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Around the NFL: Ravens Keep Pace with Strong Defense, Patrick Mahomes Makes More History

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Welcome to Around the NFL, where Cale Berger of Steelers Now will recap early-week action and take a look ahead at some of the most important matchups from the Pittsburgh Steelers perspective. 

AROUND THE NFL THIS WEEKEND

Baltimore Ravens 24 Indianapolis Colts 10

After a slow start offensively, Baltimore’s opportunistic defense forced two key turnovers to spur a come-from-behind victory in Indianapolis.

Cornerback Marcus Peters was the difference maker for the Baltimore defense, intercepting a pass and forcing a fumble. The takeaways resulted in two Ravens touchdowns, which proved crucial after the offense produced just seven points in the first half.

The Colts offense outgained the Ravens 339 to 266, but the turnovers and going an abysmal 2 for 13 on third down proved to much to overcome. Quarterback Philip Rivers passed for 227 yards, but no touchdowns.

Indianapolis’ stout defense was as good as advertised, holding Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson without a touchdown pass for the first time since Week Seven of last season against Seattle. Jackson struggled in the first half, but completed ten of ten passes in the second and ran for a score to lead the Ravens to the victory.

He was also able to exercise some demons on Sunday, as the win marked Jackson’s first career victory after trailing at halftime. He was 0-6 in such games previously. It was also the Ravens’ first win after trailing at the half since Week Ten of 2016, snapping a 20-game losing streak.

Indianapolis (5-3) will have to bounce back quickly ahead of a date with the Titans on Thursday night. Baltimore (6-2) faces the Patriots in Foxborough on Sunday Night Football.

Kansas City Chiefs 33 Carolina Panthers 31

Another Chiefs win, another record-setting performance by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, as Kansas City outlasted Carolina to win their fourth-straight game.

Mahomes tormented the Panthers as he has so many opponents over his young career, dicing them up to the tune of 372 yards and four touchdown passes. He joined some elite company in the process. Mahomes now has 101 touchdown passes in 40 career games, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (44 games) as the fastest player to reach 100 career touchdown passes in NFL history. He also tied Marino with nine career games with at least 300 passing yards and four touchdown passes, the most such games by a player in his first four seasons in league history.

Speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill was the main beneficiary of Mahomes’ dominance Sunday, catching nine passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Hill now has ten total touchdowns on the season through just nine games. He had seven scores all of 2019.

Carolina was equally as potent offensively, mainly due to the return of star running back Christian McCaffrey, who had missed the last six games with an ankle injury. With ten catches, 151 total yards and two touchdowns, McCaffrey made some history of his own. Sunday marked his tenth career game with ten receptions, which is the most by a running back in league history.

Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was no slouch either, passing for 310 yards and two scores. He ran for a touchdown as well.

Kansas City (8-1) will hit the bye before making their first-ever trip to Las Vegas to battle the Raiders in two weeks. Carolina (3-6) hosts Tampa Bay next, as they look to notch their first victory since Oct. 11.

Buffalo Bills 44 Seattle Seahawks 34

Bills quarterback Josh Allen tied a career-high in passing yards, as Buffalo won their fourth-straight and handed Seattle their second loss in the last three games.

While Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson may still be the MVP frontrunner, it was Allen that stole the spotlight Sunday with one of the best performances of his burgeoning career, taking full advantage of the atrocious Seahawks pass defense. Allen passed for 415 yards and three touchdowns, posting a 138.5 passer rating. He also ran for a score, his fifth of the season.

The Bills needed Allen’s big day too, considering they mustered just 34 yards on the ground. Their 44 points scored were the most since 2016.

Wilson stuffed the stat sheet as well, but committed four costly turnovers the put the game out of reach for Seattle. He was picked off twice and lost two fumbles, which was good enough for the second-most turnovers in a single game for his career. Wilson did throw for 390 yards with two touchdowns and run for another, but he was sacked five times on the afternoon.

Cornerback Tre’Davious White plagued Wilson all game and shined for the Buffalo defense, posting eight total tackles, a tackle-for-loss, a fumble recovery and an interception, his first of the year.

Buffalo (7-2) will look to extend their winning streak at Arizona, while Seattle (6-2) will look to regroup ahead of a pivotal division game against the Rams next week.

Houston Texans 27 Jacksonville Jaguars 25

Houston improved to 2-6 on the season behind an impressive performance by quarterback Deshaun Watson, while Jacksonville found surprising success with rookie passer Jake Luton.

Watson once again succeeded in spite of his depleted supporting cast, dissecting the lousy Jaguars defense for 281 yards and two touchdowns, accumulating a 109 passer rating. Sunday’s win marked his fifth-straight game with over 275 passing yards and at least a 105 passer rating. He is only the fifth quarterback ever to accomplish such a feat.

While not much was expected of Luton heading into his first career start, the sixth-round pick turned heads with an impressive professional debut. The Oregon State product wasted no time Sunday, burning the Houston defense for this 73-yard touchdown strike on his second NFL pass.

Luton finished the day 26 of 38 for 304 passing yards and a touchdown with a pick, while also rushing for a score. Chark was his go-to target, catching seven passes for 146 yards in total with the touchdown.

Watson and the Texans will visit the Browns. Now losers of seven-straight, things will not get any easier for Jacksonville when they visit Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at Lambeau Field.

REST OF THE SCHEDULE

  • Green Bay Packers 34 San Francisco 49ers 17
  • Atlanta Falcons 34 Denver Broncos 27
  • Tennessee Titans 24 Chicago Bears 17
  • Minnesota Vikings 34 Detroit Lions 20
  • New York Giants 23 Washington 20
  • Las Vegas Raiders 31 Los Angeles Chargers 26
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 24 Dallas Cowboys 19
  • Miami Dolphins 34 Arizona Cardinals 31
  • New Orleans Saints 38 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3
  • New England Patriots at New York Jets, Monday, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

NFL

NFL Announces Stiffened Mask Mandate for Sidelines

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As COVID-19 cases surge across the country and rise around the league, the NFL announced stricter sideline mask mandates in a memo to clubs Monday.

Beginning with Thursday’s slate of games, all player not entering the game or wearing a helmet will be required to wear a mask or gaiter on the sideline.

Similar to how multiple head coaches were punished at the start of the season for violating the mask protocol, players will also now be punished for failing to comply.

“Players who fail to wear masks on the sidelines will be subject to discipline,” the league said in Monday’s memo. “Clubs are required to enforce these rules. Violations by players and/or staff will result in accountability measures being imposed upon the Club.”

In additions, coaches will no longer be allowed to wear a face shield in lieu, as they will also be required to have a mask or gaiter on underneath it.

Lastly, the league will further limit postgame interactions between players, which was already a point of emphasis within the protocols when the season started. Players will be allowed to “briefly” engage with opponents following the completion of games, but will be required to wear face covering while they do so.

The league also encouraged clubs to designate members of each organization as enforcers of the updates policies.

The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving night, who shut down their practice facility Monday following multiple cases within the organization, including running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins.

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Around the NFL: Ravens Fall to Third Place with Overtime Loss

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Welcome to Around the NFL, where Cale Berger of Steelers Now will recap early-week action and take a look ahead at some of the most important matchups from the Pittsburgh Steelers perspective. 

AROUND THE NFL THIS WEEKEND

Tennessee Titans 30 Baltimore Ravens 24 (OT)

The Ravens have now lost three games on four weeks for the first time since 2018, thanks in large part to a walk-off touchdown by running back Derrick Henry in their overtime loss at home to the Titans on Sunday.

Henry is no stranger to walk-off, game-winning scores. He also recorded a five-yard touchdown in overtime of Week 6, and has become the first player with multiple overtime rushing touchdowns in a single season in NFL history. Henry rushed for 133 yards and the scores, and now owns six 100-yard performances on the season.

Not to be out done, Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown caught four passes for 62 yards and score, on which he would not be denied as his team crawled back from an eleven-point deficit in the second half. Fellow wideout Corey Davis led the way with five receptions for 113.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was average by his standards, passing for 186 yards with a touchdown and pick, while rushing for just 51 yards on the ground. Even though he failed to win the game for his club in overtime, it was the defense that did Baltimore in, as they were simply unable to stop Tennessee’s explosive offense from amassing 423 yards of total offense, their second-highest total allowed this season. Rookie running back J.K. Dobbins was a bright spot for the Ravens with 70 rushing yards and a score.

Currently outside the playoff picture if the season were to end today, Baltimore will attempt to improve their fortunes when the visit the undefeated Steelers on Thanksgiving night. Tennessee looks ahead to a massive AFC South clash with Indianapolis next Sunday.

Washington 20 Cincinnati Bengals 9

The Bengals lost more than just the football games Sunday, as they will now be without their superstar rookie Joe Burrow for the foreseeable future.

Already off to a tremendous start to his NFL career, Burrow was performing well against the league’s top pass defense when he suffered a gruesome left knee injury in the third quarter. Targeting wide receiver Tyler Boyd on a crucial third down,  Burrow went down immediately after releasing the pass when Washington defensive tackle Jonathan Allen was blocked into his knee. The No. 1 overall pick was carted off the field, and diagnosed with a torn ACL hours later.

Burrow had passed for 203 yards and a touchdown before exiting the game. He entered the weekend having thrown for 2,485 yards, 12 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He was third in the league with 242 completions, connecting on 65.4% of his passes.

As for Washington, it was once again their young, offensive stars leading them to victory. Rookie running back Antonio Gibson rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown, while second-year wideout Terry McLaurin caught five balls for 84 yards on the afternoon. It was McLaurin’s eight game this season with at least five receptions and over 60 yards. Gibson now has eight rushing scores on the season and five over the last four games.

Cincinnati will now turn to 2019 fourth round selection Ryan Finley when they host the Giants next Sunday. Washington treks to Dallas for a Thanksgiving showdown.

Cleveland Browns 22 Philadelphia Eagles 17

After missing four games with a knee injury, Browns running back Nick Chubb has rushed for over 100 yards in consecutive weeks and led his team to another victory. Chubb racked up 114 yards on the ground, including a 54-yarder. He now has four games eclipsing the century mark this season. The one-time Pro Bowler added this vicious stiff arm for good measure.

Chubb’s return was perfect timing for the Cleveland offense, as their passing game has disappeared over the last four games. Since tossing for a career-high five touchdown passes against Cincinnati in Week 7, quarterback Baker Mayfield has now gone three games without a touchdown pass. Mayfield’s downturn lines up seamlessly with the absence of star wideout Odell Beckham Jr., who suffered a torn ACL in the win over the Bengals. The Browns will need to find a way to replace Beckham’s production and find consistency through the air soon, as they find themselves second in the AFC North standings.

Losing back-to-back games for the third separate time this season, Philadelphia’s issues were all to familiar Sunday, starting and ending with the inconsistent play of quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns, but also tossed a pair of interceptions that proved costly for his Eagles. He now has 18 turnovers on the season. Wentz was also sacked five times Sunday (thrice by defensive end Olivier Vernon), and remains the most sacked quarterback in football at 40.

Cleveland earns a reprieve in another weak opponent next Sunday when they travel to Jacksonville. Philadelphia faces another tough test, as the host Seattle on Monday Night Football.

Indianapolis Colts 34 Green Bay Packers 31 (OT)

In a dual of prolific passers that took overtime to decide, it was quarterback Philip Rivers and the Colts that overcame a 14-point deficit to win their fourth in five games.

Rivers turned back the clock Sunday, completing 24 of 36 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns. It was his third game this season with three touchdown passes after having just two all of last year in Los Angeles. Rivers left the game temporarily with a leg injury, but heroically returned to lead the Colts on their game-winning field goal drive,

The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers was pretty strong in his own right Sunday, recording his 70th career regular season game with at least three passing touchdowns. Facing a Colts defense that entered Sunday leading the league in total defense and having allowed the second-fewest touchdown passes, Rodgers threw for 311 yards and three scores. He was picked off once by Indianapolis cornerback Rock Ya-Sin.

Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams continued his run of dominance as well in the losing effort, catching seven passes for 106 yards and a scores. Adams is the fourth player in NFL history with at least seven receptions and a touchdown catch in five consecutive games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Cris Carter (1999), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (2007) and Adam Thielen (2018).

Although the Packers won the overtime coin toss and looked poised to win the game, it was a massive play by safety Julian Blackmon that turned the tide for the Colts. With Green Bay driving, the rookie out of Utah forced a key fumble on wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling to set the table for Rivers. Already having a great season replacing the injured Malik Hooker, Blackmon’s big play has solidified his candidacy for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

The Colts will begin a stretch of three divisional games in four weeks when they host the Titans next weekend. The Packers will look to bounce back versus the Bears on Sunday Night Football.

REST OF THE SCHEDULE

  • Seattle Seahawks 28 Arizona Cardinals 21
  • New Orleans Saints 24 Atlanta Falcons 9
  • Carolina Panthers 20 Detroit Lions 0
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Jacksonville Jaguars 3
  • Houston Texans 27 New England Patriots 20
  • Denver Broncos 20 Miami Dolphins 13
  • Los Angeles Chargers 34 New York Jets 28
  • Dallas Cowboys 31 Minnesota Vikings 28
  • Kansas City Chiefs 35 Las Vegas Raiders 31
  • Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
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Around the NFL: Bengals’ Joe Burrow Carted Off After Scary Knee Injury

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One of the NFL’s brightest young stars could be missing extended time following a horrific injury Sunday.

Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow was carted off the field in the third quarter of the Bengals’ game at Washington on Sunday after taking a brutal hit to his left knee.

Looking for wide receiver Tyler Boyd on a critical third down pass, went down immediately after releasing the pass when Washington defensive tackle Jonathan Allen fell into his knee.

While the severity of Burrow’s injury was not immediately known, Cincinnati quickly ruled him out for the remainder of today’s game as expected.

Burrow had thrown for 203 yards and a touchdown on the day before exiting the game.

Selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of LSU, Burrow entered Sunday having thrown for 2,485 yards, 12 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He was third in the league with 242 completions, connecting on 65.4% of his passes.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will visit the Bengals on Monday Night Football on Dec. 21.

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