No preseason, no problem: NFL rookies shine in strange year
Young and Jefferson made the Pro Bowl, and surely more rookies would have joined them as alternates at the league’s now-canceled all-star game. “It’s crazy unusual for a rookie, I think, to have the type of leadership that Chase has, genuine leadership,” Washington quarterback Alex Smith said. “I think a lot of young guys, especially high picks, I think you feel pressure to do it some way or somehow. “Talk about a rookie coming in, starting every game and just being focused,” Browns Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio said of Wills. “We’re growing and we’re starting to get a hang of the game,” said Dolphins right tackle Robert Hunt, a second-round pick and one of six Miami rookies starting on offense.
Dwayne Haskins starts for Washington despite breaking rules
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)Dwayne Haskins gets his second consecutive start for Washington with quarterback Alex Smith out again because of a right calf injury. Philadelphia receiver DeSean Jackon is active against Dallas after missing two months with an ankle injury. Harrison being inactive against the Rams comes as the Seahawks welcome defensive tackle Bryan Mone back from injured reserve following a lengthy stint because of an ankle injury. The Rams were without rookie running back Cam Akers, who had already been ruled out with an ankle injury. Washington: QB Alex Smith, RB Lamar Miller, WR Terry McLaurin, OT David Steinmetz, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB Thomas Davis.
Jackson leads surging Ravens to 40-14 rout of Jaguars
Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins runs with the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Baltimore. Instead, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens enjoyed a feel-good, confidence-building blowout that boosted their chances of reaching the playoffs for the third consecutive year. Jackson threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score, and Baltimore built a 26-point halftime lead against helpless Jacksonville in a 40-14 victory Sunday. The Ravens (9-5) have won three straight following a three-game skid and remained in the hunt to secure one of three AFC wild-card spots. The highlight of the fourth quarter was a 22-yard first-down run by Baltimore offensive lineman Tyre Phillips with a Jackson fumble.
A winner: Chiefs vs Saints, with Brees back to face Mahomes
1 conference seed is tight, with the Packers one game ahead of the Saints, the Rams and Seahawks one game behind. Drew Brees will be active after missing four games with fractured ribs and a collapsed lung, making for an intriguing matchup with Patrick Mahomes. The Bills (11-3) scored twice in a 17-second span in the third quarter to ice their fourth straight victory that officially ended the New England Patriots’ 11-year reign atop the division. Jerry Rice caught a touchdown pass in 12 straight games in 1987 and A.J. Green did it in nine straight games in 2012.
Henry runs wild, Titans hand Jags 12th straight loss, 31-10
Enjoying a big performance about 25 miles from his hometown of Yulee was something new for Henry. He managed just 13 yards as a rookie in 2016, followed by outings of 92, 57 and 44 yards in front of friends and family. Henry had 170 yards on 17 carries in the first 30 minutes, including a 36-yard touchdown run. He added a 47-yard scamper early in the third as the Titans (9-4) started to pull away. AFC South-leading Tennessee clinched its fifth consecutive winning season and moved a step closer to securing a playoff berth.
Giants, Vikings shed slow starts, move into playoff position
The New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings are in position to pull off remarkable turnarounds. One of the other teams that started 0-5 this season shares a stadium with the Giants but hasn’t pulled off an in-season turnaround. Jefferson, a first-round pick, had nine catches for 121 yards last week to reach 1,039 yards receiving on the season. With 11 TD runs this season, Newton has reached double-digits in three seasons (14 in 2011 and 10 in 2015). It was the first time since Brady Quinn in 2009 that a quarterback won consecutive starts despite throwing for fewer than 100 yards.
Vikings outlast error-prone Jags 27-24 on Bailey's OT kick
Minnesota Vikings place kicker Dan Bailey (5) celebrates with teammates after kicking a 23-yard field goal during overtime in an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Minneapolis. The Cowboys, Panthers and Jaguars (1-11), who lost their 11th straight game, are a combined 8-27. Chase McLaughlin even had a chance to win it with a 62-yard field goal at the end of the fourth quarter that fell short. FOUR FIGURESJefferson joined Pro Football Hall of Fame member Randy Moss (1998) as the only rookies in Vikings history to reach 1,000 receiving yards. Vikings: CB Jeff Gladney (calf) and TE Brandon Dillon (ankle) each left the game.
Plenty of reasons for scoring's record-setting pace in NFL
The top mark in NFL history through nine weeks was 24 ppg in 2018. That has eliminated the need for silent counts for road teams, making life much easier for offenses. Road teams are 67-65-1 this season, marking the first time since 1983 (68-57-1) that they had a winning record through nine weeks. From 2010-19, home teams outscored road teams by 2.0 points per game. FLAG FOOTBALL: From the crackdown on hits against defenseless receivers to the protections in place for quarterbacks, NFL rules always seem to tilt toward the offense.
Herbert leads Chargers to 39-29 victory over Jaguars
More importantly for Herbert, was that first win as an NFL starting quarterback despite Los Angeles blowing another large lead. The Chargers jumped to a 16-0 second-quarter lead but squandered a double-digit advantage for the fourth time in five games. James Robinson led Jacksonville with 119 rushing yards on 22 carries and a touchdown. After Michael Badgley's 35-yard field goal on the opening drive, rookie Joe Reed scored his first NFL touchdown on a 7-yard jet sweep around right end. It was the Chargers' first rushing touchdown since Herbert in Week 2 against Kansas City.
Fitzpatrick handles Jaguars again as Dolphins get first win
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick laughs with coaches as he comes off the field after defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars in an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ryan Fitzpatrick handles the Jacksonville Jaguars as well as anyone in the NFL. Fitzpatrick completed his first 12 passes — a career high — as Miami scored touchdowns on its first three drives for the first time since 2011. Fitzpatrick also ran for 39 yards and a score, his 37-year-old legs looking as fresh as any in Miami’s backfield. “As a group we just didn't get it done,” said Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew, who completed 30 of 42 passes for 275 yards and two turnovers. The Jaguars have won two in a row against the Bengals, notching victories in 2017 and 2019.
Gostkowski kicks 49-yarder as Titans beat Jaguars 33-30
(AP Photo/Wade Payne)NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Titans know good teams win ugly games, and being 2-0 for the first time in 12 years has a way of making any victory look much prettier. Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 49-yard field goal with 1:36 left, and the Tennessee Titans remain undefeated after holding off the Jacksonville Jaguars 33-30 Sunday. It’s exciting to get the win and get the Titans to 2-0.”Quarterback Ryan Tannehill said Gostkowski came up huge for the Titans on something that wasn't a chip shot. “Excited to be 2-0 for the first time here in Tennessee," third-year Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. So the Titans turned to Tannehill, the quarterback who led the NFL in 2019 with a 117.5 passer rating.