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Despite Short Turnaround, Saints Handle Panthers, 28-10

Despite Short Turnaround, Saints Handle Panthers, 28-10

Chris Graythen/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Despite playing on short rest on the road against a division opponent, the New Orleans Saints easily handled the Carolina Panthers, 28-10 on Thursday Night Football.

Quarterback Drew Brees and running back Mark Ingram led the way for New Orleans on Thursday. Brees completed 24 of 34 passes for 297 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Ingram wound up carrying the ball 30 for 100 yards while also scoring two touchdowns.

The Saints still managed a win after playing on Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers and then traveling to Charlotte for an early turnaround.

"The offensive line and tight end did a great job of hitting them, hitting them and hitting them," Ingram said. "I think they started to wear down and we were able to get some leaky yards and some big gains."

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton struggled all night as he completed 10 of 28 passes for 151 yards an an interception.

With the win, the Saints improved to 4-4 on the season and are now in first place in the NFC South.

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Saints Prepare for Panthers

Saints Prepare for Panthers

Chris Graythen/Getty Images(NEW ORLEANS) -- The New Orleans Saints will travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers Thursday night.

New Orleans is coming off a surprising 44-23 win over the Packers on Sunday and are tied for first in the NFC South.

"Anytime you're playing in the division, it's always an important game," Saints head coach Sean Payton said on Tuesday. "Playing on the road in the division makes it that much more important."

New Orleans has still yet to get a win on the road (0-4), but Saints right tackle Zach Strief remains positive.

"You look at how we've lost three of those four road games and you say, 'We made some critical errors at the end,'" Strief said. "It's not that we were getting dominated on the road."

The Saints are averaging 28.4 points per game, while Carolina has been held to 20.9.

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Ravens Cornerback Jimmy Smith to Miss a Few Weeks

Ravens Cornerback Jimmy Smith to Miss a Few Weeks

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(OWINGS MILLS, Md.) -- While getting ready for a pivotal game against their NFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers, the Baltimore Ravens will have to do so without top cornerback Jimmy Smith as he'll miss the next few weeks with a sprained left foot.

Smith suffered the injury on the opening drive of the team's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

"He'll be back soon," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Monday.

Aside from being one of the top defensive backs on the team, Smith is emerging as one of the top young cornerbacks in the NFL. He leads the Ravens with eight passes defended.

The Ravens are thin when it comes to cornerbacks now -- Ladarius Webb, Dominique Franks, Chykie Brown are the only healthy corners the team has.

At 5-3, the Ravens and Steelers are tied for second in their division, with the Bengals holding a half-game lead over both teams at 4-2-1.

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Rams Lose Jake Long and Brian Quick to Season-Ending Injuries

Rams Lose Jake Long and Brian Quick to Season-Ending Injuries

Leon Halip/Getty Images(EARTH CITY, Mo.) -- The injuries continue to pile up for the St. Louis Rams as tackle Jake Long will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL while wide receiver Brian Quick will also miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn rotator cuff and separated shoulder.

This is the second time Long has tore his ACL in under a year, same with starting quarterback Sam Bradford, who has missed the entire season.

When on the field, Long has been as good as advertised for the Rams as he's provided steady protection for quarterback Austin Davis this season.

For Quick, this is a tough blow for him as he was firmly establishing himself as the Rams go-to wide receiver. In just seven games this season, Quick had already set career highs in catches, yards, and touchdowns.

"He was very productive," Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said. "He took advantage of all the opportunities, he made tough plays, tough catches, we're going to miss him. But as is the case when you have injured players, people step up so we have got to have people step up."

Receivers Stedman Bailey and Chris Givens will see an increase in playing time now.

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ESPN: Lions’ Fairley Out 4-5 Weeks

ESPN: Lions’ Fairley Out 4-5 Weeks

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(DETROIT, MI) -- After a scary collision with teammate Ndamokung Suh, Nick Fairley's season appeared to be over.

The young defensive tackle's knee bent awkwardly as he attempted to make a tackle against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and needed assistance off the field.

According to a report from ESPN Chicago's Michael C. Wright, Fairley has a sprained MCL and PCL in his knee and will be out four to five weeks - much less than what was feared.

This is good news for both the Lions and Fairley.  The young nose tackle has been an integral part of the improved Lions defense this season. The Lions are holding opponents to less than 300 yards per game.

As for Fairley, the Lions declined a team option that would have kept him under contract through 2015.  He would have been set to enter free agency this coming offseason and a severe knee injury would have hurt his market.

 

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Redskins Upset Cowboys in Overtime

Redskins Upset Cowboys in Overtime

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images(DALLAS,TX) -- Colt McCoy just got his first start as a quarterback in the NFL since 2001; he made the most of it. McCoy got the nod over Kirk Cousins and helped lead the Washington Redskins to a 20-17 overtime upset over the Cowboys in Dallas.

With sharp passes and smart decisions, McCoy was 25-30 for 299 yards while methodically moving the ball against the Cowboys defense. McCoy also showed his legs were still fresh as he scored a touchdown from seven yards out to break a 10-10 tie in the fourth quarter.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo suffered an injury in the third quarter and was forced to the locker room. Backup Brandon Weeden entered and tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jason Witten in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 17-17.

After receiving an injection in the locker room, Romo returned, but a drive he began to lead stalled at the Dallas 32.

The game entered overtime and McCoy led a nine-play, 58-yard drive that set up a go ahead field goal by Kai Forbath.

Romo tried to counter, but the Redskins defense made several plays to break up contested passes and in the end, the Cowboys simply ran out of downs.  

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Idzik Shoulders Blame for Jets Season

Idzik Shoulders Blame for Jets Season

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(FLORHAM PARK, NJ) -- In a season that has left fans irate, Jets General Manager John Idzik addressed the media and accepted the blame for a New York team off to a 1-7 start.

In his mid-season press conference, Idzik took accountability for the dissapointing start.

"It starts with me," Idzik stated. "My performance as General Manager, everything falls under me."

Idzik's hand picked quarterback Geno Smith has dramatically regressed in his second season.  In the worst start ever by a Jets quarterback, Smith completed two of eight passes for five yards and had three interceptions.

When asked who would start at quarterback this week against the Kansas City Chiefs, Idzik deflected the responsibility to head coach Rex Ryan, simply stating it was "an organizational decision... everyone has a card in that game" and that Ryan would answer that question.

In a later press conference Ryan announced that he would go ahead with Mike Vick.

In spite of the terrible performances, Idzik maintained support for Smith.

"He is still a New York Jet," Idzik said when asked if Geno would see the field again this season. "We are still trying to develop Geno Smith."

The Jets general manager remained adamant that this is a long-term plan.  It remains to be seen if anyone will be left when the season is over to execute it.

 

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Brady, Roethlisberger Each Lead Romps

Brady, Roethlisberger Each Lead Romps

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Both Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger had big days on Sunday, leading their teams to impressive routs. Brady and the New England Patriots easily handled the Chicago Bears 51-23 while Roethlisberger's Pittsburgh Steelers dominated in a 51-34 win over Indianapolis.

Brady tossed five touchdown passes in the romp over Chicago, continuing an impressive stretch of four straight wins. The Patriots quarterback was 30-for-35 in the win for 354 yards. New England (6-2) scored on all five possessions in the first half, leading 38-7 at halftime.

"I love coaching Tom. I've been fortunate to have him the whole career since he's been here," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "He does a great job of executing the team game plan."

Meanwhile, Big Ben outdid Brady by throwing for six touchdowns, a franchise record, in a big momentum win over the Colts. The Pittsburgh quarterback also set a franchise mark with 522 passing yards while picking up his 100th career victory.

"We just felt like they couldn't stop us because we were just clicking," said Roethlisberger. "It was one of those nights that players talk about when things feel like they're going right."

The Steelers improved to 5-3 on the year and won consecutive games for the first time all season.

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Saints March Past Packers at Home

Saints March Past Packers at Home

Chris Graythen/Getty Images(NEW ORLEANS) -- Drew Brees threw for three touchdowns while Mark Ingram ran for 172 yards and another score, helping the New Orleans Saints rout Green Bay 44-23 on Sunday night. The loss snapped the Packers (5-3) four-game winning streak while pulling the Saints (3-4) into a tie atop the NFC South.

"All we talked about all week long is just coming together as a team and playing a complete game as a team," said Brees. "It was a perfect representation of that."

Green Bay jumped on top early when Aaron Rodgers hit Randall Cobb on a 70-yard touchdown strike just two minutes into the first quarter. The Saints quickly countered with touchdown of their own, courtesy of Brandin Cooks' four-yard run. Both teams each converted three field goals in the first half, heading into halftime tied at 16-16.

The second half featured a little more defense, both teams scored on every possession in the first, but only from the Saints. After New Orleans turned the ball over on downs, the defense picked off Rodgers inside the redzone. Four plays later, Brees connected with Cooks on a 50-yard touchdown pass to put the Saints up 23-16. 

Brees would also find Jimmy Graham and Josh Hill in the end zone, giving New Orleans a 37-16 lead before the Packers finally scored in the fourth quarter. The Saints quarterback finished the game with 311 yards on 27-of-32 passing. 

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Cardinals Fly High on Late Bomb

Cardinals Fly High on Late Bomb

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(PHOENIX, AZ) --  The Arizona Cardinals won in dramatic fashion, 24-20 over the Philadelphia Eagles.

For the majority of the game it was a defensive struggle.

The fourth quarter proved to be the most exciting as the offenses began to gain steam. After tieing the game at 17 with 9:01 to go, the Eagles methodically moved the ball on a 13-play seven minute drive down to the Cardinals three. Cody Parkey lined up for the go-ahead field goal and gave Philadelphia a 20-17 lead.

With 1:21 remaining in the fourth quarter Carson Palmer heaved a pass up to rookie John Brown.  Brown was screaming past two Eagles defenders reached out and caught the ball.  After a quick stumble, Brown regained his momentum and raced to the endzone for a 75-yard touchdown. 

The Eagles mounted a quick rally driving the ball 64 yards to attempt several throws into the Cardinals endzone.  On the final play with one second remaining, pressure in his face, Foles threw up a pass to rookie Jordan Matthews.  Matthews caught the ball but was shoved out by safety Rashad Johnson.

The Cardinals move to 6-1 and hold a firm grasp on the NFL West.

 

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Jets Commit Six Turnovers, Turn To Vick

Jets Commit Six Turnovers, Turn To Vick

Nick Lahem/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- With a three-and-out and three interceptions to open the game the Geno Smith era in New York may soon be over.

As the clock ticked under five minutes to go in the first quarter the Jets handed the reigns to Mike Vick.  That would still not be enough as New York lost to the Bills 43-23 and committed six turnovers on the day.

"I made the move to go to Mike and I think we responded," Rex Ryan said. "There was a lot of good things we did with Mike in there."

With Vick under center New York pulled close as Nick Folk hit a 55-yard field goal to narrow the gap to 24-17.

Turnovers continued to haunt the Jets throughout the day. Vick commited three turnovers of his own that killed any momentum New York had built.

"We have to take care of the football better," Ryan stated.

Buffalo stormed away in the second half though as Kyle Orton tossed a pair of touchdowns to Scott Chandler and rookie wideout Sammy Watkins.  Orton finished the day completing 10 of 17 passes with four touchdowns - the first time in his career he had done so.

When asked who would start next week for the Jets when they travel to Kansas City, Ryan deferred only saying, "we'll look at that later."

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Falcons Collapse in London, Lose to Lions 22-21

Falcons Collapse in London, Lose to Lions 22-21

Leon Halip/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The Atlanta Falcons led at halftime over the Lions 21-0. When they looked up at the clock as the game was over, the score favored Detroit 22-21.

The Falcons suffered a defensive breakdown with 4:38 to go in the third quarter as Golden Tate ran past two Atlanta defenders and caught a 59-yard bomb from Matt Stafford, closing Atlanta's early lead to 21-10.

On the ensuing drive, with pressure in his face quarterback Matt Ryan threw a terrible inteception to Lions cornerback Cassius Vaughn. 

"In my mind, that kind of cost us the ball game," Ryan said. "I was trying to throw the ball away and I never saw him."

The Falcons defense remained stought and held the Lions to a field goal. The Lions would score another touchdown in the fourth quarter when Matt Stafford found Theo Riddick on a five yard completion. The score was now 21-19 after Detroit missed a two point attempt to tie the game.

The Falcons would try to run the clock out with a poorly executed drive. With less than two minutes to go the Falcons commited a holding penalty that would stop the clock at 1:55.  On the next play, Matt Ryan attempted a screen to Julio Jones, who dropped the ball.  Atlanta would punt the ball inside Detroit's ten yard line.

Detroit would march down the field with little resistance.  Settling at Atlanta's 25 yard line, Detroit lined up for a field goal and newly signed kick Matt Prater pushed the ball wide right.  Atlanta ran on the field in celebration only to find out a whistle had blown. The Lions were called for a delay of game penalty: the kick was negated.  Prater got a second chance and drilled it though the uprights.

That's football. He missed it and there was a delay of game penalty," Mike Smith, Falcons head coach said after the loss. "Thought we were going to squeak one out. Obviously we didn't."

 

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Gerald McCoy Signs Mega Deal With Buccaneers

Gerald McCoy Signs Mega Deal With Buccaneers

Leon Halip/Getty Images(TAMPA BAY, FL) -- Gerald McCoy is now the highest paid defensive tackle in NFL history.The Buccaneers re-signed their 2010 first round pick to a seven-year $98 million dollar contract extension with $51.5 million in guarantees.McCoy struggled with injuries in his first two seasons, but has proven to be one of the most dominant nose tackles over the past two. He has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons and was named a 2013 All-Pro.Despite McCoy's individual success, the Buccaneers continue to struggle. The team is currently 1-5 and coming off a 4-12 record in 2013.Now with a new contract in hand, McCoy can maintain focus on bringing the Bucs back to postseason prominence."That's eating away at me, man," McCoy said earlier this season. "I do all this training and preparing, trying to do what I can for my team for us to get to the playoffs. I just want to experience it."

 

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Andy Reid Prepares for Rams

Andy Reid Prepares for Rams

Jason O.Watson/Getty Images(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- The Kansas City Chiefs (3-3) are expecting everything from the St. Louis Rams (2-4) on Sunday.

Kansas City will host the Austin Davis led Rams at Arrowhead Stadium and head coach Andy Reid will have his team prepared.

"On the offensive side, they’re explosive. Anytime you can take a young quarterback like that and have him come in and play at the level that he’s playing at, first of all means he’s talented, but it also means you’re doing a heck of a job coaching him," Reid said this week.  "Their runners are good, their receivers are good, their tight ends-everybody’s contributing there. Then, special teams, they’re scoring points too and making big plays. You got a good football team that you’ve got to get ready for. They throw a lot of things at you, offensively, defensively and on special teams. That’s been a [Rams head coach] Jeff Fisher trait over the years that he’s been a head coach."

Davis led the Rams to a 28-26 win over the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday and Reid said that he's come a long way."He’s accurate and gets the ball out. Looks like he’s managing things very well, everybody’s where they need to be. Looks like he’s hitting the right receivers. To me, I mean, I studied him when he came out, he’s a good football player," Reid said.  "He’s transferred that from college into the NFL. He’s a football player, he gets it. That’s an impressive deal, I think. That’s a plus anytime your third guy can come in and do a great job. (Rams Offensive Coordinator) Brian (Schottenheimer) is a great coach too, so he’s lucky to be in good hands there, from an offensive standpoint."

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Austin Davis Says He’s Humbled by Brett Favre’s Comments

Austin Davis Says He’s Humbled by Brett Favre’s Comments

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) -- St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis received some high praise from future Hall of Famer Brett Favre this week.

Favre spoke with ESPN's Ed Werder and compared the Southern Miss alumni to another future Hall of Famer.

"Austin can definitely play at this level," Favre told Werder this week. "Not to sound off my rocker, but [Davis], in my mind, can be the next Tom Brady or Kurt Warner. [Brian] Hoyer as well. Austin, like those mentioned, just needed a legit opportunity."

Davis was humbled by the comments and said that Favre has sent him text messages of encouragement. Still, he told reporters that he just wants to be himself.

"I don't really want to be the next anybody," Davis said. "I just want to be the first Austin Davis and just keep doing what we're doing."

Davis and the Rams are coming off a 28-26 win over the Seahawks last Sunday.

"It felt good to get one this past week. I think it was much needed for our football team," Davis said of the win.

The Rams (2-4) will travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs (3-3) on Sunday.

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Sanders Sails Broncos Past Chargers

Sanders Sails Broncos Past Chargers

(DENVER) -- Emmanuel Sanders caught a career-high three touchdowns to lead the Denver Broncos past the San Diego Chargers 35-21 Thursday night.

Sanders finished his big day with nine catches for 120 yards and those three touchdowns.

"Every week we don't know where the ball is going to go," Sanders said. "The defense really dictates that and what Peyton is seeing. And tonight was just my night."

                                                                  Peyton Manning completed 25 of 35 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns, including a 31-yard bomb to Sanders with 32 seconds remaining in the first half to put the Broncos up 14-7, giving them the lead for good.Juwan Thompson ran for two second-half touchdowns, and Ronnie Hillman had 98 yards rushing for Denver (6-1).

Philip Rivers completed 30 of 41 passes for 240 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions for San Diego (5-3).

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Scoreboard Roundup 10/23/14

Scoreboard Roundup 10/23/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NFL: Denver 35 (6-1) - San Diego 21 (5-3)

NCAAF: (18) East Carolina 31 (5-1) - Connecticut 21 (1-5)

Miami (FL) 30 (5-3) - Virginia Tech 6 (4-4)

NHL: New York Islanders 3 (5-2-0, 10 pts) - Boston Bruins 2 (4-5-0, 8 pts)

Detroit Red Wings 4 (4-1-2, 10 pts) - Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (3-2-1, 7 pts) (F/OT)

Minnesota Wild 2 (3-2-0, 6 pts) - Arizona Coyotes 0 (2-3-1, 5 pts)

Nashville Predators 3 (5-0-2, 12 pts) - Chicago Blackhawks 2 (4-1-1, 9 pts)

Vancouver Canucks 4 (4-2-0, 8 pts) - St. Louis Blues 1 (2-3-1, 5 pts)

Calgary Flames (4-3-1, 9 pts) - Carolina Hurricanes (0-3-2, 2 pts)

Buffalo Sabres (1-6-0, 2 pts) - Los Angeles Kings (4-1-1, 9 pts)

Columbus Blue Jackets (3-2-0, 6 pts) - San Jose Sharks (4-2-1, 9 pts)

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Mettenberger To Start For Struggling Titans

Mettenberger To Start For Struggling Titans

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(NASHVILLE, TN) -- A new era is likely beginning in Tennessee, as the Titans have announced rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger will start this Sunday against the Houston Texans.

Mettenberger, a sixth-round pick out of LSU, will replace struggling starter Jake Locker.  Locker had missed the previous two games with a thumb injury and appeared ready to return, but head coach Ken Whisenhunt had other ideas.

"We're going with Zach and we're going to stay with Zach," Whisenhunt said.

The Titans have had trouble scoring points this season. They are averaging 17.3 points per game, ranking 28th in the NFL. They rank 27th with 320.3 yards per game.

''No question he's a talented, young player, and maybe it'll give us a spark,'' Whisenhunt said. ''Offensively, we haven't exactly been lighting it up, so that's part of it in consideration.''

This will likely be the end of Locker's career as a Titan.  Locker was the first-round pick of the Titans in 2011. Struggling through injuries and inconsistent play, Locker never quite reached the expectations that had him once projected to be the first overall pick in the 2010 draft.

Locker will be a free agent at the end of the season after the Titans declined his 2015 option.

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ESPN: Goodell Must Testify at Ray Rice Hearing

ESPN: Goodell Must Testify at Ray Rice Hearing

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell must take the stand and testify at the hearing for the appeal of Ray Rice's indefinite suspension, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.ESPN also reports that the hearing will take place Nov. 5-6.Rice was originally suspended for two games by Goodell for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy for allegedly striking his then fiancée, now wife Janay unconscious in an elevator in Atlantic City.The suspension was then made indefinite once a video surfaced of the event in question. Because Rice was punished twice, the players' union is appealing the suspension. However, the league insists the video was new evidence, meaning Goodell could add to Rice's punishment.

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Report: Pats Lose Chandler Jones for About a Month

Report: Pats Lose Chandler Jones for About a Month

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones has a hip injury that will sideline him for about a month, according to the Boston Globe.Jones is a tough loss for a Patriots defense that's already playing without defensive tackle Sealver Siliga and linebacker Jerod Mayo.The 24-year-old Jones has done well this season, leading the Patriots with 4.5 sacks. Jones also has 26 tackles, two passes defended, one forced fumble, and a blocked field goal that he recovered and returned for a touchdown.The Boston Globe also reports that due to Jones' injury, the Patriots traded for linebacker Akeem Ayers from the Tennessee Titans and will sign defensive lineman Alan Branch.The Patriots have a tough schedule coming up. This weekend they play the Chicago Bears, followed next week by the Denver Broncos -- both at home -- before getting a bye week and then going to Indianapolis to take on the Colts.

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