Defending Super Bowl champion Rams open season as underdogs
Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams will raise their Super Bowl banner Thursday night before kicking off the NFL season at home where they became the second straight team to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy in their own stadium.
Chiefs take playoff experience into Sunday night vs Steelers
The last time the Kansas City Chiefs played the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs, Tyreek Hill was a wide-eyed rookie wide receiver, Chris Jones was learning the ropes at defensive tackle and Travis Kelce was just becoming one of the NFL's best tight ends.
Steelers, Roethlisberger agree to new deal for 2021 season
FILE - Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger celebrates a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans during the first half of an NFL football game in Nashville, in this Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, file photo. Ben Roethlisberger is returning for an 18th season with the Pittsburgh Steelers and is taking a pay cut to do it. The team and the two-time Super Bowl winner announced on Thursday, March 4, 2021, they have agreed on a new contract that assures the 39-year-old will be back in 2021. (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen, File)PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger is returning for an 18th season with the Pittsburgh Steelers and is taking a pay cut to do it. NFL Network, citing anonymous sources, said Roethlisberger's new deal will essentially pay him $14 million this season and adds four voidable years to spread out the dead money.
The Latest: Big West hoops tournaments banning spectators
(AP Photo/Aaron Doster, File)The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___The Big West Conference will hold its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments without spectators, including family and guests of the teams. The Big West’s board of directors decided to start the season without fans in attendance. AdPelicans officials say they are hoping to allow as many as 4,000 fans per game later this season. The Cleveland Browns and Cavaliers have been permitted to have a limited number of fans at games during the pandemic. AdThe governor said about 1,700 to 1,800 fans should be allowed to attend Devils games under the new rules.
More interviews didn’t equal more minority hirings in NFL
(AP Photo)The NFL expanded the Rooney Rule to give more minority candidates opportunities to become a head coach and reward teams who develop them. The Houston Texans hired David Culley this week, making the 65-year-old longtime assistant the league’s third Black head coach hired. Culley and Saleh join Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, Miami’s Brian Flores and Washington’s Ron Rivera as the league’s only minority head coaches. “We didn’t make as much progress on the head coaching side as we would have liked,” Rooney said. AdPerhaps an increase in minority executives will lead to more minority head coaches.
AP source: New Lions coach Campbell gets 6-year deal
FILE - This is a 2016 file photo showing Dan Campbell of the New Orleans Saints NFL football team. The Detroit Lions have agreed to terms with Dan Campbell to be their coach. (AP Photo/File)The Detroit Lions landed the coach they coveted from the start of their search by hiring Dan Campbell. Philadelphia and Houston, meanwhile, still have an opening for a head coach. Patricia, a former New England defensive coordinator, was 13-29-1 in two-plus seasons as a first-time NFL head coach.
Column: Smith-Schuster fires up foes through jigs and digs
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)Say this about Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster: he sure knows how to fire up foes through jigs and digs alike. He said he thought “they’re still the same Browns teams I play every year” and while they had talent, “the Browns is the Browns." The Browns snapped their 17-game losing streak at Heinz Field with their first road playoff win since 1969. “That turns you up a little bit,” Buffalo safety Jordan Power said after the Bills’ 26-15 win over Pittsburgh in Week 14. “For the betterment of myself and my teammates, I’m going to stop dancing on the logos,” Smith-Schuster declared after that loss to Cincinnati.
Same old Browns? Hardly. Cleveland drills Steelers 48-37
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) celebrates as he walks off the field following a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. The Cleveland Browns overcame all of it. The Browns dismantled the Pittsburgh Steelers 48-37 in the wild-card round Sunday night, picking up the franchise’s first postseason victory in more than a quarter-century and earning a trip to Kansas City next Sunday to face the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs. The kick bounced into the end zone for a touchback and Mayfield calmly took Cleveland 80 yards in six plays. So much for the Browns being the Browns, a winking assessment Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster made about Cleveland in the middle of the week.
Mahomes leads champion Chiefs to 14-2 mark in stacked AFC
While the Chiefs get another week’s rest, the six other AFC playoff teams get going this weekend. For just the second time since the 1970 league merger, every team in the AFC playoffs has at least 11 wins. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 54, 31-20 over the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 2, 2020, at Miami. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 43, 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Feb. 1, 2009, at Tampa, Florida. Their pass rush is nearly nonexistent with 19 sacks, the fewest by a playoff team since Denver had 19 in 1979.
Browns end long playoff drought, survive late Steelers rally
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield celebrates after the Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Cleveland. The Browns, winless just three seasons ago and so bad for so long, are in the playoffs. The Browns and their passionate fan base endured 197 losses, 14 double-digit-loss seasons and seven coaches since the last playoff appearance. For the moment he got to Cleveland in 2018, Landry's goal was to get the Browns back to the postseason. Steelers: Will be back at full strength for their first playoff appearance since the 2017 season.
Steelers to sit Roethlisberger for finale against Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to let Ben Roethlisberger rest up for the playoffs. Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that Roethlisberger will not play when the AFC North champion Steelers (12-3) visit rival Cleveland (10-5) in the regular-season finale on Sunday. The Browns drilled the Steelers 21-7 on Nov. 14, 2019, a game in which Rudolph threw four interceptions. Garrett's first game against the Steelers this season was uneventful, a 38-7 Pittsburgh win on Oct. 18 in which Rudolph actually came on in mop-up duty of Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter.
NFL won’t be cutting in line for coronavirus vaccine
The NFL won’t be cutting in line to get the coronavirus vaccine. “No one should be thinking about the vaccine going anywhere other than our first responders and the most vulnerable people right now,” said DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association. “The rollout of the vaccine is going to be driven by public health concerns and what medical and government officials determine to be the most efficacious for risk reduction across society as a whole. The largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history got underway Monday with health workers rolling up their sleeves for the first shots on the same day the nation’s COVID-19 death toll hit a staggering 300,000. High-risk health care workers and some nursing home residents were among the first in line for the shots that could finally conquer the outbreak that has upended life across the globe.
Bills improve to 10-3 with 26-15 win over sloppy Steelers
His 28 TDs passing rank second most on the team list, and five behind the single-season record set by Kelly in ’91. Acquired in a trade with Minnesota in March, Diggs now has 100 catches to match the Bills’ single-season record set by Eric Moulds in 2002. The Steelers continue to resemble nothing of the team that set a franchise record by winning its first 11 games. The game was decided midway through the fourth quarter after Buffalo’s Tyler Bass hit a 23-yard field goal to put the Bills up 26-15. SACK STREAKThe Steelers extended their sack streak to a 70th consecutive game to break the NFL record set by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1999 to 2003.
Surprise! Washington ends Pittsburgh's perfect season 23-17
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington (13) celebrates with JuJu Smith-Schuster after scoring on a 50-yard pass play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team in Pittsburgh, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Steelers spent three months shaking off whatever 2020 threw at them. pointing out time and again the only thing perfect about them was their record. Washington won the Super Bowl that season. The Bills beat the Steelers — minus Roethlisberger — 17-10 at Heinz Field last December to lock up a playoff berth.
Unbeaten Steelers focusing on Washington, not perfection
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) tries to fend off Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tramon Williams after making a catch during the second half of an NFL football game Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in Pittsburgh. So forgive the Pittsburgh Steelers if they're not exactly caught up in the hype — or maybe lack of hype — surrounding their perfect start. Yes, the Steelers are unbeaten. “Every week is a test,” Rivera said. “It really is about feel and opportunity as far as those things are concerned," Rivera said.
Worth the wait: Steelers keep top spot in AP Pro32 poll
NEW YORK – For the Pittsburgh Steelers, getting to 11-0 was worth the wait. The Steelers maintained their top spot in the latest AP Pro32 poll. 1 seed.”The Chiefs remained at No. The AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills remained at No. The Rams will head to Arizona and face the Cardinals in a key game in the NFC playoff race.
Steelers overcome rust, short-handed Ravens to move to 11-0
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Benny Snell (24) runs away from Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker L.J. So while the Steelers stayed perfect with a disjointed 19-14 win over the undermanned Ravens in the first NFL game on a Wednesday in eight years, their play was anything but. “To be bluntly honest, I’m really disappointed in our performance tonight,” he said after Pittsburgh improved to 11-0. But the Steelers were able to drain the clock behind a third-down grab by James Washington, eliminating the Ravens from repeating as AFC North champions. “The way the game went, obviously we wanted to win,” Griffin said.
Steelers' Roethlisberger, others removed from COVID-19 list
The Pittsburgh Steelers activated their longtime quarterback and three other teammates off the COVID-19 list on Saturday, clearing the way for Roethlisberger to be in uniform when the Steelers (8-0) host Cincinnati (2-5-1). Roethlisberger didn't miss a meeting thanks to advances in technology but admitted it wasn't the same as being on the field. This won't be the first time Roethlisberger has played on Sunday despite sitting out the entire week. Coach Mike Tomlin, however, believes Roethlisberger should be able to play without missing a beat given his experience level. We've been as safe as we can possibly be at home.”The Steelers also expect Williams to fill his usual spot at inside linebacker after being cleared.
Steelers stay perfect, keep top spot in AP Pro32 poll
(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)NEW YORK – In their bid to stay perfect on the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been cutting it really close in recent weeks. After earning last-minute wins in their past three games, the Steelers remained on top in the latest AP Pro32 poll. The Steelers held off the Tennessee Titans in Week 7 when Stephen Gostkowski missed a late field-goal attempt. “The perfect season continues, but the Steelers aren’t quite perfect, as their comeback win over the woeful Cowboys showed,” Newsday's Bob Glauber said. The Titans (6-2) lead the Colts by a game for the top spot in the division.
Steelers' Roethlisberger, 3 teammates go on COVID-19 list
(AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)The Pittsburgh Steelers' pursuit of a perfect season has a new opponent in COVID-19. The reserve/COVID-19 list is either for players who have tested positive or have been in close contact with someone who has. Baltimore defensive back Marlon Humphrey received a positive test result just hours after Pittsburgh edged the Ravens. ... Tomlin said Roethlisberger is fine after taking a shot to his left knee in the first half in Dallas. Roethlisberger missed one series but played the entire second half to rally the Steelers from a 10-point deficit.
Injured Big Ben rallies unbeaten Steelers past Cowboys 24-19
The limp was gone as the 38-year-old engineered a fourth-quarter comeback that kept Pittsburgh as the NFL's only unbeaten team. Those are the four games Dallas has been without star Dak Prescott, out for the season with a broken ankle. Roethlisberger's first touchdown came after he injured his left knee after a throw on a hit from defensive tackle Neville Gallimore. “Someone hit me right on the side of the knee, kind of bent my knee a little bit,” Roethlisberger said. “Just had some discomfort.”Gilbert's first touchdown pass was a 20-yarder to Lamb for a 10-0 lead in the second quarter.
All NFL games on for Week 9 as teams deal with COVID-19
(AP Photo/Terrance Williams, File)All NFL games are on for this weekend while teams deal with COVID-19 issues. The Cincinnati Bengals kept players away from their training facility, while tackle Fred Johnson and defensive back Trae Waynes were placed on the COVID-19 list. “The whole reason we’re doing it is to get guys to the game,” coach Raheem Morris said. Everybody wants to play the game.”A Miami Dolphins assistant coach, also unidentified, tested positive for COVID-19 and was quarantined. The Houston Texans returned to their facility a day after it was closed following a positive COVID-19 test by a player.
AP source: Tomlin, Steelers fined for improper mask wearing
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was fined $100,000 and the club $250,000 because coaches improperly wore facial coverings last Sunday, a person with knowledge of the fines told The Associated Press on Friday. The Las Vegas Raiders and coach Jon Gruden this week were fined a total $650,000 and docked a sixth-round draft pick for repeated violations of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols. A person familiar with the punishment said Thursday the team was fined $500,000, Gruden docked $150,000, and the draft pick stripped because of how the team handled Trent Brown’s positive coronavirus test last month. The Raiders have been penalized several times this season for violating coronavirus protocols, with the punishments leading to a total of more than $1.2 million for the team, Gruden and players. They are the first to be penalized a draft pick following multiple violations.
Bush, Board among key injuries in NFL's Week 6
Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Devin Bush (55) is helped from the field after he was injured in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Pittsburgh. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said in the post game news conference that Bush suffered a significant injury to a knee on the play. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Bush, Board among key injuries in NFL's Week 6
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said in the post game news conference that Bush suffered a significant injury to a knee on the play. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)Pittsburgh second-year inside linebacker Devin Bush sustained what coach Mike Tomlin called a “significant knee injury” in Pittsburgh’s 38-7 rout of the Browns on Sunday. Board has movement in his limbs after suffering a concussion and neck injury in the team’s 20-19 win over Washington. Bush, who had not missed a defensive snap all season, injured his left knee in the second quarter when he took an awkward step while attempting to break up a pass. Also, Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes suffered a neck injury in the game.
Steelers stay perfect, blow out Mayfield, Browns 38-7
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) pulls off his helmet on the sideline after being sacked by the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Pittsburgh. The passing game came next, quickly followed by the optimism that somehow things would be different for the Cleveland Browns. The result when the Steelers host the Browns does not. James Conner ran for 101 yards and a touchdown, Ben Roethlisberger passed for 169 yards and a score and Pittsburgh's defense chased aching Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in the third quarter. Pittsburgh sacked Mayfield four times and picked him off twice — including Minkah Fitzpatrick's 33-yard sprint to the end zone on Cleveland's first possession.
Unmasked: NFL fines coaches, teams for not covering faces
(AP Photo/Don Wright)NFL coaches thumbed their collective — and exposed — noses at the NFL’s mask mandate in Week 2. More coaches and clubs can expect similar punishments as the memo last week from Troy Vincent, who oversees the league’s football operations, was largely ignored throughout the weekend. Players, who, like the coaches, are subject to daily COVID-19 tests, are exempt from the face covering requirements. Some coaches such as Belichick, McDaniels and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin wore their masks or gaiters over their mouths but not noses. Others such as Carroll, Spagnuolo and Fangio wore their face coverings around their chins or necks, exposing both their mouths and noses.
Steelers knock out Lock, hold off Driskel, Broncos 26-21
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)PITTSBURGH – A game seemingly in hand suddenly on the cusp of slipping away, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin didn't overthink things. Needing a stop to turn back the surprisingly resilient Denver Broncos, the Steelers dialed up one final blitz in an afternoon filled with them. So the Broncos (0-2) hung around despite losing starting quarterback Drew Lock (right shoulder) in the first quarter. The Steelers recovered and went downfield for a touchdown while Lock was in the blue medical tent getting evaluated. Still, he wasn't exactly thrilled on a day the Steelers never trailed but struggled to put the Broncos away.
NFL teams huddling up to devise plans for social change
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold warms up during a practice at the NFL football team's training camp in Florham Park, N.J., Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020. Instead of taking the field, the entire team spent more than four hours talking about racial injustice and social issues. They continued their discussions Friday, an off day, to begin devising plans to effect change among each other and in the community. Tomlin, one of three Black NFL head coaches, is the third-longest tenured coach in the league. We have to continue playing because, quite frankly, this is the reason we have a platform, is because we play football and we are in the NFL, Darnold said.
Crowded house: Steelers backfield eyes consistency in 2020
FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2019, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (30) plays against the Miami Dolphins in an NFL football game, in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Steelers running back remains adamant he can thrive in the NFL if he stays on the field. Conner understands he can't run from his resume, which includes a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2018 as well as a string of injuries that have limited his effectiveness. As long as we are professionals, we will be fine.Maybe, but the Steelers coaching staff finds itself in a tight spot, particularly at the running back spot. Maybe, the Steelers know they need more from the running game after it finished 29th in the league last season.
Browns' Garrett vows to not let 'one moment' define him
Garrett knows his ugly, helmet-swinging assault on Rudolph last season will always follow him. (AP Photo/David Richard, File)Myles Garrett knows his shocking, helmet-swinging assault on Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph last season will always follow him. Garrett thinks so, too, and wants to reward the Browns for their loyalty. Even before he tore off Rudolph's helmet, Garrett had been penalized and fined for other aggressive play last season. Garrett wants more.
NFL's coaching summit highlights minority candidates
The biggest takeaway following the NFL's two-day quarterback coaching summit aimed at improving the league's diversity, is that there's no shortage of qualified minority candidates waiting for opportunities to be head coaches and coordinators. (Rob Maaddi/Zoom via AP)The biggest takeaway following the NFLs two-day quarterback coaching summit is theres no shortage of qualified minority candidates waiting for opportunities to be head coaches and coordinators. It becomes reality when the people respond to it.After the 2018 season, eight head coaches lost their jobs. That makes four minority head coaches out of a possible 32 in the league. The NFL amended the Rooney Rule last month to require more interviews of minority candidates for head coaching and coordinator positions.
Tomlin: Steelers will support players if they opt to kneel
PITTSBURGH Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin wants his players to feel comfortable speaking out about social justice in any way they see fit, provided it's done thoughtfully and with class.Kneeling included. We are going to support our players and their willingness to partake in this, whether it is statements or actions. When he's not trying to help his players navigate an uncertain social landscape, Tomlin is focusing on attempting to get 90 players ready for a training camp unlike any other. Im not comfortable, but I imagine none of my peers are comfortable either, so Im comfortable with that, Tomlin said. The team moved training camp away from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, to Heinz Field for 2020.
Steelers' Heyward: team will be united if it opts to protest
FILE - In this Dec. 30, 2018, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) plays against the Cincinnati Bengals in an NFL football gamein Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright, File)PITTSBURGH Cam Heyward is well-versed in the sometimes messy optics associated with taking a stand against social injustice. I think we want to stay united in what we do and what we want to accomplish, Heyward said. For a team that's missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons, Heyward has become acutely aware of a window potentially closing. I know the NFLPA and the NFL have been working on this for a while," Heyward said.
More than half of NFL coaching staffs not at team facilities
More than half of the 32 NFL teams did not have coaching staffs at their facilities Friday even though the league has approved such returns where local governments allow them. Most of the Bengals coaching staff returned to the facility today, including head coach Zac Taylor. NFL teams have been performing all offseason duties virtually since Commissioner Roger Goodell closed club facilities in late March because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league is taking a slow approach to reopening those team buildings, with the latest step allowing coaching staffs to return. The Saints are working up protocols to allow coaches the choice of working from team offices or home depending on individual circumstances.