Fall Ball

August 15, 2022

By: Carlos Alvarez

Welcome Back 

You made it. The dog days of summer sports are in the rearview mirror, and a season of “fall ball” is about to bring the action. The busiest sports weekend in months delivered a dose of preseason NFL, WNBA drama, MLB headlines and the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Tennis, soccer and the Little League World Series are on deck.

Gone are the days of racking our brains for phantom sports news. It\’s time to strap in.

Letter Rip!



Preseason Week 1 \’Lights


Kenny Pickett & Desmond Ridder Shine, Zach Wilson Gets Injured & More


Week 1 of the NFL preseason is in the books. The NFL highlights and storylines are back for good, and football fans can celebrate once more. From injuries to quarterback battles and the must-see highlights, here are the notes from the beginning of the preseason:


NFL Preseason Week 1 Highlights


Kenny Pickett Shines: The Steelers ran three quarterbacks through the offense in a Week 1 blitz against the Seahawks (32-25). All three QBs combined for 4 TDs and 0 INTs, but rookie Kenny Pickett looked better than expected (13/15, 95 yards, 2 TDs).


Desmond Ridder Surprises: Another rookie quarterback in Atlanta looked great in his debut. Desmond Ridder (10/22, 103 yards, 2 TDs) was efficient in the pass game. He rushed for 60 yards and led the game-winning drive in the Falcons’ win over the Lions (27-23).


Panthers QB Battle: Both Baker Mayfield (4/7, 45 yards) and Sam Darnold (2/3, 16 yards, 1 TD) played limited snaps for the Panthers, but both looked solid. Mayfield got the start, but he hasn’t been named the starter for the regular season.


Zach Wilson Goes Down: Jets quarterback Zach Wilson suffered a bone bruise and meniscus tear in the Jets’ win over the Eagles. The initial diagnosis has Wilson out for 2-4 weeks, but he could miss the beginning of the regular season.


Play of the Week: Bills Rookie Punter Matt Araiza Bashes 82-Yard Punt


All Preseason Week 1 Highlights

Giants def. Patriots (23-21) | Ravens def. Titans (23-10) | Falcons def. Lions (27-23) | Browns def. Jaguars (24-13) | Cardinals def. Bengals (36-23) | Jets def. Eagles (24-21) | 49ers def. Packers (28-21) | Panthers def. Commanders (23-21) | Bears def. Chiefs (19-14) | Bills def. Colts (27-24) | Steelers def. Seahawks (32-25) | Dolphins def. Buccaneers (26-24) | Texans def. Saints (17-13) | Broncos def. Cowboys (17-7) | Rams def. Chargers (29-22) | Raiders def. Vikings (26-20)


Additional Storylines

CBS Sports: Ranking NFL Rookie QB Debuts From Week 1 of Preseason

B/R: Ranking the Most Surprising Performances From NFL Preseason Week 1 Slate

ESPN: Scouting Report & Expectations for All 6 Quarterbacks in 2021 NFL Draft



San Diego, Sans Fernando…


Padres Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. Suspended 80 Games for PEDs


The San Diego Padres may have won the trade deadline, but their hopes of a World Series run took a blow over the weekend. On Friday, shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. tested positive for Clostebol, a performance-enhancing drug. The test came with an 80-game suspension that begins immediately and will run through the first 32 games of next season, and Tatis Jr. hasn’t played yet in 2022. It’s the latest blow to his superstar status after the 23-year-old broke his wrist in a motorcycle accident last offseason. He’ll end up going more than 20 months without appearing in an MLB game after signing a 14-year, $340 million contract extension last year. The Padres may have landed Juan Soto, but their franchise player won’t be back until 2023.


FOX Sports: Fernando Tatis Jr. Suspension Breaks Padres’ Trust


MLB Quick-Hitters


Dodgers Streak Ends at 12The Dodgers fell to the Royals on Sunday (4-0) and watched their win streak come to an end at 12 games, just one shy of the franchise record.


Pujols Hits 2 Jacks: Even at 42, Albert Pujols is still hitting bombs. The Cardinals’ legend hit two homers — 688 and 689 — in Sunday’s 6-3 win over the Brewers in St. Louis.


Rasmussen’s Near Perfecto: Drew Rasmussen was one inning shy of throwing the first perfect game in Rays history Friday night before the Tigers broke it up in the 9th. Tampa Bay went on to win (4-1).



WNBA Playoff Snapshot \"📸\"


Liberty & Mercury Secure Last 2 Spots; Aces Steal 1-Seed From Sky; Sylvia Fowles Plays Final Game


The WNBA regular season came to a close on Sunday, but not before a pivotal weekend for playoff seeding. Five teams entered the weekend with a shot at the last two playoff spots, but the Liberty and Mercury found their way in. Meanwhile, the Aces reeled off a four-game win streak to close out the regular season and steal the overall No. 1 seed from the Sky. The elimination of the Lynx also meant that Sunday was Sylvia Fowles’ final game. She finished with a double-double, and she’ll go down as arguably the greatest center in WNBA history.


The playoff picture is finally set, and the postseason tips off Wednesday night. Eight teams. Two months. Let’s do it.


WNBA Playoffs

1. Las Vegas Aces (26-10)

2. Chicago Sky (26-10)

3. Connecticut Sun (25-11)

4. Seattle Storm (22-14)

5. Washington Mystics (22-14)

6. Dallas Wings (18-18)

7. New York Liberty (16-20)

8. Phoenix Mercury (15-21)


Just Missed: Minnesota Lynx (14-22), Atlanta Dream (14-22), Los Angeles Sparks (13-23)


WNBA Playoff Schedule


Additional Storylines

FTW: Sylvia Fowles Receives Standing Ovation in Final Game

WNBA: An Unforgettable Ride: Reflecting on Sylvia Fowles’ Legendary Career

ESPN: How Skylar Diggins-Smith’s Absence Impacts Phoenix’s Playoff Hopes



Zalatoris Captures 1st PGA Win \"⛳️\"


Will Zalatoris Beats Sepp Straka in Thrilling Playoff at St. Jude Championship


The FedEx Cup Playoffs got underway with the first of three events over the weekend, and it all came down to a Sunday playoff between Will Zalatoris and Sepp Straka in the St. Jude Championship. Zalatoris started slow with a 71 in the opening round before shooting 63-65-66 on Friday-Saturday-Sunday. He and Straka finished Sunday three strokes ahead of the field at 15-under before needing three playoff holes. On the par-3 third playoff hole, Zalatoris’ shot landed inches from the water while Straka hit the drink. The result was Zalatoris’ first career PGA win.


St. Jude Championship Leaderboard

W. Zalatoris (-15)*

S. Straka (-15)

L. Glover (-12)

B. Harman (-12)

A. Scott (-11)

J. Rahm (-11)

C. Morikawa (-11)

T. Finau (-11)


Other Notable Scorecards: S. Im (-10), J. Thomas (-9), C. Smith (-9) Full Leaderboard


Watch: Zalatoris Wins St. Jude Championship


FedEx Cup Playoffs

The field was trimmed from 125 to 70 for Round 2 of the playoff next week at the BMW Championship. The remaining 30 golfers will compete at the Tour Championship at the end of the month.


FedEx Cup Points Standings

1. Will Zalatoris (3,680)

2. Scottie Scheffler (3,555)

3. Cameron Smith (2,547)

4. Sam Burns (2,428)

5. Tony Finau (2,260)

Full FedEx Cup Standings


Additional Storylines

PGA: Will Zalatoris’ Wild Ride to FedEx St. Jude Championship Title

Golf Channel: Craziness! Wild Playoff Break Helps Will Zalatoris Capture First PGA Tour Title



\"🏀\" Reasons LeBron Shouldn’t Re-Sign With Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers\’ offseason has been nothing short of eventful — full of trade talks, new hires, and conversations surrounding LeBron James\’ future with the franchise. (FOX Sports)


\"⚾️\" Biggest MLB Stars Suspended for PEDs

Fernando Tatis Jr., the San Diego Padres\’ standout shortstop, was suspended 80 games after testing positive for Clostebol on Friday. Here are some of the biggest MLB stars to get suspended. (CBS Sports)


\"⚽️\" Manchester United’s Embarassing Start

Saturday’s 4–0 loss to Brentford exposed the Red Devils for what they are: a club without a plan run by a manager with misplaced tactics. Erik ten Hag’s embarrassing start should come as no surprise. (Sports Illustrated)