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Tag:Philip Rivers
Posted on: December 26, 2010 5:16 pm
 

Tolbert carted off the field on backboard

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Chargers RB Mike Tolbert had to be strapped to a backboard and taken by stretcher off the field after a nasty collision with two Bengals defenders left him facedown on the turf.

The play occurred with about 6 minutes to go in the first quarter when Tolbert took a handoff from Chargers QB Philip Rivers. He went around the left side of the line and met up with Bengals LB Dhani Jones and S Reggie Nelson. It appeared that Tolbert collided head-first with the side of Nelson’s helmet.

He fumbled the ball, and it was recovered by Bengals S Roy Williams.

He was on the turf for close to 10 minutes, before trainers wheeled him off the field. As he left, Tolbert briefly gave a thumbs-up with his right hand.

UPDATE (5:15 p.m.):
Tolbert has a neck injury, but he's moving his arms and legs.

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Posted on: December 17, 2010 12:31 am
 

With V-Jax, the Chargers could be deadly

V. Jackson is excited after catching a 58-yard TD pass (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In his first game of the 2010 season, Chargers WR Vincent Jackson didn’t last one quarter before excusing himself from the contest with a calf injury. Then, he missed the next week.

For a guy who’d been shouting in the preseason about a new contract before refusing to sign his tender, holding out, getting his bluff called by San Diego GM A.J. Smith and serving two suspensions, this was not an especially impressive showing.

When he finally returned in last week’s 31-0 San Diego victory against the Chiefs, he tallied two catches for 29 yards. This, you might have asked, was the player who crowed about wanting one of the top WR salaries in the league? This, even though he originally was scheduled to make $3.2 million this season (that salary was later slashed to $600,000, so yeah, his refusal to sign his tender wasn’t a great financial decision).

If you had doubted Jackson’s abilities, look no further than the Chargers 34-7 victory against the 49ers tonight, because Jackson was nothing short of incredible. He finished with five catches for 119 yards and three touchdowns, and he was simply outstanding. His first score was his most impressive, when he out-leapt San Francisco CB Nate Clements for a 58-yard touchdown to give San Diego a 7-0 lead.

From there, the Chargers – and Jackson – never looked back.

San Diego is currently in the middle of its yearly December restoration project when it has to overcome a slow start to the season only to make a huge run to win the AFC West and make the playoffs.

With tonight’s win, the Chargers are a half-game back of the Chiefs, who face the Rams this weekend and could be without quarterback Matt Cassel again. Unquestionably, San Diego – which has won six of its past seven games – has the momentum going into its final two games of the season (against the Bengals and the Broncos, two should-be wins), as opposed to the Chiefs, who gone 3-3 in their past six games.

The Chargers still have to hope they can actually make the playoffs – if the Chiefs win out, it’d still be tough for the Chargers to get a Wild Card, even with a 10-6 record.

But …

But if San Diego can make the postseason, the Chargers will be a tough squad to play. Assuming TE Antonio Gates and WR Malcom Floyd are healthy enough to play, assuming Jackson continues to perform like he did tonight, assuming the Chargers defense continues to play well and assuming QB Philip Rivers continues to be an MVP candidate, this team will be a tough out in the postseason.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Jackson told the NFL Network after the game. “This team is moving in the right direction. I’m glad to be a part of it.”

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Posted on: December 15, 2010 12:18 am
 

Top Ten With a Twist: Super Bowl contenders

New England has to be considered a Super Bowl contender (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s getting to be about that time.

The time when we really can crack down on the best teams in the NFL and really figure out which squads are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Preseason favorites (like, ahem, the Jets) have begun to show cracks in the foundation, while other teams – in this case, it’s just one team, really – have begun pulling away.

Three weeks left in the regular season, so we should have a pretty good indication of which team is going to do what once it makes the playoffs (if it, in fact, makes the playoffs at all). Without further ado, here’s your guide to which squad will be spending February in Dallas.

10. Jaguars: Why they will: Why the hell not? I mean, they won’t really. But RB Maurice Jones-Drew is fun to watch, and QB David Garrard has played great football lately. Jacksonville is just a fun underdog to watch. Why they won’t: I’m not even sure they’re good enough to get to the playoffs.

9. Chargers: Why they will: QB Philip Rivers is still having a fantastic season and is still an MVP candidate. Plus, San Diego is the No. 1 defense in the NFL (you can look it up!). Why they won’t: They simply haven’t played well for most of this season. Losses that look like this: 27-20 to the Seahawks; 35-27 and 28-13 to the Raiders; 20-17 to the Rams.

8. Bears: Why they will: They’ve surpassed many people’s expectations for the season while dragging coach Lovie Smith off the hot seat, so why can’t the surprises continue? I mean, if Jay Cutler can play fairly well on a consistent basis, anything can happen. Why they won’t: The offense isn’t good enough, and the defense isn’t good enough to overcome one of (statistically) the worst offenses in the league.

7. Ravens: Why they will: They’ve got plenty of talent at the WR position, and much of the time, QB Joe Flacco can even get his receivers the ball. Plus, there’s always Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis. Why they won’t: Did you see the way the defense collapsed Monday vs. the Texans? That’s unlike the Baltimore defense we’re accustomed to seeing every season. That secondary struggles, as well.

The duo of B. Jacobs and A. Bradshaw has been big for New York this year (US Presswire). 6. Giants: Why they will: The Giants offense, though beat up in the WR corps, still picks up the yards. Once they figured out their roles, the running back duo of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw has been outstanding. Why they won’t: For one, Eli Manning doesn’t have very many healthy receivers. For two, the team won’t stop turning the ball over to its opponents.

5. Eagles: Why they will: Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson can lead this team anywhere. The proof lies in the league-leading 402 yards of offense Philadelphia produces per game. Why they won’t: Some injuries on defense – CB Asante Samuel, LB Stewart Bradley and DE Brandon Graham – certainly don’t help. Plus, it seems like Vick would have to play perfect all the way through, doesn’t it?

4. Steelers: Why they will: The Steelers played well without QB Ben Roethlisberger, and now with him in there – even though he’s less than 100 percent – they’re nearly unbeatable. Plus, you know, Troy Polamalu. They don’t win ‘em pretty, but they win ‘em anyway. Why they won’t: The offensive line isn’t very good. Like, not very good at all.

3. Saints: Why they will: New Orleans has played progressively better as the season has neared its end. Even if the Saints can’t catch the Falcons in the NFC South, the wild card should be there for the taking, and hopefully for them, they would catch one of the NFC West teams on the road. Why they won’t: They’re not as good as they were last year.

2. Falcons: Why they will: They have the quarterback, they have the running back, they have the receivers, they have the TE and they have the coaching (and a pretty decent defense). There’s a lot to like about this Atlanta squad. Why they won’t: Not a ton of guys on the team have been on teams that have made deep playoff runs. Unlike, say, the New Orleans Saints.

1. Patriots: Why they will: It’s obvious. Rewatch their last two games – destructions of the Jets and the Bears. Why they won’t: Can Tom Brady really keep up this unbelievable pace? Isn’t the young – and, at times, ineffective – secondary eventually going to get the team in trouble? Especially if the Patriots face somebody like Philip Rivers or Drew Brees?

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: December 10, 2010 11:53 am
 

Hot Routes 12.10.10: Urlacher says Bears are best

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Brian Urlacher doesn't care for your precious "stats" and "win-loss records." He still thinks the Bears, even though they are 9-3 and the Patriots are 10-2 the best team in the country. "New England is the best team in the NFL, record-wise," Urlacher told the Chicago Tribune. "But I feel like we're the best team, period. That's why I say record-wise." Urlacher also made reference to the Eagles being the "best" team in the NFL when they visited Soldier Field and how well that worked out for them. In short, Sunday's matchup should be fun as hell.
  • Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez are having lunch together and apparently this is a big deal. If Sanchez doesn't return it means Ryan was REALLY mad about his performance against the Patriots. Or really hungry.
Posted on: December 9, 2010 12:43 am
 

Top Ten With a Twist: Non-Brady MVP votes

M. Ryan would be the top MVP candidate in the league right now if it wasn't for a guy named T. Brady (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

This week, seemingly everybody is proclaiming Patriots QB Tom Brady as the player who should be named MVP – including his former teammate, Troy Brown, who I talked to for this week’s Five Questions (or more) segment. After watching Brady dissect the Jets on Monday, that’s hard to argue.

But we’ve still got four weeks of regular-season NFL football, so Brady can’t be named the Most Valuable Players quite yet (I think that’s actually in the rules). That said, there are a number of players who have done quite a bit to help their respective teams this season that also must be in the conversation for MVP. What happens, after all, if Brady throws 10 interceptions in the final four games and the Patriots go 0-4 in that stretch?

Thus, this Top Ten With a Twist pays homage to those who are having hellaciously good years for teams good and bad and could creep into a voter’s conscience (assuming he/she doesn’t simply write Brady’s name in every possible space on the ballot). I’m not saying most of these guys should win; I’m just saying they should be considered.

10. Julius Peppers, DE, Bears: In his first season in Chicago, the defense, ranked as the third-best in the NFL, is a huge reason why the Bears are 9-3, lead the NFC North and own the second-best record in the conference (tied with the Saints). He’s recorded seven sacks and a very strong six passes defended and he’s forced three fumbles. You could also make a case for Brian Urlacher in this spot.

9. Drew Brees, QB, Saints: So many other quarterbacks have made big headlines this season – some for good reasons (we’ll get into those candidates later) and some for bad reasons (ahem, Brett Favre) – and it seems like Brees has been slightly ignored. That’s also because he isn’t the top quarterback in his division at this point and because the Saints are in danger of not winning the NFC South (more on the Falcons below). But the fact is that Brees is statistically the most-accurate quarterback in the league, and the Saints are 9-3 with a chance to return to the Super Bowl. That’s not too shabby.

8. Clay Matthews, LB, Packers: Remember how amazingly fast Matthews started the season, recording six sacks in the first two games? Well, he’s slowed considerably since then, and even Miami’s Cameron Wake has surpassed him for the league lead (Wake has 12 sack to Matthews’ 11.5). Matthews only has one sack in the past three games, but he’s still got a good shot at defensive player of the year (along with Julius Peppers, Steelers LB James Harrison, Eagles DE Trent Cole and Bills NT Kyle Williams), and he’s still having one heck of a year. 

7. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: Coming off a sophomore season in which he averaged 5.9 yards per rush and finished 2009 with 1,120 yards and seven TDs, Kansas City rewarded him by going out and getting (gulp!) a legitimate RB in Thomas Jones. In his first two games of the season, Charles averaged 11 carries and 70.5 yards per contest, leaving some of us to wonder what was going on in Kansas City. But Charles has been awesome for the resurgent 8-4 Chiefs, averaging a ridiculous 6.2 yards per carry while gaining 1,137 yards.

6. James Harrison, LB, Steelers: You’d be forgiven if, the other day when Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin was defending Harrison in another laborious discussion about fines, you would have scoffed when Tomlin said Harrison was having an MVP-type season. But look at the plays he’s made and the numbers he’s produced. Harrison is third among linebackers with 10 sacks, he’s defended six passes and produced two interceptions, and he’s forced six fumbles, best among LBs. And he does it for a top-five defense which could help the Steelers to a deep postseason run. He's the MVP of NFL fines, but he might be the MVP overall as well.

5. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: You’ve got Matthews on defense, and now you’ve got Rodgers as the catalyst for an offense ranked in the top-10, despite a dreadful running game. Rodgers has been so impressive (a 65.4 completion percentage, 3,243 yards, 23 TDs and nine INTs) without the benefit of Ryan Grant and having to play with very little support in Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn (they rank 30th and 50th in rushing in the league, respectively). His MVP candidacy obviously will ride on whether he can get Green Bay into the playoffs.

4. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: A week ago, I might have picked Rivers a little bit higher, but he’s coming off a bad, bad home loss to the Raiders that dropped San Diego two games behind the Chiefs in the AFC West. Not that Rivers played poorly, because he wasn’t bad. But it’s tough to get excited about a QB leading a 6-6 squad who very well could miss the playoffs, even if he is the guy who’s led his team to all six of those wins.

M. Jones-Drew has made himself a strong MVP candidate in the past five weeks (US Presswire). 3. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars: What would you say if I told you that Jones-Drew has rushed for at least 100 yards in his past five games and helped Jacksonville win four of its past five to take over first place in the AFC South? Would you say that man would be an MVP candidate? I would.

2. Michael Vick, QB, Eagles: Yes, he’s missed three games because of injury, but other than that, Vick is, bar none, one of the best quarterbacks in the league and he’s having a career season in a year in which he wasn’t supposed to be the starter (you might have forgotten about a guy named Kevin Kolb). He could, throughout his career, always change the game’s dynamic with his running ability (and he’s got 467 rushing yards, a 6.3 average and six scores this season), but he’s showcased his arm this year as well (63.8 completion percentage, 2,243 yards, 15 TDs, two INTs). He is absolutely a complete quarterback and absolutely an MVP candidate.

1. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons: The “Matty Ice” moniker has already worn thin – unlike the “Pocket Hercules” nickname for Jones-Drew – but there’s no question that it’s reflective of his playing ability. Even when he doesn’t play altogether well – an example would be last week in Tampa Bay – he still somehow finds a way to lead Atlanta to a win. At this point, the Falcons are the best team in the NFC, and Ryan is the biggest reason for that. If Brady falls off in the last month of the year, my vote at this point would go to Ryan.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: November 30, 2010 2:32 pm
 

Antonio Gates talks Chargers, Norv, MVP race

Posted by Will Brinson

As we mentioned on Sunday, the San Diego Chargers are now officially contenders, even though they're currently out of the playoffs and sitting at 6-5. It's just what happens when you get white hot in the middle of the season and whip the Colts at home. 

Conveniently, we had Antonio Gates on the podcast today -- Gates talks about his injury (for those that don't know, plantar fasciitis is one of the most painful things in the history of the world), the Chargers run, Norv Turner as a coach, what turned their season around, how San Diego keeps managing to stop Peyton Manning, how they've overcome injuries, their outlook for December, LaDainian Tomlinson's resurgence, who his pick for MVP is right now and how he's working with Papa John's to find the most competitive fantasy football league on the planet (you can vote for a winner at PapaJohns.com and/or order that new, stupid-delicious-looking double-bacon/six-cheese pizza).

So check it out -- just hit the play button below and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
Posted on: November 29, 2010 7:20 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 7:28 pm
 

Report: Vincent Jackson to miss 2 weeks

Posted by Will Brinson

Vincent Jackson's 2010 has been, um, unproductive, to say the least. He held out for a long-term contract (A.J. Smith said thanks, but no thanks), served a suspension for his second DUI and served a suspension for the roster exempt rule before eventually signing his tender.

He returned to the field on Sunday night against the Colts, but did nothing, leaving the game in the first quarter with a calf injury. NBC's sideline reporter Andrea Kramer is now reporting (via her blog I think?) that Jackson will miss two weeks with a groin and a calf injury, after undergoing an MRI on Monday.

Here's the weird thing -- Kramer reports that Jackson injured his groin at the end of last week in practice and then injured his calf during pregame warmups while overcompensating for the groin injury.

However, Jackson was never listed on San Diego's injury report leading up to the game. So, there's certainly some inconsistency there, at least in terms of the groin report (there had been some rumor that he'd hurt his left calf before the game and then injured his right one during it) and what the Chargers told the public and the Colts before the game.

If Jackson misses two more weeks, it could be a pretty devastating blow to his free agency hopes, as he'll have -- at best -- three regular season weeks and however long the Chargers are in the playoffs to boost his stock. Considering the multiple reasons he missed time this season, it's safe to say that it can't get any lower right now.

And it doesn't help the Chargers either, since they expected him to be a "major contributor" when he returned.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: November 29, 2010 3:39 pm
 

NFL Week 12 Podcast Review

Posted by Will Brinson

Week 12 of the NFL season is almost over (scary thought, no) and for once, we've got a little bit of clarity in terms of who's good and who's bad. The key phrase there, of course, is "a little bit."

To sort out the muddled business, though, Andy and I hop on the podcast machine and discuss whether Peyton Manning is seriously troubled, what kind of punishment Cortland Finnegan and Andre Johnson deserve, what the Buccaneers really are, if the Packers-Falcons game was an NFC Championship Game preview, why the Falcons are so unstoppable at home, if Steve Johnson is insane, whether Josh McDaniels is a lame duck in Denver, how Kansas City can contend and whether the Dolphins are back now.

All those problems solved (plus, much, much more) below -- just hit the play button below and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com