The Sports Report: Gamble pays off for Brandon Staley and Chargers

Austin Ekeler scores a touchdown as Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons defends during the second half.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Jeff Miller: They had produced only one touchdown on their previous 20 second-half possessions, an arid stretch covering four games.

But now here the Chargers were, having finally scored a late touchdown, lining up to attempt to reach the end zone two plays in a row.

“That’s us,” safety Derwin James Jr. said. “That’s our mindset. We believe in 10 and you seen what he did.”

Justin Herbert, No. 10 for the Chargers, hit tight end Gerald Everett for a two-point conversion moments after connecting with Austin Ekeler on a one-yard touchdown pass, lifting the Chargers to a 25-24 victory over Arizona.


In the frantic span of two snaps in the game’s final 20 seconds, the Chargers brushed aside their recent second-half offensive woes, stopped their two-game losing streak and breathed belief into their playoff chances.

“Those two points keep us on the right track, keep us on the path,” Ekeler said. “Those two points, coming in on Monday, change just the entire feel of the building.”

The Chargers, who had lost three of four overall, improved to 6-5, the same record as New England. They sit one game behind Cincinnati and the New York Jets, the teams that currently occupy the AFC’s last two postseason spots.


Elliott: Brandon Staley showed guts on bold two-point call; to Chargers it was easy choice

Chargers’ 25-24 road win over the Arizona Cardinals by the numbers

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From Gary Klein: During this lost season, Rams coach Sean McVay absorbed numerous shots to his mental state.

His offense no longer soars, and his star quarterback has twice been in the concussion protocol. His star wide receiver also is out because of injury. And the Rams’ offensive line continues to be ravaged by injuries.

McVay, the coach of the defending Super Bowl champions, has worn the stress and anxiety caused by an unprecedented losing streak on his face.


Early in the Rams’ 26-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, McVay’s pain for the first time became physical.

As McVay walked up the sideline in 40-degree temperatures, Rams tight end Roger Carter ran onto the field to be part of the punt unit, accidentally slamming his right shoulder pad into McVay’s head. The blow knocked off McVay’s headset and caused the coach to clutch his jaw.

After his team dropped to 3-8 with its fifth consecutive loss, a purplish knot was forming on McVay’s left cheek.

“I’m thinking, ‘Have a little awareness running by me.’ I mean, oh my gosh,” McVay said. “It’s really not that big a deal. I think it probably looked worse when you end up replaying it. … I don’t think I broke my jaw, so I’ll be fine.”


Rams takeaways: Bryce Perkins, young receivers make best of chances against Chiefs

Former Rams star Odell Beckham Jr. removed from plane in Miami


From Bill Plaschke: He danced. He darted. He dodged. He defied. He defined.

During one hot moment on a chilly Saturday night in downtown Los Angeles, this city’s newest sports superstar ran around the Coliseum grass for what seemed like an eternity while avoiding desperate hulks, lunging helmets, flailing arms.

Then it happened. Whoa. Wow. Just like that. Just like it previously happened for every other great player who has won college football’s greatest award.

Caleb Williams created his Heisman Moment.

Running away from seemingly half the Notre Dame defense late in the first half, leaping off one foot just ahead of a giant grasp, Williams twisted his torso and threaded the ball 23 yards down the right sideline and into the arms of Jordan Addison.

An improbable scramble. An impossible throw. A rumbling chant. A national roar.

“Heis-man! Heis-man!” sang the USC student section.


Commentary: I knew Lincoln Riley was going to be good for USC. But not this good


From Ben Bolch: Having drawn a double team near the basket late in the first half, UCLA’s Adem Bona threw an over-the-head pass to David Singleton beyond the top of the three-point arc. Singleton swung the ball to an open Dylan Andrews on the wing before Andrews flipped it to an even more open Abramo Canka in the corner.

Three passes. Two seconds. One wide-open shooter.


The sequence illustrated the zippy ball movement that the No. 19 Bruins used to withstand another impressive offensive display during an 81-60 victory over Bellarmine on Sunday evening at Pauley Pavilion.

With one pass after another accompanied by continuous movement off the ball, the Knights generated plenty of open looks. The shorthanded Bruins were even better.


Matty Beniers had a goal and two assists, Daniel Sprong scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and the Seattle Kraken tied a franchise record with their fifth consecutive victory, 5-4 over the Ducks on Sunday night.

Jared McCann, Alex Wennberg and Vince Dunn scored in the first period for the Kraken, who blew a two-goal lead late in the second period before rallying for their 10th win in 12 games. Martin Jones made 25 saves in his 11th victory of the season for Seattle, which has lost in regulation just once over the past four weeks during a surge that began with the 2-year-old Kraken’s first five-game winning streak.


From Kevin Baxter in Qatar: The last time Canada went to the World Cup, Diego Maradona was still playing, the Soviet Union made it to the round of 16 and synthetic balls replaced leather ones for the first time.

The team’s stay was short, with Canada going home after losing its three group-play games without scoring. Two games into this World Cup, Canada once again has no wins, no points and no chance of getting out of group play after a 4-1 loss to Croatia on Sunday.

The Canadians did score a goal and that counts as progress.

“We’ve wanted that for our country a very long time,” said midfielder Atiba Hutchinson, who Sunday became the first Canadian to make his 100th international appearance. “Just to see the ball hit the back of the net, it was great.”

Hutchinson, 39, is the oldest player on a young Canadian team that, in four years, will join the U.S. and Mexico in hosting the World Cup when many of their players will be in their prime. Hutchinson, meanwhile, will be in his living room.


Sunday’s results

Group E
Japan 1, Costa Rica 0
Spain 1, Germany 1

Country, W-D-L, GD, Pts
Spain, 1-1-0, +7, 4
Japan, 1-0-1, 0, 3
Costa Rica, 1-0-1, -6, 3
Germany, 0-1-1, -1, 1

Thursday: Japan vs. Spain, 11 a.m., FS1, Telemundo, Peacock
Thursday: Costa Rica vs. Germany, 11 a.m., Fox, Universo, Peacock

Group F
Croatia 4, Canada 1
Morocco 2, Belgium 0

Country, W-D-L, GD, Pts
Croatia, 1-1-0, +3, 4
Morocco, 1-1-0, +2, 4
Belgium, 1-0-1, -1, 3
x-Canada, 0-0-2, -4, 0

Thursday: Croatia vs. Belgium, 7 a.m., Fox, Universo, Peacock
Thursday: Canada vs. Morocco, 7 a.m., FS1, Telemundo, Peacock

Today’s schedule
All times Pacific

Group G
Cameroon vs. Serbia, 2 a.m., FS1, Telemundo, Peacock
Brazil vs. Switzerland, 8 a.m., Fox, Telemundo, Peacock

Country, W-D-L, GD, Pts
Brazil, 1-0-0, +2, 3
Switzerland, 1-0-0, +1, 3
Cameroon, 0-0-1, -1, 0
Serbia, 0-0-1, -2, 0

Friday: Serbia vs. Switzerland, 11 a.m., FS1, Universo, Peacock
Friday: Cameroon vs. Brazil, 11 a.m., Fox, Telemundo, Peacock

Group H
South Korea vs. Ghana, 5 a.m., FS1, Telemundo, Peacock
Portugal vs. Uruguay, 11 a.m., Fox, Telemundo, Peacock

Country, W-D-L, GD, Pts
Portugal, 1-0-0, +1, 3
South Korea, 0-1-0, 0, 1
Uruguay, 0-1-0, 0, 1
Ghana, 0-0-1, -1, 0

Friday: Ghana vs. Uruguay, 7 a.m., Fox, Telemundo, Peacock
Friday: South Korea vs. Portugal, FS1, Universo, Peacock

Other Groups

Group A
Country, W-D-L, GD, Pts
Netherlands, 1-1-0, +2, 4
Ecuador, 1-1-0, +2, 4
Senegal, 1-0-1, 0, 3
x-Qatar, 0-0-2, 0, 0

Tuesday: Qatar vs. Netherlands, 7 a.m., FS1, Telemundo, Peacock
Tuesday: Ecuador vs. Senegal, 7 a.m., Fox, Universo, Peacock

Group B
Country, W-D-L, GD, Pts
England, 1-1-0, +4, 4
Iran, 1-0-1, -2, 3
United States, 0-2-0, 0, 2
Wales, 0-1-1, -2, 1

Tuesday: Wales vs. England, 11 a.m., FS1, Universo, Peacock
Tuesday: United States vs. Iran, 11 a.m., Fox, Telemundo, Peacock

Group C
Country, W-D-L, GD, Pts
Poland, 1-1-0, +2, 4
Argentina, 1-0-1, +1, 3
Saudi Arabia, 1-0-1, -1, 3
Mexico, 0-1-1, -2, 1

Wednesday: Poland vs. Argentina, 11 a.m., Fox, Universo, Peacock
Wednesday, Mexico vs. Saudi Arabia, FS1, Telemundo, Peacock

Group D
Country, W-D-L, GD, Pts
y-France, 2-0-0, +4, 6
Australia, 1-0-1, -2, 3
Denmark, 0-1-1, -1, 1
Tunisia, 0-1-1, -1, 1

Wednesday: Australia vs. Denmark, 7 a.m., FS1, Telemundo, Peacock
Wednesday: Tunisia vs. France, 7 a.m., Fox, Universo, Peacock

y-clinched Round of 16
Note: Top two in each group advance to the Round of 16.


Complete World Cup coverage

Qatar World Cup: Start times for every match and how to watch

World Cup: U.S. briefly protests Iran by stripping flag of Islamic Republic emblem online


1906 — Tommy Burns fights to a 20-round draw with light heavyweight Jack O’Brien in a world heavyweight title bout in Los Angeles.

1929 — Ernie Nevers rushes for six touchdowns and kicks four PATs to score all his team’s points, an NFL record, in the Chicago Cardinals’ 40-6 rout of the Chicago Bears.

1948 — Dippy Evans of the Chicago Bears is the only NFL player to score two touchdowns on recovered fumbles in a 48-13 victory over the Washington Redskins.

1969 — The New York Knicks beat the Cincinnati Royals 106-105 at Cleveland to set an NBA record with 18 consecutive victories.

1981 — Alabama’s Paul “Bear” Bryant becomes the winningest coach in college football history when the Rolling Tide beats Auburn 28-17 in the Iron Bowl. It’s Bryant’s 315th victory, surpassing Amos Alonzo Stagg for most wins.

1986 — The Celtics beat San Antonio 111-96 at Boston Garden to set an NBA record with their 38th consecutive homecourt victory.

1992 — Bobby Bowden becomes the first major college coach to win 10 games in six straight seasons as Florida State beats Florida 45-24 to finish the regular season at 10-1.

2004 — Cincinnati and Cleveland play the most remarkable game in their intrastate rivalry, a wacky 58-48 victory by the Bengals that is the second-highest scoring game in NFL history. The 106 combined points are the most since the Redskins beat the Giants 72-41 on Nov. 27, 1966, for the league record.

2004 — Bode Miller becomes the first man to open a World Cup season with three victories in three disciplines, winning a super-giant slalom ahead of Hermann Maier in Lake Louise, Alberta. Miller’s first career Super G win comes one day after his first World Cup downhill victory. He also won the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, and is just the fourth skier to win World Cup races in all five disciplines over his career (slalom and combined are the others).

2014 — Martin St. Louis reaches 1,000 career points with a goal and an assist as the New York Rangers beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0. St. Louis scores on a rebound for the 1,000th point of his career to become the sixth undrafted player in NHL history to accomplish the feat.

2014 — Brandon Doughty throws a Conference USA-record eight touchdown passes, the last in overtime to Jared Dangerfield followed by a 2-point conversion pass to Willie McNeal that lifts Western Kentucky over No. 19 Marshall 67-66.

2015 — Paxton Lynch ties the FBS record with seven touchdown passes in a half, and Memphis set single-season records for yards and points in a 63-0 win over SMU.

2015 — Tyson Fury defeats Wladimir Klitschko by unanimous decision to end the Ukrainian’s nine-and-a-half-year reign as heavyweight champion and take his WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles.

2016 — A chartered plane with a Brazilian first division soccer team crashes near Medellin while on its way to the finals of a regional tournament, killing 75 people. Six people survive. The aircraft, which had departed from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was transporting the Chapecoense soccer team from southern Brazil for the first leg of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Tyson Fury vs. Wladimir Klitschko. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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