Colts QB Jacoby Brissett will play against the Titans

Colts QB Jacoby Brissett will play against the Titans

The Indianapolis Colts will have Jacoby Brissett in action after he cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett passed the NFL’s concussion protocol and will play in Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans,according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Following the Colts’ Week 10 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brissett developed concussion-like symptoms — and the Colts placed him into the NFL’s concussion protocol.

On Saturday, one day before a Week 12 game against a divisional rival, Indianapolis’ physician and an independent neurological consultant medically cleared him to play on Sunday.

What happened?

During the fourth quarter against the Steelers, Brissett took a huge hit to the head and was slow to return to his feet. The Colts’ medical staff went on the field and checked on him. A few moments later, they ushered him to the sidelines and put him through concussion tests, which he passed. Brissett threw for 222 yards to go along with two touchdowns and an interception in that 20-17 loss.

He developed the concussion-like symptoms after the game, which caused the Colts to place him in the NFL’s concussion protocol. But luckily for Indianapolis, it had a bye week in Week 12.

On Monday, November 20, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano told Zak Keefer of that Brissett “should be OK.” Brissett took “the lion’s share” of snaps during Monday’s practice, and Pagano said he looked good. Even though Brissett was still in the concussion protocol, Pagano said the Colts “should be fine.”

Brissett was a full participant in each of the Colts’ practices this week, and the team can finally breathe a sigh of relief. The team doctor and neurologist medically cleared him, so he will line up under center against the Titans.

Why does this matter?

The Colts dodged a huge bullet. This team already lost Andrew Luck, who is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, for the season. The Colts’ offense wouldn’t pose much of a threat without Brissett.

At 3-7, the Colts are trying to end their season on a high note, although their chances of making the playoffs are slim. The team as a whole has been hard to watch this year, but Brissett was one of the few bright spots. If the Colts want to knock off the Titans, they have to protect Brissett, who was sacked three times against the Steelers and a total of 35 times this season.

Brissett has thrown for 2,172 yards to go along with nine touchdowns and five interceptions this season. He also racked up 154 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Outside of receiver T.Y. Hilton, Brissett has been the Colts’ lone threat on offense.

Cardinals host awkward reunion of all 3 Jaguars QB busts

Cardinals host awkward reunion of all 3 Jaguars QB busts

The ghosts of Jaguars quarterback past will all have a hand in the Week 12 matchup.

Tom Tingle-USA TODAY Sports

When Blaine Gabbert faces the Jacksonville Jaguars defense Sunday, it’ll be the first time he’s played against the team that drafted him in the first round six years ago. Now with the Arizona Cardinals, Gabbert is the starter again with Carson Palmer nursing a broken arm and backup Drew Stanton dealing with a knee injury. Gabbert is also coached by Byron Leftwich — a first-round pick for the Jaguars in 2003.

Gabbert, Leftwich and current Jaguars starter Blake Bortles are the only three quarterbacks the team has ever taken in the first round. And all three will have a significant hand in a Week 12 game between the Cardinals and Jaguars.

It’s the Jaguars’ zombie apocalypse.

Each was a top-10 pick and fell firmly into the bust category for Jacksonville, making Sunday an awkward reminder of a long era of futility for the Jaguars.

Leftwich struggled with injuries in his four seasons with the Jaguars before he was released in 2007. After bouncing around the league as a backup, he entered the coaching ranks as a Cardinals intern in 2016 and quickly rose to become the team’s quarterbacks coach earlier this year. Sunday will be his first time coaching against the Jaguars.

Gabbert was in his third season in Jacksonville when he was replaced in the starting lineup by Chad Henne in 2013. He was traded to the San Francisco 49ers the next offseason — two months before Bortles was drafted — and joined the Cardinals three years later as a free agent.

Despite his rocky tenure with the Jaguars — which included a coach on the team anonymously calling him “Blame” Gabbert — the Cardinals’ quarterback is entering his reunion game with no hard feelings.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Gabbert told reporters this week. “I’m a firm believer in that, and it didn’t work out there. There were things in my control, some things out of my control, but for whatever reason, it just didn’t work. I wouldn’t change it at all. I learned a lot, met a lot of great people there.”

His matchup against the Jacksonville defense may not go as smoothly as his solid showing against the Texans in Week 11, though. The Jaguars are 7-3 on the back of a dominant defense that is No. 1 in the NFL in points allowed, yards allowed, passing yards allowed, and turnovers forced.

The team has won four straight in spite of Bortles — a fourth-year quarterback who has been turnover prone throughout his career and looks like a long shot to be the Jaguars’ starter in 2018.

Still, this Jaguars team is rolling and Sunday could look a lot more like Gabbert’s time on “shitty teams” in the past than his recent success.

The Patriots ran a fake punt for the 1st time in 13 years, and it worked perfectly

The Patriots ran a fake punt for the 1st time in 13 years, and it worked perfectly

Nate Ebner snapped a long streak for the Patriots with his 14-yard fake punt Sunday.

The New England Patriots only picked up two yards on the first three plays against the Miami Dolphins in Week 12, but the drive still ended in a touchdown after the team ran a fake punt for the first time in 13 years.

A direct snap to special teams ace Nate Ebner led to a 14-yard gain that kept the Patriots’ offense on the field.

Unfortunately for the Patriots, the play resulted in a knee injury for Ebner that was serious enough to immediately rule him out for the remainder of the game.

But the play eventually led to a 2-yard touchdown run for Rex Burkhead that gave New England an early 7-0 lead. The clever fake that the Dolphins couldn’t stop might not have even been Bill Belichick’s call, but Ebner’s at the line of scrimmage.

Ebner made a call before the snap. Looks like he ordered the fake on the field because, I’d guess, the Patriots saw a vulnerability in film study that they could expose with the right look.

— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) November 26, 2017

The last fake for the Patriots? An unsuccessful direct snap to Larry Izzo on Dec. 12, 2004. Izzo played 13 seasons of special teams in the NFL and is now the special teams coordinator for the Houston Texans.

Never rule out anything from the Patriots.

DeShone Kizer cleared to return for Browns after getting evaluated for concussion

DeShone Kizer cleared to return for Browns after getting evaluated for concussion

DeShone Kizer went to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

DeShone Kizer headed to the locker room Sunday in the second quarter to be evaluated for a concussion, but he returned for the team after one drive when he was cleared. The Cleveland Browns turned to Cody Kessler against the Cincinnati Bengals for just one series.

Kizer, 21, has struggled in 2017, but he started Sunday with four completions on five passes with 65 yards before he left the game. Kessler took over in the second quarter with Cleveland trailing, 10-3. On his first and only drive, the Browns went three-and-out with Kessler getting sacked on third down.

The Browns need Kizer in action because Kessler is the only other quarterback option for the team with Kevin Hogan inactive.

During his tumultuous rookie season that has featured a league-leading 14 interceptions and just five touchdowns, Kizer has been benched twice by the team and dealt with migraines earlier in the year.

A couple weeks ago, he exited a game against the Detroit Lions due to a rib injury, but he returned to the game after Kessler briefly took over. In two appearances in 2017, Kessler has completed 11 of 22 passes for 126 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.

Browns turned to emergency punter Zane Gonzalez, who shanked his first try

Browns turned to emergency punter Zane Gonzalez, who shanked his first try

With Britton Colquitt sidelined, the Browns didn’t have another capable punter.

The Cleveland Browns relied on kicker Zane Gonzalez to handle the punting duties after Britton Colquitt took a helmet-to-helmet hit while trying to make a tackle on a punt return. Unfortunately for the Browns, Gonzalez doesn’t look like he’s good at the job.

On the first punt try for Gonzalez, he shanked it off the side of his foot for just 16 yards.

Colquitt was taken to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion, but he returned to the field for the last play of the first half as a holder for Gonzalez. That appears to mean Colquitt will be back for Cleveland in the second half, which looks like really good news for the Browns.

There have been a few examples of teams turning to emergency kickers in 2017, but Gonzalez is the first emergency punter of the year. The rookie kicker never attempted a punt in his four seasons at Arizona State.

Considering how his first attempt went, the Browns might be better off if they just let DeShone Kizer handle the punting duties if Colquitt leaves again.

Browns’ chances for a comeback tanked by a questionable call on Jabrill Peppers

Browns’ chances for a comeback tanked by a questionable call on Jabrill Peppers

Jabrill Peppers appeared to give the Browns a chance at a game-tying drive. Instead, he got a shaky personal foul.

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns safety Jabrill Peppers appeared to end a drive for the Cincinnati Bengals when he delivered a huge hit on wide receiver Josh Malone that jarred the ball loose and forced a fourth down. Instead, it drew a personal foul for a hit on a defenseless receiver and extended a drive for Cincinnati.

But the penalty on Peppers was questionable, at best. Malone was taking his third step down the sideline before he was drilled by Peppers in the chest.

Browns coach Hue Jackson wasn’t happy with the call after the game.

Hue Jackson on the call on Jabrill Peppers: “That’s a huge call in the game. You’ve got to get it right … I stand behind [Peppers].”

— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 26, 2017

Instead of punting, the Bengals got a fresh set of downs and finished the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run for Joe Mixon that pushed the lead to 14 and sealed a big win for the Bengals.

Cleveland fell to 0-11 and struggled offensively again, so it’s far from a guarantee that DeShone Kizer could’ve led the Browns to another touchdown in the final minutes. Last week, the rookie had the chance to do so against the Jacksonville Jaguarsbut fumbled twice.

Still, in a frustrating and fruitless season for the Browns, it doesn’t help when they’re not getting the calls either.

Marshawn Lynch personally escorted Aqib Talib through the Oakland sideline after Broncos-Raiders brawl

Marshawn Lynch personally escorted Aqib Talib through the Oakland sideline after Broncos-Raiders brawl

Lynch made sure there wouldn’t be anymore trouble between Talib and the Raiders.

Aqib Talib was ejected from Broncos vs. Raiders after a fight between him and Michael Crabtreestarted a brawl on the field. But Talib had to walk right by the Raiders’ bench to get to the locker room. So Marshawn Lynch personally escorted him.

It looks like Talib had some things to say to Raiders staff on the sideline. But Lynch just calmly walks him past the bench and keeps Talib on his path to the locker room.

Talib got into it with Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree. Crabtree blocked Talib right out of bounds on a play. They went to the ground, punches were thrown, and other players piled on. Crabtree and Talib were both ejected for their role in the fight, as was Raiders guard Gabe Jackson.

Crabtree and Talib have a history dating back to last year. Talib snatched Crabtree’s chain right off of his neck in the Raiders’ Week 17 game against the Broncos. He did it again on Sunday, which may have sparked the fight in the first place.

After that brawl, things are probably still a little chippy. So Lynch made sure there wouldn’t be anymore drama between Talib and the Raiders, which was probably a smart call.

It took 11 games, but the Raiders finally got their first INT of the season vs. Broncos

It took 11 games, but the Raiders finally got their first INT of the season vs. Broncos

It’s about time!

The Raiders went 10 full games this season without a single interception. That changed on Sunday against the Broncos.

It’s Paxton Lynch’s very first start. He tried to hit tight end Virgil Green, but Navorro Bowman was able to grab the ball after it was tipped by his teammate.

It wasn’t a great series for the Broncos. Two plays earlier, they appeared to have scored a touchdown on a 19-yard Lynch pass to Devontae Booker. But the score was overturned on review.

The Raiders are still last in the NFL right now with just one pick on the season. But at least they finally got one.

Amari Cooper ruled out with a concussion after a hit to the head vs. Broncos

Amari Cooper ruled out with a concussion after a hit to the head vs. Broncos

The wide receiver was knocked out at first, but was able to walk off the field under his own power.

Amari Cooper left Broncos vs. Raiders in the second quarter after taking a brutal hit from safety Darian Stewart. Cooper was initially knocked unconscious.

The team confirmed that Cooper has a concussion and will be out for the rest of the game.

Medical staff brought out the cart for Cooper, but he was able to get up and walk off the field under his own power.

Stewart was flagged for unnecessary roughness. But it wasn’t a helmet-to-helmet hit. It looks more like incidental contact.

Stewart was also hurt on the play. He ran off the field after the hit with what appeared to be a shoulder injury or possibly a stinger, according to ESPN’s Jeff Legwold. But he was able to return to the game quickly.

Cooper’s injury takes yet another receiving target away from Derek Carr. The Raiders also lost Michael Crabtree when he was ejected after a fight between him and Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib that set off a full-fledged brawl between the two teams.

Before the injury, Cooper had one reception, which was a 9-yard touchdown. The Raiders lead the Broncos 14-0 at home.

Paxton Lynch leaves Broncos vs. Raiders with an ankle injury

Paxton Lynch leaves Broncos vs. Raiders with an ankle injury

Trevor Siemian will take over.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Paxton Lynch finally got a shot to start for the Broncos this season in Week 12 against the Raiders. But he went down in the third quarter with an ankle injury.

Lynch tried putting weight on the ankle to prepare to come back into the game. But the team ruled him out almost immediately.

Trevor Siemian entered the game and took over for Lynch.

The quarterback position has been a weakness for the Broncos this season. Lynch suffered a shoulder injury in the preseason that kept him sidelined for most of the year. Siemian landed the starting job at the beginning of the season and threw for 1,669 yards, nine touchdowns, and 10 picks.

Siemian was benched and replaced by Brock Osweiler in Weeks 9, 10, and 11. Osweiler completed 53 percent of his passes for 683 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions.

Lynch went 9-of-14 for 41 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception before exiting the game. He also took four sacks.