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National Sports Update

—Phillies rock Rays 10-2, take 3-1 Series lead
—Sunday’s NFL Recap
Phillies go up 3-1 over Rays

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ryan Howard knows this place will go nuts with one more win.
‘‘It will be absolute bedlam,’’ he said. ‘‘It will be one of the craziest places on earth. It’s kind of scary to imagine.’’
Then again, who would’ve guessed Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton would shut his eyes, take a huge swing and sock a ball into the seats.
Blanton became the first pitcher in 34 years to homer in the World Series, Howard drove in five runs with two homers and Philadelphia romped over the Tampa Bay Rays 10-2 on Sunday night to move within one win of its first title since 1980.
The team of 10,000 losses could give title-starved Philadelphia its first champion in any of the four big sports since the NBA’s 76ers in 1983.
‘‘A championship is the only way to fully reverse that thought of how the Phillies are portrayed,’’ said Jimmy Rollins, who sparked the Phillies with three hits and three runs. ‘‘If we get that game, I believe we will be happy, the city will be happy, there will be a big parade,’’
Jayson Werth also homered as the Phillies took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Series and thrilled their frustrated, long-suffering fans.
‘‘I didn’t really buy into the whole thing about the city and the drought and all that kind of stuff,’’ Howard said.
Cole Hamels will try to close out the Phillies’ second Series title on Monday night against Scott Kazmir in a rematch of Game 1 starters. Hamels (4-0) is trying to become the first pitcher to win five postseason starts in one year.
Of the 42 teams to take 3-1 World Series leads, 36 have gone on to win the crown.

Late, tying safety dooms Steelers against Giants

By The Associated Press
Four interceptions by Ben Roethlisberger and half a dozen injuries to key players — the Pittsburgh Steelers just might have overcome that.
An injured long snapper, however, was another story.
James Harrison centered the ball out of the end zone on a punt attempt for a tying safety, and Eli Manning drove the Giants for a go-ahead TD pass to Kevin Boss in their 21-14 win Sunday.
‘‘I was nervous about snapping for the first time in a game,’’ Harrison said. ‘‘But my feeling was that even if I shot it over his head, we still had a chance to stop them.’’
Pro Bowl linebacker Harrison, playing center due to long snapper Greg Warren’s torn anterior cruciate ligament, snapped the ball over punter Mitch Berger’s head with 6:48 to play.
Manning, who went just 19-of-32 for 199 yards, found Steve Smith for 25 yards to the 25 on the decisive drive before the TD pass to Boss with 3:11 remaining.
In Sunday’s other NFL games, it was New Orleans 37, San Diego 32; Cleveland 23, Jacksonville 17; Seattle 34, San Francisco 13; Houston 35, Cincinnati 6; Miami 25, Buffalo 16; Dallas 13, Tampa Bay 9; Carolina 27, Arizona 23; New England 23, St. Louis 16; Philadelphia 27, Atlanta 14; Washington 25, Detroit 17; N.Y. Jets 28, Kansas City 24; and Baltimore 29, Oakland 10.
John Carney kicked four field goals for New York, hitting from 26, 35, 25 and 24 — an indication of how many times the Giants threatened.
The Steelers (5-2) were already playing without injured left tackle Marvel Smith, left guard Kendall Simmons, running back Willie Parker and cornerback Bryant McFadden and suspended wide receiver Santonio Holmes. Then they lost safety Ryan Clark (dislocated right shoulder) during the physical game.
The Steelers had won their previous nine home contests against NFC teams, and Roethlisberger (13-of-29, 189 yards) had been 13-3 against the conference, but Pittsburgh couldn’t hold on despite getting two big-play touchdowns from backups.
But another backup made a big play of another sort.
‘‘Nobody has two long snappers on their team; what you have are emergency snappers,’’ Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. ‘‘James Harrison is regarded as the lead candidate. We got some snaps on the sideline and we felt comfortable…. We just weren’t able to get it done. That was the first game I have been involved in that we didn’t have a snapper.’’
Saints 37, Chargers 32
In Wembley, England, a trans-Atlantic trip was just what Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints needed to get their season back on track.
Brees went 30-of-41 for 339 yards and three touchdown passes against his former team, leading the Saints to a 37-32 win over San Diego on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
The Saints (4-4) held off a late comeback by the Chargers (3-5), who came from 37-20 down early in the fourth quarter and were driving for the tying touchdown. But linebacker Jonathan Vilma picked off a pass by Philip Rivers with just over a minute to go.
Browns 23, Jaguars 17
In Jacksonville, Fla., the Browns had just enough offense, even without Kellen Winslow. Jamal Lewis ran for 81 yards and a touchdown and Derek Anderson completed three huge passes.
It was Cleveland’s second victory without the outspoken Pro Bowl tight end, who missed the game after criticizing the team following his staph infection. The Browns (3-4) played their best game of the season two weeks ago while Winslow was in the hospital and beat the Giants.
Anderson finished 14-of-27 for 264 yards and a touchdown against the Jaguars (3-4).
Seahawks 34, 49ers 13
In San Francisco, fullback Leonard Weaver made two lengthy touchdown catches, Josh Wilson returned an interception 75 yards for a TD and the Seahawks ruined Mike Singletary’s debut.
Seneca Wallace passed for 222 yards in his third career victory as a starter, including short passes turned into scores of 43 and 62 yards by his fleet-footed fullback. T.J. Duckett had an early 1-yard TD run as the Seahawks (2-5) calmly snapped their three-game losing streak and evened the season series with the Niners (2-6), who lost their fifth straight.
Texans 35, Bengals 6
In Houston, Kevin Walter scored two touchdowns against his former team, setting a career high by getting his fourth and fifth touchdowns of the year against Cincinnati (0-8).
Walter had help from a bevy of strong Houston performances led by Matt Schaub’s three touchdown passes and Andre Johnson’s fourth straight 100-yard game.
The win gave Houston (3-4) three consecutive victories in a single season for the first time in franchise history, and dropped Cincinnati to 0-8 for the fourth time. The Bengals are two losses away from their team-worst 0-10 start, which came in 1993.
Dolphins 25, Bills 16
In Miami, Ted Ginn had a breakout game with seven catches for a career-high 175 yards, and the Dolphins overcame a nine-point third-quarter deficit. Ginn’s first 100-yard game was by far his biggest impact since Miami’s much-mocked decision to take him with the ninth pick of last year’s draft.
Ginn set up Miami’s first two scores with receptions of 46 and 64 yards. Those completions were part of an efficient day for Chad Pennington, who was 22-of-30 for 314 yards with no picks.
Dan Carpenter kicked field goals of 43, 45 and 35 yards, all in the final 23 minutes after the Dolphins (3-4) fell behind 16-7.
Buffalo (5-2) committed four turnovers, all in the fourth quarter.
Cowboys 13, Buccaneers 9
In Irving, Texas, Brad Johnson made up for several missed chances at touchdowns by throwing one to newcomer Roy Williams at the end of a drive sustained by four defensive penalties. The maligned Dallas defense made it hold up.
The Cowboys (5-3) gained only 173 yards, but put the clamps on Jeff Garcia and the Bucs (5-3). Tampa Bay got two first-quarter field goals and another in the third quarter.
Johnson, starting for the second straight week because Tony Romo has a broken pinkie on his throwing hand, was 19-of-33 for 122 yards. His longest pass went for just 14 yards, on a dump-off to running back Marion Barber.
Panthers 27, Cardinals 23
In Charlotte, N.C., Kurt Warner put up the better numbers, but Jake Delhomme engineered the comeback that kept the Panthers unbeaten at home and atop the NFC South.
Delhomme threw for 248 yards and two scores, including a go-ahead 65-yard strike to Steve Smith. The Panthers (6-2, 5-0 at home) rallied from a 17-3 third-quarter deficit despite Warner’s big day.
He threw for 381 yards — by far the most given up by Carolina this season — and two touchdowns to Anquan Boldin. But the Cardinals (4-3) continued their road woes in part thanks to a botched fake field goal and a missed extra point.
Patriots 23, Rams 16
In Foxborough, Mass., the Patriots (5-2) got by the Rams on a fingertip touchdown catch by Kevin Faulk. Their best pass-catching running back hung onto Matt Cassel’s 15-yard pass on the left edge of the end zone with 3:19 remaining.
A juggling interception by Deltha O’Neal with 1:08 left ended the Rams’ last threat.
The Rams (2-5) couldn’t overcome the absence of Steven Jackson, their leading rusher and receiver who missed the game with a strained right thigh muscle. And defensive end Leonard Little left in the first half with a hamstring injury.
They lost for the first time since Jim Haslett replaced the fired Scott Linehan.
Eagles 27, Falcons 14
In Philadelphia, Brian Westbrook returned to his All-Pro form and rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns as part of a dynamic all-around effort. Westbrook missed two of the last three games with broken ribs and had been bothered by an ankle injury.
Westbrook scored on a 16-yard run early in the third quarter that gave the Eagles (4-3) 17 points in an 8 1/4-minute span.
Rookie Matt Ryan was 23-for-44 for 277 yards with two interceptions for Atlanta (4-3). He threw two TDs to Roddy White.
Redskins 25, Lions 17
In Detroit, Santana Moss had a go-ahead touchdown reception in the third quarter and returned a punt for another score in the fourth. Jason Campbell threw for 328 yards and a touchdown, connecting with Moss nine times for 140 yards.
Clinton Portis joined O.J. Simpson in the NFL record book with his fifth straight game with at least 120 yards rushing. He had 126 yards for the Redskins (6-2).
Detroit (0-7) got the ball at its 23 with no timeouts left — needing a touchdown and 2-point conversion to force overtime — but the drive ended near midfield on fourth down.
Jets 28, Chiefs 24
In East Rutherford, N.J. — Brett Favre connected with Laveranues Coles for a 15-yard touchdown pass with 1 minute left. The heavily favored Jets (4-3) overcame three interceptions by Favre and an upset-minded Chiefs (1-6) team using its third-string quarterback.
Favre finished 28-of-40 for 290 yards and two touchdowns and the three INTs. Washington caught a pass for a score and ran another in, and Thomas Jones also ran for a touchdown.
The Chiefs, in former Jets coach Herm Edwards’ return to the Meadowlands, appeared on their way to victory when rookie cornerback Brandon Flowers returned his second interception of the game 91 yards for a touchdown.
Ravens 29, Raiders 10
In Baltimore, the unquestionable highlight was a 43-yard pass from one Ravens quarterback to another. Baltimore (4-3) unveiled its own version of the single wing, inserting Troy Smith at quarterback and using starting quarterback Joe Flacco as the wide receiver on the left side.
In the third quarter, Smith heaved a pass down the sideline to Flacco, who made an excellent grab on the run after getting behind linebacker Ricky Brown.
The completion set up a field goal for a 22-3 lead.
Baltimore limited the Oakland Raiders to 35 yards while building a 19-point halftime lead, and the Ravens got a safety and four sacks. The win was particularly sweet for Bob Ryan, whose twin brother Rob is defensive coordinator for the Raiders (2-5).

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National Sports Update

—Phillies rock Rays 10-2, take 3-1 Series lead
—Sunday’s NFL Recap
Phillies go up 3-1 over Rays

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ryan Howard knows this place will go nuts with one more win.
‘‘It will be absolute bedlam,’’ he said. ‘‘It will be one of the craziest places on earth. It’s kind of scary to imagine.’’
Then again, who would’ve guessed Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton would shut his eyes, take a huge swing and sock a ball into the seats.
Blanton became the first pitcher in 34 years to homer in the World Series, Howard drove in five runs with two homers and Philadelphia romped over the Tampa Bay Rays 10-2 on Sunday night to move within one win of its first title since 1980.
The team of 10,000 losses could give title-starved Philadelphia its first champion in any of the four big sports since the NBA’s 76ers in 1983.
‘‘A championship is the only way to fully reverse that thought of how the Phillies are portrayed,’’ said Jimmy Rollins, who sparked the Phillies with three hits and three runs. ‘‘If we get that game, I believe we will be happy, the city will be happy, there will be a big parade,’’
Jayson Werth also homered as the Phillies took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Series and thrilled their frustrated, long-suffering fans.
‘‘I didn’t really buy into the whole thing about the city and the drought and all that kind of stuff,’’ Howard said.
Cole Hamels will try to close out the Phillies’ second Series title on Monday night against Scott Kazmir in a rematch of Game 1 starters. Hamels (4-0) is trying to become the first pitcher to win five postseason starts in one year.
Of the 42 teams to take 3-1 World Series leads, 36 have gone on to win the crown.

Late, tying safety dooms Steelers against Giants

By The Associated Press
Four interceptions by Ben Roethlisberger and half a dozen injuries to key players — the Pittsburgh Steelers just might have overcome that.
An injured long snapper, however, was another story.
James Harrison centered the ball out of the end zone on a punt attempt for a tying safety, and Eli Manning drove the Giants for a go-ahead TD pass to Kevin Boss in their 21-14 win Sunday.
‘‘I was nervous about snapping for the first time in a game,’’ Harrison said. ‘‘But my feeling was that even if I shot it over his head, we still had a chance to stop them.’’
Pro Bowl linebacker Harrison, playing center due to long snapper Greg Warren’s torn anterior cruciate ligament, snapped the ball over punter Mitch Berger’s head with 6:48 to play.
Manning, who went just 19-of-32 for 199 yards, found Steve Smith for 25 yards to the 25 on the decisive drive before the TD pass to Boss with 3:11 remaining.
In Sunday’s other NFL games, it was New Orleans 37, San Diego 32; Cleveland 23, Jacksonville 17; Seattle 34, San Francisco 13; Houston 35, Cincinnati 6; Miami 25, Buffalo 16; Dallas 13, Tampa Bay 9; Carolina 27, Arizona 23; New England 23, St. Louis 16; Philadelphia 27, Atlanta 14; Washington 25, Detroit 17; N.Y. Jets 28, Kansas City 24; and Baltimore 29, Oakland 10.
John Carney kicked four field goals for New York, hitting from 26, 35, 25 and 24 — an indication of how many times the Giants threatened.
The Steelers (5-2) were already playing without injured left tackle Marvel Smith, left guard Kendall Simmons, running back Willie Parker and cornerback Bryant McFadden and suspended wide receiver Santonio Holmes. Then they lost safety Ryan Clark (dislocated right shoulder) during the physical game.
The Steelers had won their previous nine home contests against NFC teams, and Roethlisberger (13-of-29, 189 yards) had been 13-3 against the conference, but Pittsburgh couldn’t hold on despite getting two big-play touchdowns from backups.
But another backup made a big play of another sort.
‘‘Nobody has two long snappers on their team; what you have are emergency snappers,’’ Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. ‘‘James Harrison is regarded as the lead candidate. We got some snaps on the sideline and we felt comfortable…. We just weren’t able to get it done. That was the first game I have been involved in that we didn’t have a snapper.’’
Saints 37, Chargers 32
In Wembley, England, a trans-Atlantic trip was just what Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints needed to get their season back on track.
Brees went 30-of-41 for 339 yards and three touchdown passes against his former team, leading the Saints to a 37-32 win over San Diego on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
The Saints (4-4) held off a late comeback by the Chargers (3-5), who came from 37-20 down early in the fourth quarter and were driving for the tying touchdown. But linebacker Jonathan Vilma picked off a pass by Philip Rivers with just over a minute to go.
Browns 23, Jaguars 17
In Jacksonville, Fla., the Browns had just enough offense, even without Kellen Winslow. Jamal Lewis ran for 81 yards and a touchdown and Derek Anderson completed three huge passes.
It was Cleveland’s second victory without the outspoken Pro Bowl tight end, who missed the game after criticizing the team following his staph infection. The Browns (3-4) played their best game of the season two weeks ago while Winslow was in the hospital and beat the Giants.
Anderson finished 14-of-27 for 264 yards and a touchdown against the Jaguars (3-4).
Seahawks 34, 49ers 13
In San Francisco, fullback Leonard Weaver made two lengthy touchdown catches, Josh Wilson returned an interception 75 yards for a TD and the Seahawks ruined Mike Singletary’s debut.
Seneca Wallace passed for 222 yards in his third career victory as a starter, including short passes turned into scores of 43 and 62 yards by his fleet-footed fullback. T.J. Duckett had an early 1-yard TD run as the Seahawks (2-5) calmly snapped their three-game losing streak and evened the season series with the Niners (2-6), who lost their fifth straight.
Texans 35, Bengals 6
In Houston, Kevin Walter scored two touchdowns against his former team, setting a career high by getting his fourth and fifth touchdowns of the year against Cincinnati (0-8).
Walter had help from a bevy of strong Houston performances led by Matt Schaub’s three touchdown passes and Andre Johnson’s fourth straight 100-yard game.
The win gave Houston (3-4) three consecutive victories in a single season for the first time in franchise history, and dropped Cincinnati to 0-8 for the fourth time. The Bengals are two losses away from their team-worst 0-10 start, which came in 1993.
Dolphins 25, Bills 16
In Miami, Ted Ginn had a breakout game with seven catches for a career-high 175 yards, and the Dolphins overcame a nine-point third-quarter deficit. Ginn’s first 100-yard game was by far his biggest impact since Miami’s much-mocked decision to take him with the ninth pick of last year’s draft.
Ginn set up Miami’s first two scores with receptions of 46 and 64 yards. Those completions were part of an efficient day for Chad Pennington, who was 22-of-30 for 314 yards with no picks.
Dan Carpenter kicked field goals of 43, 45 and 35 yards, all in the final 23 minutes after the Dolphins (3-4) fell behind 16-7.
Buffalo (5-2) committed four turnovers, all in the fourth quarter.
Cowboys 13, Buccaneers 9
In Irving, Texas, Brad Johnson made up for several missed chances at touchdowns by throwing one to newcomer Roy Williams at the end of a drive sustained by four defensive penalties. The maligned Dallas defense made it hold up.
The Cowboys (5-3) gained only 173 yards, but put the clamps on Jeff Garcia and the Bucs (5-3). Tampa Bay got two first-quarter field goals and another in the third quarter.
Johnson, starting for the second straight week because Tony Romo has a broken pinkie on his throwing hand, was 19-of-33 for 122 yards. His longest pass went for just 14 yards, on a dump-off to running back Marion Barber.
Panthers 27, Cardinals 23
In Charlotte, N.C., Kurt Warner put up the better numbers, but Jake Delhomme engineered the comeback that kept the Panthers unbeaten at home and atop the NFC South.
Delhomme threw for 248 yards and two scores, including a go-ahead 65-yard strike to Steve Smith. The Panthers (6-2, 5-0 at home) rallied from a 17-3 third-quarter deficit despite Warner’s big day.
He threw for 381 yards — by far the most given up by Carolina this season — and two touchdowns to Anquan Boldin. But the Cardinals (4-3) continued their road woes in part thanks to a botched fake field goal and a missed extra point.
Patriots 23, Rams 16
In Foxborough, Mass., the Patriots (5-2) got by the Rams on a fingertip touchdown catch by Kevin Faulk. Their best pass-catching running back hung onto Matt Cassel’s 15-yard pass on the left edge of the end zone with 3:19 remaining.
A juggling interception by Deltha O’Neal with 1:08 left ended the Rams’ last threat.
The Rams (2-5) couldn’t overcome the absence of Steven Jackson, their leading rusher and receiver who missed the game with a strained right thigh muscle. And defensive end Leonard Little left in the first half with a hamstring injury.
They lost for the first time since Jim Haslett replaced the fired Scott Linehan.
Eagles 27, Falcons 14
In Philadelphia, Brian Westbrook returned to his All-Pro form and rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns as part of a dynamic all-around effort. Westbrook missed two of the last three games with broken ribs and had been bothered by an ankle injury.
Westbrook scored on a 16-yard run early in the third quarter that gave the Eagles (4-3) 17 points in an 8 1/4-minute span.
Rookie Matt Ryan was 23-for-44 for 277 yards with two interceptions for Atlanta (4-3). He threw two TDs to Roddy White.
Redskins 25, Lions 17
In Detroit, Santana Moss had a go-ahead touchdown reception in the third quarter and returned a punt for another score in the fourth. Jason Campbell threw for 328 yards and a touchdown, connecting with Moss nine times for 140 yards.
Clinton Portis joined O.J. Simpson in the NFL record book with his fifth straight game with at least 120 yards rushing. He had 126 yards for the Redskins (6-2).
Detroit (0-7) got the ball at its 23 with no timeouts left — needing a touchdown and 2-point conversion to force overtime — but the drive ended near midfield on fourth down.
Jets 28, Chiefs 24
In East Rutherford, N.J. — Brett Favre connected with Laveranues Coles for a 15-yard touchdown pass with 1 minute left. The heavily favored Jets (4-3) overcame three interceptions by Favre and an upset-minded Chiefs (1-6) team using its third-string quarterback.
Favre finished 28-of-40 for 290 yards and two touchdowns and the three INTs. Washington caught a pass for a score and ran another in, and Thomas Jones also ran for a touchdown.
The Chiefs, in former Jets coach Herm Edwards’ return to the Meadowlands, appeared on their way to victory when rookie cornerback Brandon Flowers returned his second interception of the game 91 yards for a touchdown.
Ravens 29, Raiders 10
In Baltimore, the unquestionable highlight was a 43-yard pass from one Ravens quarterback to another. Baltimore (4-3) unveiled its own version of the single wing, inserting Troy Smith at quarterback and using starting quarterback Joe Flacco as the wide receiver on the left side.
In the third quarter, Smith heaved a pass down the sideline to Flacco, who made an excellent grab on the run after getting behind linebacker Ricky Brown.
The completion set up a field goal for a 22-3 lead.
Baltimore limited the Oakland Raiders to 35 yards while building a 19-point halftime lead, and the Ravens got a safety and four sacks. The win was particularly sweet for Bob Ryan, whose twin brother Rob is defensive coordinator for the Raiders (2-5).

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