NFL

Rodgers leads Packers to shutout of Wilson's Seahawks in return, Newton dazzles as Panthers crush Cardinals

By Sports Desk November 14, 2021

It took Aaron Rodgers a while to find his rhythm as he returned on Sunday, but the Green Bay Packers' defence eased the way for him in a 17-0 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. 

Rodgers missed the Packers' Week 9 loss at the Kansas City Chiefs after testing positive for COVID-19 and sat out practice all this week before being cleared to play on Saturday.

That rust was evident in his comeback as the Packers (8-2) could not find the end zone until AJ Dillon rushed for the first of his two fourth-quarter touchdowns with 10:37 to play in the game. 

Rodgers ended up completing 23 of 37 passes for 292 yards with an interception, but the good news for Green Bay was that Seahawks star Russell Wilson was even less effective in his own return.

Seattle (3-6) were shut out for the first time ever with Wilson at quarterback after he went just 20-of-40 passing for 161 yards with a pair of interceptions and was sacked three times.

Wilson's 39.7 passer rating was the fourth-worst of his 166 career regular-season and playoff games following his comeback from finger surgery.

 

Panthers pound Cardinals in Newton's return

Just three days after signing with his former team, Cam Newton made an immediate impact for the Carolina Panthers as they handed the Arizona Cardinals just their second loss of the season with a 34-10 defeat.

Carolina drove deep into Arizona territory on their first two possessions of the game and sent Newton in to replace starter P.J. Walker at quarterback, with the Panthers favourite running for and passing for touchdowns on his first two snaps. 

Those scores put Carolina (5-5) on the path to a 23-0 half-time lead and Arizona (8-2) could not find a way back with Kyler Murray still absent due to an ankle injury. While his backup Colt McCoy played well in a Week 9 victory, he completed just 11 of 20 passes for 107 yards with no touchdowns and an interception against Carolina. 

Walker was 22-of-29 passing for 167 yards with an interception for Carolina, while Christian McCaffrey led all players with 95 rushing yards and 66 receiving yards. 

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    Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have paid tribute to the "charismatic" Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after the 37-year-old brought his 18-year professional career to a close.

    Tsonga, who reached a career-high ranking of world number five in 2012, confirmed in April that he would retire at the culmination of his French Open campaign.

    That duly came in the first round on Tuesday as he bowed out to world number eight Casper Ruud 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 7-6 (7-0).

    He retires having won, according to Opta, 464 Tour-level matches since September 2004.

    Tsonga is one of just three players, along with Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro, to have beaten Nadal, Federer and Djokovic while they were ranked world number one.

    He is also one of three players, alongside Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych, who have defeated Nadal, Federer and Djokovic at grand slams.

    A video tribute was played on court after his defeat to Ruud, which featured messages from the sport's most iconic players.

    Federer said: "I wanted to congratulate you on an amazing career and it was a pleasure to share the court with and play against you, even to lose against you!

    "We had some great battles. Enjoy the moment in Paris with all your friends and family, in front of all your adoring spectators."

    Djokovic added: "Jo is one of the most charismatic tennis players ever to play the game. I was very happy to share the court with him many times.

    "We get along well and he's a really nice guy. He brought a lot of positive attention and popularity to our sport not just because of his dynamic game style, but also his charisma and his personality, so it's a big loss for professional men's tennis to have him retire.

    "I wish him all the best, and he definitely should be happy about his career and his achievements. He's made his mark and his legacy in our sport."

    Nadal said: "He is very charismatic. I've known him since we were kids; he is a good guy and I think he brings a lot of positive things to our sport so I'm sad to see him going but we are getting old so it's going to happen for everyone."

    Speaking at a media conference after his defeat, Tsonga said he would now spend some time relaxing before focusing on the development of his tennis academy.

    He said he will miss the adrenaline of playing on court, as well as how he was able to express himself completely when competing.

    "It's adrenaline, to step onto a big court like this one," he said. "It's adrenaline you can feel when you have 15,000 people shouting out your name, supporting you on the court.

    "This is what I'm going to miss – the contact with the crowd. And with those who have been supporting me for all these years.

    "You know, in real life, it's sometimes difficult to be intense. You don't want to shock, you don't want to be too rude, you don't want to hurt somebody.

    "You always try to act to be nice, to be sociable. But, you know, on the court, you can express your fever. You can express everything about you, and it's sometimes freeing."

  • French Open: Tsonga wraps up 18-year career, finishing on 464 Tour-level wins French Open: Tsonga wraps up 18-year career, finishing on 464 Tour-level wins

    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga brought his 18-year professional career to a close on Tuesday, after his first-round loss to Casper Ruud at the French Open.

    Tsonga, who reached a high ranking of world number five, confirmed in April that he would retire at the culmination of his French Open campaign.

    For the 37-year-old, that was short-lived, as he bowed out to world number eight Ruud.

    Tsonga gave it his all, taking the lead and forcing a tie-break in three of the four sets, but Ruud had too much and prevailed 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 7-6 (7-0).

    That confirmed the end of Tsonga's long career. He bows out having won, according to Opta, 464 Tour-level matches since September 2004.

    Tsonga is one of just three players, along with Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro, to have beaten Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic while they were ranked world number one.

    He is also one of three players (also Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych) who have defeated Nadal, Federer and Djokovic at grand slams.

    Tsonga also became the first player since Guillermo Canas in 2002 to defeat four straight top-10 players at a Masters 1000 tournament when he triumphed in Toronto in 2014.

    "It's tough for me and all the players that you're stopping. You've been an inspiration to me and so many of the other players, so thank you for the memories," Ruud told Tsonga after the match.

    "[I have] so many good memories watching Jo on TV. He's such a great guy [and] nice person on and off the court. He's a good example of what a player should be."

  • Ten Hag outlines main target for first season in Man Utd hotseat Ten Hag outlines main target for first season in Man Utd hotseat

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    Ten Hag was confirmed as the club's next permanent manager in April, with the Dutchman set to pick up from interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

    After guiding Ajax to a third Eredivisie title in four full seasons at the helm, Ten Hag ended his contract in Amsterdam early in order to start work with United ahead of schedule.

    The 52-year-old and his two assistants, Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren, were present on Sunday as United lost their final match of the season 1-0 to Crystal Palace.

    Ten Hag was in Manchester the following day to be introduced to the media for the first time, with playing philosophy, recruitment and squad personnel among the key topics discussed at his news conference.

    Talk of seasonal targets was surprisingly absent, but in a separate interview with the club's media channels, Ten Hag provided some insight.

    "I said this is the project, to bring Man United back on top, but also we have to accept the current situation we are in," he said.

    "First of all, Man United belong in the Champions League, so that will be the first target."

    United did appear to be in contention – even if generally regarded as an outside bet – for the top four during much of the 2021-22 season.

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    Since losing 1-0 to Atletico at home on March 15, United won just twice in the Premier League and lost five times – among those defeats were 4-0 reverses at the hands of Liverpool and Brighton and Hove Albion.

    Their form over the past two months has laid bare the size of the task facing Ten Hag. While Rangnick did initially stabilise United slightly at the back after his appointment, in recent times they became leaky again and this was exacerbated by a lack of attacking ruthlessness.

    The choice of Ten Hag was said to have been influenced by the brand of football his teams play, with fans appearing to react more positively towards him than Mauricio Pochettino when it was reported the pair were the frontrunners.

    And he seems convinced success will follow if he can get his ideas across to the players.

    Asked about any wisdom he can take away from Ajax, he added: "There are similarities but also contradictions.

    "I have to learn and I have to adjust but I also have to stay myself. I'm convinced that we can bring in the structures and the way of play that we want.

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