Mike Florio talks with Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area about the 49ers’ trek to the playoffs. Maiocco discusses Aldon Smith’s incredible season, San Fran’s QB dilemma, and an update on the Brandon Jacobs tiff that ended in a three-game suspension.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: What to do with Alex Smith
If there’s anything Jerry Jones loves more than talking, it might be Tony Romo.
So the Cowboys owner looked up during his postgame press conference as his soon-to-be former quarterback walked out of the locker room, knowing it was probably the last time he’d do so.
“We just won’t address any of that until later on,” Jones said, via Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “And I’m not going to quantify it in terms of days or weeks or whatever, but that will be in the future. . . .
“That’s not for here. We’ll be talking and addressing those kinds of things as we move ahead here over the next weeks and months.”
Once the Cowboys cast their lot with rookie Dak Prescott this season and kept him in place when Romo’s back fracture healed, it set the stage for an inevitable trade or release.
And even falling behind 21-3 against the Packers never made it cross Jones’ mind to go to the 36-year-old on the bench.
“No, I didn’t think about that,” Jones said.
But the moment wasn’t lost on others, who said Romo’s willingness to handle things like an adult this season was critical to their 13-3 record and top seed in the NFC playoffs.
“I haven’t had a chance to reflect on that,” tight end and Romo’s close friend Jason Witten said. “I’m sure in the next few weeks we’ll have time to talk. I Really haven’t had a time to talk about that with him. But I’m proud of him and how he handled that. Going back to when he had his press conference, and the way he was able to kind of take the lead and eliminate the distraction for our football team, that wasn’t easy to do. I think we’re all better because of that.”
And as they go into the offseason, the passing of the torch will become official, even if they don’t want to discuss it today.
After they beat the Texans on Saturday night, the word from the Patriots was that they needed to play better if they are going to advance to the seventh Super Bowl of the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era.
The message in the Steelers locker room after Sunday night’s 18-16 win over the Chiefs sounded pretty similar. The Steelers moved the ball for much of the game, but settled for six Chris Boswell field goals because they couldn’t get the ball into the end zone. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that was “enough” to get the job done on Sunday, but the consensus was that enough won’t be enough in New England.
“There are a lot of things to do to be successful against them,” Roethlisberger said, via ESPN.com. “They are the best in the world for a reason. We’ve got to score points, can’t turn the ball over.”
The Patriots beat the Steelers 27-16 in the regular season, but Roethlisberger missed the game with an injury. He’ll be back this time for what the Steelers hope will be a better effort all around.
Among the plays that helped set the stage for the Packers to beat the Cowboys with a last-second field goal was a spike by Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott on the team’s final drive.
A pass to Jason Witten gave the Cowboys a first down in Green Bay territory with 1:07 left to play and Prescott spiked the ball to stop the clock at that point. The Cowboys, trailing by three at the time, would move seven yards closer before a third down incompletion set up Dan Bailey’s field goal with 35 seconds left to play.
After the game, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was asked about the decision to spike the ball there rather than continue running plays and time off of the clock.
“Just felt like that was the right thing to do at the time,” Garrett said. “Keeping the timeout to be able to kick a field goal is really important if you can do it. So in those situations when you make a first down, we believe you clock it there so you keep the timeout in your back pocket. Obviously in that situation we’re trying to go down and score a touchdown so you want to keep as much time on the clock as you can. If the clock is going and you need a timeout to get yourself in field goal range you have that one still available to you.”
Garrett never needed that timeout, which obviously would have been in his pocket with or without a spike on the first down play, and he wasted a down that could have been used to try to score a touchdown. The Packers could have stopped the clock, but that would have left them without timeouts to use on their own final drive and increased the likelihood that Bailey’s kick sends the game to overtime.
The dramatic pass to Packers tight end Jared Cook had a certain drawn-in-the-dirt feel, but they actually saw the same play in practice last week.
And fortunately for Cook, he was able to make the most of his second chance, since he was out of bounds the first time they ran it.
Via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, when Cook made the play in practice last week, it looked good at first, but a look at the video afterward showed he didn’t get both feet in. Last night, of course, he was a ballerina, keeping his toes down while completing the catch that set up the game-winning field goal for the Packers.
“It looked like it was good on the field,” receiver Davante Adams said of practice. “Then we watched the film and saw it was a little bit out when we watched it together. But he did it right this time.”
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers did his part, throwing the ball to the one place it couldn’t possible be intercepted, and where Cook’s momentum would carry him out of bounds to stop the clock.
“I was just trying to secure the catch, just making sure that I did what I could to stay in bounds and secure it because anything could have happened if I bobbled it,” Cook said. “They probably would have called it back.
“So, securing it was the most important thing.”
Then it was a matter of getting his big feet down, knowing the scrutiny Sunday would be much greater than last week’s practice film.
“He learned from it,” Adams said. “He converted that size 16 to a 10½.”
And with that, the Packers are taking another big step toward the Super Bowl.
Cowboys tight end Jason Witten wasn’t necessarily talking about being at the end of the line.
But he’s also wise enough to know he might have just lost his last best shot at a Super Bowl ring.
When a reporter mentioned to the 34-year-old tight end last night that he had never been to the conference title game, Witten turned philosophical for a moment.
“Yeah, I’m well aware of that,” Witten said, via Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. “Obviously that’s something I realize, regardless of how many catches you have or any of that stuff, your legacy will be remembered as how you play in these certain situations in the playoffs, and that’s tough. It’s tough for me to swallow that. It’s not about any one individual. I’m proud of this team. I really have my whole career I’ve tried to work really hard to not make it about me, and that’s why there’s emotion that goes along with this.
“I’m in my 14th year, and you know there’s a shelf life for everybody. You put everything you have into it, and when you come up short it’s tough. It’s not about a paycheck. It’s about an opportunity to compete and lead and win and play in these types of games. This team had a special feel all the way through, and to come up short like that for me is hard.”
Witten has one more year on his contract, and 14 glorious years behind him, so he’s clearly getting closer to the end than the beginning. But he’s also still contributing at a high level, with six catches for 59 yards in yesterday’s loss to the Packers, including his first playoff touchdown.
So there’s no reason to think he’s ready to walk away.
“I haven’t really thought about it,” he said. “Every year when I’m empty at this point, it’s just you gave everything you got, and I’ll take time to reflect on it. I love this team and this group of guys and so, yeah, that will be the plan for sure.”
But with changes coming to Dallas this offseason — likely including his longtime friend Tony Romo — things will doubtless be different for them next year. And that’s hard to swallow for one of the organization’s true constants.
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown made an odd decision to stream a Facebook live video of the team’s locker room after Sunday night’s win in Kansas City, a decision that gave fans access to to coach Mike Tomlin’s postgame speech — in which he referred to the Patriots as “a–holes.”
The video, which has been viewed more than 1 million times, also includes postgame thoughts from Steelers players. Tomlin was not directly criticizing the Patriots so much as firing his team up to have a big week against an opponent that will have more rest.
“We spotted those a–holes a day and a half,” Tomlin said of the Patriots. “They played yesterday, our game got moved to tonight. We’re going to touch down at 4 o’clock in the f–king morning. So be it. We’ll be ready for their ass.”
The video also includes the voice of one player or coach telling the Steelers to “keep it cool on social media.” Posting a video from inside the locker room is probably not what that person had in mind.
Monday’s PFT Live will spend plenty of time looking back on the divisional-round weekend. So the question of the day, not surprisingly, will do the same thing.
And here it is: Who had the best individual performance of the weekend?
The choices are below. Pick one, make your case in the comments, call us out for omitting other potential options.
And then tune in for the show, which starts at 6:00 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Radio and then slides over to NBCSN for a two-hour simulcast.
Guests include NBC’s Mike Tirico and Bob Kravitz of WTHR in Indianapolis.
Now that the Rams have a new head coach, other changes could be coming to the organization.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Rams will now look at ways to improve their front office. While searching for their latest coach, the Rams obtained feedback from various persons. They will study how to implement the changes.
Don’t be surprised if they add to the front office, supplementing G.M. Les Snead, possibly with someone who would occupy a higher position on the organizational chart.
Making an addition to the front office more likely is that COO Kevin Demoff will now be focusing more on getting the stadium built on time and within budget, and less time working on football matters.
After the Chiefs lost to the Steelers Sunday night, 18-16, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce wasn’t shy in sharing his feelings about the penalty that negated the two-point conversion pass that would have tied the game.
The Chiefs had scored on a Spencer Ware run with 2:43 left to come within two points. Quarterback Alex Smith found Demetrius Harris wide open on the ensuing two-point play, but Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher was flagged for holding Steelers linebacker James Harrison.
The Chiefs backed up 10 yards and tried the two-point conversion again, and Smith’s pass intended for Jeremy Maclin was incomplete.
After the game, Kelce said the holding call was “horses**t,” per the Kansas City Star, and said the official who threw the flag “shouldn’t be able work at Foot Locker.”
Per ESPN.com, Kelce singled out referee Carl Cheffers and said Cheffers “shouldn’t be able to wear a zebra jersey.”
Kelce had five catches for 77 yards but didn’t have a great night. He dropped a pass in the third quarter that would have put the Chiefs inside’ the Steelers’ 15-yard line, and later on that drive Kelce was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for pushing Ross Cockrell after a play.
A two-point conversion that would have tied the game was negated by penalty, and the Steelers then killed the clock and held on to beat the Chiefs Sunday night, 18-16.
The Chiefs had scored on a Spencer Ware run with 2:43 left to come within two points. Alex Smith found Demetrius Harris wide open on the ensuing two-point play, but Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher was flagged for holding Steelers linebacker James Harrison. The Chiefs backed up 10 yards and tried the two-point conversion again, and Smith’s pass intended for Jeremy Maclin was incomplete.
The Steelers play at New England next Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.
The Steelers won in Kansas City without scoring a touchdown. Steelers kicker Chris Boswell set an NFL postseason record with six field goals, and after scoring on their first drive the Chiefs didn’t find the end zone again until the final three minutes. The Steelers’ biggest third-down conversion of the season came on a 7-yard Ben Roethlisberger pass to Antonio Brown with 1:53 left.
The Chiefs were out of timeouts, and their season ended when Roethlisberger then took three knees. Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell ran for 170 yards, breaking the team playoff record of 168 he set last week.
Bell ran for 101 yards in the first half as the Steelers dominated. The Chiefs didn’t get a first down from late in the first quarter until their second possession of the third quarter, leaving themselves to chase when their offense finally showed signs of life over the final 20 minutes. The Steelers finished with 389 total yards; the Chiefs had 227.
The Chiefs scored on their first drive of the game on a 5-yard Smith pass to Albert Wilson. The Steelers led 12-7 at halftime and 15-10 after three quarters.
Smith finished 20-of-34 passing for 172 yards. Roethlisberger was 20-of-31 for 224 yards, and Brown caught six passes for 108 yards.
Chris Boswell has kicked a playoff record six field goals, and the Steelers hold an 18-10 lead over the Chiefs in the final 10 minutes.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got up limping following a sack just before the sixth field goal, but that’s happened before and Roethlisberger tends to be OK. He’s been pretty good, and the Steelers have moved the ball all night but keep settling for field goals.
Le’Veon Bell has matched his team playoff record from last week with 168 rushing yards.
The Chiefs have kept it within one score, though, despite not getting a first down from late in the first quarter until their second possession of the third quarter.
Chris Boswell has kicked five field goals, and the Steelers hold a 15-7 lead over the Chiefs in the third quarter.
The Chiefs are struggling to move the ball. The Steelers are moving it and are over 300 total yards but keep settling for field goals. The Chiefs went four series between first downs before getting one via penalty in the third quarter.
Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell has 150 rushing yards, 18 short of the team playoff record he set last week. Boswell’s five field goals match an NFL postseason record.
In the first half the Steelers outgained the Chiefs, 275-106.
The Chiefs got their only points and the game’s only touchdown on their first drive on a 5-yard pass from Alex Smith to Albert Wilson.
Any Cowboys who hoped to make a quick exit from AT&T Stadium after a painful 34-31 loss to the Packers were blocked from doing so by Mother Nature.
A tornado warning in the Dallas area has led security at the stadium to have people shelter in place away from windows until the storm makes its way through the area. That’s kept fans in the stands and it’s brought a couple of Cowboys players back out to the field.
Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News reports that quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott are back where they spent the final moments of their rookie seasons. They are watching the goal posts get taken down, which is never all that fun unless you’ve just beaten your biggest rival in a college football game.
There are reportedly 14,000 people without power as a result of the storm, so we’ll hope that everyone stays safe even if they may have to stay somewhere they’d rather not be for a few extra minuts.
[Photo via David Helman of DallasCowboys.com on Twitter]
The Steelers dominated most of the first half but they only hold a 12-7 lead at halftime.
Chris Boswell has kicked four field goals, three from inside 40 yards, and the Steelers have to hope that their inability to get in the end zone doesn’t eventually come back to haunt them.
In the first 25 minutes the Steelers outgained the Chiefs, 213-94. At halftime the yardage differential is 275-106.
Before the third Boswell field goal, a diving Eric Berry interception on a pass that was deflected high into the air by Frank Zombo kept the Steelers out of the end zone after Ryan Shazier’s interception set them up in Kansas City territory.
The Chiefs got their only points and the game’s only touchdown on their first drive on a 5-yard pass from Alex Smith to Albert Wilson.
New Broncos head coach Vance Joseph was accused of sexually assaulting two women at the University of Colorado in 2003, allegations that resurfaced after he was hired in Denver last week.
Joseph was not arrested or charged, but the Boulder Daily Camera reported this weekend that the a woman talked to police about the incident during a 2004 investigation into widespread corruption within the Colorado football program, where Joseph had been a player and then an assistant coach.
The Broncos have acknowledged that they knew about the allegations, noting that no charges were brought against Joseph and police did not question him.
A woman told police that she and a friend had been drinking and smoking marijuana with Joseph, and that when she went to bed, Joseph took off his clothes, got into her bed and was “touching her all over with his hands and rubbed his body against her,” according to the police officer’s report. The woman said she pretended to be passed out, and Joseph left the room. The next morning, the woman said, the other woman told her that Joseph had gotten into her bed and done the same thing to her until she told him to “get the hell out.”
The women declined to press criminal charges.
Not long after that, Joseph was suspended from Colorado’s coaching staff and then left the school. The university’s then-president has said Joseph was being investigated for sexual harassment in connection with a different incident in which he had sex with a trainer in a campus athletic facility.