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Tom Brady is feeling the pressure

Tom Brady, Wallace Gilberry AP

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is struggling with the blitz this season.

Brady is usually among the best in football at getting the ball away quickly and accurately when opposing teams blitz him, but as former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski demonstrated this week on ESPN’s NFL Matchup, that hasn’t been the case this season. Jaworski showed game film of a badly underthrown pass by Brady against the Bengals and showed how Brady could have hit either Julian Edelman or Aaron Dobson but instead completely missed as he felt the Bengals’ pass rush.

“With time in the pocket, Brady would either lead Edelman across the field, or hit Dobson coming underneath in the middle. Neither happened, the result of pressure,” Jaworski said. “The pocket closed down on Brady, he lacked time to wait for the routes to develop and the functional space to deliver the football.”

As Jaworski noted, Brady has usually picked apart opposing defenses when they came after him. According to ESPN, when opposing defenses blitzed Brady in 2012, he completed 64.2 percent of his passes, had a passer rating of 117.6 and was sacked only seven times. But this year, Brady blitzed has completed just 53.8 percent of his passes when blitzed, his passer rating against the blitz has plummeted to 81.9, and he’s already been sacked nine times when blitzed.

Just about any way you slice it, Brady is having his worst season. In his previous 11 seasons as the Patriots’ starter, Brady never had a completion rate lower than 60 percent and never had a passer rating lower than 85. This year Brady’s completion rate is 55.4 percent and his passer rating is 75.3. He’s also on pace to be sacked 46 times this season, which would top his previous high of 41 in his first year as the Patriots’ starter.

It’s fair to wonder how much of Brady’s susceptibility to pressure is a sign of his own decline, how much is the result of the offensive line’s ineffectiveness and how much is the fact that in the past, Brady knew he could count on Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez to be open for a short pass on a blitz, while this year Weler is in Denver, Hernandez is in jail and Gronkowski has played only one game.

But whatever the reason, pressure on Brady is a real problem for the Patriots.

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“Trainer’s speculation” points to MCL sprain for Russell Wilson

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is assisted off the field after being brought down against the San Francisco 49ers in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) AP

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will have an MRI on Sunday night to determine the amount of damage, if any, in Wilson’s left knee.

In response to a report from NFL Media that Wilson has an MCL sprain, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that this is “trainer’s speculation” based on physical testing of the knee. The MRI will be definitive.

Depending on the degree of the injury, an MCL sprain is playable. The rope-like ligament can heal itself with rest, fraying when it sprains instead of tearing. Jets receiver Brandon Marshall, for example, played last Thursday with an MCL sprain, and returned to play on Sunday.

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Cowboys pulling away, as Bears pull out bag of tricks

Chicago Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer is sacked by Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford (98) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero) AP

The Bears are down their starting quarterback and plenty of other players, and now they’re down by a couple of touchdowns.

The Cowboys are off to a roaring start on Sunday Night Football, taking advantage of a depleted Bears squad.

Quarterback Dak Prescott just hit Cole Beasley for a touchdown and a 17-0 lead, and the Bears may not be able to slow them down at this point.

Beset by injuries, the Bears haven’t really interrupted the Cowboys all night.

And with backup quarterback Brian Hoyer not really perfectly suited to play from behind, this could get away from them. They did get a field goal after a nice 36-yard run from rookie running back Jordan Howard, but then tried an onside kick but were offsides, and kicked it away after the penalty.

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Terrelle Pryor does something that hadn’t been done in 57 years

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (11) runs for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) AP

Browns receiver Terrelle Pryor made a significant contribution to the effort on Sunday. Instead of cutting off a finger or any other appendage, Pryor added roles to catching passes, with rare results.

Pryor had 144 receiving yards, 35 passing yards, and 21 rushing yards in the overtime loss at Miami. According to the NFL, Pryor became the first player to have at least 120 receiving yards, at least 30 passing yards, and at least 20 rushing yards in a single game since Hall of Famer Frank Gifford did it on December 6, 1959.

Look for Pryor to keep doing all he can for the Browns as coach Hue Jackson keeps trying his best to make chicken salad. At a time when the Browns don’t have much about which to be proud, they should be glad that they saw real ability in Pryor and stuck with him long enough for it to emerge

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Cowboys take early lead, without losing any more players

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) prepares to throw a pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins) AP

The Cowboys have an early lead, and their breath back.

Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott just gave them a 7-0 lead over the Bears with a sneak for a touchdown, capping a drive of highs and lows.

Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott popped a 21-yard run, tied for the longest of his career so far, as they put together the kind of long, grind-it-out drive they’re built for.

The Cowboys survived a couple of scares, as star wide receiver Dez Bryant appeared to have suffered a knee injury. But he returned to the game later in the drive, as did Cole Beasley, who took a hard shot to the ribs and appeared shaken up for a moment.

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Rams outlast Bucs after an long lightning delay

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) scrambles for the goal line on a 1-yard touchdown run against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the third quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken) AP

Sometimes when you move, those boxes in the garage stay packed.

Well, Rams coach Jeff Fisher dug past the 8-tracks and the old dishes, and found all the touchdowns.

After scoring nine points (9!?!) in their first two games, the Rams exploded in a 37-32 win over the Buccaneers, to move to 2-1.

The Rams didn’t do it all with their explosive offense, with defensive tackle Ethan Westbrook scooping a sack-strip fumble and taking it 77 yards for a touchdown.

But with Todd Gurley running for two touchdowns and quarterback Case Keenum actually doing something, it was enough to withstand an hour-plus lightning delay and a late charge by Tampa, with Robert Quinn taking down quarterback Jameis Winston to end it.

The Bucs (1-2) have a number of concerns, including the fact they left four points on the board with a missed field goal and a missed extra point by rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo. That left them chasing two-point conversions late in the game, both of which failed.

Winston had a solid day, with 405 yards and three touchdowns, but the reality wasn’t as good as the fantasy stats.

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Todd Bowles: We were “s—-y” all around

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 25: Cornerback Marcus Peters #22 of the Kansas City Chiefs intercepts a pass in front of wide receiver Jalin Marshall #89 of the New York Jets at Arrowhead Stadium during the first quarter of the game on September 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets lost 24-3 in Kansas City on Sunday due in large part to eight turnovers, six of which were interceptions thrown by Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall called it a “embarrassing” performance by the team and coach Todd Bowles treaded in similar water, although he used a different word to describe both the team’s plan and the way the team played.

“S—-y game plan, s—-y execution, s—-y all around,” Bowles said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com.

Cornerback Darrelle Revis said the team still believes in Fitzpatrick and there’s not much chance that they’re going to bench him three games into the season after finally giving him $12 million for this year before the start of training camp. Things have to get significantly less s—-y on all fronts in a hurry, though.

The Jets host the Seahawks before road games against the Steelers and Cardinals and they’ll need some wins in those games to avoid a real question about how much there will be to play for over the rest of the season.

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Russell Wilson says he’ll be “good to go,” believes MRI will reveal no damage

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 20: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks runs off the field after a football game against the Cleveland Browns at CenturyLink Field on December 20, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won the game 30-13 and Wilson threw for three touchdowns. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption *** Russell Wilson Getty Images

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson told reporters after Sunday’s game that he’s “walking fine” and doesn’t believe his knee injury “is as severe as it looked.”

Wilson is scheduled for an MRI to determine if his left knee suffered any structural damage.

Wilson said he anticipates he’ll be “good to go” and said he would have returned to Sunday’s win over the 49ers if the game was more competitive.

He left the game in the third quarter. The Seahawks led 37-3 and won 37-18.

The Seahawks play at the Jets next Sunday.

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Jalen Ramsey doesn’t respect Steve Smith, Smith doesn’t care

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 25:   Steve Smith #89 of the Baltimore Ravens catches a pass in front of  Jalen Ramsey #20 of the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 25, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith both picked up unsportsmanlike conduct penalties late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 19-17 Ravens win when they came together after an interception by Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny.

The two men exchanged words again on the field after the game and it seems those words weren’t apologetic about what had gone down before.

“Ya’ll tell me who got in whose head,” Ramsey said, via ESPN.com. “He came up to me after the game, you feel me? Y’all tell me who got in whose head. He’s an old man acting like that. Ain’t nobody worried about him. He came up to me, you know what I’m saying, on some disrespectful stuff. The game’s over with. You still mad ’cause I was locking you up? All right, go sleep on that. I ain’t trying to hear that after the game. … It is what it is. As a player, he’s still a good player. I’ll say that about him. But I don’t respect him as a man.”

Smith, who had eight catches for 87 yards, responded to Ramsey on Twitter.

“I gave U every opportunity to speak face to face,” Smith wrote. “But you found your voice safely behind closed doors. Young man I don’t need ur respect!”

Smith continued by saying that he’ll be in the Hall of Fame by the time Ramsey retires and that Ramsey will never join him because “I got cleats with stronger thread then you.”

Barring a playoff meeting between the two teams, there’s a pretty good chance that this will be the only time Ramsey and Smith face off as Smith was set to retire before last season’s torn Achilles led him to change his mind.

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MRI tonight for Russell Wilson

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, top, is pulled down by San Francisco 49ers' Eli Harold in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) AP

Officially, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has a sprained left knee. Unofficially, they’re holding their breath about the extent of the injury.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Wilson will have an MRI on Sunday night to determine whether and to what extent any of the ligaments or cartilage or other stuff inside the knee is damaged.

Wilson already has overcome a high right ankle sprain suffered in Week One to keep playing. He now has a problem with his left knee.

Wilson’s determination will carry him far, but if ligaments  are torn, there’s only so much he or anyone else can do.

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Colts come back to beat the Chargers

San Diego Chargers' Melvin Gordon (28) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts' Clayton Geathers (26) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) AP

In a back-and-forth battle that went down to the final minute, the Colts got the last score and beat the Chargers today in Indianapolis.

The Colts won it on a last-minute touchdown pass from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton, who had an outstanding game. Hilton had eight catches for 174 yards and capitalized on a depleted Chargers defense all day, and the Colts won 26-22.

Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck both topped 300 yards passing, in a game that seemed to be full of momentum swings: The Colts led 10-0 in the first quarter, the Chargers tied it up at 13-13 before halftime and then took a 19-13 lead in the third quarter, the Colts jumped ahead 20-19 before the third was over, the Chargers went up 22-20 midway through the fourth, and the Colts finally won it with Hilton’s touchdown in the fourth.

It was the Colts’ first win of the season after a disappointing start, and both teams are now 1-2.

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Chip Kelly: No thought to pulling Blaine Gabbert

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert #2 of the San Francisco 49ers passes the ball  during the second quarter of the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2016 in Seattle,Washington. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) Getty Images

After the 49ers lost 46-27 to the Panthers in Week Two, coach Chip Kelly said that he was not considering a quarterback change despite two interceptions from Blaine Gabbert in the fourth quarter.

The Niners closed within seven before those Gabbert turnovers, but they never came close to closing the gap against the Seahawks in this Sunday’s 37-18 loss. It was 37-3 before two late Carlos Hyde rushing touchdowns.

The fact that the 49ers elected to keep running the ball down by 34 points suggests that they didn’t have much interest in watching Gabbert throw the ball, which isn’t hard to understand after he went 14-of-25 for 119 yards and an interception. After the game, though, Kelly said he never considered turning to Colin Kaepernick.

“I thought he played OK,” Kelly said of Gabbert, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

It wasn’t a Ryan Fitzpatrick afternoon, but Gabbert’s play definitely left something to be desired in Week Three. The 49ers may not feel that Kaepernick offers them anything better, although that doesn’t create much confidence in the offensive performances to come as the season unfolds.

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Bucs and Rams in lightning delay at the two-minute warning

lightning-getty-3 Getty Images

The Bucs set up a dramatic finish, and they’re going to make us wait for it.

Referee Ed Hochuli called both teams off the field because of lightning in the Tampa area, with the Rams up 37-32 at the two-minute warning.

The Rams are facing a thrid-and-11 deep in their own territory, after Tavon Austin made a terrible decision to field a kickoff inside the 5 and circle into the end zone before running it out. Then Rams quarterback Case Keenum took a sack to move them farther back.

The Bucs made it close with a Jameis Winston touchdown pass to Mike Evans, giving themselves a chance if the Rams can’t convert after the long break.

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Wentz hits 300 for first time, Eagles run away from Steelers

Philadelphia Eagles' Darren Sproles, left, and Nelson Agholor celebrate after Sproles' touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola) AP

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz came out firing, again.

The Steelers didn’t do much in the way of firing back.

The Eagles ran away from the Steelers in the second half Sunday and won, 34-3. The Steelers missed a field goal on their first drive, made one on their third drive and didn’t score again.

The Eagles move to 3-0. The Steelers slip to 2-1.

Wentz had his first 300-yard game. He threw touchdowns of 12 yards to Jordan Matthews and 73 yards to Darren Sproles. He was 23-of-31, wasn’t intercepted and wasn’t sacked.

He hasn’t thrown an interception in three games and is the first quarterback in NFL history to go over 100 attempts to start his career without throwing an interception.

It was the worst loss for the Steelers under Mike Tomlin and the worst by any Steelers team since 1989.

The last two touchdowns came via the run in the third quarter, one by Wendell Smallwood and one by Kenjon Barner. The Eagles outgained the Steelers, 426-251.

The Eagles picked off Ben Roethlisberger once and sacked him once, recovering a fumble in the process. Roethlisberger threw for 257 yards but were held to 21 yards rushing.

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Patriots will add quarterback only as last resort

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots reacts after defeating the Houston Texans 27-0 at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) Getty Images

With only four days to get ready for a Week Three game against the Texans and only one healthy quarterback, the Patriots decided not to sign an available veteran. With 10 days between Week Three and Week Four games and possibly no healthy quarterbacks, the Patriots may still not sign another quarterback as they prepare to face the Bills.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Patriots will add a quarterback only as a last resort. For now, the focus is on rehabbing Jimmy Garoppolo’s shoulder injury and Jacoby Brissett’s thumb injury.

If as of Monday the Patriots firmly believe that neither player will be ready, they could decide to add a quarterback. Last week, T.J. Yates had a tryout, and Sean Renfree visited.

The Patriots are reluctant to add a quarterback because they’d be required to cut a player on the 53-man roster. If the player have fewer than four years of service, he’d be exposed to waivers. A vested veteran would be free to sign with another team.

So would New England run the risk of actually having to use Julian Edelman as the starter on Sunday? Perhaps. He knows the offense better than Yates or Renfree or any other free agent would, and Edelman played quarterback at Kent State.

The Patriots also have another player whom they believe would be able to take snaps, if need be. While the team is being characteristically tight lipped about who that would be, the smart money is on second-year tight end A.J. Derby, a sixth-round pick in 2015 who played quarterback at Iowa, Coffeyville Community College, and Arkansas.

Based on the manner in which the Patriots got Brissett ready to play quarterback in four days, don’t be shocked if they decide to start getting Edelman ready in the event that neither Garoppolo nor Brissett will be able to play in what will be the last game before Tom Brady’s suspension ends.

Whatever happens, coach Bill Belichick surely has a plan. And it would be unwise to assume his plan won’t work.

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Ryan Fitzpatrick throws six interceptions, Chiefs win 24-3

New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) during the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) AP

The Jets turned the ball over three times in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Chiefs and they apparently liked the way it felt because they kept turning the ball over in the second half.

Ryan Fitzpatrick threw interceptions to Eric Berry and Marcus Peters in the end zone to kill scoring chances that would have put the Jets back into the game and the Chiefs improved to 2-1 with a 24-3 home win. He added another late in the fourth quarter when Daniel Sorensen grabbed an errant throw and appeared to put the icing on the cake when Derrick Johnson returned No. 5 for a touchdown, but there was still time for D.J. White to nab one just after the two minute warning.

Both of the interceptions in the end zone came off tipped balls, but that’s what happens when balls are forced into coverage in the red zone. Fitzpatrick, who was 20-of-44 for 188 yards overall, also narrowly avoided being intercepted a couple of other times over the course of a game that felt light years away from his success against the Bills in Week Two.

The Chiefs offense didn’t put up any points in the second half, but they didn’t need to thanks to their defense coming up with five takeaways over the course of the afternoon. Their best scoring chance of the final two quarters failed to produce points when Spencer Ware fumbled the ball out of the end zone for a Jets touchback.

Kansas City will be in Pittsburgh next weekend and the offense will have to do more unless Ben Roethlisberger decides to follow in Fitzpatrick’s footsteps. The Jets will be home to meet the Seahawks and then go on the road to play the Cardinals and Steelers, which means the season could be lost in a hurry if they can’t solve the offensive mess they put up on Sunday.

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