Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on October 23, 2015 · Page D6
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October 23, 2015

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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page D6

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Friday, October 23, 2015
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Page6D Friday,October23,2015 DemocratandChronicle. com Sponsored by: BILLS PLAYER OF THE WEEK Name : LeSean McCoy. Position : Running back. Age : 27. H eight/weight : 5-foot-11/ 208 pounds. Experience : 7th year. College : Pittsburgh. How acquired : Trade from Philadelphia in 2015. I nside scoop: Returned from a hamstring injury e arlier than expected a gainst Cincinnati and rushed for 90 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown. ... For the season he has 277 yards on 48 carries, plus nine c atches for 87 yards with two total touchdowns. LeSean M cCoy of the Buffalo Bills KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City Royals have established a reputation for dramatic posts eason comebacks the p ast couple of years, beg inning with last seas on’s wild-card victory over Oakland. Turns out, the Toronto Blue Jays have some never-say-quit spirit as well. After going on a second-half run to make the playoffs, then rallying from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Texas in a best-of- five matchup, the Blue Jays will try to beat the Royals in another win- or-else situation in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series on Friday night. Toronto forced the series back to Kansas City with a 7-1rout on Wednesday, closing to 3-2. “You look at all the e limination games, our offense has really come t o life,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Thursday. “We’ve said all along that’s the key to o ur team, scoring runs. You hate to make a habit of it, but maybe we can pull it off again.” David Price will take t he mound for the Blue J ays after his collapse in Game 2, when he tossed six shutout innings and then surrendered five runs in the seventh. Yord ano Ventura will op- p ose him for Kansas City. He was only marginally better, allowing three runs and eight hits in 5 1 ⁄ 3 innings before w atching the comeback w in from the dugout. “I’m very fortunate and happy that this game has landed on my turn, here in Kansas C ity, and with the opportunity to take this club to the World Series,” Ventura said through catching coach Pedro Grifol, acting as a translator. “ I’ll be ready for this game.” The Blue Jays promise they will be, too. T oronto lost the first two games against the Rangers at home, then w on three straight with its season hanging in the balance. The first two were at Texas, and the last at Rogers Centre, but none of the victories was even close — all by a t least three runs. The B lue Jays lost the first two games in Kansas City, too. But in Game 3 i n Toronto, the hosts overcame a 1-0 deficit and rolled to an 11-8 vic- t ory. “We’ve been through abunch of hurdles all y ear,” Blue Jays outfielder Chris Colabello s aid. “We were 7 1 ⁄ 2 games (back) at the deadlines. …We had to claw back f rom that. We were down two games back in the division series and w e clawed back from that. I’ll tell you what, w e’re going to leave everything we have out there.” They may have to do just that. While the Blue Jays have won four straight elimination g ames, the Royals are 6-2 in their last eight postseason games at Kauffman Stadium. Make no mistake, either: The ballpark matters in this series. While the homer-happy Blue Jays were built with the small dimensions of Rogers Centre in mind, the speedy, defensive- m inded Royals were built for their home p ark. Not surprisingly, the Blue Jays failed to homer in the first two g ames of the ALCS in K ansas City, but hit four long balls in Toronto, inc luding three in Game 3. Jays try to force Game 7 DAVE SKRETTA ASSOCIATED PRESS HOUSTON - D eAndre Hopkins spent h is first two seasons with the Houston Texans i n the oversized shadow o f Andre Johnson. N ow Johnson is gone a nd Hopkins has shown just how good he can be as the team’s clear-cut top option. He’s leading t he NFL with 726 yards receiving and is on pace t o break many of Johns on’s franchise receiving records. Hopkins led the team in 2014 with a c areer-best 1,210 yards r eceiving, but in many w ays he was still playing s econd-fiddle to Johnson, the longtime face of the f ranchise who was released in March after 12 s easons with the Texans. S o does the 23-year-old feel a shift this season w ith Johnson playing in I ndianapolis? “I don’t r eally want to talk about h im too much because he’s not here, but yeah obviously,” Hopkins said. Hopkins has thrived t his season despite Houston flip-flopping between B rian Hoyer and Ryan M allett at quarterback. He had 10 catches for 148 yards in a win over the J aguars on Sunday to be- c ome the first player in N FL history with nine or m ore catches and 145 or more yards receiving in t hree straight games. It was Hopkins’ f ourth straight 100-yard r eceiving game to tie Johnson for the longest s uch streak in team his- t ory. Hopkins’ 2,738 y ards receiving are sec- o nd in franchise history in a player’s first three seasons behind Johnson’s 2,806 yards and he h as 10 games remaining. If Hopkins continues at h is current pace he w ould finish the season with 1,936 yards receiving, which would sur- p ass the franchise mark o f 1,598 yards Johnson h ad in 2012. NFL Houston’s Hopkins leads NFL in yards receiving KRISTIE RIEKEN ASSOCIATED PRESS 2015 ALCS 2015 NLCS WATFORD, England - There was clearly something askew with Percy Harvin when Rex Ryan announced Wednesday that he did not make the trip to London with the Bills. The answer came T hursday when published r eports indicated that the s eventh-year wide receive r remained in the United States because he is contemplating what to do about his football future. There were mixed signals regarding what Harvin was doing — the Buffalo News reportedhe is contemplating retirement, while ESPN refuted the retirement report, saying he’s concerned about his ongoing hip injury and isn’t sure whether h e can continue playing this year. All Ryan knows is that Harvin won’t be on the field Sunday at Wembley Stadium when the Bills face the Jacksonville Jaguars. When he was asked for a n update on Harvin, and to confirm that he defi- n itely won’t be traveling overseas to join the team, Ryan said that Harvin was indeed out for the game, t hen added, “I’m not going to say any more on it because I don’t know where he is.” Harvin has battled his h ip injury for more than t wo years. After signing a rich free agent contract with Seattle prior to 2013, he underwent surgery and missed almost the en- t ire regular season. He d id return for the postseason, and he returned the second-half kickoff for a touchdown in the Sea- hawks’ 43-8 blowout of D enver in Super Bowl 48. T he Seahawks traded Harvin to Ryan’s Jets e arly last year amid reports that Harvin was a problem inside the locker room. Harvin, according t o Ryan, was a model citizen and a great teammate in New York, and when the Jets decided not to resign him as a free agent, R yan pounced on the c hance in March to bring him to Buffalo. Harvin missed a good chunk of training camp and all of the preseason d ealing with the hip inju- r y, and he has been given rest days every Wednesday of the regular season. After playing in the first five games, Harvin could n ot go last week against C incinnati, and even if he doesn’t decide to call it q uits, it seems like he’s going to be sidelined for several weeks, if not the rest of this year. W atkins is out: In addition to announcing that quarterback Tyrod Taylor would not play in the game, Ryan went ahead a nd declared several oth- e r players out. Obviously, the four players who did not come to London are all out; Harvin, defensive tackle Kyle Williams ( knee), running back Karl os Williams (concussion), and offensive tackle Sean- trel Henderson (concussion). Also, wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who suf- f ered an ankle injury last w eek, will not be able to dress. R yan said special teamer Marcus Easley, who may have to take some snaps at receiver, p articipated in practice on a limited basis with his shoulder injury. As for cornerback Leodis McKelvin, he also worked o n a limited basis as he w orks his way off the Non-football/Injury list. McKelvin’s chances for playing seem long. Root for the Bills: It is s aid that fans often just r oot for laundry.You root for players on your team, and then once they change uniforms, they no longer exist in your uni- v erse, until they come a round as an opponent. Ryan hinted that per- h aps Englanders should be pulling for the Bills Sunday because they have the same red, w hite, and blue colors as the Union Jack. “I think the big thing out of today is the fact it just dawned on me that t he fans here in London, t hey definitely should be cheering for the Bills,” Ryan said. “Got the same colors, the Union Jack, all that kind of s tuff. When in doubt, w hat do you want, teal? What is Jacksonville, come on please, stop.” MAIORANA@ G annett.com BILLS NOTEBOOK Harvin’s future in question Bills receiver not in London SAL MAIORANA @SALMAIORANA MATT DUNHAMAP Bills head coach Rex Ryan, right, talks with team owner Terry Pegula during a practice session Thursday at the Grove Hotel in Chandler’s Cross, England. The Bills play the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday. were looking at him and h e still has some soreness in that knee so that means when you touch it and it’s still sore, it hasn’t healed. We’re not going to force this young man and put h im out there when he’s really not 100 percent, so he won’t play in the game.” This move makes s ense because with the Bills heading to their bye week after this game, it provides Taylor extra rest and healing time, which m ay ensure that he can return to action when the Bills host Miami on Nov. 8. “ It’s based on that he’s not healed yet,” said Ryan. “We get that extra w eek so it makes sense, but we would have played him this week had it been healed, but it’s not.” Ryan said that during Wednesday’s practice, Taylor looked pretty good in the reps he took, but he added, “I noticed that he was more arm, he wasn’t s tepping into the throws, especially early in the practice. As the practice went on he looked better to me, but clearly he w asn’t 100 percent when we ran him.” Thus, Manuel gets his second start in a row, and he hopes that he’ll be able t o improve on an uneven performance against Cincinnati.“For me, it’s j ust about building off what I did last week,” said Manuel. “Making a throw h ere, a throw there, instead of looking at it on Monday and saying I wish Ihad done this, I wish I had done that on two or three plays that could have changed the game for us.” Manuel completed 28 of 42 passes for 263 yards with a touchdown, an in- t erception, and a rushing touchdown, but the same problems that have held Manuel back in the past resurfaced. He was inconsistent in his decision- m aking, and his ball placement was poor on several throws. He was bailed out on a few throws by some great catches, t wo in particular by tight end Charles Clay. “Overall consistency, that’s it with him,” offensive coordinator Greg Rom an said of Manuel. “And (accuracy) is part of it.” Of course, Manuel w on’t be helped by the fact that the receiving corps will be shorts taffed again. Ryan announced that wide receiver Sammy Watkins, as expected, won’t be playing. With Percy Harvin al- ready out because he’s not in London while reportedly contemplating his future in the NFL,and Marquise Goodwin gone for the year with a rib injury, t he Bills have a serious issue in the passing game. The only viable receivers they have are Robert Woods and Chris Hogan, with newcomer Denarius M oore and special teams player Marcus Easley in reserve. Roman admitted it’s a tough hand that Manuel h as been dealt, but he has to push forward. “It’s just life in the NFL, the best laid plans of mice and men,” said Rom an. “Injuries are a part of the game, we’ve been decimated by them, but w e feel like we can adapt and survive and we just have to get through this p eriod of time. We have plenty of other options and we have to play a style where we’re not hurting ourselves with penalties and stopping drives that way. It changes the focus a little bit when you don’t have some of your most explosive guys.” Roman did say, t hough, that Manuel will be able to rely on running back LeSean McCoy. “When you have one of the best running b acks in the world, you can’t measure that, it’s critical,” said Roman. “Putting a plan together with a guy in mind, it’s n ot just the player, McCoy, it’s the offensive line, the tight ends, everybody. You’re putting aplan together that t hey’re trying to absorb and master, and if he’s playing, we’ve got some- t hing, let alone on game day when you’re giving him the ball.” M AIORANA@ Gannett.com Manuel Continued from Page 1D Bills QB EJ Manuel at a news conference Thursday. SPORTS

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