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One of the limitations of instant replay was demonstrated on Sunday in Chicago, where Jay Cutler fumbled, only to have the officials wrongly rule it an incomplete pass — and to have the referee unable to do anything about it on a replay rule.
As explained by NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino in a video distributed by the league, players on the field stopped when they heard an official blow a whistle for what he thought was an incomplete pass by Cutler. Replays clearly showed that Cutler had fumbled, not thrown a pass, but that didn’t matter because if the players stopped playing when they heard an official blow a play dead, there’s nothing instant replay reviews can do about it.
“The problem is, everybody has stopped,” Blandino said. “The rule is, if the ruling on the field is an incomplete pass or down by contact but it’s really a fumble, in order to give the ball to the recovering team, that recovery has to happen in the immediate continuing action. So players can’t stop as a result of the dead ball ruling, as a result of the whistle.”
Blandino acknowledged that video of the play clearly showed Cutler had fumbled, and a Vikings player was the first to pick it up — but only after everyone had stopped playing because of the whistle.
“It is a fumble, you can see that,” Blandino said. “The referee ruled incomplete pass. It should’ve been a fumble.”
Bears fans saw a similar play last year, when an Aaron Rodgers fumble that most of the players on the field thought was an incomplete pass was picked up by the Packers and run in for a touchdown. The difference in that play was that the players stopped because they thought it was an incomplete pass, not because an official blew a whistle. On that play, the officials on the field correctly ruled that Rodgers had fumbled, and they correctly allowed the play to keep going even though most of the players on the field thought it was an incomplete pass.
“What we teach is do not blow the whistle,” Blandino said.
Unfortunately, the ref in Sunday’s game didn’t follow that teaching.
Over the course of the week, there are a lot of posts about the most prominent injured players but we know that you might not see all of them and that some others may fall through the cracks. As a result, we’ll comb through all the injury reports every Friday afternoon so that there’s one stop for all the news from every team playing on Sunday. So, without further delay, the injury report roundup for Week 12 of the 2014 season.
Browns at Falcons
Browns tight end Jordan Cameon (concussion) and wide receiver Marlon Moore (hamstring) are out, with linebacker Karlos Dansby (knee, doubtful) likely to join them on the sideline. Safety Johnson Bademosi (concussion) and linebacker Jabaal Sheard (foot) are both questionable. The Falcons have ruled out cornerback Robert Alford (wrist) and tackle Jonathan Scott (hamstring), but the rest of the 53-man roster is healthy enough to play.
Buccaneers at Bears
It’s a four-man injury report for Tampa and all four — linebacker Lavonte David (hamstring), running back Doug Martin (ankle), running back Charles Sims (ankle) and cornerback Alterraun Verner (hamstring) — are questionable. The Bears ruled out defensive end Trevor Scott (knee), linebacker Darryl Sharpton (hamstring) and wide receiver Chris Williams (hamstring) while listing tackle Eben Britton (illness), cornerback Demontre Hurst (knee) and tackle Jordan Mills (ribs) as questionable.
Bengals at Texans
Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (hip,collarbone) is set to return after being listed as probable, but linebacker Vontaze Burfict (knee) is out again this week. Defensive end Margus Hunt (ankle) is also out. The Texans will wait to make a call on running back Arian Foster (groin, questionable) for a second straight week and they’ll continue to be without cornerback Kareem Jackson (knee).
Jaguars at Colts
The Jaguars ruled out defensive end Andre Branch (groin) and linebacker Jeremiah George (ankle), but the rest of the roster is healthy heading into Sunday. The Colts ruled out tight end Dwayne Allen (ankle), tackle Gosder Cherilus (shoulder) and cornerback Greg Toler (concussion). Defensive tackle Arthur Jones (ankle, probable) is set to return.
Packers at Vikings
It will be a week without tight end Brandon Bostick (hip) for the Packers. Cornerback Jarrett Bush (groin), linebacker Jay Elliott (hamstring), defensive end Datone Jones (ankle) and linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder) are all questionable. The Vikings added running back Ben Tate this week because Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon were banged up. Asiata (concussion) won’t play, but McKinnon (back) is probable. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee), wide receiver Greg Jennings (rib), tackle Matt Kalil (knee) and wide receiver Jarius Wright (hamstring) are questionable.
Lions at Patriots
The Lions will wait to make a final determination on running back Reggie Bush (ankle) and they’ve ruled out defensive tackle Nick Fairley (knee) and guard Larry Warford (knee) for another week. New England listed tackle Marcus Cannon (hip), defensive end Dominique Easley (knee) and safety Nate Ebner (finger) as questionable. Quarterback Tom Brady (ankle) is probable, though.
Titans at Eagles
Cornerback Marqueston Huff (hamstring) is unlikely to play for the Titans, who will wait to make final calls on wide receiver Justin Hunter (knee), linebacker Derrick Morgan (knee), safety Daimion Stafford (shoulder) and cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson (back) after listing them as questionable. Quarterback Nick Foles (collarbone) remains out, but the rest of the Eagles on the injury report, including offensive lineman Matt Tobin (concussion), are probable.
Rams at Chargers
The Rams will try to win against another AFC West team without defensive tackle Alex Carrington (knee), cornerback Lamarcus Joyner (groin), cornerback Marcus Roberson (ankle) and wide receiver Damian Williams (hamstring). They hold out hope for tight end Jared Cook (back), tight end Cory Harkey (quadricep) and long snapper Jake McQuaide (back) after listing them as questionable. Chargers safety Jahleel Addae (concussion) and center Rich Ohrnberger (ankle, back) are both questionable and quarterback Philip Rivers (chest) is probable.
Cardinals at Seahawks
Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (knee, questionable) will be a game-time decision after missing practice all week. Defensive tackle Ed Stinson (toe) is out. The Seahawks expect to have linebacker Bobby Wagner (toe, probable) back in the lineup, but cornerback Marcus Burley (hamstring), linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (shoulder) and center Max Unger (knee, ankle) have all been ruled out. Guard James Carpenter (ankle) is questionable.
Dolphins at Broncos
The Dolphins ruled out linebacker Jonathan Freeny (hamstring) and have little hope that cornerback Cortland Finnegan (ankle, doubtful) or tight end Charles Clay (knee, doubtful) will play. Running back Lamar Miller (shoulder, knee) and guard Daryn Colledge (back) are both questionable. The Broncos ruled out running backs Ronnie Hillman (foot) and Montee Ball (groin), but wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) was listed as probable after practicing on Friday. Tight end Julius Thomas (ankle) didn’t practice and is listed as questionable.
Redskins at 49ers
Defensive end Chris Baker (chest) and tight end Jordan Reed (hamstring) are out for the Redskins, who listed two offensive linemen — guard Shawn Lauvao (concussion) and left tackle Trent Williams (knee, ankle) — as questionable. Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey (biceps) won’t make his return this week and right tackle Anthony Davis (concussion) is out as well. Cornerback Tramaine Brock (hamstring), wide receiver Bruce Ellington (ankle), tight end Vance McDonald (hip) and linebacker Dan Skuta (ankle) are all questionable for the home team.
Cowboys at Giants
Cornerback Tyler Patmon (knee, ankle) is out, but the Cowboys are otherwise free of injury concerns as they return from the bye week. The Giants ruled out defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (calf), right tackle Justin Pugh (quadricep) and linebacker Jacquian Williams (concussion) with Geoff Schwartz (toe, probable) expected to take Pugh’s spot in the lineup.
Panthers safety Roman Harper has drawn a $8,268 fine from the NFL for an unnecessary roughness penalty in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta, the league confirmed to PFT on Friday.
Harper was flagged for unnecessary roughness after tackling Falcons wide receiver Roddy White around the helmet in the third quarter. As White was falling, both of Harper’s hands contacted White’s helmet, and Harper punctuated the tackle with a little push to the head with his left hand. This started a brief confrontation between Harper, White (who struck the safety in the facemask) and Falcons tailback Antone Smith (who shoved Harper). Ultimately, Harper drew the 15-yard penalty.
A ninth-year pro, the 31-year-old Harper has started all 11 games for Carolina this season, recording 41 tackles and three interceptions.
The Chiefs went an 11th game without a touchdown catch by a wide receiver in Oakland on Thursday night and Friday has brought a reported change to the receiving corps.
It’s a familiar face to head coach Andy Reid.
Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Chiefs are signing Jason Avant, who worked out for the team on Friday. The Chiefs haven’t made an announcement, but Avant’s agent Doug Hendrickson congratulated his client on finding a new team.
Avant was released by the Panthers earlier this week after catching 21 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown in 11 games for the team. Avant was critical of the team’s offensive approach at the end of last week’s loss to the Falcons, though the Panthers explained the move as one designed to get more playing time for younger receivers.
It was Avant’s first year with the Panthers after spending the first eight years of his career with the Eagles. The first seven of those years came when Reid was in charge of the team and Avant had 259 catches for 3,199 yards and 10 touchdowns as a regular in the team’s offense.
Tickets for Monday night’s Jets-Bills game at Detroit’s Ford Field will be free, general-admission seats, the Lions announced Friday.
Bills season-ticket holders are being offered free tickets beginning today, as are Lions season-ticket owners. All other ticket giveaways will begin Saturday, according to the Lions.
Monday night’s game will start at 7 p.m. Eastern. The NFL moved the game to Detroit on Thursday because of heavy snow in the Buffalo metropolitan area.
The Lions also announced they would hold an in-game raffle to benefit the American Red Cross of Western and Central New York Disaster Relief Fund.
Patrick Willis had surgery today.
And judging by the smile on his face, it was a successful one.
The 49ers linebacker had surgery on the toe problem that landed him on season-ending injured reserve.
“Surgery went well thank u all for the support and heartfelt wishes. Determined to get back on that field and be better than ever. Road back starts now! #alwaysbelieve,” he wrote on Instagram.
This has been an upside down year for the 49ers in many respects, and losing Willis will be tough.
Rookie replacement Chris Borland has played solidly, but things aren’t the same without their leader in the middle, as the 49ers scrap for a playoff berth.
During the Rams’ 22-7 victory over the Broncos last Sunday, safety Rodney McLeod knocked Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders out of the game with a concussion when he hit Sanders while Sanders was trying to catch a ball from Peyton Manning.
McLeod was flagged for the hit during the game, although the chance for repeated viewings it didn’t look like McLeod violated the league’s rules on contacting a defenseless receiver. The league often fines players it feels were guilty of such penalties, but PFT has confirmed with the league that McLeod has not been fined.
It doesn’t sound like that will be greeted as bad news by Sanders. The receiver said after Friday’s practice that he thought it was a clean hit while also wishing McLeod made more of a play on the ball.
“I think it was a legal hit. Obviously, [McLeod] didn’t hit me in the head or lead with the head. He hit me with the shoulder. But in terms of the intentions of targeting, I feel like the guy could have had an opportunity to go for the ball, but I think his intentions the whole time were to come over and deliver a blow. That’s the only thing that I’m not too happy about,” Sanders said, via ESPN.com. “I feel like the National Football League, although it is a violent game, you’re also supposed to protect your brother. And most free safeties, they like interceptions. Obviously, his intent was to try and make a statement, and I guess he did.”
Sanders has been listed as probable to play Sunday after practicing on Friday for the first time this week.
On Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed former NFL executive Harold Henderson to resolve the appeal filed by Vikings running back Adrian Peterson under the personal conduct policy.
The NFL Players Association does not believe that the action satisfies its request for a neutral third-party arbitrator.
“A long-time NFL Executive and current legal consultant cannot, by definition, be a neutral arbitrator,” the union said in a statement released to PFT.
The NFL appointed Henderson without addressing the union’s request for a neutral third-party arbitrator. The league previously appointed former U.S. Judge Barbara Jones to handle the appeal of Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension.
Judge Jones ultimately required Goodell to testify at the Rice appeal hearing, over the strenuous objection of the NFL. That ruling may or may not have influenced the NFL’s willingness to appoint a true outsider to handle Peterson’s case.
The Patriots are seven-point home favorites Sunday vs. Detroit. That may not sound like a lot of points — just a touchdown and an extra point. And the Lions, at 7-3 and tied with Green Bay atop the NFC North, are tougher-than-usual underdogs.
But with the Patriots, those seven points can seem like 70.
According to Spreadapedia.com, and as noted for “The Linemakers” of Sporting News, the Patriots have recorded 50 wins and just four losses as home regular-season favorites of seven points or more in Bill Belichick’s 15 seasons as head coach — a 92.6 percent success rate.
By contrast, since Belichick became New England’s coach in 2000, all other NFL clubs have won about four in every five games as seven-point regular-season home favorites (681-175-2, 79.5 percent). It should be noted two sizable favorites lost just last Sunday — Washington (-7) and New Orleans (-8.5).
The Patriots, meanwhile, are 2-0 as favorites of seven or more this season. Since 2000, the lone regular-season underdogs of seven-plus points to knock off New England were the 2006 Jets (+10.5), the 2008 Dolphins (+12.5), the 2011 Giants (+9.5) and 2012 Cardinals (+13.5).
In the playoffs, the Patriots are 9-2 straight-up as home favorites of at least seven points, with the only defeats to the 2010 Jets (+9.5) and 2012 Ravens (+8).
Interestingly enough, the Patriots aren’t great bets as big home favorites, covering in just 24-of-54 regular-season games and just 5-of-11 playoff contests when laying seven points or more since 2000.
Still, there’s a difference between wedging the door open with your foot and having said door slammed on said foot.
In short, in a league where big favorites generally take care of business, the Patriots almost always get the job done.
Which is why they’re the Patriots.
PFT has confirmed with the league that Lockette has been fined $10,000 for the actions that led him to be ejected from last Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs. At the tail end of a long De’Anthony Thomas punt return, Lockette responded to a shove from Chiefs defensive back Kurt Coleman by throwing a punch that connected with Coleman’s helmet. Lockette was penalized and ejected from the game as a result.
While Lockette has no one to blame but himself for throwing the punch or getting tossed from the game, he can grumble a bit about the circumstances that led to the punch.
Upon replay, officials ruled that Thomas stepped out of bounds well before he was tackled on the Seattle 40-yard-line and there likely wouldn’t have been an altercation had they made the correct ruling on the field in the first place.
Rob Gronkowski is going to have to work a lot of weekends as a bouncer to make up for this one.
The league office tells PFT that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was fined $8,268 for unnecessary roughness during last week’s game against the Colts.
The fine stemmed from his “blocking” Colts safety Sergio Brown out of bounds and into a cameraman late in their Sunday night win.
Gronkowski joked afterward he had thrown Brown “out of the club.”
Now he gets to make a donation instead of paying the cover charge.
The Cardinals practiced without wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald again on Friday, making it an entire week of missed practices for the veteran.
That’s not enough to rule him out for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks, however. Fitzgerald is listed as questionable and coach Bruce Arians said, via Darren Urban of the team’s website, that the team will monitor him over the weekend before making a game-time decision about his status on Sunday afternoon.
Fitzgerald has maintained an optimistic attitude about his chances of playing all week and said that his knee has been feeling better, but the Cardinals have to weigh how much he can help them in a diminished state against the possibility that playing him against Seattle leaves him compromised moving into the future.
The 9-1 start to the season has left the Cardinals in a very strong position heading into the final six games, but three of those games are against the Seahawks and 49ers so they definitely don’t want to lose sight of the end goal by taking too many risks this weekend.
As the Bills are trying to get to Detroit to practice tonight, they’ve had to employ some unique measures to get to the airport.
With many players snowed in by this week’s blizzard, the team sent out snowmobiles to collect some of them, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. They finally collected all 53 players, and are en route now.
There has been a driving ban in greater Buffalo after this week’s storms, which dumped nearly eight feet (FEET!) of snow in some places.
Not all were lucky enough to get a ride, as wide receiver Chris Hogan tweeted that he was walking to Ralph Wilson Stadium, where buses were ready to take players to the airport.
What would have been better is a dog sled, as they could have had themselves an Ibillarod. Either that, or sent out the St. Bernards with flasks for the stragglers, and those who don’t get to escape to balmy Detroit.
The Lions are coming off their worst offensive showing of the season in a 14-6 loss to the Cardinals, a game that marked the first time since 2009 that the Lions failed to score a touchdown.
That leaves the team with an average of just under 19 points per game, which ranks 26th in the league and is down almost six points from last year’s totals. That certainly wasn’t the desired outcome when the team hired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi away from the Saints in the offseason and it leaves them vulnerable to falling out of playoff position even if their defense remains the stingiest in the league in terms of points allowed.
Lombardi’s got a plan he hopes will get the offense going again. He’s taken some plays out of the playbook in order to give the unit more time to practice the remaining plays against more defensive looks so that they’re better prepared for Sunday.
“We have probably somewhere upwards of 200 reps a week that we’re working on in practice and then you have some walk-through reps,” Lombardi said, via the Detroit Free Press. “You have a certain number of calls or maybe you get this one play repped against one or maybe two defenses, so if you have less calls you can kind of show more situations and you’re not just talking about them. It’s just a matter of practicing fewer plays and then they’re able to handle all the different looks that come up.”
They’ll get their first test of how well things are working out against the Patriots this weekend. If all goes well, the Lions will improve their chances of improving on last season’s dismal finish to the season.
The NFLPA got what it wanted. Kind of. Sort of. Not really.
Commissioner Roger Goodell will not handle the appeal of Adrian Peterson’s rest-of-season suspension. Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports that Goodell has delegated the appeal to Harold Henderson, a former NFL executive who routinely resolves appeals under the league’s substance-abuse, PED, and personal conduct policies.
Most recently, Henderson handled the appeal of Browns receiver Josh Gordon’s full-season suspension, upholding the banishment before a revised substance-abuse policy reduced the penalty to 10 games.
The NFLPA had wanted an independent arbitrator. Henderson isn’t entirely independent. But it’s not Goodell or any current NFL official or executive.
Peterson’s appeal contends that the NFL is applying a rule that was adopted after the conduct for which Peterson is being disciplined occurred. Peterson’s appeal also claims that the punishment is too extreme in comparison to other punishments in other cases.
Per Glazer, the hearing will be held on December 2. Depending on the ruling and its timing, Peterson could be back with the Vikings by December 7, against the Jets.