Todd Gurley Los Angeles Rams Nike Youth 2016 Salute to Service Game Jersey

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Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley may be the key to a successful playoff run for LA as the bye week closes.

An off week for the Los Angeles Rams will end, as they ramp up for Week 9 and a game against the New York Giants.

The Rams will travel east for a game against a 1-6 New York team whose offensive struggles, especially on the line, have NFL pundits and fans already wondering if the Giants have seen the best of veteran quarterback Eli Manning.

Los Angeles will roll into NY, or New Jersey to be geographically accurate, with a 5-2 record to kick off what is, in effect, part two of a season where expectations are running high.

One big part of the first seven games has been the play of running back Todd Gurley, who has put the doldrums of a sophomore slump behind him and may be in line for postseason honors.

I’d bet he’d settle for postseason play instead.

For the Rams, any success after the bye week will have Gurley leading the way offensively. As efficient and management like second year quarterback Jared Goff has been, it’ll be the LA running back who will carry this team into the latter fall and holiday months.
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Gurley, who has rushed for 627 yards through these first seven games, is clearly on pace to erase a disappointing 2016. To add to his numbers on the ground, he’s also managed to be a reliable pass catcher out of the backfield, with 27 receptions for another 293.

That’s the kind of production that has helped Goff improve form a dismal seven games his rookie season, to a solid first seven games in 2017.

Count on Gurley to continue as a feature for the Rams as the bye week comes to a close.

They’ll need him to be, if they want to play beyond New Year’s Eve.

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A big reason the Los Angeles Rams rank No. 1 in points scored is because of Todd Gurley. He’s no longer a one-dimensional back who’s a traditional runner. This season, Gurley has become a true three-down back capable of dominating in every facet of the offense.

Coach Sean McVay’s offensive scheme has certainly helped turn Gurley into a more dynamic weapon after struggling under Jeff Fisher last season, but the third-year back has done plenty of his own work, too — and McVay knows it.

“I think any time you’re able to have some success, it helps,” McVay said on the Rich Eisen Show. “The thing about Todd, though, is from the day I met Todd, he’s had that swagger and that confidence. It’s great to see him performing at such a high level.”

Gurley ranks second in the league in rushing, has scored the most touchdowns (eight) and is on pace for more than 1,400 yards rushing and 670 receiving. That would be quite the feat after he failed to reach 1,000 yards on the ground last season.

Without him, the Rams offense doesn’t look the way it does today. There’s a reason he’s already touched the ball 172 times in just seven games. It’s because he’s one of the best players in the league.

“He makes you look good as a coach because you get special players like that, but they’re also special people in terms of the way they lead and bring others with them,” McVay continued. “I think you’re seeing a complete back right now. He’s playing well in all phases. He’s protecting well, understands the little nuances of the position. And I think you can just see in the pass game, making the most of his opportunities. And I also think it’s a credit to Jared being able to get through the progressions where he’s an outlet.”

With Gurley controlling the offense and Goff taking care of the football, the Rams have one of the best young duos in the NFL. As long as they can stay healthy, L.A. could be a legitimate contender in the NFC.

NFL Pro Line Women’s Carolina Panthers Cam Newton Team Color Jersey

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Last week, quarterback Cam Newton said two Carolina turnovers that led to Eagles’ touchdowns were “layups” for the visitors.

Sunday against the Bears, two Panthers’ turnovers led to dunks.

The opening possession of the game was going just as the Panthers had planned. They marched into Chicago territory and called an option play on first down from the 24-yard line. But rookie wide receiver Curtis Samuel dropped the backward pitch from Newton, and Bears safety Eddie Jackson scooped it up for a 75-yard score.

“I’ve got to make that play,” Samuel said.

Early in the second quarter, another promising series ended in disaster. Newton’s third-down slant pass to wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was broken up by cornerback Prince Amukamara, sending the ball high into the air. Jackson corralled it and raced 76 yards for the score.

“I thought (Cam) had his moments,” Rivera said of his quarterback who went 21-of-34 for 211 yards while adding a team-high 50 yards rushing. “The pitch wasn’t his fault. That ball should have been caught. We’ll work on it and get better at it. And then the ball (to Benjamin) ricocheted in the air, again, not his fault.”

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But Newton had a costly miscue in the third quarter as the Panthers were threatening to make it interesting. On first-and-10 from the Chicago 45, running back Christian McCaffrey was uncovered cutting across the middle. But Newton’s throw sailed over the rookie, and a big chunk play – perhaps even a touchdown with McCaffrey’s run-after-catch ability – was missed.
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“Just a bad throw,” Newton said.

Five plays later, Newton was stopped short on fourth-and-2 from the Bears’ 25-yard line, their 17-3 lead secure.

“He knows it too. I saw his expression right after,” Rivera said of the costly miss to McCaffrey. “He knew that if he brings it down to Christian it’s a big catch.”

The big plays haven’t been there like they were two and three weeks ago at New England and Detroit when the Panthers totaled five plays of 20-plus yards in each of those games.

A 37-yard pass to Benjamin on the final play of Sunday’s first half was the Panthers’ only play over 20 yards. Last week against Philadelphia, the Panthers failed to produce a play over 20 yards.

Carolina didn’t necessarily need explosive plays to beat the Bears on Sunday. Even after turning the ball over twice and spotting Chicago 14 points, the Panthers just needed a few sustained drives to get back into it.

But they never reached the red zone in the second half, let alone the end zone.

“There’s no excuse not to come in and find a way to win this football game,” Newton said. “We squandered that opportunity.”

“We have to get the job done, and offensively we didn’t. We didn’t get an opportunity to get in the red zone and that’s unacceptable. We will and have to be better.”

Men’s Oakland Raiders Karl Joseph NFL Pro Line Black Player Jersey

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So this was the player the Oakland Raiders used a first-round draft pick on in 2016.

A 5-foot-10, 205-pound whirling dervish, flying around the field and showing up wherever the ball was with bad intentions. Not damaged goods coming off a torn ACL and enduring turf toe that forced him to miss four games of his rookie season.

Yes, it’s a small sample size — two games into the 2017 season — but Karl Joseph has validated Oakland using the No. 14 overall selection on him last year by being a defensive playmaker at strong safety.

Joseph blitzed six times against the New York Jets in Week 2, sacking Josh McCown once and compiling four quarterback hurries, per Pro Football Focus.

As such, Joseph was PFF’s top-rated NFL safety for the week, with a 90.7 grade. A repeat performance under the lights at FedEx Field on Sunday night will mean bad news for Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins.

“I don’t think it’s just me,” Joseph said. “I think it’s the play-call.

“I just happened to blitz a lot … for the game plan. I was happy. I should have definitely got more sacks than I did — I feel like I should have had three — but, you know, I was happy to make that play.”cheap nfl jerseys from china

Through two weeks, PFF has Joseph as the league’s No. 6-ranked safety. And while he was named to an all-rookie team or three last season, Joseph has made a big leap in his development already.

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Because beside flying around the edge on blitzes, he also had an acrobatic pass breakup in the end zone on a fade in the opener at Tennessee.

“If you watch him closely, I’m sure you have, you see his development has been really, really nice,” Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said. “He was very active last week. He’s really good close to the line of scrimmage. He’s a really good tackler in the open field. He also plays well on the back end. I think his development is right on time right now.”

Added coach Jack Del Rio of the West Virginia product: “He’s an aggressive guy … he likes to be brought. He makes plays happen when he does. We’ll pick our spots, as we do with everything, but it was good to see him have a nice, productive game last week.”

Joseph was part of a defense that gave up more than 1,000 total yards of offense in Weeks 1 and 2 last season. Thus far in 2017, Oakland is the No. 17 total defense, giving up an average of 310.5 yards.

And the Raiders are doing it with two rookie starters in defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes and middle linebacker Marquel Lee; cornerback Gareon Conley — this year’s first-round pick — also had a solid debut against the Jets.

Suddenly, Joseph is a grizzled veteran in the secondary, though not as battle-tested as free safety Reggie Nelson, who is in his 11th NFL season.

“I think we’re way ahead where we were last year,” Joseph said. “I think it’s just with playing more with each other and practice and us having a better understanding of the defense, you know? Being able to go into our second year together … I just know me personally, I’m a lot more comfortable.

“I know exactly what to do on each play and I think everybody feels the same way. We’re just a lot more comfortable, getting used to playing with each other.”

Men’s Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford Nike White 2017 Game Jersey

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Matthew Stafford isn’t usually the superstitious type, but this time he wasn’t taking any chances.

Stafford fielded questions about his current streak of 137 consecutive throws without an interception on two different occasions this week, and both times he found the nearest piece of wood for some knocking.

“It’s good,” Stafford said Wednesday, after three taps on the lectern in front of him. “I understand that turnovers in this league are going to jerseys from china happen. We’re doing a really nice job right now of holding onto the ball, and was fortunate a couple times last week (not to throw an interception). But yeah, it’s a big part (of our success).”

The Lions have ridden an opportunistic defense and great special-teams play to a 3-1 record, but they wouldn’t be tied atop the NFC heading into Sunday’s game with the Carolina Panthers if not for some careful play by their quarterback.

Stafford threw a pick-six on his first pass attempt of the season, when Golden Tate was chucked off his route by Arizona Cardinals linebacker Josh Bynes.

Since then, Stafford has come close to throwing an interception or four, but for a variety of reasons he has played almost mistake-free football.

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“Our defense is playing dangerously good football right now, so we don’t need to do anything that’s too crazy,” Tate said. “I think we’re OK with punting the ball, pinning them deep, letting our defense go out there and do a three-and-out or even get a pick or a fumble.

“So I would say that’s one of the reasons, and the next reason that comes to mind is that we all are on the same page a little bit better than we have been in the past and I think we all understand the offense a little bit better than we have in the past. So that’s playing a toll I would think.”

Drew Brees, who does not have a turnover in 152 pass attempts this season, is the only quarterback with a longer interception-less streak in the NFL, and just four teams have a better interception rate (.72%) than the Lions.

Stafford did lose a fumble in a Week 2 win over the New York Giants, and he has come close to committing several more turnovers this year.

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He threw an interception that was called back on a questionable defensive holding penalty in the final minute of a Week 3 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, and last week he nearly threw three picks in a win over the Minnesota Vikings.

On par, though, Stafford is taking precious care of the football, a change that started around the time Jim Bob Cooter took over as offensive coordinator midway through the 2015 season.

Stafford has four interception-less streaks longer than this one in his career. Twice in his 5,000-yard season of 2011, he went 150 passes without a pick. Last year, he attempted 171 straight throws without an interception. And at the end of the 2015 season and into Week 2 of 2016, he set a personal best with 211 consecutive pass attempts without a pick.

“Hopefully the comfort level is getting higher and higher in this offense and he really intuitively feels and understands where guys are, where guys are going to be,” Cooter said. “He’s doing a better job pushing our receivers, pushing our guys to be at those spots, sort of correcting a guy if his route’s 2 yards short or too tight, too wide, those type of things. They all play a big role in our pass game having success. Now we’ve had good games and bad games in the pass game, but all those things play a role in that sort of turnover game.”

Stafford has averaged an interception just once every 72.9 pass attempts with Cooter as his coordinator, a stark contrast to where he was early in his career.

Under Joe Lombardi, that number was one pick every 41.2 throws. Under Scott Linehan the first five years of it his career, it was one interception every 33.8 attempts.

“The turnover ratio was a high number,” Stafford said. “It was. You throw 20 in 10 games, that’s a tough hole to dig yourself out of.”

It’s true that Stafford’s 20-interception rookie season skews his early-career numbers, but there’s also no doubt that he’s matured as a player and found a home in a system that values possessing the ball more recently.

While Linehan’s offense pushed the ball down field more and Lombardi took a rhythmic approach to the passing game, Cooter has emphasized getting the ball out quickly and given Stafford more control at the line of scrimmage and more freedom to move in and out of plays.

Stafford downplayed the role scheme has had on his newfound ball security – “I don’t think so,” he said – and instead chalked the change up to “probably just comfortable being in the offense.”

Whatever the case, with the NFL’s fourth-ranked defense invading Ford Field on Sunday , the Lions need Stafford to continue his careful ways.

“I’m not referring to the streak that he’s on right now, I’m just going to say that obviously he’s done a nice job in terms of navigating some very difficult terrain with a lot of people around you, getting the ball down field, making the proper decisions,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “There may have been a time or two that he maybe had to take a sack as opposed to throwing it up in the air, but I think he’s done a really nice job at that. But I think he’s been doing that for a while now when you look at just his trajectory over the years. He’s been improving in that area consistently, and we constantly preach that that’s the most important part of what we do is to win that turnover battle and so I think everybody’s kind of bought into it at this point in time.”