Frank Schwab

  • Megatron returns: Calvin Johnson dominates the Bears in win

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 15 hrs ago

    Someday, Calvin Johnson will slow down and let cornerbacks have a chance. This is not that day, no matter how un-Megatron he has looked at times this season.

    Johnson, who had just one 100-yard game and one touchdown since Week 1 coming into Detroit's traditional Thanksgiving game, put on a show against the Chicago Bears. He had 11 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns and the Detroit Lions won 34-17, rallying after a poor start to keep the pressure on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North.

    Johnson became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 10,000 career receiving yards, doing so in his 145th game.

    The Lions are a different team with a healthy Johnson. He's one of the greatest receivers of all time, even though an ankle injury slowed him for much of this season. He looked just fine on Thursday.

    The Bears are done this season, but the Lions have some life. They play three straight losing teams before a Week 17 showdown at Lambeau Field. If Johnson keeps playing like he did Thursday, maybe that will determine the NFC North championship.

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  • Throwback Thanksgivings: The most famous Turkey Day moment

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    There have been plenty of fun games and interesting NFL moments on Thanksgiving through the years (and plenty of bad games too, but that's another story).

    But if you were to ask your average NFL fan what his top Thanksgiving football memory is, if he's old enough he's going to say two words: Leon Lett.

    There has been the 1962 Lions ruining the Packers' perfect season, Clint Longley, O.J. Simpson setting a record with 273 yards, the botched coin toss with Phil Luckett and Jerome Bettis, Randy Moss dominating the Cowboys, the Butt Fumble and plenty of Barry Sanders highlights. But Lett's blunder was one of the strangest ways we've ever seen a team lose an NFL game. And it just happened to come on Thanksgiving with everyone watching.

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    Lett eventually let it go. He even starred in a Snickers promotional campaign a few years ago, making light of the incident. But it was embarrassing at the time.

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  • Jay Gruden discusses Robert Griffin III's future, kind of

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    There's not a lot of reason to rehash the Washington Redskins' decision to go with Colt McCoy over Robert Griffin III at quarterback this week, and likely the rest of the season.

    That decision is made. Coach Jay Gruden predictably said that McCoy gives the offense a spark and hopefully the team a better chance to win, starting Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. Gruden wasn't overly critical of Griffin, he just said the offense wasn't producing enough with him. There was no mystery to that, either. Griffin barely had 100 yards passing in a loss Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. And for a 3-8 team, it doesn't matter much who plays quarterback the rest of the season.

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    The bigger issue is Griffin's future with the organization. Gruden had a couple of chances to proclaim that this is a temporary move and that he has full confidence that Griffin can be his starter in 2015. Heck, he could have said that even if he didn't believe it.

    He didn't.

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  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says he's a fan of Robert Griffin III

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    Not that the Robert Griffin III story needs more subplots, but imagine if his next team is the Dallas Cowboys.

    We're a long way from that. The Washington Redskins have benched Griffin, but say he's still a part of their long-term plan. You can choose to believe that. If the Redskins trade him this offseason, the chances of them sending the former NFL offensive rookie of the year to their rival is about zero. They'd never live it down if Griffin turned his career around in Dallas.

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    But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he's a big fan of Griffin, and it's sure fun to dream, isn't it?

    "Once you see a player do it, especially if you see him do it two or three times, you know he can do it. And of course he's a driven young man. I'm a big admirer of RG3."

    But it's an intriguing possibility, no matter how remote it realistically is.

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  • Throwback Thanksgivings: The Jason Garrett (as QB, not coach) Game

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    Fans of a certain age know Jason Garrett only as the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, who has stayed on the job through some mediocre seasons and is rewarding owner Jerry Jones' faith this year.

    But once upon a time, Garrett was a Cowboys quarterback. He wasn't great, but he had his moments. And his best moment came on Thanksgiving 20 years ago against Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers.

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    Leading up to the Cowboys' 1994 Thanksgiving game, Troy Aikman was out with a sprained knee and Garrett wasn't even the second choice. Rodney Peete was the backup. But he was hurt too, with an injured thumb. On Monday before the game, it appeared that the former Princeton quarterback was going to get the start. He had completed all of 10 NFL passes, and was no hotshot rookie. He was 28 heading into that start. But Cowboys coach Barry Switzer put a happy face on it.

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  • The end for RG3 in Washington? Robert Griffin III reportedly benched

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 2 days ago

    It's amazing how fast the Robert Griffin III era soured in Washington. The 2012 NFL offensive rookie of the year reportedly has been benched before 2014 is even done.

    Griffin has been benched for Colt McCoy, according to an initial report by ESPN.com's Adam Schefter and then backed by other outlets. Griffin's poor 106-yard passing effort in a close loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday was all Redskins coach Jay Gruden needed to see.

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    The Redskins are 3-8 and going nowhere. Colt McCoy, 28, is a journeyman and very unlikely to be the quarterback of the future, unless he shows something the rest of the season that we've never seen from him in the NFL. That combination leads any reasonable person to wonder if the Griffin era, unbelievably, is done in Washington.

    That's fine, but that was the same plan late last season. It didn't work.

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  • Here's how a 5-11 team can win the NFC South

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 2 days ago

    It was a pretty big deal when the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks made the playoffs at the end of the 2010 season. People still bring them up, as the only losing team to make the playoffs. Those Seahawks are memorable because they won a playoff game, too.

    So how many times would we cite this year's NFC South champion if it won the division at 5-11? It is still mathematically possible. And the scenario is not as crazy as you might think with five weeks left.

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    Every team in the NFC South is 4-7 or worse. The Atlanta Falcons technically lead, and they are 0-7 in non-divisional games. Here are the remaining schedules, followed by the unbelievable "5-11 division champion" scenario:

    ATLANTA FALCONS (4-7) vs. Arizona, at Green Bay, vs. Pittsburgh, at New Orleans, vs. Carolina

    NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (4-7) at Pittsburgh, vs. Carolina, at Chicago, vs. Atlanta, at Tampa Bay

    CAROLINA PANTHERS (3-7-1) at Minnesota, at New Orleans, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Cleveland, at Atlanta

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  • Shutdown Corner NFL Power Rankings: Two conference favorites emerge

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 3 days ago

    This season, in which nothing makes sense from week to week, we have something that seems like a safe proclamation.

    The New England Patriots are the clear favorite in the AFC. And the Green Bay Packers have established themselves as the favorite in the NFC.

    That's not to say these are going to be your two Super Bowl teams. We've had plenty of seasons in which the best team doesn't win the Super Bowl or even make it there. But if you don't live in Arizona or Colorado, these are probably the two teams you're betting on to make it to the end.

    The Patriots have lapped the field in the AFC, and they might be on the way to doing it twice. They've beaten three straight division leaders by at least three touchdowns. They’re 32-3 in the second halves of seasons since 2010, and have won 15 straight at home. This team isn’t the 2007 squad or anything, but it would be a major upset if they don’t win the AFC title.

    Here are the post-Week 12 NFL power rankings:

    32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10, LW: 31) They were feisty for a while against the Colts. And still lost by 20.

     

    26. New York Giants (3-8, LW: 26) I'm still mesmerized by Odell Beckham.

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  • Jets and Bills finally get to play in Detroit

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 3 days ago

    There was no way to keep the Buffalo Bills-New York Jets game from being a bit strange, but credit to everyone involved for trying their best to make it seem normal.

    The Bills were forced from a home game due to a record snowfall that hit the area last week. On Thursday, the NFL announced the game would be moved from Buffalo to Detroit, and from Sunday to Monday night.

    So in a stadium neither team has a tremendous connection to, in front of a crowd plied by free tickets that filled up most of the lower bowl of Ford Field but couldn't make the upper deck look like a regular NFL game, the Jets and Bills kicked off.

    Lower bowl of Ford Field close to full tonight at coin toss pic.twitter.com/Gsf45IHvRd

    Almost entire upper bowl empty at Ford Field for NFL Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. pic.twitter.com/1vzbjJS3l4

    The crowd, via reports from the game, was mostly rooting for the Bills in their "home" game. The Bills rolled to an easy 38-3 win against the Jets. The highlight might have been tight end Scott Chandler's "snow shovel" celebration after a touchdown.

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  • Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry feared to have lymphoma

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 3 days ago

    There was some shocking news from the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday: star safety Eric Berry will miss the rest of the season with what the team fears is lymphoma.

    Berry had discomfort in his chest after last week's game against the Oakland Raiders, and a mass was found on an MRI, ESPN.com's Adam Teischer reported from the news conference of Chiefs athletic trainer Rick Burkholder. There is no definite diagnosis, Teischer reported, but Burkholder said the "leading consideration" is that Berry has lymphoma, a form of cancer.

    Berry will see a specialist in Atlanta, KCChiefs.com writer B.J. Kissel said, to determine what the mass is.

    He was placed on the non-football illness list and is out for the rest of the season. Berry released a statement through the team's site:

    "Right now he needs to be a beast," Reid said, via Paylor. "He'll attack this."

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