Safety Duron Harmon and his buddies on the New England defense know they have to deal with Marcus Mariota’s ”unique skill” set when the Tennessee Titans visit the Patriots for Saturday night’s AFC divisional playoff game.
”He actually knows when to run and when to pass the ball when scrambling Authentic Anthony Barr Jersey ,” Harmon said Wednesday.
”It’s a very unique skill because a lot of guys once they get scrambling, they’re not even looking downfield anymore, they’re just looking to run. But he always has his eyes downfield – always knows when to run, when to throw the pass. I would say his touch on the ball, too, that gets people open when he’s scrambling.”
The Patriots have had their troubles with mobile quarterbacks this season – and there have even been not-so-mobile quarterbacks that have picked up yards on the ground against the defending champions.
Cam Newton and the Panthers beat them.
So did Kansas City’s Alex Smith, though Smith didn’t hurt them with his legs.
They beat rookie Deshaun Watson and the Texans, but Houston scored 33 points and Watson gained 41 yards on the ground.
The Patriots beat Tyrod Taylor and the Buffalo Bills twice and defeated Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay.
Mariota, who had an 87-yard touchdown run in 2015, his rookie season, ran for 60 yards on 10 carries in the regular-season finale. He picked up 46 yards on eight attempts in the playoff win over the Chiefs last Saturday.
Mariota had two touchdown passes in the wild-card game, one actually to himself as he caught a pass batted down by Darrelle Revis and took it into the end zone.
He finished off the comeback with a 22-yard TD pass to Eric Decker, but the pass/catch touchdown was enough to make Harmon think.
”It looked like it was meant for them to win,” Harmon said. ”That was … first of all, that’s a very, very hard play to make and that shows you his skill set Anthony Barr Jersey Big , his athletic ability – to be able to throw the ball, have it knocked down and be able to catch it where he caught it, and go in and run (on) a scoring dive, it shows his athletic ability. It shows that any time he touches the ball, he’s dangerous.”
Fellow safety Devin McCourty sees the same attributes in Mariota.
”It’s not like if he stays in the pocket he can’t make throws, but when he escapes outside the pocket and he has the ability to run and throw, you honestly really don’t have a shot to stop him, I think,” McCourty said.
”We’ve played quarterbacks like this where we do want to try to keep him in the pocket, but I think that’s just the beginning part of it. We also, when we’re man coverage or zone coverage, we’ve got to be able to play our zones or our man tight and not allow windows or not allow a great pocket for him to sit back there and throw because he’s a good enough passer that he’ll make all the throws on the football field.”
McCourty pointed to a pass Mariota made to Delanie Walker against Indianapolis that was between four players on the sideline.
”That was a tough throw, and that was in the pocket,” he noted. ”But I think we’ll have a better chance that way than him being able to escape, throw it deep or run for 30 or 40 yards. So, it’s going to be all 11 guys kind of playing their job with trying to contain him.”
Mariota was sixth in the NFL in third-down passer rating this season Authentic Marcus Mariota Jersey , a list headed by the Patriots’ Tom Brady.
”An extremely athletic guy, so there is a huge factor of mobility with him,” New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said. ”But, you know, he’s a very strong-armed quarterback, he can extend plays, he can scramble to run or he can get out of trouble and then find his receivers downfield. He also has a run element to him, and the run game is very extensive.”
NOTES: The Patriots may get both James White and Rex Burkhead back from injury for this game – both are practicing on a limited basis. Burkhead was asked Wednesday how he was feeling. ”Good. Just ready to get back out there … with the team. I’m just excited for the playoffs and everything that’s in store.” … LB Marquis Flowers missed practice Wednesday because of an illness.
Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Saturday’s sweltering conditions at Wrigley Field were the worst he’s experienced during a major league game.
The Minnesota Twins were in no position to disagree.
Minnesota’s Eddie Rosario, Bobby Wilson and Max Kepler all left early because of heat illness on a scorching afternoon, and the Cubs beat the Twins 14-9.
Rosario homered in the top of the fifth inning, then was pulled from left field shortly after fielding a hit by Anthony Rizzo in the bottom half. The Cubs said it was 96 degrees at the time with a heat index of 107 – that’s a calculation of how hot it actually feels, with the humidity factored in.
”That was a pretty brutal day,” Maddon said. ”If you put that on AstroTurf, that would have been like the worst ever.”
There was a short break in the sixth after Wilson drew a walk. A couple of cups of water were brought out for him to sip and douse himself to cool off. Wilson eventually scored and was replaced at catcher after the inning ended with the score tied at 9.
”I just couldn’t catch my breath,” he said. ”My heart was fluttering. I felt dizzy. Started getting a headache. Just couldn’t even hold a conversation in the dugout.”
All three Twins players were treated with IVs.
Jason Heyward had four of the Cubs’ 20 hits, Ben Zobrist had three RBIs and Chicago had a pair of five-run innings. The Cubs rallied from 3-0 and 7-4 deficits and have scored at least 10 runs in three straight games for the first time since April 2003.
Albert Almora Jr. had three hits and drove in two runs as the Cubs won their third in a row. He exited in the fifth after experiencing leg cramps related to dehydration.
Joe Mauer had two hits and three RBIs for the Twins.
Plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt worked with a towel draped around his neck and frequently left the field between innings.
”It was just tough Marcus Mariota Jersey Big ,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. ”We couldn’t keep them off base. There were a lot of singles. They kept hitting them in the right spot.”
Chicago broke open a tie game with a five-run seventh.
David Bote led off with a walk and Ian Happ doubled off reliever Trevor Hildenberger (1-2). It was Chicago’s 15th hit to that point – and first extra-base hit despite the wind blowing out.
”Home runs are pretty cool,” Almora said, ”but the way we produced runs today was special.”
After pinch-hitter Kyle Schwarber was intentionally walked to load the bases, Heyward hit a soft liner that just scooted over the head of shortstop Ehire Adrianza – with the infield playing in – for an RBI single and a 10-9 lead Baez hit a grounder up the middle, just out of Adrianza’s reach with the infield playing in, for two more runs.
Justin Wilson (2-2) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
Willians Astudillo, primarily a catcher in the minors, made his major league debut – replacing Rosario – and wound up playing center field for the Twins, his first time at that spot as a pro. He hit an RBI single in his first at-bat.
”I just went out and had fun,” Astudillo said through a translator. ”It’s just great to be here.”
Twins: CF Byron Buxton (fractured left big toe) has been on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester since June 19 and there’s no timetable for when he’ll be activated from the DL. Buxton was hitting .206 with a homer and four RBIs in nine games with Rochester before Saturday. If he continues to struggle, there’s a chance he could be optioned to Rochester when his rehab assignment ends on July 8.
Cubs: RHP Carl Edwards Jr. (right shoulder inflammation) threw 19 pitches and got two outs during a rehab outing with Triple-A Iowa on Friday. Maddon said the reports were positive and that his ”velocity was normal.” Edwards is expected to pitch again either Sunday or Monday.
LHP Jon Lester (10-2, 2.18 ERA) opens the July schedule after winning all five of his June starts, compiling a 1.13 ERA during that stretch. RHP Lance Lynn (5-6, 4.81) starts the finale of the three-game series for the Twins.
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