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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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Ravens' fan-favorite Justin Forsett on the move again; seventh team of his career

Ravens' fan-favorite Justin Forsett on the move again; seventh team of his career

The 2016 NFL season has been an odyssey of sorts for Justin Forsett. 

After a Pro Bowl season in 2014, Forsett saw his numbers decline in 2015.

With the addition of Terrance West and the Ravens selecting Kenneth Dixon in the 2016 NFL Draft, Forsett saw his place with the team dissipate quickly.

After being released, then re-signed, then released again, Forsett latched on with the Lions in early October. But after appearing in just two games, the Lions released Forsett before their Week 13 win over the Saints. But on Monday, Forsett was in a new city, with a new team.

RELATED: GRADING THE RAVENS' OFFENSE IN WEEK 13

Broncos' head coach Gary Kubiak served as the Ravens offensive coordinator in 2014 when Forsett ran for a career-high 1266 yards and 8 touchdowns.

The move comes a day after running back Kapri Bibbs exited their Week 13 game against the Jaguars with an ankle injury. With C.J. Anderson out for the foreseeable future, that leaves rookie Devontae Booker and fullback-tailback Juwan Thompson as the only running backs on the team.

The Broncos will be the seventh team Forsett has played for since joining the NFL in 2008.

 

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Grading the Ravens defense, special teams vs. Dolphins

Grading the Ravens defense, special teams vs. Dolphins

The Ravens put together their most complete game of the season on Sunday with a 38-6 beatdown of the Dolphins, winners of six straight coming in.

The script was a refreshing one for the Ravens offense — four touchdown passes, 24 first-half points, crisp execution — but the defense did what it's done all season, shutting down Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi and making the Dolphins earn every yard.

The only Dolphins points, in fact, came after they began inside the Ravens 10-yard line because of a Dennis Pitta fumble.

We've already handed out report cards to the offense, so now it's time to grade the defense and special teams.

DEFENSIVE LINE: B+

Ajayi averaged 5.1 yards a carry (12-61) but the Ravens' 24-0 halftime lead pretty much eliminated Ajayi as a big factor in the second half.

Although Ajayi slipped some tackles, the Dolphins totaled 1 yard rushing on carries by four other players.

Timmy Jernigan was a force inside again but took a stupid taunting penalty after head-butting a Dolphins player. That type of penalty has been too common in his career, but largely absent this season, which has been Jernigan's best yet.

Brent Urban picked up his second sack of the season.

LINEBACKER: B+

Zach Orr continues to impress. He led all players with 13 tackles.

The Ravens linebackers had just one sack, by rookie Matt Judon, but they were pressuring Ryan Tannehill often. Terrell Suggs and Judon each had two of the Ravens nine quarterback hits. Za'Darius Smith also had a quarterback hit as he returned to action after being benched last week.

The Ravens linebackers did a decent job setting the edge on the run, though Ajayi broke some tackles at the line of scrimmage.

SECONDARY: A-

The secondary might have had its best game of the season, with rangy plays, physical coverage, seven passes defensed and three interceptions.

Lardarius Webb's interception in the end zone was outstanding. He ranged far and made a leaping grab to kill a Dolphins drive. It was easily the best play he's made since converting to safety.

His safety counterpart, Eric Weddle, also had an interception near the end zone to kill another Dolphins drive and returned it 53 yards.

Jerraud Powers tipped the pass that Weddle intercepted and also had an interception of his own.

The Ravens did a great job containing talented Dolphins receivers and showing looks that seemed to confuse Tannehill.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B

Another week, another 50-plus bomb from kicker Justin Tucker, who hit from 55  yards to end the half and extend his streak to 35 field goals without a miss. Four of his last five have come from 52 yards or farther.  

Sam Koch had an uneven day punting, shanking one kick for 16 yards. He averaged 31 yards on three punts, but two of them pinned the Dolphins inside their 15-yard line.

Devin Hester, who has said he's finally healthy again, didn't show much. He had one kickoff return for 17 yards and totaled 3 yards on three punt returns.

In a weekly occurrence, the Ravens again had two illegal-block penalties on punt returns  (Shareece Wright, Matt Judon).

MORE: Ravens excited for Monday night matchup against Patriots