A week after U.S. women’s soccer star Carli Lloyd taunted rookie Buccaneers’ kicker Matt Gay in an ad for Secret deodorant, the kicker responded with a clutch performance in Tampa Bay’s 55-40 upset of the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

Gay made all nine of his kicks Sunday, including a career-high 58-yard field goal just before halftime.

“It’s huge and so is the confidence we have in the guy,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians told reporters following the game. "He knows we have confidence. He’s not going anywhere. This kid’s talented. One kick doesn’t define you.”

Last Thursday, Lloyd, 37, was featured in a provocative Secret ad the company took out in the Tampa Bay Times that trolled Gay for missing what would have been a game-winning field goal against the New York Giants the week before.

“Hey Bucs fans, do you sweat 34-yarders?” the ad read. “Carli Lloyd doesn’t.”

“Carli Lloyd’s 55-yard field goal at a recent professional football practice inspired us,” said Sara Saunders, Secret’s associate brand director. “She is a woman who isn’t afraid of labels and has the guts to defy expectations. Women may not play professional football yet, but we think it’s time the world believe that they can."

It’s unclear if Secret plans more ads featuring Lloyd during the NFL season.

After hitting that field goal during a joint practice between the Eagles and the Baltimore Ravens back in August, the U.S. women’s soccer team star and two-time gold medalist said she had some “pretty serious” offers from NFL teams that she said she considered. But ultimately Lloyd decided she wasn’t quite ready to make the gender-busting leap.

“I want to practice it,” Lloyd told my colleague Jonathan Tannenwald last month. “I don’t want to just jump into something. If I’m going to do it, I want to actually go for it.”

John Smoltz blames blown no-hitter against the Phillies on a candy bar

“I was starving in Philadelphia.”

Back in 1990, Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz was two outs away from pitching the first nine-inning no-hitter in the history of Veteran’s Stadium, but the Hall of Famer hurler ran into a problem — he thought he was going to pass out from hunger.

During a recent appearance on the MLB Network, Smoltz said he misunderstood advice from a fellow pitcher who suggested he pitch on an empty stomach. So Smoltz took the mound at 1 p.m. without having eaten all morning, and needed to raid the clubhouse prior to returning to the field for the ninth inning.

"I go up in the clubhouse and the first thing I saw was a Zagnut, so I crush it real quick," Smoltz said. "And, one out in the ninth, I give up a 2-0 base hit to Lenny Dykstra."

“Hey, give the guy credit. He got beat with his best pitch,” Dykstra told the Inquirer following the game.

MLB Network host and former second baseman Harold Reynolds didn’t seem impressed with Smotz’s story, telling the former ace he expected more.

“Listen, that’s 30-some years ago. I haven’t had a Zagnut since,” Smoltz responded.

Smoltz never threw a no-hitter during his 22-year career, but in addition to winning a World Series and earning the National League Cy Young Award, he’s the only pitcher in major league history to record both 200 wins and 150 saves.

These days, Smoltz is an MLB analyst on Fox, and will call this year’s American League Divisional Series between the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees. Smoltz will call Game 1 on Friday alongside Bob Costas and Tom Verducci on the MLB Network, and Game 2 on FS1 alongside Joe Buck and Ken Rosenthal.

Quick hits

• Veteran Associated Press reporter Jack Scheuer retired Sunday after covering the Phillies, Sixers, and college basketball for 46 years. Scheuer, 87, is a member of the Big 5 Hall of Fame and was named the Atlantic 10 Conference’s 2019 Bob Vetrone Media Award winner earlier this year.

“It’s been a labor of love all these years covering basketball and baseball, my two favorite sports,” Scheuer said. “It has been a great pleasure.”

• Rob Dunphy, the Eagles fans who caught the attention of the country last week with his Phillie Phanatic belly tattoo, danced on the field with the Phanatic during the Phillies’ 4-3 loss to the Marlins to end the 2019 season.

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Only in Philadelphia. 😂

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• CBS Sports studio analyst and former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher will be added to the team’s Ring of Honor tonight during Pittsburgh’s match-up with the Cincinnati Bengals on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Prior to the season, Cowher said he was living a “holistic life" and didn’t foresee himself returning to the NFL as a head coach.

“I’ve also become a full-time New Yorker, which I never thought would happen,” the Western Pennsylvania native joked.