Eric Edholm

  • Cardiac Chargers somehow keep in playoff derby with wild win

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 3 hrs ago

    The San Diego Chargers gave the San Francisco 49ers every chance to win their game Saturday night. Practically begged them to.

    In front of a sparse Levi's Stadium crowd that was apathetic about the playoff-denied 49ers, the Chargers — their playoff hopes already slim, and in dire need of a win — spotted the Niners a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter and then gifted the 49ers a touchdown right before the half to make it a 28-7 deficit for the Chargers.

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    Philip Rivers, practically duct-taped together at this point, threw two picks in the first half, one of which was run back for a touchdown, and a third horrible interception at the end of the third quarter that killed a potentially good drive when the Chargers were down two scores.

    But somehow they, Rivers and these not-dead-yet Chargers — who started the season 5-1, still looked solid at 8-4 but would have been in deep trouble with a loss to the 49ers — found a way. They forced overtime and eventually won it, 38-35, in the most thrilling prime-time game of the NFL season.

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  • If this is it for Frank Gore in San Fran, he's going out on top

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 4 hrs ago

    Frank Gore might be entering the final four quarters of his San Francisco 49ers career. As a pending free agent, and with the 49ers perhaps heading in another direction next season, it could be the end of an era.

    The former third-round pick has been nothing short of a warrior for the franchise.

    Gore can move into the NFL's top 20 all time for rushing next week, passing Warrick Dunn, if he can gain 39 yards in Week 17 against the Arizona Cardinals. And with 38 yards, he can become only the ninth back in NFL history with eight 1,000-yard rushing seasons.

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    It hasn't been the easiest season for Gore or for the 49ers, who have been eliminated from the postseason in the wake of injuries, Colin Kaepernick's struggles and the Jim Harbaugh nonsense.

    But Gore ran like gangbusters, like none of that mattered, giving the same incredible effort Saturday night in a 38-35 overtime loss to the San Diego Chargers as he did when he broke into the league 10 seasons ago.

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  • James ... Flacco? Obama confuses quarterback with actor

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    You might have heard that Sony Entertainment executives decided to pull Hollywood satire "The Interview," starring James Franco and Seth Rogen that has been condemned by the North Korean government.

    It's not a football story. But President Barack Obama made it one. Accidentally.

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    Condemning Sony for pulling the plug on the film, and simultaneously wondering why North Korea would be so bothered by the satire, Obama mentioned the film's stars, Seth Rogen and James ... Flacco?

    James Flacco: https://t.co/jsKjhmOo2z

    Yes, the president meant actor James Franco.

    Not James Flacco, or Joe Flacco, the Baltimore Ravens quarterback, or any other Flacco/James/Joe combination who might be out there.

    That, of course, led to some hilarious reaction from the sports world on Twitter and a discussion, of course, of whether Franco or Flacco or Obama were elite.

    James Flacco... Still a better QB than Matt Ryan

  • Bears' Tillman hints at return, can't explain awful 2014 season

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    Holiday spirit is in a little shorter supply this season in Chicago with the Bears' struggles this season, but injured cornerback Charles Tillman is trying to keep a healthy perspective on the team and himself — and also giving fans a reason to smile — as best he can.

    "It has just been one of those years, man," Tillman told the Shutdown Corner. "Every year, some team just has one of those years. That's us."

    Tilman has been working back from a season-ending triceps injury he suffered back in Week 2 that put his career status in doubt, but he's rehabbing dutifully and taking part in his usual dose of community service — he was the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year last season — for which he is widely respected in the community.

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    He's also at a loss for words on why the Bears' season has gone so awry. Tillman blames injuries and bad luck as the primary factors.

    Does Tillman agree with Martellus Bennett's assessment following the loss to the New Orleans Saints that some Bears have quit on the team?

  • NFL Draft Watch: Top prospects, sleepers from all 38 bowl games

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 2 days ago

    Are you planning to watch all 38 college bowl games? So are we. (Eventually ... time permitting.)

    Well, keep this guide handy: a list of the top NFL prospects and sleepers for the 2015 draft in every game, even the ones with weird names and sponsors.

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    We tried to guess which underclassmen will enter the draft, but some impressive players were off the list. Plus, we couldn't list every gifted player who will take the field in December and January.

    With that in mind, here are some players you should know about from each of the games (listed chronologically, all kickoff times ET):

    NEW ORLEANS BOWL

    Matchup: Nevada (7-5) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4) Location: New Orleans When: Dec. 20, 11 a.m., ESPN Top prospect: Nevada QB Cody Fajardo — The dual-threat quarterback replaced Colin Kaepernick as the Wolfpack’s starter but has not progressed as a pro prospect and would have to be put into the “project” category. He’s athletic and had a great performance in the close loss to Arizona, but Fajardo remains a piece of clay that must be molded.

  • Shutdown Corner Playoff Projection: Big shakeup in the NFC field

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 3 days ago

    Here's how the playoff field looks right now entering Week 16 of the NFL season, with the Arizona Cardinals still sitting atop the NFC field with home-field advantage and the Super Bowl being played on their home turf.

    However, with the Cardinals' shaky quarterback situation (and injuries elsewhere), we're projecting a new team landing the coveted top seed — the Seattle Seahawks — in advance of their meeting with the Cards this weekend.

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    Losses by the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles and victories by the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints also tilted those respective divisional races and the wildcard picture. One double-digit team will miss the field entirely, and right now it's the Eagles on the outside looking in.

    With that in mind, here's how the first-round matchups could end up looking if our projections are accurate.

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  • Chicago sportscaster apologizes for tasteless joke in Cutler pun

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 3 days ago

    The Chicago Bears have become a joke. Football teams that have become jokes illicit jokes from the people who watch them.

    But there's a line of taste and standards, too, and one Chicago broadcaster certainly crossed it.

    After the Bears lost to the New Orleans Saints, deeping their nightmare of a season, WLS-TV sports anchor Mark Giangreco spoke over while a sixth-grade pun of a chyron headline — "Cut him or cut your wrists" — ran next to a picture of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who has drawn the continued ire of Bears fans after another slew of turnovers in the loss.

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    Suicide-prevention advocates likely didn't see the gallows humor in the caption.

    After a strong negative response to it, Giangreco issued an apology, via mediabistro.com.

    “My remarks were inappropriate, and I deeply regret and apologize for this incident. I will be issuing an on-air apology in [Wednesday] evening’s newscast,” Giancreco said.

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  • Cam Newton a surprise performer in Panthers practice

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 3 days ago

    Well, well, look who made an appearance at football practice on Wednesday.

    A mere eight days after he was in a frightening car accident, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton participated in practice in advance of Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns, according to Black and Blue Review's Bill Voth.

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    Is it possible that Newton could play Sunday against the Cleveland Browns?

    Pump the breaks there — part of this is the Panthers seeing where Newton is with his transverse process injury he suffered in the crash. But it has to be tremendously encouraging that Newton is even in a place where he can go through basic practice movements, which would give the Panthers a lift as they remain in the thick of the NFC South race.

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  • Bears' Conte would rather play in NFL 'and die 10 to 15 years earlier'

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 3 days ago

    The NFL's concussion era has raised the moral question of what the league can do to protect players who don't appear to want to protect themselves.

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    "I'd rather have the experience of playing in the NFL and die 10 to 15 years earlier than not play in the NFL and have a long life," Chris Conte said Monday on WBBM Radio (via Chicago Tribune, h/t PFT).

    "I don't really look toward my life after football. I'll figure things out when I get there. As long as I outlive my parents."

    Conte, who turns 26 in February, has been beset by injuries throughout his short career, and especially this season: back (which kept him out Monday against the New Orleans Saints), shoulder and eye ailments, and, maybe worst of all, mutliple concussions. Of the 12 games Conte has played this season, he has been unable to finish seven of them.

    But at what cost?

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  • Chargers will remain in San Diego at least through 2015

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 3 days ago

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    The San Diego Chargers will stay put. For another season, at least.

    The franchise could have opted out of its lease at Qualcomm Stadium but has decided to extend the agreement at least through the 2015 NFL season, with the hope of getting a long-term agreement on a new, publicly funded stadium.

    From the Chargers' website:

    "On February 1st of every year since 2007, the Chargers have been eligible to terminate the team’s lease for Qualcomm Stadium," said Mark Fabiani, the Chargers' special counsel to team president Dean Spanos, in a prepared statement. "And each year since 2007, the Chargers have announced that the team will not exercise the termination clause and instead continue to work toward a permanent stadium solution in San Diego.

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    For now, though, the Chargers are staying.

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