- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner8 hrs ago
Always remember this about the 2014 Denver Broncos: They will be graded on an unfair curve.
A 39-36 win against a sneaky good Miami Dolphins team would be fine for most teams. It wasn’t bad for the Broncos. But the warts matter because these Broncos have just one goal.
The Broncos’ season won’t be a success if it falls short of a Super Bowl championship. Fair? Not really. But they have nowhere else to go after the past two seasons, and they’re built to win now.
Before stars like outside linebacker Von Miller, receiver Demaryius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas break the bank with their next contracts, and before quarterback Peyton Manning finally declines, it’s Super Bowl or bust. And when the Broncos were trailing 28-17 after three quarters, they didn’t look like a future Super Bowl champion. They really didn’t look like a Super Bowl champion when you compare them to what the New England Patriots did in destroying the Detroit Lions earlier in the day – or when you compare anything about the Broncos and Patriots the past few weeks.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner8 hrs ago
The NFL has announced the halftime show act for this year's Super Bowl, and it's none other than the widely-rumored Katy Perry.
Perry is the third female artist in the last four years to headline the show, following Madonna in 2012 and Beyonce in 2013. (Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers ran the show last year.) It's a reasonable choice, as Perry can work a 110-million-person room with the best of them.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner8 hrs ago
Here are the top five must-see plays from Week 12 in the NFL.
Best. Catch. Ever.
We, as viewers of the NFL, can be prisoners of the moment. But if you have another play to nominate that is as great as the catch Odell Beckham Jr. made Sunday night, well, frankly, we're waiting. Beckham made one of the more insane catches imaginable (or unimaginable) Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys, as the New York Giants receiver was interfered with, jumped on the sideline and hauled in a one-handed pass in spine-tingling fashion.
Kenny Britt has been one of the NFL's bounce-back players of the season, and he made a great catch Sunday to help put his St. Louis Rams in a position to potentially win the game against the San Diego Chargers. (Plot spoiler: The Rams lost.) But still ... Britt hauled in a great pass from Shaun Hill and made it look easy.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner9 hrs ago
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch didn't want to get fined again for not speaking to the media. We can't blame him — $50K a pop is a pretty stiff fine, which he now has two to pay off.
So Lynch talked. His version of talking, anyway.
Yeah. Yeah. Maybe. Yeah. Yeah. Boosie. Yeah. Twelve "yeahs" in all.
Look, to be fair, we mused on Twitter last week after Lynch failed to speak following the Seahawks' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11 that maybe he should just give basic answers to fulfill his requirements.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner10 hrs ago
Look, we know this is the Internet and we get a lot of grief about declaring something "GREATEST" or "BEST EVER" or "LEGENDARY" or whatever. Usually the criticism is justified. But we're going to roll with this anyway, and we dare you to defy us: Odell Beckham Jr. just made the greatest catch in NFL history .
Not the most meaningful. Not the most important. But the flat-out best, most athletic catch ever.
Beckham leaps, catches the ball with one hand, twists himself sideways, stays in bounds, and lands in the end zone. Simply flawless. But don't just take our word for it, listen to this Cowboys fan from Cleveland:
Man I just witnessed the greatest catch ever possibly by Odell Beckham Jr! WOW!!!!
You're going to see that one forever. And it's going to be just as amazing every single time.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner11 hrs ago
If you’re a Seattle Seahawks fan, their win on Sunday was a sign that the NFC West is starting to turn in their favor a bit.
If you’re an Arizona Cardinals fan, well, you can look at the 19-3 loss at Seattle one of two ways.
The first, if you’re a worrywart, is that the Cardinals' offense didn’t look good. It has scored 17 points in eight quarters since Drew Stanton took over at quarterback for injured Carson Palmer the rest of the season. Arizona had 204 yards and 12 first downs on Sunday. Stanton had just 149 yards and an interception. It was ugly.
But the second option, and more realistic one, is to bang the gong and move on. This was a tough spot for the Cardinals. Seattle is a tough place to play, and the Seahawks knew a loss and the division was practically over and any playoff spot would be in jeopardy. The Cardinals didn’t have receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who has a knee injury, either. The sky isn't falling because of one loss, of course.
Even though the Cardinals were 9-1 and three games ahead of the Seahawks in the division, this result wasn’t surprising. What matters more for the Cardinals is where they go from here.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
Detroit didn't have much fun in New England, getting their manes handed to them 34-9. So you can understand why the Lions might be a little chippy. Add to that the fact that the Patriots poured on what could be construed as an unnecessary touchdown with under two minutes to play, and you get this:
That's Lions center Dominic Raiola, diving at the knees of a Patriots defensive lineman (Zach Moore) on the final play of the game. The teams were in victory formation — or, in this case, surrender formation, since Detroit was down by 25 — and thus the Patriots weren't exactly prepared for the hit.
Raiola didn't even try to disguise his intentions. "I cut him," Raiola said after the game. "We took a knee, so I cut the nose [tackle]. ... They went for a touchdown at 2 minutes. They could have took three knees and the game could have been over. It's football. He wants to keep playing football, let's play football. Not a big deal. It's football."
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
ATLANTA - Cleveland's Billy Cundiff drilled a game-winning 37-yard field goal against Atlanta on Sunday afternoon, and if you were just watching the game on TV or checking your fantasy scores, you probably thought, "eh, no big, 37-yarder, pretty much a gimme, right?" For most NFL kickers, right.
For you, though? No way on earth. Those 37 yards may as well be a mile, as far as most of the rest of us are concerned. Your intrepid Yahoo Sports reporter visited the field of play after the game was over, stepped over the bits of broken Falcon dreams, and walked out to where Cundiff set up to make his field goal. Here's what it looks like from that perspective:
Yeah, no way you're making that. Here's a little live-action video just for further perspective:
That's a flat-out terrifying prospect, and that doesn't even include the elements of 70,000 screaming fans, 11 opposing players looking to remove your leg from your torso, and the very real possibility that if you miss this field goal you'll be cut from the team and never make this much money again.
Still think you can do it? Lace up. There's always room in the NFL for more kickers.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner13 hrs ago
The Tennessee Titans fell to 2-9, clinching their third straight sub-.500 season, in a 43-24 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles — and they did it in appropriate style.
Consider this play in the third quarter with the Titans down 27-17 but driving. Rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger threw a pass that should have been picked by Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who had dropped into short coverage. But Cox batted the pass back, and the carom was caught by the man who snapped the ball initially to Mettenberger — center Brian Schwenke.
On a strange-looking play, Schwenke actually looked natural with the ball (he does touch it on every play, after all) and ran like a tight end in an effort to scratch out a few extra yards on what was tantamount to a slop shot in basement billiards.
But Schwenke hasn't been running the gauntlet drills lately, clearly. He coughed up the ball after a hit by Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks, which was recovered by safety Nate Allen.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner13 hrs ago
ATLANTA -The winning field goal had passed through the uprights 60 seconds before, sending the Cleveland Browns into fits of ecstasy and the numb Georgia Dome fans out into the rain. But here was Brian Hoyer, walking slowly off the field, eyes down on the turf in front of him, shaking his head in frustration.
He'd just guided the Browns down the field with a perfectly-executed 44-second, four-completion game-winning drive. Cleveland is now 7-4, and if the team forfeited every one of its remaining games it'd still be the Browns' best year since 2007. The Browns just welcomed back Josh Gordon, 2013's leading receiver. Hoyer has thrown for 300-plus yards the last two games, the first Brown to do so since Brian Sipe way back in 1980.