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  1. NFL Week 7: What we learned

    Bucs

    Are the Purple People Eaters back in Minnesota? The Vikings sacked Joe Flacco five times and held the Ravens to 208 total yards in a 24-16 home victory, their third straight win. QB Case Keenum looked ordinary with a 67.7 passer rating after completing 20-of-31 for 188 yards and an interception. Kai Forbath kicked six field goals to bail out the offense.

    Cowboys safety Jeff Heath became the first non-kicker to kick two extra points in a game in 37 years when pressed into service during the Cowboys' 40-10 win at San Francisco. Dan Bailey left with a groin injury. Current Packers GM Ted Thompson, a linebacker, was the last non-kicker to kick two PATs in game, for the Oilers in 1980.

    Oh, those Jets. They blew a 14-point first-quarter lead to the Patriots in a loss last week and a 14-point fourth-quarter lead to the Dolphins in a loss Sunday. No controversial call this time, just an interception thrown by QB Josh McCown at his 27 with 39 seconds left that set up the Dolphins' winning field goal. One week after playing the Pats for first in the division, the Jets are in last.

    The Todd Gurley and Jared Goff Show played to favorable reviews in London, where a 33-0 walkover against the Cardinals gave the Rams five wins in their first seven games for the first time since 2003. Gurley has rushed for 100 yards in four of the past five games and has eight touchdowns, and Goff looks like a QB who can lead his team to the postseason.

    Browns QB DeShone Kizer was benched a few weeks back for Kevin Hogan, who was benched last week for Kizer, who started Sunday against the Titans and then was, you guessed it, benched for Cody Kessler after throwing interceptions Nos. 10 and 11 this season. Keep the faith, Browns fans. There is a quarterback in your future who will lead you out of the desert. He's just playing Pop Warner right now.

    Cardinals RB Adrian Peterson made his second trip to London this season. In the first, as a member of the Saints, he had 4 yards on four carries. Sunday against the Rams in Twikenham Stadium, one week after burning the Bucs for 134 yards and two TDs, AP was held to 21 yards on 11 carries. That's 25 yards on 15 carries in the two London games.

    In "The Best Offense is a Good Defense Department," Bears rookie safety Eddie Jackson scored on a 75-yard fumble return and a 76-yard interception return in a 17-3 win against the Panthers. The last Bears defender to do that was good old Fred Evans in 1948. Jackson is the first NFL player to score two defensive touchdowns of at least 75 yards.

    A 44-yard pass on a fake punt late was the topping on the sundae that was the Steelers' 29-14 win vs. the Bengals. Upback Robert Golden noticed Darrius Heyward-Bey was not covered and called for the ball to be snapped to him. Also in the second half, the Steelers sacked Andy Dalton four times and intercepted him twice while allowing 19 total yards.

    Titans kicker Ryan Succop extended his NFL-record streak of made field goals inside the 50-yard line to 55 with a 47-yarder in OT to beat the Browns. He had four field goals Sunday and five last week in a win vs. the Colts.

    Are the Jaguars a playoff team? They remained tied atop the AFC South after their 27-0 road win against the Colts. Playing without hurt Leonard Fournette, the NFL's second-leading rusher, the Jags got 122 rushing yards from T.J. Yeldon, so you know the running game isn't just the kid from LSU. And QB Blake Bortles threw for a season-high 330 yards.

    Another game against the Packers, another 300 yards passing from QB Drew Brees, who tossed for 331 yards in a 26-17 Saints win in Green Bay. The Saints have won four straight to take the lead in the NFC South. A two-way tie was possible with a Falcons win in Sunday night's late game at New England.

    Packers QB Brett Hundley did not complete a first-quarter pass in his first start replacing injured Aaron Rodgers. That has happened to Rodgers once during his 141 career starts. Still, the kid took a Lambeau Leap after his 14-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, as well he should have.

    Let's welcome Colts coach Chuck Pagano to the hot seat after Sunday's 27-0 embarrassment in which QB Jacoby Brissett was sacked 10 times and the defense was crushed by the Jags' juggernaut offense. It was Indy's first regular-season shutout since December 1993. Might as well tell QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) to forget a 2017 comeback and focus on offseason workouts.

    Where would the Chargers be if they had had a better kicking game in September? They are on a three-game winning streak after beating the Broncos 21-0. It was their first home win since moving to Carson, Calif., this season. The Broncos, meanwhile, were shut out for the first time since 1992.

    And lastly … ...

    Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) leaves the field injured during the first half of an NFL football game against Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham Stadium in London, Sunday Oct. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) GAMS126
  2. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other

    News

    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    When the procession reached the memorial where Anthony Naiboa had been gunned down on Thursday, his father asked the crowd of more than 100 to look at a photo of his son — as well as the spot where Anthony's blood still stained the sidewalk....

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  3. No. 18 UCF closes in on USF, which drops to No. 17

    College

    USF remained ahead of UCF in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released Sunday — just barely.

    The Bulls dropped one spot to No. 17 after they improved to 7-0 by winning 34-28 at Tulane on Saturday. UCF rose two spots to No. 18 after a 31-21 win at Navy.

    Miami remains No. 8, between Clemson and Notre Dame.

    Alabama stayed at No. 1, followed by Penn State, Georgia, TCU and Wisconsin. Ohio State, which hosts the Nittany Lions on Saturday, remained No. 6. ...

  4. Bucs-Bills journal: Breakout game for Bucs tight end O.J. Howard

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It's obscured by the final score and a disappointing loss, but Bucs rookie tight end O.J. Howard had a breakout game Sunday, exceeding his season totals for catches and touchdowns in one afternoon.

    Howard came in with five catches in his first five NFL games, including a single touchdown. He trumped that Sunday with six catches for 98 yards and two touchdown catches as the Bucs rallied for the lead in the fourth quarter....

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (80) celebrates a touchdown catch with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Vladislav Namestnikov is Lightning's top-line 'secret'

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Nikita Kucherov is piling up the goals. Steven Stamkos is an assist machine. They make for an impressive pairing in a league that favors scoring pairs over the more traditional three-player scoring lines.

    So, what to make of Vladislav Namestnikov, the third player on the Lightning's top line?

    "He secretly makes that line work," coach Jon Cooper said.

    Namestnikov, the Lightning's first-round draft pick (27th overall) in 2011, is quietly having a great start to the season with three goals and 10 points in the first nine games. He is doing it quietly because of the explosive starts by Kucherov (tied with Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead with 10 goals) and Stamkos (an NHL-high 15 assists and league-leading 18 points)....

    Vladislav Namestnikov (90) has three goals and 10 points on a line with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov.
  6. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Oct. 23-29

    Events

    R. L. Stine: It's fitting that the week before Halloween, USF's Lecture Series features the popular horror author known for the Goosebumps series. Stine will discuss his career, creative process and sign books Wednesday at the Marshall Student Center in Tampa. Free. .

    Halloween Festivities: The last weekend before Halloween brings lots of parties Saturday night. At St. Pete's Haunted Block Party Park and Rec, the Avenue and Proper Kitchen & Cocktails combine to celebrate with music by DJ Fresh and a costume contest. $5. theavenuedtsp .com. The Haunted School of Rock party at Tampa's Hard Rock Cafe will have music by DJ Connor Cruise (son of Tom Cruise) and a costume contest for $2,500 in prizes. $20-$40, 5223 Orient Road, Tampa. Find even more parties at tampabay.com/holiday....

    "Goosebumps" creator R.L. Stine speaks on a panel on day one of Comic-Con International on Thursday, July 20, 2017, in San Diego. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
  7. Passing motorists pull three from burning home in Tampa

    News

    TAMPA — Two men in a passing car rescued two children and a woman from a burning home late Sunday morning.

    At approximately 11:20 a.m. Sunday, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue received a report of a house fire on Carnegie Circle in Tampa.

    When firefighters first arrived on scene, they reported heavy fire coming from the front of the house. It took approximately 30 minutes to get the fire under control....

  8. Bucs-Bills: Social media reactions to the Bucs' 30-27 loss

    Bucs

    Here's a sampling of reactions from the media and fans to the Bucs' 30-27 loss Sunday at Buffalo:

    ...

    Buffalo Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka (4) is mobbed by teammates after kicking the game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  9. Buccaneers-Bills: A by-the-numbers look at Tampa Bay's 30-27 loss

    Bucs

    Here's a by-the-numbers look at the Bucs' 30-27 loss at Buffalo on Sunday:

    173

    Bills rushing yards. They came into Sunday's game averaging 107.

    5.2

    Average rushing yards per carry for the Bills.

    2.8

    Average rushing yards per carry for the Bucs....

    Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) screams in jubilation after running for a first down late in the fourth quarter. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  10. Bucs-Bills roundtable: Deonte Thompson's late catch spelled 'instant disaster' for Bucs

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Adam Humphries' fumble led to the Bills' game-winning field goal in Tampa Bay's 30-27 loss Sunday at Buffalo. But the Bills' first play after the Bucs finally took the lead was almost as deadly.

    The Times' Bucs coverage team weighs in on Tyrod Taylor's 44-yard pass that shifted the momentum:

    Greg Auman, @gregauman: The Bucs defense had a lead to protect and gave up 59 yards on the first play. To Deonte Thompson, signed off the street this week. No idea how a receiver gets open deep with the game on the line like that. Robert McClain adds 15 with a penalty after a 44-yard catch....

    The Buffalo Bills' Deonte Thompson (10) catches a pass in front of Bucs cornerback Brent Grimes (24) during the first half. [AP photo]
  11. Bucs-Bills: Instant analysis from the Bucs' 30-27 loss

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Here's the Tampa Bay Times' Bucs coverage team's instant analysis from the Bucs' 30-27 loss at Buffalo:

    YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP

    Tom Jones, @tomwjones: The game was lost. Then it was won. Then it was lost again. In a game the Bucs absolutely had to have, they couldn't get it. They had their chance but found a way to lose. Costly turnovers. Breakdowns on defense. Now you have to wonder if the Bucs season that held so much promise is now circling down the drain. A gut-punch loss....

    Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Matt Milano (58) intercepts a Jameis Winston (3) pass intended for tight end Cameron Brate (84) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  12. Bucs overcome 11-point deficit, then allow game to slip away, 30-27, to Bills

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Got a minute? Actually, a little less than 60 seconds. About the time it takes to microwave a bowl of oatmeal.

    That's how fast the Bucs blew a game Sunday, losing 30-27 to the Bills.

    That's how fast an entire season may have been lost.

    Tampa Bay had rallied from an 11-point deficit in the second half, taking a 27-20 lead when Jameis Winston rolled to his right and connected on a touchdown pass to Mike Evans, who made a spectacular sliding catch....

    Bucs wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) catches a deflected pass during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  13. Metal engine cover piece breaks off jet, falls from sky in Clearwater

    Accidents

    CLEARWATER — A piece of metal broke off a jet leaving St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport on Sunday morning, but the aircraft turned around and landed safely at 8:55 a.m., according to investigators.

    A Learjet 45 mid-size jet with two people on board took off from the airport at 8:42 on its way to Cape May County Airport in New Jersey, but a crew member reported a computer problem, according to Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration. Upon landing, air traffic controllers noticed the missing piece, she said....

  14. Forecast: Cold front on the way, but still upper 80s in Tampa Bay Sunday

    Weather

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa Bay's heat is about to break, but Sunday will still see temperatures in the high 80s, meteorologists forecast.

    10News WTSP...

    Tampa Bay should see temperatures in the upper 80s Sunday with a chance for showers late. [Courtesy 10News WTSP]
  15. Lutz driver dead after crash with semi on Dale Mabry Highway

    Accidents

    LUTZ — A 68-year-old driver died Saturday night in a crash with a semitrailer truck on Dale Mabry Highway, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

    William Adam Reger, Jr. of Lutz was driving a Chevrolet Blazer north on the highway about 10:30 p.m. At the same time, a semi carrying James Clairvil, 25, and Fabiola Clairvil, 23, both of Palm Bay, was driving southbound.

    James Clairvil started to make a U-turn at County Line Road, into Reger's path, according to an FHP report. As the semi turned around, Reger's Blazer crashed into the trailer, lodging itself underneath....