Jarvis Landry on TD celebration: “I’m deflating it”

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Jarvis Landry tried to blame it on Migos.

But everybody knows what he was going for once he started talking, and it was wonderful.

When the Dolphins wide receiver scored his second touchdown in last night’s upset win over the Patriots, his elaborate celebration began with him pushing on the ball while it was on the ground. But he wasn’t giving it CPR.

“I’m taking the air out the ball!” Landry said, via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “I’m deflating it!”

He credited the inspiration for the dance to the Migos song “MotorSport,” which name-drops Patriots coach Bill Belichick then includes the lyric: “Take the air out the ball, just so I can flex.” (And I know that not solely because I have the Google, but because I have teenage children who take over the aux cord in the car. #selfawareness)

But there was that other thing, that now that we think about it, might have been on his mind. You know, the Patriots were once accused of deflating things. Maybe you read about it.

“This song right here,” Landry said by the locker room speaker. “Take the air out the ball. Just so I can flex. This song right here! I’m not going to say the rest because you all are going to take that out of context again.”

OK Jarvis, whatever you say.

Landry’s been willing to speak boldly about the Patriots, saying in the spring they were no longer the big brother in the division, and guaranteeing a sweep. He was half right on that account, but said the game was a huge lift to the Dolphins, who are now a game behind the final playoff spot with three to play.

“Our spirits needed it,” he said. “Our spirits needed it honestly, man. We haven’t really been down you know? But at the same time man when you lose five games in a row it’s always tough to start that train back over again and we started it back last weekend. To keep it going against a team like this it’s so important for us for the rest of the season and try to make a run and see if we can do it.’”

And, if they can get a veiled shot in at the Patriots in the process, all the better.

Jay Cutler’s three touchdowns, Xavien Howard’s two interceptions lead Dolphins to 27-20 win over Patriots

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Jay Cutler, Kenyan Drake and Xavien Howard combined to hand the New England Patriots their first loss since Oct. 1.

Drake compiled 193 total yards from scrimmage, Cutler tossed three touchdowns and Howard intercepted Tom Brady twice as the Miami Dolphins earned a 27-20 victory on Monday night.

Drake, having assumed the starting role following the trade of Jay Ajayi to Philadelphia, rushed for 114 yards and caught five passes for 79 yards on the night. Cutler threw for 263 yards with two touchdown passes to Jarvis Landry and a third to Jakeem Grant as the Dolphins controlled the game for much of the night.

A Brady-led Patriots offense somehow managed to go 0-for-11 on third down against Miami. The Dolphins held New England to just 248 total yards and just 25 rushing yards on the night.

After a pair of Cody Parkey field goals gave Miami an early 6-0 lead, New England grabbed their only lead of the night on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Rex Burkhead.

Cutler led the Dolphins on a seven-play, 80-yard scoring drive to retake the lead. A 5-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to Landry gave the Dolphins a 13-7 advantage. Stephen Gostkowski connected on a 46-yard field goal before halftime to close the gap to 13-10.

Howard intercepted Brady for a second time on New England’s opening drive of the second half. Cutler found Grant for a 25-yard touchdown five plays later to extend Miami’s lead to 20-10. After a Patriots three-and-out, Miami marched right back downfield with Cutler and Landry hooking up again on a 4-yard touchdown to push the advantage to 27-10 late in the third quarter.

Brady hit James White for a 3-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to close the gap to 27-17. Kiko Alonso saved a touchdown in the closing minutes by tackling Danny Amendola at the 1-yard line. Penalties moved the Patriots back and they couldn’t find the end zone, forcing them to settle for a 33-yard Gostkowski field goal to pull within seven, 27-20, with 53 seconds remaining. However, an onside kick attempt didn’t come close to succeeding and the Dolphins were able to run out the clock.

Marshall Faulk, Heath Evans, Ike Taylor suspended by NFLN after harassment suit filed

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NFL Network has suspended three analysts following the filing of a sexual harassment lawsuit against the league-owned broadcasting operation.

Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk, Heath Evans, and Ike Taylor have been suspended pending an investigation into allegations made by former NFL Network employee Jami Cantor, according to Bloomberg.com.

Faulk has the highest profile of the three, with key spots on the network’s biggest studio shows, including its Sunday morning pregame show and its Thursday night pregame show.

According to the complaint, Faulk allegedly asked “deeply personal and invasive questions” about Cantor’s sex life. He also allegedly fondled her breasts and groped her behind. Taylor allegedly sent Cantor “sexually inappropriate” pictures of himself, including with a video of him masturbating in the shower. The Bloomberg report does not specify the allegations against Evans.

The lawsuit also accuses former NFLN executive producer Eric Weinberger of sending “several nude pictures of himself and sexually explicit texts” to Cantor. He allegedly told Cantor that she was “put on earth to pleasure me,” and allegedly pressed his crotch against Cantor’s shoulder and asked her to touch it.

Weinberger currently serves as president of Bill Simmons’ media group.

Former NFLN analyst Donovan McNabb also is accused of texting explicit comments to Cantor, who worked as a wardrobe stylist at the network.

The allegations appear in an amended complaint. Cantor originally filed suit in October.

Carson Wentz vows to come back “stronger than ever”

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Carson Wentz admits he’s had a “tough” day after the medical staff confirmed he tore the ACL in his left knee during Sunday’s victory over the Rams. But in a video message he posted on social media, the Eagles quarterback said the injury will not “stop me” and vowed to return “stronger than ever.”

Here is the transcript of his full two-minute video message:

“What’s up everybody. Obviously it’s been a rough day for me personally. I’m not going to lie. I have a ton of faith in the Lord and in his plan, but at the end of the day, it’s still been a tough one and it will be tough on me for a little bit. But as I just kind of reflect tonight, I know the Lord’s working through it. I know Jesus has a plan through it. I know he’s trying to grow in something, teach me something, use me somehow, someway. This will just be a great testimony as I go forward. Maybe not all of you out there are Christians or followers of Jesus, but I can say as 100 percent as a follower of Jesus, I have the upmost confidence in his plan. His plan is perfect. If we got everything we wanted in life, it would be disaster. I know Jesus is up there, looking down, and he knows what he’s doing. I’m just going to surrender that to him and trust him in that. I can promise to everybody — all my fans out there in the Philly area and the North Dakota area, all across this country — this will not stop me. Going forward, I will come back stronger than ever. I will use this as motivation and I will be attacking it this whole process as I recover.

“But at the end of the day, this year we still have something special. We just clinched the NFC East. That was step one of our goals this season. We’re just continuing on from there. I will be with the team along the way. I will be supporting them. I have the upmost confidence in Nick and the coaching staff and everybody else that they’ll step up. We’ve been plagued with injuries all year along, and it’s just been the next-man-up mentality. That’s just going to continue. That’s just going to continue. Nick’s going to do an amazing job and lead this team now. I’m going to be there to support and help in whatever way I can.

“Again, I just want to say thank you. I tweeted out yesterday thanks for all the thoughts and prayers. I genuinely mean that. The phone calls, the text messages, the emails, the tweets, everything from everybody out there, it just means the world to me. It’s so humbling to know how many people are praying for me and lifting me up and encouraging me. It means the world. I appreciate it. God bless all of you, and I promise this will not stop me. I will come back stronger than ever.”

Packers unsure whether Aaron Rodgers will play this week

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Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is eligible to return from injured reserve and play against the Panthers on Sunday, but no decision has yet been made on whether he will.

Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers underwent tests today and is now being evaluated by team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie and other medical professionals before a decision is made about his availability.

“There’s a number of scans, testing that went in this morning,” McCarthy said. “It’s now in the evaluation stage. Dr. McKenzie is reviewing it. There’s a number of medical opinions involved in the decision. So at this time, I do not have a clean decision for you or an update.”

McCarthy joked that he’ll be pressuring the medical staff to let him know as soon as possible.

“If I don’t know tomorrow, they’re going to be putting Pat McKenzie on IR,” McCarthy said.

Rodgers last played in Week Six, when he suffered a broken collarbone against the Vikings.

Report: No suspensions from Jaguars-Seahawks game

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The Seahawks, who play the Rams for the NFC West lead this week, can rest a little easier. They will have all their healthy players, with none facing suspension for actions at the end of the loss to the Jaguars, via Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

The league still is reviewing the late-game actions of both teams with several players certain to be fined.

The scuffle between the teams happened on the final two plays with the Jaguars in victory formation. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday on his radio show on 710 ESPN Seattle that Michael Bennett was trying to swipe the snap.

“Time it up and swipe the snap,” Carroll said.

But Bennett dove at the knees of Jaguars center Brandon Linder, and running back Leonard Fournette came to Linder’s defense. Bennett and Fournette received offsetting penalties. Seahawks defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was ejected for throwing a punch.

On the next play, Seahawks defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson was ejected and Carroll was penalized. Jefferson tried to climb into the stands as he was leaving the field after a Jaguars fan threw a drink at him.

But the NFL deemed nothing egregious enough to warrant a suspension.

Titans expect Marcus Mariota, Taylor Lewan will be fine

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Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota said after Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals that his play needs to improve and shrugged off concerns about a left knee injury that coach Mike Mularkey said he suffered early in the game.

That seems to be the Titans’ feeling about any potential problem as well. Mularkey said Monday that the knee issue impacted the offensive play calling at points in the 12-7 loss because it limited what he felt would work, but that they don’t expect it to be a problem moving forward.

Mularkey said that the team expects Mariota to practice on Monday. He added that left tackle Taylor Lewan should be able to practice as well. Lewan left Sunday’s game with back stiffness and went for an MRI on Monday.

The Titans will be in Santa Clara to face the 49ers next Sunday as they try to nail down a playoff spot in the AFC.

After eight surgeries on injured leg, Zach Miller returns to Bears facility for first time

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Bears tight end Zach Miller has returned to the team facility for the first time since the October 29 game in New Orleans when he suffered a knee injury so severe he had to be hospitalized for three weeks.

Miller detailed his eight surgeries and his recovery, and he said the Bears’ ownership, coaches, players and fans have been incredible in their support.

“Everybody’s been there and it’s much appreciated. That’s all I’m going to say because I’m trying not to cry here,” Miller said. “I learned there are still really good people in this world. There’s so much negative stuff 24/7 but I’ve been impacted by love across the globe.”

Miller said he isn’t sure whether he’ll be able to play again.

“I haven’t thought much about football,” Miller said. “I haven’t gotten to that point. It’s just getting right, getting healed up, and when that decision comes, making a decision. Do I want to play football? What do you think? I’ve been playing football my whole life. I would love to play football.”

Despite the brutal toll the injury took on him, Miller said that to return to the Bears facility today makes him feel lucky.

Goodell: I pay for my plane use

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has his new contract. However, he doesn’t have the free use of a private plane for life.

Contrary to the much-ballyhooed claim from ESPN that Goodell wanted free private jet service until he goes wheels up (or down) for the last time, Goodell wanted only the ability to use the NFL’s private jet service, with reimbursement to the league. And that’s apparently what he got.

Appearing Monday on CNBC, Goodell was asked about the “plane for life.”

“Anything I’ll have as far as access to an airplane I pay for,” Goodell said.

So there’s the answer. No free plane for life.

Which is good, since compensation of up to $200 million (to go along with the $200 million he’s already gotten) would allow him to buy his own fleet of them.

Josh Norman vents about Washington’s struggles

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It’s all quickly coming apart for Washington.

On the same day that the latest comments from safety D.J. Swearinger about the team’s lack of preparation called into question the future of the man responsible for ensuring that they are prepared, cornerback Josh Norman called into question his own future with the team.

I came here to win a championship,” Norman said after Sunday’s 30-13 loss, via Kimberly A. Martin of the Washington Post. “If we’re not doing that, what are we doing? Why are we here?

“Because I’m not going to be a part of something that’s not going to go forward and win a championship. That’s serious. I don’t care about the money, I don’t care about the fame, I don’t care about anything. The only thing I care about is that ring. You can strip me however you want to; strip all the titles I have to my name. If I don’t win a championship, that means it’s all for nothing.”

Norman also questioned his role in the defense, which entails Norman typically staying on one side of the formation and not following the opposing team’s best receiver.

Norman made it to the Super Bowl with the Panthers two years ago, losing to the Broncos. He then signed with Washington after Carolina rescinded the franchise tag in April. If major changes come to the organization, via replacements for coach Jay Gruden and/or president Bruce Allen, the new regime could decide to move on from Norman, who’ll turn 30 on Friday.

Eagles confirm torn ACL for Carson Wentz

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Any hope that the Eagles might get quarterback Carson Wentz back this season was extinguished on Monday afternoon.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson opened his press conference by confirming that Wentz suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during Sunday’s victory over the Rams. Pederson added that no other ligaments were injured.

Pederson said that a review of the film from Sunday left the team with the belief that Wentz may have torn the ligament before getting hit by two Rams defenders on a dive into the end zone, but the response is the same regardless of when it happened.

“I hate it for the season he’s been having,” Pederson said.

Nick Foles will take over as the team’s starting quarterback and Pederson said this is “the reason” why the team moved to get Foles on the roster this offseason. Pederson said he didn’t think there was much about the offense that will change because Foles is now the quarterback and that the team isn’t going to change their goals as a result of the injury.

Pederson called the team “resilient” and they’ll need to be if they’re going to keep rolling without Wentz available the rest of the way.

NFL says Browns complied with the Rooney Rule, won’t say when or how

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The NFL is saying that the Cleveland Browns complied with the Rooney Rule before making a General Manager change, but the league will not provide any details about how, exactly, the Browns complied with the rule.

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said today that the Rooney Rule, which requires every NFL team to interview at least one minority before hiring a new head coach or General Manager, was followed when the Browns fired G.M. Sashi Brown and replaced him with John Dorsey.

“In this particular case the Rooney Rule was properly applied,” Lockhart said.

But how was it applied? Lockhart declined to say which minority candidate or candidates were interviewed, and when they were interviewed. Brown was fired on Thursday morning, and reports immediately surfaced that Dorsey was the top choice to replace him. The Browns officially announced that Dorsey was hired on Thursday evening. There was no time for any other candidate to truly get a fair shake.

Lockhart said that the point of the rule is to ensure “that opportunities and real opportunities are provided to minorities.”

It’s hard to see how “real opportunities are provided to minorities” when the Browns didn’t even announce that the job was open until Thursday, and the opening was filled the same day. There might be some great scout or personnel person somewhere in the league who would be an excellent G.M. for the Browns and would have loved to apply for the job but never had that chance because there was no transparency from the Browns about the job being open.

On the league’s media conference call, Lockhart was peppered with several questions about the specific nature of the interview or interviews that the Browns conducted to satisfy the requirements of the Rooney Rule, but Lockhart wouldn’t answer those questions, other than to reiterate that the league is satisfied with the Browns’ compliance.

“It feels like we’ve run this one into the ground,” Lockhart said.

Lockhart may have felt that the questions had run the topic into the ground, but there’s one question that remains unanswered: While complying with the letter of the Rooney Rule, did the Browns also comply with the spirit of the Rooney Rule?

NFL will investigate Tom Savage concussion protocol

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The NFL now has multiple pending concussion protocol investigations.

With the investigation regarding the failure of the Seahawks to keep quarterback Russell Wilson from re-entering a Thursday night game last month still pending (a decision is expected soon), another investigation has begun. NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said during a Monday media briefing that the league and NFL Players Association will jointly investigate whether the concussion protocol was properly followed during Sunday’s 49ers-Texans game, after quarterback Tom Savage suffered an apparent head injury.

One of the key questions will be whether the ATC spotters properly transmitted video of Savage in apparent distress, with hands shaking while on the ground, to the sideline personnel responsible for assessing Savage. As PFT reported last night, that video was at no point provided to the persons on the sideline responsible for making decisions about Savage.

Savage initially was cleared to return by the independent neurotrauma consultant. Later, a Texans trainer noticed that something was amiss, prompting Savage to be further evaluated in the locker room.

NFL investigating Seahawks’ actions, Jaguars’ stadium security after ugly ending Sunday

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The ugly ending to Sunday’s game in Jacksonville could have consequences for both the Seahawks and the Jaguars.

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart confirmed today that the league is looking at on-field discipline for players who committed personal fouls late in the Jaguars’ victory over the Seahawks. That was to be expected, as the league always investigates any incident that results in ejections, and Seattle’s Sheldon Richardson and Quinton Jefferson were ejected.

But the league also confirmed that the Jaguars have a responsibility to ensure that there’s adequate security around the field, and that the NFL will investigate how multiple Jaguars fans were able to throw things at Seahawks players.

“The home team does have responsibility for security and we work closely with all 32 of our clubs on those issues,” Lockhart said. “We are going to be looking at and talking to both clubs about a variety of things in that game particularly at the end where we had a series of ejections, on-field issues and then leaving the field. We will be working with the club to identify those who might have been involved in throwing objects or acting outside the rules we expect of our fans. That has already begun, as well as our football operations department looking at on-field stuff. Nothing to report at this point, but all of this will be looked at thoroughly.”

The Jaguars fans who threw objects on the field will likely be banned from the stadium, if they can be identified. And it won’t be surprising if Richardson, Jefferson and Michael Bennett are suspended. The league may also take action against the Jaguars and require them to beef up security at the stadium. Sunday’s incident was ugly, and the league can’t have that happen again.

Jerry Jones still hopes to delay Goodell extension by six months

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Yes, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has something up his sleeve regarding Commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract extension.

Seth Wickersham of ESPN reports that Jones has proposed a resolution to table the contract talks for six months. Per Wickersham, the resolution appears on the agenda for the Wednesday meeting.

The terms of the proposal suggest that it predates (and may have prompted) the finalization of the contract. Under the existence resolution from May 2017, the Compensation Committee had the authority to execute the Goodell contract.

Wickersham explains that Jones did not withdraw the proposal after the contract was finalized, although the members of the Compensation Committee believed he would.

While Jones may make other proposals aimed at the scope of the Commissioner’s powers and/or the exercise of them, the fact that a binding contract exists makes it difficult if not impossible to scrap the deal without triggering any severance provisions or other terms that would result in the league owing Goodell a sum likely in the millions of dollars.