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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Football

Todd Gurley: Rams believe can win Super Bowl

Todd Gurley

Todd Gurley and the Los Angeles Rams have a lot of confidence about this year’s team.

The Rams are 2-1 following a 41-39 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night. Gurley scored three touchdowns in the game and joined NFL Network’s set afterwards. During his postgame interview, he was asked what the team’s expectations are for the season.

“Just taking it one game at a time. Obviously every team’s goal is that championship. But you have to be realistic — you win four games the year before, nobody’s going to think you’re going to win the Super Bowl,” said Gurley.

Analyst Michael Irvin then followed up by asking whether the Rams believe they can win the Super Bowl, which is different from whether outsiders think they can win it all.

“We definitely believe,” Gurley said. “But like I said, we’re taking it game by game and just focusing on the future right now. Next week we got Dallas, so we’re going to whoop up on your boys.”

Yep, that was Gurley talking smack to lifelong Cowboy Irvin, saying the Rams were going to beat Dallas in Week 4. That will be a tough task for the Rams, but they have extra time to prepare for the Week 4 road contest. And kudos to them for believing in their current team. Gurley says they bought into what new coach Sean McVay is telling them. That has shown through three weeks.

Rams WRs Sammy Watkins, Tavon Austin evaluated for concussions

Sammy Watkins

Two Los Angeles Rams wide receivers were evaluated for concussions towards the end of the team’s Thursday night victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

Both Sammy Watkins and Tavon Austin were evaluated for a concussion during the fourth quarter. Watkins first left the game to be evaluated. That seemed to come after he was hit in the head while fighting for a touchdown that put the Rams up 41-26.

Austin appeared to get hurt a little later in the fourth quarter and was evaluated.

Watkins had a true breakout game for the Rams. He had six catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns — his first scores since joining the Rams. Austin had three rushes for 14 yards. He also fumbled away a punt return for the second time this season.

Aaron Donald called for horrible roughing the passer penalty

Aaron Donald hit

Here is Exhibit A for how far the NFL goes to protect quarterbacks.

Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald was called for a personal foul penalty in the third quarter of Thursday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers for this hit on Brian Hoyer:

Donald was coming after Hoyer with pressure and was a step away from the QB when Hoyer released the ball. There was no way to stop his momentum, and his hit was perfectly legal. It was as clean of a tackle as you can get.

Yet Donald was still called for roughing the passer, probably because the official thought he punished Hoyer too much with the hit. Unfortunately, defensive players are at risk of being called for penalties simply for hitting the quarterback too hard.

Every NFL team’s key role player

Tyler Lockett

Every NFL team has a series of superstars on both offense and defense who steal the limelight, but in order for a team to be successful, they need quality starters at every position and strong reserves/role players.

Often, it’s those role players who are ultimately the difference between a championship run or a story about what could have been.

Here’s a look at every NFL team’s key role player.

Arizona Cardinals – John Brown, wide receiver

This spot could have just as easily have gone to wide receiver J.J. Nelson, but John Brown has been an under-the-radar gem for the Cardinals several years running. He finished fourth on the team in all purpose yards (697) in 2016 despite starting only six games, and did his damage through the air, on the ground and returning both kicks and punts. Unfortunately he is currently being limited by a quad injury.

Atlanta Falcons – Adrian Clayborn, defensive end

After starting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over four seasons, Adrian Clayborn joined the Falcons as a reserve and like many others on defense, plays a key role. A rotational defensive end with quality experience, Clayborn recorded 7.5 sacks with Atlanta over his first two seasons and provides a solid third-and-long option. The 29-year-old has one sack this season, and made his presence felt with a big hit on Aaron Rodgers in Week 2.

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Carlos Hyde leaves game with hip injury

Carlos Hyde

A disastrous start for the Niners got even worse when their top running back was forced to leave Thursday night’s game against the Rams with an injury.

On the first play from scrimmage for the Niners, Brian Hoyer threw an interception that was nearly returned for a touchdown by Nickell Robey-Coleman. Later in the quarter Carlos Hyde exited the game with what was initially called a hip injury.

In 13 games last year, Hyde rushed for 988 yards and six touchdowns. Through two games entering Thursday, Hyde had 169 rushing yards, including 124 against the Seahawks.

Von Miller upset about dirty block from Cowboys rookie

Von Miller Noah Brown

Von Miller is upset about a block thrown by a Dallas Cowboys rookie on him in Week 2.

Miller was limited in practice on Wednesday with a knee injury, though he practiced in full on Thursday. He was hurt by a low block from wide receiver Noah Brown last weekend.

Here’s a look at the block, which came on a rushing play.

Brown didn’t appear to have any malicious intent on the block. But as we’ve seen recently, many players prefer to have other players hit them high rather than around the knees.

Bruce Arians has funny quote about trying to stop Cowboys

Bruce Arians

You can’t accuse Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians of not keeping it real.

Addressing the media Thursday ahead of the Cardinals’ Week 3 game against the Dallas Cowboys, Arians was asked if the Denver Broncos, who dominated the Cowboys 42-17 in Week 2, provided a blueprint for beating them. Arians’ response, per Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News, was an all-timer.

To be fair, the Cardinals have four former or current Pro Bowlers in their secondary in Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Antoine Bethea, and Justin Bethel plus a fifth at linebacker in Chandler Jones. But it’s hard for anybody to compares themselves to the No Fly Zone and the rest of Denver’s otherwordly defense, and Arians, who is somewhat famous for his blunt humor, knows it.

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