- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner2 hrs ago
Rob Gronkowski is fed up.
The New England Patriots' tight end, who escaped serious injury after a low hit that left him writhing in pain on Sunday night against the Broncos, was flagged twice for offensive pass interference before leaving the game, his fifth and sixth such penalties of the season.
During a Tuesday appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Boston Herald Patriots reporter Jeff Howe said the NFL is "absolutely" targeting the 6=foot-6, 275 pound Gronkowski with the OPI calls. Gronkowski, or someone who tweets for Gronkowski, believes he is too:
Agree https://t.co/E3aWNGE548Sun, Nov 29New England24 - 30DenverGame Recap
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner2 hrs ago
The NFL once again has yanked officials from a key game after mistakes they made the week before.
Head referee Pete Morelli and his crew originally had been assigned to Sunday night's Indianapolis Colts-Pittsburgh Steelers game but were pulled from that assignment following a poorly called game by them between the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers this past Sunday.
One of the more egregiously bad calls in the game was a roughing the passer call against the 49ers' Quinton Dial on Carson Palmer on what looked to be a routine sack. Two other big errors in the game included a missed delay of game call that should have hurt the Cardinals, plus some confusion in the first quarter over what down it was in the game.
As reported by PFT, Morelli's crew will be assigned to a game that isn't prime time elsewhere on the Week 13 slate.
What does this tell us?Sun, Nov 29Arizona19 - 13San FranciscoGame Recap
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner3 hrs ago
It seems a day can’t pass in the NFL without controversy over referees.
The Cleveland Browns lost a game Monday night in the most Browns way possible. The fact that there appears to be evidence that suggests the play should have been deemed illegal makes it even more Brownsy.
Cleveland had a potential game-winning field-goal attempt blocked as time expired and run back for a touchdown, but it appears that the Baltimore Ravens were lined up offsides on the block.
Have a look:
(You might have noticed the foot of the Ravens’ Will Hill appearing to be out of bounds in this pic, too. We’ll address that in a bit.)
There was — as seems to be par for the course in this Year of the Ref — no flag. The Ravens improbably won, and Browns fans felt like burning things.
Factory of madness?Mon, Nov 30Baltimore33 - 27ClevelandGame Recap
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
Oh, Cleveland. You have our sympathies. Not only did the Browns lose Monday night's game to division rival Baltimore in the most Brownsian way possible, when their potential game-winning field goal was blocked and returned for the game-winning touchdown by the Ravens' Will Hill, it appears they've also lost their starting quarterback.
Citing a league source, Cleveland Plain-Dealer beat writer Mary Kay Cabot reported after the game that Josh McCown had possibly suffered a broken collarbone in the loss, leaving FirstEnergy Stadium with his right arm in a sling.
Cabot reported that even if McCown's collarbone isn't broken, the source said it is likely serious enough that his season is over.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
The Carolina Panthers still have a perception problem.
It's hard to imagine that in a little more than a month, we could have three teams finish an NFL regular season undefeated and untied: 1972 Miami Dolphins, 2007 New England Patriots and ... 2015 Carolina Panthers? It's possible.
With just five games left, the Panthers' chase for perfection is close enough that we can talk about it seriously. And the remaining schedule isn't tough. They play at New Orleans, vs. Atlanta, at the Giants, at Atlanta and home against Tampa Bay to finish the season. The toughest team Carolina has left is the Falcons, and they haven't played well in almost two months.
Does this seem like a historically great team? Does Carolina seem like a Super Bowl favorite this season? Be honest: Would you pick the Panthers right now to win it all (people in the Carolinas aren't allowed to answer)?
Again, this might just be a perception problem.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner14 hrs ago
The factory of sadnessproduced a moment that is only believable from the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns lined up for a game-winning field goal at the end of regulation on Monday night. And the Baltimore Ravens ended up winning the game on that play.
Ravens defensive end Brent Urban blocked the kick. Safety Will Hill scooped it up and returned it down the sideline for a touchdown to finish a surprisingly entertaining 33-27 Baltimore win. The Browns managed to lose a home game against a Ravens team that came in 3-7 and was without Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett, Steve Smith and Terrell Suggs, among others. This tweet from the Browns' account right after the final play sums it all up:
And this hilarious/sad video is the essence of life as a Browns fan:
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner19 hrs ago
Who would have guessed three months ago that an injury to running back Chris Johnson would have a serious impact on the Super Bowl picture?
Johnson, out of a job all summer until he was signed by the Arizona Cardinals in mid-August, has a fractured tibia, or shinbone, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer. He'll be out an "extended period," Glazer said, but the team is gathering information to see how long he'll be out.
It's a tough blow, because Johnson has been one of the league's biggest surprises. He is the fourth-leading rusher in the NFL with 814 yards, although he had three quiet games in a row before the injury.
The Cardinals were dealt another blow to their running game Monday, because Andre Ellington is dealing with a turf toe. Intriguing rookie David Johnson, who has seven touchdowns in a limited role, will likely step in for at least a few weeks.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner20 hrs ago
For all the weird overreaction to the officiating in the Denver Broncos' win over the New England Patriots on Sunday night, it's clear that the biggest blow was probably a muffed punt in the fourth quarter by the Patriots.
That play might have cost the Patriots a perfect season, and it cost punt returner Chris Harper his job.
The Patriots cut Harper on Monday, according to Tom Curran of CSSNE. That's cold.
The Broncos were trailing 21-7 and punting it away again when Harper muffed a punt. The Broncos recovered, and the momentum of the game shifted dramatically. Denver scored off that recovery, the first of their 23 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. The Broncos won, dropping the Patriots to 10-1. Harper, a rookie, was filling in at punt returner because Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola were hurt. The punt returns Sunday were the first of his NFL career. Harper is likely to return to the practice squad, ESPN.com's Mike Reiss said.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner22 hrs ago
Let's cut to the chase here — New England Patriots fans weren't the only ones throwing their remote controls when Rob Gronkowski was being carted off the field Sunday night.
If you drafted Gronk for your fantasy football team, A) Smart move, and B) Your fantasy playoffs likely start in two weeks. And when Gronk was in such pain after a low hit, it seemed impossible Gronk would be ready for that first fantasy playoff game. But it sounds like he'll be ready to go. He might even be back this week.
Oh, and the 10-1 Patriots won't lose their second most indispensable player, behind quarterback Tom Brady, for a significant amount of time.
Eagles' Chip Kelly reportedly met with Southern California about coaching opening, which Kelly deniesShalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner23 hrs ago
On Monday, the University of Southern California announced that it had removed the interim tag from coach Clay Helton’s title, naming him permanent coach, or at least as permanent as things can be in big-time NCAA football.
But before elevating Helton, officials from USC’s athletic department reportedly talked with Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly about the opening, with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport saying USC “touched base” with Kelly and FootballScoop.com going a step further, reporting that USC had met with Kelly in Philadelphia, and it believed the meeting happened Friday.
Kelly met with reporters around midday Monday, his first time in front of media since the Eagles’ Thanksgiving Day takedown at the hands of the Detroit Lions. Now in his third year in Philadelphia, Kelly denied having spoken to anyone affiliated with the Trojans’ program: