Pro Player Insiders NFL Players Exclusive Lifestyle, News and Under the Helmet Access Tue, 23 Sep 2014 04:53:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bears Capitalize on Jets Mistakes To Pull Out Win Tue, 23 Sep 2014 04:53:05 +0000 By Matthew Robinson

Interceptions, a muffed punt return, and an opportunistic Chicago Bears (2-1) defense did in the New York Jets (1-2) as they dropped a 27-19 decision at home.

Not even a minute into the game, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (26 of 43 for 316 yards, 1 touchdown pass, and 2 interceptions) threw his third interception of the season, this time to six-year veteran safety Ryan Mundy of the Chicago Bears, who proceeded to return the theft 54 yards down the left sideline and into the end zone. It was 7-0 Chicago with 14:37 to go in the first quarter.

Martellus+Bennett+Chicago+Bears+v+New+York+2HVtSVvpkumxThen Chicago received another gift, as Jets rookie wide receiver/punt returner Jalen Saunders mishandled a Pat O’Donnell punt deep in his [Saunders] own territory that was recovered by rookie safety Ahmad Dixon at the Jet 40 yard line. Dixon’s recovery set up a 4 play-40 yard drive that culminated with a back of the end zone Martellus Bennett  (5 catches for 54 yards and 2 scores) 7 yard touchdown reception from quarterback Jay Cutler (23 of 38 for 225 yards, 2 touchdown passes and no interceptions). That score gave Chicago a 14-0 lead with ten minutes left in the first quarter.

Later, the Jets went on an 11 play-80 yard drive that culminated with just a 43 yard successful Nick Folk field goal that drew the ire of Jets fans who booed before and during Folk’s field goal try. The Bears were still on top 14-3 with just under four minutes left in the first quarter.

It was a true team effort by the Bears on their ensuing drive, as four different players helped drive the team into scoring range: Santonio Holmes (6 yard out pattern reception), Bennett (2 catches for 25 yards), Alshon Jeffery (2 catches for 23 yards), and Cutler’s 16 yard run out of bounds to the Jet 18.

Yes, the Bears got just a 24 yard field goal out of Robbie Gould and a 17-3 lead, but that drive showed the Jets exactly how many passing game weapons that they would have to deal with for the remainder of the contest not named Brandon Marshall.

Early in the second quarter, Bears defensive tackle Stephen Paea (he had 4 quarterback hurries last week versus San Francisco) thwarted the Jets best chance to score, when he knocked down a Smith pass near the line of scrimmage on 3rd and 5. Folk came in to kick a successful 28 yard field goal to make the score 17-6 Chicago with 9:57 left in the first half.

The Bears got a huge scare when Marshall went down to what looked like an ankle injury near the eight minute mark of the second quarter. Then on the next play (the fifth play of the drive), Cutler almost threw an interception into the hands of Jets star defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson which forced an O’Donnell 4th and 3 punt.

On 3rd and 9 from the NYJ 40 and with complementary pass protection from left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson who tried so hard to steer Jared Allen away from his quarterback, Smith proceeded to gun a 16 yard completion to Jeremy Kerley (7 catches for 81 yards and 1 score) to the CHI 44 yard line and a first down. Ferguson had been on the field for 177 snaps up until that play (143 coming into the game and 34 tonight so far) and he has not allowed a sack yet.

Ferguson’s blind side protection for Smith on the aforementioned drive and the quarterback’s first half synchronicity with Kerley, netted a 19 yard touchdown pass to the receiver to cut the Bears lead to 17-13 with just under four minutes left in the first half.

With around 11:30 left in the third quarter, Bennett scored his second touchdown of the night with a 13 yard backing into the end zone reception to give the Bears a 24-13 lead.

Late in the third quarter, Bears rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller leaped and jumped right in front of receiver David Nelson to intercept a pass in the end zone that he returned to the CHI 5 yard line. But on 3rd and 21 of the drive that Fuller’s pick led to, Cutler’s pass to Marshall deep down the field fell incomplete.

The Bears caught another break near the tail end of the third quarter, when Smith was tackled for a 2 yard loss on 3rd and goal by safety Danny McCray and rookie defensive tackle Will Sutton to force a field goal. Folk converted his third field goal of the night to make the score 24-16 Chicago with :41 seconds left in the third quarter.

After not being much of a factor for most of the game, running back Matt Forte bailed out his team with a 3rd and 2 first down run of 8 yards to the NYJ 29 yard line. His run helped set up a Gould 45 yard field goal that was successful, so now the score was 27-19 Chicago with 3:10 left in the game.

Out of nowhere fourth-year receiver Greg Salas (his first catch since Week 1 versus Oakland) came through for his team, with a 51 yard reception down the left sideline to the CHI 20 yard line where he gave a solid stiff arm to backup safety Brock Vereen.

But Vereen ended up saving the Bears hide when his coverage forced Kerley to catch Smith’s pass out of the back of the end zone on 4th down and 5. On their ensuing drive, the Bears executed a couple kneel downs and that was all she wrote.

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Steve Bisciotti, Baltimore Ravens Respond To ESPN Report Mon, 22 Sep 2014 22:42:56 +0000 In both print and at a 4 p.m. press conference with Owner Steve Bisciotti, the Baltimore Ravens offered a rebuttal to the ESPN Outside the Lines report on Friday that alleged the following:

  • The team had a detailed description of what happened in the elevator between Ray Rice and his-then fiancee Janay Palmer within hours of the incident.
  • Owner Steve Bisciotti texted Rice the day he was cut the following:”Hey Ray, just want to let you know, we loved you as a player, it was great having you here. Hopefully all these things are going to die down. I wish the best for you and Janay.When you’re done with football, I’d like you to know you have a job waiting for you with the Ravens helping young guys getting acclimated to the league.”
  • The Baltimore Ravens organization conducted private and public campaigns in order to get leniency in both the criminal justice system and NFL conduct punishment.
  • Coach John Harbaugh wanted Rice to be cut multiple times, but his request was rejected by Bisciotti, general manager Ozzie Newsome, and team president Dick Cass.

The Ravens had a 15-p0int rebuttal to the story that was released 3:50 p.m (via the Baltimore Sun). Here are several of their points:

We at the Ravens have promised to be open, candid and transparent with our fans, sponsors, ticket holders, and the general public.

This past Friday,’s “Outside the Lines” feature ran a story entitled, Rice case: purposeful misdirection by the team, scant investigation by NFL.

Later that day, we released this statement: “The ‘Outside the Lines’ article contains numerous errors, inaccuracies, false assumptions and, perhaps, misunderstandings. The Ravens will address all of these next week in Baltimore after our trip to Cleveland for Sunday’s game against the Browns.”

What follows is our response. Many statements and allegations from the article are attributed to unnamed “sources” and people “close to” the Ravens. In our determination to maintain transparency, our responses are provided by those directly involved, and each is named.

1. From the article: (the reporters) found a pattern of misinformation and misdirection employed by the Ravens and the NFL since that February night.

Steve Bisciotti (Ravens Owner): “As I stated in our letter to you on September 9, we did not do all we should have done, and no amount of explanation can remedy that. But there has been no misdirection or misinformation by the Ravens. We have stated what we knew and what we thought throughout – from the original report of the incident, to the release of the first videotape, to the release of the second videotape, which revealed a much harsher reality. As we said in our response to ESPN’s questions on Friday, it was our understanding based on Ray’s account that in the course of a physical altercation between the two of them he slapped Janay with an open hand, and that she hit her head against the elevator rail or wall as she fell to the ground.”

2. From the article: But sources both affiliated and unaffiliated with the team tell “Outside the Lines” a different story: The Ravens’ head of security, (Darren) Sanders, heard a detailed description of the inside-elevator scene within hours and shared it with Ravens officials in Baltimore.

Darren Sanders (Director of Security): “I did not receive an account of what happened in the elevator “within hours” of the incident. Within a couple of days, I asked the casino and the Atlantic City Police Department for a copy of any videotape of the incident. They said they could not release a copy of the videotape to me. Some days later—I believe it was on February 25—I spoke to an Atlantic City police official again, asking again whether I could get a copy of the tape or, if not, whether I could come to his New Jersey office and view it. He said I could not, but he did offer to view the tape and describe what he saw. (As I understand it, he was describing a raw video, not the “cleaned up,” “smoothed . . . out” version that appeared on TMZ.) He said that Ray and Janay both appeared to be intoxicated, and that they were involved in a heated argument that began outside the elevator and continued inside. As he described it, Janay appeared to initiate the altercation, but they both spit at and struck each other, resulting in Janay falling and hitting her head against the wall railing. The officer could not tell from the video whether Ray slapped or punched her, but Ray told me very clearly that he did not punch her. It was not clear from the officer’s account whether it was being intoxicated, being hit, or hitting her head against the railing that caused Janay’s apparent unconsciousness.”

3. From the article: …asked by the Sun whether the video matched what Rice had told them months earlier, Newsome conceded that it had. “You know, Ray had given a story to John [Harbaugh] and I,” Newsome said. “And what we saw on the video was what Ray said. Ray didn’t lie to me. He didn’t lie to me.”

Ozzie Newsome, (Ravens GM): “When I met with Ray to discuss the incident, I asked him one question: “Did you hit her?” He responded: “Yes”. Ray and I didn’t discuss details beyond that, because in my mind if he hit her, no matter the circumstances or explanation, he needed to own the situation. I immediately focused on Ray taking responsibility and making amends. I later said Ray didn’t lie to me because he told me he hit her, and that is what the video later showed—although the video was much more violent than what I had pictured.”

4. From the article: …the images (on the first videotape) horrified Ravens coach John Harbaugh, according to four sources inside and outside the organization. The Super Bowl-winning coach urged his bosses to release Rice immediately, especially if the team had evidence Rice had thrown a punch…
But Harbaugh’s recommendation to cut the six-year veteran running back was quickly rejected by Ravens management: owner Bisciotti, team president Cass and GM Newsome.

John Harbaugh (Ravens coach): “I did not recommend cutting Ray Rice from the team after seeing the first videotape. I was very disturbed by that tape, and I told people that the facts should determine the consequences. When I saw the second videotape, I immediately felt that we needed to release Ray.”

Ozzie Newsome: “Neither John nor anyone else ever recommended cutting Ray Rice before we saw the second videotape on September 8.”

5. From the article: “He motioned it to me,” (Kyle) Jakobe (trainer and friend of Ray Rice) said, making a closed fist and bringing it across his body. “He was like ‘Hey, this is what happened.’”

John Harbaugh: “Ray Rice never told me that he punched her. In June, when I spoke to ESPN The Magazine, it was still my understanding that Ray had not punched her and was acting defensively.”

Darren Sanders: “Ray told me he slapped her. He denied punching her.”

6. From the article: “Ravens executives — in particular owner Steve Bisciotti, president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome — began extensive public and private campaigns pushing for leniency for Rice on several fronts: from the judicial system in Atlantic County, where Rice faced assault charges, to commissioner Goodell, who ultimately would decide the number of games Rice would be suspended…”

Dick Cass: “That statement is not true. In February, Darren Sanders made contact with the police and the prosecutor in an effort to obtain a copy of the video. Apart from Darren’s efforts, no one from the Ravens ever spoke or communicated with a prosecutor, a judge or anyone else employed by the judicial system in New Jersey regarding Ray Rice, with one exception. At the request of Ray’s defense lawyer, Ozzie, John and I sent a letter addressed to the Clerk’s office in support of Ray’s application for pretrial intervention. The letter was largely devoted to describing Ray’s extensive efforts in the community. According to the article, our letter was one of 30 such letters.”


14. From the article: (After the Ravens released a letter to their season ticket-holders and sponsors explaining the steps they had taken…) Minutes later, Rice’s phone buzzed. He could scarcely believe what he was looking at– back-to-back text messages from Bisciotti. Rice read them aloud so everyone in the room could hear them:

Hey Ray, just want to let you know, we loved you as a player, it was great having you here. Hopefully all these things are going to die down. I wish the best for you and Janay.
When you’re done with football, I’d like you to know you have a job waiting for you with the Ravens helping young guys getting acclimated to the league.

Steve Bisciotti: “I did have an exchange of text messages with Ray, which he initiated. I felt awful about what had happened. I believed he was, at heart, a good person, that he was capable of redemption, and I wanted to tell him I would be supportive of him. Here are the texts, not as told to someone and then misquoted in the article, but verbatim”:

Monday September 8, 7:44 pm
Ray: I understand the decision but I am thankful for what you have done for me and my family. Me and my wife will continue to work on us and being better but I just wanted to say thank you for giving me a chance

Steve: I’m sorry we had to do this. I still love you and believe that you will be a great husband and father If you ever need to talk just call

Tuesday September 9, 10:27 pm
Steve: I just spent two hours talking to Ozzie. It was all about you. We love you and we will always figure out a way to keep you in our lives. When you are done with football I will hire you to help me raise Great young men. I still love you!!!

Ray: I know it’s a rough time for all of us I love all of you and that will never change for life!

Steve: I will help you make it a great life indeed. I give you my WORD

Ray: That means the world to me and my family we greatly appreciate you and thank you.

15. From the article: A few days later, after thinking about it more, Rice told friends he believed Bisciotti was suggesting that, as long as he kept quiet and stuck to the story that he had misled team officials and Goodell about what had happened in the elevator, the Ravens would take care of him down the road. He felt incredibly insulted.

Steve Bisciotti: “I cannot believe that Ray ever thought I was suggesting he keep quiet, when he got the texts or later on. They were not an insult. To the contrary, I think he knew these were messages from the heart, as were his responses to me. I wear my heart on my sleeve. Everyone knows that, including Ray.”

ESPN responded in a statement that it stands by their reporting.

About 10 minutes after the release, Bisciotti spoke to the media for 47 minutes. Here are ten takeaways:

1. Bisciotti questioned the veracity and motivations of the sources in the story.

2. Released texts between Ray Rice and Bisciotti tell a different side of the story

3. Bisciotti has regrets about how he and team handled Ray matter

4. Team investigation did not last long

5. No one is getting fired on Ravens’ side

6. Bisciotti’s level of curiosity in getting tape

7. Bisciotti critical of league but not NFL commissioner Roger Goodell

8. Bisciotti still wants relationship with Ray Rice

9. Denials

10. If Bisciotti would sell team if forced




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NFL Hires Chief Marketing Officer Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:55:34 +0000 Today, National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the selection of Dawn Hudson as the NFL’s Chief Marketing Officer.

The move was announced a short time ago via a press release:

Veteran marketing and advertising executive DAWN HUDSON has been named the National Football League’s Chief Marketing Officer, Commissioner ROGER GOODELL announced today.

Hudson will oversee the development, direction and implementation of all marketing activities for the NFL. Hudson will report to Commissioner Goodell and begin next month at the league’s New York office.
“We are looking forward to working with Dawn, whose experience as a leader and marketer will help further connect the NFL with fans,” said Goodell.

“I am excited to join the NFL where I will be able to combine two of my passions – sports and marketing,” said Hudson. “Sports have always played a big role in my life and in my career. While at Pepsi, I worked with numerous sports properties, including the NFL, and I also served as a LGPA board member.”

Hudson replaces Mark Waller as the NFL’s CMO. In a series of organizational changes last month, it was announced that Waller now will focus exclusively on the growth of the NFL’s international business.

Hudson brings to the NFL broad experience at the highest level in a variety of industries, including consumer goods, food service, and communications.

For the past five years, she served as the Vice Chairman of The Parthenon Group, a Boston-based strategic consulting firm. She led and developed the firm’s consumer practice, focusing on food, beverage and restaurant sectors across North America, Europe and Asia. Hudson focused on growth strategies and serving CMOs with critical investment decisions.

Hudson previously spent 11 years at PepsiCo, where she rose to President & CEO of Pepsi-Cola North America. She held other senior level positions at PepsiCo where she was the top marketer at Pepsi-Cola North America and Frito-Lay International. Hudson was named one of Advertising Age’s Top 50 Marketers when she was CMO of Pepsi-Cola North America.

Prior to joining PepsiCo, Hudson gained extensive marketing, advertising and brand experience at major agencies such as DMB&B and Omnicom.
Hudson currently serves on a number of boards of public companies and was a board member of the LPGA from 2001-2010, the last two years as chair. Hudson is a former chair and board member of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

Hudson is a graduate of Dartmouth College.

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Torrey Smith Dedicates Reading Oasis Room Mon, 22 Sep 2014 19:23:03 +0000 “You can’t control where you come from or your family situation, but you can control your future by making smart decisions and furthering your education.”

IMG_20140922_101752141_HDRThose are the words from Baltimore Ravens wide receiver, Torrey Smith that are painted on the wall of a reading room that the Torrey Smith Foundation in partnership with the PWC Charitable Foundation dedicated to Benjamin Franklin High School in Baltimore.

Smith said that the story at Benjamin Franklin High School is what made him select them as the location for the reading room dedication. The school has seen a vast turn around in academics. They are now able to offer two Advanced Placement courses. Their focus is on developing what they refer to as “Academic Pride.”

Many know of Torrey Smith as a professional football player, but there is much more to him than that. He understands the big picture and knows that he has a responsibility to help his community. Football is simply a platform by which he can do so.

“I feel like it’s our responsibility to do this. People are always going to highlight the negative. Right now, there are probably four or five stories in the league that everyone is talking about. Today and Tuesday there are probably a hundred guys doing community service things, but no one will talk about that, only the negative things. I am just proud to be one of the many good guys in the league who are helping the community.” Smith said.

Torrey Smith is a person that really gets it. He knows that his message is not relevant if he isn’t practicing what it is that he actually preaches. That is why he has taken on a new challenge of balancing his cell phone and a book.

“I’ve been talking to kids about reading and the importance of it and I have started to challenge myself. I’ve been recreational reading now more than I ever have, whether it’s a self-help book or just something that helps me to learn how people become successful.” Smith continued; “I understand that I have to continue reading and if I am going to preach to someone about how important it is to read, I need to do so myself.” The last book that Torrey Smith read is 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John Maxwell.

One of the things that he mentioned was how many young children are excited about reading but in high school, the excitement is only about reading tweets and text messages. Smith said that “better readers become better writers, better writers become better communicators and better communicators become better leaders. “

IMG_20140922_100719372He cited that the room can be a safe haven to the students, even calling it a “reading oasis.” Smith told the students to take advantage of the room because it’s a blessing and it is only going to help down the road when it’s time to get a job and enter the real world.

The reading room contains over 700 books and will service 447 students at the high school. There are also electronic readers in the room. The room is referred to as a literacy oasis. It was made possible through a grant from the PWC Charitable Foundation. Barnes & Noble provided the books. Other sponsors include: Duron Paint Company, Creative Access, Scholastic and the Home Depot.

There were six students from Benjamin Franklin High School that were honored for their achievements in “community volunteerism.” They were accepted into Torrey’s Community Service Ring of Honor.

Torrey Smith is an example of how a person can be focused on the big picture and not be held back by obstacles that may try to get in the way of success. He says that “it’s all about understanding that it’s not about where you come from or what situation that you deal with. It’s more about how you work to overcome it. You have to stay focused on what you can control, where you want to be.”

The Torrey Smith Foundation has a mission to “better the lives of Baltimore area youth by providing educational support, opportunities and resources. They have four signature programs that include a Reading Oasis and a Back to School Drive. The Teaming Up With Torrey program gives fans a unique opportunity to work with him to help the community in Baltimore. There is also a scholarship program, the Tevin Jones Scholarship Fund which is in honor of his late brother. The scholarship recipients receive $5,000 that is distributed over four years to help absorb the cost of higher education. You can learn more about the Torrey Smith Foundation by visiting their website:

Follow on Twitter: @TDavenport_PPI / @PlayerInsiders


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Miami Dolphins and AARP Foundation Pack Delivered 1 Million Meal to South Florida Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:27:03 +0000 While there are a lot of negative stories going on in sports right not, on Saturday the Miami Dolphins and AARP Foundation reminded everyone there are still positives things going on in the community.

The Dolphins, through their Special Teams Driven by the Chevy Volunteer program, teamed up with AARP Foundation to pack and deliver one million meals for struggling adults 50 and over in South Florida. The event was held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  at Sun Life Stadium.

The event brought over 4,000 volunteers to aid the Dolphins in a great cause for South Florida. A number of the volunteers consisted of youth sports teams, churches community groups and Dolphins alumni which packed over 150,000 pounds of food for those less fortunate.

All the volunteers were all given a teal Dolphins/AARP shirt. AARP Foundation President Lisa Marsh Ryerson discussed how exciting it was to be at Sun Life Stadium for the event.

 The energy inside and outside the tent was incredible. Seven percent of older Floridians are at risk of hunger each and every day,” Ryerson said. “It took a lot of people that were dedicated to the cause and the reason why it worked was because the Miami Dolphins and AARP Foundation were both committed  to helping people in need in the community. These nutritious, high quality meals help people get food that will be incredibly meaningful in their lives.”

Miami Dolphins President & CEO Tom Garfinkel was also there speaking about the event and also volunteering.

“It was an amazing thing to see thousands of volunteers help pack meals today,” said Garfinkel.  “It really hammers home the idea of stronger together for all of South Florida to join in this great event.”

As part of their agreement, the Dolphins will continue to have events to help adults 50 and over in South Florida. The team will have media campaigns and events that will impact one of the four priorities (hunger, isolation, income, and housing) of the AARP Foundation.


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Arizona Cardinals Get The 23-14 Win At Home Against The 49ers: Recap Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:23:05 +0000 Arizona Cardinals make a division power changing statement with a 23-14 victory over the San Francisco 49ers at University of Phoenix Stadium. This is a picture that the Cardinals are no longer bringing up the rear in the division, and no longer an automatic win for the usual power-house leaders of the NFC West.

The first half of this game was touchdowns verses field goals, as both teams on their first two possessions moved the ball up and down the field and getting into the red-zone. The Cardinals were not able to break thru to score touchdowns and got two field goals, as the 49ers looked like they were unstoppable scoring two touchdowns. This start was due to the offensive game plan the Niners came out in, catching the Cards off guard with a no-huddle up-tempo attack. Spreading out the defense and dinking and dunking their way down the field for two consecutive 10 plus play touchdown drives.

Cardinals continued to be dominant in stopping the run but were not able to get quarterback Colon Kaepernick down on the ground as he ran thru lots of whiff tackles of the Cardinals defense. Kaepernick was perfect to start the game as he completed his first nine pass attempts and finished the game 29-of-37 with 245 passing yards, one touchdown and a 103.3 quarterback rating.

The 49ers lead at half time 14-6, and that would be the last time they would score in this game as they went into meltdown mode in the second half. The Niners are having issues with discipline and scoring in the second half and penalties continue to pleague them. One key drive in the third quarter when they were deep into Cardinals territory, receiver Anquan Bolden head-butted Tony Jefferson and got flagged for the personal foul that set the Niners back for a Goal to Goal at the 30 yard line. Then to add salt to the wound, the Cardinals DE Tommy Kelly blocked an almost sure three point attempt slamming up the middle and getting his big hand on the ball. That was most definitely a momentum changer.

As we predicted in our preview of this game, rookie John Brown would be hard for the 49ers secondary to keep up with, and he was electric today as he scored two touchdowns using his speed to break away from defenders. Brown would finish with four catches for 52 yards and two touchdowns.

Quarterback Drew Stanton proved to be a starter in this league as he withstood a physical pounding from the Niners defense and kept getting up. Two personal foul cheap shot hits on back-to-back plays, Stanton endured as he continued to step up in the pocket and find his targets. He was near perfect except when he missed Jaron Brown on a deep route down the sideline, Brown had a five yard step on his defender and the ball sailed over his stretched out diving arms. Other than that Stanton was stellar and winning a game of this caliber may start the rumors of a quarterback controversy. Stanton completed 18-of-33 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns and much respect from his teammates. After the game Coach Bruce Arians said “I told you he was tough as nails” referring to Stanton.

The defense had a great second half after they finally got adjusted to the new scheme the 49ers came out in, the blitz was the primary weapon for pressure that finally got Kaepernick off of his comfort zone, and kept him in the pocket pretty much the entire second half.

Last year the momentum was changed by a Larry Fitzgerald fumble late that caused them the game, and the same thing almost happened again as the star receiver was trying to get that extra yard on a slant play and got hit and lost the ball on the five yard line. Last year’s team would have folded and allowed that to dictate the rest of the game, but the defense stepped up and shut down any threat the Niners tried to muster up.

Tony Jefferson was the defensive MVP as he made tackles that were very physical in this game. The most crucial of them all was on the drive after the Fitzgerald turn-over, where the game was in the balance and the score was 20-14 with under four minutes to play. A blitz right up the middle and he did a great job wrapping the legs of the running Kaepernick not allowing him to elude him.

The Cardinals shut out the 49ers in the second half and scored 17 un-answered points to finish the game and bring their record to 3-0 on the year and atop the NFC West division.

They go into the bye week on an emotional high, with the Denver Broncos facing them when they return. The team will have two weeks to prepare for the greatest regular season quarterback on the planet, and the way this defense is performing it seems like a pretty even match-up.

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Titans At Bengals Recap Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Here is our Titans at Bengals recap as it’s aother day another loss for the 2014 Tennessee Titans. It feels true because the Titans have done a lot of losing lately. The Titans have a new coaching staff but otherwise nothing much has changed. Players that struggled to perform under the old coaching staff continue to struggle now and are learning new systems to boot

The results under the new coaching staff have been mixed as the Titans fell today to the Bengals 33-7 in Cincinnati.

The Titans are currently 1-2 (1-1 in the AFC) and looking like the same old Tennessee Titans. Quarterback Jake Locker continues to take one step forward and two steps back. Today was his worst game by far of the 2014 season. Locker is on his third offensive coordinator and you see the wheels grinding in his head when he is on the field.

Following today’s game, I took a twitter poll of Titans fans and asked one simple question:

The overwhelming number of responses cited the quarterback position as the main reason for the Titans woes. In all fairness, it is hard to blame them. The following is a sampling of the responses I received. Thanks again to everyone who participated.

Locker was bad today there is no sugar coating it. He has started out slowly in every game this year and improved in the second half. Today, there might have been slight improvement in the second half but it was very marginal. Overall just not a good performance from him. He went 17 of 34 for 185 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. He carried the ball six times for 50 yards.

offensive recap

He also took two sacks for a loss of eight yards and was under pressure constantly in the game. He fumbled twice though neither were lost and one was on a bad snap exchange. He finished with a passer rating of 41.9.

It was a bad performance from Locker but he wasn’t alone. The Titans wide receivers are soft as Charmin. They have consistently been out muscled and rarely win contested balls. Nate Washington needs to be placed on a milk carton. He was targeted three times today and finished with no receptions.

defensive stats

The Titans defense has yet to find it’s footing. You can see defensive players struggling as well and thinking too hard. Second year cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson particularly struggled today and is one of the young players who seems a bit lost in the new defensive system.

Titans special teams were simply dreadful with Ryan Succop, the lone bright spot from the first two games, picking an unfortunate time to play poorly. He missed two field goals but did make an extra point.

Brett Kern likewise struggled and was lucky not to get one blocked today though it certainly would not have been entirely his fault. He isn’t getting much help as coverage units continue to play poorly. The return game is simply mediocre. The Titans gave up a safety on a bad penalty by linebacker Quentin Groves in the end zone.

Despite how poorly this team played caution is warranted here before any lasting impressions are formed. This was a team still reeling from the early morning revelation that longtime Titans kicker Rob Bironas had been killed in a single car accident.

Bironas was well liked in the league and had recently married Terry Bradshaw’s daughter Rachel. He was close with many remaining Titans including punter Brett Kern. He was Locker’s place kicker his first three seasons in the league.

It’s never easy to lose someone close to you.

Yes it’s still a job and certainly they have to perform. The performance was definitely sub-par but should be taken in context. The Titans are three games into the season and there is still a lot of football left to play. The team simply has to get better or they will continue to lose games.

I’m not in favor of making a quarterback change right now. Locker should get the start next week against the Indianapolis Colts if he is able to play. I would also continue to give him first team snaps in practice. The talent around him needs to step up and help their young quarterback. He isn’t struggling alone.

No doubt time is running out on Locker. No question he has to perform better. If he continues to struggle the next game or two then a quarterback change should be contemplated. At that time, I would open the competition to all three quarterbacks with an eye toward starting Zach Mettenberger if he proves close to being ready. It does no good to start Charlie Whitehurst because he isn’t a long term option.

As for Blidi Wreh-Wilson, what options do the Titans possess? They have no depth at the position and I have seen nothing from Marqueston Huff to indicate he is close to being ready. They could switch Coty Sensabaugh to the outside but he struggled there in pre-season play. Outside options seem limited.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

The only choice is to improve or simply continue to struggle and lose games.

The Titans front line could certainly help the situation by getting consistent pressure on the quarterback which they have failed to do. The Bengals offensive line is extremely good and the Titans did not register a sack on Andy Dalton. Dalton had plenty of time to operate out of the pocket.

Right now the grade on the coaching staff is mixed as well. The Titans have looked unprepared two weeks in a row. I’m sure it was difficult to get the team prepared under the circumstances today. The play calling remains head scratching at times. On top of other gaffes today, the Titans were penalized 11 times for 99 yards and continue to look undisciplined at times.

There were some bright spots and rookie running back Bishop Sankey was one. After looking a bit lost in the first two games, Sankey made the most of his opportunities today. He carried the ball 10 times for 61 yards and a 6.1 yards per carry average. Shonn Greene added 10 carries for 33 yards and a touchdown.

George Wilson intercepted an Andy Dalton pass with about a minute left in the first half. Wilson continues to play very well for the Titans. Unfortunately, the Titans ran two unsuccessful plays and Locker threw an interception to end the half.

The Titans travel to Indy in Week 4 and then return home in Week 5 to face the Cleveland Browns. The Browns home game could present an excellent time to make a quarterback switch if one is warranted. The entire team needs to step up and play better.

The Houston Texans lost to the New York Giants 30 to 17 while the Indianapolis Colts lodged their first win beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 44 to 17. The Titans and Colts are only one game behind the Texans.

Full stats can be found here and gamebook can be found here.

Final score:

Tennessee Titans 7

Cincinnati Bengals 33

Mandatory photo credit: (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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A Look Back At NFL Week 3 (Pre-Monday Night Football) Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:17:24 +0000  FRESH STARTThree teams are undefeated through their first three games of the season – Arizona, Cincinnati and Philadelphia.

While no guarantee of future success, a strong start to the season is a good omen – 75.2 percent of teams (91 of 121) that started 3-0 since 1990 made the playoffs.


And don’t count out any of the 1-1 or 0-2 teams. Since realignment in 2002, 86 of the 144 playoff teams (59.7 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2, including seven teams last year.


– NFL–


SUPER REMATCH: The SEATTLE SEAHAWKS defeated the Denver Broncos 26-20 in overtime. The game was the sixth Super Bowl rematch in the following regular season and the first since 1997 (Green Bay vs. New England).


The teams to play in a Super Bowl and play each other in the following regular season:


1/11/70 IV (23-7) Kansas City Minnesota   9/20/70 27-10 Minnesota
1/9/77 XI (32-14) Oakland Minnesota   12/11/77 35-13 Oakland
1/21/79 XIII (35-31) Pittsburgh Dallas   10/28/79 14-3 Pittsburgh
1/31/93 XXVII (52-17) Dallas Buffalo   9/12/93 13-10 Buffalo
1/26/97 XXXI (35-21) Green Bay New England   10/27/97 28-10 Green Bay
2/2/2014 XLVIII (43-8) Seattle Denver   9/21/2014 26-20 (OT) Seattle


– NFL–


TIGHT CONNECTIONIn New England’s 16-9 win over Oakland, Patriots quarterback TOM BRADY connected with tight end ROB GRONKOWSKI for the game’s only touchdown. Brady and Gronkowski have now combined for 44 career touchdowns, tying PEYTON MANNING and DALLAS CLARK for the third-most QB-TE touchdowns all-time.


The most touchdown connections between a quarterback-tight end in NFL history:


Philip Rivers Antonio Gates San Diego 63*
Drew Bledsoe Ben Coates New England 45
Tom Brady Rob Gronkowski New England 44*
Peyton Manning Dallas Clark Indianapolis 44
Drew Brees Jimmy Graham New Orleans 43*
Sonny Jurgensen Jerry Smith Washington 43
Dan Fouts Kellen Winslow San Diego 41
John Elway Shannon Sharpe Denver 41


– NFL–


AWESOME ANTONIOPittsburgh wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN caught 10 passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns in the Steelers’ 37-19 win over Carolina on Sunday Night Football. It marked Brown’s 19th consecutive game with at least five catches and 50 receiving yards, tying LAVERANUES COLES for the most consecutive such games in NFL history. Brown’s streak dates back to Kickoff Weekend last season.


The players with the most consecutive games with 5+ receptions and 50+ receiving yards:


Antonio Brown Pittsburgh 9/8/2013-present 19*
Laveranues Coles New York Jets, Washington 9/29/2002-10/12/03 19
Keyshawn Johnson Tampa Bay 12/18/2000-12/16/01 15
Herman Moore Detroit Lions 11/17/1996-11/2/97 15
Herman Moore Detroit Lions 10/22/1995-9/29/96 15


– NFL–


WHAT TO LOOK FOR ON MNF: One more note to keep in mind for tonight’s Monday Night Football game between the Bears and Jets…


COMPLETE SUCCESSIn 2014, quarterbacks have completed 2,101 of 3,268 passes for a 64.3 completion percentage, the highest league-wide completion percentage through Week 3 in NFL history. If the current percentage stays at this pace, it would rank as thehighest of any season.


The highest league-wide completion percentage after Week 3 and the highest in a season in NFL history:


2014 64.3   2014 64.3*
2007 62.4   2013 61.2
2012 62.0   2007 61.2
2013 61.9   2008 61.0
2010 61.8   2012 60.9
      2009 60.9
      *Through Week 3  


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Anthony Adams Humor and Integrity Mon, 22 Sep 2014 12:57:34 +0000 With friends and teammates, he’s known for his humor – but he’s absolutely serious when it comes to matters of integrity, effort and playing to win

The first time Anthony Adams took part in a football practice, it happened only because his mother drove him there, dropped him off, and drove away.

Anthony Adams 350“I was a little bit upset about it,” Anthony recalled of his early days at Martin Luther King High School in Detroit. “Then the team gatheredtogether for jumping jacks and stretching, with the seniors who were the team leaders in charge. I thought ‘I like this camaraderie; I like how this feels.’”

Anthony, who retired in early 2013 after a decade-long NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers and then with the Chicago Bears, admitted to himself that his mother knew what she was doing – and it wasn’t the first time. His whole young life, his mother had been making the best choices to help her only child grow and thrive. She even matched Anthony up with his wife, Andenika, who was the daughter of Anthony’s mother’s best friend. They started dating in college; now they have a long marriage and four children.

When Anthony was just four years old, his father was committed to prison; after that, his mother raised him on her own. “It wasn’t something I was ashamed of. I just saw it as he had made some bad decisions and was paying the price,” he said.

Despite his father’s incarceration, Anthony did not suffer from a lack of father figures. He points to his maternal grandfather as one of the strongest forces in his life. Anthony’s grandfather lived long enough to see his grandson develop into a successful professional football player, a journey he traces back to his early acceptance to Penn State University.

What made him appealing to a coach, Anthony said, was not only his athleticism but his willingness to follow instructions. “Someone back then gave me this advice: ‘Do every drill as hard as you can.’ So I always did. I always made sure I was first. If the coach needed for someone to demonstrate, I volunteered.”

As a Penn State football player coached by the legendary Joe Paterno, Anthony benefited from the coach’s holistic approach to the sport, in which each player was expected to be not only a superlative athlete but a model citizen and a top-drawer student as well. “When my teammates and I first arrived on campus, they laid down all these rules for us,” Anthony recalled. “It felt like punishment. But really soon you realize that you’re lucky to have someone looking out for you.”

Because of his unwavering devotion to his college coach, the allegations against Paterno’s coaching staff have been nothing short of heartbreaking to Anthony. Still, he will always separate the horrific deeds of Sanduskyfrom the actions of Joe Paterno, and he maintains his loyalty to his revered coach. “Coach Paterno was a great role model in my life and raised me to become a man,” he stated simply.

Throughout his years of football, Anthony was known not only as a fine athlete but as someone who could be counted on to be a lot of fun. But it wasn’t only merriment for which his peers respected him. Anthony was the 2010 winner of The Ed Block Courage Award, an annual award in which NFL players are identified by their teammates as role models of inspiration, sportsmanship, and courage. One of the reasons his teammates gave him this honor was the grace and fortitude Anthony showed when his mother’s sister and his grandfather died within days of each other that year. Grieved as he was, Anthony managed to attend both funerals and still play two pre-season games that same week.

Anthony became a free agent after his last season with the Bears and announced his retirement in 2013. Now that his days of playing are over, one of his main causes is Youthville (, a Detroit organization providing mentorship and opportunity for inner city children and teens. He has also designed a line of t-shirts which are sold online atwww.spiceadams.spreadshirt.comto raise money for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (, which combats sexual violence and advocates for victims, and he has furthered his education through the executive master’s program at George Washington University. These days, though, he’s perhaps best known for a series of hilarious satirical videos about the life of a free agent that he posted on YouTube.

“I don’t know what’s next,” said Anthony, looking to the future with a characteristic mix of wonder, curiosity and humor. “Maybe I’ll perform at [comedy troupe] Second City.  I just don’t know.”

And indeed, whether past and future fans see him become a comedy star, a business entrepreneur, or both, there’s no question that Anthony’s unflagging optimism, belief in his own and other people’s potential, and overall joy in the world around him make him a valued member of the Insightful Player® team.

Instant replay of Anthony Adams’s guiding principles:


  1. Take responsibility for who you are and who you can become. Regardless of how disadvantaged you are, don’t use your circumstances as a crutch.


  1. Listen to and follow good advice. Look for leaders and mentors wherever they might emerge, and be ready to gain from whatever wisdom they can offer.


  1. Serve others as a leader and mentor also. Make your example something for them to learn from and live by.


  1. Always put everything you’ve got into every opportunity. Step forward; raise your hand; make it known that you are willing and able to make the extra effort.
  2. Carry yourself such that you are an honor to your team, your family, or whatever group you might have the chance to represent.
  3. Respect your parents and other older role models, and understand when they are trying to do what is best for you, regardless of whether you like it or not.
  4. Demonstrate to those around you that you care about them and want to be part of a team effort.
  5. Have fun. Football is difficult and life can be difficult, but an enthusiastic spirit and a sense of humor can make it all a lot more enjoyable.

The Insightful Player® series is brought to you by Coach Chrissy Carew, Hall of Fame Master Certified Personal and Business Coach and Author of her book,INSIGHTFUL PLAYER: Football Pros Lead A Bold Movement of Hope. Chrissy has been deeply inspired by her father, the late Coach Walter Carew, Sr. Her father is in several Halls of Fame as a high school football coach and baseball coach (as well as high school and college athlete). He used sports to help kids build strong character and teach them valuable life skills. The Insightful Player® initiative was created to help make our world a much better place by inspiring youth. To contact Chrissy Carew visit or call 603-897-0610.




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It’s 100 yards of truth out there @Warrior4god42 Mon, 22 Sep 2014 12:30:06 +0000

It's 100 yards of truth out there

— Steven Beauharnais (@Warrior4god42) September 5, 2014

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Movie Madness: Dive into ‘The Current’ Mon, 22 Sep 2014 12:13:25 +0000 There’s this age old adage that courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to persevere in spite of it. The heroes of Hans Rosenwinkel and Kurt Miller’s Epix original documentary, “The Current: Explore the Healing Powers of the Ocean” (2014), possess a lot of courage.

The CurrentThe 46-minute independent documentary features professional athletes including Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin; U.S. Paralympic swimmer Mallory Weggemann; wrestler Anthony Robles; skier Grant Korgan (and his wife Shawna); surfer Taylor Knox; surfer Bethany Hamilton (and her husband Adam Dirks); scuba diver David Hosick; and deep water diver Leo Morales among others. These celebrated world class athletes share something in common: perseverance through a disability.

Robles was born in 1988 with one leg. Hosick became a quadriplegic after a rugby accident. Hamiliton survived a shark attack when she was 13 years old. Korgan suffered from a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed below his belly button. Morales lost a leg to soft-tissue cancer. Weggemann was paralyzed waist-down from an epidermal injection in 2008.

“I had no idea what that meant for my life,” Weggemann said. “I was terrified what it meant for, you know, college, a career, relationships, everything. I didn’t know if those were things I would have again or if I was stuck in this new body and so I think that’s the biggest thing I wished for.”

The film switches back and forth between athlete profiles and three scenic water locations: Bimini Islands, Bahamas; Cozumel, Mexico; and the Hawaiian Islands.

The first is where Weggemann, Robles and Franklin embark on a scuba diving adventure.

“I’m missing my leg and I know Mallory was paralyzed from the waist down, but in the water, none of that matters anymore,” Robles said. “It’s just about getting together, diving together, swimming. We’re not focused on how we’re different.”

Meanwhile, Grant and Shawna Korgan, Bethany Hamilton and Adam Dirks scuba dived in the Hawaiian Islands.

“One of my favorite moments is when I look over and Grant [Korgan] is standing free,” says Grant’s wife, Shawna, “and if you could see my mask, it was filling up not with seawater, but tears.”

Written, filmed and edited by Rosenwinkel, “The Current: The Healing Powers of the Ocean” features the beauty and serenity of the ocean. We get close to great big whales, sharks and dolphins. The water bubbles we sink within its rolling depths.

Even if we weren’t inspired by these athletes’ stories, the cinematography in “The Current: The Healing Powers of the Ocean” is stunning to look at — as if we strapped a GoPro to the head of a polar bear.

Like the ocean’s waves, narrator Fabian Cousteau’s soothing voice caresses over us. The metaphors, however, go a little overboard.

“To appreciate the lives and stories of those with disabilities and others that make a difference is a strong reminder of the ocean of opportunity that can make a world of change in the current of life,” Cousteau says.

Although the film’s doused in water (both literally and figuratively), the substance is a dry, reminding us of a late-night reality T.V. segment. If it weren’t for the horrific accidents keep us hypnotized to the screen, the tranquil nature imagery and meditative soundtrack would lure us to a peaceful slumber.

“The Current: The Healing Powers of the Ocean” is directed by Kurt Miller and Hans Rosenwinkel. The script was written by Rosenwinkel. 



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Monday Night Football Preview: Jets vs. Bears Mon, 22 Sep 2014 12:10:58 +0000 The Jets and Bears played in very similar road games last Sunday, but they each experienced two different outcomes. Both games ended in dramatic comeback victories but the Jets were the victim of Aaron Rodgers and company’s furious comeback from being down 21-3 at the 10 minute mark in the second quarter. The Bears were able to complete their dramatic comeback by scoring touchdowns on each of their last four possessions to win 28-20 spoil the grand opening of Levis Stadium, the 49ers new home.

Dee+Milliner+New+York+Jets+v+Green+Bay+Packers+uN68VYL9MmAxThe Jets were grounded in Green Bay after such a promising start against the Raiders in week one. After recovering a fumble on the first play and jumping out to a 21-3 lead, it was all downhill for Gang Green. The Jets number one defensive ranking is surely vanished due to the simple fact that Aaron Rodgers was able to get in rhythm against a patchwork Jets secondary and just couldn’t be stopped. Randal Cobb and Jordy Nelson flourished, especially Nelson who was able to break his career high in receiving yards in one game as he went for 209 yards on nine catches including an 80 yard score near the end of the third quarter that gave the Packers a 31-24 lead they would never give up.

However, it wouldn’t be a Jets game without some controversy and there was a lot in their week 2 affair. With a little less than 6 minutes left in the third quarter a scuffle broke out in the endzone after a Randall Cobb touchdown that would end up tying the game for the Packers. The referees were quick to throw the laundry on the Jets for unsportsmanlike conduct and they ended up ejecting Muhammad Wilkerson for throwing punches at Packers players during the scrap. This would prove to be the turning point of the game as the Jets played the final quarter of a close game without their best player on defense. However, the Jets did have a chance to tie the game in the fourth quarter which leads to the other controversial moment during the contest. With about four minutes left in the fourth quarter the Jets were driving deep into Packers territory. On 4th and 8 from the Packs 28 yard line Geno Smith dropped a dime on Jeremy Kerley in the end zone for what seemed to be the game tying touchdown, however the play was called back because the Jets called a timeout right before the snap.

The controversy comes because Rex Ryan didn’t call the timeout; it was suspected that offensive coordinator Marty Morhinweg did. The ruling for timeouts is that only the head coach can call timeout from the sideline, no one else. So after the play had been reviewed why should the timeout still stand if they knew it wasn’t Rex who called it? The timeout turned out to cost the Jets dearly as they couldn’t convert on fourth down to tie the game. After the game Sheldon Richardson blamed himself claiming he got the referees attention to look at Morhinweg. Regardless of whose fault it was Geno Smith wasn’t making excuses. After the game Geno went on to say “That happened. As a player, as a quarterback, you still want to go down there and score a touchdown and we failed to get that done.” The only finger pointing Rex Ryan is doing is at himself saying “It is my responsibility, I have to do a better job.”

Brandon+Marshall+Chicago+Bears+v+San+Francisco+bY8zA2zo7EvxAs for the Monday night showdown against the Monsters of the Midway there are several things the Jets must do to avoid falling below .500. The Jets have the run stopping ability to make the Bears one dimensional but to stop running back Matt Forte as a pass catcher is another task entirely. Jay Cutler has several weapons on offense and they were all on display against the 49ers, especially Brandon Marshall. The Bears two wideouts, Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, have a significant size advantage over the Jets secondary. Like Rodgers, the Jets can’t let Cutler get into rhythm, just ask the 49ers. After allowing Jordy Nelson to break 200 yards the Jets need to focus all of their attention on the Bears receiving core which includes Santonio Holmes and Martellus Bennett who are also above average targets. The advantage for the Jets is the pressure they can bring to get to Cutler, especially off the edge. If the Jets can bottle up Forte they can mix up schemes to keep Cutler off balance like the 49ers did for about three quarters.

Geno Smith has got to play his best game yet as he faces a Bears team that, despite their injuries to key players such as Charles Tillman, managed to make life miserable for another quarterback who wears #7, Collin Kaepernick. Both he and Geno Smith have a similar skill set and Geno will look to replicate the way Kaepernick hurt the Bears was with his run game, as Kaepernick rushed for over 60 yards. Kaepernick got himself into trouble however when he tried to force the ball downfield, which resulted in three picks for the Bears. If Geno Smith utilizes his speed and size and runs the football instead of trying to thread the needle he could have some success at home on Monday Night. The Jets have no identity on offense right now and need to develop consistency either through the air or on the ground. This week I see all of that changing with Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory getting hot and really performing well against a less than stellar Bears run defense.

Ivory and Johnson provide a unique combination that needs to be taken advantage of. Ivory’s size and downhill running should set up for Johnson’s speed and lateral agility which could prove to be a nightmare for teams moving forward. The Jets must control the clock and set the tone on the ground to open up the play action pass. This makes life a lot easier for Geno Smith especially with number one wideout Eric Decker banged up with a hamstring injury. The Bears have had the Jets number in their all-time series as the Bears lead it 7-3. We’ll have to see how the Jets come out of the tunnel under the lights on Monday night in response to their collapse in Green Bay, and see if they can play better than your average Bear to avoid going 0-2 against the NFC North this season.

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NFL: Week 3 Results Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000  

Sunday (Week 3 Results)

Seahawks 26 Broncos 20

Marshawn Lynch scored on a six-yard run in overtime to give the Seahawks a dramatic 26-20 win in the Super Bowl matchup.

Seattle looked to have the game in hand as a 28-yard field goal by Steve Hauschka put them up by 8 with just 59 seconds left to play.

Peyton Manning would have other plans though, as he drove his team down the field with no timeouts to tie the game. Manning (303 passing yards, two touchdowns) would hook up with Jacob Tamme on a 26-yard score to bring the Broncos within 1. On the next play, Manning hit a tiptoeing Demaryius Thomas in the back of the end zone on the two point conversion to tie the game. He wouldn’t have another chance with the ball.

Seattle won the toss in overtime and Russell Wilson engineered a 13-play, 80 yard drive that ended in the Lynch (88 yards on 26 attempts) score.

After the outcome, both teams now sit at 2-1.


Eagles 37 Redskins 34  

The early afternoon games didn’t produce a lot of exciting football, and this game easily took the cake for best game of the 1:00 PM kickoffs.

It was a back and forth affair between two very powerful offenses, and it looked for a while that the fireworks would never stop coming.  This was confirmed even more when the teams got into a fourth quarter brawl after a late hit on Nick Foles in a very hard hitting and heated game.

Desean Jackson would help the Redskins tie the game at 27, with an 81-yard reception against his former team.  It wouldn’t matter though as rookie Jordan Matthews would haul in the second of his two touchdowns to put the Eagles back on top.  A late field goal would put the game out of reach for Washington.

In defeat, quarterback Kirk Cousins (filling in for the injured Robert Griffin III) would throw for 427 yards and three touchdowns.  Foles countered with 325 yards and three scores of his own.  Both Matthews and receiver Jeremy Maclin would each catch eight passes, with Maclin going for 154 yards and a touchdown.

The Eagles start off the year 3-0 while the Redskins get knocked back to 1-2.


Cardinals 23 49ers 14

It was a tale of two halves for the Cardinals, but they were able to rally for a 23-14 win behind two third quarter touchdown passes from Drew Stanton to rookie John Brown.

The 49ers started out the game strong, and took a lead into halftime, but the Cardinals outscored the Niners 17-0 in the second half as they locked down San Francisco’s offense.

Brown caught four passes for 52 yards while Michael Floyd continued his breakout campaign, hauling in five receptions for 114 yards.

For the Niners, Stevie Johnson had his first big game with his new team, catching nine passes for 103 yards. Michael Crabtree also had a good game, finishing with ten receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown.

The 49ers took their second loss while the Cardinals remain undefeated.


Cowboys 34  Rams 31

The Rams and Cowboys played an entertaining game in the clash of NFC teams, with the Cowboys prevailing 34-31, after erasing a late 21-point deficit.

The turning point of the game occurred late in the fourth quarter as Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams was able to haul in a 12-yard score from Tony Romo.  On the very next play (after the kickoff), Bruce Carter intercepted a pass and took it to 25 yards to the house to put the Cowboys up for good.

The Cowboys got big games from Dez Bryant (6 receptions, 89 yards and a touchdown) and DeMarco Murray (100 yards and a rushing score) in route to their second win of the season.

For the Rams, quarterback Austin Davis threw for 327 yards and three scores, but also threw two interceptions.


Ravens 23  Browns 21

Kicker Justin Tucker hit a 32-yard kick as time expired to give the Ravens a 23-21 over the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns had plenty of chances to put this one away, but they kept giving the Ravens opportunities to battle back, and battle back they did.

Cleveland had the lead going into the fourth quarter, but missed chances and two Tucker field goals would spell doom for them.

For the Browns, Brain Hoyer was very impressive throwing for 290 yards and a touchdown off of 19-for-25 passing.

Baltimore improves to 2-1 while the Browns fall to 1-2.


Chiefs 34 Dolphins 15

The Chiefs got a 34-15 win behind a very efficient day from quarterback Alex Smith, who threw for three touchdowns on 19 for 25 passing.

The Chiefs started the game fast, and never allowed the Dolphins to battle back into it.

Kansas City got a lot of its offense from backup running backs in Knile Davis and Joe McKnight, who were filling in for an injured Jamaal Charles. Davis rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown while McKnight hauled in six receptions for 64 yards and two touchdowns.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was forced to throw the ball 43 times but only accounted for 205 yards and a touchdown. Lamar Miller added 108 yards on 15 carries (7.2 yard average).

Both teams now sit at 1-2.


Packers 7  Lions 19

The Green Bay Packers could not get anything going, as the Lions defense came to play in this one.

Don Carey would return a 40-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown to go along with constant pressure on Aaron Rodgers all game long.  He was sacked twice and threw for only 162 yards on the day.

Reggie Bush would add a 26-yard score in the fourth, to put the Lions up for good.

Detroit improved to 2-1 on the year while the Packers are off to a very unimaginable start at 1-2.


Patriots 16 Raiders 9  

There wasn’t a lot of action in this one, but the Patriots were able to hold off the Raiders and take home a 16-9 victory.

The Raiders (0-3) had a chance to at least tie the game on their last drive with under a minute remaining in the game.  A would be tying score from Darren McFadden was nullified by a holding penalty, and Logan Ryan caused a fumble on the very next play which was scooped up by Pats defensive tackle Vince Wolfork to seal the victory for New England (2-1).

The Patriots’ only touchdown would come from a Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski connection early in the second quarter.  Both kickers (Stephen Gostkowski and Sebastian Janikowski) were perfect on the day, as they each converted their three attempts.


Chargers 22 Bills 10

Phillip Rivers and company were just too much for the Buffalo Bills to handle, as the Chargers passing attack was unstoppable in this one.

Even after losing running back Danny Woodhead early in the game, the Chargers offense didn’t miss a beat as Rivers accounted for 256 yards and two touchdown passes through the air. Eddie Royal hauled both of those touchdown passes to go along with his 4 catches and 42 yards. Tight end Ladarius Green was open all game in the secondary, accounting for four receptions and 64 yards of his own.

For the Bills, it was a pretty forgettable day at the office. The offense never got clicking and the rushing attack was nowhere to be found. The defense was getting gashed early, but buckled down late to give their team a chance. EJ Manuel looked very shakey in this one, delivering a lot of inaccurate passes along with panicking under pressure when the Chargers blitzed.

Both teams now sit at 2-1 on the young season.


Giants 30 Texans 17  

The Giants offense was just too much as Eli Manning would throw for two touchdowns and Rashard Jennings would run for a career-high 187 yards (and a touchdown) to give New York (1-2) their first win of the season.

The Texans could never really get going after three Ryan Fitzpatrick interceptions.  They would fight back in the second half but by then it was too little too late for the Houston squad.  They did have one bright spot in youngster DeAndre Hopkins, who caught 6 receptions for 116 yards.

Houston lost their first game of the season, falling to 2-1.


Saints 20 Vikings 9  

Drew Brees threw for 293 yards and two scores in leading his team to a divison win against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings weren’t able to get much going on offense, and turned to rookie Teddy Bridgewater after Matt Cassel left due to injury.

Jimmy Graham (6 receptions, 54 yards) and Brandin Cooks (8 receptions, 74 yards) provided Brees with enough support to help them improve to 1-2 on the year.  The loss would drop the Vikings back to 1-2 in a wide open NFC North.


Bengals 33 Titans 7  

This is yet another game that wasn’t really close this weekend.  The Bengals would be up 26-0 after three and would win this one 33-7 over Tennessee.

The highlight reel play of the day came when receiver Mohamed Sanu took an end around before lobbing up a pass to quarterback Andy Dalton, who snuck down the other side of the field.  Dalton would avoid the hit and haul in the pass for a score to put his team up 10-0 at the time.

AJ Green produced another great game, hauling in six receptions while accounting for 102 of Dalton’s 169 yards passing.

Cincinnati is 3-0 and heading into their bye week while Tennessee falls to 1-2.


Colts 44 Jaguars 17

It was never close in this one, as the Colts steamrolled the Jaguars 44-17, and held a 30-0 lead at halftime.

Quarterback Andrew Luck threw for 370 yards on 31-for-39 passing, racking up four touchdowns in the rout. He made sure to spread it around as nine players caught at least two passes, and each of his touchdowns went to a different player (one each to Hakeem Nicks, Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen and Ahmad Bradshaw).

The notable for the Jaguars was rookie Blake Bortles, who got an extending period of playing time after he started after halftime. He would throw for 223 yards to go along with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Jacksonville certainly isn’t going away this year, so it will be interesting to see at what time they hand over the reigns to the young signal caller.

The Colts on the other hand improved to 1-2 as they captured their first win of the season.  Jacksonville is still searching for their first victory, sitting at 0-3.


Steelers 37 Panthers 19

The Pittsburgh Steelers looked dominant in Sunday’s nightcap, as they came in to Carolina and left with an easy 37-19 victory against the Panthers.

It was a battle of field goals in the first half between these two teams, with Pittsburgh taking a 9-3 lead into halftime.

The scoring would get blown open in the third quarter, as Ben Roethlisberger would hit Antonio Brown for two touchdown scores.

The running game was firing on all cylinders for Pittsburgh as well, as both Le’Veon Bell (who was the starter) and LeGarrette Blount (who closed the game out) each rushed for over 100 yards.

Cam Newton finished the game 24-for-35 for 250 and one touchdown for Carolina. Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin added eight receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown in the losing effort.

Pittsburgh improved to 2-1 while Carolina, who suffered their first loss of the year, fell to 2-1.



Bears 27  Jets 19

It was a battle of two good defenses, but in the end the Chicago Bears got the victory against the New York Jets 27-19 in a very hard fought game.

The Jets couldn’t overcome an early pick six and blocked punt (which turned into another Bears touchdown) or tie the game at the end when they had a chance in the red zone to at least put six on the board and go for the tying two point conversion late in the game on their final possession.

For Chicago (2-1), Jay Cutler threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns, and made some big throws against heavy pressure throughout the night.  Alshon Jeffery had eight receptions for 105 yards and tight end Martellus Bennett added five catches for 54 yards and two scores.  Brandon Marshall was banged up still in this one, and left the game for a period of time due to what looked to be a pretty nasty injury.  He ended the game with just one catch for six yards on his handful of targets.  Marshall really looked slowed down by his injury, and we hope it isn’t a concern for the superstar going forward.

Geno Smith threw for over 300 yards for New York (1-2), but his two interceptions would prove costly.  Jeremy Kerley was very effective, catching seven balls for 81 yards and a score.


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Manuel & Watkins Can’t Repeat Miami Performance, Bills Fall 22-10 Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:59:35 +0000 In last week’s home-opener against the Miami Dolphins in which they won 29-10, E.J. Manuel and Sammy Watkins were in perfect harmony. Today, however, they were anything but.

In the Bills’ 22-10 loss to the Chargers on Sunday, Watkins had only two receptions for 19 yards, one of which was a 16 yard grab in the final minute of the game when the outcome was already decided. The performance for the star rookie was in stark contrast to last week’s 8 catch, 117 yard and a touchdown game on 11 targets in week 2.

Misconnects included a pair of deep balls where Manuel overthrew Watkins, and a 4th down and 3 inside Charger territory where Manuel and Watkins could not connect on an underneath crosser with just over 8 minutes remaining down 20-10, stifling Buffalo’s best chance to cut into the lead.


Watkins felt that he got open “for the most part” despite some double-teams, but the team “didn’t finish”.

“I feel like we beat ourselves on both sides of the ball,” said Watkins.

A windy day in Buffalo made some balls hang up in the air when throwing against, and push balls further when teams threw into the wind. Watkins said that it was tough expect how the ball “was going to come out”, but that the Bills “have to make the plays that are presented”.

One area where they didn’t was on third down (6/14, including three converted on a non-scoring drive) and fourth down (0/2).

“We sucked on 3rd down,” said Watkins. “We just have get better and play smarter.”

Manuel said that he didn’t believe the Charger defense was “keying on” Watkins, but their pressure that forced three sacks, a safety, and several hurries forced him out of the pocket and out of his progression. The second-year quarterback said he saw more three buzz type coverages today,

“As a unit, we definitely know that we left some plays out on the field,” said Manuel. “Whether it was a miscommunication or me throwing the ball a step too soon, I don’t think we had anything where I was necessarily late.”

Manuel, who finished 23 of 39 for 238 yards and a touchdown (75 yards on the game’s final possession), said he thought his accuracy was “fine”, but that the team has go go out and “make plays”.

“That’s the biggest thing, making plays when they’re there and just trying to hit home runs, you can’t miss those,” said Manuel.

Head coach Doug Marrone said he thought Manuel did make plays, but the team needs “everyone” on the offense to do so.

“We’ve got to protect, we’ve got to make the catches, we’ve got to sit in zone, instead of keeping running,” said Marrone. “There are a lot of things that we can learn from this game. We have a lot of young guys out there and they’ll continue to get better.”

Other game notes:

-Penalties were a killer for the Bills, as 11 were called for 101 yards. Procedure and holding penalties of offense, along with a 31 yard pass interference penalty from Leodis McKelvin on Malcom Floyd and a defensive holding on Duke Williams against Antonio Gates, who only registered one grab for 8 yards, kept scoring drives alive.

-The only corner who could match up with Floyd was Corey Graham, as he defensed a deep ball thrown to the towering 6 foot 5 receiver, as Nickell Robey and McKelvin were both beat by Floyd for 49 yard passes, along with a 31 yard pass interference penalty. They were the only two grabs for the receiver, but the threat of him going downfield was enough to open underneath passes for running backs and tight ends.

-After depending on the run game immensely in the 2-0 start, Manuel dropped back 42 times to pass, and Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller only had a combined 16 rushes for 59 yards. That is not a recipe for success, and although a lot of it was falling behind 20-3 in the third quarter, it would not be a surprise if that limited amount of rushes doesn’t occur very often throughout the season.

-Philip Rivers was 18 of 25 for 256 yards and two touchdowns, and was only sacked once. While the Chargers only converted 5 of 13 third downs, it was when they converted that was important, as a Rivers scramble for 9 yards to convert a 3rd down and 8 on the Chargers’ first possession of the second half was huge and led to the touchdown that made it to 20-10. Rivers’ underrated ability to scramble and make plays was evident all game today, as he actually avoided a pair of sacks, although they were more likely to be coverage sacks than pure pressure ones.

-On a positive note, after Donald Brown began the game with 9 carries for 37 yards, the Buffalo defense limited him to only 25 yards on his final 22 carries. Overall defensively, after allowing 314 total yards in the first 37:31 of the game, the Bills only gave up 22 the rest of the way. Brown came in for Danny Woodhead, who suffered a season-ending injury to his right ankle, according to Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez. 

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Game Notes: Washington Redskins Fall To The Philadelphia Eagles 37-34 Sun, 21 Sep 2014 21:58:15 +0000 What a game. The Washington Redskins (1-2) lost to the Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) 37-34 in what was a crazy game from start to finish. This game was loaded with just about everything you can imagine. It had tons of injuries (one that could end DeAngelo Hall‘s season), a bunch of penalties, big plays, self-inflicted mishaps, bad calls and one very large, dramatic melee that resulted in ejections. However, at the end of the day, Washington lost a game they had a chance to win despite the fact they’ve suffered a number of injuries.


The Good:

  • QB Kirk Cousins completed 30 of 48 passes for 427 yards, 3 TDs and a interception. He made some outstanding passes in this game. One thing I’ve noticed about Cousins is how good he is at anticipating routes. He does a nice job getting the ball out his hands and throwing to a spot. Cousins continues to show how much of an undercover gunslinger he is. For the most part, the word “gunslinger” was used in a positive manner Sunday against the Eagles. Cousins had an excellent throw towards the sideline to Garcon — giving him an opportunity to make a highlight catch. He also showed his underrated arm strength on a wheel route to TE Niles Paul and a long 81-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson. Cousins did sail a few balls and had an interception late in the 4th quarter. However, for the most part, Cousins was efficient. (Sidenote) — for the first time, I think we received a sense of just how long Robert Griffin III will be out. After the game, HC Jay Gruden said, “I think this team will rally around Kirk for the next six to seven weeks.” That sets the team up for a major decision most likely after their week 10 bye after their first game in November.


  • WR DeSean Jackson looked good in his return to Lincoln Financial Field. He had a nice 81-yard touchdown that helped spark the team. Jackson ended his day with five catches, 117 yards and a TD. Pierre Garcon and Andre Roberts also made several great plays. Garcon had a couple highlight reel catches and completed his day with 138 yards and a TD. Roberts had several key third down receptions. He’s a guy who you can depend on to consistently do his job.


  • DL Chris Baker was ejected for hitting QB Nick Foles after the whistle which triggered the huge fight. However, Baker did an excellent job against the run and creating some push up the middle on passing downs. He’s really become a quality player for this team. Baker has done a nice job filling in at nose tackle for the injured Barry Cofield.


  •  Pro Bowl LT Trent Williams was a stone wall in this game.


  • Really liked what I saw from rookie CB Bashaud Breeland. He had a couple mishaps, but did a nice job for the most part in coverage. He had a near-interception that he should have caught. But he forced a fumble early in the game. He also tackled well and did a nice job filling in for the injured DeAngelo Hall — who is likely done for the season with an Achilles-tear.


The Bad:

  • Brandon Meriweather returned from his two game suspension and didn’t play well at all. He missed a tackle on the kickoff unit that resulted in a Eagles touchdown. He also had a penalty on the kickoff unit and was responsible for a touchdown on defense.


  • Speaking of being responsible for touchdowns, LB Perry Riley was beat in coverage twice in the redzone on the same seam route play by Jordan Matthews. The defense as a whole struggled against the seam route in four receiver sets. But Riley’s lack of coverage skills in redzone cost the team 14 points.


  • The Redskins had 10 penalties that accounted for 131 yards. That’s completely unacceptable and its the second straight week they’ve had double digit penalties.


  • Kai Forbath extended his streak to 18 consecutive field goals early in this game prior to missing a key 33 yarder. As a kicker, you have to be clutch. Forbath wasn’t that for the Washington Redskins Sunday.


Follow us: @Manny_PPI | @PlayerInsiders

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Chargers/Bills: Five Matchups to Watch For, Game Notes and Prediction Sun, 21 Sep 2014 13:18:51 +0000 The 1-1 San Diego Chargers are traveling to Ralph Wilson Stadium to take on the 2-0 Buffalo Bills this afternoon at 1:00 PM eastern.

Here are the five biggest matchups that you should keep on eye on while watching this game.

Homefield Advantage/Travel Against the Chargers

The Buffalo Bills fan base has been completely rejuvenated after the team’s 2-0 start along with the recent news of their new owners (Terry and Kim Pegula). Ralph Wilson Stadium was electric last weekend against the Miami Dolphins, as you can feel the community really get behind this city.

The Bills have had quite the success at “The Ralph” recently, winning their last three games there while outscoring their opponents by a score of 85-24 (two wins against the Miami Dolphins and one against the New York Jets).

The San Diego Chargers have to travel across the coast to play in what would be a 10:00 PM PT kickoff time for them.

The crowd is going to be fully invested again this week, and if the Chargers come out sluggish, it will be a factor all game long.

WR Keenan Allen vs. CB Stephon Gilmore

Allen comes into this game a little banged up (battling a groin injury) but there is no denying the talent the receiver posses when he is on the field. He is listed as questionable for the game but was a limited participant in practice on both Thursday and Friday, so I see him suiting up for this one.

Opposite him is Gilmore, who returned to the lineup just last week after missing Week 1 due to a groin injury of his own.

This matchup will be fun to watch all game, as it features two young up-coming players in the league. Quarterback Phillip Rivers also showed last week against the Seahawks that he isn’t afraid of throwing at a team’s number one cornerback (he went after CB Richard Sherman when most teams don’t even throw to his side of the field).

Bills Secondary Against TE Antonio Gates

In recent years, the Bills defense has really struggled against stopping opposing tight ends, and the trend has continued so far this year.

Through their first two games, Buffalo’s defense has given up 16 receptions for 113 yards and one touchdown against opposing tight ends. This could spell trouble for the group as a very talented Antonio Gates comes to town.Antonio Gates 350x350

Even at the age of 34 yards old, Gates has managed to hold off father time as he starts off this year with a bang. Gates went for 7 receptions for 96 yards and three touchdowns last weekend after hauling in 6 passes for 81 yards the week before.

The Bills really got gashed by Chicago Bears’ tight end Martellus Bennett, who at this point is probably a little bit faster than Gates, however, Gates still runs quick, explosive routes which allow him to get separation from defenders.

The Bills cannot for any circumstance leave a linebacker on Gates for the majority of the game. He is simply too good to have a linebacker stuck with that type of responsibility. I’m interested to see how they will counter. I expect them to run a lot of zone coverage with more of an emphasis on Gates. When they do have to go one-on-one, I wouldn’t mind the Bills getting creative and trying to stick free safety Aaron Williams on him. Williams has excellent coverage skills for a safety (from his days of playing cornerback) and could match some of Gates athleticism.

DT Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus vs. Chargers Interior Line

The Bills have to be loving this matchup heading into this game.

The Chargers are really banged up on their interior line, and it isn’t even clear who is going to start for the team at center or one of the guard positions due to injuries.

Williams and Dareus have formed the best defensive tackle duo in the league, and will be able to generate pressure up the middle all day on this group. If they can make things tough on Rivers while just rushing four guys all day, it will really help out the secondary in being able to allocate more resources to slowing down the Chargers attack.  The two should also make things difficult when the Chargers try to run the ball.  It will also create a lot of space for their linebackers to operate in if the offensive line is forced to double team one of these two (which usually happens).

This is a matchup the Bills need to take advantage of.

Bills Rushing Attack vs. Chargers D

The Chargers sit right in the middle of the pack allowing opponents to average 108.5 yards against them on the ground a game. The Bills on the other hand have the seventh best rushing attack in the league, gaining 153 yards per game.

CJ Spiller, Fred Jackson and Boobie Dixon will continue to all get some turns running the ball in this one.Bills 350 Fred jackson DZ

I think this is another matchup that really favors the Bills. A lot of people are pointing out how Marshawn Lynch only gained 36 yards against them but you have to remember that the Chargers held the ball for over 42 minutes that game, not allowing for the Seahawks to get much of a running attack going. He also gained those 36 yards on 6 carries (for a 6 yard an attempt average).

The Chargers won’t hold the ball that long again, and the Bills should have a successful day getting their backs going.

Other Notes

Questions about Chargers Backfield

Starter Ryan Mathews was injured last week so the Chargers will be looking towards Donald Brown and Danny Woodhead to take care of the rushing attempts

Woodhead is more of a pass catcher/change of pace back so look for Brown to get the carries between the tackles.

The Bills rush defense is very good to this point of the year, and I think this is another matchup that favors them. If this defense really wants to take the next step in terms of run defense, they need to stop allowing lesser backs to rush for over 100 yards against them (which has happened all too often in the past). I think they will come to play and the Chargers will have a tough time running the football (see Williams/Dareus matchup above). San Diego will get forced to play more one-dimensional football this weekend.

Can EJ Manuel’s Progression Continue this Week

Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has really impressed me with his game plan each week this year. They have a good flow to them and really take into account what is going on in the game to that point. They also haven’t asked for EJ Manuel to do too much, allowing him to hit some of his first reads in the routes, and getting the ball out of his hand quickly.

Each week I expect the team to put a little bit more on EJ’s plate. The offense is still built around the run game, but it is nice to see the Bills take some shots down the field like they have the past couple weeks as well. As teams look to focus on stopping the running game and Sammy Watkins, these deep down the field plays are going to present themselves. Manuel has done a good job putting the ball up in space for his receivers to make plays, even when the throws aren’t the most accurate. He has really impressed so far in making the plays that he should.

It has been a refreshing start to the season for a team that hasn’t has a good, stable quarterback in such a long time.


Even though the Chargers seem to be the more talented team on paper, I don’t think it is going to be an easy task to travel across the country and steal one from Buffalo. The Bills’ defense should be up to the task of stopping Rivers and the offense will score just enough to keep the circling of the wagons in Buffalo, 27-17 Bills.

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49ers Limbo Land: Gambit & The Unknown Sun, 21 Sep 2014 13:10:46 +0000 Let’s call it a ‘Dallas Drubbing’! No, I almost have it . . . how about ‘No Star State’? Yeah, that has a delightful undertone of vanquishment; enough to take a stab at those ‘Boys’, and still deplete any optimism among their fan-base. That’s it, let’s finalize this headline, maybe even make it front page so the entire NFL understands the Golden Gate Bridge is truly lustrous. No more hesitations, forget the doubts, the proof is in the performance. 28-17 people, that’s a Week 1 “W”.

If you haven’t received the memo by now, I’m being sarcastic. We all know the niners secured a victory in their NFL season opener at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The 49er faithful stared awestruck, erected from their cushy seats by some offensive prowess. Kaepernick, 29-yard strike, scores! “The 49ers can put a tumultuous offseason behind them. . .”. Wait, seriously? Only one game in the books and you have analysts transfixed to the belief that the niners offense is impenetrable. Farewell preseason passing woes and a big hallelujah to a rejuvenated offense? Here is what I have to say, GUESS AGAIN.

You are leading 28-3 at halftime in an away game. Check the Daktronics scoreboard because I saw a glaring 28 up there. Now, how many points do you register in the second half? Better yet, what did your scoring opportunities look like? I mean you batter-ram through the gates of Cowboy haven with a Chris Culliver fumble return to pay-dirt only 54 seconds into the game. Thereafter, you opt to go deep on a bread-and-butter post route to Boldin for a pickup of 37 yards. Afterwards, same case scenario, another DEEP pass to Vernon for that 29-yard touchdown. Now, I will never discredit a team for strategically picking apart their opposition, but that drive consisted of 3 plays and a total possession time of 1:28. Two of those plays amounted to 66 yards. So, there’s 14 in the books. Where did the other 14 points come from before the half?


Eric Reid sky-hawk’s Romo, nabbing an interception; one which was eventually taken back 48-yards to Dallas’s 2-yard line. Then what happens? Play action, Kaepernick to Davis from 2 yards out, 21-3 game. Hmmm. . . . are you starting to get the picture yet? Possession Time: 0:06, plays run – 1. Ok, so a total of 4 offensive plays chewing up 1:34 on the clock, ultimately spanning 2 drives so far. And they’ve put up 21 points. Sounds good. Where’s the next score? Hold on, another interception, this time by Perrish Cox at San Fran‘s 36-yard line. Drive result: TOUCHDOWN, 9 plays, 3:00 minutes. There you have it. 28-3, NO POINTS in the second half from San Francisco. Four minutes and thirty-four seconds, that’s all I have to say people.

The 49ers pranced into Dallas carrying a cargo-load of questions about their offense, and you have “the experts” telling you that the niners offense is PAST the point of question or collapse. I see a team that rode cruise-control backed by a tenacious defense. Total time of possession for the niners in that game was 28:36. Of that total TOP, all they needed was 4:34 to put up 21 offensive points. Bearing that their defense doesn’t return one to the house nor pick off Romo with a return of 48-yards, this is a game and certainly NOT one to be won by the 49ers offense. Two deep plays, a touchdown, one play from 2-yards out, another touchdown. I understand they made the most of their opportunities, but let’s take a step back from the offensive mirage for a second. A good first half and pointless second spells inconsistency for me.

In the worst way we want what’s favorable for a team that nearly won the NFC Championship 9 months back. We’ll inspect this niners team on paper and converse about the offensive weapons at their command. They aren’t just a paper team, but you have to be realistic about their performance aside from talent. I love guys like Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, and so forth. However, I’m not about to be lead astray from the facts; particularly those which indicate that defensive momentum established a clear avenue for an offense’s triumph. Sure, you can look brilliant on back to back breakdowns by a dilapidated Dallas secondary, though I find it difficult to measure a team who exhibits that splendor in spurts. In other words, look magnificent one moment then appear incapacitated the next – case in point: 49ers vs. Bears.

Week 2 Primetime (between the 49ers and Bears) is kicked off by an Aaron Lynch punt block. Who told you about the 49ers “Lynch-Pin” 2 weeks ago? This guy! And I’ll continue to say it, LOOK OUT FOR AARON LYNCH. Consequently, Kaepernick and company score off the punt-block from guess where? 8-yards out! Again, can you see the trend from week-to-week? Short scores or live and die by the long ball to set up these touchdowns. Time of Possession: 3 plays, 0:34 seconds. San Francisco comes out swinging first.

Next drive is shaky. 14 plays, almost 8 minutes snarled up by the niners offense en route to a Phil Dawson field goal. 2 separate penalties from Joe Staley and Jonathan Martin up front. A reversed interception, am I missing anything?

Colin+Kaepernick+Chicago+Bears+v+San+Francisco+ZjYGj93VIC0xKaepernick is actually intercepted by Bears’ Chris Conte on the next drive. Chicago’s Danny Mccray recovers a Kaepernick fumble on the drive after the pick. Finally, right before the 1st half is over, deep pass to Carrier which allows for an 8-yard rumble to the end zone by Gore. 4 plays, 1:03. Score at the half: 17-7 in favor of the 49ers.

In all seriousness, NFL analysts want to sit there and tell me the preseason offensive “tumult” is resolved? The niners are not over the hump yet. How many points did they score in the second half of their game against the Bears? Three points. A mere field goal was all the 49ers could put up while Chicago rallied back forcefully to oust them. Are you done hearing the monotonous “The Niners OFFENSE is ELECTRIC” from NFL gurus? I am. I’m quite frankly tired of watching 49ers fans be duped into believing their offense is untouchable.

By now you are wondering about the title of this article: “49ers Limbo Land: Gambit & The Unknown”. It says precisely what it should. The 49ers are stuck in 2nd half limbo right now on offense. The only reason we haven’t come to terms with this sooner is because we’re disposed to side with the onslaught of offensive instruments they have headed into every Sunday. We listen to the loud commentators when a big play is made, but fail altogether to realize that those large chunks of yardage CANNOT be earned when squaring off against greater opponents. My point is that as a team they are not always going to execute the long ball (or back to back for that matter) to win football games. Also, their defense isn’t always going to be able to bail them out with forced turnovers. At one point or another, the 49ers are going to be confronted with a situation where they have to drive 70+ yards for a score. Down the stretch, the gambit may not involve risking an offensive play in hopes of a long pass producing much of the drive’s yardage. A defensive back may not be capable of jumping a ball for an interception. And when the 49ers don’t have these advantages at the beginning of a game, what then happens?

Here is the “unknown” niners fans: Can the bay area boys’ offensive play sustain them enough to close out tough games in the SECOND HALF? All the more to a team for delivering a thrashing at the onset of a game, but those 4th quarter battles on the gridiron can be critical. Let’s play a game: The Niners or their NFC West Cardinal foe in Week 3? You decide by hash-tagging #49erInsider on Twitter. As for now, I’m out kind folk, college football Saturday looms.



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Appreciate those who show appreciation to you. @MB_uno4 Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:30:19 +0000

Appreciate those who show appreciation to you.

— Marlon Brown (@MB_uno4) September 5, 2014

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Into & Over #NFL Week 2 With @Cagaddis Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Most would call this the ugliest week in NFL history. It seemed like every day there was a new negative story making headlines. During the week some of the more positive stories got lost in shuffle. A great point was made this week; there are 1,696 active players in the NFL right now, three players and the commissioner have all made wrong choices but let’s not allow their actions to shape our opinion about a game that we all love. At the end of the day the game has not changed or done anything wrong, the people have. Check out the reason why I am still into the NFL and I’ve spared the obvious for my overs this week.


Ralph Wilson Buffalo BillsBills Staying in Buffalo: 

When I first came to Buffalo as a rookie, I never knew how much this city would come to mean to me or that I would call this place home once I retired from the game. With the passing of Ralph Wilson, Jr., the possibility of the team moving weighed heavily on our community. You could hear a collective sigh of relief when it was announced that the Wilson Family Trust agreed sell the team to the Pegula family.  Win or lose this team is the lifeblood of this community and there is no other city like it in the NFL. I am proud to say that I was a part of it and that the team is staying where Ralph intended and where it belongs.


 Bengals Doing the Right thing: 

Devon Still considered stepping away from football this year due to his daughter being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He continued to play because it put a smile on her face and to guarantee that she was covered by the NFL insurance plan. He did not make the Bengal’s final roster however he was offered a spot on the Bengals practice squad which allowed him to not only make a weekly salary of $6,300 but also (and most importantly) his daughter was still covered by his insurance. The Bengals also announced that they will donate proceeds from the sale of his number 75 jersey to the Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati and to pediatric cancer research. Sean Payton, the head coach of the New Orleans, Saints purchased 100 of these jerseys. Five days after being signed to the practice squad, Still was promoted to the 53-man roster and the Bengals kept him on their 46-man game day roster for their home opener against the Atlanta Falcons. We hear so often that NFL is a cold hearted business when it comes to players it’s nice to hear about a team and coaches going the extra mile for a player and his family.

Peyton Manning 940 Peyton Manning:

In case you’ve been living under a rock or last year’s Super Bowl was the only game you watched do yourself a favor, watch a replay of Manning’s first two games this season.  Other than continuing to put the city of Omaha on the map, Manning has completed 43 of 62 passes for 511 yards 6 touchdowns and (most importantly) zero interceptions.  Manning is the definition of preparation, for him the game is won long before he hits the field on Sunday – he is a student of the game. Over the course of my time in the NFL I was able to witness him preparing for a game first hand and I can say it is second to none and it shows every Sunday.

JJ Watt:

JJ Watt is the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL and in week one he had what could be considered one of the best games of his career.  So what does he do in week 2? He follows it up with an offensive touchdown. Watt is without-a-doubt one of the best athletes in the game and is willing to do whatever it takes to be the best and to help his team win. A lot of times we hear about players signing big contracts and then not living up to the hype. I’m into the fact that Watt, even with the signing of a lucrative deal, is motivated to be the best player not just the highest-paid.

Eagles in the 2nd Half:

Two weeks; two second half comebacks of at least 14 points for the Eagles. While their fans may not enjoy their Birds not showing up for the 1st half, for me Philadelphia has been one of the most entertaining teams to watch this year.


Change in Drug Testing policy:

I want to start off by saying that I am for the addition of HGH testing to the NFL drug testing policy. What I am against is an increase in the marijuana threshold. Being an NFL player is a privilege not a right and with that comes responsibilities. While laws continue to change regarding marijuana use and possession, the NFL has the right the set the standard for its employees and I think they should set the bar high (no pun intended) with a zero tolerance policy. If the choice between smoking and playing in the NFL is that hard for someone maybe they don’t belong in the league in the first place.

Lombardi Trophy 940Early over estimating: 

Thanks to years of college football, I have a large number of friends from around the country each of which has a different favorite team. After two weeks I have heard a lot of statements like “we look legit” and “no doubt were making the playoffs this year” even “I know it’s only been two weeks but I can see us in the Super Bowl this year”.  Keep in mind these were also the same people that were looking at the schedule and projecting a 4-12 season after week 2 of the preseason. While your team is sitting pretty right now it’s too early to start making room for the Lombardy trophy in your trophy case. Let’s put the playoff talk on hold until at least week 8.

Media coverage of Ray Rice:

I have to say that I am glad the NFL and Roger Goodell FINALLY got this right. There is no place for that in our game. We all want answers in regards to what the NFL knew and when but I have to say I am sick of hearing about Rice. I don’t care that he plans on appealing the suspension or that his jersey was removed from his high school. Let’s have some good come from this and use it as an opportunity to raise awareness about domestic violence and let Ray Rice and all other offenders fade away into the background to never be hear from or about again.

Washington Redskins v Pittsburgh SteelersRGIII being hurt (again): 

We are two weeks into this NFL season and RGIII is hurt…again. RGIII lit up the league his rookie season giving Washington fans plenty to look forward to until getting hurt at the end of the season. The next year left something to be desired as it took Griffin most of the season to shake off the rust and rebuild his confidence in his legs. Now Griffin has dislocated his ankle and it is uncertain how long he will be out for or if he can ever return to his old form.  Griffin is good for the game, him being out not only hurts the entertainment value but it scares owners and GM’s away from drafting QB’s like him which is the direction the game is trending from college to the pros.

Games ending on a Clock run off:

There is only one way that an NFL game should end and that is with a final play. The Buccaneers did not get that luxury in their week 2 loss to the Rams. With 8 seconds left on the game clock and the Bucs near field goal range Mile Evans fell to the ground in obvious pain, the referees stopped the clock for an injury timeout. With the Buccaneers having no timeouts the rules require a 10 second run off. Resulting in the clock striking zero without a final play being be ran. This is dangerous for the NFL and the progress it has made in regard to player safety the main message most players will take from this is no matter how bad you are hurt at the end of the game get up and run one more play so that you don’t cost your team the game.

Replacement Refs 350x350


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Arizona Cardinals Look to Exercise Their Niner Demons: Preview Sat, 20 Sep 2014 13:25:13 +0000 This is the first test this year of how much growth the Arizona Cardinals have made since last year, in building a contender in the NFC West division. This weekend they get ready to battle a division foe the San Francisco 49ers, which they just have not had much success against over the last few seasons. The 49ers are 9-1 in their last 10 match-ups with the Cards and most of those were no contest. The Cardinals put up a good fight for three quarters last season in a road loss to the power house Niners, in which their threat to win was shot down by a crucial turn-over by an unexpected source in wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Larry Fitzgerald Arizona Cardinals Photographer Trish ScottFitz caught a deep in route and was making his way to completing a big play that had the Cardinals gaining momentum, and suddenly that was snatched away with the reach around slap that caused a fumble. This year the Cardinals have the home field advantage in the first meeting this season which can be critical in the psyche of the two teams. If the Cards struggle at home and fall short to the Niners yet again, then facing them in the final game of the year will be all the more difficult to accomplish. If they overcome them much like they did in Seattle last year and handle that good defense and still move the ball and score regularly, then that will began to turn the tide of the power houses in this division. This game is ripe for the taking, as the Niners are having their struggles on offense, starting with their starting quarterback Colon Kaepernick. Kaepernick threw three interceptions and a fumble in his previous loss to the Chicago Bears, and that secondary is not half as good as the one he will face in the Cardinals. The only problem is that the Redbirds are not getting enough pressure on the passer so far this year and with John Abraham on the shelf for a while it will be difficult to generate pressure off the edge. That is simply the key to the game, pressure to make a struggling quarterback force the ball down field. Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles blitz scheme may be the answer to pressure, as the secondary and linebackers do a great job at disguising where the free man is coming from. There will have to be a spy on Kaepernick all day to neutralize his running ability. Veterans Larry Foote and the Calais Campbell will have to lead the Defense to stuff out the running attack of Frank Gore. Drew Stanton_Az_Cardinals_By_Mike_Yduarte The Cardinals also will  be without quarterback Carson Palmer another week, so back-up Drew Stanton will have to be sharper than he was last week, and be more accurate with his passes. Look for this to be a defensive slug fest early, and as the game goes on the Cardinals will neutralize the running game forcing the Niners to be one dimensional late in the game. The Cardinals should be able to win this game, having the home field advantage and more weapons on offense. Key player in this game will be rookie slot receiver John Brown against the Niners secondary that is not as great as they were a year ago. Tyrann Mathieu_Arizona CardinalsCan the Cardinals also keep the tight end position under wraps with rookie Deone Buccanon and Tyrann Mathieu, this will be a critical part to victory. If those elements are taken from a team like the Niners, who thrive on running the ball to set up the seam routes to the tight end. Without it they become very mediocre and very beatable. Look for early three-and-outs from both teams in this one and the final by the kicker as the Cardinals should come away victorious at home with a 23-19 win.

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