- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 hr ago
Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel wouldn’t be the first NFL rookie to learn that to make it as a professional, it takes a little more effort than you’re used to.
Manziel isn’t the typical rookie in that he has already become the NFL’s next villain to many folks, but he’s going through the normal growing pains. He struggled in his first start. In his second start, on Sunday at the Carolina Panthers, he wasn’t off to a great start before he was knocked out of the game with a hamstring injury.
According to The Plain Dealer’s story from the game, Manziel seems to realize that even though he was an all-time great college player, it’s going to take more dedication to replicate that success in the NFL. A taste of starting has seemingly motivated him, and the struggles have too.Sun, Dec 21Cleveland13 - 17CarolinaGame Recap
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner2 hrs ago
The NFL did a pretty good job scheduling this Week 17.
The NFC picture is still jumbled, at least among the five teams that have made it in already. The sixth playoff team will be the winner of the Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons on Sunday; whoever wins will be the NFC South champion and fourth seed.
Four of the five NFC teams that have clinched a playoff spot are alive for the No. 1 seed, and the fifth could still get a important bye. There's a wide range of possible outcomes for each of the NFC's five locked-in playoff teams.
The matchup between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers sums up the madness. The winner will clinch a bye, and with some help could be the No. 1 seed and be two home wins from a Super Bowl. The loser will fall all the way to No. 6 and have to play at the Dallas Cowboys or Seattle Seahawks on wild-card weekend. So yeah, there's a little bit at stake when the Lions and Packers square off.Sun, Dec 21Detroit20 - 14ChicagoGame Recap
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner3 hrs ago
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said in a postgame interview with NBC that he thought Marshawn Lynch's 79-yard run was even better than Lynch's famous "Beastquake" run.
Whoa, whoa, that's some serious stuff. Lynch's "Beastquake" run, in which he destroyed every New Orleans Saints defender in his path in a playoff game at the end of the 2010 season, has been called the best NFL run ever. And it might be. So Lynch's 79-yard jaunt against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night (has "Desert Storm" been taken as a nickname? I've got nothing good; you all can come up with a good nickname for this play) is supposedly better than that?
Go ahead and be the judge. Sunday night's run is at the top of the post. Here's the Beastquake:Sun, Dec 21Atlanta30 - 14New OrleansGame Recap
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
The NFL is a team sport.
In fact, that's one thing that makes football so great: A team can't function without all of the pieces working together. Even a tremendous "individual" play requires the efforts of everyone else on the field. Transcendent players like Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and quarterback Tom Brady and a handful of other All-Pros tip the field, sure, but they don't do it alone.
That's why "quarterback record" is dumb. It's awful. It's like we've finally gotten even most of the oldest curmudgeons to realize that a baseball pitcher's record is a foolish way to judge his performance, and that foolishness has just transferred over to NFL quarterbacks.
- Kevin Kaduk at Shutdown Corner5 hrs ago
The days of Dallas Cowboys fans finding an 8-8 season and a playoff-less January are officially over.
With a 42-7 romp over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Jerry Jones' team moved to 11-4 and clinched its first NFC East title since 2009. The victory also eliminated the Philadelphia Eagles from the playoff chase and ushered the Seattle Seahawks in a few hours before their win over the Arizona Cardinals.
We cover all that and more in this week's NFL in 90, featuring a very special guest appearance by Santa Claus!
- - - - - - -Sun, Dec 21Indianapolis7 - 42DallasGame Recap
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner5 hrs ago
Eli Manning and the New York Giants' offense blitzkrieged a very good St. Louis Rams defense on Sunday, and that was about the fourth-most interesting thing to come from the Week 16 game.
A major brawl led to the ejection of three players from the game. A cheerleader was proposed to at halftime. And questions about Odell Beckham's celebration tactics angered Giants head coach Tom Coughlin to the point where he cut short his postgame press conference.
Actually, two of those events might have been related. (Any guesses which ones were? Hint: The proposal wasn't one of them.)
Beckham, the rookie superstar receiver, continued his brilliant debut season with a 9-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and he capped it off with his trademark "Whip" dance. He was flagged 15 yards for taunting for celebration, which was curious considering there appeared to be no actual taunting on it.Sun, Dec 21NY Giants37 - 27St. LouisGame Recap
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner14 hrs ago
Marshawn Lynch spent the first quarter of Sunday night's game vomiting into a Gatorade bucket and scarfing down Skittles, according to various reports. Whatever he did, it worked well enough to inspire him to one of the greatest runs of the NFL season.
The game was already well in hand when Lynch ripped off this 79-yard beauty, a masterpiece that included speed, strength, stamina, will, and a good old-fashioned, flying-backward ... well, let's call it an "equipment adjustment."
The run marked Lynch's longest run from scrimmage, and firmly sealed a 35-6 victory over Arizona that put Seattle on a Super Bowl trajectory. Lynch finished with 110 yards and two touchdowns, and whatever strife exists between him and the rest of the Seahawks seemed far, far away.
After the game, buoyed by the victory and basking in the glow of a fine day's work, Lynch was friendly, forthcoming, and thoughtful. Ha! Just kidding.
He was as distant as ever, and he's only a few games away from repeating reporters' questions back at them word-for-word like an 11-year-old just trying to tick you off:
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner15 hrs ago
Look, we're sure Ryan Lindley is a nice fellow, and his friends and family surely love him. But man oh man, was he awful on Sunday night against Seattle. And Lindley's troubles bode ill for Arizona's suddenly flimsy hopes to get out of the NFC.
Lindley, the Cardinals' third-string quarterback, was pressed into service after injuries to Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton. Facing Seattle's vicious Legion of Boom defense, Lindley came in with low expectations. Sadly, he didn't even meet those, getting pasted 35-6 and throwing a whole new load of concern onto the shoulders of Arizona fans.
There simply was nowhere for Lindley to go, and even when he had chances, he couldn't capitalize on them. He was 18 of 44 for 216 yards, and he took one sack and threw an interception. He wasn't the sole reason Arizona lost; a wave-as-they-go-by secondary didn't help. But Lindley remains the owner of a dubious NFL record: most passes without a career touchdown, now up to 225.
Lindley's rough game paled even more in comparison to the gem crafted by Seattle QB Russell Wilson. Late in the game, NBC ran the following graphic:
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner16 hrs ago
Jim Harbaugh's departure from the San Francisco 49ers has been such a rumored fait accompli for so many weeks that it's tough to remember that, in fact, it hasn't happened and that Harbaugh is still the coach of the 49ers. But according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, you can now measure Harbaugh's tenure on your fingers.
Glazer has reported that the 49ers will cut Harbaugh loose within 24 to 48 hours after San Francisco's season ends. And since the 49ers aren't making the playoffs, that end will come Sunday at home against Arizona.
Harbaugh had been an unqualified success his first three years at San Francisco, taking the team to three straight NFC championship games and one Super Bowl. But the team has fallen apart this year, going 7-8 and flailing at every aspect of the game.Sat, Dec 20San Diego38 - 35San FranciscoGame Recap
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner16 hrs ago
The NFL has picked the Cincinnati Bengals-Pittsburgh Steelers AFC North title clash as the last game of its regular season, on “Sunday Night Football" to cap what will be an interesting Week 17.
The league waits until the Sunday night game in Week 16 to announce the last “Sunday Night Football” matchup of the year to ensure a good prime-time game. The Bengals-Steelers was selected over the Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers, which will determine the NFC North champ, and the Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons game that will decide the NFC South winner.
The Steelers have battled inconsistency and rebounded from some bad losses to win three in a row and put themselves in position to win the AFC North with one more home victory. The Bengals, who won the division last season, play Denver on Monday night. Cincinnati can clinch a playoff berth with a win in that game, but no matter what, Sunday night's showdown will determine the division champ.Sun, Dec 21Kansas City12 - 20PittsburghGame Recap