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Broncos report card and game balls from Week 14 against the San Francisco 49ers

OFFENSE — D

Their running game was bottled up (3.8-yard average on 27 attempts) by San Francisco’s defensive curveball, a heavy front that controlled the line of scrimmage. Quarterback Case Keenum was 24 of 42 for only 186 yards as he reverted back to his early-season habit of throwing high and wide on out routes. Phillip Lindsay had two drops and the receivers averaged only 7.8 yards per catch. The Broncos have forgotten about their tight ends (Matt LaCosse has one catch in the last two games).

DEFENSE — D

They pitched a shutout in the second half and produced a turnover at midfield that the offense didn’t capitalize on. But about that first half. Is there a lower grade than F for what happened in quarters 1-2? San Francisco did whatever it wanted, including seven passes to tight end George Kittle for 210 yards. Kittle’s 85-yard touchdown was a coverage bust that should not happen in Week 14 and against an opponent’s best weapon. The penalties began piling up and was low-lighted by three neutral zone infractions by linebacker Von Miller.

SPECIAL TEAMS — C

Kicker Brandon McManus made both of his point-after attempts but the 20-point halftime deficit forced the Broncos to go for it on fourth down throughout the second half. Punter Colby Wadman posted a 40.2 yard net on six punts. River Cracraft sparked the Broncos’ first scoring drive with a 20-yard punt return.

COACHING — F

The Broncos had 11 penalties, were a dismal 2 of 15 on third down and trailed a 2-10 team by 20 points at halftime. Where to begin? Let’s start with coach Vance Joseph. His team played with no urgency, as if the 49ers were going to hand them the game. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave got away with four called passes from the San Francisco 1-yard line (touchdown on fourth down) and defensive coordinator Joe Woods had no answer for Kittle and saw his group commit five penalties on one drive. Joseph ended with an odd challenge that cost him a timeout in the final minutes.

GAME BALLS

WR Tim Patrick. His role increased because of Emmanuel Sanders’ injury, Patrick caught seven passes for 85 yards.

LB Bradley Chubb. He recorded two sacks to set a Broncos rookie season record (12).

DL Shelby Harris. In addition to his four tackles, he batted down one pass and deflected another that resulted in a completion for lost yardage.

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D.J. Eliot, former CU Buffs head coach Mike MacIntyre land new jobs

While Colorado football fans are just getting to know new head coach Mel Tucker, the Buffaloes’ former head coach and defensive coordinator are on their way to new jobs.

Buffzone.com sources have confirmed multiple reports from Sunday that former CU head coach Mike MacIntyre has accepted an offer to become the defensive coordinator at Mississippi.

Meanwhile, D.J. Eliot, CU’s defensive coordinator the past two years, is set to be introduced Monday as the defensive coordinator at a different Power 5 conference school, according to a Buffzone.com source. Because details are still being finalized, the source could not identify the school where Eliot is headed, but Georgia Tech, Kansas and Maryland all have open spots at defensive coordinator.

MacIntyre did not respond to texts, but his son, senior receiver Jay MacIntyre, tweeted, “HOTTY TODDY!!” — a saying synonymous with Ole Miss football — at the time reports came out Sunday afternoon.

Read the full story at Buffzone.com.



Broncos’ up-down drill: Best and worst against the 49ers

Tracking the best and worst from the Broncos’ loss Sunday.

UP: King Kittle. The Broncos nearly finished on the wrong side of history. San Francisco tight end George Kittle hauled in seven catches for 210 yards and one touchdown — all in the first half. Kittle almost broke the NFL record for tight end receiving yardage set by Broncos’ tight end Shannon Sharpe (214) in 2002.

DOWN: Lindsay-mania. Rookie running back Phillip Lindsay entered the game needing only 63 yards to reach 1,000 on the season. He didn’t get there. The 49ers bottled Lindsay up for 30 yards on 14 carries. He found the end zone once in the third quarter, on a 3-yard dash, but Lindsay’s longest burst of the day went for just 5.

UP: Miller’s streak. Von Miller‘s second quarter sack of 49ers’ quarterback Nick Mullens achieved two milestones. It marked career sack No. 103.5 — tying Miller with Simon Fletcher for the most in franchise history. And, it registered the eighth consecutive game Miller had a sack this season — the longest such stretch in Miller’s career.

DOWN: Miller’s anticipation. Miller got flagged three times for neutral zone infractions in the first half. He was pulled after this third such infraction.

UP: Chubb’s production. With two sacks, Broncos’ outside linebacker Bradley Chubb reached 12 on the season to set a franchise rookie record. Chubb, who wrangled Mullens down in the second and third quarter, surpassed the previous mark (11.5) set by Miller in 2011.

DOWN: Blocking up front. The early success of Denver’s retooled interior offensive line  — LG Billy Turner, C Connor McGovern and RG Elijah Wilkinson — hit a setback Sunday with limited team rushing success (103 yards) while giving up two sacks and nine quarterback hurries.

UP: Fat guy receptions. With about 2 minutes left in the second quarter, defensive tackle Shelby Harris tipped a Mullens pass attempt at the line of scrimmage and the football dropped into the open arms of 49ers’ left tackle Joe Staley. Sure, dropping it for an incompletion rather than catching it for a 5-yard loss would have been the smarter move. But give Staley his moment. It’s not often an offensive lineman ends up in the receiving column.

DOWN: Points off turnovers. Safety Darian Stewart intercepted a Mullens pass with 11 minutes to go near midfield with the Broncos trailing 20-7. But Denver couldn’t capitalize. It faced fourth-and-3 from the San Francisco 21-yard line and a completion to Lindsay fell short of the marker. The Broncos best chance at a comeback was foiled.

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Broncos’ playoff hopes crippled with Week 14 loss at San Francisco

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Life without cornerback Chris Harris and receiver Emmanuel Sanders on Sunday looked a lot like life with them on the Broncos throughout October.

Lousy.

Minus their best cover man (Harris, who broke his leg last week) and their best receiver (Sanders, who tore his Achilles in practice on Wednesday), the Broncos slept-walk through the first half at Levi’s Stadium, eventually losing 20-14. Likely needing to win out to capture the final AFC wild card spot, the Broncos (6-7) fell a game behind Tennessee, Indianapolis, Baltimore and Miami (all 7-6).

The hard truth: The Broncos need to win their final three games … and get help from the above four teams, who must all limp to the finish line.

The Broncos’ three-game winning streak was snapped, mostly by tight end George Kittle, whose 85-yard touchdown gave the 49ers a 13-0 second-quarter lead and whose seven catches gained 210 yards (all in the first half) as San Francisco cruised to a 20-0 lead.

San Francisco seemingly tried to keep the Broncos in the game throughout the second half. The Broncos cut the lead to 20-14 with 3:53 left on a Case Keenum-to-DaeSean Hamilton 1-yard touchdown. The Broncos had all three timeouts and the two-minute warning stoppage left.

Then Denver made strange clock management decisions.

The 49ers gained one yard on first down. Denver called timeout. On second down, receiver Marquise Goodwin caught a pass and fumbled out of bounds. Broncos coach Vance Joseph lost his challenge (and a precious timeout) for an incompletion, setting up a third-and-2 … which became a third-and-7 after left guard Laken Tomlinson’s false start penalty. No matter. Quarterback Nick Mullens threw 31 yards to receiver Dante Pettis. Three plays later, on third-and-3 from the Broncos’ 39, Mullens threw six yards to receiver Trent Taylor.

Game over.

A case can be made that the Broncos’ roster-wide injuries finally caught up to them. But that would be too easy. A surging team like the Broncos, regardless of injuries, should have been able to handle a 2-10 team playing its third-string quarterback.

Instead it was the other way around, particularly in the first half. The 49ers looked like they were on a winning streak. The Broncos looked like they were playing out the season.

In building a 20-0 lead at halftime, the 49ers outgained the Broncos 311-66 and created plays for Kittle to have a first half for the ages, seven catches for 210 yards.

The Broncos showed no discipline or fundamentals: 10 penalties.

They showed no pulse on offense: Five punts and a kneel-down in their six possessions.

And they showed no urgency: It was if they waited for the 49ers to hand them the game.

The Broncos’ defense hung on early, allowing yards but not touchdowns. The 49ers moved 56 yards to open the game, but settled for a Robbie Gould 40-yard field goal. Bradley Chubb’s third-down sack from the four-yard line forced a Gould 29-yard field goal and a 6-0 lead.

But enter Kittle. Mullens had 3.01 seconds to throw on a first-down play from the 15 and found a wide open Kittle, who caught the pass at the 29 and wove his way to a score and a 13-0 lead.

The Broncos tried to find a spark when they took over with 1:48 left in the second quarter. But they quickly punted, using only 41 seconds.

San Francisco made it 20-0 on Mullens’ 1-yard touchdown to Dante Pettis eight seconds before halftime.

The 49ers’ drive was aided by five — yes, five! — defensive penalties by the Broncos, including Von Miller’s second and third neutral zone violations. Those flags added up to a free 22 yards of field position.

The Broncos cut the lead to 20-7 with 6:05 left in the third quarter on Phillip Lindsay’s three-yard touchdown run. The drive started at their 44 after River Cracraft’s 22-yard punt return and included two fourth down conversions (fullback Andy Janovich three-yard run and a 19-yard catch by receiver Tim Patrick).

The Broncos forced a punt, creating an opening. A touchdown and the game would be within reach. Starting at their 8, the offense moved to the 41 and faced a fourth-and-3. Lindsay managed to bounce the carry outside but was ruled one yard short.

On the ensuing possession, safety Darian Stewart intercepted Mullens’ pass. Another opening for the Broncos. Starting at their 44, the Broncos got carries of seven and 23 yards by running back Royce Freeman. But Freeman lost a yard on third-and-2 and Keenum’s pass to Lindsay on fourth-and-3 gained only a yard.

San Francisco quickly punted the ball back. The Broncos converted two fourth down plays (Tim Patrick’s nine-yard catch on fourth-and-7 and Lindsay’s three-yard rush on fourth-and-1). The Broncos had first-and-goal from the 49ers’ 1. Following three incompletions, Hamilton scored the first touchdown of his rookie year.

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Nick Ayers, Trump’s once-likely replacement for chief of staff Kelly, won’t take the job

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top pick to be his next chief of staff, Nick Ayers, will not take the job and instead leave the White House at the end of the year, reopening negotiations over who will succeed the departing John Kelly.

Four other candidates are now believed to be in the running to direct Trump’s White House, administration officials said Sunday. Ayers, a longtime operative who is currently Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, said in a tweet that after departing he “will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause.”

“Thank you @realDonaldTrump, @VP, and my great colleagues for the honor to serve our Nation at The White House,” he said.

Trump’s new list of potential chiefs includes Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who is also acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, according to a White House official.

Sources said Ayers would work with the super PAC set up to assist the president’s reelection campaign. News that Ayers would not take the chief of staff job was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Trump had previously spoken with Ayers about the top administration job and had settled on him as Kelly’s likely replacement, the president’s advisers said.

But Ayers, who has young children, had insisted on serving temporarily,frustrating Trump, who had wanted a replacement to stay on through 2020.

Ayers was also skeptical of taking the job based on the challenges that Kelly and his predecessor, Reince Priebus, faced in the position, and talks between the two sides broke down, according to an administration official with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

The 36-year-old Ayers also had faced opposition among many senior White House aides, who worried that his elevation could trigger departures of other high-level staffers.

After initially agreeing that Kelly would announce his departure on Monday, Trump abruptly shifted course andannounced Saturday that Kelly would leave the White House by the end of the year. The position might be filled on an interim basis, he added then.

 

That announcement closed out Kelly’s rocky tenure and ushered in a second straight messy chief-of-staff handover for the president. Last year, Trump took to Twitter to announce Priebus’ departure and Kelly’s arrival while aboard Air Force One, his outgoing top administrator having just left the plane.

With House Republicans poised to return to the minority in the next Congress following their party’s midterm defeat, Meadows could find the chief of staff position an appealing one. His rise to the job would signal anew that Trump’s response to the November drubbing is to move further to the right, rather than toward negotiations with the ascendant Democrats.

Besides Mulvaney and Meadows, other names on Trump’s short list were not immediately known.

Another senior administration official said that Mulvaney and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have both expressed internally that they aren’t seeking the job but could change their minds if pleaded to take the post by Trump.

Kelly, a four-star general who previously served as homeland security secretary, has been lauded by current and former aides who say he brought order to the West Wing. But he has at times clashed with Trump, who openly voiced his frustration with Kelly for months.

Kelly struggled to corral the various factions in the White House, including members of Trump’s family, and was criticized by the president as lacking political skills — an increasing concern heading into the president’s 2020 reelection campaign.

Ayers, a veteran operative who was previously the executive director of the Republican Governors Association, had been viewed as a candidate well-positioned to fill that gap, even as he had alienated some members of the staff.

As news broke Sunday night that Ayers would not take the position, prompting renewed attention on the tumult in the White House, Trump made no mention of his chief-of-staff search and instead sought to shift the focus to his administration’s successes.

“The Trump Administration has accomplished more than any other U.S. Administration in its first two (not even) years of existence, & we are having a great time doing it!” he said in a tweet. He offered no specifics.

He followed up with a swipe at his favorite target, the “Fake News Media,” which he said has “gone totally out of its mind-truly the Enemy of the People!”

Pence, meanwhile, wished Ayers well and said in a tweet that he would “always be grateful for his friendship, dedication to the @VP team and his efforts to advance the @POTUS agenda.”



Amazon touted as big win for New York, but math is more complex

NEW YORK — Officials tout their deal to land a new Amazon headquarters as can’t-miss math. The city and state put up $2.8 billion in tax breaks and grants. In return, they get an economic engine expected to generate $27 billion in new tax money over a quarter-century.

“This is a big moneymaker for us. Costs us nothing,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said when the agreement was announced.

Experts say the economic equation isn’t that simple.

The state’s predicted 9-to-1 return on its investment was based on a widely used economic model that compares the costs of tax incentives with expected tax gains, but it didn’t factor in the substantial costs of accommodating Amazon’s growth in the city, economic development researchers said after reviewing the documents.

The city and state will have to spend money to educate the children of Amazon workers, improve public transportation to get them to work, collect their garbage, adjust police and fire coverage, and provide all sorts of other services for a growing number of people.

“Claiming 9-to-1 isn’t just implausible. It is a dishonest way to present the return on these incentives,” says Nathan Jensen, a University of Texas professor of government who has been critical of the way economic development incentives are used.

The reports also don’t measure the Amazon “HQ2” project against any other possible development of its intended site in the booming Long Island City neighborhood.

Four academic and think tank researchers who weren’t involved in the state’s cost-benefit analyses said that while its methods were standard, its scope was limited.

“It’s a standard cost-benefit approach, but it tends to talk a lot about the benefits and not a lot about the costs,” said Megan Randall, a research analyst at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. “That’s not to say that the costs will automatically override all the benefits … (but) cities should be armed with that knowledge.”

New York state’s evaluation of the Amazon deal is based on an assumption that the company will ultimately create 40,000 relatively high-paying jobs in the city by 2034. That’s the maximum number foreseen in a deal that starts with a promise of 25,000 jobs by 2028.

The state-commissioned analysis by Regional Economic Models Inc. also predicts Amazon’s presence in the city will eventually create 67,000 other jobs outside the company, in industries from tech to real estate to restaurants that might serve Amazon workers.

Over 25 years, all those new jobs will generate about $14 billion in state income and sales taxes and about $13.5 billion in city taxes, according to that analysis and a city report also involving a REMI model.

Cuomo lauded that as “the highest rate of return for an economic incentive program that the state has ever offered.”

REMI’s analysis is deep and thorough, the state’s economic development agency said.

“Their model is widely considered to be the gold standard for economic and fiscal impact analysis and has been recognized for its analytical depth, sophistication and flexibility,” Adam Kilduff, a spokesman for Empire State Development, said in an emailed statement.

A representative of the city’s economic development agency did not respond to questions about the analysis.

The analysis may be right about tax revenue, but “it’s incomplete,” said Timothy Bartik, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and a leading expert on incentives. “You need to look at the spending side.”

Opponents of the project have raised alarms about adding to the strain on subways, sewers and schools already struggling to keep up in the fastest-developing neighborhood in New York City.

Some improvements are already in the works. The Amazon agreement promises a new school and infrastructure upgrades. Critics, including some local politicians, are skeptical it will do enough.

They’ve held a series of rallies and protests and are exploring possible options to try to stop the project.

While voters in New York City support bringing Amazon’s campus to the city, they are divided when it comes to the incentives from the city and state, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

The survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, found that 57 percent of city voters support Amazon’s decision, while 26 oppose it. Forty-six percent of respondents support the incentives, however, compared with 44 percent who said they are opposed.

Beyond the costs of growth, the New York analyses also don’t address some other questions, experts said.

David Merriman, a University of Illinois at Chicago public administration professor who specializes in tax issues, said it didn’t consider the possibility of economic growth in Queens even if Amazon never came.

There were prior plans for big commercial and residential development on part of the potential Amazon site that have now been scuttled in favor of accommodating the company.

The state analysis also didn’t examine whether New York could have bagged the same prize while offering less, as Virginia did to score an additional Amazon headquarters there.

“A proper analysis would take seriously that we are uncertain how much, exactly, was needed to attract HQ2 to New York,” said UT’s Jensen.

Amazon officials have said “the driving factor” in choosing New York and Virginia was the availability of enough tech talent, not the tax incentives.

Despite the unanswered questions, Bartik argues the financial bottom line isn’t necessarily the point.

“I honestly don’t think that the main thing that people should be looking at is whether or not it makes money for the state government. That’s not the purpose of state government,” he said. “The bigger impact is if you create jobs that otherwise wouldn’t be there.”



Chiefs owner: Kansas City knew of 3 incidents involving Kareem Hunt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said the organization was aware of three separate off-field incidents that led to the release of star running back Kareem Hunt, including the alleged assault in a Cleveland hotel that was captured on a security camera.

The team’s owners also said after Kansas City clinched a playoff berth with a 27-24 overtime victory over the Ravens on Sunday that the NFL was made aware of each of the cases.

One of the incidents occurred in January at a downtown Kansas City nightclub and the other happened in June at a resort in Ohio. No charges were filed in any of the three cases.

Kareem Hunt was released nine days ago, shortly after TMZ Sports posted video of him shoving and kicking the woman in Cleveland. He also was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, which means he could not play in games even if a team signed him.



WATCH: Broncos’ Phillip Lindsay’s 3-yard TD run against the 49ers

For the fourth straight game, Phillip Lindsay has found his way into the end zone.

The Broncos rookie running back on Sunday ran for a 3-yard touchdown against the 49ers. The score cut San Francisco’s lead down to 20-7.

It was Lindsay’s ninth touchdown of the season, moving him past Mike Bell into fourth most rushing touchdowns by a Denver rookie. Only Mike Anderson (15), Clinton Portis (15) and Jon Keyworth (10) have scored more in their first year.

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Aspen airport to end parking near terminal, citing U.S. rules

ASPEN – The Aspen-Pitkin County Airport is eliminating curbside parking near the terminal to comply with federal security rules.

The Aspen Daily News reported Friday that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration wants the parking spaces eliminated to reduce the threat of car bombs near the terminal.

Airport Director John Kinney says airport officials delayed the change as long as they could.

Kinney says the curbside parking spots will be replaced next spring with lanes where drivers can stop briefly to load and unload passengers but cannot leave their vehicles unattended. It’s the arrangement most airports nationwide use.

He says short-term parking spots are still available 100 feet from the terminal.

Airport staff began handing out cards on Thursday to people who parked curbside to tell them about the change.



Laviska Shenault named Colorado Buffaloes football team MVP

Laviska Shenault Jr. on Sunday was named the Colorado Buffaloes‘ most valuable player during the team’s annual senior banquet at the Dal Ward Athletic Center.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound receiver earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors after he finished with 86 catches for 1,011 yards and six touchdowns in nine games for the Buffs in 2018. He missed three games due to a toe injury.

Shenault, 20, is the first sophomore to earn the award since linebacker Jashon Sykes was honored in 1999. He is also the third receiver to win the award this decade, joining Paul Richardson (2013) and Nelson Spruce (2014-15).

Running back Travon McMillian was honored with the John Mack Award for the most outstanding player on offense. The senior graduate transfer from Virginia Tech finished with 1,009 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. Sophomores Mustafa Johnson and Nate Landman shared the Dave Jones Award for outstanding defensive player.

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Colorado Rapids trade Zac MacMath to Vancouver for midfielder Nicolas Mezquida

The Colorado Rapids on Sunday traded goalkeeper Zac MacMath to the Vancouver Whitecaps for midfielder Nicolas Mezquida and $100,000 in targeted allocation money.

Mezquida, 26, appeared in 101 games for Vancouver from 2014-18, recording 12 goals and four assists.

“He is a creative and dangerous playmaker who fits well into our playing philosophy of dominating ball possession and pressing high up the pitch,” Rapids executive vice president and general manager Pádraig Smith said in a news release.

MacMath, 27, played with Colorado the past four years, appearing in 31 games, starting 30. He had a record of 12-12-7.

“Zac is a top professional and has been an important part of our club over the last few years. His performances on the field and his commendable work in the community will not be forgotten,” Smith said in the release.

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Colorado Rapids trade Zac MacMath to Vancouver for midfielder Nicolas Mezquida

The Colorado Rapids on Sunday traded goalkeeper Zac MacMath to the Vancouver Whitecaps for midfielder Nicolas Mezquida and $100,000 in targeted allocation money.

Mezquida, 26, appeared in 101 games for Vancouver from 2014-18, recording 12 goals and four assists.

“He is a creative and dangerous playmaker who fits well into our playing philosophy of dominating ball possession and pressing high up the pitch,” Rapids executive vice president and general manager Pádraig Smith said in a news release.

MacMath, 27, played with Colorado the past four years, appearing in 31 games, starting 30. He had a record of 12-12-7.

“Zac is a top professional and has been an important part of our club over the last few years. His performances on the field and his commendable work in the community will not be forgotten,” Smith said in the release.

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WATCH: Broncos’ Bradley Chubb sacks 49ers QB Nick Mullens

https://twitter.com/Broncos/status/1071884528782729217

Make it 11 sacks for Broncos rookie Bradley Chubb.

Denver’s 2018 first-round pick recorded took down another quarterback on Sunday, plowing over San Francisco’s Nick Mullens early in the second quarter as the 49ers were threatening in the red zone on third down.

The play forced San Francisco to settle for a field goal. The 49ers led 6-0 after the kick.

Chubb’s 11 sacks puts him just a 1/2 sack behind Von Miller’s franchise rookie record of 11.5.

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WATCH: Broncos’ Bradley Chubb sacks 49ers QB Nick Mullens

https://twitter.com/Broncos/status/1071884528782729217

Make it 11 sacks for Broncos rookie Bradley Chubb.

Denver’s 2018 first-round pick recorded took down another quarterback on Sunday, plowing over San Francisco’s Nick Mullens early in the second quarter as the 49ers were threatening in the red zone on third down.

The play forced San Francisco to settle for a field goal. The 49ers led 6-0 after the kick.

Chubb’s 11 sacks puts him just a 1/2 sack behind Von Miller’s franchise rookie record of 11.5.

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WATCH: Miami Dolphins’ last-minute game-winning miracle touchdown against the Patriots

Call it the “Miracle in Miami.”

Down 33-28 to the Patriots with seven seconds left on the clock and 69 yards to go, the Dolphins made an incredible play to win.

Quarterback Ryan Tannelhill connected with receiver Kenny Stills at the Miami 47 yard line. Stills lateraled to the right to DeVante Parker, who shoveled it to Kenyon Drake who ran past the Patriots defense to end zone for the walk-off touchdown.



Visiliy Lomachenko wins unanimous decision for 2nd lightweight boxing belt

NEW YORK — Two down, two to go.

Vasiliy Lomachenko is halfway to owning all the major lightweight titles after just two fights, and he’s already eyeing the guy he’d need to beat to get the next one.

“Of course I want two more belts and maybe we can make next year a fight with Mikey Garcia,” Lomachenko said.

He picked up his second lightweight title Saturday night, wearing down Jose Pedraza and winning a unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden.

Lomachenko (12-1) knocked down Pedraza twice in the 11th round and though he couldn’t finish him, won easily to add the WBO title to the WBA belt he picked up in May during his first fight at 135 pounds.

The three-division champion unified titles within a division for the first time, after moving up to lightweight in May when he knocked out Jorge Linares in the 10th round.

“It was my dream to unify titles,” Lomachenko said. “It was my next goal. I can now focus on my next chapter.”

Lomachenko won one card by a 119-107 rout, while two judges scored it 117-109, as did The Associated Press.

It ended his streak of eight straight victories by stoppage but he came close in the 11th, when Pedraza went to a knee to stop an onslaught of punches with about a half-minute left in the round and then went down again after Lomachenko caught him with a body shot.

In his first fight since right shoulder surgery, Lomachenko started cautiously before finding the range with a flurry of combinations in the latter half of the fight to pull away. He tore the labrum in the second round against Linares but said he had no problems with the shoulder Saturday, even though he threw far more lefts.

“I’m healthy,” he said. “One hundred percent.”

He certainly looked it for much of the fight and is halfway to a 135-pound sweep. The IBF title is vacant and the WBC version is owned by the unbeaten Garcia, who won’t be defending that any time soon while he moves to challenge welterweight champion Errol Spence in March.

So Lomachenko will have to wait for what would be the marquee fight in the division.

Pedraza (25-2) was making the first defense of the belt he won from Ray Beltran in August and the Puerto Rican had some good moments, including in the 10th round when he landed some good body shots and won the round on all three judges’ cards. But Lomachenko dominated from there.

“I went 12 rounds with the best fighter in the world,” Pedraza said. “I knew what we were going up against. I thought it was a close fight until the knockdowns. At the end of the day, I am proud of what I did.”

It was Lomachenko’s third straight fight at Madison Square Garden, this one in front of a sellout crowd of 5,312 in the smaller Theater that was filled with Ukrainian flags while the Knicks and Nets played upstairs in the main arena.

The 30-year-old Lomachenko had said the break while rehabbing the surgery may have helped him after nearly 400 amateur bouts before his pro career, and it appeared at times early he was looking for ring work. He was content to focus on defending for large parts of the rounds before letting go of his punches and it wasn’t until later in the fight when he started unleashing his sharpest combinations.

Teofimo Lopez, a 2016 Olympian, scored a quick and devastating knockout of Mason Menard in another lightweight fight on the undercard.

Lopez (11-0, 9 KOs) appeared to hurt Menard (34-4) with his very first punch and it didn’t take him long from there to end it with a roundhouse right near the left ear that momentarily froze Menard with his left arm limp before he fell straight forward onto his face. Referee Charlie Fitch quickly abandoned his count when it was clear Menard wouldn’t get up and the fight was over after just 44 seconds.

Lopez then did a backflip and shortly after Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy across town, slipped into his Sooners No. 1 jersey and did a Heisman pose.

Lopez then guaranteed he would become a world champion in 2019.

“We’re in the stage of my career where we can change boxing and bring it back,” he said. “You all haven’t seen anything like me in a long time.”

Also, Mexican Emanuel Navarrete won the WBO junior featherweight title by beating Isaac Dogboe by unanimous decision.

Navarrete (26-1) said he hurt his hand early in the fight but it never showed, as he kept coming forward and Dogboe (20-1) couldn’t keep him away. Navarrete won by scores of 116-112 on two cards and 115-113 on the other.

“This world championship represents every day that I was working away from my family,” Navarrete said. “This title represents sacrifice.”

Dogboe’s eyes began swelling early in the fight and his face was bloodied toward the end, but he was never knocked down and rallied well at times after being examined by ringside physicians between rounds.

“It was a great fight, and Emanuel Navarrete fought like a true Mexican warrior,” Dogboe said. “Champions are supposed to keep going under any circumstance, but I just couldn’t get the victory. The best man won tonight.”



Boulder County quilters sending handmade warmth, love to California fire victims

John Marinelli, The Daily Camera
Coal Creek Canyon resident Christine Jacques works on a quilt Saturday with the charity quilting group that has made about 50 quilts that will be sent to victims of the Paradise, Calif., wildfire.

Tucked away in the most unlikely of places, an office park in Gunbarrel, a group of women from around the Boulder area gathered Saturday to impart love and warmth to those suffering from loss in the aftermath of the wildfires in Paradise, Calif.

By crafting quilts, the warmest and most sentimental kind of blanket, the women were doing their part to help the town repair.

The charity quilting group, organized by eQuilter, an online quilting store, has been meeting for some time, and has donated its wares to survivors of many disasters.

Cathy Rivers, who lives in Lyons, was gifted a blanket after she was displaced during the devastating floods that hit the town in 2013.

“It felt like we were wrapped in grandma’s special blanket,” she said. “It was really special.”

Read more at dailycamera.com.



Max Holloway stops Brian Ortega by TKO at UFC 231

TORONTO — Featherweight champion Max Holloway stopped top contender Brian Ortega by TKO at UFC 231 on Saturday night

The fight was stopped by the doctor after four rounds. Ortega’s left eye was almost closed, his face bloodied.

The skills of Holloway, who was returning from an injury-plagued year, were too much for Ortega, who had rallied in the third round but was unable to take Holloway down or use his vaunted jiu-jitsu.

“Kudos to him,” Holloway said of Ortega. “On to the next (opponent).”

UFC president Dana White applauded the decision to end the fight.

“That fifth round should never have happened and I’m glad it didn’t,” he said. “The fight needed to be stopped. For us all of in here that have been in the fight game for a long time, that’s what you call too tough for your own good.

“I believe he could have done the fifth round. I believe he would have done the fifth round. But it should have never happened … He’s a young talented guy and I think going into that fifth round would have been very bad for him health-wise. The fourth round wasn’t good for him health-wise.”

Holloway improved to 20-3-0, adding to his impressive credentials, while Ortega slipped to 14-1-0 with one no contest.

It could be Holloway’s last fight at 145 pounds. White wants him to move up to lightweight (155) to avoid the grueling weight cut.

Valentina Shevchenko, a native of Kyrgyzstan fighting out of Peru, overpowered a game, but outmatched Joanna Jedrzejczyk, of Poland, for the vacant women’s flyweight title in the co-main event. Shevchenko won a unanimous five-round decision.

“I have been waiting so long for this moment,” the 30-year-old Shevchenko said.

Ortega, an accomplished Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, entered the arena to the sounds of DMX’s “X Gon’ Give It To Ya.” Holloway walked out to “Game Over” by Lil’ Flip and then “Hawaiian Kickboxer” by Moke Boy.

The crowd started chanting “Holloway, Holloway” as the two circled each other. Ortega scored with counter punches as the champion came forward and connected with an elbow. A relaxed Holloway began to find his striking distance and stuffed a takedown as the round ended.

Ortega’s nose began to bleed profusely in the second as Holloway fired punches. Another takedown was rebuffed and Holloway taunted Ortega. The two exchanged words after the round that was dominated by Holloway.

Ortega came back in the third, connected with punches and almost got Holloway to the ground. Holloway fought back with punishing blows as Ortega continued to bleed from the face.

When Ortega connected, Holloway nodded as if to give him props. Ortgea showed he can take a punch.

Holloway danced in the fourth and then hammered Ortega at the fence. He took him down later in the round.

The 27-year-old Holloway had won his last 12 fights since an August 2013 loss by decision to Conor McGregor.

It was Holloway’s first fight since Dec. 2, 2017, due to a variety of health issues.

The two 145-pounders were originally slated to meet at UFC 226 in July, but Holloway was forced to withdraw at the last minute due to what was thought to be “concussion-like symptoms.”

An ankle injury had forced Holloway out of a March bout against former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar at UFC 222. Ortega filled in for Holloway, winning by a spectacular first-round TKO.

Holloway also missed out on a short-notice fight with current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 in April (after Tony Ferguson withdrew with a knee injury), pulling out during his weight cut.

The lone blemish on the 27-year-old Ortega’s record was a 2014 win over Mike de la Torre that was changed to a no contest after a positive test for the steroid drostanolone. The California native was suspended nine months and fined US$2,500.

Ortega apologized for the failed test, saying he took the drug to help with his weight cut.

Jedrzejczyk (15-3-0) and Shevchenko (16-3-0) met at 125 pounds.

Shevchenko looked bigger and bulkier, taking Jedrzejczyk down a minute into the fight. Jedrzejczyk got back to her feet but had trouble gauging her striking distance early.

While she tried to find it, Shevchenko was content to counter. Shevchenko bodied Jedrzejczyk to the ground in the second, got side control and did damage as the round ended.

Shevchenko came on the third, bloodying Jedrzejczyk’s nose. Jedrzejczyk was taken down again in the fourth.



Broncos Insider: Why Peyton Manning surprised Von Miller this week

Von Miller was lied to.

Don’t worry. He’s not upset. Because sometimes a little deception makes a surprise really pop, and believe me, Miller had no idea what was coming. The Broncos’ all-world outside linebacker was told his presence had been requested to discuss his 100th career sack inside the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse by the team’s communications staff, but details were muddled, and Miller was moving on the fly.

“They were kind of rushing me over, like ‘Man, you’ve got to hurry up and get over here,’” Miller said. “And I’m like ‘What’s going on?’ I had food in my hand. I was eating lunch.”

Miller turned the corner to see a familiar face.

The Broncos nominated Miller for the NFL’s Walter Peyton Man of the Year Award.

Peyton Manning delivered the news.

“Right when you walk in you have Peyton Manning there — sitting with his hands in his pockets,” Miller said. “It was incredible. Everybody knows how much I love Peyton and what he means to me, and to have him along with my family there to surprise me, it was incredible. It’s really been a highlight of the year.”

Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post


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What’s on tap?

Week 14: At San Francisco 49ers, 2 p.m. Sunday, KCNC-4; 850 AM, 94.1 FM

TV/RADIO: Here’s what sports are airing today

Must-Read

Royce Freeman (28) of the Denver ...
Joe Amon, The Denver Post
Royce Freeman (28) of the Denver Broncos is tackled during the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Denver Broncos hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver, Colorado on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018.

Broncos Journal: Back healthy, offense will need Royce Freeman down the stretch

The Broncos’ running game starts with Phillip Lindsay, who needs 63 yards to reach 1,000. It is a role he has earned. But as the Broncos (6-6) begin the final quarter of their season Sunday at San Francisco, don’t sleep on fellow rookie Royce Freeman. Read more…

Steve Dykes, The Denver Post
Denver Bronco Head Coach Mike Shanahan and his son, Kyle, watch the Broncos go through a practice session at Dove Valley on Friday, May 30, 2003.

Why you’ll never get the Cherry Creek out of Kyle Shanahan

The son of former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan talks about why not getting the Broncos job turned into a blessing. Read more… 

The name of Pat Bowlen is ...
Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post
The name of Pat Bowlen is revealed in the stadium during the halftime ceremony honoring owner Pat Bowlen. The Denver Broncos played the Green Bay Packers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver on Nov. 1, 2015.

Broncos ownership dispute: Bill Bowlen files objection to trustees’ request for delay in lawsuit

Bowlen’s legal team argues case should not be delayed while the trustees’ request to the NFL for arbitration is considered. Read more…

Quick Hits

+ Broncos Game Plan: How Denver matches against the 49ers, injury report and predictions.

+ Punter Colby Wadman developing into critical Broncos special teams weapon.

+ Broncos Briefs: Improved third-down work key during final stretch.

+ New Broncos CB Jamar Taylor aims to help keep Denver in AFC wild card chase.

+ Broncos Briefs: Von Miller calls Payton award nomination “incredible achievement.”

Want to chat about the Broncos? Ask to join our closed discussion group on Facebook.

By The Numbers

1971-72

The last time the Broncos suffered back-to-back losing seasons.

Parting Shot

Emmanuel Sanders (10) of the Denver ...
Joe Amon, The Denver Post
Emmanuel Sanders (10) of the Denver Broncos stiff arms Joe Haden (23) of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter. The Denver Broncos hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver, Colorado on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018.

Kiszla: There’s no crying in football, and Broncos’ run at playoffs didn’t end with injuries to Sanders, Harris. The kids are alright.

So is this where the Broncos’ run at the playoffs ends, with Emmanuel Sanders throwing his helmet to rage against a torn Achilles? Read more…

Get in Touch

If you see something that’s cause for question or have a comment, thought or suggestion, email me at dboniface@denverpost.com or tweet me @danielboniface.



Car crashes into Edgewater house, barely missing person sleeping inside

A car that crashed into an Edgewater home early Sunday morning, barely missed a person sleeping in a bedroom inside.

Firefighters with West Metro Fire Rescue responded just after 1 a.m. Sunday to the home in the 6500 block of West 26th Avenue, less than a mile west of Sloan’s Lake, District Chief Doug Hutchinson said.

The car flew through the front of the single story home and landed on its side in a bedroom, photos from West Metro Fire Rescue show.

The person sleeping inside had minor injuries and was transported to a hospital as a precaution, Hutchinson said. The driver was not injured and was released to police on scene.

The house was stable and didn’t require any supports, Hutchinson said. Authorities shut off utilities to the home as a precaution.

Cars crash into buildings fairly often, Hutchinson said.

Last weekend, a car crashed into The Hornet in Denver’s Baker neighborhood — the third time such a crash has happened at the restaurant this year. The next day, an elderly woman crashed her car into the sanctuary of a Littleton church.



Why is it so hard to text 911?

NEW YORK — People can livestream their every move on Facebook and chatter endlessly in group chats. But in most parts of the U.S., they still can’t reach 911 by texting — an especially important service during mass shootings and other catastrophes when a phone call could place someone in danger.

Although text-to-911 service is slowly expanding, the emphasis there is on “slow.” Limited funds, piecemeal adoption and outdated call-center technology have all helped stymie growth.

Emergency 911 centers stress that a phone call is still the best way to reach them, since calls provide them with location data and other needed details. But in some cases — for instance, if a person has a hearing disability, or when a call might attract the attention of assailants — texting is a far better way to call for help.

The 911 emergency system was developed for landlines. But now about 80 percent of U.S. 911 calls come from cellphones, according to the federal government’s National 911 Program. There is no legal requirement for call centers to offer text-to-911 services.

If a center requests the service from mobile companies such as Verizon or Sprint, however, the companies are required to provide it within six months.

More money would speed implementation. “We need a significant federal grant program to modernize 911 systems across the country,” said Jeff Cohen, chief counsel at advocacy group the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials.

Congressional legislation could speed adoption of text-to-911, Cohen said. Traditionally, 911 call centers have been funded by a combination of state and local funding, rather than relying on federal grants. For that reason, technology and adoption varies widely between states, cities and counties.

A 911 call center in Roswell, Ga., with one of the computer screens used by dispatchers shows a text message that has come into the system. Lisa Marie Pane, Associated Press file

While some areas may have plenty of money to implement text-to-911 service, “others are cash strapped cities or communities that would rather spend money on a police car rather than text-to-911,” said Brian Fontes, chief executive officer of the National Emergency Number Association. “When you don’t have the money, you have to prioritize what you do with the money you have.”

The first text-to-911 was sent in 2009 in Iowa. Now, according to data collected by the Federal Communications Commission, more than 1,600 emergency call centers across the nation have configured systems to receive text message requests for 911 services, up from about 650 two years ago. But that’s barely a quarter of the roughly 6,000 overall in the country. Figures are a bit murky since they are self-reported to the FCC.

Implementing text-to-911 service usually starts with a state law requiring emergency centers to support it.

Indiana, for example, has state 911 requirements set by the Indiana General Assembly and a state 911 board that oversees the operation of the statewide 911 network, which routes and delivers 911 voice and text messages from people to their local 911 authority. It pays for 911 from monthly end user surcharges, $1 for landline, wireless and other types of phones, which are collected by phone service providers.

Four years after Indiana dispatch centers began adopting text-to-911 technology, residents in all 92 of the state’s counties can send texts during emergencies if they’re unable to speak to dispatchers, the state said in June. Minnesota, Connecticut, Maine and Vermont also offer statewide coverage.

Without state legislation, adopting text-to-911 can be more piecemeal. In California, a plan to raise taxes to pay for modernizing the 911 emergency dispatch system statewide fell one vote short in September in the Senate when Republicans refused to sign onto a tax increase.

But cities and municipalities can decide to support text-to-911 on their own. Los Angeles County — which includes cities such as Los Angeles, Burbank and Glendale — has supported text-to-911 since late last year, for example.

Allegheny County in Pennsylvania, where the synagogue shooting took place, does offer text-to-911 service. But high school students hiding from a gunman in Parkland, Fla., last February, had to make whispered 911 calls to authorities. Broward County, which includes Parkland, plans to have text-to-911 in place by the end of this year.

“We will never know where the next active shooter is going to be, whether it’s a rural school, synagogue, church or any public place,” Fontes said. “Certainly we want people to be able to text 911 for safety purposes.”



Power restored after outages left more than 10,000 south Denver residents in the dark

About 10,260 residents in Denver’s Ruby Hill neighborhood were without power for about an hour Sunday morning due to outages.

The outages were reported about 10:20 a.m. Sunday in the general area of West Mississippi Avenue and South Santa Fe Drive, Xcel Energy spokeswoman Michelle Aguayo said. Power was restored by 11:20 a.m., she said.

The energy company was not sure what caused the outages, Aguayo said.

Xcel Energy notified the Denver Fire Department of the outages but the department did not know what caused the outages, department spokesman Capt. Greg Pixley said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

 



CU Boulder study finds imagination could be as effective as reality when it comes to conquering fears

A subject entering a brain imaging machine in a study conducted by Tor Wager, director of the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Colorado.
Provided by University of Colorado
A subject entering a brain imaging machine in a study conducted by Tor Wager, director of the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Colorado.

Imagine one of your greatest fears. Now imagine it again. And again. And again.

After confronting the fear enough times in your head, your mind may stop reacting to it and you could find there’s not much fear left at all, according to a new study from researchers at University at Colorado and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York that was published in the journal Neuron.

The study found that imagining fears may be just as effective as exposure therapy as facing them head-on, according to a news release from CU.

“This research confirms that imagination is a neurological reality that can impact our brains and bodies in ways that matter for our well-being,” Tor Wager, director of the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at CU and a senior author on the study, said in a statement.

Clinicians are using the imagination more and more often as a tool to affect the brain, so the authors of the study say that more research into the area is necessary.

Read the full story on dailycamera.com.



Authorities locate 72-year-old man with dementia missing from Northglenn home

Richard Hamm

After more than seven hours of search, authorities located a 72-year-old man with dementia who had been missing from a relative’s Northglenn home since early Sunday.

Richard Hamm’s family reported him missing 3 a.m. Sunday and he was found about 10:17 a.m. the same day.

Hamm was last seen on foot in the area of Washington Street and East 120th Avenue, according to a report by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. His family said he may be trying to hitchhike or attempting to take a bus to California, where he is from.

Hamm is about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs about 140 pounds. He has gray hair and was last seen wearing a black jacket, a gray sweater and jeans.



One dead in Aurora crash after striking median, being ejected from vehicle

One person died early Sunday after the vehicle they were driving crashed into a median and rolled over, ejecting the driver.

The driver was speeding before the crash about 6:14 a.m. Sunday near East Baranmor Parkway and North Quentin Street in northwest Aurora, Aurora police Sgt. Mike Douglass said Sunday.

The car struck the median of Baranmor Parkway and rolled over, Douglass said. Law enforcement and medical staff who arrived on the scene found that the driver had been ejected from the vehicle.

The driver was transported to a nearby hospital and was pronounced dead, according to a news release from the Aurora Police Department.

Investigators were not identifying the driver Sunday morning because next of kin had yet to be contacted, Douglass said.

The driver was the 30th person to die in a crash in Aurora in 2018, according to the release.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.



Former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan’s still got it, son Kyle says

Once a football junkie, always a football junkie.

“My dad truly enjoys being in a dark room and watching films for days,” former Cherry Creek High School wideout and San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan says of his father, Mike, who coached the Broncos to victories in Super Bowl XXXII and Super Bowl XXXIII. “I keep telling him, ‘Why are you looking at film?’ (He said) ‘I don’t know. I just enjoy it.’ Because he does. That’s pretty neat.”

Kyle last week shot down the notion that his father, 66, might be candidate for the vacant Green Bay Packers coaching gig. But he promises that the old man’s still got it. And, more to the point, that he still keeps up on the pro game, even in retirement.

“He watches a ton of stuff and he’s very schooled on the (current) game,” says the younger Shanahan, whose Niners host the Broncos Sunday as Denver looks to extend its three-game winning streak. “With the technology, he’s got everything in his house where he can watch all the film (he wants).”

Kyle humors the frequent comparisons to his father, one of only six coaches to ever win back-to-back Super Bowls and who was last seen on an NFL sideline with Washington in 2013.

But the 38-year-old Shanahan says when the time comes for him to hit his golden years, he’d prefer sweating over grains of sand to sweating somebody’s game tape.

“When I’m retired, I plan on being on the beach,” the younger Shanahan says. “And being nothing like that.”



Vail Resorts stock took epic tumble Friday

Vail Resorts‘ stock price tumbled down a double black diamond mountain Friday.

The Broomfield-based ski resort operator’s stock endured a record loss after the company released results for its most recent financial quarter that showed bigger than expected losses and slower than expected revenue gains for season pass sales.

After opening the day at $258.60 per share, Vail’s stock fell 17.85 percent during another rough day for the market, closing at $223.25. It was the biggest single day price drop since Vail went public in 1997, out doing a 17.3 percent drop during on Nov. 14, 2008, according to Marketwatch.com, a decline that came when the market was imploding due to the mortgage crisis.

“Vail’s recent acquisitions and new season-pass offerings aren’t enough to sustain demand and will likely hurt its fiscal 2019 growth prospects,” Bloomberg Analytics wrote in response the Vail’s release, referencing summer buys that included Crested Butte and three other U.S. resorts.

Vail Resorts Inc. reported a net loss of $107.8 million for the period stretching from Aug. 1 to Oct. 31. The company reported a loss of $28.4 million over the same span last year.

“Our first fiscal quarter historically operates at a loss, given that our North American mountain resorts are open for ski operations during the period,” CEO Rob Katz said in a statement that accompanied the financial results.

North American season pass sales for the current 2018-2019 season were up 21 percent through Dec. 2, according to the company. The increased sales volume didn’t translate directly when it comes to revenue, however, as the dollar drawn from those sales was only 13 percent. That can be attributed in part to the creation of a new version of the company’s Epic Pass for military members, available a substantial discount ($99 for retired and active  military members and their families in the U.S., Canada and Australia versus $949 for a standard Epic Pass).

“We are very pleased to see double-digit revenue growth in our season pass program after a very strong record performance last year,” Katz said. He added that, excluding military passes, “we achieved solid growth in our Colorado, Destination and Whistler Blackcomb markets, while experiencing declines in both the Northern California and Utah markets.”

But the growth wasn’t enough to satiate analysts and it hurt on another rough day on Wall Street.

Season pass sales “likely fell slightly below buy-side expectations,” Stifel Financial Corp. analyst Brad Boyer wrote, according to a summary of opinions shared by Bloomberg. Boyer pointed to the “presence of a new competitor” when looking at sales declines in Utah and Northern California, possibly referencing Denver-based Alterra Mountain Co. and its Ikon Pass.

Strong early season snow that allowed Vail Ski Resort to open early this year may have hurt the company.

While pass sales remained “relatively consistent” during the reporting period compared the financial quarter immediately preceding it (25 percent growth in units sold and 15 percent growth in revenue) “the bar had drifted slightly upward in recent weeks as favorable early season weather trends unfolded across the portfolio,” KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Brett Andress wrote.

Vail is doling out a quarterly cash dividend of $1.47 per share. It also bought back $50 million of its own stock in the quarter.

The company expects to sell 925,000 epic passes this year, when including sales in Australia and to military members. The company sold more than 750,000 of the passes for the 2017-18 season.

It also plans to make at least $175 million in capital improvements across its 18-property portfolio in 2019 including numerous projects in Colorado.

The company’s geographic diversity means it long-term outlook remains strong regardless of how its stock fared Friday, according to Bloomberg Analytics,

“Its global resort network provides alternative destination options and is an added benefit to pass holders,” Bloomberg wrote. “Recent acquisitions further enhance the season passes’ value, helping Vail to secure its position as North America’s leading ski-resort operator.”



Sunny, warmer week on its way with little chance of snow

While the southeast coast of the U.S. is pummeled by a winter storm, Denverites will enjoy sunny skies and warmer temperatures that will minimize the chance of snow over the next week.

Temperatures could rise to a high of 45 degrees on Sunday and will likely hover in the mid-50s through Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder. Skies will remain clear, except for a slight chance of snow on Wednesday night.

Light snow could fall in the mountains Sunday morning before tapering off. Snow could continue in the mountains Wednesday night and Thursday morning, but the storms aren’t expected to create significant snowfall, according to the weather service.

The snowpack across the state continues to record above average snowfall except for the the southeast corner, according to the weather service. Snowpack in the South Platte River Basin, which includes Denver and the Front Range, is at 141% of median levels.



Broncos Journal: Back healthy, offense will need Royce Freeman down the stretch

The Broncos’ running game starts with Phillip Lindsay, who needs 63 yards to reach 1,000. It is a role he has earned.

But as the Broncos (6-6) begin the final quarter of their season Sunday at San Francisco, don’t sleep on fellow rookie Royce Freeman.

If the Broncos play the kind of game they want Sunday – run/pass to get a lead and run to close out the game — Freeman will be critical. Although he lost a fumble, he gained 48 yards on 12 carries in last week’s win at Cincinnati.

“He obviously had a bad fumble that we don’t want, but he ran downhill,” coach Vance Joseph said.

In coach-speak, “downhill” is short for running with power and in a bad mood.

“I’m going out there trying to run like I know how and imposing my will on the defense,” Freeman said.

Freeman’s role could grow moving forward. Without receiver Emmanuel Sanders (torn Achilles), the Broncos should experiment with a Freeman-Lindsay and Freeman-Devontae Booker personnel packages. Get Lindsay and Booker lined up outside for easy completions and have Freeman serve as the inside battering ram.

Since we are not in an era of 25-carry games being the norm in the NFL (only 18 this year), having a running back tandem is required and it’s what the Broncos envisioned during training camp.

And it has developed that way … kind of. The Broncos are one of eight teams that have two players with at least 96 carries (Lindsay 154 and Freeman 96).

But the thought during August was those totals would be reversed. Freeman, as the third-round pick whose pounding style would suit him to the NFL, would lead the way and Lindsay would be the change-of-pace guy.

Freeman, though, has led the Broncos in carries only twice and one game was at Baltimore when Lindsay was ejected for throwing a punch in the first half. Lindsay has proven to be equally effective running between the tackles as he is getting around the corner.

Lindsay was beginning to take over the top role when Freeman sustained a sprained ankle in the Week 7 win at Arizona and missed two games. In his three games since returning, he has 25 carries for 87 yards (he has 397 yards this season). He is an important player, but currently a complementary one.

“I think (returning from the injury) was more of a mental thing,” Freeman said. “Just the practices and doing things over and over again to get my feet under me again has been a positive.”

This is new territory for Freeman.

At Oregon, he played in 51 of a possible 53 games. For the Broncos, he’s missed two of 12 games.

At Oregon, he averaged 18.6 carries per game. For the Broncos, he’s averaging 9.6 carries per game.

Playing for the Ducks, Freeman knew he would get plenty of time to find a rhythm. Now, he may get one attempt per possession to make an impact.

“If you start pressing, you will do things that aren’t ordinary and you won’t run the way you’re used to,” he said. “It’s just sticking to the game plan and your style.”

Freeman’s style is bruising. If the Broncos have a lead in the final six minutes on Sunday, they know he can be counted on to gobble up yards in short chucks to keep the clock moving. But he also has 12 carries of at least 10 yards.

“Royce is feeling more and more confident on his ankle,” offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said. “We’re looking forward to implementing him more as he gets more healthy.”



Denver Post Week 14 NFL Picks: Rams look to stay perfect on road

Game of the week

L.A. Rams at Chicago

Back-to-back long road trips for the Rams (minus-3), but they avoid a 10 a.m. Los Angeles kickoff with the prime-time game at Soldier Field. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald has multiple sacks in five of the past six games. The Bears (8-4) have the league’s fourth-ranked defense. They won’t after this game.

Rams 31, Bears 20

Lock of the week

Minnesota at Seattle

A Monday night game between teams heading in opposite directions. The Seahawks (7-5) are a three-point favorite and trending upward, having won five of their last seven and seven of their last 10. The Vikings have only one good win through 13 weeks (at Philadelphia two months ago).

Seahawks 24, Vikings 13

Upset of the week

Philadelphia at Dallas

The Eagles (6-6) are a four-point underdog, but their season-saving win over Washington put them only a game behind Dallas (7-5). The Cowboys have won four consecutive games but this is a franchise famous for following up great wins with dreadful losses. After beating the Saints, expect that.

Eagles 27, Cowboys 21