Sep 16, 2020
Titans sound ready to let veteran kicker fix his issues
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Vrabel and the Tennessee Titans sound prepared to be patient with four-time Pro Bowl kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
Making the game-winning field goal certainly helps.
Gostkowski’s track record does too.
“For a guy that’s a career 87% field-goal kicker who’s done it as long as he has, I think a lot of those corrections are going to be on him,” Vrabel said Tuesday hours after Gostkowski made a 25-yarder with 17 seconds remaining for a 16-14 win in Denver to open the season.
“But it’s also going to be about us in the operation and the ability for us to protect and the ability to make everything around him better and have a lot of faith and confidence in Stephen in moving forward.”
The Titans thought they fixed their kicking woes by signing Gostkowski, the fifth-ranked kicker in NFL history on Sept. 3. Instead, the NFL’s worst field-goal team in 2019 picked up where they left off after using five different kickers last season.
Gostkowski’s misses led to flashbacks to last October when Cairo Santos missed three field goals and had another blocked in a 14-7 loss to Buffalo. Gostkowski was wide right from 47 yards, had a 44-yarder blocked and yanked a 42-yarder wide left. Then he missed an extra point in the fourth quarter.
The Titans cut Santos after his misses.
Gostkowski said he thought he sped up after just missing the first field goal, which could be an easy fix of timing with practice. This also is a short week with the Titans returning home Tuesday morning with Jacksonville visiting Sunday. Testing protocols make quick roster changes much tougher.
After the missed extra point, Gostkowski also took off his right sock.
“I practice without socks all summer so then I started putting them on,” Gostkowski said. “I would have taken my pants off to make that last kick to try something different. I wasn’t doing very well so I had to switch something up for mental sake. It’s just a weird quirk I guess.”
The offense’s ability to score in the red zone and the two-minute offense. The Titans led the NFL in scoring on 75.6% of drives inside an opponent’s 20. They scored TDs on their first two drives, then got the game-winning field goal.
Tannehill led the Titans on three game-winning drives last season. He notched his fourth — and 17th of his career — against Denver. Tannehill completed his first five passes on the drive.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The Titans ranked eighth last season for fewest penalties in the NFL and led the league for the fewest penalties in Vrabel’s debut season. They had four penalties for 33 yards in the first quarter before finishing with five.
Linebacker Rashaan Evans, their leading tackler last season, was ejected after an unsportsmanlike penalty when he swung his right hand at Denver tight end Jake Butt late in the first quarter.
WR Corey Davis. The No. 5 pick overall in 2017 finds himself in a contract year after the Titans declined to pick up his fifth-year option. He had offseason toe surgery and appeared healthy with his best game since 2018. He caught seven of the eight passes thrown to him for 101 yards.
Gostkowski. According to Next Gen Stats, the odds of the veteran kicker missing three field goals and an extra point were 1 in 1,804 or about 0.06%.
The Titans put cornerback Adoree Jackson on injured reserve before the game, then veteran Johnathan Joseph hurt his right arm in the first quarter. LT Taylor Lewan left the game in the third quarter after hurting his right knee but returned.
14-0 — The Titans’ record when Derrick Henry runs for at least 100 yards. The NFL rushing leader of 2019 ran 31 times for 116 yards for a 3.7-yard average per carry.
The Titans now will play four of their next five at home starting Sunday in their home opener against Jacksonville. Then there’s a trip to Minnesota before hosting Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Houston in October.
Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
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Let the Oscar Race Begin!: The Best of TIFF 2020
This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.This week:
- Ratched has arrived.
- Movies are good again.
- Meet your new Joe Biden.
- Madonna is making Madonna.
- Emmys! Puzzles! Fun!
The fall film festival season is usually a treat. Each year around this time, I put on my one (1) blazer that fits and head off to a week of fabulousness, previewing the films that hope to be Oscar contenders—often in audiences alongside the stars themselves.
Suffice it to say, there was a noticeable downgrade in glamor when the Toronto International Film Festival relocated this last week to the same apartment couch I’ve been sitting on for the last seven months, from which I watched premieres of these movies as I’m sure they were intended to be seen: in a tiny window on my laptop while wearing gym shorts.
But as the upsetting butt divot in my couch sitting spot plummeted ever-deeper, there was reassurance provided by the festival. Films are still coming! And they’re really good! What a treat! We deserve it!
First off: My God, Nomadland is gorgeous. Frances McDormand could and should win her third Best Actress Oscar for playing Fern, a woman who, after her husband dies and the factory town to which they lent their entire lives essentially disappears in an economic downturn, is forced to hit the open road.
Vanessa Kirby, who played Princess Margaret in the first two seasons of The Crown, will likely join McDormand in the Oscar race for her performance in Pieces of a Woman, as a young woman whose baby dies in childbirth grappling with how to find justice, purpose, and any type of solace in the aftermath. And Kate Winslet gives her strongest performance in a decade, in my opinion, in Ammonite, though the movie doesn’t necessarily rise to her level.
Regina King, it turns out, is not just a stunning actress but also a masterful director, as she proved in her feature directorial debut One Night in Miami. And while I already had screened it at Sundance in January, it would be negligent to talk about the best films that played at TIFF without mentioning The Father, in which Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman team up to carve your heart out of your chest with a pocketknife.
But if the magic of these festivals is an unexpected, quiet discovery, then for me that’s Summer of 85, a movie I’ll be swooning over for a long time. Call Me by Your Name comparisons are inevitable. It’s a coming-of-age romance set in France in the ’80s, and it’s as sumptuous, as sexy, and as full of longing. It’s about how all-encompassing young, hormonal romance is, how confusing coming to terms with your sexuality is, and...death.
There’s nothing normal about these times. But here I am hyperbolically fawning over a gay romance that played at a film festival. Nature is healing.Alrighty Then...
I’m so old I remember when Saturday Night Live cast members actually acted on Saturday Night Live.
It was announced this week that, when SNL returns on October 3rd—live, from Studio 8H, with a trimmed-down audience—it’s coming back with Jim Carrey on board to portray Joe Biden. That’s fun, I guess? He’ll join Maya Rudolph, who will return as Kamala Harris. There’s been no saying otherwise that Alec Baldwin will be back as Donald Trump. Which is to say the three most consequential targets of SNL sketches will be portrayed by people who are not currently SNL cast members.
These stunt castings always get press and attention. Baldwin even won an Emmy for his Trump, despite the fact that it is one of the worst Trump interpretations on TV. It’s the trend that Tina Fey set off when she was hired to play Sarah Palin, but has gone off the rails. Sometimes it’s fun to see a major celebrity cameo on the show as a big politician. (Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer.) Often, it’s tedious. (Robert De Niro as Robert Mueller.) Sometimes it’s unclear just what to make of it. (Brad Pitt as Anthony Fauci?)
It just seems increasingly silly that the default casting for these major political figures is to not use one of the show’s talented cast members; it’s what they’ve been hired for. Or maybe I’m just jealous that, as part of my job, I am often asked to do my job. It’s honestly rude.Madonna by Madonna
This is how Madonna announced that she was going to be writing and directing a movie about her own life:
“Written and directed by the artist herself” or how I feel when I post a particularly great selfie/caption combination. Hey-o! I don’t know why the phrase makes me laugh so much. It’s like a grand acknowledgement of how creatively narcissistic this project is. It’s also so Madonna.
In any case, lunatic fans have surmised that Ozark star Julia Garner may be cast as the lead, as both Madonna and her manager Guy Oseary have recently followed her on social media—a level of sleuthing both deranged and impressive, especially if it ends up being true. (She’d be great.) I look forward to watching it 17-39 times in theaters, if it’s ever safe to go to a theater again.An Emmys Treat!
Sunday night’s Emmy Awards, for which camera setups and live feeds have been dispatched to hundreds of nominees’ homes for an unprecedented virtual ceremony, is going to be a real puzzle to pull off. And because everyone loves a theme, The Daily Beast has crafted a special Emmys 2020 version of our crossword puzzle. Emmys! A puzzle! Get it?
You can access it here on Sunday. Truly a combination of my greatest passions: TV, famous ladies giving speeches, puzzles, and shameless corporate cross promotion.What to watch this week:
PEN15: This show is a miracle. (Sept. 18 on Hulu)
Ratched: It’s Sharon Stone with a monkey on her shoulder, people! (Sept. 18 on Netflix)
Emmy Awards: Because the world should be watching when Catherine O’Hara wins an Emmy. (Sept. 20 on ABC)What to skip this week:
Antebellum: Turns out that not everything Janelle Monáe does is flawless. (Sept. 18 on VOD)
The Masked Singer: This show is my nemesis. (Sept. 23 on Fox)