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Report: Baker Mayfield in line to start for Rams if John Wolford isn’t healthy to play


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 8, 2022 - 3:31 PM UTC
By Myles Simmons · Original Article
San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers
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Baker Mayfield‘s whirlwind week could see him start on Thursday night for a team he just joined.

Rams head coach Sean McVay told reporters on Wednesday that he was leaning toward having Mayfield being active on Thursday night. That’s in part due to the health of backup quarterback John Wolford, who is questionable with a neck injury.

But according to a Thursday morning report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, if Wolford is unable to play after going through pregame warmups, Mayfield would be in line to start against the Raiders.

That would mean Mayfield jumped third quarterback Bryce Perkins on the depth chart despite joining the Rams on Tuesday.

With Stafford likely out for the rest of the season after suffering a spinal contusion, the 3-9 Rams don’t have many great options at QB. Wolford has started two games, but Perkins started the Week 12 loss at Kansas City as Wolford was dealing with his neck injury. Perkins finished that game 13-of-23 for 100 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also had nine carries for 44 yards.

In seven games with six starts for Carolina this season, Mayfield completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,313 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions.

We’ll see what quarterbacks will dress for L.A. when inactives are released 90 minutes before kickoff on Thursday evening.

Mike McDaniel: Everything that went wrong against 49ers wasn’t a direct result of Tua Tagovailoa


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 8, 2022 - 3:07 PM UTC
By Myles Simmons · Original Article
Miami Dolphins v Chicago Bears
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Given his success in 2022, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had an uncharacteristically poor performance against the 49ers last week.

He finished 18-of-33 for 295 yards with two touchdowns, a pair of interceptions, and a lost fumble. Tagovialoa hadn’t thrown an interception since September. He hadn’t had a game with multiple giveaways since the Week Two victory over Baltimore.

On Wednesday, head coach Mike McDaniel was asked what Tagovailoa needs to do this week to get back on track against the Chargers on Sunday.

“I think this is such a cool opportunity for each and every player that this is part of the NFL experience, is you can have some hot streaks where you’re doing well more often than not, and then you can have a game that there’s a lot more plays that you’d like to have back,” McDaniel said. “From a football perspective, that’s not — everything that went wrong wasn’t a direct result of the quarterback. It never is exactly like that. However, we all know that he wants to play as well as he can and he thinks that he could have done better in that game.

“So that is life in the NFL and whether you have seven Super Bowl rings or you haven’t been to a playoff game yet or you’re a rookie, you’re a 10-year vet, you’re a five-year vet; you will always — player, coach, anybody involved — be going through that experience, so that it is not something that, hey, it doesn’t happen to the best ones ever to do it. Every person has to go through that and so your objective is to get better from it, and that’s the world we live in.”

San Francisco is the league’s best defense, as the team is No. 1 in yards allowed and points allowed. So if there’s any opponent that would cause Tagovailoa to struggle, it’s the 49ers. McDaniel noted it’s a unit that has been together for a while and good defenses make QBs fit passes into smaller windows.

“I think the way we look at it is you want to be able to do well against good defenses,” McDaniel said. “That’s the objective if you’re trying to be great yourself. And they force you to truly execute and if you’re not on, they make you pay, in which case they did this past game.”

Tagovailoa still leads the league in passer rating (112.0), yards per attempt (9.0), yards per completion (13.2), and touchdown rate (6.6 percent). With the Dolphins taking on a Chargers team that’s No. 26 in yards allowed and No. 30 in points allowed on Sunday, there’s a solid chance Tagovailoa will get back on track.

Time is running out on holiday Playmakers deal


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 8, 2022 - 3:06 PM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
PublicAffairs

December is the month for extreme procrastination.

How long can I wait to mail that package? How long can I wait to buy a tree? How long can I wait to go shopping for my spouse?

Are any stores open on Christmas morning?

One specific store is closing soon. If you want to get a free, personalized (up to 10 words), signed bookplate to add inside the front cover of Playmakers as a gift for someone else or yourself before December 25, you’ve got three days left.

The offer goes away on Sunday, December 11. If you buy the book and sign up for the free, signed, personalized bookplate before then, you’ll have it by December 23.

Do it now. Right now.

As an inducement to get you to do it now, we’re posting a Christmas novel, one chapter per day, throughout December. It’s free, whether you buy Playmakers or not. Which probably isn’t the best way to get you to buy Playmakers, since you don’t have to do anything to read it.

But read it anyway. It’s not horrible, in my own inherently objective assessment of the crap I write in my spare time down in the barn.

Dan Campbell: I’ll regret not going for it on fourth down against the Vikings until I die


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 8, 2022 - 2:59 PM UTC
By Michael David Smith · Original Article
NFL: SEP 25 Lions at Vikings
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Lions coach Dan Campbell ignored the analytics and attempted a field goal late in Detroit’s Week Three loss at Minnesota, and he still regrets it.

In fact, he’ll always regret it.

The Lions were leading 24-21 with 1:14 left in the game when Campbell decided to try a field goal on fourth-and-4. Going for it and getting it would have sealed the win. Instead the Lions missed a 54-yard field goal, the Vikings took over in great field position, and Minnesota drove for a game-winning touchdown. As he prepares to face the Vikings again on Sunday, Campbell said this week that he’s still kicking himself for kicking on fourth down.

“Look, it burns me,” Campbell said. “Of course it burns me. That’ll be there until the day I die. That’s not going to go away.”

Campbell said it’s part of his personality that past failures eat at him, and it’s not going to stop. Beating the Vikings on Sunday, however, might make Campbell feel a bit better.

Ravens’ losing streak vs. Steelers “definitely has been brought up” this week


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 8, 2022 - 2:56 PM UTC
By Josh Alper · Original Article
Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens
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The Steelers will be hoping that recent history repeats itself when they face the Ravens this weekend.

Pittsburgh swept the season series from their AFC North rivals in each of the last two seasons, which leaves the Ravens trying to avoid the third five-game losing streak against the Steelers in franchise history. That record is something that’s been talked about around the team this week.

Linebacker Patrick Queen has never been part of a win over the Steelers and said “the true mantra around here is that until you beat the Steelers, you’re not a Raven” while safety Chuck Clark said that it is incumbent on this team to stop the bleeding.

“It definitely has been brought up, for sure,” Clark said, via the team’s website. “That’s the truth; you can’t hide from the truth and what the record has been. We have to go out there and change that.”

Tyler Huntley is starting at quarterback in place of Lamar Jackson this weekend and he also started Baltimore’s loss to the Steelers in Week 18 last season. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he expects to see a “significantly better” Huntley this time and the Ravens’ chances of snapping the streak will look a lot better if he’s right.

Eagles did not slam the door on potential pursuit of OBJ


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 8, 2022 - 2:37 PM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
NFL: DEC 22 Giants at Eagles
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Last year, when the midseason free-agency adventure of receiver Odell Beckham Jr. languished, we said this: Watch the Rams.

This year, as the midseason free-agency adventure of OBJ languishes, we said on Wednesday, “Watch the Eagles.”

The goal wasn’t to stir the pot and/or the shit. The goal was to analyze a situation and predict potential outcomes based on the available evidence.

Here’s how we got there. OBJ likely won’t be getting the multi-year deal he covets. His best play would be to sign a one-year deal and play now. If he does that, his best option would be to join a contender that is likely to play deep into the postseason, and that has the quarterback, the offense, the coaching staff, and the overall personnel to make it easier for Beckham to make an impact in the standalone postseason games.

If it all works, he sets himself up for a potentially large contract in free agency.

Under that standard, two teams stand out: Chiefs and Eagles.

The Chiefs had already been linked to Beckham. The Eagles hadn’t been. So I said, “Watch the Eagles.”

Some who cover the Eagles took my riffing to be reporting. The idea that we tossed into the ether became the proverbial turd plopped into the punchbowl. Players were asked about it, as if it were an actual report. Coach Nick Sirianni was asked about it, as if it were an actual report.

It wasn’t a report.

That said, Sirianni’s response was significant. In rattling off the virtues of his current receiver room, Sirianni at no pointed slammed the door on signing Beckham.

First of all, it’s not Sirianni’s call. He’s not the G.M. Second, if Beckham’s people contact the Eagles and offer to take a one-year deal for the prorated veteran minimum, how could they say no to that, especially if it means keeping him from the Giants or the Cowboys?

Third, any of the guys currently on the depth chart at receiver can be injured, at any point. Suddenly, a need for Beckham would emerge.

So, again, watch the Eagles. The longer this lasts, the greater the chance that the Eagles will swoop in and grab a guy who currently seems to be destined to land elsewhere.

Nick Chubb: We can’t go on what we did in the past against Cincinnati


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 8, 2022 - 2:30 PM UTC
By Myles Simmons · Original Article
Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns
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For whatever reason, the Browns have had the Bengals’ number in recent years.

Cleveland has won the last five over Cincinnati, including a 32-13 victory on Monday night earlier this year. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is 0-4 in his starts against the club.

If you go back farther, the Browns have won eight of the last nine against their division rival.

As one of the best running backs in the league, Nick Chubb has been a significant part of those victories. In eight games against the Bengals, Chubb has rushed for at least 100 yards five times. Earlier this season, he had 101 yards with a pair of touchdowns. His best game was last season, when he put up 137 yards on 14 carries with two TDs in a 41-16 victory in Cincinnati.

But as Chubb said on Wednesday, every game is different. And Sunday’s game in Cincinnati will be a different test.

“It’s a new game,” Chubb said, via Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal. “It’s a new week. We can’t go on what we did in the past. We have to look at it as today and right now. All that happened in the past, it doesn’t do anything for us now, so come in today and get back to work.”

Chubb also noted he’s sure the Bengals will be out for a bit of revenge.

Cincinnati is playing its best football of the season, having won four in a row against the Panthers, Steelers, Titans, and Chiefs after the Halloween loss to Cleveland. We’ll see if Burrow and company can come out on top or if Chubb and the Browns will keep their win streak alive on Sunday.

Kyle Shanahan: Trey Lance to Jimmy Garoppolo change bigger than Brock Purdy transition


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 8, 2022 - 1:53 PM UTC
By Josh Alper · Original Article
Miami Dolphins v San Francisco 49ers
Getty Images

The 49ers are transitioning to a new starting quarterback for the second time this season and head coach Kyle Shanahan thinks it will be easier this time even though new starter Brock Purdy is a rookie who joined the team as a seventh-round pick.

That’s not because the 49ers already had to shift gears from Trey Lance to Jimmy Garoppolo, however. Shanahan said on Wednesday that he thinks Garoppolo and Purdy have “similar skill sets,” which is a significant difference from what the team had to deal with when they were turning from Lance to Garoppolo earlier this season.

“I think it was a little bit bigger from Trey to Jimmy, just in terms of the running element that Trey had,” Shanahan said, via 49ersWebzone.com. “Just how he looked at a game plan, how we positioned the formations and stuff to kind of keep him always as a threat as a runner. Jimmy and Brock aren’t necessarily running threats, so you don’t sit there and design stuff like that, but they’re definitely both mobile enough to make plays with their legs.”

Purdy looked good against the Dolphins last Sunday in his first extended playing time this season and the 49ers have shown nothing but confidence in his ability since he moved up to the top spot on the depth chart. He will look to keep both trends going against the Buccaneers this weekend.

Report: Josh Jacobs is expected to play Thursday night


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 8, 2022 - 12:02 PM UTC
By Josh Alper · Original Article
Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Getty Images

Raiders running back Josh Jacobs has played through a calf injury for the last couple weeks and it looks like he will do the same on Thursday night.

Jacobs, who is also dealing with a quad issue this week, was listed as questionable by the Raiders for the third straight week on Wednesday. Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports that Jacobs is expected to play despite that designation for the third straight week.

The injury has not stopped Jacobs from producing at a high level. He has 59 carries for 373 yards and three touchdowns and eight catches for 80 yards in two straight Raiders wins.

According to the report, Jacobs, who leads the league in rushing yards, will be looking to add to those totals against the Rams.

On Our Way Home: Chapter Fifteen


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 8, 2022 - 12:00 PM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
Anthony Zych

With each step I climbed, I thought less about Linda’s frank assessment of my career trajectory and more about a very specific list of tasks that would carry me through the rest of the afternoon and evening.

First step, get a tree.

I took a hot shower and prepared to carve away the collection of stubble that had been sprouting into something more than that in the thirty hours or so since I’d last shaved. I did a double take when I noticed that most of the short hairs were white. Even at forty-five, there were still empty spots next to and below the corners of my mouth, a genetic defect that kept me from ever growing a full beard. Now, even if those areas would decide to begin producing real hairs, the end result would be far less manly than elderly. 

Santa Claus did indeed exist; if I went long enough without shaving, I’d become him. Especially with the extra layer of flesh gathering under my jaw. I told myself that, after the holidays, I’d get it under control. If losing my jowls were only as easy as shaving my face.

I remembered whatever it was that had caused me to spontaneously puke twice the day before. Maybe whatever was wrong with me would accelerate my plan. Having cancer or some other serious disease would be one hell of a way to lose the weight.

I dried my hair with a towel and combed it into place after sending tiny little pieces of North Pole down the drain. I brushed my teeth. I also flossed, even though my next trip to the dentist was still at least three months away. I’d always been good at throwing myself zealously into the task at hand. Today, I’d find the right tree. I’d get the rest of the right things to put on that tree. I’d do it. I’d welcome the distraction from everything else that had knocked me for a loop since I’d left for court the prior morning.

I started calling for the kids as I made my way back down the steps. Macy stood ready by the door to the garage, boots and coat and hat and smile brighter than anything I’d ever find for our eventual new tree. The boys, to no surprise, were nowhere to be seen. I yelled their names in a way that I rarely did, barking out the syllables sternly and decisively but without any hint of anger or frustration. The parade of racing feet soon stormed up the stairs from the basement, a herd of domesticated wildebeest suddenly on the move.    

I assumed Macy and I would have to wait for them to get ready, but they had their clothes and coats on. Mark wore long, baggy shorts, no matter the temperature. I’d given up trying to get him to do otherwise, and I didn’t care if other parents judged me for letting him leave the house in late December with bare lower legs.

“Wow,” I said to them. “I’m actually impressed by this.”

“Mom told us to get ready,” Mark said. It didn’t surprise me. Mom was the one who did the parenting. Mom was the parent to whom they’d respond.

Macy giggled with glee. She ripped the door open and bolted for the car.

“I’ve got shotgun,” Joseph said. It was a reminder, not a reservation.

“I can’t sthit in the front stheat yet anyway,” Macy said. “Right, Daddy?”

Mark already had his nose back in his phone as he made his way around the car to the seat behind Joseph. All three of them were in my field of vision. They were growing and changing and I could feel the years preparing to accelerate toward college and weddings and babies of their own and through it all I’d get grayer and fatter and shorter and older.

If only there were a way to have grandchildren without becoming a grandparent.

I opened the door to the Subaru and sat. Instantly, my nose alerted me to a problem. I turned to Joseph.

“Did you shower after practice?”

“Mom said we were going somewhere. I didn’t have time.”

“Do you smell that?” I said to the kids in the backseat.

“He alwaysth sthmells that way,” Macy said, with that same cheer in her voice, maybe even a little more of it because she seemed to think she was putting my mind at ease.

Mark had nothing to say in response, thanks to a phone that was capturing his full attention. Plus, given the amount of time he spent with his brother, Mark’s nose likely had become desensitized to the fifteen-year-old’s natural funk.

“Where we going?” Joseph said.

“Mom didn’t tell you?” I said.

Just as the words came out, Macy interjected.

“We’re getting a tree for the housthe! A real, live Christhtmasth tree!”

“Really?” Joseph said.

“Mom wants a real tree.”

“What are we doing with the one we have?” Joseph said.

“We’ll move it to the dining room. You can help me.”

He sat there for a second. I could sense the gears churning from the corner of my eye.

“How are we getting it back home?” he said.

I hadn’t really thought about that. I accessed whatever knowledge I had about Christmas trees. There wasn’t much. 

“We’ll tie it to the roof.”

“How will we tie it to the roof?” Joseph said.

The little bastard was already a budding lawyer. 

“We just will,” I said. “Where we buy it. They’ll know how to do it.”

“Can I ride on top with it?” Macy said.

“I don’t think Mommy would like that, Dear.”

“I never get to do anything.”

Joseph typically had maybe two words to say on any given topic. For some reason, he had more questions for me on this one than an overly-suspicious customs agent. 

“Where are we getting the tree?”

“Good question. I think there are places out there.”

“Places?”

“I was never shopping for a tree, so I didn’t keep track. But I’m pretty sure I’ve seen places with trees.”

“There’s one on the way to my sthchool,” Macy said.

“See,” I said to Joseph. “They’re everywhere.”

I followed the path to my office, optimistic we’d find a place that sold trees. If that didn’t work, we’d head toward Macy’s kindergarten. Regardless, a real tree we would find.

“We’re not gonna find a tree,” Mark said, breaking his phone’s trance for an instant.

“Why so negative?” I said.

“I don’t know. I just have a feeling we’re not gonna find one.”

“We’ll find one,” I said. “I guarantee you we won’t go home until we find what we’re looking for.”

I drove, keeping my eyes open for any evidence of a collection of Christmas trees ready for quick and easy purchase with the insertion of a debit card into whatever makeshift electronic contraption was currently being used to harvest funds at these temporary pop-up spots. Two days until Christmas, surely someone was still selling trees.

I thought of how busy I’d been the prior week, how focused I’d been on Sandy Matherson’s trial. Maybe the places I’d noticed had closed up. Really, who buys a Christmas tree two days before Christmas? Procrastinators and tightwads, I thought.

And guys desperate to buy a gift for their wives, who blurted out the idea without realizing all the trees are gone. Or maybe she already knew that.

I got closer to my office, one of those large, drafty houses on the main drag near the heart of town that had gradually swapped out families for light commerce—doctors, dentists, lawyers, funeral homes. The full gamut of services the human animal requires, cradle to grave. Literally.

I started to feel that same heat on my neck from all those years ago, when a trip to the mall had failed to yield an acceptable birthday gift for a young woman who probably would have been better off not saying “I do” but “are you nuts?”

“I told you we’re not gonna find a tree,” Mark said.

“Butt out of this,” Joseph snapped at him. I officially didn’t have a favorite kid. If I did, Joseph would have vaulted to second place in that moment.

“We’ll find a tree,” I said. “It just may take some effort.”

“I sthaid there’s one on the way to my sthcool.”

“Where is it, Macy?”

She rolled her eyes. 

“On the way to my sthcool.” 

That was all the guidance I’d get. I started back toward home. Then, I’d follow the path to Macy’s school, which was a mile or two away from our front door.

I racked my brain thinking of a place where trees would be sold on that route. But I hadn’t taken her to school in weeks. Maybe there was.

I started to ask her for more specifics. I knew I’d get the same answer for a third straight time. So I just kept driving.

We passed our subdivision and rolled toward Macy’s school. 

“Tell me when you see it,” I said to her.

“We’re not gonna find a tree,” Mark said.

Joseph swung his left fist around and thumped his brother in the shin. It wasn’t malicious or hateful, just boys being boys. Boys who don’t hesitate to resort to non-verbal communication whenever their efforts to reason via vocal cords had failed.

“Hey!” Mark said.

“I told you to butt out. Just keep on checking Kelly Prater’s Insta page.”

“I’m not.”

“Sure you’re not.”

“Who’s Kelly Prater?” I said.

“Mark loves Kelly Prater,” Macy said, sing-songing the words.

“Stop it, Macy,” Mark said.

I didn’t press the issue, not because I wasn’t curious about Mark’s potentially budding love life but because I spotted up ahead the place we were looking for. There it was, on the right. I saw the trees, lined up in the parking lot next to the veterinary clinic we fortunately didn’t have to visit as often as I’d thought we would, after we welcomed Buster and the cat into our home. 

“There it is,” Macy said, satisfied with herself. “I told you. On the way to my sthchool.”

I pulled the Subaru in front of the building and parked. One other car was there. I could tell it belonged to whoever was working the lot that day. I felt bad stereotyping the guy (cracked spoiler over a trunk covered in primer gave away the gender), but one thing I knew was people. I knew from the sight of the car that it belonged to a man who absolutely would find himself selling Christmas trees two days before Christmas, before doing God-knows-what for cash as of December 26.

Macy swung her door open. She’d become overcome with excitement at the kind of shopping excursion she’d never before experienced. I told her to wait for me before she ran from the car to the selection of oversized plants that previously had been growing peacefully and independently until someone put a chainsaw through their trunks. The boys seemed to be intrigued by the sight of the trees, even though they tried to stifle any sign that perhaps they were on the verge of possibly enjoying themselves.

A shelter with four narrow metal poles was nestled in the front corner of the lot. The covering had a faded Boston Celtics logo. A card table was tucked under the portable cloth roof. Sitting there staring at his phone was the man who undoubtedly owned the car with the cracked spoiler covered in primer.

He looked exactly like I thought he would. I once again felt a pang of guilt, but my hunch had been accurate. Bony frame under a coat that looked to be at least ten years too old and two sizes too big. Ratty mustache over an even rattier beard (unlike me, his inability to grow a full beard didn’t stop him from trying), and multiple piercings in each ear. He also had something just above his right eyebrow that looked like a lightning bolt. I felt the urge to ask him how he managed to make it stay there.

“Looking for a tree?” he said lazily, without looking up from the screen. If it wasn’t two days until Christmas, I would have been tempted to make a sarcastic remark in response to his stupid-ass question. 

“Yes,” I said in a clear voice. I tried to sound like a lawyer. I wanted this guy to see and hear how a professional operates. I wanted to inspire him to become something more than Guy Who Sold Christmas Trees in December, plus whatever else he sold the rest of the year.

I felt guilty again for thinking that. I reminded myself that someone needed to sell Christmas trees, that the broader economy had all sorts and sizes and shapes of jobs and none were any more or less important than the others. That was something my father had told me years before.

I made a mental note to share this with the boys later. I wouldn’t be passing judgment, just stating facts. Of course, I also didn’t want the boys to aspire to become Guy Who Sold Christmas Trees in Late December, plus whatever else they’d sell the rest of the year.

“Mister,” he said again, this time looking up from his phone. “I asked you what kind of tree you want.”

“Earth to Daddy,” Macy said.

“What kind of trees do you have?” I said, not really knowing how to respond.

“He has Christhtmasth trees, Daddy.”

“Six foot, seven foot, eight foot. Skinny. Full. Straight cut and bulb,” he said.

“Bulb?” I said.

“Yeah,” he said, “bulb. You know, the kind of tree you plant when you’re done.”

“Let’sth get the kind we plant!” Macy squealed. “Then we’ll have a Christhtmasth tree all year!”

I hadn’t considered that possibility. I looked to the boys for their thoughts, but they were both in their phones. I figured it couldn’t hurt to buy a tree that wouldn’t end up laying in front of the house, brown and withered and dead in a week or two.

“We’ll check them out,” I said. “I’ll let you know.”

“Take your time. Ain’t going nowhere. Least not for a couple hours.”

Macy took that as her cue to race toward the rows of trees. There were more than I’d realized, maybe at least twenty of them. I wondered how many he’d have left by the next day, and I was curious as to how many he’d sold. I forgot all of that as Macy began to get farther away from me.

“Slow down,” I called to her. I turned to the boys. “Will one of you catch up with her, please?”

Joseph gave me a look. I tried to read it. There was vague recognition that, physically, the boys were close to surpassing my own abilities. They didn’t know I already knew they had.

I had somehow gotten Mark’s attention. He crammed his phone into the right pocket of his baggy shorts and broke into a brisk jog after his sister. Joseph stayed with me. He walked slowly, patiently keeping pace with his old man. I smiled at his decision to not leave me in his dust.

I had a vision of some Christmas to come, where I’d be struggling mightily to keep up with him. He’d wait for me, no matter how long it took. I felt the urge to throw up again.

It passed, thankfully. But it was strong enough to remind me again that something wasn’t quite right. But as much as I never wanted to be the doddering invalid that slowed everyone down, I knew it was still better than the alternative.

I took another step or two before a sound from behind us caught my attention. A deep rumbling of an oversized engine. A muted squealing of worn-out brakes.

I instantly knew what I would see rolling our way, even before I began to turn my head in that direction.

(On Our Way Home continues on Friday, December 9, with Chapter Sixteen. It’s being posted free of charge, with all chapters here. If you feel like paying for something, buy a copy of Playmakers instead. Through December 11, you’ll get a free, personalized bookplate.)


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