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NOTES & QUOTES FROM WEEK 14 EDITION OF FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA ON NBC

“For the first time in 13 years, Sunday Night Football is in western New York.” – Liam McHugh

“If Drew Brees and company have to go up there on a 10-degree day, that’s advantage Aaron Rodgers.” – Chris Simms on Packers taking over as #1 seed in NFC

“You look at how he affects everyone -- the defense, the offense. He makes everyone better.” – Rodney Harrison on Eagles QB Jalen Hurts

“Forget all those references to trucks, I’m renaming him the Sherman Tank.” -- Tony Dungy on Titans RB Derrick Henry

STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 13, 2020 – NBC Sports’ presentation of Week 14 of the 2020 NFL season began tonight from Bills Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., with Football Night in America leading into coverage of Steelers-Bills on Sunday Night Football on NBC.

Liam McHugh hosted FNIA from NBC Sports Group’s Studio 1 in Stamford, Conn., and was joined by Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy, two-time Super Bowl-winner Rodney Harrison and former NFL quarterback Chris Simms. NFL Insider Mike Florio joined Football Night remotely from his home studio. Jac Collinsworth co-hosted the show on-site from Bills Stadium and was joined by his father and Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth.

Steve Kornacki, NBC News’ celebrated political correspondent, returned to FNIA to analyze NFL playoff probabilities. He will also appear at halftime of tonight’s game. For more information about Kornacki, click here.

In addition, Jac Collinsworth interviewed Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during pre-game and Bills QB Josh Allen earlier in the week.

In a touching feature, Dungy interviewed former Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier. The conversation details Shazier’s remarkable journey in recovering from a spine injury in 2017 and his work in creating the Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation. Shazier also visits the first recipient of his new initiative to help spread hope and thankfulness around the holiday season.

Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Collinsworth (analyst), Kathryn Tappen (sideline reporter) and Terry McAulay (rules analyst) are calling tonight’s game.

***

Following are highlights from tonight’s edition of Football Night in America on NBC:

ON AFC PLAYOFF PICTURE

Kornacki on Miami, Baltimore and Las Vegas fighting for the seventh seed: “For that seventh and final spot, you have really three teams in the hunt now. Miami right now would be in the seventh spot, but Baltimore (56% probability) with a significantly better chance than Miami (39%) of making the playoffs. Why is that? Has everything to do with the remaining schedule…Really it’s the Ravens, not in the playoffs right now, but they have the easiest path especially if they can get that win tomorrow against Cleveland. No doubt Miami and the Raiders cheering hard for Cleveland tomorrow.”

ON STEELERS

Cris Collinsworth on Steelers offense: “They just simply don’t look like the Pittsburgh Steelers to me right now because they’re struggling so much to get this running game going.”

Tomlin to Jac Collinsworth on why they traveled to Buffalo on the day of the game: “We just wanted to prepare in the comforts of our own environment. We understand that there were some unique restrictions up here in terms of gathering and so forth. We had been using our team hotel of late for some of our home games, so we just stayed at our own place last night. Given that the game was an 8:20 kickoff, it allowed us to do it. Thankfully the union and the league allowed us to come up this morning, and so we had a good process in an effort to get here.”

Tomlin to Jac Collinsworth about putting the pads back on in practice this week: “To put a little teeth to the words. I can’t make demands of these guys and not give them the tools and the opportunity to sharpen their swords and deliver. We’ve got to lower our pad level in those significant moments. We didn’t win enough of those significant moments of late, so we’re putting pads on in an effort to prepare them to deliver that.”

ON BILLS

McHugh: “For the first time in 13 years, Sunday Night Football is in western New York.”

Cris Collinsworth on what is different about QB Josh Allen this year: “His accuracy. This was a young man who was dead last in completion percentage in his first two seasons and now he ranks fourth. How do you go with that kind of a jump in one season? He’s been working on his mechanics…Now that he has such faith in his receivers, he feels comfortable looking down the field and then coming back down to some of those check-downs. He’s standing tall in the pocket. He just looks like a quarterback right now.”

Simms: “He’s established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in football and in the conversation for one of the best arms in the league… (on his mobility) He’s magical that way. He’s a great athlete and he can really throw it accurately on the run…He’s taken it to another level this year.”

ON NFC #1 SEED

Simms on impact of Packers win and Saints loss today: “Green Bay being the number one seed, them at home – I know there’s no crowd – but the cold weather. If Drew Brees and company have to go up there on a 10-degree day, that’s advantage Aaron Rodgers.”

ON EAGLES

Simms on QB Jalen Hurts: “We questioned whether he could throw the ball accurately, he did throughout today.”

Dungy: “Doug Pederson made the decision to start Jalen Hurts. I questioned the decision, but they did a good job. Hurts was tremendous today, but I also thought Doug Pederson was great by designing some things for him and playing to his strength -- read-options where he got the chance to run the ball on designed plays.”

Harrison on Hurts: “You look at him and the way he played, the moment was never too big for him. He’s a very smart player and he played with a lot of heart…You look at how he affects everyone, the defense, the offense. He makes everyone better.”

ON SAINTS

Simms on QB Taysom Hill: “If you thought, ‘Who started their first game ever today?’ It looked like Taysom Hill at some points.”

ON BUCCANEERS

Dungy on team’s two tight end formation: “Forget all those wide receivers that you’ve got, bring these guys in the game and run the ball with Ronald Jones to start things off. This is when you’re at your best.”

Harrison on defensive coordinator Todd Bowles: “I have to be very complimentary of him because he had his defense ready.”

Harrison on safety Antoine Winfield Jr.: “To me, the guy that really impresses me is rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. For him to come in and contribute the way -- and it’s leadership and the way he’s played -- coming there demanding that respect, he was terrific today.”

ON CHIEFS

Simms: “I’ve never seen anything like the Kansas City Chiefs. The way they could put points on the board. Exciting, big plays. It’s unreal.”

Dungy on WR Tyreek Hill: “If the passing game doesn’t work, get him to him on a jet sweep and let him jet and turn it on.”

Simms if he has to nitpick the Chiefs: “They’re playing with fire a little bit…There are so many games when they could put it away, but they let the team hang around and I just don’t want to see that happen in the playoffs when one mistake and now they lose.”

Dungy: “They get bored.” (laughs)

ON TITANS

Dungy on RB Derrick Henry: “Forget all those references to trucks, I’m renaming him the Sherman Tank.”

Simms on WR A.J. Brown’s spectacular TD catch: “He’s one of the best receivers we’ve got in this league.”

Harrison: “He could be the best receiver.”

ON COLTS

Dungy: “I think they’re very dangerous. They’ve got a good defense, they get takeaways…They’ve got a great offensive line. When those backs are running, that takes a lot of pressure off Philip Rivers.”

Harrison: “The most important thing is to keep the ball out of Philip Rivers’ hands.”

Simms: “That’s where I was going to go, he’s right…They do have a good defense, they can run the football…They’ve got receivers. Philip Rivers doesn’t need to do it all by himself. Play through the run game, that will open up the whole field to Rivers.”

Dungy on RBs Jonathan Taylor and Nyhiem Hines: “In this day and age, everybody is throwing the ball, everybody is defending the pass. When you can pound it with these two backs, that’s special.”

ON CARDINALS

Simms on QB Kyler Murray: “It’s amazing, but he does this type of stuff every week.”

ON GIANTS

Harrison on QB Daniel Jones: “Daniel Jones didn’t look like he was healthy. He couldn’t do the things that he wanted to do, escape outside the pocket and it hurt the offense.”

ON VIKINGS

Dungy on the defensive pass interference call on the Hail Mary just before halftime: “It’s been nine years, but this is a penalty. Really poor defense. Just turn around and play the ball. You have people jumping that are going to knock it down.”

ON 49ERS

Dungy: “This was a recurring theme all day today – Nick Mullens with bad throws.”

Harrison: “What does Kyle Shanahan see in him?”

Simms: “I don’t know, but obviously I think there’s going to have to be a change after this week.”

ON COWBOYS

Harrison: “I love the effort that they gave on defense today.”

ON TEXANS

Simms: “The Texans didn’t play [well] in any facet of this football game, and Deshaun Watson can’t do it all himself.”

ON BRONCOS

Dungy on QB Drew Lock: “Lock had problems with turnovers last week, but today he was just a big-play machine.”

ON SEAHAWKS-JETS

McHugh: “The Seahawks offense was struggling. The FDA-approved remedy for that – play the Jets!”

–FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA–