You're not crazy: The Flyers won a second straight game in a shootout

You're not crazy: The Flyers won a second straight game in a shootout

The Philadelphia Flyers have won back-to-back games via shootouts. I repeat, the Philadelphia Flyers have won back-to-back games via shootouts. This is not a drill.

You can stop rubbing your eyes and pinching yourselves, because it’s as true as can be.

The Flyers rallied late to tie thanks to a Brayden Schenn goal with less than a minute left and the goaltender pulled and then snuck past the Vancouver Canucks for a 4-3, shootout win last night – earlier this morning, technically - at Rogers Arena.

It’s the first time the Flyers have won back-to-back games via shootouts since March of 2006 when they topped the Montreal Canadiens and eventual Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes.

The Flyers took a first-period lead when Mark Streit found a Michael Raffl rebound and put it past Canucks’ netminder Eddie Lack. Lack started in place of Roberto Luongo, who missed the game with what he called the #EmeryFlu.

The Flyers gave up two second-period tallies, including one by former Flyers’ tough guy Tom Sestito to fall behind, 2-1. That was before Claude Giroux took a seam pass from Raffl and, with two Canucks’ defenders all over him, somehow muscled the puck through Lack to tie the game with a spectacular goal.

It was an Olympic effort from Giroux. Were you watching, Mr. Yzerman?

The game stayed tied in the third until Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin scored an odd goal to give his team the lead. Sedin threw a long wrist shot on net that Steve Mason batted away. But the puck then hit off Luke Schenn and bounced over Mason and into the net.

Never fear because little brother Brayden came to the rescue and tied the contest with 47 seconds left when he found a loose puck off a faceoff and slid it past Lack. It was Schenn’s first goal in 16 games. Talk about a timely way to end a slump.

Vinny Lecavalier netted the shootout winner as Mason stoned all three Vancouver attempts.

Speaking of Mason, wow, what a performance.

After a bit of a shaky start in Edmonton in the Orange and Black’s previous game, Mason was spectacular against the Canucks as he stopped 41 shots.

They weren’t easy saves either. There were some acrobatic saves that most goalies would have hid no shot at. His first-period save on Vancouver’s Chris Higgins may have been his best save all season. The third-period, pad save he made on David Booth on a two-on-one was phenomenal.

Yes, the Flyers scored three goals in regulation and came back from a deficit to win, but Mason was the real story in the game. He kept the Flyers in the game as they were outshot 44-27 and allowed the Canucks to run circles around them when the Canucks had the puck in the offensive zone.

While most of you will be out drinking – responsibly, of course – and celebrating the new year, the Flyers will be in Calgary to take on the Flames at 9 p.m.

Eagles-Redskins: 5 matchups to watch

Eagles-Redskins: 5 matchups to watch

The Eagles are coming off their third straight loss and have dropped five of their last six. 

The Redskins have dropped two straight, but are still very much in the playoff hunt at 6-5-1.

The Birds are looking for their first win against the NFC East this season. Here are five matchups to watch.

Eagles defensive line vs. Redskins offensive line
In the matchup in Washington, the Redskins' O-line owned the Eagles' D-line to the tune of 230 rushing yards and nearly 500 yards total. The Eagles also failed to record a sack. And that was at a time when their line was playing fairly well.

The Eagles' line has come under serious fire and for good reason. They've grossly underperformed for a unit that's supposed to be the team's strength. As for the Redskins, their line has been very good all season and they'll get All Pro Trent Williams back after the massive tackle served a four-game suspension.

DeSean Jackson vs. Eagles' corners
DeSean has been on a roll. The Eagles' corners have not. In his last three games, Jackson has nine catches for 228 yards (good for 25.3 yards per catch) and two touchdowns. 

Last week in Cincinnati, the Eagles were burned by the formidable trio of Brandon LaFell, Tyler Boyd and Cody Core for 11 catches for 219 yards. Each receiver had at least one reception of 29 yards plus. It could be a long day for Nolan Carroll, Leodis McKelvin and Jalen Mills.

Carson Wentz vs. Joe Barry
It's no secret that Wentz has been struggling. In his last three, Wentz  has three touchdowns to six interceptions and has completed less than 60 percent of his passes. Equally as alarming is that Wentz is 83 of 141 over that span. That's a ridiculous 47 attempts per game. Yes, the Eagles have been behind in those games, but Doug Pederson still needs to find a way to give this offense balance.

Barry's unit hasn't exactly set the world on fire, ranking 23rd in yards per game and 20th in points allowed. They've let up 31 points in each of their last two games, but it is important to note that they've played the Cowboys and the Cardinals. The Eagles don't have playmakers like Ezekiel Elliot and Dez Bryant or David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald.

Ryan Kerrigan vs. Allen Barbre
Kerrigan looked unstoppable in the NFL debut of Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Kerrigan racked up 2.5 sacks and five quarterback hurries in the Redskins' win. Kerrigan has already reached double-digit sacks for the second time in his career and has notched a sack in each of his last three.

Barbre has performed admirably in the absence of both the suspended Lane Johnson and the injured Vaitai. It's also pretty clear that Barbre's best position is guard. It's going to be a stiff test for Barbre to contain Kerrigan. 

Jordan Matthews (maybe) vs. Josh Norman 
With Paul Turner performing well in the slot, it'll be interesting to see if Pederson decides to use Matthews on the outside more. Matthews is coming off an ankle injury that kept him out of the Eagles' loss to the Bengals and is listed as questionable on Sunday. Even if Matthews is 100 percent, it's not an ideal matchup for the Eagles.

Louisville's Lamar Jackson wins Heisman Trophy

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Louisville's Lamar Jackson wins Heisman Trophy

NEW YORK -- Lamar Jackson leapt over a loaded field of Heisman Trophy contenders early in the season and by the time he slowed down nobody could catch him.

The sensational sophomore quarterback became the first Louisville player to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, beating out preseason favorite Deshaun Watson of Clemson despite some late-season struggles.

Baker Mayfield finished third and Oklahoma teammate and fellow finalist Dede Westbrook was fourth. Michigan's Jabrill Peppers was fifth.

Watson, who finished third in Heisman voting last year, led a stacked group of contenders entering this season that included five of the top seven vote-getters in 2015.

Jackson outdid them all in his first season as Louisville's full-time starter, accounting for 51 touchdowns and averaging 410 yards per game in total offense. He ultimately won going away, with 2,144 points to Watson's 1,524. By percentage of possible points received, Jackson's victory was the sixth largest in Heisman history, and he became the youngest winner at 19 years, 352 days.

Jackson is the first Heisman Trophy winner to play on a team that lost its last two games of the regular season since Tim Brown of Notre Dame in 1987. He's the first to enter the postseason without a chance to win the national title since Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M in 2012.

No matter. Jackson did so much before November it was difficult to deny him the award because of a couple of missteps at the end.

He provided a signature moment against Syracuse, hurdling a defender on his way into the end zone, and then played his best against Louisville's toughest competition.

In a romp over Florida State and a close loss at Clemson, Jackson threw for 511 yards, ran for 308 and accounted for eight touchdowns. After ripping apart Florida State in September, he earned the stamp of approval from his idol, former Virginia Tech and NFL star Mike Vick.

Jackson left that Oct. 1 game in Death Valley as a threat to run away with the Heisman, but losses to Houston and Kentucky, when he committed four turnovers, in late November provided an opportunity for others to sway voters.

Watson made the biggest surge, but ultimately fell short.

Jackson continues a recent trend of breakout stars winning the Heisman. He is the sixth player to win the award as either a redshirt freshman or sophomore, all since 2007, joining Manziel (redshirt freshman), Jameis Winston (redshirt freshman), Mark Ingram (sophomore), Sam Bradford (sophomore) and Tim Tebow (sophomore).

Jackson came to Louisville as a three-star recruit from Boynton Beach High School in Florida. Some colleges were not sold on him as a quarterback, but Jackson was such a dynamic talented Louisville coach Bobby Petrino altered his offense to accommodate Jackson's speed and elusiveness.

Jackson flashed brilliance as a freshman and showed what was to come in the Music City Bowl against Texas A&M. He had 453 total yards and led Louisville to a victory.

Still, with so many well-established stars from Watson and Mayfield to running backs Christian McCaffrey of Stanford, Dalvin Cook of Florida State and Leonard Fournette of LSU, Jackson entered the season without much fanfare.

Just the way he likes it.

Jackson spent this season adjusting to newfound fame, growing into the role of face of the team and trying to stay out of the spotlight. He said he cut down on trips to the mall to avoid the inevitable crowds he drew.

He is about to become even more popular. Especially back in Louisville, where he has another year before he can even consider his next big jump -- to the NFL.