It hasn’t been mentioned here lately, but being a long suffering Washington Redskins’ fan, this writer had forgotten just how much more interesting the NFL can be when the team you root for actually wins a meaningful game in December. That happened Sunday when the Redskins beat the Baltimore Ravens 31-28 in overtime to keep their playoff hopes a reality.
The bit of irony here is that during the Redskins absence from being a competitive entity yours truly developed a passive rooting interest in the Ravens. Never to the point of dumping the Skins, but Baltimore is still local by my measure, they were relevant, and there was rarely a rooting conflict. Sunday both teams needed a win. The Ravens needed a win to clinch a playoff spot, and the Redskins to stay in the hunt.
The Redskins trailed 28-20 in the fourth quarter and their chances were fading. That was especially true when the Redskins multi-talented rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III, was knocked from the game from a nasty looking hit on his knee. Griffin actually sat out a play, and then returned for two plays before kneeling to the turf in surrender.
Not to worry, Kirk Cousins, another rookie quarterback, came in and finished the drive throwing an 11-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon. Better yet, the rookie ran in the two-point conversion on a quarterback draw. Epic stuff for a pair of rookie quarterbacks.
Griffin’s status is undetermined for next week’s game at Cleveland, but he hasn’t been ruled out as the knee is sprained and no ligament or cartridge damage was detected in the MRI.
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Former West Virginia University basketball star Kevin Jones was called up by the Cleveland Cavaliers last week. Jones made it to the final cut in October before the Cavs sent the rookie to the Developmental League. In two games since he’s returned to the Cavalier’s roster, Jones has scored two points and four rebounds in 15 minutes of action.
Many Mountaineers fans will take some satisfaction knowing that to make room on the roster for KJ, the Cavaliers cut former Domer Luke Harangody.
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So far, WVU basketball Coach Bob Huggins has been trying to figure out how to replace the nearly 20 points and 11 rebounds Jones provided last season. Hopefully the coach can get it figured out sooner rather than later. Things are looking more positive today after a 68-67 win Saturday over previously undefeated Virginia Tech on Saturday.
West Virginia’s shooting, inside and out, remains something resembling a jungle league game, but on Saturday WVU got some critical three point shooting from a pair of unexpected sources. It was pleasantly surprising to see 6-10 Aaric Murray hit 2 of 3 three-pointers, but when the oft maligned 6-10 Kevin Noreen matched that total, well, pleasant and surprised were multiplied by three.
Noreen has been a target of fans on message boards for two years, mostly by types that struggle to understand exactly what the former Minnesota High School Player of the Year contributes game to game. Before Noreen was injured last year WVU was winning regularly. Without him, they were losing more than winning. Skeptics said it was a fluke while others could point to numbers beside points and rebounds that supported the pro-Noreen group.
In any event, Noreen was having a particularly difficult start this season until his eye-popping 14 point 12 rebound effort Saturday. It seems safe to say that few if any of even Noreen’s biggest supporters could see that performance coming. If Noreen and Murray can continue to make a few shots from the perimeter many good things could begin to happen for this team. Of course that is providing the guys who are supposed to be making those shots begin to do so.