Vikings spoil Mitchell Trubisky’s debut, beat Bears 20-17
Case Keenum led three second-half scoring drives in relief of Sam Bradford, and the Minnesota Vikings spoiled prized rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky’s debut with a 20-17 victory over the Chicago Bears on Monday night.
Kai Forbath kicked a 26-yard field goal in the closing seconds after Harrison Smith intercepted Trubisky, and the Vikings (3-2) came away with the win after dropping two of three.
Called on after Mike Glennon struggled in the first four games, Trubisky played like he belonged. The No. 2 overall pick was 12 of 25 for 128 yards with a touchdown.
The interception came after the Bears (1-4) took over on their 10 with 2:32 left in the game. Smith picked off a pass intended for Zach Miller on the right sideline at the 22.
The Vikings got the ball at the 28, and Forbath booted the winner with 16 seconds left.
Bradford could barely move after missing three straight games because of swelling and soreness in his left knee.
He was just 5 of 11 for 36 yards and was sacked four times — including a safety by Leonard Floyd.
Keenum replaced him with 25 seconds left in the first half and went 17 of 21 for 140 yards and a touchdown.
Jerick McKinnon had a 58-yard touchdown run. Everson Griffen contributed a strip-sack against Trubisky that led to a field goal, and the Vikings beat Chicago on the road for just the third time in 17 games.
Miami Dolphins coach says his players aren’t allowed to kneel on sideline during the national anthem anymore
Miami Dolphins players Michael Thomas, Kenny Stills and Julius Thomas remained in a stadium tunnel Sunday during the playing of the national anthem before the team’s game against the Tennessee Titans.
A week earlier, the same three players had taken a knee during the anthem in London, before their game against the New Orleans Saints.
The change in location for the players was a result in a change of team policy by coach Adam Gase, who talked to several players before deciding not to allow players to kneel on the sideline during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“It comes from me,” Gase said during a news conference. “I thought it was time for us to address it. I’ve had a lot of conversations with a lot of people. It doesn’t matter what I think. This is what we’re doing.”
NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith: ‘No player is disrespecting our Country or our Flag’
DeMaurice Smith, the head of the NFL Players Assn., tweeted a statement Monday saying the union had been informed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that the league “would respect the Constitutional rights of our members without retribution.”
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who stated Sunday that “if there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play.” Other teams have reportedly instructed their players to stand for the anthem as well.
Smith said in his statement: “No player is disrespecting our Country or our Flag” by kneeling during the anthem.
Jerry Jones: Cowboys ‘will not play’ if they disrespect flag
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the NFL can’t leave the impression it tolerates players disrespecting the flag and any Cowboys making such displays won’t play.
Jones had his strongest comments so far on the national anthem controversy Sunday night. They started with his response to a question about Vice President Mike Pence leaving the game in Indianapolis after about a dozen San Francisco players knelt during the anthem.
“I know this, we cannot in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,” said Jones, also the team’s general manager, after a 35-31 loss to Green Bay.
“We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. So we’re clear.”
J.J. Watt suffers broken leg in Texans’ loss to Chiefs
Alex Smith threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns to help the Kansas City Chiefs remain undefeated with a 42-34 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday night in a game where J.J. Watt broke his left leg.
Deshaun Watson’s 48-yard touchdown pass got the Texans within six early in the fourth quarter before Smith extended the lead for Kansas City (5-0) to 32-20 on a 10-yard pass to De’Anthony Thomas with about nine minutes left. Tyreek Hill padded the lead when he returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown.
Watson threw for 261 yards and five touchdowns, but the Texans (2-3) failed to re-create the magic they found last week when they scored a franchise-record 57 points in a victory over Tennessee.
Watt, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, was injured in the first quarter, and the team announced that he sustained a tibial plateau fracture, but didn’t provide any details on how long he’ll be out. The defensive end returned this season after missing the last 13 games last year after his second back surgery.
The Texans cut their deficit when Watson threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Fuller in the third quarter. But the 2-point conversion failed, leaving them down 23-13.
Kansas City’s Charcandrick West caught two touchdown passes and Travis Kelce had eight receptions for 98 yards in the first half, but didn’t return after halftime and the team said he was being evaluated for a concussion.
The Chiefs were up by six when Smith found West on an 8-yard touchdown pass to make it 13-0 in the second quarter. Houston rookie D’Onta Foreman fumbled two plays later to give Kansas City the ball right back and the Chiefs tacked on a field goal.
Foreman stepped out of one tackle before plowing over Marcus Peters as he tried to tackle him before two other Chiefs finally brought him down after a 25-yard gain that got Houston to the 10 on the Texans’ next drive. The Texans cut it to 16-7 when Watson found DeAndre Hopkins in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown pass with about two minutes left in the first half.
Smith then connected with West again, this time on a 4-yard TD pass to put the Chiefs up 23-7 at halftime.
The Chiefs led 3-0 early after a 35-yard field goal by Harrison Butker on their first drive. Watt was injured on the play before the field goal and fell to the ground while being blocked. Watt remained on his hands and knees for a couple of minutes while trainers checked on him.
They flipped him onto his back and were looking at his left leg. He was then helped to his feet and looked to be in a lot of pain and didn’t appear to be able to put any weight on the leg as he was helped off the field by two Texans officials. He remained on the sideline under a tent for a few minutes before being taken to the locker room on a cart and then taken by ambulance to the hospital.
Butker added another field goal early in the second quarter to make it 6-0.
Kansas City rookie Kareem Hunt had 29 carries for 107 yards to give him four 100-yard rushing games this season.
Hopkins had four receptions for 52 yards with three touchdowns after catching two late scoring passes when the game was out of reach.
Texans’ J.J. Watt carted off with a knee injury in game against Chiefs
Houston Texans star J.J. Watt injured his left knee in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The defensive end fell to the ground while being blocked midway through the quarter Sunday night.
Watt remained on his hands and knees for a couple of minutes while trainers checked on him. They flipped him onto his back and were looking at his left leg. He was then helped to his feet and looked to be in a lot of pain and didn’t appear to be able to put any weight on the leg as he was helped off the field by two Texans officials.
The three-time Defensive Player of the Year returned this season after missing the last 13 games of last season after his second back surgery.
He remained on the sideline under a tent for a few minutes before being taken to the locker room on a cart.
Turnovers doom Rams in loss to Seahawks 16-10
Rams quarterback Jared Goff had an opportunity to deliver his first career game-winning drive, but came up just short in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks 16-10.
Goff was responsible for a pair of turnovers late in the fourth quarter. He had a pass intended for tight end Tyler Higbee intercepted by Seahawks safety Earl Thomas and then fumbled the ball away on a strip sack by defensive end Frank Clark.
The Rams held the Seahawks to a field goal, giving Seattle a 16-10 lead with 1 minute 12 seconds left.
Goff threw the Rams into the red zone with a completion of 35 yards to tight end Tyler Higbee followed by a 20-yard dart to receiver Robert Woods.
After spiking the ball to stop the clock, Goff’s first pass to running back Todd Gurley fell incomplete. His next strike led rookie receiver Cooper Kupp into the end zone, but he couldn’t hang on to the ball.
He went back to Kupp on his final throw, but the Seattle defense locked down and the receiver never had a chance.
The Rams (3-2) head to Jacksonville next week to face the Jaguars (3-2).
The Seahawks (3-2) now lead the NFC West have their bye next week and will face the New York Giants (0-5) on Oct. 22.
Seahawks 16, Rams 10: Seattle adds to lead after Goff’s fumble
Seahawks 13, Rams 10: Blair Walsh makes a 49 yard field goal
Rams 10, Seahawks 10: Seattle makes a field goal before halftime
Rams 10, Seahawks 7: Jimmy Graham catches 60th touchdown pass
Rams 10, Seahawks 0: L.A. interception sets up another field goal
Rams 7, Seahawks 0: Tavon Austin scores first touchdown of season
Chargers steal first win of season in New York with 27-22 victory over Giants
The Chargers finally notched their first win of the season, outlasting a badly beaten up Giants 27-22 at MetLife Stadium.
Philip Rivers recovered from his fifth interception of the season – a poorly thrown ball in the end zone that was intended for Keenan Allen – to throw three touchdowns, including a go-ahead toss to Melvin Gordon in the fourth quarter.
That score was set up by an incredible play from Melvin Ingram, who sacked Eli Manning, forcing a fumble that Ingram sprinted into a pile to recover.
Gordon gained 163 yards from scrimmage while the Charger defense sacked Manning five times.
Tre Boston intercepted the Giants quarterback, who lost four receivers to injury during the game, on fourth down in the final minute to seal Anthony Lynn’s first professional victory.
Chargers 27, Giants 22: Gordon scores go-ahead touchdown
Giants 22, Chargers 20: L.A. cuts into New York’s lead with a field goal
Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger has five passes intercepted in loss to Jaguars
What happened in Pittsburgh?
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had five passes intercepted in the Steelers’ 30-9 loss today to the Jacksonville Jaguars at Heinz Field.
Roethlisberger’s five turnovers were a career high and included two pick-sixes. It’s also a franchise record for the Jaguars.
Jaguars cornerback Tashaun Gipson had two interceptions with linebacker Telvin Smith and safety Barry Church coming up with the pick-sixes on back-to-back drives by the Steelers. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey also had an interception.
Prior to today’s game, Roethlisberger hadn’t had a multi-interception game this season. His previous high of four passes picked off happened in a 2008 game.
Giants 22, Chargers 17: Odell Beckham Jr. goes deep for a touchdown
Chargers 17, Giants 16: Rivers connects with Henry for a TD
Giants 16, Chargers 10: Rivers interception leads to a New York touchdown
CBS clarifies after saying Colin Kaepernick would stand for anthem
A CBS reporter has clarified his televised report saying quarterback Colin Kaepernick told him he would stand during the national anthem if he played in the NFL again, saying he didn’t discuss the issue with the player when they spoke.
Jason La Canfora said in a series of tweets on Sunday that he was relaying previous reporting about Kaepernick and did not ask whether the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback would sit or stand during the anthem.
The reversal came after anchor James Brown asked La Canfora on “The NFL Today”: “And kneeling, he said?”
La Canfora responded: “He’s not planning on kneeling. He’s going to donate all his jersey sales and he’s planning on standing for the anthem if given the opportunity, J.B.”
La Canfora tweeted later that he does not know what Kaepernick would do during the anthem.
Relying on unnamed sources, ESPN reported in March that Kaepernick would stand during the anthem if he played again. But Kaepernick has not spoken publicly about what he would do.
12:15 p.m.: This post has been updated with a CBS reporter clarifying he didn’t discuss the issue of standing for the national anthem with Kaepernick, and instead was relying on previous reporting.
This post originally published at 10:26 a.m.
USC in the NFL: Nelson Agholor pulls down a huge TD against Arizona
Check out Tommy Lasorda at the Rams-Seahawks game
Chargers 10, Giants 9: L.A. settles for a field goal from Nick Novak
Video: Eagles celebrate touchdown with a home-run swing
Philadelphia Eagles receiver Torrey Smith caught a high fly ball from quarterback Carson Wentz and went 59 yards for a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals.
After going deep on the Cardinals, Smith and his Eagles teammates celebrated with an elaborate home-run celebration.
Playoff fever must be catching on.
The No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett has finally arrived
It took five weeks, but the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft has finally arrived.
Defensive end Myles Garrett out of Texas A&M sacked New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown twice in the first half of his first career game. His first came on the Browns’ first defensive snap of the game.
Garrett suffered a high-ankle sprain during the preseason, which had kept him off the field until today.
He had 31 sacks in three seasons with the Aggies.
Injuries: Giants’ Brandon Marshall and Bills’ Charles Clay carted off
A list of noteable injuries:
Brandon Marshall, receiver, New York Giants
Brandon Marshall was carted off the field in the second quarter of a game against the Chargers with an apparent injury to his left leg.
Sterling Sheppard, receiver, New York Giants
Sterling Shepard was helped to the sideline after suffering an apparent injury to his left leg.
Charles Clay, tight end, Buffalo Bills
Charles Clay was carted off the field after suffering an apparent knee injury in the first quarter.
Giants 9, Chargers 7: Melvin Gordon catches touchdown pass from Philip Rivers
Giants 9, Chargers 0: Orleans Darkwa slips by L.A. for a touchdown run
Vice President Mike Pence leaves Colts-49ers game after players kneel during anthem
Vice President Mike Pence has left the 49ers-Colts game after about a dozen San Francisco players took a knee.
The former Indiana governor flew in so he could watch Peyton Manning’s jersey retirement ceremony on Sunday. Manning will become the first Indianapolis-era player in Colts history to have his number retired and will also be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor.
But Pence didn’t stick around long.
Pence said on Twitter :
Read MoreThe White House also issued a statement from Pence, in which he says Americans should rally around the flag. Pence said: “I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem.”
President Trump tweeted that he had asked Pence to leave if any players kneeled.
Pence is a noted sports fan. The game was the second major event he attended in his home state since taking office in January. He also attended May’s Indianapolis 500, a family tradition.
But Pence couldn’t come to Manning’s statue unveiling Saturday afternoon, which was attended by a number of luminaries including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Pence spent most of Saturday honoring victims of the Las Vegas shooting before returning to his home state.
Giants 2, Chargers 0: A bad snap results in a safety
The Chargers got off to a rough start when, from their own four-yard line, a miscommunication between center Spencer Pulley and quarterback Philip Rivers resulted in an early snap that Rivers was not expecting.
The ball went off Rivers and into the end zone. Rivers, not wanting the Giants to recover and score a touchdown, batted the ball out of the back of the end zone for a safety that gave the Giants a 2-0 lead with 8:53 left in the first quarter.
Giants 9, Chargers 0
Colts’ Frank Gore passes Eric Dickerson on all-time rushing list
Frank Gore passed Rams Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson on the all-time rushing list today on his first carry of the game, which went for nine yards.
Dickerson was a six-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro who rushed for 13,259 yards in 11 seasons. Until today, that number had been the seventh-most rushing yards ever.
Gore was selected by the 49ers in 2005 with a third-round pick. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards in eight of 10 seasons with San Francisco, finishing there with 11,073 yards rushing.
He signed with the Colts in 2015, rushing for 967 yards his first season and 1,025 yards last year.
Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks: How they match up
RAMS (3-1) VS. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (2-2)
When Rams have the ball
The Rams are the NFL’s top-scoring team, averaging 35.5 points. It figures to get tougher against the Pete Carroll-coached Seahawks, but Rams coach Sean McVay has shown creativity through the first quarter of the season, giving his offense confidence that it can outsmart and out-execute any opponent. Quarterback Jared Goff has played turnover-free for consecutive games. He has completed 67% of his passes, seven for touchdowns, with only one interception. The nervous quarterback the Seahawks faced last season now appears secure, especially with left tackle Andrew Whitworth protecting his blind side. Running back Todd Gurley has rushed for 362 yards and four touchdowns, and has a team-best 20 receptions for 234 yards and three touchdowns. McVay is utilizing Tavon Austin on fly sweeps and as a change-of-pace running back. Receivers Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp each have 14 receptions, and tight ends Gerald Everett, Derek Carrier and Tyler Higbee all have made big plays. The Seahawks’ defense is full of stars, such as end Michael Bennett, linebacker Bobby Wagner and cornerback Richard Sherman. End Cliff Avril suffered a neck injury against Indianapolis last week and will not play against the Rams.
When Seahawks have the ball
The Rams are coming off a game against Dallas Cowboys dual-threat quarterback Dak Prescott, which should have helped them prepare for the challenge that is Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, a master at extending plays. Wilson is completing 62% of his passes, seven for touchdowns, with two interceptions. He also has rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown in 25 carries for an offense that ranks 10th in the NFL despite a much-maligned offensive line. Wilson relies on receiver Doug Baldwin, who has 23 catches, and tight end Jimmy Graham, who has 15. Paul Richardson and Luke Wilson each have two touchdown catches. The Seahawks signed running back Eddie Lacy during the offseason, but he has only 16 carries for 55 yards. Rookie Chris Carson, the featured back in the first four games, suffered an ankle injury last week against Indianapolis. Thomas Rawls, a healthy inactive last week, will start against a Rams defense that stepped up in the second half against the Cowboys. Coordinator Wade Phillips gave tackle Michael Brockers more room to operate, and he came through with a sack and two pass deflections. Safety Lamarcus Joyner is doubtful because of a hamstring injury that sidelined him last week.
When they kick
The Rams’ Greg Zuerlein kicked a team-record seven field goals against the Cowboys and vaulted to the top of the NFL scoring list with 56 points. Zuerlein has made all 14 of his field goal attempts. Last season against the Seahawks, he scored the Rams’ only points with three field goals in a 9-3 victory, and one field goal in a 24-3 defeat. Pharoh Cooper last week returned a kickoff 66 yards. He is averaging 27.3 yards per return. Blair Walsh has made seven of eight field goal attempts for the Seahawks. Tyler Lockett returns kickoffs and punts.
Gary Klein’s prediction
The Rams return home after a confidence-building victory over the Cowboys, their second consecutive road win. The Seahawks’ offensive line has struggled, so this could be the day Aaron Donald and company control an entire game.
RAMS 30, SEAHAWKS 27
Visibility at the Cincinnati Bengals-Buffalo Bills game is...limited
Initial attendance appears light as well.
Las Vegas-bound Raiders to wear #VegasStrong helmet decal for victims of mass shooting
The Raiders will wear “Vegas Strong” helmet decals in honor of the victims of the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas.
The Raiders host the Baltimore Ravens today at 1:05 p.m.
In March, the Raiders received approval from NFL owners to relocate to Las Vegas to a new stadium being built near the Las Vegas strip.
Until that new stadium is ready in the next two to three years, the Raiders will continue to play at Oakland Coliseum, a venue they share with the Oakland Athletics.
AFC notes: From A to Z
Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco enters Sunday’s game at Oakland averaging 3.9 yards per pass in his last two starts with a touchdown and four interceptions.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills head into Sunday’s game at Cincinnati as the only team that hasn’t trailed by six or more points. They cut receiver Philly Brown on Saturday, four days after signing him.
Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals have held teams without a first down on 20 of 47 possessions. They’ve had a sack in 33 straight regular-season games.
CHARGERS: They have won three straight vs. the Giants, Sunday’s foe, but have lost nine straight regular-season games since November 2016.
Cleveland Browns: The Browns, 2-29 since an overtime win at Baltimore in 2015, head into Sunday’s game against the Jets seeking their second win under coach Hue Jackson, who’s 1-19.
Denver Broncos: The Broncos enter their bye week having allowed teams to rush for a league-low 203 yards, giving up 2.4 yards per attempt through four games, also an NFL best.
Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson enters Sunday’s game against Kansas City as the only rookie in history with at least seven touchdown passes and two rushing scores in his team’s first four games.
Indianapolis Colts: A statue of Peyton Manning was unveiled outside Lucas Oil Stadium in advance of Sunday’s game against San Francisco. “I will always be a Colt,” Manning said.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Center Brandon Linder (illness) is ruled out for Sunday at Pittsburgh, as is injured receiver Jaelen Strong. Third-string quarterback Ryan Nassib was released.
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs have not committed a turnover since their first offensive play in Week 1. Kansas City is fourth in the NFL with 33 points off turnovers.
Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins make their home debut Sunday against Tennessee; their season opener had been postponed because of Hurricane Irma.
New England Patriots: Tom Brady recorded his 186th regular-season win Thursday, tying Brett Favre and Peyton Manning for the most.
N.Y. Jets: Receivers Jermaine Kearse (18) and Jeremy Kerley (13) lead the Jets in receptions despite not being added to the roster until after training camp.
Oakland Raiders: EJ Manuel will start at quarterback for Derek Carr (back), who was limited at practice and is questionable. Manuel hasn’t won a start since 2014.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Receiver Martavis Bryant is questionable for Sunday due to an illness. Antonio Brown’s next TD catch will be his 52nd, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Lynn Swann for third-most in franchise history.
Tennessee Titans: The Titans signed journeyman Brandon Weeden as a potential backup for Matt Cassel if Marcus Mariota (hamstring) is unable to go Sunday.
NFC notes: From A to Z
Arizona Cardinals: Sunday at Philadelphia is a homecoming for first-round pick Haason Reddick, who went to Temple and grew up an Eagles fan. He has 18 tackles in 2017.
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons, who have a bye, put defensive end Jack Crawford on injured reserve with a biceps injury. He had five tackles and three quarterback hits.
Carolina Panthers: The Panthers signed safety Jairus Byrd to replace Kurt Coleman, who is out for Sunday at Detroit with a sprained knee and expected to miss several more weeks.
Chicago Bears: Mitchell Trubisky, the 2017 No. 2 overall draft pick, makes his first start Monday vs. Minnesota. Linebacker Willie Young (triceps) is out for the year, per the Chicago Tribune.
Dallas Cowboys: Tight end Jason Witten leads the team with 19 catches. Receiver Brice Butler is going for a career-best third game in a row with a touchdown Sunday vs. Green Bay.
Detroit Lions: Ameer Abdullah had a career- high 94 yards rushing with a touchdown last week vs. Minnesota, and 109 yards of total offense.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers has 13 touchdown passes and two interceptions in eight games vs. Cowboys. The Packers have won six of the past seven meetings.
Minnesota Vikings: Latavius Murray will be the top running back after Dalvin Cook tore his ACL last week. Sam Bradford is questionable.
New Orleans Saints: Tackle Terron Armstead’s return after the bye week would be timely after tackle Zach Strief was put on injured reserve.
N.Y. Giants: Odell Beckham Jr. has seven touchdown catches in his past seven home games entering Sunday vs. the Chargers. Jason Pierre- Paul has 31/2 sacks in his past two home games.
Philadelphia Eagles: Zach Ertz leads all tight ends with 26 catches (326 yards, one touchdown). Jalen Mills is first among cornerbacks with 27 tackles and one pick.
RAMS: Todd Gurley’s 596 rushing/receiving yards entering Sunday vs. Seattle rank second in the NFL, and are most by a Ram in the first four games since Marshall Faulk’s 615 in 2001.
San Francisco 49ers: Running back Carlos Hyde enters Sunday at Indianapolis sixth in the NFL with 409 yards from scrimmage (321 rushing, 88 receiving).
Seattle Seahawks: End Cliff Avril will miss Sunday’s game with a spine and neck injury. Also, Seattle’s top rusher, Chris Carson, is on injured reserve.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kicker Nick Folk, who was signed to replace Robert Aguayo, missed three field goals in the Buccaneers’ 19-14 loss to the Patriots on Thursday night.
Washington Redskins: Corner Josh Norman suffered a rib injury in a loss to the Chiefs last week, and he will be sidelined for four weeks. The Redskins are off this week.
Video: Checking in before the start of the Chargers-Giants game
Obligatory stadium pictures from MetLife Stadium and the Coliseum
Chargers’ Casey Hayward has become one of the top corners in the NFL
There are Arizona’s Patrick Peterson, Seattle’s Richard Sherman, Kansas City’s Marcus Peters, and Denver’s Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. Add in Josh Norman in Washington, Malcolm Butler in New England, Janoris Jenkins with the New York Giants and Xavier Rhodes with Minnesota.
And the Chargers’ Casey Hayward absolutely belongs in that group of the NFL’s best cornerbacks.
Just ask him.
Hayward, along with the other nine players mentioned, was selected as one of the NFL’s top 100 players last offseason. He was ranked No. 64 — eighth at his position, ahead of only Rhodes and Butler in the group mentioned above.
Hayward felt gratitude about his position.
“Salute to everybody that voted for me on the top 100,” he tweeted. “Means a lot coming from my peers.”
Thirty-two minutes later, Hayward told all his peers who didn’t vote for him how wrong they were.
“I was the best corner in the League last year,” he tweeted. “# 1 ints, #6 in PBU, #3 in passes def, #3 in QBR and matched #1 wr most of the year. (Wide-eyed emoji) #NoDebate.”
“I think I’m a confident guy,” Hayward said, flashing the smile new and old coaches and teammates recognize.
Chargers vs. New York Giants: How they match up
CHARGERS (0-4) AT N.Y. GIANTS (0-4)
When Chargers have the ball
Heading into the season, the Chargers seemed to have plenty of options on offense. They had a running back who could carry a heavy load and move the chains. They had a pair of tight ends who could torture linebackers stuck in coverage. They had receivers who could get down the field, and they had a quarterback ready to sling the ball around. Through four games, none of this has worked well. So far, the Chargers’ offense has been one of the NFL’s biggest disappointments. One bright spot? Russell Okung, who has been a better-than-advertised pass blocker, has helped the offensive line become fairly consistent when it comes to pass protection. The Chargers might have figured out some things in the second half of their loss to Philadelphia, getting the ball to players such as Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams, who could gain extra yardage after the catch. Rookie running back Austin Ekeler could be in line for a bigger role with Branden Oliver injured and Melvin Gordon struggling to produce big plays. Another change that could be coming? Tight end Hunter Henry has to be a bigger part of the plan and, this week, Henry could get more snaps than veteran Antonio Gates. It won’t be easy, though, with the Giants defense having impact players at defensive end (Jason Pierre-Paul), cornerback (Eli Apple, Janoris Jenkins) and safety (Landon Collins).
When Giants have the ball
Former Charger Eli Manning (remember those 10 minutes?) has wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., one of the NFL’s top receivers, in addition to three other viable pass-catching threats in Sterling Shepard, Brandon Marshall and rookie tight end Evan Engram. But Manning isn’t getting a ton of protection — he’s been sacked eight times in four games — and the running game makes the Chargers’ backfield look like the Four Horsemen. Paul Perkins, the former UCLA Bruin, is the team’s leading rusher with a meager 61 yards, though he has been ruled out because of a rib injury. The team is averaging only 3.2 yards per carry, which could be the perfect antidote for the Chargers’ problems stopping the run. Jatavis Brown’s injured ankle is a concern. The Chargers defense would greatly benefit from an early lead — something they’ve had only once this year — which could allow the pass rush to get going early.
When they kick
It was clear the Chargers, while publicly backing rookie Younghoe Koo, didn’t have confidence in the young kicker after he missed two kicks in Week 2. The team passed on a handful of long field-goal tries and, from what the Chargers saw in practice, Koo was too inconsistent. Enter Nick Novak, a proven kicker with a record of making more than 85% of his field-goal tries — something he’s done every year since 2012. The Giants rely on kicker Aldrick Rosas, a rookie, who has made four of five field-goal attempts (though the long is only 41 yards) and all six of his extra points.
Dan Woike’s prediction
During the first half of the Chargers’ loss to Philadelphia on Oct. 1, I vowed to not pick the Chargers anymore. The potential I — and so many others — had seen was clearly smoke and mirrors and the reality was the Chargers just weren’t that good. All of that still might be true, but I think the Giants are worse. Though the Chargers probably won’t turn their season around, they’ll travel across the country and beat the Giants.
CHARGERS 24, GIANTS 21
NFL Week 5: Scores and schedule
CHARGERS 27, at New York Giants 22
Seattle Seahawks 16, at RAMS 10
at Philadelphia Eagles 34, Arizona Cardinals 7
at Cincinnati Bengals 20, Buffalo Bills 16
New York Jets 17, at Cleveland Browns 14
Carolina Panthers 27, at Detroit Lions 24
at Indianapolis Colts 26, San Francisco 49ers 23, OT
at Miami Dolphins 16, Tennessee Titans 10
Jacksonville Jaguars 30, at Pittsburgh Steelers 9
Baltimore Ravens 30, at Oakland Raiders 17
Green Bay Packers 35, at Dallas Cowboys 31
Kansas City Chiefs 42, at Houston Texans 34
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears, 5:30 p.m.
New England Patriots 19, at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14