Saints on their way to 4-0
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees passed for more than 250 yards and three touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints took advantage of two turnovers to take a 28-10 lead over the Miami Dolphins early in the second half tonight at the Superdome.
Brees was 15 of 21 passing, including a 27-yard scoring strike to tight end Jimmy Graham and a 13-yard TD to Darren Sproles. He hit Ben Watson for a short TD pass on the Saints' first possession of the second half.
Sproles also scored the game's first touchdown on a 5-yard run. But Sproles really gave Miami fits in the passing game, hauling in seven receptions for 114 yards, including a 48-yarder on the game's opening series to set up his scoring run.
New Orleans is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2009 when they went on to win the Super Bowl. Under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, the Saints have allowed five touchdowns this season.
The Dolphins are off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2002.
Chargers lose Freeney
UNDATED (AP) — New England coach Bill Belichick says Vince Wilfork is likely done for the season. The defensive tackle was injured in Sunday night's win over Atlanta. The Boston Globe reported that Wilfork tore his right Achilles tendon, but Belichick did not specify the injury.
In other NFL bumps and bruises news:
— San Diego Chargers general manager Tom Telesco says outside linebacker Dwight Freeney has a torn quadriceps muscle and will be out an undisclosed amount of time. Telesco says the team doesn't yet know the severity of the injury or the time frame for recovery. Freeney was hurt Sunday's win over Dallas.
— Indianapolis linebacker Bjoern Werner will miss four to six weeks with a sprained right foot. Werner was the Colts' first-round pick in April's draft. Fullback Stanley Havili also is expected to miss this week's game with a sprained ankle.
Browns stick with third-string QB
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Browns coach Rob Chudzinski says injured starting quarterback Brandon Weeden will sit on the bench when the club plays Buffalo this Thursday. The reason is simple, third-string fill-in Brian Hoyer has gone 2-0 since replacing Weeden, who sprained his thumb in Week 2.
Chudzinski says he will continue to evaluate the position "week to week" but made it clear that he has faith in Hoyer, who began the season as Cleveland's No. 3 quarterback.
Rays leading Rangers late
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Major League Baseball season usually consists of 162 games. This year, for Tampa Bay and Texas, there is going to be a 163rd.
The Rays and Rangers are meeting tonight in a one-game play-in game, with the winner advancing to Wednesday night's wild card game at Cleveland. The Rays are leading the Rangers 4-2 late in the game.
The Rays and Rangers forced the extra game by both finishing in a deadlock for the second wild card spot.
Giving the Bucs a scare
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen gave the franchise a brief scare when a ball hit him in the head during batting practice.
The MVP candidate was shagging fly balls when an unnamed teammate distracted him. McCutchen says when he turned his head, a ball off the bat of Jordy Mercer hopped off the ground and caught him around his right ear.
McCutchen walked off the field under his own power and said he should be fine to play in Tuesday night's NL wild-card game against Cincinnati. It's Johnny Cueto (KWAY'-toh) against Pittsburgh's 16-game winner Francisco Liriano (leer-ee-AH'-noh) in the Tuesday night matchup.
Cubs fire manager...Collins and Gardy get new deals
UNDATED (AP) — Dale Sveum (swaym) has been fired as manager of the Chicago Cubs after two seasons on the job. The club finished last in the National League Central for the first time in seven years after dropping 41 of their final 59 games and finishing 66-96. Sveum had a record of 127-197.
In other baseball managerial moves:
— Terry Collins has a two-year contract extension to manage the New York Mets. The club made the announcement one day after completing a 74-88 season. That marks the Mets fifth consecutive losing season since moving into Citi Field. Collins has held the Mets job for three years.
— Ron Gardenhire is coming back as manager of the Minnesota Twins for a 13th season. The two-year extension comes after the Twins completed a third straight season of at least 93 losses which is causing concern to an increasingly impatient fan base. Gardenhire is in the final year of his contract and is the second-longest tenured manager in the big leagues.
NEW YORK (AP) — Rob Manfred has been promoted to the position of Major League Baseball's chief operating officer. The move may make him a candidate to succeed Bud Selig (SEE'-lig) as commissioner who's retiring in January 2015. The sport's No. 2 post had been open for three years. Paul Beeston served in the role from 1997-02, then was replaced by Bob DuPuy (doo-PAY'), who left in October 2010.
Manfred has been involved in baseball's labor dealings for two decades.
A-Rod's future at stake
NEW YORK (AP) — The grievance to overturn Alex Rodriguez's 211-game suspension began Monday before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.
The New York Yankees third baseman was wearing a business suit and accompanied by lawyers when he arrived for the session at Major League Baseball's headquarters in midtown Manhattan.
Rodriguez was suspended Aug. 5 for alleged violations of baseball's drug agreement and labor contract. Because he's a first offender under the drug program and the players' association filed a grievance to force an appeal, a suspension can't start until it is upheld by an arbitrator.
The union argues the discipline is without just cause and is excessive. If the case doesn't settle, a decision by Horowitz is expected this winter.
New York likes Woodson
GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) — Coach Mike Woodson has been given a vote of support as the New York Knicks get ready for a new season. The club has picked up the option on Woodson's contract for the 2014-15 season. Woodson led the Knicks to a 54-28 record last season and their first Atlantic Division title since 1994. He is 72-34 since taking over for Mike D'Antoni late in the 2011-12 season.
New deal for Cousins
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Sacramento Kings have signed the DeMarcus Cousins to a four-year maximum contract extension worth a reported $62 million. Cousins has drawn multiple suspensions from both the team and the league for his behavior.
UConn hunting for new coach
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut athletic director Warde Manuel says he's looking for football coach who can bring more excitement, passion, and above all wins to UConn.
Manuel fired coach Paul Pasqualoni (pas-kuh-LOH'-nee) on Monday, with his team 0-4 and coming off a 41-12 loss at Buffalo.
Pasqualoni, in his third season at UConn, finishes with a 10-18 record. Associate head coach George DeLeone, who coached the offensive line, also was let go.
The Huskies are off this week before hosting South Florida on Oct. 12.
It's time to drop the puck
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks began last season in Los Angeles, where they watched the Kings celebrate their Stanley Cup title. The Blackhawks posted an emphatic 5-2 victory a year ago that set the tone for their own championship run.
Now they are looking for another strong start. The Blackhawks open defense of their second Stanley Cup title in four years Tuesday night when the Washington Capitals visit Chicago on Tuesday.
It's one of three games on NHL opening night. The Toronto Maple Leafs visit Montreal in that traditional Canadian opener and Winnipeg is at Edmonton.