Take heart, Steelers. A team has won an NFL playoff game minus its top receiver & rusher

Dan Fouts was intercepted five times in shocking loss to Oilers. Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without DeAngelo Williams and Antonio Brown in the playoffs Sunday against Denver. Several outlets are saying this is the first time in NFL history a team has been in a playoff game minus its leading rusher and receiver. This is wrong; it will be the second time.

Authentic Mens Koa Misi Jersey In the 1979 AFC Divisional playoffs, the Houston Oilers traveled to face the top-seeded San Diego Chargers. The Oilers were without Earl Campbell (their leading rusher), Ken Burrough (their leading receiver) and Dan Pastorini (their starting quarterback). They were facing a high-flying Chargers team led by Dan Fouts that looked like a lock. That’s why they play the game.

The Oilers didn’t put up much offense but stunned the Chargers, 17-14. The reason? The Oilers intercepted Fouts five times. The hero was defensive coordinator Eddie Biles, who had figured out the Chargers’ hand signals. Here is the Sports Illustrated game story from January 1980:

The ankle sprain was welcomed news, as Maclin has had his ACL repaired twice previously. He tore his ACL early in his college career at Missouri, and he missed the entirety of the 2013 season with the Philadelphia Eagles after tearing his ACL in training camp. Maclin was emotional when he left the field Saturday, anticipating the worst, but managed to avoid the worst case scenario.
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Maclin’s status is especially important for a Chiefs’ offense that has managed to win 11 straight games while missing a key player. Running back Jamaal Charles was placed on injured reserve early in the season with a torn ACL.

Maclin was the Chiefs’ leading receiver through the regular season, with 1,088 yards and eight touchdowns on 87 receptions. In the Chiefs Wild Card victory over the Texans, their first playoff win since 1994, Maclin had three receptions for 29 yards.

I wondered if perhaps for a lot of football fans, even in 2016, in their minds if it didn’t show up on the stat sheet, then it didn’t happen. That’s not to say any of these guys had pitiful stats, it’s just that to truly understand their impact you need to look deeper than that.

The Clippers present perhaps the best human drama of the 2016-17 season

Griffin’s rise to superstardom muddled the team’s hierarchy, since he needed to siphon some ball-handling duties from Paul. “When you have multiple alphas, multiple guys in a lot of TV commercials, there is always going to be some tension and clashing,” J.J. Redick told ESPN.com.

It’s not completely gone. Griffin smashing his hand in an after-hours fight last season jolted the team. But everyone swears the vibe is the best it’s been since Paul’s arrival five long years ago. “I never had a problem with Chris,” Griffin said. “Sometimes it was better than others. Our spirit as a team is great now.”

Limited Kids Spencer Long Jersey It had better be. This may be the last, best chance for the cursed L.A. stepchild to bust through the second round and chase the sort of success they’ve never experienced. More than a year ago, Doc Rivers, the team’s coach and team president, told me that teams who fall short over and over grow stale — and that the Clippers were “on the borderline” of needing a shakeup.

Jordan may not guard Green at all when Golden State goes to its Death Lineup; the Clips slot him onto Andre Iguodala, so either Griffin or Mbah a Moute can take Green — and switch onto Curry.

It just hasn’t worked. Golden State has shredded L.A.’s defense in every recent matchup. The Clippers will negotiate the first two switches fine, and then break down on the third or fourth action. Someone will back-cut Crawford. Curry’s shoulder-shaking has juked Paul. Klay Thompson is cool shooting right over Redick. Two Clippers will chase one Warrior, leaving another naked. Griffin isn’t quite long enough to bother Curry on those step-back 3s. Jordan is too slow to pivot into emergency response mode when Curry has daylight:
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Expecting perfection against the Warriors’ gauntlet is unfair. Every team messes up a dozen or so possessions each night. But to have any chance, you have to minimize that number, and the Clippers haven’t shown they can do that. “When you defend them,” Redick said, “it’s almost like every play has the intensity of the last minute in a close game. You have to defend so many actions. Fall asleep for a second, and it’s over.”

“Every team needs” a player like Incognito, says guard John Miller.

THE BILLS’ LOCKER room is a tangled maze of walls and random partitions. Lockers for offensive linemen are along one wall, facing the main door. Specialists are around the corner, with running backs to their right and linebackers to their left. The trend in the team-building business is circular inclusiveness, a nod to visibility, a symbolic erasure of cliques and divisions. This one, though — a tight end could get lost on his way to visit a cornerback. It looks like it was designed by an architect who specializes in haunted houses.

“You can go any place else. You can go back to Tennessee, you can go to Cleveland, you can go to SC. Still, I’m going to be Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams. That’s why I wear that gold jacket. I have the right to say what I say.”

“I want to come to these football games about as much as I want to put a bloody steak around my neck and dive into the Pacific Ocean buck naked.”

And then, of course: “I won’t be at the Coliseum as long as Fisher’s coaching. I’m a man of my word. If I tell you something, I’m going to do it.”

The following morning, Dickerson relayed those sentiments once again on SportsCenter. Hours later, Fisher — his job security seemingly more perilous than ever — basically summarized his point of contention with Dickerson this way: “He’s totally entitled to his opinion, and he has every right to be critical. But as I told him in the conversation, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t be critical, and then come back and ask for this and ask for that.”
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Authentic Kids Knile Davis Jersey Meanwhile, Dickerson’s Twitter account (@EricDickerson, with more than 65,000 followers) retweeted countless fans who were supporting him and blasting the organization, blasting Fisher, blasting Demoff. Some vowed to no longer attend games until Fisher is let go and thus Dickerson’s shun is lifted.

Right or wrong, the Rams lost big.

A few minutes earlier, Fisher told the assembled media he didn’t know where Dickerson’s comments stemmed from, then touched on “a really good conversation” the two shared and added: “I’d welcome him in the building. I’d love to have him come in. I’d love to have him come to practice. I’d love to have him come in the meetings.”

And that set Dickerson off.

Eagles RG Brandon Brooks hospitalized, misses loss to Packers

Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks was hospitalized with an illness Monday, the team announced, and he missed Philadelphia’s 27-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Rookie Isaac Seumalo replaced Brooks in the starting lineup.

This is the latest hit to an already patchwork offensive line. Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who took over at right tackle when Lane Johnson was suspended earlier this season, suffered an MCL sprain against the Seattle Seahawks Nolan Cromwell Youth Jersey last week and did not play Monday. Allen Barbre moved from left guard to right tackle for the Packers game, with Stefen Wisniewski taking his spot at left guard.

The Raiders’ 24-7 halftime lead dissolved into a 32-24 deficit in the fourth quarter before Carr led the Raiders to two late scores for a 35-32 victory to improve first-place Oakland’s record to 9-2 and clinch the franchise’s first winning record since 2002.

Rodgers wouldn’t have thrown Adams’ way 76 times this season if he didn’t trust him. Only Nelson, with 94 targets, has seen the ball more from Rodgers this season. Adams already has consecutive games with double-digit receptions this season – combining for a Packers record 25 catches in back-to-back games against Chicago and Atlanta. Two weeks later, he posted a career best with 156 yards in a loss at Tennessee.

“This is who we saw during training camp,” said fellow Packers receiver Randall Cobb. “This is who we saw when Coach McCarthy called him the MVP. This is who we saw. He got hurt last year. He was playing through a lot of pain, multiple injuries, and he never was quite himself.”

Adams remains close to his mother, who spent the Thanksgiving weekend in Green Bay, and admits they now joke Orlando Pace Youth Jersey about the thrice-broken arm that almost prevented him from returning to the football field.

“Every now and then we’ll talk about that,” Adams said. “But it’s not something that bothers me now.”

Don’t believe him? Go ahead and touch it.

Bevell had a laugh about Baldwin’s gesture on Wednesday

Earlier failures left the Redskins playing catch-up against a superior team on the road. Gruden swung at an opportunity to regain that advantage. The problem is, when those plays don’t work they look really bad.

The Redskins, at 6-4-1, remain in good position to fight their way into the playoffs. If they get there, one reason will be Gruden’s aggressiveness. It just didn’t help them Thursday.

Bevell had a laugh about Baldwin’s gesture on Wednesday.

“Doug and I have a great relationship, first and foremost,” Bevell said. “I think Doug in his excitement, when he heard the play called in the huddle and knowing that he was going to get an opportunity to make Seahawk history, he was really excited, and he wanted to tell Bev that he was No. 1. And he just messed up a little bit there. If I could inspire him to make that perfect pass, then I’ll go ahead and take it.”

“But it’s going to be important that we get going early. We had three three-and-outs to start the [Redskins] game, but overall on the season, we’ve done a better job of limiting our three-and-outs; we’ve been sustaining drives pretty well.”

Even if the Packers end their losing streak on Monday, they will remain two games out of first place in the NFC North with just five weeks remaining. The Detroit Lions (7-4) moved into sole possession of the division lead after Thursday’s win over the Chris Conley Authentic Womens Jersey Vikings (6-5). The Packers close the regular season with Minnesota at home in Week 16 and at Detroit in the Week 17 finale.

On the next play, Dak Prescott scored on a 6-yard touchdown run to increase the Cowboys’ lead to 24-12 with 10:49 to play.

Bryant caught three of his five passes against Norman, but Chris Jones Authentic Womens Jersey it was Bryant’s fifth catch that was the most important to the Cowboys even if it came against Kendall Fuller. On third-and-9 from the Washington 27 and the Cowboys’ lead down to five points, Bryant lined up in the slot in a three-receiver set.

Feeling some pressure, Prescott rolled to his right. The quarterback could have used his legs to pick up a first down, as he had done plenty of times throughout the game. Even if he didn’t pick up the first down, the Cowboys were sufficiently in Dan Bailey’s field goal range.

Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin calls for changes in deadly use of force law

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin appeared before a legislative task force at the state capitol Monday to recommend changes to a law that prevents law enforcement officers from being charged with a crime in uses of deadly force unless it can be proven that they acted with “malice” and without “good faith.”

According to The Seattle Times, the Justin Ellis Authentic Jersey task force voted to remove the references of “malice” and “good faith” from the law.

“The major part of it is that it sends a message to the community that law enforcement and the agencies that represent law enforcement, that they’re serious about the gravity of their decisions and about the standards that they hold themselves to,” Baldwin said.

“And it sends a deep message to the community of just that. And an olive branch, if you will, that they’re willing to work with the community. It heals a much-needed relationship. As far as being able to prosecute police officers, obviously that’s not the intent.

Wasted opportunities are why the Redskins could roll up 505 yards of offense but still leave on the wrong end of a 31-26 score. You shouldn’t feel bad about what they can do in future games, but to do more than sneak in as the last playoff entrant, they have to do a much better job of converting the opportunities they get.

Jordan Reed caught two touchdown passes as part of a good day for the Redskins’ passing game.

Missed chances hurt the Redskins in a loss to Dallas earlier this year, hurt them in a loss to Detroit and cost them a tie with Cincinnati. The Redskins are still 6-4-1 and still in good position to make the playoffs. Their offense will always give them a chance to hurt most teams. They’re explosive, and quarterback Kirk Cousins is playing well — he threw for 449 yards and three Karl Joseph Authentic Jersey touchdowns Thursday. You can’t say it’s all because of the talent around him. It isn’t. There’s a lot to be encouraged by when it comes to Cousins and the offense.

“Twenty[-six] points should be good enough to win in the NFL,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said.

But that makes what happened Thursday disappointing. The Redskins were in position to win this game. But on two early trips inside the red zone, for example, they settled for field goals. They used a new formation on one play — the Wildcat — and lost a yard.

the Ravens had faced what Football Outsiders deemed to be the league’s easiest schedule

It’s all about strength of schedule. Heading into this week, the Ravens had faced what Football Outsiders deemed to be the league’s easiest schedule. Starting with Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, they were set to face the league’s toughest slate the rest of the way. The opposite was true for the Steelers, who were fittingly facing the Browns at the same time.

They’ll benefit from playing a Bengals team Jacob Tamme Womens Jersey almost surely to be without Green next week, and the jury is still out on Miami, but the Ravens still have to face the Patriots in New England and the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Joe Flacco & Co. also have to host the Eagles, who are considered to be wildly underrated by just about every advanced metric I can find.

It seems cruel to highlight a player’s poor performance when he left the game with an injury, but there’s no denying that Kessler struggled in limited action against the Steelers. Kessler dropped back to pass 19 times and gained five first downs on those plays. He was sacked four times and was off target (overthrown or underthrown) on a season-high 31 percent of his attempts, including his interception in the first quarter.

Kessler especially struggled on third down Sunday; he gained a first down on two of his six dropbacks. He posted a 2.9 Total QBR on third down against the Steelers, which brought his season-long third-down QBR to an NFL-low 17.7.

Dalton had a day to forget for the Cincinnati Bengals against Buffalo as he completed 24-of-43 Jake Matthews Womens Jersey passes for 207 yards and lost two of his top weapons, A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard, to injuries.

Dalton struggled to find his touch downfield against a Bills’ defense that had been among the worst at stopping deep passes in recent weeks. Buffalo held Dalton to 5-of-13 passing for 75 yards and two interceptions on passes thrown 10 or more yards downfield, including 1-of-6 for 11 yards in the second half.

The Ravens have heard all week about how the Cowboys have the best offensive line in the NFL

The names up front have changed over the years, from Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams (2000-01) to Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg (2006-10) to Williams and Pierce. The staggering low rushing totals, however, have remained the same.

“That’s who we are,” Williams said. “That’s our standard is Brandon Sutter Authentic Jersey stopping the run. You don’t become a Raven if you don’t know how to stop the run.”

The Ravens have held teams to 2.5 yards per carry in the 77 running plays with both Williams and Pierce on the field.

Baltimore has given up 3.5 yards per carry on the 96 running plays when either Williams or Pierce are off the field.

The Ravens have allowed 5.8 yards per carry on the 20 plays with Williams and Pierce both on the sideline.

It would be an oversimplification to label the Ravens’ dynamic run-stopping duo as space-eaters.

“They’re two big guys, but they’re two big guys that are really excellent athletes,” coach John Harbaugh said. “They’re in great shape. They’re explosive. They play hard. They use their hands really well. They can get off blocks.”

Williams and Pierce are the Ravens’ first line of defense Sunday, when the Ravens face Chris Higgins Authentic Jersey their biggest challenge of the season. Elliott is averaging 111.7 yards per game, which is 18.7 yards more than anyone else in the NFL.

Much of Elliott’s success comes up the gut of the defense. He has gained 72.6 percent of his yards in between the tackles.

“He’s a really good back. He’s proven that he can do it,” Williams said. “My biggest thing is his power comes from his offensive line. It’s kind of like, cut the head of the snake.”

The Ravens have heard all week about how the Cowboys have the best offensive line in the NFL. Dallas’ front certainly has a pedigree, with three first-round picks (left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin) who come from big-name schools like USC, Wisconsin and Notre Dame.

It’s a stark contrast to the Ravens’ defensive line. Williams is a third-round pick from Division II Missouri Southern State, and Pierce is an undrafted rookie out of Samford.

Tebow will remain in Arizona for parts of the remainder of the offseason

Tebow will remain in Arizona for parts of the remainder of the offseason, working with Mets hitting coach Kevin Long.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said it is undecided whether Tebow will be invited to big league camp or head directly to minor league camp once spring training arrives. Alderson seemed to hint at the latter, though. Regarding big league camp, the GM said last week, the day after Tebow had a walk-off RBI single for the Scottsdale Scorpions: “A couple of additional walk-off hits, he might merit consideration.”

Even if Tebow is assigned to minor league camp, he still regularly could be borrowed for Grapefruit League games.

“The guy is going through kind of a warp-speed development process,” Alderson said. “Who knows what’s going to happen at the end?”

Whether Tebow will break camp in Scott Crichton Authentic Womens Jersey 2017 with a full-season minor league team such as the Columbia (S.C.) Fireflies is a decision to be made even further down the road, according to Alderson. The alternative is to stay in extended spring training when the top minor leaguers break camp in early April and then begin the season playing with a short-season team such as the Brooklyn Cyclones, whose games begin in June.

Alderson did seem to indicate that playing with a full-season team would be optimal. The GM nonetheless noted that team assignments Shamar Stephen Authentic Womens Jersey for all minor leaguers — not just Tebow — will be made late in spring training, after instructors get several weeks to evaluate farmhands in camp.

Tebow’s AFL stint was interrupted weekly by his college football broadcasting duties with ESPN. He would play Monday through Thursday, then spend the next two days in a Southeastern Conference city. The AFL is dark on Sundays.

Tebow acknowledged that the continuity of playing uninterrupted in spring training probably would aid his development.

“It will definitely be nice to be able to continue the rhythm every day,” he said.

Asked if he missed being the best on the field, which presumably was the case for some of his life as a football player, Tebow said: “One day you want to get there. You have to put in the work, and it’s a process. You want to keep getting better every day. You want to be the best you can be. So that’s the goal.”

A versatile bench allowed Roberts to carry an extra reliever most of the season

So the question now is whether Roberts can turn the necessity of his bullpen use into his very own identity.

“Well I think that obviously with the young players we had and some of the injuries we had, and certain games that were performance driven, changes needed to be made in game, as far as going to the pen,” Roberts said, refuting the suggestion that the heavy bullpen usage was a part of his master plan.

“But I do believe and I am aligned Sammy Watkins Authentic Jersey with our front office in the sense that there are certain spots in each individual game that can really affect an outcome. So to have an advantage hitter versus pitcher makes sense and it is something I know that I believe in.”

A versatile bench allowed Roberts to carry an extra reliever most of the season and the roster alignment was not wasted. In addition to the 3.35 ERA from Seantrel Henderson Authentic Jersey the bullpen, the group also recorded 633 strikeouts, also tops in the majors.

Most amazing of all is that the only reliever with a set role all season was closer Kenley Jansen. Guys such as Joe Blanton (a team-leading 75 appearances), Pedro Baez (73 appearances) and lefty Adam Liberatore (Dodgers record 28-appearance scoreless streak) pulled their weight. Liberatore was finally slowed by injury. Rookie Grant Dayton emerged to take Liberatore’s left-handed innings.

Roberts characterized his extreme use of the bullpen more of a necessity than an identity. Starters were hurt, including staff ace Clayton Kershaw, and finding length from whoever remained proved difficult.

Roberts resembled a conductor each night, working his orchestra from the podium of the pitching mound. Left arm up for rhythm, right arm up for tempo.

It helped Roberts conduct music to the tune of the National League Manager of the Year Award, an honor he received Tuesday. He became the first Dodgers manager to win the honor since Tommy Lasorda (1983, ’88).

Lasorda was also known for his bullpen usage, but in his case it was more the longevity he got from a pitcher each night, not necessarily liberal use. Roberts used his group of relievers like no other manager in baseball history.

His 606 pitching moves this season were an MLB record, getting a big league-leading 590? innings from the group. And Roberts managed it all to a 3.35 ERA from his bullpen, second best in baseball. The relievers helped the Dodgers to ultimately complete 46 comeback victories, second most in the game to the Texas Rangers’ 49.

And the bullpen usage only got more extreme in the postseason, as Roberts leaned heavily on the relievers, taking the club two games from the World Series.

Ross Stripling no-hit bid: April 8 at Giants

Roberts made headlines early in the season, removing rookie Ross Stripling from a game with a no-hitter intact through 7? innings. The Dodgers led 2-0, but the next batter hit a game-tying two-run HR and the Giants won in the 10th. But Stripling was on the heels of Tommy John surgery and had made just one spring training start. Roberts’ caution paid off: Stripling pitched for the Dodgers into the postseason.