NFL

NFL news and notes: Darnold out 'weeks' with mono, Foles targeting Week 11 return

By Sports Desk September 12, 2019

Ahead of the official kick-off of Week 2 in Carolina on Thursday, another quarterback was sidelined, but not with an injury.

Still, the NFL is searching for options in an attempt to make the game safer and decided to turn it into a contest with the hope of garnering more interest from people who could help.

 

Three things that matter

Darnold could miss 'multiple weeks' with mono

New York Jets head coach Adam Gase made the shocking announcement after quarterback Sam Darnold missed practice Wednesday with an undisclosed illness believed to be strep throat. It was later reported that Trevor Siemian is expected to start Monday against the Cleveland Browns, while Luke Falk will serve as the backup.

It is clearly a cause for concern since the symptoms can last for months, though an October 6 return to face the Philadelphia Eagles is possible considering the Jets have a bye in Week 4.

Le'Veon Bell also caused worry when Gase confirmed the running back would miss practice on Thursday. Bell, however, underwent an MRI, which revealed no tears or damage to his shoulder.

Foles targeting Week 11 return

It is a stretch and will depend on his recovery, but the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback is staying positive. Nick Foles was placed on the injured reserve/return list after undergoing surgery on his broken left collarbone on Monday and is eligible to return in Week 11 against the Indianapolis Colts following Jacksonville's bye. 

In the meantime, the team acquired Joshua Dobbs from the Pittsburgh Steelers to compete for playing time with Gardner Minshew, who filled in for Foles in the opener.

Guice out 6-8 weeks after surgery

The Washington Redskins running back tore the meniscus in his right knee in the team's Week 1 loss to the Eagles. Derrius Guice will need time to recover from the procedure he underwent on Thursday, in which he reportedly had his meniscus trimmed.

Guice rushed for 18 yards on 10 carries in his NFL debut. The 22-year-old's absence has pushed veteran rusher Adrian Peterson back into the starting line-up after he was deemed a healthy scratch for the first time in his career last week, so his role is expected to expand.

Two things that don't matter

Beckham blasts Williams for coaching "dirty"

The Browns receiver appears fired up for "Monday Night Football" against the Jets after accusing New York defensive co-ordinator Gregg Williams of encouraging "dirty plays and cheap shots."

Odell Beckham Jr claimed current Browns players told him about Williams' tactics when he served as defensive coordinator in Cleveland from 2017-18, saying he instructed them to take him out during a preseason matchup in 2017.

Beckham ended up hurting his ankle in that game on a hit by Briean Boddy-Calhoun and later broke the same one in Week 5 of the regular season in an injury he said "changed my life forever."

NFL launches $3m helmet challenge

The league is looking to upgrade its equipment in an effort to increase safety and reduce concussions, so it announced the "Helmet Challenge" to stimulate the development of new headgear for players that will outperform models being used today.

The 18-month contest, set to begin this fall and culminate in May 2021, will feature a prize of $2million in grant funding to support the development of a helmet prototype and a $1m award.

One video you have to see

In the wake of the sexual assault and rape allegations against him, New England Patriots receiver Antonio Brown continued to practice — albeit in a different number than Wednesday — and catch passes from quarterback Tom Brady.

Thursday's tweet of the day

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced the nominees for the class of 2020.

Related items

  • NFL Week 7 Bullet Points: Three must-know stats previewing every game NFL Week 7 Bullet Points: Three must-know stats previewing every game

    Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones meet for the first time on what promises to be a mouthwatering Sunday of NFL action.

    The New England Patriots travel to face the New York Jets on Monday looking to make it seven wins from seven.

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

     

    SUNDAY (All Times Eastern)

    Raiders (3-2) at Packers (5-1), 1pm

    Josh Jacobs rushed for 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Oakland's victory in London. It was the first time since 2011 (Darren McFadden) that an Oakland player rushed for 120-plus yards and two touchdowns in a game. Jacobs has four rushing touchdowns in 2019, matching Doug Martin’s team-leading total from the 2018 season.

    The Packers have had consecutive big games out of their running backs. Aaron Jones had 182 scrimmage yards and four rushing touchdowns at Dallas two weeks ago, while Jamaal Williams totalled 136 yards and a TD reception on Monday. Wide receiver Allen Lazard had four receptions for 65 yards and a TD against the Lions – all of them coming in the final 10 minutes.

    Among quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 100 career TD passes, Aaron Rodgers has the highest touchdown/interception ratio at 4.22 (346 TD passes, 82 interceptions). Fourth on the list is Derek Carr at 2.25 (128 and 57). Carr is 14-27 (.341) on the road in his career, while Rodgers is 64-17-1 (.787) at home.

    Rams (3-3) at Falcons (1-5), 1pm

    After totalling a combined 912 passing yards in Weeks 4 and 5, Jared Goff threw for a career-low 78 yards in the Rams’ 20-7 loss against the 49ers. The Rams had 48 net passing yards in that game, the fewest by the team since recording 22 against the 49ers in Week 17 of the 2010 season.

    At 1-5, the Falcons are off to their worst six-game start to a season since also beginning the 2007 season with a 1-5 record. Atlanta have allowed 1034 total yards in its last two games, the most surrendered by any team in a two-game span this season.

    Atlanta is the only team in the NFL this season to have four different players with at least 300 receiving yards: Austin Hooper (480), Julio Jones (467), Calvin Ridley (343) and Mohamed Sanu (310).

    49ers (5-0) at Redskins (1-5), 1pm

    San Francisco are 5-0 for the first time since it won its first 10 games in 1990 and have already eclipsed their four-win total from last season. Another victory would make the 49ers the fifth team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to start 6-0 after winning four or fewer games the previous season (2013 Chiefs, 1999 Rams, 1988 Bengals, 1973 Cardinals).

    San Francisco have outscored opponents 86-31 in the second half, the second-largest point differential in the NFL this season (Patriots, +67). The 49ers are the first team to score a touchdown on their opening drive of the third quarter in five straight games since the Colts did so from October 23-December 4, 2005.

    After ranking 31st in the NFL in rushing yards per game (49.8) in four September games, the Redskins have rushed for 145 yards in back-to-back contests to begin October. They are the first team since the 1957 Lions to average over 140 rushing yards per game in October after averaging under 50 prior to the month.

    Texans (4-2) at Colts (3-2), 1pm

    The last 10 regular-season meetings between the Colts and Texans have all been decided by a single-digit margin. That is tied for the third-longest streak in NFL history between two divisional opponents, behind only the Colts and Patriots (11 straight from 1988-93) and the Eagles and Redskins (11 straight from 1991-96).

    All five of the Colts’ games this year have been decided by seven points or fewer, their longest such streak to start a season since 1995 (six straight).

    Deshaun Watson has accounted for at least one touchdown in all 29 career games thus far, the longest streak in NFL history by a player to start his career.

    Vikings (4-2) at Lions (2-2-1), 1pm

    All five of Detroit’s games this season have been decided by four points or fewer. Only one team has begun a season with six straight games decided by four points or fewer: 1935 Chicago Cardinals (six). The Lions played in just four games decided by four points or fewer in the entire 2018 season.

    When facing the blitz this season, Matthew Stafford is 39-for-54 (72.2 per cent) with 530 passing yards, four passing TDs and zero interceptions. Minnesota’s defense has limited opposing QBs to a 60.9 completion percentage and one touchdown pass when blitzing this season.

    Stefon Diggs recorded 167 receiving yards and three touchdown receptions last week, becoming the first Viking with 150+ receiving yards and three receiving TDs in a single game since Randy Moss did so in Week 4 in 2003 (172 rec yds and three rec TD).

    Jaguars (2-4) at Bengals (0-6), 1pm

    The Bengals are 0-6 for the ninth time in franchise history. Cincinnati has lost four of its six games by six points or fewer. The Bengals have allowed at least 16 points in 34 straight games, the second-longest such streak in the history of the NFL (Saints allowed 16+ in 36 straight games between 2014 and 2017).

    The Jaguars average 5.1 yards per rush, third best in the NFL; the Bengals allowed 5.3 yards per rush, worst in the NFL. The Jaguars are second-worst in the NFL in yards per rush allowed, giving up 5.2 per tote.

    Gardner Minshew II is the third quarterback since 1950 to have 800+ passing yards and zero interceptions through his first three career road starts. The other two were Marcus Mariota with Tennessee in 2015 and Elvis Grbac with San Francisco in 1995.

    Cardinals (2-3-1) at Giants (2-4), 1pm

    The game will pit the first two quarterbacks picked in the 2019 draft against one another in Arizona’s Murray (No. 1 overall) and New York’s Jones (No. 6). It will the sixth time since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger that two QBs taken in the top six picks have gone head-to-head as rookies, and the first since Tampa Bay (Jameis Winston) and Tennessee (Mariota) met in the 2015 opener.

    The Giants hope to have leading rusher Saquon Barkley back after missing two games with an ankle sprain he suffered at Tampa Bay in Week 3. Barkley has totalled 100 scrimmage yards or more in 15 of 19 career games. Only one player (Edgerrin James) has done so in 16 of his first 20 NFL games.

    After generating 514 total yards in a Week 5 win at Cincinnati, the Cardinals gained 442 in last week’s 34-33 victory over Atlanta. The 956 combined yards are the franchise’s highest amount over a two-game span since it had 962 from November 10-17, 1996.

    Dolphins (0-5) at Bills (4-1), 1pm

    The Dolphins are allowing a passing touchdown on 9.9 per cent of opponent pass attempts, on pace to be the highest in a single season since the 1966 Giants (10.1 per cent). The Dolphins are the second team in NFL history to allow 14 passing touchdowns with one interception or fewer through five games of a season, joining the 2018 Buccaneers (16 TD, 1 INT).

    The Bills have held opponents to 17 points or fewer in every game this season, the first time in franchise history they have done so in each of the first five games of a season. Buffalo forces its opponents into a 3-and-out on 36.7 per cent of drives, best mark in the NFL.

    The Bills have outgained their opponents by 97.4 total net yards per game, fifth best in the NFL. The Dolphins have been outgained by 205.6 yards per game, worst in the NFL (the Jets are second at -137.8).

    Chargers (2-4) at Titans (2-4), 4.05pm

    Los Angeles have been held to 35 rushing yards or fewer in both games since Melvin Gordon III returned to the team. It is the first time the Chargers have had back-to-back games with 35 rushing yards or fewer since 1996, and only one team in the Super Bowl era has had three straight (2005 Eagles).

    Last week was the 32nd time in his career (including postseason) that Philip Rivers has thrown for 300+ yards in a loss, tying Eli Manning for third most all-time behind Drew Brees (45) and Peyton Manning (35). Rivers is 104 passing yards behind Ben Roethlisberger for sixth on the all-time list.

    Tennessee are expected to start Ryan Tannehill for the first time after Mariota threw his first two interceptions of the season last week. The Titans have had fewer than 25 completions in 18 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

    Ravens (4-2) at Seahawks (5-1), 4.25pm

    The Ravens moved to 4-2 on the season with a 23-17 win against the Bengals in Week 6. So far this season, Baltimore’s opponents have combined for a .300 winning percentage, tied with San Francisco for the easiest schedule played in 2019.

    Lamar Jackson had 236 passing yards and a career-high 152 rushing yards in Baltimore’s Week 6 win. Jackson’s 152 rushing yards were the fourth most all-time by a QB in a single game, and he is just the second player all-time (including postseason) with 200+ passing yards and 150+ rushing yards in a single game (Colin Kaepernick on January 12, 2013 in the NFC Divisional playoffs).

    Russell Wilson (14 TD and 0 INT) is the first QB all-time with at least 14 touchdown passes and zero interceptions through six team games in a season. Wilson has thrown 210 touchdown passes in his career, fourth most all-time by a QB through eight career NFL seasons: Manning (244), Dan Marino (241) and Brett Favre (213).

    Saints (5-1) at Bears (3-2), 4.25pm

    Chicago have lost five straight coming off of a bye week, the longest active streak in the NFL. The Bears allowed 24 points in their loss to the Raiders in Week 5, the most they have allowed in a regulation game since Week 7 of last season in a 38-31 loss to the Patriots.

    In 19 games with the Bears, Khalil Mack has 17 sacks, the most by any Chicago player through 20 games with the team all-time. He has forced 10 fumbles since joining the team in 2018. Mack has eight games with at least one sack and one forced fumble since last season, most in the NFL.

    Teddy Bridgewater moved to 4-0 as a starting quarterback this season, throwing for 240 yards and one touchdown in New Orleans’ win over Jacksonville. Bridgewater is 15-6 as a starter since 2015 – only Tom Brady (53-13) and Patrick Mahomes (17-6) have a better record in that time (minimum 20 starts).

    Eagles (3-3) at Cowboys (3-3), 8.20pm

    Dallas have lost three straight games, falling to the Saints, Packers and Jets (11-6 combined record) after opening the season 3-0 against the Giants, Redskins and Dolphins (3-14 combined). In Weeks 1-3, the Cowboys ranked fourth in the NFL in both points per game (32.3) and opponent points per game (14.7), but are tied for 23rd in points for (18.7) and rank 16th in points against (23.3) since.

    Philadelphia are 18-2 when scoring in the first quarter since 2017, the best record in the NFL. The Eagles have been outscored by 13 points in the first quarter this season, the second-worst differential in the NFC (Atlanta, -24).

    Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott will face each other for the sixth time in their careers (Dal 3-2), tied for the fourth most frequent QB matchups in the history of this rivalry. The other matchups to occur exactly six times are Ron Jaworski versus. Roger Staubach and Donovan McNabb against Tony Romo.

    MONDAY

    Patriots (6-0) at Jets (1-4), 8.15pm

    New England has a +142 point differential through six games, the third best in the Super Bowl Era behind only the 1999 St. Louis Rams (+154) and the 1968 Dallas Cowboys (+149).

    The Patriots have won seven straight games against the Jets, tied for their longest streak versus New York all-time and for their fourth-longest streak against any single opponent. New England is 16-3 versus New York since 2010 – Pittsburgh are the only team with a better record facing a divisional foe over that time (15-2-1 versus Cleveland).

    Sam Darnold averaged 10.56 yards per attempt in the win over Dallas, the highest mark in a game in his career. The last Jets quarterback to average 10.0+ yards per attempt in a game with at least 30 attempts was Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2016; before that, you have to go back to Ken O’Brien in 1986.

  • Mahomes upbeat about injury, says knee 'looking good so far' Mahomes upbeat about injury, says knee 'looking good so far'

    Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes provided a positive early update on the knee injury which forced him out of his team's win over the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.

    The reigning NFL MVP is thought to have dislocated his kneecap on a quarterback sneak in the second quarter of the Chiefs' 30-6 victory over the Broncos.

    Mahomes was helped off the field after the fourth-down play and did not return to the game as backup Matt Moore filled in for a Chiefs team that improved to 5-2 with the win.

    Shortly after the game, Mahomes posted on Twitter: "Awesome team win! Love my brothers! Thank you for all the prayers! Everything looking good so far!"

    Reports suggest Mahomes will undergo an MRI on Friday to determine whether there is any ligament damage.

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

    Mahomes has been battling an ankle problem in recent weeks, which made the play call on fourth down even more curious, yet Chiefs head coach Andy Reid defended the decision to use his star quarterback in such a way.

    "Not too many people get hurt on a sneak," Reid argued. "It's a freak thing and it happens."

  • Chiefs beat Broncos but lose Mahomes to injury Chiefs beat Broncos but lose Mahomes to injury

    The Kansas City Chiefs ended their NFL skid by topping the Denver Broncos 30-6 after Patrick Mahomes left the game due to injury.

    The normally struggling Broncos had been playing well as of late and entered the contest on a two-game win streak, while the Chiefs were facing their first three-gaming losing run since Mahomes took over as starting quarterback in 2018.

    Ultimately, Kansas City triumphed and snapped a two-game losing streak away to the Broncos in Denver, where Mahomes hurt his knee and did not return in the second quarter.

     

    Three takeaways from the Chiefs' road win over the Broncos

    Reid's play-calling caused a serious problem

    Long-time Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has been under fire this season for some questionable play-calling. Before Thursday, the most egregious error was not utilising Mahomes on a crucial fourth-and-one versus the Indianapolis Colts. The eventual loss in Week 5 started the team's losing streak.

    Reid's latest mistake was a very questionable decision to use Mahomes, who has not been 100 per cent since injuring his ankle in that matchup with the Colts.

    Mahomes tried to sneak his way through a crowded line to get a first down as the Chiefs were pressed up to the goal line in the second quarter. Once the pile cleared, reigning MVP Mahomes — who earned two yards on the play, enough for a new set of downs — was lying on top of his own lineman unable to get up. He remained on the ground, appeared to have his knee popped back into place and eventually limped to the locker room with assistance from trainers.

    He was later ruled out for the remainder of the game with a knee injury. Mahomes finished 10-of-11 passing for 76 yards and one touchdown before exiting.

    Matt Moore came in for the injured Mahomes. The Miami Dolphins scout-turned-backup quarterback finished 10-of-19 passing for 117 yards and one touchdown.

    Chiefs' defense stepped up when they needed to the most

    Kansas City's defense have not been able to do much as far as stopping their opponents, especially on the ground.

    The Chiefs had allowed a 100-yard rusher in four consecutive weeks. The number would have increased to five if not for the Oakland Raiders' Josh Jacobs finishing with 99 yards on just 12 carries in Week 2.

    However, against the Broncos, the Chiefs made a key stop on the ground when Denver attempted a two-point conversion after their only score of the night.

    Later in the second half, the defense secured a sack fumble and returned it for a touchdown. It was a much-needed score considering it happened just a couple of plays after Mahomes left with his injury.

    All in all, the defense played lights out, holding Denver to 205 total yards (71 of those on the ground) and sacking Joe Flacco eight times (nine in total). This is coming from a defense that had 11 total sacks entering the game.

    Broncos went back to looking like ... the Broncos

    It was a nice thought for Denver fans: the chance at a three-game winning streak and a near-.500 record. But the thought went away — and quickly.

    The Broncos showed a glimpse of what they could do when Flacco led a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive. It would, however, be the team's only highlight ... and score ... on the night.

    From the sacks, to the 12 three-and-outs and the missed opportunities on defense, there is not much to take away from Denver's performance in a game they needed to win.

    Flacco, who was booed by fans toward the end of the game, finished 21-of-34 passing for 213 yards with those eight sacks.

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