Fourth-quarter TD, defensive heroics help Tide survive

first_imgFAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – It was cold, wet miserable night, and Alabama played down to the conditions.The No. 7 Crimson Tide was sloppy in all areas Saturday but survived an SEC clash with Arkansas 14-13 before a crowd of 72,137 in Razorback Stadium.Safety Landon Collins sealed the game with an interception near midfield with 1:59 remaining.“I saw it, sat on it and picked it up,” Collins said. “I had to time it right. I’ve missed too many already this year. I knew no one was behind me, so I had to make a play.”Players felt fortunate to escape with a victory over the last-place team in the West Division. They made plenty of mistakes to make the game so close.Head coach Nick Saban felt the effort overcame the mistakes.“I was really proud of our players and coaches for the job they did,” Saban said. “We wanted to play harder than the other team and do a better job of executing, and that’s the part we didn’t do. But … our players played really hard and overcame a lot of adversity. We made a lot of mistakes, but we overcame them.”Alabama’s running game was held in check. The Razorbacks (3-3, 0-3) allowed only 66 yards on 22 carries. Running back T.J. Yeldon gained only 45 yards on 16 attempts. Backup Derrick Henry rushed for 25 yards on seven carries.The passing game wasn’t much better. Quarterback Blake Sims couldn’t stretch the field on a regular basis, misfired some throws and was sacked twice.The special teams had another meltdown with four fumbles — two lost — and a missed field goal.If not for a strong defensive effort, the game would have gotten out of hand. Alabama (5-1, 2-1) forced two fumbles. One saved a touchdown and another set up a score.“The defense did a phenomenal job of stopping the running game,” Saban said. “We struggled to get off the field on third down at times, but did it at the end of the game when we needed to.”Arkansas gained only 89 rushing yards after averaged 316.6 yards a game coming in.Alabama took the lead to stay with 12:36 left when quarterback Blake Sims found DeAndrew White in the end zone on a 6-yard pass.In the third quarter, Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen found AJ Derby on a 54-yard touchdown pass. Derby broke a tackle by Geno Smith and fought off Eddie Jackson down the sideline.Arkansas dominated the first quarter by holding the ball nearly 13 minutes but neither team scored.Alabama muffed two punt returns to give the Razorbacks the ball on short fields. But the defense held strong and linebacker Trey DePriest even forced a fumble on the goal line.The Tide put together a solid 67-yard drive to open the second quarter. O.J. Howard caught a 47-yard pass to put Alabama in the red zone, but a quarterback sack forced a field goal attempt, which Adam Griffith missed wide left, his fourth miss in five attempts stretching back three games.last_img read more

Will Webb accept pay cut to remain with Ravens?

first_imgWith veteran Lardarius Webb carrying the sixth-highest salary cap figure among NFL cornerbacks, it’s hardly surprising that the Ravens are asking him to take a pay cut.Whether he accepts is the question as the NFL Network reported Tuesday that Baltimore has officially asked the 29-year-old defensive back to take less than his $8 million base salary for the 2015 season. Webb carries a $12 million cap figure, which is just behind the likes of Dallas’ Brandon Carr ($12.717 million) and Seattle’s Richard Sherman ($12.2 million) for this coming season. Few would say that Webb belongs in that category of players as injuries have stunted a player who once played at a Pro Bowl level before suffering the second anterior cruciate ligament tear of his NFL career during the 2012 season.A back injury cost Webb all of last year’s training camp and three of the first four games of the regular season before he struggled to regain his pre-injury form the rest of the way, finishing 52nd among cornerbacks who took at least half of his team’s snaps in Pro Football Focus’ grading system. The 2009 third-round pick will be 30 in October and signed a six-year, $50 million contract prior to the 2012 season.It remains unclear how much less the Ravens are asking Webb to take, but the question for him is whether he thinks another team would give him more than the revised salary general manager Ozzie Newsome is offering. It was roughly six months ago that the Ravens restructured Webb’s contract for the 2014 season, flipping $4 million of his $7.5 million base salary into a bonus and reducing his cap figure. Of course, that adjustment came with the consequence of adding $1 million to his cap figure in each of the next three seasons.The request of a pay cut is almost always accompanied by the consequence that a player will be released if he doesn’t accept it — no player would ever accept one if that weren’t the case — but the Ravens would save only $2 million in cap space unless they declare Webb a post-June 1 release. Such a maneuver would clear $8 million in cap space, but that relief wouldn’t come until after June 1 when the bulk of free-agent activity has already concluded.If Newsome believes he can find another comparable veteran — Cary Williams was released on Tuesday — at the same salary or for less than what they’re currently offering Webb, the decision to release him becomes much easier. But they also know cornerback is a major priority and they will already be looking to select one in the early rounds of this year’s draft.The Ravens can certainly use the cap savings, but they would come with more uncertainty in the secondary if Webb were to be sent packing after six years in Baltimore.last_img read more