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Seven From Sunday – Week 15

Press Release

Seven From Sunday - Week 15

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 16, the 15th week of the 2018 season.

  • The CHICAGO BEARS defeated Green Bay,

Press Release

Seven From Sunday – Week 15

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 16, the 15th week of the 2018 season.

  • The CHICAGO BEARS defeated Green Bay, 24-17, and clinched the NFC North division title for the first time since 2010.

    The Bears, who finished in fourth place in the NFC North last season, completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround in 2018. In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team has finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place.
     
    The LOS ANGELES CHARGERS, who defeated Kansas City 29-28 on Thursday night, clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2013.
     

  • Tennessee running back DERRICK HENRY rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the Titans’ 17-0 victory over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

    Henry, who rushed for 238 yards and four touchdowns in Week 14, is the fifth player since 2002 to record at least 170 rushing yards and two touchdown runs in consecutive games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON (2006), DEUCE MC ALLISTER (2003), CLINTON PORTIS (2003) and RICKY WILLIAMS (2002).

    Henry’s 408 rushing yards since Week 14 are the most by a player over a two-game span in franchise history, surpassing the previous high of 405 yards set by Pro Football Hall of Famer EARL CAMPBELL in Weeks 7-8 for the 1980 Houston Oilers. His six rushing touchdowns are the most by a player in team history over any two-game span.
     

  • Chicago quarterback MITCHELL TRUBISKY completed 20 of 28 passes (71.4 percent) for 235 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 120.4 passer rating in the Bears’ 24-17 victory over Green Bay.
     
    Trubisky has recorded a passer rating of at least 120 (minimum 15 attempts) in four games this season, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer SID LUCKMAN (three games in 1943), RUDY BUKICH (three in 1965) and ERIK KRAMER (three in 1995) for the most such games by a quarterback in a single season in franchise history.
     
  • Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES had 82 receiving yards and a touchdown in the Falcons’ 40-14 victory over Arizona.

    Jones, who leads the NFL with 1,511 receiving yards, is the fifth player in NFL history with at least three career seasons with 1,500+ receiving yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers JERRY RICE (four seasons) and MARVIN HARRISON (three), and ANTONIO BROWN (three) and ANDRE JOHNSON (three).

    Jones, who also has 100 receptions this season, joined Harrison (three), Brown (three) and Johnson (three) as the only players in NFL history with at least 100 catches and 1,500 receiving yards in three career seasons.
                                                      

  • The BALTIMORE RAVENS, led by rookie running back GUS EDWARDS (104 rushing yards) and rookie quarterback LAMAR JACKSON (95 rushing yards), recorded 242 rushing yards in the Ravens’ 20-12 victory over Tampa Bay.

    Baltimore has rushed for at least 190 yards in five consecutive games and is the first team to accomplish the feat since the 1976 PITTSBURGH STEELERS (five consecutive games from October 17 to November 14).
     

  • Indianapolis running back MARLON MACK rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts’ 23-0 victory over Dallas. 

    Mack, who also rushed for 132 yards and two scores in the Colts’ Week 8 victory over Oakland, is the third player in franchise history to record multiple games with at least 125 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (two games in 1987) and EDGERRIN JAMES (two games in both 1999 and 2005).
     

  • The MINNESOTA VIKINGS recorded nine sacks, including two sacks each from defensive end DANIELLE HUNTER and linebacker ANTHONY BARR, in the team’s 41-17 victory over Miami. 

    Minnesota, which recorded 10 sacks in the team’s Week 9 victory over Detroit, are the second team since 1990 to register at least nine sacks in multiple games in a single season, joining the 2017 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (two games). The Vikings are the seventh team since the 1970 merger to record multiple such games in a single season.

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Steelers’ Tomlin says he’s confident in K Boswell

Steelers' Tomlin says he's confident in K Boswell

Pittsburgh brought

Steelers’ Tomlin says he’s confident in K Boswell

Pittsburgh brought in two kickers to audition to replace him last week, and he missed a 32-yard field goal on Sunday. But Chris Boswell still has Mike Tomlin’s confidence, the Steelers coach said after his team beat the New England Patriots on Sunday evening.

It helped that Boswell made a 48-yard field goal, just inside the right upright, with 2:30 left in the fourth quarter to extend the Steelers’ lead to 17-10 and force the Patriots into needing a touchdown to even have a shot at tying the game. The Patriots made it to the Pittsburgh 11-yard line before going backward on a penalty and turning the ball over on downs with 14 seconds to play.

“He’s our kicker from start to finish and I liked the way he came back and banged that next opportunity, and that is what this thing [football] is about,” Tomlin told the media in Pittsburgh following the game. “You are going to be tested, we are going to be tested, sometimes you are going to fail but you better pass enough of them.”

Including Sunday’s kicks, Boswell is 11 for 18 on field goals this season, just 61.1 percent. For his career, however, he has made 85.0 percent. Boswell also has missed five extra points in 46 attempts this season.

The kicker missed two costly field goals last Sunday as the Steelers lost to the Raiders in Oakland, a defeat that allowed the Baltimore Ravens to close to within one-half game of Pittsburgh (8-5-1) in the AFC North.

After that loss, the Steelers brought in free agent kickers Kai Forbath and Matt McCrane to, if nothing else, put pressure on Boswell. He did just that in Thursday’s practice.

Tomlin said it was foregone conclusion by Sunday that he was comfortable turning to Boswell.

“I made that decision when I walked into the stadium with him that he was our kicker and I wasn’t going to play that second-guessing game today. We evaluated that process in a very thorough manner. Prior to going into the stadium we had a great deal of comfort with the route that we chose to take.”

–Field Level Media

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Foles again steps in to lead Eagles to win over Rams

Foles again steps in to lead Eagles to win over Rams

Foles again steps in to lead Eagles to win over Rams

Nick Foles knows all about taking over as Philadelphia Eagles quarterback at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and guiding his team to a victory.

Starting in place of injured Carson Wentz on Sunday night, Foles threw for 270 yards and a touchdown as the visiting Eagles (7-7) improved their playoff chances with a 30-23 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, who have lost consecutive games for the first time this season.

Wentz was also injured in a December game at Los Angeles last season, with Foles finishing off that victory and then guiding the Eagles to a Super Bowl title.

The Rams (11-3) looked out of sorts for the third consecutive week, ever since their dynamic 54-51 Monday night victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 19.

The Rams entered third in the NFL with 32.7 points per game, but they have averaged only 19.7 points while going 1-2 over the last three weeks.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff was 35-of-54 for 339 yards and had two more interceptions Sunday, giving him seven interceptions in consecutive games against the Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears and Eagles.

Wendell Smallwood rushed for two touchdowns and Josh Adams added another on the ground as the Eagles rebounded from an overtime loss at Dallas and have won three of their last four games.

Smallwood had 48 yards on 10 carries, while wide receiver Alshon Jeffery had eight catches for 160 yards.

Rams running back Todd Gurley rushed for two touchdowns, to give him 17 scores on the ground this season and 21 overall.

Goff moved past the 4,000-yard mark this season, becoming just the fourth quarterback in Rams history to do so in a season.

The Rams had one last chance to tie the game, getting the ball back with 1:08 remaining at their own 43-yard line, and advanced to the Eagles’ 18 before Goff threw an incomplete pass toward the end zone as time expired.

The victory moved the Eagles a half game out of the NFC’s final playoff spot.

The Rams continue to have the second-best record in the NFC behind the New Orleans Saints, but they are now just one game ahead of the Chicago Bears. The top two teams earn a first-round bye in the playoffs.

–Field Level Media

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NFL roundup: Steelers knock off Brady, Patriots

 

 

Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes, and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense stopped Tom Brady and the visiting New England Patriots twice in the red zone in the fourth quarter to seal a 17-10 win Sunday.

 

The Steelers (8-5-1) ended a three-game losing streak. New England (9-5) lost its second straight and missed a chance to clinch the AFC East title. It was Pittsburgh’s first win against New England since October of 2011, with the Patriots winning the previous five meetings (including playoffs).

 

Roethlisberger threw for 235 yards, with scoring passes to Vance McDonald and Antonio Brown, and was intercepted twice by Duron Harmon. Rookie Jaylen Samuels ran for 142 yards on 19 carries (7.5 average).

 

Brady threw for 279 yards, including a touchdown to Chris Hogan, and one interception. Rob Gronkowski, who has been a Steelers-killer, was held to two catches for 21 yards.

 

Bears 24, Packers 17

 

Mitchell Trubisky completed 20 of 28 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns, and Chicago clinched its first NFC North division title since 2010 with a win over visiting Green Bay.

 

Tarik Cohen and Trey Burton each hauled in touchdowns for the Bears, and Jordan Howard scored on the ground. Chicago (10-4) snapped a five-game skid against Green Bay and clinched its first division crown at home since 2006.

 

Aaron Rodgers completed 25 of 42 passes for 274 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Jamaal Williams scored the lone touchdown for Green Bay (5-8-1), which dropped to 1-1 under interim head coach Joe Philbin and was eliminated from postseason contention.

 

Colts 23, Cowboys 0

 

Marlon Mack rushed 27 times for 139 yards and two touchdowns as host Indianapolis ended Dallas’ five-game winning streak in emphatic fashion with a shutout at Lucas Oil Stadium.

 

Adam Vinatieri added three field goals for Indianapolis (8-6), which remains in contention for the AFC’s second wild-card spot. The Colts, Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans are tied at 8-6.

 

Dallas (8-6) could have wrapped up the NFC East title with a win but will have to wait for a Week 16 home game with Tampa Bay. The Cowboys were shut out for the first time since Nov. 16, 2003, when they fell 12-0 at New England.

 

Ravens 20, Buccaneers 12

 

Gus Edwards rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown as Baltimore topped Tampa Bay on a cold and rainy afternoon in Baltimore.

 

The Ravens (8-6) remain in control of the second AFC wild-card spot and in contention for the AFC North crown, rushing for 242 yards to become the first team since the 1976 Steelers with five straight games with 190 or more rushing yards.

 

Jameis Winston completed 13 of 25 passes for 157 yards and one interception for Tampa Bay (5-9). Peyton Barber rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown. Mike Evans had four catches for 121 yards.

 

49ers 26, Seahawks 23 (OT)

 

Robbie Gould’s fourth field goal of the day, a 36-yard kick with 3:06 remaining in overtime, gave San Francisco the victory over Seattle in rainy Santa Clara, Calif., denying the Seahawks an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot.

 

Doug Baldwin caught two touchdown passes for Seattle (8-6), which can clinch a playoff spot with a win against Kansas City or Arizona in the next two weeks. It would be the Seahawks’ sixth playoff berth in the last seven seasons.

 

The win was the first for the 49ers (4-10) over their NFC West rival since December of 2013, snapping a nine-game, regular-season losing streak against Seattle. San Francisco, which surprised Denver 20-14 last week, won its second straight.

 

Titans 17, Giants 0

 

Derrick Henry followed up a record-setting performance with 170 yards and a pair of short touchdown runs as Tennessee eliminated New York from postseason contention with a shutout in East Rutherford, N.J.

 

A week after setting a franchise record with 238 yards in a Thursday night game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Henry recorded his second 100-yard game of the season and fourth of his career as the Titans (8-6) are tied for the sixth seed along with Baltimore and Indianapolis.

 

The Giants (5-9) had won four of their last five games but could never develop a consistent rhythm while playing without Odell Beckham Jr., who missed his second straight game with a quadriceps injury. New York was shut out at home for the first time since Dec. 15, 2013, against Seattle.

 

Vikings 41, Dolphins 17

 

Minnesota set the tone in the first quarter with a three-touchdown outburst on the way to an easy win over visiting Miami.

 

Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw touchdown passes to Stefon Diggs and Aldrick Robinson, and Dalvin Cook rushed for two scores and Latavius Murray ran for another as the Vikings (7-6-1) set a season high in points scored.

 

Minkah Fitzpatrick and Kalen Ballage scored touchdowns, and Jason Sanders added a 25-yard field goal for Miami (7-7), which lost for the sixth time in seven road games.

 

Redskins 16, Jaguars 13

 

In a game lacking offense, visiting Washington put together two late scoring drives and got a Dustin Hopkins field goal as time expired to earn a win over disappointing Jacksonville.

 

The win ended a four-game losing streak for Washington (7-7) and keeps the Redskins alive in the NFC playoff picture.

 

In his first NFL start since 2011, Redskins quarterback Josh Johnson was 16-of-25 passing for 151 yards and a touchdown. Cody Kessler had just 57 yards passing as the Jaguars (4-10) lost for the ninth time in the past 10 games.

 

Falcons 40, Cardinals 14

 

Linebacker Deion Jones began a 26-point first-half outburst with a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown and Atlanta ended its five-game losing streak with a blowout over visiting Arizona.

 

Atlanta (5-9) was led by quarterback Matt Ryan, who was 22 for 36 for 231 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran three times for 18 yards and one touchdown. Tailback Tevin Coleman rushed 11 times for a career-best 145 yards and one touchdown. He had a career-long 65-yard run.

 

Rookie Josh Rosen suffered a long afternoon for the Cardinals (3-11). He was 13 for 22 for 132 yards and two interceptions, getting lifted midway in the fourth quarter for backup Mike Glennon.

 

Bills 14, Lions 13

 

Josh Allen threw for 204 yards and accounted for a touchdown with his arm and another with his legs to help Buffalo squeak by Detroit in Orchard Park, N.Y.

 

The Bills rookie quarterback completed 13 of 26 passes without a turnover and notched his second fourth-quarter comeback. He gained 16 yards on nine carries, giving him 351 rushing yards over his past four games as the Bills (5-9) snapped a two-game losing streak.

 

Matt Stafford threw for 208 yards and a touchdown, Kenny Golladay caught seven passes for a career-high 146 yards, Theo Riddick rushed for 47 yards and Zach Zenner contributed for 45 yards and a rushing touchdown, but Detroit (5-9) still lost for the third time in four games and was officially eliminated from playoff contention.

 

Bengals 30, Raiders 16

 

Joe Mixon ran for two touchdowns, Cincinnati converted two fourth-down conversions that led to two first-half touchdowns, and the Bengals defeated Oakland in the Bengals’ final home game of the season, and perhaps Marvin Lewis’ final home game as head coach.

 

Rumors have circulated for weeks that Lewis’ 16th season as head coach of the Bengals will be his last. Cincinnati (6-8) has been hurt by injuries, with 14 players — including Andy Dalton and A.J. Green — on injured reserve.

 

The Raiders (3-11) couldn’t get their offense on track. In their first five possessions, they punted three times and fumbled twice. Not having starting guards Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson didn’t help quarterback Derek Carr, as Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins had three sacks.

 

–Field Level Media

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49ers delay Seahawks’ playoff party with OT win

49ers delay Seahawks' playoff party with OT win

49ers delay Seahawks’ playoff party with OT win

Robbie Gould’s fourth field goal of the day, a 36-yard kick with 3:06 remaining in overtime, gave the San Francisco 49ers a 26-23 victory over Seattle in rainy Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday afternoon, denying the Seahawks an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot.

Doug Baldwin caught two touchdown passes for Seattle (8-6), which can clinch a playoff spot with a win against Kansas City or Arizona in the next two weeks. It would be the Seahawks’ sixth playoff berth in the last seven seasons.

The win was the first for the 49ers (4-10) over their NFC West rival since December of 2013, snapping a nine-game, regular-season losing streak against Seattle.

San Francisco, which surprised Denver 20-14 last week, won its second straight.

Going for a fifth straight win, the Seahawks got the ball first in overtime but were forced to punt after a long pass from Russell Wilson to running back J.D. McKissic was called back for a holding penalty.

Aided by a pass-interference penalty, Nick Mullens drove the 49ers 44 yards in seven plays, with Gould capping his 4-for-4 day with the game-winner.

After the teams traded touchdowns for the first four scores of the game, the final 31:05 of regulation became mostly a field-goal duel between Gould and the Seahawks’ Sebastian Janikowski.

Gould connected from 28 yards in the second quarter, 33 in the third and 45 in the fourth, the final one giving the 49ers a 23-20 lead with 9:51 to go.

Janikowski, who missed a PAT after Seattle’s first touchdown of the game, came through in the slippery conditions for a game-tying field goal from 48 yards with 5:21 remaining in regulation to send the game toward overtime.

Wilson finished 23 for 31 for 237 yards and the two scores to Baldwin, a 5-yarder that opened the scoring in the first period and a 35-yard strike after Seattle had fallen behind 14-6 in the second.

Baldwin wound up with four catches for 77 yards.

Seattle’s Chris Carson, who recorded the only touchdown of the second half on a 1-yard run with 13:51 left in regulation, was the game’s leading rusher with 22 carries for 119 yards.

Mullens went 20 for 29 for 275 yards and one touchdown, a 41-yard score to tight end Garrett Celek in the second quarter.

San Francisco’s Richie James had a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to give the 49ers their first points of the game, directly following Baldwin’s first score.

The Seahawks outgained the 49ers 385-351.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers’ defense stops Brady to clinch win over Patriots

Steelers' defense stops Brady to clinch win over Patriots

Steelers’ defense stops Brady to clinch win over Patriots

Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes, and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense stopped Tom Brady and the visiting New England Patriots twice in the red zone in the fourth quarter to seal a 17-10 win Sunday.

The Steelers (8-5-1) ended a three-game losing streak. New England (9-5) lost its second straight and missed a chance to clinch the AFC East title. It was Pittsburgh’s first win against New England since October of 2011, with the Patriots winning the previous five meetings (including playoffs).

Roethlisberger threw for 235 yards, with scoring passes to Vance McDonald and Antonio Brown, and was intercepted twice by Duron Harmon. Rookie Jaylen Samuels ran for 142 yards on 19 carries (7.5 average).

Brady threw for 279 yards, including a touchdown to Chris Hogan, and one interception. Rob Gronkowski, who has been a Steelers-killer, was held to two catches for 21 yards.

Pittsburgh opened the game with an 11-play, 75-yard drive capped by Roethlisberger’s third-down 5-yard touchdown pass to McDonald.

The Patriots answered in three plays, the third one Brady’s 63-yard touchdown pass to Hogan, who caught it with no defender within 15 yards of him and easily galloped down the right sideline to make it 7-7 with 6:48 left in the first quarter.

With no runs on an eight-play, 92-yard drive, Roethlisberger guided Pittsburgh to a 14-7 lead early in the second, capped by a 17-yard scoring pass to Brown.

The drive was the first of more than 85 yards allowed by New England this season.

With 8:32 left in the third quarter, Chris Boswell missed a 32-yard field-goal attempt wide right that would have increased the Steelers’ lead to 10 points. It was the 12th missed kick by Boswell this season (seven field goals and five extra points), most in the NFL.

Stephen Gostkowski, conversely, hit his 50th straight field goal inside 40 yards when he hit a 33-yarder with 20 seconds left in the third quarter to pull New England to within 14-10.

The Patriots drove to the Pittsburgh 5 in the fourth quarter after Harmon’s second interception, but a penalty pushed them back to the 15. On third-and-goal from the 16, Joe Haden made a leaping interception of Brady at the 4 with 7:43 left, hauling it in along the sideline between Gronkowski and Julian Edelman.

The Steelers killed 5:13 off the clock by moving 66 yards in 13 plays, and Boswell redeemed himself with a 48-yard field goal to make it 17-10 with 2:30 left.

New England again drove into the red zone, reaching the Steelers’ 11 before a holding penalty moved the ball to the 21. Brady then threw three straight incompletions to end it, with Morgan Burnett sealing it by knocking down a fourth-and-15 throw to Edelman with 14 seconds remaining.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Flacco expected to change uniforms in 2019

NFL notebook: Flacco expected to change uniforms in 2019

The Baltimore Ravens

NFL notebook: Flacco expected to change uniforms in 2019

The Baltimore Ravens are expected to release or trade quarterback Joe Flacco this offseason, NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning.

Earlier in the week, coach John Harbaugh chose rookie Lamar Jackson, who subbed for an injured Flacco the past four weeks, to start even though Flacco is recovered from the hip injury that sidelined him.

Flacco was the backup quarterback for the first time in his 11-year career when the Ravens beat the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-12 on Sunday. On the season, Flacco has completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 2,465 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions.

The Ravens were 4-5 when Flacco was injured. Now, with a 4-1 record under Jackson, they are 8-6 and knocking on the door of a playoff berth.

–The injury Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered in last week’s loss to Oakland apparently was worse than originally thought, but it didn’t keep him from playing in the Steelers’ 17-10 win over visiting New England.

Roethlisberger required a pain-killing injection to deal with a rib injury sustained in the second quarter last week. He returned to the game late in the fourth quarter.

Roethlisberger was 22-of-34 passing for 235 yards and had two touchdowns vs. the Patriots. He was sacked twice. The Steelers snapped a three-game losing streak, and at 8-5-1, hold a slim lead over the 8-6 Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North.

–Miami Dolphins running back Frank Gore suffered a left ankle injury against the Minnesota Vikings and did not return to the game.

Gore, who has not missed a game since 2010, suffered the injury when he was tackled on a run in the first quarter. He was able to make it to the sidelines but later was carted to the locker room.

–Green Bay running back Aaron Jones left the game against Chicago in the first half with a right knee injury and was ruled out shortly after halftime.

Jones left midway through the Packers’ second possession of the game and was seen icing his knee on the sideline.

–Chicago safety Eddie Jackson sprained his right ankle late in the fourth quarter of the Bears’ win over Green Bay, said head coach Matt Nagy, who noted the team will know more in the next 24-48 hours, but it’s unclear if Jackson will miss significant time.

Jackson was hurt while sliding to the turf after intercepting Aaron Rodgers — ending Rodgers’ NFL-record streak of 402 consecutive pass attempts without a pick — with just over three minutes left. Jackson’s ankle bent awkwardly and he was seen in a walking boot in the locker room after the game.

–Among other injuries Sunday: Bengals’ wide receiver Tyler Boyd injured his left knee and did not return in Cincinnati’s win over Oakland; Tennessee safety Kenny Vaccaro suffered a concussion during the Titans’ win over the New York Giants and did not return; and Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley also suffered a concussion vs. Cincinnati and did not return.

–Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith is out of the hospital after multiple surgeries to repair his broken right leg.

Smith underwent immediate surgery on Nov. 18 after incurring compound and spiral fractures to his tibia and fibula in the Redskins’ game against Houston and had been hospitalized since.

Head coach Jay Gruden said that Smith did not suffer any ligament damage and would face a recovery of six to eight months. However, reports earlier this month claimed an infection had led to Smith needing further surgeries and could jeopardize his chances of playing again.

–Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy and his backup, Chris Ivory, were both out for the Bills’ 14-13 win over the Detroit Lions.

McCoy hurt his hamstring in last week’s loss to the New York Jets and was listed as questionable entering the weekend. Ivory also was listed as questionable with a shoulder injury but was a full participant in practice all week.

–Former Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, fired last week, has received the seal of approval from the NFL’s career development advisory panel, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

That means the panel, comprised of former NFL head coaches and general managers, recommends him as a potential top candidate for any general manager position that comes open.

The panel is part of the league’s effort to make sure minority candidates are given strong consideration for GM and head coaching jobs.

–Chicago left tackle Charles Leno popped the question to his girlfriend, Jennifer Roth, at midfield following a win over Green Bay, which clinched the team’s first AFC North title since 2010. She said yes. Leno told reporters afterward he had intended to propose soon, but the importance of Sunday’s game accelerated his plans.

–Field Level Media

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Cousins shines in Vikings’ 41-17 win over Dolphins

Cousins shines in Vikings' 41-17 win over Dolphins

The

Cousins shines in Vikings’ 41-17 win over Dolphins

The Minnesota Vikings set the tone in the first quarter with a three-touchdown outburst on the way to a 41-17 win over the visiting Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw touchdown passes to Stefon Diggs and Aldrick Robinson, and Dalvin Cook rushed for two scores and Latavius Murray ran for another.

Dan Bailey added two field goals for the Vikings, who tallied 418 yards of offense and broke a two-game losing streak.

Cousins passed for 215 yards, while Cook carried 19 times for a game-high 136 yards.

Minnesota’s defense smothered the Dolphins, holding quarterback Ryan Tannehill to just 108 passing yards and the team to 193 yards of total offense.

Minkah Fitzpatrick and Kalen Ballage scored touchdowns, and Jason Sanders added a 25-yard field goal for Miami, who lost for the sixth time in seven road games.

Miami running back Frank Gore left the game in the first quarter with a foot injury. X-rays were negative, and he did not return.

The Vikings scored on their first three drives against the Dolphins to put the visitors in a quick 21-0 hole.

Cousins tossed a 13-yard pass to Diggs, Cook dashed in on a 13-yard run and Murray scampered in from 18 yards to put the NFC North’s second-place team in great position to keep their playoff hopes alive.

However, Fitzpatrick stepped in to pick off a pass from Cousins, returning the interception 50 yards, and Sanders booted a 25-yard field goal to end the first half with Minnesota up 21-10.

Following a touchback on the second-half kickoff, Ballage, a rookie running back from Arizona State, broke through the right side and outran the Minnesota defense for a 75-yard score to put the Dolphins right back in it at 21-17.

The two teams traded punts on six of the next eight series, with Bailey kicking field goals of 36 and 34 yards to give the Vikings a 27-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Cousins gave Minnesota plenty of breathing room when he went over the top of the Miami secondary, finding Robinson on a 40-yard strike for a 34-17 advantage.

Cook’s 21-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter rounded out the scoring.

–Field Level Media

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Colts hand Cowboys shutout loss

Colts hand Cowboys shutout loss

Marlon Mack rushed 27

Colts hand Cowboys shutout loss

Marlon Mack rushed 27 times for 139 yards and two touchdowns Sunday as the Indianapolis Colts ended the Dallas Cowboys’ five-game winning streak in emphatic fashion with a 23-0 shutout at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Adam Vinatieri added three field goals for Indianapolis (8-6), which remains in contention for the AFC’s second wild-card spot. The Colts and Baltimore are tied at 8-6, a half-game ahead of Tennessee, pending the outcome of its game at the New York Giants.

Dallas (8-6) could have wrapped up the NFC East title with a win but will have to wait for a Week 16 home game with Tampa Bay. The Cowboys were shut out for the first time since Nov. 16, 2003, when they fell 12-0 at New England.

Ezekiel Elliott rushed 18 times for 87 yards for Dallas, but quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper were kept in check by Indianapolis’ defense. Cooper caught only four passes on seven targets for 32 yards, while Prescott was 24 of 39 for 206 yards and a late interception.

Mack put the Colts ahead 7-0 with 6:09 left in the first quarter on a 1-yard scoring run, capping a 44-yard, eight-play drive. That came after the Cowboys’ Brett Maher had a 48-yard field goal blocked and recovered by Darius Leonard at the Dallas 44. Leonard’s return for a touchdown was overturned on replay review.

Vinatieri converted a 43-yard field goal with two seconds remaining in the half for a 10-0 halftime advantage. Indianapolis made it 17-0 on the first drive of the second half, Mack rushing 6 yards to cap a 75-yard march at the 11:23 mark of the third quarter.

Vinatieri added 44- and 23-yard field goals to cap the scoring. The Colts’ defense limited Dallas to 292 total yards and notched three sacks of Prescott. The Cowboys also hurt themselves with nine penalties for 74 yards.

Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck completed 16 of 27 passes for 192 yards. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton caught five of those passes for 85 yards.

–Field Level Media

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Trubisky-led Bears beat Packers to clinch division

Trubisky-led Bears beat Packers to clinch division

Mitchell Trubisky completed

Trubisky-led Bears beat Packers to clinch division

Mitchell Trubisky completed 20 of 28 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns, and the Chicago Bears clinched their first NFC North division title since 2010 with a 24-17 win over the visiting Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon.

Tarik Cohen and Trey Burton each hauled in touchdowns for the Bears, and Jordan Howard scored on the ground. Chicago (10-4) snapped a five-game skid against Green Bay and clinched its first division crown at home since 2006.

Aaron Rodgers completed 25 of 42 passes for 274 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Jamaal Williams scored the lone touchdown for Green Bay (5-8-1), which dropped to 1-1 under interim head coach Joe Philbin and was eliminated from postseason contention.

Chicago scored the go-ahead touchdown to make it 21-14 with 10:16 left in the fourth quarter. Trubisky fired a spiral toward the left side of the end zone for Burton, who hauled in the 13-yard pass for his career-high sixth touchdown.

A 24-yard field goal by Cody Parkey increased the Bears’ lead to 24-14 with 6:43 to play.

Packers kicker Mason Crosby trimmed the deficit to 24-17 with a 45-yard field goal with 11 seconds remaining. However, Chicago recovered the onside kick to seal the victory.

Green Bay erased an 11-point halftime deficit and evened the score at 14 with 4:10 to go in the third quarter. As starting running back Aaron Jones watched from the sideline with an ice pack on his right knee, Williams rushed for a 10-yard touchdown. Rodgers found Davante Adams for a two-point conversion moments later.

Chicago opened the scoring with 2:08 left in the first quarter. Howard sprinted 9 yards up the middle for his sixth rushing touchdown of the season and his first since Nov. 4.

Green Bay pulled within 7-3 on a 41-yard field goal by Crosby with 7:27 remaining in the second quarter.

The Bears made it 14-3 with 30 seconds left before halftime. Trubisky fired a short pass to Cohen, who sprinted toward the end zone and switched the ball from his right hand to his left hand as he was being shoved out of bounds. The ball crossed over the front pylon for Cohen’s fifth receiving touchdown this season and seventh score overall.

A 43-yarder by Crosby sliced Green Bay’s deficit to 14-6 with 9:26 remaining in the third quarter.

–Field Level Media

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Edwards helps Ravens dispatch Bucs, 20-12

Edwards helps Ravens dispatch Bucs, 20-12

Edwards helps Ravens dispatch Bucs, 20-12

Gus Edwards rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown, and the Baltimore Ravens defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-12 on a cold and rainy Sunday in Baltimore.

The Ravens (8-6) remain in control of the second AFC wild-card spot and in contention for the AFC North crown.

Baltimore rushed for 242 yards to become the first team since the 1976 Steelers with five straight games with 190 or more rushing yards. Edwards carried 19 times in his third 100-yard game of the season.

Lamar Jackson ran for 95 yards and completed 14 of 23 passes for 131 yards and one touchdown.

Jameis Winston completed 13 of 25 passes for 157 yards and one interception for Tampa Bay (5-9). Peyton Barber rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown. Mike Evans had four catches for 121 yards.

The Ravens took the second-half kickoff and quickly increased their 10-9 lead to 17-9. Jackson completed a pass for 17 yards and had runs of 14 yards and 22 yards, the latter to the 16-yard line. Two plays later, Edwards scored from 10 yards out.

Trailing 20-12 in the fourth quarter, Tampa Bay drove to the Baltimore 33, but Winston’s pass was incomplete on fourth-and-4 with 7:12 remaining.

Baltimore took over and ran the ball 12 straight times for 57 yards to run out the clock.

The game began in a driving rain that slowed both offenses.

Late in the first quarter, Jackson fumbled an exchange with Edwards, and the ball was recovered at the Tampa Bay 49 by Lavonte David. Winston soon passed to Evans for 23 yards, and Peyton Barber scored from 3 yards out, but the point-after attempt failed.

The Ravens immediately answered with a 16-play, 73-yard drive that ended when Jackson and Chris Moore combined for a 5-yard touchdown on a shovel pass.

The teams traded field goals before halftime and the Ravens led 10-9.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins score as time expires, defeat Jaguars

Redskins score as time expires, defeat Jaguars

In a game

Redskins score as time expires, defeat Jaguars

In a game lacking offense, the visiting Washington Redskins put together two late scoring drives and got a Dustin Hopkins field goal as time expired to earn a 16-13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The win ended a four-game losing streak for Washington (7-7) and keeps the Redskins alive in the NFC playoff picture.

In his first NFL start since 2011, Redskins quarterback Josh Johnson was 16-of-25 passing for 151 yards and a touchdown. He led a 68-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 13 when he hit Jeremy Sprinkle on a 6-yard TD pass.

Washington got the ball back six plays later when Fabian Moreau intercepted Jaguars quarterback Cody Kessler at the Redskins’ 29-yard line and returned it to the Washington 45 with 2:41 to play.

Johnson then drove the Redskins to the Jaguars’ 19-yard line, and Hopkins delivered his 36-yard field goal to win the game.

Kessler had just 57 yards passing, competing 9 of 17 attempts, as the Jaguars (4-10) lost for the ninth time in the past 10 games. Kessler had 68 rushing yards on six carries. The Jaguars had just 192 yards of total offense.

The Jaguars’ only touchdown came on special teams when Dede Westbrook scored on a 74-yard punt return just four seconds before halftime. It gave Jacksonville a lead that lasted until the Redskins tied it on Johnson’s only TD pass with 5:47 left in the game.

The Redskins finished with 245 yards of total offense against a strong Jaguars defense after collecting just 74 yards in the first half.

Hopkins also had a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter and a 46-yard field goal to give the Redskins a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. Jaguars kicker Kai Forbath had field goals of 41 and 33 yards.

After opening the season 6-3, the Redskins were able to halt their freefall and get back to .500. Washington’s struggles grew after quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colt McCoy saw their seasons end with leg injuries and Mark Sanchez was ineffective.

The Redskins four-game skid was their longest since 2012. The Jaguars finished the home portion of their schedule at 3-5.

–Field Level Media

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Falcons roll to easy win over Cardinals

Falcons roll to easy win over Cardinals

Falcons roll to easy win over Cardinals

Linebacker Deion Jones began a 26-point first-half outburst with a 41-yard interception return for touchdown and the Atlanta Falcons ended their five-game losing streak with a 40-14 win over the visiting Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

With the Falcons trailing 7-0, Jones snagged an errant Josh Rosen pass and returned it for a score and sparked Atlanta to a 26-7 halftime lead. Atlanta, which began the day with only 11 takeaways, got two others on Brian Poole’s interception and Grady Jarrett’s strip sack, one of six sacks on the day.

Atlanta (5-9) was led by quarterback Matt Ryan, who was 22-for-36 for 231 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran three times for 18 yards and one touchdown.

The Falcons found their long-lost running game. Tailback Tevin Coleman rushed 11 times for a career-best 145 yards and one touchdown. He had a career-long 65-yard run.

Ryan connected with seven different receivers, with Julio Jones catching six passes for 82 yard and one touchdown and Calvin Ridley grabbing five passes for 42 yards.

Rosen suffered a long afternoon. The rookie was 13-for-22 for 132 yards and two interceptions. He was lifted midway in the fourth quarter for backup Mike Glennon.

Arizona (3-11) had trouble moving the ball all day. David Johnson led the team with 33 yards rushing on 11 carries. Larry Fitzgerald caught seven passes for 82 yards.

Arizona scored first, finishing an eight-play drive with Johnson’s 1-yard run and forced the Falcons to go three-and-out on the ensuing possession.

That’s when the momentum quickly switched to the Atlanta side. On the second play of the drive, Rosen fired a pass in the right flat that was intended for Johnson. But Jones came up with the interception and went 41 yards for a touchdown.

From that point it was all Atlanta. The Falcons added a 22-yard field goal from Matt Bryant, a 1-yard run by Ryan, a 33-yard field goal by Bryant and 21-yard pass from Ryan to Julio Jones for a 26-7 halftime lead.

The Falcons tacked on a touchdown on a 43-yard run from Coleman and a 5-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to Justin Hardy in the second half.

The Cardinals scored with 3:14 left when Glennon threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Trent Sherfield.

–Field Level Media

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Allen, Bills squeak by Lions, 14-13

Allen, Bills squeak by Lions, 14-13

Allen, Bills squeak by Lions, 14-13

Josh Allen threw for 204 yards with a touchdown pass and a scoring run to lead the Buffalo Bills in a 14-13 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Orchard Park, N.Y.

The Bills rookie quarterback completed 13 of 26 passes without a turnover and notched his second fourth-quarter comeback. He gained 16 yards on nine carries, giving him 351 rushing yards over his past four games.

Robert Foster caught four passes for 108 yards and the go-ahead touchdown as the Bills (5-9) snapped a two-game losing streak. The undrafted rookie has surpassed 100 receiving yards in three of five games since being called up from the practice squad.

Matt Stafford threw for 208 yards and a touchdown, Kenny Golladay caught seven passes for a career-high 146 yards, Theo Riddick rushed for 47 yards and Zach Zenner contributed for 45 yards and a rushing touchdown, as Detroit (5-9) lost for the third time in four games and was officially eliminated from playoff contention.

The Bills’ rushing attack — ineffective for most of the season outside of Allen’s scrambles — was further depleted by injury.

Marcus Murphy rushed for 35 yards in the first half before leaving with an arm injury, and practice-squad call-up Keith Ford (46 yards) missed time in the third quarter after hurting his leg. Buffalo was already without Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and primary backup Chris Ivory (shoulder).

Wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie returned after being carted off the field with a non-contact leg injury sustained on a punt return in the third quarter and finished with career highs in receptions (six) and yards (53).

Allen’s 42-yard touchdown pass to Foster put the Bills ahead with 10:26 left in the fourth quarter.

Matt Prater missed a 48-yard field goal attempt for the Lions with 5:50 remaining. The Lions also squandered a point following their first touchdown drive when a bad snap forced holder Sam Martin to throw the ball away.

Detroit led 13-7 at halftime after scoring touchdowns on consecutive drives in the second quarter.

Golladay exceeded his previous career high with 115 receiving yards in the first half. He hauled in a 31-yard pass on the first play of a 75-yard drive that ended with Stafford’s 4-yard scoring pass to Andy Jones. On Detroit’s next series, Golladay wrestled a near interception away from Bills cornerback Levi Wallace for a 24-yard gain and caught a 40-yard pass to set up Zenner’s 1-yard touchdown plunge.

Buffalo took a brief 7-6 lead midway through the second quarter when Allen sprinted to the pylon for a 3-yard score to cap an 87-yard drive.

–Field Level Media

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Henry dominates as Titans shut out Giants

Henry dominates as Titans shut out Giants

Henry dominates as Titans shut out Giants

Derrick Henry followed up a record-setting performance Sunday afternoon by gaining 170 yards and scoring on a pair of short touchdown runs, as the Tennessee Titans recorded a 17-0 victory over the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J., who were eliminated from postseason contention.

A week after setting a franchise record with 238 yards in a Thursday night game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Henry recorded his second 100-yard game of the season and fourth of his career as the Titans emphasized the run while playing through a driving rainstorm.

Henry scored on a fourth-and-goal with 2:43 left in the first quarter, and then scored again with 2:20 remaining in the third. Henry’s 11th rushing touchdown of the season occurred shortly after the Titans forced a turnover.

On third-and-10 with 5:16 remaining in the third, Eli Manning was strip-sacked by Kamalei Correa, and Jurrell Casey recovered it to give Tennessee the ball at the Giants’ 14.

Henry’s second-most productive day of his three-year career helped the Titans (8-6) win their third straight game. Tennesee entered the game as one of four 7-6 teams vying for the sixth seed along with Baltimore, Miami, and Indianapolis. Baltimore and Indianapolis also won, while Miami lost.

Henry set a career-high with 33 carries and has 408 yards in his last two games. He also became the sixth player in franchise history to total at least 10 rushing touchdowns in a season.

Marcus Mariota spent most of the game handing it off the Henry, finishing 12-of-20 passing for 88 yards.

Ryan Succop added a 22-yard field goal with 5:06 remaining in the game after missing a 48-yard field-goal attempt in the opening quarter.

The Titans maintained a one-sided advantage in possession, holding the ball for 35:21. They converted 14 of 22 first downs on the ground, went 5 for 14 on third downs and posted their first shutout since Dec. 25, 2000, against Dallas.

Manning finished 21-of-44 passing for 244 yards and an interception. Rookie Saquon Barkley was held to 31 yards on 14 carries and recorded his second-lowest rushing total of the year after four consecutive 100-yard games.

The Giants (5-9) had won four of their last five games but could never develop a consistent rhythm while playing without Odell Beckham Jr., who missed his second straight game with a quadriceps injury. New York was shut out at home for the first time since Dec. 15, 2013 against Seattle.

–Field Level Media

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Packers RB Jones (knee) ruled out

Packers RB Jones (knee) ruled out

Green Bay Packers running

Packers RB Jones (knee) ruled out

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones left Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears in the first half with a right knee injury and was ruled out.

Jones left midway through the Packers’ second possession of the game and was seen icing his knee on the sideline. The team ruled him out shortly after halftime.

The second-year back had four carries for 8 yards before departing. He entered Sunday as the Packers’ leading rusher with 720 yards and eight touchdowns on the season, and he had scored in five straight games.

Jones also entered ranking second in the NFL with 5.58 yards per carry this season.

Jamaal Williams, the only other active running back on the team’s roster Sunday, took over and scored on a 10-yard carry in the third quarter.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers RB Conner ruled out vs. Patriots

Steelers RB Conner ruled out vs. Patriots

Steelers RB Conner ruled out vs. Patriots

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner has been ruled out with a sprained ankle and won’t play in a key AFC matchup Sunday afternoon against New England.

The second-year back was downgraded Saturday from questionable to doubtful. The team officially ruled Conner out about 90 minutes before game time. He was limited in practice Friday.

He did not play last week in a loss to Oakland.

Running backs Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley will run the ball in his place.

Conner has 1,376 yards from scrimmage for the Steelers in 2018. He became the team’s No. 1 running back amid the holdout of All-Pro LeVeon Bell, who did not report to the team this season.

Also inactive for Pittsburgh are quarterback Mason Rudolph, cornerback Brian Allen, safety Marcus Allen, linebacker Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, defensive end L.T. Walton and tackle Zach Banner.

Inactive for the Patriots are defensive tackle Danny Shelton, defensive ends Keionta Davis and Derek Rivers, defensive backs Duke Dawson and Obi Melifonwu, offensive lineman James Ferentz and tight end Jacob Hollister.

–Field Level Media

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Bears S Jackson sprains ankle, status unclear

Bears S Jackson sprains ankle, status unclear

Chicago Bears

Bears S Jackson sprains ankle, status unclear

Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson sprained his right ankle late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win over the Green Bay Packers, head coach Matt Nagy told reporters.

Nagy added that the team will know more in the next 24-48 hours, but it’s unclear if Jackson will miss significant time. With the win, the Bears officially wrapped up the NFC North title, but they still appear unlikely to claim a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Jackson was hurt while sliding to the turf after intercepting Aaron Rodgers — ending Rodgers’ NFL-record streak of 402 consecutive pass attempts without an pick — with just over three minutes left and the Bears leading by 10. Jackson’s ankle bent awkwardly and he was seen in a walking boot in the locker room after the game.

Jackson, 26, had been questionable for Sunday’s game after missing Friday’s practice with a shin injury.

The second-year man has five interceptions, 13 passes defensed and three defensive touchdowns (two on interception returns, one on a fumble return) this season as a key part of the Bears’ defense.

Jackson has seven interceptions and five defensive touchdowns in 29 career games.

–Field Level Media

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Bengals end 5-game losing streak with win over Raiders

Bengals end 5-game losing streak with win over Raiders

Bengals end 5-game losing streak with win over Raiders

Joe Mixon ran for two touchdowns and Cincinnati converted two fourth-down conversions that led to two first-half touchdowns, and the Bengals defeated the Oakland Raiders 30-16 on Sunday in the Bengals’ final home game of the season, and perhaps Marvin Lewis’ final home game as head coach.

Rumors have circulated for weeks that Lewis’ 16th season as head coach of the Bengals will be his last. The Bengals have been hurt by injuries and have 14 players on injured reserve.

That mattered little on Sunday.

After trailing by 17 in the first half, the Raiders got within one score in the fourth quarter, but Cincinnati answered the challenge.

Daniel Carlson’s 40-yard field goal with 5:09 left made the score 23-16 and gave the Raiders momentum.

Cincinnati’s Alex Ericson returned the ensuing kickoff 77 yards. Two plays later, Mixon scampered off the right end to clinch for a 15-yard score to clinch the win for the Bengals.

The Bengals (6-8) played inspired ball as they snapped a five-game skid. In addition to the normally conservative Lewis gambling on fourth down, the Bengals harassed Oakland quarterback Derek Carr, sacking him five times and recovering two fumbles.

The Raiders (3-11) couldn’t get their offense untracked. In their first five possessions, they punted three times and fumbled twice. Not having his starting guards Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson didn’t help Carr.

Carr finally got the offense revved up on the Raiders’ sixth possession. He completed 4 of 4 passes for 73 yards and got the Raiders on the board with a 1-yard lob to tight end Lee Smith.

On the touchdown to Smith, Carr set a new Raiders’ record for consecutive pass attempts without throwing an interception at 278.

The Bengals started their next drive inside Oakland territory for the third time in the half after the kickoff and a penalty. The drive stalled and Randy Bullock, on his birthday, connected on a 38-yard field goal.

Cincinnati quarterback Jeff Driskel was making just his third NFL start in place of Andy Dalton, who tore a thumb ligament against Cleveland in Week 11. Driskel completed only 14 of 33 attempts for 130 yards and one touchdown.

Mixon rushed 27 times for 129 yards.

Carr completed 21 of 38 pass attempts for 263 yards.

–Field Level Media

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Bears LT Leno proposes to girlfriend after win

Bears LT Leno proposes to girlfriend after win

Chicago Bears left tackle

Bears LT Leno proposes to girlfriend after win

Chicago Bears left tackle Charles Leno popped the question to his girlfriend following Sunday’s win over the Green Bay Packers, which clinched the team’s first AFC North title since 2010.

Leno got on a knee and proposed to his girlfriend, Jennifer Roth, at midfield soon after the game ended, and she said yes. Leno told reporters afterward that he had intended to propose soon, but the importance of Sunday’s game accelerated his plans.

“It was coming soon, but once I found out we could clinch this week, and I was like, ‘I have to speed things up. I have to speed up the process,'” he said. “I kind of planned it earlier in the week.”

“… She was surprised. She was shaking, she was crying. Right now, I guarantee she is bawling. That’s all I wanted to do.”

So where did the 6-foot-3, 306-pounder keep the ring during the game?

“I had it my sock,” Leno joked, before adding, “I’m just kidding. I can’t say that. It was in really safe place.”

Bears head coach Matt Nagy told reporters he knew the proposal was coming, as Leno had asked him for permission beforehand.

Sunday marked Leno’s 58th consecutive start for the Bears, all at left tackle. The 27-year-old, who was a seventh-round pick in 2014, is in the first year of a four-year, $37 million extension signed in August of 2017.

–Field Level Media

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NFL roundup: Bears pick off Rodgers, take NFC North

NFL roundup: Bears pick off Rodgers, take NFC North

NFL roundup: Bears pick off Rodgers, take NFC North

Mitchell Trubisky completed 20 of 28 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns, and the Chicago Bears clinched their first NFC North division title since 2010 with a 24-17 win over the visiting Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon.

Tarik Cohen and Trey Burton each hauled in touchdowns for the Bears, and Jordan Howard scored on the ground. Chicago (10-4) snapped a five-game skid against Green Bay and clinched its first division crown at home since 2006.

Aaron Rodgers completed 25 of 42 passes for 274 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Jamaal Williams scored the lone touchdown for Green Bay (5-8-1), which dropped to 1-1 under interim head coach Joe Philbin and was eliminated from postseason contention.

Bears safety Eddie Jackson ended Rodgers’ NFL-record streak of consecutive passes without an interception at 402 when he picked off a pass in the end zone intended for Packers tight end Jimmy Graham with three minutes to play.

Colts 23, Cowboys 0

Marlon Mack rushed 27 times for 139 yards and two touchdowns as host Indianapolis ended Dallas’ five-game winning streak in emphatic fashion with a shutout at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Adam Vinatieri added three field goals for Indianapolis (8-6), which remains in contention for the AFC’s second wild-card spot. The Colts, Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans are tied at 8-6.

Dallas (8-6) could have wrapped up the NFC East title with a win but will have to wait for a Week 16 home game with Tampa Bay. The Cowboys were shut out for the first time since Nov. 16, 2003, when they fell 12-0 at New England.

Ravens 20, Buccaneers 12

Gus Edwards rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown as Baltimore topped Tampa Bay on a cold and rainy afternoon in Baltimore.

The Ravens (8-6) remain in control of the second AFC wild-card spot and in contention for the AFC North crown, rushing for 242 yards to become the first team since the 1976 Steelers with five straight games with 190 or more rushing yards.

Jameis Winston completed 13 of 25 passes for 157 yards and one interception for Tampa Bay (5-9). Peyton Barber rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown. Mike Evans had four catches for 121 yards.

Titans 17, Giants 0

Derrick Henry followed up a record-setting performance with 170 yards and a pair of short touchdown runs as Tennessee eliminated New York from postseason contention with a shutout in East Rutherford, N.J.

A week after setting a franchise record with 238 yards in a Thursday night game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Henry recorded his second 100-yard game of the season and fourth of his career as the Titans (8-6) entered the game as one of four 7-6 teams vying for the sixth seed along with Baltimore, Miami and Indianapolis. Baltimore and Indianapolis also won, while Miami lost.

The Giants (5-9) had won four of their last five games but could never develop a consistent rhythm while playing without Odell Beckham Jr., who missed his second straight game with a quadriceps injury. New York was shut out at home for the first time since Dec. 15, 2013, against Seattle.

Vikings 41, Dolphins 17

Minnesota set the tone in the first quarter with a three-touchdown outburst on the way to an easy win over visiting Miami.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw touchdown passes to Stefon Diggs and Aldrick Robinson, and Dalvin Cook rushed for two scores and Latavius Murray ran for another as the Vikings (7-6-1) set a season high in points scored.

Minkah Fitzpatrick and Kalen Ballage scored touchdowns, and Jason Sanders added a 25-yard field goal for Miami (7-7), which lost for the sixth time in seven road games.

Redskins 16, Jaguars 13

In a game lacking offense, visiting Washington put together two late scoring drives and got a Dustin Hopkins field goal as time expired to earn a win over disappointing Jacksonville.

The win ended a four-game losing streak for Washington (7-7) and keeps the Redskins alive in the NFC playoff picture.

In his first NFL start since 2011, Redskins quarterback Josh Johnson was 16-of-25 passing for 151 yards and a touchdown. Cody Kessler had just 57 yards passing as the Jaguars (4-10) lost for the ninth time in the past 10 games.

Falcons 40, Cardinals 14

Linebacker Deion Jones began a 26-point first-half outburst with a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown and Atlanta ended its five-game losing streak with a blowout over visiting Arizona.

Atlanta (5-9) was led by quarterback Matt Ryan, who was 22 for 36 for 231 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran three times for 18 yards and one touchdown. Tailback Tevin Coleman rushed 11 times for a career-best 145 yards and one touchdown. He had a career-long 65-yard run.

Rookie Josh Rosen suffered a long afternoon for the Cardinals (3-11). He was 13 for 22 for 132 yards and two interceptions, getting lifted midway in the fourth quarter for backup Mike Glennon.

Bills 14, Lions 13

Josh Allen threw for 204 yards and accounted for a touchdown with his arm and another with his legs to help Buffalo squeak by Detroit in Orchard Park, N.Y.

The Bills rookie quarterback completed 13 of 26 passes without a turnover and notched his second fourth-quarter comeback. He gained 16 yards on nine carries, giving him 351 rushing yards over his past four games as the Bills (5-9) snapped a two-game losing streak.

Matt Stafford threw for 208 yards and a touchdown, Kenny Golladay caught seven passes for a career-high 146 yards, Theo Riddick rushed for 47 yards and Zach Zenner contributed for 45 yards and a rushing touchdown, but Detroit (5-9) still lost for the third time in four games and was officially eliminated from playoff contention.

Bengals 30, Raiders 16

Joe Mixon ran for two touchdowns, Cincinnati converted two fourth-down conversions that led to two first-half touchdowns, and the Bengals defeated Oakland in the Bengals’ final home game of the season, and perhaps Marvin Lewis’ final home game as head coach.

Rumors have circulated for weeks that Lewis’ 16th season as head coach of the Bengals will be his last. Cincinnati (6-8) has been hurt by injuries, with 14 players — including Andy Dalton and A.J. Green — on injured reserve.

The Raiders (3-11) couldn’t get their offense on track. In their first five possessions, they punted three times and fumbled twice. Not having starting guards Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson didn’t help quarterback Derek Carr, as Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins had three sacks.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Flacco expected to change uniforms in 2019

Report: Flacco expected to change uniforms in 2019

The Baltimore Ravens

Report: Flacco expected to change uniforms in 2019

The Baltimore Ravens are expected to release or trade quarterback Joe Flacco this offseason, NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning.

Coach John Harbaugh announced earlier this week that rookie Lamar Jackson, who subbed for an injured Flacco the past four weeks, will start even though Flacco is recovered from the hip injury that sidelined him.

Flacco will be the backup quarterback for the first time in his 11-year career when the Ravens meet the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

The Ravens were 4-5 when Flacco was injured. Now, with a 3-1 record under Jackson, they are 7-6 and knocking on the door of a playoff berth.

Rapoport said Flacco, who turns 34 in January, is scheduled to make $18.5 million next season. He added they could release him and let him become a free agent, or they could try to trade him to a team of his choosing.

Several teams will be in the starting quarterback market and could have interest in Flacco. The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to move on from Blake Bortles, the quarterback situation could be unsettled in places such as Tampa Bay, and if Alex Smith isn’t able to come back from a devastating leg injury, there could be a starting spot available just 45 minutes to the south in Washington.

On the season, Flacco has completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 2,465 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions.

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins RB Gore carted off with ankle injury

Dolphins RB Gore carted off with ankle injury

Dolphins RB Gore carted off with ankle injury

Miami Dolphins running back Frank Gore suffered a left ankle injury Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings and will miss the rest of the game, the team announced.

Gore suffered the injury when he was tackled on a run in the first quarter. He was able to make it to the sidelines, but he later was carted to the locker room.

The veteran Gore has not missed a game since 2010, when he appeared in 11 games for San Francisco.

Rookie running back Kalen Bellage replaced Gore.

Coming into the game, Gore had gained 708 yards on the ground this season. Before his departure Sunday, he had run for 14 yards on five carries.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins QB Smith released from hospital

Redskins QB Smith released from hospital

Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith is finally out of the

Redskins QB Smith released from hospital

Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith is finally out of the hospital after multiple surgeries to repair his broken right leg.

Smith underwent immediate surgery on Nov. 18 after incurring compound and spiral fractures to his tibia and fibula in the Redskins’ game against the Houston Texans and had been hospitalized since.

Sunday morning, his wife posted a photo to Instagram, showing Smith sitting by the family Christmas tree, his legs covered by a Redskins blanket.

“The last month has been a difficult ride. Our family is beyond happy to have this man with us and home,” Elizabeth Smith wrote. “This experience has given us great perspective and gratitude for all the people and blessings in our lives. We couldn’t have gotten through it without our amazing family, friends and community. A special thank you to the relentless doctors, nurses, techs, hospital administrators, the (owner Daniel) Snyder family and the Washington Redskins.”

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has said that Smith did not suffer any ligament damage and would face a recovery of six to eight months. However, there were reports earlier this month that claimed an infection had led to Smith needing further surgeries and could jeopardize Smith’s chances of playing again.

The team requested privacy for Smith after those reports emerged.

Washington is on the hook for $41.8 million in dead cap space over the next two seasons for Smith if he can’t return from the injury.

Smith’s backup, Colt McCoy, broke his leg against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 13, leaving the Redskins with journeymen Mark Sanchez and Josh Johnson as the team’s only options to end the season.

Smith, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2005, will be 35 when the 2019 season begins. He was signed before the season to a four-year, $94 million extension.

–Field Level Media

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Bills RBs McCoy, Ivory out vs. Lions

Bills RBs McCoy, Ivory out vs. Lions

Bills RBs McCoy, Ivory out vs. Lions

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy and his backup, Chris Ivory, are both out for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions, the team announced.

McCoy was held out of Wednesday’s practice and was a limited participant on Thursday and Friday. He was listed as questionable on the injury report entering the weekend.

McCoy hurt his hamstring in Sunday’s 27-23 loss to the New York Jets. The 30-year-old running back left the game after nine plays — he had one yard on two carries — on Buffalo’s opening drive and has struggled with leg muscle strains in recent seasons.

Ivory served as the Bills’ primary running back and finished the game with 42 yards on 12 carries.

Ivory also was listed as questionable this week with a shoulder injury, but he was a full participant in practice all week.

With the Bills’ top two backs out, Keith Ford and Marcus Murphy are the only active running backs for Sunday’s game. Ford was signed from the practice squad earlier this week.

McCoy has struggled in his 10th NFL season with just 145 carries for 479 yards and two scores.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Bills RB McCoy out vs. Lions

Report: Bills RB McCoy out vs. Lions

Report: Bills RB McCoy out vs. Lions

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy won’t play in Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

McCoy was held out of Wednesday’s practice and was a limited participant on Thursday and Friday. He was listed as questionable on the injury report entering the weekend.

McCoy hurt his hamstring in Sunday’s 27-23 loss to the New York Jets. The 30-year-old running back left the game after nine plays — he had one yard on two carries — on Buffalo’s opening drive and has struggled with leg muscle strains in recent seasons.

Chris Ivory served as the Bills’ primary ballcarrier and finished the game with 42 yards on 12 carries.

Ivory also was listed as questionable this week with a shoulder injury, but he was a full participant in practice all week.

McCoy has struggled in his 10th NFL season with just 145 carries for 479 yards and two scores.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Roethlisberger suffered cracked ribs, will play

Report: Roethlisberger suffered cracked ribs, will play

Report: Roethlisberger suffered cracked ribs, will play

The injury Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered last week in a loss to the Oakland Raiders apparently was worse than originally thought, but it shouldn’t keep him from playing when the Steelers host the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Roethlisberger required a pain-killing injection to deal with a rib injury sustained in the second quarter last week. He returned to the game late in the fourth quarter.

Afterward, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Roethlisberger was dealing with bruised ribs.

But the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Roethlisberger actually suffered cracked ribs vs. the Raiders, but an antiquated X-ray machine produced results that couldn’t be read, according to the team’s medical staff.

Roethlisberger said team doctors cleared him to play anyway, and his performance indicated he was fine. Roethlisberger wound up completing 25 of 29 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns.

Asked if there’s any reason to think he wouldn’t play against the Patriots, Roethlisberger said, “No, no, I don’t think so.”

Rapoport suggested Sunday that Roethlisberger might require another pain-killing injection, but he doubted the Steelers would hold him back.

“Wouldn’t be surprised if he has more, let’s say treatment like he did last week,” Rapoport wrote in a tweet. “He took a shot in the locker room and came back and then played. He should be fine going forward. But yes, unlike that X-ray machine, I can actually tell you, they were cracked.”

The Steelers have lost three consecutive games, and at 7-5-1, they hold a slim lead over the 7-6 Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North entering play Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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NFL panel endorses ex-Raiders GM McKenzie

NFL panel endorses ex-Raiders GM McKenzie

Former Oakland Raiders general

NFL panel endorses ex-Raiders GM McKenzie

Former Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, fired last week, has received the seal of approval from the NFL’s career development advisory panel, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday.

That means the panel recommends him as a potential top candidate for any general manager position that comes open.

The advisory panel is part of the league’s effort to make sure minority candidates are given strong consideration for general manager and head coaching jobs. It is comprised of former NFL head coaches and general managers.

With the firing of McKenzie and the upcoming retirement of Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome, the only minority general manager will by Chris Grier of Miami. Two seasons ago, there were seven minority GMs, Schefter reported.

McKenzie, 55, had clashed with Raiders head coach Jon Gruden over the direction of the team. Oakland named McKenzie general manager in 2012, and he earned Executive of the Year honors in 2016.

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins, Vikings fight to keep playoff hopes alive

Dolphins, Vikings fight to keep playoff hopes alive

Dolphins, Vikings fight to keep playoff hopes alive

The last time most fans saw quarterback Ryan Tannehill, he was in a state of euphoria, lying flat on his back on the Hard Rock Stadium turf last Sunday.

His Miami Dolphins had just upset the New England Patriots, 34-33, on the dramatic final play of the game.

Tannehill started the play by completing a 14-yard pass to Kenny Stills. Two laterals later, the Dolphins had gone 69 yards to finish off the “Miracle in Miami.”

“Knowing we had one shot with minimal probability to be successful and have that 0.1 percent-chance play pay off is pretty incredible,” Tannehill said. “It just hits you all at once. I just collapsed.”

Fortunately for Dolphins fans, their team hasn’t collapsed this season, overcoming three losing streaks of two games each and the five-game injury absence of Tannehil to sport a 7-6 record — still alive for a possible AFC wild-card playoff berth.

On Sunday, the Dolphins will travel to play the Minnesota Vikings (6-6-1), who have lost two straight games and on Tuesday fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

The Vikings have scored a combined 17 points the past two weeks, including a garbage-time touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Minnesota, still in wild-card contention in the NFC, will try to salvage the season with Kevin Stefanski as the interim offensive coordinator.

The pressure is mounting on Kirk Cousins, the quarterback Minnesota signed to a mega-contract last offseason.

“I’d be the first to say that if we had played at a higher level, we’re probably not talking about the things we’re talking about this week,” Cousins said. “I take ownership as well.”

The Dolphins are just 1-5 on the road this season, while the Vikings are 4-2 at home.

Before the current two-game slide, the Vikings’ offense had played reasonably well, scoring at least 20 points in eight straight games and compiling a 5-3 record during that span.

Cousins has put up impressive numbers all season, passing for 3,698 yards and 24 touchdowns against nine interceptions. He has completed 70.6 percent of his passes.

His top target is wide receiver Adam Thielen, who has an NFL-high 103 catches for 1,236 yards and nine touchdowns. Thielen is battling an ankle injury but is expected to play against Miami.

Teammate Stefon Diggs is also having an excellent season with 88 grabs, 915 yards and six touchdowns.

For the Dolphins, Tannehill (ankle) is listed as probable. He has completed 67 percent of his passes for 1,578 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Miami’s most reliable weapon this season has been 35-year-old running back Frank Gore, who leads the team in rushing yards (708) and average (4.7).

The Dolphins also have running back Kenyan Drake (829 scrimmage yards, nine touchdowns), steady Danny Amendola (team-high 49 receptions) and Kenny Stills (team-high six touchdown catches).

Each team is hoping that a key defensive player will be ready to go on Sunday.

Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, who is tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions, missed last week with a knee injury and is questionable.

Vikings defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, a Pro Bowl player in 2014, is questionable due to a hip injury.

–Field Level Media

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Giants WR Beckham ruled out vs. Titans

 

New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has

 

New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans as he recovers from an ailing quadriceps, coach Pat Shurmur announced Friday.

 

Beckham missed last Sunday’s victory over the Washington Redskins due to the injury and was held out of Thursday’s practice after being a limited participant the day before.

 

He was initially hurt during a Week 12 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

 

Beckham had the leg evaluated by doctors Thursday and at the time expressed optimism.

 

“I honestly don’t know until Sunday gets here,” Beckham told reporters on Thursday. “It has just been getting better each and every day.”

 

Beckham was blunt when asked to describe the nature of the injury.

 

“I don’t know. It’s like saying I broke my leg but you really fractured it. It’s a choice of words,” Beckham said. “Whatever you want to call it, (bleep) ain’t right.”

 

Beckham has 77 receptions for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games this season.

 

–Field Level Media

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Steelers RB Conner practices, questionable to face Patriots

Steelers RB Conner practices, questionable to face Patriots

Steelers running

Steelers RB Conner practices, questionable to face Patriots

Steelers running back James Conner was limited in practice Friday and is expected to return to the Pittsburgh lineup for a key AFC affair with the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Conner was seen walking without a limp after Thursday’s practice and declared himself ready to roll, but the Steelers will officially list him as questionable.

The renewal of the Steelers-Patriots rivalry is a headliner of Week 15 as Pittsburgh slides into the game on a three-game losing streak, holding a narrow lead over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North and at risk of being thrust into a dogfight with numerous teams for the final spot in the AFC playoffs with another loss.

With three games to play in the regular season, the Steelers welcome the return of Conner from a sprained ankle. Without him, the Steelers lost at Oakland last week. Even before Conner went down, Pittsburgh has struggled to find balance on offense of late, particularly the last three games.

Including the postseason, New England has won nine of the 12 games against the Steelers since Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger entered the NFL.

The Patriots are in the running for the No. 1 seed in the AFC, which would assure home-field advantage through the conference championship game, after the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.

Conner was thrust into a key role in his second season when Le’Veon Bell opted to hold out after being designated the team’s franchise player for the second consecutive season.

Conner has 1,376 yards from scrimmage for the Steelers in 2018.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars sign K Forbath as insurance for injured Lambo

Jaguars sign K Forbath as insurance for injured Lambo

Jaguars sign K Forbath as insurance for injured Lambo

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed kicker Kai Forbath on Friday in case Josh Lambo is unable to kick Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

Lambo suffered a right groin injury during Thursday’s practice and is listed as questionable on the injury report released Friday.

Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone said he has no idea if Lambo can recover in time to kick on Sunday.

“We don’t really know how it’s going to go,” Marrone told reporters of Lambo. “It’s not a lot of time between now and Sunday for an injury like that. We’re going to take it day-by-day, probably up until game time.”

Lambo, 28, is 19 of 21 on field-goal attempts this season and 38 of 41 in two seasons with the Jaguars. He spent his first two NFL seasons with the then-San Diego Chargers and is 90 of 105 on field goals in his career.

Forbath hasn’t kicked in the NFL this season after being cut by the Minnesota Vikings in training camp.

Forbath, 31, kicked a career-best 32 field goals (in 38 attempts) for the Vikings in 2017 in his second season with the team.

The UCLA product also kicked for the Washington Redskins (2012-15) and New Orleans Saints (2015). He has made 116 of 135 career field-goal attempts while scoring 517 points.

Forbath worked out for the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this week.

Jacksonville placed linebacker Leon Jacobs (quadriceps) on injured reserve to open up the roster spot.

Also, starting right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee), wideout DJ Chark Jr. (quadriceps) and offensive lineman Josh Walker (foot) will miss the game against Washington, the team announced.

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys’ Elliott gets fined $26K for helmet hit

Cowboys' Elliott gets fined $26K for helmet hit

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys’ Elliott gets fined $26K for helmet hit

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, the first offensive player penalized this season for the helmet rule, was fined $26,739 on Friday for lowering his head to initiate contact Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The action occurred against defensive back Corey Graham in a game the Cowboys won 29-23.

Elliott is appealing the fine, which is the second he has received in four weeks. He was fined $13,369 for unsportsmanlike conduct after donating $21 into the Salvation Army kettle following a Thanksgiving Day touchdown against Washington on Nov. 22.

Delivering the hit against the Eagles, Elliott also struggled to recover. He went to the blue medical tent and missed five plays, saying he briefly lost feeling in his arm.

“I mean when you’re on that sideline, I’ve got to protect myself,” Elliott said. “And if a guy’s going low, I’ve got to go low, too. The rule is meant for the betterment of the game. The rule is for our safety, and if there was illegal helmet-to-helmet contact on there, that’s something I need to go look at and work on. That’s not OK. It’s just a tough play.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, while not defending his player 100 percent, did understand Elliott’s rationale.

“We’re just making some calls here that are tough, but we’re doing it for protection and safety,” Jones said. “That’s the biggest question being asked: How do you play? … I don’t want Zeke to stop punishing them on the end of his runs. Upon further review, they both tucked their heads. Zeke is a punishing runner. That’s what we want in the NFL. That is a physical aspect of football that we want to give our fans. I’ll certainly do everything I can to not make those kinds of things penalties.”

According to Kevin Seifert of ESPN, officials threw 10 flags for use of helmet — all against defensive players — through the first 13 weeks of the season.

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys OL Martin (knee) to miss game for first time

Cowboys OL Martin (knee) to miss game for first time

Cowboys OL Martin (knee) to miss game for first time

Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Zack Martin, who has started all 77 games of his career since the team selected him in the first round out of Notre Dame in the 2014 NFL Draft, will see his streak end on Sunday.

A Pro Bowl selection each of his first four seasons and a two-time first-team All-Pro, Martin was ruled out for the game against the Indianapolis Colts because of a knee injury on Friday.

Connor Williams, who took for Martin last week when the latter aggravated a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee during a win over the Philadelphia Eagles, will start in Martin’s place. The rookie out of Texas actually started the first seven games of the season at left guard for Dallas but underwent knee surgery in October and lost that job to Xavier Su’a-Filo.

“He did a good job in the [Eagles] game going in there and playing,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told the media of Williams. “I thought he handled that work well. He’ll benefit from that experience and then he’s come back and had a good week so far.”

The Cowboys hope to have Martin back this season, at least for the playoffs, if not for the Dec. 23 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Also Friday, the Cowboys listed linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring pull) and wide receiver Tavon Austin (groin injury) as questionable.

–Field Level Media

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Raiders WR Bryant suspended indefinitely

Raiders WR Bryant suspended indefinitely

Oakland Raiders

Raiders WR Bryant suspended indefinitely

Oakland Raiders receiver Martavis Bryant was indefinitely suspended by the NFL on Friday for violating his reinstatement terms of a previous ban, the league announced Friday.

Bryant was allowed to play this season while he appealed a one-year suspension. He went on injured reserve earlier this month with a knee injury suffered on Nov. 11 during a game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

“Effective immediately, Martavis Bryant has been returned to the Reserve/Commissioner Suspended list indefinitely for violating the terms of his April 2017 conditional reinstatement under the Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse,” the league said in a statement.

Bryant, who turns 27 next Thursday, reportedly violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy during the offseason.

The Clemson product was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season and the entire 2016 season because of positive drug tests while he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Raiders initially released Bryant on Sept. 1 but resigned him 11 days later when the NFL ruled he could play while appealing the penalty.

Bryant had 19 receptions for 266 yards in eight games for the Raiders this season.

–Field Level Media

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Bears’ Nagy named top coach by AP panel

Bears' Nagy named top coach by AP panel

First-year Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy

Bears’ Nagy named top coach by AP panel

First-year Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy received seven of 10 possible first place votes among a panel of 10 Associated Press football writers asked to name the NFL coach doing the best job this season.

Nagy, who was previously the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator, finished ahead of Pete Carroll.

In his first year at the helm, Nagy has guided the Bears to a 9-4 record and is on the verge of clinching a playoff berth. The Bears hadn’t won nine games in a season since going 10-6 in 2012 and haven’t been to the playoffs since 2010.

A win in Chicago against Green Bay on Sunday or a loss by the Minnesota Vikings will clinch a playoff spot for the NFC North leading Bears.

Carroll’s Seahawks can also clinch this week despite a defense decimated by injuries and departures. Carroll didn’t receive any first-place votes; Bill Belichick (New England Patriots, 2 votes) and Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts, 1) were the other coaches picked.

Belichick finished in ninth place despite the two No. 1 votes.

–Field Level Media

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Saints QB Brees tops all players in Pro Bowl fan vote

Saints QB Brees tops all players in Pro Bowl fan vote

Saints QB Brees tops all players in Pro Bowl fan vote

Amid a growing group of young star players around the league, 39-year-old New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees finished the fan ballot portion of Pro Bowl voting with more votes than anyone.

The NFL announced the results on Friday from fan voting, which ended a day earlier. The 11-time Pro Bowl passer Brees got 1,270,631 votes to top all players, ahead of second-place Patrick Mahomes (1,197,370 votes), the second-year Kansas City Chiefs QB who has thrown 45 touchdown passes in 14 games in his first season as a starter.

Rounding out the top five was New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley (987,562 votes), plus a pair of Los Angeles Rams teammates — running back Todd Gurley (957,052) and quarterback Jared Goff (838,561).

Seven of the top 10 players receiving votes have three seasons or fewer of NFL experience.

The fan vote is merely one factor deciding the Pro Bowl rosters, as the league’s players and coaches also get the opportunity to make selections — with their voting done on Friday. The final Pro Bowl rosters will be revealed on Tuesday, Dec. 18 on NFL Network.

The Pro Bowl will take place on Jan. 27 on Orlando.

NFL PRO BOWL — TOP-10 VOTE-GETTERS, FAN VOTE

1. Saints QB Drew Brees, 1,270,631

2. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, 1,197,370

3. Giants RB Saquon Barkley, 987,562

4. Rams RB Todd Gurley, 957,052

5. Rams QB Jared Goff, 838,561

6. Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott, 827,888

7. Steelers RB James Conner, 817,495

8. Steelers WR Antonio Brown, 778,630

9. Saints RB Alvin Kamara, 776,846

10. Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill, 753,981

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Steelers expecting RB Conner back for Pats

NFL notebook: Steelers expecting RB Conner back for Pats

Steelers

NFL notebook: Steelers expecting RB Conner back for Pats

Steelers running back James Conner practiced on a limited basis Friday and is expected to return to the Pittsburgh lineup for a key AFC affair with the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Conner was seen walking without a limp after Thursday’s practice and declared himself ready to roll, but the Steelers will officially list him as questionable.

The renewal of the Steelers-Patriots rivalry is a headliner of Week 15 as Pittsburgh slides into the game on a three-game losing streak, holding a narrow lead over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North and at risk of being thrust into a dogfight with numerous teams for the final spot in the AFC playoffs with another loss.

Conner has 1,376 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns.

–Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Zack Martin will miss a game for the first time in his career Sunday, bringing to end a streak of 77 straight regular-season starts.

A Pro Bowl selection each of his first four seasons and a two-time first-team All-Pro, Martin was ruled out against the Colts because of a knee injury.

Rookie Connor Williams will start in Martin’s place.

–New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans as he recovers from an ailing quadriceps, coach Pat Shurmur announced.

Beckham, originally injured in Week 12 against Philadelphia, missed last Sunday’s victory over the Redskins because of the injury.

Beckham has 77 receptions for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games this season.

–Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller was to undergo surgery for a fractured wrist Friday and is likely to miss time, NFL Network reported.

Fuller played with the injury in Thursday’s 29-28 loss to the Chargers.

While a recovery window will reportedly be established once the surgery is performed, it typically takes six weeks for a complete recovery from a wrist fracture. That would stretch to the AFC championship game or even the Super Bowl.

–Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was downgraded to doubtful for his team’s game against the Rams on the official injury report because of a stress fracture in his back.

Head coach Doug Pederson said that Wentz will need up to three months for a complete recovery. The team is measuring whether Wentz could do significant damage by playing in a game with the injury.

–Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin was a practice participant for the second straight day and is expected to be available when the team visits the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Baldwin missed Monday night’s win over the Minnesota Vikings due to a hip injury. The Seahawks listed him as questionable for the game against San Francisco.

–The New York Jets are placing leading rusher Isaiah Crowell on injured reserve with a toe injury, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Coach Todd Bowles said Elijah McGuire (158 yards) and rookie Trenton Cannon (80) will get heavy work in the backfield in an effort to make up for Crowell’s production (685 yards, six touchdowns).

–The NFL indefinitely suspended Oakland Raiders receiver Martavis Bryant for violating his reinstatement terms stemming from a previous ban under the league’s substance abuse policy.

The 27-year-old reportedly violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy during the offseason but played through appeal. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season and the entire 2016 season because of positive drug tests while he was with the Steelers.

–Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was fined $26,739 for lowering his head to initiate contact Sunday against Philadelphia defensive back Corey Graham, Elliott’s second fine in four weeks.

–First-year Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy received seven of 10 possible first place votes among a panel of 10 Associated Press football writers asked to name the NFL coach doing the best job this season.

–The Jacksonville Jaguars signed kicker Kai Forbath in case Josh Lambo (right groin injury) is unable to kick Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

–New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees finished first in the fan ballot portion of Pro Bowl voting with 1,270,631 votes. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (1,197,370 votes) was second.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins coach Gruden not worried about future

Redskins coach Gruden not worried about future

Redskins coach Gruden not worried about future

The Washington Redskins’ hopes for a playoff berth are hanging by a thread, but head coach Jay Gruden is not feeling the pressure regarding his future with the organization.

In an interview with ESPN, Gruden on Friday said, “It doesn’t weigh on me at all. My key works; I come in and work. … I understand it. You’re fine, you’re fine, you’re fine and then you’re not fine. I’ll wait to get final word when the season is over.”

After four straight losses (including an embarrassing 40-16 drubbing by the New York Giants on Sunday) and dropping five of their last six games, the Redskins are 6-7 as they prepare for this Sunday’s game against the Jaguars in Jacksonville.

The longest-tenured Redskins coach under Dan Snyder’s ownership since the team was bought in 1999, Gruden is five years into his contract, and Washington has not made the playoffs since the 2015 season, when it lost to the Green Bay Packers in the wild-card round.

“It’s not my job to judge [my performance],” said Gruden, who will sit down with Snyder after the season as a coach with two years left on his contract. “It’s my job to coach the guys I’ve got. There’s only one judge and he’s the one that has all the money. He’s the one that writes the checks. It’s up to him.”

The Redskins have struggled for various reasons this season, most notably on offense, where they will start their fourth quarterback of 2018 on Sunday. Seventeen of their players are on injured reserve, and that includes five starters on offense led by quarterback Alex Smith.

Maybe Gruden is not too concerned because the two-year contract extension he received after the 2016 season includes a combined $10 million in fully guaranteed money.

“He has always been supportive,” Gruden said of Snyder. “Never been negative. He gets very upset after losses, as we all do. But he’s been very supportive and has tried to do everything he can to help.”

–Field Level Media

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Chargers’ Allen could miss time with hip pointer

Chargers' Allen could miss time with hip pointer

Chargers’ Allen could miss time with hip pointer

The bad news for Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen? He could miss some time with a hip pointer suffered in Thursday night’s win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The good news, however, is that Allen’s diagnosis did not include any structural damage in the hip, and if he is sidelined, it shouldn’t be for long, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Allen has 88 catches for 1,074 yards for the Chargers, who moved into a tie with the Chiefs atop the AFC West Division at 11-3 with their 29-28 win. He landed hard in the end zone as he came within fingertips of making a highlight reel touchdown catch in the second quarter.

The Chargers don’t play again until Dec. 22, a Saturday night game in Los Angeles against Baltimore, before closing the regular season Dec. 30 at Denver.

In six NFL seasons, all with the Chargers, Allen has 411 catches for 5,084 yards and 28 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles rule out QB Wentz (back) for Sunday

Eagles rule out QB Wentz (back) for Sunday

Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz will

Eagles rule out QB Wentz (back) for Sunday

Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz will not play Sunday night against the Los Angeles Rams because of a back injury, the Eagles confirmed Saturday.

Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will make his third start of the season in place of Wentz, who had been listed as doubtful after an exam earlier this week revealed a stress fracture. Coach Doug Pederson said the injury could take up to three months to heal.

Foles, who started the Eagles’ first two games as Wentz completed his rehabilitation from a knee injury, has completed 54 of 82 passes for 451 yards with one touchdown and one interception this season.

Foles played for the Rams when they were still based in St. Louis in 2015, posting a 4-7 record with 2,052 passing yards, seven TDs and 10 picks.

Wentz likely will finish this season with a 5-6 record. He has completed a career-high 69.6 percent of his passes for 3,074 yards with 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Philadelphia (6-7) still has a slim chance at a wild-card playoff berth heading into the prime-time contest at Los Angeles (11-2).

–Field Level Media

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RB Conner downgraded to doubtful for Steelers

RB Conner downgraded to doubtful for Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers running

RB Conner downgraded to doubtful for Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner was downgraded to doubtful on the injury report on Saturday, the team announced.

That means he’s unlikely to play against New England on Sunday in a key AFC matchup for both teams.

Conner was limited in practice Friday as he continues to recover from a sprained ankle. Without him, the Steelers lost at Oakland last week. Even before Conner went down, Pittsburgh has struggled to find balance on offense of late, particularly the last three games.

The Steelers-Patriots game is a headliner of Week 15 as Pittsburgh slides into the game on a three-game losing streak, holding a narrow lead over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North and at risk of being thrust into a dogfight with numerous teams for the final spot in the AFC playoffs with another loss.

The Patriots are in the running for the No. 1 seed in the AFC, which would assure home-field advantage through the conference championship game, after the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.

Conner has 1,376 yards from scrimmage for the Steelers in 2018. He became the team’s No. 1 running back amid the holdout of All-Pro LeVeon Bell, who did not report to the team this season.

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks WR Baldwin expected to play versus 49ers

Seahawks WR Baldwin expected to play versus 49ers

Seattle Seahawks receiver

Seahawks WR Baldwin expected to play versus 49ers

Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin was a practice participant for the second straight day on Friday and is expected to be available when the team visits the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Baldwin missed Monday night’s win over the Minnesota Vikings due to a hip injury. The Seahawks listed him as questionable for the game against San Francisco.

Meanwhile, linebacker K.J. Wright (knee), running back Rashaad Penny (knee) and safety Maurice Alexander (concussion) were ruled out of the contest. Guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring) is doubtful.

Baldwin has dealt with numerous injuries this season — knee, groin, elbow, hip — but has missed just three of Seattle’s 13 games. He had 37 catches for 388 yards and two touchdowns.

“Doug did really well,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Friday’s workout. “He practiced, made it through it today. He did fine. It looks like he’s playing.”

Wright will miss his fifth straight game. He has played in just three contests this season.

“We’re going to leave him home so that he can really work hard on it so next week he can have a chance to practice on Wednesday and we’ll just take it one day at a time and see how he goes,” Carroll told reporters. “He’s optimistic about it and we are, but we really won’t know until the end of next week where he is.”

Penny was injured against the Vikings.

“He came out of the game last week with a sore knee and it didn’t respond quickly enough to get back for this week, so we’re going to leave him (in Seattle) so he can get treated over the weekend,” Carroll said. “After about Tuesday or Wednesday, we’ll know a little bit more. We’ll let you know next week.”

Defensive tackle Jarran Reed (oblique) and safety Bradley McDougald (knee) were listed as questionable, and Carroll expects both to play.

–Field Level Media

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Watson-Hopkins connection rallies Texans over Jets

Watson-Hopkins connection rallies Texans over Jets

DeAndre Hopkins

Watson-Hopkins connection rallies Texans over Jets

DeAndre Hopkins caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson with 2:15 remaining as the Houston Texans inched closer to clinching the AFC South Division title with a 29-22 victory over the New York Jets on Saturday at East Rutherford, N.J.

On first down, Watson ran a play fake and connected with Hopkins along the left sideline. Hopkins turned around and made the catch while getting by New York cornerback Morris Claiborne.

A week after a season-low 36 receiving yards in a 24-21 loss to Indianapolis, Hopkins finished with 10 catches and a season-high 170 yards. He also caught a 45-yard TD in the second quarter.

After Hopkins gave the Texans a 26-22 lead, Houston’s defense stopped Jets quarterback Sam Darnold from getting his second career game-winning drive. Jonathan Joseph broke up a long pass to Robby Anderson on first down, and two plays later, J.J. Watt sacked Darnold on third-and-seven.

Darnold actually had another chance at a game-winning drive when the Jets gained possession with 54 seconds left following Ka’imi Fairbairn’s fifth field goal, but Jadeveon Clowney sacked Darnold for an 8-yard loss. The game ended when Darnold’s pass to Elijah McGuire on fourth-and-18 fell 2 yards shy.

The Texans (10-4) won for the 10th time in 11 games and can clinch their division if Indianapolis or Tennessee lose on Sunday.

Watson overcame being sacked six times and completed 22 of 28 passes for 294 yards. Fairbairn kicked field goals of 41, 32 and 53 yards in the first half before adding a 49-yarder early in the second half and a 40-yarder with 54 seconds remaining.

Darnold completed 24 of 38 passes for 253 yards. He threw a 5-yard touchdown to Anderson and a 13-yard TD to Andre Roberts and engineered a third touchdown drive culminating in McGuire’s 2-yard run with five minutes remaining.

Jason Myers made a 26-yard field goal in the first quarter but also missed two extra points as the Jets (4-10) lost for the seventh time in eight games.

The Texans built a 16-3 lead in the second quarter on two field goals by Fairbairn and Hopkins’ diving touchdown catch, which occurred two plays after Watt forced a fumble. The Jets were within 16-9 by halftime on Anderson’s grab with 30 seconds left and then made it 16-15 on Roberts’ TD with 8:44 left in the third.

Following Fairbairn’s fourth field goal, the Jets took their only lead at 22-19 when McGuire barreled into the end zone.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Jets place RB Crowell on IR

Report: Jets place RB Crowell on IR

Report: Jets place RB Crowell on IR

The New York Jets had already ruled out leading rusher Isaiah Crowell for Saturday’s home game against the Houston Texans, but now it appears he’s done for the season.

The team is placing Crowell on injured reserve with a toe injury, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Saturday’s absence will be the first of Crowell’s career after playing in 77 consecutive games. He has 685 yards and six touchdowns this season.

Crowell set a franchise record with 219 rushing yards against the Denver Broncos earlier this season but has topped 50 just once over the past eight games.

Coach Todd Bowles said Elijah McGuire (158 yards) and rookie Trenton Cannon (80) will get heavy work in the backfield.

Leading receiver Quincy Enunwa will also miss Saturday’s game with an ankle injury.

Enunwa has a team-best 38 receptions but hasn’t recorded a 100-yard game this season. His 449 yards are second to Robby Anderson’s 492.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles downgrade QB Wentz to doubtful vs. Rams

Eagles downgrade QB Wentz to doubtful vs. Rams

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was downgraded

Eagles downgrade QB Wentz to doubtful vs. Rams

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was downgraded to doubtful on the official injury report released after 4 p.m. ET on Friday a stress fracture in his back.

Earlier in the day, head coach Doug Pederson announced Wentz would be listed as questionable for Sunday’s game despite never taking the practice field this week.

Wentz, who was on the field lightly jogging the past two days, is expected to give way to Nick Foles at quarterback when the Eagles visit the Rams on Sunday.

Heavily frustrated with the media during a question and answer session Friday, Pederson said that Wentz will need up to three months for a complete recovery. The team is measuring whether Wentz could do significant damage by playing in a game with the injury.

“He has a stress injury that evolved over time and it won’t require surgery,” Pederson said.

NFL players have taken the field with known back injuries, especially the compression fracture known as transverse process. That injury is considered less serious.

“If we put him out there, there has to be 100 percent that there is no risk of anything further,” Pederson said.

Foles, who was Super Bowl MVP with the Eagles in February, started the first two games this season and went 1-1 while Wentz was recovering from knee surgery.

–Field Level Media

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Pats, Steelers moving on from last week’s stunners

Pats, Steelers moving on from last week's stunners

Pats, Steelers moving on from last week’s stunners

Clashes between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers are usually high-stakes affairs. When the two longtime AFC heavyweights meet Sunday at Heinz Field, there’s another angle this time.

Both teams are rankled coming off losses last week.

The Patriots (9-4) fell at Miami 34-33 when the Dolphins lateraled and weaved for 69 yards on the final play.

The Steelers (7-5-1) fell at Oakland 24-21 when kicker Chris Boswell’s plant foot slipped and he shanked a tying 40-yard field goal attempt with five seconds left. It was their third straight loss.

“We’re licking our wounds as we should when you’re unsuccessful in this business,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. “We’re excited about an opportunity to compete and get this negative taste out of our mouth, as I am sure New England is.”

Both teams lead their divisions, but only the Patriots have some clinching scenarios this week.

Per the NFL, New England clinches the AFC East with a win and a Miami loss or tie, or a tie plus a Miami loss. It clinches a playoff spot with a win plus a Tennessee loss or tie; or a tie plus a Baltimore loss, a Tennessee loss and an Indianapolis loss or tie.

“We’ve got a big challenge this week with Pittsburgh,” Patriots center David Andrews said. “We’ve got … to get this ship corrected.”

Turning the page is critical, New England quarterback Tom Brady said.

“We get back to work,” Brady said. “If (the Dolphins) didn’t make that play at the end, we’d do the same thing. It’s disappointing when we lose games. I think we all realize we could have done a better job in certain areas. I wish I could have done a better job on certain plays, but that’s football. We’ll just get back to work this week and try to go beat Pittsburgh.”

Maybe it’s the overall matchup or the chance to share the field with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but Brady has been stellar over the years against Pittsburgh, with 40 touchdown passes and four interceptions.

Roethlisberger missed most of the second half against Oakland, because of bruised ribs suffered on a sack in the first half. He said Wednesday he is good to go.

The three-game losing streak, which followed six straight wins, weighs on the Steelers.

“It’s very frustrating,” Roethlisberger said. “You want to win them all, but you understand you can’t. We can only control this week. We have had opportunities. We just for whatever reason haven’t found a way to do it. I don’t think it’s from a lack of sense of urgency. It could be lack of execution, lack of one thing here or there. We understand what it takes to get it done. We just have to do it.”

On Miami’s winning play, New England installed tight end Rob Gronkowski in the defensive backfield in anticipation of a Hail Mary pass, but the Steelers will be more concerned about his play on offense.

Asked if he was aware of a successful strategy to neutralize Gronkowski, Tomlin quipped, “We haven’t been a part of it. We’re looking to be.”

Pittsburgh is holding tryouts for kickers this week, although Boswell is also being given a chance to retain his job after missing 6-of-10 field goal attempts and five extra points this season.

Pittsburgh’s biggest injury concern is with running back James Conner, who missed the Oakland game. His status was downgraded to doubtful on Saturday.

New England as of Wednesday had no players out or limited at practice.

–Field Level Media

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Titans, Giants pin hopes on running backs

Titans, Giants pin hopes on running backs

Titans, Giants pin hopes on running backs

Entering Week 15, multiple things need to happen for the New York Giants to make the NFC playoffs. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Titans, the Giants’ upcoming opponent, stand among a quartet of 7-6 teams vying for the last AFC wild-card spot.

The Titans hope to enhance their chances at reaching the playoffs for the second straight season while also officially eliminating the Giants (5-8) from contention Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.

The Giants are showing signs of life, having won four of their past five games following a dreadful 1-7 start. There is a remote possibility they can advance to the postseason if six scenarios go their way.

First, the Giants cannot lose any of their final three games, and then they need help.

The Giants need the Minnesota Vikings (6-6-1), Philadelphia Eagles (6-7), Washington Redskins (6-7) and Carolina Panthers (6-7) to lose twice and the Green Bay Packers (5-7-1) to lose once.

In the AFC, the Titans, the Baltimore Ravens, the Miami Dolphins and the Indianapolis Colts are all 7-6. Baltimore owns the four-way tiebreaker entering this week.

To attain the second AFC wild card, the Titans need to win out (including the regular-season finale against the Colts), get a loss by the Dolphins and have either Baltimore or the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5-1) lose once.

The Titans remain alive in the AFC South race, though they must win out and the Houston Texans (9-4) must lose twice. Coincidentally, the Texans are visiting the New York Jets on Saturday.

Both the Titans and the Giants are coming off blowout wins aided by dynamic production from their lead running backs.

In a 30-9 blowout of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 6, Tennessee’s Derrick Henry raced for a 99-yard touchdown to tie Tony Dorsett for the longest run from scrimmage in NFL history. Henry also set the franchise’s single-game rushing record with 238 yards on 17 carries, breaking the previous mark of 228 set by Chris Johnson in 2009.

“You’ve got to stop him like you do Adrian Peterson or any marquee, downhill, hard running back,” Giants coach Pat Shurmur said.

Last week, Giants rookie Saquon Barkley highlighted a career-best 170-yard showing with a 78-yard TD run in a 40-16 win over Washington. He became the first Giants rookie to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards and set a team record for rookies with 13 total touchdowns.

“We better be ready to play defense,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “This is a much-improved (Giants) team. When they’ve lost, they’ve lost close games. When they’ve won, they looked like they won them pretty convincingly. That game (against the Redskins) was over about the middle of the second quarter.”

Barkley is third in the league with 1,124 rushing yards, trailing only the Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott (1,262) and the Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley II (1,203). The Giants are averaging 31.4 points in their past five games, and Barkley has amassed 605 rushing yards in those contests.

“We’re starting to figure out that, kind of this offense runs through him,” Giants quarterback Eli Manning said. “When we’re running the ball well, it just sets up everything else.”

The New York offense will continue to be centered around Barkley, especially if Odell Beckham Jr. sits out again. The star wide receiver missed last week’s game with a quadriceps injury, and he was limited in practice Wednesday. Beckham’s status likely will not be known until Friday or Saturday.

The Titans will be missing two starters Sunday, right tackle Jack Conklin and tight end Jonnu Smith. Both players landed on injured reserve Tuesday due to knee injuries.

–Field Level Media

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Lions impressed by tame Allen, Bills’ rebuild

Lions impressed by tame Allen, Bills' rebuild

Josh Allen

Lions impressed by tame Allen, Bills’ rebuild

Josh Allen hasn’t led the Buffalo Bills to a victory the last two weeks, but he’s emerged as a team leader.

The rookie quarterback, taken with the seventh overall pick in the draft, has impressed his coaches and teammates by taking ownership of the offense. He’ll make his fourth consecutive start since recovering from an elbow injury when the Bills host the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

The Bills (4-9) are 1-2 over the last three games but they’ve all been close. They defeated Jacksonville by three points before losing to division foes Miami and the New York Jets by four points apiece.

The veterans view him differently since he returned as the No. 1 quarterback.

“Josh is a leader,” head coach Sean McDermott told the team’s website and other media members. “That’s a little bit different for a rookie to be the leader, but the position he plays and the way that he’s played and earned their respect, he’s the leader on the offense. The goal is to have one leader in every position room, but that’s not always realistic.”

Allen has not stood out in the passing game but is putting pressure on opponents with his feet.

Allen has completed only 52.4 percent of his throws this season but rates as one of the NFL’s leading rushers over the past three games. He gained 99 yards and scored a touchdown against the Jaguars, dented the Dolphins for 135 rushing yards, and scampered for 101 yards and a touchdown against the Jets.

“That’s a weapon for us in that regard but we still have to run our offense,” McDermott said. “When you get too heavy into that bucket, that becomes unhealthy.”

Allen’s running threat could be even more essential on Sunday if top running back LeSean McCoy can’t play. McCoy is dealing with a hamstring injury and missed practice on Wednesday. Chris Ivory will step in as the starter if McCoy is inactive.

Facing a mobile quarterback is something that concerns Lions head coach Matt Patricia.

“We’re just looking at someone that has been very explosive, very dynamic as a player that’s really given this offense a whole different element that you have to try to defend against,” he said. “We’re going to have our work cut out for us there.”

Patricia is also impressed that Allen doesn’t try to force the action.

“He’s not trying to win the game on every play, he’s just trying to control and manage the game,” he said.

The Lions (5-8) have lost five of their last seven games but defeated Arizona 17-3 last weekend. They’re still in the running for a wild-card berth, trailing Minnesota — which currently holds the final playoff spot — by 1 1/2 games.

They have a major concern at quarterback. Matthew Stafford is dealing with a back injury and was limited in practice on Wednesday.

The Lions are banged up on both sides of the ball. Top pass rusher Ziggy Ansah (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve. Another defensive lineman, Da’Shawn Hand (knee), will sit out on Sunday. Top running back Kerryon Johnson (knee) could miss his fourth straight game on Sunday, while offensive tackle Rick Wagner is in the league’s concussion protocol.

Bills placekicker Steven Hauschka, who missed Wednesday’s practice with a hip injury, is questionable to play.

–Field Level Media

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Journeyman Johnson charged with reviving Redskins at Jacksonville

Journeyman Johnson charged with reviving Redskins at Jacksonville

Journeyman Johnson charged with reviving Redskins at Jacksonville

While the Washington Redskins maintain playoff hopes despite a month-long stumble, the Jacksonville Jaguars are left hoping to salvage something out of a season far below expectations.

On a four-game losing streak since the season-ending leg injury to quarterback Alex Smith, the Redskins will head to Jacksonville on Sunday in the midst of a freefall. The losing streak has come after 6-3 start to the season that spurred thoughts of an NFC East title.

Not only did Smith suffer a broken fibula and tibia when he was sacked against the Houston Texans, his replacement, Colt McCoy, saw his season end with a broken fibula in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 3.

It means that the Redskins’ playoff hopes will now rest on the passing and running skills of Josh Johnson, who made his first NFL appearance in five years last weekend against the New York Giants, throwing for 195 yards and a touchdown in a 40-16 defeat.

Johnson’s performance, as a replacement for an ineffective Mark Sanchez, earned him the starting nod from head coach Jay Gruden.

“I’m excited that we’re playing against this talented defense and I’m excited that we’re playing against these talented (cornerbacks), this pass rush, these linebackers,” Johnson said of the matchup with the Jaguars. “It’s a great test and I wouldn’t have it any other way than to get an opportunity to go against somebody where you have to earn it and you have to prove that you deserve to be on this field.”

Johnson, who has spent time with 13 NFL franchises, but has only played in a game with four teams, showed his mobility Sunday when he ran for a touchdown in an otherwise forgettable game for the Redskins. He admits he mostly got to know the names of his newest teammates by playing video games the past two weeks.

It leaves the Jaguars defense with two runners to account for. Johnson’s lack of on-field time over the last five years could mean a busy day for Washington veteran running back Adrian Peterson.

Except the 33-year old Peterson has rushed for just 47.5 yards per game over the Redskins’ last six contests. Peterson did have 98 yards rushing – thanks to a 90-yard TD burst – on Dec. 3 against the Eagles.

Like the Redskins, the Jaguars (4-9) have moved on to a new quarterback, but their decision was not injury-based. Cody Kessler has started each of the last two games for the Jaguars, going 1-1, as a replacement for an ineffective Blake Bortles.

Kessler threw for 240 yards and a touchdown on Thursday, Dec. 6 against the Tennessee Titans, but the Jaguars fell 30-9. Jacksonville picked up a 6-0 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 2 when Kessler threw for just 150 yards.

Through all of their troubles, the Jaguars’ defense has remained strong, holding two opponents under 10 points and seven opponents to 20 points or less. Yet the loss to the Titans was a different story.

The play that will follow the Jaguars long after this season has ended will be the 99-yard touchdown run from the Titans’ Derrick Henry against the Titans. Henry rushed for four touchdowns and a Titans-record 238 yards.

“We’ll respond,” Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell said, according to jaguars.com. “The biggest thing is to keep going, keep pushing. … It’s a situation no one wants to be in, knowing you’re going home when the season’s over. That’s tough. It sucks, but we have to find a way to push and win some ballgames to end the season. You always want to end on a good note, something that can give you some momentum going into the offseason.”

The Redskins do have the 14th best scoring defense in the NFL at 22.8 points per game, but during their four-game losing streak, each opponent has scored more than that average. And the tepid Giants did have a 34-0 lead at halftime last week, although Sanchez’s troubles moving the ball did not help the situation.

Redskins players who did not participate in practice Wednesday: offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom (knee/ankle), cornerback Adonis Anderson (hamstring), wide receiver Josh Doctson (concussion protocol), quarterback McCoy (fibula), tight end Jordan Reed (ankle/foot), tackle Ty Nsekhe (knee) and defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis (shin); Limited in practice: wide receiver Jamison Crowder (knee/ankle), linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton (shoulder), running back Peterson (shoulder), center Chase Roullier (knee), tackle Morgan Moses (ankle) and tackle Trent Williams (thumb/wrist).

Jaguars players who did not participate in practice Wednesday: wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. (quadriceps), offensive lineman Jeremy Parnell (knee) and linebacker Leon Jacobs (quadriceps).

–Field Level Media

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