Despite being a two-touchdown underdog, the injury-ridden Giants shocked the Broncos Sunday night in Denver for their first win of the season.
The Cubs, meanwhile, did not change their plans at starter; Jake Arrieta, who has battled a hamstring injury, will take the mound as had been planned before the postponement.
“Jake’s really primed for this opportunity,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s done a great job of rehabbing his leg. He feels very good arm- and leg-wise right now. I’m real eager to watch him play.”
“This city is so much more than The Strip,” said Golden Knights winger James Neal, who is just the second player to score five goals in an expansion team’s first three games. “We all live by the practice facility in Summerlin and a lot of people live here. It’s not just a city where you come and party and leave. We’re making this our home and making this a hockey town — and I think we’re off to a great start.”
Big Ben has it again: Shock. Turns out Ben Roethlisberger may have been ribbing us when he suggested he maybe doesn’t have it anymore. The Steelers handed the Chiefs their first loss, and Roethlisberger subsequently said: “I guess this old cowboy’s got a little left in him.”
Smith fired up at late hit: One of the low points of the Steelers’ victory came as Mike Mitchell dived at Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith’s knees on a late hit. Not usually one to lose his cool, Smith lashed out at Mitchell after the play and said postgame: “Certainly when I got fired up, I thought [the hit] was pretty late. I mean, when you get hit in the back of your knee like that, I didn’t understand how that happened.”
Aaron Jones (7:30 a.m.): With Ty Montgomery doubtful to play because of his rib injury, expect Jones — who was reported to have been taking first-team reps this week in practice — to get a chance to handle a lot of Green Bay’s rushing offense today.
Adam Schefter’s overnight update (7:15 a.m.): Our ESPN NFL Insider reports that wide receivers John Brown, Martavis Bryant, Tyrell Williams and Marqise Lee, despite being listed as questionable, are all expected to play today. As for quarterbacks, Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr are both likely to be sidelined. Expect EJ Manuel and Matt Cassel to be taking snaps for the Raiders and Titans, respectively.
Jones, one of seven NFL owners who donated to Trump’s inaugural committee, spoke with the president after the Cowboys played the Cardinals. According to Jones, Trump said the entire issue could have been avoided if the NFL enforced a rule stating that players must stand for the national anthem. However, that requirement is not included in the NFL’s game operations manual.
According to the manual, “During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking.”
NFL players who have demonstrated during the national anthem over the past year have said that they are protesting police brutality and racism — not the flag or the anthem itself.
“If it comes between the impression or the perception that we’re not standing together, supporting each other or the perception that we’re disrespecting the flag, the perception that we’re not together will be secondary to not respecting the flag,” Jones said. “Respecting the flag is first.”
“These were guys that felt compelled to continue to protest. I think it is gaining ground,” Reid said. “… I will continue to say and encourage people to educate themselves on how we got to where we are today because it didn’t happen overnight and it’s not going to happen overnight to fix these issues. So we’re going to keep talking about it. I know that I will keep doing what I feel is necessary to use the platform I have to make those changes.
Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams: He’s human after all. Gurley, the top PPR scorer in fantasy football entering the week (119.6 points), couldn’t get anything done against the Seahawks’ defense on Sunday, turning 16 total touches into a mere five PPR and three non-PPR fantasy points. It was the fifth- and second-worst totals of his 34-game NFL career to date, but for more perspective, only once in 2016 did he have fewer PPR fantasy points in a game (4.6, Week 15), in a season that most of his owners declared a complete disappointment. Gurley was the third-most-started running back in ESPN leagues in Week 5 (99.6 percent), behind only Le’Veon Bell (99.9) and Ezekiel Elliott (99.7).
Sammy Watkins, WR, Rams: For the second consecutive week, Watkins failed to perform for his fantasy managers, and on Sunday he was nearly invisible if not for his four targets (none of which resulted in a catch). It was only the second time in his 42-game career that he was shut out, as he failed to score on two targets in 2015 Week 1.
Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said emphatically that his players will stand for the national anthem and not disrespect the flag, and if they do, the player or players will not play.
“If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play,” Jones said after the Cowboys’ 35-31 loss to the Green Bay Packers. “Understand? We will not … if we are disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period.”
This was supposed to be TankFest 2017, but the Jets have ruined the story line. It doesn’t matter how they’ve won or who they’ve beaten: Todd Bowles has wrung two wins out of this team when it wasn’t obvious they’d get two all season. How ready are the Browns to suck up the roster-wide weaknesses and DeShone Kizer’s apprenticeship? The signs of progress just aren’t there yet.
This was not supposed to be TankFest 2017 … and technically it’s not, just Underachieve-Fest 2017. The Chargers might need a long road trip like this to forget the lack of home-field edge they have. They also need to face a team even unluckier than them, although the Giants are making their own bad luck with their lousy offense, even when Odell Beckham Jr. is doing spectacular things through an alarming string of nagging injuries.
It takes just two plays for Green Bay to move into Dallas territory. The Packers currently have it at the Dallas 48 with under a minute to play.
Green Bay will get the ball back at its own 25 with one timeout, needing a field goal to tie.
Touchdown Dallas. The Cowboys swing the scoreboard back in their favor with 1:13 to go and they currently hold a 31-28 advantage. Prescott fakes a handoff to Ezekiel Elliott, keeps the ball himself and runs into the end zone for an 11-yard score.
What a difference a year — and a new coaching regime — has made for the Los Angeles Rams.
Through three games, including Thursday night’s 41-39 thriller over the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium, the Rams have looked like a team that can score in bunches and make crucial defensive stops when needed most. Quarterback Jared Goff is looking like a guy who deserved to go No. 1 overall in the 2016 draft, while RB Todd Gurley has looked far more like the 2015 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year than the 2016 sophomore dud. Sean McVay might be the youngest head coach in NFL history, but so far his offense — which worked wonders with Redskins QB Kirk Cousins — looks pretty sharp with Goff, Gurley and receivers Tavon Austin and Sammy Watkins.
Zampese was in his second year as coordinator, having spent the previous 13 seasons as quarterbacks coach. The Bengals ranked 13th in total offense in 2016 but 24th in scoring (20.3 ppg).
Lazor, who becomes Lewis’ fifth offensive coordinator in Cincinnati, takes over an offense that has scored just nine points on three field goals. Before joining Lewis’ staff last season, he had served as offensive coordinator and/or quarterbacks coach with the Redskins, Seahawks, Eagles and Dolphins.
The Lions defensive line never gave an inch, and the secondary played the Giants receivers tight with the exception of one wide-open touchdown in the second quarter.
But the Giants defense played well too. Stafford hasn’t been held under 150 receiving yards since 2010 but managed just 122 yards against the stingy New York defense. Had he needed to throw more, he definitely could’ve added to his total, but it was still an impressive — albeit frustrating — night for the Giants defense
There’s a lot of way to show displeasure with your football team. But Giants fans nailed it with a thumbs down seemingly every time one got on camera.
Following his team’s 13-9 win at the Bengals on Thursday night, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said he wasn’t sure the finger he injured in Houston’s Week 1 loss to the Jaguars will still attached to his hand.
“It was really great until the last three plays and then I was literally adjusting it and feeling it as I was running around and trying to chase that guy on the last play,” Watt said of his finger, per ESPN.com. “I’m honestly kind of scared to take my glove off. I honestly don’t know what it looks like.”
“He looks better than ever,” the Jets coach said Wednesday. “He actually looks quicker. Laterally, he looks just as good as he always has.”
Fantasy football owners should be on alert, because Bowles’ Jets gave up 110 rushing yards to Bills running back LeSean McCoy last week. Week 2 could provide another long afternoon for a New York defense in the midst of a rebuild.
“It’s not much of a change schematically,” Bowles explained when asked about the transition of thinking when it comes to defending Lynch a week after defending McCoy. “You still have to be gap conscious in your gaps as far as running the defense, but a great back is a great back.
“(McCoy) is great in a different way, and then you have Marshawn, great in a different way. You have to prepare for them all the same. They’re good backs and they are going to be tough every week, so we just have to get ready.”
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.
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.
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.
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.