NFL Today, Week 14

NFL Today, Week 14

SCOREBOARD

Monday, Dec. 10

Houston at New England (8:30 p.m.) The Texans (11-1) have the best record in the AFC and have clinched a playoff berth, while the Patriots (9-3) have locked up the AFC East title. At 6-0, Houston is the only team with a perfect road record, but New England hasn't lost a regular-season game in December since Dec. 22, 2002.

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STARS

Passing

-Nick Foles, Eagles, had a rookie-record 32 completions while throwing for 381 yards and two touchdowns to help Philadelphia end an eight-game skid - the team's longest in 42 years - with a 23-21 victory at Tampa Bay.

-Cam Newton, Panthers, had two touchdown tosses and ran 72 yards for another score, finishing with a career-high 116 yards rushing, to lead Carolina past Atlanta 30-20. He's the first player in NFL history with at least 250 yards passing, 100 yards rushing and a TD pass and run in the same game.

-Philip Rivers, Chargers, threw three touchdown passes, two to Danario Alexander, in San Diego's 34-24 win over Pittsburgh.

-Eli Manning, Giants, threw four touchdown passes as New York cruised to a 52-27 rout of New Orleans.

-Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, completed 22 of 42 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns in his first game back - a 34-24 loss to San Diego - after spraining his right shoulder and dislocating a rib nearly a month ago.

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Rushing

-Jamaal Charles, Chiefs, ran for 165 yards, breaking off an 80-yard TD run on the game's first play for Kansas City, in a 30-7 loss at Cleveland.

-Adrian Peterson, Vikings, rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns to lead Minnesota to a 21-14 victory over the Chicago Bears.

-Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks, had three touchdown runs ran for 128 yards on 11 carries in Seattle's 58-0 win over Arizona.

-Doug Martin, Buccaneers, rushed for 128 yards and a score in a losing cause as Tampa Bay fell to Philadelphia 23-21.

-Alfred Morris, Redskins, had 122 yards rushing and a TD on 23 carries as Washington edged Baltimore 31-28 in overtime.

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Receiving

-Brandon Marshall, Bears, had 10 catches for 160 yards and a TD in Chicago's 21-14 loss at Minnesota.

-Kenny Britt, Titans, caught eight passes for 143 yards in a losing cause as Tennessee was edged 27-23 by Indianapolis.

-Jason Avant, Eagles, had seven receptions for 133 yards to help Philadelphia top Tampa Bay 23-21.

-Calvin Johnson, Lions, had 10 receptions for 118 yards in Detroit's 27-20 loss to Green Bay.

-Roddy White, Falcons, had nine catches for 117 yards and a touchdown, but Atlanta lost 30-20 at Carolina.

-Mike Wallace, Steelers, caught two touchdown passes in Ben Roethlisberger's return from injuries, but Pittsburgh lost 34-24 to San Diego.

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Special Teams

-David Wilson, Giants, returned a kickoff 97 yards for one touchdown, ran for 100 yards and two more scores and piled up a team-record 327 all-purpose yards in a 52-27 win over the New Orleans Saints. He's the first player in NFL history with 200 kickoff return yards and 100 yards rushing in the same game.

-Dan Bailey, Cowboys, kicked a 40-yard field goal as time ran out, sending Dallas to a 20-19 victory over Cincinnati.

-Travis Benjamin, Browns, had a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown - the longest in team history - early in the second quarter of Cleveland's 30-7 win over Kansas City.

-Phil Dawson, Browns, kicked field goals of 23, 24 and 34 yards and his first made him the 25th player in NFL history to make 300 as Cleveland topped Kansas City 30-7.

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Defense

-Bobby Wagner and Richard Sherman, Seahawks, each had two interceptions - Sherman returned one for a TD - in Seattle's 58-0 win over Arizona.

-Aldon Smith, 49ers, had two sacks in San Francisco's 27-13 win over Miami for an NFL-leading 19 1/2, passing Fred Dean's franchise-best single-season mark of 17 1/2 and within three of Michael Strahan's seasonal NFL record set in 2001.

-Cameron Wake, Dolphins, had three sacks in Miami's 27-13 loss at San Francisco.

-Will Witherspoon, Panthers, ran an interception back 40 yards for a touchdown in Carolina's 30-20 win over Atlanta.

-Harrison Smith, Vikings, returned an interception 56 yards for a score to lead Minnesota to a 21-14 victory over Chicago.

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MILESTONES

Chicago's Brandon Marshall joined Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison and Wes Welker as the only players in history with at least four seasons of 100 or more receptions. Marshall also set the all-time Bears record with his 101st catch this year. ... Cleveland's Brandon Weeden earned his fifth win, most by a Browns rookie starter. Bernie Kosar won four in 1985. ... Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger became the 25th quarterback in NFL history to surpass 29,000 yards passing and 1,000 career yards rushing ... Indianapolis' Reggie Wayne passed Andre Reed for No. 10 on the league's career receptions list. Reed had 951. Wayne has 956. ... San Francisco's Frank Gore finished with 63 yards rushing, caught two passes and also matched his mentor, Roger Craig, and late Hall of Famer Joe Perry for the franchise record in rushing touchdowns with 50. And, no, Gore didn't grow up a Dolphins fan in his native South the San Francisco 49ers' 27-13 victory against the Dolphins on Sunday. ... Minnesota's Adrian Peterson is the third NFL player to rush for at least 1,600 yards and 10 TDs while averaging 6.0 yards per carry.

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STREAKS

Baltimore (9-4) would have clinched the AFC North with a win over Washington. Instead, the Ravens ended a 15-game winning streak following a loss, dropping back-to-back games for the first time since 2009. Meanwhile, the Redskins have their first four-game winning streak since 2008 and have six 30-point games, their most since 1996. ... Arizona's 58-0 loss to Seattle was its ninth straight, the longest slide for the franchise since 1944. It was the worst shutout loss in Cardinals history and their first time being shut out since losing 38-0 to the Seahawks in 2003. ... The Packers have won 22 straight at home against the Lions, the longest streak in the NFL. ... Sunday was the third straight game that the Lions have blown a lead of 10-plus points, tying an NFL record shared by six other teams.

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FLIPPING OUT

Carolina hadn't won a coin flip all year until Sunday, causing team captain Jordan Gross to exalt at midfield by thrusting both arms into the air. Including overtime, the Panthers were 0-13 on coin flips. Carolina went on to beat Atlanta 30-20.

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BIG BEN'S BACK

Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger completed 22 of 42 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns in his first game back, a 34-24 loss to San Diego, after spraining his right shoulder and dislocating a rib in an overtime win against Kansas City nearly a month ago.

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SOARING SEAHAWKS

Seattle set a franchise record for points in a 58-0 rout of Arizona on Sunday. Marshawn Lynch had three touchdown runs, and Leon Washington's 3-yard run with 2:32 left pushed the Seahawks past the old record of 56 points scored against Buffalo in 1977. The eight takeaways were their second most, equaling a 1998 achievement.

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STATS

Winning points were scored in the final 2 minutes or overtime in four games Sunday, bringing the season total to 47 such games - tied for the most through the first 14 weeks of a season. ... Cleveland, whose 23-point margin of victory was its largest since 2003 - a significant accomplishment for a franchise with 11 double-digit loss seasons since 1999.

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HEAVY HEARTS

Dallas overcame a nine-point deficit in the closing minutes of a 20-19 win at Cincinnati behind Tony Romo, who held his hand over his heart during a moment of silence to honor teammate Jerry Brown before the kickoff. The linebacker died in an auto accident early Saturday. Defensive lineman Josh Brent, who was driving, was still jailed in Texas on Sunday, charged with intoxication manslaughter. It was the second consecutive week that an NFL team was playing a day after losing a teammate. Kansas City beat Carolina 27-21 one day after linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend and then himself at the Chiefs' practice complex.

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QUIET HOMECOMING

New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow spent his homecoming to Jacksonville on the sideline. Tebow was healthy enough to serve as New York's backup quarterback in his hometown, but he never got off the bench in the Jets' 17-10 win. Tebow sat out the last two games while recovering from two broken ribs.

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COMEBACK KID

Andrew Luck engineered his sixth fourth-quarter comeback this season, one more than Ben Roethlisberger had in 2004 and Vince Young had in 2006 - the highest single-season total by a rookie quarterback since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. It came on the same day he passed Peyton Manning for the most yards passing by a rookie in Colts history and moved into second among all NFL rookies, trailing only Carolina's Cam Newton (4,051). Luck has 3,792 yards with three games to play.

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STEPPING IN

Robert Griffin III went down during Washington's final drive of regulation Sunday, with the Redskins trailing the Baltimore Ravens by eight. Fellow rookie Kirk Cousins, who had played in only one other game this season, stepped in and hit Pierre Garcon for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds remaining, then ran the quarterback draw for the 2-point conversion to tie the game. The Redskins won 31-28 in overtime.

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MR. VERSATILITY

David Wilson returned a kickoff 97 yards for one touchdown, ran for 100 yards and two more scores and piled up a team-record 327 all-purpose yards in the New York Giants' 52-27 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. The first-round draft pick from Virginia Tech is the first NFL player to have 200 yards in kickoff returns and 100 yards rushing in a game, with his total breaking the Giants mark of 303 set by current teammate Domenik Hixon in 2009.

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SIDELINED

Robert Griffin III sprained his right knee in the Washington Redskins' overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, but a team spokesman said an MRI revealed that ``everything is clear'' in terms of significant ligament damage. Spokesman Tony Wyllie said Griffin does not have a major knee injury and specifically ruled out a season-ending torn ACL. ... Chicago's Jay Cutler was 22 for 44 for 260 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in a 21-14 loss to Minnesota, but took a wicked hit to the head from Everson Griffen in the fourth quarter. He has a neck injury. ... Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson hurt his right leg in a 15-12 loss to the St. Louis Rams, and his status for the rest of the season is uncertain.

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SPEAKING

``The guy's unbelievable. I don't know if he's human or not.'' - Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder on teammate Adrian Peterson, who ran for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the Vikings' 21-14 victory over the Chicago Bears.

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``I knew as soon as I got hit. I screamed. Like a man, of course. It hurt really bad.'' - Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III after spraining his right knee in the Redskins' 31-28 overtime win over Baltimore.

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Secretary of Defense gives thumbs-up for Reynolds to pursue NFL

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Secretary of Defense gives thumbs-up for Reynolds to pursue NFL

Ravens wide receiver Keenan Reynolds can officially defer his military service to play in the NFL, secretary of defense Ashton Carter said Friday. Carter made the announcement during his graduation speech at the Naval Academy.

Two weeks ago, Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, strongly recommended that Reynolds be allowed to pursue his NFL career. Now Reynolds has the official go-ahead.

“It is a blessing to hear the news from Defense Secretary Carter,” Reynolds said in a statement released by the Ravens. “I am truly excited to proudly serve my country while having the ability to fulfill my dream of playing for the best organization in the NFL.

“I would like to thank the Navy for allowing me to represent them while taking advantage of this unique opportunity. I would also like to thank (Ravens owner) Mr. (Steve) Bisciotti and the Ravens organization for believing in me and giving me this chance.”

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement, “This is good news, and congratulations on to Keenan on his graduation today.”

The Ravens selected Reynolds in the sixth round of the draft, and are intrigued by his potential as a returner and receiver after a stellar career at Navy as a quarterback. Reynolds finished his Navy career as the FBS all-time leader in touchdowns (88).

Reynolds has sought advice on making the transition from quarterback to receiver-returner from CSN’s Brian Mitchell, who was a Pro Bowl returner with the Redskins, and from Hines Ward, a Pro Bowl receiver with the Steelers. The next challenge for Reynolds is to win a spot on the Ravens’ 53-man roster, and many people will be rooting for him.

Can Ravens WR Michael Campanaro stay healthy enough to secure roster spot?

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Can Ravens WR Michael Campanaro stay healthy enough to secure roster spot?

OWINGS MILLS – Third-year wide receiver Michael Campanaro will have a difficult time making the Ravens in 2016 if he does not stay healthy. He is not off to a good start. A calf injury forced Campanaro to miss the first week of OTA’s, and his return date remained uncertain.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh expressed empathy for Campanaro following Thursday’s practice.

“He tweaked his calf a couple of weeks ago and he’s working hard,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve just never seen a guy work as hard as this guy has worked in the last year and a half. There will be a time he will get past this stuff. This stuff will stop happening and hopefully it’s training camp, and that’s what we’re hoping for him. The guy works tremendously hard and he was in phenomenal shape, and we’re still expecting really good things from him.”

Campanaro’s season ended last year after just four games due to a herniated disc. As a rookie in 2014, Campanaro was plagued by hamstring injuries that did not clear up until late in the season.

When Campanaro has been healthy, he has produced as a slot receiver. During the Ravens’ 35-31 playoff loss to the Patriots that ended his rookie season, Campanaro had four catches for 39 yards, and looked unfazed by postseason pressure.

However, Campanaro’s injuries have kept him from building momentum as a player. Meanwhile, the Ravens have added Mike Wallace and rookies Chris Moore and Keenan Reynolds to a wide receiver group that also includes Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, Breshad Perriman, Jeremy Butler, Kaelin Clay, and Chris Matthews.

Campanaro could help the Ravens as a returner, but so can Reynolds and Clay. The Ravens have been waiting for Campanaro to show he can remain healthy. If that does not happen during training camp, it might be too late.

Five observations from Ravens OTAs

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Five observations from Ravens OTAs

The Ravens are wrapping up their first of three -- oops, make that two -- weeks of OTA workouts this week, and Thursday's session was the first open to the media. Here are five observations after catching the first partial glimpse of the 2016 Ravens (partial because more than a dozen players, including many starters, sat out the voluntary workouts either by choice or because of injury.)

This wide receiver group appears impressive

Steve Smith Sr. wasn't even there, but Breshad Perriman, Mike Wallace and rookie Chris Moore all look like they will be nice options for Joe Flacco (who, incidentally, watched the OTAs in a T-shirt as he continues his knee rehab.). Heck, the fact that Perriman was on the field is already a big improvement over last year. Kamar Aiken reverts to being a very solid No. 3 or No. 4 option if this group stays healthy. Speaking of health, Michael Camapanaro (calf) missed the workout, and with this group of receivers, including Navy's Keenan Reynolds, Campanaro is one more nagging injury from not making this roster. 

Dennis Pitta could leave the Ravens in a very tough spot

Good for Dennis Pitta to work back from his second major hip injury and get back on the field, even if for noncontact OTAs. He ran, cut and caught well, and he said after the workout that he felt great physically. "My level of expectation is extremely high going into this year," he said. "Like I said, I feel confident in how I can run, how I can move, how I can play." But if Pitta, who turns 31 next month, is indeed healthy, then what? The Ravens brought in Ben Watson this year, and already have two promising young tight ends in Crockett Gillmore and second-year, second-round pick Maxx Williams. None of them are going anywhere. Would the Ravens cut Pitta, one of the most likable players on the team and a close friend of Joe Flacco's, after his grueling rehab? Would they keep four tight ends? That would be highly unusual, but not out of the question with Marc Trestman's offense. Incidentally, tight end Todd Heap was 31 when the Ravens let him go.

Interesting look at inside linebacker

With Daryl Smith gone and C.J. Mosley sitting out, rookie second-round pick Kamalei Correa, billed as an edge rusher, spent a lot of time at inside linebacker. Coach John Harbaugh said afterward that Correa "has inside linebacker traits." The Ravens also appear to be looking at safety Anthony Levine as a linebacker option. He did some individual work with the inside linebackers and spent some time as an inside linebacker in 7-on-7 drills. Coverage was a big issue for Ravens linebackers last year, so if Levine and Correa show they can cover well over the middle, that versatility could be a big plus.

Lardarius Webb seems at home at safety

The move from corner to safety should agree with Lardarius Webb. He drifted over well in deep coverage, but it wasn't encouraging to see a potential interception bounce off his hands. This team had a franchise-record-low six interceptions last year. Webb said moving to safety has been "a great transition. I’m loving it. I have more control of the defense."

Losing a week of OTAs isn't the end of the world

The Ravens have been docked next week's OTA workouts as a penalty for reportedly having players in pads for a brief portion of their rookie minicamp in violation of the current collective bargaining agreement. It certainly isn't a good look, but it shouldn't have much bearing on whether the Ravens can beat the Steelers on Christmas night. Many veterans weren't on the field this week anyway. It might be a speed bump in development for Ravens rookies and other newcomers, but there's a lot of training camp for that. Three days off in June might do some bodies good. If anyone is hurt by this it might be Keenan Reynolds -- the former Navy quarterback is trying to quickly learn the wide receiver position, and he missed the OTAs this week because of his graduation in Annapolis.