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Seahawks-Packers ref now admits call was “probably” wrong

Jay Cutler, Wayne Elliott AP

A cottage industry emerged last week among a small handful of contrarians who pandered to Seahawks fans by suggesting that the events that concluded the Monday night game between Green Bay and Seattle were handled correctly.

That industry can now officially be disbanded.

Replacement referee Wayne Elliott, who initially defended the call of a touchdown by Seahawks receiver Golden Tate, reluctantly admitted during an interview with Cris Collinsworth and James Brown on this week’s Inside the NFL that the call “probably” should have been an interception.

The heart of the controversy continues to be the difference between control and possession.  If one player controls the ball before the other player, there can be no simultaneous catch.

Elliott also said that he received plenty of calls after “the call,” and that one of them came from Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

“He called me at my house last week, because he had heard I was having a rough week with all the calls and everything,” Elliott said.  “He just had heard that I was having a rough week, and wanted [me] to know that he thought what I did, controversial and maybe he didn’t agree with it, that I handled it with class.”

Asked for some war stories, Elliott said that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler called Elliott an “M-F-in’ replacement ref” during a game, but that Cutler later offered him water, explaining the profanity by saying that was the only way to get Elliott’s attention.

Referee Jim Core shared an observation regarding Bucs coach Greg Schiano:  “He’s college.”  Core went on to explain that wasn’t a compliment.

The full interview is worth a listen.  But here’s hoping it’s the last we hear from or about the replacement officials.

Ever.

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Vikings use long drive to tie the Packers

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings Getty Images

There was nothing easy about it, but the Vikings tied things up with the Packers.

A 14-play drive was capped by a 22-yard touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater to Charles Johnson, allowing the Vikings to even things up at home.

Minnesota converted a pair of fourth downs during the drive, including having an interception waved off because of a Packers holding penalty.

Bridgewater’s only completed 4-of-12 passes, but he’s at least been timely, and the Packers are letting them hang around.

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Eagles lose Zach Ertz, but lead 17-7 in second quarter

Pittsburgh Steelers v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

Sunday got off to a good start for the Eagles and things continued to go well for most of the first quarter.

The Titans went three plays and out on all three of their first quarter drives and Darren Sproles ran for a short touchdown as the Eagles built of Josh Huff’s game-opening kickoff return for a touchdown to take a 17-0 lead.

A Mark Sanchez interception helped close the gap, however. Sanchez made a poor throw to Riley Cooper that Cooper probably could have done more to keep from winding up in Brandon Ghee’s hands and the Titans capitalized a couple of plays later. Safety Malcolm Jenkins tipped a Zach Mettenberger pass to Justin Hunter, but Hunter was able to reel it in and keep going for a 40-yard touchdown that cut the Eagle lead to 10 points.

The Eagles also lost tight end Zach Ertz to an oblique injury as the first quarter wound down. He’s questionable to return to the game.

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Turnovers the story early in Indianapolis

Andrew Luck AP

The defenses have ruled thus far in Indianapolis, with the Jaguars and Colts tied at three after one quarter.

The Jaguars and Colts have each tallied a field goal set up by a takeaway, with the Jaguars capitalizing on an Andrew Luck fumble on a sack and the Colts cashing in a Blake Bortles interception.

The Colts have had problems protecting Luck, who has been sacked four times thus far, losing a pair of fumbles when sacked. However, on both occasions, the Jaguars’ coverage was a factor.

Meanwhile, the underdog Jaguars have again struggled to play sound football. In addition to Bortles’ pick, Denard Robinson has lost a fumble. Even their made field goal was far from perfect; the Colts deflected the ball, but it made its way through the uprights nonetheless.

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Josh Gordon looks good, Browns tie score

Cleveland Browns v Atlanta Falcons Getty Images

Wide receiver Josh Gordon doesn’t look like he’s going to be too limited for the Browns on Sunday and that looks like a good thing for the Cleveland offense.

Gordon turned a screen pass into a 22-yard gain that took the Browns to the Atlanta 11-yard-line late in the first quarter. Running back Isaiah Crowell ran for a touchdown two plays later, tying the score at 7.

Gordon has seen plenty of playing time — 13-of-15 snaps — on the first two Browns possessions and was targeted on a deep pass on third down the first time the Browns had the ball. He was well covered by Desmond Trufant on the play, but Gordon was able to slip free for a 12-yard catch to mark his first reception of the 2014 season.

Atlanta opened the scoring with a Matt Ryan touchdown pass to Julio Jones, who was drafted with a pick Cleveland traded to Atlanta, for Jones’s first score since Week Three.

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Andre Smith done for the day with an arm injury

Atlanta Falcons v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

The Bengals were just getting used to having Andre Smith back in the lineup, now he’s gone again.

The veteran right tackle has left with an arm injury, and won’t return.

Smith was just getting back from an ankle problem, and has been replaced by Marshall Newhouse.

Injuries have plagued the Bengals up front all year, and having backups trying to slow J.J. Watt isn’t an ideal situation.

But they have put together their best drive of the day, and Mohamed Sanu got their on the board with a 6-yard catch-and-run touchdown.

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Free tickets to Jets-Bills are no longer free

Tickets Getty Images

After the NFL decided to move the game between the Jets and Bills to Detroit, tickets were distributed for free.  They could have picked a slightly higher price point.

According to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com, the tickets are gone — and at least one scalper was looking for $125 for a ticket to the game.

This ain’t a free game, man,” one scalper said.

While it’s unlikely that many tickets would have been sold at a face value of $125, the NFL presumably could have charged something for the tickets.  Five dollars.  Ten.  Even $19.95.

It’s a great gesture by the NFL to give the tickets away, something the league has done in past cases when circumstances forced a game to move.  But if someone is going to make money for something given away for nothing, maybe the something shouldn’t be given away.

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Eagles up 7-0 after opening kickoff

Philadelphia Eagles v Houston Texans Getty Images

The Eagles are trying to shake off last week’s blowout loss to the Packers and they got off on the right foot against the Titans on Sunday.

Josh Huff took the opening kickoff 107 yards for a touchdown to hand the Eagles a 7-0 lead 13 seconds into the game.

Huff’s touchdown continues a strong season for the Eagles special teams. Darren Sproles has two punt return scores, Chris Polk has also returned a kickoff for a touchdown and they’ve blocked five kicks so far this season. That knack for big plays eluded them last week as the Packers had a punt return for a score, but it seems the old magic has returned now that the Eagles are back on their home turf.

It’s also a nice change of pace for Huff, who has had a rocky rookie season up to this point.

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No Julius Thomas for Broncos today

Julius Thomas AP

The Broncos will be without at least one of their main passing targets today.

According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, Broncos tight end Jay Glazer won’t play today because of an ankle injury.

They had referred to him as a game-time decision, but it appears this one came in well in advance.

Thomas’ ankle injury wasn’t as bad as feared, but they’re still going to play it smart with a guy they’ll need coming down the stretch.

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Glazer: Browns plan to unleash Josh Gordon

Gordon Getty Images

The Browns will limit receiver Josh Gordon’s reps on Sunday.  Unless they don’t.

The battle lines have been drawn.  Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Browns will use Gordon for only 20-30 snaps in his return from a 10-game suspension.  Jay Glazer of FOX reports that the Browns plan to unleash Gordon.

I’ve got no inside information on what the Browns plan to do, but the reality is that the plan often goes out the window once the game starts.  And with the Browns trying to keep their postseason hopes from going down the drain, they’ll do what they need to do to win games.  Which includes getting the most out of one of the most dynamic players in the league.

So whatever the over/under is for Gordon, take the over.

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Report: Vikings general counsel has been working against Peterson

Warren Getty Images

So who was Vikings running back Adrian Peterson referring to when he said that someone with the organization didn’t support him?

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Peterson was referring to Vikings general counsel Kevin Warren.  Schefter also reports that Warren and the NFL have been working together to ensure that Peterson doesn’t play this season.

That fits squarely with our (or at least my) strong belief that someone decided back in the middle of September that Peterson wouldn’t play again this year, and that every decision, breached agreement, and/or misapplied policy has been aimed at keeping Peterson from playing this year.

“I know there’s people in the organization that support me and there’s people that I know internally that has not been supporting me,” Peterson told USA Today recently, without naming names.

A request for comment has been sent by PFT to the Vikings, but they’re less than 40 minutes from kickoff against the Packers.

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Matt Kalil, Greg Jennings active for Vikings

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

Of the four Vikings listed as questionable for Sunday’s game vs. Green Bay, three will suit up.

Wide receiver Greg Jennings (rib), left tackle Matt Kalil (knee) and wide receiver Jarius Wright (hamstring) are not among the club’s inactives for Week 12. Also active is newly acquired tailback Ben Tate, who figures to play behind rookie Jerick McKinnon.

However, while Jennings, Kalil and Wright will play, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee) is inactive. He was questionable after missing Thursday and Friday.

The Vikings’ other inactives are tailback Matt Asiata (concussion), fullback Zach Line, linebacker Mike Mauti, linebacker Brandon Watts, offensive guard Austin Wentworth and offensive guard David Yankey.

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Reggie Bush inactive, LeGarrette Blount active in New England

Miami Dolphins v Detroit Lions Getty Images

LeGarrette Blount was unhappy about being on the Steelers sideline less than a week ago.

Sunday will find him happier to be in a different but familiar uniform. The running back is active for the Patriots after signing up for a second tour of duty with the club on Thursday.

Blount joins last week’s rushing hero Jonas Gray, Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden and James Develin in the backfield for the Patriots on Sunday with rookie James White on the inactive list. Coach Bill Belichick offered no hints about Blount’s potential role beyond saying that it is totally up to Blount.

While the Patriots get Blount back in the lineup this week, the Lions will have to wait a bit longer for Reggie Bush to return to their offense. He was listed as inactive for Sunday’s game, the second straight game he’s missed because of an ankle injury, and hopes to return for the Thanksgiving game against the Bears.

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Griffin could be benched today

Griffin Getty Images

With the handwriting etched into the wall by the repeated public remarks of coach Jay Gruden, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that Gruden is prepared to bench Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III, if Griffin continues his ineffective play on Sunday at San Francisco.

If benched, Griffin’s replacement would be Colt McCoy, who led the team to wins over the Titans and Cowboys while Griffin was recovering from a dislocated ankle.

Gruden’s brother, Jon, works for ESPN, making it tempting to connect the dots from Gruden to Gruden to Mortensen.

The coach has gone all in against Griffin this week, calling him out for calling out teammates and for having bad fundamentals in a post-bye week 20-point loss to Tampa Bay.  After a temporary backtracking, Gruden then told NFL Media (partially owned by owner Daniel Snyder) that the “clock’s ticking” on Griffin, who has been “coddled” in the past.

Like last season’s late-season dysfunction between Griffin and former coach Mike Shanahan, these developments suggest that player or coach won’t be back in 2015.  Silent amid the turmoil has been both G.M. Bruce Allen and owner Daniel Snyder.  How they feel about Griffin and Gruden will go a long way toward determining which guy will return in 2015.

Surely, they don’t believe that the two men will continue to be able to coexist after the coach has so publicly condemned a quarterback who already had a well-earned reputation for being sensitive to criticism.

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Week 12 early inactives

Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

Every week we’ll bring you all the inactives from the early games in one post, constantly updated with the latest information. So check back often to see the full list as it becomes available.

Browns at Falcons

Browns: TE Jordan Cameron, WR Marlon Moore, LB Karlos Dansby, WR Rodney Smith, CB Pierre Desir, DB Robert Nelson, OL Vinston Painter

Falcons: CB Robert Alford, T Jonathan Scott, QB Sean Renfree, LB Tyler Starr, T Cameron Bradfield, LB James Anderson, DT Cliff Matthews

Buccaneers at Bears

Buccaneers: LB Lavonte David, WR Robert Herron, RB Mike James, CB Crezdon Butler CB C.J. Wilson, T Kevin Pamphile, DE Da’Quan Bowers

Bears: DE Trevor Scott, WR Chris Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, CB Terrance Mitchell, LB Khaseem Greene, OL Eben Britton, T Jordan Mills

Bengals at Texans

Bengals: LB Vontaze Burfict, DE Margus Hunt, WR Dane Sanzenbacher, RB Rex Burkhead, CB Chris Lewis-Harris, T Tanner Hawkinson, WR Greg Little

Texans: CB Kareem Jackson, RB Arian Foster, QB Tom Savage, WR DeVier Posey, LB Max Bullough, T Jeff Adams, DB Josh Aubrey

Jaguars at Colts

Jaguars: DE Andre Branch, LB Jeremiah George, WR Mike Brown, CB Teddy Williams, RB Storm Johnson, G Tyler Shatley, OT Sam Young

Colts: TE Dwayne Allen, T Gosder Cherilus, CB Greg Toler, OL Lance Louis, C Khaled Holmes, DT Kelcy Quarles, DT Zach Kerr

Packers at Vikings

Packers: TE Brandon Bostick, QB Scott Tolzien, CB Jarrett Bush, LB Nick Perry, LB Carl Bradford, C Garth Gerhart, WR Jeff Janis

Vikings: RB Matt Asiata, DT Sharrif Floyd, FB Zach Line, LB Mike Mauti, LB Brandon Watts, G David Yankey, G Austin Wentworth

Lions at Patriots

Lions: DT Nick Fairley, G Larry Warford, QB Kellen Moore, DE Larry Webster, RB Reggie Bush, TE Kellen Davis, WR Ryan Broyles

Patriots: DE Chandler Jones, T Cameron Fleming, RB James White, WR Aaron Dobson, CB Malcolm Butler, DL Dominique Easley, OL Jordan Devey

Titans at Eagles

Titans: QB Charlie Whitehurst, WR Kris Durham, CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, DB Marqueston Huff, T Will Svitek, TE Richard Gordon, DE Ropati Pitoitua

Eagles: QB Nick Foles, CB Roc Carmichael, DB Jaylen Watkins, OL Julian Vandervelde, OL Dennis Kelly, WR Jeff Maehl, DL Taylor Hart

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Arian Foster inactive for second straight game for Texans

Arian Foster AP

If the Texans are going to continue their unlikely push for a playoff spot today, they’re going to have to do it without Arian Foster.

The running back won’t play today because of a groin injury, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

He did some work Wednesday but then sat out Thursday’s work, but coach Bill O’Brien said there was no setback.

Regardless the semantics, the Texans will rely on Alfred Blue today, as the coaches protect Foster for the long term. Blue has run well, and will get plenty of chances against a Bengals run defense which hasn’t been stellar.

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