The San Diego Chargers shocked Peyton Manning and the Broncos 27-20, boosting their own NFL playoff hopes while denting Denver's aspirations of clinching the AFC's top seeding. Ryan Mathews ran for 127 yards and a touchdown and San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers threw two touchdown passes to Keenan Allen in the AFC West division clash on Thursday. Rivers was 12-of-20 for 166 yards for the Chargers, who improved to 7-7 and moved a half-game behind the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins for the AFC's second wild-card playoff berth.
(Reuters) - San Diego shocked Peyton Manning's Broncos with a 27-20 win in Denver on Thursday, breathing new life into the Chargers' playoff hopes and throwing the AFC West title race wide open. The Broncos (11-3) have already clinched a place in the postseason but have now given Kansas City (10-3) a chance to snatch the division title from their grasp. The Chargers (7-7) trail Baltimore (7-6) and Miami (7-6) in the chase for the last wildcard spot. "This win says a lot about the coaches and the players, how hard they've worked to get to this point," Chargers rookie head coach and former Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said.
The National Football League and DirecTV have agreed on a framework for negotiations to renew the satellite TV operator's contract to offer the popular NFL Sunday Ticket football package the company uses to attract subscribers, according to two sources with knowledge of the talks. A contract that renews DirecTV's exclusive deal would give the satellite operator a key marketing advantage over cable operators. Cable companies sought a deal in 2009, but DirecTV ended up renewing its agreement with the NFL for four years. The current DirecTV offer allows subscribers to watch football games outside of their local markets on Sundays.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson says he isn't planning to pursue two-sport stardom, despite being drafted Thursday by baseball's Texas Rangers. The Rangers selected the NFL star in the minor league phase of the rule five draft, normally a low-key affair at the Major League Baseball winter meetings that is designed to prevent teams from stockpiling too many young players on their minor league teams. Wilson was available in the draft because he once played in the minor league system of the Colorado Rockies. Wilson said it was "pretty cool" that the Rangers had drafted him, but added he was focused more on the Seahawks' NFL game against the New York Giants on Sunday.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hopes his team's Sunday meeting with the host New York Giants serves as a Super Bowl dress rehearsal with the teams set to clash at the site the National Football League title game. Seattle (11-2) has the NFC's best record and the inside track to home field advantage throughout the playoffs in a campaign that could bring them back to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, for the first cold-weather Super Bowl. "Our goal is to go 1-0 every single week," Wilson said on Wednesday during a conference call to reporters at the Giants' practice facility. Our ultimate goal is to play in the Super Bowl and all that and it would be nice to have played there before and just been in the stadium before.
(Reuters) - The Washington Redskins have benched quarterback Robert Griffin III for the rest of the season to safeguard the reigning rookie of the year from injury, the team said on Wednesday. The struggling Redskins (3-10), who reached the playoffs last season, have three games left in the 2013 National Football League campaign (NFL), starting with Sunday's road contest against the Atlanta Falcons. Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan expressed concern about the welfare of Griffin behind an offensive line that has allowed 24 sacks in the last five games. "He's getting hit too many times," said Shanahan, who added he had consulted with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen before making the decision.
The Washington Redskins, languishing in last place in the NFL's weak NFC East division, will not play quarterback Robert Griffin III for the remainder of the season. Embattled Redskins coach Mike Shanahan confirmed the move on Wednesday, two days after saying he wanted to be sure the team's star goes into the off-season healthy. Griffin, in his second year in the NFL, made a quick recovery from major knee surgery performed last January, but has struggled for much of the 2013 season. Kirk Cousins will start for the rest of the season with veteran Rex Grossman as backup.
New England Patriots all-star tight end Rob Gronkowski is likely out for the remainder of the season after suffering a right knee injury, the NFL team announced. New England placed the 24-year-old Gronkowski on injured reserve list on Monday after the American reportedly tore his ACL and MCL in his knee. He was hurt in the third quarter of Sunday's wild 27-26 comeback win over Cleveland after catching a pass from quarterback Tom Brady. Gronkowski was hit in the right knee by Browns defensive back T.J. Ward on the play.
(Reuters) - Chicago quarterback Josh McCown made a strong case to become the team's permanent starter after he dominated Dallas in a 45-28 win on Monday that vaulted the Bears into joint first place in the NFC North. Making his fourth straight start in place of the injured Jay Cutler, McCown warmed up the home crowd in freezing conditions by passing for 348 yards, four touchdowns and running for another score. His latest output helped Chicago (7-6) tie with Detroit (7-6) in the divisional race. "I thought (McCown) played an excellent game." Matt Forte rushed for 99 yards and added 73 receiving yards and a score for the Bears in a shootout victory that did not include a turnover by either team.
Josh McCown threw for 349 yards and Matt Forte gained 175 yards and a touchdown to lead the Chicago Bears to a 45-28 win over Dallas. McCown, who was making his fourth consecutive start in place of Jay Cutler, on Monday threw four touchdown passes and ran for another in frigid conditions at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Bears improved to 7-6 and snapped a two-game National Football League losing skid.