Football is back! Brees, Saints defeat Cardinals

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Football is back! Brees, Saints defeat Cardinals

From Comcast SportsNet
CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- Tour the Pro Football Hall of Fame and see all the bronze busts. Cheer tackle Willie Roaf's induction. Watch Drew Brees produce a touchdown on his only try. Pretty good weekend for the New Orleans Saints. And boy, did they need it. Brees didn't need much time to top off a good visit, smoothly leading a touchdown drive in his only series Sunday night during a 17-10 victory over Arizona in the Hall of Fame game. "Just to be up here and see all those guys get inducted and take a tour of the Hall of Fame, that was really special," said Mark Ingram, who scored the first touchdown on a 1-yard run. "For us to all be here, it puts a lot of things into perspective going into this football season." The game was canceled last year for the first time in 45 years, a casualty of the NFL's lockout of the players. Labor issues also came into play in Sunday night's game -- the seven officials were replacements. It showed. The referee announced the result of the coin flip incorrectly -- Craig Ochoa said the Saints won the toss and deferred, then caught his mistake and said the Cardinals had won the toss. There were some other communication problems as well for the first-time crew. The win completed a good trip for the Saints (No. 9 in the AP Pro32), who needed a few smiles after their offseason dominated by their bounty scandal. Suspended coach Sean Payton got the league's permission to attend a dinner for Roaf and the other five Hall of Fame inductees on Friday night. Payton isn't allowed to have any contact with the team this season as punishment for the team's bounty program. Players got to tour the hall and sat in the back three rows of the stadium for Roaf's induction on Saturday, wearing black t-shirts with his No. 77. It was a proud moment for a franchise that's been overshadowed by the bounty scandal all offseason. "The induction was great," interim coach Joe Vitt said. "Our young players went through the Hall of Fame yesterday and saw a lot of history of the NFL and really took it in. From that standpoint, it was a great weekend." Don't forget that opening drive. Brees was sharp on the 10-play drive, completing 4 of 5 passes for 41 yards with one off-target throw. Brees skipped offseason workouts and minicamp because he was unhappy getting the team's franchise tag. He later agreed to a five-year, 100 million deal. Nothing has changed. "Drew was Drew," Vitt said. "That's the first unit. There's high standards here." The Cardinals (No. 23) are using the preseason to pick a quarterback, with Kevin Kolb and John Skelton competing for the starting job. Kolb got to start the game but had a tough time, throwing an interception on his first pass and leaving after bruising his ribs on the third series. "He has a bruise in his chest and that makes it kind of tough to rotate, move," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "I think he'll probably be practicing sometime this week." Skelton took over and completed 4 of 6 for 32 yards. "You never want to have an injury in the preseason, especially an early game like this, having to play that fifth preseason game," Skelton said. "But he will be OK." The Cardinals finished 8-8 last season, Kolb's first in Arizona. He started nine games and threw for nine touchdowns with eight interceptions while learning a new offense on the fly because of the lockout. Skelton filled in when Kolb was hurt and went 5-2 as a starter. After the opening series for each team, the backups got into the game and things got ragged. The fill-in officials had a few rough moments, too. Ochoa, who has eight years of experience with BCS leagues and 16 years at Division III, flipped the ceremonial coin and announced that New Orleans had won and deferred. As he started walking away, he caught his mistake. "Correction," he said. "Arizona won the coin toss." After New Orleans scored on its first possession, several Saints came in to block for the extra point and gestured to the officials to point out that they had reported for the play. Coming out of the 2-minute warning in the first half, Ochoa announced that the previous play was under review, then corrected himself and said it was not. The officials had trouble spotting the ball after a punt that involved a penalty, repeatedly moving the ball after consultations. The league has locked out its officials and hired replacements in case the labor dispute extends into the season. They've trained them for the last two months. The league used replacement officials for the opening week of the 2001 season before reaching agreement with the union. Notes: It was the Saints' fifth appearance in the Hall of Fame game, their first since 2007. The Cardinals made their fourth appearance, their first since 1986. ... Arizona's Dave Zastudil had a 79-yard punt, a record for the Hall of Fame game. ... Saints rookie Laron Scott had a 67-yard kickoff return. ... Arizona LB Paris Lenon limped off with an ankle injury after the opening series and didn't return.

Woods shoots 2-under, now sits alone in 10th place at Hero World Challenge

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AP

Woods shoots 2-under, now sits alone in 10th place at Hero World Challenge

NASSAU, Bahamas – A red-hot start fizzled out down the stretch for Tiger Woods, who continued his comeback with a 2-under 70 in the third round of the Hero World Challenge.

Woods birdied his first three holes, then added a hole-out from a bunker on No. 5 to race up the standings at the 17-man event where he also serves as tournament host. But Woods would bogey the next hole, then cap a back-nine 38 with a watery double bogey on No. 18.

Despite the late setback, Woods remained upbeat and optimistic about his performance through 54 holes.

“If you think about it, I’ve gotten off to some really good starts the first three days,” said Woods, who has played the front nine in 10 under for the week. “Generally when I come back from layoffs, that’s the most concerning part of the game is getting off to, I guess, halfway decent starts.”

Woods made the turn in 4-under 32 and reached 5 under on the day after rolling in a 15-footer on No. 11. But short misses led to back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14, and Woods put each of his last five drives into the sand. The last of that string gave him a middling lie for his final approach, which he deposited in a greenside pond.

Woods now sits alone in 10th place, firmly in the middle of the pack in an event that features several of the game’s best players. It’s a result that he’ll take given how low he set the bar for himself heading into his first competitive start in nearly 16 months.

READ MORE AT GolfChannel.com

Rabb leads Cal with career-high 26 points in dominant win

Rabb leads Cal with career-high 26 points in dominant win

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Ivan Rabb scored 18 of his career-high 26 points in the first half and California beat Alcorn State 83-59 on Saturday for its 25th consecutive home win.

Roger Moute a Bidias added 12 points and Kingsley Okoroh had seven points with nine rebounds to help the Golden Bears (6-1) to their fourth consecutive win.

Three days after setting his previous career best for scoring, Rabb shot 10 of 12 and had seven rebounds to lead a dominant effort down low by California. Rabb scored on a pair of putbacks in the first half, added a one-handed dunk off a lob pass from Charlie Moore then scored six points as part of an 11-2 run in the second half.

Moore, the Bears' leading scorer going into the game, had an off-game while filling in for point guard Grant Mullins. Moore missed his first six shots and finished with seven points and four assists.

Alcorn State (2-5) couldn't keep up and lost its third straight.

Reginal Johnson scored a season-high 17 points and had seven rebounds while Marquis Vance added 11 points for the Braves.

Cal went on runs of 9-0 and 7-0 during an eight-minute span to build a 44-25 halftime lead.

BIG PICTURE

Alcorn State: Three consecutive lopsided losses have second-year coach Montez Robinson's squad reeling. The problems are happening on both ends of the floor, though Johnson provided a lift offensively. The biggest issues are consistency and 3-point shooting. The Braves went 5 of 21 beyond the arc and are shooting under 30 percent for the season.

California: The Bears got on top early and never let the Braves get back into the game, a definite step up after California had troubles closing out games earlier this season. Getting Moute a Bidias going is another good sign as the team tries to find some complementary scoring to support Rabb. Moore started at point guard in place of Mullins, who flew to Canada following a death in his family. Mullins will rejoin the team in Hawaii.

UP NEXT

Alcorn State: The Braves continue their six-game road trip at Louisiana Tech on Monday night.

California: The Bears left immediately after the win to fly to Hawaii for a pair of games in the Pearl Harbor Invitational. California opens against Princeton on Tuesday night.