Shutdown Corner

  • The Kansas City Chiefs’ crazy win on Sunday night will have a significant impact on the playoff picture the rest of the season. And it wasn’t the best result for the Oakland Raiders.

    That win set up the Chiefs to steal the AFC West from the Raiders. No, I don’t hate the Raiders. In fact, I think they’re the most entertaining team in the league this season. Yes, I watch the games. It’s even possible they’re slightly better than the Chiefs. No, I’m not a Chiefs fan/Kansas City native/Andy Reid’s nephew. And no, I don’t want to (redacted) or think that’s physically possible anyway.

    That should answer most of the Raiders’ fans comments for the week.

    Here’s part of why I like the Chiefs going forward: They’re getting better, with Justin Houston finally back (his return was easily the most underrated story of the NFL season; Houston is a $100 million player for a reason), Tyreek Hill emerging as a much-needed playmaker in a bland offense and the Chiefs presumably getting injured impact

    Read More »from NFL Power Rankings: Chiefs, not Raiders, will end up winning the AFC West
  • You knew early on Monday night that Aaron Rodgers was sharp. Then he made a throw to Davante Adams that announced the Green Bay Packers weren’t going to lose to the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Rodgers’ end-zone throw to Adams in the second quarter was vintage Rodgers. He fired a fastball with a flick of the wrist and had an impossibly small window to squeeze it past Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll to Adams. And Rodgers couldn’t have walked over to Adams and placed the ball in his hands any more accurately. It somehow got past Carroll and to Adams for a 20-yard score, giving the Packers a 14-7 lead. The Packers never gave up that lead. Even in Rodgers’ incredible career, that was a highlight throw for him.

    Who knows if this Packers win signals anything other than them not rolling over and dying before the end of the season. There are still significant issues that led to a 4-6 record coming into Monday night. And the Eagles weren’t very good, especially on offense. So don’t overstate the

    Read More »from Aaron Rodgers at his best is still probably better than anyone else in the NFL
  • It seems like the Los Angeles Rams are adjusting well to being in a bigger market.

    The Rams are 4-7, at times have been the most unwatchable team in the NFL in their first season back in Los Angeles, and former Rams great Eric Dickerson has criticized them. Again, the Rams are 4-7. All 4-7 NFL teams get criticized, especially in a market as large as L.A.

    Dickerson, who has a radio show on 570 AM in Los Angeles, said on the show an unnamed person in Rams “upper management” called him and said he wasn’t welcomed on the Rams’ sideline for games anymore.

    “They don’t want me on the sidelines, basically they don’t want me at the games,” Dickerson said. “I was told this. They called me and told me this.”

    There’s a lot of unanswered questions about Dickerson’s statements. Does the person who told Dickerson this speak for the organization? Does that person have the power to keep Dickerson off the sideline? Was any of this a miscommunication?

    Dickerson didn’t say which Rams official told him

    Read More »from Eric Dickerson says he has been told he's not welcomed on Rams sideline anymore
  • You didn’t have to be a doctor to realize that Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr dislocated his right pinkie finger on Sunday. Fingers aren’t supposed to stick out at a different angle than the rest of the fingers, as Carr’s was.

    As it turns out, it wasn’t just one dislocation. It was two. Ouch.

    Former NFL quarterback David Carr said on NFL Network that his brother actually had two dislocations in the finger. The finger was popped back into place but he still felt pain, and that’s when the staff realized there was a second dislocation, David Carr said. The good news is, somehow, there were no breaks.

    Carr, who injured the finger on a snap from under center, said it was “probably some of the most pain I’ve ever felt in my life,” but didn’t sound like he’d miss any time.

    “I’m good. I’m good to go,” Carr said after the game.

    Carr said he did deal with pain, and in a funny scene the Raiders had to take a victory formation snap from shotgun, because Carr couldn’t take a snap from under

    Read More »from It turns out Derek Carr's finger injury was even worse than it looked
  • It is not often you hear a Boston sports star’s name chanted in a New York team’s building. In fact, there are surely instances upon which one probably paid for such behavior with a punch to the face.

    So, here is how bad this New York Jets season has gotten: As New England Patriots fans filled MetLife Stadium with chants of “Bra-dy! Bra-dy!” at the tail end of a 22-17 loss to Tom Brady’s charges on Sunday, the Jets weren’t just unwilling to put up a fight about it; they were resigned to its inevitability.

    With the loss, the Jets fell to 3-8, last place in the division and among the five worst teams in the NFL. So, when they didn’t even have enough fans to drown out the “Bra-dy!” chants, they understood it.

    Via NJ.com:

    Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa: “It’s tough, but I know as a fan, it’s hard to support when your team is not playing the way you want them to. I don’t blame them. But at the same time, it would be great if we could have more of our fans in our home stadium.”

    Jets

    Read More »from Disappointing season forces Jets to accept Tom Brady chants in their building
  • Bill Belichick lords above Tim Tebow and Tom Brady during a 2013 preseason Patriots practice. (Getty Images)
    Bill Belichick lords above Tim Tebow and Tom Brady during a 2013 preseason Patriots practice. (Getty Images)

    Former NFL first-round draft pick turned pro baseball prospect Tim Tebow is a devout Christian.

    “Fox & Friends” is a Fox News program that caters to conservatives, like some devout Christians.

    Bill Belichick was once described as the awful reptile in charge of the evil New England Patriots.

    So, it is with all this in mind that we approach Monday’s interview with Tebow on “Fox & Friends.” The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner discussed his new book, “Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms,” which begins with a “stomach punch” from Belichick in a chapter titled “Cut.”

    During a six-minute interview in which “Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt said, “Some people say that your faith is a distraction and maybe that’s why you have not landed with a team for a long time, and I applaud you for that, because you’re putting your faith above the sport, and I

    Read More »from Bill Belichick destroyed Tim Tebow's NFL dream as only Bill Belichick could
  • When Logan Thomas first made a splash as Virginia Tech’s starting quarterback in 2011, people wondered how high he’d go in the NFL draft. It seemed probable that he’d be a high first-round pick.

    Thomas was 6-6, 250 pounds and had a good arm. Then he stagnated at Virginia Tech. People still held out hope he could develop into a good NFL quarterback when the Arizona Cardinals drafted him in the fourth round of the 2014 draft. That didn’t happen.

    After washing out with the Cardinals, and spending a little bit of time with the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants, Thomas is getting another shot … as a tight end.

    The Detroit Lions signed Thomas to their practice squad. Note the position designation.

    Thomas still has the excellent size, and he’s a good athlete. Maybe it will become a trend for big, athletic quarterbacks to try to

    Read More »from Remember QB Logan Thomas? He's a tight end now and the Lions signed him
  • Apparently being part of the New York Giants’ win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday wasn’t enough for cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

    Because he decided to tweet – twice – that Browns’ playmaker Terrelle Pryor eats, well, feces.

    Fighting for yards: Cleveland's Terrelle Pryor tries to stiff-arm New York's Janoris Jenkins. (AP)
    Fighting for yards: Cleveland’s Terrelle Pryor tries to stiff-arm New York’s Janoris Jenkins. (AP)

    Though he has since deleted the missives (but screengrabs live forever), Jenkins apparently is not a fan of Pryor. Or grammar.

    (Screengrab)
    (Screengrab)

    Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 12.13.00 PM

    But Pryor, the college quarterback-turned-NFL receiver, took the high road – twice – when he saw what Jenkins had written to him:

    Pryor averaged over 20 yards per catch against the Giants, with six receptions for 131 yards, though one Pro Football

    Read More »from Terrelle Pryor takes the high road when Janoris Jenkins attacks him via Twitter
  • A new NFL developmental league could take the role of NFL Europe, seen here in 2007. (Getty)
    A new NFL developmental league could take the role of NFL Europe, seen here in 2007. (Getty)

    For the first time in a decade, the NFL is preparing to make a serious run at creating a new developmental league.

    CBS Sports is reporting that Troy Vincent, the NFL’s head of football operations, will begin the process of meeting with the Competition Committee, coaches, and the NFL Players’ Association after this season. The Competition Committee has not considered a developmental league in more than 10 years.

    Notables ranging from John Madden to Tom Coughlin have expressed support and offered advice on the creation of a developmental league, and the issue now has enough support from notable coaches and front-office personnel to move forward. The NFLPA has not been as effusive in its praise of a new league, but has expressed willingness to discuss options, according to CBS Sports.

    Also under consideration: an in-season “academy” designed for players who have been cut or have been out of the

    Read More »from Reports: NFL will propose formal developmental league in 2017
  • On Sunday night, Kansas City Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos authored one of the most dramatic endings to an NFL game this season, bouncing his 34-yard field goal try hard off the left upright in the closing seconds of overtime against the Denver Broncos.

    But fortunately for Santos and the Chiefs, the ball caromed off the post and to the right, between the uprights. It took a second before the officials raised their arms to signal it was good and Santos to be mobbed by teammates.

    Bank's open: Cairo Santos' game-winning field goal hit off the upright. (Getty Images)
    Bank’s open: Cairo Santos’ game-winning field goal hit off the upright. (Getty Images)

    If you were on Twitter last night, you saw a string of tweets wondering if Santos called his shot, like a billiards player banking the 8 ball off the side rail before it goes in a corner pocket.

    According to Santos, he did.

    Judging by punter/holder Dustin Colquitt’s posture, he clearly

    Read More »from Bank Shot Santos: Chiefs' kicker jokes about game-winner on Twitter
  • Is Chip Kelly's time in the NFL nearing an end?

    Is Chip Kelly’s run in the NFL nearing an end?

    If it is, will he head back to the college ranks? Maybe even return to Oregon?

    Those are the questions that will be asked over the next few weeks as Kelly’s first year with the San Francisco 49ers stumbles and lurches to an end. Despite a late but failed comeback in Miami on Sunday, the Niners dropped their 10th straight game of the season. No previous team in the franchise’s 70-year history had ever lost 10 straight games, yet here are the Niners.

    Kelly’s time in the NFL started off well enough. He went 10-6 in each of his first two years with the Philadelphia Eagles, reaching the playoffs once. But his relationship with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was never what it should have been and he was fired with one game remaining in a 2015 season that saw him go 6-9 and draw plenty of criticism for his personnel moves.

    The flagging 49ers swooped in with a four-year contract after just one year of Jim Tomsula, but Kelly has been much worse than

    Read More »from Is Chip Kelly's time in the NFL nearing an end?
  • DENVER – You’re Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak. Make the right call.

    Your offense faces a fourth-and-10 in a tie game against the Kansas City Chiefs, with 1:08 left in overtime. The ball is on the Chiefs’ 44, so it would be a 62-yard field-goal attempt. There are a ton of peripheral factors to consider, too – a tie still leaves you a game-and-a-half behind the AFC West-leading Oakland Raiders with five games left, all your players are exhausted after 74 minutes of intense football, kicker Brandon McManus’ field-goal percentage at that moment was 88.5 for the season, and so forth. McManus, as usual, figured out his range after kicking in pregame. Tonight, he says his range is about 68 yards. He has hit 60-yarders in practice.

    And you have to make this decision in about two minutes (you get a little extra time since you used your last timeout) with millions watching at home and 76,819 in the stadium waiting. Good luck.

    Here are your three realistic options:

    1. Go for it

    This is

    Read More »from You're Gary Kubiak. What would you have decided to do on fourth down in OT?
  • DENVER – The Kansas City Chiefs were on the good end of a controversial touchdown call at the end of regulation and a questionable decision by Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak in overtime, but they won’t turn down a win.

    The Chiefs came out with an unlikely 30-27 win at the end of overtime. The teams traded field goals to start overtime, then on fourth-and-10, Kubiak decided to let Brandon McManus try a 62-yard field goal. The kick was  short and the Chiefs took over at Denver’s 48-yard line.

    The Chiefs moved the ball a bit in the final minute of overtime, including a 16-yard catch by Travis Kelce, setting up Cairo Santos for a 34-yard field goal. Santos’ kick hit the left upright but the ball bounced in and the Chiefs had a thrilling win.

    The kick was so crazy that some Broncos fans cheered as if Santos missed, and some Chiefs didn’t think the boot was good:

    Read More »from Controversial TD call, questionable Broncos coaching decision help Chiefs to win
  • It has been that kind of season for Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III.

    According to his girlfriend, she and RG3 had money stolen out of their car during the Browns’ 27-13 loss Sunday to the New York Giants. Grete Sadeiko tweeted that their car was valeted and parked in the players’ garage at FirstEnergy Stadium when the incident allegedly occurred.

    Some followers questioned why they would leave their wallets in the car.

    Sadeiko, an Estonian heptathlete who competes in track and field at Florida State, has been connected with RG3 since before he got hurt in the Browns’ season opener. He suffered a left shoulder

    Read More »from RG3's girlfriend said they both had money stolen out of car at Browns game
  • On paper, the New England Patriots shouldn’t have had much trouble with the New York Jets on Sunday. The Jets had just three wins entering the day, and the Patriots were tied with the Oakland Raiders for the best record in the AFC.

    But New England has had some problems in MetLife Stadium in recent years, losing two of their past three games on the road against the Jets.

    It was a struggle again on Sunday, with New York – this week with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback – leading 17-13 with just over 10 minutes to play in the game. But Brady, as he’s done 48 times before, led the Patriots to the comeback win with a nine-play, 83-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to rookie Malcolm Mitchell, with former teammate Darrelle Revis in coverage.

    Victory: Tom Brady led the Patriots to a comeback win over the Jets. (Getty Images)
    Victory: Tom Brady led the Patriots to a comeback win over the Jets. (Getty Images)

    The win allowed New England to keep pace with Oakland in the race for the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. It was also significant because it marked the 200th

    Read More »from Tom Brady has a memorable game in Patriots' comeback win over Jets
  • Forget for a moment the national anthem protest or Fidel Castro comments or whatever else has swirled around San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick this year.

    Kaepernick’s football story is interesting too.

    The 49ers kept Kaepernick on the bench for the first part of the season. When the 49ers finally made Kaepernick the starter, the results weren’t good right away. But lately he looks like the same guy we watched in 2012 and 2013, when he seemed on his way to greatness. He was brilliant at times on Sunday.

    Kaepernick was 29-of-46 for 296 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, rushed for another 113 yards and nearly dragged the 49ers to an upset against the Miami Dolphins. Kaepernick isn’t perfect, and there are still deficiencies in his game that will probably never be ironed out, but it doesn’t seem like there are 32 better quarterbacks in the NFL.

    Colin Kaepernick almost led the 49ers to an upset win at Miami (AP)
    Colin Kaepernick almost led the 49ers to an upset win at Miami (AP)

    Kaepernick has revived his career over the past four

    Read More »from NFL Winners and Losers: Colin Kaepernick might be reviving his career
  • Gregg Williams has to have some good memories of his time in New Orleans. Sunday won’t be included in those good memories, not after Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints ran up the score on him and the Los Angeles Rams.

    Williams, the Rams’ defensive coordinator, has a complicated legacy with the Saints to say the least. He was defensive coordinator when the Saints won their only Super Bowl. He also was the figure blamed for the team’s infamous bounty scandal, for which he was suspended indefinitely (the NFL reinstated him more than a year after suspending him). Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune summed up the messy breakup in full here.

    Before Sunday’s game nobody really wanted to talk about Williams’ return to New Orleans on Sunday, but Payton let his actions speak. In a 42-21 game, Payton called a trick play in the fourth quarter. Receiver Willie Snead caught a lateral, took a few steps back and fired a touchdown pass to wide-open Tim Hightower.

    It probably wasn’t a

    Read More »from Gregg Williams returns to New Orleans and Saints run up the score on him and Rams
  • When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers started out 1-3, it appeared to foretell another rebuilding season. When they lost two straight to fall back to 3-5, the defense did not appear to be ready for prime time.

    But suddenly the Buccaneers, after Sunday’s 14-5 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, showed this team has made progress in short order. Much of it has come on defense, which has now allowed 30 points (not counting the safety the offense was responsible for Sunday) in its past three games combined.

    The Buccaneers are 6-5 with the win and find themselves over .500 for the first time since the middle of the 2012 season.

    The Bucs are not a work of art, but they’re in playoff contention. This was also the story last season when they were 6-6 — and that ended with four straight losses and Lovie Smith getting fired.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Alterraun Verner played with a heavy heart and made a crucial INT. (AP)
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Alterraun Verner played with a heavy heart and made a crucial INT. (AP)

    But this year’s team has some real pluck. The Bucs’ defense picked off Russell

    Read More »from Buccaneers hold Seahawks down, go over .500 for first time since 2012
  • The Oakland Raiders’ dream season hasn’t yet been derailed. Not even after an injury to quarterback Derek Carr, which briefly knocked him out of Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

    Carr suffered a pinkie injury on his throwing hand, and he missed a series as the Raiders were trying to protect a 17-point lead in the third quarter. Although the Panthers overcame the deficit and took a fourth-quarter lead, Carr led a great effort in a 35-32 Raiders win — one of the more thrilling games of the NFL season.

    And this has become just another chapter in a 9-2 Raiders season that has a storybook feel to it.

    Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr injured his finger, but he still led them to victory. (AP)

    Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr injured his finger, but he still led them to victory. (AP)

    Carr took a third-quarter snap from Raiders center Rodney Hudson (who has had center exchange issues in the past) and instantly came away in pain. The snap was fumbled, and Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis recovered. Carr ran off the field immediately, and he was replaced by backup Matt

    Read More »from Derek Carr mangles pinkie finger on throwing hand, still leads Raiders over Panthers
  • Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was once accused of not knowing NFL rules. Not sure we can argue that after Sunday’s victory — and how the Ravens won — over the Cincinnati Bengals.

    The Ravens led 19-12 over the Bengals and with 11 seconds left on fourth down from their own 23-yard line. Harbaugh, the former special-teams coordinator, wanted to make sure there would not be a blocked punt or a long punt return by the Bengals — and he took advantage of a rule to prevent that from happening.

    Baltimore Ravens punter Sam Koch took an intentional safety in a brilliant bit of coaching. (Getty Images)
    Baltimore Ravens punter Sam Koch took an intentional safety in a brilliant bit of coaching. (Getty Images)

    Back in punt formation, punter Sam Koch took the snap and started drifting backward as the Bengals rushed for an all-on block attempt. What did the Ravens do? They held every player on the field who could be held.

    Think about it: Holding is not a dead-ball foul, and there is no untimed down after the penalty. Koch floated in the end zone until the clock hit zero. Unlike a defensive

    Read More »from Ravens take clever approach to seal game by holding every Bengals player on safety