Eagles WR Matthews returns on one-year deal

Eagles WR Matthews returns on one-year deal

Wide receiver Jordan Matthews rejoined the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday, just over a year after he was traded by the team to the Buffalo Bills.

The Eagles placed Mike Wallace on injured reserve and are entering Week 3 without their top wide receiver, Alshon Jeffery, who is recovering from February shoulder surgery.

Matthews was traded to the Bills for cornerback Ronald Darby before the 2017 season began and spent the offseason and training camp with the New England Patriots. Matthews reached an injury settlement with the Patriots in August but passed his physical on Tuesday with the Eagles.

A second-round pick in 2014, Matthews is good friends with quarterback Carson Wentz and should be back up to speed in the Philadelphia offense quickly.

According to NFL Network, Philadelphia also considered bringing back another former Eagles’ receiver, Jeremy Maclin.

–Field Level Media

Take 5; Steelers get a break after drilling Panthers

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger was still in the process of picking himself up off the Heinz Field turf when the scrum started, one that sent a message that at the moment it might be unwise to mess with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey and right guard David DeCastro were not

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger was still in the process of picking himself up off the Heinz Field turf when the scrum started, one that sent a message that at the moment it might be unwise to mess with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey and right guard David DeCastro were not particularly pleased with how Carolina safety Eric Reid launched himself at Pittsburgh’s franchise quarterback as Roethlisberger finished off an 18-yard scramble during the third quarter of a 52-21 dismantling of the Panthers on Thursday night.

Together the two perennial Pro Bowlers — a combined 630 pounds give or take a meal — let Reid and a handful of his teammates know they didn’t appreciate Reid’s approach to his job. What followed was 30 seconds of flexing, grabbing and shoving before Reid was ejected for targeting.

“You’ve got to be there for your guy,” DeCastro said. “Just trying to stand up for him and show him we’ve got his back.”

As the Steelers made their way back to the huddle, Roethlisberger gave his linemen peace of mind should the NFL decide to hit their wallets after sticking up for him.

“Ben came up after and said, ‘If any fine gets handed out, I’ll handle that,'” Pouncey said with a laugh.

Pouncey, in the fourth year of a five-year contract that will pay him $44 million, can certainly afford to write the check. He believes the fact he won’t have to if it comes to that says a lot about Roethlisberger — and a lot about the current climate within the Pittsburgh locker room.

“It’s cool man,” Pouncey said. “I appreciate all the guys repping like that.”

Those guys have found their identity over the last five weeks. Pittsburgh (6-2-1) set a record for the most points by an NFL team in the 17-year history of Heinz Field while rolling to a fifth straight victory. The reward? Five days off to rest up before starting a daunting final stretch that begins on Nov. 18 in Jacksonville in a playoff rematch that saw the Jaguars stun Pittsburgh at home in January.

“Last year is last year,” Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton said. “We’re a different team just like they’re a different team.”

If anything, Pittsburgh looks much better than while getting pushed around by Leonard Fournette and Blake Bortles in a confidence-shaking 45-42 setback that led to an exodus in both the secondary and portions of the coaching staff.

Randy Fichtner took over for Todd Haley as offensive coordinator and, even with star running back Le’Veon Bell sitting out due to concerns with his one-year contract, has put together an attack that looks as dynamic and varied as anything in the league.

James Conner, Bell’s replacement, already has 11 touchdowns through nine games, as many as Bell has scored in any full season. Roethlisberger spread the ball all over the place on a night he finished with more scoring passes (five) than incompletions (three).

“We’ve got a lot of weapons on this team and Ben showed it tonight getting the ball to all of them,” DeCastro said.

Roethlisberger’s only complaint is that Fichtner may get a little too loud in the headset because he’s so pumped up about the next play call.

Pittsburgh’s defense kept Carolina’s Cam Newton under wraps, sacking him five times while limiting the Panthers to 242 yards, the fourth straight game an opponent has finished with 275 yards or less. Save for a couple of early communication breakdowns that allowed Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey to get loose, the Steelers kept things tight.

“I don’t think it’s a come-to-Jesus moment where something miraculously just happened,” defensive tackle Cam Heyward said. “I think everybody got back to work. It showed on the practice field and it showed ever since. This is a big win, but it’s not like we don’t have games after this. We’ll enjoy it for tonight and enjoy it for the weekend, but when we get back in we have to get back to work.”

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Chiefs could get Houston, Sorensen on field vs Cardinals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs could be getting some much-needed help for their ailing, leaky defense when linebacker Justin Houston and safety Daniel Sorensen are expected to play against the Arizona Cardinals.

Houston has missed four straight games after hurting his hamstring, while Sorensen was added to the active roster this

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs could be getting some much-needed help for their ailing, leaky defense when linebacker Justin Houston and safety Daniel Sorensen are expected to play against the Arizona Cardinals.

Houston has missed four straight games after hurting his hamstring, while Sorensen was added to the active roster this week after landing on injured reserve in training camp with a broken leg.

Wide receiver Sammy Watkins practiced Friday for the first time this week after dealing with a foot injury, while Cam Erving was back on the field after dealing with an illness.

Those four were listed as questionable on the final injury report, along with Anthony Hitchens, who has bruised ribs, and fellow linebacker Frank Zombo, who has a hamstring injury.

Safety Eric Berry is doubtful with a heel injury. Center Mitch Morse remains out with a concussion.

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NFL fines Titans safety for celebrating on Cowboys’ logo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The NFL has fined Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard $10,026 for celebrating his end-zone interception on the Dallas Cowboys star logo at midfield.

Byard said Friday the fine was actually worth it as the interception helped change momentum by denying the Cowboys a possible touchdown. The Titans outscored the

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The NFL has fined Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard $10,026 for celebrating his end-zone interception on the Dallas Cowboys star logo at midfield.

Byard said Friday the fine was actually worth it as the interception helped change momentum by denying the Cowboys a possible touchdown. The Titans outscored the Cowboys 28-7 after the interception en route to a 28-14 victory Monday night.

“I actually kind of expected it to be more with all the crazy fines that are going on in the league right now,” Byard said. “I expected it to be more than $10,000. But I feel like it was worth it. I kind of knew it was coming, but I didn’t know the amount. … It was a momentum changer. If it was $10,000 it was worth it, because I’ll make that up on the back end.”

The 2017 All-Pro safety copied what Terrell Owens did 18 years ago in a win over the Cowboys in old Texas Stadium. The interception was the second this season for Byard and his 10th since the start of the 2017 season, tying him for the most in the NFL in that span.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel talked with Byard after the game and again Tuesday. Vrabel also talked to the rest of the team Wednesday to make sure they understand what is expected of them when celebrating.

“That’s not what we want as an organization, and that’s not what I want as a head coach,” Vrabel said. “I want our guys to play as hard as they possibly can for each other, between the whistle, and as physical and aggressive and as clean as they possibly can.”

Vrabel said he wants players to celebrate with a teammate.

“Find somebody else in a Titans uniform. Find a coach, and celebrate with them,” Vrabel said. “But we don’t need to do that. It’s not what we want to do. … That’s not what I want, and if that’s what they want, then we see it very differently.”

Notes: The Titans (4-4) will be without right tackle Jack Conklin (concussion protocol) against the New England Patriots (7-2) on Sunday. The Patriots eliminated Tennessee from the postseason in January. … WR Tajae Sharpe (ankle) told reporters in the locker room he will play. LB Derrick Morgan (shoulder), WR Taywan Taylor (left foot) and S Dane Cruikshank (knee) did not practice. DL Bennie Logan (knee) practiced Friday after being limited Thursday. LBs Daren Bates (illness) and Will Compton (hamstring) practiced.

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Rivera tells Panthers to get away from football after loss

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers coach Ron Rivera wants his players to get away from football, just for a little while.

A day after a humiliating 52-21 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina's eighth-year coach said it may just be what the Panthers need.

"Sometimes the best medicine is to forget about it

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers coach Ron Rivera wants his players to get away from football, just for a little while.

A day after a humiliating 52-21 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina’s eighth-year coach said it may just be what the Panthers need.

“Sometimes the best medicine is to forget about it and then come back ready to roll,” Rivera said Friday, adding that they should focus on something other than football.

That advice doesn’t apply to Rivera and his coaching staff.

Rivera said coaches will spend the next few days pouring over game film, looking for solutions and making adjustments, particularly on the offensive and defensive lines where the Panthers were overwhelmed by the Steelers in the road loss. The coach wouldn’t say if he’s considering any changes to the starting lineup.

Quarterback Cam Newton was sacked five times and threw a crucial pick-six out of desperation to avoid taking a safety in the end zone, while the defense never was able to stop Ben Roethlisberger, who turned in a perfect QB rating (158.3) after throwing for 328 yards and five touchdowns. The 52 points allowed tied the most in franchise history.

The Panthers (6-3) are still in good shape in the NFC playoff picture, but Rivera expressed concern knowing the NFL is a copycat league and upcoming opponents will look to simulate what the Steelers did against them.

“It is a beg, borrow and steal league,” Rivera said. “Guys are going to look at this tape and see what (the Steelers) did and have answers. We as coaches, as I said, are not done evaluating tape and going through it and trying to correct things.”

Pittsburgh’s defense brought more pass rushers than the Panthers were able to block, often resulting in 5-foot-11, 210-pound running back Christian McCaffrey desperately trying to pick up linemen who outweighed him by almost 100 pounds. That didn’t go well.

Rivera said the Steelers defense threw some new looks at Carolina’s revamped offensive line and the guys up front didn’t recognize or adjust to them.

“Sometimes you see things for the first time, things that they do a little differently, with a little twist to them, it makes things difficult,” Rivera said. “We have to be able to handle those things. We have to stick to our rules, our base fundamentals.”

Meanwhile, Carolina’s defense failed to generate much of any pressure on Roethlisberger. There were times he danced around in the pocket untouched for nearly 10 seconds.

Rivera said that has to change.

He plans to continue to rotate defensive linemen in and out of the lineup “until we find something that clicks on the pass rush side.”

Carolina’s stadium was noticeably quiet and somber on a dark, gray afternoon.

After what he called a “very humbling experience to be beat the way we were,” Rivera still gave players four days off — as previously planned before the game — beginning Friday. They’ll return to practice Tuesday to begin preparations for the Nov. 18 game at Detroit.

For some, that wasn’t by choice.

Tight end Greg Olsen said after the game Thursday night that he wishes the Panthers had a four-day week this week and he could get back on the field to wash this loss out of their mouths instead of waiting 10 days for the next game.

“We just got thoroughly beaten in a game that we were looking forward to, a game that we thought we could really measure ourselves against one of the better teams in the league,” Olsen said. “We got that answer. We got a lot of work to do.”

NOTES: Rivera said he plans to ask the league for a clarification on why safety Eric Reid was ejected Thursday night after hitting a sliding Roethlisberger on a downfield scramble. Rivera said he agreed Reid should have been penalized, but felt he shouldn’t have been kicked out of the game.

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Jaguars’ Fournette ‘completely healthy,’ will play at Colts

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette is good to go for Sunday's game at Indianapolis.

Fournette practiced without any limitations or setbacks all week, prompting coach Doug Marrone to declare him "completely healthy" for the first time since Week 4.

The fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette is good to go for Sunday’s game at Indianapolis.

Fournette practiced without any limitations or setbacks all week, prompting coach Doug Marrone to declare him “completely healthy” for the first time since Week 4.

The fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft missed the last four games and six of eight this season because of a strained right hamstring.

Marrone says “so far, no issues. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. No setbacks, no really nothing. Right now, he’s completely healthy. Today, at this time.”

Fournette has 20 carries for 71 yards with no touchdowns. He ran for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns in 13 games in 2017.

The Jaguars (3-5) will be without starting cornerback A.J. Bouye (calf) and backup cornerback Quenton Meeks (knee).

Linebacker Telvin Smith (shoulder) is questionable.

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3 Dolphins offensive linemen questionable for Green Bay

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Dolphins could be without three injured starting offensive linemen Sunday at Green Bay.

Guard Ted Larsen (neck) is doubtful, and left tackle Laremy Tunsil (knee and ankle) and right tackle Ja'Wuan James (knee) are questionable. All three were limited in practice Friday, as they have been all week.

Defensive

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Dolphins could be without three injured starting offensive linemen Sunday at Green Bay.

Guard Ted Larsen (neck) is doubtful, and left tackle Laremy Tunsil (knee and ankle) and right tackle Ja’Wuan James (knee) are questionable. All three were limited in practice Friday, as they have been all week.

Defensive end Charles Harris (calf) was ruled out for the fourth game in a row. Linebacker Kiko Alonso (ankle) was added to the injury report after missing practice and is listed as questionable.

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Rams cancel practice for fire; 20 players, coaches evacuate

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams have canceled practice after a wildfire forced about 20 players and coaches to evacuate their homes.

The Rams will cram their normal Friday preparations into a workout at the University of Southern California on Saturday before they face the Seattle Seahawks at the Coliseum on

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams have canceled practice after a wildfire forced about 20 players and coaches to evacuate their homes.

The Rams will cram their normal Friday preparations into a workout at the University of Southern California on Saturday before they face the Seattle Seahawks at the Coliseum on Sunday.

Just one day after the Rams were stunned by a mass shooting less than five miles from their training complex in Thousand Oaks, they were affected by two wildfires burning in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

About 45 Rams employees were evacuated, although coach Sean McVay doesn’t believe any homes have been lost. Those forced to leave their homes Friday included defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and defensive line coach Bill Johnson.

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Byard fined for Monday’s ‘star’ celebration

Byard fined for Monday's 'star' celebration

Byard fined for Monday’s ‘star’ celebration

The NFL fined Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard $10,026 for his dancing and stomping on the Dallas Cowboys’ midfield star, ESPN reported Friday.

Byard’s celebration occurred after he intercepted a pass during Monday night’s 28-14 victory over the Cowboys.

Byard raced from the end zone to midfield after the first-quarter play. Several of his teammates joined him.

“I made the play, and I ran straight to the 50-yard line,” Byard told reporters after the game. “It was kind of off the wall a little bit.”

Titans coach Mike Vrabel wasn’t so thrilled with Byard’s antics. He strongly rebuked his actions.

“I’m not [happy], and I won’t be,” Vrabel told reporters on Tuesday. “That’s not what we want as an organization, and that’s not what I want as a head coach. I want our guys to play as hard as they possibly can for each other, between the whistle, and as physical and aggressive and as clean as they possibly can.”

Vrabel discussed the matter with Byard after Monday’s game and again the following day.

“Some people loved it, some didn’t, but the main thing is the head coach didn’t like it, and that’s the most important thing,” Byard told reporters on Wednesday. “I am more concerned with the trust and the way my head coach and my teammates view me. Those guys know that I am not a selfish person.

“I understand that act looked selfish and that’s why we had a talk about that,” Byard said. “I don’t want to be in the doghouse, or end up in the doghouse over a celebration.”

The Titans host the New England Patriots on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars RB Fournette expected to play vs. Colts

Jaguars RB Fournette expected to play vs. Colts

Jacksonville

Jaguars RB Fournette expected to play vs. Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette was cleared to return Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, according to a Florida Times-Union report.

Fournette was given the green light for his first game action in six weeks after making it through a full week of practice with no setbacks to his chronic hamstring injury. He was not listed on the team’s injury report for Sunday’s game.

Quarterback Blake Bortles (left shoulder) also participated in practice and is cleared to play.

Fournette has not played since Week 4 because of the injury and appeared in only two games this season, rushing for 71 yards on 20 carries. After aggravating the injury on multiple occasions, he has remained out as the team tries to avoid any future setbacks.

Fournette participated in individual drills Monday as the team exited its bye week, then in his first full session on Wednesday. He was a full participant each of the last three days.

The Jaguars (3-5), who are on a four-game losing streak, return to action Sunday against the Colts (3-5) in Indianapolis.

Cornerbacks Quentin Meeks (knee) and A.J. Bouye (calf) were both ruled out of Sunday’s game.

Jacksonville traded for Carlos Hyde while Fournette was out and also has T.J. Yeldon available in the backfield. Yeldon leads the team with 334 rushing yards on 81 carries.

–Field Level Media

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Bills rule out QB Anderson vs. Jets

Bills rule out QB Anderson vs. Jets

Bills rule out QB Anderson vs. Jets

The Buffalo Bills have ruled out veteran backup quarterback Derek Anderson for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets as he remains in the concussion protocol.

Anderson was concussed late in a Week 8 loss to the New England Patriots and has yet to return to practice.

Bills first-round draft pick Josh Allen practiced in a limited capacity this week as he returns from an elbow injury, but the team has yet to reveal whether he, Nathan Peterman or Matt Barkley would start on Sunday.

Head coach Sean McDermott said on Wednesday the rookie quarterback has had no setbacks and “has done a good job so far.” Allen told reporters he has felt good while throwing for the first time in weeks.

McDermott admitted the team’s Week 11 bye will be a consideration in deciding when Allen will return to the starting lineup. If Allen misses his fourth straight game on Sunday, he would have two extra weeks to get healthy before a Week 12 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

With Anderson out last week, Peterman made his second start of the season and threw three interceptions, bringing his career total to 12 picks on 130 attempts. Peterman finished 31 of 49 for 189 yards, the lowest yardage total with at least 30 completions in a game in NFL history.

Tight end Charles Clay (hamstring) and defensive end Trent Murphy (knee) were also ruled out on Friday.

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Jets’ Darnold doubtful vs. Bills, unlikely to back up McCown

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is listed as doubtful for the team's game against Buffalo, making it unlikely he will serve as Josh McCown's backup.

Darnold did not practice all week after straining his right foot last Sunday in the Jets' 13-6 loss at Miami. He wore

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is listed as doubtful for the team’s game against Buffalo, making it unlikely he will serve as Josh McCown’s backup.

Darnold did not practice all week after straining his right foot last Sunday in the Jets’ 13-6 loss at Miami. He wore a boot on his foot and watched from the side during practice.

Davis Webb is likely to be signed from the practice squad to the active roster to provide insurance for the 39-year-old McCown, who will make his first start of the season.

McCown will likely be without one of his key receivers, though, with Robby Anderson doubtful to play after not practicing all week with an ankle injury.

Tight end Neal Sterling (concussion) is out, center Spencer Long (knee/finger) is doubtful and nose tackle Steve McLendon (ankle) is questionable.

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Bears raise more than $800,000 in social justice donations

The Bears and their players raised $813,850 in social justice donations, with matching grants.

With money donated primarily by players, and matched by the team and the NFL Foundation, five recipients will benefit.

By the Hand Club for Kids; Kicks 4 the City; SAGA; YWCA Lake County; and My Block, My Hood, My

The Bears and their players raised $813,850 in social justice donations, with matching grants.

With money donated primarily by players, and matched by the team and the NFL Foundation, five recipients will benefit.

By the Hand Club for Kids; Kicks 4 the City; SAGA; YWCA Lake County; and My Block, My Hood, My City will each receive separate donations.

The players collectively donated $291,600. Coaches and front office executives contributed $19,550. The Bears will match the total donation of $311,150, along with additional matching grants from Bears Care and the NFL Foundation.

“We are beyond excited to come together as a team and organization to take advantage of the opportunity the NFL has provided and announce these donations,” linebacker and players’ union representative Sam Acho says. “Together, we can empower our communities and help them better educate our youth both in the classroom and beyond, while also strengthening relationships with the police.”

In March, the NFL announced that each club would match player contributions up to $250,000 annually to establish a fund to support community improvement, social justice and law enforcement relationships. Bears players were the first team to collectively commit to donating more than $250,000 to social justice initiatives.

The players formed a social justice committee consisting of Acho, tight end Trey Burton, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Mitchell Trubisky, and four front office staff members. But more than 40 players have been involved and provided donations.

EXPECTING TWINS

Saints veteran tight end Ben Watson was resting easy this week knowing he wouldn’t be fined $10,000 for celebrating a touchdown against the Rams last Sunday by telling the world he and his wife, Kristen, are expecting twins.

When Watson scored, he stuffed the football under the front of his jersey, and then at first held up five fingers on one hand as he often does to honor his five children, after which held up two more fingers on his other hand in honor of the twins on the way.

Watson, 37, said he similarly stuffed the ball under his jersey after scoring in 2009, when Kristen was close to full term with their first child, Grace. Soon after, he was fined for using the ball as a prop.

“So the cool thing is I will be able to say (to his twins) that, ‘When I did it for Grace, I had to pay. When I did it for you all, the league had changed,'” Watson said. “What a difference nine years make.”

But only so much of a difference. That same game, Watson’s second-quarter celebration was upstaged by receiver Mike Thomas pulling a cell phone out of the goal post padding after his fourth-quarter score. He used a flip phone like that used in a similar celebration by former Saints receiver Joe Horn. Thomas was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

“Where did he get a flip phone?” Watson said. “I said (to Thomas), ‘Do you even know who Joe Horn is? You must have been in elementary school back then.’ But that was pretty good. I’ve got to give him props on that one.”

Meanwhile, Watson said it looked like his celebration inadvertently caused his wife, a Baton Rouge native, to miss much of the game.

“I’m looking up at her and she’s just got her head down the whole time because people were just blasting her with text messages and she was trying to respond,” Watson said.

Watson, who is active on social media, said he also was surprised by the volume of responses from fans.

“We didn’t expect so many people to, I guess, notice,” Watson said. “It was pretty public. It was. But I’m thinking, I’m looking at her. It’s a shout-out to her. … I guess it just means that people love babies, man. People love babies.”

TOUCHDOWN TODD

Rams running back Todd Gurley, last year’s Offensive Player of the Year, leads the NFL with 16 touchdowns. the fourth-year pro has scored at least one touchdown in each of the Rams’ nine games this season.

With a touchdown against Seattle on Sunday, Gurley would join Pro Football Hall of Famers O.J. Simpson (1975), Lenny Moore (1964) and Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch (1951) as the only players to score a touchdown in each of their team’s first 10 games of a season.

Simpson and Moore had at least one touchdown in each of their team’s 14 games during their respective record seasons.

FLIPPING PERFECT

Chiefs coach Andy Reid has sent his captains to midfield before kickoff nine times this season, and nine times they have trotted back to the sideline having won the coin toss.

The absurd streak, which trails the Lions’ NFL record of 14 straight coin-flip wins during the 2004-05 season, has become a running sidebar in the Chiefs’ locker room. Nobody talks about it, much like a pitcher in the midst of a no-hitter, lest the streak come to a crashing end.

“I don’t want that pressure on me, for sure,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes says. “I joke about it, it’s one of the most nervous parts of the game for me. Everyone knows the coin-toss thing is going.”

The Chiefs have called heads in each of their first four away games and won, and their opponents called tails in their first two home games and lost. The Chiefs also won the flip the last three weeks against the Bengals, Broncos and Browns and elected to defer each time.

“It’s ridiculous,” Reid said, “but on the other hand, if one goes the other way you have to be ready to go. You can’t have a letdown or something with the coin toss.

“We get a kick out of the thing going on,” Reid added, “but you have to be ready to roll.”

DAD’S LEGACY

Six-year veteran Kenny Stills will play at Lambeau Field for the first time Sunday when the Miami Dolphins visit Green Bay, but his family has a history there.

Stills’ father, Ken, played for the Packers in 1985-89.

“If you go on YouTube, there’s a video of him kind of cheap-shoting somebody after the play — the Bears-Packers rivalry,” Kenny Stills said.

The video from Lambeau shows flags flying when Stills hit blocker Matt Suhey after the whistle. The elder Stills will be at the game Sunday with divided loyalties.

“There are no hard feelings there,” the younger Stills said. “I definitely think he’s rooting for the Dolphins. Maybe he’ll have a split jersey — half Dolphins, half Packers.”

THE NEXT FRIDGE

The Eagles could use 6-foot-8, 346-pound offensive tackle Jordan Mailata at running back.

Mailata is more athletic than William “The Refrigerator” Perry, who had three rushing TDs for the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears, including one in the title game. Mailata was an Australian rugby player before the Eagles selected him in the seventh round in April.

“He’s definitely used to carrying a larger football. I don’t know what they call it, that ball (in rugby),” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “Very athletic guy. It’s intriguing. I mean, it’s not out of the question.”

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Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner and Rob Maaddi, and Sports Writers Dave Skretta and Joe Kay contributed.

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Rams cancel practice as fires rage in Southern California

Rams cancel practice as fires rage in Southern California

The Los Angeles Rams called off Friday's

Rams cancel practice as fires rage in Southern California

The Los Angeles Rams called off Friday’s practice in Thousand Oaks, Calif., due to devastating wildfires in the region.

The wildfires have caused mass evacuations, property damage and led to road closures that would affect several people within the organization.

Los Angeles County Fire officials announced early Friday that the 101 Freeway was closed and that one of the fires had torched some 8,000 acres and with zero containment.

That fire began Thursday afternoon and had jumped the freeway just 12 minutes later.

The Rams (8-1) are currently still slated to play host to the Seattle Seahawks (4-4) on Sunday at the Los Angeles Coliseum in a rematch of a Week 5 game in Seattle.

The Rams held on to win that game thanks to a gutsy quarterback sneak by Jared Goff on fourth down late in the game.

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Rooney expects Bell to return next week

Rooney expects Bell to return next week

Rooney expects Bell to return next week

Days after being spotted playing basketball in Pittsburgh, Le’Veon Bell’s return to the Steelers could be imminent, according to team president Art Rooney II.

During an interview on Sirius XM radio, Rooney said the team expects the holdout running back to report to the team next week.

“I don’t know what his plans are, but I would say that at this point we expect him to come back next week,” Rooney said.

Either way, Rooney is hoping for some kind of communication with Bell.

“We know he’s back in Pittsburgh, and so we’re hoping to have some communications with him over the weekend, and we’re kind of expecting he will be back next week.”

The Steelers improved to 6-2-1 without Bell after Thursday night’s 52-21 rout of the Carolina Panthers.

James Conner, filling in at running back, ran 13 times for 65 yards and a touchdown in the blowout. Conner has 1,158 yards from scrimmage with 11 touchdowns.

Bell’s holding out after the Steelers failed to meet his contract demands, sacrificing more than $8 million in salary during the ongoing stalemate. Reporting after the July 15 deadline to sign a long-term deal, but before Week 1, would have assured Bell the entirety of his $14.5 million franchise tender for 2018.

Bell is facing the latest deadline in the off-field-drama next week. He must report by Tuesday or will become ineligible to play this season.

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Bills rule out QB Anderson from playing against Jets

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott has ruled out quarterback Derek Anderson from playing against the New York Jets this weekend, and continued leaving open the possibility of Josh Allen's return after missing three games with an injured throwing arm.

McDermott says Allen is progressing well from a sprained

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott has ruled out quarterback Derek Anderson from playing against the New York Jets this weekend, and continued leaving open the possibility of Josh Allen’s return after missing three games with an injured throwing arm.

McDermott says Allen is progressing well from a sprained right elbow, but would practice on a limited basis Friday for the third consecutive day. The first-round draft pick was hurt in a 20-13 loss at Houston on Oct. 14, and began testing his arm in practice a week ago.

Anderson will miss his second game since sustaining a concussion in a 25-6 loss to New England on Oct. 29.

If Allen isn’t deemed ready, turnover-prone backup Nathan Peterman would likely start for a second straight week. Buffalo’s only other option would be Matt Barkley, signed last week.

McDermott also ruled out starting tight end Charles Clay, who hurt his hamstring last weekend.

The Bills are 2-7 and have lost four straight.

Jets rookie starter Sam Darnold has already been ruled out with a strained right foot. Veteran backup Josh McCown will start against Buffalo.

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Eagles optimistic Darren Sproles will play this season

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Eagles coach Doug Pederson says he optimistic running back Darren Sproles will play again this season despite suffering a setback with his hamstring injury.

Sproles returned to practice on Wednesday after missing the previous seven games but re-injured his hamstring and won't play against the Cowboys on Sunday night. Pederson

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Eagles coach Doug Pederson says he optimistic running back Darren Sproles will play again this season despite suffering a setback with his hamstring injury.

Sproles returned to practice on Wednesday after missing the previous seven games but re-injured his hamstring and won’t play against the Cowboys on Sunday night. Pederson wouldn’t say who will return punts in place of Sproles.

The team released DeAndre Carter, who handled those duties, on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old Sproles tore his ACL and broke his arm on the same play last September and missed the rest of the season. He was hoping to play one more season.

Cornerback Jalen Mills is unlikely to play because of a foot injury, but nickel cornerback Sidney Jones has a chance to return after missing two games with a hamstring injury.

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FANTASY PLAYS: Burning questions for NFL Week 10

A look at some key fantasy football questions for Week 10:

WHICH UNDER THE RADAR PLAYERS HAVE THE BEST CHANCE FOR A BIG GAME THIS WEEK?

Several Washington players — quarterback Alex Smith, running back Adrian Peterson, wide receiver Maurice Harris and tight end Vernon Davis — all have the potential to post

A look at some key fantasy football questions for Week 10:

WHICH UNDER THE RADAR PLAYERS HAVE THE BEST CHANCE FOR A BIG GAME THIS WEEK?

Several Washington players — quarterback Alex Smith, running back Adrian Peterson, wide receiver Maurice Harris and tight end Vernon Davis — all have the potential to post big numbers this week against the Buccaneers.

The Bucs are top 6 or better in fantasy points allowed to each of the main offensive positions. Smith isn’t a prototypical fantasy quarterback but the Bucs have given up multiple TDs to the position in six straight games.

Look for Smith to connect often with Harris, who is coming off of a career-best performance with 10 catches for 124 yards receiving last week. With WR Paul Richardson out for the rest of the season and Jamison Crowder’s status for Week 10 unclear, Harris should be heavily targeted and has an especially good matchup against a Buccaneers defense that has been torched by fellow slot receivers this season. If Crowder plays, Harris can still be productive on the outside.

Even with the injuries to Washington’s offensive line, Peterson should bounce back from his 16-yard performance in Week 9. Tampa Bay has allowed five TDs to running backs over the past two weeks.

He’s expected to play, but tight end Jordan Reed has been limited in practices due to a back injury. He also hasn’t scored a TD since Week 1 or recorded more than 43 receiving yards in five straight games. Davis caught five passes for 62 yards in Week 9 and has a favorable matchup against Tampa Bay, which has allowed the second most receiving yards to TEs.

Another QB to consider is Andy Dalton. He takes on the Saints, who’ve allowed an average of 354 passing yards to QBs over the past three weeks.

Dalton will be without his top receiver A.J. Green, but John Ross has been practicing in full this week and has an opportunity for a big game against the Saints, who have given up the most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to WRs.

At running back, if Seattle’s Chris Carson is either limited or out again in Week 10, Mike Davis has an opportunity for a big game. He faces the Rams, who’ve allowed two TDs to RBs and at least 101 rushing yards in each of their last two games.

Saints TE Ben Watson has scored TDs in two of his last three games and takes on the Bengals, who have allowed the second most FPPG to the position.

HOW MUCH OF A FANTASY IMPACT WILL DEZ BRYANT HAVE WITH NEW ORLEANS?

Let’s face it, Bryant’s skills had already been eroding for the past few seasons. It’s not fair to expect too much from Bryant this season. Name recognition has put him back on the fantasy horizon. Asking a wideout who hasn’t played a live NFL game since last December to step in, learn a new system and be fantasy productive right away is a bit much. Michael Thomas, Tre’Quan Smith, Watson and Alvin Kamara will all easily get more targets on a weekly basis. We all know that QB Drew Brees already loves to spread the ball around.

CAN 49ERS QB NICK MULLENS BUILD UPON LAST WEEK’S PERFORMANCE AND IS HE STARTABLE IN WEEK 10?

Mullens has what appears to be a very good matchup in Week 10, however the 1-7 Giants have held opposing QBs to just one passing TD in each of the past two weeks. While WR Marquise Goodwin and TE George Kittle provide Mullens with potential TD makers, WR Pierre Garcon, his most targeted receiver last week, has been limited this week (knee) and his progress should be monitored. Mullens is definitely startable in two QB leagues, but he’s a riskier play in other formats. He has a bye in Week 11, but if he’s granted another start in Week 12, he’ll take on the Buccaneers, and they’ve given up the most FPPG to QBs entering Week 10.

WHICH COLTS TIGHT END HAS MORE FANTASY VALUE FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON, JACK DOYLE OR ERIC EBRON?

It depends on your league’s scoring format. Both have value, but in point-per-reception scoring leagues, Doyle will likely out-produce Ebron. With Doyle missing five games, QB Andrew Luck targeted Ebron 15 times in the red zone, tied for the fourth most in the NFL. However, Doyle averaged just over seven targets in the three games he’s played this season. In those same three games, Ebron averaged just four targets.

WHICH RUNNING BACKS HAVE UPSIDE BASED ON THEIR REST-OF-THE-SEASON OUTLOOK?

Cardinals running back David Johnson is an excellent buy-low candidate. Four of his last seven opponents are in the top 10 in FPPG allowed to opposing running backs.

Bears running back Jordan Howard has quietly had a productive season. His 3.5 yards per carry is underwhelming, but he’s scored five TDs through his first eight games. He is seventh in the league with 20 red zone rushing attempts, and with an average of just under 16 carries per game, Howard is a major part of the Bears offensive scheme and will continue to have ample opportunities to be fantasy relevant.

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For more Week 10 fantasy tips and insights, please visit RotoExperts: https://rotoexperts.com

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Mullens set for sequel as 49ers host Giants

Mullens set for sequel as 49ers host Giants

The San

Mullens set for sequel as 49ers host Giants

The San Francisco 49ers will seek to take advantage of a one-win team for the second week in a row when they host the New York Giants on Monday night in Santa Clara, Calif.

The 49ers, who were a one-win team themselves when they hosted the Oakland Raiders in a nationally televised game last Thursday, rode the impressive NFL debut of quarterback Nick Mullens to a 34-3 romp over their San Francisco Bay Area rival.

Mullens will get a second start in place of C.J. Beathard, this time based on his 262-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Raiders rather than the thumb and wrist injuries that held Beathard out of the Oakland game.

Mullens began the week with a simple request of the media: Stop gushing over his NFL debut so that he could focus on Game 2.

“I’m done reflecting on it,” the Southern Mississippi product said Tuesday. “But it was a very cool moment. I tried to give it everything I had, and when your work pays off, it’s exciting.”

The 49ers (2-7) faced the Giants (1-7) in a similar situation at about this time last year, ending a season-opening, nine-game losing streak with a 31-21 home win over a New York team that had brought a 1-7 record to town.

Beathard was the starting quarterback in that game.

Eli Manning will once again lead the Giants, but this time he’ll have a much more talented supporting cast featuring rookie running back Saquon Barkley and star wideout Odell Beckham Jr., who was injured at the time of last year’s meeting.

Giants coach Pat Shurmur had a week to contemplate a quarterback change with his team having been on a bye after Manning was intercepted twice and sacked seven times in a 20-13 loss at Washington in Week 8.

However, the coach short-circuited any talk this week about a quarterback controversy when he announced Tuesday that Manning would retain his starting role.

“I explained to him that he’s going to start on Monday,” Shurmur said of a conversation he had with Manning. “I also explained to Eli that everybody needs to play better as we go through this. It’s important that we’re not ‘almost’ in these games and we do what we have to do to get it over the top and win football games. We’ll just take it from there.”

The Giants have lost five in a row, although their two road losses during the stretch were by just two points at Carolina and by three points at Atlanta.

The 49ers had lost six in a row, including at home by 10 points to Arizona and by 29 points to the Los Angeles Rams, before the win over Oakland.

–Field Level Media

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Rising Chargers square off with reeling Raiders

Rising Chargers square off with reeling Raiders

Two longtime AFC West rivals

Rising Chargers square off with reeling Raiders

Two longtime AFC West rivals headed full speed in opposite directions meet Sunday afternoon when the surging Los Angeles Chargers (6-2) visit the tail-spinning Oakland Raiders (1-7).

The clubs met in Week 5 in Los Angeles, with the Chargers forcing two critical turnovers en route to a 26-10 victory that was their third straight over the Raiders.

The win began a four-game run of allowing fewer than 20 points by the Los Angeles defense. The Chargers are coming off a 25-17 win at Seattle last week.

The Chargers are tied for 12th in the NFL in points allowed at 22.5 per game.

Los Angeles scored just three touchdowns in the earlier win over Oakland, two of which were set up by turnovers.

The Chargers recovered a Martavis Bryant fumble in the second quarter, then needed just six plays to cover 48 yards, a drive culminating in a Melvin Gordon 1-yard run and a 17-3 lead 1:39 before halftime.

The Raiders threatened to cut into a 20-3 deficit late in the third period before Derek Carr threw an interception to Melvin Ingram in the end zone.

The Chargers then went 96 yards in eight plays for Philip Rivers’ 13-yard, game-clinching TD pass to Virgil Green with 9:42 left in the game.

Los Angeles’ Caleb Sturgis connected on two field goals but missed one of his three PAT attempts. After not connecting on two of three PATs and his only field goal attempt in the win at Seattle, he was released by the Chargers, who have promoted Michael Badgley off the practice squad.

“We feel like we gave (Sturgis) a fair shot,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said to reporters this week. “We stayed with him as long as we could. It just came down to performance.”

The Raiders haven’t recovered from the loss to the Chargers, limited to three points in two of their next three games, a 27-3 loss to Seattle in London and a 34-3 shellacking at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers in a nationally televised game last Thursday.

Things have gone so far south for the Raiders, coach Jon Gruden made a simple goal for his team this week: Do better than in the San Francisco debacle.

“I just want to see some improvement,” he said. “I want guys to continue to work hard and develop. I’d like some guys to get healthy so we can be all we can be.”

–Field Level Media

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Ailing Redskins limp into Tampa Bay

Ailing Redskins limp into Tampa Bay

The Washington Redskins

Ailing Redskins limp into Tampa Bay

The Washington Redskins travel to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday as a first-place team dealing with a rash of injuries and a struggling offense.

The NFC East-leading Redskins (5-3) were shellacked 38-14 by the Atlanta Falcons at home last Sunday. On Monday, they put three offensive starters on season-ending injured reserve: outside receiver Paul Richardson (shoulder) and guards Brandon Scherff (torn pectoral muscle) and Shawn Lauvau (torn ACL).

In addition, left tackle Trent Williams (thumb), and third-down back Chris Thompson (rib/knee) are probably out at least another week, and the status of wide receiver Jamison Crowder (ankle) and starting tackle Morgan Moses (knee) is uncertain for Sunday.

“The big thing I think is on the road, crowd noise, against a good D-line. I think those things, all the calls, all the communication that has to take place — run, pass, third down,” quarterback Alex Smith said regarding the challenge of integrating new players on offense. “All the different looks, the thousands and thousands of reps that we’ve had, you try to condense into a few days to get ready.”

The Redskins’ offense hasn’t topped the 20-point mark in the past three games. Washington is 25th in the NFL with an average of 343.9 yards gained per game despite ranking 10th in rushing.

While injuries have hindered the passing game, Smith has struggled as well, producing a passer rating of 89.8 that would be his lowest since 2013. While Tampa Bay’s Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the NFL with 9.75 yards per attempt, Smith is 28th at 6.81.

Smith should improve those numbers Sunday’s against the NFL’s 29th-ranked defense, which is giving up 414.3 yards and an NFL-worst 34.4 points per game.

The Redskins have been front-runners thus far, never trailing in their victories nor leading in their defeats.

“Yeah, you can probably count on one hand how many comeback wins we’ve had since I’ve been here, and that’s something that we have to do a better job of and just keep grinding,” fifth-year Washington head coach Jay Gruden said. “It’s just a mindset really.”

The Buccaneers (3-5) remain on the fringes of the playoff race.

Fitzpatrick earned another start after he completed 24 of 40 passes for 243 yards and four touchdowns last week against the Carolina Panthers. He rallied the Buccaneers from a 35-7 deficit to make it 35-28 in the fourth quarter, but threw costly interceptions in the first and fourth quarters in a game Tampa Bay wound up losing 42-28.

Despite the Redskins’ dud last week vs. Atlanta, Washington’s defense is still ranked 10th in the NFL, allowing 343.5 yards per game, and just 89.4 on the ground, resulting in 21.5 points per game.

“You look at all of it and they look pretty darn good to me,” Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter said of the Redskins’ defense. “Again, the score is the score from last week’s game, but these guys look really good on defense to me. I think they are top 10 in the league in like five defensive categories.”

Tampa Bay is generating 446.8 yards per game (2nd in the NFL). But leading rusher Peyton Barber is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry, so the burden Sunday will fall to Fitzpatrick and his receiving corps, including Mike Evans and former Redskin DeSean Jackson.

Jackson has averaged just 50 yards over the past four games, three of them losses, but he said he was frustrated with the team’s recent results and not his role.

“It’s just knowing what’s in this locker room, knowing the players we have all across the board, and knowing how talented it can be,” Jackson told reporters. “It did show early on. That’s the frustration.”

Evans (knee), Barber (ankle) and tackle Demar Dotson (knee/shoulder) were limited in practice Thursday, while defensive end Vinny Curry (ankle), running back Ronald Jones (hamstring) and cornerback M.J. Stewart (foot) sat out.

–Field Level Media

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