Earl Thomas

Jaguars QB Bortles says criticism will ‘probably never stop’

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Blake Bortles‘ first postseason victory came with a hefty dose of criticism, maybe even more than ever before.

The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback handled it as well as he did Buffalo’s pass rush.

“It’ll probably never stop,” Bortles said Wednesday. “There’s people that think LeBron James sucks, so if that happens, I’m sure there will be a lot of people that always think I suck.”

The latest insults came from Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard and retired NFL quarterback Chris Simms.

Road to Super Bowl LII: Stream, start time, highlights and more

Byard told the Tennessean this week he wants to make New England’s Tom Brady looks like Bortles. Byard intercepted two of Bortles’ passes in the regular-season finale in Nashville.

“This is a playoff game, so I don’t really care if it was Joe Montana,” Byard said. “You know what I’m saying? I’m trying to go out there and win the game. I want to make him look like Blake Bortles if I can and try to catch a couple picks. Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but it’s a playoff game.”

Simms told The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on Tuesday that Bortles is 70th in his NFL quarterback rankings, below backups Chad Henne (Jacksonville), T.J. Yates (Houston) and Nathan Peterman (Buffalo).

Former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli called into the show to defend Bortles, saying it’s “the most ignorant, asinine statement I’ve ever heard.”

None of it seemed to bother Bortles, who has been sullied all season .

Titans defensive end Jurrell Casey told a Nashville radio station last week that “as long as Bortles is back there, if the ballgame is in his hands, he’s going to choke.”

Bortles also has been publicly ripped by Houston defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Seattle safety Earl Thomas and Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict in the past two months.

“Players or peers talking about you is a little new,” Bortles said last week.

Bortles’ performance against the Bills was far from his best.

He completed 12 of 23 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown. He never settled into a rhythm, and with the game tied in the second half, he stopped throwing and starting scrambling. He finished with 88 yards on the ground, becoming the first quarterback since Atlanta’s Michael Vick in 2004 to win a playoff game with more rushing yards than passing.

“There’s two different ways to look at it,” Bortles said. “You kind of look at the numbers and look at the game and say, `You played terrible.’ Or you look at it and say, `Things weren’t going right here and you found a way to win and be efficient and move the ball and do different things.’ I think that’s how I feel about it. We didn’t have our A-game. I missed a couple throws. Things weren’t going well.

“But you know scrambling around and doing some different things, and guys making some plays, we found a way to score one more time than they did. That’s all you’ve got to do.”

The Jaguars (11-6) won the wild-card game 10-3, with the lone touchdown coming on Bortles’ 1-yard pass on a fourth-and-goal play, and advanced to play at second-seeded Pittsburgh (13-3) on Sunday.

Jacksonville beat the Steelers 30-9 in Pittsburgh earlier this season. Bortles threw just one pass in the second half as the Jags dominated thanks to five interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, and a season-high 231 yards rushing.

Bortles completed 8 of 14 passes for 95 yards, with an interception.

“Hopefully we can throw less,” Bortles said. “That would be awesome. Leonard goes off again and those guys up front play as well they did last time and we can run the ball up there and not have to throw at all. That was something that happened last time, but you never know. … It could be another one of those games or it could be you go up there and throw it 50 times.”

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Listen to Carrie Underwood’s new song, “Oh, Sunday Night” (VIDEO)

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Ready for Sunday Night? Carrie Underwood and friends are here to ensure you are.

Underwood, a seven-time Grammy winner, has a new song for Sunday Night Football, which returns for another season on Sept. 11 with the Patriots vs. the Cardinals. The song, “Oh, Sunday Night,” is set to “Somethin’ Bad,” a chart-topping duet from Underwood and Miranda Lambert which was released in 2014.

Among the 12 NFL players seen with Underwood during the open include: Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Von Miller, Dez Bryant and Clay Matthews, among others.

Listen to the full song below. And remember, you can watch the song on NBC and NBCSports.com on Sept. 11.

The full release is below:

NEW NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL OPEN SONG – CARRIE UNDERWOOD’S “OH, SUNDAY NIGHT” – LISTEN NOW ON NBCSPORTS.COM

New Sunday Night Football Show Open Starring Carrie Underwood & 12 NFL Players Premieres on Sun., Sept. 11 Patriots-Cardinals SNF Opener

Super Bowl MVPs Von Miller & Eli Manning Take Part alongside Russell Wilson, Dez Bryant, Clay Matthews, Patrick Peterson, Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Kam Chancellor, Tyrann Mathieu, Khalil Mack & Earl Thomas

STAMFORD, Conn. – August 29, 2016 – Seven-time Grammy Award-winner and multi-platinum recording artist Carrie Underwood’s new song “Oh, Sunday Night,” the new opening theme for primetime television’s No. 1 program, NBC’s Sunday Night Football, is now available to listen to in its entirety on NBCSports.com.

The open makes its television debut on Sunday, September 11, before the kickoff of New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Underwood is joined in the show open by 12 NFL players, who have accounted for 41 Pro Bowl selections, seven Super Bowl rings, and eight first-round draft picks. Following is the complete list of the players:

  • New York Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown
  • Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant
  • Seattle Seahawks S Kam Chancellor
  • Oakland Raiders LB Khalil Mack
  • New York Giants QB Eli Manning
  • Arizona Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu
  • Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews
  • Denver Broncos LB Von Miller
  • Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson
  • Seattle Seahawks S Earl Thomas
  • Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

“Oh, Sunday Night” is set to the music of “Somethin’ Bad,” a chart-topping duet from Underwood and Miranda Lambert which was released in 2014 and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. Underwood worked with the songwriters of “Somethin’ Bad”– Chris DeStefano, Brett James, and Priscilla Renea – to rewrite the lyrics for Sunday Night Football. The result, “Oh, Sunday Night,” was produced by Mark Bright and Chris DeStefano.

SNF IS TV’S NO. 1 PRIMETIME PROGRAM FOR 5 YEARS RUNNING: For the historic fifth consecutive Sept.-May television season, NBC’s Sunday Night Football finished as television’s No. 1 primetime show in household rating (13.0) and viewership (22.5 million average), as well as the coveted Adult 18-49 demographic (8.0), based on live plus same day data from The Nielsen Company (September-May). Sunday Night Football is one of only four shows since 1950 to rank No. 1 in primetime for five consecutive TV seasons.

About Carrie Underwood:

Carrie Underwood emerged from the promise of her 2005 American Idol win to become a true multi-format, multi-media superstar, spanning achievements in music, television, and film.  A seven-time GRAMMY® Award winner, she has amassed over 100 major honors, sold 58 million records worldwide, and recorded 24 #1 singles, 13 of which she co-wrote, with a catalog of songs that have been streamed more than 1.9 billion times worldwide.  The first female artist to be twice named the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year, Underwood was recognized as Pollstar’s top female country touring artist for her headlining tours in 2008, 2010, and 2012.  Her first four studio albums, Some Hearts, Carnival Ride, Play On, and Blown Away – each certified multi-Platinum or Platinum, and each an American Music Awards winner as Country Album of the Year – tallied an incredible 38 weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.  In 2013, Underwood starred as Maria von Trapp in NBC’s three-hour holiday blockbuster, the Emmy®-winning The Sound of Music Live!, whose airings attracted 44 million viewers.  In December of 2014, the Grand Ole Opry member released her first hits collection, Greatest Hits: Decade #1.Billboard’s best-selling hits album of 2015, the chart-topping package was certified Platinum in January of 2016, making Underwood the only country artist – and one of only six all-genre artists – to launch an album to Platinum success since the time of its release in December of 2014.  Celebrating her first 10 years of music, the collection’s 25 songs included two new #1 hits co-written by Underwood: the Platinum-certified, GRAMMY-winning “Something in the Water,” as well as the Gold-certified “Little Toy Guns.”  This year, she will begin her fourth season as the voice of primetime television’s #1 program, Sunday Night Football, and return for a ninth consecutive year as co-host of the CMA Awards. Underwood’s chart-topping, Gold-certified fifth studio album, Storyteller, has produced three #1 singles with “Smoke Break,” “Heartbeat” and “Church Bells.”

 

 

2016 NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Thurs. Sept. 8 NFL Kickoff  Carolina Panthers at Denver Broncos
Sun. Sept. 11 Week 1   New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals
Sun. Sept. 18 Week 2   Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Sun. Sept. 25 Week 3   Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys
Sun. Oct. 2 Week 4 Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers
*Sun. Oct. 9 Week 5   New York Giants at Green Bay Packers
*Sun. Oct. 16 Week 6 Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
*Sun. Oct. 23 Week 7 Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
*Sun. Oct. 30 Week 8 Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
*Sun. Nov. 6 Week 9 Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
*Sun. Nov. 13 Week 10 Seattle Seahawks at New England Patriots
*Sun. Nov. 20 Week 11  Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins
**Thurs. Nov. 24 Week 12 Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts
*Sun. Nov. 27 Week 12 New England Patriots at New York Jets
*Sun. Dec. 4 Week 13 Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks
*Sun. Dec. 11 Week 14 Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
*Sun. Dec. 18 Week 15 Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
Sun. Dec. 25 Week 16 Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
*Sun. Jan. 1 Week 17 TBD

*Flex Week

** Thanksgiving Night Game

–NBC Sports Group—

Chancellor’s big play allows Seattle to beat Detroit 13-10

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SEATTLE — With one big punch, Kam Chancellor showed his importance to the Seattle Seahawks.

And once again, the Seahawks may have received another Monday night break from the officials in the same end zone where the infamous “Fail Mary” took place.

Chancellor knocked the ball free from Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson at the 1-yard line when it appeared the Lions were going to take the lead, and Seattle held on for a 13-10 win.

With Detroit on the verge of capping a 91-yard drive with the go-ahead touchdown with less than 2 minutes remaining, Chancellor came from the side and punched the ball from Johnson’s arm as he was being tackled by Earl Thomas.

The ball bounded into the end zone where it was guided over the back line by K.J. Wright for a touchback and Seattle’s ball at the 20.

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Wright could have been called for illegal touching for hitting the ball out of the end zone, which would have given the ball back to Detroit. But no flags were thrown and on the ensuing possession, Russell Wilson found Jermaine Kearse for 50 yards on third down. With Detroit out of timeouts, the Seahawks (2-2) ran off the final seconds of their second straight win.

“We can’t change it now,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “It is what it is. We won and we’re going to move on.”

MORE: Wright says he “didn’t know” that rule at all

Detroit fell to 0-4 for its worst start since 2010 when the Lions also started 0-4 on their way to a 6-10 season, and with a schedule that offers little relief going forward.

It was an ugly performance by the home team, filled with offensive mistakes and two fourth-quarter fumbles by Wilson, the second returned 27 yards for a touchdown by Caraun Reid to pull Detroit to 13-10.

But in the end, Seattle’s defense came through.

Starting on their 9 with 6:23 remaining, the Lions converted a big third down on Golden Tate‘s 22-yard catch-and-run and reached the Seattle 46 with 3 minutes left on Ameer Abdullah‘s 9-yard run. Matthew Stafford then zipped a pass to No. 3 tight end Tim Wright down the seam for 26 yards to the Seattle 20 with 2:30 remaining, placing it in-between Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Chancellor.

K.J. Wright
K.J. Wright seen batting the loose football out of the back of the end zone.

The Lions reached the Seattle 11 and on third-and-1, Stafford passed to an open Johnson. As he stretched for the goal line, Chancellor came across and knocked the ball free.

Seattle has not allowed an offensive touchdown in the two games since Chancellor ended his holdout and has forced 18 punts during that stretch.

“It was big time,” Wagner said of Chancellor’s return. “He just made us a whole defense.”

Wilson was forced to be an escape artist as Seattle’s offensive line continued to struggle with protection. Wilson threw for 287 yards and rushed for another 40 yards. Wilson’s most memorable play was spinning free of two near sacks and finding Kearse for 34 yards in the second quarter, and then hitting Doug Baldwin on a 24-yard TD on the next play.

Seattle was without Marshawn Lynch for the first time since Week 7 of the 2011 season against Cleveland when Lynch had back problems flare up during pregame warmups. Thomas Rawls rushed for 104 yards last week in relief of Lynch, but could not get started against a better Lions defense. Rawls finished with 48 yards on 17 carries.

Stafford was 24 of 35 for 203 yards for Detroit, which lost starting tight end Eric Ebron and both starting defensive tackles Haloti Ngata and Tyrunn Walker to injuries.

Ebron suffered a knee injury in the first half after having two early catches, while Ngata and Walker both went out in the second half. Ngata suffered a calf injury while Walker was taken off on a cart after suffering a left leg injury in the fourth quarter.