K-Heart Sports – 09/11/23

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The grit Baker Mayfield showed Tampa Bay down the stretch of his debut sure outweighed the rough start. He had ample support from a more-than-capable defense, too. Mayfield recovered to throw two touchdown passes without a turnover, and the Buccaneers beat Minnesota 20-17 in the season opener after three first-half turnovers by the Vikings on Sunday. Mayfield, the first overall pick in the 2018 draft who landed with his fourth team in three years to take over for the retired Tom Brady, completed 21 of 34 passes after a 3-for-11 start. He hit Mike Evans for a score right before halftime for a 10-all tie. Kirk Cousins went 33 for 44 for 344 yards and touchdowns to Jordan Addison and Alexander Mattison, and Justin Jefferson had nine catches for 150 yards. But after going an NFL-record 11-0 in one-score games during the 2022 regular season, the Vikings ran out of that late-game mojo. The Vikings visit Philadelphia on Thursday night.
CHICAGO (AP) — Jordan Love kept telling himself he and his teammates were going to play great. He imagined how it would feel to leave the field with a win, too. Now he knows. Love looked like he might be ready to follow in the footsteps of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, throwing for three touchdowns to lead the Green Bay Packers to a 38-20 season-opening victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Love spent three years waiting for this moment behind four-time MVP Rodgers. He shook off a slow first half and helped propel the Packers to a lopsided win. Love completed 15 of 27 passes for 245 yards and posted a 123.2 rating. His only previous start was a loss at Kansas City in 2021 when Rodgers was sidelined with COVID-19.
For the Bears, it was more of a same for a team that went 3-14 to set a franchise record for losses last season. Chicago came into the season expecting major improvement after a series of offseason upgrades. The Bears lost their 11th straight game overall, and their 10th in a row against NFC North opponents. Justin Fields was 24 of 37 for 216 yards. He had a touchdown pass and an interception in a performance that did little to answer biggest question hanging over the team: Can he become the passer the Bears need him to be? Fields also ran for 59 yards.
Packers: Visit Atlanta next Sunday.
Bears: Visit Tampa Bay next Sunday.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — DJ Stewart hit a two-run double in the ninth inning and the New York Mets overcame a career-high 14 strikeouts by Minnesota starter Pablo López to beat the Twins 2-0 on Sunday and avoid a three-game sweep. López went eight innings for the Twins, who have a 7 1/2-game lead in the AL Central over Cleveland. Stewart doubled to right-center off reliever Griffin Jax (6-9), who took over for López in the ninth. Francisco Lindor led off with a bloop double and Jeff McNeil was hit by a pitch — the third time a Mets batter was plunked in the game. Stewart connected on a full count two batters later. López was brilliant, getting his 200th strikeout of the season when he fanned Lindor in the first. The right-hander became the ninth Twins pitcher to accomplish that feat, and the ninth Venezuelan-born pitcher in major league history to do so. López walked off the mound to a standing ovation after his 106th pitch ended the eighth. His 14 strikeouts marked the most by a Twins starter since Francisco Liriano whiffed 15 against Oakland on July 13, 2012.
RHP Sonny Gray (7-6, 2.98) takes the mound in the opener of a three-game series at home against Tampa Bay tonight. Gray has permitted just four runs over his last three starts.

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