- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 hr 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 start to talk about it seriously. And the remaining schedule isn't tough. They play at New Orleans, vs. Atlanta, at the Giants, at Atlanta and at home against Tampa Bay to finish it. The toughest team Carolina has left is the Falcons, and they haven't played well in almost two months.
However, does this seem like a historically great team? Does Carolina even seem like a Super Bowl favorite this year? 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.
Listen to Yahoo Sports' Grandstanding podcast for more:
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner3 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:Mon, Nov 30Baltimore33 - 27ClevelandGame Recap
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner8 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.Sun, Nov 29Arizona19 - 13San FranciscoGame Recap
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner9 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.
Listen to Yahoo Sports' Grandstanding podcast for more:Sun, Nov 29New England24 - 30DenverGame Recap
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner11 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 Corner12 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:
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
Let's be fair. No game ever comes down to one missed call. That's why the Denver Broncos beat the New England Patriots and the Patriots have to first start with the mistakes they made in blowing a 14-point lead and coughing up a chance to continue their unbeaten streak.
But it was hard not to watch Sunday night's game as a neutral observer and question some dubious calls — and non-calls — in the game and wonder what might have been had things been refereed differently by Tony Corrente's crew.
Tom Brady could be seen most of the game, especially in the second half, barking at the men in stripes at some of the calls that went against New England. (And frankly, to be even-handed, we thought Brady easily could have been — without knowing exactly what he said — flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for a few of his pouting episodes.)
Brady's anger spilled over into Monday morning.
"It was a very hard loss. I don't think I've ever been so pissed off after a loss. I think everyone felt the same way," Brady said Monday morning on Boston sports radio WEEI. "Hopefully we can use it as motivation going forward."
He continued with his frustration.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner16 hrs ago
Jamie Collins might be the New England Patriots' best defender, but he has missed the past four games with what has been deemed an "illness."
Quite the mysterious illness.
The Patriots have been mum on it, providing few tangible details for the most part, as they notoriously are among the most quiet teams in the league on that front.
MRSA? Really bad flu? Some other rare ailment? We don't know.
But we do know, via Patriots president Jonathan Kraft on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s pregame Patriots show from last night, that the team doesn't appear too concerned about it.
“I think, without getting into too much detail, I don’t think that, fortunately, this was a situation where that could happen,” Kraft said. “Jamie’s getting better and getting stronger every day."
But Kraft did the use word "virus" in describing it.
- Ben Rohrbach at Shutdown Corner16 hrs ago
With 1:45 remaining and the Pittsburgh Steelers trailing 39-30, Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor made a leaping pick of a Landry Jones pass intended for Martavis Bryant, rolled out of bounds as Bryant stripped the ball from him and came away empty-handed. It all happened in a fraction of a second.
So, was it an interception? The play came under automatic review, and CBS turned to decorated former NFL referee turned analyst Mike Carey, who was adamant the interception ruling would be overturned. Moments later, the officials came back and upheld their original call. As a result, the game was over.
And here's the thing: Had Chancellor been a receiver rather than a defender and come down with the same grab in the end zone instead of the 7-yard line, I'm 100 percent certain the catch would've been reversed and ruled an incompletion, because he didn't stand up with the ball and complete the process.
And there's the rub.Sun, Nov 29Pittsburgh30 - 39SeattleGame Recap
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner17 hrs ago
The Miami Dolphins' house cleaning continued on Monday, as there were mutiple reports that the team fired offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. Head coach Joe Philbin and defensive coordiantor Kevin Coyle were fired in October.
On its website, the team confirmed the reports, posting that interim head coach "Dan Campbell announced that the team has made the following changes to the coaching staff. Zac Taylor will serve as the team’s play caller and remain as quarterbacks coach. In addition, Phil McGeoghan has been promoted to wide receivers coach and Bill Lazor has been relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator."Sun, Nov 29Miami20 - 38NY JetsGame Recap