49ers go all black, Rams all yellow for Color Rush on ‘Thursday Night Football’

This week’s Thursday night NFL matchup pits two of the league’s weaker squads, but at least the uniforms might make for something nice to watch.

The 49ers (0-2) will host the rival Rams (1-1) in Santa Clara, Calif. (8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network). On Tuesday, we got a glimpse of the teams’ Nike Color Rush uniforms for the NFC West contest.

Both uniform sets remind us a little of college football. The Rams are going with a look similar to that trotted out by Michigan in its season-openning win over Florida. The 49ers’ all-black look is a bit of a flashback to last weekend when Louisville dialed up the hype for its eventual blowout loss to Clemson with a blackout (and those awesome helmets).

The concern for the Lions, though, remains a defense that might be entirely dependent upon forcing takeaways. Teryl Austin’s defense was only able to force Atlanta to punt on its two final drives, and even those trips came within 2 yards of a first down. The nine preceding meaningful possessions ended in either a touchdown, field goal or pick. The Lions struggled against Atlanta’s running game, with Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman averaging in excess of 5.6 yards per carry while racking up 10 runs of 9 yards or more, with two 15-yard runs wiped out via penalty.

Detroit now has eight takeaways after racking up just seven through their first nine games last season. They finished 2016 with a mere 14 turnovers, a number that was likely to regress toward the mean on sheer luck alone. But after the bizarre final play of this game, it’s difficult to imagine a clearer example of luck in close games simultaneously regressing to the mean. Detroit won’t be going 8-5 in one-score games again. The only reason I’m saying difficult and not impossible is because of another game I’ll get to in a minute.
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Injuries are threatening to turn what was once Tom Brady’s deepest offense into a kiddie pool of wideouts and running backs.

New England was already without Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola to start the day. During the game, they lost two different players who had scored touchdowns — Gronkowski (groin) and Rex Burkhead (ribs).

Dorsett never lived up to his first-round-pick status in Indianapolis, but he stepped up for the Patriots when an injury-riddled roster pressed him to the top of the team’s receiving rotation. He had 75 total yards — the second-largest total of his three-year pro career — to carry his share of the team’s offensive weight.

He limped into the injury tent and missed the final eight minutes of the game with a minor left knee issue, because this injury thing is frankly getting out of hand.

It wasn’t a perfect game by Watson — though a 13-9 victory on the road in a short week for your first NFL start is pretty damn good. After the game, he told reporters, “I just want to be a complete professional quarterback.” He added, “That’s going to take time.”

Now he’ll have a few extra days to prepare for their next contest: a Sept. 24 matchup against the New England Patriots.

Things got real weird once the preseason started. Non-committal responses about Luck’s rehab and readiness were interspersed with reports that he was throwing again. In the middle of August, owner Jim Irsay weighed in with the strangest comments yet.

Irsay talked optimistically about Luck’s recovery, talking about how well he was progressing and that he’d be ready to start the season even if he wasn’t ready to play in the season opener against the Rams. Wait? What?

Then, Irsay made a cloudy allusion that Luck’s problems may all be in his head.
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The Rockets forward was trying to use his social media following to directly link trapped people in need of aid with first responders.

Many in Houston reported difficulty getting calls through jammed 911 lines, so Capela asked for people trapped in the area to tweet at him, which he would then amplify.

Tweet me and I’ll share as many emergency situations as I can. Stay safe Houston.

Watt was all over the place in this game, and kept James Harrison on the sideline in the process. It may have just been one game, but if I were to bet on a player to be more than ready for the next step in his NFL progression, it would be Watt.

In looking through the San Francisco 49ers first week of the season, there are a few potential surprises to consider. The decision to sit Aaron Lynch as a coaches’ decision is a little surprising, and Jaquiski Tartt’s tackling problems on Sunday were a surprise. However, the real surprise might be the lack of more significant rushing opportunities for Carlos Hyde.

The Broncos’ defensive effort is exactly the type they’re going to need if they want to get back to their Super Bowl contending ways. So far this season, they’re looking good.

Even if your team is a rival of the Raiders, you have to enjoy what you’re seeing out of Oakland and Beast Mode. One of the more fun players in the league is back in his hometown, and he’s doing what he wants in everything around him.

When the Raiders were up 35-13, Lynch danced like nobody was watching, as the Oakland crowd cheered him on while he danced to Keek da Sneak’s Super Hyphy and Oakland, featuring Vell and DJ Mustard.
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Still, there could be a conversation about holding by King.

The receiver was at the 48 when the ball was thrown (and the ball never even got to the line of scrimmage):

Because DPI cannot happen until the ball is thrown, we cannot have pass interference on this play because the players were not, as the rule says “more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage … from the time the ball is thrown.”

There is some restriction at the top of the route, and there is contact as both players make a play on the ball.

Neither one of those teams is getting much love from our panel this week, either. Nobody, wisely, is picking the Jets to win at Oakland this Sunday, and there’s only one pick for the Colts to beat the Cardinals in Indianapolis.

Let’s flip that around, looking at the teams that do still look like the top of the heap in the NFL. The Patriots disappointed all but one picker last week, but none of the humans represented here thinks Tom Brady and Co. will struggle against the same Saints pass defense that made Sam Bradford look like, well, Tom Brady.

Seattle, despite a woeful performance by a woeful offensive line, is looking like a lock this week hosting the 49ers. Remember when that rivalry meant can’t-miss games? Maybe it will again … in like five years.

Sam Bradford spent his one active week of the 2017 season as the NFL’s best quarterbacks. Now he’s battling a cartilage issue that could keep him out for one week or six — head coach Mike Zimmer wasn’t entirely clear on the issue.
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Chris Harris Jr., Aqib Talib share video of battle with Dez Bryant in style of Mortal Kombat

The Denver Broncos’ secondary — the “No Fly Zone” — scored a decisive victory over Dallas Cowboys star WR Dez Bryant on Sunday.

On Tuesday, Denver cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib both shared a video recapping their matchup against Bryant, modeled after the classic video game Mortal Kombat.

Really, you want to sell anyone on the Giants’ offense not named Odell Beckham Jr. Their offense is a mess and it’s clear Marshall and quarterback Eli Manning aren’t on the same page. Until they show signs of life, stay away — very far away. Marshall has as many drops (two) as catches in his first two games as a Giant. — Jordan Raanan

Ertz had five catches for 97 yards in a loss to the Chiefs. Granted, his 53-yard reception was a fluke play, the ball bouncing off a Kansas City defender before he snagged it, but Ertz has been targeted 18 times so far by Carson Wentz and ranks third in the NFL in receiving yards (190) through two weeks. Expect Wentz to continue to look his way. — Tim McManus

Olsen broke the fifth metatarsal on his right foot during the second quarter of Sunday’s 9-3 win against Buffalo. He underwent surgery on Monday.

He is eligible to return to the active roster after eight weeks. That would put him on schedule to possibly play in a Nov. 26 game at the New York Jets.

Teams are allowed to bring two players back from IR during the season.

Team trainer Ryan Vermillion told the team website that Olsen had a screw inserted to repair the fracture.

“The only thing that he has to do now is heal,” Vermillion said. “I know Greg will be around and he’ll be involved. He’s a team guy. He’ll try to do everything he can to help this team continue to win.”
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