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Raiders up 13-6 at halftime, Chiefs still haven’t led

Carson Palmer AP

The Chiefs haven’t led this season.

And at this point, it’s a decent bet they may not.

After losing “starting” quarterback Brady Quinn to a head injury, former starter Matt Cassel led them to a pair of field goal drives which felt like progress, considering it was 6-6 late in the first half.

But then Javier Arenas fumbled an attempted fair catch just before halftime, giving the Raiders a short field.

Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer made them pay three plays later, hitting Denarius Moore for a quick touchdown and a 13-6 lead at the break.

The Chiefs lead the league in turnovers, and have allowed 86 points off those givebacks (10 today). Teams don’t get to be 1-5 by accident.

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Cromartie says Bush is a “punk”

Miami Dolphins Bush is tackled by New York Jets Cromartie in the first quarter during their NFL football game in East Rutherford Reuters

The Dolphins won the battle, but the Jets have won the war of words.


After New York’s loss to Miami, cornerback Antonio Cromartie addressed a personal-foul penalty he received after a first-quarter incident with Dolphins running back Reggie Bush.

Cromartie addressed the situation after the game.  “I didn’t lose my composure,” Cromartie said, via Mark Hale of the New York Post.  “I just called [Bush] a punk and that’s exactly what he is.”

Bush and the rest of the Dolphins punked the Jets on Sunday.  So maybe Cromartie, in a way, is right.

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Things go from bad to worse for Cowboys

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

When last we left the Cowboys (it wasn’t that long ago), they had two turnovers and the Giants had a 13-0 lead with more than three minutes to go in the first quarter.

It’s now less than two minutes into the second quarter and those qualify has the good old days. The Cowboys have turned the ball over twice more, including a Jason Pierre-Paul interception that the Giants defensive end returned 28 yards for a touchdown. That lifted the Giants lead to 23-0 and it is going to be hard for the Cowboys to stop the Giants from remaining undefeated at Cowboys Stadium without a sudden and total change in fortunes.

The Cowboys defense seemed to come up with a big win when they forced the Giants to go three-and-out after a Cowboys punt, but the Giants got the ball right back when Dez Bryant fumbled Steve Weatherford’s punt. The defense held the Giants to a third Lawrence Tynes field goal, but Tony Romo’s third interception was enough to suck any potential momentum right back out of the room.

There’s still plenty of time to play in Dallas, although it’s hard to tell if that’s a good thing for the Cowboys right now.

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Cowboys get off to a rough start against Giants

Tony Romo AP

If the Cowboys are hoping to get the crowd fired up on Sunday afternoon, they should probably focus a bit more on their play and a bit less on flashy scoreboard graphics.

Tony Romo was intercepted on each of the team’s first two possessions and the Giants have turned them into 10 points to open up a 13-0 lead with just under four minutes to go in the first quarter. Romo’s first pick came on a play where either Romo or running back Phillip Tanner went the wrong way on a play action fake before Romo threw a pass that Stevie Brown picked off. Number two was a long ball intended for Miles Austin that wound up in Giants cornerback Corey Webster’s hands.

The Cowboys defense was able to hold the Giants to a field goal the first time, but the second one became an Andre Brown touchdown. That wasn’t the end of the bad news for the Cowboys on that drive, however. Linebacker DeMarcus Ware went down with an injury briefly before walking off the field by himself. He’s getting oxygen on the bench, so he may have just had the wind knocked out of him during an Ahmad Bradshaw run.

That would be the first bit of good news on the day for the Cowboys.

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Louis Delmas injures left knee

Lions cornerback  Houston celebrates his interception against the Eagles during the fourth quarter of their NFL football game in Philadelphia Reuters

Lions safety Louis Delmas missed the first four games of the season with a left knee injury.  He now has another one.

Per a league source, X-rays were negative but further testing (specifically, an MRI) will be conducted on Monday.  The injury happened in the third quarter.  Delmas was examined on the sideline and then taken to the locker room.

Per various reports on Twitter, coach Jim Schwartz declined to characterize the condition as a re-injury.

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Rex Ryan’s sticking with Mark Sanchez

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets Getty Images

It was an ugly, ugly day for the Jets offense on Sunday, but it wasn’t ugly enough to convince Rex Ryan to make a change at quarterback.

Ryan said from the podium of his postgame press conference that Sanchez will remain the team’s starting quarterback because he gives the team the best chance to win. Sanchez didn’t do much to give the Jets a chance to win in the 30-9 loss to the Dolphins, completing 28-of-54 passes for 283 yards to go with a touchdown, interception and lost fumble. That touchdown came in the fourth quarter when the Jets were already down 27-3 and his earlier play was studded with the kind of inaccuracy and inability to make plays under pressure that have popped up in half his starts this season.

All of that comes with Tim Tebow standing on the sideline and doing very little offensively other than standing on the sideline. Ryan isn’t switching to Tebow during the coming bye week and he said after the game that he never thought about benching his quarterback.

“I just never thought it was the time to do it. Mark’s our quarterback,” Ryan said.

Ryan’s sticking with Sanchez after another poor game. His job security could wind up being seriously impacted by that loyalty.

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Quinn leaves game with head injury, Cassel back in

Brady Quinn AP

The Brady Quinn era didn’t last long.

After throwing an interception earlier, Quinn’s out in Kansas City, after taking a hard shot on a sack. He’s been taken to the locker room with what was described as a head injury.

The Chiefs threw for minus-six yards in the first quarter, part of their 17 total yards.

Matt Cassel is now back in the game, and there was no cheering when it happened.

The Raiders are up 6-0 early in the second quarter on a pair of Sebastian Janikowski field goals.

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Falcons break Reid’s 13-game post-bye streak

Andy Reid, Mike Smith AP

It’s fitting that in a year that could see the Eagles bid farewell to coach Andy Reid, the team lost for the first time under its 14-year head coach after the regular-season “bye.”

Previously 13-0 in the regular season with extra time to prepare, the Eagles lost in decisive fashion at home to the Falcons, 30-17.

The Falcons also had a bye in Week Seven.  It’s the third game for the Eagles this season against a team that was emerging from a bye.  The Eagles are 0-3 in those games.

In Philly’s first game under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, the Eagles surrendered 392 total yards, including three touchdown passes by quarterback and MVP favorite Matt Ryan.  The performance prompted chants of “Fire Andy” during the second half.

The Falcons are now 7-0 and in command of the NFC South.  The Eagles have fallen to 3-4.  They head to New Orleans next Sunday.

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Dolphins roll over Jets after losing Tannehill

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets Getty Images

We’ll have to wait until there’s word about the health of quarterback Ryan Tannehill before we know whether Sunday’s 30-9 victory over the Jets was bittersweet or just sweet for the Dolphins, but there’s a lot for them to be happy about while waiting for the diagnosis on Tannehill.

They are now 4-3 and headed into a game that could push them further into playoff contention against the 4-3 Colts in Indianapolis last week. They also pushed the Jets to 3-5 and into what will surely be a media and fan-driven maelstrom in the two weeks until the Jets next take the field. The Dolphins are now positioned to be the second team in the AFC East and, with two games left against New England, could find their way to more than that.

Sunday’s win came because of solid play in all three phases, although the offense took a back seat to the defense and special teams. The defense made Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense look completely foolish over the entire afternoon. Chris Clemons had an interception, the pass rush dropped Sanchez four times and the bulk of the Jets’ yards came during extended garbage time.

The special teams blocked a punt for a touchdown and blocked a Nick Folk field goal near the end of the first half. There was also a good kickoff return by Marcus Thigpen to stem any potential momentum shift after the Jets finally got on the board in the third quarter. Matt Moore did a solid job moving the team after Tannehill was forced out, the running game was steady and that formula was more than enough to carry the day for the Fins.

The Jets have their own quarterback question to answer in the wake of this loss. Sanchez isn’t hurt, although it might be easier if he were because there would be an easier explanation for his 28-of-54 performance that wasn’t even as mediocre as that sounds. There are plenty of other issues plaguing the Jets offense, but there’s not much reason left not to try something else in hopes of sparking a consistent offensive performance. Sanchez played the entire game, save a couple of Tim Tebow cameos, and the offense never moved until the game was well out of hand.

Change could be in the air in New York. The smell is much nicer down in Miami.

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Colts get overtime win with touchdown on first possession

Andrew Luck,Kamerion Wimbley ,Anthony Castonzo AP

Unless there’s a touchdown on the first possession of overtime, both teams get a chance to have the ball under the overtime rules put in place for this season.

Only one team got the ball in Tennessee. Vick Ballard made a remarkable twisting dive at the end of a 16-yard run following a screen pass from Andrew Luck to end the game less than five minutes into the extra session. The play was subjected to a long review, but the word finally came back that Ballard’s acrobatic effort was a touchdown and the Colts were 19-13 winners.

Titans fans will likely rue a 47-yard missed field goal by Rob Bironas in the second half, which would ignore the fact that the team had plenty of other chances to get points over the course of the game and couldn’t get it done. Chris Johnson ran for 99 yards and Matt Hasselbeck was 22-of-29 for 236 yards, but they didn’t get enough of them when they weren’t being thwarted by some ill-timed penalties.

It also didn’t help that the Titans defense, which had played extremely well until that point, couldn’t get off the field when Luck took the Colts 80 yards in 14 plays to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Luck’s play wasn’t great throughout the game and he threw a pretty bad interception, but he was sharp on that drive and made a big throw to Reggie Wayne in overtime. His numbers at the end — 26-of-37 for 297 yards to go with the touchdown and the pick — tell that story pretty well. Donald Brown did most of the heavy lifting on that overtime drive and he finished with 80 yards as part of a second straight strong rushing effort for Indianapolis.

The win leaves the Colts at 4-3 with a big game at home against Miami, which has the same record after routing the Jets, next week. The winner will be one of the unlikelier members of the playoff hunt at the start of the second half of the season.

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Packers put pesky Jaguars away in Green Bay

Green Bay Packers safety Burnett hits Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Blackmon in the first half during their NFL football game in Green Bay Reuters

Sunday’s game in Green Bay was supposed to be an easy win for the Packers over the Jaguars. The Packers got their win, but it wasn’t easy.

The Jaguars kept the game close most of the way and wouldn’t go down without a fight, but in the end Jacksonville’s defense couldn’t stop Aaron Rodgers from engineering two fourth-quarter scoring drives, and the Packers won 24-15.

Rodgers didn’t put up the eye-opening numbers he has the last couple weeks, but he was good enough, completing 22 of 35 passes for 186 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Rodgers now has 11 touchdowns and no interceptions over the last three weeks.

Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert deserves credit, however, for turning in a solid game of his own. Despite playing without the Jaguars’ top offensive playmaker, Maurice Jones-Drew, Gabbert went over 300 yards and had a touchdown pass and no turnovers. In his second season, Gabbert is continuing to make progress.

But that progress isn’t enough because the Jaguars just aren’t good enough: Green Bay was the better team at Lambeau Field today, and even on a day when the Packers aren’t playing their best football, they’ll beat the Jaguars.

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Steelers extend D.C. dominance

Washington Redskins v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

The Redskins haven’t beaten the Steelers in 20 years.  They’ll have to wait another four to break the streak.

In throwback jerseys that inducted equal parts vertigo and nausea, the Steelers trounced RG3 and company, 27-12.

Ben Roethlisberger completed 24 of 33 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns to lead the way.  And tailback Jonathan Dwyer could be Wally Pipping the other guys ahead of him on the depth chart, with his second straight 100-yard game.  He finished with 107 yards on 17 carries.

The loss drops the Redskins to 3-5, narrowing their window of opportunity to stealing a wild-card berth.  Especially with five division games in their final eight.

The Steelers have improved to 4-3, putting them only a game behind the Ravens.  The two teams will play twice in three weeks, starting in three weeks.  Those two games will go a long way toward deciding the division.

As they always seem to do.

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Bears come back to beat Panthers, improve to 6-1

Carolina Panthers v Chicago Bears Getty Images

Jay Cutler didn’t do much all day, but he did just enough at the right time.

The Bears came back for a 23-22 win over the Panthers, improving to 6-1 on the season.

Cutler turned the ball over three times, and was constantly pressured, by a Panthers defense which played with an urgency it had lacked.

Cam Newton recovered from an ugly pick-six to Tim Jennings, and moved the Panthers downfield for a 22-20 lead with 2:27 left.

But the defense which played so well throughout the day couldn’t hold, and Cutler was a smooth 6-of-7 for 52 yards on the final drive, setting up Robbie Gould’s 41-yard field goal as time expired.

Cutler finished with 186 yards passing, and the Panthers actually outgained the Bears 416-210.

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Patriots put on a jolly good show, whip Rams in London

New England Patriots v St Louis Rams Getty Images

The fans at Wembley Stadium were treated to a blowout on Sunday, as the Patriots put a beating on the Rams in London.

St. Louis scored first when Sam Bradford hit Chris Givens for a 50-yard touchdown pass, but after that it was all New England: Brandon Lloyd, Shane Vereen, Rob Gronkowski and Stevan Ridley all scored touchdowns to give the Patriots a 28-7 lead at halftime, and another Lloyd touchdown plus a Stephen Gostkowski field goal made the score 38-7 at the end of the third quarter. One more Patriots touchdown in the fourth quarter brought the scoring to a close.

The Rams have been playing tough, competitive football this season, and their defense has looked like it’s making big strides under first-year coach Jeff Fisher. But in this game the Rams’ defense simply had no answer for Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense. New England marched down the field at will all day long.

For the Rams, quarterback Sam Bradford threw the ball well most of the game, but running back Steven Jackson couldn’t get anything going, and St. Louis drives repeatedly stalled. New England’s defense played well — and its offense played even better.

Ultimately, this was a game that was out of reach before halftime, and the Patriots could have named their score. The score they named was 45-7.

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Browns do just enough, win for second time this year

San Diego Chargers v Cleveland Browns Getty Images

It’s one thing to lose to the Saints and Broncos, they’ve at least been good the last few decades.

But the Chargers have sunk to a new low, losing 7-6 to the Browns Sunday, the kind of game, frankly, that makes you wonder if people are getting fired.

The Browns were able to run well (133 yards) against what was the league’s second-ranked run defense, improving to 2-6 on the season. Trent Richardson, playing with painful ribs, had 122 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.

Meanwhile, the Chargers managed to do not much at all.

After coughing up late leads against both Denver and New Orleans, the Chargers are clearly in a desperate spot, dropping to 3-4.

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Lions come back, save season by beating Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks v Detroit Lions Getty Images

In Detroit last week, Lions players were declaring the game against the Seahawks a must-win. So it’s a good thing they won.

But as usual for the Lions, they didn’t make it look easy, starting slowly and needing a fourth-quarter comeback to win 28-24. This was a win that saved the Lions’ season, improving their record to 3-4 and allowing them to cling to playoff hopes. The Seahawks fall to 4-4, and their own playoff hopes have taken a hit.

The best news for the Lions is that after losing receiver Nate Burleson for the season to a broken leg, the two young receivers Detroit needs to step up — Titus Young and Ryan Broyles — both stepped up. Young led the way with nine catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner with 20 seconds to play. Broyles had three catches for 37 yards and scored the Lions’ first touchdown.

For Seattle, a good start on offense fizzled: Marshawn Lynch had a 77-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter, but Seattle surprisingly gave him just 12 carries, and he finished with 105 yards on a day when it looked like he’d gain a lot more than that. And Russell Wilson had some good moments, completing 24 of 34 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns, but he also had a costly late interception.

Seattle’s chances of getting to the NFC playoffs are probably still better than Detroit’s. But on this day, the Lions were the ones who gave their hopes of making the postseason a boost.

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Titans and Colts head to overtime

Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

The winner of Sunday’s Colts-Titans game will be in good shape as the playoff picture in the AFC starts to take shape and it is taking more than 60 minutes to find that winner.

We’re heading to overtime in Tennessee with the score tied 13-13 after Andrew Luck was able to lead the Colts to their first touchdown in the fourth quarter. After a fitful day against a game Titans defense, Luck was able to manufacture a 14-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a Donald Brown touchdown run. Brown also did good work on that drive, including a run for seven yards on fourth-and-one from the Titans’ eight-yard line.

Matt Hasselbeck and Luck were both unable to put their teams in front on the drives that followed Brown’s touchdown and the Colts dodged a bullet when officials ruled Colts tight end Dwayne Allen down before he fumbled on the final drive of regulation. The whistle definitely blew on the play, but it looked like it might have been blown a beat too soon.

The Titans will get their next chance in the extra session unless the Colts score a touchdown on the opening drive.

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Bears take advantage of 6-yard punt, cut gap to 19-14

Bears running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Panthers during the first half of their NFL football game in Chicago Reuters

The Bears just took advantage of the Panthers self-paralysis, and now trail by five, down 19-14 midway through the fourth quarter.

The Panthers have been kicking away from Devin Hester all day, determined to not let him beat them. Problem is, they’re effectively giving them the ball at the 40 most of the time they kick off, making it just as effective as blasting the ball out of bounds.

Their latest effort was a six-yard punt by Brad Nortman, which set up a 12-yard touchdown pass to Kellen Davis.

The Panthers are playing clutch-and-grab and trying to not lose, and it’s almost worked long enough.

UPDATE 3:45 p.m. ET: And just like that, Bears cornerback Tim Jennings intercepts Cam Newton and returns it for a touchdown, and the Bears lead 20-19 with 6:44 left.

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Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is carted off

Panthers Falcons Football AP

A romp by the Falcons that will move the team to 7-0 and turn up the flames even higher under the rear end of Eagles coach Andy Reid could come at a price.

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon has been carted off with a leg injury.

Trainers apparently are checking his knee.  Stay tuned for more update.

The Falcons lead 30-17.

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League office closes on Monday

ss-121028-sandy-06.grid-9x2 Getty Images

As further proof of the magnitude of the storm that is bearing down on the New York City area, the NFL has joined with many other local businesses and institutions that are closing their doors on Monday.

The league office is shutting down for the day on which Hurricane Sandy is due to begin to make its/her/whatever presence felt.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tells PFT that the league plans to conduct normal business operations as far as club transactions, etc.  The work, per Aiello, can be done remotely (from home or elsewhere).  Also, some folks will be at the office, given that they live within walking distance of 345 Park Avenue.

Of course, widespread power outages in Manhattan could impact that plan.  Also, some league employees may be working remotely from, you know, Europe, given that the NFL is staging a game in London today.

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