NFL and NCAA Football News

Mayfield comes off bench, ends Browns’ winless streak

Mayfield comes off bench, ends Browns' winless streak

Rookie No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield relieved a concussed Tyrod Taylor and rallied the Cleveland Browns from a 14-point deficit past the visiting New York Jets for a 21-17 win to break a 19-game winless streak Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Mayfield comes off bench, ends Browns’ winless streak

Rookie No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield relieved a concussed Tyrod Taylor and rallied the Cleveland Browns from a 14-point deficit past the visiting New York Jets for a 21-17 win to break a 19-game winless streak Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Mayfield, in his NFL debut, finished 17 of 23 for 201 yards in a little over one half of work for the Browns (1-1-1), who tallied their first victory since Dec. 24, 2016. It was just Cleveland’s second win in 38 games.

Running back Carlos Hyde’s second 1-yard touchdown, with 2:07 remaining in the fourth quarter, put the Browns ahead for good at 21-17. Linebacker Joe Schobert and cornerback Terrance Mitchell intercepted Jets quarterback Sam Darnold on the next two possessions, sealing the game.

Hyde totaled 23 carries for 98 yards, and Jarvis Landry had eight catches for 103 yards.

Darnold, whom many thought the Browns would take No. 1 overall in the April draft, finished 15 of 31 for 169 yards and the two picks. He has thrown five interceptions through three games.

The Jets (1-2) grabbed a 14-0 lead on a pair of touchdowns by former Browns running back Isaiah Crowell. A blocked punt set up Crowell’s 7-yard waltz on the first play of the second quarter, and he capped the next possession with a 2-yard score.

Mayfield entered the game with the Browns down 14-0 and 1:42 remaining in the first half after Taylor was hurt. The rookie completed his first three passes for 47 yards and led the Browns to a field goal for a 14-3 halftime deficit.

After another field goal by new Browns kicker Greg Joseph cut the deficit to eight, Hyde scored from a yard out to make it 14-12 with 47 seconds left in the third quarter. Mayfield caught a pass from Landry on a variant of the Eagles’ famous “Philly Special” for a two-point conversion to tie it at 14.

The Jets went 65 yards in 12 plays for a 28-yard Jason Myers field goal to lead 17-14 with 8:58 remaining, setting the stage for the Browns’ winning drive.

Taylor was concussed when his head hit the turf on a sack by Jets linebacker Avery Williamson, but he might have been replaced even if healthy.

He went 4 of 14 for 19 yards, taking three sacks and an intentional-grounding penalty as the Browns punted on their first six possessions. Taylor underthrew wide-open rookie wideout Antonio Callaway for a potential 75-yard touchdown four minutes into the game.

Per ESPN Stats & Info, Taylor was the first QB to throw for fewer than 20 yards on 14-plus attempts in the first half of a game since 2011.

Cleveland still has not won on a Sunday under Hue Jackson, as its lone 2016 victory came in a Saturday Christmas Eve game.

–Field Level Media

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NFL Player Props for Week 3

Last week, Ryan Fitzpatrick and ex-Eagle DeSean Jackson connected for a 75-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. After being down 20 points late in the 3rd quarter, Philly almost managed a comeback but fell short. This week, Carson Wentz returns as the starting quarterback to take on the Indianapolis Colts- and you can

Last week, Ryan Fitzpatrick and ex-Eagle DeSean Jackson connected for a 75-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. After being down 20 points late in the 3rd quarter, Philly almost managed a comeback but fell short. This week, Carson Wentz returns as the starting quarterback to take on the Indianapolis Colts- and you can bet the Eagles are hungry. Last Time Wentz was on the field, he tossed for 291 yards and 4 touchdowns en route to a 43-35 win over the Rams.

Ryan Fitzpatrick on the other hand, has started this season with with 8 touchdowns, 819 yards, only 1 interception and a QBR of 151.5. He will look to continue his success this Monday night when the winless Steelers roll into Tampa Bay.

Patrick Mahomes is the only player with more (10) touchdowns than Fitzpatrick through week 2. The red-hot Chiefs will host the 49ers, who just bounced back with a win over Detroit.

Here are the player props for week 3:



Data provided by Bovada.

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FanDuel to Pay Out on Erroneous Tickets

According to an Associated Press report, FanDuel will pay out more than $82,000 on an erroneous sports betting ticket. New Jersey’s Anthony Prince on Tuesday shared his story with local media, saying he placed an in-game wager on the Denver Broncos to beat the Oakland Raiders when the Broncos were down with 1

According to an Associated Press report, FanDuel will pay out more than $82,000 on an erroneous sports betting ticket. New Jersey’s Anthony Prince on Tuesday shared his story with local media, saying he placed an in-game wager on the Denver Broncos to beat the Oakland Raiders when the Broncos were down with 1 minute, 10 seconds to play. He placed his bet at the FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands, and the printed ticket showed +75000, when it should have showed -600. The cashier did not catch the error and after the Broncos won by a point on a last-second field goal, Prince tried to collect.

Initially, FanDuel declined to pay Prince, but after investigating, on Thursday announced that it would make good on not only Prince’s bet, but on several others made during the same time span.

The company reportedly decided to pay because it said “sports betting is supposed to be fun.”

According to FanDuel, the ticket that should have been generated would have shown that Prince had to bet $600 to win $100. Instead, his $110 bet is now good for a total payout of $82,610. On Sunday, when FanDuel declined to pay on the ticket, it reportedly offered Prince $500 and tickets to several NFL New York Giants games, but he declined. The company then opened an investigation, though its rules clearly state that erroneous tickets will be paid out at the “correct odds.”

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The Latest: Prison term for crash that killed Colts player

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on the sentencing of a Guatemalan man who pleaded guilty in a drunken driving crash that killed Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver(all times local):

3:30 p.m.

A man from Guatemala living illegally in the U.S. has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on the sentencing of a Guatemalan man who pleaded guilty in a drunken driving crash that killed Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver(all times local):

3:30 p.m.

A man from Guatemala living illegally in the U.S. has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for a drunken-driving crash that killed Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver.

A Marion County judge sentenced Manuel Orrego-Savala to the maximum possible sentence Friday under his plea agreement.

The 37-year-old had pleaded guilty in July to two counts of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .15 or more, causing death.

Orrego-Savala’s blood alcohol content was 0.19 when his truck crashed into Jackson and his Uber driver, Jeffrey Monroe. The crash occurred in February along the shoulder of Interstate 70 in Indianapolis.

Monroe had pulled over after Jackson became ill.

The judge heard emotional testimony from Jackson’s mother and Monroe’s widow during Friday’s hearing.

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9:07 a.m.

A man from Guatemala living illegally in the U.S. is set for sentencing in a drunken driving crash that killed Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver.

Manuel Orrego-Savala will be sentenced Friday, two months after he pleaded guilty to two counts of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .15 or more, causing death.

The 37-year-old driver’s blood alcohol content was 0.19 percent when his truck crashed into Jackson and Uber driver Jeffrey Monroe in February on Interstate 70. Monroe had pulled over because Jackson was ill.

Authorities say Orrego-Savala had been deported twice from the U.S. and was in the country illegally when the crash happened.

The case became a flash point in the nation’s immigration debate.

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Keenum and Thomas haven’t found a rhythm yet

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — As a combo, the Denver Broncos' two highest-paid players aren't exactly money yet.

Although Demaryius Thomas caught the winning touchdown pass from Case Keenum in their opener, the pair making a combined $27 million this season have 10 missed connections so far.

That's almost as many connections — 11

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — As a combo, the Denver Broncos’ two highest-paid players aren’t exactly money yet.

Although Demaryius Thomas caught the winning touchdown pass from Case Keenum in their opener, the pair making a combined $27 million this season have 10 missed connections so far.

That’s almost as many connections — 11 for 81 yards — as they’ve made together.

Calculating incompletions where he got both hands on the ball, Thomas leads the league with five drops so far.

Thomas had two early drops in the opener but bounced back to catch a 4-yard dart from Keenum to beat the Seahawks in Week 1. Thomas dropped three passes against the Raiders last week, when he had five receptions for 18 yards. Only four times has he had fewer yards in a game since becoming a starter in 2012.

His biggest drop last week came with Denver at midfield, trailing by two points with 22 seconds left. Thomas sprinted up the right sideline and deked his defender into leaving him wide open. Keenum delivered a pass on target and on time, but the ball sailed through Thomas’ hands.

On the next play, Keenum hooked up with Tim Patrick for his first NFL reception, a 26-yarder that set up Brandon McManus’ 36-yard field goal that beat the Raiders 20-19 .

Thomas’ early-season troubles are reminiscent of 2015, when he dropped eight passes before November, then added five drops against New England in a game when his sole catch proved crucial to Denver’s win in overtime that helped propel the Broncos to the Super Bowl 50 title.

Thomas said his only focus this week was on trying to help his team out Sunday when the Broncos (2-0) visit Baltimore (1-1), and his latest bout of drops apparently hasn’t alarmed his coaches.

“He’s OK,” coach Vance Joseph said, adding that the coaching staff can provide a boost by calling his number early and often.

“It’s our job to get him going early and to get him his confidence early,” Joseph said. “When guys go through a whole half and have one attempt or two attempts, that’s tough for receivers. If he has his first attempt and he drops it or it’s a bad ball, that’s a mind war. It’s our job to get him going early. It’s his job to play with confidence, and he will.”

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said he believes that corrections need to be made in the flow of the game without regard to a specific player who might be struggling with catches or confidence.

“We’re just trying to give everybody the ball,” Musgrave said. “We don’t want to start worrying about one guy here … We’ve just got to let the ball find everybody in the system, whether it’s handing off or throwing it. If we do a good job, I think everybody will get their touches.”

Keenum sees any hiccups right now as the inevitable crimps that will dissipate as the offense develops.

“The team that you are in September is always very different then the team you are in December,” Keenum said. “I think that’s why you come out every day and practice. You grind away at those little itty-bitty details, mechanics and footwork, routes and protections, so that you can keep building this library, keep building this trust, keep building this chemistry with these guys with the offensive line, the running backs, the receivers.

“All so you can trust on that when it comes down to December, January, and hopefully February.”

ROUGHING RULE

Joseph said he understands why the league is emphasizing roughing calls on quarterbacks this season.

“They want the quarterback not to be punished. Back when I played, that was the key to the game: How much can you punish the quarterback? But it’s changed,” Joseph said. “They want you to sack the quarterback and turn your body and not put your full body weight on the guy.”

Joseph said he concurs with the league’s efforts to keep QBs safe.

“I don’t want Case hit that way. So, it goes both ways with the players. So, I agree with it,” Joseph said. “We haven’t had a play yet that has cost us. So, I don’t have a problem with it. That could change in two weeks. But it’s for the safety of the position.”

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Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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Giants will be without OLB Vernon, CB Apple vs. Texans

Giants will be without OLB Vernon, CB Apple vs. Texans

The New York Giants ruled outside linebacker Olivier Vernon and cornerback Eli Apple out for Sunday's road game against the Houston Texans.

Vernon will miss his third straight game with a high ankle sprain, while Apple will be sidelined with

Giants will be without OLB Vernon, CB Apple vs. Texans

The New York Giants ruled outside linebacker Olivier Vernon and cornerback Eli Apple out for Sunday’s road game against the Houston Texans.

Vernon will miss his third straight game with a high ankle sprain, while Apple will be sidelined with a groin injury suffered during last Sunday’s contest against the Dallas Cowboys.

Vernon and Apple each missed the week’s practice sessions.

Connor Barwin and Lorenzo Carter will again see action in Vernon’s spot. B.W. Webb and Donte Deayon will step in for Apple.

“Certainly any time your first-line players go down (it’s a loss), but we’ve got guys that we trust if we put them in there,” Giants coach Pat Shurmur said. “We trust that they’re going to go out there and play.”

The Giants are Texans both have 0-2 records.

–Field Level Media

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RB Cook, DE Griffen out for Vikings

 

 

Running back Dalvin Cook and defensive end Everson Griffen are out for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.

 

Cook left the overtime tie at Green Bay last week with a hamstring injury he described as a cramp. But Cook was unable to complete a practice this week, giving way to backup Latavius

 

 

Running back Dalvin Cook and defensive end Everson Griffen are out for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.

 

Cook left the overtime tie at Green Bay last week with a hamstring injury he described as a cramp. But Cook was unable to complete a practice this week, giving way to backup Latavius Murray.

 

Griffen was also out of practice on Friday and ruled out for Week 3. He’s dealing with a toe injury.

 

Because Cook is coming back from a season-ending knee injury sustained in 2017 as a rookie, the Vikings are likely to be overly cautious with any injury.

 

Cook has 26 carries for 78 yards (3.0-yard average) this season, and Murray has 15 carries for 61 yards (4.1).

 

–Field Level Media

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Titans OT Lewan cleared, QB Mariota questionable vs. Jaguars

Titans OT Lewan cleared, QB Mariota questionable vs. Jaguars

Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan is back from a concussion, but quarterback Marcus Mariota might not be ready to play against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

Lewan missed last week's game recovering from a head injury suffered at Miami in

Titans OT Lewan cleared, QB Mariota questionable vs. Jaguars

Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan is back from a concussion, but quarterback Marcus Mariota might not be ready to play against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

Lewan missed last week’s game recovering from a head injury suffered at Miami in Week 1. Coach Mike Vrabel maintains the Dolphins “targeted” Lewan.

Mariota wore a glove with two fingers cut out of it hoping to improve his grip on Thursday and Friday. He’s been slow to bounce back from an elbow injury against the Dolphins.

Right tackle Jack Conklin missed the first two games of the season and wants to play, but is listed as questionable. He has not played since suffering a torn ACL at New England in January.

Blaine Gabbert started Week 2 and guided the Titans to a 20-17 win over the Houston Texans.

Mariota said he’s improving and getting stronger, but remains a game-time decision.

–Field Level Media

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Jags’ Fournette, Ramsey questionable for Titans

Jags' Fournette, Ramsey questionable for Titans

Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette is in jeopardy of missing his second straight game when the Jaguars host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

Fournette is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury but a decision on his availability isn't expected until Sunday.

Jags’ Fournette, Ramsey questionable for Titans

Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette is in jeopardy of missing his second straight game when the Jaguars host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

Fournette is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury but a decision on his availability isn’t expected until Sunday.

Backup running back T.J. Yeldon (ankle) and star cornerback Jalen Ramsey (ankle) also are listed as questionable as are cornerback D.J. Hayden (toe) and right guard A.J. Cann (triceps).

“We’ve been playing a lot of tough games,” Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone told reporters. “Players are doing the best job they can to get themselves ready to go, but we played a home opener in New York. We played a home opener here. Now we’ve got a divisional opponent.

“When you look at it a lot of teams are going through the same thing, just trying to keep everybody as healthy as they possibly can.”

Fournette injured his hamstring in the opener against the New York Giants. He held out hope that he would play against the New England Patriots last Sunday before being ruled out hours before kickoff.

Ramsey was added to the injury report on Friday when he experienced ankle soreness.

Marrone declined to take a stab on rating the players’ chance of being ready Sunday.

“I’m like O-for when I try to judge it,” Marrone said. “I just think we’ve still got a lot of time so we’ll just see where we’re at.”

If Yeldon (team-best 109 yards) and Fournette (41) are both on the sidelines, Corey Grant will take over as the feature back. Grant has 16 yards on five carries in two games.

–Field Level Media

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Clement injury gives Eagles trio of injured RBs

Clement injury gives Eagles trio of injured RBs

Philadelphia Eagles running back Corey Clement landed on the injury report Friday with a quadriceps injury and is questionable for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Clement was expected to start with Jay Ajayi (back) and Darren Sproles (hamstring) already ruled out.

Clement injury gives Eagles trio of injured RBs

Philadelphia Eagles running back Corey Clement landed on the injury report Friday with a quadriceps injury and is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Clement was expected to start with Jay Ajayi (back) and Darren Sproles (hamstring) already ruled out.

If Clement can’t play, the Eagles would likely make a roster move to add a running back to the 53-man roster.

Either way, the Eagles are getting closer to good news at wide receiver. Alshon Jeffery, out since shortly after the Super Bowl due to shoulder surgery, was upgraded to questionable after being inactive the first two weeks of the regular season.

Clement would be replaced by Wendell Smallwood and Josh Adams, who was promoted from the practice squad this week.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said Ajayi’s back injury would be re-evaluated on Monday.

–Field Level Media

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Ajayi, Sproles out for Eagles, Clement questionable

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Eagles won't have running backs Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles for Sunday's game against Indianapolis and Corey Clement is questionable.

Ajayi missed practice all week because of a back injury suffered in last week's 27-21 loss at Tampa Bay. Sproles already missed one game with a hamstring injury. Clement

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Eagles won’t have running backs Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles for Sunday’s game against Indianapolis and Corey Clement is questionable.

Ajayi missed practice all week because of a back injury suffered in last week’s 27-21 loss at Tampa Bay. Sproles already missed one game with a hamstring injury. Clement appeared on the injury report for the first time Friday with a quadriceps injury.

Wendell Smallwood is Philadelphia’s only experienced healthy running back. Rookie Josh Adams was promoted from the practice squad earlier in the week.

Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (shoulder), left tackle Jason Peters (quadricep) and linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (groin) also are questionable.

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FANTASY PLAYS: Burning fantasy questions for Week 3

A look at some key fantasy questions going into Week 3:

ARE THE CARDINALS REALLY THIS BAD? CAN YOU STILL START DAVID JOHNSON?

The Cardinals are 0-2. They've scored just 6 points and given up the sixth most points in football through the first two games. Their passing attack has suffered through the awful play

A look at some key fantasy questions going into Week 3:

ARE THE CARDINALS REALLY THIS BAD? CAN YOU STILL START DAVID JOHNSON?

The Cardinals are 0-2. They’ve scored just 6 points and given up the sixth most points in football through the first two games. Their passing attack has suffered through the awful play of quarterback Sam Bradford. He’s averaging just 4 yards per pass attempt and will likely be replaced by rookie Josh Rosen soon. David Johnson was a top 3 overall pick in point-per-reception scoring leagues but he’s 27th in PPR scoring.

With the Cards playing from behind for virtually the entire season, Johnson has been limited to just 22 rushing attempts, 26th most in the NFL. Arizona also hasn’t been taking advantage of Johnson’s pass-catching skills. He was targeted just twice last week. Head coach Steve Wilks claims he’ll line up out of the slot on occasion moving forward, which should help Johnson’s fantasy production.

Based on your investment in his draft slot, Johnson remains a must-start for now. However, if you try trading him based 2018 production you’ll be dealing him based on extremely low fantasy value. It still wouldn’t hurt to put his name on your league’s trading block. Someone might surprise you and offer a trade based on his preseason value.

SHOULD YOU START BUCCANEERS QB RYAN FITZPATRICK THIS WEEK?

Fitzpatrick leads all QBs in passing yards and all position players in total fantasy points. He faces a Steelers team that is having issues playing on the road, and also gave up six TDs to Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes last week. Fitzpatrick has gotten the most out of his top offensive weapons, including WR DeSean Jackson and TE O.J. Howard. If your primary fantasy QB’s performances have been less than stellar, Fitzpatrick provides you with an opportunity to reap the benefits of one of the hottest performers in fantasy sports.

SHOULD YOU START PATRICK MAHOMES EVERY WEEK OR TRY TRADING HIM?

Mahomes’ consensus average draft position made him the 16th QB selected overall in preseason drafts. Through two games, Mahomes has scored the second-most fantasy points among all position players. Owners most likely also have a QB on their roster they originally thought would have a better chance of being more productive. If you own Mahomes and a good backup QB in leagues where you’re starting one QB per week, it might make sense to try to trade one. Which one? Well, Mahomes’ fantasy value may never be higher than it is right now.

WHICH UNDER-THE-RADAR RB HAS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A BIG WEEK?

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook has been ruled out this week against the Bills with a hamstring injury. Latavius Murray could provide RB1 fantasy production in his place. The Bills can’t stop the run and have given up the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing RBs. The Vikings are heavily favored this week and if they take an early big lead they may move away from their passing game as early as the middle of the third quarter. Murray could pile up some significant fantasy points to close out the game.

WHICH UNDER-THE-RADAR WR HAS THE POTENTIAL FOR A BIG WEEK?

The Giants don’t have a very good pass rush. They’ve played their first two games without their best pass rusher, Olivier Vernon, due to his high ankle sprain. Without any pressure from the Giants defensive line, mobile Texans QB Deshaun Watson will have plenty of time to connect with his open receivers; especially Will Fuller. In five career games with Watson under center Fuller has caught eight TDs, and with CB Eli Apple battling a groin injury, Fuller could have a big day.

WHAT IMPACT WILL NEW PATRIOTS WR JOSH GORDON HAVE ON THE PATRIOTS OFFENSE?

There’s no denying that when he’s on the field, Gordon is a super-talented WR that opposing defenses need to focus on. We wouldn’t be surprised if he had a modest outing in Week 3, and at the same time it wouldn’t shock us if he had a monster game, either. Patriots receivers Chris Hogan and Philip Dorsett could benefit just by having Gordon on the field, simply because defenses will have to shift their focus. However, Tom Brady probably gains the most by adding Gordon to the Patriots roster. His receivers are Gordon, Hogan, Dorsett, TE Rob Gronkowski and after Week 4, wideout Julian Edelman will be reinstated. In his last three seasons in which he’s played at least 14 games, Edelman has averaged just over 98 receptions.

SHOULD I START EAGLES QB CARSON WENTZ THIS WEEK?

Wentz was having a phenomenal 2018 season before he tore his ACL and LCL in Week 13. His ability to move in the pocket contributed mightily to his 2017 success. Can he be as mobile this week or will it take a game or two for him to get in game shape? We don’t know for sure. In addition, the Eagles receiving corps is hurting. Alshon Jeffery is unlikely to play and they signed Jordan Matthews as a replacement for Mike Wallace, who was placed on injured reserve. That move might do more harm than good since that could force Nelson Agholor to have to play on the outside instead of in the slot, where he enjoyed a lot of success last season. If you’ve been able to work without Wentz for the first two weeks of the season and have a viable backup, keep Wentz on your bench and watch how things unfold this week.

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For more Week 3 fantasy football advice and insights, visit RotoExperts: https://rotoexperts.com

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2 ties down, many more could be coming in NFL 2018

Two weeks, two ties.

OK, let's get this out of the way now: Yes, the NFL is fit to be tied.

Fit tighter than most folks might think, too.

In a slopfest of an opener, the Steelers and Browns drew 21-21 . The first game of the season often can be messy and

Two weeks, two ties.

OK, let’s get this out of the way now: Yes, the NFL is fit to be tied.

Fit tighter than most folks might think, too.

In a slopfest of an opener, the Steelers and Browns drew 21-21 . The first game of the season often can be messy and painful to watch, particularly when so many key players don’t take the field much, if at all, in preseason. This one was all of that, even if a tie was a big step in the right direction for Cleveland, which lost 31 of 32 contests entering this season.

Yet the Browns sounded more angry with the deadlock than did the Steelers.

“There’s no way that we shouldn’t have won this game,” safety Jabrill Peppers said. “We didn’t win. It is all about winning. Nobody cares about draws or ties, whatever you guys call it. We were in a (position) to win this game countless times. We just have to make the plays.”

A week later, in a more artistic affair — minus the ugly kicking by the now-released Daniel Carlson for Minnesota — the Vikings and Packers finished 29-29. Like the other tie, it was a divisional game. Unlike the other one, both of these clubs should be in the playoff hunt.

So assessing a draw left them perplexed.

“I don’t know what to feel after a tie,” Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “It’s a unique place to be and proud of the way that the whole team — when I say the team, the coaching staff, the players, the support staff — the way everybody stayed in it and fought. There were times where we thought we should have won it, there were times the Packers feel like they should have won it. And it was a great game, and unfortunately we didn’t get the win.”

Green Bay’s reactions were similar.

“It’s gross,” kicker Mason Crosby offered. “I don’t like it. Obviously, you hate losing. A tie is just weird. You just don’t get them a lot.”

Ah, but you just might this season. Two in two weeks could be a harbinger.

The NFL reduced the length of overtime from 15 minutes to 10 before last season. Stunningly, there were no ties.

But the odds of more results without a winner are vastly increased. And league executives understood that when they made the change.

“What it came down to was really a player safety discussion,” said Dean Blandino, head of the league’s officiating department when the rule change was made in 2017 and now an NFL analyst for Fox. “The year prior to change, you had several games that went the full overtime periods and ended in a tie, or a game ended on a field goal at the last second. That’s an additional however many plays in that game. We had one instance when a team had to come back on Thursday night and play, so that’s a very short week for rest and then playing again.

“So we asked, ‘Are we pushing our players to play an extra quarter and having to come back, creating a chance for more injuries?’

“Yes the potential for more ties would be there in a shorter overtime, but the members of the (competition) committee and the owners didn’t think a tie was necessarily a bad thing.”

Maybe yes, maybe no. But are the alternatives worthwhile?

The NFL could adopt the college rule (won’t ever happen), which detractors have said is like having a home run derby decide a tied baseball game; too much of the natural game is eliminated. So is the sudden death element, although even that has been diluted by the current NFL overtime rule in which the team receiving the kickoff must score a touchdown for the game to end immediately.

Not that we are advocating for getting rid of that and returning to the coin toss being even more instrumental in deciding a game.

The option of continuing to play until there is a winner doesn’t work in the regular season for a variety of reasons. Player safety — player exhaustion — is the main reason, but there are broadcast considerations on a busy Sunday afternoon, too. And fan comfort, particularly in Lambeau or Soldier Field or Gillette Stadium in December.

The NFL also senses that with the shorter overtime, teams will attack more during the extra period. That seems to have been the case at Lambeau Field last Sunday. In the other tie, play was so chaotic it was difficult to tell if either side had a plan for winning.

“There were a lot of things discussed and on the table,” Blandino said of competition committee meetings about overtime. “This goes back if you look prior to 2012, the coin toss was such a big part of OT. We had less ties under that system; just, look at the stats from 1994-2011, and there were only four ties. Since 2012 and the chance to have both teams getting possession, in the next five years, we had five ties in that period.”

And in 2018, we already have two. Get ready for more.

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Browns appear set to switch to Mayfield as starter

CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns coach Hue Jackson isn't ready to "officially" make Baker Mayfield his starting quarterback.

Everyone else has.

Jackson said Friday that he'll wait until talking to his players before publicly announcing a decision that seems inevitable after Mayfield replaced injured starter Tyrod Taylor on Thursday night and led Cleveland to its first

CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns coach Hue Jackson isn’t ready to “officially” make Baker Mayfield his starting quarterback.

Everyone else has.

Jackson said Friday that he’ll wait until talking to his players before publicly announcing a decision that seems inevitable after Mayfield replaced injured starter Tyrod Taylor on Thursday night and led Cleveland to its first win since 2016. Taylor is in concussion protocol.

Mayfield, the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, brought the Browns (1-1-1) back from a 14-0 deficit to win 21-17 over the New York Jets and end a 19-game winless streak.

Jackson gave his players the weekend off and will wait until Monday before saying who will start at quarterback on Sept. 30 at Oakland. Jackson gave strong indication during a teleconference that he’ll go with Mayfield, telling reporters, “you guys all feel good about where things are headed.”

Mayfield completed 17 of 23 passed for 201 yards in just more than a half.

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Cardinals GM: ‘Tough question’ when to start Rosen

Cardinals GM: 'Tough question' when to start Rosen

After two blowout losses to open the season, some Arizona Cardinals fans are calling for No. 10 overall draft pick Josh Rosen to get a shot as the starting quarterback.

Arizona GM Steve Keim told fans not to get their hopes up

Cardinals GM: ‘Tough question’ when to start Rosen

After two blowout losses to open the season, some Arizona Cardinals fans are calling for No. 10 overall draft pick Josh Rosen to get a shot as the starting quarterback.

Arizona GM Steve Keim told fans not to get their hopes up during a radio appearance on Friday.

“It’s a tough question. When the time is right, Josh will have his opportunity,” said Keim. “At the same time, you never know how a guy is going to be affected. Some guys have played too early and it has crippled their career. I’m not going to name names, but I think a lot of us can think of certain players. Then there are guys who have come in and had success right away. But usually it’s a rocky road.

“I don’t think there is any exact science to that, but I think there is certainly a feeling of knowing when the time is right.”

Keim added that he preferred Rosen makes his first start after a full week of practice with the first team, rather than take over mid-game.

The Cardinals have been outscored 58-6, losing Sunday in Los Angeles to the Rams, 34-0. Arizona lost to the Washington Redskins in Week 1.

Veteran quarterback Sam Bradford, signed to bridge the gap between the retired Carson Palmer and Rosen, has thrown for just 243 yards in the two games, with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

On Sunday, he threw for 90 yards with a 3.3 yards per pass average, and the Cardinals had just five first downs. That was Arizona’s worst offensive showing since a 72-yard performance late in the 2012 season.

First-year Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks said Monday that personnel changes are being considered in light of the woeful start.

“I’m not going to sit here and say right after the game what we’re going to do from a personnel standpoint,” Wilks told ESPN. “But I will say this: Everybody will be evaluated.”

Wilks said he didn’t consider inserting Rosen in the game Sunday against the New York Jets.

“Well, I think when you look at the climate of the game and how it was going, I don’t know if it was going to make a major difference there because, again, it just wasn’t one guy,” Wilks said. “It was several on both sides of the ball in all three phases. Again, we’ll evaluate personnel moving forward and seeing exactly what we’re going to do next week as far as putting the best guys on the field.”

–Field Level Media

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Bills list running back McCoy questionable for game at Vikes

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Bills running back LeSean McCoy is listed as questionable due to a rib cartilage injury for Buffalo's game at the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

McCoy has practiced on a limited basis since being hurt in a 31-20 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers last weekend. Backup running back

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Bills running back LeSean McCoy is listed as questionable due to a rib cartilage injury for Buffalo’s game at the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

McCoy has practiced on a limited basis since being hurt in a 31-20 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers last weekend. Backup running back Taiwan Jones is also listed Friday as questionable due to a deep cut on his forehead.

Defensive end Shaq Lawson has been ruled out and will miss his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury.

The Bills could be down to three healthy cornerbacks with Philip Gaines (dislocated right elbow) and rookie Taron Johnson (shoulder) listed as questionable. Johnson practiced fully Friday for the first time since being hurt in a season-opening loss at Baltimore.

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Jaguars list Fournette, Yeldon as questionable vs Titans

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars running backs Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon are among five players listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Tennessee.

Fournette missed last week's victory against New England because of a strained right hamstring and was limited in practice this week. Yeldon, who led the team with 58

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars running backs Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon are among five players listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Tennessee.

Fournette missed last week’s victory against New England because of a strained right hamstring and was limited in practice this week. Yeldon, who led the team with 58 yards rushing against the Patriots, was limited all week because of an ankle injury.

Right guard A.J. Cann (triceps), cornerback Jalen Ramsey (ankle) and cornerback D.J. Hayden (toe) also are questionable.

Coach Doug Marrone says “players are doing the best job they can to get themselves ready to go.”

Ramsey and Hayden were added to the team’s injury report Friday.

Marrone says the Jaguars “just got to see what happens now and see where it goes when it just happens today.”

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Keep on dancing: 95-year-old woman shows Bengals CB how

Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick attended a "tailgate" party at a nursing home in suburban Loveland before Cincinnati's 34-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens. A 95-year-old woman stole the show and made for a popular video.

Irma Shafer got up and danced away, making Kirkpatrick smile as he danced along. The moment was

Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick attended a “tailgate” party at a nursing home in suburban Loveland before Cincinnati’s 34-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens. A 95-year-old woman stole the show and made for a popular video.

Irma Shafer got up and danced away, making Kirkpatrick smile as he danced along. The moment was captured by a local television crew and shared on social media. Many fans shared it a few hours later as the Bengals played their way to their first 2-0 start since 2015. Kirkpatrick was surprised it got so much reaction.

“I didn’t even know how big it was going to get,” Kirkpatrick said. “When they sent it out — however it got out — my phone just started going crazy.”

Kirkpatrick’s girlfriend is a close friend of one of the nursing home administrators, and they came up with the idea for the party. Kirkpatrick stopped in after the team’s morning meeting and was inspired by Shafer’s reaction.

“She was dancing the whole time I was in there,” Kirkpatrick said. “Just to see the energy she had — that was such an amazing thing. I want to be that one day. I want to still be able to move and enjoy music the way she did.”

REPLACING THE ONSIDE KICK

Football safety surveys have shown the onside kick to be one of the most dangerous plays. But it also can provide a last-ditch chance for a team to make a comeback, and the trickery of it is one of the more intriguing elements.

The Alliance of American Football, which kicks off its spring league the week after the Super Bowl in February, has an interesting replacement for the onside kick.

“We’ve replaced the onside kick with an onside conversion attempt,” says Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Polian, co-founder of the eight-team Alliance. “When teams are behind by 17 points or more or within five minutes remaining in the second half, after a touchdown or field goal, the trailing team can opt to receive the ball on their 28-yard line. They can attempt to convert a fourth-and-12. If they are successful and gain a first down, they keep the ball and can continue on. If they fail, the other team takes possession of the ball where it is spotted following the failed conversion attempt.”

The league also has only a 2-point conversion attempt after touchdowns and will eliminate the PAT kick.

“That way, we eliminate block attempts that are not the safest plays in football,” Polian explains.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Denver Broncos tight end Jake Butt’s family learned long ago to have fun with their last name.

His father, Rob, wore a Broncos jersey with the name “Head Butt” stitched across the back in Denver when his son made his NFL debut with two catches for 29 yards in the Broncos’ win over Seattle.

Jake Butt, who sat out his rookie season after tearing up his right knee in his final game for Michigan, remembers asking his dad if he could change his name when he was younger.

“Shoot, I remember in kindergarten I would get terrorized, and that’s like when you take everything personally,” Butt says. “I hated the first-day-of-class roll call, because they’d always call out ‘Butt.’ I’d just get beet red and I’d come home to my dad and tell him that I wanted to change my last name.

“He’d laugh and tell me, ‘You’re going to have fun with this someday.’ So, here we are. We’re having a lot of fun with it.”

Jake Butt didn’t have to wait for adulthood for the teasing to stop.

“I was getting bigger than everybody, so I could just laugh at them, probably like seventh, eighth grade,” he said.

He now stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 250 pounds, but would get heckled for his last name on the road in the Big Ten, too.

“Yeah, some Iowa fans got creative, like, ‘Haha. Your last name’s Butt.’ I’m like, ‘Man, that’s not that creative. You’ve got to do better than that,” Butt said. “Yeah, even away fans, they kind of have fun with it.”

LEWIS ON LUKE

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis discovered at an early age that Luke Kuechly was a phenomenal athlete while watching him play summer lacrosse with his son, Marcus, growing up in Ohio.

And he has followed Kuechly’s football career closely over the years at Boston College and now with the Carolina Panthers.

Lewis said before the 2012 NFL draft, he told Bengals owner Mike Brown that Kuechly was “the best collegiate linebacker I think I’ve ever seen.” However, Kuechly never returned to his native Ohio because the Panthers took him 11th overall. The Bengals had the No. 17 pick.

“We’re trying to clone guys like Luke Kuechly here,” said Lewis, whose Bengals visit Kuechly and the Panthers on Sunday.

Kuechly played three years of lacrosse in high school, along with playing on travel teams. He said he didn’t score many goals because — naturally — he played defense.

“I would get bored during the offseason if I wasn’t doing something,” said Kuechly, a four-time All-Pro. “I grew up playing basketball, football and lacrosse.”

BAYOU DIET

Louisiana native and Dolphins defensive tackle Davon Godchaux hosts his teammates on the defensive line for an evening of Cajun cuisine on occasion, serving them crawfish and barbecue.

He spares them one of his other favorite foods — raccoon.

“Tastes just like chicken,” Godchaux said. “They’d probably be grossed out by that. But I’m from the Bayou. So that’s what we eat.”

Godchaux, who’s 6-foot-3 and 315 pounds, says his diet is healthy as well as tasty. His foundation, Chauxdown, supports the battle against obesity.

“Growing up as a child, you always want to eat right to get to this level,” Godchaux said.

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AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner and Arnie Stapleton and Sports Writers Steven Wine, Joe Kay and Steve Reed contributed.

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Bowles insists ‘tough-minded’ Jets won’t let loss linger

NEW YORK (AP) — This isn't exactly where the Jets expected to be right now. At least, not this way.

Todd Bowles' bunch is 1-2 after an embarrassing flop in Cleveland, falling 21-17 on Thursday night to a Browns team that hadn't won since 2016. Two losses in five days have New York looking for

NEW YORK (AP) — This isn’t exactly where the Jets expected to be right now. At least, not this way.

Todd Bowles’ bunch is 1-2 after an embarrassing flop in Cleveland, falling 21-17 on Thursday night to a Browns team that hadn’t won since 2016. Two losses in five days have New York looking for answers and hoping things don’t quickly spiral before the season is even a month old.

“It’s a 24-hour rule and you’ve got to have tough skin,” Bowles said Friday morning. “We’re a tough-minded team and it’s not going to drag. We’ve got a couple of days to get some rest and get some guys back and get healthy and move on to Jacksonville next week — no different from if we had won the ballgame.

“We’ll be fine that way. I think we’re mentally tough.”

Judging from the mistakes, penalties and missed opportunities in the Jets’ losses to Miami last Sunday and then at Cleveland, the team hasn’t backed up its coach.

That assessment will certainly be tested, though. New York’s upcoming schedule includes some tough defenses — at Jacksonville, vs. Denver, vs. Indianapolis, vs. Minnesota and at Chicago — that will be licking their chops at the prospect of facing rookie quarterback Sam Darnold.

“Going in, watching the schedule after he won starting job, I thought this would be his toughest game from a scheme-coverage standpoint because of the things they do on that side of the ball,” Bowles said. “I thought he handled that well.”

It’s not that the No. 3 overall pick has been bad. Darnold hasn’t been particularly great, either.

In the Jets’ two losses, he has one touchdown pass and four interceptions, although the two against Cleveland came late in the game while he was trying to rally New York to a comeback.

“It’s not acceptable the way that I played tonight and I know that, but also take it like a man,” Darnold said after the game. “I feel like I’m responsible for some of the stagnant offense that we had. I just have to play better. That’s really it. I have to find completions and continue to do what I’ve been doing.”

Darnold was 15 of 31 for 169 yards and the two INTs against Cleveland. He has said all the right things, showing the maturity of a veteran. But the 21-year-old face of the franchise is going through the rookie rollercoaster of ups and downs.

“He has a fire within that you really can’t see, but I thought he competed his butt off yesterday,” Bowles said. “I thought yesterday was one of his better ballgames from a mental standpoint and a toughness standpoint and a grit standpoint.”

But Darnold was easily overshadowed in front of a prime-time crowd by Baker Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick who replaced an injured Tyrod Taylor and energized the Browns while leading them to their first win since Dec. 24, 2016.

While Mayfield was zipping passes all around the field, offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates seemed to play it mostly conservative with Darnold. Bowles thought the offense was “well-balanced,” but added that the Browns’ defense negated some of the Jets’ game plan in the second half.

“I mean, we can run it better, we can protect better, we can run routes better and he can make some decisions better,” Bowles said. “But it’s a team effort. It’s not just Sam. From that standpoint, I’m not saying that people weren’t helping him out. We can do a better job all around helping him out.”

Not committing silly penalties — on both sides of the ball — would be a start.

There was Isaiah Crowell’s touchdown celebration when he pretended to wipe his rear end with the football before firing it into the crowd, resulting in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Cornerback Trumaine Johnson had two penalties during one drive, including an unsportsmanlike conduct call on a third-down play when he flipped the ball to Browns receiver Jarvis Landry, and an unnecessary roughness call two plays later.

Also, Mayfield was sacked on a 2-point conversion attempt at the end of the third quarter, but cornerback Morris Claiborne committed a holding penalty. The Browns converted the 2-point try, with Landry throwing to Mayfield, tying the game and shifting the momentum to Cleveland.

“Well, the penalties are definitely on the players,” Bowles said. “I mean, coaches can’t play for them. We understand situations and we know what to do and what not to do. Guys have got to be calmer in certain situations.”

Perhaps the biggest swing came with the Jets leading 14-3 in the third period when Darnold completed a 17-yard pass to Robby Anderson, who then fumbled. The Browns kicked a field goal four plays later, making it a one-score game.

“I know we have character and I know that we’ll fight and I know we have a decent team,” Bowles said. “We’ve just got to cut down and fix some things.”

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Gurley gets top RB spot in AP rankings with Bell still out

The role and value of the running back in the NFL has evolved as much as any position over the past decade, with a league-wide trend favoring versatile players who can contribute equally to the passing attack as to the ground game.

Todd Gurley embodies the postmodern ball carrier as well as anyone.

After racking

The role and value of the running back in the NFL has evolved as much as any position over the past decade, with a league-wide trend favoring versatile players who can contribute equally to the passing attack as to the ground game.

Todd Gurley embodies the postmodern ball carrier as well as anyone.

After racking up 2,093 yards and 19 touchdowns from scrimmage last year for the Los Angeles Rams to bounce back from a rough 2016 season, Gurley is again off to a running start with 220 total yards and four touchdowns in his first two games. Arizona’s perennial Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson aptly summed up the strategy for containing Gurley prior to the Rams-Cardinals game last week.

“Just be like flying missiles,” Peterson said, “always hitting him and getting 11 hats on the ball.”

With Le’Veon Bell still waiting to sign his contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers and resume his equally electric career, Gurley was ranked as the NFL’s top running back by a panel of 10 football writers from The Associated Press. He received nine first-place votes.

“With offensive guru Sean McVay using him in all the right ways, Gurley has established himself as not only the NFL’s No. 1 running back but one of the league’s finest offensive pieces at any position,” wrote the Washington-based Howard Fendrich. “He shows how a running back can still matter in today’s game.”

The Rams gave Gurley 343 touches last season, his third in the league, but 64 of those were catches for a whopping 788 yards. Not only does this increased emphasis on throwing to running backs keep defenses off-balance, it can reduce wear and tear by cutting down on time running between the tackles. So the Rams had no qualms about giving Gurley a contract extension this summer worth $60 million, two years before he was eligible for free agency.

“Gurley is proof No. 1 that drafting running backs high can be a very good idea,” said Barry Wilner, the AP’s national football writer in New York.

Bell, who took first billing in the rankings last season , finished second despite spending the first two weeks of the season at home — and counting. The lowest he placed on any ballot was fourth.

“Worth every penny he’s holding out to get,” wrote the Philadelphia-based Rob Maaddi.

Ezekiel Elliott, who led the league in rushing yards per game in each of his first two years with the Dallas Cowboys, was close behind Bell for third place.

“Just look at how much Dallas struggled during Elliott’s suspension last year,” said Josh Dubow, who’s based in the Bay Area.

Rounding out the top 10: Alvin Kamara (fourth, New Orleans Saints), David Johnson (fifth, Arizona Cardinals), Kareem Hunt (sixth, Kansas City Chiefs), Saquon Barkley (seventh, New York Giants), Leonard Fournette (eighth, Jacksonville Jaguars), Melvin Gordon (ninth, Los Angeles Chargers) and LeSean McCoy (10th, Buffalo Bills).

Hunt, who had to share the rookie spotlight last season with Fournette and Kamara, was the only one outside the top three who appeared on all 10 ballots. McCoy, who turned 30 this summer, was the only one older than 26 on the list. He was fourth in the NFL last year in yards from scrimmage, behind Gurley, Bell and Hunt.

Barkley was the lone rookie on the list, a testament to his potential despite playing in only two professional games. The Denver-based Arnie Stapleton ranked him second, the same spot where Barkley was taken in the draft this spring ahead of quarterback Sam Darnold of the New York Jets.

“The average lifespan of an NFL running back is much shorter,” Stapleton said, “but what a life it could be for the Giants with Barkley leading the way.”

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It’s a win! It’s a boy! Browns RB Hyde scores as son is born

CLEVELAND (AP) — Carlos Hyde will never top his 28th birthday.

The running back scored two touchdowns, his girlfriend gave birth to a son — either during or a little after the game — and the Browns got their first win since 2016, beating the New York Jets 21-17 on Thursday night.

Hyde

CLEVELAND (AP) — Carlos Hyde will never top his 28th birthday.

The running back scored two touchdowns, his girlfriend gave birth to a son — either during or a little after the game — and the Browns got their first win since 2016, beating the New York Jets 21-17 on Thursday night.

Hyde was late arriving for pregame warmups because his girlfriend had gone into labor. He kept his phone with him while stretching on the field before kickoff, then delivered for the Browns, scoring on short runs and rushing for 98 yards on 23 carries as Cleveland won for the first time in 635 days.

On Friday morning, Hyde tweeted “8 pounds 11 ounces #CarlosJR #Blessed.” Hyde signed with Cleveland as a free agent in March.

“I am kind of glad that it worked out the way it did because he finished the game, ran extremely hard and made some tough runs,” Brown coach Hue Jackson said.

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Browns, Jackson won’t commit to Mayfield yet

Browns, Jackson won't commit to Mayfield yet

Rookie No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield gave Cleveland just its second win in 38 games on Thursday night, but Browns coach Hue Jackson isn't ready to anoint him the starter just yet.

Mayfield relieved a concussed Tyrod Taylor and rallied the Browns

Browns, Jackson won’t commit to Mayfield yet

Rookie No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield gave Cleveland just its second win in 38 games on Thursday night, but Browns coach Hue Jackson isn’t ready to anoint him the starter just yet.

Mayfield relieved a concussed Tyrod Taylor and rallied the Browns from a 14-point deficit past the visiting New York Jets for a 21-17 win — ending a 19-game winless streak.

Mayfield, in his NFL debut, finished 17 of 23 for 201 yards in a little over one half of work for the Browns (1-1-1), who tallied their first victory since Dec. 24, 2016.

“Baker did some great things, again, we don’t play until next Sunday,” Jackson said from the podium afterward. “We’ve got some days, let’s not get into those debates tonight. What he did tonight was outstanding for the football team and for his teammates and just the way he competed. Again, I have to watch the tape and we’ll go from there.”

Rookie Denzel Ward, the No. 4 overall pick of the Browns, told the “Dan Patrick Show” on Friday that he expected Mayfield to be the starter in Week 4.

Mayfield entered the game with the Browns down 14-0 and 1:42 remaining in the first half after Taylor was hurt. The rookie completed his first three passes for 47 yards and led the Browns to a field goal for a 14-3 halftime deficit.

After another field goal by new Browns kicker Greg Joseph cut the deficit to eight, Hyde scored from a yard out to make it 14-12 with 47 seconds left in the third quarter. Mayfield caught a pass from wide receiver Jarvis Landry on a variant of the Eagles’ famous “Philly Special” for a two-point conversion to tie it at 14.

“Once Baker got in the game at quarterback, you just saw a different rhythm, which was good, good to see,” said Jackson.

Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, whom many thought the Browns would take No. 1 overall in the April draft, finished 15 of 31 for 169 yards and two picks. He has thrown five interceptions through three games.

Taylor went 4 of 14 for 19 yards, taking three sacks and an intentional-grounding penalty as the Browns punted on their first six possessions. Taylor underthrew wide-open rookie wideout Antonio Callaway for a potential 75-yard touchdown four minutes into the game.

Per ESPN Stats & Info, Taylor was the first QB to throw for fewer than 20 yards on 14-plus attempts in the first half of a game since 2011.

–Field Level Media

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Baker Mayfield Era begins as rookie leads Browns past Jets

CLEVELAND (AP) — At some point, Baker Mayfield was going to assume Cleveland's starting job and become the franchise quarterback, the future.

That moment arrived Thursday night.

His days as a backup are over.

Throwing a 14-yard dart to complete his first pass, Mayfield replaced an injured Tyrod Taylor and rallied the Browns

CLEVELAND (AP) — At some point, Baker Mayfield was going to assume Cleveland’s starting job and become the franchise quarterback, the future.

That moment arrived Thursday night.

His days as a backup are over.

Throwing a 14-yard dart to complete his first pass, Mayfield replaced an injured Tyrod Taylor and rallied the Browns from a two-touchdown deficit for a 21-17 win over the New York Jets to end Cleveland’s 19-game winless streak — the NFL’s second-longest in 48 years.

Mayfield erased any doubts about why the Browns selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft with a performance that included him catching a 2-point conversion. The undersized and overlooked kid from Texas who walked on at two colleges, won a Heisman Trophy and became one of college football biggest stars, had some NFL debut.

“He’s really special,” Browns receiver Jarvis Landry said. “He took advantage of the moment and the opportunity. We always have seen him make these plays. As far back as when the Baker Mayfield story started, he has always made these types of plays. It is awesome to be a part of it.”

Mayfield came in after Taylor sustained a concussion late in the first half and led the Browns (1-1-1) on four scoring drives — the last a 15-play, 75-yarder capped by Carlos Hyde’s 1-yard TD run — and Cleveland’s defense intercepted two passes by Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold in the fourth quarter to seal the team’s first win since Dec. 24, 2016.

Following the game, jubilant Browns fans walking down the ramps of FirstEnergy Stadium chanted “Ba-ker, May-field” at the top of their lungs.

Their new hero took it all in stride.

“I have just been waiting for my moment,” said Mayfield, who completed 17 of 23 passes for 201 yards. “I have been patient. I have been in a good opportunity, put in a good situation with the guys around me — veteran QBs and great coaches that I can learn from. I was never whining or complaining about playing time. I just want the team to win, no matter what the cost is.”

The Browns wanted to bring Mayfield along slowly by having him watch and learn behind Taylor.

That plan is about to be scrapped.

Although Cleveland coach Hue Jackson wouldn’t commit to Mayfield as his starter going forward, the choice is obvious. Mayfield isn’t your average rookie quarterback and it’s clear he’s as ready as he can possibly be.

“I am not surprised by any throws that this young man makes,” Jackson said. “He does things in practice that I just go, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ Timing. Timing is everything. The right time. The right situation. You can’t deny the talent. You can’t deny what he is able to do. He showed that tonight.

“That is why we drafted him. He has that magnetism. He has it. He is still a young player. He has a lot of work to do. He has got to keep working. Tonight is his night. It was his coming out party.”

CRUDE CROWELL: Jets running back Isaiah Crowell scored two touchdowns, but his unsuitable celebration of the second one drew him a 15-yard penalty and the wrath of his coach.

Following his 2-yard TD run in the second quarter, Crowell squatted in the end zone and pretended to wipe his rear end with the ball before throwing it into the stands.

Crowell played four seasons with Cleveland and his gesture appeared to be directed at the Browns.

“Inexcusable,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “We addressed it. It will never happen again.”

Crowell said he got carried away.

“It was just passion and it wasn’t a message toward anybody,” he said. “You have to play the game with passion and that is the way I play. I did it so I have to accept whatever punishment comes with the celebration. I can’t put my teammates in that position.”

KICK STAND: Mayfield wasn’t Cleveland’s only rookie star.

Kicker Greg Joseph made a pair of field goals and an extra point in his debut for the Browns, who signed him Monday after releasing Zane Gonzalez, whose four misses cost Cleveland a win last weekend at New Orleans.

Joseph was even cheered as he went through his pregame routine during warmups.

“It felt surreal,” he said. “Amazing.”

GO FOR 2: Down 14-12 in the third quarter, the Browns scored and then converted a 2-point play that seemed stolen from Philadelphia’s playbook.

Running back Duke Johnson took the snap, gave the ball to Landy on a reverse and the receiver lofted a pass to Mayfield in the end zone. The play was reminiscent of the one the Eagles pulled off in last year’s Super Bowl win when QB Nick Foles caught a TD pass.

“We call it the ‘Philly Special’,” guard Joel Bitonio said. “We saw Philadelphia run it in the Super Bowl and they said, ‘Hey, we can do that.’ The funny thing is that Tyrod has taken every rep on it so Baker has not ran it at all. First rep was a perfect rep, though. He did good.”

ODDS AND ENDS: Hyde had 98 yards rushing. … Browns DE Myles Garrett had two sacks. … Darnold went 15 of 31 for 169 yards and the two picks. “It’s not acceptable the way I played,” he said.

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Take 5: Key Week 3 matchups

Take 5: Key Week 3 matchups

Coming off a two-game suspension, Reuben Foster won't be ramping up slowly in his return to the 49ers on Sunday. Instead, he'll be at the center of San Francisco's attempt to halt the hottest player in football, Patrick Mahomes, in the Kansas City Chiefs' home opener.

Take 5: Key Week 3 matchups

Coming off a two-game suspension, Reuben Foster won’t be ramping up slowly in his return to the 49ers on Sunday. Instead, he’ll be at the center of San Francisco’s attempt to halt the hottest player in football, Patrick Mahomes, in the Kansas City Chiefs’ home opener.

Mahomes and coach Andy Reid have set opposing defenses on fire so far.

Reid has used misdirection and Tyreek Hill’s incomparable speed to create chasms in zones, and Mahomes has capitalized with his eyes, accuracy and touch to maximize yards after the catch for his targets. He found a rhythm with Travis Kelce in Week 2, picking on Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jon Bostic for several chunk plays, including an indefensible, dropped-in-a-bucket throw up the middle of Tampa-2 coverage for 31 yards.

Foster is no Bostic, however. Despite his issues off the field, the 2017 31st overall pick has a combination of size, movement skills, physicality and instincts that only a handful of other NFL linebackers possess. The instincts (to diagnose plays amid a series of fakes and jet sweeps) and speed (to make up for when he diagnoses incorrectly) will be particularly crucial on Sunday.

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s Cover-3-heavy scheme comes from the same tree as Gus Bradley’s, which the Chiefs torched in Week 1 in a 38-28 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Reid is a master at getting a wide receiver — usually coming from the inside slot of a trips formation — on a vertical route against a linebacker in Cover-3, which is just one way Foster will be tested. It would certainly aid Foster’s fortunes if DeForest Buckner (3.5 sacks, second in NFL) continues his red-hot start as a pass-rusher.

–Joe Haden must help clean up Steelers’ secondary

As great as the Chiefs’ offense was last week, the Steelers’ defense — and particularly the secondary — aided its own undoing. With Haden out nursing a hamstring injury, replacement Cameron Sutton was exploited in a variety of zone assignments, both deep and underneath. Free safety Sean Davis was a beat late reading and reacting throughout the game, and defensive coordinator Keith Butler appeared to scale back his disguises and blitzes somewhat, as if he didn’t trust the group in Haden’s absence.

Like Foster against Kansas City, Haden will be given a major challenge in his return, as the Steelers visit the red-hot Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night. New Bucs play-caller Todd Monken and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick have adeptly dismantled the New Orleans Saints’ and Philadelphia Eagles’ defenses, which finished last season ranked 10th and fourth, respectively, in points allowed. Last week, Tampa Bay took advantage of Philadelphia’s zone-heavy approach, including on a 75-yard TD to DeSean Jackson — who already has five gains of 25-plus yards this year — on the game’s first play.

Haden’s hamstring must be ready to run on Jackson’s deep routes when Butler calls Cover-3 and Cover-4, and he’ll be tasked with taking away deep corners and outs to Mike Evans (17 grabs, 230 yards and two scores this year) when playing Cover-2. We should also see more wrinkles and blitzes from Butler, which could force Fitzpatrick into a turnover or two.

Haden’s return won’t fix all of Pittsburgh’s woes on defense, but he should help eliminate some of the busts and big plays that cost the Steelers in last week’s shootout loss.

–Mind games abound in Philadelphia

Carson Wentz’s return highlights the Sunday meeting between the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles, but just as intriguing will be the matchup of head coaches, as former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich meets old friend Doug Pederson.

The familiarity theoretically should benefit the Colts more, as Reich was fully versed in Eagles’ offense — the foundation of which likely hasn’t changed much over the past seven months — while Pederson hasn’t seen Reich’s full playbook with the Colts. Reich also should have an excellent feel for what defensive schemes Wentz doesn’t like to see, which should be incorporated heavily into defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus’ game plan.

But perhaps Pederson can turn the tables on Reich, showing looks he expects the Colts to recognize — such as a condensed formation suggesting a mesh concept, which features crossing routes from both sides — before running misdirection off of it — like turning those crossers into whip routes (a shallow route that breaks inside before pivoting back out). It’s also possible Pederson has kept new ideas for Wentz on the backburner, in the same way he tailored special plays for Nick Foles during his time as the starter.

With sizable advantages in the trenches on both sides of the ball, the Eagles are rightfully heavy favorites. We’ll see if Reich’s intel can level the playing field or if Pederson will get the better of his former pupil.

–Can Melvin Ingram harass Jared Goff?

With Joey Bosa (foot) apparently not close to a return, the burden of the Chargers’ pass rush continues to fall on Ingram, who is tied for second in the NFL with six QB hits. With opponents keying on Ingram, those hits have turned into just 1.5 sacks, but any type of pressure is helpful for a team whose sack leader is currently a defensive back: rookie safety Derwin James (two).

The Los Angeles Rams’ Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein are two of the league’s most reliable tackles, and Sean McVay’s heavy use of play-action and screens inherently slows down opposing pass rushes, but Ingram could pose a few problems.

The springy edge rusher moves so explosively in every direction that the Chargers line him up all over the place (even at safety on occasion, believe it or not). Often in a two-point stance, Ingram is regularly deployed on twists and stunts, allowing him to use his lateral agility to pick on overmatched guards or centers. He also has the stop-and-start quickness to get pressure against play-action, even when initially stymied while preparing to play the run.

McVay’s offense hasn’t cooled off thus far in Year 2, while the Bolts have allowed 58 points in two games (tied for 25th) without Bosa after allowing just 17.0 points per game in 2017 (third). Ingram’s ability to get to Goff is the Chargers’ best chance to even the playing field on Sunday.

–Trench warfare in Baltimore

The Denver Broncos’ offensive line, nearly as complicit as the quarterbacks in a disastrous 5-11 campaign last season, has quietly been excellent during the team’s 2-0 start.

Despite adding just one new full-time starter (right tackle Jared Veldheer), the group has taken major strides, especially in the run game, where Denver ranks second in yards per game (157.0) and fourth in yards per carry (5.2). Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave’s expansive approach — mixing in inside zone, outside zone, power, counter, trap and jet-sweep variations — has been a key factor, and the execution has been excellent.

Back at his preferred left guard spot, Ron Leary is destructive on double teams, especially working in tandem with left tackle Garett Bolles, who looks much stronger after a full year in an NFL weight room.

Matt Paradis remains steady at the pivot, while 2016 fifth-round pick Connor McGovern looks much sharper on second-level blocks, as he showed last week in springing rookie Phillip Lindsay for 53 yards. Veldheer had stopped the revolving door at right tackle before sustaining a concussion last week, but veteran Billy Turner held up just fine in his stead.

Sunday’s trip to Baltimore brings a whole new challenge. Ravens defensive tackles Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce are among the nastiest and hardest-to-move pluggers in football, and Chris Wormley plays with excellent discipline and leverage. Even approaching age 36, Terrell Suggs remains a ferocious edge setter.

However, though ranked No. 1 in yards per play (4.0), the Ravens’ defense is just 14th in yards per carry (3.8) through two games, and Pierce (foot) and linebacker C.J. Mosley (knee) could join backup defensive tackle Willie Henry (abdomen) on the sideline. Given Case Keenum’s shakiness (tied for the league high with four INTs) even with a good running game, the Ravens would hold a major edge if they can shut down Lindsay and Royce Freeman on the ground.

–David DeChant, Field Level Media

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Jets’ Darnold loses unexpected rookie duel with Mayfield

CLEVELAND (AP) — Just as in the NFL draft, Sam Darnold finished behind Baker Mayfield.

Darnold lost an unexpected duel with Mayfield on Thursday night as Cleveland's rookie quarterback came off the bench and rallied the Cleveland Browns to a 21-17 win over the New York Jets for their first win in 20

CLEVELAND (AP) — Just as in the NFL draft, Sam Darnold finished behind Baker Mayfield.

Darnold lost an unexpected duel with Mayfield on Thursday night as Cleveland’s rookie quarterback came off the bench and rallied the Cleveland Browns to a 21-17 win over the New York Jets for their first win in 20 games.

The top story line heading into the game was Darnold getting a chance to showcase his skills for the Browns (1-1-1) in person and maybe make them regret not selecting him with the No. 1 overall pick in April.

However, when it ended, all eyes were on Mayfield as the Heisman Trophy winner led the Browns from a 14-point deficit and ended the league’s second-longest winless streak since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

Darnold and Mayfield spoke on the field inside FirstEnergy Stadium before the game, and the young QBs met for a moment afterward.

Following a conservative game plan laid out by New York’s coaching staff, Darnold completed 15 of 31 passes for 169 yards but threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter as he tried to bring the Jets (1-2) back.

“I felt really comfortable throughout the whole game,” Darnold said. “I just made stupid mistakes in the fourth quarter and some missed opportunities throughout the whole game. I just have to play better and that’s one me.”

Isaiah Crowell had two rushing touchdowns for New York, but the former Browns running back angered some of his former teammates with an inappropriate celebration following his second score.

Crowell squatted and wiped the ball on his backside before firing it into the stands, drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

“That was inexcusable,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “We addressed it and it will never happen again.”

Crowell regretted his actions.

“It was just spur of the moment, but I need to control myself,” said Crowell, who spent four seasons with Cleveland before signing a three-year, $12 million free agent contract with the Jets in March. “I don’t think it had to do with the stadium I was at. I just felt like it was spur of the moment.”

Darnold’s career has already had some highs and lows. He threw two touchdown passes in a 31-point win over Detroit in his debut, and then became the youngest player to throw for at least 300 yards in a loss last week at Miami.

He was inconsistent against the Browns, showing some poise but also rushing some passes.

“I thought he battled,” Bowles said. “Obviously, the two interceptions at the end of the ballgame when they knew we were going to pass and the game was on the line — I don’t really look at that. I thought he battled. I thought he took care of the football for the most part. He gave us a chance and we have to help him out more.”

Darnold was much tougher on himself.

“There were a couple plays, but for me I just have to play better. It’s as simple as that. It’s not acceptable the way I played. I know that, and I have to take it like a man. I feel like I’m responsible for the stagnant offense we had. I just have to play better, that’s it. Find completions and continue to do what I’m doing.”

Darnold may get another chance to play Mayfield and hopes they can develop a rivalry as pros.

“Hopefully,” he said. “Baker is a great competitor. I loved playing against him. Obviously, you wish you could win those games, but he’s a great competitor and is going to play in this league for a while. I’m looking forward to every single week.”

___

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Are Raiders that bad? Are Dolphins that good? They meet next

There have been some classic games between the Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins. While Sunday's meeting doesn't carry the weight of a playoff contest between two powers, it certainly brings plenty of intrigue.

Such as: Are the Dolphins (2-0) real good, and are the Raiders (0-2) pretty bad?

The answers will come over

There have been some classic games between the Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins. While Sunday’s meeting doesn’t carry the weight of a playoff contest between two powers, it certainly brings plenty of intrigue.

Such as: Are the Dolphins (2-0) real good, and are the Raiders (0-2) pretty bad?

The answers will come over the next few weeks, but this could be a strong indicator of where each team is headed in 2018.

Miami has been winning the field position battle, is tied for the NFL lead with five interceptions — the Dolphins had nine all last year — and has allowed only seven points in four red-zone possessions by opponents. Healthy QB Ryan Tannehill is 9-1 in his past 10 starts; he missed the 2017 season with a knee injury.

Meanwhile, the Raiders are allowing 5.7 yards per rush, worst in the league. They are tied for last with only one takeaway and have all of two sacks. Did someone say they miss Khalil Mack?

Yet the key could be when Oakland has the ball and whether it can generate anything against a defense that plays most everybody who suits up.

“The addition of (DE Robert) Quinn is huge,” says Raiders coach Jon Gruden, whose return to the sideline had Raiders fans all giddy before the Mack trade and the two defeats.

“He has given them supreme effort opposite Cameron Wake. And they have a very good unit inside that can generate pressure as well. It’s a combination of new players, new energy and the scheme. It’s fun to watch them.”

Maybe not for Derek Carr, the quarterback who has to face them.

The weekend began Thursday night with Cleveland’s first win in 635 days, a 21-17 home victory over the New York Jets.

The No. 1 overall pick Bake Mayfield replaced injured starter Tyrod Taylor and sparked the Browns (1-1-1) , who got two 1-yard touchdown runs from Carlos Hyde in their their first win since Dec. 24, 2016. And so ends Cleveland’s 19-game winless streak, the NFL’s second-longest since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The Jets are 1-2.

Indianapolis (1-1) at Philadelphia (1-1)

One of several games with tasty matchups.

The Super Bowl champions get back Carson Wentz, whose major knee injury last December led to Nick Foles taking over at quarterback — and winning the title. Wentz is healthy, which means he’ll play.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Wentz says. “It’s been quite the grind of an offseason. There’s a lot of excitement, a lot of built-up almost anxiety over when it was going to be.”

It will be against the offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, who had a big role in Wentz’s quick development. Reich now coaches the Colts, who have their own star QB back from injury, Andrew Luck.

Luck has thrown a TD pass in 25 consecutive games, the league’s longest active streak.

The Colts are one win from 300 since moving to Indianapolis in 1984.

New England (1-1) at Detroit (0-2)

Matt Patricia spent 14 seasons working for Bill Belichick in New England. Rarely did he deal with what has gone on the past two weeks with the Lions. They have looked inept at times, Matthew Stafford has little protection and has thrown a league-high five picks. Detroit is 30th in rushing defense, which must make defensive guru Patricia cringe.

Belichick is 14-8 against former assistants. New England is 45-6 after losing a game since 2003 and didn’t lose two straight in 2016 or 2017. It fell at Jacksonville last Sunday.

Denver (2-0) at Baltimore (1-1)

One more spicy matchup, on the defensive side.

Led by Von Miller , the Broncos seem to have rekindled the Orange Crush. He leads the NFL with four sacks, a rate that would give him a record 32. Don’t bet against him.

Denver has allowed only five third-down conversions in 22 tries, the best rate (22.7 percent) in the NFL.

The Ravens rank second on D, no surprise there. But they’ll likely be missing three-time Pro Bowl LB C.J. Mosley (knee).

New Orleans (1-1) at Atlanta (1-1)

In perhaps the toughest division, both of these 2017 playoff teams have been way too inconsistent so far.

The Saints opened with two home games, losing to Tampa Bay and getting lucky to beat Cleveland. The defense was awful in the opener, the offense struggled last week.

Still, they have Drew Brees, looking for his fourth straight road game with a passer rating over 100. WR Michael Thomas has 28 catches, an NFL record for the first two games of a season.

Atlanta’s up-and-down nature has been partly caused by injuries, particularly on defense. That’s never a good way to approach a matchup with Brees.

New York Giants (0-2) at Houston (0-2)

The most watchable thing here — if you like defenses creaming quarterbacks — is whether Eli Manning or Deshaun Watson can escape the rush. Watson, who has terrific agility, already has gone down seven times, and he’s not come close to the sensational showings he made as a rookie before tearing up his knee.

Even worse, Manning has been sacked eight times and there haven’t been a handful of pass plays on which he didn’t feel pressure. Now, he gets to see J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney close up, with a new center, John Greco, to boot.

Dallas (1-1) at Seattle (0-2)

More sack time coming.

In years past, Seattle’s defense would be knocking down quarterbacks. This version of the Seahawks has three sacks as the unit is rebuilt.

Meanwhile, Russell Wilson has gone down 12 times, and considering his escapability, that’s scary in Seattle. Dallas barely let Manning breathe last week, has nine sacks from eight players, and faces possibly a bigger sieve of a blocking unit this week.

Los Angeles Chargers (1-1) at Los Angeles Rams (2-0)

Remember when L.A. had no teams? Now, both figure to be contenders in their divisions. Indeed, the Rams have the most talent of any roster and are off to a powerful start.

This could be a shootout. Since Week 11 of last season, the Chargers are tops in offense, averaging 436.9 yards per game. Philip Rivers has thrown three or more TD passes and has a passer rating over 100 in three straight regular-season games, and has plenty of weapons.

So does Rams QB Jared Goff, particularly 2017 Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley. The fourth-year RB is off to another brilliant start.

It’s the first meeting between two Los Angeles NFL teams since Nov. 13, 1994, when the Raiders defeated the Rams 20-17.

Cincinnati (2-0) at Carolina (1-1)

Wait, the Bengals are unbeaten? Here’s a real chance to prove they are legit.

Cincinnati can get after the passer and will force Cam Newton to be creative. The Bengals are well rested — they beat Baltimore on a Thursday night in Week 2 — and DT Geno Atkins has looked super, getting three sacks and plenty of pressures.

But second-year running back Joe Mixon is sidelined, and Carolina has its own dangerous RB from the 2017 draft in Christian McCaffrey. He tied WR Steve Smith’s franchise record with 14 receptions vs. the Falcons.

Carolina has won six straight at home.

Tennessee (1-1) at Jacksonville (2-0)

Jacksonville being 2-0 is no shock and the Jaguars could seize early control of the AFC South here. They showed plenty of moxie in beating New England last Sunday and hope to have top RB Leonard Fournette healthy. They haven’t been 3-0 in 14 years.

Even though the Jags won the division in 2017, they were swept by Tennessee, helping the Titans earn a wild card. Tennessee has been very protective of its passer, whether Marcus Mariota or former Jaguar Blaine Gabbert; opponents have one sack. Getting Mariota back from an elbow injury is critical.

San Francisco (1-1) at Kansas City (2-0)

It’s not that the Chiefs have won two straight, it’s how they did it.

First-time starter Patrick Mahomes came out firing and hasn’t let up. He has an NFL-record 10 TD passes through the first two games and has not thrown an interception. Mahomes had six TD passes at Pittsburgh, making him the youngest player in NFL history to accomplish that. Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins all have 100-yard receiving games this season.

San Francisco ranks 25th in pass defense and might not have the talent to get in a scoring free-for-all.

Buffalo (0-2) at Minnesota (1-0-1)

The betting line was so high, above 16 points all week, that it sent fans and bettors scrambling for precedent.

Buffalo once was an even bigger underdog at 17½ points against Miami in 1985. The Dolphins won 28-0.

And 80 teams have been 16-point or more underdogs. Five of those actually won.

For the Bills to even come close, they need to give raw rookie QB Josh Allen time to throw, and find a run defense.

Minnesota comes off a depressing 29-29 tie at Green Bay in which the Vikings made a solid comeback, but then couldn’t kick the ball straight enough to win. Daniel Carson is gone, replaced by veteran Dan Bailey, who was sensational with Dallas before getting hurt.

Green Bay (1-0-1) at Washington (1-1)

A gimpy Aaron Rodgers remains a prime threat, and he has loads of talent to catch the ball in Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison and tight end Jimmy Graham. The pass defense is far too charitable, but rookie CB Josh Jackson recovered a blocked punt for a TD vs. Minnesota.

Alex Smith, the top overall draft pick in 2005 when Rodgers went 24th, now is in Washington. He has a defense ranked No. 1 against the pass, so an aerial contest with A-Rod might not develop.

Pittsburgh (0-1-1) at Tampa Bay (2-0), Monday night

With the Bucs on a roll and Ryan Fitzpatrick demolishing defenses, Pittsburgh could be in trouble. The Steelers have displayed little tackling skill and give up lots of big plays. They rank 30th against the run, a very un-Curtain number.

Their offense hasn’t been troubled much by star RB Le’Veon Bell’s holdout thanks to James Conner. This also has the makings of a high-scoring showcase, especially if Ben Roethlisberger can limit his team’s turnovers.

Chicago (1-1) at Arizona (0-2)

The Cardinals and Bears are the only founding members of the NFL still in existence. While Chicago seems to have found its way with Mack and a defense that leads the league with 10 sacks, Arizona is foundering. The Cardinals didn’t cross midfield vs. the Rams until the next-to-last play. Sam Bradford has not thrown a TD pass, has been intercepted twice and has a 55.6 passer rating.

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Won, won and won! Browns beat Jets for first win since 2016

CLEVELAND (AP) — For the first time in 635 days, the Cleveland Browns found a way to win.

Baker Mayfield showed them how.

The No. 1 overall pick replaced injured starter Tyrod Taylor and sparked the Browns, who got two 1-yard touchdown runs from Carlos Hyde and beat the New York Jets 21-17

CLEVELAND (AP) — For the first time in 635 days, the Cleveland Browns found a way to win.

Baker Mayfield showed them how.

The No. 1 overall pick replaced injured starter Tyrod Taylor and sparked the Browns, who got two 1-yard touchdown runs from Carlos Hyde and beat the New York Jets 21-17 on Thursday night for their first win since Dec. 24, 2016.

And so ends Cleveland’s 19-game winless streak, the NFL’s second-longest since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

The Browns (1-1-1) trailed 14-0 in the first half before Mayfield came in for Taylor and led four scoring drives while winning an unexpected matchup against Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. Cleveland passed on taking Darnold in the draft and instead chose Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma.

Mayfield finished 17 of 23 for 201 yards in a little more than a half after coming in after Taylor suffered a concussion.

Darnold had one last chance, but was intercepted by Terrence Mitchell with 11 seconds left.

When the final seconds ticked off the clock, Cleveland fans, who had endured a 0-16 season and waited nearly two years to see their Browns win, erupted in celebration.

Refrigerators around the city stocked with Bud Lights were finally unlocked, and there figured to be more than a few beverages consumed in the hours ahead.

This was just one win, and while it was an ending, it also felt like a beginning — because of Mayfield.

Isaiah Crowell had two touchdown runs for the Jets (1-2), who seemed in control when they took a 14-0 lead and knocked Taylor from the game.

Newly signed Browns kicker Greg Joseph made field goals of 45 and 27 yards after being signed just three days ago.

Browns coach Hue Jackson got just his second win in 35 games since being hired by owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, and this win will ease some of the pressure he’s been feeling to get Cleveland turned around. Jackson could also be faced with a difficult choice — either stick with Mayfield or go back to Taylor when he’s healthy.

The decision might not be as tough now.

Mayfield made his NFL debut with 1:42 left in the second quarter, replacing an injured Taylor after Cleveland’s starter was sacked for the third time. Taylor struggled getting to his feet after being dragged down by linebacker Avery Williamson, but he had absorbed several hard blows before that — and had been ineffective.

With Cleveland’s crowd roaring, Mayfield completed a 14-yard pass to Jarvis Landry on his first pass as a pro and then found tight end David Njoku for 17 yards. Mayfield drove Cleveland into field-goal position and Joseph, who signed with the team on Monday following a tryout, drilled a low line drive to pull the Browns within 14-3.

Cleveland’s plan was to have Mayfield watch and learn this season.

Taylor’s injury may change everything.

For Darnold, a promising start ended with his second loss in three games. He completed 15 of 31 passes for 169 yards, but threw two picks late in the fourth as he tried to rally the Jets.

Hyde’s 1-yard TD run pulled the Browns within 14-12 and Cleveland tied it with a trick 2-point play.

Mayfield shifted to the left and the ball was snapped directly to running back Duke Johnson, who ran right and gave the ball to Landry on a reverse. Landry then lofted a pass into the end zone to Mayfield, whose conversion tied it and sent Cleveland fans into a frenzy.

Crowell scored his second TD with 7:54 left in the second quarter, and was flagged for excessive celebrating when he squatted and wiped the ball on his backside before flinging it into the crowd.

Crowell’s untouched 7-yard run TD run came five plays after Jets linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis got a hand on Britton Colquitt’s attempted punt and New York took over at Cleveland’s 28.

On the first play of the second quarter, Crowell took an inside handoff and raced into the end zone before firing the ball into the stands in celebration. Crowell spent four seasons with the Browns before signing a three-year, $12 million free agent contract with New York as a free agent in March.

LONG AUDITION

Joseph stayed on the field and kicked by himself during the opening coin toss, and each of his makes drew a rousing ovation from Cleveland fans. Just a few days ago, Joseph was relaxing in South Florida with friends while Gonzalez missed four kicks in New Orleans and then got booted by the Browns.

RADIO SILENCE

The Browns suspended radio reporter Nathan Zegura eight games for his conduct on the sideline during last Sunday’s loss at New Orleans. Zegura, who also co-hosts the team’s in-house radio broadcast, can’t work a game until Nov. 25. He has also been removed from the team’s afternoon show for two weeks.

INJURIES

Jets: CB Trumaine Johnson left in the first quarter with a suspected head injury, but returned. …. WR Charone Peake sustained a hamstring injury. … CB Buster Skrine injured his knee in the first and did not return. … WR Robby Anderson injured his nose in the third quarter, but came back.

Browns: S Jabrill Peppers hurt a shoulder in the first half, and Landry replaced him on punt returns.

UP NEXT

Jets: Play at Jacksonville on Sept. 30.

Browns: Visit the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 30.

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Jets-Browns Stats

New York 0 14 0 3—17
Cleveland 0 3 11 7—21
Second Quarter

NYJ_Crowell 7 run (Myers kick), 14:56.

NYJ_Crowell 2 run (Myers kick), 7:54.

Cle_FG Joseph 45, :23.

Third Quarter

Cle_FG Joseph 27, 5:21.

Cle_Hyde 1 run (Mayfield pass from

New York 0 14 0 3—17
Cleveland 0 3 11 7—21
Second Quarter

NYJ_Crowell 7 run (Myers kick), 14:56.

NYJ_Crowell 2 run (Myers kick), 7:54.

Cle_FG Joseph 45, :23.

Third Quarter

Cle_FG Joseph 27, 5:21.

Cle_Hyde 1 run (Mayfield pass from Landry), :42.

Fourth Quarter

NYJ_FG Myers 28, 8:56.

Cle_Hyde 1 run (Joseph kick), 2:04.

A_67,431.

___

NYJ Cle
First downs 14 20
Total Net Yards 268 323
Rushes-yards 30-107 33-133
Passing 161 190
Punt Returns 1-12 5-20
Kickoff Returns 1-22 1-19
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 2-0
Comp-Att-Int 15-31-2 21-37-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 2-8 4-30
Punts 7-49.1 8-33.4
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties-Yards 6-55 5-41
Time of Possession 29:08 30:52

___

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING_New York, Powell 14-73, Crowell 16-34. Cleveland, Hyde 23-98, Taylor 4-22, D.Johnson 2-9, Chubb 2-6, Mayfield 2-(minus 2).

PASSING_New York, Darnold 15-31-2-169. Cleveland, Taylor 4-14-0-19, Mayfield 17-23-0-201.

RECEIVING_New York, Enunwa 4-57, Kearse 3-35, R.Anderson 2-22, Crowell 2-17, Herndon 2-(minus 1), Pryor 1-25, Tomlinson 1-14. Cleveland, Landry 8-103, Callaway 4-20, Higgins 3-32, Njoku 2-36, D.Johnson 2-24, Hyde 2-5.

MISSED FIELD GOALS_None.

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Browns QB Mayfield replaces injured Taylor

Browns QB Mayfield replaces injured Taylor

Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield led the Cleveland Browns to a field goal on the first drive of his NFL career Thursday against the visiting New York Jets after taking over for injured teammate Tyrod Taylor.

Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's

Browns QB Mayfield replaces injured Taylor

Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield led the Cleveland Browns to a field goal on the first drive of his NFL career Thursday against the visiting New York Jets after taking over for injured teammate Tyrod Taylor.

Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, completed 3 of 4 passes for 47 yards when he entered with under two minutes remaning in the first half, setting up a 45-yard Greg Joseph field goal. The march cut the Browns’ halftime deficit to 14-3.

He also was sacked once on the drive and fumbled, but Cleveland offensive lineman Joel Bitonio recovered the ball.

Tyrod was 4 of 14 for 19 yards, taking three sacks and an intentional-grounding penalty, as the Browns punted each of their first six drives.

On the third sack, Taylor was slammed to the turf by Jets linebacker Avery Williamson and hit his head. After the drive, Taylor was taken to the medical tent for evaluation and then led to the locker room.

Mayfield, 23, won the 2017 Heisman Trophy as a senior at Oklahoma.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: 49ers CB Sherman misses practice with heel issue

Reports: 49ers CB Sherman misses practice with heel issue

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman sat out Thursday's practice with a reported heel injury, according to multiple reports.

The 30-year-old Sherman was not listed on the team's Wednesday injury report and he did not discuss his status with reporters following

Reports: 49ers CB Sherman misses practice with heel issue

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman sat out Thursday’s practice with a reported heel injury, according to multiple reports.

The 30-year-old Sherman was not listed on the team’s Wednesday injury report and he did not discuss his status with reporters following the team’s practice. Per the San Francisco Chronicle, Sherman was not visibly walking with a limp.

Over the past 10 months, Sherman has undergone surgeries to both of his Achilles tendons, in addition to battling hamstring issues during the summer. He has played in all 148 of the Niners’ defensive snaps this season, allowing just one reception in the team’s first two games.

Sherman, 30, signed with the Niners in March on a three-year contract after their archrival Seattle Seahawks released him. He ruptured his Achilles tendon last season and was limited to two interceptions in nine games after not missing a game in his first six NFL seasons.

The California native has 32 interceptions in 107 career games along with four Pro Bowl appearances while with Seattle from 2011-17.

–Field Level Media

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Browns rookie Baker Mayfield replaces Taylor in first half

CLEVELAND (AP) — Baker Mayfield is off the bench and making his NFL debut.

The No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft replaced injured starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor late in the first half of Thursday night's game against the New York Jets. Taylor was slow getting up after being sacked for the

CLEVELAND (AP) — Baker Mayfield is off the bench and making his NFL debut.

The No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft replaced injured starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor late in the first half of Thursday night’s game against the New York Jets. Taylor was slow getting up after being sacked for the third time and after being evaluated in the medical tent, was taken to the locker room for treatment.

The Browns say Taylor is being evaluated for a concussion.

Mayfield completed a 14-yard pass on his first throw and then fired 17-yarder on his second as Browns fans roared.

The Heisman Trophy winner’s first drive — he went 3 of 4 for 47 yards — ended with rookie Greg Joseph kicking a 45-yard field goal to pull with the Browns within 14-3.

Cleveland’s plan was to have Mayfield sit and learn this season behind Taylor, but the injury could change things dramatically.

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Bill Belichick has chance to beat another former assistant

DETROIT (AP) — Bill Belichick has a chance to knock off another branch from his coaching tree.

The five-time Super Bowl-winning coach has had his staff trimmed by NFL teams many times.

They all hired coaches who know how Belichick and the New England Patriots operate behind closed doors, banking on them being

DETROIT (AP) — Bill Belichick has a chance to knock off another branch from his coaching tree.

The five-time Super Bowl-winning coach has had his staff trimmed by NFL teams many times.

They all hired coaches who know how Belichick and the New England Patriots operate behind closed doors, banking on them being able to duplicate the formula for success.

It hasn’t worked out that well.

Eight former Belichick assistants have been hired by NFL teams and Al Groh is the only one in the group with a winning record. Groh was 9-7 in his one and only season with the New York Jets in 2000.

Belichick either does not know, or will not say, why he thinks his former assistants have struggled leading teams in the league.

“I’m not in the analytics business,” he bristled.

The track record of Belichick assistants did not deter Detroit because general manager Bob Quinn, a former member of Belichick’s front office, hired Matt Patricia soon after New England lost the Super Bowl.

If the Belichick-Patricia reunion goes as expected, it will follow a trend and teacher will school the student Sunday night in Detroit.

Belichick beat the Bill O’Brien-led Houston Texans in Week 1, making him 14-8 against assistants who worked for him in New England or Cleveland.

Even though the Patriots (1-1) are scuffling a bit on both sides of the ball by their standards, the Lions (0-2) have looked simply lost at times under Patricia and they’re expected to lose by about a touchdown.

Before and after the game, there’s a chance Patricia will be embraced more by his former players than his current ones.

“Matty P, he’s a coach who always had high expectations,” New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower said.

“But at the same time, he was definitely a player’s coach. He was definitely somebody who, once you get outside those doors, he was a guy who you could text or call and had a question — not even necessarily about football — but just life in general.”

And in general, Patricia deflects questions just as his mentor does in public. Patricia has no interest in sharing what parts of his scheme with the Lions mirrors what was done in New England.

“We’re trying to build Detroit here,” he said.

And, Belichick refused to say how much he has kept in touch with Patricia over the past several months.

“I’ll keep that on a personal level,” he said.

Here are some other things to know about the Patriots-Lions primetime matchup:

NEW ADDITION

Josh Gordon was limited because of a hamstring injury in his first two practices in New England on Wednesday after being acquired in a trade with the Browns.

Since Gordon was an All-Pro wide receiver in 2013, he has played in just 11 games, including one this season. Gordon was suspended for the 2015 season after violating the league’s substance abuse policy and he missed all of 2016.

“If he makes plays on us, everybody is going to say Josh Gordon looks real fresh out there,” Detroit safety Glover Quin said. “If we make a lot of plays everyone is going to say Josh Gordon looks real rusty.”

New England needs help at receiver because Julian Edelman was suspended for the first four games, Danny Amendola left to sign in Miami and Brandin Cooks was traded to the Los Angeles Rams.

GOING DEEP

Matthew Stafford has made a career of connecting on deep passes. In last week’s 30-27 loss at San Francisco, though, he missed a handful of opportunities to make big plays by overthrowing receivers.

The Patriots are preparing for Stafford to be sharp.

“He’s a good quarterback. He can get it going,” New England linebacker Elandon Roberts said. “He can throw. He’s very athletic. He can get out of the pocket and he’s still gonna be looking downfield to make a play.”

BOUNCING BACK

The Patriots, who lost 31-20 at Jacksonville last week, are 45-6 in the regular season after a setback since the 2003 season. They have not lost consecutive games since 2015 when it happened twice.

WHO’S COUNTING

Detroit drafted Michael Roberts in the fourth round last year in part because the former Toledo star led the nation in touchdowns by a tight end with 16. He finally scored for his first NFL touchdown against the 49ers in the 17th game of his career.

Roberts said it had been exactly, “638 days,” since he was in the end zone with the ball.

“It’s nice to be able to show the world the talents I have,” he said.

CONCUSSIONS

Three key players may miss the game because of concussions: Detroit cornerback Darius Slay, New England defensive end Trey Flowers and safety Patrick Chung. All three players did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.

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Phillips, Rams look to extend scoreless streak vs. Rivers

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips found a box of doughnuts at his desk on Monday morning as a reward for shutting out Arizona 34-0.

The treats have become a tradition for Phillips when his defense keeps the opposition scoreless, one that has even extended to West

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips found a box of doughnuts at his desk on Monday morning as a reward for shutting out Arizona 34-0.

The treats have become a tradition for Phillips when his defense keeps the opposition scoreless, one that has even extended to West Sioux High School in Hawarden, Iowa, as the Falcons let Phillips know on Twitter this week after their varsity and junior varsity teams each recorded shutouts.

Earning another box of doughnuts this week will be a much more difficult task when the Rams host quarterback Philip Rivers and the Chargers on Sunday.

Phillips was the defensive coordinator in San Diego when the Chargers drafted Rivers in 2004. Now in his 14th season starting for the Chargers, Rivers is the same savvy player Phillips remembers working with in the Senior Bowl at the start of the evaluation process.

“You can’t fool him,” Phillips said Thursday. “He’s going to know what you are in, and that’s where he excels over most quarterbacks and makes him an elite quarterback.

“Any kind of blitz you run, he’ll audible to the right protection, all those things. He basically throws to the weakness of the defense on every play. He’s been doing that for a long time and he continues to do that.”

Rivers’ understanding of defenses negates some of the advantage Phillips’ tactical acumen provides and puts more pressure on Rams players to win their one-on-one matchups.

Phillips hopes his defensive front can take advantage of a Chargers offensive line that will be without right tackle Joe Barksdale because of a knee injury, allowing the secondary to keep Rivers, who has completed 73.1 percent of his passes for 680 yards and six touchdowns with one interception, in check.

While the defensive line of Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers have combined for one sack through two games, Phillips is largely pleased with how they are performing.

Phillips said the trio is creating pressure, but Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford and Oakland’s Derek Carr were effective in throwing the ball quickly to prevent sacks.

Phillips is also getting contributions from outside linebackers Samson Ebukam, Dominique Easley and Matt Longacre. Ebukam brought down Bradford for the Rams’ second sack of the season, and Easley drew a holding penalty.

Knowing that Rivers will be more willing to test the Rams with a vertical passing game than their first two opponents, Phillips hopes his pass rush will be able to impose themselves more forcefully.

“He’s like every quarterback that gets a lot of pressure, it’s going to be tougher for him,” Phillips said. “Sometimes those windows are down the field and take some time. If we get in the right defenses where he has to throw down the field and we get some pressure, then it’s an advantage for us.”

The Rams had the edge against Arizona, limiting them to 137 yards and five first downs. The defense has not allowed a point in six consecutive quarters, but Brockers said the streak has not been a factor in their performance.

“We haven’t really focused on the ‘oh man, let’s keep them scoreless,'” Brockers said. “We just going out there to execute. If we execute the calls, coaches feel like they should get anything, and that’s what’s been happening.”

Instead, Phillips believes the quality of Rivers and the Chargers offense has been the best motivation for the Rams this week.

“I think them having such a prolific offense, it’s not as hard to say ‘these guys can really play’ because you can see it on the film,” Phillips said. “That challenge for good players and guys that want to be good players, they want to play against somebody that is a challenge. And this is going to be a huge challenge.”

If it leads to more doughnuts, Phillips will take it.

“They’re hard to come by, those zeros in this league are hard to come by,” Phillips said. “I haven’t had very many in my career, and I’ve had a long career. It’s an accomplishment, no matter who you are playing, to hold somebody to zero in this league.”

NOTES: C John Sullivan (ankle) did not practice, and Brockers (shoulder) was limited. However, coach Sean McVay expects both Sullivan and Brockers to play this week. “It’s more just maintenance with these guys,” McVay said.

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Vikings’ Zimmer: Ref said NFL wants more flags

Vikings' Zimmer: Ref said NFL wants more flags

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer maintains that a referee told one of the Minnesota players last week that a penalty was called merely because of the NFL's desire "for us to throw the flag."

Speaking Thursday on KFAN's "X's and O's," according to

Vikings’ Zimmer: Ref said NFL wants more flags

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer maintains that a referee told one of the Minnesota players last week that a penalty was called merely because of the NFL’s desire “for us to throw the flag.”

Speaking Thursday on KFAN’s “X’s and O’s,” according to ESPN.com, Zimmer said the league’s new emphasis on flagging dangerous hits caused a questionable call Sunday against Andrew Sendejo. The Vikings safety was penalized for hitting a defenseless receiver after a third-quarter tackle on Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams.

Adams caught a pass and was hit by cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Sendejo came in to assist as Adams lowered his head, and Sendejo’s helmet struck the side of Adams’ helmet.

“It’s very difficult for a defender — really playing defense, nowadays,” Zimmer told KFAN. “(Sendejo) said (to the ref), ‘What could I have done different?’ (The ref) said, ‘You did everything right. You couldn’t have done anything different. They just want us to throw the flag.’ ”

Zimmer added that he only learned of the exchange a day after the Vikings and Packers played to a 29-29 tie.

The coach asked the NFL for its interpretation of the play but said he had yet to receive a response as of Thursday. NFL spokesman Michael Signora told ESPN that the league would have no comment on the situation.

–Field Level Media

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Bucs ready to showcase potent offense against Steelers

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — So much for struggling without Jameis Winston.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not only thriving in the suspended quarterback's absence, they're evolving into an offensive juggernaut that's set to perform on a national stage when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit Monday night.

Thanks to Ryan Fitzpatrick and a talented collection

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — So much for struggling without Jameis Winston.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not only thriving in the suspended quarterback’s absence, they’re evolving into an offensive juggernaut that’s set to perform on a national stage when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit Monday night.

Thanks to Ryan Fitzpatrick and a talented collection of playmakers that include DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin, the Bucs (2-0) are off to their best start in eight years and have the NFL’s top-ranked offense.

The Steelers (0-1-1) are not far behind at No. 2, however inconsistency on defense has Ben Roethlisberger and Co. winless through two weeks.

“I respect what they’ve done. I’m not so sure I’m surprised,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of Tampa Bay’s emergence with wins against the New Orleans Saints and the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

They’ve done it with Fitzpatrick, a 35-year-old journeyman who has thrown TD passes for seven NFL franchises, delivering the best two games of his career.

“Man, he’s got some explosive weapons. He’s stepping in for Winston, but Fitz is not a step-in guy. This guy has started in multiple cities,” Tomlin said.

“We’ve seen him extensively in Cincinnati and Buffalo. He’s a smart guy, Ivy League-educated, always made good decisions. That’s why he’s been able to sustain himself and play for the length of time that he’s played.”

What once looked as if it might be a potentially disastrous stretch to open the season with Winston suspended three games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy suddenly is an opportunity for the team’s first 3-0 start since 2005.

Very encouraging for a franchise that has missed the playoffs 10 consecutive seasons, the second-longest drought in the league behind the Cleveland Browns (15).

Fitzpatrick believes he’s playing the best football of his career.

“But, I mean, it’s early. Consistency is the biggest thing,” the 14th-year pro said. “Trying to stay consistent with a high level of performance and just continue to try to win games.”

As well as things are coming together for the Bucs, though, it’s been rocky times for the struggling Steelers, off to their worst start in five years.

Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell has not reported to the team and signed his one-year franchise tender

And star receiver Antonio Brown made headlines after shouting at offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner on the sideline last week and then responding to criticism on social media from a former team employee by suggesting the team trade him if it wants to find out how productive he can be without Roethlisberger.

Tomlin, however, isn’t flinching.

“We are two weeks in. We do not have a large body of work. We are focused on winning this next opportunity,” the coach said.

“I am not ready to paint with a broad brush … in terms of where our football team is or what is going to define this group.”

Some things to know about the Steelers and Buccaneers:

JUJU ON THAT BEAT

All the self-created melodrama surrounding Brown has overshadowed another significant development for Pittsburgh’s offense: the continued rise of second-year wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

The 21-year-old came on strong over the second half of his rookie season in 2017 and has picked up right where he left off. Smith-Schuster is tied for Brown for the team lead in receptions (18) and his 240 yards receiving ranks fifth in the league.

“He just has a great knack and feel for the game, knowing when to sit down in zone, knowing when to move in man,” Roethlisberger said.

“He uses his body and size at times, so I think he’s really studied the game, and studied his game and has really gotten better.”

RING OF HONOR

Hall of Famer Tony Dungy, who won a Super Bowl as a player with the Steelers and later transformed Tampa Bay from a laughingstock into a championship contender as a coach, will be inducted into the Bucs’ Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony.

He joins Hall of Famers Lee Roy Selmon, Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, as well as Doug Williams, Jimmie Giles, Mike Alstott, John Lynch, Paul Gruber, coaches John McKay and Jon Gruden and late owner Malcolm Glazer as members of the ring.

NOT HERE TO TALK ABOUT THE PAST

The Steelers have made it a habit of stubbing their toe early in the season only to find their groove at midseason and reach the playoffs each of the past four years. Not that their resiliency has provided them any sort of comfort facing the club’s worst start since 2013.

“It doesn’t matter what we’ve done in the past,” defensive end Cam Heyward said. “I’m not worried about what we’ve done two years ago, a year ago. Worry about what we’ve got to do now, the present. Be in this moment. Understand we made some mistakes. Now we’ve got to correct it.”

FLAG DAY

Defensive breakdowns and Brown’s behavior aren’t Pittsburgh’s only problems. The Steelers have hurt themselves under an avalanche of penalty yards.

Pittsburgh has been flagged 24 times for an NFL-high 206 yards in penalties through two weeks.

Tomlin described the issues as “popcorn,” meaning they’re coming from all over the place. If there’s a bright side for the Steelers, it’s that they’ve found a way to clean things up as the season progresses.

A year ago they were called for 23 penalties through two games and finished with the ninth-fewest penalty yards in the league.

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AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.

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Saints working to diversify Brees’ passing options

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints coach Sean Payton preaches the importance of self-scouting to avoid predictable patterns.

That could be one reason why he doesn't expect quarterback Drew Brees to keep throwing to receiver Michael Thomas quite as often as he has through the season's first two weeks, when Thomas has racked up

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints coach Sean Payton preaches the importance of self-scouting to avoid predictable patterns.

That could be one reason why he doesn’t expect quarterback Drew Brees to keep throwing to receiver Michael Thomas quite as often as he has through the season’s first two weeks, when Thomas has racked up more receptions than the rest of New Orleans’ receivers and tight ends combined.

“Part of it is just, here we are, two weeks in,” began Payton, whose team visits Atlanta on Sunday.

“I think that you’re going to see those numbers change some. And I think historically, offensively with Drew, a lot of different guys have been involved in the passing game — and I think that will be the same case this year.”

Thomas has 28 catches, the most of any NFL receiver in the first two weeks of a season, surpassing Andre Rison’s 26 in 1994 with the Falcons.

Running back Alvin Kamara is second in catches with 15, but many of his receptions are short ones out of the backfield that essentially substitute for running plays.

Among more conventional receiving targets, receiver Ted Ginn Jr. has nine catches, tight end Ben Watson has seven, and no one else has more than two.

When asked about his heavy reliance on Thomas in the passing game, Brees downplayed it as more of a short-term phenomenon than a developing trend.

“For one reason or another, I know he’s caught a lot of balls the last two weeks. He’s gotten open. He’s done a great job with that. His number’s been called,” Brees said.

“It’s probably the combination of a lot of things, but I feel like we’ve got other guys that can do it, too. It’s just a matter of what the defense is going to give us.

“I’m going to throw it to the open guy — move the chains, score points.”

Falcons coach Dan Quinn also struggled to envision the rate of Thomas’ targets remaining as high as it has been through two games.

“Let’s face it. They’re equipped to attack in a lot of different ways,” Quinn asserted this week. “Michael right now is on his game, but by no stretch have we said ‘OK, it’s just these players.’ … We know they’ve got a big stable of guys that can make plays in a lot of ways, but we have been very impressed by Michael and his start.”

New Orleans made a pair of offseason moves aimed at providing Brees more options, signing Bears 2016 receiving leader Cameron Meredith as a restricted free agent and drafting former Central Florida receiver Tre’Quan Smith in the third round last spring.

But judging those moves could take time.

Smith has been in the game plan, but rookies sometimes take time to develop chemistry with veteran QBs. He had one catch for 18 yards in a victory over Cleveland and no catches in a Week 1 loss to Tampa Bay.

“He has not received a ton of opportunities, but I think as the season progresses his opportunities will come,” Brees said. “He can be a big part of what we do down the road.”

Smith said his daily goal is to win Brees’ trust and he does not sound disillusioned by the relatively slow start to his career.

“You’ve got to be a team player,” Smith said. “If they’re not going to cover (Thomas), keep going to him.

“If Mike has all the yards and all the touchdowns, but we’re winning, that’s totally fine,” Smith said. “I’m sure teams are going to be zeroing in on Mike, but that’s when other receivers have got to step up. We’ve got to be ready.”

Meredith, meanwhile, is trying to come back from torn knee ligaments that wiped out his 2017 season. He said trainers and doctors urged caution during training camp, thereby limiting his opportunities to practice with the first-team offense.

He was scratched from the lineup in Weeks 1 and 2, but with Ginn limited in practice with knee soreness this week, Meredith has been getting work with the first-team offense and appears primed to make his Saints debut in Atlanta.

“It’s hard. It’s an everyday battle. This process is new to me, so whatever the trainers and the doctors say is best, we had to go with that,” Meredith said.

“But at the same time, I’ve been getting better day by day, getting my rhythm back. And those are all important things — not just the health part, but getting in rhythm with the offense.

“I feel good and I’m excited to go out there and make some plays this weekend.”

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Browns missing starting LB Kirksey for matchup with Jets

CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns starting linebacker Christian Kirksey will sit out Thursday night's game against the New York Jets with an ankle injury.

One of Cleveland's captains, Kirksey also missed last week's game at New Orleans, the first time he sat out a game in his NFL career after playing in 65 straight.

CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns starting linebacker Christian Kirksey will sit out Thursday night’s game against the New York Jets with an ankle injury.

One of Cleveland’s captains, Kirksey also missed last week’s game at New Orleans, the first time he sat out a game in his NFL career after playing in 65 straight. James Burgess will start for Kirksey as the Browns try to snap a 19-game winless streak.

New York starting safety Marcus Maye is sitting out with a foot injury. He’ll be replaced by Doug Middleton, who has 11 tackles after two games.

Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry will play. He had been listed as questionable with a knee injury. Landry leads the team with 12 catches for 175 yards.

The Jets are also without outside linebacker Josh Martin and tight end Neal Sterling due to concussions. Martin has not played since getting hurt in the Jets’ third preseason game. Sterling was injured last Sunday against Miami.

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Falcons’ Julio Jones misses practice, says he’s good to play

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones says he's "good" to play against New Orleans on Sunday despite missing his second day of practice with tightness in his calf.

Jones says his absence from practice on Thursday was "just precaution." He says he "felt some tightness" in last week's

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones says he’s “good” to play against New Orleans on Sunday despite missing his second day of practice with tightness in his calf.

Jones says his absence from practice on Thursday was “just precaution.” He says he “felt some tightness” in last week’s 31-24 win over Carolina.

The Falcons also held out running back Devonta Freeman (sore right knee), linebacker Corey Nelson (calf) and defensive ends Takk McKinley and Derrick Shelby, who have groin injuries. Nelson was hurt in Wednesday’s practice.

Freeman did not play in the win over Carolina.

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Rivers, Goff take center stage for Battle of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Football fans haven't seen two Los Angeles NFL teams go head to head since 1994.

The quarterback matchup awaiting them this Sunday could make it worth the long wait.

The Chargers' Philip Rivers and the Rams' Jared Goff will be front and center at the LA Memorial Coliseum.

Rivers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Football fans haven’t seen two Los Angeles NFL teams go head to head since 1994.

The quarterback matchup awaiting them this Sunday could make it worth the long wait.

The Chargers’ Philip Rivers and the Rams’ Jared Goff will be front and center at the LA Memorial Coliseum.

Rivers has seen this plotline before — an experienced veteran facing an emerging star — which is why he hasn’t dwelled much on the matchup.

“Shoot, I’ve got enough to worry about just trying to score points. I imagine it will be a heck of a game,” said Rivers, who will make his 196th consecutive start Sunday.

Rivers and Goff are at the helm of two of the league’s more prolific offenses. The Chargers (1-1) are second in the league in completions over 20 yards since the start of last season with 72, while the unbeaten Rams (2-0) are sixth with 67.

Goff is second in average yards per attempt among QBs with 10 or more starts (8.10) while Rivers is third (7.96).

They also have nearly identical passer ratings, with Goff’s 100.7 just edging Rivers’ 98.8.

“To me, what seems to stick out is what a comfort level he has in that offense, and being in a good flow,” Rivers said of Goff. “They’re doing a lot of things to move him around in games. You’ve seen that keeps him on the move. He’s one of the young guys that you imagine is going to be around a long time.”

Goff is unbeaten in five starts against AFC teams and has won six of his last seven regular-season starts with a 103.3 passer rating, 15 touchdowns and only four interceptions. There are still some who wonder, though, if his success should be attributed to him or coach Sean McVay’s system.

Some quarterbacks might take offense at being called a system quarterback, but Goff has embraced it.

“Yeah, I’ll be a product of the system if we win games, as much as I want. We just continue to go out there and keep playing, keep putting up 30 points and call me whatever you want,” he said. “I feel like I’m just continuing to develop and continuing to get better.”

Rivers has also been playing at a high level. He is one of three quarterbacks to have over 600 passing yards (680) and six or more touchdowns (six) this season. He also has thrown three or more touchdown passes in his last three starts.

Goff and Rivers may be sharing the same city, but Goff made it sound like they have rarely talked. Goff did say that the majority of his childhood was spent watching Rivers’ career.

“He’s a guy I’ve tried to steal things from, for sure. The way he plays the game and the way he works. I’ve heard nothing but great things from people who’ve played with him,” Goff said.

Both quarterbacks face challenges this week from the opposing defenses. The Rams have allowed only one touchdown in the first two games and haven’t surrendered a point over the past six quarters. They also possess one of the top pass rushes in the league featuring defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald.

Rivers is one of the quicker passers in the NFL. According to the league’s next gen stats, he is averaging 2.6 seconds to throw since last season, which is below the average of 2.7 seconds. Goff is averaging 2.93 seconds, which is the third-longest in the league.

Rivers said the challenge this week will be making sure his receivers have time to separate in coverage because the Rams are mainly playing man coverage.

“It’s not going to be those quick, gimme throws that you find in some defenses where you just catch it and throw little spot routes,” he said. “It’s going to be winning one-on-one matchups — outside, inside — and me making good decisions.”

The Chargers’ pass rush remains inconsistent with defensive tackle Joey Bosa out with a foot injury, but they do have a formidable secondary in safety Derwin James and cornerback Casey Hayward.

Rams pass game coordinator Shane Waldron said one of Goff’s strengths is his field vision.

“It’s great to have a quarterback that’s able to improvise or if someone does come free out of the normal rhythm of the play, he’s able to find them,” he said.

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Cowboys showing rare signs of being defined by defense first

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Sean Lee wants more time to decide if this is the best chance the Dallas Cowboys have to be defined by their defense in the linebacker's eight years with the club.

There's no question about the answer through two weeks.

The Cowboys (1-1) are fourth in the NFL in

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Sean Lee wants more time to decide if this is the best chance the Dallas Cowboys have to be defined by their defense in the linebacker’s eight years with the club.

There’s no question about the answer through two weeks.

The Cowboys (1-1) are fourth in the NFL in total defense, with a loss to Carolina that could have been a blowout and a win over the New York Giants that wasn’t nearly as close as the seven-point margin.

In both cases, it was thanks to a defense that is delivering on preseason hopes of being a difference-making unit.

“I think we’re starting to show the type of defense we can be,” Lee said Thursday. “It’s still early in the season. Still room to improve. Still a case we can cause and make more turnovers. But we’re around the football. We’re making plays. We’re keeping points down, yards down.”

Dallas is tied for second behind Chicago with nine sacks after bringing down Eli Manning six times.

The Cowboys visit Seattle on Sunday, and the Seahawks have allowed six sacks of Russell Wilson each of the first two games.

DeMarcus Lawrence, who finished tied for second in the NFL with 14½ sacks last season and ended up with the $17.1 million franchise tag, has a sack in each of the first two games. Three fellow defensive linemen had a sack apiece against the Giants.

For that and other reasons, Rod Marinelli is comfortable saying the Dallas defense has the most upside in his five seasons as defensive coordinator.

“I just think we’ve gotten better every year,” Marinelli said.

“We’ve improved and our talent level has gotten a little bit better. I know we’re fast. We’re really fast. Now we’ve just got to direct our speed.”

For years, talk of the Cowboys surrounded the offensive stars: quarterback Tony Romo, tight end Jason Witten and receiver Dez Bryant.

With all three gone within the past two years, the buzz drifted to the sensational 2016 rookie pairing of quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott.

But the offense is in transition, with Prescott getting used to a revamped group of receivers following the retirement of Witten and release of Bryant in the offseason.

The Cowboys cruised against the Giants anyway, despite Elliott falling short of 100 yards rushing for the second straight week (78) and Prescott throwing for fewer than 200 yards for the eighth time in 10 games going back to last season.

“It’s great when you see the defense going out there and doing what they’re doing,” Prescott said. “That gives the team a lot of confidence and the way they’re playing allows us to want to go out there and do the same.”

Lee is nursing a sore hamstring that sidelined him late against the Giants. The Cowboys are calling his limited approach in practice this week precautionary. But Dallas is also in a different place with its linebackers.

Jaylon Smith is starting to show the promise of his days at Notre Dame before a devastating knee injury in his final game with the Irish.

He leads the Cowboys with 16 tackles. Smith’s emergence is allowing Dallas to bring rookie first-rounder Leighton Vander Esch along slowly.

The Cowboys like free agent pickup Joe Thomas, and fourth-year pro Damien Wilson forced a fumble on a sack of Manning.

“Feel good about that group right now,” coach Jason Garrett said. “Obviously Sean’s the leader. He’s the leader of our defense. He’s a great, great football player. But depth is important on your team.”

As Lee mentioned, turnovers are lacking so far. The Cowboys have recovered two fumbles, but don’t have an interception.

Still, they’ve been pleased with 2015 first-rounder Byron Jones making the switch back to cornerback. Chidobe Awuzie has been solid on the other side.

“We’re very confident, not only in our ability but in our system and our coaching,” safety Jeff Heath said.

“I just think we have the combination of guys to work really well together. We play for each other. I think you’ve been able to see some of the fruits of that.”

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Dalton, Bengals look to stay unbeaten against Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Bengals have their offense revving in high gear.

Cincinnati has put up 34 points in back-to-back games to open the season, although quarterback Andy Dalton said they haven't played a perfect game.

"We left some stuff out there," Dalton said. "We can definitely improve and get better. (But)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Bengals have their offense revving in high gear.

Cincinnati has put up 34 points in back-to-back games to open the season, although quarterback Andy Dalton said they haven’t played a perfect game.

“We left some stuff out there,” Dalton said. “We can definitely improve and get better. (But) if we’re saying that and scoring 34 points, that’s a good thing.”

Dalton and the Bengals will look to fix those “little things” and start 3-0 for the fifth time in coach Marvin Lewis’ 16 seasons when they visit the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

The Panthers are coming off an uncharacteristically poor defensive performance in a 31-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, prompting coach Ron Rivera to say he wouldn’t tolerate laziness on defense .

The big change from last year’s 0-3 start for the Bengals has been up front.

The offensive line was a mess last season, the main reason they finished last in the league in offense.

Coordinator Bill Lazor was given freedom to redesign the offense. He overhauled the line, and the Bengals have new starters at four positions. So far that line has meshed well together, allowing just two sacks — none in a 34-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 13.

“Anytime you have time back there you can step into your throws, and you can put the ball where you want it,” Dalton said of the protection in the team’s 2-0 start .

Another adjustment has been lining up wide receiver A.J. Green in different spots on offense. Green caught three first-half touchdown passes from the slot against the Ravens. Cornerback James Bradberry will cover Green most of the time, but there will be occasions Green could face nickel back Captain Munnerlyn in the slot, where he’ll have a significant height advantage.

“The reason they are moving him around is to try to create opportunities for him. You just got to have a package that can counter it,” Rivera said of Green.

Things to watch in the Bengals-Panthers game:

HISTORY OF 3-0

The Bengals also started 3-0 in 2005, 2006, 2014 and 2015, making the playoffs in three of those years before losing in the first round each time.

McCAFFREY’S CATCHES

Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey only carried the ball seven times against the Falcons, but he had twice that many receptions. His 14 catches (for 102 yards) tied a franchise record and showed Cam Newton is willing to be patient and use check-downs to move the chains. Newton is completing a career-best 69 percent of his passes in his first year playing in coordinator Norv Turner’s offense.

Rivera said he anticipates more things will open up down the field once teams begin to honor McCaffrey coming out of the backfield.

“They (wide receivers) understand too that now all of a sudden those linebackers might not be dropping 12 to 15 yards deep anymore,” Rivera said.

“They may be right at about 8 (yards). Those digs are going to start opening up, those post routes, those bang-eights across the middle — they are going to start flashing a little more.”

GIO’S TIME

The Bengals will lean heavily on Giovani Bernard , their only healthy running back with experience in the system. Starter Joe Mixon tore cartilage in his right knee during the win over Baltimore and is out for a few weeks. Running back Tra Carson pulled a hamstring in practice on Monday, so the Bengals signed free agent Thomas Rawls. Bernard has three 100-yard rushing games in his career.

“It doesn’t change for me,” Bernard said. “I feel like people are freaking out, but my goodness, it’s football.”

MORE MOORE

Panthers rookie wide receiver D.J. Moore is expected to see more playing time this week after a 51-yard touchdown catch against the Falcons.

The team’s first-round draft pick played 17 snaps on offense, but Rivera said earlier this week that “it’s time to put more on his plate.” He also said he’s noticed a swagger about Moore this week in practice.

CLUTCH TURNOVERS

The Bengals’ young defense has given up a lot of yards, but forced game-clinching turnovers in each of their wins. Third-year safety Clayton Fejedelem forced a fumble and returned it for a touchdown with 24 seconds left as Andrew Luck was driving the Colts for what could have been a winning touchdown in the season opener. Last week safety Shawn Williams hit Joe Flacco and forced a fumble as the Ravens were trying to drive for a tying TD late. Luck threw for 319 yards and the Colts piled up 380 overall. Flacco threw for 376 and the Ravens had 425 in all.

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AP Sports Writer Joe Kay in Cincinnati contributed to this report.

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Browns Missing Starting LB Kirksey for Matchup with Jets

CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns starting linebacker Christian Kirksey will sit out Thursday night's game against the New York Jets with an ankle injury.

One of Cleveland's captains, Kirksey also missed last week's game at New Orleans, the first time he sat out a game in his NFL career after playing in 65 straight. James Burgess

CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns starting linebacker Christian Kirksey will sit out Thursday night’s game against the New York Jets with an ankle injury.

One of Cleveland’s captains, Kirksey also missed last week’s game at New Orleans, the first time he sat out a game in his NFL career after playing in 65 straight. James Burgess will start for Kirksey as the Browns try to snap a 19-game winless streak.

New York starting safety Marcus Maye is sitting out with a foot injury. He’ll be replaced by Doug Middleton, who has 11 tackles after two games.

Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry will play. He had been listed as questionable with a knee injury. Landry leads the team with 12 catches for 175 yards.

The Jets are also without outside linebacker Josh Martin and tight end Neal Sterling due to concussions. Martin has not played since getting hurt in the Jets’ third preseason game. Sterling was injured last Sunday against Miami.

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Seahawks’ Wagner says he’s learned from previous injuries

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Stuck at home while out with a groin injury, Bobby Wagner met up with former Seattle teammates Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril to watch the Seahawks' game in Chicago.

Sitting there as his team lost wasn't very enjoyable for Wagner.

"I'm definitely a guy who yells at the TV. I'm calling

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Stuck at home while out with a groin injury, Bobby Wagner met up with former Seattle teammates Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril to watch the Seahawks’ game in Chicago.

Sitting there as his team lost wasn’t very enjoyable for Wagner.

“I’m definitely a guy who yells at the TV. I’m calling out plays and think they’re going to hear you,” Wagner said Thursday.

Seattle’s All-Pro middle linebacker is expected back in the lineup Sunday when the Seahawks host Dallas looking to avoid falling to 0-3 for the first time under Pete Carroll. For the most part, the defense wasn’t the problem on Monday night against the Bears. The Seahawks held them to 271 total yards and only 10 offensive points after Chicago scored on its opening drive.

But having Wagner back will certainly be a boost in what’s essentially become a must-win game just three weeks into the regular season.

Wagner said he was initially injured in the second quarter of the season-opening loss at Denver. He didn’t believe it was going to be an issue until after the game.

Sitting out Week 2 showed Wagner had gained a new perspective after the issues he had with a lingering hamstring injury last season.

Wagner wouldn’t sit a year ago to let his hamstring have at least a week off to get better. The result was a muscle injury that got worse until Wagner was on the field unsuccessfully trying to play on one leg.

“Last year I was kind of in the same situation with my hamstring and I can say I didn’t necessarily trust the trainers in that situation and it kind of lingered for the last eight games,” he said. “It wasn’t something I wanted to do again so I made the grown up decision and did the right thing this time.”

Asked why he was so stubborn a year ago, Wagner said he believed he could play through the injury and still contribute at a high level. It wasn’t until Seattle’s Week 14 loss at Jacksonville that it became a significant issue and it was completely evident a week later in a blowout loss to the Rams.

“I felt like I fared pretty well up until the Jacksonville game. I think that’s when it really got worse and it kind of lingered into the Rams game, which if you watch the film you see it,” Wagner said. “Kind of dealing with that I didn’t want to do that again and was smarter this time.”

An unintended benefit of Wagner’s injury this season was the opportunity for Austin Calitro to make his first start. Seattle has struggled to find a clear backup for Wagner since his rookie season, at times shifting K.J. Wright into the middle for games Wagner has missed. Calitro received positive reviews from his first start, and has now played significant snaps at two linebacker positions in the first two weeks.

“He played a really good football game and it’s more than just the plays and getting lined up and all,” coach Pete Carroll said. “It was making the calls, handling situations, handling the adjustments that we made during the game, communicating to guys around him. He played like a veteran player and I was really pleased with that.”

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Broncos changed travel schedule after 1-7 road record

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos have adjusted their travel itinerary in hopes of changing their fortunes on the road.

They're no longer flying out on Friday for trips to the East like this weekend's game at Baltimore .

"We're not going to worry about how far we're traveling, what time the

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos have adjusted their travel itinerary in hopes of changing their fortunes on the road.

They’re no longer flying out on Friday for trips to the East like this weekend’s game at Baltimore .

“We’re not going to worry about how far we’re traveling, what time the game starts — we don’t care,” coach Vance Joseph said. “It’s going to probably rain on Sunday. We don’t care. I think pushing it back and just going on Saturday is all about our mindset and not worrying about going east, who we’re playing or where we’re playing.

“It’s worrying about the Broncos playing the best we can play,” Joseph added. “Our motto this year is, ‘We don’t care about where we go or who we play or when we travel or where we travel.’ We’re just going to go play.”

The Broncos (2-0) went 1-7 away from home last year and have only won one of their last 10 road games.

That’s a reversal of their road success during Peyton Manning’s four seasons in Denver, when the Broncos were 22-10 away from home.

Von Miller, for one, doesn’t mind the change in plans: “It’s all good,” he said. “We’re able to get a great night’s sleep before, so that’s all that really matters.”

The formula for ending their road woes, Miller suggested, was, “starting fast, getting off on third downs, being able to (force turnovers) and scoring touchdowns.”

Come to think of it, he said, “that’ll work for you anywhere.”

It’ll be imperative against the Ravens (1-1), who have scored touchdowns on all nine of their trips inside the 20-yard line so far.

“It’s the first team in 20 years to be that way in the first two games, that’s amazing,” Joseph said. “They’re running the football, they’re passing the football. So, it’s going to be a challenge.”

The Ravens have four TD runs and five TD passes inside the 20-yard line, and Denver defensive coordinator Joe Woods credits their veteran quarterback, Joe Flacco.

“I mean, they obviously have a good scheme. But he’s a smart quarterback. He understands what he’s looking at. He gets rid of the ball on time,” Woods said. “But I think the big thing is just him. Execution.”

Miller spread the accolades a little bit more than Woods, attributing Baltimore’s 9-for-9 mark to “a great corps of receivers” in addition to “a great quarterback.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh would add running back and offensive linemen to that list, although somewhat reluctantly because it’s only Week 3 and he doesn’t want to get carried away.

“What I’m seeing is good players,” Harbaugh said. “I think we have guys making plays and we ran the ball in a few times, and that’s big to our running backs and offensive line. But, man, you don’t want to start patting yourself on the back. This league is too tough.”

The advantage of playing their second game on a Thursday night, Harbaugh said, was that the Ravens got to kick back last weekend and watch the rest of the league, including the Broncos, who rallied past the Raiders 20-19 behind Case Keenum’s second straight fourth-quarter comeback .

“It gives you good perspective. You see it’s a crazy league. You see how tough it is. You see how tough it is to score in the red zone, how tough it is to stop somebody in the red zone,” Harbaugh said.

Denver’s defense leads the league in third-down efficiency. The Broncos have allowed only five third-down conversions in 22 tries for a 22.7 percentage.

“I just think it’s great execution,” Miller said, noting “the Ravens are pretty good on third down.”

Baltimore is sixth in the league with a 43 percent conversion rate.

“So, third down will be pretty tough for both sides,” Miller said.

Notes: Keenum returned to practice after missing one day with a sore knee . … RT Jared Veldheer (concussion) was cleared for activity but not any action. The Broncos were pleased with how well his backup, Billy Turner, played last week. … CB-PR Adam Jones (thigh) missed a second straight day of practice as did ILB Brandon Marshall (knee).

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Patriots DB Cyrus Jones happy for 2nd chance with Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Cyrus Jones was sure his tenure with the Patriots was over when he was cut at the end of training camp earlier this month.

New England chose to sever ties with the cornerback and return man, a second-round pick in 2016, after an underwhelming two-year tenure.

It included fumble

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Cyrus Jones was sure his tenure with the Patriots was over when he was cut at the end of training camp earlier this month.

New England chose to sever ties with the cornerback and return man, a second-round pick in 2016, after an underwhelming two-year tenure.

It included fumble issues and a right knee injury that caused him to miss the 2017 season.

It is why Jones said he was “blown away” when he got a call from his agent Monday night saying that the Patriots wanted to re-sign him.

A deal was completed, and Jones was added to the 53-man roster on Wednesday. He practiced for the first time with his old team Thursday.

“Everybody was excited to see me, as I was excited to see them,” said Jones, who had been on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad since being released by New England.

Jones has been working with the safeties since his return, a position that took a hit when starter Patrick Chung suffered a concussion during New England’s loss at Jacksonville.

Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and Nate Ebner — a primary special teamer — are the only other safeties on the depth chart. So, if Chung isn’t cleared to play this weekend against Detroit, the chances are high that Jones will see at least some action.

McCourty said he started beaming when he saw Jones back in the team cafeteria.

“Even when he left and went to Baltimore, I was texting him to see how he was doing,” McCourty said. “It was a good feeling seeing him come back in here.”

Jones appeared in 10 games for the Patriots in 2016, making one start. But he had more fumbles (five on 19 punt and kick returns) than tackles (three) on defense.

He was making progress this spring after his knee surgery, but it wasn’t enough to secure him a roster spot when New England made its initial 53-man cut.

He said he’s not looking at this second opportunity as a chance at redemption.

“I’m just here to do a job, just like everybody else,” Jones said. “I don’t look at it like that. I look at it as another opportunity, just like it was when I was in Baltimore. Just like I did when I left here. Trying to be the best guy on Sundays.”

But Jones acknowledged “it hurt” not being on a roster to open the season.

“I get that opportunity being back here, so I’m going to make the most of it,” he said.

Jones said he’s put the past and the circumstances surrounding his initial departure behind him. He said he respects the Patriots reasons for letting him go.

“Whether I was working my way back from injury or whatever — who wants to get cut?” Jones said. “It really didn’t matter the circumstances of why I got cut. It didn’t matter. That wasn’t important to me. It happened, and I dealt with it like a man and moved on.

“Fortunately enough, coach thought enough of me to bring me back and to help this team win. That’s what I’m gonna focus on doing.”

Notes: TE Rob Gronkowski was limited in practice Thursday with an ankle issue. Chung and DE Trey Flowers both sat out the second straight day as they continue to go through the league’s concussion protocol.

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After statement game by Cousins, Vikings host Allen, Bills

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kirk Cousins delivered for the Minnesota Vikings the type of performance expected from, and demanded by, his big contract.

Passing for 219 yards and three touchdowns over the fourth quarter and overtime at Green Bay, Cousins guided the Vikings back from a 13-point deficit to forge a tie with the

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kirk Cousins delivered for the Minnesota Vikings the type of performance expected from, and demanded by, his big contract.

Passing for 219 yards and three touchdowns over the fourth quarter and overtime at Green Bay, Cousins guided the Vikings back from a 13-point deficit to forge a tie with the Packers despite an interception and many other mistakes by the rest of the team.

Given this was his first NFC North game and first on the road against Minnesota’s primary rival, there was a statement made that afternoon at Lambeau Field.

“I’ve seen Kirk do those things before, so it just solidified what type of leader he is,” offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said. “You’re never out of the game.”

The Vikings (1-0-1) are fifth in the NFL in total yards, entering Sunday against winless Buffalo. Cousins, however, was quick to point out the Vikings had only seven points through three quarters at Green Bay.

“We’d love to be more explosive throughout the game as opposed to more concentrated to late in the game,” Cousins said. “We want to be an offense that can strike at any time, but also be a threat from the first quarter all the way through the last.”

The Bills have a long way to go to get there, having handed their quarterback job to rookie Josh Allen during their blowout loss at Baltimore in the opener. The seventh overall pick in the draft showed some progress last week, but with an unsettled offensive line and a lack of game-breaking receivers, this season figures to be a steep learning curve for Allen.

“All these trials and tribulations that I’m going to go through my rookie year,” he said, “are only going to help in the long run.”

Here are some other key angles to follow for the Bills-Vikings game:

MAKING THE CALL

The Bills were outscored 75-9 over their first six quarters until making modest improvement in the second half last week. What changed? Well, coach Sean McDermott took over the play-calling duty from defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, his long-time friend and mentor. They will collaborate now.

“We’re going to do what we feel we need to do in games, and improve,” McDermott said, “and we look in every corner to improve.”

The Chargers had 284 yards, 17 first downs and 28 points in the first half, then just 65 yards, four first downs and three points in the second half.

“That’s something that we can build on this week going in, just having the confidence of knowing we can stop teams from scoring,” said Tre’Davious White, one of only three healthy cornerbacks on the roster following the retirement of Vontae Davis and injuries to Phillip Gaines and Taron Johnson.

FAMILIAR FACE

Frazier took the adjustment in stride. He first began coaching with McDermott in 1999 with the Philadelphia Eagles.

“We owe it to our players to give us the best chance to win, whatever it may be,” Frazier said, “and so that’s how I looked at it.”

Frazier, of course, was the head coach for the Vikings for three-plus seasons after serving as defensive coordinator prior to that. This will be his first return to Minnesota for a regular-season game since his firing after the 2013 season.

“Just a lot of good relationships back in Minnesota, a lot of fond memories,” Frazier said.

BAILEY’S DEBUT

If and when Dan Bailey makes his first field goal on Sunday, the crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium will undoubtedly roar with an undertone of sarcasm after those three wide rights by now-discarded rookie Daniel Carlson against the Packers.

Kicking trouble has hounded the Vikings throughout Mike Zimmer’s reign as head coach since 2014, so they were relieved that a player with Bailey’s accomplishment and experience was available this week .

The Bills have had more stability lately with Stephen Hauschka, who ranks fourth on the NFL’s all-time field goal accuracy list . Bailey is second. Hauschka, who was in training camp with the Vikings as a rookie in 2008, is 33 for 38 on field goal tries in 19 games with the Bills and has converted all 31 extra point attempts.

“We are fortunate. Hauschka is very steady and a veteran who has kicked in big games,” McDermott said. “That was part of the reason why we picked him up.”

MCCOY HURTING

The Bills ranked sixth in the league last year in rushing yards, on the strength of a second straight 1,000-yard season by LeSean McCoy, but Bills running backs have only 108 yards on 31 attempts through two games. This has been a rough season so far for McCoy. He’s been working through a rib cartilage injury this week, when he was also named in a second case of alleged abuse brought forth by a former girlfriend .

Minnesota’s defense is not an ideal opponent against which to get on track.

“They’re a good team. It’s a challenge. If I’m good enough, I’ll go out there and compete,” McCoy said.

NOT SO SPECIAL

Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer has been under pressure for more than just the place-kicking problems. The Packers blocked Matt Wile’s punt and turned it into a touchdown last week, the most glaring mistake that wasn’t a missed field goal.

“We’re going to have to clean it up,” Zimmer said.

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Returns of Oren Burks, Aaron Jones replenish Packers’ depth

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers might get injured inside linebacker Oren Burks back for their game Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

The rookie appeared to be in line to open the season as the starter inside alongside Blake Martinez when he hurt his shoulder during warmups before a preseason

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers might get injured inside linebacker Oren Burks back for their game Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

The rookie appeared to be in line to open the season as the starter inside alongside Blake Martinez when he hurt his shoulder during warmups before a preseason game last month in Oakland.

He was cleared on Wednesday to return to practice as a full participant.

Depth has also been replenished at running back, where Aaron Jones figures to return on Sunday after missing the season’s first two games after being suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

At the least, the returns of Burks and Jones will help the Packers on special teams. They have each shown the talent to contribute in other ways too.

Jones, who was also bothered by a hamstring injury in the preseason, ran for 448 yards and four touchdowns on 81 carries last year. He had two 100-yard games, including 125 and a score on 19 carries in a win at Dallas on Oct. 8.

Coach Mike McCarthy has said that Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery will remain atop the depth chart. Jones gives the Packers another option in the backfield with his slashing ability.

“Give the defense a little bit more to worry about,” Williams said Thursday. “Aaron’s just a sparkplug, really. He’s always trying to open holes, especially if one’s closed, he’ll find another one really and bounce it outside.”

A third-round pick out of Vanderbilt, Burks moved up the depth chart after Jake Ryan was lost for the year in training camp with a torn ACL. The Packers traded for Antonio Morrison from the Colts to help with depth at inside linebacker after Burks went down. They also picked up Korey Toomer and James Crawford before the season started.

Burks remains atop the depth chart inside next to Martinez, having raised his profile during the preseason.

“We’ll see what the week brings us, McCarthy said before practice on Thursday. “You could see him progressing through training camp, so it will be great to get him back out there.”

Burks played inside linebacker and safety in college. His experience in coverage could help against the Redskins and running back Chris Thompson, who leads Washington with 19 receptions.

RODGERS UPDATE

McCarthy expected quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is playing with a left knee injury, to follow a practice plan similar to last week before the Vikings game. Saturday was the only day that Rodgers practiced last week. He played well, especially considering the injury, completing 30 of 42 passes for 281 yards and a touchdown in the 29-29 tie with Minnesota.

This week, McCarthy gave the whole team off from practice on Wednesday and elected to do a walkthrough instead, feeling that his players could use a break after a season-opening night game followed by the overtime game against Minnesota. Rodgers was due to focus on rehab on Thursday.

INJURY REPORT

Besides Rodgers, CB Kevin King (groin) also missed practice. … CB Davon House (biceps) and S Josh Jones (ankle) were limited.

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Seahawks trying to avoid troubling 0-3 start hosting Cowboys

SEATTLE (AP) — Whether it was his first two stops in the NFL, his time in college at Southern California or his first eight seasons in charge in Seattle, Pete Carroll has never started a season with three consecutive losses.

That's 12 seasons in the pros and nine in college during which Carroll

SEATTLE (AP) — Whether it was his first two stops in the NFL, his time in college at Southern California or his first eight seasons in charge in Seattle, Pete Carroll has never started a season with three consecutive losses.

That’s 12 seasons in the pros and nine in college during which Carroll has been able to avoid a disastrous start to a new campaign. And it’s what the Seahawks will be trying to avoid Sunday when they host the Dallas Cowboys.

“There’s only a couple of undefeated teams in the NFC right now and let’s hang with that. Let’s hang with them,” Carroll said. “I don’t want to get behind that number right now, so we’ve got to get a win.”

What’s been called a roster reset multiple times by Carroll and other Seahawks has struggled to get started. Seattle’s offense has looked inept at times, its quarterback confused and its defense vulnerable. The Seahawks understand the rarity of dropping to 0-3 and still being able to turn around the trajectory of the season.

“I’m not going to give you a cliche. You don’t want to be 0-3,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said.

Dallas is still trying to solve all of its issues, but at least has a victory after knocking off the New York Giants at home last week. The Cowboys’ defense was exceptional against the Giants, holding rookie Saquon Barkley and New York’s run game to 35 yards on the ground, and sacked quarterback Eli Manning six times. The Cowboys are second in the NFL with nine sacks through two weeks, and now face the offense that’s surrendered a league-high 12 sacks so far, six in each game.

“We’ve continued to try to build the talent level on our front seven and try to create competitive situations where guys are fighting for roster spots and fighting for playing time and hopefully when they get out there that competition brings out the best in them,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. “Obviously, those can be very impactful plays.”

The Cowboys are 5-2 in September road games since 2014, one of those losses coming in the opener against Carolina. Seattle hasn’t lost a home game in September under Carroll, going 13-0 since 2010.

RUN AROUND: For two weeks, the Seahawks have failed to follow through on one of their major offseason priorities of returning to being a run-first offense. The Seahawks had just 16 carries for 64 yards in the opener. After committing to running more in Week 2, they ended up managing only 74 yards on 22 carries against the Bears. There was also Carroll’s confusion about the conditioning of starter Chris Carson, who didn’t have a carry in the second half against the Bears.

SILENT ON SEATTLE: New Dallas secondary coach and passing game coordinator Kris Richard turned down interview requests before his reunion with the Seahawks. Richard spent the first eight years of his pro coaching career in Seattle, the past two as defensive coordinator. He was fired in a retooling of Carroll’s defensive staff.

The Cowboys have blitzed more the first two weeks than in the past under defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. From the start, Richard has said the Cowboys embraced the idea of him bringing new concepts.

“I do think the DNA of both guys in terms of what they believe in coaching is real similar,” Garrett said. “I think that reflects on how they teach technique and the schemes that we use.”

WIN SOME, LOSE SOME: Seattle is expected to get Wagner (groin), rookie starting cornerback Tre Flowers (hamstring) and guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring) back after missing time with injuries. Wagner and Flowers missed the loss to Chicago, while Fluker has been out since the third week of the preseason with the hamstring problem.

While those players appear set to return, the Seahawks could be without starting center Justin Britt (shoulder), while linebacker K.J. Wright (knee surgery) and wide receiver Doug Baldwin (knee) are still at least a week away from getting back on the field.

WEAKNESS IN NUMBERS? The Cowboys are using 11 roster spots — roughly 20 percent of the 53 total — on receivers and tight ends. They added a receiver without releasing one this week by bringing back Brice Butler. He spent the past three seasons with Dallas before signing with Arizona in free agency. The Cardinals cut him at the end of the preseason.

The Cowboys are 30th in the NFL in passing in their first season without tight end Jason Witten and 2014 All-Pro receiver Dez Bryant. Dak Prescott has thrown for at least 200 yards just twice in the past 10 games going back to last season.

LOCKER ROOM VISIT: Garrett said it was a little strange when Seattle safety Earl Thomas approached him in the Dallas locker room following the Seahawks’ victory last December . During his offseason holdout, Thomas made it clear he wouldn’t mind the opportunity to play elsewhere, with Dallas possibly at the top of his wish list.

“I’ve never had that happen before, an opposing player comes into your locker room. But we have great respect for him,” Garrett said.

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Derrick Johnson not concerned about Raiders pass rush

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Middle linebacker Derrick Johnson isn't as troubled as most people seem to be by the Oakland Raiders' lack of a pass rush.

The way Johnson sees it, there are other ways for the defense to impact games.

Yet with only two sacks in two games, Johnson also realizes something

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Middle linebacker Derrick Johnson isn’t as troubled as most people seem to be by the Oakland Raiders’ lack of a pass rush.

The way Johnson sees it, there are other ways for the defense to impact games.

Yet with only two sacks in two games, Johnson also realizes something has to change.

“It’s a lot of ways to contribute to being a really good defense besides getting sacks,” Johnson said Thursday. “Don’t get me wrong, sacks help big time but red zone defense is a big part of being a really good defense. Turnovers for sure. It’s still early.”

Oakland’s pass rush, or lack thereof, has been heavily scrutinized since the team traded 2016 defensive player of the year Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears a week before the season opener.

Mack has had a sack and a forced fumble in each of his first two games while helping the Bears to an NFL-leading 10 sacks. Mack also scored a touchdown in his Chicago debut against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

Conversely, the Raiders pass rush has been sparse at best. Defensive end Bruce Irvin got to Rams quarterback Jared Goff for a coverage sack in Week 1 while rookie defensive lineman Maurice Hurst dropped Case Keenum in Week 2.

Like Johnson, Oakland defensive coordinator Paul Guenther believes there are other ways for the Raiders to be effective. During Guenther’s stint as Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator, the Bengals had more than 33 sacks only twice in four seasons but finished in the top 20 overall three times.

“Obviously you’d like to have sacks but if you really look at it, when you look at the statistics year in and year out, the teams that are up there in sacks aren’t necessarily playoff teams. A lot of times they’re not,” Guenther said. “You’d always like to get a number of sacks. It kind of feeds off each other and the kind of personnel you have. That’s not the most important thing but obviously you want to get after the opposing quarterback.”

Oakland has forced only one turnover in two games. The Raiders are also 26th in defensive third-down efficiency, allowing opponents to convert 12 of 27 opportunites.

Johnson said there is a sense of urgency in Oakland’s locker room, although the 35-year-old sounds more concerned with the Raiders’ inability to stop the Broncos on their game-winning drive in the final seconds last week than he is about the pass rush.

“Really the last two games the first half was pretty good team effort but we have to finish the close ones, win the close ones,” Johnson said. “As a defense we have to be hoping for that situation, saying, ‘Hey, if we stop them it’s over.’ It’s not the whole defense. It’s a play here, a play there. Not being tight enough here or communication. Just a little something on each play of that last drive hurt us.”

With nine new starters and a 10th — Irvin — playing a different position than he did a year ago, the argument could be made the Raiders are still going through growing pains.

Johnson isn’t buying it.

“That’s too easy of an excuse,” Johnson said. “We’ve been together for a little bit. We know the plays. We just have to execute better. Our defensive coordinator knows we can do that. We need to help him out by making some plays. We have to make plays.”

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Bears face punchless Cardinals, look to improve to 2-1

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Now the 2018 Chicago Bears will find out how they handle success.

After a close loss to Green Bay, the Bears got a nice win over Seattle. Now they face an Arizona team that's been outscored 58-6 in the Cardinals' first 0-2 start since 2005.

It's a game Chicago

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Now the 2018 Chicago Bears will find out how they handle success.

After a close loss to Green Bay, the Bears got a nice win over Seattle. Now they face an Arizona team that’s been outscored 58-6 in the Cardinals’ first 0-2 start since 2005.

It’s a game Chicago is supposed to win, maybe even dominate.

“Just like last week when it was coming off a difficult loss, now the team is feeling good in the fact that we got a win,” s first-year coach Matt Nagy said. “Sometimes when you have that, with bad teams, complacency sinks in. That’s not what we want. We want our guys to continue to stay hungry, to realize how important it is to stack wins on top of each other.”

Arizona, under first-year coach Steve Wilks, is at the bottom of the league offensively and near the bottom defensively.

To try to boost an offense that got past midfield once — on the next-to-last play of the game — in last week’s 34-0 drubbing by the Rams in Los Angeles, Wilks and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy say they’ve scaled down the game plan, simplified things. They also say they want to get the ball to David Johnson more often.

While Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has been inconsistent, Arizona’s Sam Bradford has been mostly bad, struggling with his accuracy, usually a strength in his game.

“Sam is known to be able to put the ball where it needs to be,” Wilks said. “Regardless of why, we need to try to make sure we correct that moving forward. Is it the line? Is it just him? Is it the receivers? Again, everybody has a hand in it. Everybody’s working on their craft, trying to correct it.”

Here are some things to consider when the Bears visit Arizona.

MACK’S IMPACT

Now Bradford, Johnson and the rest of the beleaguered offense must deal with Khalil Mack, who has two strip sacks and returned an interception for a touchdown in his two games since joining the Bears.

“You just turn the film on, you can see it,” Wilks said. “He’s doing some great things: a sack/fumble, interceptions for touchdowns, you name it. So, you’ve got to make sure you try to slow him down, neutralize him a little bit. I don’t know if you can stop him, but we’re going to do a great job of trying to create some things and hopefully we can try to slow him down a little bit.”

UP-AND-DOWN TRUBISKY

Trubisky has had some great moments and some that weren’t so great. He completed 25 of 34 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns against the Seahawks, but had two intercepted.

Trubisky said it’s a matter of making progress.

“I’m just trying to enjoy every single day you have to come out, practice and play with your teammates, develop great relationships and just continue to get better and better,” he said, “and when things go wrong, you just go back that it’s part of the process. There is going be ups and downs. You’ve got to celebrate the small victories. There is going to progress along the way, but there is also going to be setbacks. It’s all about just staying positive and keeping your head down and staying on track.”

CARDINALS QB

While Wilks is sticking with Bradford at quarterback, Arizona’s supposed franchise quarterback of the future is waiting in the wings.

Arizona moved up in the draft to pick Josh Rosen at No. 10 overall with the idea he’d learn by watching Bradford this season. But the Cardinals’ offensive woes could wipe out that timeline.

“Sam, right now, is the quarterback, as I’ve stated before,” Wilks said. “I don’t think it’s just the quarterback position. I think we have some issues across the board in all three phases, and we’re working on those issues. I think we’ve done a great job of trying to correct those issues, starting with trying to simplify things with the game plan, allowing guys to play fast.”

BOOED AT HOME

To try to motivate his team, Wilks played audio of the home crowd booing the Cardinals in their opener. Cornerback Patrick Peterson called the booing “an embarrassment.” Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald seemed to think they were understandable.

“We can’t play any worse than we did the last two weeks,” he said. “All you can go is up.”

HELP ARRIVES

Arizona should have the services of tight end Jermaine Gresham and defensive end Markus Golden for the first time this season. Both were recovering from significant surgeries, Gresham’s to repair a torn Achilles tendon, Golden a torn ACL.

Both would be significant contributors if healthy.

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‘Cover City’: NFL Week 3 Picks And Insight From CG Technology’s Jason Simbal

The post ‘Cover City’: NFL Week 3 Picks And Insight From CG Technology’s Jason Simbal appeared first on SportsHandle.

Sports Handle is pleased to present Cover City: A Pro and College Football Betting Podcast, hosted by Eric Rosenthal (@ericsports). Rosenthal is a professional sports bettor who focuses on NFL

The post ‘Cover City’: NFL Week 3 Picks And Insight From CG Technology’s Jason Simbal appeared first on SportsHandle.

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

The Cleveland Browns -3 and New York Jets kick off NFL Week 3 on Thursday night with the Browns playing the unfamiliar role of favorite. This episode we have a great guest in Jason Simbal (@jsimbal), Vice President of Risk Management for CG Technology, to offer behind-the-counter thinking and strategy as he and Eric talk through the entire NFL slate.

Time codes for the episode follow below. Listen on Spotify here. Tell a friend.


2:10: Setting the line: Perspective from the bookmaker.

5:18: Simbal identifies the most consistently public teams in the NFL. And how quickly people exit the wagon. 

9:46: Conversation amongst the bookmakers. What do they do with the Chiefs scoring ability?!

11:45: Cleveland Browns come into Week 3 as favorites! When was the last time this happened? Why Jason is surprised about the public when it comes to the Browns.

14:10: When do people tend to bet the moneyline? Jason explains how to take advantage of it.

15:41: New Orleans Saints +3 at Atlanta Falcons: The most popular public bet in Week 3? Seven times more action on the Saints this weekend (so far). Eric talks about why he might be leaning against the field.

18:41: Does the kicker mean anything to the spread? Jason addresses.

21:10: Simbal breaks down the intricacies of in-game betting and live action.

22:45: New York Giants +6 at Houston Texans: A sore spot for Jason as he breaks down his favorite team.

25:05: Eric talks about why it’s just as important to understand when to bet as who to bet on.

28:00: How trades and injuries affect the line movement in the NFL and even a look into what the LeBron James Saga meant for NBA futures.

30:30: The situational element in line movement. Jason breaks down the impact of Khalil Mack’s trade on the line.

32:49: Green Bay Packers -3 at Washington Redskins: Home dog alert. Jason talks about why the public has bet the Packers 12 times as much as Washington this weekend and why he’ll be rooting for the Redskins.

37:00: San Francisco 49ers +6.5 at Kansas City Chiefs: Eric identifies his favorite side. Jason explains how Patrick Mahomes’ recent play has shifted this weekend’s line from the lookahead.

41:55: Los Angeles Chargers +7 at Los Angeles Rams: Battle of L.A.! Big ‘Pros vs. Joes’ game shaping up. Who’s that lone Chargers in-person bettor?

44:50: New England Patriots -7 at Detroit Lions:  Sunday Night Football. Belichick’s former assistant Matt Patricia is not inspiring much confidence.

48:10: Pittsburgh Steelers -1.5 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Monday Night Football. The legend of FitzMagic grows. What’s the difference between Winston and FitzMagic besides a gorgeous beard?

50:10: Jason gives one final insider look into the book: What percentage of the money comes in on the spread, props, teasers and futures?

53:55: Eric’s 5 SuperContest Picks of the Week.


Come back on Monday for the NFL Week 3 recap and a look ahead to Week 4. Follow Eric on Twitter at @ericsports and Sports Handle @sports_handle.

Bonus! Check out this week’s episode of  ‘The Pro Football Handle’ featuring Robert Walker And Matt Perrault:.

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