The Minnesota Vikings topped the Washington Redskins 19-9 for their fourth consecutive NFL victory.

There have been miraculous games at U.S. Bank Stadium, but dub "Thursday Night Football" as a revenge game for the ages.

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was facing his former side, while Redskins QB Case Keenum and running back Adrian Peterson were also up against their old team.

Ultimately, Minnesota would protect their home field and come away with a win over Washington on Thursday.

The Vikings moved to 6-2 to make a push for top spot in the NFC North, while the Redskins dropped to 1-7 and continue to have questions surrounding their quarterback.

 

Three takeaways from the Vikings' win over the Redskins

It was Cousins' told-you-so moment

It seemed like one of each teams' offensive stars had a bone to pick with their respective opponent. 

Cousins was facing the Redskins for the first time since becoming a free agent and signing with the Vikings in 2018 and Peterson – a 10-year Viking – was facing Minnesota for just the second time since joining Washington that same year. 

Throw in Keenum — who was a star in 2017 with the Vikings and the creator of the now-famous "Minnesota Miracle" — and there was plenty of revenge to go around. However, only one enjoyed the sweet taste of it.

Cousins had a told-you-so moment against the Redskins, showing signs of why the lowly Washington team should not have let him walk. Meanwhile, Peterson struggled and Keenum exited the game early with a concussion. 

The Vikings quarterback finished 23-of-26 passing for 285 yards.

Vikings powered by Cook

Dalvin Cook did it all Thursday. 

The star in the backfield not only continued what will be a career-year rushing, but he also played receiver against the Redskins. Cook was able to run over, through and around Washington's defense, with the help of a stout offensive line, to total 98 yards and the only Minnesota touchdown. He also had five catches for 73 yards.

He and Stefon Diggs led the charge.

Diggs finished with 143 yards on seven catches.

Questions surround almost every aspect of Washington's offense

Who will be the Redskins' quarterback? Who will be their head coach?

Washington's lowly season is now plagued with yet another hiccup after the injury to Keenum and begs the question of what exactly the team is left to play for.

If it is to finally get rookie and first-round 2019 draft pick Dwayne Haskins experience after his number was called, the Redskins will have to tighten up their offense. They had just 58 yards in the second half under Haskins, which is not all his fault. Washington have said all season long he is not ready to lead the Redskins — a team that are looking for any kind of a leader after such a bad start.

As far as who will call the plays, interim coach Bill Callahan is in control for now. It is unclear who and when his replacement will take over but recent reports suggest owner Daniel Snyder is looking to promote from within or even move Callahan to the full-time role.

It was only Adrian Peterson's second time facing the team he spent a decade with, but the Washington Redskins running back ensured he made a statement.

Peterson, who the Minnesota Vikings selected as the seventh pick in the 2007 NFL draft, moved up the all-time rushing list and into sixth position on Thursday.

The 34-year-old moved up the list with a break-out run against former team the Vikings.

Peterson's efforts saw him surpass LaDainian Tomlinson and Jerome Bettis.

A seven-time Pro Bowler and 2012 MVP, Peterson is in his second season with Washington.

Quarterbacks around the league remain on the mend, but there is hope for some to return.

We dive into the injury updates around the league and more in this edition of NFL news and notes.

 

Three things that matter

Ryan misses second straight practice

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan suffered an ankle injury in Week 7 against the Los Angeles Rams and has been on the mend since. But given the team's lowly 1-6 record, it is unlikely the Falcons will rush Ryan back before he is ready.

In the meantime, the Falcons are reportedly preparing backup Matt Schaub to be "ready to go" in the event Ryan is unable to play against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Ryan has not missed a game since 2009, and his streak of 154 consecutive starts is the third-longest active streak in the NFL and second among quarterbacks behind the Chargers' Philip Rivers.

Mahomes on field for warmups despite injury

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is already back at practice despite suffering a dislocated kneecap and has yet to be ruled out against the Green Bay Packers, indicating he may indeed be active in Week 8.

Mahomes was not running, but he was active and seen throwing during the team's workout just one day earlier, which is way ahead of the initial three-week recovery timeline he was given.

Darnold back at practice after toenail removed

The New York Jets quarterback practiced on a limited basis on Thursday because he had a ripped toenail removed after Monday's loss to the New England Patriots.

"Toe's good," Sam Darnold told reporters. "Toe's really good. Working to get better every single day. They're just making sure that it's protected and they're making sure that my toe and my foot feels normal. They're making sure that the cleat feels normal to me like it usually does but also making sure it's protected."

Jets head coach Adam Gase reiterated his confidence that Darnold will still play against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

Two things that don't matter

Dareus out four to six weeks after surgery

The Jaguars defensive tackle — who missed the team's season opener with an elbow injury — suffered a core injury during Jacksonville's victory over the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday and underwent surgery to repair the ailment Thursday.

Marcell Dareus has 13 tackles and a half sack through six games this season.

Drew Lock still "not ready to go" for Broncos

Denver Broncos general manager John Elway insisted rookie quarterback Drew Lock needs more time to heal and prepare for potentially taking over the starting role from veteran Joe Flacco.

"I will say this: The most important thing for a young quarterback is not to put him out there before he's ready," Elway said. "So that is the most important thing and if he's not ready, we're not going to put him out there. That is the key thing. And as you know dealing with quarterbacks, it's a very tough thing because if you don't put him in a situation where he has a chance to be successful and he's not successful, the whole roof will cave in. So we have to make sure that Drew is ready when he does get in there, if he does get in there.

"We're still in the process of evaluating that. He is not ready to go right now, I will tell you that."

One video you have to see

The Seahawks' elevator design is hilariously perfect.

Thursday's tweet of the day

Cleveland Browns receiver Jarvis Landry was quick to backtrack his comments about beating the Patriots.

The NFL trade deadline is just around the corner and there are notes galore.

The Washington Nationals are up 2-0 in the World Series and the best team in baseball are on the ropes.

And Conor McGregor said he has a fight lined up but Dana White will not confirm it.

It has been a full week in U.S. Sports.

 

1. NFL teams making moves as trade deadline approaches

The NFL trade deadline is 16:00 ET on Tuesday and things are starting to heat up.

First, there have already been several moves as the Atlanta Falcons have traded wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to the New England Patriots, the Oakland Raiders have moved cornerback Gareon Conley to the Houston Texans and the Denver Broncos have dealt wideout Emmanuel Sanders to the San Francisco 49ers.

But that is not all. The Patriots have also placed wideout Josh Gordon on injured reserve with a knee injury, but the expectation is he will be cut once he is healthy and will pass through waivers to be picked up by another team.

This is only the beginning. After the NFL moved the trade deadline back from Week 6 to Week 8 in recent years, there has been a lot more action around the final date. This season expects to be the same as there are even rumours of the Broncos moving Pro Bowl corner Chris Harris in the coming days. We have an exciting weekend ahead of us.

 

2. Nationals lead Astros in World Series

Not a lot of people saw this coming. Some individuals who knew the Nationals might not have been surprised at Washington taking one of two games in Houston or possibly even both, but very few saw a 2-0 lead heading into Game 3 in D.C. and a 12-3 blowout in Game 2.

The Nationals have beaten Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander in back-to-back games, marking just the third time that has happened all year and the first time it has occurred at Minute Maid Park. 

And now, Washington have Anibal Sanchez on the bump for Game 3 and Patrick Corbin lined up for Game 4, while the Astros are almost certain to go with a bullpen game in two days, possibly with their postseason lives on the line.

This one almost looks in the bag for Washington as teams that have gone up 2-0 in the World Series are 22-3 in the last 25 occurrences. The Astros may be done, but Zack Greinke will do all he can to keep that from being inevitable in Game 3 on Friday.

 

3. NBA season starts without Williamson

The NBA season is underway as the Los Angeles Clippers dropped the Los Angeles Lakers in the opener, Kyrie Irving scored 50 points in his Brooklyn Nets debut which ended in a loss, and the Kemba Walker era began with the Boston Celtics being thoroughly handled by the Philadelphia 76ers.

But as the festivities begin, some of the lustre is off the opening of the season as top pick pick Zion Williamson will not be playing for six to eight weeks while he is dealing with a knee injury.

Williamson was the prohibitive favourite to win the Rookie of the Year Award, but now the honour is wide open for Ja Morant, RJ Barrett or even PJ Washington to take control.

While that award has somewhat been put on hold, we wait for the inevitable arrival of New Orleans Pelicans sensation Williamson and the obvious hype to come with it.

 

4. McGregor continues to blow smoke

The former two-class UFC champion claimed he has a fight lined up for January 18 and plans to make his return to the Octagon against an unnamed opponent.

This comes less than a week after he "set up" a fight with Frankie Edgar on Twitter only to see UFC president Dana White shoot it down almost immediately.

White said after McGregor's declaration that he had a January 18 fight set up that nothing was even close to being done but he is targeting that date for a return.

We will see what actually happens in the long run, but here us hoping Justin Gaethje gets that shot. 

This week's NFL slate serves up plenty of interesting matchups, including Sunday's showdown between the Packers and Chiefs.

Here is a look at Week 7's Bullet Points with data supplied by Stats Perform.

THURSDAY
(All Times Eastern)

Redskins (1-6) at Vikings (5-2), 8.20pm

The Redskins are allowing 134.4 rush yards per game, second most in the NFC behind only the Lions (148.9). The Vikings are running the ball on 52.8 per cent of plays, second in the NFL behind only the 49ers (57.1 per cent), and are tied with the Cowboys for the most rushing touchdowns in the NFC with 11.

Case Keenum went 9 for 12 in the loss to the 49ers. No other Washington player threw a pass in the game - the 12 attempts were the fewest in a game by the Redskins since Mark Rypien threw 11 passes in Week 15 of 1990 in a 25-10 win against the Patriots.

Kirk Cousins has thrown for 300 plus yards with multiple passing touchdowns in three straight games, tying the franchise single-season record jointly held by Daunte Culpepper (2004), Randall Cunningham (1998) and Warren Moon (1995).

SUNDAY

Seahawks (5-2) at Falcons (1-6), 1pm

Bobby Wagner is third in the NFL with 69 total tackles this season and ranks second in the league with 983 since the start of the 2012 season (Luke Kuechly - 1,010). In five career games - including playoffs - against the Falcons, Wagner has 47 total tackles and an interception.

Russell Wilson completed 48.8 per cent (20 of 41) of his passes Sunday for his lowest percentage since hitting on 46.7 against the Raiders on December 17, 2017. He also threw his first interception of the season, ending his streak of 202 attempts without one. Only Patrick Mahomes (212) had a longer streak this season.

Julio Jones is on pace for his sixth consecutive season with 1,000 receiving yards. Among active players, only Antonio Brown (six) has more. Jerry Rice (11) is the all-time leader. Jones leads all active players with 8,554 receiving yards since the 2014 season and is second to Brown (580) with 564 catches during that span.

Chargers (2-5) at Bears (3-3), 1pm

Philip Rivers has six consecutive 4,000-yard passing seasons and is on pace for his seventh with 2,114 yards so far in 2019. He ranks second among active players (Matt Ryan - eight) in that category. Rivers' 2,114 yards this season through seven games is the fourth-highest total of his career.

Melvin Gordon is averaging just 2.3 yards per carry this season after he averaged a career-best 5.1 last season. That 2.81 decrease is the largest of any running back who has played a minimum of three games. Gordon’s 81 rushing yards through three games is the lowest total of his career, with the next-closest 146 in 2017.

Mitchell Trubisky has a career 55.7 completion percentage in October, his lowest in any month and the second-lowest of any quarterback with a minimum of 150 attempts (Sam Darnold - 52.9). Trubisky has gone 10 straight games without a 300-yard performance after achieving that in four of his previous six contests.

Giants (2-5) at Lions (2-3-1), 1pm

Matthew Stafford is completing 62.4 per cent of his passes, which would be his lowest mark since 2014, but his 8.0 yards per attempt is on pace for a career high and his 6.0 touchdown percentage would be his highest since 2011 (6.3), when he ranked third in the NFL with 41 touchdown passes.

Daniel Jones was sacked eight times last week and since taking over as the starter in Week 3, he has taken 18 sacks, tied with Joe Flacco for second most in the NFL (Jameis Winston, 19). His seven interceptions since Week 3 are tied for the most in the NFL.

Saquon Barkley has accumulated 2,419 scrimmage yards through 20 career games. Among players to begin their careers in 2000 or later, only two had more yards from scrimmage through 20 games: Ezekiel Elliott (2,521) and Clinton Portis (2,422).

Jets (1-5) at Jaguars (3-4), 1pm

The Jets have accumulated 1,254 net yards this season, the fewest by any team through six games in a year since the 2005 Texans. The Jets have been held to 175 net yards or fewer three times this season, more than the rest of the NFL combined.

Le’Veon Bell and Leonard Fournette are accounting for 54.7 per cent and 50.9 per cent of their team’s total touches this season, two of the four players currently over 50.0 per cent (Christian McCaffrey, 56.4; Nick Chubb, 53.8).

The Jaguars are the first team to rush for at least 900 yards through seven games while rushing for just one touchdown since the 1977 Bills. No team has ranked top three in yards per rush (Jags are third) and bottom three in rushing touchdowns (Jags are worst) for a full season since the 1996 Raiders.

Bengals (0-7) at Rams (4-3), 1pm

The Bengals have allowed at least 200 rushing yards and 200 net passing yards in each of their last three games, the first team to do that in three straight games since the New York Yanks in 1950.

Andy Dalton won his first eight starts of the 2015 season, but this year he is 0-7 as a starter. With a loss on Sunday, he would be the first QB in NFL history to both start a season 8-0 and 0-8 at some point in his career.

Among players to play in at least 75 per cent of their team’s games in both seasons, Joe Mixon (-47.1) and Todd Gurley II (-37.6) have had the two largest decreases in rushing yards per game in the NFL from last year to this year.

Buccaneers (2-4) at Titans (3-4), 1pm

Tennessee have tied a franchise record by holding their first seven opponents in a season to 20 points or fewer, tying the 2000 Titans. Before the Titans and Patriots both accomplished this feat in 2019, the last team with as long a streak to start a season was the 2013 Chiefs.

Last week was Ryan Tannehill’s first 300-yard passing game since Week 3, 2016. In the last two games, Tannehill has completed 80.0 per cent of his passes - the only other player to complete 80.0+ per cent of his passes in a two-game span this season (minimum 40 attempts) was Dak Prescott (Week 1 and 2).

Winston became the first player to throw for 400+ yards and at least five interceptions in a game since Mark Brunell in 1996. Since entering the league in 2015, he has had four games of at least four interceptions, as many as the next two players combined (Dalton, Darnold with two apiece).

Eagles (2-3-1) at Bills (2-4), 1pm

Carson Wentz has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 10 consecutive games, tied with Seattle’s Wilson for the longest active run in the league. Wentz has thrown 21 interceptions in 24 career road games while throwing 11 in 23 at home.

Frank Gore has rushed for more than 100 yards in four of his last five games against the Eagles, averaging 101.2. With 15,136 rushing yards, Gore is 134 away from surpassing Barry Sanders for fourth on the all-time list.

John Brown has at least four receptions in all six games this season, tied for the third-longest single-season streak by a Bills player since 2005. Brown, Andre Reed (1989) and Eric Moulds (2002) are the only players in Bills’ history to start a season with six consecutive games with at least four catches and 50 yards.

Broncos (2-5) at Colts (4-2), 1pm

The Colts’ six games have all been decided by seven points or fewer, tying the longest such streak to start a season in franchise history (1983, 1995). Indianapolis are the only team in the NFL with at least 20 first downs in every game this season.

Jacoby Brissett already has more touchdown passes in six games this season (14) than he had in 23 games from 2016-18 (13). Last week, Brissett had his first game with 300+ passing yards, 4+ TD passes and zero interceptions, joining Andrew Luck (five), Peyton Manning (four) and Johnny Unitas (three) as the only Colts to do so in a game.

Flacco is 107 passing yards shy of becoming the 22nd player all-time with 40,000 passing yards. He would be the seventh player with 40,000 passing yards and a Super Bowl win before turning 35, joining Brett Favre, Peyton and Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers.

Cardinals (3-3) at Saints (6-1), 1pm

Arizona have won three straight games, all by six points or fewer and all against teams that are currently a combined 3-18. The Cardinals have not turned the ball over in 15 consecutive quarters. The Cardinals have allowed 21+ points in 10 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

The Saints have won five straight and are 6-1 for the second consecutive season. In the first 51 seasons of the franchise, the Saints started 6-1 or better five times, and have now done so in back-to-back seasons.

Michael Thomas has had at least four receptions in 34 consecutive games, tied for the third-longest such streak in NFL history. The only streaks longer are Jones' 38-game streak from 2013-16 with Atlanta and Brown’s 36-game streak from 2013-15 with Pittsburgh.

Panthers (4-2) at 49ers (6-0), 4.05pm

Carolina’s Kyle Allen and San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo are two of four active quarterbacks to have won their first five career starts (Mahomes, Roethlisberger). Allen is the only QB during the Super Bowl era to win his first five starts without throwing an interception, while Garoppolo is the first to win 14 of his first 16 starts since Rivers in 2006.

The 49ers have allowed 10 points over their last three wins, the fewest by any team in a three-game span since 2010 (Packers, 10, Oct. 31-Nov. 21, 2010). They are also the fourth team since 1992, and first since the Patriots from Dec. 4-17, 2005, to hold opponents to seven or less points and less than 200 total yards in three straight games.

In their Week 6 win at Tampa Bay, the Panthers became the first team since November 9, 2003 (Rams vs. Ravens) to have seven sacks and seven takeaways in a game. Carolina leads the NFL with 27 sacks, the most by any team over its first six games since the Chiefs had 30 in 2013.

Raiders (3-3) at Texans (4-3), 4.25pm

The Raiders are allowing the second-most pass yards per game this season at 289.8 behind the Buccaneers (320.7). The Texans are just behind, allowing the fourth-most pass yards per game at 294.6.

Derek Carr leads the NFL in completion percentage at 74.1, on pace to be the second-highest completion rate in NFL history among qualifiers. However, Carr is averaging just 10.07 yards per completion, the fourth-lowest mark this season (minimum 100 attempts).

Deshaun Watson has accounted for at least one touchdown in all 30 of his games, the longest streak ever to start a player's career. Watson has the highest passer rating (103.3) and completion percentage (67.2) by a player through 30 career games in the Super Bowl era (minimum 450 pass attempts).

Browns (2-4) at Patriots (7-0), 4.25pm

Former Browns head coach Bill Belichick is in his 20th season as the Pats’ head man and on Sunday seeks his 300th career win, combining regular season and playoffs. Belichick has led NE to 30 postseason wins, including six Super Bowl titles, in his 20 seasons in Foxborough. Over that same period, the Browns have reached the postseason once, failing to win a game.
  Tom Brady has been intercepted in four straight games. An interception on Sunday would tie the longest streak of Brady’s career (five in 2002 and again in 2017).
  Baker Mayfield has thrown an NFL-high 11 interceptions in 2019 and has struggled mightily in the fourth quarter with six interceptions and no touchdown passes. After throwing multiple TD passes in nine of 13 starts in 2018, Mayfield has not thrown for more than a single touchdown in any game in 2018.

Packers (6-1) at Chiefs (5-2), 8.20pm

Veteran Matt Moore will start at quarterback for Kansas City after Mahomes was injured in last week’s 30-6 win at Denver. At 35, Moore will be the oldest Chiefs player to start at QB since Damon Huard in 2008.

Kansas City’s defense recorded nine sacks and held the Broncos to 1 of 13 on third-down conversions last week. It is the fourth time since 1991 a team has had nine or more sacks while limiting an opponent to less than 10 per cent on third downs, and the first time since October 3, 2010 (Giants vs. Bears).

In last week’s 42-24 win over Oakland, Green Bay’s Rodgers joined Norm Van Brocklin (1951) and Mark Rypien (1991) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards, five passing touchdowns and a rushing TD in a game. Rodgers also threw his 350th career TD pass and reached the milestone in fewer games (172) than anyone in NFL history (Brees, 180).

MONDAY

Dolphins (0-6) at Steelers (2-4), 8.15pm

Miami and Pittsburgh are the only two teams without a 100-yard rusher or receiver this season. It’s the first time the Steelers have gone six straight games without a player rushing for 100 or more yards to begin a season since 2013 (14 straight).

Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick will face the Dolphins for the first time since being traded from Miami to Pittsburgh. Since inserting the 2018 first-round pick in the lineup in Week 3, Pittsburgh have limited opposing quarterbacks to a 68.0 passer rating - third-best in the NFL over that span.

Miami have lost nine straight games dating back to last season, the third-longest streak in franchise history and longest since a 10-game skid from December 19, 2010 to October 30, 2011. The Dolphins also have nine consecutive losses on the road, their longest in away games since dropping a franchise-record 11 straight from December 17, 2006 to September 14, 2008.

Quarterbacks around the league are on the mend.

We dive into the latest injury updates around the league and more in this edition of NFL news and notes.

 

Three things that matter

Brees expects to play Week 8

While no definitive decision has been made, veteran New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees told reporters he anticipates he will be ready to take the field against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday after missing the last six weeks with a thumb injury.

Brees underwent surgery and sported a brace on his hand as he recovered but was seen throwing earlier this month. In his absence, Teddy Bridgewater has proven to be a reliable backup by winning five straight starts.

Mahomes throws at practice after knee injury

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was not running, but he was active during the team's workout and has yet to be ruled out for Week 8 against the Green Bay Packers. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid confirmed Matt Moore will get the majority of reps at practice this week, though Mahomes will toss the ball and take part in individual drills.

Reigning MVP Mahomes suffered a dislocated kneecap in last week's win over the Denver Broncos but reportedly could return in as soon as three weeks. The Chiefs are hopeful he could return in Week 11 against the Los Angeles Chargers, though they could choose to wait until after the team's Week 12 bye.

Darnold has ripped toenail removed

Another day, another odd setback for the New York Jets quarterback. Sam Darnold practiced on a limited basis Wednesday because he had a ripped toenail removed after Monday's loss to the New England Patriots. The good news is coach Adam Gase said Darnold will be able to participate in individual drills and is still expected to play Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"Sam will do individual drills, we'll evaluate him after," Gase told reporters. "Hoping to get seven-on-seven in, not sure if we're going to put him in team periods yet. Kind of that toe, we're just trying to make sure that he's good, feels good with the shoes that he's got.

"So we'll kind of progress as we go through practice. If he ends up getting a 'Did Not Participate', he'll at least do individual and then we'll see where he's at after that."

Two things that don't matter

Brady embracing career uncertainty

Patriots star Tom Brady is in his 20th season with the Super Bowl champions and said he wants to keep playing into his mid-40s, but he could become a free agent after this campaign, leaving his future with the franchise in question.

"That is the great part for me, I don't know," Brady said during his weekly appearance on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" in Boston. "I think that has been a unique situation that I have been in because I think when you commit to a team for a certain amount of years you kind feel like [there is] the responsibility to always fulfil the contract.

"One day I will wake up and I will feel like, 'OK, that will be enough'. When that day comes, that day comes. I don't know if it will be after this year. I don't know if it will be five years from now. I don't have to determine those things right now, either. That is kind of a good part of where I am at. Just take advantage of the opportunities that I have this year and do the very best I can do and then those decisions come at probably more appropriate times."

Reid motivated entering matchup with former team

The veteran safety has been preparing to face the 49ers since San Francisco opted not to re-sign him after the 2017 season, which ultimately paved his path to the Carolina Panthers.

"I just don't forget," Eric Reid told reporters.

Reid, who later filed a collusion grievance against the NFL along with quarterback Colin Kaepernick stating teams would not sign the pair due to their stances against social injustices, added he does not feel "bitter" or want "revenge," just a win.

One video you have to see

Kansas City are ready to light up Green Bay.

Wednesday's tweet of the day

Too soon, Myles Garrett.

Drew Brees is optimistic he will be on the field on Sunday when the New Orleans Saints take on the Arizona Cardinals. 

The quarterback, who has missed the last five games because of a thumb injury, told reporters on Wednesday that he "plans" to play in Week 8 - though a definitive decision has not been made yet.

Brees went on to explain that he needs to make sure he continues to feel comfortable and like himself this week. He threw during Wednesday's practice and said he feels good so far.

The veteran said taking snaps "was easier than expected" and he can now grip the ball comfortably.

"The hardest part was just getting it to where I could grip the ball again and grip it with authority, grip it with strength and be able to guide the mall, manoeuvre the ball," Brees said. 

The quarterback injured his thumb in a Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. He had surgery on September 18 after consulting with two doctors and speaking to other professional athletes who had a similar injury, including Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul.

Brees, 40, had completed 72.9 percent of his passes for 408 yards and two touchdowns before he was injured.

Patrick Mahomes returned to practice for the Kansas City Chiefs less than a week after dislocating his kneecap.

The star quarterback's injury turned a few stomachs during last Thursday's victory over the Denver Broncos.

Kansas City previously indicated there would be a potential Week 11 return for the reigning MVP, but Mahomes has somehow yet to be ruled out of their meeting with the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Head coach Andy Reid told reporters on Wednesday that Matt Moore will get the majority of reps at practice, but Mahomes will throw and take part in individual drills.

Mahomes suffered the injury on a quarterback sneak in the first half against the Broncos. He then appeared to have his kneecap popped back into place on the field.

The cart was initially called out for Mahomes, but he was able to walk off the field on his own power.

"His knee didn't even look like a knee," tight end Travis Kelce said afterwards. "It was all out of whack. I couldn't even describe it."

Mahomes underwent an MRI exam the next day that revealed no significant ligament damage.

Moore, a 12-year veteran, completed 10 of 19 passes for 117 yards and one touchdown against Denver after Mahomes left the game and led Kansas City to a 30-6 win.

Jim Harbaugh has emphatically refuted talk of a return to the NFL.

Recent reports have indicated the former San Francisco 49ers coach is working on an "exit strategy" from his role with the University of Michigan.

It was suggested Harbaugh's representatives are working behind the scenes to gauge interest in a possible NFL return.

However, the Wolverines coach sent out a letter to the parents of his players dismissing the speculation.

The letter, which was obtained by The Michigan Insider, read: "I am reaching out to let you know that the recent claims that I am "pursuing an exit strategy" are total c**p. It's an annual strategy driven by our enemies to cause disruption to our program and to negatively recruit. By the way, I don't even have an "agent or representative".

"I am committed to your sons, their education and to their development as football players and people.

"Please excuse the informality of this letter but I felt that it was important to get this out to you as quickly as possible.

"Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Happy to discuss."

The Wolverines are 5-2 and sit third in the Big Ten East after they lost to Penn State last week. 

The Detroit Lions placed running back Kerryon Johnson on the injured reserve due to a knee injury.

Detroit made the announcement on Tuesday after Johnson underwent a procedure for an injury suffered against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7.

Johnson will not be eligible to return until Week 16 at the earliest.

The 22-year-old's absence will deal a significant blow to the Lions' offensive firepower, as Johnson leads Detroit in rushing yards (308) and rushing touchdowns (2) in 2019. 

The remaining three running backs on the Lions' roster — Ty Johnson, J.D. McKissick, and Tra Carson — have amassed a measly 206 yards on the ground and no scores.

Detroit (2-3-1) have long had a pass-oriented offense but could now become a true one-dimensional team. 

The Lions will host the New York Giants in Week 8 on Sunday.

 

Trades were all the talk around the NFL on Tuesday.

We look at those transactions and more in this edition of NFL news and notes.

 

Three things that matter

Broncos trade Sanders to 49ers

It was reported that the Denver Broncos dealt two-time Pro-Bowl wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders tand a fifth-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers, with NFL Media noting the latter were in on Mohamed Sanu before he went to the New England Patriots. In return, the Broncos received third- and fourth-round picks in 2020 from the Niners.

Sanders, who should welcome the change of scenery joining a playoff contender, has 565 catches for 7,391 and 39 touchdowns over 134 career games with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Broncos.

Patriots acquire Sanu from Falcons

Super Bowl champions New England acquired the wide receiver from the Atlanta Falcons for a second-round pick. Sanu farewelled the Falcons and their fans on Twitter.

Sanu played at Rutgers with the McCourty brothers and Patriots assistant Steve Belichick before being drafted in 2012 by the Cincinnati Bengals, where he remained until he signed with Atlanta in 2016. He has 33 catches for 313 yards and a touchdown this season.

Hall of Fame cornerback Brown dies aged 78

No cause of death has been made public, but support has been overflowing on social media.

Willie Brown will be best remembered on the field for his interception of the Minnesota Vikings' Fran Tarkenton in Super Bowl 11 in 1977 that became an iconic moment in the game's history.

He later served as a defensive backfield coach for the Oakland Raiders from 1979 to 1988 and also was the head coach at Long Beach State in 1991.

Two things that don't matter

Peterson says he's 'ready to go'

Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson insisted he will play against his former team in Minnesota on Thursday despite an MRI revealing a Grade 1 high ankle sprain and a Grade 2 low ankle sprain. Peterson initially injured his ankle during Sunday's game against the 49ers after fumbling, finishing with 20 carries for 81 yards. 

The 34-year-old, who has a long history of injuries, has rushed for 307 yards and one touchdown on 83 carries in six games this season. 

XFL reveals schedule for 2020 season

The league is set to open play February 8 when the D.C. Defenders visit the Seattle Dragons. The XFL's eight teams, which have been divided into two divisions, will have 10 games from February 8 to April 12 before the playoffs begin later that month and the championship game takes place April 26.

"It's a big moment for us,'' XFL commissioner Oliver Luck said. "We've got great time slots on the weekends. We think it's a well-designed schedule in terms of competitive balance.''

One video you have to see

Dion Jordan looks ready to get to work.

Tuesday's tweet of the day

Le'Veon Bell held nothing back as he bashed the NFL and defended his quarterback on Twitter after Sam Darnold was heard on "Monday Night Football" saying he was "seeing ghosts."

From post-game news conferences to next-day media availabilities, here are the 10 best Week 7 quotes from players and coaches around the NFL:

 

— Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy admitted his team should have had more balance: "I know we need to run the ball more. I'm not an idiot," Nagy told reporters. "I never go into a game saying, 'I want to throw the ball 54 times.' I'd love to go into a game saying, 'I'd like to run the ball 54 times,' but that hasn't happened."

— New Orleans Saints cornerback Eli Apple on Teddy Bridgewater's performance this season: "He's a real great quarterback. To me, he was making all the right passes and all the right decisions. He's our leader out there, and he was picking them apart. I'm just really proud of him, his story and where he came from."

— Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott when asked if he thinks the Bills are running the ball enough: "Well, we're going to do whatever it takes to win by game plan. I know when we've run it, we’ve had some good runs and I like some of the things we're doing."

— Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott did not care for the Philadelphia Eagles' comments last week: "Honestly, we don't give a f-*** what Doug Pederson says," Elliott told reporters, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

— The Eagles slumped to back-to-back losses with a dismal showing against the Cowboys, to the embarrassment of quarterback Carson Wentz: "Frustrated, a little embarrassed, they beat the crap out of us, we didn't show up and we've got to be better but I'm confident in this group," he told reporters.

— Despite getting a win on Sunday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones still has mixed feelings about coach Jason Garrett's hot-and-cold season: "I am looking for reasons. I'm looking for reasons to keep him," Jones said, via ProFootballTalk. "It's merited here. It's hard to get an effective coach."

— New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold set the Internet on fire with his off-the-cuff comment during "Monday Night Football" against the New England Patriots: "Seeing ghosts."

— Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was fined more than $14,000 for violating the NFL's uniform policy, and he was not happy about it: "$14k for some pants that are NOT gonna protect me from anything … this s*** is ridiculous," Beckham wrote via Instagram.

— Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews was disappointed by his performance in Week 7: "Obviously, didn't play great myself. I've got to be better, I will be better. Everyone has bad games. I'm looking forward to getting back out there and showing my true colours. I think everybody knows that last game wasn't my true colours."

— Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis issued a statement on the passing of Hall of Famer Willie Brown: "It's a very sad day for the Raider Nation as a whole. … and for my family in particular. … Willie Brown was one of the greatest to ever play the game … but it was off the field and how he treated my mom for which I will forever be indebted to him … it was Willie who was her best friend … we loved and will miss you Willie…"

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.

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