Connect with us

Sports

In return to Green Bay, McCarthy’s 4th-down call goes wrong

Source image: https://apnews.com/article/dallas-cowboys-green-bay-packers-nfl-sports-1b1525efb78d55989841095ecaa9657e

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — In his first game back in Green Bay as Dallas’ coach, Mike McCarthy didn’t exactly leave Packers fans pining for the good ol’ days.

Instead, McCarthy made a crucial decision that backfired, going for it on fourth-and-3 on the opening possession of overtime when he could have sent Brett Maher out to try a long, go-ahead field goal.

The Cowboys were stopped, McCarthy’s former quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the Packers down the field, and Green Bay beat Dallas 31-28 on Sunday.

“I’m fine with the decision,” said McCarthy, who was fired as Green Bay’s coach in 2018. “Obviously, I know we didn’t convert. Fourth-and-3, we just didn’t convert.”

McCarthy was more upset about the penalties that led to that pivotal fourth down. He threw his headset to the turf in frustration after Dak Prescott was pressured by Jarran Reed and threw a desperation pass to Tony Pollard that fell incomplete.

Dallas’ final offensive play capped a frustrating day for McCarthy in his return to the city that has a street near Lambeau Field named in his honor.

McCarthy coached the Packers to their most recent Super Bowl title after the 2010 season and went 125-77-2 with Green Bay from 2006-18.

This wasn’t how he envisioned his return.

The Cowboys (6-3) entered Sunday with a 195-0 record, including playoffs, when they led by at least 14 points heading into the fourth quarter.

Now they’re 195-1.

“I’m very frustrated with the end of the game, obviously,” McCarthy said. “I think just the biggest thing for us is we need to just go out here and just learn from these games. I love these kind of games. That’s what I told these (guys), ‘You need these tight games to get to where you want to go.’

“I thought we were in total control and then in overtime the penalties and things were very, very, very frustrating. But you’ve got to overcome those things.”

The Packers (4-6) rallied to tie the game on a pair of touchdown passes from Rodgers to rookie Christian Watson, who finished with four catches for 107 yards and three scores.

Penalties then prevented Dallas from putting it away in overtime.

An offensive offsides call on wide receiver Jalen Tolbert wiped out a 9-yard run by Pollard and forced Dallas into second-and-8. The Cowboys recovered to get a first down.

The second overtime penalty proved costlier.

A holding call on guard Connor McGovern nullified a 16-yard run by Malik Davis. Rather than having a first down at the Green Bay 26, the Cowboys faced second-and-19 from their own 49.

“It was big play, penalty,” McCarthy said. “Big play, penalty. Big play, penalty.”

Prescott threw a 16-yard completion to Dalton Schultz on the next play, but the Cowboys followed that with two incompletions, including the fourth-down play.

Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb believed Green Bay should have been called for pass interference on third down.

“They don’t ever give us any explanation,” said Lamb, who had 11 catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns. “They just call flags on us and not on the opposing team.”

The Cowboys’ collapse spoiled what had been a special day for McCarthy.

Before the game, he shared hugs with a number of Packers he’d coached, including Rodgers.

Although the relationship between McCarthy and Rodgers soured late in the coach’s Green Bay tenure, they traded compliments this past week. Rodgers said the passage of time had given him a greater appreciation for the years he spent with McCarthy.

The four-time MVP quarterback said after the game that he and McCarthy also had a much longer conversation earlier in the day.

“That was really, really meaningful I think for both of us,” Rodgers said.

McCarthy got emotional in the days leading up to the game as he spoke at length about what his years in Green Bay meant to him. But after the loss, McCarthy wasn’t in much of a mood to talk about what his return meant personally.

“I’m not trying to be rude, (but) I’m humble pied out,” McCarthy said.

___

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Source: https://apnews.com/article/dallas-cowboys-green-bay-packers-nfl-sports-1b1525efb78d55989841095ecaa9657e

Continue Reading

Sports

Report: NWSL to expand in Boston, Utah and California

The National Women’s Soccer League is close to expanding by three teams, which will be in Boston, Utah and the San Francisco area, according to a Friday report in the Wall Street Journal.

The women’s pro league previously indicated it would add at least two teams by 2024. The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported that the franchises in northern California and Utah are set to start play next year, with Boston to join at a later date.

The NWSL did not confirm the report in a statement Saturday to The Associated Press, saying: “We remain engaged in our expansion process and are excited about our prospects. When we have news to share, we will do so.”

The NWSL has 12 teams, after Angel City in Los Angeles and the San Diego Wave joined the league last year.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that the Boston and Bay Area groups will pay about $50 million in franchise fees. The Utah team will pay a reduced fee because of a previous agreement struck when the Utah Royals folded in the 2020 season.

Before the NWSL draft earlier this month, league commissioner Jessica Berman said it would be “somewhere between days and months, more like weeks, when we’ll be in a position to share information” about an expansion.

“What I can say is that I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we have in front of us,” she added.

___

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Continue Reading

Sports

Former MVP Candace Parker to sign with champion Aces

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former two-time MVP Candace Parker announced on social media Saturday that she would sign with the defending champion Las Vegas Aces.

Parker spent the past two seasons playing for her hometown Sky, leading Chicago to the WNBA championship in 2021. She also won the 2016 title playing for the Los Angeles Sparks.

She posted on Instagram that Chicago would always be her home, but “my family’s home is on the west coast.

“To play for a championship close to home is the perfect situation for us. I’m looking forward to continuing the journey this summer in Las Vegas.”

The free-agent signing period begins Wednesday, and the Aces can’t comment until then.

Parker, a 6-foot-4 forward/center, adds to an already loaded lineup that includes reigning MVP A’ja Wilson, who also won the league’s top award in 2020. Wilson also was last season’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Chelsea Gray was MVP of the WNBA Finals and Kelsey Plum MVP of the All-Star Game. Wilson, Plum and Jackie Young were All-Star starters.

Parker and Gray were teammates on Los Angeles’ 2016 title team.

The Aces traded one of their key pieces, two-time Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby, to the Sparks on Jan. 21, creating speculation Las Vegas was creating salary cap room to sign a big-name player.

Parker, the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year and the 2016 Finals MVP, certainly fits that bill. Even at 36 last season, she averaged 13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists for the Sky.

“Candace has done so much for our franchise in her time here,” Chicago coach and general manager James Wade said in a statement. “I understand her reasons for wanting to be closer with her immediate family. We wish her nothing but the best. She will always be a part of the Sky family. We will celebrate her time here as she deserves.”

Losing her is a big blow to the Sky, who made the semifinals in last season’s playoffs before losing in five games to the Connecticut Sun. Kahleah Copper is the only starter under contract for next season, so the Sky could head into a rebuild.

“I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to win a championship in my hometown and parade down the same streets I watched the Bulls parade down as a young girl first falling in love with the game of basketball,” Parker posted.

Parker joins the Aces at a time the Women’s National Basketball Players Association said it wanted that organization investigated regarding allegations that Hamby made after being traded. She posted on Instagram she was “lied to, bullied, manipulated, and discriminated against” because she is pregnant with her second child.

The Aces still have not commented on Hamby’s allegations.

___

AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Continue Reading

Sports

Estrada, Hofstra end No. 18 Charleston’s 20-game win streak

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — This season, Hofstra has been a one-man show. This time, Aaron Estrada had some help as the Pride ended the nation’s longest winning streak.

Estrada scored 25 points, but just two in the second half, while Darlinestone Dubar added 18 as Hofstra had four players in double figures to knock off No. 18 College of Charleston 85-81 on Saturday — ending the Cougars’ 20-game win streak.

“That’s a really big for our program,” Hofstra coach Speedy Claxton said. “To beat a nationally ranked team on their home court when they’ve got it rolling like they do speaks volumes about our kids.”

Claxton saw a team effort to take down the hottest team in the country.

“It wasn’t just Aaron,” Claxton said. “He had a great first half, but we had other guys step up and make baskets or get rebounds when we really needed them.”

The loss ended Charleston’s spotless run that began after losing to then-top-ranked North Carolina on Nov. 11.

Hofstra, the CAA’s leader in field-goal shooting, used that to move past Charleston in the second half as it made 18 of 32 attempts. The Pride led 76-69 with 6:10 to play before the Cougars cut it to two points on Ryan Larson’s foul shots with 2:02 to play.

But Charleston managed just two free throws after that and missed all four 3-pointers they tried.

This is the second straight season the Pride have beaten a Top 25 team. A year ago, Hofstra defeated then No. 24 Arkansas 89-81. The Pride’s only other victory against a Top 25 team came against Southern Illinois in 1976.

Hofstra (15-8, 8-2 Colonial Athletic Association) beat the Cougars (21-2, 9-1) at their own game — 3-point shooting. The Pride were 11 of 22 from 3-point range and overall shot 56 percent from the floor in the second half.

Estrada, who had 23 points in the opening half, shredded the Cougars defense at will. Estrada was 5 of 9 from 3-point range.

“Estrada is a great player, hit a bunch of tough shots, especially in the first half,” Charleston coach Pat Kelsey said. “Hofstra is a very, very talented team. It’s not just Estrada. They were better than us tonight.”

Then Estrada took over. The CAA’s leading scorer at 21.1 points a game scored 16 of the next 24 points for the Pride, including four 3-pointers.

Ante Brzovic’s dunk at the buzzer gave the Cougars a 46-44 advantage at halftime.

Tyler Thomas had 17 points and eight rebounds for Hofstra.

Brzovic finished with 18 points to lead the Cougars.

BIG PICTURE

Hofstra: The Pride are on a roll in 2023. winning seven of their past eight games, including three in a row.

College of Charleston: The Cougars chances of receiving an NCAA Tournament at-large bid took a major blow with the loss to the Pride. Despite having the nation’s longest win streak for three months, Charleston will most likely have to win the CAA Tournament in March to advance to the NCAAs.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

The Cougars’ 20-game win streak wasn’t the only streak to end on Saturday. College of Charleston played 14 of its first 23 games at TD Arena to start the season and were a perfect 13-0 at home before facing the Pride. Charleston’s 13-game home win streak included three wins in the Charleston Classic. The Cougars became the first mid-major program to win the ESPN event, beating Virginia Tech 77-75 in the championship game. Charleston will finish the season playing four of their final eight games on the road.

POLL POSITION

Charleston’s first loss in nearly three months might drop the Cougars from the national rankings. They have been part of the last four rankings, entering at No. 23 before reaching No. 18 this past week.

UP NEXT

Hofstra returns home to play Towson on Thursday night.

College of Charleston starts a two-game road trip at Drexel on Thursday night.

___

AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Continue Reading

Trending