Tony Romo sets a Cowboys record in win over Eagles

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Tony Romo sets a Cowboys record in win over Eagles

From Comcast SportsNetARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Tony Romo knows what matters the most when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys. So while it's nice to break Troy Aikman's franchise record for career touchdown passes, he's focused on getting his team to the playoffs.Romo threw three second-half touchdown passes to answer a strong game by Philadelphia's rookie duo of Bryce Brown and Nick Foles, and the Cowboys sent the Eagles to their eighth straight loss with a 38-33 victory Sunday night.The first two scoring tosses from Romo erased seven-point deficits, including a 23-yarder to Dez Bryant that was vintage Romo and broke Aikman's career mark of 165 TD passes. Romo scrambled to his right and threw back across the field to Bryant, who weaved through the Philadelphia defense to tie it at 17 in the third quarter.Romo tied it again at 24 on a throw to Miles Austin, and had one more answer after Brown and Foles led the Eagles to a go-ahead field goal. He threw deep to Bryant for 35 yards on third down, and Bryant found his way into the end zone again by taking a screen pass 6 yards just inside the pylon for a 31-27 lead with 5:40 remaining in the game."It's about winning games," said Romo, who was 10 of 10 in the second half and completed his last 12 passes. "We desperately had to have this win tonight, and our team fought like heck to get a win."The Eagles' slide continued despite 169 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Brown a week after he set a team rookie record with 178 yards on the ground.After Romo's go-ahead touchdown pass, Dallas went up by 11 when Morris Claiborne returned a fumble by Brown 50 yards for a touchdown.Brown's fumble snapped a streak of eight straight scoring drives by both teams. It was the second straight week that he mixed big runs with critical fumbles after losing the ball twice in last week's loss to Carolina."Up until that fumble, he had done a heck of a job," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "He was trying to get every stinking yard he possibly could."Philadelphia (3-9) had a chance for an improbable rally when Damaris Johnson returned a punt 98 yards with 31 seconds left. After a failed 2-point conversion, the Cowboys recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.Foles, who was 22 of 34 in his third start in place of Michael Vick, led the Eagles to a 27-24 lead early in the fourth quarter on a 43-yard field goal by Alex Henery, who now has the longest current field goal streak at 21 after Cleveland's Phil Dawson had a kick blocked Sunday."It was a tough loss," Foles said. "I'm proud of our team with the way they fought. We have to keep working and stick together."Dallas running back DeMarco Murray, who started after missing six games with a sprained right foot, finished with 83 yards and a touchdown. Romo was 22 of 27 for 303 yards with no interceptions and a passer rating of 150.5.Brown, who started his first game since high school when he filled in for LeSean McCoy last week, went in untouched on both of his scoring plays in the first half. He scooted around the left side for a 7-0 lead and trotted through a big hole up the middle to make it 14-3 midway through the second quarter.Vick and McCoy are sidelined by concussions.Philadelphia was in front after the first quarter for the first time all season, but Dan Bailey got the Cowboys on the board with a 39-yard field goal early in the second. DeMarco Murray's 1-yard touchdown run trimmed the Eagles' lead to 14-10 with 41 seconds left in the half.Romo overcame a holding penalty and an 8-yard loss when Kevin Ogletree fumbled a handoff on a reverse by completing third-down passes to Jason Witten, Bryant and Miles Austin. Romo then found Witten all alone in the middle of the field for 28 yards to the 1, setting up Murray's score.The Eagles answered by driving 52 yards in 35 seconds to a 43-yard field goal by Henery on the last play of the half. Foles completed a 29-yard pass to Jason Avant to get the Eagles in scoring range.Brown got Philadelphia's first scoring drive going with a 42-yard run up the middle and finished it with a 10-yard run.Trailing 7-3 early the second quarter, the Cowboys went three and out after a third-down completion from Romo to Witten was overturned on a challenge by Reid. Replay showed the ball hitting the turf as Witten grabbed it.Two plays later, Brown went 39 yards down the sideline and later scored from 5 yards out.The Cowboys welcomed Murray back by running him three straight times to start the game after calling 52 straight pass plays from the second quarter to the end of a Thanksgiving loss to Washington. The first time Murray went to the sideline, Romo was sacked by Brandon Graham on third-and-3.After the first Philadelphia touchdown, the Cowboys drove down the field for Bailey's field goal. Romo found Witten for 11 yards on third-and-10 and escaped pressure to complete a pass to Cole Beasley for 13 yards to the Eagles 41. Romo also had a 15-yard scramble.Not only did Dallas get Murray back, but the offensive line was closer to full strength. Center Ryan Cook returned after missing time with a knee injury, which allowed Mackenzy Bernadeau to return to guard after two starts at center.NOTES:The Cowboys snapped an eight-game losing streak on Sunday night. ... Foles' first two career TD passes were against Dallas, and both were to Riley Cooper. ... Heisman Trophy contender Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M watched the game from a suite. His next game will be at Cowboys Stadium, against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 4.

49ers, McDonald agree to five-year extension

49ers, McDonald agree to five-year extension

The 49ers signed tight end Vance McDonald to a five-year contract extension through the 2021 season, the team announced late Friday.

The deal is worth $35 million, including $16 million in guaranteed money, ESPN reported.

McDonald ranks third on the 49ers with 24 catches for 391 yards and four touchdowns. He has touchdown receptions this season of 75 and 65 yards.

"Vance has shown consistent growth throughout his four-year career and his production this season is the result of his dedication and hard work,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “We believe he has only scratched the surface of what he will be able to accomplish in his career. Vance is a tremendous ambassador for the 49ers, and his passion for helping others provides a wonderful example for this organization. We look forward to his continued contributions to this organization, both on and off the field.”

McDonald is in the final season of his original four-year, $3.99 million contract he signed as a second-round draft pick in 2013.

In McDonald’s three previous seasons, he caught just 40 passes for 475 yards and three touchdowns.

McDonald spoke last week about the greater chances he's gotten to prove himself since the 49ers traded Vernon Davis last season.

“I just always look back at the opportunity when Vernon went to (Denver),” McDonald said. “Just being able to have the trust and the opportunity to start games and play every down.”

Said 49ers coach Chip Kelly, "He’s one of our weapons on the offensive side of the ball and he runs better than most tight ends in this league. So really depends on week to week what people have available at the safety spot to kind of match up with him. But he’s certainly someone that I think people defensively have to game plan for.”

 

 

Sharks' Thornton not concerned with his offensive numbers

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USATSI

Sharks' Thornton not concerned with his offensive numbers

ANAHEIM – When you have a guy on your roster that just broke into the NHL’s top 25 in scoring, it’s probably difficult to tell him how to play the game.

Still, Joe Thornton is not putting up offensive numbers he’s accustomed to. Through 26 games, Thornton has just two goals and 14 assists for 16 points. Somewhat shockingly, both of his goals have come into an empty net, meaning he has yet to beat a single goaltender with a shot with nearly one-third of the schedule already in the books.

Coach Pete DeBoer remarked on Friday morning, “I think every coach that he’s ever played for would like him to shoot more.”

But has DeBoer told Thornton, who has 27 shots, to shoot more?

“I haven’t recently,” he said. “We’ve had conversations like all coaches do about it, but I pretty much let him play his game. I think most of the conversations we have are about other parts of the game.”

"For me, he does so many things so well for us that we’re not piling on that he needs to score or shoot more. He’s got to play his game, and the offense will come. He stirs our offensive drink, so to speak, and he does it well. I’m not worried about the fact that he doesn’t have goals, no.”

There’s reason to believe Thornton will pick up his production. In fact, his start this season is nearly identical to last year, when he had 15 points (3g, 12a) through 26 games. Over the final four months he up 66 points after Dec. 15, tied for Sidney Crosby for the most in the NHL.

The alternate captain indicated the Sharks’ short summer, combined with his playing for Team Canada in the World Cup, might have taken a toll on his 37-year-old body.

“Going deeper in the postseason I think, it just starts a little bit different – plus the World Cup started earlier. You just kind of jam it in,” he said. “I feel good lately, and hopefully [I’ll] continue it.”

Not surprisingly, the famously laid back Thornton isn’t concerned with the fact he doesn’t have any non-empty netters yet.

“They’ll eventually go in. It’s no secret I’m more of a pass-first guy,” he said. “When you don’t expect it, that’s when they usually come. I haven’t been squeezing my stick or anything.”

“It comes at the strangest times. For whatever reason, you get hot for little stretches of time. I’ve never been one to worry too much.”