The Los Angeles Chargers jumped out to a huge lead against the Cleveland Browns in the first half on Sunday, and they got some serious help from the officials on one of their scoring plays.
With less than a minute remaining in the second quarter, Philip Rivers threw a beautiful 29-yard touchdown pass that Tyrell Williams made a great play on. However, the play should have been whistled dead, as offensive lineman Russell Okung clearly jumped before the ball was snapped.
This somehow wasn’t a false start on what turned out to be a Chargers TD pic.twitter.com/C96wyxXZxR
— Adam Stites (@AdamStites_) October 14, 2018
The officials inexplicably missed that Okung got out of his stance early, and the play was not reviewable. To make matters worse, the missed call occurred on third down. Rather than being faced with 3rd-and-12, the Chargers scored a touchdown that never should have counted.
We’ve grown accustomed to seeing officials blow calls on plays like this, but it’s rare that a team gets away with a false start. The Browns will have every right to be furious about that.
- Los Angeles Chargers
JuJu Smith-Schuster wasn’t put off by the cornerback in front of him when making an enormous catch against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
The Pittsburgh Steelers receiver managed to reach around Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard and make a ridiculous catch to bring his team to the brink of the goal line.
— NFL (@NFL) October 14, 2018
It even looked like Dennard had the interception for a moment, but it was not to be. The only bad news for Smith-Schuster was the fact that he was ruled down at the one-yard line due to his helmet touching the ground just short of the end zone. Steelers running back James Conner immediately punched it in on the very next play.
Maybe, after a catch like that, Smith-Schuster will have something else to say about his Madden rating.
- Juju Smith-Schuster
It took the Carolina Panthers almost an entire half to get on the board against the Washington Redskins on Sunday, but their first scoring play was one of the best you will see this week.
Cam Newton can thank wide receiver Devin Funchess for his touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter, as Funchess turned in a Randy Moss-style play by reaching over the defender and snatching the ball away.
Devin Funchess with a man catch for the tocuhdownpic.twitter.com/zRLy17QFs7
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) October 14, 2018
Here’s another angle of the awesome grab:
Devin Funchess with a filthy TD grab over Dunbar pic.twitter.com/7LrRnaEA6G
— Panthers 24/7 (@Panthers24_7) October 14, 2018
Quinton Dunbar failed to make the play, but you have to tip your cap when something like that happens. That was a grown man touchdown from Funchess.
- Devin Funchess
After a tumultuous offseason and an even more tumultuous week, Jimmy Butler is set to start the season right where he left it last year.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Butler is expected to play in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ season opener on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs, as trade talks with the Miami Heat have fallen apart and not been resuscitated.
Minnesota's Jimmy Butler practiced again Sunday and is expected to play in season opener in San Antonio on Wednesday. Heat/Timberwolves talks have been dead, for now, league sources said.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 14, 2018
This promises to be a very awkward affair. Butler went off at a team practice last week and has made no secret of the fact that he wants to be traded, but the Timberwolves just haven’t found a deal for him that they’re satisfied with. That means he won’t get his wish ahead of the season, but he doesn’t appear likely to sit out.
- Filed Under:
- Jimmy Butler
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper left Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks in the first half after taking a huge hit over the middle of the field.
Cooper was trying to corral a low pass from Derek Carr when Seattle Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald threw a ferocious hit on him. There was contact to the head and neck area, but surprisingly no flag was thrown.
This should have been a flag pic.twitter.com/jImj5CCi9P
— Ben Baldwin (@benbbaldwin) October 14, 2018
The team announced that Cooper was being evaluated for a concussion:
Raiders WR Amari Cooper officially under evaluation for possible concussion, team says.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) October 14, 2018
That should have been a penalty, and hopefully the injury to Cooper is not serious.
- Amari Cooper
The Houston Astros were pleasantly surprised to find Chris Sale’s velocity down a few ticks in Game 1 of the ALCS, and they took advantage of the Boston Red Sox ace’s issues.
The Astros got Sale out of the game after just four innings in a 7-2 win on Saturday, and outfielder Josh Reddick certainly noticed the difference in Sale’s velocity, which topped out around 93-94 MPH instead of his usual upper-90s.
Josh Reddick on Chris Sale: "It’s just a lot easier when he’s throwing 92-93 as opposed to 97. It’s not a comfortable at-bat but he’s finding ways to get outs. Anytime he’s not 100 percent you feel like you have an advantage."
— Jason Mastrodonato (@JMastrodonato) October 14, 2018
The Astros did get just one hit off Sale and struck out five times, but with four walks, his control wasn’t where it usually was. There were no issues in his ALDS start, but this time, he just didn’t look comfortable.
- Filed Under:
Latavius Murray was once again the starting running back for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday with Dalvin Cook out, and the veteran proved he is still capable of making big plays early on in the game.
Murray helped the Vikings jump out to an early lead with a 21-yard touchdown, and the most impressive part of the run was the vicious stiff-arm he threw on Arizona Cardinals defensive back Antoine Bethea.
Latavius Murray is pillaging the Cardinals defense right now. pic.twitter.com/42Qr1T0LSN
— Roto Street Journal (@RotoStJournal) October 14, 2018
While nothing will come close to the stiff-arm we saw in the Steelers-Bucs game earlier this season, that was an impressive display of strength from Murray.
- Latavius Murray
The early part of the NFL season has been filled with penalties for roughing the passer, but Chicago Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd reminded us on Sunday that quarterbacks aren’t the only players officials have placed a greater emphasis on protecting.
Early in the first quarter of his team’s game against the Miami Dolphins, Floyd busted out a WWE-style bodyslam while trying to stop Danny Amendola short of the first down marker. He was flagged for unnecessary roughness.
Leonard Floyd really hit Danny Amendola with a WWE pumphandle slam in a football gamepic.twitter.com/KiRwrXpRwu
— Donovan Mitchell Trubisky (@ThePTEShow) October 14, 2018
The flag got the Dolphins deeper into the red zone, and they eventually scored a touchdown.
We have heard plenty of complaints from players about roughing the passer flags this season, but what Floyd did is going to be a penalty every time.
Kirk Cousins has only been with the Minnesota Vikings for five regular season games, but it seems obvious that the star quarterback has quickly emerged as the unquestioned leader of the team.
Prior to Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, Cousins gave a fiery speech to his teammates. He wasn’t just talking to offensive players, either, as he urged Minnesota’s defense to “suffocate” rookie quarterback Josh Rosen.
"When I shoot, I score. When you shoot, I score."
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 14, 2018
If that doesn’t make you want to run through a brick wall, nothing will. We’ve seen NFL quarterbacks get ruthlessly mocked for pregame speeches in the past, but we doubt anyone is going to taunt Cousins over that.
- Kirk Cousins
The Denver Broncos and their fans have grown accustomed to football games in cold, snowy weather, but that typically is not a factor until the halfway point in the season or later. Mother Nature has different plans this year.
Hours before kickoff of the Broncos’ game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, snow was falling at an impressive rate at Mile High.
FOOTBALL WEATHER!? Check out Broncos Stadium at Mile High in #Denver. It's SNOWING. Should be an interesting one between the @Broncos and @RamsNFL. Game is at 4:05 p.m. (via Lindsey Thiry) #NFL #Football #Colorado #Snow pic.twitter.com/zbun5q2z8X
— Josh Benson (@WFLAJosh) October 14, 2018
The snow was expected to continue into the afternoon, with 3-6 inches possible by the evening. Temperatures were in the 20s. Naturally, folks on Twitter believe the conditions give the Broncos the advantage.
Rams entering a cold trap game. On the road. Low 20s. Snow falling. Broncos starving for a win. Rams will lose.
— Tony Blakeley (@Cyoplasm) October 14, 2018
Rams playing night snow ? Broncos win
— Juice St. Patrick (@Juice_LP) October 14, 2018
Broncos getting this win. At home in the snow against a traveling Rams team? Let’s GET IT
— Ricky (@EnriqueJuan_) October 14, 2018
— Dominic Eliot (@TheDomEliot) October 14, 2018
THIS IS NOT A DRILL THW BRONCOS ARE PLAYING A SNOW GAME TODAY AGAINST THE LA RAMS. WELCOME TO MILE HIGH BABY WE GETTING A W TONIGHT
— Ricky (@EnriqueJuan_) October 14, 2018
— Jody Sanders (@JMBS54) October 14, 2018
The Rams are arguably the best team in the NFC and head into Denver undefeated, so the snow could help the Broncos — losers of three straight — pull off the upset. Although, L.A. still has the luxury of being able to feed Todd Gurley. Denver’s defense isn’t what it used to be, and the Rams are hardly a one-dimensional team.