- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner1 hr 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.
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.Sat, Dec 20San Diego38 - 35San FranciscoGame Recap
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner2 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.
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.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
DeSean Jackson is why teams give controversial players the benefit of the doubt.
The Philadelphia Eagles obviously had a reason for cutting Jackson this past offseason after not getting any legitimate offers on the trade market. It wasn't because Jackson couldn't play; it would be foolish to think it had anything to do with his production. Jackson had 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns last year. He was a great fit on the field.
But for whatever reason the Eagles decided they'd be better off without him. Well, no.
Jackson torched the Eagles on Saturday night, catching four passes for 126 yards in a 27-24 win that likely ended Philadelphia's playoff hopes. In a dismal Washington Redskins season, Jackson has been fantastic. Despite playing with three different starting quarterbacks, he has 1,083 yards and is averaging an amazing 20.1 yards per catch. The Eagles could use a guy like that.
And Jackson could have taken the high road and said nothing about getting revenge on the team that cut him, but would you?Sat, Dec 20Philadelphia24 - 27WashingtonGame Recap
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner6 hrs ago
This was Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez’s career in a nutshell.
For all the good he might do, we’ll always remember the bad.
Sanchez didn’t play poorly against the Washington Redskins on Saturday, and in fact he was in line to be the hero after bringing the Eagles back from a 10-point deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter. The Eagles had the ball at the two-minute warning, and looked to get into field-goal range and win the game, keeping their playoff hopes alive.
Instead, Sanchez was the goat in a 27-24 loss. Sanchez threw an interception to Washington cornerback Bashaud Breeland on a poorly thrown ball inside of the two-minute warning. On Washington’s next play, Cary Williams missed a tackle on Pierre Garcon, who gained 23 yards, and the Eagles also took a roughing-the-passer penalty on the play to put the Redskins into field position. A few more runs later – and the Eagles had no clue they should have let the Redskins score a touchdown, to at least give them some hope to score in the final minute and send the game to overtime – and the Redskins had the chip shot field goal to win the game and put the Eagles’ playoff chances on life support.
- Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner10 hrs ago
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a bit of an outlier.
Nobody throws the ball like him, with that compact delivery and velocity and great ball placement. He also has a random element to his game, although he isn’t really a runner. He plays on the edge of the offense’s structure, often making plays late in the down.
Once in a while, he’ll play on the wrong side of that edge. That’s what happened last week against the Buffalo Bills. He just didn’t have it.
I’m not taking anything away from Buffalo, because they have a good defense, but tactically they didn’t do anything where you said, "This is amazing, I’ve never seen that before." And while they have a good front four that gets bodies around the quarterback, they weren’t drilling Rodgers to the turf. They did a good job recognizing routes based on formation, but mostly it was a game in which Rodgers’ late-in-the-down tendencies just didn’t work.
It was immediately evident that Rodgers was having a bad day throwing the ball; he was glaringly inaccurate beginning in the first quarter. The plays where Rodgers moves and navigates n the pocket and makes a big throw late in the down didn’t happen in this game.Sun, Dec 211:25 PM PSTBuffalo at OaklandPreview Game
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner15 hrs ago
Until we have some actual progress involving an NFL team moving to Los Angeles, maybe it's best to stop the breathless speculation about which teams will move there.
There won't be a team moving to Los Angeles in 2015. ESPN.com's Adam Schefter said commissioner Roger Goodell told the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams – the three hottest candidates to move to L.A. if that ever happened – that there will be no team in Los Angeles next season.
This news shouldn't surprise you, because the NFL has a clear strategy for Los Angeles. The league lets the market stay open (no team has been there since 1994), does nothing to discourage numerous reports which say that this is the year a team is coming to L.A. (there were reports this year that two teams might even come, which the NFL must have enjoyed tremendously) and then the NFL can use that negotiating power to get cities to publicly finance new stadiums.
- Kristian Dyer at Shutdown Corner16 hrs ago
New York Giants rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. doesn't have time to live in fantasy land.
Beckham has electrified the NFL this season with his playmaking ability and has shown crossover appeal by catching the attention of athletes in other sports, most notably scoring a dinner with NBA superstar LeBron James last month. He is the favorite to be named the NFL's offensive rookie of the year thanks to his 71 catches, 972 yards and nine touchdowns, and he has also become wildly popular among fantasy football owners. If you own Beckham, there's a good chance he helped you reach this week's championship round in your league.
He admits that he gets asked about his fantasy football impact “all the time” by fans. And while most of those people are probably grateful at this point, he doesn't really care about fantasy stats.
- Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman’s offense is grounded in Bill Walsh’s West Coast philosophy.
I know the “West Coast Offense” term is vague by now because of how many changes have been made to it by different coaches, but the offense’s foundation is grounded in rhythm passing and its precision. If it’s a three-step drop, the ball goes here. If it’s a five-step drop, the ball goes there.
And my sense from afar, watching the film, is that Jay Cutler is not that kind of precision quarterback for that offense.Sun, Dec 2110:00 AM PSTDetroit at ChicagoPreview Game
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner1 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.
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.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Another quarterback injury has changed the perception of the Arizona Cardinals again, at least in the betting line.
The Cardinals are the biggest underdogs ever for an 11-3 team, going back to when it was first tracked in 1980, according to OddsShark.com. Arizona is an eight-point underdog to the Seattle Seahawks, according to Yahoo Pro Football Pick 'em lines. They're a huge underdog even though they're at home. There haven't been too many teams that have been exactly 11-3, and even fewer that have been underdogs at all, so the sample size isn't tremendous, but the line is telling.Sun, Dec 215:30 PM PSTSeattle at ArizonaPreview Game