Shutdown Corner

  • Chiefs' Travis Kelce rips referee for flagging Eric Fisher for 2-point holding

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 7 hrs ago

    The Kansas City Chiefs fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round of the playoffs, 18-16, as Alex Smith’s second two-point pass was knocked away in the final minutes.

    Smith’s first attempt appeared to tie the game, as he connected with tight end Demetrius Harris following Spencer Ware’s touchdown with 2:43 remaining. But left tackle Eric Fisher — the former No. 1 overall pick — was flagged for holding, wiping out what would have been a tie game.

    Tight end Travis Kelce, who had a big penalty of his own in the game and was held relatively in check, didn’t like the call. Not one bit in fact.

    “Ref No. 51 shouldn’t even be able to wear a zebra jersey,” Kelce said, via “He shouldn’t even be able to work at … Foot Locker.”

    “I hope 72 [Fisher] doesn’t go the whole offseason thinking it’s his fault because it’s not,” Kelce said.

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  • Sean Davis penalized for brutal helmet-to-helmet hit, but what else could he do?

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 8 hrs ago

    Pittsburgh Steelers safety Sean Davis had to be penalized for a helmet-to-helmet hit because the NFL has safety rules and there’s not a lot of wiggle room for interpreting intent.

    But it’s also hard to figure out how Davis could have played it differently.

    In the fourth quarter of a divisional round playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Chiefs threw deep to Chris Conley on third-and-9. Conley had to turn back for a pass behind him, and was hauling it in with Davis coming at him. Davis probably didn’t expect Conley to be coming at him, but Conley had to adjust his body to have a chance at the catch. Davis actually looked like he tried to lead with his shoulder, but it’s hard to get your head completely out of the way. Davis hit Conley as he was falling – it was a brutal collision, in part because Conley was gong down in such an awkward way – and the ball came loose. And a penalty flag came out. That gave the Chiefs a first down, and they scored a touchdown later in the drive.

    Even Baltimore Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley came to the defense of Davis, though the Ravens and Steelers are sworn enemies.

    All shoulder. My park league did more damage than that

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  • Le’Veon Bell sets playoff rushing record as Steelers beat Chiefs, advance to AFC title game

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 8 hrs ago

    The closest the Pittsburgh Steelers got to scoring a touchdown was 5 yards away from the end zone, and the one time they got there they didn’t give it to Le’Veon Bell. The Steelers would learn from their mistake and ride their horse the rest of the way.

    Bell set a postseason record for the most rushing yards in a player’s first two playoff games with 337 yards — 167 last week, 170 against a good Kansas City Chiefs defense on 30 carries — and kicker Chris Boswell hit on all six of his field-goal tries as the Steelers beat the Chiefs,18-16, in a hard-fought game at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.

    The Steelers will head to Foxborough, Mass., to take on the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game for the right to play in Super Bowl LI. The Patriots beat the Steelers, 27-16, in Pittsburgh in Week 7 without an injured Ben Roethlisberger.

    But Ware’s touchdown wasn’t enough, and the Steelers iced the game with Roethlisberger hitting Brown on the third-down stop the Chiefs needed to get the ball back.

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  • Did Packers get away with holding on Aaron Rodgers' game-saving throw?

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 11 hrs ago

    You know the old saying: There’s holding on every play. It might be correct, but some plays mean more than others.

    On the Green Bay Packers’ penultimate play of their 34-31 thriller of a victory over the Dallas Cowboys, Aaron Rodgers did what he does: delivers unbelievable plays when his team has to have them. Rodgers rolled out to his left and delivered a strike — on third-and-20, no less — to Jared Cook, who brilliantly toed the sideline and made the haul. The play was reviewed and it was insane how close Cook came to being out of bounds, but the man made a career-highlight catch.

    One play later, the Packers ended it with a Mason Crosby field goal. They’ll be headed to Atlanta for the NFC championship game in what could be another terrific game.

    Aaron Rodgers to Jared Cook …

    this is T.J. Lang vs. David Irving on the play

    — Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) January 16, 2017

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  • Aaron Rodgers has more magic, as Packers pull out a dramatic win over Cowboys

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 11 hrs ago

    It looked like the 2017 NFL postseason was headed toward a seventh straight blowout. Instead, the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys gave everyone a classic.

    And Aaron Rodgers, king of the Hail Mary, made a throw that will live in NFL playoff lore to get the Packers to the NFC championship game.

    Rodgers made an enormous play to get the Packers a field-goal attempt on the final snap of the game. Rodgers moved to his left to keep the play alive, fired a dart and Jared Cook somehow kept both feet in bounds for a 36-yard catch with three seconds left. Then Mason Crosby came on and sent the Packers to the NFC championship game with a 51-yard field goal on the last play of a thrilling 34-31 win. Green Bay plays at the Atlanta Falcons on Jan. 22, with the winner advancing to Super Bowl LI.

    Then both teams settled in for an all-time great playoff game.

    But Dallas, behind the unflappable Prescott, kept chipping away.

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  • Seldom-called penalty is very costly for Cowboys in first-quarter drive

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 14 hrs ago

    The Dallas Cowboys’ offense was doing just fine on their second possession of Sunday’s wild-card playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, then came a penalty flag for something that happened well before the snap.

    And it left everyone wondering why the heck Cowboys receiver Brice Butler was given the 15-yard infraction.

    Dak Prescott hit a 22-yard pass to Terrance Williams for a first down, which would have put the Cowboys into field-goal range, when officials announced the penalty: unsportsmanlike conduct on Butler for entering the huddle as a substitute, then leaving the field without participating in the play. You’ll see penalties for 12 men in the huddle, but you’ll watch a lot of football without seeing that specific call.

    There was some question if Butler (No. 19) was ever in the huddle. He seemed to be on the outside of it when he looked back at the Cowboys’ sideline, which was having miscommunication issues over the personnel grouping for that play.

    Mike Pereira, the former NFL vice president of officiating who works on the Fox broadcasts, clarified the ruling a bit (though it was still confusing because unsportsmanlike conduct, and not illegal substitution, was the call).

  • How in the world did this Aaron Rodgers pass get through for a TD?

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 14 hrs ago

    We’ve come to know Aaron Rodgers as some sort of robot wizard, but even his first touchdown pass against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday felt like a new level of impossible.

    At first glance, it appeared to be just a fine play as Rodgers caught the Cowboys’ David Irving offsides and hit Richard Rodgers (no relation) for a 34-yard score.

    Here was the version you saw on TV:

    Aaron Rodgers. Richard Rodgers

    HELLO, END ZONE! #GBvsDAL #NFLPlayoffs

    — NFL (@NFL) January 15, 2017

    Now here’s a view from the end zone, which might be more impressive:

    6 points! #GoPackGo #NFLPlayoffs

    — NFL (@NFL) January 15, 2017

    But a closer look via still shot revealed just how insane the pass was.

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  • Patriots invincible with Dion Lewis in lineup and here's record to prove it

    Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – In 2015, when he was signed by the New England Patriots, running back Dion Lewis hadn’t played a snap in an NFL game in over two years. Traded to Cleveland in 2013 by the Philadelphia Eagles, where he’d been a fifth-round pick a couple of years earlier, Lewis suffered a broken leg and missed the entire season. In 2014, he was a September signing by the Indianapolis Colts, only to be released a week later.

    So there was little expected from the 5-foot-8 back when he arrived in New England, signed on the recommendation of then-Patriots adviser Mike Lombardi, who was in the Browns’ front office when he was dealt there.

    But the Patriots quickly discovered they had a dual threat in Lewis, a la Kevin Faulk, the man who previously inhabited the No. 33 jersey for New England.

    Over his first seven games of last season, Lewis averaged 4.8 yards per carry on 49 attempts, and had 36 catches. And New England was 7-0 with him in the lineup.

    And then came Saturday night.

    Lewis lost the ball again late in the game, on a third-down carry, though this time it was recovered by left guard Joe Thuney.

    After the game, those mistakes were all Lewis focused on.




  • Patriots win as expected, but sloppy performance should give everyone else confidence

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    A better team might have beat the New England Patriots on Saturday night.

    It could also be argued that the Patriots weren’t as motivated as you’d expect for a divisional round playoff game, because they prepared all week for an overmatched Houston Texans team. That’s fair. No matter how often the Patriots coaches presumably preached about how tough the Texans could be, the players knew going in they were overwhelming favorites.

    And they played for most of a 34-16 win like they wanted to make it interesting for the prime-time television audience.

    And when the winner of Sunday night’s Pittsburgh Steelers-Kansas City Chiefs game puts on the tape of Saturday night’s Patriots win, they should feel like they can go to Foxborough and win in the AFC championship game. The Patriots looked vulnerable, for a change.

    The Texans weren’t the right team to take advantage of a lackluster Patriots performance. Pittsburgh or Kansas City might be the team to do it, in next week’s AFC championship game.

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  • Ray Lewis calls out Tom Brady for complaining after Jadeveon Clowney hit

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    Tom Brady wasn’t the only one who was fed up Saturday night.

    Brady and the New England Patriots were slugging through their divisional-round playoff game against the Houston Texans in the third quarter when he threw an incomplete pass and was dragged down from behind by Jadeveon Clowney, who spent a lot of time in the backfield in the game.

    It appears that Brady was a wee bit upset that Clowney wasn’t flagged on the play.

    The contact came almost immediately after Brady released the pass, but Brady seemed to take issue with the fact that Clowney kept on pulling him to the ground. So he flipped out at the refs. This easily could have been built-up frustration with the way the Patriots offense had played to that point.

    Well, Ray Lewis was watching the game. And he wanted to pass on his thoughts about the play in question.

    It's Called Football Brady

    — Ray Lewis (@raylewis) January 15, 2017

    But the post-play drama? Maybe that’s what Lewis was responding to.

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