US Open champion Emma Raducanu is refusing to be downcast after her defeat to Aliaksandra Sasnovich, insisting that she is focused on "the bigger picture".

The 18-year-old's 10-match winning run came to an abrupt halt at the Indian Wells Open – just her fifth tour-level event – as Sasnovich won in straight sets.

Sasnovich is ranked 100th in the world, but the 27-year-old has 16 career victories over opponents in the top 20, with Raducanu ranking 17th, and six over those in the top 10.

Raducanu cites the experience gap between herself and Sasnovich as a major factor in her defeat and believes that the loss can be taken as a positive lesson.

"I'm still very, very new to the tour," Raducanu said. "I think that experience just comes from playing week in, week out and experiencing all these different things. I'm kind of glad that what happened today happened, so I can learn and take it as a lesson so going forward I'll just have more experienced banked.

"[Sasnovich's] been on tour, probably been 4-2 down like hundreds of times whereas I've been 4-2 up... it's my third WTA tournament this year. [Experience] will come in time. Just got to not rush it and keep going and get my head back to the drawing board really.

"I didn't go in there putting any pressure on myself because in my mind I'm so inexperienced that I'm just taking it all in. You're going to have highs, and you're always going to have some lows where you're disappointed with how you performed.

"Aliaksandra played an extremely great match. You could tell she's more experienced than me. She went out there and executed her game plan better than I did. She deserved to win that.

"I think it's going to take me time to adjust, really, to what's going on. For the bigger picture, I'll be thanking this moment. That's the lesson I think, that you can easily get sucked into being so focused on the result and getting disappointed."

Raducanu is set to take part at the Transylvania Open that starts on October 25, as well as the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

The Buffalo Bills' 2020 season came to an end as their defense was gashed by Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. After an offseason seemingly geared towards preventing that from happening again, in Week 5 they will get the clearest indication yet of whether their moves were the right ones.

Buffalo and Kansas City will renew acquaintances on Sunday for the first time since the Chiefs crushed the Bills 38-24 in the AFC Championship Game.

Kansas City put together a typically prolific offensive performance, Mahomes averaging 8.55 yards per pass attempt as he racked up 325 yards and threw for three touchdowns in a game that was not much of a contest after the Chiefs responded to falling 9-0 behind early by scoring 21 unanswered points.

The Bills pressured Mahomes 12 times, having tallied 33 across the first two rounds of last season's playoffs, and sacked him only once.

That anaemic pass-rush display prompted Buffalo to spend major draft capital on the defensive front this year.

Miami edge rusher Gregory Rousseau was selected with the Bills' first-round pick, and they followed that up by adding Carlos Basham from Wake Forest to their defensive line in the second.

Those additions have not seen the Bills leap to the top of charts when it comes to total pressures – their tally of 60 is 22nd in the NFL – however, they are doing a significantly better job of getting to the quarterback.

Buffalo's 11 sacks for negative yardage is a total bettered by only six teams so far this year, with Rousseau registering two sacks in an encouraging start to his career despite having a year away from competitive football after his college career effectively ended in 2019 due to his decision to opt out in 2020.

With Buffalo excelling in preventing opponents from getting going on the ground and through the air, the Bills are first in the NFL in opponent yards per play allowed with an impressive average of 4.00, while their 11 takeaways are also a league high.

The issue is that the Bills haven't faced an opponent close to the calibre of Mahomes and the Chiefs, who lead the league in yards per play. Of the four teams they have played this year in a 3-1 start, only the Washington Football Team (eighth) rank in the top half of the league in yards per play. The Pittsburgh Steelers, the Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins are all in the bottom seven.

Similarly, none of the four quarterbacks the Bills' defense has gone against is above the league average for signal-callers with at least 10 attempts in well-thrown percentage (78.5). Mahomes is third in the NFL in that metric, delivering an accurate, well-thrown ball 84.8 per cent of the time and performing at the kind of level that saw him named MVP in the 2018 season.

When a quarterback of Mahomes' physical gifts is displaying that kind of accuracy, he can be near-impossible to stop. If the Bills cannot do it this time, then Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen and Mahomes would likely end up in another shootout expected to tilt in the direction of the Chiefs star.

Early signs against inferior opposition have been encouraging, but Sunday's primetime duel at Arrowhead Stadium will provide a true picture of whether the Bills' defensive improvement is for real.

No franchise wants to rebuild. Tanking your immediate hopes of success to collect assets that can eventually propel the team back to the top can be a miserable experience. However, the Miami Dolphins attacked rebuilding with remarkable zeal and have endured relatively little pain as they have constructed their roster on a new foundation.

Brian Flores oversaw a 5-11 season not short on reasons for encouragement in 2019 even amid a fire sale that saw the likes of Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick sent off to pastures new in exchange for major draft capital. Last season, the Dolphins finished 10-6 and narrowly missed the playoffs, raising hopes that their project would imminently yield dividends.

As such, this season was always likely to be seen as a measuring stick for the franchise, with Flores entering his third year as head coach and the man they picked to be the quarterback of the future faced with a make-or-break campaign, the Dolphins entered 2021 with expectations with which they are unfamiliar.

And, following a 1-3 start, with a franchise quarterback at least temporarily on the shelf and the defending champions coming to town to potentially put Miami in a deeper hole, tough questions will start to be asked about the direction of the organisation.

Few teams recover from a 1-4 start to reach the postseason. There is the unlikely possibility the Dolphins could upset the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, but the more plausible scenario is a fourth successive defeat that would beg the question: is Miami's rebuild a failure?

Defense developing, but results declining

The biggest feather in the cap of this Dolphins' regime has been the play of Miami's defense, which last season led the NFL in takeaways with 29.

Yet those turnovers masked the fact that the Dolphins' defense was one teams generally had success moving the ball against. Indeed, Miami ranked 24th in opponent yards per play allowed in 2020, giving up an average of 5.90.

The Dolphins have improved in that regard so far this season, sitting 13th with 5.51 yards per play allowed, but are 23rd in offensive points allowed despite generating six turnovers through four games.

Miami's defense is one that appears to have grown more efficient when it comes to stopping the progress of offenses on a per-play basis and still takes the ball away but is not keeping offenses from putting up points.

Why is that the case? Put simply, they are on the field too long because of the failures of an offense that is not living up to the amount the Dolphins have invested.

A lack of possession

Miami's offense ranks 30th in average time of possession, having control of the ball for just 26 minutes and eight seconds. Their defense, as a result, has been on the field for an average of 33 minutes and 52 seconds. Only the defenses of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks have had to exercise greater endurance this season.

And the offense has shown little in the way of efficiency when on the field.

The Dolphins rank last in yards per play with an average of just 4.05. The New York Jets (5) are the sole team to have scored fewer offensive touchdowns than the Dolphins' six while only 10 of Miami's 42 offensive drives have ended in points.

That level of offensive ineptitude is unacceptable for a team looking to compete, and much of the blame can be pinned on an offensive line where the Dolphins have spent a large portion of their resources.

Despite having a first-round pick and two second-rounders starting up front, the Dolphins have allowed 80 pressures through four games, the seventh-most in the NFL.

It is difficult for a quarterback to succeed when under duress that consistently but, if the Dolphins continue to struggle, an apparent misevaluation of the class of signal-callers in the 2020 draft will come under even greater scrutiny.

Tua a costly mistake?

The elephant in the room is quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, whom the Dolphins selected fifth overall in the 2020 draft despite his career with Alabama being ended by a dislocated hip.

Miami backed Tagovailoa to eventually put that injury behind him and develop into the NFL star many expected him to become. Yet he failed to prove a superior option to Ryan Fitzpatrick in his rookie year and, rather than taking season-two strides, seemed to be regressing before a rib injury suffered in the Week 2 loss to the Buffalo Bills saw him placed on injured reserve.

In the small sample size of 30 attempts this season, Tagovailoa has delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball a league-low 63.3 per cent of the time. Only two quarterbacks, rookies Zach Wilson and Davis Mills, have a worse pickable pass rate than Tagovailoa's 6.67 per cent.

Tagovailoa was long since pencilled in as the player the Dolphins' grand rebuild was going to be constructed around. Now reduced to the role of spectator for the time being and struggling to live up to his draft status, going with him over reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert looks like a serious misstep.

It is not the only premium pick Miami made from that class whose selection is in question. Left tackle Austin Jackson's inability to make the leap to the highest level effectively is a key reason for the offensive line struggles — he has won under 70 per cent of his pass-blocking matchups in 2021 — and their third first-round choice from 2020, cornerback Noah Igbinoghene, has not played a single defensive snap in 2021.

Any judgement on this year's crop would be a premature one but, although there have been some encouraging signs from first-round picks Jaylen Waddle and Jaelan Phillips, the former is being limited by the struggles of the offense, recording a big play on an underwhelming 16 per cent of his targets, and pass rusher Phillips has won only 12 of his 43 rushes this season.

The mediocre starts of Waddle and Phillips are a long way down the list of concerns for the Dolphins, however, and they will not be the primary causes should Miami's poor start lead to a year of unmatched expectations.

Miami's rebuild rested on whom the Dolphins selected to be their quarterback and their fortunes in protecting him. The decisions they made in each of those areas have to this point largely backfired, leaving them with an offense that looks ill-equipped to compete this Sunday with a Buccaneers attack that could hardly be in a better position in the trenches and under center.

There is, of course, time for Miami to right the ship this year and the Dolphins — through their pre-2021 draft trade with the San Francisco 49ers — have more capital with which to improve weaknesses on their roster in the coming years.

But persistent talk of the Dolphins using those resources to strike a deal for quarterback Deshaun Watson is not a sign of a successful rebuild or faith in Tagovailoa to turn things around.

It's becoming increasingly clear the Dolphins bet on the wrong horse at quarterback last year and may have failed to properly evaluate prospects at several other positions. Opportunities for any regime to get the chance to select a second quarterback are rare but, regardless of how the Dolphins try to rescue their best-laid plans to return to prominence, the franchise's future gambles must be more astute.

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis says the language used by head coach Jon Gruden in an email 10 years ago is "disturbing" amid allegations it was racist.

Davis, who at the time was a lead analyst for ESPN, wrote to the Washington Football Team's president in July 2011 where he said NFL Players' Association executive director DeMaurice Smith had "lips the size of michellin tires" according to The Journal.

Gruden claimed he did not recall the email, while NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy labelled the language as "appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL's values".

The Raiders owner called it "disturbing" and said they were reviewing the matter, suggesting possible disciplinary action.

“The content of an email regarding DeMaurice Smith from Jon Gruden when he worked for ESPN 10 years ago is disturbing and not what the Raiders stand for," Davis said in a statement.

"We were first made aware of the email late yesterday by a reporter and are reviewing it along with other materials provided to us today by the NFL.

"We are addressing the matter with Coach Gruden and will have no further comment at this time."

Gruden claimed that the remark was not intended to be racial, insisting it related to the term "rubber lips" for someone who lies a lot and that he was embarrassed by the situation.

"I'm ashamed I insulted De Smith," Gruden told ESPN. "I never had a racial thought when I used it.

"I'm embarrassed by what's out there. I certainly never meant for it to sound that bad."

US Open champion Emma Raducanu was sensationally beaten in her first match following her Flushing Meadows triumph, going down in straight sets to Aliaksandra Sasnovich at the Indian Wells Open on Friday.

The Belarussian, who is currently ranked 100th, stunned the 19-year-old Briton 6-2 6-4 in one hour and 25 minutes.

Raducanu had been on a 10-match winning streak coming into her maiden Indian Wells campaign.

"I'm still so new to everything. The experiences that I'm going through right now, even though I might not feel 100 per cent amazing right now, I know they're for the greater good," Raducanu said after the defeat.

"I mean, I'm 18 years old. I need to cut myself some slack."

Raducanu, who did not drop a set during her US Open run, appeared in control early after winning the opening six points, but Sasnovich claimed the first break in the third game.

Unforced errors proved costly for Raducanu as the clean-striking Sasnovich capitalized to win the first set, before opening the second set with another break.

Raducanu responded with an immediate break back and led 4-2 in the second set, before the Belarussian hit back by winning the next four games to topple the British teenager.

"It was a really good match for me. I play really well," Sasnovich said. "I know she just won US Open. I lost there in the first round. But I tried to go on court, I tried to enjoy. I did everything right."

 

FORMER WINNER HALEP PROGRESSES

Sasnovich will face two-time Grand Slam winner Simona Halep in the third round after the Romanian defeated Marta Kostyuk 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 in one hour and 33 minutes.

The 11th seed, who split with long-time coach Darren Cahill last month amid an injury-disrupted year, was down a break early before working her way back and dominating the tiebreak.

Halep broke twice in a more controlled second set to claim victory in her 10th appearance at Indian Wells.

"I missed a lot playing tennis at this level this year because I've been injured and many months, I couldn't play matches," said Halep, who won at Indian Wells in 2015. "I came here a little more aggressive than normal and I'm trying to improve my game and myself."

 

KVITOVA CRUISES AS TOP SEEDS WIN

Two-time major winner Petra Kvitova eased into the last 32 with a 6-2 6-2 triumph over Arantxa Rus from the Netherlands.

Seventh seed Kvitova set up a showdown with two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka after she beat Magda Linette 7-5 3-0 in a walkover. Kvitova leads Azarenka 5-3 in head-to-head battles.

Second seed Iga Swiatek dominated Croatian Petra Martic 6-1 6-3 to seal her passage into the third round, while fourth seed Elina Svitolina got past Teresa Martincova 6-2 7-5.

Beaten 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez triumphed over experienced Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 6-2 6-3 and will play ninth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round after she easily accounted for Madison Keys 6-3 6-1.

Three-time major winner Andy Murray marked his return to the Indian Wells Masters with a strong 6-3 6-2 win over dangerous Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in Friday's first-round encounter.

Murray, who had not played at Indian Wells in four years, won in one hour and 24 minutes with a disciplined display, winning 82 per cent of first serve points.

The Briton, who only faced one break point for the match, will next take on Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who enjoyed a fine run to the US Open quarter-finals in September.

"I think Alcaraz is really, really good," Murray said after the win. "I think he’s got a good chance at it."

On his own performance, Murray added: "I thought my mentality was good tonight. I sort of focused just on every single point.

"It's been a tough road to get back and it was so nice that so many people managed to come out and support today. I really enjoyed it."

BROOKSBY SETS UP ZVEREV DATE

Emerging American Jenson Brooksby triumphed over Cem Ilkel 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to book his spot in the second round where he will face third seed Alexander Zverev.

The 20-year-old world number 79, who was the runner-up at the Hall of Fame Open in July, prevailed in his Indian Wells debut in one hour and 44 minutes.

Brooksby dropped only four points on his serve, with Ilkel unable to generate a break point throughout the match.

The California native has been a break-out star in the latter half of 2021, reaching the fourth round at the US Open, entering the top 100 after starting the year ranked 307th.

 

SOCK PUT AWAY BY AUSTRALIAN

Former top 10 player Jack Sock was bundled out by Australian John Millman 7-5 4-6 6-3 in an epic first-round clash which lasted two and a half hours.

Sock, who has battled injuries in recent times and was handed a wild card for Indian Wells, pushed Millman all the way, with the Australian breaking to lead 5-3 in the third set before serving out for victory.

World number 61 Pedro Martinez made light work of Italian qualifier Roberto Marcora 6-4 6-0 to set up a second-round meeting with second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 24-year-old Spaniard triumphed in one hour and 15 minutes.

Former Wimbledon and US Open finalist Kevin Anderson sent down 10 aces in a 7-5 6-2 win over Jordan Thompson.

The San Francisco Giants shut out the prolific Los Angeles Dodgers led by Logan Webb as they secured a 4-0 win and a 1-0 lead in the National League Division Series on Friday.

The Dodgers, who were shut out just five times in the regular season, could not convert any of their five hits on Friday, while the Giants delivered three home runs.

Seven-time All-Star Buster Posey got the Giants on the board with a two-run blast in the first inning from Walker Buehler, who allowed six hits across six-and-one-third innings.

Buehler still managed five strikeouts on the mound for the Dodgers but he was over-shadowed by Giants right-hander Webb, who tossed down 10 Ks across seven-and-two-thirds scoreless innings.

Kris Bryant, who had three hits to mark an outstanding game, padded the Giants' lead in the seventh inning with a left-field home run from a tiring Buehler.

Brandon Crawford, who had 24 home runs across the regular season added, another in the eighth inning, recording his second career post-season homer to add insurance.

 

Astros launch into 2-0 lead

The Houston Astros produced a five-run rally in the seventh inning to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the American League Division Series (ALDS) against the Chicago White Sox with a 9-4 victory.

But the Astros had to come from behind, trailing 4-2 after Luis Robert, who had two runs, three hits and one RBI for the game, touched down at the top of the fifth inning.

Jose Altuve, who had a great defensive game in the field, and Alex Bregman levelled it from a Yuli Gurriel base hit, before the five-run rally in the seventh underlined by Kyle Tucker's two-run shot.

With two out and two on leading 5-4, Carlos Correa's powerful shot to right-field eluded Leury Garcia, driving in two runs before Tucker padded the advantage.

 

Sale loses his puff

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale endured a nightmare first inning, allowing four hits and five earned runs as the Tampa Bay Rays opened up an early 5-2 lead. Sale was pulled after that before the Red Sox launched an admirable fightback in a run-fest 14-6 victory over the Rays to square up their ALDS. Tanner Houck steadied on the mound, with five strikeouts across five innings allowing only one run and two hits.

 

 

Burnes still on fire

Corbin Burnes continued his excellent regular season form in the Milwaukee Brewers' opening game of their NLDS with six scoreless innings and six strikeouts in a 2-1 win over the Atlanta Braves. Burnes, who finished the regular season with an MLB-best 2.43 ERA, set up the victory before Josh Hader closed it out, with Rowdy Tellez scoring a two-run homer in the seventh inning.

 

Saturday's results

Houston Astros 9-4 Chicago White Sox
Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 Atlanta Braves
Boston Red Sox 14-6 Tampa Bay Rays
San Francisco Giants 4-0 Los Angeles Dodgers

 

Dodgers at Giants

The Dodgers will look to bounce back in Game 2 against the Giants, with Julio Urias and Kevin Gausman starting on the mound for the respective sides.

Im Sung-jae and Chad Ramey hit rounds of six-under 65 to move into the lead by one shot from last week's Sanderson Farms Championship winner Sam Burns at the halfway point at the Shriners Children's Open.

Day one leader Kang Sung-hoon had a forgettable second round, carding a two-over 73 to slip six shots off the pace at the TPC at Summerlin in Nevada on Friday.

Countryman Im, currently ranked 29th in the world, carded six birdies across his round, including finishing off a birdie on the par-five ninth. Im's bogey-free first two rounds mark the best opening 36-hole score in his PGA Tour career.

American Ramey, who is making only his fifth start in his PGA Tour career, had seven birdies along with a bogey on the first, with the pair level on 14 under after two days.

Burns looms one stroke behind the joint leaders on 13 under, with the 18th-ranked American backing up his opening round of 66, with an eight-under 63.

“What we tried to do is just last week is last week,” Burns told reporters following last week's triumph in Mississippi.

"This week is Shriners and preparing for this week, trying to make sure Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday that we are giving ourselves the best opportunity to play well this week. Obviously, incredible honoured that I won last week and such a fun time, but just trying to kind of leave that there.”

The 25-year-old carded five birdies on his back nine, including a 132-yard wedge which landed within three feet for birdie on the sixth hole.

Burns is joined by Adam Schenk after he carded a six-under 65, with Aaron Wise a stroke behind the duo at 12 under at the halfway mark.

Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka remains in contention after a four-under 67, leaving him seven under.

Ryder Cup debutant Scottie Scheffler and Patrick Reed were among those to miss the cut, while Rickie Fowler along with last week's Sanderson Farms Championship contenders Cameron Burns and Sahith Theegala all missed the cut by a stroke.

Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry has praised LeBron James for his longevity and pushing him to sustain his prime for as long as he can.

Curry and James are set to face off on the opening night of the 2021-22 NBA season when the Golden State Warriors meet the Los Angeles Lakers on October 19.

Four-time NBA MVP and four-time NBA champion James enters his 18th NBA season with the Lakers among the favourites for the title.

Despite being 36-years-old, James remains a key part for the Lakers, who won the NBA in 2020, before bowing out in the first round of the 2021 play-offs.

Curry praised 17-time All-Star James for maintaining his high levels throughout an extended period, when the pair have arguably been the league's best players.

"He set the standard for that," Curry told reporters on Friday. "Let's keep it real – in his 18th year, nine straight Finals, all the things that he's accomplished.

"You have a vision of sustaining your prime for as long as you can, kind of re-imagining what that looks like. The work that goes into it, the intentionality, especially in the off-seasons, especially how you take care of your body, your mind. Balance on court, off court."

The Lakers forward had an injury-interrupted 2020-21 season, averaging 25.0 points,7.7 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game, having boasted a career-best 10.2 assists per game in the side's title-winning 2019-20 season. He has averaged 25.0 points per game or more since his debut season in 2003-04 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James is four years Curry's senior, with the 2003 NBA Draft first pick having claimed one more NBA title across his career than the Warriors point guard who debuted in 2009.

"For me, it's a weird perspective just because I still remember my college days and he was just coming into his prime in the league," Curry said.

"And my sophomore year, [NCAA] tournament run he came to a game, then came to a game my junior year. I still have a jersey that he signed back in '08 in my parents' house back in Charlotte. So it's kind of weird to think about what's happened in the last 13, 14 years.

"Hopefully there's more chapters of that, playing at that prime. Re-imagining and extending your prime and playing at a high level for a long time looks like."

Curry, who only played five games in the 2019-20 season due to injury, topped the NBA last season for points per game, at 32.0.

The 33-year-old's 32.0 points per game was a career-best return, while he also averaged 5.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game.

"I love exactly where I'm at," Curry said ahead of the new season. "I'm planning to be ready for opening night.

"Body feels good, mind feels good, shot feels strong. I'm not pacing myself but I'm being smart about how I approach preseason games."

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash has welcomed reports that Kyrie Irving will be permitted to train at the franchise's facilities despite being unvaccinated and unable to play home games.

Irving will still not be available for home games at the Barclays Center in the 2021-22 NBA season, which starts for the Nets on Tuesday 19 October against the Milwaukee Bucks, under New York's COVID-19 vaccination laws.

The Nets point guard has not been able to join Nets practice this week but according to reports the franchise's HSS Training Center has now been deemed a private office building, enabling him to train there despite his unvaccinated status.

"It’s positive to be able to welcome him back into the building and have him be part of the team," Nash told reporters on Friday.

"I don’t want to comment too much on it firmly until I know what the parameters are but it sounds like it’s positive news."

Nash admitted Irving would need to catch up after his interrupted pre-season but was bullish he would be able to maintain a level of game fitness throughout the season.

"When someone's able to resume full activity on the court they'd still need to meet a level of high intensity, before you'd put them in a game," he said.

"Even if you're not injured, you still have to reach those thresholds. If you are injured, once you are healthy, you have to meet those thresholds as well."

Russell Wilson's run of 149 straight starts is set to come to an end due to a hand injury that is expected to rule the Seattle Seahawks quarterback out for at least a month.

The 32-year-old injured his finger on his throwing hand in Thursday's defeat to the Los Angeles Rams and flew to Los Angeles on Friday to see a hand specialist.

Wilson's 10-year run of starts is the sixth longest by any quarterback in NFL history, and the longest of any active quarterback, but he is now facing a spell on the sidelines.

According to reports, the injury will require surgery and Wilson could be out for as long as eight weeks.

Providing an update earlier on Friday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said: "He's getting looked at by an expert.

"I don't know much more than last night. We've just got to wait and see what they assess.

"We'll know a lot more by the end of the day… But there's something going on.

"There's definitely something going on and we've got to figure out what the extent of it is, and what is the next step to deal with it."

Carroll will now turn to Geno Smith, who last started a game in 2017, against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

Smith led two scoring drives after replacing Wilson against the Rams and Carroll has full belief in the backup quarterback.

"I thought Geno did a marvellous job last night," Carroll said. "Geno has been practicing with us for all this time waiting for his opportunity if called upon. 

"The patience that he's shown with us to stay with it, and his relationship with Russ and the coaches, he's been impeccable.

"He's a very talented football player. He's got a great arm, he's got great sense, and he knows the system really well. I totally trust that Geno can do this."

Tyson Fury has vowed to "obliterate" Deontay Wilder when he puts his WBC world heavyweight title on the line in Saturday's trilogy fight at the T-Mobile Arena.

The 33-year-old looked in tremendous condition at Friday's weigh-in as he tipped the scales at 277 pounds — four pounds heavier than he was in his most recent meeting with Wilder 20 months ago.

Wilder is also at a career-high weight of 238, an increase of seven pounds, but Fury does not believe he will have any problems stopping his American opponent for a second time in a row.

Asked what the advantage is of coming in heavier this time around, Fury said: "It means total obliteration of a dosser! Total annihilation. That is what it means to me.

"Two-hunded-and-seventy-seven pounds... I am going to put him in the royal infirmary after the fight."

The 39-pound difference between the two is the closest across their three fights. 

"I wanted to look tasty and feel sexy," Wilder said of his physique. "I am bench pressing over 350 so I will be able to lift him. We just wanted to have fun in camp, we had a great time. The say you practice for perfect, we practiced for permanent.

"Calmness is the key to the storm. I know when I am not calm my mind is cloudy, when my mind is cloudy it allows you to make bad decisions. 

"When you are calm you are able to make great decisions. I have rejuvenated myself, redemption is upon us and I can't wait to show the world what I am all about." 

This will be the third chapter in a heavyweight rivalry that has produced plenty of drama in the past, both in and out of the ring.

After a contentious split-decision draw in the first meeting back in December 2018, the rematch saw Fury take the judges out of the equation with a dominant performance, forcing a seventh-round stoppage that not only saw Wilder lose the WBC title but also his unbeaten record as a pro.

The trilogy was not seemingly on the cards — or at least not this soon — until the outcome of an arbitration hearing, a judge ruling the reigning champion was contractually obliged to face his former foe again, ending the possibility of a unification showdown with Anthony Joshua.

Fury contracting COVID-19 led to a further delay, scuppering an original July fight date, but, finally, the stage is set in Las Vegas for the pair to meet again.

For Wilder, this is an opportunity to rebuild his reputation. He hopes a new man in his corner can help: Malik Scott once lost to his fellow American in the ring, now he is tasked with formulating a plan to get his old foe back on top.

Scott has certainly talked the talk in the build-up, even predicting his fighter gets the job done inside five rounds after working hard to refine his game.

"He got content with knocking people out with one weapon, which was the right hand," Scott said. 

"What I did was I went to his toolbox and pulled everything out that he does well. Deontay Wilder can do it all. I just pulled a lot of stuff out of him in training camp. I made sure we drilled him with intent."

The development of Wilder, a power hitter whose boxing skills have always been questioned, is just one of the intriguing plot lines going into a contest that should make for absorbing viewing, whatever the final outcome.

 

TALE OF THE TAPE

TYSON FURY

Age: 33
Height: 6ft 9ins (206cm)
Weight: 277lbs
Reach: 85ins
Professional record: 30-0-1 (21 KOs)
Major career titles: IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO heavyweight

DEONTAY WILDER

Age: 35
Height: 6ft 7ins (201cm)
Weight: 238lbs
Reach: 83ins 
Professional record: 42-1-1 (41 KOs)
Major career titles: WBC heavyweight

Trey Lance will make his first start for the San Francisco 49ers against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed Lance would get the start after Jimmy Garoppolo again missed practice on Friday.

Garoppolo suffered a calf contusion during the first offensive series in San Francisco's 28-21 loss to the Seattle Seahawks last week.

He played the rest of the first half but was replaced by rookie third overall pick Lance for the second half.

Lance completed nine of his 18 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 41 yards on seven carries.

San Francisco traded three first-round selections to move up from the 12th pick to the third pick in this year's draft for the right to take Lance and make him their quarterback of the future.

Sunday will provide his first opportunity to prove the 2-2 Niners were right to make that move across the course of a full game.

Inexperienced even at the college level, Lance played only one full season as a starter for North Dakota State in 2019, which saw him account for 42 total touchdowns and zero interceptions, with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting him to a one-game exhibition in 2020.

But Lance is undaunted by the challenge of stepping up to start at the highest level this early in his career against an undefeated Cardinals team.

"I feel very prepared. I really do. And I think that's a credit to the coaching staff and the guys around me," Lance told a media conference. 

"Those guys have made me feel very confident this week, and I feel confident in myself, just as I did going into the Seattle game, and just as I did every other week before this."

Lance is unlikely to have one of the 49ers' top offensive weapons available, with tight end George Kittle doubtful with a calf injury. Rookie running back Elijah Mitchell is set to return from a shoulder injury, meaning the running game will be almost exclusively in the hands of three rookies in the form of Lance, Mitchell and third-round pick Trey Sermon.

Emma Raducanu still has so much to improve and it is far too early to declare her a contender to win every tournament, according to Tim Henman.

The 18-year-old achieved stunning success at the US Open, winning the grand slam event as a qualifier without dropping a set.

Raducanu will play her first match since that famous Flushing Meadows triumph when she takes on Aliaksandra Sasnovich at the Indian Wells Open on Friday.

The youngster has been rated as favourite to win the tournament, which is seen as one of the most prestigious outside of the four majors.

There is already talk of her qualifying for the lucrative season-ending WTA Finals and triumphing at Wimbledon next year, having burst onto the scene in 2021 by reaching round four at All England Club.

But fellow Briton Henman urged fans to show caution with what they expect from Raducanu before her first match in 27 days against seasoned pro Sasnovich.

Raducanu has regularly discussed her lack of experience at tour level while she searches for a new coach to show her the ropes and Henman did not want to entertain discussions of her winning Wimbledon in 2022.

"I think that is probably getting a little ahead of ourselves," Henman said to talkSPORT. 

"She has shown her enormous potential by what she did in New York, but she is still so young and so inexperienced. 

"She has played so few events on the tour, let alone at grand slam level. I think it’s very easy to get ahead of ourselves.

"Regarding some of the young up and coming players, to really understand where they are at and their development, for me you get a very good insight once they have played every tournament twice.

"To put it into context, she has never played the clay court swing, she’s never played Roland Garros, she has never played the Australian Open.

"Once she has played all those events twice, then we will be able to assess where her game is at.

"Right now, it is as much about the process as the outcome and keep developing her game."

Henman, though, was in no doubt that Raducanu is a prodigious talent.

He added: "What is exciting is that she can improve in so many areas. 

"It is easy to focus on her tennis game, but she can get fitter, stronger, faster and gain experience playing at the highest level and continue improving her tennis game.

"If she does that then I think she will go on and win more tournaments in the future.

"It was a privilege to be on the side of the court for all her main draw matches and just see the quality of her tennis at close quarters.

"Her resilience mentally, her composure and the consistency was incredible. To win 20 straight sets to qualify and win a grand slam is unprecedented in our sport, it was a real pleasure to watch."

While Raducanu received a first-round bye, Sasnovich had an easy opener as she beat Maria Camila Osorio Serrano in straight sets.

The Belarusian has never won a WTA Tour event or reached the last eight of a major.

The Kansas City Chiefs will be out to burst the in-form Buffalo Bills' bubble when they meet in a standout NFL Week 5 showdown.

Buffalo stretched their winning run to three matches with a 40-0 rout of the Houston Texans last Sunday.

Week 4 was also one to remember for the Chiefs and particularly Andy Reid, who became the first coach in NFL history to win 100 games with two teams thanks to a 42-30 defeat of his former employers the Philadelphia Eagles.

As the only team with a perfect record, the Arizona Cardinals will look to make it 5-0 at the expense of the San Francisco 49ers.

Stats Perform previews the pick of the action in the next round of matches and the best of the rest.

 

Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs

The Bills are sitting pretty at the top of the AFC East at 3-1, but they have lost five of their past six meetings against the Chiefs.

Buffalo will be on a revenge mission after they were beaten 38-24 by Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game last season, the largest margin of victory for the Chiefs in those five triumphs.

The Bills' thrashing of the Texans was the second time this season they have kept an opponent scoreless, having also done so against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2.

Reid's side prop up the AFC West with a 2-2 record, but their 18 touchdowns is more than any in the NFL and Josh Gordon will be hoping to add to that tally if he makes his debut.

San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals' dream start to the season continued with a 37-20 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4, taking them to 4-0 for only the second time since moving to Arizona nine years after they previously won their opening four games.

If recent history is anything to go by, there will not be much in their showdown this weekend, as four of the past five meetings between the two sides have been decided by only three points.

The 2-2 49ers travel to State Farm Stadium having come out on top in four of their previous four meetings, having lost their eight clashes beforehand.

Deebo Samuel caught a 76-yard touchdown pass in San Francisco's 28-21 loss to Seattle Seahawks in Week 4, making him the fourth 49ers wide receiver to have multiple receiving touchdowns of 75-plus yards in a single season – joining Torrey Smith, John Taylor, and Jerry Rice.

Cleveland Browns @ Los Angeles Chargers 

The Browns and the Chargers have made promising starts to the season and both come into the game on the back of wins that took them to 3-1.

Cleveland have not beaten the Chargers on the road since back in 1991, losing five on the spin since then – a run that is tied for their third-longest active road losing streak against an opponent (lost 17 straight in Pittsburgh and six straight at New England).

The past two games mark the first time the Browns have allowed seven points or fewer back-to-back since September 10-17, 1995. They have done so in three straight games only once in franchise history (in 1976).

Nick Chubb (388) and Kareem Hunt (355) are the second pair of running backs in the last 30 years to have 350+ scrimmage yards apiece over their team's first four games of a season. The other was the Chargers' Melvin Gordon III and Austin Ekeler in 2018. 

Elsewhere

Tom Brady broke Drew Brees' NFL passing yards record in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' win over his former team the New England Patriots in Week 4 and could inflict more misery on the Dolphins this weekend. The legendary quarterback has thrown 67 touchdowns against Miami the third-most by a player against any opponent in the Super Bowl era (Dan Marino – 72 v. the New York Jets, Brady – 70 v. the Bills). 

The Green Bay Packers head to Cincinnati to do battle with the Bengals, who they beat 27-24 in their last encounter in 2017. That snapped a three-game winning streak by the Bengals in the series. The Packers' last win in Cincinnati came in Week 3 of the 1998 season.

Urban Meyer has come under fire for his night out after the Jacksonville Jaguars suffered a fourth loss from four last week and he really needs a win when the Florida team host the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee are 7-1 versus the Jaguars since 2017.

NFC East leaders the Dallas Cowboys will go in search of a fifth consecutive home win over the New York Giants.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton will take a 10-place grid penalty at the Turkish Grand Prix after having a new engine fitted in his Mercedes.

Hamilton on Thursday stated that he did not envisage having a fresh power unit for the race at Istanbul Park this weekend.

The Silver Arrows on Friday confirmed seven-time Formula One world champion Hamilton will take a penalty, with the new engine taking him over the permitted allowance of three for the season.

Hamilton leads Max Verstappen by only two points in the battle for the title, so the Red Bull driver will have a great chance to regain the lead on Sunday.

Verstappen worked his way from the back of the grid to finish second at the Russian Grand Prix last time out after the Dutchman took an engine penalty.

Briton Hamilton won in Turkey last year after starting in sixth place, sealing a record-equalling seventh title. 

Carlos Sainz will also have to work his way from the back of the grid with a new power unit in his Ferrari.

Will Skelton, Rory Arnold and Tolu Latu have been recalled to the Australia squad for their upcoming tour of the northern hemisphere.

The France-based trio were on Friday named in a 37-man party to face Japan at Oita Stadium on October 23 before travelling to Europe to take on Scotland, England and Wales next month.

Skelton has not played for the Wallabies since 2016, but the towering La Rochelle lock is set to add to his 18 caps.

Fellow second-rower Arnold, who plies his trade with Toulouse in the Top 14, and Stade Francais hooker Latu have not played for their country since the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Lalakai Foketi, Izaia Perese, Pone Fa'amausili and Connal McInerney are the uncapped quartet in the squad.

Japan-based trio Quade Cooper, Sean McMahon and Samu Kerevi – who has recovered from an ankle injury – were included on the back of Australia's second-placed finish behind New Zealand in the Rugby Championship.

Dave Rennie's side have won four consecutive games, seeing off world champions South Africa and Argentina twice.

Head coach Rennie said: "Firstly we're extremely grateful to be able to represent Australia on the world stage in the current environment and that's something that's not lost on this group.

"We've been building as a squad over the past 18 months or so and to get a chance to head to the northern hemisphere and test ourselves against four really strong International sides is a great opportunity to learn more about ourselves."

 

Australia squad: Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Angus Bell, Quade Cooper, Filipo Daugunu, Pone Fa'amausili, Folau Fainga'a, Lalakai Foketi, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge, Michael Hooper (captain), Len Ikitau, Feleti Kaitu'u, Andrew Kellaway, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Tolu Latu, Rob Leota, Tate McDermott, Connal McInerney, Sean McMahon, James O’Connor, Hunter Paisami, Izaia Perese, Jordan Petaia, Matt Philip, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Pete Samu, Will Skelton, James Slipper, Darcy Swain, Lachlan Swinton, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini, Nic White, Tom Wright.

Randy Arozarena's memorable steal of home base during the Tampa Bay Rays' 5-0 defeat of the Boston Red Sox in their ALDS Game 1 opener had been a long time in the making.

It was a historic night for Arozarena, who became the first player in playoff history to steal home and hit a home run in the same game.

Arozarena was also the first to pull off the feat in a playoff clash since 2016 and the first to complete a straight steal of home since 1955.

Rays manager Kevin Cash said the leading contender for Rookie of the Year had been in his ear about attempting the move for some time.

"He's asked me all season long, 'Verde, verde, verde' – green light," Cash said. 

"We finally gave it to him."

Arozarena explained why he opted to pull off the audacious move.

"I noticed the pitcher kind of wasn't keeping attention to me. I was able to take a big enough lead and take that base," Arozarena said. 

"That's the first time I've ever stolen home."

With 11 playoff homers, Arozarena is tied second with Carlos Beltran and Jim Thome for the second most of all time, behind only Babe Ruth on 12.

His number is the most of any rookie in MLB history, with Evan Longoria a distant second on six.

"I just focus a little bit more [in playoff games],"Arozarena said. 

"Luckily it's happening in October, when it means it's closer to the World Series."

Pete Carroll described Russell Wilson as "one of the great healers of all time" but is not yet sure how long a "badly sprained finger" will keep the Seattle Seahawks' quarterback out of action for.

Wilson damaged the middle finger of his throwing hand during Thursday's damaging 26-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams that left the Seahawks 2-3 in the NFC West.

He managed to return for one series only to be replaced by Geno Smith, who led one touchdown drive before throwing for an interception that ultimately sealed the game for the 4-1 Rams.

Seahawks head coach Carroll said he was unsure if Wilson will need surgery and added: "There is a lot of work to be done in assessing all of that. 

"Russell is one of the great healers of all time and he'll do whatever he can to get back as soon as absolutely possible."

Wilson finished with 11-of-16 passing for 152 yards, a touchdown and an interception from a tipped throw, while Smith was 10-of-17 for 131 yards and also added 23 rushing yards.

Television pictures showed Wilson's finger bent in an unnatural position, while he was examined for several minutes by medical personnel on the Seahawks' bench.

"He wasn't able to hold onto the football the way he needed to, to throw it, because we were going to throw the ball, and we needed to throw it all over the place," Carroll added.

"We didn't know what he would be able to do. He was just unsure. If he could have, he would have."

Smith entered the fray early in the fourth quarter and completed a 23-yard touchdown pass to DK Metcalf on the back of a 10-play, 98-yard drive. At that point, Smith was five-for-five and the Seahawks had trimmed the deficit to 16-14.

"Geno did a really, really good job, very much in command," Carroll said. 

"We were able to do all kinds of things with him out there. He handled all the communications beautifully and played really well. 

"We had a chance to win a football game. With all of that, we had a chance to win the football game with the ball in our hands and couple minutes to go."

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