Patriots LB Darius Fleming rescues woman after car accident

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots linebacker Darius Fleming didn’t hesitate when he saw a woman trapped in a smoking car: He kicked out the window, enabling her to escape.

But Fleming cut his right leg in the process, and he soon began to worry about how coach Bill Belichick would react.

“The first concern was, like, `Man, Bill’s going to be pissed about my leg,”‘ Fleming said in the Patriots locker room on Wednesday after word of his rescue filtered out. “I explained the story to him and he said, `That was pretty cool. I’m glad you were able to help her.”‘

Fleming, 26, said he was on his way home from practice on Thursday when a truck up ahead slowed down to turn, causing a three-car collision behind it. The former Notre Dame and San Francisco 49er linebacker was behind the third car and pulled over to see if he could help.

What he saw was a woman unable to open her doors or windows as her car began to fill with smoke.

“I saw her panic on her face,” Fleming told reporters.

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Chicagoan needed a few kicks to break the passenger side window, cutting his right leg on the glass as he pulled it back out of the car. The woman climbed out safely.

“My adrenaline was going up and I wasn’t thinking much about it. I was just thinking about whether she was safe,” Fleming said. “Once I got her out of the car, she said `Thank you,’ I said `You’re welcome,’ and I saw my leg and I got out of there.”

Fleming, a fifth-round draft pick in 2012, needed 22 stitches to close the gash. He played with the injury Saturday in New England’s 27-20 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, filling in when starters Jamie Collins and Jerod Mayo were injured.

“I was more worried about just getting out there and playing. I’m glad it didn’t affect my play much,” Fleming said. “The worst thing that could happen is that I would tear them (stitches) open and get re-stitched. It wasn’t like it was a life-threatening injury or anything like that.”

Patriots safety Devin McCourty said on Wednesday that Fleming tried to keep it quiet. “But once the guys on the team got ahold of it, we forced him to give a speech and everything,” McCourty said, calling it “the hero’s speech.”

Roadside heroism is becoming a bit of a playoff tradition for the Patriots.

Last year, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork pulled a woman from a car that had flipped on its side after New England won the AFC championship game.

“We’ve got great guys around here, no matter the time – playoffs, regular season – we’re always out in the community trying to save people,” McCourty said with a laugh.

Like Wilfork before him, Fleming said he didn’t think he did anything special.

“It represents his character,” linebacker Rob Ninkovich said. “He’s a great person. … It’s definitely somebody that you want in a situation like that, to kick in windows and taking stitches.”

AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Watch Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts live on TNF

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The Indianapolis Colts host the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football in a battle of two former contenders whose seasons have gone wrong.

Following a strong start, the Broncos went 1-8, as their typically astute defense has struggled to keep opponents out of the end zone. Denver’s offense has not helped the team’s cause either. The Broncos have failed to find clarity at quarterback with Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and Paxton Lynch all seeing time.

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The Colts have had their own deficiencies this season without star quarterback Andrew Luck. Jacoby Brissett has provided admirable coverage under center with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions, but he has not been able to keep up with a Colts defense that has let up the second-most points in the NFL this season.

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Broncos vs. Colts

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Watch Dallas Cowboys vs. Oakland Raiders live on SNF

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The Oakland Raiders host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football as both teams look to keep their playoff hopes alive.

With a win, Dallas will maintain its chances of sneaking into the playoffs as a wild card. After struggling initially, Dak Prescott has been able to adjust to life without Ezekiel Elliott. Prescott threw for three touchdowns and a season-high 332 yards in the Cowboys win last week over the New York Giants.

If the Cowboys can hang around, Elliott can give them a boost when he returns from suspension next week heading into the final stretch of the season.

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The Raiders also find themselves in need of a win as they are in the middle of a contested AFC West battle with the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offense will need to improve after dropping from the league’s sixth-best offense in 2016 to 19th this season.

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