For the second week in a row on Thursday Night Football, we got a defensive game. It might not have been as low scoring as the 10-3 thriller last week between the Packers and Bears, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers’ game this week wasn’t a whole lot prettier. When the dust finally settled, it was the Bucs’ defense that held off the Panthers on a crucial fourth and 1 from the two yard line in the fourth quarter to win 20-14. The Panthers tried running a trick play that did not involve Cam Newton where Christian McCaffrey would get to the edge. He got there, but so did the Bucs, knocking him down and forcing a turnover. Jameis Winston played well under center for the Buccaneers, throwing for 208 yards and a touchdown on 16-25. His opposite number, Newton, who did take blame for the loss, went 24-50 for 324 yards. They only got 37 yards on the ground via McCaffrey, such was their willingness to air the ball down the field at every opportunity. Matt Gay’s field goal in the fourth quarter with 2:26 remaining is worth points out as well, as it forced the Panthers to go for more than a field goal of their own as time elapsed.
A lot of talk has centered around whether or not the Milwaukee Brewers can win (and make the playoffs) without star outfielder Christian Yelich being able to play for the rest of the season. We still have about half a month to find out, but for now Ryan Braun is showing they can hang without him, at least in short stretches. Braun, wearing Yelich’s own no.22 under his jersey came up with a massive two-run home run for them on Thursday night that lifted them to a 3-2 win over the Miami Marlins to complete a four-game sweep. It was their seventh win of the season, their longest such run so far, and it means they are still in a dead heat with inner-division rival Chicago for the second Wild Card spot. They are four off the pace of the Cardinals for first in the NL Central, should they continue this unlikely run.
Coming into the FIBA Basketball World Cup, given the team that ultimately played, Team USA were very much expected to get beat by Serbia. However, not many thought they would be meeting in a consolation game to help determine if they finished fifth or seventh. After a 94-89 loss to the Serbians, who had led by as many as 25 in the first quarter, the Americans can finish seventh at best now. Bogdan Bogdanovic, a guard for the Sacramento Kings, was responsible for much of the hammering as he put up 28 points. The Serbians didn’t even make a big deal out of it, such was the level of play that they had always expected to be at. The losses show that there needs to be a new policy put in place, or something. No one will want to see this kind of performance next year at the Olympics in Tokyo.