Jalen Ramsey is on the Los Angeles Rams' roster, but we have no idea if he will play this week or not.

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

 

Three things that matter

Rams noncommittal on Ramsey's Week 7 availability

Los Angeles acquired star cornerback Ramsey from the Jacksonville Jaguars for their 2020 and 2021 first-round picks in addition to a 2021 fourth-round pick on Wednesday, but Rams head coach Sean McVay might not want to put the team's newest addition to work right away.

"The goal is to be able to do that, but we'll be smart about it," McVay told reporters. "I think that we definitely want to have the intent to get him ready to go and we'll always make smart decisions. But, yes, that's the goal."

Ramsey has missed the last three games with a back injury, though some reports suggest it was a ploy to get the Jaguars to give into his trade request.

"I hope so. We'll see," Ramsey said when asked Wednesday at his introductory press conference if he'll make his Rams debut Sunday in Atlanta. "I've been missing football, I love football, so I would love that, but at the end of the day, we do have to be smart."

Chargers could get boost with Okung return

The Los Angeles Chargers have struggled with injuries this season, but the star offensive tackle could give the team the confidence they need entering a crucial matchup against the Tennessee Titans.

"I've been looking forward to this day for several weeks and I'm excited to officially announce that I will be back to football as early as Week 7," Russell Okung said.

Okung revealed he experienced "unusual chest pain at practice" on June 1 and decided to visit urgent care, where it was revealed he suffered a pulmonary embolism, a serious condition in which a blood clot gets lodged in an artery in the lung. He was told by doctors that the decision to seek treatment likely saved his life.

He has not played in months, but apparently is ready to make his comeback.

Mosley participates in individual drills 

The New York Jets already got a boost with Sam Darnold back, and more help could be on the way. Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley will be back on the field for the first time since Week 1, giving optimism that he could be available to play against the New England Patriots on Monday. Jets coach Adam Gase added there is hope Mosley will do more in Friday and Saturday's practices to ensure he will be ready to go.

Mosley has been dealing with a groin injury, but New York have opted to take a more cautious approach with one of their best defensive players early in the season.

Two things that don't matter

Seahawks will embrace Thomas' return to Seattle

Veteran Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas did not exactly leave the Seattle Seahawks on the best terms, but the two sides appear to have put their differences aside to share a mutual respect.

"Earl was a great football player for us in the years he was here. We loved what he did — his uniqueness and his style of play," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told reporters on Thursday. "The way he practiced and his focus was somewhat unmatchable. We just couldn't stay together forever, you know. Couldn't figure out how to do that. But wish him the best and looking forward to [Sunday].

"When we know guys, we like playing against them. You've got relationships and it's fun to see them out there and it's fun to go against them. There's nothing we like more than beating the guys that we love."

A.J. Green still has "a little ways to go" in rehab

The Cincinnati Bengals receiver has struggled to get healthy since suffering an ankle injury early in training camp and undergoing surgery in late July but told reporters he is progressing with the injury.

Cincinnati will host the Jaguars in Week 7, a game A.J. Green is unlikely to play, then head overseas to play the Rams in London before the team's Week 9 bye. It is possible Green could return in Week 10 against the Ravens, assuming the Bengals do not deal him before the October 29 trade deadline.

One video you have to see

It is Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys week, and Stephen A. Smith is FIRED up.

Thursday's tweet of the day

Former Denver Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware is pumped for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to visit on Thursday.

From post-game news conferences to next-day media availabilities, here are the 10 best Week 6 quotes from players and coaches around the NFL:

 

— Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn stressed the importance of his team taking advantage of their next two home games to get back on track: "I'd say more than anything, we get a chance to fight in front of our home fans. There's no moral victories, there's no things of that such other than finding our ways to fight to get our football team the wins that we need to get. That's really all we’ll think about and all we'll focus our time on."

— Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson on next week's NFC East showdown with the Dallas Cowboys: "Anytime Dallas loses it helps, because here's the thing — I know the sky is falling outside. … Has it been perfect or beautiful or all of that? No. But all we need to do is try to be 1-0 this week, beat the Dallas Cowboys, we're in first place."

— Not only were the Los Angeles Chargers embarrassed on "Sunday Night Football," Pittsburgh Steelers fans also took over their stadium, and the team were not happy: "I don't know what that was. Don't do that at our own stadium," Melvin Gordon said after the game. "It already felt like it was their stadium … I don't understand that."

— Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker had some harsh words for the officiating crew after the team's Monday loss to the Green Bay Packers: "Extremely pissed off right now," Walker said. "It is what it is. Disappointed. Hurt. We had that game."

— Packers kicker Mason Crosby on his first Lambeau Leap after sealing his team's win: "That was special. It's something I've always wanted to do."

— Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke candidly about coach Jason Garrett on 105.3 The Fan radio: "If I totally disagreed with [Jason] Garrett's philosophy, he wouldn't be the head coach."

— Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera gave a sincere injury update on quarterback Cam Newton: "I think people need to understand that the young man has done everything we've asked. I'm trying to stay true to what I told him. We're not going to put that kind of pressure on him. So, until we have it confirmed with our doctors and stuff like that, we're going to continue to do what we're doing."

— Jay Gruden on life after being fired by Washington Redskins: "Pretty quiet ... Bored out of my mind."

— NFL competition committee chairman Rich McKay declined to discuss whether pass interference replay is really working this season:  "I don't think we would give a summation of whether a rule that's been in place for six weeks is working or not working," McKay told reporters. "We want to get the egregious ones, and we want to get them overturned."

— Less than a week after leaving the door open for a potential NFL return, Rob Gronkowski appears to have shut it again: "I'll give an answer. When I retired, I retired for a reason: because I needed to step away," Gronkowski said. "So it would be a no. There it is."

Many NFL fans probably expected the New England Patriots to be one of the remaining undefeated teams as this season went on, but it is unlikely many guessed the San Francisco 49ers would join them.

The Carolina Panthers are another surprise success story, while the Dallas Cowboys have taken a turn for the worse over the last few weeks.

Here we look back at the biggest headlines from Week 6 and the impact they will have heading into Week 7.

 

Are quarterback changes coming to NFC South?

Jameis Winston threw five interceptions and fumbled twice in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' loss to the Panthers as they dropped to 2-4, but head coach Bruce Arians made it clear the team are not considering replacing him — yet.

"No. I look at the reasons why. What happened?" Arians told reporters, noting the team's battered line was partly to blame for the ugly outing. "If it happens again, yeah, it'll concern the hell out of me."

Similarly, the Panthers may not be looking to put Cam Newton back in and bench Kyle Allen after the second-year quarterback helped pull the Panthers out of their 0-2 hole to start the season. In fact, Allen could keep the starting job as long as he keeps winning, though coach Ron Rivera remained tight-lipped on the subject Sunday. 

"I'm not going to worry about it," Rivera said. "I'm not going to speculate on anything until I have to address that. So until then, we're going to stay in the now, stay in the focus of what we're doing right now. As far as I'm concerned, we're not going to deal with the question until it is time. And when the time comes, I will address it."

An ESPN report on Monday said Newton is almost ready to resume practicing. Both Carolina and Tampa Bay will be on their bye in Week 6, so stay tuned.

Mariota era could be winding down in Nashville

Quarterback controversy struck Tennessee as the Titans pulled the second draft pick of 2015 in the team's shut-out loss to the Denver Broncos for veteran backup Ryan Tannehill. Marcus Mariota was sacked three times and completed just seven of 18 passes for 63 yards with two interceptions before getting the hook. Tannehill was better, completing 13 of 16 passes for 144 yards with a pick.

As for who will start Week 6 against the Los Angeles Chargers, the team expect to have an answer by Tuesday.

"I think a decision will be made this evening, or tomorrow, and we’ll let everybody know — we’ll let the players involved know, and let the team know and then let you guys know," coach Mike Vrabel told reporters. "I just want to make sure we are going through everything that we need to go through and what we are doing offensively, and not use the emotion of the game to make a decision."

Can 49ers make statement by extending win streak?

With the Patriots on a bye, the Niners have a chance to match their perfect 6-0 record after dismantling defending NFC champions the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The 49ers held Los Angeles to 3.3 yards per play, which is the lowest average in Rams franchise history, and quarterback Jared Goff had his worst performance to date as he completed 13 of 24 for a career-low 78 yards.

San Francisco have shined as arguably the most surprising team this year after the 49ers managed just four wins all last season. Now 5-0 for the first time since 1990, the Niners may only gain momentum with matchups against the Washington Redskins, Panthers and Arizona Cardinals looming.

Falcons giving Quinn until bye week to turn things around

Atlanta will host the Rams and Seattle Seahawks in back-to-back games before getting some rest Week 9, and after a 1-5 start just two and a half years removed from their trip to Super Bowl LI, the team are running short of patience.

NFL Media reported that Falcons owner Arthur Blank wants to see progress over the next couple of weeks "or changes could come," with the fifth-year coach as one of them. Dan Quinn already fired all three of his co-ordinators before the season started, so the blame would have to fall on him.

Jay Gruden may have been the first coach to get the axe, but he certainly will not be the last, and it appears Quinn has two weeks to save his job.

Amari Cooper's potential absence could have big implications

Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper's status for Week 6 reportedly "is in serious question" after he was diagnosed with a bruised thigh suffered in Sunday's loss to the Jets. Dallas coach Jason Garrett said the team are taking his injury day by day, but could not guarantee his availability.

The ailment could not come at a worse time considering Dallas have dropped three straight games and face a key game in Week 6 against NFC East rivals the Philadelphia Eagles. A fourth consecutive loss could officially put Garrett on the hot seat, though Cowboys owner Jerry Jones insisted it has not come to that yet.

"I haven't even glanced there in my mind about long-term future," Jones told reporters. "The big thing I want to say is it's not just him. This is across the board, and that had a lot of input out here tonight to get in that spot."

Garrett, who is entering the final year of his contract, reiterated that getting the team to the top of the NFC East is his main concern.

"I'm focused on doing my job as well as I can do it," Garrett said, per The Athletic.

Change does not appear to be looming in Tampa Bay.

But we take a look at the adjustments to come with the latest injury updates around the league in this edition of NFL news and notes.

 

Three things that matter

Winston's job appears safe... for now

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not ready to throw in the towel just yet, as head coach Bruce Arians confirmed the team are not looking to make any changes under center at this time.

"No. I look at the reasons why. What happened?" Arians told reporters. "If it happens again, yeah, it'll concern the hell out of me."

Jameis Winston, who is in the final year of his rookie contract after his fifth-year option was picked up, threw five interceptions and had two fumbles against the Carolina Panthers, though Arians admitted the team's battered line was partly to blame.

"I think when you get hit — I don't care if you're Tom Brady — when you get hit early in games, it's different," Arians said. "And we got him hit early in the game, excluding the first play. We got him hit too much early in the game."

Cooper diagnosed with thigh bruise

Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper suffered the injury in Sunday's loss to the New York Jets, though one report suggested there is "no indication of long-term damage." Cooper could, however, be dealing with the "horribly painful" ailment at a time when Dallas faces a must-win scenario in Week 6 against NFC East rivals the Philadelphia Eagles.

Cooper, who has 32 catches for 512 yards and five touchdowns this season, also battled foot and ankle injuries earlier this season.

Barkley ramps up workout after tweeting he'll "be back soon"

The New York Giants got a little healthier as the star running back was joined by fellow back Wayne Gallman (concussion), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion) and tight end Evan Engram (knee), who all missed Thursday's loss to the New England Patriots. Each player took part in individual drills during the team's light practice.

Saquon Barkley has missed the last three games with a high ankle sprain, but all signs point to him returning ahead of schedule, possibly this week against the Arizona Cardinals. The Giants do not want to rush him, but the hype video he tweeted this weekend indicates he is itching to get back on the field.

Two things that don't matter

Rudolph eyeing Week 8 return

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph entered the concussion protocol last week after being knocked out by Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas in Week 5. However, he practiced just three days after taking the hit, a positive sign that he should be back after the ransacked Steelers get some much-needed rest on their bye.

The team had a morale-boosting win in primetime on Sunday with third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges at the helm, thanks in large part to a stout performance by running back James Conner, though he did suffer a game-ending quad injury in the third quarter. His status will also be closely monitored before the Steelers return to action against the Miami Dolphins.

Brady won't lure Gronkowski out of retirement

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is happy to see his former team-mate thriving in life after football and does not want to disrupt that peace.

"I'm so happy that he's enjoying his time, his life. He seems to really be doing a lot of great things. He knows how I feel about him. I want what's best for him. He's the only person that can make those decisions. I don't lobby for those things," Brady said on Monday morning in his weekly appearance on WEEI, a Boston sports radio station.

Rob Gronkowski retired in March and started work last week as an NFL analyst on Fox, where he said that he will always leave the door open to unretire. But it appears unlikely to happen any time soon.

"He's given a hell of a lot to our team already over a long period of time, and I think people should be very appreciative for what he's brought to the team and what he's brought to the region," Brady said. "I think he's just a very special guy. He's at a different phase of his life."

One video you have to see

Not only were the Los Angeles Chargers embarrassed on Sunday Night Football, Steelers fans also took over their stadium.

Monday's tweet of the day

Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson is pumped to be back after serving a six-game suspension for PEDs.

Doug Pederson stated the Philadelphia Eagles are "going to win" when they come up against the Dallas Cowboys in a crucial NFC East showdown.

The two teams both hold 3-3 records following road defeats in Week 6, the Eagles going down to the Minnesota Vikings while the Cowboys surprisingly slipped up on the road against the New York Jets, meaning they have lost three on the spin.

In an appearance on WIP radio, Philadelphia head coach Pederson acknowledged the need to overcome their rivals so they can control their own destiny in a tight division.

"Anytime Dallas loses it helps, because here's the thing - I know the sky is falling outside," Pederson said. "It's falling and I get that and the fans are real.

"We're going down to Dallas, our guys are gonna be ready to play. And we're going to win that football game and when we do we're in first place in the NFC East, we control our own destiny, we're right where we need to be.

"Has it been perfect or beautiful or all of that? No. But all we need to do is try to be 1-0 this week, beat the Dallas Cowboys, we're in first place.

"Listen, they're reeling too. They're struggling too. They dropped their last three games so this will be an exciting football game."

When 'Morning Show"' host Angelo Cataldi noted his confidence, Pederson said he had to remain upbeat for "the guys in the locker room".

"I have to be. I am," Pederson said. "I see - when I watch the tape, I put the tape on and I go, 'okay, there are coachable moments, there are teachable moments on the tape that we can get better at as an offense and as a defense'.

"I'm also optimistic that some of our injured players in the secondary will make a return this week, and we'll see. But I've got to stay positive not only for myself but for the guys in the locker room."

A quarterback duel erupted in Kansas City on Sunday and Deshaun Watson was the signal-caller to come out on top.

The matchup between Watson and the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes pitted two of the NFL's most dynamic quarterbacks against each other and it made for an exciting matchup featuring some big throws and big carries. But ultimately Watson and the Houston Texans came away with a 31-24 win at Arrowhead Stadium.

Thanks, in part, to 21 unanswered points from the Texans in the second quarter. Watson continued to roll and helped put Houston ahead for good with a short one-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth.

Watson finished 30-of-42 passing for 280 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also had 42 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.

Reigning MVP Mahomes finished 19-of-35 passing for 273 yards, three touchdowns and one interception for his first pick of the year. 

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the San Francisco 49ers shut down the Rams offense and had a solid game from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to win 20-7 and move to 5-0 for the season.

Quarterback Sam Darnold made a successful return to the line-up as the New York Jets upset the Dallas Cowboys 24-22 for their first victory of the year.

Injury report

Texans first-round lineman Tytus Howard had to be carted off the field after going down with a knee injury in the second half of the game against the Chiefs.

Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly was carted the field in the first half against the Cleveland Browns with an Achilles injury that could cost him the rest of the season.

Wide receiver Amari Cooper appeared to have reinjured his quadriceps on the Cowboys' opening offensive possession early in the first quarter. He did not return.

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick left the game against the Baltimore Ravens with a left knee injury and did not return. Offensive lineman John Miller was also ruled out after suffering a left groin injury.

Denver Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders was ruled out against the Tennessee Titans due to a knee injury.

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham exited the matchup with the Minnesota Vikings after suffering an ankle injury. Tackle Jason Peters (knee) also sustained an injury and never returned.

By the numbers

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson became the first quarterback to rush for 150-plus yards in a game since Colin Kaepernick ran for 151 yards in 2014.

Kyler Murray is the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to have 20-plus completions in each of his first six career games.

Seahawks' Russell Wilson finished the win over the Browns with a 117.6 passer rating. He now has a 100-plus passer rating in all six games this season. The only two other players with more 100-plus games to start a season in the Super Bowl era were Tom Brady (eight) in 2007 and Aaron Rodgers (12) in 2011 — both won NFL MVP that season.

Quotables

Eagles linebacker Zach Brown was mum's the word on Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins after Philadelphia's 38-20 loss — and Brown called Cousins the "weakest link" earlier in the week: "I'm here to talk about the game. Is there any other questions besides about Kirk Cousins?" 

Ron Rivera addressed quarterback Cam Newton's absence, which has seemed less daunting with the success of Kyle Allen, who led the Carolina Panthers to a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London on Sunday: "I'm not going to speculate on anything until I have to address that. So until then, we're going to stay in the now, stay in the focus of what we're doing right now. As far as I'm concerned, we're not going to deal with the question until it is time... Our quarterback right now playing for us is Kyle. So we're not going to address it."

Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston struggled across the pond, with five interceptions and a lost fumble, and head coach Bruce Arians wanted to make one thing clear: "Throw the damn ball away. You avoided one, you might've avoided two. You ain't throwing it anywhere — to a receiver. Throw it away."

Week 6 NFL scores

Teams on bye week

Bills, Bears, Colts and Raiders

Thursday's game

Patriots 35, Giants 14

Sunday's games

Panthers 37, Buccaneers 26 Seahawks 32, Browns 28 Texans 31, Chiefs 24 Redskins 17, Dolphins 16 Vikings 38, Eagles 20 Saints 13, Jaguars 6 Ravens 23, Bengals 17 49ers 20, Rams 7 Cardinals 34, Falcons 33 Broncos 16, Titans 0 Jets 24, Cowboys 22

Sam Darnold has been cleared to play in Week 6, the New York Jets announced on Tuesday.

Quarterback Darnold has been out since Week 2 after he was diagnosed with mononucleosis but can return against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

He went 28-for-41 passing for 175 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in his lone start this year, a 17-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 1.

Darnold was cleared for non-contact drills last week but was ultimately ruled out of facing the Philadelphia Eagles.

New York are 0-4 in his absence and 0-5 on the season.

The Dallas Cowboys are not going to start doubting head coach Jason Garrett after suffering their second loss of the season, insists Stephen Jones.

Jones, director of player personnel for the Cowboys, dismissed a question about whether Garrett is on the hot seat after losing back-to-back games to the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers.

Those defeats followed a strong 3-0 start to the season, but Jones insists there are no plans to make a change despite the downturn in fortunes.

"Absolutely not," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. "He's done a great job with this team.

"He had the guys playing hard [in Week 5] when it could have gotten really ugly."

If the 3-2 Cowboys can pull off a road win against the winless New York Jets on Sunday and a home victory in an NFC East battle with the Philadelphia Eagles before their Week 8 bye, Garrett just might shut down the noise.

"Just hang in there with us," Jones added. "I really believe we're going to correct these things to be really more consistent. I feel like the best is yet to come."

Garrett, 53, is in his 10th season with the Cowboys, leading Dallas to three division title games in the last five campaigns.

But the team have not won a conference championship during his tenure as they wait for a first Super Bowl appearance since the 1995 season.

All eyes were on the Green Bay Packers-Dallas Cowboys showdown that unfolded in the first Sunday afternoon game since 2001 to be broadcast to 100 per cent of the national audience, and it did not disappoint.

Green Bay led 24-0 midway through the third quarter before Dallas put the pedal to the floor, but it was too little, too late as the Packers won 34-24.

Packers running back Aaron Jones erupted for a career-high 182 scrimmage yards – 107 rushing and 75 receiving – and four touchdowns on 26 touches, while Aaron Rodgers threw for 238 yards without an interception.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, the Denver Broncos spoiled Melvin Gordon's long-awaited return from his contract holdout with a 20-13 victory over the Chargers to end the team's eight-game losing streak. It was thanks to a stout defensive effort that forced three turnovers and a flawless performance by veteran quarterback Joe Flacco.

Things went from bad to worse for the New York Jets and Washington Redskins, who were routed by the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots respectively, to remain winless.

The Cincinnati Bengals were also defeated for the fifth straight game to drop to 0-5, but at least they put up a fight before falling 26-23 to Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals, who gave head coach Kliff Kingsbury his first NFL win.

Injury report

A scary scene unfolded in Pittsburgh as quarterback Mason Rudolph was knocked out after taking a brutal hit to the chin from Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas. Rudolph laid motionless on his back for several minutes as the Steelers' medical staff attended to him on the field, and he was later carried off to be taken to a hospital after apparent problems with the cart.

Rudolph was ruled out for the rest of the game with a concussion, which will be closely monitored this week after the Steelers switched to third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges. Team-mate and receiver James Washington was also ruled out with a shoulder injury.

Eagles running back Darren Sproles was questionable to return with a quad injury but moved to fifth on the NFL's all-time in all-purpose yards list first.

Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks left the team's London game against the Raiders due to an elbow injury and did not return.

Chargers center Mike Pouncey was questionable to return after suffering a neck injury.

By the numbers

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady moved to third on the NFL's all-time passing yards list during Sunday's game against the Redskins after surpassing Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre (71,838). Brady is set to pass Peyton Manning (71,940) for second in career yards in his next game.

The Bengals are 0-5 for the first time since 2008. It is the seventh time Cincinnati have started 0-5 since 1990, which is the most in the NFL in that span.

Christian McCaffrey had a historic day in Carolina, as the Panthers running back logged 237 total yards to become the first player since Jim Brown in 1963 to total 175-plus yards from scrimmage in four of a season's first five games. McCaffrey also reached a max speed of 21.95 mph on his 84-yard touchdown run Sunday, which is his fastest speed this season.

Quotables

Steve Smith Sr. was grateful to be back in Carolina as he was inducted into the Panthers' Hall of Honour: "I'd like to thank Mr. Tepper for bringing me back … I never thought I'd be back in this stadium, but I am and I'm happy to be here."

Redskins coach Jay Gruden on dropping to 0-5: "If the key works Monday I'll keep working."

Thomas was remorseful for his brutal hit on Rudolph: "I was just trying to get to the ball and make a play for my team. I hit the strike zone, I didn't go high. I didn't try to intentionally hurt him. I'm worried about him. I heard he's at the hospital and my prayers go out to him and his family."

Week 5 NFL scores

Teams on bye week

Dolphins and Lions

Thursday's game

Seahawks 30, Rams 29

Sunday's games

Eagles 31, Jets 6
Panthers 34, Jaguars 27
Vikings 28, Giants 10
Texans 53, Falcons 32
Saints 31, Buccaneers 24
Bills 14, Titans 7
Cardinals 26, Bengals 23
Patriots 33, Redskins 7
Ravens 26, Steelers 23
Raiders 24, Bears 21
Broncos 20, Chargers 13
Packers 34, Cowboys 24

Will a mysterious absence distract the Chicago Bears from the first ever NFL game played at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium?

We dive into the latest news regarding Roquan Smith and other headlines from around the league in this edition of NFL news and notes.

 

Three things that matter

Smith remains away from team

The star linebacker was listed as a surprise inactive just before Sunday’s win over the Minnesota Vikings for a "personal issue," and it was rumoured he had not been acting like himself around the team facilities in recent days. Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy declined to provide any new details on the situation Monday.

"He's completely a personal issue," he told reporters. "It's for us something that we're going to leave at that right now."

When pushed for more information on Roquan Smith's status and availability for Sunday, Nagy stood firm.

"Personal issue," he repeated. "I'm just going to say it was a personal issue. I'm not getting into anything else until... I'm just going to completely keep it at that."

Panthers place Short on season-ending IR

The Carolina Panthers announced the All-Pro defensive lineman has a partially torn rotator cuff that initially was suffered in the team's Week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kawann Short has spent the last two games on the sidelines and will be staying put the rest of the year.

"KK has done everything he could possibly do to try to play these past two games," general manager Marty Hurney said, "but we have made the decision that it is in the best long-term interest of KK and the team that he undergo surgery to fix his shoulder and focus on his rehab and get ready for next season."

It is another huge loss for the Panthers, who are already without quarterback Cam Newton, though Kyle Allen has gone 2-0 in his two starts this season, so Carolina have been able to stay afloat in his absence.

Cowboys get 'best news' for Smith's ankle

Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith suffered a right ankle injury in Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints and needed to be carted off the sideline. While Jerry Jones said it is "unlikely" Smith plays this week against the Green Bay Packers, the Dallas Cowboys owner is optimistic he will not be missing in action long.

"We got the best news we could possibly get," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. "We couldn't have asked for better news. Looking forward to having him back out there quick."

Two things that don't matter

Mack hoped to be a Raider for life

Bears linebacker Khalil Mack thought he found his home in Oakland after the Raiders drafted him fifth overall in 2014, but a blockbuster trade last September changed that. Now, Mack is gearing up to face his former team for the first time since he was dealt.

"That's the expectation when you get drafted to a team: You want to be there for the long haul and bring championships and all those good things," Mack said. "It's the business side of it that doesn't really let you do that.

"It's another game, man. It's going to be a fun one because I know a few of the guys out there. But it's going to be a good one. Can't wait."

Miami vendor charged fan $724 for two beers

Overpriced refreshments at stadiums are a joke, but this fan was not laughing when his bank alerted him of the fraudulent transaction after his credit card was scanned to a personal card reader.

Nathaniel Collier was arrested and will face two felony charges for his alleged scam at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium during Sunday's Dolphins-Los Angeles Chargers game, including third-degree grand theft and possession of a skimming device.

Fortunately ,the fan received a refund, and Collier was fired by the independent contractor that hired him.

One video you have to see

The Los Angeles Rams offered fans a glimpse at the progress made on their new stadium.

Tuesday's tweet of the day

Could Dez Bryant swoop in to save one of the six remaining teams still in search of a win?

The Dallas Cowboys lost for the first time this NFL season as the New Orleans Saints triumphed 12-10.

It was probably a little too close for the Saints (3-1), who completed the upset over the Cowboys despite not scoring a touchdown.

Sunday's win is the second with Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater starting under center and it seems New Orleans are holding on with star Drew Brees sidelined.

"It all feels normal now," Bridgewater said after the game.

The Cowboys fell to 3-1 after quarterback Dak Prescott could not complete the comeback in the final seconds.

Here are three takeaways from the Saints' nail-biting victory over Cowboys.

 

How well can Bridgewater play at home?

The back-up-turned-starter has some big shoes to fill as Brees recovers from thumb surgery. Bridgewater impressed in his starting debut with the Saints last week on the road. In the 33-27 win in Seattle, New Orleans adjusted their offensive approach to help combat the Seahawks' huge home-field advantage.

Bridgewater was excited to return to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and eager to get back to his own cadence. However, that was not so easy against Dallas' defense. He was unable to make it into the end zone but was still able to set up the team's four scoring drives.

The Cowboys controlled much of the first quarter after picking off Bridgewater on his opening drive. Bridgewater recovered well and led scoring drives three of the next four times the offense took the field.

He finished 23-of-30 passing for 193 yards and one interception but he was sacked five times.

 

Saints' defense have struggled against the pass, but not this time

There are just a few teams that have allowed more yards passing per game than the 301.7 given up by the Saints heading into Sunday's game.

New Orleans' pass defense seemed to be one of the biggest mismatches against Dallas, who had not scored less than 31 points in their first three wins. The Cowboys had a pretty balanced offense in all of those wins as Prescott passed for a whopping 405 yards in the first week of the season and then followed it up with more balanced attacks in 269-yard and 246-yard performances.

However, against Dallas, New Orleans were able to contain Prescott for the most part – especially when it counted.

Prescott finished 22-of-33 passing for 223 yards and one interception, which came on the final Hail Mary play.

 

A positive for the Cowboys? Robert Quinn

Defensive end Robert Quinn finished Week 3 with a sack and a career-high seven quarterback pressures against his former team the Miami Dolphins. He again came up big when the Cowboys travelled to New Orleans to face the Saints. 

He had two sacks, including a big stop on a crucial third down near the midway point of the fourth quarter where Bridgewater and company were approaching Cowboys territory.

He has even become one of the team's biggest cheerleaders.

Quinn gleefully celebrated Jaylon Smith's sack that pushed New Orleans well out of field-goal range under the two-minute mark.

It has now been 1,000 days since Colin Kaepernick last played an NFL game and, in that time, 80 different quarterbacks have started in the regular season.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick, still just 31, completed 17 of 22 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown in a Week 17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at the end of the 2016 season. Only four players that week had a better quarterback rating than Kaepernick's 122.3.

However, Kaepernick - who had started to kneel during the national anthem earlier that year in protest over racial injustice - has not even had a sniff of an opportunity since, while countless teams have kicked the tyres on numerous other signal callers.

Here is the list of every quarterback to have started a game since Kaepernick's last appearance.


NFC North: Mitchell Trubisky, Mike Glennon, Chase Daniel (Chicago Bears), Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions), Brett Hundley, Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers), Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, Kirk Cousins (Minnesota Vikings)

NFC East: Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys), Eli Manning, Geno Smith, Daniel Jones (New York Giants), Carson Wentz, Nick Foles (Philadelphia Eagles), Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith, Josh Johnson, Colt McCoy, Mark Sanchez, Case Keenum (Washington Redskins)

NFC South: Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons), Cam Newton, Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen (Carolina Panthers), Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater (New Orleans Saints), Jameis Winston, Ryan Fitzpatrick (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

NFC West: Carson Palmer, Blaine Gabbert, Drew Stanton, Josh Rosen, Sam Bradford, Kyler Murray (Arizona Cardinals), Jared Goff, Sean Mannion (Los Angeles Rams), Brian Hoyer, C.J. Beathard, Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens (San Francisco 49ers), Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)

AFC North: Joe Flacco, Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens), Andy Dalton, Jeff Driskel (Cincinnati Bengals), DeShone Kizer, Kevin Hogan, Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield (Cleveland Browns), Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Mason Rudolph (Pittsburgh Steelers)

AFC East: Tyrod Taylor, Nathan Peterman, Josh Allen, Derek Anderson, Matt Barkley (Buffalo Bills), Jay Cutler, Matt Moore, Ryan Tannehill, Brock Osweiler, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Rosen (Miami Dolphins), Tom Brady (New England Patriots), Josh McCown, Bryce Petty, Sam Darnold, Trevor Siemian, Luke Falk (New York Jets)

AFC South: Tom Savage, Deshaun Watson, T.J. Yates (Houston Texans), Jacoby Brissett, Scott Tolzien, Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts), Blake Bortles, Cody Kessler, Nick Foles, Gardner Minshew (Jacksonville Jaguars), Marcus Mariota, Matt Cassel, Blaine Gabbert (Tennessee Titans)

AFC West: Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco (Denver Broncos), Alex Smith, Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs), Philip Rivers (Los Angeles Chargers), Derek Carr, EJ Manuel (Oakland Raiders)

Here are a few observations from the extensive list:

- Only six franchises (the Lions, Falcons, Cowboys, Seahawks, Patriots and Chargers) have had one starter for all 35 games since Kaepernick's last appearance. 

- Three teams - the Cardinals, Dolphins and Redskins - have started six quarterbacks since the beginning of the 2017 season. The Bills, Jets and Broncos have all had five, and Washington could add another to their lengthy list should they turn to rookie Dwayne Haskins in the coming weeks.

- Of the 80 quarterbacks, 16 are out of the league - either due to being unsigned or retired. Former Steelers signal caller Landry Jones recently became the first player to sign with the upcoming XFL.

- Keenum, currently keeping Haskins on the sideline in Washington, is the only player on this list to have started for three different teams (Vikings, Broncos and Redskins) since 2017. A further 11 have started for two teams.  

It is a new era for the New York Giants, but the same problems persist for the Carolina Panthers.

On the other hand, the five remaining winless teams have concerns that extend beyond the quarterback position and will need to be addressed if they still hope to make the playoffs.

From post-game news conferences to next-day media availabilities, here are the 10 best Week 3 quotes from players and coaches around the NFL:

 

— A video of former firefighter Hakim Laws went viral for his comments about Philadelphia Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor after he caught kids dropped from a burning building in Philadelphia. "One of my old coworkers took the ladder off the truck and raised it up and was assisting people down," Laws said. "My man just started throwing babies out the window. We was catching 'em, unlike Agholor."

— Retired quarterback Michael Vick is not a fan of Cam Newton's wardrobe choice on game days: "This isn’t a fashion show. This is football."

— Washington Redskins quarterback Case Keenum owned up for the mistakes he made Monday against the Chicago Bears: "It's all on me. That's all on me. Turn the ball over that many times as a quarterback, you know, I let my team down. It's all on me. I really do. I take complete responsibility," Keenum said after the game. "I have to take care of the ball better. That's my number one job. Especially the way our defense was playing early — getting after the quarterback, doing a good job, keeping everything in front of them — they got all the momentum off of the turnovers and scored a lot of points off turnovers. So that's all on me."

— Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay confirmed running back Todd Gurley is not on a load management program after dealing with a knee injury last season: "No, we're not doing anything like it," he told reporters. "It's more along the lines of, each week presents a different approach. It's kind of the feel of the flow of the game. We want to get Todd involved. I'd like to do better of being able to give him a chance to get more into a rhythm than I’ve enabled him to do these first three games."

— Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio addressed Emmanuel Sanders' "living in a world of suck" comment: "He was just repeating what I had said in the locker room after the game," he told reporters. "I told them, 'We're going to have to deal with everybody thinking we suck.' All of us, not just players — coaches, everybody, the whole organisation — we need to deal with that. He was basically just repeating what I had said."

— New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur was asked why he did not just start Daniel Jones in place of Eli Manning from the beginning: "I feel like I did what I thought was best and, at least in this scenario, it played out well for Daniel," he said. "He had a good performance the first week out."

— Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker TJ Watt on how to help the team's run defense that ranks fifth-worst in the league: "Stop the damn run. Number one. Stop the run."

— Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had a hilarious take on Robert Quinn's sack dance: "Well, that's one of the best I've seen, riding that pony," he said on 105.3 The Fan. "You know what's fun is sometimes Zeke will do something like that. He'll put a towel on or put some shorts on and head down through the middle of the dressing room kind of spanking himself as he emulates riding a horse. And that's before a game, so you can see what an asset he is on and off the field for the Dallas Cowboys."

— Broncos cornerback Chris Harris seems pretty confident about facing Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew on Sunday: "He can make all the throws, he has great touch on the ball. I would say one lil negative is his arm strength is probably average but everything else ... great touch on the deep ball and his receivers are getting open for him," he told reporters.

— Bears coach Matt Nagy on facing NFC North rivals the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday: "Buckle your chin strap."

— Eagles offensive co-ordinator Mike Groh made it clear he is a believer in second chances as he expressed confidence in running back Miles Sanders: "He's not the first guy in the NFL to fumble. ... We're not going to bury the guy on the bench."

Through three weeks of the NFL season, a quarter of the teams are still yet to taste defeat.

While some of those were expected to excel - see the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys - others, such as the Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions, have all started strongly after losing seasons in 2018.

This weekend sees the 3-0 Patriots and Bills face off, while the 2-0-1 Lions host Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Here we take a look at the eight undefeated teams and determine when their first defeat might come, if at all...

DETROIT LIONS (2-0-1)

Upcoming games: vs Chiefs, @ Packers, vs Vikings, vs Giants, @ Raiders, @ Bears

Are the Lions for real? Or did they get fortunate facing a Los Angeles Chargers team that shot themselves in the foot and an injury-ravaged Philadelphia Eagles after their opening tie with the Arizona Cardinals?

Their luck might soon run out, though, as their next three games - against the Chiefs, Packers and Minnesota Vikings - could easily leave them 2-3-1 and behind in the ultra-competitive NFC North.

BUFFALO BILLS (3-0)

Upcoming games: vs Patriots, @ Titans, vs Dolphins, vs Eagles, vs Redskins, @ Browns

Sean McDermott's team nearly suffered their first 'L' on Sunday, only to rally and beat the winless Cincinnati Bengals. 

A daunting clash with the Pats represents a good barometer of where this Bills team is and, even if they go down to Tom Brady and Co, their upcoming contests suggest they can remain firmly in the wildcard mix come November and December.

DALLAS COWBOYS (3-0)

Upcoming games: @ Saints, vs Packers, @ Jets, vs Eagles, @ Giants, vs Vikings

Everything is rosy in JerryWorld at the moment, with coordinator Kellen Moore overseeing a more potent offense thanks to quarterback Dak Prescott taking a significant step forward.

Get past the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football and the Cowboys might march all the way to 10-0 before visiting the Patriots. But New Orleans, coming off an impressive win in Seattle, are a formidable foe at home and should end Dallas' winning streak.

GREEN BAY PACKERS (3-0)

Upcoming games: vs Eagles, @ Cowboys, vs Lions, vs Raiders, @ Chiefs, @ Chargers

Rookie head coach Matt LaFleur is certainly enjoying life at the helm in Titletown and Green Bay host the depleted Eagles this week.

The Pack's offense - LaFleur's speciality - has largely underwhelmed, though, and a Week 5 trip to the talented Cowboys looks likely to spell the end of their unbeaten run.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (3-0)

Upcoming games: vs Browns, @ Rams, @ Redskins, vs Panthers, @ Cardinals, vs Seahawks

San Francisco have the earliest possible bye in Week 4 so their unbeaten run will last until at least Week 5, when they should have too much and be too fresh for a Cleveland Browns team flattering to deceive.

However, after that it's a visit to the Los Angeles Rams, where Sean McVay's offense might prove a bridge too far for the Niners' quietly impressive defense. San Francisco's playoff hopes likely hinge on home games against the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (3-0)

Upcoming games: @ Lions, vs Colts, vs Texans, @ Broncos, vs Packers, vs Vikings

Reigning MVP Mahomes and the Chiefs offense looks even better than it did in 2018 but they have a tricky run of games coming up against teams with playoff aspirations.

A Week 7 Thursday night trip to the Denver Broncos might spell the end of their unbeaten run. Vic Fangio's 0-3 team could conceivably be 2-1 now and Von Miller and Bradley Chubb have to get it together eventually, right?

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (3-0)

Upcoming games: @ Bills, @ Redskins, vs Giants, @ Jets, vs Browns, @ Ravens

New England can thank the schedule-makers for a start that has seen them breeze past the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets - who are a combined 0-9.

A stiffer test against the Bills lies in wait next, but New England have won seven in a row in Buffalo. The Pats could easily be 8-0, but a trip to their nemesis Baltimore - against a Ravens team coming off a bye - might prevent them from winning nine straight.

LOS ANGELES RAMS (3-0)

Upcoming games: vs Buccaneers, @ Seahawks, vs 49ers, @ Falcons, vs Bengals, @ Steelers

Many tipped the Rams to take a blip after their Super Bowl appearance, but here are they are 3-0.

The sternest assignment in their next six games is a trip to Seattle - though New Orleans showed the Seahawks are beatable in the Pacific Northwest. After that, the schedule is kind - particularly now Pittsburgh have lost Ben Roethlisberger - so the Rams look the most likely to be the last unbeaten team standing.

On an eventful Sunday filled with headlines, Daniel Jones still managed to steal the show.

The New York Giants rookie shined under center as he made his first career start in a 32-31 NFL win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Jones – starting in place of veteran quarterback Eli Manning – completed 23 of 36 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns to snap the Giants' winless start to the season and give New York fans hope for the future.

The 22-year-old helped the Giants rally from an 18-point deficit at half-time and sealed the victory with his go-ahead run into the end zone.

It did not hurt that Buccaneers kicker Matt Gay missed the 44-yard attempt for the win as time expired.

 

Injury report

Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe was carted off the field in the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers with an apparent leg injury. 

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Mike Daniels was downgraded to out after leaving with a foot injury against the Philadelphia Eagles, though it was reported that initial tests revealed no broken bones.

New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman was ruled out against the New York Jets after suffering a chest injury in the first half. It was later reported that Edelman suffered a rib injury, but X-rays were negative.

After being flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for tossing his helmet away as he realised the extent of his injury, Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal exited in the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts on a cart and was later ruled out with an Achilles injury. He is rumoured to need surgery this week.

Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton was ruled out after sustaining a quad injury in the first half against the Falcons.

Giants running back Saquon Barkley was downgraded to out after being helped off the field against the Buccaneers. 

By the numbers

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes became the only player in the last 40 years with 200 or more passing yards and two passing touchdowns in the first half in each of his team's first three games of a season.

The Patriots won their 116th game of the decade, beating the 2000s Colts and breaking the record for most wins by a team in a single decade in NFL history. New England's point differential of +89 (106-17) through the first three weeks of the season is tied for second-highest in league history.

The Miami Dolphins, however, find themselves on the opposite end of that spectrum.

Meanwhile, the Jets broke new ground at Gillette Stadium by scoring their first touchdown in Foxborough in nearly four years.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins extended his streak of 19 games with one or more passing touchdown, making it the longest active streak in the NFL. He finished his outing against the Oakland Raiders 15 for 21 for 174 yards.

Quotables

Jets running back Le'Veon Bell on his frustration after going 0-3: "I'm not frustrated at all. I just know this team has a lot of talent, we just have to put it together. It's a new system, guy's first time playing together, a new coaching staff. We've just got to mesh everything together and we've got to get on board."

Broncos linebacker Von Miller on not catching the quarterback: "I need to find a way to play better. I have to find a way to get sacks and do my job. No one holds me to a higher standard than myself. I could sit here and make excuses, but I got clean rushes today. I just need to find a way to get the quarterback on the ground."

Week 3 NFL scores

Thursday's game

Jaguars 20, Titans 7

Sunday's games

Cowboys 31, Dolphins 6
Bills 21, Bengals 17
Lions 27, Eagles 24
Patriots 30, Jets 14
Colts 27, Falcons 24
Vikings 34, Raiders 14
Chiefs 33, Ravens 28
Packers 27, Broncos 16
Panthers 38, Cardinals 20
Giants 32, Buccaneers 31
Saints 33, Seahawks 27
Texans 27, Chargers 20
49ers 24, Steelers 20

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