Monday, November 20, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Around the NFL

RECOMMENDED READING


Colts quarterback Andrew Luck pulled off some Tom Brady-like comebacks. • Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III stole the show on highlight reels. • As the Nos. 1 and 2 picks in the draft, respectively, the rookies have led their franchises to turnaround seasons and potential playoff berths. • But you can make a strong case for another QB when it comes to the rookie of the year. • That would be Seattle's Russell Wilson, the lesser-known third-round pick out of Wisconsin who leads the red-hot Seahawks into a prime-time Puget Sound showdown tonight with the 49ers. • Wilson, who had to beat out high-priced free agent Matt Flynn in the preseason, has impressed with his mobility and intangibles. He has thrown for more touchdowns — and has a better quarterback rating — than Luck. And though he has fewer rushing yards than Griffin, unlike Griffin, he has avoided injuries. • "If it wasn't for RG3, Russell Wilson would actually have played the best out of any rookie quarterback: completion percentage, passer rating, touchdown-to-interception ratio," NFL Network analyst LaDainian Tomlinson said on SiriusXM radio. "What he has done in getting this team to this point is really remarkable. And so really and truly, at this time, I think Russell Wilson is your rookie of the year." • Said CBS analyst Rich Gannon: "He has been very special." • Tonight could be a major showcase for Wilson and the Seahawks, who have won five of six and scored a combined 108 points over the past two weeks. Seattle is 6-0 at home, and with a win tonight, it clinches a playoff berth and keeps its division title hopes alive. It's an intriguing matchup with two coaches, Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll, who feuded in college (Stanford and USC, respectively). There are two talented young quarterbacks, Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, and two top-five defenses. • "We're fighting for a championship," Carroll said. "That's all I could ever ask for. We've got a chance to do something special."

Fab five

1. Broncos 2. 49ers

3. Patriots 4. Texans

5. Falcons

Fighting for Flacco

You think Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman is under fire? Just look at Ravens QB Joe Flacco, left. Not long ago, it seemed like a slam dunk that Flacco, who can become a free agent after this season, would get a long-term deal. Coach John Harbaugh said after the opener, when Flacco threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns in a 44-13 win over the Bengals: "Pay him whatever he asks for." But with the Ravens on a three-game losing streak, Flacco has become a target for criticism and doubters (despite his six touchdowns and three interceptions). Clark Judge of cbssports.com, however, says the Ravens will keep him for one reason: He wins. Flacco has led Baltimore to the playoffs in each of his first five season as well as two AFC title games. Writes Judge: "The Ravens ran a lot of guys through the door at quarterback, and only one stuck. You're looking at him, people, and you should be looking at him for a long, long time."

Boo birds

The Bears, apparently, aren't too high on the home crowd booing them after last week's loss to the Packers. "I know there are a lot of experts in the media, a bunch of smart guys out there who know exactly what they're talking about all the time," linebacker Brian Urlacher, above, said. "They don't know what they're talking about. The only team in our division that gets booed at home is us. It's incredible to me. Believe it. Don't believe it. We don't care." Said linebacker Lance Briggs: "I've been here for a long time, too, and I've seen a lot of boos; for a lot of the wrong reasons. Nobody on any team that I've ever been on gets booed more at home than here in Chicago."

Times wires contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

Best bet

Giants (8-6) over Ravens (9-5)

The defending champions looked bad in a blowout loss at Atlanta last week but are in a must-win situation in a crowded NFC East.

Tough luck Tebow

Remember all the back-page headlines and nonstop ESPN coverage Tim Tebow received during training camp? Well, with the Jets benching struggling quarterback Mark Sanchez and bypassing the ex-Gator for Greg McElroy, there are reports they will trade or release Tebow after the season. Acquired from Denver as the league's most popular backup and a wildcat threat, the Tebow trade "hasn't panned out to my expectations and, maybe, to Tim's either," coach Rex Ryan said. Tebow has won a Heisman, spurred several fourth-quarter rallies in the NFL and led the Broncos to an unforgettable playoff win. But some believe he will never again be an NFL starting quarterback.

Best news of the week

Colts coach Chuck Pagano, left, who has inspired many during his battle with leukemia, is expected to return to work Monday, according to the Indianapolis Star. With his leukemia in remission, Pagano, 52, can resume full duties, and he'll likely take over a playoff team. (The Colts can clinch a berth with a win over the Chiefs today.) Buoyed by Pagano's "ChuckStrong" movement, Indianapolis has been one of the league's biggest surprises, going 8-3 under interim coach Bruce Arians. Said Arians: "Hopefully, we can get this victory and secure our playoff spot and turn it back over to Chuck."

   
Comments
NFL Week 11: What we learned

NFL Week 11: What we learned

Is Jerry Jones the next Al Davis? Is he really going to let his anger for commissioner Roger Goodell ruin his relationship with the other owners? Should we have seen this coming? I think the answers are: Yes, probably and yes. Jones is the modern-day...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

MIAMI GARDENS — The case of Jameis Winston and a female Uber driver in Arizona took more twists Sunday, with Winston getting some level of corroboration, and his unnamed accuser retaining a familiar, high-profile attorney.Eagles cornerback Ronald Dar...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Jones: Even in victory, dread hangs over the Bucs

Jones: Even in victory, dread hangs over the Bucs

MIAMI GARDENS — A dark cloud is hanging over this football team.It’s a heaviness. A dread. A dread for what might have happened in the past and what might happen in the future.And that makes it hard for fans to truly enjoy what happened Sunday.The Bu...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins journal: Patrick Murray on winning kick: ‘I knew I was going to make it’

Bucs-Dolphins journal: Patrick Murray on winning kick: ‘I knew I was going to make it’

MIAMI GARDENS — Patrick Murray has been so consistent since taking over as the Bucs’ kicker that he had no doubt when called upon to make a go-ahead field goal with four seconds left in Sunday’s win.Ryan Fitzpatrick completed three passes for 55 yard...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins report card: Grading Tampa Bay’s 30-20 victory

Bucs-Dolphins report card: Grading Tampa Bay’s 30-20 victory

MIAMI GARDENS — That was one ugly football game.The Bucs had a bad game. The Dolphins had a really bad game. And who had the worst game of all? The officials.In fact, the best part of Sunday’s game was before the game even started, thanks to a stirri...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins: How Ryan Fitzpatrick steadied Tampa Bay

Bucs-Dolphins: How Ryan Fitzpatrick steadied Tampa Bay

MIAMI GARDENS — For chaos, there was Jameis Winston missing his second game with a shoulder injury and an NFL investigation swirling around him.For calamity, there was the Bucs forcing four of their five turnovers in the first half and building a two...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins:  How rookies like O.J. Howard carried the day

Bucs-Dolphins: How rookies like O.J. Howard carried the day

MIAMI GARDENS — From start to finish, the Bucs’ wobbly 30-20 win over the Dolphins on Sunday was made possible by game-changing plays made by rookies.The Bucs’ top three picks in this year’s draft — tight end O.J. Howard, safety Justin Evans and rece...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins: Social media reactions to Tampa Bay’s 30-20 victory

Bucs-Dolphins: Social media reactions to Tampa Bay’s 30-20 victory

The Bucs won their second straight and snapped a six-game road losing streak Sunday. And they did it after blowing a 13-point lead.Here’s a sampling of reactions on social media to Tampa Bay’s 30-20 win over the Dolphins in Miami Gardens:...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Buccaneers-Dolphins: A by-the-numbers look at Tampa Bay’s 30-20 win

Buccaneers-Dolphins: A by-the-numbers look at Tampa Bay’s 30-20 win

Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the Bucs’ 30-20 win over the Dolphins on Sunday:5Bucs takeaways, four of which occurred in the first half. Tampa Bay last recorded four takeaways in the first half against Chicago in Week 2.6Turnovers quarterback Jay C...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins: Instant analysis from Tampa Bay’s 30-20 victory

Bucs-Dolphins: Instant analysis from Tampa Bay’s 30-20 victory

The Buccaneers won their second straight game Sunday in Miami Gardens, breaking a six-game road losing streak in the process. Here’s the Times’ Bucs coverage team’s instant analysis from Tampa Bay’s 30-20 win over the Miami Dolphins:WINNING IS WINNIN...
Updated: 11 hours ago