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Taysom Hill runs for 2 TDs, lifts New Orleans Saints to win in 1st start at QB

Taysom Hill laughed when asked if he paid any attention to the scrutiny and criticism surrounding the New Orleans Saints’ decision to start him at quarterback on Sunday.

No, insisted the fascinating and polarizing 30-year-old curiosity, who is now 1-0 as a starter in the NFL after leading the Saints to a 24-9 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Hill didn’t throw a touchdown pass or an interception, but he did lose a fumble after his longest run of the day in the fourth quarter.

However, Hill was quite open about how emotional this week was for him as he prepared to fill in after Drew Brees suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung last week. Brees will miss at least three weeks after being placed on injured reserve by the 8-2 Saints, who won their seventh consecutive game.

“Man, I spent a lot of time reflecting this week,” said Hill, who was a star dual-threat quarterback at BYU but battled injuries and went undrafted in 2017. “My wife and I had so many conversations about where we’ve been, the process of getting here. And if I’m being honest, it was an emotional week.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“Felt a lot of love from a lot of people, and it was overwhelming in a good way. And then to be able to come out and get a win in my first start was gratifying. More than anything, I have so much love and respect for Drew and my other teammates that I wanted to make sure that I did my part to help us continue to win.”

Saints coach Sean Payton’s decision to start Hill over fellow backup Jameis Winston was heavily scrutinized, since Hill had attempted only 20 passes in his four-year NFL career, including the playoffs.

But Payton has long expressed his belief that the dual-threat athlete could be a successful starting quarterback. And he told ESPN’s Dianna Russini before Sunday’s game that Hill “deserves this opportunity.”8

Payton downplayed the significance of Hill’s performance after Sunday’s game and even directed the media to start asking about New Orleans’ defense instead. However, Payton couldn’t resist a little gloating minutes later when he retweeted former Falcons receiver Roddy White, exposing White’s “cold take” that read: “Saints about to get whip trying us with taysom hill at qb we about to snack them.”

“I thought he played well. He had the one turnover late in the game,” Payton said of Hill. “We had a big touchdown pass called back [an apparent 57-yarder from Hill to Emmanuel Sanders that was nullified by a holding penalty]. But look, it was a good team win. I thought we were fantastic defensively.”

Hill and the Saints’ offense got off to a bit of a slow start before he led them on their first touchdown drive late in the second quarter — thanks to his longest and ugliest completion of the day. Hill heaved up a wobbly deep ball that was badly underthrown, but Sanders made a great effort to come back for it and make a 44-yard catch. Hill found his groove from that point on, and he connected a total of nine times with Saints receiver Michael Thomas for 104 yards.

“I feel like me and Taysom, we have the same chip on our shoulder,” said Thomas, who also blamed himself for a “terrible drop” early in the game that might have made Hill’s performance even more impressive.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Thomas laughed and acknowledged that Hill throws a “fastball.”

“We’re always trying to come out here and dominate and help this team win games and always prove people wrong and prove people that believe in us right,” Thomas said. “You know he’s a dog, man. Taysom’s a dog. So just to see him come out there and play like he played today, who cares what anyone says? He’s a baller.”

Hill said the Saints cut down “significantly” on the number of designed runs they usually draw up for him. But his legs were still a big asset.

Hill’s first TD run came on a designed QB keeper on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line in the third quarter. His second TD run was a 10-yard scramble that showed off his speed and athleticism when he couldn’t find an open receiver in the fourth quarter.

Hill went undrafted out of BYU in 2017 after throwing for 6,929 yards and 43 TD passes and running for 2,815 yards and 32 TDs. He began his NFL career with the Green Bay Packers before being claimed by the Saints off waivers.

Since then, his role has steadily increased from special teams to just about every position on the offense. The Saints signed Hill to a two-year, $21 million contract extension as a restricted free agent this offseason.

LAFC’s Bradley takes inspiration from Dodgers, Lakers

LAFC head coach Bob Bradley is hoping that recent MLB and NBA titles for Los Angeles franchises the Dodgers and the Lakers can help inspire the Black and Gold to its first MLS Cup.

LAFC is the only Los Angeles team in the MLS playoffs, with the Galaxy crashing out on Nov. 5. Bradley believes that despite an inconsistent regular season and a tough first round match against reigning champion the Seattle Sounders FC, his team can find form in the postseason and become the latest LA team to win a championship.nfl jerseys nike cheap

“When all is said and done — we saw it in Los Angeles with the Lakers and the Dodgers — with everything that’s gone on in the country and in the world this year, some teams with leaders just still at the end have something special, something different,” said Bradley in a video conference after Sunday’s 1-1 tie against Portland Timbers. “There’s a mentality. There’s a concentration. There’s a determination. And I’m hoping we can find that.”

“I believe we are capable of winning MLS Cup, but again, you go a game at a time, and so we know that we start in Seattle [against the Sounders],” he continued. “[It’s] always a tough game. From the start we’ve had really good games with them, but we know that last year, they came here and knocked us out of the playoffs in the conference finals. So we’ve got to see if we can settle that score and go there and be at our best.”8

LAFC is boosted in the postseason by the return of Carlos Vela to full fitness. The Mexico forward played a full 90 minutes on Sunday for the first time in eight months. He scored his 52nd regular season goal since joining the club at the beginning of the 2018 season, matching Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s total over the Swede’s three seasons in MLS at LA Galaxy.

“When Carlos is there, when as many guys as possible are fit, sharp and in good form, we still believe that we have a team that can win MLS Cup and as we get to this time of the year, we think we are getting closer,” said Bradley.cheap nfl nike jersey

Uruguay forward Diego Rossi, 22, has developed into a key component for LAFC this season and won the league’s golden boot award with his 14 goals over the regular season, becoming the youngest recipient of the award.

“It is very nice to win it, it is a prize for the group because without them it would have obviously been impossible, because it is a team effort,” said Rossi in Spanish in a video conference. “When Carlos [Vela] was not there, we showed that the team was strong and has variation.”

For the trip to Seattle, LAFC may be without Uruguayan duo Rossi and Brian Rodriguez and Ecuadorians Jose Cifuentes and Diego Palacios, who will be traveling with their international squads in the current window and will have to quarantine on return to the United States.

Bradley lamented the potential absentees, but acknowledged that the COVID-19 situation has made for a complicated year for MLS logistically.

“We are going to take the group that’s here,” said Bradley. “We know we play Seattle. We are going to work like crazy for two weeks and go to Seattle and give our best effort to move on.”

USMNT’s Steffen: I’m growing at Manchester City despite limited play

United States men’s national team goalkeeper Zack Steffen feels he’s already grown on the field with club side Manchester City, even though he’s only been with the first team for a little over two months.

Steffen, 25, signed with Man City back in July of 2019, but spent the 2019-20 season on loan with German side Fortuna Dusseldorf. Steffen was brought in this season primarily to back up Ederson, but he has backstopped the club to two wins in the EFL Cup.

“Their goalie coach is really detailed, and is very eager to make me a better goalkeeper,” Steffen told reporters ahead of Thursday’s friendly against Wales. “And then just working with those guys day in and day out, the training, the level of intensity and skill and talent and everything that goes into it, I feel myself growing.”

In terms of what areas have been sharpened, Steffen pointed to the technical side of his game.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“It’s just so much more detailed than anything I’ve ever really been a part of, whether that’s hand positioning when you’re just catching the ball, or it’s a set position on a certain shot, or one-v-one.7

“There’s so many little aspects that I obviously knew of and I know the techniques, but I feel like I never really got the reasons why you do that. And so, I feel like I’m learning some new techniques obviously but [also] some reasons of why these techniques are gonna help me in the long run.”

Steffen’s brief spell with City has now allowed him to see manager Pep Guardiola up close. He said while he’s still in the process of getting to know the manager and staff, he’s been impressed with what he’s seen so far.cheap nfl nike jersey

“I feel like [Guardiola] has a good balance of being focused in intense,” Steffen said. “But with that he brings humor, and he brings just his genuineness, and just kindness. So it’s been cool to see how he works, how his coaching staff works.”

Steffen added that he’s also noticed an increase in how players are treated now that he’s in the Premier League.

“The player care is just more prominent,” he said. “They want us to be fully focused on football, and they really help us out and worry about everything else whether that’s cars, whether it’s banking, whether it’s housing, family stuff. Anything at all, they’re one call away, one text away, and they really make us feel comfortable.”

But for the next week, Steffen’s job will be to integrate himself with a U.S. side that hasn’t played a match since February, with many first choice players rejoining the U.S. team for the first time in over year. Steffen’s last appearance for the U.S. came on Oct. 15, 2019 in a 2-0 loss to Canada in the CONCACAF Nations League.

“The vibe so far has been really good,” he said. “Everybody’s excited to be here and everybody’s excited to see each other, meet one another. Training has been short and sharp and quick. It’s obviously tough when there’s so many new guys and we don’t have so many training days. But now we’re excited for the game, we’re excited to get on the field each day and learn from one another and see what everybody’s really made of.”

Marcus Stroman accepts New York Mets’ $18.9M qualifying offer

Right-hander Marcus Stroman has accepted the New York Mets’ one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer.

The Mets made the offer to the free agent Nov. 1. Stroman confirmed on Twitter he had taken it, saying, “Beyond excited to be back in Queens in 2021!”

Stroman also said on Twitter that he was excited to play for new Mets owner Steve Cohen.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Players had until 5 p.m. ET Wednesday to accept qualifying offers. Besides Stroman, Trevor Bauer, Kevin Gausman, George Springer, DJ LeMahieu and J.T. Realmuto also received offers. All but Stroman and Gausman rejected the deals.7

Stroman entered free agency without throwing a pitch during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. After recovering from a torn muscle in his left calf, which he suffered just two days before the season opener, the right-hander decided in August to opt out of the remainder of the season following discussions with his family about the coronavirus pandemic.

At the time, Stroman, 29, said the decision was made solely “for the best interests of my family,” adding that his grandmother and uncle have compromised immune systems and are around his mother on a regular basis.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

His decision to opt out came after a second simulated game in which he threw 85 pitches, with the intention of returning to the Mets’ rotation the following week. He was then placed on the restricted list.

The 5-foot-7 Stroman, who grew up about 50 miles from Citi Field, was 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA in 11 starts for the Mets after being acquired at the trade deadline from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019. He made the All-Star team for the Blue Jays, going 6-11 with a 2.96 ERA in 21 starts prior to the trade.

The ground ball, bulk-inning pitcher has twice thrown more than 200 innings in a season. Overall, he is 51-47 with a 3.76 ERA in 146 games, including 140 starts, over six major league seasons. He was the MVP of the 2017 World Baseball Classic and won a Gold Glove with Toronto later that year.

Colts’ No. 2-ranked defense respects Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, can’t ‘fear him’

The Indianapolis Colts made the Minnesota Vikings’ Kirk Cousins look like an overpriced free-agent quarterback. They helped make Sam Darnold’s future with the New York Jets even cloudier. They stifled Nick Foles in his first start with the Chicago Bears, holding the Bears to 11 points.

Those accomplishments have the Colts sitting at No. 2 in the NFL in total defense.

But now they’re about to face a different kind of challenge on Sunday: the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, the reigning NFL MVP.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Jackson, who former Colts general manager Bill Polian believed should have switched positions to receiver when he came out of Louisville in 2018, presents multiple obstacles to defenses attempting to slow him down because he’s a threat to run the ball out of Baltimore’s option-type offense. The Ravens use a lot of motion and deception, and they attempt to disguise things offensively with Jackson leading the way.

Veteran pass-rusher Justin Houston didn’t hesitate in calling Jackson the fastest quarterback he has faced in his 10-year NFL career.8

“I played against him, so hands down and by far the quickest, fastest quarterback,” Houston said. “That’s no knock to any other quarterback. There are a lot of quarterbacks with speed, but no other quarterback moves the way he moves in that pocket. When he gets out of the pocket, he is so dangerous.”

Jackson obviously leads the Ravens in passing, but he also leads them in rushing with 411 yards this season. The difference in Jackson this year compared to his NFL MVP season in 2019 is that he hasn’t been as accurate. A season after completing 66.1% of his pass attempts and throwing only six interceptions, the third-year player has completed just 60.5% of his attempts, which ranks 29th in the league, and he has already thrown four interceptions in seven games.nfl cheap jerseys nike

“I think what we bring to the table is an 11-on-1 mentality,” coach Frank Reich said. “I think what we bring to the table is — I know every defense in this league runs to the ball, I’m obviously very biased — I think our defense has a commitment of all 11 guys running to the ball. I think the speed and talent level of our defense as a unit is at a spot that can match up against players like this.”

The weight of the Ravens is on Jackson’s shoulders even more now because they’re dealing with injuries and COVID-19 issues on the roster. Starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley is out for the season with an ankle injury. All-Pro Marlon Humphrey will miss Sunday’s game after testing positive for the coronavirus.

But that doesn’t mean Jackson won’t be effective. The Colts know they can’t be timid against Jackson.

“Biggest thing is don’t play scared,” Houston said. “Respect him, but don’t fear him. Don’t let that slow you down in your rush.”

Those are the two words that will be talked about nonstop this week when it comes to defending Jackson. The defense, as Houston said, has to play fast in pursuing Jackson. At the same time, they can’t be wild while playing fast. That’s where the discipline comes into play.

“The way we talk about it is two sides of the same coin,” Reich said. “Lamar is a great player. He’s going to make his plays, but our goal is to minimize those the best we can. One we way can do that is with speed and discipline. Has to be the combination of both. Like a two-sided coin. One is not more important than the other. They’re equally important. You need both of them to give yourselves a chance to try to stop a guy like Lamar.”

Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles have ‘trust and faith’ in Carson Wentz amid struggles

Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson said that he did not consider replacing Carson Wentz with Jalen Hurts during Sunday’s night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, adding that Hurts and Nate Sudfeld need to be ready in case that situation comes up down the road.

Wentz turned the ball over four times and ended 15-of-27 for 123 yards with a pair of touchdowns in a 23-9 win over the Cowboys.

“Carson is our starter, and we’ve got a lot of trust and faith in him that he can get the job done. By no means was I in a position to make a decision or make a move [Sunday],” Pederson said. “It’s just something that we’ve got to continue to coach, we’ve got to continue to get better. He understands he has to get better in that area. We also understand that our backup quarterbacks here, Jalen and Nate, have got to be prepared, whether it’s a situation like that or an injury situation where they have to go in and play. My mind wasn’t there. I wasn’t going there. I was going to give Carson every opportunity to win that game for us. He’s capable of doing that, and I wasn’t in that frame of mind.”nike cheap nfl jerseys

Wentz is on pace for the worst statistical season of his career. He leads the league in turnovers (16), interceptions (12) and sacks (32), is 31st in completion percentage (58.4) and 29th in yards per attempt (6.1). His play had picked up over the past few games as he led multiple comeback efforts before tailing off against Dallas, which entered the game as the most giving defense in the NFL.8

Hurts, the team’s second-round pick this past April, has been sprinkled into the offense over the first half of the season, lining up all over the formation including at quarterback, where he’s completed two passes on as many attempts for 27 yards. Hurts has played 23 snaps total. The offense has generated 215 yards (9.3 average) and two touchdowns on those plays.

“Jalen’s doing a nice job. He’s prepared during the week, and he understands the game plan,” Pederson said.

“I think that you can’t do go in and say, ‘hey, learn the offense like Carson knows it right now,’ but I think you can do some things with him that allow him to be successful if we had to. But he’s in a good position. He studies hard during the week with Nate, and he’s prepared if called upon.”nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Pederson referenced his experience during the 2015 season, when he was offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs, in explaining why he is sticking with Wentz. The Chiefs started 1-5 but the coaching staff kept Alex Smith at quarterback, and Kansas City rattled off 11 straight wins from there.

“Not saying that we are going to win 11 straight here, but what I’m saying is, we are going to work through our issues. We are going to work through our problems,” Pederson said. “Carson understands that we’ve got to hold everybody accountable, and it starts with me, and I’m going to look at myself in the mirror. I’m going to look at some of the decisions and calls I’ve made in the first eight games, and that’s part of what this [bye] week is about, and it’s about getting better. The only way we get better, especially with some young players on offense that are playing, who are getting valuable reps, is to continue to work, and they have to work with Carson. That’s what we are going to do, and that’s our focus moving forward.”

New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley begins journey to become next Adrian Peterson

The surgery on New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley’s right knee came on Friday, 40 days after it gave out while he was trying to break a tackle in a game against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 20. It was considered a success with the ACL being reconstructed and meniscus repaired.

It was the first step in a comeback Barkley hopes will get him back into the conversation surrounding the best running backs in football. And a comeback that perhaps can make him the next Adrian Peterson, in more ways than one.

A year ago, Barkley was mentioned alongside Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey as one of the NFL‘s top running backs. Then a high ankle sprain hampered Barkley’s 2019 season before the knee injury took him out in Week 2 this season. Barkley totaled 1,037 rushing yards in 15 games over the past two seasons, and will spend Monday night recovering in Los Angeles while watching the Giants host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Barkley was said to be in “good spirits” in the weeks leading up to the surgery, according to a source. He was seen in a maskless viral video with quarterback Daniel Jones and other teammates during a night out last week that earned the group some ridicule. At one point, the video showed Barkley riding a bicycle and doing what appeared to be wheelies on the street.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Barkley had been waiting for the swelling in his injured knee to go down, which is often the case when there is MCL damage. Then, the procedure was delayed until the World Series ended and Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the team physician for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Rams, was available to perform the surgery.7

Even though Barkley is on injured reserve and his season is over, Giants coach Joe Judge has kept him around the team, in meeting rooms, and had him travel to Los Angeles and Philadelphia for road games.

“We count on those guys for leadership and being involved, and that was it right there,” Judge said recently of Barkley and then-injured safety Jabrill Peppers, both team captains.

Now, Barkley is ready to get to work on rehab. It will take time and effort. Sweat and pain. Nobody wants to put an exact time frame on it, but the recovery process from a torn ACL with accompanying MCL and meniscus damage is generally nine to 12 months.

He will have about 10½ months to get himself right for Week 1 of next season, so he shouldn’t rush his recovery. Knowing his tight relationship with Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who also recently tore an ACL, expect the two to intertwine their rehab this offseason while they experience a similar process.

Barkley, 23, has something to prove, as he will be entering the fourth year of his rookie deal. A lucrative new contract almost certainly awaits, but first he needs to prove he’s healthy, and as good as — or better than — his former self.

It’s possible, although there could be obstacles. Meniscus injuries complicate the rehab because repair or removal takes away some of the protective power for the knee. While ACL injuries aren’t the career-enders they were decades ago, a player’s effectiveness after returning can vary.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

The good news for the Giants: Barkley isn’t just another running back. He is the generational talent with quads as wide as bookshelves who Giants general manager Dave Gettleman once said was “touched by the hand of God.”

“He is [an] Adrian Peterson-like [marvel],” one NFL general manager said of what he expects from Barkley’s comeback.

Struggling New York Jets QB Sam Darnold gets pep talk from Adam Gase

Coming off one of the worst statistical games of his career, New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold received a pep talk and a vote of confidence from coach Adam Gase.

“I just keep thinking, ‘He’s 23, none of this can be easy,'” Gase said Monday, adding that he spoke with Darnold on Sunday night. “He’s a guy that did so much good in college and won a lot of football games. Things haven’t always gone as smoothly as everybody always hopes when they get to the NFL.”

The Jets haven’t won any games this season, as Darnold — expected to make a big jump in the second year under Gase — has shown signs of regression. The slump has fueled questions about Darnold’s future, with speculation the Jets might draft Clemson star Trevor Lawrence if they land the top pick.

In Sunday’s 18-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills, Darnold passed for only 120 yards with two interceptions for a 31.1 passer rating, the second-lowest of his career. It was a horrible offensive performance by the Jets (0-7), who managed only four yards in the second half — the team’s fewest yards in a half in 40 years.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Gase absolved Darnold of any blame, putting it squarely on the offensive line, which allowed six sacks. Gase said “it was collapsing quick on him” and he “didn’t have a lot of time to throw the ball.” When he did, the throws were tight-window attempts.7

In five starts, Darnold has twice as many interceptions (six) as touchdown passes (three). His numbers have declined from last season in all the major statistical categories.

Gase, hired to develop Darnold, insisted his pupil isn’t going backward.nfl cheap jerseys nike

“If you look at it statistically, we’re not good anywhere statistically,” he said. “What I see in practice a lot of times, I see things that were better than last year. When we get to games, we just have to figure out a way to protect him and let him get in rhythm. I saw some really good things the first half [Sunday]. Then it started getting really muddy in the second half.”

Darnold said he remains upbeat, although he admitted his interception at the end of the first half was “a terrible mistake, something I truly feel won’t happen again.” He called it a “dumb decision,” a pass into heavy coverage.

He was under duress throughout the game, as the Bills cranked up their safety blitzes in the second half. Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, calling plays for the first time, had no answers.

The rebuilt offensive line was supposed to be improved this season, but it has allowed 24 sacks.

“I think everyone is frustrated. I don’t think it’s unique to Sam,” guard Greg Van Roten said. “We need to put him in a position to be successful. If we, as an offensive line, are playing like we did [Sunday], we’re not giving him a chance to show what he can do.

Tampa Bay Rays’ Randy Arozarena sets postseason record with 9th home run in Game 4 of World Series

Tampa Bay Rays rookie Randy Arozarena became the first player to hit nine home runs in a single postseason after taking Los Angeles Dodgers starter Julio Urias deep to right field in the fourth inning of Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday night.

Arozarena, 25, already holds the rookie hit record for a single postseason, set in Game 3, while breaking a four-way tie for most home runs.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager also homered in Game 4 and has eight this postseason.8

Arozarena later scored the winning run on Brett Phillips’ walk-off single, as the Rays beat the Dodgers 8-7 in Game 4 to even the World Series at two games apiece.

Arozarena actually fell down rounding third base, but after Dodgers catcher Will Smith couldn’t handle the relay throw, the Rays’ rookie was able to make it home with the winning run.nfl cheap nike jerseys

“All I was thinking about was just running hard,” Arozarena said through an interpreter. “Running hard as I could. Once I got to a certain spot, I saw that the ball got bobbled. I got sent home. I tripped. … I was actually trying to get back to third base because I knew we had already tied the game so, if anything, I was just trying to get in a rundown. Then, I saw the ball get past him, so I turned around and scored.”

Arozarena also holds the record for total bases in a single postseason. He singled to lead off the sixth inning Saturday night, tying Pablo Sandoval for most hits by any player in one postseason.

The 2020 playoffs featured an extra round, meaning Arozarena is playing in his 18th playoff game already.

Nelson Cruz, Carlos Beltran and Barry Bonds are the three other players — along with Seager — to hit eight home runs in a single postseason.

Pittsburgh Steelers hang on, remain unbeaten as Tennessee Titans miss tying field goal

Even so, a missed 45-yard field goal attempt by Stephen Gostkowski with 19 seconds left preserved the Steelers’ undefeated record, and Pittsburgh held on for a 27-24 win in Nashville despite a fourth-quarter collapse. With the win, the Steelers are 6-0 for the first time since 1978.

“Thankfully our guys didn’t blink and was able to hold it together and make enough plays to secure a victory,” coach Mike Tomlin said afterward, giving props to the Titans (5-1) in his opening statement after the win. “Not a perfect product. We understand that. But I appreciate their efforts. We are perfect from a record standpoint, and so we respect that.”

After throwing just one interception in the first five games, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (32-of-49, 268 yards, 2 TDs) was picked off three times Sunday, including on an attempt to JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was defended by a linebacker, with less than three minutes to play. The Steelers were up by just three at the time and in the midst of a 16-play drive that kept the Titans and running back Derrick Henry off the field. It was the same recipe that worked in the first half, but instead of ending a long, grinding drive with a score, Smith-Schuster bobbled the ball, and Amani Hooker came down with it to give his team a window to work its fourth-quarter magic.

“It’s NFL football,” Tomlin said. “We play to win. We don’t live in our fears. Is it a combat play? Is it tight? Yes, we have a quarterback that’s been doing that for 17 years.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

“Sometimes you’ve just got to acknowledge that they made the play in the moment and we desire to, and that’s why we’re not going to live in our fears. We’re going to go in those instances to secure victory.”

The Titans’ ensuing drive ended with an opportunity to force overtime with Gostkowski’s field goal attempt, but it sailed wide right, and Roethlisberger, who watched incredulously from the sideline, came out for the victory formation.6

“We feel we have a really good football team, right?” said Roethlisberger, whose team takes on the 5-1 Ravens in Baltimore next Sunday. “We feel that it could be very special and we’re happy with where we are right now, but that’s going to be a short-lived happiness because we know what’s coming up next.”

The Titans staged their second-half comeback as the Steelers struggled to replicate the recipe that worked in the first half, during which they grinded out long drives to keep Henry on the sideline, and swallowing him up with tackles behind the line of scrimmage when he was on the field.nike jerseys nfl cheap

After winning the coin toss, the Steelers elected to receive the ball and went on a 9-minute, 18-second drive that ended with a Diontae Johnson touchdown, marking their first opening-drive TD since Week 15 of the 2018 season against the Patriots.

The defense complemented the score with a three-and-out to hand the ball right back to the offense for another long scoring drive, putting the Steelers up 14-0.

“That was five-star ball,” Tomlin said. “That’s a good group. Guys like JuJu and others stepped up and made those plays, but you got to tip your cap to Tennessee. They made those plays, combat catches with tight coverage.”

Including the playoffs, Roethlisberger is 98-1-1 in his career in games in which the Steelers have a 14-point lead, the only loss coming in Week 13 of 2018 vs. the Chargers and the tie in Week 1 of that same season at the Browns.

The Steelers capitalized on the Titans’ below-average third-down defense, converting 8 of 9 attempts for their highest third-down conversion percentage in a half over the past 20 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information. With that formula, the Steelers scored on each of their first four possessions to build a dominating 24-7 lead at halftime, and after the break, they added a field goal to make it 27-7.