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Don’t bury the Patriots yet: Why their playoff path isn’t daunting

10:43 PM ETIan O'ConnorESPN Senior Writer CloseIan O'Connor has won numerous national awards as a sports columnist and is the author of three books, including the bestseller, "The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter." ESPN Radio broadcasts "The Ian O'Connor Show" every Sunday from 7 to 9 a.m. ET. Follow Ian on Twitter »PITTSBURGH -- The New England Patriots do not really look, act or play like the New England Patriots anymore, and the truth is any other aging and declining NFL con.. Read More

Bears LT pops question to girlfriend after win

7:36 PM ETJeff DickersonESPN Staff Writer CloseDickerson covers the Chicago Bears for ESPN's NFL Nation. He is the co-host of "Dickerson & Hood" on the ESPN Radio national network, and is heard in Chicago on ESPN 1000.CHICAGO -- Bears left tackle Charles Leno was in a celebratory mood Sunday afternoon. Minutes after the Bears clinched their first NFC North title since 2010 with a 24-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers, Leno got on one knee at midfield and proposed to his girlfriend, Jenni.. Read More

Colts are a team nobody wants to face in playoffs after blanking Cowboys

6:10 PM ETMike WellsESPN Staff Writer Close Previously worked at Indianapolis Star, covering the Indiana Pacers for nine seasons Also covered Vikings for St. Paul Pioneer PressINDIANAPOLIS – Need further proof the Indianapolis Colts are a team nobody would want to face if they make the playoffs? Beat a Houston team on a nine-game winning streak? Check. Beat a Dallas team on a five-game winning streak the following week? Did that, too. And what made ending the winning streaks of the Texans and C.. Read More

Tipped pass gives Redskins reprieve and saves their season

7:57 PM ETJohn KeimESPN Staff Writer CloseCovered the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and other media outlets since 1994 Authored or co-authored three books on the Redskins and one on the Cleveland BrownsJACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- In a stretch when little has gone right, when every break seemingly went the other way, the Washington Redskins finally caught one. Quarterback Josh Johnson's pass floated down the field, headed toward disaster -- possibly an interception, likely an incompletion. .. Read More

Vikings score 41 in first game with new OC

7:15 PM ETCourtney CroninESPN Staff Writer CloseCovered the 49ers, Raiders and Warriors for the San Jose Mercury News. She joined ESPN in 2017.MINNEAPOLIS -- The fallout for the Minnesota Vikings following the firing of offensive coordinator John DeFilippo in Week 15 resulted in intensified pressure for a team hanging on to its playoff hopes for dear life. Coach Mike Zimmer said he made the move to relieve DeFilippo of his duties and elevate quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski to interim OC becau.. Read More

Dak: Cowboys’ first shutout loss since ’03 ‘hurts’

7:17 PM ETTodd ArcherESPN Staff Writer CloseCovered NFL since 1997, Cowboys since 2003 Previously covered Bengals and Dolphins Lives in Dallas area with his wife and two childrenINDIANAPOLIS -- The last time the Dallas Cowboys were shut out in a game, Dak Prescott was 10 years old. As he answered questions about the Cowboys' 23-0 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Prescott said he could not think of a time he has failed to record a point as a starting quarterback. On Nov. 16, 2003, t.. Read More

Late-season scramble: Lamar Jackson, Ravens may need to run the table

9:06 PM ETJamison HensleyESPN Staff Writer CloseUniversity of Maryland graduate Lives in the Baltimore area with his wife and sonBALTIMORE -- The lasting impression from the Baltimore Ravens' 20-12 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday is never count out Lamar Jackson. Slipping out of collapsing pockets, Jackson ran for 95 yards and sparked a rushing attack that became the first in 42 years to gain at least 190 yards on the ground in five consecutive games. Jackson's next feat.. Read More

Derrick Henry posts a second consecutive 30-point week

1:16 AM ETTristan H. CockcroftESPN Senior Writer CloseSenior writer for ESPN.com Co-host of the Fantasy Focus Baseball podcast Two-time LABR, three-time Tout Wars champion Member of the FSWA Hall of FameAs we do each week, we recap the week's best and worst from a fantasy perspective, complete with applicable game and historical data. Check back after the conclusion of the 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET (and, when applicable, Sunday Night Football) games for our picks. The BestDerrick Henry, RB, Tenn.. Read More

It wasn’t pretty, but for at least one more night, the Browns are still in the playoff hunt

12:45 PM ETPat McManamonESPN Staff Writer CloseCovered Browns, Cleveland sports since 1998 Previously worked at Fox Sports Ohio, AOL Fanhouse, Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com Cleveland native, proud father of two daughtersDENVER -- The Cleveland Browns don't care how it happened, they just care that it did. When Jabrill Peppers sacked Denver Broncos QB Case Keenum on fourth down with the Broncos at midfield and down one with 43 seconds left, the visiting sideline erupted. The Browns somehow h.. Read More

Follow live: Rams look to stay hot at home

Passing YardsPHIN. Foles24-31, 270 YDS, 1 INTLARJ. Goff35-54, 339 YDS, 2 INTRushing YardsPHIW. Smallwood10 CAR, 48 YDS, 2 TDLART. Gurley II12 CAR, 48 YDS, 2 TDReceiving YardsPHIA. Jeffery8 REC, 160 YDSLART. Gurley II10 REC, 76 YDS PHILARPHI 100%PHI 30 LAR 23 END GAME Total YardsPHI381413LARTurnoversPHI13LARPossessionPHILAR28:2431:361st DownsPHI1723LAR Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Coverage: NBC Los Angeles, CA Line: LAR -13.5 .. Read More

From streak to slump: What has happened to Adam Thielen?

8:00 AM ETCourtney CroninESPN Staff Writer CloseCovered the 49ers, Raiders and Warriors for the San Jose Mercury News. She joined ESPN in 2017.EAGAN, Minn. -- The Monday Night Football audience didn't just sense Adam Thielen's frustrations, they heard them. Loud and clear. After a 35-yard catch-and-run ahead of the two-minute warning in the second half of the Minnesota Vikings' 21-7 loss at the Seattle Seahawks, ESPN's field mics picked up a colorful outburst when the Pro Bowl wide receiver voiced his concern with what was transpiring on offense. Thielen leads the NFL in receptions, with 103, but his production has decreased considerably since he posted 100 yards receiving for eight straight weeks to open the season. In Seattle, Thielen wasn't targeted and didn't catch his first pass until 6:12 left in the third quarter. For the first time in the past two seasons, he didn't catch a pass in a half. "A little bit frustration of not moving the ball," Thi.. Read More

Can Pittsburgh finally tame Steelers killer Rob Gronkowski?

8:00 AM ETJeremy FowlerESPN Staff Writer CloseESPN staff writer Previously a college football reporter for CBSSports.com University of Florida graduatePITTSBURGH -- Rob Gronkowski is known by more nicknames than the famed "Gronk" around the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room. Steelers coaches and players have called Gronkowski everything from "freak" to "dangerous man" this week as they prepare for the tight end who's tortured their defense for years. Coach Mike Tomlin has seen effective coverages against Gronkowski in the past. "But we haven’t been a part of it," said Tomlin in preparation for Sunday's clash with New England (9-4). "We’re looking to be." The numbers validate Tomlin's point. In Gronkowski's past five games against Pittsburgh, he has 34 catches for 592 yards and five touchdowns. That's more yardage than all but eight NFL tight ends produced in the entire 2017 regular season. The Steelers (7-5-1) have tried a bit of everything on Gronkowski, who las.. Read More

Dissecting the most inexcusable playoff drought in Jets history

Dec 13, 2018Rich CiminiESPN Staff Writer CloseLongtime Jets beat writer for New York Daily News Syracuse University graduateFLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Tickets on the secondary market are selling for as low at $10, which means a beer at the game will cost as much as the price of admission. The nearby shopping malls will generate more traffic than MetLife Stadium, which figures to be half-empty for the New York Jets and Houston Texans on Saturday afternoon. When the game is over, a guy in a Santa suit will be screaming obscenities at coach Todd Bowles as he walks off the field -- and Santa won't be alone. He will be joined by plenty of angry elves. Welcome to another meaningless December for the Jets. Ho, ho, ho. Mathematically eliminated last week, the Jets' postseason drought is up to eight years, trailing only that of the Cleveland Browns (15) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10) among active streaks. It's tied for the second-longest drought in Jets history, but let's be perfe.. Read More

Texans’ defense wary of speedy Jets receiver Robby Anderson

Dec 14, 2018Jordan Godwin, Special to ESPN.comHOUSTON -- Six days after Indianapolis Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton torched the Houston Texans to the tune of 199 yards, the Texans will face another receiver with just as much -- if not more -- breakaway speed than Hilton in New York Jets receiver Robby Anderson. "They've got a receiver that probably runs as fast as anybody we've played in Anderson," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. At the 2012 combine, Hilton clocked a 4.34-second 40-yard dash, second fastest among receivers, behind only Travis Benjamin. Though Anderson wasn't at the 2016 combine, he caught the Jets' attention with a blazing 40-yard dash time at his Temple pro day -- 4.34. Anderson's chemistry with Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold has improved in recent weeks, especially blossoming at the end of New York's 27-23 win against the Buffalo Bills last week. Anderson had four catches for 76 yards on seven targets, including one game-changing 3.. Read More

What’s possible for Baker Mayfield over final three games

Dec 12, 2018Pat McManamonESPN Staff Writer CloseCovered Browns, Cleveland sports since 1998 Previously worked at Fox Sports Ohio, AOL Fanhouse, Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com Cleveland native, proud father of two daughtersBEREA, Ohio -- Baker Mayfield has entered uncharted territory for Cleveland Browns quarterbacks. Since Gregg Williams replaced Hue Jackson as head coach and Freddie Kitchens replaced Toddy Haley as offensive coordinator, Mayfield has had five games during which he completed at least 67 percent of his passes. No other Browns quarterback has accomplished that feat since 1999, the year the Browns returned from a three-year hiatus, according to ProFootballReference.com. Mayfield is also one of only 42 NFL quarterbacks to do that since 1999. The last Browns quarterback to do that was Milt Plum in the 1959 and 1960 seasons, according to ProFootballReference.com. But Plum threw 14 or fewer times in three of those games and he averaged 14.7 throws in those six games (the Brown.. Read More

Broncos need a big Saturday effort from rookie class

8:00 AM ETJeff LegwoldESPN Senior Writer Close Covered Broncos for nine years for Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News Previously covered Steelers, Bills and Titans Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors since 1999ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos’ class of 2018 is set to graduate from its first NFL season with plenty of compliments and perhaps an honor or two. Six rookies started last Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers and nine played overall. And for much of the season, the group has listened to plenty of conversation about how much the rookies have to learn and how much progress they need to make even as they continued to pile up the production. “It’s how you learn," running back Phillip Lindsay said. “You work and put in the time, but you have to get with the older guys, too, and see how they do things because they’ve proven it over and over." Yet for one week, the Broncos' rookies get to do something they did in the not-so-distant past that man.. Read More