The Latest: Lynch seated during national anthem

The Latest on the second Sunday of the NFL regular season (all times EDT):

4:40 p.m.

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat on a cooler for the national anthem, while Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas and linebacker Brandon Marshall went inside the tunnel.

Lynch rode a stationary bike just before the anthem before taking a seat behind the bench. He was surrounded by team personnel.

Elsewhere, Marquise Goodwin of the 49ers, who was out of uniform because of injury, raised a fist during the anthem before San Francisco’s game against Detroit.

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4:30 p.m.

The NFC North showdown between Minnesota and Green Bay has lived up to the hype.

The teams are in overtime, tied at 29, after Kirk Cousins threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen with 31 seconds remaining in regulation. Thielen somehow came up with that pass despite two Green Bay defenders in the area, and Cousins threw to Stefon Diggs for the tying 2-point conversion.

That Minnesota drive was aided by a roughing the passer call on Clay Matthews, after Green Bay appeared to have an interception.

Mason Crosby missed a 52-yard kick that would have won it for the Packers at the end of regulation.

Minnesota’s Daniel Carlson missed a 49-yard field goal attempt on the first possession of overtime.

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4 p.m.

Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes has thrown for six touchdowns — and there’s still plenty of time to go.

Mahomes hit Tyreek Hill for a 29-yard score with 13:42 to play in the fourth quarter in Pittsburgh. He’s now thrown 10 TD passes through the first two weeks of the season, breaking the record of nine that was shared by Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Charlie Johnson.

Mahomes’ six touchdowns also tied Hall of Famer Len Dawson for the most in a single game in Kansas City history and tied the most allowed by the Steelers.

Kansas City leads 42-30 in the fourth quarter as it tries to win in Pittsburgh for the first time since 1986.

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3:40 p.m.

It’s slipping away again for the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns, seeking to end an 18-game winless streak, have wasted a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter at New Orleans. Tyrod Taylor threw an interception, giving the Saints the ball at the Cleveland 18, and New Orleans eventually scored a touchdown to take an 18-12 lead with 2:40 remaining.

Now it’s on Taylor and the Cleveland offense to try to rally.

The Browns opened the season with a tie against Pittsburgh, but they haven’t won since Dec. 24, 2016.

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3:15 p.m.

It’s been a rough second week of the NFL season for placekickers.

Not on field goals so much, but extra points.

Five were missed before any of the early Sunday games ended.

In Dolphins-Jets, both Miami’s Jason Sanders and New York’s Jason Myers were wide on PATs.

Cleveland’s Zane Gonzales missed at New Orleans, as did Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell against Kansas City, and Tampa Bay’s Chandler Catanzaro against Philadelphia.

At least the Steelers made up for Boswell’s error by later making a 2-point conversion.

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3:05 p.m.

Could this finally be the day for the Cleveland Browns?

Cleveland, which went 0-16 last season, snapped a 17-game losing streak with a season-opening tie against Pittsburgh. But it wasn’t a win.

Now the Browns lead New Orleans 12-3 after three quarters.

Cleveland’s defensive coordinator is Gregg Williams, who held the same post in New Orleans when the Saints won their only Super Bowl. The Browns have contained the New Orleans offense and scored the game’s lone touchdown so far on a 1-yard run by Carlos Hyde in the third quarter.

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3 p.m.

The defending champions have their hands full again.

The Philadelphia Eagles trail Tampa Bay 27-7 in the third quarter after a pair of 75-yard touchdown passes in the first half.

Ryan Fitzpatrick connected with former Eagle DeSean Jackson for one of those TDs on the first offensive play of the game.

Philadelphia had to hold on late for an 18-12 win over Atlanta in the season opener.

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2:50 p.m.

It took nearly 95 minutes, but the Buffalo Bills finally reached the end zone.

The Bills were the last NFL team that hadn’t scored a touchdown this season, but Chris Ivory scored on 1-yard plunge with 11:06 left in the third quarter against the Chargers. The TD cut Los Angeles’ lead to 28-13.

— John Wawrow reporting from Orchard Park, New York.

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2:45 p.m.

So much for Ben Roethlisberger’s achy right elbow.

The 36-year-old quarterback has thrown for 278 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as the Pittsburgh Steelers rallied from an early deficit to pull into a 21-all tie with Kansas City. Roethlisberger missed two days of practice last week after injuring the elbow late in a Week 1 tie in Cleveland.

Kansas City led the Steelers 21-0 after the first quarter.

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2:35 p.m.

The Cleveland Browns are making another credible bid to end their winless streak.

The Browns took a 6-3 lead into halftime against the New Orleans Saints. New Orleans has moved the ball in stints, but has two turnovers on fumbles after receptions. The Saints also have missed a field goal.

Cleveland now has eight takeaways this season, including six in the season opener against Pittsburgh. That game ended in a tie, snapping a 17-game losing streak for the Browns.

Facing the Browns appears to have brought about a remarkable transformation of New Orleans’ defense, which gave up more than 500 yards in a 48-40 loss to Tampa Bay in Week 1.

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2:20 p.m.

Calvin Ridley has scored his first NFL touchdown.

Ridley, a first-round draft pick out of Alabama, hauled in an 11-yard scoring pass from Matt Ryan with 4:03 left in the first half, pulling the Atlanta Falcons into a 10-all tie with the Carolina Panthers.

On third-and-8, Ridley broke toward the middle on a slant, beat cornerback Donte Jackson and made the catch crossing into the end zone. He celebrated with an emphatic spike before being mobbed by his teammates.

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2:10 p.m.

Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins are dueling at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers’ 9-yard touchdown pass to receiver Davante Adams with 12:28 left in the second quarter gave the Green Bay Packers a 14-7 lead over the Minnesota Vikings. Rodgers is wearing a brace on his injured left knee.

He’s limited and slower than usual, though Rodgers does have some mobility. Rodgers is also getting outstanding protection from his offensive line after getting sacked to end his first series.

Cousins, meanwhile, hit his first nine passes for the Vikings. Minnesota gave up a special teams touchdown on a blocked punt.

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2 p.m.

Atlanta Falcons safety Damontae Kazee has been ejected from the game against Carolina for a vicious hit to the head of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

Newton was struck after running for 10 yards on a fourth-and-4 play in Falcons territory.

The quarterback was sliding to the turf at the end of the play when Kazee dove low to deliver a helmet-to-helmet hit that snapped back Newton’s head. Teammate Torrey Smith raced in to deliver a hit that sent Kazee to the turf, also drawing a personal foul penalty but not an ejection.

Several skirmishes broke out. Newton was finally able to get up and head to the medical tent. As he walked off the field, he took off his helmet and let out a defiant scream.

While officials sorted out the penalties, Newton was quickly examined and returned to the field without missing a play.

Six plays later, Newton threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jarius Wright, giving the Panthers a 10-3 lead.

Kazee was making his second career start. He is the first player ejected for the league’s new helmet rule this season.

— Paul Newberry reporting from Atlanta.

1:55 p.m.

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes is picking up right where he left off in the season opener. The 22-year-old threw three touchdown passes in the first quarter as the Chiefs raced to a quick 21-0 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Mahomes threw four touchdown passes in a victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in the opener.

The Steelers finally got on the board in the second quarter to make it 21-7. The Chiefs are trying to win in Pittsburgh for the first time since 1986.

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1:40 p.m.

Rookie quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Josh Allen are facing early deficits.

Darnold got off to a better start than he did in the New York Jets’ opener at Detroit, when he threw an interception on his first career pass. But Darnold was picked off late in the first quarter against Miami on Sunday, and the Dolphins took advantage of a short field to take a 7-0 lead over the Jets.

Allen made his first start for the Buffalo Bills, but they fell behind 14-0 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Buffalo finally got on the board with a field goal in the second quarter.

The Bills remain the only NFL team that hasn’t scored a touchdown this season.

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1:25 p.m.

Blaine Gabbert started at quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, though Marcus Mariota is active against the Houston Texans.

Mariota hurt his elbow in the season opener, a 27-20 loss at Miami. Gabbert came out with the offense for its opening series after the Titans stopped the Texans’ opening drive. It was the 46th start of Gabbert’s career.

Rookie coach Mike Vrabel dipped into a bag of tricks to get the Titans on the board first on a fake punt . Safety Kevin Byard threw the ball to wide-open rookie Dane Cruikshank. He ran down the right sideline and faked out Texans returner Tyler Ervin for a 66-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

— Teresa M. Walker reporting from Nashville, Tennessee

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1:20 p.m.

Aaron Rodgers started for the Green Bay Packers against the Minnesota Vikings, wearing a brace on his left knee. Rodgers completed three passes on Green Bay’s first drive, which ended with a punt.

The Packers later took a 7-0 lead with a special teams touchdown. Geronimo Allison blocked a punt deep in Vikings territory after rushing up the middle. The ball was recovered by rookie Josh Jackson, who jumped to secure the ball and landed in the end zone.

Rodgers was questionable coming into the game after hurting the knee in the season-opening, come-from-behind win over Chicago. The Packers operated out of a shotgun or pistol formation on Rodgers’ first drive.

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1:05 p.m.

Miami Dolphins wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson again took a knee during the national anthem, this time before the team’s game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

All of the Jets players linked arms, along with coach Todd Bowles and CEO Christopher Johnson while standing together on the sideline during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Last Sunday, Stills and Wilson also took knees, and were the only players in the NFL to do so.

Colin Kaepernick, then with the San Francisco 49ers, sparked the anthem controversy by kneeling during the pregame ritual in 2016 — his way of protesting police brutality and social injustice in America. He thanked both Stills and Wilson on Twitter last week for “their unwavering strength by fighting for the oppressed.”

League-wide, only about 10 players participated in any form of protests. On Thursday, Stills insisted that his pregame statements are not going away.

“It’s something I’m committed to forever,” he said.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Chargers tackle Russell Okung stood behind the line of Los Angeles players with his right arm raised and hand in a fist before the game at Buffalo.

— Dennis Waszak Jr. reporting from East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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12 p.m.

The NFL Foundation will contribute $1 million to Hurricane Florence relief efforts.

That contribution will be distributed to organizations that will address the immediate needs of those impacted throughout the Carolinas and other areas.

“The NFL family sends its support to the individuals, families and communities affected by Hurricane Florence,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Sunday. “Natural disasters like this are devastating. As communities in and around the Carolinas recover and rebuild, we hope these funds will provide some measure of relief in the days, weeks and months ahead.”

NFL fans are encouraged to text FLORENCE to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross Hurricane Florence relief.

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Report: Flacco expected to change uniforms in 2019

Report: Flacco expected to change uniforms in 2019

The Baltimore Ravens

Report: Flacco expected to change uniforms in 2019

The Baltimore Ravens are expected to release or trade quarterback Joe Flacco this offseason, NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning.

Coach John Harbaugh announced earlier this week that rookie Lamar Jackson, who subbed for an injured Flacco the past four weeks, will start even though Flacco is recovered from the hip injury that sidelined him.

Flacco will be the backup quarterback for the first time in his 11-year career when the Ravens meet the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

The Ravens were 4-5 when Flacco was injured. Now, with a 3-1 record under Jackson, they are 7-6 and knocking on the door of a playoff berth.

Rapoport said Flacco, who turns 34 in January, is scheduled to make $18.5 million next season. He added they could release him and let him become a free agent, or they could try to trade him to a team of his choosing.

Several teams will be in the starting quarterback market and could have interest in Flacco. The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to move on from Blake Bortles, the quarterback situation could be unsettled in places such as Tampa Bay, and if Alex Smith isn’t able to come back from a devastating leg injury, there could be a starting spot available just 45 minutes to the south in Washington.

On the season, Flacco has completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 2,465 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions.

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins RB Gore carted off with ankle injury

Dolphins RB Gore carted off with ankle injury

Dolphins RB Gore carted off with ankle injury

Miami Dolphins running back Frank Gore suffered a left ankle injury Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings and will miss the rest of the game, the team announced.

Gore suffered the injury when he was tackled on a run in the first quarter. He was able to make it to the sidelines, but he later was carted to the locker room.

The veteran Gore has not missed a game since 2010, when he appeared in 11 games for San Francisco.

Rookie running back Kalen Bellage replaced Gore.

Coming into the game, Gore had gained 708 yards on the ground this season. Before his departure Sunday, he had run for 14 yards on five carries.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins QB Smith released from hospital

Redskins QB Smith released from hospital

Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith is finally out of the

Redskins QB Smith released from hospital

Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith is finally out of the hospital after multiple surgeries to repair his broken right leg.

Smith underwent immediate surgery on Nov. 18 after incurring compound and spiral fractures to his tibia and fibula in the Redskins’ game against the Houston Texans and had been hospitalized since.

Sunday morning, his wife posted a photo to Instagram, showing Smith sitting by the family Christmas tree, his legs covered by a Redskins blanket.

“The last month has been a difficult ride. Our family is beyond happy to have this man with us and home,” Elizabeth Smith wrote. “This experience has given us great perspective and gratitude for all the people and blessings in our lives. We couldn’t have gotten through it without our amazing family, friends and community. A special thank you to the relentless doctors, nurses, techs, hospital administrators, the (owner Daniel) Snyder family and the Washington Redskins.”

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has said that Smith did not suffer any ligament damage and would face a recovery of six to eight months. However, there were reports earlier this month that claimed an infection had led to Smith needing further surgeries and could jeopardize Smith’s chances of playing again.

The team requested privacy for Smith after those reports emerged.

Washington is on the hook for $41.8 million in dead cap space over the next two seasons for Smith if he can’t return from the injury.

Smith’s backup, Colt McCoy, broke his leg against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 13, leaving the Redskins with journeymen Mark Sanchez and Josh Johnson as the team’s only options to end the season.

Smith, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2005, will be 35 when the 2019 season begins. He was signed before the season to a four-year, $94 million extension.

–Field Level Media

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Bills RBs McCoy, Ivory out vs. Lions

Bills RBs McCoy, Ivory out vs. Lions

Bills RBs McCoy, Ivory out vs. Lions

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy and his backup, Chris Ivory, are both out for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions, the team announced.

McCoy was held out of Wednesday’s practice and was a limited participant on Thursday and Friday. He was listed as questionable on the injury report entering the weekend.

McCoy hurt his hamstring in Sunday’s 27-23 loss to the New York Jets. The 30-year-old running back left the game after nine plays — he had one yard on two carries — on Buffalo’s opening drive and has struggled with leg muscle strains in recent seasons.

Ivory served as the Bills’ primary running back and finished the game with 42 yards on 12 carries.

Ivory also was listed as questionable this week with a shoulder injury, but he was a full participant in practice all week.

With the Bills’ top two backs out, Keith Ford and Marcus Murphy are the only active running backs for Sunday’s game. Ford was signed from the practice squad earlier this week.

McCoy has struggled in his 10th NFL season with just 145 carries for 479 yards and two scores.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Bills RB McCoy out vs. Lions

Report: Bills RB McCoy out vs. Lions

Report: Bills RB McCoy out vs. Lions

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy won’t play in Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

McCoy was held out of Wednesday’s practice and was a limited participant on Thursday and Friday. He was listed as questionable on the injury report entering the weekend.

McCoy hurt his hamstring in Sunday’s 27-23 loss to the New York Jets. The 30-year-old running back left the game after nine plays — he had one yard on two carries — on Buffalo’s opening drive and has struggled with leg muscle strains in recent seasons.

Chris Ivory served as the Bills’ primary ballcarrier and finished the game with 42 yards on 12 carries.

Ivory also was listed as questionable this week with a shoulder injury, but he was a full participant in practice all week.

McCoy has struggled in his 10th NFL season with just 145 carries for 479 yards and two scores.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Roethlisberger suffered cracked ribs, will play

Report: Roethlisberger suffered cracked ribs, will play

Report: Roethlisberger suffered cracked ribs, will play

The injury Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered last week in a loss to the Oakland Raiders apparently was worse than originally thought, but it shouldn’t keep him from playing when the Steelers host the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Roethlisberger required a pain-killing injection to deal with a rib injury sustained in the second quarter last week. He returned to the game late in the fourth quarter.

Afterward, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Roethlisberger was dealing with bruised ribs.

But the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Roethlisberger actually suffered cracked ribs vs. the Raiders, but an antiquated X-ray machine produced results that couldn’t be read, according to the team’s medical staff.

Roethlisberger said team doctors cleared him to play anyway, and his performance indicated he was fine. Roethlisberger wound up completing 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.”

Rapoport suggested Sunday that Roethlisberger might require another pain-killing injection, but he doubted the Steelers would hold him back.

“Wouldn’t be surprised if he has more, let’s say treatment like he did last week,” Rapoport wrote in a tweet. “He took a shot in the locker room and came back and then played. He should be fine going forward. But yes, unlike that X-ray machine, I can actually tell you, they were cracked.”

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

–Field Level Media

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NFL panel endorses ex-Raiders GM McKenzie

NFL panel endorses ex-Raiders GM McKenzie

Former Oakland Raiders general

NFL panel endorses ex-Raiders GM McKenzie

Former Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, fired last week, has received the seal of approval from the NFL’s career development advisory panel, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday.

That means the panel recommends him as a potential top candidate for any general manager position that comes open.

The advisory panel is part of the league’s effort to make sure minority candidates are given strong consideration for general manager and head coaching jobs. It is comprised of former NFL head coaches and general managers.

With the firing of McKenzie and the upcoming retirement of Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome, the only minority general manager will by Chris Grier of Miami. Two seasons ago, there were seven minority GMs, Schefter reported.

McKenzie, 55, had clashed with Raiders head coach Jon Gruden over the direction of the team. Oakland named McKenzie general manager in 2012, and he earned Executive of the Year honors in 2016.

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins, Vikings fight to keep playoff hopes alive

Dolphins, Vikings fight to keep playoff hopes alive

Dolphins, Vikings fight to keep playoff hopes alive

The last time most fans saw quarterback Ryan Tannehill, he was in a state of euphoria, lying flat on his back on the Hard Rock Stadium turf last Sunday.

His Miami Dolphins had just upset the New England Patriots, 34-33, on the dramatic final play of the game.

Tannehill started the play by completing a 14-yard pass to Kenny Stills. Two laterals later, the Dolphins had gone 69 yards to finish off the “Miracle in Miami.”

“Knowing we had one shot with minimal probability to be successful and have that 0.1 percent-chance play pay off is pretty incredible,” Tannehill said. “It just hits you all at once. I just collapsed.”

Fortunately for Dolphins fans, their team hasn’t collapsed this season, overcoming three losing streaks of two games each and the five-game injury absence of Tannehil to sport a 7-6 record — still alive for a possible AFC wild-card playoff berth.

On Sunday, the Dolphins will travel to play the Minnesota Vikings (6-6-1), who have lost two straight games and on Tuesday fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

The Vikings have scored a combined 17 points the past two weeks, including a garbage-time touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Minnesota, still in wild-card contention in the NFC, will try to salvage the season with Kevin Stefanski as the interim offensive coordinator.

The pressure is mounting on Kirk Cousins, the quarterback Minnesota signed to a mega-contract last offseason.

“I’d be the first to say that if we had played at a higher level, we’re probably not talking about the things we’re talking about this week,” Cousins said. “I take ownership as well.”

The Dolphins are just 1-5 on the road this season, while the Vikings are 4-2 at home.

Before the current two-game slide, the Vikings’ offense had played reasonably well, scoring at least 20 points in eight straight games and compiling a 5-3 record during that span.

Cousins has put up impressive numbers all season, passing for 3,698 yards and 24 touchdowns against nine interceptions. He has completed 70.6 percent of his passes.

His top target is wide receiver Adam Thielen, who has an NFL-high 103 catches for 1,236 yards and nine touchdowns. Thielen is battling an ankle injury but is expected to play against Miami.

Teammate Stefon Diggs is also having an excellent season with 88 grabs, 915 yards and six touchdowns.

For the Dolphins, Tannehill (ankle) is listed as probable. He has completed 67 percent of his passes for 1,578 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Miami’s most reliable weapon this season has been 35-year-old running back Frank Gore, who leads the team in rushing yards (708) and average (4.7).

The Dolphins also have running back Kenyan Drake (829 scrimmage yards, nine touchdowns), steady Danny Amendola (team-high 49 receptions) and Kenny Stills (team-high six touchdown catches).

Each team is hoping that a key defensive player will be ready to go on Sunday.

Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, who is tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions, missed last week with a knee injury and is questionable.

Vikings defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, a Pro Bowl player in 2014, is questionable due to a hip injury.

–Field Level Media

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Giants WR Beckham ruled out vs. Titans

 

New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has

 

New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans as he recovers from an ailing quadriceps, coach Pat Shurmur announced Friday.

 

Beckham missed last Sunday’s victory over the Washington Redskins due to the injury and was held out of Thursday’s practice after being a limited participant the day before.

 

He was initially hurt during a Week 12 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

 

Beckham had the leg evaluated by doctors Thursday and at the time expressed optimism.

 

“I honestly don’t know until Sunday gets here,” Beckham told reporters on Thursday. “It has just been getting better each and every day.”

 

Beckham was blunt when asked to describe the nature of the injury.

 

“I don’t know. It’s like saying I broke my leg but you really fractured it. It’s a choice of words,” Beckham said. “Whatever you want to call it, (bleep) ain’t right.”

 

Beckham has 77 receptions for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games this season.

 

–Field Level Media

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Steelers RB Conner practices, questionable to face Patriots

Steelers RB Conner practices, questionable to face Patriots

Steelers running

Steelers RB Conner practices, questionable to face Patriots

Steelers running back James Conner was limited in practice Friday and is expected to return to the Pittsburgh lineup for a key AFC affair with the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Conner was seen walking without a limp after Thursday’s practice and declared himself ready to roll, but the Steelers will officially list him as questionable.

The renewal of the Steelers-Patriots rivalry is a headliner of Week 15 as Pittsburgh slides into the game on a three-game losing streak, holding a narrow lead over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North and at risk of being thrust into a dogfight with numerous teams for the final spot in the AFC playoffs with another loss.

With three games to play in the regular season, the Steelers welcome the return of Conner from a sprained ankle. Without him, the Steelers lost at Oakland last week. Even before Conner went down, Pittsburgh has struggled to find balance on offense of late, particularly the last three games.

Including the postseason, New England has won nine of the 12 games against the Steelers since Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger entered the NFL.

The Patriots are in the running for the No. 1 seed in the AFC, which would assure home-field advantage through the conference championship game, after the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.

Conner was thrust into a key role in his second season when Le’Veon Bell opted to hold out after being designated the team’s franchise player for the second consecutive season.

Conner has 1,376 yards from scrimmage for the Steelers in 2018.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars sign K Forbath as insurance for injured Lambo

Jaguars sign K Forbath as insurance for injured Lambo

Jaguars sign K Forbath as insurance for injured Lambo

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed kicker Kai Forbath on Friday in case Josh Lambo is unable to kick Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

Lambo suffered a right groin injury during Thursday’s practice and is listed as questionable on the injury report released Friday.

Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone said he has no idea if Lambo can recover in time to kick on Sunday.

“We don’t really know how it’s going to go,” Marrone told reporters of Lambo. “It’s not a lot of time between now and Sunday for an injury like that. We’re going to take it day-by-day, probably up until game time.”

Lambo, 28, is 19 of 21 on field-goal attempts this season and 38 of 41 in two seasons with the Jaguars. He spent his first two NFL seasons with the then-San Diego Chargers and is 90 of 105 on field goals in his career.

Forbath hasn’t kicked in the NFL this season after being cut by the Minnesota Vikings in training camp.

Forbath, 31, kicked a career-best 32 field goals (in 38 attempts) for the Vikings in 2017 in his second season with the team.

The UCLA product also kicked for the Washington Redskins (2012-15) and New Orleans Saints (2015). He has made 116 of 135 career field-goal attempts while scoring 517 points.

Forbath worked out for the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this week.

Jacksonville placed linebacker Leon Jacobs (quadriceps) on injured reserve to open up the roster spot.

Also, starting right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee), wideout DJ Chark Jr. (quadriceps) and offensive lineman Josh Walker (foot) will miss the game against Washington, the team announced.

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys’ Elliott gets fined $26K for helmet hit

Cowboys' Elliott gets fined $26K for helmet hit

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys’ Elliott gets fined $26K for helmet hit

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, the first offensive player penalized this season for the helmet rule, was fined $26,739 on Friday for lowering his head to initiate contact Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The action occurred against defensive back Corey Graham in a game the Cowboys won 29-23.

Elliott is appealing the fine, which is the second he has received in four weeks. He was fined $13,369 for unsportsmanlike conduct after donating $21 into the Salvation Army kettle following a Thanksgiving Day touchdown against Washington on Nov. 22.

Delivering the hit against the Eagles, Elliott also struggled to recover. He went to the blue medical tent and missed five plays, saying he briefly lost feeling in his arm.

“I mean when you’re on that sideline, I’ve got to protect myself,” Elliott said. “And if a guy’s going low, I’ve got to go low, too. The rule is meant for the betterment of the game. The rule is for our safety, and if there was illegal helmet-to-helmet contact on there, that’s something I need to go look at and work on. That’s not OK. It’s just a tough play.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, while not defending his player 100 percent, did understand Elliott’s rationale.

“We’re just making some calls here that are tough, but we’re doing it for protection and safety,” Jones said. “That’s the biggest question being asked: How do you play? … I don’t want Zeke to stop punishing them on the end of his runs. Upon further review, they both tucked their heads. Zeke is a punishing runner. That’s what we want in the NFL. That is a physical aspect of football that we want to give our fans. I’ll certainly do everything I can to not make those kinds of things penalties.”

According to Kevin Seifert of ESPN, officials threw 10 flags for use of helmet — all against defensive players — through the first 13 weeks of the season.

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys OL Martin (knee) to miss game for first time

Cowboys OL Martin (knee) to miss game for first time

Cowboys OL Martin (knee) to miss game for first time

Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Zack Martin, who has started all 77 games of his career since the team selected him in the first round out of Notre Dame in the 2014 NFL Draft, will see his streak end on Sunday.

A Pro Bowl selection each of his first four seasons and a two-time first-team All-Pro, Martin was ruled out for the game against the Indianapolis Colts because of a knee injury on Friday.

Connor Williams, who took for Martin last week when the latter aggravated a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee during a win over the Philadelphia Eagles, will start in Martin’s place. The rookie out of Texas actually started the first seven games of the season at left guard for Dallas but underwent knee surgery in October and lost that job to Xavier Su’a-Filo.

“He did a good job in the [Eagles] game going in there and playing,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told the media of Williams. “I thought he handled that work well. He’ll benefit from that experience and then he’s come back and had a good week so far.”

The Cowboys hope to have Martin back this season, at least for the playoffs, if not for the Dec. 23 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Also Friday, the Cowboys listed linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring pull) and wide receiver Tavon Austin (groin injury) as questionable.

–Field Level Media

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Raiders WR Bryant suspended indefinitely

Raiders WR Bryant suspended indefinitely

Oakland Raiders

Raiders WR Bryant suspended indefinitely

Oakland Raiders receiver Martavis Bryant was indefinitely suspended by the NFL on Friday for violating his reinstatement terms of a previous ban, the league announced Friday.

Bryant was allowed to play this season while he appealed a one-year suspension. He went on injured reserve earlier this month with a knee injury suffered on Nov. 11 during a game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

“Effective immediately, Martavis Bryant has been returned to the Reserve/Commissioner Suspended list indefinitely for violating the terms of his April 2017 conditional reinstatement under the Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse,” the league said in a statement.

Bryant, who turns 27 next Thursday, reportedly violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy during the offseason.

The Clemson product was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season and the entire 2016 season because of positive drug tests while he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Raiders initially released Bryant on Sept. 1 but resigned him 11 days later when the NFL ruled he could play while appealing the penalty.

Bryant had 19 receptions for 266 yards in eight games for the Raiders this season.

–Field Level Media

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Bears’ Nagy named top coach by AP panel

Bears' Nagy named top coach by AP panel

First-year Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy

Bears’ Nagy named top coach by AP panel

First-year Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy received seven of 10 possible first place votes among a panel of 10 Associated Press football writers asked to name the NFL coach doing the best job this season.

Nagy, who was previously the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator, finished ahead of Pete Carroll.

In his first year at the helm, Nagy has guided the Bears to a 9-4 record and is on the verge of clinching a playoff berth. The Bears hadn’t won nine games in a season since going 10-6 in 2012 and haven’t been to the playoffs since 2010.

A win in Chicago against Green Bay on Sunday or a loss by the Minnesota Vikings will clinch a playoff spot for the NFC North leading Bears.

Carroll’s Seahawks can also clinch this week despite a defense decimated by injuries and departures. Carroll didn’t receive any first-place votes; Bill Belichick (New England Patriots, 2 votes) and Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts, 1) were the other coaches picked.

Belichick finished in ninth place despite the two No. 1 votes.

–Field Level Media

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Saints QB Brees tops all players in Pro Bowl fan vote

Saints QB Brees tops all players in Pro Bowl fan vote

Saints QB Brees tops all players in Pro Bowl fan vote

Amid a growing group of young star players around the league, 39-year-old New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees finished the fan ballot portion of Pro Bowl voting with more votes than anyone.

The NFL announced the results on Friday from fan voting, which ended a day earlier. The 11-time Pro Bowl passer Brees got 1,270,631 votes to top all players, ahead of second-place Patrick Mahomes (1,197,370 votes), the second-year Kansas City Chiefs QB who has thrown 45 touchdown passes in 14 games in his first season as a starter.

Rounding out the top five was New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley (987,562 votes), plus a pair of Los Angeles Rams teammates — running back Todd Gurley (957,052) and quarterback Jared Goff (838,561).

Seven of the top 10 players receiving votes have three seasons or fewer of NFL experience.

The fan vote is merely one factor deciding the Pro Bowl rosters, as the league’s players and coaches also get the opportunity to make selections — with their voting done on Friday. The final Pro Bowl rosters will be revealed on Tuesday, Dec. 18 on NFL Network.

The Pro Bowl will take place on Jan. 27 on Orlando.

NFL PRO BOWL — TOP-10 VOTE-GETTERS, FAN VOTE

1. Saints QB Drew Brees, 1,270,631

2. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, 1,197,370

3. Giants RB Saquon Barkley, 987,562

4. Rams RB Todd Gurley, 957,052

5. Rams QB Jared Goff, 838,561

6. Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott, 827,888

7. Steelers RB James Conner, 817,495

8. Steelers WR Antonio Brown, 778,630

9. Saints RB Alvin Kamara, 776,846

10. Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill, 753,981

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Steelers expecting RB Conner back for Pats

NFL notebook: Steelers expecting RB Conner back for Pats

Steelers

NFL notebook: Steelers expecting RB Conner back for Pats

Steelers running back James Conner practiced on a limited basis Friday and is expected to return to the Pittsburgh lineup for a key AFC affair with the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Conner was seen walking without a limp after Thursday’s practice and declared himself ready to roll, but the Steelers will officially list him as questionable.

The renewal of the Steelers-Patriots rivalry is a headliner of Week 15 as Pittsburgh slides into the game on a three-game losing streak, holding a narrow lead over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North and at risk of being thrust into a dogfight with numerous teams for the final spot in the AFC playoffs with another loss.

Conner has 1,376 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns.

–Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Zack Martin will miss a game for the first time in his career Sunday, bringing to end a streak of 77 straight regular-season starts.

A Pro Bowl selection each of his first four seasons and a two-time first-team All-Pro, Martin was ruled out against the Colts because of a knee injury.

Rookie Connor Williams will start in Martin’s place.

–New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans as he recovers from an ailing quadriceps, coach Pat Shurmur announced.

Beckham, originally injured in Week 12 against Philadelphia, missed last Sunday’s victory over the Redskins because of the injury.

Beckham has 77 receptions for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games this season.

–Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller was to undergo surgery for a fractured wrist Friday and is likely to miss time, NFL Network reported.

Fuller played with the injury in Thursday’s 29-28 loss to the Chargers.

While a recovery window will reportedly be established once the surgery is performed, it typically takes six weeks for a complete recovery from a wrist fracture. That would stretch to the AFC championship game or even the Super Bowl.

–Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was downgraded to doubtful for his team’s game against the Rams on the official injury report because of a stress fracture in his back.

Head coach Doug Pederson said that Wentz will need up to three months for a complete recovery. The team is measuring whether Wentz could do significant damage by playing in a game with the injury.

–Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin was a practice participant for the second straight day and is expected to be available when the team visits the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Baldwin missed Monday night’s win over the Minnesota Vikings due to a hip injury. The Seahawks listed him as questionable for the game against San Francisco.

–The New York Jets are placing leading rusher Isaiah Crowell on injured reserve with a toe injury, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Coach Todd Bowles said Elijah McGuire (158 yards) and rookie Trenton Cannon (80) will get heavy work in the backfield in an effort to make up for Crowell’s production (685 yards, six touchdowns).

–The NFL indefinitely suspended Oakland Raiders receiver Martavis Bryant for violating his reinstatement terms stemming from a previous ban under the league’s substance abuse policy.

The 27-year-old reportedly violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy during the offseason but played through appeal. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season and the entire 2016 season because of positive drug tests while he was with the Steelers.

–Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was fined $26,739 for lowering his head to initiate contact Sunday against Philadelphia defensive back Corey Graham, Elliott’s second fine in four weeks.

–First-year Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy received seven of 10 possible first place votes among a panel of 10 Associated Press football writers asked to name the NFL coach doing the best job this season.

–The Jacksonville Jaguars signed kicker Kai Forbath in case Josh Lambo (right groin injury) is unable to kick Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

–New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees finished first in the fan ballot portion of Pro Bowl voting with 1,270,631 votes. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (1,197,370 votes) was second.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins coach Gruden not worried about future

Redskins coach Gruden not worried about future

Redskins coach Gruden not worried about future

The Washington Redskins’ hopes for a playoff berth are hanging by a thread, but head coach Jay Gruden is not feeling the pressure regarding his future with the organization.

In an interview with ESPN, Gruden on Friday said, “It doesn’t weigh on me at all. My key works; I come in and work. … I understand it. You’re fine, you’re fine, you’re fine and then you’re not fine. I’ll wait to get final word when the season is over.”

After four straight losses (including an embarrassing 40-16 drubbing by the New York Giants on Sunday) and dropping five of their last six games, the Redskins are 6-7 as they prepare for this Sunday’s game against the Jaguars in Jacksonville.

The longest-tenured Redskins coach under Dan Snyder’s ownership since the team was bought in 1999, Gruden is five years into his contract, and Washington has not made the playoffs since the 2015 season, when it lost to the Green Bay Packers in the wild-card round.

“It’s not my job to judge [my performance],” said Gruden, who will sit down with Snyder after the season as a coach with two years left on his contract. “It’s my job to coach the guys I’ve got. There’s only one judge and he’s the one that has all the money. He’s the one that writes the checks. It’s up to him.”

The Redskins have struggled for various reasons this season, most notably on offense, where they will start their fourth quarterback of 2018 on Sunday. Seventeen of their players are on injured reserve, and that includes five starters on offense led by quarterback Alex Smith.

Maybe Gruden is not too concerned because the two-year contract extension he received after the 2016 season includes a combined $10 million in fully guaranteed money.

“He has always been supportive,” Gruden said of Snyder. “Never been negative. He gets very upset after losses, as we all do. But he’s been very supportive and has tried to do everything he can to help.”

–Field Level Media

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Chargers’ Allen could miss time with hip pointer

Chargers' Allen could miss time with hip pointer

Chargers’ Allen could miss time with hip pointer

The bad news for Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen? He could miss some time with a hip pointer suffered in Thursday night’s win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The good news, however, is that Allen’s diagnosis did not include any structural damage in the hip, and if he is sidelined, it shouldn’t be for long, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Allen has 88 catches for 1,074 yards for the Chargers, who moved into a tie with the Chiefs atop the AFC West Division at 11-3 with their 29-28 win. He landed hard in the end zone as he came within fingertips of making a highlight reel touchdown catch in the second quarter.

The Chargers don’t play again until Dec. 22, a Saturday night game in Los Angeles against Baltimore, before closing the regular season Dec. 30 at Denver.

In six NFL seasons, all with the Chargers, Allen has 411 catches for 5,084 yards and 28 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles rule out QB Wentz (back) for Sunday

Eagles rule out QB Wentz (back) for Sunday

Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz will

Eagles rule out QB Wentz (back) for Sunday

Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz will not play Sunday night against the Los Angeles Rams because of a back injury, the Eagles confirmed Saturday.

Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will make his third start of the season in place of Wentz, who had been listed as doubtful after an exam earlier this week revealed a stress fracture. Coach Doug Pederson said the injury could take up to three months to heal.

Foles, who started the Eagles’ first two games as Wentz completed his rehabilitation from a knee injury, has completed 54 of 82 passes for 451 yards with one touchdown and one interception this season.

Foles played for the Rams when they were still based in St. Louis in 2015, posting a 4-7 record with 2,052 passing yards, seven TDs and 10 picks.

Wentz likely will finish this season with a 5-6 record. He has completed a career-high 69.6 percent of his passes for 3,074 yards with 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Philadelphia (6-7) still has a slim chance at a wild-card playoff berth heading into the prime-time contest at Los Angeles (11-2).

–Field Level Media

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