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Jimmy Graham tore his patellar tendon

Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham AP

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.

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Roethlisberger exits Seahawks game for concussion testing

Ben Roethlisberger AP

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, 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.

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Doug Baldwin’s third touchdown caps Seahawks victory

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 29:  Wide receiver Doug Baldwin #89 of the Seattle Seahawks scores a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers at CenturyLink Field on November 29, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

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.

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Seahawks grab lead, Jimmy Graham carted off

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 29:  Tight end Jimmy Graham #88 of the Seattle Seahawks makes a catch against cornerback Ross Cockrell #31 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third quarter at CenturyLink Field on November 29, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

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.

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NFL won’t discipline officials for latest Monday night mistakes

Gene Steratore AP

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.

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Rex Ryan unhappy Chiefs’ video board didn’t show some replays

Rex Ryan AP

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.

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Jeff Fisher says critics of team’s effort can “kiss my ass”

Jeff Fisher AP

Rams coach Jeff Fisher made an early exit from his post-game press conference following Sunday’s 31-7 loss to the Bengals. Before he left, Fisher said something that will generate plenty of attention.

When discussing a four-game losing streak that has seen the team plunge from 4-3 to 4-7, Fisher said, “Anyone who implies that it’s an effort issue and they can kiss my ass, OK? Because there’s no effort problems.”

Whatever the actual problems, there are plenty for the Rams. They looked to be poised to make a run at the NFC West crown after beating the Seahawks and Cardinals. But after convincing back-to-back wins over the 49ers and Browns at home, the Rams have fallen apart.

The struggles have sparked speculation in some league circles as to whether Fisher will survive this season, regardless of whether the team relocates. As the thinking goes, a move to L.A. could require a new coach in order to create buzz in the new market. Staying put, which will require some damage to be undone locally, could compel a coaching change if only to give the folks in St. Louis a reason for hope for whatever future there may be in Missouri.

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Steelers take 18-14 lead into halftime

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 29:  Wide receiver Martavis Bryant #10 of the Pittsburgh Steelers scores a touchdown against strong safety Kam Chancellor #31 of the Seattle Seahawks in the second quarter at CenturyLink Field on November 29, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

There have been a lot of balls in the air through the first 30 minutes in Seattle, but the Steelers have a pair of rushing touchdowns to thank for a 18-14 lead.

DeAngelo Williams plunged into the end zone with 56 seconds left in the first half and the Steelers converted a two-point conversion — see what happens when you use the offense to gain two yards? — to go up 18-14 after a half of football. Martavis Bryant ran 10 yards on an end around to account for their other score.

Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t thrown a touchdown, but the passing game has been the primary mover for Pittsburgh on Sunday. Roethlisberger is 19-of-28 for 206 yards, including a 41-yard bomb to Markus Wheaton that set up the Williams touchdown.

Russell Wilson found Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse for touchdowns in the second quarter of the game to put the Seahawks up 14-10. Wilson was particularly sharp on the drive that ended with Kearse’s score as he completed 7-of-8 passes for 90 yards to drive Seattle down the field. Two of the throws were big gainers to Jimmy Graham, something that the Seahawks would surely like to see more of as the rest of the game and rest of the season unfold.

They’ll need better work from the defense to make any further gains stand up, though. Roethlisberger has shown no qualms about attacking the Seahawks defense down the field and the defense has done nothing to make him pay at either the front or back end thus far. That will have to change if the Seahawks want to avoid a return to sub-.500 waters when Sunday comes to a close.

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Jets snap losing streak, help playoff odds in 38-20 win

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 29:  Eric Decker #87 of the New York Jets celebrates his touchdown with  Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 in the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins on November 29, 2015 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets were trending sharply in the wrong direction with four losses in their last five games, leaving their once-promising playoff hopes on thin ice when Sunday’s game against the Dolphins kicked off.

They aren’t on totally solid ground after the final whistle, but they’re closer to land after a 38-20 win that gave them a season sweep of their AFC East rivals. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw four touchdown passes and the defense kept the Dolphins in check until the game was well in hand to move the Jets to 6-5 on the year.

That’s the same record that the Texans, Colts and Chiefs have and the Steelers will either join them or improve to 7-4 after their game with the Seahawks comes to a close. That leaves a lot of potential combinations and the 5-6 Bills and Raiders can’t be counted out, so every win is a big one for the Jets.

They should feel good about this one. Their offense found success on the ground and in the air after two weeks of diminshed returns. Brandon Marshall dominated Brent Grimes for nine catches, 131 yards and two touchdowns and they ran for 137 yards to keep things balanced over the course of the contest. They’ll need that same balance against the Giants next weekend in an interstadium battle that has huge significance for both teams.

More of the same for the defense would be welcome as well. The Dolphins drove for two touchdowns after the Jets opened up a 35-7 lead in the fourth and taking the 156 yards they gained in those stat padding efforts leaves them with 177 yards to show for their offensive efforts. Only 12 of those yards came on the ground and the Dolphins failed on their first eight third-down tries of the game as Ryan Tannehill’s play was lacking until the game was well out of hand.

Offensive matters doesn’t figure to get any easier in the future if center Mike Pouncey is out for an extended period of time after leaving with a leg injury on Sunday.

It would seem reasonable to expect that backup Jamil Douglas will get better at snapping the ball, but those are the kinds of things that have been a problem for the Dolphins, who are now 0-5 in the AFC East, all year. Those kinds of blunders and injuries have a lot to do with the 4-7 record in Miami and the coming changes to the organization that will come once they play out the string on another dismal season.

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Giants can’t hold onto first place in the NFC East

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 29: Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants scrambles under pressure from defensive end Jason Hatcher #97 of the Washington Redskins in the third quarter at FedExField on November 29, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said this week that “it’s a lot of fun” coaching a team that’s in first place.

Coughlin’s team is still in first place after Sunday’s game, but they have company and we’re guessing he’ll be having a lot less fun when the question comes up this week. The Redskins jumped out to a 20-0 lead and held on after two late Giants touchdowns for a 20-14 win that pulls them even with the Giants at 5-6.

If the season ended today, Washington would win the crown based on a better division record. They have two games left against the Cowboys and one against the Eagles, however, and the Giants still have a chance to even their record at 3-3 when they face the Eagles in Week 17.

There’s a lot of football to play between now and then, but the Redskins know they are going to the playoffs if they win their remaining games.

The Giants could have said the same coming into the game, but they continue to make it hard to know what to expect from them on any given Sunday. Two weeks after nearly beating the Patriots, they laid a complete egg for three quarters of the game as the home team did just enough to pull ahead by three scores. Eli Manning finally found some success in the fourth with touchdown passes to Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham, but Steve Spagnuolo’s defense couldn’t stop Jordan Reed and Alfred Morris from getting first downs that left the Giants with a few seconds and no timeouts for a last-ditch attempt at pulling out the win.

That effort wasn’t helped by punt returner Dwayne Harris’s decision to field a Redskins punt over his shoulder on his goal-line, costing the team yards to use in their attempt to pull off a miracle. There were other blunders by the Giants, who turned the ball over on three interceptions that could be blamed on both Manning and his receivers. The last came in the end zone on what looked like an underwhelming effort by Randle to break on a ball picked off by Quinton Dunbar.

Kirk Cousins wasn’t picked off at all and finished the day 20-of-29 for 302 yards and a touchdown to help his team rebound from last week’s licking against the Panthers. He had a lot of success throwing to Reed, whose eight catches for 98 yards included several drive-extenders, and played the mistake-free football that Washington needs from him. He’ll try for another round of it next Monday night against a Cowboys team that will be coming to town fresh off the latest Tony Romo injury. It’s a game Washington should win, although they haven’t proven to be much any more consistent than the Giants this season.

Ryan Kerrigan spearheaded the defensive effort with two sacks and a batted ball that almost turned into a fourth Manning interception. The Giants will need to sort things out on an offensive line that ended the day down three starters in time for their MetLife bragging rights game against the Jets next Sunday. If they can’t Week 13 might end with them out of first place altogether.

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After rough start, Chiefs come alive to beat the Bills

Ronald Darby, Chris Conley AP

For the Chiefs, today’s game against the Bills was a lot like the 2015 season: A rough start and a great turnaround.

The Chiefs fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter today and looked like they were in serious trouble. But quarterback Alex Smith came alive and led a tremendous turnaround in what turned out to be a 30-22 Chiefs win.

Now Kansas City is on a five-game winning streak after starting the season 1-5. The Chiefs looked like their season was lost just a couple months ago, and now they look like they’re on their way to the playoffs.

Smith finished the game 19-for-30 for 255 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Spencer Ware, the Chiefs’ third-string running back who’s now a starter because of injuries to Jamaal Charles and Charcandrick West, topped 100 yards and ran hard all day.

The Bills were off to a fantastic start with Sammy Watkins having 158 receiving yards in the first half, but he didn’t catch any passes in the second half. The Chiefs’ defense deserves a lot of credit for the way it came back in the second half.

And the Chiefs deserve a lot of credit for the way they’ve turned their season around. They’re now AFC contenders.

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Hurns taken to hospital after concussion

Allen Hurns, Darius Butler AP

Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns was taken off the field via stretcher in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game vs. the Chargers and taken to a local hospital.

The team announced that Hurns suffered a concussion and was taken to the hospital for further evaluation.

Hurns hit his head on the turf while diving to make a catch. The game was stopped for several minutes while medical staff attended to Hurns. He flashed a thumbs up to the crowd as the stretcher left the field.

Hurns caught 4 passes for 42 yards in the game.

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Vikings strengthen their playoff position with win in Atlanta

In a battle of two NFC playoff contenders, the Vikings looked like they’re postseason-ready, while the Falcons looked like they have some problems.

The Vikings’ 20-10 victory showed that Minnesota has a good defense and running game, a formula to win late in the season just the way Vikings coach Mike Zimmer wants. And the Falcons’ loss showed that Matt Ryan throws into coverage far too often for a quarterback who’s been in the NFL as long as he has.

Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson topped 100 yards for the NFL-high sixth time this year, giving him a total of 48 100-yard games in his career, the most among active players. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater didn’t have many big plays, but he was efficient as a passer and got rid of the ball quickly. It was a solid effort from the Vikings’ offense.

And it was a spectacular effort from the Vikings’ defense, which took advantage of some poor decisions by Ryan.The Falcons missed running back Devonta Freeman, although Tevin Coleman filled in well enough with 18 carries for 110 yards. The downside for Coleman is that his fumbling problems continued; Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr made a great play to chase Coleman down and knock the ball out of his hands at the end of a long run.

Overall, the Vikings looked like a team that can win games in the playoffs. Minnesota is 8-3 and in first place in the NFC North.

The Falcons, on the other hand, looked like a team that will struggle to make the playoffs. Although they’re still in prime position to earn a wild card berth at 6-5, the Falcons are stumbling down the stretch. If this was a playoff preview, only the Vikings looked like they belong.

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Kirk Cousins sneak puts Giants in 17-0 halftime hole

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 29: Wide receiver DeSean Jackson #11 of the Washington Redskins celebrates with quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins after scoring a second quarter touchdown against the New York Giants at FedExField on November 29, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants came into Sunday with a chance to take a commanding lead in the NFC East, but there’s a good chance things are going to remain tight a little while longer.

The Redskins lead 17-0 at halftime after a Kirk Cousins quarterback sneak with 1:45 to play in the second quarter. Cousins appeared to have his second touchdown pass of the game on third down, but replay showed that Jamison Crowder’s knee was down just short of the end zone. Jay Gruden elected to go for it rather than take the field goal and Cousins was able to get just enough of the ball across the plane.

The Giants would get the ball again, but their offense continued to struggle and they punted after picking up one first down. With Geoff Schwartz lost to a broken leg, the Giants have backups across the interior of the line and the entire group has looked out of sorts through the first 30 minutes of the game.

The first two drives ended with interceptions off of the hands of Giants receivers and Eli Manning is 10-of-22 for 91 yards in the game. They’ve added just 32 yards on 10 rushes, so the issues run across the board offensively for the Giants thus far.

Cousins hit DeSean Jackson for a 63-yard touchdown and is 12-of-18 for 207 yards overall against a secondary that got Prince Amukamara back at corner while losing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the first half. He also hooked up with Matt Jones for a 45-yard gain to set up the second score, so big plays and a tight defense have the Redskins two quarters away from a share of first place with five weeks left to play.

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Sammy Watkins having a big day in Kansas City

Tyrod Taylor, Jaye Howard AP

At times this year, the Bills have failed to make the most of receiver Sammy Watkins’s talents. That’s not the case today in Kansas City.

Just 14 minutes into the first quarter, Watkins already has 90 receiving yards, and the Bills are off to a 10-0 lead.

On the Bills’ opening possession, Watkins had a 48-yard catch that helped set up a field goal. Later in the first quarter, Watkins caught a 28-yard touchdown pass.

Tyrod Taylor is throwing the ball well and the Bills’ defense is taking care of the Chiefs’ offense, and through the first quarter it’s all Buffalo.

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