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There have been a lot of balls in the air through the first 30 minutes in Seattle, but the Steelers have a pair of rushing touchdowns to thank for a 18-14 lead.
DeAngelo Williams plunged into the end zone with 56 seconds left in the first half and the Steelers converted a two-point conversion — see what happens when you use the offense to gain yards? — to go up 18-14 after a half of football. Martavis Bryant ran 10 yards on an end around to account for their other score.
Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t thrown a touchdown, but the passing game has been the primary mover for Pittsburgh on Sunday. Roethlisberger is 19-of-28 for 206 yards, including a 41-yard bomb to Markus Wheaton that set up the Williams touchdown.
Russell Wilson found Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse for touchdowns in the second quarter of the game to put the Seahawks up 14-10. Wilson was particularly sharp on the drive that ended with Kearse’s score as he completed 7-of-8 passes for 90 yards to drive Seattle down the field. Two of the throws were big gainers to Jimmy Graham, something that the Seahawks would surely like to see more of as the rest of the game and rest of the season unfold.
They’ll need better work from the defense to make any further gains stand up, though. Roethlisberger has shown no qualms about attacking the Seahawks defense down the field and the defense has done nothing to make him pay at either the front or back end thus far. That will have to change if the Seahawks want to avoid a return to sub-.500 waters when Sunday comes to a close.
Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game because of a knee injury, but he got the green light to play in Seattle.
A different injury has Shazier questionable to remain in the game until the final whistle, however. Shazier has returned to the locker room with Steelers medical personnel in the second quarter of the game.
Shazier looked dazed on his way back to the locker room for what appeared to be a concussion evaluation and the Steelers quickly confirmed that was the case. Vince Williams took over for Shazier in the Pittsburgh defense.
Tight end Heath Miller also went to the locker room for the Steelers, but he’s expected to return after suffering a rib injury.
The Steelers lead 10-7 after a 10-yard run by Martavis Bryant on an end around put the Steelers back on top in the second quarter.
UPDATE 5:39 p.m. ET: Miller has returned to the game with the Steelers trailing 14-10 with two minutes left in the half.
The Steelers had the ball on fourth down from the Seahawks’ 27-yard-line as the first quarter came to a close with Ben Roethlisberger and the offense still on the field.
It appeared the Steelers changed their mind about going for it once the second quarter kicked off because they had the field goal team on the field, but so was backup quarterback Landry Jones and the Steelers shifted to a traditional offensive formation with Jones taking a shotgun snap.
Jones lofted a pass in the direction of tackle Alejandro Villanueva, but Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane read it the entire way and intercepted the pass. He returned it 54 yards to the Pittsburgh 24-yard-line and the Seahawks were able to capitalize on the gift from Mike Tomlin with a touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin that gave them a 7-3 lead.
One has to wonder why Tomlin thought it was better to try to gain two yards with his backup quarterback throwing to an offensive tackle rather than letting Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and the rest of a talented offense have a go at it. Being aggressive on the road is a good idea, but, as Walter White would be the first to tell you, half-measures like Tomlin’s aren’t really being aggressive.
49ers tight end Garrett Celek was carted off the field during the first quarter of Sunday’s game vs. the Cardinals.
The team called it an ankle injury and said Celek is questionable to return.
The Cardinals lead, 6-0, in the second quarter.
Philip Rivers had another big game, and he finally got some help.
The Jaguars helped, too.
The Chargers won in Jacksonville Sunday, 31-25, to snap a six-game losing streak. Rivers threw 4 touchdown passes, 2 to Antonio Gates, and the Jaguars needed a late touchdown after a blocked punt to make it close. The ensuing onside kick went out of bounds, the Jaguars slipped to 4-7.
Rivers threw 3 touchdown passes in the second quarter. The Chargers went up 21-9 after a Manti Te’o interception set up the second Rivers to Gates touchdown just before halftime.
The Jets were trending sharply in the wrong direction with four losses in their last five games, leaving their once-promising playoff hopes on thin ice when Sunday’s game against the Dolphins kicked off.
They aren’t on totally solid ground after the final whistle, but they’re closer to land after a 38-20 win that gave them a season sweep of their AFC East rivals. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw four touchdown passes and the defense kept the Dolphins in check until the game was well in hand to move the Jets to 6-5 on the year.
That’s the same record that the Texans, Colts and Chiefs have and the Steelers will either join them or improve to 7-4 after their game with the Seahawks comes to a close. That leaves a lot of potential combinations and the 5-6 Bills and Raiders can’t be counted out, so every win is a big one for the Jets.
They should feel good about this one. Their offense found success on the ground and in the air after two weeks of diminshed returns. Brandon Marshall dominated Brent Grimes for nine catches, 131 yards and two touchdowns and they ran for 137 yards to keep things balanced over the course of the contest. They’ll need that same balance against the Giants next weekend in an interstadium battle that has huge significance for both teams.
More of the same for the defense would be welcome as well. The Dolphins drove for two touchdowns after the Jets opened up a 35-7 lead in the fourth and taking the 156 yards they gained in those stat padding efforts leaves them with 177 yards to show for their offensive efforts. Only 12 of those yards came on the ground and the Dolphins failed on their first eight third-down tries of the game as Ryan Tannehill’s play was lacking until the game was well out of hand.
It would seem reasonable to expect that backup Jamil Douglas will get better at snapping the ball, but those are the kinds of things that have been a problem for the Dolphins, who are now 0-5 in the AFC East, all year. Those kinds of blunders and injuries have a lot to do with the 4-7 record in Miami and the coming changes to the organization that will come once they play out the string on another dismal season.
After the 49ers dumped coach Jim Harbaugh at the close of the 2014 season, 49ers owner Jed York gladly accepted the blame for any future struggles of the team.
“We don’t raise division championship banners, we don’t raise NFC Championship banners. We raise Super Bowl banners. And whenever we don’t deliver that, I hope that you will hold me directly responsible and accountable for it,” York said.
Well, he asked for it.
Via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, a plane flying over Levi’s Stadium on Sunday towed a message that made reference to the team’s official reason for moving on from Harbaugh, turning it back against the owner: “Jed & The 49ers Should Mutually Part Ways.”
It’s not the first fan-based attack against York this year, although it involved a more traditional prop than the other one.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin said this week that “it’s a lot of fun” coaching a team that’s in first place.
Coughlin’s team is still in first place after Sunday’s game, but they have company and we’re guessing he’ll be having a lot less fun when the question comes up this week. The Redskins jumped out to a 20-0 lead and held on after two late Giants touchdowns for a 20-14 win that pulls them even with the Giants at 5-6.
If the season ended today, Washington would win the crown based on a better division record. They have two games left against the Cowboys and one against the Eagles, however, and the Giants still have a chance to even their record at 3-3 when they face the Eagles in Week 17.
There’s a lot of football to play between now and then, but the Redskins know they are going to the playoffs if they win their remaining games.
The Giants could have said the same coming into the game, but they continue to make it hard to know what to expect from them on any given Sunday. Two weeks after nearly beating the Patriots, they laid a complete egg for three quarters of the game as the home team did just enough to pull ahead by three scores. Eli Manning finally found some success in the fourth with touchdown passes to Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham, but Steve Spagnuolo’s defense couldn’t stop Jordan Reed and Alfred Morris from getting first downs that left the Giants with a few seconds and no timeouts for a last-ditch attempt at pulling out the win.
That effort wasn’t helped by punt returner Dwayne Harris’s decision to field a Redskins punt over his shoulder on his goal-line, costing the team yards to use in their attempt to pull off a miracle. There were other blunders by the Giants, who turned the ball over on three interceptions that could be blamed on both Manning and his receivers. The last came in the end zone on what looked like an underwhelming effort by Randle to break on a ball picked off by Quinton Dunbar.
Kirk Cousins wasn’t picked off at all and finished the day 20-of-29 for 302 yards and a touchdown to help his team rebound from last week’s licking against the Panthers. He had a lot of success throwing to Reed, whose eight catches for 98 yards included several drive-extenders, and played the mistake-free football that Washington needs from him. He’ll try for another round of it next Monday night against a Cowboys team that will be coming to town fresh off the latest Tony Romo injury. It’s a game Washington should win, although they haven’t proven to be much any more consistent than the Giants this season.
Ryan Kerrigan spearheaded the defensive effort with two sacks and a batted ball that almost turned into a fourth Manning interception. The Giants will need to sort things out on an offensive line that ended the day down three starters in time for their MetLife bragging rights game against the Jets next Sunday. If they can’t Week 13 might end with them out of first place altogether.
The Colts would clearly prefer to have Andrew Luck under center.
But they’re certainly making the best of things with his backup on the field.
The Colts pulled away for a 25-12 win over the Buccaneers, improving to 6-5 on the season.
But perhaps as importantly, they’re 4-0 in games started by 40-year-old quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who has kept them alive and atop the AFC South standings, tied with the Texans.
Hasselbeck completed 26-of-42 passes for 315 yards and two touchdowns, playing the kind of clean game they needed while Luck’s out with a lacerated kidney.
The Buccaneers squandered some early momentum and continued signs of progress by quarterback Jameis Winston, who threw for 235 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.
The Buccaneers fell to 5-6 on the season, a disappointing follow-up to wins over the Eagles and Cowboys.
When it rains on the Titans, it pours. Especially in Nashville.
Playing in a driving rainstorm in the second half, the Titans were working on an impressive comeback before Marcus Mariota threw an interception to Raiders safety Nate Allen, allowing the Raiders to escape with a 24-21 win.
The win helped the Raiders improve to 5-6, but it was mostly another Titans loss at home. They’ve now dropped 11 straight at Nissan Stadium.
Mariota threw a pair of interceptions, overshadowing the work he did getting his team back into the lead after falling into a 17-6 hole in the third quarter. Until the Titans figure out a running game (44 yards on the day), it’s going to be hard for Mariota to do enough to make them valid.
And while it wasn’t a work of art, it was an excellent performance for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner to Seth Roberts (his second) with 1:27 left.
For the Chiefs, today’s game against the Bills was a lot like the 2015 season: A rough start and a great turnaround.
The Chiefs fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter today and looked like they were in serious trouble. But quarterback Alex Smith came alive and led a tremendous turnaround in what turned out to be a 30-22 Chiefs win.
Now Kansas City is on a five-game winning streak after starting the season 1-5. The Chiefs looked like their season was lost just a couple months ago, and now they look like they’re on their way to the playoffs.
Smith finished the game 19-for-30 for 255 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Spencer Ware, the Chiefs’ third-string running back who’s now a starter because of injuries to Jamaal Charles and Charcandrick West, topped 100 yards and ran hard all day.
The Bills were off to a fantastic start with Sammy Watkins having 158 receiving yards in the first half, but he didn’t catch any passes in the second half. The Chiefs’ defense deserves a lot of credit for the way it came back in the second half.
And the Chiefs deserve a lot of credit for the way they’ve turned their season around. They’re now AFC contenders.
Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns was taken off the field via stretcher in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game vs. the Chargers and taken to a local hospital.
The team announced that Hurns suffered a concussion and was taken to the hospital for further evaluation.
Hurns hit his head on the turf while diving to make a catch. The game was stopped for several minutes while medical staff attended to Hurns. He flashed a thumbs up to the crowd as the stretcher left the field.
Hurns caught 4 passes for 42 yards in the game.
For three quarters of Sunday’s game, the Giants offense only seemed to be helping the Redskins’ chances of winning but the fourth quarter is playing out differently.
Odell Beckham made a diving catch of a 21-yard throw from Eli Manning in the end zone to cut Washington’s lead to 20-14 with just under five minutes left to play in the game. Beckham’s score came about five minutes after Manning and Rueben Randle hooked up on a 40-yard touchdown for the first Giants points of the game.
The Randle score came on fourth-and-16 after a Chris Baker sack that looked like it would be one of the final nails in the Giants’ coffin. The Beckham score came a few plays after Manning hit tight end Will Tye for 28 yards to convert another fourth down and the late escapes have put the Giants in position for a shot at one that would make the NFC East crown all but theirs.
The last time the Dolphins met the Jets, they fired their head coach after a lopsided loss.
Dan Campbell might want to make sure his luggage is on the flight home to Miami because the Dolphins are on the wrong end of the whipping stick again this Sunday. Chris Ivory ran through the Dolphins defense for a 31-yard touchdown with 9:29 left to play in the game and the Jets are on their way to a comfortable win with a comfortable 35-7 lead.
Ivory’s score was the first rushing touchdown of the game for the Jets, who have gotten their other four scores on Ryan Fitzpatrick touchdown passes. The Dolphins briefly looked like they had some life left in them when they cut the lead to 21-7 in the third quarter, but Fitzpatrick hit Brandon Marshall to cap a 10-play, 79-yard drive five minutes later to put the Jets back up three scores.
It is four scores now and the Jets are on their way to snapping a two-game losing streak.
In a battle of two NFC playoff contenders, the Vikings looked like they’re postseason-ready, while the Falcons looked like they have some problems.
The Vikings’ 20-10 victory showed that Minnesota has a good defense and running game, a formula to win late in the season just the way Vikings coach Mike Zimmer wants. And the Falcons’ loss showed that Matt Ryan throws into coverage far too often for a quarterback who’s been in the NFL as long as he has.
Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson topped 100 yards for the NFL-high sixth time this year, giving him a total of 48 100-yard games in his career, the most among active players. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater didn’t have many big plays, but he was efficient as a passer and got rid of the ball quickly. It was a solid effort from the Vikings’ offense.
And it was a spectacular effort from the Vikings’ defense, which took advantage of some poor decisions by Ryan.The Falcons missed running back Devonta Freeman, although Tevin Coleman filled in well enough with 18 carries for 110 yards. The downside for Coleman is that his fumbling problems continued; Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr made a great play to chase Coleman down and knock the ball out of his hands at the end of a long run.
Overall, the Vikings looked like a team that can win games in the playoffs. Minnesota is 8-3 and in first place in the NFC North.
The Falcons, on the other hand, looked like a team that will struggle to make the playoffs. Although they’re still in prime position to earn a wild card berth at 6-5, the Falcons are stumbling down the stretch. If this was a playoff preview, only the Vikings looked like they belong.