Dolphins overcome 2 lightning delays to beat Titans 27-20

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Jakeem Grant scored on a tiebreaking 102-yard kickoff return with 14 minutes to go, and the Miami Dolphins overcame two weather delays to win the longest game since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, beating the Tennessee Titans 27-20 Sunday.

Delays for lightning lasted a total of 3 hours, 59 minutes, and the game took 7 hours, 10 minutes to play. The previous longest game since 1970 was a Bears overtime victory against the Ravens in 2013 that took 5 hours, 16 minutes.

Grant’s touchdown triggered a late flurry of big plays in a season opener that was lackluster for the first six hours.

After his score, Ryan Tannehill hit Kenny Stills deep for a 75-yard touchdown. Darius Jennings returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a Titans score, and they were driving when Miami’s Reshad Jones helped to clinch the win with a 54-yard return after he intercepted Blaine Gabbert.

Titans starting quarterback Marcus Mariota threw two interceptions in the third quarter and then came out of the game with an elbow injury. Tight end Delanie Walker was carted off the field later in the period with a right leg injury, and tackle Taylor Lewan suffered a concussion, all of which meant a miserable start for Mike Vrabel in his head coaching debut.

Miami led 7-3 when the game was suspended for nearly two hours late in the first half. The teams went to the locker room during the delay and stayed on the field for halftime, which was shortened to 3½ minutes.

Lightning forced a halt again midway through the third quarter, and the second stoppage lasted just over two hours. Perhaps 10,000 fans remained at the finish.

Sandwiched between the delays was a brawl that started after Lewan appeared to be briefly knocked out. Jordan Phillips and Bobby McCain of Miami and Dion Lewis of Tennessee received offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for taunting, and Lewan missed the rest of the game.

Gabbert drove the Titans 75 yards to make the score 10-10, but Grant needed only 13 seconds to break the tie, splitting the coverage untouched and racing into the clear near midfield.

Tannehill, playing for the first time since a knee injury in late 2016, went 20 for 28 for 230 yards with two scores and two interceptions.

The Titans had a first-and-goal at the 5 in the first quarter, but were stopped on downs when Mariota threw incomplete on three consecutive plays. The Dolphins then drove 98 yards in 12 plays for a touchdown and a 7-3 lead.

On the first play after the second weather delay, Miami’s Kiko Alonso made an interception to set up a field goal and end Mariota’s day.

A holding penalty on Walker negated a 62-yard touchdown run by Derrick Henry that would have tied the game in the fourth quarter.

FRACAS

Lewan was flattened on Andre Branch’s blindside block during an interception return by Jones. Lewan sprawled face down on the turf, then suddenly sprang to his feet, and players exchanged words and shoves.

INJURY REPORT

Titans: Mariota was shaken up early in the third quarter when hit by defensive lineman William Hayes. Mariota missed one play, and then returned to throw two interceptions before again coming out of the lineup. … Adoree Jackson hurt his shoulder on a 26-yard punt return in the third quarter. … LB Wesley Woodyard was shaken up and left the game in the third quarter.

NATIONAL ANTHEM

Dolphins receivers Stills and Albert Wilson knelt during the national anthem, and defensive end Robert Quinn raised his right fist. They followed the same practice before preseason games. No Titans appeared to protest.

UP NEXT

The Dolphins play at the New York Jets next Sunday.

The Titans face Houston in their home opener next Sunday.

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Ravens QB Flacco status for Sunday’s game ‘up in the air’

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is nursing a hip injury that could threaten his availability for Sunday's game against Cincinnati.

With the Ravens coming off a bye, Flacco received an additional week of rest and treatment after sustaining the injury on Nov. 4 in the opening minutes of

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is nursing a hip injury that could threaten his availability for Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.

With the Ravens coming off a bye, Flacco received an additional week of rest and treatment after sustaining the injury on Nov. 4 in the opening minutes of a 23-16 loss to Pittsburgh.

Coach John Harbaugh said Monday that Flacco’s status against the Bengals is “up in the air” and could be a game-time decision.

If the 11-year veteran can’t go, either Robert Griffin III or rookie Lamar Jackson will start for the first time with Baltimore.

The Ravens (4-5) reached their bye week with a three-game losing streak that ruined a decent start and left the team in recovery mode as it seeks to snap a run of three straight seasons without reaching the playoffs.

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Bye comes at good time for hobbled Dolphins

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Frank Gore walked slowly through the Miami Dolphins locker room Monday, a slight hunch in his posture and a slight limp in his gait, which made him look like the 35-year-old running back he is.

And he's among the healthy ones.

The Dolphins (5-5) hobbled into their bye week

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Frank Gore walked slowly through the Miami Dolphins locker room Monday, a slight hunch in his posture and a slight limp in his gait, which made him look like the 35-year-old running back he is.

And he’s among the healthy ones.

The Dolphins (5-5) hobbled into their bye week thankful for the timing of the break. Coach Adam Gase gave his players the rest of the week off, and said if his team had a game Sunday, finding 46 healthy players to fill the active roster would be a challenge.

“I don’t even know if we’d have enough,” Gase said.

“The bye week,” gimpy left tackle Laremy Tunsil said, “came at the perfect time.”

For one thing, the bye buys quarterback Ryan Tannehill an extra week to continue his recovery from an injured capsule in his throwing shoulder. After a period of rest he began a throwing program Sunday.

“They said it was a good first step and he felt good, so that’s a positive,” Gase said. “We’ll just progress through and see where we’re at next Wednesday.”

The goal remains for Tannehill to return for Miami’s next game Nov. 25 at Indianapolis.

“If we can get through this week and he feels great every day, then we’ve got a shot,” Gase said.

The odds seem against it. Tannehill was shut down after an earlier throwing program produced little progress, and missed his fifth game in a row Sunday when Miami was beaten at Green Bay.

Brock Osweiler fell to 2-3 replacing Tannehill. And as the Dolphins lost for the fifth time in seven games, their injury list grew longer.

Sidelined were cornerback Bobby McCain (concussion) and receivers DeVante Parker (shoulder) and Jakeem Grant (calf). Both receivers underwent MRIs on Monday, and their injuries are not believed to be season enders.

By the final whistle, Miami was without five former first-round draft picks. That included starting tackles Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James, who both missed the game with knee injuries. There’s a good chance they’ll return against Indy.

Given the way the Dolphins’ season is trending, it’s surprising the Colts game could be pivotal in the AFC wild-card race.

“We’re still in the hunt,” receiver Kenny Stills said. “We need to get healthy.”

Or healthier, at least.

Last week the Dolphins had 18 players on their injury report. But not Gore, the ageless veteran who ran for 90 yards in 13 carries Sunday. He became the first player to rush for 500 yards in 14 consecutive seasons, and hasn’t missed a game since 2011.

In the Dolphins’ locker room, that makes him an outlier.

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Film Study: How another old friend stymied Belichick

Film Study: How another old friend stymied Belichick

Sunday's 34-10 drubbing in

Film Study: How another old friend stymied Belichick

Sunday’s 34-10 drubbing in Nashville was the New England Patriots’ most lopsided defeat since a 41-14 collapse at Kansas City — which prompted Bill Belichick’s famed “We’re on to Cincinnati” presser — and the worst loss during Belichick’s tenure in which the Patriots were turnover-free.

It was also New England’s second time losing by at least 16 this season, which hasn’t happened to a Tom Brady-led team since 2005. Of course, both defeats came at the hands of former Patriots: Matt Patricia’s Lions in Week 3 and Mike Vrabel’s Titans on Sunday.

Tennessee’s win was comprehensive. Marcus Mariota again looked sharper and more comfortable after shedding his two-fingered glove two weeks ago, and Corey Davis had perhaps his best NFL game. Special teams did its part, as the Titans’ average drive started at the 34, compared to the 24 for the Patriots. (Tennessee was fortunate not to lose any of its three fumbles, including two on special teams.)

But the defense, orchestrated by Vrabel and former Patriots coordinator Dean Pees, drove the victory, as New England was held to 10 points and under 300 yards for just the second time since October of 2016. The other time — you guessed it — came against Patricia in Week 3.

Patricia, who spent 14 years with Belichick, stymied his mentor with a very specific third-down approach keying on Rob Gronkowski and James White (Julian Edelman was out due to suspension). Using a rare personnel package with seven defensive backs, the Lions doubled Gronkowski with a cornerback AND safety, and put a safety (not a linebacker) on White, while also running an edge rusher at White to disrupt him off the snap. With seven DBs, Detroit still had three cornerbacks left to match New England’s three wideouts, and Brady struggled to find open targets all night.

Vrabel and Pees took a similar coverage approach on third downs, playing dime (six defensive backs) with four linebackers (two ILBs and two OLBs, leaving just one DL) for extra speed. With Gronkowski out, the Titans put Pro Bowl safety Kevin Byard on White for most of the game and sent deep-safety help toward Edelman and Josh Gordon, whom Adoree’ Jackson smothered on several key plays.

Where Tennessee differed from Detroit was in its pressure concepts, as Vrabel and Pees called myriad “safe” blitzes and zone exchanges, sending four or five rushers at the snap while others dropped into coverage. Inside linebacker Wesley Woodyard (1.5 sacks, three QB hits) was outstanding as a blitzer, and the Titans bothered Brady all day despite tallying just three sacks and six hits.

New England wound up 3-of-15 on third downs, as almost all of its success through the air came on early downs off play-action. The Tennessee defense was well prepared for Josh McDaniels’ staple misdirection near the line of scrimmage, like screens and jet sweeps, and it even stopped Brady cold on a QB sneak.

Considering the pair of resounding victories, it’s fair to ask: Have Vrabel and Patricia revealed a blueprint to stop the Patriots?

I’m skeptical, mostly because Gronkowski was out Sunday and Edelman sat out Week 3. The Patriots also missed right guard Shaq Mason (calf) and left tackle Trent Brown (illness, left mid-game) in Tennessee, and replacements Ted Karras and LaAdrian Waddle struggled. Between Gronkowski, the line and Rex Burkhead (IR, eligible to return Week 13) the offense should be healthier and more dangerous for the postseason, and Gordon should be more comfortable as well.

Still, the Titans’ dominance was eye-popping. At the very least, Belichick might have more to worry about if these teams meet again in January.

-Mayfield breaks out the cannon

Baker Mayfield is no Uncle Rico, but he can absolutely fling it. For those who doubted the top overall pick’s arm, Sunday’s first touchdown against the Falcons was a jaw-dropper.

Interim coordinator Freddie Kitchens called a “throwback” route for Jarvis Landry, who snuck from the right side at the snap* across the formation and wheeled up the left side, while Mayfield play-faked. But there were two problems: Free safety Damontae Kazee recognized Landry’s route and helped over the top, and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett busted through the line into Mayfield’s face.

Seeing Landry’s window closing and feeling Jarrett’s pressure, Mayfield quickly rolled right, killing any opportunity to hit the designed route. But with Kazee shading to Landry, Mayfield knew that Rashard Higgins’ route — a post designed to occupy Robert Alford and Kazee — was left to only Alford.

Of course, Mayfield still had to get it there. With Jarrett chasing and Foyesade Oluokun closing in his face, he uncorked a laser off one foot while running right. The ball traveled 41 yards on a line to Higgins, who snared it before Alford could arrive.

That was just one beauty in a day full of them, as the former Heisman winner had as many touchdowns (three) as incompletions in the Browns’ biggest win of the year. It also served as a reminder that the short-statured Mayfield has a very high ceiling.

*Side note: Mayfield pointed to a safety presnap while Landry was in motion — as if telling the wideout whom to block — to help sell the defense that a run was coming. Not many rookie QBs are canny enough to use a dummy point.

-Andy Reid and Tyreek Hill are toying with defenses

He’s not the best wideout in football, but Hill might be its most unique weapon, simply because his speed shatters the rules of NFL physics. That’s an almost unfair advantage for Reid, perhaps the league’s most creative mind.

Hill is scary enough when lined up outside, which practically requires a safety over the top. But things get terrifying when Hill goes into the slot, especially the inside slot of trips, where both of his touchdowns came from Sunday against Arizona.

Many teams rely on zone against the Chiefs so defenders don’t have to chase their man all over (presnap and postsnap) against K.C.’s myriad misdirection concepts. But more and more often, Reid is punishing those zones by spreading out and putting Hill in the slot, forcing defenses to cover a cheetah with wildebeests (safeties) and water buffaloes (linebackers).

On Hill’s first score, Kareem Hunt motioned wide right to create an empty set, with Hill in the inside slot. When the defense didn’t shift and Patrick Peterson aligned over Hunt, Patrick Mahomes knew it was zone. Two safeties deep showed him the deep middle would be open. Underneath safety Budda Baker aligned over Hill, but from 4 yards off the line, he had no chance to reroute him. Hill gave a simple juke and came wide open down the middle for a 37-yard TD.

A quarter later, the Chiefs burned the Cardinals with a variation of the same look. On third-and-goal from the 14, Hill aligned in the inside slot of an empty set against Arizona’s Tampa-2 zone and again ran vertical. All too wary of Hill’s speed, middle linebacker Josh Bynes tried desperately to keep pace, only for Hill to slam on the brakes. Knowing Hill would get free, Mahomes threw early and on the money for six.

Reid also sprung Hill for a 20-yard run and 16-yard reception out of the slot, both on plays where he crossed the formation behind the line after the snap and outflanked the defense. The closer Hill is to the formation, the more creative Reid can be with screens, jet sweeps, shovel passes and more.

Perhaps the scariest thing is how easy it all looks. Hill and Mahomes usually leave at least one long touchdown on the field each week, whether because of poor accuracy, a drop or miscommunication. Reid is always working in new wrinkles, and he’ll surely have more in the playoffs, after having a first-round bye to strategize.

-Frank Reich’s tight-end wizardry

Who would have guessed that Eric Ebron — released by the Lions before his fifth-year option became guaranteed — would have four more touchdowns (10) than any other NFL tight end through 10 weeks?

Ebron has indeed impressed, a reminder that tight ends often blossom a bit later than other positions (Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker and Zach Ertz come to mind). But much of his success is owed to Reich, who has weaponized the position masterfully in Indy, as he did in Philadelphia.

Reich sprung Ebron for three scores in Sunday’s win over the Jaguars, two on wide-open receptions and one rushing. The second TD catch was a completely blown coverage, but the first, a 53-yarder on the opening possession, was brilliantly schemed to defeat Jacksonville’s playcall.

The Jaguars ran their staple Cover-3 “boundary lock,” in which the boundary-side (closer to the hashmark where the ball is spotted) cornerback “locks” into man coverage and everyone else plays zone. That locked Jalen Ramsey on T.Y. Hilton, who ran a spot route inside while Ebron ran a corner route into the deep third of the field to Ramsey’s side.

With Ramsey locked to Hilton, either hook/curl defender Telvin Smith or (more likely) flat defender Barry Church became responsible for Ebron’s route, but neither recognized it in time to turn and run vertically. Reich even sprinkled in a flat route to the same side by Jordan Wilkins to further distract Church. Andrew Luck found Ebron in acres of space, and the tight end evaded Tashaun Gipson for the score.

That was just one of Reich’s tricks. The Colts’ second touchdown came after a 27-yard catch by tight end Mo Alie-Cox, a former VCU basketball player in his second year of football since age 14. With three tight ends in a wing — a run-heavy look — Alie-Cox (aligned next to the right tackle) ran up the seam as Ebron (aligned just outside Alie-Cox) faded outside to occupy two players.

Because three-TE sets are so rare, defenses typically run only one or two different coverages against them, meaning Reich could expect a predictable look and design routes accordingly. The pair of vertical routes put heavy stress on rookie linebacker Leon Jacobs, who is primarily a run defender, and Alie-Cox came free.

Three plays after Alie-Cox’s grab, Reich got Ebron his second score on a 2-yard end-round, after the tight end motioned from a wingback position to get a head start across the formation and outflank the defense.

The design worked naturally because Reich often sends his tight ends in motion on standard run and play-action designs. This helps in the run game because none of the Colts’ tight ends is a sturdy run-blocker — Calais Campbell embarrassed Alie-Cox and Jack Doyle on Sunday — but putting them on the move creates more favorable angles.

Doyle is particularly adept as a move blocker, freeing Reich to use him on more play-action designs, including from a fullback alignment. This worked twice on Sunday, once for a 20-yard gain (would have been 40-plus with a better throw) on a wheel route and later for a near-touchdown out of the flat. One play after Doyle came up just short of paydirt, Alie-Cox caught a 1-yard TD off play-action, giving the Colts’ tight ends four touchdowns before halftime.

Paced by Ebron’s 10 scores, Indy’s tight ends have 16 touchdowns this year, including seven in the last two games. Alie-Cox has two on six career catches, while Erik Swoope has three on just 55 offensive snaps this year while battling injury. Doyle got his first in Week 9 after missing the previous five games.

With Doyle back healthy and Alie-Cox (who had a horrid drop turn into an interception Sunday) flashing at times, this position group could take an even larger role down the stretch.

–David DeChant, Field Level Media

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Rams WR Kupp out for season with knee injury

Rams WR Kupp out for season with knee injury

Rams WR Kupp out for season with knee injury

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp tore a ligament in his left knee Sunday and will miss the remainder of the 2018 season.

Coach Sean McVay confirmed the injury after an MRI exam Monday.

Kupp finishes his second NFL season with 40 catches for 566 yards and six touchdowns. The 2017 third-round draft pick has 102 receptions for 1,435 yards and 11 TDs in 23 career games.

Kupp suffered a non-contact injury during the fourth quarter of the Rams’ 36-31 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. He made a cut on his left leg and fell to the ground, holding his knee. He had to be helped off the field.

He originally sprained the same knee when he was tackled in mid-October as the Rams beat the Broncos 23-20 in Denver. He missed two games before returning for the Week 9 loss in New Orleans.

–Field Level Media

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LA Rams WR Cooper Kupp has torn knee ligament, McVay says

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp is out for the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee.

Coach Sean McVay on Monday confirmed the injury for Kupp, who led the Rams in yards receiving last season.

Kupp was hurt on a noncontact play during the Rams'

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp is out for the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee.

Coach Sean McVay on Monday confirmed the injury for Kupp, who led the Rams in yards receiving last season.

Kupp was hurt on a noncontact play during the Rams’ 36-31 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. An MRI exam confirmed a torn ligament for Kupp, who already missed two games last month with a different injury to the same knee.

Kupp has been a key contributor to Los Angeles’ high-octane passing game in both of his NFL seasons. He has 40 catches for 566 yards and six touchdowns this season, providing Jared Goff with a reliable target in the slot.

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Browns’ interim coach Williams focused on wins, not future

CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns interim coach Gregg Williams insists he's not thinking about his future with the team.

Cleveland has split its two games under Williams, the team's defensive coordinator who assumed head coaching duties after Hue Jackson was fired. The Browns (3-6-1) played one of their best all-around games in years on Sunday, beating

CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns interim coach Gregg Williams insists he’s not thinking about his future with the team.

Cleveland has split its two games under Williams, the team’s defensive coordinator who assumed head coaching duties after Hue Jackson was fired. The Browns (3-6-1) played one of their best all-around games in years on Sunday, beating Atlanta 28-16 to snap a four-game losing streak.

The Browns’ performance is a good reflection on Williams, who coached Buffalo from 2001-03. He sidestepped questions about whether he wants to be Cleveland’s next full-time coach, saying “I like being employed.”

Williams acknowledged he does enjoy “the head coaching part of it. But the big part of what we’re doing is getting the players to focus. One day at a time and keep on moving in the right direction.”

With rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield throwing three touchdown passes, the Browns easily handled the Falcons (4-5).

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Chiefs’ maligned defense shines in victory over Arizona

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs finally got Justin Houston back onto the field Sunday against Arizona, and the four-time Pro Bowl linebacker made one of the plays of the game when he picked off Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen on a second-half screen pass.

The Chiefs also got safety Daniel

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs finally got Justin Houston back onto the field Sunday against Arizona, and the four-time Pro Bowl linebacker made one of the plays of the game when he picked off Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen on a second-half screen pass.

The Chiefs also got safety Daniel Sorensen back from injured reserve, where he had resided since breaking his leg in training camp, and he five tackles while providing a hard-hitting presence.

Perhaps it’s no surprise the Chiefs defense played the best it has all season.

With two of their anticipated starters back on the field, the Chiefs held the Cardinals to 260 yards in a 26-14 victory. They sacked Rosen five times, intercepted him twice and even managed to keep David Johnson under 100 yards rushing — just barely.

“I feel like the first couple weeks we were putting too much into it, trying too hard,” linebacker Reggie Ragland said. “We’re having fun with it. Whatever happens, happens. It’s football. We’ve been playing this game for too long for us not to have fun with it. It’s a child’s game and we’re grown men playing it, so have fun with it. Don’t worry about all that other stuff.”

The Chiefs (9-1) sure looked as if they were having a ball Sunday.

Dee Ford had his ninth sack of the season, not to mention three tackles for a loss and four hits on Rosen. Allen Bailey had his fifth sack while Chris Jones had two more to give him a career-high seven for the season, including at least one sack in six consecutive games.

All told, Rosen was hit 13 times and fumbled once while throwing for just 208 yards and a score.

“The one thing we’re doing right now is we are minimizing big plays,” defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins said. “That is one thing we all play on is minimizing big plays, then getting them one-dimensional so we can rush the passer. I think we did that this game.”

The only game in which the defense played nearly as well was Cincinnati, when the Chiefs allowed 239 yards in a 45-10 rout. But it’s often easier to play stingy defense when the game has gotten out of hand, and on Sunday the Chiefs needed to show up in a game that Arizona managed to keep relatively close.

“That’s happened a couple of times now, things have stalled out (on offense) then they step up and make plays,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “That’s a great thing. We need that as a football team. We need that. It’s important.”

Especially given who is up next: The Chiefs are headed to Mexico City to face the high-flying Los Angeles Rams on Monday night in a matchup of two of the NFL’s most dynamic offenses.

The Rams are second in yards-per-game and the Chiefs are third, and those rankings are flipped when it comes to scoring with Kansas City second and Los Angeles third.

In other words, it’s a good time for the Chiefs’ maligned defense to start showing up.

They can still get a whole lot better, too. Middle linebacker Anthony Hitchens was out Sunday with bruised ribs, and backup linebacker Frank Zombo missed the game with a hamstring injury, giving undrafted rookie Ben Niemann a chance to start his first NFL game.

“I was still on four phases of special teams,” Niemann said, “so I got a little tired out there. But it was good. You want to play. You want to play as many snaps as possible.”

Someone else who wants to play? Eric Berry, the Chiefs’ star safety, who still hasn’t played since tearing his Achilles’ tendon in the season opener last year. Berry practiced throughout the summer and into training camp, but a heel injury has kept him off the field for months.

It would be another boon for the Chiefs defense if he can return in any effective capacity.

“Sooner or later, it has to be the defense (stepping up),” Jenkins said. “That’s part of being a team. You can’t be one-dimensional. I think the feeling we have now is it’s a good team. It wasn’t pretty (Sunday) but we got it done. That’s what we have to do.”

Notes: Reid said Monday he’s not concerned about the field conditions at Azteca Stadium, where the combination of concerts and soccer matches have wrecked the turf. “I’ve seen it,” Reid said, “but I think the NFL is on top of it. They do a great job with all that stuff.” … Reid said he doesn’t expect Patrick Mahomes to miss practice after his girlfriend’s stepfather died suddenly on Sunday. The Chiefs are off on Tuesday and Wednesday. “He’s here this morning and he’s got things set there, organized and settled down,” Reid said, “so he can do what he’s got to do here.”

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Reports: Jets won’t fire Bowles during bye week

Reports: Jets won't fire Bowles during bye week

New York Jets ownership is unlikely to fire head

Reports: Jets won’t fire Bowles during bye week

New York Jets ownership is unlikely to fire head coach Todd Bowles before season’s end, according to multiple reports.

The focus on Bowles’ future increased Sunday after the Jets (3-7) lost to the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium, 41-10. It was the fourth straight loss for the Jets.

The Jets have a bye week, raising speculation that Bowles could be fired this week.

ESPN reported that ownership expects to consider Bowles’ future at the end of the season instead. The lack of a clearcut interim coach on the staff, combined with the desire to have consistency for the Bowles-led defense, were cited as the reasons.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Saints sign veteran WR Marshall

Report: Saints sign veteran WR Marshall

After 13 seasons with six NFL teams, nearly 1,000 receptions and zero playoff appearances, veteran wide receiver

Report: Saints sign veteran WR Marshall

After 13 seasons with six NFL teams, nearly 1,000 receptions and zero playoff appearances, veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall could end his postseason drought after reportedly signing a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints on Monday.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the transaction.

New Orleans (8-1) signed the 34-year-old free agent after losing the newly signed Dez Bryant last week to a torn Achilles tendon.

Marshall is a six-time Pro Bowl selection and eight-time 1,000-yard receiver with 970 catches for 12,351 yards and 83 touchdowns

He played in six games for the Seattle Seahawks this season before being released last month, finishing with 11 receptions for 136 yards and one score.

Marshall has also played for the Denver Broncos (2006-09), Miami Dolphins (2010-11), Chicago Bears (2012-14), New York Jets (2015-16) and New York Giants (2017).

–Field Level Media

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Reports confirm torn ACL for Rams WR Kupp

Reports confirm torn ACL for Rams WR Kupp

Reports confirm torn ACL for Rams WR Kupp

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp tore the ACL in his left knee Sunday and will miss the rest of the 2018 season.

An MRI confirmed the preliminary diagnosis Monday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Kupp finishes his second NFL season with 40 catches for 566 yards and six touchdowns. The 2017 third-round draft pick has 102 receptions for 1,435 yards and 11 TDs in 23 career games.

Kupp appeared to suffer a non-contact injury during the fourth quarter of the Rams’ 36-31 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. He made a cut on his left leg and fell to the ground, holding his knee. He had to be helped off the field.

Kupp originally sprained the same knee when he was tackled in mid-October as the Rams beat the Broncos 23-20 in Denver. He missed two games before returning for the Week 9 loss in New Orleans.

–Field Level Media

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Saints’ Payton says he’ll pay to repair smashed alarm

Saints' Payton says he'll pay to repair smashed alarm

Saints’ Payton says he’ll pay to repair smashed alarm

New Orleans head coach Sean Payton said Monday he will pay for the damages after smashing a fire alarm in the visitors’ locker room at Paul Brown Stadium before Sunday’s 51-14 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Alarms had been sounding throughout the stadium for about 15 minutes before Payton took matters into his own hands to silence the distraction.

“I just needed the noise to stop,” Payton said. “Gladly, we’ll take care of the repair cost and I consider the Brown family and that organization as close allies and people we have a lot of respect for, and the same way with (coach) Marvin (Lewis).”

It’s not clear whether any penalty is forthcoming, but the Bengals said they have alerted the authorities.

“We are aware of this situation and have been in touch with the authorities, but have nothing more on it at this time,” the Bengals said in a statement.

The reason for the fire alarms sounding in the first place remains unclear.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Saints’ Payton smashes fire alarm in Cincy

Report: Saints' Payton smashes fire alarm in Cincy

New

Report: Saints’ Payton smashes fire alarm in Cincy

New Orleans head coach Sean Payton reportedly smashed a fire alarm in the visitors’ locker room at Paul Brown Stadium before Sunday’s 51-14 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Times-Picayune first reported that the alarm had been sounding throughout the stadium for about 15 minutes before Payton took matters into his own hands to silence the distraction.

It’s not clear whether any penalty is forthcoming, but the Bengals said they have alerted the authorities.

“We are aware of this situation and have been in touch with the authorities, but have nothing more on it at this time,” the Bengals said in a statement.

The Saints declined to comment on the situation after the game.

The reason for the alarm sounding in the first place is unknown.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Bengals fire defensive coordinator Austin

Reports: Bengals fire defensive coordinator Austin

Cincinnati fired

Reports: Bengals fire defensive coordinator Austin

Cincinnati fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin one day after the Bengals allowed 51 points and 509 yards in a lopsided loss to the New Orleans Saints, multiple outlets reported Monday.

The Bengals (5-4) have lost three of their last four while allowing a league-high 454.6 yards per game, including 500-plus in three straight games. Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (32.3) are giving up more points per game than Cincinnati (32.0).

Austin, 53, was in his first season with the Bengals after serving as defensive coordinator with the Detroit Lions from 2014-17.

ESPN and NFL Network reported Austin’s firing Monday morning, citing unnamed sources.

The Bengals are in second place in the AFC North behind the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-1). Cincinnati goes on the road next Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

–Field Level Media

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Owner Mark Davis on Raiders’ start: ‘It’s on me’

Owner Mark Davis on Raiders' start: 'It's on me'

Owner Mark Davis on Raiders’ start: ‘It’s on me’

Owner Mark Davis took responsibility for the Oakland Raiders hitting eight losses with seven games to play in 2018.

“Where this team is right now is my fault. We haven’t been able to build a 22-man roster,” Davis said in an interview with ESPN, referring to the starting lineups on offense and defense. “We haven’t been able to give this team a chance to win because the reconstruction failed. We failed from 2014 on to have a roster right now.”

Embattled coach Jon Gruden has taken heat for the Raiders winning only one game this season, his first in a 10-year, $100 million contract that lured him back to the Raiders’ sideline from the broadcast booth.

Davis defended the decision to deal linebacker Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears. He said the Raiders presented Mack and agent Joel Segal with a contract offer in June 2017 that would have made him the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player. When Mack turned it down, the Raiders felt a long-term deal was not within their reach.

“My thought was, ‘Listen, he signed a five-year contract, if he’s the type of guy that I think he is, he’s going to honor that contract,'” Davis recalled. “And he’s going to come in and play for the $13 million for this year and then we’ll work for him during the year and get it. Word came back through certain players that know him and talk to him and know me as well, that he wasn’t going to come in. He was going to do the Le’Veon Bell (holdout). At that point, I said, ‘F it. The guy hasn’t talked to anybody. We’ve got to do something.'”

That trade opened the door for additional discord in the locker room.

Mack and wide receiver Amari Cooper share an agent, and the former first-round pick was on the way to the same situation that led to the Mack stalemate: the final year of his rookie deal with a desire for a massive extension. The Raiders traded Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys last month for a 2019 first-round pick.

“It might not have been the right decision, but the other point to this whole thing is that Segal is also the agent for Amari Cooper,” Davis said. “And we knew the same situation was coming up the next year. It wasn’t just one layer of chess; it was two layers of chess. But to blame Jon, for Khalil Mack not being here, is absolutely not the truth. It was a decision that was made and it wasn’t made easily … I don’t have any bad feelings toward (Mack). I wish he would have talked to Jon and (GM) Reggie (McKenzie) and wanted to at least honor the fifth year of his contract.”

Davis said he plans to sit down with McKenzie and discuss the best way to move forward.

He also said Gruden has the keys to the castle.

“I know how hard Jon Gruden works. I know how much he wants to win. And how much days like (Sunday) are killing him,” Davis said. “Having Jon Gruden here was the endgame for me. Jon’s going to be the stability here. Jon’s going nowhere. That’s just the way it is.”

–Field Level Media

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Eagles’ Darby out for season with torn ACL

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season.

Darby was injured in the second half of Philadelphia's 27-20 loss to Dallas on Sunday night.

The Eagles already lost safety Rodney McLeod to a season-ending knee injury. Starting cornerback Jalen Mills and starting

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season.

Darby was injured in the second half of Philadelphia’s 27-20 loss to Dallas on Sunday night.

The Eagles already lost safety Rodney McLeod to a season-ending knee injury. Starting cornerback Jalen Mills and starting nickel cornerback Sidney Jones didn’t play against the Cowboys because of injuries.

Mills isn’t expected to return this week, but Jones is a possibility.

The Eagles (4-5) visit New Orleans (8-1) next.

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Saints add receiver Brandon Marshall after Dez Bryant injury

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints coach Sean Payton says the Saints have signed veteran receiver Brandon Marshall.

Marshall's addition adds depth to an offense that already leads the NFL in scoring with 36.7 points per game and ranks in the top five in yards per game with 413.9.

Last week, the Saints signed

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints coach Sean Payton says the Saints have signed veteran receiver Brandon Marshall.

Marshall’s addition adds depth to an offense that already leads the NFL in scoring with 36.7 points per game and ranks in the top five in yards per game with 413.9.

Last week, the Saints signed receiver Dez Bryant, but he tore his Achilles in only his second practice and never played a game for New Orleans.

The Seattle Seahawks released Marshall on Oct. 30 after he’d appeared in Seattle’s first seven games this season, catching 11 passes for 136 yards and one touchdown. But his involvement in the offense dropped after Week 3 and he had just two catches for 16 yards in his last four games.

Seattle was the sixth NFL team for the 34-year-old Marshall, who has eight 1,000-plus-yard seasons in his career. His best season, statistically, came with the New York Jets in 2015, when he caught 109 passes for 1,502 yards and 14 touchdowns. Marshall entered this season trying to come back from an ankle injury and toe surgery that cost him the majority of the 2017 season with the New York Giants.

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Sean Payton says Bengals will be paid for broken fire alarm

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints coach Sean Payton says he broke a blaring fire alarm in visitor's locker room at Cincinnati's Paul Brown stadium and that he intends to ensure the repairs are paid for.

Payton says it would be "a little sensationalist" to say he "destroyed" the fire alarm and that the

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints coach Sean Payton says he broke a blaring fire alarm in visitor’s locker room at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown stadium and that he intends to ensure the repairs are paid for.

Payton says it would be “a little sensationalist” to say he “destroyed” the fire alarm and that the act was not intended as a motivational ploy.

Rather, Payton says the alarm had been blaring for what seemed to him like 10 minutes and that he “needed the noise to stop” as he prepared his team to play against the Bengals.

The Saints beat the Bengals 51-14 for their eighth straight victory.

Payton says he considers the Brown family, the Bengals organization and coach Marvin Lewis to be close allies for whom he has a lot of respect.

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Bengals fire defensive coordinator after rout by Saints

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals have fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, a day after their historically bad performance in a 51-14 loss to the Saints.

New Orleans scored on every possession except the last one — when it took a knee in field-goal range — during its rout at Paul Brown Stadium.

The

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals have fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, a day after their historically bad performance in a 51-14 loss to the Saints.

New Orleans scored on every possession except the last one — when it took a knee in field-goal range — during its rout at Paul Brown Stadium.

The Bengals (5-4) have given up 500 yards in three straight games — a first in the Super Bowl era — and are on pace to give up an NFL record for yards in a season.

It’s the second straight year the Bengals have fired a coordinator during the season. Last year, the Bengals fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese after an 0-2 start last year. Coach Marvin Lewis got a two-year contract extension after the 2017 season.

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Ex-Detroit Lion Barney accuses pizza chain of discrimination

DETROIT (AP) — Former Detroit Lions Hall of Famer Lem Barney and his wife are suing a Detroit-area pizza chain for racial discrimination after being refused service.

The lawsuit filed in Detroit's federal court Monday says Lem and Jacqueline Barney went to Happy's Pizza in Commerce Township Nov. 2. The lawsuit says that

DETROIT (AP) — Former Detroit Lions Hall of Famer Lem Barney and his wife are suing a Detroit-area pizza chain for racial discrimination after being refused service.

The lawsuit filed in Detroit’s federal court Monday says Lem and Jacqueline Barney went to Happy’s Pizza in Commerce Township Nov. 2. The lawsuit says that when they tried to order, the manager told them to go to Happy’s Southfield location because “they would be more at home there.”

The Barneys are black. Southfield has a majority black population and Commerce Township is mostly white.

The lawsuit says the Barneys called the police. The restaurant manager told an officer that the Barneys were denied service because workers were preparing for a corporate catering event.

The Associated Press left a message Monday seeking comment from Happy’s Pizza.

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Column: Ugly performances by Jets, Bucs and Raiders

To say the Jets , Raiders and Bucs have quit would be hyperbole.

To say their fans are ready to quit watching them would be more accurate.

There was little to nothing worth mentioning about their performances Sunday in one-sided defeats. In the New York and Tampa Bay areas, much of the chatter

To say the Jets , Raiders and Bucs have quit would be hyperbole.

To say their fans are ready to quit watching them would be more accurate.

There was little to nothing worth mentioning about their performances Sunday in one-sided defeats. In the New York and Tampa Bay areas, much of the chatter will be about removing Todd Bowles and Dirk Koetter as head coaches of their respective outfits. At least Jon Gruden won’t be worrying about job security with a Raiders team he has torn asunder, and he has the job security to rebuild.

Bowles got it right at the New Jersey Meadowlands by saying following a 41-10 embarrassment at the hands of the previously-inept-on-offense Buffalo: “We stunk it up as coaches, we stunk it up as players.”

His team certainly represented what used to be swamp land quite well Sunday.

The Jets (3-7, losers of four in a row) were blitzed from the beginning by a quarterback, Matt Barkley, who was unemployed a few days ago, and has been a journeyman for almost his entire NFL stint; this was his 12th game since 2013. They were overrun by LeSean McCoy, which is fine except when you consider he was in a horrendous slump and hadn’t scored all season.

Worst, they seemed apathetic and disinterested from the start, a strong indictment of the players and the coaches.

“They just came in and just straight, flat out, beat us,” said Jets receiver Jermaine Kearse, who has had to adjust to lots of losing in New York after lots of winning while he was with the Seahawks. “I wish I could give you an explanation. It’s frustrating for all of us, but they just came in here and straight beat us.”

Maybe because the Bills were trying a whole lot harder?

“Nobody’s quit on anybody,” Kearse added. “We win together, we lose together and that’s everybody’s mindset right now. We’re all not perfect, we’re out here trying to figure it out and find ways to improve this situation like anybody else. So, I would think that’s far from the truth.”

The Jets have never fired a coach during the season since the Johnson family bought the franchise in 2000. At least Bowles seems to have that going for him.

Koetter is in his third season in charge in Tampa, and he’s supposedly an offensive mastermind. Until being manhandled by Washington, the Bucs were tearing it up when they had the ball. Maybe somebody tore up all the play sheets that worked previously because they scored a mere three points against a team struggling with injuries.

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken had been calling plays, but Koetter took over against the Redskins. He wouldn’t explain why, but clearly it was a bogus decision.

“We weren’t good enough as a team, and that starts with me,” Koetter said. “To move the ball like that and come up with three points, you’re just not going to win that way.”

Tampa (3-6) has the second-longest playoff drought, 10 seasons, and Koetter’s chances of breaking that string are diminishing rapidly.

No such worries for Gruden, whose return to Oakland has been a fiasco so far. Give him credit for all the high draft picks the Raiders will have in April, and maybe for the high prospects they will carry into Las Vegas when they move in 2020.

For now, though, well — pardon us on this one — they’ve fallen into a Black Hole.

“This will be a year that a lot of us will never forget,” Gruden said of his 1-8 team that has been outscored 75-9 in the past nine quarters in what has quickly become a lost season. “It’s painful. It’s really hard. It’s painful. It’s going to be hard to sleep again, hard to get up in the morning.”

When Gruden gets up, he’ll perhaps look at others to get rid of as he retools the roster already missing Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin and Amari Cooper. He’s got that wildly lucrative 10-year contract, virtual total control of personnel and no qualms about doing pretty much anything.

What must hurt fans of these three teams that got hammered Sunday is that the effort from other losing clubs — Arizona, which tested powerful Kansas City; Cleveland, which stunned Atlanta; and, of course, Buffalo — was so strong, so admirable. Perhaps the worst sign for a struggling team is when it looks lost, lethargic and lacking skill on the field.

In New Jersey and the Tampa and Oakland bay areas, that’s exactly what the fans saw in Week 10.

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