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Chargers' Mathews breaks collarbone

Chargers' Mathews breaks collarbone

NEW YORK (AP) The San Diego Chargers were eliminated from the playoff race and their star running back appears done for the season.

Ryan Mathews broke his left collarbone in the second quarter of San Diego's 31-7 loss to Carolina on Sunday. The injury-prone Mathews broke his right collarbone in the exhibition opener and missed the first two weeks of the regular season.

Robert Griffin III was upset he didn't play for Washington a week after spraining his right knee, but backup Kirk Cousins made him feel a bit better as he led the Redskins to a 38-21 win over Cleveland.

``I was not happy with the decision,'' said Griffin, who was informed Saturday night of the plan to start Cousins. ``That's the decision they went with and I respect that. It doesn't mean I have to necessarily like it. I feel like I could have played this week, next week, the week after. But that's not my decision.''

Cousins threw for 329 yards and two touchdowns in Washington's fifth straight win, 38-21. He connected with Leonard Hankerson for both TDs in his first career start, coming off the bench after Griffin got hurt against Baltimore and rallying the Redskins to an overtime win.

``We're in first place in our division now, and it was a great business trip for us,'' Griffin said. ``I got healthier by not playing, we won the game and put ourselves in position to control our own destiny.''

Redskins right tackle Tyler Polumbus suffered a concussion, but coach Mike Shanahan had no updates on linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (shoulder) or offensive lineman Will Montgomery (knee).

Baltimore wide receiver Torrey Smith left the Ravens' 34-17 loss to Denver with a concussion after hitting his head while attempting to make a leaping catch near the sideline in the third quarter.

Ravens backup running back Bernard Pierce also left with a concussion.

Minnesota defensive end Brian Robison sprained the AC joint in a shoulder during the first quarter of the Vikings' 36-22 win at St. Louis. Coach Leslie Frazier said Robison would undergo an MRI on Monday.

Miami cornerback Nolan Carroll (left knee) and tight end Charles Clay (right knee) were hurt in the second quarter of the Dolphins' 24-3 win over Jacksonville.

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Lamar Jackson ‘honored’ at the chance to break Michael Vick’s single-season rushing record on Sunday

Lamar Jackson ‘honored’ at the chance to break Michael Vick’s single-season rushing record on Sunday

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Lamar Jackson didn’t grow up watching Michael Vick play football in Atlanta. He was too young. 

That didn't stop Jackson, born when Vick had just finished his sophomore year of high school, from studying Vick's highlight tapes as a kid.

Now, on Sunday in Buffalo, Jackson has the chance to put his name in the record books ahead of his favorite player with the most impressive season a quarterback has ever had on the ground. 

With just 63 yards rushing, Jackson would rank first all-time for rushing yards by a quarterback in a season. The record, as of Thursday, is held by Vick with 1,039 yards rushing. Vick set the record in 2006 with the Falcons.

“It would be an honor,” Jackson said. “Like I said, Michael Vick is my favorite player. For me to do such a thing, it’s incredible. He had that record for a long time, and it will be pretty cool. But I’m focused on the win, regardless.”

Jackson has led the NFL’s most dynamic offense through the first 12 games with a mix of rushing and passing that’s kept defenses on their heels. He ranks ninth in the NFL with 977 yards, which is more than five teams have as a whole.

Currently, Jackson has rushed for 1,672 yards in 28 games in his NFL career, good for 44th all-time. 

Over a 16-game season, he’s on pace for 1,302 yards on the ground, which would shatter Vick’s old record and put Jackson in another stratosphere compared to some of the best mobile quarterbacks the league has ever seen. 

Should he finish with 1,302 yards this year, he’ll be at 1,997 yards through his first two NFL seasons. That would put him 32nd all-time and about 500 yards away from cracking the top 20. 

So as Jackson adds to his place in history in the long term, there’s a significant record to break in the short-term, too.

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Ravens defense faces another challenge in dual-threat QB Josh Allen

Ravens defense faces another challenge in dual-threat QB Josh Allen

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — When Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson take the field on Sunday, they’ll set an NFL record before either one takes a snap from under center. 

The matchup pits the two second-year quarterbacks against one another in the NFL’s best matchup for rushing quarterbacks in history. 

The biggest difference, however, is how those yards have been reached. Jackson’s speed and acceleration is something the league hasn’t seen before, and while Allen can move, it’s not just his moves that make him difficult to bring around. 

“He’s a big kid, man, he’s like tackling a tight end scrambling,” Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale said. “It’s going to be a great challenge. So we’ll see what happens on Sunday. He makes a lot of plays on his feet, that’s been their success the last five, six weeks.”

At 6-foot-5, Allen has been a problem for opposing defenses to bring down all season. He’s rushed for 430 yards (third-best for quarterbacks) and eight touchdowns (tied for sixth in the NFL).

“It's not like he's a pipsqueak or anything like that,” Josh Bynes said. “He's a big, solid quarterback, and he runs like a running back. That makes it a little bit more challenging, because he's a quarterback, as well. So, we just have to make sure we wrap up and we bring our pads with us and bring our feet and just make sure we get him to the ground.”

Allen’s size has made him a tall-task for defenses, which plays out in a deeper dive of the numbers. 

According to Pro Football Reference, Allen ranks 22nd in the NFL in yards before contact at 2.2. Jackson ranks first at 4.8 yards.

But Allen averages 2.4 yards per rush after contact, 13th in the NFL and first for quarterbacks.

“When you watch him, he can run and move around,” Chuck Clark said. “He’s more elusive than what people would say or think. He can definitely get out the pocket, extend the play and run the ball himself. They’ve got a solid offense, they’re effective at what they do.”

Allen rushed for 631 yards last season in 12 games — the same amount as he’s played so far this year. He’s gotten better as a passer from a year ago, having improved his completion percentage, yards-per-attempt and touchdown-to-interception ratio. 

But while his big-time arm is something the Ravens are still focused on, it’s Allen’s legs — and size — that pose an extra dimension to his game that can be dangerous for the Ravens.

“You just have to be fundamentally sound and make sure you wrap him up, drive your feet if possible,” Michael Pierce said. “With the penalties, you have to be very careful. But he's a physical dude, big, 6-4 guy, so yes, you have to be fundamentally sound and bring your pads with you.” 

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