East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, January 20, 2018, WEEKEND EDITION, Page Page 2B, Image 14

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    Page 2B
East Oregonian
Saturday, January 20, 2018
Jaguars don’t fear Patriots’
history in AFC title matchup
What matters more
than a QB this year?
A good defense
Associated Press
Associated Press
— The week started with
a little trash talk from the
underdog . The rest of it was
dominated by speculation
about a certain 40-year-old
throwing hand .
Plenty of intrigue for
when the Jaguars and
Patriots meet in Sunday’s
AFC championship game?
New England (14-3),
the defending Super Bowl
heading into its seventh
straight conference title
game. But the polished
veneer it normally displays at
this time of year is showing
fl ecks of imperfection after
Tom Brady injured his right
hand during practice.
The injury kept Brady
limited in workouts to begin
the week and caused him to
sit out practice entirely on
Brady has never missed
a playoff start during his
18-year career that includes
four Super Bowl MPV
honors. He said a bit conten-
tiously only “We’ll see”
on Friday when asked if he
would play Sunday.
He wore red gloves and
responded to other questions
about the hand’s status by
saying “I’m not talking
about that.”
The Patriots’ top-ranked
offense will need another
signature performance from
Brady against the Jaguars’
second-ranked defense .
trying to earn a trip to its fi rst
Super Bowl, has scored eight
defensive touchdowns this
season, three more than any
other team. That’s the most
defensive touchdowns in a
season by one team since the
2012 Bears.
Brady has faced a top-2
scoring defense in the
playoffs three times, going
3-0 with a passer rating of
100-plus in each game.
Jaguars defensive end
Calais Campbell said their
Four of the fi ve teams that
gave up the fewest points
during the regular season are
the last four left with a shot
at the Super Bowl, something
that had never happened
since the NFL-AFL merger
nearly a half-century ago.
And three of the four
toughest to gain yards against
are still around, too.
Still think that all a team
needs to succeed in the
modern game is an elite QB?
Go ahead and take a close
look at Sunday’s matchups
for the conference champi-
onship games.
(assuming his injured right
hand is good to go) and
the New England Patriots
will be playing for the AFC
title, just like they always
do, but they’ll be going up
against Blake Bortles and the
Jacksonville Jaguars. Over
in the NFC, the Philadelphia
Eagles will send Nick Foles
out to face the Minnesota
Vikings and Case Keenum,
hardly a marquee matchup
between quarterbacks, and
one set up by injuries to other
What this quartet of teams
does have in common is solid
defense, showing once again
that while everyone is paying
so much attention to one
side of the ball, it’s the other
that might truly matter the
most. The more league rules
and offi ciating tend to favor
offenses, the more fi guring
out ways to slow that down is
“When you have a defense
that can shut that type of
fi repower down,” said Brian
Robison, a linebacker on the
Vikings defense that ranked
No. 1 in yards and points
allowed, “it allows you to
win ballgames.”
Minnesota gave up 15.8
points per game. Jacksonville
was No. 2 at 16.8, followed by
No. 4 Philadelphia’s 18.4 and
No. 5 New England’s 18.5.
AP Photo/Bill Sikes
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady warms up during an NFL football
practice Friday in Foxborough, Mass.
Patriots have won the past
seven meetings with the
Jaguars and two straight in
the postseason. Since Jack-
Jacksonville New England sonville entered the NFL in
1995, it is 1-10 against the
Patriots, including playoff
• Sunday, noon (CBS)
• at Foxboro, Mass.
“We are going to go out
and there do everything
respect for Brady is high. possible to stay alive and
Then he dismissed the notion earn the right to be in the
that anyone in Jacksonville Super Bowl,” Campbell
felt like the Jags were simply said. “They say you have to
playing with “house money” beat the best to be the best,
after surprising Pittsburgh in so I can’t wait to get out
there and try.”
the divisional round.
“We have earned the
right to be here,” he said. Bortles, who has been the
“We have put a lot of time subject of criticism at times
and effort in, so this is an during his career , said
opportunity we feel like Sunday isn’t about trying to
we deserve and we have prove anyone wrong.
“I don’t think so. Person-
prepared for. I can honestly
ally, I do not care,” he said.
say I expected to be here.”
Here are some things to
Jacksonville will also
be up against history: The watch for:
AFC Championship
HEALTH: Jaguars rookie
RB Leonard Fournette said
he is feeling “good” after
he was rear-ended in what
authorities say was a minor
three-car crash early in the
Fournette ran for 109
yards and three touchdowns
against the Steelers despite
reinjuring his right ankle in
the fi rst half. It was his most
productive game in three
cornerback Jalen Ramsey
caused a stir when he told
thousands of fans awaiting
the team’s return after their
win over the Steelers that
the Jaguars “are going to
the Super Bowl and we are
going to win that (exple-
“There’s teams that have
really good defenses that
aren’t talked about,” Patriots
linebacker Kyle Van Noy
said. “We’re one of them.”
It’s the fi rst time since
the 1970 merger there has
been that sort of defensive
dominance among the NFL’s
fi nal four. The closest was at
the end of the 2010 season,
when teams that ranked No.
1 (Steelers), No. 2 (Packers),
No. 4 (Bears) and No. 6 (Jets)
in points allowed reached the
conference title games.
“The most heralded guys
on the fi eld are the quarter-
backs. So I would say, nine
times out of 10, your detail
goes into your offensive
planning and things like
that,” said Jacksonville’s
leading tackler, Telvin Smith,
who returned a fumble 50
yards for a touchdown last
weekend. “Offense sells
tickets, and defense wins
championships. I’m happy
I’m on the defensive side.”
He is part of a young,
talented and speedy D that
rose to prominence quickly
via a combination of shrewd
drafting (linebackers Smith
and Myles Jack, defensive
ends Yannick Ngakoue and
Dante Fowler Jr., cornerback
Jalen Ramsey) and free-agent
signings that panned out
(defensive lineman Calais
Campbell, cornerback A.J.
Bouye, safeties Barry Church
and Tashaun Gipson).
Take a look at the regu-
lar-season rankings in various
defensive categories, and you
can’t miss the Jaguars. That
helps explain how they made
it this far with Bortles, whose
84.7 rating ranked 22nd
among QBs with at least 100
pass attempts and whose 13
interceptions were exceeded
by only six players.
Campbell tied for second
in NFL with 14.5 sacks,
while Ngakoue added 12 and
led the league by forcing six
fumbles. Bouye tied for third
with six interceptions, while
Ramsey, Gipson and Church
each had four.
Jenkins made sure Eagles knew they can win without Wentz
Associated Press
quarterback Carson Wentz
left the fi eld with a torn ACL,
Malcolm Jenkins gathered
his teammates following a
comeback win that clinched
a division title. He gave an
emotional speech, imploring
them to believe they can win
the Super Bowl without the
guy who got them to that
The Philadelphia Eagles
are two wins away from their
goal. First up is the NFC
championship game Sunday
NFC Championship
Philadelphia Minnesota
• Sunday, 3:40 p.m. (FOX)
• at Philadelphia
“Carson being out of this,
that sucks,” Jenkins told
the team in the locker room
after a 43-35 win at the Los
Angeles Rams on Dec. 10.
“But dig this, we set this up
for whoever (is) in this room,
that’s who we ride with, man.
We said, ‘we all we got, we
all we need.’ Believe that....
We got bigger goals ... cham-
pionships and that’s it.”
Wentz is the franchise
quarterback and a leader
by example. Jenkins, the
two-time Pro Bowl safety,
is the in-your-face leader.
He’s the fi rst one to address
the group after coach Doug
Pederson gives his post-
game speech.
“He’s embraced it and
guys look forward to it,”
Pederson said. “He’s got a
lot of profound messages. He
speaks from the heart and he
speaks truth. So that’s been a
Jenkins says he always has
a purpose when he speaks.
“I kind of try to analyze
the situation of where we
are as a team, do a little bit
of refl ection, but make sure
that it’s not just an emotional
response to keep everybody
in perspective,” he said. “A
lot of times I’m talking to
myself to be most honest.”
As the underdog Eagles
(14-3) prepare to host the
Vikings (14-3), Jenkins
refl ected on his inspirational
message following Wentz’s
“Knowing that the media
was getting ready to come
in right after and those
seeds of doubt, words of
doubt were getting ready
to come, I wanted to make
sure there was a message of
confi dence and perspective
before they had to actually
address the media,” Jenkins
said. “Obviously, we all hurt
for Carson. It’s a huge blow
to the team, but in no way
does it change our goals.
No way does it change
our demeanor. Nothing’s
changed, and that was kind
of the message.”
Wentz’s injury was the
latest and biggest blow for
a team seeking its fi rst NFL
title since 1960. The Eagles
lost nine-time Pro Bowl left
tackle Jason Peters, versatile
running back/return specialist
Darren Sproles, playmaking
linebacker Jordan Hicks, and
special-teams captain Chris
Maragos to season-ending
“We always focused on the
guys we had in the huddle,”
Jenkins said. “Losing the
amount of guys that we’ve
lost and facing a lot of the
adversity that we have, to
have that mentality that we
are suffi cient, that the guys
we have in this room can get
it done, no matter what’s in
front of us, has kind of been
the story line of this team.
Obviously I think everybody
has kind of embraced that
Jenkins spent his fi rst
fi ve seasons with the New
Orleans Saints and won a
Super Bowl his rookie year.
He joined the Eagles in free
agency four years ago and
has started every game,
developing into one of the
league’s best players at his
USA Gymnastics
Olympian wishes for ex-doctor to have ‘a life of suffering’
Associated Press
LANSING, Mich. —
Olympic gold medalist
Aly Raisman on Friday
confronted her former doctor
who has pleaded guilty to
multiple sexual assaults,
warning him that the
testimony of the “powerful
army” of 140 survivors at his
sentencing will haunt him in
Roughly 80 of the women
and girls whom Larry Nassar
abused under the guise of
medical treatment have
stood before the court during
a marathon sentencing
hearing that began Tuesday,
describing with eloquence
and sometimes tears the harm
Nassar did and the impact he
has had on their lives.
“You have not taken
gymnastics away from
me,” Raisman said. “I love
this sport, and that love is
stronger than the evil that
resides in you, in those who
enabled you to hurt many
Facing pressure over how
it handled allegations made
against Nassar when he was
employed by Michigan State
University, the school’s board
of trustees on Friday asked
the state’s attorney general
to investigate. The board also
was holding a closed-door
meeting amid calls for school
president Lou Ann Simon to
resign or be fi red.
Raisman said if just one
adult had believed Nassar’s
accusers and had “the
courage and character to act,
this tragedy could have been
avoided. I and so many others
would have never, ever met
you. Larry, you should have
been locked up a long, long
time ago.”
Nassar pleaded guilty to
molesting girls at his MSU
offi ce, at home and at a
club, sometimes with a
parent present. Already
sentenced to 60 years in
prison on a separate federal
child pornography convic-
tion, the 54-year-old man can
expect to be behind bars for
the rest of his life. Raisman
hoped the testimonies of her
fellow survivors will never
leave him.
“All these brave women
“You should have been locked up
a long, long time ago.”
— Aly Raisman, former U.S. Olympic gymnast
Matthew Dae Smith /Lansing State Journal via AP
Former Olympians Aly Raisman, left, and Jordyn Wie-
ber sit in Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina’s court-
room during the fourth day of sentencing for former
sports doctor Larry Nassar, who pled guilty to multi-
ple counts of sexual assault Friday in Lansing, Mich.
have power, and we will use
our voices to make sure you
get what you deserve — a life
of suffering spent replaying
the words delivered by this
powerful army of survivors,”
Raisman said.
Under a plea deal, Nassar
faces a minimum sentence
of 25 years in prison, but the
judge could set the minimum
as high as 40 years. State
prosecutors requested a
maximum 125-year sentence,
refl ecting the number of
women who at that time had
come forward with allega-
tions against Nassar.
Nassar also used to be a
team doctor at the Indianap-
olis-based USA Gymnastics,
which trains Olympians.
member of the 2012 U.S.
Olympic gymnastics team
— known as the “Fierce
Five” — said she refused to
let Nassar’s abuse ruin her
“Even though I’m a
victim, I do not and will not
live my life as one,” Jordyn
Wieber said. “I’m an Olym-
pian despite being abused. I
worked hard and managed
to achieve my goal. But I
want everyone — especially
the media — to know that
despite my athletic achieve-
ments I am one of over 140
women and survivors whose
story is important.”
General Bill Schuette, who
is running for governor, said
he would provide “a full
and complete review, report
and recommendation” of
Michigan State’s actions
over Nassar, but only after
the ex-doctor’s victims have
had “their day in court.”
The university fi red
Nassar in 2016, as allegations
against him stretching back
years came to light.
“After watching many of
these heartbreaking state-
ments and reading accounts
about them, we have
concluded that only a review
by your offi ce can resolve
the questions in a way that
the victims, their families,
and the public will deem
satisfactory and that will help
all those affected by Nassar’s
horrible crimes to heal,” the
university’s board said in a
letter to Schuette requesting
his help.
The criminal cases against
Nassar followed reports last
year in The Indianapolis Star
about how USA Gymnastics
mishandled complaints about
sexual misconduct involving
the doctor and coaches.
Women and girls said the
stories inspired them to step
forward with detailed allega-
tions of abuse.