New York Giants rookie safety Cooper Taylor lives less than one mile from MetLife Stadium, but he won’t be watching the game from the roof of his condo in Rutherford, N.J. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
CHICAGO — Neither the brutal cold nor the league’s worst defense could stop Josh McCown and the Bears. Instead, Chicago jumped right back into the playoff race.
McCown threw for a career-high four touchdowns, and the Bears scored on their first eight possessions to grab a share of the NFC North lead with a 45-28 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on a frigid Monday night.
The Bears (7-6) retired Hall of Famer Mike Ditka’s number at halftime and pulled even with Detroit in the division race on a night when the game-time temperature was in single digits and the wind chill factor was below zero.
The loss left Dallas (7-6) a game behind Philadelphia in the NFC East and owner Jerry Jones calling for more aggressive play-calling on defense.
The bone-chilling conditions didn’t stop McCown from throwing for 348 yards or keep the Bears from running away with a lopsided victory.
It was one they desperately needed after consecutive losses, and although Detroit holds the head-to-head sweep, the Bears are back in the thick of the playoff race.
“All we could do is try to beat the Dallas Cowboys,” coach Marc Trestman said. “We kept it as simple as that. We didn’t get into all the hypotheticals and all the things that go into winning or losing a game.”
Alshon Jeffery‘s leaping catch between two defenders in the corner of the end zone in the closing seconds of the second quarter gave the Bears a 24-14 lead, and they continued to pour it on in the second half after a gut-wrenching overtime loss at Minnesota last week.
“If you were back there quarterbacking and we played the way we played you probably would have five touchdowns,” he said.
McCown, meanwhile, insisted he’s still the backup. And Trestman said the plan with Cutler hasn’t changed.
“We’ll see where Jay is this week,” he said. “He’ll have to be released by the doctors and when Jay is ready to play, he’ll be playing.”
Brandon Marshall caught six passes for 100 yards, and Jeffery added 84 yards receiving after breaking his own team record the previous week with 249.
Matt Forte chipped in with 102 yards rushing and 73 receiving, and the Bears racked up 490 yards in all.
“Basically, we will have to make some adjustments in what we are doing defensively,” Jones said. “What that usually means is taking more risks on defense. But if you’re going to have the kind of match like we had tonight or certainly in New Orleans you have to take some risks. We have to double up and I’m sure that will be part of the plan on defense; more risks.”
Tony Romo threw for three touchdowns but completed just 11 of 20 passes for 104 yards for Dallas. DeMarco Murray ran for 146 yards against the league’s worst run defense, but the Cowboys were overmatched after winning two straight.
They also lost linebacker Sean Lee to another injury — this time a neck issue after making a tackle in the third quarter. He missed the previous two games with a hamstring problem.
“Certainly, it was a disappointing loss and the loss stings,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The worst thing we can do is have a hangover after this loss.”
The game-time temperature was 8 degrees with the wind chill at minus 9, but the freezing conditions did nothing to slow either team in the early going. Garrett said both teams handled it well.
Murray burned Chicago for 52 yards on six carries on the game’s opening possession to set up a 2-yard scoring pass from Romo to Dez Bryant, but the Bears scored just about every time they got the ball.
After Bryant’s TD, McCown tied it with a 4-yard pass to Earl Bennett and put Chicago ahead 14-7 early in the second quarter with a 7-yard scramble, leaping at the goal line and getting spun in midair.
Jason Witten tied it at 14 when he dragged Major Wright across the goal line on a 10-yard touchdown catch, but the Bears grabbed a three-point lead on Robbie Gould‘s 27-yard field goal with 1:33 remaining in the half.
Jeffery added to it with that neat catch after Dallas was forced to punt.
“I’m just trying to give him a chance to go up and make the play but not really put the ball in jeopardy, so to speak,” McCown said. “My part was relative easy to the catch.”
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GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Packers’ losing streak without Aaron Rodgers is over, though the frustration continues in Titletown.
A tie did little to lift spirits in chilly Green Bay.
Backup quarterback Matt Flynn threw for 218 yards and helped spark a rally from a 16-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to the Minnesota Vikings early in the fourth quarter. But the teams could only muster field goals in overtime and had to settle for a 26-26 draw Sunday.
“It’s an empty feeling. You go out there and didn’t lose the game,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “But you feel like you didn’t accomplish what you set out to do.”
Same sentiment in the Vikings’ locker room, where one player held tightly to a hot cup of coffee to warm up following a game that started with temperatures in the upper teens.
“I view it as a loss, personally. We gave up a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter,” defensive endJared Allen said. “I don’t have a sister, but I’m going to say it’s like going to prom with your sister.”
For a while, the match was full of heart-racing drama.
Greg Jennings, playing his first game at Lambeau Field as a member of the Vikings (3-8-1), dropped a third-down pass with 2:11 left. The Packers (5-5-1) also stumbled on their next possession.
One last chance for the Vikings went nowhere with 1 second left, and the teams walked off with the first tie in the NFL since the Rams and 49ers ended 24-24 on Nov. 11, 2012.
At least the 77,000-plus frigid fans got to witness a bit of history — this was first game to end in a tie under the new overtime rule instituted last year that continues the extra period if both teams open it with field goals. A touchdown by either team would have ended the game.
Jacksonville and Houston both kicked field goals to open OT in a game on Nov. 18, 2012, then the Texans won it with a touchdown.
“I think to everybody around here, it feels like a loss, for sure,” Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk said.
The Packers are also in unfamiliar territory with so much instability at quarterback. It’s been that way since Rodgers — perhaps the most irreplaceable player in the NFL — hurt his left collarbone on the first series of a 27-20 loss to the Bears on Nov. 4 that started the winless string.
Flynn, Rodgers’ former backup who was re-signed last week, replaced the ineffective Scott Tolzienand finished 21 of 36 for 218 yards and a touchdown. He nearly led Green Bay back from a 23-7 deficit early in the fourth quarter to a win.
Flynn caught a break in overtime after a third-down sack was called off by a holding penalty on Vikings safety Robert Blanton. He followed with three long completions, including a 34-yarder to the leaping Jarrett Boykin to the 7.
Two runs by Eddie Lacy (110 yards on 25 carries) got the Packers to the 2, but Flynn misfired on third down to set up Crosby’s kick.
Adrian Peterson had 146 yards and a score on 32 carries. He and Toby Gerhart (91 yards on eight carries) dented the Packers’ worn defense in overtime, but could not get in the end zone. The Vikings settled for Walsh’s kick.
That was it for the scoring. The fans bundled up in parkas and knit caps to brave temperatures in the upper teens had to settle for a draw.
Some positives for the Packers: a maligned defense stopped two late fourth-quarter drives; Lacy’s running; Flynn’s play in relief. And the tie being less damaging than a loss would have been in the division race.
“Looking at the guys’ eyes in the huddle, I don’t think there was any doubt,” Flynn said. “I’m proud of the guys for fighting, but we just have to finish.”
Things looked bleak for them early in the fourth quarter after Walsh’s 29-yard field gave Minnesota 23-7 lead.
Ponder finished 21 of 30 for 233 yards. Maybe the quarterback carousel has finally come to a halt in Minnesota, though afterward Ponder was focused on a missed opportunity.
“We let it get out of our hands,” he said. “It’s unfortunate we’re not walking away with our third victory.”
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This past Sunday the NY Jets defeated the hated rivals from New England, the Patriots. It was a close game but at the end the NY Jets edged out the Pats 30-27 in overtime. Pepsi as part of their “are you #Fanenough campaign, invited me to witness the rivalry game through their plush suite at Met Life stadium. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Aaron Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers‘ offense to a record-setting day. Rodgers was 34 for 42 for a career-high 480 yards and four touchdowns, receiver James Joneshad a career-best 178 yards and James Starks ran for 132 yards and a score in a 38-20 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
LANDOVER, Md. — After Michael Vick kneeled down for the final time, having sapped the life out of the Robert Griffin III welcome back party, the exhausted Philadelphia Eagles offense exchanged the usual pleasantries with the even-more-spent Washington Redskins defense. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller will serve a six-game suspension under the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, a violation the linebacker said did not result from a positive test. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…