INDIANAPOLIS (AP)The Indianapolis Colts fired coach Frank Reich after another lackluster offensive performance in the team’s third consecutive loss, and replaced him with former All-Pro center Jeff Saturday.
The Colts made both announcements about an hour apart Monday, less than 24 hours after one of the worst offensive performances in team history. Colts owner Jim Irsay said he had grown weary of the team’s ongoing struggles and that he would reevaluate the coaching situation after the end of the season.
It was an out-of-the-box move in the NFL, where interim coaches are usually promoted from within. Saturday will have less than a week to get acquainted with his staff and implement a plan for Sunday’s game at Las Vegas.
For the Colts (3-5-1), the past few weeks have been a whirlwind. Reich announced he was benching 2016 league MVP and longtime veteran Matt Ryan in favor of second-year quarterback Sam Ehlinger two weeks ago. Last Tuesday, Reich fired offensive coordinator Marcus Brady even though Reich was calling the plays. General manager Chris Ballard also sent running back Nyheim Hines to Buffalo just before last week’s trade deadline. Now Reich is out in the first midseason coaching change Irsay has made since taking over as owner 25 years ago.
Saturday’s only coaching experience was a four-year stint as head coach at a Georgia high school. He’s served most recently as a team consultant and ESPN commentator.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Kenyan Drake rushed for 93 yards and two touchdowns, Justin Houston had an interception to go with his third straight multiple-sack game, and the Baltimore Ravens beat the New Orleans Saints 27-13.
Lamar Jackson passed for a touchdown and frustrated New Orleans (3-6) with his mobility, rushing for 82 yards and exhibiting an array of jump cuts and spin moves while helping Baltimore (6-3) win its third straight and remain atop the AFC North, one game ahead of Cincinnati.
The Saints entered the game with a chance to pull into a three-way tie atop the anemic NFC South with Atlanta and Tampa Bay. Instead, they were outclassed by a Baltimore team missing several offensive starters, including tight end Mark Andrews and running back Gus Edwards.
Andy Dalton passed for 210 yards and New Orleans’ lone touchdown to tight end Juwan Johnson, which came when the game was virtually out of reach in the fourth quarter. Alvin Kamara was limited to 62 yards from scrimmage, his lowest output in five games.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Stephen Curry scored a season-high 47 points, knocking down seven 3-pointers, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Sacramento Kings 116-113 to snap a five-game losing streak.
Andrew Wiggins had 25 points and Klay Thompson added 16 for the Warriors before Curry made two free throws with 1.3 seconds left to secure the win. Draymond Green added 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Green threw down a dunk with 37 seconds left to stretch the Golden State lead to three.
Curry, Thompson, Green and Wiggins returned to the lineup after not playing against New Orleans on Friday.
De’Aaron Fox had 28 points and six assists for Sacramento (3-6), which had a chance to tie before Kevin Huerter’s missed 3-pointer on the final possession. Malik Monk had 24 points, six rebounds and four assists off the bench. Domantas Sabonis added 19 points, 14 rebounds and six assists.
ATLANTA (AP) – Dejounte Murray scored 25 points, rookie A.J. Griffin came off the bench in Trae Young’s absence to add a career-high 24 and the Atlanta Hawks snapped the Milwaukee Bucks’ season-opening, nine-game winning streak with a 117-98 victory.
Giannis Antetokounmpo returned from a one-game absence with a sore left knee to score 25 points for the Bucks, who were attempting to become the first team to begin a season 10-0 since the 2014-15 Golden State Warriors got off to a 24-0 start.
Young, Atlanta’s leader in points and assists, missed the game with right shin soreness. Griffin filled in admirably, logging 31 minutes and going 10 of 15 from the field.
Milwaukee committed a season-high 19 turnovers, leading to 22 Atlanta points.
The Bucks’ winning streak was tied for the second-longest under fifth-year coach Mike Budenholzer and the longest since winning 18 in a row in 2019-20.
NEW YORK (AP) – Aaron Judge, Shohei Ohtani and Yordan Alvarez are the finalists for American League MVP in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
St. Louis Cardinals teammates Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt remain contenders for NL MVP, along with San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado.
The BBWAA also revealed finalists for the Cy Young Awards, Rookies of the Year and Managers of the Year on Monday night. Balloting was conducted at the conclusion of the regular season, and winners will be announced next week.
Justin Verlander of the World Series champion Houston Astros is a heavy favorite to win his third Cy Young Award after the 39-year-old ace went 18-4 with a major league-low 1.75 ERA this season in a marvelous comeback from Tommy John surgery. Dylan Cease of the Chicago White Sox and Alek Manoah of the Toronto Blue Jays are the other AL Cy Young finalists.
Miami ace Sandy Alcantara, Atlanta left-hander Max Fried and Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Julio Urias are the top three vote-getters for the NL Cy Young Award.
LAS VEGAS (AP) – In the hallways and meeting rooms of Resorts World, baseball general managers are starting to weigh bigger bets than the wagers placed on tables and machines in the casino downstairs.
A free-agent market that will be defined by Aaron Judge, Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson and Xander Bogaerts began to take shape when the New York Mets reached a record deal for a reliever, a $102 million, five-year contract with closer Edwin Diaz subject to a successful physical.
With a five-year labor contract in place following the end of a 99-day lockout in March, baseball’s major league economic rules are in place through the 2026 season, perhaps leading to a more normally paced free-agent market.
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Jeremy Roach scored 16 first-half points to help seventh-ranked Duke open Jon Scheyer’s coaching tenure with a 71-44 win over Jacksonville.
Freshman Mark Mitchell had a team-high 18 points for the Blue Devils, who used a 25-4 run spanning halftime to blow the game open. The Blue Devils turned a 28-24 lead to a 16-point margin by halftime behind Roach – the lone returning starter from last year’s Final Four team – then pushed that margin to 25 points by midway through the second half.
It was a quality start to a season of massive change for the Blue Devils, starting with Scheyer taking over for retired Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski. This marked the first coaching debut for the Blue Devils since Krzyzewski won his debut against Stetson on Nov. 29, 1980 – part of a college-basketball record 1,202 victories in a career that included leading Duke to five NCAA championships.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Caroline Garcia took a tight first set and went on to a 7-6(4), 6-4 victory over Aryna Sabalenka to win the championship of the WTA Finals.
The sixth-ranked Garcia became the second Frenchwoman to win the season-ending event after Amelie Mauresmo in 2005, also the last time the WTA Finals were held in the U.S.
There was only one break point in a meeting of the tour (Garcia) and tournament (Sabalenka) leaders in aces coming into the match. Garcia converted that break point in the first game of the second set while handing No. 7 Sabalenka just her third loss in 12 career hard-court finals on the temporary indoor court at Dickies Arena.
The WTA Finals were moved to Texas from China over concerns about the safety of Peng Shuai, a Grand Slam doubles champion who accused a former government official there of sexual assault. Coronavirus restrictions also played a part in the decision.