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PETER KING SPEAKS WITH STEELERS LB T.J. WATT IN THIS WEEK’S “FMIA” COLUMN

“We see they’re going for two, and it’s not really anything that our guys were shocked by…Every week in the practice – and all the time in training camp – we work on it.” – Steelers LB T.J. Watt to King on stopping the Ravens’ potential two-point conversion attempt

“I said, ‘That’s the way to throw it when we needed it, m—–f—–.’” – Lions head coach Dan Campbell to King on what he told QB Jared Goff following his game-winning touchdown pass

“It’s a (Brian) Flores production, and the coach learned in New England that highs and lows don’t win. Consistency does.” – King on the Dolphins

STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 6, 2021 – Peter King speaks with Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt following Pittsburgh’s last-second 20-19 win over Baltimore in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also speaks with Lions head coach Dan Campbell following their first win of the season, hands out his Week 13 awards, and more.

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The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:

T.J. WATT & THE STEELERS

King on the Steelers-Ravens rivalry: “With the flightiness of NFL greatness (outside of New England), one of the sport’s oxymoronish phrases is ‘enduring rivalries.’ There is only one that truly endures at the highest level of the game, year after year…It never changes. The games I’ve covered in this rivalry in Pittsburgh – five of them in this century – have the kind of intensity that other great NFL games, even some of the Pats-Colts encounters, don’t seem to have.”

Steelers LB T.J. Watt to King on stopping the Ravens’ potential game-winning two-point conversion attempt: “We see they’re going for two, and it’s not really anything that our guys were shocked by. They’re a team that likes to take chances and go for it on fourth down. I fully respect their decision, especially with Lamar (Jackson). But the two-point play is something we take pride in stopping.”

Watt on the Steelers’ preparation: “Every week in the practice – and all the time in training camp – we work on it. We call it ‘Seven shots.’ Seven shots the offense gets to score from the 2. So it’s something we definitely are prepared for. This week, our offense used multiple guys [to simulate Jackson] on the scout team. Ray-Ray McCloud, one of our quick receivers, went and did some reps. We were prepared.”

Watt on his pressure of Ravens QB Lamar Jackson on the two-point conversion attempt: “The play I replayed in my head all week was Lamar pump-faking me last year in Baltimore and beating me for a 14-, 15-yard scramble. So in this scenario, I just want stay on my feet and get my outside arm up to try to influence him, change his angle…It all happened so fast. I know I’m not getting to him, so I want to affect the play as much as I can. Did I affect his throw? I don’t know.”

King on the Steelers: “Pittsburgh, 6-5-1, is alive, but in for a funky week. The Steelers fly to Minnesota on Wednesday for their Thursday night requirement…Tough to go on the road in a very short week after the bi-annual slugfest with the Ravens. Nothing’s easy for the Steelers this year, and the road to the playoffs won’t be either.”

WEEK 13 NOTES

King on the Lions: “There won’t be much hand-wringing about the mistakes, at least this morning. Detroit won a football game 29-27 over the Vikings on the last play of the game…But a few things happened on the way to 1-10-1 that showed the team is still playing for (Lions head coach Dan Campbell) and wants him to succeed.”

King on Campbell: “I thought it was telling that, when (quarterback Jared) Goff was looking for someone to hug after throwing the winning TD pass, he found Campbell, who has been tough on him – and rightfully so.”

Campbell to King on what he told Goff after the game-winning touchdown: “I said, ‘That’s the way to throw it when we needed it, m—–f—–.’ … He had a couple of rough throws. For him to come back on that last drive and march us down the field and do what he did, it says a lot. He needed it. We needed it, more importantly.”

King on Goff and the Lions: “Goff will need a lot more drives like the 14-play, 75-yard TD drive with no timeouts there to ensure his future in Detroit. It’s no sure thing he will. But Sunday was a good day for the win, and for the community the Lions represent.”

King on suspended Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown: “The Bucs say they’ll have nothing to say till Brown’s suspension is up and he is eligible to return Dec. 26 against Carolina. What must be going through the minds of (Buccaneers head coach Bruce) Arians and GM Jason Licht? At times, Brown has seemed (Tom) Brady’s favorite receiver, and the Bucs, 9-3 with five games to go, have a legitimate chance to repeat as champs…We’ll learn a lot about the Bucs, and their ethos, in the next couple of weeks.”

King on the Giants: “I get that Joe Judge likely survives the Giants’ post-season housecleaning that starts with GM Dave Gettleman. I can’t really argue with that. But I found myself watching parts of Judge’s 28th game, by which time there should be some familiarity with the system, even among the backups, and wondering why lots of that is lacking.”

King on the Eagles’ draft capital: “The Eagles are projected to pick 12th, 13th and 17th next April in the first round, though clearly that will change significantly by regular season’s end Jan. 9…With quarterbacks not projected to be super-high in round one, the Eagles would likely be able to sit or maneuver slightly to draft one … or package three attractive picks to get a Deshaun Watson or to chase a Russell Wilson.”

King on the Dolphins: “Miami’s suddenly interesting…Tua Tagovailoa getting more comfortable and productive by the week…It’s a (Brian) Flores production, and the coach learned in New England that highs and lows don’t win. Consistency does.”

Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki to King on their turnaround: “Wish I could give you some secret story, but we just stayed with the process. If you could sit in our team meeting tomorrow morning, you’d see coach Flores would be the exact same as he was the day after we lost our seventh in a row. He doesn’t bash people, call you out. He’s consistent. Another thing that hasn’t changed is Tua. He’s been the same through it all.”

King on Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer: “I wonder when the Wilfs will start to get impatient with Mike Zimmer, in year eight now. This year, the Vikings followed the peak of beating Green Bay with losses at San Francisco and Detroit. I’ve got to think Minnesota needs to sweep Chicago over the next month for the staff to feel good about its future.”

KING’S WEEK 13 AWARDS

Offensive Players of the Week: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh, & Gardner Minshew, Philadelphia.

King on Roethlisberger: “If that was Big Ben’s final Ravens game at home, he went out in style, completing 21 of 31 for 236 yards and the two clutch scores.”

Defensive Players of the Week: T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh, & Carlos Dunlap, Seattle.

King on Watt: “Stated his case rather eloquently for Defensive Player of the Year with 3.5 sacks, three QB pressures and one forced fumble in the 20-19 win over arch-rival Baltimore...Now that was a classic rivalry win, and Watt, coming off his Covid-19 case, played one of the best games of his career.”

Special Teams Players of the Week: Travis Homer, Seattle, & Jake Elliott, Philadelphia.

King on Homer’s fake punt touchdown run: “It was one of the most stunning touchdowns of the season…The 73-yard touchdown was precisely what the moribund Seahawks needed.”

Coach of the Week: Dave Logan, Broncos radio voice/Denver Cherry Creek High School head coach.

King: “Logan won his 10th Colorado state high school football championship Saturday at Empower Field, with Cherry Creek shutting out top-seed Valor Christian 21-0. Logan has won those 10 titles at four different schools, and it’s believed that no high school football coach has ever won state titles with four different schools…Logan flew to Kansas City to do the Broncos’ Sunday night game there.”

NEWS & NOTES

King on the Broncos QB situation: “I think the biggest lesson from the Sunday night game – other than perhaps that the Kansas City defense has now come full circle and will be a force to be reckoned with – is that we’ve reached that time in the six-year post-Peyton Manning Era in Denver that cries out/demands for yet another major investment in a quarterback.”

King on Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger: “I think Ben Roethlisberger is right, it’s time to walk away…I loved his fight and his comeback Sunday against Baltimore. But some guys are 44 going on 34 (Tom Brady), and some are 38 going on 33 (Aaron Rodgers). Roethlisberger is 39 and looks every bit of it.”

King on Bears RB David Montgomery: “The best performance on a losing team Sunday was David Montgomery’s, in Chicago’s loss to Arizona. He is such an impressive runner inside and outside, and so much of his talent is buried with the moribund Bears attack.”

King on the Cowboys running backs: “I think Tony Pollard is better than Ezekiel Elliott. There. I said it…That may be partially because Elliott’s banged up. But Pollard’s just more dangerous, has been so for some times, and Elliott has stopped being the unstoppable horse the Cowboys grew to rely on three and four years ago.”

King on the NFL MVP field: “I think there is no MVP with five weeks to play. There’s just a large field.”

Read the full FMIA column here and catch the weekly Peter King Podcast here.

The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:




    • PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Mike Golic (Mondays) and Florio and Chris Simms (Tuesday-Thursday) streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams Tuesday-Friday.
    • ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
    • NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continues the NFL discussion and Bet The Edge Podcast provides daily betting insights.

A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.

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