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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Texans vs. Bengals live stream: How to watch ‘Thursday Night Football’ online

Both the Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals are looking to bounce back in a big way in Week 2. Not only did they both suffer humiliating defeats in the NFL’s opening weekend slate of games, but both teams’ offenses were terrible. One team will at least come out of this matchup with a 1-1 record, after what will likely be a defensive showcase at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati beginning at 8:25 p.m. ET on NFLN nationally, NBC in Houston and Cincinnati markets (live stream).

Week 1 taught us that the Texans still have a major quarterback problem — rookie Deshaun Watson is expected to get the starting nod over Tom Savage against the Bengals. Savage threw for only 62 yards against the Jaguars and was sacked six times. Worse yet, the Texans lost two tight ends (Ryan Griffin and C.J. Fiedorowicz) to concussions by game’s end.

The Bengals took over as the worst team from Ohio after their Week 1 scoreless performance against the Ravens. There were some questions about how the offense might come together over the summer. But with so many young, talented skill players added to the roster, Cincinnati was, at a minimum, supposed to be faster than it was in 2016. The Bengals will get a little help this week with the return of rookie wideout and first-round draft pick John Ross back to full health and back to the field.

Scherzer and his wife Erica are helping in a way that doesn’t seem like an obvious need at first. Some animals that have been rescued from the Houston area are being relocated to Washington D.C. and the Humane Rescue Alliance needs to make room for the incoming rescues.

To achieve their goal of making space, they are asking people to come adopt the current animals living at the shelters. In order to make this as easy as possible for anyone who is thinking about adopting, the Scherzers are covering all adoption fees until the end of the weekend.
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Michael Bennett wears a kicker’s shoulder pads because they make him focus on his technique

In his eight seasons in the NFL, Michael Bennett has climbed from an undrafted free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Pro Bowl level performer with the Seattle Seahawks. And every step of the way, the colorful defensive end has done things his way.

Rising: Browns — The Browns might be the most improved team in the NFL, but are also one of the youngest. They could finally get out the basement in the AFC North and, while not quite ready to compete for a playoff spot, they’re not far away.

Circle this game on the schedule: Ravens at Steelers, Week 14, Dec. 10 — The Sunday night game at Heinz Field could be for the division, though the final matchup between the two division contenders comes with three weeks remaining in the season.

On the familiarity with the Steelers after playing them twice per season with the Browns: “Definitely. I have my guys, man. Marcus Gilbert and Pouncey, and then AB. These are some really, really cool dudes. I’ve met Ben (Roethlisberger) a couple times, probably like the Pro Bowls or whatever, just seeing him around. Just a good group of dudes, man, and I just felt like this was gonna be something special.”

On if his release came as a surprise: “Yeah, I was definitely surprised. I was super ready. I was prepared to go into the season. I was training for it, and I was just ready to go. It definitely came out of the blue to me.”

On what caused his release: “I think it was my contract. I think they wanted me to take — actually, I don’t think, they wanted me to take a pay cut. And I wasn’t trying to take a pay cut.”

Donald still has two years left on his rookie contract, one that will pay him a combined base salary of less than $9 million. But the Rams at the very least seem open to making him the game’s highest paid defensive player and are privately confident that something will be figured out.
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