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Tom Brady leads Buccaneers past Raiders while Patriots bench Cam Newton in NFL Week 7

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 10/25/2020 Cindy Boren, Mark Maske, Des Bieler
Cam Newton wearing a football uniform: Patriots quarterback Cam Newton watches from the sideline after being replaced by Jarrett Stidham against the 49ers on Sunday. (Charles Krupa/AP) © Charles Krupa/AP Patriots quarterback Cam Newton watches from the sideline after being replaced by Jarrett Stidham against the 49ers on Sunday. (Charles Krupa/AP)

For the second straight week, the NFL reported no positive coronavirus test results Sunday, meaning the full slate of games went ahead.

The mood was decidedly negative in New England, where the Patriots benched an ineffective Cam Newton amid a lopsided loss to the visiting San Francisco 49ers. Not only did Pats fans have to watch a former quarterback on their team, Jimmy Garoppolo, enjoy an easy win with their opponent, but another former New England quarterback by the name of Tom Brady submitted a masterful performance in leading his Tampa Bay Buccaneers past the host Las Vegas Raiders and to a 5-2 record.

The late-afternoon window also gave us our first snow game of the season: Kansas City at Denver, where the Chiefs scored on offense, defense and special teams in handling the Broncos, 43-16. Earlier in the day, the Pittsburgh Steelers won a matchup of unbeaten teams by handing the Tennessee Titans their first loss, the Green Bay Packers improved to 5-1 while the Houston Texans fell to 1-6, and the New Orleans Saints got to 4-2 by squeaking past the 3-4 Carolina Panthers in a key divisional showdown.

7:52 PM: Justin Herbert accounts for four touchdowns, gets first NFL win as starter

Justin Herbert continues to impress, and now the rookie quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers has an actual NFL victory to show for it.

Herbert completed 27 of 43 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 66 yards and a touchdown as the Chargers beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 39-29, in Inglewood, Calif.

The Chargers won for the first time in the five starts made by Herbert, who was chosen sixth overall in the NFL draft in April.

By: Mark Maske

7:45 PM: Chiefs swat aside Broncos in the snow

a group of people playing football on a field: Denver wide receiver K.J. Hamler (13) falls as Kansas City safety Tyrann Mathieu intercepts a pass. (Jack Dempsey/AP) © Jack Dempsey/AP Denver wide receiver K.J. Hamler (13) falls as Kansas City safety Tyrann Mathieu intercepts a pass. (Jack Dempsey/AP)

The Kansas City Chiefs’ defense and special teams had most of the team’s big plays in the first half Sunday, making life easy for quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who simply needed to avoid mistakes to guide his team to a 43-16 win over the host Denver Broncos.

Amid snowy conditions, Chiefs wide receiver Byron Pringle found his footing for a 102-yard kickoff return, and his touchdown bracketed a second quarter that began with Kansas City safety Daniel Sorensen returning an interception 50 yards for a score. By the end of the game, Chad Henne was in at quarterback for the Chiefs, and Mahomes’s veteran backup was able to finish the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run.

Meanwhile, Denver quarterback Drew Lock struggled to a two-interception day, with no touchdowns, on 24-of-40 passing for 254 yards. The Broncos ran well, gaining 177 yards on 33 total carries, but they couldn’t do nearly enough to keep up with the Chiefs’ well-rounded attack.

By: Des Bieler

7:40 PM: Brady faring better without Belichick than Belichick is doing without him

While the New England Patriots were winning six Super Bowl titles with Tom Brady as their quarterback and Bill Belichick as their coach, the question was asked often: Which one was more responsible for the team’s success?

That can never be answered. But with Brady now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it can be said that things are going far better for Brady without the Patriots these days than they are for Belichick and the Patriots without Brady.

Brady threw four touchdown passes in a 33-for-45, 369-yard performance Sunday in Las Vegas as the Bucs beat the Raiders, 45-20. The Buccaneers improved to 5-2 and they’ll have just-signed wide receiver Antonio Brown once his eight-game suspension expires.

The Bucs won the game rescheduled by the NFL, being moved to the afternoon from the Sunday night slot, because of the coronavirus-related issues experienced last week by the Raiders. The Raiders had four of their starting offensive linemen back from their five-day isolation after they were identified as high-risk close contacts. But one of them, guard Gabe Jackson, was ejected upon being penalized for unnecessary roughness following a third-quarter touchdown by the Raiders.

Brady’s successful day came as the Patriots’ record dropped to 2-4 with their 33-6 loss at home to the San Francisco 49ers and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Brady’s former understudy. The Patriots are on their first three-game losing streak since 2002. They suffered their most lopsided home defeat under Belichick.

Belichick sat down Brady’s successor at quarterback, Cam Newton, in favor of Jarrett Stidham. It was the second in-game quarterback switch this season by Belichick. He also benched Brian Hoyer during the Patriots’ loss at Kansas City with Newton sidelined after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

By: Mark Maske

7:28 PM: Patriots lose to 49ers after Cam Newton is benched

a group of people wearing costumes: Members of the San Francisco defense celebrate a fourth-quarter interception of New England's Jarrett Stidham. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) © Maddie Meyer/Getty Images Members of the San Francisco defense celebrate a fourth-quarter interception of New England's Jarrett Stidham. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Jarett Stidham proved no better than Cam Newton at avoiding turnovers, and now the New England Patriots won’t be able to avoid questions about the viability of their quarterbacks.

Coming in for relief of Newton, who was benched Sunday midway through the third quarter after throwing three interceptions against the San Francisco 49ers, Stidham promptly threw a pick of his own. Fittingly, Stidham ended his second drive for the Patriots by taking a sack as the clock ran out on a desultory, 33-6 loss.

The mood for New England fans could not have been improved by seeing former Patriot Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback for San Francisco, although he threw two interceptions himself, with no touchdown passes and 277 yards through the air. Before he was removed from the game, Newton completed 9 of 15 passes for 98 yards and a 39.7 rating.

The 49ers, as is their wont, did much of their damage on the ground. Running backs Jeff Wilson and JaMycal Hasty led the way with 112 and 57 rushing yards, respectively, with Wilson scoring three touchdowns. San Francisco’s top two backs, Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, missed the game with injuries, and the 49ers traveled to New England with a similarly depleted defense, but the Patriots could muster very little on offense.

By: Des Bieler

6:47 PM: Cam Newton benched after third interception against 49ers

a group of football players on a field: New England’s Cam Newton reacts after throwing a second interception to San Francisco. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) © Maddie Meyer/Getty Images New England’s Cam Newton reacts after throwing a second interception to San Francisco. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Cam Newton was benched Sunday in the middle of the third quarter, after he threw his third interception against the San Francisco 49ers. The former NFL MVP, in his first season with the New England Patriots after the departure of Tom Brady, was replaced by second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham.

Newton completed just four of eight passes, for only 30 yards, and he threw two interceptions in a first half that ended with the Patriots trailing at home by a 23-3 margin. When Newton was pulled, he had 98 passing yards and the three picks, plus five carries for 19 yards, and his team was losing by a 33-6 count.

In his first season with New England after nine with the Carolina Panthers, Newton entered Sunday having completed 68.1 percent of his passes for the Patriots, but only for 871 yards and two touchdowns over four games, with four picks. He has been as effective as ever on the ground, rushing 45 times for 225 yards and five touchdowns entering Week 7, but the struggles Sunday after a poor outing last week against the Denver Broncos have to be setting off alarm bells in New England.

By: Des Bieler

5:46 PM: Great returns for Chiefs in Denver

The Kansas City Chiefs are pouring it on in snowy Denver, and it’s not all about the passing of Patrick Mahomes and the debut of just-added running back Le’Veon Bell.

The Chiefs had second-quarter touchdowns on an interception return and a kickoff return. Safety Daniel Sorensen went 50 yards to the end zone with an interception of a pass by Denver’s Drew Lock. After the Broncos got a field goal, Byron Pringle provided a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

The Chiefs lead the Broncos, 24-9.

By: Mark Maske

5:42 PM: Tom Brady accounts for three first-half touchdowns as Bucs lead Raiders

It was a big first half for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady in Las Vegas.

Brady threw for 205 yards and two touchdowns for 18-for-26 passing in the half. He dropped a perfectly placed throw into the arms of wide receiver Scotty Miller for a 33-yard touchdown 17 seconds before the break. Brady threw an earlier touchdown pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski and had a one-yard rushing touchdown as the Bucs lead the Raiders, 21-10.

It’s almost as if Brady and the Buccaneers aren’t in dire need of adding another wide receiver.

By: Mark Maske

5:26 PM: Le’Veon Bell gets big gain in first carry for Chiefs

Over 17 expensive games for the New York Jets, Le’Veon Bell’s longest run was 19 yards. On his first carry for the Kansas City Chiefs, he gained 16.

Released by the woeful Jets last week after the team couldn’t find a trade partner for its high-priced but disgruntled running back, Bell opted to join the Chiefs and wasted little time showing what he could do in arguably the league’s best offense. The 28-year-old former Pittsburgh Steelers star took advantage of a big hole on the left side and picked his way through defenders, looking very much like he still had something left in the tank.

Bell’s next two carries on that drive went for just three yards, but he helped put his new team in position for a successful field goal. As expected, Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the team’s first-round pick this year, retained his starter’s spot, but Bell served notice that there may well be more competition in Kansas City’s backfield.

By: Des Bieler

5:16 PM: Todd Gurley’s TD for Falcons helped lead to Lions win

a group of baseball players playing a football game: You don’t usually see defenders celebrate touchdowns by opponents, but Jamie Collins (58) and the Lions were happy to see the Falcons’ Todd Gurley break the plane of the end zone. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution) © Curtis Compton/AP You don’t usually see defenders celebrate touchdowns by opponents, but Jamie Collins (58) and the Lions were happy to see the Falcons’ Todd Gurley break the plane of the end zone. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Todd Gurley scored two touchdowns for his Atlanta Falcons Sunday, but he probably wants the second one back. In fact, the veteran running back tried not to score late in the fourth quarter, but his momentum led him into the end zone — and helped lead to a Detroit Lions win.

That’s because Atlanta was down by two points with just over a minute left, and the Lions were out of timeouts, when Gurley scored. If he had managed to stop himself at the 1-yard line, as he belatedly tried to do, the Falcons would have been able to run the clock down and attempt a chip-shot field goal for the win.

Instead, Atlanta scored the touchdown and got a two-point conversion for a six-point lead, only to see Detroit march 75 yards in the final minute to score its own touchdown with no time left. The Lions then kicked an extra point for a close, improbable win and yet another heartbreaking defeat this season for the Falcons.

By: Des Bieler

5:09 PM: Raiders vs. Brady game features ‘tuck rule’ flashback

Tom Brady, the Raiders and Jon Gruden were on the field. And there was a “tuck rule”-ish play, even with the tuck rule no longer in existence.

On the first play of the second quarter in Las Vegas, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr appeared to lose a fumble on a sack by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ndakukong Suh made the recovery for the Bucs and provided a 62-yard return. But on the automatic instant replay review that follows any turnover, the on-field call was reversed and the play was called an incomplete pass by Carr. The Raiders kicked a field goal on the next play.

For Gruden and the Raiders, it was quasi-tuck-rule revenge on Brady.

The New England Patriots’ dynasty was launched, remember, by the famed (or infamous, depending on your perspective) Tuck Rule Game against the Gruden-coached Raiders in a snowy AFC playoff encounter in 2002. A fumble by Brady that would have sealed a Raiders’ victory instead was ruled an incompletion. The Patriots went on to beat the Raiders on their way to the first of their six Super Bowl titles with Brady as their quarterback and Bill Belichick as their coach.

NFL owners voted in March 2013 to eliminate the tuck rule. Brady is now with the Bucs. The Raiders are based in Vegas. Gruden left the Raiders for the Buccaneers, then left coaching for the ESPN broadcast booth, then returned to coaching and the Raiders. But their shared past was back on display on that play.

By: Mark Maske

4:43 PM: Baker Mayfield outduels Joe Burrow in a wild fourth quarter

a group of baseball players standing on top of a field: Donovan Peoples-Jones, left, celebrates his game-winning touchdown with Jarvis Landry. (Bryan Woolston/Associated Press) © Bryan Woolston/AP Donovan Peoples-Jones, left, celebrates his game-winning touchdown with Jarvis Landry. (Bryan Woolston/Associated Press)

With the Bengals and Browns barreling down the fourth-quarter stretch, the final result was destined to be a gut punch for either Baker Mayfield or Joe Burrow. But neither could have imagined an ending that included five go-ahead touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, the first time in NFL history that has happened, according to Elias Sports.

This time, it was Burrow’s turn to walk away disappointed despite becoming the first Bengals rookie to pass for more than 400 yards. Mayfield, with an aching torso from a cracked rib, saw Odell Beckham Jr. leave the game early in the first quarter and overcame a horrific 0-for-5 start as Cleveland improved to 5-2 with a 37-34 victory in Cincinnati.

He did it by leading the Browns down the field on a drive that ended in a 24-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones, who made a brilliant tiptoe catch in the end zone.

His heroics became necessary when Burrow, whose team was down three offensive line starters and running back Joe Mixon, led the Bengals on a 75-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Giovani Bernard with 1:09 left in the game. Burrow got two last chances with 11 seconds left, but his Hail Mary pass was broken up. He finished with 406 yards passing, completing 35 of 47 passes for three touchdowns and an interception.

As for Mayfield, he completed 22 of 28 passes (which meant that his only incompletion after the 0-for-5 start was a spike to stop the clock) for 297 yards and five touchdowns and an interception (on his first attempt of the day).

It was enough to shut the haters up for another week. And, for Burrow, enough to make people believers in a 1-5-1 team.

By: Cindy Boren

4:33 PM: Davante Adams, Packers bounce back to beat Texans

a group of football players playing a football game: Green Bay’s Davante Adams scampers into the end zone for one of his two touchdowns against Justin Reid and Houston. (Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press) © Eric Christian Smith/AP Green Bay’s Davante Adams scampers into the end zone for one of his two touchdowns against Justin Reid and Houston. (Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press)

Last week, the Green Bay Packers were throttled by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ top-ranked defense in a 38-10 rout. The Houston Texans’ defense came into Week 7 ranked 30th in the NFL and it showed, as the Packers were able to bounce back nicely for a 35-20 win.

Houston had no answers at all for Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams, who led all players in Sunday’s early slate with 13 catches and 196 yards. Adams also scored twice to help Aaron Rodgers rack up four touchdown passes, along with 283 passing yards and a 132.4 rating. The Packers’ star running back, Aaron Jones, missed the game with a calf injury, but he was ably replaced by Jamaal Williams, who had more than 100 yards from scrimmage and a score.

In comeback mode for most of the contest after Green Bay jumped out to a 21-0 lead, Houston quarterback Deshawn Watson completed 29 of 39 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns. The Texans are now 1-6, while the Packers moved to 5-1.

By: Des Bieler

4:21 PM: Steelers remain unbeaten as Gostkowski misses tying field goal for Titans

The Pittsburgh Steelers held on to win at Tennessee, 27-24, when Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a 45-yard field goal attempt with 14 seconds remaining.

The Titans nearly came back after trailing by 27-7 in the third quarter. After scoring 17 straight points, they had an end zone interception of a pass forced into heavy traffic by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with about 2½ minutes remaining, then went on a drive toward a potential winning touchdown or tying field goal.

But the drive stalled with an intentional-grounding penalty by Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He threw incomplete into the end zone on third down, and Gostkowski pushed the ball wide right on his kick.

One kneel-down by Roethlisberger gave Steelers the victory as they improved their record to 6-0, while the Titans fell to 5-1.

By: Mark Maske

4:12 PM: Bills kick six field goals to get past 0-7 Jets

a group of people playing football on a field: Buffalo’s Tyler Bass, left, celebrates his sixth field goal against New York. (Frank Franklin II/Associated Press) © Frank Franklin II/AP Buffalo’s Tyler Bass, left, celebrates his sixth field goal against New York. (Frank Franklin II/Associated Press)

It wasn’t at all pretty — unless you had Buffalo kicker Tyler Bass on your fantasy team — but the Bills took care of business against the still-winless New York Jets, 18-10. With Jets Coach Adam Gase reportedly having given up play-calling duties, at least for Sunday, Sam Darnold and Co. jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but the Bills took over from there to improve to 5-2.

Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen threw for 307 yards and rushed for 61 more, but he lost a fumble on a play that started at the Jets’ 14-yard line, and he could not get his team into the end zone, apart from a would-be scoring play that was called back on a penalty. Against a better team, that might have spelled doom, but the Jets, now 0-7, were once again not up to the task of taking advantage.

One bright spot for New York was the NFL debut of wide receiver Denzel Mims, a second-round pick who missed the first six games with a hamstring injury but who led the Jets Sunday with four catches for 42 yards. Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley was his team’s offensive standout, catching 11 balls for 112 yards.

By: Des Bieler

3:38 PM: Who is Ben DiNucci? Cowboys rookie QB takes over after Andy Dalton injury.

The Post’s Scott Allen wrote recently about Ben DiNucci, the unheralded rookie out of James Madison University who became the Cowboys’ backup quarterback after the season-ending injury suffered by Dak Prescott. Now DiNucci has taken the field against the Washington Football Team with Andy Dalton sidelined by injury.

“He’ll do everything he can to put himself in the best position through preparation,” JMU Coach Curt Cignetti told Allen of DiNucci. “He’s an extremely confident guy. If it comes to that, where he ends up playing, he’s going to go on the field with a lot of confidence, and he’ll be ready.”

DiNucci was the 2014 Gatorade Pennsylvania high school player of the year who took a roundabout road to success a JMU, a Football Bowl Subdivision powerhouse.

Read the full story

By: David Larimer

3:24 PM: Ben DiNucci at QB for Cowboys after illegal hit on Andy Dalton

Things have gone from bad to worse for the Dallas Cowboys. Andy Dalton left their game against the Washington Football Team after absorbing an illegal hit to the head by Washington’s Jon Bostic, who was ejected.

Dalton was sliding at the end of a scramble and his helmet was knocked off by Bostic. The officials penalized Bostic and ejected him.

Rookie Ben DiNucci took over at quarterback for the Cowboys. Dalton had taken over as the starter after Dak Prescott’s season-ending ankle fracture.

The Cowboys trail, 22-3.

By: Mark Maske

3:19 PM: Matt Rhule rocks the smock again

a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: The smock is back for Matt Rhule. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) © Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images The smock is back for Matt Rhule. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Over his seasons at Baylor, there was some mockery of Matt Rhule’s sideline attire. Is it a vest or some sort of Belichickian fashion creation? Did his dentist forget to remove the X-ray shield?

Rhule calls his fashion choice, which made its NFL debut in bright blue Sunday as the Panthers played the Saints, a smock, but it’s really much more. Nike calls it a Shield Vest, an armless jacket with a hood and describes it, as the Athletic noted last fall, as something to block weather “to help keep you comfortable.” Rhule vouched for that.

“If it ever starts raining, it has a hood,” he told Max Olson in 2919. “And I’ve got tremendous movement in my arms. And it’s got zippers on the side. If you ever need more room, if you’ve had too much for Thanksgiving, you can just open up the zipper.”

Although the look was not been warmly embraced by his agent or the families of recruits, Rhule added, “I don’t care what anyone thinks about what I look like.” A quick search determines that it’s not widely available online, either, but that may change.

The smock originated at Baylor last fall, when he wore it as a reminder to players to play as well as they practiced.

“I think that was a step we had to take,” Rhule said. “We were a really good team out here at practice. We weren’t always a good team on game day.”

Now in his first season in the NFL, maybe that was the message he wanted his Panthers, 3-3 going into the game in New Orleans to absorb, too.

By: Cindy Boren

2:43 PM: Bills are reeling, facing halftime deficit to Jets

What has happened to the Buffalo Bills? How have they regressed to the point where they trail the lowly New York Jets at halftime?

The struggles are ongoing for quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills. Allen lost a first-half fumble and the Bills are facing a 10-6 deficit after a sluggish first half in the Meadowlands. Buffalo managed only a pair of long-range field goals as rookie kicker Tyler Bass connected from 53 and 48 yards.

It has been a sudden and mystifying decline. The Bills won their first four games. Allen was showing great progress as a pocket passer and was on the fringes of the early-season league MVP conversation. But he had issues in losses to the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs.

Even so, those are two of the NFL’s best teams. Losing to the Jets would be much more alarming.

By: Mark Maske

2:39 PM: Steelers have dominant first half against Titans

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a superb first half in Nashville in a showdown of 5-0 teams. They lead the Tennessee Titans, 24-7.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes to wide receiver Diontae Johnson in a 17-for-25, 160-yard half. Running back James Conner added 60 rushing yards. The Pittsburgh defense limited Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill to 50 passing yards and tailback Derrick Henry to 27 rushing yards. Tennessee had 83 yards of total offense.

If the Steelers can complete this win in impressive fashion, perhaps they — rather than the Baltimore Ravens or the Titans — should be regarded as the primary threat to unseat the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC.

By: Mark Maske

2:02 PM: Reminder: Seahawks-Cardinals game was moved to Sunday night

Russell Wilson standing next to a football ball: Russell Wilson moves into prime time Sunday night. (Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press) © Wilfredo Lee/AP Russell Wilson moves into prime time Sunday night. (Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press)

Because of coronavirus-related issues with the Raiders, the NFL shook up the late Sunday schedule last week.

The Raiders’ game against the Buccaneers was moved from “Sunday Night Football” to a late afternoon spot and the NFC West game between the Seahawks and Cardinals was moved from its original late afternoon spot into prime-time on NBC.

“These decisions were made out of an abundance of caution to ensure that a game would be available for fans on ‘Sunday Night Football,’” the NFL said in a written announcement. “We expect the Buccaneers-Raiders game to be played on Sunday afternoon. Scheduling decisions are made to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel and in consultation with medical experts.”

The Buccaneers-Raiders game in Las Vegas will be played at 4:05 p.m. Eastern time and will be televised by Fox.

Raiders offensive linemen Denzelle Good, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson and Kolton Miller are eligible to play against the Buccaneers after being activated from the covid-19 reserve list. They had five-day isolations after being identified as high-risk close contacts following a reported positive test by offensive tackle Trent Brown. Safety Johnathan Abram, who will miss Sunday’s game, was identified as a high-risk close contact and his five-day isolation runs through Sunday.

By: Mark Maske

1:32 PM: Odell Beckham Jr. out with an injury on a Baker Mayfield interception

a group of baseball players playing a football game: Odell Beckham Jr. was injured early in the Browns’ game against the Bengals. (Michael Conroy/Associated Press) © Michael Conroy/AP Odell Beckham Jr. was injured early in the Browns’ game against the Bengals. (Michael Conroy/Associated Press)

Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. limped off the field and headed for the locker room after hurting his knee while trying to bring down Darius Phillips, who had intercepted a Baker Mayfield pass.

The injury occurred early in the Browns game in Cincinnati and, on the same play, center J.C. Tretter also limped off. However, he was examined on the sideline and returned to the game on the Browns’ next possession.

Beckham was ruled out for the rest of the game.

The interception marked the second straight week in which Mayfield’s first pass of the game was intercepted and Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot reports that he suffered a cracked rib in the Oct. 11 game against the Colts.

Beckham appeared to be leaping and struck the shoulder of a Browns player as they converged on Phillips. It was his third career interception of Mayfield.

By: Cindy Boren

1:29 PM: Steelers get their first opening-drive touchdown in 24 games

The Pittsburgh Steelers scored an opening-drive touchdown for the first time in their past 24 games.

They lead at Tennessee, 7-0, in a matchup of 5-0 teams.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 10 of 12 passes on the 16-play drive that took more than nine minutes off the clock. One of Roethlisberger’s completions came on a flip of the ball as he just avoided a sack. He ended the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Diontae Johnson. The Steelers had an apparent touchdown earlier on the drive negated by a penalty.

By: Mark Maske

12:43 PM: NFL in touch with Giants about possible protocol violations by Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley

The NFL has been in contact with the New York Giants, according to a person familiar with the situation, as the team looks into a video reported to show quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley without masks at a Manhattan bar Friday night.

The players would face fines if it is established that there were violations of the sport’s coronavirus protocols, according to that person, who said the Giants could impose discipline if it’s warranted or the league could step in.

Jones and Barkley reportedly went to dinner with teammates and friends in a private room of a Manhattan restaurant, then were invited to a bar that is closed to the public. The video reportedly was taken there and posted to social media. Barkley is sidelined after suffering a season-ending knee injury.

The Giants played Thursday night, losing at Philadelphia. They don’t play again until Nov. 2 in a Monday night game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Meadowlands.

The NFL previously fined tight end Darren Waller and other Las Vegas Raiders players for being maskless at a charity event hosted by Waller, in violation of state health directives.

By: Mark Maske

12:16 PM: Le’Veon Bell set to make debut for Chiefs

a baseball player holding a bat on a field: Le'Veon Bell, left and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. (photos via the Associated Press) © Associated Press/Associated Press Le'Veon Bell, left and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. (photos via the Associated Press)

Running back Le’Veon Bell is slated to make his debut for the Kansas City Chiefs when they play at Denver in a late-afternoon game.

Bell is to complement rookie tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who is coming off a 161-yard rushing performance in a victory Monday over the Buffalo Bills.

The Chiefs signed Bell 10 days ago following his release by the New York Jets. Bell had to follow the NFL’s entry protocols for a player joining a new team, then practiced Wednesday for the first time with the Chiefs.

By: Mark Maske

11:58 AM: Patrick Mahomes, a ‘snow-game guy,’ will be tested in Denver

The forecast in Denver, where the Chiefs play the Broncos at 4:25 p.m. Eastern time on CBS, calls for a 68 percent chance of snow at kickoff and a temperature of 19 degrees.

Not that it matters to Patrick Mahomes, a self-proclaimed “snow-game guy.”

He has played in two snow games, one a playoff game against the Colts and the other last season against the Broncos in Kansas City. The Chiefs won both games and Mahomes completed a combined 54 of 75 passes for 618 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 19 yards and a TD.

“Boop,” indeed.

Mahomes also is a cold-weather guy because he’s 7-1 over his career (including the playoffs) when the game-time temperature is 32 degrees or colder. After last December’s game against the Broncos, he admitted that “being from Texas,” that was the most snow he’d ever seen and he pronounced it “awesome.”

“I don’t know why, but I kind of like it,” Mahomes said of playing in the snow. “Everything’s just super slow and I’m just out here, like, standing straight in the pocket.”

By: Cindy Boren

11:52 AM: Aaron Jones is on Packers’ inactive list

Running back Aaron Jones is on the Green Bay Packers’ inactive list for their game at Houston.

Jones suffered a calf injury during Thursday’s practice and sat out Friday’s practice. He had expressed confidence that he could play against the Texans but had said he would trust the recommendations of the team’s medical staff.

The Packers also are without left tackle David Bakhtiari, who’s on the inactive list because of a chest injury. The team had ruled him out Saturday.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers’s supporting cast on offense is depleted as he tries to rebound from his two-interception performance in last Sunday’s lopsided loss at Tampa.

By: Mark Maske

11:44 AM: Bucs have two games to play before Antonio Brown’s debuts on Nov. 8

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a one-year contract agreement in place with wide receiver Antonio Brown. But they still have two games to play before Brown is eligible to play in their Week 9 game on Nov. 8 against the New Orleans Saints in Tampa.

First, the Buccaneers face the Raiders today in Las Vegas, then play the New York Giants on “Monday Night Football” Nov. 2 in Week 8. After that, Brown’s eight-game suspension by the NFL expires.

He is believed to have traveled to the Tampa area Friday.

By: Mark Maske

11:33 AM: Happy Tight Ends Day! (The holiday you didn’t know you needed)

a baseball player holding a bat on a field: George Kittle says Tight Ends Day was the brainchild of Jimmy Garoppolo, but Kittle spikes better. (Tony Avelar/Associated Press) © Tony Avelar/AP George Kittle says Tight Ends Day was the brainchild of Jimmy Garoppolo, but Kittle spikes better. (Tony Avelar/Associated Press)

The holiday doesn’t show up on your phone’s calendar, but Happy Tight Ends Day!

It’s a new holiday — think of it as Festivus with less time devoted to the airing of grievances.

The idea originated on the West Coast during Week 2 in the 2018 season and credit goes to 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, according to tight end George Kittle.

“It was a conversation between Garrett Celek, Jimmy [Garoppolo] and myself,” Kittle said (via NBC Sports). “I’m pretty sure it was a day when all the tight ends were active. So Jimmy G was like, ‘What is it, National Tight Ends Day?’ We’re like, ‘Yeah, it’s a holiday, man. It’s National Tight Ends Day.’”

It would be nice if there were a better backstory, but in 2020, we’ll take what we can get, especially if it results in a “holiday.” The NFL certainly plans to roll with it. Tight ends across the league will be wearing mics and, as Kittle put it, they’ll be “scoring tuddys” across the league. There are even “Block. Release. Catch. Spike.” T-shirts.

“Garrett Celek had a touchdown on that day. It was our first National Niners Tight Ends Day,” Kittle said, “but in my opinion, every day is National Tight Ends Day.”

On the first Tight Ends Day, four 49ers tight ends caught passes in a 30-27 win over the Lions.

“I was trying to get George, Celek, all those guys fired up, declaring it National Tight Ends Day,” Garoppolo explained, “and now it’s a holiday, so congrats to those guys.”

By: Cindy Boren

11:25 AM: NFL fines Titans $350,000 for protocol violations

The NFL has fined the Tennessee Titans $350,000 for their violations of the sport’s coronavirus protocols, according to two people familiar with the case.

The Titans suffered the NFL’s first outbreak on a team, with 24 positive tests for the novel coronavirus among members of the organization. That included 13 players. Their facility was closed for 11 days and two of their games were rescheduled, one of which resulted in the NFL playing its second Tuesday game in 74 years.

A review by the league and the NFL Players Association concluded that the team violated protocols on mask-wearing and communicated insufficiently with players about off-site workouts and gatherings. The NFL previously ruled out any fines of individuals and more severe penalties for the team. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had warned teams that protocol violations resulting in changes to the schedule could result in game forfeits or the loss of draft picks.

The NFL and NFLPA currently are reviewing possible violations by the Las Vegas Raiders.

By: Mark Maske

11:08 AM: All 12 Sunday NFL games are a go, no new coronavirus issues

All 12 NFL games scheduled for Sunday are to be played after no additional coronavirus issues surfaced with the latest daily testing results.

For the NFL, it’s the second straight week with a mostly undisturbed schedule after two weeks with widespread reschedulings. The league did move the Raiders-Buccaneers game out of the Sunday night slot as a precaution because of last week’s issues with the Raiders. The game is to be played at 4:05 p.m. Eastern time.

Raiders offensive linemen Denzelle Good, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson and Kolton Miller are eligible to play against the Buccaneers after being activated from the covid-19 reserve list. They had five-day isolations after being identified as high-risk close contacts following a reported positive test by offensive tackle Trent Brown. Safety Johnathan Abram is to miss Sunday’s game. He was identified as a high-risk close contact and his five-day isolation runs through Sunday.

The New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills also had coronavirus-related issues in recent days but are set to play Sunday. The Saints and Panthers face one another in New Orleans, while the Bills play the New York Jets in the Meadowlands.

By: Mark Maske

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