DeMar DeRozan was at his brilliant best again as the Chicago Bulls routed the Los Angeles Lakers 121-103 in the NBA on Monday.

DeRozan is the face of the new-look Bulls and the four-time All-Star maintained his MVP-calibre start to the season with a game-high 38 points at Staples Center.

The 32-year-old, who joined the Bulls ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, had his fourth 35-plus point game of the month – tying a career high.

Chicago have won four of their past five games, having also trumped the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, on the back of Lonzo Ball's seven three-pointers in his 27-point display against former team the Lakers.

Zach LaVine added 26 points for the Bulls, who improved to 10-4 in the Eastern Conference after beating the Lakers for the first time since 2016, snapping an eight-game drought.

Without superstar LeBron James, Talen Horton-Tucker (28 points), Russell Westbrook (25 points) and Anthony Davis (20 points) led the stuttering Lakers (8-7).

 

 

Streaking Suns sizzle

Last season's NBA Finals runners-up the Phoenix Suns celebrated their ninth successive victory after outlasting the Minnesota Timberwolves 99-96. Devin Booker (29 points), Deandre Ayton (22 points and 12 rebounds) and Chris Paul (21 points) all starred on the road. Ayton is the only player this season to be averaging 15-plus points and 10-plus rebounds while shooting at least 60 per cent from the field.

Cade Cunningham joined Stephen Curry (twice), Trae Young and Jason Kidd as the only rookies in NBA history with 25 points, five three-pointers, eight rebounds and eight assists in a game. The number one draft pick, however, was unable to prevent the lowly Detroit Pistons falling 129-107 to the Sacramento Kings.

 

Doncic limps off court

The Dallas Mavericks took down reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets 111-101, but it appeared to have come at a cost. Mavericks star Luka Doncic limped off the court after rolling his ankle in the final minute of the game. Doncic had posted 23 points and 11 assists to help fuel the Mavericks. Jokic's 35-point and 16-rebound double-double was not enough for Denver.

Maria Sakkari powered past Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 to reach the semi-finals of the WTA Finals at the expense of the top seed.

Sakkari and Belarusian star Sabalenka went head-to-head in the final round-robin contest in Group Chichen Itza, with a semi-final berth up for grabs on Monday.

In her WTA Finals debut, fourth seed Sakkari won the final five games of the match to eliminate Sabalenka and earn a date with Anett Kontaveit.

Sabalenka had the chance to serve for the opening set at 5-3 but Sakkari fought back, saving a set point in her own service game to force a tie-break, which the Greek star raced away with.

The second set followed a similar theme – Sabalenka twice serving to send the match into a decider at 5-4 and 6-5, however, Sakkari made life difficult for her opponent.

Another tie-break was required, though this time Sabalenka outlasted Sakkari on her fourth set point after two hours of gruelling tennis.

Sabalenka proved her own worst enemy in the third set after tallying 10 double-faults as Sakkari rallied from 3-1 down to eventually upstage the Wimbledon and US Open semi-finalist.

Having ended the match with 19 double-faults, Sabalenka departed the year-ending championship with 38 in total – only Oceane Dodin in Palermo (62) made more double-faults in a single WTA Tour tournament this season.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS  

Sakkari – 27/36
Sabalenka – 29/56

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Sakkari – 8/8
Sabalenka – 7/19

BREAK POINTS WON 

Sakkari – 8/13
Sabalenka – 6/12

The San Francisco 49ers won their first home game in more than a year after Jimmy Garoppolo helped fuel a 31-10 upset of the Super Bowl-chasing Los Angeles Rams.

All eyes were on debutants Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller after the high-flying Rams (7-3) acquired the star duo to boost their Super Bowl bid.

But the 49ers (4-5) spoiled the party – Garoppolo throwing two touchdown passes as San Francisco celebrated just their second home in the past two seasons, keeping their playoff hopes alive on Monday.

The 49ers, who have now won five straight games against the Rams – the longest active streak by either side, matching their 2008-10 run – had last emerged victorious on home soil in October 2020, also over the Rams.

Matthew Stafford (26-of-41 passing for 243 yards, a TD, two interceptions and two sacks) struggled as the Rams dropped back-to-back games, with the Los Angeles quarterback intercepted by Jimmie Ward on the opening two drives of the contest.

Ward's second interception led to a 27-yard touchdown return as he became the seventh player since 2000 with two interceptions – including a pick-six, in the opening quarter after Garoppolo (15-of-19 passing for 182 yards, two TDs and no interceptions) had led an 18-play, 93-yard TD drive less than a minute earlier.

Stafford has now thrown a pick-six in back-to-back games for the first time since his rookie season in 2009.

Leading 14-0 following the first quarter, the 49ers maintained that buffer as the teams traded touchdowns prior to half-time – Stafford throwing a 10-yard pass to Tyler Higbee before Deebo Samuel ran for an eight-yard score.

After Robbie Gould's 50-yard field goal stretched the lead in the third period, Samuel and Garoppolo combined for a 40-yard touchdown pass to put the 49ers out of reach early in the fourth.

Nick Kyrgios believes the Australian Open should be cancelled as he threw his support behind rival Novak Djokovic, insisting the COVID-19 vaccine mandate is "morally wrong".

It remains to be seen whether world number one Djokovic will defend his Australian Open title in Melbourne in January due to vaccination requirements.

The state of Victoria, where the year's opening grand slam takes place at Melbourne Park, has introduced a vaccine mandate for professional athletes and across most industries amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2021 Australian Open went ahead, albeit in February instead of January, and without fans for most of the tournament following a snap lockdown of Melbourne due to COVID-19.

Djokovic was among the players critical of the conditions athletes endured prior to this year's Australian Open, with strict quarantine measures introduced.

Kyrgios and Djokovic have clashed in the past, but the former backed the nine-time Australian Open champion as he called for the upcoming grand slam to be scrapped.

"I don't think the Aus Open should go ahead, just for the people in Melbourne – you’ve got to send a message," Australian former world number 13 Kyrgios said on his 'No Boundaries' podcast.

"How long did [Melbourne] do in lockdown? 275 days or something?"

Kyrgios also referenced Brooklyn Nets star and NBA champion Kyrie Irving, who is yet to feature this season due to his refusal to be vaccinated against coronavirus, which is preventing him from practicing or playing – New York has a mandate in place that states players must have had a COVID-19 jab.

Kyrgios – an Australian Open quarter-finalist in 2015 – added: "Kyrie, Novak … These guys have given so much, sacrificed so much. They are global athletes who millions of people look up to.

"I just think it is so morally wrong to force someone to be vaccinated.

"I'm double vaccinated, but I just don't think it's right to force anyone [to be vaccinated] and say 'you can't come and play here because you're not vaccinated'.

"There are other solutions around it, [such as] to get tested every day. In the [United] States I know they've got rapid tests, and it's coming to Australia. It's 85 per cent success rate, you wait 15 minutes and then you're allowed to play."

Victorian sports minister Martin Pakula hit back on Tuesday, telling reporters: "I really like Nick Kyrgios and I cheer for him every time he plays and I certainly don't want to have beef with Nick Kyrgios but I actually couldn't follow the logic of his comments. We've had a long lockdown so the Australian Open shouldn't proceed? I'm not sure I follow that.

"I think the opposite applies. Melburnians, Victorians and, frankly all Australians, are absolutely gagging for major events. Our economy needs it, our state psyche needs it. It's a global grand slam, it's going to go ahead."

Novak Djokovic "feels amazing" after surpassing Pete Sampras for the year-end number one record on the ATP Tour.

Djokovic was presented with the trophy for finishing the year ranked number one for the seventh time after defeating Casper Ruud 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in his ATP Finals opener on Monday, breaking a tie with idol Sampras.

A 20-time grand slam champion – a joint record held alongside Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, Djokovic revelled in his latest achievement.

"It feels amazing and it feels even better when you win a match and then get your hands on the trophy that I have been blessed to lift seven times," Djokovic said in Turin.

"[I have won] one more than Pete Sampras, who was my childhood hero. He was the one that got me into tennis. He was also an inspiration to me and I dreamt of being a Wimbledon champion and World No. 1 like he was.

"Fast forwarding to today, it is quite amazing to be in this position. I am very grateful. It is something I am very much appreciating and not taking for granted."

World number one Djokovic is looking for his sixth ATP Finals title, though his last success came in 2016.

Djokovic produced a confident performance in his opening match against Ruud, dropping just four points behind his first serve and rallying from a break down in a tight opening set.

The top seed – who tied Ivan Lendl for second-most wins (39) in the history of the ATP Finals – will also face Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev in the Green Group.

"It was a really terrible start, but also funny because I’m still trying to figure out what happened," Djokovic said. "Casper started strong. He was serving well. The altitude, fast court, fast balls – it favours big servers. I knew he had a solid serve, but maybe not as good as Medvedev or Zverev. 

"He did positively surprise me with this serve, particularly in the first set. I just managed to read it better in the second set. But it was a close one."

Djokovic, meanwhile, expressed his shock amid the unknown whereabouts of WTA player Peng Shuai.

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has opened an investigation into Peng's sexual assault allegations against a former China leader.

Shuai, 35, posted on Chinese social media site Weibo allegations against Zhang Gaoli – the ex-vice premier and member of the Chinese Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee – claiming he had forced her to have sexual relations with him.

In the post, published on Tuesday before subsequently being deleted, the 2013 Wimbledon doubles champion alleged that the pair had extramarital relations and she had developed feelings for him.

All of Peng's content has since been removed from Weibo and numerous reports suggest she has not been seen in recent days.

"I did hear about it a week ago. Honestly, it's shocking that she's missing, more so that it's someone that I have seen on the tour in the previous years quite a few times," said Djokovic.

"It's not much more to say than hope that she will be found, that she's okay. It's terrible … I can imagine just how her family feels that she's missing."

Teddy Bridgewater acknowledged he "failed" the Denver Broncos when he "didn't give everything" on Darius Slay's 83-yard fumble return for a Philadelphia Eagles touchdown.

The Broncos headed into Week 10 on a high after a win at the Dallas Cowboys in which quarterback Bridgewater threw for 249 yards and a touchdown.

But that momentum was sapped by a defeat to another NFC East team on Sunday, with Denver coming up well short in a 30-13 defeat.

Bridgewater struggled to get the ball moving back at home, averaging 6.28 yards per attempt. He has advanced 6.4 yards per attempt in losses this year, versus 8.65 yards per attempt in wins.

But it was what Bridgewater did without the ball that attracted the most attention, as the former Carolina Panthers QB was widely criticised for his role in Slay's score at the end of the third quarter.

Davion Taylor knocked the ball free as Melvin Gordon attempted to get to ground on fourth and one, with Slay recovering the fumble and then running right by Bridgewater, who made no attempt to halt his opponent, en route to the endzone.

Bridgewater reflected on the episode on Monday and accepted he did not come out of it at all well.

"It definitely was [the toughest film session to sit through], especially when you slow it down," he said.

"In real time, it's like everything's happening fast, you've got the sideline to your advantage... and then when you slow it down with the clicker in your hand, it's like man, this is bad.

"Hopefully I never have to be put in that situation again, and if I am, make sure that I lay it all on the line.

"If I am, I'm going to make sure I lay it all on the line. I won't be the talk of social media or the internet or whatever. Hopefully we can just but this behind [us] and move forward."

Bridgewater added: "I'm right there, the opportunity to just dive, sacrifice, do whatever I can to help the team in that moment.

"I failed. And I owned up to it. It's unacceptable as a football player, as a member of this team.

"We play this game, and you lay it all on the line every week, and that's one of those moments where I've just got to accept the fact that I didn't give everything I had in me on that play.

"I understand, man; there's going to be some backlash that comes with it. I'm a grown man. I'm a professional athlete. I understand that's what comes with it – backlash and things like that.

"It doesn't define who we are as a football team, it doesn't define me as a man and as a football player."

Chase Young will miss the rest of the season, though the Washington Football Team did not confirm if he had torn his ACL as reported.

Defensive end Young was carted off in the second quarter of Sunday's 29-19 win over the Tamp Bay Buccaneers after appearing to suffer a knee injury.

It was soon reported that the 2020 second overall pick had suffered a torn ACL and Washington on Monday confirmed he will not return this season.

Young, the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020, will undergo surgery in a blow to Washington, who were already without Montez Sweat.

"They're big, athletic and can move. Those guys are hard to find," Rivera said of Young and Sweat.

"[Young] had some good moments early in the game. It was promising.

"You do lose the threat of that type of player coming off the edge now. We have a couple workman guys who get an opportunity. We'll see how they handle it."

Young had 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles through nine games this season.

Andrey Rublev returned to form by downing Stefanos Tsitsipas in their first match of the ATP Finals in Turin on Monday. 

Rublev had only won two of his past seven contests before arriving at the season-ending tournament at the Pala Alpitour but saw off fourth seed Tsitsipas 6-4 6-4. 

The fifth seed from Russia gained sweet revenge, having lost to his Greek opponent in this event in London last year. 

Rublev did not face a break point as he levelled his head-to-head record with Tsitsipas at 4-4 with a statement win. 

The Moscow native won 90 per cent of points behind his first serve and broke Tsitsipas once in each set, sealing victory in an hour and a half. 

Rublev joined world number one Novak Djokovic at the top of the Green Group on a night to forget for Tsitsipas. 

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Rublev – 31/7
Tsitsipas – 31/17

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Rublev – 9/3
Tsitsipas– 12/2

BREAK POINTS WON 

Rublev – 2/7
Tsitsipas – 0/0

Paula Badosa's winning start at the WTA Finals came to an end as she prepared for her semi-final with a straight-sets defeat to Iga Swiatek in a group-stage dead rubber.

Badosa, playing on her 24th birthday, was already assured of a last-four meeting with fellow Spaniard Garbine Muguruza, while two defeats had seen Swiatek eliminated.

A low-stakes encounter allowed both women to play with a little freedom, although Swiatek was a deserving 7-5 6-4 winner.

The pair traded early breaks in the opener, with Badosa immediately ceding her initial lead and finding herself on the back foot for the remainder of the set.

The semi-finalist survived a set point on her serve at 5-4 but had no answer when Swiatek went on the offensive again two games later, stepping forward with a stunning backhand to create her opportunity before retreating to the back of the court to put her forehand to good use and leave Badosa rooted once more.

Badosa again broke first in the second and this time looked to have control when she fought off seven break points to this time consolidate her lead in a gripping 12-minute game.

But Swiatek would not relent, breaking at the first attempt next time with powerful hitting from the centre of the court. Then a wayward Badosa backhand teed up match point for the 20-year-old, whose smart return completed the job.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Swiatek– 16/20
Badosa – 18/33

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Swiatek – 0/3
Badosa– 5/5

BREAK POINTS WON 

Swiatek – 4/13
Badosa – 2/2

Australia captain Michael Hooper will be absent for the Wallabies' final Autumn Nations Series game against Wales on Saturday. 

Hooper was forced off injured during the second half of Australia's 32-15 loss to England at Twickenham last weekend, which followed a 15-13 defeat to Scotland. 

The Wallabies confirmed on Twitter that scans carried out on the flanker revealed he had suffered a midfoot sprain and would be unavailable to take on Wales at the Principality Stadium. 

The news came after Hooper was revealed to be one of four players in contention for the World Rugby Men's 15s Player of the Year award. He is up against Antoine Dupont, Maro Itoje and Samu Kerevi in the fan vote. 

Australia have only won two of their past 10 away Tests against European teams, losing eight. However, one of those victories came against Wales in Cardiff in 2017. 

The Ottawa Senators' next three NHL games have been postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak.

Ten Senators players and associate coach Jack Capuano are in NHL COVID-19 protocol following positive tests over the past 10 days.

Drake Batherson, Austin Watson, Alex Formenton, Dylan Gambrell and Connor Brown missed the 4-0 defeat to the Calgary Flames on Sunday, with Nick Holden, Victor Mete, Nikita Zaitsev, Josh Brown and Matt Murray also absent.

Ottawa's training facilities have been closed until further notice, and they will not face the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday or the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

Saturday's game against the New York Rangers has also been called off on Monday, with the league citing "evidence of continued spread in recent days."

They are the first games postponed this season due to concerns over the virus, with 55 having been postponed last season.

The NHL stated that rescheduled dates for the three games are to be determined.

Having raised eyebrows across the NFL universe by trading up for Jordan Love in the first round, the Green Bay Packers sprung another surprise in the second round of the 2020 draft, with the selection of a power running back by the name of A.J. Dillon.

It was a pick that prompted a variety of reactions, ranging from anger and bemusement to outright hilarity from those astonished the Packers, with Aaron Jones already established as their top running back and an obvious need at wide receiver, would take the Boston College star so high.

Yet as Green Bay prepare for potentially two weeks without Jones due to a knee sprain, the primary feeling in the Packers' front office may be vindication.

The Packers moved to 8-2 on Sunday with a hard-fought shutout win over the Seattle Seahawks in the snow at Lambeau Field.

With Aaron Rodgers looking rusty at best following his coronavirus-enforced absence, Dillon thrived in the kind of game for which he was made.

He ploughed in for the game's only two touchdowns to secure a 17-0 triumph for Green Bay, finishing with 66 yards on 21 carries.

That average of 3.1 yards per attempt is not an impressive one, but Dillon's performances in his second year in the league have been increasingly eye-catching.

Having averaged 5.3 yards per rush as a rookie on 46 carries, he is racking up 4.3 yards per carry on the significantly larger sample size of 97 attempts.

A slightly more granular look at his production reveals that Dillon is doing precisely what Green Bay drafted him for as a complementary piece to Jones.

Dillon is averaging 2.38 yards after contact per attempt, above the league-wide average of 1.91 yards for running backs. In essence, he is allowing the Packers to mix downhill thump into a scheme that has traditionally focused on wide zone runs.

Ahead of Week 10, Dillon had 20 iso runs, a staple power running play. On those attempts, Dillon had an average of 3.58 yards after contact on runs to the left tackle side (league average – 1.99) and 2.63 yards after contact on carries to the right tackle side (league average – 1.76).

Yet Dillon has also enjoyed success when asked to run outside zone, averaging 4.75 yards per attempt, 2.50 yards after contact and 3.80 yards on such carries where there was a run disruption by a defender prior to this Sunday.

Those numbers suggest Dillon, who also made an impact in the passing game against the Seahawks with two catches for 62 yards, is transcending the 'power back' label assigned to him coming out of college and making himself at home in Matt LaFleur's offense.

That apparent ability to excel on both power and zone runs will be a necessity if the Packers are to stay on course to be the NFC's number one seed over the coming weeks without Jones, as they face division rivals the Minnesota Vikings on the road before welcoming the Los Angeles Rams to Lambeau in a rematch of last season's NFC Divisional Round clash.

Those are two different beasts in terms of run defense. The Vikings rank 30th in rush yards per carry allowed, giving up 4.74 yards per rush, while the Rams (4.15) are ninth going into their Monday Night Football clash with the San Francisco 49ers.

The formulas for winning those battles with two extremely talented offensive teams may therefore be different. Yet if Jones is out for both games, then Green Bay may need Dillon to make the most of a skill set that is more versatile than most thought to ensure the Packers do not become overly reliant on reigning MVP Rodgers.

Green Bay's process in picking Dillon so early remains questionable but, should he succeed in that aim in Jones' absence, you will not find many questioning the results.

England captain Owen Farrell and hooker Jamie George have been ruled out Saturday's Test against South Africa at Twickenham.

Farrell sustained an ankle injury during the 32-15 victory over Australia last Saturday after his Saracens team-mate George was force off with a knee problem.

Eddie Jones has brought Harry Elrington and Jack Singleton into his squad to face the world champions.

Prop Joe Marler will return for international duty on Friday after completing a 10-day isolation following his positive coronavirus test.

Farrell had missed the thrashing of Tonga after the skipper returned a positive COVID-19 test, but started at inside centre in the defeat of the Wallabies.

Jamie Blamire scored his sixth try in only four Tests after coming on to replace George and is poised to start when England do battle with the Springboks.

 

 

The past seven days for the San Francisco 49ers have been rough.

A defeat to an Arizona Cardinals team missing Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green and J.J. Watt ensured the Niners would enter Week 10 with a sour taste in their mouth having fallen to 3-5 on the season.

In a game viewed as a golden opportunity for the Niners to put themselves firmly in the playoff picture, they produced one of their worst performances of the year, and most expect their profligacy in failing to take that chance to be punished further against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football.

San Francisco's mood going into a contest with a Rams team also smarting after throwing in a clunker against the Tennessee Titans will not have improved with the news that came down on Thursday when Los Angeles signed three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. following his release by the Cleveland Browns.

Beckham is expected to make his debut at Levi's Stadium, where edge rusher Von Miller could also make his Rams bow having landed with Los Angeles in a trade from the Denver Broncos on November 1.

It is Beckham and Miller who will grab all the pre-game attention as the Rams look to pile the misery on the 49ers and improve to 8-2 in their bid to win the Super Bowl at their home stadium in February.

However, it is how each team deals with their absentees, rather than the performances of Beckham and Miller, that is likely to decide a potentially high-scoring matchup out west.

How will Woods loss impact run game?

The addition of Beckham initially appeared to be a luxury one for the Rams, whose receiver depth allowed them to recently part with veteran DeSean Jackson.

Yet, a day after Beckham's arrival, his signing was revealed as a much more necessary move with the news Robert Woods had suffered a torn ACL, ending his season.

Woods has long since been an integral part of the Rams' offense, not just for what he does as a receiver but also for his impact in the blocking game.

Per Stats Perform data, Woods' had an adjusted run-block win percentage of 88.89, the wideout comfortably outperforming the average for tight ends and fullbacks of 71.48.

The Niners rank 19th in opponent rush average allowed, giving up 4.37 yards per carry, but the Rams may struggle to take advantage of that fragility if they cannot replace Woods' influence in that regard.

With D.J. Jones (56.70), Nick Bosa (40.04) and Arik Armstead (48.84) all above average in double-team adjusted win rate on run defense, the Niners do have the talent up front to magnify any run game struggles for Los Angeles.

San Francisco's primary defensive question concerns their personnel in the secondary.

49ers' secondary problems persist

The 49ers saw their secondary depth suffer a blow right off the bat as Jason Verrett tore his ACL in Week 1, and the way in which the coaching staff have managed the personnel in the defensive backfield has received criticism.

Despite impressing early, rookie fifth-round pick Deommodore Lenoir has been conspicuous by his absence since the Week 3 loss to the Green Bay Packers, with veterans Josh Norman and Dre Kirkpatrick ahead of both Lenoir and fellow first-year corner Ambry Thomas on the depth chart.

Kirkpatrick is out on Monday with an ankle injury while Norman (ribs) is questionable, meaning both Lenoir and Thomas are likely to be in uniform, with one potentially set to start alongside Emmanuel Moseley and K'Waun Williams at corner.

Lenoir would appear to be the frontrunner to start if Norman cannot play, and the Niners may require an improvement on his generally solid play across the first three weeks for them to have a hope of containing Matthew Stafford and the Rams' passing attack.

The former Oregon corner's adjusted open percentage allowed of 35 is inferior to the average of 31.15 for cornerbacks and, beyond the threat posed by Beckham, Lenoir will also have to deal with the NFL's most productive receiver should he be thrust back into the starting line-up.

Cooper Kupp is on pace for over 1,900 receiving yards having already surpassed 1,000 through nine games. He is recording a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted, 66.7 per cent of the time, with his average of 4.3 burn yards per route the best in the league among receivers with at least 20 targets heading into Week 10.

San Francisco's secondary can at best be described as being in flux. If the 49ers cannot find a combination that works, it could provide Kupp with the chance to deliver another hugely productive performance and leave Kyle Shanahan's men with the difficult task of keeping pace with the Rams' offense.

Moore thrown in at the deep end

The Niners can afford to have confidence of going blow for blow with the Rams, if they can avoid the turnovers that ultimately doomed them against the Cardinals.

Shanahan's offense has been moving the ball efficiently, with Jimmy Garoppolo producing his two best performances of the season over the last two games.

Garoppolo reached the 320-yard mark in the win over the Chicago Bears and the loss to the Cardinals, marking the second time in his career he has produced a streak of successive 320-yard games. The only other 49ers quarterbacks with multiple streaks of consecutive 320-yard games are Joe Montana (four) and Steve Young (two). 

His hopes of stretching that run to a third game may well hinge on the play of a rookie offensive lineman.

The Niners will be without right tackle Mike McGlinchey for the rest of the season after he tore his quad against Arizona. His replacement is expected to be rookie Jaylon Moore, who delivered an admirable showing in relief of left tackle Trent Williams versus the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7.

Moore is credited with winning nine of the 12 one-on-one pass protection matchups he has faced so far but, having spent his entire career to this point on the left side, looks set to flip to the right in extremely trying circumstances.

Three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald's versatility should see him regularly shift from the interior and line up across from Moore on the edge, and the Rams will surely look to get Miller one on one with the rookie consistently.

Donald has won a remarkable 59 of his 91 one-on-one matchups and Miller's win rate of 43.94 per cent is still way above the average for edge rushers of 21.88.

The challenge for San Francisco will be to get Moore as much help as possible from tight ends and running backs to prevent that duo padding those numbers.

Leave him to fend for himself, and the Niners' hopes of keeping pace with Los Angeles could vanish in a hurry. After being embarrassed by a division rival last week, setting Moore, and in turn Garoppolo, up for success is crucial to them avoiding the same fate in the primetime finale to Week 10.

Australia and New Zealand have committed to playing in the rescheduled Rugby League World Cup next year.

The tournament was due to start in England last month, but was postponed after Australia and New Zealand pulled out due to safety concerns related to coronavirus.

Organisers put the World Cup back a year, with the event now set to start on October 15.

It was confirmed on Monday that defending champions the Kangaroos and the Kiwis will feature in the showpiece.

"Today is a very important and exciting milestone on our journey to 2022," Rugby League World Cup chief executive Jon Dutton said.

Organisers have vowed that the tournament will be "bigger, better and bolder than ever before."

A match schedule and tickets will be released on Friday.

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton has been ruled out for up to six weeks after suffering a twisted ankle and knee in the famous 29-20 victory over New Zealand on Saturday.

The Leinster fly-half will miss the final match of the Autumn Nations Series campaign against Argentina on Sunday and faces at least four weeks on the sidelines.

Joey Carbery came on to replace Sexton with 15 minutes to go at the Aviva Stadium and sent three penalties sailing through the posts to consign the All Blacks to defeat.

Sexton will remain with squad, while Connacht number 10 Jack Carty has been called up in the absence of the skipper.

Andy Farrell will also be able to call upon Munster back rower Gavin Coombes against the Pumas after he recovered from illness.

Ireland beat Argentina 28-17 when the two nations last met in Dublin three years ago.

The New England Patriots scored 45 unanswered points in their rout of the Cleveland Browns, but none were celebrated more enthusiastically than the six from Jakobi Meyers as his wait for a first career receiving touchdown was ended.

New England hammered the Browns' 45-7 to move to 6-4 on the year, sending a clear message to the rest of the AFC that they are legitimate postseason contenders.

It was Meyers who had the final say at Gillette Stadium, finally getting into the endzone on an 11-yard pass from Brian Hoyer after a superb performance from rookie quarterback Mac Jones had put the game well beyond doubt.

The score came in his 39th game and 135th reception for the Patriots, with Meyers' team-mates mobbing him as he registered the score his contributions to New England have long since merited. 

"I told him today, I was like, you're going to score before the game – I didn't know it was going to come from Hoyer. It was great. I was super excited," Jones told a media conference.

"We were out together and the ball [that he scored with] – I was so concerned about the ball. I was like, 'we've got to find the ball.' I guess they found it. That was good.

"But I think Jakobi is a great team-mate and he's a great team player and that's much deserved and he's going to get more. From here, hopefully we just keep stacking them up and there will be a bunch. He's a great team-mate, like I said, gets to the red zone, does his job, sometimes when he's not even getting the ball, he's in there knocking people down and just being really physical.

"We are really happy to be able to play together and hopefully we'll play together for a long time."

Asked about Jones being more eager than him to find the ball, Meyers replied: "That is a little bit weird, right? I thought so too. I was like, 'Man, I should probably do a little more to get his touchdown ball', now that I think about it.

"Honestly, the fact that everybody celebrated with me means more than the touchdown. I feel like it says a lot about your team-mates and what they think of you, and just the fact that they were all there. I know they've been waiting on that, they've been real patient."

Jones threw just four incomplete passes in one of the best displays of his young career, which saw him finish with 198 yards and three touchdowns.

"Mac always looks poised. I don't know what it is. He's just driven in different ways, wired a different way," receiver Kendrick Bourne said of Jones.

"He's just relaxed and I think that's how we all need to play. He's not thinking about the next play. He's not thinking about the last play. He's thinking about the current play.

"That mindset can take you far in this league when you have that kind of mindset. I think he has it. It's easy to dwell on the past. It's easy to get caught up on what's ahead and what's coming. He's good at just being in the moment and fixing what he's got going on right there."

Novak Djokovic made a confident start to his ATP Finals with a straight-sets victory over Casper Ruud in Turin.

The world number one is looking for his sixth ATP Finals title, though his last success came in 2016, and he overcame his Norwegian opponent 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 on Monday.

Ruud showed glimpses of the form that saw him become the first Norwegian to qualify for the season-ending tournament, but despite coming close to edging the first set, he never looked like upsetting the Serbian, who recently clinched the year-end number one ranking for a record seventh time.

It started well enough for the 22-year-old, breaking Djokovic in the first game and going 2-0 up before the crowd had settled.

His opponent soon recovered to break back, showing some of his trademark steel to come out on top in the longer rallies. Ruud was able to take the first set to a tie-break, but Djokovic secured it with a beautiful forehand-winner down the line.

Ruud pulled off some impressive winners himself on occasion, with some nice drop shots in particular, but he was rarely able to keep up with the number one seed's pace and power.

Djokovic won 20 of 21 first-serve points in the opening set, and his overall performance stepped up another notch in the second as he returned the favour to Ruud by breaking him in the first game.

The result was never in doubt from there, with Djokovic dominating on his serve again, only failing to get his first serve in once in the second set.

Ruud did not manage another break point after the opening game of the match and was forced to see his opponent comfortably serve out to open his tournament with a victory.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Djokovic – 23/13
Ruud – 23/20

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Djokovic – 10/0
Ruud – 9/4

BREAK POINTS WON 

Djokovic – 3/5
Ruud – 1/1

Dak Prescott made it clear opponents are sorely mistaken if they believe they have a blueprint to stop the Dallas Cowboys' offense after Sunday's blowout win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Having suffered a stunning loss to the Denver Broncos last week as Prescott and the Cowboys were held to 290 net yards of offense, their lowest total of the season, Dallas bounced back in style by routing Atlanta 43-3.

Prescott looked back to his best after a shaky showing against Denver, a game in which he made his return from a calf injury, going 24 of 31 passing for 296 yards and two touchdowns as the Cowboys improved to 7-2.

Asked about the apparent blueprint provided by Denver, Prescott told a media conference: "They [Atlanta] tried that early. If they think that is the recipe for success against us, then good luck to them.

"We know what we're capable of, and I think last week was something we needed in a sense of just refocusing and realising this is the NFL and it's tough.

"You've got to earn it each and every day of practice and you've got to come out on Sundays and earn it again.

"Last week just wasn't us, and everybody in that locker room knows that. It left a bad taste in our mouth.

"I think it was a taste that we needed to understand how tough this game is, but this game just shows that when we focus in, take it one play at a time, our minds are where our feet are, we're capable of doing some great things.

"So we just got to continue to focus on that and take it play by play, game by game, and we'll continue to get better and hopefully have a lot more performances like this."

The Cowboys are within striking distance of the NFC's top seed, the 8-2 Green Bay Packers, but face a difficult trip to Arrowhead Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.