On The Fly: Hopkins Knocked Out Of The Ring In Farewell Fight

Bernard Hopkins didn't get knocked out in his farewell fight. He got knocked out of the ring, though, by Joe Smith Jr., whose barrage of punches in the eighth round sent Hopkins through the ropes and to the floor. The standard 20 count was issued and the fight was stopped. It was a bizarre ending to a magnificent career. Hopkins, 51, the former middleweight and light heavyweight world champion, is 55-8-2.

The Giants have a nice formula going — get one touchdown from Odell Beckham Jr. and ride what lately has been among the best defenses in football. Beckham scored the Giants' final touchdown, a one-handed reception, Sunday in a 17-6 victory over the Lions. At 10-4, the Giants are nearly a lock to make the playoffs for the first time in five years. They close the regular season with games at Philadelphia and at Washington, and are likely to play a wild card game on the road, where the offense will have to become more than one Beckham highlight. ... We won't argue with anyone calling Beckham the best receiver in football. But if that's true, Antonio Brown is at least the most consistent. He has led the NFL in receptions each of the past three seasons and has 470 catches since the start of 2013, a record for a four-game span. Amazing that Brown, 28, was once a walk-on at Central Michigan and was a sixth-round draft pick of the Steelers in 2010.

Sheldon Richardson, a headache in a rather nauseating Jets season, is in trouble again, this time for a profanity-laced video he shared on Snapchat before Saturday's loss to the Dolphins. ... Brock Osweiler was booed off the field Sunday in Houston, where he was benched after throwing a couple interceptions against the Jaguars. With Tom Savage at quarterback, the Texans rallied for a 21-20 victory to remain tied with Tennessee atop the AFC South. So the team is in a good place right now, playoff bound, but not necessarily for the future. Osweiler parlayed his success in Denver into a four-year, $72 million contract that looks worse every week.

Reports are that Jon Gruden, who has turned down several NFL and college teams in recent years, will seriously consider returning to the sideline to coach the Rams. Gruden won a Super Bowl in his first of seven seasons with the Bucs and has been a TV personality since 2008. No Super Bowl winning coach has ever returned and won another one with a second team. ... The temperature was down to 20 below zero Sunday in Minneapolis, but Vikings, committed to tailgating, used fire to keep their beers from freezing. Then they went into the warmth of U.S. Bank Stadium and watched their team get trounced, 34-6, by the Colts. The Vikings (7-7) have fallen apart after a 5-0 start.

Mike Anthony

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