Joe McArdle.The Tara Court Golf SocietySunday, March 4, Green Valley – StablefordA Flight1st Andy Featherstone (4) 39pts 2nd Stuart Brown (8) 37pts3rd Lawrie McBride (13) 34ptsB Flight 1st Russell Gilroy (18) 38pts2nd Ger Lodge (19) 36pts3rd Ken Hole (17) 34ptsC Flight1st Paula Kopatz (22) 38pts2nd Joe Peters (23) 37pts3rd Pat Carty (25) 35ptsAlthough the numbers are still holding up we managed to get all of our group out on Green Valley today instead of splitting them up on two courses as we have been doing over the past few months. We got great praise from lots of our golfers for the condition of the course which is probably as good as it has ever been.We had very good golf today, probably the best we have had in a long time, and the best score came in the A flight from our lowest handicapper, Andy Featherstone, who went round in one over par gross to score an excellent 39 points off his four handicap.In the B flight Russell Gilroy was the winner with 38 points while Paula Kopatz took the honours in C flight for the second week in a row, also with a 38-pointer.The big money winner was Declan Kelly who had the only ‘2’ of the day and plundered the rollover pot.Tuesday, March 6, Pattavia – StablefordOn a very hot & humid day we had 26 and the course was in great condition. We had 2 divisions with the cut being 18 for A flight and 19+ for the B flight.Russell Gilroy (H/cap 18) thought he was sitting nicely to win the premier division on 36 points until the last group cards came in and he found that Nik Evans (H/cap 14) had usurped him with two points more. Nik also had two ‘2’s on his card to take the lion’s share of the pot from Russell, who only had one. Dickie Rock (18) was third with an even par 36 points after losing out on a count-back and Michael Williams (13) placed fourth after edging out Kevyn Wright and Andy Featherstone, all on 35.The B flight was won on a count back by Joe Peters (23) with 37 points, beating Pat Carty (25) on the back-nine and in third place was Marie McGuigan (28) with 32. Fourth place also went to a count-back on 31 points, with Alec Smith (23) getting the better of Fred O’Connor (29).Thursday, March 8, Pleasant Valley – StablefordA Flight1st Joe McArdle (17) 40pts2nd Andy Featherstone (4) 37pts3rd Ken Hole (17) 35ptsB Flight1st Pat Carty (25) 39pts2nd Donal McGuigan (20) 38pts3rd Joe Peters (23) 35ptsPleasant Valley is a little bit expensive for this time of year but it was worth it as it is in excellent condition and everyone enjoyed it very much.We had two flights with the cut for the A flight coming in at nineteen. We got our best score of the day in this flight as Joe McArdle had 40 points, his best tally and first outright win in a long time. Andy Featherstone had thirty seven to come second but as usual Andy also had a ‘2’. Ken Hole won a count-back to come third ahead of Russel Gilroy.We also had very good scoring in the B flight and Pat Carty won it with 39 points. Donal McGuigan came second one point behind and Joe Peters was third with 35.We had seven ‘2’s today, coming from Andy Featherstone, Declan Kelly, Dale Walton, Donal McGuigan, Francis McGuigan, John Kelly and Nick Caulfield.
2nd Ron De Groot (15) 39pts3rd Don Everett (24) 36pts4th Bob Maloney (12) 36pts cb 165th Lyle Blaw (12) 34pts6th Trevor Schirmer (14) 33ptsWith the wet weather seemingly a distant memory, it was almost back to run on the fairways, but not quite.Erik Donnestad.Erik Donnestad made the best of the conditions with a scintillating gross 71 to top the day’s hopefuls with a two shot victory that underscored his talents as a golfer of the highest order.Ron De Groot slipped in another fine round off his brand new and lower handicap to take second place by three clear ahead of another pair of new handicappers who had to be separated by a count-back for third, which Don Everett won by 22 to 16 over Bob Maloney.Lyle Blaw in fifth and Trevor Schirmer in sixth rounded off the honourable mentions for the day.Once again there were no 2’s in the second division but Erik Donnestad, Bob Maloney and Yasuo Suzuki had one each in the first division.Before presenting the prizes The Doc welcomed new member David Grice and also welcomed back “The Western Raiders”, back from their pillaging trip to the North of Thailand, in the form of Don Everett (44), Bob Maloney(41), Wayne Waywood (40 & 39), Rod Crosswell (40), and Ron De Groot (only37 & 37), the figures in brackets being their best scores in competitions.There was also a farewell to Trevor Edge returning north to where he says he can perform a little better.Wednesday, Oct. 27, Bangpra – Scramble1st Mikael Andersson, Jeremy Masse, Rick, Holmes, Roy Thornton, net 57.62nd Erik Donnestad, Rod Howett, Roar Berger, Ole Stamnes, net 58.43rd Al Keith, Peter Sumner, Alan Pilkington, Chris Knapp, net 60.14th Bob Maloney, Wayne Waywood, Ron De Groot, Don Everett, net 615th Russell Exley, David Grist, Mike Gosden, Stephen Beard, net 65.1Near Pins: #2 Rick Holmes, #8 David Grist, #12 Alan Griffiths, #17 Peter SumnerThe usual monthly scramble based on the “Max 5 System” with no player able to take more than five tee shots and the handicaps set at 12.5% of the teams combined handicaps without a cap, once again enabled a full array of golfing abilities to take part at the always testing Bangpra course. With the tees set on almost every hole on the blue markers it proved to be a test for the long and straight with the best gross of the day, 63, by the New Birdie Boys, also taking the top prize.The second placed team, the Vikings, just secured second place as they made the highest handicap of the day count with a gross 69.The third spot was filled by the Pluckers, after they returned a fine 65 gross with the lowest team handicap.Fourth place went to the Western Bandits all playing with their brand new Thailand handicaps rather than the Western EBay ones with a steady 69 gross.Last of the honourable mentions went to the Scragg Ends with a hard fought gross 71.Friday, Oct. 29, Phoenix – Monthly MedalsCSS 73Division 11st Marty Rock (11) net 712nd Peter Sumner (8) net 713rd Wayne Waywood (13) net 73Division 21st Don Everett (24) net 722nd Norman Cheetham (16) net 773rd Rod Howett (26) net 83As usual the Soi 13 Monthly Medal was held at Phoenix from the blue tees with the weather having turned around completely to overcast with strong winds making it an almost perfect day for golf following weeks of wet and glum faces.October scramble winner – The Birdie Boys.In the first division Marty Rock took his second Medal of the year by just getting the better of playing partner Peter Sumner on a count-back, which he won by a margin of 33.5 to 34 after they had been nip and tuck all round the course. Wayne Waywood then just got the better of Yasuo Suzuki for third also by a count-back, which he won with a better 35.5 to 36.5.The second division was led in by Don Everett who also won his second Medal of the year by a clear five strokes ahead of Norman Cheetham in second and Rod Howett a distant third. The scores in the second division clearly showed the difficulty of the wind as they generally struggled to keep the ball in play.There were no 2’s in the second division but David Grist had one in the first division after a recount by the semi blind scorer.If you would like to play with The Haven group you can contact mobile 084782 4582 or call in to the hotel at 185 Soi 13 between Beach Road and 2nd Road. All transportation to the course is arranged and you do not need to sign up prior to the day, but you should be there by 8.30 on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays on the days you wish to play. A schedule of ;courses to be played can be found on our web site at www.thehaven-hotel.com. IPGC golf from The Haven Monday, Oct. 25, Green Valley – StablefordCSS 721st Erik Donnestad (4) 41pts
In division two there were four 31-pointers fighting for first place and taking pole position on a 17/15/14/13 back-nine count back was Roar Berger ahead of James Tognela, Loius Wong and Gordon Everingham in that order.Near pins went to (Div 1) Terry Madsen, and (Div 2) Roar Berger, Colin James and Eiichi Matsumoto (2).There were no ‘2’s today in either division.Wednesday, May 27, Khao Kheow- StablefordWe were allocated the B and C courses today and it was back to normal with the divisional cut, this being set at 5-16 in the top flight and 18+ in division 2.Chris Voller’s 37 points won the division 1 honours, with Martin Grimoldby in second place three points behind and Ian Speirs was third with 33.Bob Poole was the top man in division 2, winning with 33 points as Colin James, in his last game with us this visit, took second on 31 and Curtis Hessler placed third with 29.There were no nearest the pins on B3 in either division and on C8 Martin Grimoldby, in division 1, and Curtis Hessler in division 2 were the winners.Martin Grimoldby birdied B3 and C8 to sweep the ‘2’s pot in division 1 and once again there were no ‘2’s in the second flight.Friday, May 29, Eastern Star – StablefordThe wind coming off the coast made it a pleasant round at Eastern Star today and we had five groups out in total.Playing off 17, Iain Walsh topped division 1 with 37 points ahead of a trio locked on 34 points that saw Colin Aspinall take second, Tony Thorne third and Frank Kelly lose out after the count back calculations.Joe Kubon’s 34 points was the best in division 2, with Dave Brown placing second one point behind and Lars Svensson took third with 30.Near pins went to (Div 1) Colin Aspinall, Karl Flood and Chris Voller, and (Div 2) Joe Kubon and Iain Walsh.Colin Aspinall birdied the 17th and Arthur Hancock the 3rd and the 6th to share the ‘2’s pot in division 1 and there was another blank in the second flight. Jomtien Golf with the IPGCMonday, May 25, Pattaya C.C. – StablefordA last minute change of plan saw us head from Burapha over to Pattaya Country Club where we were able to get our four groups slotted in by 9.45 a.m. with no problems at all. The equal cut in the two divisions today was an amazing 11-20 and 21+.Iain Walsh & Chris Voller.Dave Horne topped division 1 standings with 39 points, five up on Colin James in second place and Alan Bissell beat Kari Aarnio and Eiichi Matsumoto for third on a 19/18/16 count back after they all returned with 33 points each.
Results & Standings Nov. 9 (week 7) Crazy Eddies7703614 Sports Corner707-300 Results: Jantha Coffee House 6 v 3 Fishing Gallery, Londoner 5 v 10 Crazy Eddies, Mee Chew Sports Bar 3 v 6 Blue Mountain, Nervous Wreck 9 v 0 Bernie’s Bar, O’Leary’s Sports Bar 2 v 5 The School, Sports Corner 2 v 8 Yates Bar TeamPlayedWonLostDiff.Pts. Jantha Coffee House752110 Mee Chew Sports Bar74348 Blue Mountain743-18 Bernie’s Bar707-390 Londoner743158 Yates Bar725-64 Nervous Wreck7611912 Fishing Gallery7521610 The School74388 O’Leary’s Sports Bar716-232
Near Pins: Merle Humphrys, Alistair Gall, Tip Briney, Jim Reilly.Long Putts: Alistair Gall. B Flight1st Nigel Harrison (29) 42pts 18 players out today on a very wet Monday morning and a quick phone call to the course confirmed that it was still open. The course was a little wet but otherwise in perfect condition and the rain had put a lot of people off so we had a clean run ahead.We had 2 flights and in the top division Bob Stokes, who had been having a torrid time with his golf recently, produced the surprise of the day and finished in top place with 40 points. Manos Vak, a teacher from Korea took second spot on the podium but was seven points behind Bob.Nigel Harrison had a blistering start in the B Flight with 12 points on the first 4 holes and took the day with 42 points overall. Golf from Colin’s BarSunday, March 26, Silky Oak – Stableford1st Peter Kelly (15) 42pts2nd Anne Stokes (15) 41pts3rd Gary Emmett (13) 40pts Friday, March 31, Pleasant Valley – StablefordA Flight1st Peter Petersen (4) 36pts2nd John Harrison (11) 36pts3rd Bob Stokes (16) 35pts With rain forecast just 7 hardy souls made it out to Silky Oak today. Overcast on the way to the course, the heavens opened up when we got to the first tee and we were forced to take shelter for 30 minutes.With the fairways wet underfoot it meant it was all carry off the tee with zero run available, ‘the Donkey’ doesn’t mind a bit of mud and he romped home today with 43 points, four ahead of Monday winner Nigel Harrison. Wednesday, March 29, Silky Oak – Stableford1st Colin Davis (22) 43pts2nd Nigel Harrison (27) 39pts B Flight1st Colin Davis (22) 44pts2nd Matt Cronin (20) 37pts3rd Tip Briney (24) 33pts Near Pins: Nigel Harrison (2), Torben Lindgaard, John HarrisonLong Putts: Manos Vak. Switching courses today with the Singha Championship on at Green Valley so today was good practice for Wednesday when we were back again.Peter Kelly hit a rich vein of form today and with 24 points on the front nine and 42 overall, he proved just too good for the rest of the field. Anne Stokes chased him all the way to the line and finished just one point behind in second while Gary Emmett took third on 40 points.Colin Davis.Monday, March 27, Pattavia – StablefordA Flight1st Bob Stokes (18) 40pts2nd Manos Vak (19) 33pts The best turnout for a few weeks showed up at Pleasant Valley with 20 players raring to go. The course was very wet due to the overnight rain so we elected to play ‘lift, clean and cheat’. We played from the blue tees with the exception of holes 8 & 12, which were from the whites.In A Flight, Peter Petersen edged a tight count back over John Harrison to take top spot after they both came in with even par rounds. Bob Stokes was just one point back in third.The star of the show was ‘the Donkey’ who followed up his 43 on Wednesday with an even better 44 here today in B Flight. Matt Cronin beat his handicap but was still a full seven points adrift in second place and Tip Briney placed fourth a further four behind. Near Pins: Aidan Murray, Gary Emmett, Paul West & Fred Birch (2).Long Putts: Anne Stokes. Near Pins: Anne Stokes & Colin Davis.
Some average scores were returned with Steve Durey topping the list with thirty-four points, this makes two wins and a second for Steve this week and puts him in contention for golfer of the month although he has to make up some ground on Jimmy Carr who didn’t fire today and only came third on twenty-eight points.In between, Alan Sullivan was in great form tee to green but suffered badly when it came to putting. Remarkably for the second day in a row, there were no takers for near pins, a couple of near misses but they don’t count. Once again Jimmy Carr was the man on form, setting out at a cracking pace on the front only to taper off a bit on the back. Still, he did enough to take first place with thirty-six points. Steve Durey is becoming “Mr Consistency” with another solid round of thirty-four in second place.A rare visit to the winners circle for Geoff Parker Wednesday taking third place with thirty-one. Could we be witnessing a return to form for the once consistent winner?Remarkably nobody was able to hit a green on the par threes so no near pins, that has to be a first as there are a couple of dead eye dicks in the group who always seems to snag one. Promoted Contentbrainberries7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend Betterbrainberriesbrainberriesbrainberries7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend Betterbrainberriesbrainberries Steve Durey the other on nineteen had a solid back nine to finish first on thirty-five. In between, Michael Brett blew a great chance to win after a solid performance on the back nine up to the eighteenth where he went wild off the tee and ended up wiping the hole just when the prize looked in sight.Never out of the winners circle this week Jimmy Carr.Near pins went to Steve Durey, Michael Brett, and a pair to Tony Robbins.For the first time since our return to golf, we were able to shower after the round which was very much appreciated by all. It may be the start of a return to more normal golf as we know it. Not sure anyone is looking forward to what we are being conditioned to believe will be the “New Normal”, whatever that is.Wednesday, May 20th Greenwood A & B1st Jimmy Carr (17) 36 points2nd Steve Durey (21) 34 points3rd Geoff Parker (17) 32 pointsMillionaire golf returned to Pattaya today with a game at Greenwood, a course favoured by many. As always the course was in tip-top condition apart from a couple of greens that had recently been sanded.The green/caddie fee using PSC vouchers was very agreeable. We seemed to be the only ones on the course until close to the end of the round when we saw a few other golfers. A stiff breeze blew particularly on the front nine but abated on the back. Big winner this week Steve Durey.PSC Bunker Boys GolfMonday, May 18th Bangpra1st Steve Durey (21) 35 points2nd Michael Brett (15) 33 points 3rd Jimmy Carr (17) 33Near pins: Steve Durey, Michael Brett, & Tony Robbins X 2Our first visit to Bangpra in some time where we had a rather slow round. A couple of very slow groups out in front of us made life difficult. In retrospect, we should have tried to go out on the tenth. The course was in beautiful condition, lush and green, and well mowed, although the greens were not as fast as we have come to expect at this course. Despite all the rain we have had recently all the water catchments are empty.Jimmy Carr set off like a rocket and holed everything to set a halfway leaders mark of twenty points. Thereafter, he faded away to finish third on thirty-three points when the putter went cold on him. Dave Ashman was joint second at the halfway mark on nineteen points and continued on his merry way with consecutive pars till the thirteenth when he had a succession of wipes to finish out of the frame. Friday, May 22nd Eastern Star1st Steve Durey (21) 34 points2nd Alan Sullivan (12) 33 points3rd Jimmy Carr (17) 28 pointsNear pins no takers“The more things change the more they stay the same.” It seems we are destined never to have a normal day’s golf at Eastern Star. If it’s not our booking canceled without notice or the quoted green fee not being honoured then it’s something else. Friday it was no shower on a stinking hot day, every other course we visited this week had showers but not Eastern Star unfortunately when we needed them most.The course was in decent condition, the greens were nice but for some reason, everybody seemed to have trouble getting the ball in the hole. The usual breeze was blowing again today. Loading…Sponsored ContentTop Tastiest Foods From All Over The WorldWhat Happens When You Eat Eggs Every Single Day?Amazing Bridal Looks From Around The World10 Risky Jobs Some Women Do Promoted ContentTop 7 Best Car Manufacturers Of All TimebrainberriesCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable WaybrainberriesThese TV Characters Left The Show And It Just Got BetterbrainberriesWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?brainberriesLong Live Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of The Queen Mother – Pattaya MailCan Playing Too Many Video Games Hurt Your Body?brainberriesA Guy Turns Gray Walls And Simple Bricks Into Works Of ArtbrainberriesA Hurricane Can Be As Powerful As 10 Atomic BombsbrainberriesThailand focuses on Vietnamese second spread of COVID-19 cases – Pattaya M…This Guy Photoshopped Himself Into Celeb Pics And It’s Hystericalbrainberries10 Risky Jobs Some Women DobrainberriesThe Highest Paid Football Players In The WorldbrainberriesFake brand-name goods worth over 100 million baht seized in Bangkok – Patt…8 Addictive And Fun Coffee Factsbrainberries6 Incredibly Strange Facts About Hurricanesbrainberries
Near pins went to Don Head, Ken, Wichai Tananusorn, Jim Ferris, Randy Flello and Mauri Friman.Wichai birdied the 7th to scoop the rollover ‘2’s pot in division 1 and Jim Ferris did the same in division 2 with a birdie on the 4th.Wednesday, Feb. 12, The Emerald – StablefordAnother good turnout today and three divisions with the cut coming at 6-16, 17-20 and 21+. The best score of the day came in division 1 from Wichai Tananusorn, who won with 36 points ahead of Don Head in second with 34 and Dennis Scougal took third with 33.In his last game with us before returning to China, Bob Poole topped division 2 standings with 34 points and Howard Stanley was second on 32, beating Matti Pihlajisto on a 19/16 back nine count back.Randy Flello with 33 points won division 3, beating Burnie Sinclair by two points, and Magne Gunnarson beat Jim Connelly and Joe Kubon on a 10/8/7 back six count back for third after they all came in on 30 points.Near pins were claimed by Don Head (2), Bryan Rought, Wichai Tananusorn, Miss Nut, Finn Olsen (2) and Matti Pihlajisto.Chris Voller and Wichai both birdied the 7th and Wichai also the 15th to share the ‘2’s pot in division 1 and Jim Connelly and Finn Olsen did likewise in division 3. It was an amazing ‘2’ for Jim, scoring it on the first hole here with his second shot with a five wood from about 160 yards out.Friday, Feb. 14, Eastern Star – StablefordThe largest turnout of the week here today with 11groups going out and in division 1 (5-15) in the frame again was Wichai Tananusorn who won with 36 points. Bill Bertram was second one point behind Wichai and playing off 6 now Ron Miller took third with 34.Barry Stirling beat Walter Weber 18/16 on the back nine in division 2 to claim top spot after they both came in with 36 points each and Harry Vincenzi edged Frank Kelly on count back for third as they both scored 34 points. In division 3 (20+) Ray Gott beat Tony Holehouse 18/16 on another count back to take first place after they both shot 32 points and in third place was John McGarry with 29.Near pins went to Ron Miller (2), Mike Pearson, Frank Kelly, Ray Gott, Matti Pihlajisto and Harry Vincenzi.Barry Stirling birdied the signature thirteenth hole to take the ‘2s pot in division 1 and Frank Kelly and Kevin shared the purse in division 2, both getting ‘2’s on the 13th as well. Jomtien golf with the IPGCMonday, Feb. 10, Pattavia – StablefordNine groups tee off on time today in 2 flights and the best score was returned in division 2 by Burnie Sinclair, winning with 38 points. After scoring 23 points on the front nine Jim Ferris only managed 12 on the back to take second place and Cliff Elliott beat Rudi Schaefer 18/13 on the back nine for third after they both came in with 31’s. There were four 33’s returned in division 1 and with count backs of 18/17/16/14, Jarmo Sulavori claimed top spot ahead of Don Head, Nik Evans and Pete Sumner in second, third and fourth respectively.(L to R): Howard Stanley, Randy Flello and Matti Pihlajisto.
3rd Denis Steele (14) 35ptsNear Pins: Rob Pearce, Ian Ward, Gordon Clegg, Alex Field.Long Putts: Sean Miller, Ian Ward.We took off from the Swan with thirteen eager golfers all ready to have a crack at Eastern Star. We played from the yellow tees and with few people on the course to bother us things were good for us.Alex Field bought his A-game along and his 41 points greeted the judges – a very good score indeed! Five shots back was Martin Kempton in second while third place went to the countback, with Denis Steele taking it from Steve Younger.Thursday, Nov. King Naga – Stableford1st Bill McGarvie (16) 42pts2nd Tony Cook (27) 40pts3rd Lorraine Percy (33) 38pts4th Steve Younger (14) 36ptsNear Pins: Bill McGarvie, Tony Cook, Rob Pearce, Steve Younger.Long Putts: Sean Miller, 18 Peter Grey.Thursday and we were headed to King’s Naga where the course was a little wet in places so we went for “lift clean and place” on fairways to the green. Carts were allowed on course.Although there was little run, the greens were true and the bunkers were very hard due to the fact that there had been some rain in the recent days. This made life easier for one golfer who prefers to use his putter in the bunkers and one would say with a lot of success.Four groups teed off on time and with only a group or two well front of us, we were not held up at all.Bill “Shooter” McGarvie stole the show and his return of forty-two points left it hard for others to get a look in – a few tried but they just fell a little short. Second home was Tony Cook followed closely by Lorraine Percy, both had excellent scores. Filling the last spot on the podium was Steve Younger. Tony Cook, Lorraine Percy and Bill McGarvie.PSC Golf from The Growling SwanMonday, Nov. 5, Eastern Star – Stableford1st Alex Field (16) 41pts2nd Martin Kempton (11) 36pts
Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) leaves Heinz Field after an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. The Steelers won 20-12. (AP Photo/Don Wright)The Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers both qualified for the NFL playoffs with wins Sunday. Next week, they will play for division titles at home.Defending Super Bowl champion Seattle also qualified, routing Arizona 35-6, and moved into a tie for the top spot in the NFC West. The Seahawks (11-4) own the tiebreaker over the Cardinals should they both finish with the same record.Dallas clinched the NFC East with a 42-7 romp past Indianapolis, ending any chance for Philadelphia to make the postseason.The Steelers (10-5) beat Kansas City 20-12 to secure at least a wild-card berth. They will win the AFC North by defeating Cincinnati next Sunday night. The Bengals (9-4-1) host Denver (11-3) on Monday night.“It was such a sense of urgency this week, knowing what was at stake. I just thought we answered the challenge,” said Pittsburgh defensive end Cam Heyward.Green Bay topped Tampa Bay 20-3 and heads to Lambeau Field for next Sunday’s showdown with Detroit for the NFC North crown. Both are 11-4 after the Lions won 20-14 at Chicago.“We’ve won six out of seven games, so I’d like to classify that as playing a lot of solid football, that’s for sure,” said Packers coach Mike McCarthy.Seattle’s lopsided victory gave it a good shot at the top seed in the NFC and was its fifth in a row, ninth in 10 games. It swept Arizona over the last four weeks.The Seahawks host St. Louis, while the Cardinals visit San Francisco.With their wins in Week 16, the Falcons (6-9) and Panthers (6-8-1) set up a winner-take-all game for the NFC South next Sunday at Atlanta. Carolina beat Cleveland 17-13, and Atlanta defeated New Orleans 30-14.“Now it all comes down to one game and that’s all we can ask for is to be in that situation,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said.New England earned an AFC first-round bye with its 17-16 victory at the New York Jets. It will get home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs by beating Buffalo next week at home.The Patriots are the first team since the current format was adopted in 1990 to get five straight first-round byes.“I’m glad it came out the way it did – makes for a better Christmas,” Tom Brady said.Still alive in the AFC are Baltimore (9-6), whose loss to Houston (8-7) also kept the Texans in contention; Kansas City (8-7); and San Diego (9-6), which won Saturday night at San Francisco. The Chargers will be in if they win at Kansas City next weekend.Buffalo (8-7) lost all chance of ending its NFL-high string of non-playoff appearances, now at 15, by falling at Oakland 26-24.The NFC is less muddled, except for which team will get the top seed. Dallas (11-4), which is at Washington next Sunday, Seattle, Arizona, Green Bay and Detroit all have a shot.“In so many ways, this is such a long journey and to get to a point to achieve your first goal of winning the division title, a lot goes into that,” said Dallas coach Jason Garrett, in his fourth full season. “I think the way you play in securing that matters, and I thought we played really, really well.”___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Michael Vick (2) smiles while stretching and talking with new teammates as head coach Mike Tomlin walks by during practice for the NFL football team, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015 in Pittsburgh. The Steelers signed Vick to a 1-year deal to replace backup Bruce Gradkowski, out with a hand injury. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)The season is still two weeks away yet the Steelers have been forced to make in season moves due to injuries already. The pre season victory against the Packers proved far more costly than anyone could have ever imagined. There is much debate about the value of these exhibition games in regards to tuning up the veteran players and that debate will only continue as the team saw starting All Pro center Maurkice Pouncey go down with an ankle injury, starting defensive end Stephon Tuitt also injured his ankle and backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski went down with a finger injury.Both Pouncey and Gradkowski’s injuries required surgery and will cause both players to miss extended time. Tuitt will in all likelihood be back by opening night in New England.Should Tuitt miss the opener, the Steelers will be fine starting Cam Thomas at defensive end for a week or two. Tuitt is the better player but Thomas is a very adequate fill in and this injury is not a major concern.The loss of Pouncey, however, is. Pouncey is the leader of the offensive line and the best center in the NFL. He calls out protections, leads the way in the run game for LeVeon Bell and helps keep Big Ben on his feet.He will be sorely missed and his timetable for return is sometime in November. The Steelers will need to tread water until his return and to help them do so, they brought back veteran Doug Legursky who helped fill in for Pouncey at center in the past.Legursky makes sense as he’s played in the system before, he’s familiar with Big Ben and he’s a solid offensive lineman who can play both center and guard. He should be able to help carry the load along with Cody Wallace, who will more than likely be the starter.Wallace and Legursky are clearly better suited as backups but they will now need to follow the mantra of ‘next man up’ and they are capable of getting this team to November, assuming Pouncey stays on his expected schedule.The loss of Gradkowski may not seem to be a big deal but having an experienced veteran who’s played in the system behind Big Ben is important. Gradkowski hasn’t seen the field much in his two seasons wearing the black and gold but he’s a guy that can be counted on in the pinch. He however is out for an extended time and with only Landry Jones as the other quarterback on the roster, the Steelers signed Mike Vick.Vick still has the ability to make defenses sweat with his rocket arm and blazing speed and is a good alternative to Gradkowski. In fact, he may be an upgrade. He’ll probably serve as the emergency quarterback to start, behind Jones, but should Big Ben go down and the team needs someone else to start, Vick will most likely get the nod.It is also my projection that Vick will stay on the roster for the entire season and will not be released if and when Gradkowski returns.Speaking parenthetically for a moment I need to note that many people are bashing the Steelers move of signing Vick, due to his past. Those individuals need to get over themselves. Vick served his time, he’s proven to be reformed and he has repeatedly stated he regrets his past decision and has become an advocate for animal rights.Who are any of us to judge a man who has paid his price, repented and learned from his mistakes?. He should be welcomed with open arms by the team and anyone who calls themselves a fan of the team. If you can’t accept that, take a look within yourself.The evil you’re perceiving within Vick is actually something you recognize within yourself, so before you judge him, figure out what it is that makes you that way and fix it.With one game remaining, the ‘dress rehearsal’, the team must hope that no more injuries occur and they can get into the regular season as healthy as possible. Wallace, Legursky, Thomas and Vick will need to get extended time, prepping, playing and showing what they have. It’s only pre season but the Steelers are already in mid season form when it comes to relying on the “next man up”.Mike Pelaia hosts the website Steel Nation Association www.steelnationassociation.com- Covering the Steelers and helping Children’s Hospital All Day Everyday. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.