Dolphins look to kick Pats while they’re down

Dolphins look to kick Pats while they’re down

The Miami Dolphins are off to a great start to the season, but perhaps more validity will come Sunday afternoon.

That’s when the Dolphins (3-0) take on the New England Patriots (1-2) in Foxborough, Mass.

However, the Dolphins sound as if they don’t want to make too much of the assignment against the reigning AFC champions.

“We just have to keep staying the course,” Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “We just have to stay true to the path that we’re on and keep getting better.”

The AFC East usually goes through the Patriots, but a Dolphins victory this weekend would give Miami a three-game edge on New England.

“It’s easy to see why they’re 3-0,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.

Most of the attention is falling on New England because it lost its past two games, 31-20 at Jacksonville and then 26-10 at Detroit.

“With the personnel we have and the guys we have, we can get the job done,” Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said. “You’ve got to put that week behind you and focus on the week coming up. Just put some plays together and keep working.”

The Patriots, who have won 19 of their past 21 home games against division opponents, haven’t endured a three-game losing streak since 2002.

“Those other games don’t matter,” Belichick said of the two-game skid.

New England has come up short in numerous areas, and the Dolphins will arrive with confidence as the offense has been rolling at times. Miami coach Adam Gase has put together some unpredictable game plans.

“This is a well-balanced team,” Belichick said of the Dolphins. “They get to the perimeter. If you don’t stop them, it could be a long run for a long gain. They make you defend every inch of the field.”

One of the Dolphins’ weapons is receiver Danny Amendola, who spent the past five seasons with New England. Belichick said Amendola played his best in crucial situations.

“I’ve had a lot of experience playing there,” Amendola said of the matchup without elaborating too much on the reunion with his former team. “I’m excited to get back up there.”

Belichick said the Dolphins have shown flexibility defensively.

“As good as anybody we’ve faced,” Belichick said. “They’re a hard team to prepare for. There are going to be things we won’t have prepared for. There will be new wrinkles.”

The Dolphins signed linebacker Martrell Spaight, who played his previous 30 career games with the Washington Redskins, on Wednesday.

It’s unclear if Miami tight end A.J. Derby will be available because he is dealing with a foot injury. However, safety Reshad Jones (shoulder) seems to be a likely participant even though he was limited in midweek practice.

The Patriots didn’t list any player as not taking part in at least some of Wednesday’s workout. Still, running back Rex Burkhead (neck) and linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley (undisclosed injury) went on injured reserve Wednesday. New England signed running back Kenjon Barner and defensive end John Simon.

Though it’s September, it seems as if there’s a bit of role reversal with this matchup.

“It’s going to be a big game,” Gronkowski said. “They’re 3-0. We just have to keep our heads up.”

–Field Level Media

Trip to Seattle brings bad memories for Packers’ Rodgers

Trip to Seattle brings bad memories for Packers' Rodgers

Trip to Seattle brings bad memories for Packers’ Rodgers

For Aaron Rodgers, CenturyLink Field in Seattle is akin to a big stadium of horrors.

Remember the “Fail Mary” play in 2012, when replacement officials awarded the Seahawks’ Golden Tate a last-second touchdown even though it appeared Tate committed offensive pass interference and a Green Bay Packers defensive back intercepted the ball?

Or the NFC Championship Game in January 2015, when the Packers blew a 12-point lead in the final 2:13 of regulation and then lost in overtime?

“That one,” Rodgers told reporters Tuesday, “the sting’s probably never going to go away.”

Rodgers and the Packers (4-4-1) will get another chance Thursday night when they travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks (4-5) in a game that could have NFC wild-card implications.

The Packers snapped a two-game losing streak with a 31-12 victory Sunday against visiting Miami as Aaron Jones rushed for a career-high 145 yards and two touchdowns, Rodgers connected twice with Davante Adams for scores and the defense had six sacks.

“Full speed ahead. Some guys might try to click through the film last night,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “A number of coaches just went right upstairs after the (Miami) game … but as far as the team, we don’t have any time to spend on, we have to get right into Seattle.”

The Seahawks have lost two in a row, including a 36-31 defeat Sunday against the host Los Angeles Rams. One bright spot was rookie running back Rashaad Penny, the team’s first-round draft pick, who had 12 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown.

“We’ve got to go. We’ve got to take these one week at a time and start piling up some wins. I like our style, and I like our style in playoff mode. I’d like that opportunity,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We’ve got a lot of ball to play, there are a lot of games coming at us, lot of opportunities at home and we should have nothing but the thoughts that we should build on where we are right now and have a chance to get going and get better. Hopefully we can stay healthy and give us a chance to play with the same guys.”

Carroll said he expects running back Chris Carson (hip) and guard D.J. Fluker (calf) to return after missing Sunday’s game with injuries. Carroll was unsure of the status of linebacker K.J. Wright, who left against the Rams with a knee injury.

When the Packers left for Seattle on Tuesday night, wide receiver Randall Cobb (hamstring), cornerback Kevin King (hamstring), safety Kentrell Brice (ankle) and outside linebacker Nick Perry (knee) were not traveling with the team.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Season over for Steelers’ no-show Bell

NFL notebook: Season over for Steelers' no-show Bell

NFL notebook: Season over for Steelers’ no-show Bell

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell did not report to the team before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline, meaning he is ineligible to play the rest of the season.

Bell, who has held out the entire year since being franchise-tagged for the second straight time, will forfeit the entirety of his $14.5 million tender and not play in 2018. He already had sacrificed more than $8.5 million by missing the first 10 weeks of the season.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters earlier Tuesday that he had no expectation as to whether Bell would report. Asked about the possibility of Bell not showing, Tomlin responded, “So be it.”

Bell is set to hit free agency in March. He is the first player to sit out an entire season on the franchise tag since Washington Redskins defensive lineman Sean Gilbert in 1997. Gilbert cashed in with a seven-year, $46.5 million contract the following offseason with the Carolina Panthers.

–Monday night’s marquee matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs will be played in Los Angeles instead of Mexico City because of concerns about the safety of the field.

The game was scheduled for Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, but reports surfaced Tuesday morning that the field wasn’t in playing shape. The league made the decision later Tuesday to move the game, after consulting with the NFL Players Association, inspecting the field and meeting with independent experts.

Instead, the game — for which the Rams are designated the home team — will be played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

–Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones denied reports that he is interested in Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley.

“That would be total drawing it out of the air,” Jones said during his weekly radio show on 105.3 The Fan. “Totally speculation.”

Riley’s name came up Sunday when NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Cowboys “have an affinity” for Riley “if they move on from Jason Garrett.”

–Nick Mullens will be the San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback when the team returns from its bye in Week 12, head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed.

“Nick Mullens is our starter until I say differently,” Shanahan told reporters. “Going about it that way, and that’s how it’ll continue to be.”

–Former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson is back with the Cincinnati Bengals as special assistant to the head coach.

“I have a great comfort level with Hue and his ability to assist me with the day-to-day responsibilities on defense, including analyzing our opponents and helping me on game days with the players and defensive coaches,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement.

–Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David could miss time with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, according to an ESPN report.

David was hurt early in the second half against the Washington Redskins on Sunday. The team’s leading tackler was able to limp off the field and later returned to the game, but his status for Sunday’s visit to the New York Giants now appears in doubt.

–The Jacksonville Jaguars re-signed former offensive lineman Patrick Omameh, while placing center Brandon Linder on injured reserve.

Omameh was released by the Giants on Saturday, less than eight months after signing a three-year, $15 million contract in free agency and a few weeks after losing his starting job. He spent 2016 and 2017 with the Jaguars, making 20 starts at left guard.

–The Arizona Cardinals placed right guard Justin Pugh on injured reserve with a left knee injury, ending his season.

Pugh reportedly tore the medial collateral ligament in his knee on Sunday, his first game back in the lineup since he broke his left hand in Week 6.

–The Buffalo Bills released wide receiver Terrelle Pryor.

Pryor signed with the Bills on Oct. 30, 10 days after being released by the New York Jets, and made two catches for 17 yards in Week 9. He did not have a catch on three targets in Sunday’s 41-10 rout of the Jets.

–The New England Patriots activated second-round rookie cornerback Duke Dawson off injured reserve, the team announced.

Dawson hit IR in early September because of a hamstring injury that kept him out of the final three preseason games. The Patriots reportedly released running back Kenjon Barner and linebacker Nicholas Grigsby.

–The Oakland Raiders released defensive end Kony Ealy a week after signing him.

–Philadelphia Eagles tight end Richard Rodgers returned to practice, giving the team a three-week window to activate him from injured reserve.

–Rams wideout/returner Pharoh Cooper returned to practice, giving the team a three-week window to activate him from injured reserve.

–The Tennessee Titans waived fullback Jalston Fowler and signed undrafted running back Dalyn Dawkins off the practice squad.

–Field Level Media

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49ers QB Mullens to remain starter after bye

49ers QB Mullens to remain starter after bye

49ers QB Mullens to remain starter after bye

Nick Mullens is the San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback when the team returns from its bye in Week 12, head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed Tuesday.

“Nick Mullens is our starter until I say differently,” Shanahan told reporters. “Going about it that way, and that’s how it’ll continue to be.”

Mullens took over as the starter in Week 9 when C.J. Beathard was nursing a wrist injury on a short week. A second-year undrafted rookie from Southern Miss, Mullens starred on Thursday Night Football against the Oakland Raiders, throwing for 262 yards and three touchdowns on just 22 attempts.

He made his second consecutive start Monday night against the New York Giants, falling just short of victory when his pass from the 21-yard line sailed out of bounds on the final play. Mullens’ stat line (27 of 39, 250 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions) wasn’t as pretty, but Shanahan was encouraged by what he saw.

“I think it’s a positive experience,” Shanahan said. “The guy’s played one game in his career. I know statistically [his game against the Raiders] was the best start in NFL history — but I think Nick did some real good things yesterday, too.

“…What I liked about Nick is he never seemed rattled throughout the whole game, continued playing. He was great after the game, he was great just watching the film with him. I say it was a good experience, a step forward, because I think he’ll get better from each experience he has.”

Shanahan also credited Mullens for his ability to get through progressions — specifically citing the third-quarter touchdown to Matt Breida, Mullens’ last option in the progression — and for making good decisions to avoid sacks.

Beathard, who has thrown for 2,682 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while going 1-9 as a starter over the last two seasons, will remain the backup for the foreseeable future.

He was first thrust into the starting lineup after Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL in Week 3. That was also when Mullens was promoted to the active roster from the practice squad, where he spent all of 2017 and the start of 2018.

Tom Savage remains on the roster as a third option.

The 49ers’ first game after the bye is a trip to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 25.

–Field Level Media

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Nick Mullens remains starter at QB for 49ers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan knew things wouldn't always go quite as smoothly for Nick Mullens as they did in his first start.

So when Mullens followed up his record-setting debut with a spottier performance that included two interceptions and a failed late drive, Shanahan wasn't overly concerned

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan knew things wouldn’t always go quite as smoothly for Nick Mullens as they did in his first start.

So when Mullens followed up his record-setting debut with a spottier performance that included two interceptions and a failed late drive, Shanahan wasn’t overly concerned and remains committed to Mullens as the starter when the team returns from the bye next week.

“I think it’s a positive experience,” Shanahan said Tuesday. “The guy’s played one game in his career. I know statistically that was the best start in NFL history. I mean, I think Nick did some real good things yesterday, too. It was a little bit more of a challenge in some circumstances. … What I liked about Nick is he never seemed rattled throughout the whole game, continued playing. He was great after the game. He was great watching film with him. I say it’s a good experience or step forward because I think he’ll get better from each experience he has.”

Just about everything went right for Mullens in his debut against the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 1, when he joined Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and Fran Tarkenton as the only players with at least 250 yards passing, three touchdown passes and no interceptions in the first career game. He also had the most efficient debut since the merger for a player with at least 20 attempts, posting a 151.9 rating in the 34-3 win.

It wasn’t quite like that in a 27-23 loss to the New York Giants on Monday night. Mullens went 27 for 39 for 250 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

He helped San Francisco (2-8) build a 10-point lead in the second half before the team blew it. Mullens then drove the Niners to the 21 in the closing minute before his last-ditch pass sailed out of the back of the end zone to send San Francisco to another loss.

Mullens’ best play came in the third quarter when he went through several reads before finding running back Matt Breida for an 11-yard touchdown pass that made it 20-10.

But there were also some mistakes, like a slightly off-target pass to Marquise Goodwin that led to an interception in the second half and a late throw to Kendrick Bourne that led to an earlier pick in the first half that set up a New York touchdown.

“I thought he did some decent things last night,” Shanahan said. “He’s a good pocket passer, so I want him to be perfect at it. He was pretty good on a number of his reads. He had a touchdown get into the last guy in his progression. Had a couple big plays, getting into number two and three. But, I want him to be automatic. I know that’s what he wants to do, too. And we’ll keep working at it until he is.”

The 49ers should be healthy when they return from the bye with Shanahan predicting that everyone on the roster should be available to practice next week. That includes linebacker Reuben Foster, who missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, as well as receiver Pierre Garcon (knee) and safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder), who sat out Monday with injuries.

Defensive backs K’Waun Williams (stinger) and receiver Goodwin were banged up in the game against the Giants but aren’t expected to miss any time.

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Wilson, Seahawks missing 4th quarter magic this season

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — For most of his career, the fourth quarter is where Russell Wilson has thrived. His late game heroics of leading comebacks in the fourth quarter or overtime to win games take up nearly an entire page of Seattle's weekly game notes.

Except this year, when the fourth-quarter mistakes by

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — For most of his career, the fourth quarter is where Russell Wilson has thrived. His late game heroics of leading comebacks in the fourth quarter or overtime to win games take up nearly an entire page of Seattle’s weekly game notes.

Except this year, when the fourth-quarter mistakes by Wilson have overshadowed his late-game successes. And those mistakes are part of the reason Seattle is 4-5 and faces such a critical game on Thursday night against Green Bay in the quest to stay in the NFC playoff conversation.

Seattle is 1-8 in its last nine games decided by one score or less. Over the past two seasons, Seattle is 5-11 in one-score games. They used to be the types of games in which Seattle thrived, with Wilson finding a way to score and pull out a victory in the closing minutes, or defensively making the necessary stops to stem any late rally by an opponent.

But that page in Seattle’s game notes detailing his 24 comebacks in the fourth quarter and overtime has just three entries over the past two seasons.

“There’s two things there. It goes back to finishing right. If we can make one or two plays here or there across the board — offensive, defensive, special teams, whatever it may be — we can turn that around really easily. That’s the great thing,” Wilson said. “The second thing is … we’re in every game and every game is really close and every game we’re right there to win the game. I’m looking forward to that turning around. We have great confidence in that and what we’re going to do.”

There’s no doubting that in stretches this season Wilson has played great. He’s thrown for 14 touchdowns with just two interceptions over the past five games. And the success or failure of Seattle in the fourth quarter is not solely his responsibility.

But there’s also been a pattern of crucial late-game mistakes by Wilson that has been a contributing factor to each of Seattle’s five losses.

— In a Week 1 loss at Denver, Seattle gained seven yards on its final three drives and Wilson threw an interception on a desperation throw on the final play of a 27-24 loss.

— In Week 2 at Chicago, Wilson threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown with the Seahawks trailing 17-10, and on Seattle’s next drive fumbled while being sacked. Seattle lost 24-17

— In Week 5 against the Rams, Wilson missed on his final two passes with Seattle closing in on field goal range while down by two points with less than 4 minutes left. Seattle punted and never got the ball back in a 33-31 loss.

— In Week 9, Wilson threw his second fourth-quarter interception that was returned for a touchdown when Desmond King stepped in front of a pass and the pick-six ended up being the deciding points in the Chargers’ 25-17 win.

— And last week, Wilson was stripped by Dante Fowler midway through the fourth quarter deep in Seattle’s end. Brandin Cooks’ TD run on the next play ended up being the deciding points in the Rams’ 36-31 win.

The only one-score game the Seahawks have won this season was arguably one of its uglier performances when Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 52-yard field goal on the final play to beat Arizona in Week 4. And while several of those games have seen Wilson rebound from his mistakes to give Seattle a chance in the closing seconds, the final results are not what the Seahawks have come to expect.

“It’s finishing at the right time, making the right play. We’ve been so good at those games for such a long time that the fact that it’s not happening is a little bit unusual,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “I’m disappointed because we’ve been able to always feel like we’re going to win those games and do it. We still have the same mentality about it and attitude about it, but we’ve got to show it. We’ve got to get those finishes done.”

NOTES: LB K.J. Wright (knee) was the only player not to participate in practice on Tuesday. Wright’s knee caused him to leave Sunday’s loss to the Rams early. … G D.J. Fluker (calf) and RB Chris Carson (hip) were full participants, strengthening Seattle’s belief the pair will play after missing last week’s game.

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After big game, Jones gives Packers another red zone option

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Running back Aaron Jones' breakout game led to a breakthrough performance in the red zone for the Green Bay Packers.

In Sunday's 31-12 victory over the Miami Dolphins, Jones rushed for a career-high 145 yards and two touchdowns. With Jones taking some of the pressure off quarterback Aaron

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Running back Aaron Jones’ breakout game led to a breakthrough performance in the red zone for the Green Bay Packers.

In Sunday’s 31-12 victory over the Miami Dolphins, Jones rushed for a career-high 145 yards and two touchdowns. With Jones taking some of the pressure off quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers scored four touchdowns in four possessions inside the Dolphins 20-yard line.

It was Green Bay’s first perfect day with more than one red-zone possession since Week 4 of the 2017 season.

“You saw it the other night,” Rodgers said on Tuesday. “Running the football in the red zone has not been a high priority for us, but the abilities that he brings slashing inside can give us some opportunities to run some more of those plays in the red zone.”

Their next test comes on Thursday night on the road against the Seattle Seahawks.

Situational football — red zone and third down — has been troublesome for Green Bay’s offense all season. Before the Miami game, the Packers ranked sixth in total offense (406.6 yards per game), but were only 14th in scoring (24.0 points per game) because of inconsistencies on third down (17th, 39.4 percent conversion rate) and the red zone (19th, 53.9 percent touchdowns).

Against the Dolphins, they gained 377 yards but scored 31 points, thanks in large part to their success in the red zone.

The threat of the running game gives the Packers (4-4-1) another option as they advance toward the goal line.

While Jones scored on runs of 2 and 10 yards, Rodgers threw touchdown passes of 7 and 25 yards to receiver Davante Adams to punctuate the other two red zone possessions. Adams is tied for second in the NFL with nine touchdown receptions. Of those, a league-high eight have come in the red zone. Since the start of the 2016 season, Adams has a league-high 22 red zone touchdown receptions.

The closer to the goal line, the less space there is to operate and the more difficult it becomes to throw. Adams’ edge comes from being one of the NFL’s premier route runners.

“Because the window is so tight, and he can create enough separation to where he makes that window bigger,” Rodgers said.

With the emergence of Jones, the Packers have another weapon to use in their push for a playoff spot in the crowded NFC. Jones missed the first two games of the season with a suspension, then was part of a three-man committee in the backfield before taking over as the starter.

In the three weeks since the bye, Jones has carried 41 times, Jamaal Williams has carried 14 times and Ty Montgomery was traded to the Ravens.

“The more carries you get, I feel like the better you’re going to get and the more of a game flow you get in,” Jones said.

Entering Thursday, Jones and Williams both have 73 carries. Jones, however, has rushed for 494 yards (compared to 270 for Williams) on a league-best 6.8-yard average. Jones had a 67-yard run in the first quarter against Miami, the team’s longest since receiver Randall Cobb had a 67-yard run in 2013.

With Jones’ emergence to join Rodgers and Adams, the Packers hope they have the firepower for back-to-back road tests against Seattle and Minnesota.

“It puts the defense in a bind,” Adams said. “It puts them to where they’ve got to load up that box and it allows us to have more opportunities outside. If they keep moving the ball like that and slashing and making big plays, it’s pretty tough to figure out what to defend.”

NOTES: The Packers held what coach Mike McCarthy described as a “very limited” practice on Tuesday before departing for Seattle in the evening. WR Randall Cobb (hamstring), CB Kevin King (hamstring), S Kentrell Brice (ankle), OLB Nick Perry (knee) were not traveling with the team, though the Packers said their game status would be updated on the final injury report on Wednesday.

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Rivera: Anderson’s frustration over role led to release

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers coach Ron Rivera said C.J. Anderson's frustration with his smaller-than-expected role on offense contributed to the team's decision to release the former 1,000-yard rusher midway through the season.

Rivera said he spoke recently to Anderson and could sense the veteran running back's frustration over not being more involved

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers coach Ron Rivera said C.J. Anderson’s frustration with his smaller-than-expected role on offense contributed to the team’s decision to release the former 1,000-yard rusher midway through the season.

Rivera said he spoke recently to Anderson and could sense the veteran running back’s frustration over not being more involved in Carolina’s offense.

Christian McCaffrey is the team’s starter and rarely leaves the field, playing in 96 percent of his team’s offensive snaps — by far the most of any running back in the league.

Most of Anderson’s reps have come in a shared backfield set with McCaffrey the Panthers called “Pony 21.” Anderson has carried the ball just 24 times and caught one pass this season. The limited role came just one season after Anderson ran for 1,007 yards for the Broncos.

“He’s a veteran guy who has had a lot of success in this league and was just looking for more opportunities,” Rivera said Tuesday, one day after the Panthers released Anderson. “You could feel” the frustration.

Rivera reiterated what general manager Marty Hurney said Monday — that Anderson did not ask to be released from the Panthers (6-3), who visit the Lions on Sunday after a 52-21 shellacking at the hands of the Steelers last week.

Anderson tweeted Monday: “No love lost. Thank you Carolina. Grind time.”

Rivera said Cameron Artis-Payne will take over Anderson’s role as the No. 2 back in Carolina.

Artis-Payne was a fifth-round pick in 2015, but has played in just 25 games and carried the ball only 99 times during his career for 422 yards with four touchdowns.

Rivera believes Artis-Payne, who has only been active for two games this season, has a similar skillset to Anderson and can also come in and spell McCaffrey during games. Carolina also signed veteran running back Travaris Cadet, a player Rivera views as similar in style to McCaffrey as a backup plan.

Rivera called Artis-Payne “a tough, hard-nosed young man” who has gone about his role the right way in practice despite not seeing much playing time.

“He’s waited for his opportunity and earned this opportunity, and hopefully when he gets his chance on the football field he will take advantage of it,” Rivera said.

Rivera said the Panthers offense evolved this year under first-year offensive coordinator Norv Turner, and that things began to focus around McCaffrey as the primary, if not exclusive, back on offense — similar to how Turner extensively used LaDainian Tomlinson when he coached the San Diego Chargers.

McCaffrey’s expanded role isn’t a huge surprise.

Rivera said before the season that getting the second-year back 25 to 30 touches per game would be “ideal,” although few could have imagined that he’d leave the field as infrequently as he has this season.

“The more Norv got to know who Christian is, the more we saw we could keep him on the field,” Rivera said. “A lot of things that we can do are structured around his skillset.”

McCaffrey leads the Panthers with 579 yards rushing, followed by Cam Newton with 352 yards and wide receiver D.J. Moore with 122.

Anderson, who had been expected to be used as a short-yardage back, had 104 yards rushing and no touchdowns on the ground in nine games. His lone reception went for a 24-yard touchdown.

McCaffrey said Anderson’s release was a reminder the game is a business.

“Our coaches have a lot of confidence in the guys that are here right now and they had to make a decision they felt was best for the team,” McCaffrey said. “As far as we are concerned we have to focus on the guys here and wish him the very best. Our guys right now are just locked into us.”

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Titans waive fullback, sign RB Dawkins off practice squad

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have signed running back Dalyn Dawkins off their practice squad with David Fluellen out at least against Indianapolis with an injured knee.

To clear space, the Titans waived fullback Jalston Fowler. They also signed defensive back Mike Jordan to the practice squad.

Fluellen went down untouched

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have signed running back Dalyn Dawkins off their practice squad with David Fluellen out at least against Indianapolis with an injured knee.

To clear space, the Titans waived fullback Jalston Fowler. They also signed defensive back Mike Jordan to the practice squad.

Fluellen went down untouched in the Titans’ 34-10 win over New England, and coach Mike Vrabel says the running back will not play Sunday as the Titans (5-4) continue to monitor the running back.

Dawkins was active for three weeks and played Sept. 23 at Jacksonville.

Jordan was undrafted out of Missouri Western State and spent much of 2016 with the Rams’ practice quad before playing the final five games. He played 15 games with Cleveland last year and two for the Giants this season.

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New York Giants finally get that winning feeling back

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — After five straight weeks of preparing and coming up empty, the New York Giants have something to smile about starting off a week.

It's amazing what a win can do for a team.

"Anytime you win, it kind of verifies that what you're doing is right," coach Pat

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — After five straight weeks of preparing and coming up empty, the New York Giants have something to smile about starting off a week.

It’s amazing what a win can do for a team.

“Anytime you win, it kind of verifies that what you’re doing is right,” coach Pat Shurmur said Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the Giants (2-7) rallied late to snap a five-game losing streak with a 27-23 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

“The reason we all started playing and coaching football is because we love the competition, we love the physical nature of the game, and we love the process of getting ready to play the next opponent,” Shurmur added.

“Then on game day, you put all your energy into winning, all your energy into putting a winning performance on the field, and so I sensed real joy in the locker room yesterday — a bunch of guys that put a lot into it, and we were able to overcome some adversity and win a football game.”

The goal now for the Giants is to try to put a couple of wins together. They haven’t done that since December 2016. They have a 5-20 record in their past 25 games.

The difference Monday night against the 49ers was the Giants made plays. Eli Manning threw three touchdowns and engineered a late drive capped by a short touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard.

The offensive line, aided by the addition of newcomer Jamon Brown at right guard, allowed only one sack and the defense got two interceptions from linebacker B.J. Goodson.

Special teams also contributed as Aldrick Rosas kicked two field goals and Corey Coleman had three kickoff returns for 92 yards.

The performance by Manning was excellent. There have been many calling for the 37-year-old to be benched with the team losing again. The two-time Super Bowl MVP answered the critics.

“Any time a player puts a winning performance on the field, he should feel good about it at least for a day or so,” Shurmur said. “The challenge is to then prepare to do it again in a week, so I don’t know. That’s a question for him, but he had a winning performance, he helped us win a game, and he should feel good about that. Now we just have to build on that going into Tampa.”

The Giants will play host to the Buccaneers in their bid for their first win of the season at home (0-4).

While the Giants’ chances of making the playoffs remain dim, Shurmur likes the team that has been assembled in his first season.

“This is a really good locker room — we’re young, we’re new, but these guys believe in each other and try to play the game for each other,” he said. “I don’t know if they were loose, I don’t know if that’s the right term, but I thought they were just out there playing hard and having fun playing football.”

NOTES: Shurmur said the Giants had the usual wear and tear in the game, but he expects no one to miss Sunday. … Brown played very well considering he had been with the team only a week. … Shurmur also said rookie linebacker Lorenzo Carter had his best game in both the pass rush and coverage. … Saquon Barkley had 20 carries for 67 yards and caught four passes for 33 yards. It was the eighth time in nine games Barkley had at least 100 scrimmage yards. “If we’re just going to talk about Saquon and his involvement in the game, whether we hand it to him or throw it to him, it really doesn’t matter. You’d like to see your back touch the ball or run the ball close to 20 times,” Shurmur said

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LA Rams designate WR Pharoh Cooper to return from IR

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Receiver Pharoh Cooper will return to practice this week with the Los Angeles Rams after being sidelined since the season opener by an injured ankle.

The Rams on Tuesday designated Cooper to return from injured reserve. He is eligible to return to the 53-man roster after spending eight weeks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Receiver Pharoh Cooper will return to practice this week with the Los Angeles Rams after being sidelined since the season opener by an injured ankle.

The Rams on Tuesday designated Cooper to return from injured reserve. He is eligible to return to the 53-man roster after spending eight weeks on IR.

Cooper was an All-Pro who made the Pro Bowl as a kick returner last season. He has been a backup receiver for the Rams, but they could need him in the passing game after Cooper Kupp suffered a season-ending knee injury last week.

The Rams (9-1) host Kansas City on Monday. They will spend the week practicing in Colorado Springs even though they no longer need to prepare for Mexico City’s altitude.

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Report: Bucs LB David has sprained MCL

Report: Bucs LB David has sprained MCL

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David could miss time with

Report: Bucs LB David has sprained MCL

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David could miss time with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, according to an ESPN report Tuesday.

David was hurt early in the second half against the Washington Redskins on Sunday. He was able to limp off the field and later returned to the game, finishing with seven tackles, but his status for Sunday’s visit to the New York Giants now appears in doubt.

David, 28, leads the team with 71 tackles (nine for loss) this season. He has missed just five games in six NFL seasons, all with the Bucs, earning first-team All-Pro honors in 2013 and a Pro Bowl nod in 2015.

Tampa Bay already lost Pro Bowl middle linebacker Kwon Alexander to a torn ACL in Week 7, and second-year man Kendell Beckwith remains on the reserve/non-football injury list after requiring surgery on an ankle injury sustained in an offseason car accident. Beckwith returned to practice two weeks ago but has yet to be activated to the 53-man roster.

The team re-signed linebacker Kevin Minter for depth on Tuesday, two weeks after releasing him. Minter previously spent just one week with the Bucs, logging 12 special-teams snaps and one tackle in Week 8.

The Bucs also placed offensive lineman Evan Smith and rookie running back Shaun Wilson on injured reserve, while promoting running back Dare Ogunbowale from the practice squad.

Smith, 32, played in seven games as a reserve this season.

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Cardinals place G Pugh on IR

Cardinals place G Pugh on IR

The Arizona

Cardinals place G Pugh on IR

The Arizona Cardinals placed right guard Justin Pugh on injured reserve with a left knee injury Tuesday, ending his season.

Pugh reportedly tore the medial collateral ligament in his knee during Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, his first game back in the lineup since he broke his left hand in Week 6.

Pugh, 28, made seven starts this season after joining the Cardinals on a five-year, $45 million contract in free agency. He previously battled injuries with the New York Giants, missing 17 games from 2014 to 2017, including eight last year.

The Cardinals’ offensive line has been injured and ineffective this season, ranking last in rushing yards per play (3.4) and 25th in sack rate (9.4 percent) while missing Pugh, left guard Mike Iupati and right tackle Andre Smith for seven combined games. Starting center A.Q. Shipley was lost before the season to a torn ACL, thrusting rookie Mason Cole into the lineup.

Head coach Steve Wilks told reporters Monday the team must do more schematically to help protect rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, who was sacked five times and hit 13 times on Sunday.

“We have to do a better job leaving guys in with six- and seven-man protections to help Josh,” Wilks said. “…The personnel is not going to change, so we have to find ways within the system and the scheme to help him out.”

The Cardinals also released safety Eddie Pleasant, who appeared in one game this season for Arizona.

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Patriots activate CB Dawson from IR

Patriots activate CB Dawson from IR

The New

Patriots activate CB Dawson from IR

The New England Patriots activated second-round rookie cornerback Duke Dawson off injured reserve on Tuesday, the team announced.

Dawson hit IR in early September because of a hamstring injury that kept him out of the final three preseason games.

Taken 56th overall in April’s draft, Dawson was expected to compete early for snaps in the slot. He played 17 snaps in New England’s preseason opener, making two tackles. He will provide depth after the Patriots placed cornerback Eric Rowe on injured reserve with a groin injury two weeks ago.

New England also released running back Kenjon Barner and linebacker Nicholas Grigsby on Tuesday, per ESPN.

Barner, 28, has been on and off the Patriots’ roster throughout the season amid injuries to running back Sony Michel, who returned to action on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. Barner, who was inactive Sunday, has 71 rushing yards on 19 carries this year.

Grigsby, 26, has 10 tackles in nine games for the Patriots this season, his third in the NFL. He has primarily played special teams, logging 163 snaps there compared to just 28 on defense.

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Steelers’ Bell doesn’t report, won’t play in 2018

Steelers' Bell doesn't report, won't play in 2018

Steelers’ Bell doesn’t report, won’t play in 2018

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell did not report to the team before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline, general manager Kevin Colbert confirmed, meaning he is ineligible to play the rest of the season.

Bell, who has held out the entire year since being franchise-tagged for the second straight time, will forfeit the entirety of his $14.5 million tender and not play at all in 2018. He already had sacrificed more than $8.5 million by missing the first 10 weeks of the season.

Head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters earlier Tuesday that he had no expectation as to whether or not Bell would report.

“I’ve told you guys and I’ve told you guys consistently, a reaction comes from me if and when he walks in the door,” Tomlin said. “Until that happens, I’m business as usual and focused on those that are here and working, and appropriately so. That way I don’t waste my time and theirs.”

Asked about the possibility of Bell not showing, Tomlin responded, “So be it.”

Steelers owner Art Rooney II told Sirius XM Radio last Thursday that he expected Bell to show by Tuesday, but recent reports suggested the 26-year-old back was unlikely to do so.

Bell is set to hit free agency in March. The Steelers are unlikely to tag him for a third consecutive year, which would cost more than $20 million, but some reports have said they plan to use the transition tag, which would cost around $10 million while allowing Pittsburgh to match any offer Bell gets from another team.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time first-team All-Pro, Bell is the first player to sit out an entire season on the franchise tag since Washington Redskins defensive lineman Sean Gilbert in 1997. Gilbert cashed in with a seven-year, $46.5 million contract the following offseason with the Carolina Panthers, for whom he played five seasons and tallied 15.5 sacks in 64 games.

The Steelers will move forward with second-year back James Conner as the starter. Conner, who is currently in the concussion protocol, has 771 yards (4.7 average) and 10 scores on the ground this season, along with 39 catches for 387 yards and a score. Those totals look favorable compared to Bell’s output through nine games in 2017: 840 yards (3.8 average) and five touchdowns on the ground, 40 catches for 251 yards and no touchdowns.

Tomlin said he expects Conner to be cleared from the concussion protocol by Wednesday, allowing him to play at the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

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Bills release WR Pryor

Bills release WR Pryor

The Buffalo Bills

Bills release WR Pryor

The Buffalo Bills released wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, the team announced Tuesday.

Pryor signed with the Bills on Oct. 30, 10 days after being released by the New York Jets, and made two catches for 17 yards in Week 9. He did not have a catch on three targets in Sunday’s 41-10 rout of the Jets.

Reports following Pryor’s release in New York said the Jets could have interest in bringing him back later this season.

Pryor originally joined the Jets in March on a one-year, $3 million free agent deal. He spent 2017 on a one-year, $8 million deal with the Washington Redskins.

The converted quarterback has a total of 492 receiving yards in 17 games over the last two years since breaking out with a 1,000-yard season for the Cleveland Browns in 2016.

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Jaguars bring back Omameh, put Linder on IR

Jaguars bring back Omameh, put Linder on IR

The Jacksonville Jaguars re-signed former offensive lineman Patrick Omameh on Tuesday,

Jaguars bring back Omameh, put Linder on IR

The Jacksonville Jaguars re-signed former offensive lineman Patrick Omameh on Tuesday, while placing center Brandon Linder on injured reserve.

Omameh was released by the New York Giants on Saturday, less than eight months after signing a three-year, $15 million contract in free agency and a few weeks after losing his starting job. The team could have avoided $3 million in dead money against the 2019 salary cap by waiting until after the season to release him.

Omameh, 28, spent 2016 and 2017 with the Jacksonville Jaguars, making 20 starts at left guard, including 13 last season.

His signing provides depth on the interior after Linder was lost for the year to a knee injury that will require surgery.

Linder, the NFL’s second-highest-paid center by annual average, is expected to be replaced by Tyler Shatley. Free agent signee Andrew Norwell is entrenched at left guard, while A.J. Cann is the starter on the right side.

Omameh is the second former Giants offensive lineman to sign with the Jaguars midseason. Offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, a former first-round pick by New York, joined Jacksonville in early October after he was waived by the Giants. He played 15 snaps at left tackle on Sunday, his first action at the position for the Jags, but left with knee tendinitis.

The Jaguars also signed linebacker Martrell Spaight on Tuesday, making room on the roster by releasing undrafted rookie cornerback Dee Delaney.

Spaight was waived last week by the Miami Dolphins after playing four games for them this season, logging 90 snaps on special teams.

Delaney was on Jacksonville’s practice squad for most of this season before being promoted to the active roster before Week 8. He played just one snap in that game and was inactive on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

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Chiefs-Rams moved from Mexico City over field concerns

Chiefs-Rams moved from Mexico City over field concerns

Monday night's marquee matchup

Chiefs-Rams moved from Mexico City over field concerns

Monday night’s marquee matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs will be played in Los Angeles instead of Mexico City because of concerns about the safety of the field, the NFL announced Tuesday afternoon.

The game was scheduled for Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, but reports surfaced Tuesday morning that the field wasn’t in playing shape.

The league made the decision later Tuesday to move the game, after consulting with the NFL Players Association, inspecting the field and meeting with independent experts. It was determined that the field did not meet NFL standards and likely wouldn’t by Monday.

Instead, the game — for which the Rams are designated the home team — will be played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

“We have worked extensively with our partners at Estadio Azteca for months in preparation for this game,” said Mark Waller, NFL executive vice president of international. “Until very recently, we had no major concerns. But, the combination of a difficult rainy season and a heavy multi-event calendar of events at the stadium, have resulted in significant damage to the field that presents unnecessary risks to player safety and makes it unsuitable to host an NFL game. As a result, we have determined that moving the game is the right decision, and one that we needed to announce now in order to allow our teams and fans to make alternate arrangements.”

The league said it would announce details about reimbursement for tickets in the coming days.

Tuesday morning, ESPN reported that the playing surface at Azteca was “a mess” and player safety a concern. Several members of both teams told ESPN that they wouldn’t play if the field didn’t meet standards, and some players requested that a representative from the players association inspect the field to determine its condition.

Two recent events apparently damaged the hybrid playing surface, a combination of grass and synthetic filler. The stadium hosted a large music concert on Nov. 7 and a soccer match on Saturday.

Images surfaced on social media Tuesday showing what appeared to be new sod being laid down on the field.

The Chiefs and Rams share the best record in the NFL at 9-1.

According to NFL rules, the home team in an international game must keep its home stadium available in the event the contest has to be moved.

The Rams left Los Angeles on Monday for a week of practice in Colorado Springs, Colo., to help acclimate the players to the altitude they could expect in Mexico City.

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Police: Ex-NFL player brandished sword during argument

ABERDEEN, N.J. (AP) — Police in New Jersey say a former NFL player threatened someone with a sword during an argument at a youth sports event.

John "Charlie" Rogers Jr. turned himself in to Aberdeen police Monday and was charged with making terroristic threats, stalking and weapons offenses. The Asbury Park Press reports

ABERDEEN, N.J. (AP) — Police in New Jersey say a former NFL player threatened someone with a sword during an argument at a youth sports event.

John “Charlie” Rogers Jr. turned himself in to Aberdeen police Monday and was charged with making terroristic threats, stalking and weapons offenses. The Asbury Park Press reports that Rogers was released.

Police say the incident happened at an Oct. 5 meeting for a youth basketball travel team at Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School. Investigators say 42-year-old Rogers threatened someone with the sword.

Earlier this year, police said Rogers left a threatening voicemail for the parent of a youth football player. Rogers was fired from his job as the offensive coordinator at St. John Vianney High School after the tape was made public.

The 42-year-old was a standout at Matawan Regional High School and attended Georgia Tech. He played five years in the NFL.

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Raiders release defensive lineman Kony Ealy

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Raiders have released defensive lineman Kony Ealy one week after signing him to a contract.

Oakland also waived linebacker James Cowser from the practice squad on Tuesday.

Ealy was signed Nov. 5 by Oakland for depth on the defensive line but was inactive for his only game

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Raiders have released defensive lineman Kony Ealy one week after signing him to a contract.

Oakland also waived linebacker James Cowser from the practice squad on Tuesday.

Ealy was signed Nov. 5 by Oakland for depth on the defensive line but was inactive for his only game and then cut.

Ealy had 14 sacks in three seasons with Carolina from 2014-16, including three in a Super Bowl loss to Denver following the 2015 season. He was traded to New England in 2017, got cut by the Patriots and then signed with the New York Jets, where he had one sack in 15 games.

Ealy spent training camp in Dallas before getting cut by the Cowboys on Sept. 1.

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Chargers officially place Perryman on IR, promote Johnson

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers placed linebacker Denzel Perryman on injured reserve Tuesday with a knee injury and promoted linebacker Tre'von Johnson from the practice squad.

Perryman injured the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee during the first quarter of Sunday's 20-6 win over Oakland. The fourth-year linebacker

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers placed linebacker Denzel Perryman on injured reserve Tuesday with a knee injury and promoted linebacker Tre’von Johnson from the practice squad.

Perryman injured the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee during the first quarter of Sunday’s 20-6 win over Oakland. The fourth-year linebacker started every game this season and was second on the Chargers with 51 tackles going into the Raiders game.

Johnson had been signed to the Chargers practice squad on Oct. 9 after he began the season on Seattle’s practice squad. He spent most of last season on Dallas’ practice squad before being promoted to the roster for the Cowboys’ final game.

Los Angeles (7-2) has won six straight going into Sunday’s game against Denver (3-6).

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