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CBS saw mixed results, while NBC and Fox were down in Week 2
Andrew Luck led a fourth quarter comeback to win the game and give him a leg up on RGIII in Week 2.
The NFL's replacement referees had a bad day all over the league Sunday, but more than anything, the replacement refs just remind us why Roger Goodell's NFL is so dominant in the first place.
The Cardinals beat the Patriots in New England, the Saints are 0-2 and we have another postgame handshake incident. All that and more in this week's NFL Debrief.
It was a good weekend for the Jim Harbaugh coaching tree, with the 49ers and Stanford winning. But let's not forget David Shaw. That, two ways to look at the Eagles, and the rest of the weekend in the Monday Morning Jones.
It was not a pleasant weekend to be a fan of the New England Patriots. Not only did the team suffer a shocking home loss to the Arizona Cardinals, but the team saw tight end Aaron Hernandez leave the field with an ankle injury. He is expected to miss up to six weeks for the Patriots.
Hernandez wasn't the only important injury on Sunday. The New York Giants lost Ahmad Bradshaw to an injured neck. He sat out most of Sunday's game and could miss the team's next contest, as the Giants have a short week before playing the Carolina Panthers on Thursday.
Luck, the first overall draft pick this year out of Stanford, had a solid day, completing 20 of 31 pass attempts for 224 yards and two touchdowns.
Other highlights of the second Sunday in the NFL: the San Francisco 49ers, with a bloodied quarterback Alex Smith, defeated the Detroit Lions 27-19. There were a number of key injuries in games on Sunday -- notably New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was violently thrown to the ground on a sack but returned to the game against Carolina, though the Saints lost.
Teams in the NFC West were without a couple of their key offensive playmakers in Week 2, although that did not stop the division from going a perfect 4-0. Here is a recap of which players missed time on Sunday afternoon and if any key players were forced to leave the game.
The San Francisco 49ers were without rookie wide receiver A.J. Jenkins against the Lions. Ted Ginn did not play with an ankle injury, nor did LaMichael James with a foot issue. The 49ers suffered a scare when tight end Vernon Davis was poked in the eye, but he returned to the field shortly after being checked out by the medical staff.
Arizona was pretty healthy entering Week 2, and all three of their questionable players, Patrick Peterson, Adrian Wilson and Rashad Johnson, saw playing time. Beanie Wells appeared to be nicked up a bit in the second half, but nothing that kept him out for more than a play or two.
The Rams were without first-round pick Michael Brockers on Sunday, who has the most notable player on their injured list. Rokevious Watkins and Matt Conrath were both out as well. Running back Steven Jackson left the game with a hamstring injury, and his status is unclear. Left tackle Rodger Saffold left early with a knee injury and did not return.
The Seahawks were without starting left tackle Russell Okung, who did not practice much during the week with a bruised left knee. Okung injured the knee in Week 1 and was unable to make it onto the field, although Seattle was able to manage without him as they scored 27 points.
Washington Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo could miss a "significant stretch of time" after re-injuring a shoulder/pectoral muscle, the Washington Post's Mike Jones is reporting. Orakpo left the Redskins' 31-28 loss to the St. Louis Rams midway through the first quarter. The linebacker tried to return twice but left the game for good after just two second-half plays.
After the game, Orakpo admitted to reporters that the injury is the same one he suffered in Week 17 of last season, when he hurt a pectoral muscle after sacking Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Orakpo, who led the Redskins with nine sacks last season, left that game and then had to have offseason surgery. Fortunately, Orakpo had all of the offseason to recover but that will not be the case this time.
In his post-game press conference head coach Mike Shanahan said Orakpo will see Dr. James Andrews, who performed the initial surgery during the offseason.
St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson missed the second half of his team's 31-28 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday, and it was believed to be due to a simple benching. Apparently, that wasn't the whole story. As it turns out, Jackson was dealing with some sort of hamstring injury.
Steven Jackson had a hamstring issue, I'm told, which played a role in him sitting out much of the game. Wasnt just a benching— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) September 16, 2012
Jackson was benched after drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the first half. On a 3rd-and-1 play, he was tackled just shy of the end zone. After being called short of the goal line, Jackson spiked the football in frustration, drawing the foul. The Rams were backed up 15 yards and had to settle for a 33-yard field goal. Jackson missed the rest of the game.
At the time, the thought was that Jackson had been benched for his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. And while that may have played a role in head coach Jeff Fisher's decision, it looks like it wasn't the only factor.
Philip Rivers got it done with a group of replacements Sunday afternoon, leading five touchdown drives in their 38-10 pounding of the Tennessee Titans. Rivers tossed three touchdowns to Antonio Gates' replacement, TE Dante Rosario, while reserve running back Jackie Battle added two touchdowns on the ground.
The Chargers set the tone early when they cruised down the field for a quick touchdown on their opening drive. Two plays later, Titans QB Jake Locker put them right back in scoring position with a fade-away interception to Eric Weddle on his first attempt of the game.
From there, it was all downhill for Tennessee, with the Chargers putting up 17 unanswered points before Rob Bironas could sink a field goal from 23 yards out.
With a revamped San Diego defense harrassing Locker all day, the second-year quarterback was only able to complete 50% of his passes (15-of-30) for 174 yards. Running for his life for most of the game, he was only able to find pay dirt once with a 15-yard touchdown strike to WR Kendall Wright -- when the game had been all but decided.
Battle would then go onto chip in his two garbage-time touchdowns in the fourth quarter to inflate San Diego's victory into the realm of the humiliating.
With the win, the Chargers move to 2-0 for the first time since 2006.
Fantasy Studs and Duds Those who started Philip Rivers were rewarded with three touchdowns and 284 yards to just one interception. Oh yes, and if you were somehow bold enough to give RB Jackie Battle or TE Dante Rosario an audition, you are officially a fantasy magician (69 yards, two touchdowns and 48 yards, three touchdowns respectively).
But Did They Cover? The Chargers covered comfortably as seven-point favorites.
Injury Info: There may be a few minor bumps and bruises but nothing major to report here.
In a back-and-forth game that saw multiple lead changes, the St. Louis Rams rallied for a 31-28 victory over the Washington Redskins at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday. The Redskins took a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 21-16 lead into halftime. But St. Louis rallied in the second half, outscoring Washington 15-7.
Sam Bradford had a big day at quarterback for the Rams. Bradford completed 26 of 35 passes for 310 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. His one-yard toss to Matthew Mulligan with 14:55 left in the fourth quarter gave St. Louis the lead for good. Danny Amendola had a monster day receiving. He caught 15 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown. Daryl Richardson led St. Louis in rushing, gaining 83 yards on 15 carries.
Robert Griffin III had a pedestrian performance. He completed 20 of 29 passes, but he threw for a mediocre 206 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Griffin was much more dangerous on the ground. He rushed for 82 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.
Rams starting running back Steven Jackson was benched after receiving an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the first half. Jackson was stopped just short of the goal line and spiked the ball out of frustration, drawing the foul.
Anyone that started Amendola has to be pleased. He fumbled once, but with those great numbers, who cares? Bradford had a solid day at quarterback and showed why he can be one of the league's elite signal callers.
With his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Jackson let his team and his fantasy owners down. Jackson rushed for 58 yards on nine carries and didn't find the end zone.
So, did they cover?
Nope. Washington entered the game favored between three and four points and lost by three. For more NFL odds, check out SB Nation's NFL odds page.
Both teams dealt with the injury bug on Sunday. Washington lost defensive end Adam Carriker and linebacker Brian Orakpo within the first six minutes in the game. Carriker suffered a knee injury, and Orakpo hurt his arm. In the third quarter, Josh Wilson went to the locker room injured.
The Rams lost offensive tackle Rodger Saffold to a knee injury. It marked the second week in a row that Saffold had to leave injured. Last week against Detroit, he was carted off with a neck injury.
Next Up On The Schedule
For the latest on the Rams, check out Turf Show Times and SB Nation St. Louis. For all things Redskins, visit Hogs Haven and SB Nation DC. Keep up with the rest of the NFL at our dedicated SB Nation NFL hub.
Ben Roethlisberger was too much for the New York Jets to handle, as the Steelers quarterback finished the game 24-for-31, 275 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-to-10 victory. The story wasn't as successful for the New York Jets, as an offense that hung over 40 points on the Buffalo Bills last week were battered in Pittsburgh as they managed just 219 total yards.
Shonn Greene left the game in the first half due to a helmet-to-helmet hit with Ryan Mundy, and while he returned at the start of the third quarter he wasn't the offensive spark the Jets needed as he finished with 23 yards on 11 carries.
The Steelers running game didn't fair much better, but it was the receiving tandem of Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown that proved to be too much for New York's secondary, sans Darrelle Revis. They combined for 153 yards and proved to be the difference makers on the day.
Defensively it was the Steelers secondary who really shone, as they kept Santonio Holmes to just 25 yards receiving, and prevented Mark Sanchez from getting any more than 113 yards passing on 24 attempts. For the Jets, linebacker Garrett McIntyre had a great game, as the inside linebacker finished with five tackles, and two sacks.
An overall mediocre offensive game kept their from being any fantasy standouts, but Roethlisberger came the closest, with Mike Wallace's 74 yards and a TD behind him.
Pittsburgh managed to cover the 6.5 pt spread with their 17 point victory, while the under of 40+ from all outlets was the way to go.
The two injuries to watch are those of RB Shonn Greene, and FB John Conner, both of whom were taken out of the game on Sunday. It remains to be seen if Greene is okay from his head injury, and we don't have an update on Connor's injury, which is believed to be an aggravation of an earlier MCL injury. In his absence, second year UDFA Nick Bellore is the fullback.
Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson left Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams in the fourth quarter after suffering an apparent injury during a play in which he took a hard hit. He did not return to the field for Washington, who lost to the Rams, 31-28.
Wilson, who recovered a fumble and returned it 30 yards on the first play from scrimmage to give the Redskins a 7-0 lead just 11 seconds into the game, is the third Washington player to leave the game with an injury on Sunday, as linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker made earlier exits.
A skinned knee isn't always a bad thing as Pittsburgh Steelers' RB Isaac Redman learned a few minutes ago. As he rumbled through the Jets' linebackers, Yeremiah Bell wrestled the ball away from the running back, just a fraction too late as that knee scrape was just enough to be the difference maker.
This may end up being one of the pivotal plays of the game, as Redman has just run in for a touchdown in a score that looks to be the nail in New York's coffin.
It didn't take long for the Cowboys (1-1) to come back to earth after their impressive Week 1 victory over the New York Giants, as Dallas could not get its offense going in the second half. Meanwhile, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch victimized the Cowboys defense, and rookie quarterback Russell Wilson was as efficient as anyone could have hoped.
Lynch ran for over 100 yards in the second half after a slow start, recovering from an uninspiring performance in the Seahawks' opener. Wilson, meanwhile, was 15-of-20 for 151 yards and a touchdown for Seattle (1-1). Most importantly, he made good decisions with the football, which was a big improvement after turning the ball over twice in Week 1.
Tony Romo finished 23-of-40, while throwing for 251 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, he also threw an interception, and fumbled once as well, though he would eventually recover it. Romo wasn't the only Cowboy to have a sloppy game, as Felix Jones lost a fumble and the special teams allowed a blocked punt that ended up being returned for a touchdown.
This is the worst performance in the 26-game #Cowboys' coaching era of Jason Garrett.— Richie Whitt (@richiewhitt) September 16, 2012
Fantasy Studs and Duds
Marshawn Lynch bounced back to have a big day against Dallas on Sunday. He rushed for 122 yards on 26 carries, while finding the end zone in the fourth quarter to give Seattle a 20-point lead.
On the other side of the coin, DeMarco Murray had a disappointing day, rushing 12 times for 44 yards, and going without a score. This came after a solid opener in which Murray ran for 131 yards on 20 carries.
Check out SB Nation's Fantasy Football hub for more.
Did They Cover?
The Cowboys came into the game as six-point favorites, so it goes without saying that big payouts are on the way for those who put their money on the Seahawks. Also, the over/under of 40 was not reached, so kudos to those who took the under.
Need to check out the odds on this game and others? SB Nation has you covered.
Dallas: Sept. 23 vs. Tampa Bay; Seattle: Sept. 24 vs. Green Bay.
Jackson was benched after receiving an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. On a 3rd-and-1, he was stopped inches shy of the end zone. After being called short of the goal line, Jackson spiked the football in frustration and drew the penalty. The Rams were backed up 15 yards and forced to settle for a 33-yard field goal.
The St. Louis offense has been rolling along just fine without its star running back. The Rams trail, 28-23, at the end of the third quarter and have 419 yards of offense. Daryl Richardson is leading St. Louis in rushing with 70 yards on seven carries. Jackson had 58 yards on nine carries before his benching.
For all your Rams news, check out Turf Show Times and SB Nation St. Louis. For all things Redskins, visit Hogs Haven. For updates on other NFL action, visit SB Nation's NFL hub. Stay with this StoryStream for more updates on Rams-Redskins.
Over the last two weeks, linebacker Sean Lee has been the NFL's golden child. The heady, no-nonsense linebacker has been interviewed by every outlet, and touted as the next 'great' linebacker– heck, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan called him the best inside linebacker in the league.
Golden Tate took exception. After all, he's been Golden since birth. So he channeled all of that anger into a Napoleon Complex delivered through the tip of his helmet.
In a hit that looks like it came straight out of a drivers ed movie, Lee was laid out with the hit of the day.
Mike Pereira is not amused
The hit on Lee is an illegal blindside block. Lee is considered defenseless, which means you can't lower your head & hit in head/neck area.— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) September 16, 2012
It has been a rough day for backs in Pittsburgh. Firstly, Shonn Greene went down to a head injury, only to return at the start of the second half. Now, fullback John Connor has left the field with a right knee injury following a kickoff.
While we don't have an update on what his condition in, Connor had been nursing an MCL injury this week, and it's possible this further exacerbated the injury. Without a lead blocker the life for Jets' backs Green and Bilal Powell becomes decidedly more difficult on a day where they're already struggling to run the football.
The game is now more in the hands of QB Mark Sanchez than ever, and so far today the offensive line has been struggling to give him a clean pocket. Couple this with wide receivers who haven't gotten enough separation, and it's been a long day for an offense that looked to potent last week.
The St. Louis Rams opted to trade the second pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to the Washington Redskins this year so that Washington could draft Robert Griffin III and St. Louis could get a boat load of draft picks. One reason the Rams were so eager to trade that pick is that they had quarterback Sam Bradford.
Bradford is reminding the front office why they hung onto him in Sunday's game against RGIII and the Redskins. Bradford is 19-for-26 with 240 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including this 34-yard bomb to Brandon Gibson.
Gibson went down the field on a go route. Bradford connected with him on a perfect throw to put the Rams on top.
Earlier on Sunday, Fox cut to former NFL VP of officiating Mike Pereira taking the replacement refs to task. Less than an hour later, it was Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco offering his take on the fill-in officials who are helping save the NFL a little extra money in these tough times.
Flacco said that the replacements were "affecting the integrity of the game," as reported by NFL.com. The Ravens' quarterback even pointed out one of the highlight moments from the officials in his game against the Ravens.
He didn't even throw a flag, he threw a blue beanie.
Expect complaints about the replacement referees to continue, because they really look way, way out of their league.
After leaving the game in the first half with a suspected concussion following a helmet-to-helmet hit from Ryan Mundy, running back Shonn Greene returned to start the second half. He quickly resumed being the Jets workhorse with three straight carries, in a game in Pittsburgh that is being defined by defense and running the football.
In Greene's absence, backup Bilal Powell ran the ball seven times for 25 yards, and was largely ineffective against Pittsburgh's run defense. Currently Greene isn't fairing much better, with his game line improving to 10 carries for 29 yards, but he offers the Jets another option on offense, something they sorely need.
The Jets are going to need as many backs healthy in the second half as possible, because as it stands New York are unable to protect Mark Sanchez long enough to build a passing offense. The Jets' QB has been under pressure for much of the day.
Like a child's shattered dreams, it's hard to watch the moment in which anyone loses their innocence. Up until this point, Robert Griffin III's NFL life consisted of ease, memes and touchdowns. Thanks to Cortland Finnegan, he just learned that being a pro isn't as easy as it appeared early on in his career.
Should RG3 have picked up on Finnegan lurking? Sure. Should have he tried an off-balance pass while lunging away from the defender? No way, no how. However, if you're a Skins fan looking for solace, you can at least see that the QB was a victim of over-confidence, not of being clueless.
The Redskins currently lead, 21-16, at halftime.
It's just not fair, is it? Not only can Robert Griffin III juke defenders like a shifty running back, but he can also chuck the ball 60 yards in the air to a speedy receiver. I'm guessing Leonard Hankerson didn't think he'd have to run that fast to chase down this bomb.
As is, Griffin's arm allowed the Redskins to take advantage of some really bad coverage by Janoris Jenkins on Hankerson, leading to the 68-yard touchdown. The Redskins now lead, 21-6.
Shonn Greene has left the field in the New York Jets' game against the Pittsburgh Steelers following a hit that caused the RB to be looked over by the trainers. After hitting the second level after making it through the offensive line, he was met by Ryan Mundy who delivered a clean, but unintentional helmet-to-helmet shot that left the RB dazed and caused him to head to the sideline. Following a short time he was taken back to the locker room to be examined further, and it's likely he'll be checked for concussion-like symptoms.
UPDATE: Greene is questionable to return.
Up to that point, Greene had seven carries for 23 yards, and was the go-to guy in the Jets' running game. He's now replaced by second-year running back Bilal Powell, who has just 16 career carries to his name. Thus far, his replacement is playing well with four carries, but he's by no means a long-term answer in the Jets backfield. With the NFL's new rules on safety, New York will take a good look at Greene before thinking of returning him to action.
Saffold was previously announced as questionable to return by the Rams, but was since ruled out to come back into the game. This marks the second consecutive week that Saffold left a game due to injury, as he was carted off the field in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions with a neck injury. That injury didn't end up being as serious as it first appeared, and Saffold returned to the practice field mid-week before being activated prior to Sunday's game.
It will be interesting to see if Wayne Hunter, who has replaced Saffold in each of the first two games, can hold down the fort. Hunter was a full-time starter for the first time in his career a year ago, despite being in the league since 2003, and struggled with the Jets before being shipped to St. Louis in the offseason.
For more on Saffold's injury and the Rams game against the Redskins, visit Turf Show Times.
The replacement refs managed to get this one right on the roughing the passer call, as Mark Sanchez's head turns in ways a head shouldn't turn. Okay, so maybe the helmet exaggerates the way it looks, but boy is that an ugly looking hit. Sanchez is playing really well, but his line has to help him out.
It's near-impossible to follow up last week's stellar debut with another solid performance, but thus far Robert Griffin III is doing everything to show that last week wasn't a fluke. Against the New Orleans Saints he shredded the defense with his arm, and amazing accuracy; today against the Rams he's using his legs and athleticism to make the difference. He jukes the DB, and even adds a high-step to show off those trademark socks.
No 'Griffining' though, and that's a
terrible wonderful thing.
It's still very early in the game, but the Redskins are up 14-3 on the back of Griffin's 30 yards passing, and 15 yards rushing.
The Arizona Cardinals escaped with a 20-18 road victory against the New England Patriots in Week 2. The Cardinals nearly gave the game away, as backup running back Ryan Williams fumbled the ball as Arizona was trying to run out the clock. The fumble gave the Patriots the ball at the Cardinals 30-yard line.
The Patriots had a touchdown called back on a touchdown run by Danny Woodhead, due to a holding penalty. New England moved the ball into field goal range, but Stephen Gostkowski missed the 41-yard field goal that would have given the Patriots the win.
Last time the Cardinals beat the Patriots, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch had the #1 song in America with "Good Vibrations" (9/29/91)— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) September 16, 2012
Amazing ending in Patriots-Cardinals. Patriots lose a home opener for first time since 2001. Tom Brady now 10-1 as starter in home openers— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 16, 2012
Before that kick, Gostkowski was a perfect 4-for-4 in field goals on the season.
The Cardinals were able to get an early lead by holding the Patriots to field goals instead of touchdowns, as well as forcing two Patriots turnovers. Quarterback Kevin Kolb, who was filling in for the injured Jon Skelton, had a big day by scoring two touchdowns. One was a 2-yard pass to Andre Roberts late in the third to go up 13-9. His other score was a 5-yard rush, which gave them a 20-9 lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots made their comeback late and had a chance to win even before the Cardinals gave the ball up late in the fourth quarter. Tight end Rob Gronkowski caught a 5-yard touchdown pass to make it 20-18, but the two-point attempt resulted in an incomplete pass by Tom Brady.
Fantasy studs and duds: The star fantasy player for Sunday was Tom Brady, who passed for 316 yards and two touchdowns -- but he did have on interception.
Odds: The Cardinals pulled off the upset, and heading into the game they were a 13-point underdog.
After trailing for the majority of the game, the Philadelphia Eagles completed another comeback victory this week by beating the Baltimore Ravens, 24-23, on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles battled back from multiple deficits before Michael Vick scored the game-winning touchdown with less than two minutes remaining.
Philadelphia initially led 7-0 midway through the first quarter, but the Ravens would dominate the remainder of the half to take a 17-7 advantage into halftime. The Eagles responded in the third quarter with a pair of scores to tie the game up at 17-17, but Baltimore would take back the lead with a couple of fourth quarter field goals.
With about four minutes remaining in the game, Vick led the Eagles on their longest drive of the day, a nine-play, 80-yard rumble down the field punctuated by the quarterback's 1-yard touchdown run. The Ravens had nearly two minutes to possibly get into field goal position, but the Eagles defense shut things down at the end.
Despite another turnover-filled performance, Vick has once again led the Eagles to a close victory this season after last week's 17-16 win over the Cleveland Browns. The quarterback threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles on Sunday, but he led the Eagles to nearly 500 yards in total offense as part of the winning effort.
Aside from the many turnovers, Vick put up very good numbers on the day, completing 23-of-32 passes for 371 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed ten times for 34 yards and the game-winning score.
Brent Celek and DeSean Jackson were Vick's primary targets all day long, accounting for the vast majority of the Eagles' passing yardage. Celek caught eight passes for 157 yards, while Jackson finished the day with seven catches for 114 yards.
Brent Celek and DeSean Jackson today: 15 catches for 271 yards— Eagles Insider (@EaglesInsider) September 16, 2012
Ray Rice had a solid all-around game for Baltimore on Sunday even though he never reached the end zone, rushing 16 times for 99 yards in addition to grabbing six passes for 53 yards as the team's second-leading receiver. Joe Flacco threw for 232 yards and a touchdown, but Anquan Boldin caught just two passes for seven yards.
The Eagles were favored by three points entering Sunday's game and won by one point. They did not cover the spread.
All NFL odds can be found on SB Nation's NFL odds page.
Both teams saw injuries to key players on Sunday, but on different sides of the ball. The Ravens lost starting safety Bernard Pollard in the second quarter to a chest injury following a sack of Vick, the first major injury of the game. After heading to the locker room for x-rays, Pollard returned to the sideline without pads and didn't return.
The Eagles saw a pair of major injuries to key offensive starters, center Jason Kelce and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. Kelce's status for the next few weeks is unclear after he sprained his knee, but Maclin returned on Sunday after sitting out a few series.
Next week, the Ravens are looking at one of their biggest matchups of the season, a Sunday night game against the New England Patriots at home. The Patriots will likely be looking to make a serious statement after losing 20-18 to the Arizona Cardinals at home this week.
The Eagles, meanwhile, will be heading west next week to face the suddenly pesky Cardinals team that upset New England this week. Arizona is now 2-0 this season despite lackluster quarterback play, so that team has to be considered a real threat after wins against the Patriots and the Seahawks.
Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo left the field during Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams after suffering an injury to his arm and shoulder area. Orakpo walked to the sideline and threw off his helmet in frustration after sacking Rams quarterback Sam Bradford.
Orakpo was seen with his shoulder pads off, sitting on the sideline as he was being attended to by the team's training staff. The fourth-year player out of Texas has missed just one game in his NFL career up to this point. He has 28.5 sacks out of his pash-rushing linebacker position since coming to the Redskins.
The Redskins are currently on top of the Rams, 7-3, in the first quarter of play at the Edward Jones Dome.
UPDATE: Orakpo has returned to the game.
[Note by Ryan Van Bibber, 09/16/12 5:05 PM EDT ] And then he was out again. It's a shoulder injury, and his return is being called questionable.
Redskins calling Orakpo's injury a shoulder strain. Say his return is questionable.— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) September 16, 2012
St. Louis left tackle Rodger Saffold injured his knee in the first quarter of the Rams' Week 2 game against the Redskins. The big tackle limped off the field with the help of the St. Louis training staff and was having his leg examined on the training table on the Rams sideline. St. Louis announced his return as questionable.
Saffold was carted off the field last week against the Lions with what appeared to be a serious neck injury. It was diagnosed later in the week as a sprained neck, and he returned to practice on Wednesday. He was activated Sunday afternoon and got the start on the left side of the line, but his day could be over on the Rams' second possession.
Wayne Hunter, who the Rams acquired in a preseason trade with the Jets, replaced Saffold at left tackle. Hunter struggled with the Jets during August, and was sent to the Rams in exchange for former No. 2 pick Jason Smith.
For more on Saffold's injury and the Rams game against the Redskins, visit Turf Show Times.
After a rough first half, New York Giants QB Eli Manning went on to set a team record in single game passing yardage (with 510 yards in the air) while leading a 41-34 comeback victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers defense was determined to prove that last week's strong performance against the Carolina Panthers wasn't a fluke and, in the first half, they achieved that goal. In the first thirty minutes of play, Tampa Bay intercepted Manning three times, scoring 21 points off those turnovers with seven coming from a 60-yard Eric Wright pick-six.
But following a 52-yard Connor Barth field goal on the Buccaneers' first drive out of the half, the Giants scored 21 unanswered points. Victor Cruz's 80-yard touchdown reception would tie the game at 27 following a successful two point conversion. On the very next drive, the Giants would take the lead on a 33-yard Manning to Martellus Bennett touchdown strike.
But Josh Freeman wasn't going to go down that easily. After getting the ball back, he showed some good chemistry with TE Dallas Clark before hooking up with WR Mike Williams on a beautiful 41-yard touchdown toss in the corner of the endzone to even the game.
Ultimately though, Manning came through with fourth quarter heroics yet again. Manning would find Hakeem Nicks for a 50-yard grab to set up a the dagger: a two-yard touchdown run from Andre Brown. The Buccaneers made things interesting at the end, but an interception from LB Michael Boley would ice it.
Fantasy studs/duds: Wide receivers were the story for both teams during this game, with Vincent Jackson (128 yards, one TD), Hakeem Nicks (199 yards, one TD) and Victor Cruz (179 yards, one TD) all putting up eye-popping numbers. Manning obviously had a huge game with 510 yards and three touchdowns, but it could have been his best performance ever if it wasn't for the negative points off the picks.
Giants QB Eli Manning debuted in 2004-- He has 13 regular-season games with 3 INT since then, tied for most in NFL with ... Brett Favre— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 16, 2012
But Did They Cover?: The Giants comeback redeemed their 2.5-point favorite status.
Injury Info: RB Ahmad Bradshaw (neck), WR Domenik Hixon (concussion) and RT David Diehl (knee) were all forced from the game and did not return for the Giants. CB Eric Wright did not return on for the Buccaneers after a lower back injury that's bothered him all preseason acted up.
Next Week's Schedule: The Giants only have four days to recover before heading to Carolina to face the Panthers on Thursday Night Football. The Buccaneers will continue on their NFC East tour, taking on the Cowboys in Dallas.
The Bengals won behind the arm of Andy Dalton, who overcame a rough Week 1 to throw for 318 yards and three touchdowns.
Cincinnati took a lead early when Adam Jones returned a punt 81 yards to put the Bengals up 7-0 just 1:25 into the game.
The Browns would not go quietly, although they would trail the entire game, thanks in part to much better performances from Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden. Richardson rushed for 109 yards on 19 carries and scored the first two touchdowns of his career. Weeden overcame his woeful first start by throwing for 322 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions while completing 26-of-37 passes.
The Bengals went up by scores of 24-10 and 31-17, but each time, the Browns had an answer. After a Weeden touchdown pass to Greg Little cut the deficit to 31-24 with 7:18 to play in the game, Cleveland needed a big stop.
Instead, the Bengals put together an 11-play, 58-yard drive that took 5:02 off of the clock that resulted in a Mike Nugent 37-yard field goal that put the game away.
Fantasy owners who were put off by Richardson's Week 1 performance may want to take a second look at him after what he was able to do against the Bengals today. Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green kept fantasy owners happy in points-per-reception leagues, as he had a productive day of seven catches for 58 yards.
And if there is anybody in the world that started Brandon Weeden, get in your car and go to Vegas. Now.
As for duds, if you expected the Bengals defense to pick up easy points on what appeared to be a hapless Browns offense, you are probably left disappointed. That Adam Jones punt return helped ease the pain, however.
For all the latest fantasy football news, head over to the SB Nation Fantasy Page.
Did the Bengals Cover The Spread?
Yes. Cincinnati was a touchdown favorite this week over Cleveland, so the 10-point win means they covered.
Some Cleveland Browns were dinged up in the game, including DB Eric Hagg, who briefly missed time with an eye injury. DT Billy Winn suffered a head injury early and did not return. Backup DL Juqua Parker suffered a foot injury in the third quarter and did not return.
As for the Bengals, they are awaiting word on the status of DL Jamaal Anderson who had to be carted off on the Browns' last drive of the game.
The Indianapolis Colts gave up two touchdowns to the Minnesota Vikings in the final five minutes of the game to see a 20-6 lead evaporate, but Andrew Luck led a drive with 31 seconds left to set up a game-winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri, and the Colts escaped, 23-20. Minnesota brought the score within seven on a Christian Ponder touchdown pass with just more than five minutes remaining, then scored again with 31 seconds remaining to come from behind and seemingly force overtime.
But Luck, who earned the first victory of his career, threw two consecutive 20-yard passes after the Colts got the ball on their own 20-yard line. A 5-yard penalty by the Vikings moved the line of scrimmage to the Minnesota 35, and Vinatieri hit a 53-yarder with seconds remaining to take the victory
Luck was steady, if not solid in the victory, throwing for 224 yards and two touchdowns without throwing a pick.
The two teams exchanged field goals in the second quarter before Luck found Reggie Wayne for his second touchdown of the day. In the third quarter, Vinatieri hit another field goal from 45 yards out to give Indianapolis a 20-6 lead that looked like it would hold.
Ponder found Stephen Burton from seven yards out, then Kyle Rudolph from six yards out ,in the final two Minnesota possessions. After that, Luck set up Indianapolis for that improbable final score to take the lead just before time ran out.
For the record, Andrew Luck took his team 55 yards in less than 31 seconds behind three backup offensive linemen for his first win. #Colts— George Bremer (@gmbremer) September 16, 2012
The big winner: Andrew Luck
The rookie quarterback was much less mistake-prone a week after he threw three interceptions. When you also account for his huge final drive of completion after completion, and it looks like the Indianapolis Colts are in more than capable hands.
The big loser: Minnesota's defense
Defensive end Everson Griffen was called for a defensive offside penalty after Luck had moved the ball from the Colts' 40-yard line to the 40-yard line of the Vikings, giving Indianapolis five yards to make a 58-yard field goal into a more manageable 53-yarder. That said, the defense probably shouldn't have allowed the Colts to move so quickly with only 31 seconds to work with.
Odds: The Colts pulled the upset after being labeled as three-point underdogs in this one.
Fantasy outlook: Donnie Avery
Luck targeted wide receiver Donnie Avery 10 times and Avery caught nine balls for 111 yards on the day.
What's on the schedule?
For more on the Minnesota Vikings, check out Daily Norsemen. Check out Stampede Blue for more on the Colts. You can also hit up SB Nation's NFL hub. Check out SB Nation's fantasy hub for analysis to help out your fantasy team.
11 seconds. That was how long it took the St. Louis Rams to find themselves in a 7-0 hole against the Washington Redskins. The biggest surprise is that RGIII had nothing to do with Washington's touchdown.
Quarterback Sam Bradford found Danny Amendola for a short pass on the first offensive play of the game. Amendola had the first down, but the Redskins defender forced the fumble. Josh Wilson recovered the ball and returned it for a touchdown that gave Washington a 7-0 lead.
You are the Arizona Cardinals. Somehow you've managed to bumble your way to a late lead over the New England Patriots. Bravo sirs, you navigated an assured loss everyone pegged you for, and found a way to beat the odds. Now is the time to get a little comfortable, and all you need to do is take a knee and run out the clock.
Oh Cardinals. It's not even funny anymore. Okay, it's still pretty funny. This could have been an absolutely nightmarish scenario, but we can laugh because Arizona won. A late shanked field goal by Stephen Gostkowski helped seal Arizona's victory, despite trying as hard as they could to beat themselves.
Let it be marked in the annals of history: On September 16th, 2012– the New England Patriots out-Cardinaled the Cardinals.
The Carolina Panthers defeated the New Orleans Saints by a score of 35-27 Sunday behind the arm and legs of quarterback Cam Newton. The second-year player out of Auburn was efficient while scoring a touchdown on the ground and through the air.
Panthers strong safety Charles Godfrey tied the game when he picked off Brees for a nine-yard score. The Saints responded with two field goals to push their lead to 13-7, but it was all Carolina from there.
Carolina came back with three-straight touchdown drives to blow the game open. The Saints recovered to pull within 28-20 in the fourth, but the Panthers answered immediately with a 6-play, 80-yard drive capped off by a Newton touchdown run that built the lead to 35-20.
The Saints closed to 35-27 late, but were unable to recover the onside kick. New Orleans did get one last chance, but Brees threw another interception.
Fantasy studs/duds: The quarterbacks made things happen passing the ball and rushing the ball. Newton completed 14/20 for 253 yards with a touchdown and also carried 13 times for 71 yards and a touchown. Brees was 31/49 for 325 and a touchdown while also rushing for a score. His two interceptions do hurt.
The Panthers defense forced three turnovers and scored, so hooray for their owners. The Saints defense forced a turnover, but gave up plenty of yards and didn't score, Not a great day.
Head to SB Nation's Fantasy hub for all your fantasy football needs.
Odds/Gambling The Saints were favored, so obviously they didn't cover.
All NFL odds can be found on SB Nation's NFL odds page.
Injury info The gave was relatively free of injuries. Brees looked to go down with a leg injury, but didn't leave the game. Wide receiver Steve Smith was carted off at one point, but it turned out to just be dehydration and cramping.
Ben Tate and Arian Foster had big days, as the Texans beat the Jaguars 24-7 on Sunday. Tate found the end zone twice for Houston while Foster played the role of workhorse, rushing for 110 yards and a TD off 28 carries.
Houston jumped out to a 17-0 lead after TDs from Tate and Foster, and never looked back. The only blemish on the day for the Texans was allowing a 5-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Jones-Drew.
Fantasy Studs/Duds: Any Foster owners should be pleased after a big day from the Houston rusher. Owners of MJD were bailed out thanks to his TD pass, however he had a relatively quiet day, garnering 67 total yards.
Did They Cover?: The Texans were easily able to cover their line, which was -9 at Jacksonville.
Injury Report: Jags Quarterback Blaine Gabbert's day was cut short after he left the game with a leg injury. He finished the day 7-of-19 for 53 yards, a touchdown and a 62.8 rating. Backup Chad Hennethrew two completions on two passes for 23 yards in relief of Gabbert.
Next Week: The Jags will matchup against the Colts next week. Indy is coming off their first win of theAndrew Luck era. As for Houston, they will take on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos next Sunday.
For more coverage of the Jaguars, stay tuned to Big Cat Country and SB Nation Tampa Bay. Also be sure to check out Battle Red Blog for updates on the Texans. For more news, notes and analysis from around the league, visit SB Nation's NFL hub.
After an ugly opener against the Jets, the Buffalo Bills responded in a big way on Sunday with a 35-17 Week 2 thrashing of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bills offense was bruised and battered in New York, but Ryan Fitzpatrick and running back C.J. Spiller, filling in for the injured Fred Jackson, jumped all over the KC defense and pushed Buffalo to a three-touchdown lead at the half. The Bills defense would keep the Chiefs out of the end zone until the final six minutes, and the rout was on early in the second half.
Spiller started things off with the first two touchdowns of the day, bursting up the seam and off left tackle for a 17-yard score -- the only touchdown of the first quarter after a sluggish start to the game. He'd scamper in for his second touchdown just three minutes into the second quarter, taking a quick toss from Fitzpatrick, who was in the shotgun. The lighting-quick back out of Clemson immediately went toward the left pylon and cut it up with his lineman wiping out Chiefs corner Javier Arenas on the outside.
With less than five minutes in the half, Fitzpatrick would get in on the act for his first touchdown pass of the day, connecting with tight end Scott Chandler in the middle of the field. It was an easy pitch-and-catch, with Chandler beating safety Abram Elam.
The Chiefs finally ended the shutout when Ryan Succop connected on a 33-yard field goal, but the Bills would promptly ensure that no thoughts of a second-half comeback would be entertained. With the ball on their own 20, the Bills called for a designed rollout. Fitzpatrick went to his right with tight end Chandler coming across the field with him. The Bills QB hit Chandler in stride, and the tight end cut it up the right sideline for a 43-yard pickup, moving Buffalo across midfield. Two plays later, Fitzpatrick hit Stevie Johnson in the middle of the field and the speedy wideout gashed the center of the Chiefs secondary for a 41-yard touchdown. An animated gif of the score:
Kansas City finally got on the board with a garbage-time touchdown, as Cassel hit Dwyane Bowe down the right sideline for a 33-yard touchdown. It was much too little and way too late, as the Bills took to the ground to salt the game away.
Fred Jackson was inactive after sustaining an MCL injury last week against the Jets. But the explosive Spiller was there to pick up the slack, rushing 15 times for 123 yards and the first two touchdowns of the game.
The Chiefs got down three touchdowns early, forcing the offense to try and come back through the air. The running game suffered, and Jamaal Charles, who was nursing an injury, rushed six times for just three yards.
Did They Cover?
The Bills entered the game as three-point favorites, and they easily covered.
The Bills will hit the road for what has become an annual game against the Browns. The Chiefs will stay on the road and face the Saints in the Superdome -- a clash between two teams looking for their first win.
Reggie Bush had a couple of big plays and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill notched his first career touchdown pass as the Miami Dolphins rolled right over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, winning 35-13. Both teams started slow, unable to get traction on offense, but in the end, it was Miami's halftime adjustments that made the difference by exploiting the lack of pressure from Oakland's front seven.
Tannehill started to roll out more in the second half, and Miami really cranked up the sideline-to-sideline action, forcing Oakland's defense to break down in the secondary, allowing Tannehill to find receivers on their way back from their routes. The Raiders found their defense gassed out by the start of the fourth, and Miami was walking all over them by that point.
As is the usual result, the gassed defense led to poor field position for Carson Palmer and the offense, and they weren't able to put much together at all until their final drive, when Miami got a bit lax with their defensive formations. Palmer did have a good game overall, but didn't get much help from running back Darren McFadden, which is usually a good indication that Oakland isn't going to win. Palmer threw the ball over 40 times, while McFadden only carried 11 times.
Fantasy Studs/Duds: If you took a flyer on Bush, then you're probably a happy camper right now. After 26 carries for 172 yards and two touchdowns, Bush has showed he's a viable option at this point. If you're like many and have McFadden ... you probably aren't as happy. He carried the ball just 11 times and only managed to come up with 22 yards. Be sure to check out SB Nation's main fantasy hub for all of your news and advice for next week.
Reggie Bush Is A Fan Of 'Griffining': Observe.
Reggie Bush making his case for offensive player of the week! #Dolphins— Kevin Nogle (@thephinsider) September 16, 2012
Did They Cover? Miami was favored to win this game by most sources, but never by more than 3 points. Some actually favored the Raiders by a single point, so if you bet on Miami and if you picked the over (ranging from 39 to 41), then you did well. Be sure to check out SB Nation's NFL odds page to keep up to date on the latest lines.
Injury Report: Oakland receiver Denarius Moore was questionable coming into the game, but made the start and played most of the game. He left late in the third quarter with cramps and did not return until late in the fourth. Oakland cornerback Shawntae Spencer left the game in the fourth with a foot injury and did not return. Coye Francies, the returner for Oakland, took a brutal hit to the helmet on a kick return in the fourth and left the game. Miami remained relatively unscathed in the game.
Next Week: Oakland will return home and host to the very tough Pittsburgh Steelers, a team they've played well against recently. Miami will remain at home and play host to the New York Jets in Week 3.
For more on the Oakland Raiders, check out Silver and Black Pride, and for more on the Miami Dolphins, head on over to The Phinsider. Don't forget to check out SB Nation's main NFL hub for news and analysis from around the league.
Following a rather pedestrian start to the season in which Victor Cruz caught six passes for 58 yards, today was his coming out party as the Giants' receiver has 179 yards receiving, including this astonishing 80-yard touchdown.
This kind of separation should be illegal. There is no defender even close to being able to make a play on Cruz. Following the touchdown we all got a treat from the Giants' wide receiver.
Sometimes the journey is as important as the destination, and then at other times it's all about where you wind up. Let's be honest, a Victor Cruz touchdown is merely a tortilla chip, a simple vehicle to bring us salsa.
The Minnesota Vikings pulled within a touchdown of the Indianapolis Colts when quarterback Christian Ponder found Stephen Burton for a seven-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. The pass itself was nothing so remarkable, but the catch was pretty amazing.
Ponder's ball was tipped at line and again in the end zone as a defender and the intended target both went up to get the ball. It bounced up into the air again before Burton finally managed to reel it in for the touchdown. Minnesota trails 20-13 with the pinball touchdown pass.
New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez suffered a right ankle injury against the Arizona Cardinals early in the game and did not return. The latest news on Hernandez's ankle is that his injury is likely a high ankle sprain.
If this is high ankle sprain for Hernandez, it could sideline him for multiple weeks or even months. It all depends on just how severe the sprain is. This injury can be difficult to recover from as it requires a lot of rest, and once a player has a high ankle sprain, it is more likely that he could sprain that ankle again.
With Hernandez likely out for at least a few weeks, the Patriots may be in the market to for another receiving threat. His backup, Michael Hoomanawanui, has not been involved in the passing game at all against the Cardinals.
Chad Henne is replacing Blaine Gabbert in Jacksonville as the Jaguars are getting beat down by the Houston Texans. Gabbert has an ice pack on his left thigh so it's actually an injury that's giving Henne his shot.
It's unclear exactly what the injury is or whether it's serious. Henne was brought on as a backup in the offseason, one of the better backup options in the league.
Gabbert has not looked great in the Jaguars game, completing only 7-of-19 passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. You couldn't blame the Jaguars if they decided to make a change at quarterback, injury or not. No interceptions is a good start for Gabbert but averaging less than three yards per completion is not.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin returned to the game after leaving earlier in the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens. His return comes as a mild surprise for the Eagles, who watched him get carted off the field near the start of the third quarter.
Maclin was leveled by a Ravens defender as he tried to block for tight end Brent Celek. He was unable to get up, and the training staff had to help him off the field. Later, he left for the locker room laying down on his back while the cart carried him away.
The Eagles and Ravens are tied 17-17 at the start of the fourth quarter. Maclin has one catch, but it was a productive one, a 23-yard touchdown catch from Michael Vick.
Injuries have been a problem for the Eagles in this game. Center Jason Kelce left the game earlier and did not return.
Pocket presence is hard to define. Normally we mean a QB's ability to stand tall under pressure, shake off a would-be tackler, and find a way to move around the pocket in a way that can extend a play. Some quarterbacks like to move around in a small space, others like to use athleticism to run around the edge, Matt Cassel likes to rely on past experience.
"Oh jeez, look at that mean guy. C'mon Matty, think fast. Got it!" *Collapses in fetal position*
This pretty much sums up the Chiefs' day, a game in which they're losing 35-3 against the Bills.
It's unclear when he suffered the ailment but it's possible his back just acted up as he was bothered by back issues throughout the preseason.
The Bucs had a comfortable lead but a Josh Freeman interception at the end of the third has given the Giants the ball back down 27-16. With Wright out, Manning might have some more opportunities. Then again, with how solid the Tampa Bay secondary has been as a whole, it's possible that he might just continue throwing interceptions.
Trent Richardson was rightly shaking off some dust in last week's game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He hadn't practiced much due to a preseason knee surgery and jumped into game action anyway. Despite a couple of nice plays, he lacked the burst we were so used to seeing at Alabama.
That's not the case today. Richardson scored his second touchdown of the day (and of his NFL career) on this screen pass, slipping through a couple of tackles and willing his way in the endzone with power.
TRich made a habit of breaking tackles on the Crimson Tide, but told CBS commentators the NFL is a bit different with everyone being so strong and so fast, and he needs to get lower on his runs. Looks like he is taking his own advice. The Browns trail the Bengals, 24-17, but Cleveland behind Richardson finally is starting to resemble an NFL offense.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and week two in the NFL has had a speight of it. Earlier today Ryan Tannehill decided to play Tim Tebow, and now Reggie Bush has fallen in love with the newest meme– Griffining
Reggie hit the gap with huge speed and was off to the races. Nobody ever doubted his ability to lose defenders in the open field, but we probably could have done without his homage to Robert Griffin III in his TD celebration. Nonetheless, it has been a game of huge plays in Miami, and the Dolphins currently lead 21-10.
Once upon a time, the Chiefs' strength was their secondary. Not anymore, apparently. As you can see above, this is a simple route by Stevie Johnson that should be a 10-yard gain or so. Instead, the Chiefs defense implodes and Johnson shows he's simply faster than anyone else on the Chiefs and runs straight through the middle of the defense for six.
It's hard to be losing a game 35-3 and feel good about anything.
— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) September 16, 2012
Mathews has been out since San Diego's preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on Aug. 9. He has yet to practice as he recovers from a broken collarbone. In Week 1, Curtis Brinkley and Ronnie Brown combined for just 17 yards on 15 carries in his absence.
Gates, meanwhile, is a late scratch for the Chargers. He suited up in San Diego's win against the Raiders and recorded 4 catches for 43 yards. He left the game with a rib injury, but later returned.
Gates missed practice for most of the week, but made it back to the field on Friday and was considered questionable before this announcement.
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees was injured in the third quarter of Saints Week 2 matchup against the Panthers. Brees was sacked by Panthers defensive lineman Greg Hardy, who grabbed ahold of the All-Pro quarterback and violently threw him to the ground. Hardy rolled up on Brees' right leg as he awkwardly slammed him down but the Saints' quarterback immediately grabbed his left leg. An animated gif of the play:
Brees was limping badly after the hit, and gingerly walked to the sideline as the Saints offense was forced to punt. He was walking it off on the sideline and limp seemed to lessen, but backup quarterback Chase Daniel started warming up. Brees seemed good enough to go, however, as he took the field for the Saints next offensive possession.
For more on Brees and the Saints, visit Canal Street Chronicles. For more on the Carolina Panthers, make sure to check out Cat Scratch Reader. For more around the NFL, head to the SB Nation NFL Hub Page.
Steelers LB James Harrison and S Troy Polamalu are officially inactive today.— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) September 16, 2012
Polamalu and Harrison were questionable coming into Sunday's game that is set to kick off at 4:25 p.m. ET in Pittsburgh. Polamalu is recovering from a calf strain while Harrison underwent a procedure on his knee. Neither of the two Steeler veterans practiced this week.
Polamalu is likely going to be back before Harrison, and both he and head coach Mike Tomlin were optimistic with his recovery. On the other hand, Harrison could be out until early October.
The loss of the two defensive leaders leaves Pittsburgh without 19 combined years of experience in Dick LeBeau's defense.
Injuries are starting to pile up for the Philadelphia Eagles. After losing a pair of offensive linemen, the Eagles lost wide receiver Jeremy Maclin in the third quarter of a physical matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. Maclin went out to block for tight end Brent Celek and was leveled on the play, sending him to the ground and the training staff out to check on him.
Eagles' trainers got Maclin to the sidelines. He was then seen being carted off the field, lying flat on his back for the ride to the locker room. Details on Maclin's injury were not available, but the sight of him being carted off the field does not bode well for his availability through the rest of the game. Maclin had been dealing with a hip injury prior to this game.
Maclin caught a 23-yard touchdown from Michael Vick earlier in the quarter, a play that will certainly show up on a few highlight reels this week.
For more on the Eagles, visit Bleeding Green Nation.
The Carolina Panthers have received a scare during the third quarter of their game against the New Orleans Saints as star wide receiver Steve Smith had to leave the game after his leg cramped up due to dehydration.
Smith had to be carted to the locker room where the training staff went to work getting him fluids. Shortly after, he returned to the sideline to rejoin the team.
Smith was suffering from a sore knee during the week leading up to the game, which caused many to believe that it was the culprit in him leaving the game today. It has been fine, however, and he is hoping to get back in the game soon.
During today's game, Smith has two receptions for 38 yards on the afternoon.
When the Philadelphia Eagles brought in LB DeMeco Ryans it was for moments like this. An amazing heads-up play, and an fantastic athletic dive for the INT on Joe Flacco's pass. Flacco was throwing into coverage that was too tight, but still there wasn't any anticipating that play from Ryans. Realistically, even if Ryans hasn't gotten to the ball there's a good chance another Eagle would have.
Up until this moment he was having a great day, and now has 1 INT and 1 TD on the day.
Emotions are high in Philly, and plays like this wont cool them anytime soon.
New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez left Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals in the first quarter after he rolled his ankle when blocking on a passing play. The injury looked serious as Hernandez needed the help of a pair of trainers as he left the field and headed to the locker room.
There is now some positive news, because after x-rays were taken it has been revealed that Hernandez's right ankle is not broken. However, at this point any other damage to the ankle is not known, and further testing will be needed to see if there is any other damage to Hernandez's ankle.
Before Hernandez left the game he was targeted just once, and they need him on the field because their passing offense has struggled against the Cardinals ever since he left the game.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon will miss Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams with a foot injury suffered against the Saints in Week 1, according to the Rams' official twitter account. Garcon will be replaced in the lineup by rookie Aldrick Robinson, who caught four passes for 52 yards and a touchdown in his debut last Sunday.
Garcon was injured while running out an 88-yard touchdown catch from rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. He had four catches for 109 yards and that score before leaving with the injury. Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan had said earlier in the week that the wide receiver's status was a matter of "pain tolerance."
The fifth-year wideout came over from the Indianapolis Colts during the offseason.
The Redskins face the Rams at 4:05 ET in the Edward Jones Dome.
Oh, Eli. Manning has a propensity to look great one week, then force throws off his back foot and pretend that zone coverage doesn't exist. Unfortunately, this is one of the latter weeks.
That's Eric Wright jump, jive and wailing his way 60 yards to give Tampa Bay a 24-13 lead over the Giants at the half.
Mike Tolbert is a stout man. A stout man with moves. Displaying more grace than the refrigerator he so closely resembles, the 5'9, 247-pound fullback ran between the tackles, and then got his dance on. Not even a celebrating offensive lineman could stop his groove.
I'm tired of seeing 'Dancing With the Stars' populated with ex-wide receivers displaying gazelle-like builds, and lithe limbs. I want more Mike Tolbert, who's with me?
It didn't take Reggie Wayne long to realize Curtis Painter wasn't throwing him the ball anymore in Indianapolis. Andrew Luck is his new best friend, and with good reason. Wayne is being targeted at an awesomely high rate, and he's rewarding the first overall draft pick by catching a good chunk of those. Including this one, good for a score.
[Note: nothing against Curtis Painter, I'm sure he's a nice guy. I bet he likes cupcakes and always made french press coffee in the morning and organized Family Game Nights. He just isn't a very good quarterback. And that's okay. I'm not either.]
Things are getting tense in Philadelphia as tempers flare between the Ravens and the Eagles. DeSean Jackson tried to throw a match in the tinderbox early, throwing a few punches on Baltimore cornerback Cary Williams. Both players were flagged for offsetting penalties.
Jackson is one of the smaller players on the field in this game, if not the smallest, so it only stands to reason that he would be the one involved in the scrum. Of course, Jackson wasn't the only one mixing it up. The highlights below:
when i was in school, the presence of substitute teachers GREATLY increased the chance of a fight. watching eagles-ravens?— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) September 16, 2012
DeSean Jackson, moments after fight, celebrates wildly after first down. We will see at least one more fight today, I think.— Michael Tanier (@MikeTanier) September 16, 2012
Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard has left Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles with an apparent chest injury. He's already returned to the sidelines after a trip to the locker room, but he's no longer wearing his pads, making a possible return to the game quite unlikely.
Pollard appeared to suffer the injury while sacking quarterback Michael Vick in the second quarter, leaving the game immediately following that play. After heading to the locker room, Pollard received X-rays on his chest to assess the situation, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
Earlier in the game, Pollard displayed his impressive skills by diving to intercept a Vick pass in the end zone as the Eagles were nearing a touchdown. Since being acquired by Baltimore before the 2011 season, Pollard has appeared in every game for the Ravens, making 15 starts including Sunday.
Enjoy it. In Cleveland, touchdowns are about as rare as the Pikachu Illustrator card. Maybe you can make touchdowns for the Browns cool and hip again. I'd like that. Alabama fans would like that. Fans of football would like that too, probably.
Anyway, great talk. Thanks for doing this. That is your first NFL TD, and that's a nice moment.
Now let's get you working on that celebration a little bit.
New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw left the team's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second quarter with an apparent neck injury. Bradshaw hurt it making a block, which caused his head to move awkwardly.
After taking an offensive series off, Bradshaw was taken back to the locker room to have X-rays taken on his neck to determine the extent of the injury.
Before leaving the game, Bradshaw had 16 yards on five carries. He had 78 yards on 17 carries in the Giants' Week 1 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, also scoring one touchdown. Last season, Bradshaw rushed for 659 yards with nine touchdowns in 12 games as he dealt with a number of injuries. The Giants currently trail the Buccaneers, 10-6, in the second quarter.
If you need an example of what not to do inside your own 10-yard line, Eli Manning is here to enlighten you:
Flushed from the pocket, Eli lofted this pass perfectly into the hands of Mason Foster. Look, we all know the Giants' QB has a gift for squeezing passes into tight windows, but there's a time and a place for it. This was neither the time, nor the place. The Giants now trail the Buccaneers 10-6 in the second quarter.
Vincent Jackson signed a contract for a whole lot of money to play for the Buccaneers. Naturally, Tampa Bay would like to see a nice return on that investment. Plays like this help a little bit.
VJax has never caught more than 68 balls in a season, but something tells me he'll cross that mark with ease as Josh Freeman's primary target. There's a good chance he'll find paydirt a few more times this year.
New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter of their game against the Arizona Cardinals. Hernandez was seen grabbing the upper part of his right ankle after rolling it during a Julian Edelman screen play.
Hernandez had to be taken off the field with the help of a pair of trainers and is being taken to the locker room for more evaluation. The injury appears to be quite serious since Hernandez was unable to put much weight on his right leg, and he is questionable to return to this game.
This is a blow to the Patriots as Hernandez was one of the top targets in the their offense. He will be replaced in the lineup by Michael Hoomanawanui.
The life of an offensive lineman is a thankless one. Everyone grows up playing pee wee dreaming of their moment in the NFL where they can make the big play to tell their grandkids about. So when 319-pound offensive tackle Will Beatty had his number called, and he was open in the end zone, there was no way he was going to waste this chance.
Carving through the offensive line, narrowly missing his own man – here it is, dream is about to become reality. "I can't be open, can I?" thinks Beatty as he sheepishly raises his hand for a split second, always keeping his eye on the ball ... then, oh man! You'll get 'em next time, Will, which might be in 10 years or so.
So of course Spiller ran for a 17-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
It's fun being a Chiefs fan.
Andrew Luck is off to a great start in the Indianapolis Colts' home opener on Sunday. Shaking off his three interceptions last week against the Bears, Luck marched his team down the field on a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive.
A 41-yard pass to Donnie Avery put the Colts at the Vikings' three-yard line. On third down he hit tight end Dwayne Allen just inside the goaline with dart through coverage that gave the Colts a touchdown on their first possession of the game. Take a look:
Luck is 4-for-6 so far with 68 yards and a touchdown. As an added bonus, they chewed up seven minutes of clock time on the scoring drive.
Colts fans aren't even thinking about the Denver Broncos and that one quarterback they used to know.
For two teams that aren't being counted on to do much this season, the Colts and Vikings are making for a pretty good game.
For more on the Colts, check out SB Nation's Colts blog Stampede Blue.
Shady McCoy does some things almost too easily. Touchdowns are supposed to be exciting, important moments. Like, for instance, for the Cleveland Browns who may not score more than half a dozen on offense all year. But McCoy is at his job.
He packed his Spiderman lunchbox with a turkey sandwich and some Baked Lays, clocked in on the old timesheet machine and put on his jersey. He's thinking about going home and catching up on The Voice episodes he taped on the DVR.
Then he went to work.
Did you hear about Johnny from HR? He's going to Sandals next week. Lucky guy.
The ladies love Tim Tebow, but with wife Lauren there for him Ryan Tannehill doesn't need the throngs of the fairer sex swooning. Nevertheless, the Dolphins' rookie QB tried his hand at Tebowing on Sunday.
Faking the hand-off, keeping the ball– it's only a matter of time before the New York Jets try to trade for him.
Holy Bernard Pollard, Batman!
Another Sunday, another Michael Vick interception. In Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns he threw four. Now, after a perfect start to the drive, he sails a beautifully-placed pass to the defense down in the end zone.
Yeesh, it's easy to blame in on Vick, but that was a Superman pick. [insert another labored suprhero reference here]
Adam Jones has done everything he can to get rid of the Pac-Man nickname that reminds fans of his prior transgressions, but as he took this punt return against the Cleveland Browns 81 yards for the score, all I could think of was chomp chomp chomp chomp chomp chomp chomp [pac-man level end.wav].
Keep doing your thing, Pac-Man -- err -- Adam. You've got a lot of football left if you can keep those ghosts from catching you.
In particular, former Pac-12 Conference official Jeff Sadorus, who worked last week's Seattle Seahawks-Arizona Cardinals game as a field judge, has officiated Seahawks regular-season practices for the past three years -- and therefore received paychecks from the team -- according to two sources affiliated with the locked-out referees.
Breer reports that the league would not comment and that the Seahawks said in a statement that Pete Carroll has always had officials come in to work practice. The NFL allows regular officials to work only training camp practices, which the league pays them for.
The Seahawks-Cardinals game ended controversially when the Seahawks were granted a timeout they didn't have in the final minute of the game as they attempted to score what would have been a game-winning touchdown. The Cardinals were able to hold on and win despite the mistake, however.
Read more on the Seahawks at Field Gulls.
If this quarterback thing doesn't work out, maybe Robert Griffin III should give the afternoon show hosting gig a try. His attempts to inspire the other Redskins players got the feature treatment on Sunday NFL Countdown on Sunday, and there were no better soundbites than the ones provided by wide receiver Santana Moss.
"It's my twelfth year, and I've done had about 12 quarterbacks," Moss said on ESPN. He then went on to talk about having an elite QB like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, indicating that RGIII could be there some day.
The first-year signal caller out of Baylor certainly has his teammates buying in publicly, and a big part of that is through his maxims and simplified rally calls, one of which was the KnowYourWhy hashtag, asking his teammates (and others) to share why they work for their goals.
Between the socks, the action figures and the handwritten messages in his locker like "Conquer Every Obstacle," Griffin looks to be trying to lead by example, and performances like his 320-yard, two touchdown debut certainly won't hurt.
Side judge Brian Stropolo was supposed to work Sunday's Saints-Panthers game, before the league was made aware through Stropolo's Facebook that he is a Saints fan.
Throughout the season, SB Nation Medical Expert Dr. Ali Mohamadi will provide his insights on the most impactful injuries in the fantasy landscape and how they might affect your roster decisions on game day.
Get ready for NFL Week 2 with lines and picks for all the games this weekend, including the encore for RGIII, a Raiders-Dolphins blockbuster, and a couple of heavyweight matchups in prime time to cap off the weekend.
WHO'S READY TO GET RICH?
SB Nation accurately predicts every Week 2 NFL game. Or something like that.
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