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Manuel doesn’t shrink from responsibility

EJ Manuel AP

All the draft picks at this week’s NFL Rookie Symposium are learning about the pitfalls that can come with their new opportunities.

But as the first quarterback taken, and the guy expected to lead the Bills out of a generation of mediocrity-at-best, there’s an extra burden on E.J. Manuel.

Manuel said that the Symposium was an introduction into what he can expect as the guy the Bills expect to become the face of the franchise.

It’s a great responsibility,” Manuel said, via Tim Graham of the Buffalo News. “You’re always going to be watched, always going to be evaluated each and every day. You’ve got to take that responsibility and respect it. . . .

“I had high expectations no matter where I went in the draft. I’m a natural competitor. I mean, that’s something I was going to work toward anyway. So I don’t feel any added pressure.”

Of course, the first thing Manuel has to do to reach his goal is to prove more able than Kevin Kolb. While that shouldn’t be the most difficult thing in the world, being in a setting where setting up their future is the main topic of discussion had Manuel thinking about what his legacy as a player would be.

“I’ve always been taught that a good name is more important than great treasure,” Manuel said. “So just keeping that respect for yourself and keeping your name clean, I think that’s what adds to your legacy.

“Obviously, when you play well you have a football legacy. But at the end of the day, I still want to be known as more than a football player. I want to be remembered as a great man.”

If he can deliver the Bills to the playoffs for the first time since 1999, he’ll have the first half of that taken care of.

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DeAngelo Hall carried off field with lower leg injury

Hall Getty Images

As Washington tries to keep the Eagles under 30 points (and 40), they’ll be without their best cornerback.

DeAngelo Hall helped to the sideline with a lower leg injury.  He put no weight on his left leg; trainers had been checking the lower portion of the appendage.

The injury occurred without contact.

The Eagles lead Washington, 24-20.

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Injuries, Vikings D beginning to slow down Saints

Tennessee Titans v New Orleans Saints

The Saints were on a roll early, but the combination of an improved Vikings defense and their own missteps has slowed them considerably.

They still lead the Vikings 13-9, but they were up 13-0 after their first two possessions.

Their latest drive stopped when center Jonathan Goodwin was injured, and backup Tim Lelito promptly came in and launched the next snap through the hands of quarterback Drew Brees.

Goodwin was carted off with some degree of leg injury.

The Vikings are hanging around, and threatening to make a blocked extra point a very important play.

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Eagles extend lead, lose Jason Kelce

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Getty Images

The Eagles opened Sunday’s action without right tackle Lane Johnson or left guard Evan Mathis.

They’ll end it with questions about whether center Jason Kelce will be joining them on the sideline next week. Kelce left the game on the team’s first possession of the third quarter and the Eagles quickly announced that he would not return after suffering an injury to his abdomen.

Johnson has one more week to serve on his suspension and Mathis will be out even longer after landing on injured reserve with the designation to return, which could mean the Eagles would be down three starters next week. With David Molk replacing Kelce, Wade Smith is the only remaining reserve.

At least the Eagles can deal with these problems with a lead. They extended the advantage they took just before halftime with a Cody Parkey field goal in the third quarter and then forced a three and out to hold onto their 24-20 lead over the Redskins.

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Blake Bortles replaces Chad Henne

Jacksonville Jaguars v Detroit Lions Getty Images

The Jaguars have finally made the move.

Yes, the move.

Trailing 30-0 after two quarters against the Colts, the Jaguars pulled veteran quarterback Chad Henne and replaced him with rookie Blake Bortles, a change met by enthusiastic applause by the home crowd in Jacksonville.

Bortles completed just 1-of-5 passes for 21 yards on his first drive, but a 14-yard scramble was nullified by penalty, and his arm strength and athleticism were evident. He also showed a willingness to stand in the pocket under pressure.

In all, it was a decent start for Bortles, who would seem likely to have every chance to keep the job, given how the Jaguars have struggled after a promising start in their season opener two weeks ago.

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Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald out for 49ers

Davis AP

The 49ers may need to call Brent Jones.

The team’s top two tight ends, Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald, have been scratched for Sunday’s game at Arizona.  Davis has an ankle injury; McDonald has a knee injury.

Both had been listed as questionable for the game.

Derek Carrier and Asante Cleveland are the only two tight ends on the roster.  Defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs also has a tight end designation, as does long snapper Kyle Nelson.

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Colts roll to 30-0 halftime lead in Jacksonville

Indianapolis Colts v Jacksonville Jaguars Getty Images

The Jaguars couldn’t have peaked in the first half of the first game of the season.


Ever since taking a 17-0 lead at Philadelphia after two quarters in Week One, the Jaguars have fallen apart, and their fade has continued Sunday, where the Colts have run out to a 30-0 halftime lead.

In taking that 30-point edge after two quarters, the Colts outgained the Jaguars 330-55 — a 6:1 margin. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck completed 22-of-27 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns, with the last of those scores a seven-yard TD toss to tight end Coby Fleener after a Jaguars fumble.

Overall, in the last eight quarters, the Jaguars have been outscored 105-10.

UPDATE 2:44 p.m. ET: The Jaguars began the second half by inserting rookie quarterback Blake Bortles, who entered the game to thunderous applause. More on this to come.

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Eagles grab 21-20 lead just before the half

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

There’s been a lot of discussion about the best ways to deal with the pace of the Eagles offense since Chip Kelly became the team’s head coach, but it’s hard to argue with the idea of just not letting them have the ball at all.

That’s what the Redskins have tried to do on Sunday afternoon. Washington had the ball for nearly 23 minutes of the first half as Kirk Cousins has moved the team on several elongated drives that helped the Redskins lead for most of the half.

Most isn’t the same as all, though, and the Eagles have shown that they don’t need the ball much to make an impact on the scoreboard. Nick Foles hit Jordan Matthews for a touchdown for the second time in the game with nine seconds to play in the first half to give the Eagles a 21-20 lead at the break. If not for a Darren Sproles fumble in the red zone, the Eagles might be up by even more even though they’ve had the ball only slightly more often than people who aren’t playing in the game at all.

Some of the time of possession issues are misleading because Chris Polk returned a kickoff 102 yards for the first Philly score, but the Redskins offense has done their bit to keep the team in front. They averaged nearly six yards per play and scored every time they had the ball, but the Eagles are averaging nearly nine yards a pop and they get the ball coming out of the half.

If the Redskins defense can’t step up at that point, the team will have very little to show for a strong start against their divisional rival.

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Giants offense clicks for 14-0 halftime lead

Houston Texans v New York Giants Getty Images

The Giants have made some of the confounding mistakes that marked their double-digit losses in the first two weeks of the season, but they’ve been able to overcome them on the way to a 14-0 halftime lead over the Texans.

New York saw tight end Larry Donnell fumble near the end zone and then watched long snapper Zak DeOssie send a field goal snap well past holder Steve Weatherford, but Eli Manning has kept the offense moving despite those blunders. Manning is 14-of-18 for 179 yards and a touchdown while Rashad Jennings has sprinted for 88 yards on 18 carries while also scoring a touchdown.

Manning’s touchdown pass went to Victor Cruz for his first home score since 2012 and the wideout, who had major issues with drops in the first two weeks, also had a 61-yard gain in his best showing of the season.

Houston’s offense has had no success without Arian Foster, however. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been intercepted twice on his way to a 4-of-13 first half and the Texans mustered just 83 total yards on offense before the teams went back to the locker room. Playing from behind will call for more passing from Fitzpatrick, which looks like a dicey proposition given his struggles and the spirited performance by the Giants pass rush.

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Matt Cassel won’t return with toe injury

Matt Cassel AP

Teddy Bridgewater is going to get an extended look as the Vikings starter.

Matt Cassel, who left the game with a toe injury, will not return. Third-stringer Christian Ponder was inactive.

Bridgewater actually gave the Vikings a bit of a spark when he entered the game, getting them in position for a pair of field goals.

They trail the Saints 13-6 at halftime, but Bridgewater has at least given them reason for hope.

He’s 3-of-5 for 46 yards passing, and added 23 yards on five rushing attempts.

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Johnny Manziel’s 39-yard catch nullified by penalty

Johnny Manziel AP

On Sunday afternoon in Cleveland, the Browns came oh-so-close to pulling off one of the more unique trick plays of recent seasons, but a penalty scuttled it, taking a 39-yard Johnny Manziel reception right out of the box score and into the footnotes of obscure football history.

The play occurred in the second quarter in today’s game vs. the Ravens. On the sideline, Manziel feigned a discussion with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and another Browns assistant, then stepped on to the field and caught a pass from Brian Hoyer.

However, tailback Terrance West was penalized for an illegal shift, nullifying the gain.

In the end, the Browns got an A-plus for creativity and an F for execution.

But it was fun to watch.

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Dennis Pitta carted off in Cleveland

Pitta Getty Images

Last year, Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta suffered a serious hip injury in training camp.  He has now injured it again.

Pitta’s right leg gave out after catching a pass in the backfield at Cleveland.  He stumbled to the ground, and he has been carted off.

Pitta had three catches for 12 yards.  The Ravens lead, 10-7.

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Alfred Morris questionable to return from knee injury

Alfred Morris

The Eagles saw running back LeSean McCoy make a quick return to the game after being evaluated for a concussion and the Redskins will be hoping that Alfred Morris can make a similar turnaround.

Morris is being called questionable to return to the game after injuring his knee in the second quarter. Morris was hurt when he and quarterback Kirk Cousins bounced into one another at the end of a running play and he went to the sideline for the final play of the drive to get evaluated by medical personnel.

Morris had seen a lot of work up to that point in the game, running 14 times for 46 yards on the team’s first three possessions. All three of those possessions ended in points for the Redskins, who led 17-7 after a Kai Forbath field goal.

Their lead shrank a short time later when Nick Foles hit Jordan Matthews for a touchdown to close within a field goal in what’s been a game light on defensive stands in Philadelphia.

UPDATE 2:12 p.m. ET: Morris has returned to the game.

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Rams run out out to big lead over Cowboys

zacstacy AP

No team got off to an uglier start today in the NFL than the Cowboys.

In the second quarter in St. Louis, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo threw a pass right to Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who took it to the house for the Rams’ third touchdown of the day, giving St. Louis an early 21-0 lead.

The Rams had previously had two touchdown passes from quarterback Austin Davis, who looked surprisingly good: He hit Lance Kendricks for a one-yard score and Brian Quick for a 51-yard score.

Dallas finally got on the board when DeMarco Murray plunged up the middle for a one-yard touchdown to make it 21-7. The Cowboys will need a lot more from Murray, who is running well but has also lost a fumble, if they’re going to come back in this one.

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Titans shooting themselves in the (kicking) foot

Tennessee Titans v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

The Titans aren’t playing horribly, but their special teams are keeping them from keeping it close against the Bengals.

They just committed a holding penalty in the end zone for a safety while trying to punt, giving the Bengals a 12-0 lead.

This comes after kicker Ryan Succop missed a pair of field goals, and Blidi Wreh-Wilson committed a facemask penalty on a punt return.

Wilson was also the culprit who gave up a touchdown pass to Andy Dalton, when he looked like he was caught somewhere between trying to light up the quarterback or play a lofted pass, and ended up failing at both.

This should be a one-score game, but they’re handing it to the Bengals on a platter.

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Teddy Bridgewater era begins for Minnesota

Bridgewater Getty Images

As the current face of the franchise has gotten a stiff arm to the face from the franchise, the next face of the franchise will be getting his first crack at making an impact on the field.

Vikings quarterback Matt Cassell has left the playing area on a cart, with a toe injury.  Which means that rookie Teddy Bridgewater has entered the game.

Even without the injury, it was looking shaky for the veteran.  The Vikings fell into a quick 13-0 hole, after losing 30-7 last week.

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