October 2, 2018 / 12:40 AM / 10 months ago

FLM All 32: Team-by-team NFL notes

AFC East

Sep 30, 2018; Green Bay, WI, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws an interception as Green Bay Packers linebacker Blake Martinez (50) defends during the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Adam Wesley/Wisconsin via USA TODAY NETWORK

Buffalo Bills: Rookie quarterback Josh Allen showed his maturity in his analysis of — and shouldered much of the blame for — the Bills’ 22-0 loss Sunday to the Packers at Lambeau Field. “I thought our defense went out and played really well, especially in the second half. They kept us in it for the most part and they really gave us a chance. They forced two turnovers, and myself, I gave it back three times. That’s not complementary football. You can’t win ... it’s not easy to win doing that type of stuff. I have to do better. The offense has to do better and it starts with me. Learning from this experience that I had here. That’s a tough defense. It’s a tough place to play here. Whenever you have a quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) like that, you can’t give it back to him and that’s what we did today.”

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins were riding high at 3-0, alone in first place in the AFC East when they traveled to Foxborough, Mass., to meet the supposedly struggling Patriots Sunday. New England showed Miami who’s still the boss, drubbing the Dolphins 38-7. Coach Adam Gase said it’s just one blip in a long season. “We’re coming back to work Wednesday. They’re not going to cancel the season. We’re 3-1. We’re out of the first quarter.” He added: “That’s why this league is what it is. It’s up and down every week. If you win, everything is great. If you lose, it’s like you lost 10 games. That’s just the way it is. That’s why you’ve got to reset and get going again.”

New England Patriots: Forgive Tom Brady if he feels like a kid in a candy store. The quarterback gets his favorite target, wide receiver Julian Edelman, back this week after a four-game suspension. And as a bonus, former Cleveland receiver Josh Gordon made his New England debut with two catches for 32 yards on Sunday. Brady had praise for Gordon on WEEI Radio Monday morning. “He’s been really working hard and trying to get things right. And I don’t feel like I had to worry about where he was lining up or where he was running. He was super confident. I could tell in his eyes he knew what he was doing.” Brady said he’s looking forward to building a relationship with Gordon. “When we really get to know each other, hopefully all the hard work pays off and we become a really great offense.”

New York Jets: Outside linebacker Josh Martin suffered a concussion in the pre season and made his season debut Sunday, starting against the Jaguars. He left the game in the third quarter with another concussion and the Jets put him on injured reserve Monday. Coach Todd Bowles expressed worry over two concussions within six weeks. “It’s alarming,” Bowles told reporters. “It’s definitely a concern.” Just last Thursday, Martin cleared the concussion protocol and told reporters he had watched for symptoms and was careful not to rush back because he recognized the severity of concussions. “I’m definitely interested in having a career post-football, that’s always in the back of your mind,” Martin, 26, said. “But it’s part of the game. You go through the protocol. It’s there to protect you.”

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: Cole Beasley reiterated that when he recently said the team’s receivers were getting open — even if quarterback Dak Prescott wasn’t finding them — it wasn’t an insult aimed at Prescott. “I’ve always been Dak’s biggest supporter every year and it’s never going to change and it hasn’t changed,” Beasley said. “That’s what people do. They take your words and they want to twist it just to cause controversy and try to divide us in this locker room, but it’s not going to work.” He added: “We all got chips on our shoulders. Sometimes it comes out with stuff I say, but I got love for every guy in this locker room and I’m going to fight for my teammates always.” Beasley is leading the Cowboys’ receiving corps with 16 catches for 185 yards.

New York Giants: Frustrated that key calls went against the Giants in their loss to New Orleans on Sunday, middle linebacker Alec Ogletree suggested officials are calling some penalties to improve their opportunities to officiate in the Super Bowl. “I think you should call the game as it’s being played and if you do that, everything will work itself out.” Ogletree declined to cite any specifics but added, “I’m not really trying to get into all of that, but I’ll leave it at that. Like I said, they’re worried about reffing in the Super Bowl.” Coach Pat Shurmur also took a shot at the officials, but in a more toned-down way. “We didn’t make enough plays to win the game, and I certainly saw what I think I saw and we’ll just leave it at that.”

Philadelphia Eagles: At the quarter pole of the season, coach Doug Pederson isn’t worried that his defending Super Bowl champs are just 2-2 to start the season. “I feel like we could easily be 0-4 and I feel like we could be 4-0. It’s just a matter of a couple of plays,” Pederson said. “Honestly, I think it’s exactly where we expected ourselves to be and at the same time, we’ve got a lot of things to fix. The exciting part of it is that there’s still three-quarters to go of this football season. Obviously, nobody makes the post season in September. You try to figure out who you are as a football team usually in that first month.” Having quarterback Carson Wentz back from knee surgery should help, too.

Washington Redskins: Any momentum the Redskins gained after a huge Sept. 23 defeat of the Green Bay Packers effectively was stopped by a Week 4 bye. The Redskins (2-1) don’t play again until they meet the Saints (3-1) in New Orleans on Oct. 8, but coach Jay Gruden said playing that game in the national spotlight on Monday Night Football will get his players back in the groove. “I think playing on Monday Night Football helps a lot. I think you should be pumped up to come out of the tunnel against the Saints on Monday night. They’re 3-1 and obviously led by a Hall of Fame quarterback (Drew Brees) again. It’s going to be a very exciting time for everybody. These young guys are going to have to step it up and the veteran guys are going to have to lead the way. But should not have any problem whatsoever motivating the cats for Monday Night Football.”

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: Inside linebacker C.J. Mosley said he wasn’t quite 100 percent healthy at Pittsburgh on Sunday night but he felt good enough during practice to play. Mosley bought into the plan presented by defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, who challenged the Ravens to set the tone and not wait for Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to dictate the game’s pace to them. “What our mindset was, when Wink came in on Tuesday, was ... they’re going to worry about what we do instead of us worrying about what they do. A great game plan. Our guys executed. What we talked about during the week — all running to the ball, all on our coverages, all on our pressures — we did a good job getting off the field on third down and backing it up.”

Cincinnati Bengals: Wide receiver Tyler Boyd posted a career-high 11 receptions at Atlanta and the third-year receiver has 17 receptions for 232 yards it the past two weeks. A.J. Green, who caught the game-winning touchdown to beat the Falcons, said defenses are quickly realizing Boyd can’t be checked one-on-one. “He’s so good at getting in and out of his breaks, coming across the field, shallows,” quarterback Andy Dalton said. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence and he understands exactly what we’re doing and how to run routes. It showed with the production that he’s had. I think he’s put in a lot of work. I think a lot of it is just natural for him too. He’s got a great feel for the game.”

Cleveland Browns: Head coach Hue Jackson lamented turnovers in the third quarter as the reason the Browns couldn’t hold on after building a 28-14 lead over the Oakland Raiders. Quarterback Baker Mayfield took responsibility for the loss in his first career start, but Jackson said special teams and defense were also disappointing. In the end, turnovers were the difference. “They are not all on Baker, but at the same time, I appreciate him taking responsibility for it,” Jackson said. “The first quarter is over with. We’ve earned the record of 1-2-1. This team is talented, gritty, tough. I like that. But we’ve got to finish. When we’ve got a team on the ropes, we’ve got to give them that knockout shot. ... This team feels different. This team is more talented.”

Pittsburgh Steelers: Leading the NFL in passing yards (1,414 yards) was no prize in the mind of Ben Roethlisberger after a loss at home to the Ravens dropped Pittsburgh to 1-2-1. Roethlisberger said he’s “not on the same page as anybody right now, because I’m not playing well enough,” while lamenting the team’s inability to convert on third down in the second half of the Sunday night loss. “I haven’t played well enough,” Roethlisberger said. Specifically getting out of the blocks slowly, Roethlisberger said was an issue. “We’ve got to be better. I didn’t make enough throws. Didn’t make enough plays in the second half.”

NFC North

Chicago Bears: A “rare game” was the label coach Matt Nagy chose to apply to the Bears’ 48-10 whipping of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Chicago’s third win in a row comes ahead of a bye week, which tight end Trey Burton said comes at a bad time. “What he’s getting to is similar to when you see sometimes in the playoffs, a team gets on the roll and then they have a bye,” Nagy said. “He also went through it in Philadelphia where they had a run, came back and hit a wall. I’m OK where this bye hits. We prepared for it. We had a long pre season (due to the Hall of Fame game). ... You’ve to keep the horse blinders on. You cannot let any of the noise impact who were are as a team. Don’t get too high, don’t think we’re a playoff team.”

Detroit Lions: Running back Kerryon Johnson is drawing almost universal endorsement from Lions fans for more playing time. But even at 38 percent of offensive snaps (104 of 274) through four games, head coach Matt Patricia said the Lions like the current timeshare at the position. “I think we have a lot of really good running backs and I think we try to use them appropriately,” Patricia said. “I think Kerryon played a significant amount of the game (at Dallas), 20 snaps of 55, that’s a good amount, plus we have two other running backs, plus we had a couple two-minute drives in there with some other personnel packages.” Johnson is averaging 5.7 yards per carry with 216 yards on 38 carries.

Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers vented about the game plan immediately after the Packers’ 22-0 win over the Buffalo Bills. Rodgers said the Packers were “terrible” because of a game plan that didn’t focus on the team’s top playmakers in the passing game. Head coach Mike McCarthy said he’s not bothered by the comments and meets with Rodgers regularly throughout the week to discuss the plan of attack. “He’s a very passionate man. Very passionate, very competitive. Hey, I’m no different too. I’ve called a lot of games in this league, gone through a lot of game plans,” McCarthy said. McCarthy said some of the issues are related to mass changes to the coaching staff and others can be connected to new personnel. “Davante (Adams) is a tough cover for anybody,” Rodgers said Sunday. “He should have had 20 targets today. We have to find ways to get him the ball.”

Minnesota Vikings: A nagging hamstring injury could be problematic for running back Dalvin Cook in Week 5 when the Vikings face the Philadelphia Eagles. Cook was injured Week 2 in the overtime tie with the Green Bay Packers. Cook was on the sideline for the second half of last Thursday’s loss to the Rams in Los Angeles. He had 10 carries for 20 yards in the first half. “We’re looking forward to hopefully getting him for the whole game,” offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said.

AFC South

Houston Texans: Rookie wideout Keke Coutee caught 11 passes for 109 yards in Sunday’s victory over the Indianapolis Colts and the receptions were the most by a player making his NFL debut since 1970. He will again be part of the game plan this week against the Dallas Cowboys with Will Fuller V battling a hamstring injury. “I had that early drop and that was just a sign of me just getting ready to go and just not looking the ball in,” Coutee said. “I was stuck on it for a little while, but I got it out of my mind (and) continued to make plays.” Quarterback Deshaun Watson liked what he saw. “He’s a playmaker,” Watson said of Coutee. “He’s a guy that can come in here and help this offense and be electric.”

Indianapolis Colts: One day after making a highly questionable decision that played a part in an overtime loss to the Houston Texans, coach Frank Reich insisted going for it on fourth down from his own 43-yard line was the right thing to do. The Colts failed to covert and Houston took advantage of the short field to boot a game-winning field goal. Reich said it was a 10 out of 10 choice after Sunday’s game but backed off slightly on Monday. “It’s probably not a complete absolute as it is a mindset of being aggressive,” Reich said. “There’s always a lot of things to consider. To say it’s an absolute, it was an emotional, tough loss. The mindset is we’re going to be aggressive. That’s probably a better perspective for me to put it into context.”

Jacksonville Jaguars: The status of running back Leonard Fournette is uncertain after he aggravated his right hamstring injury during Sunday’s victory over the New York Jets. Fournette initially suffered the injury in the first half of the opener against the New York Giants and missed the following two games before returning Sunday and exiting in the first half. “It’s the same thing: there’s a thing that’s just pulling at it,” Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone said Monday. “It’s legit. There is something there. We’ve just got to do everything we can to just get out whatever that thing is that feels like it catches. That’s all I know. I don’t know all the doctor’s talk. I just give you the layman’s talk.”

Tennessee Titans: Second-year receiver Corey Davis enjoyed the best performance of his career in Sunday’s overtime win over the Philadelphia Eagles as he caught nine passes for 161 yards, including the game-winning 10-yard touchdown catch with five seconds left to play. Davis, who had a 51-yard catch during the game, is displaying a higher level of play than at any point in his rookie campaign. “I think that confidence plays a large part in performance,” Vrabel said. “But I think you have to be careful, because you don’t want to just feel like you can just roll it out there, and just because you did it one week or you did it for two years that you are just going to automatically do it the next week or the next season.” Davis leads the Titans with 22 receptions and 312 yards.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones is the team’s star receiver but rookie Calvin Ridley leads the NFL with six touchdown receptions. The first-round selection has quickly picked up the offense and has 15 receptions for 264 yards. “He’s done an excellent job for us coming in, and the reason he’s gotten those looks is because we got a pretty good guy on the other side,” quarterback Matt Ryan said of Ridley. “And Julio creates matchup problems for the defense and requires so much coverage that other guys get really good opportunities. Calvin has taken advantage of those opportunities and done a really nice job.” Jones, who has 29 catches, leads the NFL in receiving yards with 502.

Carolina Panthers: Running back Christian McCaffrey should be fresh after a bye week that followed his career-best 184-yard rushing performance against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3. The second-year-pro hadn’t reached 100 yards rushing prior to the huge outing and he is averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Safety Eric Reid will make his team debut in Sunday’s game against the New York Giants and hasn’t yet decided if he will take a knee during the national anthem to continue his protest against social injustice. “I’m still evaluating the scope of our country, and I’ll make that decision later,” Reid said during a press conference on Monday.

New Orleans Saints: Quarterback Drew Brees is on the verge of passing for more than yards than anyone in NFL history. Brees (71,740 yards) enters the Oct. 8 matchup with the Washington Redskins in third place and needs just 201 yards to pass leader Peyton Manning (71,940). He also is in line to surpass second-place Brett Favre (71,838). “Just trying not to make a bigger deal out of this than it already is,” Brees said of the hoopla. “It doesn’t affect my approach. Just focusing on winning the next game, whoever that opponent is. ... Just focus on my preparation and my process and let the rest take care of itself.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The club has a bye this Sunday but has already announced that Jameis Winston will be the starting quarterback against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 6. Winston replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick during last Sunday’s 48-10 loss to the Chicago Bears when the latter was ineffective after setting an NFL record with three straight games of 400 or more passing yards. “Fitz’s combination of experience, talent and leadership is valued at a very high level here,” Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter said. “But at the same time, Jameis Winston is the guy that’s going to be here way longer than I am, so he needs to be out there playing and he will be, unless he gets hurt, at Atlanta.”

AFC West

(Chiefs, Broncos play Monday night”

Los Angeles Chargers: Caleb Sturgis missed two extra points and a 54-yard field goal try against the San Francisco 49ers, prompting the Chargers to kick the tires on potential replacements. Head coach Anthony Lynn said he will take a closer look at the position and consider a change. Sturgis said he’s not injured, but is inconsistent striking the ball. “It’s the whole operation, not just the kicker sometimes,” Lynn said. “So we’ll take a look at that. If we can’t get better, then we’ll have to do something. Right now, I can’t say that.”

Oakland Raiders: Marshawn Lynch is the Raiders’ reason to keep Doug Martin in park so far this season. “If that’s not a Hall of Fame back, I don’t know what is. Doug Martin is ready to roll and he can’t get on the field,” Gruden said assessing the performance of his offense after a 45-point outburst against the Cleveland Browns. “And Marshawn picked up six or seven blitzes. But some of those runs ... Good night.” Gruden said offensive lineman Rodney Hudson also deserved extra attention for the number of blitzes his picked up against Cleveland.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals: Coach Steve Wilks was highly impressed with rookie Josh Rosen after the 10th overall pick passed for 180 yards and one touchdown without an interception in Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks. “Very poised,” Wilks said. “Confidence is there. You see the athleticism to be able to get us out of certain situations. Low snap, he’s able to get that ball, get outside the pocket, throw it away. ... Again, it’s not too big for him. Guy’s poised, a lot of confidence and we have a very bright future with him.” Rosen was 15-of-27 passing and the Cardinals accounted for at least five drops.

Los Angeles Rams: Coach Sean McVay said outside linebacker Dominique Easley underwent knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus Monday morning and likely will land on the injured reserve list. With a history of serious knee issues, Easley was injured Week 3 against the Chargers. He was on the inactive list Thursday night against the Vikings. “It’s tough. You feel for him,” McVay said. This was the fourth major knee injury since 2011 for Easley, who moved from defensive line to linebacker in the off season to limit strain on his knees. In other injury news, McVay said the Rams could have kicker Greg Zuerlein back as early as this week after missing two weeks with a groin injury.

San Francisco 49ers: Missed tackles have been an issue over the first four games for a unit that ranks 26th in scoring defense at 29.5 points per game. A key missed tackle on Sunday set up the game-winning field goal for the Los Angeles Chargers in their 29-27 win over the 49ers. Cornerback Greg Mabin was in position to bring down Chargers running back Melvin Gordon after a short gain but instead the play went for 34 yards to the San Francisco 4. “I thought we were swarming the ball, hitting well and wrapping guys,” San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I did see a number of times where we bounced off him a few times and he got some longer runs than he should have there in the second half so we’ll address it again and keep trying to get better.”

Seattle Seahawks: A day after Earl Thomas broke his leg at Arizona in what probably will be his final day in a Seahawks uniform, coach Pete Carroll asked for understanding for Thomas. Mired in a long contract dispute with the team that spurred him to miss training camp and skip several in-season practices, Thomas made an obscene gesture toward the Seattle sideline as he was being carted off the field. Carroll said earlier Monday in a radio interview that critics should “Give him a little slack. This is a very, very difficult moment that most people wouldn’t understand what that was all about.” He offered details on the injury later in the day, confirming Thomas was out for the season. “He fractured the tibia in almost the same area as he did before. He was trying to jump over the receiver on the ground and he just kind of kicked him ... he knew exactly what happened,” Carroll said. Thomas has not decided whether to have surgery, Carroll said.

—Field Level Media

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