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Richie Incognito again accused of playing dirty, admits he was dumb

Richie Incognito AP

Last week, Dolphins guard Richie Incognito was voted the second-dirtiest player in the NFL by his peers, which he called a “badge of honor.” But after a dirty play got him penalized and benched on Sunday, Incognito admitted he had done something dumb.

Incognito picked up a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty for shoving Titans linebacker Colin McCarthy’s face into the turf, and McCarthy became the latest player to label Incognito dirty.

That was kind of dirty,” McCarthy said, via the Sun-Sentinel. “Obviously he got flagged for it, which was nice to see. I don’t know what his intentions were, but that’s on him.”

McCarthy said he told Incognito he didn’t appreciate it.

“I just said it was dirty,” McCarthy said. “We’re trying to play football. Obviously, it was a stupid play. They had a first down on the play and that forced them into first and 25. It was a big play in the game, and we’ll take it.”

Incognito agreed with the “stupid” characterization.

“It was a dumb penalty,” Incognito said. “It definitely hurt the team. It pushed us out of points. It was a mistake on my part.”

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin benched Incognito for that mistake. And sitting on the bench is not a badge of honor.

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Chargers overcome another injury, beat Bills 22-10

Philip Rivers AP

The Chargers keep losing parts, but keep making plays.

They improved to 2-1 with a 22-10 win over the Bills, which saw them get even thinner on offense.

The Chargers continued to run the ball, even after losing Danny Woodhead to an early ankle injury (more troubling as they were already without Ryan Mathews).

While replacement Donald Brown wasn’t eye-popping, he ran well enough to keep the clock and chains moving. He had 31 carries for 62 yards, which was important for the time they took more than the ground they covered.

That was all Philip Rivers needed to keep things balanced. Rivers threw a pair of touchdown passes to Eddie Royal and was 18-of-25 for 256 yards, consistently able to get yards in chunks.

The Bills never found any offensive rhythm, in their first loss of the season. Much of that had to do with San Diego’s defense, but they looked disjointed throughout.

Sammy Watkins finished the day with two catches for a grand total of 19 yards, hardly what they’re expecting from their first-round pick (and next year’s).

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Jason Peters, Trent Williams ejected after brawl in Philly

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

The Redskins and Eagles are having an old-fashioned NFC East slugfest. Literally.

The game came to a halt in the fourth quarter when a hit on Eagles quarterback Nick Foles touched off a wild brawl between members of both teams. Redskins defensive lineman Chris Baker laid out Foles with a blindside block during an interception return, which led Eagles tackle Jason Peters to confront him and then both sides spilled onto the sideline in one of the bigger fights in recent memory.

There was far too much going on to give a proper blow-by-blow, but it ended with both teams being directed to their benches over the public address system. Baker and Redskins left tackle Trent Williams were both immediately ejected from the game for the Redskins and Eagles tackle Jason Peters was ejected after a review that showed he was throwing punches at Baker. That leaves the Eagles with no reserve offensive linemen as Jason Kelce was already lost to an abdomen injury.

Foles remained in the game and the Eagles kept the ball because all of the above need not have happened. The ball hit the ground before Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland corralled it, but it was incorrectly ruled a clean pick. It was overturned on replay, but not before the rest of a 27-27 game was greatly impacted by bad feelings spilling out all over the place.

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Cowboys storm back to beat the Rams


It was an ugly start for the Cowboys. And an even uglier finish for the Rams.

In a game that saw St. Louis jump out to an early 21-0 lead, the final 35 minutes of play were all Cowboys, and Dallas won 34-31.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo made one very bad decision, a pick-six to Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins, but otherwise he was accurate and efficient.

Dallas receiver Dez Bryant had a big day, catching a 68-yard pass on which he got so wide open that the Rams’ defense didn’t even seem to realize he was on the field. Also having a big day was Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, who lost a fumble early but gave the Cowboys some big plays late, including a 44-yard run that was his longest since 2012. Murray ended the game with 24 carries for 100 yards.

There was a bright spot for the Rams in that young quarterback Austin Davis looked pretty good for his second consecutive start. Although the game ended with Davis throwing a desperation interception, he went over 300 yards and threw three touchdown passes. If Davis proves himself to be a legitimate NFL starter, that’s a bright spot for the entire season.

But Davis wasn’t enough today. This was a heartbreaking loss in St. Louis.

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Bengals throttle the Titans 33-7 to move to 3-0

Andy Dalton, Mohamed Sanu AP

The Bengals are still perfect.

That’s a reflection of their record, and perhaps their offensive balance, after a 33-7 win over the Titans pushed them to 3-0 heading into their bye week.

It was their 11th straight home win, setting a new franchise record.

Giovani Bernard ran for a pair of touchdowns, and Andy Dalton caught a touchdown pass from wide receiver Mohamed Sanu as part of a diverse attack.

All told, it was an efficient performance, even though Dalton threw an interception and only finished with 169 yards.

That was more than enough to beat the Titans, who looked hapless throughout the game.

From taking a safety while trying to punt to missing field goals to turning the ball over, they were bad in all three phases.

Jake Locker threw two interceptions for the Titans, who fell to 1-2.

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Raiders comeback falls short, Patriots survive a scare

ridley AP

The Patriots were the heaviest favorites in the NFL this week. But the Raiders didn’t make it easy today in New England.

Although Oakland stormed back and appeared to have scored a game-tying touchdown in the final minute, a penalty wiped that touchdown off the board and the Patriots survived to beat the Raiders 16-9.

The Patriots sealed the win when Raiders quarterback Derek Carr dropped back to pass and hit receiver Denarius Moore, only to have the ball ricochet off both Moore and Patriots defensive back Logan Ryan before New England nose tackle Vince Wilfork — of all people — intercepted it to clinch the game.

As he has been for most of the season, Tom Brady was unspectacular. But he did enough not to lose, completing 24 of 36 passes for 234 yards, with one touchdown (to Rob Gronkowski) and no interceptions.

Carr was not particularly good, completing 21 of 34 passes for 174 yards. But he didn’t have any interceptions until that game clincher, which was not his fault.

And that’s about all the Raiders can hang their hats on — Carr wasn’t terrible, and they weren’t terrible. But they also weren’t good enough to win.

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Saints hang on to beat Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings

Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

Drew Brees was hot early, but got heated late.

And that was enough to get the Saints their first win of the season, 20-7 over the Vikings.

Brees was surgical on the first two drives, leading the Saints to quick touchdowns.

But the Vikings defense decided to show up after that, and made life difficult for Brees.

The slump ended right about the time Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn suplexed Brees to punctuate a sack, which led to Brees popping up to his feet and into the face of the Vikings defense.

He then responded with touchdown pass to Marques Colston to put the game away, and lend a little life to a team that needed it.

Brees finished 27-of-35 for 293 yards and two touchdowns.

The Vikings lost starting quarterback Matt Cassel to a toe injury, and rookie Teddy Bridgewater played acceptably well in his stead.

Bridgewater didn’t get them into the end zone, but he has no running game help, and was able to get them close enough for three field goals. He finished 12-of-20 for 150 yards for the Vikings, who lost their second straight to move to 1-2.

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Lions’ defense steps up in big NFC North win over Packers

lionsd AP

It’s too early in the season to say there’s been a changing of the guard in the NFC North. But the Lions did just take a big step toward establishing themselves as contenders.

With the defending NFC North champion Packers in town, an injury-riddled Detroit secondary played surprisingly solid defense against Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and Co. and won a hard-fought game, 19-7.

The Lions were aided by Packers coach Mike McCarthy’s suspect play calling: Despite the big holes in the Lions’ secondary, McCarthy opened the game by trying to establish the run and getting the ball to running back Eddie Lacy. That didn’t work well at all, as a Lacy fumble was picked up by Detroit’s Don Carey and returned for a touchdown to give the Lions an early 7-0 lead, and Lacy was later tackled in the end zone for a safety to give Detroit a 9-7 lead.

The Lions’ offense struggled early on, with Matthew Stafford throwing two first-half interceptions and losing a fumble in the red zone on the first drive of the second half. But they eventually began to make things happen, and a Reggie Bush 26-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter put the game away.

Bush’s run — and the Lions’ offense in general — was aided late in the game by the absence of Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, who left with a groin injury and did not return.

There are still plenty of questions in Detroit, especially on special teams, where rookie kicker Nate Freese missed another field goal — his fourth miss already this season. But the Lions played well and improved to 2-1 — a game ahead of the Packers for first place in the NFC North.

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DeSean Jackson ties game with 81-yard touchdown

DeSean Jackson AP

DeSean Jackson said he was looking forward to making an impact in his first game in Philadelphia as a member of the Redskins.

Mission accomplished.

Jackson hauled in a deep pass from Kirk Cousins, shrugged off a defender and made his way to the end zone. Jackson didn’t just stroll in, however. He turned back toward Eagles safety Nate Allen on his way over the goal line and then flapped his arms at the Eagles crowd in a gesture they would have appreciated much more this time last year.

The big play snapped a sluggish second half for the Redskins offense that saw them doing little to press the issue downfield. Cousins had loads of time to get the ball to Jackson on the touchdown, however, and dropped a pass just in front of him to make the six points academic once Jackson secured the ball.

The game is now tied at 27 late in the third quarter.

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Jared Cook drops touchdown pass, shoves guy who threw it

Cook Getty Images

A quarterback has gotten the treatment once supplied by quarterback Jay Cutler to a teammate.

In St. Louis, where the Rams had seen a 21-0 lead evaporate to 21-20, the offense moved to the brink of the Dallas end zone.  One third and goal, quarterback Austin Davis thew a pass to tight end Jared Cook, who dropped an easy score.

On the sidelines after the play, Cook walked toward Davis.  Davis extended a hand.

And Cook shoved Davis.

There’s likely more to the story.  Maybe it will surface after the game — especially since the Cowboys now have a 27-23 lead

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Lorenzo Taliaferro impresses in extended work for Baltimore

Lorenzo Taliaferro AP

A thigh injury to Bernard Pierce has given Ravens rookie tailback Lorenzo Taliaferro an extended chance at playing time in Sunday’s game at Cleveland.

And Taliaferro has made the most of that opportunity.

A fourth-round pick from Coastal Carolina, Taliaferro rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in the first three quarters against the Browns, who hold a 21-17 fourth quarter lead.

When Pierce returns, the Ravens will have to decide how to parcel out carries between Pierce, Taliaferro and Justin Forsett, the latter of whom contributes well in the passing game. But Taliaferro has certainly made a case to be in the mix.

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DeAngelo Hall carried off field with Achilles injury

Hall Getty Images

As Washington tries to keep the Eagles under 30 points (and 40), they’ll be without their best cornerback.

DeAngelo Hall helped to the sideline with a lower leg injury.  He put no weight on his left leg; trainers had been checking the lower portion of the appendage.

The injury occurred without contact.

The Eagles lead Washington, 24-20.

UPDATE 3:14 p.m. ET:  The team has announced that Hall suffered an Achilles injury.  He’s done for the day.

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Injuries, Vikings D beginning to slow down Saints

Tennessee Titans v New Orleans Saints

The Saints were on a roll early, but the combination of an improved Vikings defense and their own missteps has slowed them considerably.

They still lead the Vikings 13-9, but they were up 13-0 after their first two possessions.

Their latest drive stopped when center Jonathan Goodwin was injured, and backup Tim Lelito promptly came in and launched the next snap through the hands of quarterback Drew Brees.

Goodwin was carted off with some degree of leg injury.

The Vikings are hanging around, and threatening to make a blocked extra point a very important play.

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Eagles extend lead, lose Jason Kelce

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Getty Images

The Eagles opened Sunday’s action without right tackle Lane Johnson or left guard Evan Mathis.

They’ll end it with questions about whether center Jason Kelce will be joining them on the sideline next week. Kelce left the game on the team’s first possession of the third quarter and the Eagles quickly announced that he would not return after suffering an injury to his abdomen.

Johnson has one more week to serve on his suspension and Mathis will be out even longer after landing on injured reserve with the designation to return, which could mean the Eagles would be down three starters next week. With David Molk replacing Kelce, Wade Smith is the only remaining reserve.

At least the Eagles can deal with these problems with a lead. They extended the advantage they took just before halftime with a Cody Parkey field goal in the third quarter and then forced a three and out to hold onto their 24-20 lead over the Redskins.

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Blake Bortles replaces Chad Henne

Jacksonville Jaguars v Detroit Lions Getty Images

The Jaguars have finally made the move.

Yes, the move.

Trailing 30-0 after two quarters against the Colts, the Jaguars pulled veteran quarterback Chad Henne and replaced him with rookie Blake Bortles, a change met by enthusiastic applause by the home crowd in Jacksonville.

Bortles completed just 1-of-5 passes for 21 yards on his first drive, but a 14-yard scramble was nullified by penalty, and his arm strength and athleticism were evident. He also showed a willingness to stand in the pocket under pressure.

In all, it was a decent start for Bortles, who would seem likely to have every chance to keep the job, given how the Jaguars have struggled after a promising start in their season opener two weeks ago.

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Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald out for 49ers

Davis AP

The 49ers may need to call Brent Jones.

The team’s top two tight ends, Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald, have been scratched for Sunday’s game at Arizona.  Davis has an ankle injury; McDonald has a knee injury.

Both had been listed as questionable for the game.

Derek Carrier and Asante Cleveland are the only two tight ends on the roster.  Defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs also has a tight end designation, as does long snapper Kyle Nelson.

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