Happy Tuesday, and happy November, everyone! Hope you got all the Halloween candy your heart desires.
Let's get right to it.
Good morning to everyone but especially to...
THE CLEVELAND BROWNS
Halloween was all treats for Browns fans. Cleveland put on by far its best performance of the year in a 32-13 shellacking of the Bengals.
- Jacoby Brissett was outstanding, throwing for 278 yards -- his most since 2019 -- and accounting for two touchdowns (one pass, one rush). He had plenty of fun with the Cincinnati defense late in the game.
- Nick Chubb ran for 101 yards and two scores. Chubb is up to 10 rushing touchdowns through eight games, the first Browns player to do that since Jim Brown in 1959.
- Amari Cooper had five receptions for 131 yards and a score.
- This was Cleveland's largest home win over Cincinnati since 1994. The Browns have now won eight of nine over the Bengals.
Meanwhile, this was a nightmare that couldn't end soon enough for the Bengals, which is now a trend for Joe Burrow when it comes to facing Cleveland:
Joe Burrow career vs Browns:— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 1, 2022
Times Sacked: 17 pic.twitter.com/ptD240n64x
It doesn't help that the Bengals were without Ja'Marr Chase and then lost top cornerback Chidobe Awuzie to a knee injury during the game. Aside from the mounting injury issues, Burrow took five-plus sacks for a league high-tying third time this year, and 13 of his throws were at or behind the line of scrimmage, third-most of his career. The running game continued to disappoint, and the secondary lost one of its best players and struggled in general.
At 4-4, Cincinnati needs to figure things out quickly.
- Cooper Kupp seems to have avoided major injury.
- Here are some of the best Halloween costumes from around the NFL.
And not such a good morning for...
BRYAN HARSIN AND THE AUBURN TIGERS
What's long been expected finally became official Monday: Auburn fired football head coach Bryan Harsin less than two years after hiring him. Harsin finishes his time at Auburn 9-12, including 3-5 this year. The firing comes as Auburn nears a deal with Mississippi State's Josh Cohen to become the Tigers' new athletic director.
- Harsin barely even made it to a second season on The Plains. Early in the offseason, school power brokers attempted to oust Harsin, citing frustrations with the on-field results, roster, coaching staff and recruiting. They hoped to fire Harsin for cause, which would have gotten the school out of paying his buyout.
- Instead, Auburn owes Harsin $15.3 million. Auburn is also still paying Gus Malzahn's buyout.
- Former Auburn star running back and current running backs coach Carnell "Cadillac" Williams will be the interim coach.
To be blunt, this was a flat-out disaster. Harsin came to Auburn from Boise State, where he had gone 69-19 in seven seasons, but pretty much everything that could go wrong did go wrong, writes our college football reporter Barrett Sallee.
- Sallee: "When Malzahn coached the Tigers, they were at least competitive. ... That floor has dropped like a rock in the year-plus under Harsin. ... In previous eras, it might seem crazy to dismiss a coach before he even finishes his second season. This is a much different era, however. 'Program building' isn't about hitting the high school recruiting trail hard anymore. It's about managing the comings and goings of the transfer portal. It's about exposure in the name, image and likeness world. Harsin didn't do any of that."
So, who could Auburn target for its next head coach? College football insider Dennis Dodd has eight potential candidates, including Deion Sanders. Auburn comes in as the second-most attractive Power Five job currently open according to our college football expert Shehan Jeyarajah.
Not so honorable mentions
- The 76ers were docked two second-round picks for violating the league's tampering rules.
- Four Michigan State players were suspended for their tunnel scuffle with Michigan players. Jim Harbaugh believes there will be criminal charges.
- Florida dismissed starting linebacker Brenton Cox Jr.
World Series: Why Game 3 being rained out helps Phillies ⚾
Game 3 of the World Series between the Astros and the Phillies was postponed due to rain Monday night and will be played tonight instead. This moves Game 4 to Wednesday, Game 5 to Thursday and Games 6 and 7 to Saturday and Sunday, respectively, if necessary.
- As for the pitching plans, Ranger Suárez will get the ball for Philadelphia in Game 3, with Aaron Nola pitching Game 4 on regular rest.
- Scheduled Game 3 starter Noah Syndergaard will now start Game 5, and the Phillies will likely have ace Zack Wheeler start Game 6 on an extra day's rest.
- The Astros will stick with Lance McCullers Jr. for Game 3 and likely have Cristian Javier go in Game 4. Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez would get Games 5 and 6, respectively, both on an extra day's rest.
If anything, the postponement helps the Phillies, writes MLB expert Matt Snyder.
- Snyder: "In the bullpen, the Phillies would love to rely very heavily on José Alvarado and Seranthony Domínguez with some Zach Eflin and David Robertson sprinkled in. They'll more easily be able to rely almost exclusively on these four relievers now with Suárez and Wheeler getting an extra day along with Nola being able to pitch Game 4. ... On the Astros' end, they are so deep with pitching it doesn't move the needle a ton."
NFL trade deadline: Ravens acquire Roquan Smith; more moves to come today? 🏈
The Bears are continuing their defensive tear down, while the Ravens are loading up. Baltimore acquired Roquan Smith from Chicago for second- and fifth-round picks Monday.
- Smith, 25, leads the NFL in tackles this season. A second-team All-Pro each of the last two seasons, he's entering the final year of his rookie contract. He had requested a trade in August.
- Smith is the second high-profile Bears defender to find a new home in the last week: Robert Quinn was traded to Philadelphia on Wednesday.
- Smith isn't the only addition to Baltimore's linebacker group: Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo will be activated this week, too. Both are coming off Achilles injuries.
Smith is super talented and should really help a Ravens defense that has been up and down this year. He's the only player this season with at least two interceptions and at least two sacks. The Ravens received a B+ grade from our NFL guru Jeff Kerr. With the trade deadline looming at 4 p.m. today, there could be plenty more action, which you can follow on our live tracker. According to our NFL insider Jonathan Jones, the Broncos could be worth monitoring.
- Jones: "The Broncos are very interested in getting more draft picks in 2023. Trading Bradley Chubb would be painful, but there's clearly interest around the league. Sources I talk to are split on whether Chubb or Jerry Jeudy is more likely to be dealt. There doesn't seem to be much desire league-wide for tight end Albert Okwuegbunam at the moment."
UEFA Champions League Matchday 6 preview ⚽
The final week of UEFA Champions League group play gets underway with eight matches today and eight more tomorrow. Here's today's schedule, featuring Groups A, B, C and D, with all matches streaming on Paramount+:
- Bayer Leverkusen vs. Club Brugge, 1:45 p.m.
- Porto vs. Atlético Madrid, 1:45 p.m.
- Sporting CP vs. Eintracht Frankfurt, 4 p.m.
- Viktoria Plzen vs. Barcelona, 4 p.m.
- Marseille vs. Tottenham, 4 p.m.
- Rangers vs. Ajax, 4 p.m.
- Bayern vs. Inter Milan, 4 p.m.
- Liverpool vs. Napoli, 4 p.m.
- Real Madrid vs. Celtic, 4 p.m.
All eyes will be on Group D, as that's the only one where advancement to the Round of 16 hasn't been settled yet. Here are the standings:
- 1. Tottenham: 8 points (+1 goal differential)
- 2. Sporting: 7 points (0 goal differential)
- 3. Eintracht Frankfurt: 7 points (-2 goal differential)
- 4. Marseille: 6 points (+1 goal differential)
Here's soccer expert James Benge's predictions for who nabs the two spots in the next round.
What we're watching Tuesday 📺
🏈 Ball State at Kent State, 7 p.m. on ESPNU
🏈 Buffalo at Ohio, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 Bulls at Nets, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏒 Bruins at Penguins, 8 p.m. on ESPN
⚾ Astros at Phillies, 8:03 p.m. on FOX
🏀 Timberwolves at Suns, 10 p.m. on TNT
🏒 Ducks at Sharks, 10:30 p.m. on ESPN