NASHVILLE — The NFL’s ranks of undefeated teams should thin by one Tuesday night when the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans finally meet in a rescheduled game.
The Bills (4-0) have only had their schedule disrupted as they try to continue their best start in years. The Titans (3-0) have become pariahs while dealing with the NFL’s first COVID-19 outbreak that kept them out of their own building much of the past two weeks with 24 players and personnel testing positive.
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Titans safety Kevin Byard said it’s been tough watching teammates test positive and worrying about them and their families while not knowing when they would play again. The NFL first postponed, then rescheduled their Oct. 4 game with Pittsburgh to Oct. 25, and their game with the Bills pushed back two days.
“At the end of the day, we’re not going to make any excuses man,” Byard said. “We’re going to come in here and focus on what we need to focus on, and that’s winning the ballgame.”
The Bills beat the Raiders 30-23 last week. This franchise hasn’t won five straight since 2004, and another win would give Buffalo its best start since 1991 when that team went to a Super Bowl.
“As a team that’s off to a good start, we feel like we’ve got a good thing rolling here and we want to play,” Bills quarterback Josh Allen said. “That’s our mindset.”
Buffalo has won three straight in this series, including a 14-7 win in Nashville a year ago as the Titans stumbled to a 2-4 start. Buffalo coach Sean McDermott has made clear Tennessee made it to the AFC championship game in January.
These Titans also are rested with their previous game Sept. 27 in a 31-30 win in Minnesota.
The Bills will be the first team to play the Titans since the NFL closed Tennessee’s facility Sept. 29. The Vikings have not had a positive test result since playing the Titans.
“They’re aware of certainly the situation down there, but they’re also confident in the processes that are in place, both at the league level, and and what we’re doing here,” McDermott said of his Bills.
The Titans have gotten three of the 13 players placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list back with defensive captain and lineman DaQuan Jones and long snapper Beau Brinkley activated Sunday. They still will be without starters defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons and wide receivers Corey Davis and Adam Humphries.
But the unexpected time off has receiver A.J. Brown questionable after missing two games with an injured knee. Left tackle Taylor Lewan is questionable after hurting a shoulder early against the Vikings.
It didn’t take long for veteran cornerback Josh Norman to make his presence known in Buffalo. After missing the first three games with a left hamstring injury, the off-season free-agent addition forced and recovered a fumble and was in on four tackles in his Bills’ debut against the Raiders.
Norman earned additional playing time after starter Levi Wallace hurt his left ankle in the first quarter and has since been placed on injured reserve. Norman is attempting to kickstart his career following four sub-par seasons in Washington, which led him to being cut with one year left on his contract.
The extra rest could help the Bills too. Starting cornerback Tre’Davious White did not practice through Saturday and is listed as questionable because of a back injury.
Buffalo will be without starting weak-side linebacker Matt Milano (pectoral). His absence was notable in being sidelined with a hamstring injury in a 31-28 win at Miami in Week 2 when Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 328 yards — the most against Buffalo since Jameis Winston had 384 in Tampa Bay’s 30-27 loss on Oct. 22, 2017.
THEY GOT A KICKER
The Titans lost to Buffalo last year when their kicker missed three field goals and had one blocked. Now they have veteran Stephen Gostkowski, who has made the game-winning field goal inside the final two minutes of each of Tennessee’s wins this season.
Gostkowski made a career-high six field goals against the Vikings, and he tied an NFL record as the 10th kicker to make three of 50 yards or longer in a game. He also was the fifth player in NFL history to hit those three in a single half. He’ll have his long snapper back too.
A major snowstorm that hit Buffalo in 2014 marked the previous time Buffalo had a game pushed back. So much snow fell, the Bills had to give up hosting the New York Jets on Sunday, Nov. 23, and instead play the following night at Detroit. The Doug Marrone-coached Bills beat the Rex Ryan-coached Jets 38-3.
Some six weeks later, Ryan was hired by Buffalo in replacing Marrone, who opted out of his contract.
AP Sports Writer John Wawrow contributed to this report.
Follow Teresa M. Walker at https://twitter.com/TeresaMWalker
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Lions Saddened By Passing Of Owner And CFL Giant, David Braley – BC Lions
The BC Lions Football Club is very saddened to announce that our owner and champion David Braley passed away peacefully this morning at his home in Burlington, Ontario.
“We share this news with the heaviest of hearts. David has been a proud and fiercely loyal owner of our team, a champion of the Canadian Football League, and a leader for whom his love of our game and our country went hand in hand and spanned decades. We share our deepest condolences with his family, friends and admirers,” said Rick LeLacheur, President of the BC Lions Football Club.
“One of his final acts of devotion to Canadian football was a clear expression of his desire that the stability of our club be maintained through a smooth transition following his passing. We will work closely with David’s estate to follow that plan.”
Also owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats from 1989 to 1990 and the Toronto Argonauts from 2010 to 2015, Braley served as an Interim Commissioner of the CFL and Chair of its Board of Governors. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
Braley was a highly successful entrepreneur with a genius for business and a generous philanthropist who made enormous contributions in the arenas of, i health, research and sport, including amateur football. Passionate about politics and public service, he served his country as a Senator from 2010 to 2013. Last year, he was named an officer of the Order of Canada, one of Canada’s highest honours.
“We have lost our greatest champion. All of us associated with the Lions have personally seen, time and time again, David’s selfless commitment to our club and our fans,” LeLacheur.
“But his example and inspiration, along with the direction he provided us all as his health failed, fuels our confidence in the Lions future. The BC Lions will continue to work hard to honour his memory by being the best we can be on the field, in the boardroom and in the community.”
A BC LIONS & CFL GIANT
Mr. Braley first purchased the financially-strapped BC Lions prior to the 1997 season and would be at the helm for one of the Canadian Football League’s most remarkable turnaround stories, both on and off the field.
During his induction speech at the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2012, Mr. Braley spoke of how proud he was going from 8,000 fans in the stands at his first game as owner to averaging 35,000 at the highest point of his tenure.
His first Grey Cup win as a CFL owner was a historic one. In 2000, the Lions flipped the switch in November and became the first team in pro football to win a championship despite finishing below .500 in the regular season. The Cinderella run was completed with a 28-26 win over Montreal in the 94th Grey Cup at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium.
Three years later, the golden age of Mr. Braley’s Lions ownership began when he and the late Bobby Ackles successfully lured Wally Buono, the CFL’s most successful head coach, to the Lions from Calgary.
The Lions finished first in the Western Division every year from 2004-2007, posting a regular season record of 52-19-1 in the process. In 2006, the franchise won its’ fifth Grey Cup and second under Mr. Braley’s ownership by taking down the Alouettes yet again, 25-14 in Winnipeg.
He would earn a third in 2011 when the Lions went from an 0-5 start to Grey Cup champions, beating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in front of our home fans at the newly renovated BC Place. The 2011 Grey Cup festival was also one of the more successful CFL events to date.
Along with the three Grey Cup championships and bringing fans back to the stadium, Mr. Braley’s ownership reign was also known for the Lions becoming major pillars in communities across the entire province. Prior to 2020, the club would visit an average of 140 schools per year.
A former high school player himself, Mr. Braley always believed in promoting the game of football at the grassroots level.
It was then-Hamilton mayor Bob Morrow who urged Mr. Braley to step in and purchase the struggling Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1989. That was the start of his very successful track record of owning football franchises. The Tiger-Cats would appear in the Grey Cup in his first season as owner and would then return to community ownership prior to the 1992 season.
Mr. Braley also owned the Toronto Argonauts from 2010-2015. The highlight of that tenure was the Argonauts hosting and winning the historic 100th Grey Cup. It was the fourth and final Grey Cup win as a CFL owner.
A well-known leader and innovator, Mr. Braley also spent time as Chairman of the CFL’s Board of Governors and also served as Interim Commissioner from March-November of 2002 before the appointment of Tom Wright.
Mr. Braley’s success in the world of sports wasn’t just limited to the Canadian Football League. He kept soccer alive in the market by purchasing the Vancouver 86ers (A-League) in 1997 and owning them until the year 2000.
He was also a major force in bringing the 2012 World Cycling Championships to Hamilton in 2012 and was involved in Southern Ontario’s successful bid for the 2015 Pan Am Games.
After studying Sciences at McMaster University, Mr. Braley’s success in the business world began with General Motors Acceptance Corporation in Hamilton before he moved on to London Life Insurance.
He then purchased William Orlick Industries (now known as Orlick Industries) in 1969, and over the next several years transformed it from a small business into one of the leading manufactures of aluminum die-cast auto parts. Orlick Industries has also provided jobs for hundreds of workers in the Hamilton area.
Mr. Braley was always known for also being a champion in the world of Philanthropy, donating over $125 million to various organizations over the years.
During a remarkable ten-month stretch from August 2006 to June 2007, he gave $50 million to McMaster’s medical school and an additional $5 million for the University’s new athletic complex, which is appropriately named the David Braley Athletic Centre.
He also gave $10 million to Hamilton Health Sciences for a new cardiac, vascular and research institute as well as $5 million to St. Joseph’s Healthcare for operating rooms and kidney care.
In 2007, he was presented with an award from the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association for charitable and philanthropic contributions.
Mr. Braley’s long and storied career also included politics. He was appointed to the Canadian Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in May of 2010, and would go on to serve for nearly three years before retiring from government. He received this country’s highest honour, the Order of Canada in 2019
Born in Montreal in 1941, his family moved to Hamilton in 1943. He quickly discovered his true passion for the game of football as a young child when he attended his first Tiger-Cats game at old Ivor Wynne Stadium. Love of the game is what led him to strap on the pads at Westdale High School and of course, carve out nearly three decades of success as an Owner and Governor in the Canadian Football League.
Mr. Braley is an honoured member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame (2012), McMaster Sports Hall of Fame (2007) and Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame (2006).
Beckham out for season with torn ACL – theScore
Beckham went down Sunday in the first quarter while attempting to tackle Cincinnati Bengals defensive back Darius Phillips, who was returning a Baker Mayfield interception. The Browns feared Beckham had suffered a significant injury on the play.
“The ball to Odell, we knew we were going to have a one-on-one and wanted to give him a chance,” Mayfield lamented after the game, which the Browns won. “I didn’t do that and left it short and inside. I am probably going to beat myself up about that one for a long time. He is a guy who fights for this team, and in doing that, he got hurt. Prayers and hopes for the best. That one sucks.”
Beckham will finish his second campaign in Cleveland with 23 receptions for 319 yards and four total touchdowns across seven appearances. He had 74 receptions for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns last year, marking the least productive season of his career outside of 2017, when he played only four games.
The Browns acquired Beckham in a blockbuster trade with the New York Giants in March 2019. He will turn 28 on Nov. 5 and is signed through the 2023 season.
Beckham is on the books for $15.75 million in 2021, with $12.8 million of it guaranteed for injury.
Garoppolo shines in return to NE; Niners crush Patriots 33-6 – Yahoo Canada Sports
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Jimmy Garoppolo was once considered to be the man in waiting to take over at quarterback in New England for Tom Brady.
Now he’s the guy who helped hand the Patriots their worst home loss under Bill Belichick.
Jeff Wilson Jr. rushed for a career-high three touchdowns and 112 yards before leaving with an ankle injury and the San Francisco 49ers crushed New England 33-6 on Sunday.
Garoppolo finished 20 of 25 for 277 yards with two interceptions in his first game against his former team. San Francisco (4-3) has followed back-to-back losses with consecutive wins and is 3-0 on the road.
“It was an exciting night. Lot of emotions. Couldn’t imagine it going any better than this,” Garoppolo said.
The Patriots’ 27-point loss was their largest at home under Belichick. They had gone 286 games without a three-game losing streak, the longest span between three-game slides in NFL history. New England fell to 2-4 for the first since Belichick’s first season in 2000, when the Patriots went 5-11.
New England was outgained 467-241 in total yards.
“We were clearly out-coached, outplayed. Just out-everything,” Belichick said. “We’re still a long way from where we need to be. That’s obvious.”
San Francisco’s Brandon Aiyuk had six catches for 115 yards and Deebo Samuel had five catches for 65 yards before leaving the game with a hamstring injury.
“When we got them down, we got to keep them down, don’t want to give them any chance to breathe. I thought we did that tonight,” Garoppolo said. “Started from the first snap and carried its way throughout the whole game.”
Cam Newton struggled for the Patriots, completing 9 of 15 passes for 98 yards and three interceptions before being replaced by Jarrett Stidham in the fourth quarter. Stidham was 6 of 10 for 64 yards and an interception.
Belichick said his plan is to keep Newton as the starter.
“Yeah, absolutely,” he said.
Newton was out of sync from the outset, making poor reads and poorer throws. Garoppolo, meanwhile, was successful in spreading out New England’s defence with a steady diet of passes behind the line of scrimmage and jet sweeps to get the ball into the hands of Wilson, Samuel and tight end George Kittle.
San Francisco dominated the first half, taking a 23-3 lead, holding the ball for 22:30 and racking up a 301-59 advantage in total yards. The Patriots managed four first downs to the 49ers’ 18.
The Niners took just over five minutes and nine plays to march 75 yards and take a 7-0 lead on 3-yard run by Wilson. It was the first time the Patriots have allowed a touchdown on an opponent’s opening drive at home since Week 4 of 2016 against Buffalo.
Following a Patriots punt, San Francisco was pinned inside its 15. Long completions by Garoppolo helped erase some early penalty losses before he missed high on a pass for Kittle and was intercepted by Devin McCourty.
San Francisco’s defence limited the damage, yielding a 40-yard field goal by Nick Folk.
That wasn’t the case for the Patriots later in the second quarter.
Trailing 10-3, Newton made a bad play worse when he tried to dump off the ball on the run to receiver Jakobi Meyers. It was picked off by linebacker Fred Warner. Five plays later, the 49ers capitalized on a 4-yard touchdown run by Kyle Juszczyk.
The lead grew to 23-3 with just under a minute to go before halftime on a 16-yard run by Wilson.
“D just played impressive the whole day. I thought special teams and offence did, too. It was an extremely physical game,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It was fun to watch.”
49ers: WR Richie James left with an ankle injury. … Wilson had just crossed into the end zone following his third TD when his leg twisted as he was tackled. He stayed down on the field before walking off under his own power. Shanahan said the tentative diagnosis is a high ankle sprain. “Not sounding great right now,” he said.
Patriots: WR N’Keal Harry left with a head injury and did not return. … LG Joe Thuney departed with an ankle injury. … RT Justin Herron also left with an ankle injury.
With an 11-yard pass to Jakobi Meyers in the third quarter, Newton became the 48th NFL quarterback to reach the 30,000-yard plateau.
He also became the first NFL player to pass for 30,000 yards and rush for 5,000 yards in his career.
The 49ers head to Seattle next Sunday. The Patriots visit Buffalo.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Kyle Hightower, The Associated Press
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