Broncos slam own quarterbacks for COVID-19 debacle

Broncos slam own quarterbacks for COVID-19 debacle

Not many NFL teams would have done better down to their QB5, but the expected disaster transpired Sunday for the Broncos.

Practice-squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton, a former college quarterback at Wake Forest promoted to the active roster with all four Denver quarterbacks placed Saturday on the COVID-19 restricted list, had zero passing yards in the first half and just 13 for the game in a 31-3 loss Sunday to New Orleans.

The NFL denied Denver’s requests to postpone the game after Broncos backup quarterback Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19, and fellow quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and practice-squad veteran Blake Bortels were ruled out for Sunday’s game because they’d come in close contact with Driskel in a positional meeting in which none of them were wearing masks, breaking league protocols.

“In a controlled and socially distanced area, we let our masking slip for a limited amount of time,” Lock tweeted Sunday. “An honest mistake, but one I will own. I sincerely apologize and I fully understand why these safety precautions are so important. Doing the right thing for a majority of the time is not good enough.”

Hinton completed just one of nine pass attempts with two interceptions, with his lone connection not coming until a 13-yarder to Noah Fant early in the third quarter.

“I was disappointed on several levels, that our QBs put us in that position, that our QBs put the league in that position,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. “We count on them to be the leaders of our team, the leaders of our offense, and those guys made a mistake.”

Saints backup Taysom Hill also had just 14 passing yards in the first half, but Drew Brees’ replacement ran for two scores and finished with 132 combined yards (78 passing) for NFC South-leading New Orleans (9-2).

King of the Hill

The Chiefs would love to play again in Tampa at the conclusion of the season, and the defending champions certainly seem intent on returning to the Super Bowl.

Tyreek Hill had 203 of his career-high 269 receiving yards and scored two of his three touchdowns in the first quarter as the Chiefs downed Tom Brady and the Buccaneers 27-24 at Raymond James Stadium.

Patrick Mahomes finished with 462 passing yards, the second-most in his career, and combined with Brady (345) for 807.

Mahomes connected with Hill (13 receptions) for a 75-yard TD 6:49 into the game and then found him for another 44-yard score for a 17-0 lead barely five minutes later. Hill punctuated his second score by doing a backflip into the end zone.

“It feels good, but I feel like there’s still a lot of work to do,” said Hill, who went over 1,000 receiving yards (1,021) for the season. “I’m always looking to get better. … I want to be the best receiver in the game. So I’m going to continue to work hard.”

Hill’s first-quarter total was the most receiving yards in one quarter since Baltimore’s Qadry Ismail posted 210 yards in the third quarter for the Ravens in 1999. It marked the 15th-most in one game in NFL history, led by Rams receiver Flipper Anderson’s 336 in 1989 against New Orleans.

Smash of the Titans

Only one of the last 13 NFL MVP winners was not a quarterback, but Derrick Henry should be in the conversation to join Adrian Peterson (2012) on that list.

Henry ran for 178 yards and three touchdowns as Tennessee (8-3) dominated, 45-26, in a first-place showdown with Indianapolis (7-4) in the AFC South.

Henry, who broke an OT scoring run in last week’s win over Baltimore, leads the NFL with 1,257 rushing yards through 11 games with 12 touchdowns. The defending NFL rushing leader is on pace for a career-high 1,828 yards on the ground.

“Anytime the O-line is getting movement and getting Derrick going, it’s a good thing for the Titans,” Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “I think we’re at our best whenever Derrick is rolling. … Derrick was running his tail off today.”

A.J. Brown added a 42-yard scoring return on an onside kick and a 69-yard TD reception as the Titans put up 449 yards of total offense against a Colts defense that came in ranked second in the league in yardage (298.1 per game) and fifth in scoring defense (20.8 ppg).

Browns, Brownson Make History

Despite only one of their eight wins coming against teams currently with a winning record, Cleveland (8-3) also moved closer to its first playoff berth since 2002 with a 27-25 win over Jacksonville (1-10).

Baker Mayfield threw for 258 yards with TD passes to Jarvis Landry (8-143) and Austin Hooper as the Browns (8-3) clinched at least a .500 record for the first time since 2007 (10-6).

“We’ve played in a bunch of different games and we’ve had to find a way to win in a bunch of different ways and that’s not going to change,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. “We’re just trying to go 1-0 each week. We get to eight [wins] and we have a bunch more games to go. We’re not really concerned with the past.”

Jacksonville had a chance to tie the score after James Robinson’s 4-yard rushing TD with 2:14 remaining, but fill-in Jaguars quarterback Mike Glennon overthrew Keelan Cole in the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt.

Browns chief of staff Callie Brownson filled in for Cleveland tight ends coach Drew Petzing (paternity leave) on the sidelines, becoming the first female positional coach in NFL history.

Slye Doesn’t Fly

Vikings receiver Chad Beebe atoned for an earlier fumble with a go-ahead, 10-yard touchdown reception with 46 seconds remaining as Minnesota (5-6) pulled out a 28-27 win over Carolina (4-8). Panthers kicker Joey Slye pulled a 54-yard field-goal try as time expired.

“We made it thrilling there at the end, but we got it done,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.

Rookie linebacker Jeremy Chinn scored two defensive touchdowns on two consecutive offensive snaps by Minnesota early in the second half for Carolina. According to NFL Network, that’s the first time any player scored defensively on successive opposing plays from scrimmage. Chinn also was the third player in NFL history with two fumble recoveries for touchdowns in the same game.

The Hurt Locker

In addition to Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (hamstring), other injuries around the league included Giants safety Nate Ebner (knee) and linebacker Kyler Fackrell (calf), Panthers receiver D.J. Moore (ankle), Colts tackle Anthony Castonzo (knee) and safety Khari Willis (back), Raiders cornerback Damon Arnette (concussion), Falcons receiver Olamide Zaccheaus (toe) and guard James Carpenter (groin), Dolphins receiver Malcolm Perry (chest), Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman (back), Jaguars defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton (knee), Browns safety Ronnie Harrison (shoulder).

Post Patterns

Patriots kicker Nick Folk drilled a 50-yard field goal as time expired as New England (5-6) pulled out a 20-17 win over Arizona (6-5). Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez had pushed a 45-yard attempt wide-right with 1:52 remaining. Pats QB Cam Newton was 9-for-18 for just 84 yards with no touchdowns and two picks and a 23.6 passer rating in the win. … 49ers kicker Robbie Gould’s 42-yard FG as time expired lifted San Francisco (5-6) to a 23-20 win over the Rams (7-4). 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel had 11 receptions for 134 yards in his first game since Oct. 25. … Raiders quarterback Derek Carr committed four turnovers (three fumbles) as Las Vegas fell to 6-5 with a 43-6 blowout loss to Atlanta (4-7). Falcons linebacker Deion Jones had a 67-yard INT return for a touchdown as Atlanta posted its fourth win in six games under interim coach Raheem Morris. … Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley threw a 20-yard TD pass to receiver Gabriel Davis and Josh Allen had at least one passing and one rushing TD for the fifth time this season as Buffalo (8-3) remained atop the AFC East with a 27-17 win over the Chargers. … Los Angeles defensive end Joey Bosa had three sacks and six tackles for a loss for the Chargers. … Colts linebacker Matthew Adams was ejected for throwing punches at Texans linebacker Nick Dzubnar on a punt play.

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