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This Week in Sports: Two teams clinch MLB playoff spots, NFL and NCAA football

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LSU coach Ed Orgeron walks the sidelines during the Citrus Bowl game of Notre Dame versus LSU at Camping World Stadium Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 in Orlando. Notre Dame won, 21-17. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

Welcome to another weekly roundup in the world of sports. This week, two teams have punched their ticket into the MLB playoffs, one of whom clinched their division. See where the rest of the league lines up and who’s on the verge of elimination. The Cleveland Browns were still searching for their first win since 2016 after a tie last week. They had the Saints on the ropes in New Orleans on Sunday. Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs set a new NFL record while a player for the Bills did something that has never been done in NFL history. Week three of the college football season was Saturday and had some prime matchups. See which teams picked up big wins and which two top 10 schools were defeated on an exciting Saturday of football.

Major League Baseball

The Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians have both clinched playoff spots in the American League. The Indians clinched the AL Central division for the third straight year while the Red Sox just need to win two more games to clinch the AL East.

Out West in the American League, the Astros have a four-and-a-half-game lead over the Oakland A’s. The Seattle Mariners are just two losses or two Astros’ win from being eliminated from contention for the AL West. The Astros’ magic number to clinch their division is nine.

The New York Yankees and Oakland A’s are battling for the top wild card spot. Currently the Yankees hold it by a game and a half. The Seattle Mariners are seven and a half games back of the second Wild Card while the Tampa Bay Rays are seven games back.

In the National League, no teams have clinched a playoff spot, but a few teams are getting close.

The Atlanta Braves hold a six and a half game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East. The Braves’ magic number to clinch the division is eight games.

The NL Central still has four teams mathematically alive but realistically, there are only three that have a chance of winning the division. The Chicago Cubs have a two and a half game lead on the Milwaukee Brewers and a five-and-a-half-game lead on the St. Louis Cardinals. The Pittsburgh Pirates will be out of contention with two more losses or two Cubs’ wins. The Cubs’ magic number to clinch the NL Central is 11.

In the NL West, the Arizona Diamondbacks have fallen off and are now four and a half games back in the division and in the Wild Card. The Colorado Rockies have a half-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers atop the division.

(**GB=Games Back / X=Clinched Playoff Spot / Y=Clinched Division / E#=Elimination Number)

NL Division Leaders

East — Atlanta Braves (83-66)

Central — Chicago Cubs (87-62)

West — Colorado Rockies (82-67)

NL Wild Card

Milwaukee Brewers (85-65) +3

Los Angeles Dodgers (82-68) —

St. Louis Cardinals (82-68) —

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Arizona Diamondbacks (78-72) 4 GB E# 9

Philadelphia Phillies (76-72) 5 GB E# 9

AL Division Leaders

East — Boston Red Sox X (103-47)

Central — Cleveland Indians Y (83-66)

West — Houston Astros (94-55)

AL Wild Card

New York Yankees (91-58) +1.5

Oakland A’s (90-60) —

_______________________________

Tampa Bay Rays (82-66) 7 GB E# 7

Seattle Mariners (82-67) 7.5 GB E# 6

ESPN’s top five power rankings

  1. Houston Astros (94-55)
  2. Boston Red Sox (103-47)
  3. New York Yankees (91-58)
  4. Oakland A’s (90-60)
  5. Chicago Cubs (87-62)

The Collegiate’s top five power rankings

  1. Boston Red Sox (103-47)
  2. Houston Astros (94-55)
  3. New York Yankees (91-58)
  4. Oakland A’s (90-60)
  5. Chicago Cubs (87-62)

National Football League

The Detroit Lions are now 0-2 under new head coach Matt Patricia. After getting blown out on Monday Night Football by the rookie Sam Darnold and the New York Jets a week ago, the Lions faced the 0-1 San Francisco 49ers yesterday.

The Lions held an early 7-3 lead but trailed the 49ers the rest of the day. Matt Stafford had a big turn around after the off game he had against the Jets. Stafford threw for three touchdowns and 347 yards on 34-for-53 passing. Jimmy Garoppolo of the 49ers threw for two touchdowns and 206 yards on 18-for-26 passing.

The Lions trailed 30-13 and made a comeback in the fourth quarter. Stafford threw two different fourth quarter touchdowns to bring them back. But in the end, the Lions fell short and lost the game 30-27.

The Cleveland Browns still haven’t won a game since 2016. After their tie with the Steelers last week, the Browns were looking to build on the team’s first non-loss in 17 tries.

The Browns traveled to New Orleans to face the Saints on Sunday. Early in the third quarter, the Browns were holding the Saints’ offense at bay and held a 12-3 lead. Going into the fourth quarter though, the Saints’ offense came to life and scored two touchdowns on Drew Brees passes. The Saints led 18-12 with under three minutes to go and it looked like another Browns’ loss.

After falling behind though, the Browns showed a lot of stick-to-itiveness and marched down the field and scored on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Tyrod Taylor with a 1:18 left to tie the game at 18. The extra point would have put the Browns up by one and put them in position for their first win in almost two years. However, the Browns’ kicker Zane Gonzalez missed the extra point leaving the game tied. Brees led the Saints down the field and with 21 seconds left, the Saints kicked a field goal to take the lead 21-18. The Browns had one more chance and were set up for a game tying 52-yard field goal. With 8 seconds left, Gonzalez missed the kick wide right giving the Saints the 21-18 win. Gonzalez had a day to forget as he missed two extra points and two field goals.

The Buffalo Bills are bad. How bad? So bad that one of their players decided in the middle of the game to call it a career and retire right then and there.

The Bills were blown out in week one by the Ravens 47-3. On Sunday, they were playing Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers. The Bills trailed in this game 28-6 at halftime. That’s when Bills’ cornerback Vontae Davis announced that he was done and left the team in the middle of the game.

His teammate Lorenzo Alexander addressed the situation after the game with the media.

“I never seen that,” Alexander said. “Pop Warner, high school, college, pros. Never heard of it. Never seen it. It’s just completely disrespectful to his teammates. He didn’t say nothing to nobody…I found out going into the second half of the game. They (the coaching staff) said he’s not coming out. He retired.”

Bills’ Head Coach Sean McDermott confirmed these reports saying, “(He) pulled himself out of the game. He communicated to us that he was done.”

After the game was over, Davis released a statement on Instagram addressing his retirement.

 

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Official statement from CB @vontaedavis.

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“This isn’t how I pictured retiring from the NFL,” Davis said. “I meant no disrespect to my teammates and coaches. But I hold myself to a standard. Mentally, I always expect myself to play at a high level. But physically, I know today that isn’t possible, and I had an honest moment with myself. While I was on the field, I just didn’t feel right, and I told the coaches, ‘I’m not feeling like myself.’”

As for the game itself, the Bills did manage to make it a more respectable game scoring two second half touchdowns while only allowing the Chargers three points. It wasn’t enough though as the Bills fell to the Chargers 31-20.

The performance of the day came from Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes threw for six touchdowns in the Chiefs’ 42-37 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had a perfect passer rating and only had five incompletions on 28 attempts. Mahomes also set a new NFL record for most touchdowns thrown in the first two weeks of a season. His 10 touchdown passes through the first two weeks put him past the likes of Drew Brees and Peyton Manning who each had nine.

The Seattle Seahawks travel to Chicago to take on the Bears tonight on Monday Night Football to close out week two in the NFL.

For a list of all NFL matchups, gameday finals, stats and standings, click here.

NCAA Football

Week three in college football featured a pair of top 10 teams going down as well as a handful of top 25 matchups.

The featured game of the weekend was No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes traveling to Arlington, Texas to take on the 15th ranked Texas Christian Horned Frogs. Ohio State was favored in the game but in the first half, TCU gave the Buckeyes all they could handle.

Ohio State jumped out to an ealy 10-0 lead, but TCU scored the next 14 points. At halftime, Ohio State trailed TCU 14-13. It appeared the game was going to be a low scoring, tight affair. The coaching staff of Ohio State made adjustments at halftime however, and there was a major shift in the second half.

Ohio State’s quarterback, Dwayne Haskins led the Buckeyes to 27 second half points while their defense only allowed 14 third quarter points and pitched a shutout in the fourth quarter. When it was all said and done, the Buckeyes walked out of AT&T Stadium with a 40-28 win.

The 17th ranked Boise State Broncos traveled to Stillwater, Oklahoma to take on the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. The game showcased the two teams’ defenses in the first quarter as the game was tied at zero heading into the second quarter.

Boise State got on the board first with a touchdown in the first minute of the second quarter. That lead only lasted about two minutes before OSU came back to tie the game with a touchdown of their own. That was the Broncos’ only lead of the game as the Cowboys scored the next 20 points of the game.

Oklahoma State’s offense was too much for the Broncos to handle in this game. After not scoring in the first quarter, the Cowboys eventually put up 44 points over the next three quarters to salvage a home win against a ranked opponent. The Broncos could only manage two second half touchdowns. The final score of the game was 44-21 Oklahoma State.

The game of the weekend was between two teams from the SEC both with the name Tigers. The LSU Tigers were on the road facing the Auburn Tigers.

This game was close throughout and both traded blows. The first quarter belonged to LSU as they held a 7-0 lead going into the second quarter. Auburn however outscored LSU over the next two quarters 21-6 to go into the fourth quarter leading 21-13.

Half way through the fourth quarter, LSU got within two points when they scored a touchdown. They went for the two-point conversion to tie but failed to convert. Down by two near the end of the game, LSU needed to drive down the field and get a field goal to win. LSU quarterback, Joe Burrow did what he needed to do and set his team up for a field goal with three seconds left. LSU lined up for a 42-yard field goal to win the game. The snap and hold were good and LSU’s kicker Cole Tracy kicked a low line drive that split the uprights as the clock hit zeros and sent LSU home with a 22-21 win over their rival.

This weekend had the biggest upset thus far of the young college season. The No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers hosted the BYU Cougars for a game that they were supposed to win easily. This game was anything but easy for Wisconsin.

Both teams matched each others scores as the game was tied at seven, 14, then 21. Midway through the fourth quarter, BYU kicked a 45-yard field goal to take a 24-21 lead. That score would end up holding as the final as Wisconsin couldn’t get any offense going in the game’s final 10 minutes. Both teams are now 2-1 but Wisconsin took a tumble in the rankings falling all the way from No. 6 to 18.

The 19th Ranked Michigan Wolverines got the win over the weekend against the SMU Mustangs. Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson threw for three touchdowns in the 45-20 win. Michigan will host the 0-2 Nebraska Cornhuskers this Saturday, Sept. 22.

The 24th Ranked Michigan State Spartans didn’t play this weekend. They’ll look to rally after their loss to Arizona State last week when they travel to take on the 3-0 Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday, Sept. 22.

For a list of all other games, scores, news and rankings, click here.