NFL News and Notes Week 4

NFL News and Notes Week 4

Losman suffers knee injury
September 23rd, 2007

Foxboro, MA (Sports Network) - Buffalo Bills starting quarterback J.P. Losman suffered a sprained left knee in the opening quarter of Sunday's 38-7 loss at New England.

On the opening play, Losman was hurt when he was hit by Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork, who was whistled for a roughing-the-passer penalty. Two plays later, New England cornerback Ellis Hobbs sacked Losman, who fumbled on the second down play, and defensive lineman Jarvis Green recovered the fumble.

Trent Edwards replaced Losman on the second possession and led the Bills on an 80-yard touchdown drive. Losman was later diagnosed with a left knee sprain, and though he was spotted on the sidelines late in the contest, did not return to the game.

After the game, Bills coach Dick Jauron said the injury was pretty severe and it was a Grade 1 sprain, meaning Losman would probably be out two weeks.

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NFL today - September 24
ASSOCIATED PRESS
SCOREBOARD

Monday night, Sept. 24

Tennessee (1-1) at New Orleans (0-2). Titans QB Vince Young, last year's top offensive rookie, and Saints RB-KR Reggie Bush lend some excitement to the prime-time game.

STARS Passing

- Donovan McNabb, Eagles, threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns in a 56-21 victory over Detroit. He completed 18 consecutive passes at one point, and finished 21-for-26.

- Brett Favre, Packers, was 28-of-45 for 369 yards and three touchdowns, the last a 57-yard go-ahead score to Greg Jennings that helped Green Bay beat San Diego 31-24. It also tied him with Dan Marino for most TD passes in a career, 420.

- Tom Brady, Patriots, was 23-of-29 for 311 yards and four touchdowns as New England rolled past Buffalo 38-7.

- Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks, threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns, the last a 22-yard strike to Nate Burleson with 1 minute remaining to help Seattle beat Cincinnati 24-21.

- Jon Kitna, Lions, was 29-of-46 for a franchise-record 446 yards with two touchdowns in a 26-23 loss to Baltimore.

- Peyton Manning, Colts, was 20-of-29 for 273 yards and a TD in a 30-24 win at Houston.

- Joey Harrington, Falcons, completed 31 of 44 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns without an interception in a 27-20 loss to Carolina.
Rushing

- Brian Westbrook, Eagles, ran for 110 yards and two scores and caught five passes for 111 yards and another touchdown before leaving with a rib injury in a 56-21 win over the Lions.

- Earnest Graham, Buccaneers, entered the game in the fourth quarter and scored on runs of 8 and 28 yards. He finished with 75 yards on eight carries in a 24-3 win over St. Louis.

- Joseph Addai, Colts, ran for 72 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-24 victory over Houston.

- LaMont Jordan, Raiders, ran for 121 yards and a go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter of a 26-24 victory over Cleveland.

- DeShaun Foster, Panthers, ran for 122 yards and a TD in a 27-20 victory over Atlanta.

- Ronnie Brown, Dolphins, ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-28 loss to the Jets. He also caught six passes for 99 yards and a TD.
Receiving

- Kevin Curtis caught 11 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns in a 56-21 victory over Detroit. He came into the game with six catches for 81 yards the first two weeks.

- Randy Moss, Patriots, caught five passes for 115 yards and two TDs as New England pounded Buffalo 38-7.

- Donald Driver, Packers, caught six passes for 126 yards and a touchdown in a 31-24 win over San Diego. He passed Antonio Freeman for most catches at Lambeau Field with 214.

- Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals, combined to catch 21 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown in a 24-21 loss to Seattle.

- Roy Williams, Lions, had nine catches for 204 yards and a 91-yard touchdown in a 56-21 loss to Philadelphia.

- Anquan Boldin, Cardinals, had a career-high 14 catches for 181 yards in a 26-23 loss to Baltimore.
Special Teams

- Matt Stover, Ravens, kicked four field goals, the last a 46-yarder as time expired to beat Arizona 26-23.

- Leon Washington, Jets, returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score as New York won its first game, 31-28 over the Dolphins.

- Yamon Figurs, Ravens, returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown with 55 seconds left before halftime in a 26-23 win over Arizona.

- Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders, kicked four field goals after missing four the first two weeks, in a 26-24 win over Cleveland.

- Joshua Cribbs, Browns, returned a kick 99 yards for a score in a 26-24 loss to Oakland.
Defense

- The Patriots held Buffalo quarterbacks Trent Edwards and J.P. Losman to a combined 11-of-21 for 101 yards and an interception.

- Nick Barnett, Packers, intercepted Philip Rivers late in the fourth quarter and ran it back 38 yards to the San Diego 2 to set up a touchdown.

- Trent Cole, Eagles, had three sacks, five tackles and forced a fumble in their 56-21 victory over Detroit.

- Jared Allen, Chiefs, had eight tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in a 13-10 victory over Minnesota. It was Allen's first game after serving a two-game suspension.

- Sammy Knight, Jaguars, sealed a 23-14 win over Denver with a pick in the closing minutes.

MILESTONES

Brett Favre tied Dan Marino atop the all-time list with his 420th touchdown pass, a 57-yard strike to Greg Jennings with 2:03 remaining that gave Green Bay the lead against San Diego. He also won his NFL-record 150th game as a starter, and started his 240th straight game to tie for second on the all-time list. ... The Patriots' Randy Moss became the first receiver in NFL history to gain at least 100 yards receiving in each of his first three games with a new team. Overall, he has 11,040 yards receiving, making him the 19th player to top 11,000 yards. ... Matt Stover's four field goals moved the Baltimore kicker past Norm Johnson into fifth place on the career scoring list with 1,745 points. He has 416 career field goals, third most in NFL history. ... Colts receiver Marvin Harrison had 53 yards receiving to move into fourth place all-time with 13,920.

STREAKS

The Patriots have won their last eight games against the Bills and haven't lost at home to them since a 16-13 overtime defeat in 2000, Bill Belichick's first year as coach. ... The Vikings have lost their last five games on natural grass. ... The Chargers' Philip Rivers opened the game by tying a franchise record of 15 straight completions set by Dan Fouts in 1981. He finished 27-of-36 for 306 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-24 loss to the Packers. ... Pittsburgh extended its streak of not allowing a 100-yard runner to 27 games, dating to November 2005. ... The Raiders beat Cleveland 26-24 for their first victory since last Oct. 29 against Pittsburgh. They had lost 11 in a row.

STATS

The Eagles-Lions game marked the first time in NFL history that two players had 200-plus yards receiving in the same game (whether they were opponents or teammates). Philadelphia's Kevin Curtis had 221 yards and Detroit's Roy Williams had 204. ... The Eagles scored TDs on their first five possessions and had a franchise-record 42 points in the first half. Their 56 points were the most scored in a regular season game since a 56-17 victory at the Chicago Cardinals in 1953. They also had 58 against Detroit in 1 1995 playoff game.... Big days from Tom Brady and Randy Moss, combined with an injury-depleted and woefully inept Bills offense, resulted in New England outgaining Buffalo 485-193 in a 38-7 victory. The Patriots scored 35 unanswered points after falling behind 7-3, and have outscored their first three opponents 114-35. ... Jacksonville ran 21 offensive plays in the first quarter to Denver's three, and went on to a 23-14 victory. ... The Chiefs beat Minnesota 13-10 to avoid their second 0-3 start in 27 years. Since 1990, Kansas City is an NFL-best 103-34 at home.

SWINGS

Green Bay's win over San Diego was Brett Favre's 38th career fourth-quarter comeback. ... After missing last week with an injury, Chad Pennington led the Jets to their first win, 31-28 over Miami. ... Damon Huard led the Chiefs to their first victory since New Year's Eve, beating Minnesota 13-10. ... The Chargers' 31-24 loss to Green Bay dropped them to 1-2 under new coach Norv Turner. That's as many regular-season losses as San Diego had last season.

SLOPPY

Rex Grossman threw three interceptions, did not have a touchdown and was sacked three times in Chicago's 34-10 loss to Dallas. ... Indianapolis was forced to redo the opening kickoff after an offside penalty on the first attempt, and the Texans' Jerome Mathis took the second try back 84 yards for a touchdown. ... The Lions' Jon Kitna threw for 446 yards, but also tossed an interception and fumbled three times - losing two. ... The Rams' Marc Bulger was held to 116 yards passing and threw three interceptions in a 24-3 loss to Tampa Bay. ... The Patriots lost two challenges to officials' calls in a span of 4 seconds. ... After Seattle pulled ahead of Cincinnati 24-21 with 1:06 left, the Seahawks recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to prevent a comeback attempt.

SACKS

Philadelphia had nine sacks in a 56-21 victory over Detroit. Trent Cole had three, and Brodrick Bunkley and Juqua Thomas had two each. ... The Chiefs registered five sacks in a 13-10 win over the Vikings. Jared Allen and Tamba Hali had two each. ... The Giants' Mathias Kiwanuka had a pair of sacks, doubling the defense's output for the year, in a 24-17 win over Washington. ... The Browns' Kamerion Wimbley had two sacks and forced a fumble in a 26-24 loss to Oakland.

STUFFED

Redskins running back Ladell Betts was stopped at the goal line on third and fourth downs, the stand coming with 20 seconds to go and preserving the Giants' 24-17 victory. ... Minnesota held the Chiefs' Larry Johnson to 42 yards on 24 carries. He had 55 yards on 16 attempts in last week's loss at Chicago. ... The Packers held LaDainian Tomlinson to 62 yards on 22 carries. The reigning MVP came into Sunday's game averaging 1.9 yards per carry. ... The Colts held Houston to 40 yards rushing in a 30-24 victory. ... The Bills have gained only 600 yards all season, just 115 more than the Patriots piled up Sunday. ... The 49ers' Frank Gore had 39 yards on 14 carries against Pittsburgh. ... Travis Henry ran 11 times for 35 yards in the Broncos' 23-14 loss to Jacksonville.

SIDELINED

Houston defensive tackle Cedric Killings was taken off the field on a stretcher after a headfirst collision with Indianapolis receiver Roy Hall. The team said Killings sustained a neck injury, but had feeling in his extremities. ... Quarterback J.P. Losman left the Bills' 38-7 loss to the Patriots after one series with a sprained knee. The Bills also lost rookie linebacker Paul Posluszny to a broken left forearm and running back Josh Scobey to a knee injury. ... Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward bruised a leg bone and did not return to their 37-16 romp over San Francisco. ... Eagles running back Brian Westbrook bruised his ribs in Philadelphia's 56-21 win over Detroit. X-rays were negative. ... Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme left a 27-20 win over the Falcons with a right elbow injury. ... Daunte Culpepper took over for Josh McCown (sore left foot) at quarterback to start the second half in the Raiders' 26-24 win over the Browns.

SPEAKING

''I tried to hit it like Forrest Gump, man. I just hit it fast.'' - Jets returner Leon Washington after taking a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown in a 31-28 victory over Miami.

''Every time he takes the field, he's adding another log on the fire of such a brilliant career that will continue to burn, hopefully, for a while.'' - Packers coach Mike McCarthy on another record-setting day for quarterback Brett Favre.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Texans' McKinney done for season
September 24th, 2007

Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Houston Texans center Steve McKinney will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the team's 30-24 loss to Indianapolis on Sunday.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that McKinney will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the knee.

"This is the worst possible thing that could happen," McKinney told the newspaper. "Right when we've turned this thing around and we're starting to win, this happens. I can't tell you how bad this makes me feel."

The 32-year-old McKinney was signed as a free agent in 2002 after he played four seasons with the Colts.

He is expected to be replaced in the lineup by Mike Flanagan.

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Johnson unsure about status for Bears
September 24, 2007

Associated Press

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- Detroit Lions rookie receiver Calvin Johnson is unsure if a back injury will prevent his playing Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

Johnson, the No. 2 pick in April's draft, was injured during Detroit's 56-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles when he landed hard on his back while catching a pass.

"I went up for it and got spun around, and obviously, hit pretty hard," he said Monday. "I've never had anything like this, so I'm not sure what to expect. I'm getting treatment and we'll see what happens."

Lions coach Rod Marinelli said tests only showed bad bruising, and Johnson was moving very gingerly at the team's practice facility on Monday. Marinelli said he considers Johnson "day to day".

Johnson has 10 catches for 189 yards and two touchdowns in three games.

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Panthers' Delhomme has strained elbow
September 24th, 2007

Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme has a strained right elbow and is listed as day-to-day.

Delhomme was hurt during the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons and underwent an MRI exam on Monday.

"It won't require surgery," said Panthers head coach John Fox on Monday. "It's a rehab situation. It's day-to-day."

Delhomme was hurt when he completed a pass to fullback Brad Hoover, then grimaced after the release. He was not hit on the play, but came out with the game tied and the Panthers driving for a go-ahead score.

David Carr took over behind center and completed a third-down pass that led to DeShaun Foster's 10-yard touchdown run that gave the Panthers a 24-17 lead. Carolina went on to a 27-20 victory.

Delhomme completed 10-of-18 passes for 109 yards with a pair of touchdowns before leaving the contest. Carr hit on three of his four passes for 56 yards.

Fox did not say whether Delhomme would practice this week as the Panthers prepare for Sunday's game against Tampa Bay.

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Groin tear sends Rams' Jackson to bench
September 24, 2007

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson will miss at least one week with a partial tear of his left groin, an injury sustained in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 24-3 loss at Tampa Bay.

Rookie Brian Leonard, a second-round pick from Rutgers, will get his first start Sunday at Dallas. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson was hopeful Jackson would be out only one game.

"He's one of our best players, if not the best player," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. "As we tell our players, anytime someone gets injured the rest of us have to pick up the slack.

"We'll find a way to spread the ball around."

The 0-3 Rams learned they lost Jackson a day after guard Mark Setterstrom was lost for the season with a torn left knee ligament and cartilage damage. Setterstrom is the second lineman the Rams have lost this season, after seven-time Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Pace sustained a season-ending shoulder injury in the opener .

The Rams were in conservative mode against the Buccaneers, intent on protecting quarterback Marc Bulger. Olson disclosed Monday that Bulger was playing with two broken ribs, an injury likely sustained in the opener when he was sacked six times.

Bulger also played Sunday wearing a sleeve to protect a bruised knee.

"We wanted to keep Marc clean and keep him healthy and limit the shots he was taking," Olson said. "Your margin for error is small when you play it that way."

Coach Scott Linehan said Jackson, who had 115 yards on 30 carries, was hurt making a cut. He said Jackson stayed in the game for a while after being hurt but said it was "noticeable" that Jackson was injured.

Last year, Jackson led the NFL with 2,334 yards rushing and receiving. He had been held to 118 yards rushing and four catches for 39 yards the first two weeks, enjoying his first productive day of the year before being hurt.

Leonard made his first four carries of the season on Sunday, gaining 21 yards, and had one reception for 6 yards. He has six catches for 41 yards on the year.

The Rams gave Leonard a lot of playing time in the preseason while conserving Jackson for the regular season. Leonard expanded his duties to fullback after the Rams released Madison Hedgecock before the opener.

"We think he'll be capable of taking over that role in Steven's absence, hopefully for just a game," Olson said.

Setterstrom is the latest loss to a banged-up offensive line. Along with Pace, guard Richie Incognito is still out with a high ankle sprain sustained in the preseason.

Linehan said he thought Incognito would be questionable again this week.

Setterstrom rose through the ranks after being taken in the seventh-round of the 2006 draft, the 242nd overall selection. He was inactive the first nine games before cracking the lineup due to injuries, starting the final six weeks.

Setterstrom was carted off after he was hurt blocking on Jeff Wilkins' 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Linehan said an MRI exam revealed torn cartilage along with the torn ligament.

"He's a young guy and should be able to bounce back from this next season," Linehan said. "We'll be looking at some replacement possibilities in the next 24 to 48 hours."

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Leinart still starter, but Warner ready
September 24, 2007

Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Matt Leinart still is the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.

Kurt Warner will be still waiting in the wings as the team's "no-huddle" specialist after nearly leading the team to a comeback victory at Baltimore on Sunday.

"We're going to try to find ways to keep Kurt playing based on how he played yesterday," coach Ken Whisenhunt said on Monday. "But I don't feel like Matt has done anything to lose the job."

How Leinart feels about this unusual two-quarterback approach is a mystery. As reporters crowded around Warner in the locker room Monday, Leinart walked past with a towel over his head, grabbed the playbook out of his locker, and left.

Warner, the former Super Bowl and two-time league MVP in his 11th NFL season, was happy just to get an opportunity to get back on the field.

"It is a little bit weird," he said, "but at the same time to be in a backup role, for somebody to basically say "Here's an opportunity for you to play weekly,' that excites me."

The Cardinals trailed the Ravens 20-3 at the half and 23-6 after three quarters, but Warner threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Anquan Boldin, then Neil Rackers' 41-yard field goal tied it at 23-23 with 1:50 to play.

With the help of a questionable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Adrian Wilson, the Ravens drove downfield and Matt Stover kicked the winning 46-yard field goal as the game ended.

Whisenhunt, offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers for three seasons before coming to Arizona, said he had used the no-huddle approach before at Baltimore because it stifles the shifty Ravens' defense and combats the extreme crowd noise.

"It was something that we predetermined was going to happen about the second quarter just for a change of pace," Whisenhunt said. "During the course of game-planning for these guys, we felt Kurt was much more comfortable with it and would operate it more efficiently."

Warner completed 15-of-20 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Leinart was 9-for-20 for 53 yards.

Whisenhunt said it is unfair to compare the two because the offense Warner ran didn't allow the Ravens to do all the shifting they did when Leinart was in the game. Plus, the team played better with Warner, and Leinart had four of his passes dropped.

"To me as far as fairly evaluating the two guys, it's kind of like apples and oranges," the coach said. "I don't think you can."

Adding the no-huddle approach, with Warner at quarterback, gives future opponents more to prepare for, the coach said.

"It's not maybe the perfect scenario," Whisenhunt said, "but I think of out respect for Kurt and what he's done, and also as Matt's worked hard and done what we've asked him to do, that's the best approach for us right now."

Warner acknowledged the possibility of Leinart losing confidence.

"I think there's definitely a danger in that, but at the same time we've got to do what's going to be most successful for this football team," Warner said. "And Matt's going to be just fine. That's what he's got to understand."

Warner said he tried to explain to the young quarterback that it was the no-huddle package that led to Sunday's success, and that it is still Leinart's team.

"I hear the reports "Well Matt got benched.' That wasn't the case. Everybody's taking it wrong," Warner said. "That's the stuff you've got to stymie and let Matt know it isn't about that. "You're the guy. Continue to do what you do."'

When Leinart makes a mistake or two in front of the home crowd, the boos and calls for Warner are inevitable.

That brings a smile to Warner's face.

A year ago, in a 16-14 loss to St. Louis, Warner was booed off the field after throwing three interceptions and fumbling away a snap that cost an attempt at a game-winning field goal.

"Now here we are and they want me back in there," Warner said. "It's the business. People are fickle. "What have you done for me lately?' They always are ready on the bandwagon or off it based on what you did yesterday."

Leinart will be the starter as long as he keeps working hard and keeps improving, Whisenhunt said.

"If Matt does not play well and continues to not play well, then that's something you have to look at," Whisenhunt said. "What we've said, not just with the quarterback position but with this team, is if you're not playing well and somebody else is playing better, they're going to play.

"But that's not the case here. That's not what happened yesterday with Matt and Kurt."

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Bills place rookie LB Posluszny on IR
September 24, 2007

Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- Rookie linebacker Paul Posluszny's season is over, and quarterback Craig Nall is back with the team after signing a one-year contract on Monday, three weeks after Buffalo cut him.

Posluszny became the sixth Bills player -- and third defensive starter -- placed on injured reserve this season after the rookie second-round draft pick broke his left forearm in the second quarter of a 38-7 loss at New England on Sunday.

Posluszny, who had surgery Monday, was hurt making a tackle, getting his arm caught underneath Patriots running back Laurence Maroney. A two-time Bednarik Award winner as the best defensive player in the nation while at Penn State, Posluszny had a team-leading 23 tackles in Buffalo's first two games.

The Bills' linebacking corps is already depleted with starter Keith Ellison (high ankle sprain) expected to miss the next two games and Coy Wire (sprained knee) out indefinitely.

Nall's signing comes a day after starter J.P. Losman sprained his left knee in the first series against New England. Losman is expected to miss up to two weeks, and Buffalo needed a veteran to back up rookie third-round draft pick Trent Edwards, who is expected to make his first NFL start Sunday, when the Bills host the New York Jets.

Nall is familiar with the offense after he spent last season and all of training camp this summer with the team.

He's a five-year NFL veteran, who spent his first four seasons as a backup in Green Bay. The Bills signed him in spring 2006, believing he could challenge Losman for the starting job.

Nall's chances were sidetracked by a hamstring injury, and he spent last season as the team's third-stringer. Nall then lost the backup job to Edwards.

He's appeared in only six games, all as a backup, and gone 23-of-33 for 314 yards passing and four touchdowns.

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Injury roundup: Rams' Jackson out at least 1 week
September 24, 2007

Associated Press

St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson will miss at least one week with a partial tear of his left groin, an injury sustained in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 24-3 loss at Tampa Bay.

Rookie Brian Leonard, a second-round pick from Rutgers, will get his first start Sunday at Dallas. Coach Scott Linehan said Jackson would be week to week.

The winless Rams learned about Jackson a day after guard Mark Setterstrom was lost for the season with a torn left knee ligament and cartilage damage. Already out is seven-time Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Pace, who injured his shoulder in the opener.

Houston Texans defensive tackle Cedric Killings was able to stand in the hospital on Monday and doctors are confident he'll soon be walking, a day after he left the field on a stretcher after a headfirst collision with Indianapolis receiver Roy Hall.

Killings fractured his C-4 vertebra and was unable to move any of his limbs for a time on Sunday, said Dr. Rob Parrish, a neurosurgeon working with Killings. He has since gained movement in his arms and legs, though he's weak in both hands and his left arm.

Bills linebacker Paul Posluszny's season is over, after the second-round draft pick broke his left forearm in the second quarter of a 38-7 loss at New England on Sunday.

Posluszny, who had surgery Monday, was hurt when he was making a tackle and got his arm caught underneath Patriots running back Laurence Maroney.

The Bills linebacking corps is already depleted with starter Keith Ellison (high ankle sprain) expected to miss the next two games and Coy Wire (sprained knee) out indefinitely.

Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme will not need surgery on his injured right elbow after an MRI exam showed no serious damage. He is listed as day to day.

"What the doctors are telling me, it's a strained elbow," coach John Fox said.

David Carr led the Panthers on two scoring drives after Delhomme left in the third quarter of a 27-20 win over Atlanta, but Fox wouldn't say if Carr will take the majority of snaps in practice this week.

Fox also had no information on linebacker Dan Morgan, who suffered shoulder, hamstring and heel injuries. He was scheduled to undergo a series of tests later Monday.

Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick said Monday that he will be cautious with quarterback Steve McNair, who has been hampered by a strained groin and was relieved in the fourth quarter by Kyle Boller on Sunday.

Boller led Baltimore on the winning drive in a 26-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

"The one thing with Kyle is that the offense still goes," McNair said. "Guys go in, guys go out, the bottom line is that we get the job done."

The Philadelphia Eagles came out of Sunday's 56-21 victory over Detroit banged up, but for once Donovan McNabb isn't among the ailing.

Running back Brian Westbrook, who gained 221 yards from scrimmage and scored three times before leaving in the third quarter, has an abdominal strain. His availability for Sunday's game against the New York Giants will be determined later in the week.

"We'll know better in the next day or two," coach Andy Reid said. "He's pretty sore."

Reid said Westbrook wasn't hurt on a hit, but instead on a sharp move while running.

"It was kind of a freak thing," Reid said.

Philadelphia cornerback Lito Sheppard is still recovering from a knee injury and may miss his third straight game. Linebacker Stewart Bradley had surgery on his broken hand, while safety Brian Dawkins (stinger) and offensive tackle William Thomas (sprained knee) are also out.

Steelers receiver Hines Ward was walking without a limp Monday after bruising his knee in the third quarter of a 37-16 victory over San Francisco.

Ward was hurt when he took a helmet to the knee. He said an MRI exam showed no serious damage, but it is uncertain whether the four-time Pro Bowl receiver will play Sunday at Arizona.

Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander has a cracked bone in his left wrist, but will continue to play with a protective cast, coach Mike Holmgren said.

Alexander has been playing with a protective cast on his wrist since spraining it in the team's opener. Holmgren did not say when the bone was cracked, but said "extra pictures" of the wrist were taken after Alexander came out of Sunday's game against Cincinnati. Alexander rushed for 100 yards on 21 carries against the Bengals.

Lions rookie receiver Calvin Johnson is also unsure whether he will be available Sunday against the Chicago Bears, after landing hard on his back while catching a pass during Detroit's 56-21 loss to the Eagles.

"I went up for it and got spun around, and obviously, hit pretty hard," he said Monday. "I've never had anything like this, so I'm not sure what to expect. I'm getting treatment and we'll see what happens.'"'

Coach Rod Marinelli said tests only showed bad bruising, and Johnson was moving gingerly at the team's practice facility on Monday. Marinelli said he considers Johnson "day to day."

Three Denver Broncos went for MRI exams on Monday, including perennial Pro Bowl safety John Lynch and quarterback Jay Cutler.

Lynch left Denver's 23-14 loss to Jacksonville with a strained groin and did not return. Cutler has an MRI exam for what the team termed a "mild ankle sprain."

"They wouldn't be having MRIs if they didn't think it was serious," coach Mike Shanahan said.

Also headed for an MRI was special teams ace Paul Smith, who pinched a nerve in his neck.

Even Shanahan was sporting a bruised and puffy eye on Monday, joking that his wife let him have it after the Broncos failed to convert on fourth-and-5 with four minutes left.

"No, I'm allergic to cats, really. It swelled up last night," he relented. "Just so you guys don't think I'm just trying to be cool. That's a legitimate injury."

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Texans' tackle Killings has neck fracture
September 24, 2007

HOUSTON (AP) -Houston Texans defensive tackle Cedric Killings was able to stand in the hospital on Monday and doctors are confident he'll soon be walking.

Killings' progress came one day after he left the field on a stretcher after a headfirst collision with Indianapolis receiver Roy Hall.

Killings fractured his C-4 vertebra and was unable to move any of his limbs for a time on the field on Sunday, Dr. Rob Parrish, a neurosurgeon working with Killings, said. He has since gained movement in his arms and legs, though he's weak in both hands and his left arm.

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Niners TE Vernon Davis could miss 2 weeks with sprained knee ligament
September 24, 2007

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -Just when Vernon Davis finally became a key part of the San Francisco 49ers' offense, the tight end is headed back to the sideline.

Davis probably will miss the 49ers' next two games with a sprained ligament in his right knee after getting hurt during San Francisco's 37-16 loss at Pittsburgh. Last year's No. 6 overall draft pick caught four passes for 56 yards against the Steelers just a few days after asking coach Mike Nolan how he could be more involved in the Niners' struggling offense.

The athletic tight end appeared headed for a breakout season this summer after missing six games of his rookie campaign with a broken right leg. Instead, he has just eight catches for 83 yards - and now he's probably out through San Francisco's bye week in early October.

That didn't stop Davis from studying at the 49ers' training complex late Sunday night after the team's cross-country flight from its first loss of the season. Davis watched the entire game on film before heading to bed.

``If we lose a game, I'll come in here and see the things that went wrong,'' said Davis, whose broken leg last season was the first injury of his football life. ``I'll critique myself a little bit, especially. I'm in no rush to get home.''

Davis was hurt on a play that might have turned Sunday's game in the Steelers' favor in the third quarter. With the 49ers down by 11 points, Davis leaped to make a 22-yard catch at the Pittsburgh 10, but dropped the ball while hitting the ground on a hit by safety Troy Polamalu.

The Steelers claimed they recovered a fumble, while the 49ers were sure Davis had made a clean catch. The officials ruled an incomplete pass and infuriated 49ers coach Mike Nolan, who described it Monday as ``the turning point in the game.''

``(But) excuses are for losers,'' Nolan said. ``They make it OK to lose, and that's not why we're here.''

The 49ers asked the league for clarification of referee Gerry Austin's ruling on the play, but didn't get any response that made them feel better.

``The officials didn't cost us the game,'' Nolan said. ``However, in the NFL, coaches and players are held accountable to a very high standard ... and I believe that criticism makes us better. I'm suggesting we hold everyone accountable to the same standards, because it's not a job for everyone.''

San Francisco lost Davis on the play, and got just a field goal from the drive. The 49ers then quickly allowed 13 straight points, ending a fairly encouraging day in disappointing fashion.

Though the Niners figured they probably weren't as good as their 2-0 record suggested, they know they're better than the club that struggled through the final minutes in Pittsburgh.

``There's definitely some positives,'' said Alex Smith, who went 17-of-35 for 209 yards with a TD pass and an interception that was returned for a score. ``Decision making, playmaking, I felt better this week than I did the last couple.''

San Francisco's defense has been solid, allowing just one touchdown drive longer than 50 yards by the Steelers. The Niners' biggest concern is their inability to run the ball this season after Frank Gore racked up 1,695 yards last year behind a tough offensive line.

Gore has just 175 yards after three games, though his once-broken right hand appears to be fine following a routine postgame examination Sunday.

The Pro Bowl running back has the same blockers for the second straight season except for rookie right tackle Joe Staley, who replaced Kwame Harris. But defenses have exploited Smith and the mediocre receiving corps by stacking eight or nine defenders against the run, daring Smith to beat them with passes.

``I know we're really close on a lot of things,'' center Eric Heitmann said. ``When you watch film, we're really close to running the ball well. Guys are getting a lot of movement up front. We're seeing good things everywhere on the offense, and we're going to fix it. We know we're capable of running the ball.''

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Alexander to continue playing despite broken wrist
September 24th, 2007

Kirkland, WA (Sports Network) - Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander has a broken left wrist, but will continue to play.

Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren revealed the injury Monday, saying that pictures showed the "small crack" in the wrist.

"They don't think it's anything anymore serious than it was," Holmgren said. "It's small. He'll wear that cast for awhile. He's not going to take the cast off."

Alexander, the 2005 league MVP, has run for 275 yards and a pair of touchdowns through three games for the 2-1 Seahawks.

The former first-round pick rushed for 1,880 yards and a then-NFL record 28 touchdowns -- including 27 on the ground -- during his MVP campaign of 2005. However, a pesky broken foot limited his ability early in 2006 and eventually shut him down for six games. He did play the final seven games of the season, though, as Seattle finished 9-7 on the year and won the NFC West.

Alexander hurt his wrist in a victory over Tampa Bay in the season opener. The Seahawks play at San Francisco on Sunday.

"You watch him run, even watch him fall," Holmgren said. "He's a little reluctant. He's aware of it (cast) being there. He carries the ball and keeps it in his right hand. You're used to moving the ball to your left and all that kind of stuff. He's given great effort."

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Raiders' Culpepper may start vs. Fins
miamiherald.com

Although still early in the week, it's already beginning to look like a strong possibility that Raiders quarterback Daunte Culpepper might start Sunday against the Dolphins at Dolphin Stadium.

Culpepper, who was released by Miami after a tumultuous stint in South Florida, relieved Josh McCown on Sunday because of a sore foot. Now, McCown's status for this week is still in question, Raiders coach Lane Kiffin said.

The team also made several roster moves Monday, including activating rookie quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who was added strictly for insurance purposes. All of the personnel shifts made it clear McCown might be too injured for action.

Plus, the Raiders were pleased with Culpepper's first game action with the team as he went 8-for-14 for 118 yards while leading two scoring drives in the second half in a 26-24 win over Cleveland.

But just because this will naturally become one of the NFL's biggest story lines throughout the week, the Dolphins and Culpepper are already doing their best to downplay Culpepper's return.

''Nobody is pulling against Daunte Culpepper,'' coach Cam Cameron said. ``Obviously, this week is a little different, but we wished him well, and that has not changed.''

Cornerback/safety Travis Daniels, who will have the chance to defend against Culpepper, said this team's loyalty to the former quarterback no longer exists.

''We don't care about Daunte,'' Daniels said. ``We don't care about nobody on their team. We've got Trent [Green]. That's our quarterback. That's who we care about. That's who we ride with. We don't care if they have John Elway as their quarterback.

``What was in the past is in the past.''

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Two broken ribs slow down Bulger
News-Democrat

Concerns over quarterback Marc Bulger's health caused the St. Louis Rams to go ultraconservative against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Rams coach Scott Linehan disclosed Monday that Bulger has two broken ribs and a badly bruised knee.

Bulger threw three interceptions in the Rams' 24-3 loss to the Buccaneers.

"He was limited going into the game," Linehan said. "He has a couple of broken ribs, but he played with it. We're not going to say that's the reason he didn't have his best game of his career or anything like that. He will be much better this week; he got out of this game pretty healthy."

Linehan said the Rams' coaching staff considered going with backup quarterback Gus Frerotte against the Buccaneers.

"Of course, we have 100 percent confidence in Gus, but Marc played with it last year," Linehan said of Bulger, who also played with injured ribs last season. "I think this one's worse, but still a similar injury. My feeling was if he was able to practice pretty much Wednesday and Thursday without taking too many plays off then there was no question we were going to go (with him)."

Linehan said the Rams' top priority against the Buccaneers was protecting Bulger. That's why offensive coordinator Greg Olson had Bulger hand the ball off to running backs Steven Jackson and Brian Leonard 34 times. When Olson did call a pass play, it was mostly short, quick passes.

"If you're just wide open, slinging it around, and you feel you have the ability to hold up and protect the quarterback, possibly you can outscore people, but (Bulger) isn't going to make it to halftime if we do that in this game because he almost didn't make it out of the last game," Linehan said.

Linehan handed the play-calling duties to Olson after the Rams were shut out 15-0 by the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 19. Linehan gave Olson a vote of confidence for his play-calling this season, even though the Rams rank 25th in overall offense among the NFL's 32 teams.

The Rams have produced only 32 points this season. Only the Buffalo Bills with 24 points and the Kansas City Chiefs with 26 points have put up fewer points on the scoreboard.

"I stand by Greg," Linehan said. "Greg's done absolutely everything I've asked him to do and more since I've been here. It's a tough challenge for him, and to be honest with you, I have to help him more."

Olson said the Rams' margin for error was smaller after going to the conservative strategy on offense.

"We felt like we would be able to control the ball and run the football against them," Olson said. " We wanted to keep Marc clean and keep him healthy and limit the shots he was taking. Your margin for error is small when you play it that way. We had some opportunities, but we turned the ball over."

Olson agreed with the criticism that the Rams didn't utilize their stellar receiving corps -- Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Randy McMichael and Drew Bennett -- against the Buccaneers. Those four players combined for only 11 receptions, and with the longest reception going for 18 yards.

"It still comes down to making sure your quarterback is protected," Olson said. "We've got to find better ways to protect him and yet still be able to take the shots down the field without worrying about him getting hit."

Linehan said he didn't know whether the injuries affected Bulger's performance. Bulger's quarterback rating of 35.6 against the Buccaneers was the second lowest of his career.


"He would be the last person to say it did," Linehan said. "You just don't make excuses after you lose. You still have to do better, and if you can't do it, then it's my job to put someone in that is healthy enough. But, I felt that he was healthy enough to play this game."

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Deuce McAllister Likely Out for Season After Titans Crush Saints

Things can't get much worse for the Saints after last night's 31-14 loss to the Titans, can they?

It appears that they can. ESPN is reporting that running back Deuce McAllister tore the ACL in his left knee and will miss the rest of the season. Neither McAllister nor the Saints have confirmed the story, but McAllister told the Times-Picayune, "It's not good. I'll talk about it (today)."

McAllister knows something about ACL tears, having suffered a torn ACL in his right knee in 2005. Assuming that McAllister is out for the season, Reggie Bush will have to become a full-time running back, rather than the third-down back and slot receiver he's been so far.

The Saints, last year's feel-good story, are now 0-3 and without probably their second-most important offensive player. This is going to be a long season in New Orleans.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Steelers' Ward doubtful against Arizona
September 25th, 2007

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward is doubtful with a knee sprain for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Ward suffered the injury in the third quarter of Pittsburgh's victory over San Francisco last Sunday and has been using crutches as a precaution.

Ward, who could return to practice later in the week, has nine catches for 108 yards and a touchdown this season for the Steelers.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Report: Bears bench Grossman for Griese
FOXSports.com

The Chicago Bears have stuck with Rex Grossman through interceptions and losses, but it appears patience has run out with the inconsistent quarterback.
According to an NFL.com report, the Bears will start Brian Griese against the Lions on Sunday.

Grossman threw three interceptions as the Chicago Bears fell to the Dallas Cowboys 34-10 on Sunday night, and he did not get a vote of confidence from his coach a day later.

"Will Rex Grossman start Sunday?" coach Lovie Smith asked on Monday, repeating the question. "Well, our evaluation process is going on right now, and if you come out to practice Wednesday, you'll have a better idea of who will be starting at all positions."

Has Smith made a decision?

"I'm always thinking ahead," he said.

Smith gave his usual answer when asked Sunday night about Grossman - "Rex Grossman is our quarterback" - but his tone was different on Monday, fueling speculation Griese might start Sunday against Detroit.

Grossman's supporters would have a hard time arguing against the move, considering he ranks 23rd in the league with 500 yards, has a 45.2 rating and is 47-of-89 (52.8 percent) with a league-leading six interceptions and just one touchdown.

But is Griese the answer?

A Pro Bowl pick with Denver in 2000, he has passed for 16,564 yards, but has also been released three times - by the Broncos, Miami and Tampa Bay.

"I have confidence in our entire football team," Smith said. "Brian is a part of that. After you have a loss like that, we all feel bad. We should."

And Smith realizes something needs to change - quickly.

At 1-2, the Bears are certainly not living up to those soaring expectations after last season's Super Bowl appearance. Besides Grossman's struggles, injuries are mounting.

They lost former Pro Bowl safety Mike Brown and starting nose tackle Dusty Dvoracek to season-ending knee injuries in the opener at San Diego. And on Sunday, Bears were falling like dominoes.

Linebacker Lance Briggs (groin), cornerback Nathan Vasher (groin) and defensive tackle Tommie Harris (knee) all left the game with injuries. Offensive lineman Ruben Brown suffered what was announced as a game-ending ankle injury, although he returned near the end.

"All of these injuries we're evaluating right now," Smith said. "I can't give you anything else."

As for the evaluation at quarterback, Grossman's troubles are well-documented and they explain why the Bears let him enter this season with an expiring contract rather than an extension.

He was the NFC Offensive Player of the Month last September. Now, he may not be the starting quarterback when September ends.

There certainly is blame to pass around, but the focus is on the quarterback.

The Bears were hoping Grossman would play the way he did the first five weeks last season and ditch the inconsistency he showed the rest of the way.

Well, he is more consistent.

The problem is "Bad Rex" keeps lining up behind center, and that's bad news for the Bears.

Smith stuck with Grossman last season, but that leash appears to be growing shorter with each pass into double or triple coverage; there were a few of those on Sunday night.

Like the one that Anthony Henry picked off early in the fourth quarter.

Dallas' Nick Folk had just kicked a 44-yard field goal when Grossman tried to hit Muhsin Muhammad in triple coverage. Henry intercepted and ran it back 28 yards for a touchdown that made it 27-10 and put away the Bears.

Grossman didn't get much help.

"All the way around the whole offense, it was one of those days where it seemed like we'd get something going and it'd fall back, and we just couldn't get anything going," wide receiver Bernard Berrian said.

Cedric Benson managed 46 yards after running for 101 the previous week in a 20-10 victory over Kansas City.

A wide-open Berrian dropped what might have been a 35-yard touchdown pass. And Muhammad seemed to stop on a deep route over the middle on the first play of the second quarter, resulting in an interception for Henry.

Smith called it "bad timing between the quarterback and receiver."

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Bills sign CB Butler
September 25th, 2007

Orchard Park, NY (Sports Network) - Facing a shortage of able defensive backs, the Buffalo Bills signed veteran cornerback Jerametrius Butler Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

With cornerback Terrence McGee suffering from bruised ribs, and his status for Sunday's game against the New York Jets up in the air, the Bills added another defensive back to their roster. Entering his seventh season in the NFL, Butler spent his first six seasons with the St. Louis Rams, where he had nine interceptions.

To make room on the roster, the Bills released running back and special-teamer Josh Scobey.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Bengals sign RB Dorsey
September 25th, 2007

Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - The Cincinnati Bengals, unsure of starting running back Rudi Johnson's availability for Sunday's game with the New England Patriots, signed DeDe Dorsey on Tuesday.

Johnson is ailing from a hamstring injury that may limit his action on Sunday. Dorsey spent last season as a special teams contributor for the Indianapolis Colts. He was released by the Colts at the end of the preseason this year.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Saints CB David out 4-6 weeks
September 25, 2007

METAIRIE, La. (AP) -Saints starting cornerback Jason David will miss four to six weeks with a fractured left forearm.

Head coach Sean Payton said Tuesday he hasn't decided who will start in David's place when New Orleans returns to action at home against the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 7.

David got hurt during the Saints' 31-14 loss to Tennessee on Monday night, a costly game in which running back Deuce McAllister was lost for the season with torn left knee ligaments.

David's possible replacements include Jason Craft, rookie Usama Young and veteran Fred Thomas.

``All those guys will be in the mix,'' Payton said. ``The specifics of who will start, we'll decide later on.''

The Saints have a bye week now, which could help several players nursing minor injuries from Monday night come back without missing any games.

Starting linebacker Scott Fujita has a sore right ankle, starting left tackle Jammal Brown dislocated a finger and receiver David Patten has a sore calf, Payton said. All three to be back for the next game.

David, who was not available for comment Tuesday, signed a four-year contract worth about $15.6 million with the Saints as a restricted free agent following three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.

At times, David has shown the big-play skills the Saints thought they were getting. He forced a fumble and returned it for a touchdown in Week 1 against the Colts. He intercepted Vince Young on Monday night.

But he also has allowed several deep completions, a couple for touchdowns, and has said his adjustment to the Saints defensive schemes, which require a lot of man-to-man coverage, has been slower and more difficult than he had hoped.

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