Le'Veon Bell came to the defence of Sam Darnold after the New York Jets quarterback was heard saying he was "seeing ghosts" during their shutout loss to the New England Patriots.

Darnold's remarks were aired during ESPN's broadcast of the 33-0 defeat at MetLife Stadium, for which the quarterback was mic'd up.

He was seen sitting on the bench saying "I'm seeing ghosts" in a game that saw him commit five turnovers.

Running back Bell said the NFL "screwed Sammy over" and that airing a sideline comment like that had never happened to another quarterback.

"The NFL screwed Sammy over ... there's not one player in the NFL who's cool with having every sideline convo broadcasted to millions...there's a reason we've never heard other QBs frustrated on the sideline like that before... that's crazy, @NFL did Sam dirty as hell," Bell wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

According to the New York Daily News , the NFL needs to have an on-site NFL Films representative clear any comments aired. Not only did the representative clear this particular comment from Darnold, but ESPN — which has the right not to use content cleared — also decided to air it on the "Monday Night Football" broadcast.

"We'll be looking into that pretty hard," Jets coach Adam Gase said on Tuesday when asked about the airing of Darnold's comments.

"That was one of those things that was really disappointing to hear about after the game. I don't know if I've ever seen that where somebody that was mic'd up was basically … a comment like that was allowed to be aired. It bothers me. It bothers the organisation. Obviously, we're going to be looking hard into our co-operation going forward."

NFL coaches and quarterbacks have to be mic'd up for one game a season, per NFL Films' deal with teams. Originally, Darnold was going to be mic'd up for the Week 2 game against the Cleveland Browns, but he was ruled out of the contest.

"It's not something's that new," Gase said. "Usually when it's a Monday night game, somebody's usually mic'd up. I know once a year I have to do the same thing. It’s kind of part of the deal.

"Obviously, you're never anticipating something like that happening. The fact that it did just gives us pause to really co-operate anymore. Because I don't know how we can allow our franchise quarterback to be put out there like that."

The unbeaten San Francisco 49ers, looking to bolster their receiving corps, have acquired Denver Broncos wideout Emmanuel Sanders, according to multiple reports.

Denver sent Sanders and a fifth-round pick to the Niners for third and fourth-round picks in 2020, ESPN reported on Tuesday.

The New England Patriots earlier in the day acquired wideout Mohamed Sanu from the Atlanta Falcons. Sanders heading to San Francisco takes another attractive player off the market for teams looking for wide receiver help.

Sanders, speaking to CBS Denver upon leaving the Broncos' facility, said: "Any time you break up, you leave, it's hard.

"We had a great run out here in Denver. Obviously all good things come to an end, but I'm looking forward to getting out to San Fran and showcasing my talent, meeting the guys, adding my explosiveness and capabilities to their system and trying to win."

The Broncos last year dealt Demaryius Thomas to the Houston Texans for a 2019 fourth-round pick and were looking for better for Sanders, 32.

He has 30 catches for 367 yards and two touchdowns seven games into the last season of a three-year, $33million contract that pays him $10.25m this season.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection suffered a torn left Achilles tendon in practice in December and also underwent surgery on his right ankle in January.

However, he made a remarkable recovery and was a full participant in training camp by the middle of August.

Sanders will likely welcome a change of scenery and the chance to play for a playoff contender.

In 134 career games with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Broncos, Sanders has 565 catches for 7,391 yards and 39 touchdowns.

His best season with the Broncos was his first, 2014, when he had 101 catches for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns. Sanders was the leading receiver in Super Bowl 50, which Denver won by beating the Carolina Panthers at Levi's Stadium, home of the 49ers, at the end of the 2015 campaign.

The unbeaten New England Patriots extended their winning streak on Monday before reportedly adding to their roster by trading for Mohamed Sanu the following day.

According to multiple reports, New England have acquired the wide receiver from the Atlanta Falcons for a second-round draft pick.

ESPN, citing unidentified league sources, first reported the move.

Sanu seemingly confirmed the trade on Twitter as he thanked the Falcons, saying he was "forever grateful for the opportunity".

The Patriots were thought to have previously made a move for Sanu during the 2019 NFL Draft, but the Falcons held off until closer to the trade deadline, which falls on October 29.

Sanu, 30, played at Rutgers with the McCourty brothers, Devin and Jason, and Patriots assistant Steve Belichick before being selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of the 2012 draft. Sanu remained in Cincinnati until he signed with Atlanta in 2016.

He has 33 catches for 313 yards and a touchdown this season.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady later tweeted "See you soon" to Sanu.

Sam Darnold said he was just being "straight up" with his on-field comment that was picked up during the New York Jets' resounding defeat to the New England Patriots.

The Jets quarterback was heard on the field mic saying "I'm seeing ghosts" when down 24-0 in the first half of Monday's contest at MetLife Stadium.

By the end of the game, Darnold had gone 11-of-32 for a career-low 86 yards and tied a career-high four interceptions as the Pats (7-0) went on to triumph 33-0.

It was just Darnold's second game back since recovering from mononucleosis and he vowed to learn from a tough evening after the Jets fell to 1-5.

"When I talk to the coaches, I just got to be straight up and, for me, I have just got to see the field a lot better; that's kind of what that means," Darnold replied when asked about his "ghosts" comment. 

"It was a rough night out there and obviously I got to be better and learn from the mistakes but we will get better.

"I definitely think I was pressing too hard, trying to get a 24-point score in one play. I just got to take it one play at a time and continue to play the game the way it's meant to be played."

The New England Patriots started fast on Monday to coast to a 33-0 rout of the New York Jets and remain undefeated.

New England, off to their third 7-0 start in history, completed a season sweep of the Jets, who dropped to 1-5, and again did not concede a single point.

Tom Brady was up to his usual tricks, New England's defense played lights out and Sam Darnold had a disappointing follow-up after returning as the Jets quarterback a week ago.

 

What else can you say about Tom Brady?

At this point in his career it is clockwork. Brady continuously defies the odds when he steps onto the field and comes away with easy wins as he did on Monday.

He was near perfect, throwing one interception, but the veteran quarterback brushed it off and kept the offense rolling.

Brady finished 31-of-45 passing for 249 yards and one touchdown. He did not lead a balanced attack with 249 passing yards to 74 rushing, but he did look to running back Sony Michel for a bulk of the team's scores once they were deep in the red zone.

Patriots' defense continues to dominate

We already know Brady is reliable under center, but New England's defense have turned a tide since coach Bill Belichick assumed the role as coordinator. The mastermind has helped put together the league's best defensive unit in nearly every category. 

The Patriots' defense entered the game with as many touchdowns (three) as they have allowed through six games. They are also allowing just 6.9 points per game.

It was an obvious mismatch against the lowly Jets on paper, but it was made more apparent come game time.

New England finished with six turnovers (four interceptions, two fumbles) and just 154 total yards allowed.

 

There is an argument that New England have not had a true test. A fact that may remain until the Patriots' match-up with the Baltimore Ravens in two weeks. If the defense continues to steamroll lesser sides, it should be primed for another big performance against a tougher offense.

Sam Darnold's return came to a screeching halt

It was unfair of the football gods to have this match-up on the calendar at this time. No one could have foreseen Darnold coming down with mono but when he did return last week, he played well.

Darnold entered the Week 7 matchup with the Patriots off one of the best performances of his young career. In the Jets' first win of the season, a 24-22 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, the second-year signal caller finished with a 71.9 per cent completion rate, 338 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

It was a much different story this time around.

He opened the game with horrible decision making that led to an early pick and he never recovered.

Darnold finished 11-of-32 passing for 73 yards, no touchdowns and the four interceptions.

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy said he never considered benching quarterback Mitch Trubisky against the New Orleans Saints.

Making his first NFL start Sunday since dislocating his non-throwing shoulder last month, Trubisky struggled as the Bears went down 36-25 to the Saints.

At one point late in the fourth quarter, Trubisky was 20 for 35 for 119 yards, before padding his final stats on two late scoring drives after the game was out of hand.

But despite Trubisky's issues, Nagy said he never considered benching him for backup Chase Daniel – who filled in as the starter while Trubisky was injured. 

"Because there's just so many parts of it," Nagy said. "And Mitch is a competitor, and I think for all of us, it just was one of those deals where you would love — you would really love it to be able to get the run game going early, early, early so you can do more things, and we didn't do that."

Bears fans on social media were brutal to Trubisky during and after the game.

After a Pro Bowl season last year, Trubisky appears to have taken a step back this term. It does not help matters that, as the second overall pick in 2017, he will forever be compared to the two quarterbacks (Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson) taken after him in the first round that same year.

When a reporter asked Nagy if he is still committed to his young quarterback, he responded, "Yeah. Absolutely, yeah."

Nagy was quick to point out that Chicago's struggles were a team effort on Sunday. Bears rushers gained only 17 yards on seven carries, the fewest in franchise history.

"I mean, right now we have no identity," Trubisky said. "We're just searching. We don't have any rhythm. We're not the offense we were last year, and every year is different, every game is different. We've just got to find ways, look within ourselves, and we've got to have guys step up."

Aaron Rodgers is a cheat code after the Green Bay Packers quarterback put up Madden-like numbers in Sunday's 42-24 NFL win over the Oakland Raiders.

Rodgers finished 25-for-31 passing for 429 yards, five touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 rating, while the Packers star also had one rushing touchdown.

His performance, which helped push Green Bay to 6-1 for the season, put him in elite company. Rodgers registered his fifth career game with five-plus scoring passes, joining just six other quarterbacks to perform that feat, including Drew Brees (10), Peyton Manning (nine) and Tom Brady (six).

It was arguably the best game of his career.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers remain undefeated thanks to a 9-0 win over the lowly Washington Redskins. 

It was messy and wet, very wet, but San Francisco were able to go on the road and keep their perfect streak alive. It is the first time the 49ers have started 6-0 since 1990 and while they did not put up many points, it was another good defensive outing. They have allowed just three, seven and zero points in their last three respective games.

Across the league, Earl Thomas returned to Seattle for the first time as a Baltimore Ravens player and helped the defense make a big stand in a hostile environment. They went on to beat the Seahawks 30-16 after two defensive scores.

The Atlanta Falcons continue to sputter after a 37-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams that saw Devonta Freeman ejected for picking a fight with Aaron Donald and quarterback Matt Ryan limp off the field after taking his fifth sack in the fourth quarter.

Injury report

Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller was ruled out against the Indianapolis Colts with a hamstring injury.

Ito Smith was carted off the field with both head and neck injuries. The Falcons running back did not return to the game versus the Rams.

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Najee Goode exited the game against the Cincinnati Bengals with a foot injury. Left tackle Cam Robinson sustained a toe injury and never returned.

Adam Thielen left the Minnesota Vikings matchup with the Detroit Lions. The receiver suffered a hamstring injury. He said after the game he will get an MRI but is optimistic he will play Thursday against the Redskins.

Detroit running back Kerryon Johnson (knee) and cornerback Darius Slay (hamstring) also left the game and never returned.

By the numbers

Deshaun Watson joined Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton as the only other player in the Super Bowl era to record 7,500-plus pass yards and 1,000-plus rush yards in their first 30 career games. 

Marvin Jones Jr. had a day. He entered Sunday with just one touchdown reception all season. He came out of it with four total touchdowns. Jones Jr. also became the first Lions player to have three touchdown receptions in a half since Herman Moore in 1995.

Marcus Peters had a great debut for the Ravens, posting his fifth career interception return for a touchdown, which is the most in the NFL since his rookie season in 2015. It was also his 25th career interception, the most in the NFL during that time.

Quotables

There seems to be no immediate coaching change in Atlanta's future. Falcons owner Arthur Blank discussed the matter during half-time of the eventual loss to push the team to 1-6: "I don't have any specific timetable, just looking at each game one at a time. It's the bye week, yes, but it's not a trigger for making any changes. We'll just continue to look at what we see developing."

The Bengals have yet to win a game this season. They also have yet to see receiver A.J. Green on the field after he sustained an ankle injury during the team's first practice. The 0-7 skid, however, will not affect his return: "Everybody knows what type of guy I am. I'm not going to fake anything. I'm not going to milk anything. When I'm ready to play, you know it's time for me to go. It doesn't matter what the record [is]. Nobody can hold me back when it's time to play." 

Watson has provided some incredible insight at the podium as of late. After the Texans' 30-23 loss to the Colts, he talked about a questionable call. Watson was sacked and ruled down on what would have been a touchdown: "He said that I was down. I don't — If you watch the tape of all the plays that I extend and make plays, especially in the red zone. I mean. He said he was trying to protect my health, so, it goes back and forth. But hey, that's the call he made. We have to live with it."

Week 7 NFL scores

Teams on bye week

Panthers, Browns, Steelers, Buccaneers

Thursday's game

Chiefs 30, Broncos 6

Sunday's games

Rams 37, Falcons 10 Bills 31, Dolphins 21 Jaguars 27, Bengals 17 Vikings 42, Lions 30 Packers 42, Raiders 24 Colts 30, Texans 23 Cardinals 27, Giants 21 49ers 9, Redskins 0 Titans 23, Chargers 20 Saints 36, Bears 25 Ravens 30, Seahawks 16

The beleaguered Atlanta Falcons suffered a fresh blow on Sunday when quarterback Matt Ryan injured his ankle in the defeat to the Los Angeles Rams.

Ryan went down early in the fourth quarter of the team's 37-10 loss after getting sacked by Aaron Donald.

He walked off the field under his own power and was tended to by trainers in the locker room. 

The Falcons later announced he suffered an ankle injury and would not return to the game.

According to ESPN, Ryan was later seen in the Falcons' locker room wearing a walking boot on his right foot.

Before suffering the ankle injury, the 2016 NFL MVP had completed 16 of 27 passes for 159 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.

The 34-year-old becomes the third quarterback in the NFC South division to go down with an injury after Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers suffered injuries in Week 2.

The Falcons host the Seattle Seahawks in Week 8. 

Potential future top NFL draft pick Tua Tagovailoa suffered an ankle injury on Saturday that could keep the star Alabama quarterback out for a couple of weeks.

Tagovailoa got his ankle rolled up on a sack by Tennessee defensive lineman Greg Emerson in Alabama's 35-13 victory.

He limped off the field and was ruled out for the rest of the game.

Afterwards, coach Nick Saban told ESPN of Tagovailoa's condition: "He's got a high ankle sprain so he'll probably be out for a week or two."

Tagovailoa was 11-of-12 passing for 155 yards with no touchdowns and one interception before leaving and being replaced by Mac Jones.

The 21-year-old is widely anticipated to be the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft next April, having compiled a superb resume in college football.

He came off the bench and replaced Jalen Hurts in the National Championship game in 2018, going on to guide Alabama to an incredible overtime win over Georgia.

Tagovailoa also dealt with an ankle injury towards the end of last season as he was hurt on a sack against Georgia in the SEC Championship game.

He was replaced by Hurts, who led the Crimson Tide back to win the game and earn a berth in the College Football Playoff.

Alvin Kamara and Jared Cook have been ruled out for the New Orleans Saints' meeting with the Chicago Bears, the team announced on Friday.

Running back Kamara has been dealing with an ankle injury over the past week and was listed on the Saints' injury report with a knee issue in addition.

Tight end Cook has also dealt with an ankle injury and neither player practiced this week.

Kamara was last week listed as questionable ahead of the Saints' game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and wound up playing, rushing 11 times for 31 yards and catching seven passes for 35 yards.

He has rushed for 373 yards and one touchdown on 86 carries this season. Kamara has also caught 33 passes for 276 yards and one touchdown.

Cook has appeared in six games, catching 15 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns.

The injury report also stated quarterback Drew Brees will miss Sunday's game with a thumb injury he suffered in New Orleans' Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' injury is reportedly not too serious and a 17-game schedule may be on the horizon.

All that and more on this edition of NFL news and notes. 

Three things that matter Mahomes likely to return this season

When Mahomes went down with a knee injury during the second quarter of the Chiefs' 30-6 win over the Denver Broncos, the NFL world held its collective breath. But a new report suggests Mahomes' injury is not as serious as it was initially believed.

NFL Network's reporting the reigning NFL MVP had an MRI on Friday and it confirmed the diagnosis of a dislocated knee cap and that there is "no significant additional damage."

The Chiefs plan on him returning later this season.

Kansas City currently sits at 5-2 and first place in the AFC West. Three of their next four games are at home before a bye in Week 12.

Cooper practices for Cowboys

Amari Cooper suffered a thigh bruise during the Dallas Cowboys' 31-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 6, and had to exit last week's 24-22 loss to the New York Jets early in the game due to the lingering injury.

“From the time I had hurt it in the Green Bay game to the time I talked to you guys, it had taken a huge leap,” Cooper told reporters on Thursday. “So I thought it would continue to get a lot better each and every day - but it kind of plateaued and it only got a little bit better every day.”

Dallas desperately need Cooper to be healthy, especially with the team in the midst of a three-game skid after starting the season 3-0. It remains to be seen whether Cooper will suit to against Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

“You know it’s going to be a challenge, it’s going to be a dogfight for us,” Cooper said. “It’s a divisional game, and it’s always a dogfight.”

NFL Players' Association open to discussing 17-game regular season

In recent years, rumours of NFL owners wanting to expand the regular season to 18 games have surfaced and been major talking points.

It seems players have begun to warm up to the idea, with ESPN reporting the NFLPA is open to discussing a 17-game regular season as part of the next collective bargaining agreement. The report states the NFLPA is in favour of expanding the season as long as the players' share in revenue is increased by a "sufficient amount" in the new deal.

While a formal 17-game proposal has not been created, the report states details have been discussed regarding the new schedule, including bye weeks for teams before Thursday night games, moving the Super Bowl back to Presidents' Day weekend and players getting paid on a 52-week schedule as opposed to just during the season.

The current CBA expires in March 2021.

Two things that don't matter Broncos' Fangio saying he's disappointed by offensive performance this season

You do not have to be a football expert to notice Denver's offense this season has been below par. The Broncos have scored more than 20 points just twice this season, and in Thursday's home loss to the Chiefs, they only managed six against a porous Kansas City defense.

"It was all levels of our passing game (that) were problems," coach Vic Fangio said. "Protection sometimes, receivers not getting open sometimes, [the Chiefs] using good coverages for us that maybe we weren't ready for; it's certainly a problem we have to get rectified moving forward. ... It's disappointing not to be ultimately competitive out there."

Last offseason, Denver general manager John Elway traded a 2019 fourth-round pick in the NFL Draft to Baltimore for quarterback Joe Flacco. The former Super Bowl MVP was coming off a season where he only played in nine games and has not looked like the signal-caller who lead the Ravens to a championship seven seasons ago. 

Since Peyton Manning retired, the Broncos have seen five different quarterbacks start games for them and can't seem to find stability at the position. Not to mention the team opted to hire a defensive-minded coach in Fangio this past offseason, so it was not like things were going to improve on the offensive side of the ball this season.

Bears quarterback Trubisky practices, listed as questionable to face Saints

Mitch Trubisky has been sidelined after dislocating his shoulder and partially tearing his labrum on September 29 against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Chicago Bears released their injury report on Friday, and while Trubisky was a full participant in practice all week, he is listed as questionable for Sunday's game.

"That where we have him at," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "He's been doing good in practice and I like where he's at. We said earlier in the week that it was going to be a day-by-day thing and so far he's stacked good days together." 

Chicago have played one game in Trubisky's absence: a 24-21 loss to Oakland Raiders in London. But having the former first-round pick might not make things any better for the Bears.

The 25-year-old has looked pedestrian at best in the four games he has appeared in, leaving Chicago to rely on a tenacious defense to stay in games. 

Friday's tweet of the day

After Mahomes' scary injury, the quarterback took to Twitter early on Friday morning to voice support for his team and give an update on his situation.

Saquon Barkley is available to face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur confirmed to the media on Friday.

Running back Barkley has missed three games with an ankle injury but was a full participant in Wednesday's practice session, raising hopes of a return.

The 22-year-old suffered an ankle sprain in the first half of the Giants' Week 3 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was initially thought to be out for between four and eight weeks.

Barkley rushed for team-high 227 yards, second in the NFL at the time, and had one rushing touchdown in two games at the start of the season.

However, he returned to practice on a limited basis last week and, while not cleared for the 35-14 loss to the New England Patriots, could feature against the Cardinals (2-3-1).

"He's available," Shurmur told reporters. "We'll see if he's back. If he is, he'll be ready to go. I just choose not to tell you right now."

The Giants (2-4) could also welcome back tight end Evan Engram and Barkley's fellow running back Wayne Gallman, with the duo also practicing fully on Friday.

However, wide receiver Sterling Shepard remains sidelined due to concussion and has been ruled out for Week 7.

Patrick Mahomes has avoided significant damage despite dislocating his kneecap while in action for the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, according to reports.

Mahomes was taken off in the first half of the Chiefs' win over the Denver Broncos, having appeared to have his right knee popped back into place while still on the field.

The quarterback was set to undergo MRI scans on Friday, and the NFL Network later reported the 24-year-old had suffered no additional damage.

It was said Kansas City plan to have reigning NFL MVP Mahomes back on the field this season.

ESPN reported Mahomes could even be back in around three weeks in a best-case scenario.

Mahomes, who had been playing through an ankle problem, was able to leave the field without a cart and will now be aiming to lead the Chiefs in the playoffs.

The team are 5-2 through seven weeks, returning to winning ways on Thursday following back-to-back defeats to the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans.

Kansas City lost the AFC Championship game to eventual Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots last season as Mahomes enjoyed an outstanding sophomore year.

He threw 50 touchdowns in the 2018 regular season and had added another 15 this term before backup Matt Moore was required to step in against the Broncos.

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