Browns relieved Garrett incident with punching fan not worse

By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Browns coach Freddie Kitchens believes the fan who punched Myles Garrett was lucky.
“I was glad the guy ran,” Kitchens cracked Monday as Cleveland returned from its bye weekend.
As the Browns began their break last week, Garrett was driving in downtown Cleveland when a fan pulled alongside him and asked for a photograph. Garrett told police he asked the man to wait while he was on the phone but then got punched.
Richard Perez of Strongsville, Ohio, fled the scene in his car but another witness got his license plate and provided it to authorities.
The 6-foot-4, 270-pound Garrett was not injured and even joked on Twitter that the man needed to “put your legs into it might have actually made me flinch.”
Kitchens, though, wasn’t kidding when he said Garrett deserved better and that he showed uncommon restraint in not pursuing the attacker.
“It says something about his character, of course,” Kitchens said. “Myles has tremendous character.”
Kitchens added that the incident was a good reminder to players to be careful in public.
“It is sad that we have to talk about things like that, but we always stress for our guys to be careful. But who could ever see something like that coming?” he said. “You see guys all the time and you see people all the time that are wanting to take pictures or get autographs and things like that. Usually, the other part of it gets reported, right? The guy that won’t spend time taking a picture or it is rowdy signing autographs. And then that guy becomes what? He is not really ‘fan friendly.’
“You hardly ever see the other side of this, which is just sad that somebody would take advantage of it like that, especially with a guy like Myles.”
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Nyquist’s penalty shot in OT lifts Blue Jackets past Leafs

TORONTO (AP) — Gustav Nyquist couldn’t recall getting a penalty shot in overtime before.
He scored on his chance 1:57 into the extra period Monday night, giving the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I think that’s my first one,” Nyquist said. “So it felt nice to put that one in.”
Riley Nash, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Alexander Wennberg scored in regulation for Columbus, and Nick Foligno had two assists. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 28 shots.
“It was a game where I thought the puck was bouncing all over the place,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “We certainly weren’t sharp. They weren’t sharp.”
Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist, and William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen also scored for Toronto. Andreas Johnsson and Jake Muzzin each had two assists, and Frederik Andersen finished with 34 saves.
“The issues for us … discipline and shift length,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “We do lots of good things. The ability to maintain it and do it for 60 (minutes) hasn’t been something that we’ve done. … You’ve got to mature and grow up as a group for that to happen. You just have to. The level of focus that you bring to your job each day, no matter what job you do, has to be at a high.”
Andersen stopped Dubois on a breakaway seconds into overtime. He then robbed Wennberg, before Nyquist was hooked by Mitch Marner on another 1-on-1 chance at the end of a long shift for the Maple Leafs.
With fans inside Scotiabank Arena voicing their displeasure, Nyquist moved in and beat Andersen under the glove for his second goal of the season.
“I felt a hook when I got in there,” Nyquist said. “I’m assuming that’s why it was called.”
Playing their second game since captain John Tavares suffered a broken finger that will keep him out until at least early November, the Maple Leafs were far from their best with a number of sloppy sequences at both ends of the rink. Still, they led 3-2 after 40 minutes.
Columbus tied it up, however, on a power play at 10:09 of the third when Wennberg scored his second after Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly blocked Zach Werenski’s initial shot.
Andersen, who recovered nicely after allowing goals on the Blue Jackets’ first two shots of the game, stopped Cam Atkinson on a breakaway with under four minutes left in regulation.
Nylander put the Leafs ahead 3-2 with 14.5 seconds left in the middle period when Matthews grabbed a loose puck in the slot and saw his initial shot stopped by Korpisalo. Johnsson heeled the rebound and it found Nyander, who buried his third goal of the season to snap a four-game point drought.
Despite his early blemishes, Andersen was the story for Toronto most of the period.
“He made a number of really good saves to keep us ahead, keep us tied,” Matthews said. “In the third they came at us.”
The goalie stopped Ryan Murray from the slot early in the second and then stacked the pads to deny Dubois later on after a turnover by Muzzin before Nylander pushed his team ahead.
Coming off consecutive 3-2 overtime losses to the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Islanders, the Blue Jackets jumped out to that 2-0 lead in front of a stunned Scotiabank Arena crowd.
Nash got things started with Columbus killing a penalty just 2:31 in when he stole the puck from Marner in Toronto’s end. The center fed Foligno in front, and he passed right back to Nash, who made no mistake for his first.
“That was a great play all around,” Nash said. “We were talking about trying to get a little more up-ice pressure so I was trying to engage as fast as possible, not let them get a head of steam coming back up ice. … Saw an opening, definitely was going to shoot it, but I think he toe-picked or almost fell down and decided to pass it (back). I was happy to hit the back of the net.”
The Blue Jackets then went up by two at 5:52 when Dubois fought off Matthews coming out of the corner and stuffed his fourth past Andersen.
The Blue Jackets — who made the second round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history last spring before losing Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and Matt Duchene in free agency — then went on the power play with a chance to go up 3-0, but Leafs were the ones to capitalize.
Columbus turned the puck over at the offensive blue line, with Marner making amends for the early gaffe by feeding Kapanen on a 2-on-1 short-handed break for his second at 11:25.
Toronto tied it 2-2 with 38.2 seconds remaining when Johnsson, who left Saturday’s victory after blocking a shot, found Matthews at the lip of the crease for his eighth.
NOTES: Columbus F Josh Anderson returned to the lineup after missing the last six games with an upper-body injury suffered Oct. 5. … The attendance was 18,891. … Andersen made 43 saves in Saturday’s thrilling 4-3 overtime victory against the Bruins at home, but No. 2 goalie Michael Hutchinson is expected to get the start in the second half of a back-to-back — and Toronto’s third game in four nights — in the rematch Tuesday at Boston.
Blue Jackets: Host Carolina on Thursday night.
Maple Leafs: At Boston on Tuesday night.
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AP Top 25: Ohio State jumps Clemson to 3rd; Wisconsin falls

By RALPH D. RUSSO AP College Football Writer
Ohio State edged past Clemson to No. 3 in The Associated Press college football poll and Wisconsin dropped to 13th after being upset ahead of its showdown with the Buckeyes.
Alabama remained No. 1 on Sunday in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank, receiving 24 first-place votes. No. 2 LSU held its place and received 16 first-place votes. The Buckeyes had 13 first-place votes and No. 4 Clemson, the preseason No. 1 team and defending national champion, received nine.
The Buckeyes and Tigers both were coming off conference blowouts on the road. Ohio State beat Northwestern 52-3 Friday night. Clemson defeated Louisville 45-10.
The point margin between the No. 1 and No. 4 in this week’s Top 25 is 78, the smallest it has been this season. Alabama received 1,486 points while LSU had 1,462, Ohio State had 1,429 and Clemson had 1,408.
Oklahoma remained No. 5, but Penn State moved up to sixth after Wisconsin’s first loss of the season. The Badgers were beaten Saturday by 30-point underdog Illinois in the season’s most significant upset so far.
Florida, Notre Dame, Auburn and Georgia round out the top 10, giving the Southeastern Conference five of the top 10 teams.
Preseason No. 1 teams commonly relinquish the top spot without losing, but the extent of Clemson’s fall is unusual. The last preseason No. 1 to drop as far or farther without a loss or tie was Oklahoma in 1977. The Sooners slipped from first to fifth after opening the season with a 25-23 victory over Vanderbilt. Oklahoma started climbing the very next week and reached No. 1 again before losing its fifth game of the season to Texas in mid-October.
One has to go all the way back to 1971 to find a similar drop to Clemson’s for a preseason No. 1. Notre Dame started that season top ranked and won its first five games, slipping to No. 7 while doing so. Maybe voters’ suspicions of the Irish were justified: Notre Dame lost twice in the second half of the regular season to finish 8-2 and ranked No. 13.
That Notre Dame team seemed to suffer from a schedule perceived to be not so rigorous and one very close victory. None of the Irish’s first five opponents was ranked at the time of the game and Notre Dame beat Purdue 8-7. Those Boilermakers went on to finish 3-7.
Clemson has played just one team that was ranked at game time, then-No. 12 Texas A&M, which has since dropped out of the rankings. And the Tigers had a one-point victory at North Carolina, which is currently 3-4.
No teams are making their season debut in the Top 25 this week, but a couple re-entered.
— No. 23 Iowa State (5-2) is back after winning three straight games.
— No. 25 Wake Forest (6-1) returns after a one-week hiatus. The Demon Deacons bounced back from their first loss of the season last week to beat Florida State on a late field goal.
— Missouri is the latest team to lose right after moving into the Top 25 for the first time this season. The Tigers were upset by Vanderbilt.
— Washington is out again after losing a thriller to No. 11 Oregon.
Big Ten — 6 (Nos. 3, 6, 13, 17, 19, 20)
SEC — 5 (Nos. 1, 2, 7, 8, 10)
Big 12 — 4 (Nos. 5, 14, 15, 23)
Pac-12 — 3 (Nos. 11, 12, 24)
American — 2 (Nos. 16, 18)
ACC — 2 (Nos. 4, 25)
Mountain West — 1 (No. 22)
Sun Belt — 1 (No. 21)
Independent — 1 (No. 8).
No. 13 Wisconsin at No. 3 Ohio State. Big game lost a lot of luster because of what happened in Champaign, Illinois.
No. 8 Notre Dame at No. 19 Michigan. Wolverines face a top-10 opponent for second straight week.
No. 9 Auburn at No. 2 LSU. SEC West survivor series begins.
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No running game, no wins: Same sad story for hapless Bengals

By JOE KAY AP Sports Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) — Thirty-three yards rushing, all by the quarterback. Just when the Bengals think their offense can’t get any worse, it reaches new depths.
And seven weeks into the season, they’re still winless with no relief in sight.
Andy Dalton threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and the Jacksonville Jaguars pulled away to a 27-17 victory Sunday that extended Cincinnati’s worst start in 11 years.
First-year coach Zac Taylor is still awaiting that first win, watching the dwindling fan base get more restless by the week. Several wore bags over their heads Sunday, and a banner in the upper deck played off their “New Dey” motto for the season by declaring: “Fans Are Due Day.”
They can keep waiting while Taylor tries to figure out how to make something out of the mess, especially the running game. At this point, he’s open to trying anything.
“We can’t have big enough egos to where it’s like, ‘Oh, this player’s been playing this position,’ or, ‘We have to continue to do it this way as a coach,'” said Taylor, who calls the plays on offense. “We’ve got to look at everything.”
Everyone knows where to start.
The Bengals (0-7) ran for 33 yards during a loss at Baltimore a week ago. They had the same total Sunday, but this time it was worse in how it happened. Dalton accounted for all 33 yards on four scrambles. Running backs Joe Mixon (10 carries, 2 yards) and Giovani Bernard (four carries, no yards) had trouble getting back to the line of scrimmage. Receiver Alex Erickson lost 2 yards on two carries.
With nothing on the ground, the Bengals have relied on Dalton to do everything. He threw 43 times Sunday, completing 22 for 276 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also was sacked twice and hit repeatedly.
Dalton has thrown 286 times, among the most in the NFL.
“When you’re one-dimensional, it makes it easy for the other side to know what’s going on,” Dalton said.
Knowing that Dalton had to throw figured into the Jaguars’ biggest play. Yannick Ngakoue sensed the Bengals would try a screen pass when Bernard — their top receiver out of the backfield — got into the game. The defensive end was in position to grab the floating pass and return it 23 yards for the clinching touchdown.
“I noticed when (Bernard) was in the game, they were looking to pass,” Ngakoue said. “And when it was (Mixon), they were looking to run. So I thought it was going to be a screen.”
The Bengals have been held under 35 yards rushing in four of their seven games. Mixon has only 254 yards. Dalton is their second-leading rusher with 51. The offensive line has been an issue for the last few years, and it’s struggling to create room for running backs.
“There’s a big hole there and at the last second, they’re beating us up front 1-on-1,” Taylor said.
That’s only half of a bad equation.
The Bengals are not only last in the league in running the ball; they’re also last in stopping the run. Leonard Fournette ran for 131 yards Sunday, and the Jaguars piled up 216 overall on the ground. It’s the third straight game and the fourth time this season that an opponent has rushed for more than 200 yards.
Cincinnati has allowed 1,323 yards rushing while managing only 372.
“It’s not good enough because we haven’t won a single game,” linebacker Preston Brown said.
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Browns hurt themselves, fall flat after fast start in loss

By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns’ start was exhilarating. The rest was mostly excruciating.
Baker Mayfield and Co. aren’t living up to expectations — theirs or anyone else’s.
Mayfield threw three more interceptions, Nick Chubb had a costly fumble and Cleveland had a punt blocked Sunday during a 32-28 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, dropping the Browns to 0-3 at home and into their bye week searching for answers.
The Browns (2-4) couldn’t sustain momentum after scoring touchdowns on their first three drives, and Mayfield, who now leads the NFL with 11 interceptions, was slowed by a hip injury in the second half.
“Kind of tender right now,” Mayfield said, describing his hip and unintentionally labeling Cleveland’s season.
After six games, the Browns are bruised.
They led 20-6 just six seconds into the second quarter when Mayfield connected with tight end Ricky Seals-Jones for a 31-yard touchdown pass.
But it was downhill from there as Mayfield couldn’t match Russell Wilson, who rallied the Seahawks (5-1) to another tight win.
“We had turnovers every which way,” wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said. “Had the game in our hands and let it get away.”
Mayfield and Cleveland’s offense showed some signs of improvement. Coach Freddie Kitchens’ game plan was to get Beckham more involved, and he finished with six catches for 101 yards while being targeted 11 times.
But the Browns were done in by mistakes, self-inflicted ones, with the last an interception by Mayfield with 2:46 on a pass that hit running back Dontrell Hilliard’s hands but was thrown behind him.
“Tough catch for him,” said Mayfield, who went 22 of 37 for 249 yards and scored on a 10-yard run. “Just seems a lot of those bounces right there are not going in our favor.”
It’s true the Browns hurt themselves, but they didn’t get any favors from the officiating crew.
One call that really miffed Mayfield came in the third quarter when wide receiver Jarvis Landry was called for an illegal blindside block on Seahawks safety Marquise Blair. Cleveland trailed 25-20 at the time.
“The refs are never an excuse,” Mayfield said. “I will probably get fined for saying this, but it was pretty bad today. The guy is squared up with him, running at him and he is lowering his head into Jarvis. What is (Landry) supposed to do? Avoid him? This is not bullfighting. I don’t know. It ticks me off.”
Landry bolted after the game without speaking to reporters.
Kitchens had plenty of reasons to be peeved, but he was careful not to publicly poke the officials.
“I’m not commenting on officiating,” he said. “I got a memo the other day. I’m not commenting on it. You guys saw the game.”
Cleveland was called for nine penalties, Seattle for 10.
The Browns have been undisciplined since Week 1, when they were penalized 18 times in a loss to Tennessee. They’ve cleaned things up a bit, but Kitchens said his team must do a better job of not imploding.
“It is a factor of not focusing, not concentrating,” he said. “Sometimes, it is playing with emotion instead of passion. After-the-whistle (penalties) are emotion instead of passion. During the play, it is technique, being lazy or not doing your job. There are several things. We do not ever practice penalties.”
Browns defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was more direct in questioning the officiating.
“I don’t know what them penalty calls was,” he said. “They let other teams play football, but us . it’s that simple. It’s just annoying playing handcuffed.”
Richardson was asked if the calls were affecting the Browns, altering the way they play.
“Watch the film,” he said. “Every time we get momentum it’s always something. A phantom here, a holding there, whatever the case may be, roughing the passer when the quarterback’s still got the ball in his hands. It’s football. When you leave it up to judgment calls, that’s what happens. You take the game out of the players’ hands and you put it in the referees’ — it’s just that simple.
“It’s football. It’s violent. It’s aggressive. It is what it is. It’s barbaric and people want it to be nice. That’s what it is.”
The Browns will get some time to reassess their fading season before visiting New England in two weeks.
Mayfield said it’s imperative he and his teammates turn their uneven start into a positive.
“The great teams learn from their mistakes,” he said. “They learn from games like these. The certain plays that you can look back on and say, ‘This would have made the difference.’ You learn from it and you move forward. This hurts, but the good teams learn from it.
“Down the road, our plan is that it is going to be better for us in the long run and that is how we have to look at it.”
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Bengals must wait longer for ‘rewarding’ first win

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Cincinnati Bengals can’t stop the run, score touchdowns when they reach the red zone or catch one of those timely breaks that can turn the tide on the most frustrating of seasons.
First-year coach Zac Taylor is simultaneously trying to fix his team’s many problems while looking forward to the day when the Bengals (0-6) finally erase the zero that has taken up residence in the win column.
On Sunday, the Bengals raced to a 7-0 lead on a 92-yard kickoff return by Brandon Wilson before permitting the Baltimore Ravens to score on their first three possessions. Though Cincinnati stiffened after that, the damage had been done in a 23-17 defeat.
Yes, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson ran for 152 yards and threw for 236. Sure, Baltimore amassed 497 yards — including 269 on the ground.
What matters to Taylor, besides the final score, is that the Ravens managed only six points over the final 44 minutes.
“I don’t care what the stats say, they buckled down,” Taylor said of his defense. “They gave up two field goals there the remainder of the game. That’s what we needed from them. That’s the response we needed. That’s not a normal response from a team that’s 0-5 at the time.”
A defiant Taylor deflected questions about whether he should give up play-calling duties and focus on the bigger picture to turn his struggling team around.
“We’ve won zero games and have not scored enough points. That 100 percent falls on me,” he acknowledged. “But I do like the communication we have as a staff. We’re on the same page when the calls come out, regardless of who calls it.”
Taylor pointed to the way the Bengals performed on the road against the AFC North leaders as a reason for hope rather than frustration.
“You can throw every stat at me you want — we’re not scoring points, we’re not scoring touchdowns, our red zone efficiency is terrible — but the bottom line is we’re 0-6 and our team’s got more fight than anybody I’ve been around,” he insisted. “I just told them: When we do find that way, it’s going to be the most rewarding win you’ve ever had in your entire life.”
The Bengals didn’t make things easy on themselves Sunday, allowing the Ravens to roll up a 212-6 edge in offensive yards and an 11-0 advantage in first downs in the first 15 minutes.
But after quarterback Andy Dalton scored from the 2 with 1:28 left, Cincinnati lined up for the onside kick with the hope of pulling out a victory.
“We’ve got some great guys here, we’ve got guys that are sticking together,” Dalton said. “For us to get things turned around, it has to be that way.”
What’s also important is getting off to a faster start. For three straight games now, the Bengals have failed to score an offensive touchdown over the first three quarters. That’s how a 7-0 lead becomes a 20-10 deficit with 15 minutes left.
“We’ve got to be better in the first half,” Taylor said. “We have to put points on the board and take the pressure off the defense.”
Next week, the Bengals host Jacksonville in their quest to get their first win under Taylor.
“There’s not one person in this locker room who has quit on us,” Taylor said. “The mood is still (ticked) off that we haven’t found a way to the win, but everyone still believes.”
As a youth, Bengals linebacker Preston Brown watched many a Cincinnati team struggle from start to finish. He can only hope this isn’t one of those clubs.
“I grew up seeing 2-14 teams, and it’s something I never wanted to be a part of,” he said. “I’m trying each and every week to get that first win. We know what the whole city wants, and we’ve got to get this win.”
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AP Top 25: LSU jumps to No. 2; Ohio State at 4

By RALPH D. RUSSO AP College Football Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — LSU moved up to No. 2 in The Associated Press college football poll, giving the Southeastern Conference the top two teams in the country for the 29th time and putting the Tigers behind No. 1 Alabama less than a month before the rivals meet in Tuscaloosa.
The Tigers jumped from No. 5, past No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Ohio State, after beating Florida in a matchup of unbeaten teams Saturday night. LSU received 12 first-place votes Sunday in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank while Alabama received 30 first-place votes and is No. 1 for the third consecutive week. The Crimson Tide host the Tigers on Nov. 9.
One conference has held the top two spots 75 times since the AP poll started in 1936, none more than the SEC. The now-defunct Big Eight is next with 23.
Clemson received 11 first-place votes Sunday and Ohio State had nine. Oklahoma was No. 5 and Wisconsin became the first new team to crack the top six after Georgia suffered the biggest upset of the season so far. The Bulldogs dropped from No. 3 to No. 10 after losing at home to South Carolina in double overtime.
Georgia is the highest-ranked team to lose to an unranked team this season. The Bulldogs had been steady at No. 3 since the preseason. They were among a season-high eight ranked teams to lose this weekend, including four to unranked teams.
Penn State moved up to No. 7. Florida’s loss at LSU cost the ninth-ranked Gators two spots. Notre Dame was No. 8, two spots ahead of Georgia, which won a close game at home against the Irish last month.
Texas slipped four spots to No. 15, the highest ranked team with two losses. The Longhorns lost to Oklahoma on Saturday and fell to LSU early in the season. Both losses were to current top-five teams, each by seven points.
It is the 27th time the SEC has had the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the rankings since 2000. The only other conferences to do it in that time are the Big Ten (eight times) and the Big 12 (once).
LSU and Alabama have been 1 and 2 (in some order) 10 times previously, including nine during the 2011 season, when they played as the top two teams in the regular season and BCS championship game. Alabama avenged the regular-season Game of the Century loss and won the national championship.
The Tigers and Tide were also 1-2 for a week in September 2013.
Three teams moved into the rankings for the first time this season and a fourth is back after a week out.
— No. 20 Minnesota (6-0) is off to its best start since 2003. The Gophers are the only unbeaten team from a Power Five conference that had not yet been ranked.
— No. 22 Missouri has won five straight since losing its opener at Wyoming.
— No. 24 Appalachian State is in the Top 25 for the second time in school history. The Mountaineers will try to hang around a little longer this time. Last year, App State was ranked for the first time since moving to the FBS in 2014, but the Mountaineers lost their first game as a ranked team and never returned.
— No. 25 Washington (5-2) fell out last week after losing at Stanford, but it bounced back with a decisive road win against Arizona on Saturday.
— Texas A&M had been lingering at the bottom of the ranking, despite September losses to Clemson and Auburn. After getting routed by Alabama, voters finally bailed on the Aggies.
— Virginia is out after losing at Miami on Friday night.
— Wake Forest lost for the first time this season and dropped out after falling 62-59 to Louisville.
— Memphis lasted only a week in the Top 25 after losing at Temple.
The Atlantic Coast Conference is down to one ranked team: Clemson. The last time the ACC had only one team in the Top 25 was Sept. 28, 2014, when Florida State was No. 1.
SEC — 6 (Nos. 1, 2, 9, 10, 11, 22).
Big Ten — 6 (Nos. 4, 6, 7, 16, 20, 23).
Pac-12 — 4 (Nos. 12, 13, 17, 25).
Big 12 — 3 (Nos. 5, 15, 18).
American — 2 (Nos. 19, 21)
ACC — 1 (No. 3).
Mountain West — 1 (No. 14)
Sun Belt — 1 (No. 24)
Independent — 1 (No. 8).
No. 16 Michigan at No. 7 Penn State. Happy Valley whiteout greets the Wolverines.
No. 17 Arizona State at No. 13 Utah. Major Pac-12 South implications.
No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington. Major Pac-12 North implications.
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Blue Jackets edge previously unbeaten Hurricanes 3-2

By KEN TYSIAC Associated Press
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A focused defensive performance and balanced offense helped the Columbus Blue Jackets end the best start to a season in Carolina Hurricanes’ franchise history.
Markus Nutivaara, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Pierre-Luc Dubios scored and Columbus beat the Hurricanes 3-2.
Carolina entered the game with a 5-0-0 record and had scored 11 goals in its last two games, but Joonas Korpisalo stopped 30 of 32 shots and the Blue Jackets used a disciplined defensive effort to win.
“I thought we defended really well as a unit of five,” Dubois said. “We have a good ‘D’ corps, but any good ‘D’ corps in this league, if left alone for 2-on-1s and 3-on-2s, it’s hard. So we defended well. We reloaded well. Our centers and (defensemen) did a good job together. Our wingers did a good job limiting shots from the points.”
Dubois overpowered Brock McGinn on a rush from the opposite blue line and lifted a backhander past James Reimer, snapping a 2-all tie 75 seconds into the third period. Columbus made the lead stand up.
Ryan Murray and Alexander Wennberg each added two assists for the Blue Jackets.
Erik Haula and Dougie Hamilton scored for the Hurricanes, who didn’t match the energy or discipline that Columbus displayed with both teams on the second night of a back-to-back.
“They (played) exactly how we thought they were going to play us, to a tee, and we weren’t ready,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We didn’t prepare properly as a group for that kind of game and we got what we deserved in my opinion.”
Columbus, meanwhile, had a total of just eight goals in its first four games while posting a 1-3 record. The Blue Jackets didn’t exactly break out on offense as Reimer stopped 32 of 35 shots in a strong effort in goal, but their defense kept Carolina’s speed in check.
The Blue Jackets had their second-best regular season in club history in 2018-19 with 98 points and a 47-31-4 record, and they are eager to bounce back from a slow start.
“It was huge for us to get back on track,” Murray said. “You don’t want to fall into that hole, because once you’re in that hole it’s tough to get out. So we want to keep rolling and get some momentum going.”
Brind’Amour said the Blue Jackets have a great defense and made some nice plays to clear the puck while Carolina was “just flat.” Columbus coach John Tortorella said the Blue Jackets limited the Hurricanes’ speed in the neutral zone and just played hard.
The result gave the Blue Jackets optimism heading into three straight days without a game.
“They should feel good about themselves,” Tortorella said of the team. “Everybody contributed. We had some grind to our game. I think that’s something that’s been missing consistently in our game. It was there most of the night.”
NOTES: Haula has scored in five of Carolina’s six games and leads the team with five goals. … All three Columbus goals came at even strength. … The Blue Jackets are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games against Carolina.
Blue Jackets: Host Dallas on Wednesday.
Hurricanes: Open a four-game trip on Tuesday against the Kings in Los Angeles.
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Day impressed with toughness of Buckeyes at halfway point

By MITCH STACY AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — At the halfway point of the season, coach Ryan Day isn’t assessing the performance of his Ohio State team purely by statistics, which, by the way, are pretty good across the board. The Buckeyes are 6-0, dominating opponents, showing few weaknesses and share a No. 3 ranking in the AP Top 25 .
But it’s the toughness the Buckeyes have shown that has impressed Day the most, especially in his quarterback, Justin Fields.
“I think that our chemistry has been really good the first six games,” Day said Tuesday. “I think we have played with toughness, seeing guys tackle and run to the ball, the way guys are running the ball, the way we’re blocking on the line of scrimmage, the way the quarterback is playing. I think the quarterback is tough. I watched the way he takes shots and stands in there. I think our team is getting a little bit of that identity.”
That grit has contributed to a fine six-game stretch for the Buckeyes, who entered the season with a new coach, new starting quarterback, a mostly new offensive line and a defense that struggled last season. Ohio State is enjoying an off week before traveling to Northwestern for a Friday night game on Oct. 18.
“You get a chance to take a deep breath and evaluate where you’re at,” Day said.
Fields, a Georgia transfer, is completing 70% of his passes , has accounted for 26 touchdowns and is the only player in the country to have a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown in each of the first six games. Tailback J.K. Dobbins is second in the nation with 826 yards, and the Buckeyes lead the nation overall in yards on the ground.
The defense is third in country, allowing an average of 234 yards per game. All-America defensive end Chase Young is second in the county with 8.5 sacks.
“We all know that doesn’t mean anything if you don’t win the next one,” Day said. “So (we’re) keeping that chip on our shoulder. We haven’t proven anything yet, just that we have the capability to do well, but we’re just halfway through the season and we’ve got a long way to go.”
Day said the off week is an opportunity for healing and evaluation after a physical 34-10 win over Michigan State last Saturday. Fields was in for the entire game for the first time after giving way to backups in the previous five blowouts.
“This is definitely the most banged up I’ve been after a game, so I’m definitely glad we have a bye week ,” Field said. “I think we’ll all just get in the training room, just get our bodies back right.”
The Buckeyes return from Northwestern to play No. 8 Wisconsin at home. After a rare second off week, they’ll finish with a stretch that includes Maryland, Rutgers, No. 10 Penn State and No. 16 Michigan.
“The big focus is on self-improvement this week,” Day said. “Each coach is giving tangibles for each of the players to work on. It might be something on the field, it might be something off the field, academically, something along those lines. But the idea is what have we done well and what do we need to improve on? That’s what we’re focusing on this week.”
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Shaken: Mayfield, Browns bruised after blasting by 49ers

By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — Baker Mayfield apparently offended Richard Sherman and paid for it. Mayfield got hunted, bear-hugged, sacked and mocked by Nick Bosa in front of a national TV audience.
On a trip out west, the Browns went south.
The 49ers utterly beat them down.
Mayfield was under siege by San Francisco’s ferocious defensive front and played the worst game of his young career Monday night, and Cleveland’s lines were overpowered throughout a 31-3 loss to the 49ers that has raised new questions about the Browns’ quarterback, coach Freddie Kitchens and the future.
After five games, the Browns (2-3) are an enigma. Good one week, bad the next. This time, brutally bad.
“We do not want to be an up-and-down, roller-coaster football team if we want to get to where we want to get to,” Kitchens said Tuesday on a conference call.
The high expectations placed on the Browns during the preseason, a rosy outlook based solely on talent and potential, not only seem unfounded but unfeasible.
Against the well-rested and underrated Niners, Mayfield threw two of his league-high eight interceptions, got sacked four times, finished with just 100 yards passing and a 13.4 rating.
He inadvertently set the tone for the dismal performance before kickoff, when Sherman said the Browns’ brash QB disrespected him by not shaking his hand before the coin toss. Sherman insisted the slight motivated him and the Niners.
“That’s some college (stuff),” Sherman told NFL Network. “It’s ridiculous … shaking hands with your opponent — that’s NFL etiquette. And when you pull bush league stuff, that’s disrespectful to the game. And believe me, that’s gonna get us fired up.”
Sherman backed off a bit when video surfaced of his chilly pregame exchange with Mayfield, who appeared to shake the cornerback’s hand.
“So you don’t see any difference in the way I shake everyone else’s hand and the guy who stands back with the petty shake,” Sherman said on Twitter when challenged about his claims.
Sherman picked off Mayfield on Cleveland’s second series.
One of Mayfield’s college stunts also came back to haunt him.
Bosa, the No. 2 overall pick from Ohio State, pressured Mayfield into an intentional grounding call and celebrated by pretending to wave and plant a flag. The gesture was aimed at Mayfield, who in 2017 tried to impale an Oklahoma flag into the turf at Ohio Stadium after leading the Sooners to a win over the Buckeyes.
“He had it coming,” said Bosa.
There’s no denying Mayfield and the Browns, who played a strong all-around game last week in a win at Baltimore, are a target.
All the hype has made them one of the league’s top attractions — probably long before they deserved to be. But it has also built them up to be dragged down as they’re facing adversity and the scrutiny that comes along with being on magazine covers and network commercials.
Mayfield has brought some of it on with his attitude and antics — old and new.
It all starts with him, and until they start winning consistently, he and the Browns will be under attack.
“Once again, we’re not hitting the panic button,” Mayfield said. “For us, we know the problem. We know we have to be better and do better. When you play a great team, you have to eliminate mistakes. We know exactly what we need to do. We need to play well.”
Running back Nick Chubb gained 87 yards on 16 carries, but his production was curtailed by a huge deficit and Cleveland needing to throw to catch up.
Chubb only had one catch and Kitchens may need to find more ways to get him involved in the passing scheme.
Mayfield seems to be regressing. He’s not sensing pressure well or stepping up in the pocket to make throws. For the second week in a row, he only completed two passes to star Odell Beckham Jr., who has been a good citizen and teammate and hasn’t publicly grumbled about not getting the ball.
Kitchens was creative in using Beckham in the backfield, but the Browns’ inability to have Mayfield complete passes to the team’s best offensive threat is alarming.
Rookie punter Jamie Gillan continues to be a bright spot. He averaged 56.7 yards on seven kicks, one a 71-yarder and pinned the Niners inside their 20 four times.
There are other factors involved, but Mayfield is playing poorly. Period.
He’s got just four TD passes in five games. He seems hesitant at times, panicky at others. He’s sailing throws and locking in on receivers, a habit that will be exposed by pro defensive backs.
Kitchens is accepting some of the blame, contending he needs to put his young QB in better situations to succeed. But it comes down to Mayfield making plays and he’s not.
“Some of it has to do with the lack of protection. Some if it had to do with a couple bad throws, a couple bad decisions,” Kitchens said. “We had some drops. You can’t do those things and play the quarterback position at an elite level.”
Kitchens said the Browns avoided any major injures other some “bumps and bruises.”
275 — The number of yards rushing by the Niners, who simply lined up and ran the ball down Cleveland’s throat.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Browns, who will host Seattle on Sunday. The Seahawks will come in fresh after not playing since Oct. 3.
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