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Titans’ Derrick Henry first in NFL to 1,000 yards, throws for TD to boot


GREEN BAY — The Tennessee Titans showed what a total team effort looks like in a 27-17 win over the Green Bay Packers, but as is usually the case, it all started with running back Derrick Henry, who delivered in more ways than one Thursday night.

Henry ran for 87 yards, pushing his rushing yards to 1,010 this season to make him the first running back to pass the 1,000-yard mark. Henry also rushed for his 10th touchdown, becoming the fifth player in NFL history to rush for 10 or more touchdowns in five straight seasons.

To top it off, Henry also had a 3-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hooper, Henry’s third career touchdown pass, including the playoffs.

Henry joined San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey as the only non-quarterbacks to have a passing touchdown and rushing touchdown in a game this season.

But Henry insisted the individual accolades don’t mean much to him. Regardless of what he does on the field, Henry still draws motivation from his high school days more than 10 years ago, when people doubted he’d make it to the league.

“It’s something that will continue to drive me,” Henry said. “I’m always motivated. Every single day I am constantly critiquing myself — every single day, and that will never stop. I want to be the best that I can be to help this team win. I’m always looking for something to fuel me.”

With Henry leading the way, Tennessee’s offense gained 408 yards, its highest total of the season. The 27 points were also a season high.

Thursday’s win was the AFC South-leading Titans’ (7-3) seventh in eight games.

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NFL moves Browns-Bills game to Detroit due to snowstorm


ORCHARD PARK, NY — The Buffalo Bills’ home game against the Cleveland Browns is being relocated to Detroit due to a winter storm with lake effect snow that is expected to hit western New York over the next couple of days.

The game remains scheduled for 1 pm ET Sunday.

The Buffalo area is expected to get up to five feet of snow from Thursday night through Saturday night, with thunder and other inclement conditions also expected.

The team said the decision to move the game from Highmark Stadium was made “in consultation with the Buffalo Bills and local and state authorities as the region prepares for the storm.” The final decision came from the league office, but there has been communication with all parties involved.

Wind gusts are also expected to make traveling more difficult. It is not expected to be snowing during the actual time the game is scheduled to take place.

“The decision to move the game to Detroit has everything to do about safety,” Bill’s executive vice president and chief operating officer Ron Raccuia said. “Safety first has been what we’ve been talking about here, really for the last 48 to 72 hours.”

Moving the game was not finalized until Thursday afternoon, with the Bills practicing outside Thursday in anticipation of the game. The team did practice in its indoor fieldhouse Wednesday.

The Bills are planning to try to keep as normal a schedule as possible for an away game. They are aiming to practice Friday “if able,” per general manager Brandon Beane, and to fly to Detroit on Saturday. They are then planning to fly back Sunday after the game, if weather permits, and have a short practice week before heading back to Detroit to play the Lions on Thanksgiving.

“[Coach] Sean [McDermott] does a great job of messaging and making sure our guys understand it’s still going to be a football game,” Beane said. “Everything else is the same. It’s a short flight. We’re going to try to keep it as routine as possible. Is it a little disruption? Yes. But I think our guys are pros. They understand it.”

The team is planning to use the visitors side of everything in Ford Field so that it is the same when they return for the game four days later.

League spokesperson Brian McCarthy confirmed that the move had nothing to do with the Bills’ stadium being an outdoor facility without a dome and said the priority is that resources are not diverted from the community.

The decision was made in part to have resources available for other needs in the community and for the safety of people in the area and fans. The team had a major snow game in Orchard Park in 2017, and the Bills beat the Colts in overtime 13-7.

Buffalo had a home game vs. the New York Jets moved to Ford Field in November 2014 due to a snowstorm. The Bills won that game 38-3. That game was pushed back to Monday after being scheduled for a Sunday, but the Bills’ Thanksgiving game in Detroit makes the schedule this year less flexible.

With the news that the Browns-Bills game has been moved from Buffalo to Detroit, all previous bets made on the game are voided, per Caesars Sportsbook’s house rules.

The total, which moved from 47.5 to 42 (it had risen to 43 when the bets were voided) before the site change, attracted significant betting interest all week. The Browns-Bills under got more bets than any team to cover the spread besides Thursday night’s game between the Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers. It’s rare that totals attract more bets than the point spread.

With the game now in Detroit, Caesars Sportsbook is listing Buffalo as a 7.5-point favorite and the game has a total of 48.

Those with tickets to the game in Orchard Park will have their money reimbursed. New presale tickets for the game in Detroit will go on sale at 2 pm ET Friday for a cheaper price than normal game tickets with Bills season-ticket holders and fans getting first access.

“We are hoping for this to be still a home-field advantage away,” Beane said. “Luckily, it’s not across the country. We know Bill’s Mafia is all over, and hopefully those that are in the Michigan area will definitely come, and hopefully the ones here that want to get out of the snow will drive over there.”

Buffalo is also dealing with several illnesses on the team. Three players — defensive back Cam Lewis, wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips — missed Thursday’s practice with illnesses. Beane confirmed that the players are dealing with an illness other than COVID-19 and are expected to be back for the flight to Detroit.

With the loss of this week’s home game, the Bills will not play in Orchard Park again until Dec. 11 vs. the Jets.

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Ryan Tannehill’s big day helps lead the Titans to a road win over the Packers


GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Tennessee Titans handled business Thursday on the road against the Green Bay Packers in a 27-17 win at Lambeau Field.

Despite red-hot rookie wide receiver Christian Watson hauling in two touchdown passes from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Tennessee countered with two touchdown passes to tight end Austin Hooper.

A big play put things away as Titans rookie receiver Treylon Burks hauled in a 51-yard pass that allowed the Titans to kneel out the clock.

Tennessee Titans

The Titans (7-3) brought the fight to the Packers. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill led the way with his best game of the season going 22 of 27 passing for 333 yards, two touchdowns and an interception to provide balance to the offense.

Running back Derrick Henry rushed for 87 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown. He now has over 1,000 rushing yards on the season. Henry also had 45 yards on two catches, and he threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hooper. He joined San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey as the only non-quarterback to have a passing and rushing touchdown in a game this season.

Promising trend: The Titans’ receivers impacted the game for the second consecutive week. Rookie Treylon Burks got things started with a 43-yard reception that set up Tennessee’s first touchdown on the opening drive. Burks finished with seven receptions for 111 yards, both of which were a career high. Robert Woods chipped in with six catches for 69 yards.

QB Breakdown: Tannehill was ultra-efficient. Most of his big plays came off of play-action, where the Packers were focused on stopping Henry. He delivered perfect passes to Burks on the big play and Chigoziem Okonkwo for another, and he threaded the needle between two defenders to Hooper for a 16-yard touchdown. Tannehill’s passes hit his receivers in stride, giving them a chance to gain yards after the catch. It was his second consecutive game with at least 250 passing yards and two touchdown passes.

Pivotal play: The Packers closed the gap to 14-9 on a 39-yard field goal attempt by Mason Crosby. Tannehill found Okonkwo for a 31-yard completion two plays after the kick return. Okonkwo managed to haul in the Tannehill pass and stay in bounds as he fell to the ground after Packers safety Darnell Savage bit on the underneath route leaving him wide open. The play flipped the field after Tennessee was pinned back at its 12-yard line.

Under the radar state: Henry became the fifth player in NFL history to score 10 rushing touchdowns in five straight seasons, joining LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson, Shaun Alexander and Michael Turner.

Next game: vs. Cincinnati Bengals, Nov. 27.

Green Bay Packers

Goodnight Green Bay, there will be no encore. The good vibes around the Packers lasted all of four days after beating the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday to end a five-game losing streak.

With the Philadelphia Eagles up next, this has the makings of another losing streak. At 4-7, the Packers might be one more loss away from this becoming a lost season. One of the few good things to come out of this game was the continued emergence of rookie receiver Christian Watson, whose two touchdown catches put him at five in the last two games. Watson finished with 48 yards on four catches and the two scores.

Eye-popping NextGen stat: Watson’s 14-yard touchdown catch was the very definition of a tight-window throw. According to NFL NextGen Stats, Watson had 0.5 yards of separation from Titans cornerback Kristian Fulton. That’s the least separation of any of Rodgers’ 55 touchdown passes over the last two seasons.

Describe the game in two words: Defensive. Breakdowns. A busted coverage against a rookie tight end, Okonkwo, for 31 yards, missed tackles on a 42-yard screen pass to Henry and then getting completely fooled on a jump pass from Henry to Hooper all happened on the same drive in the third quarter and led to a game-breaking touchdown. In some ways, breakdowns have been THE story of defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s unit most of the season.

Silver lining: The return of Randall Cobb made a difference — and not just as a receiver. Cobb had a team high in receptions (six) and yards (73), and he also returned punts and recovered an Aaron Jones fumble that helped the Packers to their first touchdown of the game. Cobb had missed the last four games while on injured reserve because of a sprained ankle. He was activated to the roster just hours before kickoff.

Under the radar state: Thursday marked the fifth straight loss as a favorite for the Packers, which is their longest losing streak as a favorite within a season.

Next game: at Eagles, Nov. 27.

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Derrick Henry’s jump pass fools Packers for Titans TD to Austin Hooper


GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Tennessee Titans dug into their bag of tricks in the third quarter when they dialed up a Derrick Henry pass to Austin Hooper for a 3-yard touchdown against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday.

The play was jazzed up a little bit with quarterback Ryan Tannehill faking like he was throwing to the outside although the ball was snapped directly to Henry, who faked like he was going to run before jumping in the air to complete the pass.

Henry’s touchdown pass was the third one in his career including the playoffs.

Henry joins Christian McCaffrey as the only non-quarterback to have a passing and rushing touchdown in a game this season. He’s the fourth non-quarterback to do so in Titans history (2016 DeMarco Murray, 1980 Earl Campbell and 1962 Billy Cannon).

The Titans opened the day with a Tannehill pass to Dontrell Hilliard for a 13-yard touchdown on their first possession of the game. Hilliard leads the Titans with four receiving touchdowns this season and is tied with Austin Ekeler for the most of any running back.

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Aaron Rodgers, Packers catch Titans by surprise with TD to end first quarter


GREEN BAY, Wis. — Five days ago, Christian Watson had zero touchdown catches. Five quarters of football later, he had four of them.

He followed up his three-touchdown game last Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys with another TD in the first quarter of the Green Bay Packers’ Thursday night game against the Tennessee Titans.

The last Packers’ rookie receiver with at least four touchdown catches in a season was James Lofton, who had six in 1978.

And while this is all new to the rookie second-round pick, it came on a play that’s old hat for Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers caught the Titans with 12 men on the field and floated the ball to Watson on the left side of the end zone for a contested catch over cornerback Kristian Fulton.

It was the 17th career touchdown pass of Rodgers’ career on free plays — either defensive offsides or too many men on the field. It was Rodgers’ first such touchdown of the season and first since last Christmas against the Cleveland Browns. No one else has more than five such touchdowns since 2008.

The Titans blocked the extra point to take a 7-6 into the second quarter.

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Kansas City Chiefs place Mecole Hardman on IR


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs placed wide receiver Mecole Hardman on injured reserve Thursday because of an abdominal injury, meaning he will miss at least the next four games.

The Chiefs face the Chargers on Sunday night in Los Angeles.

Kansas City could also be without another top wide receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster, against the Chargers. He is in the NFL’s concussion protocol after absorbing a big hit over the weekend and has not practiced yet this week.

Hardman is tied for fourth on the Chiefs in catches (25) and tied for second in touchdowns (six), including two rushing scores. The Chiefs played without him in last weekend’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

If Smith-Schuster doesn’t play Sunday, the Chiefs would have only one of their top three wide receivers available. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who is third on the Chiefs with 26 receptions, missed practice Wednesday because of an illness but he returned on a limited basis Thursday.

The Chiefs’ other wide receivers on the active roster are Kadarius Toney, Justin Watson and rookie Skyy Moore. Toney, recently acquired in a trade with the New York Giants, scored his first NFL touchdown and led the team’s wide receivers in catches with four last week. Watson and Moore have combined for 14 receptions and two touchdowns.

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NFL Week 11 – The best pregame fashion from Titans-Packers


Week 11 of the NFL’s regular season was nearly buried in what could be six feet of snow — at least, for the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills. A huge blizzard forecast in Buffalo caused the NFL to move the game to Detroit — which will avoid the worst of the weather, although it does prevent us from seeing what Browns and Bills players would wear for their pregame fashion if they had to brave the accumulation.

We’re kicking things off at Lambeau Field, where the 6-3 Tennessee Titans travel to take on the 4-6 Green Bay Packers. The Packers are coming off a win against the Detroit Lions, a victory that broke a five-game losing streak. They’ll face a serious test against the Titans, who have won six of their past seven games.

On Sunday, the New York Jets will try to break their 13-game losing streak against the New England Patriots in an AFC East battle. Later in the afternoon, the Dallas Cowboys will try to stop the juggernaut Minnesota Vikings after that team’s incredible comeback victory over the Bills in Week 10.

Here are the best pregame fits from around the NFL in Week 11.

‘Thursday Night Football’

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Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott ‘optimistic’ about playing Vikings


FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is trending toward playing Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings after missing the past two games with a hyperextended right knee.

“I’m definitely very optimistic about this week,” Elliott said. “Barring any setbacks the next couple days, I think I feel good. I’ve felt as good as I’ve felt since the injury this early in the week. I think I’m in a good spot.”

Elliott said he would wear a brace for added protection. He suffered the injury Oct. 23 against the Detroit Lions and has missed the past two games, sandwiched around the Nov. 6 bye weeks.

Elliott has been listed as a limited participant in practice this week, same as last week; however, the decision not to play against the Green Bay Packers had to do with how he felt after his workouts.

With three games in 12 days, he opted to rest.

“Just tightness, sore, a lot of discomfort, so we decided that it was just smart to give it one more week,” Elliott said. “Didn’t want to waste, let the weeks I took off early to go in vain.”

This time Elliott will have to contend with potentially playing two games in four days with the Cowboys playing the New York Giants on Thanksgiving.

He played most of last year with a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee that limited his effectiveness. Before this year, he had missed just one game due to injury in his career.

“I think this injury just has been different,” Elliott said. “I think the other ones before, I could fight through that pain and I could go out there still feel somewhat like myself and really protect myself. But I just think this injury has been different. Just took a little more time.”

Tony Pollard has posted back-to-back 100-yard games as the lead runner in Elliott’s absence, but teammates know the impact Elliott can make in a return.

“Obviously just turn on the tape and look at his production his entire career,” Dak Prescott said. “The guy is a talented back. He’s a bruiser. He’s going to make plays for us in every which way. And then being able to have both of them just puts a lot of pressure on the defense. If he’s able to, I’ m excited for him, obviously. He knows that.”

What does Elliott believe he can bring?

“Just a little physicality. Just some more physicality to our offense,” he said. “And I think, it’s exciting to be back. Ready to go, man. This sucks sitting on the sideline.”

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Steelers’ Minkah Fitzpatrick back at practice five days after appendectomy


PITTSBURGH — Minkah Fitzpatrick knew something was wrong at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ walkthrough on Saturday morning.

He alerted team doctors after having trouble using the bathroom, and twenty minutes later, he was on an operating table having his appendix removed.

“I thought it was bubble guts, gas,” Fitzpatrick said with a wry laugh.

Fitzpatrick, who said the surgery was his first time under full anesthesia, was at Acrisure Stadium the next day, and a few days after that, he was conditioning and practicing with his team.

“Obviously I was feeling it, but I wanted to go out there and support my teammates,” Fitzpatrick said about being at Sunday’s win.

Fitzpatrick’s availability for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals has not been determined, but coach Mike Tomlin was optimistic earlier in the week.

“Reports regarding Minkah and his inclusion this week are really positive,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “I know that he’s already been here and run (Tuesday). I saw him Sunday at the stadium, and Minkah wanted to play on Sunday. Obviously, that wasn’t the appropriate thing to do, but that’s just the mentality that he brings in. Oftentimes, when you’re talking about injury or being unavailable, coming back from lack of availability, your attitude has a lot to do with it and so, we’re really optimistic about him.”

Doctors initially told him it could take anywhere from 10 days to two weeks to fully heal from the emergency surgery, Fitzpatrick told ESPN.

“The worry is when they cut open, they cut through muscle, obviously to get into your stomach,” he said. “So you just wanna make sure that that’s healed properly before you get out there and go.”

After not practicing Wednesday, Fitzpatrick was on the field on Thursday, and teammate Damontae Kazee didn’t notice any difference in the safety coming off surgery.

“It looked like there was no drop off,” Kazee said. “It doesn’t look like he got surgery to me.”

Kazee, who signed with the Steelers in free agency and played every snap against the Saints with Fitzpatrick out, said he’s not surprised Fitzpatrick is able to bounce back from surgery so quickly.

“That’s the dog in him, man,” he said. “I always tell Minkah, when I go home, I’ll be watching film. I gotta steal certain techniques of his that he does at practice. So I think it’s pretty cool.”

In the Week 1 overtime win against the Bengals, Fitzpatrick returned quarterback Joe Burrow’s first pass attempt for a pick-6, and he finished the game with a team-high 14 combined tackles. Even if he can’t go Sunday, Fitzpatrick’s experience and success against the Bengals will come in handy for whoever fills in for him.

“I think I can help ’em out a lot,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’ve been playing against (the Bengals) for the past four seasons, twice a year, so we’re familiar with them. There hasn’t been a whole lot of turnover in the receivers and quarterback and offense, so there’s a what I can do to help them.”

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