Why Nathan Rourke’s departure from the CFL is good for the league

Photo credit: Arthur Ward/DownNation. All intellectual property rights are reserved.

Many Canadian Football League fans aren’t celebrating the departure of arguably the league’s most entertaining player, but they should be.
Following a breakout season with the B.C. Lions, Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars this past weekend. In his statement announcing the move, he referred to his time in the CFL as a “unexpected detour,” which irritated some of the league’s most ardent fans, who are prone to getting defensive about any suggestion that three-down football is inferior to any other brand, including the behemoth NFL.
The CFL has an aging but devoted fan base that has contributed to the league’s success in many ways. Where else on the planet can you find a fan base that refuses to be treated as second-class citizens in the presence of the granddaddy of North American sport? The CFL, or any league, should consider themselves extremely fortunate to have such a passionate fan base.
At the same time, it’s critical to understand why any criticism of Rourke and his decision to join the Jags is misguided.
For starters, the CFL is constantly on the lookout for exciting young quarterback prospects. Rourke, a player who was virtually ignored by the NFL after graduating from college, has paved the way for other quarterbacks who are unhappy in the NFL and has made a compelling case for those players and their agents to consider Canada as a viable option.
After all, just getting these quarterbacks to come north is half the battle. Anthony Calvillo might not have even considered playing in the CFL if he hadn’t been able to get his foot in the door with an American team like the Las Vegas Posse, with whom he began his CFL career.
There are a plethora of quarterbacks emerging from the American college system who are just waiting to be discovered and developed. Some of them simply need to be convinced of the real benefits of visiting a different country. A successful NFL career for Nathan Rourke could significantly help that cause at a time when the CFL is facing stiff competition from the XFL and USFL for new players.
For decades, diehard CFL fans complained that the league had been unable to find an impact Canadian quarterback, which it hadn’t had since Russ Jackson retired over 50 years ago. Kid Canada’s success in the NFL in ways that Jesse Palmer was unable to do would not only inspire young athletes in Canada to try to emulate him.
If Rourke succeeds, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t, it will legitimize the Canadian Football League in the eyes of the world for the first time since Doug Flutie led the Buffalo Bills on an incredible ride in 1998 and Jeff Garcia made three consecutive Pro Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers.
Rourke had a fantastic receiving corps in British Columbia, but he fell short of the Grey Cup in his brief stint as a starting CFL quarterback. Maybe, just maybe, that will bother him in his later years after he’s won a Super Bowl, as it has for Joe Theismann. Such a scenario would only add to the Canadian Football League’s mystique and magic.
And the good news doesn’t stop if Rourke’s NFL career ends in a blaze. He could return north and improve our league and country in the same way that his new assistant coach, Henry Burris, did after one-year stints with the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. Or perhaps he’ll do it after just one NFL training camp, as Ricky Ray did after a tryout with the New York Jets in 2004.
We can only hope that Rourke’s NFL career is the wild, rip-roaring success that it was for previous B.C. Lions quarterbacks Flutie and Joe Kapp, rather than the bitter disappointment that it was for Casey Printers.
On this new adventure, the sky is the limit for Nathan Rourke, just as it is for the CFL and its fans. Some of them may not be aware of it yet.


Lamar Jackson’s Injury and Contract Drama with the Baltimore Ravens

This season, it felt like Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens were playing hardball with each other.
Jackson’s knee injury ended up costing him more time than expected — the rest of the regular season and Baltimore’s lone playoff game — raising questions about whether the quarterback was being cautious due to the lack of a long-term contract. And Ravens head coach John Harbaugh did little to quell those rumblings, inadvertently feeding the beast by praising backup Tyler Huntley for playing hurt in Baltimore’s wild-card loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Who is to blame for the saga, which is the result of the parties’ inability to reach a long-term agreement before the 2022 season? Of course, it depends on who you ask. But it’s worth noting that Harbaugh didn’t go further to defend Jackson against outside criticism. Most NFL coaches would most likely agree.
“That is exactly how things are done, except if your last name is Harbaugh, right?” said an executive from another NFL team to The Athletic’s Mike Sando recently. “That’s what he and his brother (Jim) do, and there’s another guy who does business in that manner — he wears cutoff-arm sweatshirts with hoodies, and his name is Bill Belichick.”
Injecting Patriots head coach Bill Belichick into the discussion obviously doesn’t mean much, other than to provide context for Harbaugh’s tough stance on the situation. But what if the stare-down continues into the offseason? So, what are the Ravens going to do with their All-Pro quarterback?
Jackson (who does not have an agent) and the Ravens will most likely return to the negotiating table in the hopes of reaching an agreement. If that isn’t possible, Baltimore could slap Jackson with a non-exclusive or exclusive (more likely) franchise tag, or even trade the 2019 MVP.
It’s unusual for a quarterback of Jackson’s caliber and age (26) to become available, so this will undoubtedly be a storyline to follow for as long as the cloud of uncertainty hangs over Baltimore.


Seahawks Agree to Extension with Jason Myers

19 January 2023

Ben VanHouten/AP Photo
The Seattle Seahawks and kicker Jason Myers have reached an agreement on an extension, the team announced on Wednesday.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the contract is worth $21.1 million over the next four years. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the deal also includes incentives worth up to $22.6 million.
Myers is now the NFL’s second-highest-paid kicker, trailing only Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens.

Seahawks vs. Seahawks

We’re here to stay.
“We wanted to spend the entire time here,” Myers explained. “We had no intention of leaving, and we adore this organization, its coaching staff, its players, and everything about it. I’m overjoyed to be able to stay for at least four more years, if not more.”
“This team, this group, is so much fun. It’s a lot of fun to be in that locker room from week to week.”

In a statement, General Manager John Schneider said:

“It’s just the beginning of our offseason. We identified Jason as someone we wanted to finish as soon as possible, especially given his year. He’s an important part of our championship culture, and he was as eager as we were to finalize a deal. It’s a first step toward our goal of 2023.”
Myers has spent the last four seasons of his career in Seattle, where he was selected to his second career Pro Bowl after making 34-of-37 field goal attempts and 41-of-42 extra point attempts. He also led the NFL in scoring with 143 points and had a kickoff average of 62.8 yards.
Myers has made 87.5 percent of his field goal attempts and 93.5 percent of his extra point attempts in 66 games over four seasons in Seattle.
Myers spent three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2015 to 2017, and the 2018 season with the New York Jets, where he earned his first-ever Pro Bowl selection.
With Myers secured, the Seahawks will turn their attention to signing quarterback Geno Smith, who will be a free agent this offseason.


Mock draft has Giants taking WR Quentin Johnston and LB Jack Campbell

It’s that time of year when we’ll feature mock drafts from some of the best NFL Draft analysts in the business. Dane Brugler of The Athletic is one of them, and Brugler released his second mock draft of the process this week. Let’s se who Brugler picked for the New York Giants in this two-round exercise.

Round 1 (No. 25) — TCU’s Quentin Johnston, WR

Brugler writes: The Giants’ wide receivers, such as Isaiah Hodgins, have performed better than expected this season, but the position remains a need. Quentin Johnston is an intriguing evaluation because he possesses exceptional physical characteristics such as size (6-4, 215), speed (4.4 40-yard dash), and leg springs. He also naturally tracks the ball, though he will have focus drops and his route running is still a work in progress. Johnston has the talent to be a top-20 pick, but he isn’t guaranteed to go that high.

Valentine’s Point of View

If Johnston falls this far in the draft, this is a no-brainer pick. Johnston is never present this late in the mocks I’ve run using various simulators.
The Giants still require a true No. 1 wide receiver. Having that would help Isaiah Hodgins, Wan’Dale Robinson, and the rest of the 2023 receiving corps. I’m concerned about Johnston getting off the line of scrimmage vs. press coverage, but I haven’t done a thorough analysis. As a result, those concerns may be unfounded.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent Pro Football Focus scouting report:

Quentin Johnston is one of the most bizarre college wide receivers in recent memory. On the football field, there isn’t much he can’t do. He is a true No. 1 option who can run any route in the book. He also breaks tackles like it’s no big deal. Look out if you get the ball in Johnston’s hands because he’s a total threat in the open field.
Johnston, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 215 pounds, has the ideal build for an NFL receiver. He’ll probably improve even more at the next level, as his college usage was not quite what it should have been… Johnston’s game will undoubtedly translate well to the NFL.
Round 2 (No. 57) — Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa Brugler does not explain this selection. Given the Giants’ constant search for inside linebackers this season, I can certainly understand making this selection.
Campbell is currently ranked No. 62 overall in the NFL Mock Draft Database, so this would be right in range at this point.
As much as the Giants need long-term solutions at inside linebacker rather than Band-Aids, I believe that a high draft pick like this should be used only if that player is thought to have three-down ability. I’m not familiar with the 6-foot-5, 246-pound Campbell, so I can’t pass judgment.

According to Draft Network:

In an era when linebackers are shrinking, Jack Campbell has a throwback frame that was designed to be a downhill second-level defender in the NFL. I like how he uses gaps to fit the run. Campbell is adequate as a hook/curl/flats defender in coverage, with shallow zone coverage drops and buzzing down in the flats. He has worked on all levels of special teams. Campbell is a solid tackler with strong hitting power.
This Bleacher Report prospect profile makes me wonder if Campbell is what the Giants are looking for:
The combine will be crucial for Jack Campbell, as questions about his athleticism remain regarding his transition to the NFL. He was the most decorated college football linebacker this season, but his change of direction and hip fluidity are questionable for a modern-day NFL linebacker.
Having said that, Campbell possesses qualities that will translate to the NFL. He has impressive downhill speed, which allows him to plug gaps against the run and close on pass-catchers in zone coverage. He’s also arguably the best linebacker in this draft class at stacking and shedding, and he has good instincts in zone coverage.
The Hawkeye would be best suited as a middle linebacker in a system that relies heavily on one-high looks and Cover 3. That would give him some help over the top and keep him from having to carry wide receivers in Tampa 2, while still allowing him to use his ability as an underneath defender in zone coverage to tighten throwing windows.
Campbell is not a one-dimensional player. If teams are looking for a linebacker with more man-coverage skills, he could fall in the draft. He could, however, be a great Day 2 pick for a team looking for an impact run defender on the second level of defense.


Is Will Levis the next big thing in quarterbacks?

If the NFL’s evaluation of quarterbacks in recent years has taught us anything, it’s that most will get it wrong. Only four quarterbacks selected in the first three rounds of an NFL draft in the last decade are guaranteed to start in Week 1 next season.
Properly evaluating quarterbacks is both the most important and the most difficult aspect of the game.
Perhaps it’s due to the nature of the position; no single factor guarantees success at the next level. One of the most widely used sets of guidelines in the scouting world is Bill Parcells’ checklist of must-haves when evaluating a quarterback prospect. But is it still relevant today? It’s almost amusing.
Trevor Lawrence, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Deshaun Watson would all have failed to go 7-for-7 and, as a result, would have been passed over by the Big Tuna.
So then what about those evaluating quarterbacks currently? There must be something that unites NFL players as a “must-have” on the road to success. No, not quite. “Make good decisions,” says Bill Belichick. Former Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has stated on the record that “accuracy” is important. Aaron Rodgers, quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, says quarterback prospects “have to be able to spin it,” referring to their arm strength.
It should come as no surprise that evaluating a complex position is, well, complex. But, in the end, quarterback evaluation is no different than any other position. It all boils down to how well you can answer the following questions:

Who exactly are they?

What are they capable of becoming?
What are their chances of making it?
There is no quarterback in the 2023 class who will put scouts’ ability to answer those questions to the test more than Kentucky’s Will Levis — the No. 2 signal-caller on PFF’s big board and the No. 3 prospect overall. He’s a redshirt senior, 6-foot-3, 232 pounds, with a rocket launcher attached to his right shoulder. The Wildcats’ pro day isn’t until later this spring, but I can already predict that he’ll be lauded by every media outlet for his performance. Take a look at these throws:

And how well he moves for his size:

His pros and cons list, which follows, is not dissimilar to Josh Allen’s list from Wyoming:


Right arm with a flamethrower
Ideal build that can withstand a blow
Pocket twitchy mover
Will step in and deliver strikes when necessary.
Elite quarterback sneaker. 22-of-23 sneaks converted in career
Inconsistent precision
Thrower with only one speed
Will likely always struggle on touch passes with short-arm delivery
The bad habit of attempting to do too much and forcing throws
Unfortunately, that sounds like a lot of athletic quarterback projects in the draft. And for every Josh Allen, there’s a Jake Locker at home on Sundays watching games. That is why the NFL still prefers high-end on-field production at the top of the draft.
This is where Levis falls far short. There’s no sugarcoating it: Levis in 2022 was difficult to watch at times. His statistics against Power Five opponents are as follows:

PFF Passing Score: 61.2

179.4 yards per game
Comp % 62.2%
TDs 10
INTs 7
Big-Time makes 5 throws
7 Turnover-Deserving Plays
There isn’t a single data point or advanced stat in the PFF database that can make the preceding bearable. There are only excuses for why this occurred. On 37.8% of his dropbacks, he was under pressure (FBS average: 31.4% | NFL average: 33.6%). He completed a tight-window pass on 46.4% of his 10-plus yard downfield attempts (FBS average: 39.2% | NFL average: 39.7%). While this demonstrates how difficult Levis’ job description was for the Wildcats this season, it says nothing about how he’ll fare when his supporting cast improves.
Fortunately, we got a glimpse of it in 2021. Levis received a 90.6 overall grade when he had a receiver who could get open at an NFL level (Wan’Dale Robinson) and a coordinator who could coordinate at an NFL level (Liam Coen). That season, his tape against the behemoth Georgia defense was as good as anyone’s who wasn’t named Bryce Young looked against them.
He finished the game with an 83.3 overall grade and made a grand total of zero turnover-worthy plays. While the tape was excellent for evaluators, if that was the guy we saw every week, I wouldn’t be writing this article. Levis is already a lock to be the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. And therein lies the most difficult of the three scouting questions to answer. We’re all just trying to figure out how likely it is that a player will consistently perform to their full potential. Because Levis has demonstrated that his abilities are exceptional, but he has done so infrequently that achieving consistency appears difficult.
When it comes down to being the last man standing in a 32-team league full of physical freaks at the quarterback position, it’s the quarterbacks with the highest maximum capabilities who can get you to the Lombardi Trophy. That is why Will Levis remains deserving of — and, in my opinion, will be — a top-five draft pick on April 27.


Tom Brady vs. Cowboys: Can Dallas end its playoff drought against the GOAT?

The final night of the NFL’s wild-card weekend features arguably the most intriguing matchup of the weekend.
Tom Brady leads the 8-9 Buccaneers into a playoff matchup against a Cowboys team that posted another 12-win season but has a lot to prove in the postseason.
Dallas is under intense pressure to advance after being eliminated on the wild-card weekend last year, but Dak Prescott must cut down on turnovers if that is to happen. Prescott made numerous errors in the final weeks of the season, including interceptions against the Jaguars and Eagles, as well as a forgettable performance against the Commanders in Week 18.
The Cowboys blew it against the Buccaneers in Week 1 and have yet to beat Brady, but they have a great chance to do so on Monday.
While Brady has had a lot of success on this stage, the 2022 season will be a first for the 45-year-old quarterback. Tampa Bay limped to the NFC South title and hasn’t had much offensive firepower in most wins.
The Buccaneers’ offensive line is still more unstable than Brady is used to, but he showed an improved connection with Mike Evans late in the season and will look to carve up the Cowboys’ pass defense.
The game’s deciding matchup may be whether Dallas’ talented pass-rush can overwhelm Tampa’s thin offensive line and harass Brady in what could be his final game with the Buccaneers – or as an NFL quarterback.

MORE: Watch the Cowboys vs. Buccaneers game live on fuboTV.

The Sporting News will provide live scoring updates and highlights as the Buccaneers take on the Cowboys in the NFL playoffs’ wild-card round. Follow along with all of the important events.

Scores for Cowboys vs. Buccaneers






Cowboys vs. Buccaneers live updates and NFL playoff highlights

(All times are Eastern.)
Cowboys 6, Buccaneers 0 at the end of the first quarter
8:52 p.m. — Brady is pressured again, but he throws it to Godwin, who gets the first down and more. Tampa Bay has a first-and-goal situation.
8:51 p.m. — The Buccaneers are entering the red zone and will need another big third down.
8:50 p.m. — Mike Evans makes a big third-down catch to get the Bucs to the edge of the red zone. It’s not easy for Tampa, but the offense is performing when it counts.
8:46 p.m. — Chris Godwin’s first down catch moves the Buccaneers to midfield. Godwin had two defenders close to him but enough space to make the catch.
Rachaad White deceives Trevon Diggs on 3rd and 7 and wiggles his way to a first down at 8:45 p.m.

Buccaneers 6, Cowboys 0

8:39 p.m. TOUCHDOWN — Prescott finds an open Dalton Schultz in the end zone and scores! The Cowboys have settled into a rhythm and are scoring, but Brett Maher’s extra point misses badly.

— NFL (@NFL) 17 January 2023

8:38 p.m. — Tony Pollard makes a nice run to get the Cowboys to the red zone. Pollard is getting a lot of work early on, which will please Dallas fans.
8:36 p.m. — Even without Shaquil Barrett, who tore his Achilles in October, the Buccaneers are consistently putting pressure on Prescott. This time, however, Akiem Hicks is charged with roughing the passer. After the pass, he landed on Prescott. The Cowboys have entered Buccaneers territory.
8:34 p.m. — We’ve finally gotten a first down in this game! Michael Gallup leaps high to catch a 15-yard pass from Prescott.
8:31 p.m. — We’ll take another shot. Jayron Kearse deflects a pass into the air, which falls incomplete. There has yet to be a first down.
8:25 p.m. — The Cowboys’ offense appears jittery early on. Dallas’ second drive is cut short when Dak Prescott is sacked on third down. Vita Vea is the one who wraps him up.
8:21 p.m. — The Buccaneers are punting after an incompletion and a holding call on third and 13. In the first 77 seconds, there were two three-and-outs.
8:19 p.m. — Micah Parsons blows up a Rachaad White run for a loss to start the Buccaneers’ drive. He’s been very vocal leading up to this game, and he’s backed it up.
After 13 seconds, the Buccaneers force a punt. That was not the desired start for the Cowboys.
8:17 p.m. — The Cowboys begin with two short throws that are both incomplete. Prescott doesn’t appear to be at ease yet.
8:15 p.m. — The Buccaneers won the coin toss and deferred, giving Dak Prescott and the Cowboys the opportunity to strike first. Let’s get started.
8:10 p.m. — Tonight, Mike McCarthy is under a lot of scrutiny. Back-to-back 12-win seasons won’t protect him from criticism if the Cowboys fail to make the playoffs again.
7:52 p.m. — Is this Tom Brady’s final game in a Buccaneers uniform? Or in any other uniform? The 45-year-old retired for 40 days last year but may return to the NFL for a 24th season.

— NFL (@NFL) 17 January 2023

7:46 p.m. — It’s currently 57 degrees in Tampa, with little wind. Not the warmest night in Florida for a game, but excellent overall conditions.
7:36 p.m. — Tonight, the Cowboys appear to be under more pressure than the Buccaneers. Dallas cannot afford another 12-win season and a Wild Card Weekend loss to a sub.500 team.

“Show wherever we go…” #DALvsTB | #SuperWildCard #DallasCowboys – @Tp 5

January 17, 2023 — Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys)
7:09 p.m. — Everyone’s attention is on Tom Brady, but what about this guy? Leonard Fournette has previously been a huge factor for the Bucs in the playoffs, and if he can step up tonight, he will add a new element to the offense.

— NFL (@NFL) 16 January 2023

Start time for Cowboys vs. Buccaneers
Monday, January 16th
The time is 8:15 p.m. ET.
The Cowboys and Buccaneers’ wild-card playoff game will kick off at 8:15 p.m. ET from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

What channel is today’s Cowboys vs. Buccaneers game on?

ESPN and ABC are two national television networks.
WFAA is a Dallas television station.
WFTS-TV is a Tampa television station.
TSN2/4, CTV are Canadian television channels.
ESPN+ | fuboTV (US) | DAZN live streams
The Cowboys vs. Buccaneers game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN and ABC, with play-by-play announcer Joe Buck, color analyst Troy Aikman, and sideline reporter Lisa Salters on the call from Tampa.

The game will be broadcast on TSN2/4 and CTV in Canada.

NFL playoff schedule: Round of 32
Saturday, January 14th
Time to begin
channel on television
Streaming in real time
49ers vs. Seahawks
4:30 p.m. ET
Purchase tickets
Jaguars vs. Chargers
8:15 p.m. ET
FuboTV, Peacock
Purchase tickets
Sunday, January 15th


J.K. Dobbins Frustrated With Lack of Carries in Playoff Loss

With a sideline view of the biggest play in the Baltimore Ravens’ loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night, running back J.K. Dobbins didn’t hold back his rage.
When Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley’s ill-fated sneak ended up in the grasp of Bengals defensive lineman Sam Hubbard and was returned for the game-winning score in the Bengals’ 24-17 Divisional Round victory over the Ravens, Dobbins was emphatic post-game that he should’ve had the ball in his hands.
“[Huntley] should never have been in that situation,” Dobbins said following the season-ending loss, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “Not a single carry for me. I didn’t get even one carry. He should never have been in that situation in the first place. I’m pretty sure I’d put it in the end zone again.”
To Dobbins’ chagrin, he was not on the field during the critical third-and-goal play from the Bengals 1-yard line with 11:39 remaining in the fourth quarter, nor did he have a carry on that doomed Ravens drive. Gus Edwards was on the field, and the ball was in Huntley’s hands for the game-changing play, which culminated in a monumental swing as Baltimore went from being on the verge of a go-ahead touchdown to giving up a 98-yard score to Hubbard that proved to be the game-winner.
But it wasn’t just about that one play for Dobbins; it was about his overall workload. He had 17 touches in total, including 13 carries for 62 yards, four receptions for 43 yards, and a 2-yard second-quarter touchdown.
“I should be the guy,” Dobbins said, noting that his 32 snaps were his second-highest total this season. “I’m sick of holding it in. I’m sick of it. [Thirteen carries], it’s playoff time. I’m sick of holding it in. Let’s get this game won. “I’m sick of it.”
Dobbins, who appeared to be on fire after an emotional loss, also stated that he believed the outcome would have been different if Lamar Jackson had been at quarterback. Jackson did not travel with the team because he was out for the sixth time in a row due to a PCL sprain.

“We would have won if we had Lamar,” Dobbins said.

While Jackson was held out of the lineup due to an injury, it’s clear that Dobbins does not believe he should be held back because of his own injury.
He missed the entire 2021 season due to a torn ACL and appeared in only eight games during the 2022 regular season. He’s given a boost to a sluggish offense, but the Ravens have been wary of him. He was inactive in Week 18 and hasn’t carried the ball more than 17 times this season.

That clearly doesn’t matter to him. Thirteen carries simply weren’t enough.

“I make plays,” he explained. “When I’m on the field, my teammates feed off of me.


Follow him on Twitter: NFL officials face scrutiny after Seahawks-Rams game

Referees are likely used to receiving criticism from fans, but they may now face scrutiny from NFL executives and coaches.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, following a series of controversial calls in last week’s pivotal regular-season finale between the Rams and the Seahawks, multiple executives and coaches are calling for wholesale changes to the referee selection and training process.
The executives and coaches believe that several crucial calls were missed by the officials during the game.

Seattle eventually won in overtime, 19-16, effectively ending the Detroit Lions’ playoff hopes.

Jalen Ramsey #5 of the Los Angeles Rams argues with DK Metcalf #14 of the Seattle Seahawks after a fourth-quarter play at Lumen Field on January 8, 2023 in Seattle.

(Getty Images/Steph Chambers)

The NFL’s competition committee is also aware of what a source described to ESPN as “the worst officiated game of the year,” according to Schefter.
The calls in question appeared to benefit the Seahawks while hurting the Lions. If Seattle had lost, Detroit would have had a chance to clinch the NFC’s final wild-card playoff spot.
Despite already knowing they were out of the playoffs, the Lions went on to defeat the Packers on Sunday night.
According to ESPN, some are calling for major changes in how the league screens, hires, and ultimately trains officials in order to avoid a repeat of the Week 18 game.
Baker Mayfield #17 of the Los Angeles Rams passes during the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks on January 8, 2023 at Lumen Field in Seattle.

(Getty Images/Steph Chambers)

“The Lions should be furious,” an ESPN source said. “It was a terrible way to end their season.”
Los Angeles defensive end Jonah Williams was flagged for running into Seattle punter Michael Dickson in the fourth quarter of the Seahawks-Rams game.


According to NFL rules, running into the kicker occurs when a defensive player “contacts the kicker’s kicking foot, even if the kicker is airborne at the time of contact,” or when a defensive player “slides under the kicker, preventing him from returning both feet to the ground.”
Although video replays appeared to show Williams being pushed into Dickson, a running into the kicker penalty was called, giving the Seahawks better field position and a fresh set of downs. The drive ended with a game-tying field goal by Seattle.
According to a league official, the referee who threw the flag did not look at the proper angle and thus did not see Williams being blocked into Dickson.
Jalen Ramsey, the star defensive back, was flagged for unnecessary roughness in the final seconds of regulation for a hit on quarterback Geno Smith. DK Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks then inserted his finger into Ramsey’s facemask.
Jalen Ramsey #5 of the Los Angeles Rams argues with DK Metcalf #14 of the Seattle Seahawks after a fourth-quarter play at Lumen Field on January 8, 2023 in Seattle.

(Getty Images/Steph Chambers)

Metcalf’s actions were not penalized by the referees.
Smith threw an incomplete pass in overtime that could have been ruled intentional grounding. Smith’s pass fell several yards short of tight end Noah Fant, the closest eligible pass-catcher in the area.
In addition, Quandre Diggs intercepted a pass from quarterback Baker Mayfield during the overtime period. Some suspected Diggs of taunting after the interception.


The seventh-seeded Seahawks were defeated by the 49ers in the wild-card round of the playoffs on Saturday. Chantz Martin is a Fox News Digital sports writer.


Travis Kelce, Justin Jefferson, and Sauce Gardner earn unanimous AP All-Pro nods

Travis Kelce and Justin Jefferson have been unanimously selected to The Associated Press 2022 NFL All-Pro Team, and Sauce Gardner is the first rookie cornerback to be selected in 41 years.
Kelce of the Chiefs and Jefferson of the Vikings received first-team votes from all 50 members of a nationwide panel of media members who cover the league on Friday. Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Nick Bosa of the San Francisco 49ers, and Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs each received 49 of 50 first-team votes. With four players on the first team, the Chiefs and Niners led the way.
Gardner, the New York Jets’ fourth-round pick, was named on all 50 ballots and received 43 first-place votes. Ronnie Lott, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, was the final rookie cornerback chosen for the first team in 1981.
“That means a lot to me,” Gardner told the Associated Press. “It was one of my objectives prior to training camp. It is something I hope for. I worked extremely hard for it. It’s unquestionably a blessing.” Jason, Kelce’s older brother, was also named to the first team for the fifth time in his career, keeping him one step ahead of his pass-catching brother. Lane Johnson, a fellow Philadelphia Eagles lineman, joins Jason Kelce on the squad.
“Big honor, especially happy for (Johnson), who is without a doubt the best tackle in the NFL, especially on the right side,” Jason Kelce told the Associated Press. Johnson, a two-time All-Pro, has missed the last two games due to an adductor injury but hopes to be back when the Eagles host a divisional round playoff game next week.
“We put a lot of time and effort into the game, and as you get older, you start to cherish it,” Johnson told the Associated Press. Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders is one of 16 first-time All-Pros. Jacobs led the NFL in rushing with 1,653 yards, 12 touchdowns, and a 4.9 yard per carry average. Despite finishing 6-11, the Raiders had three first-team picks.
“The year definitely didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but it’s definitely an honor to be selected,” Jacobs told the Associated Press. The other newcomer on offense is Jefferson, who had a league-high 128 catches and 1,809 yards receiving. Tyreek Hill of Miami made it for the fourth time, the third as a receiver. Hill caught 119 passes for 1,710 yards and seven touchdowns in his rookie season with the Dolphins. Davante Adams of the Raiders was selected for the third time. In his first season in Las Vegas, Adams had 100 receptions for 1,516 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Cowboys right guard Zack Martin is a six-time All-Pro, as are 49ers left tackle Trent Williams and Browns left guard Joel Bitonio. Mahomes was an All-Pro as well as the NFL MVP in 2018. He led the league with 5,250 yards passing and 41 touchdowns, guiding the Chiefs to their seventh straight AFC West title. Jalen Hurts of Philadelphia received one first-team vote, preventing Mahomes from being a unanimous choice.
The only returning All-Pros on defense are Cowboys edge rusher Micah Parsons, 49ers linebacker Fred Warner, and Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is back for the third time. Parsons, who had 13 1/2 sacks in his rookie season, made the team as a linebacker.
All-Pro selections included Bosa, Jones, Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams, Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith, Bills linebacker Matt Milano, Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II, and Niners safety Talanoa Hufanga. Bosa led the NFL in sacks with 18 1/2. Williams had 11 points.
“I tell my wife my goals every day so she can hold me accountable and make sure I do the right thing,” Williams told the Associated Press. “To get this news, all of my hard work has paid off, and I must continue to do the same.”

All six special-teams players are also rookies.

They are the Raiders’ Daniel Carlson, the Chiefs’ Tommy Townsend, the Packers’ Keisean Nixon, the Patriots’ Marcus Jones, the Commanders’ Jeremy Reaves, and the Vikings’ Andrew DePaola. The AP’s new voting system debuted this year. Voters selected a first and second team. First-team votes are worth three points, while second-team votes are worth one point.

Josh Dubow and Dennis Waszak of the Associated Press contributed.

Rob Maaddi can be found on Twitter at
NFL AP: https://apnews.