Posts by National Football Post

NFL coaching tracker: Every head coach fired in 2018

 

With the regular season complete, the NFL's

 

With the regular season complete, the NFL’s annual Black Monday purge of head coaches is well underway. In fact, some teams got a head start and handed out pink slips by Sunday’s end.

 

Add Cleveland and Green Bay, which fired their coaches during the season, and eight NFL franchises — 25 percent of the 32 teams — are in the market for a new head coach. Here’s a look at each coach let go since the start of the 2018 season, with their season and career records.

 

Source: Pro Football Reference

 

* — Fired during the regular season

 

Steve Wilks, Arizona

Age: 49

Seasons with team: 1

Record with team: 3-13

Playoff appearances with team: 0

2018 record: 3-13

Career NFL head coaching record: 3-13 (all with Arizona)

 

Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati

Age: 60

Seasons with team: 16

Record with team: 131-122-3

Playoff appearances with team: 7 (0-7 record)

2018 record: 6-10

Career NFL head coaching record: 131-122-3 (all with Cincinnati)

 

*Hue Jackson, Cleveland

Age: 53

Seasons with team: 3

Record with team: 3-36-1

Playoff appearances with team: 0

2018 record: 2-5-1

Career NFL head coaching record: 11-44-1 (3 seasons with Cleveland, 1 season with Oakland)

 

Vance Joseph, Denver

Age: 46

Seasons with team: 2

Record with team: 11-21

Playoff appearances with team: 0

2018 record: 6-10

Career NFL head coaching record: 11-21 (all with Denver)

 

*Mike McCarthy, Green Bay

Age: 55

Seasons with team: 13

Record with team: 125-77-2

Playoff appearances with team: 9 (10-8 record; won Super Bowl in 2010 season)

2018 record: 4-7-1

Career NFL head coaching record: 125-77-2 (all with Green Bay)

 

Adam Gase, Miami

Age: 40

Seasons with team: 3

Record with team: 23-25

Playoff appearances with team: 1 (0-1 record)

2018 record: 7-9

Career NFL head coaching record: 23-25 (all with Miami)

 

Todd Bowles, New York Jets

Age: 55

Seasons with team: 4

Record with team: 24-40

Playoff appearances with team: 0

2018 record: 4-12

Career NFL head coaching record: 26-41 (4 seasons with New York, coached 3 games with Miami in 2011)

 

Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay

Age: 59

Seasons with team: 3

Record with team: 19-29

Playoff appearances with team: 0

2018 record: 5-11

Career NFL head coaching record: 19-29 (all with Tampa Bay)

 

–Field Level Media

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Seven From Sunday – Week 17

PRESS RELEASE

 

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY – WEEK 17

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 30, the 17th week of the 2018 season.

  • NEW PLAYOFF TEAMS: Six of the 11 teams to have qualified for the playoffs are new

PRESS RELEASE

 

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY – WEEK 17

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 30, the 17th week of the 2018 season.

  • NEW PLAYOFF TEAMS: Six of the 11 teams to have qualified for the playoffs are new to the postseason in 2018: Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, the Los Angeles Chargers and Seattle. Should Indianapolis defeat Tennessee on Sunday Night Football, that number would increase to seven.

    Since 1990 – a streak of 29 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

    WORST-TO-FIRST: Both the Chicago Bears (NFC North) and Houston Texans (AFC South) completed “worst-to-first” turnarounds and at least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 15 of the past 16 seasons.

    PLAYOFF SEEDING: The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS won the NFC South and finished as the NFC’s No. 1 seed. The Saints will have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

    The LOS ANGELES RAMS, who defeated San Francisco 48-32 and won the NFC West, are the No. 2 seed and clinched a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs.

    The CHICAGO BEARS, who defeated Minnesota 24-10 and won the NFC North, are the No. 3 seed and will host Philadelphia in the Wild Card round. The PHILADELPHIA EAGLES defeated Washington, 24-0, and combined with Minnesota’s loss to Chicago, clinched a playoff berth for the second consecutive season.

    The DALLAS COWBOYS, who defeated the New York Giants 36-35 and won the NFC East, are the No. 4 seed and will host Seattle in the Wild Card round.

    In the AFC, the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS defeated Oakland, 35-3, and clinched the AFC West division title and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

    The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, who defeated the New York Jets, 38-3, are the AFC’s No. 2 seed and clinched a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.

    The HOUSTON TEXANS, who defeated Jacksonville 20-3 and are the No. 3 seed, clinched the AFC South division title and will host a game on Wild Card weekend.

    The Texans completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround after finishing tied for last place in the division in 2017. Houston is the sixth team in NFL history to make the postseason after beginning the season 0-3 and joined the 1992 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS as the only teams in league annals to win their division following an 0-3 start to a season.

    The BALTIMORE RAVENS defeated Cleveland, 26-24, and clinched the AFC North division title for the first time since 2012. Baltimore, the AFC’s No. 4 seed, will host the Los Angeles Chargers in the Wild Card round.

  • Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES passed for 281 yards and two touchdowns with one interception for a 109.9 rating in the Chiefs’ Week 17 win over Oakland.

    Mahomes has 50 touchdown passes this season and joined PEYTON MANNING (55 touchdown passes in 2013) and TOM BRADY (50 in 2007) as the only quarterbacks with at least 50 touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history. ​​

    Chiefs wide receiver TYREEK HILL had five receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns, including a 67-yard touchdown reception, against Oakland and had a 15-yard touchdown run.

    Hill has 16 career touchdowns of at least 50 yards and tied Pro Football Hall of Famer GALE SAYERS (16) for the most touchdowns of at least 50 yards by a player in his first three seasons.

    Hill has 1,479 receiving yards in 2018 and surpassed DERRICK ALEXANDER (1,391 receiving yards in 2000) for the most receiving yards in a single season in franchise history.

  • New England quarterback TOM BRADY completed 24 of 33 attempts (72.7 percent) for 250 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 133.8 passer rating in the Patriots’ Week 17 win against the New York Jets.

    Brady has 6,004 career regular-season completions and is the fourth player in NFL history with at least 6,000 career regular-season completions, joining DREW BREES (6,586), Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (6,300) and PEYTON MANNING (6,125).

  • Cleveland rookie quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD passed for 376 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions in the Browns’ Week 17 loss at Baltimore.

    Mayfield has 27 touchdown passes this season, surpassing PEYTON MANNING (26 touchdown passes in 1998) and RUSSELL WILSON (26 in 2012) for the most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback in the common draft era.

  • San Francisco tight end GEORGE KITTLE had nine receptions for 149 yards and one touchdown in the 49ers’ Week 17 loss.

    Kittle, who has 1,377 receiving yards this season, and Kansas City tight end TRAVIS KELCE (1,336 receiving yards in 2018) both surpassed ROB GRONKOWSKI (1,327 in 2011) for the most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.

  • Houston defensive end J.J. WATT had 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in the Texans’ Week 17 win over Jacksonville.

    Watt has 16 sacks in 2018 and joins Pro Football Hall of Famer REGGIE WHITE (five seasons) as the only players since 1982 with four seasons of at least 15 sacks.

  • Three non-quarterbacks – Atlanta wide receiver MOHAMED SANU, Detroit kicker MATT PRATER and Miami wide receiver KENNY STILLS – threw touchdown passes in Week 17.

    In total, there have been 13 touchdown passes thrown by non-quarterbacks in 2018, the most in a single-season since 1983 (15 touchdowns).

    Quarterbacks RYAN TANNEHILL of the Dolphins and MATT RYAN of the Falcons both had touchdown catches in Week 17, marking the first week in the Super Bowl era in which multiple quarterbacks recorded a touchdown reception.

  • Other notable performances from Sunday include:
     

    • Eagles quarterback NICK FOLES recorded 25 consecutive completions against Washington, tied with Chargers quarterback PHILIP RIVERS (Week 12 vs. Arizona) for the most by a quarterback in a single game in NFL history.
    • New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY had 142 scrimmage yards (109 rushing, 33 receiving) and one rushing touchdown in the Giants’ Week 17 loss.

      Barkley has 2,028 scrimmage yards and joins Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (2,212 scrimmage yards in 1983) and EDGERRIN JAMES (2,139 in 1999) as the only rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

​​Barkley, who had four catches against the Cowboys, has 91 receptions this season and surpassed REGGIE BUSH (88 catches in 2006) for the most receptions by a rookie running back in league annals.

    • Buffalo rookie quarterback JOSH ALLEN passed for 224 yards with three touchdowns and rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns in the Bills’ 42-17 win against Miami.

      Allen is the second rookie quarterback in NFL history to record three touchdowns passes and two rushing touchdowns in the same game, joining Miami’s DAVID WOODLEY, who had three touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns against the Los Angeles Rams on November 9, 1980.

      Allen has eight rushing touchdowns this season and joins CAM NEWTON, who had 14 rushing touchdowns in 2011, as the only rookie quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era with at least eight rushing touchdowns.

 

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

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NFL roundup: Colts top Titans, lock down playoff spot

NFL roundup: Colts top Titans, lock down playoff spot

Andrew Luck threw

NFL roundup: Colts top Titans, lock down playoff spot

Andrew Luck threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns Sunday night as the Indianapolis Colts claimed the AFC’s final playoff spot with a 33-17 win over the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

Luck, who completed 24 of 35 passes, finished the regular season with 39 touchdown passes, the most for a player who missed the previous season. He also enabled Indianapolis (10-6) to cap a comeback from a 1-5 start and earn a trip to AFC South champion and divisional foe Houston for a wild-card round game on Saturday.

Tennessee (9-7) snapped a nine-year playoff drought last year with a home win over Jacksonville in Week 17, but wasn’t able to repeat the feat this time. The short-handed Titans played without quarterback Marcus Mariota (stinger, plantar fascia) and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (knee), and their absences were clearly felt.

Casey’s injury left a massive gap in the interior defense that Indianapolis exploited with consistency. Besides Luck’s passing, the Colts also pounded out 158 yards on 36 carries, enabling them to possess the ball for more than 40 minutes.

Patriots 38, Jets 3

Tom Brady tossed a season-high four touchdowns and became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to complete 6,000 career passes as New England clinched the No. 2 seed in the AFC by cruising past visiting New York.

New England (11-5) clinched a bye for the 13th time in the Bill Belichick-Brady era since 2001 and the ninth straight season. The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Oakland Raiders later Sunday to clinch the top seed in the AFC playoffs and lock the Patriots in to the No. 2 seed.

The Jets (4-12) finished the season by losing nine of their last 10 games and fired coach Todd Bowles with two years remaining on his contract. The Jets were 24-40 under Bowles, who took over in 2015 following Rex Ryan.

Eagles 24, Redskins 0

Nick Foles tied an NFL single-game record with 25 straight pass completions and visiting Philadelphia found a way into the NFC playoffs with a blowout win at Washington.

The Eagles (9-7) clinched the second wild card spot when the Minnesota Vikings lost to the Chicago Bears 24-10. Philadelphia will visit Chicago, the NFC’s third seed, Saturday afternoon.

After throwing an interception on the opening drive, Foles recovered to finish 28 of 33 for 221 yards, two touchdowns and the pick before leaving with a chest injury in the fourth quarter. He was perfect in a stretch that began in the first quarter and ended late in the third. Washington (7-9) lost six of its final seven games as it was forced to use four different starting quarterbacks.

Bears 24, Vikings 10

Jordan Howard had 21 carries for 109 yards and two touchdowns and Chicago held on to eliminate host Minnesota from playoff contention.

Tarik Cohen also had a rushing touchdown for Chicago (12-4), which finished with its best regular-season record since 2006. The Bears locked up the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs and will host the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday afternoon.

Stefon Diggs scored the lone touchdown for Minnesota (8-7-1). The Vikings could have earned a wild-card playoff berth with a victory — which would have created a rematch in Chicago next week — but instead will go home early for the third time in five seasons under head coach Mike Zimmer.

Ravens 26, Browns 24

Lamar Jackson rushed for two touchdowns and accounted for 269 all-purpose yards as Baltimore clinched the AFC North title with a narrow win over visiting Cleveland.

The Ravens (10-6), who went 6-1 with Jackson at quarterback after veteran Joe Flacco was injured midseason, will host the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday at 1 p.m. ET in the wild-card round. Baltimore dumped Los Angeles 22-10 on Dec. 22 in Carson, Calif.

Jackson completed 14 of 24 passes for 179 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions while rushing 20 times for 90 yards. Kenneth Dixon piled up 117 yards on 12 carries and Gus Edwards chipped in 76 yards on 12 attempts as the Ravens finished with 296 yards on the ground against the Browns (7-8-1). Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield set a new NFL record for rookie touchdown passes with his 27th.

Steelers 16, Bengals 13

Rookie kicker Matt McCrane’s third field goal, from 35 yards with 1:56 left, gave Pittsburgh a win over visiting Cincinnati, but it was not enough to ensure the Steelers’ season would continue.

With Baltimore beating Cleveland, the only way Pittsburgh (9-6-1) could make the playoffs was if the Tennessee-Indianapolis game Sunday night ended in a tie. The Colts won 33-17.

The Steelers played without receiver Antonio Brown, who has a knee injury. Without a double threat, JuJu Smith-Schuster faced stiff coverage, with five catches for 37 yards and a tying touchdown against the Bengals (6-10).

Chiefs 35, Raiders 3

Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes became the second quarterback in NFL history to pass for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a season as the Chiefs bashed visiting Oakland to lock up the top seed in the AFC playoffs.

An 89-yard scoring bomb to Demarcus Robinson with 8:33 left in the third quarter was Mahomes’ 50th TD strike of the season and pushed the first-year starter past the 5,000-yard plateau. The only other quarterback to reach both milestones in the same season was Denver’s Peyton Manning in 2013, when he set records for touchdown passes (55) and passing yardage (5,477) in a season.

Mahomes punctuated his MVP candidacy with 281 yards against the Raiders (4-12), going 14 of 24 with two touchdowns and one interception. Tyreek Hill led the Chiefs (12-4) with five receptions for 101 yards and scored touchdowns on a 67-yard reception and 15-yard rush.

Chargers 23, Broncos 9

Philip Rivers passed for 176 yards and a touchdown, linebacker Kyle Emanuel returned a fumble for another score and Los Angeles beat host Denver Broncos to end the regular season.

With Kansas City’s win over Oakland on Sunday, the Chargers (12-4) are locked into the No. 5 seed and will play at Baltimore next Sunday at 1:05 ET on CBS.

Mike Williams had 65 yards receiving and a score and Austin Ekeler ran for 58 yards and a touchdown for Los Angeles, while Case Keenum was 31-for-48 passing for 292 yards, a touchdown and an interception for Denver (6-10).

Rams 48, 49ers 32

The Los Angeles defense set the tone with four first-half turnovers and a touchdown on the way to a victory over visiting San Francisco that earned L.A. a first-round bye in the playoffs.

The Rams (13-3) clinched the No. 2 seed in the NFC with the victory over their longtime rival and finished undefeated against the NFC West in the process. The opening-round bye is the first for the Rams since the 2003 season when the team was in St. Louis.

Jarred Goff passed for 199 yards and four touchdowns and C.J. Anderson rushed for 132 yards and a score against the 49ers (4-12) as the Rams were without starting running back Todd Gurley for a second consecutive week as he works his way through knee inflammation.

Seahawks 27, Cardinals 24

Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired to give Seattle a win against visiting Arizona.

Chris Carson rushed 19 times for 122 yards and a touchdown for the Seahawks (10-6), who had already clinched an NFC wild-card berth but cemented the No. 5 seed. Seattle will play at Dallas on Saturday night.

Arizona (3-13) clinched the league’s worst record and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.

Texans 20, Jaguars 3

Deshaun Watson capped his second season with a unique statistical accomplishment and host Houston claimed its third AFC South title in four seasons with a victory over woeful Jacksonville, becoming the second team to earn a division title after starting a season 0-3.

With 234 passing yards plus another 66 yards on the ground with a touchdown, Watson is the first quarterback in NFL history to total 4,000 yards (4,165) and at least 25 touchdowns (26) passing while rushing for 500 yards (551) with another five touchdowns on the ground.

Led by defensive end J.J. Watt, the Texans (11-5) harassed Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles throughout what likely was his last appearance with the Jaguars (5-11). Watt recorded 1 1/2 of the three sacks of Bortles, closing his season with 16. Watt and Hall of Fame member Reggie White are the only players in NFL history with four 15-plus sack seasons.

Cowboys 36, Giants 35

Dak Prescott threw four touchdowns passes and completed a two-point conversion to Michael Gallup with 1:12 left to lift Dallas Cowboys past host New York.

Prescott, who threw for 387 yards, completed a 32-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to Cole Beasley on fourth-and-15 to set up the two-point conversion. Originally, Beasley was called out of bounds on the field, but after review was ruled to have gotten his knee down before his elbows landed out of bounds.

Though running back Ezekiel Elliott sat out the game, Dallas played most of its starters and heads into the postseason having won seven of eight games. The Cowboys (10-6) earned the fourth seed in the playoffs and will host Seattle at AT&T Stadium next weekend. The Giants finish the season 5-11.

Lions 31, Packers 0

Detroit blasted listless Green Bay, ending the season on a positive note and earning back-to-back victories at Lambeau Field for the first time since the 1990-91 seasons.

Matthew Stafford, throwing passes to the likes of Brandon Powell, Andy Jones and T.J. Jones instead of Kenny Golladay (inactive), Marvin Jones (injured reserve) and Golden Tate (traded), threw for 266 yards and a pair of touchdowns to T.J. Jones for the Lions (6-10).

His counterpart, Aaron Rodgers, exited following the third series with a concussion. A week after rallying three times from two-touchdown deficits to beat the New York Jets, interim coach Joe Philbin’s Packers (6-9-1) showed no fight against the Lions.

Bills 42, Dolphins 17

Josh Allen passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more as Buffalo defeated Miami in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Zay Jones caught two touchdowns from Allen, who completed 17 of 26 passes for 224 yards with an interception. Allen also ran nine times for 95 yards. Buffalo forced four turnovers and enjoyed its highest-scoring game of the season.

The game was the season finale for two teams out of playoff contention. Buffalo (6-10) finished 4-3 in its final seven games. Miami (7-9) concluded its season on a three-game losing streak, dropping nine of its final 13.

Panthers 33, Saints 14

Undrafted rookie quarterback Kyle Allen threw two touchdowns passes before leaving the game with a fourth-quarter shoulder injury as visiting Carolina won in New Orleans.

With the Saints (13-3) secure in their No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, they rested several starters. Drew Brees missed only his third start since coming to the Saints in 2006. He finished the season with an NFL-record 74.4 completion percentage (364 of 489) with 3,992 yards, 32 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

Carolina (7-9) scored touchdowns on its first three possessions, with Allen driving the Panthers 75, 89 and 90 yards — mostly against the Saints’ starting defense — to forge a 20-0 lead, and it climbed to 30-0 late in the third quarter.

Falcons 34, Buccaneers 32

Matt Bryant made a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give visiting Atlanta a victory in what turned out to be Dirk Koetter’s final game as Tampa Bay’s head coach.

The field goal was Bryant’s second of the game after a 49-yarder in the third quarter and gave the Falcons (7-9) a three-game winning streak to end the season despite trailing 17-0 late in the first half.

The Bucs (5-11) lost eight of their last 10 games, including the final four, and fell to 19-29 under Koetter, whom the team fired shortly after the game. Jameis Winston had four touchdown passes for the Bucs, including a score with five minutes remaining, and was 22 of 35 for 345 yards and an interception.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers drop Bengals but fail to make playoffs

Steelers drop Bengals but fail to make playoffs

Steelers drop Bengals but fail to make playoffs

Rookie kicker Matt McCrane’s third field goal Sunday, from 35 yards with 1:56 left, gave Pittsburgh a 16-13 win over the visiting Cincinnati Bengals, but it was not enough to continue the Steelers’ season.

Pittsburgh (9-6-1) also needed Cleveland to win at Baltimore, but the Ravens prevailed 26-24. The only way the Steelers could make the playoffs was if the Tennessee-Indianapolis game Sunday night ended in a tie. But the Colts ended those hopes with a 33-17 win.

Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger passed for 287 yards with a touchdown and an interception by Cincinnati’s Shawn Williams that was returned for a touchdown.

The Steelers played without receiver Antonio Brown, who has a knee injury. Without a double threat, JuJu Smith-Schuster faced stiff coverage, with five catches for 37 yards and a tying touchdown.

The Bengals’ Jeff Driskel passed for 95 yards. Joe Mixon rushed for 105 yards.

Cincinnati finished 6-10 in a season marked by numerous injuries.

The first quarter was a punt fest, with the most significant moment coming when Cincinnati receiver Cody Core left with an air cast on his left elbow after an awkward, gruesome-looking fall.

At 12:37 of the second quarter, Williams picked off Roethlisberger and returned the ball 58 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Cincinnati lead.

Randy Bullock increased the Bengals’ lead to 10 with a 49-yard field goal with 2:12 left in the first half.

Pittsburgh’s first points came as the first half ended. McCrane hit from 39 yards to cut the deficit to 10-3. It was his first field-goal attempt for Pittsburgh after he was signed this week. The Steelers put struggling kicker Chris Boswell on injured reserve.

The Steelers finally got the big play they needed when Roethlisberger hit rookie James Washington in stride for 47 yards to the Bengals 27. It put Roethlisberger over 5,000 yards for the first time in his career.

After a James Conner run for another first down, Roethlisberger threw an 11-yard screen pass to Smith-Schuster for a touchdown to tie the game at 10 with 3:50 left in the third quarter.

McCrane gave the Steelers their first lead, 13-10, with 8:35 left in the game on a 47-yard field goal that bounced off the right upright and through.

Bullock tied it 13-13 with a 32-yard field goal with 6:17 left, in part set up by Joe Mixon’s 51-yard run.

–Field Level Media

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Bucs fall to Falcons, fire Koetter after game

Bucs fall to Falcons, fire Koetter after game

Matt

Bucs fall to Falcons, fire Koetter after game

Matt Bryant made a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give the visiting Atlanta Falcons a 34-32 victory Sunday in what turned out to be Dirk Koetter’s final game as Buccaneers head coach Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.

The field goal was Bryant’s second of the game after a 49-yarder in the third quarter and gave the Falcons (7-9) a three-game winning streak to end the season despite trailing 17-0 late in the first half.

The Bucs (5-11) lost eight of their last 10 games, including the final four, and fell to 19-29 under Koetter, whom the club fired shortly after the game.

The Falcons’ Matt Ryan completed 31 of 44 passes for 378 yards and two touchdowns, and also caught a score on a trick play.

Jameis Winston had four touchdown passes for the Bucs, including a score with five minutes remaining, and was 22 of 35 for 345 yards and an interception.

Atlanta’s Julio Jones had nine catches for 138 yards and a touchdown, while Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans had six grabs for 106 yards and two scores.

The Falcons, scoring on their fifth straight possession, went up 31-20 early in the fourth quarter as Ryan passed 7 yards to Calvin Ridley for the rookie’s 10th TD on the season.

Evans scored on a 10-yard pass from Winston shortly thereafter, though, and the Bucs regained the lead on a 19-yard connection from Winston to Chris Godwin after Ryan was picked off by Andrew Adams.

The Bucs went for two points after both scores and failed each time.

Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu hit Ryan with a 5-yard pass to start the second half and the Falcons took their first lead at 24-20 late in the third quarter on a 23-yard run by Tevin Coleman.

That touchdown came after the game’s first turnover as Damontae Kazee got his seventh interception, picking off Winston’s deflected pass.

Tampa Bay went up 17-0 on Winston’s 30-yard strike to Godwin with 46 seconds remaining in the second quarter, but the Falcons finally got going on a 19-yard score from Ryan to Jones with 20 seconds left before halftime.

Winston completed 15 of 23 first-half passes for 210 yards and two scores, while the Falcons sputtered until their quick-strike 75-yard TD drive.

Evans, who finished the season with 1,524 yards, broke the Tampa Bay career record for receiving yardage with a 16-yard catch early on the Bucs’ second possession and then capped the 93-yard drive with a 19-yard TD grab.

Evans, 25, is the youngest of six players to reach 6,000 career receiving yards in their first five NFL seasons, joining Torry Holt, Randy Moss, Jerry Rice, Julio Jones and A.J. Green.

–Field Level Media

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NFL roundup: Brady dominates, Pats lock up bye

NFL roundup: Brady dominates, Pats lock up bye

Tom Brady tossed a

NFL roundup: Brady dominates, Pats lock up bye

Tom Brady tossed a season-high four touchdowns and became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to complete 6,000 career passes as the New England Patriots clinched at least the No. 2 seed by cruising to a 38-3 victory over the visiting New York Jets on Sunday.

New England (11-5) clinched a bye for the 13th time in the Bill Belichick-Brady era since 2001 and the ninth straight season. The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Oakland Raiders later Sunday to clinch the top seed in the AFC playoffs and lock the Patriots in to the No. 2 seed.

Brady reached his 6,000th career completion on a 5-yard pass to Chris Hogan with 11:40 remaining. He joined Drew Brees (6,586), Brett Favre (6,300) and Peyton Manning (6,125) as the only players in NFL history to reach that milestone.

The Jets (4-12) finished the season by losing nine of their last 10 games and likely will fire coach Todd Bowles with two years remaining on his contract. The Jets are 24-40 under Bowles, who took over in 2015 following Rex Ryan.

Texans 20, Jaguars 3

Deshaun Watson capped his second season with a unique statistical accomplishment and host Houston claimed its third AFC South title in four seasons with a victory over woeful Jacksonville, becoming the second team to earn a division title after starting a season 0-3.

With 234 passing yards plus another 66 yards on the ground with a touchdown, Watson is the first quarterback in NFL history to total 4,000 yards (4,165) and at least 25 touchdowns (26) passing while rushing for 500 yards (551) with another five touchdowns on the ground.

Led by defensive end J.J. Watt, the Texans (11-5) harassed Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles throughout what likely was his last appearance with the Jaguars (5-11). Watt recorded 1 1/2 of the three sacks of Bortles, closing his season with 16. Watt and Hall of Fame member Reggie White are the only players in NFL history with four 15-plus sack seasons.

Cowboys 36, Giants 35

Dak Prescott threw four touchdowns passes and completed a two-point conversion to Michael Gallup with 1:12 left to lift Dallas Cowboys past host New York.

Prescott, who threw for 387 yards, completed a 32-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to Cole Beasley on fourth-and-15 to set up the two-point conversion. Originally, Beasley was called out of bounds on the field, but after review was ruled to have gotten his knee down before his elbows landed out of bounds.

Though running back Ezekiel Elliott sat out the game, Dallas played most of its starters and heads into the postseason having won seven of eight games. The Cowboys (10-6) earned the fourth seed in the playoffs and will host Seattle at AT&T Stadium next weekend. The Giants finish the season 5-11.

Lions 31, Packers 0

Detroit blasted listless Green Bay, ending the season on a positive note and earning back-to-back victories at Lambeau Field for the first time since the 1990-91 seasons.

Matthew Stafford, throwing passes to the likes of Brandon Powell, Andy Jones and T.J. Jones instead of Kenny Golladay (inactive), Marvin Jones (injured reserve) and Golden Tate (traded), threw for 266 yards and a pair of touchdowns to T.J. Jones for the Lions (6-10).

His counterpart, Aaron Rodgers, exited following the third series with a concussion. A week after rallying three times from two-touchdown deficits to beat the New York Jets, interim coach Joe Philbin’s Packers (6-9-1) showed no fight against the Lions.

Bills 42, Dolphins 17

Josh Allen passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more as Buffalo defeated Miami in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Zay Jones caught two touchdowns from Allen, who completed 17 of 26 passes for 224 yards with an interception. Allen also ran nine times for 95 yards. Buffalo forced four turnovers and enjoyed its highest-scoring game of the season.

The game was the season finale for two teams out of playoff contention. Buffalo (6-10) finished 4-3 in its final seven games. Miami (7-9) concluded its season on a three-game losing streak, dropping nine of its final 13.

Panthers 33, Saints 14

Undrafted rookie quarterback Kyle Allen threw two touchdowns passes before leaving the game with a fourth-quarter shoulder injury as visiting Carolina won in New Orleans.

With the Saints (13-3) secure in their No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, they rested several starters. Drew Brees missed only his third start since coming to the Saints in 2006. He finished the season with an NFL-record 74.4 completion percentage (364 of 489) with 3,992 yards, 32 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

Carolina (7-9) scored touchdowns on its first three possessions, with Allen driving the Panthers 75, 89 and 90 yards — mostly against the Saints’ starting defense — to forge a 20-0 lead, and it climbed to 30-0 late in the third quarter.

Falcons 34, Buccaneers 32

Matt Bryant made a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give visiting Atlanta a victory in what turned out to be Dirk Koetter’s final game as Tampa Bay’s head coach.

The field goal was Bryant’s second of the game after a 49-yarder in the third quarter and gave the Falcons (7-9) a three-game winning streak to end the season despite trailing 17-0 late in the first half.

The Bucs (5-11) lost eight of their last 10 games, including the final four, and fell to 19-29 under Koetter, whom the team fired shortly after the game. Jameis Winston had four touchdown passes for the Bucs, including a score with five minutes remaining, and was 22 of 35 for 345 yards and an interception.

–Field Level Media

Read More 838 Words

What To Look For – Week 17

PRESS RELEASE

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL with 48 touchdown passes this season.

With two touchdown passes on Sunday against Oakland (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Mahomes can join PEYTON MANNING (55 touchdown passes in 2013) and TOM BRADY (50 in 2007) as the only quarterbacks with

PRESS RELEASE

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL with 48 touchdown passes this season.

With two touchdown passes on Sunday against Oakland (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Mahomes can join PEYTON MANNING (55 touchdown passes in 2013) and TOM BRADY (50 in 2007) as the only quarterbacks with at least 50 touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history.​​

The players with the most touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history:​

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

TOUCHDOWN PASSES

Peyton Manning#

Denver

2013

55

Tom Brady#

New England

2007

50

Peyton Manning#

Indianapolis

2004

49

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City

2018

48*

Dan Marino^#

Miami

1984

48

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associate​d Press Most Valuable Player

*Entering Week 17

 

RIDICULOUS ROOKIE: New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY ranks third in the NFL with 1,886 scrimmage yards this season.

With 114 scrimmage yards against Dallas (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Barkley would join Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (2,212 scrimmage yards in 1983) and EDGERRIN JAMES (2,139 in 1999) as the only rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

The rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

SCRIMMAGE YARDS

Eric Dickerson^#

Los Angeles Rams

1983

2,212

Edgerrin James#

Indianapolis

1999

2,139

 

 

 

 

Saquon Barkley

New York Giants

2018

1,886*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 17

Barkley has 87 receptions this season and needs two catches against the Cowboys to surpass REGGIE BUSH (88 receptions in 2006) for the most catches by a rookie running back in league annals.

 

RUN & CATCH CMC: Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MC CAFFREY ranks second in the league with 1,925 scrimmage yards (1,080 rushing, 845 receiving) this season. McCaffrey has 106 catches in 2018 and surpassed MATT FORTÉ (102 receptions in 2014) for the most receptions by a running back in a single season in league annals.

With 55 receiving yards at New Orleans (1:00 PM ET, FOX), McCaffrey would join Pro Football Hall of Famer MARSHALL FAULK (1998& 1999) and ROGER CRAIG (1985) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 900 receiving yards in a single season.

The players with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 900 receiving yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RUSHING YARDS

RECEIVING YARDS

Marshall Faulk^

St. Louis

1999

1,381

1,048

Marshall Faulk^

Indianapolis

1998

1,319

908

Roger Craig

San Francisco

1985

1,050

1,016

 

 

 

 

 

Christian McCaffrey

Carolina

2018

1,080*

845*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Entering Week 17

 

HISTORY FOR AB: Pittsburgh wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN has 104 receptions for 1,297 yards and leads the league with a franchise-record 15 touchdown catches this season.

With three receiving yards against Cincinnati (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Brown would become the first player in league annals with five seasons of at least 100 receptions and 1,300 receiving yards.

The players with the most seasons of at least 100 receptions and 1,300 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS WITH 100+ CATCHES & 1,300+ REC. YARDS

Antonio Brown

Pittsburgh

4*

Marvin Harrison^

Indianapolis

4

Andre Johnson

Houston

4

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Has 104 receptions & 1,297 receiving yards in 2018

Brown and teammate JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER, who has 106 receptions and became the youngest player in league history with at least 100 receptions in a single season, can become the first pair of teammates in league annals to each record at least 110 receptions in the same season.

 

DOMINANT DONALD: Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle AARON DONALD leads the NFL with a career-high 19.5 sacks this season.

With three sacks against San Francisco (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Donald would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL STRAHAN (22.5 sacks in 2001) for the most sacks in a single season since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The players with the most sacks in a single season since 1982:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

SACKS

Michael Strahan^

New York Giants

2001

22.5

Jared Allen

Minnesota

2011

22

Mark Gastineau

New York Jets

1984

22

Justin Houston

Kansas City

2014

22

 

 

 

 

Aaron Donald

Los Angeles Rams

2018

19.5*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Entering Week 17

Donald, who has recorded at least two sacks in seven games this season, can become the second player since 1982 to record at least eight games with two-or-more sacks in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers REGGIE WHITE (eight games in 1987).​

The players with the most games with two-or-more sacks in a single season since 1982:​​

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

GAMES WITH 2+ SACKS

Reggie White^#

Philadelphia

1987

8

Chris Doleman^

Minnesota

1989

7

Aaron Donald

Los Angeles Rams

2018

7*

Bruce Smith^#

Buffalo

1990

7

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year

*Entering Week 17

 

 

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

Read More 665 Words

Steelers put K Boswell on IR, sign McCrane

Steelers put K Boswell on IR, sign McCrane

Steelers put K Boswell on IR, sign McCrane

The Pittsburgh Steelers placed struggling kicker Chris Boswell on Injured Reserve and signed Matt McCrane to replace him for the regular-season finale, the team announced on Friday.

Boswell made just 13 of 20 field-goal attempts through the first 15 games of the season. He made 43 of 48 extra-point tries.

The team didn’t list an injury designation when adding him to the list.

McCrane will handle kicking duties against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17.

McCrane played for the Arizona Cardinals in the preseason as an undrafted free agent out of Kansas State, but didn’t make the regular season roster. He played in three games for the Oakland Raiders, making 5 of 9 field-goal tries and all five of his extra point attempts. He returned to the Cardinals for a Week 11 game against the Raiders and was perfect on three extra points.

Earlier this month, the Steelers brought in McCrane and fellow free agent kicker Kai Forbath to, if nothing else, put pressure on Boswell. Afterward, coach Mike Tomlin announced he was sticking with Boswell through the end of the season.

The Steelers (8-5-1) are still alive for the playoffs heading into Sunday’s game. They need a win or tie against the Bengals and for the Baltimore Ravens (9-6) to lose to the Cleveland Browns to win the AFC North and get the No. 4 seed in the AFC. A Steelers win coupled with a Colts-Titans tie would land Pittsburgh the final wild-card berth.

–Field Level Media

Read More 187 Words

Pats TE Gronkowski not thinking retirement

Pats TE Gronkowski not thinking retirement

New

Pats TE Gronkowski not thinking retirement

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski told reporters Thursday he is not thinking about retirement after first broaching the subject following last season’s Super Bowl.

“I haven’t been thinking about that at all,” Gronkowski said ahead of the Patriots’ regular-season finale against the New York Jets. “We’re on the last game. Going into Week 17, we’ve got the Jets. That’s all I’m really worried about as of now.”

Following New England’s Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Gronkowski would not commit to playing the 2018 season. The ensuing offseason was tumultuous for the 29-year-old, who was the subject of numerous trade rumors and skipped OTAs.

Gronkowski reported to Patriots training camp, and the team restructured his contract to boost his potential 2018 earnings by $4.3 million. The star tight end is under contract at a base salary of $9 million in 2019 before becoming a free agent.

The oft-injured Gronkowski has struggled to stay on the field yet again this season, catching 45 passes for 658 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games. He has battled back and ankle injuries.

“I would say every season presents a different challenge,” Gronkowski said. “You go through things, you get dinged up a little bit. It’s a different challenge. … Every season brings it’s own little challenges. You’ve just gotta keep on grinding, keep on staying positive. Stay focused. That’s all you got to really do. You can’t ever get too down and then you dig yourself a bigger hole.”

The Patriots (10-5) enter their season finale against the Jets this weekend with the AFC East clinched and a chance at winning the top seed in the AFC.

“We got this big game Sunday, still, and the playoffs after, so that’s the last thing on my mind right now,” Gronkowski said of calling it quits. “I love the grind. I’m all in. I’ve been all-in all season — no matter if it’s been up, if it’s been down. And I’m going to tell you this right now, I’m going to be all-in for the rest of the year no matter what it is. That’s my main focus, no matter how it goes.”

–Field Level Media

Read More 301 Words

Seven From Sunday – Week 16

PRESS RELEASE

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY – WEEK 16

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 23, the 16th week of the 2018 season.

  • The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS defeated Pittsburgh, 31-28, and clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. With the

PRESS RELEASE

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY – WEEK 16

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 23, the 16th week of the 2018 season.

  • The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS defeated Pittsburgh, 31-28, and clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. With the Steelers’ loss, the HOUSTON TEXANS clinched a playoff berth.

The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS defeated Buffalo, 24-12, and clinched the AFC East division title for the 10th consecutive season.

The Patriots have advanced to the postseason in 10 consecutive seasons (2009-18), surpassing Dallas (nine from 1975-1983) and Indianapolis (nine from 2002-2010) for the most consecutive seasons in NFL history with a playoff berth.

With their 10th win of the season, New England (16 seasons from 2003-2018) tied San Francisco (16 from 1983-98) for the most consecutive seasons with at least 10 victories in NFL history.

New England quarterback TOM BRADY, who has 4,105 passing yards this season, joins PEYTON MANNING (14 seasons), DREW BREES (12) and PHILIP RIVERS (10) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with 10 seasons of at least 4,000 passing yards.

The DALLAS COWBOYS defeated Tampa Bay, 27-20, and clinched the NFC East division title for the second time in the past three seasons.

Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT had 109 scrimmage yards (85 rushing, 24 receiving) in the Cowboys’ Week 16 victory.

Elliott, who has 4,048 rushing yards and 1,199 receiving yards in his three-year NFL career, is the fifth player in NFL history with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his first three NFL seasons, joining OTTIS ANDERSON, CHRIS JOHNSON, and Pro Football Hall of Famers BARRY SANDERS and LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON.

Elliott, who had 1,994 scrimmage yards in 2016, leads the NFL with 2,001 scrimmage yards this season and joins Pro Football Hall of Famers ERIC DICKERSON and LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON, and EDGERRIN JAMES as the only players in league annals with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards in two of their first three career seasons.

  • Cleveland rookie quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD completed 27 of 37 pass attempts (73.0 percent) for 284 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 121.9 passer rating in the Browns’ 26-18 win against Cincinnati.

Mayfield, who has 24 touchdown passes in 2018, surpassed ANDREW LUCK (23 touchdown passes in 2012) for the second-most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era. Only PEYTON MANNING (26 in 1998) had more passing touchdowns as a rookie quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era.

  • Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS completed 37 of 55 pass attempts (67.3 percent) for 442 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 103.8 passer rating and had two rushing touchdowns in the Packers’ 44-38 overtime win at the New York Jets.

Rodgers is the only player in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. He also previously accomplished the feat on October 2, 2011 against Denver (408 passing yards, four touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns).

  • Philadelphia quarterback NICK FOLES passed for 471 yards and four touchdowns while tight end ZACH ERTZ had 12 receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 32-30 victory against Houston.

Foles is the first quarterback in franchise history with multiple career games of at least 400 passing yards and four touchdown passes (406 passing yards and seven touchdown passes on November 3, 2013 at Oakland). His 471 passing yards are the most in a single game in franchise history, surpassing DONOVAN MC NABB, who passed for 464 yards against Green Bay on December 5, 2004.

Ertz, who has a franchise-record 113 catches in 2018, surpassed JASON WITTEN (110 receptions in 2012) for the most receptions by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.

  • Minnesota wide receiver ADAM THIELEN had five receptions for 80 yards in the Vikings’ 27-9 victory at Detroit.

Thielen, who signed as an undrafted free agent with Minnesota in 2013, has 110 catches and 1,335 receiving yards in 2018 and joins ROD SMITH (2000 & 2001) & WES WELKER (2009, 2011 & 2012) as the only undrafted players in the common draft era with at least 100 receptions and 1,300 receiving yards in a single season.

  • Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MC CAFFREY had 178 scrimmage yards (101 rushing, 77 receiving) and 12 receptions in the Panthers’ Week 16 loss against Atlanta.

McCaffrey, who leads all running backs with 106 receptions this season, surpassed MATT FORTÉ (102 receptions in 2014) for the most receptions by a running back in a single season in NFL history.

McCaffrey, who has 1,080 rushing yards in 2018, joins Pro Football Hall of Famer LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON (2003) and MATT FORTÉ (2014) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 100 receptions in a single season.

  • Pittsburgh wide receiver JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER had 11 receptions for 115 yards in the Steelers’ Week 16 loss against New Orleans.

Smith-Schuster, who is 22 years and 31 days old, has 106 catches this season and surpassed LARRY FITZGERALD (22 years, 123 days) as the youngest player to reach 100 receptions in a single season in NFL history.

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

Read More 722 Words

Pederson stands by Wentz as Eagles’ QB of future

 

While quarterback Nick Foles tries to guide the Philadelphia Eagles back to the playoffs, coach

 

While quarterback Nick Foles tries to guide the Philadelphia Eagles back to the playoffs, coach Doug Pederson assured reporters on Friday that injured starter Carson Wentz remains the franchise quarterback.

 

“I can stand here and say that Carson is our quarterback,” Pederson said. “He’s our quarterback in the future. That’s why we drafted him. It’s also why we have Nick here as a backup, as a veteran player to – I don’t want to say bail us out, but to come in and execute the offense. I think we just continue to reconfirm that with Carson and let him know that.”

 

Wentz, who turns 26 next week, remains out with a fractured vertebra that might require three months of rest to fully heal, though he has not yet been placed on injured reserve.

 

Foles, who replaced Wentz late last season and led the Eagles to the Super Bowl championship, finished 24 of 31 for 270 yards and an interception as the Eagles put up 30 points in a game for just the second time this season in an upset of the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night.

 

He will start again this week against the Houston Texans.

 

Foles, 30, could play his way into a healthy salary bonus and steer the Eagles into the playoffs, which seemed improbable sitting at 6-7 before beating the Rams.

 

The Super Bowl MVP’s restructured contract includes a clause that pays him an extra $250,000 for every game in which he plays at least 33 percent of the snaps, and another $250,000 if the Eagles win that game.

 

The Eagles (7-7) trail the Dallas Cowboys (8-6) in the NFC East race as they prepare to host the Texans (10-4) on Sunday.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 228 Words

Chargers rule RB Ekeler (neck) out against Ravens

Chargers rule RB Ekeler (neck) out against Ravens

Running back Austin

Chargers rule RB Ekeler (neck) out against Ravens

Running back Austin Ekeler won’t play Saturday when the Los Angeles Chargers meet the Baltimore Ravens, the team announced.

Ekeler, who has been recovering from a concussion and a neck injury, had been listed as doubtful. The team said Friday he had been downgraded to out.

Ekeler has been a key contributor for the Chargers, who already have clinched a playoff spot but are trying to overtake Kansas City for the AFC West title. In 13 games, he’s gained 900 total yards from scrimmage and scored five touchdowns.

The Chargers signed Ekeler, 23, as an undrafted free agent in 2017. He’s complemented starter Melvin Gordon, who missed the past three games with a knee injury but has practiced all week and is expected to play Saturday.

Wide receiver Keenan Allen left last week’s game against the Chiefs with a hip pointer injury. He is listed as questionable but also expected to play.

–Field Level Media

Read More 99 Words

WR Bryant vows to return in 2019

 

New Orleans Saints receiver Dez Bryant says the torn

 

New Orleans Saints receiver Dez Bryant says the torn Achilles tendon that ended his 2018 season won’t end his career.

 

“I have to (play again). I got business and I got ball,” said Bryant on KRLD-FM, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

 

“I can’t end like this. I have to throw the X up.”

 

Bryant, 30, suffered the injury on the final play of his second practice with the team.

 

The three-time Pro Bowl selection agreed to a one-year, $600,000 contract with New Orleans in November after being cut by the Dallas Cowboys before the season.

 

Bryant has 531 catches for 7,459 yards and 73 touchdowns in his career, but hasn’t posted a 1,000 yard season since 2014.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 58 Words

What To Look For – Week 16

PRESS RELEASE

WORST TO FIRST: As the NFL enters Week 16, five postseason berths have been clinched and seven remain up for grabs. Nineteen of the league’s 32 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII and 14 of the 16 games on this week’s schedule feature at least one

PRESS RELEASE

WORST TO FIRST: As the NFL enters Week 16, five postseason berths have been clinched and seven remain up for grabs. Nineteen of the league’s 32 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII and 14 of the 16 games on this week’s schedule feature at least one team still alive in the race to Atlanta.

Two teams – the Chicago Bears (NFC North) and Los Angeles Chargers (playoff berth) – clinched a berth in the 2018 NFL postseason last week. The Bears, who finished in fourth place in the NFC North last season, completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround in 2018. The Houston Texans (10-4), who finished in last in the AFC South in 2017, can clinch the division title at Philadelphia (1:00 PM ET, CBS) with a win or tie or if both the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans lose or tie.

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. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL with 45 touchdown passes this season.

On Sunday night at Seattle (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Mahomes can continue his climb up the NFL’s single season touchdown pass leaderboard.

The players with the most touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

TOUCHDOWN PASSES

Peyton Manning#

Denver

2013

55

Tom Brady#

New England

2007

50

Peyton Manning#

Indianapolis

2004

49

Dan Marino^#

Miami

1984

48

Drew Brees

New Orleans

2011

46

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City

2018

45*

Aaron Rodgers#

Green Bay

2011

45

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

*Entering Week 16

 

4,000 in 10: New England quarterback TOM BRADY ranks fifth in the league in passing yards (3,979) while Los Angeles Chargers quarterback PHILIP RIVERS ties for seventh  in the league with 3,951 passing yards this season. Both quarterbacks have eclipsed 4,000 passing yards in nine different seasons during their careers.

In Week 16, Brady, who faces Buffalo on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), and Rivers, who faces Baltimore on Saturday night (8:20 PM ET, NFL Network), can join PEYTON MANNING (14 seasons) and DREW BREES (12) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to record at least 10 seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards. Brees has 3,666 passing yards in 2018.

The quarterbacks with the most seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

SEASONS WITH 4,000+ PASSING YARDS

Peyton Manning

Indianapolis, Denver

14

Drew Brees

New Orleans

12

Tom Brady

New England

9*

Philip Rivers

Los Angeles Chargers

9#

*Has 3,979 passing yards entering Week 16

#Has 3,951 passing yards entering Week 16

 

SHAKE& BAKER: Cleveland quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD, selected first overall by the Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft, leads all rookies with 21 touchdown passes this season.

With three touchdown passes on Sunday against Cincinnati (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Mayfield would surpass ANDREW LUCK (23 touchdown passes in 2012) for the second-most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era.

The most touchdown passes by a rookie selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

PASSING TOUCHDOWNS

Peyton Manning

Indianapolis

1998

26

Andrew Luck

Indianapolis

2012

23

Jameis Winston

Tampa Bay

2015

22

Baker Mayfield

Cleveland

2018

21*

Cam Newton#

Carolina

2011

21

#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 16

 

RUN & CATCH: Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MC CAFFREY leads all running backs with 94 receptions in 2018.

With nine receptions on Sunday against Atlanta (1:00 PM ET, FOX), McCaffrey would surpass MATT FORTÉ (102 receptions in 2014) for the most receptions by a running back in a single season in NFL history.

The running backs with the most receptions in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RECEPTIONS

Matt Forté

Chicago

2014

102

Larry Centers

Arizona

1995

101

LaDainian Tomlinson^

San Diego

2003

100

Larry Centers

Arizona

1996

99

Chrstian McCaffrey

Carolina

2018

94*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Entering Week 16

 

New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY leads all rookies with 82 receptions and needs seven catches at Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET, CBS) to surpass REGGIE BUSH (88 in 2006) for the most receptions by a rookie running back in league annals.

The rookie running backs with the most receptions in league annals:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RECEPTIONS

Reggie Bush

New Orleans

2006

88

Earl Cooper

San Francisco

1980

83

Saquon Barkley

New York Giants

2018

82*

*Entering Week 16

 

RECORD-SETTING TIGHT ENDS: Kansas City tight end TRAVIS KELCE leads all tight ends with a career-high 1,220 receiving yards in 2018.

With 108 receiving yards against Seattle on Sunday night (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Kelce would surpass ROB GRONKOWSKI (1,327 receiving yards in 2011) for the most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.

The tight ends with the most receiving yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RECEIVING YARDS

Rob Gronkowski

New England

2011

1,327

Jimmy Graham

New Orleans

2011

1,310

Kellen Winslow^

San Diego

1980

1,290

Tony Gonzalez

Kansas City

2004

1,258

Todd Christensen

Los Angeles Raiders

1983

1,247

 

 

 

 

Travis Kelce

Kansas City

2018

1,220*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Entering Week 16

 

Philadelphia tight end ZACH ERTZ, who ranks third in the NFL with 101 receptions, needs 10 catches against Houston on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS) to surpass JASON WITTEN (110 receptions in 2012) for the most receptions by a tight end in a single season in league annals.

The tight ends with the most receptions in a single season in league annals:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RECEPTIONS

Jason Witten

Dallas

2012

110

Tony Gonzalez

Kansas City

2004

102

Zach Ertz

Philadelphia

2018

101*

*Entering Week 16

 

KEEP IT 100: Five players – New Orleans wide receiver MICHAEL THOMAS (109 receptions), Minnesota wide receiver ADAM THIELEN (105), Philadelphia tight end ZACH ERTZ (101), Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES (100) and Green Bay wide receiver DAVANTE ADAMS (100) – have recorded at least 100 receptions this season.

Entering Week 16, six additional players – Pittsburgh wide receivers JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER (95 receptions) and ANTONIO BROWN (90), Houston wide receiver DE ANDRE HOPKINS (94), Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MC CAFFREY (94), Kansas City tight end TRAVIS KELCE (93) and Minnesota wide receiver STEFON DIGGS (92) – currently have at least 90 receptions.

With 10 players recording at least 100 catches this season, the 2018 season would surpass the 1995 season (nine) for the most players with at least 100 catches in a single season.

The seasons with the most players with at least 100 receptions in NFL history:

SEASON

PLAYERS WITH 100+ RECEPTIONS

1995

9

2015

7

Many tied

6

 

 

2018

5*

*Entering Week 16

 

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

Read More 971 Words

NFL suspends Patriots WR Gordon indefinitely

 

The NFL on Thursday officially suspended New England Patriots wide

 

The NFL on Thursday officially suspended New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon, hours after Gordon announced that he planned to step away from football indefinitely to address his mental health.

 

Gordon has been returned to the Reserve/Commissioner Suspended list indefinitely for violating terms of his reinstatement from a yearlong ban for substance abuse.

 

Gordon, 27, was suspended the entire 2015 season, one year after serving a two-game suspension, all for drug violations, and has been banned a total of 56 games in his career.

 

Gordon earlier in the day released a statement saying he was taking another leave.

 

“I take my mental health very seriously at this point to ensure I remain able to perform at the highest level. I have recently felt like I could have a better grasp on things mentally. With that said, I will be stepping away from the football field for a bit to focus on my mental health. I would like to thank Coach Belichick, Mr. Kraft, as well as countless others within the Patriots organization for their continued support. I want to thank my fans for their support as well as I continue down the path of getting back to 100 (percent).”

 

“We support Josh Gordon in his continued efforts to focus on his health,” the Patriots said in a statement released 45 minutes after Gordon posted his message to Twitter. “His attempt to do so is a private matter, which we intend to respect.”

 

Gordon took a leave from the Cleveland Browns lasting more than three weeks in August. The Patriots acquired him from the Browns via trade in September. Gordon had 40 receptions and three touchdowns — averaging 18 yards per catch — in 11 games played with the Patriots. He was inactive Sept. 23 at Detroit.

 

Without Gordon, the Patriots’ receiving corps has no legitimate lead receiver.

 

Tight end Rob Gronkowski has not been his All-Pro self because of injuries, but is still third on the team with 45 catches and three scores.

 

The news comes as the Patriots make a push for another playoff run while sitting at 9-5 and coming off of a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in which the New England offense managed only 10 points.

 

In three of the team’s five losses this season, the Patriots scored just 10 points (Pittsburgh, Detroit, Tennessee).

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 332 Words

Jets’ Darnold eager to battle Rodgers, Packers

 

New York finishes the season against the Green Bay Packers

 

New York finishes the season against the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots, giving Jets rookie Sam Darnold the chance to watch two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history — Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady — up close and personal.

 

“Just the way he’s able to see the field so fast, it’s almost like he knows what the defense is going to do before the snap. For him it looks so easy and effortless,” Darnold said of Rodgers.

 

“And he has probably the best arm talent that I’ve ever seen — debatably in the NFL’s entire history. He’s just really gifted throwing the football, but on top of that, he’s super smart, so we’ve got our hands full with him.”

 

The Jets (4-10) host the Packers (5-8-1) on Sunday. Green Bay is 0-7 on the road.

 

Bothered all season by a knee injury and now dealing with a groin injury, Rodgers only ranks 14th in the NFL this season in passer rating.

 

“We have a guy coming in that to me is the best quarterback in the league when he’s healthy, and he’s going to be ready to play,” Pro Bowl Jets safety Jamal Adams said. “He’s a hell of a competitor and I’m definitely looking forward to going up against him for the first time. I used to watch him as a little boy, and I’m definitely looking forward to the matchup.”

 

Rodgers expects to be in the starting lineup, even with last week’s loss at Chicago officially ending Green Bay’s playoff hopes.

 

“I think it’s a lot about leadership,” he said of not sitting out the final two games to begin the healing process. “If I want to be listened to and followed and looked up to, how could I stand here and say that these games that don’t matter for playoffs, I’m going to cash it in? That’s just not the way I lead, and I’m super-competitive, and I want to be out there with the guys, and I look forward to being out there.”

 

Both teams have been riddled by injuries in the backfield, and that means both quarterbacks could be throwing it around Met Life Stadium.

 

Green Bay has 14 players on injured reserve, most recently running back Aaron Jones, who leads the NFL in yards per attempt. The Jets’ leading rushers, Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell, are both on IR. New York listed 19 players on Wednesday’s injury report before putting right tackle Brandon Shell on IR.

 

With Rodgers struggling, Jones out and Darnold going through rookie growing pains, the best offensive player on the field will be Packers receiver Davante Adams.

 

With 100 receptions for 1,315 yards and 12 touchdowns, Adams has a chance to break the franchise records for catches (112) and yards (1,519). Rodgers intends to give his Pro Bowl receiver every chance.

 

“He’s been a lot of fun to throw to this year,” Rodgers said. “He’s a fantastic wide receiver. The great thing about Davante is the way that he practices. He’s a fantastic professional. He’s got a great approach to the game.

 

“I would love for him to break some records. The fact that he’s put up these numbers already … is fantastic. I’d love to get him over those records because we’ve been around for a long time.”

 

–Field Level Media

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Rams (11-3) ready to restore dominance in desert

 

The Los Angeles Rams can

 

The Los Angeles Rams can only hope a game slot out of primetime can settle recent woes that have put a wrinkle into what had previously been a dominating season.

 

When the Arizona Cardinals play host to the Rams (11-3) on Sunday, Los Angeles will be coming off nationally televised defeats to the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles.

 

And while the focus all around will be on Sunday’s NFC West matchup, much of the attention will also be paid to veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who could be playing the final home game of his accomplished career.

 

There is a chance Fitzgerald could retire after completing his 15th NFL season. And since he will become a free agent after playing in two more games for the Cardinals, there is also a chance he could move on to a contender next season. As of now, Fitzgerald is keeping his future plans to himself.

 

“It may. It may not,” Fitzgerald said, according to nfl.com, when asked if Sunday will be his last game in front of Cardinals fans.

 

Fitzgerald says that one thing is certain: He will be ready and focused to match up against a Rams team that had just one loss before the Bears and Eagles found a way to diffuse a high-scoring team.

 

While the Rams offense was churning out points with ease in compiling an 11-1 record, the defense showed a tendency to be a bit porous. Suddenly it is the Rams offense that is in a rut, while the defense has given up just 20.3 points per game over the last three weeks after the team’s thrilling 54-51 Monday night victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

 

“It’s just us, turning the ball over, mental mistakes, stuff like that,” Rams Pro Bowl running back Todd Gurley said after Sunday night’s defeat to the Eagles. “We know that’s not us. We’ll go watch the film. I’m not worried though. We have a great group of guys. I think we all know where we need to get better.”

 

Quarterback Jarred Goff also was selected for the Pro Bowl, but he has been a mere mortal of late, throwing six interceptions with one touchdown pass over the last three games. He had 26 TD passes in the first 11 games.

 

Cardinals rookie quarterback Josh Rosen has just 10 TD passes and none in the past three weeks. But he is getting valuable experience, with some rewards mixed in, like his two victories over the San Francisco 49ers and his three TD passes against the Raiders on Nov 18.

 

“They’re really good and they have talent all around the field,” Rosen said about the Rams, a team he did not play against in Week 2 but got an up-close look at from the sideline as L.A. cruised to a 34-0 victory. “They have really good players top to bottom. Some of them play certain ways that we think we can take advantage of them, but a really good defense.”

 

Sunday’s game will also pit new Cardinals kick returner/wide receiver Pharoh Cooper against a Rams team that waived him this week. An ankle injury during the first game of the season limited Cooper to five contests this season and he was cut Tuesday so that the Rams could make roster room for the addition of running back C.J. Anderson.

 

The Rams will enter the game knowing that a win or a tie, coupled with a Bears defeat at San Francisco will clinch a top-two record in the NFC and a first-round playoff bye.

 

Gurley did not participate in a walk-through Wednesday after fighting through a tender knee against the Eagles, but head coach Sean McVay said he expects his starting running back to play against the Cardinals. Running back Justin Davis (shoulder) and linebacker Samson Ebukam (illness) also did not participate in the walk-through.

 

Cardinals offensive tackle Joe Barksdale and cornerback David Amerson should play Sunday after concussion issues. Wide receiver Trent Sherfield (ankle) and wide receiver Chad Williams (hamstring) were limited in practice. Safety Rudy Ford (ribs) was a full participant. Not practicing Wednesday: safety Budda Baker (knee), defensive end Markus Golden (ankle), defensive tackle Rodney Gunter (foot), wide receiver J.J. Nelson (illness) and tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (illness). Fitzgerald did not practice, but it was not injury related.

 

 

–Field Level Media

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Patriots hunt for playoff position, host Bills

 

 

The second meeting this season between the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots looks awfully different from the first.

 

That’s clear simply from the point spread, where the Patriots (9-5) are huge-but-not-mammoth 12.5-point favorites at home. That’s a far cry from Week 8 in Buffalo, when the Bills were the second-largest home underdogs (13.5 points) in franchise history.

 

That Monday night battle was just the second start for veteran quarterback Derek Anderson — signed off the street 20 days earlier — since 2016, as rookie Josh Allen was still sidelined by an elbow injury. New England coasted through a defensive slog, ultimately winning 25-6 to drop Buffalo to 2-7.

 

But since Allen returned in Week 12, the Bills have gone 2-2 to get to 5-9, with narrow losses to the division-rival Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. While Allen’s passing numbers have been inconsistent, he’s created with his legs (351 rushing yards, three TDs since in that span) and found receivers like undrafted rookie Robert Foster (19 catches, 468 yards, two touchdowns this year) for huge gains.

 

“Offensively, they’ve got a lot of explosive weapons,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “We didn’t see Allen. He’s been impressive. Foster — they have a lot of big plays.

 

“…The quarterback is a big difference. That’s a big difference right there. But the receivers — no [Kelvin] Benjamin, Foster has emerged — they’re much different.”

 

Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott has seen significant changes in his team too, particularly in Allen’s development since returning from injury.

 

“I went back and watched the Miami game a few days ago and he looks like a different player than he did from two or three games ago, which is important and good for him,” McDermott said of Allen. “The way the game is slowing down for him is encouraging.”

 

The Patriots, meanwhile, are just 3-3 since beating the Bills, and they’re riding their first losing streak in December since 2002. New England remains undefeated (6-0) at home this season, with four of the six victories coming by at least 14 points, but there have been chinks in the armor.

 

Tom Brady’s touchdown (4.7) and interception rates (1.8) are on pace for his worst marks since the 2013 season. After finishing in the top five in passing yards, yards per attempt, touchdowns, completion percentage and passer rating last year, Brady ranks fifth, 10th, T-10th, 17th and 12th, respectively, in those categories this year, meaning he could miss out on $4-5 million in incentives on his contract.

 

But McDermott doesn’t see any decline in the 41-year-old QB, who is 29-3 against the Bills in his career and was just named to his record-tying 14th Pro Bowl.

 

“To me, he looks even better than he has in years past, believe it or not,” McDermott said. “I know that the numbers may not support that, but I think his game is strong, he doesn’t turn the ball over. I think he’s as good as ever.”

 

Last week’s loss to Pittsburgh leaves New England two games back of Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers in the race for a first-round bye in the AFC. The Patriots are also a game back of the Texans (10-4), though they hold the tiebreaker after beating Houston in Week 1.

 

New England enters Sunday in great health, with only linebacker Brandon King (knee, limited) on Wednesday’s injury report.

 

McDermott sounded optimistic about the availability of running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring, limited), while the status of defensive tackle Kyle Williams (back, did not participate) remains unclear.

 

–Field Level Media

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Packers QB Rodgers says he’s playing vs. Jets

 

 

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told reporters Wednesday he plans to play through his groin injury Sunday against the New York Jets.

 

“It’s about leadership,” said Rodgers, who hurt the groin in Sunday’s loss to the Bears but played through the issue. “How can I stand here and say these games don’t matter? … That’s not the way I lead. I’m super competitive.”

 

Hours earlier, interim coach Joe Philbin declined to say definitively whether or not Rodgers would play.

 

“I’m hopeful he’s going to practice, and I’m hopeful he’s going to play,” Philbin told reporters. “But certainly, yeah it’s a little early to say exactly where everybody’s at.”

 

Rodgers did practice and took all the reps, avoiding the limited designation on the team’s injury report.

 

Many have wondered if Rodgers would not play the final two weeks, given the groin injury, the knee injury he played through earlier this season and the Packers officially being eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday.

 

Elsewhere, multiple outlets reported Tuesday that defensive tackle Kenny Clark would be placed on injured reserve after injuring his elbow in Sunday’s loss, but Philbin said he was not aware of any plans to shut down Clark “at this point in time.”

 

Clark, a 2016 first-round pick, has six sacks in 13 games this season. The team must decide this offseason whether or not to pick up his fifth-year option for 2020, which would be guaranteed only for injury.

 

Clark’s elbow injury is not considered serious and he isn’t expected to need surgery.

 

–Field Level Media

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Report: Raiders to sign former Bills QB Peterman

 

The Oakland Raiders are signing

 

The Oakland Raiders are signing former Buffalo Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman to their practice squad, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday.

 

The move came as Raiders backup AJ McCarron was at the hospital with his wife, who gave birth to a baby boy on Tuesday night.

 

Peterman will work with Oakland’s scout team, according to Rapoport.

 

The Bills cut Peterman last month. The 2017 fifth-round pick appeared in eight games in two seasons in Buffalo, completing 52.3 percent of his passes for 548 yards, three touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 32.5 quarterback rating.

 

Working as an ESPN analyst at the time, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden raved about Peterman before the 2017 draft.

 

“Peterman is ready to walk in and be a contributor from day one,” Gruden wrote at the time. “He just looks like a pro quarterback.”

 

–Field Level Media

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Broncos place veteran CB Harris (leg) on IR

 

Denver cornerback Chris Harris will not return from a broken leg this season,

 

Denver cornerback Chris Harris will not return from a broken leg this season, with the Broncos placing the veteran on injured reserve Wednesday.

 

Harris suffered a fractured fibula during a 24-10 victory at Cincinnati on Dec. 2, but two straight losses without his services have knocked the Broncos (6-8) out of playoff contention.

 

Harris, 29, finished his ninth season in Denver three interceptions, one sack and 49 tackles in 12 games.

 

The three-time Pro Bowl selection returned an interception 53 yards for a touchdown in a Week 7 win against Arizona, his fourth career pick-six.

 

The Denver Post reported that the Broncos have signed cornerback Craig Mager, the Chargers’ third-round pick in 2015 who was released by Los Angeles in late September.

 

Mager appeared in 24 games (10 starts) with the Chargers from 2015-18, registering one interception and 39 tackles.

 

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins place RB Gore on IR, sign DT Norton

Dolphins place RB Gore on IR, sign DT Norton

Dolphins place RB Gore on IR, sign DT Norton

The Miami Dolphins have placed running back Frank Gore on injured reserve and have signed defensive tackle Kendrick Norton, the team announced Wednesday.

Gore suffered a left ankle injury Sunday in Miami’s 41-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings when he was tackled on a run in the first quarter. While he was able to make it to the sidelines, later he was carted to the locker room and missed the rest of the game.

Gore, a 14-year veteran, had not missed a game since 2010, when he appeared in 11 games for San Francisco. In 14 games this season, Gore had gained 722 yards on 156 carries.

Norton, a seventh-round pick by Carolina in the 2018 NFL draft, spent the last 15 weeks on the Panthers’ practice squad. The 21-year-old was a standout at the University of Miami, where he totaled 84 tackles and five sacks. Norton is the son of Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton and the grandson of late former heavyweight champion Ken Norton Sr.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Lions placing RB Johnson on IR

Report: Lions placing RB Johnson on IR

Detroit running back Kerryon

Report: Lions placing RB Johnson on IR

Detroit running back Kerryon Johnson’s season is over, with ESPN reporting Wednesday that the Lions will place the promising rookie on injured reserve.

Johnson has not played since spraining his left knee in the Lions’ 20-19 victory against Carolina on Nov. 18. The decision to place him on IR comes with the Lions being officially out of the playoff race.

A second-round pick in 2018 out of Auburn, Johnson rushed 118 times for 641 yards (5.4-yard average) and three touchdowns and caught 32 passes for 213 yards and one score in 10 games with seven starts.

Johnson’s 101-yard effort in a Week 3 upset against New England was Detroit’s first 100-yard rushing performance since Reggie Bush in 2013. In Week 7, Johnson rushed for a season-high 158 yards in a victory at Miami.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Wentz had back fracture before college

Report: Wentz had back fracture before college

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was

Report: Wentz had back fracture before college

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back when he was a redshirt freshman at North Dakota State, ESPN reported Wednesday.

The injury occurred during his childhood and was completely healed before he got to college, a league source told ESPN. The source also said that injury is not related to Wentz’s current malady, a fractured vertebra that could sideline him for the rest of the season.

The Philadelphia Daily News reported that Wentz’s medical report, given to teams at the NFL Scouting Combine before the 2016 NFL Draft, referred to a healed stress fracture in his back. It did not affect his draft status, as the Eagles selected him No. 2 overall.

Wentz has been characterized as “week-to-week” by Eagles coach Doug Pederson after a CT scan last week revealed the current fracture.

He has started 11 games this season, completing a career-high 69.6 percent of his passes for 3,074 yards with 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will make his second straight start (fourth of the season) when Philadelphia (7-7) plays host to the Houston Texans (10-4) on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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Short-handed Giants activate WR Latimer from IR

Short-handed Giants activate WR Latimer from IR

The

Short-handed Giants activate WR Latimer from IR

The New York Giants activated wide receiver Cody Latimer from injured reserve Wednesday and placed cornerback Antonio Hamilton on the list with a quadriceps injury.

Latimer’s return is timely with receivers Odell Beckham Jr. (quad) and Russell Shepard (ankle) both questionable for Sunday’s road game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Latimer appeared in four games before going on IR with a hamstring injury in mid-October. He caught six passes for 108 yards.

A second-round draft pick in 2014, Latimer played his first four seasons with the Denver Broncos and registered 35 catches for 445 yards and three touchdowns in 45 games from 2014-17.

Hamilton played in 13 games in his first season with the Giants and contribute nine tackles.

–Field Level Media

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Mr. Townsend and the Polish Prince: An American Story of Race, Redemption, and Football.

Mike Gastineau's new book Mr. Townsend & the Polish Prince: An American story of race, redemption, and football, written with Joe Purzycki, tells the remarkable story of Joe Purzycki, the first-ever white head football coach at a historically black college, and Nelson Townsend, the athletic director who had the courage to hire him.

In November

Mike Gastineau’s new book Mr. Townsend & the Polish Prince: An American story of race, redemption, and football, written with Joe Purzycki, tells the remarkable story of Joe Purzycki, the first-ever white head football coach at a historically black college, and Nelson Townsend, the athletic director who had the courage to hire him.

In November of 1980, Delaware State College lost a football game to Portland State University by the outrageous score of 105 to 0. In the wake of that loss, athletic director Nelson Townsend decided to hire Joe Purzycki as Del State’s new coach. Purzycki was well-known throughout the state of Delaware.

He had been an all-American football player at the University of Delaware and had won a championship as coach of one of the largest high schools in the state. He was young, charismatic, and in Townsend’s eyes the perfect man for the job.

There was only one problem. He was white.

Delaware State is one of dozens of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in America. No HBCU had ever hired a white head football coach until Townsend hired Purzycki in 1981. The news was not well received.

Students staged angry protests, players boycotted his first meeting, 17 scholarship players quit, Purzycki’s office was vandalized, he received death threats, and the student newspaper derisively nicknamed him “the Polish Prince.”

Townsend and Purzycki stayed loyal to one another through two tough seasons as Purzycki slowly turned Delaware State’s football fortunes around. One of the players who helped was a guy who arrived as a transfer at the start of Purzycki’s second season. He was quiet, maybe even shy, and he was so small that both the coach and the AD were worried that he could handle college football. In this excerpt from the new book “Mr. Townsend & the Polish Prince, they not only find out that he could handle college ball, they even eventually learn his name.

From Chapter 22

                               Townsend finished his lunch and began walking across campus on a hot afternoon in the summer of 1982. He needed to get back to his office for a meeting with a student who wanted to transfer to Delaware State and play football.

The player and his parents were visiting Dover to check out the campus and meet with Townsend to see what needed to be done. As he got close to his office, he squinted his eyes to make out three people coming from the opposite direction.

“John?” he asked. “Alice? Is that you?”

Indeed, it was. John Taylor and his wife Alice had been Townsend’s classmates at Mary N. Smith High School on Virginia’s Eastern Shore in the 1950s. They exchanged hugs and hellos and laughed the way you do when you unexpectedly bump into someone you haven’t seen for a long time. Eventually, Townsend asked them what they were doing at Delaware State.

“This is my son, JT,” Taylor said. “He’s transferring here this fall and we’re supposed to meet the athletic director and the football coach.”

Townsend laughed at the series of coincidences unfolding in front of him. “I’m the athletic director,” he said as he introduced himself to JT. “Let’s head over to the office and I’ll introduce you to Coach Purzycki.”

His friend’s son was small and as they all talked, Purzycki and Townsend exchanged glances of concern as to whether he was big enough to play college football. He had attended Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte in 1981 but had been cut from the football team during the preseason, which was another red flag. Still, Purzycki was not in a position to turn away players: He needed all the help he could get.

They returned to Townsend’s office and began the paperwork for JT to become a Hornet. When Nelson asked him why he had decided to transfer he explained that he had become homesick and he thought Del State would be a better fit.

John and Alice Taylor’s son hadn’t even planned to go to college. He got a job driving a truck for a liquor warehouse right out of high school. A few months in, he realized he was hanging around his client’s establishments a little too frequently.

“I need to get out of here,” he told his father, “or I’ll end up no good.” His year in Charlotte with the Golden Bulls had been a bust athletically but he got good grades and was able to transfer into Delaware State. The NCAA ruled him eligible to play in the sixth game of the 1982 season, but he could begin practice immediately.

He had been undersized his whole life and the equipment he was issued at Delaware State hung on his body like a trench coat on a toddler.

“My head was so small that I could almost spin my helmet completely around,” he said. “My shoulder pads were way too big, and my pants sagged the way kids began wearing them in the 1990s.”

The first time he walked onto the field for practice he heard other players laughing at him. They also laughed at Ace Comer who took one look at the new guy and piped up, “Who the hell is this reject?”

Soon enough they found out. Taylor was a quiet, likable guy who showed tremendous ability from the start. “You could tell when he walked on the field that he was something special,” said Steven Holiday.

Assistant coach Walt Tullis decided that the J in JT stood for Jake. And Jake Taylor began working with the Hornets’ scout team during practice.

One day, with Purzycki watching, the scout team ran a play that called for Taylor to run a slant from the left side. He ran the route, caught the pass, put a move on his defender, and sped upfield untouched.

“I come back to the huddle and they called the same play to the other side,” he said. “I did the same thing. Caught the ball, put a move on a guy, and ran away from everybody.”

“I remember his speed was just different,” said safety James Niblack. “He’d get on you and he’d pass you. He was small and quiet off the field. But something happened when he put pads on. He became a different animal and he got stronger and faster. It was like he flipped a switch. He was true to his craft and you could tell he was going places. I remember right away thinking he’d make it to the next level.”

Linebacker Mike Colbert remembered something else about Taylor. After watching the new guy scamper past everyone on the defense, Colbert decided to put a stop to it. On the next play, Taylor caught a pass and Colbert zeroed in on him.

“He was a skinny, scrawny little guy,” said Colbert, who would lead the MEAC in tackles that year. “But he was like running into a brick wall. He was the hardest player I ever tried to tackle. He was a beast out there, he was so strong. He was the best player I ever saw.”

Taylor’s debut as a Hornet came during homecoming against Virginia State. Del State trailed 14-7 in the fourth quarter when he got his chance.

“I came into the huddle,” Taylor said, “and Rod Lester (the quarterback) looked at me and said, ‘we’re gonna run that slant pass you like.’”

Just like he had done with the scout team, Taylor caught the ball, made a move and rolled into the end zone for a touchdown to pull the Hornets to within one with about a minute to play. Suddenly, Purzycki was in position for back-to-back wins for the first time as a college coach and he wanted to go for it.

“I don’t want to tie this game,” he yelled at Billings. “I want to win it. Let’s go for two!” Billings concurred that was the right move.

Purzycki shifted into Dutch Uncle mode: “Now Herky, I need a two-point play … and it better be good.”

“I’ve got a two-point play,” Billings replied. “I don’t know how good it is, but I’ve got one.”

It was good enough to work this time (“Barely,” Billings admitted) and lifted Delaware State to a second consecutive victory and third of the season.

The Wilmington News Journal referred to the hero as “seldom-used freshman Jake Taylor,” which was accurate although to be fair, he had only recently become eligible. The touchdown was his first on offense since his days as a pee-wee football star in the Pennsauken Youth Athletic Association (he had been a defensive back in high school).

He would catch three more passes that season and by the end of the year informed everyone that they had been calling him the wrong name all season. For some reason, Tullis got it in his head that Taylor was named Jake.

“Coach,” he said one day in practice. “My name isn’t Jake. It’s John. I’m John Taylor.”

As in John Taylor, who would go on to spend nine seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, earning two Pro Bowls and three Super Bowl rings, and catch the game-winning pass in Super Bowl XXIII in 1989. THAT John Taylor. The one who would be selected to the NFL’s all-decade team in the 1980s.

 

                            Taylor would go on to play four years at Delaware State and establish numerous school records. He still holds the record for receiving yards in a game at the school (223 vs St. Paul’s in 1985) and is third all-time at Delaware State in career receiving yards. Both of those notes are made more remarkable considering Taylor played for a team that ran the Wing-T offense and focused more on running than passing. The two players ahead of him on the all-time list had 201 and 160 receptions in their careers. Taylor rolled up 2426 yards on just 100 career receptions.

Mr. Townsend & the Polish Prince: An American story of race, redemption, and football can be purchased at Amazon.com or requested from your local bookseller.

View the Youtube video of Coach Purzycki talking about the book here.

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Ray Rice speaks out against domestic violence, says ‘I’m done with football’

Ray Rice speaks out against domestic violence, says 'I'm done with football'

Ray Rice speaks out against domestic violence, says ‘I’m done with football’

Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, whose name has resurfaced since video emerged last month showing Kareem Hunt pushing and kicking a woman, spoke publicly on Tuesday, saying he is done with football and that he would be willing to speak with Hunt.

The NFL placed Hunt on the commissioner’s exempt list hours after TMZ published the video on Nov. 30, and a few hours later the Kansas City Chiefs cut the running back.

The Ravens cut Rice in 2014 after two videos surfaced, the first showing him dragging his unconscious fiancée Janay Palmer out of an elevator, and the second showing him punch Janay in the face in the elevator, knocking her out. Rice has not played in the NFL since.

Speaking with Janay, now his wife, on “CBS This Morning,” Rice, 31, talked about his life in the years since his banishment from the league. And he made it clear he is not speaking out in an effort to get back into the NFL.

“Well, see that for me, is something that I understand why it was being said early on about, you know, is this a ploy to get back into football,” Rice told CBS’ Gayle King. “I’ll be the first one to say it. I don’t have to retire to tell you I’m done with football. The pressure I was under of being a star — that was the person I hated the most.”

The couple married in March 2014, shortly after Ray Rice was charged with aggravated assault against Janay. King asked Janay Rice why she remained with Rice after the assault and why she has yet to see the video of the assault.

“I know it’s hard for people to understand,” Janay Rice said. “And I’m not here to force people to understand. It was never a thought whether I was going to leave or not, because I knew that that wasn’t him in that moment. This is somebody I’ve known since I was 15 years old. I knew that we had work to do, and I was willing to move forward and put in the work.”

When asked if he deserves a second chance of football, Ray Rice bluntly replied, “No. I didn’t deserve another chance.” Instead, he said, he got his second chance with his wife.

According to the CBS report, the NFL confirmed that Ray Rice works with the league on its domestic violence education program. Among other topics Ray Rice covered:

On his life before the assault on Janay and the subsequent fallout:

“One of the underlying issues for me was — I never wanted to ask for help. Football, for me, was my counseling. It was my therapy. It was my psychologist. It was everything.”

On the NFL’s efforts to address domestic abuse, including the current cases of Hunt and Reuben Foster:

“They’re trying to do the right thing … I know they are working with groups to try to get more of an understanding. And they’re doing the work. … I know the NFL … they’re not trying to push — they’re not trying to push people who do bad things or abuse against women. They’re not trying to push those guys on the field.”

On whether he would be willing to speak to Hunt:

“I would love to help anyone that’s willing to go the long haul.”

–Field Level Media

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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.

 

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

Read More 586 Words

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

Read More 458 Words

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

Read More 113 Words

What to Look For – Week 15

PRESS RELEASE

​​​​​​WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 15

WORST TO FIRST: Entering Week 15, two teams have clinched division titles – the NFC West champion LOS ANGELES RAMS and the NFC South champion NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – and five additional teams can clinch their respective divisions this week: the CHICAGO

PRESS RELEASE

​​​​​​WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 15

WORST TO FIRST: Entering Week 15, two teams have clinched division titles – the NFC West champion LOS ANGELES RAMS and the NFC South champion NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – and five additional teams can clinch their respective divisions this week: the CHICAGO BEARS (9-4), DALLAS COWBOYS (8-5), HOUSTON TEXANS (9-4), KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-2), and NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-4).

For the 2018 NFL Playoff Scenarios for Week 15, click here.

As the league enters Week 15, there are 20 teams either in or within one game of a playoff spot, including 11 teams that did not advance to the postseason in 2017. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

Two teams that finished in or tied for last place in their division in 2017 – Chicago (NFC North) and Houston (AFC South) – are currently in first place in their respective divisions this season. In 14 of the past 15 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Of the 46 teams in league history to go from “worst-to-first,” 23 of them have done so in the past 15 years (2003-17), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006.​

HISTORY IN KC: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL with 43 touchdown passes this season.

With three touchdown passes against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon Prime), Mahomes would tie DREW BREES (46 touchdown passes in 2011) for the fifth-most passing touchdowns in a single season in NFL history.

The players with the most touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

TOUCHDOWN PASSES

Peyton Manning#

Denver

2013

55

Tom Brady#

New England

2007

50

Peyton Manning#

Indianapolis

2004

49

Dan Marino^#

Miami

1984

48

Drew Brees

New Orleans

2011

46

 

 

 

 

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City

2018

43*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

*Entering Week 15

 

HEY, ROOKIE: Denver rookie linebacker BRADLEY CHUBB leads all rookies and is tied for sixth in the NFL with 12 sacks this season.

With a sack against Cleveland on Saturday night (8:20 PM ET, NFL Network), Chubb would tie DWIGHT FREENEY (13 sacks in 2002) for the third-most sacks by a rookie in a single season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.​

The rookies with the most sacks in a single season since 1982:​​

PLAYER

TEAM

YEAR

SACKS

Jevon Kearse#

Tennessee

1999

14.5

Aldon Smith

San Francisco

2011

14

Dwight Freeney

Indianapolis

2002

13

 

 

 

 

Bradley Chubb

Denver

2018

12*

#Named Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 15

 

JULIO ON THE RISE: Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES leads the NFL with 1,429 receiving yards this season. In Week 13, Jones became the first player in NFL history to record at least 1,400 receiving yards in five consecutive seasons.

Jones, who had 1,593 receiving yards in 2014 and 1,871 receiving yards in 2015, needs 71 receiving yards on Sunday against Arizona (1:00 PM ET, FOX), to become the fifth player in NFL history with three career seasons with at least 1,500 receiving yards.

The players with the most career seasons with at least 1,500 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS WITH 1,500+ RECEIVING YARDS

Jerry Rice^

San Francisco

4

Antonio Brown

Pittsburgh

3

Marvin Harrison^

Indianapolis

3

Andre Johnson

Houston

3

 

 

 

Julio Jones

Atlanta

2*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Has 1,429 receiving yards this season

 

STARS FROM SCRIMMAGE: Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT leads the NFL with 1,262 rushing yards this season.

Elliott, who has 3,876 rushing yards and 1,134 receiving yards since entering the league in 2016, needs 124 rushing yards on Sunday at Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET, FOX) to become the fifth player in NFL history with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his first three seasons. ​

The players with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in their first three seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS

RUSHING YARDS

RECEIVING YARDS

Chris Johnson

Tennessee

2008-2010

4,598

1,008

LaDainian Tomlinson^

San Diego

2001-2003

4,564

1,581

Ottis Anderson

St. Louis Cardinals

1979-1981

4,333

1,003

Barry Sanders

Detroit

1989-1991

4,322

1,069

 

 

 

 

 

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas

2016-2018

3,876*

1,134*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*In third season

 

BRILLIANT BARKLEY: New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY leads all rookies with 1,753 scrimmage yards and has 13 touchdowns (nine rushing, four receiving) this season.

With 147 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns on Sunday against Tennessee (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Barkley, can become the fifth rookie with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns in a single season in NFL history. ​

The rookies with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns in a single season in NFL history:​​

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

SCRIMMAGE YARDS

TOUCHDOWNS

Eric Dickerson^#

Los Angeles Rams

1983

2,212

20

Edgerrin James#

Indianapolis

1999

2,139

17

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas

2016

1,994

16

Billy Sims#

Detroit

1980

1,924

16

 

 

 

 

 

Saquon Barkley

New York Giants

2018

1,753*

13*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 15

 

LIGHTS, KAMARA, ACTION: New Orleans running back ALVIN KAMARA ranks sixth in the NFL with 1,384 scrimmage yards this season.

Kamara, who had 1,554 scrimmage yards as a rookie in 2017, needs 83 receiving yards at Carolina on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), to join HERSCHEL WALKER (1986-87) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,500 rushing and 1,500 receiving yards in their first two seasons in league history. ​

The players with at least 1,500 rushing and 1,500 receiving yards in their first two seasons in league history:​

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS

RUSHING YARDS

RECEIVING YARDS

Herschel Walker

Dallas

1986-87

1,628

1,552

 

 

 

 

 

Alvin Kamara

New Orleans

2017-18

1,521*

1,417*

*In second season

 

SUPERCAM: Carolina quarterback CAM NEWTON ranks third among NFL quarterbacks with 473 rushing yards this season. Newton has rushed for at least 500 rushing yards in six of his first seven seasons in the league.

With 27 rushing yards against New Orleans on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), Newton can become the first quarterback in NFL history with at least 500 rushing yards in seven seasons.​

The quarterbacks with the most seasons with at least 500 rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

SEASONS WITH 500+ RUSHING YARDS

Randall Cunningham

Philadelphia

6

Cam Newton

Carolina

6*

Michael Vick

Atlanta, Philadelphia

6

*Has 473 rushing yards this season

Courtesy of NFL Communications

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Giants WR Beckham misses practice Wednesday

Giants WR Beckham misses practice Wednesday

Giants WR Beckham misses practice Wednesday

Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. did not practice Wednesday due to the quadriceps strain that forced him to miss New York’s win over the Washington Redskins last week.

Beckham caught a touchdown pass and threw another against the Chicago Bears in the Giants’ overtime win in Week 13. New York won without him, 40-16, over the Redskins last Sunday when Beckham was ruled out due to the leg muscle issue.

“We’ll try and get him back as quickly as possible,” Shurmur said Wednesday on a conference call with Tennessee media. “He is feeling better each day. I don’t think he is going to practice today, but we’ll see as the week progresses.”

Beckham has 77 receptions for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns in 2018, a bounceback year from his injury-shortened 2017 season during which he played four games and recorded 25 catches due to an ankle injury.

–Field Level Media

Read More 91 Words

Bills’ RB McCoy misses practice Wednesday

Bills' RB McCoy misses practice Wednesday

Bills’ RB McCoy misses practice Wednesday

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy won’t practice Wednesday and his status is uncertain for Sunday’s matchup against the Detroit Lions.

“We’ll just take it one day at a time right now,” said head coach Sean McDermott when asked if he expects McCoy will be able to practice this week.

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.

McDermott said Ivory will practice Wednesday, and also the team signed running back Keith Ford from the practice squad, indicating the Bills aren’t certain whether McCoy will see action Sunday.

“Keith, for a rookie, has worked extremely hard since Day 1. He continues to earn the right,” said McDermott.

–Field Level Media

Read More 109 Words

Eagles QB Wentz won’t practice Wednesday, could miss Rams matchup

The Philadelphia Eagles could be without quarterback Carson Wentz on Sunday when they travel to face the Los Angeles Rams.

 

Head coach Doug Pederson announced Wednesday morning that Wentz would miss practice due to back soreness.

 

"Sometimes he just gets a little sore, a little tight, so we're just going to rest him

The Philadelphia Eagles could be without quarterback Carson Wentz on Sunday when they travel to face the Los Angeles Rams.

 

Head coach Doug Pederson announced Wednesday morning that Wentz would miss practice due to back soreness.

 

“Sometimes he just gets a little sore, a little tight, so we’re just going to rest him today and evaluate him further,” said Pederson. “Nothing game-related. He’s dealt with it so we’re just going to evaluate him further.”

 

Pederson did not confirm if Wentz would play Sunday at Los Angeles.

 

“Again, we’re going to focus on today, get through today, and see where he’s at at the end of the day,” he said.

 

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wentz is not likely to play Sunday and may not play again in 2018 as the team continues to gather information on his health.

 

Without Wentz, Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles would take over for the 6-7 Eagles. Foles started the first two games of the season as Wentz recovered from ACL surgery. He completed 65 percent of his passes with one touchdown and one interception in the Eagles’ 1-1 start.

 

–Field Level Media

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Flacco returns, Ravens stick with QB Jackson

Flacco returns, Ravens stick with QB Jackson

Baltimore Ravens

Flacco returns, Ravens stick with QB Jackson

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh announced Wednesday that quarterback Lamar Jackson will be the starter vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, with veteran starter Joe Flacco dressing as his backup.

“The starting quarterback will be Lamar (Jackson). Joe (Flacco) will be the No. 2 quarterback,” Harbaugh said Wednesday.

Jackson missed the final two plays of Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs after hurting his ankle but X-rays taken at the stadium postgame were negative.

“My brain, and my heart, and my experience says this is the way to go,” Harbaugh said.

Robert Griffin III was the backup and finished out the game as Flacco was inactive, but Harbaugh said afterward that Flacco was medically cleared from his hip injury and could have played.

Harbaugh has been cagey about his plans at quarterback once Flacco is healthy enough and prepared to play. He has repeatedly declined to answer questions about who will start moving forward, though he has not ruled out the possibility of Flacco and Jackson playing for stretches.

For his part, Flacco has been supportive of Jackson and said Wednesday he would embrace the role of backup. Flacco declined to delve further into his future plans, or what this decision means for him or the Ravens.

“I thought Lamar has done a great job,” Flacco said.

Sunday’s game will be the first time Flacco has ever dressed as the backup for an NFL game.

Jackson finished 13 of 24 for 147 yards and two scores while rushing 13 times for 71 yards in Sunday’s loss.

He is now 59 of 101 for 687 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions this season in four starts and other scattered snaps, while rushing 95 times for 475 yards and three scores on the ground.

However, Jackson has fumbled eight times (six as a rusher), including a strip-sack that set up the Chiefs for a would-be game-winning field goal late in regulation Sunday. Harrison Butker missed from 43 yards, leading to overtime.

–Field Level Media

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Raiders owner responds to city’s lawsuit

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis called a lawsuit filed against the team by the city of Oakland, Calif., "meritless and malicious" at the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday night, according to ESPN.

 

The federal lawsuit, announced by Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker, alleges antitrust violations and breach of contract, and names the Raiders,

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis called a lawsuit filed against the team by the city of Oakland, Calif., “meritless and malicious” at the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday night, according to ESPN.

 

The federal lawsuit, announced by Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker, alleges antitrust violations and breach of contract, and names the Raiders, the NFL and every other team in the league.

 

While the city does not demand that the Raiders be forced to remain in Oakland, the seven-count filing in district court does seek restitution in the form of lost revenue, remaining debt on renovations to the Oakland Coliseum, court costs and fees, plus punitive damages.

 

“The City will seek a resolution for the maximum amount of damages available,” Parker said in a news release shortly before filing the lawsuit. “The lawsuit will not ask the court to prevent the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas or keep the team in Oakland.”

 

Davis told ESPN he’d leave further comment to lawyers.

 

“My feeling is we’re 3-10 and we’re still relevant,” said Davis. “It’s a legal issue, and I’ll let the attorneys make any further comment.”

 

The Raiders received league approval to relocate to Las Vegas in March 2017. They are expected to begin playing in Las Vegas when a new stadium opens in 2020. The team still does not know where it will play in 2019, though it has proposed a lease to remain in the Oakland Coliseum for one more season.

 

One of the main cruxes of the city’s argument is that the NFL’s relocation policy is “skewed” in the favor of cities looking to get a team and biased against current host cities because each team shares a part of the moving team’s relocation fee.

 

The suit also alleges the NFL uses its relocation policy to in essence strong-arm host cities into ponying up money for a new stadium, threatening to move a team out of that city should the funds not be raised.

 

The city is seeking a jury trial but makes no specific monetary demand other than amounts to be determined at trial.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 298 Words

Broncos, Browns on playoff fringe ahead of matchup

Broncos, Browns on playoff fringe ahead of matchup

Broncos, Browns on playoff fringe ahead of matchup

The Denver Broncos were high on quarterback Baker Mayfield long before he was taken first overall in the NFL draft in April.

They plan to keep him from beating them on Saturday night.

Mayfield, the brash, outspoken Cleveland Browns rookie, visits Denver for a Week 15 showdown with both teams clinging to their slim postseason hopes. The Browns (5-7-1) are having their best season in years and are coming off a 26-20 win over Carolina.

The Broncos (6-7) had their three-game winning streak ended at San Francisco on Sunday in a game they desperately needed. Denver was feeling good after getting back to .500 and into the thick of the wild-card race, but as has been the case this season, it struggled against a young quarterback.

The Broncos have lost to rookies Sam Darnold (New York Jets), Nick Mullens (49ers) and second-year star Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City). They did they beat Josh Rosen of Arizona and Jeff Driskel of Cincinnati, and they have another chance against Mayfield on Saturday.

“He’s got a neat personality,” Denver coach Vance Joseph said after practice Tuesday. “It’s kind of a — it’s loose, but it’s tight. Very, very intelligent, but a very, very confident person.”

Mayfield could find success against a banged-up secondary that will be without Pro Bowl cornerback Chris Harris Jr., who suffered a fractured left fibula against the Bengals on Dec. 2. Harris said he is improving, but he won’t be ready for Saturday.

Without him, and the status of Tramaine Brock (ribs) and Isaac Yiadom (separated right shoulder) in question, Denver is vulnerable on the back end. The Broncos signed rookie safety Trey Marshall off the practice squad Tuesday to add to the depth.

The Browns have the weapons to take advantage, with Mayfield showing plenty of poise and wide receiver Jarvis Landry running routes. They can mix things up with running back Nick Chubb.

The biggest turnaround for Cleveland has come after the firings of head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Gregg Williams is now the interim head coach, and Freddie Kitchens was promoted to offensive coordinator.

With Kitchens calling plays, Mayfield has thrown 11 touchdown passes in five games, and his quarterback rating is 114.4 compared to from 78.9 under Haley.

With the short week, both teams practiced Tuesday instead of having a regular day off. For Denver, linebacker Shaquil Barrett (hip), Harris, wide receiver Courtland Sutton (quadriceps), Yiadom and defensive tackle Derek Wolfe (concussion) did not practice.

Joseph said Sutton should play Saturday but didn’t have an update on Wolfe.

Tight end Orson Charles (ankle), tackle Austin Corbett (foot), defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (biceps), cornerback Denzel Ward (concussion) and center J.C. Tretter (ankle) did not practice for Cleveland. Tretter has been dealing with the ankle injury for two months but has battled through the last seven games. He is normally held out of practice to stay ready for games.

“From a guy who barely practices all week to have the game plan down and then fight through it on Sundays for everybody else, it is great to have,” Mayfield told The Cleveland Plain Dealer after Sunday’s game. “He is a very, very important piece out there to have to be able to make calls and direct guys the right way and lead.”

–Field Level Media

Read More 495 Words

NFL notebook: Roethlisberger expects to start Sunday

NFL notebook: Roethlisberger expects to start Sunday

Pittsburgh

NFL notebook: Roethlisberger expects to start Sunday

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is banged up, but sore ribs won’t keep him out of action when the Steelers play host to 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 in Pittsburgh’s loss to the Oakland Raiders. He returned to the game late in the fourth quarter.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Roethlisberger is dealing with bruised ribs. Roethlisberger said during his weekly radio spot on Tuesday that he required X-rays in the locker room, but the tests were inconclusive.

–The Minnesota Vikings fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

The move comes after the Vikings’ 21-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday, the team’s third defeat in its past four games. Minnesota has finished with fewer than 300 yards of total offense four times in the past five games.

Quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski has been elevated to interim offensive coordinator and will take over play-calling duties.

–Injured running back Melvin Gordon is not expected to be in uniform Thursday when the Los Angeles Chargers visit the Kansas City Chiefs, the NFL Network reported.

However, Gordon was officially limited in Tuesday’s practice, noteworthy progress considering he was unavailable entirely since the original knee injury.

NFL Network reported that Gordon and his primary backup, Austin Ekeler (neck, concussion), likely would miss the showdown at Arrowhead Stadium. Specifically, coach Anthony Lynn told the network that the team isn’t optimistic either player would suit up.

–The Titans placed right tackle Jack Conklin and tight end Jonnu Smith on injured reserve due to knee injuries. Both starters were hurt during Tennessee’s 30-9 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Thursday.

Veteran Dennis Kelly is expected to replace Conklin, and Anthony Firkser will step in for Smith.

–The Detroit Lions placed veteran defensive end Ziggy Ansah on injured reserve because of a shoulder injury. The team did the same with tight end Michael Roberts, who also has an injured shoulder.

To replace them on the roster, the Lions signed tight end Jerome Cunningham and offensive lineman Leo Koloamatangi from their practice squad.

Ansah, 29, has had a lost season while playing on the franchise tag. He hurt his shoulder after 19 snaps in Week 1 and did not play again until Week 9.

–The Los Angeles Rams placed running back Malcolm Brown and cornerback Dominique Hatfield on injured reserve.

Brown injured his collarbone earlier this month. Hatfield, primarily a special teams player, needs surgery after injuring his left ankle Sunday.

–The Philadelphia Eagles’ pursuit of a playoff spot grew more difficult when they placed running back Corey Clement (knee) and defensive end Josh Sweat (ankle) on injured reserve.

The Eagles signed running back Boston Scott and defensive end Daeshon Hall to fill the voids on the roster, and they added cornerback Josh Hawkins to the practice squad.

–Two years after tearing both patellar tendons on the same play, former Houston Texans offensive tackle Derek Newton is back in the NFL after signing a two-year deal with the New Orleans Saints.

Newton, 31, spent the entire 2017 season on the Texans’ physically unable to perform list and was released by Houston eight months ago after failing a physical. With the Saints, he replaces tackle Michael Ola, who went on injured reserve due to a high ankle sprain.

–The Buffalo Bills placed starting linebacker Matt Milano and rookie cornerback Taron Johnson on season-ending injured reserve. Milano had surgery Monday to repair a broken left fibula. Johnson had surgery last week for a shoulder injury that bothered him most of the season.

–The city of Oakland, Calif., filed a federal lawsuit against the Oakland Raiders, the NFL and all other teams in the league. Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker announced the suit, which alleges antitrust violations and breach of contract.

While the city does not demand that the Raiders be forced to remain in Oakland, the seven-count filing in district court does seek restitution in the form of lost revenue, remaining debt on renovations to the Oakland Coliseum, court costs and fees, plus punitive damages.

The Raiders received league approval to relocate to Las Vegas in March 2017. They are expected to begin playing in Las Vegas when a new stadium opens in 2020. The team still does not know where it will play in 2019.

–The NFL announced that the salary cap will rise to about $190 million in 2019, a jump from $177.2 million this season.

The league informed teams that the projected range is from $187 million to $191.1 million. That marks a 40 percent increase since the 2014 season ($133 million) and the sixth consecutive year the cap has climbed by at least $10 million.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles place RB Clement, DE Sweat on IR

Eagles place RB Clement, DE Sweat on IR

Eagles place RB Clement, DE Sweat on IR

The Philadelphia Eagles’ pursuit of a playoff spot grew more difficult Tuesday when they placed a pair of players on injured reserve, including running back Corey Clement.

Both Clement and defensive end Josh Sweat were injured Sunday in Philadelphia’s 29-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Clement hurt his knee, and Sweat sustained an ankle injury.

The Eagles announced that they signed running back Boston Scott and defensive end Daeshon Hall to fill the voids on the roster, and they signed cornerback Josh Hawkins to the practice squad.

Clement went from undrafted rookie to Super Bowl star last season, picking up 100 receiving yards and a touchdown grab in the title game. He has 259 yards and two touchdowns on 68 carries, along with 22 catches for 192 yards, in 11 games this season.

Sweat was a fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft and has one tackle in nine games as a rookie.

The New Orleans Saints drafted Scott in the sixth round this year but cut him just before the season opener. They signed him to their practice squad the following day.

Hall was a third-round pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2017. He played in one game last season before a knee injury ended his rookie campaign. He was cut before this season began.

The Eagles are 6-7 and two games behind the NFC East-leading Cowboys. The defending champs are still in the thick of the playoff race, however, tied with Carolina and the Washington Redskins, one-half game behind the Minnesota Vikings for the final playoff spot in the conference.

Philadelphia finishes the season with games against the Rams in Los Angeles this weekend, then at home against the Houston Texans and at the Redskins in Week 17.

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs can lock up West with win over Chargers

An unexpected toss with his left hand, a no-look pass to a crossing receiver and -- most importantly -- a run toward home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.

 

All that and so much more has defined record-setting Patrick Mahomes as a first-year starter in the NFL this season. Yet the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback

An unexpected toss with his left hand, a no-look pass to a crossing receiver and — most importantly — a run toward home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.

 

All that and so much more has defined record-setting Patrick Mahomes as a first-year starter in the NFL this season. Yet the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback must be on top of his game again Thursday night when the streaking Los Angeles Chargers look to tighten the AFC West division race.

 

Kansas City (11-2) last weekend qualified for the playoffs for the fifth time under sixth-year coach Andy Reid, using a madcap rally Mahomes engineered Sunday to hold off the Baltimore Ravens 27-24 in overtime. But after burning the NFL’s top defense entering the game for 377 yards passing and two touchdowns, the no-look pass was all the rage.

 

Hey, it’s always something radical with Mahomes.

 

“I worked with him real hard on that. I built that right into the offense,” Reid cracked. “He has a knack for that. He is comfortable doing it. This is the NFL and he is doing it. That’s something to do it in practice, but when you start throwing it in a game against the No. 1 defense in the National Football League, that is a little different.”

 

Confidence oozes from Mahomes, whose plus-32 touchdown-to-interception mark leads the NFL, as do his 43 touchdown passes and 45 completions of 25-plus yards. The Chiefs average 437.5 yards and 36.2 points per game, along with 6.86 yards per play, all of which lead the league.

 

“I have built that chemistry with guys like D-Rob,” Mahomes said of Demarcus Robinson, recipient of the no-look pass, “through training camp and through last year. I know that the guys are going to know what I’m thinking and trust that they are going to keep running the route the same way. Then, I put the ball out there for them.”

 

Los Angeles (10-3) will counter with pressure off both edges from defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Bosa was injured and missed the first matchup, a 38-28 Week 1 win for the Chiefs to account for Kansas City’s one-game lead over the Chargers.

 

Los Angeles has won nine of its last 10 games, including three straight. Its only road defeat was against the crosstown Rams.

 

Kansas City, however, has won 20 of its last 21 against AFC West rivals and is looking to secure a third consecutive division title. A better divisional record gives the Chiefs the tiebreaker over the Chargers should Los Angeles win Thursday.

 

Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers is having an exceptional season for the Chargers but may need to come up even bigger against the Chiefs. Running backs Melvin Gordon (knee) and Austin Ekeler (neck) are dealing with injuries. Two rookies who have combined for 32 carries, Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome, are next in line.

 

“It’s important to just get back to being healthy,” said Michael Badgley, a rookie kicker who set a Chargers record with a 59-yard field goal while going 4-for-4 Sunday in a win over Cincinnati. “Get back in there, go through all of our recovery, and it will be a short week, so a big mental week.”

 

The Chiefs also must deal with injuries to offensive threats.

 

Speedy receiver Tyreek Hill limped through a heel injury against the Ravens but is expected to be available. Another receiver, Sammy Watkins (foot) is likely out. Running back Spencer Ware (shoulder) is also hobbled.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 522 Words

OL Newton returns to NFL with Saints

OL Newton returns to NFL with Saints

Two years after tearing both patellar

OL Newton returns to NFL with Saints

Two years after tearing both patellar tendons on the same play, former Houston Texans offensive tackle Derek Newton is back in the NFL after signing a two-year deal with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday.

Newton, 31, suffered the devastating double injury while attempting to block All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller during a game against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 24, 2016.

He spent the entire 2017 season on the Texans’ physically unable to perform list and was released by Houston eight months ago after failing a physical.

The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Newton started 68 of his 82 games with the Texans from 2011-16 after being selected in the seventh round of the 2011 draft out of Arkansas State.

The Saints had a roster vacancy after placing tackle Michael Ola on injured reserve Tuesday with a high-ankle sprain suffered in Sunday’s win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

–Field Level Media

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Bills place LB Milano, CB Johnson on injured reserve

Bills place LB Milano, CB Johnson on injured reserve

Bills place LB Milano, CB Johnson on injured reserve

The Buffalo Bills placed starting linebacker Matt Milano and rookie cornerback Taron Johnson on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday.

Milano had surgery Monday to repair a broken left fibula, suffered in the final minutes of Sunday’s 27-23 loss to the New York Jets.

The second-year player finished the season with 78 tackles, three interceptions, three fumble recoveries and one sack.

Johnson, a fourth-rounder in 2018, had surgery last week for a shoulder injury that bothered him most of the season. He had 42 tackles and one interception in 11 games.

–Field Level Media

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Lions put Ansah (shoulder) on IR

Lions put Ansah (shoulder) on IR

Lions put Ansah (shoulder) on IR

An injury-plagued season is now an injury-shortened season for Ziggy Ansah.

The Detroit Lions on Tuesday announced they have placed the veteran defensive end on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. The team did the same with tight end Michael Roberts and his injured shoulder.

To replace them on the roster, the Lions signed tight end Jerome Cunningham and offensive lineman Leo Koloamatangi from their practice squad.

Ansah, 29, has had a lost season while playing on the franchise tag. He hurt his shoulder after 19 snaps in Week 1 and did not play again until Week 9, though he has been effective (four sacks, seven quarterback hits) during his seven games on the field. Ansah is scheduled to hit free agency in March.

Roberts, 24, has nine catches for 100 yards and three touchdowns in eight games this season, his second since being drafted in the fourth round in 2017 out of Toledo.

The Lions are 5-8 and in last place in the NFC North. They play at Buffalo this Sunday before closing out the season at home against Minnesota on Dec. 23 and at Green Bay on Dec. 30.

–Field Level Media

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NFL hikes salary cap to $190 million in 2019

NFL hikes salary cap to $190 million in 2019

NFL hikes salary cap to $190 million in 2019

The NFL announced Tuesday that the salary cap will rise to about $190 million in 2019, a jump from $177.2 million this season.

The league informed teams that the projected range is from $187.0 to $191.1 million.

That marks a 40-percent increase since the 2014 season ($133.0 million) and the sixth consecutive year the cap has climbed by at least $10 million.

“Total projected player costs, including benefits, will be more than $7.3 billion in 2019,” the league said in a statement.

The exact salary cap figure will be determined before free agency opens on March 13.

–Field Level Media

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Titans place RT Conklin, TE Smith on injured reserve

Titans place RT Conklin, TE Smith on injured reserve

Titans place RT Conklin, TE Smith on injured reserve

The Tennessee Titans placed right tackle Jack Conklin and tight end Jonnu Smith on injured reserve with knee injuries on Tuesday.

Both starters were injured during the Titans’ 30-9 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Thursday.

Smith, who took over for injured three-time Pro Bowl selection Delanie Walker, finishes his second NFL season with 20 catches for 258 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games.

Conklin, the Titans’ first-round pick (eighth overall) in 2016, was limited to nine games this season after starting all 16 games in each of his first two campaigns.

Veteran Dennis Kelly is expected to replace Conklin, and Anthony Firkser will step in for Smith. Tennessee also signed free agent offensive lineman Austin Pasztor and added tight end Cole Wick from the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad.

With three games remaining, the Titans are one of four AFC teams tied at 7-6 and chasing a wild-card berth in the playoffs.

–Field Level Media

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Oakland sues Raiders, NFL over Vegas move

Oakland sues Raiders, NFL over Vegas move

Oakland sues Raiders, NFL over Vegas move

The city of Oakland, Calif., gave the Raiders a going-away present on Tuesday.

A federal lawsuit.

Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker announced the suit, which alleges antitrust violations and breach of contract, and names the Raiders, the NFL and every other team in the league.

While the city does not demand that the Raiders be forced to remain in Oakland, the seven-count filing in district court does seek restitution in the form of lost revenue, remaining debt on renovations to the Oakland Coliseum, court costs and fees, plus punitive damages.

“The City will seek a resolution for the maximum amount of damages available,” Parker said in a news release shortly before filing the lawsuit. “The lawsuit will not ask the court to prevent the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas or keep the team in Oakland.”

The Raiders received league approval to relocate to Las Vegas in March 2017. They are expected to begin playing in Las Vegas when a new stadium opens in 2020. The team still does not know where it will play in 2019.

One of the main cruxes of the city’s argument is that the NFL’s relocation policy is “skewed” in the favor of cities looking to get a team and biased against current host cities because each team shares a part of the moving team’s relocation fee.

The suit also alleges the NFL uses its relocation policy to in essence strong-arm host cities into ponying up money for a new stadium, threatening to move a team out of that city should the funds not be raised.

“Threats of relocation are a central part of the NFL’s practice of demanding public financing for new stadiums, which significantly increase team revenues and ticket prices,” Parker said in the statement.

“Further, each time an NFL club moves, all NFL teams share in a ‘relocation fee.’ In the last several years, the NFL defendants have shared approximately $1.47 billion in these fees. The Raiders alone have agreed to pay over $370 million to the other NFL defendants for their ‘yes’ vote on the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas.”

The city is seeking a jury trial but makes no specific monetary demand other than amounts to be determined at trial.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers’ Roethlisberger expects to play vs. Patriots

Steelers' Roethlisberger expects to play vs. Patriots

Steelers’ Roethlisberger expects to play vs. Patriots

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is banged up, but sore ribs won’t keep him from playing when the Steelers play host to 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 in Pittsburgh’s loss to the Oakland Raiders. He returned to the game late in the fourth quarter.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Roethlisberger is dealing with bruised ribs.

Roethlisberger said during his weekly radio spot on Tuesday that he required X-rays in the locker room, but the tests were inconclusive. He said he was not confident he would be helping the team by returning but opted to play.

“Let’s see how this plays out,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday of what he told Tomlin to be allowed back in the game.

During the game, Tomlin conferred with the team’s medical staff, which told the coach and general manager Kevin Colbert that the antiquated X-ray machine produced results that couldn’t be read.

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.”

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

–Field Level Media

Read More 186 Words

Chiefs, Mahomes can lock up West with win over Chargers

An unexpected toss with his left hand, a no-look pass to a crossing receiver and -- most importantly -- a run toward home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.

 

All that and so much more has defined record-setting Patrick Mahomes as a first-year starter in the NFL this season. Yet the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback

An unexpected toss with his left hand, a no-look pass to a crossing receiver and — most importantly — a run toward home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.

 

All that and so much more has defined record-setting Patrick Mahomes as a first-year starter in the NFL this season. Yet the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback must be on top of his game again Thursday night when the streaking Los Angeles Chargers look to tighten the West Division race.

 

Kansas City (11-2) last weekend qualified for the playoffs for the fifth time under sixth-year coach Andy Reid, using a madcap rally Mahomes engineered Sunday to hold off the Baltimore Ravens 27-24 in overtime. But after burning the NFL’s top defense entering the game for 377 yards passing and two touchdowns, the no-look pass was all the rage.

 

Hey, it’s always something radical with Mahomes.

 

“I worked with him real hard on that. I built that right into the offense,” Reid cracked. “He has a knack for that. He is comfortable doing it. This is the NFL and he is doing it. That’s something to do it in practice, but when you start throwing it in a game against the No. 1 defense in the National Football League, that is a little different.”

 

Confidence oozes from Mahomes, whose plus-32 touchdown-to-interception mark leads the NFL along, as do his 43 touchdown passes and 45 completions of 25-plus yards. The Chiefs average 437.5 yards and 36.2 points per game, along with 6.86 yards per play, all of which lead the league.

 

“I have built that chemistry with guys like D-Rob,” Mahomes said of Demarcus Robinson, recipient of the no-look pass, “through training camp and through last year. I know that the guys are going to know what I’m thinking and trust that they are going to keep running the route the same way. Then, I put the ball out there for them.”

 

Los Angeles (10-3) will counter with pressure off both edges from defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Bosa was injured and missed the first matchup, a 38-28 Week 1 win for the Chiefs to account for Kansas City’s one-game lead over the Chargers.

 

Los Angeles has won nine of its last 10 games, including three straight. Its only road defeat was against the crosstown Rams.

 

Kansas City, however, has won 20 of its last 21 against AFC West rivals and is looking to secure a third consecutive division title. A better divisional record gives the Chiefs the tiebreaker over the Chargers should Los Angeles win Thursday.

 

Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers is having an exceptional season for the Chargers but may need to come up even bigger against the Chiefs. Running backs Melvin Gordon (knee) and Austin Ekeler (neck) are dealing with injuries. Two rookies who have combined for 32 carries, Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome, are next in line.

 

“It’s important to just get back to being healthy,” said Michael Badgley, a rookie kicker who set a Chargers record with a 59-yard field goal while going 4 for 4 Sunday in a win over Cincinnati. “Get back in there, go through all of our recovery, and it will be a short week, so a big mental week.”

 

The Chiefs also must deal with injuries to offensive threats.

 

Speedy receiver Tyreek Hill limped through a heel injury against the Ravens but is expected to be available. Another receiver, Sammy Watkins (foot) is likely out. Running back Spencer Ware (shoulder) is also hobbled.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 522 Words

Rams place RB Brown, CB Hatfield on injured reserve

Rams place RB Brown, CB Hatfield on injured reserve

Rams place RB Brown, CB Hatfield on injured reserve

The Los Angeles Rams placed running back Malcolm Brown and cornerback Dominique Hatfield on injured reserve Tuesday.

Brown injured his collarbone during the NFC West champions’ 30-16 win at Detroit earlier this month. He has rushed for 514 yards in four seasons as Todd Gurley’s backup, including 43 carries for 212 yards and five catches for 52 yards and a touchdown in 2018.

Hatfield needs surgery after injuring his left ankle in Sunday’s 15-6 loss at Chicago. The second-year player and Los Angeles native saw most of his action on special teams this season.

The Rams also promoted rookie linebacker Trevon Young from the practice squad. Young, a sixth-round pick out of Louisville, has played in two games this season.

Los Angeles (11-2) hosts Philadelphia (6-7) on Sunday night.

–Field Level Media

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Mahomes’ jersey from Rams classic reportedly fetches $36K for charity

Mahomes' jersey from Rams classic reportedly fetches $36K for charity

Mahomes’ jersey from Rams classic reportedly fetches $36K for charity

Patrick Mahomes may have come out on the losing end in the Kansas Chiefs’ wild shootout with the Los Angeles Rams last month, but one move he made with some memorabilia from that game is certainly a winner.

The second-year quarterback and NFL Most Valuable Player contender sent the jersey he wore Nov. 19 in the 54-51 classic to auction, where it reportedly sold for $36,150. What’s more, according to The Action Network’s Darren Rovell, the proceeds are going to aid in California wildfire relief efforts.

Both the Rams and Chiefs honored first responders to the fires throughout the Week 11 Monday night game, with the Rams handing out more than 3,000 complimentary tickets to first responders. The two biggest November fires, the Camp Fire in Northern California and Woolsey Fire in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, are responsible for nearly 90 deaths and the loss of 100,000 structures.

Mahomes has taken the league by storm in his first season as a full-time starter. His 4,300 yards and 43 touchdowns lead the league, and he also tops the NFL in touchdown percentage (8.9) and yards per attempt (9.7).

The Chiefs are 11-2 and hold a two-game lead in the race for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. The biggest threat to Kansas City actually comes from its own division, as the Los Angeles Chargers sit at 10-3. The Chargers visit the Chiefs on Thursday night.

–Field Level Media

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