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This Week in Sports: Lions win, West Virginia goes down, Carmelo Anthony released by Houston and more

Houston Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony (7) dribbles past the defense of Chicago Bulls forward Justin Holiday (7) in the first quarter at the United Center Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, in Chicago, Ill. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Welcome to another weekly roundup in the world of sports. This week, the Lions got off the schneid while the Steelers picked up their sixth win in a row. Another top 10 team in college football went down on Saturday when Oklahoma State upset West Virginia. Michigan faced Indiana in a game that was tougher than they may have expected while Ohio State barely escaped Maryland with a win on the last play in overtime. In the NBA, the struggling Houston Rockets made the call on Carmelo Anthony and decided to release former perennial all-star.

National Football League

On Sunday, the Detroit Lions hosted the Carolina Panthers trying to end their three-game losing streak.

The game was close throughout with neither team ever leading by more than seven points. In the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 13 when Kenny Golladay caught an acrobatic, 19-yard touchdown pass from Matt Stafford to give the Lions a 20-13 lead.

Cam Newton and the Panthers didn’t surrender though and with 1:07 remaining in the game, DJ Moore caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Newton to bring it within a point. Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera has a reputation for gambling in big moments that has earned him the nickname of Riverboat Ron. Rivera decided rather than kicking the extra point and tying the game, they were going to go for two and try to take the lead.

Newton had great pass protection on the try, seemingly having an eternity to throw the ball. As he stood tall in the pocket, Newton saw Jarius Wright breaking free over the middle of the endzone. Newton fired a pass that sailed over Wright’s head ending the game and giving the Lions a 20-19 win.

Newton threw for 357 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in the loss. Moore led the way receiving for the Panthers with seven grabs for 157 yards and a touchdown. The Lions’ defense held Christian McCaffrey to just 53 yards rushing on 13 carries. Stafford threw for a modest 220 yards and a score in the win. Golladay had huge game in the Lions’ win catching eight balls for 113 yards and a score.

The Lions’ win is their first in almost a month, and they improve to 4-6. They’ll host their annual Thanksgiving day game at 12:30 p.m. on CBS. This year’s Turkey Day opponent will be the first place, 7-3 Chicago Bears who are coming off a 25-20 Sunday night win against the Minnesota Vikings. The Panthers have now lost two straight games and fall to 6-4. They host the 5-5 Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at 1 p.m. on Fox.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were coming off a historic game in which they put up 52 points on the Panthers. They traveled to Jacksonville to take on a Jaguars team that beat them twice last year, including a playoff game that ended the season for the Steelers.

Pittsburgh had won five straight games coming into the game while Jacksonville has had a disappointing year.

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense struggled almost the entire game and with under two minutes remaining in the third quarter, they trailed 16-0. The Steelers staged a huge comeback that was sparked by a 78-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown. They went for two and failed, keeping the game a two-possession match.

The fourth quarter was silent for both teams until Roethlisberger once again made some noise, this time connecting with tight end Vance McDonald for an 11-yard touchdown pass just before the two-minute warning. Jacksonville got the ball back but went three-and-out and were forced to punt the ball back to the Steelers.

Roethlisberger and the Steelers marched 68 yards down the field, but the game looked to be over when Roethlisberger threw an interception on an attempted pass to Ryan Switzer. The play didn’t stand though, as Switzer had his facemask grabbed by a defender giving the Steelers a first-and-goal from the one-yard line. With five seconds remaining, Roethlisberger scrambled right and with a defender wrapped around his ankles, dove for the goal line just barely getting the ball in. The play was reviewed but the touchdown stood giving the Steelers a 20-16 win.

Roethlisberger didn’t exactly have a great game as he threw three interceptions, but when the game was on the line, he showed up. He finished the game with 314 yards passing and two passing touchdowns. His go-to receivers had big days statistically. Antonio Brown caught five passes for 117 yards and a touchdown while Juju Smith-Schuster caught eight passes for 104 yards. Pittsburgh’s defense held Blake Bortles to 104 yards through the air but allowed Leonard Fournette to gain 95 yards rushing.

The Steelers improve to 7-2-1 and will travel to Denver to take on the Broncos on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on CBS. Jacksonville’s season continues to head in the wrong direction as they have now dropped six straight games. They fall to 3-7 and will try to right the ship this Sunday when they visit the 3-7 Buffalo Bills at 1 p.m. on CBS.

Week 11 concludes tonight with arguably the biggest matchup of the NFL season when Patrick Mahomes and the 9-1 Kansas City Chiefs visit Todd Gurley and the 9-1 Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN.

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

NCAA Football

As the college football season nears the end, another team’s chances of making it to the College Football Playoffs came to an end Saturday.

The No. 9 West Virginia Mountaineers visited Stillwater, Oklahoma to face the 5-5 Oklahoma State Cowboys. This game was an offensively charged tail of two halves.

WVU quarterback Will Grier threw for two touchdowns in the first half and led the Mountaineers to a 31-14 halftime lead. The Mountaineers’ defense helped out picking off OSU quarterback Taylor Cornelius twice in the first half.

The Cowboys mounted a comeback in the second half though, and Cornelius was at the forefront. He had three touchdown passes and a touchdown run in the second half to help the Cowboys outscore West Virginia 31-10 in the final two quarters.

The Cowboys trailed 41-31 with under five minutes remaining in the game. Cornelius led his Pokes on two separate touchdown drives in those final minutes with the second drive ending in a Cornelius to Tylan Wallace touchdown pass to put the game away in the final minute.

Cornelius put the early interceptions behind him and finished with 338 yards passing and five touchdown passes. Cornelius also did damage with his legs rushing for 106 yards on 13 carries in the 45-41 win. Chuba Hubbard also had a big day rushing for the Pokes with 134 yards on 26 carries. Grier played a solid game for the Mountaineers in their loss passing for 364 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort.

West Virginia falls to 8-2, basically ending any hopes of being in the top four teams selected to the CFP. They’ll play the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners on Friday night at 8 p.m. on ESPN. If they win, they’ll secure a spot in the Big 12 Championship. If they lose and Texas wins, they’ll be out of championship consideration.

The No. 4 Michigan Wolverines faced a tough challenge Saturday when they hosted the Indiana Hoosiers.

Michigan actually trailed 17-15 at halftime to the Hoosiers, but figured things out in the second half. Michigan outscored Indiana 16-3 in the second half to secure a 31-20 win.

Shea Patterson threw for 250 yards with a touchdown and interception in the win. Karan Higdon had a big day on the ground for the Wolverines rushing for 101 yards and a score. Michigan’s normally reliable run-defense struggled in the game giving up 139 yards on 30 carries to Indiana running back Stevie Scott.

Michigan improves to 10-1 and will likely hold on to the fourth spot in the CFP rankings. They also remain unscathed in the Big 10 East with an 8-0 record setting up their match with Ohio State on Saturday at noon on Fox. The winner of the game will be crowned Big 10 East champions and will face the Northwestern Wildcats in the Big 10 Championship.

Ohio State will go into that game with their chances to win the East still in tact, but almost let the opportunity slip through their hands this weekend.

The Buckeyes were in Maryland taking on the Terrapins on Saturday, and it appeared like they were looking ahead to the matchup with Michigan next week. The Buckeyes trailed 45-38 with under a minute left in regulation. Buckeyes’ quarterback Dwayne Haskins hit Binjimen Victor for a three-yard touchdown pass with 40 seconds remaining to tie the game at 45 and send it to overtime.

After an OSU touchdown in overtime, Maryland scored a touchdown of their own to bring it 52-51. Much like Rivera and the Panthers, Maryland’s interim head coach Matt Canada chose to go for two and the win rather than kicking the extra point to send it to a second overtime. Much like Newton and the Panthers, Maryland quarterback Tyrell Pigrome had a wide open receiver in the middle of the endzone but overthrew him to end the game allowing OSU to hold on to the win.

OSU matches Michigan’s overall record of 10-1 and is now 7-1 in Big 10 play. Ohio State hasn’t lost a matchup with Michigan since 2011. Jim Harbaugh will look to take down Urban Meyer for the first time in this rivalry on Friday night in Columbus. Michigan opens as a four-point favorite in the game.

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

National Basketball Association

On Thursday, the Houston Rockets parted ways with future hall-of-famer Carmelo Anthony after he appeared in just 10 games this year for Houston.

Anthony signed a one-year deal with the Rockets this offseason worth $2.4 million. The 10-time all-star forced his way out of town with the New York Knicks two years ago before signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder last year. Anthony’s production in Oklahoma City was the worst of his career, averaging under 20 points per game for the first time in his career. The Thunder decided not to bring him back and traded him to the Atlanta Hawks.

He was with Atlanta less than a week before they released him giving him the opportunity to sign with the Rockets. Houston was hoping he would add another veteran presence to a team that was a game away from advancing to the NBA finals a season ago, but the move didn’t pan out for the Rockets.

Anthony’s numbers have fallen even further with the Rockets averaging a career low 16.4 points in his 10 games with Houston. In his final game as a Rocket, Anthony shot an abysmal 1-for-11 for a grand total of two points in a 98-80 loss to the Thunder.

With Anthony on the roster, Houston was 4-6 this season. It remains unclear if this was Anthony’s final game in the NBA, or if another team will take a chance on him. Anthony is 19th on the all-time NBA scoring list with 25,551 points.

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