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in Dies ist ein Forum in der Kategorie 23.10.2018 05:22
von hongwei28 • 414 Beiträge

EDEN PRAIRIE Womens Alexander Steen Jersey , Minn. — In most cases, the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings would take a strong look at their Week 1 matchup as they prepare for Sunday’s NFC playoff game.

In this case, what happened in that Sept. 11 opener is indicative of the teams meeting in Minnesota for the second time this year.

Both teams underwent significant changes since the Vikings’ 29-19 victory.

Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford completed 27-of-32 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns in the first meeting, earning NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. Bradford played only a single half the rest of the season as Case Keenum replaced the injured Bradford and put himself in MVP consideration.

New Orleans jettisoned former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson after a miserable four-game run and thrived with Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara, becoming one of the league’s most dangerous running back duos. The Saints’ defense also started to find its way.

“They’re a different team than they were Week 1, but so are we,” said Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph, who scored a touchdown in the first game. “Everyone in the NFL is trying to find their identity early on. They’re different from a personnel standpoint and they’re also different from a team, like us, who has found their identity.”

The teams found their identity but had plenty of personnel changes along the way. The Vikings’ defense is healthy, but Keenum has taken hold of the starting quarterback spot and rookie running back Dalvin Cook, who ran for 127 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting, has been out since Week 4 because of a torn ACL.

“There are some similarities in regards to scheme, but I think when you go through a course of an NFL season and you look at the attrition that takes place, there are eight or nine of our starters that are playing in that game that aren’t playing in this game, and I’m sure the same exists for Minnesota,” New Orleans coach Sean Payton told reporters this week, according to the team’s website. “And you begin to take shape as the season progresses to who you become and I think both teams have done that.”

In the Saints’ case, they altered their offensive identity to rely on Ingram and Kamara. New Orleans ranked fifth in the league in rushing this season as Ingram ran for a career-high 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns. Kamara led the league with 6.1 yards per carry as the Saints had an NFC-best 4.7 yards per carry as a team.

Peterson had six carries for 18 yards in the first meeting in Minnesota. With the carries being split three ways, Ingram had six carries and Kamara touched the ball 11 times on offense.

“They got a little bit of everything,” Vikings defensive end Brian Robison said. “Ingram’s more of a downhill runner. Kamara is definitely a guy that can bounce to the outside. He’s got speed to hit the edge and they’re both really good in the screen game.”

The Vikings were second in the league in run defense, allowing 83.6 yards per game. They’ve held two of their past three opponents to fewer than 46 yards.

Selling out to stop the run isn’t a solid strategy either. In last week’s win against Carolina Reggie Wayne Jersey , the Saints ran 22 times for 41 yards as the Panthers dared New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees to beat them.

Brees had 376 passing yards and two touchdowns, and receivers Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn each had more than 100 yards receiving against the Panthers.

“We’ve been telling y’all all year, man, don’t sleep on Drew,” Ingram told the New Orleans Times Picayune. “And if you’re going to stack the box and try and stop the run and take us out the game, he’s going to hurt you. We’ve been telling you he’s the best quarterback in the league and he’s still Drew Brees. He proved that (Sunday).”

Perhaps the biggest change for the Saints has been the development of the defense. After allowing 470 total yards to Minnesota in Week 1, New Orleans gave up 555 to New England the following week. Slowly, communication improved on the back end combined with the play of rookie Marcus Lattimore and Ken Crawley at cornerback.

The Saints were third in the NFL and first in the NFC with 20 interceptions in the regular season. Lattimore led the team with five.

“He’s a good player,” Vikings Pro Bowl receiver Adam Thielen said of Lattimore. “He’s physical. He can run with anybody. He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now. He’s got great ball skills. He’s pretty much got everything you need to be a really good corner in this league.”

New Orleans also pressures the passer. Cameron Jordan tied Minnesota’s Everson Griffen for fourth in the league with 13 sacks. As a team, the Saints’ 42 sacks were tied for seventh in the NFL.

Like Brees, Keenum didn’t make mistakes once replacing Bradford. He threw seven interceptions, one fewer than Brees, and the Vikings allowed the seventh-fewest sacks in the league behind a patchwork offensive line.

“He is playing well,” Payton told the team’s website of Keenum. “You can see him getting the ball to a lot of different guys. These guys, I think, have done a great job on offense. I think they are playing a game really that suits both sides of the ball.”

Minnesota should head into Sunday healthy, including the return of rookie center Pat Elflein from a shoulder injury.

New Orleans is battered. Left guard Andrus Peat and defensive tackle Tony McDaniel were placed on injured re Jose Altuve upped the pressure on Alex Bregman as he walked to home plate with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning.

”Altuve told me … that he’s not bringing his bat or batting gloves to the on-deck circle, so I better get the job done,” Bregman said. ”So I had to find a way.”

Bregman hit a game-ending two-run double and the Houston Astros beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 to match a franchise record with their 12th straight win.

Houston trailed 4-0 after three innings but cut the lead to one entering the ninth.

Sergio Romo (1-2) walked Marwin Gonzalez to start the ninth, then allowed a single to Max Stassi. Tony Kemp’s sacrifice bunt moved both runners up, and Houston loaded the bases when George Springer reached on interference by catcher Wilson Ramos.

Bregman then drove a ball that bounced off the wall in left-center. He lifted both arms as he trotted into second base, and teammates mobbed him in the infield.

It was Houston’s second game-ending hit of the season, and the other also came off Bregman’s bat April 7 against San Diego. Bregman also walked off Houston with a single in Game 5 of the World Series last season.

”You do it as often as Alex has done it Brayden Schenn Jersey , we know it’s going to be a good at-bat,” manager A.J. Hinch said. ”Whether it ends in our favor or not is baseball, but he’s a guy we want up there.”

Romo declined to speak to reporters after the game, but manager Kevin Cash discussed his work.

”He’s the guy who’s been out there and got the experience,” Cash said. ”He’s done it here as of late. It lined up right; it just didn’t work.”

Collin McHugh (2-0) struck out two in a scoreless ninth for the win on a night Gerrit Cole walked a career-high five to help the Rays build the early lead.

Houston also won 12 straight in 2004 and 1999. The Astros will go for No. 13 on Tuesday with ace Justin Verlander on the mound.

”The only thing that matters to these guys is winning,” Bregman said.

Romo was the seventh pitcher the Rays used as they employed a reliever as a starter for the 16th time in 30 games.

Cole walked Jake Bauers with one out in the first before Ramos launched a fastball into the seats in right field to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead.

Matt Duffy drew a walk with one out in the third, stole second base and took third on an error by catcher Brian McCann. Cole, who hadn’t walked more than three in a game this season, walked Bauers and Ramos to load the bases. A two-out single by Joey Wendle came next to score two and push the lead to 4-0.

Altuve, who finished with three hits, singled with one out in the fourth, and Carlos Correa followed with a double. Houston got within 4-1 on a groundball single by Yuli Gurriel which scored Altuve. The Astros made it 4-2 when Correa scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Reddick.

Altuve doubled and reached third on an error by Johnny Field to start Houston’s sixth. A one-out single by Gurriel scored Altuve to cut the lead to 4-3. Gonzalez singled with two outs, but Diego Castillo came in and retired pinch-hitter Evan Gattis to end the inning.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: OF Kevin Kiermaier will be activated from the disabled list Tuesday after sitting out since April 15 after tearing a ligament in his right thumb which required surgery. He wasn’t supposed to be reinstated until Friday, but was feeling good after a rehabilitation stint in the minors and wore Cash down with incessant text messages saying he was ready. ”I was sick of hearing from him so I called the general manager and said: `Please get him up here,”’ Cash joked. … RHP Chris Archer (abdominal strain) has been playing catch and is scheduled to throw a bullpen Friday. Cash said he’ll need to make some rehabilitation starts before returning to the team.

Astros: RHP Joe Smith (right elbow inflammation) felt fine after playing catch Sunday but likely won’t return from the disabled list until Houston’s next homestand, which begins on July 5.

LATE SCORING

With their two runs in the ninth on Monday night, the Astros have scored a major league best 137 runs in the seventh inning or later this season. Monday’s four-run deficit is the largest they’ve overcome to win this season, outdoing the two-run deficit they came back from for a victory on Sunday at Kansas City.

UP NEXT

Verlander (9-2, 1.61 ERA) opposes Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell (8-4, 2.58) in the second game of the series Tuesday night. Verlander yielded two homers and three runs in seven innings in his last start to extend his winning streak to five games. Snell looks to get back on track after he had a four-game winning streak snapped by allowing five hits and four runs in five innings of a loss to the Yankees his last time out.

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