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Hot Button: Niners finally fall … Cherry fired … Yankees want everyone

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Hi, I'm Bob. You may or may not know me as the copy editor for this site, but now I'm going to add another hat and strive to bring you the best of the latest and greatest sports news here in Hot Button.

If you're new, Hot Button is a round-the-clock feature that covers anything and everything across the scope of sports, albeit with a constant tilt toward what might most interest Pittsburgh sports fans. All it needs is you. Let's hear from you down in the comments, including your own contributions to this stream. We'll be right there with you.


Tuesday, 1:13 a.m.: Raise a toast, '72 Dolphins! The NFL's last undefeated team, the surprising 49ers, are now 8-1 after finally falling, 27-24, to the Seahawks in an insane game late Monday night in Santa Clara, Calif. -- DK


Monday, 9:15 p.m.: On the first day of Major League Baseball's General Managers Meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz., Brian Cashman made known that the Yankees would welcome signing both Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg. Because hey, that's just how this broken sport rolls, right? -- DK


Monday, 5:50 p.m.: Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno has been suspended for three games because of an elbow he delivered to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare Saturday.  Foligno, who was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for charging at the time of the incident, will forfeit $88,709.67 in salary, which will go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund. -- Molinari


Monday, 3:20 p.m.: Sportsnet has fired Don Cherry after his recent offensive remarks on immigrants. Cherry went on a bizarre, incoherent rant implying immigrants as a whole don't care about Canada's veterans. -- Taylor


Monday, 12:16 p.m.: Former Lions wide receiver Charles Rogers has passed away at 38. Rogers was selected second overall in the 2003 NFL Draft but made just nine starts in three years as he struggled with drug issues.

“I’ll tell you, he was – and I’m including Flint, too, since I coached at Flint Northern all those years – he’s the best athlete I ever seen. I mean, honestly,” Rogers' Saginaw High coach Don Durrett said. “We’re talking about basketball, football and track together. He could have had a scholarship in all three sports. That’s how good. … I haven’t seen nobody that fast that could do it all. He was just a blessed athlete that could do it all.”

Per reports, Rogers was battling cancer and liver disease. -- Hunter 


Monday, 4:22 a.m.: While most American football fans were focusing on the NFL action Sunday, Seattle Sounders FC hosted Toronto FC in the MLS Cup final with more than 69,000 fans in attendance at CenturyLink Field. It's the third time in the last four seasons that the two have met in the final with Sounders leading that battle two to one. Sounders took the first as well as this year's with Toronto taking the middle meeting. The 3-1 win added a second MLS Cup star to the Sounders' kit and made them one of six teams to win multiple championships. -- Sunday


Sunday, 11:18 p.m.: Connor McDavid scored a beauty against the Ducks. -- Taylor


Sunday, 8:45 p.m.: The Ravens improved to 7-2 on the season, throttling the winless Bengals (0-9), 49-13, in Cincinnati on Sunday, behind three touchdown passes from Lamar Jackson and one run that was ... well ... special:

Jackson was a highly efficient 15 of 17 for 223 yards and was also their leading rusher with 65 yards on seven carries, accounting for 288 of the Ravens' 379 total yards.

The Bengals benched quarterback Andy Dalton for this game in favor of Ryan Finley, their 2019 fourth-round draft pick out of N.C. State. Finley was 16 of 30 for 167 yards, with one touchdown pass to Tyler Eifert and one interception. Joe Mixon ran for 116 yards on 30 carries and Pitt alum Tyler Boyd had six catches for 68 yards.

Has the Dalton era finally ended in the Queen City? And, if not, should it? — Bob

Meanwhile, in Cleveland, the Browns "upset" the Buffalo Bills, 19-16, on Sunday. The Browns trailed midway through the fourth quarter until Baker Mayfield led them on an 82-yard scoring drive, throwing a seven-yard touchdown pass to Rashard Higgins with 1:48 remaining:

Bills quarterback Josh Allen then moved the Bills into field-goal range, but Steven Hauscka missed a 53-yard field goal wide left to seal the Browns' victory.

Mayfield was 23-38 for 238 yards and two touchdowns — also his second week in a row without an interception — while Nick Chubb ran for 116 yards on 20 carries. Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. combined for 14 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown.

Are the Bills just a mediocre team that happens to be 6-3? Or, are the Browns, now 3-6, starting to turn the corner? We'll find out more for sure when the Steelers visit the Browns this week on Thursday Night Football.

What's your key factor for the Steelers to beat the Browns this week?— Bob


Sunday, 3:18 p.m.: The Giants' year long search for a general manager has come to an end, with ESPN's Jeff Passan reporting they have hired Cubs assistant GM Scott Harris.

Harris was the head of baseball operations when the Cubs acquired their young core and won the 2016 World Series.

Pirates interim GM Kevan Graves was being considered for the position. -- Alex


Saturday, 11:10 p.m.: #4 Penn State fell short on the road against #17 Minnesota, 31-26, at TCF Bank Stadium. The Nittany Lions were driving for the winning touchdown with just over a minute left when PSU quarterback Sean Clifford threw in to the end zone:

Clifford was intercepted three times on the afternoon against one touchdown pass.

The Golden Gophers remain undefeated at 9-0, while the Nittany Lions drop to 8-1. However, a case could be made that Penn State is still in the playoff picture as their loss to an undefeated opponent on the road pales to #1 Alabama's loss at home to #2 LSU.

If PSU can win out, beating Ohio State on the road in two weeks, do you think that should be enough to get them in the playoff, even with this loss? — Bob


Saturday, 11:00 p.m.: LSU made a bold claim as the #1 team in the country, beating previous #1 Alabama on the road, 46-41, for their first win against the Crimson Tide since 2011. Tigers running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for three touchdowns and caught another, and quarterback Joe Burrow was 31 for 39 for 393 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions, leading to this:

Alabama quarterback and Heisman hopeful Tua Tagovailoa did not disappoint, throwing for 418 years and four touchdowns as he went all out to bring the Tide back from a 33-13 halftime deficit.

Alabama's loss, combined with Penn State's loss in Minnesota, will make for an interesting new top 5 in the rankings, and muddies the playoff picture. — Bob


Saturday, 5:20 p.m.: Terry Bradshaw didn't mince any words — he thinks Antonio Brown's career is over. Not that he has any say in it, but if he did AB would never catch another NFL pass. In his usual direct manner, Bradshaw gave his reasons:

Brown has a very important meeting with the NFL this week over his legal troubles stemming from sexual assault and rape allegations, so it's unsure if he'll even be eligible to return to the league this season.

Assuming he can return, as a GM would you take a chance on him, or do you side with Bradshaw? — Bob


Friday, 6:10 p.m.: The NCAA has ruled that much-hyped Memphis Tigers freshman forward/center James Wiseman, who many experts expect to be the No.1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, is ineligible because his head coach, former NBA All-Star Penny Hardaway helped him move to Memphis.

Information is still pouring in on the specifics, but it is known that the NCAA considers Hardaway a booster because he made a donation to Memphis in 2008, though what assistance he contributed in moving Wiseman is still unreported.

Wiseman's attorney has already said he is suing the NCAA and the university, following the ruling.

To the broader issue, the lengths to which the NCAA goes to punish certain student-athletes for rules infractions is a joke. Shouldn't Hardaway be the one held to account for breaking NCAA rules instead of a high school kid just looking to move? —Bob

Update: The team was able to obtain an emergency restraining order on the ruling:

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