The NFL’s new national anthem rule is a huge cop-out


On Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced a new policy mandating that players and league personnel on the sideline stand during the playing of the national anthem.

This is designed to address the controversy surrounding players kneeling during the national anthem as a sign of symbolic protest for criminal justice reform and police brutality directed at African-Americans, among other causes.

Here’s the catch: the NFL gave players and league personnel the option to remain in the locker room if they don’t want to stand.

Source: The NFL’s new national anthem rule is a huge cop-out

( – Countdown to kickoff: Steelers at Rams

Pittsburgh will travel to St. Louis for a Week 3 kickoff against the Rams in the Edward Jones Dome.


Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) vs. St. Louis (1-1)
Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015 | 1 p.m. | CBS
Edward Jones Dome

SERIES HISTORY:Rams lead, 15-7-2, regular season (Steelers lead, 1-0, postseason).

LAST MEETING:Steelers 27, Rams 0, Dec. 24, 2011, Heinz Field. RB John Clay, RB Rashard Mendenhall and RB Isaac Redman all rushed for touchdowns, the first time since the 2008 season that three different Steelers rushed for a touchdown in the same game. The defense registered three sacks, forced seven punts and allowed a season-low 68 net passing yards while posting the Steelers’ 29th shutout since 1960. Charlie Batch filled in at QB for Ben Roethlisberger and threw for 208 yards.

LAST WEEK: The Steelers improved to 1-1 with a 43-18 thumping of the 49ers at Heinz Field. The Rams fell to 1-1 with a 24-10 loss to the Redskins at FedEx Field.

WHEN THE RAMS HAVE THE BALL: Job One for the Steelers, as always, will be to stop the run. But this time that’s a task that will include identifying and dealing with WR Tavon Austin. Although he’s carried just eight times in two games, Austin leads St. Louis with 57 yards rushing (one TD). The Rams will deploy their most dynamic play-maker wide left or right, in the slot, in bunch formations and in the backfield, and they’ll motion Austin into and out of the backfield in an effort to create favorable matchups and get him the ball in open spaces. He can fly and he can influence plays even as a decoy on fake-wide receiver sweeps, as he did on what became a 40-yard touchdown pass at Washington.

QB Nick Foles has 48 career touchdown passes and 17 career interceptions (2-0 this season). Although not a runner, Foles has decent pocket mobility and will even roll out and throw on the run on occasion. He’s an intelligent, accurate passer but when he’s harassed, as he was almost constantly by Washington, he’s much less effective. Foles was hurried 14 times on 32 attempts by the Redskins. He threw for 297 yards and led a 12-play, 84-yard drive that produced the tying touchdown in the final minute of regulation in St. Louis’ season-opening overtime win over Seattle.

TE Jared Cook is a big target and a prominent component of the two-tight ends personnel group the Rams favor. He’s not Rob Gronkowski (New England) but he’s better than Vernon Davis (San Francisco) in the passing game. St. Louis starts a pair of rookies on the offensive line (LG Jamon Brown and RT Rob Havenstein) and has four players in spots they weren’t in a year ago (LT Greg Robinson played guard last year as a rookie and C Tim Barnes is a fourth-year pro and a first-year starter). The Rams have yet to get much of anything significant established with consistency on the ground (39-143-3.7 in two games). They got off to an agonizingly slow start at Washington (six punts, 72 total net yards in the first two quarters) and became the first team to be shut out in a first half by the Redskins since Oct. 2, 2011 (when it happened to the Rams).

WHEN THE STEELERS HAVE THE BALL: The ability to deal with a Front Four that goes seven deep will go a long way toward dictating whether the visitors succeed or fail. DTs Aaron Donald (two-and-a-half sacks) and Michael Brockers and DEs Robert Quinn (two) and Chris Long (one) are all former No. 1 picks, as is reserve DT Nick Fairley (Detroit, 2011). They’re a handful, but the Washington offensive line nonetheless handled the strength of the St. Louis defense. The Redskins consistently got to the edge on the way to rushing for 182 yards and two TDs and averaging 4.9 yards per carry.

St. Louis plays its DBs four, five and six at a time and for the most part plays off the line of scrimmage. The Rams rely on zones to mask an absence of one-on-one coverage skills. Quinn (13) and LB Alec Ogletree (10) have excelled at forcing fumbles since 2013 and CB Janoris Jenkins has six TDs since 2012. St. Louis will blitz some but mostly it counts on the defensive linemen to get home in a hurry. Opposing QBs have been sacked a combined eight times through two games, but they’ve also completed 55 of 68 passes (80.9 percent) for two touchdowns and one interception.

The Rams crowded the line on running downs against the Redskins at times and weren’t opposed to run-blitzes. But they gradually wore out against a Washington offense that stopped short of going no-huddle but still pushed the tempo by getting plays in quickly, getting plays off quickly and getting the ball out quickly. After having closed from 17-0 down at halftime to within 17-10 in the third quarter, the Rams allowed a 12-play, 77-yard drive in 6:49 after giving up possession with 9:27 remaining at Washington.

SPECIAL-TEAMS HEADLINERS:K Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein hit a 52-yard field goal against the Redskins and has made 14 from 50-plus in his career. RB Benny Cunningham was fifth in the NFL in kickoff return average in 2014 (27.5 yards). Austin had a 75-yard punt return for a TD against Seattle (his third career TD on a punt return) and is the only player in NFL history with a punt return of at least 75 yards in each of his first three seasons. Steelers KJosh Scobee missed a PAT against San Francisco after missing field goal attempts of 44 and 46 yards in the season opener against New England.

THE X-FACTOR: The Steelers are averaging 458.5 yards and 32 points per game. And now they get RB Le’Veon Bell back from his two-game suspension. What will Bell’s addition mean to an offense that seemingly found its stride against the 49ers?

THEY SAID IT:“It’s really exciting getting him back. Honestly, I feel like Le’Veon’s the best running back in the NFL. When we’re getting pieces back to our team and an offense that’s already unstoppable and you’re just adding another great player to it, might as well just take out the popcorn and get ready for the show. Those guys are going to do some great things.” _ Steelers LB Ryan Shazier on Bell’s return.

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(fox news) – NJ high school star quarterback dies after suffering injury during game

  • footbale24.jpg

    Warren Hills QB Evan Murray looks over the defense (

The star quarterback on a New Jersey high school football team died after suffering an injury on the field.

Evan Murray, 17, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior, played for Warren Hills Regional High School. During a game Friday night at home against Summit he was hit by an opposing player late in the second quarter, the Daily News reported.

He was taken from the field after a Summit interception and subsequent return, Tapinto.netreported Saturday. He was carted off the field in an ambulance, the website said.

The player felt “woozy” after the play but tried reassuring his teammates he would be fine as he was lifted on a gurney and rushed to the hospital, the News reported, citing witnesses.

“He tried giving a thumbs-up to the rest of the team, and all of us cheered,” Kailtin Bell, 16, a Warren Hills junior varsity cheerleader, told the paper.

“Our coach was telling us he was going to be all right,” she said through tears. “We didn’t expect anything would happen.”

At the end of the game, teammates emerged from the locker room and said Murray may have suffered a heart attack, Bell told the News.

Summit won the game 14-12, according to reports.

Warren Hills junior Taylor Coughlin, 16, told Murray walked off the field after the hit which occurred behind the line of scrimmage.

She said that right around halftime, he fell to the ground on the sideline, hushing the stunned crowd.

“He was laying on the ground and everyone was looking at him,” she told the paper. “He did get back up. He stood up with help and sat on a gurney.”

Coughlin told the website Murray was a member of the National Honor Society. “He was an amazing student and an amazing athlete,” she said. “He stood out in his athletics, his academics—everything.”

Warren Hills coach Larry Dubiel said officials were still trying to determine what happened.

“We lost a fine kid,” he told lehighvalleylive.

A statement from interim Superintendent Gary Bowen on Saturday called the school community “deeply saddened.”

“Last night we experienced a tragedy in the loss of student athlete Evan Murray following an injury during the Summit-Warren Hills football game,” Bowen said. “Our school district, with the cooperation of many, is providing grief and crisis counseling beginning immediately today, Saturday, for as long as the need exists.”

Coaches, students and community members gathered at the school’s football field on Saturday for a memorial.

Bowen declined to take questions from reporters, saying a cause of death has not yet been determined. Authorities said an autopsy was planned for Saturday afternoon.

Members of the school community said they were shocked by Murray’s death.

“I can’t comprehend what happened,” said one parent.

Murray was a three-sport athlete at Warren Hills. He also played basketball and baseball. He had been the Blue Streaks starting quarterback since his sophomore year.

“Man. Myth. Legend. I hope one day I can be half the man Evan Murray was and will forever be,” a friend Sevian Frangipane wrote on Twitter.

Photos by

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Warren Hills baseball coach reflects on Evan MurrayWarren Hills baseball coach Mike Quinto reflects on athlete Evan Murray as the Warren Hills Regional High School community gathers at the football stadium Sept. 26, 2015, to mourn the death of the quarterback who was injured in a game the night before. (Video by Matt Smith | For

(USA Today) – At Alabama, doubt replaces a football dynasty

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — No two college football dynasties are exactly alike, but they all look the same at the end. At first, they are so mighty it almost takes something from the cosmos to strike them down. Maybe an amazing effort from an opponent, maybe a bolt of bad of luck. Then the veneer of invincibility gets stripped away and those moments tend to come more frequently and forcefully. Before you know it, the run of excellence goes from difficult to maintain to impossible.

It’s hard to say exactly where Nick Saban’s Alabama falls on that spectrum traveled byUrban Meyer’s Florida Gators, Pete Carroll’s USC Trojans and so many others before them. But make no mistake, what happened here at Bryant-Denny Stadium late Saturday night in No. 11 Ole Miss’ 43-37 victory was the clearest sign yet this unbelievable epoch in Alabama football history is much closer to the end than the beginning.

Not because it happened, but because by now it wasn’t much of a surprise.

Source: At Alabama, doubt replaces a football dynasty

( – Week 2 Steelers VS 49’s Final Steelers 43 SF 18



(4:20) (No Huddle, Shotgun) 7-B.Roethlisberger pass short left to 83-H.Miller for 2 yards, TOUCHDOWN.


(Pass formation) TWO-POINT CONVERSION ATTEMPT. 7-B.Roethlisberger pass to 84-A.Brown is complete. ATTEMPT SUCCEEDS.


(10:32) (Field Goal formation) 9-P.Dawson 47 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-86-K.Nelson, Holder-5-B.Pinion.


(8:11) (No Huddle) 34-De.Williams left guard for 2 yards, TOUCHDOWN.


(Pass formation) TWO-POINT CONVERSION ATTEMPT. 7-B.Roethlisberger pass to 83-H.Miller is complete. ATTEMPT SUCCEEDS.


(5:52) 7-B.Roethlisberger pass deep middle to 88-D.Heyward-Bey for 35 yards, TOUCHDOWN.


(2:00) (Shotgun) 34-De.Williams up the middle for 2 yards, TOUCHDOWN.


8-J.Scobee extra point is GOOD, Center-60-G.Warren, Holder-4-J.Berry.


(13:22) (Shotgun) 7-C.Kaepernick pass short left to 81-A.Boldin for 14 yards, TOUCHDOWN. The Replay Official reviewed the runner was in bounds ruling, and the play was Upheld. The ruling on the field stands.


9-P.Dawson extra point is GOOD, Center-86-K.Nelson, Holder-5-B.Pinion.


(10:32) 34-De.Williams up the middle for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN. The Replay Official reviewed the runner broke the plane ruling, and the play was Upheld. The ruling on the field stands.


8-J.Scobee extra point is GOOD, Center-60-G.Warren, Holder-4-J.Berry.


(9:55) (No Huddle, Shotgun) 7-C.Kaepernick pass deep middle to 82-T.Smith for 75 yards, TOUCHDOWN.


(Pass formation) TWO-POINT CONVERSION ATTEMPT. 7-C.Kaepernick pass to 82-T.Smith is complete. ATTEMPT SUCCEEDS.


(7:49) (No Huddle, Shotgun) 7-B.Roethlisberger pass short left to 84-A.Brown for 7 yards, TOUCHDOWN.


8-J.Scobee extra point is GOOD, Center-60-G.Warren, Holder-4-J.Berry.

(huffington post) – Tom Brady Declares His Support For Presidential Candidate Donald Trump

“That would be great.”

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">On Wednesday, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady publicly endorsed GOP candidate Donald Trump.</span>DONNA CONNOR VIA GETTY IMAGES
On Wednesday, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady publicly endorsed GOP candidate Donald Trump.

Well, at least Tom Brady had made it a few consecutive days without being at the crux of a controversy. But that’s over now.

On Wednesday, Brady entered the political ring again when he threw his support behind his “good friend” Donald Trump.

The New England Patriots quarterback — who spent much of the summer both in the headlines and in the courtrooms — raised the blood pressure of his PR team last week when a hat featuring  Trump’s campaign slogan was seen in his locker.

At the time, Brady dodged giving a direct answer as to whether he would vote for the controversial candidate. But today, the equivocation was axed — Brady wants Trump in 2016.

In a way, it makes sense. Both figures are charismatic but oft-caricatured, and popular within their respective bases while being polarizing to the rest of the nation.

Brady, however, should be a better friend to his 69-year-old golf buddy, and should perhaps reconsider his public vote of confidence in Trump. Why?

Friends don’t let friends make an ass of themselves by running for president.

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( – Steelers at Patriots (NBC) Final NE 28 PIT 21

Game Preview: Steelers at Patriots (Week One)

A closer look at the Steelers’ 2015 season opening game at New England.

Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0) at New England Patriots (0-0)
Date: Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET
Site: Gillette Stadium (66,829), Foxborough, Mass.
Playing Surface: FieldTurf
TV Coverage: NBC-TV (locally WPXI-TV, channel 11)
Announcers: Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (color analyst), Michele Tafoya (sideline)
Local Radio: Steelers Radio Network, WDVE-FM (102.5)/WBGG-AM (970)
Announcers: Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play), Tunch Ilkin (color analyst), Craig Wolfley (sideline)
National Radio: Westwood One Sports
Announcers: Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Boomer Esiason (color analyst), Ross Tucker (sideline)

Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin
Overall regular-season record: 82-46 (.641)/ninth season
Regular-season record with Pittsburgh: 82-46 (.641)/ninth season
Playoff Record/Years: 5-4/fi ve years

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick
Overall regular-season record: 211-109 (.659)/21st season
Regular-season record with New England: 175-65 (.729)/16th season
Playoff Record/Years: 22-9/13 years

Steelers Nation Radio is a 24-hour/day HD radio station dedicated specifically to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It can be heard on, the offi cial Steelers app or the iheart app on your smartphone and at 102.5 WDVE HD2.

A daily schedule of what is on Steelers Nation HD Radio is available at

The Pittsburgh Steelers will kick off the NFL’s 2015 regular season schedule in the League’s annual primetime kickoff game on Thursday, Sept. 10 at the New England Patriots. Kickoff is slated for 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC (locally WPXI-TV, channel 11).

Pittsburgh will be making its third appearence in the NFL’s annual primetime kickoff game since the League began the debut of the season in this format in 2002.

The Steelers have won each of their previous two primetime kickoff games, both at Heinz Field, defeating the Miami Dolphins, 28-17 on Sept. 7, 2006, and the Tennessee Titans, 13-10 (OT), on Sept. 10, 2009.

2-0: Pittsburgh is 2-0 in the NFL’s annual primetime kickoff game since the debut of the season format in 2002.

2: The number of times Pittsburgh and New England have squared off in Week One since the regular-season series began in 1972, with both teams splitting the Kickoff Weekend series.

12-1: Since 1960, Pittsburgh is 12-1 on Kickoff Weekend when a Steelers running back rushes for 100 yards or more.

16-1-1: The Steelers are 16-1-1 in Week One games since 1940 when the team scores 30 or more points.

33-43-365: Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger owns Steelers Kickoff Weekend records since 1960 for the most completions (33), passing attempts (43) and passing yards (365) – the fi rst two during the team’s 2009 opening day 13-10 win over Tennessee and his yardage total in last season’s Week One 30-27 win vs. Cleveland.

41: The number of wins the Steelers have on Kickoff Weekend – the most among AFC teams in Week One action.

VIEW GALLERY | 21 Photos

Series History: Series began in 1972
Overall Regular Season: Steelers lead, 14-9
At Pittsburgh: Steelers lead, 10-6
At New England: Steelers lead, 4-3
Neutral Sites: n/a
Streak: Patriots won previous meeting
Last Regular-Season Meeting: Nov. 3, 2013 at New England
New England 55, Pittsburgh 31
Postseason Series: Patriots lead, 3-1
Last Postseason Meeting: Jan. 23, 2005 in Pittsburgh
New England 41, Pittsburgh 27
(preseason and postseason record not included in overall series record)

Pittsburgh and New England will kickoff the NFL’s 2015 regular season this week on Thursday Night…the two teams have met 23 times in regular season seris history, with the Steelers owning a 14-9 advantage over the Patriots…Pittsburgh holds a one game edge in road games against New England (4-3)…the Steelers and Patriots will meet in a Kickoff Weekend game for the third time in series history and have split each of the previous two Week One match-ups (Sept. 3, 1979, W, 16-13 at New England OT and Sept. 9, 2002, L, 30-14 at New England).

New England 55, Pittsburgh 31
Nov. 3, 2013
Gillette Stadium (68,756)FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The Steelers fell to the New England Patriots, 55-31, at Gillette Stadium.

New England scored the first 14 points of the contest, both touchdowns coming on passes. Late in the first quarter, QB Tom Brady found WR Danny Amendola for a 34-yard score, and early in the second quarter, he found TE Rob Gronkowski for a 19-yard touchdown.

K Shaun Suisham’s 30-yard field goal midway through the second quarter gave the Steelers their fi rst three points of the game.  Late in the second quarter, K Stephen Gostkowski’s 20-yard field goal extended the Patriots’ lead, 17-3.

Right after the two-minute warning, QB Ben Roethlisberger found WR Antonio Brown for a 27-yard touchdown pass to pull within a touchdown, 17-10. But New England marched 77 yards on nine plays on their ensuing drive to extend their lead to 24-10 at halftime.

Pittsburgh scored 14 straight points after halftime. The first score was set up when S Troy Polamalu forced a fumble that was recovered by LB LaMarr Woodley. Five plays later, Roethlisberger found WR Jerricho Cotchery for a 20-yard score. And early in the third quarter, Roethlisberger and Cotchery hooked up again for an eightyard touchdown to tie the game, 24-24.

New England would outscore the Steelers 31-7 the rest of the game. Gostkowski made a 32-yard fi eld goal, Brady and WR Aaron Dobson connected on a 17-yard touchdown and RB Stevan Ridley scored on a fi ve-yard run to extend the lead, 41-24. Roethlisberger and Cotchery connected again for a six-yard score to cut the lead, 41-31, but it would be the closest the Steelers would get.

Brady and Dobson connected for an 81-yard touchdown pass, and RB LaGarrette Blount scored on a fi ve-yard run to give New England the 55-31 victory.

Former Steelers/Patriots
• Steelers S Ross Ventrone spent time on the Patriots’ practice squad and active roster in 2011.

Family Connection
• Pittsburgh S Ross Ventrone is the younger brother of New England Asst. ST coach Ray Ventrone.

Area Connections
• Pittsburgh WR Tyler Murphy (2011-14) attended Boston College.
• New England Asst. ST coach Ray Ventrone was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. and is a graduate of Chartiers Valley High School.
• Patriots RB Dion Lewis (2009-10) and DL Jabaal Sheard (2007-10) both played collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh.

NFL Connections
• Steelers HC Mike Tomlin and Patriots DL coach Brendan Daly and WR coach Chad O’Shea worked together on the Vikings’ staff (2006).
• Pittsburgh RB coach James Saxon also worked alongside Daly in Minnesota for two seasons (2012-13).
• Saxon was on staff in Miami with Patriots OL coach Dave DeGuglielmo for two years (2009-10).
• Steelers Asst. HC/DL coach John Mitchell and WR coach Richard Mann were both coaches on Patriots HC Bill Belichick’s staff (1991-93), when he was the HC in Cleveland.
• Pittsburgh OC Todd Haley worked with Belichick in New York, when they were both on the Jets’ staff (1997-99).
• Haley was on staff at Arizona, while New England DL Alan Branch was a Cardinal (2007-08).
• Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams was a Carolina Panthers teammate of Patriots WR Brandon LaFell from 2010-13 and RB Tyler Gaffney in 2014.
• Steelers LB Arthur Moats was a teammate of Branch in Buffalo (2013), along with Patriots TE Scott Chandler (2010-13) and LB Chris White (2011-12).
• Steelers QB Mike Vick was teammates with Patriots S Patrick Chung and CB Bradley Fletchner for one season in Philadelphia (2013).
• Vick also played with New England RB Dion Lewis for two years with the Eagles (2011-12).
• Pittsburgh CB Antwon Blake played with New England CB Derek Cox for one year in Jacksonville (2012).
• Steelers DT Cam Thomas was also a teammate of Cox’s for one season in San Diego (2013).

College Connections
• Pittsburgh RB DeAngelo Williams played at Memphis with New England K Stephen Gostkowski for three seasons (2002-04).
• Pittsburgh DE Cameron Heyward (2007-10),LB Ryan Shazier (2011-13) and CB Doran Grant(2011-14) all played at least one season with New England CB Nate Ebner (2009-11) at Ohio State.
• Steelers G David DeCastro manned the offensive line at Stanford for two years with Patriots OL Cameron Fleming (2010-11). DeCastro also played with Patriots RB Tyler Gaffney (2009-11) and CB Jordan Richards (2011) while at Stanford.
• Steelers S Robert Golden and Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski were teammates at Arizona (2008-09).
• Steelers OT Marcus Gilbert was teammates with Patriots DL Dominique Easley at Florida for one year (2010).
• Steelers S Shamarko Thomas was teammates with Patriots DE Chandler Jones at Syracuse for three years (2009-11).
• Pittsburgh G Ramon Foster played at Tennessee with Patriots LB Jerod Mayo for three seasons (2005-07).
• Pittsburgh QB Landry Jones was teammates with New England DL Geneo Grissom at Oklahoma for two seasons (2011-12).

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(11:16) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass short right to 87-R.Gronkowski for 16 yards, TOUCHDOWN.


3-S.Gostkowski extra point is GOOD, Center-49-J.Cardona, Holder-6-R.Allen.


(4:06) 12-T.Brady pass short middle to 87-R.Gronkowski for 6 yards, TOUCHDOWN. NE 87-Gronkowski 15th career multi-TD game.


3-S.Gostkowski extra point is GOOD, Center-49-J.Cardona, Holder-6-R.Allen.


(:07) 8-J.Scobee 44 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-60-G.Warren, Holder-4-J.Berry.


(10:43) 12-T.Brady pass short left to 88-S.Chandler for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN.


3-S.Gostkowski extra point is GOOD, Center-49-J.Cardona, Holder-6-R.Allen.


(6:48) 78-A.Villanueva reported in as eligible. 46-W.Johnson left guard for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN.


TWO-POINT CONVERSION ATTEMPT. 7-B.Roethlisberger pass to 11-M.Wheaton is complete. ATTEMPT SUCCEEDS. PIT-7-B.Roethlisberger was injured during the play.


(11:42) 8-J.Scobee 24 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-60-G.Warren, Holder-4-J.Berry.


(9:24) 12-T.Brady pass short left to 87-R.Gronkowski for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN. NE 12-Brady 23rd career game with 4+ TD passes, tying Brett Favre for 3rd most all-time. NE 12-Brady 396 career TD passes, tying Drew Brees for 4th most all-time. NE 87-Gronkowski 3rd career 3-TD game.


3-S.Gostkowski extra point is GOOD, Center-49-J.Cardona, Holder-6-R.Allen. PENALTY on PIT-90-S.McLendon, Defensive Holding, 5 yards, enforced between downs.


(:07) (Shotgun) 7-B.Roethlisberger pass short left to 84-A.Brown for 11 yards, TOUCHDOWN.


8-J.Scobee extra point is GOOD, Center-60-G.Warren, Holder-4-J.Berry.

( – Recap: Panthers 23, Steelers 6

PITTSBURGH – Head coach Ron Rivera said he hoped the performance of his reserves in the preseason finale would make the team’s final roster decisions that much more difficult.

Rivera may have gotten his wish.

The Panthers cruised past the Pittsburgh Steelers, 23-6, on Thursday night to finish the preseason with a 3-1 record.

“It was a good showing. A lot of young guys did good things with their opportunities,” said Rivera, who will now turn his attention to the task of trimming the roster from 75 players to 53 by Saturday. “We’re going to have to make some decisions that will be hard.”

The only disappointing news of the night came on the injury front. Starting cornerbackJosh Norman left with a head injury on the game’s second snap, and reserve cornerbackTeddy Williams left with a groin injury shortly after. Rivera didn’t have any updates on the players’ condition.

The Panthers were efficient and balanced on offense – passing for 228 yards and rushing for 226 – and their defense kept the Steelers off-balance. That was especially true in the first half, when the Panthers were pretty close to perfect.

The running game was dominant at times and the defense was dominant at all times, allowing a first down to start the half and one to end it but nothing in between. It added up to a 17-0 halftime lead.

“I’m happy with it,” said quarterback Derek Anderson, who signed a two-year contract extension Wednesday and started the game with Cam Newton sitting this one out. “To run the ball the way we did was really good.

“Sometimes these games can get a little sloppy, but we did a good job of setting the tempo by running the ball, and we made plays in the passing game when we had to. Plus the defense played good.”

Rookie running back Cameron Artis-Payne did the bulk of the work early, rushing 10 times for 65 yards in the first quarter to set up a 23-yard field goal early in the second quarter for a 3-0 lead.

On the next drive, Anderson’s last of the night, the running game gained more ground. Undrafted rookie Brandon Wegher got it going with a 15-yard gallop, then on third-and-10, Carolina caught the Steelers off guard. Out of the shotgun, Anderson handed off toJordan Todman, who took advantage of spacious running lanes on his way to a 49-yard touchdown.

“I’ve been waiting for a while to bust a big one, to have a big play,” said Todman, who got more action with Jonathan Stewart a healthy scratch. “It took until the fourth preseason game to showcase, but better late than never.”

Webb took over at quarterback from there and kicked the passing game into high gear just before halftime. The Panthers took over at their own 20 after the defense’s fourth consecutive three-and-out with 1:42 left and started moving behind Webb and wide receiverBrenton Bersin.

They finished the drive off with a flourish. Webb hit tight end Brandon Williams for a 22-yard gain on third-and-6, advancing to the Steelers 29 with 15 seconds left. After Bersin’s third catch of the drive, Webb pumped and drilled one to tight end Marcus Lucas down the sideline for a 23-yard score just five seconds before the half.

The teams traded field goals in the third quarter.

Several of  Carolina’s top players – Luke Kuechly and Greg Olsen among them – did not play, but two that Carolina hopes will be top players returned to action after missing two games. Defensive tackle Kawann Short recorded a sack earlier, and rookie wide receiverDevin Funchess had two catches for 22 yards.

Receiver Kevin Norwood, acquired in a trade Monday with the Seattle Seahawks, caught a 13-yard pass late in the third quarter and then broke into the clear for a 27-yarder early in the fourth quarter. That set up a 27-yard field goal that made it 23-3 with 11:40 left, a kick that improved Graham Gano to 10-for-10 in the preseason.

“It felt pretty good,” Norwood said. “I just wanted to go out and do my best, I can feel like I did my best.

“I could have done better, of course, but it was a great start for me.”

And a great finish to the preseason for the Panthers as a whole.

“It’s great to go into the season on a high note,” said Artis-Payne, who finished with 67 yards on 12 carries. “We executed. That’s the biggest thing.”
Source: Recap: Panthers 23, Steelers 6


Read More LIVEGet the latest Steelers updates LIVE from the Steelers practice facility Monday – Friday at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

( – Judge nullifies Tom Brady’s DeflateGate suspension 

Tom Brady’s four-game suspension from the NFL for his role in DeflateGate has been nullified, according to the Associated Press. In May, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell handed down the punishment, which Brady officially appealed last month. Although Goodell was the arbitrator for the appeal, he changed his original ruling and has now decided that the quarterback presented sufficient evidence to reduce his punishment for allegedly having knowledge that Patriots staff deflated footballs ahead of the AFC Championship against the Indianapolis Colts.

Goodell previously claimed that the only way Brady would be able to get his suspension reduced or eliminated was if he provided new information — specifically, information that Brady initially did not provide to the Wells investigation, such as text and phone records. It’s unclear yet if Brady did present new information, or if there were other factors at play.

Players like Richard Sherman and Ndamukong Suh beat suspensions in the past in front of an NFL appeals officer, but neither had Goodell as the arbitrator. The commissioner eliminating the suspension that he himself placed on Brady is somewhat unprecedented.

Brady’s suspension wasn’t completely erased upon his initial appeal, which was heard by Roger Goodell. That prompted the quarterback and the NFLPA to take the league to federal court. They did, and as many predicted, the won.

With Brady’s suspension now eliminated, the DeflateGate saga, which dragged on for more than six months after the AFC Championship, is now in the rearview mirror.

Brady and the Patriots will begin the 2015 season with a home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, Sept. 10.

Source: Judge nullifies Tom Brady’s DeflateGate suspension –