December 1, 2009
A common postgame response to questions after NFL games is, "I have to wait to see the film." Times NFL writer Sam Farmer sorts through the best of Monday's film review: :: Hines Ward, Pittsburgh receiver, in an NBC interview, on playing through injuries: "I've lied to a couple of doctors saying 'I'm straight, I feel good,' when I knew I'm really not straight." :: Ward, to ESPN, on his apparent questioning of the decision to sit Ben Roethlisberger for the Baltimore game: "I'm not going to question Ben's toughness; the guy came back from a motorcycle incident and played that whole year.
December 6, 2009
Adrian Peterson won't go down without a fight. Sometimes, that's his biggest problem. The Minnesota Vikings star, the NFL's third-leading rusher, has six fumbles this season -- the most among running backs and one behind the league leader, Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel. Peterson lost two fumbles against Chicago last Sunday and will be focused on tightening his grip tonight at Arizona. That means at times he'll have to embrace the most difficult of concepts: surrender.
December 7, 2009 |
The Baltimore Ravens want to be where the Green Bay Packers already are -- and not just near the top of the NFL's defensive rankings. Whereas the Packers (7-4) have the edge for a wild-card spot, things aren't as clear for Baltimore (6-5), which began the weekend tied with Jacksonville, Denver and Pittsburgh for one of the AFC's two berths. A lot can change with five games to play, of course, but the urgency of the moment is not lost on the Ravens, who haven't recorded consecutive wins since Week 3. "Our goal right now is just to win the game, no matter what it looks like, or what goes on in between, the first quarter, the fourth quarter," Baltimore receiver Mark Clayton told reporters last week.
December 14, 2009
at Houston 34, Seattle 7: Seahawks blame poor play on catching "Winter Olympics fever" from nearby Vancouver. New Orleans 26, at Atlanta 23: You heard it here first: Saints will lose in the playoffs and not reach the Super Bowl. at Baltimore 48, Detroit 3: Paying attention, Mark Ingram? Backup quarterback Troy Smith came into the game with Ravens leading, 41-3. Green Bay 21, at Chicago 14: All of those vocal Jay Cutler fans have become mysteriously quiet in recent weeks.
December 16, 2009 |
Perfection or peace of mind? That's the question confronting the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints. Should they keep pursuing 16-0 seasons full tilt, or ease up on the accelerator to rest players for the postseason? The Saints haven't checked everything off their list -- they have yet to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs -- but the Colts are where they need to be. Indianapolis plays Thursday at Jacksonville, a team the Colts defeated by just two points in their opener at home.
November 28, 2009
Say this for Joe Flacco: You might knock him down, but you're not going to bring him down -- as in, snap his spirit. Even after the longest dry spell of his NFL career, three consecutive games without a touchdown pass, the Baltimore quarterback is still supremely confident heading into tonight's game against Pittsburgh, a team that beat the Ravens three times last season. "We feel good, and what better game to do it than against these guys?" Flacco said. "We feel confident that we're going to go out there and score touchdowns, and when you don't, it's disappointing.
December 14, 2009 |
Denver's Brandon Marshall caught just about everything Sunday. Except the Indianapolis Colts. On a day when Marshall set the NFL's single-game receptions record with 21, his performance wasn't enough to upend the undefeated Colts, whose 28-16 victory inched them to within three wins of a perfect regular season. Indianapolis also clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs and set an NFL record by collecting its 22nd consecutive regular-season victory. The New Orleans Saints, too, careened into the teens by matching the Colts' 13-0 record with a victory at Atlanta.
December 9, 2009 |
It's December, and time for NFL teams to break out their tiebreaker calculators. The playoff picture is coming into focus. The league's two undefeated teams, Indianapolis and New Orleans, have won their divisions and can clinch first-round byes with victories Sunday. The Saints play at Atlanta and the Colts play host to Denver. Cincinnati can claim the AFC North title . . . but has to win at Minnesota. Arizona, which is coming off a victory over Minnesota, can lock up the NFC North with a victory Monday at San Francisco.