NFL Fallout: Texans top AFC South, Ravens QB leads Pro Bowl voting, Kaepernick workout criticised
The National Football League rolls into Week 12 and Eurosport has some scoop to get you up to date …
Despite a botched call inside the final two minutes of play, the Houston Texans reclaimed sole possession of first place in the AFC South with a 20-17 victory over the visiting Indianapolis Colts on Thursday thanks to in large part to two touchdown passes from Deshaun Watson to DeAndre Hopkins.
With 1:48 to play on a second-and-9, Watson ran with the ball and was tackled by Darius Leonard. Watson fumbled the ball, but the Texans retained possession.
Since the turnover occurred inside of two minutes, it should have triggered a booth review.. The NFL explained after the game that it was ruled a fumble on the field. The issue was that there was no clear evidence of a recovery by the Colts.
Watson passed for 298 yards with touchdowns of 35 and 30 yards to Hopkins, who finished with six catches for 94 yards for the Texans (7-4). Indianapolis (6-5) had won three consecutive games in Houston including in the wild-card round to eliminate the Texans last postseason.
The second Watson-to-Hopkins connection erased a 17-13 deficit with 12:34 left in the fourth quarter. Houston trailed 17-10 early in the third before Watson completed a 51-yard pass to Will Fuller that set up a 36-yard Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal with 2:43 left in the quarter. Fuller had seven catches for 140 yards.
Jackson leads Pro Bowl voting …
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, with 146,171 votes, leads all players in balloting for the 2020 Pro Bowl followed by Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes (116,325) ranks second overall, while Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson (115,370 votes), Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook (106,167 votes) and Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey (100,218 votes) round out the top five.
Four of the top five vote-getters – Jackson, Mahomes, Cook and McCaffrey – are under the age of 25. Additionally, seven first or second-year players currently lead their conference in votes received at their respective positions.
The Ravens lead all clubs in total votes received. The San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings round out the current top-five vote-getters among teams.
Fan voting for the 2020 Pro Bowl presented by Verizon will continue online and on web-enabled mobile phones at NFL.com/ProBowlVote until Thursday, December 12.
Jones: ‘Kaepernick’s workout wasn’t about football’
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has never been one to mince his words, so it should come as no surprise he was quite forward with his opinion on Colin Kaepernick’s publicised workout in Atlanta last weekend.
“That situation from the get-go probably had a lot more, that wasn’t about football involved in it,” Jones said, “and consequently we got the results of that dynamic.”
Dallas, which was originally rumoured to be among the teams scheduled to attend the workout, did not attend the event which was intended to help the former 49er quarterback re-establish a relationship with the NFL for which he claims he has been “blackballed” since sparking the Black Lives Matter movement to protest violence and systemic racism toward African-Americans following a series of deaths caused by law enforcement three years ago.
The six-year veteran claimed he was blackballed by the NFL and eventually filed a grievance accusing NFL team owners of collusion to keep him out of the league. In February, it was announced that Kaepernick had reached a confidential settlement and withdrew the grievance despite the league losing a request to dismiss the case.
Jones has previously criticised Kaepernick’s protest as “disrespectful to the flag” by kneeling during the national anthem prior to a ‘Monday Night Football’ game in 2017.
Suspended Garrett accuses Steelers QB of racial slur
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett is currently serving an indefinite suspension following his role in a fight with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the closing seconds of last week’s game.
During the altercation, Garrett ripped Rudolph’s helmet off and struck him in the head with it.
ESPN reported that during Garrett’s appeal hearing on Wednesday in New York he alleged that Rudolph used a slur but the NFL claims it has found no evidence to substantiate the allegation.
The Steelers back up the NFL's findings.
“Mason vehemently denies the report of being accused of using a racial slur during the incident Thursday night in Cleveland,” the Steelers stated.
Despite the NFL’s decision and the Steelers’ denial, Garrett maintains his stance on the issue and took to Twitter to respond to the league’s statement.
“I know what I heard,” Garrett tweeted. “I was assured that the hearing was space that afforded the opportunity to speak openly and honestly about the incident that led to my suspension.
“This was not meant for public dissemination, nor was it a convenient attempt to justify my actions or restore my image in the eyes of those I disappointed.
“Whether my opponent’s comment was born out of frustration or ignorance, I cannot say. But his actions do not excuse my lack of restraint in the moment, and I truly regret the impact this has had on the league, the Browns and our devoted fans.”
Dolphins release RB following another arrest
Troubled running back Mark Walton was released by the Miami Dolphins this week after yet another arrest in 2019.
The 22-year-old, second-year NFL player was apprehended on Tuesday after allegedly hitting the expectant mother of his child. The woman is five weeks pregnant, according to the report.
“We were made aware of a police matter earlier this morning regarding Mark Walton. We hold our players to a high standard and take these matters very seriously. We will have no further comment at this time,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said in a team statement.
Walton, who was lived in April by the Cincinnati Bengals following his third arrest of the year, was in the midst of a four-game suspension for violating the league’s conduct and substance abuse policies. He would have been eligible to return Dec. 8 at the New York Jets.
The former Miami Hurricane faced a felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon, along with marijuana possession and reckless driving in connection with an incident that occurred March 12 in North Miami-Dade. On Feb. 16, he was arrested and charged with misdemeanour battery in South Florida and was arrested on a misdemeanour marijuana possession charge in January.