Don't look now, but Andrew Luck's Colts are 6-3

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Don't look now, but Andrew Luck's Colts are 6-3

From Comcast SportsNetJACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Inspiration one week, domination the next.The Indianapolis Colts became the latest to hammer the Jacksonville Jaguars at home, winning 27-10 on Thursday night behind rookie quarterback Andrew Luck's two rushing touchdowns.Darius Butler returned an interception for a score as the Colts (6-3) won their fourth consecutive game and snapped a three-game losing streak in the series. The Jaguars (1-8) have lost six straight, their worst start in franchise history.The Colts had cause for concern following an emotional victory four days earlier, one in which cancer-stricken coach Chuck Pagano delivered a passionate, postgame speech in the locker room. Interim coach Bruce Arians was worried the team might crash from the emotional high.Not even close.Indianapolis scored on three consecutive possessions in the first half, opening up a 17-0 lead that started emptying the stands at EverBank Field."This win was huge," Luck said. "We wanted to keep our winning streak going. Jacksonville got us earlier this year. We didn't want to go 0-2 against a team. This is a good step in the right direction, but no one looks back at the fact that you were 6-3 in the middle of the season. It's what we do at the end of the season."Coming off an NFL rookie record 433 yards passing against Miami, Luck wasn't quite as sharp in his prime-time debut. He didn't need to be, either.Luck completed 18 of 26 passes for 227 yards, with an interception and a fumble. But he was unstoppable near the end zone, juking defenders with two pump fakes and scrambling for a 5-yard score on one drive and then plunging across the goal line on fourth down on the next possession.That was plenty against the Jaguars, who have the league's worst offense and played a third game without star running back Maurice Jones-Drew.Jacksonville has lost every game since a come-from-behind victory at Indianapolis. Blaine Gabbert hit Cecil Shorts III for an 80-yard touchdown in the final minute, stunning the Colts.There was no drama in the rematch.The Colts essentially sealed the victory when Butler stepped in front of Gabbert's pass in the flat and went untouched for an 11-yard score early in the third quarter."It was an anticipated thing," Butler said. "It was something I had seen those guys do on film, so I was ready for it and jumped in front of him. I knew they wanted to get the ball out quick. I was ready for it and went for it. A great feeling."Indianapolis became just the third road team to win on Thursday night this season, and just the fifth in the last two seasons. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said before the game that the league is analyzing whether home teams on short weeks have a distinct advantage.It certainly would help any road team to play in Jacksonville.The Jaguars have been outscored 153-44 at home this season, on the wrong end of lopsided losses to Houston, Cincinnati, Chicago and Detroit.Against Indy, nothing seemed to go Jacksonville's way.Marcedes Lewis, Rashad Jennings and Shorts dropped passes early. Josh Scobee missed a 44-yard field goal attempt, snapping a streak of 20 consecutive makes.The Jaguars had an interception overturned by a roughing the passer penalty on Terrance Knighton, keeping alive a drive that ended in a touchdown. They also were on the losing end of two reviews."We're trying to overcome ourselves," coach Mike Mularkey said. "We have to overcome ourselves. When we do that, we'll start winning games."The mistakes kept coming, too.Laurent Robinson fumbled at the end of a 9-yard gain, getting the ball stripped by Moise Fokou. Officials initially ruled Robinson was down, but the call was overturned on review. That turnover led to Indy's second touchdown and prompted Mularkey's meltdown on the sideline.Mularkey lost his cool when officials refused to acknowledge his pleas for a review on Luck's fourth-down TD plunge. Luck appeared to fumble the ball as he crossed the goal line.All scoring plays are reviewed, so Mularkey couldn't challenge, but he seemingly wanted officials to take a longer look at the scoring play. He whipped his play sheet and headset onto the field, drawing a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct."I lost my composure because of it," Mularkey said. "I knew it was going to be reviewed. I certainly thought the review would see what everybody else saw."Players followed his lead, getting flagged for five more 15-yard penalties. Knighton, center Mike Brewster, safety Dawan Landry, defensive end Andre Branch and receiver Justin Blackmon all drew flags. The Jaguars finished the night with 10 penalties for 115 yards."That's not going to be who we are," Mularkey said. "There's no way we're going to be that way. We will not be that type of team. We will be a disciplined team, we'll be a smart team and we will be a physical team. But we will not be that team that's going to have personal fouls. It will stop."Trailing 17-0, Mularkey wanted to go for it on fourth-and-4, but Gabbert bobbed his head and was flagged for a false start. Mularkey settled for a field goal.Gabbert completed 18 of 31 passes for 209 yards, with an interception. He left the game in the fourth quarter after re-injuring his left, non-throwing shoulder. He could have returned, but Mularkey decided to keep him on the bench with the score out of hand.Shorts caught six passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, a 4-yarder from backup Chad Henne. Robinson finished with nine receptions for 77 yards."We're so close but so far at the same time," Gabbert said. "We get drives going and we have to make a play and we haven't done that. We definitely didn't do that tonight."Notes: Colts DT Drake Nevis injured a hand. ... Colts hadn't won four straight since closing the 2010 regular season. ... Jacksonville's previous worst start had been 1-7 in 2003, the first season for former coach Jack Del Rio. ... Jaguars have lost five straight Thursday night games and dropped nine of 10 prime time affairs.

Decision time for A's: Trade Sonny Gray now or later?

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AP

Decision time for A's: Trade Sonny Gray now or later?

As Sonny Gray prepares to take the mound against Toronto on Tuesday night, there’s not a hotter name in the rumor mill as the major leagues’ non-waiver trade deadline approaches Monday.

Yet there’s a contradiction attached to the A’s right-hander. He is simultaneously the likeliest Athletic to be traded, and the toughest to pry away simply because of what the team will demand in return.

The markets for first baseman Yonder Alonso and second baseman Jed Lowrie haven’t developed as expected, to the point that you wonder how much the A’s could even get in return for them right now.

That focuses the spotlight squarely on Gray, 27, who has posted a 1.62 ERA over his last five starts and comes with two more seasons of team control before he hits free agency. That’s why he’s been linked to no fewer than nine contending teams who are looking for starting pitching.

The A’s sit in a position of strength here. They don’t have to deal Gray right now, and indications from within the organization are that they don’t feel a pressing need to deal him before Monday if they don’t get swept off their feet by an offer. They can retain him, and he’ll still hold great value as an offseason trade chip with those two years of team control.

MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reported Tuesday morning that the Yankees and Nationals — who have already struck a deal with Oakland to get relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson this month — are two teams in particular to watch in the hunt for Gray.

Morosi also reported that the A’s are targeting young outfielders as the anchor of any deal. That makes all the sense in the world given their organizational needs, particularly in center. It’s also in line with what I’ve heard that the A’s would prioritize getting position players in return since they worked so hard over the past couple of years to acquire and draft young starting pitching (though it stands to reason a deal for Gray would be a multi-player package that could also include pitching prospects as well).

Morosi specifically mentions Yankees Single-A center fielder Estevan Florial as a player the A’s like. He’s just 19 and at least a couple years away from the majors. But Billy Beane, the head of Oakland’s baseball operations, said after making the Doolittle/Madson trade that the emphasis moving forward would be on acquiring high-end talent, not necessarily prospects close to being major league-ready.

Other potential Gray suitors have elite outfield prospects in their system: The Astros boast Kyle Tucker, the Nats have Victor Robles and the Mariners have Kyle Lewis, though it’s doubtful whether Seattle has enough elsewhere in its farm system to assemble a package to land Gray.

Just a hunch, but keep an eye on the Dodgers as a team that could enter the Sonny Sweepstakes in light of Clayton Kershaw’s lower back injury. There’s strong ties between the Oakland and Los Angeles front offices, and the teams struck a deadline deal last summer that sent Rich Hill and Josh Reddick to the Dodgers. They have one of the majors’ top outfield prospects in Alex Verdugo, who’s currently at Triple-A.

Though much mystery remains, an eventual trade of Gray is inevitable. The A’s have a solid base of young pitching depth, both in the majors and coming up through the system. And Gray’s rebound from a poor 2016, combined with his favorable contract status, makes him too tantalizing a trade chip for the A’s not to make the move.

The key question is not “if” but “when.”

 

Report: Blazers trade Allen Crabbe

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USATI

Report: Blazers trade Allen Crabbe

Allen Crabbe will end up in Brooklyn after all.

The Blazers will trade the shooting guard to the Nets, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

In exchange, Brooklyn will send big man Andrew Nicholson to Portland.

Nicholson will not suit up for the the Blazers, as Portland will waive and stretch his contract.

Last summer, Crabbe -- who was a restricted free agent -- signed a 4-year, $75 million sheet from the Nets.

The former Cal star returned to the Pacific Northwest because the Blazers matched the offer.

Last season, Crabbe averaged a career-best 10.7 points per game, while shooting just under 47 percent from the field and over 44 percent from deep.

He averaged just 5.5 points in the opening round of the playoffs against the Warriors.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller