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Week 8 Target Watch: NFC (Rotoworld)
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:45:00 PDT)
Chet Gresham takes you through all the targets and touches for Week 8 in the NFC.

Emmitt Smith thinks it would take 13 seasons for someone to beat his record (Shutdown Corner)
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:08:43 PDT)

Shutdown Mailbag: Was the Julio Jones trade a bust for the Falcons? (Shutdown Corner)
(Thu, 30 Oct 2014 05:57:48 PDT)

Ranking the NFL coaches: No surprise at No. 1; NFC West well-represented in top 5 (Yahoo Sports)
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:30:31 PDT)
Bruce Arians is right behind a pair of division counterparts who have appeared in Super Bowls.

FANTASY PLAYS: Big Ben dazzles on fantasy benches (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:14:33 PDT)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had the best fantasy performance of the year in Week 8, yet he was probably benched in your league. Now fantasy owners are buzzing about whether they should drop passers like Tony Romo, Matt Ryan or Jay Cutler to roll with Big Ben or ignore the 522-yard, six touchdown performance entirely. In leagues Roethlisberger was only in one-fourth of starting lineups even though he's owned in nearly 90 percent of leagues. If Roethlisberger was burning up your bench while others like Cam Newton and Russell Wilson were disappointing, here's a tip: Don't sweat it.

Romo: Back pain won't be reason he skips Sunday (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:43:49 PDT)
If it's a question of tolerating pain, Tony Romo says he will play Sunday against Arizona - and history supports him on that point. He said Wednesday he doesn't know, which goes to owner Jerry Jones' point that it could be a game-time decision against the Cardinals. Romo said the injury that sidelined him for about a quarter before he returned late in regulation of Monday's 20-17 overtime loss to Washington was ''more than a contusion,'' referring to coach Jason Garrett's description. The latest injury isn't related to the herniated disk Romo played through without leaving the game in a come-from-behind win at Washington before surgery five days later last December.

New Parcells book details flirtation with Atlanta, concerns about black fan base (Shutdown Corner)
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:20:30 PDT)

Cowboys put Durant on injured reserve, add Dobbins (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:03:32 PDT)
IRVING, Texas (AP) -- The Dallas Cowboys have put linebacker Justin Durant on season-ending injured reserve with a torn arm muscle and replaced him by signing Tim Dobbins.

London American football franchise could earn UK £100m - report
(Wed, 29 Oct 2014 06:15:56 PDT)
London (AFP) - The establishment of an American football franchise in London could generate over £100 million ($162 million) a year for the British economy, according to a report published by financial analysts Deloitte on Wednesday.

National Football League roundup
(Tue, 28 Oct 2014 16:55:53 PDT)
(The Sports Xchange) - Champ Bailey's long and distinguished NFL career came to an end Tuesday. Bailey's agent, Jack Reale, said the 12-time Pro Bowl selection decided to retire after 15 seasons in the league with the Washington Redskins and the Denver Broncos. The cornerback had been out of a job since he was released during final cuts before the season by the New Orleans Saints. Reale indicated that several teams had shown interest in Bailey since then, but he chose not to go that route. ...

Falcons sign veteran safety Charles Godfrey (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:30:55 PDT)
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- The Atlanta Falcons signed veteran free agent safety Charles Godfrey and waived safety Sean Baker.

Lions won't offer timetable on injured DT Fairley (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:07:43 PDT)
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell did not disclose a timetable for Nick Fairley's return after the defensive tackle injured his right knee in a win over Atlanta on Sunday.

Shutdown Corner NFL Power Rankings: Will Cardinals have hometown Super Bowl? (Shutdown Corner)
(Mon, 27 Oct 2014 21:37:55 PDT)

Falcons' Smith says job security not a concern (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 27 Oct 2014 16:48:31 PDT)
Coach Mike Smith isn't shying away from criticism as the Atlanta Falcons fall apart for the second straight year. In Smith's first five years with the Falcons, they were 56-24, won two division titles and advanced to the playoffs four times. Atlanta is 6-18 since, but Smith says he's not concerned about job security with eight games remaining. ''No, none whatsoever,'' Smith said on Monday.

Lions in first place after another improbable win (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 27 Oct 2014 15:27:45 PDT)
That familiar refrain ''Same Old Lions'' has been quieted lately. Detroit's star-crossed NFL franchise is now alone in first place in the NFC North thanks to a pair of improbable victories the last two weekends. Sunday's win in London over the Atlanta Falcons was particularly remarkable. The Lions prevailed 22-21 on a last-second field goal by Matt Prater - after a miss by Prater was nullified by a delay-of-game penalty against Detroit.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank: 'Theres no way you lose that game' (Shutdown Corner)
(Mon, 27 Oct 2014 07:31:44 PDT)
The only thing worse than an owner giving a coach a tepid vote of confidence is the owner not giving the coach a vote of confidence. After the Atlanta Falcons' collapse in London, turning a 21-0 halftime lead into a really ugly 22-21 loss , Falcons owner Arthur Blank made it very clear he was not happy. Youre up 21-0, Blank said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . Theres no way you lose that game just no way. Theres nothing else I can say. That's not very comforting to head coach Mike Smith and his staff. Smith was already one of the NFL coaches on the hot seat before the season. The Falcons started well enough, at 2-1, but they haven't won since. The fifth straight loss came on Sunday, when there were numerous coaching errors (and, fairly, many playing errors too) to let the Lions come back to win. The Falcons somehow managed to get a holding penalty on second down and an incomplete pass on third down late in the game, both stopping the clock and allowing the Lions an extra minute to drive into position for a game-winning field goal on the last play. That's pretty inexcusable. No matter the specifics, Blank is right. There's no way the Falcons should have lost that game. Atlanta has a bye in Week 9. The owner is angry. It will be an anxious week for Smith and many others at the Falcons facility. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

Prater makes winning field goal for Lions (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 27 Oct 2014 01:38:04 PDT)
Matt Prater took advantage of another second chance. Prater missed a 43-yard field goal with 4 seconds to go, then got another try because of a delay-of-game penalty. He nailed that one from 48 yards, giving the Detroit Lions a second straight comeback victory, 22-21 over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at Wembley Stadium. Detroit gave Prater a second chance this month after Denver cut ties with the star kicker just as he was about to be eligible to return from a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Resilient Cardinals rally past Eagles (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 27 Oct 2014 01:31:32 PDT)
It's been 40 years since the Cardinals got off to such a good start. These Cardinals, after a late rally for a 24-20 home victory over Philadelphia on Sunday, are shining in the Valley of the Sun, a long way from their previous home in St. Louis. They are 6-1 and atop the NFL's best division, the NFC West. ''I can't say enough about the resiliency of our football players,'' coach Bruce Arians said.

Quarterback Brady blitzes Bears' defence
(Sun, 26 Oct 2014 22:11:06 PDT)
Los Angeles (AFP) - Tom Brady threw five touchdown passes and Brandon LaFell had a career high 11 catches as the New England Patriots hammered the Chicago Bears 51-23.

NFL Today, Week 8 (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 26 Oct 2014 21:09:33 PDT)
DeMarco Murray has 913 yards rushing, the third most since 1980 behind Denver's Terrell Davis (1,001 in 1998) and Baltimore's Jamal Lewis (977 in 2003). Former University of Texas star Colt McCoy will start at quarterback for Washington. The Redskins have lost seven straight prime-time games and are 4-15 on Monday night since 2000. --- STARS Passing -Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, was 40 for 49 for 522 yards and six touchdown passes in Pittsburgh's 51-34 win over Indianapolis.

NFL Winners and Losers: What is wrong with the Chicago Bears? (Shutdown Corner)
(Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:40:52 PDT)
Lamarr Houston provided a perfect punch line, but dont forget the entire joke that was the Chicago Bears performance on Sunday. Houston had perhaps the most embarrassing moment of the season. He suffered what appears to be a serious knee injury celebrating a sack when the Bears trailed by 25 points late in the fourth quarter. It doesn't get much worse than that. Houston's regretful act is fitting, because this entire 2014 Bears experiment looks regrettable. They put together a bunch of combustible personalities, overpaid an average NFL starting quarterback, whiffed on most of their attempts to fix a bad defense, and it all culminated in an awful loss to the New England Patriots. The 51-23 final didnt even reflect how badly the Bears got blown out. Theyre 3-5 after the loss. The conversation with most NFL teams starts with the quarterback, and thats where it begins in Chicago. Jay Cutler is on his way to missing the Pro Bowl and the playoffs for the eighth time in his nine seasons. It should have been a major red flag for the Bears that journeyman Josh McCown played much better than Cutler when Cutler was out with injury last season, but the Bears gave him a $126 million deal this past offseason anyway. Cutler has a long history of being an average NFL starting quarterback despite his tremendous physical gifts. This year he was given perhaps the best supporting cast in the NFL (Denver and Green Bay might argue otherwise) and he has still been unremarkable. Cutler did almost nothing until the Patriots led 38-7. Too often for an offense with Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett, the Bears offense has gone long stretches without making any plays. Part of the problem is their quarterback isnt really special, though he gets paid like he is. Thats not the only problem. Marshall, who took himself out on a fourth-and-10 play against New England, seemed most interested after that loss in jabbing the media for overhearing last weeks locker-room blowup in which Marshall was prominently involved. According to the Chicago Tribunes Rich Campbell , Marshall told reporters after the game, Come on, put yalls ears closer to the door. Its an odd thing to be concerned about immediately following a loss like that. Marshall had one catch for 14 yards at the point the Patriots took a 38-7 lead. The defense added a lot of pieces in the offseason, but something is missing there. They couldnt handle Rob Gronkowski, who had three touchdowns. Tom Brady finished with 354 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. Even if the offense was great (and its not), they aren't going to win many games with this defense anyway. The Bears have some talent, especially on offense. Is chemistry the problem? Focus? Is the quarterback the issue? Is coach Marc Trestman pushing the right buttons? Whatever the issues are, theyre real, and they manifested themselves all afternoon in New England. Here are the rest of the Week 8 winners and losers: WINNERS Todd Bowles: Among all the NFLs coordinators, Bowles should be the top candidate to get hired as a head coach next offseason. Heck, the Atlanta Falcons will be looking for a new head coach soon , and hed make a great fit there. The Arizona Cardinals defensive boss has shown time and again that his incredibly aggressive approach works, and its a major reason the Cardinals are 6-1. On the final play of Sundays win against the Eagles, Bowles showed hes not scared to blitz in any situation. The Eagles were at Arizonas 16-yard line, trailing 24-20 with one second left. And Bowles called an all-out blitz. He sent seven defenders, an incredible decision at that point in the game. Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles backpedaled and backpedaled and finally had to loft up a pass that Eagles receiver Jordan Matthews caught out of bounds. Almost any coach would not risk the criticism that would come with sending a blitz like that on the last play of the game. Bowles did it, and like most things he has dialed up for his defense (which has played without key pieces all season, including concussed cornerback Patrick Peterson for most of Sundays game), it worked. What a call. Anthony Barr: Not too many people suffered through the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Minnesota Vikings game on Sunday, but those who did saw a rookie linebacker make a phenomenal play to win it. Barr, the ninth pick of this years draft, stripped Tampa Bay tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins of the ball on the first play of overtime, recovered the fumble and returned it 27 yards for the game-winning score, a walk-off hat trick. Barrs career is off to a good start, with 54 tackles and three sacks in eight games. The Vikings also got a nice contribution from their other first-round pick, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater led a game-tying drive at the end of regulation. Barr finished it off with a great play in overtime. The Vikings should be pretty excited about that. Next week's Broncos vs. Patriots matchup: There were times in the first half of this season when it seemed like the Broncos-Patriots matchup wouldnt be all that great. The Patriots, in particular, had their struggles early in the season. Next Sundays game looks really intriguing now. The Broncos are playing at a very high level, and are clearly the best team in football at this moment. But the re-emergence of Gronkowski as one of the NFLs best players and improvements elsewhere in the Patriots lineup, especially on the offensive line, have given the Patriots the look of a real contender. The Bears were terrible on Sunday, but the Patriots had a lot to do with that. And that sets up another classic Peyton Manning-Tom Brady matchup next Sunday. Awesome. Arian Foster: There were good reasons to think think Foster was entering 2014 on a career slide. Foster, who had experienced a tremendous workload early in his Texans career, had his average yards per carry dip in 2011 and again in 2012. He played in just eight games last year due to injury. He turned 28 in August, which isnt young for a running back, and was going to run in a one-dimensional offense with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. And he has been tremendous. Foster was great once again on Sunday. He had 151 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown in Houstons 30-16 win. He has rushed for at least 100 yards in all six games he has started and finished this year. If it werent for Dallas DeMarco Murray lapping the field at running back, more people would be focusing on Fosters incredible season. The pigeon at the Dolphins-Jaguars game: There wasnt much reason to attend the Dolphins-Jaguars game on Sunday, but one pigeon refused to go. First, Jaguars mascot Jaxson de Ville tried with no success to oust the bird in the third quarter and the pigeon refused to be denied and was still around for the fourth quarter. Hey, you can't say nobody wanted to stick around to watch the Jaguars' 27-13 loss. LOSERS Colts defense: They spent last week in the winners circle, and definitely deserve a spot here after whatever that was against Pittsburgh on Sunday. How do you evaluate a defense that gave up 135 yards, eight first downs and zero points against the Bengals a week ago (who looked just fine in beating the Ravens this week), then give up 371 yards, 20 first downs and 35 points in the first half alone to the Steelers? Cornerback Vontae Davis was knocked out of the game with a knee injury, but thats not the difference between giving up zero points a week ago and 51 to Pittsburgh. The Colts let Ben Roethlisberger throw for 522 yards, the fourth-most passing yards in NFL history, and six touchdowns. Id like to say here that this means the Colts are in trouble, or it was a one-game glitch, or anything else substantial, but when a team swings from one extreme to another like that its impossible for anyone to know whats coming next. Challengers to Norm Van Brocklins record: There have been numerous ways passing offense has improved and been encouraged to improve via the rules since the 1950s. Given that, one of the most incredible things in the game is that Van Brocklins single-game passing yardage record of 554 yards, set in 1951, has never been broken. Warren Moon came very close once. Tony Romo made a run at it last year and fell short against the Broncos. Ben Roethlisberger was on pace for most of Sundays game against the Colts, but fell 32 yards short. The Steelers should have let Roethlisberger go for the record when they got the ball back, ahead by 17 points in the final minutes (spare me any run up the score stuff, its not possible to run up the score against another professional team; that concept doesnt exist among athletes getting paid to play for 60 minutes of football). But the Steelers ran out the clock instead. And Van Brocklin remains king. The record will be broken eventually, but as Roethlisberger showed, itll take a specific set of circumstances. The Steelers won 51-34, and werent in a position where they had to throw much in the fourth quarter, or even wanted to pass much with Andrew Luck on the other sideline. To beat the record, a quarterback would need to get a ton of attempts and continue throwing for four quarters in a close game (in which the other team scores quickly too), and get a few big plays along the way. Until then, the Hall of Famer Van Brocklin will remain king. Jake Long: A former first overall pick is looking at another season-ending injury and another long rehabilitation. Long, the first pick of the 2008 NFL draft and the St. Louis Rams' left tackle, will likely finish his fourth straight season on injured reserve after suffering what the team fears is a torn ACL, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatchs Jim Thomas . Long tore his biceps in 2011, his triceps in 2012, and his ACL late last season and landed on injured reserve each time. Longs career was off to a great start, with four Pro Bowl invitations and an All-Pro nod in his first four seasons. He has had tremendously bad luck with injuries since then. Ben Roethlisberger, punter: Roethlisberger had one of the greatest passing days in NFL history on Sunday. He also had a punt blocked, which is just about impossible for a quarterback. How does that even happen? Take a look: - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

Roethlisberger and Brady enjoy vintage performances
(Sun, 26 Oct 2014 17:43:09 PDT)
By Simon Evans (Reuters) - Ben Roethlisberger threw for six touchdowns and Tom Brady five as the quarterbacks for the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots enjoyed wins on Sunday. Roethlisberger threw a career best 522 yards, completing 40 of 49 passes as the Steelers snapped Indianapolis Colt's five- game winning streak with a hugely entertaining 51-34 victory. The Patriots crushed the Chicago Bears 51-23 while defending Super Bowl champions the Seattle Seahawks got back to winning ways with a 13-9 victory at Carolina. ...

Brady shines as Patriots crush Bears, Seahawks bounce back
(Sun, 26 Oct 2014 14:11:22 PDT)
By Simon Evans (Reuters) - Tom Brady threw for five touchdowns as the New England Patriots crushed the Chicago Bears 51-23 while defending Super Bowl champions the Seattle Seahawks got back to winning ways with a 13-9 victory at Carolina on Sunday. The New York Jets benched quarterback Geno Smith for Michael Vick after he threw three first-quarter interceptions in the 43-23 home loss to the Buffalo Bills - Rex Ryan's team's seventh straight defeat. Brady completed 30 of 35 passes and for 354 yards as the Patriots destroyed the Bears taking a 38-7 lead by halftime. ...

Lions rally to beat Falcons 22-21 in London (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 26 Oct 2014 12:12:45 PDT)
Matt Prater missed a 43-yard field goal attempt with 4 seconds to go, then got another chance because of a delay-of-game penalty. He nailed that one from 48 yards, giving the Detroit Lions (6-2) a second straight comeback victory, 22-21 over the Atlanta Falcons (2-6). Detroit trailed 21-0 at halftime Sunday at Wembley Stadium in the earliest start in NFL history. I played two years with him before,'' Lions cornerback Cassius Vaughn said.

Matt Ryan throws the worst pick of the season in one of the NFL's worst collapses of the season (Shutdown Corner)
(Sun, 26 Oct 2014 10:28:20 PDT)
The Falcons have now smeared their stench on two continents. The Atlanta Falcons fell to the Detroit Lions 22-21 early Sunday morning in the latest NFL export to London, a game that showed we're apparently not still over that whole "no taxation without representation" thing. How else to explain the utter garbage that America foisted on England? This wasn't just a bad game, this was the bad game, absolute Peak Falcons. Atlanta took a 21-0 lead into the half. Never before had Atlanta lost a game when leading by three touchdowns at halftime. Surely not even the Falcons could blow this one, right? In the first half, the Lions were the Oasis to Atlanta's Beatles, a weak-sauce imitation, overmatched and scarcely worthy of being on the same field. That all changed in the second half, when Matthew Stafford went full AMERICA and began slinging downfield passes that actually found their targets. Chief among those: a 59-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to Golden Tate that may have traveled 60-plus yards in the air. Detroit couldn't convert several of its red zone visits into touchdowns, including two second-and-goals from the 4- and the 2-yard lines. But in the battle of who could stink less, Detroit came out the winner, largely because Atlanta seems predestined to produce an awful NFL season. Consider, for example, the interception Atlanta QB Matt Ryan threw at the end of the third quarter. Flushed out of the pocket, the normally steady Ryan slung a ball across his body into a region of the field devoid of red jerseys. This was hideous, a pass thrown with all the direction, velocity and foresight of a wet towel. And although Detroit turned that interception only into a field goal, closing the Lions to within 21-13, the writing was on the cathedral wall. Atlanta surrendered another touchdown, managed to evade getting justly penalized on the conversion attempt, and then mismanaged its final possession badly enough to leave the door open wide for Detroit. Atlanta's defense then demonstrated all the mobility of the Queen's Guard, and Detroit walked down the field in moments to set up the game-winning kick. In an appropriate underlining of the futility of the Falcons' effort, Detroit won on that field goal, the aspect of the game that's bedeviled the Lions all season long. This, then, is a Falcons team in free fall. Since coming within one play of reaching the Super Bowl at the end of the 2012 season, Atlanta is 6-18, a mass of defenseless disunity that lacks all sense of direction despite possessing some of the league's top talent at key positions. Falcons owner Arthur Blank is the embodiment of steadiness in the NFL ownership ranks, sticking with his hires even when all around him are lighting the torches and sharpening the pitchforks, but even Blank can't rationalize away the complete loss of cohesiveness for this team. Head coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff may not even return to America with jobs, and you'd find few, if any, Falcons supporters shedding tears over that. Regardless, Blank and the Falcons need to get this mess of a franchise righted, or at least pointed in the right direction, soon. The Falcons will be moving into a new stadium in three years, and the idea of four- and five-figure personal seat licenses for this team is laughable. (Unless the Falcons are paying the four- and five-figure fees, that is.) There are bad teams and there are pathetic teams, and on Sunday morning in London, the Falcons crossed over from the former to the latter. ____ Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. Follow @jaybusbee And keep up with Jay over on Facebook , too.

Mike Smith's late coaching gaffes cost Atlanta Falcons a win in London (Shutdown Corner)
(Sun, 26 Oct 2014 10:11:29 PDT)
Dear British fans: This is not how the final few minutes of a game are supposed to go. However, these are the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions, so all bets were off on Sunday. Both coaching staffs made fascinating and curiously awful decisions late in the game. In the end the Falcons' putrid game management was more gobsmacking than their opponent, and the Lions down 21-0 at the half came back for a 22-21 win at Wembley Stadium on a Matt Prater field goal at the buzzer. It was only the second time in franchise history that the Falcons have blown a 21-point lead, the last coming in 2003. That drops them to 2-6, and it puts head coach Mike Smith squarely on the hot seat. Smith's coaching errors, almost too many to count, cost them this game. With the sad NFC South still in doubt, a win would have put them squarely (and inexplicably) in the playoff race. But this loss underscores just how far the Falcons have fallen the past two seasons. The Lions chipped away at the three-TD lead, possessing the ball almost 19 minutes in the second half, with two Prater field goals and a Golden Tate 59-yard touchdown from Matthew Stafford. At the end of a 13-play, 69-yard drive under the four-minute mark in the fourth quarter, the Lions cut the lead to 21-19 on a Theo Riddick 5-yard catch. The subsequent two-point conversion was no good, but it appeared the officials missed a pass-interference call on which Tate appeared to he held with the ball in the air. The Falcons got the ball back and, fueled by a great play call against the Lions' run blitz, took the ball to the Lions' 40-yard line on a Julio Jones screen play at the two-minute warning. That looked to be the final spike in the Falcons' sides. But Smith did his best to give the Lions a chance. After a first-down run, the Falcons ran it again and were flagged for an offensive hold. That (not Smith's fault) cost the Falcons a chance to run off 40 or so seconds. But third down was the coach's fault. The Falcons called a pass (!), which of course fell incomplete. In three downs, the Falcons were able to milk a mere 14 seconds, with the Lions calling only one timeout. Amazing execution there. After the Falcons punted, the Lions started from their own 7 and Stafford hit Tate for 32 yards and Riddick for 20 more both brilliant catches against the Falcons' pudding-soft defense. The Lions moved to the Atlanta 31-yard line as time continued to tick, and all indications were that Detroit head coach Jim Caldwell was playing for a 48-yard field goal. Mind you: Prater had been 2-of-4 on field-goal attempts, the Lions' kickers colectively this season have been a stunningly bad 9-of-19 on tries this season, and the Wembley pitch field appeared like it had hosted a week's worth of cow grazing. Again, Smith felt generous. The timeout-less Lions called for a Joique Bell run, and Smith called timeout. Did he have 10 men on the field? Was there an injured player? We could see no evidence of this? The Lions were playing for a low-percentage kick, and the Falcons felt like helping them out. Inexplicable. On third down, the Falcons defense sensed a theme and decided to make the try easier.First, of all, running the ball with 24 seconds and no timeouts was risky as heck for Detroit, having to run the kicking team onto the field in 12-14 seconds and get set for a tough kick. But Falcons defensive tackle Paul Soliai was called for a defensive hold, and it moved the Lions five yards closer and gave them a first down. What's amazing is that the Lions tried their best to lose the game as well.On third down, Prater lined up a 43-yard try and missed it, but the football gods were not about to let Smith off the hook. A delay-of-game call superceded Prater's miss, and his longer attempt from 48 was, naturally, good. Smith, like the Oakland Raiders' Dennis Allen a month earlier, will have a long flight home. One in which his life, and his Falcons career, could flash before him. We won't delve into a long discussion about the actual vs. the perceived strength of the Falcons' roster, which actually doesn't matter. Two things do, however: One, owner Arthur Blank clearly believes his Falcons should be more successful than they are a year after Smith barely kept his job, and two, Smith clearly cost his team a win today on many levels. Although the Falcons not named Smith did their best to give this game away, with Tate's long TD coming on a 3rd and 25 and Matt Ryan throwing a terrible second-half interception , the coaching errors at game's end were just too hard to overlook. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm

Lions' Fairley, Falcons' Carimi and Smith injured (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 26 Oct 2014 09:19:22 PDT)
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley injured his right knee Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons and was ruled out for the game, dealing a blow to the Lions' league-leading pass rush. The Falcons' already depleted offensive line also took a hit as starting right tackle Gabe Carimi injured his ankle late in the first half. The Falcons said his return was questionable. Later, the Falcons also lost one of their backup running backs, Antone Smith, to a neck injury.

Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush inactive for early game in London (Shutdown Corner)
(Sun, 26 Oct 2014 06:12:39 PDT)

Lions WR Johnson inactive for game against Falcons (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 26 Oct 2014 05:58:41 PDT)
LONDON (AP) -- Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson was inactive for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium.

Silva's Week 8 Matchups (Rotoworld)
(Sat, 25 Oct 2014 21:15:00 PDT)
Evan Silva breaks down every fantasy option in every Week 8 game.

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