Trent Murphy a longshot for Dallas game

December, 22, 2014
Dec 22
Washington Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy is unlikely to play in the season finale against Dallas after breaking a bone in his hand Saturday. As for left tackle Trent Williams, he will likely be as he has been the past few weeks: questionable.

Murphy broke a bone in his hand during the Redskins’ 27-24 win against Philadelphia. Coach Jay Gruden said Murphy will have more tests, and that they should have a better feel for it Monday.

With Williams, it’s the same shoulder injury that has bothered him a couple weeks. Having an extra day off for Sunday’s finale vs. Dallas helps. Williams re-injured the shoulder early in the fourth quarter, but returned later in the game.

Gruden said he would not hold Williams out if doctors -- and Williams -- say he can play.

"It’s a great tribute to Trent and what type of tough guy he is, and then that’s why he is voted captain when he does stuff like that," Gruden said. "He could barely lift his arm up and he’s out there continuing to battle and came out of the game, came back in the game and finished it so ... But I will leave that up to Trent. I’ll leave that up to the doctors, and if he can go I’m sure he’ll go."
The quad injury suffered by Atlanta Falcons running back Steven Jackson during Sunday's 30-14 against the Saints is not believed to be serious, and Jackson should be back in the lineup for next week's NFC South showdown against Carolina.

Jackson was injured in the second quarter and ruled out early in the third quarter. He had four rushes for 9 yards, and caught a pass for 14 yards before exiting. He played 11 snaps.

Jackson's injury did allow rookie Devonta Freeman to get more touches. Freeman, who played 24 snaps, responded with a 31-yard touchdown sprint in the third quarter that gave the Falcons a 20-7 lead. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter also showed a new wrinkle in splitting Freeman out wide as a receiver, which resulted in Freeman's 36-yard reception that helped set up Matt Bryant's 44-yard field goal.

The Falcons certainly want to incorporate Freeman into the offense, but Jackson's role as a physical tone-setter continues to be an important part of the game plan. He's also a veteran leader who has no issue with sharing the load with Jacquizz Rodgers and Freeman.

In other injury news, safety William Moore is expected to get an MRI on Monday after injuring his shoulder in the game and not returning. It appeared to be the same right shoulder Moore separated in Week 4 at Minnesota, an injury that kept him sidelined for seven games. Moore entered Sunday's game already dealing with a plantar fascia tear in his right foot. He played 41 snaps against the Saints before suffering the injury.

Cornerback Josh Wilson (hamstring) and safety Dwight Lowery (shoulder) also were banged up in the game, although Lowery returned. Javier Arenas played a season-high 30 snaps with Wilson sidelined.

Falcons coach Mike Smith didn't have many details to share about the injured players.

"Everybody's dealing with injuries this time of the season," Smith said. "Unfortunately, we had a couple of guys that left the game. ... We will continue to go through our preparations and hopefully get all the guys that are healthy out on the field."

Smith could provide an injury update during his news conference at 2:30 p.m. today.

Marcell Dareus suffers knee injury

December, 21, 2014
Dec 21

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus left in the second quarter of Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders with a knee injury and was later declared out for the remainder of the contest.

Dareus appeared to get his right leg tangled in a pile after a Latavius Murray run early in the second quarter. He walked to the sideline under his own power but then departed for the locker room.

The Pro Bowl defender was initially deemed questionable to return and briefly returned to the sideline, but left for the locker room later in the first half.

Without Dareus, the Bills used a mix of Stefan Charles and Corbin Bryant next to Kyle Williams at defensive tackle.

Dareus has started all 15 games for the Bills, notching 10 sacks.

Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore left the game in the second half with a possible concussion and was ruled out for the remainder of the contest.

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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers was stunned that he pulled a calf muscle in his left leg early in Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He figured all the liquids he drank to combat the flu in the days before the game would've protected him from any muscle pulls.

But Rodgers felt it on the second series of the Green Bay Packers' 20-3 win on Sunday, and it impacted him the rest of the game.

"I battled the flu the last couple of days pretty bad, and that's why I was surprised I hurt my calf because I hydrated like no other," Rodgers said. "I had a great hydration test this week and was drinking a ton of water before the game. Unfortunately the calf kind of gave up on me there."

Rodgers walked out of the locker room slowly on Sunday afternoon after the game but did not think the injury would be a factor in next Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field, where the NFC North title will be decided.

"It's too early to give a 100 percent guarantee, but it would definitely take a lot to hold me out of that game," Rodgers said.

Several members of the Packers offense said they weren't even aware that Rodgers had pulled his calf. However, coach Mike McCarthy said he changed his play-calling plan, leaving Rodgers in the pocket far more than usual.

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Oakland Raiders-Buffalo Bills inactives

December, 21, 2014
Dec 21
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Here are the inactives for Sunday’s game between the Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills:

Raiders: WR Denarius Moore, WR Vincent Brown, CB Chimdi Chekwa, G Tony Bergstrom, T Menelik Watson, TE Brian Leonhardt, DT Stacy McGee.

Bills: CB Ross Cockrell, RB Bryce Brown, LB Larry Dean, LB Randell Johnson, T Cyrus Kouandjio, WR Deonte Thompson, TE Chris Gragg.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- While the Dallas Cowboys will have the services of running back DeMarco Murray today against the Indianapolis Colts, they will not have right tackle Doug Free.

Free is inactive because of a bone spur affecting his left ankle. He also has a stress fracture, but the bone spur is more problematic. Jermey Parnell will start in Free’s place. He replaced Free earlier in the year for three games when he had a broken right foot. Rookie Zack Martin will start at right guard after he did not practice during the week. He had been listed as questionable.

Veteran Tony Hills will serve as the backup offensive tackle.

Also inactive for the Cowboys are: QB Dustin Vaughan, OT Donald Hawkins, DE Kenneth Boatright, LB Dekoda Watson, S Jakar Hamilton and DT Josh Brent.

Brent has missed the last two games with a calf injury but he was running sprints on the field before the game.

The Colts will be without leading receiver T.Y. Hilton, who has a hamstring injury. Also inactive for the Colts are CB Jalil Brown, CB Sheldon Price, G Hugh Thornton, OL Joe Reitz, OT Gosder Cherilus and DL Montori Hughes.

T.Y. Hilton inactive for Colts

December, 21, 2014
Dec 21

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Indianapolis Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys because of a hamstring injury.

Hilton, who has 1,345 receiving yards this season, warmed up on the field at AT&T stadium to test his hamstring, but it's not surprising that he isn't playing because he didn't practice last week.

The Colts have already won the AFC South and locked up a playoff berth. The only thing they're playing for the rest of the season is playoff seeding.

Indianapolis is currently the No. 3 seed in the AFC.

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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears fear that defensive end Willie Young suffered a torn Achilles tendon Sunday against the Detroit Lions, a league source confirmed to ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates.

Chicago's athletic training staff carted off Young to the locker room early in the third quarter before later announcing he'd miss the remainder of the contest due to a left Achilles injury.

Young suffered the injury while rushing Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. After the play, Young stayed down for several minutes and athletic trainers helped the defensive end off the field, before calling for a cart to take him to the locker room for further examination.

Minutes later, the team announced Young would miss the remainder of the game.

"He's got an Achilles. Obviously, it's an injury that's going to take some time and certainly he won't be ready to play this week," Bears coach Marc Trestman said after the game, a 20-14 Lions victory. "I'm not sure the details of it. I know he's got an Achilles issue, and he's going to be out this week. It's certainly going to take him out of this week's practice and game."

Young, a fifth-year veteran and former Lion, entered Sunday's game with a career-high 10 sacks, and played a key role in helping Chicago's defensive line generate four sacks in the first half.

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DeMarco Murray active vs. Colts

December, 21, 2014
Dec 21
[+] EnlargeDeMarco Murray
Mitchell Leff/Getty ImagesDeMarco Murray had 58 yards rushing on 22 carries during Sunday's blowout win over the Colts.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- For Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, the decision to play with a broken left hand wasn't an issue.

The day after having the surgery, Murray decided he would play and after practicing toward the end of the week and fittings for plastic shells to protect the hand, he started and finished with 58 yards rushing on 22 carries in the 42-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

"It affected me a little bit, it was hurting throughout the game," said Murray, the NFL's leading rusher who is 255 yards away from 2,000. "But I made my mind up a long time ago that I was going to play. I was happy to be out there and happy to do whatever I can to help this team win and it's awesome with the win."

Murray's day was kind of overlooked with the Cowboys clinching the NFC East and quarterback Tony Romo becoming the franchise's all-time passing leader. For the soft spoken Murray that's OK, because he prefers to let his play do the talking.

However, on the first offensive play of the game, Murray carried the ball with his left hand.

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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Buffalo Bills running back Bryce Brown is inactive for Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders.

Brown was effectively pushed off the 46-man game-day roster with the return of C.J. Spiller from injured reserve. Spiller is active Sunday, as expected.

The Bills deactivated Brown for the first seven games of the season but he had been active every game while Spiller was out.

Here is the full list of Bills' inactives for Sunday:

TE Chris Gragg (knee)
RB Bryce Brown
LB Larry Dean
CB Ross Cockrell
LB Randell Johnson
OL Cyrus Kouandjio
WR Deonte Thompson

Nick Mangold carted off field

December, 21, 2014
Dec 21
[+] EnlargeNick Mangold
Alex Goodlett/Getty ImagesNick Mangold, who has played in 141 of 143 games in his NFL career, was carted off the field Sunday with a potentially serious ankle injury.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jets center Nick Mangold, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, was carted off with a potentially serious ankle injury in the second quarter Sunday against the Patriots.

Mangold didn't return to the game, which the Patriots won, 17-16. Jets coach Rex Ryan said X-rays on Sunday night revealed no fracture in his ankle.

Mangold was wearing a walking boot on his left foot after the game. He will have further tests Monday, but said he thinks he could play in next week's season finale in Miami.

"We'll find out. I wouldn't see why not," Mangold said. "I've dealt with issues like this before. I should be out there."

Mangold has played in 141 of 143 games in his career, so it was a shock to see him on the ground in pain. Longtime nemesis Vince Wilfork was blocked into Mangold, collapsing his lower left leg.

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Johnny Manziel (hammy) exits game

December, 21, 2014
Dec 21

CHARLOTTE -- Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel left Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers late in the first half with a hamstring injury and did not return.

Brian Hoyer took over at quarterback and finished with 134 yards on 7 of 13 passing with one touchdown and one interception. The scoring pass was an 81-yard bomb to tight end Jordan Cameron that put the Browns ahead 13-10 in the fourth quarter. The Panthers, however, emerged with a 17-13 victory. Manziel emerged after halftime with a towel over his head.

Panthers safety Colin Jones hit Manziel by the sideline on a designed quarterback run. Manziel got up and headed back toward the huddle but quickly fell back down. Trainers examined his hamstring for a few minutes on the field and a few minutes on the sideline before taking him into the locker room for halftime.

Manziel said he first hurt himself on a play from the previous drive, a third-and-1 slant route to Josh Gordon that was reviewed and overturned. Manziel fell on the throw and "felt a little tight in my hamstring" when he got up. The injury worsened after the first-down run on the next series.

"As I kept walking more and more, it just felt like something I hadn't experienced before," said Manziel, who completed 3 of 8 passes for 32 yards, looking more comfortable than the previous week despite the pedestrian stats. "I figured I needed to get checked out. Pretty frustrating."

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DeMarco Murray says he'll play

December, 21, 2014
Dec 21

Cowboys star running back DeMarco Murray has told his friends and family that he will play Sunday against the Colts, a source told ESPN.

Murray's playing status has been uncertain since this past Monday, when he underwent surgery on his left hand. He told ESPN as recently as Saturday that he was still undecided on whether he would play.

"I have to do the right thing for myself, the right thing for the team," Murray said.

Murray's teammates are confident that he will play, and owner Jerry Jones said Friday that things were trending in a positive direction.

The NFL's leading rusher, Murray is officially listed as questionable on the injury report, and all involved agree that he would make the ultimate decision about whether to play a week after suffering a fracture in his left hand against the Eagles.

A protective plate and eight screws were inserted to facilitate healing and promote the quickest possible return to the field.

Murray has practiced wearing a glove he routinely wears but equipped with protective padding. Murray said he was involved in some contact in practice to allow him a sense of whether he could protect the ball, but acknowledged that is far different than playing in a game.

Murray's five lost fumbles are the most in the league among non-quarterbacks, but he has not fumbled in his past six games.

Murray said his decision would be based on pain tolerance and whether he is comfortable doing everything required of a running back.

The Cowboys (10-4) can clinch the NFC East title with a win Sunday, thanks to Philadelphia's upset loss Saturday to Washington.

(Read full post)

Good morning from the Twin Cities, where, as the eagle-eyed followers among you will note, the Minnesota Vikings are not playing Sunday. They're down in Miami, taking on the Dolphins at 1 p.m. ET, but I'm just getting back into the swing of things Sunday after some time off following the birth of my daughter, Greta, last Tuesday morning. Mom and baby are doing well, but I'll be covering the game remotely Sunday before returning to the grind on Monday. No doubt you enjoyed the return of the esteemed Kevin Seifert to the NFC North hinterlands last week; as I offer a heartfelt thanks to him for filling in while I was gone, I'll try to take the baton and get back to full speed.

Now with that out of the way, let's move on to what you really care about: The Vikings and Dolphins kick off in less than an hour, and the Vikings will, of course, be without linebacker Anthony Barr, who will miss the rest of the season with the knee injury that's bothered him since November. Gerald Hodges will start in Barr's place, and the Vikings will have Chad Greenway lining up next to Hodges in nickel situations.

Greenway, though, will be playing with a heavy heart; his father, Alan, passed away at age 56 on Friday after a two-year battle with leukemia. Chad had spent more time helping out at his family's farm in South Dakota in recent years, and he held a deep admiration for his dad, whom he credited for teaching him the work ethic necessary to succeed as a farmer and a football player. He'll look to honor his father with a big game Sunday.

Safety Robert Blanton will be in the lineup, though the Vikings listed Andrew Sendejo as the starter next to Harrison Smith while Blanton returns from a leg injury. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd is also active Sunday after being listed as probable with his lingering knee bruise.

Lastly, tight end Kyle Rudolph won't play after being listed as doubtful with ankle and knee injuries. It's been a frustrating season for Rudolph, who came in expecting to have a big role in Norv Turner's offense but will miss his seventh game of the season because of injury on Sunday. Rudolph only played eight games last year, too, and he'll have to stay healthy next season to maximize the value of the five-year contract extension he signed during training camp.

Here is the Vikings' full list of inactives for Sunday:

DE Chris Canty active for Ravens

December, 21, 2014
Dec 21
HOUSTON -- Baltimore Ravens defensive end Chris Canty is active for Sunday's game at the Houston Texans after not practicing this week.

Canty was listed as questionable after sitting out all three practices with an ankle injury. The Ravens did make reserve defensive end DeAngelo Tyson active for the first time in six games for extra depth at that position. Lawrence Guy is Canty's primary backup.

The Ravens will need Canty when going against running back Arian Foster and a Texans offense that runs the ball more than any team in the NFL. Canty has made 13 tackles over his past three games, his best stretch in two seasons with the Ravens.


WR Michael Campanaro, DT Terrence Cody, CB Chris Greenwood, ILB Arthur Brown, OL Gino Gradkowski, OL Ryan Jensen, DT Casey Walker.