Shutdown Corner

  • 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
  • Want to see the Chicago Bears’ 2016 season summed up in a single play? We’ve got you covered.

    The Bears had a chance at a rare home victory over a decent team on Sunday, trailing the Tennessee Titans 27-21 as the clock wound down. Given all the Bears’ injuries, that in and of itself was impressive. But it appeared Bears quarterback Matt Barkley, making his first NFL start four years after he entered the league, had delivered a storybook finish with a final-minute TD pass.

    Except that Josh Bellamy forgot to catch it.

    Barkley fired a strike to Bellamy, who had completely shed safety Kevin Byard. The ball hit Bellamy right in the chest between the 1 and the 1 on his jersey. Wide open. In the end zone. Drop.

    It doesn’t get any worse than this in the NFL. There is no easier catch for a receiver. And that would have been a game-winner with the extra point.

    bears-titans-embed

    Of course, there are Bears fans sitting on their couches saying, “Good! Better draft pick!” That doesn’t matter to Barkley, who has

    Read More »from Worst drop of the 2016 NFL season cost the Bears a home victory
  • Old-school football fans will tell you what they love about the National Football League is the fact that it’s good old-fashioned hard-nosed smashmouth game, with none of that flailing-arms flopping you see in soccer or basketball.

    Vontaze Burfict, then, makes for a bit of a problem for the NFL-as-tough-guy-haven argument. Against Baltimore and Steve Smith Sr. on Sunday, Burfict reacted to a first-quarter jab from Smith by flopping as if he’d been smacked with a two-by-four.

    Perhaps Burfict, after getting suspended for the first three games of this season and fined $75,000 in October for two separate incidents, has decided that playing victim is the better way to go. Perhaps Burfict was just trying to get the ever-talkative (and infuriating) Smith out of the game. (The flop did draw an unnecessary roughness call on Smith.) Either way … come on, dude.

    It’s also apparently not the first time we’ve seen a Bengal pursue this strategy:

    Read More »from Vontaze Burfict's flop is a thing of infuriating beauty
  • Cleveland Browns punter Britton Colquitt went over to Odell Beckham, talked a little trash, then did a little celebration.

    What was the reason for Colquitt turning his swag on? A holding penalty on the New York Giants negated a 59-yard punt return touchdown for Beckham, who was trying to do a LeBron James touchdown celebration.

    When you’re 0-12, it’s not like you have much else to celebrate.

    The Browns are officially three-quarters of the way through their season, and they don’t have a win. The Giants squeezed out an ugly 27-13 win at Cleveland on Sunday. The Browns fell to 0-12. They trailed just 14-6 in the fourth quarter and had some momentum after a nice deep catch by Terrelle Pryor, who had a big day. But right after that, Josh McCown was hit by Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, the ball popped into the air to Jason Pierre-Paul, who returned it for a touchdown.

    The Browns got within a touchdown again later in the fourth quarter, but Beckham caught a touchdown pass and

    Read More »from The 0-12 Browns' only highlight Sunday was celebrating a Giants holding penalty
  • Sure, it’s low-hanging fruit to pick on the Cleveland Browns these days. But the Atlanta Falcons’ social media department was in a post-touchdown afterglow and apparently couldn’t help but take a shot at everyone’s favorite winless football team.

    The Falcons appear to have found a gem in diminutive wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, who had two touchdowns in Sunday’s 38-19 win against the Arizona Cardinals, and five in the past four games — four receiving and one rushing. The fact that he’s one of the smallest players in the NFL at 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds makes it even more notable.

    Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel scores a 35-yard touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals. (AP)
    Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel scores a 35-yard touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals. (AP)

    Check out this big-play ability Gabriel flashed against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday:

    But the fact that the Browns waived Gabriel this season is another gut punch to the club that has lost its first 12 games this season. Falcons Twitter just couldn’t help but remind the Browns of that fact.

    Read More »from Atlanta Falcons Twitter just kicked the Cleveland Browns while they're down