While Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II was turning heads on Thursday, Tom Brady supposedly stopped watching midway through the first half.

The New England Patriots quarterback was frustrated with the referees during the clash between the Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.

Brady tweeted his frustrations at the referees, stating he was turning the game off.

"I'm turning off this game I can't watch these ridiculous penalties anymore," he wrote.

This was after he already sounded off on the officials.

"Just let us play!!!!," he wrote, in part.

The Jaguars took a 14-0 lead in the first half against the Titans.

Quarterback changes continue as Week 3 draws closer, with one related to injury and one linked to performance.

Meanwhile, the fallout of one wide receiver's alleged actions carries on.

 

Three things that matter

Dolphins turn to Rosen under center

The Miami Dolphins are making a change after their 0-2 start with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback and will quickly find out if second-year QB Josh Rosen is worth the price the team paid this offseason.

The Dolphins traded for Rosen in April on the second day of the NFL Draft after Kyler Murray was taken with the first pick by the Arizona Cardinals. Rosen – drafted 10th by the Cardinals the year before – previously started 13 games in Arizona, completing 55.2 per cent of his passes for 2,278 yards and 11 touchdowns with 14 interceptions.

Ramsey expects to be traded by next week

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey will play against the Tennessee Titans, but reportedly does not expect to be a member of the team by next Sunday. Where he is headed could be anyone's guess considering almost every team have at least placed a call expressing interest.

Ramsey requested a trade after he was seen arguing with Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone on the sidelines during last week's game. However, Ramsey held a news conference addressing his trade request, saying neither he nor his agent wanted the news of the request to be leaked and that he was focused on being a good team-mate, not a "distraction."

Newton misses third straight practice

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton remains in a walking boot after aggravating his foot injury, prompting speculation that Kyle Allen will get the start against the Cardinals on Sunday. Despite telling reporters he would not address Newton's status, coach Ron Rivera was pressed about his availability and left his news conference early in frustration.

Allen has been taking the first-team reps in practice this week, hinting the Scottsdale, Arizona, native could face off against former Texas A&M team-mates Murray and Christian Kirk. He completed 16 of 27 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns in his one start against the Saints last season as he filled in for Newton.

Two things that don't matter

Brees staying in LA to start thumb rehab

It was reported New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees' surgery "went perfect" and should keep him within the initial six-week recovery timeline. In the meantime, Brees is expected to remain in Los Angeles, where he will work and start his thumb rehab.

Brees suffered a torn ligament in his right (throwing) thumb last Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams and underwent surgery Wednesday to repair the damage. The Saints opted not to place him on injured reserve, meaning they expect him to make his return within eight weeks.

Nike drops Brown amid sexual assault allegations

The receiver signed with the New England Patriots after a tumultuous offseason with the Oakland Raiders. Just one day later, Brown was accused of sexual assault and rape by his former trainer Britney Taylor.

Earlier this week, a second unnamed woman accused Brown of sexual misconduct.

Brown has denied all allegations and made his debut with New England last week, but sponsors have been distancing themselves from the wideout following the news. Xenith ended its sponsorship with him last week and Nike has also reportedly dropped him. Despite that though, he continues to focus on football and will be on the field again when the Patriots host the New York Jets on Sunday.

One video you have to see

Despite his crazy start to 2019, Brown appears focused on football going forward.

Thursday's tweet of the day

Sunday's matchup in Dallas is shaping up to be an interesting game after the Dolphins reportedly claimed Taco Charlton off waivers and swapped starting quarterbacks.

Antonio Brown said his focus was on football as he spoke to the media on Thursday for the first time since he was accused of sexual assault in a civil lawsuit.

Brown was accused by his former trainer Britney Taylor of sexual assault and rape, while a second unnamed woman has also made allegations of sexual misconduct against the New England Patriots wide receiver.

Brown has strongly denied the allegations through his attorney and the 31-year-old opted against discussing the matter further when he was questioned on his continued availability for NFL action.

Speaking to reporters in the Patriots locker room, Brown said: "I appreciate that question. I'm just here to focus on ball and [I] look forward to getting out there in the home stadium and being with the team."

Asked about "everything else going on in his life," he stated: "It's football. I'm grateful to play football. Every time you walk in the doors here you [have to] be your best for the team so every time I walk in here I just want to make sure I'm prepared."

Brown, who skipped the postgame media session after his debut against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, also expressed his gratitude at being given an opportunity by the Patriots following his tumultuous off-season with the Oakland Raiders.

"I'm just super grateful to be here, thankful for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady," Brown said. "I've got a lot of offense to learn and catch up but I'm excited and grateful to be here."

"It's been a tremendous honour [to play with Brady]," Brown added. "He's been here a long time, a lot of details, a lot of work ethic. He's a great guy to be around, just inspires everyone here."

While teams make adjustments in the wake of injury disasters last week, one squad opted to scrap their workout all together.

Then there is the status of one wide receiver, which is still up in the air.

Three things that matter

Antonio Brown won't face prosecution

The Allegheny County District Attorney says a statute of limitations issue prevents prosecutors in Pennsylvania from filing charges against Antonio Brown, after he was accused of sexual assault.

New England Patriots wide receiver Brown was accused by former trainer Britney Taylor of sexual assault and rape, allegations he has strongly denied through his attorney.

Taylor claimed Brown sexually assaulted her once in Pittsburgh when he exposed himself to her and forcibly kissed her in July 2017. The other alleged sexual assault and alleged rape occurred in Florida.

However, the allegation being dealt with by Pittsburgh law enforcement is more than two years old, which means there will not be an investigation.

"Our office, along with the Allegheny County Police Department, made contact with counsel for the plaintiff in the federal lawsuit involving Antonio Brown," the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office told Omnisport in a statement.

"Procedurally, it appears there is a statute of limitations issue in moving forward with any inquiry involving the Allegheny County allegation mentioned in the lawsuit."

It is unclear if Florida prosecutors will investigate charges on the rape and sexual assault allegations.

Doug Pederson cancels practice because of injuries

You could say things are getting pretty serious in Philadelphia. The Eagles coach also has to consider the team's schedule, which has the Eagles visiting the Green Bay Packers next Thursday on a short week.

"I want these guys as fresh as possible obviously for these next two weeks," Pederson said. "I got to think of the big picture here obviously and keeping guys this early in our season and keeping guys as fresh as possible now, so we can make a push later in the season – that's also a factor in this decision."

Pederson reiterated that defensive tackle Tim Jernigan remains the furthest from returning while labelling tight end Dallas Goedert and receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery as day to day.

Saints won't name starter before Sunday

As injured quarterback Drew Brees prepares for thumb surgery, his offense must prepare for his extended absence. But New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton has yet to reveal which of his backups will start, and does not plan on announcing it before Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Instead, Payton will approach this week with both Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill as options under center.

Bridgewater completed 17 of 30 passes for 165 yards and no touchdowns as he filled in for Brees against the Los Angeles Rams, while Hill has played multiple roles filling in where needed.

Two things that don't matter

Cam Newton doesn't practice again

It is looking more and more like 23-year-old Kyle Allen will get the start for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals after Newton did not work out for the second straight day.

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney confirmed Newton re-aggravated the mild foot sprain he suffered during the preseason and could not provide a timetable for his return, but the writing was on the wall on Tuesday when Newton was spotted in Charlotte with a boot on his foot.

James Conner expects to play Week 3

In the wake of Ben Roethlisberger's season-ending elbow injury, the Pittsburgh Steelers appear to have caught a break when it comes to the running back's hurt knee. Conner was sidelined on Sunday against the Seahawks and while he may not be a full-go at practice all this week, he appeared confident in his availability for Sunday at San Francisco.

Much of Mason Rudolph's success under center in place of Roethlisberger as he makes his first career start will depend on his offense's ability to help him transition.

One video you have to see

Retired safety Ryan Clark has nothing but respect for Eli Manning despite him being benched for rookie Daniel Jones but admitted he was unimpressed by the veteran during his reign in New York.

Wednesday's tweet of the day

Brees expressed gratitude for his wife, Brittany, who spent her birthday at the hospital as the quarterback prepared to have his thumb surgery.

The Allegheny County District Attorney says a statute of limitations issue prevents prosecutors in Pennsylvania from filing charges against Antonio Brown, after he was accused of sexual assault.

New England Patriots wide receiver Brown was accused by former trainer Britney Taylor of sexual assault and rape, allegations he has strongly denied through his attorney.

Taylor claimed Brown sexually assaulted her once in Pittsburgh when he exposed himself to her and forcibly kissed her in July 2017. The other alleged sexual assault and alleged rape occurred in Florida.

However, the allegation being dealt with by Pittsburgh law enforcement is more than two years old, which means there will not be an investigation.

"Our office, along with the Allegheny County Police Department, made contact with counsel for the plaintiff in the federal lawsuit involving Antonio Brown," the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office told Omnisport in a statement.

"Procedurally, it appears there is a statute of limitations issue in moving forward with any inquiry involving the Allegheny County allegation mentioned in the lawsuit."

It is unclear if Florida prosecutors will investigate charges on the rape and sexual assault allegations.

Taylor filed a civil suit against Brown last week, one day after the Patriots signed him to the team. ESPN reported on Friday that Brown will not be placed on the commissioner's exempt list because there is no criminal investigation into the wideout.

Taylor reportedly met with NFL investigators this week to give her statement, while Brown is expected to meet with the league soon to discuss the allegations.

Brown made his season debut last Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, where he caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.

New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown has denied claims of sexual misconduct from a second woman.

Britney Taylor, Brown's former trainer, last week filed a civil lawsuit against him in Florida, claiming he sexually assaulted her three times over two years, allegedly raping her in 2018.

Brown denied the allegations, while the NFL opened its own investigation.

On Monday, Sports Illustrated ran a story from a second woman, who came forward on the condition of anonymity.

She claimed to have worked on a mural for Brown at his house in 2017 after he had been impressed by a portrait of the then Pittsburgh Steelers star.

The woman said Brown appeared behind her completely nude except for a washcloth covering his genitals.

She said she took this as a sexual advance but "kept [her] cool and kept painting" and subsequently never saw Brown again, opting not to press charges at the time.

Responding to the Sports Illustrated story, Darren Heitner, Brown's attorney, issued a firm denial on Twitter.

"Antonio Brown has reviewed the sexual misconduct allegations made by an unnamed artist included in a recently published Sports Illustrated article and denies that he ever engaged in such activities," Heitner said in a short statement.

"There will be no further comment at this time."

Brown has been at the centre of much controversy in recent months, having forced a trade from the Steelers to the Oakland Raiders, who then granted his request for a release after a series of off-field episodes.

The 31-year-old scored a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins on his Patriots debut on Sunday, finishing the game with four receptions for 56 yards.

The second week of the NFL season gave us what Week 1 could not – fewer injuries and more close finishes.

The fourth quarter was crucial on Sunday as several high-profile games gave us nail-biting endings. Gardner Minshew could not quite get the Jacksonville Jaguars past the Houston Texans as he made his first career start in place of injured quarterback Nick Foles, while the Indianapolis Colts' defense helped Jacoby Brissett claim his first win of the season since Andrew Luck retired.

But setbacks were not inescapable after the Pittsburgh Steelers were plagued by injuries in their home opener against the Seattle Seahawks. The Steelers fought down to the final fourth-and-one wire of a game that had four sacks and four first downs over the first five possessions alone, but the Seahawks picked up their eight win in the team's last nine games.

Other games were not as competitive, like the New England Patriots' 43-0 shutout of the Miami Dolphins and the San Francisco 49ers' 41-17 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Then there are the Buffalo Bills, who moved to an unlikely 2-0 after they spoiled the New York Giants' home opener 28-14, while head coach Matt LaFleur recorded his first win at Green Bay as the Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings 21-16 for the first time since 2016.

Injury report

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was seen shaking his throwing arm at various points in the first half against the Seahawks and even exited to the locker room before returning to the sideline to play through the injury. He was later ruled questionable to return to start the second half but never made it back after being replaced by backup Mason Rudolph.

Meanwhile, Steelers team-mate and running back James Conner was also questionable to return with a knee injury suffered in the second half. The Steelers also lost linebacker Vince Williams and safety Sean Davis to injuries.

49ers tackle Joe Staley was carted off the field against the Bengals with a leg injury and did not return. Niners coach Kyle Shanahan revealed after the game that Staley suffered a broken fibula.

Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis, starting in place of Jordan Reed as he recovers from a concussion, sustained an eye injury against the Dallas Cowboys.

Another less injury-prone quarterback went down as New Orlenas Saints veteran Drew Brees injured his throwing hand making contact with Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald in their NFC title rematch. He was sidelined with his thumb taped as Teddy Bridgewater took over under centre.

By the numbers

After being a healthy scratch in Week 1, Redskins running back Adrian Peterson scored his 107th career rushing touchdown to pass Hall of Famer Jim Brown on the all-time list. He is three rushing touchdowns behind Walter Payton for fourth in NFL history.

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is back in a big way, as the veteran scored in back-to-back weeks for the first time since Weeks 12 and 13 of the 2017 season.

Antonio Brown's touchdown catch during his Patriots debut against the Dolphins made him the 72nd player to catch a regular-season touchdown pass from Tom Brady, which extends a league record for the 42-year-old New England quarterback.

Rookie sensation and Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray joined Carolina Panthers veteran Cam Newton as the only players in NFL history to throw for more than 300 yards in their first two starts.

Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster hit 2,500 career receiving yards against the Seahawks, becoming the youngest player in league history to accomplish the feat.

It was a good day for fantasy owners with New England's defense after the Patriots shut out the Dolphins.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes exploded in the first half against the Oakland Raiders, with his four touchdown passes and 313 yards helping him become the first signal-caller to throw for more than 278 yards in any quarter since Brees did so in 2008.

Quotables

Giants coach Pat Shurmur on replacing Eli Manning with Daniel Jones: "I think we have to look at how our team played and we have to go back and take steps to get better in all areas. I don't think that's a conversation for right now. Everybody has to play better."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick on having Brady throw deep despite being up 37 points: "We're playing 60 minutes. You've got to play 60 minutes."

Week 1 NFL scores

Thursday's game

Buccaneers 20, Panthers 14

Sunday's games

Ravens 23, Cardinals 17
Lions 13, Chargers 10
Colts 19, Titans 17
49ers 41, Bengals 17
Texans 13, Jaguars 12
Packers 21, Vikings 16
Cowboys 31, Redskins 21
Seahawks 28, Steelers 26
Bills 28, Giants 14
Patriots 43, Dolphins 0
Chiefs 28, Raiders 10
Rams 27, Saints 9
Bears 16, Broncos 14

It did not take long for Antonio Brown to get on the board for New England.

The Patriots receiver scored his first touchdown with his new team in the second quarter of Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins.

Brown, making his debut in his hometown of Miami, caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady late in the first half. The reception made Brown the 72nd player to catch a regular-season touchdown pass from Brady, extending an NFL record for the veteran quarterback.

The 31-year-old, who was active Sunday despite being accused of sexual assault and rape in a civil lawsuit last week, had four catches, one rush attempt and a touchdown in the first half alone.

Brown was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders in the offseason. He never played a game for the Raiders, however, after Oakland granted his request for a release following a series of offseason episodes.

Antonio Brown will finally return to NFL action after being named on the New England Patriots' active roster against the Miami Dolphins.

Brown has been the most talked about player in the league in recent months, having forced a trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders, who then granted his request for a release after a series of off-field episodes.

The star wide receiver joined the Patriots on Monday and practiced this week, travelling with the team to Miami.

Coach Bill Belichick had suggested Brown was still learning New England's offense but he was named among the 46 active players on Sunday.

The news of Brown's start comes after Britney Taylor, his former trainer, filed a civil lawsuit against him in Florida this week, claiming he sexually assaulted her three times over two years, allegedly raping her in 2018.

Brown has denied the allegations, while the NFL has opened its own investigation.

With Week 2 underway, we take a look at the top storylines around the league. 

From reaction to the Carolina Panthers suffering another loss on Thursday to New York Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams responding to Odell Beckham Jr.'s recent comments, we follow all that is happening on Friday in this edition of NFL news and notes. 

Three things that matter

Cam Newton takes blame after Panthers start season 0-2

After the Panthers fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-14 on Thursday, quarterback Cam Newton shouldered most of the blame. He said all fingers will be pointed at him to try and figure out how to turn around an 0-2 start. 

"We didn't uphold our end and we're past due. Special teams had a good return, defensively we were stout all game, but all fingers are pointing back to me specifically – and the offense," Newton said. "It's extremely frustrating knowing that you're getting opportunities and you just can't put the ball in the end zone. That's what we have to figure out – what I have to figure out."

Newton threw for 324 yards but completed just 24 of 51 passes and was sacked three times as the Panthers failed to score a touchdown. There has been speculation with Newton's health as he had shoulder surgery during the offseason and suffered a foot injury in the preseason. Coach Ron Rivera insisted, though, that Newton's health is not a concern.

"There's no issue with his shoulder. He threw the deep ball today, threw it a couple times," Rivera said.

Williams responds to Beckham's 'cheap shots' comment

Jets defensive coordinator Williams responded to Beckham's accusations that the coach told his players to injure the wide receiver during a preseason game two years ago.  When pressed about Beckham's recent claims, Williams said with a slight laugh: "Odell who?" before saying, "That was a joke ... that was Jerry [Jones]," in reference to how the Dallas Cowboys owner responded to Ezekiel Elliott holdout questions in the preseason. 

"We don't do that. Never done that anywhere I've been. We don't do anything to hurt the team," Williams said.

Beckham said on Thursday that Williams, who was a defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns from 2017-18 before serving as interim head coach in 2018, coaches his players to make "dirty hits and cheap shots" targeted at him. Beckham added Williams "changed my life forever" when he was hit during a preseason game in 2017 while playing for the New York Giants, which resulted in an ankle injury. He claims Browns players told him that Williams would tell his players to take the receiver out. 

Needless to say, Monday's Week 2 game between the Jets and Browns will be an interesting one.

Giants receiver Sterling Shepard out against Bills

The Giants will be without a key part of their offense against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. New York have ruled out wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who was placed in the NFL's concussion protocol this week as a result of a hit he suffered in Week 1's loss to the Cowboys. The Giants had been hopeful that Shepard would be ready to play and he continued working on the side in practice this week.

Coach Pat Shurmur said on Thursday he was "doing OK", but still needed to pass steps in the protocol before being cleared.

The news certainly is not good for the Giants as their receivers have been hit hard with injuries. Cody Latimer (questionable for Sunday's game) and Darius Slayton (ruled out) are both hampered by hamstring injuries. In addition, Golden Tate has three games remaining on his suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances, and Corey Coleman is on the injured reserve.

The Giants re-signed TJ Jones on Thursday to fill the void.

Two things that don't matter

Bill Belichick mum on Antonio Brown's Week 2 status

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick addressed Antonio Brown's Week 2 status, though he was not willing to divulge too much information about his game plan for Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

"We'll do what's best for the team," he told reporters on Friday.

Brown practised with the Patriots on Wednesday after signing a one-year deal with the team at the start of the week, but Belichick said Brown still has "a long way to go" and the receiver is "not familiar with our offense".

Brown has been accused of sexually assaulting his former trainer, Britney Taylor, in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday in the Southern District of Florida. The lawsuit alleges there were three separate incidents, two of which occurred in June 2017. Taylor alleges in the suit she was "forcibly raped" by Brown in the other incident, which took place in May 2018.

Torrey Smith retires after eight NFL seasons

Torrey Smith is ready to call it a career. The former receiver last played for the Panthers, but he was cut less than two weeks ago. He previously spent time with the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles.

"Dear football, I knew this day would come, and to be completely honest, I've been preparing for it my entire career," Smith said during a video posted on Twitter. "You and I both knew the game for me wouldn't last forever. It's the NFL circle of life and I'm prepared for what's next."

Smith, 30, finished his career with 319 catches for 5,141 yards and 41 touchdowns. He won Super Bowl titles with the Ravens and Eagles.

One video you have to see

In the NFL, players become known for their touchdown celebrations, and it looks like some rookies were practising their moves.

Friday's tweet of the day

Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had high praise for the Jacksonville Jaguars' Jalen Ramsey. He said Ramsey is his "favourite corner to play against".

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was in a revealing mood when talking about Antonio Brown on Wednesday.

OK, obviously he was not. He never is when he talks. That can easily be seen by his answers to questions about the wide receiver who has been accused of rape and sexual assault by his former trainer.

Q: Were you aware of the lawsuit when you signed Antonio Brown?

BB: I'm not going to be expanding on the statements that have already been given.

Q: Don't you think the fans deserve to hear a little bit more from you…

BB: When we know more, we'll say more.

Q: … on such a major development that could impact the team?

BB: Yeah, I just said that.

Q: Don't you think fans deserve to hear a little bit more?

BB: When we know more, we'll say more.

Q: Are you preparing to have Antonio Brown at practice today?

BB: Yes.

Q: And are you preparing for him to play on Sunday?

BB: We're taking it one day at a time. Just like we always do.

Q: Are you preparing for the possibility that he could be on the commissioner's exempt list?

BB: We're preparing for one day at a time.

Q: How much would the allegations against him weigh into if you play him on Sunday?

BB: Yeah, I appreciate all of the questions, and what's been said has been said.

We do not know if Brown is going to play this week, but it is a storyline to follow. Even if he plays though, the Miami Dolphins are likely in a lot of trouble.

Despite the drama that follows Brown, there is a lot of good on-the-field football stories this week, including a rematch of a very controversial game in the playoffs last year.

Here is your NFL countdown to Week 2:

 

Three must-see NFL Week 2 games

Vikings (1-0-0) at Packers (1-0-0) — This will be a decent indicator of how good the Green Bay Packers' new defense is. Green Bay looked very good against the Chicago Bears last week, but a lot of that was because Mitchell Trubisky was awful and the Bears refused to run the ball. The Minnesota Vikings have just about everything going for them offensively. They will be a stiff challenge for Green Bay.

Cardinals (0-0-1) at Ravens (1-0-0) — Lamar Jackson looked absolutely incredible last week. But, it was against the Dolphins who — in sum — played like Team Trubisky. Do not get us wrong, Jackson is good, but the Arizona Cardinals certainly present a tougher test defensively than Miami. Also, Kyler Murray looked amazing in the fourth quarter and overtime in his NFL debut. He was awful for the first three quarters, though. Can he develop more consistency — hopefully on the positive side — against a very tough Baltimore Ravens defense? We are not holding our breath. The Ravens might have the best defense in football.

Saints (1-0-0) at Rams (1-0-0) — It is a rematch of last season's NFC championship game. Do not remember what happened there? Here's a refresher:

The Los Angeles Rams went on to win and went to the Super Bowl. A controversial no-call play prompted the NFL to make pass interference reviewable. A Saints fan then filed a civil suit against the NFL for robbing his team of a shot at a championship. Yeah, you need to watch this game.

J.J. Watt, Texans DE — For the first time in Watt's career Monday, the three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year was held without a tackle, quarterback hit or sack. The Houston Texans star likely will not let that happen again, and he is facing a rookie quarterback — come on down, Gardner Minshew! — against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. A three- or four-sack game might not be out of the question.

Joe Mixon, Bengals RB — Mixon suffered a sprained ankle in the Cincinnati Bengals' Week 1 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Coach Zac Taylor's offense is very much based on the play-action game and not having Mixon will likely affect it. However, Andy Dalton threw for 418 yards in Week 1, so clearly it can work either way. It will likely work better with Mixon, listed as questionable for the San Francisco 49ers, so the Bengals will certainly want him back.

One bold NFL Week 2 prediction

Jags fans will wonder: Did they find a franchise QB by accident? Gardner Minshew started only one season at Washington State, but won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award given to the nation's best senior quarterback. He threw for 275 yards, two touchdowns and posted a 76.8 QBR in Week 1 in relief of Nick Foles, who is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Minshew has legitimate talent, and team-mates love to play for him. Look for him to again throw for 250 or more yards and two or three touchdowns against a good Texans defense. If he does that, the Jaguars may have found their quarterback of the future in the sixth round.

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.

Another week, another news cycle dominated by Antonio Brown.

But while all of that was going on, several big injuries hit both major sports in full swing.

And also, disappointment at FIBA World Cup for defending champions the United States.

All of that and more on this week in US Sports.

 

1. Brown dominates headlines

The Antonio Brown drama just will not stop. As of last Thursday, the wide receiver was fighting with his team the Oakland Raiders, his general manager and social media. Now, one week later, he has been released, signed with the New England Patriots and has had a civil suit filed against him alleging he raped and sexually assaulted his former trainer.

It has been a long week for Brown, and he is in a similar spot to where he was a week ago — waiting to see what will happen come on Sunday.

Will the NFL or Patriots suspend Brown? Well, the Patriots can suspend him, the NFL would likely only put him on the commissioner's exempt list, but either way, he is once again in wait and see mode as are all NFL fans.

The Patriots play the lowly Miami Dolphins on Sunday though, so his return at least is not pressing for New England.

2. NFL injuries pile up

With the first week of the NFL season there is football, but there is also disappointment and most of said disappointment comes by way of injury. There were plenty of huge injuries in the first game for many teams.

In Jacksonville, Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles suffered a shoulder injury and is out for a good amount of time. In Washington, Redskins running back Derrius Guice suffered a meniscus injury and will likely be out for more than a month. In Kansas City, Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill also hurt his shoulder and could miss four or more games, and in Los Angeles, Chargers tight end Hunter Henry once again will be down for a while as he suffered a bad knee injury.

Now teams will have to adjust to these injuries and figure out what to do moving forward. But we encourage you to check out Foles' replacement in Jacksonville. Rookie Gardner Minshew was good in relief of Foles and he was named the best senior quarterback in college last season. We think he could fill in more than admirably.

 

3. USA eliminated in FIBA World Cup

The United States crashed out of the FIBA World Cup after they lost to France in the quarter-finals and were eliminated completely in their next game when they fell to Serbia.

This was a team that were always going to have a tough time winning the tournament despite being the favourites to win it as All-Stars like James Harden, Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis all pulled out of the event.

In the end, this USA team will be known for who did not play than for their end result.

"I can only say, you can't help but notice and remember who you thought you were going to war with and who didn't show up," USA basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo told reporters. "I'm a firm believer that you deal with the cards you're dealt. All we could have done, and we did it, is get the commitments from a lot of players. So with that kind of a hand you feel reasonably confident that you're going to be able to put a very good representative team on the court.

"No one would have anticipated the pullouts that we had."

4. MLB sets new single-season home run record

The ball has been flying out of MLB ballparks at an alarming rate this season, and as of Wednesday, it has flown out more than ever before in a single year.

With Baltimore Orioles utilityman Jonathan Villar's three-run homer in a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB teams had combined to hit 6,106 home runs this season which broke the 2017 mark of 6,105 home runs.

MLB teams are now on pace to hit 6,806 home runs, passing the previous mark by 700.

5. Likely National League MVP out for the year

The National League's best player and reigning MVP Christian Yelich is done for the year.

Yelich broke his knee cap when he fouled a ball off his leg during the Milwaukee Brewers' clash with the Miami Marlins on Tuesday. Fortunately, he will not have to have surgery, but with the Brewers tied with the Chicago Cubs for the second wild-card spot in the NL, this is a devastating blow for Milwaukee.

Yelich finished the season first in the NL in OPS (1.100), tied for second in home runs (44), tied for second in batting average (.329), 10th in RBIs (97), tied for third in stolen bases (30) and first in on-base percentage (.429).

He was the undisputed leader in the NL MVP race and is now out for the season.

There was not a shortage of news heading into Week 2 as the Antonio Brown chronicle took yet another turn.

Elsewhere around the league, the reality of injuries suffered opening weekend began to sink in as some players hit injured reserve early.

Three things that matter

Antonio Brown practices in wake of rape accusation

Just when you thought the saga was finally over, the New England Patriots receiver was accused of sexually assaulting and raping his former trainer, Britney Taylor, in a civil lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Florida on Tuesday. The lawsuit alleges there were three separate incidents, two of which occurred in June 2017 and a third that took place in May 2018.

Brown's attorney denied "each and every allegation in the lawsuit". Patriots coach Bill Belichick could not confirm if Brown would play against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2 but he was on the field for practice at the team facility in a number one uniform.

"I'm not going to be expanding on the statements that have already been given," Belichick told reporters sternly. "When we know more, we'll say more."

Tyreek Hill likely out 4-6 weeks

The Kansas City Chiefs appear optimistic, however, as the team opted not to place the receiver on injured reserve. It was a good indication that Hill avoided serious injury, but it still leaves a sizable void on offense. The setback also comes after Hill agreed to a reported three-year, $54million extension despite an offseason overshadowed by numerous off-field incidents. 

Meanwhile, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes practiced on Wednesday after playing through a sprained ankle in the team's chippy Week 1 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Quincy Enunwa out for season with another neck injury

The New York Jets receiver has now suffered two in the past three years, though it is unclear whether the most recent injury is considered career-threatening. Enunwa previously missed the entire 2017 season after hurting his neck in training camp.

New York are already without tight end Chris Herndon, who is serving a four-game suspension to start the season, so losing Enunwa is another blow to the team's offense, especially after he signed a four-year extension worth $36m in December.

Two things that don't matter

Hunter Henry is hurt again

The Los Angeles Chargers tight end is no stranger to injuries, but the latest is pretty significant. The team announced Henry suffered a tibial plateau fracture – a break in the upper portion of the tibia or the shin bone – to his left knee on Sunday and will be out for an undisclosed time, though it was reported he could miss four to six weeks.

Henry, who had four catches for 60 yards against the Indianapolis Colts, previously suffered a lacerated kidney in 2017 and a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the 2018 preseason.

AJ Green out of walking boot

While there is still no timeline for his return, it is a positive sign for the Cincinnati Bengals receiver, who continues to make strides in his recovery from preseason ankle surgery.

"Everything's going in a great direction," Green told reporters in his first public comments since suffering the injury during training camp.

Green added that he ran for about 10 minutes on Tuesday and worked out his legs with the team's strength and conditioning coach on Wednesday, noting that his range of motion remains limited but is improving.

One video you have to see

Because even after 18 years, we will never forget.

Wednesday's tweet of the day

After all his helmet drama, Brown did not even wear the headgear he had settled on before leaving the Oakland Raiders during his first practice with the Patriots.

The New Orleans Saints will be on a revenge mission when they do battle with the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

Los Angeles claimed a dramatic 26-23 overtime win over New Orleans in the NFC Championship game in January and they are set for an early-season battle nine months later.

Both sides got their seasons under way with victories and the Rams will have home advantage as they go in search of back-to-back successes.

The Green Bay Packers lock horns with the Minnesota Vikings, while the Seattle Seahawks travel to face the Pittsburgh Steelers.

We look at some of the key Opta facts for seven games on the second Sunday of the campaign.

 

 

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins

The Cowboys have won five of the six games they have played against Washington since the start of the 2016 season, but the Redskins came out on top 20-17 at FedEx Field last season.

Washington went down 24-0 in their last home game of last season versus the Philadelphia Eagles, their fourth consecutive defeat in their own backyard.

 

Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans

The Colts have swept the Titans in all but one of the last seven seasons, with the exception being when Tennessee won both games in 2017.

Tennessee have won 75 per cent of their home games since the start of the 2017 season (12-4). Only five teams have a better home winning percentage in that time (New England, New Orleans, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Minnesota).

 

New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins

Champions New England have lost 12 road games since the start of the 2014 season. A third of those losses have come in Miami, - 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018.

The Dolphins have lost two straight home games, failing to score more than 10 points in either game. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has thrown three or more touchdowns in nine regular season games against Miami, who shipped 59 points in their season-opening loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

 

Buffalo Bills @ New York Giants

The Giants have won four of the last five games versus the Bills, including each of the last three. However, the Bills have won on three of their last five visits to the Giants.

Since the start of last season, Bills quarterback Josh Allen has nine rushing touchdowns, three more than any other quarterback.

 

Seattle Seahawks @ Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have won seven of the nine games played in Pittsburgh against the Seahawks, while Seattle have been shut out in their last two visits to Heinz Field.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger failed to throw a touchdown pass in Week 1, snapping a streak of 26 consecutive games with a touchdown pass - the second-longest run in franchise history.

 

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers

Minnesota have not lost to Green Bay in their last four matches, winning three. The Packers finished last season with a 31-0 home defeat at the hands of the Detroit Lions, but a vastly more competitive game will be expected against the Vikings with Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers back to full fitness.

Vikings safety Anthony Harris had two interceptions against the Atlanta Falcons last week. He had three interceptions in his previous 51 NFL games.

 

New Orleans Saints @ Los Angeles Rams

The Rams were 7-1 at home last season, their best record since going 8-0 in 2003. They gained 3,620 yards at home last year, the fifth-most since 1940.

New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas had 10 receptions for 123 yards in Week 1. It was his 10th career game with 10 or more catches, the second most in the league since 2016 – Antonio Brown (11).

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