NFL SCOREBOARD

Indianapolis 19 Tennessee 17

San Francisco 41 Cincinnati 17

Baltimore 23 Arizona 17

Detroit 13 LA Chargers 10

Green Bay 21 Minnesota 16

Houston 13 Jacksonville 12

New England 43 Miami 0

Buffalo 28 NY Giants 14

Seattle 28 Pittsburgh 26

Dallas 31 Washington 21

Kansas City 28 Oakland 10

Chicago 16 Denver 14

LA Rams 27 New Orleans 9

Atlanta 24 Philadelphia 20

 

Week 3 Games

Thursday September 19, 2019

Tennessee @ Jacksonville 8:20pm

Sunday September 22, 2019 

Cincinnati @ Buffalo 1:00pm

Atlanta @ Indianapolis 1:00pm

Miami @ Dallas 1:00pm

Oakland @ Minnesota 1:00pm

Detroit @ Philadelphia 1:00pm

Denver @ Green Bay 1:00pm

Baltimore @ Kansas City 1:00pm

Jets @ New England 1:00pm

Giants @ Tampa Bay 4:05pm

Carolina @ Arizona 4:05pm

Pittsburgh @ San Francisco 4:25pm

New Orleans @ Seattle 4:25pm

Houston @ Chargers 4:25pm

Rams @ Cleveland 8:20pm

Monday September 23, 2019

Chicago @ Washington 8:15pm

 

Brissett spoils Titans’ opener, rallying Colts to 19-17 win

Another quarterback, another victory for the Colts against the Titans.

Jacoby Brissett became the latest Indianapolis quarterback to top Tennessee, throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton with 4:38 left to lead the Colts to a 19-17 victory Sunday in the Titans’ home opener.

Brissett had come up empty for Indianapolis against Tennessee, losing both games he started against the Titans in 2017. After Andrew Luck retired with a perfect 11-0 record against the Titans, Brissett picked up right where Luck left off. He passed for 146 yards and three TDs.

The Colts (1-1) also sacked Marcus Mariota four times on a day when Adam Vinatieri, the NFL’s oldest player and career scoring leader, missed two extra points. It was Indianapolis’ 14th win in its last 16 games against Tennessee overall.

The Titans (1-1) missed their chance for payback against Indianapolis after losing the 2018 regular-season finale, along with a playoff berth on the line for the winner. They haven’t started 2-0 since 2008 when they won their first 10 games and last won the AFC South.

The Titans had one last chance, getting the ball back with 1:07 left. But Mariota threw incomplete to rookie A.J. Brown on fourth-and-2 with 11 seconds left.

Brissett put the Colts up 7-0 with a 3-yard shovel pass to Eric Ebron in the first quarter, and he capped a 12-play drive in the second with a 12-yard TD pass to Parris Campbell. Vinatieri missed the extra point, leaving the Colts with a 13-7 lead.

Tennessee grabbed a 17-13 lead when Derrick Henry ran for a 1-yard TD and Cairo Santos kicked a 49-yard field goal in the third. The Titans scored their first TD when Mariota tossed a 1-yard TD pass to lineman David Quessenberry, who had the first start of his NFL career delayed by a fight with cancer.

Santos, who was signed to fill in for Ryan Succop, missed a 45-yarder wide left in the fourth.

 

Adam Vinatieri sounds like he plans to retire

After another brutal kicking day, Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri strongly hinted that he may have played his final game.

The 46-year-old kicker continued his bad start to the 2019 season by missing two more extra points in the Colts’ 19-17 win over Tennessee. After the game, Vinatieri told a reporter that he’d “hear from me tomorrow” despite the fact that he would not typically be available to the media.

Vinatieri’s words were taken by many as a sign that he was going to opt to retire, though it remains speculative at this point.

Vinatieri has had an incredibly accomplished career and will always be remembered for his Super Bowl-winning exploits with the New England Patriots. He has kicked in the NFL since 1996 and has made 84.3 percent of his career field goals in the regular season.

Vinatieri’s kicking issues have become a huge hindrance to the Colts, and he may recognize that it’s simply time to move on for everyone’s own good.

 

Newcomer Brown scores as Patriots beat Dolphins 43-0

When Antonio Brown celebrated his first touchdown with the New England Patriots by vaulting into a first-row luxury box, he didn’t linger.

The Patriots had a job to finish.

Determined to play to the final gun after allowing a miracle comeback at Miami last year, the Patriots beat the Dolphins 43-0 Sunday.

Coach Bill Belichick had Tom Brady still throwing at the end.

“We’re playing 60 minutes,” Belichick said.

The Pats did that. They scored twice on interception returns in a two-minute fourth-quarter span, and registered their first shutout since Week 3 of 2016.

Brown helped get them going. The Patriots were 18 1/2-point favorites but led only 7-0 late in the first half before Brady hit his newest target for a 20-yard score.

They connected four times in all.

“It was a good start,” Brady said. “I was just trying to find an open guy. He was snapping off some routes and did a great job.”

Brown, who signed Monday, made an 18-yard catch on his first play and finished with 56 yards receiving, all in the first half. He won raves from teammates for his debut.

“It was awesome,” receiver Julian Edelman said. “A lot of energy. He’s a playmaker.”

One thing Brown didn’t do was talk to reporters after the game. The NFL allowed the four-time All-Pro receiver to play despite a civil lawsuit filed Tuesday by his former trainer accusing him of sexually assaulting her on three occasions. Brown has denied the allegations.

New England’s defense outscored Miami with interception returns for touchdowns of 54 yards by Stephon Gilmore and 69 yards by Jamie Collins Sr. The Patriots totaled seven sacks and four interceptions and earned their most lopsided win in the 108-game history of the series.

“The defense was spectacular,” Brady said.

He threw for 264 yards and two scores for the Pats, who are 2-0 for the first time since 2016, winning by a combined score of 76-3.

 

Brees injured, Rams beat Saints 27-9 in title game rematch

When Drew Brees went to the sideline holding his injured throwing hand, this NFC championship game rematch – and maybe this season’s Super Bowl race – dramatically changed in an instant.

Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams didn’t waste the opportunity created by Brees’ absence to beat the Saints again. And with no help from a no-call this time.

Goff passed for 283 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score, and the Rams stopped New Orleans from scoring an offensive touchdown for the first time since 2016 during Los Angeles’ 27-9 victory Sunday.

A strong performance by the Rams’ defense, an impressive second half from Goff’s offense, and another officiating decision that hurt the Saints were all overshadowed by Brees’ departure late in the first quarter.

“I told him I’m hoping for the best,” Goff said of his postgame chat with Brees. “He’s a great player for this league, a face of the league, and somebody we need in the league.”

Brees’ throwing hand collided with Aaron Donald’s outstretched hand while he threw an incompletion on the Saints’ second drive, and the NFL’s career leader in yards passing spent the afternoon on the Coliseum sideline with his thumb heavily wrapped. Brees will see a hand specialist Sunday night, he said.

“There is only so much you can do here as far as a doctor seeing it on the sideline,” Brees said. “Hoping it is not too significant.”

Teddy Bridgewater went 17 of 30 for 165 yards in solid relief, while Alvin Kamara rushed for just 45 yards for the Saints (1-1), who seemed understandably discombobulated without their longtime quarterback – although the Rams’ defense deserves plenty of credit as well.

Brees’ absence “really didn’t change anything at all for us,” Rams pass rusher Dante Fowler said. “We were doing a good job before he got hurt. Everybody was on top of their game.”

New Orleans didn’t score an offensive touchdown for only the fourth time in 13-plus seasons under coach Sean Payton, who got a lengthy contract extension before the game.

“It is going to be a hard film to watch for guys,” Payton said. “We got whipped up front.”

Todd Gurley rushed for 63 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season late in the third quarter of this rematch of the Rams’ 26-23 overtime win in New Orleans last January. That game turned on the infamous uncalled pass interference late in regulation by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, who had six tackles in the rematch.

“Every win is a big win, but today was a very important win,” Robey-Coleman said. “It was a win that basically just closed all the chatter and the naysaying.”

This one also contained early refereeing drama that left the Saints steamed: New Orleans’ Cameron Jordan had a long fumble return for a touchdown wiped out in the second quarter. The play initially was ruled an incomplete pass before video review determined Goff had fumbled, but Jordan’s long return didn’t count because officials had blown the play dead.

Jordan was still furious after the game, even referring to the refs as “the Foot Locker” and saying certain members of the officiating crew “were maybe in their prime a decade ago.”

“If Drew is down, it’s on the defense,” Jordan added. “I take it upon me. I don’t know how many times we hit Jared Goff, but it wasn’t enough. We’ve got to create more turnovers.”

The Saints were hampered by 11 penalties for 87 yards, while the Rams’ offense recovered from a slow start to make three straight touchdown drives in the second half.

But this matchup between two of the most prolific offenses in NFL history was definitely not a fireworks show, between Brees’ absence and the inconsistent performance of Los Angeles coach Sean McVay’s offense. The Rams failed to score a touchdown in the first half for only the third time in McVay’s tenure.

 

Wilson, Seahawks edge Steelers 28-26 as Roethlisberger exits

The faces around Russell Wilson have changed as the Seattle Seahawks rebuild themselves on the fly. One thing, however, has not. Seattle goes as its ever imaginative quarterback goes.

And in the second half in a place where the franchise hadn’t scored let alone won in two decades, Wilson’s resilience propelled the Seahawks to their best start in six years.

Wilson threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns to give the Seahawks the lead, then used his legs and smarts to protect it in a 28-26 victory that pushed Seattle to 2-0 for the first time since 2013, the year Wilson guided the franchise to its only Super Bowl victory.

Sure, it’s early. Yet the Seahawks proved both opportunistic and aggressive, hallmarks of their dominant run behind Wilson and the “Legion of Doom” defense earlier in the decade.

“Really fired up about this start,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said after picking up his 100th victory with the Seahawks, including playoffs. “We have so much improvement. We have so many areas and ways we can get better.”

Having Wilson certainly helps. His perfect 28-yard rainbow to rookie DK Metcalf midway through the fourth quarter put the Seahawks in front by nine, and three expertly timed scrambles on Seattle’s final drive helped drain the final 5:34 off the clock.

“We were battle tested today and we found a way to win a great game,” said Wilson, who completed 29 of 35 passes while becoming the fifth-fastest player in NFL history to reach 200 career touchdown tosses.

 

Mahomes’ 4 TDs in 2nd quarter lead Chiefs past Raiders 28-10

Patrick Mahomes and the dynamic Kansas City Chiefs offense got all of the production they needed in a breathtaking second quarter.

Mahomes bounced back from the first scoreless opening quarter of his career in the regular season by throwing four touchdown passes in a near-perfect second period that led the Chiefs to a 28-10 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

The Raiders (1-1) held Mahomes in check for the opening 15 minutes and kept him off the scoreboard in the second half, but it didn’t matter because he carved up an overmatched defense with big play after big play in the second quarter for the Chiefs (2-0).

“We were just hitting on the plays,” Mahomes said. “We stayed with the same game plan, called the same plays. We hit on them in the second quarter and missed them in the other parts of the game. We had a great quarter. But as an offense there was too much sloppiness. We weren’t as efficient as we usually are.”

Mahomes didn’t take long to get started in the second quarter, finding Demarcus Robinson open on a blown coverage for a 44-yard touchdown pass on the first play in the second quarter. He didn’t slow down from there.

After the Raiders opted to punt on a fourth-and-1 near midfield, Mahomes and the Chiefs marched 95 yards and scored when Mahomes found rookie Mecole Hardman on a 42-yard deep strike for his first career catch to give Kansas City a 14-10 lead.

The Chiefs didn’t stop there with Mahomes connecting on two more long TD passes in the final two minutes of the half, a 27-yarder to Travis Kelce and a 39-yarder to Robinson as the absence of injured star Tyreek Hill did little to slow Kansas City.

“That’s just what we do,” Robinson said.

Mahomes finished 30 for 44 for 443 yards. Robinson had six catches for 172 yards and two scores and Kelce had seven catches for 107 yards and a TD to give the Chiefs their ninth win in the past 10 meetings in this long-time rivalry.

The Raiders had broken out to a 10-0 lead with a field goal on the opening drive and a 4-yard TD pass to Tyrell Williams later in the first quarter. But Derek Carr also threw an interception in the end zone on a pass to Williams in the third quarter and the Raiders didn’t score over the final three periods.

“They made some plays, a barrage of plays, in about a five-minute period,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “It really turned the game around.”

 

Jones scores late TD, leads Falcons past Eagles 24-20

 Julio Jones hauled in a short screen pass on fourth down and took it 54 yards to the end zone with 2:10 remaining, giving the Atlanta Falcons a wild 24-20 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night.

A sluggish game turned thrilling in the final minutes. The Falcons (1-1) squandered a 17-6 lead against an injury plagued team that lost two of its top receivers, falling behind for the first time when Carson Wentz dove over from the 1 with 3:13 left to give the Eagles a 20-17 edge.

Philadelphia (1-1) had a chance at the end when Wentz converted on fourth-and-14, somehow getting off a pass with a rusher in his chest that Nelson Agholor hauled in between two defenders for a 43-yard completion to the 18.

But Atlanta held on, stopping Zach Ertz less than a yard short of the marker on another fourth-down play inside the 10 to preserve a much-needed victory after a dismal performance in the season opener at Minnesota.

It was Jones who really bailed out the Falcons – and became the franchise’s career leader in receiving yards with his winning score, passing Roddy White.

On fourth-and-3 at the Falcons 46, Jones dropped behind the line to haul in Matt Ryan’s short pass, got a crunching block from left tackle Jake Matthews out on the edge and took off down the sideline, easily outrunning Rodney McLeod and Andrew Sendejo without being touched.

“A big little play,” coach Dan Quinn called it.

Jones crossed over the goal line and kept right on going, disappearing down the tunnel. He finished with five catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns, also hauling in a 4-yard score that gave the Falcons their 11-point lead early in the third quarter.

His speed on the second TD was downright stunning, reaching an estimated 20 mph.

“I’m looking around and, OK, it’s a footrace now,” Jones said. “That was it. It really wasn’t like I had to try hard or anything like that. I just had to stay on course.”

The Eagles were hampered by injuries that took out receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, forcing them to go with backups Mack Hollins and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside much of the game.

Wentz and the short-handed offense struggled to get anything going, but three interceptions by Ryan helped keep the Eagles in the game. The Philadelphia quarterback suddenly put it together in the fourth quarter, completing eight straight passes on a drive that culminated with his 1-yard plunge into the end zone with 3:13 remaining. A two-point conversion gave the Eagles a 20-17 lead.

“What a game he had,” Agholor said of Wentz. “That’s one of the best performances I’ve seen from our quarterback, man. He’s very resilient, getting the ball to everybody. He played very hard.”

Thanks to Jones, the Falcons were celebrating at the end.

“He’s had a lot of great ones, that’s for sure,” Ryan said. “It’s special for him to break a record that way, in such a critical situation, in such a clutch moment. That’s pretty cool.”

 

Dak double: Cowboys’ Prescott beats Redskins with legs, arm

Dak Prescott probably could have kept running – maybe all the way to the end zone.

Instead, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback stiff-armed Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman to put an exclamation point on his longest run of the game. Prescott spent Sunday afternoon carving up the Redskins’ defense with his arms and legs to the tune of 26 of 30 passing for 269 yards and three touchdowns and 69 yards rushing in a 31-21 Cowboys victory to improve to 2-0.

“If Dak could run the ball well and he can pass the ball well like he showed today, how can you prepare for us?” wide receiver Amari Cooper said. “We as a team can run the ball well and pass the ball well. It’s hard to prepare for that.”

A week after putting up a perfect 158.3 QB rating, Prescott responded from an interception to lead Dallas on consecutive touchdown drives of 97, 83 and 75 yards. At one point, he completed 18 consecutive passes and wondered the last time he had an incompletion.

“It’s just about being in the groove, offense working together,” said Prescott, who became the first Cowboys quarterback to compile seven touchdown passes in the first two games of the season since Don Meredith in 1966. “The run game was happening, we were able to throw the ball, receivers were making great catches and you just look up and it’s like that.”

On the verge of a contract extension that’s expected to guarantee him over $30 million, Prescott connected with three receivers on the touchdowns: Devin Smith , Jason Witten and Cooper. Less than two weeks removed from ending his holdout and agreeing to a $90 million, six-year deal, Ezekiel Elliott had his workload increased to 23 carries for 111 yards and ran for a touchdown.

“It felt good,” Elliott said. “That’s my normal workload. I’m used to that. It definitely does feel good to be back out there.”

It was a game that felt like it was being played deep in the heart of Texas – an entire side of the lower bowl was full of blue and white Cowboys jerseys, who just about outnumbered Redskins fans. Sounds of “Coop” filled the stadium after Cooper’s catches, and there was a loud “DE-FENSE” chant when Washington had the ball.

The Redskins (0-2) got a rushing touchdown from Adrian Peterson and passing TDs from Case Keenum to Paul Richardson and rookie Terry McLaurin. But their banged-up defense playing without two starters struggled to contain Prescott or cover his receivers.

“There are no excuses to be had,” coach Jay Gruden said. “We’ve got to look at ourselves, and we’ve got to play better. We’re minus a couple of pieces in the secondary. That adds an issue. But really, we should be better than this.”

Prescott hasn’t had a stretch as good as this in his NFL career, which comes at a perfect juncture amid contract negotiations.

“I have no hesitation about it,” owner Jerry Jones said. “I’m very comfortable. He’s very comfortable.”

 

What we learned from Sunday’s Week 2 games

Atlanta Falcons 24, Philadephia Eagles 20

The league’s deepest roster was surely tested in Atlanta on Sunday night. Hard hitting on both sides turned Mercedes-Benz Stadium into a triage scene, with Philly taking on most of the casualties. Wentz was forced to play most of the game without DeSean Jackson (groin) and Alshon Jeffery (calf), who combined to catch nearly half of the QB’s completions in Week 1, and Dallas Goedert, Corey Clement and Timmy Jernigan also spent good time on the sideline. The Philly QB was apparently injured, as well, playing with his ribs, taking a trip to the blue medical tent to be tested for a concussion and sitting out a handful of snaps in favor of Josh McCown in the first half. Wentz went into halftime with a 6.2 passer rating, reflective of his missed passes and risky throws-turned-interceptions. But the 2017 would-be MVP settled in the second half, making use of whoever was left (Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor and Mack Hollins instead of the rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside). Wentz bounced back to lead two touchdown drives in the last two quarters, including a 13-yard march with four third-down conversions at his hand, and almost led a third. Down four under two minutes after Atlanta won back the lead, Wentz launched a prayer 43 yards down the middle of the field on fourth down into the waiting arms of Agholor, who had just dropped a gimme deep ball in stride. It was a miraculous, impossible play out of step with the game’s momentum, one that made you feel Wentz and Philly were destined at the end of this sloppy Sunday night to come away 2-0. But it wasn’t to be. Wentz, faced with a fourth-and-8 in the red zone, threw a seven-yard pass to Ertz, and the tight end, corralled by Atlanta’s aggressive secondary, couldn’t extend it past the marker. Given the Eagles’ slew of injuries and poor first-half play, that they were even in that position late in the game was a victory in itself. But in the standings, it’s still a loss, one that keeps the Birds (1-1) a game behind the Cowboys in the NFC East. On an off night for Matt Ryan, the Falcons quarterback looked best when he got the ball into the hands of his playmakers, as he always has. For the bulk of the night, Calvin Ridley was Ryan’s security blanket, the second-year game breaker leading Atlanta on the night with eight catches. His 105 yards and one score would’ve paced the Falcons, as well, had they lost. But then fourth-and-3 happened. Late in the final frame, Atlanta called on Ryan, who had thrown three picks already, to throw a quick screen to Julio Jones, his longtime battery mate, now paid in full. Put the ball in Jones’ hands, not Ryan’s. Julio caught the pass and, with the help of the pancake of all pancakes by left tackle Jake Matthews on Avonte Maddox, sprinted upfield and into the end zone for the go-ahead, game-winning 54 -yard touchdown. It was Julio’s fifth grab and his second touchdown, and it was a reminder of the firepower the Falcons (1-1) possess, a reminder sorely needed after being nearly shut out in Minnesota last week. Speaking of firepower, there was none in either of these backfields. For the second straight week, both Philadelphia and Atlanta’s ball-carriers struggled to find much of a footing and provide balance to their offenses lacking it. Without Tevin Coleman stealing some of his snaps, Devonta Freeman is running like an average back, not one playing on a five-year extension. Through two games, Freeman has racked up just 41 yards on 19 carries — to be fair, those outings came against two of the NFC’s most gifted fronts. For burst out of the backfield, Atlanta is better off handing it to Ito Smith. Philly’s refurbished RB tandem is nothing to write home about. Neither Miles Sanders nor Jordan Howard helped out a struggling Wentz on Sunday evening, the two combining for 46 yards on 18 carries. On an otherwise flawless roster, Philly’s backfield prowess is still lacking despite it being a glaring flaw during last year’s campaign.

 

Chicago Bears 16, Denver Broncos 14

In a matchup dominated by field position and field goals, it’s only fitting that beleaguered Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro nailed a 53-yard attempt to cap off a wacky sequence in the final minute. Joe Flacco converted a pair of fourth downs to set up a 7-yard touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders, bringing the Broncos within one point with just over half a minute remaining. Denver decided to go for the win with a two-point conversion, only to switch gears when Flacco was called for delay of game. A Buster Skrine offsides penalty on the PAT attempt put the ball back in the hands of Flacco, who dialed Sanders’ number again for the two-point conversion and a 14-13 lead. That left just 31 seconds on the clock for Mitchell Trubisky, who benefitted from a questionable roughing the passer penalty on Bradley Chubb to keep the improbable comeback alive. Faced with fourth-and-15 a few plays later, Trubisky danced in the pocket, found Allen Robinson wide open over the middle and called timeout with just a second left to set up Pineiro’s heroics. Flacco and Sanders deserved a better fate. The Broncos (0-2) recorded 27 first downs versus the vaunted Bears defense, matching the number amassed by the Patriots and 49ers in their blowout victories on Sunday. A series of holding penalties on an offensive line tasked with blocking Bears superstar Khalil Mack sabotaged Flacco’s attack over and over again, thwarting Denver’s scoring opportunities. As well as Flacco has moved the chains between the twenties, it’s fair to question his effectiveness in the condensed area of the red zone through two games. The Bears finally scored their first touchdown of the season when Nagy called nine straight runs, including a 42-yard Cordarrelle Patterson scamper that set up rookie David Montgomery’s diving effort. Montgomery took control of Chicago’s backfield on a day when the game plan seemed determined not to place too much responsibility on Trubisky’s shoulders versus a stellar defense in an unfriendly environment. Even with the game-winning drive — aided by judgment calls from the officials — Trubisky will be back under the microscope for next week’s game at Washington.

 

Houston Texans 13, Jacksonville Jaguars 12

Houston almost coughed up another late lead for the second straight week to open the season. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew drove the Jacksonville offense down the field with chunk throws and heady big runs culminating in a touchdown toss to D.J. Chark with 30 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 13-12. Jags coach Doug Marrone elected to go for two points and a potential win. Leonard Fournette, however, was stuffed inches before the goal line, allowing the Texans (1-1) to escape without another late collapse. Houston breathed a sigh of relief but can’t be thrilled by the limp defensive effort — including more off coverage — to close out the tilt. Deshaun Watson was discombobulated behind a faltering offensive line against a Jags D that was missing star pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue. Watson was sacked four times Sunday and couldn’t find the range deep throughout the tilt — completing just two of 10 passes of 15-plus air-yards, per Next Gen Stats. The matchup between DeAndre Hopkins and Jalen Ramsey went mostly to the Jags corner, who held Nuk (five catches on eight targets for 40 yards) to short gains. Hopkins did much of his damage when Ramsey — who blew up at the coaching staff on the sideline in the first half — was in zone coverage. With Hopkins neutralized, Watson’s passing game wilted. The Texans leaned on Carlos Hyde (90 yards) who out-carried Duke Johnson 20 to 6. Holding on for the win brings a modicum of relief, but the Texans need more when Nuk is negated as he was for the most part by Ramsey Sunday. Minshew didn’t look flustered in his first career start. The sixth-round pick got swarmed at times by the Texans front, getting sacked four times (twice by Whitney Mercilus) and fumbling thrice (losing one). The third fumble led to the Texans’ only touchdown of the game. Minshew was solid when getting the ball out of his hands quickly and displayed plenty of touch, arm strength and accuracy to complete several long sideline throws. The rookie displayed positive running ability, leading the Jags (0-2) with 56 rushing yards on six carries, including big gains of 21 and 18 yards. After getting swarmed for three quarters, the man with the golden mustache showed moxie at the end leading to the final-minute touchdown, taking advantage of a loose Texans D. Minshew (23-of-33, 213 yards, TD) was scuttled behind a struggling offensive line and at times held the ball too long. But the rookie showed he can be a solid stand-in for Nick Foles if he gets more help from Fournette and company moving forward.

 

Buffalo Bills 28, New York Giants 14

Tasked with playing their second straight tilt at MetLife Stadium, the Bills (2-0) stayed in the same hotel — with players lodged in the very same rooms — to mimic their lead-up to last week’s 17-16 comeback win over the Jets. The OCD/superstitious approach worked, with Buffalo unfurling a clean and effective offensive outing over Big Blue. Josh Allen caught heat for his four turnovers in Week 1, but the Bills second-year signal-caller authored a clean, productive game that saw him lead four touchdown drives and throw for 253 yards at a healthy 8.4 yards per toss. Rookie runner Devin Singletary helped with a dazzling 14-yard scoring dash — more of him please — while old-as-the-hills-but-still-wily Frank Gore plowed for 70 yards at 3.9 yards per carry. Third-year wideout Isaiah McKenzie helped with a 14-yard touchdown grab on a drive that saw trusty possession man Cole Beasley slice up New York with a 51-yard catch-and-run. Same old tune for the wandering G-Men: Reminding us of last week’s start against Dallas, New York barreled down the field on their opening drive, with electrifying runner Saquon Barkley (18/107/1) rampaging through Buffalo’s defense for 55 yards with a 27-yard touchdown burst. The Giants (0-2) appeared entirely lost from there, with Eli Manning throwing for zero yards over the first four marches and finishing with just 202 yards at 4.8 yards per lob with a pair of picks. New York is struggling in a way all of America saw coming from 1,000 miles away: Can they surprise anyone after the opening drive? Tons of Barkley; Eli dragging the team down; a wanting, soft defense offering no help; and a playbook airmailed from 1948. This problem-laden offense looked even worse against a well-coached, smothering Buffalo defense that all but destroyed New York’s two other squads over the first two weeks of the season. The Bills are a playoff team if the defense continues to operate this way while Allen continues to grow under center. Describing New York’s afternoon in a nutshell: Down 21-7 before the half, New York caught a break when T.J. Jones returned a punt 60 yards to Buffalo’s 33-yard line. Two plays later, Manning’s pass was batted by sensational Bills rookie Ed Oliver and picked off by Trent Murphy. Jones subsequently lifted an injury-ravaged receiver group with a third-quarter score off a dig route that brought New York within 21-14 of the Bills. Too little, too late, though, with Buffalo ending the game with a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped by a Gore score. It’s impossible to figure out how this Giants roster crawls its way to six wins. The real question is whether Pat Shurmur owns the requisite power to permanently bench his ancient starter in favor of rookie Daniel Jones. If not, the embattled Giants coach feels like a scapegoat-in-the-making for a team as lost as any league-wide.

 

Dallas Cowboys 31, Washington Redskins 21

With precocious play-caller Kellen Moore keeping another defense guessing, the Cowboys (2-0) topped the 30-point mark for the second straight week. After a sluggish first quarter, Dallas receivers roamed through prairie land in Washington’s injury-ravaged secondary, as Moore continues to scheme his arsenal of playmakers into open spaces. While a rejuvenated Randall Cobb and a transformed Michael Gallup are making Dak Prescott’s job easier this season, it was former Jets second-round pick Devin Smith leading the way with 74 yards receiving, including a 51-yard touchdown bomb against veteran cornerback Josh Norman. Ezekiel Elliott salted the game away with a 27-yard jaunt on third-and-5, pushing him over the 100-yard mark on the day. One of the NFL’s scariest offenses this September, the Cowboys have expanded on the predictable Elliott-centric approach, torturing opponents with a well-rounded pick-your-poison attack. Considering the strength of Dallas’ roster and the beautiful mind of Moore, Prescott has a prime opportunity for a legitimate run at MVP honors in a contract year. After an early interception on an errant pass that ricocheted off Cobb’s hands, Prescott completed 13 of his next 15 passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns while the Cowboys ran away from the less talented Redskins (0-2). Bolstering his passing numbers, Prescott added 69 yards on the ground, the second-highest rushing total of his career. Through two weeks under Moore, a pinpoint Prescott has completed an astonishing 51 of 62 attempts (82.3 percent) for 674 yards (10.9 YPA), seven touchdowns, one interception and a 142.9 pass rating versus a pair of suspect secondaries. The downtrodden Dolphins are next on the schedule for Dallas. Redskins rookie Terry McLaurin would have topped 200 yards in his NFL debut last week had Case Keenum not overthrown him on a potential 73-yard score in the second half. He faced a much stiffer test this time around, with Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones in his hip pocket all afternoon. McLaurin finally shook free for a 27-yard gain just past Jones’ outstretched fingertips, igniting a 69-yard second-half performance that included a 1-yard touchdown late in the festivities. McLaurin turned so many heads in training camp, coach Jay Gruden relayed to FOX broadcasters Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis, that the Redskins were forced to pull him off special teams even though the former Ohio State star was drafted with that skill-set in mind. It didn’t take long for Gruden to realize that his third-round pick was his No. 1 receiver.

 

New England Patriots 43, Miami Dolphins 0

All eyes were on Antonio Brown as he made his Patriots debut Sunday amid an NFL investigation into rape and sexual assault allegations made against the receiver in a civil lawsuit last week. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported during NFL GameDayMorning that the Patriots’ game plan was to involve A.B. in the offense early against the Dolphins (0-2), and that’s exactly what happened. Brown was on the field for the second play of the game and immediately snagged an 18-yard catch. Brown had three catches for 36 yards on the Pats’ opening TD drive, and then looked like his vintage self when he corralled a perfect back-shoulder throw from Tom Brady for a 20-yard TD in the second quarter. Brown and Brady did seem to struggle at times to be on the same page, but that will be solved with more practice time, assuming Brown remains eligible in the coming weeks. While the NFL did not place Brown on the Commissioner’s Exempt list ahead of Sunday’s game, the league did not rule it out as an option entirely. Rapoport reports that Brown’s accuser, Britney Taylor, is slated to meet with league investigators on Monday.  This Patriots’ defense is an absolute bear. New England (2-0) has given up just three points through eight quarters, and after demoralizing the Steelers in Week 1, the unit laid waste to the Dolphins. The Patriots racked up 11 QB hits and seven sacks, logged three interceptions (two of which were returned for touchdowns) and completely prevented the Dolphins from having anything that resembled an NFL-caliber offense. Tom Brady and Co. will garner most of the headlines, but the defense in Foxborough might be one of the best groups in the NFL.  If you want to look on the bright side, Dolphins fans, the team held tough against the Patriots through 2 1/2 quarters. But when the floodgates opened, boy did they open. A 16-0 game quickly became 23-0 after a patented Brady sneak, and back-to-back pick-sixes from Ryan Fitzpatrick sealed another blowout loss. This is a talent-poor group that has been outscored 102-10 in back-to-back home contests. When they aren’t struggling to get separation, receivers are dropping passes (at least four vs. New England). The defense failed to get consistent pressure on Brady despite the Patriots missing both of their starting tackles (Isaiah Wynn was lost to a foot injury and Marcus Cannon (shoulder) was inactive). Things won’t get easier for the Dolphins in Week 3 as travel to Dallas to face the red-hot Cowboys.

 

Green Bay Packers 21, Minnesota Vikings 16

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense blitzed out of the gate, showing how good Matt LaFleur’s offense could be when in rhythm. The Packers (2-0) scored touchdowns on three straight possessions to open the game with a 21-0 lead. Rogers moved the offense swiftly with tempo and balance, starting the first quarter 9-of-10 passing for 134 yards, and 2 TDs, including 3-for-3 on third down. Davante Adams looked uncoverable. Aaron Jones ripped off runs like a bull seeing red. After the first three possessions, however, the Packers offense looked stuck in mud, much like it was in Week 1. After the first three drives, Green Bay’s possessions went: fumble, three-and-out, punt, downs, punt, fumble, punt, punt, three-and-out, three-and-out, punt. Credit the Vikings defense for turning the tide and not giving Rodgers time to breathe the final three quarters. Rodgers (22-34, 209 yards, 2 TDs) couldn’t find a rhythm and held the ball with receivers blanketed the rest of the tilt. The best Packers offensive player was running back Aaron Jones who toted a career-high 23 times for 116 yards and a TD. Jones blasted through the line several times for chunk gains, and his carries were the few good plays for the Pack in the second half. LaFleur sought balance with the run game and got it in Week 2 with Jones (who added four catches for 34 yards). Through two weeks, it’s been baby steps for the Packers’ offense. Getting two division wins while Rodgers and company sort out the kinks could prove massive come December. The Vikings defense helped Minnesota (1-1) scrap back into the game, but Kirk Cousins threw it away. Dalvin Cook did his best to carry the Vikings offense, including a 75-yard touchdown blastoff in which he blasted past safety Darnell Savage to cut the Packers’ early lead. Cook looked phenomenal all game, pummeling a gassed Packers defense in the second half en route to 154 yards on 20 carries, and added three catches for 37 yards. Cousins, however, struggled badly. The quarterback completed just 43.8 percent of 32 passes for 230 yards and one TD, fumbled twice (losing one) and threw two brutal INTs. The second interception was a boneheaded decision by the Vikes’ QB. Trailing by five with 5:17 left at the eight-yard line on first down, Cousins forced a ball into the corner of the end zone to Stefon Diggs, which was picked off. The pass exemplified a day in which Cousins looked lost repeatedly and missed throw after throw high, wide, or in the dust. Outside of one great throw to Diggs for a TD, it was a forgetful trip to Lambeau for Cousins. With even slightly better play from the QB, the Vikings could have completed a massive comeback. Missing a field goal, having a TD called back due to OPI, a blocked extra point, and a bevy of other bad penalties will leave Mike Zimmer fuming on the trip home. Credit the Packers’ revamped defense with forcing Cousins into some terrible decisions. Savage once again looked like the real deal, breaking beautifully on a Cousins pass over the middle and breaking it up for a tipped INT by Preston Smith. Linebacker Blake Martinez (13 tackles) cleaned up all the garbage, while Za’Darius Smith once again proved a problem for opponents getting off blocks. While the front got gashed at times by Cook (especially in the second half when they were on the field forever), but the secondary once again showed its promise. Savage, Jaire Alexander (two passes defended, including a broken-up TD) and Kevin King (INT) all made key plays to preserve the W.

 

Los Angeles Rams 27, New Orleans Saints 9

The biggest news coming out of L.A. happened after the Saints’ second drive when Drew Brees exited the tilt with a thumb injury on his throwing hand following a hit by Aaron Donald. The future Hall of Fame quarterback didn’t return. Depending on how long the injury to Brees — who couldn’t grip a ball on the sideline — lasts, it’s an injury that could alter the complexion of the NFC playoff race. With Brees on the sideline, the Rams defense smothered backup Teddy Bridgewater and the Saints offense. The Rams dominated the line of scrimmage with Donald, Dante Fowler, Michael Brockers, Clay Matthews, et al. controlling play. The Rams D bottled up Alvin Kamara as well as any team we’ve seen, holding the dynamic running back to 60 scrimmage yards on 14 touches. Repeatedly forcing Bridgewater to hold the ball with good coverage on the back end, L.A. held the Saints to one drive of more than 40 net yards in 10 possessions and zero touchdowns. Yes, Brees wasn’t in for the majority of the game, but it was an impressive display from the Rams’ defense nonetheless. What a difference Cooper Kupp makes for the Rams. On a mostly workman-like day for the L.A. offense, Kupp provided the most explosive play. The receiver, coming off a torn ACL, caught a slant, beating corner Marshon Lattimore off the line, stiff-armed the CB into next week, weaved through the Saints secondary, broke additional poor tackle attempt, and muscled his way to the one-inch yard line setting up a Jared Goff sneak. The play put the Rams up big and squashed any thoughts of a Saints late-game comeback. The effect of Kupp (5/120) returning to the lineup this season can’t be understated. The slot receiver gives Goff his security blanket back and slides Robert Woods (2/33) and Brandin Cooks (3/74/1) into better positions to win on the outside. It wouldn’t be a Saints-Rams matchup without refereeing controversy. In the second quarter, with the score tied 6-6 and the Rams at the 11-yard line, Goff was hit on a drop back, and the ball popped out as he went to throw. Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan scooped up the pigskin and raced downfield for what could have been a huge defensive touchdown. However, the play was whistled dead as Jordan was scampering down the sideline and ruled an incomplete pass. After review, it was determined the ball was out before the pass giving the Saints the ball. The whistle, however, wiped out what could have been a game-altering defensive score.

Detroit Lions 13, Los Angeles Chargers 10

One week after an overtime win at home, the Chargers (1-1) weren’t so lucky in their first road game of the season. Sloppy play and miscues plagued the Chargers in all facets of the game against the Lions. Bolts punter Ty Long assumed kicking duties for the second consecutive week as Michael Badgley was sidelined again with a groin injury. Long missed back-to-back field goals, which proved to be costly in the end for the Chargers. Kicking woes are nothing new for the Chargers and Bolts faithful. For several seasons, the team has failed to establish consistency at the position or have been faced with subpar stand-ins due to injury. The Lions’ defense was fueled by the stout performances of Darius Slay, Tracy Walker, Jahlani Tavai and Devon Kennard that kept the Chargers out of the end zone Sunday. In the third quarter, Tavai forced an Ekeler goal-line fumble (which was recovered by Kennard). Slay had five tackles on the day and picked off Rivers in the end zone to seal the victory for Detroit (1-0-1). Offensively, the Lions took to the air against a thin Chargers secondary. Matthew Stafford threw for 245 yards and two touchdown passes with a pair of INTs. Detroit rushed for just 94 yards, splitting the workload between Kerryon Johnson and Ty Johnson. Chargers receiver Mike Williams, who was a game-time decision, had three catches for 83 yards versus the Lions. This week, Williams sat out of practice due to a knee injury. The oft-injured Williams has proved to be a game changer for L.A., when healthy, but the third-year wideout hasn’t gone a full season without some ailment. Philip Rivers went 21 for 36, totaling 287 yards and one interception. While Rivers spread the ball around between Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson, the offense failed to get a rhythm going. The Chargers’ offense certainly missed tight end Hunter Henry today, who is out for a while with a knee fracture.

 

Indianapolis Colts 19, Tennessee Titans 17

The Colts (1-1) really have a kicker situation with Adam Vinatieri. The veteran kicker had another unexpectedly horrible game. He missed two PATs against the Titans. Just last week, he left seven points on the field with a missed extra point and two missed field goals. If you’re the Colts, do you start trying out other kickers? Do you cut the veteran, or does he just retire? The Colts are lucky the Titans couldn’t convert on fourth-and-2 with 15 seconds left, or they might be 0-2 to start the season. After the game, Vinatieri told Stephen Holder of the Athletic that, “You’ll hear from me tomorrow.” Holder told him that they won’t see him tomorrow. Vinatieri said, “Yeah, you will.” Does the veteran plan to announce his retirement? Stay tuned. The Titans (1-1) might’ve started off the game with fire due to some pyrotechnic problems but their offense didn’t do enough to get a win. The Colts defense held the Titans to only one touchdown in the first half — which was scored by offensive lineman David Quessenberry. This was his first career touchdown. The 2013 sixth-round pick was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin T-lymphoblastic lymphoma and returned to the field in 2017 after a three-year long battle. Head coach Mike Vrabel had 12 receiving TDs (including playoffs) as a linebacker (the most by a non-skill-position player in the Super Bowl era), per NFL Research. Marcus Mariota just couldn’t convert on third downs (1/10) or get rid of the ball. He was sacked four times again — his second game in a row. He finished the game with 19 out of 28 attempts for 154 yards, and one touchdown. Jacoby Brissett struggled a bit in this game with two turnovers and three sacks but they were able to pull off the win with help from the defense. This week the defense redeemed themselves after a poor performance last Sunday. Brissett finished with 146 yards and three touchdowns. Coach Frank Reich showed confidence in his team and played very aggressive against the Titans which paid off in the end when they converted a crucial fourth down.

 

Baltimore Ravens 23, Arizona Cardinals 17

Meet Lamar Jackson, the runner. In his follow-up to a near-perfect performance through the air in Week 1, Jackson had himself a day running the football posting a career-high 120 yards. Whether it be a designed running play or a scramble out of the pocket when under pressure, Jackson crossed the first-down marker often and his threat made it easier when dropping back to pass. Jackson ended the day completing 24 passes on 37 attempts for 272 yards and two touchdowns, but with the pesky Cardinals nipping at Baltimore’s heels all game, it was Jackson’s playmaking ability on the ground that was the difference. The Ravens (2-0) weren’t relying on Jackson to create something out of nothing, however, as they relied on his arm to help seal the win. Up six late in the fourth and looking at a third-and-long, Jackson heaved a perfect deep pass to Marquise “Hollywood” Brown for 41 yards and that allowed the Ravens running backs bleed out the clock for the victory. While “Hollywood” Brown is quickly becoming his best receiving threat, Jackson is also showing his love for the tight end. Mark Andrews matched Brown’s eight receptions against the Cardinals and hauled in the Ravens’ first touchdown of the day. Fellow tight end Hayden Hurst caught the other one. Andrews now has 16 receptions through the first two games and is quickly becoming one of the top pass-catchers at the position. Perhaps the tight end is a dynamic that has been overlooked when it comes to the Ravens offense, especially considering they want to deem themselves a threat on the ground and through the air on seemingly every play. Although the Cardinals (0-1-1) kept settling for field goals, Murray played well considering he was constantly hounded by the Ravens defense, but that was due in large part to the Arizona wideouts. Often times lining up with a minimum of four wide receivers, the group was sure-handed and bailed out some of Murray’s errant throws. The ball was distributed equally in Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense, with Larry Fitzgerald (5 receptions, 104 yards) and Christian Kirk (6 receptions, 114 yards) leading the group. Damiere Byrd also had himself a productive day catching six balls for 45 yards, and rookie KeeSean Johnson created a big play to extend a drive late in the game. Murray ended up with 349 yards passing with no interceptions but failed to get the offense into the end zone through the air. Growing pains were something expected for the rookie QB and head coach, but the talented receiving corps was a highlight to an otherwise inconsistent offense.

 

San Francisco 49ers 41, Cincinnati Bengals 17

San Francisco has a true running back-by-committee and it was the catalyst to a well-oiled machine offensively. With Tevin Coleman going to injured reserve after Week 1, Matt Breida, Jeff Wilson Jr. and Raheem Mostert combined for a halfback attack that gained 259 yards on the ground and 84 yards through the air. Breida led the RBBC in rushing with 121 yards on 12 attempts, while Mostert led the way receiving with 68 yards off three receptions. The trio was the heartbeat of a San Francisco offense that moved the ball rather easily against the Bengals, scoring five touchdowns, accruing 27 first downs, gaining 572 total yards and forcing Cincinnati to play from behind from the outset. Of course, leading the way was an offensive line that had no problem creating a push despite a few holding penalties (and Joe Staley’s exit from the game with an injury). Just as effective was the play-calling from head coach Kyle Shanahan, who had Bengals defenders blaming each other every other play. All of which made it an uncomplicated outing for QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who, aside from an early interception, ended the day throwing for 297 yards and three touchdowns in just 25 attempts, and wasn’t sacked at all. The 49ers defense is beginning to look like a force to be reckoned with. Following up their three-interception, two-touchdown stranglehold of the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay, San Francisco’s defense brought Andy Dalton back down to earth. Literally. The 49ers had four sacks of Dalton and hit him six other times. Meanwhile, the secondary of the 49ers provided great coverage as the defense caused havoc, breaking up eight Dalton passes for incompletions. Cincinnati had an even tougher time running the ball against the Niners, gaining only 25 yards on the ground on 19 attempts. As for the two touchdowns given up, one stemmed off of Garoppolo’s INT at midfield and the other was a late-game catch-and-run that found the wide-open holes of a prevent defense. With new additions like Dee Ford, Nick Bosa and Kwon Alexander, veteran 49ers like DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas (who both notched a sack) are thriving. It’s a sight for sore eyes in San Francisco, which has had an abysmal defense the last two years, but now starting the 2019 season, 2-0 — the first time since 2012, when they reached the Super Bowl — the 49ers are revamped on both sides of the ball. If there was any good sign for the Bengals (0-2) in this one, it was the continuation of John Ross’ hot start and Tyler Boyd’s playmaking ability. Although Ross was the beneficiary of the 49ers’ prevent defense in the fourth quarter — a 66-yard catch and run that was made with his speed — he ended the day with four catches for 112 yards and is certain to maintain the confidence of a second-round pick who had disappointed before 2019. As for Boyd, his day of 10 catches for 122 yards could’ve been better has a holding penalty not brought back a would-be TD reception. Boyd was sure-handed in catching all 10 of his targets, and was the only real bright spot of an offense that was frustrated all day.

 

Seattle Seahawks 28, Pittsburgh Steelers 26

The Seahawks (2-0) could not get their offense going to start the game. Russell Wilson was sacked four times in the first half with three of them in the first quarter alone. Credit offensive coordinator Brian Shottenheimer and Wilson for adjusting at the half. They switched to quick throws and Wilson ate up the Steelers’ zone defense. Wilson went for 29 out of 35 for 300 yards and three touchdowns. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger exited the game right before halftime with a right elbow injury and did not return. So, in came second-year QB Mason Rudolph in his first NFL game. The Steelers (0-2) actually moved the ball better with him behind center. Rudolph threw on time and dove for first downs. He finished with 12 out of 19 attempts, 112 yards, two touchdowns and one pick. Despite having another disappointing game, Steelers wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster surpassed Hall of Famer Randy Moss to become the youngest player to reach 2,500 career receiving yards in NFL history, per NFL Research.

 

Kansas City Chiefs 28, Oakland Raiders 10

It’s becoming redundant at this point, but Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes continues to prove he’s the most exciting player in the NFL. Down 10 points after the first quarter, the Chiefs seemed to be in for a competitive game against their AFC West rival, but Mahomes quickly put an end to that. Mahomes had four touchdowns and 278 yards passing in the second quarter alone to give Kansas City the ultimate swing in momentum and a 28-10 lead going into halftime. Evidently, that’s all that was needed to deflate the Raiders. Mahomes ended the day completing 30 of 44 for 443 passing yards, and although there weren’t any more scores, the third-year QB led long-enough drives to maintain the lead on a day when the Chiefs ran for 31 yards. No Tyreek Hill, no problem. The Chiefs’ offense didn’t skip a beat with their top playmaker out with an injury, and fourth-year receiver Demarcus Robinson filled the role perfectly. Robinson amassed 172 yards on six catches and scored two touchdowns, leading all Chiefs receivers and making some eye-popping plays downfield averaging 28.7 yards per catch. Travis Kelce had his rudimentary stat line with seven grabs for 107 yards and a touchdown, Sammy Watkins was relatively quiet with six receptions for 49 yards, and rookie Mecole Hardman found the end zone on a 42-yarder in one of his two receptions. It sure seems like whoever is catching passes in Andy Reid’s system will produce with Mahomes flinging the ball. Derek Carr etched his name into Raiders history in the defeat. Carr became the Raiders’ all-time leader in passing yards, passing Hall of Famer Ken Stabler, who held the top spot with 19,078 yards through the air. On the day, however, Carr didn’t do much worth celebrating, ending the day completing 23 of 38 passes for 198 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Carr accomplished this early in his sixth season with the Raiders, and did so in what is sure to be the most Raiders-ey historical footnote: the last NFL game ever played on the dirt of a baseball diamond.

 

Roundup: RT James’ knee injury not season-ending

Denver Broncos right tackle Ja’Wuan James will miss time, but not the entire season.

 NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Networks Tom Pelissero reported Wednesday that James suffered a knee injury that is not season-ending.

 It’s unclear at this stage how much time the right tackle will miss but avoiding a season-ender offers a modicum of positive news for Denver.

 James left Monday night’s loss in Oakland after just eight offensive snaps.

 Broncos general manager John Elway handed James a four-year, $51 million contract with $32 million in injury guarantees this offseason in the latest attempt to fix the offensive line in Denver. The knee injury skews that plan now.

The injury thrusts Elijah Wilkinson into the starting role until James returns. The third-year pro started seven games in Denver in 2018.

 Here are other injuries we are monitoring around the league on Wednesday:

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (ankle) was seen out of a walking boot on Wednesday at the team facility and on a treadmill running. Green sustained the injury during the opening practice of training camp, and had surgery before the preseason started.

 On another note in Cincinnati, RB Joe Mixon (ankle) is considered day-to-day and coach Zac Taylor said he will manage his practice load this week to better his chances of playing on Sunday. Mixon left the season-opener early after sustaining the injury, and a follow-up MRI concluded there was no structural damage. Giovanni Bernard would get the lead role at RB should Mixon be out. Tackle Cordy Glenn remains in the league’s concussion protocol and the Bengals waived QB Jeff Driskel with an injury settlement.

Carolina Panthers edge rusher Bruce Irvin (hamstring) has been ruled out for Thursday night’s home game against the Buccaneers. Tight end Greg Olsen (back) practiced in full on Wednesday and is officially listed as questionable. Rookie tackle Greg Little (concussion) was a full participant in practice all week after being in concussion protocol for the extent of Week 1. Safety Rashaan Gaulden (groin) is also questionable after being limited in practice on the eve of game day.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers backup QB Blaine Gabbert (left shoulder) did not practice all week and is ruled out for Thursday night. Gabbert is Tampa Bay’s only player with an injury designation in the shortened week.

Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy calls TE Trey Burton (groin) day-to-day, and said playing him would be a decision made on game day.

The team also announced they have waived defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson and have been awarded via waivers TE J.P. Holtz.

The Los Angeles Chargers are signing veteran CB Dontae Johnson, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, per source. Johnson was previously on the 49ers this summer before getting cut.

The Dallas Cowboys listed the following players on today’s injury report: WR Tavon Austin (concussion), DE Tyrone Crawford (hip), LB Luke Gifford (ankle) and G Zack Martin (back) all didn’t practice while safeties Darian Thompson and Donovan Wilson — both are dealing with ankle injuries — were limited.

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (concussion) took part in team drills on Wednesday, coach Jay Gruden revealed. Reed suffered the concussion on the second to last preseason game, which kept him out of Week 1. Safety Montae Nicholson (foot) missed practice.

The team later released their full injury report and listed the following players: DL Jonathan Allen (knee), DT Caleb Brantley, RB Derrius Guice (knee) and QB Colt McCoy (fibula) also didn’t practice. CBs Quinton Dunbar (knee) and Fabian Moreau (ankle) were limited participants.

San Francisco 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday due to soreness. Bosa played most of the defensive snaps last Sunday and even recorded a sack in his NFL debut, but limped off the field after the last play thanks to the same ankle that kept him out for most of the offseason. Safety Jimmie Ward (hand) was limited, while wide receivers Jalen Hurd (back) and Trent Taylor (foot) missed practice.

New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (concussion) did not practice Wednesday, while guard Kevin Zeitler (shoulder), DL Dexter Lawrence, and LB Markus Golden (shoulder) were all limited.

The Giants also announced a roster move: WR TJ Jones, who led the team in catches in the preseason, re-signed and, in a corresponding move, LB Kareem Martin was placed on IR.

Indianapolis Colts defensive ends Jabaal Sheard (knee) and Kemoko Turay (neck) did not practice.

The Philadelphia Eagles have released TE Richard Rodgers off of IR with an injury settlement.

Cornerback Craig James was promoted to the active roster from the practice, where tight end Alex Ellis was signed to.

Oakland Raiders CB Gareon Conley (neck) was limited in practice Wednesday, but on the field just two days removed from a scary injury on Monday night where he was taken out of the season opener on a stretcher. Guard Gabe Jackson (knee), rookie S Johnathan Abram (shoulder) and WR J.J. Nelson (ankle) did not practice, while DT Corey Luiget (knee) was limited.

The Houston Texans announced updates for several injured players: QB Deshaun Watson (back), S Justin Reid (shoulder), G Tytus Howard (finger) and WR Keke Coutee (ankle) were among the full participants in today’s practice. Coutee has been out of action since injuring his ankle in the preseason opener. Watson exited Monday night’s game against the Saints twice to be evaluated for a back injury after hurting himself on a hurdle into the endzone in the second quarter.

Wideouts DeAndre Hopkins (ribs) and Will Fuller (non-injury related) were among the limited participants.

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced updates for several injured players: DL Calais Campbell (foot), DE Yannick Ngakoue (hamstring), OL Cedric Ogbuehi (hamstring) and TE Josh Oliver (hamstring) all didn’t practice. DT Marcell Dareus, OL Cam Robinson and LB Quincy Williams were limited.

Los Angeles Rams safety Eric Weddle, who suffered a concussion and head laceration in his team debut Sunday, was practicing Wednesday and appears as if he will be “ready to roll” against the Saints, NFL Network’s Steve Wyche reported.

While Weddle was officially designated as limited by the Rams’ injury report, linebacker Clay Matthews (back) was out, as was defensive lineman Michael Brockers (shoulder).

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mackenzie Alexander (elbow) and guard Pat Elflein (knee) did not practice on Wednesday, while linebacker Anthony Barr (knee), receiver Josh Doctson (hamstring), defensive back Mike Hughes (knee), tight end Tyler Conklin (ribs) and Mark Fields (groin) were limited.

The Baltimore Ravens were without their three top corners at practice: Brandon Carr (not-injury related), Marlon Humphrey (back) and Jimmy Smith (knee). RB Mark Ingram (shoulder) and rookie WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown (hip) were limited participants.

Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and TE Charles Clay didn’t practice for “non-injury related” reasons. DL Jonathan Bullard (hamstring) also didn’t practice.

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (ankle), S Tyrann Mathieu (shoulder), DE Frank Clark (neck) were among the full participants in practice while wideout Tyreek Hill (shoulder) was the only DNP.

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Ted Ginn did not practice on Wednesday as he was sidelined by an illness. Defensive tackle Mario Edwards (hamstring), defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (Achilles), linebacker Craig Robertson (hamstring) and safety Marcus Williams (groin) were limited.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did not practice Wednesday in what was listed as a coaches’ decision. Center Maurkice Pouncey (ankle) and cornerback Joe Haden (shoulder) did not practice, nor did fullback Roosevelt Nix (knee). Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (toe), running back James Conner (illness) and linebacker T.J. Watt (hip) were limited, along with S Sean Davis (ankle), S Terrell Edmunds (glute) and OT Zach Banner (illness).

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was limited in practice Wednesday, but it was not injury related. The remainder of the Seahawks’ injury report is as follows: C Joey Hunt (ankle), DT Poona Ford (calf), S Tedric Thompson (hamstring), CB Neiko Thorpe (hamstring), C Justin Britt (knee) and WR Tyler Lockett (back) did not practice. Limited in practice were: G Mike Iupati (foot), WR David Moore (shoulder), DE L.J. Collier (ankle), DE Ziggy Ansah (shoulder) and S Ugo Amadi (shoulder). Tackle Duane Brown (knee), T George Fant (ankle) and TE Will Dissly (knee) were full participants.

 

Saints robbed by referees of touchdown on strip of Jared Goff

The New Orleans Saints were once again robbed by the officials during their game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

Cameron Jordan recovered a fumble after Jared Goff was stripped on third down in New Orleans territory late in the second half, and the Saints defensive end had nothing but green grass between him and the end zone. He would have had a touchdown, but the officials blew the play dead.

Upon review, it was determined that Goff fumbled. The Saints retained possession, but they had to start their drive deep in their own territory since the play was blown dead. Officials are instructed to let things play out in situations like that, as they can always come back and reverse the call if it is determined that it was an incomplete pass.

Of course, the Saints were looking for revenge against the Rams after the officials cost them a trip to the Super Bowl with one of the most egregious pass interference non-calls in NFL history during the playoffs last year. Once again, they have every reason to be upset after coming out on the wrong end of a brutal officiating mistake.

 

Terry Bradshaw ‘can’t stand’ Antonio Brown, wouldn’t throw to him

Many in the Pittsburgh Steelers organization weren’t particularly sorry to see Antonio Brown go this past offseason. Count Terry Bradshaw as someone outside the organization who felt the same way.

Bradshaw said Friday that the Steelers shouldn’t have put up with as much as they did from Brown, adding that he “wouldn’t throw to him” if he was the quarterback and the receiver was behaving that way.

“I had no idea they catered to Brown as much as they supposedly did,” Bradshaw said, via Joe Rutter of TribLive. “I can’t stand players like Antonio Brown. Winning football games is all about the team and all about players caring about one another and everybody pulling together, not pulling apart. You can’t have Antonio Brown for all the greatness that they are, do you want the baggage that goes with that crap? I wouldn’t.

“I’m glad they got rid of him and I’m upset now that I know how he got away … (what) he was doing there. I wish the heck they would have gotten rid of him a long time ago.”

Brown went full scorched earth on the Steelers during the offseason after a lot of behind-the-scenes drama. The organization has been known to put up with its fair share of drama, so for Brown to wear out his welcome is something. Bradshaw, it seems, wouldn’t have let it go on as long as it did.

 

Former Broncos head coach John Ralston dies at 92

SUNNYVALE, Calif. — John Ralston, who coached Stanford to two Rose Bowl victories and spent five seasons leading the Denver Broncos, has died. He was 92.

San Jose State, where Ralston finished his coaching career and later worked as special assistant to the athletic director, said Sunday that Ralston died Saturday in Sunnyvale.

Ralston is recognized as having turned the Broncos franchise in a winning direction during his tenure from 1972-1976 (he was also the Eagles offensive coordinator in 1978). Under Ralston’s guidance, the Broncos had three winning seasons, including the franchise’s first winning campaign in 1973 with a 7-5-2 mark as he garnered AFC Coach of the Year honors. As a general manager, he was also instrumental in building the franchise’s Super Bowl XII squad, as 16 of the team’s starters were drafted or signed by Ralston with six going on to become Broncos Ring of Famers.

Born in Oakland, Ralston spent much of a long coaching career in the Bay Area, but he first became a college head coach at Utah State in 1959.

The former Cal player was hired to coach rival Stanford in 1963. Ralston’s Stanford teams won consecutive Pac-8 championships and the Rose Bowl following the 1970 and 1971 regular seasons. Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992, Ralston coached 1970 Heisman Trophy winner Jim Plunkett at Stanford and Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman Merlin Olsen at Utah State.

Ralston left college for the NFL in 1972. With Denver, he had a 34-33-3 career record. He later coached the Oakland Invaders of the United States Football League from 1983-84 and at San Jose State from 1993-96.

Ralston served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the South Pacific in World War II, achieving the rank of corporal before attending California.

He was a linebacker at Cal, playing in two Rose Bowl under coach Pappy Waldorf. After coaching high school football in the Bay Area, he returned to Cal as an assistant under Waldorf and was part of the Bears’ last Rose Bowl team after the 1958 season.

Among the prominent coaches who worked for Ralston were Super Bowl winners Bill Walsh and Dick Vermeil along with Jim Mora Sr. and Mike White.