Colts will be focus of 'Hard Knocks' in-season episodes
"Hard Knocks In Season: The Indianapolis Colts" will premiere Wednesday, Nov. 17, and run every Wednesday for the remainder of the season.
The Colts are coming off a playoff run in 2020 but started the season with a 28-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Indianapolis has plenty of storylines for the show. These include Carson Wentz trying to revive his career after falling out of favor in Philadelphia, the relationship between Wentz and coach Frank Reich, the play of star linebacker Darius Leonard and the ongoing pandemic.
"We could not be more thrilled to bring 'Hard Knocks' and the remarkable behind-the-scenes access it provides for the entirety of an NFL season," NFL Films senior executive Ross Ketover said in a statement. "Thanks to HBO, along with the incredible cooperation from the Colts, we are able to deliver a groundbreaking new edition of the series."
"Hard Knocks" first premiered on HBO in 2001. Except for 2011, when the league had an offseason lockout, the show has followed at least one team every preseason since 2007.
The Dallas Cowboys were the stars of this summer's season. It was their third time being featured.
The Colts have never been featured on the show.
Last-second kick lifts Washington over Giants
Hopkins first missed wide right from 48 yards, but the Giants' Dexter Lawrence was called offside to give the kicker a second chance. Hopkins booted the second attempt through the uprights as Washington (1-1) ended a string of five straight losses to the Giants (0-2).
Graham Gano kicked a 35-yard field goal with two minutes left to cap a 5-for-5 performance and give New York a 29-27 edge. Gano also was successful from 23, 47, 52 and 55 yards to increase his franchise record to 35 consecutive made field goals.
Taylor Heinicke passed for 336 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in his second career regular-season start, his first for Washington. Terry McLaurin had 11 receptions for 101 yards and one touchdown, Ricky Seals-Jones caught a scoring pass and J.D. McKissic rushed for a score.
Daniel Jones passed for 249 yards and one touchdown and also rushed for 95 yards and a score for the Giants. Saquon Barkley ran for 57 yards on 13 carries in his second game since major knee surgery, and Darius Slayton caught a touchdown pass for New York, which was outgained 401 yards to 387.
Washington trailed by six before moving 75 yards on two plays to take a 27-26 lead. Heinecke hit McKissic on a 56-yard pass play and followed with a 19-yard dart to Seals-Jones in the right corner of the end zone to put Washington ahead with 4:33 remaining.
The Giants trailed 14-10 at halftime before scoring 10 third-quarter points to move ahead.
Gano kicked a 47-yard with 9:07 left in the third quarter and Stayton caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Jones to give the Giants a 20-14 lead with 4:41 left.
Hopkins drilled a 49-yarder with 1:30 left in the third quarter to pull Washington within three before Gano kicked a 52-yarder through to make it 23-17 with 13:35 remaining in the game.
Hopkins kicked a 37-yard field goal with 8:46 left to cut the New York lead to three.
The Giants had a chance to add to make it a two-score lead, but a wide-open Slayton dropped a potential 43-yard touchdown pass from Jones with 6:18 remaining. New York salvaged three points when Gano kicked a 55-yarder to make it 26-20 with 4:50 left.
Washington led by four at the half thanks to McKissic's 2-yard run with 21 seconds to play.
Giants OL Nick Gates carted off with leg fracture
Gates had an air cast on the leg as he was removed from the turf with 5:52 left in the stanza. The team announced the fracture later in the quarter.
The entire Giants' team came on the field to wish Gates well as he was about to be carted off. The third-year pro and team captain started the season opener at center and moved to guard for Thursday's game.
Ben Bredeson replaced Gates at left guard.
Panthers OL John Miller discusses COVID battle: âItâs realâ
Miller told reporters that he had certain symptoms "pretty bad" and it was not so simple returning to football shape as the Panthers prepare for a Week 2 tilt with the New Orleans Saints.
"I did a little conditioning, and I was like, âWow, my lung capacity is not what it used to be,'" Miller said.
Miller was not vaccinated for COVID-19, based on NFL protocols that state unvaccinated players must spend at least 10 days on the reserve list set aside for the virus.
Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady said the team expects Miller will be available to play Sunday if called upon.
Miller, 28, is in his seventh NFL season and his second with Carolina after playing for the Buffalo Bills (2015-18) and Cincinnati Bengals (2019). He has played in 74 games, all starts, in his career, including 14 starts for the Panthers last year.
Miller said he watched the Panthers' Week 1 win over the New York Jets from his bed at home as he continued to recover from the coronavirus.
"It's COVID and it's out there and it's real," Miller said. "It has been affecting every one of us."
Aaron Rodgers, Packers look to get well vs. Lions
Rodgers fully expects the Green Bay Packers to look a whole lot better in their home opener against the Detroit Lions on Monday night.
"I'm not going to make it bigger than it was. I'll let you guys (in the media) and the outside world do that," he said. "We've won a lot of games around here. We've lost a few, but you move on. Doesn't matter if you play incredible and put up 50 or get blown out. You move on to the next opponent. ... If we're starting to freak out after one week, we're in big trouble."
The same player who threw 48 regular-season touchdowns and five more in the playoffs was held to 133 passing yards and got picked off twice in the 38-3 loss to the Saints on Sunday.
The offensive line and running backs didn't help matters as the Packers were limited to 43 yards on 15 carries. The defense gave up five Jameis Winston touchdown passes.
A matchup with the Lions usually makes any troubles for Rodgers and the Packers go away. He's led them to nine wins in 11 home games against the Lions with 21 touchdowns and just four interceptions. The Packers have also won their last eight home openers.
The Lions were down 24 to San Francisco in the fourth quarter of Dan Campbell's head coaching debut, then scored 16 points and got the ball back to make things interesting in the closing seconds of a 41-33 loss.
"They had an opportunity right at the end of the game to tie the game," Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. "That tells you everything you need to know about the Detroit Lions."
Campbell, an assistant head coach and tight ends coach with New Orleans before getting the Lions job, expects to see an angry Packers squad on Monday.
"New Orleans kicked the hornet's nest, so we're going to get everything they've got," he said.
The 49ers gashed Campbell's defense, averaging 8.0 yards per play. San Francisco also recorded a pick six against new Lions quarterback Jared Goff and sacked him three times.
"They're coming off a loss. So are we," Campbell said. "We don't like that taste either. We've just got to clean it up. We're trying to build a belief and a certain style of play."
Goff bounced back from his early struggles, racking up 338 passing yards and three touchdowns. Running backs Jamaal Williams and D'Andre Swift combined for 93 yards on 20 carries and caught eight passes apiece.
Williams will have some extra motivation going against his former team for the first time. He signed a two-year contract with the Lions as a free agent in March.
"It's the same old Jamaal that you saw when he was playing for us," LaFleur said. "You could see it in the game against San Francisco, just competing to the best of his ability and getting tough yards and bringing a lot of energy and juice. I'm sure he will be fired up to come in here and play."
Lions defensive back Jeff Okudah suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in the opener. Wide receiver Tyrell Williams and defensive end Kevin Strong are in the league's concussion protocol.
Packers offensive guard Lucas Patrick and tight end Josiah Deguara are under the same restrictions. Linebacker Za'Darius Smith (back) also missed Thursday's practice.
Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy keeping focus on Ravens, not USC
"I am where my feet are," Bieniemy told reporters, adding that his "job right now is to make sure that we're preparing for this weekend's opponent."
The Chiefs (1-0) play the Baltimore Ravens (0-1) in Week 2.
"If USC reached out to me right now, my answer would be ‘I am preparing for this team to play against the Baltimore Ravens.' That's how I roll."
The Trojans fired former coach Clay Helton earlier this week. Bieniemy was asked about the opening in the aftermath of an ESPN report pegging the longtime assistant as a candidate. Bieniemy went to high school in the Los Angeles area before playing collegiately at Colorado.
Bieniemy has interviewed for several NFL head coach openings but has yet to land one. Bieniemy has been an assistant with the Chiefs since 2013, first as running backs coach before taking over as OC in 2018.
He's been an assistant coach at his alma mater two different times, first as the RBs coach (2001-02) and then as OC (2011-12). He also coached RBs at UCLA from 2003-05.
Report: 49ers LB Dre Greenlaw to have surgery, miss 6-8 weeks
Greenlaw, 24, injured his groin Sunday in the 49ers' 41-33 win over the Detroit Lions. He was limited to just 37 defensive plays but made six tackles, and he also intercepted a pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown. He did not return to the game after the second-quarter score.
In his third year, Greenlaw was a 2019 fifth-round draft pick by San Francisco. In 30 career games (23 starts), he has 184 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions.
It's the latest injury for the 49ers, who lost running back Raheem Mostert to a season-ending knee injury sustained in Week 1.
Giants shuffle starting O-line, place LG Shane Lemieux on IR
Nick Gates, who started every game at center last season and Week 1 of 2021 for New York, will move to left guard, per the reports.
Starting left guard Shane Lemieux was placed on injured reserve, prompting the moves. Lemieux left last week's game against Denver with a knee injury.
Price has been with the Giants for two-plus weeks after the team acquired him from Cincinnati. Price is a former first-round pick, taken No. 21 overall by the Bengals in 2018.
The Giants also signed center Matt Skura to their 53-man roster from the practice squad.
The status of running back Saquon Barkley remains unknown. He was listed as questionable Wednesday.
WFT backed vs. Giants despite Super Bowl odds lengthening
The WFT opened as 3.0-point favorites at BetMGM but the line has moved to 3.5 points hours before the game with 66 percent of the money and 58 percent of the spread-line bets supporting Washington. The line is the same at DraftKings, with the WFT backed by 69 percent of the money and 68 percent of the bets.
The overall action at BetMGM has been split, with the Giants' +160 moneyline moving to +150 and the team backed by 62 percent of the money and 69 percent of the bets. However, Washington's -165 moneyline is still drawing 51 percent of the money and 56 percent of the bets at DraftKings.
Heinicke, 28, was thrust into the starting job with Fitzpatrick expected to miss at least 6-8 weeks with a hip injury. Heinicke will be making his second career regular-season start as the NFC East rivals each seek their first win of the young season.
"I think our guys will rally around him," Washington coach Ron Rivera said of Heinicke this week. "He plays a little bit like his hair's on fire and plays a little bit like a gunslinger.
"He understands what he has to do and how he has to do it. I'm excited to see what's going to happen."
Heinicke replaced Fitzpatrick during Washington's 20-16 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1 and completed 11 of 15 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown while rushing three times for 17 yards.
"I went in there and said a couple of words that I probably shouldn't say right now about these Giants," Heinicke said after Tuesday's practice. "Hopefully it got the guys fired up and ready to play for Thursday."
While Washington is favored this week, Fitzpatrick's lengthy absence has impacted the team's futures.
The team's Super Bowl odds climbed from +5000 to +7000 at FanDuel, from +5000 to +6600 at PointsBet and from +5000 to +6000 at BetRivers the day after Fitzpatrick was placed on injured reserve this week.
Washington saw its NFC Championship odds lengthen from +2200 to +2500 at PointsBet and from +2500 to +2800 at BetRivers, where the team's NFC East title odds moved from +190 to +275.
New York looks to rebound after being whipped 27-13 by the visiting Denver Broncos in its season opener.
Running back Saquon Barkley had just 26 rushing yards on 10 carries in his return from ACL surgery, and his availability for Thursday's game remains questionable.
"I don't think the schedule is ideal for coming back off a major knee injury to have two games back-to-back, but that's what it is," said Barkley, who was limited in practice on Tuesday. "That's what's in front of me and that's the challenge I have to face."
With tight end Evan Engram (calf) ruled out of the game, the 40.5-point Over/Under at BetMGM has seen 55 percent of the money and 52 percent of the bets placed on the Under.
The Giants have defeated Washington five straight times, the last four with quarterback Daniel Jones as the starter.
The third-year pro passed for 267 yards and one score and also rushed for a touchdown against the Broncos. However, he also lost a fumble that led to a Denver field goal.
"Turnovers are always going to hurt you at any point in the game and they're big plays," said Jones, whose 30 fumbles and 18 fumbles lost are the most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2019. "We've got to do a good job of taking care of the ball."
Tom Brady on playing until 50: 'I think it's a yes'
With Brady seemingly keeping Father Time at bay, fans naturally have questioned if the 44-year-old quarterback envisions playing until his 50th birthday -- Aug. 3, 2027.
As luck would have it, Brady and teammate Rob Gronkowski tackled that question on this season's first episode of Tommy & Gronky, a video series produced by the Buccaneers.
"Can Tom Brady play until (he's) 50 years old?" Gronkowski asked.
"Wow. Seems to be a really hot question lately," Brady said. "Can Tom Brady play 'til 50? Like, 50 years old?"
"Fifty," Gronkowski repeated. "You're 44, and that's six more years."
"I don't find it so difficult," Brady answered. "Plus in Florida, it's kind of a retiree state, so I feel like I can play and then just glide into retirement. I think I can. I think it's a yes."
The line of questioning didn't end there, however.
"You know, there's a little spin to that question," Gronkowski said. "I think it's, will (Brady's wife) Gisele (Bundchen) let Tom play 'til 50?"
"That is a way better question," Brady said. "And in fact, why would (fans) not Google that? I think they should. That is, of course no, that answer.
"I'm just kidding," Brady continued. "Sorry, babe. I love you. You would let me. You would let me do anything as long as I'm happy."
Brady completed 32 of 50 passes for 379 yards with four touchdowns in Tampa Bay's 31-29 victory over Dallas on Sept. 9.
Brady won his seventh Super Bowl title in February while playing in his first season with the Buccaneers after 20 with the New England Patriots. He threw three touchdown passes in Tampa Bay's 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs to win Super Bowl MVP honors for the fifth time.
Cowboys' DeMarcus Lawrence has foot surgery, out 6-8 weeks
The injury occurred Wednesday during practice and was to his fifth metatarsal, NFL Network reported.
The Cowboys (0-1) will play the Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) on Sunday and could be doing so without four starters on defense. Randy Gregory is on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Donovan Wilson has a lingering groin injury and La'el Collins is serving a five-game suspension because of missing drug tests.
Lawrence, 29, was a second-round draft pick of the Cowboys in 2014. The two-time Pro Bowl selection appeared in all 16 games the past four seasons and has 45.5 career sacks, 305 tackles and 93 quarterback hits to go with 16 forced fumbles.
April trial date set for ex-Chiefs assistant Britt Reid
The date was set Thursday morning at a virtual hearing. Reid and his attorney, J.R. Hobbs, participated by videoconference.
The charges stem from a Feb. 4 incident, when Reid is alleged to have been driving drunk when he hit two cars that were stopped on the side of an entrance ramp to Interstate 435. The wreck left a 5-year-old girl with a traumatic brain injury, and injured another child.
If convicted of the Class D felony, Reid, 36, could be sentenced up to seven years in prison. He is the son of Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who hired him to coach linebackers.
Charges were filed April 12. He entered a not guilty plea.
Kansas City prosecutors say Reid had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.113 from a sample taken two hours after he barreled into a disabled vehicle on I-435. Reid was driving 83.9 miles per hour -- in a posted 65 mph zone -- 1.9 seconds before slamming into the vehicle, per the probable cause statement form made public earlier this year.
Reid suffered blunt force trauma to his groin in the accident, which required emergency surgery, per the filing.
He initially was placed on administrative leave by the Chiefs before the organization decided against renewing his contract.
Ravens elevate Devonta Freeman to active roster
Freeman, 29, joins a depleted running backs group led by Ty'Son Williams, with Latavius Murray as his backup. The Ravens cut third string RB Trenton Cannon, who signed the week before Monday's opening 33-27 overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Ravens have had to scramble to fill the backfield roles after losing starter J.K. Dobbins and his replacement Gus Edwards to season-ending knee injuries.
The Ravens also lost Justice Hill to a torn Achilles on Sept. 2.
Freeman spent his first six seasons in Atlanta and was named to two Pro Bowls after the Falcons took him in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He played for the New York Giants last season, but appeared in just five games (four starts) and finished with 54 carries for 172 yards and one TD.
The New Orleans Saints signed him to a deal on Aug. 1 and released him Aug. 31.
For his career, Freeman has played in 82 games (63 starts) and rushed 1,005 times for 4,144 yards and 33 TDs. He's also caught 264 passes for 2,073 yards and 11 scores.
Le'Veon Bell, a two-time All-Pro, remains on the practice squad.
Report: Raiders QB Marcus Mariota (quad) sidelined
Mariota, 27, apparently was injured on the lone snap he took in the game, a 31-yard run up the middle in the first quarter.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden acknowledged that Mariota was hurt during the game on Tuesday, but the team could face a fine from the NFL for failing to disclose his status during the game.
Nathan Peterman will replace Mariota as the backup to starter Derek Carr.
The No. 2 overall pick in 2015, Mariota is in the final year of his contract and will be a free agent in 2022.
Mariota was scheduled to earn $10.7 million in 2021, but with the money not guaranteed, the Raiders would have cut him had he not agreed to restructure his deal.
He reworked his contract with the Raiders before the season and will earn a guaranteed $3.5 million this season.
Originally drafted by the Tennessee Titans, Mariota has appeared in 65 career games (61 starts) and thrown for 13,433 yards with 77 touchdowns and 45 interceptions. He also has run for 1,518 yards and added 12 scores.
Defensive force T.J. Watt leads Steelers against Raiders
The three-time Pro Bowl linebacker looks to follow up with another stellar outing when the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) host the Las Vegas Raiders (1-0) on Sunday afternoon.
The 26-year-old Watt signed a four-year, $112 million extension just days before the start of the season. He then recorded two sacks and a forced fumble in last weekend's 23-16 road victory over the Buffalo Bills.
The strip-sack of Buffalo's Josh Allen was Watt's 18th career forced fumble in just 63 regular-season games. He has 51.5 sacks.
Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward was amazed that Watt was in top form right out of the gate.
"For him to go out there and handle it the way he handled it and capitalize on it, with a win like this, pretty proud of him," Heyward told reporters. "I know it wasn't always pretty for him. He wanted to be out there with us."
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr surely isn't as happy about seeing Watt on the other side of the ball.
Watt registered an NFL-best 15 sacks last season -- his third straight season of at least 13. And everywhere Carr looks, Watt will seemingly be in the vicinity.
"He's fun to watch from afar and I admire his game, but (it's an) exciting challenge for us also to go against him," Carr told reporters. "He got his new contract and deserves every penny. That's easy to see, but it's also fun to compete against the best."
Carr was superb in the Raiders' season-opening 33-27 overtime win over the visiting Baltimore Ravens. He completed 34 of 56 passes for 435 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Las Vegas rolled up 491 yards and 26 first downs against a Baltimore squad known for rugged defense.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden expects a battle against the Steelers, who allowed just one touchdown in their win over the Bills.
"They're going to be a challenge," Gruden told reporters. "They, too, are unorthodox. They present a lot of different looks, and we have our work cut out for us on a short week."
Las Vegas defensive end Maxx Crosby was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after having two sacks and also accumulating two losses on running plays.
Since Crosby was able to corral the speedy Lamar Jackson, there's a good chance he'll run into Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at some point Sunday.
"Obviously he's not as athletic as Lamar Jackson," Crosby told reporters with a laugh. "Lamar is kind of an anomaly in a way, but Big Ben is a great quarterback.
"Big Ben is a hell of a player, he's a first-ballot Hall of Famer. We're definitely looking forward to it and I'm excited."
Crosby and Roethlisberger have mutual admiration as both are products of Mid-American Conference schools. Crosby played at Eastern Michigan while Roethlisberger starred at Miami (Ohio).
"Nothing surprises me because he's from the MAC and that's where the best football players come from," Roethlisberger said of Crosby. "He's a stud."
Roethlisberger completed 18 of 32 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown in the win over the Bills.
Steelers linebacker Robert Spillane (shin) could miss his second straight game while the Raiders' Wednesday injury report listed 17 players, including two who are done for the year with knee injuries in guard Denzelle Good and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
Also not practicing were guard Richie Incognito (calf), running back Josh Jacobs (toe, ankle), linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (concussion), backup quarterback Marcus Mariota (quadriceps), defensive end Carl Nassib (pectoral, toe) and safety Roderic Teamer (ankle).
The Raiders have won five of the past seven meetings, including a 24-21 home win in 2018 in the most recent matchup.
Bengals' hot offense to meet Bears' struggling defense
Chicago will play its home opener after falling short 34-14 on the road against the Los Angeles Rams in a nationally televised Sunday night matchup. The Bears allowed several big plays on defense and could not keep up offensively with Andy Dalton handling most snaps under center.
Dalton expects to get the bulk of the work at quarterback again in Week 2 against the team with whom he began his career. He was competent in his Chicago debut, completing 27 of 38 passes for 206 yards and an interception.
Dalton's backup, top rookie Justin Fields, completed 2 of 2 passes for 10 yards and ran for a touchdown during sporadic duty.
Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II is confident that the offense can improve.
"The No. 1 encouraging thing is just being able to move the ball, creating first downs," Robinson said. "We didn't convert on some fourth downs. But ... I think everybody, when the ball was in their hands, made some plays. We just have to kind of fine-tune some stuff and capitalize on some of the other opportunities we have."
Meanwhile, Cincinnati (1-0) is looking to start the season with back-to-back victories after holding off the Minnesota Vikings for a 27-24 overtime win in Week 1. The Bengals squandered a 21-7 second-half lead before recovering for the narrow victory.
Second-year quarterback Joe Burrow completed 20 of 27 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns in his season opener. His favorite receiving target was rookie Ja'Marr Chase, who caught five passes for 101 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown, in his NFL debut.
"I'm trying to break every record that I can," Chase said during an interview with NFL Network this week. "I'm pretty sure I can't break every record, but every record that's meant to be broken. So I'm going to make my way and somehow break a record here, break as many as I can, as many as possible."
It will be up to the Bears' secondary to slow down the confident rookie, as well as the Bengals' other receiving targets. They struggled in pass coverage last week, allowing the Rams' Matthew Stafford to rack up 321 yards and three touchdowns while completing 20 of 26 passes.
On the ground, Joe Mixon leads Cincinnati's attack. He rushed 29 times for 127 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, and he caught four passes for 23 yards out of the backfield.
The Bears also boast a top player at running back. David Montgomery had 16 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown in the season opener, and he caught one pass for 10 yards.
Dalton will face his former Bengals team for the second year in a row. He expects this meeting to be less emotional than last year's visit to Cincinnati as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
"I kind of got that out of the way last year, and now I'm just focused on doing what we can to win the game," Dalton said.
Browns battle injuries ahead of Texansâ visit
While Beckham, a three-time Pro Bowler who played seven games in 2020 before undergoing season-ending surgery, earns the headlines even when he is unable to play, the Browns (0-1) have greater issues as they prepare to host the Houston Texans (1-0) at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Browns were without three offensive tackles as they began preparations for the Texans: starters Jedrick Wills Jr. (ankle) and Jack Conklin (knee), and swing tackle Chris Hubbard (triceps). While all three are listed as day-to-day, none of them practiced Wednesday and Stefanski was a bit vague in addressing how the Browns would move forward this week.
"We've got some plans," Stefanski said. "We'll make it work. But that's certainly something we're up on the whiteboard figuring out, who's going to be where. We'll be just fine for practice.
"With all those guys, with each one, we're just trying to be smart. Part of it is they're veterans and we want to make sure we have them for the long haul."
Meanwhile, the Browns managed to move the ball without Beckham in their season-opening 33-29 loss to the defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs. They amassed 457 total yards, including 304 through the air.
Still, Beckham is as unique as any offensive weapon in the league, and by most indications, he appears close to returning to the lineup and bolstering the Browns' aerial attack.
But similar to the linemen, Stefanski is opting to err on the side of caution at this early stage.
"I just felt like that was the right thing to do," Stefanski said of keeping Beckham on the inactive list. "Last week, I thought we had a good plan. He was close, working very hard on the side, but just felt like it made more sense to have clarity early in the week from a game-planning, practice standpoint."
The Texans seem primed to welcome back two potentially key contributors on offense who missed their rousing 37-21 home victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday.
Right tackle Charlie Heck and slot receiver Anthony Miller were full participants on Wednesday, and Texans coach David Culley announced that Heck is expected to play against the Browns. Culley is taking a more judicious approach with Miller, who is trending in the right direction.
Like the Browns, the Texans excelled in the passing game despite being short-handed. Tyrod Taylor passed for 291 yards and two touchdowns in the win and held up behind an offensive line still coming together as a cohesive unit.
Some of the critiques Culley had of his offense were derived from that still-developing relationship between the quarterback and his protection.
"I thought the pass protection was good," Culley said. "I thought the couple of times that Tyrod came out of the pocket when he didn't really need to come out of the pocket, it looked like he had pressure when he didn't really have pressure. He should have just stepped up in the pocket and made a couple of throws where he came out and ended up getting some positive yardage for that. But I think overall the pass protection was good for the most part in that game."
Bills facing added pressure to win in Miami
Pressure to win games.
Pressure to defend their first AFC East title since 1995.
Pressure to protect Josh Allen.
On Sunday, the Bills (0-1) visit the Miami Dolphins (1-0) in a key division battle.
The Bills have won five straight games in their series against the Dolphins, but -- even though it's early in the season -- there's a sense of urgency for Sunday's matchup.
That's because the Bills lost 23-16 to the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers this past Sunday.
Allen was pressured 24 times, making it a dreadful day for Buffalo's offensive line. He was also sacked three times, and he fumbled twice, losing one.
There were also six penalties called on Buffalo's offensive line, including four that were accepted.
"I've got to play better," said Allen, taking the blame. "I know that."
Allen was the toast of Buffalo last season, passing for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns. This past Sunday, Allen completed 30 of 51/ passes for 270 yards and one touchdown. He wasn't intercepted, but the Bills had issues on special teams and along their entire offensive line.
Buffalo blew a 10-0 lead, and it was a blocked punt for a touchdown that allowed the Steelers to finally take the lead in the fourth.
As for Buffalo's blockers, the lowest grades assigned by Pro Football Focus went to guards Jon Feliciano and Ike Boettger.
The Bills were stopped twice on fourth down in Sunday's second half, and they also lost the aforementioned Allen fumble.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins -- who are listed as 3 1/2-point favorites on Sunday -- are coming off a 17-16 win over the New England Patriots.
The Dolphins recovered two Patriots fumbles, including one at Miami's 9-yard line with just 3:31 left in the game. Miami led by just one point at the time that Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard recovered that fumble, and that turnover denied the Patriots a shot at taking the lead.
"We needed the ball," Howard said. "I made it happen."
Howard led the NFL in interceptions last year, and he keys Miami's defense.
"He's a great player," Dolphins coach Brian Flores said.
Offensively, the Dolphins are led by a pair of former Alabama stars: second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.
Tagovailoa completed 16 of 27 passes for 202 yards and one touchdown with one interception against the Patriots. Waddle, Miami's first-round pick, caught four passes for 61 yards and one touchdown in his NFL debut.
With his speed, Waddle averaged 3.6 yards of separation against the Patriots. Last year, the Dolphins ranked next-to-last in the NFL (2.96) in that statistic.
Tagovailoa targeted Waddle six times last Sunday. Tagovailoa's passer rating during those targets was a near-perfect 157.3.
Those two players had a good connection while at Alabama, but it has grown now that they are pro teammates.
"His biggest improvement is his communication," Tagovailoa said of Waddle.
On the sideline, Waddle is now telling his quarterback what he sees and where he wants the ball on the next throw.
"He's not asking," said Tagovailoa, who has encouraged this communication. "He is telling me."
Besides Waddle, Tagovailoa's other big target is 6-3 receiver DeVante Parker, who has nearly 2,000 yards in receptions the past two years.
Miami also used backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett as a runner on Sunday, gaining a crucial first down on a third-and-1 play.
But not everyone was impressed with the Dolphins.
"That's what Tua (does)," Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson said when asked about Tagovailoa's interception. "If he doesn't have his first read, he's just going to throw the ball up."
Cowboys take aim at Justin Herbert, Chargers
At Washington in Week 1, the Chargers escaped with a 20-16 road victory over the Washington Football Team. Quarterback Justin Herbert threw for 337 yards and a touchdown pass to Mike Williams.
One of Herbert's few blemishes was an interception corralled by Washington cornerback William Jackson III in which he tried to force a ball to tight end Stephen Jackson near the end zone. A review of the game film led Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy to implement "jumpball drills" in practice for his defensive back, noting Herbert's penchant for throwing "50-50 balls."
Dallas won the turnover battle at Tampa Bay last Thursday in the NFL opener but lost to the Buccaneers on a last-second field goal.
The Chargers were particularly effective on third down last week.
L.A. converted 14-of-19 third down attempts. The 14 third-down conversions were the most by any team in the last decade in a single game. That number included Herbert and L.A.'s offense converting four straight third downs to seal the victory at the end of the game.
"Third down is so much about keeping yourself protected in this league, understanding your protection plan, and then knowing the coverages that you're going to face," Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said. "And when it does get tight, where am I going with the football? I felt like we had a really good third down plan. We've got tough receivers to defend on third down."
The Chargers could be without right tackle Bryan Bulaga (back) and safety Nasir Adderley (groin). Neither practiced Wednesday.
Edge rusher Kyler Fackrell (knee) cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (shoulder) and defensive tackle Justin Jones (calf) also missed Wednesday's practice for the Chargers.
The Chargers won the last meeting between the two teams, a 28-6 humbling of the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day in 2017. The Bolts have won their last three matchups with the Cowboys. However, Dallas holds a 6-5 edge in the all-time series.
While Dallas hones in on Herbert, the Chargers expect everything they can handle from Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
In his first game back from a gruesome, season-ending leg injury last year, Prescott threw for 403 yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboys' 31-29 road loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.
Cowboys wide receivers Amari Cooper (134 receiving yards) and CeeDee Lamb (104) both eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark in the contest.
The Cowboys are trying to avoid starting the season 0-2 for the first time since 2010.
Dallas could be without two of its top pass rushers. According to reports, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence fractured his foot in Wednesday's practice and could be out for six to eight weeks. Edge rusher Randy Gregory also was added to the COVID-19 reserve list, making his availability uncertain.
Dallas should get some help up front on offense with Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin returning to practice this week for the first time off the COVID-19 reserve list.
"I felt good today," Martin told reporters on Wednesday. "(Thursday) is another big day out here with pads. This will be big for me."
Running back Ezekiel Elliott logged 11 carries and two catches in Week 1 but didn't feel all that fresh following a heavy workload picking up inside rushes from 300-pound bulldozers Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea. Elliott's production wasn't to his own standard, although he said he did "a lot of banging in there" and was pleased with the showing at Tampa.
"Every play I'm given a job. My job is to do my job to the best of its ability," Elliott said. "I take a lot of pride to being well-rounded. Blitz pickup is big for a running back. You have to have keep that quarterback safe and untouched."
Trevor Lawrence seeks first win against Von Miller, Broncos
But the duo takes another swing at notching their first victory together when the Jacksonville Jaguars host the Denver Broncos (1-0) on Sunday afternoon.
Jacksonville (0-1) was badly outplayed while losing 37-21 to the Houston Texans in Week 1. The many mistakes included three interceptions from Lawrence.
Lawrence, this year's No. 1 overall pick from Clemson, was known for efficient, mistake-free play in college. But the faster speed of the game prompted him to panic on occasion while completing 28 of 51 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns.
"I was just not patient with the coverage," Lawrence said Wednesday. "That (Texans defense) is designed to prevent big plays. I got a little bit greedy on a couple and tried to take too much and just wasn't patient and that's a direct reflection of the turnovers."
Meyer also is adjusting to a different level after winning three national titles as a college coach -- two at Florida, one at Ohio State.
In fact, Meyer's inauspicious NFL debut and the stellar college success combined with Monday's firing of Southern California coach Clay Helton led to another round of speculation that Meyer may eventually be a candidate for the Trojans' opening.
"There's no chance," Meyer said of USC. "I'm here and committed to try to build an organization."
That organization has dropped 16 straight games heading into the clash with Denver. Meyer said it will take time to turn the franchise around.
"It's a build and we're building," Meyer said. "I'm very transparent with our players. I have a lot of respect for these guys. I have not wavered on that. We all have to do better, getting them ready to go and playing better."
The Broncos notched a 27-13 road victory over the New York Giants in Week 1 behind an old stalwart and a new leader.
Eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller displayed his Super Bowl 50 MVP form with two sacks while looking fully recovered from the serious ankle injury that caused him to miss the entire 2020 season.
It marked the 19th time that the 32-year-old Miller has racked up multiple sacks in a regular-season game. He also did it twice in the postseason, including posting 2.5 against the Carolina Panthers in Denver's Super Bowl win to conclude the 2015 season.
"Sacks are good," Miller said. "But wins are better."
Denver certainly is hoping victories will occur more often with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback.
The 28-year-old Bridgewater completed 28 of 36 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants in his Broncos' debut.
Denver is the fourth NFL team for which he has started a game, and Bridgewater is looking forward to playing against Lawrence.
"He's a guy you can tell he's a competitor," Bridgewater said Wednesday. "He has that it-factor and I'm pretty sure they don't see him as a rookie. He's a guy who they believe in, who can get the job done for them, but for us we've got to make it about us."
Bridgewater will be missing a main target in receiver Jerry Jeudy (ankle), who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. Cornerback Ronald Darby (hamstring) also went on IR.
Guard Graham Glasgow is looking doubtful to make the trip to Jacksonville after experiencing an irregular heartbeat during the game against the Giants. Denver coach Vic Fangio said Glasgow is undergoing tests.
Fangio is hopeful outside linebacker Bradley Chubb (ankle) can show improvement during the week. He sat out against New York.
Jacksonville cornerback Tre Herndon (knee) will likely miss his second straight game.
The Jaguars won at Denver 26-24 in 2019 in the most recent matchup.