EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Miami Dolphins found the right formula to stay in the AFC playoff race: Simply let the Jets run the ball all night, and wait for New York to make mistakes. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
The five Rams players who entered the field before Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders in St. Louis with their hands in the air in “don’t shoot” poses will not be fined for their actions. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger enjoyed a career day on the way to joining an exclusive fraternity.
Roethlisberger picked apart the Colts’ secondary in outdueling Andrew Luck, completing 40-of-49 passes for 522 yards and six touchdowns.
“I said earlier that he is a first ballot Hall of Famer in my opinion,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said after the Steelers ended his team’s five-game winning streak. “He’s unbelievably accurate. He’s big. He’s strong he makes all the throws. You have to be able to get him on the ground.”
The Colts did not sack Roethlisberger one time and he flattened them in just about every way imaginable.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Roethlisberger completed eight of 11 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns on throws that covered at least 15 yards and he became the first quarterback in NFL history with multiple 500-yard passing games.
Roethlisberger not only eclipsed his previous single-game high of 503 passing yards in beating the Colts, the 11th-year veteran also won his 100th game in his 150th career start.
“That was brought to my attention this week,” Roethlisberger said of the milestone he reached. “I’ve been so blessed to play on some great football teams and to be a part of a great franchise. To have my name on a list with the others guys up there is a humbling honor.”
The Colts entered the game with a five-game winning streak and fresh off a shut out of the Cincinnati Bengals. But they were no match against Roethlisberger, who threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns in the first two quarters while leading the Steelers to a 35-20 halftime lead.
That was the most yards that Roethlisberger has over thrown for in a half, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
“Just a tremendous efforts by a lot of people but obviously Ben was the guy tonight,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said after his team improved to 5-3 at the midway point of the season. “This was a timely (performance) and a much-needed one given the staggering statistics that Andrew Luck and their group was putting up. It was necessary for our group to match their group from that standpoint and we challenged Ben and the offense all week to do it and they responded.”
Roethlisberger and Luck combined for 922 passing yards but the latter also threw a pair of interceptions — Steelers cornerback William Gay returned the first one 33 yards for a touchdown — and also took a critical safety after tripping over the feet of one of his offensive linemen and throwing the ball from the end zone as he was falling to the ground.
The Colts were penalized for intentional grounding on the play and the automatic safety gave the Steelers a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
Roethlisberger, following the ensuing kickoff, led a 12-play, 67-yard drive that he capped with an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Heath Miller. The Colts never threatened the rest of the way.
“We just came out and put up a really nice team effort,” Roethlisberger said. “This was offense, defense and special teams, coaches, this was everybody and why does it have to stop here? Why can’t we keep doing this?”
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LONDON — The second kick was the only one that mattered. Matt Prater missed a 43-yard field goal attempt with 4 seconds to go, then got another chance because of a delay-of-game penalty. He nailed that one from 48 yards, giving the Detroit Lions(6-2) a second straight comeback victory, 22-21 over the Atlanta Falcons (2-6). Detroit trailed 21-0 at halftime Sunday at Wembley Stadium in the earliest start in NFL history. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
DENVER — With this much speed and acceleration, it’s no surprise Emmanuel Sanders is so adept at catching up.
Sanders waited six long weeks to join the list of players who have caught a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning. Now, he has four in less than a week.
“We understand in this offense, it can be anyone’s night at any moment,” said Sanders, who didn’t catch his first TD pass for Denver until Sunday night, when Manning set the career record. “I’m just happy tonight was my night.”
Sanders caught all nine passes Manning threw his way and gained 120 yards Thursday night.
He needs just 106 more yards to top his best season he ever had in four years in Pittsburgh. That’s all in a night’s work for Sanders, who has four career 100-yard receiving games, all this season.
“I’m enjoying playing with him,” Manning said. “He’s got a great work ethic. He really loves football and he brings that energy to practice every day and also to the playing field. … He was pretty special tonight.”
With the Chargers’ banged-up secondary double-teaming red-hot receiver Demaryius Thomas, Sanders caught TD throws of 2, 31 and 3 yards. The last one followed Chris Harris Jr.’s interception of a flustered Philip Rivers.
Rookie running back Juwan Thompson added two TD runs as the Broncos (6-1) tightened their grip on the AFC West over the Chargers (5-3), who lost their second straight game.
“It’s an accomplishment for the room,” said Ronnie Hillman, who carried 20 times for 109 yards. “It’s a touchdown for the room. He’s taking them, but that’s all right. He earns them. That’s a tough 2 yards to get. I’m just playing my role getting him down there.”
Manning finished 25 of 35 for 286 yards with three TDs and no interceptions or sacks five nights after breaking Brett Favre’s career touchdown mark.
Sanders’ speed, combined with Hillman’s second gear, is the juice GM John Elway had in mind when he said the Broncos could be better this year than they were last season.
“John Elway and his staff went out and wanted to increase our team speed in all phases of the game and I think we’ve done that,” coach John Fox said.
Sanders called Denver “wide receivers’ heaven” when he joined the Broncos in the spring. He spent his first five games in a Broncos uniform piling up the yards — 473 of them — but wistfully wishing to become the 45th player to catch a touchdown pass from Manning.
The only blemish in Sanders’ breakout night was his fumble in the fourth quarter that Wes Welker recovered.
His teammates teased him that he’ll be carrying around the football with the green beanie as punishment next week.
“But it’s not big deal,” Sanders said. “It’s only going to make me better.”
Each time Thompson scored, Rivers and the Chargers responded with 80-yard drives that ended with touchdown catches by tight end Antonio Gates. His first score was a 4-yard grab on fourth down, his second a 10-yard catch with 9 1/2 minutes left that made it 35-21.
Rivers finished 30 of 41 for 252 yards with three TDs and two interceptions.
Brandon McManus missed a 53-yard field goal with six minutes remaining, giving the Chargers great field position, but safety Rahim Moore intercepted Rivers’ pass to Malcolm Floyd at the Denver 4 and the Broncos grounded it out from there.
With Sanders having a big day, Demaryius Thomas quietly topped 100 yards himself for the fourth straight week, finishing with 105 yards on eight catches, a team record.
Manning broke another of Favre’s records on this night, albeit a much more obscure one: he now has 16 seasons with 20 or more touchdown passes, one more than Favre. And he’s approaching another of Favre’s marks: with his 157th career multiple TD game, Manning is two shy of Favre’s mark in that category.
After losing at home to the Chargers on a Thursday night in December — Denver’s only home loss last season — the Broncos changed their work week. They practiced without pads and helmets.
But their first two drives led to punts as defensive coordinator John Pagano again found ways to thwart Manning even with a banged-up secondary that was missing cornerbacks Brandon Flowers (concussion) and Steve Williams (groin).
Then, Sanders starting finding the end zone.
“They’re better than us right now,” San Diego safety Eric Weddle said. “That’s the reality of it. It’s a long season. When we meet them again, however many more times, we’ll be better.”
Even Manning found something he didn’t like on his and Sanders’ big night.
He didn’t like it when the scoreboard operator fired up the crowd when the Broncos were trying to chew up the clock.
“I’m not sure what he’s doing, he’s playing music and showing players dancing and getting the crowd fired up when we have the ball,” Manning complained. “I don’t think we should be doing that. I don’t think we should be showing their quarterback on the sideline. I thought that was disrespectful.
“Our fans are great. Our fans are loud. Our scoreboard operator, it wasn’t his best night.”
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
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Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre told ESPN that the plan he initiated to make his first appearance at Lambeau Field since his retirement is now unlikely to happen because of Hall of Famer Bart Starr’s health problems. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
ARLINGTON, Texas – Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray has given a stiff-arm to history when people have brought up his name with Hall of Famers such as Jim Brown and Emmitt Smith during his magical start to the season. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
Australian superstar Jarryd Hayne quit his rugby league team Wednesday in order to pursue a career in the NFL. The Australian international, who won the National Rugby League’s highest individual accolade — the Dally M Medal — for a second time just last month, has been given a conditional release by his club, the Parramatta Eels, in order to follow his NFL dream. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
“No disrespect, but I didn’t know who their quarterback was,” linebacker Ahmad Brooks said. “We got some good pressure on him. That helped us.”
Davis was sacked five times, twice each by Brooks and Dan Skuta. They carried the day, keeping the St. Louis Rams‘ offense stalled and giving Colin Kaepernick a chance to warm up in a 31-17 victory Monday night.
Kaepernick threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns for the 49ers, who erased an early 14-point deficit. The defense stepped up again when Dontae Johnson returned an interception for a TD in the final minute to seal it.
“Talk about an opportunity; I had the chance to make a play,” Johnson said.
Brandon Lloyd, Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree each caught a scoring pass for the 49ers (4-2), who have won three in a row. The 49ers permitted one first down on St. Louis’ first six possessions of the second half.
“We’ve had the ball in every game with a chance to either win or tie,” Davis said. “That’s where hopefully my experience will help, the more opportunities I get.
“You’ve got to be able to go win games at the end.”
Kaepernick had plenty of time to throw and wasn’t sacked.
“We just want to win,” Kaepernick said. “Whatever it takes, if we’re up with the lead or if we have to come from behind.”
Kaepernick found Boldin zipping across the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown pass, capping a go-ahead 80-yard drive to start the second half. As the Niners were taking the 17-14 lead, several fans in the upper deck unfurled a large banner above the video board on the opposite end of the stadium as part of ongoing protests about the Michael Brown shooting in suburban Ferguson in August.
San Francisco then added to its advantage when Kaepernick connected with Crabtree for a 32-yard score with 13 seconds left in the third.
The Rams had one last chance to tie the game, but Johnson returned an interception 20 yards for the clinching score with 53 seconds to go.
“We always see different looks in a game,” Skuta said. “They hadn’t done some of the things they did early. We adjusted and we kept playing; that’s something we do really well.”
St. Louis wore throwback uniforms — royal blue and bright yellow — to honor its 1999 Super Bowl title team and represented that winning squad very well for a short time. Guard Adam Timmerman joined wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt for an impromptu bob ‘n’ weave TD dance in the end zone at halftime.
The Rams haven’t had a winning season since the Greatest Show on Turf petered out in 2003. They doubled their first-quarter scoring for the year with a start that mimicked their previous home game, in which they led Dallas 21-0.
They lost that one 34-31, and this one was all San Francisco the rest of the way.
The 49ers scuffled to a 1-2 start coming off a third straight appearance in the NFC Championship Game but have won 13 of their past 14 in October.
Davis was 21-of-42 for 236 yards. He threw for 300 yards each of the previous two games with six touchdown passes.
Three of Davis’ four interceptions have been returned for touchdowns, all in the fourth quarter at home.
The 49ers had four penalties before the end of their first possession, three accepted, and one the rest of the way. One of the early miscues, illegal contact on Eric Reid, handed the Rams a second first-and-goal on their opening drive capped by Cunningham’s TD behind extra linemanTim Barnes.
Rookie Tre Mason‘s first career carry was a 24-yarder that might have gone the distance had he not run into teammate Brian Quick. Three plays later, Kendricks got well behind the defense on a 22-yard catch that made it 14-0 late in the first.
The 49ers inched back on Phil Dawson‘s 54-yard field goal, his 10th in a row with four beyond midfield. They were backed up at their own 5 inside the two-minute warning but declined to play it safe, and Lloyd whipped Janoris Jenkins in single coverage on an 80-yard touchdown catch with 14 seconds left in the half.
“We had Brandon Lloyd on a double move,” Kaepernick said. “We liked the matchup. He did an amazing job.”
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