After the lockout, DeAngelo Williams cashed in on $20 million guaranteed from the Panthers, but after streaky production, is it time Carolina moves on from him and Jonathan Stewart? Mike Florio analyzes their RB situation and the rest of Carolina’s off-season needs.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Will Carolina start from scratch at RB?
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.
Per a league source, Gronkowski will have an MRI tomorrow on his injured knee. But the MRI may be more about confirming the damage than determining it.
“Not looking good,” the source said, adding that the initial testing of the test is not encouraging.
The official diagnosis comes tomorrow. The worst-case scenario would be a torn ACL along with damage to other knee ligaments and cartilage.
If the Jets offense can play the way they did on Sunday for the final three weeks of the season, they’d have a pretty fair shot at grabbing the sixth seed in the AFC.
Given the results of that offense in the 12 games before Sunday’s 37-27 victory over the Raiders, that’s not a great bet to make but it’s one you can make if you choose because their playoff hopes remain alive. How good they are will depend on other results, but the Jets did what they had to do.
They did it behind an offense that looked functional for the first time in weeks. Geno Smith completed 16-of-25 passes for 219 yards and a touchdowns while running for 50 yards and another touchdown. It was the kind of performance that generated much excitement about Smith early this season, although more than a month of horrible play will probably keep everyone in check after this game. Chris Ivory ran well, Kellen Winslow was productive and the Jets moved the ball all day without much issue.
Can that happen against non-Raiders opponents? We’ll find out in Carolina next weekend where a much tougher defense waits to potentially snuff out any playoff life left in the Jets.
If the Raiders were trying to spark Matt McGloin by pulling him for a series in the first half, it paid off eventually. McGloin threw a pair of touchdowns in the second half and looked much more assured running the offense than he did immediately after returning to the game. He wound up 18-of-29 for 239 yards and two touchdowns, and continued to show an ability to throw the ball that Terrelle Pryor hasn’t shown this season.
That wasn’t enough to get a win, but that should be enough for him to hold onto the job for the rest of the season.
As the Panthers prepare step onto the biggest NFL stage in prime time, they know it will be loud in the Superdome. And they don’t care.
At least they say the don’t care.
“I’ll be honest with you, as loud as the places get now, it really doesn’t matter,” coach Ron Rivera said of the noise in New Orleans on Friday’s PFT Live. “Atlanta is a very loud place, Minnesota is a tough place to go in and play. I think it’s just part of it now, it really has been and I think with the way that fans get into the games today, it’s just something that you’ve got to be able to match.
“The thing that we try to talk about is what happens between the white lines and not what’s happening outside of them. It was great to hear some of our players that said that in their press conferences. Thomas Davis, most notably, came out and said it’s really about what we do and what we are going to try to do between the white lines.”
That doesn’t mean the Panthers haven’t prepared for the coming storm of sound.
“[W]e have the noise piped in [to practice] and in fact we’ve had a couple of neighbors complain about this,” Rivera said. “We work on the silent counts because it is really all about getting the snap count off correctly, changing it up on how we do the silent count. There are many different things that we do to try to do to get the communications across to each other. We’re going to do some things differently on the defensive side as well because even though it isn’t going to be as loud for the defense, there is still going to be some communication things that we are going to be really good with.”
The best way to deal with the sound would be to jump on the Saints early and take the crowd out of the game. If the Panthers can do that and in turn win, they’ll be well on their way to the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
The Bengals are playing like a club that knows a first-round playoff bye is within the realm of possibility.
In a second half dominated by the offenses, the Bengals have pulled to a 35-21 fourth-quarter lead against the Colts n Cincinnati.
After the Colts had cut the Bengals’ lead to 21-14 in the third quarter, the Bengals responded with two straight TDs. First, they extended their lead to 28-14 on a one-yard TD pass from Andy Dalton to tight end Jermaine Gresham. Then, after forcing a three-and-out, the Bengals added another touchdown, with Dalton hitting A.J. Green for a nine-yard score.
The Colts, who have stayed in the game on the strength of their passing game in the second half, would rebound to draw within 35-21 with 9:54 left on a Luck-to-Lavon Brazill TD pass. The touchdown was Brazill’s second of the half.
With a win against the Colts and a Patriots loss to Cleveland, the Bengals would move into the No. 2 seed in the AFC. The Patriots are currently losing 19-11 to the Browns early in the fourth quarter.
Running back Brandon Jacobs‘ status was less clear. Jacobs made the trip across the country to San Diego with the team after being listed as doubtful to play because of a knee injury. Jacobs missed last week’s victory over Washington as well and Peyton Hillis will serve as Andre Brown’s backup against the Chargers on Sunday.
The Chargers will go without quarterback Brad Sorensen, wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins, cornerback Crezdon Butler, safety Brandon Taylor, offensive lineman Steve Schilling, tackleKenny Wiggins and defensive tackle Kwame Geathers.
The game is out of hand, and the field is a mess.
So it appears the Redskins are going to protect quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Backup Kirk Cousins has entered the game early in the fourth quarter, with the Redskins trailing 45-10.
Griffin was 12-of-26 passing for 164 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He was also sacked five times, and gained just 29 yards on four rushes.
As they have in their last two games, the Vikings are causing some anxious moments for a team that fancies itself a playoff contender.
This week, it’s the Ravens who are having issues shaking off the Vikings. Two Blair Walsh field goals have allowed Minnesota to draw within 7-6 against Baltimore in the third quarter.
The Ravens got the ball after Toby Gerhart was ruled to have fumbled. After an official review, the play was upheld, and Baltimore took over in Minnesota territory.
The game is being played in snowy conditions in Baltimore. The weather has made passing and running somewhat challenging, which makes Walsh’s field goals of 39 and 40 yards all the more impressive.
The Patriots are down 12-0 in Cleveland and they’re going to have to make a comeback without tight end Rob Gronkowski’s help.
The tight end took a shot to the right knee from Browns safety T.J. Ward while trying to catch a pass from Tom Brady. Ward went low on the play, which is sure to lead to more discussion about how defensive players hit under the current rules of the league.
It was a scary looking hit in real time as Gronkowski’s leg buckled and he immediately went down with his hands on his helmet. He was helped onto a cart, where Ward went over to shake his hand, and taken back to the locker room a short time later.
There’s been no official announcement from the Pats about the tight end’s condition, but it would be surprising to see him on the field again today.
Things got worse for the Patriots on the next play when Tom Brady fumbled while being sacked by Paul Kruger. John Hughes fell on the ball and the Browns are trying to extend their lead in New England.
The snow has slowed down, but the avalanche of points has begun in Pittsburgh.
After a sluggish first half (which was only partly to blame on the weather), things have picked up, with the Steelers taking a 21-17 lead.
The Dolphins actually went up 17-7 to start the third quarter with an efficient nine-play touchdown drive, but the Steelers caught up in a hurry.
There’s still 8:05 left in the third quarter, which could feature plenty of action after the two teams looked like they were on snowshoes in the first half.