Steelers-Browns Stats

Pittsburgh 0 7 14 0 0—21
Cleveland 0 0 7 14 0—21
Second Quarter

Pit_Conner 4 run (Boswell kick), 11:16.

Third Quarter

Cle_Taylor 20 run (Gonzalez kick), 10:05.

Pit_Brown 22 pass from Roethlisberger (Boswell kick), 8:24.

Pit_Conner 22 run (Boswell kick), 5:23.

Fourth Quarter

Cle_Hyde 1 run (Gonzalez kick), 7:32.

Cle_Gordon 17 pass from Taylor (Gonzalez kick), 1:58.

A_67,431.

___

Pit Cle
First downs 25 22
Total Net Yards 472 327
Rushes-yards 35-159 38-177
Passing 313 150
Punt Returns 5-56 1-15
Kickoff Returns 3-69 3-46
Interceptions Ret. 1-0 3-26
Comp-Att-Int 23-41-3 15-40-1
Sacked-Yards Lost 4-22 7-47
Punts 7-39.3 12-43.5
Fumbles-Lost 3-3 1-0
Penalties-Yards 12-116 11-87
Time of Possession 35:12 34:48

___

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING_Pittsburgh, Conner 31-135, Roethlisberger 3-16, Switzer 1-8. Cleveland, Taylor 8-77, Hyde 22-62, Chubb 3-21, Johnson 5-17.

PASSING_Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger 23-41-3-335. Cleveland, Taylor 15-40-1-197.

RECEIVING_Pittsburgh, Brown 9-93, Smith-Schuster 5-119, Conner 5-57, James 3-60, Hunter 1-6. Cleveland, Landry 7-106, Njoku 3-13, Higgins 1-38, Gordon 1-17, Fells 1-12, Johnson 1-8, Hyde 1-3.

MISSED FIELD GOALS_Pittsburgh, Boswell 42.

Cowboys up to 21-point favorite over Dolphins

Cowboys up to 21-point favorite over Dolphins

Dallas is

Cowboys up to 21-point favorite over Dolphins

Dallas is a 21-point favorite at MGM Mirage and Westgate Superbook over the Miami Dolphins with early Week 3 action on the Cowboys.

After opening as 18.5-point favorites, the 2-0 Cowboys have been pushed to minus-21 at multiple books with a consensus line over 20 points.

Dallas was last a favorite by 21 or more points in 1987. Only 11 teams in NFL history have been favored by as many as 20 points. They have a 2-9 record against the spread, according to Pro Football Reference.

The Dolphins did not score in Week 2, a 43-0 loss to the New England Patriots, who were favored by 19.5 points.

Miami lost 59-10 in Week 1 to the Baltimore Ravens.

Dallas beat the New York Giants 35-10 in Week 1 and won at Washington in Week 2, 31-21 over the Redskins.

–Field Level Media

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Attorney: Brown denies new sexual misconduct claim

Attorney: Brown denies new sexual misconduct claim

New England Patriots

Attorney: Brown denies new sexual misconduct claim

New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown has denied a new claim of sexual misconduct, according to his attorney on Monday.

Darren Heitner took to Twitter Monday to write, “Antonio Brown has reviewed the sexual misconduct allegations made by an unnamed artist included in a recently published Sports Illustrated article and denies that he ever engaged in such activities. There will be no further comment at this time.”

The female artist who made the claim was working in Brown’s western Pennsylvania home in 2017.

The latest allegations were made in a Sports Illustrated story that also mentions accusations of a charity auction theft, multiple domestic incidents and a number of unpaid debts.

Britney Taylor, the woman accusing Brown of rape and sexual assault and bringing a civil suit against him, was expected to meet with the NFL on Monday. She reportedly provided information to the league in advance of the meeting.

ESPN also reported Brown turned down a $2 million settlement before the suit was filed.

The Sports Illustrated article published Monday detailed a charity softball game that Brown agreed to host in 2017 to benefit the National Youth Foundation. That event also included an auction with a portrait of Brown that he agreed to purchase before becoming friends with the artist.

According to SI, the wide receiver invited the artist to his home to create another piece of artwork, and provided a van for transportation. On the second day there, the unnamed artist, who requested anonymity before speaking about Brown, “was in a kneeling position while painting and turned to find Brown behind her, naked, holding a small hand towel over his genitals.” The artist continued painting, but “after that, it all ended abruptly,” she told SI.

The report indicated the artist received $2,000 from Brown, who didn’t contact her after the incident. The woman did not plan to file charges or receive renumeration, though Brown’s behavior troubled her, SI reported.

Regarding other incidents involving Brown, SI interviewed more than two dozen people who he knew through being employed by him, or as coach and player. Some — but not all — have taken legal action against him, according to SI.

–Field Level Media

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Colts’ Reich on Vinatieri: ‘Adam is our kicker’

Colts' Reich on Vinatieri: 'Adam is our kicker'

Colts’ Reich on Vinatieri: ‘Adam is our kicker’

Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich reiterated his faith in Adam Vinatieri on Monday, one day after the 46-year-old kicker missed at least two attempts for the second straight game.

“Adam is our kicker,” Reich said, per The Athletic. “We have zero concern. He’s not only our kicker, he’s a key leader on our team.”

Reich added Vinatieri will kick for the Colts (1-1) against the Atlanta Falcons (1-1) on Sunday.

Vinatieri misfired on two extra points in Indianapolis’ 19-17 win over Tennessee on Sunday. He missed two field goals and an extra point in the previous week of an overtime setback to the Los Angeles Chargers.

Vinatieri didn’t take questions from reporters, saying, “You’ll hear from me (Monday).” When reminded reporters don’t see players on Mondays, Vinatieri replied, “Yeah, you will.”

That spurred speculation the NFL’s all-time leading scorer planned to retire.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Titans to place K Succop on IR, sign Santos

Report: Titans to place K Succop on IR, sign Santos

Report: Titans to place K Succop on IR, sign Santos

The Tennessee Titans placed Ryan Succop on injured reserve and signed kicker Cairo Santos, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Wednesday.

The Titans, who open the season on Sunday at Cleveland, have not yet made the transaction official.

Succop opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list after having offseason knee surgery, but returned for Tennessee’s final two preseason games.

The 32-year-old will be ineligible to play until Week 9 should he head to injured reserve.

Succop converted 26 of 30 field goal attempts and 28 of 31 extra-point tries in 16 games last season. He is 235 for 281 (83.6 percent) in field goal attempts and 314 for 323 on extra-point tries in his career with the Kansas City Chiefs (2009-2013) and Titans (2014-18).

Santos spent the offseason with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but was cut in favor of rookie Matt Gay.

Santos was 9 of 12 on field goals and 17 of 17 on extra points with the Buccaneers in seven games last season.

–Field Level Media

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Titans place K Succop on IR, sign Santos

Titans place K Succop on IR, sign Santos

The Tennessee

Titans place K Succop on IR, sign Santos

The Tennessee Titans placed Ryan Succop on injured reserve and signed kicker Cairo Santos on Wednesday.

The Titans open the season on Sunday at Cleveland.

Succop began training camp on the physically unable to perform list after having offseason knee surgery, but returned for Tennessee’s final two preseason games.

The 32-year-old will be ineligible to play until Week 9.

Succop converted 26 of 30 field goal attempts and 28 of 31 extra-point tries in 16 games last season. He is 235 for 281 (83.6 percent) in field goal attempts and 314 for 323 on extra-point tries in his career with the Kansas City Chiefs (2009-2013) and Titans (2014-18).

Santos spent the offseason with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but was cut in favor of rookie Matt Gay.

Santos was 9 of 12 on field goals and 17 of 17 on extra points with the Buccaneers in seven games last season.

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys make Elliott highest-paid running back

Cowboys make Elliott highest-paid running back

Running back Ezekiel Elliott and

Cowboys make Elliott highest-paid running back

Running back Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys agreed to a six-year, $90 million contract on Wednesday, ending his five-week holdout and making him the highest-paid running back in NFL history.

Elliott is in line to receive $50 million in guarantees, trumping the $45 million Todd Gurley received from the Los Angeles Rams, according to ESPN. Gurley’s deal averages $14.4 million annually, compared to $15 million for Elliott.

Landing the top salary figure at his position was important, Elliott said upon rejoining the team in practice at Frisco, Texas, “because I believe I’m the best.”

Elliott added, “I feel good. I’m excited to be back. I’m excited to be back on the field. I’m excited to go win some ballgames.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said earlier Wednesday that Elliott earned his massive payday.

“Zeke has been arguably our best player,” said Jones, who was in New York to ring the opening bell at the Stock Exchange, in an interview with CNBC. “I’m not trying to be unfair to anybody else. But he’s an incremental part to our success. We’re glad to get him booked in; we’re glad to have him on the team.

“And he plays a position that has some pretty interesting dynamics to it because running backs are short-lived, although we had what I consider to be one of the top five greatest ones in Emmitt Smith, and Emmitt ran the ball for 13 years. So you don’t have to have a four- or five-year career to be a running back. On the other hand, Zeke allows us to create such problems for the defense that then we can open it up to our passing, open it up for Dak Prescott.”

Jones added, “Zeke has a big heart. Now he’s got a thick pocketbook, too.”

Even with Elliott back at practice, coach Jason Garrett might not know until late in the week what role Elliott will play in Sunday’s opener against the New York Giants.

“He’s an experienced player,” Garrett said. “He’s familiar with our plan. Everybody loves Zeke. He’s been a great teammate for us. We’re glad to have him here. He brings juice. We’ll be in touch with our trainers. And you have to get his feedback, how he’s feeling.”

When asked when Garrett expected to see Elliott, the head coach offered the following: “He was in our 7:30 meeting; here for a full Wednesday practice,” Garrett said.

Garrett said the message to every running back on the roster will be the same: “Be ready.”

Rookie Tony Pollard is still expected to see time in the game, Garrett said. Pollard worked with the first-team offense during training camp and preseason.

Elliott and his agent, Rocky Arceneaux, left his holdout headquarters in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on Monday with the expectation that a contract extension with the Cowboys would be finalized before the Week 1 home game against the team’s NFC East rival.

Elliott bolted for Mexico in July as the Cowboys boarded a team charter for Oxnard, Calif., site of their summertime training camp.

He said he missed his teammates during his holdout.

“Where I was, I was isolated,” Elliott said. “I ate about the same food every day and things got old real quick. It was just mentally draining.”

Elliott, 24, has two years remaining on his rookie contract and is scheduled to earn $3,853,000 in 2019 and $9,099,000 in 2020. The two-time NFL rushing champion was targeting a deal that would make him the highest-paid player at the position.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Dallas’ five-year contract extension with right tackle La’el Collins that was made official on Tuesday freed up almost $6 million in salary-cap space. Even with Elliott signed, the Cowboys have a queue of skill-position talent waiting to be paid.

Prescott, who did not hold out, is reportedly chasing a contract worth $35 million or more per season.

Wide receiver Amari Cooper is in the final year of his deal, and the receiver market continues to escalate. New Orleans Saints star Michael Thomas signed a five-year, $100 million deal in August, and Atlanta Falcons All-Pro Julio Jones is in line to raise the bar higher in his ongoing negotiations with Atlanta.

–Field Level Media

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Jones: Cowboys glad to have ‘best player’ Elliott signed

Jones: Cowboys glad to have 'best player' Elliott signed

Running back

Jones: Cowboys glad to have ‘best player’ Elliott signed

Running back Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys agreed to a six-year, $90 million contract that ends his five-week holdout.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Wednesday that Elliott earned his massive payday.

“Zeke has been arguably our best player,” said Jones, who was in New York to ring the opening bell at the Stock Exchange, in an interview with CNBC. “I’m not trying to be unfair to anybody else. But he’s an incremental part to our success. We’re glad to get him booked in, we’re glad to have him on the team.

“And he plays a position that has some pretty interesting dynamics to it because running backs are short-lived, although we had what I consider to be one of the top five greatest ones in Emmitt Smith, and Emmitt ran the ball for 13 years. So you don’t have to have a four- or five-year career to be a running back. On the other hand, Zeke allows us to create such problems for the defense that then we can open it up to our passing, open it up for Dak Prescott.”

Elliott is in line to receive $50 million in guarantees, trumping the $45 million Todd Gurley received from the Los Angeles Rams, according to ESPN.

“Zeke has a big heart,” Jones said. “Now he’s got a thick pocketbook, too.”

Elliott is expected at practice on Wednesday, but head coach Jason Garrett reportedly plans to limit him to 25 snaps in Sunday’s opener against the New York Giants.

Elliott and his agent, Rocky Arceneaux, left his holdout headquarters in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on Monday with the expectation that a contract extension with the Cowboys would be finalized before the Week 1 home game against the team’s NFC East rival.

Elliott bolted for Mexico in July as the Cowboys boarded a team charter for Oxnard, Calif., site of their summertime training camp.

Elliott, 24, has two years remaining on his rookie contract and is scheduled to earn $3,853,000 in 2019 and $9,099,000 in 2020. The two-time NFL rushing champion was targeting a deal that would make him the highest-paid player at the position.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Dallas’ five-year contract extension with right tackle La’el Collins that was made official on Tuesday freed up almost $6 million in salary-cap space. Even with Elliott signed, the Cowboys have a queue of skill-position talent waiting to be paid.

Prescott, who did not hold out, is reportedly chasing a contract worth $35 million or more per season.

Wide receiver Amari Cooper is in the final year of his deal, and the receiver market continues to escalate. New Orleans Saints star Michael Thomas signed a five-year, $100 million deal in August, and Atlanta Falcons All-Pro Julio Jones is in line to raise the bar higher in his ongoing negotiations with Atlanta.

–Field Level Media

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Chargers S Phillips (broken forearm) to go on IR

Chargers S Phillips (broken forearm) to go on IR

Chargers S Phillips (broken forearm) to go on IR

Los Angeles Chargers safety Adrian Phillips will be lost for a “significant amount of time” and put on injured reserve with a broken right forearm, coach Anthony Lynn said Monday.

Phillips suffered the injury while attempting to tackle Detroit running back Kerryon Johnson during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 13-10 road loss. Phillips moved into the starting spot after Derwin James had surgery for a stress fracture in his right foot midway through training camp.

Lynn said Phillips could return later in the season, although the player will miss at least eight weeks while on IR.

Phillips, who is in his sixth year, has 13 tackles through the first two games. He was an All-Pro selection last year for special teams after leading the league with 19 tackles.

“AP’s like a coach on the field,” Lynn said. “His versatility is huge.”

The Chargers (1-1) will host the Houston Texans (1-1) on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Texans abandon bid for Pats’ Caserio

NFL notebook: Texans abandon bid for Pats' Caserio

Nick Caserio is staying with

NFL notebook: Texans abandon bid for Pats’ Caserio

Nick Caserio is staying with the New England Patriots as the Texans withdrew their request Friday to interview Bill Belichick’s right-hand man for the vacant general manager post in Houston.

New England, in turn, dropped tampering charges, according to multiple media reports.

The Texans formally requested permission to interview Caserio, just as they did in January 2018, when the Patriots denied the request and the Texans moved on to hire Brian Gaine, who was fired on June 7.

Caserio, 43, has held his position since 2008 as the top personnel man for Belichick, who has final authority on personnel decisions.

–Former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II will be retried in San Diego County on eight charges that left jurors deadlocked earlier this week.

On Monday, Winslow was found guilty of one count of felony rape as well as misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure and lewd conduct, and he was acquitted on another lewd-conduct charge.

The jury, however, couldn’t agree on the other eight charges, which included six felony counts, and Judge Blaine K. Bowman declared a mistrial. The new trial is scheduled to begin on Sept. 30.

–A day after the Patriots announced they acquired tight end Michael Roberts from Detroit, the Lions tweeted that Roberts “reverted back to the team’s roster, per trade conditions” and subsequently was released.

Roberts, entering his third season, was a fourth-round pick out of Toledo in 2017. The 25-year-old has 13 receptions and three touchdowns in 23 career games.

–Dallas Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers was suspended for one game without pay due to a violation of the NFL’s policy on substance abuse.

The discipline is related to Gathers’ arrest on Aug. 31 in Frisco, Texas, on suspicion of marijuana possession. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in March and avoided jail time.

–Field Level Media

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Woods steamed after late second-round collapse

Woods steamed after late second-round collapse

Woods steamed after late second-round collapse

Tiger Woods was failing to make a second-round dash at the U.S. Open and then the bottom fell out of his round.

Woods finished his Friday round with back-to-back bogeys — at Nos. 8 and 9 — for a 1-over 72 at Pebble Beach that left him in a foul mood.

Asked later by reporters if he was steaming, Woods said, “Yeah, I am. Not a very good finish.”

At that point, Woods was seven shots behind clubhouse leader Justin Rose of England with roughly half the field still on the scenic course in northern California.

Woods, at even-par 142, didn’t want to write himself off with 36 holes to go as he seeks his first U.S. Open win since his memorable 2008 triumph at Torrey Pines.

“Yeah, right now I’m still in the ballgame,” Woods said. “There’s so many guys with a chance to win. We’ve got a long way to go, and, you know, we’ll see how it shapes up for tomorrow.

“The golf course can be a little bit faster, a little bit more springy than it was today, and scores will continue to back up a little bit.”

Woods recorded a birdie on the par-4 11th on his second hole of the day before shooting par on 14 consecutive holes.

While he wasn’t making a splash, he wasn’t sinking either — until he reached the eighth hole and put his second shot in the rough to the right. He eventually two-putted for a bogey.

Woods’ tee shot on the ninth hole landed in a bunker, and his second shot settled into the heavy rough. After reaching the green, he again two-putted as his par putt slid wide left of the hole.

Woods was highly upset after walking off No. 9. After taking time to cool down, he said he knows he missed some key opportunities.

“It’s just a matter of leaving the ball in the right spots,” Woods said. “And yesterday I did that; today I didn’t. I was above the hole. And just wasn’t as crisp as I needed to be to put the ball below the hole each and every shot.”

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys TE Gathers suspended for one game

Cowboys TE Gathers suspended for one game

Dallas Cowboys tight end

Cowboys TE Gathers suspended for one game

Dallas Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers has been suspended for one game without pay due to a violation of the NFL’s policy on substance abuse, the league announced Friday.

The discipline is related to Gathers’ arrest on Aug. 31 in Frisco, Texas, on suspicion of marijuana possession. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in March and avoided jail time.

Gathers, 25, is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games. He will be eligible to rejoin the Cowboys on Sept. 9, one day after the opener against the New York Giants.

Gathers caught three passes for 45 yards in 15 games last season in his first career NFL action. Dallas made him a sixth-round pick in 2016 even though he didn’t play college football.

Gathers played four seasons of basketball at Baylor from 2012-16 and became the first player in school history to compile more than 1,000 career points and rebounds. He finished his career with 1,208 points and 1,134 rebounds.

–Field Level Media

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Unhappy Jags CB Ramsey requests trade

Unhappy Jags CB Ramsey requests trade

Jacksonville cornerback Jalen

Unhappy Jags CB Ramsey requests trade

Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey, through his agent, has asked the Jaguars to trade him, according to multiple reports Monday.

Ramsey’s request comes after he and coach Doug Marrone got into a sideline argument during Jacksonville’s 13-12 road loss Sunday to the Houston Texans.

The 2017 All-Pro cornerback apparently was not happy at how he was being used by the Jaguars (0-2).

During the first half at Houston, Ramsey and Marrone had to be separated by players, with Jaguars safety Ronnie Harrison managing to pull Marrone away from Ramsey before things escalated further.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Jaguars had talked with teams about Ramsey and are asking for at least one first-round pick in return for the two-time Pro Bowl player.

Ramsey, 24, has started all 50 games since being drafted fifth overall in 2016. He has nine career interceptions and 202 tackles (178 solo) in his career.

Ramsey earns a base salary this season of $3.6 million, which jumps to $13.7 million next year.

–Field Level Media

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Shurmur non-committal on Eli Manning as Giants’ starter

Shurmur non-committal on Eli Manning as Giants' starter

Clamoring

Shurmur non-committal on Eli Manning as Giants’ starter

Clamoring for first-round pick Daniel Jones is intense in New York, and Giants head coach Pat Shurmur did nothing to douse fans ready to see Eli Manning unseated as the starting quarterback.

Speaking Monday at his post mortem press conference after the Giants fell to 0-2, Shurmur didn’t commit to Manning as the starting quarterback for Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1).

“He’s been our starter to this point. I’m not ready to talk about that,” Shurmur said Monday afternoon, adding that the Giants would talk about “everything” moving forward.

“I think that’s fair at this point. To this point what we’ve done hasn’t been good enough.”

Jones was selected with the sixth overall pick in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He sparkled in the preseason, setting up a potential in-season conflict with Manning. Jones was 29-for-34 passing for 416 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions over four preseason games.

“The motivation is to win. Nothing more than that,” Manning said at his locker Monday after being informed of Shurmur’s message. ” … Nothing changes.”

After a loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Shurmur did not want to consider Jones as part of the game plan against the Buccaneers this week. But he shifted course again Monday.

Manning credited the Bills for causing the Giants into long third downs.

“When you’re 0-2, there’s pressure on everybody. You can’t have that affect you. I’ve got to make better throws, better plays, find ways to convert on third downs. That’s the quarterback’s job,” Manning said Sunday, adding that there is some frustration with the team starting 0-2.

“It’s not how you want to start. We’ve got to keep fighting, find ways to play better football. I know we can play better. i know we can do better than what we are,” he said.

Manning was without wide receivers Sterling Shepard (concussion) and Cody Latimer, who entered concussion protocol on Sunday.

“I thought a couple receivers, new guys who’ve been here just a couple of weeks, made some plays,” Manning said.

–Field Level Media

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Film Study: Good, bad and ugly of Packers’ offense

Film Study: Good, bad and ugly of Packers' offense

For

Film Study: Good, bad and ugly of Packers’ offense

For 17 minutes Sunday, the offense of the Green Bay Packers looked unstoppable against Mike Zimmer’s vaunted Minnesota Vikings defense.

The Packers gained 198 yards on 22 plays (9.0 yards per play) — scoring three straight touchdowns to lead 21-0 — and reached the Minnesota 28 on their fourth drive.

Then Geronimo Allison fumbled, and Green Bay didn’t score again. The Packers totaled 137 yards over their final 47 plays (2.9 average), punting eight times.

What the heck happened?

The good:

-Run game

The final numbers weren’t eye-popping (144 yards on 33 carries, 4.4 average), but the Packers’ ground game was extremely steady. Of 33 runs, 17 gained at least 4 yards and 24 gained at least 2.

Instead of the Vikings’ touted D-line pinning its ears back, the Packers’ front dictated tempo, getting consistent push in Matt LaFleur’s zone scheme. They excelled sealing the backside to open cutback lanes, and rookie Elgton Jenkins — rotating with Lane Taylor at left guard — brought extra pop.

Even in obvious running situations, Green Bay’s front got push. All six rushes on the final drive gained yardage, totaling 25 critical yards to bleed clock, a rarity against a defense selling out vs. run.

-LaFleur’s script

LaFleur’s opening script was the primary reason for the Packers’ roaring start, starting with a staple play-action deep shot with a twist to attack Minnesota.

As Marquez Valdes-Scantling ran a shallow cross, Davante Adams started a typical deeper crosser from the other side. But after initially stemming inside, Adams broke to the corner, fooling safety Harrison Smith and coming wide open in the Cover-2 void. It was perfect for Zimmer’s split-safety coverages (Cover-2 and Cover-4) and gained 39 yards.

LaFleur committed to play-action much heavier than in Week 1. Just as important, the offensive line sold play-action better, driving off the ball low — to simulate run-blocking — after several unconvincing reps in Chicago.

LaFleur also built plays off each other with a purpose. He tried two play-action deep shots with Adams actually breaking inward, drawing a 25-yard interference penalty and just missing a big play (more on that below) on another.

He also installed a two-RB package (called “pony”) with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, creating the opening TD. On the game’s second snap, Jones went in jet motion left on a run-pass option for a flare screen, while the O-line blocked a run for Williams to the right. Rodgers hit Jones for 6 yards.

Two plays later, Green Bay showed the same exact look and motion, but Rodgers faked the flare and flipped a screen to Williams, who scurried in for a 15-yard score.

-Rodgers’ accuracy

It sounds obvious, but Rodgers simply threw the ball much better Sunday than in Chicago. He even had gorgeous incompletions, including two deep balls that hit receivers’ hands, both thrown off his back foot with pinpoint ball placement.

The bad:

-Missed opportunities

Both were heavily contested, but Adams and Valdes-Scantling each failed to hang on for gains of 33 and 38 yards, respectively, with the latter on third-and-6 to start the fourth quarter.

Rodgers also had narrow back-to-back misses in the fourth. First, he threw too high for Valdes-Scantling, who couldn’t get his feet down inbounds, preventing an 18-yard gain.

Then, Rodgers threw just behind Jones’ wheel route, allowing Eric Kendricks to bat it away. Placed in front of Jones, it might have been a touchdown, as LaFleur’s design had cleared out that side of the field.

The ugly:

-Self-inflicted wounds

Allison’s fumble was one a critical error, and the Packers also lost the ball late in the first half because Rodgers didn’t realize it was fourth-and-1.

Then after halftime, a fumbled snap set up the Vikings’ second touchdown. Corey Linsley appeared to snap before Rodgers was ready, and it also came out low.

-Untimely pressure

Another drive ended with Danielle Hunter beating Jimmy Graham one-on-one for a sack, a major mismatch. (Jones was set to double-team Hunter, but Kendricks’ blitz superseded that assignment.) LaFleur likely wants that call back.

Elsewhere, typical stalwart left tackle David Bakhtiari followed an up-and-down Week 1 with more leaks in protection. He allowed a hit when late off the snap and permitted bull-rush pressure on several others.

Moving forward:

Coaches never like drops, fumbles or game-management errors, but those are relatively easy fixes. Green Bay’s scheme was sound, creating defined reads to keep Rodgers on-schedule when necessary and allowing him to improvise when appropriate. The offensive line bullied a stout front in the run game, which LaFleur’s scheme is built on.

Those are major reasons for optimism despite Sunday’s drought over the final 43 minutes.

Extra points:

-Like any good schemer, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan certainly watched what other top offenses did in Week 1. Marquise Goodwin’s walk-in touchdown on a leak concept (one of Shanahan’s favorites) was a mirror image of the Chiefs’ Sammy Watkins’ second score in Week 1. Shanahan also ran the same double-pass throwback screen the Patriots used in their opener.

-Chargers running back Austin Ekeler’s 35-yard grab in Detroit on Sunday was just another reminder of how versatile and dangerous he is. Out wide facing a safety (Tracy Walker) in off-man coverage, Ekeler ran a perfect double move, faking a short in-cut before breaking deep and easily snagging a line-drive throw. Few backs have such route-running chops or comfort adjusting to vertical throws.

-Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has long lived and died on aggression, but if he’s not going to be more conservative, he must disguise better. Philadelphia has allowed receivers wide open on post routes — running away from outside-leverage cornerbacks one-on-one — four times already in two games. Two of those, including Calvin Ridley’s touchdown Sunday night, didn’t even feature an Eagles blitz, with the mismatch simply a product of aggressive safety play. That’s too easy for opposing offenses.

–By David DeChant (@DavidDeChant), Field Level Media

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Film Study: Good, bad and ugly of Packers’ offense

Film Study: Good, bad and ugly of Packers’ offense

For

Film Study: Good, bad and ugly of Packers’ offense

For 17 minutes Sunday, the offense of the Green Bay Packers looked unstoppable against Mike Zimmer’s vaunted Minnesota Vikings defense.

The Packers gained 198 yards on 22 plays (9.0 yards per play) — scoring three straight touchdowns to lead 21-0 — and reached the Minnesota 28 on their fourth drive.

Then Geronimo Allison fumbled, and Green Bay didn’t score again. The Packers totaled 137 yards over their final 47 plays (2.9 average), punting eight times.

What the heck happened?

The good:

-Run game

The final numbers weren’t eye-popping (144 yards on 33 carries, 4.4 average), but the Packers’ ground game was extremely steady. Of 33 runs, 17 gained at least 4 yards and 24 gained at least 2.

Instead of the Vikings’ touted D-line pinning its ears back, the Packers’ front dictated tempo, getting consistent push in Matt LaFleur’s zone scheme. They excelled sealing the backside to open cutback lanes, and rookie Elgton Jenkins — rotating with Lane Taylor at left guard — brought extra pop.

Even in obvious running situations, Green Bay’s front got push. All six rushes on the final drive gained yardage, totaling 25 critical yards to bleed clock, a rarity against a defense selling out vs. run.

-LaFleur’s script

LaFleur’s opening script was the primary reason for the Packers’ roaring start, starting with a staple play-action deep shot with a twist to attack Minnesota.

As Marquez Valdes-Scantling ran a shallow cross, Davante Adams started a typical deeper crosser from the other side. But after initially stemming inside, Adams broke to the corner, fooling safety Harrison Smith and coming wide open in the Cover-2 void. It was perfect for Zimmer’s split-safety coverages (Cover-2 and Cover-4) and gained 39 yards.

LaFleur committed to play-action much heavier than in Week 1. Just as important, the offensive line sold play-action better, driving off the ball low — to simulate run-blocking — after several unconvincing reps in Chicago.

LaFleur also built plays off each other with a purpose. He tried two play-action deep shots with Adams actually breaking inward, drawing a 25-yard interference penalty and just missing a big play (more on that below) on another.

He also installed a two-RB package (called “pony”) with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, creating the opening TD. On the game’s second snap, Jones went in jet motion left on a run-pass option for a flare screen, while the O-line blocked a run for Williams to the right. Rodgers hit Jones for 6 yards.

Two plays later, Green Bay showed the same exact look and motion, but Rodgers faked the flare and flipped a screen to Williams, who scurried in for a 15-yard score.

-Rodgers’ accuracy

It sounds obvious, but Rodgers simply threw the ball much better Sunday than in Chicago. He even had gorgeous incompletions, including two deep balls that hit receivers’ hands, both thrown off his back foot with pinpoint ball placement.

The bad:

-Missed opportunities

Both were heavily contested, but Adams and Valdes-Scantling each failed to hang on for gains of 36 and 38 yards, respectively, with the latter on third-and-6 to start the fourth quarter.

Rodgers also had narrow back-to-back misses in the fourth. First, he threw too high for Valdes-Scantling, who couldn’t get his feet down inbounds, preventing an 18-yard gain.

Then, Rodgers threw just behind Jones’ wheel route, allowing Eric Kendricks to bat it away. Placed in front of Jones, it might have been a touchdown, as LaFleur’s design had cleared out that side of the field.

The ugly:

-Self-inflicted wounds

Allison’s fumble was one a critical error, and the Packers also lost the ball late in the first half because Rodgers didn’t realize it was fourth-and-1.

Then after halftime, a fumbled snap set up the Vikings’ second touchdown. Corey Linsley appeared to snap before Rodgers was ready, and it also came out low.

-Untimely pressure

Another drive ended with Danielle Hunter beating Jimmy Graham one-on-one for a sack, a major mismatch. (Jones was set to double-team Hunter, but Kendricks’ blitz superseded that assignment.) LaFleur likely wants that call back.

Elsewhere, typical stalwart left tackle David Bakhtiari followed an up-and-down Week 1 with more leaks in protection. He allowed a hit when late off the snap and permitted bull-rush pressure on several others.

Moving forward:

Coaches never like drops, fumbles or game-management errors, but those are relatively easy fixes. Green Bay’s scheme was sound, creating defined reads to keep Rodgers on-schedule when necessary and allowing him to improvise when appropriate. The offensive line bullied a stout front in the run game, which LaFleur’s scheme is built on.

Those are major reasons for optimism despite Sunday’s drought over the final 43 minutes.

Extra points:

-Like any good schemer, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan certainly watched what other top offenses did in Week 1. Marquise Goodwin’s walk-in touchdown on a leak concept (one of Shanahan’s favorites) was a mirror image of the Chiefs’ Sammy Watkins’ second score in Week 1. Shanahan also ran the same double-pass throwback screen the Patriots used in their opener.

-Chargers running back Austin Ekeler’s 35-yard grab in Detroit on Sunday was just another reminder of how versatile and dangerous he is. Out wide facing a safety (Tracy Walker) in off-man coverage, Ekeler ran a perfect double move, faking a short in-cut before breaking deep and easily snagging a line-drive throw. Few backs have such route-running chops or comfort adjusting to vertical throws.

-Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has long lived and died on aggression, but if he’s not going to be more conservative, he must disguise better. Philadelphia has allowed receivers wide open on post routes — running away from outside-leverage cornerbacks one-on-one — four times already in two games. Two of those, including Calvin Ridley’s touchdown Sunday night, didn’t even feature an Eagles blitz, with the mismatch simply a product of aggressive safety play. That’s too easy for opposing offenses.

–By David DeChant (@DavidDeChant), Field Level Media

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Browns’ Smith to play vs. Jets after death of girlfriend

Browns' Smith to play vs. Jets after death of girlfriend

Browns’ Smith to play vs. Jets after death of girlfriend

Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith plans to play with a heavy heart during Monday night’s game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J.

Smith will take the field five days after his girlfriend Petara Cordero was killed on a highway in Cleveland. Cordero, who had a daughter — Haven — with Smith last month, was 26.

“I am going to play tonight because it is something, she would want me to do,” Smith said in a statement. “She would want me to keep doing what I love and stay strong. I play for her tonight. She is my why.”

Smith had pulled over early Wednesday morning after his vehicle, a 2019 Lamborghini, blew a tire and hit the median. Cordero exited the car and was standing on the road’s shoulder when a vehicle driven by a 47-year-old woman smashed into the passenger side of Smith’s car.

Cordero was taken to Cleveland Clinic-Fairview Hospital and was pronounced dead.

Smith, 27, is in his second season with the Browns after spending three years with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2014-16) and one with the Cincinnati Bengals (2017).

–Field Level Media

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Jets promote QB Falk as backup

Jets promote QB Falk as backup

The New York Jets promoted

Jets promote QB Falk as backup

The New York Jets promoted quarterback Luke Falk from their practice squad to back up Trevor Siemian for Monday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

Falk, a second-year player out of Washington State, was waived by the Jets at the end of camp but was re-signed to the practice squad the next day. The Jets initially acquired him off waivers from the Miami Dolphins in May.

Falk, a sixth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2018, has not appeared in an NFL game.

In a corresponding move, the team waived safety Bennett Jackson.

Jets starting quarterback Sam Darnold is suffering from mononucleosis and is expected to miss between three to seven weeks, according to NFL Network.

–Field Level Media

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Disgruntled DE Charlton to Cowboys: ‘Free me’

Disgruntled DE Charlton to Cowboys: 'Free me'

Disgruntled Dallas defensive end Taco Charlton

Disgruntled DE Charlton to Cowboys: ‘Free me’

Disgruntled Dallas defensive end Taco Charlton has apparently tired of waiting around, tweeting “Free me” to the Cowboys on Monday.

The former first-round pick has been a healthy scratch for the Cowboys’ first two games in his third NFL season.

Cowboys executive Stephen Jones told 105.3 FM The Fan on Monday that the team prefers the position flexibility of rookie Joe Jackson over Charlton, prompting the latter’s response on social media.

Charlton, 24, has been the subject of trade talks for several weeks, according to multiple reports.

The 28th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Charlton tallied four sacks and 46 tackles in 27 games (seven starts) in his first two seasons with Dallas.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Cowboys, Elliott agree to $90M deal

Report: Cowboys, Elliott agree to $90M deal

Running back Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys agreed to a six-year, $90 million contract that ends his five-week holdout and makes possible his presence in the starting lineup Sunday against the New York Giants.

ESPN reported Elliott is in line to receive

Report: Cowboys, Elliott agree to $90M deal

Running back Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys agreed to a six-year, $90 million contract that ends his five-week holdout and makes possible his presence in the starting lineup Sunday against the New York Giants.

ESPN reported Elliott is in line to receive $50 million in guarantees, trumping the $45 million Todd Gurley received from the Rams.

Elliott is expected at practice on Wednesday, not long after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his son and team vice president Stephen Jones rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

Elliott and his agent, Rocky Arceneaux, left his holdout headquarters in Cabo San Lucas on Monday with the expectation that a contract extension with the Cowboys would be finalized before the Week 1 home game against the team’s NFC East rival.

Arceneaux told reporters at the DFW International Airport that a deal is “very close.”

“I think Zeke is showing he’s committed by coming back to Dallas,” Arceneaux said. “We didn’t come here not to do a deal. We’re talking. They’re committed and we’re committed. That’s why we are here.”

Elliott bolted for Mexico in July as the Cowboys boarded a team charter for Oxnard, Calif., site of their summertime training camp.

Elliott, 24, has two years remaining on his rookie contract and is scheduled to earn $3,853,000 in 2019 and $9,099,000 in 2020. The two-time NFL rushing champion is targeting a deal that would make him the highest-paid player at the position.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Dallas’ five-year contract extension with right tackle La’el Collins that was made official on Tuesday freed up almost $6 million in salary-cap space. Some of that could be earmarked for Elliott, although the Cowboys have a queue of skill-position talent waiting to be paid.

Quarterback Dak Prescott, who did not hold out, is reportedly chasing a contract worth $35 million or more per season.

Wide receiver Amari Cooper is in the final year of his deal, and the receiver market continues to escalate. Saints star Michael Thomas signed a five-year, $100 million deal in August, and Falcons All-Pro Julio Jones is in line to raise the bar higher in his ongoing negotiations with Atlanta.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Rams, Goff close to four-year extension

Reports: Rams, Goff close to four-year extension

Rams quarterback Jared Goff agreed

Reports: Rams, Goff close to four-year extension

Rams quarterback Jared Goff agreed to a four-year contract extension that would tie him to Los Angeles through 2024, according to multiple reports.

The deal “will be done in the coming days” and is expected to have an annual average value of $32 million per season, NFL Network reported Tuesday night.

Goff, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, guided the Rams to the NFC Championship and a Super Bowl appearance last season.

Head coach Sean McVay said last week that Goff would be signed long term if the Rams had their way.

“If all things come together,” McVay said. “We’ll get a chance to look at that, but we that know Jared is very important. We feel great about him as our quarterback.”

Goff, 24, is scheduled to earn $4.3 million in 2019 as part of his rookie agreement. His cap figure was $8.9 million. His $22 million player option for next season was already picked up, meaning the new years on the deal are 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024.

The deal puts him in the same ballpark as the No. 2 overall pick in 2016, Carson Wentz. He agreed to a four-year, $128 million contract with $107 million in guarantees. Goff and Wentz are represented by the same agency.

General manager Les Snead said at the start of training camp Goff was his top priority.

–Field Level Media

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