Failed 4th down turns tide in Titans’ 34-17 loss to Texans

Failed 4th down turns tide in Titans' 34-17 loss to Texans

HOUSTON (AP) — The Tennessee Titans were down by four with the ball on the 3-yard line in the second quarter Monday night against the Houston Texans when coach Mike Vrabel chose to go for it on fourth-and-inches.

Tight end Luke Stocker took the handoff and was immediately met by Zach Cunningham and Bernardrick McKinney and stopped for no gain. Lamar Miller ran 97 yards for a touchdown on the next play to make it 21-10, and the Texans went on to a 34-17 win.

“If you look at their goal-line defense and having a lot of good knowledge of what they do on the goal line, that’s one play that had worked,” Vrabel said. “It didn’t work tonight and that’s not the reason that we lost. That’s a bad play.”

Vrabel spent a good part of his postgame news conference fielding questions about the play and why he chose to hand the ball to Stocker, an eight-year veteran who had zero carries entering the game. In fact, Stocker said after the game that the last time he remembered carrying the ball was in high school.

“I’d like to have that back and have a chance to go lower or dive or reach the ball out or something,” he said. “That’s on me. I’ve got to figure out a way to convert that.”

Some wondered why Vrabel didn’t give the ball to 6-foot-3, 247-pound running back Derrick Henry in that situation.

“That’s something we’ve repped in practice,” Vrabel said about using Stocker. “Just having watched that play be successful against their goal-line look, we felt good about it.”

The fact that Tennessee’s defense allowed the huge run by Miller seconds after the failed fourth-down attempt was just another disappointment for the Titans.

“Runs like that can’t happen,” cornerback Logan Ryan said. “They shouldn’t happen, but it did. We’ve got to learn from it.”

Marcus Mariota, who missed the second half of last week’s game with a stinger, was 22 of 23 for 303 yards and two touchdowns. He completed his first 19 passes before an incompletion with just more than a minute remaining.

Vrabel couldn’t celebrate Mariota’s effectiveness on a night when the Titans allowed the Texans to set a franchise record with 281 yards rushing, led by 162 from Miller.

“The stats are the stats,” Vrabel said when asked about Mariota’s completion percentage. “The loss is really what I’m going to try to focus on. We’ve got to stop the run. There’s a lot of things other than guys’ individual stats that we’re trying to concentrate on.”

The Titans (5-6) have lost two straight to drop into third place in the AFC South behind first-place Houston (8-3) and Indianapolis (6-5).

“We’ve got to stick together and we’ve got to go win,” Vrabel said. “We’re going to get as prepared as we can and we’ve got to go out and play. We just didn’t get it done tonight.”

The Titans jumped out to a 10-0 lead before Houston scored 27 straight points to take control. Tennessee finally scored again on a 48-yard reception by Corey Davis late in the third quarter, but a 10-yard TD by Demaryius Thomas made it 34-17 with just more than eight minutes left.

“We did a good job of coming out, but we got flat and couldn’t pick it back up,” Tennessee left tackle Taylor Lewan said. “We’ve got the guys to do it, but we’ve just got to figure out a way to stop the bleeding and get it going.”

___

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What to Look For – Week 15

PRESS RELEASE

​​​​​​WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 15

WORST TO FIRST: Entering Week 15, two teams have clinched division titles – the NFC West champion LOS ANGELES RAMS and the NFC South champion NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – and five additional teams can clinch their respective divisions this week: the CHICAGO

PRESS RELEASE

​​​​​​WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 15

WORST TO FIRST: Entering Week 15, two teams have clinched division titles – the NFC West champion LOS ANGELES RAMS and the NFC South champion NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – and five additional teams can clinch their respective divisions this week: the CHICAGO BEARS (9-4), DALLAS COWBOYS (8-5), HOUSTON TEXANS (9-4), KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-2), and NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-4).

For the 2018 NFL Playoff Scenarios for Week 15, click here.

As the league enters Week 15, there are 20 teams either in or within one game of a playoff spot, including 11 teams that did not advance to the postseason in 2017. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

Two teams that finished in or tied for last place in their division in 2017 – Chicago (NFC North) and Houston (AFC South) – are currently in first place in their respective divisions this season. In 14 of the past 15 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Of the 46 teams in league history to go from “worst-to-first,” 23 of them have done so in the past 15 years (2003-17), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006.​

HISTORY IN KC: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL with 43 touchdown passes this season.

With three touchdown passes against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon Prime), Mahomes would tie DREW BREES (46 touchdown passes in 2011) for the fifth-most passing touchdowns in a single season in NFL history.

The players with the most touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

TOUCHDOWN PASSES

Peyton Manning#

Denver

2013

55

Tom Brady#

New England

2007

50

Peyton Manning#

Indianapolis

2004

49

Dan Marino^#

Miami

1984

48

Drew Brees

New Orleans

2011

46

 

 

 

 

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City

2018

43*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

*Entering Week 15

 

HEY, ROOKIE: Denver rookie linebacker BRADLEY CHUBB leads all rookies and is tied for sixth in the NFL with 12 sacks this season.

With a sack against Cleveland on Saturday night (8:20 PM ET, NFL Network), Chubb would tie DWIGHT FREENEY (13 sacks in 2002) for the third-most sacks by a rookie in a single season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.​

The rookies with the most sacks in a single season since 1982:​​

PLAYER

TEAM

YEAR

SACKS

Jevon Kearse#

Tennessee

1999

14.5

Aldon Smith

San Francisco

2011

14

Dwight Freeney

Indianapolis

2002

13

 

 

 

 

Bradley Chubb

Denver

2018

12*

#Named Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 15

 

JULIO ON THE RISE: Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES leads the NFL with 1,429 receiving yards this season. In Week 13, Jones became the first player in NFL history to record at least 1,400 receiving yards in five consecutive seasons.

Jones, who had 1,593 receiving yards in 2014 and 1,871 receiving yards in 2015, needs 71 receiving yards on Sunday against Arizona (1:00 PM ET, FOX), to become the fifth player in NFL history with three career seasons with at least 1,500 receiving yards.

The players with the most career seasons with at least 1,500 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS WITH 1,500+ RECEIVING YARDS

Jerry Rice^

San Francisco

4

Antonio Brown

Pittsburgh

3

Marvin Harrison^

Indianapolis

3

Andre Johnson

Houston

3

 

 

 

Julio Jones

Atlanta

2*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Has 1,429 receiving yards this season

 

STARS FROM SCRIMMAGE: Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT leads the NFL with 1,262 rushing yards this season.

Elliott, who has 3,876 rushing yards and 1,134 receiving yards since entering the league in 2016, needs 124 rushing yards on Sunday at Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET, FOX) to become the fifth player in NFL history with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his first three seasons. ​

The players with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in their first three seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS

RUSHING YARDS

RECEIVING YARDS

Chris Johnson

Tennessee

2008-2010

4,598

1,008

LaDainian Tomlinson^

San Diego

2001-2003

4,564

1,581

Ottis Anderson

St. Louis Cardinals

1979-1981

4,333

1,003

Barry Sanders

Detroit

1989-1991

4,322

1,069

 

 

 

 

 

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas

2016-2018

3,876*

1,134*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*In third season

 

BRILLIANT BARKLEY: New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY leads all rookies with 1,753 scrimmage yards and has 13 touchdowns (nine rushing, four receiving) this season.

With 147 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns on Sunday against Tennessee (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Barkley, can become the fifth rookie with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns in a single season in NFL history. ​

The rookies with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns in a single season in NFL history:​​

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

SCRIMMAGE YARDS

TOUCHDOWNS

Eric Dickerson^#

Los Angeles Rams

1983

2,212

20

Edgerrin James#

Indianapolis

1999

2,139

17

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas

2016

1,994

16

Billy Sims#

Detroit

1980

1,924

16

 

 

 

 

 

Saquon Barkley

New York Giants

2018

1,753*

13*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 15

 

LIGHTS, KAMARA, ACTION: New Orleans running back ALVIN KAMARA ranks sixth in the NFL with 1,384 scrimmage yards this season.

Kamara, who had 1,554 scrimmage yards as a rookie in 2017, needs 83 receiving yards at Carolina on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), to join HERSCHEL WALKER (1986-87) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,500 rushing and 1,500 receiving yards in their first two seasons in league history. ​

The players with at least 1,500 rushing and 1,500 receiving yards in their first two seasons in league history:​

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS

RUSHING YARDS

RECEIVING YARDS

Herschel Walker

Dallas

1986-87

1,628

1,552

 

 

 

 

 

Alvin Kamara

New Orleans

2017-18

1,521*

1,417*

*In second season

 

SUPERCAM: Carolina quarterback CAM NEWTON ranks third among NFL quarterbacks with 473 rushing yards this season. Newton has rushed for at least 500 rushing yards in six of his first seven seasons in the league.

With 27 rushing yards against New Orleans on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), Newton can become the first quarterback in NFL history with at least 500 rushing yards in seven seasons.​

The quarterbacks with the most seasons with at least 500 rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

SEASONS WITH 500+ RUSHING YARDS

Randall Cunningham

Philadelphia

6

Cam Newton

Carolina

6*

Michael Vick

Atlanta, Philadelphia

6

*Has 473 rushing yards this season

Courtesy of NFL Communications

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Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 15

Key takeaways from week 14:

  • New Orleans is the favorites to win Super Bowl 53
  • The Cardinals, Bills, Jets, Jaguars, Raiders, and 49ers will not make the playoffs
  • Biggest jump: Chicago Bears (+80%)
  • Biggest drop: New England Patriots (-1300%)

Super Bowl 53 Odds

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Key takeaways from week 14:

  • New Orleans is the favorites to win Super Bowl 53
  • The Cardinals, Bills, Jets, Jaguars, Raiders, and 49ers will not make the playoffs
  • Biggest jump: Chicago Bears (+80%)
  • Biggest drop: New England Patriots (-1300%)

Super Bowl 53 Odds

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

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

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 15 Picks

With just three weeks left in the season, we have just enough time to hit our goal of 60 percent completion percentage and 10 percent return on investment. This year has been really steady minus a couple weeks as we've given you winning picks consistently. We'll look to keep that going this week

With just three weeks left in the season, we have just enough time to hit our goal of 60 percent completion percentage and 10 percent return on investment. This year has been really steady minus a couple weeks as we’ve given you winning picks consistently. We’ll look to keep that going this week as the playoff race heats up and we have to consider the almighty question of “who wants it more?” You’d be surprised how many times that seems to factor into the outcome of games this late in the season. Since our only losses last week were over/unders, we’re gonna stick with straight spread picks this week.

Texans -6.5 at Jets (-105)

Coming off their first loss in months, the Texans will be out for blood against the Jets. This might be a road game, but New York has no reason to want to win this game. In fact, they’d be better off not winning it in order to get a better draft pick. That doesn’t mean they won’t try, but if they get down early, the game might be over by halftime. Houston’s defense shouldn’t allow more than 17 points to this Jets offense and that means the Texans just would have to put up 24 to cover the spread.

As Houston tries to keep its hopes alive at a first-round bye come playoff time, they’re going to have a sense of urgency in this game. The fact the spread is under a touchdown makes it a must-bet in my eyes as one of these teams has everything to play for and the other really couldn’t care less about the outcome. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.76.

Browns +3 at Broncos (-110)

Cleveland is red hot and the Broncos are coming off a loss to the 49ers, a candidate for the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft. Still, each of these teams has something to play for with a loss meaning they’re just about mathematically eliminated from postseason contention. With the momentum they have, it actually feels like the Browns might win this game straight up, but we will use those three points as a security blanket in case they lose a close game.

Denver has been so inconsistent this season that it feels dangerous picking any game they’re involved in, but we’re picking this game based on momentum, season-long momentum. Cleveland has a ton of it and Denver has none of it. Loser leaves town in this one and this should actually be one of the better games of the weekend. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Dolphins +7 at Vikings (-110)

I just really like road underdogs this week apparently. Miami is coming off their stunning, last-second victory over the Patriots, so you could say they’re primed for a letdown. However, they’re still very much alive in the wild AFC playoff picture. They’re also visiting a Vikings team that is spiraling out of control. Miami could very easily be the team to provide a knockout punch to Minnesota’s championship hopes, especially after the team fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo following their embarrassing showing against the Seahawks.

Minnesota is still very talented on defense, but that offense has really struggled to put anything together lately. Kirk Cousins’ confidence is at an all-time low and in a dome, the warm-weather Dolphins aren’t going to be affected by the elements. Expect Miami to give Minnesota a run for its money while the Vikings, in the end, will be able to do just enough to win a close game, giving us a Dolphins +7 victory. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Cowboys over Colts (+130)

It is curious to me how the Cowboys could be underdogs against the Colts, even if Indy did just hand the Texans their first loss in their last 10 games. The Colts offense has been great at times, but it’s been extremely inconsistent. Against a talented and red-hot Cowboys defense, they aren’t going to be able to do a whole lot. Dallas is slowly becoming that team you don’t want to play in the playoffs, simply because their defense is capable of shutting you down for 60 minutes.

They also bleed the clock with Ezekiel Elliott when they need to control time of possession. When they’ve needed to throw the ball over the last month or so, Dak Prescott has actually looked like a competent quarterback too. The Cowboys might find a way to screw up come playoff time, but they’re one of the hottest teams in the league and as three-point underdogs, the value here is to pick them straight up to win. The bet: $5 for total payout of $11.50.

Seahawks -4.5 at 49ers (-110)

I hesitated to pick this game, because these two teams tend to play each other close no matter what. That didn’t happen in their first meeting, but that game was in Seattle. This comes down to, again, which team needs it more, though. San Francisco showed that’s not the greatest strategy for picking games as they upset the Broncos last weekend, but it should hold here. Seattle’s offense struggled against a good Minnesota defense, but the floodgates should open up against the Niners.

I have a hard time believing Nick Mullens will be able to hang with Russell Wilson for four quarters. I don’t expect this to be a blowout, but I do expect the Seahawks to win by a touchdown or so, which gives us plenty of cushion on this 4.5-point spread. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Back to our dream scenario, which we’ve been close to several times this season with 4-1 weeks: if all five of these games hit, on a $20 parlay, we would stand to make $598.44. That would be a good way to start wrapping the season up, huh? Fingers crossed and good luck betting this weekend.

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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Eagles QB Wentz won’t practice Wednesday, could miss Rams matchup

The Philadelphia Eagles could be without quarterback Carson Wentz on Sunday when they travel to face the Los Angeles Rams.

 

Head coach Doug Pederson announced Wednesday morning that Wentz would miss practice due to back soreness.

 

"Sometimes he just gets a little sore, a little tight, so we're just going to rest him

The Philadelphia Eagles could be without quarterback Carson Wentz on Sunday when they travel to face the Los Angeles Rams.

 

Head coach Doug Pederson announced Wednesday morning that Wentz would miss practice due to back soreness.

 

“Sometimes he just gets a little sore, a little tight, so we’re just going to rest him today and evaluate him further,” said Pederson. “Nothing game-related. He’s dealt with it so we’re just going to evaluate him further.”

 

Pederson did not confirm if Wentz would play Sunday at Los Angeles.

 

“Again, we’re going to focus on today, get through today, and see where he’s at at the end of the day,” he said.

 

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wentz is not likely to play Sunday and may not play again in 2018 as the team continues to gather information on his health.

 

Without Wentz, Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles would take over for the 6-7 Eagles. Foles started the first two games of the season as Wentz recovered from ACL surgery. He completed 65 percent of his passes with one touchdown and one interception in the Eagles’ 1-1 start.

 

–Field Level Media

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Raiders owner responds to city’s lawsuit

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis called a lawsuit filed against the team by the city of Oakland, Calif., "meritless and malicious" at the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday night, according to ESPN.

 

The federal lawsuit, announced by Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker, alleges antitrust violations and breach of contract, and names the Raiders,

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis called a lawsuit filed against the team by the city of Oakland, Calif., “meritless and malicious” at the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday night, according to ESPN.

 

The federal lawsuit, announced by Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker, alleges antitrust violations and breach of contract, and names the Raiders, the NFL and every other team in the league.

 

While the city does not demand that the Raiders be forced to remain in Oakland, the seven-count filing in district court does seek restitution in the form of lost revenue, remaining debt on renovations to the Oakland Coliseum, court costs and fees, plus punitive damages.

 

“The City will seek a resolution for the maximum amount of damages available,” Parker said in a news release shortly before filing the lawsuit. “The lawsuit will not ask the court to prevent the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas or keep the team in Oakland.”

 

Davis told ESPN he’d leave further comment to lawyers.

 

“My feeling is we’re 3-10 and we’re still relevant,” said Davis. “It’s a legal issue, and I’ll let the attorneys make any further comment.”

 

The Raiders received league approval to relocate to Las Vegas in March 2017. They are expected to begin playing in Las Vegas when a new stadium opens in 2020. The team still does not know where it will play in 2019, though it has proposed a lease to remain in the Oakland Coliseum for one more season.

 

One of the main cruxes of the city’s argument is that the NFL’s relocation policy is “skewed” in the favor of cities looking to get a team and biased against current host cities because each team shares a part of the moving team’s relocation fee.

 

The suit also alleges the NFL uses its relocation policy to in essence strong-arm host cities into ponying up money for a new stadium, threatening to move a team out of that city should the funds not be raised.

 

The city is seeking a jury trial but makes no specific monetary demand other than amounts to be determined at trial.

 

–Field Level Media

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NFL Week 15: Over and Under Best Bets

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we're making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we're offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we’re making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we’re offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of the week: Tennessee Titans at New York Giants

Total: 43.5

The Titans and Giants don’t scream OFFENSE, which is why this total remains below the season average. But look closely.

The Titans have scored 56 points in their last two games, and they’re well-rested following a Thursday Night Football romp in Week 14. Those two high-scoring performances came at home, but if we’re considering sites it should be noted that Tennessee has also allowed 72 points on defense in its last two road games.

Meanwhile, the Giants offense has exploded since their Week 9 bye. Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. have often been unstoppable for a team that has averaged 31.4 points per game dating back to Week 10. Sure, they surrendered just 16 points last Sunday in Washington, but that was more about the Redskins’ problems than New York’s defensive prowess. The Giants have still allowed 25.1 points per game during that post-bye run.

And they scored 40 in D.C. despite not having Beckham, who should be good to return from a quad injury on Sunday.

Look for both teams to easily hit the 20-point mark in Week 15.

Predicted score: Giants 30, Titans 27

Under of the week: Dallas Cowboys at Indianapolis Colts

Total: 47

Why in the world do oddsmakers think the Cowboys and Colts will combine for 47 points Sunday in Indianapolis? Both defenses have been stout, while both offenses have lacked consistency.

The Dallas D hasn’t surrendered more than 23 points in five consecutive weeks, and that’s a stretch that includes matchups with talented offenses like Philadelphia, New Orleans and Atlanta.

Meanwhile, the Colts D has allowed just 17.1 points per game in their last seven outings, with Jabaal Sheard, Darius Leonard and Margus Hunt killing it.

It’s true that both offenses have the ability to explode at any moment, but this doesn’t look like the time or place. Both teams should be tight for an important game, the Colts are two weeks removed from a zero-point performance in Jacksonville, and the Cowboys’ bread-and-butter offensive line is dealing with multiple injuries to key players.

This should be a tense, low-scoring battle.

Predicted score: Colts 20, Cowboys 17

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

Previous results
Last week: 1-1
2018 season: 18-9-1

Brad Gagnon has covered the NFL since 2007 and is a member of the Professional Football Writers of America, despite the fact he actually lives in Canada. The Toronto-based sports journalist’s work can also be seen at Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, Awful Announcing and The Guardian. He can be found on Twitter @brad_gagnon

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Chiefs can lock up West with win over Chargers

An unexpected toss with his left hand, a no-look pass to a crossing receiver and -- most importantly -- a run toward home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.

 

All that and so much more has defined record-setting Patrick Mahomes as a first-year starter in the NFL this season. Yet the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback

An unexpected toss with his left hand, a no-look pass to a crossing receiver and — most importantly — a run toward home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.

 

All that and so much more has defined record-setting Patrick Mahomes as a first-year starter in the NFL this season. Yet the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback must be on top of his game again Thursday night when the streaking Los Angeles Chargers look to tighten the AFC West division race.

 

Kansas City (11-2) last weekend qualified for the playoffs for the fifth time under sixth-year coach Andy Reid, using a madcap rally Mahomes engineered Sunday to hold off the Baltimore Ravens 27-24 in overtime. But after burning the NFL’s top defense entering the game for 377 yards passing and two touchdowns, the no-look pass was all the rage.

 

Hey, it’s always something radical with Mahomes.

 

“I worked with him real hard on that. I built that right into the offense,” Reid cracked. “He has a knack for that. He is comfortable doing it. This is the NFL and he is doing it. That’s something to do it in practice, but when you start throwing it in a game against the No. 1 defense in the National Football League, that is a little different.”

 

Confidence oozes from Mahomes, whose plus-32 touchdown-to-interception mark leads the NFL, as do his 43 touchdown passes and 45 completions of 25-plus yards. The Chiefs average 437.5 yards and 36.2 points per game, along with 6.86 yards per play, all of which lead the league.

 

“I have built that chemistry with guys like D-Rob,” Mahomes said of Demarcus Robinson, recipient of the no-look pass, “through training camp and through last year. I know that the guys are going to know what I’m thinking and trust that they are going to keep running the route the same way. Then, I put the ball out there for them.”

 

Los Angeles (10-3) will counter with pressure off both edges from defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Bosa was injured and missed the first matchup, a 38-28 Week 1 win for the Chiefs to account for Kansas City’s one-game lead over the Chargers.

 

Los Angeles has won nine of its last 10 games, including three straight. Its only road defeat was against the crosstown Rams.

 

Kansas City, however, has won 20 of its last 21 against AFC West rivals and is looking to secure a third consecutive division title. A better divisional record gives the Chiefs the tiebreaker over the Chargers should Los Angeles win Thursday.

 

Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers is having an exceptional season for the Chargers but may need to come up even bigger against the Chiefs. Running backs Melvin Gordon (knee) and Austin Ekeler (neck) are dealing with injuries. Two rookies who have combined for 32 carries, Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome, are next in line.

 

“It’s important to just get back to being healthy,” said Michael Badgley, a rookie kicker who set a Chargers record with a 59-yard field goal while going 4-for-4 Sunday in a win over Cincinnati. “Get back in there, go through all of our recovery, and it will be a short week, so a big mental week.”

 

The Chiefs also must deal with injuries to offensive threats.

 

Speedy receiver Tyreek Hill limped through a heel injury against the Ravens but is expected to be available. Another receiver, Sammy Watkins (foot) is likely out. Running back Spencer Ware (shoulder) is also hobbled.

 

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs, Mahomes can lock up West with win over Chargers

An unexpected toss with his left hand, a no-look pass to a crossing receiver and -- most importantly -- a run toward home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.

 

All that and so much more has defined record-setting Patrick Mahomes as a first-year starter in the NFL this season. Yet the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback

An unexpected toss with his left hand, a no-look pass to a crossing receiver and — most importantly — a run toward home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.

 

All that and so much more has defined record-setting Patrick Mahomes as a first-year starter in the NFL this season. Yet the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback must be on top of his game again Thursday night when the streaking Los Angeles Chargers look to tighten the West Division race.

 

Kansas City (11-2) last weekend qualified for the playoffs for the fifth time under sixth-year coach Andy Reid, using a madcap rally Mahomes engineered Sunday to hold off the Baltimore Ravens 27-24 in overtime. But after burning the NFL’s top defense entering the game for 377 yards passing and two touchdowns, the no-look pass was all the rage.

 

Hey, it’s always something radical with Mahomes.

 

“I worked with him real hard on that. I built that right into the offense,” Reid cracked. “He has a knack for that. He is comfortable doing it. This is the NFL and he is doing it. That’s something to do it in practice, but when you start throwing it in a game against the No. 1 defense in the National Football League, that is a little different.”

 

Confidence oozes from Mahomes, whose plus-32 touchdown-to-interception mark leads the NFL along, as do his 43 touchdown passes and 45 completions of 25-plus yards. The Chiefs average 437.5 yards and 36.2 points per game, along with 6.86 yards per play, all of which lead the league.

 

“I have built that chemistry with guys like D-Rob,” Mahomes said of Demarcus Robinson, recipient of the no-look pass, “through training camp and through last year. I know that the guys are going to know what I’m thinking and trust that they are going to keep running the route the same way. Then, I put the ball out there for them.”

 

Los Angeles (10-3) will counter with pressure off both edges from defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Bosa was injured and missed the first matchup, a 38-28 Week 1 win for the Chiefs to account for Kansas City’s one-game lead over the Chargers.

 

Los Angeles has won nine of its last 10 games, including three straight. Its only road defeat was against the crosstown Rams.

 

Kansas City, however, has won 20 of its last 21 against AFC West rivals and is looking to secure a third consecutive division title. A better divisional record gives the Chiefs the tiebreaker over the Chargers should Los Angeles win Thursday.

 

Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers is having an exceptional season for the Chargers but may need to come up even bigger against the Chiefs. Running backs Melvin Gordon (knee) and Austin Ekeler (neck) are dealing with injuries. Two rookies who have combined for 32 carries, Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome, are next in line.

 

“It’s important to just get back to being healthy,” said Michael Badgley, a rookie kicker who set a Chargers record with a 59-yard field goal while going 4 for 4 Sunday in a win over Cincinnati. “Get back in there, go through all of our recovery, and it will be a short week, so a big mental week.”

 

The Chiefs also must deal with injuries to offensive threats.

 

Speedy receiver Tyreek Hill limped through a heel injury against the Ravens but is expected to be available. Another receiver, Sammy Watkins (foot) is likely out. Running back Spencer Ware (shoulder) is also hobbled.

 

–Field Level Media

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Texans look to bounce back vs. Jets, Darnold

The Houston Texans went from 0-3 to first place in the AFC South Division, a nine-game winning streak making them one of the hottest teams in the NFL.

 

That streak came to a crashing halt in a three-point loss at home to the Indianapolis Colts last weekend.

 

Now Houston gets a chance to

The Houston Texans went from 0-3 to first place in the AFC South Division, a nine-game winning streak making them one of the hottest teams in the NFL.

 

That streak came to a crashing halt in a three-point loss at home to the Indianapolis Colts last weekend.

 

Now Houston gets a chance to rebound from its first loss in two-and-a-half months Saturday afternoon when it visits the New York Jets.

 

The Texans head to East Rutherford still holding a two-game division lead over the Colts and Tennessee Titans with three weeks remaining. While Houston visits the 4-9 Jets, the Colts host the Dallas Cowboys — owners of the NFL’s longest current winning streak at five games — while the Titans visit the New York Giants.

 

During their winning streak, the Texans won five games by a touchdown or less and led at halftime of each game. On Sunday, they spent much of the game trying to rally only to come up short.

 

DeShaun Watson finished 27 of 38 for 267 yards with a touchdown pass, his 7-yard strike to DeAndre Hopkins with 2:37 left moving the Texans to within 24-21. But an offside penalty against Jadeveon Clowney on third-and-1 with two minutes remaining gave the Colts a first down and killed the Texans’ chances at completing the comeback.

 

In reality, the Texans’ inability to protect Watson (five sacks) did them in. Pass protection has been one of Houston’s biggest issues of late with opponents sacking Watson 20 times in his last five games.

 

“We didn’t play well as an offense, it is always going to be the quarterback, the head coach,” Houston coach Bill O’Brien told the media after his team’s first loss since a 27-22 setback against the Giants on Sept. 23. “I totally understand that but it just wasn’t very good as an offense. We were not able to get into a rhythm; our first-down offense was terrible. It was awful.”

 

Now the Texans will hope to correct everything against a team coming off a rare win thanks to some late-game clutch plays by rookie quarterback Sam Darnold.

 

“You let him escape, you let him start making plays, you’re going to be in a bind,” O’Brien said of the Jets’ first-round pick. “You got to stop the run. So, it’s a big challenge, but I know our guys are excited for it and we’ve got to have a good week here.”

 

The Jets were eliminated from the playoffs before taking the field in Buffalo last week but halted a six-game losing streak with a thrilling 27-23 victory thanks to Darnold’s first game-winning, fourth-quarter drive.

 

Darnold missed the previous three games because of foot sprain sustained Nov. 4 in Miami — a 13-6 loss in which he was intercepted four times. He briefly left the game against the Bills in the first half but returned and capped the comeback with a nine-play, 61-yard drive culminating in Elijah McGuire’s 1-yard run on fourth down with 1:17 remaining.

 

“It’s great for his first game back,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said on a conference call Monday. “Obviously, he was confident before the fourth-quarter comeback. But it just helps him, it just helps him be himself a little more, which he’s comfortable with being anyway, but that’s really all it does for him.”

 

Darnold finished 16 of 24 for 170 yards and highlighted by his first game-winning drive with a 37-yard pass to Robby Anderson that put the ball on the Buffalo 5-yard line.

 

“As a kid, you dream of converting two-minute drives and going down there and scoring,” Darnold told the media after the game. “To be able to score a touchdown and put the ball in their hands at the end of the game was awesome.”

 

Darnold actually nicked up his foot again at Buffalo and was limping on the game-winning drive. Bowles said he expects Darnold to play Sunday.

 

The Jets are 5-2 in seven all-time meetings with the Texans.

 

–Field Level Media

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Steelers QB Roethlisberger expects to play vs. Patriots

 

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is banged up but hurting ribs won't keep him from playing when the Steelers play host to the New England Patriots on Sunday.

 

Roethlisberger required a pain-killing injection to deal with a rib injury suffered in the second quarter last week in Pittsburgh's loss to the Oakland Raiders.

 

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is banged up but hurting ribs won’t keep him from playing when the Steelers play host to the New England Patriots on Sunday.

 

Roethlisberger required a pain-killing injection to deal with a rib injury suffered in the second quarter last week in Pittsburgh’s loss to the Oakland Raiders. He returned to the game in the third quarter.

 

Roethlisberger said during his weekly radio spot on Tuesday that he required X-rays in the locker room, but the tests were inconclusive. He said he was not confident he would be helping the team by returning, but opted to play.

 

“Let’s see how this plays out,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday of what he told head coach Mike Tomlin to be allowed back in the game.

 

Roethlisberger said team doctors cleared him to play, and his performance indicated he was fine. Roethlisberger completed 25 of 29 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns.

 

Asked if there’s any reason to think he wouldn’t play against the Patriots, Roethlisberger said, “No, no, I don’t think so.”

 

The Steelers have lost three consecutive games and at 7-5-1 hold a slim lead over the 7-6 Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North.

 

–Field Level Media

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 14 Results

For the second straight week, we won more bets than we lost and we can be happy about that. However, if it weren't for a Chargers strategic blunder, we would've looked even better, going to 4-1 for the second straight week. Nonetheless, it was another week in the black, pushing us ever closer

For the second straight week, we won more bets than we lost and we can be happy about that. However, if it weren’t for a Chargers strategic blunder, we would’ve looked even better, going to 4-1 for the second straight week. Nonetheless, it was another week in the black, pushing us ever closer to our end-of-year goal to have a 60 percent pick percentage and 10 percent return on investment.

WIN: Jets +3.5 at Bills (-115): Jets 27, Bills 23.

New York seemed in big trouble early in this game, but Sam Darnold and the offense turned things around in the second half. We knew this three-and-a-half-point spread was juicy since neither team is very good and it turns out we were right. For the second straight week, the Jets covered for us and this time, they even won the game straight up.

This really goes to pound the point home that if there are two teams you perceive as of equal ability, regardless of one of them being at home, taking 3.5 or more points on a spread is the way to go. Gang Green comes through again. Total payout: $7.48.

LOSS: Patriots-Dolphins UNDER 47 points (-110): Dolphins 34, Patriots 31.

Well, we were way off on this one. We didn’t take into account the weather would be beautiful in Miami and the Patriots struggle historically against the Dolphins in the month of December on the road. Of course, they still would have won if it weren’t for Miami’s miraculous lateral play on their final attempt from scrimmage, but the over/under was gone at half time. Whether you believe in Ryan Tannehill or not, the Dolphins are a different team with him on the field.

Sometimes, with bets like this, which are over before the second half, it’s better to just lick your wounds and move on. That same logic doesn’t hold for our second unsuccessful over/under of the week, which was the biggest heartbreaker you could imagine. Total payout: $0.

LOSS: Chargers-Bengals OVER 47.5 points (-110): Chargers 26, Bengals 21.

So, we lost it by half a point. Oh, by the way, the Bengals screwed up down the stretch. Cincinnati stormed all the way back and was a two-point conversion away from tying the game at 23 after a Joe Mixon one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. They didn’t get it and it kept us from hitting the over. L.A. eventually drove down and drilled a field goal with less than a minute left to extend the lead to five.

Had Cincy made that field goal, this game would have ended 26-23, with the over hitting and all of us going home happy. If it’s any consolation, the Bengals did help us in another department by keeping things close, so we owe them for that. Total payout: $0.

WIN: Bengals +14.5 vs. Chargers (-120): Chargers 26, Bengals 21.

So, we can be mad at the Bengals for not getting that two-point conversion and helping us with the over, but we can’t be mad at their overall effort in this game. We have a proven track record picking with underdogs of 14 points or more this season, but with Jeff Driskell at quarterback for Cincinnati, we were taking a chance. He actually played fairly well and rewarded our confidence in the team.

That now makes us 3-for-3 this season in picking big-time underdogs, so let’s keep an eye out for those down the stretch. That could be tricky with many good teams clinching playoff spots, but with the the race for home field in the AFC and NFC heating up, we should be able to rely on this method for at least the next couple weeks. Total payout: $7.33.

WIN: Lions -2.5 vs. Cardinals (-115): Lions 17, Cardinals 3.

This was a really gross game, but hey, the Lions covered and that’s all we care about. It was 3-0 Lions at halftime and it barely got more entertaining in the second half. Matthew Stafford had one of the worst games of his career, barely managing 100 yards, but his defense got the job done. Arizona, which looked decent against the Packers, wasn’t able to muster anything against Detroit’s D.

If you didn’t watch this game, but bet it and collected your winnings, good for you. You got the best of both worlds. This was not a game worth watching, but the fact we won some money doing it made it just a little bit easier on the eyes. Total payout: $7.48.

PIGGY BANK: $309.89 (10.7% return on investment)

PICK PERCENTAGE: 59.7% (40-27-3)

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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Film study: How Ravens bent (but couldn’t break) Mahomes

It was a heavyweight prizefight.

 

The Baltimore Ravens' top-ranked defense and coordinator Wink Martindale threw everything they had at quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and landed several heavy blows. The youngster staggered but somehow stayed off the mat long enough to win the decision and lift the Kansas City Chiefs to an overtime win.

 

Martindale's

It was a heavyweight prizefight.

 

The Baltimore Ravens’ top-ranked defense and coordinator Wink Martindale threw everything they had at quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and landed several heavy blows. The youngster staggered but somehow stayed off the mat long enough to win the decision and lift the Kansas City Chiefs to an overtime win.

 

Martindale’s repertoire is as diverse as any, and he broke out all the tricks, changing up coverages and pass-rush looks almost constantly. He included many of Baltimore’s traditional amoeba fronts and fire zone blitzes, but deployed them at both traditional and untraditional moments, basically on any down at any time. Always well coached, the Ravens held their disguises with excellent discipline despite Mahomes’ hard count, and their post-snap rotations often made him a beat late.

 

At times, Baltimore showed man coverage pre-snap, by traveling with a man in motion, but then played zone after the snap. One such example froze Mahomes as Matt Judon won inside Mitchell Schwartz for a 9-yard sack.

 

The Ravens also routinely brought multiple second-level defenders as part of the rush, breaking down the Chiefs’ protection for huge hits. Judon came clean for one early, and C.J. Mosley and Patrick Onwuasor each hammered Mahomes as well. Mosley’s hit produced an intentional-grounding flag, while Onwuasor forced a fluttering duck as Mahomes heaved downfield, a likely interception if Eric Weddle had turned around. (To be fair, he was frantically chasing Tyreek Hill, not knowing Mahomes had been hit.)

 

When they didn’t get there, the Ravens’ combination of coverage change-ups and exotic rushes forced Mahomes to hold the ball, creating takeaway opportunities. His interception was a wild, ill-advised lob while getting hit after dancing in the pocket. The QB nearly gave the game away with a self-forced fumble while scrambling in the red zone in overtime. (The loose ball somehow evaded the grasp of Terrell Suggs, who early dropped a pick on a screen pass.)

 

Of course, forcing Mahomes to extend plays is a dangerous game. What he lacked in coverage recognition and ball security on Sunday he made up for with pure playmaking.

 

A few came outside the pocket late, but early on, Mahomes created from inside the pocket, waiting for the Ravens’ zones to break down over time. On an incredible third-and-19 conversion to Hill, Mahomes calmly stepped up and inside to avoid Judon and flung it to Hill’s deep crosser, which needed time to develop and come open. Mahomes did this several other times, most notably on his no-look throw to Demarcus Robinson, an unbelievably pinpoint flick left while he froze safety Chuck Clark by looking right.

 

Of course, the arm talent did its part. Mahomes dazzled with a slew of gorgeous touch throws to Travis Kelce, including one over terrific coverage from cornerback Brandon Carr and another (the 15-yard TD) after Mahomes looked off Clark, the deep-half safety.

 

The off-schedule playmaking ultimately saved Kansas City, as Baltimore’s coverage won on a would-be game-clinching fourth-and-9 until Mahomes broke contain and chucked to Hill for 48 yards.

 

As usual, Andy Reid helped his QB with brilliant scheming. He manufactured easy yards throughout the game with misdirection on runs, screens and bootlegs. But the most notable design might have been the game-tying TD, a creative yet gutsy call.

 

On fourth-and-3 from the 5 with 57 seconds left, Reid called for a bunch formation to set picks for running back Damien Williams. But instead of having Williams align right (to the bunch side) of Mahomes — which could alert the defense to the design — Reid had him align left and work THROUGH the line after the snap, moving across to the right to get behind the bunch releases.

 

This wrinkle was risky. It takes longer to develop, and if any of the Ravens’ six rushers got in Williams’ way, an unblocked Weddle would have sacked Mahomes, ending the game. But it worked brilliantly — the Chiefs surely drilled the O-line to block just so, clearing a lane for Williams’ route — and produced a walk-in tying TD.

 

Much like K.C.’s Week 4 comeback in Denver, Mahomes gutted through this one with talent far more than polish… which, frankly, is what we expected in his first year as a starter before he lit the league on fire. The Ravens’ designs and execution did enough to win, but Mahomes conjured a few rabbits from hats and (narrowly) avoided a backbreaking turnover.

 

That’s perfectly OK.

 

The 23-year-old has already shown mental acuity well beyond his years, and he’s proven he can compensate with physical gifts when needed. Mahomes traded haymakers with the NFL’s most complex defense and emerged standing, and he’ll learn a ton from Sunday’s film.

 

Meanwhile, Martindale and the Ravens will be sick about this one. They let the Chiefs escape several long down and distances, narrowly missed a few sacks and takeaways, and came away with nothing despite throwing the kitchen sink at Mahomes.

 

That’s tough to swallow. Then again, I suppose that’s how every fighter feels when watching his opponent leave the ring with the belt.

 

-Shanahan pulls all the right strings

 

Kyle Shanahan said this week he was glad the Denver Broncos didn’t hire him after he interviewed for their head-coaching job in January of 2016, but he must have taken some enjoyment in sticking it to Denver on Sunday.

 

He cruelly toyed with a short-handed defense as the San Francisco 49ers pulled the upset and pushed the Broncos to the brink of elimination.

 

Shanahan is as good as any offensive coach at deciphering a defense’s rules and, in turn, blurring defenders’ responsibilities. With the Broncos missing two of their top three cornerbacks — including Swiss Army knife Chris Harris Jr. — and dime linebacker Brandon Marshall, Shanahan preyed on inexperienced fill-ins with a series of route concepts, intertwined releases, pick routes and double moves.

 

Blossoming star tight end George Kittle was central to many designs, scorching Denver for seven catches and 210 yards — 4 yards shy of the single-game tight-end record — all before halftime. (Kittle also drew three holding penalties, including one nullifying a Broncos fumble recovery.)

 

Shanahan and Kittle exploited Denver’s Cover-3 on the first drive with a flood concept (three routes — shallow, intermediate and deep — to the same side of the field, perfect for attacking zone). With Marquise Goodwin releasing in front of him and drawing rookie cornerback Isaac Yiadom, Kittle faked inside and broke out into the void Yiadom vacated. With linebacker Todd Davis fooled by Kittle’s route, the tight end was so open he picked up 31 yards despite the throw being behind him.

 

Kittle’s next big play also came from a stacked release, this time featuring a double move and a rub element to foil man coverage. Shanahan had wideout Kendrick Bourne release vertically in front of Kittle, who broke outside just 4 yards downfield. Kittle’s man, Darian Stewart, recognized Bourne’s pick and fought over it and outside, only to realize Kittle’s route was a double move as the tight end broke back inside. The pass was again behind, but Kittle — a menace after the catch — broke three tackles and picked up 52 yards.

 

Kittle’s 85-yard touchdown highlighted Shanahan’s ability to dress up the same plays to look different (which we covered in Week 3), as Shanahan disguised his signature Yankee concept: a deep post from one side and deep crosser from the other, off play-action. This time, he used a pistol formation with a jet-sweep fake and Kittle aligned as a wing tight end — off the line of scrimmage but inside tight end Garrett Celek, an uncommon spot for a vertical route to release from.

 

At the snap, Kittle started forward and inside like he was double-teaming the 5-technique defensive end, while Celek blocked out to the edge defender. This action, along with the pistol play-fake and jet sweep, made Davis, linebacker Josey Jewell and safety Justin Simmons bite hard downhill to stop the run. Kittle blew right on his deep crosser completely unmarked. With Dante Pettis’ post route clearing out Yiadom and Stewart, Kittle caught the ball with no one within 10 yards and needed one block from Pettis to coast 70 yards to paydirt.

 

Based on the defensive alignment, Kittle appeared to be Davis’ man, but Davis was left pointing at Simmons as the tight end released behind him. That’s exactly the sort of confusion Shanahan creates by stressing a defense’s weak points, and it wasn’t the last such example.

 

Kittle picked up 18 more yards later in the half as dime safety Su’a Cravens tried to pass off a route to Yiadom, who wasn’t prepared or in position to do so. The same mistake happened between Denver’s other dime safety, Will Parks, and Yiadom on the game’s most critical play, this time with Pettis as the beneficiary.

 

On third-and-7 with 3:41 remaining and the Niners up six, Shanahan called for a pick route from an empty formation with running back Jeff Wilson Jr. split wide. Having already used an almost identical look to get Kyle Juszczyk 17 yards, Shanahan added another wrinkle this time. Wilson ran the same slant Juszczyk did, but Pettis — who simply got in the way the first time — ran a stick-nod (a double move faking a short out route before turning upfield to the post) from the inside slot.

 

Yiadom (aligned over Wilson) and Parks (aligned over Pettis) both took Wilson’s slant, leaving Pettis uncovered for a 31-yard gain to all but seal the game. Had either player taken Pettis, Denver likely would have gotten the ball back, as Von Miller came free on a stunt and clobbered Mullens as he threw.

 

The offense wasn’t pretty all day — it basically took most of the second half off before the key conversion to Pettis — but the bells and whistles were enough to stymie a defense that had quietly been playing like one of the NFL’s best over the last nine weeks.

 

Perhaps most impressive is that Shanahan can manufacture so many big plays with a mostly bare cupboard. Kittle is incredible and hasn’t missed a game, but Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon have barely played, and Goodwin has also missed time. Get everyone healthy and add a receiver or two, and this machine should be whirring week in and week out.

 

–Mayfield keeps silencing doubters

 

Once pegged as the lower-ceiling option among the top 2018 quarterback prospects, Baker Mayfield has proven that label flatly wrong. Week in and week out, he’s delivered more “wow” throws than any of his draft classmates, including a number of doozies on Sunday.

 

On the first play from scrimmage against the Panthers, Mayfield whistled a deep ball 64 yards in the air perfectly to the hands of Breshad Perriman, who couldn’t quite keep his feet, settling for a 66-yard gain instead of a 75-yard touchdown.

 

Mayfield dropped jaws again on third-and-17 midway through the second, as he escaped the pocket left and unleashed a 55-yard rope to Jarvis Landry, who had been covered by two safeties (Mike Adams fell down) and also had cornerback Donte Jackson closing in. Mayfield’s throw was absolutely flawless, threading between Jackson and safety Eric Reid and nestling right into Landry’s chest.

 

Mayfield’s next attempt was another inch-perfect strike, a firm throw with just enough touch to beat linebacker Thomas Davis’ excellent coverage on David Njoku’s corner route for a 28-yard gain. Three plays later, Mayfield whipped a bullet — despite pressure in the six-footer’s face — to Rashard Higgins’ 7-stop route (stem toward the corner before turning around for a deep curl) in a void in Carolina’s zone for 15 yards on third-and-9.

 

There is so much more to get into with Mayfield — who has been playing terrific, despite his three interceptions last week — but for now, suffice it to say he’s put concerns about his arm talent to bed.

 

We’ll take a deeper look later this season at just how great he’s been in other areas.

 

–David DeChant, Field Level Media

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Reports: Raiders GM McKenzie fired

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

The writing on the wall was revealed with midseason comments from Raiders owner Mark Davis, who responded to questions about the future structure of the front office by saying Gruden “isn’t going anywhere” but not nailing down McKenzie’s role or status.

 

Gruden brought in players he favored and traded away two-time Pro Bowl selection Amari Cooper as well as Khalil Mack, the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time, first-team All-Pro. McKenzie used first-round picks on both players.

 

In the offseason, there were rumors that Bruce Allen, who previously worked with Gruden in Tampa Bay as well as during his first stint in Oakland, would join him with the Raiders.

 

Allen is the president of the Washington Redskins, but fans and media have been calling for owner Daniel Snyder to replace Allen when the season ends.

 

The Raiders won their third game of the season Sunday.

 

–Field Level Media

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Seven From Sunday – Week 14

PRESS RELEASE

 

Seven From Sunday - Week 14

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 9, the 14th week of the 2018 season.

  • The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS defeated Tampa Bay, 28-14,

PRESS RELEASE

 

Seven From Sunday – Week 14

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 9, the 14th week of the 2018 season.

  • The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS defeated Tampa Bay, 28-14, and clinched the NFC South division title for the second-consecutive season. New Orleans has won back-to-back division titles for the first time in franchise history.
    The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS clinched a playoff berth with a 27-24 overtime victory over Baltimore. The Chiefs advance to the postseason for the fourth-consecutive season.

    The LOS ANGELES RAMS, who clinched the NFC West division title in Week 13 and play at Chicago tonight (8:20 PM ET, NBC), can clinch a first-round bye with a victory over the Bears.
     

  • The MIAMI DOLPHINS defeated New England, 34-33, on the final play from scrimmage, as running back KENYAN DRAKE took a lateral from wide receiver DE VANTE PARKER 52 yards for a touchdown as time expired.

    The Dolphins’ game-winning 69-yard touchdown was the longest play from scrimmage to win a game with no time remaining in the fourth quarter since the 1970 merger.

    Dolphins running back FRANK GORE recorded 116 scrimmage yards (92 rushing, 24 receiving) in the team’s victory. Gore, who has 18,530 career scrimmage yards, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON (18,456) for the fifth-most scrimmage yards in NFL history. The four players with more scrimmage yards than Gore are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: JERRY RICE (23,540), EMMITT SMITH (21,579), WALTER PAYTON (21,264) and MARSHALL FAULK (19,154).
     

  • Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES completed 35 of 53 passes (66.0 percent) for 377 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for a 91.5 passer rating in the Chiefs’ 27-24 overtime victory over Baltimore.

    Mahomes, who was selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, leads the NFL with 4,300 passing yards and 43 touchdown passes this season. Mahomes joined Pro Football Hall of Famers DAN MARINO (1984) and KURT WARNER (1999) as the only first-or-second year quarterbacks in league annals with at least 4,000 passing yards and 40 touchdown passes in a single season.

    Chiefs tight end TRAVIS KELCE had seven catches for 77 yards and one touchdown in the victory. Kelce has 86 catches and 1,159 receiving yards this season and is the first tight end in league annals with at least 80 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons.

    Kansas City defensive lineman CHRIS JONES recorded a sack in the win and has at least one sack in each of the Chiefs’ past nine games. Jones is the first player to record a sack in at least nine consecutive games in a single season since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982. He is the sixth player since 1982 to record at least one sack in nine consecutive games at any point in time.

  • Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS completed 21 of 32 passes (65.6 percent) for 196 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 103.1 passer rating in the Packers’ 34-20 victory over Atlanta.

    Rodgers, who has not thrown an interception in 368 pass attempts dating back to Week 4, surpassed TOM BRADY (358 consecutive attempts from 2010-11) for the most consecutive pass attempts without an interception in NFL history.
                

  • New York Giants quarterback ELI MANNING passed for 197 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 132.0 passer rating and rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY rushed for 170 yards with one touchdown in the team’s 40-16 victory at Washington.

    Manning has 55,142 career passing yards and became the seventh quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 55,000 passing yards.        

    Barkley, who scored on a 78-yard touchdown run, has five scrimmage touchdowns of at least 50 yards this season, the most by a rookie in a single season since Pro Football Hall of Famer RANDY MOSS (five touchdowns in 1998). Only BILLY HOWTON of the 1952 Green Bay Packers had more such touchdowns as a rookie in a single season (six).

    Barkley has 12 games with at least 100 scrimmage yards in 2018, tying EDGERRIN JAMES (12 games in 1999) for the second-most games with 100+ scrimmage yards by a rookie in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (13 games in 1983) has more such games.
     

  • New Orleans wide receiver MICHAEL THOMAS had 11 receptions for 98 yards in the Saints’ 28-14 victory at Tampa Bay.

    Thomas, who has 298 receptions since entering the league in 2016, surpassed ODELL BECKHAM, JR. (288 catches from 2014-16) and JARVIS LANDRY (288 catches from 2014-16) for the most catches by a player in his first three seasons in NFL history.
     

  • Other notable performances from Sunday include:
     

    • New England quarterback TOM BRADY passed for 358 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 112.4 passer rating in the Patriots’ Week 14 loss at Miami.

      Brady has 582 career touchdown passes (including the postseason) and surpassed PEYTON MANNING (579) for the most touchdown passes in NFL history.

      Brady has 47 career games with at least 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes and surpassed Manning (46 games) for the second-most such games in league annals. Only DREW BREES (63) has more such games in NFL history.
       

    • San Francisco tight end GEORGE KITTLE had seven catches for 210 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown catch, in the 49ers’ 20-14 victory over Denver.
       
      Kittle’s 210 receiving yards are the third-most by a tight end in a single game in NFL history, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famers SHANNON SHARPE (214 receiving yards on October 20, 2002) and JACKIE SMITH (212 on October 13, 1963).

    • Cleveland rookie quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD completed 18 of 22 passes (81.8 percent) for 238 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions for a 126.9 passer rating in the Browns’ 26-20 victory over Carolina.

      Mayfield has thrown at least one touchdown pass in each of his first 10 career starts and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer KURT WARNER (1999) and BRAD JOHNSON (1996-97) as the only quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era with a touchdown pass in each of his first 10 career starts.
       

    • Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES had eight catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns in the Falcons’ loss at Green Bay.

      Jones leads the NFL with 1,429 receiving yards this season and has recorded at least 1,400 receiving yards in each of the past five seasons, the longest streak in NFL history

 

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

Read More 943 Words

NFL Notebook: Ravens QB situation gets a little cloudier

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson missed the final two plays of his team's 27-24 overtime loss in Kansas City on Sunday after he was hit but appears to have avoided major injury. However it looks like the Ravens now have a decision to make behind center.

 

Jackson, who was seen going into the

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson missed the final two plays of his team’s 27-24 overtime loss in Kansas City on Sunday after he was hit but appears to have avoided major injury. However it looks like the Ravens now have a decision to make behind center.

 

Jackson, who was seen going into the X-ray room in the locker room after the game, met reporters a few minutes later and downplayed the injury. “They just wanted to see what happened, but I’m good,” Jackson said.

 

Robert Griffin III replaced Jackson and threw two incompletions to turn the ball over on downs to end the game. As for next week, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh revealed after the game that Joe Flacco was medically cleared from his hip injury earlier this weekend and could have played.

 

Harbaugh has repeatedly declined to answer questions about who will start moving forward, though he has not ruled out the possibility of Flacco and Jackson playing for stretches.

 

–In more quarterback shuffling, Washington head coach Jay Gruden strongly implied after the Redskins’ 40-16 loss to the New York Giants that Josh Johnson, not Mark Sanchez, will take the reins next weekend when the Redskins travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars.

 

The Redskins signed Sanchez on Nov. 19, the day after starting quarterback Alex Smith was lost for the season with a broken tibia and fibula on his right leg. Backup Colt McCoy started four days later on Thanksgiving but broke his leg in a loss to Philadelphia on Dec. 3. Enter Johnson, signed by the Redskins to back up Sanchez despite having last thrown an NFL pass in 2011.

 

Sanchez completed 6 of 14 attempts for 38 yards and was intercepted twice by the Giants before being benched. Johnson led two scoring drives and was 11-of-16 passing for 195 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

 

–New England quarterback Tom Brady broke one record and lost another.

 

In the second quarter against Miami, Brady found Julian Edelman for a 2-yard touchdown, the 580th of Brady’s career (including playoffs). That surpasses the career mark set by Peyton Manning. The latter remains the NFL’s regular-season leader in touchdown passes with 539.

 

In Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers broke Brady’s NFL record of 358 consecutive passes without an interception, which Brady set during the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

 

–The Baltimore Ravens are calling racist and homophobic tweets that appeared to be sent more than five years ago from the Twitter account of second-year fullback-defensive lineman Patrick Ricard “totally unacceptable.”

 

An undrafted second-year player from Maine, Ricard has played 10 games this season after appearing in all 16 last season. He has made four tackles and played 90 snaps on offense.

 

–Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has tried multiple times to convince retired tight end Jason Witten to return to the team but continues to be rebuffed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

 

Garrett had attempted to persuade the 15-year veteran to play another year before the 2018 NFL Draft and apparently renewed those efforts as the Cowboys have remained in playoff contention this season, despite a lack of production from tight ends.

 

–CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported there is mounting speculation that should the Jacksonville Jaguars fire head coach Doug Marrone, current Jags executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin will fill the role himself next season.

 

The 72-year-old Coughlin was the first head coach in Jaguars’ history, from 1995-2002. He then coached the New York Giants to two Super Bowl championships during his tenure from 2004-15.

 

–While the NFL mulls further punishment for Kareem Hunt, the former Kansas City Chiefs running back is seeking counseling for alcohol and anger issues, according to multiple reports.

 

The NFL placed Hunt on the commissioner’s exempt list while it investigates a trio of incidents, meaning Hunt is unable to play for any team that might sign him. The Chiefs released Hunt after the video surfaced of him kicking then-19-year-old Abigail Ottinger from Berea, Ohio.

 

–The Oakland Raiders and general manager Reggie McKenzie will part ways after the season ends, according to a CBS Sports report.

 

Head coach Jon Gruden, in the first year of a 10-year $100 million contract, and McKenzie apparently haven’t viewed players the same way this season as the Raiders have stumbled to a 2-10 record.

 

–Field Level Media

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Flacco practices, status vs. Chiefs uncertain

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was a full participant in Friday's practice, the first time he's done that since injuring his hip in Week 9.

 

Whether he starts on Sunday versus the Kansas City Chiefs remains in question.

 

Rookie Lamar Jackson has started three games since Flacco went down, winning all three.

 

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was a full participant in Friday’s practice, the first time he’s done that since injuring his hip in Week 9.

 

Whether he starts on Sunday versus the Kansas City Chiefs remains in question.

 

Rookie Lamar Jackson has started three games since Flacco went down, winning all three.

 

Flacco has been dealing with a right hip injury since Nov. 4. He was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, although Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Flacco was “almost full” in Thursday’s session.

 

Harbaugh said last week that doctors will need to clear Flacco before he can play. He declined to say who the starter will be once Flacco is fully healthy.

 

Jackson has completed 46 of 77 passes for 540 yards and two scores this season. He’s also rushed 80 times for 404 yards and three touchdowns.

 

Flacco, the Ravens starter since 2008, is 4-5 this season and has thrown for 2,465 yards and 12 touchdowns.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 100 Words

‘Cover City’: NFL Week 14 Picks, Preview With Steve Hytner

Sports Handle is pleased to present Cover City: A Pro Football Betting Podcast, hosted by Eric Rosenthal (@ericcports), brought to you by PropSwap.com. Rosenthal is a professional sports bettor who focuses on NFL and college football. He’s wagered more than $25 million in the last nine years, getting banned from many sportsbooks along the way.

Sports Handle is pleased to present Cover City: A Pro Football Betting Podcast, hosted by Eric Rosenthal (@ericcports), brought to you by PropSwap.com. Rosenthal is a professional sports bettor who focuses on NFL and college football. He’s wagered more than $25 million in the last nine years, getting banned from many sportsbooks along the way.

Week 14 is here and it’s GOLD. Steve Hytner (@hytner), podcaster, sports bettor and comedian also known as Kenny Bania of Seinfeld, joins Rosenthal to discuss this week’s matchups. Listen below for the one team Hytner refuses to take on the road, and did Rosenthal get engaged this week? 

Listen and subscribe on Spotify here. Download the PropSwap app for iOS systems here and Android here. Time codes for the episode follow below.

7:06 — Baltimore Ravens +6.5 at Kansas City Chiefs

9:32 — Indianapolis Colts +4.5 at Texas Houstons

12:09 — Carolina Panthers -1.5 at Cleveland Browns

14:23 — Atlanta Falcons +5 at Green Bay Packers

20:03 — New Orleans Saints -8 at Tampa Buccaneers

20:56 — N.Y Jets -3.5 at Buffalo Bills

23:48 — New England Patriots -7.5 at Miami Dolphins

25:04 —  L.A. Rams -3 at Chicago Bears

26:36 —  A bundled trio of second- and third-string QBs: N.Y. Giants -3.5 at Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos -4 at San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals +14 at L.A. Chargers.

36:09 —  Detroit Lions -2.5 at Arizona Cardinals.

37:23 — Philadelphia Eagles +3.5 at Dallas Cowboys.

39:51 — Pittsburgh Steelers -10.5 at Oakland Raiders.

41:40 — Minnesota Vikings +3 at Seattle Seahawks.

47:55 — Additional thoughts on Week 14.

53:23 — PropSwap.com opportunities.

55:50 — Rosenthal’s SuperContest picks.


Also check out this week’s Pro Football Handle podcast!

 

Hear more ‘Cover City’: NFL Week 14 Picks, Preview With Steve Hytner on SportsHandle.

Read More 205 Words

What to Look For – Week 14

PRESS RELEASE

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 14

WORST TO FIRST: Entering Week 14, one team – the LOS ANGELES RAMS (11-1) – has clinched a playoff berth as the battle for the remaining spots forges ahead. Three ​​additional teams – the HOUSTON TEXANS (9-3), NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-3) and

PRESS RELEASE

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 14

WORST TO FIRST: Entering Week 14, one team – the LOS ANGELES RAMS (11-1) – has clinched a playoff berth as the battle for the remaining spots forges ahead. Three ​​additional teams – the HOUSTON TEXANS (9-3), NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-3) and NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-2) – can clinch a division title this week.

Two teams that finished in or tied for last place in their division in 2017 – the CHICAGO BEARS (NFC North) and Houston Texans (AFC South) – are currently in first place in their respective divisions this season. In 14 of the past 15 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Of the 46 teams in league history to go from “worst-to-first,” 23 of them have done so in the past 15 years (2003-17), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006.

STAT PATTING: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL with 41 touchdown passes and ranks second in passing yards (3,923).

With 77 passing yards on Sunday against Baltimore (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Mahomes would join Pro Football Hall of Famers DAN MARINO (1984) and KURT WARNER (1999) as the only first-or-second year quarterbacks in NFL history to pass for at least 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in a single season. Both Marino and Warner were named Associated Press MVP in those seasons.

The first-or-second year quarterbacks to pass for at least 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

PASSING YARDS

TOUCHDOWNS

Dan Marino^#

Miami

1984

5,084

48

Kurt Warner^#

St. Louis

1999

4,353

41

 

 

 

 

 

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City

2018

3,923*

41*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press MVP

*Entering Week 14

 

RAISING ARIZONA: Arizona wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD has 1,281 receptions for 16,053 yards and 115 touchdowns during his 15-year NFL career, all with the Cardinals.

With one reception on Sunday against Detroit (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Fitzgerald would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (1,281 receptions with San Francisco) for the most receptions by a player with one team in NFL history.

The players with the most receptions for one team in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

RECEPTIONS

Larry Fitzgerald

Arizona

1,281

Jerry Rice^

San Francisco

1,281

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

 

FIFTH FOR FRANK: Miami running back FRANK GORE has 18,414 scrimmage yards in his 14-year NFL career.

With 43 scrimmage yards on Sunday against New England (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Gore would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON (18,456 scrimmage yards) for the fifth-most scrimmage yards in league annals.

The players with the most scrimmage yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

SCRIMMAGE YARDS

Jerry Rice^

San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle

23,540

Emmitt Smith^

Dallas, Arizona

21,579

Walter Payton^

Chicago

21,264

Marshall Faulk^

Indianapolis, St. Louis

19,154

LaDainian Tomlinson^

San Diego, New York Jets

18,456

Frank Gore

San Francisco, Indianapolis, Miami

18,414

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

 

TOUCHDOWN STREAK: Cleveland rookie quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD has thrown at least one touchdown pass in each of his first nine NFL starts.

With a touchdown pass against Carolina (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Mayfield would become the third quarterback in the Super Bowl era to record at least one touchdown pass in each of his first 10 career starts.

The players with a touchdown pass in each of their first 10 career starts since 1966:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON(S)

Kurt Warner^

St. Louis

1999

Brad Johnson

Minnesota

1996-97

 

 

 

Baker Mayfield

Cleveland

2018*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Has TD pass in each of first nine starts

 

SAQUON FROM SCRIMMAGE: New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY had 146 scrimmage yards (125 rushing, 21 receiving) in the Giants’ Week 13 overtime victory against Chicago. Barkley leads the NFL with 11 games of at least 100 scrimmage yards in 2018.

With 100 scrimmage yards on Sunday at Washington (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Barkley would tie EDGERRIN JAMES (12 games in 1999) for the second-most games with at least 100 scrimmage yards by a rookie in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (13 games in 1983) has more such games.

The rookies with the most games with at least 100 scrimmage yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS

Eric Dickerson^#

Los Angeles Rams

1983

13

Edgerrin James#

Indianapolis

1999

12

 

 

 

 

Saquon Barkley

New York Giants

2018

11*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 14

 

RECORD-SETTING RECEIVER: Pittsburgh wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN has 81 receptions for 1,028 yards and leads the NFL with 12 touchdown receptions this season.

With 10 receptions on Sunday at Oakland (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Brown, who has 663 receptions since 2013, can surpass WES WELKER (672 from 2007-12) for the most catches by a player over any six-year span in NFL history.

The most receptions by a player over any six-year span in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS

RECEPTIONS

Wes Welker

New England

2007-12

672

Antonio Brown

Pittsburgh

2013-18

663*

Marvin Harrison^

Indianapolis

1999-2004

649

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*In sixth year of span

 

Brown, who had 154 receiving yards in Week 13, has 8,876 receiving yards since 2013 and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (8,759 from 1990-1995) for the most receiving yards by a player over any six-year span in NFL history.

The most receiving yards by a player over any six-year span in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS

RECEIVING YARDS

Antonio Brown

Pittsburgh

2013-18

8,876*

Jerry Rice^

San Francisco

1990-95

8,759

Marvin Harrison^

Indianapolis

1999-2004

8,707

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*In sixth year of span

 

ZACH ATTACK: Philadelphia tight end ZACH ERTZ ranks second in the NFL with 93 receptions and second among tight ends with 978 receiving yards this season.

With seven receptions and 22 receiving yards on Sunday at Dallas (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Ertz can become the fourth tight end in NFL history to record at least 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.

The tight ends with at least 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RECEPTIONS

RECEIVING YARDS

Jason Witten

Dallas

2012

110#

1,039

Dallas Clark

Indianapolis

2009

100

1,106

Tony Gonzalez

Kansas City

2004

102

1,258

 

 

 

 

 

Zach Ertz

Philadelphia

2018

93*

978*

*Entering Week 14

#Single-season record by a tight end

 

DOMINANT DONALD: Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle AARON DONALD leads the NFL with 16.5 sacks this season and has recorded at least two sacks in each of his past three games.

With two sacks on Sunday Night Football at Chicago (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Donald can become the fourth player since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, to record at least two sacks in four consecutive games in a single season, joining SIMEON RICE (five games in 2002) and Pro Football Hall of Famers KEVIN GREENE (four games in 1998) and REGGIE WHITE (four games in 1987).

The players with the most consecutive games with at least two sacks in a single season since 1982:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 2+ SACKS

Simeon Rice

Tampa Bay

2002

5

Kevin Greene^

Carolina

1998

4

Reggie White^

Philadelphia

1987

4

 

 

 

 

Aaron Donald

Los Angeles Rams

2018

3*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Active streak

 

Donald, who has recorded at least two sacks in six games this season, can become the fourth player since 1982 to record at least seven games with two-or-more sacks in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers REGGIE WHITE (eight games in 1987), CHRIS DOLEMAN (seven games in 1989) and BRUCE SMITH (seven games in 1990).

The players with the most games with two-or-more sacks in a single season since 1982:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

GAMES WITH 2+ SACKS

Reggie White^#

Philadelphia

1987

8

Chris Doleman^

Minnesota

1989

7

Bruce Smith^#

Buffalo

1990

7

 

 

 

 

Aaron Donald

Los Angeles Rams

2018

6*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year

*Entering Week 14

 

JONES-ING FOR MORE: Kansas City defensive lineman CHRIS JONES ties for fifth in the AFC with 10 sacks this season and has recorded at least one sack in eight consecutive games.

With a sack on Sunday against Baltimore (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Jones would become the sixth player since 1982 to record at least one sack in nine consecutive games and the first player since 1982 to record nine consecutive games with at least one sack within a single season.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least one sack since 1982:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

SEASON(S)

CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH A SACK

DeMarcus Ware

Dallas

2007-08

10

Simon Fletcher

Denver

1992-93

10

Dwight Freeney

Indianapolis

2008-09

9

Kevin Greene^

San Francisco, Carolina

1997-98

9

Bruce Smith^

Buffalo

1986-87

9

 

 

 

 

Chris Jones

Kansas City

2018

8*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Active streak

 

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

Read More 1319 Words

Titans RB Henry ties Dorsett with 99-yard rushing TD

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry took a handoff behind his team's 1-yard line and sprinted directly into the record books.

 

Henry tied Tony Dorsett's NFL record with a 99-yard rushing touchdown in the first half of Thursday night's game between the Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. Dorsett had held sole possession of the record

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry took a handoff behind his team’s 1-yard line and sprinted directly into the record books.

 

Henry tied Tony Dorsett’s NFL record with a 99-yard rushing touchdown in the first half of Thursday night’s game between the Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. Dorsett had held sole possession of the record since Jan. 3, 1983, when he scored on a 99-yard run for the Dallas Cowboys against the Minnesota Vikings.

 

A series of stiff arms helped Henry make history. He took the handoff in the end zone, stepped over traffic at the line of scrimmage and cut left.

 

Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye was the first defender with a clear shot at a tackle. Henry extended his right arm and knocked Bouye off balance.

 

Linebacker Leon Jacobs was next. He attempted to chase down Henry from behind, only to fall over as the running back pushed him aside with his right arm.

 

Myles Jack had the final opportunity to prevent the historic touchdown, but Henry quickly shed the linebacker on his way to the end zone.

 

Before the big play, Henry’s longest run of the season was 16 yards. His previous career long was 75.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 144 Words

Eagles attempting to catch first-place Cowboys

The Philadelphia Eagles will be attempting to pull into a tie for first place in the NFC East with a win at Dallas on Sunday afternoon.

 

After their 28-13 victory over Washington on Monday night, the Eagles pulled into a two-way tie for second place with the Redskins at 6-6 and just one game

The Philadelphia Eagles will be attempting to pull into a tie for first place in the NFC East with a win at Dallas on Sunday afternoon.

 

After their 28-13 victory over Washington on Monday night, the Eagles pulled into a two-way tie for second place with the Redskins at 6-6 and just one game behind the Cowboys at 7-5.

 

The Eagles hadn’t won two straight games since last year’s postseason which culminated with the franchise’s first career Super Bowl title.

 

“I think this group, first of all, is a resilient group, as you know,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said. “I’ve said that a lot. This group doesn’t let a lot bother them. I think what you’ve seen now these last couple weeks, we’ve started getting some guys back healthy a little bit. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting close.”

 

Philadelphia received a huge boost with the return of running back Darren Sproles, who had missed the previous 10 games with a hamstring injury. Sproles scored on a 14-yard touchdown run and sparked the team.

 

“It just felt so good, man, just to get in there,” Sproles said. “To have a knee (injury) last year, then have a hamstring this year, it just felt great. It felt great to get in there.”

 

Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (back) and left tackle Jason Peters (biceps) are expected to play against the Cowboys while cornerback Jalen Mills (foot) is unlikely to return.

 

The Cowboys pulled off a stunning 13-10 victory over New Orleans in their last game, ending the Saints’ 10-game winning streak. The Cowboys will be in search of their fifth straight win after beginning the season 3-5.

 

“You’ve got to understand, there’s no more room for error for us,” Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones told ESPN.com. “… This is the time you got to win. You can’t look back. You can’t go back.”

 

The Cowboys’ defense was stingy and the offense was efficient enough to produce another win against the Saints. Running back Ezekiel Elliott compiled 136 total yards — 23 carries for 76 yards and six receptions for 60 yards. He also scored on a 16-yard screen pass.

 

“I think they understand where we are,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett told reporters. “Our backs continue to be against the wall. We have to continue to fight, continue to battle. We’ve done some good things the last few weeks, but that doesn’t matter now.”

 

Wide receiver Cole Beasley (foot) and left tackle Tyron Smith (stinger) are both considered questionable to play.

 

The Cowboys beat the Eagles 27-20 in Philadelphia in Week 10.

 

–Field Level Media

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