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Dallas Cowboys

Shohei Ohtani gives up 1 hit in 7 shutout innings in home debut

Shohei Ohtani seemed to be the only person in Angel Stadium who wasn’t incredibly impressed while he mowed down the Oakland Athletics’ first 19 batters in order.

But when Ohtani finally yielded a hit and then struck out Matt Olson with two runners on to end the seventh inning, he gave a fist pump and a celebratory scream at the ground while the crowd rose for a standing ovation.

Even the two-way Japanese sensation realized his first home pitching start was a thrilling moment in his increasingly incredible rookie season.

Ohtani threw seven shutout innings of one-hit ball in his home debut on the mound, propelling the Los Angeles Angels to a 6-1 victory Sunday.

“He got off to a good start, the crowd got into it, [and] he got a little bit of a generous strike zone, all of that,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “But the bottom line is he pitched really well.”

Jed Lowrie drew a four-pitch walk after Semien’s single, but Ohtani ended the threat by inducing Khris Davis’ weak groundout before fanning Olson. He left the mound to the last of several standing ovations from his enthralled new fans in the sellout crowd — an unheard-of gathering at Angel Stadium in April.

“It’s a rare kind of talent to do it both ways, and it’s great to watch,” Angels second baseman Zack Cozart said. “It didn’t look like [the A’s] had a chance up there, the way he was throwing.”

Dallas has an opening on its line after Jonathan Cooper, who started 13 games at left guard, departed in free agency.

A big part of that beyond just who are the best is try to put them in the best place for them individually and the best place for them collectively. His versatility is going to help us. We have signed a couple of linemen. We’ll get them in the mix . . . and see where they fit in and get to work.”

Collins started 11 games at left guard as a rookie. He began 2016 as the starter there before injuring a toe in the third game, ending his season prematurely. A year ago, after left guard Ron Leary left in free agency and right tackle Doug Free retired, Collins moved to right tackle.

“I played against a lot of great players in my first year at right tackle,” Collins said. “For me, it only made me better as a player. Honestly, I never thought I could play multiple positions at the offensive line spot. Just being able to have played pretty much every position except center, it feels great. Going against those guys last year was a big stepping stone for me going into next year.”

Dallas Cowboys

NFL teams will start releasing players before the new league year. Here’s what you need to know

The best example from last season was Josh McCown. The Jets looks like they were in full-on tank mode last offseason when they seemingly dumped any player with any kind of talent.

Instead, McCown had a career year at 38 years old, and was 5-8 in his 13 starts before falling to injury. He was even second in the NFL among quarterbacks with five rushing touchdowns. Only Cam Newton and Dak Prescott had more (6).

He wants a victory smoke. Well-earned.

With two-and-a-half minutes left to play, tight end Zach Ertz scored a bobbling touchdown, the kind that you’re not really sure will survive the league’s confusing replay system. It did, and the Eagles regained the lead, 38-33. But they might have scored too soon, leaving the Patriots with a timeout and the two-minute warning still in their pocket.

He’s third all-time in passing yards with 70,445 and passing touchdowns with 488. By the end of next year, the future Hall of Famer will likely be the all-time leader in yards and on the doorstep of the touchdown record.

Brees is also set to become a free agent in March. There isn’t much reason to think the Saints won’t get a deal done, and it will likely be pricy. But it probably won’t touch the total Garoppolo just got because Brees just had a 39th birthday in January.

The game also featured the fewest punts in a game with just ONE. So many times during the NFL season it seemed like there were games that were nothing but punts. It was a nice treat to have just one in the biggest game of the season.

The game featured plenty of great plays, and it’s no surprise that it ended up breaking a few records. We knew early on that we were in for a good one, and the Eagles and Patriots gave us a Super Bowl to remember.

Dallas Cowboys

Both teams are using players that began the season as their backup quarterback under center.

The road to get here was filled with unexpected challenges for both teams, but in the end, the No. 1 seed Philadelphia Eagles and the No. 2 seed Minnesota Vikings advanced to the NFC title game.

Both are using primary running backs that did not begin the season as starters. Both have excellent defenses against both the run and the pass and both have creative, confounding offenses that found much more success during the regular season than anyone expected coming in.

In the meantime, unproven Jimmy Garoppolo is the starter in New England. He was uneven in the preseason opener (11 of 18, 168 yards) but that shouldn’t be cause for alarm; working out the kinks is the entire point of these practice games. Worst case, Brady returns and the Pats are 2-2, or maybe even 1-3, but thanks to playing in the AFC East, there’s still every reason to believe New England will win the division and return to the postseason for the eighth consecutive year.

The Eagles have a truly fearsome defense keyed by one of the league’s most imposing defensive lines, and thus the Falcons are going to have to fight even harder than usual to push down the field. The more drives that start from the 15 or even 10 yard line versus the 25 or even further downfield, the more acute that struggle is going to become. This is a game where every yard and every point is probably going to matter unless Nick Foles completely implodes, so it’ll be incumbent on the return game to make smart decisions and avoid penalties.

The folks over at The Falcoholic asked the question: What will the Eagles get out of Foles against the Falcons? From their perspective, there are some concerns, but it’s definitely preferable to playing against Wentz.

Sean McVay, the youngest head coach in modern NFL history, was named Coach of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America on Thursday, a testament to the Los Angeles Rams’ stunning turnaround under his watch.

The Rams were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Atlanta Falcons, but they led the NFL with six players on the Pro Football Writers’ All-NFL team — Gurley, offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, kicker Greg Zuerlein, punter Johnny Hekker and return specialist Pharoh Cooper.