Monday’s Sports In Brief
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Odell Beckham Jr. had an 89-yard touchdown catch and a spectacular one-handed grab in his return to MetLife Stadium, and Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns did just enough to beat the short-handed and banged-up New York Jets 23-3.
Beckham, traded from the Giants in March, helped the Browns (1-1) bounce back from a 30-point loss to Tennessee in their opener to top the Jets (0-2).
New York lost quarterback Trevor Siemian to an ankle injury in the second quarter, and Luke Falk — promoted from the practice squad earlier in the day — played the rest of the game. Siemian was starting in place of Sam Darnold, who’s sidelined for at least a few weeks while recovering from mononucleosis.
The Jets couldn’t get anything going on offense, and the Browns blew open the game late in the third quarter.
Falk led the Jets on their longest drive of night to that point — 60 yards — but Le’Veon Bell could only get 1 yard on a fourth-and-2 pass, turning the ball over on downs at the Browns 11. On the very next play, Mayfield hit Beckham with a slant pass, and the receiver outran the Jets’ defenders all the way to the end zone for an 89-yard TD that put Cleveland up 23-3 with 3:32 remaining in the third quarter.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger likes to point out that he’s played through the end of every contract he’s ever signed. It’s tangible proof of the longtime Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback’s commitment both to the game itself and the franchise he’s led to a pair of Super Bowl titles.
That commitment will be tested over the coming months.
The 37-year-old’s aching right elbow needs surgery. His 16th season is over just two weeks in. His future is uncertain. And the keys to the offense Roethlisberger operated so deftly for so long are now in the hands of backup Mason Rudolph, who was in elementary school when the player known universally as Big Ben became a full-fledged NFL starter in the fall of 2004.
It’s an arrangement Roethlisberger stressed is temporary.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been diagnosed with a torn ligament near the thumb of his throwing hand that is expected to sideline him at least six weeks, said a person familiar with the situation.
Brees has elected to have surgery, but it is not yet clear when the operation will take place or who will perform it, the person said. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the diagnosis has not been announced.
Brees left Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams in the first quarter after the thumb on his right hand hit the hand of on-rushing Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald on the follow trough of a throw.
The Saints lost the game 27-9, with backup Teddy Bridgewater going 17 for 30 passing for 165 yards during the last three-plus quarters.
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick got his wish and was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a first-round draft pick in 2020, two people familiar with the negotiations said.
The people confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the teams hadn’t announced it. The teams will also swap late-round picks.
Fitzpatrick was displeased about his role with the Dolphins. He requested and received permission to seek a trade before playing free safety for Miami in Sunday’s 43-0 loss to New England, when he had six tackles and a fumble recovery.
The rebuilding Dolphins (0-2), who have purged their roster to accumulate draft picks, now have three first-round choices in 2020. While putting a priority on the future, they’ve been outscored 102-10 in their first two games.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — New England Patriots receiver Antonio Brown’s availability is again in limbo this week with the NFL preparing to meet with the former trainer that has filed a civil lawsuit accusing the star receiver of rape and sexual assault.
The NFL declined to comment on the allegations against Brown or when it would speak with his accuser. But the league told the Patriots last week that it was opening an investigation into the matter.
Brown has denied the allegations made in the lawsuit. Darren Heitner, a lawyer representing Brown, told The Associated Press his client plans to countersue.
Sports Illustrated also published a story Monday afternoon in which a second woman, an unnamed artist, alleged that Brown exposed himself to her while she was working on a mural for him at his Pittsburgh home in 2017.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Marcell Ozuna drove in four runs and threw out a runner at home plate from left field, leading the St. Louis Cardinals over the Washington Nationals 4-2 on Monday night.
St. Louis maintained a two-game NL Central lead over the second-place Chicago Cubs, who closed within a half-game of the Nationals for the top NL wild card. Nationals manager Dave Martinez missed the game following a heart procedure in Washington, and bench coach Chip Hale was in charge of the dugout.
With the score tied 2-2, Fowler walked against Sean Doolittle with one out in the seventh, Hunter Strickland walked Paul Goldschmidt with two outs and Ozuna — who hit a two-run homer earlier — doubled just inside the left-field line, just the second hit in 11 at-bats for the Cardinals with runners in scoring position.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Brett Phillips hit a tying home run off Liam Hendricks in the ninth inning, Adalberto Mondesi followed with an RBI double and the Kansas City Royals beat Oakland 6-5 to end the Athletics’ six-game winning streak.
Oakland’s lead over Tampa Bay for the top AL wild card was cut to one game. Cleveland is 1 1/2 games behind the Rays.
Khris Davis’ RBI single off Kevin McCarthy gave Oakland a 5-4 lead in the eighth.
Phillips homered on a 2-0 fastball from Hendriks with one out in the ninth, Hendriks’ sixth blown save in 28 chances.
After Whit Merrifield reached on center fielder Ramón Laureano’s error, Mondesi sliced an opposite-field double to left.
NEW YORK (AP) — The National Hockey League will play its next three seasons without the threat of a work stoppage amid optimism that labor peace will stretch beyond 2022.
The NHL Players’ Association announced it would not opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement. Combined with the owners’ decision earlier this month not to trigger their opt-out clause, the current CBA remains in effect until September 2022 and the sides will continue working on an extension.
Not terminating the CBA is a positive sign that negotiations are progressing toward an extension that could last until 2025 or 2026. That would be the longest period of labor peace in hockey in decades.
Owners and players have been meeting since February and sessions increased in frequency in recent weeks. When the league also did not opt out of the CBA, Commissioner Gary Bettman cited momentum and the importance of labor peace overriding any issues the owners might have.