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Falcons' Freeman ready to return vs. Bucs

DETROIT — Aaron Rodgers launched a Hail Mary pass of 61 yards into the end zone with no time left and Richard Rodgers caught it to give the Packers a stunning 27-23 win Thursday over the Lions.

"I can't believe Richie caught it," the quarterback said. "When he caught it, I blacked out. I didn't know what happened. It's the greatest feeling I've had on the field in a long time."

The play came one play after Detroit defensive end Devin Taylor was called for a face mask on QB Rodgers during a desperation, lateral-filled third-and-10 play with six seconds left. With an automatic first down, the Packers completed a comeback from 20-0 down in the third quarter.

Richard Rodgers' father, Richard Sr., is assistant defensive backs coach for the Panthers. But in college at Cal, the elder Rodgers was the special teams captain and called the "The Play" in the huddle to defeat Stanford in 1982. Rodgers was the second and fourth player to handle the ball on the famed five-lateral kickoff return for a score on the game's final play.

Freeman returning vs. Bucs

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Coach Dan Quinn loves how hard Devonta Freeman runs the ball for the Falcons.

After missing Sunday's loss to the Vikings with a concussion, Freeman is back on the field and ready to help his team snap a four-game skid. He fully participated in practice, taking all the reps with the first-team offense as Atlanta prepares to visit the Bucs on Sunday. "You can imagine the excitement he has," Quinn said.

Freeman, a fourth-round draft pick out of Florida State last year, took over as a full-time starter in Week 3 after rookie Tevin Coleman was injured. He leads the league with nine rushing touchdowns, is tied for first in first downs and is fifth in yards from scrimmage. Quinn credits his production to strong study habits, athleticism and adaptability.

Receiver Leonard Hankerson (hamstring) isn't practicing and likely won't play. Receiver-returner Devin Hester will remain on the inactive list until the weekend, but he said he planned to make his season debut after missing 11 games with a turf toe injury. With a shoulder injury sidelining guard Chris Chester, James Stone could make his first start since filling in for center Mike Person in a Week 6 loss at New Orleans.

Broncos: The team remains "totally committed" to restoring Peyton Manning to health and getting him back on the field as the starting quarterback, despite recent conjecture to the contrary, coach Gary Kubiak said. Reports this week said the Broncos had decided to go with Brock Osweiler for the rest of the season.

Dolphins: Center Mike Pouncey returned to practice after leaving Sunday's loss to the Jets with a right foot injury. The former Gator was limited, and it was uncertain whether he would play Sunday against the Ravens.

Jets: Cornerback Darrelle Revis was sidelined again for practice with a concussion, and it appeared he would not play against the Giants on Sunday. Revis was injured at Houston on Nov. 22 and has not practiced or played since.

Rams: With Case Keenum not cleared in the NFL's concussion protocol, Nick Foles will start at quarterback Sunday against the Cardinals, coach Jeff Fisher said.

Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger remained on track to start Sunday night against the Colts, but tight end Heath Miller was out of practice for the second straight day due to a rib injury suffered in Seattle on Sunday.

Falcons' Freeman ready to return vs. Bucs 12/03/15 [Last modified: Friday, December 4, 2015 12:10am]
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