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Bengals beat Rams to pick up first win of season

Bengals beat Rams to pick up first win of season

Joe Burrow played through a right calf strain to complete 26 of 49 passes for 259 yards while Ja'Marr Chase had 12 catches for 141 yards to lead the Cincinnati Bengals past the visiting Los Angeles Rams, 19-16, on Monday night.

Logan Wilson intercepted Matthew Stafford twice and the Bengals (1-2) recorded six sacks to hold Los Angeles' offense at bay.

Stafford finished 18-for-33 for 269 yards with one touchdown and the two interceptions. The Rams (1-2) were held to three field goals from Brett Maher before Stafford found Tutu Atwell for a 1-yard TD with 1:03 left in the game.

The ensuing onside kick was recovered by the Bengals.

Evan McPherson went 4-for-5 on field-goal tries to help Cincinnati grab control of the game.

Four plays into Los Angeles' first drive, Atwell took an end around and raced to the end zone from 24 yards out. But replay caught Atwell stepping out of bounds at the 2-yard line.

DJ Reader sacked Stafford on the next play, and the Rams were eventually forced to settle for a 30-yard field goal from Maher.

The Bengals didn't respond until there was 12:55 left in the second quarter, as McPherson capped a 12-play, 48-yard drive with a 49-yard field goal to make it 3-3.

Both kickers traded field goals later in the quarter, with McPherson's 53-yarder as time expired in the first half sending the teams into the break tied at 6-6.

After Maher closed the first possession of the second half with a 42-yard field goal, Cincinnati put together the first drive of the game that resulted in a touchdown. The Bengals drove 75 yards in 10 plays, and Joe Mixon rushed for a 14-yard score that provided the hosts with a 13-9 lead with 5:34 left in the third quarter.

Mixon finished with 65 yards on 19 carries.

McPherson added two more field goals to push Cincinnati's advantage to 10 before Stafford connected with Atwell for the late score that gave Los Angeles a fighting chance.

Eagles control clock, top Bucs in battle of unbeaten teams

Eagles control clock, top Bucs in battle of unbeaten teams

Jalen Hurts accounted for two touchdowns and D'Andre Swift rushed for 130 yards to help the visiting Philadelphia Eagles cruise to a 25-11 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night.

Hurts completed 23 of 37 passes for 277 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions while also rushing for a score as the Eagles achieved their second straight 3-0 start.

Olamide Zaccheaus had a scoring reception, A.J. Brown had nine catches for 131 yards and Jalen Carter forced two fumbles for Philadelphia.

Baker Mayfield produced 146 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 15-of-25 passing for the Buccaneers (2-1). Mike Evans had a touchdown catch and Devin White and Dee Delaney recorded interceptions for Tampa Bay.

Reed Blankenship had an interception for the Eagles, who outgained the Buccaneers 472 yards to 174. Philadelphia had a 78-44 edge in offensive plays and controlled the ball for 38:55.

The Eagles moved ahead 10-3 on Hurts' 34-yard touchdown pass to Zaccheaus with 3:32 left in the first half. Jake Elliott booted a 38-yard field goal as time expired for a 10-point halftime lead.

Philadelphia began the third quarter with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by Hurts scoring from the 1 to make it 20-3.

Later in the quarter, Delaney intercepted Hurts at the Buccaneers' 1-yard line. On the next play, Rachaad White was dropped for a loss in the end zone by Nicholas Morrow for an Eagles safety.

Elliott tacked on a 26-yard field goal to make it 25-3 with 13:28 left in the contest. Tampa Bay found the end zone four-plus minutes later when Mayfield tossed a 1-yard scoring pass to Evans and then threw a two-point conversion to Chris Godwin with 9:22 left.

The Eagles then hogged the ball for 15 plays and 68 yards and racked up five first downs while running out the clock.

Elliott kicked a 36-yard field goal with 3:05 left in the first quarter for the game's first points. Chase McLaughlin answered with a 33-yard field goal for the Buccaneers to knot the score with 8:33 left in the half.

Jets QB legend Joe Namath rips current Jets QB Zach Wilson

Jets QB legend Joe Namath rips current Jets QB Zach Wilson

The New York Jets' greatest quarterback is no fan of the team's current signal-caller.

Joe Namath, in an interview Monday on ESPN New York radio, called for the team to move on from incumbent Zach Wilson.

The Jets opened the season with much fanfare as Aaron Rodgers arrived to guide the offense, but the four-time MVP lasted just four plays into the season opener before sustaining a torn Achilles tendon. That put Wilson, a third-year pro, back under center.

Wilson came off the bench to guide the Jets past the Buffalo Bills in the game when Rodgers got hurt, but he struggled as New York lost to the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots the past two weeks.

Namath said on "The Michael Kay Show" of Wilson, "I don't believe in him, I don't believe he has a future as a good player, and I think they made the wrong choice when they drafted him, I feel that way. ...

"Send him to Kansas City to back up someone like (Patrick) Mahomes, maybe he'd learn something. I wouldn't keep him. I've seen enough of Zach Wilson. I've seen enough. He has quick feet, he can throw a little bit, but I don't believe what's going on (in his head)."

Namath called Wilson's effort on Sunday in a 15-10 loss to New England "awful." Namath, the MVP of Super Bowl III in January 1969, the only time the Jets have won the title, was particularly irked about Wilson going down on a play without being touched.

"You sit down?" Namath said. "You sit down on a play? You go right down? What happened? I thought you're trying to win and make plays. You quit on a play? What is going on? It's disgusting."

Wilson's completion rate, 52.4 percent, ranks last among 34 qualifying quarterbacks this year. However, Jets coach Robert Saleh continues to stand by Wilson, saying "He's not the reason why we lost (Sunday)."

Arthur Smith: Falcons need  ‘more explosives’ to complement run game

Arthur Smith: Falcons need ‘more explosives’ to complement run game

If the Atlanta Falcons expect to get back into the win column when they play the Jacksonville Jaguars in London on Sunday, they will have to re-establish their running game following a 20-6 road loss to Detroit.

The Lions held the Falcons' (2-1) vaunted rushing attack, led by dynamic rookie Bijan Robinson, to just 44 yards. And due to Atlanta's inability to get the running backs going, Detroit was able to take aim at second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder, who was sacked seven times.

It showed just how important the Falcons' run game is to their success.

"We dropped back more than we had in a while," Falcons coach Arthur Smith said in Monday's press conference. "The run game is not going to be great every week. When we are not getting the counters off the run game and getting those going, whether that's in the play-actions, screens or movement passes, well, that does really make you one-dimensional."

Despite the disappointing showing in Detroit, Atlanta enters its matchup with the Jaguars (1-2) ranked ninth in the league in rushing (128.3 yards per game). Conversely, the Falcons sit 28th in passing yards (155 yards per game).

Through three games, Robinson is the team's leader in rushing (213 yards) and receptions (14 for 102 yards and a score). Wideout Mack Hollins has just seven catches, but he leads Atlanta at 114 yards.

Tight end Kyle Pitts is coming off his best game of the season (five catches for 41 yards) against Detroit, but he and second-year receiver Drake London, two of the team's most explosive players, have yet to take the top off defenses.

Smith felt the offense needs to connect on more big plays in the passing game.

"It's not for a lack of trying, but we've got to hit some more explosives," Smith said.

After winning its opener against the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville has dropped consecutive games to the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans.

Jags quarterback Trevor Lawrence has completed 73 of 113 passes for 736 yards and three touchdowns, with two interceptions, through three games. Tailback Travis Etienne is the team's leading rusher with 205 yards and a score on 49 carries. He's also caught 11 passes for 79 yards.

Tight end Evan Engram has made 18 receptions for 173 yards for Jacksonville but has yet to find the end zone this season. Former Falcon Calvin Ridley has 13 receptions for 173 yards and a score.

Smith wants his players and coaches focused on beating a talented Jaguars squad in England.

"We got to take a step back and all of us get in the bunker and see how we can get better." Smith said. "We are 2-1, thankfully. We got a big game in London against a team that's going to have the same mindset (as Detroit a week ago). ... We know what they're about. They are a talented football team with a really good coaching staff."

--Smith said the arm/shoulder injury to starting linebacker Troy Anderson on Sunday "didn't look good." An official prognosis was not yet made.

--Atlanta safety Jessie Bates III has three interceptions through three games. Former safety Thomas DeCoud (2012) is the only other Falcons player to accomplish that feat in franchise history.

--Jacksonville starting right tackle Anton Harrison injured his leg in the loss to the Texans and could be out for Sunday's game.

49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk returns to practice; Deebo Samuel sits out

49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk returns to practice; Deebo Samuel sits out

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk was back at practice on Monday after being inactive for the 49ers' home victory over the New York Giants last Thursday night, but fellow star wide receiver Deebo Samuel did not practice.

Aiyuk suffered a shoulder injury in Week 2 on his first catch against the Los Angeles Rams. He finished with 43 yards in a 30-23 road victory.

In Week 1, Aiyuk caught eight passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns at Pittsburgh in the 49ers' 30-7 victory.

Aiyuk, 25, was a first-round pick (25th overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Arizona State.

Samuel (ribs) was held out of Monday's on-field workouts after playing a big role in the win over the Giants.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said on Friday the minor injury wasn't expected to keep Samuel out too long.

"(He's) pretty sore, so it'll be day-to-day," Shanahan said.

Samuel was hurt in the fourth quarter following a 19-yard reception.

"I actually fell on the ball and I thought it was my ribs," Samuel said after the game. "I think the wind got knocked out of me. But after going in the tent, everything checked out fine and I was good."

Linebacker Dre Greenlaw, listed day-to-day with an ankle injury, did not practice on Monday.

The 49ers (3-0) host the Arizona Cardinals (1-2) Sunday.

Eagles elevate Olympian Devon Allen to gameday roster vs. Bucs

Eagles elevate Olympian Devon Allen to gameday roster vs. Bucs

Two-time Olympian Devon Allen is expected to play in his first NFL regular-season game on Monday night after the Philadelphia Eagles elevated him from their practice squad to the gameday roster.

The Eagles also elevated punter Braden Mann in time for their Week 3 game against the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Instead of pursuing the NFL right out of college, Allen stuck with track and field. In his event of choice, the 110-meter hurdles, Allen is a three-time national champion and represented the U.S. in the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.

Allen, 28, signed with the Eagles in 2022, six years after the end of his college football career at Oregon. He spent all of last season on the practice squad.

This summer, Allen sustained a calf injury while competing at the USA Track & Field championships in July in Eugene, Ore. He missed much of training camp while on the non-football injury as a result.

Allen is listed as a wide receiver on Philadelphia's roster online and could be an option to return kickoffs. During a preseason game last month, he returned a kickoff 73 yards. Running back Boston Scott (concussion), the Eagles' No. 1 kick returner, is unavailable.

The Eagles signed Mann to their practice squad and released punter Arryn Siposs last Monday. Siposs handled punting duties for the Eagles' first two games. Mann was the New York Jets' punter from 2020-22.

Offensive revision underway as Jets search for Zach Wilson's comfort zone

Offensive revision underway as Jets search for Zach Wilson's comfort zone

Built for Aaron Rodgers, the Jets continue to modify their offense to better fit current starting quarterback Zach Wilson.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett invested countless hours in the company of Rodgers to custom fit the West Coast-style offense to the preferences of the former Packers quarterback. When Rodgers was lost for the season four snaps into the 2023 season, that version of Hackett's scheme went with him.

"It's not an excuse, but the reality is it was built a certain way and we're trying to adjust on the fly, which is a challenge," Saleh said Monday.

Wilson has lost two starts since replacing Rodgers in the first quarter of the overtime win Week 1. He has four interceptions, two touchdowns, a 52.4 completion percentage and has been sacked eight times.

Saleh said Wilson is the Jets' quarterback and any questions about adding another should be directed to general manager Joe Douglas.

"He's our unquestioned quarterback. He's not the reason we lost yesterday," Saleh said.

The Jets host the Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) on Sunday, visit the Denver Broncos (0-3) on Oct. 8 and welcome the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles (2-0) on Oct. 15 before a bye week.

Saleh said Wilson is the starter against the Chiefs, who are riding high after a 41-10 shellacking of the winless Chicago Bears (0-3).

"It starts with me. I've got to find a way to be better," Wilson said Sunday.

Wilson, the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2021, is 8-16 as an NFL starter.

Injured RB Aaron Jones, WR Christian Watson ‘in similar spot’ for Packers

Injured RB Aaron Jones, WR Christian Watson ‘in similar spot’ for Packers

Ahead of a short week for the Green Bay Packers, it remains unclear whether running back Aaron Jones or wide receiver Christian Watson are ready to return from injury for Week 4.

The Packers did not practice Monday in preparation for Thursday night's home game against the Detroit Lions, but if they did, Jones and linebacker Rashan Gary would have been limited, coach Matt LaFleur said.

Watson would have been unavailable for practice, as would left tackle David Bakhtiari; left guard Elgton Jenkins; right tackle Zach Tom; linebacker De'Vondre Campbell; cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Carrington Valentine; and safety Zayne Anderson.

Jones and Watson would give the Packers their full arsenal of offensive weapons for the game against their NFC North rival. Neither played Sunday in the Packers' 18-17 win over the New Orleans Saints.

"We were hopeful for (Week 3) but it didn't work out," LaFleur said. "We'll see where we're at going into Thursday. I think we're in a similar spot. We'll see how they respond."

Jones sustained a hamstring injury at the end of his 35-yard touchdown catch-and-run in Green Bay's 38-20 victory over the Chicago Bears in Week 1.

Watson, projected to be the Packers' No. 1 wide receiver, has yet to make his season debut due to his hamstring injury.

Colts QB Anthony Richardson still in concussion protocol

Colts QB Anthony Richardson still in concussion protocol

Rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson remains in concussion protocol as of Monday afternoon, Indianapolis Colts coach Shane Steichen said.

Richardson and starting center Ryan Kelly, who's also in the protocol, must participate in a non-contact and a contact practice in order to be cleared from the protocol ahead of Week 4's game against the visiting Los Angeles Rams next Sunday.

Steichen does not yet know if Richardson will return when practice resumes Wednesday.

Richardson, the fourth overall pick in April's draft, was named the Colts' No. 1 quarterback during training camp. He suffered the concussion in Week 2 against the Houston Texans.

Gardner Minshew started Week 3 for Indianapolis (2-1) at the Baltimore Ravens and completed 27 of 44 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown in the Colts' 22-19 overtime win.

Report: Warrant issued for Chargers CB J.C. Jackson

Report: Warrant issued for Chargers CB J.C. Jackson

An arrest warrant was issued in Massachusetts for Los Angeles Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson, MassLive reported Monday.

Jackson, 27, failed to appear in Attleboro District Court on Friday for a probation violation hearing, per the report.

Charged with criminal speeding in 2021, Jackson's probation terms included paying a $300 fine and completing the state's "Brains at Risk" awareness and prevention program.

According to Monday's report, Jackson did not complete the program or pay the fine, resulting in the warrant for his arrest.

Jackson's attorney did not provide a comment when reached by MassLive.

Jackson was a surprise scratch for the Chargers in Sunday's 28-24 win at Minnesota. He had three tackles, three passes defensed and one interception in the first two games of the season.

He played four seasons with the New England Patriots (2018-21) before signing with the Chargers in March 2022. The 2021 Pro Bowl selection has 26 interceptions in 69 career games (46 starts).

Seahawks S Jamal Adams ‘so ready’ for Week 4 debut

Seahawks S Jamal Adams ‘so ready’ for Week 4 debut

Seattle safety Jamal Adams is set to return from injury this week and make his 2023 debut against the New York Giants, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll announced Monday, adding that the three-time Pro Bowler is "jacked up and excited."

Adams tore his quad tendon in Week 1 of the 2022 season and was just able to start practicing again, in earnest, ahead of Week 2 this season.

"He is so ready," Carroll said Monday on his weekly radio show. "As jacked up and excited of a player as he is, we've just got to keep him calmed down. I've already started talking to him about that so he doesn't lose his brains because he's so fired up to play."

The game will also mark Adams' return to MetLife Stadium, where he played three seasons with the New York Jets until Seattle acquired him in a July 2020 trade.

Adams, 27, has 21.5 sacks and 446 tackles to go with four interceptions in 71 games (all starts) with the Jets and Seahawks. The Jets selected him No. 6 overall in the 2017 draft.

The Seahawks improved to 2-1 with a 37-27 win over the visiting Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Panthers 'don't know yet' if Bryce Young returns Sunday

Panthers 'don't know yet' if Bryce Young returns Sunday

Carolina Panthers coach Frank Reich said Monday he is unsure of quarterback Bryce Young's status this week.

Young sat out Sunday's 37-27 loss at Seattle with a sprained ankle after Reich said the rookie would be out 1-2 weeks.

Andy Dalton replaced the 2023 No. 1 overall pick and passed for 361 yards and two TDs against the Seahawks.

Young, 22, told Reich on Sunday that his ankle was feeling better, according to NFL Network.

Reich said he was not sure whether Young will be at practice Wednesday when the Panthers (0-3) begin preparing to host the Minnesota Vikings (0-3) this Sunday.

"Don't know. Don't know yet," Reich said. "We'll see how tomorrow goes and then Wednesday. I'll give you an update then. But I know he's done everything possible to try to put himself in position, too."

Young passed for a combined 299 yards with two TDs and two interceptions in losses against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 and the New Orleans Saints in Week 2.

Saints QB Derek Carr week-to-week with sprained AC joint

Saints QB Derek Carr week-to-week with sprained AC joint

Saints quarterback Derek Carr was diagnosed with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder and is considered week-to-week.

Head coach Dennis Allen said Carr felt better Monday and would be available when "he's healthy enough ... I can't tell you when that's going to be."

Jameis Winston would start against the Buccaneers this week if Carr isn't cleared. Carr was injured at Green Bay and left in the third quarter.

"We'll evaluate him as we go through the week this week," Allen said Monday. "I think we dodged a bullet there in terms of anything of real significance. He felt better today than he did yesterday, so we're not making any decisions today, not ruling anything out."

Carr landed hard on his right shoulder when he was sacked by linebacker Rashan Gary on a third-down play with 10:39 left in the third quarter.

Carr completed 13 of 18 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. The Saints led 17-0 when Carr was hurt before Green Bay scored 18 unanswered points.

Winston completed 10 of 16 passes for 101 yards. Allen said the Saints didn't change the offense when the quarterback switch happened.

"I don't think so, no. I don't think what we were doing really changed at all," Allen said. "Look, I think Jameis did some good things in the game. Ultimately we drove ourselves down there and gave ourselves an opportunity. We didn't finish."

Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo in concussion protocol

Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo in concussion protocol

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is in concussion protocol, coach Josh McDaniels confirmed Monday.

Garoppolo was sacked four times but played every snap in Sunday night's 23-18 home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It is unclear when the injury occurred to Garoppolo, who was never checked during the game and finished with 324 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Garoppolo, 31, who signed a three-year, $67.5 million deal in the offseason, has thrown for 709 yards, five TDs and six picks in three starts for Las Vegas (1-2).

Veteran Brian Hoyer is the backup quarterback on the depth chart. The 37-year-old journeyman has a 16-24 record across 15 seasons with eight NFL teams.

However, McDaniels would not commit to starting Hoyer if Garoppolo misses time, according to The Athletic.

Rookie Aidan O'Connell, a fourth-round pick from Purdue, played well during the preseason and could push Hoyer for the starting spot if Garoppolo can't go against the host Los Angeles Chargers (1-2) on Sunday.

Matt Ryan: 'No interest' in coming back to QB Jets

Matt Ryan: 'No interest' in coming back to QB Jets

Former Most Valuable Player turned booth announcer Matt Ryan said Monday he has "no interest" in coming out of retirement to play quarterback for the New York Jets.

Ryan, 38, was addressing a report from Sunday that his representatives had reached out to the Jets in the aftermath of Aaron Rodgers' season-ending Achilles injury. Ryan said his agent was just doing his job to check on potential opportunities but that he's content right where he is.

"My agent is one of the best at what he does -- Todd France is incredible. And he wouldn't be doing his job if he wasn't looking into certain situations. But he and I talked and I've got no interest in doing that right now. I'm enjoying what I'm doing," Ryan said Monday on CBS

Regardless, the Jets declined to engage on Ryan anyway.

Ryan joined CBS Sports as an analyst in May but said at the time that "this is not a retirement post."

Ryan authored a 124-109-1 record in 15 seasons and threw for 62,792 yards and 381 touchdowns with the Atlanta Falcons (2008-21) and Indianapolis Colts (2022).

Fox Sports reported that Carson Wentz also reached out to the Jets but was told the team remains committed to quarterback Zach Wilson.

Wentz, 30, compiled a 46-45-1 record with 22,129 passing yards and 151 TDs in five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles (2016-20) and one each with the Colts (2021) and Washington Commanders (2022).

Further review: Broncos find replay of 50-point loss 'not any fun'

Further review: Broncos find replay of 50-point loss 'not any fun'

Broncos coach Sean Payton watched the film of the 70-20 loss at Miami and it was worse than he remembered.

"It's a tough film to watch," he said Monday, adding he considered not showing the team the replay. "We'd be remiss if we didn't. As unpleasant as it's going to be, we've got to get these things cleaned up."

Opponents are averaging 7.2 yards per play against the Broncos. Denver has allowed 122 points in three games.

The Dolphins scored at least 14 points in all four quarters with 30 first downs, 350 rushing yards and 376 passing yards.

"It was a tough day. Today's not going to be fun. It probably won't be fun anytime soon until we start winning some games," Payton said.

"One of the things we preach about finding tough, smart players -- it's not just for three hours on gameday."

Payton said he was impressed with special teams and felt the Broncos, who had a return for a touchdown, can build on that one bright spot. There weren't many others.

"There's a handful of things that jump out at you," Payton said Monday. "Three offensive turnovers all lead to touchdowns -- that's 21 points. Typically speaking, when you see a score that high, the one thing that has to exist is turnovers. We did a poor job of setting the edge on defense. We struggled taking away some of the things we knew he likes to throw. Offensively, we had two touchdowns called back due to penalties."

Broncos defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has taken heavy public criticism but Payton said he's not planning changes to his coaching staff and, if he does, he won't share the details on a conference call.

"No. 1, attention to detail to what we're doing in practice has to improve," Payton said. "This is one of those weeks, where you take a butt-whipping like that where you find out a lot about everyone."

The Broncos will visit the Chicago Bears in a match of winless teams on Sunday.

Saints RB Alvin Kamara returns from suspension

Saints RB Alvin Kamara returns from suspension

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara's three-game NFL suspension ended on Monday.

The five-time Pro Bowl selection is eligible to rejoin the Saints (2-1), who are anxiously awaiting word on quarterback Derek Carr's shoulder injury.

The league suspended Kamara, 28, on Aug. 4 for his involvement in a February 2022 fight in Las Vegas that left a man injured. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge and was sentenced to 30 hours of community service and required to pay more than $100,000 to the victim for medical bills.

New Orleans suffered its first loss Sunday, squandering a 17-point, fourth-quarter lead at Lambeau Field in an 18-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Kamara has rushed for 5,135 yards and 49 touchdowns and caught 430 passes for 3,753 yards and 22 scores in 88 games (58 starts) since the Saints drafted him in the third round in 2017.

In his absence, versatile quarterback Taysom Hill leads the Saints with 91 rushing yards on 16 carries through three games.

Carr left in the third quarter on Sunday after his right (passing) shoulder hit the turf and was transported to a Green Bay hospital. According to multiple reports, the initial diagnosis was an AC sprain.

Sportsbooks place Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa back atop MVP race

Sportsbooks place Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa back atop MVP race

Tua Tagovailoa ended Week 3 of the 2023 season with precisely the same standing he had the season before: red-hot and running ahead of the competition in NFL MVP futures odds.

Tagovailoa is +325 to win MVP this season at BetMGM and +350 at FanDuel after his Miami Dolphins put up 70 points in a 50-point win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The effort pushed Tagovailoa ahead of reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes (+440 at FanDuel, +550 at BetMGM) and Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

Allen (+750 at FanDuel, +800 at BetMGM) and Tagovailoa face off Sunday in Buffalo for the first of two scheduled meetings this season.

Thanks to six TD passes in Week 2 at Baltimore and a win over the Bills the following week, Tagovailoa jumped to the top of the MVP futures market entering Week 4 last season as well.

His numbers one year ago are identical to his start this season: 3-0 record, eight TD passes, completion percentage of 71.

The course of the season and Tagovailoa's health took a turn for the worse in Week 4 last season. The Dolphins lost at Cincinnati, 27-15, and Tagovailoa left the game with a head injury. He missed the next two games and by the time he returned to form with three consecutive three-TD games from Oct. 30-Nov. 13, Mahomes' MVP candidacy was nearing victory lap stages.

Tagovailoa has been sacked only once this season and he's averaging a league-leading 10.14 yards per attempt.

MNF Week 3: Rams-Bengals Preview, Prop Pick, Prediction

MNF Week 3: Rams-Bengals Preview, Prop Pick, Prediction

The teams that met in Super Bowl LVI will square off for the first time since when the Los Angeles Rams visit the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.

Star quarterback Joe Burrow was leading the Bengals on a potential game-tying or game-winning drive when nose tackle Aaron Donald got to Burrow on fourth down and sealed the Rams' 23-20 win.

The Rams have turned over their roster significantly since, with the exception of Donald, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

The Bengals are just hoping that Burrow can get on the field for the rematch after he re-aggravated his right calf strain in last week's 27-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Burrow returned to limited practice Friday and Saturday and by mid-day Monday optimism was growing that he would be able to play.

"You got to be able to adapt. It's part of the game. Nobody's 100 percent healthy out there," Burrow said. "Everybody's dealing with something."


The Bengals were a consensus 3.0-point favorite shortly after reports that Burrow is trending toward playing. It's a dicey spread, especially against a Rams team that has been far more competitive than most thought entering the season -- opening with a resounding win at Seattle and playing San Francisco tough at home.

Cincinnati is the more desperate of the two, but Los Angeles also has a healthy quarterback. Matthew Stafford has thrown for 641 yards through two games and if he can avoid turnovers, the Rams can send the Bengals to 0-3. The public has backed Los Angeles with 55 percent of the total spread-line bets and 54 percent of the money at BetMGM.

Prediction: Rams 27, Bengals 23


The Bengals have started 0-2 for the fourth time in five seasons under Zac Taylor. Last year, they were able to recover and win 14 of their next 16 games before falling to eventual Super Bowl LVII champion Kansas City in the AFC Championship.

"The beauty of this team is we know it's a 17-game season," Taylor said. "There's no overreaction on our end. We've got to be prepared for it outside of our locker room, which is natural. This is exactly where we were last year."

This marks the first game for Bengals starting safety Nick Scott against his former team after signing with Cincinnati in the offseason. He has 20 tackles through two games.

The Rams won their opener at Seattle before dropping last week's home opener to San Francisco, 30-23.

Stafford passed Peyton Manning for the third-most passing yards by a player in his first 200 regular-season games (52,723 yards in 193 games). In the loss to the Niners, Stafford completed 34 of 55 passes for 307 yards.

"(The offensive line) did a great job," Stafford said. "They kept me clean the majority of the (game)."


The Rams have turned the running game over to feature back Kyren Williams after trading Cam Akers and a 2026 conditional seventh-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings for a conditional 2026 sixth-round pick.

Williams ran for a touchdown and caught another score against San Francisco, marking the first Rams player to score through the air and on the ground since Week 8 of 2021.

Williams' Over/Under rushing total at DraftKings is 60.5 -- a number he has yet to reach after totaling 52 yards on the ground in each of his first two games. We think that changes this week, with the Rams relying a bit more on the ground game in a tough prime-time road venue and Williams hitting the Over.


Rams rookie receiver Puka Nacua is just the fourth player in the Super Bowl era to record at least 10 catches and at least 100 receiving yards in his team's first two games of the season. He is the only rookie to accomplish the feat.

"My success will come when the team wins," Nacua said. "So I'm excited us for to be able to come back and capitalize when we're able to win. It was sweet (vs. Seattle). I got things to improve on, but the most important thing is getting that (win)."


Nacua (oblique) returned to limited practice Friday and Saturday and is officially listed as questionable. Cornerback Cobie Durant (groin), center Brian Allen (illness), guard Joe Noteboom (shoulder) and defensive tackle Jonah Williams (back) were all back to full practice by Saturday and are expected to play.

Burrow was officially listed as questionable and will be a game-time decision. Burrow initially injured the calf on July 27, the second day of training camp, and felt a twinge again on the play before his second touchdown pass of the game to Tee Higgins last week.

"Just feeling better. Not as sore," Burrow said Thursday. "Time heals. So we'll see. We'll see."

Bengals tight end Irv Smith Jr. is doubtful with a hamstring injury, while safeties Tycen Anderson (calf) and Scott (concussion) returned to full practice and are expected to play.


"We've done it before. Obviously, you don't want to start 0-2. It's not what we were planning on, not what you want to do at all. But we're going to bounce back. That's what we do, that's all there is to it." -- Burrow

Report: Joe Burrow works out, trending toward playing

Report: Joe Burrow works out, trending toward playing

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow went through a workout Monday morning and is trending toward playing against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night, The Athletic reported.

There is growing optimism that Burrow will play, per the report, adding that Burrow is lobbying to be on the field.

Burrow is officially questionable to play after tweaking his calf injury in the Bengals' Week 2 game. If Burrow is unavailable for the Bengals (0-2) against the visiting Rams (1-1), Jake Browning would be in line to make his first NFL start on Monday night.

The Bengals signed AJ McCarron to their practice squad over the weekend as insurance. Cincinnati also signed quarterback Reid Sinnett to the practice squad on Friday after losing Will Grier off the practice squad to the New England Patriots.

Burrow practiced Friday and Saturday after he re-aggravated his right calf strain in last week's 27-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Burrow did not practice Thursday.

Burrow initially injured the calf on July 27, the second day of training camp, and felt a twinge again on the play before his second touchdown pass of the game to Tee Higgins.

Burrow has thrown for 304 yards and two touchdowns against an interception in the first two games.