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Dan Marino

Dan Marino

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Brandon Weeden and Andy Dalton both showed up in week, but the Bengals pull off the win!


 Brandon Weeden and Andy Dalton both showed up in week, but the Bengals pull off the win!

Not even a breakout game by Cleveland’s rookie playmakers could change the outcome of Ohio’s intrastate series.

Adam “Pacman” Jones returned Cleveland’s first punt 81 yards for a touchdown Sunday, and Andy Dalton matched his career high with three touchdown passes, leading the Cincinnati Bengals to a 34-27 victory in their one-sided rivalry.

 The Bengals (1-1) have won 13 of the past 16 against the Browns (0-2), who got breakout performances from their rookie quarterback and running back but still couldn’t get a win.

Jones put the Bengals ahead to stay with his fifth career punt return for a touchdown. Dalton threw three TD passes for the second time in his career, including a short throw that Andrew Hawkins turned into a 50-yard score in the fourth quarter.

Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden rebounded from one of the worst debuts in NFL history — four interceptions against the Eagles and a 5.1 passer rating — by throwing a pair of touchdown passes.

Trent Richardson became the first Browns rookie to run for 100 yards and score on a run and a pass, according to STATS LLC.

Not enough to stop Cleveland from falling to 0-2 for the fifth time in the past seven seasons. Cincinnati improved to 42-36 in the 44-year series, the biggest lead by either team.

The Browns had linebacker Scott Fujita back after his three-game bounty suspension was overturned on appeal. Cleveland missed top cornerback Joe Haden, who served the first week of his four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Cornerback Sheldon Brown also was out of the lineup with a shoulder injury.

Dalton took advantage of the depleted secondary by completing 24 of 31 for 318 yards with six sacks and an interception.

The Bengals’ defense got shredded during a 44-13 loss in Baltimore on Monday night that matched the most lopsided opening defeat in franchise history. They let Weeden get some confidence and Richardson slip through their fingers, keeping it close.

Weeden completed 26 of 37 for 322 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and two sacks for a passer rating of 114.9. Richardson carried 19 times for 109 yards, the first Browns rookie to top 100 yards since Lee Suggs ran for 187 against Cincinnati in 2003.

Phil Dawson’s 25-yard field goal with 20 seconds left cut the lead to 34-27, but receiver A.J. Green recovered the onside kick to seal it.

Jones put Cincinnati ahead to stay by slipping away from three Browns and avoiding two others during his fifth career touchdown off a punt return and his first since 2003. He celebrated by jumping and wrapping himself around the padding on the goal post, holding on tightly for several seconds.

Weeden settled down with quick, short throws in the second quarter, when he completed 5 of 7 passes. Richardson, the third overall pick, turned a run up the middle into a 32-yard touchdown for Cleveland’s first TD on offense this season.

Dalton made one mistake that kept Cleveland in the game. He sailed a pass that got tipped to linebacker D’Qwell Jackson at midfield late in the third quarter. Weeden threw a short pass to Richardson, who slipped through several tackles on his way to a 23-yard touchdown that cut it to 24-17.

Dalton avoided the rush and threw a short pass that Hawkins turned into the 50-yard touchdown and a 31-17 lead early in the fourth quarter. Weeden responded with a 24-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Greg Little midway through the quarter.


Cam Newton impresses and Drew Brees has another off week as Panthers sneak by 35-27


 Cam Newton impresses and Drew Brees has another off week as Panthers sneak by 35 27

USA Today:

The Carolina Panthers have got their groove back.

In an impressive smackdown of the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium, the Panthers rediscovered their running game, got a few more glimpses of the greatness that Cam Newton displayed as a rookie and unveiled the teeth of a rebuilt defense in a 35-27 victory that also served notice that they are legit players in the NFC South race.

Carolina Panthers’ DeAngelo Williams (34) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against New Orleans Saints’ Malcolm Jenkins (27) and Roman Harper (41) in the third quarter. The Panthers won 35-27.

A week after tying a franchise record low with 10 rushing yards in the loss at Tampa Bay, the Panthers tallied 219 yards on the ground against the Saints (0-2).

Jonathan Stewart, who sat out last week’s game with an ankle injury, undoubtedly helped the cause as he rushed for 51 yards on 11 carries — and scored on a 17-reception.

The other part of the 1-2 punch, DeAngelo Williams, gained 69 yards on 14 rushes.

But in the Panthers’ rushing game, it goes a bit deeper.

There’s Newton, too. After getting handcuffed at Tampa (5 rushes, 4 yards), Newton sizzled with 71 rushing yards — including a scintillating 40-yard scamper — to complement a fine passing performance (14-of-20, 253 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs).

Meanwhile, a Panthers defense that sealed the game with Jon Beason’s interception with 23 second remaining and was led by rush end Charles Johnson, kept the heat on Drew Brees, which in turn helped knock the Saints’ offense out of rhythm.

The Panthers climbed out of an early 7-0 hole with Charles Godfrey’s 9-yard interception return touchdown, which was caused by Charles Johnson’s end zone rush of a scrambling Brees — who desperately flicked the football to avoid getting crushed.

It was a sign of more to come.

Brees wasn’t sacked until the fourth quarter, but was under duress all afternoon. On a couple of occasions when Brees was in the grasp of defenders, he avoided sacks by flipping the football underhanded.

Yet that’s not how it’s drawn up in a playbook that feeds off timing and rhythm.

It meant trouble.

And the Saints, without season-suspended coach Sean Payton, have trouble on multiple levels. Since the playoff field was expanded in 1990, 88% of teams that have began with 0-2 starts have failed to qualify for the playoffs.

Carolina, swept by New Orleans in 2011, would gladly take the Saints’ place in the postseason line.

And after seizing control of Sunday’s game, the Panthers (1-1) demonstrated that they are indeed serious players in the NFC South race.


CJ Spiller and the Bills embarrass the Kansas City Chiefs!


 CJ Spiller and the Bills embarrass the Kansas City Chiefs!

ESPN:

Thanks to C.J. Spiller and an opportunistic defense, the Buffalo Billssuddenly didn’t look anywhere near as bad on Sunday as they did in their season-opening dud.

The same can’t be said for Kansas City, after the Chiefs were even worse in being routed for the second time in two weeks.

Spiller scored twice and finished with 123 yards rushing in a 35-17 win in Buffalo’s home opener. Spiller, who also had 47 yards receiving, picked up where he left off last week, when he took over for injured starter Fred Jackson and enjoyed a career-best 169 yards rushing in a 48-28 loss against the New York Jets.

The Bills’ high-priced Mario Williams-led defense then did the rest Sunday. Kyle Williams had two of the team’s five sacks, and Buffalo forced three turnovers.

That included linebacker Nick Barnett forcingPeyton Hillis’ fumble at the goal line to snuff out a scoring drive late in the first half. Mario Williams also recovered quarterback Matt Cassel’s fumble, which led to Scott Chandler’s 10-yard touchdown catch in a first half during which the Bills took control by building a 21-0 lead.

Fitzpatrick shrugged off last week’s three-interception outing by going 10 of 19 for 178 yards and two touchdowns, including a 49-yarder to Stevie Johnson. And Buffalo’s special teams contributed: Leodis McKelvin returned a punt 88 yards to make it 35-3 with 3:46 left in the third quarter.

It was a complete reversal for the Bills who against the Jets turned the ball over four times, failed to get any pressure on Mark Sanchez and allowed Jeremy Kerley to return a punt 68 yards for a score.

For Kansas City, it was the same-old sloppiness by a team coming off last week’s 40-24 loss to Atlanta.

Kansas City opened a season 0-2 for the sixth time in seven years. That includes last season, which they opened with a 41-7 home loss to Buffalo.

Cassel finished 23 of 42 for 301 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, with much of that production coming after the Bills had built a 35-3 lead. Dwayne Bowe scored both touchdowns on 33- and 2-yard catches in the final seven minutes.

The Chiefs’ running attack sputtered. Hillis had 66 yards rushing, and Jamaal Charles just 3 yards on six carries.

Kansas City managed just four first downs and 71 yards on its first five possessions. The Chiefs then came up empty on their sixth possession, and after Cassel marched them 77 yards on eight plays. Facing second-and-goal at the 1, Hillis took the handoff, but was tripped up immediately by Barnett and then lost control of the ball as he fell forward.

Safety Bryan Scott jumped over a pile of players to get control of the ball before Hillis could recover.

The Chiefs were so thoroughly outplayed on both sides of the ball in the first half that Spiller’s 139 yards from scrimmage nearly matched Kansas City’s 148 yards net offense.

The Chiefs defense struggled despite welcoming back two regulars. Star pass-rushing linebackerTamba Hali returned after serving an NFL-imposed one-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and cornerback Brandon Flowers returned after missing the opener with a foot injury.

With Jackson expected to miss another three weeks with a sprained right knee, Spiller was unstoppable in scoring on the Bills’ second and third possessions

He accounted for 48 of Buffalo’s 84 yards in scoring on a 17-yard run 13 minutes in. Spiller then scored on a 3-yard run on the Bills next drive, which he helped set up with a solid 38-yard run, when he burst through the middle before being tackled at the Chiefs 12.

Spiller became the fourth Bills player to reach 100 yards in the first two games of a season, joining Fred Jackson, Thurman Thomas and O.J. Simpson, who did that twice.

Kansas City did lose tight end Kevin Boss to a head injury in the second quarter. After making a catch over the middle, Boss stumbled backward and hit the back of his head on the turf at the same time safety Da’Norris Searcy struck him on the side of the helmet with his forearm.

Boss appeared woozy as he walked off to the sideline. Searcy was penalized for a blow to the head.

McKelvin’s TD return was the second of his career, and the second-longest in team history, 3 yards short of the record set by Keith Moody in 1977.


With Matt Forte out, Kahlil Bell gets a job!


 With Matt Forte out, Kahlil Bell gets a job!

NFL:

Running back Kahlil Bell tweeted Saturday that he’s back with the Chicago Bears. The Bears looked to sign another back after starter Matt Forte went down with a high ankle sprain Thursday against theGreen Bay Packers.

“I’m taking my talents back to Chicago,” Bell wrote. “So happy to be back. Never wanted to leave.”

The Bears later confirmd the signing in a news release. The team waived safety Jeremy Jones to make room on the 53-man roster.

Steve Slaton reportedly worked out with the Bears on Saturday, but the Bears were leaning towards Bell, according to CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora.

Chicago Tribune reporter Vaughn McClure tweeted that Bell will sign a a one-year deal for the league minimum.

“Let’s make this clear: I never wanted to leave Chicago in the first place,” Bell said, according to McClure.

Bell was cut by the Bears in August after he declined to take a pay cut from $1.26 million to $700,000. He didn’t catch on with another team.

The Bears needed someone if Forte misses an extended period. And Bell is more familiar with the surroundings in Chicago than Slaton, for example.

Truth is, however, they now need Michael Bush to stay healthy.

 


Packers sneak past Bears with smart efficient gameplay


 Packers sneak past Bears with smart efficient gameplay

NFL:

On a night when defenses dominated the NFL’s most storied rivalry, the Packers got creative — and it worked.

Punter Tim Masthay and backup tight end Tom Crabtree combined for a touchdown on a fake field goal in the second quarter, and the Green Bay Packersrattled and robbed Jay Cutler in a 23-10 victory over the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on Thursday.

Cutler threw four interceptions, including a pair to Tramon Williams. Facing a fierce Packers pass rush all night, Cutler was sacked seven times, including 3½ for Clay Matthews. New Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall was held to two catches for 24 yards.

“Clay was incredible,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “Defense causing turnovers, if they play like this we’re going to be hard to beat.”

The Bears also lost running back Matt Forte to an ankle injury.

After Williams collected his second interception, Rodgers finally found the end zone in the fourth quarter, hitting Donald Driver for a 26-yard touchdown and a 23-3 lead.

Driver, who barely played in the Packers’ season-opening loss to San Francisco, did a celebratory dance in the end zone, recalling his stint on the “Dancing With the Stars” reality television show.

But Rodgers threw an interception to Tim Jennings and the Bears finally cashed in. Facing fourth-and-7 at the Green Bay 21, Cutler threw a touchdown to Kellen Davis, cutting the lead to 23-10 with 6:49 remaining. But the Bears couldn’t mount a comeback as Matthews and the Packers kept turning up the heat.

Rodgers finished the game 22-of-32 passing for 219 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

He got roughed up, too, getting sacked five times. Green Bay got a scare when the NFL MVP appeared to hurt his right arm early in the game, but he stayed in.

Cutler was 11-of-27 passing for 126 yards.

Earlier in the week, a confident Cutler wished the Packers’ defensive backs “good luck” in trying to match up physically with a new-look wide receiver corps led by Marshall. Stalked by Williams for much of the night, Marshall didn’t see much of the ball. And he couldn’t convert his one big opportunity, dropping a potential touchdown in the third quarter.

Forte provided much of what little offense the Bears could muster before leaving the game in the third. He appeared to twist his right ankle while being tackled by Charles Woodson.

Mason Crosby hit three field goals for Green Bay, including a 54-yarder in the fourth quarter.

The biggest play of the night, though, came from the unlikely tandem of Masthay and Crabtree.

With the Packers facing fourth-and-26 on the Chicago 27 late in the second quarter, Masthay, the punter who also functions as the holder on field goals, and Crosby appeared to line up for a field goal attempt.

But Masthay took the snap and flipped the ball to Crabtree, who ran through a huge hole and streaked all the way to the end zone.

“That’s a gutsy call,” Rodgers said. “It worked out.”

Cutler then threw an interception to Williams near midfield with just over a minute left and the play was upheld on a replay review, giving the Packers one last chance to score. Rodgers marched the Packers into scoring range, and Crosby hit a 35-yard field goal.

Cutler then threw his second interception of the night late in the third, this time to Woodson, and the Packers appeared poised to score when Charles Tillmanpunched the ball away from Jermichael Finley and recovered the ball for the Bears.

Marshall missed a huge opportunity earlier in the third, when Cutler found him streaking wide open in the end zone — but the wide receiver couldn’t haul it in, and the Bears had to settle for a 45-yard field goal by Robbie Gould that cut the lead to 13-3.

The Packers were coming off a 30-22 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Green Bay struggled to stop the 49ers’ balanced offense and came into a short week of preparation still looking for answers in the secondary.

On offense, the 49ers’ dominant defense held the Packers to seven points in the first three quarters before a late rally attempt came up short.

Chicago came into the season with high expectations for a beefed-up passing attack, and the arrival of Marshall was a hit right away. Renewing his partnership with Cutler from their days with the Denver Broncos, Marshall caught nine passes for 119 yards and a touchdown and the Bears put up 41 points in their season-opening victory over Indianapolis.


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