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Ryan delighted that Falcons off to 2-1 start (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:27:18 PDT)
Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons have played well twice at home and looked terrible in one road game. The Falcons, coming off a 4-12 record that caused Ryan to question his entire offseason training regimen, are off to a 2-1 start. ''With that being said, even as good as tonight was, I think there are areas where we can improve and get better.'' The Buccaneers were flat in their first two games, but still only lost at home by a combined eight points to Derek Anderson-led Carolina and Austin Davis-led St. Louis. ''I thought I had our football team ready to play, and obviously we weren't ready to play,'' Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith said.

Your Top Plays for Today (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:17:46 PDT)
Your Top Plays for Today: AP's Sports Guide

Dose: Falcons Dismantle Bucs (Rotoworld)
(Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:01:00 PDT)
Jeff Brubach recaps Thursday's blowout and other fantasy news and notes from around the league.

Hester sets return record as Atlanta thrash Buccaneers
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 22:46:21 PDT)
(Reuters) - The Atlanta Falcons punished Tampa Bay on the ground and through the air as they blasted the Buccaneers 56-14 on Thursday with Devin Hester setting a record for touchdown returns. The Falcons scored 21 points in the first quarter and grabbed a 35-0 lead by halftime at the Georgia Dome. Hester scored two first-half touchdowns, the second of which was from a 62-yard punt return to set a NFL record with the 20th TD of his career from a kick return. Hester danced his way into the end zone with his best impersonation of Deion Sanders, the Hall of Famer he passed to set the mark. ...

Falcons romp to 56-14 win over hapless Buccaneers (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:49:07 PDT)
Devin Hester high-stepped into the NFL record book. Matt Ryan had as many touchdown passes as incompletions. Julio Jones made a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch tumbling into the end zone. Hester set an NFL record with his 20th return for a touchdown, Ryan threw for 286 yards and three TDs, and Jones hauled in nine passes for 161 yards and a couple of scores to lead the Falcons past the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 56-14 on Thursday night.

Falcons Blast Buccaneers, 56-14 (Automated Insights)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:38:39 PDT)
The Tampa Bay defense had no answer for Julio Jones as he led the way to a rout for the Falcons over the hapless Buccaneers, 56-14, at home.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers embarrass themselves in blowout loss at Atlanta (Shutdown Corner)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:42:31 PDT)


McCown, Douglas leave Bucs-Falcons with injuries (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:35:28 PDT)
ATLANTA (AP) -- Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown left the game against Atlanta with an injured thumb.

Matchups: Joique's Week (Rotoworld)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:13:00 PDT)
Evan Silva highlights Joique Bell in this week's Matchups column, which discusses every fantasy option in every Week 3 game.

Devin Hester sets NFL record with 20th TD return (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:53:26 PDT)
Devin Hester has set an NFL record with his 20th return for a touchdown, breaking the mark he shared with Deion Sanders. Hester returned a punt 56 yards for a touchdown midway through the second quarter to give the Atlanta Falcons a stunning 35-0 lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night. He took the punt at his own 44, found a seam up the middle, and zipped around the last man who had a shot at him, punter Michael Koenen. Hester high-stepped the last 20 yards or so, a hand behind his ear - the move that Sanders made famous during his Hall of Fame career.

Devin Hester breaks Deion Sanders' NFL record for return touchdowns (Shutdown Corner)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:46:21 PDT)
Devin Hester has done one thing  – return kicks – better than anyone in NFL history. He cleared up any doubt about that on Thursday night. In the second quarter, Hester weaved through the Buccaneers' special teams on a punt return and got into the open field. He beat the punter and strolled into the end zone for the 20th return touchdown of his career, breaking Deion Sanders' record of 19. That gave Atlanta a 35-0 lead. Hester even showed Sanders some love by putting his left hand behind his head and high-stepping the final few yards, one of Sanders' signature moves when he was returning punts and interceptions for touchdown with the Falcons. Hester, who is in his first season with the Falcons after spending his first eight seasons with the Bears, redefined the position of returner. He never really became more than a role player at receiver for the Bears, although the Falcons are getting a lot out of him. Hester also scored on a reverse at the start of the second quarter (and he also forced a fumble on a great hustle play in the first quarter). Even though Hester naver became a star on offense, he's the most electifying return man ever. Sanders didn't argue that point after Hester broke his record. @D_Hest23 like I said is the BEST EVER!! #TRUTH — DeionSanders (@DeionSanders) September 19, 2014 Sanders and Hester also shared an emotional interview after the game: Now that Hester has broken the return record it begs the question, should he be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? [ Join FanDuel's $1.25 million, 1-week fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 11,490 teams get paid ] Sanders is in because he was also perhaps the greatest cover cornerback of all time. Can Hester get in being a specialist? Ray Guy just became the first full-time punter to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. That should give Hester hope. Being the greatest ever at his position should at least get Hester a long look from the voters. Hester deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Even if he doesn't ger there, he now has a record for return touchdowns that doesn't seem like it will be broken for a long, long time. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

Devin Hester's hustle play sets tone for Falcons, and Bucs (Shutdown Corner)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:28:27 PDT)
The only signs of life the Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed early Thursday night lasted about two seconds. Falcons tight end Levine Toilolo caught a short pass, which wasn't a surprise since every Falcons player seemed open against a Buccaneers defense that looked disinterested in playing. Toilolo fumbled when he was hit, and Buccaneers safety Mark Barron started to run with it. But Falcons receiver Devin Hester ran Verner down quickly and punched the ball out from behind, then recovered to give Atlanta the ball back. That's how the entire first quarter went for Tampa Bay and Atlanta. Hester, the longtime Chicago Bear who is off to a tremendous start in Atlanta, scored on a reverse on the first play of the first quarter to give the Falcons a 28-0 lead. The Buccaneers, who lost two home games to backup quarterbacks to start the season, looked clueless as the Falcons swamped them. [ Join FanDuel's $1.25 million, 1-week fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 11,490 teams get paid ] One team looked ready to play and the other didn't look like it cared too much, and that was summed up with Hester's great hustle play to get the ball back for Atlanta in the first quarter.   - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

Roddy White sidelined with sore hamstring (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 16:58:25 PDT)
ATLANTA (AP) -- Atlanta receiver Roddy White was a surprise addition to Falcons' list of inactive players Thursday night against Tampa Bay.

Week 3 Rankings (Rotoworld)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 16:55:00 PDT)
Patrick Daugherty breaks down all of Week 3's top plays, including No. 1 replacement back Knile Davis.

Bills WRs Watkins, Woods enjoy complementary start (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:55:10 PDT)
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- Robert Woods was a big fan of fellow Bills starting receiver Sammy Watkins long before the two began sharing neighboring lockers.

Matchups: Bucs @ Falcons (Rotoworld)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:09:00 PDT)
Evan Silva dissects the matchups for every fantasy-relevant offensive player in Thursday night's Bucs-Falcons game.

NFL teams speed up response to domestic violence woes
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:08:28 PDT)
By Steve Ginsburg WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The National Football League is showing signs of getting off the sidelines in the brouhaha over domestic violence and taking up a new playbook. The Arizona Cardinals suspended Jonathan Dwyer after his arrest on charges of head-butting and breaking the nose of a woman. The Baltimore Ravens invited fans to trade in jerseys of former star player Ray Rice, who has been indefinitely suspended for punching out his wife. ...

Titans-Bengals capsule (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:51:41 PDT)
TENNESSEE (1-1) at CINCINNATI (2-0)

Gates still a slam dunk for Chargers at age 34 (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:50:38 PDT)
Go ahead and question Antonio Gates because he's 34. ''Just being able to run a route and get open and get separation.

Bengals star wide receiver A.J. Green (toe) expected to play against Titans (Shutdown Corner)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 06:28:17 PDT)
It's been a string of bad news for the NFL — on the field and off — but here's a bit of good news for fantasy football owners and Cincinnati Bengals fans alike: A.J. Green appears healthy enough to play in Week 3. [ Join FanDuel's $1.25 million, 1-week fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 11,490 teams get paid ] The right toe injury that forced Green from Sunday's 24-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons "feels good," and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis told reporters on a conference call to Tennessee Wednesday  — and reiterated to Sirius XM radio Thursday — he expects his All-Pro wide receiver to take the field against the Titans. "We expect him to play & he feels good about it." Bengals HC Marvin Lewis discussing AJ Green on @SiriusXMNFL — Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) September 18, 2014 Green initially suffered the injury in Cincinnati's Week 1 victory against the Baltimore Ravens and missed much of the following week's practices despite finishing that game. He returned to practice this past Friday and suited up against the Falcons, only to leave without a target on the first Bengals drive. While the Bengals have a Week 4 bye that would allow Green to rest his big right toe for two weeks, t he fourth-year wideout plans to practice Thursday in hopes of returning for Sunday's game.  "If it's feeling good, then I'm going to go. If not, we'll take it from there," Green told The Cincinnati Enquirer after not practicing on Wednesday. "I'm not thinking about taking a week off just to rest it some more because, if I'm fine, if I can go, I'm going to go. My body heals pretty quickly. I think I'll be fine." Green has ranked among the league's top 10 wide receivers in receptions, yards and touchdowns each of the past two seasons, but his departure against Atlanta marked the first game of his career without a catch.

Newton's development helps improve Texans (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 00:08:15 PDT)
HOUSTON (AP) -- Houston's offensive line has emerged as one of the strengths of the Texans in their 2-0 start.

Falcons' Ryan looking to bounce back vs Bucs (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 18 Sep 2014 00:07:11 PDT)
ATLANTA (AP) -- For Matt Ryan, the season opener was pure brilliance.

NFL Injury Report (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 20:28:31 PDT)
NEW YORK (AP) -- The National Football League injury report, as provided by the league (OUT - Definitely will not play; DNP - Did not practice; LIMITED - Limited participation in practice; FULL - Full participation in practice):

FANTASY PLAYS: Injury bug strikes fantasy lineups (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:54:13 PDT)
The second week of the NFL season was downright diabolical to fantasy owners who saw a wave of injuries and suspensions gut their rosters. Adrian Peterson was deactivated, Jamal Charles went down on his second carry with an ankle injury, and A.J. Green exited the game with a foot injury without recording a single catch. Doug Martin and Carson Palmer were late scratches, and Ryan Matthews and Robert Griffin III were carted off the field with injuries that will cost them each several weeks. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery were hobbled to the point that it was pure guesswork by lineup deadlines as to whether they would play or be effective on Sunday night.

A 'second chance' for NFL's Ray Rice not out of the question
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:25:07 PDT)
By Steve Ginsburg WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In launching a bid to overturn his indefinite suspension from the National Football League, former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice may be hoping for the same type of second chance that other tarnished NFL stars like Michael Vick have received. With the backing of the NFL Players Association, Rice on Tuesday filed an appeal of his suspension by Commissioner Roger Goodell for knocking out his then-fiance and now wife in an elevator of a New Jersey casino. ...

Buccaneers-Falcons capsule (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:03:20 PDT)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (0-2) At ATLANTA FALCONS (1-1)

Falcons, Bucs both eager to get back on field (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:25:16 PDT)
The short week came at a good time for the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons (1-1) were mauled at Cincinnati, losing 24-10 in a game that really wasn't that close. The Bucs (0-2) lost at home to St. Louis, failing to take advantage of an opponent down to its third-string quarterback because of injuries. ''If anything, I like it better,'' Falcons offensive tackle Gabe Carimi said.

Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict suffers second concussion in as many weeks (Shutdown Corner)
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:25:16 PDT)
Lost in the dark clouds of Ray Rice's videotaped domestic violence and Adrian Peterson's alleged child abuse hanging over the NFL for the first two weeks of the season is the damage players are inflicting on each other every Sunday, and Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is the latest victim — again. Burfict suffered his second concussion in as many weeks, acording to the Bengals' official website . The 2013 Pro Bowl selection left Sunday's 24-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons when a teammate's knee collided with his helmet. The injury was originally described as "a stinger," but concussion symptoms led to a second such diagnosis, preventing Burfict from practicing on Wednesday. The undrafted third-year outside linebacker also suffered a concussion during a collision with Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in Cincinnati's Week 1 victory. Doctors cleared him to play five days later. According to brainfacts.org , " Studies show repeat concussions lead to severe long-term symptoms and longer recovery times," and, " experiencing multiple concussions before the brain has had time to fully heal can lead to more significant and potentially long-term changes in the brain." Even if he  clears the NFL's concussion protocol for a second straight week, t he question going forward probably shouldn't be about whether Burfict should play Week 3 against the Tennessee Titans, but rather about the dangers of potentially suffering three or more concussions throughout an entire season. While the concussion epidemic has taken a backseat to Rice and Peterson in recent weeks — and rightfully so, since there's a difference between defenseless victims and willing participants in a violent game — the league's weekly head-on collisions still lurk as a serious issue for all players going down that NFL road. (h/t ProFootballTalk )

Titans-Bengals Preview (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:03:24 PDT)
The Cincinnati Bengals look like one of the NFL's most complete teams as they have started with consecutive victories for the first time since beginning 3-0 in 2006. Andy Dalton has yet to throw an interception or get sacked, though his options could be limited this weekend. The Bengals are unsure of the status of A.J. Green and will be thin at tight end as they look to stretch their regular-season home win streak to 11 games Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. Cincinnati (2-0) boasts the AFC's top-ranked offense with 426.0 yards per game with Dalton throwing for 553 and two scores while leading the NFL in yards per attempt at 9.07.

Bengals WR A.J. Green held out of practice (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:36:59 PDT)
The Bengals haven't ruled him out for Sunday against Tennessee (1-1) at Paul Brown Stadium. They could sit him for the game, giving him an additional week to heal heading into Cincinnati's bye. Also on Wednesday, the Bengals said that Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict had more concussion symptoms, leaving his availability for the game in doubt. Burfict had a concussion during an opening 23-16 victory in Baltimore, but was back for a game last Sunday against Atlanta.

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