Skip to content

Bad call fuels Browns comeback

Cleveland Bowns v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

After trailing by 13 into the third quarter, the Cowboys made a game of it.

And the officials helped give the late lead to the Browns.

After a goal-line stand by the Cowboys kept the score at 17-13, three runs followed by a punt gave Josh Cribbs the ball on the right side of the 50.

And Cowboys tight end John Phillips pulled Cribbs down by the hair, which isn’t a penalty.  But the officials threw the flag, calling it a horse collar tackle, even though it wasn’t.

Fifteen yards closer and one play later, a 17-yard pass from Brandon Weeden to Benjamin Watson gave the Browns a 20-17 lead.

The Cowboys are driving.  Stay tuned.

Permalink 7 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Rumor Mill

Robert Griffin III gets more practice work as return gets closer

Robert Griffin III AP

Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III is getting closer to returning to the field. But maybe not close enough to play on Monday night.

Griffin got a heavier workload in practice today while wearing a brace on his injured ankle, according to Tarik El-Bashir of Griffin did individual drills, took snaps both in the shotgun and under center, dropped back and passed.

What Griffin didn’t do (at least in the portion of practice open to the media) was run at full speed. And until Griffin can do that, he’s not going to be cleared to return.

So Colt McCoy is likely to start on Monday night against the Cowboys, Kirk Cousins is likely to be the backup, and Griffin is likely to be inactive. But Griffin is at least making enough progress that he’s getting closer. Griffin should be back in November. Just in time to play some meaningless games for a team that’s out of the playoff race.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Cowboys’ run of success could create scheduling conflict with NCAA title game

Cowboys Getty Images

A return to Glory Days comes with a potential price.

As the Cowboys rocket toward the postseason and the possibility of home playoff games, the success has created a separate concern in the stadium where they play.

As recently explained by Jeff Mosier of the Dallas Morning News, the possibility of Cowboys playoff games in January could create a logistical issue at AT&T Stadium, where the first ever college football playoff championship game will be played on January 12.

With the NFL’s divisional round set for January 10 and 11, the turnaround from the NFL playoff game to the NCAA title game could be as short as one day.  The plans initially called for the NCAA playoff apparatus to take control of the stadium on January 2, one day after the Cotton Bowl.  Now the 10 days for preparing could shrink, considerably.

Stadiums routinely host a college game and an NFL game only a day or two apart.  But in Dallas, where one of the most embarrassing incidents in recent NFL history unfolded when the league was unable to install temporary seats for which tickets had been sold, it’s probably unwise to assume that everything will go smoothly.

At a minimum, an expedite turnaround will result in extra costs.  If incurring those costs means that Jerry Jones’ team will be hosting a divisional round game, he’ll probably write the check, happily.

Permalink 25 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

PFT Live: Bears talk with John Mullin, Coaching hot seat

Jay Cutler, Martellus Bennett AP

The Bears disappointed on the field against the Dolphins last Sunday and then vented their frustrations in the locker room to touch off a few days of discussion about well the ship is being steered by coach Marc Trestman in his second season.

John Mullin of CSN Chicago will join Mike Florio on Wednesday’s edition of PFT Live to discuss what’s going on in Chicago right now. They’ll discuss wide receiver Brandon Marshall’s comments, the play of quarterback Jay Cutler and the ongoing search for defensive answers during Mullin’s visit to the program.

Florio will then take his weekly look at which of the league’s coaches are starting to feel uncomfortable about their job security. Will Trestman be on that list? There’s only one way to find out.

That’s by joining us when things get underway at noon ET. You can watch it all happen live by clicking right here.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Julio Jones: Offensive turnaround “starts with me”

Julio Jones AP

The Falcons are in London for a date with a very stingy Lions defense, which is hardly what the doctor ordered after Atlanta managed to score just two touchdowns in the last two weeks.

That’s not going to cut it for a team that isn’t very good on the defensive side of the ball and wide receiver Julio Jones says that the team’s turnaround has to begin with him because his play has not been up to snuff through the first seven weeks of the season.

“It starts with me,” Jones said, via the NFL Network. “I got to go out there and make plays when they are presented to me. I got to go out there and catch the ball, be more of a deep threat. … We are out there misreading or dropping balls. We have to fix that. It’s nothing that the defense is doing, we have to fix that here.”

Jones has had too many drops, as has Roddy White, but anyone who has watched the Falcons offense sputter for the last year-plus knows that Jones isn’t the main culprit when the team fails to get into gear. It’s the injury-plagued offensive line that has let the Falcons down time and again, limiting their chances to get the ball to their playmakers and leaving quarterback Matt Ryan exposed far too often.

The Lions are well-equipped to take advantage of that weakness, which could mean the Falcons are taking a long trip to have a long day.

Permalink 5 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Telvin Smith is the AFC defensive player of the week

Telvin Smith, Ben Tate AP

Wednesday’s announcement of the league’s players of the week features some big names in Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning, but not every recipient is a regular visitor to the headlines.

Take Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith, for example. Smith is a fifth-round rookie who has only started one game for the Jaguars this season and that start didn’t even come in Week Seven, but he is still this week’s choice as the AFC defensive player of the week.

Smith stuffed the stat sheet during Jacksonville’s first victory of the season. He had four tackles, two pass breakups, a sack, an interception and a forced fumble to help the Jaguars defense hold the Browns to just six points.

Smith should get plenty of opportunities to build on his big day. Paul Posluszny is done for the season because of a torn pectoral muscle and the Jags could use the kind of playmaking that Smith displayed against Cleveland as they try to shorten the interval before their next victory.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Keenan Robinson named NFC defensive player of the week

Washington Redskins v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

Washington linebacker Keenan Robinson was all over the place Sunday, and was rewarded for it Wednesday.

Robinson had a career-high 14 tackles in the win over the Titans to earn NFC defensive player of the week honors.

That was part of a defensive effort that limited the Titans to 236 yards, a season-low.

He’s the first Washington player to win the defensive weekly award since DeAngelo Hall in 2011.

Permalink 9 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Record breaking night adds to Peyton Manning’s pile of player of the week awards

Peyton Manning AP

As you likely heard, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning set a record last weekend.

Manning threw the 509th touchdown pass of his career, making him the NFL’s all-time leader in that category and giving the league plenty of reason to name Manning the AFC’s offensive player of the week. It’s the 27th time that Manning has been so honored, which makes him the all-time leader in that category as well.

Manning completed his night’s work against the 49ers with four touchdown passes, leaving him at 510 for his career and 19 on the season. He completed 22-of-26 passes for 318 yards to go with the touchdowns that propelled the Broncos to a 42-17 victory.

With Manning playing at as high a level as he’s ever played in the NFL, his lead in both touchdown passes and player of the week awards will likely continue to grow before the year is out.

Permalink 15 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Blocked field goal earns Chris Jones AFC special teams honors

New York Jets v New England Patriots Getty Images

Usually the special teams awards go to kickers or return men.

But this week’s AFC special teams player of the week doesn’t run fast or hit the ball with his feet.

Patriots defensive tackle Chris Jones won the weekly award for his game-saving blocked field goal at the end of New England’s win over the Jets last week. He said it was the first blocked kick he had at any level, and he picked a good time.

A year ago, his penalty on another field goal attempt gave the Jets an extra chance to win in overtime, and they made that one, so last week’s gave him a bit of redemption.

And now the second-year defensive tackle from Bowling Green has some hardware to prove it.

Permalink 11 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

No Wednesday practice for Calvin Johnson

Calvin Getty Images

Lions receiver Calvin Johnson has made the business trip to London.  But Lions fans will derive no pleasure from the news that Johnson still isn’t practicing.

According to Tim Twentyman of the team’s official website, Johnson has missed yet another practice with a sprained ankle that was aggravated in Week Five against the Bills.

Johnson’s absence is no surprise.  The real question is whether he’ll play against the Falcons on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.  Johnson has said he won’t play until he’s healthy.  So if he’s not healthy enough to practice, how will he be healthy enough to play?

Also absent from practice were defensive end Ziggy Ansah, tackle LaAdrian Waddle, and tight ends Eric Ebron, Brandon Pettigrew, and Joseph Fauria.

As to Johnson, the Lions have won both games he didn’t play.  Which will serve only to increase speculation that the Lions won’t be inclined to carry his $20 million-plus cap number for 2015.

Permalink 17 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Philbin calls out kicker, punter

Philbin AP

The up-and-down Dolphins are currently up.  But the head coach is down on the kicker and the punter.

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that coach Joe Philbin called out kicker Caleb Sturgis in a team meeting for missing a field goal against the Bears.  For the year, Sturgis has made only 78.6 percent of his kicks, putting him at 28th among all kickers.

“We told him today, we were in the team meeting today and we said we’ve got to make those field goals,” Philbin said, via Salguero.  “We kind of went through that sequence where we took a sack and knocked ourselves back, and made the field goal more difficult.

“That being said, I said to him right there in the whole team meeting, we’ve got to make those field goals.  He knows that and I suspect that he will work at it and he’ll get better at it.”

Philbin also has concerns about punter Brandon Fields.

“Early on we got the punt blocked in Buffalo,” Philbin said. “He just hasn’t looked as comfortable quite yet back there, as he has in the two years that I’ve been here, the previous two years.  I’m confident he’ll work his way through it and he’ll get back to being the outstanding punter that we all know.

“For his standards, it’s not quite what we’re used to. I think he would acknowledge that, but I’m very, very confident that he’ll get back to that soon.”

As Salgueo points out, Fields gross punting average of 43.3 yards ranks 31st among all punters.  His net of 31.8 ranks last among all NFL punters.

Permalink 24 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Stedman Bailey runs away with NFC special teams player of the week

Stedman Bailey, Jon Ryan AP

There wasn’t much doubt that the NFC special teams player of the week for Week Seven was going to go to a member of the Rams.

The only question was which one. Would it be Benny Cunningham, who had a 75-yard kickoff return to set up a score and caught the pass on the fourth quarter fake punt that helped ice the game? Would punter Johnny Hekker get it for delivering that pass? Or would it be wide receiver Stedman Bailey for taking a punt 90 yards for a touchdown while the Seahawks chased Tavon Austin on the wrong side of the field? The league went with option No. 3.

Bailey, typically a blocker for Austin on returns, was all by himself on the right side of the field when Jon Ryan’s punt settled into his hands and he sprinted down the sideline for a score that lifted the Rams to a 21-3 first half lead. Most of the rest of the players were on the left side because Austin and a crew of blockers went that way while the ball was in the air and the coverage team failed to notice that the ball failed to materialize anywhere near them.

There’s no award for assistant coach of the week, but it’s hard to imagine giving a fictional one to anyone but Rams special teams coach John Fassel given how much value the Rams got from those units in the 28-26 win

Permalink 8 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Aaron Rodgers wins NFC offensive player of the week

Aaron Rodgers AP

Now it’s officially a big week for Aaron Rodgers.

Not only did he see Pearl Jam and meet lead singer Eddie Vedder Monday, he followed up by winning NFC offensive player of the week honors.

OK, that he’s done 10 times, and twice this season.

But his near-perfect game Sunday against the Panthers certainly deserved recognition. He had as many touchdown passes as incompletions (three), going 19-of-22 for 255 yards.

He pushed the Packers to a 21-0 first-quarter lead, and they cruised to an easy win.

I guess you could say the NFC couldn’t have found a “Better Man” to give the award to this week.

Permalink 20 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jamaal Charles: I didn’t want to go through the concussion protocol

charlesflowers AP

When Jamaal Charles scored a touchdown Sunday against San Diego, he had a violent collision with Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers, sending both of them to the turf. Flowers left the game with a concussion, but Charles kept playing.

Maybe he shouldn’t have. Charles said on ESPN Radio that he was seeing flashing lights afterward, which is one of the symptoms of a concussion.

“It definitely hurt,” Charles said. “It’s like, I woke up — I mean, like, a couple plays later I was seeing light bulbs, like, light bulbs around my eyes, and I was trying to catch them. But I was in the game so I was like, ‘Alright, let’s get the ball and run again.'”

So why wasn’t Charles removed from the game? Charles said he tried to avoid having to go through the league’s concussion protocol. Charles previously suffered a concussion in January, in the Chiefs’ playoff loss to the Colts, and his absence from the rest of that game may have been the difference between the Chiefs winning and losing in Indianapolis. As a result, Charles said he doesn’t want to go through the concussion protocol because he wants to be able to keep playing to help his team.

“I didn’t have a concussion but it definitely was a hit that shocked me. But I don’t think I had to go through the concussion protocols and all that. I didn’t want to go through that again because of what happened in the playoffs. I was definitely fine, I think I came out pretty good,” Charles said.

It’s admirable that Charles wants to help his team, but it’s worrisome that NFL players still try to avoid a concussion diagnosis. Charles may think he was “definitely fine,” but that determination should have been made by a doctor.

Permalink 51 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Pounceys won’t be charged for birthday party brawl

Pouncey Getty Images

NFL offensive linemen Mike and Maurkice Pouncey have been sued by a trio of plaintiffs who claim they suffered injuries as a result of a brawl that occurred at a Miami nightclub where the Pounceys were celebrating their birthday in July.

Despite a report that Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey will be charged with battery, neither he nor his brother, Dolphins center/guard Mike, will face prosecution.

“As expected, the Miami-Dade Office of the State Attorney has determined that the Pouncey brothers should not be charged in connection with an altercation that occurred at the Cameo Nightclub on July 12, 2014,” lawyer Jeff Ostrow tells PFT.   “This confirms that the previous claim that the brothers were involved was false and fabricated by individuals seeking notoriety and monetary gain.”

The lawsuit won’t be affected by this decision, and the case will proceed with a much lower standard of proof than the one that would apply in a criminal case.

Quite often, prosecutors decide not to pursue charges due to concerns that, ultimately, the evidence won’t overcome the very high standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  In civil cases, responsibility is assessed based on a “preponderance of the evidence,” with the plaintiff prevailing simply by showing it’s more likely than not that the plaintiff’s version of the events if the right version.

Permalink 20 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Patriots officially welcome Akeem Ayers to New England

Kansas City Chiefs v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

Linebacker Akeem Ayers is officially a member of the New England Patriots.

The Patriots formally announced that they have acquired Ayers in a trade with the Titans, which means that Ayers passed his physical with the team. That probably wasn’t a foregone conclusion given Ayers’s recent knee troubles, but the Pats didn’t find anything to make them rethink the deal.

Ayers arrives at a moment when the Patriots are a bit shorthanded on defense. They lost Jerod Mayo for the season and Chandler Jones is reportedly going to miss several weeks after injuring his hip against the Jets last Thursday. Ayers, who played only two games for Tennessee, has played on the outside during his career and his arrival could lead to more time inside for Dont’a Hightower.

The Patriots signaled their displeasure with their depth options at linebacker in that game by playing safety Patrick Chung as a linebacker and they released Ja’Gared Davis to make room for Ayers on the roster. The team is also reportedly planning to sign defensive lineman Alan Branch, although nothing’s been made official there.

Permalink 11 Comments Feed for comments Back to top