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Broncos Stun Bills with Last-Second Walk-Off, College Football Rankings Shake Up with Three Weeks Left


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🐎 Good morning to everyone but especially …

RUSSELL WILSON AND THE DENVER BRONCOS

The “old” Russell Wilson — the something-out-of-nothing whirling dervish that the Broncos hoped they were getting when they acquired him — will never fully return. But when that Wilson reappears here or there, he’s still special. Russ threw a pair of touchdown passes and led a game-winning drive to set up Wil Lutz‘s 36-yard field goal as time expired, leading the Broncos to an absolutely wild 24-22 win over the Bills.

  • Wilson’s first touchdown was a play of the year candidate grab by Courtland Sutton, who somehow tapped both feet in. Wilson’s second was also excellent as he somehow got the ball to Javonte Williams through contact.
  • Wilson made several big plays on the game-winning drive, none bigger than one that won’t show up in his stats. One play after being sacked on an all-out blitz — knocking the Broncos out of field-goal range — Wilson faced another blitz and lofted one to Jerry Jeudy, who drew pass interference on Taron Johnson.
  • The drama wasn’t over: Lutz missed a 41-yard mayday field goal as time expired, but the Bills had 12 men on the field amid the chaos. Lutz connected from 36 on the retry, the sixth walk-off field goal this week.
  • Wilson completed 82.8% of his passes (24 for 29) — the fourth-highest mark in franchise history — ran for 30 yards and didn’t have a turnover.

Good for Wilson. Good for the Broncos. They’ve blown so many leads and had so many heartbreakers since Wilson arrived, even if this doesn’t change the long-term outlook for the franchise and its quarterback — who knows if it’s a springboard or outlier? — it certainly feels good.

👍 Honorable mentions

🦬 And not such a good morning for …


Getty Images

THE BUFFALO BILLS

We’re 10 weeks into the regular season. Teams are what they are. And quite frankly, the Bills are a mistake-riddled, injury weakened team. At 5-5, Buffalo is on the outside looking in on the playoff picture more than halfway through a season it entered with Super Bowl aspirations.

The Bills had four turnovers: a James Cook fumble, two Josh Allen interceptions — one that went through Gave Davis‘ hands, another that was completely Allen’s fault — and a botched handoff between Allen and Cook.

And yet … the Bills still had a chance. Allen ran in a touchdown to give Buffalo an improbable lead. But then the defense — defanged without All-Pros Tre’Davious White and Matt Milano, plus down other key contributors — couldn’t hold on. Then there was the ridiculous 12-man penalty to seal the Bills’ fate.

Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes.

Here’s the thing, though: The Bills have been able to overcome mistakes before. Allen leads the NFL in turnovers by a wide margin since 2019, but only the Chiefs have a better record since then. Allen’s Superman capabilities have bailed them out and nearly did again Monday.

The difference this year? The defense isn’t as good. The offense isn’t as explosive. In turn, the mistakes become mountains, not just speed bumps. And you get the 2023 Buffalo Bills, a .500 team unable to get out of its own way and quickly tumbling toward a lost season.

👎 Not so honorable mentions

🏈 College football rankings: Who’s on top with three weeks left?


Kim O’Reilly, CBS Sports

Michigan didn’t have a top-tier win. This weekend, it got one. Ohio State didn’t have a 60-minute dominant performance in a while. This weekend, it got one. Georgia? Well Georgia just wins and wins and wins: 27 in a row.

But which is No. 1 in Dennis Dodd’s latest College Football Power Rankings?

  • Dodd: 1. Georgia — The Bulldogs are making it a November to remember. Georgia has beaten the only two ranked teams it’s played at exactly the right time (Missouri and Ole Miss in consecutive weeks). On Saturday, Georgia averaged 4.91 more yards per play than Ole Miss. (10.01-5.10).”

The Bulldogs’ spot on top remains secure, but there’s movement behind them. Here’s the top eight:

  1. Georgia (previous: 1)
  2. Michigan (3)
  3. Ohio State (2)
  4. Florida State (4)
  5. Washington (5)
  6. Oregon (6)
  7. Texas (7)
  8. Alabama (8)

So, the Wolverines and Buckeyes switching spots is the only change there. But Michigan wasn’t so lucky in the CBS Sports 133, our expert-wide ranking of every FBS team.

  1. Georgia (2)
  2. Michigan (1)
  3. Ohio State (3)
  4. Florida State (4)
  5. Washington (5)
  6. Oregon (6)
  7. Texas (7)
  8. Alabama (8)

Here’s the full 133.

There’s a similar top eight, and it’s fair to say these are the eight teams still in contention for the four College Football Playoff berths that will be decided in three weeks’ time. There’s plenty of madness to come. Four of the eight teams above — Ohio State at Michigan and Georgia vs. Alabama in the SEC Championship Game — are guaranteed to meet before season’s end, and a Washington-Oregon rematch in the Pac-12 Championship Game could be locked in as soon as this weekend. It may be mid-November already, but we’re just getting started.

🏆 Gunnar Henderson, Corbin Carroll win Rookie of the Year awards


Getty Images

The Orioles and the Diamondbacks were arguably the feel-good teams in baseball this year. Now, their brightest young stars are getting individual awards for their contributions to that. Gunnar Henderson and Corbin Carroll won the AL and NL Rookie of the Year awards, respectively, in unanimous fashion.

It’s the first time since 2017 and just the fifth time ever, both awards were unanimous, and the names preceding these two are quite impressive.

  • 1987: Mark McGwire (AL), Benito Santiago (NL)
  • 1993: Tim Salmon (AL), Mike Piazza (NL)
  • 1997: Nomar Garciaparra (AL), Scott Rolen (NL)
  • 2017: Aaron Judge (AL), Cody Bellinger (NL)

Henderson is Baltimore’s first Rookie of the Year since Gregg Olson in 1989, snapping the longest Rookie of the Year-less streak in the AL. The 2019 second-round pick led all rookies in home runs and extra-base hits, finishing fifth among AL players in WAR. He also won the AL Silver Slugger for utility players. As Mike Axisa notes, Henderson will likely receive some MVP votes, too, a testament to his excellence as a whole, not just among rookies. The Guardians Tanner Bibee was a distant runner-up.

Over in the NL, Carroll is the first Diamondback player to win the award after becoming the first rookie in MLB history to post a 25-home run, 50-steal season. A first-round pick in 2019, Carroll was a menace on the base paths, hit all over the top of the lineup and played all over the outfield. He was a massive part of Arizona’s stunning run from last team into the NL playoff field to winning the pennant. The MetsKodai Senga was second.

Manager of the Year will be announced tonight.

🏀 Champions Classic preview: Four star-studded squads


Chet White, UK Athletics

Zion Williamson in 2018. Tyrese Maxey in 2019. Ochai Agbaji and Paolo Banchero in 2021. Jalen Wilson in 2022. The Champions Classic has treated us to plenty of breakout performances, and tonight we could be in for more. No. 9 Duke takes on No. 18 Michigan State (preview here) before No. 1 Kansas faces No. 19 Kentucky (preview here) in an intriguing doubleheader at the United Center in Chicago.

This one is a little different than past iterations, though: Duke (to Arizona) and Michigan State (to James Madison) already have losses this year, and we’re certainly not used to seeing either team have two November losses; that will be the case for one, though. Kansas is the nation’s top-ranked team, while Kentucky has relatively low expectations compared to most years.

What doesn’t change, though, is that these teams are loaded with future NBA picks. This event features seven players from Kyle Boone’s top 30 Big Board for the 2024 draft.

  • 1. Justin Edwards, Kentucky
  • 7. Tyrese Proctor, Duke
  • 11. Kyle Filipowski, Duke
  • 12. DJ Wagner, Kentucky
  • 16. Elmarko Jackson, Kansas
  • 21. Aaron Bradshaw, Kentucky
  • 28. Mark Mitchell, Duke

As you can see below, it’s a loaded night in college hoops in Chicago and beyond.

📺 What we’re watching Tuesday

🏀 No. 9 Duke vs. No. 18 Michigan State, 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏈 Toledo at Bowling Green, 7 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 Spurs at Thunder, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏀 No. 4 Marquette at No. 23 Illinois, 8 p.m. on FS1
🏀 No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 19 Kentucky, 9:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Clippers at Nuggets, 10 p.m. on TNT
🏀 Iowa at No. 8 Creighton, 10 p.m. on FS1

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