Erik Kuselias goes one-on-one with Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts III to discuss Jacksonville’s promising future surrounded by a crop of young talent, where he thinks the Jaguars need to improve upon through the draft, and if he’d consider naming his son Cecil Shorts IV.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: One-on-one with Cecil Shorts III
For someone who was on the injury report with a right elbow ailment, Carson Palmer has looked pretty good on Sunday against St. Louis.
Palmer has completed 16 of his first 17 passes for 169 yards with one TD and no interceptions as the Cardinals have jumped out to a 21-3 third-quarter lead.
Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald hauled in eight passes for 71 yards and a touchdown in the first two quarters. Rashard Mendenhall kicked off the scoring for Arizona with a three-yard first-quarter TD run.
Eighteen seconds into the second half, Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens was intercepted by Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby, who took it back for a 24-yard score and extended Arizona’s lead to 18 points. On the play, Clemens was under pressure from defensive end Calais Campbell.
Clemens had played well before the pick, competing 11-of-15 passes for 141 yards in the first half.
The Cardinals have done well to slow the Rams’ running game, limiting tailback Zac Stacy to just 11 first-half yards.
The Chargers’ slim playoff hopes will be all but extinguished with a loss and they’re doing everything they can to avoid one against the Giants on Sunday.
San Diego leads 24-0 after the first half thanks to an overwhelming performance on both sides of the ball. Philip Rivers has completed 16-of-21 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to Keenan Allen. Allen returned from a shoulder injury to catch his second touchdown of the game in the second quarter. Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead have combined to run for 77 yards on 17 carries as the Giants defense appears to have very little ability to compete and/or interest in competing this week.
The same could be said of the Giants offense. They’ve punted three times, been intercepted and lost a fumble in another ineffectual performance in a season filled with them. The Giants haven’t officially been eliminated from playoff contention, but they’re playing like they’ve accepted their fate as something that can’t be changed.
The Chargers have made no such concession, which may not get them to the playoffs but at least they’re going down with a fight.
A lot of stuff happened in the waning moments of the first half of the Titans-Broncos game, but only one of them was historic.
Broncos kicker Matt Prater broke an NFL record with a 64-yard field goal (which would have been good from at least 65 1/2) to break the previous record of 63.
Making that kind of kick anywhere is impressive, and any advantage he gained from elevation is probably negated by the frigid conditions in Denver, which can turn the K-ball into a brick.
That cut the Titans lead to 21-20 at halftime, of a game more hard-hitting than the score would indicate.
It’s been a physical game, and the Titans have run for three touchdowns.
Because of an injury, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was an observer for much of the wild 29-26 Ravens win over his team on Sunday.
Peterson didn’t like much of what he saw and he took to Twitter to share his feelings after the game. Both the officials and the fans in Baltimore came up for criticism from the Vikings running back for their actions during the game.
“Wow talking about bad officiating & the worst fan base I’ve ever experience! They threw snow balls the entire 4q like lil kids. Smh,” Peterson wrote.
Peterson expanded on those thoughts after the game. He ripped the decision to uphold a fumble by running back Toby Gerhart in the first half although it looked like Gerhart’s knee was down before the ball came out as well as a late pass interference call on linebacker Chad Greenway.
“It’s frustrating for us,” Peterson said, via KFAN. “We come in and we fight so hard, to have to beat a team and the officials, it doesn’t make any sense. … And then to top it off you have the fans who are acting like kids and just throwing snowballs the end of the third quarter and the entire fourth quarter. It’s like, it was ridiculous. It doesn’t make sense.”
Peterson’s comments about the officials may earn some notice from the league office. His comments about the fans in Baltimore probably make it wise to avoid a pilgrimage to Diner filming locations in the near future.
In a game they desperately needed to win, the Packers did just that, shaking off a double-digit halftime deficit to win 22-21 against the Falcons at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
Packers quarterback Matt Flynn connected with tight end Andrew Quarless on a two-yard touchdown with 12:01 left in regulation for the final margin of victory for Green Bay (6-6-1), which trailed 21-10 at the half. The touchdown was set up after the Packers’ Mike Neal forced Matt Ryan to fumble on a sack, with defensive lineman Johnny Jolly recovering for Green Bay.
The Falcons (3-10) had their chances down the stretch, but they couldn’t quite break through. First, Matt Bryant missed a 52-yard field goal with less than seven minutes left. Then, in the first play after the two-minute warning, the Falcons were stopped on a 4th-and-5 play at the Green Bay 33, as tight end Tony Gonzalez couldn’t haul in a Ryan pass that wasn’t quite on target.
Finally, on Atlanta’s last drive in the final minute, Harry Douglas dropped a pass that would have advanced the ball into Green Bay territory. On the next play, Ryan was intercepted by Jarrett Bush, which sealed the game for Green Bay.
With the win, the Packers are just a half-game behind Detroit (7-6) in the NFC North.
Flynn completed 24-of-32 passes for 258 yards with one TD and one interception for the Packers, who snapped a five-game winless streak. In defeat, Ryan threw for 206 yards with two TDs and one pick on 20-of-35 passing for Atlanta.
In a game that featured five touchdowns in about a two-minute span at game’s end, the Ravens got the final and deciding score, with Joe Flacco connecting with Marlon Brown on a nine-yard TD pass with four seconds left to give host Baltimore a 29-26 win over Minnesota on Sunday afternoon.
Brown’s touchdown capped a memorable sequence in which the teams kept exchanging the lead in increasingly stunning fashion in the snow.
It all began when Flacco hit Dennis Pitta for a one-yard TD with 2:05 left to give the Ravens a 13-12 lead. Baltimore added a two-point conversion for a 15-12 edge.
But back came the Vikings, who retook the lead on a 41-yard TD run by Toby Gerhart, who replaced the injured Adrian Peterson, who left the game with an ankle ailment in the second quarter. Gerhart’s sprint up the middle gave Minnesota a 19-15 lead with 1:27 left.
The excitement was far from over, though.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Ravens’ Jacoby Jones broke free for a 77-yard touchdown. Suddenly, the Ravens had a 22-19 edge with 1:16 left.
But that was short lived.
On the third play of the Vikings’ next drive, quarterback Matt Cassel threw a short screen pass to rookie wideout Cordarrelle Patterson, who did the rest, sprinting away for a 79-yard touchdown. Amazingly, the Vikings again had the lead.
Trailing 26-22 with 45 seconds left, the Ravens had 80 yards to go and two timeouts. They got 35 yards right off the bat when Flacco hit Brown down the middle on the first play of the drive. Baltimore used one of its timeouts to stop the clock.
Two plays later, though, Flacco was picked by Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo. However, Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway was penalized for pass interference, giving Baltimore an 18-yard gain and a first down.
The Ravens capitalized on the break. Flacco hit Pitta for 18 yards, moving the ball to the Minnesota 9. Then, on the next play, Flacco connected with Brown, who made an athletic catch to secure the lead — and ultimately victory — for the Ravens.
The win allowed the Ravens (7-6) to hold onto the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff chase. The Vikings, who lost the game but no face whatsoever in another brave performance, fell to 3-9-1.
The Chargers appear to have picked a winner when they grabbed wide receiver Keenan Allen in the third round this year.
Allen had 58 catches for 843 yards and three touchdowns heading into Week 14 and didn’t wait long to add to those totals. He caught a 43-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to open up the scoring in San Diego and added another catch, setting a Chargers rookie record, for 12 more yards on the team’s next possession.
That one didn’t end as well for the wideout. Allen headed back to the locker room with a shoulder injury after that catch, robbing the Chargers of their most productive wideout just as the first quarter came to an end.
The Chargers got set up for Allen’s touchdown when Donald Butler intercepted an Eli Manning pass. The interception, which was intended for Rueben Randle and deflected, was Manning’s 19th of the season.
It might be cold in Denver, but the only thing hotter than Mike Munchak’s seat on the Titans sideline might be the Titans themselves.
Tennessee has jumped to a surprising 14-10 lead over the Broncos on the road, but the Broncos just missed a couple of chances to tie it up.
But then Manning warmed up a bit on a 16-degree day, hitting Eric Decker for what appeared to be a 26-yard touchdown and then Wes Welker for a 7-yard touchdown, but both were overturned on review. Decker was ruled down short of the goal line, and Welker seemed to bobble the ball as he hit the ground.
The Broncos then had to settle for a field goal just before the end of the first quarter.
The Titans have to be encouraged by the goal-line stand, and they’re playing with confidence.
For the better part of 59 minutes, Sunday was not a good day for the New England Patriots. Things wound up brightening up a lot at the very end, however.
Julian Edelman held onto a two-yard touchdown catch from Tom Brady despite a hit by Jordan Poyer that was flagged for unnecessary roughness with 1:01 left to play, Kyle Arrington recovered an onside kick and then Leon McFadden was flagged for pass interference in the end zone with 40 seconds left to play. It was a weak call by the officials, although New Englanders may think it just penance for the flag that was picked up in their loss to Carolina.
The Pats got the ball on the one and Brady hit Danny Amendola for a touchdown on the next play. They couldn’t get a two-point conversion, making the score 27-26 in a game the Patriots once trailed 19-3. It wasn’t over yet, as the Browns drove the ball into position for a 58-yard field goal with a second to play but Billy Cundiff was short and the Pats held on.
Brady finished the day 32-of-52 for 418 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on a day that went from a horrible start to a worse middle before the happy ending.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who missed the first six games of the season, had to be carted off the field after taking a shot to the knee from Browns safety T.J. Ward and initial reports about the severity of the injury suggest that they’ll end the season the same way they started it. Shane Vereen will likely be part of the plan for life without Gronkowski after catching 12 passes for 153 yards on Sunday afternoon, but it’s hard to overstate the magnitude of the tight end’s loss.
The comeback will overshadow another monster day for Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon. Gordon caught an 80-yard touchdown and had a 19-yard catch and a 34-yard run in the fourth quarter to set up another touchdown. Gordon had seven catches for 151 yards, breaking his string of 200-yard outings but setting a new Browns franchise record for single-season receiving yards.
That wasn’t enough to overcome another Tom Brady comeback, although there will still be plenty of people lamenting a loss in Patriots country on Sunday night.
For a guy who never played in much snow, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill isn’t bad at it.
Tannehill outdueled Ben Roethlisberger in a wild second half to lead the Dolphins to a 34-28 win at Pittsburgh.
The Steelers nearly won the game as time expired, as Antonio Brown went out of bounds at the 13-yard line to kill the hopes of a multiple-lateral finish. After the ball went through the hands of several Steelers players, Brown found a seam, and was celebrating in the end zone when officials conferred and determined he had stepped out.
The win moves the Dolphins to 7-6, pushing them to the top of the AFC sixth-seed pack. The Steelers fell to 5-8, ending any practical chance at the playoffs.
Tannehill was 20-of-33 for 200 yards and three touchdowns, hitting Charles Clay for his second touchdown of the day in the fourth quarter for control of a game that saw the lead change hands four times in the second half.
Roethlisberger was solid throughout the day, but the Dolphins made defensive stops when it counted, and thanks to Brown’s left foot, were able to hang on.
In a bad game between two losing teams on Sunday in Tampa, the Buccaneers proved a much better team than the Bills.
Tampa Bay jumped out to an early lead when Bobby Rainey ran for an 80-yard touchdown on the second play of the game, and the Buccaneers never looked back. It was 14-3 at the end of the first quarter and 24-3 at halftime, and the Bucs cruised to an easy 27-6 win in the second half.
Despite an absolutely dreadful start to the season, the Buccaneers are now playing competitive football. Today’s win improves them to 4-9 on the season, and 4-1 in their last five games. This late run of winning may be enough to save Greg Schiano’s job.
But not all is well with the Buccaneers. Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, who has shown so much promise this season, had a rough day. One of the most important questions facing the Bucs in the offseason will be whether Glennon is their franchise quarterback of the future, and his performance today did nothing to answer that question.
Still, the Buccaneers are in much better shape now than they were a few weeks ago. Tampa Bay is ending the season playing good football. Who saw that coming five weeks ago?
In response to the ESPN report that Redskins coach Mike Shanahan nearly quit in January, Shanahan didn’t deny it.
“It’s not the right time or place to talk about my relationship with Dan Snyder,” Shanahan told reporters after Sunday’s embarrassing loss to the Chiefs. “Or it’s not the right time or place to talk about something that happened a year ago.”
(That last part could be construed as a confirmation.)
Shanahan consistently refused to talk about his future in Washington, insisting on focusing on next weekend’s game against the Falcons.
Shanahan added he expects to talk to Snyder after the season. But Snyder could decide to talk about it now, perhaps including the sentence, “You’re fired.”
Amid suspicions that Shanahan leaked the report that he nearly quit due to the relationship between Snyder and quarterback Robert Griffin III, don’t be shocked if that sentence is uttered tonight.
In a truly remarkable sequence in the snow in Baltimore, the Vikings have lost, retaken, lost and retaken the lead in a span of one minute and 22 seconds.
The Vikings currently hold a 26-22 lead in the final minute after Cordarrelle Patterson scored a 79-yard TD reception.
Secondly, the Vikings struck back with a 41-yard TD run up the middle by Toby Gerhart, which gave Minnesota a 19-15 lead with 1:45 left.
Then, the Ravens counterpunched in dramatic fashion, with Jacoby Jones taking the ensuing kickoff for 77 yards and a touchdown to give the Ravens a 22-19 lead with 1:27 left.
Finally, we had Patterson taking a pass from Matt Cassel and sprinting away for a 79-yard TD.
On a snowy field in Philadelphia, the Eagles have taken a big step toward the playoffs, while the Lions have taken a big step backward.
With LeSean McCoy leading the way and gaining an Eagles franchise record 217 yards, Philadelphia ran over Detroit, winning 34-20.
The win improves the Eagles’ record to 8-5, and puts them in good position for a run to the playoffs: If they win their final three games, they win the NFC East.
The 7-6 Lions also need only to win their last three games to win their division, although they can’t feel particularly confident in their chances given the way they’ve played over the last month. With all the injuries in Green Bay and Chicago, Detroit has been virtually handed the NFC North. But they might lose it anyway.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had a terrible time dealing with the snowy conditions, fumbling a whopping five times and completing just 10 of 25 passes for 148 yards. The Lions’ lousy offense wasted a brilliant day from return man Jeremy Ross, who had two touchdowns, one on a punt and one on a kickoff.
The Eagles’ offense, however, eventually figured out how to deal with the bad conditions. Although Philadelphia got off to a bad start, by the fourth quarter the Eagles’ offense was rolling, and by the end of the game Philadelphia had topped 300 rushing yards.
Now the question is what each team can do over the final three weeks. The Eagles look a lot more like a playoff-worthy team than the Lions.
Yes, the Chiefs had lost three straight.
But after manhandling the Redskins 45-10 Sunday, it appears that’s a function of two of them being against the Broncos as opposed to a bigger problem.
The Chiefs improved to 10-3 with the win, which featured sterling play in all three phases.
Sure, the Redskins are a 3-10 dumpster fire at the moment, but the Chiefs held them to 260 yards, collecting six sacks.
Meanwhile, Dexter McCluster had 174 yards worth of punt returns and a touchdown, making the offense a bit of an afterthought.
Quarterback Alex Smith was a clean 14-of-20 for 137 yards and two touchdowns, while Jamaal Charles ran for 101 yards and scored two touchdowns.
For the Redskins, the game on the field got away from them early, and will quickly yield to the organizational drama of Mike Shanahan and what appears to be an inevitable, ugly divorce.