- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 hr ago
Coach Mike Tomlin summed up what the Pittsburgh Steelers were thinking about after winning the AFC North.
It was great to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 27-17 and win the division, but running back Le'Veon Bell's health was the biggest thing on the Steelers' minds. And Tomlin had words with the Bengals player who hurt Bell, safety Reggie Nelson.
Tomlin hugged Nelson, who delivered a legal shot to Bell's knee that knocked the Steelers' star back out of the game, then said something to him and the two had an obvious disagreement. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis came rushing over to get in between the two, and Steelers defensive assistant coach Joey Porter also played the unlikely role of peacemaker, getting between Tomlin and Nelson.
Mike Tomlin and Reggie Nelson having a pleasant postgame chat. https://t.co/AF1Ps5F6u1
Although it would be quite a coincidence if the conversation had nothing to do with the hit on Bell, Tomlin said the confrontation had nothing to do with that play, which he acknowledged was legal.Sun, Dec 28Cincinnati17 - 27PittsburghGame Recap
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner1 hr ago
ATLANTA – If you're looking for visual metaphors of the Atlanta Falcons' season, it's tough to beat this one: a drain backed up just outside the team's locker room, spewing water and God knows what else onto the Georgia Dome floor.
Falcons head coach Mike Smith knows this lesson by heart at this point: just when you think things can't get any worse, they somehow do. And in all likelihood, he'll remove that job title from his name by nightfall Monday.
Coming into this Sunday, Smith had watched his Falcons bumble their way to a 6-9 record, including inexcusable losses to the Detroit Lions in London and the Cleveland Browns at home. And yet, thanks to the stunning complementary incompetence of the rest of his division, Smith entered Sunday's game with an opportunity to win the freaking NFC South, to take this misbegotten team to the playoffs even though his seat had been nuclear-hot all season.Sun, Dec 28Carolina34 - 3AtlantaGame Recap
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner2 hrs ago
DeMarco Murray might be one of the toughest calls in NFL free agency in many years.
Somehow the Dallas Cowboys will have to reconcile these two points: It’s unwise to invest big money or high draft picks in running backs because their primes are so short, yet their tailback has a good case as the MVP of the entire NFL this season.
Murray finished with 1,845 yards and won the NFL rushing title. Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was second, and he needed more than 500 yards in Sunday night’s finale to pass Murray. Murray broke Emmitt Smith’s team record for rushing yards in a season, and Murray now ranks 17 th on the NFL's all-time list for rushing yards in a season. He finished his season in style, with 100 yards in a 44-17 Cowboys win.Sun, Dec 28Dallas44 - 17WashingtonGame Recap
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner2 hrs ago
Here are the top five must-see plays from Week 17 in the NFL:
DeSean Jackson can turn on the jets like few others in the NFL. Watch as the Washington Redskins wide receiver catches a short pass and zooms all the way to the end zone, 69 yards — and longer as the crow flies — without a Dallas Cowboys defender getting a paw on him.
Dez Bryant might not be able to blaze quite as fast as Jackson, but he's just as dangerous. Here's Bryant smoking the Redskins defense — first, juking past Redskins corner David Amerson and then outrunning the rest of the secondary for a 65-yard touchdown.
Believe it or not, but Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller capped off the franchise's eight-best rushing season on Sunday and did so with the help of the longest run in team history. Backed up against his own end zone, Miller made two New York Jets miss and then turned on the afterburners en route to a 97-yard score.
Stafford to Johnson
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner2 hrs ago
Le'Veon Bell is not only one of the best backs in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers have little depth at tailback after Bell.
And now the Steelers are hoping that Bell's right knee is OK for the playoffs.
In the third quarter, Bell caught a pass out of the backfield and was tackled low by Bengals safety Reggie Nelson. Bell immediately grabbed his right knee after he went to the ground.
Gruesome video of Le'Veon Bell's hit that took him out of the game. https://t.co/Oxkuo9yw0z
He was able to get off the field on his own, but he was examined on the trainer's table and then went back to the locker room. The Steelers said his return was doubtful. NBC reported that Bell had a hyper-extended knee, although he'll surely go through further tests to see if there was any ligament damage.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner3 hrs ago
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Maybe the Green Bay Packers players are too young to know who Willis Reed is. Perhaps comparing this game to Michael Jordan's flu in the NBA Finals isn't quite apt.
Whatever category Aaron Rodgers' return to the field on Sunday against the Detroit Lions following a calf injury — sterling prior to leaving, gutsy and effective after he came back from it — falls into, this much should be true: Rodgers is your league MVP.
Credit where credit is due for Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and his amazing season, but another Wisconsin boy deserves the hardwhere following the Packers' 30-20 NFC North-clinching win over the Lions. That's Rodgers, who finished with the cleanest sheet possible — 25 passing touchdowns, another one rushing and zero interceptions — at Lambeau Field this season.
That was made possible following Rodgers' calf-interrupted performance Sunday, in which he completed 17-of-22 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns, with a 1-yard QB sneak for a score for good measure. Yeah, and that rushing touchdown came after Rodgers was knocked from the game.Sun, Dec 28Detroit20 - 30Green BayGame Recap
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner3 hrs ago
ATLANTA – Cam Newton was the last of the playoff-bound Carolina Panthers still on the Georgia Dome field, progressing through the gauntlet of two-question TV hits. Yes, the 34-3 win over Atlanta was an impressive victory; yes, they were ready for the playoffs, yes, yes, yes. Smiles all around.
Halfway around the lower edges of the Dome, fans in Carolina Blue stood three and four deep, foam claws and teal hats (and the occasional turncoat Falcons fan) everywhere. They shouted “WE WANT CAM!” back and forth, threatening to overwhelm his interviews.
The last question asked and answered, Newton could have walked toward the portal at the northeast corner of the Georgia Dome, the most direct route to his locker room. Instead, Newton took off at a dead sprint … in the opposite direction.
Newton ran straight toward the fans, starting at roughly the 50-yard-line and circling the inside of the Dome, his progress slowed only when he crashed into a retaining fence and surely stopped some Carolina hearts. He slapped as many hands as he could, and then threw his towel high into the stands. There were plenty of fans still there to grab at it.
- Kevin Kaduk at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
The Miami Dolphins are headed toward their offseason golf dates carrying more baggage than just their clubs.
After finishing another playoff-free year with a loss to the lowly New York Jets, the Dolphins now have to deal with another issue from oft-upset Mike Wallace. The big-money wide receiver did not catch a pass in Sunday's 37-24 home loss and did not play in the second half. Wallace's absence was initially explained by coach Joe Philbin as a "coaching decision" but Jeff Darlington of the NFL Network later reported that Wallace committed arguably the worst sin in professional sports.
He quit on his own team after seeing another teammate score a touchdown:
So I’ve spoken to enough Dolphins sources to have a clear understanding of situation with Mike Wallace. Here it is in three quick tweets:
Wallace wasn’t “benched,” according to several sources. It wasn’t initially “coach’s decision.” Wallace told Philbin he didn’t want to play.
After Clay scored with 2:49 left in 1st half, Mike Wallace came off the field and told Joe Philbin he no longer wanted to play in the game.Sun, Dec 28NY Jets37 - 24MiamiGame Recap
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
There wasn’t much suspense left by the time the San Francisco 49ers announced that the team and coach Jim Harbaugh had mutually agreed to part ways.
In his postgame news conference, Harbaugh spoke of his four seasons with the 49ers in the past tense. When Craig Dahl intercepted a pass to seal the 49ers’ 20-17 win, he handed the ball to Harbaugh. Then the players gave Harbaugh a Gatorade bath.
The 49ers were once said to be seeking a Harbaugh trade, but that won’t be happening now. You can’t trade to a college team, after all. It has been widely reported Harbaugh is on his way to the University of Michigan.
“Jim and I have come to the conclusion that it is in our mutual best interest to move in different directions,” 49ers CEO Jed York said in a statement. “We thank Jim for bringing a tremendous competitive nature and a great passion for the game to the 49ers. He and his staff restored a winning culture that has been the standard for our franchise throughout its history. Their commitment and hard work resulted in a period of success that should be looked back on proudly by our organization and our fans. We wish Jim and his family all the best.”Sun, Dec 28Arizona17 - 20San FranciscoGame Recap
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner5 hrs ago
Here is the NFL playoff schedule (all times Eastern):
Saturday, Jan. 3 No. 5 Arizona Cardinals (11-5) at No. 4 Carolina Panthers (7-8-1), 4:35 p.m. on ESPN No. 6 Baltimore Ravens (10-6) at No. 3 Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5), 8:15 p.m. on NBC
Sunday, Jan. 4 No. 5 Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1) at No. 4 Indianapolis Colts (11-5), 1:05 p.m. on CBS No. 6 Detroit Lions (11-5) at No. 3 Dallas Cowboys (12-4) 4:40 p.m. on Fox
Saturday, Jan. 10 Wild-card weekend winner at No. 1 New England Patriots (12-4), 4:35 p.m. on CBS Wild-card weekend winner at No. 1 Seattle Seahawks (12-4), 8:15 p.m. on Fox
Sunday, Jan. 11 Wild-card weekend winner at No. 2 Green Bay Packers (12-4), 1:05 p.m. on Fox Wild-card weekend winner at No. 2 Denver Broncos (12-4), 4:40 p.m. on CBS
For a brief moment on Sunday evening, the NFC playoff picture was turning upside down.Sun, Dec 28St. Louis6 - 20SeattleGame Recap