NFL Articles

NFL Articles

Khalil Mack questionable for Bears’ game with Patriots

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Bears linebacker Khalil Mack must wait until just before game time to learn if he gets a chance to rush New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at Soldier Field.

Mack played through an ankle injury in Chicago's last game, a 31-28 loss to Miami. On Friday, he practiced for the

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Bears linebacker Khalil Mack must wait until just before game time to learn if he gets a chance to rush New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at Soldier Field.

Mack played through an ankle injury in Chicago’s last game, a 31-28 loss to Miami. On Friday, he practiced for the first time this week, although on a limited basis. Bears coach Matt Nagy says he thought Mack “moved around pretty good.”

Mack is listed as questionable for Sunday. Nagy says team medical personnel will monitor how he bounces back from Friday’s practice.

Mack has played in 70 straight games and has never missed a start.

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Sproles among several Eagles out Sunday with injuries

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles will miss his sixth straight game because of a hamstring injury, and cornerback Sidney Jones and safety Corey Graham are also out for Sunday's game against Carolina.

Linebackers D.J. Alexander (quadriceps) and Nathan Gerry (ankle, knee) also won't play when the Eagles (3-3) host

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles will miss his sixth straight game because of a hamstring injury, and cornerback Sidney Jones and safety Corey Graham are also out for Sunday’s game against Carolina.

Linebackers D.J. Alexander (quadriceps) and Nathan Gerry (ankle, knee) also won’t play when the Eagles (3-3) host the Panthers (3-2). Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (calf) was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report.

Sproles was injured in the season opener. Jones suffered a hamstring injury last week. Graham hurt his hamstring in Week 5.

The Eagles have already lost starting running back Jay Ajayi and safety Rodney McLeod to season-ending knee injuries.

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Beckham doesn’t like losing, questions on owner or H2O

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — There are a lot of things Odell Beckham Jr. doesn't like these days.

It starts off with losing and the New York Giants' 1-5 record. He doesn't like the continual questions about his recent ESPN interview in which he criticized the team's energy on the field and its offensive schemes.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — There are a lot of things Odell Beckham Jr. doesn’t like these days.

It starts off with losing and the New York Giants’ 1-5 record. He doesn’t like the continual questions about his recent ESPN interview in which he criticized the team’s energy on the field and its offensive schemes.

New York Giants co-owner John Mara saying earlier this week the NFL’s highest -paid receiver needs to make more headlines on the field than off didn’t draw much of a response.

And there’s one more thing. Despite cramping in two of the last three games and needing IVs, Beckham isn’t a big fan of water.

Go figure?

Beckham hit all those topics Friday before the Giants practiced for Monday night’s game in Atlanta against the disappointing and banged-up Falcons (2-4).

The hot topic was Beckham’s reaction to Mara’s criticism. It was the first time the owner had spoken publicly since Beckham’s ill-advised comments in an interview before a game against Carolina on Oct. 7.

“I respect and value his opinion, obviously, so that’s what we’re going to do,” said Beckham, who added he has not spoken to Mara specifically about the owner’s comments. “Like I said, focus on Atlanta right now and that’s really it.”

Beckham reiterated he has no regrets for his comments in the ESPN interview, noting he tries not to have any regrets in life. He refused to say whether the team fined him.

His biggest concern was the Giants’ record and what he and his teammates could do to change things.

“We need to start winning games and everybody needs to pick it up,” Beckham said. “I need to play better. I can’t say that I’ve had my best season. I can’t say that I’ve done enough to help this team win and I need to do more. Everybody needs to do more. Everybody’s got to pick it up. We win games together, we lose them together. There’s no other way around it. It’s a team sport.”

Beckham’s faith in beleaguered quarterback Eli Manning has not wavered. He said he stands in the huddle all the time and tells Manning, “Take me home, 10.”

“He knows what he’s doing,” the 25-year-old said of the two-time Super Bowl MVP. “He’s the most prepared of anybody I’ve ever seen and that’s exactly what I say, ‘Take me home,’ so we’re going to start picking it up. We got to. We have no other choice.”

While he has only one touchdown catch, Beckham leads the team with 45 receptions for 506 yards.

Beckham said a couple of wins before the bye week would do a lot to reduce the focus on the negative things surrounding the team, which came into the year under new coach Pat Shurmur looking to rebound from a 3-13 season.

The Giants have had 11 days to prepare for this game and Beckham used some of the time to take a step back and clear his head. He’s back in football mode.

“You work 10 hours a day, I say this all the time, 10 hours a day for 60 minutes of football,” he said. “Those 60 minutes are crucial, so we need to take advantage of every minute of it.”

Coincidentally, Beckham has missed a couple of minutes in two of the last three days because he needed an IV after becoming dehydrated.

“I really don’t like water,” he said matter-of-factly. “I’m trying, I just really don’t like when you get that stomach feeling, it’s all slushy, like I’m trying to stay hydrated. Sometimes I just got to get an IV, it’s just necessary. You’re cramping in both calves, it’s hard to run and make cuts and if you’re cramping and dehydrated, you’re susceptible to something else, so I’m trying to stay on top of it the best that I can.”

NOTES: LT Nate Solder and WR Russell Shepard were limited in practice for the second straight day with neck problems. … WR/KR Jawill Davis did not practice Friday because of a concussion. … The Giants signed receiver Corey Coleman to their practice squad. He was the 15th overall selection by the Browns in the 2016 draft. Cleveland traded him to the Buffalo Bills, who released him on Sept. 1. He spent 10 days with the Patriots before being waived. … WR Kalif Raymond was released from the practice squad.

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Browns’ Garrett rips officials after rash of bad calls

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Browns defensive end Myles Garrett roughed up NFL officials.

The No. 1 overall pick unloaded on officials on Friday, criticizing them for several calls that have gone against Cleveland in recent weeks and swung momentum in their games.

"Do your job just like we need to do our job," Garrett said.

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Browns defensive end Myles Garrett roughed up NFL officials.

The No. 1 overall pick unloaded on officials on Friday, criticizing them for several calls that have gone against Cleveland in recent weeks and swung momentum in their games.

“Do your job just like we need to do our job,” Garrett said. “If it’s holding, call holding. If it’s a false start, false start, whether it’s us or them.”

Garrett spoke out unafraid of any consequences from the league, which is sensitive about players criticizing its officiating crews.

“If I get fined, so be it,” he said. “Something needs to be said. If it keeps on going this way, this route, where it seems like we keep on getting the short stick.”

Garrett has issues with a number of calls, but he was particularly peeved about a play in the second quarter of last Sunday’s 38-14 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

With the Chargers driving, Los Angeles left tackle Russell Okung clearly moved and dropped into pass protection before the ball was snapped. Garrett stopped rushing Okung, and several other players slowed in anticipation of a whistle. But nothing was called, the play continued and Philip Rivers threw a 29-yard touchdown pass.

So what should have been a false start instead became a touchdown.

“It was so obvious,” Garrett said. “To my mind, he’s moved, nobody else has moved and the ball hasn’t moved, so it’s kinda textbook. The flag should be up. I don’t understand how you don’t see it. That’s his job is to look down the line and see when people are jumping offside or false starting, but I’ve got to keep on finishing the play.”

And while the score put the Chargers up by 18 in a game they’d win by 24, Garrett said a different outcome on the play could have changed things.

“Momentum matters in the game,” he said. “No doubt. And a six-point turnaround, a seven-point turnaround like that where it could’ve been a sack or maybe a forced fumble if you keep on playing, or just a no play at all, to a touchdown, that’s a huge difference. There were a couple missed calls like that, and that’s not on Okung, he’s just doing his job.

“It’s on the ref and to him to have that kind of integrity to call that play when it comes.”

Garrett also referenced the Sept. 30 game at Oakland when a strip sack of Derek Carr was nullified by a quick whistle. The Browns scooped the apparent fumble and were running for a TD when the officials ruled Carr was in the grasp.

NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron later acknowledged the crew made the wrong call.

Garrett said there were other instances, and he just wants there to be fairness.

“If it’s holding for them, if they’re grabbing us, if they’re turning us, if they’re trying to pull us out of a gap whether it’s a run play or a pass play, it needs to be called,” he said. “There’s no excuse for us. We need to get their hands off of us and we need to play ball, because we know they’re not going to get those kind of calls, but at the end of the day, if they see it, they need to pull the flag out.”

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FANTASY PLAYS: Burning questions for Week 7 in football

A look at some key fantasy football questions going into Week 7:

WHICH SAINTS WR WILL HAVE THE BIGGEST BOOST IN PRODUCTION WITH TED GINN ON INJURED RERSERVE?

The Saints have been high on Tre'Quan Smith since the preseason. He had 16 receptions (three for 20 yards or more) this summer, and with Ginn sidelined

A look at some key fantasy football questions going into Week 7:

WHICH SAINTS WR WILL HAVE THE BIGGEST BOOST IN PRODUCTION WITH TED GINN ON INJURED RERSERVE?

The Saints have been high on Tre’Quan Smith since the preseason. He had 16 receptions (three for 20 yards or more) this summer, and with Ginn sidelined in Week 5 he caught three passes for 111 yards and added two TDs. His two scores went for 62 and 35 yards, showing he’s a big play receiver. Although he was second on the team in routes run, in Week 5 he only received three targets.

Cameron Meredith should play most of his snaps from the slot. He might receive more targets and catch more passes than Smith, but Smith has the bigger upside. Saints receivers have a tough matchup against a good Ravens defense this week, so don’t become alarmed if neither player puts up big numbers. Both receivers should see an uptick in production but Smith has better potential for the rest of the season.

WHICH UNDER-THE-RADAR WR HAS THE BEST CHANCE FOR A BIG GAME IN WEEK 7?

Bears WR Allen Robinson has been dealing with a groin injury this week. He may not play and if he does, he might be limited. Robinson’s injury could make Taylor Gabriel Chicago’s most targeted receiver this week. Gabriel hasn’t dropped a pass since Week 3 and has two straight games with 100 receiving yards or more. The Patriots defense has given up the third most TDs to wide receivers with nine this season. Gabriel leads Bears WRs with four targets within the 10-yard line, so should have a good opportunity to score a TD in Week7.

Jets WR Jermaine Kearse could be in line for another double-digit target week vs. the Vikings. With Quincy Enunwa out, Kearse should play a significant portion of his snaps from the slot, a weakness for the Vikings defense.

WHICH UNDER-THE-RADAR RB HAS THE BEST CHANCE FOR A BIG GAME THIS WEEK?

Peyton Barber may eventually lose his starting job to rookie RB Ronald Jones but it’s not likely to happen right now. Barber’s coming off his best performance of the season, having rushed the ball 13 times for 82 yards (that’s 6.31 yards per carry). He also added four receptions for 24 yards and a TD. He has the potential to build upon that with a choice matchup against the Browns. They’ve given up 4.67 yards per carry and the second-most rushing TDs to the position this season.

Kerryon Johnson could also have a larger role out of the Lions backfield this week if Theo Riddick is forced to miss time due to his knee injury. Johnson has averaged 5.98 yards per carry in his last four games and could be featured in the Lions passing game if Riddick is out.

WHICH UNDER-THE-RADAR TE COULD BREAK OUT?

Fantasy football players have been waiting a long time for Austin Hooper to emerge as a reliable fantasy TE. Well, it looks like it’s finally happening. Hooper has caught nine passes in each of the last two weeks and has over 70 receiving yards in each of the past two outings as well. With Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley battling injuries and questionable to play on Monday night, Hooper should see double-digit targets for a third straight game.

CAN YOU RECOMMEND A GOOD BUY LOW TARGET AMONG WRS?

Browns WR Jarvis Landry averaged just under seven catches per game through Week 3. He’s maintained an average of 11 targets per game, but since Week 3 his has just over four catches per game.

Now he gets a very favorable schedule over the next four weeks, facing the Buccaneers, Steelers, Chiefs and Falcons. All four of those teams are top 6 in most yards per game yielded to slot receivers. If you own Landry, use him with confidence starting this week. If you don’t, his two catch for 11-yard Week 6 performance might allow you to trade for him at a discount.

IF DALVIN COOK IS ACTIVE FOR WEEK 7 SHOULD HE BE IN STARTING LINEUPS?

Cook’s status (hamstring) needs to be closely monitored as game time approaches but even if he’s active, if you have an alternate option, you should use it. Leading up to Week 6, Cook’s practice status was as both a limited and full participant, he was also questionable, then likely to play and finally inactive. With the constant uncertainty surrounding his availability and the number of snaps he’ll play if active, try to minimize your risk and slip another RB into your lineup if possible.

IS IT TOO LATE TO TRY TO TRADE STEELERS RB JAMES CONNER?

No. It never hurts to put a player with Conner’s skill set on the trading block and allow offers to come your way. The potential impending arrival of Le’Veon Bell could drive down Conner’s fantasy trade appeal, but if and when Bell reports, he’s probably not going to be able to take on a full workload for a couple of weeks.

If Bell reports and is activated for Week 8 he’d probably suit up, but it might take until Week 10 before he can possibly work as a bell cow back again. It could even still be a time share. Don’t be too surprised if Conner retains a significant role in the Steelers offense.

Gauge his value if you have another feasible option at RB that you can slide into your weekly lineup. If you don’t, continue to use Conner until he’s no longer a surefire starter.

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Pats’ Gronkowski tops AP’s list of top NFL tight ends

NEW YORK (AP) — Rob Gronkowski is a difficult man to stop.

Just ask the Kansas City Chiefs.

The latest example was Sunday night, when the Patriots tight end had two key catches in the fourth quarter as New England edged the Chiefs 43-40.

He has caught 76 TD passes from Tom Brady in his

NEW YORK (AP) — Rob Gronkowski is a difficult man to stop.

Just ask the Kansas City Chiefs.

The latest example was Sunday night, when the Patriots tight end had two key catches in the fourth quarter as New England edged the Chiefs 43-40.

He has caught 76 TD passes from Tom Brady in his career.

“He made a big play. He’s been making a lot of those his career,” Brady said. “I’ll keep throwing to him in the biggest moments.”

Because of his knack for coming through when needed most, Gronkowski was the runaway choice as the NFL’s top tight end by a panel of 10 football writers for The Associated Press. The All-Pro received eight first-place votes in balloting released Friday.

“He hasn’t played in all 16 games since 2011, but when he’s on the field he’s still essentially unstoppable,” said Minnesota-based AP Football Writer Dave Campbell.

Kansas City’s Travis Kelce was second. He has 33 catches for 468 yards and three touchdowns for the Chiefs, who are off to a 5-1 start entering Sunday night’s matchup against Cincinnati.

“Kelce is already just a notch behind Gronkowski and could top this list soon while playing in Kansas City’s high-flying offense with Patrick Mahomes throwing him the ball,” said New York-based AP Football Writer Dennis Waszak Jr.

Zach Ertz of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles was third. He leads tight ends with 48 catches for 480 yards.

“One wonders if Wentz-Ertz will be a household combo along the lines of Brady-Gronk five years from now,” said Dallas-based AP Football Writer Schuyler Dixon. “It’s lofty company, but the pieces are in place.”

Green Bay’s Jimmy Graham was fourth. He has 27 catches for 349 yards and a touchdown in his first season with the Packers.

“Aaron Rodgers sure knows what to do with a tight end like Graham,” said Nashville-based AP Football Writer Teresa Walker.

Graham edged out Carolina’s Greg Olsen, who has been dealing with injuries the past two seasons. After Olsen, Minnesota’s Kyle Rudolph finished sixth.

Tennessee’s Delanie Walker, who is also hurt and out for the season with a broken leg, still managed to finish seventh.

“It’s a shame he is injured, and the flop of the Titans’ offense has a lot to do with his absence,” said New York-based AP Football Writer Barry Wilner.

Eric Ebron, who has six touchdowns, has been a bright spot for the Colts in his first season in Indianapolis. He finished eighth.

“He’s become a go-to guy in the red zone for Andrew Luck,” Philadelphia-based AP Football Writer Rob Maaddi said.

Veteran Jared Cook, who’s third among tight ends with 32 receptions, was ninth.

“Might be the only bright spot in Oakland right now,” said Denver-based AP Football Writer Arnie Stapleton of the one-win Raiders.

Rounding out the top 10 was San Francisco’s George Kittle. The 2017 fifth-round pick is tied for sixth among tight ends with 27 catches.

“Kittle has emerged from being primarily a blocking tight end in college at Iowa to a real dual threat for the 49ers,” Bay Area-based AP Football Writer Josh Dubow said.

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The rankings:

1. Rob Gronkowski, New England

2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City

3. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia

4. Jimmy Graham, Green Bay

5. Greg Olsen, Carolina

6. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota

7. Delanie Walker, Tennessee

8. Eric Ebron, Indianapolis

9. Jared Cook, Oakland

10. George Kittle, San Francisco

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What to Look For – Week 7 Wide Receivers/Kickers

PRESS RELEASE
 
Indianapolis kicker ADAM VINATIERI has scored 2,535 total points during his 23-year NFL career. With 10 points on Sunday against Buffalo (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Vinatieri would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer MORTEN ANDERSEN (2,544 points) as
PRESS RELEASE
 
Indianapolis kicker ADAM VINATIERI has scored 2,535 total points during his 23-year NFL career. With 10 points on Sunday against Buffalo (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Vinatieri would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer MORTEN ANDERSEN (2,544 points) as the league’s all-time leading scorer.
 
The players with the most points scored in NFL history:
 
PLAYER
TEAM(S)
TOTAL POINTS SCORED
Morten Andersen*
New Orleans, Atlanta, New York Giants, Kansas City, Minnesota
2,544
Adam Vinatieri
New England, Indianapolis
2,535
*Pro Football Hall of Famer
 
BIG PLAY TYREEK: Kansas City wide receiver TYREEK HILL had seven receptions for 142 yards and three touchdowns, including a 75-yarder, in Week 6 and ties for the league-lead with six touchdown receptions in 2018.
 
Hill, who turns 25 in March of 2019, has 14 career touchdowns of at least 50 yards. With his next touchdown of at least 50 yards, he would become the third player in NFL history with at least 15 touchdowns of 50+ yards before turning 25 years old.
 
The players with the most 50+ yard touchdowns before turning 25 years old in NFL history:
 
PLAYER
TEAM
SEASONS
Gale Sayers*
Chicago
16
Randy Moss*
Minnesota
15
Tyreek Hill
Kansas City
14**
*Pro Football Hall of Famer
**24 years old
 
AMAZING ADAM: Minnesota wide receiver ADAM THIELEN had 11 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings’ Week 6 win and leads the league with 58 receptions and 712 receiving yards this season. His 58 catches are the most by a player in his team’s first six games of a season in league annals.
 
Thielen has recorded at least 100 receiving yards in each of Minnesota’s first six games this season and joined CHARLEY HENNIGAN (seven consecutive games in 1961) as the only players in NFL history with 100 or more receiving yards in each of his team’s first six games to start a season.
 
With 100 receiving yards on Sunday at the New York Jets (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Thielen would become the fifth player to record seven consecutive games at any point in a season with at least 100 receiving yards in NFL history.
 
The players with the most consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards in NFL history:
 
PLAYER
TEAM
SEASON
CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ REC. YARDS
Calvin Johnson
Detroit
2012
8
Demaryius Thomas
Denver
2014
7
Michael Irvin*
Dallas
1995
7
Charley Hennigan
Houston Oilers
1961
7
Adam Thielen
Minnesota
2018
6*
*Pro Football Hall of Famer
**Active streak
Courtesy of NFL Communications
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What to Look For – Week 7 Running Backs

PRESS RELEASE
 
PACE SETTER: Los Angeles Rams running back TODD GURLEY leads the NFL with 870 scrimmage yards and nine rushing touchdowns through the first six weeks of the 2018 season.
 
With 130 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on
PRESS RELEASE
 
PACE SETTER: Los Angeles Rams running back TODD GURLEY leads the NFL with 870 scrimmage yards and nine rushing touchdowns through the first six weeks of the 2018 season.
 
With 130 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on Sunday at San Francisco (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Gurley can become the fifth different player in NFL history with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in his team’s first seven games of a season.
 
The players with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in his team’s first seven games of a season in NFL history:
 
PLAYER
TEAM
SEASON
SCRIMMAGE YARDS
RUSH TDS
Priest Holmes
Kansas City
2004
1,017
13
Priest Holmes
Kansas City
2002
1,113
12
Terrell Davis*
Denver
1998
1,099
12
Eric Dickerson*
Los Angeles Rams
1983
1,045
12
Jim Brown*
Cleveland
1958
1,060
14
Todd Gurley
Los Angeles Rams
2018
870**
9**
 
*Pro Football Hall of Famer
**Through first six games of season
 
TOUCHDOWN DAVID: Arizona running back DAVID JOHNSON has 3,678 scrimmage yards and 39 total touchdowns in 39 career games.
 
With a touchdown on Thursday against Denver (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFLN/Amazon Prime), Johnson can become the seventh player since 1970 with at least 40 total touchdowns in his first 40 career games.
 
The players with the most total touchdowns in their first 40 career games since 1970:
 
PLAYER
TEAM
TOUCHDOWNS
Chuck Foreman
Minnesota
45
Marcus Allen*
Los Angeles Raiders
44
Larry Johnson
Kansas City
44
Eric Dickerson*
Los Angeles Rams
42
Earl Campbell*
Houston Oilers
41
Barry Sanders*
Detroit
40
David Johnson
Arizona
   39**
*Pro Football Hall of Famer
**In 39 career games
 
KEEP IT 100: New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY had a career-high 229 scrimmage yards (130 rushing, 99 receiving) in Week 6. Barkley has totaled at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his first six career games.
 
With 100 scrimmage yards on Monday at Atlanta (8:20 PM ET, ESPN), Barkley would join KAREEM HUNT (2017) as the only players in league annals with at least 100 scrimmage yards in seven consecutive games to begin their career.
 
Additionally, with 100 scrimmage yards in Week 7, Barkley would become the seventh rookie in NFL history to record seven consecutive games at any point in a season with at least 100 scrimmage yards.
 
The rookies with the most consecutive games of at least 100 scrimmage yards in NFL history:
 
PLAYER
TEAM
SEASON
CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS
Eric Dickerson*
Los Angeles Rams
1983
10
Edgerrin James
Indianapolis
1999
9
Kareem Hunt
Kansas City
2017
7
Kevin Jones
Detroit
2004
7
Jamal Lewis
Baltimore
2000
7
Clark Gaines
New York Jets
1976
7
Saquon Barkley
New York Giants
2018
6**
*Pro Football Hall of Famer
**Active streak
Courtesy of NFL Communications
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Brees and Saints vs Suggs and Ravens: ‘A good, fun game’

BALTIMORE (AP) — The challenge of facing one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history and the league's highest-scoring offense is precisely why 36-year-old Terrell Suggs still gets a kick out of playing football.

Suggs and the Baltimore Ravens' top-ranked defense take on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in an intriguing

BALTIMORE (AP) — The challenge of facing one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history and the league’s highest-scoring offense is precisely why 36-year-old Terrell Suggs still gets a kick out of playing football.

Suggs and the Baltimore Ravens’ top-ranked defense take on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in an intriguing matchup of first-place teams.

“They’re the kind of explosive offense that gives you nightmares,” Suggs said. “We get to play football against one of the premier quarterbacks. It’s going to be a good, fun game.”

Suggs had one of Baltimore’s 11 sacks last week in a 21-0 rout of Tennessee. The Ravens (4-2) are allowing an NFL-low 12.8 points and 270.8 yards per game and have given up only 12 second-half points.

“There’s really no weakness,” Brees said. “They do so many things well.”

The Saints (4-1) come off a bye with a four-game winning streak. New Orleans is averaging an NFL-best 36 points per game behind Brees, the league’s career leader in yards passing with 72,103 yards .

“It’s definitely going to be a task there, but we’re up for it,” said Suggs, a seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker. “We like this game. We get the chance to compete against as good a team as there is.”

The prospect of facing the Saints and the 39-year-old Brees is enough to make Suggs feel young again.

“He’s been here longer than me, so I won’t be the old guy,” Suggs said with a smile. “But definitely, I mean that just goes to his experience. He’s mastered his craft. He’s not showing age; he’s just one of those ferocious, deadly quarterbacks in our league.”

Brees is 0-4 lifetime against the Ravens. When the teams last played, in November 2014, Suggs had six tackles and a sack in Baltimore’s 34-27 victory.

“He’s the ageless wonder,” Brees said of Suggs. “He’s still playing at such a high level deep in his career, and man, he’s been doing it so well for so long. I’m obviously aware of that they are the only team that I haven’t beaten, but they’ve always had a great team.”

Some other things to know about the Saints-Ravens game:

DEVELOPING DEFENSE

The Saints’ defense stumbled out of the gate, but has looked markedly better in the previous two games. New Orleans yielded averages of 421 yards and 34.3 points through its first three games, but allowed fewer than 300 yards and 20 points in each of the past two.

The improvement could stem from increasing comfort within the scheme of a few new players, including veteran linebacker Demario Davis and rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport.

New Orleans has been — at least statistically — the NFL’s best against the run, allowing just 71.4 yards per game. One reason is that opponents have gone to the air on nearly two-thirds of their offensive plays against the league’s 30th-ranked pass defense.

HELLO, OLD FRIEND

Ravens wide receiver Willie Snead was once one of Brees’ favorite targets. He left for Baltimore as a restricted free agent during the offseason, and now is catching passes from Joe Flacco.

“It’s great to see him doing well and doing the things I’m sure a quarterback like Joe appreciates,” Saints coach Sean Payton said.

Snead intends to trade jerseys with Brees after the game.

“Absolutely,” Brees said. “He’s a stud, man. I love Willie.”

ELUSIVE ACHIEVEMENT

Brees is trying to become just the third QB in NFL history to defeat every team in the league, joining Brett Favre and Peyton Manning.

Now in his 13th season with the Saints after five years with the Chargers, Brees is still searching for a victory against the Ravens.

“I would love to beat these guys,” Brees said. “You always know it is going to be a slugfest.”

HOME AGAIN

Coming off a three-game road trip, the Ravens play four of the next five at home, where they’re 61-21 since coach John Harbaugh arrived in 2008.

“We get to play in front of our home fans, so that’s going to be exciting,” Suggs said. “It feels like it’s been forever since they got the opportunity to see us play.”

EMERGING TARGETS

It took three games for free-agent acquisition Cameron Meredith to make his first catch with New Orleans and four games for third-round draft choice Tre’Quan Smith to make his initial reception.

Now it appears as if they’ve got the hang of it. Smith had touchdowns of 62 and 35 yards against Washington, and Meredith had five catches for 71 yards, including a 46-yard gain. Their emergence has strengthened a receiving group led by Michael Thomas, who leads the club with 46 catches for 519 yards.

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AP Sports Writer Brett Martel in New Orleans contributed to this report.

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Browns missing CB Gaines vs. Bucs because of concussion

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Stopping the NFL's top-ranked passing offense got more daunting for the Browns.

Starting cornerback E.J. Gaines will miss Sunday's game at Tampa Bay because of a concussion, further challenging a Cleveland defense also without Pro Bowl linebacker Joe Schobert, who could be out several weeks with a hamstring injury.

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Stopping the NFL’s top-ranked passing offense got more daunting for the Browns.

Starting cornerback E.J. Gaines will miss Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay because of a concussion, further challenging a Cleveland defense also without Pro Bowl linebacker Joe Schobert, who could be out several weeks with a hamstring injury.

The loss of Gaines would be tough any time, but especially this week against the high-flying Buccaneers, who are averaging 368.4 yards passing per game and have a trifecta of talented receivers in Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin.

With size and speed, Tampa Bay’s receivers stress defenses.

“Stresses the coaches, too, everybody,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “They are good. Make no doubt about it. We have one that is averaging 23 yards a reception (Jackson), another guy that is 14 yards per reception (Evans) and another guy that is 13 or 12, whatever he is (Goodwin).

“They all are making plays. They have all scored touchdowns. Then you throw the tight ends in there, too. They have some weapons. Guys that can score the ball. It is a big challenge for us. Have to go play well.”

Gaines only recently moved into the starting lineup after Terrance Mitchell, who started Cleveland’s first four games, was placed on injured reserve after he broke his right wrist at Oakland on Sept. 30.

Gaines practiced on Wednesday, but reported to the team’s facility Thursday with concussion-like symptoms and was placed into league protocol. Jackson doesn’t know exactly when Gaines got hurt, but said it was not during practice this week.

“These things, sometimes they flare up at different times in different ways with players,” Jackson said. “We had one of these a year ago that was a little different. Once they check them and put them into the protocol, in they go.”

With Gaines sidelined, T.J. Carrie will start on one corner opposite rookie Denzel Ward, and Briean Boddy-Calhoun will take over at nickel back.

Carrie signed a four-year, $31 million free agent contract with Cleveland in March after four seasons in Oakland. The 28-year-old Carrie started all 16 games last season and 37 during his tenure with the Raiders. He was credited with 12 tackles when the Browns played the Raiders and has 26 this season in a reserve role.

Carrie said all of Tampa Bay’s receivers are dangerous.

“It is going to be a challenge,” he said. “All of us on the back end are going to have to really bone up because they have some talented receivers with the guys that they have. It is another challenge that we have always prepared for. Week in and week out, there is always going to be a challenge with receivers in this league. So many teams in this league have No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 so for our matchup, it is about going out there and being confident in what we do.”

Cleveland’s got a major injury issue on the offensive side as well with starting center JC Tretter slowed by a high left ankle sprain.

Tretter didn’t practice again Thursday so he could get more treatment on the ankle he injured last week while blocking on a quarterback sneak in the first half of a loss to the Chargers. Tretter will test the ankle Friday, but feels positive he’s going to play.

“We will tape it up and we will see what it feels like, and we will make a good decision,” said Tretter, who is wearing a walking boot. “I still feel confident about playing on Sunday. I played with it during the game for the rest of it, and it feels better than it did at that point. I feel confident.”

NOTES: Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley said there were plenty of teaching points for rookie QB Baker Mayfield after his shaky performance last week. Haley said it’s vital the No. 1 pick bounces back Sunday. “How we respond to that, how he (Mayfield) responds to a game like that is very, very critical,” Haley said. “It was one game of 16.” … The Browns have scored just six points in the first quarter this season, and Haley’s emphasized stronger starts. “I have told the offense very clearly that we need to do something to get the Browns going early. We can’t wait around and wait for somebody else to do it — for (DE) Myles Garrett to make a big sack/fumble or something like that. We have to do it. That is the charge this week and looking to see our guys respond.”

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FANTASY PLAYS: Players to start and sit for Week 7

Fantasy football in 2018 has been defined by a revival at quarterback. Entering Week 7, the position is 12 to 15 players deep with quality starters along with a handful of others who can deliver above-average numbers, depending on the matchup.

There are also those who came into the season expecting to put up monster

Fantasy football in 2018 has been defined by a revival at quarterback. Entering Week 7, the position is 12 to 15 players deep with quality starters along with a handful of others who can deliver above-average numbers, depending on the matchup.

There are also those who came into the season expecting to put up monster numbers but haven’t.

There will be more of the same at the position this week, as well as some under-the-radar backs who need to be in most lineups and a receiver who has worked his way into WR2 status.

START: Sony Michel, RB, Patriots: He’s arrived to borderline RB1 status. In his past three games, Michel is averaging 105.1 yards on a solid 4.7 yards per carry average while scoring four touchdowns. By averaging 22.1 carries a game, Michel has shattered the longtime fear of fantasy owners committing to Patriots running backs. Even against a Bears defense that is second only to the Ravens in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing running backs, Michel belongs in most lineups.

SIT: Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans: Watson looks like a quarterback with only 13 games of experience under his belt. In his past two starts, Watson has thrown three interceptions and has led the offense to only two drives that resulted in touchdowns. A lot of his issues come from the fact Houston’s running game averages just 3.9 yards per carry and has only one rushing touchdown from its backs (Watson has the only other rushing TD), a problem that will not be resolved on the road against a Jaguars D that is fourth in fewest fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks. Better days lie ahead for Watson, but Sunday won’t be one of them.

START: John Brown, WR, Ravens: Nothing says “rebound” like facing the Saints pass defense that is the most fantasy-friendly unit against opposing receivers. Brown had only three targets last week against the Titans but should easily return to the nearly nine targets per game he had before that. New Orleans has given up 21 passes of at least 20 yards, which plays well for Brown, who had at least one catch for better than 20 yards in each game prior last week. Expect at least 2-3 shots up top to Brown, who’ll make the most of the opportunities.

SIT: Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings: Although Cook practiced Wednesday without a hitch, the weekly saga continues for owners of Cook. He has only 10 touches over the last four games and even if he does get on the field, there’s no guarantee how many touches he’ll see. Cook could miss out on a Jets defense that is a modest 17th against the run, which means Latavius Murray owners should be ready to plug him in as either an RB2 or flex if Cook is either limited or completely unavailable.

START: Marquise Goodwin, WR, 49ers: Finally healthy, Goodwin torched the Packers for 126 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just four catches. The Rams secondary has struggled without injured All-Pro corner Aqib Talib, having allowed nine touchdown passes in the last four games. Expect Goodwin — who has just 14 targets all season — to approach double digits in a game where the 49ers will likely be playing catch-up. Niners quarterback C.J. Beathard has thrown two touchdown passes in three straight games and is likely to keep that streak if he gets Goodwin involved from the outset.

SIT: Jordan Howard, RB, Bears: Howard has just one touchdown thus far and has become almost nonexistent in the Chicago passing game. Tarik Cohen continues to eat away into his snaps and Howard’s 3.5 yards per carry only makes using him tougher. Even though the Patriots are a middle of the road run defense (18th overall), Howard probably deserves to be benched, especially in PPR formats.

START: C.J. Uzomah, TE, Bengals: Uzomah is a big, athletic target who has caught eight of the nine passes thrown in his direction the past two games and gets a chance to make his fantasy mark against a Chiefs defense that is 30th in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing tight ends. Kansas City last in passing yards allowed, and if they become too focused on stopping receivers A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd, Uzomah will have the middle of the field to himself for much of Sunday night. He’s likely available in most leagues.

SIT: Evan Engram, TE, Giants: Everything is pointing in the direction of Engram returning to the lineup but he’s not a lock and with the G-Men playing on Monday night, fantasy owners will be taking a high risk in assuming the potential TE1 will be on the field. Engram has an impressive 77 percent catch rate and should develop into a must-start performer; however, that development might be best served until next week for fantasy owners.

START: Josh Gordon, WR, Patriots: The Bears secondary gives up catches to opposing receivers at a 71 percent rate. Gordon’s workload has increased with each game, and it’s not a stretch to envision him getting double-digit targets on Sunday. This has a good chance of being Gordon’s best fantasy game since arriving to New England.

SIT: Lamar Miller, RB, Texans: Even if it wasn’t against the Jaguars, Miller merits time on the bench, managing 105 yards on 39 carries in the last three games, a 2.7 yards per carry average. D’Onta Foreman is one to two weeks away, so Miller’s owners should consider stashing Foreman if possible.

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Chiefs defense continues to hold back electrifying offense

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The only thing that might hold back the Kansas City Chiefs this season is their defense.

That's because they haven't been able to hold back anybody.

While the Chiefs have earned plenty of attention for their record-setting offense, led by Patrick Mahomes and several skill-position studs, the defense has struggled

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The only thing that might hold back the Kansas City Chiefs this season is their defense.

That’s because they haven’t been able to hold back anybody.

While the Chiefs have earned plenty of attention for their record-setting offense, led by Patrick Mahomes and several skill-position studs, the defense has struggled six weeks into the season.

The unit is allowing a league-high 468.2 yards and more than 28 points per game.

The latest glaring letdown came last Sunday night in New England, when the Chiefs had just forged a 40-all tie with 3 minutes left on Mahomes’ 75-yard touchdown toss to Tyreek Hill. Their defense proceeded to allow Tom Brady and Co. to march the length of the field, getting within range for Stephen Gostkowski to drill a point-blank field goal and give the Patriots the win.

“When you score 40 points and you lose, you’ve got to look yourself in the mirror,” Chiefs cornerback Orlando Scandrick said. “This team has got great character. It’s one of the best groups of guys I’ve been around in my whole 11-year career. We’ll be fine. I’m not worried about it at all.”

That makes one person.

Among fans in bars and restaurants or call-ins on sports-talk radio, the biggest source of angst this week has been the porous defense. And the biggest point of discussion has been defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, whose group struggled so much last season that some thought he would be fired.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid decided to stick with him, preferring continuity over change, and the result has been — well, a continuation of last season. The defensive line has been pushed around to the tune of 127.8 yards rushing per game, and the secondary is second-to-last in the NFL in yards passing.

“I don’t want to single out anybody for not meeting supposed expectations,” Sutton said Thursday. “I think everybody needs to elevate their game. You don’t make quantum leaps. You make these small improvements individually, and you hope collectively if we all do that we have a chance to move this in the direction we’d all like it to be going.”

Still, the Patriots were particularly successful last weekend.

Sony Michel and James White helped to grind out 173 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, and Brady was 24 of 35 or 340 yards and a score. His favorite target down the stretch was Rob Gronkowski, who had three catches for 97 yards and helped set up the winning field goal.

“They got us on a couple of big plays there,” Reid acknowledged. “Bob goes back and evaluates it, we talk — ‘What can we help the guys with? What can the guys do to help themselves?’ We’re in it just like the players are in it. We’re going to get you in the best position and if you are, then you have to look at technique. But our guys stand up. They tell you, ‘Hey, listen, I messed up.’

“If you have that you get better,” Reid continued. “If there’s a wall, eh, you’re average. But we all take responsibility and that’s what is important.”

Reid is the last to make excuses, but the Chiefs defense has two readily available.

The first is the fact that Kansas City has roared to big leads in many of its games, forcing its opponents to air it out from behind. Many of the yards that the Chargers’ Philip Rivers, the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger and the Jaguars’ Blake Bortles put up came in garbage time.

They count toward the stats. They didn’t count much toward the outcome.

The second is injuries, which began hitting the Chiefs defense in training camp and have continued to be a problem. They’re down three safeties in Eric Berry, Daniel Sorensen and Armani Watts — Berry and Sorensen are hopeful of playing this season — along with top pass rusher Justin Houston.

Throw in nagging injuries to Dee Ford and Tanoh Kpassagnon, and the Chiefs were forced last week to sign Frank Zombo, who was cut in training camp, to give them some insurance against more injuries.

“Unfortunately you’re going to have injuries,” Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said, “but people come in and learn the scheme and have to be ready the same week. It’s part of the business.”

Or, as Ford said, “you have to answer the bell at the end of the day.”

“We know that as a defense as a whole, we have to keep rocking and rolling,” he said. “There’s just a bunch of little things that we need to correct.”

Notes: Safety Eric Berry (heel), outside linebacker Justin Houston (hamstring) and C Mitch Morse (concussion) did not practice Thursday. … P Dustin Colquitt is averaging a career-best 48.7 yards per punt, and special teams coach Dave Toub said there’s a couple reasons for it. “We haven’t had a lot of punts,” Toub said, “and it’s still warm. It’s not winter yet. The cold weather hasn’t hit. It’s going to get harder as it gets further on, but he’s off to a really good start.”

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Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 7

Key takeaways from week 6:

  • Rams, Patriots, and Chiefs remain in top three spots
  • LA Chargers are 4-2, with losses only to the LA Rams, KC Chiefs
  • Biggest jump: New York Jets (+42.9%)
  • Biggest drop: New York Giants (-100.00%)
  • No change: Lions, Vikings (0%)

Super Bowl 53 Odds

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Key takeaways from week 6:

  • Rams, Patriots, and Chiefs remain in top three spots
  • LA Chargers are 4-2, with losses only to the LA Rams, KC Chiefs
  • Biggest jump: New York Jets (+42.9%)
  • Biggest drop: New York Giants (-100.00%)
  • No change: Lions, Vikings (0%)

Super Bowl 53 Odds


Martin is a data analyst that has been applauded for his ability to make the complex simple. He grew up on a farm in northern Vermont and spent his summers helping his mom lead llama treks at Smugglers’ Notch Resort.

Martin graduated from University of Vermont with a degree in Mathematics. After graduation he left Vermont to work for an educational nonprofit called City Year for two years, and followed that up by attending the data science immersive program at Galvanize in Denver. He is an avid Green Bay Packer fan, and spends his free time playing football and soccer.

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Belichick: Don’t compare Bears’ Mack to LT just yet

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — No matter how dominant Chicago Bears star pass rusher Khalil Mack is, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick wanted to make one thing clear.

He's no L.T.

"Wait a minute, we're talking about Lawrence Taylor now," Belichick said Wednesday. "Yeah, I'm not putting anybody in Lawrence Taylor's class. So, you

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — No matter how dominant Chicago Bears star pass rusher Khalil Mack is, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick wanted to make one thing clear.

He’s no L.T.

“Wait a minute, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor now,” Belichick said Wednesday. “Yeah, I’m not putting anybody in Lawrence Taylor’s class. So, you can put everybody down below that. With a lot of respect to a lot of good players now, but we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor.”

The Patriots visit the Bears this week and that means Belichick will get an up-close look at one of the game’s top outside linebackers, assuming Mack is ready to play after injuring his ankle last week.

Belichick knows the Patriots could have their hands full with a two-time All-Pro and havoc-wreaking edge rusher who has energized a struggling franchise. He’s just not ready to place Mack — or anyone else — on Taylor’s level.

“He’s already had a huge impact on the Bears’ defense in the first five games,” said Belichick who was Taylor’s position coach and then defensive coordinator with the New York Giants.

“So, I’m not taking anything away from him. You’re talking about Lawrence Taylor, you’re talking about probably the greatest defensive player in the history of the game. So, I think it’s a little early. I mean, look, I wouldn’t put anybody in Lawrence Taylor’s category. Not that I’ve seen. And I’ve seen a lot of great players.”

Whether Mack will play this week is up in the air after he was injured in an overtime loss at Miami. He did not practice Wednesday, and coach Matt Nagy said he is day to day.

Mack was hurt early in the game against the Dolphins and his 2018 streak of at least one sack and one forced fumble in each game ended. Playing without him would be a huge blow, particularly with Tom Brady and the Patriots visiting on Sunday.

“We’re just going to continue to keep an eye on it and make sure whatever we do, we’re more cautious than anything,” Nagy said. “I believe in that and I think it’s important to go that route.”

Mack has not missed a game since Oakland drafted him with the No. 5 overall pick in 2014. Chicago acquired him from the Raiders just before the start of the season, after he held out the entire offseason and preseason trying to secure a long-term deal rather than play under the final season of his rookie contract. Mack and the Bears then agreed to a six-year, $141 million extension that guarantees $90 million.

The trade for Mack has boosted a franchise with four straight last-place finishes in the NFC North. Despite the loss at Miami, the Bears (3-2) remain in sole possession of the division lead for the first time since late in the 2013 season. But the defense wasn’t the same against the Dolphins with Mack at less than 100 percent.

The pass rush never got to Miami quarterback Brock Osweiler, and the Bears’ league-best run defense was trampled by 35-year-old running back Frank Gore for 101 of Miami’s 161 yards rushing.

Missed tackles on Albert Wilson contributed to two shorter passes going for long touchdowns to cap off a rough game in the heat for the Bears.

“I guess it happens every once in a while, not maybe to that extent, to have that much of an impact on a game,” said cornerback Kyle Fuller, who had two interceptions. “But it’s one of those things we just learn from it and move forward.”

NOTES: CB Prince Amukamara (hamstring), WR Allen Robinson (groin) and LG Eric Kush (neck) were limited in practice. DB Marcus Cooper (hamstring) did not participate.

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AP Sports Writer Kyle Hightower contributed to this report.

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Browns’ Mayfield ready to get past ‘worst loss’ of career

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Baker Mayfield bravely stood in the pocket last week, held the ball — sometimes for too long — and took some punishing shots from the Los Angeles Chargers.

He hasn't recovered.

Physically, he's fine. Mentally, Cleveland's quarterback hasn't healed.

"That is the worst loss that I have ever had," Mayfield said

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Baker Mayfield bravely stood in the pocket last week, held the ball — sometimes for too long — and took some punishing shots from the Los Angeles Chargers.

He hasn’t recovered.

Physically, he’s fine. Mentally, Cleveland’s quarterback hasn’t healed.

“That is the worst loss that I have ever had,” Mayfield said Wednesday.

For the first time this season, the Browns (2-3-1) weren’t competitive in Sunday’s 38-14 loss to the Chargers, and Mayfield looked like what he is: a rookie who is going to make mistakes and take some lumps from time to time.

But as he and his teammates prepare to play at Tampa Bay on Sunday, the No. 1 overall pick is showing leadership and a resolve not to let it happen again. The Browns may soon find out how far they’ve come — or how far they’ve got to go.

“Any loss like that hurts,” Mayfield said. “You have to push forward and just have to do your job, and you will find out what this team is made of. It is never about the week before or if you win or lose — it is how you react from it. Coming off of a loss, we will really see what this team is made of.”

Mayfield’s third career pro start was one of the worst of his football life. He completed just 22 of 46 passes (48 percent) for 238 yards with two interceptions.

For a player who completed 71 percent of his passes last season at Oklahoma and 69 percent over four years (the first at Texas Tech), Mayfield’s inaccuracy against the Chargers was an anomaly.

It was the first time his completion rate was under 50 percent since Nov. 21, 2015, when he went 9 of 20 against TCU. However, he only played the first half of that game because of a concussion.

Mayfield only twice completed less than 50 percent of his passes in 48 college games, which is why he was so despondent about his performance last week.

“Mathematically, which I think goes hand in hand with emotionally,” he said when asked why he called it his worst loss. “Just did not play well, plain and simple. No way around it. It was not fun.”

Cleveland’s offensive line struggled to protect Mayfield, whose mobility was impacted when he slipped and tweaked his ankle while running out of bounds in the first quarter. The Chargers were able to keep Mayfield from rolling out and making plays.

But perhaps more problematic was Mayfield missed open receivers, misread coverages and didn’t release the ball quickly enough. There were plays when a simple dump-off throw to a running back would have been a better option.

“Kudos to them for doing their job,” Mayfield said of the Chargers. “They did it well. At the same time, if I get the ball out of my hands, then none of that really matters. It just comes down to me not doing my job to the best of my ability, plain and simple. There is no way around it. I have to be better for this team and be that for our offense.”

Browns coach Hue Jackson was pleased to hear that Mayfield was accountable. However, it wasn’t entirely his fault as Cleveland’s receivers weren’t getting open and rookies Antonio Callaway and Damion Ratley didn’t make plays on deep balls that could have been touchdowns.

Mayfield took the blame.

Jackson spread it around.

“We have to make sure that we are in the right spots for him all of the time,” Jackson said. “I think there were some opportunities there. As I said to our line coaches, we have to make sure that we give up ground grudgingly for this young man. I do not want people hitting our quarterback. He has been hit way too much in my mind and then he has to get the ball out of his hand.

“I have seen some things where he can improve, but I have seen some things where the unit can improve more than anything.”

NOTES: QB Tyrod Taylor, who lost his job to Mayfield when he suffered a concussion in Week 3, believes he can still be a winning NFL starter. The 29-year-old said he has not considered asking for a trade. “My mindset is to continue to keep helping this team,” Taylor said in his first extensive interview since getting hurt. “It’s a new role for me.” Taylor will be a free agent after the season, and Jackson expects him to finish it with the Browns. “Until someone tells me something differently,” Jackson said. “He is our backup quarterback.” … Starting C JC Tretter (ankle) did not practice, but Jackson thinks he’ll be ready for Sunday. If not, rookie Austin Corbett will start.

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Jets, Darnold to face QB who spurned team

 

 

Buffalo Bills: Defensive tackle Kyle Williams is in his 13th NFL season and has played only in Buffalo. The Bills had to work to encourage the 35-year-old to return in 2018, but he said he's glad he did, even though the Bills are off to a 2-4 start. "I came back to be

 

 

Buffalo Bills: Defensive tackle Kyle Williams is in his 13th NFL season and has played only in Buffalo. The Bills had to work to encourage the 35-year-old to return in 2018, but he said he’s glad he did, even though the Bills are off to a 2-4 start. “I came back to be a Buffalo Bill, to play for Sean McDermott and play for my teammates,” Williams said on the team’s radio station. “There’s ups and downs during seasons. We did it last year, up and downs, as low as it got, and we had to come back up. There’s struggles, and you just never know what’s out there.” The Bills’ defense has been a highlight on the season, ranking as the third best in the NFL and allowing 311.7 yards per game. He has 3.5 sacks on the season, trailing Jerry Hughes (4.5) for the team lead. He also has 12 tackles.

 

Miami Dolphins: As the former defensive coordinator of an AFC East team — the Patriots — Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia said he knows what to expect when his team meets the Dolphins Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium. “I’ve always had battles with this team,” Patricia told reporters. “This is a grueling team to play at home.” The Dolphins (4-2) have not lost in three home games, averaging 28.7 points per game. On the road, the Dolphins have averaged about half of that. Patricia said the South Florida weather could compound the problems for the Lions. “It’ll be a big challenge for us,” he said. “We haven’t had heat or humidity like they’re anticipating down there this weekend. I think you saw in the Chicago game, you definitely could see the sideline with the sun on the visitor sideline beating down on the players there and as the course of the game goes on, when you start to get into those 80-plus-play games, you just kind of wear out at the end. “

 

New England Patriots: Tom Brady will retire — someday — with a truckload of awards, multiple entries in the team and league record books, and lots of rings. But here’s one fun fact about Brady that most people don’t know. Since taking over as starting quarterback of the Patriots in 2001, Brady has more regular-season and postseason wins to his credit than only one major league pitcher. Brady has won 227 games in 294 starts. CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees has 256 wins in 561 starts, according to Boston Sports Info. Starting pitchers who stay healthy and throw every fifth game start an average of 32.4 games per year — double the number of NFL regular-season starts.

 

New York Jets: When the Jets host the Minnesota Vikings this week, the game will feature New York’s franchise quarterback against the man who could have been their franchise quarterback. The Jets made a big offseason play for free agent Kirk Cousins, who spurned them for the Vikings. That led to the Jets moving up in the draft to grab a quarterback, who turned out to be Sam Darnold. Some NFL insiders said this week that the Jets should thank Cousins for passing.

“Cousins or Darnold? Me, personally, I’d take Darnold,” a longtime NFL talent evaluator told ESPN on the condition of anonymity. “They gave up a lot for Darnold, but you can’t minimize the money and how it impacts their cap. They got Darnold at a fraction of the price. I thought they did a good job.” And here’s another take from a rival general manager. “Cousins is likely who he is in terms of ceiling, but at that, it’s good and productive. I just think when you get a chance to draft and groom your own guy to play for 10 or 12 years, it can be special.”

 

–Field Level Media

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Redskins’ defense ready for Elliott-led Cowboys running game

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Even after Dak Prescott rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown last week, the Washington Redskins aren't zeroing in on stopping the Dallas Cowboys quarterback.

"We don't really care about him running," linebacker Zach Brown said. "Him running is not really our concern."

Their concern is Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys' top

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Even after Dak Prescott rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown last week, the Washington Redskins aren’t zeroing in on stopping the Dallas Cowboys quarterback.

“We don’t really care about him running,” linebacker Zach Brown said. “Him running is not really our concern.”

Their concern is Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys’ top running back who’s coming off 106 yards and a score against Jacksonville. After seeing Cam Newton with Carolina, the Redskins are prepared for Prescott, but after ranking last in the league in run defense last season — including allowing 351 yards in two games against Dallas — the Redskins know it all starts with containing Elliott.

“Definitely with their O-line, their running game is something that definitely jumps off on film,” linebacker Mason Foster said. “You don’t want to start thinking about Cam Newton or thinking about Dak Prescott so much that you’re letting Zeke and (Panthers running back Christian) McCaffrey run free because those are the guys who really can hurt you.”

Amid plenty of inconsistency , Washington has not allowed an opponent to rush for more than 104 yards in a game so far this year. Newton was the Panthers’ leading rusher when they had just 81 yards on the ground.

“One of our things is trying to make a team one-dimensional because we know if you put it in the air, you eventually might make a mistake,” Brown said. “The run is just something we’ve got to make sure we stop. If a team can run the ball on you, they can kind of control the game. So we’ve got to make sure they’re not running that ball on us.”

The big difference for the Redskins this season is the addition of first-round pick Daron Payne and the return of a healthy Jonathan Allen on the defensive line. The Alabama products plus young defensive linemen Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle finally give Washington the muscle up front to handle prolific running attacks.

“Having Jon Allen back, Ioannidis fully healthy, Ryan (Kerrigan) — all these guys are physical up front, closing gaps,” Foster said. “Guys are going to bust runs or guys are going to make plays, but it’s about limiting those plays and making them earn it.”

The Cowboys’ diverse run schemes present what Redskins coach Jay Gruden called a big challenge for Payne, Allen and the young defensive linemen. But those guys think they’re plenty prepared to handle the dual-threat ground game of Elliott and Prescott.

“Just hit them in the mouth, get the O-line going backwards, win the line of scrimmage,” Settle said Wednesday. “They got to block us. We don’t have to worry about them. They got to stop us from accomplishing what we want to accomplish. I feel like the more focused we are, the more dominant we play.”

No one is calling the Redskins’ defense dominant quite yet, but the organization zeroed in on Payne with the concept of him being a difference-maker against the run and the pass. Elliott running all over them contributed to the decision to take Payne 13th overall.

“When you have a weakness, you’ve got to address it,” Gruden said. “Daron Payne was, we thought, the best run-stopper — him and Vita Vea — in the draft and we were lucky to get him. Obviously we paid it huge consideration for adding a player of that caliber.”

Payne has been every bit of what coaches expected, but he can’t stop Elliott by himself. Safety D.J. Swearinger said defenders are thinking, “We’ve got to find ways to stop 21” and let the rest of Dallas’ offense beat them.

That’s what Gruden wants to hear, putting the emphasis on gang-tackling a running back who doesn’t go down easily.

“These one-on-one tackles against Zeke are easier said than done,” Gruden said. “Great backs can make the unblocked player miss or run through them for another 5 or 6 yards, and that’s what he’s done in his career. … There’s always going to be a free guy coming, and that guy has got to make his presence felt and make that tackle or at least hold him up for when other guys can get off blocks and make the tackle.”

NOTES: WR Jamison Crowder (ankle), RB Adrian Peterson (shoulder/ankle/knee), WR Paul Richardson (shoulder/knee), LG Shawn Lauvao (calf), RG Brandon Scherff (knee), CB Danny Johnson (broken right forearm) and S Troy Apke (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday. Gruden said Crowder is the most iffy to play against Dallas. … The Redskins plan to hold a moment of silence for longtime reporter Rich Tandler, who died unexpectedly Tuesday at age 63. A team spokesman says a plaque will be placed at Tandler’s seat in the press box at FedEx Field, which will remain empty.

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Chargers release season-ticket prices for new LA Stadium

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers have announced that season-ticket prices for non-premium seats in the new LA Stadium at Hollywood Park will range from $50 to $150 per game.

The Chargers said in a release Wednesday that more than 26,000 seats would range from $50 to $90 each. A

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers have announced that season-ticket prices for non-premium seats in the new LA Stadium at Hollywood Park will range from $50 to $150 per game.

The Chargers said in a release Wednesday that more than 26,000 seats would range from $50 to $90 each. A stadium map on the team website shows $50 seats are in the upper deck in the corners. There are also seats ranging from $60 to $80 in the upper deck with the highest-priced tickets located at the middle of the field. Stadium seat licenses for seats in the upper deck are $100 per seat.

Seat licenses increase the lower the seats are in the stadium. Seat licenses for $125 and $150 seats in the 300 level are $3,000 per seat. There are $100 seats located in the lower bowl in the end zones, which also have $3,000 seat licenses.

The Rams announced in September that season tickets for reserved seats would range from $60 to $125 per game with seat licenses from $1,000 to $5,000.

Chargers President of Business Operations A.G. Spanos said in a statement that he believes the prices are affordable for a family of four to be able to buy season tickets.

The new stadium in Inglewood will have a capacity of 70,240 with 260 suites and 13,000 premium seats when it opens for the 2020 season.

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49ers offense making strides under CJ Beathard

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — C.J. Beathard went toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay for nearly 60 minutes before the San Francisco 49ers fell just short at the end of another tough loss.

Despite playing with a backup quarterback with starter Jimmy Garoppolo sidelined for the season, the 49ers offense has shown signs of

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — C.J. Beathard went toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay for nearly 60 minutes before the San Francisco 49ers fell just short at the end of another tough loss.

Despite playing with a backup quarterback with starter Jimmy Garoppolo sidelined for the season, the 49ers offense has shown signs of being productive of late even if it hasn’t led to wins.

The 49ers (1-5) have gained 400 yards in back-to-back games under Beathard but are still seeking their second win in the past two seasons without Garoppolo starting thanks in part to eight turnovers and a few other crucial mistakes in those games.

“I thought C.J. did some real good things. C.J., he was one of the reasons that I thought we had a chance to win that game,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “He made some big plays throughout the game, kept the chains moving a number of times for us. There’s a couple of plays at the end that I know he’d like to have back where he had a couple of opportunities that he missed. But, he also had a few opportunities early in the game that he made, which was one of the reasons we were in the position that we were. By no means was it perfect, but I was happy with how he played.”

Beathard has completed 64 percent of his passes for 892 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions in three games since Garoppolo got injured. Those are all big improvements over his performance in five starts last year before Garoppolo took over.

His best play might have come in the first three-plus quarters in Green Bay in a performance the Niners hope they can build on this week when they host the Los Angeles Rams (6-0).

The Niners scored on six of their first eight drives against the Packers, with just one punt and one fumble by Kyle Juszczyk being the only unproductive offensive possessions.

But the offense faltered late and was unable to close the game out. The Niners went three-and-out on back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter, setting the stage for Rodgers to lead a game-tying touchdown drive.

San Francisco still had a chance to win it, taking over at its own 47 with 1:49 to go in a tie game. Beathard completed a 7-yard pass to George Kittle on first down but then had a pass batted down at the line on second down before taking a deep strike against the blitz on third down.

The pass was intercepted by Kevin King, setting the stage for Rodgers to lead the game-winning drive. Shanahan said that wasn’t the option he wanted on the play, although Beathard said Tuesday that he didn’t know if he had a better choice.

“Obviously it didn’t work so it’s tough,” he said. “Say you hit it, it’s a good play. But, when you don’t, it’s not. And it was not a good play.”

Marquise Goodwin’s speed provided a major boost to the offense earlier in the game. He hurt his hamstring while playing just 15 snaps in the opener before missing the second game. He played Week 3 against Kansas City before getting hurt again the following week.

He finally was fully healthy against the Packers and delivered four catches for 126 yards, including touchdowns of 67 and 30 yards in the first half. Perhaps even more importantly, his sprinter’s speed forces defenses to provide help in coverage, opening up holes in the running game and opportunities for other receivers.

“When you have somebody who can take the top shelf off the coverage, that backs people up, it opens up everything,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “It opens up your intermediate throws on the three-level game. It opens some of your quicker-hitting play-actions. It loosens things up for the run game and most important it gives you a dynamic playmaker who can create explosives.”

The running game fared well against the Packers, gaining 174 yards on 30 carries. Raheem Mostert made the most of his most extensive playing time in four years as a pro, gaining 87 yards on 12 carries.

But San Francisco was unable to generate a first down on the ground when the game was on the line.

“I left a lot of yards out on the field, especially with my speed,” Mostert said. “I feel I could have got to the edge a little faster. I watched the film and I was really hard on myself. Even though I had some good runs, I had some real busts, too.”

NOTES: S Marcell Harris had his window to resume practice opened. He has been on IR all season as he recovers from a hamstring injury. He is eligible to return to play Nov. 1 against Oakland. … The Niners signed DL Ryan Delaire and TE Cole Wick to the practice squad.

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WRs Enunwa, Pryor, Anderson top Jets’ lengthy injury list

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Wide receivers Quincy Enunwa, Terrelle Pryor and Robby Anderson top a lengthy list of banged-up players on the New York Jets' first injury report of the week.

There are 18 players listed Wednesday, meaning one-third of the entire 53-man roster.

Quarterback Sam Darnold is on there, with his

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Wide receivers Quincy Enunwa, Terrelle Pryor and Robby Anderson top a lengthy list of banged-up players on the New York Jets’ first injury report of the week.

There are 18 players listed Wednesday, meaning one-third of the entire 53-man roster.

Quarterback Sam Darnold is on there, with his right elbow listed, but he was a full participant at practice and says he’s completely fine.

Meanwhile, Enunwa (ankle) and safety Marcus Maye (broken thumb) have already been ruled out for the Jets’ game Sunday against Minnesota.

Anderson (hamstring) and Pryor (groin) didn’t practice, and the Jets could look to add a receiver this week.

Also sitting out Wednesday’s practice: cornerbacks Trumaine Johnson (quadriceps) and Buster Skrine (concussion), running back Isaiah Crowell (foot), defensive lineman Leonard Williams (back) and linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (foot).

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Titans address protection issues after giving up 11 sacks

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans face a sense of urgency to correct the problems they have protecting their quarterback.

Giving up a franchise-record 11 sacks — one off the NFL record for a game — is a beacon to defenses looking to hit quarterback Marcus Mariota.

"The blueprint's out there," Mariota said Wednesday.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans face a sense of urgency to correct the problems they have protecting their quarterback.

Giving up a franchise-record 11 sacks — one off the NFL record for a game — is a beacon to defenses looking to hit quarterback Marcus Mariota.

“The blueprint’s out there,” Mariota said Wednesday. “It’s how are we going to be able to manage that and correct that so that lack of execution doesn’t happen again.”

This franchise had never given up more than nine sacks in a game — and the last time that had happened was Oct. 31, 1971, against Cincinnati as the then-Houston Oilers. Eight different Ravens ripped through and around the Titans’ offensive line to sack Mariota in last week’s 21-0 shutout .

Now they’re preparing to face the Chargers (4-2) who piled up five sacks of their own last week in beating Cleveland, and center Ben Jones said the Titans have to hold up no matter how many defenders are coming after the quarterback.

“If they are bringing more guys or beating us late or right off the bat, we have to be on the right guys and have to hold up longer,” Jones said after the loss. “We put ourselves in bad situations. We were in third-and-long in a lot of situations. The routes take longer, everything takes longer, so we have got to be better and not put ourselves in those situations.”

Making the sack-filled performance so surprising is that the Titans had allowed only nine sacks through the first five games combined. This also was their third straight game the Titans had all five of their starters back on the offensive line, though two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan was knocked out of the loss in Buffalo with an injured right foot.

Lewan called the 11 sacks frustrating after the game.

“We’ll do the best job we can to go and fix that,” Lewan said.

Several of the sacks came with Mariota running, trying to extend plays while looking for a receiver. Coach Mike Vrabel said that will be part of the discussions with the quarterback on the fine line of when Mariota can extend a play or the time to throw the ball away to avoid contact.

“Then also, he has the ability to do some of those things and pick up some of those yards with his feet,” Vrabel said.

Mariota beat Jacksonville mostly with his legs on Sept. 23, then used his arm throwing for 344 yards to down Philadelphia in overtime on Sept. 30. He also ran for 46 yards against the Eagles.

But the Titans quarterback has just two touchdown passes with four interceptions, a similar deficit to last season when he had more interceptions (15) than TD passes (13) while being sacked 27 times in 15 games. Mariota ranks 31st in yards passing (793) in the NFL, and 31 more quarterbacks have more TD passes than he does.

Vrabel said the key is everyone doing more, from coaching to the Titans practicing and executing better. Tight end Jonnu Smith said the Titans have complete confidence in Mariota.

“Man, outsiders looking inside, they can’t really tell the true story you know what I mean …?” Smith said. “Marcus is a great player, and it has nothing to do with him. We’re a team and especially on our side of the ball it’s an offense and it takes all 11.”

Notes: LG Quinton Spain (right shoulder), LB Derrick Morgan (shoulder) and LB Will Compton (hamstring) did not practice. S Kenny Vaccaro (right elbow) returned to practice but was limited. LB Wesley Woodyard (shoulder) was limited, but DL Bennie Logan (elbow) practiced fully.

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Brocktober continues: Dolphins QB Tannehill ruled out Sunday

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — With Ryan Tannehill ruled out of Sunday's game against Detroit, Brock Osweiler will get another start at quarterback, and the Miami Dolphins' super sub is optimistic he can deliver a successful encore to the most prolific game of his career last week.

But then Osweiler is always optimistic, even when he's

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — With Ryan Tannehill ruled out of Sunday’s game against Detroit, Brock Osweiler will get another start at quarterback, and the Miami Dolphins’ super sub is optimistic he can deliver a successful encore to the most prolific game of his career last week.

But then Osweiler is always optimistic, even when he’s playing lousy.

“My confidence,” he said, “will never waver.”

A journeyman already at age 27, Osweiler will start his second game in a row for the Dolphins (4-2). They announced Wednesday that Tannehill will not play against the Lions because of an injury to his throwing shoulder.

Tannehill also missed an overtime win against the Chicago Bears last Sunday, and Osweiler stepped in to throw for a career-high 380 yards and three touchdowns.

Thanks to that performance, Brocktober now comes with a hashtag on Twitter.

“It’s fun,” Osweiler said. “Keep using it.”

Brocktober is likely to continue for the rest of the month, at least. It’s doubtful Tannehill would return next week, when the Dolphins have little preparation time before a Thursday night game at Houston on Oct. 25.

“I know what Brock brings to the table,” coach Adam Gase said. “I know what his strengths are and what he likes to do. I’m real comfortable with where we’re at right now.”

Tannehill was on the field in shoulder pads during practice Wednesday, but didn’t throw because rest for the shoulder has been prescribed. Gase said Tannehill is still expected to return at some point this season.

“It’s really day to day,” Gase said. “Every week hopefully we’ll see progress.”

Tannehill’s injury has given Osweiler a chance to start for Gase for the first time. They were together for four seasons in Denver, where Gase was an assistant and Osweiler was on the bench behind Peyton Manning.

Osweiler washed out as a starter in Houston in 2016, and went 0-4 as a starter when he returned to Denver in 2017. He then signed with Miami because of the chance to reunite with Gase — and perhaps run his offense.

“It’s something I’ve been wanting for a lot of years,” Osweiler said. “I heard a lot of play calls come in through that earpiece that weren’t coming in for me. To go out last week and be the guy finally pulling the trigger, it was a very special day.”

Led by Osweiler, the Dolphins netted 541 yards against the Bears, their highest total in 30 years. Among those applauding the performance was Manning, who happened to be at the game.

“We talked before the game in the locker room,” Osweiler said. “We talked after the game as well, and Monday morning. Payton and I spent four years together in Denver. We really built a tremendous relationship. I think we have a ton of respect for each other.”

Osweiler said the primary lesson he learned from Manning was how to prepare. As a result, Osweiler was ready last week, even though he took first snaps during practice.

This week he’ll get all the reps with the first team, and he’ll have input on the game plan. Otherwise, he said, this week will be no different.

He’s confident.

“I’ve been through some ups and downs and I’ve learned so much,” he said. “I’ve always believed in who I was. None of this has taken me by surprise, but it’s special because in this league, you never know how many opportunities you’re going to get.”

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Jags bring back training camp practices amid losing streak

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars are back in training camp mode after consecutive lopsided losses.

Coach Doug Marrone said Wednesday they will spend the week trying "to correct a lot of bad football that we have been playing."

The Jaguars (3-3) have been outscored 70-21 in road losses to Kansas City and Dallas

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars are back in training camp mode after consecutive lopsided losses.

Coach Doug Marrone said Wednesday they will spend the week trying “to correct a lot of bad football that we have been playing.”

The Jaguars (3-3) have been outscored 70-21 in road losses to Kansas City and Dallas , failing to score in the first half of both games and allowing a combined 802 yards and 49 first downs.

Marrone deflected questions about AFC South rival Houston (3-3), which plays in Jacksonville on Sunday, and said he’s more focused on football fundamentals.

“It doesn’t matter who the hell you are playing,” Marrone said. “You have to get your ship right. You have to get your stuff in house right.”

Jacksonville looked lost on both sides of the ball against the Chiefs and Cowboys.

The usually stout defense got gouged on the ground and picked apart by big plays. The offense was even worse, with Blake Bortles turning the ball over six times and getting sacked eight times. The injury-riddled offensive line was the main issue again. Receivers also failed to create separation and get open, and running back Leonard Fournette missed his fourth game with a strained right hamstring.

The Jaguars are now down their top two left tackles, their top two tight ends, two of their top three running backs and their No. 1 receiver. Those injuries have forced the team to sign three guys off practice squads and five off the street.

“We can’t use that as an excuse,” Marrone said. “We have to go out there and find things that they can do well and we have to do that in a short period of time to be able to go out there and perform well enough or execute well enough to do it.”

Marrone shouldered much of the blame for his team’s most recent performances and insisted things would change against the Texans, who won six in a row in the series until getting swept in 2017.

The message that flashed on television screens around the facility read “humility is not thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less.” A more rare sight: at least six assistant coaches roamed the locker room during lunchtime to mingle with player.

The biggest difference came on the practice field.

“There was no other choice but to work hard today,” linebacker Myles Jack said. “They got the most out of us. It was like a camp practice. Camp is basically about fundamentals, Day 1 teaching, so I think that was the common mindset: let’s reset, let’s go back to square one.”

Not everyone thought significant changes were needed.

Linebacker Telvin Smith stood firm on his belief that everything is fine on the field and inside the locker room.

“This whole week is tough because a lot of people see us right now and they see you lose two games and then they go crazy,” he said. “And that’s understandable. It’s what y’all are supposed to do, but don’t place that on me. We good.

“We’re 3-3. To me, that’s still good in the league. It’s not like we’re 0-6 or 1-5 or something. We battled. We came out the second quarter (of the season) and didn’t start off right, didn’t get the job done. But I think we’re going to be fine.”

Nothing about Jacksonville’s direction will truly be known until Sunday afternoon, after three camp-like practices in sweltering, 90-degree heat.

Marrone’s team meeting Wednesday highlighted all the possible directions and included anecdotes from his past at the college level and in the three previous NFL stops.

“Is it something that we need to hear?” safety Tashaun Gipson said. “I think that was already understood. I would hope that we have the guys in here to understand that coach didn’t need to come in there and say that because we should have enough mature guys in this locker room to understand that we’ve got to get this thing right. …

“You can do whatever you need to do on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, but if you come out on Sunday and play like we did the last two weeks, specifically defensively, it doesn’t matter what we do on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, it doesn’t matter what Coach Marrone says, we’ve got to go out there and play the game.”

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Broncos, Cardinals in Thursday matchup of struggling teams

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals can't run the football. The Denver Broncos can't stop the run.

So maybe the ground game will be the deciding factor when these two struggling teams meet on Thursday night.

"I'll tell you this - and I'm a firm believer in this - stopping the run and running

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals can’t run the football. The Denver Broncos can’t stop the run.

So maybe the ground game will be the deciding factor when these two struggling teams meet on Thursday night.

“I’ll tell you this – and I’m a firm believer in this – stopping the run and running the football allows a team to control the game depending on who is doing that the best,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said.

Arizona (1-5) ranks dead last in the NFL in total offense and in rushing, averaging 64 yards per game on the ground. Denver (2-4) is last in rushing defense, allowing a whopping 161.3 yards per game.

“We need to do a much better job up front as far as blocking, executing our assignments,” Cardinals coach Steve Wilks, then referring to running back David Johnson: “We need to move him around a little bit more. Try to find ways to get him out into space, different things right here to try to open it up some.”

Denver has allowed 593 yards rushing in its last two games. Two of the opposing running backs, the New York Jets’ Isaiah Crowell and the Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley, topped 200 yards rushing, something that’s never happened against the same team in NFL history.

“We’ve had really two bad weeks, and it’s really with our nickel defense,” Joseph said. “We have to fix that and obviously play in more fronts and fix it that way.”

The Cardinals aren’t good against the run, either. They rank 31st in the NFL, just ahead of Denver, giving up 151.2 yards per game. That could clear the way for the Broncos’ rookie running back tandem of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, who have a combined four touchdowns and average 5.19 yards per carry.

But Denver has relied more on the passing of Case Keenum than in the running game in recent weeks.

The Cardinals will be without safety Tre Boston, who leads the team with three interceptions. He didn’t practice this week with shoulder and rib injuries.

The Broncos have lost four straight, the latest a close home loss to the undefeated Rams. Arizona has beaten Denver only once in the 10-game history of the series.

Here are some things to consider when the Broncos face the Cardinals:

BEAT-UP LINES

Both teams are beaten up on the offensive line.

The Broncos lost their best lineman, left guard Ronald Leary, to a torn Achilles tendon against the Rams.

“You guys already know how good he is and what he brings to this team, and everyone in this locker room knows how important he is to our organization,” tackle Garett Bolles said. “Having someone like that go down is a tough situation and puts us in a tight spot.”

Denver right tackle Jared Veldheer — a former Cardinal — will miss the game with a knee injury.

Arizona left guard Mike Iupati is sidelined with a back injury that knocked him out of Sunday’s loss at Minnesota. Right guard Justin Pugh has his injured right hand in a cast-like wrap and plans to try to play Thursday.

MIFFED MILLER

Von Miller repeatedly promised that the Broncos would whoop the Cardinals. “I wouldn’t say it’s a must win,” Miller said. “We’re going to kick their (behind), though. Make sure you put that up there. We’re going to kick their (behind).”

Miller and rookie Bradley Chubb had 4½ sacks between them last week, but Miller insisted they hadn’t unlocked some sort of pass rush puzzle.

“No, we just got on the board,” Miller said. “And if we’re playing our best, I don’t think there’s anybody in the league that can block me and Bradley. … Especially not the Cardinals. They’re going to get our best on Thursday. They got to come with their best.”

UP-TEMPO

The Cardinals’ offense, under rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, showed some signs of life with an up-tempo game late against the Vikings. Expect to see more of it against Denver.

“It was very effective for us. It’s something that we’ve got to definitely consider,” Wilks said. “It’s part of his comfort zone, based off college and the things he did back there. We’ve got to do everything we can right now to get this offense going in the right direction.”

ELWAY’S CRITICISM

Broncos general manager John Elway reprised his “soft” criticism he also used last year when discussing Denver’s run defense this week.

Elway suggested the Broncos must realize that “we’re fighting for our lives” Thursday night.

Asked if he interpreted that as fighting for his job, Joseph said, “Absolutely. And that’s every coach in this league every week. If you don’t feel that way, you’re missing something. If we were 5-1, I would feel that way. That doesn’t motivate me. I’m already motivated to win games and to fix our football team.”

MCCOY’S HEAT

For the second year in a row, Mike McCoy is feeling heat as an offensive coordinator.

McCoy was fired by Joseph after 10 games with the Broncos last season. Now he’s facing severe criticism as offensive coordinator of the Cardinals.

“We’re preparing like any other week,” McCoy said. “Our objective every week is to go out and win the next game that you’re playing. That’s our focus.”

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AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton contributed to this report.

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Chiefs’ Mahomes-to-Hill connection setting NFL ablaze

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill have already developed such a strong rapport six games into their partnership that the Chiefs' quarterback has delivered passes to him just about every way possible.

Right-handed. Left-handed. When Mahomes wasn't even trying.

The right-handed touchdown tosses have earned plenty of attention, mostly because they

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill have already developed such a strong rapport six games into their partnership that the Chiefs’ quarterback has delivered passes to him just about every way possible.

Right-handed. Left-handed. When Mahomes wasn’t even trying.

The right-handed touchdown tosses have earned plenty of attention, mostly because they tend to go for 50 or 60 yards. The left-handed completion, an improvisation under duress, was perhaps the biggest highlight to come from the Chiefs’ come-from-behind win at Denver a few weeks ago.

Then there was last Sunday night in New England, when Mahomes rolled to his left and appeared to be trying to find Kareem Hunt, only for Hill to swoop in and snare another touchdown reception.

That one? Well, Mahomes wasn’t going to admit who his target actually was.

“A magician never reveals his tricks,” he said, “so I’ll just leave it at that.”

There’s been plenty of magic between Mahomes and Hill, though. Their rare skillsets have made them one of the most potent pass-catch combos in the NFL — Mahomes with the arm strength to send passes into the tightest of windows or heave them deep, and Hill with the hands to catch them and the world-class speed to beat just about any cornerback down the seam.

Just ask Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore for his assessment of them.

“He’s a great quarterback. He made some big throws,” he said after the Patriots rallied for a 43-40 victory. “He got it to everybody on the field and he’s a great quarterback.”

As for Hill, Gilmore said, “I’ve never seen anyone that fast. Fastest guy I’ve ever covered.”

Fellow defensive back Duron Harmon saw that elite speed when Hill caught a pass over the middle, angled toward the sideline and raced 75 yards for a touchdown. The scoring strike came with 3:03 left to play and pulled Kansas City into a 40-all tie with New England.

“He’s by far the fastest person I’ve ever come in contact with,” Harmon said. “If he gets anybody in that position, more than likely he’s going to be gone. I still have to find a way to do something, to try to get him down, force him to the sideline. I’ve got to dive my defense a chance.”

Good luck with that.

Hill leads the NFL with nine receptions of at least 25 yards this season, and when you combine his dangerous return talents, he has 16 plays of at least 50 yards since joining the league in 2016.

Those numbers are a big reason why Mahomes is averaging 8.8 yards per attempt, third-best behind the rollercoaster Ryan Fitzpatrick of Tampa Bay and Rams quarterback Jared Goff. Mahomes also has an NFL-leading 23 completions of at least 25 yards and the top touchdown percentage in the league.

“He’s definitely to me the most explosive person in the league,” Mahomes said, “and the way he’s developed as a receiver the last few years, he’s going for that top spot. I know there’s a lot of great receivers in the league but I’m glad I have Tyreek.”

Hill is equally glad to have Mahomes under center, claiming he’s the first quarterback to have the arm strength to overthrow him downfield. And while that’s happened a couple of times this season, they nevertheless have connected for at least 50 yards receiving in every game.

That includes a seven-catch, 169-yard performance in a season-opening win over the Chargers, and a seven-catch, 142-yard performance with three TDs in last week’s loss to the Patriots.

“I don’t even know what to say about him. Pat just does a great job looking down the field and trusting us,” Hill said. “Pat’s trust lets me go out there and make a play.”

The banged-up Bengals get the next chance to slow down Mahomes and Hill when they visit Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night. And considering Cincinnati is allowing nearly 300 yards passing per game, and has the fourth-worst defense overall, they could be due for another big day.

“They do a great job of making you defend the field, and you get misdirection, motion, shifts, all the things they do make you responsible, and they do them with great athleticism and speed,” Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said. “We have a big challenge ahead of us.”

Notes: Safety Eric Berry (heel) and C Mitch Morse (concussion) were sidelined in practice Wednesday. … Reid said new OL Jeff Allen will start off in a backup role. He started for most of four seasons in Kansas City before joining the Texans, who cut him last summer. Allen returned this week as the Chiefs tried to add some depth up front. … FS Daniel Sorensen (broken leg) is eligible to come off injured reserve soon, though Reid said there is no timetable yet. “He’s making great progress,” Reid said. “He’s close. We’ll just see how he does here the next week.”

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Ravens WR Willie Snead makes impression as man in the middle

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Willie Snead has a knack for weaving through a row of linebackers in the middle of the field before making a clutch catch for the Baltimore Ravens.

Such was the case last Sunday against Tennessee, when Snead squeezed between two defenders for a 24-yard gain on a third-and-17 from the

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Willie Snead has a knack for weaving through a row of linebackers in the middle of the field before making a clutch catch for the Baltimore Ravens.

Such was the case last Sunday against Tennessee, when Snead squeezed between two defenders for a 24-yard gain on a third-and-17 from the Baltimore 15.

“He’s on the ground, he makes the catch, he’s getting pushed back to the ground, stepped all over, and he just gets up and gives the first-down signal right there in the guy’s face,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “That’s the kind of competitor he is. He’s all ball, all the time.”

Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome rarely chases restricted free agents, but he made an exception with Snead this past offseason after it became apparent that the receiver’s three-year run in New Orleans was done. One of Drew Brees’ favorite targets in 2015 and 2016, Snead began last season with a three-game suspension for violating the NFL personal conduct policy. He then fought a hamstring injury and finished with just eight catches for 92 yards and no touchdowns.

Armed with a two-year, $10.4 million contract, Snead was delighted to arrive in Baltimore last April.

“Last year just left a really bitter taste in my mouth, the organization and how everything was handled,” Snead said Tuesday. “To be a part of this organization was just a breath of fresh air. I wanted to go somewhere where I’m wanted.”

It couldn’t have worked out better for Snead — and the Ravens.

“To see that you were right, to see all that come together and him play so well, being exactly what you thought you were going to get, is very rewarding,” Harbaugh said.

Snead was one of three free agent receivers signed by Newsome in an effort to enhance a passing game that sputtered in 2017. Snead is the possession receiver, Michael Crabtree provides an outside threat and John Brown is the speedster.

Snead and Crabtree are tied for the team lead with 30 catches. Brown has 21 receptions for a team-high 424 yards and three touchdowns.

“I don’t have the physical ability like John Brown to run by you, and I’m not big and strong like Michael Crabtree,” Snead observed, “so I have to work harder than everybody else just to stand out.”

That’s how it’s always been for Snead, who finally finds himself in a place where his talent is acknowledged and appreciated.

“This is a guy that’s been doubted his whole career — high school, college and the NFL,” Harbaugh said. “So I’m fine if they keep doubting him.”

After starring as a quarterback at Muskegon Heights in Michigan, Snead played three years as a receiver at Ball State before going undrafted in 2014. He finally made it to the NFL the following year.

“Coming out of college, (people said) I left too early, I wasn’t ready to play in the NFL,” Snead recalled. “And in the NFL, it was, ‘Is he fast enough to separate? Can he make those plays in clutch situations?’ I’ve always been doubted.”

Not anymore.

“I’ll tell you one thing, Willie comes Sunday ready to play,” Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. “He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve been around.”

This Sunday, the Ravens (4-2) host the Saints (4-1). Snead insists this wasn’t one of those games that he circled on the calendar.

“This is another team. I have to approach it that way just to stay focused,” Snead said.

New Orleans coach Sean Payton has seen enough of Snead this season to know he’s a threat with the ball, and without it.

“He has a tremendous amount of grit. You see him making plays on third down,” Payton said. “He’s an outstanding blocker. He’ll come across in motion, he’ll get to the point of attack in the run game, but he’ll also find the holes in the zone and man-to-man coverages.”

The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Snead has no problem mixing it up with anyone, large or small, at any spot on the field.

“He can go inside or outside, but man, he makes some — scouts call them blood area — catches,” Harbaugh said. “In the middle, that’s where he thrives.”

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Bears pass rusher Khalil Mack day to day with ankle injury

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Chicago Bears star pass rusher Khalil Mack is day to day because of an ankle injury, coach Matt Nagy said on Wednesday.

Mack was hurt early in last week's overtime loss at Miami and his 2018 streak of at least one sack and one forced fumble in each

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Chicago Bears star pass rusher Khalil Mack is day to day because of an ankle injury, coach Matt Nagy said on Wednesday.

Mack was hurt early in last week’s overtime loss at Miami and his 2018 streak of at least one sack and one forced fumble in each game ended. Playing without the two-time All-Pro would be a huge blow, particularly with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots visiting on Sunday.

“We’re just going to continue to keep an eye on it and make sure whatever we do, we’re more cautious than anything,” Nagy said. “I believe in that and I think it’s important to go that route.”

Mack has not missed a game since Oakland drafted him with the No. 5 overall pick in 2014. Chicago acquired him from the Raiders just before the start of the season, after he held out the entire offseason and preseason trying to secure a long-term deal rather than play under the final season of his rookie contract. He and the Bears then agreed to a six-year, $141 million extension that guarantees $90 million.

The trade for Mack has energized a franchise with four straight last-place finishes in the NFC North. Despite the loss at Miami, the Bears (3-2) remain in sole possession of the division lead for the first time since late in the 2013 season. But the defense wasn’t the same against the Dolphins with Mack at less than 100 percent.

The pass rush never got to Miami quarterback Brock Osweiler, and the Bears’ league-best run defense was trampled by 35-year-old running back Frank Gore for 101 of Miami’s 161 yards rushing.

Missed tackles on Albert Wilson contributed to two shorter passes going for long touchdowns to cap off a rough game in the heat for the Bears.

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Dolphins QB Tannehill ruled out Sunday against Lions

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions because of an injury to his throwing shoulder.

Tannehill also missed Sunday's overtime win against the Chicago Bears. Brock Osweiler threw for a career-high 380 yards and three touchdowns as Tannehill's replacement and will start

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions because of an injury to his throwing shoulder.

Tannehill also missed Sunday’s overtime win against the Chicago Bears. Brock Osweiler threw for a career-high 380 yards and three touchdowns as Tannehill’s replacement and will start against Detroit.

Tannehill was on the field in shoulder pads during practice Wednesday but didn’t throw.

Coach Adam Gase said Tannehill’s status remains day to day. The coach said he doesn’t know whether Tannehill will be able to play Oct. 25 at Houston, but said Tannehill is still expected to return at some point this season.

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Don’t expect NFL to institute a national anthem policy soon

NEW YORK (AP) — Don't expect the NFL to institute a national anthem policy this season, if at all.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell emphasized on Wednesday the work teams and players are doing in the community and didn't say whether the league and the NFLPA are moving closer toward any agreement on the contentious issue.

NEW YORK (AP) — Don’t expect the NFL to institute a national anthem policy this season, if at all.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell emphasized on Wednesday the work teams and players are doing in the community and didn’t say whether the league and the NFLPA are moving closer toward any agreement on the contentious issue.

“The focus of the players’ association, the NFL and all of our clubs and our players is to focus on the efforts our players have continually brought (forth) as their issues in their communities and how can we make our communities better,” Goodell said after the fall meetings concluded.

“They’re incredibly passionate about that. They have brought these issues greater awareness and they are working in their communities to try to make their communities better and they are working on the issues, on criminal justice reform. I’ve been on listen-and-learn tours with our players. Owners have been on listen-and-learn tours. Our players are obviously out there and you see a tremendous amount of work being done.”

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones indicated a policy isn’t forthcoming.

“I think right now we are going forward just as we entered the season,” Jones said.

He added: “One of the owners stood up and said: ‘We have really gotten in a place that’s positive and not that we weren’t, but we benefited from this.’ And, I agree, in relationships and sorting through where we want to go, and I’m so impressed with the social programs that the clubs and the players have engaged in.”

In May, the NFL passed a rule that forbids players from sitting or taking a knee if they are on the field or sidelines during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but allowed them to stay in the locker room if they wish. The league left it up to teams on how to punish players. The union challenged the rule in a grievance.

The league halted the policy in July.

The NFL and a coalition of players have been working in tandem to support player initiatives for a variety of social issues. Last month, coalition members including Malcolm Jenkins, Benjamin Watson, Demario Davis and Chris Long conducted work in the areas of bail reform and criminalization of poverty. Seattle’s Doug Baldwin attended bail hearings and met with grass-roots organizations and the public defender’s office regarding the need to end cash bail in King County on Sept. 25.

Coalition members have focused on voting this month as well as voter restoration rights, plus their ongoing work on bail reform.

“The focus has been on listening, learning, understanding what the players want to accomplish in their community, the impact they want to have and supporting them,” Goodell said. “Our clubs have done that at historic levels and we’ve gone over that the last couple of days. I’m proud of what our clubs are doing. I’m proud of what our players are doing. We’re all working together to try to address those issues, and from my standpoint that always helps make relationships more productive when there’s respect and understanding and agreement to work together to try to make things better.

“When you have people working together and listening to one another and that level of respect, I think everyone feels better and I think that’s important, but the key thing is there’s a lot of work to be done.”

In 2016, then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began protesting police brutality, social injustice and racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem, and the demonstration spread to other players and teams.

Critics led by President Donald Trump called the players unpatriotic and Trump even said NFL owners should fire any player who refused to stand during the anthem. Many players countered that their actions were being misconstrued and that they are seeking social change rather than protesting the anthem itself.

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Jaguars RB Fournette remains idle with hamstring injury

Jaguars RB Fournette remains idle with hamstring injury

Leonard Fournette did not practice with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Wednesday, a signal that he might not play Sunday for the third straight week.

Fournette has missed four of the last five games with a hamstring injury. Coach Doug Marrone told reporters

Jaguars RB Fournette remains idle with hamstring injury

Leonard Fournette did not practice with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Wednesday, a signal that he might not play Sunday for the third straight week.

Fournette has missed four of the last five games with a hamstring injury. Coach Doug Marrone told reporters that Fournette will try to practice Thursday, and the Jaguars then will be closer to knowing whether the running back will be available Sunday against the Houston Texans.

The Jaguars (3-3) lost their past two games and could use a healthy Fournette, who last season as a rookie gained 1,040 rushing yards along with 320 receiving yards and contributed 10 touchdowns.

But this season, Fournette injured his hamstring in Week 1 against the New York Giants. He sat out until Week 4 against the New York Jets, when he injured it again. On the season, he has just 20 carries for 71 yards and no touchdowns.

Fournette’s replacement, T.J. Yeldon, also missed practice Wednesday with foot and ankle problems.

Veteran Jamaal Charles, signed last week, and David Williams are the other running backs on the Jacksonville roster.

–Field Level Media

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AP sources: NFL looking into Tannehill injury

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Two people with knowledge of the situation say the NFL is looking into how the Miami Dolphins reported quarterback Ryan Tannehill shoulder problem on injury reports last week.

The people confirmed the NFL's interest in the matter to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the league wasn't commenting.

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Two people with knowledge of the situation say the NFL is looking into how the Miami Dolphins reported quarterback Ryan Tannehill shoulder problem on injury reports last week.

The people confirmed the NFL’s interest in the matter to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the league wasn’t commenting.

It’s common for the league to look into such situations involving a prominent player. The league is expected to contact the Dolphins to understand the details and make sure the injury report policy was followed.

Tannehill sat out Sunday’s overtime win against the Chicago Bears, and replacement Brock Osweiler threw for a career-high 380 yards.

Coach Adam Gase has said the condition in Tannehill’s throwing shoulder worsened as last week progressed. Osweiler took “maybe a few reps” in Thursday’s practice, Gase said, but the injury report said Tannehill participated fully in the workout.

The Dolphins listed Tannehill as questionable Friday, and the decision not to play him was made hours before kickoff.

The Miami Herald first reported the NFL will look into the matter.

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AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner in New York contributed to this report.

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NFL officiating not a hot topic in formal owners meetings

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL officiating was not a hot topic in the formal owners meetings that ended Wednesday.

Commissioner Roger Goodell noted that there was "talk on several occasions in the context of what the competition committee is looking to propose and implement." But there were no formal discussions on the floor during the

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL officiating was not a hot topic in the formal owners meetings that ended Wednesday.

Commissioner Roger Goodell noted that there was “talk on several occasions in the context of what the competition committee is looking to propose and implement.” But there were no formal discussions on the floor during the two-day meetings.

Officiating has been a super-tense issue this season, in part because of several rules changes or points of emphasis, particularly regarding roughing the passer and helmet use in tackling.

The meetings were far from as frenetic as a year ago, when the NFL was dealing with widespread player demonstrations during the national anthem to protest social and racial injustice. Goodell and many owners spoke in glowing terms about the product on the field, stressing the record-setting offenses and close games through six weeks.

Goodell also boasted about NFL games being one of the “few contents that are growing” in TV audiences. Ratings are up this year.

He also explained that the removal of a rule barring cross-ownership of sports franchises in different markets could be a boost to the league.

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Derek Anderson to start at QB in place of Allen for Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — A week after being lured out of semiretirement, veteran quarterback Derek Anderson is going from mentoring Buffalo Bills rookie Josh Allen, to taking over the starting job for the injured player.

Coach Sean McDermott made the announcement Wednesday, when Buffalo returned to practice to prepare for its game at Indianapolis

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — A week after being lured out of semiretirement, veteran quarterback Derek Anderson is going from mentoring Buffalo Bills rookie Josh Allen, to taking over the starting job for the injured player.

Coach Sean McDermott made the announcement Wednesday, when Buffalo returned to practice to prepare for its game at Indianapolis (1-5) on Sunday.

McDermott ruled out Allen because of a sprained elbow on his throwing arm. He said there’s no plan at this point for the quarterback to have surgery.

McDermott also said a second medical opinion on the injury confirmed the initial diagnosis after the first-round pick was hurt in the third quarter of a 20-13 loss at Houston last week.

The injury leaves the Bills (2-4) turning to the 35-year-old Anderson preparing to make his first start in nearly two seasons. Anderson attempted just eight passes in three appearances as a backup in Carolina last year. He has a 20-27 record as a starter over a 12-year NFL career.

“He brings experience, leadership, presence to the table and he’s worked hard the last week and a half here to get himself up to speed,” McDermott said.

McDermott’s only other option was turnover-prone backup Nathan Peterman, who lost the starting job to Allen after a 47-3 season-opening loss at Baltimore. The second-year player already has thrown four interceptions this season and 10 in seven games, including the playoffs.

Peterman’s inexperience and struggles led to the Bills signing Anderson last week. Anderson was essentially out of football after completing his seventh season as Cam Newton’s primary backup.

Though Anderson is new to Buffalo, the Bills are familiar with him.

McDermott was previously Carolina’s defensive coordinator, while general manager Brandon Beane previously worked in the Panthers’ front office.

Bills first-year offensive coordinator Brian Daboll held the same role in Cleveland in 2009, when Anderson went 3-4 in replacing Brady Quinn as the Browns starter.

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FANTASY PLAYS: Stick with expensive RBs in daily this week

This is one week to stick with the top running backs in daily fantasy football.

While there are a few high-end receivers in play, the way to approach this Week 7 slate is to go for the players with the absurdly high floors due to their talent and respective matchups.

These are the top backs

This is one week to stick with the top running backs in daily fantasy football.

While there are a few high-end receivers in play, the way to approach this Week 7 slate is to go for the players with the absurdly high floors due to their talent and respective matchups.

These are the top backs to target and the cheap complements who make them work on daily rosters:

EXPENSIVE RBS

TODD GURLEY II, Rams ($9,800 on DraftKings, $10,200 on FanDuel): According to Pro Football Focus, the 49ers defense grades 31st in terms of their tackling ability, and yet they have only yielded 4.0 yards per carry (YPC) as a unit. Since Week 2, backs have either scored twice against the 49ers or eclipsed 100 rushing yards with a touchdown.

Ty Montgomery found the end zone against them on Monday night in a game where Aaron Jones also had a TD overturned. It’s a small sample but the inability to tackle is noteworthy against a back who has played the highest percentage of his respective team’s snaps of any besides Pittsburgh’s James Conner.

The price may be steep, but Gurley has reached 25 DraftKings points in every game this season. Expect more of the same this week from the best player in fantasy.

SAQUON BARKLEY, Giants ($8,900 on DraftKings, $8,200 on FanDuel): Three backs are tied for the league lead in targets (51) and Saquon Barkley is among them. To be fair, Alvin Kamara just had his bye week and is still tied for the lead, so his pace is a notch above every other back.

Either way, receiving backs have had a field day against the Falcons this season, as RBs have twice caught 14-plus passes against them. That’s only happened six times in NFL history by a player at the position. Those two backs_Kamara and Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey_both get about a quarter of their team’s targets. Barkley’s target share sits at 22.2 percent. The Falcons have allowed opposing backs to catch seven more passes against them than any other squad.

Additionally, the Falcons have also been burned for the fourth most rushing TDs by RBs (six) and rank 31st in rushing defense according to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) metric.

CHEAPER COMPLEMENTS

TEVIN COLEMAN, Falcons ($5,100 on DraftKings, $6,300 on FanDuel): Both DFS sites offer a flex spot, making it possible to roster three RBs on the same team. With Devonta Freeman on injured reserve, Coleman is worth a look despite Ito Smith stealing some of the goal line work. Coleman has carried the ball 71 times this season and has garnered 51.8 percent of the rushing share for the Falcons.

On the other hand, Smith has only carried the ball 32 times but has received 14 carries in the red zone compared to seven for Coleman. Even with the team being committed to giving Smith a majority of the red zone work, Coleman plays on one of the best possible teams for fantasy production because the offense is excellent and the defense is porous. Coleman is more active in the passing game and he has received double-digit carries in three of the last four games (the exception being the game Devonta Freeman returned before exiting with another injury).

The Falcons are always playing in shootouts and host the Giants this week. FanDuel is a little more reliant on TDs than DraftKings, while DraftKings rewards backs for 100-plus yards, so he is probably a safer play on DraftKings. Regardless, he is simply too cheap for being the lead back on this fantasy-friendly squad.

ROBBY ANDERSON, Jets ($4,500 on DraftKings, $5,400 on FanDuel): The injury to Quincy Enunwa is going to open up some additional targets, as the receiver had been Sam Darnold’s favorite target prior to a high-ankle injury. That 24.4 percent target share will be spread around the remaining pass-catchers.

Jermaine Kearse was the main beneficiary against the Colts (10 targets) but the Vikings have been susceptible to long passing plays all year and Anderson is the deep threat. Thus far, the Vikings have allowed the fourth most 20-plus yard passing plays (26) and the most 40-plus yard passing plays (seven). Two weeks ago, Anderson caught two 35-plus yard scores in the same game, giving him 20 20-plus yard receptions since the beginning of 2017 (and five 40-plus yard receptions).

Anderson is typically an all-or-nothing option but now is likely to have more volume headed his way.

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Future of Paul Allen’s sports holdings remains unclear

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Paul Allen's love was basketball and he delved into professional football out of loyalty to his hometown Seattle.

In the wake of his death, Allen's ownership of the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers and NFL's Seattle Seahawks has come into focus because of questions about how the franchises will move forward in

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Paul Allen’s love was basketball and he delved into professional football out of loyalty to his hometown Seattle.

In the wake of his death, Allen’s ownership of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and NFL’s Seattle Seahawks has come into focus because of questions about how the franchises will move forward in his absence.

No one is providing many details yet about the succession plans for Allen’s franchise holdings in the wake of his death Monday from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His primary franchises were the Blazers and Seahawks, although he also owned a small stake in Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders.

“Paul thoughtfully addressed how the many institutions he founded and supported would continue after he was no longer able to lead them. This isn’t the time to deal in those specifics as we focus on Paul’s family,” according to a statement from Allen’s company, Vulcan Inc. “We will continue to work on furthering Paul’s mission and the projects he entrusted to us. There are no changes imminent for Vulcan, the teams, the research institutes or museums.”

For now, Allen’s teams will continue to be overseen by Vulcan Sports and Entertainment, an arm of the company he created. His sister, Jody Allen, and executive Bert Kolde were the other members of the Seahawks’ board of directors with Allen. Jody Allen may take a more prominent role with the NFL franchise going forward.

“It doesn’t feel like it’s time to be engaging in that conversation. We’re more into the conversation about recognizing what took place and how to respect Paul and his desires and all of that,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday. “There’s plenty of time to talk about all that stuff. It’s not even a factor in our minds. I understand the interest but there will be plenty of time.

“Nothing is changing. Paul wouldn’t want us to do anything different than what we’re doing, which is to go for it and to represent it every way we can until you can’t. And we’re going to go for it just in that fashion.”

A similar message was being relayed in Portland, where Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey and Vulcan Sports and Entertainment CEO Chris McGowan spoke about Allen. The Trail Blazers are dealing with the death of Allen just a couple of days before beginning the regular season at home against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.

“At this point we’re just dealing with the death and we don’t have any imminent announcements,” McGowan said. “At an appropriate time I’m sure we’ll come and talk with everyone about what potentially could happen but right now we’re just dealing with the grief.”

Olshey said his final phone conversation with Allen was in early October with the owner asking if the Blazers GM was watching that night’s preseason games.

“He wanted to talk basketball,” Olshey said. “One of the things that is really unique about Paul is that everything was bifurcated. … If he wanted to talk hoops, he talked hoops. If he wanted to talk music, he called Mick Jagger. If he wanted to talk football, he called Pete Carroll. Who else gets that?”

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AP Sports Writer Anne M. Peterson contributed to this report.

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Giants owner embarrassed by start, wants more from Beckham

NEW YORK (AP) — The co-owner of the New York Giants is embarrassed by the team's second straight 1-5 start and he wants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to make his highlights on the field instead of getting recognition from off-the-field comments.

Speaking before the fall meeting of the NFL owners Tuesday, John Mara was

NEW YORK (AP) — The co-owner of the New York Giants is embarrassed by the team’s second straight 1-5 start and he wants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to make his highlights on the field instead of getting recognition from off-the-field comments.

Speaking before the fall meeting of the NFL owners Tuesday, John Mara was clearly miffed by the disappointments of a season he had hoped would make fans forget the 3-13 campaign a year ago that led to the firings of coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese.

New general manager Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur turned over more than half the roster, spent almost $80 million rebuilding the offense line, made Beckham the highest-paid receiver in the league with a $95 million deal and had high hopes heading into the season.

It hasn’t worked out and the biggest disappointment came Thursday when the struggling Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles came to MetLife Stadium and embarrassed the Giants.

What made the loss even more disappointing was the Giants felt they were close to turning things around.

“I’m sick about it, particularly the way we’ve disappointed our fans,” Mara said. “To start out like this is very disappointing. I don’t think you ever expect to go 1-5 … two years in a row. I’m still embarrassed being 1-5. I can’t stand up here and make any excuses about that. We suffer as much as our fans, maybe more.”

Beckham had been on his best behavior this season, but the losing seemed to catch up to him in recent weeks. He did an interview on ESPN more than a week ago where he complained that Eli Manning was not throwing the ball down the field. He also questioned the heart of his teammates.

That did not sit well with Mara, who had spoken to Beckham about getting his act together in the offseason.

“I think he needs to do a little more playing and a little less talking,” Mara said. “I wish he would create the headlines by his play on the field, as opposed to what he says and does off the field.”

Beckham leads the Giants with 45 catches for 506 yards, but he only has one touchdown catch.

While the 37-year-old Manning has gotten most of the blame for the woes of the offense, Mara said a lot of players have to share the blame. He added that it would be up to Shurmur to decide if a change was to be made.

Mara believes Gettleman and Shurmur will turn things around, and he defended their choice of running back Saquon Barkley with the second pick overall in the draft.

“We went with the best player in the draft,” Mara said. “I still believe he’s the best player in the draft. I’m thrilled with what he’s accomplished so far, and I think the sky’s the limit for him.”

Barkley has rushed for 438 yards and four touchdowns and caught 40 passes for 373 yards and two TDs.

The choice has been criticized by some because the Jets took quarterback Sam Darnold with the third pick and they are 3-3.

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Redskins release defensive lineman Ziggy Hood

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — The Washington Redskins have released veteran defensive lineman Ziggy Hood.

The team announced it cut ties with Hood on Tuesday, but did not make a corresponding roster move to fill his spot on the 53-man roster. The return of cornerback Joshua Holsey off the reserve/non-football injury list with a foot injury

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — The Washington Redskins have released veteran defensive lineman Ziggy Hood.

The team announced it cut ties with Hood on Tuesday, but did not make a corresponding roster move to fill his spot on the 53-man roster. The return of cornerback Joshua Holsey off the reserve/non-football injury list with a foot injury or defensive tackle Stacy McGee off the physically unable to perform list following core muscle surgery could be that move.

Hood, 31, started 27 games and appeared in 31 for the Redskins in the past two seasons. The emergence of young linemen Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle reduced Hood’s role to the point of getting zero defensive snaps Sunday in a victory against Carolina.

Washington is down to five healthy defensive lineman — all 24 and younger — including Caleb Brantley, who has yet to play this season. The team has three weeks to decide whether to activate McGee, 28, or put him on injured reserve.

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NFL wants players to play with a free mind

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL doesn't want players worrying about getting flagged or fined.

"You gotta play," NFL football operations chief Troy Vincent said Tuesday at the league's fall meetings. "You hope that no player is thinking about a rule. We want them to play (with a) free mind where you're just free and

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL doesn’t want players worrying about getting flagged or fined.

“You gotta play,” NFL football operations chief Troy Vincent said Tuesday at the league’s fall meetings. “You hope that no player is thinking about a rule. We want them to play (with a) free mind where you’re just free and you play.”

Chiefs rookie linebacker Breeland Speaks said he didn’t take Tom Brady down because he was concerned about a roughing-the-passer penalty in the fourth quarter of Kansas City’s 43-40 loss at New England on Sunday night. Brady eluded Speaks and ran 4 yards for a touchdown to give the Patriots the lead.

“We watched that video and watched that play and Tom did what we’ve seen Tom do a thousand times,” Vincent said.

“He stepped up in the pocket and the defender didn’t make a play or didn’t create a sack, but you don’t want any player thinking about a penalty or being fined but you hope that he would make that adjustment on some of the things we’ve put in place and that’s not just for his opponent’s protection but for his as well.”

Overall, roughing-the-passer calls are down since the competition committee clarified to game officials the techniques used in such hits during a conference call last month. There were 34 roughing calls through the first three weeks and 19 in the three weeks since the call.

Vincent said the league didn’t advise officials to cut down on the calls, but emphasized to them making sure they see it clearly.

“If you don’t see the complete play, don’t call it,” Vincent said. “That was a directive from the competition committee. That was always the point of emphasis but after the (conference) call and after watching the video, the committee and our coaches (said): ‘If you don’t see the complete play, we ask that you leave the penalty in your pocket.'”

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was penalized three times in the first three weeks for roughing the passer, including two of which that appeared to be normal tackles. Matthews suggested the league has gone soft and argued that defensive players no longer know what constitutes a legal hit.

Dolphins defensive end William Hayes tore his right ACL trying to avoid landing on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

“Every time we emphasized a call, you see more calls in the preseason and first (few) weeks and then you see an adjustment, and a leveling out of calls,” said Atlanta Falcons CEO Rich McKay, the head of the league’s competition committee. “We’re not going to apologize for trying to protect players we think are in a vulnerable state.”

Some other things we learned on the first day of the NFL’s fall meetings:

MORE FINES THAN FLAGS: There have been only six penalties for illegal use of the helmet, but Vincent said between 10-12 players have been fined for such hits and almost 70 warning letters have been issued to players about using the crown of their helmet to initiate a hit.

“We told officials if they don’t see all three elements of it, we can fine it on Monday and we’ll get the conducted corrected,” McKay said. “I think the players have adjusted, the officials have adjusted and I know the coaches have adjusted.”

CONCUSSIONS DOWN: Concussions in preseason were down from 91 to 79, a 13 percent decline. Concussions on kickoffs were zero in the preseason, down from three. Concussions in practices were down from 23 to 9. Jeff Miller, the league’s executive vice president of health and safety initiatives, credits a reduction plan the NFL put into place last year, improvements in helmets in part spurred by the league ratings of helmets and banning of some, rules changes such as the “helmet rule” and the kickoff rules, and the education of players.

“We’re certainly optimistic about the results,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s medical director. “We’ll continue with more in-depth analyses of concussions.”

HELMET BAN: Miller said there were some 230 helmets players used in 2017 that ranked in the red area, meaning they were banned for new league players in 2018 and will be banned for every player next season. Through Week 3 of this season, about 40 were still in use that were grandfathered in.

He noted “it’s sometimes hard to make a change,” but added that players won’t have a choice after this season regarding those helmets.

ADVANTAGE, OFFENSE: Teams are scoring more than ever. The number of points (4,489), touchdowns (504) and touchdown passes (328) are the most in league history through six weeks.

McKay credited the performance of young quarterbacks and the emphasis on calling illegal contact and defensive holding penalties. Illegal contact penalties are up from 11 to 36. After six weeks in 2016, there were 30 such calls.

“We didn’t like the way it was going last year and it led to passing yardage going down,” McKay said. “As defenses get more aggressive and grab more, yards go down.”

Vincent said he expects scoring to “normalize” as teams see more film on the young quarterbacks and he noted weather conditions later in the season could make an impact.

“I believe some of the defenses and coordinators will adjust,” Vincent said. “Players are adjusting all the time and you just need game footage to see what people can and can’t do.”

PARITY IS GOOD: Games have been closer through the first six weeks. So far, 54 games have been decided by one score, tied for the most in league history at this point. There have been 28 games decided by three points or fewer, second-most at this point.

“Those are good stats for us because fans want to watch and attend close games,” McKay said.

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AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner contributed to this report.

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Broncos star linebacker promises to whoop Cardinals

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Von Miller, who once said his job was to sack quarterbacks and tell jokes, isn't in a jocular mood with the Denver Broncos mired in a monthlong funk.

During his weekly news conference Tuesday, Miller repeatedly promised that the Broncos (2-4) would whoop the Cardinals (1-5) Thursday night in Arizona.

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Von Miller, who once said his job was to sack quarterbacks and tell jokes, isn’t in a jocular mood with the Denver Broncos mired in a monthlong funk.

During his weekly news conference Tuesday, Miller repeatedly promised that the Broncos (2-4) would whoop the Cardinals (1-5) Thursday night in Arizona.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a must-win,” Miller said. “We’re going to kick their (behind), though. Make sure you put that up there. We’re going to kick their (behind).”

The Broncos lost their fourth straight game on Sunday, when they became the first team in NFL history to allow back-to-back 200-yard rushers — Todd Gurley and Isaiah Crowell.

That led general manager John Elway to declare this week that the Broncos have gotten “very soft” in defending the run, reigniting an insult he used last year that didn’t sit well with the players amid a franchise-worst eight-game skid.

“The last two weeks we had a 200-yard rusher. I get where he’s coming from,” Miller said. “But that was the last two weeks. This week is totally different.”

The Broncos successfully schemed to thwart Rams QB Jared Goff, who was limited to 14 completions for 201 yards and no touchdowns to go with an interception and five sacks.

Gurley, however, capitalized on the Broncos’ heavy use of nickel defense and nose tackle Domata Peko’s worst game in his two seasons in Denver to run for a career-best 208 yards and two TDs a week after the Jets’ Crowell gashed them for 219 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown.

The Broncos’ 23-20 loss left the Rams (6-0) as the league’s last unbeaten team.

Broncos coach Vance Joseph said too many tackles and assignments were missed and challenged his team to get mentally tougher, declaring that tackling is “really mind-set and want-to.”

“Yeah, that was last week, we’re going to be better,” Miller said.

Miller insisted he wasn’t being salty.

“No, I’m not irritated,” he said. “I’m just confident.”

Miller and rookie Bradley Chubb collected 4½ sacks between them last week, but Miller insisted they hadn’t unlocked some sort of pass rush puzzle.

“No, we just got on the board,” Miller said. “And if we’re playing our best, I don’t think there’s anybody in the league that can block me and Bradley. … Especially not the Cardinals. They’re going to get our best on Thursday. They got to come with their best.”

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Falcons place RB Freeman on IR

Falcons place RB Freeman on IR

The Atlanta Falcons placed running back Devonta Freeman on injured reserve with foot and groin injuries on Tuesday, though they are "hopeful" he can return late this season.

Head coach Dan Quinn said the team thought Freeman just had "general soreness" in his groin,

Falcons place RB Freeman on IR

The Atlanta Falcons placed running back Devonta Freeman on injured reserve with foot and groin injuries on Tuesday, though they are “hopeful” he can return late this season.

Head coach Dan Quinn said the team thought Freeman just had “general soreness” in his groin, but after further testing, the running back will need a procedure to repair the issue. Quinn expects to know more in a few weeks about whether Freeman can return this year.

Freeman has been banged up throughout the season, missing three games with a knee injury and then injuring his foot and groin after returning in Week 5. Quinn had already ruled Freeman out for Monday night’s game against the New York Giants.

The 26-year-old has just 91 total yards and no touchdowns on 19 touches in parts of three games this season. A two-time Pro Bowler, Freeman is in the second year of a five-year, $41.25 million contract that ranks him fourth in the NFL among running backs with a $8.25 million annual average.

The Falcons have relied heavily on Tevin Coleman, who has 71 carries for 260 yards (3.7 average) and a touchdown, along with 13 catches for 105 yards and two scores. Rookie fourth-rounder Ito Smith has 168 total yards on 42 touches with three rushing touchdowns. The team ranks 29th in rushing yards per game (86.0) and 27th in yards per carry (3.8) this season.

Freeman is Atlanta’s fifth starter placed on injured reserve this season, joining Pro Bowlers Deion Jones (foot) and Keanu Neal (ACL), free safety Ricardo Allen (Achilles) and left guard Andy Levitre (triceps). Jones is eligible to be recalled from IR in November, but each of the other three have been ruled out for the season.

Freeman could be recalled from IR in Week 15, assuming he would be healthy enough to return. Each team is allowed to recall two players from IR each season.

Meanwhile, the Falcons are expected to sign kicker Giorgio Tavecchio to kick against the Giants, according to multiple reports.

Primary kicker Matt Bryant injured his hamstring while making a 57-yarder late last week and is expected to sit out Monday. Tavecchio was with the Falcons during training camp and made 15 of 21 field goals last season with the Oakland Raiders.

–Field Level Media

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Mara: Giants need less talk, more play from WR Beckham

 

 

Giants owner John Mara is ready for Odell Beckham Jr. to start making headlines on the field and cease fire behind the microphone.

 

"I think he needs to do a little more playing and a little less talking," Mara said at the NFL fall owners meetings on Tuesday.

 

Off to a

 

 

Giants owner John Mara is ready for Odell Beckham Jr. to start making headlines on the field and cease fire behind the microphone.

 

“I think he needs to do a little more playing and a little less talking,” Mara said at the NFL fall owners meetings on Tuesday.

 

Off to a 1-5 start and with critics lining up to rip quarterback Eli Manning, Mara said the team is embarrassed to be at the bottom of the NFC East and NFL standings with one victory entering Week 7.

 

“It’s not just him,” Mara said of Manning, who took multiple questions last week about his ability to play at a high level in the aftermath of last week’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. “It’s pretty disappointing. I’m sick about it.

 

“When you’re 1-5, generally it means everybody has to play better.”

 

Mara said he did not confront Beckham about comments made to ESPN, but Fox Sports reported the wide receiver was fined. He also was asked by coach Pat Shurmur, described in the Fox report as ‘livid,’ to apologize to the team for being critical of Manning and the offense in general.

 

The Giants remain convinced they drafted the best player available at No. 2 in the 2018 draft when running back Saquon Barkley, and not USC quarterback Sam Darnold, was selected. Darnold went one pick later to the Jets.

 

With Manning’s production down, media coverage has focused on the Giants passing on a passer for a running back, a position at which difference-makers can historically be found later in the draft.

 

Mara said he still believes Barkley was “the best player in the draft.”

 

Beckham signed a six-year, $103 million contract before the start of the 2018 season and said at the press conference announcing the deal that he had learned from past flare-ups on and off the field.

 

In the latest episode of I AM MORE with Uninterrupted, Beckham said he will not apologize.

 

“I’m sorry that I’m not gonna apologize from my heart,” Beckham said. “I don’t feel like you deserve an apology for one, and I don’t feel like it’s necessary for me to apologize for how I feel.”

 

Beckham said in the episode his delivery could have been better.

 

“Like I really went hard this offseason to repair myself — mind, body and soul — and put me back together, to be able to come here and do what? Do the same thing that I was just doing?” he said. “I worked way too hard to just even be able to play football again. I’m not gonna be OK with being mediocre. I’m not gonna be OK with being average.”

 

Mara said Tuesday he has confidence the right staff is in place — general manager Dave Gettleman and Shurmur — to produce winning results.

 

Gettleman made multiple roster moves Tuesday, adding wide receiver Bennie Fowler from the practice squad and placing Cody Latimer on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. Linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong (concussion) also went on IR, and cornerback Donte Deayon was waived. The Giants also elevated linebacker Ukeme Eligwe and cornerback Grant Haley from the practice squad.

 

–Field Level Media

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Falcons RB Devonta Freeman goes on IR with groin injury

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons are placing running back Devonta Freeman on injured reserve with a groin injury.

The team made the announcement Tuesday, another major setback in its injury plagued season.

One of the NFL's highest-paid running backs, Freeman is the fifth Atlanta player to go on injured reserve

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons are placing running back Devonta Freeman on injured reserve with a groin injury.

The team made the announcement Tuesday, another major setback in its injury plagued season.

One of the NFL’s highest-paid running backs, Freeman is the fifth Atlanta player to go on injured reserve this season. He follows safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen, linebacker Deion Jones and offensive guard Andy Levitre.

Freeman has slowed by a variety of injuries the last two seasons. This year, he missed three games with a bruised knee sustained in a season-opening loss at Philadelphia. When he returned for a game at Pittsburgh, he went down with a foot injury and also was bothered by groin soreness.

The Falcons didn’t think the groin problem was serious, but further tests showed Freeman needs a surgical procedure. The team is hopeful he will be able to return late in the season.

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Vikings place rookie CB Hughes on IR, re-sign DT Parry

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have placed cornerback Mike Hughes on injured reserve, following the ACL injury to the rookie's left knee that will keep him out for the remainder of the season.

The Vikings re-signed defensive tackle David Parry on Tuesday to take the open roster spot, increasing their depth

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have placed cornerback Mike Hughes on injured reserve, following the ACL injury to the rookie’s left knee that will keep him out for the remainder of the season.

The Vikings re-signed defensive tackle David Parry on Tuesday to take the open roster spot, increasing their depth on the interior. Rookie Jalyn Holmes has worked primarily at defensive tackle, but he has taken turns at defensive end with backup Tashawn Bower sidelined the past two games and starter Everson Griffen out for the past four games.

Parry played in the first two games and had a sack against Green Bay. He was cut in favor of defensive tackle Tom Johnson on Sept. 19.

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Unbeaten Rams still top AP Pro32 poll; Patriots are No. 2

NEW YORK (AP) — And then there was one.

After six weeks, the Los Angeles Rams are the NFL's last unbeaten team following their 23-20 victory over the Denver Broncos.

The Rams will look to stay unbeaten on Sunday when they face the San Francisco 49ers in the final game of a three-game road swing.

NEW YORK (AP) — And then there was one.

After six weeks, the Los Angeles Rams are the NFL’s last unbeaten team following their 23-20 victory over the Denver Broncos.

The Rams will look to stay unbeaten on Sunday when they face the San Francisco 49ers in the final game of a three-game road swing.

And it’s little surprise that the Rams are the unanimous top team in the latest AP Pro32 poll for the fourth consecutive week. They received all 12 first-place votes and 384 points in balloting Tuesday by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

“Todd Gurley has staked an early claim in this year’s MVP race,” Newsday said Bob Glauber. “With 208 rushing yards and two touchdowns, he kept the Rams unbeaten with a narrow road win at Denver.”

The New England Patriots are inching their way back to the top. The Patriots moved two spots to No. 2 after their 43-40 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

“Death. Taxes. Patriots,” said Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk.

The Chiefs slipped a spot to No. 3 after their first loss of the season. The Chiefs will host the Cincinnati Bengals in their second consecutive Sunday night matchup.

The Bengals dropped three spots to No. 8 after their 28-21 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers, who have won two in a row, climbed three spots to No. 9 as they enter their bye week.

The New Orleans Saints, coming off their bye week, fell a spot to No. 4. They return to action this week against the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens jumped four spots to No. 6 after their 21-0 rout of the Tennessee Titans, in which they had a franchise-record 11 sacks.

“The Ravens play serious defense, which is a rarity in the new-age NFL,” said Ira Kaufman of Fox 13 in Tampa, Florida.

Another team making a big climb was the Los Angeles Chargers, who moved six spots to No. 5 after routing the Cleveland Browns 38-14. The Chargers face the Titans in London for a game at Wembley Stadium.

The Minnesota Vikings moved up two spots to No. 7 after topping the Arizona Cardinals.

The defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles jumped five places to round out the top 10.

“(Carson) Wentz getting stronger,” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki said.

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AP source: Bills QB Allen diagnosed with sprained elbow

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — A person with direct knowledge of Josh Allen's injury tells The Associated Press the Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback has been diagnosed with a sprained right elbow on his throwing arm and is not expected to play against Indianapolis on Sunday.

The person says Allen's playing status is considered week to

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — A person with direct knowledge of Josh Allen’s injury tells The Associated Press the Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback has been diagnosed with a sprained right elbow on his throwing arm and is not expected to play against Indianapolis on Sunday.

The person says Allen’s playing status is considered week to week as opposed to being indefinite. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity because the team has not revealed the nature of the injury.

The first-round draft pick was hurt while being hit on both sides shortly after completing a pass in the third quarter of a 20-13 loss at Houston on Sunday.

The injury leaves Buffalo choosing between turnover-prone Nathan Peterman and newly signed veteran Derek Anderson to start Sunday.

Peterman has thrown four interceptions this season, including two in the final two minutes against Houston. The second-year player lost the starting job after faltering in a 47-3 season-opening loss at Baltimore.

Anderson is a 12-year veteran who was lured out of semiretirement to sign with Buffalo last week to mentor Allen. The 35-year-old Anderson attempted just eight passes in three appearances with Carolina last season, and hasn’t started a game in nearly two years.

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STATEMENT FROM NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL ON THE PASSING OF PAUL ALLEN

STATEMENT FROM NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL
ON THE PASSING OF PAUL ALLEN
 
"Paul Allen was the driving force behind keeping the NFL in the Pacific Northwest.  His vision led to the construction of CenturyLink Field and the building of a team that played in three Super Bowls, winning the championship in Super Bowl XLVIII. 
STATEMENT FROM NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL
ON THE PASSING OF PAUL ALLEN
 
“Paul Allen was the driving force behind keeping the NFL in the Pacific Northwest.  His vision led to the construction of CenturyLink Field and the building of a team that played in three Super Bowls, winning the championship in Super Bowl XLVIII.  The raising of the “12th Man” flag at the start of every Seahawks home game was Paul’s tribute to the extraordinary fan base in the Seattle community. His passion for the game, combined with his quiet determination, led to a model organization on and off the field.  He worked tirelessly alongside our medical advisers to identify new ways to make the game safer and protect our players from unnecessary risk.  I personally valued Paul’s advice on subjects ranging from collective bargaining to bringing technology to our game.  Our league is better for Paul Allen having been a part of it and the entire NFL sends its deepest condolences to Paul’s family and to the Seahawks organization.” 
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Giants sign WR Fowler, add Eligwe, Haley from practice squad

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants have signed former Denver Broncos receiver Bennie Fowler and placed linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong and wide receiver Cody Latimer on injured reserve.

The moves were among a number made by the Giants (1-5) on Tuesday as they returned to practice after a long weekend following a Thursday

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants have signed former Denver Broncos receiver Bennie Fowler and placed linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong and wide receiver Cody Latimer on injured reserve.

The moves were among a number made by the Giants (1-5) on Tuesday as they returned to practice after a long weekend following a Thursday night game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

New York, which will face Atlanta (2-4) on Monday night, also signed linebacker Ukeme Eligwe and cornerback Grant Haley from its practice squad. Cornerback Donte Deayon was waived.

Wide receiver Kalif Raymond and defensive end Myles Humphrey were signed to the practice squad, a day after defensive back Ronald Zamort was added.

Armstrong has a concussion. Latimer has a hamstring injury. Both were hurt against the Eagles.

Armstrong had 18 tackles and two more on special teams. Latimer had six catches for 108 yards, including three receptions for 52 yards against Philadelphia.

Fowler played for the Broncos from 2015-17. He appeared in 45 regular-season games and caught 56 passes for 698 yards and five touchdowns. He caught Peyton Manning’s final career pass, a two-point conversion in the Broncos’ victory in Super Bowl 50.

Fowler joined the Chicago Bears as a free agent in April and was released on Sept. 1. The Patriots signed him on Sept. 10 and cut him less than a week later.

Deayon had six tackles in four games this season.

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Rodgers leads Pack to comeback win over 49ers

 

 

Mason Crosby drilled a 27-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Green Bay Packers to a 33-30 win over the visiting San Francisco 49ers on Monday night.

 

Crosby's kick capped a terrific final drive by Aaron Rodgers, who led a 10-play, 81-yard drive in 1:04 to seal the comeback victory.

 

 

Mason Crosby drilled a 27-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Green Bay Packers to a 33-30 win over the visiting San Francisco 49ers on Monday night.

 

Crosby’s kick capped a terrific final drive by Aaron Rodgers, who led a 10-play, 81-yard drive in 1:04 to seal the comeback victory. Rodgers was 25-for-46 passing for 425 yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to Davante Adams.

 

Green Bay (3-2-1) remained undefeated at Lambeau Field. Three Packers receivers totaled 100-plus yards, with Adams leading the way with 10 catches for 132 yards.

 

San Francisco (1-5) squandered a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter. C.J. Beathard completed 16 of 23 passes for 245 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

 

Rodgers engineered the win in the final minute. He rushed for 21 yards up the middle of the field and spiked the ball to stop the clock with 20 seconds left. He then completed passes along the sideline to Adams (two) and Equanimeous St. Brown to set up a short-range field goal by Crosby.

 

The drive proved to be an exclamation mark for Rodgers, who evened the score at 30 with 1:55 remaining in the fourth period. He lobbed a 16-yard pass to Adams, who leaped for the catch in the left corner of the end zone.

The 49ers led 24-20 at halftime.

 

San Francisco opened the scoring on a 3-yard run by Matt Breida, who matched his rushing touchdown total (two) from his rookie campaign in 2017.

 

Green Bay scored the next 17 points on a 2-yard rushing touchdown by Ty Montgomery, a 29-yard field goal by Crosby and a 9-yard passing touchdown from Rodgers to Adams.

 

The 49ers answered with a 67-yard pass from Beathard to Marquise Goodwin with 27 seconds left in the first quarter. Beathard heaved a perfect pass to hit Goodwin in stride down the middle of the field.

 

A 39-yarder by Crosby increased Green Bay’s lead to 20-14.

 

San Francisco responded with a 30-yard strike from Beathard to Goodwin to take the lead with 6:05 to go in the half. Robbie Gould connected on a 46-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in the second quarter to increase the halftime lead to four.

 

Green Bay pulled within 24-23 early in the second half after Crosby drilled a 51-yard field goal. The 49ers responded with a 44-yarder from Gould to increase the lead to 27-23.

 

Gould hit a 43-yarder to make it 30-23 early in the fourth quarter before Rodgers’ comeback.

 

–Field Level Media

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Blitzburghed: Bengals pick up pieces after another late loss

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals' depleted defense went with an all-out blitz, hoping to push the Steelers out of field goal range. Instead, Ben Roethlisberger threw a short pass that Antonio Brown turned into a 31-yard touchdown with 10 seconds left, and the Bengals' litany of last-second losses grew with another mindboggling finish.

Brown's catch-and-run

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals’ depleted defense went with an all-out blitz, hoping to push the Steelers out of field goal range. Instead, Ben Roethlisberger threw a short pass that Antonio Brown turned into a 31-yard touchdown with 10 seconds left, and the Bengals’ litany of last-second losses grew with another mindboggling finish.

Brown’s catch-and-run into the end zone gave Pittsburgh a 28-21 victory Sunday that evened up the AFC North and left the Bengals (4-2) trying to figure out what happens next. That final play will stick with them for a while.

Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said Monday that he decided to blitz in hopes of pushing the Steelers (3-2-1) out of Chris Boswell’s range. The Steelers trailed 21-20 and could have won with a field goal.

“We just decided to go after them,” Austin said. “I want our guys to play aggressive, we’re playing to win, and they had a good play called.”

When Roethlisberger saw the Bengals had no safety guarding against a big play, he knew Brown would have a clear path to the end zone. He took the snap and quickly tossed it to Brown, who ran untouched for Pittsburgh’s seventh straight win in the series.

In the aftermath, the Bengals were left trying to pick up the pieces of a defense that lost numerous players and is headed to Kansas City for a game Sunday night. The Chiefs (5-1) have one of the league’s top offenses and are coming off a 43-40 loss to New England.

Linebacker Nick Vigil left in the first quarter with an injured left knee and is out indefinitely. Cornerback Darqueze Dennard hurt his right shoulder late in the first half and didn’t return. Safety Shawn Williams left with a concussion in the third quarter. Others were in and out of the lineup with injuries.

The defense starred in Cincinnati’s solid start, scoring three touchdowns and finishing off three games by getting turnovers. With a chance to end the Bengals’ streak of abysmal finishes against the Steelers, the defense failed to hold on.

The Steelers got the ball at their 23-yard line with 1:12 left and three timeouts. Roethlisberger completed passes of 8 and 10 yards to JuJu Smith-Schuster. A holding call on cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick provided a first down.

Roethlisberger completed another pass that Smith-Schuster turned into a 23-yard gain and put them in field goal range with 15 seconds left and two timeouts. That play put the Steelers in position to pull it out.

“That was one there that he found the hole in the coverage,” Austin said. “Every coverage has got a little bit of a weakness in it, and where they hit us was right behind the linebackers and just in front of the safeties.”

Although Boswell has struggled this season, he has never missed a kick at Paul Brown Stadium. He had a game winner with 14 seconds left in Pittsburgh’s 18-16 playoff victory in 2015. He had another on the final play of a 23-20 victory last December.

Austin decided to take a chance with a blitz, hoping to drop a runner for a loss or sack Roethlisberger, rather than leave Boswell in position to kick another game winner.

“I didn’t want to leave it into the field goal kicker’s hands and allow him because it’s not every day you block a field goal,” Austin said.

DEFENDING BURFICT: Coach Marvin Lewis declined again on Monday to address linebacker Vontaze Burfict’s latest hit to Brown’s head . Burfict hit Brown in the shoulder and helmet with his forearm as the receiver was being tackled by Shawn Williams and Jessie Bates.

Brown was shaken up and left the game for a couple of plays. The officials didn’t flag the play, but the NFL could discipline Burfict after reviewing it. Burfict was suspended by the league for hitting Brown in the head during the 2015 playoff game and was suspended for the start of the next season. He also was suspended for the first three games of the 2017 season for an egregious hit during a preseason game. He sat out the first four this year for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

“Everybody makes a comment on everything that 55 does,” Lewis said, using Burfict’s number. “They don’t comment on anything anybody else does, so let’s leave it at that.”

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Bills QB Allen week to week with injured throwing arm

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Bills rookie Josh Allen is out indefinitely after hurting his right throwing arm and leaving Buffalo in a quandary at quarterback.

Without providing many details, coach Sean McDermott would only list Allen as being "week to week" on Monday, a day after Allen hurt his elbow in the

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Bills rookie Josh Allen is out indefinitely after hurting his right throwing arm and leaving Buffalo in a quandary at quarterback.

Without providing many details, coach Sean McDermott would only list Allen as being “week to week” on Monday, a day after Allen hurt his elbow in the third quarter of a 20-13 loss at Houston. McDermott said he will know more about the nature of Allen’s injury after meeting with team doctors.

The injury to the first-round draft pick leaves McDermott having to decide between having turnover-prone backup Nathan Peterman or newly signed 12-year veteran Derek Anderson start in Buffalo’s game at Indianapolis on Sunday. McDermott wouldn’t provide a hint as to who would start in Allen’s place.

Peterman threw two interceptions, with his first returned for the deciding touchdown with 1:23 left against the Texans.

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