The Bengals have been very tolerant of Andy Dalton’s regression as a starting quarterback. After the worst week of Dalton’s NFL career, Marvin Lewis needs to reconsider his no-benching stance and turn to AJ McCarron �� for the sake of his team and coaching tenure.
The numbers show that Dalton was better in Thursday night’s 13-9 loss to Houston than he was in Sunday’s 20-0 loss to Baltimore when he threw four interceptions, completed only 51.6 percent of his passes and rated a microscopic 28.4 as a passer.
But his final line against the Texans (20 of 35, 224 yards, no INTs, 76.4 rating) looked a lot better than it really was. All it required was a string of competent throws for Dalton to “outduel” rookie first-time starter Deshaun Watson. Instead, Cincinnati is now 0-2 at home and has failed to score a touchdown for its paying fans.
Normally when teams face salary cap hell the way the Saints have, they make a major concession in one season and get their books in order so they can compete in the future. For the Saints, this should have been strongly considered in 2015 and certainly done in 2016, but they have yet to do it.
Instead of taking the pain for a year, the Saints have continued to sign any players they can regardless of fit or impact on the cap, hoping something would stick. Spend as much as possible, tomorrow be damned.
Brandin Cooks started his day by being booed. He ended it with one of the biggest moments of his short New England Patriots tenure.
Cooks was one of a group of Patriots players jeered as they stood locked arm in arm next to a group of players that knelt during the national anthem Sunday. The display was in response to criticism President Donald Trump levied against Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players and teams over the weekend.
On a Sunday when national anthem protests will be the biggest storyline in the NFL, leading to fierce debate over freedom and what it means to be an American, the first protests occured thousands of miles away on another continent.
The 37-point loss was tied for the largest margin in team history and safety Eric Weddle called it one of the worst losses, if not the worst loss, he’s ever been a part of. Flacco said the long flight across the Atlantic Ocean would be even longer as the Ravens stew over the loss.
Seven-and-a-half-hour flights aren’t good anyway, Flacco said. It’s obviously not going to be great, but it probably wasn’t going to be great even if we did win. It’s just one of those things you have to do. We have to get ready for next week.
Baltimore entered the game 2-0 with a 20-0 shutout of the Bengals and a 24-10 win over the Browns. Flacco, who dealt with a back injury during the preseason, was 34 of 51 for 338 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in those first two wins.
We’ve just got to get ready for next week. It’s one loss. It doesn’t matter what the score was, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. One win or one loss doesn’t define the season. What defines a season is how you respond to the adversity that you face. That’s in football, that’s in life.
The Cowboys and the Cardinals are the last two teams to play in Week 3 and will be watched by millions of fans.
Sources said the Cowboys leadership council, which includes more than a dozen players, met Sunday night and then the Cowboys met as a team. No general consensus was reached during those meetings as to what they should or should not do. The subject was brought up at the Sunday night team meeting with the coaches.
Sources said players from both teams talked about joining arms together during the national anthem.
A day after saying ‘I’m a dog, so I acted like a dog’ to explain his touchdown celebration where he simulated urinating on the field, Odell Beckham Jr. changed his tune on social media, now suggesting it was related to President Trump’s comments.
With the winless Jets and Saints as the Dolphins’ next two opponents, expect Cutler to stay in his groove. He’ll have good momentum going into key matchups with the Titans (at home) and Falcons (away).
Cutler, because of his arm and comfort level in stretching the field, serves as an upgrade over Tannehill. There’s no reason to think that, with a schedule short on top defenses, Cutler won’t continue to make the most of an unexpected chance. And he might force the Dolphins to make a unexpected tough (and expensive) QB decision in 2018.
Cutler has done plenty to provide punchlines in the past. But when’s fighting back like this and earning the respect of his teammates, he should earn more of ours, too. Either way, Cutler is laughing all the way to Week 3.
After two weeks of NFL action in 2017, there’s one clear takeaway that won’t go away: The AFC West is the best. Three of its teams are among the eight that have started 2-0.
Backup defensive end Noah Spence hurt his shoulder but finished the game. Standout defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who was limited this week in practice by an ankle injury, limped off twice in the second half before returning from each absence.
Then linebacker Lavonte David was lost in potentially the biggest blow. He had the back of his ankle rolled on inadvertently by a Vikings player during a scrum around the ball in the fourth quarter and left the field on a cart.
The Buccaneers host the New York Giants on Sunday before the New England Patriots visit on Oct. 5, with two games in the next 11 days making the injury recovery more difficult.
The Vikings stay at home to face the Detroit Lions on Sunday, starting a stretch of three straight games against division opponents.
Seattle’s offense fell apart on every level in Green Bay, so here comes an ideal get-well game in the friendly confines of their loud home crowd. San Francisco will be overwhelmed and will give up big plays early, and the ‘Hawks will find some positives from their offensive backfield. New 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will need to accept his offense taking a few more lumps with a tough early sschedule. Seahawks win 27-10 and cover the spread.
Matthew Stafford has been a lot better in adjusting to a more efficient, quick-passing offense than Eli Manning has in recent seasons. Manning wasn’t good last year, and no Odell Beckham Jr. early this season has made him even worse. Good for Manning, though, that the defense is already in midseason form. Expect Beckham to suit up and help New York steal a close one. Giants win 23-20 and cover the spread.
Obviously, there were some guys open �� A tip of the cap to Sean Payton for his powers of observation after his Saints allowed Brady to throw for 447 yards and three touchdowns in the Patriots’ 36-20 rout.
Del Rio in mood for dancing �� The Raiders stomped the Jets, 45-20, to move to 2-0, and Marshawn Lynch celebrated that success in typical Beast Mode fashion with an exuberant dance on the sideline. Asked about Lynch’s moves, head coach Jack Del Rio said: Exceptional. I was going to go join him. Now that would have been fun to see.
Staley freaked out over non-roughing call �� 49ers left tackle Joe Staley was apoplectic after seeing no flag thrown for Frank Clark’s hit on quarterback Brian Hoyer after a timeout had been called on a key third down in San Francisco’s narrow 12-9 loss to the Seahawks. I heard the whistle for like five seconds, so I didn’t even get out of my stance, Staley said. Then, I was freaking out because they kept going and killed the quarterback.
This is an enormous spread, almost to the point that Gang Green already looks sucked up into the Black Hole. Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch and Khalil Mack will have their way with a physically and athletically dominant performance against ex-Raider Josh McCown and friends. Raiders win 34-17 and cover the spread.
It’s yet another reunion of sorts, the other L.A.’s hotshot young coach, Sean McVay, draws the team and offense he used to coordinate. He knows the ins and outs of Kirk Cousins’ weaknesses, and with Aaron Donald back, Wade Phillips’ defense will build on Week 1 to rattle its visiting QB. Expect to see more positive from Jared Goff and Todd Gurley at home again, too. Rams win 27-24 and cover the spread.
This is a phenomenon that has defied expectation. Are they a poor road team generally? Nope. The Steelers won road playoff games each of the past two seasons and posted winning road records two of the past three years. Their road record under Tomlin is 45-36, a mark that compares well with the 50-38 of Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy, his closest peer in terms of longevity and success.
Like a running back using his vision to find the most inviting gap in the defense, Tomlin came into his Tuesday press conference anticipating the Steelers’ issues in this department could become a theme for the week. So he brought it up without being asked.
Jones: 2017 Falcons a different team �� For a while at least there seemed to be a chance the Packers could threaten a comeback and evoke painful memories for the Falcons and their fans. But Atlanta refused to let that happen in the opening game at its new stadium, rolling to a 34-23 victory, and wideout Julio Jones made it clear the Falcons have moved on from their Super Bowl collapse, saying: Last year was last year. We’re going out here and finishing games. That was last year.
Adams wishes Packers could ‘pick’ refs �� After seeing a huge throw to Randall Cobb and a touchdown pass to the same receiver called back for offensive pass interference because of pick plays, the Packers and Davante Adams could do nothing but fume at the officials. Nobody gets called on that like we do, Adams said. But it is what it is. We can’t be the ref. If we could, then it would have been called a little bit better on that.
A cross-section of national and international figures from inside and outside the athletic world joined to publicly support the Seahawks’ Michael Bennett on Wednesday, for his protests against racial injustice and in his conflicts with the Las Vegas police after he described his brutal treatment by them last month.
One of those who coordinated the statement said Bennett greatly appreciated the embrace from the list of supporters �� and badly needed to see it when he did.
He’s really excited that so many of his heroes have stepped out for him in his hour of need, Jesse Hagopian, a Seattle high school teacher, activist and close friend of and collaborator with Bennett, told Sporting News. He’s dealing with anxiety from having his life threatened by the police in Las Vegas and from their attempts to smear his reputation afterward.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford reiterated on WJR-AM Radio in Detroit on Monday that he knew the 10-second runoff rule and once he realized it was being reviewed, he knew it would be the ballgame either way. He also had no issues with the play that was called.
This is a play that is designed to get in the end zone, Stafford said. I love the call. I thought it was a great call. Nine-point-nine times out of 10 we’re getting in and scoring. It just didn’t happen for us on that play.
Stafford also said the Lions practice getting final plays off fast for situations like this — not reviews, but being down. He said that had the Lions gotten one more play, he thinks it would have been easiest for them to keep it in pass mode. He felt Detroit could have gotten a play off, but, you know, that’s the rule.