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ProFootballTalk: Is Asomugha on the chopping block?
After the hit, Pryor celebrated. After the game, quarterback Ryan Tannehill took issue with Pryor’s celebration.
“I didn’t notice it honestly,” Tannehill told reporters after the game. “I was just worried about Rishard. I heard some guys talking about it on the sideline, that’s kind of classless move to celebrate while a guy’s injured. Obviously, it was a good hit, a clean hit, but to celebrate when a guy’s down it’s kind of a classless move.”
Pryor was asked only about whether his hit on Matthews set the tone for the Jets. “I would hope so,” Pryor said. “I think it’s trying to bring that energy to our defense and just [trying] to be a leader out there.”
Pryor thereafter took to Twitter to respond to Tannehill.
“I was definitely celebrating the great play I made,” Pryor said. “I would never celebrate someone getting injured during the game. C’mon now.”
Pryor also placed some of the blame for the injury on Tannehill.
“Throw a better ball next time [Tannehill and your] teammate would’ve never got injured!!!” Pryor said. “Sorry if you felt I was classless at the moment.”
The real question is whether Pryor noticed Matthews was down when celebrating. Either way, the Dolphins and Tannehill have bigger problems than whether Pryor was celebrating at a time when maybe he shouldn’t have been.
The Broncos have a few problems at the moment, with a pair of defenders injured on the same play.
Safety T.J. Ward and defensive lineman Sylvester Williams left with apparent ankle injuries, with Ward not putting much weight on his foot as he was helped off. The team announced that both were questionable to return.
Both were carted to the locker room moments later, with Ward riding shotgun with Williams stretched out in the back.
David Bruton replaced Ward in the secondary, while Vance Williams came in for Williams.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan heard some loud boos on Sunday in the Georgia Dome. He didn’t hear them from his owner after the 20-10 loss to Minnesota.
“He’s absolutely the competitor that I want,” coach Dan Quinn said after the game, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. “He’s what we look for and our team looks for the whole way. What we’ll go back and look at is, find out was there a decision that could be made that could be different. If there is in those scenarios, then we’ll find those and say, ‘Where else could you have gone with it?’ Those will be decisions that we look at. But for him, the competitor [and] the style of player that he is, we’re not backing off.”
Arthur Blank separately was asked whether he has confidence in Ryan.
“Absolutely,” Blank said, via McClure. “He’s demonstrated his abilities over eight years. He’ll be fine. He’ll be good.”
Many Falcons fans would say Ryan has been neither fine nor good in recent weeks, which has seen the Falcons go from 5-0 to 6-5.
“Am I worried about Matt?” Blank said. “I’m worried about Matt, and I’m worried about the team. We’re actually 1-5 in the last six games. We were off to a great start. But this unit will figure it out.”
They Falcons are running out of chances, and they’re running out of cushion. The Seahawks have now caught the Falcons in the standings, and the Buccaneers, Bears, Giants, and Washington are only a game behind at 5-6.
Other mortal quarterbacks might need wide receivers.
The Patriots are out to a quick 7-0 lead over the Broncos, after a 23-yard touchdown. It was his 63rd career touchdown, moving him past Shannon Sharpe for third all-time among tight ends, trailing just Tony Gozalez (111) and Antonio Gates (101) on the all-time list. Gronkowski is 26.
Despite that, the Broncos don’t (or didn’t) have multiple defenders draped all over the star tight end, who was able to slip one tackle and get to the end zone.
The Patriots have lost parts consistently over the course of the year, but there are certain constants, and Gronk doing Gronk things chief among them.
The Seahawks outlasted the Steelers in a thriller on Sunday afternoon, but they lost tight end Jimmy Graham for the rest of the season along the way.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said in his postgame press conference that Graham tore the patellar tendon in his right knee. Graham hurt his knee while trying to catch a Russell Wilson pass in the end zone early in a wild fourth quarter in Seattle.
The severity of the injury isn’t a big surprise as the team’s medical staff immediately immobilized Graham’s knee in an aircast before loading him on a cart to head to the locker room. Graham’s season is over and his availability for training camp and the start of next season will likely be in doubt well into next summer. As we saw with Victor Cruz this year, he’ll also have to watch for other injuries as he tries to make a complete recovery and get back onto the field.
The injury came during what might have been Graham’s best game with the team. He had four catches for 75 yards and the Seahawks passing offense had its best day overall as Russell Wilson spread the ball to seven receivers on his way to a season-best 345 yards and career-best five touchdowns.
Luke Willson and Cooper Helfet are the other tight ends on Seattle’s roster at the moment and they’ll be asked to do more the rest of the way with Graham out of the picture and a playoff berth in the team’s sights.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made an unexpectedly early exit from Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks. As it turns out, Roethlisberger was being checked for a possible concussion.
So when did he suffer the possible concussion?
Via Ryan Glasspiegel of TheBigLead.com, the head injury may have happened during the fourth-quarter drive that culminated in the Steelers, who were down by five at that point, opting for a field goal on fourth and goal.
Roethslisberger took a clear blow to the head on a third-down play earlier in the drive, drawing a roughing the passer penalty. He remained in the game for a full nine plays after that.
After absorbing the illegal hit, Roethlisberger was face down for a couple of seconds. He then rolled over onto his back for several more seconds. After he was helped up by teammates, he seemed fine.
Roethlisberger may have said or done something after the drive to prompt the team to take the situation seriously, with a preliminary assessment on the sideline resulting in a decision to conduct a closer evaluation in the locker room.
The situation will be scrutinized given last week’s mishandling of Rams quarterback Case Keenum, but there was nothing glaring about Roethlisberger’s behavior after the play. The broader question is whether the league automatically should check a player for a concussion whenever he takes a clear and potent blow to the head.
The excellent Dark Sky app tells me that light snow will be starting soon in Denver. And it will be great to see that on TV, during the Sunday Night Football game on NBC.
But you can still see it, even if you’re not near a TV.
The game between the 10-0 Patriots and 8-2 Broncos can be seen at NBC Sports Live Extra. You also can watch the game by downloading the NBC Sports Live Extra app.
Meanwhile, it would be another great night to check the PSI of the footballs at halftime; it’s currently 23 degrees and falling.
The Seahawks and Steelers traded haymakers all afternoon in Seattle, but the Seahawks struck last and that made them winners when the clock ran out.
On third-and-9 from their 20 just before the two-minute warning, Russell Wilson hit Doug Baldwin crossing the field for a first down but Baldwin shook off Steelers tacklers as he turned upfield and sprinted for an 80-yard touchdown that put Seattle up 39-30 after Steve Hauschka’s extra point.
It was Baldwin’s third touchdown on a day when he caught six passes for 145 yards. It was also Wilson’s fifth touchdown pass of the day, setting a personal record and tying the franchise record. Wilson was 21-of-30 for 345 yards overall, marking the first time that he’s been over 300 yards this season and the Seahawks surely hope to see more of the same in the weeks to come.
The Seahawks also set a franchise record for passing yards allowed as Ben Roethlisberger rolled up 456 yards through the air on a day when both passing offenses were clicking. Roethlisberger wasn’t around for the final two minutes of the game, however. He went to the locker room shortly after Baldwin’s touchdown to be evaluated for a concussion.
All of the big plays made for a wild second half as the lead swung from the Steelers to the Seahawks back to Pittsburgh before the Seahawks took command for good. There were strange decisions, questionable officiating and a huge performance by Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton mixed in along the way, making for a long and entertaining ending to the afternoon’s contests.
Roethlisberger’s final play was a six-yard scramble from the Seattle 10-yard-line, after which Mike Tomlin elected to kick a field goal and give his defense a chance to get the ball back. They weren’t able to do it and a Landry Jones throw to Martavis Bryant down the sideline with 1:37 left was intercepted by Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor. Tomlin will likely face questions about the decision to kick rather than go for it, especially after he eschewed three points in the first half in favor of having Jones pass out of what was initially a field goal alignment.
That pass was picked off, one of four Seattle interceptions on the day, and the Steelers are left to rue the missed opportunities on their flight back to Pittsburgh. They’ll host the Colts next Sunday night in a game that they’ll need to solidify their Wild Card chances.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, will take their 6-5 record to Minnesota for their own game with major playoff implications. The Cardinals win on Sunday means that the Wild Card remains their best chance of getting to the postseason, something they may need to pull off without the help of tight end Jimmy Graham after he was hurt on Sunday. If Wilson can keep putting up big numbers while the defense finds ways to take the ball away, their chances of doing it will look much stronger.
On Sunday morning, Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin said on NFL Network that he’d been asked by Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner to work during the past offseason with receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
After Sunday’s 20-10 win over the Falcons, coach Mike Zimmer was asked whether Irvin was the possible mentor Zimmer had mentioned at the end of the 2014 season.
“I don’t know,” Zimmer said, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I’ll leave that to Michael.’’
Tomasson also notes that he asked Patterson about Irvin’s comments, and that Patterson walked away without answering.
Irvin prefaced his remarks by suggesting that he possibly was “talking out of school.” Based on the reactions from Zimmer and Patterson, Irvin apparently was.
Patterson had no catches during the game. For the year, he has two.
The Cardinals drove 85 yards for the game-winning score Sunday, then sealed a 19-13 win at San Francisco with a defensive stand.
A controversial roughing the passer call on Quinton Dial on a second and 10 from the Cardinals’ 32 extended the winning drive, then Carson Palmer hit Larry Fitzgerald and J.J. Nelson on big passes to keep the Cardinals moving.
An 8-yard scramble by Palmer provided the winning touchdown with 2:28 left and capped a 14-play drive. The 49ers had tied the game late in the third quarter on a 33-yard field goal by Phil Dawson.
The 49ers got to the Cardinals’ 30 on their final drive before giving up a sack and then coming 2 yards short on fourth down.
Palmer was 24-of-40 for 271 yards. 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert was 25-of-36 for 318 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
The Cardinals won in San Francisco for the first time since 2008. The Cardinals move to 9-2, while the 49ers fall to 3-8.
We knew most of the big names that wouldn’t be playing for the Patriots and Broncos well before they handed in their list of inactives on Sunday evening, but there were some question marks lingering on both sides.
For the Patriots, wide receiver Keshawn Martin is active after being listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. Martin will help fill in for the absences of Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, both of whom were ruled out well ahead of kickoff. Linebacker Jamie Collins won’t play after being listed as doubtful as he returns from an illness.
Left guard Evan Mathis was also listed as questionable for the Broncos, but he’ll play despite an ankle injury. Max Garcia will start ahead of him, however. Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Christian Ponder are both inactive, leaving rookie Trevor Siemian as the backup to Brock Osweiler. Linebacker DeMarcus Ware, wide receiver Jordan Norwood, cornerback Lorenzo Doss, tight end Richard Gordon and offensive lineman Sam Brenner are also inactive.
The Seahawks are trying to come back from an 18-14 halftime deficit to beat the Steelers, but they’ll have to go without tight end Jimmy Graham for the rest of the afternoon.
Graham stayed down with what appears to be a right knee injury after a Russell Wilson pass sailed incomplete in the end zone in the fourth quarter. Trainers immediately immobilized Graham’s leg and loaded him onto a cart to head back to the locker room.
Graham had four catches for 75 yards before getting hurt in one of his most productive days as a member of the Seahawks. It’s speculative at this point, but the reaction to his injury suggests it might be a while before he gets a chance to top this outing.
Jermaine Kearse caught a touchdown a few plays later to give the Seahawks a 26-21 lead. A two-point try was unsuccessful when Kevin Smith caught a Russell Wilson pass out of bounds.
The drive was set up by Richard Sherman’s first interception of the year as he ran down a deep ball intended for Antonio Brown, who fell down with a little help from Sherman’s hands as they went downfield. The Seahawks picked up 15 yards on their first offensive play when officials determined that Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons pushing Wilson while the quarterback was in bounds constituted unnecessary roughness.
Earlier this year, a pair of Monday night officiating errors resulted in extra discipline from the league. The most recent Monday night game, which included a pair of officiating blunders, will not lead to a similar outcome.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL will not suspend or reassign any of the officials from referee Gene Steratore’s crew for the inadvertent whistle during a Patriots offensive play or the faulty decision to keep the clock running after Bills receiver Sammy Watkins caught a pass and rolled out of bounds with two seconds left in the game.
Following a Monday night game in San Diego, side judge Rob Vernatchi was suspended with pay for a week after failing to notice that 18 seconds accidentally had been allowed to run off the clock before the final offensive drive by Pittsburgh. Likewise, back judge Greg Wilson was reassigned away from a Sunday night game between the Patriots and Colts after he failed to call an illegal bat on Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright during a Monday night game between Detroit and Seattle.
As to the latest Monday night mistakes, the NFL said this regarding the officials, in an email to PFT: “Their performance was evaluated, just as it is for officials every week.”
In the aftermath of the Vernatchi and Wilson punishments, PFT reported that the NFL and NFL Referees Association were talking about adopting a specific formula for imposing suspensions with and without pay for officials who make mistakes. That process wouldn’t be launched until 2016.
For now, it appears that the NFL has decided not to continue to take specific action against officials who make mistakes, beyond the grading process.
After his team lost at Kansas City today, Bills coach Rex Ryan was unhappy with someone you might not expect: The Chiefs’ video board operator.
Ryan said after the game that today’s game was the first time he ever experienced an inability to get another look at a close play by looking up at the Jumbotron. Ryan seemed to think the Chiefs weren’t showing close plays to avoid helping the Bills decide whether to challenge.
“That’s the first time you don’t see any plays,” Ryan said, via ESPN. “I think there’s a league rule that you need to usually get to see some. Maybe I’m wrong on that.”
One of the turning points of the game came when the Chiefs hit a 37-yard pass to Jeremy Maclin. Replays appeared to show that Maclin didn’t make the catch, but the officials ruled that he caught it, and Ryan didn’t challenge.
“The 37-yarder, I wasn’t aware of it because again, I wasn’t seeing the video on it, and again, so from my vantage point, I thought he caught the ball,” Ryan said. “That was from my vantage point. Obviously, I would have challenged it if I would have known there was any question whatsoever on a 37-yard play that flipped the game. We were in complete control of that game and then they threw some balls over our heads. Obviously I would have challenged.”
Ryan said he doesn’t have one member of his staff who is tasked with monitoring replays and telling him when to challenge.
“A lot of times everybody will be up there, but I’m not saying anybody in particular is advising me because it never worked out,” he said. “Every decision is my decision, and so it’s my responsibility.”
It’s Ryan’s responsibility, but he also wishes the Chiefs’ video board operator would have taken responsibility for putting all close plays on the big screen.
The Seahawks offense got off to a slow start in the second half against the Steelers, but their defense helped give them another chance in the third quarter.
Russell Wilson made the most of it. Wilson hit Jimmy Graham for a 36-yard juggling catch to the 1-yard-line and Thomas Rawls punched the ball in one play later to draw the Seahawks within a point. That’s where they stayed, however, as kicker Steve Hauschka had his extra point try blocked by defensive end Cam Heyward. It’s the third missed extra point in the last two weeks for Hauschka.
The touchdown was set up by Pittsburgh’s second turnover of the game. Ben Roethlisberger either lost his grip on the ball or tried to pull it back just before it flew into the air and directly into defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin’s hands for an interception.
The Steelers drove to the Seattle 1-yard-line on their first possession of the third quarter, but kicked a field goal after failing to get the Seahawks to jump offside on fourth down.