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NFL Today, Week 12

NFL Today, Week 12

SCOREBOARD

Monday, Nov. 26

Carolina at Philadelphia (8:30 p.m.). Cam Newton and the Panthers (2-8) face the struggling and depleted Eagles (3-7), who have lost six straight games and won't have quarterback Michael Vick or running back LeSean McCoy because of concussions.

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STARS

Passing

-Joe Flacco, Ravens, was 30 of 51 for 355 yards and a touchdown as Baltimore outlasted San Diego 16-13 in overtime.

-Matt Ryan, Falcons, threw for 353 yards and a touchdown on 26-of-32 passing in Atlanta's 24-23 victory at Tampa Bay.

-Colin Kaepernick, 49ers, threw for 231 yards and a score and ran for a TD in his second career start, leading San Francisco to a 31-21 win at New Orleans.

-Andy Dalton, Bengals, threw three touchdown passes to lead Cincinnati to a 34-10 victory over Oakland.

-Chad Henne, Jaguars, threw two touchdown passes and sparked the NFL's worst offense for the second consecutive week, leading Jacksonville past the Tennessee Titans 24-19.

Rushing

-Steven Jackson, Rams, ran for 139 yards on 24 carries as St. Louis topped Arizona 31-17.

-BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals, rushed for 129 yards and a score on 19 carries in Cincinnati's 34-10 over the Oakland Raiders.

-Adrian Peterson, Vikings, had 108 yards rushing on 18 attempts in Minnesota's 28-10 loss at Chicago.

-Ray Rice, Ravens, ran for 97 yards and had eight catches for 67 yards in Baltimore's 16-13 overtime win at San Diego.

-C.J. Spiller, Bills, had 107 yards rushing on just 14 carries - a 7.6 yard average - in Buffalo's 20-13 loss at Indianapolis.

Receiving

-Julio Jones, Falcons, caught six passes for 147 yards and a touchdown as Atlanta edged Tampa Bay 24-23.

-Davone Bess, Dolphins, had seven receptions for a career-high 129 yards in Miami's 24-21 victory over Seattle.

-Torrey Smith, Ravens, had seven catches for 144 yards in Baltimore's 16-13 overtime win at San Diego.

-Brandon Marshall, Bears, caught 12 passes for 92 yards in Chicago's 28-10 victory over Minnesota.

-Mohamed Sanu, Bengals, had two touchdown catches in Cincinnati's 34-10 win over Oakland.

Special Teams

-Leon Washington, Seahawks, returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, the eighth of his career to tie the NFL record by Cleveland's Josh Cribbs, in Seattle's 24-21 loss to Miami.

-T.Y. Hilton, Colts, returned a punt 75 yards for a score in Indianapolis' 20-13 win over Buffalo.

-Mike Nugent, Bengals, kicked a 55-yard field goal that tied the club record in Cincinnati's 34-10 win over Oakland.

-Phil Dawson, Browns, kicked field goals of 28 and 32 yards in Cleveland's 20-14 win over Pittsburgh, and has made 27 in a row since last season, tying his team record.

-Dan Carpenter, Dolphins, kicked a 43-yard field goal as time expired, helping Miami rally past the Seattle Seahawks 24-21.

Defense

-Janoris Jenkins, Rams, returned interceptions 36 and 39 yards for TDs in St. Louis' 31-17 win at Arizona, becoming the first rookie since 1960 - and first player in team history - to have two INT returns for scores in a game.

-Ahmad Brooks and Donte Whitner, 49ers, brought back interceptions of Drew Brees for scores as San Francisco rolled to a 31-21 victory at New Orleans.

-Mario Williams, Bills, had three sacks in Buffalo's 20-13 loss at Indianapolis.

-T.J. Ward, Browns, forced two fumbles in Cleveland's 20-14 win over the Steelers.

-Lawrence Timmons, Steelers, returned an interception 53 yards for a touchdown in Pittsburgh's 20-14 loss at Cleveland.

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MILESTONES

Peyton Manning led Denver to a 17-9 victory at Kansas City on Sunday, breaking a tie with his boss and Broncos vice president John Elway with his 149th win as a starting quarterback, trailing only Brett Favre (186) for most in NFL history. ... Indianapolis' Reggie Wayne broke Cris Carter's NFL record for most consecutive games with multiple catches. Carter had done it 58 times in a row. Wayne's streak is now at 59. He also passed Art Monk and Derrick Mason on the NFL's career receptions chart and with 946 is now within five of moving into the top 10.

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CLASS ACT

Three rookie QBs - Andrew Luck of the Colts, Ryan Tannehill of the Dolphins and Brandon Weeden of the Browns - won today, bringing the total for the 2012 rookie class to 26. That's the most in the league since the 1970 merger. It was Luck's seventh win, Tannehill's fifth and Weeden's third. Also contributing to that total are the Seahawks' Russell Wilson, who has won six starts, the Redskins' Robert Griffin III (5). Luck's seven wins are tied with Sam Bradford (2010) for the post-merger record.

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CLUB MARKS

Indianapolis' T.Y. Hilton returned a punt 75 yards for one touchdown and caught an 8-yard TD pass in the Colts' 20-13 win over Buffalo, becoming the first player in franchise history to do both in the same game. ... ... Minnesota's Adrian Peterson tied Robert Smith's club record with a 100-yard performance for the fifth straight game, rushing for 108 in the Vikings' 28-10 loss at Chicago. ... Jacksonville's Cecil Shorts set a franchise record with his fourth reception of at least 50 yards this season, surpassing the previous mark set by Keenan McCardell in 1998 and tied by Jimmy Smith the following year. ... Miami's Ryan Tannehill was 18 of 26 for 253 yards and a score in the Dolphins' 24-21 loss to Seattle, breaking the team's rookie record of 2,210 yards passing set by Dan Marino in 1983. ... New Orleans' Marques Colston has scored the 56th touchdown of his career in a 31-21 loss to San Francisco, surpassing Saints' all-time rusher Deuce McAllister for the club record.

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MORE MANNING

Peyton Manning threw for 285 yards in the Broncos' win Sunday, putting him past 3,000 for the 14th season. He passed the 13 seasons by Dan Marino to take second place on the career list. Only Brett Favre's 18 seasons of at least 3,000 yards passing are more.

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STATS

Chicago's Brandon Marshall caught 12 passes for 92 yards in a 28-10 win over Minnesota on Sunday, becoming the first Bears receiver since Marty Booker in 2002 to go over 1,000 yards. He now has 1,017 yards this season, his sixth straight with 1,000 or more. ... Oakland allowed 289 yards in the first half - the most this season - in its 34-10 loss to Cincinnati and had only 83 yards, its fewest on offense since it managed 52 yards in the first half at Pittsburgh on Nov. 21, 2010.

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CLUTCH PLAY

On a fourth-and-29 play and the game on the line, Baltimore's Joe Flacco took a shotgun snap and threw a short pass to Ray Rice, who weaved through San Diego's defense, found a big hole in the middle of the field and made it to San Diego's 33 before he was tackled with 1:37 to play. After a lengthy review, the ball was moved back to the 34 and the refs measured. The new spot still gave the Ravens a first down by the length of the ball. The Ravens forced overtime on Justin Tucker's 38-yard field goal, and then won it 16-13 on another 38-yarder with 1:07 left.

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SLOPPY STEELERS

Pittsburgh committed eight turnovers, including three interceptions by third-string QB Charlie Batch, in a 20-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The last time an NFL team forced eight turnovers was New Orleans against St. Louis on Oct. 28, 2001.

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SHOWING SUPPORT

Two Colts cheerleaders shaved their heads in support of coach Chuck Pagano, who has lost his hair as he continues to undergo chemotherapy treatments, between the third and fourth quarters of Indianapolis' 20-13 win over Buffalo as part of a promise for a fundraising effort for leukemia research. During a fourth-quarter break, team owner Jim Irsay and Pagano walked out of the owner's box together and waved to crowd, which gave them a standing ovation.

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COMEBACK KID

Atlanta's Matt Ryan led the Falcons to a 24-23 victory at Tampa Bay, his fifth fourth-quarter rally this year. He has 21 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime since entering the league in 2008 - four against the division-rival Buccaneers.

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STAGNANT OFFENSE

Kansas City fell to Denver 17-9 as the Chiefs failed to score a touchdown since the first quarter against Pittsburgh on Nov. 12, a span of more than 11 quarters and 173 minutes. They could only manage field goals by Ryan Succop for the second straight game.

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STEPPING IN

Colin Kaepernick was solid in his second career start while Alex Smith, deemed healthy enough to suit up after recovering from a concussion, watched from the sideline in San Francisco's 31-21 win at New Orleans on Sunday. Kaepernick passed for 231 yards, including a short touchdown to Frank Gore, and also ran for a 7-yard score. ... Chad Henne made his first start in more than 13 months, filling in for the injured Blaine Gabbert in Jacksonville's 24-19 win over Tennessee. It was Henne's first win as a starter since December 2010, and completed 17 of 26 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns.

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STREAKS

Jacksonville snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 24-19 win over Tennessee on Sunday. ... Cincinnati's A.J. Green failed to catch a TD pass in a 34-10 win over Oakland, ending his streak of nine games with one. It's the second-longest streak in club history.

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SHAKY DEBUT

Arizona rookie Ryan Lindley was intercepted four times - including two returned for touchdowns by Janoris Jenkins - in his first NFL start, a 31-17 loss to St. Louis on Sunday. He completed 31 of 52 passes for 312 yards and no touchdowns.

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SPRINKLED IN

A computer glitch caused stadium lawn sprinklers to douse the Seahawks and Dolphins during the third quarter of Miami's 24-21 win Sunday. The computer was erroneously working on its Saturday schedule, a Dolphins spokesman said. The sprinklers came on between plays and covered most of the field, drawing a cheer from an amused crowd and prompting a brief delay. The sprinklers were quickly turned off, and players toweled off before the action resumed.

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BRAWL

Cincinnati left tackle Andrew Whitworth saw his quarterback get tackled after the whistle and went after the guy who brought him down, touching off a scrum that ended with three ejections in the Bengals' 34-10 win over Oakland on Sunday. Whitworth and Oakland linemen Lamarr Houston and Tommy Kelly face significant fines for their ejection during the fourth quarter.

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BROWN OUT

Following Cleveland's 20-14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, a Browns spokesman said the game was team president Mike Holmgren's last. The 64-year-old former coach had hoped to stay until the end of the season in an advisory role, but left open the possibility of an earlier departure. He has been replaced by new owner Jimmy Haslam with CEO Joe Banner, who spent 19 years with Philadelphia. Holmgren spoke to several players and Haslam in the locker room.

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SIDELINED

Chicago lost Devin Hester, a receiver and record-setting return specialist, to a concussion, and running back Matt Forte and cornerback Charles Tillman to ankle injuries in the Bears' 28-10 win over Minnesota on Sunday. The Bears also lost both guards in the third quarter to knee sprains, with Lance Louis and Chris Spencer going down. ... Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden sustained a concussion in the closing minutes of Sunday's 20-14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh lost linebacker LaMarr Woodley in the first half with a left ankle injury.

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SPEAKING

``Check down, Hey Diddle Diddle, Ray Rice up the middle.'' - Baltimore's Ray Rice describing the playcall on his fourth-and-29 run for a first down in the fourth quarter that helped lead the Ravens to a 16-13 overtime win at San Diego.

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``We aren't going to have any team meetings, not going to sit in a circle and sing `Kumbaya' or anything like that. We are going to do what we do after we win a game - go back to work and figure out a way to play better.'' - Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark after the Steelers' 20-14 loss at Cleveland on Sunday.

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Playing Flacco in preseason makes sense, but still a risk

Playing Flacco in preseason makes sense, but still a risk

The Ravens feel good about their decision to play Joe Flacco on Saturday night. However, watching Tony Romo of the Cowboys grimacing in pain Thursday night was another reminder why teams have become more cautious about playing franchise quarterbacks during the preseason.

The Cowboys got a scare Thursday night against the Seahawks, when Romo went down holding his back after taking a hit just three plays into the game. Romo did not return, but he never left the sidelines and said he was fine after the game.

The hit on Romo was a reminder that Saturday’s preseason game against the Lions (7 p.m.) will have some angst for the Ravens, with Flacco playing his first game since a serious knee injury last November. Should the Ravens have elected to keep Flacco out the entire preseason? They could have, but coach John Harbaugh decided against it.

RELATED: HOW BIG IS RAVENS ROSTER BUBBLE?

“There’s really no doubt that he’s ready to play,” Harbaugh said Thursday. “But football is risky for everybody. That’s just the way it works. You have to weigh the benefits with the risks and put them out there. Joe is a quarterback. He’s not going to break. He’s going to play. We’re planning on him playing well, just like he has in practice. It will be his first game action in a long time. I’m sure that’s going to be a factor, but I’d rather have it be in this game than in two weeks from now against the Bills.”

Flacco said he could have been ready for Week 1 without playing in the preseason. But he wanted to get some live action before the real season began. Saturday night’s third preseason game, playing with most of the starters, represents the best time to do it.

Flacco is anything but a fragile quarterback. Until last year, he had gone more than seven seasons without missing a start.

Sooner or later, Flacco has to play. But that doesn’t mean Ravens fans won’t hold their breath Saturday night if Flacco gets hit.

MORE RAVENS: WILL LEWIS WIN STARTING LEFT GUARD SPOT OVER URSCHEL?

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How big is the Ravens' roster bubble?

How big is the Ravens' roster bubble?

With two preseason games left and a little more than a week until the 53-man roster has to be set -- the first cut from 90 to 75 players must be done by Tuesday, with the final cut to 53 by Saturday, Sept. 3 -- the bubble is about to burst for many Ravens.

There has been speculation all camp about players landing on the right side or the wrong side of the roster bubble, but how big, exactly, is that bubble?

The hard truth is it's not very big at all. This isn't the case of 90 people competing for 53 jobs. By our count, 47 spots on the team can be considered locks, which leaves just six open spots. And one of those is at quarterback.

Here's how my colleague Clifton Brown and I view the Ravens roster bubble with two games left, although an injury could send one of these locks to IR and make the bubble just a bit larger.

RELATED: WILL LEWIS WIN STARTING LEFT GUARD SPOT OVER URSCHEL?

QUARTERBACK:

Locks (1): Joe Flacco

Bubble: Ryan Mallett, Josh Johnson

The Ravens will keep just two quarterbacks, but Johnson has done enough to warrant consideration for the job and put Ryan Mallett on the bubble.

RUNNING BACK:

Lock (5): Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Kenneth Dixon, Terrance West, Kyle Juszczyk

Bubble: Lorenzo Taliaferro

With an outstanding camp West moves to the 'lock' category, and Taliaferro could begin the year on the PUP list, which will buy him some time to get healthy. But that doesn't guarantee Taliaferro will play for the Ravens again.

TIGHT END:

Lock (4): Dennis Pitta, Ben Watson, Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams

Bubble: Daniel Brown

Pitta is still out with a broken finger but he will be on the active roster, something few expected four months ago. Maxx Williams has also missed time recently, so this group at the moment isn't nearly as deep as once thought. Darren Waller (four games) and Nick Boyle (10 games) will begin the season on the suspended list but could be heard from later in the year.

WIDE RECEIVER:

Lock (6): Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman, Michael Campanaro, Chris Moore.

Bubble: Jeremy Butler, Chris Matthews, Keenan Reynolds

This group is deep but also loaded with injury concerns. If healthy, the top six will all make the 53-man roster. Given the injury questions surrounding Perriman, Campanaro, Moore and Smith, it makes sense to keep a seventh receiver, and Butler is well ahead of the other two.

OFFENSIVE LINE:

Locks (7): Rick Wagner, Marshal Yanda, Jeremy Zuttah, John Urschel, Ronnie Stanley, Alex Lewis, Ryan Jensen.

Bubble: Vladimir Ducasse, James Hurst, De'Ondre Wesley

Lewis could be the starter at left guard if Urschel remains sidelined, giving the Ravens an all-rookie look on Joe Flacco's blind side. Jensen had a rough night at Indianapolis but can play anywhere on the line. They love that versatility. The Ravens will likely keep an eighth lineman, and they usually stash a couple of others on the practice squad.

DEFENSIVE LINE:

Locks (5): Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan, Lawrence Guy, Carl Davis, Brent Urban

Bubble: Willie Henry, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Michael Pierce

Henry earned coach John Harbaugh's ire with a penalty that gave the Colts a chance to attempt a potential game-winning field goal last week, but the Ravens rarely cut draft picks, let alone fourth-rounders. He is pretty close to a lock. The season-ending injury to Bronson Kaufusi opens the door for someone.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER:

Locks (5): Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Za'Darius Smith, Albert McClellan, Matt Judon

Bubble: Chris Carter, Victor Ochi

With Kamalei Correa also playing outside, the Ravens probably keep only the top five.

INSIDE LINEBACKER:

Locks (4): C.J. Mosley, Zach Orr, Kamalei Correa, Anthony Levine

Bubble: Arthur Brown, Patrick Onwuasor

Levine remains one of the Ravens top special teamers and can play safety in a pinch. His move to linebacker spells trouble for Brown.

CORNERBACK:

Locks (4): Jimmy Smith, Shareece Wright, Jerraud Powers, Tavon Young

Bubble: Sheldon Price, Will Davis, Kyle Arrington, Maurice Canady

Rookie sixth-rounder Canady has missed time with an injury but returned to practice this week. Arrington remains out and his spot on the 53-man roster is looking more tenuous by the day. Ozzie Newsome likes to say that "you can never have too many corners," but it remains to be seen how many the Ravens will keep.

SAFETY:

Locks (3): Eric Weddle, Lardarius Webb, Kendrick Lewis

Bubble: Terrence Brooks, Matt Elam

Elam is sidelined by arthroscopic knee surgery, which could open the door for Brooks. Levine's ability to play safety could factor here. Don't rule out the Ravens signing a veteran safety once other teams make cuts; that's when they landed James Ihedigbo a few years ago.

SPECIALISTS:

Locks (3): Justin Tucker, Sam Koch, Morgan Cox

Bubble: None

All have been to the Pro Bowl and all are back. No questions here.

MORE RAVENS: ZA'DARIUS SMITH AMONG THOSE NOT PLAYING SATURDAY

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Will Lewis win starting left guard spot over Urschel?

Will Lewis win starting left guard spot over Urschel?

OWINGS MILLS – Will the Ravens go into the regular season with two rookies protecting quarterback Joe Flacco’s blindside?

“If we go into the regular season that way, it will be because I’m confident in those two guys over there,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh.

Those two guys are rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who already has the starting job locked down, and rookie left guard Alex Lewis. Lewis heads into Saturday night’s preseason game against the Lions making a push to be a Week 1 starter as well. Third-year left guard John Urschel hasn’t played since the preseason opener and he didn’t practice this week. Lewis has taken advantage of the extra reps.

RELATED: ZA'DARIUS SMITH AMONG THOSE NOT PLAYING SATURDAY

Ravens coach John Harbaugh has said that Urschel has a “contusion”, and was expected to be back soon. But the longer Urschel is out, the more time Lewis has to convince the coaches he should start.

That’s why Saturday night’s preseason game is huge for Lewis. He’s making a rapid adjustment from being a fourth-round pick out of Nebraska, to a possible starter in the NFL.

 “You’ve really got to focus on your technique, your fundamentals, because everyone at this level is good,” Lewis said. “You don’t have those one or two guys you game plan for. In the NFL, all 11 guys on the other side are those dogs you’re trying to get ready for.”

With Flacco starting at quarterback Saturday night, the pressure will be on Stanley and Lewis to play well as a tandem. The Ravens knew they would need a new starting left guard, after Kelechi Osemele signed with the Raiders during free agency. Urschel could still be that guy. But if Lewis plays well Saturday night, it could sway the coaching staff in his direction.

MORE RAVENS: FLACCO LOOKS FORWARD TO PLAYING, BUT NOT GETTING HIT