49ers rookie defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw didn’t have his name called many times Sunday in his NFL debut, but he was still extremely effective according to Pro Football Focus’ grading system.
The No. 14 overall pick was the third-highest graded rookie in the first week behind Jaguars cornerback CJ Henderson and Washington defensive end Chase Young.
There were certainly both good and bad things from Kinlaw’s first game, but the fact he was effective at taking on blocks and not getting cleared out of space in the run game was key for him. Arizona’s running backs averaged just 3.8 yards per carry in part because of Kinlaw’s work inside. He only had one tackle, but a lot of what he’ll do on the interior won’t show up in the box score. As long as he’s occupying blockers and not getting forklifted into the second level, he’s doing an okay job.
Pass rushing is where he’ll need to improve. He was on the field for 23 pass rushing snaps according to PFF and notched only two pressures. That’ll be something worth watching throughout the season to see how he develops. Getting some pass rush from the interior will be important if the team is going to replicate what DeForest Buckner was able to do inside.
Sunday may not have been perfect for Kinlaw, but it was a pretty good start.
Dak Prescott ‘looked like Michael Jordan’ in stunning Cowboys comeback
Dak Prescott “looked like Michael Jordan” as he guided the Dallas Cowboys to an incredible comeback against the Atlanta Falcons, according to Rob Ryan.
Dallas trailed 20-0 and 29-10 on Sunday, then were still nine points behind by the time Atlanta punted the ball back to them with just over three minutes remaining.
A touchdown, a recovered onside kick and a field goal gave the Cowboys the most unlikely of 40-39 victories, quarterback Prescott ending the day with 450 yards and one touchdown through the air, having completed 34 of 47 attempts.
He added three rushing touchdowns after earlier being responsible for one of the team’s three fumbles, with Ryan seeing Prescott’s clutch play in the closing stages as similar to NBA great Jordan in his prime.
Ryan also feels the victory, which moved the Cowboys to 1-1, will help Prescott to get the recognition he has not always received amid a high-profile contract negotiation with his team.
“He looked like Michael Jordan did late in games – he was intense, ready for the moment,” Ryan, the former Cowboys defensive coordinator, told Sky Sports.
“This guy has been putting up great numbers and all that for the last few years – people just don’t give him the respect that he deserves. Maybe after this game they will start doing it.”
Prescott is not the first QB to be compared to Jordan, Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney previously doing the same with Houston Texans signal caller Deshaun Watson.
Ryan has concerns over Dallas’ defense ahead of their Week 3 trip to the Seattle Seahawks, who themselves won a thriller last time out, emerging triumphant against the New England Patriots.
He added: “The Cowboys have to play much better defense. They have not stopped anybody since I got fired [in 2012].
“Coming up to play the Seahawks this week; two of the most emotional wins for anybody in the regular season – they are now going head to head. That is going to be a great game.
“Russell Wilson is so great. He just torched the number one defense in football and, specifically, the number one cornerback in football [Stephon Gilmore] – last year’s defensive MVP.
“He is on an absolute roll; he has been a great player for a long time.”
Bill Belichick has a classic Belichick look this week
On Bill Belichick’s priority list, getting prepped to looks sharp to meet with the media ranks low. In fact, it’s not on the list at all.
Belichick, who has turned sweatshirts with the sleeves cut off into a fashion statement, took the casual look to a new level for Wednesday’s news conference.
Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest coach in NFL history.
It’s all there, the tired eyes, unkept hair, sweatshirt that not only has the sleeves cut off but also looks like moths got at it and is falling apart (ESPN deduced it’s the sweatshirt first worn by Belichick in the 2013 season opener and last worn in the Patriots’ Super Bowl loss to the Eagles at the end of the 2017 season). That’s a man who looks like he has not done anything, including sleep, aside from study game film since his New England Patriots lost on the final play to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night.
I love that Belichick did this, there are no mistakes with stuff like this…he knows the players will see it. Back late off a West Coast loss on SNF, surprise 2-0 team coming to town. It’s a f’ing work week, baby. The grind didn’t just start on Wednesday. Message sent. pic.twitter.com/pRO6XWRR66
— Matt Chatham (@chatham58) September 23, 2020
Ask yourself this: Does that look like a man who is going to start the season 1-2 with a loss on Sunday?
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TV schedule, key stats, Goodyear tires and more
The NASCAR Cup Series returns to the “Entertainment Capital of the World” for the Round of 12 opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday night at 7 p.m. ET (NCBSN/NBC Sports App, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Before this weekend‘s Sin City showcase, check out a few important things to know.
RELATED: Full Las Vegas schedule | Paint Scheme Preview
Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile oval located in Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. First opened in 1996, the track is relatively new compared to many on the current circuit, but it still has its share of electric history. Adopted by NASCAR‘s premier series in 1998, Mark Martin powered his way to the first ever victory at the track — and in its 25-race history, no one has more wins than Jimmie Johnson (four).
Las Vegas boasts an asphalt racing surface with 20-degree banking in the turns and 9- to 12-degree baking in the straights.
Stage 1 will end at Lap 80, Stage 2 at Lap 160 and the Final Stage at Lap 267.
Playoff points leader Kevin Harvick will wheel the No. 4 Steward-Haas Ford out in front of the field Sunday, earning his fifth Busch Pole Award of the season and second of the playoffs. Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola and Joey Logano complete the top five.
The lineup was determined by four performance metrics from the Cup Series‘ previous race: 15% based on fastest lap time position, 25% of the driver‘s final race finish position, 25% of the owner‘s final race position and 35% of the owner points position.
RELATED: Full starting lineup | Pit-stall assignments
Cup Series cars will feature the same 1.5-mile racing package used in 2019 and the 2020 spring Vegas race, with aero ducts and a tapered-spacer engine generating a targeted 550 horsepower.
Each Cup team will have nine sets of Goodyear Eagle Speedway Radials for the race.
With limited on-track practice time and testing, Goodyear Racing has relied even more heavily on feedback from the drivers and their teams to develop an effective compound at each track. After receiving this feedback at the conclusion of the first half of the season, changes were made to the right-side compound for a series of tracks, starting this weekend at Las Vegas. Increased grip at tracks with lower tire wear will be an increased focus with the new compound to allow optimum performance.
“Key to making the optimum tire recommendation is the review of all the data that is generated, whether it be from practices throughout a weekend, testing, or as is the only opportunity right now, from the actual races,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear‘s director of racing. “What we‘ve seen and heard at several of the low-wear tracks, is the Cup cars could stand to have a little more grip, so we have made a step in that direction for Las Vegas, as well as Kansas and Texas. Vegas and Texas shared the same tire set-up at their earlier races, and we brought that same right-side to Kansas as well, so they have been basically aligned all season. They remain so with this new right side as we enhance the grip level at all three.”
PLAYOFF STATS TO KNOW
— Kevin Harvick holds the longest active streak of NASCAR Playoffs victories with nine consecutive seasons featuring at least one trip to Victory Lane. Jimmie Johnson is the all-time record holder at 13 in a row.
— Ford dominated the Round of 16, winning each of the three races: Kevin Harvick winning twice (Darlington Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway) and Brad Keselowski once (Richmond Raceway).
— Only two of the 163 NASCAR Playoffs races were won by drivers getting their first win: Clint Bowyer in 2007 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Brian Vickers in 2006 at Talladega Superspeedway.
— Nine of the remaining playoff drivers have wins at tracks in the Round of 12, but only six of them have ever made it to the Championship 4.
Source: Racing Insights
For a more interactive experience, head over to NASCAR.com or the NASCAR app to check out an enhanced Race Center, live Lap-by-Lap coverage, the customizable live leaderboard with Scanner (which is FREE for both races) and the return of Drive (featuring in-car cameras).
Be sure to set your lineup in Fantasy Live and make your picks in the NASCAR Finish Line App.
2019 RACE WINNER
Martin Truex Jr. sped away from Kevin Harvick in last year‘s playoff opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Truex and the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing team put forth an exceptional effort all afternoon, charging forward from a 24th starting position and leading 32 laps to secure their fifth checkered flag of the season.
RELATED: Vegas odds, lines
ACTIVE LAS VEGAS WINNERS
Jimmie Johnson (four wins); Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski (three each); Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano (two each); Kyle Busch (one).
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