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Ravens’ Wink Martindale hails Chiefs QB

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Two months after comparing Baker Mayfield to Brett Favre, Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale heaped high praise on Patrick Mahomes.

“I think Mahomes is [Joe] Montana — I’m taking about the San Francisco Montana and not the Kansas City Montana,” Martindale said. “I think how everything is cyclical and history repeats itself. I think you’re seeing that combination between Andy [Reid] and Mahomes of Montana and Bill Walsh. I really do.”

Montana, who finished his career with the Chiefs after 14 years with the 49ers, is considered one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, winning four Super Bowls and two NFL Most Valuable awards.

In his first season as a starter, Mahomes is a frontrunner for this year’s league MVP award after throwing 41 touchdowns, which are tied for the second-most through 12 games in NFL history.

Martindale’s compliment comes days before the Ravens and the NFL’s No. 1 defense face the Chiefs and the league’s highest-scoring offense.

Mahomes leads a Kansas City offense that tops the league with 37 points per game. Baltimore’s defense leads the NFL in fewest yards (281.7) and points allowed (17.8).

Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith sees Mahomes having more of a resemblance to another Hall of Fame quarterback.

“We’re just looking at him like a young Brett Favre — a little bit more athletic,” Smith said. “He can really sling the ball.”

The Ravens have given up 16 touchdown passes this season, which are tied for third-fewest in the league. Only one quarterback has thrown more than two touchdowns in a single game against Baltimore this season (Andy Dalton in Week 2).

Mahomes has produced four or more touchdown passes in seven games.

“He’s wise beyond his years, the way he controls the line of scrimmage, the way he checks, the audibles, snap count, the way he moves the safeties with his looks and his dropbacks,” safety Eric Weddle said. “[I’m] obviously impressed with what I’ve seen, and it’s exciting for me to go out there and try to make him mess up with what I can do and maybe force him into some throws he wouldn’t want to do.”

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Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph defends kicking field goal on fourth-and-1 vs. Cleveland Browns — ‘I wanted points there’

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DENVER — The Denver Broncos went with math over a gut feel Saturday night, and many of their faithful left the 17-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns talking about a fourth-and-1 on which the team didn’t go for it in the closing minutes as the Broncos dropped to 6-8 and the brink of postseason elimination.

With 4 minutes, 39 seconds remaining, trailing 17-13 and with a fourth-and-1 on the Cleveland 6-yard line, Broncos coach Vance Joseph sent kicker Brandon McManus out for a field goal as boos cascaded down from the stands.

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It wasn’t pretty, but for at least one more night, the Browns are still in the playoff hunt – Cleveland Browns Blog

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DENVER – The Cleveland Browns don’t care how it happened, they just care that it did.

When Jabrill Peppers sacked Case Keenum on fourth down with the Broncos at midfield and down one, the visiting sideline erupted.

The Browns somehow had slogged through for a 17-16 win, their fourth in five games.

And they had somehow kept their flickering playoff hopes alive.

It was a struggle — for both teams, but the Browns now hope for help on Sunday and point to Cincinnati in a home game on Dec. 23. The team is 4-2 with Gregg Williams as interim coach and Freddie Kitchens as offensive coordinator.

The Browns got a fourth quarter touchdown pass from Baker Mayfield and some big runs from Nick Chubb as they beat the Broncos for the first time since 1990.

Mayfield was nowhere near as effective as he had been the previous four games, but when it mattered most he came through. After a T.J. Carrie fourth quarter interception, Mayfield hit Jarvis Landry for 12, Rashard Higgins for 16, Landry for six and then found Antonio Callaway for the touchdown that provided the winning points.

Denver would get a field goal to cut the lead to one, but Chubb broke a 40-yard run and the Browns were able to keep the ball until 1:49 remained.

Keenum got the Broncos to the 50, but a spike and two incomplete passes led to the fourth-and-10, when the Browns called blitz and Peppers came through up the middle to end the game.

Mayfield started strong, throwing a 31-yard touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman on the Browns first possession. He finished 18-for-31 for 188 yards, with two touchdowns, one interception and a lost fumble.

It wasn’t a spectacular effort.

But it was a winning effort, and a Browns team that had won four games in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons combined has won four of five to keep the postseason in view. At 6-7-1, the Browns trail five seven-win teams in the standings. If the Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans all win Sunday, Cleveland would be eliminated from the race. But, still, at least for Saturday night, the Browns are still alive.

That’s not a prediction many would have made when the Browns fell to 2-6-1 after Williams’ first game, or even before the season.

But that’s where the Browns are.

Believe it or not.

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Von Miller eclipses Simon Fletcher as Broncos’ all-time sacks leader

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DENVER — Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller has always said he considers the most important part of his job is “getting sacks and making game-changing plays,” and he has now done that more than any other player in franchise history.

When Miller launched himself through the Cleveland Browns‘ offensive line on the last play of the third quarter Saturday night and pulled quarterback Baker Mayfield to the ground, he had his 98th career sack.

Miller passed Broncos Ring of Famer Simon Fletcher, who finished his career with 97.5 sacks.

The play came at an opportune time for the Broncos, as the Browns had driven into Denver territory against a Broncos defense depleted at cornerback by injury and Jamar Taylor‘s ejection. The sack also gave Miller 14.5 for the season, the second-highest single-season total of his career.

His career high is 18.5 in 2012.

Miller was asked this past week if he thinks about awards and records down the road.

“I don’t really,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t. The thing about getting sacks, the sack race is so close right now. I’m three sacks away from [Rams defensive tackle] Aaron Donald, and the next guy behind me is just a sack away. So, it’s a tight race and every sack could mean the difference. That’s where my mindset is at right now.”

The Browns beat the Broncos 17-16.

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