the leader of this team."

Rivers is not going to remove himself from a game unless he's been knocked unconscious. So, if he is not as effective as he can be, does head coach Mike McCoy have to take it upon himself to pull Rivers and play backup Kellen Clemens, who has had success in the NFL?

I'm not sure they'll ever even consider that option.

"He's a warrior," said McCoy on Sunday. "He's one of the best in the business, one of the toughest in the business, if not THE toughest at that position. He's a winner."

It appears the Chargers believe Philip Rivers, even operating at less than full capacity, gives them the best chance to be winners. That's a point that's awfully hard to argue against.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Hang on, Keep Raiders Winless]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 19:30:41 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/1116+chargers.jpg

It was by no means a thing of beauty. Of course, nothing usually is when playing the Oakland Raiders.

The Chargers (6-4) scrapped their way to a 13-6 victory over their division rivals Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium, ending a three-game losing streak and keeping Oakland (0-10) winless on the season.

How bad was it? Both teams punted nine times. In the Chargers postgame locker room, cameras and reporters swarmed around ... punter Mike Scifres.

"It was one of those field position days," the unlikely star said after booming 380 total punt yards, including four that were downed inside the Raiders 10.

The Chargers got off to a quick start, scoring on the third play from scrimmage. After Raiders quarterback Derek Carr fumbled away his first snap, Rivers found Malcom Floyd for a 22-yard touchdown pass in the left corner of the end zone.

"We get spoiled with him making those plays," Rivers said of his longtime receiver. "There aren't many guys I throw that ball to."

From there it became a battle of kicks. Nick Novak hit a pair of field goals, including a 52-yarder midway through the third quarter that actually got tipped at the line. He also missed his first kick of the season, from 48 yards out to end the first half with the Chargers up just 10-3.

"It's been a long time for me," Novak said of the miss. "It was good to get back out there an make one (from 52)."

Rivers completed 22 of 34 passes for 193 yards despite getting knocked around and limping off the field on a couple of occasions. He said his leg got rolled up on one play and he got the wind knocked out of him on the other.

He acknowledged having an off day, but was more concerned with the outcome of the game.

"We want to play better, we know we need to play better," Rivers said. "But winning is the objective."

Running back Ryan Mathews rushed for 70 yards in his first action after missing more than two months with a knee injury, earning praise from head coach Mike McCoy.

"He looked good," McCoy said. "He was physical and he ran the ball hard."

Keenan Allen added eight catches for 63 yards while Floyd finished with four receptions for 44 yards.

The second half was a battle of punts as the Bolts defense was able to keep the Raiders off the board until allowing a field goal with 4:06 left in the game. That preceded nine straight kicks from punter Marquette King, who finished with 446 punt yards.

From there, the Chargers were able to run out most of the clock, aided by an incredible third-down catch by Antonio Gates at midfield. He ripped the ball away from two Oakland defenders to make the acrobatic grab.

"How he kept his concentration on that ball, it was really awesome," Rivers said.

Gates finished with three catches for 32 yards.

The Raideres got the ball back with under a minute left but only drove to their own 29 before a last-second heave landed harmlessly near the Chargers end zone.

The win keeps the Bolts square in the middle of the playoff chase. They are just a game behind division co-leaders Denver and Kansas City and are clustered with a group of five other 6-4 teams vying for the final AFC playoff berth.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Best of NFL: Week 11]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 20:04:25 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/458986756.jpg Don't miss the most dramatic images from the eleventh week of the 2014 NFL season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Reggie Wayne Talks Special Bond With T. Y. Hilton]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 12:30:53 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-11-16+at+2.09.54+PM.jpg Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, now in his 14th season, has mentored third year wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who's an emerging star in the league. The players discuss their special bond ahead of the Colts- New England Patriots showdown Sunday night. ]]> <![CDATA[Raiders vs. Chargers: Who To Watch]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 00:25:17 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/188*120/Melvin+Ingram+Chargers+Seahawks.jpg

Usually there's some kind of in-depth analysis, or a specific angle in these game preview pieces. But, after a bye week that came after a 37-0 loss in Miami that came after a 14-point loss in Denver, there's not a whole lot to analyze.

During their 3-game losing streak the Chargers have been outscored by 54 points.

The Chargers have not scored a point in 23 days.

The Chargers have not recorded a sack in 27 days.

The Chargers have not forced a turnover in 34 days.

All those numbers are tough to swallow, and would suggest they're ripe for another disappointing Sunday. However, there's one more number that trumps all of them:

The Raiders have not won a game in 364 days.

Here are your three players to watch for when they meet on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium:

Melvin Ingram, OLB

The Bolts have had all kinds of trouble generating something that even loosely resembles a pass rush. Defensive Coordinator John Pagano said during the week their 4-man rush has not been effective, so they've had to try and manufacture pressure in other ways, and that's not working, either. Ingram is back from his hip injury, and could provide the push the San Diego defense needs. He spent a lot of time in Seattle's backfield during the Chargers' Week 2 win and seemed primed for a big season when the injury happened. The Bolts need him to pick up where he left off, or Oakland QB Derek Carr will pick them apart like he did in the first meeting.

Ryan Mathews, RB

Um ... Duh. Branden Oliver was good in a pinch, and provides an instant energy burst when used properly, but he's still an undrafted rookie and not ready to handle 20 carries a game in the NFL. Mathews has been there, done that. Ryan returns from the sprained knee he suffered against Seattle to try and bolster the league's least efficient rushing attack. The offensive line has been banged up and letting far too many defenders in to the backfield. Mathews has the ability to go through a tackler or two and turn a negative play in to a positive one. His ability to to that should help the Chargers on first and second downs so they're facing 3rd and 4 instead of 3rd and 9, which will allow their offense to go back to its clock-killing, point-scoring ways. If not, we're going to see another low number on the scoreboard.

Chris Davis, CB

Davis will get a fair share of the snaps Jason Verrett would have played, but I have him on this list for another reason. Davis was arguably the only positive thing to come out of the Miami loss because of his kickoff return ability. Davis showed a burst that could make him a dangerous return man (just ask Alabama fans what Davis can do), Oakland does not have to cover many kickoffs because Sebastian Janikowski usually blasts the ball through the end zone. But, when a kick is able to be brought out, the Raiders allow 30.8 yards per return, giving them the second-worst coverage team in the NFL. A big return could be the thing the Chargers need to kick-start their offense.

Derek's Prediction

The Raiders are 0-9 and were dismantled by the Broncos a week ago, but this is not going to be a blowout. It rarely is when these old rivals get together. But, while the Raiders do have talented players at a few positions, their roster is nowhere near as potent as the Chargers is, especially now that some of the Bolts are coming back from injuries.

San Diego got a much-needed rest with their well-placed bye week, and are coming in to this game as close to full-strength as they've been all season. While it might take a while to knock off some rust, their fresh legs, and the return of a more patient, less turnover-prone Philip Rivers, will be enough to snap a 3-game losing skid.

Final score: Chargers 23, Raiders 16



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ingram In, Verrett Out For Chargers]]> Sat, 15 Nov 2014 14:53:08 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/182*120/Verrett+Chargers+Interception.jpg

During the NFL Draft process, the one concern professional scouting folks had about cornerback Jason Verrett was durability. He's a bit undersized, and had already torn a labrum at TCU.

Verrett was lauded for his toughness, ability, work ethic and football IQ. The first half of his rookie season showed off all of those attributes, and then some. Verrett was playing more like a four-year starter than a first-year defensive back. The good thing is, all of those things will stick with Jason for his entire career.

Hopefully, that durability issue is not going to hound him, as well.

Verrett was placed on the season-ending Reserve-Injured list on Saturday with a torn left labrum (not the one he injured in college). Verrett sustained the injury diving for a pass in the second half of the Chargers' win in Oakland on October 12, yet still returned to make a game-saving interception.

Verrett, who also has a partial rotator cuff tear, endured the pain to try and play in San Diego's Thursday Night Football loss in Denver but re-aggravated the injury in the first half. He'll have surgery and not play again until next year.

Without Verrett, the Bolts will rely on cornerbacks Shareece Wright and Brandon Flowers, with undrafted rookie Chris Davis seeing more playing time.

To balance the loss of Verrett, the Chargers got some good news when they reinstated linebacker Melvin Ingram from the Reserve-Injured, Designated For Return list. Ingram, the Bolts' 1st round pick in 2012, was an impact player for the first two games but sustained a hip injury in a Week 2 win over the Seahawks.

Ingram's return is expected to help the Chargers generate a pass rush that has not had a sack since October 19 against the Chiefs.

The Bolts made two more roster moves on Saturday, adding safety Adrian Phillips to the active roster and releasing linebacker Cordarro Law.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Canseco Says Shot Finger Fell Off]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 21:47:54 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jose-canseco-getty.jpg

Jose Canseco’s struggle with his shot finger continues.

The former baseball star accidentally shot himself in the finger while cleaning what authorities say was a large-caliber handgun last month, but in a recent series of tweets, Canseco says the procedure to save his finger apparently didn’t work.

In the tweets, he details how his finger fell off Thursday night during a poker game.

(Warning: The below tweets might seem disturbing to some)

Canseco shot a finger on his left hand, apparently unaware that a bullet was in the chamber, Las Vegas Metro Lt. Mark Reddon said.

"It was a serious hand injury," but not a serious medical injury, Reddon told NBC News. "There was nothing suspicious. There was no alcohol involved, just a misstep with a handgun."

Canseco began his long major league career in the 1980s playing for the Oakland Athletics, before going on to play for the Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox and other teams.

He has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during his MLB career and after retiring also competed in mixed martial arts and boxing.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[USD Football Needs One Win to Make Playoffs]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 18:15:10 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/usd-Toreros-football-0210.jpg

In 2013, USD was on the brink of a Pioneer League Championship and the program's first-ever spot in the Bowl Championship Subdivision Playoffs.

However, an error in the Financial Aid department resulted in an NCAA violation, so the Toreros removed themselves from post-season consideration.

Call it fate, karma, the universe righting itself, whatever you want, but USD has just been handed a second chance.

To win the 2014 PFL title, the Toreros needed to beat Valparaiso on Saturday, then hope Jacksonville University lost one of its final two games.

However, on Friday, Jacksonville released a statement saying it was removing itself from post-season consideration due to what it calls an, "... internal review of compliance matters regarding the PFL’s financial aid rules. Jacksonville University’s independent audit was conducted in response to a conference survey which revealed a number of financial aid inconsistencies."

So, now the Toreros control their destiny. All they have to do to make the playoffs is beat Valpo at home (kickoff is set for 1:00 at Torero Stadium). USD is riding a 7-game winning streak and has beaten the Crusaders 10 consecutive times.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 7 News]]>
<![CDATA[NFLer's Parents Slam Cops on Arrest]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 17:25:00 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/familyMcDonald.jpg

The parents of 49ers football player Ray McDonald spoke publicly for the first time since prosecutors decided not to charge the defensive end with felony domestic violence, criticizing the police for the information they released, saying it caused their 30-year-old son to get "slaughtered by the lynch mob."

Speaking to NBC Bay Area by phone on Friday, LaBrina McDonald said she and her husband, Ray McDonald Sr., were tired of keeping quiet. McDonald Sr. said the police released information in "bits and pieces" to make everyone think that his son "attacked" his pregnant girlfriend when "that was totally wrong." He chastised the police, saying they didn't have the "full facts."

"We are a very close family and we come from a close knit community," added LaBrina McDonald. "And we know our son. To hear and read all those things that folks are saying and prejudging — it's heart-breaking. We had to grit our teeth and bite our tongues until this was all done and over."

The San Jose police responded to media requests for a response to the criticism Friday by issuing a three-paragraph statement citing the mandatory disclosure of the California Public Records Act, which include police reports.

"Based on the overwhelming request by various media outlets for police records regarding the Ray McDonald case, the San Jose Police Department complied with state law," police said.

The statement also added that police are "very cautious and sensitive about the information we provide to the media and the public because we do not want to interfere with an active and ongoing investigation. Many times we are precluded from sharing very intimate details about an investigation because we must allow the investigators to conduct their followup investigations."

The McDonalds decided to speak out after the Santa Clara County district attorney's office announced Monday that it wouldn't prosecute the 49er, who was arrested Aug. 31 after a birthday party he threw himself at his San Jose home.

The police news release at the time cited "visible injuries" to a woman officers accused McDonald of harming, but an internal DA memo released this week showed there was "insufficient evidence" and conflicting testimony to charge him with any crime.

There was indeed a fight, the prosecutors noted, where McDonald told his then 10-weeks-pregnant girlfriend she was an "unfit mother." But when the punch flew, both McDonald and the woman said she threw it, according to the document.

McDonald "grabbed her neck" to remove her from the house, which "resulted in a visible injury," the memo says. The action was used to restrain her, according to the documents. She told police that she was "fighting back." The prosecutor's memo describes the injuries as "seemingly minor" and characterizes the fight as a scuffle, "rather than an attack."

"He only restrained her," Ray McDonald Sr. said. "That was it."

Neither parent would not comment on their son's relationship with the woman at the center of the fight. They would not identify her, and would not answer whether she and their son still intended to get married. "You'll have to ask Ray," LaBrina McDonald said.

Ray McDonald told CSNBayArea that he was "doing stuff to try to better our relationship... because we do care about each other, love each other."

It was the "visible injuries" line that irks the McDonald parents, who own an insurance company in Florida and have one other child, a 32-year-old daughter.

"This basically led the public to believe that he hit or attacked her," the family said in a statement first issued to the Mercury News. "The fact that no additional information was given in this press release, in our opinion was very irresponsible and leads us to question the integrity of the ranking individuals that approved this press release."

READ: Ray McDonald Parents Statement on San Jose Police

NBC Bay Area was the second news outlet to obtain that statement and also an exclusive video interview with both parents from the airport on Friday as the couple was heading to Jamaica to celebrate their 33rd wedding anniversary.

LaBrina McDonald said that it was hard as a mother to watch her son's name be tarnished — a son she described as laidback, a "big teddy bear," a "Mama's boy," and a talented piano player. 

Since she's a "big talker," LaBrina McDonald said it was especially hard for her not to tell her friends what happened from her son's point of view that night. Ray McDonald Sr. said it was his son who counseled them "to be patient," saying that soon, "the truth will come out."

For the McDonald parents, they are only too happy that there were no charges filed against their son.

"He's a loving person," LaBrina McDonald said. "Just because he makes a lot of money and is a defensive lineman doesn't mean he's a bad person." 



Photo Credit: Courtesy of LaBrina McDonald
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<![CDATA[Niners Will Try to Gather Momentum]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 07:41:47 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/hydegiantsss.jpg

The 49ers have had their troubles this season, but it’s nothing like the Giants have experienced.

They’ve lost four straight games and are coming off a 38-17 loss to the Seahawks last week in which the Giants defense gave up 350 yards rushing.

At 3-6, the Giants rank dead last in the NFL in total defense, allowing 404.9 yards per game. Also, the Giants have allowed 27.4 points per game, eighth worst in the league.

On offense, the Giants are a middle-of-the-pack team, still dangerous with quarterback Eli Manning and exciting young receiver Odell Beckham, but not the once-dominating running team. Former Raider Rashad Jennings and Peyton Hillis have been the team’s best backs, each averaging 4.4 yards per carry.

Oddsmakers have made the 49ers four-point favorites to win Sunday and get to 6-4 on the season.

Sunday will mark the return of 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith – who’s been suspended for the first nine games – but the first game since inside linebacker Patrick Willis was declared lost for the season.

Somehow, despite key injuries on defense this season, the unit has continued to play hard and have young players such as linebackers Aaron Lynch and Chris Borland step up and play very well.

On offense, it figures that the 49ers will run the ball vs. the Giants, just as they did last week in a win over the Saints. When the 49ers stick with a run-first philosophy, that usually leads to good things.

But the Giants know the Niners have seen the film of them getting shredded by the Seahawks on the ground last week, and have vowed to be much better vs. San Francisco.

Seattle especially exploited the Giants weakness around both ends, so this week defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said that’s been a focus in practice.

“It helps to have another opportunity to line up,” he told the New York Daily News. “It gives us another opportunity to go back and look at where we made mistakes, and correct it.”

Kiwanuka cited missed tackles and blown assignments, but said, “Everything is correctable.”

Even if they do fix what went wrong last week, the Giants defense is giving up 5.0 yards per carry over the entire season. This doesn’t seem to be a one-game blip, but a pattern.

Given that the 49ers need every game from here on out, expect them to hammer at the defense with running backs Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde from the outset.

The Niners have been inconsistent this season, but they pencil out to be better than the Giants on Sunday. 

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Beating Chargers Will Require More Than Effort]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 07:41:02 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/KoachToneee.jpg

It’s hard to believe that Tony Sparano will be anything more than an interim head coach.

Since taking over the 0-4 Raiders, they’ve become the 0-9 Raiders. And, oddsmakers make them a 9-point underdog for Sunday’s game at the 5-4 San Diego Chargers.

The Raiders no doubt will want to bring in a big name or whoever the hottest assistant of the moment might be when this season concludes.

Yet Sparano does seem to have infused this team with more spirit since he took over the team. They’ve played hard and come close to upsets in games against the Chargers and Seahawks.

Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr, in fact, told reporters that going to work every day doesn’t feel like going to work for a losing team.

“The energy level is, honestly, like we’re 9-0,” he said. “Guys run around and are still striving to do whatever they can to make things right. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later. It’s going to happen one of these days, and I’ll be excited to be a part of it.”

Whether it happens Sunday against the Chargers is up for debate, however.

The Chargers have lost three straight, but San Diego is expected to get back top running back Ryan Mathews – who’s missed six games with a knee injury. Plus, linebackers Manti Te’o and Melvin Ingram also are expcted to be available Sunday. So the Chargers should be at better strength than they were when they held on to beat Oakland 31-28 on Oct. 12.

Plus, the Chargers offense should overmatch the Raiders defense. Quarterback Philip Rivers leads the 11th-best passing offense in the NFL, and he can put up big numbers fast.

He’s coming off his worst game of the season in a 37-0 loss to the Dolphins and will want to get back on track against an Oakland secondary that can’t keep its top players healthy. In the first meeting between the teams, Rivers had a quarterback rating of 123.8, throwing for 313 yards and three TDs without an interception.

Cornebacks Carlos Rogers, TJ Carrie,  D.J. Hayden and Chimdi Chekwa all are dealing with injuries.

Still, Sparano is proud that the Raiders continue to play hard for him – even as the only winless team in the league.

“I really love that group of guys in the locker room,” Sparano said this week. “They do a heck of a job.”

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Patriots' N-Word Thank You Tweet ]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 12:00:49 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/New+England+Patriots+Twitter+N+Word.jpg

The New England Patriots is apologizing after its Twitter account publicly thanked a user whose handle contained a racial slur. 

As the team was thanking its one million Twitter followers with automated digital custom jerseys, a Twitter account containing the N-word also received a jersey.

The Patriots have since deleted the tweet, and the account with the N-word has since been deleted.

The team also apologized to fans shortly after as the tweet went viral.

 

 

NECN reached out to the New England Patriots for comment and have not yet heard back. 



Photo Credit: twitter.com/patriots]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Earn Rights To Korean Pitcher]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 17:08:49 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/186*120/456251690.jpg

New Padres General Manager A.J. Preller is known for his ability to sign international talent. It didn't take him long to start bringing more diversity to Petco Park.

Or, at least, try to.  For $2 million, the Padres have won the bidding for South Korean pitcher Kwang-Hyun Kim, giving them 30 days of exclusive negotiating rights with the 26-year-old lefty.

Kim has a low-90's fastball and a good, hard slider but does tend to walk a lot of hitters and has an injury history.

If the Padres can work out a deal with Kim, he'll become the second player from the Korean Baseball Organization to come to the United States through the posting system. The first was Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Can't Overlook Winless Raiders]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 17:12:33 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chargers+chiefs+nfl+6.jpg

As the Chargers look on the schedule and see a winless Oakland Raiders squad coming up, the easy thing to do would be to look past their last-place division rivals and toward a brutal stretch of the upcoming schdule.

To their credit, the Bolts give the impression that their focus is clearly on Sunday's game against their in-state foe.

“They play us tough every year,” said safety Eric Weddle. “It’s a divisional game. They have weapons on offense, defense and special teams. We just gotta play our ball together.”

The Chargers have won five of the last six meetings, including a 31-28 victory in Oakland earlier this season. But that game was much closer than expected, as have a few of the Raiders’ other losses.

That includes a near-win against the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks two weeks ago and a close shave against the New England Patriots at the end of September.

Still, the 0-9 record sticks out to just about everyone – except Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who threw out a classic sports cliché when talking about the AFC West rival.

“I really believe you throw the record out the window and as players we don’t get caught up in all of that,” Rivers said. “It’s the NFL.”

After dropping four straight games, including an embarrassing 37-0 loss to the Miami Dolphins going into last week’s bye, safety Eric Weddle wants to get the nasty taste of defeat out of his mouth.

“Any team right now would be a great team to play,” he said. “We need to get a win. Guys are more excited to get back on the field.”

He said the defense’s top priority is getting to rookie quarterback Derek Carr, who torched the Bolts for 282 yards and four touchdowns in their first meeting this year. Carr is completing 61.1 percent of his passes for just over 205 yards a game -- certainly not All-Pro numbers, but not bad for a rookie.

“We just have to play better defensively. We have to hit him,” Weddle said. “We have to make things as difficult as possible with our four-man rush and make him second-guess himself. That’s where we’ll make some plays.”

While fans may put an added emphasis on playing the in-state rival, Rivers said he doesn’t feel that much more pressure with the Raiders rivalry.

“It’s a division game,” he said. “I don’t feel it any more than with the Chiefs or Broncos, to be honest with you."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Aztecs Tip Off Regular Season Friday vs. CSUN]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 15:08:32 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/aztecs+steve+fisher+preseason.jpg

San Diego State kicks of its men’s basketball season Friday night against Cal State Northridge with high expectations and a number of streaks on the line.

First the streaks. They have 14 straight home wins, tied for sixth most in the country. They have 48 straight non-conference wins against unranked opponents. And they are putting a 41-game win streak against California schools – the longest such active streak for any team against any state in the country – on the line.

They’re also ranked No. 16 in the AP preseason poll, their 17th straight appearance in the rankings and the highest the team has ever been ranked in the preseason.

Which leads to the expectations.

ESPN's Bracketology NCAA Tournament predictor, out on Thursday, picks them for a No. 4 seed when March comes around. Some analysts even have them pegged for the Final Four. With a program that has five straight NCAA Tournament appearance with two 30-win seasons and Sweet 16 appearances in the past four years, you’re not sneaking up on anyone.

“We love them,” said junior Winston Shepard of the expectations from fans and the media. “That’s what comes when you have a program that has continued to win, continued to produce great players. Every year those expectations go up. We don’t run from them.”

He is one of seven upperclassmen on a squad that’s teeming with experience, including four seniors. One of those seniors, JJ O’Brien, says the high hopes serve as motivation throughout the season.

"It definitely keeps us on our toes,” he said. “There's not going to be any flying under the radar this year. People have high expectations for us, so it puts good pressure on us to get better every day and really achieve our goals this year."

One of head coach Steve Fisher’s biggest concerns might be getting enough minutes for everyone, as the roster will go even deeper with the addition of lauded freshmen Malik Pope and St. Augustine product Trey Kell.

That’s a nice problem to have as the Aztecs shoot for their ninth Mountain West Conference championship. Fisher said he’ll use the early part of the season to give players a chance to earn more minutes.

"We're going to play a lot of guys early,” he said. “It's good competition we're playing, and we'll find out who can do what under what circumstances. It will be interesting to us too. Usually it has a way of working itself out. I would say there is a chance that our starting lineup will vary as our season goes on."

While the season opener is usually reserved for in-state cupcakes, they get a CSUN team that might present a bit of a challenge as they play as part of the Maui Invitational Mainland Challenge.

The Matadors finished a somewhat respectable 17-18 last season under first-year coach and former NBA star Reggie Theus. Seniors Stephan Hicks and Stephen Maxwell both topped 17 points per game and lead a team with NCAA Tournament aspirations of their own.

The Aztecs have won three straight in the series and hold an 18-6 all-time record in the series.

SDSU starts off with three straight home games (Tuesday vs. Utah and Nov. 20 vs. Bakersfield) before heading to Hawaii the following week for the main portion of the Maui Invitational.

The Aztecs played an exhibition game last week, defeating Point Loma Nazarene 74-45 on Friday night.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Need to be More Aggressive in Passing Game]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 08:51:21 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/175*120/kahrderekvboltz.jpg

If the Raiders hope to win in San Diego Sunday, they’re going to need to do what they did in their first meeting this season, a 31-28 Chargers victory:

Throw the ball downfield.

In that first meeting on Oct. 12, Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr completed 18 passes for 282 yards and four touchdowns. That’s an average of 15.6 yards per completion.

Among those plays were a 77-yard strike to Andre Holmes and a 47-yarder to Brice Butler.

But since that Oakland game, the Raiders offense has been committed more to dinks and dunks than bombs. In last week’s loss to the Broncos, for instance, Carr threw 31 passes that went just 5 yards or less, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Carr also had some success two weeks after the Chargers game against the Browns, throwing for a career-high 328 yards, but on almost twice as many completions (34). Over the past two games, losses to Seattle and Denver, Carr has 54 completions in 88 attempts – a respectable 61 percent – but that figures to just 7.1 yards per catch.

As Bill Williamson of ESPN.com noted this week, it’s a must for the Oakland offense to open things up.

“Unless the Raiders show they can succeed with the long ball – they need to try it early in the game to establish a presence – San Diego will control this game on defense,” he wrote.

Though the Raiders are 0-9, this week Carr was upbeat in talking about the rematch with San Diego. He said he couldn’t recall ever playing the same team twice in one season, so this will be a first for him and he sees a positive to it.

“One thing you know is their personnel,” he told reporters Wednesday. “You’ve played against them, you’ve seen them.”

For the Raiders, too, this might be the best shot to come up with a victory this season. The Chargers have been banged up and have lost three straight to fall to 5-4. San Diego is coming off a bye week after being hammered in Miami by the Dolphins 37-0 on Nov. 2.

The Raiders’ losing streak is up to 15 games, dating to November of last year. Oakland would like to avoid becoming just the second team to go 0-16. They still are four consecutive losses away from the franchise record of 19 consecutive losses by the Raiders of 1961-62.

 

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mystifying 49ers Have Chance to Build Momentum]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 08:51:01 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/dagohrghuy.jpg

The 49ers this season are baffling.

When they play the Giants at the Meadowlands Sunday, will they be the team that went into New Orleans last week and won an overtime thriller? Or will they be the team that fell on its face the two previous games against the Rams and Broncos?

At 5-4, San Francisco has a three-game winning streak sandwiched between a pair of two-game losing streaks.

This week, former Ravens head coach and current NFL Network analyst Brian Billick included the Niners in his list of most enigmatic teams of 2014, along with the 6-4 Steelers, 5-3-1 Bengals and 5-4 Chargers.

“It was hard to find a more reliable contender than the 49ers,” Billick wrote about the team as it headed into 2014. But this season, it’s been a mystery every game as to which team will show up.

The 3-6 Giants, however, watched the film of the 49ers beating the Saints and see a very strong opponent for Sunday’s matchup (10 a.m. PST). Head coach Tom Coughlin sees a defense that is playing well even without standout inside linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman and an offense that can both run and throw.

“I see a team that starts out and declares they’re going to run it,” Coughlin told reporters on a conference call this week. “They’ve done an outstanding job doing that. They’re 10th in the league in run. They have all the play-action passes and empty sets. You can’t be lured to sleep, because they’ve got speed on the outside, they can go up and get the ball. They play various combinations of athletes for specific purposes.

“They have a good, solid, tough two-prong running attack. (Frank) Gore is an outstanding player and has been for many years. (Carlos) Hyde comes in and gives them another change of pace.”

After their early success vs. the Saints last week, when the 49ers leaned on their running game to take a 14-0 lead, it seems likely that San Francisco will again stay with that philosophy vs. the Giants.

Last week, New York’s rush defense gave up 350 yards on the ground to the Seahawks, the most in the NFL in one game since 2012.

A steady dose of Gore and Hyde would seem to be the road for the 49ers to climb up to 6-4. In the victory over the Saints, the 49ers ran for 144 yards, a season high on the road for them in 2014.

Said Gore, to Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com: “The way we played, with me running the ball a lot, showed that’s the way we can rush the ball.”

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers' Kershaw Wins NL Cy Young Award]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 08:21:36 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/176*120/kersh+4.jpg

For the second year in a row, and the third time in the last four years, Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw has won the National League Cy Young Award.

The 26-year-old led the NL in wins (21), ERA (1.77), complete games (6), WHIP (0.857), strikeouts per nine innings (10.8) and ERA+ (197). ERA+ is a pitcher's adjusted earned run average based on the stadium they pitch in. 100 is the average and the higher the number above the average, the better the pitcher's season.

Kershaw was also second in the league in strikeouts (239) and second in opponents batting average (.196).

He also threw his first career no-hitter.

It was one of the most dominant regular seasons in the modern era. I had to specify "regular season" because the year came crashing to an end during the NLDS when the St. Louis Cardinals treated Keshaw like that European rocket "Philae" on the comet it landed on: they caught up to him, planted their feet and took him for a ride. In 12 2/3 innings over two outings, Kershaw gave up 11 earned runs.

Despite that, he could very well be named the league's Most Valuable Player when the award is announced Thursday.

And, it's not until next year that the Texas native starts to collect on his seven-year, $215 million contract.

At the rate Kershaw's going, the Dodgers may have gotten him on the cheap.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>