Posts Tagged ‘Monday Night Football’

Deebo Samuel turned a short catch into an electric 57-yard touchdown, Talanoa Hufanga returned an interception for a score and the San Francisco 49ers beat the Los Angeles Rams 24-9 Monday night.

Jeff Wilson Jr. also scored on a 32-yard run that gave the Niners (2-2) their seventh straight regular-season win over their in-state rivals.

The Rams (2-2) won the matchup that meant most in last season’s NFC championship game on the way to a Super Bowl title, but this meeting looked more like their recent regular-season meetings.

San Francisco used a relentless defense to slow down coach Sean McVay’s offense and got enough big plays for the win.

Nick Bosa had two of San Francisco’s seven sacks against Matthew Stafford to give him an NFL-best six on the season and Hufanga iced it with his 52-yard pick-6 in the fourth quarter. It was San Francisco’s fourth pick-6 against the Rams in their last six regular-season meetings.

Samuel once again delivered the big blows offensively. The key play came late in the second quarter when he turned what looked to be an interception by Jimmy Garoppolo into a touchdown.

Derion Kendrick jumped the 5-yard route and nearly got the pick. But Samuel made the catch and that’s when his work really started.

He broke tackles from Taylor Rapp and Jalen Ramsey and weaved his way through the Rams defense for the final 52 yards to give the Niners a 14-6 lead.

The Rams moved the ball efficiently down the field on the opening drive before a sack by Samson Ebukam stalled the drive and forced Los Angeles into a field goal.

Los Angeles struggled to move the ball consistently after that and the Rams couldn’t finish drives when they did. They were held to field goals on three trips into the red zone.

San Francisco struck back with big plays that led to two long touchdowns. Wilson took advantage of string blocking on a 32-yard burst up the middle on the opening drive for the 49ers that made it 7-3.

Samuel added the second touchdown and Robbie Gould kicked a 25-yard field goal after a Niners drive stalled at the 1. Gould missed a 42-yarder midway through the fourth quarter to keep the Rams in the game until Stafford’s interception.


One of the biggest hits of the game was delivered to a protestor who ran out on the field late in the second quarter with a device letting out pink smoke.

As the protestor got close to the Rams sidelined, linebacker Bobby Wagner came off and flattened him with a big hit. The man was taken off the field by security and the game quickly resumed.


Rams: Coleman Shelton, filling in for injured center Brian Allen, left the game with an ankle injury in the first quarter. That forced third-string center Jeremiah Kolone into action.

49ers: Colton McKivitz, filling in for injured All-Pro LT Trent Williams, left the game in the second half with a knee injury and didn’t return. … DT Arik Armstead, who missed last week’s game with a foot injury, left this game as well with an injured foot and didn’t return.


Rams: Host Dallas on Sunday.

49ers: Visit Carolina on Sunday.

CeeDee Lamb was angry with himself in the second quarter after dropping a wide-open pass and costing the Dallas Cowboys a possible touchdown. It was just embarrassing.

The star Cowboys receiver more than made up for it with the game on the line, making a one-handed TD catch with 8:30 to play to cap a go-ahead drive that gave the Cowboys a 23-13 win over the surprising New York Giants on Monday night.

“He’s CeeDee Lamb,” Dallas quarterback Cooper Rush said after hitting Lamb four times on the 89-yard drive. “Guy’s open a lot. Makes big-time catches. That fade catch was unbelievable. I’m sure he wants that other one back, but made tons of plays for us, like usual.”

Ezekiel Elliott scored on a 1-yard run to ignite a comeback from a seven-point deficit and Brett Maher kicked three field goals as the Cowboys (2-1) beat the Giants (2-1) for the 10th time in 11 games and handed coach Brian Daboll his first loss.

Rush threw for 210 yards, including the 1-yard touchdown to Lamb, in winning his second straight game filling in for the injured Dak Prescott (thumb).

Lamb finished with eight catches for 87 yards, but he also dropped the potential 52-yard TD throw. He paced the sideline after the play and teammates walked over to encourage him.

“It was situation I had to deal with on my own, obviously I’m the one that dropped the ball for the guys,” Lamb said. “So knowing that I had to make this up in the back end of the game, I just wanted to step up.”

Lamb actually made three plays at the end of the drive. He caught a 4-yard pass on fourth-and-4 from the Giants 41 with 10:27 to go. He added a 26 yard pass to the 1 and followed that with his great catch on the fade pattern for a 20-13 lead.

Saquon Barkley scored on a weaving 36-yard touchdown run that gave the Giants a brief 13-6 lead. Graham Gano added three field goal, including a 51-yarder with 3:37 to play to make it a one-score game.

The Giants got the ball back with 1:45 to play, but the series ended quickly with an interception by Trevon Diggs.

Dallas came into the game having allowed only one touchdown in each of its first two games, and the trend continued on Monday night. The defense hounded Daniel Jones, sacking him five times, with DeMarcus Lawrence tying his career high with three.

Maher sandwiched field goals of 26 and 28 yards around a 42-yarder by Gano to give Dallas a 6-3 halftime lead.

The Cowboys also got a big play on special teams as defensive lineman Dorance Armstrong blocked a 47-yard field goal attempt by Gano on New York’s opening possession.


Cowboys: Lawrence was injured early in the third quarter when he hurt a foot on a play that Jones was sacked by safety Donovan Wilson. … The Giants had Sterling Shepard seemingly hurt a leg on New York’s final offensive play and Daboll said after the game the initial report was not good.

UP NEXT: Cowboys: Return home to face the Washington Commanders on Sunday.

Giants: Complete three-game homestand with a game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

Jalen Hurts had 301 total yards in the first half in the breakout game of his young career, finishing with three total touchdowns as he led the Philadelphia Eagles to a 24-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.

Trying to prove he is the franchise QB for the Eagles in his second year, Hurts looked downright unstoppable from the opening drive.

Hurts hit five receivers on 5-for-5 passing — highlighted by a 19-yard strike to A.J. Brown — and finished the drive himself with a 3-yard scoring run. In the opening win against Detroit, Hurts failed to complete a pass on five attempts and the Eagles turned the ball over on downs on the first drive of the game.

Turn the ball over on downs?

That seemed like just a rumor against the Vikings. The TD was just the liftoff for the 24-year-old Hurts throwing, running, imposing his will with all his available tools against a Vikings defense that could not solve him in his 21st career start. He finished with 333 yards passing and a touchdown, and 57 yards and two scores on the ground.

On the first play of the second quarter, Hurts connected on a wide-open Quez Watkins for a 53-yard TD and the 14-0 lead.

Slay, who picked off a hapless pass by Kirk Cousins in the third quarter, had called each of the Eagles’ trio of talented receivers Batman.

There was, Brown, the “swole” Batman who had five catches for 69 yards; DeVonta Smith was the “skinny” Batman who had seven for 80 yards; and Watkins was the “fast” Batman who had the burners on for the easy score (and 69 total yards receiving).

Why are they all Batman?

“No Robins. We’ve got no sidekicks,” Slay said.

Hurts had one more play for the highlight reel with just under two minutes left in the first half. Hurts rolled to his right and scampered toward the end zone. He dragged two defenders with him, lowered his head and muscled his way in for a 26-yard touchdown that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Jake Elliott kicked a 38-yarder and the Eagles took a 24-7 lead into halftime.

In a Week 2 full of improbable comebacks, perhaps it wasn’t wise to totally count out the Vikings.

But Cousins and wide receiver Justin Jefferson — famously passed over by the Eagles in the 2020 draft — never got anything going of substance against the Eagles and maligned defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Slay had his second interception of the game in the fourth quarter as the scoreboard soon flashed “Big Play Slay.”

Hurts had 50 yards rushing and 251 yards passing in the first half. Cousins finished the game 27 for 46 for 221 yards and three interceptions. Jefferson had six catches for 48 yards a week after he had 184 receiving yards and two TDs in a win against Green Bay.


Bryce Harper (wearing an Eagles hat), James Harden (who was handed the ball by Slay after his first interception) and Bradley Cooper (wearing an Allen Iverson T-shirt) were among the jam-packed and fight-song singing crowd at the Eagles’ home opener.

Harden was pumped with his souvenir, posting an Instagram photo of his left hand holding the ball with the caption “Gimme That!” The Philadelphia 76ers star snapped selfies with fans before he left late in the game.


Dick Vermeil received his Hall of Fame ring at halftime. In his third season in Philadelphia, the coaching great led the Eagles to their first playoff appearance in 18 years. He guided the Eagles to their first Super Bowl appearance in the 1980 season only to lose to the Oakland Raiders, 27-10.


Vikings safety Harrison Smith was evaluated for a concussion.


Vikings: Return home Sunday to play the Lions.

Eagles: Start a reunion tour Sunday when they head out to play the Washington Commanders and former QB Carson Wentz. The Eagles return home Sunday, Oct. 2 and play the Jacksonville Jaguars, led by coach Doug Pederson. Wentz and Pederson, of course, played pivotal roles in helping the Eagles win the Super Bowl after the 2017 season.

Josh Allen threw four touchdown passes, including three to Stefon Diggs, and the Buffalo Bills rolled past Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans 41-7 in their home opener on Monday night.

The Bills followed a season-opening 31-10 rout of the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams by throttling an opponent that has been their nemesis in each of the past two seasons. Fullback Reggie Gilliam and linebacker Matt Milano, with a 43-yard interception return, also scored touchdowns for Buffalo.

Allen topped 300 yards passing for the 15th time of his career, completing 26 of 38 attempts for 317 yards, and sat out the entire fourth quarter. Diggs had 12 catches for 148 yards. He has exceeded 100 yards in each of his first two games, a feat accomplished previously for the Bills only by Hall of Famer Andre Reed.

The Bills have topped 30 points twice after doing so nine times last year. And their defense limited Tennessee to 182 yards of offense and 12 first downs, while registering two sacks and forcing four turnovers.

The Titans, coming off a 21-20 season-opening loss to the New York Giants, opened 0-2 for the first time since 2012.

The two-time defending AFC South champions face numerous questions about a defense that gave up 313 yards passing a week after allowing 238 yards rushing. Meantime, Henry and their offense continue to sputter.

The two-time rushing champion was limited to 25 yards on 13 carries while scoring on a 2-yard plunge.

Injuries affected both teams, the most serious involving Bills cornerback Dane Jackson, who hurt his neck in a troubling collision with a teammate and was taken to a hospital for evaluation. The Bills said Jackson had full movement in his limbs.

Otherwise, the two-time defending AFC East champion Bills continued making a splash in their second consecutive prime-time appearance, while at the same time easing frustrations of the past, including a 42-16 loss to Tennessee in 2020.

Still stung by memories of Allen being stuffed for no gain on fourth down near the goal line in the final seconds of the last season’s loss 34-31 loss in which Buffalo squandered a seven-point fourth-quarter lead, the Bills scored on their opening drive and never looked back.

Up 10-7, Allen and Diggs took over by connecting for two touchdowns spanning halftime. Faking left, Allen found Diggs in an opening for a 4-yard touchdown with a minute remaining in the second quarter.

Allen and Diggs then blew the game open by connecting on a 46-yard touchdown on Buffalo’s first possession of the second half. Given time in the pocket, Allen threw a perfectly placed pass to Diggs, who reached out to catch the ball before tumbling head-first into the end zone.

The wheels fell off for the Titans, who were outscored 24-0 in the third quarter. Tennessee rookie Kyle Philips muffed a punt for a second consecutive week, and Ryan Tannehill threw interceptions on consecutive possessions.

Tannehill finished 11 of 20 for 117 yards and was benched following Milano’s interception with 3:49 left in the third quarter. Rookie Malik Willis took over, and if Tannehill continues to struggle, Tennessee fans will want to see more of the young backup.


Bills Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith asked fans for a moment of silence before the game to honor the memory of 10 people killed in shooting spree at a Buffalo supermarket in May.

“We stand united with the victims and the victims’ families,” Smith said.

“No one can erase their pain and suffering. But Buffalo, your acts of love and kindness will never be forgotten,” he added. “The national media, the national activists have all gone. But we are here right now. It is up to us to love these families. To be with them.”


Titans: LT Taylor Lewan did not return after hurting his right knee in the first quarter. … RB Trenton Cannon did not return after hurting his right knee on the opening kickoff. … LB Ola Adeniyi hurt his wrist. … LB Bud Dupree hurt his hip. … The Titans elevated receiver Josh Gordon from their practice squad some three weeks after he signed with the team.

Bills: S Micah Hyde sustained a neck injury. … Milano did not return because of what was termed a stinger. … DT Jordan Phillips hurt his hamstring. … No. 2 WR Gabe Davis was inactive after hurting his ankle in practice on Saturday. … DTs Brandin Bryant and C.J. Brewer were elevated from the practice squad to fill in for injured starter Ed Oliver (ankle) and backup Tim Settle (calf).


Titans: Host the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

Bills: At the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Russell Wilson is the winningest quarterback in Seattle Seahawks history, owns every major franchise passing record, and he led the team to its lone Super Bowl win.

But none of that mattered to the Seahawks crowd Monday night. Wilson, now a member of the Denver Broncos after a blockbuster offseason trade, was welcomed back by his former fans with a chorus of boos as he exited the tunnel and when he took the field for the first time.

“It didn’t bother me. You know, it’s a hostile environment, it always has been, I didn’t expect them to give a round of applause every once in a while,” Wilson said, according to’s Coral Smith.

Wilson’s return to Seattle was spoiled as his former backup, Geno Smith, stole the starring role in a 17-16 win for the NFC West club. Starting in Week 1 for the first time in eight seasons, Smith had a strong first half before finishing 23 of 28 with 195 yards and two touchdowns.

While Wilson got hot in the second half and finished the game with 340 yards and one touchdown, he wasn’t given the chance to complete a comeback drive against his former team.

Trailing by one and facing a fourth-and-4, Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett decided to allow kicker Brandon McManus to attempt a 64-yard field goal with 20 seconds left instead of putting the ball in the hands of his $245-million quarterback.

Wilson defended Hackett’s call after the loss.

“We got the best field-goal kicker maybe in the game,” Wilson said, according to ESPN’s Jeff Legwold.

He continued: “We got there and, unfortunately, it didn’t go in. … I believe in coach Hackett, I believe in what we’re doing, I believe in everything.”

Wilson added: “I don’t think it was the wrong decision.”

Wilson will look to get his first win with the Broncos at home against the Houston Texans on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Seahawks will travel to face the San Francisco 49ers for their first divisional game of the year.

It was a familiar scene in Seattle: Russell Wilson leading his team downfield for a game-winning score late in the fourth quarter.

This time, he wasn’t given a chance by his new coach in Denver, pulled off the field in exchange for a 64-yard field goal attempt that left plenty of confusion and the Seattle Seahawks celebrating an unexpected season-opening, 17-16 victory over the Broncos on Monday night.

With the Broncos facing fourth-and-5 in Seahawks territory with a minute remaining and all their timeouts, coach Nathaniel Hackett opted to let the clock run down to 20 seconds before sending out Brandon McManus to try the low-percentage kick.

“I don’t think it was the wrong decision. I think he could make it,” Wilson said after his return to the city where he played his first 10 seasons. “Obviously in hindsight, we didn’t make it, but if we were in that situation again, I wouldn’t doubt whatever he decided.”

Geno Smith threw two first-half touchdown passes as the Seahawks’ offense started brilliantly in the post-Wilson era. Denver had plenty of chances after halftime but fumbled twice at the 1-yard line.

Then came the final minute, which raised plenty of questions about Hackett’s clock management and decision-making in his debut as a head coach. NFL kickers are 2 for 35 on attempts of 64 yards or more since 1991, according to Sportradar, and McManus’ career long is 61 yards.

The kick missed wide left, and instead of Wilson leading the 36th career fourth-quarter or overtime comeback of his career, the Seahawks celebrated to chants of “Geno! Geno!”

“I was surprised that they took Russ out there,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.

Denver faced fourth-and-5 at the Seattle 46 after Wilson hit Javonte Williams for a 9-yard gain. McManus said that was the exact spot on the field the offense needed to reach to give him a shot at the kick.

“I wish we would have gotten a lot closer, but it put us in that weird spot there because we were in field-goal range, but we were on that fourth-down situation,” Hackett said. “I didn’t think we were gonna get that many yards. … We just made our decision and wanted to take our shot there.”

Hackett then used his timeouts while the Seahawks kneeled down, elongating the Seattle celebration.

Smith and the Seahawks did very little offensively in the second half but their first half was good enough. Smith threw a touchdown pass of 38 yards to Will Dissly on the first possession of the season and hit Colby Parkinson for a 25-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Smith finished 23 of 28 for 195 yards, but was 17 of 18 for 164 yards in the first half.

“For him to go out there and get a win like that shows the confidence we have in him,” Seattle wide receiver DK Metcalf said.

Wilson was 29 of 42 for 340 yards and a touchdown. But Denver couldn’t overcome its red-zone inefficiency with both Melvin Gordon III and Williams fumbling on plays snapped at Seattle 1-yard line.

“We can run the ball. We can pass the ball. We just have to be sound in the red zone. That’s been our issue,” Gordon said.

The Seahawks moved into first place in the NFC West after Arizona, San Francisco and the Los Angeles Rams all lost on Sunday.

Wilson went from being a disputed third-round pick to a franchise cornerstone that helped Seattle to its only Super Bowl title. But his departure this past offseason in a trade to Denver was a messy conclusion to a mostly sparkling career with the Seahawks.

And Seattle fans were ready to let Wilson find out just what it was like to be an opposing QB at the stadium where he enjoyed so many triumphs.

“Just going out there and seeing him in a Broncos jersey was shocking to me,” Metcalf said.

Wilson was greeted with lustful, guttural boos every time he stepped on the field from a crowd notorious for making noise. They started in pregame warmups and didn’t decrease in volume throughout the victory.

Some signs in the stadium compared Wilson to Alex Rodriguez, who infamously left for a massive contract in Texas early in his baseball career. Others switched around the words from a catchphrase during his time in Seattle, urging the Seahawks, “Let’s Cook Russ.”

“Tonight was special, just on the other side than I’m used to. But it was still a special environment in a place that I’ve always loved,” Wilson said.

Wilson and the Broncos had plenty of chances to silence the crowd.

Denver ran eight plays inside the Seattle 12 in the third quarter and came away with zero points after the two fumbles.

The Broncos had three more plays inside the Seattle 10 midway through the fourth quarter and still couldn’t find the end zone. Denver reached the 3-yard-line but its third false start of the game moved Wilson back to the 8 and he was incomplete on his next two throws. McManus’ 26-yard field goal with 6:13 left pulled the Broncos within 17-16.


Seattle safety Jamal Adams suffered what Carroll said after the game was a serious injury to his left quadriceps tendon. Adams limped off the field after nearly sacking Wilson in the first quarter and eventually was driven away on a cart.

Denver lost right guard Quinn Meinerz to a hamstring injury in the first half and cornerback K’Waun Williams to a hand injury in the fourth quarter.


Broncos: Host Houston on Sunday.

Seahawks: At San Francisco on Sunday.

The Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson publicly painted their breakup as amicable, but the relationship apparently wasn’t quite as rosy as they tried to make it seem.

Wilson grew frustrated with the Seahawks’ run-heavy offensive approach and his lack of say in personnel decisions, ESPN’s Brady Henderson detailed Wednesday in an in-depth piece.

An apparent key moment came in October 2019 when head coach Pete Carroll reined in Wilson and the passing attack after Seattle took a 24-0 halftime lead against the Atlanta Falcons thanks to the quarterback’s two touchdown throws.

Wilson was fighting for the lead in the MVP race with Lamar Jackson – who was on a bye that week – heading into the Falcons game. He was “livid” at Carroll for only allowing him to throw five passes in the second half, believing it had cost him a chance to cement as place as the MVP favorite, according to Henderson.

Jackson went on to win the 2019 award thanks to a dominant second half of the campaign. Wilson, meanwhile, has never received a single MVP vote during his career.

Seahawks general manager John Schneider’s willingness to explore drafting a quarterback further hurt Wilson’s relationship with the team.

Schneider was enamored with Patrick Mahomes ahead of the 2017 draft and would’ve drafted the former Texas Tech standout had he been available late in the first round, team sources told Henderson.

The GM reportedly also attended Josh Allen‘s Wyoming pro day the following year despite Wilson leading the league in touchdown passes in 2017.

Schneider justified scouting quarterbacks by pointing to his time with the Green Bay Packers – who drafted Aaron Rodgers in 2005 following his shocking fall to the end of the first round – but the decision still angered Wilson.

“They were fucking pissed,” a Seahawks’ front-office source said.

Seattle traded Wilson to the Denver Broncos, his preferred destination, in March for a package of top draft picks, quarterback Drew Lock, and defensive lineman Shelby Harris.

Wilson will open the season against his former team on Monday night.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett believes former teammate Russell Wilson deserves a warm reception when the Denver Broncos visit Lumen Field on Monday Night Football.

“I think that Seattle should cheer him on for everything that he’s done,” Lockett said, according to ESPN’s Brady Henderson.

He added, “I have no idea (how fans will react). … But I know that when I see him, I’ll go give him a hug, talk to him … wish him good luck – not only in this game but for the rest of this season and for the rest of his career.”

Lockett cited Wilson’s impact on the community as a key reason he should be applauded in his return to the Pacific Northwest. Wilson and his wife, Ciara, established a charter school in Seattle and donated meals to assist with COVID-19 relief in 2020.

The Seahawks parted ways with Wilson after 10 seasons in a blockbuster trade in March. He led Seattle to a Super Bowl XLVIII title and earned nine Pro Bowl nods during his tenure. He also owns most of the Seahawks’ passing records, including career yards (37,059) and touchdowns (292), and has a 104-53-1 record as a starter.

Wilson’s relationship with the franchise appeared to deteriorate in early 2021 after the signal-caller listed four trade destinations for which he’d waive his no-trade clause. However, the two sides put their differences aside for the 2021 season and appeared to have mended the relationship prior to the trade.

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to be able to separate the man from the player, and you’ve got to understand that everybody’s trying to do what’s best for them,” Lockett said. “And all you can do is hope that they win and cheer for them to win.”

Fox Sports broadcaster Joe Buck is expected to join Troy Aikman at ESPN and become the new voice of Monday Night Football, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post.

The 52-year-old will reportedly ink a contract in the neighborhood of five years and $60 million to $75 million. He has one year and $11 million left on his Fox Sports deal, per Marchand.

Buck has worked at Fox Sports since 1994 and is synonymous with its brand. He’s been the network’s top MLB play-by-play man since 1996 and leading NFL play-by-play man since 2002. He’s also lent his voice to other sports at times.

ESPN has looked to solidify its Monday Night Football booth since Mike Tirico left for NBC Sports in 2016. Steve Levy handled play-by-play duties the last two seasons, with analysts Louis Riddick and Brian Griese flanking him. Griese recently relinquished his role to become the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterbacks coach.

Aikman, the Hall of Fame quarterback who sat next to Buck at Fox Sports, agreed to a five-year, $92.5-million contract at ESPN earlier this year, according to Marchand. The former Dallas Cowboys star expressed hope that he’d reunite with Buck at his new broadcasting home.

Disney, the parent company of ESPN, will air Super Bowl LXI in 2027 after joining the broadcasting rotation in the NFL’s last media rights deal. Disney hasn’t owned Super Bowl broadcasting rights since 2006 when Al Michaels and the late John Madden worked the booth for Super Bowl XL.

ESPN is in negotiations to make Fox Sports’ Troy Aikman its lead analyst on Monday Night Football, according to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.

The five-year deal is being finalized, sources told Marchand. Aikman’s contract will likely be worth around the same figure as Tony Romo’s 10-year, $180-million deal with CBS.

Aikman, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, has also attracted the attention of Amazon, which holds the broadcast rights to Thursday Night Football.

ESPN has employed a three-man booth of Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, and Steve Levy over the past two seasons.

Aikman is a staple of Fox’s NFL coverage, partnering with Joe Buck on the network’s top broadcast team. Aikman, 55, has covered six Super Bowls during his broadcasting career.

ESPN could make a run at Buck with his contract set to expire next year, Marchand reports. Buck – who also calls the World Series for Fox – would need permission from the network to leave early.