Pro Player Insiders http://proplayerinsiders.com NFL Players Exclusive Lifestyle, News and Under the Helmet Access Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:32:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 NFL Week 5 Preview http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nfl-week-5-preview/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nfl-week-5-preview/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:30:15 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=141049 The first quarter of the NFL season is over and 24 of the league’s 32 teams (75 percent) are currently either in first place or within a game of the top spot in the division. But there’s a lot of season left to be played.

There are only two unbeaten teams remaining – Arizona (3-0) and Cincinnati (3-0).

And all 32 teams know there’s room for improvement. And, while not every club has gotten off to a hot start, nothing is a given in the NFL.

Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was adopted, 106 teams (36.8 percent of the 288 playoff clubs) have advanced to the postseason after starting the season 2-2 or worse. There were six such teams – Carolina (1-3), Cincinnati (2-2), Green Bay (2-2), Philadelphia (1-3), San Diego (2-2) and San Francisco (2-2) – last season, including four division winners (Panthers, Bengals, Packers and Eagles).

That’s the unpredictability of the NFL. So entering Week 5, while it certainly helps to be near the top of the standings, don’t count anyone out. Some of the key games this weekend:

MINNESOTA VIKINGS (2-2) at GREEN BAY PACKERS (2-2) (Thursday, CBS/NFLN, 8:25 PM ET)                

The Vikings defeated Atlanta 41-28 last week behind the play of rookie quarterback TEDDY BRIDGEWATER (317 passing yards, one rushing touchdown) and running backs MATT ASIATA (three rushing touchdowns) and rookie JERICK MC KINNON (135 rushing yards). Bridgewater, who did not throw an interception, joined ROBERT GRIFFIN III (September 9, 2012) as the only rookie quarterbacks in the past decade with at least 300 passing yards and no interceptions in their first NFL start.

“I like how this team competes,” says Minnesota head coach MIKE ZIMMER. “I like how it works. I like how it studies. I thought our guys played very hard. This was a great team win.”

Green Bay is coming off a 38-17 win at Chicago in which quarterback AARON RODGERS (302 yards, 151.2 passer rating) threw four touchdown passes – two apiece to wide receivers RANDALL COBB and JORDY NELSON. Cobb (seven catches, 113 yards) and Nelson (10 catches, 108 yards) are the first Packers teammates to each have at least 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a game since December 21, 1969 (CARROLL DALE and BOYD DOWLER).

“We know what we’re capable of as an offense” says Cobb. “We have a lot of playmakers. We’re going to continue to gel.”

HOUSTON TEXANS (3-1) at DALLAS COWBOYS (3-1) (Sunday, CBS, 1:00 PM ET)                

Texans defensive end J.J. WATT returned an interception 80 yards for a touchdown in Houston’s 23-17 win over Buffalo. Trailing 10-7 in the third quarter, Watt changed the momentum of the game by picking off a pass and returning it 80 yards for a score. It marked his second career interception-return touchdown and the first in the regular season. He is the only player in NFL history with at least 35 sacks (38.5), an INT-TD and a touchdown reception in his first four seasons.

“It was just a great play,” says Houston head coach BILL O’BRIEN about Watt’s INT-TD. “It really turned the game, no question about it. He’s a very instinctive, great player.”

Behind the strong play of running back DE MARCO MURRAY, the Cowboys are off to a 3-1 start for the first time since 2008. Murray, who leads the league in rushing with 534 yards and five touchdowns, is just the fourth player in NFL history to start a season with at least 100 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in each of his team’s first four games.

“I have to give credit to the offensive line,” says Murray. “We’re all on the same page. They make it a lot easier for me.”

BALTIMORE RAVENS (3-1) at INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (2-2) (Sunday, CBS, 1:00 PM ET)                

The Ravens have won three in a row, including last week’s 38-10 win over Carolina. Wide receiver STEVE SMITH, SR. had seven catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns. He has 429 yards this season, the most ever by a player 35 years old or older through the first four games of a season. Smith, who is the Panthers’ all-time leading receiver with 12,197 yards, is only the second player in NFL history (TORRY HOLT) to have a 100-yard performance in his first game against a franchise for which he had at least 10,000 receiving yards.

“I was ready to play ball once I was out there,” says Smith about facing his former team.

Indianapolis has won two consecutive games and the Colts have scored at least 40 points in each. Quarterback ANDREW LUCK completed 70.7 percent of his passes (29 of 41) for 393 yards with four touchdowns and one interception for a 123.3 passer rating in last week’s 41-17 win over Tennessee. The previous week in a 44-17 win over Jacksonville, Luck completed 31 of 39 passes (79.5 percent) for 370 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 140.4 passer rating. He is the first player in NFL history to post consecutive games with at least 370 passing yards, four or more touchdown passes, a completion percentage above 70 percent and one or no interceptions.

“We’re blessed with a bunch of great playmakers, guys that need the ball in their hands,” says Luck. “As a quarterback, that’s what you want.”

ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-0) at DENVER BRONCOS (2-1) (Sunday, FOX, 4:05 PM ET)                

For just the third time since the 1970 merger, the Cardinals posted an undefeated record in September (1974, 2012). Arizona has allowed just 45 points in three games and leads the NFC in points allowed per game (15.0). In the fourth quarter, the Cardinals have yet to allow a single point, outscoring opponents 30-0.

“It’s good to be 3-0, but we’re not satisfied because we’re trying to get somewhere,” says Arizona defensive coordinator TODD BOWLES. “We’re trying to get to the playoffs and the Super Bowl.”

Denver quarterback PEYTON MANNING has thrown eight touchdown passes in three games this season and enters this week’s game just one shy of 500 for his career. Manning is on the verge ofjoining BRETT FAVRE (508) as the only players in NFL history with 500 touchdown passes.

“I’m just happy I get to catch some of them,” says Broncos wide receiver DEMARYIUS THOMAS. “Because you know most of those are going to be touchdowns in games you win. They’re going to be plays that mean something for us.”

CINCINNATI BENGALS (3-0) at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2-2) (Sunday, NBC, 8:30 PM ET)                

The 3-0 Bengals have allowed a league-low 33 points and 11.0 points per game. Cincinnati is the only team in the league to allow 16 points or fewer in every game. Offensively, quarterback ANDY DALTON has a 95.4 passer rating and the team has three players with 12 receptions each – wide receivers A.J. GREEN (233 yards) and MOHAMED SANU (164) and running back GIOVANI BERNARD (148).

“This is nothing more than a good first quarter,” says veteran tackle ANDREW WHITWORTH. “You can’t let up. October is a month for adjustments. Teams begin to find out who they are. October is a big month.”

New England looks to bounce back from last week’s loss at Kansas City. Patriots quarterback TOM BRADY has 49,940 career passing yards and needs 60 yards to become the sixth player in NFL history with 50,000. He would join BRETT FAVRE (71,838), PEYTON MANNING (65,778), DAN MARINO (61,361), DREW BREES (52,284) and JOHN ELWAY (51,475).

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (2-1) at WASHINGTON REDSKINS (1-3) (Monday, ESPN, 8:30 PM ET)                

The Seahawks have won eight consecutive games on Monday night and quarterback RUSSELL WILSON is 3-0 with seven touchdowns, no interceptions and a 121.6 rating on Mondays. This season, Wilson’s 108.9 passer rating ranks third in the NFL and Seattle is 19-3 (.864) when he has a rating of at least 100 (including the playoffs).

“You have to put him in there,” says Seahawks cornerback RICHARD SHERMAN about Wilson being considered the best quarterback in the NFL. “If you’re basing that judgment off of winning, you have to put him in that discussion.”

Washington linebacker RYAN KERRIGAN ties for the NFL lead with five sacks and since entering the league in 2011, is one of only two players (JASON PIERRE-PAUL) with at least 25 sacks and two interception-return touchdowns. Redskins wide receiver DE SEAN JACKSON has scored five touchdowns (four receiving, one rushing) in his past six Monday night games, averaging 62.8 yards per TD.

2014 NFL STANDINGS

American Football Conference
East Division
Team W L T Pct PF PA Home Away Conf Div Streak
Buffalo Bills 2 2 0 .500 79 75 1-1-0 1-1-0 1-2-0 1-0-0 Lost 2
Miami Dolphins 2 2 0 .500 96 97 1-1-0 1-1-0 2-2-0 1-1-0 Won 1
New England Patriots 2 2 0 .500 80 90 1-0-0 1-2-0 1-2-0 0-1-0 Lost 1
New York Jets 1 3 0 .250 79 96 1-2-0 0-1-0 1-0-0 0-0-0 Lost 3
North Division
Team W L T Pct PF PA Home Away Conf Div Streak
Cincinnati Bengals 3 0 0 1.000 80 33 2-0-0 1-0-0 2-0-0 1-0-0 Won 3
Baltimore Ravens 3 1 0 .750 103 60 2-1-0 1-0-0 2-1-0 2-1-0 Won 3
Pittsburgh Steelers 2 2 0 .500 97 99 1-1-0 1-1-0 1-1-0 1-1-0 Lost 1
Cleveland Browns 1 2 0 .333 74 77 1-1-0 0-1-0 0-2-0 0-2-0 Lost 1
South Division
Team W L T Pct PF PA Home Away Conf Div Streak
Houston Texans 3 1 0 .750 87 67 2-0-0 1-1-0 2-0-0 0-0-0 Won 1
Indianapolis Colts 2 2 0 .500 136 95 1-1-0 1-1-0 2-1-0 2-0-0 Won 2
Tennessee Titans 1 3 0 .250 60 110 0-1-0 1-2-0 1-2-0 0-1-0 Lost 3
Jacksonville Jaguars 0 4 0 .000 58 152 0-1-0 0-3-0 0-2-0 0-1-0 Lost 4
West Division
Team W L T Pct PF PA Home Away Conf Div Streak
San Diego Chargers 3 1 0 .750 102 63 2-0-0 1-1-0 2-0-0 0-0-0 Won 3
Denver Broncos 2 1 0 .667 75 67 2-0-0 0-1-0 2-0-0 1-0-0 Lost 1
Kansas City Chiefs 2 2 0 .500 102 79 1-1-0 1-1-0 2-2-0 0-1-0 Won 2
Oakland Raiders 0 4 0 .000 51 103 0-2-0 0-2-0 0-4-0 0-0-0 Lost 4

 

National Football Conference
East Division
Team W L T Pct PF PA Home Away Conf Div Streak
Philadelphia Eagles 3 1 0 .750 122 104 2-0-0 1-1-0 1-1-0 1-0-0 Lost 1
Dallas Cowboys 3 1 0 .750 115 86 1-1-0 2-0-0 2-1-0 0-0-0 Won 3
New York Giants 2 2 0 .500 103 91 1-1-0 1-1-0 1-2-0 1-0-0 Won 2
Washington Redskins 1 3 0 .250 95 109 1-1-0 0-2-0 0-2-0 0-2-0 Lost 2
North Division
Team W L T Pct PF PA Home Away Conf Div Streak
Detroit Lions 3 1 0 .750 85 62 2-0-0 1-1-0 2-1-0 1-0-0 Won 2
Minnesota Vikings 2 2 0 .500 91 84 1-1-0 1-1-0 2-1-0 0-0-0 Won 1
Green Bay Packers 2 2 0 .500 92 96 1-0-0 1-2-0 1-2-0 1-1-0 Won 1
Chicago Bears 2 2 0 .500 92 100 0-2-0 2-0-0 1-1-0 0-1-0 Lost 1
South Division
Team W L T Pct PF PA Home Away Conf Div Streak
Atlanta Falcons 2 2 0 .500 131 113 2-0-0 0-2-0 2-1-0 2-0-0 Lost 1
Carolina Panthers 2 2 0 .500 73 96 1-1-0 1-1-0 2-0-0 1-0-0 Lost 2
New Orleans Saints 1 3 0 .250 95 110 1-0-0 0-3-0 1-2-0 0-1-0 Lost 1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 3 0 .250 72 119 0-2-0 1-1-0 0-3-0 0-2-0 Won 1
West Division
Team W L T Pct PF PA Home Away Conf Div Streak
Arizona Cardinals 3 0 0 1.000 66 45 2-0-0 1-0-0 2-0-0 1-0-0 Won 3
Seattle Seahawks 2 1 0 .667 83 66 2-0-0 0-1-0 1-0-0 0-0-0 Won 1
San Francisco 49ers 2 2 0 .500 88 89 1-1-0 1-1-0 2-2-0 0-1-0 Won 1
St. Louis Rams 1 2 0 .333 56 85 0-2-0 1-0-0 1-2-0 0-0-0 Lost 1

 

 

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The NFL Week 4 That Was http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nfl-week-4/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nfl-week-4/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:21:06 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=141043
Following are highlights from the first quarter of the 2014 NFL season:
NFL MILESTONES
 
·         IT’S STILL EARLY: In the first four weeks of 2014, 30 of the 32 clubs (93.8 percent) earned at least one win. The 30 teams with at least one victory through Week 4 ties 2005 and 2012 (30 teams) for the most through four games since realignment in 2002.

·         SCORING: Through Week 4, teams have combined to score 46.2 points per game, the second-most ever through the first four weeks of a season since 1970 (47.4 in 2012).

·         EFFICIENT TIMES:  Through Week 4, the league-wide passer rating is 91.5, on pace for the highest of any season in NFL history (86.0 in 2013). The mark is also the highest of any NFL season through four weeks.
Through Week 4, the league-wide interception percentage is 2.39 percent, the lowest ever at this point in a season and on pace for the all-time best (2.63 in 2012).
·         COMEBACKS GALORE: There were four teams through Week 3 – Chicago, Dallas, Green Bay and Philadelphia – to overcome deficits of at least 17 points to win, tied for the most through the first three weeks of a season since 1970 (2011). This marked the first time each of the first three weeks of a season has had at least one 17+ point comeback win since 1982.
·         YOUTH IS SERVED2014 marks the fourth consecutive season (2011-14) in which at least three rookies started at quarterback in a September game, the longest such streak in the Super Bowl era. Rookie quarterbacks BLAKE BORTLES of Jacksonville and TEDDY BRIDGEWATER of Minnesota each made his first NFL start in Week 4, while Oakland’s DEREK CARR made his debut on Kickoff Weekend.
 
TEAMS
 

·         UNDEFEATEDTwo NFL teams – ARIZONA (3-0) and CINCINNATI (3-0) – are undefeated through Week 4.

 

·         OVERCOMING RETURNS: In Week 4, the San Francisco 49ers surrendered touchdowns on a blocked punt, an interception return, and a punt return in their 26-21 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, becoming only the second team in NFL history to win after allowing three or more return-TDs in a regular-season game (Dallas Cowboys, October 8, 2007 against Buffalo).

 

·         LANDMARK WINSThe DALLAS COWBOYS earned their 500th total victory in Week 4, defeating New Orleans 38-17 on Sunday Night Football. Including the playoffs, the Cowboys now have a 500-374-6 all-time record.

The GREEN BAY PACKERS topped Chicago 38-17 in Week 4, becoming the second team in NFL history with 700 regular-season victories. The Packers (700-539-37) joined the Bears (732-536-45) as the only teams in NFL history to accomplish the feat.

 

The teams with the most regular-season wins in NFL history:

TEAMS
RECORD
WIN PERCENTAGE
Chicago Bears
732-536-42
.577
Green Bay Packers
700-539-37
.565
New York Giants
663-549-33
.547
Pittsburgh Steelers
571-521-20
.523
Washington Redskins
566-549-27
.508
                                                                                    Note: Ties prior to 1972 did not count in winning percentage.
 
PLAYERS
·         CLIMBING THE CHARTSIn Week 1, Denver quarterback PEYTON MANNING passed for 269 yards and three touchdowns in the Broncos’ 31-24 win against Indianapolis, joining BRETT FAVRE(71,838) as the only players in NFL history with 65,000 career passing yards. Manning has passed for 65,778 yards in his career.
New England quarterback TOM BRADY passed for 249 yards and one touchdown in Week 1 at Miami, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer WARREN MOON (49,325) for sixth on the all-time passing yards list. Brady has passed for 49,940 yards in his career.
New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES passed for 237 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHN ELWAY (51,475) for fourth-most all-time. Brees has now passed for 52,284 yards in his career.
The top 10 NFL players with the most career passing yards:
PLAYER
YEARS
PASSING YARDS
Brett Favre
1991-2010
71,838
Peyton Manning*
1998-present
65,778
Dan Marino
1983-1999
61,361
Drew Brees*
2001-present
52,284
John Elway
1983-1998
51,475
Tom Brady*
2000-present
49,940
Warren Moon
1984-2000
49,325
Fran Tarkenton
1961-1978
47,003
Vinny Testaverde
1987-2007
46,233
Drew Bledsoe
1993-2006
44,611
*Active
·         RISING RODGERS: Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS completed 22 of 28 passes (78.6 percent) for 302 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 151.2 passer rating in the Packers’ 38-17 win at Chicago.
Rodgers reached 25,000 yards in his 98th career game, becoming the fourth fastest quarterback to reach the 25,000-yard mark. Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (92), PEYTON MANNING(97) and KURT WARNER (97) accomplished the feat in the fewest number of games in NFL history.
The fastest players to reach 25,000 career passing yards:
 
PLAYER
TEAM(S)
# GAMES TO 25,000 PASSINGYARDS
CAREER PASSING YARDS
Dan Marino
MIA
92
61,361
Peyton Manning
IND, DEN
97
65,778
Kurt Warner
STL, NYG, ARI
97
32,344
Aaron Rodgers
GB
98
25,196
Rodgers, who now has 25,196 career passing yards, also reached 25,000 passing yards in 3,065 attempts, the fewest attempts in NFL history to reach the mark. Warner, who previously held the mark, reached 25,000 yards in 3,076 attempts.
·         BETTER WITH AGE: Baltimore wide receiver STEVE SMITH, SR. had seven catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns in the Ravens’ 38-10 win over Carolina. Smith has 429 receiving yards this season, the most ever by a 35+ year old player through the first four games of a season.
Smith, who is the Panthers’ all-time leading receiver with 12,197 yards, became the second player in NFL history to have 100+ receiving yards in his first game against a franchise for which he had 10,000+ receiving yards (TORRY HOLT, October 18, 2009 against St. Louis).
·         WAYNE’S WORLD: Indianapolis wide receiver REGGIE WAYNE had seven catches for 119 yards and a touchdown in Indianapolis’ 41-17 victory over Tennessee. With 1,029 career receptions, Waynepassed ISAAC BRUCE (1,024) for the seventh-most receptions in NFL history.
 
·         GREAT LUCK: Indianapolis quarterback ANDREW LUCK completed 29 of 41 passes (70.7 percent) for 393 yards with four touchdowns and one interception for a 123.3 passer rating in the Colts’ 41-17 win over Tennessee in Week 4. Luck, who last week completed 31 of 39 passes (79.5 percent) for 370 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 140.4 rating in a 44-17 win over Jacksonville, is the first player in NFL history to post consecutive games with at least 370 passing yards, four or more touchdown passes, a completion percentage above 70 percent and one or no interceptions.
·         POWERFUL WATT: Houston defensive end J.J. WATT had an 80-yard interception-return touchdown in the Texans’ 23-17 win over Buffalo. It marked the first interception-return touchdown for Watt in the regular season; he also had a 29-yard INT-TD in a Wild Card win over Cincinnati (January 7, 2012).
Watt is the only player in NFL history with at least 35 sacks (38.5), an interception-return touchdown and a receiving touchdown in his first four NFL seasons.
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Really? NFL Penalizes Player For Praying WTF http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/kansas-city-chiefs-safety-husain-abdullah-melissa-mahler-abdullah-nfl-penalizes-player-for-praying-wtf/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/kansas-city-chiefs-safety-husain-abdullah-melissa-mahler-abdullah-nfl-penalizes-player-for-praying-wtf/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:08:33 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140996 Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah was cited for unsportmanlike conduct for praying after taking an interception for a touchdown. Watch the GIF below via gifdsports.

Apparently praying after a touchdown is a violation of the NFL Player Conduct Policy which says “players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations while on the ground.”  The NFL came up with that policy all on their own while to address domestic violence it has taken the release of a sickening video, a public outcry and a host of experts to just get the ball rolling.

I would think that expressing one’s faith would be a encouraged or even protected. Tim Tebow was known for praying and expressions of faith on and off the field.  Maybe the NFL will do the right thing and admit here that it made a mistake.

Listen to roundtable discussion with NFL players on how to stop domestic violence.

CJ Laboy of Relativity Sports and Abdullah’s agent wasn’t happy about the penalty and had this to say on twitter:

Read more on Husain Abdullah and the importance of faith to him.

 

 

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Five Hilarious Athletic Cameos http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/five-hilarious-athletic-cameos/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/five-hilarious-athletic-cameos/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:44:48 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140454 Athletes have a very peculiar and particular sense of humor. For the most part, you won’t find an athlete make a surprise cameo appearance in a drama or horror flick. They usually like to appear in widely watched comedies so that their cameo goes noticed and ensures it has a humorous impact.

Here’s a list of five of the best athletic cameos that left us in stitches:

5. Lawrence Taylor (LT) – The Waterboy
With an already ridiculous premise to a movie was made even funnier when LT makes his cameo. Set in the middle of an orientation for a football training camp for youths, LT tries to get Bobby Boucher, played by Adam Sandler, to divulge his secret to making great plays. Boucher explains his technique in a Madden-esque fashion, while stuttering and fumbling over his words that leaves the youths confused and speechless. This leads LT to respond with, “Remember kids, don’t smoke crack.”

screenshot-med-15

4. Brett Favre – There’s Something About Mary
There were subtle hints throughout the film that alluded that Mary’s former love interest that got away was professional football legend Brett Favre. What made the cameo so great was that it came as a complete surprise to audiences as well as the fact that Mary ends up rejecting Favre in the end to be with the awkward Ted, played by Ben Stiller.

cameos-favre

3. John McEnroe – Mr. Deeds
The bad boy of tennis makes a cameo that should be taken note of. He spends the majority of his cameo playing into the perception that he is as vulgar and short tempered in the regular world as he is on the tennis court. This ranges from egging passing cars to inhumanly jumping over an oncoming vehicle only to insult the driver, in a way only McEnroe can do, for his skills behind the wheel.

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2. Mike Tyson – The Hangover
Unfortunately, this cameo lost its element of surprise after Tyson was featured in almost every trailer that came out for this movie. But this doesn’t mean his cameo was any less entertaining. After surprising the members of the “Wolfpack” by waiting in their hotel room, Tyson is seen listening to Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight.” While all the guys are star stuck by Tyson’s presence, he silences them in anticipation for the drum breakdown ending the final air drum beat into a knockout punch.

Mike Tyson in The Hangover (1)

1. Lance Armstrong – Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Armstrong’s cameo in the film is nothing short of hilarious and, in retrospect, ironic. After Vince Vaughn’s character, Peter, decides to leave his team before the final match, he runs into Armstrong at the airport. The conversation runs along the lines of Armstrong giving Peter examples of times he could have given up and taken the easy to success, but instead kept on trying and now he’s one of the greatest cyclist in the world. While the shaming was indeed funny, it ends up leaving a sour taste in your mouth after recent developments shed light on Armstrong supposed steroid use. Still though, his delivery is perfect and couldn’t have been anyone else in this cameo.

49597-4_3
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Thanking God for another day @tchoice23 http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-football-featured-tweet/thanking-god-another-day-tchoice23/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-football-featured-tweet/thanking-god-another-day-tchoice23/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:30:16 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140952

Thanking God for another day

— Tashard Choice (@tchoice23) September 10, 2014

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Finding Our Way Home http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/finding-way-home/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/finding-way-home/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:22:49 +0000 http://christcenteredhomemag.com/?p=2009 I’ve always hated GPS units. Those little gadgets that tell you what to do and when to do it. My husband has tried to convince me that they are reliable and accurate and will keep me on track, but I don’t buy it. Every time I go to an unfamiliar place I diligently print my [...]

The post Finding Our Way Home by Dinora Garza appeared first on Christ Centered Home Magazine.

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Antique compass on mapI’ve always hated GPS units. Those little gadgets that tell you what to do and when to do it. My husband has tried to convince me that they are reliable and accurate and will keep me on track, but I don’t buy it. Every time I go to an unfamiliar place I diligently print my Google map with detailed instructions and travel to my destination with a profound sense of peace.

I am an extremely disoriented person and I need to have control. I want to know the route, the name of every street, where exactly will I turn and if it will be right or left long before I have to do it. The fact is, GPS receivers don’t work that way! They sometimes will tell you to exit or turn at the very last minute!

Yesterday something went wrong. I had a doctor’s appointment but hadn’t been there in almost a year, and remembered just a few streets of the route. I faithfully printed my google map, but for some reason it gave me a different route and not having more time to change directions, I decided to give the GPS a try.

My way there was almost perfect, except when the GPS told me at the very last moment that I had to make a right and I was in the middle lane! That really freaked me out! Then, the uncertainty of driving on unfamiliar streets, not knowing if I would end up in the right place or not, made me very nervous.

My way back home wasn’t better. The GPS decided to take a different route back, which put me in alert mode again. I was supposed to make a left, but I remembered I had made a left on my way there, so I needed to make a right…I decided the GPS was wrong and started driving back the way I remembered it, but backwards, trying to rearrange the route in a way that would make me feel safe. Big mistake! After just one street, I had no idea which way to go! Immediately the GPS ascertained my new location and chose another route that ended up leading me through a maze of empty, bad neighborhood streets, my heart pounding, praying to the Lord to take me home safely…

The fact is that the Christian life is pretty much so. We like to have control. We want to know what is ahead in order to trust God. Yet, our Lord will guide us through life one step at a time, without showing us the whole map, never knowing His entire plan. He did it with Abraham when He asked him to leave his family and head to a land he had never seen. He did it with Joseph when his evil brothers sold him as slave. He did it with David when the King he loved and served persecuted him.

We ought to feel honored because God guides us in the same way He guided those giants of the faith, and ought to never try to adjust the route like I did. Even if we think we have a better route or we are looking for something more suitable to us, He knows better than us where we are in life and what we need in order to mature, to grow in knowledge, wisdom and holiness.

That little gadget taught me something. What matters is not what I know about the road. What matters is that in every GPS there is a wealth of knowledge, a well defined route, a plan so perfectly designed that takes millions of people to places everywhere safely. I have come to understand that we don’t have to have all the facts. We don’t necessarily have to know what is ahead, and it would be a big mistake to adjust the route God has chosen for us. We just have to trust in His infinite, incredibly wise plan for our lives and let Him do His job at guiding us safely home. 

The post Finding Our Way Home by Dinora Garza appeared first on Christ Centered Home Magazine.

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First Quarter Titans Grades: ST/Coaching @SportBySharona http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/first-quarter-titans-grades-stcoaching-sportbysharona/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/first-quarter-titans-grades-stcoaching-sportbysharona/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:11:29 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140965 It’s time for your first quarter grades as the Tennessee Titans are four games into the 2014 NFL season. Unfortunately, the Titans as a whole have regressed from the 2013 season at every single position so the grades aren’t good. We previously took a look at the offense and defense here are our special teams and coaching grades.

SPECIAL TEAMS:

Place kicker: Grade B

I struggled with this grade maybe the most with may or may not surprise you. Initially I had Ryan Succop at a C because those two missed field goals at Cincinnati still rankle. Succop has converted a 47 this season and has converted longs of 51,52,53 and 54. Those missed field goals were within his reach no doubt. He has otherwise been clutch so grade B.

Punter: Grade B

Brett Kern struggled against the Cincinnati Bengals after learning about the death of his friend former Titan Rob Bironas. Otherwise,  he has been solid and dependable.

Special teams units: Grade D

Easily one of the worst position groups through four games and competing with cornerback and offensive line for worst position group on the team. Competition is good right? Coverage units are terrible and only a few lucky breaks here and there have kept the Titans from real disaster. You just feel it coming though.

Return game: Grade F

Related to special teams units but the return game has been it’s own special type of terrible. Former pro bowler Dexter McCluster has yet to get anything going on punt return and Leon Washington has just been okay. Good news though the Titans haven’t muffed one or fumbled one yet though they came close. Knock on wood?

Coaching and Intangibles: Grade F

Titans Head Coach

This is the other grade where I struggled. Initially, I had coaching graded at a D. However, a twitter exchange with Rob Greenlaw one of my former co-horts at Music City Miracles.

 

 

The Titans have looked unprepared since their first game at Kansas City and got out coached in the other three. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt admitted after the Colts game the coaching staff might have overestimated the players and talent on the team. The play calling has been head scratching at times and downright suspect at others.

There isn’t a single position group playing better this season which has to reflect on the coaching staff.

There you have it Titans fans do you agree or disagree? What are your first quarter grades for special teams and coaching through four games? Post them in the comments.

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Revisiting the ‘League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis’ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/revisiting-league-denial-nfls-concussion-crisis/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/revisiting-league-denial-nfls-concussion-crisis/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:02:47 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140671 As football season begins at the high school, collegiate and national levels, we’re reminded of the risks and violence associated with this rough contact sport. In the past few weeks, we’ve heard all about Ray Rice (who punched his finance/wife, Janay, in an elevator) and Adrian Peterson (who’s charged with child abuse).

“Football is a pantomime of war, down to the pseudo-military tacticsm,” writes Grantland editor Louisa Thomas. “But it is not a pantomime of violence. It is actual violence.”

A violence and culture that we cherish every Sunday — despite its enormous costs. Last year, Frontline released its two-hour documentary, “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis.” ESPN reporters Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada wrote League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth,” a 416-page book which examines the concussion crisis in contact sports.

The documentary — directed by Michael Kirk and written by Kirk, Steve Fainaru, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Mike Wiser — centers on “Iron Mike” Webster, the Hall of Fame center from the Pittsburg Steelers. Webster died when he was 50 years old, showing signs of dementia, insomnia and depression.

i_websterphoto_i“I’d come outside sometimes and just see him sitting in the truck and it’d be freezing and he’d be sitting and looking miserable,” said Webster’s son Colin. “[He'd say,] ‘The worst thing is that I’m actually getting to the point where sometimes if I don’t take my medicine, I’m cold and I don’t even realize I could fix it by just putting a jacket on.’”

Webster’s lawyer Bob Fitzsimmons said Webster had a cognitive disorder; Webster couldn’t finish a thought.

In 2000, the NFL Retirement Board admitted that Webster’s head injuries were caused by his 17-year football career and awarded him month disability checks until his death two years later. But the danger of football isn’t isolated to this one incident.

Kirk uses Webster’s story to exemplify the brutal and widespread nature of this contact sport.

“The damage was occurring every week,” said Leigh Steinberg, a sports agent who represented more than 150 athletes including Thurman Thomas, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Bruce Smith, Kordell Stewart, Jeff George, Ricky Williams, Steve Bartkowski, Ben Roethlisberger and Howie Long. “It was happening to pros, but it was happening in college. It was happening in high school. It was happening to every player in every collision sport. So not only was it an issue for my clients, but it was a huge societal issue.”

In fact, this month’s TIME cover story features the tragic death of Chad Stover, a 16-year-old defensive back for the Tipton Cardinals. Stover died from a concussion after two weeks in the hospital.

“The thing you want your kids to do most of all is to succeed in life and be the most that they can be and if there’s anything that can infringe on that, I don’t want my kids doing,” says Dr. Ann McKee, one of the lead researchers of Chronic  Traumatic Encephalopathy, a degenerative neurological disease commonly found in football players.

“I’m really wondering where it stops — if on some level, every football player doesn’t have this,” says McKee.

 Frontline’s “The League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis” was released on PBS on October 8, 2014. 

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The Chiefs Kill the Patriots With a Slow Death In Primetime http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/chiefs-kill-patriots-slow-death-primetime/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/chiefs-kill-patriots-slow-death-primetime/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 04:40:08 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140978 Throughout the glorious Bill Belichick era, the New England Patriots (2-2) are not often throttled like they were tonight. The Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) used a methodical game plan on both sides of ball en route to a 41-14 blowout of the Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

Fans, the media, and anyone else who was watching this game should have known that it wasn’t going to be a methodical victory for the Patriots. The Chiefs rang up 303 yards total offense on the Patriots’ 2nd ranked defense in the first half.

Kansas City kicked off the scoring with a 2 yard touchdown run to the right side by running back Jamal Charles (108 total offensive yards and 3 touchdowns) for a 7-0 lead with just under 2:24 left in the first quarter. Then Charles added his second touchdown, when he caught an X-Split Screen 5 yard touchdown091613-smith-alex-600 pass from quarterback Alex Smith (20 of 26 for 248 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions) in which the running back lined up as an X-receiver far out near the right sideline. It was now 14-0 Chiefs with 11:04 left in the second quarter.

The Chiefs had a chance near the end of the first half to go up 21-0 when Smith took the snap and with all night to throw, threw a 7 yard completion to wide receiver Dwayne Bowe who tried his best to inch his way into the end zone but Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis wasn’t having it. Revis reacted to the reception and then jumped on Bowe’s back with the two eventually falling down at the NE 2 yard line.

So in came rookie and former NFLPA Collegiate Bowl game placekicker Cairo Santos into the game to try a 22 yard field goal. The kick was good and the score was 17-0 Kansas City at halftime. With around 8:45 left in the third quarter, outside linebacker/rush end Tamba Hali quickly pass rushed past Patriot left tackle Nate Solder, and hit quarterback Tom Brady’s (14 of 23 for 159 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions) passing arm with the ball dropping to the turf and was being recovered by Hali at the NE 9 yard line.

That fumble recovery set up a Smith 9 yard touchdown strike to Charles for the running back’s third score of the game (2 rushing and 1 receiving) and a comfortable 24-0 Chiefs lead with 7:53 left in the third quarter. Then the Chiefs added more aggravation to the Patriots cause as on the ensuing drive, Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith intercepted Brady’s pass deep down the field and returned the theft to the NE 13 for a 47 yard return. That interception was huge for Smith, as quarterbacks had a 111.1 passer rating against him this year coming into tonight’s game. And that was his first interception since November 3, 2013 against the Buffalo Bills.

His pick set up a successful Santos 31 yard field goal for a 27-0 Chiefs lead with 5:29 left in the third quarter. But the Patriots showed a pulse on their ensuing drive, as running back Shane Vereen took a Brady pass and took off down field for a 28 yard gain to the KC 44 yard line. That complementary play set up a Brady 44 yard touchdown pass to receiver Brandon LaFell (6 catches for 119 yards and 1 score), who sped all alone down the right sideline and into the end zone for an eventual 27-7 Chiefs lead with around 3:40 left in the third quarter.

On the ensuing drive, Smith on play-action and with so much time to throw, looked to his right and then threw a corner route 2 yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce (8 catches for 93 yards and 1 score). It was now 34-7 KC with just under twelve minutes left in the game.

Another indication that this was KC’s night was when defensive back Husain Abdullah intercepted Brady on the drive that followed Kelce’s touchdown catch, and the defender returned the theft untouched into the end zone from 39 yards out and a 41-7 lead for the Chiefs with 10:44 left in the game.

But on the ensuing drive, All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski put some points on the board for the Patriots. Gronk on said play, caught rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s pass then bullied his way through the attempted tackles of Chiefs Abdullah and linebackers James Michael-Johnson and Josh Mauga and dove into the end zone for a 41-14 score with 7:25 left in the contest.

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NFL Week 5 Injury Report: Vikings at Packers http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nfl-week-5-injury-report-vikings-packers/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nfl-week-5-injury-report-vikings-packers/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 00:54:12 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140976 MINNESOTA VIKINGS at GREEN BAY PACKERS on Thursday night

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Practice Report

DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE

Monday
QB Teddy Bridgewater (ankle), LB Chad Greenway (hand, rib), CB Captain Munnerlyn (illness), TE Kyle Rudolph (abdomen, groin)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

Monday
RB Jerick McKinnon (ankle), CB Josh Robinson (hamstring)

FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

Monday
RB Jerome Felton (knee), LB Michael Mauti (foot), WR Rodney Smith (hamstring), LB Brandon Watts (knee)

GREEN BAY PACKERS
(Green Bay did not practice Monday. The Monday practice report is an estimation.)
Practice Report

DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE

Monday
LB Sam Barrington (hamstring), DT Josh Boyd (knee), WR Jarrett Boykin (groin)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

Monday
LB Brad Jones (quadricep), LB Clay Matthews (groin)

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A Look Back at NFL Week 4 http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/look-back-nfl-week-4/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/look-back-nfl-week-4/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:15:16 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140947 LANDMARK WINS: The DALLAS COWBOYS earned their 500th overall victory on Sunday night, defeating New Orleans 38-17. Including the playoffs, the Cowboys now own a 500-374-6 all-time record.

The GREEN BAY PACKERS topped Chicago 38-17 in Week 4, becoming the second team in NFL history with 700 regular-season victories. The Packers joined the Bears (732-536-45) as the only teams in NFL history to accomplish the feat.

 

The teams with the most regular-season wins in NFL history:

 

TEAMS

RECORD

WIN PERCENTAGE

Chicago Bears

732-536-42

.577

Green Bay Packers

700-539-37

.565

New York Giants

663-549-33

.547

Pittsburgh Steelers

571-521-20

.523

Washington Redskins

566-549-27

.508

                                                                                     Note: Ties prior to 1972 did not count in winning percentage.

 

EARLY VICTORIES: The TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS earned their first victory of the season in Week 4, defeating Pittsburgh 27-24 on a last-second touchdown. With the win, the 2014 season is tied for the most teams with one or more victories through four games since realignment in 2002.

The most teams to win at least once through four games in a season since 2002:

YEAR

TEAMS WITH ONE OR MORE WINS

THROUGH FOUR GAMES

2014

30

2012

30

2005

30

 

RISING RODGERS: Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns in the Packers’ Week 4 win over Chicago. Rodgers (25,196) surpassed 25,000 career passing yards during the contest, his 98th career game, becoming the fourth fastest quarterback to reach the 25,000-yard mark. Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (92), PEYTON MANNING (97) andKURT WARNER (97) accomplished the feat in the fewest number of games in NFL history.

Rodgers reached the 25,000-yard mark in 3,065 attempts, the fewest in NFL history. Warner, who previously held the record, reached the feat in 3,076 attempts.

The fastest players to reach 25,000 career passing yards:

 

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

# GAMES TO 25,000 YARDS

CAREER PASSING YARDS

Dan Marino

MIA

92

61,361

Peyton Manning

IND, DEN

97

65,778

Kurt Warner

STL, NYG, ARI

97

32,344

Aaron Rodgers

GB

98

25,196

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Breaking: E.J. Manuel Benched in Favor of Kyle Orton in Buffalo http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/breaking-e-j-manuel-benched-favor-kyle-orton-buffalo/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/breaking-e-j-manuel-benched-favor-kyle-orton-buffalo/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 19:53:36 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140936 After a pair of struggling performances for the second-year quarterback, what started as potential rumor has now become reality: the Bills will start Kyle Orton on Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

The decision comes after Manuel finished the first quarter of the season with a QBR of 19.2, ranked 32nd in the NFL just above Chad Henne. In the past two games, Manuel is a combined 44 of 83 for 263 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

With only fourteen NFL starts for Manuel that have resulted in a 6-8 record for the 2013 first round selection (No.16 overall), this would appear to be a bit short of a leash. However, new ownership coming in and expectations raised by the investments made in the offense (two first-round picks for Sammy Watkins and trading for Mike Williams) may have increased the urgency to make the move.

orton

Orton last played for the Dallas Cowboys, backing up Tony Romo before he stepped in Week 17 to start for an injured Romo and throw for 358 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in his first start in two years. It remains to be seen how long this is Orton’s job, but he has plenty of experience, starting 69 games in his NFL career.

Update 6:15 p.m.:

Marrone said that Orton made him confident enough to name him the starter with the way he has “practiced” and his experience.

 

“He has an opportunity now and we’re with him and we’re going to put him in the best position we can put him in to win games,” said Marrone.

The second-year head coach declined to say if Orton would be the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season. As for Manuel, Marrone said that it allows the young signall-caller to “step back for a moment and look at things that we can work on and correct”.

“Again, he’ll have to have some thick skin through this and you’ve got to fight,” said Marrone. “That’s what usually happens in life. To get what you want, you’re going to have to fight for it. I think that he’ll be able to grow. I think that he’ll be able to handle it well, from my conversation with him. And he’ll be able to continue to grow as a quarterback.”

The process of information in terms of who was told about the news was Manuel first, then offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, quarterback coach Todd Downing, the rest of the coaching staff, Orton, and then the team captains (Kyle Williams, Eric Wood, Fred Jackson, Corey Graham, Brandon Spikes, and Mario Williams). The decision will be addressed to the team on Wednesday, according to Marrone.

Greatly Improved Run Defense:

One positive that has remained a bright spot despite consecutive losses is a much improved run defense, as Buffalo allows the third-lowest yards rushing per game in the league (71.5), and second lowest average per rushing attempt (2.9). The Bills were fifth-worst and tenth-worst in those respective categories last year.

When asked for the biggest difference for the Bills, defensive end Mario Williams said it was “simply just being fundamentally sound.”

“At the end of the day, if we just play ball and do our responsibilities, we’ll be just fine,” said Williams. “The biggest thing for us so far has just being in our gaps and not doing too much.”

Not taking the bait:

While not playing like the 1985 Chicago Bears defense the past two weeks, Buffalo has only allowed a combined 45 points in a league where offense is king, but the Bills have only put up 27 points the last two weeks.

Safety Aaron Williams, however, would not blame the other side of the football. When asked about coach Marrone’s comments about it being a “team win or loss”, and being discouraged about the offense struggling, Williams made sure to keep a united front.

“No,” said Williams. “We’re not going to go down that route. We’re not going to divide this team. We’re not going to blame one person, like Coach said. When the team wins, it’s a team win. When the team loses we all loss. There are a lot of things that the defense should’ve done to help our offense out and vice versa. We’ve got to help each other in any way possible. We’re not going to point fingers. We’ve just have to work stronger and finish stronger as a team.”

Missing on offense:

Running back C.J. Spiller said the team needs to develop a “killer instinct” on offense, as Buffalo got closer to San Diego and Houston with one touchdown drive in both games to cut second-half deficits, but got no closer.

“That’s pretty much what we’re missing right now as an offense,” said Spiller.

In a game in which Manuel dropped back 44 times and was hit 16 times, including nine by J.J. Watt, center Eric Wood said “communication was tough” in Reliant Stadium for an offensive line that inserted rookie guard Cyril Richardson for his first career start and has a rookie at right tackle (Seantrel Henderson).

“They got us on some stunts and we all know that,” said Wood. “They beat us in matchups up front and we’re all to blame.”

More time together is the only thing that can improve those issues, Wood says.

“You just keep working and keep drilling it. We’ve got a lot of young offensive lineman new to positions and they’ll keep getting better.”

They might have to in a hurry, as they will face a big-time defensive line in Detroit, with former first-round picks Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, and Ezekiel Ansah known as premier talents that can both stop the run and rush the passer.

 

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Ravens Steve Smith Sr. & Daryl Smith Kickoff NFL Play 60 Assembly http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/ravens-steve-smith-sr-daryl-smith-kickoff-nfl-play-60-assembly/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/ravens-steve-smith-sr-daryl-smith-kickoff-nfl-play-60-assembly/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 19:18:05 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140927 The Baltimore Ravens and Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association kicked off their promotion of the in-school PLAY 60 Challenge on Monday as part of the national NFL PLAY 60 campaign that is designed to encourage kids to be active for at least 60 minutes a day in order to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity.

The first assembly was held at Collington Square Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore. The Ravens are challenging local students to be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day through an incentive-based system. Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and linebacker Daryl Smith were at the school to participate in activities such as four square and other playground games. Ravens cheerleaders and mascot Poe were also on hand to encourage the kids.

IMG_20140929_113121059The kids got the opportunity to ask the players questions at an assembly before they went outside and played for 60 minutes. Daryl Smith spoke about the importance of having a balanced diet. “I drink a lot of milk and water to keep my body nourished. It’s important to eat fruit and vegetables, the more healthy food and cut out the fatty foods that aren’t good for you.”

Steve Smith Sr. brought the same intensity that he has on the football field to the playground. He took a moment to tie his sneakers tightly before playing a chasing game. It seemed like he had as much, if not more fun than the kids. “I have fun getting out there be a kid out there in their world. We played four square, wall ball, all that stuff. That’s fun. It’s something that both parties are going to remember.” Smith Sr. said.

It is important that the NFL does this Play 60 program because physical education is being taken out of schools across the country. Smith offered a pretty strong argument for keeping kid’s active and keeping physical education in schools. “Physical education is great because you will have things in gym that require problem solving.” Smith continued; “Also, you have to be able to get that nervous energy out so that they can focus in the classroom. You can’t just have eight hours of class room and no physical activity, 1. For their health and 2. mentally. They have to get that frustration out instead of sitting in the classroom for so long. You want to get out and spread your wings so to speak.”

Sports are looked at as a game but it is something that is an outlet and helps to develop discipline and other personality traits that will transfer over to life. That’s another point that Smith made when I spoke to him.

“Sports are used as a tool. Without the classroom, you can’t play sports. Have to have the grades. You will always physically and mentally be challenged in sports because you have an opponent. Society is so focused on how everyone is a winner. Sometimes, it has to be revealed that you didn’t win that day. When you don’t win, how are you going to handle it, what are you going to do, where are you going to go? They need to experience those things so that they can be able to handle it and know how to handle it when they become older. “

Melvin Holmes Jr. is the principal at Collington elementary. He was very appreciative of the Ravens and their players that came out to help encourage the kids to be active. He is actually a Ravens fan so it was a great occasion for him. Holmes said that the school partnered with a group called Playworks which helps out during recess. They make sure that recess is organized and offer gym like classes that the kids take part in for 45 minutes a day. Playworks reached out to the Ravens and got them to come to the school. The school has started to change lunches to include less junk and sugar filled foods.

In-classroom tracking materials and individual student guides were distributed for the kids to record their physical activity throughout the duration of the four-week program. The tracking materials include specified benchmarks. Students will be awarded prizes such as water bottles, footballs and other Ravens items by reaching the benchmarks. The program will cover a range of schools in the Baltimore area.  One lucky student from a selected school will get the chance to attend the Ravens vs Chargers game on November 30th and take part in a pre-game ceremony. Top performers from participating schools will attend a prize luncheon in the spring of 2015. Please be sure to encourage any kids that you know to go out and play for 60 minutes every day, it’s good for them!

Follow on Twitter: @TDavenport_PPI / @PlayerInsiders

 

 

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Titans At Colts Recap @SportsbySharona http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/titans-colts-recap-sportsbysharona/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/titans-colts-recap-sportsbysharona/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140888 Stop me if you have heard this one before. The Tennessee Titans traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana to take on the Colts and left with their head between their legs.This time it was a 41-17 loss where the Titans played so badly it was never a ballgame. After bad games against Dallas and Cincinnati it was discouraging to see such ineptitude on the field. Here is our Titans At Colts recap.

titans 2013 sked results

This team is worse than last year’s team which went 7-9 but was at least competitive against some of the best teams in the league. The team that almost beat Kansas City, Seattle and Arizona looked like a backyard pickup team on the field against the Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals and the Indianapolis Colts. To be sure that team also handed the Jaguars their first win but that team was still better than the current version.

Where do the Titans go from here? There are way too many problems to be corrected by a “quick fix.” Charlie Whitehurst played decently even good at times but was victimized by his wide receivers including Justin Hunter who tipped a pass right to a Colts defender for an interception.  Delanie Walker is the only reliable receiver the Titans have right now.

After the game I asked Titans fans to weigh in on how this team can be fixed or if it can be.

Thanks to all who responded. Here are the best responses:

Bishop Sankey could be good but the Titans are allergic to running the football. Charlie Whitehurst led the Titans in rushing today with five carries for 40 yards. Sankey carried the ball six times for 37 yards and a touchdown. Shonn Greene had three carries for ten yards and Dexter McCluster two carries for one yard.

The Titans pass/ run ratio this year is 129/76 which only includes designed run plays. I really like Leon Washington but wonder why he on the field so much on offense. It’s not like Sankey et. al. need a breather or anything. They are hardly getting carries at all.

Whitehurst isn’t bad but you have to think Locker gets the start next week if he is healthy. At least Locker and Whitehurst are mobile enough to help compensate for the terrible state of the offensive line. Zach Mettenberger did nothing to indicate he is close to ready and putting him behind this line seems unfair to a guy recovering from an ACL.

It will be interesting to see how many sacks Pro Football Focus credits to Michael Roos. At least three times a defender came around the left edge to get to the quarterback today. We previously wrote Lewan might be in line to get a start soon. The Titans offensive line continues to play poorly in pass protection and it is becoming a major concern.

Blidi Wreh-Wilson might be the worst cornerback in the league right now of all full time starters but what options do they have? Start rookie Marqueston Huff who played safety his last  year in college? Move Sensabaugh to the outside? There aren’t any good solutions to that dilemma and someone off the streets isn’t likely to be any better.

The Titans are thin at talent at linebacker and Zaviar Gooden hasn’t quite filled the gap left by the season ending arm injury to Zach Brown. Rookie Avery Williamson played a lot today and made some nice plays. Wesley Woodyard has been a very good pickup but he had a missed tackle that led to a Colts score.

The Titans did not register a sack today and are not consistent getting pressure. There is plenty of blame to spread around for the woes on defense. The Titans run defense held up rather well with the exception of the Trent Richardson touchdown but the Titans pass defense 393 yards in the air.

At least Ryan Succop converted his only field goal try today a 36 yarder to put the Titans on the board in the second quarter. Brett Kern had a better day today but special teams units continue to struggle badly. The return game is nonexistent.

This is a bad football team and the coaching hasn’t inspired much confidence. The Titans return home next Sunday to face the Cleveland Browns. In their only other home game thus far Cowboys fans blanketed the stadium. Will fans stay away in droves after three straight weeks of football ineptitude? It’s reasonable to think they will.

Ken Whisenhunt absolutely deserves time to show what he can do but he surely knows his team can’t continue to play this poorly. He said after the game that perhaps the coaching staff had overestimated the team. I find that statement rather curious and wonder how it played inside the locker room. It doesn’t inspire confidence either.

Former Titans head coach Mike Munchak had a winning record his first season in 2011. There were calls for his job early on in 2012 and the calls got even louder last season which contributed to his termination. The Titans haven’t made the playoffs since 2008 and this team certainly doesn’t look playoff worthy.

The Titans lack depth and their 2014 draft class so far isn’t contributing in a big way though that can certainly change. The Titans did make a few significant changes so Whisenhunt certainly has made a mark on the roster. Their off-season acquisitions with the exception of Wesley Woodyard haven’t make much impact either.

If there are answers to be found the Titans better find them quickly.

 

 

 

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Reactions to the Buffalo Buffalo’s 23-17 Loss to the Houston Texans http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/reactions-buffalo-buffalos-23-17-loss-houston-texans/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/reactions-buffalo-buffalos-23-17-loss-houston-texans/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140896 The Buffalo Bills dropped their second straight game of the season to the Houston Texans 23-17 this afternoon at NRG Stadium.

It was an ugly game for both offenses, as neither the Bills (2-2) nor Texans (3-1) could really get much going.

The Bills had their chances, including two drives at the end of the game in which they had a chance to win the game with a touchdown, but the first would end in a 3-and-out and the second would end with the game clinching interception by Houston’s Darryl Morris at the Houston 15-yard-line with just over a minute left to play in the game.

Here is what stuck out to me the most in this one.

CJ Spiller 350

Quick Slants

  • Don’t be surprised to see a quarterback change either this week, or next week if the Bills lose to the Detroit Lions (with the New England Patriots on deck after that). I’m sure the Bills front office is really going to think long and hard about what to do next week at the quarterback position. Let’s be honest here, with average quarterback play the Buffalo Bills win today. It was another brutal day for EJ Manuel (21-for-44 passing, 225 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions) who badly missed wide-open wide receivers all game. I want to say that it isn’t exactly far for Manuel to get the pressure that he is (as the guy hasn’t even started a full regular seasons worth of games yet), but that is today’s NFL. Quarterbacks have to win now and with the new owners on the way, the Bills need to win football games. Kyle Orton isn’t going to take over games for the Bills, but he will fit that “game manager” role that the Bills are looking for right now. He also will force the ball downfield in an offense that has looked predictable and hasn’t really been effective through the first quarter of the season. There is just so much pressure to win this year that another ugly loss to the Lions next week to drop them to 2-3 on the year could send EJ to the bench. I don’t see Manuel holding onto his job unless he goes out there and performs against Detroit and they get a victory. His accuracy issues today were just downright dreadful. You can coach up a guy all you want, but you can’t teach accuracy and it is really discouraging that we haven’t really seen any improvement out of EJ in this aspect of his game since he has been a professional. Again, it isn’t really fair to the young quarterback but life isn’t always fair when your team hasn’t been to the playoffs in well over a decade. The Bills need to put the best player out there that they believe will win them the most games this season. I hope I’m wrong, and Manuel gets the chance he deserves to play out the year as the starter, I just feel like the Bills will be quick to make a change if they think it will results in different results on the scoreboard.  This check down offense is just not working and it isn’t putting up any touchdowns on the scoreboard.
  • The Ryan Fitzpatrick that took the field today is the same one that suited up for Buffalo just a couple short years ago. The guy doesn’t have all the skills, but boy, he really has the hearts and guts that you are looking for out of your quarterback. Sure he forces some bad passes (the two interceptions show that) and can struggle with accuracy issues of his own, but he really leaves it all out there on the field. In his time in Buffalo, “Fitz” won me over with his heart. He showed it again in this one as he dropped his shoulder to take on monster Mario Williams when he was trying to pick up a first down on a early game scramble. It wasn’t successful, but he once again proved how tough he is and what a competitor he is on the field. It just goes to show why he is one of the most respected teammates in the league.
  • The Bills rushing defense is really a force to be reckoned with this year.  This Buffalo unit is greatly improved in this area from just a year ago, in which they were one of the worst teams at stopping the run. The Bills allowed just 1.5 yards a carry (37 yards on 24 carries), as they forced the Texans to abandon the run completely in this game until the very end when they were trying to nurse their lead.  If there was one bright spot on the day it was Bills defensive unit, who kept the team in the game all day, and made some key stops late to give the offense a chance to win.
  • In case you didn’t know it, JJ Watt is one of the best football players on the entire planet.  He was a force all game, constantly blowing up running plays and making life difficult when getting pressure on EJ Manuel.  He also changed the outlook of the whole game on his 80-yard-interception for a touchdown to start off the third quarter.  Watt stepped in front of a Manuel dump off to Fred Jackson and then raced 80-yards untouched for the score.  The touchdown would give the Texans their first lead of the game, and they would never look back. Watt also added two solo tackles and three assists.
  • Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins out produced Sammy Watkins in the battle of former Clemson stars.  Hopkins hauled in five passes for 64 yards and a touchdown while Watkins had four catches for 30 yards and a touchdown of his own.  Hopkins was explosive and won a jump ball to on his touchdown, a 35 yard score.  That touchdown would bring the Texans close before halftime, at 10-7.  Watkins on the other hand lacked chemistry with his own quarterback and started off the game with some bad drops.  He was also missed on a few open plays, which didn’t help his afternoon out at all.  Watkins touchdown came on a 10-yard slant pattern in the second quarter.
  • Bills corner Corey Graham was the toast of the town while the Bills were enjoying their 2-0 starts.  The veteran free agent signee was all over the field in his first couple games, defending on multiple passes as teams tried to target him.  Well, maybe we know have seen the reason why he was targeted so much.  Graham didn’t look good in this one, coming in for the injured Leodis McKelvin.  He was also the corner who got beat by Hopkins on his score.  It will be interesting to see who is deemed the starters for next week game in a group of corners that has received up and down play from everyone on the unit to start the season.  At the end of four games, no one corner has stood out and been the standout above the rest.  Too much inconstant play could make the passing defense an area of concern.
  • Texans wideout Andre Johnson continued his strong season to date, catching six passes for 71 yards.  He now has 22 catches for 262 yards on the season.

Game MVP

Houston’s Defensive Lineman JJ Watt

The guy was just all over the field and singlehandedly wouldn’t allow the Bills offense to get anything going.  Kind of crazy how much teams have to game plan to try to limit his impact on the field.  He is just a really special talent.

On Tap for Next Week

The Buffalo Bills will travel to Detroit to take on the 3-1 Lions at 1:00 PM (eastern).

Bottomline

The Bills were the better football team on paper and should have won this game against a very beatable Houston squad.  In the end, quarterback play killed their chances of winning this one.  The happiness and exictment of 2-0 is now gone and the Bills have to be ready to take on a very good football team in Detroit, who is trying to send the Bills below the .500 mark for the first time this season.  If they aren’t ready, these next few weeks could squash Bills early season success and have them scratching their head again on another playoff-less season.

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Don Davey: Countdown to Kona http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/don-davey-ironman-melissa-mahler-kona/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/don-davey-ironman-melissa-mahler-kona/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:30:38 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140279
It’s been a busy few weeks! 
Last Thursday I flew up to Madison, Wisconsin for an awesome weekend: Thursday: Watched the Packer/Seahawk game with Packer Legend Jerry Kramer! 
Friday: Donated $15,000 to the City of Madison Fire Department as part of our Firehouse/Ironman partnership.  I am also including a photo of the mural on the wall of our newest Firehouse Subs on the University of Wisconsin campus (former Badger greats me, JJ Watt, Troy Vincent, and Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne carrying our former coach Barry Alvarez).
Don Davey Troy Vincent Mural  story by Melissa Mahler
Saturday: Watched my Badgers beat up on Western Illinois with  Athletic Director Barry Alvarez in his suite.  My buddy Chris Macintosh also was inducted into the Wisconsin Hall of Fame. 
Sunday: Did the 2.4 mile swim and 112 bike portion of Ironman Wisconsin as a tune up for Kona. 
Last week: Heaviest training week of the year….24 total hours of training!  Photos of me and my coach, Steve Petit 
This past weekend: 100 mile bike ride through the hills of Tallahassee 
This morning:  18 mile run (longest run of the year) 
I’m cooked! 
Then I have 2 weeks of “Taper”, where my training gradually decreases in the final weeks leading up to the race.
Don Davey
Kona the Ironman Super BowlOctober 11, 2014 is the day many athletes have trained for and dreamed of for a long time. The IRONMAN itself was the dream of John Collins. “In 1978, U.S. Naval Commander John Collins and his wife Judy issued a challenge. They proposed combining Oahu’s 2.4 mile swim race, 112 mile bike race, and 26.2 mile marathon. On February 18, 1978 fifteen competitors, including Collins, traveled to Waikiki to take on the first-ever IRONMAN challenge.”Don Davey, former NFL player with the Packers and Jaguars, has had visions of himself competing in the Ironman World Championship for about ten years. After he retired from the NFL, Davey began his triathlon career with shorter-distance races and then, in 2005, he increased his mileage and competed in his first IRONMAN in Wisconsin (most appropriate for a Badger). Since then, he has completed numerous IRONMAN competitions including the Frankfurter Sparkasse IRONMAN in 2012 where he missed qualifying for Kona by just 12 minutes. Of Kona, Davey said, “he wouldn’t stop until he got there.” October 11, 2104 is the day his dream comes true.
Davey has set a few goals for himself at the World Championship next month.1. To finish. This is always his first goal when doing a grueling IRONMAN.2. To be the biggest NFL player to complete the race 3. To be the fastest NFL player to complete the race 4. To hear the words at the finish “Don Davey you are an Ironman” We’ll keep you posted on Davey’s training, journey to the finish line and his tattoo plans. For more follow @Melissa_PPI and @Davey919992 More About Don Davey Wisconsin Badgers 1986-1990 Green Bay Packers 1991-1995 Jacksonville Jaguars 1995-1999 Defensive lineman 9 year NFL veteran Defensive lineman 1991 NFL Draft / Third Round pick of Green Bay Packers Hometown: Manitowoc, Wisconsin Don Davey was the first and is still the only 4 time First Team Academic All-America in NCAA History. After completing his Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Don went on to play for nine seasons in the NFL. Since retiring from the NFL, Don has launched Disciplined Equity Management, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm with over $150MM in assets under management; DKSS Subs, Firehouse Subs’ largest franchise operation with multiple locations in Central Florida and Wisconsin; and Parrothead Properties, a real estate investment company with properties in Florida and Wisconsin. Don serves on the advisory board for the NFL’s Player Engagement Program, a program created to help athletes make a successful transition out of the NFL.
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Roundtable Discussion: A Former NFL Player Talks About How To Stop #Domestic Violence Now http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nfl-player-melissa-mahler-talks-how-to-stop-domestic-violence-now/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/nfl-player-melissa-mahler-talks-how-to-stop-domestic-violence-now/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:11:35 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140668 Leading Experts and Advocates Share Insights and Real Solutions that Are Having an Impact in Stopping Abuse

In the first few weeks of the NFL season, much of the spotlight has turned to the incidents of domestic abuse involving Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald, Adrian Peterson, and Jonathan Dwyer, and how the league has responded to and adjudicated their cases.

The news cycle involving these incidents has put domestic violence, including spousal and child abuse, into the national spotlight for the first time since the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State. The question now is how the NFL’s association with the newest discussion around domestic violence can be leveraged to  help take meaningful action that will put and end to domestic violence.

Melissa Mahler, Andrew Willis Barry Goldstein

Melissa Mahler of Pro Player Insiders hosted a roundtable discussion to talk about domestic abuse, how the league and commissioner Roger Goodell have handled the domestic violence cases, the Quincy Solution and what the league, players and all of us can do to help stop abuse.

The panel featured Andrew Willis, CEO and Co-Founder of the Stop Abuse Campaign and child abuse survivor; Al Chesley, former NFL player and child sexual abuse advocate and a child abuse survivor; Barry Goldstein, author of the Quincy Solution: Stop Domestic Abuse and save $500 Billion; and Melanie Blow, a New York leader with the Stop Abuse Campaign.

 

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Seahawks’ Legend Steve Largent: A Man of Mentors http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/seahawks-legend-steve-largent-a-man-of-mentors/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/seahawks-legend-steve-largent-a-man-of-mentors/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 08:11:51 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140343 1976 was supposed to be a new beginning for the Houston Oilers. Despite ranking 23rd out of 26 teams in passing offense, the future looked bright after finishing the 1975 NFL Season with a 10-4 record.  It was the first time Houston posted a winning record since 1967.  Quarterback Dan Pastorini was a pro bowler utilizing the infamous Billy “White Shoes” Johnson and wide receiver Ken Burrough as his prime targets.

10-4 however was not good enough for a playoff berth in 1975.  Double digit wins only amounted to a third place finish in the AFC Central.  Both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals posted a supreme body of work and were the beneficiaries of all four of Houston’s losses.

So it came as no surprise when the Oilers entered the 1976 NFL Draft looking for an upgrade.  Determined worthy of their fourth round pick and 117th player taken overall was Steve Largent out of Tulsa.  Largent was the 17th wide receiver chosen in the draft as the Oilers hoped to add depth and a potential third option for Dan Pastorini.

Largent was a touchdown scoring machine in college, leading the NCAA in both receiving yards and touchdown’s scored in 1975.  Yet, professional football teams were hesitant to pull the trigger on Largent due to his limited size and speed.  The 1970’s was an era of big physical defensive backs.  Listed at 5-11 and weighing in at 185 pounds, many questioned Largent’s ability to make an impact at the next level.

The Oilers failed to see potential in Largent during training camp in 1976.  Seeking some compensation, Houston worked out a trade with the Seattle Seahawks.  Just two weeks before the start of the NFL season, Largent was sent to Seattle in exchange for an eighth round draft pick in 1977.  The Oilers used that draft pick to choose wide receiver Steve Davis out of the University of Georgia.  He never played a down in the NFL.

The Oilers digressed in 1976 falling to a 5-9 record.  Meanwhile Largent went on to grab 54 receptions, more than any Houston Oilers wide receiver that same year.

To get to know Steve Largent the football player you have to look beyond his record-setting statistics.  He was much more than that.  How does one overcome physical limitations to achieve greatness?  Largent candidly responded,

“I know how I prepared to play the game and I think that preparation was really the key to my success.  Whether that separated me from anyone else, I wasn’t comparing notes, I think that was the thing that pushed me over the edge and made me a better player”.

Consider who Largent faced week to week in the NFL.  He drew the best cornerbacks the Seahawks’ opponents had to offer.  Twice a year he faced Louis Wright, the Denver Broncos 5-time Pro Bowler and 2-time First Team All-Pro.  Twice again he would face Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Haynes, a 9-time Pro Bowler of the Oakland Raiders.  Twice more he battled Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Albert Lewis, a 4-time Pro Bowler and 2-time First Team All Pro.

Preparation was essential, yet Steve Largent speaks humbly.  Heart and fight is what separated him from the best.

On September 4th 1988, the Seattle Seahawks opened their NFL season versus the Denver Broncos.  Steve Largent has two receptions for 21 yards when he is targeted once again by quarterback Dave Krieg on a post pattern toward the middle of the field.  Broncos’ safety Mike Harden attacks with his forearm launching it towards the defenseless receiver, directly into Largent’s face.  The force dropped Largent temporarily unconscious with two cracked teeth and a broken facemask.  Harden hovered over Largent’s weakened body tauntingly offering intimidating growls.  Suffering from an obvious concussion he needed to be helped off the field.  Despite the serious head injury he would start the next game.

Mike Harden was fined $5,000.00 for the illegal hit.

Now fast forward to December 11th 1988.  In a wild series of events in which words cannot do justice, Largent would get his revenge.  Perhaps it was karma that created the circumstances and allowed us to witness the fight one needs to become legend.

Intercepting a Dave Krieg pass in the end zone, Harden’s eyes glowed.  He ran to the ten yard line, cut to the left, reached the twenty, and never saw what happened next.  Largent hurled himself at the unsuspecting defender knocking him off both feet and ejecting the football from Harden’s grasp in a play one must see to believe.

Harden was not injured on the play, but his pride most certainly was.

Largent’s greatest game possibly came about in 1981 versus the New York Jets and their infamous “New York Sack Exchange” defense.  Trailing in the fourth quarter Dave Krieg connected with Largent on a 57 yard game winning touchdown to give the Seahawks the upset victory.  He had 7 receptions for 169 yards on the day.

Asking Largent on the subject will give you a much different answer however.  The game he describes as his most memorable was one in which he did not catch a single pass until there was less than four minutes left in the game.  That game was on New Year’s Eve in 1983.  The 9-7 Seahawks were in the divisional playoff round playing the 12-4 Dolphins in Miami.  Geographically there are no two NFL teams further apart.  Despite travelling over 3,300 miles and being eight point underdogs, the Seahawks grinded out a 27-20 upset win reaching their first ever AFC Championship game.

Team first.

Steve Largent retired as the NFL’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and most consecutive games with a catch.  A recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 1988, it’s no wonder he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

At the penultimate moment of his career, being immortalized and enshrined forever at the Pro Football Hall of fame, Largent looked upon his newly unveiled bronze bust and gave a heartfelt tribute to those he considers to be real heroes.

He described himself as a man of mentors, fortunate to be in the paths of spirit filled souls who helped fill his emptiness amidst his parents’ divorce, alienation from his father, and a questionable future early in his NFL career.

His mother never missed a game or practice, and talked him out of quitting football in high school.  His grandfather stepped in to help guide him.  His coaches taught him leadership and character.  The real heroes, he said, are the parents and mentors who help us along the way.

He perused the crowd in Canton, Ohio and spoke of the epidemic of absentee fathers and the difference one person can make in the life of a child.  Largent’s NFL career, in his eyes, was proof of the difference mentors can make in a young person’s life.  They have the ability to steer and guide a broken spirit away from violence and despair.

I spoke to him about the difficulty of transitioning beyond football.  After all, what does a person do when they can no longer do what they were born to do? Said Largent,

“It was difficult, but it was something I was excited about doing.  My thought was I didn’t want to coach, I didn’t want to do announcing, I wanted a different occupation, a different challenge and something new, and all I did really was apply the principles I learned from [Seattle Seahawks head coach] Chuck Knox on how to be a good teammate, how to be a good individual player, how to prepare yourself and I just tried to apply those in everything I do today and it proved to be pretty successful.”

Steve Largent, a man of mentors indeed.

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Seven Stats from Sunday: NFL Week 4 http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/seven-stats-sunday-nfl-week-4/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/seven-stats-sunday-nfl-week-4/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 02:03:51 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140901  

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. ET and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 28, the fourth week of the 2014 season.

  • Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS completed 22 of 28 passes (78.6 percent) for 302 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 151.2 passer rating in the Packers’ 38-17 win at Chicago. The victory was the 700th regular-season win in franchise history and the Packers join the Bears (732) as the only teams to accomplish the feat.

Rodgers, who now has 25,196 career passing yards, reached 25,000 passing yards in 3,065 attempts, the fewest attempts in NFL history to reach the mark. KURT WARNER, who previously held the mark, reached 25,000 yards in 3,076 attempts.

  • Indianapolis quarterback ANDREW LUCK completed 29 of 41 passes (70.7 percent) for 393 yards with four touchdowns and one interception for a 123.3 passer rating in the Colts’ 41-17 win over Tennessee. Luck, who last week completed 31 of 39 passes (79.5 percent) for 370 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 140.4 rating in a 44-17 win over Jacksonville, is the first player in NFL history to post consecutive games with at least 370 passing yards, four or more touchdown passes, a completion percentage above 70 percent and one or no interceptions.

Colts wide receiver REGGIE WAYNE had seven catches for 119 yards and a touchdown in Indianapolis’ win. With 1,029 career receptions, Wayne passed ISAAC BRUCE (1,024) for the seventh-most receptions in NFL history.

  • Rookie quarterbacks BLAKE BORTLES of Jacksonville and TEDDY BRIDGEWATER of Minnesota each made his first NFL start today. Along with Oakland’s DEREK CARR, three rookies have started at quarterback this season. It marks the fourth consecutive season (2011-14) in which at least three rookies started at quarterback in a September game. That is the longest such streak in the Super Bowl era.
  • Baltimore wide receiver STEVE SMITH, SR. had seven catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns in the Ravens’ 38-10 win over Carolina. Smith has 429 receiving yards this season, the most ever by a 35+ year old player through the first four games of a season.

Smith, who is the Panthers’ all-time leading receiver with 12,197 yards, is the second player in NFL history to have 100+ receiving yards in his first game against a franchise for which he had 10,000+ receiving yards (TORRY HOLT, October 18, 2009 against St. Louis).

  • Green Bay’s RANDALL COBB had seven catches for 113 yards with two touchdowns and teammate JORDY NELSON recorded 10 receptions for 108 yards with two touchdowns in the Packers’ win at Chicago. Cobb and Nelson are the first Packers teammates to each have at least 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the same game since December 21, 1969 (CARROLL DALE and BOYD DOWLER).
  • Houston defensive end J.J. WATT had an 80-yard interception-return touchdown in the Texans’ 23-17 win over Buffalo. It marked the first interception-return touchdown for Watt in the regular season; he also had a 29-yard INT-TD in a Wild Card win over Cincinnati (January 7, 2012).

Watt is the only player in NFL history with at least 35 sacks (38.5), an interception-return touchdown and a receiving touchdown in his first four NFL seasons.

  • There were zero combined punts in the Green Bay-Chicago game, making it just the second regular-season game in NFL history without a single punt (Buffalo vs. San Francisco, September 13, 1992). There has been one playoff game in NFL history with zero combined punts (Kansas City vs. Indianapolis, AFC Divisional, January 11, 2004).

 

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NFL Week 4 Highlights: Packers, Ravens, Colts, Texans http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/week-4-highlights-packers-ravens-colts-texans/ http://proplayerinsiders.com/nfl-player-team-news-features/week-4-highlights-packers-ravens-colts-texans/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 23:01:09 +0000 http://proplayerinsiders.com/?p=140875 New York Giants 45, Washington Redskins 14

Click here for game recap

Green Bay Packers 38 (2-2), Chicago Bears 17 (2-2)

During the week, Aaron Rodgers told everyone in Packer land to “R-E-L-A-X”. Rodgers gave them good reason to, leading Green Bay to a 38-17 drubbing of NFC North rival Chicago.

But the Bears started fast, going 80 yards in 15 plays, finishing with a Jay Cutler pass to a wide open Brandon Marshall from six yards out with 6:30 left in first quarter. Green Bay answered quickly, going 81 yards in six plays, with Eddie Lacy running it in from two yards out to tie it with 4:08 left.

Following a Robbie Gould field goal, Rodgers began his magnificent day, finding Jordy Nelson for a three yard touchdown to give Green Bay a 14-10 lead with 10:11 left in the second quarter. The Bears got back on top, as Cutler found Alshon Jeffery from 8 yards out with just under four minutes remaining to make it 17-14.

Rodgers continued to torch Chicago, finding Randall Cobb for a 22 yard touchdown with just over a minute left in the half to give the Packers a 21-17 halftime lead that they would not relinquish. Following a Mason Crosby field goal and Clay Matthews interception of Cutler, Rodgers and Nelson found the endzone again on an 11 yard connection to take a commanding 31-17 advantage with 4:28 left in the third quarter.

Green Bay sealed it, with Rodgers again finding Cobb, this time on a three yard TD pass with 14:52 left to make it 38-17. Rodgers was 22 of 28 for 302 yards and four touchdowns, while Cobb caught seven passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns and Nelson had 10 grabs for 108 yards and two touchdowns.

The turnover prone Jay Cutler returned after a couple-week absence, as he was intercepted twice along with his two touchdowns on a day where he went 22 of 34 for 256 yards. Tight end Martellus Bennett led Chicago with nine grabs for 134 yards, while Matt Forte had 122 yards rushing and 49 yard receiving, as Jeffery and Marshall were held to a combined 6 catches for 58 yards.

Rodgers became the fourth fastest quarterback to pass 25,000 yards through the air in his career (behind Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, and Kurt Warner). This game was also the first in the NFL since 2007 in which neither time punted.

JJ Watt

 

Houston Texans 23 (3-1), Buffalo Bills 17 (2-2) 

In a matchup against his former team, Ryan Fitzpatrick was aided greatly by J.J. Watt and the Texans defense, as Houston defeated Buffalo, 23-17.

The Bills put the first points on the board, as Dan Carpenter hit a 31 yard field goal with 11:37 left in the second quarter. Less than two minutes later, a promosing Texans drive ended when Andre Johnson fumbled and Da’Norris Searcy recovered the ball for Buffalo.

Eight plays later, E.J. Manuel found rookie receiver Sammy Watkins for a touchdown from five yards out to give Buffalo a 10-0 lead. But with 57 seconds left, Houston wideout DeAndre Hopkins, a teammate of Watkins at Clemson, got open and caught a 35 yard strike from Fitzpatrick to put the Texans within 3 at halftime.

On the first play of the second half, Fitzpatrick’s pass was tipped and intercepted by linebacker Nigel Bradham at Houston’s 20 yard line. Three plays later, however, Watt, who had nine hits on Manuel, leaped in front of the quarterback’s pass, caught it, and ran it 79 yards for a touchdown to give the Texans a 14-10 lead.

A pair of Randy Bullock field goals made it a 20-10 game with 9:21 left in game, with Buffalo not having scored on seven straight possessions. With pressure early, Manuel escaped the pocket and found a wide-open Mike Williams behind the defense for an 80 yard touchdown on the first play of the drive to get Buffalo within 3 with just over nine minutes remaining.

The Bills had a chance to win the game, getting down to the Texans’ 41 yard line with 1:14 left, but Manuel threw a pass into triple coverage that was intercepted by Daryl Morris, sealing the win for Houston. Fitzpatrick went 25 of 37 for 268 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, while Manuel was 21 of 44 for 225 yards and two interceptions.

Andrew Luck

 

Indianapolis Colts 41 (2-2), Tennessee Titans (1-3)

Andrew Luck continued what could be a career year for him, leading the Colts to a 41-17 blowout victory over the Titans in Tennessee.

A 37 yard pass from Luck to T.Y. Hilton set up a one-yard touchdown run by Trent Richardson to make it 7-0 with 7:06 left in 1st quarter. In the final minute of the first quarter, Luck found tight end Dwayne Allen from 7 yards out to double the lead for Indianapolis.

After a pair of Colts field goals by Adam Vinatieri and one for the Titans by Ryan Succop in the second quarter, Luck was intercepted at his own 32 by Wesley Woodyard in the final minute, who took it to the 25. Charlie Whitehurst, starting for the injured Jake Locker, threw a 7 yard touchdown pass to tight end Delanie Walker, to cut the lead to 20-10 before half.

But Indianapolis’ offense kicked into high gear, as Luck found Reggie Wayne for a 28 yard touchdown with 8:15 left in third, and then went to Coby Fleener from two yards out four minutes later to give the Colts an insurmountable 34-10 advantage. Tennessee did have rookie running Bishop Sankey score from two yards on a run play in the last minute of the third quarter to make it 34-17.

In the fourth quarter, though, Luck threw to Ahmad Bradshaw, who ran it in from 15 yards out for the game’s final score, 41-17. Luck was 29 of 41 for 393 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, with Wayne catching 7 for 119 yards and Hilton collecting 6 grabs for 105 yards.

Whitehurst struggled in his first regular season action since 2011, going 12 of 23 for 177 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

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Baltimore Ravens 38 (3-1), Carolina Panthers 10 (2-2)

Steve Smith further proved that the Carolina Panthers made a mistake letting him go, helping lead the Baltimore Ravens to a 38-10 shellacking of his former team.

Smith began the scoring by gathering a pass tipped by tight end Owen Daniels and taking it 61 yards into the end zone with 13:12 left in the second quarter. The Panthers answered, as Cam Newton found Smith’s replacement, rookie stud Kelvin Benjamin, for a 28 yard touchdown with 8:35 left in the half.

But from there, it was nearly all Ravens, as starting running back Justin Forsett ran it in from 11 yards out with under six minutes left in the half. Then in the final two minutes of the half, Smith struck again, as Joe Flacco fired a 21 strike to Smith in the end zone, making it 21-7 with 1:53 remaining in the half, a score that would remain at halftime.

Another Smith struck for Baltimore, as Torrey Smith scored from 24 yards out with just under 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter to put the Ravens ahead three touchdowns. With three and a half minutes left in the quarter, Graham Gano hit a 37 yard field goal to cut the lead to 28-10.

But the Panthers were done for good when rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro scored from one yard out with 11:34 remaining in game to put the score at 35-10. Flacco was 22 of 31 for 327 yards and three touchdowns, while Steve Smith caught 7 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns.

Cam Newton was only 14 of 25 for 197 yards and a touchdown. In the past two games, both against AFC North teams, Carolina has been outscored 75-19.

Matt Stafford, 350x350

Detroit Lions 24, New York Jets 17

Despite only 2 catches for 12 yards by star receiver Calvin Johnson, the Lions’ passing game was lethal enough to give Detroit a 24-17 win over the New York Jets in the Meadowlands.

After the teams exchanged field goals in the first quarter, Matt Stafford went to work, finding receiver Jeremy Ross on a 59 yard pass for a score with 6:19 left in the second quarter. Then, Stafford ended a five play, 47 yard drive with a 16 yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Eric Ebron with just 22 seconds left in the half to take a 17-3 advantage into halftime.

Following boos from the home crowd, the Jets got their offense going, with Geno Smith leading New York 74 yards on 11 plays, and finding Eric Decker from an 11 yard touchdown to cut the lead in half, 17-10. But Stafford took the Lions 90 yards on 14 plays, and ran it in on the first play of the fourth quarter from a yard out to again double the lead.

With just under seven minutes, Chris Johnson took a handoff 34 yards to the house to again make it a one-score game, 24-17. But the Jets would get no closer, as Stafford’s stellar 24 of 34 for 293 yard and two touchdown performance was enough for Detriot to get the win.

In Johnson’s mostly absent day due to an ankle injury, Golden Tate stepped up with 8 catches for 116 yards. Geno Smith struggled once again, going 17 of 33 for 209 yards, a touchdown, an interception, and a lost fumble, already giving him eight turnovers on the season.

Miami Dolphins v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 (1-3), Pittsburgh Steelers (24)

Ten days after one of the most embarassing performances in recent memory, the Buccaneers got the upset of the early portion of the day, defeating the Steelers in Pittsburgh 27-24.

Tampa Bay started quickly, as a Ben Roethlisberger fumble was recovered inside the Steelers’ 10. Two plays later, new starting quarterback Mike Glennon found rookie wideout Mike Evans on a seven yard touchdown.

After the teams exchanged field goals, Roethlisberger went to Antonio Brown, who scored from 11 yards out at the end of the first quarter to tie the game at 10. Brown and Roethlisberger connected again with just under five minutes remaining in the half from 27 yards out to give Pittsburgh its first lead, 17-10 at halftime.

After missing a couple of weeks due to injury, running back Doug Martin tied the game for Tampa Bay, running into the endzone from three yards out with 12:27 left in the fourth quarter. But with just under eight minutes left in the third quarter, Roethlisberger got the ball to reliable tight end Heath Miller in the endzone on a five yard pass to make it 24-17.

In the fourth quarter, a pair of possessions that went into the redzone resulted in only three points for Tampa Bay. However, Glennon got the ball back with 40 seconds left from Pittsbrugh’s 46 yard line with a chance to win it.

On 2nd and 10, Glennon got the ball to an open Louis Murphy, who ran 41 yards to the Pittsburgh 5. Three plays later, Glennon went to Vincent Jackson, who dove for a game-winning grab with just 7 seconds remaining.

Glennon was 21 of 42 for 302 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, with Murphy finishing with 6 grabs for 99 yards. Roethlisberger played well in defeat, completing 29 of 40 for 31 yards and three touchdowns and a lost fumble, while Brown led the Steelers with 7 catches for 131 yards and his two touchdowns.

NFL: Preseason-Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Miami Dolphins 38 (2-2), Oakland Raiders 14 (0-4)

At the beginning of the week, Ryan Tannehill’s hold on the starting job was questioned. But 38 consecutive points by the Dolphins ended that talk for a week, with Miami beating Oakland in London, 38-14.

Oakland started fast, though, as rookie quarterback Derek Carr finished a 1o play, 74 yard opening drive with a three yard touchdown pass to Brian Leonhardt to make it 7-0 with 9:38 remaining in first quarter.

Down 7-3 to start the second quarter, Miami would soon start to impose their will, as Tannehill found Mike Wallace for a 13 yard touchdown less than a minute into the second stanza. Five minutes later, Lamar Miller ran for a touchdown from nine yards out to give the Dolphins a 17-7 lead.

With just under two minutes remaining in the half, Tannehill counted his great play, throwing to a wide open Dion Sims from 18 yards out to make it 24-7 at halftime. Tannehill was 17 of 19 in the first half for over 200 yards passing and two touchdowns.

Miami continued to dominate, with Miller running in from a yard out with 8:13 left in the third quarter, and Cortland Finnegan returned a fumble 50 yards to effectively end Oakland’s chances. In the third quarter, Carr suffered an MCL sprain and high-ankle sprain on a run, ending his day and making the Raiders go to Matt McGloin, who threw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to Andre Holmes.

Tannehill finished 23 of 31 for 278 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Miller went for 64 yards and two scores as well. Carr was 16 of 25 for 146 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Philip Rivers 350 c

San Diego Chargers 33 (3-1), Jacksonville Jaguars 14 (0-4)

Blake Bortles started very well but couldn’t finish, as Philip Rivers played an elite game and led a depleted San Diego team to a 33-14 victory over still-winless Jacksonville.

The Chargers scored first, as Nick Novak made a 33 yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 3:44 left in the first quarter. But Bortles then lead a 10 play, 68 yard drive that ended in a one-yard touchdown run for Toby Gerhart, giving Jacksonville it’s first lead since Week 1, 7-3 with 14:06 left in the half.

Rivers then went to work, finding Eddie Royal for a 47 yard touchdown pass with 11:24 remaining in the second quarter. Bortles answered with a two yard touchdown pass to tight end Nic Jacobs, who joined the team this week after being on the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad, to take the lead back, 14-10, with 7:17 to go in the half.

Royal and Rivers connected deep again, this time from 43 yards away with under a minute left in the first half to take a 17-14 halftime lead. The Chargers’ offense continued to go through the Jaguars’ defense, as Rivers found Malcom Floyd on a 24 yard pass to the endzone to give the team a ten-point lead.

Three more Novak field goals were the final scores of the game. Rivers was 29 of 39 for 377 yards and three touchdowns, with Keenan Allen  finishing with 10 grabs for 135 yards, and Royal five catches for 105 yards and his two touchdowns.

Bortles started the game 13 0f 15 for 128 yards and a touchdown, but ended up 29 of 37 for 253 yards and two interceptions.

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41 Minnesota Vikings (2-2), Atlanta Falcons 28 (2-2)

Teddy Bridgewater had a great first career start, but it ended abrubtly and shockingly with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter on Minnesota’s way to a 41-28 upset victory over Atlanta.

Bridgewater led the Vikings an on 8 play, 73 yard drive, with Matt Asiata running in from 3 yards out to give Minnesota a 7-0 lead with 9:27 left in the first quarter. Matt Ryan and the Falcons answered, as an 11 play, 80 yard drive concluded with a pass from Ryan to White, who broke a tackle and ran 24 yards for a touchdown with 3:56 remaining in the first stanza.

Less than two and a half minutes later, Asiata ran in his second touchdown from 6 yards out to take back the lead. With just under six minutes remaining in the second quarter, Ryan threw to fullback Patrick DiMarco for a 1 yard touchdown to tie the game back up.

Bridgewater continued his magic, diving inside the pylon with 1:59 left on a 13 yard run off of a scramble, giving the Vikings a 21-14 lead. An 18 yard Blair Walsh field goal on the final play of the half made it a 10 point game at halftime.

Following another Walsh field goal, Devin Hester took a Ryan pass 36 yards for a touchdown to get within six with 7:19 left in the third quarter. With 1:31 remaining in the third quarter, Antone Smith took a handoff from 48 yards out to give Atlanta a 28-27 lead entering the fourth quarter.

On a 9 play, 78 yard drive, Asiata again found the endzone, this time from one yard away, and Bridgewater found tight end Rhett Ellison for a two-point conversion to give Minnesota a 35-28 lead. A pair of Blair Walsh field goals and interceptions of Matt Ryan sealed the win for the Vikings.

Bridgewater ended his day 19 of 30 for 319 yards through the air, and added 27 yards and a touchdown rushing. Asiata had 78 on the ground and three touchdowns, with rookie Jerick McKinnon rushing for 135 yards and receiver Jarius Wright catching eight passes for 132 yards.

NFL: NFC Championship-San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons 350x350

San Francisco 49ers 26 (2-2), Philadelphia Eagles 21 (3-1)

After two weeks of failing to make plays in the fourth quarter to win, the 49ers finished on Sunday, defeating the Eagles 26-21 on a day where Philadelphia’s potent offense was held without a point.

Philadelphia’s defense and special teams was dominant in the first half, as a three-and-out resulted in a blocked punt by Trey Burton that was recovered in the endzone by Brad Smith for a touchdown with 12:19 remaining in the first quarter. San Francisco got a field goal by Phil Dawson late in the first quarter, and then took the lead on the first play of the second when Colin Kaepernick scrambled to his left and threw to a wide open Frank Gore, who ran about 40 yards to complete a 55 yard touchdown pass.

Less than three minutes later, however, safety Malcolm Jenkins intercepted Kaepernick and returned it 53 yards for a score, giving the Eagles a 14-10 lead. Just over three minutes later, a defensive stop by Philadelphia led to a punt that was brought 82 yards for a score by Darren Sproles to make it 21-10.

In the final minute of the half, Dawson hit a 51 yard field goal to cut the lead to 8. A Zach Ertz fumble gave San Francisco the ball at the Eagles’ 23 yard line was capitalized on when Kaepernick scrambled and found receiver Stevie Johnson for a toe-tapping catch with 8:06 left in the third quarter to get it to 21-10.

Two more Dawson field goals gave the 49ers a 26-21 lead over Philadelphia with just over six and a half minutes remaining. The Eagles drove to the San Francisco 1 with two minutes remaining, but two incomplete passes by Nick Foles on 3rd and 4th down ended Philadelphia’s best chance to win it.

Kaepernick was 17 of 30 for 218 yards, two touchdowns an interception, with Gore finishing with 174 yards of total offense, 119 on the ground. Foles struggled mightily with pressure, ending 21 of 43 for 195 yards and two interceptions, and Pro Bowl RB LeSean McCoy’s struggles continued, as he only had 17 yards rushing.

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Kansas City Chiefs 41, New England Patriots 14

In front of a deafening crowd at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs dominated the Patriots 41, 14.

With just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter, a now healthy Jamaal Charles ran the ball into the endzone from two yards out to end an 11 play, 73 yard drive to make it 7-0. Charles doubled Kansas City’s lead with a 5 yard touchdown catch from Alex Smith with just under 11 minutes left in the second quarter.

A 22 yard field goal from Cairo Santos on the final play of the half gave the Chiefs a 17-0 lead at halftime. The defensive onslaught for Kansas City continued in the second half, as the Patriots second possession ended in Tamba Hali strip-sacking Tom Brady and recovering the ball at New England’s 9 yard line.

A great return back to the field for Charles continued, as two plays after the Hali recovery, Charles caught a pass on a quick out route and went in for his third touchdown of the game from 8 yards out with just under 8  minutes left in the third quarter. Following another Santos field goal, Brady hit receiver Brandon LaFell on a quick slant, and he broke a pair of tackles to score from 44 yards out to make it 27-7 with 3:26 left in the third quarter.

But the Chiefs would end New England’s hopes in the fourth, as Smith found tight end Travis Kelce for a two yard touchdown with just under 12 minutes left in the game. Less than a minute and a half later, Brady was intercepted by safety Hussain Abdullah, who returned the pick 39 yards for a touchdown to increase the lead to 41-7.

Brady was benched for rookie Jimmy Garoppolo who threw a garbage time touchdown to tight end Rob Gronkowski. Smith was efficient for Kansas City, finishing 20 of 26 for 248 yards and three touchdowns, and had great help from Charles, who ran from 92 yards and a touchdown, along with Knile Davis’ 107 yards on the ground.

Kelce also had 8 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown, greatly besting Gronkowski’s two grabs for 31 yards. Brady was 14 of 23 for 159 yards, a touchdown, two interceptions, and a lost fumble.

 

 

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