Cardinals release Smith, Benwikere; Bynes to IR

Cardinals release Smith, Benwikere; Bynes to IR

The Arizona Cardinals released veteran right tackle Andre Smith and cornerback Bene Benwikere on Monday, a day after both players struggled in a 45-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

“I’m not really in the business of trying to send messages or trying to be subliminal in any way,” head coach Steve Wilks said. “I’m very direct in my approach and the things I say. If you’re not doing it our way, if you’re not giving us the best opportunities to win football games, number one, you won’t be on the field and if it gets to that point, we’ll move on. That’s what we did.”

The Cardinals also placed linebacker Josh Bynes (thumb) and kicker Phil Dawson (hip) on injured reserve, while promoting kicker Zane Gonzalez off the practice squad and claiming tight end Darrell Daniels off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks. The team still has two open roster spots.

Smith, 31, signed a two-year deal in free agency in March and started eight games at right tackle, allowing three sacks and committing one penalty. The 10th-year veteran has 93 career starts.

Wilks announced seventh-round rookie Korey Cunningham will start on the right side moving forward, saying the youngster earned the opportunity by holding up as a fill-in left tackle for D.J. Humphries the last two weeks. Humphries is expected to return soon, but swing tackle John Wetzel is out for the year with a neck injury.

Benwikere, 27, started the last eight games for Arizona after joining the Cardinals on a one-year deal in March. He has one interception and four passes defensed this season.

Bynes, 29, is second on the team in tackles (75) and also has five tackles for loss, five passes defensed and two sacks in 11 starts this season. He had played all but 10 snaps this year before getting hurt Sunday. No other Arizona linebacker has played more than 65.6 percent of the snaps.

Dawson, 43, made 5 of 8 field-goal attempts and all 15 PATs this season, his 20th in the NFL.

Gonzalez, 23, was released by the Cleveland Browns in September after making just 2 of 5 field-goal attempts and 3 of 5 extra-point attempts in two games. He joined Arizona’s practice squad last week.

Daniels, 24, did not catch a pass in nine games (two starts) with the Seahawks this season. He has three career catches for 26 yards, all with the Indianapolis Colts in 2017.

–Field Level Media

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

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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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Vikings fire OC DeFilippo

Vikings fire OC DeFilippo

The Minnesota Vikings fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, the team announced Tuesday.

Vikings fire OC DeFilippo

The Minnesota Vikings fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, the team announced Tuesday.

The move comes after the Vikings’ 21-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night, the team’s third defeat in its past four games. The Vikings finished the game with 276 yards of total offense, managing just 61 in the first half. It was the fourth time in the past five games that the Vikings have finished with less than 300 yards total offense.

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

The Vikings entered November with a top-10 offense but have dropped to 17th after Monday night’s loss.

Head coach Mike Zimmer had been critical of DeFilippo’s play-calling recently, saying that the Vikings have not been committed enough to the running game. Running back Dalvin Cook rushed 13 times for 55 yards against the Seahawks, just the second time this season Cook has had more than 10 carries.

The Vikings (6-6-1) are vying for a wild-card spot and play host to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

The Vikings hired DeFilippo in February to replace Pat Shurmur, who left to become the head coach of the New York Giants.

DeFilippo spent two seasons as quarterbacks coach with the Philadelphia Eagles and was previously offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Chargers RB Gordon unlikely vs. Chiefs

Report: Chargers RB Gordon unlikely vs. Chiefs

Report: Chargers RB Gordon unlikely vs. Chiefs

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

Gordon sprained his medial collateral ligament on a hit by Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche in Week 13 and remains sidelined.

NFL Network reported Tuesday that Gordon and his primary backup, Austin Ekeler, would likely miss the showdown at Arrowhead Stadium.

Gordon has 802 rushing yards and 44 catches for 453 receiving yards and 13 total touchdowns on the season in 10 games played.

Ekeler (neck, concussion) would be replaced by rookies Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome if he’s also unable to return.

Chiefs running back Spencer Ware did not practice Monday due to a hamstring injury. Ware replaced Kareem Hunt, who was released by the Chiefs, as Kansas City’s top back two weeks ago.

Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (ankle) said he plans to play Thursday.

–Field Level Media

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Controversy surrounds Seahawks’ key FG block

Controversy surrounds Seahawks' key FG block

Controversy surrounds Seahawks’ key FG block

The Minnesota Vikings were deprived of three points Monday night when Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner apparently used illegal means to block a fourth-quarter field goal attempt.

Wagner put his hands on two teammates as he leaped over the offensive linemen en route to swatting down a 47-yard field goal try by Minnesota’s Dan Bailey.

Former NFL officiating chief Mike Pereira, now a TV analyst for FOX, tweeted, “Lots of talk about the Wagner block. The wording in the rule book is NEW this year and is clear. The new wording states, ‘May not place a hand or hands on a teammate or opponent in an attempt to jump through a gap to block an opponent’s kick or apparent kick.’ Case closed. Foul.”

Referee Brad Allen tossed a penalty flag on Wagner but subsequent changed his mind and said no foul had been committed.

Had the penalty been enforced, the Vikings could have chosen to take the three points, cutting their deficit to 6-3 with 5:46 remaining, or they could have taken a 15-yard gain on the fourth-and-9 play, giving them a first down at the Seattle 14-yard line.

Wagner didn’t admit to any wrongdoing after the game, which Seattle won 21-7.

“I tried to time it up; I got over it and made the block,” Wagner said, according to ESPN. “I’m an athlete, so I have just got to jump over people. It’s not that big of a deal.”

Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said, “You’re not supposed to be able to pull guys down, if that’s what they did. Quite honestly, I didn’t see it. I didn’t see what happened. I was told what happened.”

Bailey also didn’t see Wagner’s leverage move.

“Obviously I was kind of out there in the middle of it,” Bailey said, according to the Saint Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press. “From my understanding of that rule, he can jump over, he just can’t use leverage or whatever they call it. Sometimes that’s the way it goes.

“Obviously the most disappointing thing was not getting three points there. That would’ve really helped our team. Just have to try to knock the next one through.”

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll praised special teams coaches Brian Schneider and Larry Izzo for Wagner’s successful block.

“They came to me and said, ‘Hey look, we think we have something,'” he said. “That was a great find by those guys. …

“We practiced all week with Bobby jumping over the guys; never touched anybody. I don’t know what happened in the game, but that’s the way he was doing (it). He was able to clear the line of scrimmage without touching anybody, and that was the plan.

“Very few people could do that, but he had pulled it off beautifully during the week, and that’s what the officials called. But I know that there’s some controversy about that.”

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks stop Vikings in defensive struggle

Seahawks stop Vikings in defensive struggle

Chris Carson rushed for

Seahawks stop Vikings in defensive struggle

Chris Carson rushed for a touchdown and Justin Coleman returned a fumble 29 yards for a score, both in the final three minutes, as the Seattle Seahawks defeated the visiting Minnesota Vikings 21-7 Monday night.

Sebastian Janikowski kicked two field goals as the Seahawks (8-5) won their fourth in a row and extended their lead in the race for the NFC’s first wild card to 1 1/2 games over the Vikings (6-6-1). Minnesota lost for the third time in four games.

The Seahawks rushed for 214 yards, including a 40-yard scamper by quarterback Russell Wilson on Seattle’s lone touchdown drive. Carson’s 2-yard run with 2:53 remaining gave Seattle a 14-0 lead. Carson finished with a game-high 90 rushing yards on 22 attempts.

On the Vikings’ second play from scrimmage after Carson’s touchdown, Jacob Martin sacked Kirk Cousins and the ball popped loose. Coleman recovered it and racing down the sideline for a score.

Minnesota’s only touchdown came on a 6-yard pass from Cousins to Dalvin Cook with 1:10 left.

The Vikings had 276 yards of total offense — 2 more yards than the Seahawks’ total. Cousins completed 20 of 33 passes for 208 yards, and Cook rushed for 55 yards on 13 carries.

Wilson connected on 10 of 20 passes for 72 yards.

After Janikowski kicked his second field goal of the game, a 35-yarder to make it 6-0 with 13:22 remaining in the game, the Vikings used a 48-yard pass from Cousins to Stefon Diggs to finally reach the red zone.

Minnesota got a first down at Seattle’s 4-yard line. Latavius Murray rushed for 2 yards before Cousins’ pass toward the back corner of the end zone was long. Cook rushed for 1 yard on third down, setting up fourth-and-goal. Cousins’ pass over the middle for tight end Kyle Rudolph near the back of the end zone was knocked away by Seattle safety Bradley McDougald.

The Vikings attempted a field goal on their next possession, but Dan Bailey’s 47-yard try was blocked by Bobby Wagner.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Seahawks got a 37-yard field goal from Janikowski with 14:11 left in the second, capping a 13-play, 70-yard drive.

Seattle moved into the red zone again in the final two minutes of the first half but came up empty, as Minnesota linebacker Eric Kendricks intercepted a pass that Wilson was trying to throw away after losing his footing.

The Seahawks played without their top wide receiver, Doug Baldwin, who was sidelined due to a hip injury.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Raiders fire GM McKenzie

NFL notebook: Raiders fire GM McKenzie

Reggie McKenzie is done as Raiders general

NFL notebook: Raiders fire GM McKenzie

Reggie McKenzie is done as Raiders general manager, reportedly eschewing the opportunity to maintain his role through the end of the regular season in Oakland.

The team said in a statement: “We are grateful for everything Reggie has done for this organization as a player, executive and member of the Raider family. … The Raiders will immediately begin a search for a new front office executive and will have no further comment until that process is complete.”

Coach Jon Gruden, in the first year of a 10-year, $100 million contract, and McKenzie reportedly have differed greatly in player evaluation and their vision for the roster going forward.

ESPN and NFL Network reported that McKenzie held a meeting with the Raiders’ scouting department on Monday morning to inform them he was fired and would not accept the offer to stay in the role until January.

–Journeyman quarterback Josh Johnson unseated Mark Sanchez for the starting job with the Washington Redskins.

Johnson will start this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars as the reeling Redskins look to avoid a fifth consecutive loss.

“We’ll get Josh ready to go,” said coach Jay Gruden, who worked with Johnson in 2008 with Tampa Bay and in 2013 with Cincinnati. “Fortunately he’s been around me for a while and can handle the terminology, and he did a good job moving around.”

–Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy is day-to-day with a hamstring injury, and linebacker Matt Milano had surgery to repair a broken fibula, coach Sean McDermott announced Monday.

McCoy was scheduled to undergo an MRI after getting hurt Sunday early in the Bills’ loss to the New York Jets, but he appears to have a chance to play in Week 15.

–Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is sore from the ankle injury he sustained just before halftime Sunday but appears to be OK, coach Adam Gase said.

Tannehill missed two plays after being sacked against the New England Patriots but returned in the second half.

–Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche is headed to injured reserve with a knee injury that will require surgery, coach Steve Wilks announced.

Wilks declined to offer more details on Nkemdiche’s injury, and it is unclear how serious the surgery is.

–Redskins tight end Jordan Reed has a toe sprain and might not play again this season.

Jay Gruden said there is “a level of concern” about Reed’s injury, which could keep him out a few weeks, with three games remaining in the regular season.

–Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill avoided serious injury on Sunday and is considered day-to-day, ESPN reported. Also, coach Andy Reid suggested safety Eric Berry (heel) could make his season debut on Thursday against the Los Angeles Chargers but added that the situation is very fluid.

Hill fought through a heel injury in the Chiefs’ win over the Baltimore Ravens, totaling eight catches for 139 yards, including a game-saving, 48-yard gain on fourth-and-9 to set up the tying touchdown in regulation.

–Leonard Fournette’s sideline spat with fans during Jacksonville’s Thursday night loss to the Tennessee Titans in Nashville came after a fan yelled a racial slur at Fournette, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said.

A video released Monday morning by TMZ showed Fournette yelling at a fan, and Marrone said he asked Fournette about the exchange later Monday. Fournette told him a fan used a racial slur, Marrone said.

Asked if there were witnesses to support Fournette’s claim, Marrone replied, “I trust the player.”

–Field Level Media

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Quinn: Falcons failed to meet expectations

Quinn: Falcons failed to meet expectations

Atlanta Falcons: Coach Dan Quinn isn't

Quinn: Falcons failed to meet expectations

Atlanta Falcons: Coach Dan Quinn isn’t hiding from the fact that the Falcons (4-9) are one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL. “As we’re sitting here at Week 15, we have four wins,” Quinn told reporters. “So you’d better believe we’re evaluating everything and doing anything to get it right.” Atlanta has dropped its past five games. Early-season injuries began the team’s derailment, but mistakes and inconsistent play have continued the decline. “As we’re going through it, from players to staff to everything, we want to make sure we look at the body of work and get clear, concise evaluations on everybody,” Quinn said. “When you’re standing where we’re at, it’s not what you want to do, but that’s part of it and what we’re looking at for sure. If you’re clearly at four wins during this time, then we have not met expectations.”

Carolina Panthers: A once-promising campaign has disintegrated with five consecutive setbacks. Carolina has gone from battling the New Orleans Saints for the NFC West lead to being an outsider in the NFC wild-card chase. “Things happen,” veteran defensive end Julius Peppers said. “Your plans don’t always work out how you want them to.” That is certainly true with the Panthers, but Peppers said the team still has a positive vibe. “To be honest with you, I don’t feel like there is a loss of confidence or anything,” Peppers said. “We’re just not putting a good product on the field.” Meanwhile, widedout Devin Funchess, who is slated for free agency after the season, played in just 32 of 72 snaps Sunday in Carolina’s loss to the Cleveland Browns and has just three catches over the past three games. Rookie DJ Moore played 66 snaps vs. the Browns and second-year pro Curtis Samuel played 58.

New Orleans Saints: The offense came to life by scoring 25 points over the final 19-plus minutes Sunday in the Saints’ 28-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a slump of more than 6 1/2 quarters. New Orleans scored just 13 points during its funk — a stunning development for a team that averaged 41 points over its previous five games while scoring at least 30 in each. “A lot of people expect us to come out and be perfect, but that’s just not reality,” Saints running back Alvin Kamara told reporters. “You know, people make mistakes. We may start slow sometimes. But it’s not when adversity hits, it’s how you respond to it. And I think this team responds well to adversity.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Receiver Mike Evans is on pace to break the club’s single-season receiving yardage mark that was set in 1989. Evans has 1,207 yards and needs to average just 72 yards over the final three games to surpass the record set by Mark Carrier (1,422). Evans has three of the team’s nine 1,200-yard campaigns, including his career best of 1,321 yards in 2016. Earlier this season, Evans broke Carrier’s franchise record for most career receiving yards. Carrier had 5,018. Evans, 25, is now at 5,786. Despite Evans’ strong campaign, Tampa Bay has lost eight of its past 11 games after a 2-0 start.

–Field Level Media

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Cardinals giving no thought to sitting Rosen

Cardinals giving no thought to sitting Rosen

Arizona Cardinals: Despite a

Cardinals giving no thought to sitting Rosen

Arizona Cardinals: Despite a completely devastated offensive line and others going down with injuries right and left, the Cardinals do not intend to sit quarterback Josh Rosen. To the contrary, they want him to get as many reps as possible. “To sit him, I don’t think it’d be advantageous to do that,” head coach Steve Wilks said, adding that he doesn’t see Rosen developing bad habits. “(Playing) is an opportunity for him to continue to grow.” Wilks remains optimistic about what he’s seen from the rookie. “You can see the potential and the things he is capable of doing,” he said. “…He has the qualities and the skillset. The inconsistency is there, but a lot of it is not just him, it’s the personnel and that falls back on us as coaches to put those guys in position to be successful.”

Los Angeles Rams: L.A.’s defense wasn’t the problem in a 15-6 loss at Chicago on Sunday night, but NFL sack leader Aaron Donald was kept awfully quiet by the Bears. Donald had just one QB hit (his fewest in a game since Week 6) and went sackless for just the second time since Week 3. According to ESPN Analytics, Donald won on just 18 percent of his pass-rush snaps after entering the week having won on a league-high 43 percent of rushes this season. Despite the quiet night, though, Donald still leads the league in sacks (16.5) by three, tackles for loss (20) by three and quarterback hits (33) by six.

San Francisco 49ers: The much maligned 49ers’ defense shined in Sunday’s win over the Broncos, holding Denver to 3.9 yards per play and stopping the Broncos on 13 of 15 third downs. But San Francisco’s turnover luck remains missing, as the 49ers failed to recover any of the Broncos’ four fumbles. Through 13 games, the Niners still have just five takeaways, five fewer than any other NFL team and a figure that seven teams have totaled in a single game this season. The fewest turnovers forced in NFL history is 11 by the 1982 Baltimore Colts, who played only nine games in a strike-shortened campaign. The 2006 Washington Redskins have the fewest takeaways (12) in a 16-game season.

The Seattle Seahawks are hosting the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football.

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs’ Reid marvels at Mahomes’ no-look pass

Chiefs' Reid marvels at Mahomes' no-look pass

Chiefs’ Reid marvels at Mahomes’ no-look pass

Denver Broncos: After a crushing loss to the 49ers on Sunday, head coach Vance Joseph was critical of quarterback Case Keenum for not attacking downfield more often against San Francisco’s zone-heavy defense. “Yesterday he was a little cautious with the ball,” Joseph said. The bottom line is we got three weeks to play and he’s got to make more plays, and sometimes taking some chances allows you to make more plays. …I want Case to be more aggressive, especially down the seams over those Cover-3 defenses. That’s where the soft spots are, so he’s got to be aggressive down the seams and not worry about making mistakes.”

Kansas City Chiefs: After watching the film, head coach Andy Reid sounded even more impressed by Patrick Mahomes’ no-look pass that had the NFL world buzzing on Sunday. “I’ve worked real hard with him on that,” a deadpan Reid began before cracking a smile. “We build that right into the offense.” Jokes aside, Reid praised Mahomes, noting he froze Ravens safety Chuck Clark with the look-off. “It’s something to do in a practice, but then you start throwing it in a game, and a game against the No. 1 defense in the National Football League, that’s a little different,” Reid said. “You gotta have tremendous confidence in what you’re doing there. … I haven’t seen a lotta guys do that. I was around (Brett) Favre, he did some amazing things that way, Donovan (McNabb) and those guys, but no… that umm… No, not quite like that.”

Los Angeles Chargers: Three days before a showdown at Kansas City, the Chargers’ running back situation is in limbo. Head coach Anthony Lynn told reporters Melvin Gordon is “getting better” but will work off to the side of practice this week as the Chargers are unlikely to go full-speed on a short week. Austin Ekeler, meanwhile, sustained a stinger Sunday but avoided concussion protocol, though his availability for Thursday remains unclear. “He’s a tough kid and he’s been working through these stingers for a while,” Lynn said. “If he can play, he’ll play, but right now I don’t really know.” Seventh-round rookie Justin Jackson is next in line for carries. He had 15 carries for 120 yards and a touchdown in Weeks 12-13 but was held to just 12 yards on seven carries Sunday.

Oakland Raiders: Head coach Jon Gruden distanced himself from the firing of general manager Reggie McKenzie on Monday, despite previous reports that Gruden had taken over personnel decisions from McKenzie and planned to bring in his own front-office leader after the season. Gruden said he does not know yet whether he’ll be involved in the team’s search for a new general manager. “I know (owner) Mark (Davis) is going to accumulate a list of names and candidates, and I’m sure we’ll discuss those people later this week, but right now I don’t have any idea,” Gruden said. He added that he’d like to have influence in personnel matters moving forward. “I think any coach wants input, let’s be honest,” he said. “I’ve had input here. I had input on the draft picks we made when I was here with Al Davis. I had some input on the draft this year. … I would like to be involved for obvious reasons.”

–Field Level Media

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Outlook of Henry’s season changed with epic performance

Outlook of Henry's season changed with epic performance

Outlook of Henry’s season changed with epic performance

Houston Texans: The team’s nine-game winning streak is over and veteran cornerback Johnathan Joseph didn’t necessarily see it as a bad development. “I hate to lose, but probably was the best thing for this team to lose that game,” Joseph said of Sunday’s 24-21 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The way Joseph sees it, a long string of victories makes players forget the pain and torture of losing. “I think it’s a learning experience,” Joseph said. “Sometimes you think that winning is easy. I’m not saying that. That’s what we were doing as a team, what I think, to go on a nine-game winning streak to make history. Sometimes you get that little lapse going on.”

Indianapolis Colts: Star receiver T.Y. Hilton had a season-best 199 receiving yards against the Texans to post his club-record 11th game of 150 or more receiving yards, snapping a tie with Hall of Fame member Marvin Harrison. Hilton made five first-down catches and caught nine of the 12 passes in which he was targeted by quarterback Andrew Luck. “T.Y. does some things very special. He does some things that not many other people can do,” Luck told reporters. “So we saw some opportunities through film that we thought we could take advantage of. Once we got that first one, it was like ‘Ok, yeah, here we go, let’s get it.'” Hilton is 14 yards away from his fifth career 1,000-yard receiving season.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette’s underwhelming season continued in last Thursday’s 30-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans when he had just 36 rushing yards on 14 carries — his long gain was 7 — and caught two passes for 5 yards. Fournette has just 350 yards in six games this season while twice injuring a hamstring and also missing a game due to suspension for an incident in a game against the Buffalo Bills. A TMZ-released video displayed Fournette yelling at a fan during the loss to the Titans and coach Doug Marrone said he asked Fournette about it and was told the fan used a racial slur. Fellow running back T.J. Yeldon said he heard the use of the slur.

Tennessee Titans: One game has changed the outlook of Derrick Henry’s season. The stellar contest against the Jaguars in which Henry gained a franchise-record 238 yards and scored four touchdowns — including tying Tony Dorsett’s NFL mark with a 99-yard scamper — is overshadowing the fact he didn’t even reach 60 yards in any of the first 12 games or have a run longer than 16 yards. “I just had to look myself in the mirror and overcome it,” Henry said. “Continue to work, continue to get better. I never made an excuse for myself, but just had to keep chopping down wood.” Titans coach Mike Vrabel indicated Henry (712 yards) can expect a lot of carries in the cold December weather.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots’ Belichick: Loss ‘starts with me’

Patriots' Belichick: Loss 'starts with me'

Buffalo Bills: In Bills'

Patriots’ Belichick: Loss ‘starts with me’

Buffalo Bills: In Bills’ history, just four players have rushed for 95 yards in three consecutive games: Fred Jackson, Hall of Famers Thurman Thomas and O.J. Simpson, and now rookie quarterback Josh Allen, according to The Buffalo News. He’s also the leading rusher on the team this season with 490 after missing a month of the season. And head coach Sean McDermott said that isn’t ideal. “We’ve got to be able to protect the quarterback and run the football,” McDermott said Sunday. “I know when your quarterback is your leading rusher week in, and week out, it’s not a healthy thing.”

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins (7-6) are in a four-way tie with Baltimore, Indianapolis and Tennessee for the final AFC wild-card berth, and the oddsmakers have chimed in on their chances. The Dolphins’ three remaining games are against Jacksonville at home and on the road against Minnesota and Buffalo. According to the Sun Sentinel, the website FiveThirtyEight put the chance at 20 percent for the Dolphins. The sports betting site Action Network said its simulations show a 13 percent chance. Before beating New England on Sunday, the chances were in the single digits. They still aren’t mathematically eliminated from winning the AFC East: the sites put their chances at 1 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.

New England Patriots: The final play of the game Sunday that sealed the win for the Dolphins is being called the Miami Miracle. It could be called the Foxborough Failure, too, head coach Bill Belichick implied on Monday. He addressed the decision to put tight end Rob Gronkowski in for safety Devin McCourty on the play, an improbable 69-yard touchdown. “It starts with me. We have to play better situational football. We’ll work to try to achieve that,” Belichick said Monday in his conference call. He said the line of scrimmage was too far for a Hail Mary, and that Gronkowski would have been well suited to catch the “deep, long throw” that was expected. That play wasn’t the only reason for the 34-33 loss, he said. “I think there were a lot of things that could have been better in the entire game. I think the game was a lot more than that play, but certainly that play wasn’t a good one for us.”

New York Jets: The Jets are 4-9 and tied for last place in the AFC East. The Houston Texans are 9-4 and atop the AFC South. But Texans coach Bill O’Brien has a ton of respect for the Jets, their opponent Saturday. “I would say that Jamal Adams is one of the best players we’ve played against all year,” O’Brien told the New York Post on Monday of the safety. “I’ve been watching him now all morning and started watching him last week. He’s a great football player.” And he also had kind words for rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. “I really like Sam. I liked him coming out in the draft. I think he’s got good poise. He’s got a really good arm. He’s accurate. He’s smart. I think he can extend plays. I think he’s an excellent young quarterback. I think the young quarterbacks in the league right now, it’s really an exciting time. Sam’s definitely a part of that.”

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs’ Hill day-to-day; Berry could play Thursday

Chiefs' Hill day-to-day; Berry could play Thursday

Chiefs’ Hill day-to-day; Berry could play Thursday

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill avoided serious injury on Sunday and is considered day-to-day, ESPN reported Monday.

Hill fought through a heel injury in the win over the Baltimore Ravens, totaling eight catches for 139 yards, including a game-saving 48-yard gain on fourth-and-9 to set up the tying touchdown in regulation.

“My foot’s bad,” Hill told NBC’s Peter King afterward. “Our people did a tremendous job wrapping my foot. I was still feeling my heel, but at the same time, I knew that man, if you want the W, if you want to be a great receiver, this is your moment to make plays.”

Head coach Andy Reid did not have any specific injury updates on Monday morning, as players were given time to sleep in on a short week as they prepare for Thursday night’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers, but he did indicate Hill could play Thursday.

“I’m sure he was sore this morning,” Reid said. “If I was a betting man, I’d probably say he’ll play. He loves to play the game, so…”

Meanwhile, Reid suggested safety Eric Berry (heel) could make his season debut on Thursday but added that the situation is very fluid.

“He was getting better as [last] week went on, and we’ll just see how it goes here the next couple days,” Reid said. “There’s a chance. I’m literally taking this day by day and we’ll just see how the thing goes.

“…Trust me, it’s killing him not to be out there.”

Reid also indicated that Berry’s injury is a matter of more than just pain tolerance, as was reported on CBS’s broadcast on Sunday.

Berry has been listed as questionable to play in each of the last two weeks after returning to practice in Week 13 for the first time since August. He has yet to be a full participant in a practice this season.

–Field Level Media

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