Mike Pence bailing on Colts-49ers looked like nothing more than a PR stunt

The vice president of the United States says he attended Sunday’s game between the Colts and 49ers to help honor Peyton Manning.

Mike Pence sure had a funny way of showing it.

No matter the outcome, the retirement of Manning’s No. 18 jersey coming on the heels of Saturday’s statue unveiling outside Lucas Oil Stadium was going to be something this game would always be remembered for more than the final score. Not anymore.

The Steelers should inspire confidence that they’re back on track after that domination of the Ravens last week, except that the loss to the Bears sticks out like a sore thumb. The Jaguars ought to be furious that they let the Jets beat them; it takes a lot of the air out of the start the defense and Leonard Fournette generated. Don’t expect the Steelers to breeze through this.

The Jay Cutler honeymoon ended faster than anyone expected, as did the notion that knowing Adam Gase’s system after that one year in Chicago would make this a seamless fit. The quarterback situation is far more problematic on the other sideline, though, with Marcus Mariota’s hamstring and that his backup is … Matt Cassel. Yes, you’re spared the obvious and deserved quarterback-depth lecture.x (17)

He was photographed wearing a suit during the national anthem Sunday.

A former governor of Indiana, Pence had been in Indianapolis as part of the celebration of Peyton Manning and his jersey retirement and induction into the Colts’ Ring of Honor during Sunday’s game.

Pence had tweeted a photo of him and his wife, Karen Pence, saying they were looking forward to cheering for the Colts and honoring Manning. But the Indianapolis Star noted that the photo appeared to be from 2014.

The photo the vice president tweeted showed him wearing a Colts polo shirt.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: For the fifth consecutive game to begin his NFL career, Fournette found the end zone, helping him join a group of only four other players since 1950 with a touchdown streak of at least five games to begin an NFL career (see the chart below). He managed the first 30-point fantasy performance — PPR or non-PPR — of his young career, finishing with the best non-PPR score of the 1 p.m. ET block (30.4) and the second best in PPR (31.4). With that, Fournette now has 95.4 non-PPR and 108.4 PPR fantasy points in his five-game career.

The Lions made the playoffs in 2014, Caldwell’s first season, while Martin Mayhew was still the general manager. They got there despite a shaky offense thanks to an overachieving veteran defense and a favorable schedule. Credit current GM Bob Quinn for knowing he had work to do in taking over in 2016 to take better advantage of the window with Stafford.

One clear focus of Quinn was to rebuild the offensive and defensive lines, a good place for every GM to start. In his first draft, he landed starting left tackle Taylor Decker and starting left guard Graham Glasgow. In that same class, he also got starting defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson and stole breakout end Anthony Zettel.1 (14)

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Dolphins WR DeVante Parker believed to have ankle sprain

The Miami Dolphins believe receiver DeVante Parker suffered a sprained right ankle during Sunday’s 16-10 win over the Tennessee Titans, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Parker left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. Prior to his departure, he had one catch for 6 yards.

Miami’s leading receiver entering Sunday, Parker has 18 receptions for 230 yards and one touchdown in four games.

With Parker sidelined, Jarvis Landry led all Dolphins receivers with five catches for 44 yards and a touchdown against Tennessee.

C.J. Prosise, Seattle Seahawks, ankle, (D), 4:05 p.m. ET: Coach Pete Carroll said last week that he would be shocked if Prosise did not return in Week 5. Known for being eternally the optimist, Carroll may have spoken too soon, as the doubtful tag all but ensures Prosise will miss another week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys, chest, 4:25 p.m. ET: Very quietly, Elliott has been on the practice injury report with a chest injury throughout the week. Perhaps since he was a full participant daily, combined with coach Jason Garrett’s lack of concern that the injury was going to limit Elliott in any way, there hasn’t been much worry in Dallas. Elliott’s removal from the pregame injury report confirms he will be healthy enough to play when the Cowboys host the Packers Sunday.

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Redskins’ Rob Kelley (rib) unlikely, Jordan Reed (rib) game-time call

Washington Redskins running back Rob Kelley is expected to miss Sunday night’s game against the Oakland Raiders, and tight end Jordan Reed will be a game-time decision but also is unlikely to play, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Both suffered rib injuries in last Sunday’s 27-20 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

Brissett completed a 50-yard pass to Donte Moncrief on his first series, about the only positive play the Colts mustered in Los Angeles. Now that the 23-year-old has had another week of reps in the system after his trade from the Patriots on Sept. 2, Pagano and Co. can have a bit more confidence in handing him the reins, but the situation remains less than ideal.

Andrew Luck (shoulder) remains sidelined for the foreseeable future, and the team’s failure to shore up the position until a week before the opener looks even worse after Tolzein’s performance in Week 1.

Brissett shined at times while filling in for Tom Brady early last season and has plenty of room to grow, but he’ll be stepping into a rough situation with his still-new team.

Most unusually, Lewis was targeted three times in the red zone, his most in a game since 2011 Week 12 (also three), harkening back to his 2010 season when he managed 14 red zone targets resulting in a career-best seven of his 10 touchdowns. Was this a new trend, or a one-game aberration? The latter is the wiser guess, but the red zone usage makes Lewis a name to track in the coming weeks.
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Rams’ Aaron Donald added to roster, will start vs. Redskins

Aaron Donald is officially back.

The Rams defensive tackle has been added to the team’s active roster and is expected to start Sunday against the Redskins in Los Angeles.

Donald, who ended his contract holdout last weekend, reported to the team facility and passed his physical after missing all of training camp and preseason. According to defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, Donald won’t be an every-down player in his first game back.

Elliott had never been held to less than 50 yards in a game, and the last time he was held to fewer than 80 yards on the ground was in his first game of his rookie season.

The Broncos are known for their vaunted pass defense as they have been top 5 in the NFL each of the last two seasons, but their rush defense held Elliott and the Cowboys to 40 yards on 14 carries in the blowout.

In the meantime, while Elliott was having trouble finding room to run quarterback Dak Prescott struggled mightily in the loss. He finished the day 30 of 50 for 238 yards, but he threw two interceptions and had less than 150 passing yards well into the fourth quarter of the loss.

Prescott only had four interceptions in his career coming into this game, but this was the second multi-interception game of his career. He threw two INTs in the Cowboys Week 13 loss to the Giants in 2016.
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