Thursday, December 14, 2017
Sports

Panthers perfect, Romo hurt

ARLINGTON, Texas — Cam Newton sprinted to a corner of the Cowboys' $1.2 billion showplace, pointing a camera at celebrating Carolina fans while gesturing to them with a wide smile.

A few minutes later, a somber Tony Romo talked to reporters with his left arm in a sling for the second time this season because of a collarbone injury.

The Panthers are 11-0 after a 33-14 victory in their Thanksgiving debut, and the Cowboys could be facing another long stretch without Romo in what has become a lost season for the defending NFC East champions.

Linebacker Luke Kuechly and safety Kurt Coleman returned two of Romo's three interceptions for touchdowns, and Newton ran for the Panthers' only offensive score as they pushed their NFL-best winning streak to 15 regular-season games Thursday.

"Well, we got a lot of help from our defense," Newton said. "Defense went out there and brought their A game and made our job a lot easier."

Romo's first collarbone injury sidelined him for all seven games of a losing streak that severely crippled the chances for another playoff trip by Dallas, which has lost eight of nine.

The 35-year-old with a surgically repaired back said he would have to wait for more test results today before knowing if he broke the collarbone again. He was injured in Week 2 at Philadelphia and said the injury had a similar feel this time.

Kuechly intercepted two straight passes by Romo, returning the first 32 yards for a touchdown. Coleman picked off Romo's second pass of the game and took it back 36 yards for the score to send the Panthers on their way to becoming the 16th NFL team to win the first 11.

Newton did his part as well, getting Carolina's only offensive touchdown on a 4-yard run for a 30-6 lead moments before Romo's injury. The Panthers' QB had 183 yards passing with several key third-down conversions and another 45 yards rushing.

Bears stun Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Jay Cutler passed for 200 yards and a score and the Bears held off the Packers on fourth and goal from the 8 with 22 seconds left for a 17-13 victory.

Aaron Rodgers' throw to the end zone deflected off receiver Davante Adams' hands in the rain. James Jones couldn't hang on to a potential touchdown catch on third down.

Cornerback Tracy Porter intercepted Rodgers with 3:19 left at the Bears 45 on the Packers' previous drive. Chicago has won three of its past four. The Packers lost a second straight at home.

FAVRE HONORED, STARR RETURNS: Brett Favre threw some kind words at the quarterback who replaced him on the Packers. Speaking at a charity function Thursday, Favre said Aaron Rodgers is "almost too good." "I mean that with all due respect," he said. "I mean, all of my good records will be broken, and all my bad ones I'm going to keep. When I watch him, he's good." Favre had his name and retired No. 4 unveiled on the facade at Lambeau Field at halftime of the game later in the night. Making a special appearance during the ceremony was legendary Packers quarterback Bart Starr. The 81-year-old Hall of Famer has survived two strokes, a heart attack and four seizures in September 2014, and then a life-threatening bronchial infection three months ago. Starr's wife of 61 years, Cherry, said her husband doesn't remember specifics of his career and doesn't connect with old clips from his glory days. But she said she hopes the cheering of the sellout crowd "brings back memories for Bart, even if it's just for that moment."

Philly funk continues

DETROIT — The Lions' Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson combined for one of the best games of their careers in a 45-14 rout and keep the Eagles reeling.

Stafford tied a career high with five touchdown passes, three of them to Johnson, who also tied a personal best. "When we're on point like that, it's hard to stop," Johnson said.

The Lions have won three straight this season and three in a row in their annual Thanksgiving game. The Eagles are on a three-game losing streak. They have allowed at least 45 points in two straight games in one season for the first time in team history, STATS said.

"We all take accountability," coach Chip Kelly said. "I'm a coach, not a player, so it starts with me. I'm not pointing fingers at anybody, and I don't think anybody points fingers at anybody."

Stafford threw for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover by halftime, helping the Lions lead 24-7. He finished 27-of-38 for 337 yards and threw five TDs for the fourth time in his career. Johnson had eight catches for 93 yards and three TDs, matching his career high set in 2010.

Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez started in place of Sam Bradford, who was inactive with a shoulder injury. Sanchez completed 19 of 27 for 199 yards and two touchdowns.

FALCONS: With Matt Bryant slowed by a right quadriceps injury and limited in practice, the team signed kicker Shayne Graham.

Comments
NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

What follows below is a ranking of all 32 NFL teams. To build this list, we consulted five objective measures of team strength: Pro Football Reference’s Simple Rating System, Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average ratings...
Updated: 4 hours ago
NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

Week 15 starts and ends with disappointment — a Thursday night meeting of two of the more disappointing teams (Denver at Indianapolis) and a Monday night game that once had held high hopes locally (Atlanta at Tampa Bay). Once.Here's our picks f...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Former USF star Courtney Williams makes national team pool

Former USF star Courtney Williams makes national team pool

Former USF women's basketball sensation Courtney Williams is one significant step closer to becoming an Olympian.Williams, who just completed her first full season with the WNBA's Connecticut Sun, is among 29 players who have been chosen for the 2017...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Rays officials headed back across I-4 this afternoon, leaving the winter meetings while working toward resolution of "advanced" trade talks that could include some of their biggest name players.Most of the attention and speculation has been on on the...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

The Rays lost RHP Burch Smith in Thursday's Rule 5 draft but were happy to see him get an opportunity in Kansas City.They also were pleased to hang on to C Nick Ciuffo, who was left exposed but not selected.Smith, 27, was acquired from the Padres as ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

UPDATE, 11:09: RHP Steve Cishek, who was a very effective addition to the Rays pen last season, has reunited with pitching coach Jim Hickey, agreeing to a deal with the Cubs.UPDATE, 10:40: Like most teams, Rays officials are heading out of the meetin...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Tim Tebow wants to help throw you a tailgate wedding (sausages included)

Tim Tebow loves weddings.He apparently also loves football, tailgate parties and a good brat, which might explain why he’s lending his pitchman talents to a contest that ties all four together.In a promotional video, Tebow asks, "What happens when yo...
Updated: 30 minutes ago
Measuring Jameis Winston’s progress, and Dirk Koetter’s job security

Measuring Jameis Winston’s progress, and Dirk Koetter’s job security

TAMPA — It is one of the most honest moments of the season, captured in the first Hard Knocks episode. Jameis Winston is having a frank conversation with coach Dirk Koetter, seated behind his desk in his office at One Buc Place."I just want to have a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jones: If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?

Jones: If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?

What would you do?If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?Well, you could go to Hooter’s and order a pitcher of beer and dozen wings. Then, Monday, you could go be inducted into the Bucs’ Ring of Honor.I’m talking about after that.Would you stay i...
Updated: 1 hour ago
River Ridge grad Chris Schwarz on brink of Division II title with West Florida

River Ridge grad Chris Schwarz on brink of Division II title with West Florida

Two years ago, Chris Schwarz was mulling over his college choices. The former River Ridge High standout had offers from Valparaiso, Florida Tech and West Florida. West Florida?That one baffled Schwarz, mostly because he knew nothing about the school....
Updated: 1 hour ago