Scott Van Pelt, Host, SportsCenter with SVPNov 20, 2023, 09:32 AM ET
- Scott Van Pelt joined ESPN in Spring 2001 as the network’s lead professional golf reporter. He has since become a SportsCenter anchor, primarily hosting the 11 p.m. ET edition while remaining the lead reporter and host of the network’s coverage of golf’s grand slam events. In April 2008 he was named co-host of ESPN Radio’s Tirico & Van Pelt weekday show (2-4 p.m. ET on weekdays). A native of Brookville, Md., Van Pelt graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in radio/television and film.
Let’s start with the Detroit Lions — who erased a double-digit deficit in the late going to move to 8-2. Is it low-hanging fruit to suggest they weren’t the type of team who could win a game like this in years past? Yes. But it’s also the truth.
NFL teams entered the week 0-83 when trailing by double digits in the last four minutes. But now there’s a team with a win. All the talk about culture is evident when winning in that fashion. It requires a combination of ability, belief and resolve — they had all of that, and it’s why they won. See you just after noon on Thanksgiving, when you all are more than just what comes on TV after the parade.
The Jags looked excellent in dismantling the Tennessee Titans to move to 7-3. The Texans weren’t quite as clean — but still moved to 6-4, double the number of wins from a season ago. They already gave it to the Jags on the road this season; win this one, and they lead the AFC South. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there have been 32 combinations of rookie head coaches and rookie QBs who made the majority of the team’s starts. Thirty-one of them have not won the division … C.J. Stroud and DeMeco Ryans are the 32nd. It’s an astounding start to their careers.
Staying in the AFC, where the Cleveland Browns moved to 7-3: The game against the Pittsburgh Steelers followed a predictable script in which offense was mostly nonexistent. However, rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson was able to lead the one second-half drive that set up points and they won. Their first six drives of the second half yielded 58 yards and four first downs, but that last drive got 48 yards and three first downs — and that’s all they needed. A couple of road games for him and his team in the coming weeks, but they are solidly in the playoff mix.
As are the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC. They did what good teams playing bad ones are supposed to: get an easy win. DaRon Bland scored for the fourth time this season on defense … that’s more TDs than RB Tony Pollard has. Their 14 defensive touchdowns since Dan Quinn took over the reins in 2021 is more than any other team in the league. The Cowboys have three in a row at home beginning with a somewhat traditional visit from the Washington Commanders. Then there’s a rugged stretch to come on the way to the playoffs, as their December opponents have a combined record of 29-11.
Finally, the Buffalo Bills — who I still believe in — got right against the New York Jets. New York made a change at quarterback in the blowout loss. I don’t know what they do barring a medically unprecedented return by Aaron Rodgers, but Zach Wilson is not the answer. The Jets have nine offensive touchdowns this season. That’s the same as Tyreek Hill, and he doesn’t even lead the Miami Dolphins in TDs. (That’s Raheem Mostert, with 13.)
New York took Sam Darnold third in the draft, decided he couldn’t do the job, then took Wilson second, and neither can he. The Jets haven’t made the playoffs since 2010, the longest drought by any team. It’s as simple as getting it right at quarterback, and the Jets haven’t done that.