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NFL NOTEBOOK: Texans start, Panthers defence qualify as early surprises

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Two weeks into the season, the Houston Texans is likely to be the NFL’s largest shock.

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They gained their opener, which was in opposition to the awful Jacksonville Jags, however there are a few of us who have been satisfied the Texans would develop into the primary workforce in league historical past to have an 0-17 season.

Then, what are you aware, on Sunday they have been inside three factors of the Cleveland Browns early within the fourth quarter earlier than falling 31-21.

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Being a reliable contender that suffered a heartbreaking defeat in Week 1, the Browns have been anticipated (once more, by a few of us) to beat the Texans by 10 touchdowns, not 10 factors.

Dave Culley must be thought-about an early candidate for coach of the yr.

Till now, anyway.

Absolutely the Texans are about to come back crashing to earth.

On Tuesday, Culley confirmed that Davis Mills might be his beginning QB for this week’s showdown with the Carolina Panthers.

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With Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) “day-to-day,” Culley would love nothing greater than to faucet Deshaun Watson on the shoulder, however due to the authorized issues he’s dealing with, the Texans know they’ve to chop ties and may’t threat their ace-in-the gap getting injured earlier than they make a commerce.

So Watson has been formally “deactivated” like he was in Weeks 1 and a pair of, and main the Texans below the Thursday highlight might be a third-round decide who made his debut final Sunday in reduction of Taylor, finishing simply eight of 18 passes for 102 yards whereas throwing an interception and a two-yard TD move.

And he gained’t be dealing with a Panthers defence that was ranked twenty first by Sporting Information heading into the season, however one which has allowed fewer yards passing (287) and fewer yards dashing (93) than any workforce within the league to date.

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Speak about early surprises.

In the meantime, not falling into that classification is information out of Pittsburgh on Tuesday that Ben Roethlisberger’s standing is unsure this week.

He’s coping with a left pectoral harm that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says “will have an effect on his capacity to organize for Sunday’s dwelling divisional sport in opposition to the Bengals.

“We higher be able to be adjustable,” mentioned Tomlin, who has Mason Rudolph subsequent on his depth chart, adopted by former Washington first-rounder Dwayne Haskins.

Roethlisberger was removed from nice in opposition to the Raiders.

He accomplished 27-of-40 for 295 yards with a TD move and a decide. He was additionally sacked twice and hit 10 instances.

“I don’t know particularly when Ben obtained injured in sport,” Tomlin mentioned. “I don’t know that he does.”

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Roethlisberger is 39, which can also be about the identical variety of instances he has been on the harm report prior to now three seasons.

That he won’t play in Week 3, due to a sore pec on his non-throwing aspect that no one (together with himself) can recall getting dinged, properly, it ought to come as a shock to nobody in any respect.

SECOND AND LONG

As soon as once more, an harm (knee) suffered by Steelers WR Diontae Johnson, this one on the ultimate play of Sunday’s sport, isn’t as severe as first feared. In reality he hasn’t been dominated out for Week 3. “He’s trying higher, however to not be confused with nice,” Tomlin mentioned. Johnson had a team-leading 9 catches for 105 yards versus Vegas … The fireplace on the roof of the New Orleans Superdome early Tuesday afternoon was reportedly began by a employee utilizing a stress washer. One individual was taken to hospital with minor accidents. The Saints, who have been moved out of their dwelling by Hurricane Ida, are nonetheless scheduled to play their first sport on the Superdome on Oct. 3.

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GOING DEEP

Packers RB Aaron Jones has recovered the small, soccer formed medallion that contained the ashes of his lifeless father, a cherished souvenir he figures he misplaced ultimately zone at Lambeau Discipline after scoring his second receiving landing on Monday evening.

It was discovered by workforce coach Bryan ‘Flea’ Engel. “Thanks to him,” Jones mentioned on Milwaukee radio Tuesday morning. “He was on the market till 1:45 (a.m.). It exhibits how a lot they care about us.” Jones’ dad, Alvin Jones Sr., died of COVID-19 problems in April. He was 56 … Additionally dying of COVID-19 problems this week was Rob Rivera, a 50-something-year-old Raiders fan who is named the co-founder of the long-lasting Black Gap part when the workforce performed in Oakland.

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SCREEN PASSING

In accordance with Sports activities Enterprise Journal, the viewers tuning into the ESPN2 podcast/simulcast throughout with Peyton Manning and his brother Eli through the Monday Evening Soccer sport grew from 800,000 in Week 1 to 1.86 million in Week 2. That’s a whopping 132% bump … Hitting the large display on Christmas Day might be American Underdog, the exceptional story of Kurt Warner’s rise from grocery retailer clerk to NFL MVP and Tremendous Bowl hero.

DOWN AND OUT

Browns put WR Jarvis Landry (knee) on IR, which implies he’ll miss not less than the following three video games. There’s hypothesis his roster spot might be taken by Odell Beckam Jr., who’s on the right track to make his season debut Sunday in opposition to the Bears. Beckham has been on the street to full restoration a torn ACL he suffered in Week 7 final season … Panthers have activated stable cowl nook A.J. Bouye, who has simply completed serving a six-game suspension that started final season when he was a Bronco.

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EXTRA POINTS

The Cowboys have the perfect 1-2 working punch this aspect of Cleveland, with speedy Tony Pollard providing a pleasant change of tempo to Ezekiel Elliott. In Sunday’s win over the Chargers, Pollard had 13 carries for 109 yards and a TD, in addition to three catches for 31 yards. Elliott had 16 carries for 71 yards and a TD. On his common weekly Dallas morning radio spot Tuesday, workforce proprietor Jerry Jones made it clear he gained’t be buying and selling Pollard earlier than the Nov. 2 deadline. “The details are that we actually have an excellent state of affairs right here,” Jones mentioned. “Each of these (guys) are going to be an actual staple for us as we get into the season.”

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