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Sports Tonight: Flyers show they can deal with adversity

John Smallwood, STAFF COLUMNIST

Updated: Thursday, October 5, 2017, 4:02 PM

The Flyers' Wayne Simmonds (17) celebrates with teammates Valtteri Filppula (51) and Jakub Voracek (93) after scoring a goal against the Sharks on Wednesday.

The Flyers were so impressive in their season opener on NBCSN on Wednesday night that the network has decided to broadcast tonight’s game at 10 at Los Angeles, too.

Slide 5: New England quarterback TOM BRADY completed 32 of 45 passes (71.1 percent) for 307 yards with two touchdown passes and no interceptions for a 104.6 passer rating in the Patriots' loss to Carolina. Brady, who has 1,399 passing yards with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions this season, became the first player in NFL history to pass for at least 1,000 yards with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions through his team's first four games in two different seasons during his career. He also accomplished the feat in 2015. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS).Source: NFL Communications TNS
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith, rear, can't catch a pass against Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Daniel Sorensen (49) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Photo Gallery: Sports Tonight: Flyers show they can deal with adversity

Well, actually, this game was slated for a national broadcast a while ago, but that does not change the fact that the Flyers were impressive in their 5-3 victory over San Jose.

The ability to bounce back from adversity is an important component for any team that strives to be good. Often, the difference-maker between winning and losing is not that you did something wrong but how you respond to it. The Flyers surrendering 2-0 and 3-2 leads against the Sharks, but Wayne Simmonds put them up, 4-3, with a little less than 10 minutes remaining in the game.

The Flyers were doing well, keeping the Sharks from netting a third-period equalizer, and then with 1:06 left, Radko Gudas inexplicably took a boarding penalty. Last season, the Flyers would have likely surrendered at least one of the points they went on to earn. On Wednesday, Simmonds sealed the victory with an open-net goal.

No team wants to make a living by constantly overcoming adversity, but it was nice to see the Flyers overcome it in their opener.

It’s not as if the New England Patriots are 0-4. Still, it is a surprise that the Patriots are just 2-2 going into tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 8:25 on CBS and the NFL Network.

Several preseason predictions had the reigning Super Bowl champions making another run at perfection. With a defense that has surrendered the second-most points in the NFL, though, New England has earned its record.

The Pats, however, don’t have the concerns that most teams that stumble out of the blocks face. The goal is to make the playoffs and move from there. New England plays in a division that virtually assures it postseason play.

The Patriots have won eight straight AFC East titles and 13 since quarterback Tom Brady was drafted in 2000. The Buffalo Bills lead the East at 3-1, but they are also the only NFL team that has not made the playoffs in the 21st century.

Eagles receiver Torrey Smith has been around long enough to know that denial doesn’t get you far in the NFL. Staff writer Les Bowen asked Smith about some of his early drops, and the veteran pass catcher said it won’t be an issue for much longer if he doesn’t start making plays.

Columnist Bob Ford writes that no matter what the Sixers do in the preseason, nothing can be gauged until center Joel Embiid is able to play again.

The Flyers game Wednesday didn’t start until just before 11 p.m. which likely tested the stamina of many fans of the Orange and Black. Staff writer Sam Donnellon drank lots of coffee so he could give you observations you might have missed.

Looking strictly at on-field production, Jayson Werth has not been worth the $126 million the Washington Nationals have paid him. Todd Dybas of the Washington Times writes that’s the wrong way to measure the value of the former Phillies outfielder.

The United States has a backdoor into the 2018 World Cup should it not capture one of the three qualifying spots from CONCACAF, but a playoff series is not the route the Americans want to take. Staff writer Jonathan Tannenwald previews Friday’s game against Panama.

The riff

No disrespect to Richaun Holmes because he is good at what he does, but Holmes, who started the Sixers’ preseason opener and played 17 minutes Wednesday night, is a career backup big man in the NBA.

Now that’s a valuable item for the Sixers to have, especially with the health history of Joel Embiid, but the backup is not what they should be focused on.

Third-year center Jahlil Okafor played 19 minutes off the bench. He scored 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting with six rebounds and two blocks, but that’s lessened because he was a reserve.

Right now, the Sixers need Okafor to play with starters Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz and J.J. Redick. They need to see how Okafor meshes with those newcomers because there’s no guarantee that Embiid will be there opening night.

If Embiid has no health issues, that’s great. Okafor will then be the backup until the Sixers can trade him.

But if Embiid has problems, Okafor — not Holmes — is the center you’re going to look to first as the starter.

Tonight’s schedule TV/Radio

Postseason Baseball
Red Sox at Astros, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
Yankees at Indians, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)

NFL
Patriots at Buccaneers, 8:25 p.m. (CBS3, NFL Network)

NHL
Wild at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Flyers at Kings, 10 p.m. (NBCSP, NBC-SN; WPEN-FM 97.5)

Preseason Basketball
Heat at Nets, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Raptors at Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)

College Football
Alcorn at Alabama State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Louisville at North Carolina State, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Golf on Golf Channel
PGA: Safeway Open, 5:30 p.m.

Changes in listings: Comcast SportsNet has changed its name to NBC Sports Philadelphia (NBCSP). The Comcast Network is now NBC Sports Philadelphia+ (NBCSP+).

John Smallwood, STAFF COLUMNIST

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