Bengals’ Burfict fined $112,000 for 2 hits against Steelers

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL has been fined Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict $112,000 for multiple unnecessary roughness penalties in Cincinnati’s loss to Pittsburgh last Sunday.

The third-quarter plays involved Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back James Conner. Burfict, who has been fined 11 times for more than $315,000 during his seven-year NFL career and was suspended for four games to begin this season for violating the e league’s policy on performance enhances.

Burfict was fined for a helmet hit to Brown; he previously served a three-game suspension for a hit on Brown during the 2016 playoffs.

His other fine, announced Saturday, came for a high hit on Conner.

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Tirico, Dungy, Harrison set to call Falcons-Saints

NEW YORK (AP) — When fans tune into NBC's Thanksgiving night broadcast of the Falcons-Saints game, they might do a double take.

Rather than seeing Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison in the studio for the pregame and halftime programs, those three will be calling the game.

It's nothing new for Tirico,

NEW YORK (AP) — When fans tune into NBC’s Thanksgiving night broadcast of the Falcons-Saints game, they might do a double take.

Rather than seeing Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison in the studio for the pregame and halftime programs, those three will be calling the game.

It’s nothing new for Tirico, who does play-by-play on Notre Dame games for NBC, spent years as the main voice on ESPN’s Monday night games, and has been working nationally televised contests on holidays since 2002.

Dungy has worked in the booth before, too, including with Tirico. For Harrison, though, this is a first-time experience.

“This is definitely unfamiliar territory for me,” says Harrison, who played 15 pro seasons at safety and won two Super Bowls. “I’m trying to figure what I want to talk about, how I want to focus on the offense or the defense. Mike tells me just to talk about what you see, that my being on the field and in the locker room as a player, just talk about what you feel like you want to talk about and have fun.

“I am not going to try to be Cris Collinsworth or Troy Aikman. I will trust my instincts.”

There’s one thing Harrison definitely knows he won’t do.

“One of the things I am focusing, there are many announcers who think they have to talk about every single thing they see on every single play,” he says. “That’s one of the things that really irks me when I watch a game. I promise I will not be that guy. There will be no one saying, ‘Shut the hell up Rodney, I am tired of listening to you.’ That will not happen.”

Dungy laughs when the Harrison remark is relayed. The Hall of Fame coach, like Harrison, is not one to pull his punches, but he also knows he can’t be wailing away verbally.

What Dungy and Harrison can bring to the game is something not delivered by most NFL broadcasts: the perspective of the defense. So their critiques figure to be refreshing when you consider how many analysts in booths on the networks are former quarterbacks.

“I think Rodney really will give some insight they do not really get elsewhere,” Dungy says. “Especially in a game like this, which will be so much of an aerial attack and passing. So, what should and can be done on defense to counteract it. In that area, I think we will both have good things to say.

“It is a fine line how much to say, and I have worked with Mike twice and he is great because he will lead us into things, help us know when to talk and when not to. When I have something to say that will be helpful to the audience, that is when you want to say it. If it is not going to add to their knowledge, then you keep quiet.”

Tirico recognizes the importance of the comfort level the trio of announcers can carry into the broadcast. After all, they not only spend all of Sunday together, they also share thoughts via text or phone during the week.

That can be a key for any broadcast crew. If there is any tension or animosity, it often is detected by the audience.

“It’s a bit easier having the last couple of years together, or the few Thursday nights we worked on the field, being around the package when we had it,” Tirico says. “Every Sunday for the better part of 11 to 12 hours we are catching every game in the league and then doing the pregame show live and then watching the Sunday night game.

“There is no learning curve for getting comfortable with the guys.”

And the viewers are certain to benefit.

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For a game, calling Lamar Jackson’s number kept working

Lamar Jackson ran 27 times and threw only 19 passes to win his first NFL start.

That's not a typo.

Filling in for injured quarterback Joe Flacco, Jackson ran for 117 yards in Baltimore's 24-21 victory over Cincinnati on Sunday. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner had more rushing attempts than any quarterback since

Lamar Jackson ran 27 times and threw only 19 passes to win his first NFL start.

That’s not a typo.

Filling in for injured quarterback Joe Flacco, Jackson ran for 117 yards in Baltimore’s 24-21 victory over Cincinnati on Sunday. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner had more rushing attempts than any quarterback since 1970 and became the first to gain over 100 yards since Colin Kaepernick had 113 on Nov. 27, 2016.

Calling his own number worked so Ravens coach John Harbaugh let Jackson tuck it and take off all day. But old-school football won’t cut it in a pass-crazy league where quarterbacks are posting ridiculous numbers every week. Even Harbaugh realizes Jackson can’t run the ball at that pace in the future.

“Yeah, you don’t want your quarterback getting hit that much,” Harbaugh said Monday. “It’s not going to last that way. So, that’s pretty self-evident.”

Plenty of running quarterbacks have been successful, though taking hits exposes them to more injuries. Michael Vick is the all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks but he missed a bunch of games during his career. Carson Wentz isn’t considered a “running QB” but he tore two knee ligaments on a scramble last season and missed the playoffs and Super Bowl.

“Quarterbacks don’t run forever in the NFL,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said after Jackson juked and sprinted his way past his team. “Sooner or later, they get hurt, and they don’t run the same.”

NOT INTERESTED: After losing quarterback Alex Smith for the rest of the season, the NFC East-leading Redskins signed Mark Sanchez to be Colt McCoy’s backup. They also worked out Kellen Clemens, Josh Johnson, T.J. Yates and EJ Manuel.

Sanchez hasn’t started a game since 2015. He has thrown 86 touchdown passes and has 86 interceptions with a 73.9 career passer rating. Clemens (16 TDs, 21 INTs, 68.9), Johnson (5 TDs, 10 INTs, 57.7), Yates (10 TDs, 11 INTs, 70.7) and Manuel (20 TDs, 16 INTs, 77.1) are much less impressive. But there’s an unsigned quarterback — Kaepernick — with 72 TDs, 30 INTs and 88.9 rating. He’s also 4-2 in the playoffs. Like the rest of the NFL, the Redskins weren’t interested.

RUNNING IT UP: Saints coach Sean Payton defended his decision to go for a fourth-and-7 leading by 31 points early in the fourth quarter. Drew Brees threw a 37-yard TD pass to Alvin Kamara with 13:15 left in a 45-7 win over Philadelphia. Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who began his career with the Saints and was beat on the play, wasn’t pleased. He raised both of his middle fingers at Payton. But Jenkins spoke to Payton after the game and told a reporter: “I’m a competitor. I love Sean to death. I know what type of guy and coach he is. That was more so personal between me and him.”

UNAGGRESSIVE DOUG: Eagles coach Doug Pederson’s unconventional style was lauded during the team’s run to a Super Bowl victory last season, but he’s played it safe more often this year. On the opening possession in Philadelphia’s lopsided loss at New Orleans, the Eagles faced a fourth down and less than a yard at the Saints 24. Pederson elected to punt even though his offense needed to try and score and keep Brees and Co. off the field as long as possible.

“That’s one I look at that maybe you do something different right,” Pederson said in hindsight.

NO CHALLENGE: Broncos coach Vance Joseph decided not to challenge a 2-point conversion to save a timeout and it nearly cost him until Brandon McManus kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired to beat the Chargers. Joseph chose not to toss the red flag after Case Keenum came up short on a 2-point draw following Phillip Lindsay’s touchdown run that put Denver ahead 20-19 with 12 minutes left. He said one of the officials told the quarterback his team should challenge the call because it was so close. But Joseph said his assistants in the booth didn’t see it clearly enough to risk losing a timeout.

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AP Pro Football writer Arnie Stapleton and AP Sports Writer David Ginsburg contributed to this report.

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Mahomes 5 turnovers loom large in Chiefs loss to Rams

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Patrick Mahomes threw for the most yards in the NFL this season and had his second six-touchdown game. But it is the five turnovers the Kansas City quarterback committed that led to the Chiefs dropping their second game this season.

Mahomes threw three interceptions and had two fumbles in

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Patrick Mahomes threw for the most yards in the NFL this season and had his second six-touchdown game. But it is the five turnovers the Kansas City quarterback committed that led to the Chiefs dropping their second game this season.

Mahomes threw three interceptions and had two fumbles in Monday night’s 54-51 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at the LA Memorial Coliseum. Three of the turnovers resulted in Rams touchdowns, including a fumble and interception return for TDs by Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam.

“I gave them 21 points through turnovers,” said Mahomes, who completed 33 of 46 passes for 478 yards. “It sucks right now, plain and simple. You wanted a win like that over a playoff team.”

It is the first three-interception game of Mahomes’ career. The first pick came when Ebukam stuck his left hand up at the line of scrimmage and came down with the ball before returning it for a touchdown.

Mahomes said he was intending to throw to tight end Demetrius Harris, but that he babied the throw instead of putting more velocity on it.

The last two picks came on the final drives as the Chiefs were attempting to tie the game with a field goal.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said the Marcus Peters interception with 1:18 remaining was mostly the result of pressure by Ebukam. The last one, which was picked off by LaMarcus Joyner with 13 seconds remaining at the Rams 28, was Mahomes trying to make a play late.

The two fumbles were the results of strip sacks by Aaron Donald, who has a league-leading 14.5 sacks.

“He’s made enough of those plays where you have full trust in him,” Reid said. “We always talk about protecting the ball and he usually does a good job of that.”

Wide receiver Chris Conley, who had seven receptions for 74 yards, said this is the first game that felt as if it had a postseason feel.

“Both teams were charged and ready to play like the playoffs. You have to be at your best though, because there are no second chances and do overs.”

Despite the turnovers, Reid was impressed with the way Mahomes was able to battle through some early adversity. Early in the fourth quarter, he fired a 73-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill to bring the Chiefs within 40-37. It was Mahomes’ second-longest completion of the season.

“He’s resilient and has confidence in himself. Things are going to happen in a game,” Reid said. “The great ones come back firing and tries to rip their hearts out the next series.”

For a team that has high postseason aspirations, one concern could be that most of Mahomes’ interceptions have come against quality defenses. Besides the three against the Rams, he threw two in a loss to New England on Oct. 14 and two against Jacksonville on Oct. 7.

Rams linebacker Dante Fowler Jr., who has faced Mahomes twice this season, said he felt like Mahomes was getting a little rattled late in the game.

“When you are in situations like that, his first year in situations like that, it’s kind of hard. We put the pressure on him and we did a good job,” Fowler Jr. said.

For Mahomes, the lessons from this loss were the same as when the Chiefs lost to the Patriots 43-40 on Oct. 14: You can’t make mistakes against good teams.

Kansas City goes into the bye at 9-2 and with the best record in the AFC. Reed and Conley are confident that Mahomes will be ready for the December stretch drive.

“Patrick is a gamer. We are behind him and we know he will bounce back from this and get better,” Conley said.

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Rams outlast Chiefs 54-51 in record Monday night showdown

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Even before the fourth lead change of the fourth quarter, well before the 1,001st yard of combined offense was tallied, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams already knew this was a classic.

Two powerhouse NFL teams at the peak of their brilliance dueled deep into the

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Even before the fourth lead change of the fourth quarter, well before the 1,001st yard of combined offense was tallied, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams already knew this was a classic.

Two powerhouse NFL teams at the peak of their brilliance dueled deep into the night at an ecstatic Coliseum, racking up eye-popping numbers that stretched the box score and credulity.

There were 14 touchdowns, including three by defensive players. There were 56 first downs. There were 105 points, with 50 from each team — the first time that’s ever happened in an NFL game.

In the final moments, the Rams did just enough to leave with a win they’ll savor for years.

And if these teams meet again at the Super Bowl in 2 1/2 months, the Chiefs will remember the sting from coming up just short.

Jared Goff threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Gerald Everett for the go-ahead score with 1:49 to play, and the Rams outlasted the Chiefs for a 54-51 victory Monday night in a showdown that somehow surpassed the hype.

“It was a crazy game, crazy game,” said Goff, who passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns and even ran for another score . “It seemed like whoever had the ball at the end was going to win the game. There was times where we felt like we were going to put the knife in and finish them, and there were times where it was the other way around, where we had to claw back into it.”

Patrick Mahomes passed for a career-high 478 yards with six touchdown passes in his latest jaw-dropping effort for the Chiefs (9-2), but he also threw two interceptions in the final 1:18 as the Rams (10-1) claimed the highest-scoring Monday night game ever played.

The highest-scoring game in the league this season was an offensive fantasia of ingenious scheming from mastermind coaches Andy Reid and Sean McVay — along with 21 combined penalties to keep things interesting. The second half was an extended thriller featuring 59 combined points.

Both teams scratched out fourth-quarter leads, only to see them evaporate. Mahomes hit Tyreek Hill with a 73-yard TD pass just when the Rams appeared to be pulling away early in the fourth, and Goff replied with two late TD passes to Everett , a backup tight end with 31 career catches before this game.

“It was a whirlwind,” McVay said. “I feel like I might need a couple of beverages to relax tonight, but it was great. This is what you love so much about the game.”

And this game was ultimately decided by defense: Marcus Peters and Lamarcus Joyner came up with late interceptions as the Rams stopped Mahomes’ final efforts.

“It’s always fun to play against real good teams,” Mahomes said. “You get to go out there and have fun … (but) it’s the same as when we played New England. You can’t make mistakes against great teams. You need to limit your mistakes, but be aggressive.”

The Coliseum’s first Monday night game since 1985 was staged on short notice after the NFL moved the matchup from Mexico City to Los Angeles six days ago due to poor field conditions at Azteca Stadium. The Rams used the opportunity to give free tickets to thousands of first responders and families recovering from the dual tragedies of nearby wildfires and a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks.

Those fans got an incredible treat for their reward — and if the video-game-like spectacle they saw turns out to be a Super Bowl preview, Atlanta will get an All-Madden-level show as well.

“It was just cool,” said Todd Gurley, whose 13-game touchdown streak somehow ended in this offensive showcase. “It was a last-minute game and everybody (came) out in support. Had the families here, had the responders, so it was just a great overall crowd and it was good for the city.”

This game has loomed in capital letters on the NFL’s regular-season schedule ever since these teams confirmed their status as offensive powerhouses in September. The Rams and Chiefs are the league’s biggest favorites along with New Orleans and New England — the teams responsible for the only other losses by Los Angeles and Kansas City this season.

Mahomes had the most prolific passing game in the NFL this year, but he and Goff both made key mistakes.

Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam returned Mahomes’ fumble and a one-armed interception for the first two TDs of his NFL career, while Kansas City’s Allen Bailey returned Goff’s fumble for a go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

“It was electric,” Ebukam said. “It’s hard to describe, because I’m still like in a game mode right now. I haven’t calmed down yet, so it hasn’t really all sunk in yet.”

BIG FINISH

The final seven minutes were particularly frantic and sweet: After Chris Conley caught his second TD pass from Mahomes for a 51-47 lead with 2:47 to play, Goff replied with a 75-yard TD drive in 58 seconds, hitting Everett down the Rams’ frenzied sideline.

Peters — the former Pro Bowl cornerback traded by Kansas City to Los Angeles last winter — then intercepted Mahomes’ underthrown ball near midfield with 1:18 to play, but the Rams only managed to take 14 seconds off the clock on their next three plays.

The Coliseum roiled in anticipation of a big finish by Mahomes, but the Chiefs were pushed back to their 13 with 50 seconds left thanks to a booming punt by Johnny Hekker. Joyner intercepted Mahomes’ final desperate heave with 13 seconds left.

“We can learn from this,” Reid said. “We can’t give up 21 points on turnovers. Have to take care of the football. We created some turnovers and points, (but had) too many penalties. We’ll heal up and get set to go for the stretch run.”

TIMELY DEFENSE

For all the offensive brilliance on display, both defenses made game-changing plays as well.

Aaron Donald forced two fumbles while sacking Mahomes, and Ebukam returned the first for a TD in the second quarter. The Rams’ unsung outside linebacker then made a spectacular one-armed interception at the line of scrimmage in the third quarter before returning it 25 yards for a score, powering over Mahomes to reach the end zone.

INJURIES

Chiefs: WR Sammy Watkins had one catch for 4 yards against his former team after missing last week’s game with a foot injury.

Rams: CB Troy Hill, WR Brandin Cooks and Peters all went to the locker room early in the second half with cramps. They all returned.

UP NEXT

Chiefs: Bye week, followed by a trip to Oakland on Dec. 2.

Rams: Bye week, followed by a trip to Detroit on Dec. 2.

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Rams slip past Chiefs in historic shootout

Rams slip past Chiefs in historic shootout

Rams slip past Chiefs in historic shootout

Jared Goff passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns Monday, and linebacker Samson Ebukam scored touchdowns off a fumble return and interception as the Los Angeles Rams topped the visiting Kansas City Chiefs 54-51.

The shootout, moved from its originally scheduled site to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum because of poor field condition in Mexico City, lived up to its billing. It was the first game in NFL history in which both teams scored 50-plus points, and it was the highest-scoring Monday night game in league history.

Former Chief Marcus Peters seemingly preserved the victory by grabbing an interception on a pass by Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Ebukam effected with the errant throw by pressuring Mahomes.

That gave the Rams (10-1) the ball with 1:18 left after they converted three earlier turnovers into 21 points. However, Los Angeles then inexplicably threw three passes, one of which was incomplete, allowing Kansas City to preserve a timeout.

The Chiefs (9-2) got the ball back with 50 seconds left, but Mahomes threw his third interception, caught by Lamarcus Joyner.

Mahomes completed 33 of 46 passes for a career-high 478 yards and six touchdowns, but he turned the ball over five times. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill made 10 receptions for 215 yards and two scores, and tight end Travis Kelce had 10 catches for 127 yards and a score.

The Chiefs also scored a defensive touchdown on a 2-yard fumble return from Allen Bailey following a strip-sack by Justin Houston. The play gave Kansas City a 44-40 lead with 11:07 remaining.

Nonetheless, the Rams capitalized on the makeshift home game, prevailing on an emotional night when they observed recent tragedies from wildfires and a mass shooting.

Los Angeles went in front 47-44 on a Goff 7-yard scoring strike to Gerald Everett with 9:38 left. Mahome put Kansas City back on top thanks to a 10-yard touchdown pass to Chris Conley with 2:50 to go.

Without any timeouts, Goff connected on a 40-yard pass to Everett with 1:49 remaining for the go-ahead score, which Los Angeles maintained with the two late interceptions.

Los Angeles receiver Brandin Cooks finished with eight catches for 107 yards.

Goff passed for touchdowns on each of the Rams’ first two series, connecting for 7 and 4 yards to Robert Woods and Josh Reynolds while picking on Chiefs cornerback Orlando Scandrick both times. Goff went 10 of 13 on those drives while also capitalizing on five Kansas City penalties, staking Los Angeles to a 13-0 lead.

After going three-and-out on their first series, with two penalties, the Chiefs rallied for three straight scores, including TD passes of 25 and 21 yards from Mahomes to Hill and Hunt, respectively. The second touchdown provided a 17-16 edge and came in one play following a sack, strip and recovery by Bailey.

Rams standout Aaron Donald returned the favor with a sack-strip of Mahomes. Ebukam recovered the fumble and scored on an 11-yard return with 1:50 remaining in the half.

The Chiefs, however, roared back and scored with 13 seconds left as Mahomes fired an 8-yard strike to Conley. The PAT was missed, however, leaving the teams tied at 23 at halftime.

–Field Level Media

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Most NFL 400-400-yard Passing Games

Games where opposing quarterbacks eached pass for 400 yards and four touchdowns in the same game (winning QB listed first):

Sept. 21, 1986 — Ken O'Brien, NYJ, 479 (4 TDs) and Dan Marino, MIA, 448 (6); 51-45 final

Sept. 4, 1994 — Dan Marino, MIA, 473 (5) and Drew Bledsoe, NE, 421 (4);

Games where opposing quarterbacks eached pass for 400 yards and four touchdowns in the same game (winning QB listed first):

Sept. 21, 1986 — Ken O’Brien, NYJ, 479 (4 TDs) and Dan Marino, MIA, 448 (6); 51-45 final

Sept. 4, 1994 — Dan Marino, MIA, 473 (5) and Drew Bledsoe, NE, 421 (4); 39-35

Jan. 1, 2012 — Matt Flynn, GB, 480 (6) and Matthew Stafford, DET, 520 (5); 45-41

Oct. 6, 2013 — Peyton Manning, DEN, 414 (4) and Tony Romo, DAL, 506 (5); 51-48

Nov. 3, 2013 — Tom Brady, NE, 432 (4) and Ben Roethlisberger, PIT, 400 (4); 55-31

Oct. 29, 2017 — Russell Wilson, SEA, 452 (4) and Deshaun Watson, HOU, 402 (4); 41-38

Nov. 19, 2018 — Jared Goff, L.A. RAMS, 413 (4) and Patrick Mahomes, KC, 478 (6); 54-51

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Chiefs-Rams Stats

Kansas City 7 16 7 21—51
L.A. Rams 13 10 17 14—54
First Quarter

La_Woods 7 pass from Goff (kick failed), 12:00.

La_Reynolds 4 pass from Goff (Zuerlein kick), 5:35.

KC_Ty.Hill 25 pass from Mahomes (Butker kick), 3:25.

Second Quarter

La_FG

Kansas City 7 16 7 21—51
L.A. Rams 13 10 17 14—54
First Quarter

La_Woods 7 pass from Goff (kick failed), 12:00.

La_Reynolds 4 pass from Goff (Zuerlein kick), 5:35.

KC_Ty.Hill 25 pass from Mahomes (Butker kick), 3:25.

Second Quarter

La_FG Zuerlein 23, 14:54.

KC_FG Butker 21, 8:04.

KC_Hunt 21 pass from Mahomes (Butker kick), 6:28.

La_Ebukam 11 fumble return (Zuerlein kick), 1:50.

KC_Conley 8 pass from Mahomes (kick failed), :13.

Third Quarter

La_Goff 7 run (Zuerlein kick), 10:52.

KC_Kelce 4 pass from Mahomes (Butker kick), 7:09.

La_FG Zuerlein 33, 2:24.

La_Ebukam 25 interception return (Zuerlein kick), 2:14.

Fourth Quarter

KC_Ty.Hill 73 pass from Mahomes (Butker kick), 12:04.

KC_Bailey 2 fumble return (Butker kick), 11:07.

La_Everett 7 pass from Goff (Zuerlein kick), 9:38.

KC_Conley 10 pass from Mahomes (Butker kick), 2:47.

La_Everett 40 pass from Goff (Zuerlein kick), 1:49.

A_77,002.

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KC La
First downs 27 29
Total Net Yards 546 455
Rushes-yards 20-98 21-76
Passing 448 379
Punt Returns 3-22 1-(minu
Kickoff Returns 7-207 4-78
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 3-39
Comp-Att-Int 33-46-3 31-49-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 3-30 5-34
Punts 3-47.3 4-55.5
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 3-2
Penalties-Yards 13-135 8-60
Time of Possession 29:37 30:23

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INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING_Kansas City, Hunt 14-70, Mahomes 6-28. Los Angeles, Gurley 12-55, Brown 4-15, Goff 4-6, Cooks 1-0.

PASSING_Kansas City, Mahomes 33-46-3-478. Los Angeles, Goff 31-49-0-413.

RECEIVING_Kansas City, Ty.Hill 10-215, Kelce 10-127, Conley 7-74, Hunt 3-41, Robinson 1-14, Watkins 1-4, Harris 1-3. Los Angeles, Cooks 8-107, Reynolds 6-80, Higbee 6-63, Woods 4-72, Everett 3-49, Gurley 3-39, Hodge 1-3.

MISSED FIELD GOALS_None.

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Rams outlast Chiefs 54-51 in high-octane offensive showcase

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jared Goff threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Gerald Everett for the go-ahead score with 1:49 to play, and the Los Angeles Rams outlasted the Kansas City Chiefs for a 54-51 victory on Monday night in a high-octane NFL offensive showdown that somehow surpassed the hype.

Patrick Mahomes threw

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jared Goff threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Gerald Everett for the go-ahead score with 1:49 to play, and the Los Angeles Rams outlasted the Kansas City Chiefs for a 54-51 victory on Monday night in a high-octane NFL offensive showdown that somehow surpassed the hype.

Patrick Mahomes threw six touchdown passes in his latest jaw-dropping performance for the Chiefs (9-2), but he also threw two interceptions in the final 1:18 as the Rams (10-1) hung on to win the highest-scoring Monday night game ever played and the first NFL game with two 50-point performances.

Goff passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns, while Marcus Peters and Lamarcus Joyner came up with late interceptions as the Rams held on.

The highest-scoring game in the league this season was an offensive fantasia featuring 1,001 combined yards and ingenious scheming from mastermind coaches Andy Reid and Sean McVay.

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Bears say quarterback Trubisky has right shoulder injury

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears say quarterback Mitchell Trubisky hurt his right shoulder in their victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

Coach Matt Nagy did not mention the injury after the game or when he met with reporters on Monday. But the Bears later said Trubisky would not have participated had

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears say quarterback Mitchell Trubisky hurt his right shoulder in their victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

Coach Matt Nagy did not mention the injury after the game or when he met with reporters on Monday. But the Bears later said Trubisky would not have participated had they practiced. They were required by NFL rules to release a hypothetical injury report because they play Thursday at Detroit.

Though it was not clear exactly when the injury occurred, Trubisky seemed in pain following a 5-yard run late in the Bears’ 25-20 victory. He slid and took a late hit to the left shoulder from Harrison Smith. That drove his throwing shoulder into the ground.

Trubisky threw one more pass and finished the game.

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Despite struggles, Packers in contention in NFC playoff race

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers are winless on the road and there are questions about coach Mike McCarthy's job security.

However they enter Sunday night's game at Minnesota trailing the Vikings by just one game for the final NFC wild-card spot.

"We fully understand where we are. We understand

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers are winless on the road and there are questions about coach Mike McCarthy’s job security.

However they enter Sunday night’s game at Minnesota trailing the Vikings by just one game for the final NFC wild-card spot.

“We fully understand where we are. We understand what our record is,” McCarthy said on Monday. “We need to win on the road. That’s something we haven’t done.”

The game against the Vikings will be Green Bay’s fourth road game in five games coming out of their bye. They were tied or ahead in the fourth quarter at the Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots and again on Thursday against the Seattle Seahawks, but lost all three games.

The bad news for the Packers is that the latest defeat left them at 4-5-1. The good news is the NFC playoff chase is jumbled. While Chicago seized control of the NFC North race with its victory over Minnesota on Sunday night, the Vikings (5-4-1) lead the Seattle Seahawks (5-5), Dallas Cowboys (5-5) and Packers in the pursuit for the last playoff spot.

“We understand that there’s still a lot of football left,” safety Tramon Williams said. “As long as there’s a lot of football left, we know that we have a chance to be where we want to be at. Will it be easy? No, but we’re optimistic.”

Having played on Thursday, the Packers got a short break to get ready for that game in Seattle. Four starters didn’t travel to Seattle because of injuries — receiver Randall Cobb, safety Kentrell Brice, cornerback Kevin King and outside linebacker Nick Perry.

Tight end Jimmy Graham suffered a broken thumb during the first half and defensive tackle Mike Daniels sustained a foot injury during the second half. McCarthy said Graham “intends to try to play” while Daniels will miss a couple of weeks.

The return of Cobb and Graham could bolster an inconsistent offense. Green Bay ranks eighth in yards, but only 13th in points because of mediocre production on third down (19th) and in the red zone (14th). Cobb had a huge game in a come-from-behind-victory over Chicago in Week 1 with nine catches for 142 yards, including the game-winning, 75-yard touchdown.

Over the past nine games, however, he’s been inactive five times and caught 17 passes for 116 yards and no touchdowns. Graham is second on the team with 34 receptions, but has only one catch in three of his past four games.

“Everybody is very frustrated. Nobody wants to lose games,” Cobb said. “We don’t go out and work every day in the offseason to come into the season in shape and go through training camp and beat each other up in training camp and go through seasons and lose games. Nobody wants to do that. That’s not fun. We want to win games and we’ve won a lot around here. We’ve got to find a way to get back on track.”

The Packers are running out of time, regardless of what the playoff standings suggest. A sixth consecutive road loss on Sunday would put Green Bay two games behind Minnesota (plus the head-to-head tiebreaker) with five to play.

Still, the Packers have a chance. They were 4-6 at this point in the 2016 season and reached the NFC championship came. Among the four primary challengers for the last playoff spot, the Packers have the easiest remaining schedule. Their final six opponents have a combined winning percentage of (.425), followed by the Seahawks (.442), Cowboys (.500) and Vikings (.542).

“Our reality, it’s where we expect to be,” McCarthy said. “Regardless of what anybody’s opinion is, we expect to complete the goal that we set out back in April. That’s the big-picture focus. But it’s not anything we’re talking about right now.

“Because part of the message today, there’s not a whole lot to talk about. We know where we are, we knew this four-game stretch was going to be a challenge, we didn’t hit the target as well as we’d like, but now we have six seven-day stretches here. We have full intentions of going to Minnesota and winning this game.”

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Report: Redskins’ Smith had compound, spiral fractures

Report: Redskins' Smith had compound, spiral fractures

Report: Redskins’ Smith had compound, spiral fractures

Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith suffered a compound fracture and a spiral fracture in his right leg on Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday.

Per Schefter, the spiral fracture — a break in a long bone caused by a rotational force — was discovered during Sunday’s surgery, which head coach Jay Gruden told reporters on Monday “went well.”

“We anticipate him making a full recovery,” Gruden said of the 34-year-old Smith, who signed a four-year, $94 million extension last offseason after arriving via trade from the Kansas City Chiefs.

The quarterback’s injury was announced after Sunday’s loss to the Houston Texans as a broken tibia and fibula, but it was not known to be a compound fracture, which means bone broke through skin, until Monday’s report from ESPN.

Gruden pegged Smith’s recovery timeline at six to eight months, which would put him on track for training camp and possibly for OTAs in May.

Colt McCoy will take over as Washington’s starter, beginning Thursday at the Dallas Cowboys. Veteran Mark Sanchez was signed Monday to be the backup moving forward.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Harbaugh updates Flacco, defends Jackson

NFL notebook: Harbaugh updates Flacco, defends Jackson

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh

NFL notebook: Harbaugh updates Flacco, defends Jackson

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Monday that quarterback Joe Flacco has “a chance” to return from his hip injury in Week 12 against the Oakland Raiders.

Harbaugh offered little when asked whether or not Lamar Jackson, who won his first career start against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, could remain the team’s starter even when Flacco is healthy, saying only, “I’m not getting into any of that.”

Cagey about his quarterback situation last week, an animated Harbaugh bristled at several questions on Monday about Jackson’s volume as a runner (27 carries against the Bengals) and ability as a passer.

“All this veiled stuff — ‘Is he really a thrower?’ — I got news for you: He’s a thrower,” Harbaugh practically yelled. “The kid can throw. He’s a QUARTERBACK. …I don’t appreciate the insinuation of the question. We will continue to say it: Lamar Jackson is a quarterback.”

–Reports that Baltimore guard Marshal Yanda spit on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on Sunday are fake news, according to the Ravens.

“[He] did not spit on anyone,” team spokesman Kevin Byrne told ESPN. Harbaugh reiterated the point to reporters later Monday, chastising anyone questioning Yanda’s character.

–The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will re-install Jameis Winston as the team’s starting quarterback in Week 12 against the San Francisco 49ers.

Head coach Dirk Koetter told reporters earlier Monday that he knew who would be starting, but he declined to announce his choice because he hadn’t yet informed the quarterbacks.

Winston came on in relief of Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday for the second time in seven weeks, engineering four straight touchdown drives before the rally fell short against the Giants, who held on 38-35.

–Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota suffered a stinger Sunday and his status for next Monday’s game against Houston will be determined during the week.

Mariota left the 38-10 loss to the Colts with what was announced as a right elbow injury. But head coach Mike Vrabel clarified Mariota’s condition Monday, saying he got a stinger after being hit in the head, though he is not in concussion protocol.

–Quarterback Sam Darnold did not participate when the New York Jets returned to practice following their bye week.

The rookie injured his right foot on Nov. 4 and did not play in Week 11’s loss to the Buffalo Bills. Darnold is reportedly no longer wearing a protective boot, but his status for Sunday against the New England Patriots is uncertain.

–Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase will not rule out playing Ryan Tannehill at quarterback this week.

Tannehill, out with a right shoulder capsule injury since Oct. 7, is picking up the intensity in his throwing program and Gase said the Dolphins consider him day-to-day.

–Rookie quarterback Josh Allen was a full participant in Buffalo’s practice and appears on track to start Sunday’s home game against Jacksonville.

Allen has not played since suffering a strained right elbow in the Bills’ Oct. 14 loss at Houston.

–Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham plans to take a few days off but is set to attempt to play with a heavily bandaged broken thumb Sunday night against the Vikings.

Graham, injured last Thursday at Seattle, is likely to share the snaps at tight end with backup Lance Kendricks. If he’s comfortable working in practice with a padded glove or splint, Graham could be recovered before the regular season ends.

–Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson is week-to-week with a sprained left knee, according to an NFL Network report.

Tests confirmed that Johnson has no torn ligaments and will not require surgery.

–Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees returned to Nashville after spending Sunday night in an Indianapolis hospital for observations.

Pees, 69, left Sunday’s game against the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium for undisclosed medical reasons, but the team said tests revealed nothing serious.

–Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup is away from the team after learning of his brother’s suicide on Sunday, the team announced.

“We just found out after the ballgame that his brother had committed suicide, and just want to leave it at that,” Garrett told 105.3 The Fan. “Obviously a very personal matter. We’re all behind Michael and supporting him and his family.”

–Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget will miss the rest of the season after tearing the quad tendon in his right knee on Sunday, Los Angeles coach Anthony Lynn announced.

–The Washington Redskins signed journeyman quarterback Mark Sanchez after losing starter Alex Smith to a season-ending leg injury, coach Jay Gruden told reporters.

–The NFL confirmed that it will return to Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium in 2019.

Poor field conditions at the stadium prompted the league to relocate Monday night’s game between the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs to L.A.

–Field Level Media

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Falcons looking for more than field goals against Saints

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons can't afford to lean on Matt Bryant's powerful right leg this week.

Field goals won't be enough to keep pace against the high-scoring New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.

Bryant's four field goals provided all of Atlanta's scoring until Julio Jones caught

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons can’t afford to lean on Matt Bryant’s powerful right leg this week.

Field goals won’t be enough to keep pace against the high-scoring New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.

Bryant’s four field goals provided all of Atlanta’s scoring until Julio Jones caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from Ryan with less than two minutes remaining against Dallas on Sunday. That touchdown tied the game before the Cowboys won 22-19 on Brett Maher’s 42-yard field goal as time expired.

The Saints (9-1) have won nine straight . They led the NFL with their average of 37.8 points per game through Sunday’s games.

“Field goals against them isn’t going to cut it the way they’re putting points up,” coach Dan Quinn said Monday.

The Falcons (4-6) already have lost one shootout against the Saints, 43-37 in overtime on Sept. 23.

“When we get our chances, we have to convert,” Ryan said Monday. “We’ve been doing a good job of that for the most part of the year. … We’ve got to be aggressive with our plays when we get our chances.”

Quinn said the Falcons can win a high-scoring game, even against the Saints.

“We are. We’re equipped,” Quinn said. “Certainly when you’re going against another team that’s high scoring, it was no surprise to see that in the first game, either.”

Jones has touchdown catches in three straight games, but the Falcons are in a scoring slump. They rank ninth in the league with their average of 26.3 points, but they’ve been held below 20 points in four games this season, including back-to-back losses to the Cowboys and Cleveland.

Atlanta led Dallas 6-3 at halftime despite being held to 110 yards. For the game, the Falcons had 354 yards, their third-lowest total of the season.

The two straight losses were devastating to Atlanta’s playoff hopes after it won three straight to reach .500.

Quinn said the Falcons shouldn’t be worried about their fading playoff hopes.

“Right now we have no luxury of looking at anything big picture,” Quinn said. “Right now there’s one picture and that’s New Orleans and that’s Thursday.”

Atlanta managed only 80 yards rushing against Dallas. Tevin Coleman had only eight carries for 58 yards, even though he gained 11 or more yards on four runs. The eight carries were his second fewest of the season.

Quinn said “it’s going to be important” to establish the run. But he said he was only seeking balance, not a greater commitment to the run.

“When you’re in the red zone against them you better finish with it in the end zone because they’re certainly able to score and they’ve shown that this year,” he said.

“Whether it’s in the run game or it’s in the pass game, it’s about being able to find explosive games and being able to score. That’s the name of the game when you’re facing a team with an explosive offense like them.”

NOTES: The Falcons are attempting to determine if linebacker Deion Jones will play this week. Jones came off injured reserve last week after missing two months with a broken right foot but was inactive against Dallas . Quinn said Jones did not participate in the team’s walkthrough practice on Monday, but instead was scheduled for work after the practice “so we’ll get a better assessment of where he’s at.” Quinn said the goal was to “keep pushing and develop to see where he’s at with his confidence level with his foot.”

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Rams honor firefighters, police for recent heroic actions

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams honored those impacted the past two weeks by the shooting at a Thousand Oaks bar and wildfires in Los Angeles and Ventura counties before Monday night's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The California Lutheran University Choir, who had a former member as one of

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams honored those impacted the past two weeks by the shooting at a Thousand Oaks bar and wildfires in Los Angeles and Ventura counties before Monday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The California Lutheran University Choir, who had a former member as one of the 12 killed in the Nov, 7 shooting at a country music bar, sang the National Anthem. Firefighters who have battled the Southern California wildfires the past two weeks received tickets to the game.

The fire erupted Nov. 8 and powerful Santa Ana winds pushed it through suburbs and wilderness parkland in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, forcing thousands of people to flee.

Karen and Jordan Helus, the wife of fallen Ventura County Sheriff Sergeant Ron Hellus, lit the LA Coliseum torch prior to kickoff.

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Andrew Luck’s comeback season putting Colts in playoff hunt

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck looks and sounds like his old self.

He's smiling, cherishing each snap. He's throwing touchdowns and winning games, staying healthy and chasing the kinds of milestones so many expected when the Indianapolis Colts made him the top overall pick in the 2012 draft.

Yes, at age 29, he's

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck looks and sounds like his old self.

He’s smiling, cherishing each snap. He’s throwing touchdowns and winning games, staying healthy and chasing the kinds of milestones so many expected when the Indianapolis Colts made him the top overall pick in the 2012 draft.

Yes, at age 29, he’s again having fun playing football.

“I was not in a good spot a year ago. I remember that. I am in a good spot now,” Luck said in his trademark low-key tone following Sunday’s 38-10 victory over Tennessee.

“My perspective is a little different toward this game. I appreciate things maybe a little bit more and I think that’s pretty consistent with anybody who’s been out for significant time with an injury.”

Twelve months ago, Luck was questioning everything from whether a second surgical procedure might alleviate the pain in his right shoulder to whether he would ever play another NFL game.

He had been shut down for the season by going on injured reserve and headed to Europe where he continued rehabbing in relative anonymity.

He spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in the Netherlands and when he returned home, just before Indy’s season finale, Luck recounted some of the emotional challenges he faced during his prolonged recovery from a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.

Even then, things didn’t go according to plan.

The only NFL coach Luck played for, Chuck Pagano, was fired a few days after his return. New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels accepted the Colts’ coaching job then backed out, paving the way for Frank Reich to eventually take over while Luck’s recovery essentially started over.

“We were throwing little — I don’t even know what kind of balls they were — weighted balls, but they didn’t have points on them,” Reich said when asked to recount Luck’s status when he first arrived in town.

“He was patient. I give him a lot of credit. He was really patient and he just said he was going to stay patient and trust the process and he did that. So that’s a lot of credit to him.”

Luck didn’t start throwing footballs until May, didn’t start throwing at practice till mid-June and was kept on a strict pitch count at training camp.

So when the Colts started 1-5 and Luck was throwing short, some naturally wondered if Luck would ever regain his pre-injury form.

A month later, there are no more doubts.

Luck is in the midst of his best pro season with his completion rate (67.3 percent) and rating (101.8) at career highs and his 29 TD passes ranked second in the league to Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes. Luck has reduced the number of interceptions and forced passes and hasn’t been sacked in five weeks, a total of 214 consecutive dropbacks.

The closest Tennessee even came to touching Luck on Sunday was when Luck tried to catch a touchdown pass from tight end Eric Ebron.

As a result, Indy (5-5) has won four straight to jump back into the playoff picture.

If Luck throws three more TD passes this weekend against Miami, he will tie Peyton Manning (eight) for the second-longest streak of consecutive games in league history with only New England’s Tom Brady (10) ahead of him. And the deep throws have returned, too.

But the more people talk about Luck’s gaudy numbers, the more focused Luck becomes on enjoying football and life.

“It’s nice that the results are positive for us certainly, but I wouldn’t say that I’m having more fun,” he said. “I’m just enjoying it. It’s a great group of guys. It’s a great group of coaches (and a) great building.”

If the injury taught Luck anything, it’s how quickly things can change in the NFL.

He lost right guard Matt Slauson to a season-ending back injury after Week 5 and now, in the midst of this remarkable streak, he may be missing center Ryan Kelly, who left Sunday’s game with a knee injury in the fourth quarter. Reich said doctors are still evaluating Kelly’s knee.

The loss of Kelly could be huge, given offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo recently said Kelly was playing at a Pro Bowl level and was one of the best centers in the league.

“We feel like Evan (Boehm) is ready if he’s the one playing,” Reich said Monday. “Obviously Ryan is playing at a super high level. So I am not going to suggest that there wouldn’t be any changes, but they would be very minimal.”

Luck understands what it will be like for Kelly if he can’t play.

After fighting through the physical pain and mental difficulty, the agony of defeat and the heartache of not being able to help out, Luck believes he has come out the other end as a better player.

“Everybody’s got a story to tell. Certainly as a quarterback in this league, if you play for a couple years you’re going to have gone through something,” he said. “I’d like to think that what happened, the result of that is probably the best thing for my career, the best thing that could’ve happened.”

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Chargers DT Liuget (knee) out for season

Chargers DT Liuget (knee) out for season

Chargers DT Liuget (knee) out for season

Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget will miss the rest of the season after tearing the quad tendon in his right knee on Sunday, Los Angeles coach Anthony Lynn announced Monday.

Liuget went down against the Denver Broncos on Sunday and was able to limp off the field, but he was carted to the locker room and did not return. He finishes the season with 1.5 sacks and five QB hits in six games, bettering his figures (1.5 sacks, four QB hits) from 12 games in 2017.

The 28-year-old missed the first four games this season due to a PED suspension, and he filed suit against a former trainer in September seeking $15 million in damages for lost wages, as well as pain and suffering for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

A first-round pick in 2011, Liuget has 24 sacks, 59 tackles for loss and 53 QB hits in 108 games (103 starts) across eight seasons.

Lynn said the injury will mean more playing time for Darius Philon and third-round rookie Justin Jones. Philon has 2.5 sacks and six QB hits in 10 games, while Jones has a half-sack on 170 snaps (26 percent of the Chargers’ defensive plays).

The Chargers are already without middle linebacker Denzel Perryman (knee) for the season. They rank 18th in rushing yards allowed per game (112.1) and 21st in yards per carry allowed (4.6).

–Field Level Media

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Wilks, Cardinals open to many changes at 2-8

Wilks, Cardinals open to many changes at 2-8

Arizona Cardinals: After losing

Wilks, Cardinals open to many changes at 2-8

Arizona Cardinals: After losing at home to the previously 1-8 Raiders, the Cardinals dropped to 2-8 and appear to be searching for any ways to improve. According to multiple reports, the team is expected to release cornerback Jamar Taylor — who gave up a 23-yard touchdown to Jared Cook on Sunday — and sign free agent David Amerson, who was briefly on the roster last week. Head coach Steve Wilks did not confirm the move, but did say, “Based on where we are, we are open to a lot of anything. There are some things we have talked about that we are probably going to try and make some moves on.” He has also made changes to the practice week, shortening meetings and adding more walk-through time to get players more live mental reps.

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers didn’t play this week, but they did pick up ground in the “race” for the No. 1 overall pick, as the Oakland Raiders beat the Arizona Cardinals to leave all three teams tied for the NFL’s worst record at 2-8. Four of the six wins between the teams have come against one another, as the Cardinals beat the 49ers twice and the 49ers beat the Raiders. Meanwhile, San Francisco has a different quarterback to prepare for in Week 12 than they did entering their Week 11 bye. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whom the Niners visit on Sunday, announced Monday they will start Jameis Winston over Ryan Fitzpatrick this week.

Seattle Seahawks: A year after no running back topped more than 240 rushing yards and the entire roster outside of Russell Wilson combined for one rushing touchdown, the Seahawks suddenly have an embarrassment of riches at the position. Chris Carson (580 yards, three scores), Mike Davis (372, 3) and Rashaad Penny (300, 1) have each topped those figures already, and the backfield is due for reinforcements after J.D. McKissic was designated on Monday to return from injured reserve. That opens a three-week window for McKissic to practice as he recovers from breaking a bone in his foot in August. The team could activate the 5-foot-10, 195-pound speedster to the 53-man roster as soon as this week.

–Field Level Media

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Turnover-prone Bucs return to Winston as QB

Turnover-prone Bucs return to Winston as QB

Atlanta

Turnover-prone Bucs return to Winston as QB

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons have dropped two consecutive games as they enter a Thursday contest against the red-hot New Orleans Saints. The back-to-back setbacks follow a stretch in which Atlanta won three consecutive contests and was on a solid roll. Earlier this season, the Falcons pushed the Saints into overtime before succumbing 43-37. Meanwhile, receiver Julio Jones has strung together five consecutive 100-yard outings and has 594 yards during the stretch. Overall, Jones has seven 100-yard efforts and fell just shy of another when he had 96 yards against the Saints. Jones leads the NFL with 1,158 yards, and his 73 receptions rank fourth.

Carolina Panthers: The 20-19 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday was a blow for the Panthers, who have now lost two straight games to fall three games behind the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South. The setback at Detroit included a controversial decision by coach Ron Rivera to go for a two-point conversion with 1:07 left, which was unsuccessful. Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly was quick to admit the Panthers aren’t in “the best position” after the two defeats. “But we understand at the end of the year you can put yourself in a place where you can be in the playoffs,” Kuechly said. “We still have that in front of us. It’s just going to be a little more difficult. We understand that. We put ourselves in that position.”

New Orleans Saints: Quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense have been seemingly unstoppable over the past three weeks while averaging 48 points. New Orleans scored 45 or more in each of the three games and has six 40-point efforts for the season. “I feel really good right now,” Brees said of a squad with nine consecutive wins. “I love my team. I love coming to work every day with these guys. I want to play my heart out for these guys. I care about them. I certainly don’t want to let them down. I want to be as consistent as I can for them, give them confidence, put them in positions to succeed, and that’s my job. So I’m just doing my job.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tampa Bay is returning to Jameis Winston as the starting quarterback for the Sunday game against the San Francisco 49ers. Winston (11 interceptions) and James Fitzpatrick (12) have combined for 23 interceptions — the worst team total in the NFL — and the Buccaneers have a dreadful minus-23 turnover ratio, also the worst in the league. “We have to protect the football,” Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter said. “I’m not trying to put this a hundred percent on them. The quarterback’s going to get too much blame when things go wrong and too much credit when things go right. Some of these turnovers are 100 percent on the quarterback, but other times it’s not. Some of this is the fact that we’re down in games and we try to do too much at times, but it’s a bottom-line business.”

–Field Level Media

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Battered Broncos’ O-line impressed vs. Chargers

Battered Broncos' O-line impressed vs. Chargers

Denver

Battered Broncos’ O-line impressed vs. Chargers

Denver Broncos: Despite starting three players in new spots on Sunday, the Broncos’ offensive line performed well against the Chargers, allowing no sacks and four QB hits. Head coach Vance Joseph was also impressed with left tackle Garett Bolles, in addition to backup tackles Elijah Wilkinson and Billy Turner at guard. “I thought Bollesy played one of his best games from a technique perspective,” Joseph said. “To block [Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa] with no penalties is quite an accomplishment for him. But the entire line, no sacks all day with those rushers was impressive, and we have three new starters inside. Our two guards are guys who play tackle. So, for those guys to go inside and play guard. … I think they’re very comfortable playing guard, especially in pass protection.”

Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers had their six-game win streak snapped by the Broncos, but they did get defensive end Joey Bosa back on the field with no setbacks. Head coach Anthony Lynn told reporters Bosa “may be a little sore” after playing 31 snaps — compared to the 20-snap estimate the team intended — but he came out of the game healthy. “I thought, for his first game back and not playing football for 13 or 14 weeks, that he looked good,” Lynn added of Bosa, who was credited with one tackle and one QB hit. “I thought he showed good speed and explosion coming off the edge. … He’ll get more reps this week in practice and he’ll get more in the game.”

Oakland Raiders: Head coach Jon Gruden confirmed that wideout Brandon LaFell is headed to injured reserve with an Achilles injury sustained on a leaping grab Sunday. That injury damages a receiving corps that already had Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant dealing with knee issues, but Gruden was impressed with how rookies Marcell Ateman and Saeed Blacknall — both recently promoted from the practice squad — performed on Sunday. “I was really pleased with Ateman,” Gruden said. “It wasn’t too big for him. He was confident. He was under control. He was calm. He made some plays. Saeed did the right thing for the most part. He had a couple of assignment errors, but he got his first action in some critical moments and I thought he handled himself pretty well.” Blacknall wasn’t targeted on 16 snaps, but Ateman played 65 snaps and led Oakland with four catches for 50 yards.

–Field Level Media

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Miami ownership understands impact of injuries, Gase says

Miami ownership understands impact of injuries, Gase says

Buffalo Bills: On Monday, head coach Sean McDermott addressed

Miami ownership understands impact of injuries, Gase says

Buffalo Bills: On Monday, head coach Sean McDermott addressed the media for the first time since the release of quarterback Nathan Peterman last week and said the decision to let go of the former starter wasn’t easy. “Tough decision. Nate did everything that was asked,” McDermott said. “He’s a class act, through and through. Certainly appreciate everything, all the effort that he gave when he was here. We just, to carry four quarterbacks, is a little unique for any extended period of time. And so getting Josh [Allen] to the point to where he is, allowed us to make a move there.” Peterman is eligible to go on the practice squad, but will that happen? “Not at this time,” McDermott said.

Miami Dolphins: Head coach Adam Gase told reporters that owner Stephen Ross understands how hard injuries have hit the 5-5 team. The team has 10 players on injured reserve, now that Jakeem Grant has suffered a season-ending leg injury. “Every time I see him after a game or talk to him during the week, ‘Just keep grinding,'” Gase said. “‘Don’t think too much about injuries.’ I think he looks at that [as] we’ve lost some good players. That’s something that is always unfortunate. He can see those big plays when they were occurring with Albert [Wilson] and what we get from Jakeem and when we were hitting some deeper throws with Ryan [Tannehill] in there. He sees all of that stuff, and when those guys aren’t there anymore, he understands that we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to try to move the ball and win the game.”

New England Patriots: Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett won’t hear any of the talk that was stirred up after the Patriots lost to Tennessee a week ago — talk that quarterback Tom Brady’s skills are diminishing. “Well, that’s a lie,” Dorsett told the Boston Sports Journal recently. “We play with him every day. Velocity and arm strength aren’t an issue. I’ve been here for a little over a year, and there’s no difference from last year to this year. I mean, he won MVP last year. The results speak for themselves. There’s no difference from last year to this year. I don’t see any difference.” Brady, 41, has thrown for 2,748 yards this season, with 17 touchdown passes and seven interceptions for the 7-3 Patriots.

New York Jets: Linebacker Brandon Copeland already knows how he’s spending the offseason. He’ll be at Penn, his alma mater, co-teaching a class called “Inequity and Empowerment: Urban Financial Literacy” each Monday afternoon. “No matter what major you are, you are going to use this class,” Copeland said recently, per the New York Post. “No matter what you do in life — whether you’re a professional athlete, whether you’re a nursing student, whether you’re a banker — you’re going to use the information from this class.” The idea for the class came to Copeland, 27, in a conversation with a former teammate in Detroit a few years ago. He proposed the class to Penn, where he earned a degree in management and entrepreneurship. “It’s just making sure they feel more confident when they are faced with those decisions when they do leave college and have to figure out, ‘Hey, am I going to rent or buy in this city? Am I going to buy it to rent it out? Am I making smart decisions with my credit? Should I start paying down my student loans as soon as I get out of college?'” Copeland said.

–Field Level Media

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