Browns survive without their stars, plus Chris Taylor is a hero again for Dodgers

Happy Friday sports fans, it’s Chris Bengel guiding you into the weekend. I hope everybody has a great one … except Ben Simmons.

As a Philadelphia 76ers fan, this saga has gotten old extremely quickly. Do the Sixers have a timeline in which they’d like to deal Simmons by? Will he sit until a trade is made or will the team put him out on the court in an effort to increase his trade value? We should find out the answers to some of these questions soon.Β 

Anyway, we have much more to focus on heading into the weekend than the drama in Philly. Let’s dive into the news.

πŸ“° What you need to know

1. Browns edge Broncos without Baker Mayfield 🏈

The Cleveland BrownsΒ are supposed to be one of the top teams in the AFC this season. They’ve played well so far, but are now facing adversity as quarterback Baker Mayfield missed Thursday’s game against the Denver Broncos due to a torn labrum (in his non-throwing arm). Still, the Browns were able to come away with a 17-14 win over the Broncos.

In addition to Mayfield being out, the Browns were also without top running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, who were both also battling injuries. In their place, third-string back D’Ernest Johnson was able to step in and rack up 146 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Johnson averaged a staggering 6.6 yards-per-carry and the Broncos had no answer for him.

The game was there for the taking for the Broncos, but it’s simple to see why they lost:

Offensive execution was an issue throughout the night. As a team, Denver accumulated just 223 total yards of offenseThey finished with just 41 rushing yards despite having a pair of talented running backs in Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams

For more on the Thursday night contest, check out what our CBS Sports NFL scribes had to say about the action.

2. Chris Taylor carries Dodgers past Braves to force Game 6 in NLCS ⚾

Despite trailing 3-1 in the National League Championship Series, the Los Angeles DodgersΒ are too talented of a team to just roll over and go down without a fight. After trailing 2-0 early on in Game 5 last night thanks to a two-run home run from Freddie Freeman, the Dodgers scored the next 11 runs and came away with an 11-2 win over the Atlanta Braves to force Game 6 of the NLCS.

Dodgers third baseman Chris Taylor, who took over for the injured Justin Turner, was a force to be reckoned with all night. Taylor went 4-for-5 with three home runs and six RBIs. The Dodgers third baseman became the first player in MLB history to blast three home runs in a potential elimination game. In the second inning, Taylor slugged a go-ahead two home run off of Braves starter Max Fried, which proved to be all that the Dodgers would need.

Here’s a closer look at how Taylor’s historic night unfolded:

2nd inning: Taylor hit a two-run home run to score Albert Pujols (3-2 Dodgers)3rd inning: Taylor produced an RBI single that scored A.J. Pollock (4-2 Dodgers)5th inning: Taylor slugged another two-run home run to score Pujols once again (6-2 Dodgers)7th inning: Taylor hit a solo home run (7-2 Dodgers)3. Handing out the CBS Sports college basketball preseason awards πŸ€

The 2021-22 college basketball season is set to get underway next month and there is a ton of excitement with several of the nation’s blue blood programs looking to make a national title run. Last year, Baylor won their first national championship in school history by defeating Gonzaga 86-70.

It was definitely great to have a full college basketball season back last year. March Madness returned and it was glorious. But it’ll be a huge boost to have fans back at full attendance for games across the country. Sure, it was phenomenal to have basketball back last season, but the lack of fans made it feel a tad lackluster.Β 

With just 18 days until the start of the 2021-22 campaign, our CBS Sports college basketball scribes made their preseason picks for all of the top awards in the sport.

Preseason Player of the Year — Drew Timme, Gonzaga: “Simply put, Timme is a great college player on a great college team — specifically the team that is the betting-favorite to win the 2022 NCAA Tournament. He averaged 19 points and 7 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game last season while shooting 65.5 percent from the field — and he was even better in the NCAA Tournament, where he averaged 20.3 points and led the Zags to victories over North Florida, Oklahoma, Creighton, USC and UCLA before they were upset in the championship game by Scott Drew’s Baylor Bears.”Preseason Coach of the Year — Matt Painter, Purdue: “Painter is a four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year winner, and he won the NABC National Coach of the Year honor in 2019. Yet, he still seems undervalued nationally, perhaps in part because he’s locked in at his alma mater and hasn’t reached a Final Four. But don’t be surprised if he adds to his awards collection this season and cements his place as an elite coach within the sport’s changing vanguard.”Preseason Freshman of the Year — Paolo Banchero, Duke: “With the No. 1 recruit from last year’s class (Chet Holmgren) joining a star-studded Gonzaga roster, No. 2 overall recruit Paolo Banchero figures to be in line to step up as the sport’s brightest young star at Duke. The Blue Devils lost their top two scorers from last season and with some of the playmaking gone to boot, Banchero’s going to be a do-it-all weapon for a top-15 Duke team. We’re expecting him to create, to score, and to be successful in just about everything he’s asked to do as the alpha for this team.”4. NBA announces 75th Anniversary Team … and snubs some great players πŸ€

The NBA is embarking on its 75th season and, in an effort to celebrate that accomplishment, the league put together a list of the greatest players in history. There were 76 players included on the list as a result of a tie. A panel of voters submitted selections much like when the league announced a team for its 50th anniversary back in 1996. The final 26 players on the list were announced on Thursday.

As should come as no surprise, there was an insane amount of talent of this list. Current players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James and Kevin Durant, as well as legends like Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Petitt and Bill Russell made the 75th Anniversary Team. It was definitely a strong mix of players from different decades, which showcased just how much the game has changed over the years.Β 

As with a list like this, it’s obviously going to be open to debate, but here are a few players that I think were snubbed:

Dikembe Mutombo: Mutombo was one of the most feared rim protectors in NBA history. In fact, only Hakeem Olajuwon has more career blocks than Mutombo. Obviously, Mutombo’s offensive game wasn’t what some players on the list possessed, but the 7-2 big man was feared enough at the rim that he should’ve made the listKlay Thompson: One of the hardest parts of this list is how to rate active players. Guys like LeBron James and Kevin Durant are going to go down as some of the all-time greats in the sport. Personally, I think Thompson is one of the most gifted shooters ever, as he’s shot 41.9 percent over his career (13th best all-time). Is he on this list if he didn’t miss the past two seasons due to injury? Perhaps, but it honestly shouldn’t matterDwight Howard: Howard is another big man that should’ve been on the list. The former No. 1 pick absolutely dominated the center position over the first 10 years of his career and also ranks 12th all-time with over 14,000 rebounds. Howard is also one of the most gifted shot blockers in the game’s history with over 2,000 career rejections

πŸ“ Odds & Ends


πŸ“Ί What to watch this weekend


🏈 Memphis vs. Central Florida, 7 p.m. | MEM -1.5 | TV: ESPN2

⚾ Red Sox vs. Astros, 8:08 p.m. | HOU -105 | TV: FS1

🏈 Nets vs. 76ers, 7:30 p.m. | BKN -1 | TV: ESPN


🏈 Clemson vs. No. 23 Pittsburgh, 3:30 p.m. | PITT -3.5 | TV: ESPN

🏈 LSU vs. No. 12 Ole Miss, 3:30 p.m. | MISS -9 | TV: CBS

🏈 No. 10 Oregon vs. UCLA, 3:30 p.m. | UCLA -1 | TV: ABC


🏈 Chiefs vs. Titans, 1 p.m. | KC -4.5 | TV: CBS

🏈 Bengals vs. Ravens, 1 p.m. I BAL -6.5 | TV: CBS

🏈 Bears vs. Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m. | TB -12.5 | TV: CBS

πŸ… Best thing I saw on the internet

When it comes to the Ben Simmons saga, everybody has an opinion on who is really at fault (myself included). On Thursday, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce offered his take on the Sixers star. Kelce said that Philadelphia is a great place to play and if Simmons would make an effort to “get better,” then he would endear himself to the fans. For a guy that gave the most passionate speech at a championship parade I’ve ever heard, Simmons should think about taking Kelce’s suggestion to heart.


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