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Goodell defends Redskins name, admits issues raised are “complex”

Goodell Getty Images

When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about the Redskins’ name during this year’s pre-Super Bowl press conference, his off-the-cuff response was, “I don’t think anybody wants to offend anybody.”  With the benefit of time to reflect on a written reply to a recent letter from 10 members of Congress, Goodell was more articulate and detailed.  And also surprisingly candid.

Goodell’s letter, a copy of which can be seen here, begins with an explanation of the origins of the label.

“As you may know,” Goodell writes, “the team began as the Boston Braves in 1932, a name that honored the courage and heritage of Native Americans.  The following year, the name was changed to the Redskins — in part to avoid confusion with the Boston baseball team of the same name, but also to honor the team’s then-head coach, William ‘Lone Star’ Dietz.  Neither in intent nor use was the name ever meant to denigrate Native Americans or offend any group.”

Goodell then argues that, because the name began with positive intentions, its meaning is “distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context.”  And so, he explains, “For the team’s millions of fans and customers, who represent one of America’s most ethnically and geographically diverse fan bases, the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”

Still, Goodell concedes that the “issues raised with respect to the Washington Redskins name are complex,” and he points out that the NFL “respect[s] that reasonable people may view it differently, particularly over time.”

In our view, it’s a delicate way of acknowledging that, at some point in time, the superficially negative connotations of the term “Redskins” will outweigh the positive (or at least non-negative) intentions.  A lot of things that were acceptable in 1932 are no longer deemed appropriate, regardless of original or current intent.  At some point in the future, the reasonable minds that see the term as unacceptable likely will outweigh those that don’t.

The fact that the letter wasn’t publicized by the NFL when sent to Congress on June 5 reflects, in our view, a subtle understanding that there’s no good way out of this corn maze.  (Or, in this specific context, maize maze.)

The reaction from at least one member of Congress has been loud and pointed.  Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa) took to the floor of the House of Representatives on Tuesday to complain about Goodell’s response.

“Whether good intentioned or not, the ‘R’ word is a racial slur akin to the ‘N’ word among African Americans, or the ‘W’ word among Latin Americans,” Faleomavaega said.

“Goodell has completely missed the point,” Faleomaveaga added.  “It is time for the NFL to stop making excuses for itself and fully embrace its so-called commitment to diversity.”

Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) chided Goodell’s response as demonstrating “twisted logic,” and she called it a “statement of absurdity.”

“Goodell’s letter is another attempt to justify a racial slur on behalf of [Redskins owner] Dan Snyder and other NFL owners who appear to be only concerned with earning ever larger profits, even if it means exploiting a racist stereotype of Native Americans,” McCollum said.

“Would Roger Goodell and Dan Snyder actually travel to a Native American community and greet a group of tribal leaders by saying, ‘Hey, what’s up, Redskin?’ I think not. . . .  Indian children, families and elders are Americans, and just like all racial, ethnic or religious groups, they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, not as a demeaning caricature or mascot.  That shouldn’t be too much to ask of the NFL.”

Of course, Goodell and Snyder also wouldn’t say, “What’s up, Chief?” or “What’s up, Seminole?” or “What’s up, Brave?”  Still, those words — Chief, Seminole, Brave — when removed from the context of a team name and regarded in isolation aren’t objectively objectionable.  Redskin, when stripped from the football team and regarded as simply a word, carries a distinct know-it-when-you-see-it label of racism.

That’s the simple reality.  Fans and defenders tie the name to the team and the team to the name and see nothing problematic about it.  Or, for some fans and defenders, they realize that they need to outwardly claim there’s nothing problematic about it.

Goodell’s letter acknowledges in know-it-when-you-see-it fashion that he knows the day will come when the NFL sees the name changed.  It may not happen for 50 years or more, but eventually it will happen.

And then, for the next 50 years or more, people who wanted to see the name remain the same will complain that it shouldn’t have changed.

So, basically, get used to this controversy.  It’s officially one of the subplots of America’s ultimate reality show, and it could be lingering for longer than the NFL already has existed.

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Aaron Rodgers has a Davante Adams problem

Aaron Rodgers AP

To say Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers hasn’t looked like his old self recently would be accurately, but with one major caveat: The decline in Rodgers’s production has come mostly on passes to wide receiver Davante Adams.

Over the last three weeks, when Rodgers throws to Adams, he’s 15-for-35 for 129 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. That’s a completion percentage of 42.9 percent, an average of 3.7 yards per pass, and a passer rating of 41.2.

Over the last three weeks, when Rodgers throws to anyone other than Adams, he’s 58-for-103 for 618 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. That’s a completion percentage of 56.3 percent, an average of 6.0 yards per pass, and a passer rating of 90.2.

In last night’s loss to the Bears, Adams had a couple of big drops. Rodgers didn’t throw Adams under the bus after the game, but Rodgers did say they need to get on the same page. Packers coach Mike McCarthy was a little more direct about the problems Adams is causing in the offense.

Didn’t have a very good day today,” McCarthy said when asked about Adams. “The consistency we’re getting in certain areas needs to pick up.”

Asked about the interception Rodgers threw, McCarthy suggested that Adams was to blame.

“It’s a basic route. It didn’t look like it was a very good route,” McCarthy said.

As a second-round draft pick last year, Adams didn’t have a huge role in the offense, but the Packers’ passing game was so efficient that they didn’t need him to do much. This year, with Jordy Nelson injured, the Packers are throwing to Adams more frequently, and Adams isn’t producing. And that’s the biggest difference between last year’s Packers and this year’s Packers.

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Friday morning one-liners

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 26: Ezekiel Ansah #94 of the Detroit Lions celebrates a third quarter sack while playing the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field on November 26, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Getty Images

DE Alex Carrington could play a big role for the Bills this weekend.

Dolphins DE Olivier Vernon has helped get the pass rush going in Miami.

Previewing the matchup between the Patriots offense and the Broncos defense.

C Nick Mangold is likelier to be in the Jets lineup than CB Darrelle Revis this weekend.

Said Ravens coach John Harbaugh of QB Jimmy Clausen’s history with offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, “Yes, that’s a good point. It’s part of it. Certainly, they’ve been together, and he knows Marc’s concepts. That’s a plus.”

The Bengals offensive line will have to deal with Aaron Donald on Sunday.

What should the Browns be shopping for on Black Friday and beyond?

LB Lawrence Timmons doesn’t want to leave the Steelers anytime soon.

Texans LB Brian Cushing’s play has been trending in the right direction.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw’s receiving ability is important to the Colts.

Tyson Alualu is happy with his role on the Jaguars defensive line.

WR Kendall Wright appears set to return to the Titans lineup.

Stopping Rob Gronkowski is one of the Broncos’ goals this week.

The Chiefs see DB Ron Parker as the “ultimate team guy.”

The Raiders’ road to a playoff spot is a challenging one.

Chargers LB Donald Butler’s playing time has gone down this season.

K Dan Bailey became the third-leading scorer in Cowboys history.

Thanksgiving brought some good results for the Giants.

It was another rough day for the Eagles defense.

The Redskins will have to navigate the rest of the season without CB Chris Culliver.

The Bears were happy with how their defensive game plan played out on Thursday night.

Lions DE Ziggy Ansah had a huge day against the Eagles.

A call for Packers coach Mike McCarthy to resume offensive play calling.

DE Everson Griffen and S Harrison Smith didn’t practice for the Vikings on Thursday.

Christmas music has arrived in the Falcons locker room.

Thursday may have been the Panthers’ last day as an underdog this season.

Will Brian Hoyer be the next quarterback to shred the Saints defense?

What accounts for the defensive improvement for the Buccaneers?

Dwight Freeney has found his footing as a pass rusher for the Cardinals.

Demetrius Rhaney will get his shot on the Rams offensive line.

LB Ahmad Brooks and RB Carlos Hyde remained out of 49ers practice on Thanksgiving.

Will Seahawks CB Richard Sherman stick with Antonio Brown all day on Sunday?

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Packers had players-only meeting, apparently over excessive video games


On a day made famous by John Madden’s Turducken, a Green Bay defeat to cap the game during which Madden’s favorite player was honored may have been fueled in part by an addiction to Madden’s billion-dollar video game franchise.

“They had a little players-only meeting this past couple weeks ago before that Minnesota game,” NBC’s Cris Collinsworth said midway through the third quarter of Green Bay’s 17-13 loss to the Bears on Thanksgiving night. “I don’t think Aaron Rodgers was too happy with the preparation schedule of some of the young players on this team. A few too many video games being played and not enough homework.”

The Madden intervention apparently worked against the Vikings. But with a short week and a quick turnaround and a premium placed on preparation before playing again on Thursday, it could be that the Lure of the PS4 kept the Packers from being as ready to go as they should have been.

They now have a full six days to prepare for their next game, which will be another visit to prime time via a Thursday night trip to Detroit, one of two NFC North rivals who have come to Lambeau Field this month and beaten the home team.

The Packers have every incentive to win this next one. And they have the talent to do it, too. As long as the young players on the team can resist messing with consoles that are being purchased by the truckload on Black Friday.

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Panthers use group effort to keep Greg Hardy off the stat sheet

Cam Newton, Greg Hardy AP

Greg Hardy wanted to show the Panthers what they walked away from.

It didn’t take long, as the Cowboys defensive end was held without a single tackle in his reunion with the team that let him walk into free agency after his domestic violence arrest.

There were still some hugs and words exchanged after the game, but that was as close as Hardy came to making an impact on anyone wearing blue.

“It was a lot of help. I wasn’t the only one who blocked him,” Panthers left tackle Michael Oher said, via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “Everything comes into play with blocking a D-end. . . . Just playing with fundamentals really, and studying film. But he’s a heck of a player and it was tough all night.”

The Cowboys moved him around the line of scrimmage to find a good matchup, but didn’t find one, as right tackle Mike Remmers kept his quarterback clean as well. The Panthers were clearly focused on not letting Hardy be an issue, with center Ryan Kalil locating him on every snap.

Hardy said he heard from a few old teammates after the game — “All love. That’s about it,” he said, and said he was impressed.

“I said it when I was there, I’ll say it now – they’re a very talented bunch,” he said. “They have a great coach, they have a great everything. So long as they keep playing together and keep playing hard and worry about the next game – nameless, faceless opponents, man – they’ll continue to win.”

It’s easier for them to view Hardy that way now, since there’s no evidence of him in the box score.

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Jay Cutler: “Huge” to get first win at Lambeau

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 26:  Quarterback  Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears celebrates after the Bears scored against the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Lambeau Field on November 26, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers were all at Lambeau Field on Thursday night, but the only quarterback who got to celebrate a win at the end of the game was Jay Cutler.

The Bears quarterback had come up empty in four previous starts at Lambeau Field. Cutler had averaged three interceptions while completing barely half his passes in those games, but was 19-of-31 for 200 yards and a touchdown as the Bears moved to 5-6 in a 17-13 victory that continued a big week for Cutler.

“It’s huge,” Cutler said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s been a fun week for me — a Sunday game, and then having a baby on a Monday, and then turning around and playing on a Thursday. I think everyone’s looking forward to going home and spending some time with the family.”

Cutler said he couldn’t even remember last year’s 55-14 thumping at Lambeau, saying that “so much is new” this season. Tackle Kyle Long explained one of the differences.

“I’m sure there have been times in the past that he’s played well and he hasn’t had guys who have his back,” Long said. “We got Jay’s back, and he knows that. And he was excited.”

The Bears are at home against the 49ers and Redskins the next two weeks, which could give them an opportunity to get into the race for a playoff spot if things break right with other teams in that mix. Should that happen, another new development may be an offseason free of discussion about dumping Cutler since the Bears wouldn’t be drafting at a spot where they’re likely to take one of the top rookie quarterbacks.

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Matt Stafford can’t get enough of Jim Bob Cooter’s offense

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpweznjqwndhmmwm1ogyzmzi3n2rjmzdkn2yxmduxowfj AP

Matt Stafford did more than throw five touchdown passes Thursday.

He also appeared to be having fun, which was in short supply as the Lions endured a 1-7 start and the firing of offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi (among others).

But now, having won three straight games after yesterday’s demolition of the Eagles, Stafford said the confidence stems from the game plans being installed by new coordinator Jim Bob Cooter.

“It’s just been good,” Stafford said, via Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press. “Jim Bob and I have a good relationship. He’s a smart guy. He communicates well with the guys on our offense. He’s young in his job, but he’s not afraid. He’s aggressive. That’s fun. That rubs off on guys when a guy is aggressive and trusts us to go out and make good decisions.”

Of course, it helps when Stafford is upright and able to see receivers, as improved offensive line play has been a significant element of their recent surge. But Stafford sounded giddy about the aggressive approach Cooter has taken since getting the keys.

Stafford said that Cooter called a play in the second quarter full of slant routes, but changed his mind before it was run.

“He said, ‘Ah, screw that. Let’s be aggressive,’ ” Stafford said. “Then, he gave me four verticals. I was fired up for it. . . .

“I loved it. Jim Bob called a great game, put us in position to win, in a position to make plays.”

It certainly helped that they were playing the Eagles, who have done their part to make plenty of coordinators look good. But the enthusiasm the Lions have shown in the Cooter Era seems real.

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Falcons sign Shayne Graham with Matt Bryant hurting

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 05:  Shayne Graham #3 of the New Orleans Saints prepares to kick a field goal during the first quarter of a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 5, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Falcons did some pre-Black Friday shopping on Thursday and came home with a veteran kicker.

The team signed Shayne Graham after a workout necessitated by a right quad injury suffered by Matt Bryant. Bryant got hurt in Wednesday’s practice and didn’t participate in practice on Thursday, leaving open the possibility that Atlanta will use a different kicker for the first time since 2009.

“As we go through the week, what we’ll do is if Matt’s available to play, we will. If not, then we’ll go with Shayne,” coach Dan Quinn said, via

If Graham does kick for the Falcons this weekend, they’ll be the 10th NFL team to use Graham during a regular season game. His last appearance came with the Saints last season and he’s been a frequent participant in kicking workouts this season before beating out former teammate and kicking competition opponent Billy Cundiff for a job in Atlanta.

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Saints put Keenan Lewis on season-ending IR

Keenan Lewis AP

It’s been a struggle for Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis to stay on the field this year, and the team couldn’t keep waiting.

Via Evan Woodbery of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Saints placed Lewis on season-ending injured reserve, and filled his roster spot with veteran Chris Owens.

Lewis had a sports hernia, and the surgery cost him the first three games and limited him when he did come back. He also suffered an MCL injury in the Saints’ last game against Washington.

“[The] stuff I’ve dealt with this whole season, I guess it’s just one of those years when you’re trying to fight for your team and your body just doesn’t allow you to,” Lewis said. “It’s tough. I’m trying to get out of this slump I’m in, body-wise.”

So is the Saints defense as a whole.

The 29-year-old Lewis only played about 15 percent of the team’s snaps this year. He’s under contract through 2017, and they’ve already guaranteed his 2016 salary in a restructuring last offseason.

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Aside from injury, Tony Romo blue about putting team in a hole

Tony Romo AP

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo left last night with his left arm in a sling.

But his mental anguish over playing as poorly as he did before the injury might have been worse than the physical pain.

Romo admitted he wasn’t himself during Thursday’s loss to the Panthers, with the mental rust evident in the three interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) which he threw in the first half. He finished the day 11-of-21 for 106 yards.

“There are so many subtle things that come up when you see different things and you just have to get there,” Romo said, via Todd Archer of  “I wasn’t quite there yet. It was going to take a little bit of time. You hope you can win games until you get that back, but it’s just disappointing I wasn’t able to do that and played poor today. I really put our team in a hole. That was the difference in the ballgame, really.”

It wasn’t so much that Romo was throwing poorly, it was more of an issue of things he couldn’t see — which seems odd considering the Panthers were wearing all-blue Smurf uniforms.

“Playing the position, I was not as adept at some of the things that I have been used to doing,” Romo said. “They were slower. I’ve got to look at the mechanics part, the physical [part], but I just feel like my natural instinct, some of the mental aspects, I was slow with. . . .

“I would like to think that I am a good enough player to not just give touchdowns to the defense. When you do that, you put your team in a big hole. Our defense battled out there and gave us chances for stretches for the outcome to be different.

“I didn’t give us a chance, and for however long I’m going to sit and live with that, and that will eat at me.”

That time might be an entire offseason. He’s having more tests today, but only a slim chance exists he’ll be able to return later this season. It probably won’t matter even if he’s able to come back, especially not if he plays the way he did yesterday.

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Josh Norman on Dez: Cowboys should get their $70 million back

Josh Norman AP

A breakout season for Panthers cornerback Josh Norman continued in Dallas on Thursday when he scored a decisive win in his matchup with Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant.

Bryant had two catches all day and one for six yards when Norman was covering him, which led Norman to say after the game that the Cowboys “need to get Dez’s 70 mil back” after signing the wideout to an extension this summer. Norman and Bryant spent plenty of time jawing at each other during the game, including during Kurt Coleman’s early interception return for a touchdown, and Norman was flagged for an extended celebration of knocking a ball away from Bryant in the end zone in the second half.

After the game Norman explained that his saltiness toward Bryant was fueled by what the Dallas wideout said about him to his teammates in the secondary.

“They came back, told me, I put my thinking cap on and I went to work,” Norman said, via the Dallas Morning News. “I went to a dark place. I went to the bat cave. I went Dark Knight on him. The thing is, the crazy thing about all that is, he started from the first play and after that, it was nothing. There’s no pact between lions and men between the white lines. None. And if my intensity is all out four quarters and the other opponent is not, that’s not my fault.”

Norman has been just about impossible for opposing offenses to beat all season. Thursday’s results suggest that firing verbal shots in his direction isn’t the way to do it.

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Aaron Rodgers: We need to get on same page in passing game

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 26:  Quarterback  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks to pass in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on November 26, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) Getty Images

There were two major topics of conversation for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers after Thursday’s 17-13 loss to the Bears at Lambeau Field.

One was the status of his left arm, which Rodgers hurt in the third quarter on a hit by Bears linebacker Lamarr Houston. Backup Scott Tolzien started to warm up, but Rodgers didn’t miss a snap. He did have to do all his handing off with his right hand and said he was still waiting for the feeling to return to a couple of his fingers.

“I lost feeling in my hand for a good portion of the game there in the third quarter, fourth quarter,” Rodgers said, via the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “It’s my left hand. I’ll be all right. … That’s the old funny bone there. Yeah. Not so funny.”

The other big topic wasn’t a laughing matter, either. It was the state of a passing game that hasn’t been firing at a high level for several weeks as the Packers have dropped four of five games. Rodgers was 22-of-43 for 202 yards with a touchdown and an interception on a night that saw him target James Jones and Davante Adams frequently without finding success.

“I’m obviously going to have to make sure my preparation is as high as it’s ever been because we need to get on the same page, the passing game,” Rodgers said. “We’re just on different pages. When you miss throws, when I’m throwing at a certain depth, when receivers are running at certain depth — we’re obviously on different pages.”

It would help if Adams held onto the ball during a poor game, but there was plenty of criticism to go around on a night that ended with the Packers on the doorstep of the end zone and unable to get the game-winning score that would have made another week of offensive frustration a little easier to swallow.

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Chip Kelly: It’s on me as a head coach

Jim Caldwell, Chip Kelly AP

Eagles coach Chip Kelly knows he’s not getting the job done.

A disappointed Kelly said after the Eagles’ loss to the Lions on Thanksgiving that he recognizes he isn’t coaching well.

“Didn’t coach well today. Didn’t do anything well today. Very disappointing,” Kelly said. “We haven’t put our players in position to make plays the last two weeks, and that’s on us. That’s on me as a head coach, so I’ll take responsibility.”

The Eagles have lost four of their last five games, and the last two losses were by a combined score of 90-31. So it’s pretty obvious that he’s not coaching very well. But it’s also important to point out that Kelly isn’t just the head coach, he’s also the General Manager. And Kelly has arguably done an even worse job as G.M. than as coach.

The question is whether Kelly is willing and able to make wholesale changes in his approach. Kelly has always been a “My way or the highway” guy, and his way isn’t working.

In the next few weeks, Kelly and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie may mutually decide that they’d both be better off going their separate ways. Kelly could go back to coaching in college, and Lurie could find himself a coach and G.M. more suited to the NFL.

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Bears spoil Thanksgiving in Green Bay with 17-13 win over Packers

Bears Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers fourth-and-goal pass for Davante Adams fell incomplete in the end zone as the Chicago Bears held on for a 17-13 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night at Lambeau Field.

Both offenses struggled to move the ball consistently in the soggy conditions, but the Bears did just enough to keep their playoff hopes alive while dealing a blow to their division rivals.

Trailing 17-13, Rodgers tried to force a slant into Davante Adams that was picked off by Tracy Porter with 3:20 left to play.

The Packers forced a three-and-out to get the ball back with 2:40 remaining and give Rodgers one more chance. Rodgers hit Randall Cobb to beat the blitz for 32 yards to move inside the Bears red zone. Another completion to Adams gave the Packers first-and-goal from the 8 but four straight incompletions sealed the victory for Chicago.

Jay Cutler passed for 200 yards and a touchdown with Alshon Jeffery leading the way with seven catches for 90 yards for Chicago. Jeremy Langford also scored on a 1-yard touchdown run.

Rodgers completed just 22 of 43 passes on the night for 202 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Rodgers averaged a meager 4.7 yards per attempt and the Packers were just 3-of-11 on third down on the night.

Trailing 7-0, Chris Prosinski forced a fumble from Eddie Lacy to give Chicago the ball at the Packers 36-yard line. Nine plays later, Jay Cutler found tight end Zach Miller open for a 3-yard touchdown to even the game 7-7 with six minutes left in the second quarter.

Jeff Janis‘ 64-yard kickoff return quickly put the Packers back in Chicago territory with a chance to re-take the lead. Green Bay moved to the Chicago 1-yard line on a 4-yard pass from Rodgers to Cobb, but an offensive pass interference call on James Jones backed the Packers up and led to a 22-yard Mason Crosby field goal to give Green Bay a 10-7 lead.

The Bears took over with 1:58 remaining and Cutler marched the Bears for the go-ahead score. Deonte Thompson’s 37-yard kickoff return give Chicago good field position to start the drive. The Bears didn’t face a single third down on the possession in moving quickly downfield. Marquess Wilson nearly scored a 20-yard touchdown but was ruled down at the 1-yard line upon review. It didn’t take long for the Bears to punch it in with Langford scoring on the next play.

A 13-yard completion from Rodgers to Richard Rodgers and a 23-yard completion to Cobb moved Green Bay into field goal position. Crosby hit a 50-yard field goal as time expired to close the gap before the half.

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Zach Miller, Jeremy Langford touchdowns give Bears halftime lead

Zach Miller AP

Jeremy Langford scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Chicago Bears a 14-13 lead over the Green Bay Packers at halftime on Thursday night.

The Bears quickly drove 58 yards on seven plays with Langford scoring with 30 seconds left to give Chicago their first lead of the night.

Trailing 7-0, Chris Prosinski forced a fumble from Eddie Lacy to give Chicago the ball at the Packers 36-yard line. Nine plays later, Jay Cutler found tight end Zach Miller open for a 3-yard touchdown to even the game 7-7 with six minutes left in the second quarter.

Jeff Janis‘ 64-yard kickoff return quickly put the Packers back in Chicago territory with a chance to re-take the lead. Green Bay moved to the Chicago 1-yard line on a 4-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers to Randall Cobb, but an offensive pass interference call on James Jones backed the Packers up and led to a 22-yard Mason Crosby field goal to give Green Bay a 10-7 lead.

The Bears took over with 1:58 remaining and Cutler marched the Bears for the go-ahead score. Deonte Thompson’s 37-yard kickoff return give Chicago good field position to start the drive. The Bears didn’t face a single third down on the possession in moving quickly downfield. Marquess Wilson nearly scored a 20-yard touchdown but was ruled down at the 1-yard line upon review. It didn’t take long for the Bears to punch it in with Langford scoring on the next play.

A 13-yard completion from Rodgers to Richard Rodgers and a 23-yard completion to Randall Cobb moved Green Bay into field goal position. Crosby hit a 50-yard field goal as time expired to close the gap before the half.

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Slim chance Romo plays again this year

Tony Romo AP

On Friday, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will find out whether his left clavicle has indeed been fractured again. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the bone most likely has once again been broken.

If it’s broken, Romo won’t play again this year. But what if it’s not broken?

ESPN’s Ed Werder reports that Romo’s season is over regardless of the outcome of the CT scan. PFT has been told, however, that there’s still a slim chance Romo will return.

First, the collarbone would have to not be broken. Second, the Cowboys would have to win multiple games without Romo in order to make his return in three weeks or so relevant to the team’s effort to catch the Giants in the NFC East.

That’s a tall order, given that the Cowboys are 0-7 without Romo in 2015.

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