Best and worst QBs of Week 12: Marcus Mariota on top

Despite completing 83.8 percent of his passes, the highest percentage by a Vikings player (min. 30 attempts) since Fran Tarkenton on Nov. 14, 1976 (83.9 percent), Bradford still finds himself on among the worst QBs in the in Week 12.

Why? It begins with his costly interception with 30 seconds remaining, which decreased the Vikings’ chance to win from 45 percent to 11 percent. Additionally, Bradford’s completion percentage was inflated by an Atlanta Hawks Youth Jersey inordinate number of short passes.

There’s a reason coach Hue Jackson got visibly emotional while trying to describe how the Browns still haven’t won a game this season. Remember, these dudes on bad football teams — coaches, players, executives — they’re all human. And when the wheels start to loosen on a season and eventually fall off, there’s nowhere to hide.

The Browns are one of many teams counting down the days until the season ends.

I still remember a Sunday night game down in Miami when we blew a big lead. It was our sixth loss in seven games. The winning touchdown? The Dolphins caught us in a blitz, and I was left to make the tackle on Ricky Williams. But that didn’t happen. Nope. Instead, I took a stiff-arm to the face as Williams walked in for the score. Good-bye.

I still remember traveling to Chicago in Week 16, with Spurrier promising us an extended “Victory Monday” if Boston Celtics Youth Jersey we won that game — three days off heading into the final week of the season. He threw a carrot out there for us, doing anything to buy a win. Didn’t work. Paul Edinger kicked a game-winning field goal with five seconds left to beat us.

I still remember Week 17, when we got shredded in our final home game by the Eagles. 31-7. In my opinion, Andy Reid called off the dogs in that one. He took it easy on us. Philly could’ve scored 40 or maybe even 50 if they wanted to.

“Remember, these dudes on bad football teams — coaches, players, execs — they’re all human. And when the wheels start to loosen on a season and eventually fall off, there’s nowhere to hide.”

Comeback kings: Lions will be tough out if they reach playoffs

Marvin Jones was in the locker room late Thursday afternoon when he took a look around. Moments earlier, the Detroit Lions team he joined in the offseason had pulled off its latest comeback stunner, and there was only one way to describe Joe Montana Authentic Womens Jersey the scene.

“Chaos,” Jones said.

These days, that’s a pretty apt word for the Lions on the field as well.

Detroit has thrived in the late-game moments in which so many teams would wilt. At this point, this is Detroit’s identity. Even if the players and coaches say over and over that they would prefer to be up Josh Mauga Authentic Womens Jersey big late, that just isn’t what this team is.

This is a group with a confident quarterback, a clutch kicker and a defense that is starting to make big plays when necessary. This is a team that makes chaos look calm and orderly.

It happened again, thanks to a game-tying and game-winning field goal from Matt Prater and a Darius Slay pick in between for a 16-13 win over the Vikings. The Lions always seem to believe, no matter the situation and the time remaining, that they are going to come back and win.

Games such as Thursday’s and wins such as Thursday’s are what will make the Lions a tough out the rest of the season and, if they make it, in the playoffs. As long as they are within a touchdown late in games, they believe they can win. That is undeniably key as the intensity increases and the games matter more later in the season.

Bad special teams play (again): Bowles changed coordinators, but the results have been the same as last season. You could make the case the Jets are two special-teams plays away from being 5-5 — missing a PAT in a one-point loss in Week 1, and allowing a kickoff-return touchdown three weeks ago in Miami. A team like the Jets, with a limited margin for error, can’t survive these type of game-changing mistakes.

He’s hated in Dallas, but DeAndre Jordan loves L.A.

Jordan, who is averaging 11.1 points, 12.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, has earned a reputation as one of the NBA’s elite bigs. He’s a major reason the Clippers are “one of a small handful of real contenders,” as Nate Allen Authentic Jersey Dallas coach Rick Carlisle called them.

The Mavs, on the other hand, are one of a small handful of teams with a good chance at the No. 1 overall pick in a loaded lottery.

What could have been for the Mavs with Jordan in the mix? Well, he wouldn’t have kept Father Time from getting an upper hand in the fight against the 38-year-old Nowitzki. He wouldn’t have prevented the knee problems that ultimately led to Parsons’ departure from Dallas.

The consolation prize is Williams, a first-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, who played 70 games for the Arizona Cardinals over the last five seasons.

Lofton, 28, joins the Raiders Otis Sistrunk Authentic Jersey after three seasons as the starting middle linebacker of the New Orleans Saints. He was selected in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons and was an immediate starter as a rookie, starting all but one game with the team before leaving to join the Saints. His streak of 112 consecutive starts is tied for the league best among linebackers with Julius Peppers.

Prescott and Elliott are the second rookie quarterback/running back duo in NFL history to have 2,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season. Griffin and Morris, who had 1,613 yards on the ground, were the first.

“Didn’t feel invincible because no one is invincible,” Morris said. “Just metaphorically speaking, you’re definitely not invincible, but it was just having fun. It’s not like you don’t know what you’re doing because you definitely know what you’re doing. You don’t just happen to perform very well. That’s not by chance. Sure, it was better than we thought it would be, but at the same time we went out there, we prepared and we did what we love to do. You don’t allow the stage or what the NFL can be to really get to you. It’s definitely easier when you’re winning than when you’re not winning and that can add a whole other aspect to it.

The Cowboys and Redskins play on Thanksgiving for the first time since RG3 stole Jones’ heart, but this time Jones has the rookie combination that is the envy of the NFL with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.

Marcus Mariota has taken off this year, with a 64.3 QBR and a passer rating over 100

The Bucs pulled off a brave upset in beating the Chiefs in Kansas City, a feat given that the Chiefs were 16-4 at home over the past three seasons heading into Sunday. As NFL Network’s Gregg Rosenthal noted, they “out-Chiefed the Chiefs”. Tampa Bay won the turnover battle 2-1, including a critical Chris Conte pick of Alex Smith in the end zone, went 11-for-16 on third down, and set up its kicker for easy field goals, with Roberto Aguayo going 4-for-4 on kicks that went an average distance of 32.5 yards.

The problem is that the Bucs simply have a high degree of difficulty to crash the postseason. They don’t have many easy games left: They still face the Seahawks and Cowboys, have two games against the Saints, and a trip to San Diego. Their easiest matchup might actually be their opponents in Week 17 …

Mike Mularkey’s team really needed a win over the Colts on Sunday. There was a 25.5 percent swing in Tennessee’s playoff chances between where they were heading into Week 11 and where they would have been with a Mike Person Womens Jersey victory. The Titans deserve credit for battling back after going down 21-0, but some questionable timeout usage and a stuff from the Colts on a fourth-and-1 try by DeMarco Murray cost the Titans a shot at a victory.

As the Packers did a week ago, Indy abused Titans cornerback Perrish Cox, who has to be one of the worst regulars in the NFL at the moment. Tennessee didn’t get much help from fellow corner Valentino Blake, who pointed the wrong way after a fumble recovery last week and this week rushed in with a furious attempt to down a punt at the 2-yard line, which would have been helpful if it weren’t for the fact that his team was on offense at the time.

Marcus Mariota has taken off this year, with a 64.3 QBR and a passer rating over 100.

The Titans have shown plenty of promise this season, and Mularkey deserves credit for installing Mohamed Sanu Womens Jersey an offensive scheme that has rebuilt the career of DeMarco Murray while continuing to develop Marcus Mariota. But Tennessee is now 5-6 with a 1-3 record in the mediocre AFC South. After playing the Bears, they get a Week 13 bye before facing the Broncos and Chiefs. If they can pull upsets on those AFC West opponents, they have a shot at the division crown.

Bengals’ offensive line woes illustrated in viral screen shot

Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth has seen the screen shot from Monday night’s loss to the New York Giants circulating on social media.

It isn’t pretty.

The picture depicts Andy Dalton Kevin Bieksa Authentic Jersey being sacked on third-and-17 with 3:41 remaining in an eventual 21-20 loss. As four Giants defenders surround Dalton, the five Bengals offensive lineman are in various states of duress.

Joe Sr. isn’t even listed on the South Carolina State roster because he’s still awaiting clearance from the NCAA, but Joe Jr. said the coaches there have assured him his father will play on Saturday against Savannah State, the second-to-last game of the season.

“That’s the word I got from the coach,” Joe Jr. said. “He texted me and said he’s going to give him a carry tomorrow.”

Receiver Tajae Sharpe: The fifth-round receiver didn’t live up the preseason billing out of the gate and is still learning how to execute precisely in games. But he was a starter since the beginning, and his 30 catches for 385 yards and a touchdown through his first 10 games amounts to a quality contribution.

Running back Derrick Henry: The team’s third second-round pick has been good, he’s just been stuck behind Murray. But with his 4.1 yard rushing average and nine catches for 107 yards he’s made a contribution, and his presence means the Titans don’t have to change their mindset a bit when and if Murray comes off the field.

Tackle Dennis Kelly: Acquired from the Eagles for receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, Kelly Kirk Mclean Authentic Jersey regularly works as a tackle-eligible in a jumbo package where he functions as an on-the-line tight end. When left tackle Taylor Lewan was ejected early in the Green Bay game, Kelly stepped in and played a very solid game.

Returner Marc Mariani: The Titans are not good on special teams, and Mariani lacks explosiveness. But he’s a good decision-maker who is reliable, and considering how bad things have been around him at times, there is value to that. The Titans signed him Sept. 5 after he was let go by the Bears.

Rick Porcello had the best season of his career by a considerable margin

Thanks to the 20 strikeout game and 13 games with double-digit strikeouts, Scherzer set a career high with his 277th strikeout in his second-to-last start of the year. He’d go on to strike out 284 total.

–Sarah Langs

What made Porcello great?

Rick Porcello had the best season of his career by a considerable margin, posting career bests in ERA (3.15), opponents’ batting average (.230), opponents’ OPS (.635), walks per 9 innings (1.3) and strikeout-to-walk rate (5.9).

Though Porcello’s primary pitch is his sinker (against which opponents hit .302), he won largely because he had multiple other options for getting hitters out.

Porcello dropped his opponents’ batting Cassius Vaughn Authentic Womens Jersey average against his fastball 88 points (from .263 to a major-league best .175, his changeup 130 points (from .304 to .174) and his slider 143 points (.333 to .190) from 2015. His 103 outs with his changeup were a career high.

20 strikeout game: May 11 vs Tigers

Scherzer struck out a career-high 20 batters against his former team, of all clubs. He tied the major league record for strikeouts in a 9-inning outing and had the highest strike rate in any 20-strikeout game.

20th win of season: October 2 vs Marlins

Scherzer recorded his 20th victory – 1 shy Chris Houston Authentic Womens Jersey of his career high, but his most since 2013 with the Tigers – in his final start of the season. The Nationals ended the season on a 10-game streak of winning Scherzer’s starts, including a 4-game active streak for winning decisions for the ace. The Nationals haven’t lost a Scherzer start since August 9.

Nkemdiche’s get off is pretty explosive on tape most of the time

The good news is Nkemdiche is big, strong as an ox and pretty damned agile. That means he has pretty much everything he needs to become a monster. Yes, he was inconsistent, but his flashes were so very impressive. Any defensive line coach worth his salt would be licking his chops at the prospect of being able to mold this kid into weapon.

For instance, Nkemdiche’s get off is pretty Aaron Brooks Authentic Jersey explosive on tape most of the time. Before you say it, I don’t think it was due to him guessing the snap count either. A guy with that kind of get off shouldn’t be getting reached on a regular basis like he was. Maybe the Ole Miss coaches wanted him to backdoor everything. Teaching a guy with that kind of quickness off the ball to blow up his B gap when he sees reach blocks and try to turn any runs back while also giving him the option to slip underneath and make the play shouldn’t be all that hard.

That’s before we even get to how strong Nkemdiche looked at times. Just about every play where a guard or tackle tried to base block him one-on-one on a running play, Nkemdiche whupped … dat … ass.

That’s including the Alabama guys, by the way.

As a run defender, he didn’t maintain outside leverage against reach blocks and couldn’t always hold his ground against double teams. Even that can be alleviated Bobby Portis Authentic Jersey by better technique, especially if he can learn how to stay a little lower once he realizes he is being doubled.

While Nkemdiche proved to be an effective and somewhat diverse pass rusher inside, he could stand to expand his repertoire when it comes to beating guards around the edge. He is too physically talented not to be better at that than he is.

Once again, it shouldn’t be hard for a good defensive line coach to get him right. And if Nkemdiche can get to where he can play consistently near his potential, he is going to be a guard’s worst nightmare.

If that was the end of the story, I would have no problem saying this kid has top-10 talent and call it a day, because he does. However, there are a couple of other issues that have to be addressed before I can feel comfortable with that.

If you’ve read my breakdowns on defensive linemen you know a stickler for me is effort, and his effort was sometimes lacking. Not a lot. Generally not on plays where he would have made a difference. Still, when I’m looking at a guy who is going to have to bust his ass to improve his technique, any questions about work ethic is going to raise more red flags and make me question whether he will git ‘er done.

Hell, I was watching the UT Martin game with the sound on and the announcers rightly called Nkemdiche out while showing a replay of his piss poor effort on a quarterback scramble. I couldn’t do anything but nod my head.

Cam Newton has ‘feather swag’ in his bow ties, too

You may have noticed Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton always has a feather in his custom-made hats.

But did you know the custom-made bow ties he’s worn after most games this season are made out of feathers?

“Feather swag,’’ running back Fozzy Whittaker called it.

Feathers in hats aren’t unusual.

But feather bow ties are.

The physical toll of the game is one thing. We all understand football is going to beat you up, and everyone is hurt this time of the year. So the bye week allows players to grab some extra treatment and take a Sunday off.

Yes, these things can happen. But that it happened to the Browns was just … well … so Browns.
“So it’s disappointing.”

Disappointing might be the kindest word to use for it. It’s something that seems easily avoided. That it happened to the Browns only enhanced the team’s reputation.

The last time a team called a timeout before the first snap was in 2011, when the Jets did it in a Week 14 game against the Chiefs, according to ESPN Stats and Information. The Jets had 10 men on offense. The Browns had 12 on defense.

The Browns’ timeout carnival was not over after one play, though.

The Browns burned their second timeout with 10:35 left in the first quarter, meaning they used two in the game’s first 4:25, one on offense, one on defense.

Stats and Info reports that the Browns became the first team to use two timeouts in the first five minutes of the game since the Panthers in 2013 against the Dolphins.

Put it all together and there’s really only one thing to say: That’s so Browns.

Tony Romo, Patriots, AFC West highlight second-half questions

Is anybody going to seriously challenge the Patriots in the AFC?

Let’s go out on a limb right now and say the Patriots are going to claim the top spot in this year’s AFC playoff race. That’s a reasonable prediction to make for a team that is 7-1 and hardly missed a beat during Tom Brady’s four-game suspension. The real question is whether any team has the juice to go into the Pats’ backyard and knock them off in the postseason.

The Denver Broncos are the reigning Super Bowl champs, but they are becoming more flawed with each passing week, especially with an offense that has been plagued by a slumping Trevor Siemian, an injury-riddled running game and an embattled offensive line. The Pittsburgh Steelers were also once a sexy pick, but their normally potent offense has been struggling, as well. Other possible contenders include the Texans (whom the Patriots already humiliated earlier this season, with Jacoby Brissett at QB), Chiefs (whom the Patriots beat at home in last year’s divisional round) and Raiders (who are playing as well as anybody, but haven’t appeared in a playoff game since January of 2003).

“I just wish he’d coach his own team,” Carroll said during an appearance on ESPN 710 Seattle, according to ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia. “Coach your own guys.”

After Sherman picked off Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor early in the second half of Monday Night Football, Sherman and Ryan exchanged words.

“He’s mean-mugging like he’s doing and whatever,” Ryan said after the game. “I thought he roughed our kicker. It was a ridiculous play. Then he was over on the sideline taunting us.

“I think I said you’re too good of a player to act like an ass.”

Carroll also addressed the controversial no-call against Sherman at the end of the first half. Sherman was penalized for being offsides on a Dan Carpenter field goal attempt, but he wasn’t flagged for making contact with Carpenter.

“They didn’t blow the whistle, so I played until the whistle was blown,” Sherman said after the game.

Carroll agreed that officials should have whistled the play dead before Sherman got to Carpenter.

“Then if a guy comes off the edge, they blow the whistle, and he comes and drills the quarterback, then they give you unnecessary roughness,” Carroll said. “That’s what the call should have been in that case.”

Raiders shove Broncos out of AFC West’s top spot

On a night when it was clear the Oakland Raiders wanted to deliver a message and flex a little muscle in prime time, the Denver Broncos showed that, in their current state, they aren’t strong enough to stop them.

Most of all, the Broncos learned that their reign in the AFC West is tenuous. They have won the past five division titles, but adding a sixth is going to take plenty more than they showed Sunday. In a prime-time moment against a team looking to make a point, the Broncos had no response.

“We’ve got to get back to basics,” said cornerback Chris Harris Jr. “There’s a lot of season left, we didn’t lose a championship in this one and they didn’t win a championship … But we have to fix some things, no doubt.”

On so many other nights, ugly starts were little more than inconvenience, and their flaws mere annoyances to be dealt with later. But the Broncos are now nine games into whatever becomes of this season, and opponents keep chipping away at them, picking at the things they haven’t done well. On Sunday, the Broncos used up their remaining room for error. They have officially been knocked off their pedestal.

Consider this: The Ravens have held Brown to one touchdown in 13 games (including playoffs). Against the other 31 teams, Brown has averaged one touchdown every two games.

Heading into Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was unaware that his defense had limited one of the NFL’s most prolific receivers to a single score.

“I’m really concerned about just keeping it there,” Harbaugh said. “That’s the main thing that we have to try to accomplish.”

Stopping Brown from crossing the goal line has been an X-factor for Pittsburgh. The Steelers are 21-11 (.656) when Brown reaches the end zone, and they’re 8-3 (.727) when he scores two touchdowns.

Why have the Ravens been so successful in containing Brown? It starts with cornerback Jimmy Smith.

The only time Brown has scored a touchdown against Baltimore was two years ago, when Smith didn’t play. In Smith’s seven games against Pittsburgh, Brown has one 100-yard game and no touchdowns.

“Some of the game plan is obviously directed towards him, so we are doing what we are supposed to do if we keep him with minimal yards and catches,” Smith said.

Brown said Smith is “up there” when asked where he ranks on his cornerbacks list.

“You have to pay a lot of respect to a guy like Jimmy for all he does and come out and compete and cover the best man on every guy’s team week to week,” Brown said.