NFL News and Notes Week 5

NFL News and Notes Week 5

NFL Today - Week 4
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD Monday night, Sept. 24

New England (3-0) at Cincinnati (1-2). The Patriots have looked invincible thus far and now face one of the NFL's most porous defenses.

STARS

Passing

- Brett Favre, Packers, threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns, the first a 16-yarder to Greg Jennings that moved him past Dan Marino for first on the career list. Green Bay beat Minnesota 23-16.

- Daunte Culpepper, Raiders, threw for two touchdowns and ran for three more in a 35-17 victory over the Dolphins.

- Tony Romo, Cowboys, was 21-of-33 for 339 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-7 victory over winless St. Louis. Romo also ran for a score.

- Trent Edwards, Bills, was 22-of-28 for 234 yards in place of injured starter J.P. Losman, and threw the deciding touchdown as Buffalo beat the Jets 17-14 for its first win.

- Peyton Manning, Colts, threw for 193 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in a 38-20 victory over Denver. Manning also ran for a touchdown.

Rushing

- Justin Fargas, Raiders, ran for a career-high 179 yards on 22 carries in place of injured LaMont Jordan during a 35-7 victory over Miami.

- Joseph Addai, Colts, rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown in a 38-20 win over Denver.

- Larry Johnson, Chiefs, carried 25 times for 123 yards in a 30-16 victory over San Diego. He'd gained only 140 yards on 50 carries, a 2.8-yard average, through the first three weeks.

- Edgerrin James, Cardinals, ran for 77 yards and a touchdown as Arizona hung on for a 21-14 victory over previously unbeaten Pittsburgh.

- Michael Pittman and Earnest Graham, Buccaneers, combined for 138 yards on 32 carries with a touchdown in place of injured Carnell ''Cadillac'' Williams in a 20-7 win over Carolina.

Receiving

- Patrick Crayton, Cowboys, caught seven passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-7 win over the Rams. Crayton had caught six passes for 78 yards through the first three weeks.

- Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs, caught eight passes for 164 yards and a touchdown in a 30-16 victory over San Diego. The first-round pick from LSU has 13 catches for 235 yards the past two weeks.

- Deion Branch, Seahawks, caught seven passes for 130 yards in a 23-3 win over the 49ers.

- Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals, caught 11 passes for 123 yards against Pittsburgh. He also recovered an onside kick with 1:49 remaining after the Steelers got within 21-14.

- Ike Hilliard, Buccaneers, caught seven passes for 114 yards in a 20-7 win over Carolina.

- Dallas Clark, Colts, caught six passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-20 victory over Denver.

Special Teams

- Steve Breaston, Cardinals, returned a punt 73 yards for a touchdown in a 21-14 win over Pittsburgh. It was the Cardinals' first punt return for a touchdown in 14 years.

- Morten Andersen, Falcons, kicked four field goals in a 26-16 victory over Houston. The 47-year-old came up short on a 42-yard attempt that appeared to be nicked.

- Jon Ryan, Packers, faked a punt and eluded several Vikings defenders to convert a fourth down during a 23-16 win over Minnesota. He also averaged 49 yards on his four punts.

- Shaun Rogers, Lions, blocked a 52-yard field goal attempt by the Bears, giving him an NFL-high 11 blocked kicks since 1991.

- Devin Hester, Bears, returned a kick 97 yards for a touchdown, his seventh kick or punt return for a score in one-plus seasons.

Defense

- Osi Umenyiora, Giants, had six of New York's NFL record-tying 12 sacks in a 16-3 victory over Philadelphia.

- Terrence McGee, Bills, intercepted Chad Pennington's pass at the Buffalo 31 with 6 seconds left, preserving a 17-14 victory over the Jets.

- Tyron Brackenridge, Chiefs, a rookie free agent, raced 50 yards for a score after Philip Rivers was sacked and fumbled in the fourth quarter of a 30-16 victory over San Diego.

- Adrian Wilson and Ralph Brown, Cardinals, each intercepted Ben Roethlisberger. Wilson's pick in the end zone prevented a touchdown, and Brown's clinched a 21-14 win over Pittsburgh.

- Marcus Trufant, Seahawks, had a pair of interceptions in a 23-3 victory over the 49ers.

- Jared DeVries, Lions, had five tackles and forced two fumbles in a 37-27 victory over Chicago.

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MILESTONES

The Packers' Brett Favre broke Dan Marino's record for career touchdown passes, hitting Greg Jennings with No. 421 in the first quarter of a 23-16 victory over the Vikings. Favre started his 241st consecutive game, moving him into second place on the all-time list, and broke another Marino record when he threw the 8,359th pass of his career. He finished the game with 422 TD throws. ... The Lions scored an NFL-record 34 points in the fourth quarter, and combined with Chicago for 48 points - also a league record. ... The Raiders' 299 yards rushing against Miami was their fourth highest since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, and highest since 1987. ... Denver kicker Jason Elam scored eight points to pass Jan Stenerud for eighth on the career scoring list. Elam has 1,702 points; Stenerud finished with 1,699. ... Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez caught the 62nd touchdown of his career, tying him with Shannon Sharpe on the all-time list at his position.

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STREAKS

The Colts have beaten Denver in five of the last seven meetings. They've won nine in a row overall, counting last year's playoff games, to tie a franchise record. ... Oakland had lost six games in a row to the Dolphins and beat them for the first time since 1996. ... For the first time since 1995, the Dolphins have allowed at least 30 points in three consecutive games. ... Atlanta's 26-16 victory over Houston was its first since last Dec. 10 at Tampa Bay. ... The Cowboys are 4-0 for the first time since 1995, the year of their last Super Bowl title. The Rams are 0-4 for the first time since 2002, the year after they lost in the Super Bowl. ... The Cardinals ended Willie Parker's string of four consecutive 100-yard rushing games, limiting the Pittsburgh running back to 37 yards on 18 carries. ... The Chiefs have not allowed a second-half touchdown this season.

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STATS

The Bills produced their most points, total yards (304), yards passing and first downs (19) of the season in a 17-14 victory over New York. ... The Dolphins had possession for a measly 24:53 as Oakland ground out a 35-17 victory. ... LaDainian Tomlinson had 116 yards rushing in the first half as San Diego went ahead of Kansas City 16-6. But he managed only 16 yards in the second half, when the Chiefs rallied for a 30-16 win. ... The Chargers are 1-3 after going 14-2 last season, dropping new coach Norv Turner's record to 59-85-1 in three NFL head coaching stints. ... The Panthers managed only 236 yards in a 20-7 loss to Tampa Bay.

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SWINGS

Chad Pennington was 32-of-39 for 290 yards, and was leading the Jets to a potential tying field goal when he was intercepted with 6 seconds left in a 17-14 loss to Buffalo. ... The Lions are 3-1 for the first time since 2004 after beating Chicago 37-27. ... The Falcons overturned two fourth-quarter calls with replay challenges. One of them took away a Houston touchdown, and one play later Kris Brown yanked a field goal attempt wide left. ... A year after going 4-12 and finishing last in its division, Tampa Bay is 3-1 after beating Carolina 20-7. ... Chicago and San Diego, who had the best records in their conferences last season, both are 1-3.

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SLOPPY

The Bears pulled within three of Detroit with 52 seconds left, but the onside kick bounced to the Lions' Casey FitzSimmons and he returned it for a TD to seal the win. ... St. Louis got its first interception of the year, but didn't get any points off it because Jeff Wilkins missed a 28-yard field goal. ... Ravens coach Brian Billick threw his red flag too late to challenge a Cleveland touchdown. TV replays appeared to show Jamal Lewis failed to cross the goal line. ... Trent Dilfer threw two picks and lost a fumble in place of injured Alex Smith as San Francisco lost 23-3 to Seattle.

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SACKS

Osi Umenyiora had six sacks, one shy of Derrick Thomas' NFL record, and the New York Giants finished with a record-tying 12 in a 16-3 win over Philadelphia. ... Julian Peterson had three of Seattle's six sacks in a 23-3 win over San Francisco. ... Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila had two of Green Bay's four sacks in a 23-16 win over Minnesota. ... The Chiefs' Derrick Johnson sacked Philip Rivers in the fourth quarter, and rookie Tyron Brackenridge returned the fumble 50 yards for the clinching touchdown in a 30-16 victory over the Chargers.

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SIDELINED

Alex Smith left the 49ers' 23-3 loss to the Seahawks in the first quarter with an injured right shoulder. ... Carnell Williams was carted off the field with a right knee injury in the first quarter of Tampa Bay's 20-7 win over Carolina. The Bucs also lost left tackle Luke Petitgout to a right knee injury. ... The Colts' Joseph Addai left in the third quarter of a 38-20 win over Denver with a shoulder injury. Safety Bob Sanders missed most of the second half with a rib injury, and receiver Marvin Harrison and linebacker Rob Morris each sustained knee injuries. ... LaMont Jordan left shortly before halftime of the Raiders' 35-17 win at Miami with a back injury. ... The Steelers lost Troy Polamalu (abdomen) and Casey Hampton (hamstring) in a 21-14 loss to Arizona.

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SPEAKING

''What's he going to guarantee next week? It's tough when you run your mouth.'' - Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp, after Miami linebacker Joey Porter failed to deliver on his guaranteed win.

''He cares about the record, but it's not the most important thing. He cares about winning.'' - Packers defensive end Aaron Kampman, after Brett Favre broke Dan Marino's record for career touchdown passes.

''I think the players owe the fans an apology. I would be as upset as they are if I had to sit in the stands for four quarters and look at that garbage. ... As a team collectively we have no heart. We have no energy. We have no drive.'' - Panthers defensive tackle Kris Jenkins after a 20-7 loss to Tampa Bay.

''They have a right to voice their opinion, just like everybody else. They showed their frustration with us, the way we've been playing. I can't say that I blame them.'' - LT, after fans booed at the en

d of the Chargers' 30-16 loss to Kansas City

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Colts take brunt of tough day for injuries in the NFL
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The Indianapolis Colts won with a few of their biggest playmakers on the sidelines.

Eight-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Marvin Harrison bruised a knee and running back Joseph Addai injured a shoulder during the Colts' 38-20 victory over Denver on Sunday, a big day for injuries among big-name players in the NFL.

Among those also injured were: San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith (separated shoulder), Tampa Bay running back Carnell ''Cadillac'' Williams (knee), Oakland running back LaMont Jordan (back), Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu (abdomen) and St. Louis wide receiver Isaac Bruce (hamstring).

At Indianapolis, Harrison was hurt when two players ran into him while he was blocking for Addai late in the first quarter. Harrison limped off the field, missed one play, then caught his first pass. He remained on the field for the final four plays of Indy's first touchdown drive. After coming off following the drive, he consulted with team doctors and went to the locker room.

Addai, who had 136 yards on 19 carries, didn't play after hurting his shoulder in the second half. He was replaced by Kenton Keith, who had 80 yards on 10 carries.

Colts linebacker Rob Morris, who missed the last two games with an abdominal strain, was carted off the field after injuring his left knee. Denver tight end Daniel Graham was blocking him on a running play when Morris crumpled to the ground, took off his helmet and put his hands on his face before being helped onto a golf cart and taken off the field.

Former Colts Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders missed most of the second half with a rib injury.

Denver was without receiver Javon Walker, who didn't play because of swelling in his right knee. Safeties John Lynch (groin) and Hamza Abdullah (hip), and running back Mike Bell (concussion) were also inactive.

At San Francisco, Smith was driven hard to the ground on a sack by Seattle's Rocky Bernard on the 49ers' first drive and didn't return.

''It's frustrating,'' Smith said. ''I came out here to win the game. I prepared all week and I couldn't be out there.''

Coach Mike Nolan said it was unlikely he would be able to play next week against Baltimore. Smith was expected to undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the degree if separation in the shoulder.

Smith was replaced by Trent Dilfer, who went 13-of-33 for 128 yards and two interceptions.

''It's hard,'' Dilfer said. ''It's like seeing your little brother go down. I feel badly for him. But at the same time, there's really no time for sympathy in this league.''

At Charlotte, N.C., Williams was carted off the field late in the first quarter after he took a hit from safety Chris Harris following an 18-yard gain. The blow forced Williams backward as his right leg bent under him awkwardly, and Williams immediately clutched the knee as he lay on the ground after the play.

''He will be missed,'' quarterback Jeff Garcia said. ''But like Coach said, we need to find a way to regroup and move on. He'll be with us in spirit and support. We'll be supporting him through this rehab process.''

Left tackle Luke Petitgout limped off early in the second quarter after defensive tackle Kris Jenkins fell into his leg at the line. He missed the rest of the game, and coach Jon Gruden said he didn't know the severity of the injuries.

At Miami, Jordan was hurt when he was tackled following a 7-yard reception shortly before halftime of Oakland's 35-17 win. He was helped off the field, then went to the locker room sitting up on a cart.

Bruce strained his left hamstring, and the Rams also lost linebacker Raonall Smith, defensive end Leonard Little and offensive guard Adam Goldberg to sprained knees in their 35-7 loss at Dallas.

Starting safety Corey Chavous left in the fourth quarter with a strained left pectoral muscle.

Arizona's Anquan Boldin (hip) and Pittsburgh's Hines Ward (knee) were inactive with injuries, and the Steelers lost defensive starters Troy Polamalu (abdomen) and Casey Hampton (hamstring) early in the third quarter of the Cardinals' 21-14 victory.

Philadelphia played the New York Giants without halfback Brian Westbrook, who was sidelined with a pulled abdominal muscle and did not practice this week. Offensive tackle William Thomas, cornerback Lito Sheppard and safety Brian Dawkins were also inactive.

Buffalo, ravaged by injuries this season, had three more in its 17-14 win over the New York Jets. Cornerback Ashton Youboty's status is uncertain after he twisted his ankle, linebacker Kevin Harrison limped off with an undisclosed knee injury and free safety Jim Leonhard injured a calf.

Other players injured Sunday included: Minnesota defensive end Ray Edwards (bruised hip); Green Bay defensive backs Nick Collins (knee) and Al Harris (hand); Carolina kick returner Nick Goings (concussion); and Chicago safety Kevin Payne (arm) and offensive lineman John Tait (ankle).

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Bucs RB Williams, OT Petitgout to have season-ending surgery
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Running back Carnell ''Cadillac'' Williams and tackle Luke Petitgout both will undergo season-ending knee surgery this week, a major setback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Williams injured his right knee when he was tackled by Carolina safety Chris Harris at the end of an 18-yard run during the first quarter of Sunday's 20-7 victory over the Panthers. Petitgout limped off the field after defensive tackle Kris Jenkins fell into his right leg in the second quarter.

''That's a big blow. ... We have some people who need to step up,'' coach Jon Gruden said Monday.

The Bucs (3-1) will use of a combination of Michael Pittman and Earnest Graham to replace Williams, the 2005 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and Tampa Bay's leading rusher the past two seasons. They finished Sunday with 138 of Tampa Bay's 189 yards rushing.

Petitgout, a ninth-year pro who spent the first eight seasons of his career with the New York Giants, was signed during the offseason to stabilize an offensive line featuring three starters in their first or second year in the NFL.

Donald Penn, a second-year pro, will take over Petitgout's spot at left tackle. The Buccaneers travel to Indianapolis in Week 5 to take on the Colts.

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Veteran receiver McCardell signs with Redskins
October 1, 2007

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -Keenan McCardell signed with the Washington Redskins on Monday, adding depth to a team with only one healthy wideout who has caught a pass this year.

McCardell has 861 career catches with Cleveland, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and San Diego. The two-time Pro Bowl selection was cut by the Chargers after last season and nearly signed with the Redskins in July, but opted instead for Houston because he wanted to play in his hometown. The Texans released him at the end of preseason.

McCardell, 37, has a Super Bowl ring from the Redskins. He was chosen by Washington in the 12th round of the 1991 draft and spent his rookie season on the injured reserve list while the Redskins won the NFL title.

Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El are the only Redskins wideouts with a catch after three games. Moss strained a groin in the loss to the New York Giants and his status is uncertain for this week's game against Detroit.

Brandon Lloyd, who began the season as the No. 3 receiver, has been getting little playing time. James Thrash is primarily a special teams player, and Reche Caldwell has yet to appear in a game after being signed following the season opener.

To make room for McCardell, the Redskins released safety Omar Stoutmire.

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RB Ricky Williams applies for reinstatement to NFL
October 1, 2007

MIAMI (AP) -Suspended running back Ricky Williams applied for NFL reinstatement Monday, his agent said.

``Ricky is extremely excited about the prospect of playing in the NFL again,'' Leigh Steinberg said.

Williams has played in only 12 NFL games since the start of the 2004 season, but rushed for 3,225 yards in 2002-03. His current suspension began in April 2006 after he violated the league's drug policy for the fourth time. He tested positive for marijuana this April, again delaying his return.

Williams remains under contract with Miami, where he won the NFL rushing title in 2002. But new coach Cam Cameron has not indicated whether he wants Williams to stay with the Dolphins, who fell to 0-4 Sunday.

The 1998 Heisman Trophy winner spent an extended vacation in Australia and India during a yearlong retirement in 2004. He played in the Canadian Football League in 2006 and taught yoga in California.

Williams' attorney did not immediately return phone messages Monday.

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Niners QB Alex Smith out for Sunday, but won't need surgery
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Quarterback Alex Smith will miss the San Francisco 49ers' game against Baltimore on Sunday, but won't need surgery on his separated right shoulder.

Coach Mike Nolan said Monday the 49ers won't set a target return date for Smith until Thursday, when the swelling subsides in his shoulder.

Though similar injuries sometimes require two to three months of recovery, Nolan expressed hope Smith might even return by Oct. 21, when the 49ers visit the New York Giants in their first game after a bye week.

Smith was hurt on the third play of the 49ers' 23-3 loss to Seattle on Sunday when 308-pound defensive tackle Rocky Bernard landed on him while sacking him.

Trent Dilfer, who got his first game action since 2005 in relief of Smith, will get the start against the Ravens, the team Dilfer led to its only Super Bowl victory.

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Rams' Jackson to miss another week
October 1st, 2007

St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson will miss his second straight game because of a partial tear of his groin.

Rams head coach Scott Linehan made the announcement at his Monday press conference, adding that Jackson's injury is improving.

Jackson suffered the injury in Week 3's 24-3 loss at Tampa Bay. He ended the game with a 115 yards on 30 carries, but was hurt after making a cut late in the game. He has rushed for 233 yards on 69 carries in three games this season

Linehan added at his press conference that the team was still awaiting MRI results on players who were injured in Sunday's 35-7 loss at Dallas. The most notable of the injured was wide receiver Isaac Bruce, who was initially diagnosed with a hamstring strain.

Also, defensive end Leonard Little is awaiting MRI results on his right knee.

In other news, Linehan said that he will continue to stick with Marc Bulger at quarterback despite the signal-caller's rib injury that he has played with most of the season.

"He (Bulger) was feeling better and had a much better week at practice last week," said Linehan. "I go back on past experience with the player and he played extremely well. We have to get him playing good again. That's a big part of what we have to do. He's getting healthier.

"We have to pick up the pieces. He's won a lot of games for us. He played extremely well for us last year and we haven't got him off and running yet this year. I take responsibility for that."

St. Louis is 0-4 this season and has scored just 39 points, which is the fewest among teams that have played four games this season.

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Dolphins DT Holliday out 1-2 weeks
October 1st, 2007

Davie, FL (Sports Network) - Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday is expected to be sidelined the next 1-to-2 weeks due to a fractured right ankle.

Holliday hurt the ankle in the first quarter of a 35-17 loss at home against Oakland on Sunday.

Dolphins coach Cam Cameron said linebacker Channing Crowder, who suffered a sprained ankle, will be evaluated on Wednesday to determine his playing status for Sunday's game at Houston.

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Seahawks' Pearman out for season, Wilson 1-2 weeks
October 1, 2007

Associated Press

KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -- Alvis Pearman, emerging as a valuable special teams player for the Seattle Seahawks, will miss the rest of this season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Pearman, a third-year player signed just before the season, will have surgery once the swelling goes down, coach Mike Holmgren said. Pearman was hurt in a pileup at the end of a special teams play during Sunday's 23-3 victory at San Francisco, which gave Seattle (3-1) early control of the NFC West.

He has played on kick coverage and returned three kickoffs this season.

"We are looking right now, as we speak, for someone to come in and replace him," Holmgren said. "Right now, he was kind of a unique guy and a very good special teams player. We'll see (about the impact).

"It's too bad. He was playing well."

Josh Wilson, the team's top draft choice in April who had three kickoff returns and was trying to break into the defensive secondary as a nickel back, will probably miss one-to-two weeks with an ankle injury.

Holmgren said he didn't know who would return kickoffs Sunday at Pittsburgh (3-1). Nate Burleson, who helped win the opening game against Tampa Bay with a 56-yard punt return, has also returned two kickoffs this season. Fellow wide receiver Ben Obomanu, who ran back a kickoff 22 yards against the 49ers, could also be a candidate.

Another special teamer, offensive lineman Ray Willis, will likely miss six weeks with a sprained knee. Holmgren said Willis, who was competing early in training camp for a starting job at right guard or right tackle, was blocking during a kick when someone hit him.

Running back Shaun Alexander is playing despite a cracked left wrist. The cast was smaller during the game at San Francisco, in which Alexander carried 25 times for 78 yards, but Holmgren said Alexander will continue to wear it indefinitely.

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Bears sticking with Griese
October 1, 2007

Associated Press

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -- Different quarterback, same result.

The Chicago Bears hoped Brian Griese would spark their offense. Instead, he was no better than Rex Grossman.

Griese's performance in Sunday's 37-27 loss at Detroit probably raised as many questions as it answered, but coach Lovie Smith clarified a few issues on Monday.

"Brian is our quarterback, yes," he said when asked if Griese will start the next game.

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Panthers notes | Morgan likely to miss Saints game
charlotte.com

Carolina Panthers linebacker Dan Morgan said Monday he has a partially torn Achilles tendon in his right heel, but he does not expect to be out long.

Morgan said the tear is small and he wasn't sure when he would be able to play again. He is expected to miss Sunday's game at New Orleans.

"I messed it up a little bit," Morgan said of the tendon. "I didn't tear it all the way, but I tore it a little bit. It's nothing that's season-threatening."

He was wearing a cast on the foot.

"I get it off sometime this week," he said. "After that I'm not sure (on recovery time)."

He injured the heel in the Atlanta game on Sept. 23, but said he has had some inflammation in the area since training camp.

"I never experienced any Achilles' (problems), so I wasn't sure what it was, but I felt something," he said.

Carr takes blame for stalled offense

Quarterback David Carr, who started in place of injured Jake Delhomme in Sunday's 20-7 loss to Tampa Bay, said the team's passing struggles were his fault."It'll be better next week; I know that," he said Monday. Carr was 19-for-41 for 155 yards.

"That was one of the worst games I've played in a while," he said. "I didn't feel like I was comfortable back there; I never really got in synch. I blame myself."

The biggest problem?

"Just consistency, man," he said. "We've just got to somehow get a little brainwave going between me and some of the wideouts. And that's just going to take time."

"It's more me. I've just got to get a feeling for what (receiver Steve Smith is) doing, because he's the best receiver in the NFL. And we've just got to find a way to get him the ball."

Peppers not slowed by illness, Fox says

Coach John Fox was asked if the illness Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers experienced in training camp might be responsible for what is perceived by many as a slow start. Peppers has no sacks through four games.

"Not to my knowledge," Fox said.

Had that illness reduced Peppers' strength at all?

"You'd have to ask him that," Fox said. "His weight is not way down from what it was."

Peppers was briefly in the locker room Monday, but declined to talk, saying he had to get to a meeting.

Note


Running back Nick Goings suffered a concussion Sunday.

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Bengals put LB Marshall on IR
October 2, 2007

CINCINNATI (AP) -The Bengals placed linebacker Lemar Marshall on injured reserve Tuesday, a day after he tore the Achilles' tendon in his left leg during a 34-13 loss to New England.

The Bengals replaced him by claiming linebacker Corey Mays off waivers from New England. The second-year player appeared in eight games for the Patriots last season, and was placed on waivers before Monday night's game.

Marshall's injury left the Bengals decimated at linebacker. Middle linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Caleb Miller were inactive because of injuries, and linebacker Landon Johnson also sustained an eye injury during the game.

At times, the Bengals had only one linebacker on the field.

The Bengals (1-3) are in their bye week, giving them time to heal before a game at Kansas City.

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Steelers expect Polamalu, Hampton to play vs. Seattle
October 2, 2007

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and nose tackle Casey Hampton, forced out of the Arizona game with injuries, are expected to play Sunday against Seattle.

"All indications are that they will be fine," coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday.

The Steelers aren't as certain about four-time Pro Bowl receiver Hines Ward, who missed only his fourth game in 10 seasons Sunday because of a sprained knee. He will begin the practice work week Wednesday listed as day to day.

"He had a good day of rehab," Tomlin said. "I spoke with him and he feels good. We will take it day to day and see where he is. We'll do what's smart in that area, but that decision will be determined later in the week."

While Polamalu and Hampton couldn't finish the Steelers' 21-14 loss to the Cardinals, Tomlin did not initially list them when he reviewed the team's injuries at his weekly news conference.

"We expect these guys to be OK," Tomlin said.

Also expected back is rookie tight end Matt Spaeth, who has missed two games with a bruised quadriceps after catching a touchdown pass in each of the Steelers' first two games.

However, the Steelers will go against the Seahawks (3-1) without cornerback Bryant McFadden, who has a severely sprained ankle that could sideline him a month.

McFadden, the primary backup to starters Deshea Townsend and Ike Taylor, will be replaced in extra-back alignments by rookie William Gay or fourth-year defensive back Ricardo Colclough.

The injuries to Polamalu and Hampton left the Steelers (3-1) without two Pro Bowl defensive players during what became their first loss of the season, with Arizona rallying from a 7-0 deficit by scoring 21 consecutive points.

Polamalu strained an abdominal muscle while recovering a fumble in the second quarter and Hampton injured a hamstring.

Ben Roethlisberger also bruised his foot when someone stepped on it, but Tomlin said it "no big deal" although the quarterback may not go through a full practice Wednesday.

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Feeling the Payne: Bears place safety on IR
October 2nd, 2007

Lake Forest, IL (Sports Network) - The Chicago Bears placed safety Kevin Payne on injured reserve Tuesday with an arm injury.

Payne, a fifth-round pick in this year's draft out of Louisiana-Monroe, played in three games this season and started Sunday against Detroit. He totaled six defensive tackles and two special teams tackles.

To fill his spot on the roster, the Bears elevated safety Josh Gattis to the active roster from the practice squad.

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Eagles guard Herremans has arthroscopic surgery on left knee
October 2, 2007

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Philadelphia Eagles starting left guard Todd Herremans had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Tuesday.

The procedure was performed by Dr. Peter DeLuca, and the Eagles (1-3) said a timetable for Herremans' return will be decided next week.

Herremans, a fourth-round draft pick out of Saginaw Valley State in 2005, has started 22 consecutive games.

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Ferringo Examines Early Line Moves
by Robert Ferringo

It's time once again for that weekly waltz that occurs between our friends over at the Las Vegas Sports Consultants and the sharp gamblers that pry apart the early college football spreads. Essentially, the LVSC recommends the lines to their clients, the sportsbooks, each week and the books respond by posting a suitable opening number. The sharps then come along like ravenous wolves encircling a wounded animal, ready to pounce on any number that they feel displays weakness or vulnerability. The result is an early week steam move on those seemingly weak lines, and that helps set the number that a majority of bettors in the general public will then have to wager on.

Just as there is a science and an art to setting the lines, it also requires a certain amount of skill to be able to red these opening line movements. Like stockbrokers, handicappers and bettors can learn a lot about a game by the way the early line moves break. So while I am no J.P. Morgan, I am here to try to shed some light on some of the college football games with the most significant variance from the time of the spreads' release on Sunday to the open wagering on Monday morning.

Over the past two weeks the strongest initial college line movements have only precluded a win against the spread for the team getting heavy early action in four of 13 instances. Either the sharp money is getting a bit dull or the books are intent to short worthy favorites. To this point, sharp action has gone 14-14 against the spread in college movements and 12-7 ATS in the NFL movements. That's 26-21 ATS (55.3 percent) overall. Here are some of the most noticeable and significant early steam movements in both the college and pro football opening lines:

PRO FOOTBALL

Miami at Houston (1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7)

Open: Houston -4.5.
Current: Houston -5.5.

I didn't think that the LVSC came up short on the Texans, but apparently the public disagrees. The Dolphins are a mess and it's pretty clear that Trent Green was done about four years ago. However, if this number touches six, which I believe it will, I really think that the value shifts back to Miami. File it under "Least Likely Things To Happen This Week", and given that dogs have been covering and winning outright at a torrid pace to start the season I think that's exactly why it could be a worthy play.

Seattle at Pittsburgh (1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7)

Open: 42.0.
Current: 39.0.

The Seahawks are just 1-3 against the total and have seen an average of just 35 total points in its opening four games. Pittsburgh has also stayed 'under' in two of its last three games with an average of just 39.5 points in its opening four games. Both clubs are in the top five in scoring defense, with only a combined 25 points allowed per game. Other than that, I don't know why the total is trailing downward. That being said, the Steelers are a spectacular 12-3-2 against the total in their last 17 home games.

Chicago at Green Bay (8 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7)
Open: Green Bay -4.0.
Current: Green Bay -3.5.

Sharp action on the Bears? Hey, it's been that type of season. The Packers are 4-0 ATS while the Bears are 0-4. Clearly the early bettors are anticipating a reversal of both trends. Chicago is in complete Desperation Mode while the Pack is flying high. If healthy, Chicago's defense is strong enough to keep this one within a field goal and if Brian Griese can avoid the inexplicable mistakes he made last week I think they could win outright.

docsports.com

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 5

Portis's Injury Is Sprained Knee, Not Tendinitis

By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 3, 2007; E05

The Washington Redskins yesterday clarified Coach Joe Gibbs's comments about the knee injury suffered by running back Clinton Portis during the team's loss to the New York Giants, saying Gibbs misspoke when he described it as being a recurrence of the condition that sidelined Portis almost all of the offseason and preseason.

Gibbs on Monday said Portis had experienced another bout of tendinitis in his right knee, prompting Portis to sit out the first practice after the Redskins returned from a bye week. Portis, however, bruised and sprained his right knee (a Grade 1 injury, the least severe sprain) in the 24-17 loss Sept. 23 at FedEx Field.

Bubba Tyer, director of sports medicine, shouldered responsibility for the confusion, explaining he had not updated Gibbs about Portis's status before Gibbs met with reporters after practice.

"I didn't tell the coach. I didn't clarify it before he talked," Tyer said. "He just assumed that it was tendinitis and the same thing. It was my fault that he didn't get the correct word out."

Gibbs did not say when Portis's injury occurred, but the Redskins "knew from the first quarter he had landed on his knee," Tyer said. Portis, who declined comment at Redskins Park, said on "The John Thompson Show" that he was injured in the second quarter. He was on the sideline for Washington's last two offensive plays of the game with the team trailing 24-17 and the ball on the Giants 1-yard line.

On third down, Ladell Betts ran left and was stopped for no gain. On fourth down, Betts ran left for a two-yard loss. Gibbs has described Portis and Betts as being "interchangeable," and Portis's injury was not a factor in determining which running back was on the field for the last offensive plays, Tyer said.

"A guy comes over [to the sideline] and we're looking at an injury, we make a decision, 'Should he be in there?' That was never discussed with Clinton," Tyer said. "There was never any discussion about holding him out."

Portis leads the team in rushing with 48 carries for 227 yards -- a 4.7-yard average per carry -- and three touchdowns. Betts has only 82 yards in 30 carries -- a 2.7-yard average -- without a touchdown.

On Thompson's radio show, Portis said he received treatment all week, is wearing a sleeve on his leg to reduce swelling and expects to play Sunday. Tyer also was optimistic Portis would be able to play against Detroit.

"Our hopes are that he'll be ready to play on Sunday," Tyer said. "We think he will be."

The Lions are 29th in total defense and 17th against the run. After rushing for 191 yards in a victory over Miami and 130 in a victory at Philadelphia, the Redskins had only 82 yards on 27 carries against the Giants, including 17 yards on 10 rushes in the second half. Portis had four carries for 15 yards after halftime.

"We're definitely a running team, and he's a big part of what we do," quarterback Jason Campbell said of Portis. "You want him out there, but you want to make sure he's healthy. It's a long season."

If Portis sits out against the Lions, the Redskins would rely more on Betts, who has not yet found his rhythm after rushing for a career-high 1,154 yards last season.

"No matter who's in there, whether it's Clinton or me, we're ready whenever the coaches call our number," Betts said. "As a running back, you want to carry the ball all the time, but you know that's not going to happen. You just have to keep making the most of your opportunities."

Redskins Notes: Wide receiver Santana Moss has not tested his injured groin by running on land, but he has run in a water tank while team medical personnel evaluate him. "He's doing better," Tyer said. "He's trying to get as much rest [by not participating in drills] and we're exercising him. . . . He feels fine doing that. We're taking him day-to- day and will do more tomorrow." . . . Safety Sean Taylor (bruised knee) is expected to participate in full drills this week. . . . Cornerback Fred Smoot (hamstring) may be limited in practice, but is expected to play after sitting out the last two games.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 5

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Niners QB Alex Smith out for Sunday, but won't need surgery
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Quarterback Alex Smith will miss the San Francisco 49ers' game against Baltimore on Sunday, but won't need surgery on his separated right shoulder.

Coach Mike Nolan said Monday the 49ers won't set a target return date for Smith until Thursday, when the swelling subsides in his shoulder.

Though similar injuries sometimes require two to three months of recovery, Nolan expressed hope Smith might even return by Oct. 21, when the 49ers visit the New York Giants in their first game after a bye week.

Smith was hurt on the third play of the 49ers' 23-3 loss to Seattle on Sunday when 308-pound defensive tackle Rocky Bernard landed on him while sacking him.

Trent Dilfer, who got his first game action since 2005 in relief of Smith, will get the start against the Ravens, the team Dilfer led to its only Super Bowl victory.

49ers:  Smith's season in jeopardy

Alex Smith is seeking a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews after preliminary MRI results indicated he appears to have suffered a serious injury to tendons in his right shoulder in Sunday's game, a team source told ESPN.com. If the diagnosis performed at Stanford is confirmed by Andrews, the source said that it is expected Smith would opt to have corrective surgery immediately even though he would likely miss the rest of the season.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 5

Rams bench Bulger for Frerotte
Associated Press

St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger, who has been playing with two broken ribs, will be replaced by backup Gus Frerotte for Sunday's home game against Arizona.
"Bulger is hurt, and Frerotte is the quarterback until Bulger's ribs heal," Rams spokesman Rick Smith said.

Coach Scott Linehan told both quarterbacks Tuesday.

The 36-year-old Frerotte started 15 games in 2005 for Miami, where Linehan was the offensive coordinator at the time. Bulger will be Frerotte's backup against the Cardinals (2-2) on Sunday.

"If he has to, he will play," Smith said.

It's unclear how long it will take Bulger to heal after injuring the ribs in the season-opening loss to Carolina.

Bulger, who signed a six-year, $65 million contract extension in training camp, has been playing behind a patchwork offensive line decimated by injuries. Left tackle Orlando Pace and guard Mark Setterstrom are out all season with injuries, and guard Richie Incognito has yet to play because of a high ankle sprain.

A two-time Pro Bowl player, Bulger has been ineffective most of the season, part of the reason the Rams are 0-4. In a 35-7 loss Sunday at Dallas, Bulger was 11-of-24 for 114 yards and an interception. St. Louis' lone score came on a punt return. In fact, the Rams haven't scored an offensive touchdown since Week 2.

The change at quarterback came after Linehan had said Sunday and Monday that Bulger gave the Rams the best chance to win.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 5

Cards WR Boldin questionable
October 3rd, 2007

Tempe, AZ (Sports Network) - Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin did not participate in team practice on Wednesday and is questionable for Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams.

Boldin missed last Sunday's 21-14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers due to a sprained hip suffered in the Cardinals' 26-23 loss to Baltimore on September 23.

In three games this season, the Florida State product has 22 catches for 286 yards and three touchdowns.

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