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Golden Tate: I pushed off, but I’m no cheater

Golden Tate Pic Getty Images

Seahawks receiver Golden Tate is admitting the obvious: He pushed Packers cornerback Sam Shields on the infamous play in which Tate was awarded a game-winning touchdown pass that most fans thought should have been an interception.

But Tate adds that he wasn’t setting out to break the rules, he was just setting out to get the ball.

I’m not going to deny pushing him,” Tate said, via Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times. “The evidence shows on the film. But like I said, I never had intentions on cheating. I wasn’t trying to cheat. I was competing, it was in the moment. Things are happening so quick. I honestly didn’t even notice I did. I didn’t try to hurt him or push him down to the ground, but it happened. It was so quick. It was just a reaction kind of thing.”

And although few people outside Seattle agree with him, Tate still believes that he and Green Bay’s M.D. Jennings simultaneously possessed the ball.

“I personally felt like I had the ball,” Tate said. “We both fought, we both competed for the ball, and the call ended up going our way and winning the game.”

Tate did exactly what every NFL coach would want his wide receivers to do on a Hail Mary: Fight for position and then fight for the ball. The officials — regular or replacement — never call offensive pass interference on Hail Marys, so it’s hard to fault him for pushing off. And although the video sure looks like Jennings had the ball first, Tate was right to fight for the ball and hope for the best.

Tate also said there’s a nice little bonus to scoring one of the most controversial touchdowns in NFL history: He gained Twitter followers.

“I moved up in followers by like five or six thousand,” Tate said. “I’m kind of becoming a big deal here.”

Five or six thousand Twitter followers is nice, but Packers offensive lineman T.J. Lang, who went off on the NFL with a series of profane tweets after the game, has gained 90,000 followers.

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Bengals roll up 559 yards, keep Browns winless

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) celebrates with teammates after catching a touchdown in the end zone in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores) AP

The Bengals and Browns played a wild one Sunday in Cincinnati.

The Bengals ended up having too much firepower and pulled away in the second half for a 31-17 win. A 48-yard Hail Mary on the final play of the first half to A.J. Green certainly helped, but the Bengals moved the ball pretty much at will throughout the game.

Andy Dalton had 308 yards passing and two touchdowns. Green had eight catches for 169 yards, and Jeremy Hill ran for 168 yards on just nine carries.

At one point in the third quarter, the Bengals were averaging 12.5 yards per carry. The Bengals finished the game averaging 9.0 yards per carry and rolled up 559 yards of offense. Their 559 yards and 31 points were a season high.

The Browns had to make another quarterback change after Cody Kessler suffered a concussion in the second quarter. Rookie Kevin Hogan became the sixth player to take snaps at quarterback for the Browns this season.

Hogan ran for 104 yards and a 28-yard touchdown, the longest by a quarterback in Browns history. But that run early in the third quarter was the last score for the Browns; Hill went 74 yards for a touchdown two plays later.

Hogan was 12-of-24 passing for 100 yards. He threw two interceptions and was sacked twice.

The Bengals moved to 3-4 and play the Redskins in London next week. The Browns fall to 0-7.

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Chiefs hang on for 27-21 win over Saints

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver De'Anthony Thomas (13) is brought down by New Orleans Saints defensive back Ken Crawley (46) with wide receiver Albert Wilson, top left, watching during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley) AP

By Saints standards, it was a pretty good defensive day.

But this week, they were playing a team that could play a little defense of their own.

The Chiefs held on for a 27-21 win over the Saints to improve to 4-2, and they had to work to do it.

The Saints (2-4) entered the game allowing a league-high (and record pace) 33.6 points per game. They stiffened a bit, but still made mistakes at inopportune times. A Nick Fairley unnecessary roughness penalty just before the two-minute warning gave the Chiefs an extra few downs to waste time.

Kansas City was able to do it while not getting much from running back Jamaal Charles, who had just one carry as they ease him back from last year’s knee injury.

Alex Smith threw for two touchdowns, and an interception return for a touchdown by safety Daniel Sorensen gave them the cushion they needed.

Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes and had a chance with 28 seconds and no timeouts left, but ran out of time when Michael Thomas went down in bounds, eliminating a chance at a Hail Mary.

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Jets snap losing streak with 24-16 win over Ravens

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 23:  Matt Forte #22 of the New York Jets celebrates his third quarter touchdown with teammate Brandon Shell #72 against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium on October 23, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets have dug themselves a big hole to start this season, but they took one step in the right direction on Sunday afternoon against the Ravens.

The Jets defense shut out the Ravens in the second half and forced a pair of Joe Flacco interceptions that turned into 10 points that turned a 16-14 Ravens lead into a 24-16 Jets victory. The Ravens lost six yards trying to run the ball in the second half of the game and Flacco threw for just 32 yards over the final 30 minutes as Baltimore lost in New Jersey for the second straight week.

It was also their fourth straight loss overall, which was the same position the Jets were in when Sunday’s game got underway. Geno Smith started the game and hit Quincy Enunwa for a 69-yard touchdown before hurting his knee and handing the offense back over the Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick led a touchdown drive in the second quarter and used short fields to get those 10 points in the second half.

Any discussion of who will start for the Jets against the Browns next weekend will likely wait for word on Smith’s condition. Fitzpatrick went 9-of-14 for 120 yards and didn’t turn the ball over, although the Jets clearly opted for a conservative approach by running Matt Forte 29 times over the course of the afternoon. Forte ran for 98 yards and a touchdown and also scored on a reception during a strong day overall for a player who’d been losing time to Bilal Powell in recent weeks.

The Ravens will have a bye next week and it’s a good time for it as the team is racked by injuries on both sides of the ball. Cornerback Tavon Young and safety Lardarius Webb were added to the list during Sunday’s game and we’ll see if there’s been any recurrence of Flacco’s shoulder problem after another rough day at MetLife Stadium.

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Cousins scores, Stafford answers as Detroit beats Washington

Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones makes a diving catch defended by Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman (24) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016 in Detroit. Norman was injured on the play. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson) AP

Kirk Cousins did it with his feet. Matthew Stafford did it with his arm.

Cousins and Stafford had a great quarterback duel in the final minutes of today’s game in Detroit, and it was Stafford who came out on top: Cousins surprised the entire Lions defense with a 19-yard rushing touchdown on a zone-read play to give Washington a 17-13 lead with a minute to play. But then Stafford methodically marched the Lions down the field and hit Anquan Boldin for an 18-yard touchdown with 16 seconds left, giving the Lions a 20-17 win.

Both quarterbacks saved their best for last, as the first half of the game featured some ugly offense and a 3-3 tie at halftime. In the second half, both offenses came alive — aided in part by the fact that both teams lost their top cornerbacks to injuries. Josh Norman suffered a concussion and Darius Slay suffered a hamstring injury.

The Lions’ win means both teams are 4-3, and both teams are in the thick of a tight NFC playoff race. It wouldn’t be surprising if this game turns out to have an impact on that playoff race, and if so, that was a huge last-minute performance by Stafford.

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Jay Ajayi is fourth player to run for 200 yards in back-to-back games

Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi (23) celebrates a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla. To the right is Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey (51). (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) AP

Running back Jay Ajayi has done something only three other men have done in NFL history.

With a 14-yard run in the fourth quarter against the Bills, Ajayi went over 200 rushing yards for the second straight game. He joins O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams as the only backs in history to pull off that feat in back-to-back games.

Ajayi stayed down at the end of that 14-yard run and then went to the sideline after a check from the trainers. Ajayi walked off under his own power and now has 212 yards on 28 carries after going for 204 yards last week.

Damien Williams took over for Ajayi in the backfield and ran for a 12-yard touchdown a couple of plays later. That leaves the Dolphins up 21-17 with 3:56 left to play in Miami.

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League believes Vontaze Burfict stomp was “clear and obvious,” Bengals don’t

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 16:  Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals sacks Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots during the game at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) Getty Images

Last Sunday’s pair of questionable plays by Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict resulted in no suspension for the player who missed the first three games of the 2016 season. A $75,000 fine for one of the two maneuvers — an apparent stomp on Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount — is pending on appeal.

Eventually, one of the two persons hired by the league and the NFL Players Association will decide whether the fine will be upheld. Until then, the league and the Bengals will be at sharp odds over whether Burfict did anything wrong.

Per a source with knowledge of the league’s thinking, Burfict entered the fray and committed a clear and obvious step on Blount.

From Burfict’s perspective, the evidence is inconclusive. Per a source with knowledge of the team’s position, Burfict was stepping in to pull a Patriots player off of an Eagles player, and that Burfict was looking forward, not down at Blount. Also, at least one official was watching the entire exchange but did not throw a flag. Although Blount’s reaction suggests that something happened, the Bengals and Burfict insist that any contact (at best a brushing of the calf) was inadvertent.

As to the controversial low hit on Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett, the league concluded that Burfict was reacting to a pump fake from quarterback Tom Brady, and that the low hit was the last resort to getting beat on the play. Based on all available angles and the progression of the play, the NFL decided that there was not enough evidence to take action.

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Saints turn it over in red zone, as Chiefs hang onto lead

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) makes a touchdown catch against New Orleans Saints defensive back Ken Crawley (46) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) AP

The Saints looked like they were going to be able to move the ball.

But against an actual NFL defense, they don’t have much margin of error.

The Chiefs lead 24-14 midway through the fourth quarter, after the second Saints turnover of the day. Cornerback Ron Parker punched the ball out of the hands of Saints running back Mark Ingram in the red zone, killing what might have been their last best chance to stay within striking distance.

The Saints actually opened the second half with a 14-play, 75-yard drive which chewed 8:03 off the clock, cutting the lead to 21-14. But even with their own defense doing something resembling defense, they couldn’t take advantage.

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Delanie Walker leaves game, returns and catches TD pass

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 27:  Delanie Walker #82 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the ball against the Houston Texans at LP Field on December 27, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

Titans tight end Delanie Walker left Sunday’s game in the third quarter after taking a big hit from Colts linebacker Josh McNary.

Early in the fourth quarter, Walker returned and caught a touchdown pass to tie the game at 20.

Walker was running a pass route, and the ball was in the air when McNary leveled him. McNary was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness. The penalty on McNary negated an interception by Colts cornerback Patrick Robinson.

The Colts led 20-13 at the start of the fourth quarter. They led 17-6 at one point in the first half.

Titans running back DeMarco Murray is having another big game. He’s over 100 yards rushing and scored a touchdown late in the first half.

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Eagles extend lead against listless Vikings

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball into the end zone for a two point conversion in the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Getty Images

In their first two road games of the season, the Vikings rebounded from 10-0 deficits. If they’re going to run their record to 6-0, the Vikings will need to dig their way out of a 15-point hole.

The Eagles lead 18-3 in a game full of turnovers, with three from each team’s starting quarterback.

Minnesota eventually became the first team to score, with a 48-yard field goal by kicker Blair Walsh. The ensuing kickoff was returned 98 yards by Josh Huff for a touchdown, thanks in part to Walsh impersonating a matador a full eight days before Halloween.

The Eagles added a field goal before halftime, thanks to a nifty run by Carson Wentz on fourth and two after he mishandled the shotgun snap.

The home team then drove 77 yards in nine plays with its first drive of the second half to extend the lead.

Minnesota’s offense has been consistently stymied by an aggressive Eagles defense, which has consistently pressured and confused Sam Bradford.

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Jets jump to 24-16 lead after two Flacco interceptions

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 23:  Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens looks to pass against the New York Jets in the first quarter at MetLife Stadium on October 23, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco missed a couple of days of practice while dealing with right shoulder soreness this week, but didn’t show signs of anything being wrong in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Jets.

The third quarter didn’t unfold quite as well for Flacco. He was intercepted on two straight drives and the Jets turned the takeaways into 10 points that leave up 24-16 heading into the fourth quarter.

Cornerback Buster Skrine jumped an out route to Breshad Perriman after Flacco appeared to deliver the ball a bit late and returned the ball inside the Ravens’ five-yard-line. The Ravens defense forced a field goal, but Flacco fired high and safety Marcus Gilchrist picked the ball off a few plays later to set the Jets up again.

It looked like the Jets would blow the opportunity when Matt Forte fumbled, but Ravens defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan fumbled the ball back to the Jets for a pair of changes in possession in short order. Forte scored a couple of plays later to extend the Jets lead.

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Bills up 17-14, but LeSean McCoy doubtful to return

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2016, file photo, Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) breaks away from San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker Nick Bellore (50) during the first half of an NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y. McCoy did not finish practice Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016,  after hurting one of his hamstrings. Coach Rex Ryan said that McCoy was being evaluated by trainers. He didn't have any details about how McCoy was hurt and didn't know the severity of the injury.  (AP Photo/Bill Wippert, File) AP

Bills running back LeSean McCoy’s hamstring injury wasn’t severe enough to keep him from playing against the Dolphins on Sunday, but he wasn’t able to make it through the entire game before the problem cropped up again.

McCoy is being called doubtful to return to the game after aggravating the hamstring injury in the third quarter of the game. Whether because of injury or the Dolphins defense, McCoy struggled to move the ball while he was in the game and could be done with 11 yards on eight carries.

Thankfully for the Bills, their passing game clicked for a big play. After a sack by linebacker Lorenzo Alexander forced a Dolphins punt, Tyrod Taylor hit Marquise Goodwin for a 67-yard touchdown pass on first down to extend the Bills’ lead to 17-6.

The Dolphins offense answered back with its first touchdown of the day. Jay Ajayi scored from four yards out to cap a 10-play drive that saw him get the ball six times. Ajayi now has 22 carries for 140 yards with the third quarter about to end in Miami and the Dolphins trail 17-14 after a successful two-point conversion.

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Jamie Collins active for Patriots in Pittsburgh

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 29:  Chandler Jones #95 and Jamie Collins #91 of the New England Patriots react during the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on October 29, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Patriots played without linebacker Jamie Collins in last week’s victory over the Bengals, but they’ll have him back as they try for their third straight win in Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon.

Collins was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report because of the hip injury that kept him out last week and obviously checked out fine as the Patriots went through their pregame work. Wide receiver Julian Edelman and linebacker Elandon Roberts are also in uniform for New England after being tagged as questionable to play this week.

Defensive back Cyrus Jones is a healthy scratch for the second straight week. He’s joined on the inactive list by tight end A.J. Derby, defensive lineman Vincent Valentine, defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton, running back D.J. Foster, tackle LaAdrian Waddle and safety Jordan Richards.

There was no suspense with the Steelers inactives for this game. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, defensive end Cam Heyward, offensive lineman Cody Wallace, tackle Marcus Gilbert, wide receiver Markus Wheaton, safety Shamarko Thomas and running back DeAngelo Williams were all ruled out during the week.

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Bengals, Browns trading big plays

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 16:  Jeremy Hill #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals stiff-arms John Simon #51 of the Houston Texans while carrying the ball during the first quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on November 16, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s a shootout in Cincinnati.

The first half ended with a Hail Mary to A.J. Green, and the teams have traded rushing touchdowns to start the second half. The Bengals lead, 28-17, just over five minutes into the third quarter.

Rookie Kevin Hogan ran for the Browns’ touchdown to start the third quarter. He’s playing because Cody Kessler was forced out of the game in the second quarter with a concussion.

The Bengals answered that score two plays later when Jeremy Hill ran 74 yards for a touchdown. Hill has 132 yards on just five carries.

The Bengals are averaging 12.5 yards per rush.

Hogan’s 28-yard touchdown run was the longest ever by a Browns quarterback. He’s the sixth quarterback to take snaps for the Browns this season.

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Josh Norman exits with concussion

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 9: Cornerback Josh Norman #24 of the Washington Redskins looks on prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 9, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) Getty Images

Washington cornerback Josh Norman left today’s game in Detroit after slamming hard into the turf while diving for a ball.

Norman appeared to hit both his shoulder and his head on the ground and stayed down for a couple of minutes before he was helped off the field. He will be evaluated for a concussion.

The injury came on a costly play for Washington: Detroit’s Matthew Stafford hit Marvin Jones for a 52-yard gain on the play, with Norman in coverage. Norman was also called for pass interference on the play as he had his hand on Jones’s shoulder while he was covering him, although the Lions declined the penalty because Jones caught the ball.

The Lions have also lost their top cornerback, Darius Slay, who exited with a hamstring injury.

UPDATE 3:11 p.m. ET: Norman has suffered a concussion and will not return.

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Luck off to hot start as Colts build lead

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02:   Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts throw the ball during the NFL game between Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on October 2, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Colts have a halftime lead for the second straight week.

It’s 17-13, but the Titans have the momentum after a DeMarco Murray touchdown run with 34 seconds left in the second quarter.

The Titans scored on the game’s first drive. The Colts immediately answered, then went up 14-6 on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton. The Colts recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, then got a field goal from Adam Vinatieri to make it 17-6.

Luck is over 200 yards passing at halftime. He’s 13-of-19 for 210 yards and two touchdowns. Hilton has four catches for 90 yards.

Murray has 77 yards rushing on 16 carries.

Titans cornerback Perrish Cox was carted off the field in the second quarter. The Titans announced that Cox is being evaluated for a concussion.

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