Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph received a $50,000 fine for his role in the brawl with the Cleveland Browns.

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was suspended for at least the rest of the season by the NFL after he hit Rudolph over the head with the Steelers QB's helmet in the closing seconds of last Thursday's Week 11 encounter between the two teams.

Rudolph, who escaped suspension, was slapped with the largest sum as 33 players were fined by the NFL on Saturday.

Garrett was fined $45,623, while Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey – who had a three-game ban reduced to two – received a $35,096 fine.

Both the Browns and Steelers were fined $250,000 each.

Earlier this week, Rudolph said: "Should have done a better job of keeping my cool in that situation and in retrospect I put Maurkice Pouncey - probably one of the best team-mates I've ever had - in a tough spot, as well as my team-mates.

"The way I saw it, on the final play of the game, with the game in hand the way it was, we had already lost two of our players for targeting penalties and as I released the ball, I took a late shot, did not agree with the way he took me to the ground and my natural reaction was just to get him off from on top of me.

"Again, I should have done a better job handling that situation. I have no ill-will towards Myles Garrett, great respect for his ability as a player and I know if Myles could go back, he would handle the situation differently. 

"As for my involvement last week, there is no excuse, the bottom line is I should have done a better job keeping my composure in that situation and I fell short in what I believe it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and a member of the NFL."

The Browns face the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, while the Steelers take on the Cincinnati Bengals.

New England Patriots star Tom Brady has been listed as "questionable" for Sunday's clash against the Dallas Cowboys.

Brady, 42, is dealing with a right elbow injury, the Patriots revealed in an injury report on Friday.

The quarterback has thrown 14 touchdown passes and five interceptions to help New England to a 9-1 record.

The Patriots are top of the AFC East ahead of the Buffalo Bills (7-3), New York Jets (3-7) and Miami Dolphins (2-8).

New England's injury list was lengthy, including the likes of Patrick Chung (heel/chest), Julian Edelman (shoulder) and Mohamed Sanu (ankle).

Dallas (6-4) lead the NFC East ahead of Sunday's encounter at Gillette Stadium.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have ruled out James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster ahead of Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Both players did not participate in practice on Friday, leading to the Steelers confirming neither will be involved in the Week 12 AFC North clash at Paul Brown Stadium.

Running back Conner aggravated a shoulder injury during the first quarter of the Steelers' 21-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns last Thursday.

In his absence, Jaylen Samuels, Trey Edmunds and Benny Snell – who is back after missing three games with a knee problem – will be used in the rushing game, while recently signed Kerrith Whyte is also set to feature.

"I expect Whyte to be ready to go this Sunday, and really not have many limitations," offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner told the team's official website. 

Wide receiver Smith-Schuster, meanwhile, suffered both a concussion and a knee problem against the Browns. Like Conner, he had not been involved in practice for three straight days.

Diontae Johnson also had a concussion in the same game, but the receiver was a full participant on Friday.

"We continue to lose guys," said Pittsburgh tight end Vance McDonald.

"Diontae is expected to step up and be a huge contributor for [quarterback] Mason [Rudolph] and the offense. I am excited to see how he can bounce back from a devastating hit like that and continue to build."

Matthew Stafford will miss a third straight game for the Detroit Lions after head coach Matt Patricia confirmed the quarterback will not play against the Washington Redskins.

Quarterback Stafford previously missed the defeats to the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys with a back injury, leaving the Lions with a 3-6-1 record.

The first overall pick in the 2009 draft had started the previous 136 games prior to this absence, with Jeff Driskel replacing him as starter.

"He [Stafford] won't be on the field," Patricia confirmed to the media ahead of the Week 12 trip to Washington, before praising the 31-year-old for continuing to demonstrate his leadership qualities despite being out of action.

"What Matthew has done is phenomenal. We have a lot of players that are maybe not out there for the week who help the players get ready," he added.

"He's done a great job at practice of being on the sidelines and going through the keys, going through the tendencies and going game plan with Jeff.

"He brings a lot of value to our team by just being there, just with his general presence. What he does as a leader for us is really important."

Stafford made clear on Thursday that he still hopes to return to action this season, even though Detroit's recent slump has pushed them out of the playoff picture.

"I love playing football," he told the media.

"I appreciate all the hard work that all the guys in this locker room and in this organisation put into going out there and trying to win games on Sunday and I love being a part of that."

Driskel has thrown for 478 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in back-to-back defeats for the Lions.

The Houston Texans claimed sole possession of first place in the NFL's AFC South with a 20-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins starred as the Texans (7-4) moved clear in the AFC South on Thursday.

Texans quarterback Watson threw two touchdown passes to Hopkins and finished with 298 yards against the Colts (6-5).

The Texans, who were humbled 41-7 by the Baltimore Ravens last week, trailed by four points early in the fourth quarter in Houston.

But the Texans rallied – Hopkins stretching out for a 30-yard reception as Houston moved 20-17 ahead of Indianapolis.

Houston's defence then stepped up and stopped the Colts on fourth-and-seven with three minutes remaining.

There was some late controversy 50 seconds from the end, when Watson ran the ball and had it punched out.

The Colts appealed for the recovered fumble but there was no review and the Texans kept the ball, eventually running out the clock.

After the game, the NFL said, "there was no clear visual evidence of a recovery by the defence".

Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett was 16 of 25 for 129 yards, while he rushed for a touchdown.

Antonio Brown has filed his initial response to accusations of sexual assault and rape made against him in a civil lawsuit by his former personal trainer Britney Taylor.

Brown, who was released by the New England Patriots in September, has always firmly denied the allegations.

The 31-year-old has now officially filed his response and counterclaims in Broward County Circuit Court, Florida.

A statement issued to Omnisport by Brown's lawyer Camille E. Blanton read: "In his pleading, Mr. Brown categorically denies each and every allegation contained in the Taylor complaint.

"Additionally, Mr. Brown provided numerous significant facts that were omitted from Taylor's complaint, including Taylor's communications to Brown revealing that Taylor was open to a romantic relationship with Brown, Taylor's travel from Memphis to South Florida 12 days after the alleged 2018 sexual assault, Taylor's arrival at Mr. Brown's residence at 2:42am on the morning of her 2018 return South Florida trip, Taylor's continued communications with Brown after the alleged rape, including a copious amount of text message (SMS) exchanges with Mr. Brown in the hours after Taylor's engagement on May 28, 2018.

"Mr. Brown is committed to his continued aggressive response to Taylor's false allegations.

"Not only does Mr. Brown seek to clear his name, but he also desires to make a statement that there is not an open season to extort professional athletes."

Since leaving the Patriots, former Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders wide receiver Brown has claimed he has quit the NFL on several occasions, though he has subsequently refuted those comments.

The Seattle Seahawks travel to the Philadelphia Eagles in one of several mouth-watering matchups as we head into Week 12 of the NFL season.

Both sides are looking to make a push for the playoffs and Sunday's meeting at Lincoln Financial Field could prove pivotal.

Elsewhere across a jam-packed schedule, reigning Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots welcome the Dallas Cowboys, while the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers also go toe-to-toe in a heavyweight clash.

It all kicks off with the Indianapolis Colts at the Houston Texans in a Thursday showdown that is sure to whet the appetite as the division lead is on the line.

We take a look at the Week 12 schedule using Stats Perform data.

THURSDAY (all times Eastern)

Colts (6-4) at Texans (6-4) 8:20pm

- The Colts defeated the Texans 30-23 in Indianapolis in Week 7, their fourth win in their last five games against Houston. 

- DeAndre Hopkins has made seven or more receptions in his last six games, tied with two Andre Johnson streaks (in 2006 and 2012-13) for the longest in Texans history. 

- The Texans fell 41-7 to the Ravens in Baltimore last week – the fourth biggest loss in franchise history. Houston have not lost back-to-back regular-season games since the start of 2018.

 

SUNDAY

Giants (2-8) at Bears (4-6) 1pm

- The Giants will be making their first appearance at Soldier Field since a 27-21 loss to the Bears in 2013. 

- Chicago are allowing 16.4 points per game at home this season, the third lowest tally in the NFL behind New England (11.0) and Minnesota (15.6)

- The Giants have lost six consecutive games, the franchise's longest skid since a seven-game slide in 2014.

Panthers (5-5) at Saints (8-2) 1pm

- The Saints had won four straight games in the series, including a 2017 Wild Card Game, before dropping a Week 17 game last December in which New Orleans rested their key players.

- Christian McCaffrey has accounted for 45.5 per cent of the Panthers' total net yards in 2019 – easily the highest such percentage in the NFL.

- Michael Thomas needs six receptions to secure a third consecutive season with 100 or more catches. The Saints star would become the eighth player all-time to reach triple figures in three consecutive years.

Broncos (3-7) at Bills (7-3) 1pm

- The Bills have won three of the last four meetings with the Broncos, including a 26-16 triumph in New York in Week 3 of 2017, which was head coach Sean McDermott's third game at the helm of Buffalo.

- Denver have led in the fourth quarter in seven of their 10 games but have held on to win just three of them. 

- The Bills are 7-3 (or better) for the first time since 1999 (also 7-3). 

Steelers (5-5) at Bengals (0-10) 1pm

- The Steelers have won nine straight against the Bengals, including an 18-16 victory in the 2015 Wild Card round. 

- Pittsburgh lost at Cleveland last week, 21-7, putting up fewer than 300 yards of total offense for the seventh time this season.

- Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd caught one pass for zero yards last week, the first time in his career he has been held without at least one receiving yard. 

Dolphins (2-8) at Browns (4-6) 1pm

- The Dolphins and Browns will be meeting for the first time since 2016, a 30-24 Miami home win in overtime. 

- Cleveland will be vying to win three straight home games for the first time since 2014 after defeating the Bills and the Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium in the past two weeks. 

- The Dolphins rank last in the NFL with 603 rushing yards, the second lowest total by any team through 10 games in a season during the Super Bowl era (1991 Colts, 591). 

Buccaneers (3-7) at Falcons (3-7) 1pm

- Atlanta have swept the season series with Tampa Bay in each of the past two years and are seeking a sixth consecutive victory over the Buccaneers, which would match their longest winning streak against a divisional opponent since 2000-02 (Panthers). 

- Atlanta have produced 80.1 per cent of their total net yards via the pass, the highest percentage in the NFL this season, while Tampa Bay have allowed a league-high 78.1 per cent of their total yards through the air. 

- Jameis Winston has thrown three or more touchdown passes and recorded a passer rating of 110.0 or better in five straight meetings with the Falcons, the only quarterback to do so against one team in the Super Bowl era. 

Lions (3-6-1) at Redskins (1-9) 1pm

- The Lions have won four straight games against Washington, dating back to the 2009 season. 

- The Lions fell to the Cowboys, 35-27, in Detroit in Week 11, their third straight loss and sixth loss in their last seven games. 

- Washington fell to the Jets 34-17 at home in Week 11, the team's ninth straight home loss. This is tied for the second-longest home losing streak in franchise history and one shy of the longest such streak, which bridged the 1960 and 1961 seasons.

Raiders (6-4) at Jets (3-7) 1pm

- The Raiders have lost their last five road games against the Jets, last beating them in the Meadowlands in 1996.

- After having just 13 sacks on defense last season, the Raiders have totalled 25 so far this year, the largest sack increase by any team from last year to this year.

- Oakland's Josh Jacobs has averaged at least 4.00 yards per carry on at least 10 carries in each of his last nine games, the longest streak by any NFL rookie in the Super Bowl era.

Seahawks (8-2) at Eagles (5-5) 1pm

- Seattle have played consecutive overtime games for the second time in franchise history (Week 12-13 of 1990). 

- Over the last two seasons, Philadelphia have a 9-11 record from Weeks 1-11, ranking 19th in the NFL.

- Carson Wentz has 86 touchdown passes in 50 career starts for Philadelphia, the most in franchise history. 

Jaguars (4-6) at Titans (5-5) 4:05pm

- The Jaguars have lost back-to-back games by 20 or more points for the first time since 2014. Jacksonville have never lost by 20 or more points in three straight games.

- Tennessee are coming off a bye after erasing a nine-point deficit in the final seven minutes to beat the Chiefs 35-32 in Week 10. 

- Leonard Fournette has 1185 scrimmage yards, the most through the Jaguars' first 10 games of a season in franchise history.

Cowboys (6-4) at Patriots (9-1) 4:25pm

- The Patriots have won the last five meetings between these teams after the Cowboys won the first seven matchups. 

- The Cowboys have won three of their last four games after defeating the Lions 35-27 in Detroit in Week 11.

- After throwing for 444 yards in the win over the Lions, Dak Prescott of the Cowboys is now leading the NFL in passing yards per game this season (322.1). 

Packers (8-2) at 49ers (9-1) 8:20pm

- The Packers and 49ers are off to their best 10-game starts since 2011, when Green Bay won their first 10 and San Francisco started 9-1

- Green Bay have won two in a row against San Francisco and own a 36-30-1 all-time record in the matchup.

- Jimmy Garoppolo threw for a career-high 424 yards in the 49ers' win over the Cardinals in Week 11. 

MONDAY

Ravens (8-2) at Rams (6-4) 8:15pm

- Baltimore last faced the Rams when they were still in St Louis (Week 11 of 2015) and have won three straight fixtures between the teams dating back to 2007.

- The Ravens lead the NFL in rushing yards this season with 2031 in 10 games. 

- Lamar Jackson has 781 rushing yards this season, already the seventh-most by a quarterback in a single season. 

Matt Nagy says Mitchell Trubisky remains the Chicago Bears' first-choice quarterback and is optimistic he will be fit to face the New York Giants on Sunday.

The struggling Trubisky was replaced by Chase Daniel late in a 17-7 defeat to the Los Angeles Rams on Monday after suffering a hip injury.

Trubisky has been listed day-to-day, but is expected to recover in time to take on the Giants at Soldier Field this weekend.

Coach Nagy says the Bears have full faith in the 25-year-old signal-caller.

"We want him out there to be our starter and to be playing," Nagy said of Trubisky.

"So how do we get him to that point? We're going to do everything we can so he is the starter."

He added: "Really for us, where we're at, we need to see where he's at, where our offense is at and continue to just keep rolling,

"We want him to be out there at practice. We want him to be out there this week as the starter. I'm hoping that's the case.

"I just don't like -- these types of injuries, you get to a point where they are literally day-to-day and it becomes about where you're at with the pain and how we manage that.

"I want to be able to tell you he's going to go out there, he's going to have a great practice and we're going to be ready to start him this weekend. That's what I want."

Trubisky gave a positive update over his condition on Wednesday.

"[I feel] a lot better, a lot better. Day and night, almost," he said. "If I feel good, I'm going to go [on Sunday]."

 

 

Mason Rudolph has expressed his regret over failing to keep his cool in a melee that resulted in Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett being suspended indefinitely without pay.

Garrett ripped Rudolph's helmet off and hit the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback on the head with it in an ugly end to a 21-7 victory for the Browns last Thursday.

Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was suspended without pay for three games and fined for fighting as tempers flared, while Cleveland's Larry Ogunjobi was banned for one game for unnecessary roughness.

Rudolph took his share of the blame for the incident when he addressed the media six days later amid uncertainty over when Garrett will play again after he launched an appeal.

He said: "Thursday night, to say the least, it was an unfortunate situation for everyone involved. I can consider it a privilege, not a right, to be part of a first-class organisation representing the Rooney family and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"I did not do a good enough job to help our team win the game, looking back on the second-to-last play of the game, I fell short of the mark there too.

"Should have done a better job of keeping my cool in that situation and in retrospect I put Maurkice Pouncey - probably one of the best team-mates I've ever had - in a tough spot, as well as my team-mates.

"The way I saw it, on the final play of the game, with the game in hand the way it was, we had already lost two of our players for targeting penalties and as I released the ball, I took a late shot, did not agree with the way he took me to the ground and my natural reaction was just to get him off from on top of me.

"Again, I should have done a better job handling that situation. I have no ill-will towards Myles Garrett, great respect for his ability as a player and I know if Myles could go back, he would handle the situation differently. 

"As for my involvement last week, there is no excuse, the bottom line is I should have done a better job keeping my composure in that situation and I fell short in what I believe it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and a member of the NFL."

Rudolph stated that he did not make any comments to antagonise Garrett.

"I definitely didn't say anything that escalated it, but I have to do a better job of keeping my composure," he added.

Cleveland Browns have designated tight end David Njoku to return from injured reserve after over two months on the sidelines.

Njoku was due to return to practice on Wednesday after recovering from a broken wrist sustained in a Week 2 victory over the New York Jets.

The Browns have three weeks to activate Njoku, otherwise he will remain on the injured reserve list for the remainder of the NFL season.

Njoku, who took four catches for 37 yards and scored a touchdown in Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans, could make his comeback against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday if the Browns elect to activate him.

Cleveland have recovered to 4-6 after securing back-to-back wins going into the home Dolphins game.

Rob Gronkowski admits a playing comeback is "always an option" but has no plans to come out of retirement for the 2019 NFL season.

A three-time Super Bowl champion during his stellar career - one spent entirely with the New England Patriots - Gronkowski triggered speculation he could be set to return when he scheduled an announcement for Tuesday.

The 30-year-old will not be seen on a football field this season, though, instead revealing via social media that he will be hosting a major Super Bowl party in South Florida.

"I'm bringing the FIESTA to Miami with GRONK BEACH BIG GAME WEEKEND," he tweeted, along with a video where he explains further details of the event.

However, the clip included a line from Gronkowski that suggested he may not be done with playing just yet, as – dressed in pads and holding a helmet – he said: "Okay, maybe we call an audible – but just for this year..."

A second-round pick by the Pats in 2010, the tight end revealed to ESPN that he continues to stay in shape, just in case he wants to get back on the field at some stage in the future.

"I'm 30 years old. I'm young. I still stay fit, still watch the game whenever I can, still enjoy it. I'm feeling good, but you know, one year off could possibly be the case. Or maybe two years off, man," he said.

"It's always an option in the back of my head. It's not like I'm not staying in shape and not doing anything. I'm never stressed over it."

Gronkowski retired in March after helping New England win Super Bowl LIII. He posted 521 receptions and had 79 touchdowns in his nine seasons with the franchise.

The Pats have not struggled in his absence this term, improving their record to 9-1 with a hard-fought 17-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11.

Philip Rivers knows he must cut out the turnovers that are "hurting" the Los Angeles Chargers after they were beaten 24-17 by the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chargers quarterback threw a fourth interception of the game with 24 seconds remaining attempting to pick out Austin Ekeler in the end zone on Monday.

That late underthrow summed up another disappointing evening for Rivers and left the Chargers at 4-7.

The 37-year-old has hurled 14 interceptions this season - with 16 turnovers in total - and is aware that is not acceptable.

"It's a football game," the veteran said. "If you could just pick and choose and never throw them ever, I'd choose to throw zero.

"So I certainly don't want to throw them, but I know it's hurting us right now. So obviously I need to cut them out."

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said Rivers should not take full responsibility for his tally of turnovers, but must raise his game.

"Philip just has to execute better, as far as turnovers," Lynn said. "Now, when you look at his turnovers, it's not always on the quarterback.

"I mean, sometimes the quarterback is getting hit late, or sometimes a receiver may slip down, so you can't put all of those turnovers on Philip.

"But his turnovers are a little higher than I would like. He knows that. And we have to get better in that area - period."

The Kansas City Chiefs recorded an important 24-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers in Mexico City in the NFL on Monday.

A pair of third-quarter touchdowns helped the Chiefs (7-4) past AFC West rivals the Chargers (4-7) at the Estadio Azteca.

Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes improved in the second half and finished with 182 yards on the back of 19 of 32 completed passes with one TD and an interception.

Travis Kelce led the Chiefs with 92 receiving yards, including a TD, in a key win for division leaders Kansas City, who had Tyreek Hill suffer a hamstring injury.

Kelce became the fastest tight end in NFL history to reach 6,000 yards and 450 receptions, according to the Chiefs.

Philip Rivers (28 of 52 for 353 yards with one TD) almost saw the Chargers to a late victory, but the QB threw his fourth interception in the dying seconds.

After a first-quarter Michael Badgley field goal for the Chargers, the Chiefs took a 7-3 lead when Tyrann Mathieu intercepted Rivers, allowing LeSean McCoy to rush across from six yards for a TD.

Badgley made two more field goals – either side of one from Harrison Butker – as the Chiefs took a 10-9 lead into half-time.

Mahomes was better in the second half as the Chiefs scored twice to go ahead 24-9.

Darrel Williams rushed over before Mahomes' 23-yard pass for Kelce saw the Chiefs take control.

However, the Chargers responded when Rivers found Keenan Allen and a two-point conversion brought them back within seven.

Rivers looked to lead the Chargers on a scoring drive late and a 50-yard pass to Mike Williams set up a potential TD, but the QB was intercepted again in the closing seconds.

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