Philadelphia Flyers Remain in the Hunt for a Playoff Position

Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 Sunday during a matinee game in Philadelphia, keeping them four points away from a wildcard position in the 2015 National Hockey League Playoffs.

Flyers captain Claude Giroux opened up the scoring with a power play goal in the first period, assisted by Mark Streit and Jakub Voracek. The Flyers went up 2-0 in the second period when alternate captain Wayne Simmonds scored with assists from Streit and Giroux.

However, the Capitals responded later in the second period. Tom Wilson and Joel Ward scored for Washington, tying the score 2-2 going into the third period.

15 minutes and 47 seconds into the final period, Michael Del Zotto scored a slap shot that made it by Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. Chris Vandevelde and Voracek were awarded assists on the play. Flyers goalie Rob Zepp is now 5-1-0 when named the starting goaltender this season.

With the win, the Flyers were two points behind the Boston Bruins for a wildcard playoff position for a brief amount of time. However, the Bruins defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-2 Sunday after the Flyers win. This keeps Boston four points ahead of Philadelphia, three points ahead of the Florida Panthers, and still in a playoff position.

The Flyers play the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday in Raleigh, North Carolina. There are 22 games remaining on Philadelphia’s schedule, each one important for their playoff hopes.

Written by:  Joseph Markle

IUP Journalism 2015

Why the Next 28 Games are Important for the Philadelphia Flyers

Did-Matt-Read-come-back-too-soon

The Philadelphia Flyers are now trailing the Boston Bruins by 8 points for a playoff position with the 2-1 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadians Tuesday night

The Flyers have won 4 out of their last 6 games, with both losses coming in an overtime and shootout period. Therefore, they have gained 10 points in the last 6 games. This sort of surge is needed for any sort of playoff hope.

Being 8 points behind the Bruins means that the Flyers are 4 games out of a playoff position. In hockey, teams get 2 points for each win and one point for each overtime or shootout loss.

In the overtime loss, Matt Read scored the Flyers lone goal with an assist from Wayne Simmonds. The two goals scored by the Canadians were by Tomas Piekanec and David Desharnais.

However, the Flyers posted significant statistics during Tuesday night’s game. Although they were out-shot 41-24, the Flyers posted 25 blocked shots and 30 hits. The Canadians blocked 14 shots and had 15 hits during the game.

The Flyers are now 23-22-9 on the season, just above .500. Their next game is away against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday at 7:00 p.m. in Nationwide Arena.

Written by:

Joseph Markle

IUP ’15

Journalism

The Legend of Bobby Grier

I had to write the following essay for my Sports Journalism course. I enjoyed learning about the courage of Bobby Grier and the University of Pittsburgh football program. I thought some of you might too.

How could a team that lost 7-0 in the 1956 Sugar Bowl still manage to win, in spirit?

The Sugar Bowl that year was much more than a game. It was a risk. It was a bold move. It was the day that Bobby Grier became the first African-American to play football in the Sugar Bowl.

1956 was obviously a much different time in the United States of America for African-Americans than it is today. Today, the president of this country is part African-American. Today, every college and professional football team has African-Americans playing on it.

But the way this country works, and the way football works, is much different today than it was in 1956.

The University of Pittsburgh Panthers played the Georgia Institute of Technology Yellow Jackets in the 1956 Sugar Bowl. Georgia was a much different place for African-Americans in 1956, than it was in Pennsylvania.

“The South stands at Armageddon. The battle is joined. We cannot make the slightest concession to the enemy in this dark and lamentable hour of struggle,” said Marvin Griffin, Georgia’s governor at the time.

Was Griffin referring to the Civil Rights Movement? Was Griffin referring to the desegregation of schools? Was Griffin referring to Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., or Malcom X?

No. Griffin was referring to a 19-year-old African-American teenager named Bobby Grier.

And what did Grier do to spark such an emotional and passionate statement?

He wanted to play football against Georgia Tech in the 1956 Sugar Bowl.

Griffin proposed to “forbid the athletic teams of the university system of Georgia from participating in games against any teams with Negro players, or even playing in any stadium where unsegregated audiences breathe the same air.”

This shocked the Pitt players, but it was not something totally uncommon to the Deep South during this time period. The fact that something like this was said less than a century ago is unfathomable.

“This can’t be that bad,” Grier said.

Georgia Tech students and players, infuriated with the governor’s proposition, decided to march on his mansion. There was no way that one player was going to stop Georgia Tech from competing in the Sugar Bowl.

The game itself was low-scoring. The end result left Bobby Grier crying.

Was he crying from happiness for being able to play? Was he crying from the amount of taunting he received? Was he crying because Pitt lost the game?

The answer to the last question is yes. But, it holds more significance than a simple one-word answer.

Bobby Grier was flagged for pass interference, which gave Georgia Tech a first-and-goal that led to them scoring a touchdown. The end result of the game was 7-0.

“I was crying because it was because of me we lost.”
But Bobby didn’t lose that day. Pitt didn’t lose, either.

They won. Because if it wasn’t for this one day in history, this one 60 minutes of football, it might have taken years, maybe decades, for someone as courageous and valiant as Bobby Grier and the University of Pittsburgh football program to have an African-American compete in the Sugar Bowl.

Nick Foles and the Future of the Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles suffered a crack in his collarbone against the Houston Texans Sunday, leaving the team in purgatory between playoffs and an unsuccessful season.

The injury makes Foles unable to play for the next 6-8 weeks, according to ESPN.com. Mark Sanchez, notorious for the “butt-fumble” that put him number one on SportsCenter’s “Not Top 10” for 40 consecutive weeks, replaces him as the starter. (video of the butt-fumble below)

       Foles isn’t the only player on the Eagles, but he plays a key role in head coach Chip Kelly’s offense. Players like running back LeSean McCoy and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin will look to help Sanchez in the next upcoming weeks.

However, Eagles fans shouldn’t look to the past when thinking of the team’s future success. At least, when it comes to making the playoffs this year. After Foles was injured, Sanchez completed 15 of 22 passes for 202 yards, threw two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions.

These statistics aren’t terrible for a quarterback that hasn’t started a game since 2012. However, the last time Sanchez started, he was benched by Jets head coach Rex Ryan after throwing three interceptions. Another distinct fact about the last time Sanchez started, he had the worst QBR in the NFL at 25.8, according to ESPN.com

So, is it time to worry for Eagles fans?

Not quite yet. The Eagles sit at the top of the NFC East division with a record of 6-2, right in front of the Dallas Cowboys who are 6-3. The Eagles play the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football Nov. 10. It will be a key game on how Sanchez can handle the speed of Chip Kelly’s offense as a starter.

Key Career Quarterback Statistics

Nick Foles                                                                                                    

  • Completion Percentage: 61.6%
  • Passing Yards:  6,753
  • Career Touchdowns: 46
  • Career Interceptions: 17
  • Career Fumbles: 10
  • Quarterback Rating: 94.1

Mark Sanchez

  • Completion Percentage: 55.2%
  • Passing Yards: 12,294
  • Career Touchdowns: 70
  • Career Interceptions: 71
  • Career Fumbles: 26
  • Quarterback Rating: 71.9

*All statistics according to ESPN.com

Rivalry renewed & weaknesses exposed in a daunting Cowboys loss

What a game, what a game. First off let me say that I, in no way shape or form, want to take credit away from this Redskins team who came in and beat us in our own house. Yup, I’m one of those guys who says “us” as if I’m on the Cowboys. This game was gritty, this game was hard hitting, and this game was filled with a hell of a lot of heart. This game was also filled with some major major major major major mistakes by both teams, but most importantly by the division leading Dallas Cowboys. As I stated in my post minutes prior to the game, this was set up to be a trap game. Colt McCoy was fighting for respect, the skins hate the Cowboys more than life itself, and regardless of records these teams will ALWAYS battle.

I’m going to get right into it and simply say that the Cowboys offense is what lost them this game. Flipping it respectively it could very well be that the Redskins defensive scheme/play calling, etc. is what won them this game and made the young, talented offensive line look like children on that field tonight.

This game started out with some intensity on both sides of the ball. DeMarco Murray got popped the first time he touched the ball, further reinforcing the fact that this game would be a battle. The first drive of the game on 3rd and 5 the Redskins sent a fierce blitz which sent Tony Romo tumbling to the ground. Touche Redskins, you got one over on possibly the best O-Line in the NFL. Boy were we in for a shocker, let’s fast forward to the next offensive Cowboys possession. 3rd and 8 for the Cowboys and here comes another major defensive blitz for a sack. Hmmm, the, to this point in the season, awful Redskins D came to play. Time and time again tonight this Redskins defense confused the Cowboys offensive line and Tony Romo to no extent. Romo throughout his career has been a fantastic quarterback in terms of recognizing defensive disguise. Tonight even Romo’s normally fantastic audibles weren’t clicking. As much as I hate the damn guy that I think is the dirtiest player in the league in Brandon Meriweather, he was a complete monster vs this Cowboys team tonight. 7 tackles, 2 sacks, and a forced fumble.

I’m not done with this offense one bit yet, Time and time again, 3rd down after 3rd down blitz’s were sent. The Cowboys never adjusted throughout the course of this game. Let me remind you that this is a team leading the league in 3rd down conversions with a 65% conversion rating and they just got completely lost. As I said before credit should be given to this defense as well but if you want to be known as the best in the league you damn sure better be able to pick up and adjust to defenses that are throwing elaborate schemes at you. The worst part of the blitz’s were the fact that players were getting in UNTOUCHED. There were multiple plays where DeMarco Murray, Joseph Randle, and Lance Dunbar dropped the ball on picking up that block to give Tony Romo those few extra seconds. Tyron Smith who is probably the best young offensive lineman in the league got beat outside on multiple occasions.

Turnovers. Turnovers. Turnovers. As AMAZING as DeMarco Murray has been this year, this man just cannot seem to stop fumbling the football. Gary Brown, the Williamsport Area High School fellow alumni that he is to me, needs to go Denzel Washington/Herman Boone on this amazing young talent. “You fumble the football, and i will break my foot off in your John Brown hind parts and then you will run a mile. Perfection. Let’s go to work.” DeMarco’s ONLY flaw to this point in the season has been holding on to the ball. Early in the 2nd quarter on a beautiful checkdown pass in which DeMarco showcased his downhill running speed, he trucked through a defender and continued to battle for the extra yard. The problem here is the fact that it he made it to the Washington 8, he’s now surrounded by 4 Washington defenders and is not going to score. Take the 36 yards you just gained and GO DOWN. This man has been exceptional at every aspect of the game this season and I admire his heart and commitment to the endzone but if you continuously give these players an opportunity to strip you, they’re going to. Let’s also not forget Joseph Randle fumbling the ball in Dallas territory after yet another beautiful checkdown from Romo.

Now it’s time to give Colt McCoy (HOOK ‘EM) some credit for what he came into and what he was able to do. Being a Texas Longhorns fan it was so hard to cheer against someone who made my teenage years as a college football fan. This is a guy who had no fair shot in Cleveland, and never truly got to shine in the NFL. McCoy isn’t the future of any NFL franchise but this guy deserves a shot. He had some very questionable plays and missed a few receivers in the first half of this game. Colt erased the value of the Joseph Randle fumble when he through an awful lob ball to the endzone and had it intercepted by CJ Wilcox. Throughout the game it seemed as if McCoy continued to improve, become more comfortable, and truly run that offense. The best play of McCoys night to me was his 5 wide WR quarterback draw that gave Washington the lead in the 4th quarter. It showed that, a guy who started the season as a 3rd string QB, came to play.

Every Cowboys fan in the world held their breath when Tony Romo was taken down awkwardly with 7:59 left in the 3rd quarter on yet another sack. We sat there watching Romo lay flat on his back in clearly uncomfortable pain. As If that wasn’t bad enough, the whole quarter that we were forced to sit there and wonder what was going on in the locker room made it even worse. The scare of what looked like a potential season ending injury made us Cowboys fans realize how much that man truly means to this team. Now, Brandon Weeden gets the ball of the damn game for the Cowboys. Weeden, being the 72 year old quarterback that he is, came into the game unexpectedly and sure as hell performed. Weeden led a drive that SHOULD’VE ended with a Dez Bryant touchdown but we’ll touch on that later. Weeden was 4/6 with a TD and made every simple play to put the Cowboys in a position to win the game. When forced to go to your backup in a situation such as tonight, you literally cannot ask for more. The best part of Weeden’s time in the game is the fact that the Cowboys actually stuck to their balanced run/pass gameplan. The run the ball and then go play action is what helped Weeden connect with Jason Witten on the game tying touchdown pass.

Dez Bryant is my favorite Cowboys player. I want this new contract done more than anything in the world and I love how much this kid has grown in a few short years. His pure athletic ability, heart, and grit was showcased on his 5 yard touchdown pass in which he made a one-handed snag, avoided 2 defenders and battled for the endzone. Here’s the problem with me criticizing Dez at all for his performance. When you are as reliable, consistent, and talented as Dez Bryant, us as fans generate unfair expectations of players. There are going to be off games, there are going to be drops, and there are going to be games like tonight. My MVP of the Redskins defense is Bashaud Breeland. This ROOKIE had the daunting task of taking on Dez Bryant 1 on 1 for the majority of the game and did a damn good job. This is a matchup you expect to torch the opposing defense on and the seven targets Dez Bryant did receive just weren’t enough. While I applaud the performance of Breeland you cannot ignore the crucial drops that Dez Bryant had tonight. In the end zone Dez Bryant dropped what shouldve been an easy TD pass that he allowed to get into his chest. 9 out of 10 times Dez Bryant catches that ball and tonight was the lone number.

The Cowboys found multiple ways to throw this game away but at the same time these Redskins deserve some credit for coming out against what was perceived to be & let’s be realistic, is a much better team, and winning the football game. Tony Romo gave Cowboys Nation a major scare. DeMarco Murray continued his amazing play with 221 total yards in an unfortunate loss. By the way I still am trying to figure out how you let Murray rush for 8 yards on first down in OT and don’t rush again on 2nd, 3rd, or 4th down…..? Did Jason Garrett steal the play calling duties back? Regardless, this was a test the Cowboys did not pass. Is this team legit? Yes. Plenty of work needs to be done, and it needs be done quick. A very tough Arizona team is coming into town next week and in a few short weeks the top division competition that is the Philadelphia Eagles will be upon us. Take this loss, learn from it on all cylinders and get back on this horse. At the end of the day this Cowboys team is 6-2 and in an amazing position to continue on with a great season, but there are lessons to be learned from this game and to be considered the perennial contending powerhouse that they’d like to be, there’s still alot of work to be done in big D.