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NFL morning after: Peyton Manning is just fine, thank you

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos Getty Images

Broncos coach John Fox was asked last week, What’s wrong with Peyton Manning’s arm? Fox got a good laugh out of that question, and it’s a good thing he enjoyed it. Because he probably won’t get that question again.

Manning demonstrated on Sunday against the Raiders that he’s just fine, thank you: More than capable of carving up an opposing defense and leading his team to a big win, which is exactly what he did in completing 30 of 38 passes for 338 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions, as the Broncos beat the Raiders 37-6. Fox said afterward that he’s seeing just the kind of weekly improvement from Manning he expected from a player who had to sit out the entire 2011 season with a neck injury.

“He’s getting more comfortable,” Fox said. “Let’s not forget he didn’t play for over a year and this is a new team, new coaching staff, new city, new field, new everything for him. The type of guy he is, he’s going to get better and better.”

Is it possible that Manning has lost a little speed off his fastball? Maybe. But Sunday’s game demonstrated that any talk that Manning no longer had an NFL-quality arm after last year’s neck surgeries was every bit as laughable as Fox made it out to be. And anyway, Manning has always beaten opposing defenses more with his head than with his arm. After a year away, Manning looks like more or less the same player who won four league MVP awards in Indianapolis. Manning’s passer rating so far this season is 96.9 — better than the 91.9 rating he had in 2010, his final season with the Colts.

Up next for Manning is a trip to New England for a Sunday showdown with a Patriots team that was his biggest rival when he was in Indianapolis. When Manning and Tom Brady are squaring off, we’re seeing two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history on the field. And while both Manning and Brady are still playing great football, the reality is that they’re the two oldest starting quarterbacks in the NFL right now, and we probably won’t get many more opportunities to see them playing against each other. So when you watch Broncos-Patriots on Sunday, savor the greatness you’ll see from these two quarterbacks.

Here are my other thoughts on this week’s NFL action:

Cam Newton’s touchdown record may only last a year. As a rookie in 2011, Newton set a new NFL record for touchdown runs by a quarterback in a season, with 14. But Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is on pace to top that this year, with four touchdowns in four games. Griffin, who threw for 323 yards and ran for 43 yards in leading his team to a 24-22 win in Tampa Bay on Sunday, is the best athlete ever to play the quarterback position, and it’s easy to see him continuing to average a touchdown a game for 16 games this season — but only if he stays healthy enough to play 16 games this season. Griffin is so confident in himself that he takes some reckless chances with his body when he runs up the middle, and sometimes he takes violent hits. Eventually, he’s going to need to learn that if the end zone is not in reach, he needs to get down, or else he’ll be spending more time on the sideline than in the end zone.

Welcome back, real refs. Ed Hochuli’s bulging biceps were a sight for sore eyes Sunday, and so were the rest of the regular referees, back to work after the NFL wisely ended the lockout of the officials. All those baffling penalties and foolish mistakes from the replacement refs were a thing of the past, and for fans watching at home, it was especially nice having the real referees move the games along quickly: Most of the games that kicked off at 1 p.m. were over before the 4:05 p.m. kickoffs, something that didn’t happen on any of the first three Sundays of the season. Unfortunately, the Packers — who were ripped off by the replacement refs last week — were saddled with the worst regular ref in the NFL, Jeff Triplette. A week after the Packers were robbed of a victory over the Seahawks by the replacement officials, the Packers were nearly robbed of a victory over the Saints by Triplette and his crew. Green Bay overcame major officiating mistakes including a Saints fumble that was wrongly ruled down by contact and an obvious push-off on a Saints touchdown catch that was somehow not called. If bad officiating had cost the Packers another game, there might have been a riot at Lambeau Field.

When Vikings defensive end Jared Allen is inducted into the Hall of Fame some day, Jeff Backus should introduce him. Backus, the Lions’ longtime left tackle, knows better than anyone how hard it is to block Allen. Because Backus has to do it twice a year, and Allen always gets the better of him. Last season, Allen had three sacks in each of the Vikings’ two games against the Lions. On Sunday, in the Vikings’ 20-13 win over the Lions, Allen had a sack and three tackles for loss. There are few bigger mismatches in the NFL than a one-on-one battle between Backus and Allen.

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith looks like the first pick in the 2013 NFL draft. Smith had an absolutely insane stat line against Baylor on Saturday: 45-of-51 for 656 yards, with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. Smith has a good arm, he’s a good athlete, and he’s an intelligent young man who should be a quick study in learning an NFL offense. A lot can change between now and April, but Smith looks like the kind of player who will make NFL scouts drool.

Rex Ryan had the quote of the day. Describing his Jets’ loss to the 49ers, Ryan said, “I was going to say we got our butt kicked, but really, we got our ass kicked.” Ryan was in too bad a mood to avoid profanity, and it’s hard to blame him. The Jets lost 35-0 and looked like a mess.

I can’t believe the Cardinals are 4-0. And I also can’t believe the Saints are 0-4. But that’s what makes the NFL so fun: We spend all offseason obsessing over coaching changes and free agency and the draft and training camp battles, and we’re sure we know how the league stacks up this year, and then by the time the season is a quarter of the way over, impossible things have happened. Like a team we knew was bad starting undefeated, or a team we knew was good starting winless, or an aging and injured quarterback still playing like a great one.

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Bruce Arians waiting to hear NFL’s “B-S” explanation of calls

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians hands the referees the red flag during the first half of a football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) AP

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians didn’t lose last night, but he was in no mood to consider the official explanation he’d get from the league later this week.

In fact, that explanation may come in the form of an invoice.

In discussing one particular play during his team’s 6-6 tie with the Seahawks, Bobby Wagner’s leaping field goal block, Arians didn’t seem satisfied with the explanation he got from officials on the field.

“I’ll talk to the league and I’m sure we’ll get some kind explanation that’s all bullsh—like normal,” Arians said, via Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic.

While not specifically a criticism of the call, it certainly cast the officiating department in a less that flattering light, which could cost the Cardinals coach later in the week.

NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino explained on Twitter that because Wagner didn’t land on a Cardinals player, there was no foul. Wagner’s foot appeared to graze the back of the Cardinals long snapper, but it didn’t propel him forward (if anything it took a bit of momentum off his amazing jump).

Arians had plenty of other reasons to be salty, as a missed field goal in overtime and a blocked punt in regulation which set up Seattle’s game-tying field goal made it a night to forget for his special teams.

“I thought our football team, other than the three plays in the kicking game, was outstanding,” Arians said.

Of kicker Chandler Catanzaro in particular, the missed 24-yarder in overtime which hit the upright drew a stern response.


“Make it,” Arians said. “You’re a professional; this ain’t high school. Make it.”

The league’s response might be similar to Arians, except with “Pay it,” as the signature line.





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Sunday Night wrap-up: Cardinals and Seahawks in a tie for the ages

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) is hit after the throw by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark (55) during the first half of a football game, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) AP

Subtle, it was not. Stylish, it was not.

But that doesn’t mean it was bad, either.

For all the problems the NFL has had putting entertaining games on in prime time this year, the Cardinals and Seahawks delivered a beauty, though it’s admittedly in the eye of the beholder.

And if you watched them pummel each other for a 6-6 tie, you probably have a black eye just from being close to such a physical game.

From Cardinals coach Bruce Arians complaining at halftime about his receivers being held, to the Seahawks defense running on fumes (because their offense couldn’t do anything), both teams were gassed by the end of this one because of the start-to-finish bludgeoning. There were more punts than points (15-12), a pair of missed game-winning field goals in overtime, and that’s not for everyone.

It wasn’t the kind of game that will make fantasy players happy, but it’s also the kind of game we need from time to time, to cleanse the palate, to remember there’s a part of the game that can’t be quantified.

Unless you count copays, and the amount of ice both teams are going to need after this one.

Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:

1. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson can talk all he wants about being healthy.

But he’s not (Source: My two eyes).

Wilson’s been dealing with a high ankle sprain and a sprained MCL (different legs), and it’s clearly impacted his ability to be a component of the Seahawks running game.

Of course, they were adjusting that anyway without Marshawn Lynch this year (and Thomas Rawls‘ recovery from a broken leg), but the lack of Wilson’s normal ability to scramble is clear. He was limited to one carry for minus-2 yards and the Seahawks only managed 130 yards in regulation.

The field goal drive in overtime was OK (though the third-down throw-away was a little bizarre), but the Seahawks don’t have enough players on offense, and Wilson isn’t well enough to bail them out.

2. On the other hand, Cardinals running back David Johnson continues to contribute in many ways.

Johnson had 113 yards rushing and another 58 receiving, on a night when no one else was getting anything done.

He has now gained at least 100 yards from scrimmage in seven straight games, the consistent part of their offense. At a time when the Cardinals are running low on reliable receiving targets, they need him more than ever.

3. The Seahawks already had problems with their offensive line. But an injury to left tackle Bradley Sowell in the fourth quarter underscored how thin they actually are.

Sowell was carted off with some degree of leg injury.

Undrafted rookie George Fant replaced him at left tackle for the pivotal final minutes of regulation.

The Seahawks have been changing tires on that particular moving car since last season, with very little resembling stability up front. And when a solid-not-spectacular player such as Sowell creates serious issues with his absence, it speaks to the pre-existing condition.

With Wilson not well and the running game not working, it’s the kind of thing that could snowball and turn into an even bigger problem in a hurry.

4. The Cardinals have some major issues on special teams.

Letting Bobby Wagner hurdle your line (and the first was a clean play, the OT one, maybe not) was one thing. But a blocked punt late was the extent of the offense Seattle was going to muster, and the missed field goal in overtime was the kind of play that could linger beyond a single game.

When you’re operating on a fine margin as they were Sunday night, it could be a killer, and they figure to have some close games in front of them.

5. On a night when defenses dominated, a guy the Cardinals were expecting to have a bigger role was not to be heard from.

First-rounder Robert Nkemdiche hasn’t been active on a regular basis, and didn’t contribute anything visible.

The 29th overall pick had elite talent at Ole Miss, but fell to the Cardinals with the 29th pick because of teams being scared of off-field issues. Many thought he’d flourish on the Cardinals defense, but he’s not made a good impression. Coach Bruce Arians has taken a few swipes at him in press conferences, and he hasn’t exactly responded.

The Cards were willing to give 2015 first-rounder D.J. Humphries a red-shirt year, as he wasn’t even active last year. And Nkemdiche might become a value pick for them, but he hasn’t shown signs of it yet.

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Joe Staley is available, too

SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Tackle Joe Staley #74 of the San Francisco 49ers warms up before a game against the Seattle Seahawks on November 27, 2014 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.  The Seahawks won 19-3. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Getty Images

There are a couple of not-so-average Joes with no-so-average jobs who are available to change employers in the next week or so.

In addition to Browns left tackle Joe Thomas, 49ers left tackle Joe Staley also could be had in trade.

Staley, drafted in the same round (first) of the same draft (2007) as Thomas, has been tied to the same teams that have some degree of interest in Thomas: Vikings, Giants, Cardinals, Seahawks and, if the 49ers are willing to take whatever they can get, the Patriots.

While the Browns would deal Thomas for a second-round pick, a source with knowledge of the dynamics tells PFT the 49ers are angling for a first-round pick from a contender for Staley, which likely would come late in the round.

Staley, 32, is under contract through 2019. His base salary spikes from $5.4 million this year to $8.25 million in 2017.

The trade window closes on Tuesday, November 1 at 4:00 p.m. ET.

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Cardinals running short of targets, Jaron Brown won’t return

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) scrambles as Seattle Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark (55) pursues during the first half of a football game, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) AP

Neither team is doing much offensively tonight, but if the Cardinals are going to, they’re going to do it short-handed.

Cards wideout Jaron Brown, who left earlier with a knee injury, has been downgraded to out.

The Cards were already without John Brown (hamstring, sickle cell trait), and Michael Floyd has been in and out of a hard-hitting game.

Coupled with tight end Darren Fells being checked out by trainers, they’re short on wideouts and targets in general, and the game reflects that, as they cling to a 3-0 lead.

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Aaron Lynch: 49ers are possibly one of the best teams in the NFL

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 23:  Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers breaks a tackle from Aaron Lynch #59 of the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

Confidence. The food of the wise man and the liquor of the fool.

And while I’m not saying 49ers linebacker Aaron Lynch is a fool, I’d like to have a little of whatever liquor he was drinking before he offered up some supremely-confident comments about his employer.

We have the team,” Lynch said after a loss to Tampa that dropped San Francisco to 1-6, via Matt Maiocco of “We possibly have one of the best teams in the NFL, easily. Hands down. We need to know how to keep finishing games and work together throughout the whole game. Once we get that down, nobody’s going to be able to mess with us.”

They need to get that down quickly, because they’re nearly out of contention in the NFC playoff field.

Lynch wasn’t the only member of the defense talking big after the 49ers yielded gigantic yardage on Sunday: 513 total yards.

“I love this scheme,” safety Eric Reid said, via Maiocco. “If everybody does their job, we shouldn’t get beat. But whenever there’s an explosive play, somebody is out of position. We just got to tighten up.”

There’s a lot of tightening that needs to be done to make the 49ers relevant and competitive. Currently, they simply aren’t.

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Browns center Erving leaves game with illness

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 30:  Will Hill #33 of the Baltimore Ravens returns a blocked field goal for a touchdown in front of Jim Dray #81, Cameron Erving #74 and Andy Lee #8 of the Cleveland Browns during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 30, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Baltimore won the game 33-27.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) Getty Images

Browns center Cameron Erving left Sunday’s loss to the Bengals at halftime due to an undisclosed illness and did not return.

After the game, the Browns did not know if the illness was related to the bruised lung that Erving suffered in Week Two that kept him out of the next three games.

“Illness. Definitely illness,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said after the game. “Not going to get into anything [else]. It was an illness and he wasn’t ‘pulled.’ He didn’t come out for the second half, so that’s what happened.”

Erving’s absence caused another offensive line shuffle. John Greco went from right guard back to center. Rookie Spencer Drango started at left guard, and Alvin Bailey also played left guard before going back to right guard when Greco had to move inside.

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Cardinals falter before half, hang onto 3-0 lead on Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) blocks against Arizona Cardinals strong safety Tony Jefferson (22) during the first half of a football game, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) AP

It’s not a high-scoring half of football, but it’s entertaining in its own way.

And the Cardinals have the only points, leading Seattle 3-0 after a hard-hitting first half.

The Cards are pressuring Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson into an ugly stat line. Wilson’s just 5-of-14 passing for 34 yards, and lost 2 yards on his only rushing attempt.

It’s not that Cardinals are lighting it up themselves, and their late push for another Chandler Catanzaro field goal could have really benefitted from the timeout Bruce Arians burned on a non-challengeable play (Bobby Wagner’s leap over the line when he blocked the field goal).

Instead, offsetting penalties after a sack-strip-fumble by Carson Palmer allowed the half to expire.

The way this game is progressing, there might not be much scoring. But it will still be good.

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Antonio Brown says he’ll be fine after taking a knee in the quad

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 23:  Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers makes a catch in front of Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots in the first half during the game at Heinz Field on October 23, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers receiver Antonio Brown spent some time on the sidelines during Sunday’s loss to the Patriots, with a leg injury. After the game, Brown explained why he was absent.

He took a knee to the quad from a Patriots defender.

Brown added that he expects to be able to play in two weeks, when the Steelers emerge from their bye week.

For the game, Brown caught seven passes for 106 yards. It wasn’t enough to keep the Steelers from limping into the bye week at 4-3.

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LeSean McCoy: Hamstring felt fine heading into game

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 23:  LeSean McCoy #25 of the Buffalo Bills rushes with the ball against the Miami Dolphins at the Hard Rock Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bills saw their four-game winning streak come to an end in Miami on Sunday afternoon and they also saw running back LeSean McCoy leave the game early because of a hamstring injury.

McCoy’s status was a subject of discussion leading into the game with a report that he’d miss the game due to the hamstring injury getting rebuffed before he was listed as questionable for the game. He ran eight times for 11 yards while seeing the most snaps at running back into the third quarter of the game. McCoy said he “felt a little pain” in the hamstring during the game, but that all was well up until that point.

“I felt fine,” McCoy said, via the team. “Every day step by step I slowly progressed and things calmed down. It was a day to day decision. I felt great going into my cuts, warming up, running, cutting, I felt good. That was the only reason I would play if I was 100 percent.”

Coach Rex Ryan said that McCoy was cleared to play in the game and that he wouldn’t have played if the team didn’t think he was 100 percent.

McCoy said he doesn’t think the injury is a “major” one and feels hopeful he’ll be ready for next Sunday’s date with the Patriots. Based on the way the offense performed without McCoy having a big game, that would be as great for the Bills as it might be unlikely given how things went with McCoy’s hamstring this week.

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Who’s the best running back in the NFL?

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 23:  Jay Ajayi #23 of the Miami Dolphins enters the field prior to a game against the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images) Getty Images

With plenty of young running backs getting it done during the 2016 NFL season, it’s a good time to stick a finger in the wind regarding the best of the league’s current tailbacks.

That Monday’s question of the day on PFT Live. Vote for one of the choices in the poll appearing below, make your arguments in the comments, and tune in tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Radio, or to NBCSN at 7:00 a.m. ET for the simulcast.

Joining the show will be the head coach of one of the options listed below: Adam Gase, whose Dolphins have won two in a row and must be taken seriously down the stretch this season.

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Joe Flacco: My shoulder felt good today

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

The Ravens lost for the fourth straight week on Sunday when the Jets turned a pair of Joe Flacco interceptions into 10 second half points for a 24-16 home victory.

Flacco had some success in the first half, but he and the entire Ravens offense flamed out after taking a 16-14 lead into the locker room at halftime. After the game, Flacco was asked if the right shoulder soreness that caused him to miss practice time was an issue during the game.

Flacco said he felt good on Sunday and will take it easy during the bye week in hopes of keeping the issue from lingering in the coming weeks.

“I hope not. I didn’t deal with it today,” Flacco said in his postgame press conference. “I felt good; my arm felt great. I was a little bit nervous early on in the week, just because I wasn’t sure what it was. I was having a little bit of trouble with it, so I was a little bit nervous early in the week, but when I went in on Thursday, I felt pretty good and I felt optimistic that I was going to be feeling ready to go. The last couple days have been great and I felt great coming in throwing the ball, so hopefully I won’t have to deal with it. I’m sure there will be a little bit, but the fact that we have a bye week this week, hopefully I can get over it.”

Flacco’s two interceptions were hardly the only thing wrong on offense that ran for six yards all day. Flacco summed up the unit’s work by saying “we’re not good right now” and the Ravens’ losing streak is likely to keep running as long as that’s the case.

The Ravens have plenty of players in need of healing over the bye week and perhaps a healthier team can be more successful than the one that’s been on display the last few weeks.

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Cardinals and Seahawks still scoreless after a quarter

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) warms up prior to a football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) AP

Some people see a scoreless quarter and see the glass as half-empty.

But the Seahawks and Cardinals have also played quality defense, and kept the pressure on opposing quarterbacks so far.

It’s been hard for either side to get into much of a rhythm, but it’s not necessarily the fault of the offenses.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is clearly not himself as a runner, as was evidenced on an early read option. But his sprained left knee and his right ankle sprain from earlier this year haven’t kept him off the field, either.

The best play of the night so far was a punt by Arizona’s Ryan Quigley, who backed the Seahawks up at their own 1-yard line. You can look at that as a bad thing if you want, or you can savor a difficult job, well done.

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Matthew Stafford makes 100th-game history

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 23: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions celebrates on the sidelines late in the fourth quarter of the game against the Washington Redskins at Ford Field on October 23, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit defeated Washington 20-17. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) Getty Images

On Sunday, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford played in his 100th career game. And he has done more in 100 games than any player in league history.

Specifically, Stafford has more passing yards through his first 100 games, with 27,890.

That’s an average of 278.9 per game. He was under that amount on Sunday, with 266.

More importantly, the Lions managed their third straight win, fueled by a late-game drive allowed Detroit to beat Washington.

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Watch Seahawks-Cardinals online

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 16:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks talks with Seattle head coach Pete Carroll before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field on October 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

You don’t need a TV to watch Sunday Night Football. But you do need an Internet connection, if you don’t have a TV.

With said Internet connection and a computer or a tablet, you can stream the game via or the NBC Sports app.

It all gets started soon, with the Seahawks trying to stretch their record to 5-1 and the Cardinals hoping to get above .500 for the first time this year.

Yeah, yeah, yeah the zombie show is on. So record it and watch it after the game.

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Chargers rally from 17-point deficit for overtime win

San Diego Chargers inside linebacker Denzel Perryman (52) picks off Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman) AP

The Chargers don’t play boring games.

They rallied from a 17-point deficit Sunday to top the Falcons in overtime, 33-30, on a 42-yard field goal by Josh Lambo. The Chargers trailed 27-10 in the second quarter and twice trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter.

Philip Rivers threw for 371 yards and Melvin Gordon scored three touchdowns, but the Chargers also needed timely defensive plays. A Denzel Perryman interception in the fourth quarter set up the drive to tie it.

The Falcons went for it on fourth and one on their first overtime possession and got stopped. Falcons kicker Matt Bryant missed a 58-yard field goal on the final play of regulation.

With two rushing and one by passing, Gordon is up to 10 touchdowns on the season. He didn’t score a touchdown last year as a rookie.

The Falcons scored three touchdowns in the second quarter but scored just three points the rest of the way.

The Chargers keep playing close games and have now won two in a row for the first time for improve to 3-4. The Falcons are 4-3 after losing their second straight.

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones caught nine passes for 174 yards but the Chargers limited Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to 273 yards and one touchdown pass and also sacked him three times.

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