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Hey nice catch, Captain America.
Philadelphia and Dallas meet with the Cowboys trying to get back in the playoff picture.
The Packers and Broncos won again, the Cowboys blew it and the NFL playoff picture becomes a lot more interesting. It's all in the Week 13 NFL Debrief.
The New Orleans Saints have one of the most high-octane offenses in the NFL this season, something that almost certainly helped in getting their game against the Detroit Lions moved into primetime for this week's game on Sunday Night Football. Drew Brees didn't disappoint, either, as he threw for three touchdowns as the Saints breezed to a 31-17 victory over the visiting Lions.
The Saints increased their lead on the NFC South to two games over the Atlanta Falcons, all but guaranteeing them at least a Wild Card spot in the NFL playoffs, while the Lions still hold on to a Wild Card spot of their own after the majority of the NFC contenders also suffered losses on Sunday.
The Saints were led by Brees during their primetime game as the veteran quarterback completed 25 of his 35 passing attempts for 333 yards and three touchdowns. Robert Meachem was his top option as the wide receiver caught three receptions for a whopping 119 yards and a score, but Darren Sproles and Lance Moore also caught touchdown passes as Brees found six separate receivers for his 25 passing completions.
The Lions, playing their first of two games without the suspended Ndamukong Suh, allowed the Saints to complete six of their 11 third-down conversions as Detroit went just 2-of-9 on their own third-down attempts. Matthew Stafford's overall statistics were solid as he threw for over 409 yards and a touchdown to Maurice Morris, but the running game was aborted too early as Detroit tried to play catch-up with the Saints.
The game was officially over when Stafford threw the below interception to Tracy Porter late in the game. It was the only blemish on the signal caller's box score, at least as far as turnovers were concerned.
The Lions will host the Minnesota Vikings next week as they look to get back on track while the Saints will go on the road to play the Tennessee Titans as they look to lock up a spot in this year's playoffs.
The Dallas Cowboys suffered a setback on Sunday with a loss to the Arizona Cardinals, but they still lead the NFC East.
The Green Bay Packers are 12-0 after a last second victory over the New York Giants. Aaron Rodgers led a one-minute drill down the field to set up the game-winning field goal.
The Baltimore Ravens had no trouble dispatching the Cleveland Browns for their ninth win of the season.
The San Francisco 49ers had no trouble dispatching the St. Louis Rams. The win clinches the NFC West title for the 49ers.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kyle Williams showed the world just how fast he is. Williams caught a short pass from quarterback Alex Smith, who beat a Rams blitz on the play. With the ball in hand, Williams turned up the field, hitting the afterburners for a stunning 48 yards after the catch and a 56-yard touchdown.
The 49ers have scored two touchdowns today, both coming on highlight plays of more than 50 yards. Williams’ touchdown gave them a 26-0 lead over the Rams.
The NFL and its officials seem to have a serious problem when it comes to making the determination of what a catch is, particularly a touchdown catch. The latest, most egregious example comes from the Green Bay Packers game against the New York Giants. Aaron Rodger thew a 20-yard pass to Greg Jennings in the end zone. It was called a touchdown, and an official review upheld the call.
Calling it a catch is generous, very generous. Jennings never looked like he had possession of it, certainly not control of it. See for yourself in the video.
Outside of the Packer partisans, you can search far and wide and will not find many who agree with the call.
Former Vice President of Officiating for the NFL and Fox analyst Mike Pereira explained the call via Twitter.
Jennings had control with his left hand and two feet on the ground and remember the original ruling was a TD…
and the ref said the call stands therefore it would have remained even if it was called incomplete.
And what about the controversial Calvin Johnson ruling ? No comparison, says Pereira.
The process of the catch only applies to going to the ground. This is not comparable to the Johnson catch. Jennings wasn’t going to ground.
This is turning out to be a close game, if the outcome hinges on this call, expect plenty of controversy.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree helped bury the St. Louis Rams with a 52-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Quarterback Alex Smith connected with Crabtree on the deep right side of the field. The 49ers receiver waltzed into the end zone relatively unmolested by the Rams defense, which had up until that point played a solid game.
Check out the video of Crabtree’s touchdown right here.
With that play, Crabtree has four catches for 96 yards and a touchdown. He did drop a pass earlier in the game, and might have even better numbers if not for that.
Prior to this game, Crabtree led all 49ers receivers with 44 catches for 509 yards. This was only the second time this season that Crabtree has found the end zone. The 2009 first-round pick has only topped the 100-yard mark once this season, but looks like he will do it again today.
No lead is safe against the Green Bay Packers. The New York Giants were reminded of that simple truth today. After Eli Manning connected with tight end Travis Beckum to give the Giants a lead, Green Bay answered with a touchdown of their own.
Aaron Rodgers hit Donald Driver for a 13-yard touchdown with 1:17 left in the first half. Check out Driver’s touchdown right here.
Green Bay held their lead when Clay Matthews forced an Eli Manning fumble as the clocked ticked away to zero. Green Bay took a 21-17 lead into the locker room at half time.
The St. Louis Rams have few bright spots in their disappointing season. However, it hasn’t been completely devoid of notable performances. Defensive end Chris Long is in the midst of a career year. He has two sacks in the game so far, giving him 12 for the season.
Here is a video of his 12th sack on Alex Smith to end the second quarter of today’s game against the 49ers.
San Francisco leads by a score of 9-0, but without the efforts of Long and the Rams defense it could easily be a blowout.
Green Bay Packers running back James Starks was taken off the field on a cart in today’s game against the New York Giants. Starks has an ankle injury. It is being reported that his return to the game is questionable.
Describing his return as questionable is probably a bit charitable considering he was removed from the field on a cart and taken to the Green Bay locker room.
Starks leads Green Bay with 560 rushing yards on 124 attempts, prior to today’s game. He also has one rushing touchdown. Green Bay does not rely on their running backs very much with Aaron Rodgers and bevvy of receiving weapons, but their running backs do play a role in the offense nonetheless.
Starks leaves the game having rushed for five yards on three carries. At the two minute warning, New York was leading by a narrow 17-14 margin, with Green Bay in possession of the ball.
San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore is now in the history books for his team. Early in today’s game against the St. Louis Rams, Gore broke the franchise record for rushing yards, passing the legendary Joe Perry as the team’s all-time leading rusher.
Here is the video of Gore’s record-breaking efforts happening today.
Gore broke Perry’s record of 7,344 yards with a two-yard run. So far in this game, Gore has 46 yards on 14 carries, his longest run being a 20-yarder.
Gore received a standing ovation from the crowd at Candlestick Park during a television timeout. From 2006-2009, Gore set another franchise record with four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. When asked about the record earlier in the week, Gore brushed aside questions, instead focusing on the Week 13 game against the Rams.
He entered this game with 909 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns.
A win today will clinch a playoff berth for the 49ers.
The San Francisco 49ers will likely have to finish a game against the St. Louis Rams without their top defensive player, linebacker Patrick Willis. Willis left the game with what looks to be an injured right hamstring. He injured his leg trying to tackle Rams fullback Brit Miller on an 18-yard run. His return to the game is doubtful, according to Comcast Sports Network.
Willis was being tended to by the team’s training staff on the sidelines after being helped off the field in obvious pain. Willis has not missed a game this season, and only missed one last year.
While San Francisco can probably handle the Rams without the help of Willis, they will no doubt be keeping a close eye on him as they march toward the playoffs.
Willis is a four-time Pro Bowl player, and could be again this season. His 71 tackles are second on the team.
The New York Giants drew first blood in a big game against the undefeated Green Bay Packers. On the first possession of the game, quarterback Eli Manning hit tight end Travis Beckum for a 67-yard touchdown. That made it 7-0 in favor of the Giants, but Green Bay would add a touchdown of their own a little later in the quarter.
Here is the video of Beckum’s touchdown catch.
That was the first touchdown of the season for the third-year tight end, who had just two yards on one catch prior to today’s game.
Manning has completed five of seven passes for 117 yards and one touchdown.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers connected with his tight end, Jermichael Finley, for a 12-yard touchdown roughly 90 seconds later to tie the game. Since then, the Giants have added a field goal to take the lead back, making it 10-7. New York needs a win to stay in the hunt for the NFC East title.
After Andre Johnson injured his previously healthy hamstring going for a bomb from rookie Houston QB T.J. Yates, the Texans marched down the field on a 19-play, 85-yard drive that took over 10:00 off the clock and gave them the go-ahead touchdown.
The key play of the drive was a 4th-and-1 conversion at the Atlanta 10-yard line by Houston RB Arian Foster.
Foster and Ben Tate had a huge day on the ground against the NFL's second-rated rush defense, combining for 152 yards and 1 TD on 42 carries, despite the Falcons repeatedly stacking the box in an attempt to make Yates, the Texans third-string QB, beat them through the air.
Yates had a solid game in his first career start, completing 12-25 passes for 188 yards and 1 TD while using his athleticism to buy time in the pocket.
The only mistake he made, a pick-six in the fourth quarter, was called back because of a penalty on Atlanta in the secondary.
The penalty was one of a series of costly mental errors that the now 7-5 Falcons will rue if they miss the playoffs. Matt Ryan threw two interceptions in the first quarter, while Atlanta had another defensive touchdown called back after both teams assumed a Yates fumble was actually an incompletion and began wandering on to the field.
But the costliest mistake of all was on yet another 4th-and-1 late in the game, as Ryan completed a pass to TE Tony Gonzalez for a first down only to have it taken back because of a delay of game penalty. The Falcons came up short on 4th-and-6 with less than 3:00 left and then again on a last-second heave into the end-zone by Ryan.
Houston is now 9-3 with a commanding two-game lead in the AFC North, but any celebration was subdued by Johnson's latest hamstring injury, as he had just returned after missing six games with an injury in his other hamstring.
SB Nation has you covered for the rest of Week 13's NFL action, too: check out all the Week 13 NFL news and scores and Week 13 fantasy stats in our dedicated StoryStreams, and head to SB Nation's NFL hub any time for even more on the league.
Browns quarterback Colt McCoy suffered an injury against the Ravens on Sunday and limped off the field with the help of Cleveland's training staff after taking a hard hit from Baltimore defensive lineman Arthur Jones. Seneca Wallace replaced McCoy under center for the Browns.
The Browns announced that McCoy's return to the game is probable (via Twitter).
Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot reports from the game: "Trainers working on Browns Colt McCoy on bench, looks like right leg, possibly high ankle. no official word yet." After he was treated, McCoy then up and begun throwing a ball on the sideline.
McCoy completed three of his first five passes for 16 yards before he was forced to leave the field.
Tim Tebow did it again. The Denver Broncos denied the Minnesota Vikings their third win of the season with a late field goal today. How much longer can Denver keep doing this?
Tyler Palko, who appeared to have been pulled after a lackluster performance in the first quarter, threw a Hail Mary touchdown on the final play of the first half that stood up to be the winner in the Kansas City Chiefs' 10-3 victory over the Chicago Bears (7-5) on Sunday. Palko was not particularly good in the game, completing just 17 of 30 passes for 157 yards, but he was good enough on a day when Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie threw three interceptions for the second consecutive game.
Palko was only even playing because of an injury to Kyle Orton. The former Bears quarterback was brought in during the first series of the second quarter, but suffered an injury to his right index finger on his first pass attempt and did not come back into the game.
Palko's one highlight was not exactly a glowing example of quarterback greatness, either. By all rights, his throw at the end of the first half should have been intercepted and was knocked down. But the ricochet went right to Dexter McCluster for a 38-yard touchdown.
The Chiefs (5-7) defense does deserve a healthy dose of credit. They held the Bears to 181 yards of total offense, which was without Matt Forte for much of the game after he went down with an injury.
Reggie Bush, Matt Moore and the Dolphins walloped the Raiders in Miami on Sunday, 34-14.
In a crucial AFC North divisional showdown, a young Cincinnati Bengals team showed their age, committing a series of costly first-half penalties and special teams miscues that effectively ended their game with the Pittsburgh Steelers before it even began.
Cam Newton rushed for three touchdowns and threw one more to lead the Carolina Panthers (4-8) to a 38-19 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-8) on Sunday. His three rushing touchdowns gave him 13 for the season, one more than Steve Grogan's old record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a season that he set in 1976. All three of Newton's touchdowns were from 1 yard out.
Interestingly enough, Newton's other statistics were not particularly eye popping. The No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft rushed for 54 yards and was 12 of 21 for 204 yards passing. But it was plenty in this game, as the Panthers defense did a good job of putting the offense in strong position. The Panthers scored on all five of their red-zone possessions.
The Bucs were held to just 285 yards of total offense and just 78 yards rushing. The Panthers limited Josh Johnson, who got his first start of the season, to 227 yards passing.
The Buffalo Bills continued their slide into irrelevancy with their fifth straight loss today. The victorious Tennessee Titans stay alive in the AFC South chase.
The Indianapolis Colts put up three garbage time touchdowns to make a much closer game than anyone would have imagined. Ultimately, the New England Patriots held on, despite their late-game sloppiness for the win.
After their star WR was forced out of the game with a hamstring injury, the Texans marched down the field with a 19-play 85-yard drive that took 10:41 off the clock.
The drive was almost over before it began, when the Falcons returned a Yates interception for a TD, only to have it overturned by a defensive holding call in the secondary, the second Atlanta defensive touchdown that's been called back today.
Over six minutes later, Houston converted a 4rth-and-1 in the red-zone with an off-tackle run by Arian Foster.
Coming into the game, Atlanta had the second-rated rush defense in the NFL, giving up only 83.5 yards a game on the ground. But they've had no answer for Foster and Ben Tate, who have already combined for 148 yards.
Cam Newton has essentially written Steve Grogran out of the NFL record book. The Carolina Panthers quarterback scored his 13th rushing touchdown of the season, moving him one past the record Grogan set for quarterbacks in 1976. It was also Newton's third rushing touchdown of the game and gave the Panthers a 38-12 lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
It has been quite a rookie year for Newton, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. The product of Auburn has now thrown for nearly 3,300 yards and has 26 combined rushing and passing touchdowns through 12 games.
While Grogan was known almost exclusively for his ability to run the ball, Newton has proven to be a much more advanced passer, at least early in his career. In the six seasons that Grogan made at least 12 starts, he threw more touchdowns than interceptions just twice and threw for at least 3,000 yards just once.
In his first game back after missing seven weeks with a right hamstring injury, Andre Johnson has been the majority of the Houston Texans' passing offense, catching 4 balls for 97 yards and setting up Houston's only touchdown.
But as he was attempting to cut up the field on a T.J. Yates deep pass, Johnson came up lame, this time injuring his left hamstring:
He had his head in his hands as he left the field before being taken back to the locker room by the Texans' training staff.
If Yates is going to win his first career NFL start, it appears he'll have to do it without his main weapon in the passing game.
Besides Johnson, none of the Texans other WR's have a catch today.
Don’t look now, but Tim Tebow is passing the ball. It has the Denver Broncos in a close game against the Minnesota Vikings. Tebow connected with Demaryius Thomas, his fellow first-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, for a 21-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
That was Thomas’ second touchdown of the season.
The Broncos have been relying on Tebow’s arm more than his legs today. Later in the third quarter he hit Thomas for a 41-yard touchdown to make it a one-point game again. Check out the video of that touchdown here.
Thomas’ second touchdown capped off a series of big plays. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder found Percy Harvin for a 52-yard strike two plays before that. Here’s the video of Harvin’s touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, Denver’s return man Quan Cosby returned the kick 63 yards to give Tebow a short field to work with on the next drive.
Here is an animated GIF, much better than video, of the punch. Worth an ejection? You decide:
The incident occurred late in the third quarter of the game, with Miami blowing out Oakland. Here is more background from Ernie Pomin at SB Nation Bay Area:
Seymour landed a blow to the helmet of Incognito that was obvious to the referees, which immediately flagged him for a personal foul and tossed him from the game. Seymour went to the sideline at first, but had to leave the field of play altogether per NFL rules for ejected players.
Although the punch thrown be Seymour wasn’t exactly a ‘haymaker’ it was still enough to merit the penalty flag and the ejection from the game.
For more on the Raiders head over to Silver And Black Pride. For more on the Dolphins, check out The Phinsider. Get the latest new, injury updates and video highlights with our comprehensive NFL Week 13 StoryStream.
Despite giving up a respectable 284 yards of total offense to Pittsburgh through three quarters, special team miscues and penalties by the Bengals have let the Steelers rack up fantasy points in a 35-7 game.
Mike Wallace has 3 catches for 38 yards and 2 TD's, while Rashard Mendenhall has 12 rushes for 60 yards and 2 TD's.
With his second touchdown of the game giving him 12 rushing touchdowns this season, Cam Newton tied Steve Grogan's record for most in a NFL season. Grogan set his record in 1976 and scored 35 rushing touchdowns during his 16-season NFL career. The touchdown gave the Carolina Panthers a 31-12 lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Newton has also thrown a touchdown, while going 8 of 14 for 153 yards. He now has 24 touchdowns combined this season.
Grogan was one of the top scrambling quarterbacks during his heyday. He once rushed for more than 300 yards for four straight seasons (1976-1979), a period in which he scored 20 of his rushing touchdowns.
Grogan was not nearly as good of a passer during that time, though. He threw more interception than touchdowns in three of those four seasons and only threw for more than 3,000 yards in one of those seasons.
By the time Sunday's game is over, Newton will likely to have passed for more yards than Grogran did during any of those seasons.
Records are being broken in the NFL today. In New England, tight end Rob Gronkowski scored his third touchdown of the game, as the Patriots continue to dismantle the hapless Colts. That last touchdown gives Gronkowski a total of 14 touchdowns for the season, a new single-season record for NFL tight ends.
Previously, the record was held by Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers and Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers, who each scored 13 touchdowns in 2009 and 2004, respectively.
New England is playing the Colts, so Gronkowski might not be done scoring today. He has caught five passes for 64 yards. A number of teams did not want to risk a draft pick on Gronkowski in the 2010 NFL Draft, after a bad back kept him out of action in Arizona.
Gronkowski's third touchdown was ruled a lateral, which still gives him a total of 14 touchdowns for the season, but not the record for receiving touchdowns. He needs one more to break a three-way tie with Davis and Gates for the honor.
Here’s the video of Gronkowski’s would-be record-breaker.
Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis will not play vs. the Browns on Sunday, the third consecutive game he has missed with a toe injury. Lewis was listed as questionable for the game despite not practicing all week.
Head coach John Harbaugh said Friday that he thought there was a chance Lewis could play, but the defensive leader will be inactive again. And NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora added via Twitter that it is "Very doubtful he plays next week either."
Lewis had played in 57 consecutive games before sitting out on Nov. 20 against the Bengals. Dannell Ellerbe will replace him in the lineup.
Here are the other inactives for Baltimore: Wide receiver LaQuan Williams, cornerback Chris Carr, linebacker Sergio Kindle, wide receiver Tandon Doss, cornerback Chykie Brown, running back Anthony Allen.
After having one field goal taken back by a delay of game penalty and then another one blocked, the Bengals lost a fumble on a kick-return to go down 21-0.
But just as they were getting back in the game, they allow a 60-yard punt return TD to Steelers WR Antonio Brown, who was not touched by Cincinnati's punt team:
Punter Kevin Huber had the best chance to get a shot on Brown, which was really no chance at all.
Cincinnati actually outgained Pittsburgh 175-160 in total yards in the first half and had an edge in time of possession, but penalties and special team miscues have them down 28-7 to the Steelers.
A controversial fumble call against Denver is sure to be the subject of much discussion today, and maybe for the rest of the week depending on how this game between the Vikings and Broncos ends. With Minnesota leading by a score of 12-7 with less than a minute to play, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen sacked Tim Tebow at Denver’s 28-yard line.
The ball popped out of Tebow’s hands, and Allen recovered for a one-yard gain, giving the Vikings excellent field position and just enough time to put some more points on the board. However, Tebow’s knee looked to be down before the ball popped out of his hands. Video review upheld the ruling on the field, and Minnesota added a field goal to take a 17-7 lead into the locker room at half time.
Former Vice President of Officiating for the NFL and Fox analyst Mike Pereira, agreed with the call on the field. He said this via Twitter:
Den/Min-the ground can cause a fumble if the runner is not down prior to the ball coming out.Tebows knee was not down when the ball came out
That was Tebow’s first turnover since Week 8.
Here’s the video, make the call youself.
As he attempted to make a tackle on Tony Gonzalez late in the second half, Cushing slid awkwardly on the turf at Reliant Stadium. While trying to regain balance on his left knee, his right knee buckled, and Cushing instantly fell to the ground.
He needed help from the Texans training staff to get off the field, who were looking at his right knee cap on the sideline before taking him into the training room.
Houston's top-ranked defense has played well in the first half, holding Atlanta to 3 points and and only 123 yards while picking off Falcons QB Matt Ryan twice.
Cushing, who has had 76 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 INT's this season, is the latest Texans player to go down with an injury for the seemingly snake-bitten franchise.
However, it appears Houston has dodged a bullet, as Cushing is back on the field in the second half.
The Kansas City Chiefs ending a 21-quarter streak without scoring an offensive touchdown in dramatic fashion. Dexter McCluster caught a Tyler Palko Hail Mary pass off a deflection at the end of the first half to give the Chiefs a 7-3 lead over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Up until McCluster's 38-yard catch, the Chiefs were looking just as impotent on offense as they have looked for much of the season. Even including that catch, the Chiefs had just 147 total yards in the first half.
None of that really matters now, though, after replays upheld the improbable catch. On the play, Palko rolled out to his right and heaved his pass into the endzone without really looking where he was throwing it. Two Bears had a play on it, and Brian Urlacher was in perfect position to make the interception, but another Bears defender swatted it down. The ball fell to McCluster, who was able to wrestle the ball away from another Bears defender.
The play set up a 3-yard TD pass from Yates to TE Joel Dreessen, as Houston fans serenaded the UNC rookie with chants of "Yates".
Yates has played well in his first career NFL start, completing 10-17 passes for 154 yards, 1 TD and zero INT's.
Minnesota Vikings rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph caught his second touchdown pass of the season in the second quarter of today’s game against the Denver Broncos. Rudolph’s fellow rookie, quarterback Christian Ponder, found him in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown. The touchdown itself was not as noticeable as the beautiful catch Rudolph made.
Check out the catch right here.
A Notre Dame product, the Vikings made Rudolph the first tight end taken in the 2011 NFL Draft. He was the 43rd overall pick, taken in the second round, and he looked the part today.
The quarterback change in Minnesota, handing the job over to first-round pick Ponder, has benefited Rudolph of late. That was his second touchdown of the season and his second touchdown in his last three games.
That play gave the Vikings a 12-7 lead over the Denver Broncos, who seem to be using less option in their offense today.
For a young Cincinnati Bengals team that's surprised many by staying in playoff contention this late in the season at 7-4, an AFC North divisional showdown against the 8-3 Pittsburgh Steelers was supposed to be a statement game.
Unfortunately, it's been the wrong kind of statement, as the Steelers have taken advantage of a series of Bengals mistakes to race out to a 21-0 lead in the second quarter.
Cincinnati safety Chris Crocker inexplicably grabbed Pittsburgh WR Mike Wallace despite having excellent 1-on-1 coverage on a Ben Roethlisberger bomb, gift-wrapping a 45-yard pass interference penalty for the Steelers.
Four players later, Pittsburgh RB Rashard Mendenhall rumbled into the end-zone for his second rushing TD of the game.
On the ensuing kickoff, Cincinnati KR Brandon Tate had the ball stripped right out of his hands, giving Pittsburgh excellent field position deep in Bengals territory.
Once again, the veteran Steelers team took advantage, as Roethlisberger found Wallace in the corner of the end-zone on a 12-yard pass a few plays later.
In a season that has been largely defined by failure, the Kansas City Chiefs may have received yet another piece of regrettable news. Quarterback Kyle Orton headed to the sidelines to have his right hand index examined after he bent it awkwardly while making a throw. The injury happened on Orton's first pass attempt after he replaced Tyler Palko.
The Chiefs picked up Orton after he was waived by the Denver Broncos on Nov. 22. There was discussion that Orton would start on Sunday, but Palko was ineffective during much of the first quarter. Although he had completed 4 of 6 passes, it was for just 27 yards and the Chiefs had been held to 46 total yards.
Orton came into the game and the Chiefs attempted to open it up immediately with a flea flicker. But Orton was pressured heavily and his pass feel incomplete. Even worse, he could be out for an extended period.
The Tennessee Titans must have been feeling a little slighted after a controversial call reversed a C.J. Spiller fumble and gave him a touchdown. Rather than let that break their momentum, the Titans answered on the very next series. Fittingly, they answered with a 48-yard Chris Johnson touchdown run.
Here is the video of Johnson’s long run and the score.
After looking like a wash this year, Johnson found new life to his 2011 season last week. He ran for 190 yards, and did so looking like the running back who demanded a hefty contract prior to the start of the season. So far today, Johnson has 64 rushing yards and a touchdown on just four carries.
The Titans are happy to have Johnson back, tearing up obituaries for the NFL running back’s career.
Johnson’s touchdown gave the Titans the lead again, making it 10-7, but they way the game has gone so far, there could be plenty of back and forth.
Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte will miss the remainder of Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs after suffering an apparent knee injury on a first-quarter carry. The injury occurred on Forte's fifth carry of the game. He had 12 yards rushing at the time of the injury.
Forte was able to walk off the field under his own power, but replays of the injury looked as if he bent his knee awkwardly. There has yet to be word on how serious the injury is.
Marion Barber is the next running back on the Bears' depth chart and figures to get the bulk of the carries as long as Forte is out. Barber has been solid in a backup role so far this year, carrying 62 times and scoring five touchdowns. He has averaged just 3.8 yards per carry, though, and has just three catches. Barber did once score 28 touchdowns over two seasons, but that was in 2006-07.
For all the talk about Tim Tebow salvaging the Denver Bronco’s once seemingly lost season, the team’s defense has been a big reason for the turnaround and their hunt for an AFC West title. With rookie pass rusher Von Miller on the sidelines today, it looked fairly bleak for the Bronco’s defense. Then linebacker Mario Haggan made up for it with a masterful pick six on Vikings rookie quarterback Christian Ponder.
Haggan snatched a short pass inside Minnesota’s side of the field and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown. That gave Denver a 7-2 lead, getting back some points from a safety earlier in the game.
Here is the video of Haggan’s interception and the resulting touchdown.
Not only was that Haggan’s first interception of the season, it was the first of his career. Denver added Haggan to their roster in 2008. He miraculously survived the Josh McDaniels’ era.
As he was rolling out of the pocket on a third down deep in Atlanta territory, he was hit by a Falcons lineman as he threw, and the football rolled about ten years forward as everyone on both teams assumed it was an incompletion.
But a smart Atlanta defensive back, realizing that the play hadn't been blown dead, picked up the ball and returned it over 80 yards for a TD.
Unfortunately, neither the Texans nor the the Falcons were as observant, as players and coaches from both teams were coming on the field for what they assumed would be a Houston field goal attempt.
The referees flagged both teams, issuing off-setting penalties and giving Atlanta possession of the ball where the fumble was recovered.
It's been a sloppy game all-around, with three turnovers already, including two Matt Ryan interceptions.
The flea-flicker is among the less creative trick plays in all of football. At it's core, it's not all that different than a play-action pass. When it works, though, it can be fun as the Cincinnati Bengals displayed on Sunday. Early in the first quarter Andy Dalton found AJ Green for 43 yards.
Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller faced all kinds of doubts about his ability to fill the void left by running back Fred Jackson, who landed on injured reserve. In today’s game against the Tennessee Titans, Spiller broke off the best run of his career, a 35-yard run that nearly ended on a sour note.
Nearing the plane of the goal line, it looked as though Spiller fumbled the ball, forced out by Titans safety Michael Griffin. The refs ruled it a fumble, which would have resulted in a touchback since it bounced out of the end zone.
But today might just be Spiller and Bills’ lucky day. The call was reviewed and subsequently reversed, giving Spiller a touchdown on the recovery, and infuriating Titans’ fans.
See the play for yourself right here.
It is definitely a close call, to say the least. That gave Buffalo a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.
Two Washington Redskins, Fred Davis and Trent Williams, will be suspended for four games for failing a drug test, according to a report from Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter. The players will play for Washington in NFL Week 13 vs. the Jets, and the suspensions will begin next week because the league had not provided written notification of the discipline.
Davis and Williams were aware of the punishment, according to Trotter.
More details from Trotter's full report on SI.com:
Davis and Williams were informed earlier in the week that they would be suspended for the year because their positive test for marijuana occurred during the season and was at least their third offense under the policy. However, the discipline was reduced as part of a negotiated settlement involving the 11 players who failed drug tests in the two- to four-week grace period that followed the end of the lockout.
Per the settlement, there would be no discipline for those who tested positive during the grace period. Davis and Williams were in the group, but their suspensions stem from positive tests during the season, not the grace period.
The Washington Post's Rick Maese added some local perspective via Twitter:
We asked Davis and Williams about these tests two weeks ago. Neither had been contacted by league but both seemed to be aware of results. Redskins team spokesman said the team has no knowledge of pending suspensions for Davis or Williams.
On Sunday, Davis had a 42-yard catch in the first quarter that set up a Redskins touchdown.
The Minnesota Vikings got on the board first in their game against the Denver Broncos, with a little help from Denver’s offense. Running back Willis McGahee was tackled for a one-yard loss in the end zone by Vikings’ all-world defensive end Jared Allen, giving the Vikes two points to start the game.
Check out the video of the Allen’s tackle and safety right here.
Denver could be facing a close game today, with rookie pass rusher Von Miller inactive due to injury. Giving up the safety could be the exact kind of thing that comes back to haunt them in a close one. Of course, Minnesota is playing without running back Adrian Peterson, taking away from what might have been the Super Bowl of running teams.
Minnesota leads 2-0 in the first quarter.
The Bills take on the Titans Sunday to try to end their four-game losing streak against the Titans, who are fighting for their lives in the AFC South divisional race.
The Indianapolis Colts look try and avoid 0-11 in what looked like a prime late season match up against the New England Patriots.
The San Francisco 49ers can clinch their best playoff berth since 2002 with a win over the St. Louis Rams.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will hope to avoid a sixth straight loss when they host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The Panthers are looking to win back-to-back games for the first time in two seasons.
All three of the Ravens losses this season have come following big wins. Coming off a Thanksgiving win over the 49ers, Baltimore will try to avoid another letdown against the 4-7 Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
The Dallas Cowboys are favorites against the Arizona Cardinals, but Kevin Kolb will be returning to action and the Cowboys have been poor on the road
Kyle Orton will make his debut for the Kansas City Chiefs against one of his former teams, the Chicago Bears.
The Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans clash in a battle of two teams still fighting to win their respective divisions.
The Miami Dolphins host the Oakland Raiders in a cross-country trip, as both teams look to keep up their winning ways.
The Detroit Lions will head into New Orleans to try and take out the Saints to get back into the playoff race.
The Bengals and the Steelers are set to clash in an AFC North battle that will have playoff implications.
Former college football rivals Christian Ponder and Tim Tebow square off in the NFL this time, as the Denver Broncos head to the Mall Of America Field to take on the Minnesota Vikings.
The Green Bay Packers take their undefeated record into New York to take on the Giants in what could be an NFC playoff preview.
The New York Jets travel to Maryland for an inter-conference showdown with the Washington Redskins, who are fresh off their first win since Week 4.
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