Lack of takeaways leads to 49ers losses

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — When it comes to stopping opposing offenses from moving the ball, the San Francisco 49ers defense has fared all right early this season.

When it comes to generating the game-changing takeaways that so often determine who wins in the NFL, no team has been worse so far.

There are many reasons why the 49ers are off to such a disappointing start with one win through five games, with the season-ending knee injury to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo the most notable.

But a defense that has generated a league-low three takeaways for the fewest total for the franchise after five games since 1977 is a major reason why.

“We just have to find a way, that’s all it comes down to,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “Takeaways are kind of more of a ball bounces your way, you get tips sometimes. Last week, we limited them pretty good. We have to be more violent in tackling and can’t miss when the quarterback throws into coverage.”

Turnovers often come because of the pass rush and the 49ers have struggled there with no consistent edge rusher. They rank in the bottom half of the league in both sacks and quarterback pressures despite allowing the ninth fewest yards per play at 5.31.

The only takeaways so far this season have come when Sherman recovered a fumble in the opener at Minnesota, Cassius Marsh recovered one after a strip sack by Elijah Lee against Detroit in Week 2 and Antone Exum had a pick-six on the third play from scrimmage two weeks ago against the Chargers.

The team has generated no turnovers in the 113 plays on defense since then.

“We’ve had our opportunities this year,” defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “There’s an old cliche saying that, ‘Catch the ones that are thrown to you.’ We’ve had our opportunities, especially early in the year where I think we’ve dropped about three or four interceptions this year. We’ve gotten the ball out. We’re taking shots at the ball. There’s great intent. Takeaways come in bunches, they do. … I know it’s a result-oriented business, but the result is a product of the process that you go through within every play, within every day. If we keep attacking the ball the way we have and the D-Line keeps pressing the pocket and getting after the quarterback, I’m very confident that eventually they’ll come.”

Trying too hard for turnovers can back fire, however. On the first play of a loss to Arizona last week, free safety Adrian Colbert jumped up in coverage anticipating a throw over the middle to Larry Fitzgerald.

Instead, Cardinals rookie Josh Rosen targeted Christian Kirk deep and the play turned into a 75-yard touchdown because cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon didn’t have the deep help he expected from Colbert on the play.

The Cardinals gained just 145 yards the rest of the game but it proved to be enough in a 28-18 victory, especially because the defense provided no short fields for the offense, which began each of its 13 drives inside San Francisco’s 40-yard line.

“When people feel like they need to do more than what they’re being asked to do, that’s when bad things actually happen,” Saleh said. “Right now, that first play, and A.C. will tell you, he’d love to have that play back, but the way they responded after that play and the way they came out and played and executed the defense all the way through, I thought was really good on their part to remain composed and to continue to fight all the way through the game.”

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Report: Raiders likely to play in Oakland in ’19

Report: Raiders likely to play in Oakland in '19

Report: Raiders likely to play in Oakland in ’19

The Oakland Raiders could wind up staying in the city for two more seasons, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.

The Raiders announced plans to move into a new stadium in Las Vegas before the 2020 season, but their lease to play their home games in Oakland expired at the end of the 2019 season.

Owner Mark Davis attempted to push the team for a one- or two-season stay in San Francisco — sharing a venue with baseball’s Giants — but that plan never got off the ground.

Despite a contentious history between the two sides, the Raiders and the Oakland Coliseum Authority resumed negotiations earlier this month, and the Chronicle reported that an announcement about a new, short-term lease could be made in the next two weeks.

“It’s for one year for sure, with an option for the second year,” a source told the Chronicle.

The two sides reportedly have agreed to a $7.5 million deal for the 2019 season with an increase to $10.5 million for the following season, should the Raiders need to utilize the facility for a second year.

The option for 2020 would kick in if the new $1.8 billion stadium in Las Vegas isn’t game ready.

The Raiders had a plan in place to play in Oakland in 2019, but Davis pulled out after the city joined a lawsuit seeking damages from the team. The Raiders had also discussed playing their home games in Santa Clara at Levi’s Stadium, sharing the venue with the 49ers.

–Field Level Media

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DE Clark could get rare franchise tag from Seahawks

DE Clark could get rare franchise tag from Seahawks

DE Clark could get rare franchise tag from Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks could use the franchise tag option for the first time since 2010 if they can’t agree on a contract with defensive end Frank Clark before the March 5 tag deadline.

Clark, 25, will become a free agent on March 13 if no agreement is reached and likely would be pursued by many teams. He led the Seahawks with 13 sacks in the regular season, and head coach Pete Carroll said he wants him back.

“We’ll figure it out, somehow, and work at it,” Carroll told The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., on Christmas Eve. “It’s a big issue.”

Clark told The News Tribune in January that he expects to remain with the Seahawks in the upcoming season, if not beyond.

“At the end of the day, I just feel like whatever’s in my coach’s plans, whatever’s in our guys’ plans, I think they are going to take care of it,” Clark said after the Seahawks lost to the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs.

Based on the defensive end market, the Seahawks likely would be paying Clark – their second-round draft pick in 2015 – at least $15 million a year in a new contract.

Whether he signs a new contract or is franchise tagged, Clark will be looking at a significant raise in 2019. He earned $943,938 in the final year of his rookie deal last season.

The franchise tag for defensive ends next season projects at about $18 million.

Seattle has been successful in negotiating contract extensions for most of its stars this decade, including quarterback Russell Wilson and defensive backs Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman.

As a result, the last player to receive the franchise tag was kicker Olindo Mare in 2010.

–Field Level Media

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Romero takes one-shot lead at Puerto Rico Open

Romero takes one-shot lead at Puerto Rico Open

Romero takes one-shot lead at Puerto Rico Open

Andres Romero of Argentina, who is in search of his first PGA Tour victory in 11 years, shot a bogey-free, 6-under-par 66 on Thursday to take the lead after the opening round of the Puerto Rico Open at Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.

PGA Tour rookie Sepp Straka of Austria, who tied for 13th place at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, was one shot back with a 5-under 67. Nine golfers were tied for third place at 4-under, 68, including Alex Kang, who is making just his fifth career PGA Tour start.

Defending Puerto Rico Open champion D.A. Points opened with a 71, leaving him tied for 36th place. Daniel Berger, the highest-ranked player in the event at No. 72 in the Official World Golf Rankings, opened with a 70, while amateur and Clemson senior Bryson Nimmer shot 69 in his PGA Tour debut.

–Field Level Media

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Veteran players highlight International side for Presidents Cup

Veteran players highlight International side for Presidents Cup

Veteran players highlight International side for Presidents Cup

When the Presidents Cup returns to Melbourne, Australia, and The Royal Melbourne Golf Club for the third time this Dec. 9-15, International Team captain Ernie Els will bring a squad that includes four players with a combined 17 previous appearances.

The conclusion of the BMW Championship marked the end of the automatic qualifying period for the top eight members for both the International Team and Team USA.

Veteran Internationals include Australia’s Marc Leishman and Adam Scott, South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who will be joined by newcomers Abraham Ancer of Mexico, China’s Haotong Li, Aussie Cameron Smith and Taiwan’s C.T. Pan.

“This is as good as I could have asked for,” Els said in a statement. “I’ve got guys who have played in the Presidents Cup many times previously, and I’ve got guys who are rookies. The guys who are pillars of our team have really stepped up to take their places in this team. I’m really impressed with how they’ve conducted themselves and played into the team.

“For the top eight, I think the one-year qualifying cycle has worked well. The guys knew they had to play well this season, and they showed it. For instance, Adam Scott played himself right into this team. He was nowhere near when qualifying started, and he’s played great since we started. Same with Louis Oosthuizen, who stepped it up. They obviously had a plan of trying to make this team.”

Scott has the most experience of any qualified player for both the International and U.S. Teams, having played in eight previous Presidents Cup events. He also is the only International Team player to have played in the 2011 event when it was held at Royal Melbourne.

“Of course, the bigger goal will be (winning) the Presidents Cup,” said Scott, who has eight top-10s this season, including runner-up finishes at the Farmers Insurance Open and Memorial Tournament.

“Ernie has made his intentions very clear — certainly to me — how much he wants to improve our chances as a team and the work he’s going to put in. For me, considering Ernie is really a great friend and mentor of mine, I really want to be part of his team.”

The United States team, captained by Tiger Woods, will include world No. 1 Brooks Koepka, Sunday’s BMW Championship winner Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Bryson DeChambeau.

Notable U.S. players who did not qualify and now need of one of four captain’s picks by Woods are Tony Finau (ninth), Gary Woodland (10th), Rickie Fowler (11th), Patrick Reed (12th), Phil Mickelson (16th) and Jordan Spieth (27th).

The most notable player on the International side in need of a captain’s pick by Els is former world No. 1 Jason Day, who finished ninth in the points.

The United States has dominated the biennial competition, which pits the U.S. against the rest of the world minus Europe. The U.S. has won the last seven Cups and owns a 10-1-1 record overall since the Presidents Cup debuted in 1994.

Last month, U.S. captain Tiger Woods named Fred Couples, Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker as three of his four assistants. Els named former Augusta winners Mike Weir of Canada and Trevor Immelman of South Africa along with South Korea’s K.J. Choi and Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy as his assistants.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Raiders GM Mayock weighs in on WR Brown

NFL notebook: Raiders GM Mayock weighs in on WR Brown

The

NFL notebook: Raiders GM Mayock weighs in on WR Brown

The Oakland Raiders’ Antonio Brown was absent from practice Sunday, and general manager Mike Mayock sounded fed up with the star wideout.

“Y’all know that AB is not here today, right?” Mayock said, addressing reporters in a video that was distributed on the Oakland Raiders’ Twitter page.

“So here’s the bottom line: He’s upset about the helmet issue. We have supported that; we appreciate that. OK? But at this point, we’ve pretty much exhausted all avenues of relief. So, from our perspective, it’s time for him to be all in or all out.”

Brown was a full participant in the team’s walkthrough on Saturday, but he has had only one full-speed practice and two walkthroughs, in part because he was recovering from foot blisters caused by a cryotherapy mishap and lately because of the helmet issue. His old helmet is no longer approved for NFL use, and when Brown used social media to find a newer version of his favored model — the Schutt AiR Advantage — it failed NFL testing.

–Atlanta Falcons rookie offensive lineman Kaleb McGary will resume on-field work this week in practice but has not been cleared for contact, coach Dan Quinn said.

McGary, the No. 31 overall pick in the draft, underwent cardiac ablation on July 31, a procedure designed to correct heart rhythm issues.

The team said McGary previously had two similar procedures, which are considered minimally invasive.

–The Chicago Bears, still hunting for a kicker, waived Elliott Fry.

Still, no one should assume that Eddy Pineiro, the remaining kicker in camp, has won the job.

The team is searching for a replacement for Cody Parkey, who was cut after he missed a 43-yard attempt that would have given Chicago a win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild-card round of the playoffs in January. Instead, the Bears lost 16-15 after Parkey missed the kick with seconds remaining.

–Field Level Media

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Vikings take down Seahawks in Wilson’s debut

Vikings take down Seahawks in Wilson's debut

Russell Wilson threw for 82

Vikings take down Seahawks in Wilson’s debut

Russell Wilson threw for 82 yards in his preseason debut, but the Minnesota Vikings used strong performances from their backup quarterbacks to beat the Seattle Seahawks 25-19 on Sunday in Minneapolis.

Wilson and Vikings starter Kirk Cousins each played two series and led their teams to one field goal. Wilson finished 6 of 9 and added two carries for 9 yards on the ground, while Cousins went 6 of 8 for 68 passing yards.

Sean Mannion entered next for the Vikings and was up and down. He went 11 of 14 for 88 yards with a touchdown but also threw an interception, which DeShawn Shead returned 88 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Third-stringer Kyle Sloter helped the Vikings pull it back, going 11 of 13 for 116 yards and a touchdown.

Paxton Lynch relieved Wilson and had a much rougher outing than his opener against Denver. He finished 6 of 15 for 67 yards. Recently signed ex-Ohio State star J.T. Barrett missed all three passes, throwing an interception, in minimal action.

–Field Level Media

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Tiger’s ‘very special’ season ends at BMW Championship

Tiger's 'very special' season ends at BMW Championship

Tiger’s ‘very special’ season ends at BMW Championship

Tiger Woods birdied three of his first seven holes Sunday, but his rally to qualify for the Tour Championship fizzled as his season ended at the BMW Championship.

Woods finished with an even-par 72 in the final round for a 7-under total at Medinah Country Club outside of Chicago. He fell well short of the top-11 finish he was projected to need to advance and defend his Tour Championship title next week at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

The top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings get to continue playing. Woods began this week at No. 38 and was projected to drop a few spots as his round ended.

Despite the finish and a return of some health problems late in the season, he called his PGA Tour season “very special,” thanks to his thrilling win at the Masters in April, his 15th career major championship and first since the 2008 U.S. Open.

He played in only six tournaments after Augusta, missing the cut at the PGA Championship and Open Championship and having to withdraw before the second round of last week’s playoff-opening The Northern Trust because of a mild oblique strain.

“Some of the tournaments I didn’t play as well as I wanted to, but I’ve got the green jacket,” he said.

Woods, 43, gave himself hope by shooting a 5-under-par 67 on Saturday, his first bogey-free round of the season.

He birdied the fourth and fifth holes on Sunday, bogeyed the next and responded at No. 7 with another birdie that would be his last of the season. He fell back with a bogey on No. 9 when he couldn’t get up-and-down out of a greenside bunker, and a tee shot into the sand on the par-3 13th led to another bogey.

“It was a little bit frustrating,” Woods said. “Didn’t have the short game I needed to make a run.”

Woods said the only official PGA Tour event he will play the rest of the year is the inaugural Zozo Championship that will be played outside of Tokyo, starting Oct. 24. It will be the first official PGA Tour event in Japan.

ESPN reported last month that Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama would compete in a one-day Skins Game in Japan three days before the Zozo Championship.

–Field Level Media

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Thomas wins BMW to move into FedEx Cup lead

Thomas wins BMW to move into FedEx Cup lead

Thomas wins BMW to move into FedEx Cup lead

Justin Thomas had a finishing touch, too.

The 26-year-old said he didn’t let a rough stretch earlier this year or some misfortune during Sunday’s final round of the BMW Championship get in his way — and all is good now.

Thomas fended off challengers with a strong back nine on the way to a 4-under-par 68 to win at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago. This makes a wrist injury seem far in the past.

“I knew I was going to come back, and if I did everything and got healthy then I could play some good golf the rest of the year and I put in a lot of work to do so,” Thomas said.

By winning for the first time this year, Thomas moves atop the FedEx Cup standings going into the last of the PGA Tour’s three playoff events next week at the Tour Championship in Atlanta. Thomas was the 2017 FedEx Cup champion.

“This season has been far from lows,” he said. “Even when I was hurt, I missed three events and my life is great.”

And perhaps getting even better.

Thomas, who began the day ahead by six strokes, finished at 25-under 263 for a three-shot victory. He capped the tournament with a birdie.

“I’ve been hitting great golf shots. I’ve been making great strides with my putting,” Thomas said. “I’m putting well if the ball isn’t going in the hole. I feel better over it and seeing my line better.”

Patrick Cantlay was the runner-up after a 65 put him at 22 under for the tournament. He’s up to No. 2 in the FedEx Cup standings.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan shot a 63 and ended up third at 20 under.

Tony Finau, who was in the final group with Thomas and Cantlay, wasn’t a factor despite playing the first six holes of the back nine in 4 under. His 69 left him at 18 under in fourth place.

Thomas, who posted an 11-under 61 on Saturday, bogeyed Sunday’s first hole and didn’t pick up a birdie until the par-5 fifth hole.

But he has regained such confidence that some slight shortcomings don’t seem to derail him.

“It’s just understanding that it’s golf and it’s going to happen,” he said.

Cantlay and others moved within striking range.

“It’s trying to make as many birdies as possible,” Cantlay. “That would have been the case regardless of how well (Thomas) was playing.”

Cantlay also bogeyed the first hole, but he was 5 under across the next nine holes to cut the margin to two strokes. Thomas responded with a birdie on the 11th hole.

“I’ve felt like I’ve been playing as well as anybody,” Thomas said. “… Just talk to your caddie, stay relaxed.”

They both birdied at Nos. 13 and 15. When Cantlay bogeyed at No. 16, the margin was back at four strokes before Cantlay birdied the final two holes.

Finau saw countless incredible shots from Thomas during the weekend.

“You just shake your head. Again, he’s already playing great,” Finau said. “You just shake your head and you’re happy for guys that it can happen.”

Matsuyama, the second-round leader who floundered in Saturday’s third round, turned out to be one of the prime pursuers in the early portion of Sunday’s round by playing the front nine in 5 under. Matsuyama’s round of 9 under marked the second time in three days that he posted a 63 for the lowest round of the day.

Matsuyama needed only 20 putts Sunday.

Tiger Woods shot a final-round 72 and won’t advance to next week’s season-ending event. It was his worst round of the tournament and he finished tied for 37th at 7 under.

Because of weather concerns, the final round was adjusted and tee times altered. The start of the round was delayed, and then golfers went off the first and 10th tees in threesomes.

–Field Level Media

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Thomas wins BMW to move into FedExCup lead

Thomas wins BMW to move into FedExCup lead

Thomas wins BMW to move into FedExCup lead

Justin Thomas fended off challengers with a strong back nine Sunday on the way to a 4-under-par 68 to win the BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill.

By winning for the first time this year, Thomas moves atop the FedExCup standings going into the last of the PGA Tour’s three playoff events next week at the Tour Championship in Atlanta. Thomas was the 2017 FedExCup champion.

Thomas, who began the day ahead by six strokes, finished at 25-under 263 for a three-shot victory. He capped the tournament with a birdie.

Patrick Cantlay was the runner-up after a 65 put him at 22 under for the tournament. He’s up to No. 2 in the FedExCup rankings.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan shot 63 and ended up third at 20 under.

Tony Finau, who was in the final group with Thomas and Cantlay, wasn’t a factor despite playing the first six holes of the back nine in 4 under. His 69 left him at 18 under in fourth place.

Thomas, who posted an 11-under score Saturday, bogeyed Sunday’s first hole and didn’t pick up a birdie until the par-5 fifth hole.

Cantlay and others moved within striking range.

Cantlay also bogeyed the first hole, but he was 5 under across the next nine holes to cut the margin to two strokes. Thomas responded with a birdie on the 11th hole.

They both birdied at Nos. 13 and 15. When Cantlay bogeyed at No. 16, the margin was back at four strokes before Cantlay birdied the final two holes.

Matsuyama, the second-round leader who floundered in Saturday’s third round, turned out to be one of the prime pursuers in the early portion of Sunday’s by playing the front nine in 5 under. Matsuyama shot 63 in the final round, making it the second time in three days he posted 63 for the lowest round of the day.

Matsuyama needed only 20 putts Sunday.

Tiger Woods shot a final-round 72 and won’t advance to next week’s season-ending event. It was his worst round of the tournament and he finished tied for 37th at 7 under.

Because of weather concerns, the final round was adjusted and tee times altered. The start of the round was delayed, and then golfers went off the first and 10th tees in threesomes.

–Field Level Media

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Raiders GM Mayock sounds off on absent AB

Raiders GM Mayock sounds off on absent AB

The Oakland Raiders' Antonio Brown was absent from

Raiders GM Mayock sounds off on absent AB

The Oakland Raiders’ Antonio Brown was absent from practice Sunday, and general manager Mike Mayock sounded fed up with the star wideout.

“Y’all know that AB is not here today, right?” Mayock said, addressing reporters in a video that was distributed on the Oakland Raiders’ Twitter page.

“So here’s the bottom line: He’s upset about the helmet issue. We have supported that; we appreciate that. OK? But at this point, we’ve pretty much exhausted all avenues of relief. So, from our perspective, it’s time for him to be all in or all out.

“We’re hoping he’s back soon. We have 89 guys busting their tails. We are really excited about where this franchise is going, and we hope AB is going to be a big part of it, Week 1 in Denver. End of story, no questions.”

Brown was a full participant in the team’s walkthrough on Saturday, but he has had only one full-speed practice and two walkthroughs, in part because he was recovering from foot blisters caused by a cryotherapy mishap and lately because of the helmet issue.

His old helmet is no longer approved for NFL use because it is more than 10 years old, and when Brown used social media to find a newer version of his favored model — the Schutt AiR Advantage — it failed NFL testing.

The league’s requirement of approved helmets technically applies to all practices and games, with teams at risk of punishment for any of their players who practice or play with disapproved helmets.

The Raiders acquired the seven-time Pro Bowl selection from the Pittsburgh Steelers in a trade in March and later signed him to a three-year, $50.125 million contract.

Brown, 31, caught at least 100 passes and exceeded 1,200 receiving yards in each of the past six seasons with the Steelers. He has appeared in 130 games with Pittsburgh from 2010-18, catching 837 passes for 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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Hill does it all as Saints rally past Chargers

Hill does it all as Saints rally past Chargers

Hill does it all as Saints rally past Chargers

Taysom Hill totaled 189 yards from scrimmage and threw for two touchdowns as the New Orleans Saints rallied past the Los Angeles Chargers 19-17 in Carson, Calif., on Sunday afternoon.

Starting quarterbacks and former Chargers teammates Drew Brees and Philip Rivers did not play, leaving Teddy Bridgewater for the Saints starting against Tyrod Taylor for the Bolts.

Bridgewater struggled, going 5 of 12 for 40 yards and an interception before Hill took over. The Swiss Army-knife signal-caller went 11 of 15 for 136 yards and two scores through the air while chipping in 53 rushing yards on five carries. Hill also led a nine-play, 50-yard drive to set up Wil Lutz for the game-winning 28-yard field goal with 1:05 remaining.

Taylor went 7 of 10 for 57 yards and an interception before Cardale Jones took over. Jones finished 10 of 14 for 111 yards and a TD. The Chargers had built a 17-3 lead before halftime on Troymaine Pope’s 81-yard punt-return touchdown with three seconds left in the second quarter.

–Field Level Media

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BMW staying on as title sponsor for playoff event

BMW staying on as title sponsor for playoff event

BMW staying on as title sponsor for playoff event

The PGA Tour, BMW and the Western Golf Association announced on Sunday that the automaker will stay on as sponsor of the BMW Championship, the second stop of the three-pronged FedExCup Playoffs.

The announcement was made before Sunday’s final round of the BMW Championship, being played in Medinah, Ill. There were no details on the length or terms of the agreement available.

The tournament dates back to 1899, when it debuted as the Western Open. It is the third-oldest on tour behind The Open Championship and the U.S. Open and has been the penultimate event in the playoffs since its inception in 2007. That’s also when BMW began its sponsorship.

With net proceeds from the tournament going to the Evans Scholars Foundation, the BMW Open has raised $30 million-plus in college scholarships for caddies since 2007.

“We are happy to remain the title sponsor of the BMW Championship,” said Bernhard Kuhnt, president/CEO of BMW of North America. “For 13 years, we have been proud partners alongside the Evans Scholars Foundation, helping to provide opportunities for students to follow their dreams.”

“The Western Golf Association’s PGA TOUR event, dating back 120 years, continues to flourish through BMW’s support, positively impacting the communities where it has been played and the caddies who have received Evans Scholarships,” said PGA TOUR commissioner Jay Monahan.

The event, which hosts an elite field of the top 70 ranked players, sets the stage for The Tour Championship in Atlanta, where only the top 30 are eligible to play for the championship.

The 2020 BMW Championship will be held at Olympia Fields Country Club near Chicago.

–Field Level Media

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Mickelson rushes to make tee time after hotel fire

Mickelson rushes to make tee time after hotel fire

Mickelson rushes to make tee time after hotel fire

Phil Mickelson was evacuated from his hotel room Sunday morning following a fire and had to rush to make his tee time at the BMW Championship.

“How’s this for crazy? My hotel was struck by lighting, I was on top floor, we were evacuated and the place is on fire (only thing of mine on fire this week.),” he tweeted. “I can’t get back into my room and may miss my tee time because I am without clubs and clothes.”

Mickelson eventually did get back into his room at the Eaglewood Resort & Spa in Itasca, Ill., adjacent to Medinah Country Club.

ESPN reported that the 49-year-old Mickelson arrived at the golf course with less than 40 minutes before his 11:52 a.m. tee time and had just enough time to change his shoes and swing a weighted club in the parking lot.

Mickelson began the day at 4-under-par 212, well behind leader Justin Thomas, who enters play on Sunday at 21-under 195 for the tournament.

–Field Level Media

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Bears waive K Fry, will get better look at Pineiro

Bears waive K Fry, will get better look at Pineiro

The

Bears waive K Fry, will get better look at Pineiro

The Chicago Bears, still in the hunt for a kicker, waived Elliott Fry on Sunday.

Still, no one should assume that Eddy Pineiro, the remaining kicker in camp, has won the job.

“Is the competition over? Between those two, yeah,” head coach Matt Nagy told reporters on Sunday.

The team is searching for a replacement for Cody Parkey, who was cut after he missed a 43-yard attempt that would have given Chicago a win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild-card round of the playoffs in January. Instead, the Bears lost 16-15 after Parkey missed the kick with seconds remaining.

Parkey missed seven field goal attempts and three extra points in the regular season.

In June, the Bears waived former Pitt kicker Chris Blewitt, one of three kickers who took part at mandatory minicamp.

Pineiro, 23, kicked collegiately at Florida and signed in May 2018 with the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted free agent. He was placed on injured reserve in September and missed the season. The Bears acquired him in May for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

This preseason, he has hit three of four attempts with a long of 41 yards.

The 24-year-old Fry, who played in college at South Carolina, signed with the Bears in April after the Alliance of American Football league folded. He kicked with the Orlando Apollos.

With the Bears, he made one of two attempts, missing from 47 yards on Friday in a loss to the New York Giants.

Cutting Fry now will give Pineiro more chances, Nagy said.

“Like any position we’re always going to be looking for the best,” Nagy said. “I think for Eddy, though, he needs to understand that we feel really good with where he’s at and now he’s never kicked in an NFL game before so that can go a couple different ways. It can go really good. It can go really bad. We don’t know that answer but for right now we’re good with where he’s at. We want him to just keep kicking like he’s been but we’re always going to keep that thing open and not just at that position but every position until we make that final 53.”

–Field Level Media

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Falcons OL McGary (heart) begins path to return

Falcons OL McGary (heart) begins path to return

Atlanta Falcons rookie offensive

Falcons OL McGary (heart) begins path to return

Atlanta Falcons rookie offensive lineman Kaleb McGary will resume on-field work this week in practice but has not been cleared for contact, coach Dan Quinn said Sunday.

McGary, the No. 31 overall pick in the draft, underwent cardiac ablation on July 31, a procedure designed to correct heart rhythm issues.

The team said McGary previously had two similar procedures, which are considered minimally invasive.

Quinn told reporters that McGary participated in Sunday’s walkthrough and will “get a good bit of the field work” with the training and medical staffs.

“And then once that’s good, we’ll be out a couple of weeks, make sure the conditioning is right,” Quinn said on the Falcons’ official website. “And then back into individual (drills), and then you get back into team (drills).

“So we really stay strict to the policy we put into place for the guys to return to it. We just don’t back off of it, especially if you’ve been out for, in his case, two weeks.”

The 6-foot-6, 306-pound McGary played his college ball at Washington and twice was an All-Pac-12 first-team selection. He also won the 2018 Morris Trophy as the conference’s top offensive lineman.

Teams were aware of his condition before the draft, and NFL medical personnel cleared him to participate in the scouting combine.

Early in camp, the 24-year-old primarily was mostly working at right tackle on the Falcons’ second team.

–Field Level Media

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Raiders’ Brown practices; NFL reportedly flunks helmet

Raiders' Brown practices; NFL reportedly flunks helmet

Raiders’ Brown practices; NFL reportedly flunks helmet

Oakland Raiders wideout Antonio Brown was a full participant in the team’s walkthrough on Saturday and could be a full participant as soon as Sunday, head coach Jon Gruden told reporters.

“He took all the reps today in our walkthrough,” Gruden said. “He showed great retention, and we’ll see what happens here with this afternoon; we’re going to have a walkthrough today as well. We have a lot of guys that can’t practice so we’ll pick it up tomorrow.”

Brown had taken part in just one walkthrough and one full-speed practice in training camp before Saturday, as his feet recover from blisters caused by a cryotherapy mishap. He also had been absent from the team last week while trying to sort out an issue with his helmet, as his old one is no longer approved for NFL use because it is more than 10 years old.

One of Brown’s potential solutions to his helmet conundrum can apparently be ruled out. Brown has used social media to seek out versions of his helmet model — the Schutt AiR Advantage — that are less than 10 years old, but Pro Football Talk reported late Saturday night that the NFL tested a 2011 version this week, and it failed.

Per the report, the league believes any Schutt AiR Advantage helmet, whether from the last 10 years or not, will not pass testing.

After Pro Football Talk posted a story about the subject on Twitter, Brown responded with a tweet apparently accusing the NFL of racial prejudice, using the N-word and writing “Super Prejudice unbelievable!”

It’s unclear what helmet Brown has been wearing during practices with the Raiders, or if he’ll have an approved one to use when he returns to full-speed sessions.

The league’s requirement of approved helmets technically applies to all practices and games, with teams at risk of punishment for any of their players who practice or play with disapproved helmets.

–Field Level Media

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Stidham powers Patriots past Titans

Stidham powers Patriots past Titans

Rookie fourth-round pick

Stidham powers Patriots past Titans

Rookie fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham threw for 193 yards, including the game-winning 23-yard touchdown, as the New England Patriots beat the Tennessee Titans 22-17 in a preseason game Saturday night in Nashville, Tenn.

Stidham, who threw for 179 yards and a score in Detroit last week, finished 14 of 19 on Saturday. He hit Damoun Patterson on a fade route on third-and-12 for the winning score with 4:12 remaining.

With Tom Brady sitting out, Brian Hoyer started for New England, finishing 6 of 8 for 55 yards and an interception. He led one touchdown drive in four series.

Titans starting quarterback Marcus Mariota played three series and finished 6 of 9 for 63 yards and a touchdown, an 11-yard score to Delanie Walker, who saw his first game action since breaking his ankle in the 2018 regular-season opener. Ryan Tannehill followed and went 7 of 11 for 84 yards and one TD across three series.

–Field Level Media

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Watson sharp in debut, Texans beat Lions

Watson sharp in debut, Texans beat Lions

Deshaun Watson threw a touchdown

Watson sharp in debut, Texans beat Lions

Deshaun Watson threw a touchdown to DeAndre Hopkins on his only drive in his preseason debut, and the Houston Texans downed the visiting Detroit Lions 30-23 on Saturday night.

Watson finished 5 of 7 for 60 yards, finding Hopkins from 4 yards out to cap an 11-play, 75-yard drive to open the game. Joe Webb took over from there, finishing 14 of 25 for 186 yards and a touchdown.

Matthew Stafford sat once again for the Lions, who started Josh Johnson at quarterback just a week after signing him. Johnson played into the second half, finishing 9 of 18 for 85 yards, an interception and two fumbles (one lost). David Fales took over and shined, going 12 of 19 for 226 yards and a score.

Rookie third-round safety Will Harris had the Lions’ highlight of the night, scoring on a 19-yard fumble return in the second quarter.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers’ wideouts impress in victory over Chiefs

Steelers' wideouts impress in victory over Chiefs

Steelers’ wideouts impress in victory over Chiefs

Second-year wideout James Washington impressed again, and rookie third-rounder Diontae Johnson snared a 24-yard touchdown as the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the visiting Kansas City Chiefs 17-7 on Saturday night.

The Steelers honored late wide receivers coach Darryl Drake, who died suddenly last Sunday, before the game with a moment of silence.

Drake’s pupils played inspired. Washington, a 2018 second-round pick, had four grabs for 78 yards after totaling four for 84 in the preseason opener. Johnson had three grabs for 46 yards and his score, along with another touchdown that was nullified by offensive pass interference. Mason Rudolph (10 of 15, 77 yards) started at quarterback for Pittsburgh before Josh Dobbs (6 of 11, 95 yards, INT) took over just before halftime.

Chiefs starter Patrick Mahomes played just two series, going 2 of 5 for 11 yards. Rookie second-round wideout Mecole Hardman scored a 17-yard touchdown for the second straight game.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Bucs GM Licht signed 3-year extension

Report: Bucs GM Licht signed 3-year extension

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager

Report: Bucs GM Licht signed 3-year extension

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht received a three-year contract extension earlier this year, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The deal came just days after he lured Bruce Arians out of retirement to coach the team.

Licht is now under contract through 2023, which coincides with Arians’ contract with the team.

Just a year ago, Licht had been rumored to be on the hot seat after the team missed the playoffs for the 10th consecutive season.

The ensuing 5-11 season led to the firing of coach Dirk Koetter, but Arians reportedly insisted on Licht staying in the job before signing on.

Licht, 48, is in his sixth season as the GM after stints in the front offices of the Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. His 2015 draft class produced starters with the first four picks (QB Jameis Winston, OT Donovan Smith, G Ali Marpet, LB Kwon Alexander), but he also was responsible for trading up in the second round in 2016 to take kicker Roberto Aguayo, who didn’t make it out of his second training camp with the team.

Licht used his top pick this year on inside linebacker Devin White out of LSU. He also signed defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh as a free agent this offseason after allowing DT Gerald McCoy to walk away.

If Licht serves the duration of his contract, he’ll become the longest-tenured GM in club history.

–Field Level Media

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