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#pounditThursday, October 29, 2020

Football

Cam Newton benched for Jarrett Stidham during poor game

Cam Newton

Cam Newton was benched by the New England Patriots for Jarrett Stidham during a poor start on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

Newton was having a rough time throughout the game and went 9/15 for 98 yards and three interceptions before being asked to take a seat midway through the third quarter. He also had five rushes for 19 yards.

After Newton threw his third interception, which came in the third quarter, head coach Bill Belichick was shown walking up to Newton and giving him a pat on the bench. That seemed to be Belichick’s way of nicely saying “we’re going to go with Stidham.”

The poor accuracy and lack of zip on his passes Sunday led some to wonder whether Newton is being bothered by his shoulder again.

Newton also looked bad in a Week 6 loss to the Broncos where he went 17/25 for 157 yards and two interceptions. His recent performances have left fans wondering what happened to the guy who looked like his old MVP self the first two games of the season.

Ron Rivera apologized to Mike McCarthy over Jon Bostic hit

Ron Rivera

Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera is trying to make things right after Jon Bostic’s ugly hit on Dallas quarterback Andy Dalton on Sunday.

Rivera told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk that he reached out to Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy to apologize for Bostic’s hit. He also chastised Bostic in private.

You can see the hit by clicking here. It was unnecessary and dirty, and Bostic was ejected for it. The linebacker will likely face more discipline from the league as well.

Rivera is a class act, and he did the right thing by apologizing to McCarthy. The Cowboys coach will have other concerns as well, but Rivera has done all he can.

Video: Baker Mayfield busted out the dance moves after Browns’ big win

Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield put together on Sunday arguably the best game of his career. He sure had a nice time enjoying himself with a celebration afterwards.

Mayfield went 22/28 for 297 yards and five touchdowns, including the game-winning score to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 37-34.

Browns safety Ronnie Harrison shared a video on Instagram after the game that showed Mayfield dancing in the locker room at the safety’s request.

Mayfield was crushed after the Browns’ loss to the Steelers last week. He deserves to celebrate a little after a nice bounceback win that has the Browns 5-2.

Cam Newton shoulder injury concerns resurface

Cam Newton

Cam Newton played miserably in the New England Patriots’ loss to the Denver Broncos last week, and he may have been even worse in the first half against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Newton was so bad, in fact, that people are beginning to wonder if he is once again having problems with his throwing shoulder.

Newton completed just 4-of-8 passes for 30 yards and threw two interceptions in the first half of Sunday’s game. The incompletions and interceptions were horribly off the mark, including one throw where Newton appeared to have a receiver open on third down and short-armed a ball into the turf. Most of his passes had no zip on them like the one below:

Newton also threw two interceptions in Week 6. His accuracy has suddenly become a huge issue, and some who have watched him over the years feel like the former MVP is throwing the ball similarly to how he did when he had a shoulder injury.

While he was said to be fully healthy when the Patriots signed him, Newton has undergone multiple shoulder procedures in recent years. That is one of the main reasons 31 teams passed on trying to sign him this offseason and there was only one team willing to offer him a chance to start.

It’s possible Newton is struggling because he missed time with the coronavirus. The Patriots also have a horrible receiving corps, and they are reportedly trying to change that ahead of next week’s trade deadline.

Whatever the case, the Newton who threw for 397 yards and nearly led the Patriots to a win over the Seattle Seahawks last month is nowhere to be found. The shoulder is worth monitoring.

Carlos Dunlap offered his house for sale after latest Bengals loss

Carlos Dunlap

Carlos Dunlap sure seems finished with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The disgruntled defensive end appeared to offer up his house to any serious buyer after the Bengals lost a heartbreaker to the Cleveland Browns. Dunlap even tweeted a brief description and invited anyone to come forward with “proof of funds” if interested.

It’s rare that you see a player air his grievances this openly on social media, but Dunlap has done it consistently. It was only Saturday that he openly criticized his coaches on social media as well.

Dunlap is a proud veteran who holds the Bengals’ all-time career sack record. Despite that, he’s been demoted by his coaches and is essentially a backup on a 1-5-1 team. In that sense, it’s understandable why he’s upset. He seems almost intent to try to talk his way off the team.

Mike Vrabel still supporting Stephen Gostkowski despite latest costly miss

Mike Vrabel

Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel sounds like he plans on sticking with kicker Stephen Gostkowski despite another significant miss on Sunday.

Gostkowski missed a 45-yard game-tying attempt in the waning seconds of the Titans’ loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The miss dropped him to 10/16 on the season, and he’s made just one of his five attempts from between 40 and 49 yards.

Despite these ugly stats, Vrabel said he has full confidence in Gostkowski going forward.

Ultimately, there’s not much else Vrabel can say. For now, Gostkowski is the team’s kicker. This doesn’t necessarily preclude the Titans from seeking out alternatives this week, though. It wouldn’t be the first time a kicker has received a vote of confidence only to be jettisoned days later.

Long one of the NFL’s most reliable kickers, Gostkowski hasn’t been the same since undergoing hip surgery in 2019. His decline has been so swift, even opponents are shocked by it.

Odell Beckham Jr. feared to have ‘major’ knee injury

Odell Beckham Jr

Odell Beckham Jr. is feared to have suffered a “major” knee injury during the Cleveland Browns’ win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Beckham suffered a knee injury trying to make a tackle after a Baker Mayfield interception midway through the first quarter of Cleveland’s 37-34 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Beckham was down in pain after hurting his knee and limped to the locker room. He was quickly ruled out for the rest of the game.

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said after the game that Beckham would undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of his injury.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says that Beckham is feared to have a “major” injury.

The 27-year-old did not have any catches before exiting the game. Beckham entered the game with 23 catches for 319 yards and three touchdowns on the season. It’s awful that this would happen to him, especially after he expressed thoughts for all the players who were injured early in the season.

Photo: Erik Drost/Flickr via cc sa 2.0

Mike McCarthy critical of Cowboys players for reaction to Andy Dalton hit

Mike McCarthy

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton was on the receiving end of a dirty hit on Sunday that knocked him out of the game, but his teammates didn’t exactly rush to his defense. Head coach Mike McCarthy sees that as an issue.

Dalton looked like he was briefly knocked unconscious after Washington linebacker Jon Bostic delivered a vicious head shot (video here). Not one Cowboys player confronted Bostic over the play. McCarthy was asked about that after the game and spoke about the importance of teammates protecting one another.

The Cowboys fell to 2-5 with their blowout loss to Washington, but the NFC East is so bad this year that they are still very much in the hunt. You wouldn’t know that by the way they played, and their reaction to the hit on Dalton was one of several instances on Sunday where it appeared they have given up.

Between anonymous players blasting the coaching staff and no one showing any fight when Dalton was drilled, it’s obvious the Cowboys’ issues aren’t merely schematic.

Ben Roethlisberger had funny reaction to Titans missing game-tying field goal

Ben Roethlisberger

The Pittsburgh Steelers eked out a win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday to move to 6-0, but the margins were very fine.

The Steelers survived 27-24 after Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a 45-yard field goal in the final seconds of the fourth quarter. The miss came as a surprise to Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who had a funny reaction to the play.

Roethlisberger was probably mentally gearing up for overtime and looks genuinely stunned. You can’t really blame him. Gostkowski has long been one of the NFL’s most reliable kickers. That’s changed this year, though, as he’s made just 10 of his 16 field goal attempts.

The Titans’ loss is Roethlisberger’s gain. As for Tennessee, given how it has been going all season, it’s probably time to find a new kicker.

Todd Gurley costs Falcons win with accidental touchdown

Todd Gurley TD

Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley has scored many touchdowns during his career, but the one he had in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions was the only one he is going to deeply regret.

The Falcons were trailing 16-14 late in the fourth quarter and had the ball deep in Detroit territory. After putting together a methodical drive and forcing the Lions to use all of their timeouts, Atlanta could have run the clock all the way down and kicked an easy game-winning field goal. However, Gurley had a huge mental lapse and forgot he wasn’t supposed to score a touchdown.

Gurley realized at the last second that he should not have scored, but the ball had already broken the plane.

Gurley clearly wasn’t being selfish, otherwise he would not have tried to keep himself out of the end zone. He simply lost track of the situation, though you have to think the Falcons talked about it in the huddle before the play.

The mistake was very costly. The Lions quickly marched down the field on their ensuing drive, and Matthew Stafford threw a game-winning touchdown pass to tight end T.J. Hockensen as time expired.

Believe it or not, we saw the exact same type of play cost Penn State in their loss to Indiana on Saturday. You can see a video of that huge flub here.

Gurley’s mental mistake was as painful as it gets. He may never get over that one.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski had another big week! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.