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September 9, 2022

Bills kick off NFL season playing up to high expectations

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — For one night, the Buffalo Bills played up to the weighty expectations many had hung on them this offseason. Josh Allen was in command of an offense that scored on three straight second-half possessions. Von Miller’s offseason addition muscled up Buffalo’s pass rush, which registered seven sacks. And the Bills shook off some early rust before thoroughly routing the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, 31-10, in front of a national prime-time TV audience on Thursday. One game does not a season make, and the two-time defending AFC East champions still have plenty to prove in the coming months.

 

Defending champion Rams humbled by Bills in opening rout

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Sean McVay knows that one of the prices of longevity in the NFL is that eventually he’s going to experience a lot of good and bad things as a coach. He hasn’t had too many bad experiences, but Thursday night was definitely one of them. The Rams’ 31-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills was the first time in six openers that McVay has been on the losing end. It’s only the fifth time the Rams have lost by at least 21 points since McVay became coach in 2017. It was also the second-worst loss by a defending Super Bowl champion, with Baltimore’s 49-27 loss at Denver in 2013 the standard.

 

On Football: Despite offseason, don’t bet against Tom Brady

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tom Brady’s 11-day absence from training camp following a 40-day retirement earlier this year has some people doubting the seven-time Super Bowl champion’s focus entering his 23rd season in the NFL. The 45-year-old Brady didn’t come back to be mediocre. After leading the NFL in yards passing and touchdowns last season, Brady returned to chase “unfinished business.” His goal is an eighth ring and second in three years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For Brady, anything less than a boat parade in February isn’t a success. He has hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy every other season since 2016.

 

Premier League games off as ‘mark of respect’ to queen

The Premier League has postponed its upcoming round of matches as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. That adds to the cancellation of high-profile golf, cricket and horse racing events across Britain on Friday. England’s top-flight clubs held a meeting on Friday and said they wanted to “pay tribute to Her Majesty’s long and unwavering service to our country.” The English Football League — the three divisions below the Premier League — also called off their games scheduled for the weekend.

 

Tiafoe offers hope for present and future of US men’s tennis

NEW YORK (AP) — Frances Tiafoe calls his run to the U.S. Open semifinals ‘a Cinderella story.’ He is a 24-year-old from Maryland who took up tennis because his father was a janitor at a junior training center, a player who never won a match past the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament until now, who owns one career ATP title and a sub-.500 career record, and whose ranking ranged from 24 to 74 over the past two seasons. Tiafoe’s tale also is a significant step forward for American men’s tennis and could help grow the sport in the future, too. Tiafoe is the first man from the U.S. to reach the semifinals at Flushing Meadows in 16 years. And he could become the first Black man from the U.S. in a major final since MaliVai Washington was the runner-up at Wimbledon in more than a quarter-century ago.

 

Swiatek, Jabeur will meet in 1st US Open final for both

NEW YORK (AP) — Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur will face each other in the U.S. Open women’s final. Tunisia’s Jabeur reached her second consecutive Grand Slam title match by beating Caroline Garcia 6-1, 6-3 at Flushing Meadows on Thursday night. The No. 5-seeded Jabeur was the runner-up at Wimbledon in July. She took full advantage of a shaky performance by first-time major semifinalist Garcia. The No. 1-ranked Swiatek grabbed the last four games to eliminate No. 6 Aryna Sabalenka 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the other semifinal. Poland’s Swiatek already owns two trophies from the French Open’s red clay but never had been past the fourth round on New York’s hard courts.

 

MLB set to announce pitch clocks, shift limits for 2023

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball is set to announce a pitch clock and limits on defensive shifts next season in an effort to shorten games and increase offense. The sport’s 11-man competition committee is set to adopt the rules changes Friday, mandating a clock that will count down 15 seconds with no runners on base and 20 seconds with runners. The shift limit will require four players other than the pitcher and the catcher to be in front of the outfield grass when a pitch is thrown, including two of the four on either side of second base,

 

BYU investigation finds no racial slurs against Duke player

PROVO, Utah (AP) — An investigation by Brigham Young University into allegations that fans engaged in racial heckling and uttered racial slurs at a Duke volleyball player last month found no evidence to support the claim. BYU issued the results of its investigation into the Aug. 26 match, reiterating it will not tolerate conduct threatening any student-athlete. As a result of the investigation, the university says it has lifted a ban on a fan who was identified as directing racial slurs toward Duke sophomore Rachel Richardson during the match. It also apologized to the fan for any hardship the ban caused. Duke athletic director Nina King says she stands by the school’s volleyball team.

 

Efforts to put ’72 Olympic medals in hoop Hall thwarted

Members of the 1972 Olympic basketball team have talked about finally retrieving those silver medals they vowed to never accept and left behind in Germany. They still don’t want them for themselves, but believe the medals belong in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. So 1972 team member and former Maryland Congressman Tom McMillen proposed a third party accept the medals, which would find their way into the Hall. But to get the medals a home in the Hall of Fame — which is holding its induction ceremony for the Class of 2022 this weekend — the International Olympic Committee told the players once again they first have to accept them. And that’s the same non-starter it was 50 years ago.

 

Online bets surge as NFL kicks off, indicating a busy year

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The level of online betting activity on Thursday night’s NFL kickoff game surged 77% over the level from last year’s opener. That’s according to a company that most of the legal U.S. sports betting industry uses to verify that its customers are where they say they are. Data released by GeoComply recorded 22.6 million location verification transactions Thursday before and during the Buffalo Bills’ 31-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. The company says that was up from 12.7 million such transactions from the 2021 season opener, and seems to indicate “the biggest season yet” for legal betting on the NFL.