Ron Rivera wants Taylor Heinicke to be more of a game manager

Washington Football Team v Buffalo Bills
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Washington head coach Ron Rivera’s post-game assessment of his team on Sunday was that they have “a long way to go” in order to be the kind of team they want to be this season and he spent some time on Monday sharing one area where he’d like to see a change.

Taylor Heinicke threw a pair of interceptions in Sunday’s 43-21 loss to the Bills and could have had more if the bounces had gone a different way. On Monday, Rivera said that he’d like to see Heinicke “do things in more of a game-manager way” in the weeks to come.

“When Taylor manages things and doesn’t force things, you can see him move the ball for us,” Rivera said, via JP Finlay of “But when he tries to do more than he needs to, bad things seem to happen.”

Heinicke was more efficient in the first two weeks of the season, but Washington was playing from behind right from the start of Sunday’s game and that’s often a recipe for quarterbacks taking chances that can blow up in their faces. Figuring out a way to avoid that in Atlanta would likely help Heinicke be more of the game manager that Rivera would like to see at the helm of the offense.

Cardinals sign Antonio Hamilton to active roster

Minnesota Vikings v Arizona Cardinals
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Cornerback Antonio Hamilton has been called up to the Cardinals’ active roster from the practice squad for each of their first three games and the team is moving to keep him around on a more permanent basis.

Hamilton’s agent Drew Rosenhaus announced that the Cardinals are signing Hamilton to their 53-man roster.

Hamilton has played 34 defensive snaps and 51 special teams snaps over the first three weeks of the season. He has six tackles, a pass defensed, and he recovered a punt muffed by Rondale Moore after an official’s penalty flag hit it on the way down in last Sunday’s game.

Robert Alford, Byron Murphy, Luq Barcoo, Marco Wilson, and Tay Gowan are the other corners on the active roster in Arizona.

Mac Jones focusing on each day with Tom Brady coming to town

New Orleans Saints Vs. New England Patriots At Gillette Stadium
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Tom Brady‘s return to New England is the biggest storyline of Week Four in the NFL, but it isn’t one that the Patriots’ current quarterback is looking to spend much time talking about heading into Sunday night.

Mac Jones made an appearance on WEEI on Monday and he avoided any discussion of his predecessor when it came time to talk about facing the Buccaneers. Jones said he was paying attention to the Alabama football team when Brady left New England for Tampa and that he’s going to be paying attention to his own team this week.

“I think just fixing the corrections from the game we just played is obviously really important and then moving on with the game plan for this week,” Jones said. “It will definitely be exciting. Tampa Bay is a great team and it is a new week. We’re excited and the only thing we can do is focus on each day and then when Sunday comes we’ll just go out there and play as hard as we can. It will be good.”

Among the corrections Jones wants to make after throwing three interceptions against the Saints is “getting the ball out quick and reading the defense quicker.” Both things would be steps in the right direction for the team’s chances of sending Brady back to Tampa with his second loss of the season.

Kliff Kingsbury: Penalty flag hitting punt “like a Twilight Zone”

Arizona Cardinals v Jacksonville Jaguars
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One of the oddest moments of Week Three came on a punt early in the first quarter of the Cardinals’ 31-19 win over the Jaguars in Jacksonville.

A penalty flag thrown by the field judge hit a punt headed toward Cardinals returner Rondale Moore and changed the trajectory of the ball enough that Moore muffed the catch. He was able to recover the ball and the Cardinals won the game, which Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said led to a very different reaction than if the Jaguars had recovered.

Kingsbury said on Monday that “it seems quite unfair that we would lose the ball” under those circumstances and that the official “should probably be ejected at that point,” although he also said that neither he nor Moore knew what happened in the moment.

“He’s hard on himself and I don’t know if he even knew what had happened,” Kingsbury said, via Josh Weinfuss of “But, it looked kind of like a Twilight Zone. Like, he had it and then all of a sudden he didn’t have it. And, so, I didn’t know that had occurred, but you would think that maybe we can adjust that rule.”

Kingsbury said he doesn’t think discussion of such a rule change is likely to come up given that there’s no other known examples of this happening, but the Cardinals could submit a proposal this offseason to see if there’s any appetite for such a conversation.

Eric Bieniemy: We are who we are right now because of turnovers

Los Angeles Chargers v Kansas City Chiefs
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The Chiefs have lost two straight games for the first time since early in the 2019 season and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy didn’t struggle to put his finger on the reason why they’ve stumbled against the Ravens and Chargers.

Kansas City turned the ball over twice in the second half against the Ravens and they gave it away four times against the Chargers. Bieniemy said the team doesn’t “want our players going out there afraid of turning over the ball,” but that they have to be focused on ball security in order to get back to being the team they want to be this season.

“We are who we are right now because of the turnovers,” Bieniemy said, via Herbie Teope of the Kansas City Star. “We’re a 1-2 team, and so we have to correct everything, make sure we get back on track and getting this thing going in the right direction moving forward.”

Bieniemy said that the “good thing is that we’re giving ourselves a chance to still be in play” despite those mistakes, which is a strong argument in favor of cleaner play leading to better results in the weeks to come. Their next chance to show they can cut out the turnovers will come against the Eagles in Week Four.

T.Y. Hilton is not expected to return to Colts lineup this week

Carolina Panthers v Indianapolis Colts
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The 0-3 Colts could use all the help they can get as they look for their first win of the season, but it doesn’t look like wide receiver T.Y. Hilton will provide any of it this week.

Hilton had neck surgery before the start of the season and is now eligible to come off of injured reserve, but head coach Frank Reich said he doesn’t think that the veteran is ready for that step.

“T.Y.’s making great progress,” Reich said, via Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. “I’ve talked to him, seen him out there doing his rehab, and I’m encouraged with what I’ve seen. I don’t think we’re quite there yet with him.”

Reich has several other injury issues to deal with this week. Left guard Quenton Nelson is dealing with a high-ankle sprain he suffered in Sunday’s loss and three defensive players — defensive end Kwity Paye (hamstring), strong safety Khari Willis (groin) and cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (ankle) — were also injured in that contest. If things don’t break right in those cases, the Colts will be taking a very thin roster with them to Miami.

Ezekiel Elliott: It’s not one person making plays, everybody can eat

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys
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Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said that he thinks he’s playing the best football of his life after Monday night’s 41-21 win over the Eagles and he had plenty of company when it came to playing at a high level in the win.

The Cowboys ran for 160 yards and two touchdowns to go with Prescott’s three touchdown passes while the defense sacked Jalen Hurts and picked him off twice over the course of the evening. The second of those picks was made by cornerback Trevon Diggs, who returned it for a touchdown on a play that running back Ezekiel Elliott said shifted the momentum of the game totally in the favor of the Cowboys because they had players making plays all over the field.

“As soon as Diggs had that pick coming out of the half, I saw their whole energy low and the whole momentum shift,” Elliott said. “When you’ve got contagious energy, and everybody is excited to see each other make those type of plays. It’s hard to come back from that. That’s one thing that I like about this team. Everybody can eat. It’s not just one person out there making plays. There’s a whole bunch of people making plays. It’s just so contagious right now and I just like the momentum we’ve got going on. We’ve got to keep it going one week at a time.”

The 3-0 Panthers are on deck for the Cowboys and a similar performance next Sunday will make it hard for Carolina to head back home with the same pristine record they’ll bring into Week Four.

Nick Sirianni’s game plan questioned after Eagles running backs total three carries

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys
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The Eagles’ running backs totaled just three carries in Monday night’s loss to the Cowboys, with Miles Sanders finishing with two carries for 27 yards and Kenneth Gainwell having one carry for two yards. Coach Nick Sirianni was questioned after the game about why he didn’t run the ball more.

“We wanted to make sure we were able to keep up with them,” Sirianni said, via the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We knew they were an explosive offense. We wanted to be able to push the ball down the field and hit some of the underneath zones that we saw while also obviously mixing the run game in there and the screen game. You fall behind a little bit, you have to get off that game plan a little bit. We knew we had to score with this team because we knew they were able to score and score quickly.”

Sanders and Gainwell also had three catches, and Sirianni noted that the Eagles did get the ball to the running backs in the passing game.

“The first half, just with how that went, not getting a lot of plays, those [rushing] numbers get skewed sometimes,” Sirianni said. “I know they are what they are, but when you don’t have that many plays in the first half, whether you have penalties that stop drives, the defense was on the field quite a bit and then you’re in a position in the second half where we’re down two scores the whole time and that’s where that kind of comes into play. I know we were trying to get him the ball on some screens and stuff like that, but obviously he’s a good playmaker and we wanted him to touch the ball more. Just the way the game went, we weren’t able to do that.”

It was an ugly game for the Eagles, and an unusual offensive approach for Sirianni, the former Colts offensive coordinator who was hired to build an offense.

Jalen Hurts: “I was the issue in this game”

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys
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The Philadelphia Eagles weren’t competitive in Monday night’s 41-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys for many reasons.

But as far as quarterback Jalen Hurts is concerned, the loss is on him.

“I didn’t do a good enough job of leading. I didn’t do a good enough job of running our offense, of doing the things that I need to do. So it’s on me. This one’s on me,” Hurts told reporters after the game.

Hurts wasn’t great against the Cowboys. He completed 25 of 39 passes for 326 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. However, the two interceptions — including a pick-six from Trevon Diggs — were extremely costly. The offense also managed just 121 yards of offense in the first half when the game was still in the balance.

“I didn’t do my job. I didn’t do my job and we didn’t win the game. When I do my job, we win the game. I didn’t do my job,” Hurts said.

Hurts wasn’t the only one not to have done their job. The Eagles had 13 penalties assessed against them on Monday night for a total of 86 yards. They managed just 12 first downs in total. Dak Prescott threw just five incompletions on the way to three touchdowns passes on the night for the Cowboys.

But Hurts didn’t get much help from his head coach either. Running backs got just three carries the entire night. The entire game plan fell on Hurts’ shoulders and the Eagles weren’t able to succeed given those circumstances.

Hurts again pointed the finger of blame at himself.

“Play-calling was not an issue in this game. I was the issue in this game,” Hurts said. “I take it and I learn from it and I’ll be better from it, we’ll be a better team from it.”

Dak Prescott: I feel like I’m playing the best I’ve ever played

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys
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After three games last season, Dak Prescott led the league in passing yards with 1,188. He had five touchdowns and two interceptions, but the Cowboys were 1-2.

So far this season, Prescott is 86-of-111 for 878 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. He’s barely in the top 10 in passing yards, but the Cowboys are 2-1.

“I think just getting hurt last year and having to sit back and watch football, a different perspective and just different ways people play this game,” Prescott said Monday night after the Cowboys’ 41-21 win over the Eagles. “Going back, the experience obviously has helped, but just studying and preparing myself and then all the work that I’ve put in just to get back healthy, not only the leg but the shoulder and just this playbook. Obviously, the continuity and having Kellen (Moore as offensive coordinator) so many years, I’m just comfortable in this system and everything that is going on around me and having playmakers. That’s a credit to guys around me. The offensive line and the receivers, they make my job a whole lot easier.

“Yeah, I feel like I’m playing the best I’ve ever played.”

Prescott was leading the league in passing yards last season when his season ended with a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle. The game Monday night marked his first at AT&T Stadium since Oct. 11.

He went 21-of-26 for 238 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in the resounding victory over the Eagles.

“He’s obviously playing that position at a very high level right now,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s off to an excellent start.”

David Culley says Davis Mills will have more on plate in second start

NFL: SEP 23 Panthers at Texans
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Rookie quarterback Davis Mills had just four days to prepare for his first career NFL start last week against the Carolina Panthers.

Following Tyrod Taylor‘s injury against the Cleveland Browns, Mills had to cram to get ready for last Thursday’s contest. With his first start now behind him, Mills will get a full week’s worth of work to prepare for his second start this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

As a result, the Texans are putting more on his plate this time around as well.

Well, he’s going to have a lot more put on him than we put on him last week,” Texans head coach David Culley said, via Aaron Wilson of SportsTalk 790. “I feel like he’ll be able to handle that. We’re just going to run our offense and let him handle it from there.”

On a short week, practices are little more than walkthroughs as players are still recovering from the previous Sunday’s outing. Mills was dealt a tough hand ahead of his first starting opportunity with the Panthers, who also rank as the league’s best defense through the early stages of the season.

Culley said that they didn’t want to overload Mills in his first outing given the short week.

“I don’t think we went in thinking we just want to protect him,” Culley said. “There are certain things that they were going to do regardless of what we called, they were going to do it. We just felt like that we wanted to make sure we gave him stuff that he knew. That there was never any doubt about what he needed to do on these particular plays.”

Tom Brady pokes some fun at his father’s recent comments about the Patriots

NFL: SEP 26 Buccaneers at Rams
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Tom Brady Sr. recently had some things to say about his son’s departure from New England. Tom Brady Jr. had some things to say about those things in the latest episode of the Let’s Go! podcast.

“I’ve actually prepared a statement that I wanted to say, and it’s really all that I have to say on the subject,” the younger Brady said to Jim Gray. “Comments made by Thomas Edward Brady, a 77-year-old insurance company CEO, who should know better at this point in his life, don’t necessarily reflect the views or positions held by his son, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr. So furthermore, should Tom Sr. continue to speak out on behalf of his son without the express written consent, Junior reserves the right to eventually put him in a home against his will. That’s all I have to say.”

Young(er) Tom then provided a more serious assessment.

“I have the greatest dad in the world,” he said. “He’s the most loving, caring, honest man in the world and without him there’s no way I’d be in the position that I’m in. He’s there to support me win or lose. He’s been on the field coming off year in, year out. And my biggest supporter.”

If Brady also addressed comments made by his trainer/business partner/close friend Alex Guerrero, those remarks didn’t make their way into the quotes distributed by SiriusXM. Between the words from Brady’s father and Guerrero, plenty has been said about how Brady feels about his time with Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Brady surely will avoid saying anything inflammatory in the days leading up to his return to New England. He knows that he gains nothing at all from bearing his soul now. Maybe he eventually will, after he’s done playing. Maybe he never will. Either way, I think we get the point — even if he’s not willing to make the point directly.

Dak Prescott throws three TDs, Ezekiel Elliott runs for two as Cowboys beat Eagles 41-21

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys
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The Dallas Cowboys grabbed control of first place in the NFC East with a blowout 41-21 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night.

Dak Prescott threw for 238 yards and three touchdowns and Ezekiel Elliott ran for 95 yards and two scores as the Cowboys completely dominated Philadelphia. It wasn’t just an offensive success for Dallas either. The Cowboys defense intercepted Jalen Hurts twice with Trevon Diggs returning one interception for a 59-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the third quarter.

It’s the third straight game that Diggs has hauled in an interception for Dallas. He’s the first Cowboy with an interception in each of the first three games of a season since Everson Walls did so in 1985. He’s also the first Cowboy to return an interception for a touchdown since Byron Jones had a pick-six against Washington in 2017.

For some reason, the Eagles decided they would not run the football at all against Dallas. They ran the ball just 12 times in the game with nine of those coming from Hurts, mostly on scrambles. Running backs for the Eagles carried just three times in total on the night with Miles Sanders getting two carries and Kenneth Gainwell getting one.. One of Sanders’ two carries went for 24 yards and they decided to give him the ball just one more time the rest of the night. Gainwell got a lone fourth quarter carry.

Elliott kicked off the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run on Dallas’ opening drive of the night to give the Cowboys a 7-0 lead.

The Cowboys would make an offensive mistake that allowed the Eagles to tie the game up on their next drive. Backed up against their own goal line, Prescott was stripped by Fletcher Cox for an Eagles touchdown to make it a 7-7 game.

Prescott connected with tight end Dalton Schultz for a 19-yard touchdown to give Dallas a 14-7 lead. Elliott added a 3-yard touchdown as the Cowboys took a 20-7 lead into halftime after a missed extra point.

After Diggs’ interception gave Dallas a 27-7 lead, the Eagles finally found the end zone offensively with Hurts finding Zach Ertz for a 3-yard touchdown.

Prescott hit Cedrick Wilson for a 2-yard touchdown and connected with Schultz a second time on a 22-yard score as the Cowboys took a commanding 41-14 lead.

Hurts and Greg Ward would add a 15-yard touchdown with three minutes to go for Philadelphia.

Hurts was 23 of 36 for 321 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Report: Giovani Bernard day to day with MCL sprain

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Los Angeles Rams
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Buccaneers running back Giovani Bernard injured his knee on his fourth quarter touchdown catch against the Rams on Sunday. Bucs coach Bruce Arians said at his news conference Monday that Bernard still was being evaluated but seemed confident postgame that Bernard had avoided a major injury.

Indeed, Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports Bernard is day to day with an MCL sprain.

Bernard played 33 offensive snaps, the most of his Bucs’ career. It was seven more than Leonard Fournette and 21 more than Ronald Jones as the Bucs trailed for much of the game.

Bernard, 29, has 13 touches — all receptions — for 79 yards and one touchdown in three games with the team. He signed with Tampa Bay in the offseason after eight years with the Bengals.

Isaac Seumalo carted off with a foot injury

San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles
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The Eagles already were without two offensive lineman when Isaac Seumalo was injured in the fourth quarter.

Seumalo was injured on a 5-yard pass from Jalen Hurts to Jalen Reagor with 10:51 remaining in Monday Night Football. He remained on the ground after the play and after being attended to by the team’s medical staff, Seumalo departed on a cart.

His teammates wished him well before he left for the training room.

The Eagles announced Seumalo is out with a foot injury.

Nate Herbig replaced Seumalo at left guard.

The Eagles played most of the game without safety K'Von Wallace, who injured his shoulder.