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How do you follow up a touchdown that wasn’t, an interception off a helmet, and a touchdown that was? Well, as of writing, Cristiano Ronaldo has already scored at least one Champions League goal for Manchester United today.

Clutch-Time Carr

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When the dust settled from Week 1’s wildest game, Derek Carr had come up clutch — again — and the Raiders won in front of their first home crowd in Vegas.

The quarterback started slow and off-target, and the Raiders were in a 14-0 hole to Lamar Jackson and the Ravens — but Carr ended up with 435 yards, which now leads the league.

He went just 34-of-56 (No. 10 in accuracy among Week 1 QBs) for two touchdowns, but it was all about his timing.

  • His first TD — to Darren Waller — came at the 3:44 mark of the fourth and tied the game; his second to Zay Jones walked it off in overtime.
  • Carr now has 22 fourth-quarter comebacks, and 25 game-winning drives in his career.
  • It marked his seventh 400-plus-yard passing game of his career, tying for most in Raiders history.

The Raiders inked Carr to a five-year, $125 million contract in 2017 that at the time made him the highest-paid player in the NFL. That season, he ranked only 14th in passing accuracy before improving to fifth in 2018 and second in 2019; he finished 10th last year.

Last night’s game-winning, pinpoint pass — immediately following his end-zone interception — encapsulated Carr’s stock: It may not be Aaron Rodgers-level accuracy, but you’re getting one of the best signal-callers in the NFL when the game is on the line.

This season, his $19.5 million base salary ranks third among quarterbacks (Jimmy Garropolo, Kirk Cousins), and he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2023 at age 32.

The New HR Leader

Toronto Blue Jays-Twitter

Shohei Otani might have the American League MVP in the bag, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. could walk away with the Triple Crown.

The Blue Jays’ wunderkind hit a laser beam in Monday’s 8-1 victory over the Rays for his league-leading 45th home run — his first time above Ohtani since June 27.

The 22-year-old also tops the AL in batting average (.318) and is tied for third in RBI (103) — only four off the lead.

Guerrero is mashing his way to some MLB — and personal — history.

  • Vlad is one homer short of tying Joe DiMaggio’s 1937 record for most by an AL player 22 or younger.
  • He’s hit nine in his past 15 games to eclipse his father’s career-high 44 (2000 for the Expos).
  • Guerrero is baseball’s biggest bargain at $605,400 and is under Jays control until 2026. He is lining himself up for a mega-extension in the range of $30 million per season.

Thanks in part to Guerrero’s offensive onslaught, the Blue Jays have won 12 of their last 13 and have moved into the AL’s top Wild Card spot, a game up on the Yankees and Red Sox.

Meanwhile, Ohtani will have to settle for personal accolades — his Angels are out of the playoff picture.

USC Axes Helton

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The last straw in Clay Helton’s unspectacular stint as head coach at USC came only two games into the 2021 season.

Helton was dismissed by athletic director Mike Bohn on Monday, continuing a coaching carousel that has wobbled since Pete Carroll left in 2010, followed by Lane Kiffin, Ed Orgeron, and Steve Sarkisian.

On Saturday, the Trojans embarrassingly fell 42-28 to Stanford as a massive home favorite to drop to 1-1 with four consecutive Pac-12 games up next.

  • The Trojans went 46-24 and won the Pac-12 just once under Helton, including two stints as interim coach before being hired full-time in 2015 to replace Sarkisian.
  • Helton was under contract through 2023 and earned $4.6 million per season.
  • USC reportedly bought him out for around $12 million.

Associate head coach Donte Williams was named interim head coach, making him the first Black head coach in USC football history.

While the Trojans haven’t won a national championship since 2004 — or a bowl game since Helton guided them to the 2017 Rose Bowl title — the USC head coaching job is one of the most coveted in all of football.

Bohn told reporters that a national search for a replacement will take place over the next several months.

Making Headlines

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

NFL: Saints CB Marshon Lattimore suffered a thumb injury in New Orleans’ win on Sunday, just after signing a five-year, $97.6 million extension. Lattimore will reportedly have surgery and is considered week-to-week, and Adam Schefter reports eight members of the organization tested positive for COVID ahead of a Week 2 matchup with Carolina.

MLB: The Giants became the first team to clinch a postseason berth with their 9-1 victory over the Padres. It’s the earliest date the franchise has ever clinched. Also: Seattle will host the 2023 All-Star Game, according to ESPN; and Brewers home run king Ryan Braun officially announced his retirement after 14 seasons.

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