League Eyeing Tomlin Episode
Pittsburgh — The NFL is still deciding how to discipline Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin for his not-so-fancy footwork. New video, though, shows Tomlin inching closer to the field before Baltimore kickoff returner Jacoby Jones nearly collided with him in last Thursday’s 22-20 win by the Ravens.
KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh released video Monday indicating Tomlin took a sizable step toward the field as Jones broke into the open, and didn’t move until Jones was nearly on top of the coach. Tomlin actually put his right foot on green grass as part of a stutter step move out of harm’s way. It wasn’t early enough to stop Jones from moving to his right just before being tackled by Pittsburgh’s Cortez Allen after a 73-yard return.
Tomlin was not penalized, though he is facing disciplinary action. Tomlin said following the game he was watching the play unfold on one of the scoreboards and lost his “placement” on the field.
Jets: Smith Still Starting QB
Florham Park, n.j. — Geno Smith is staying put as the New York Jets’ starting quarterback. His hold on the job, however, is tenuous at best.
Rex Ryan confirmed Monday that he’s sticking with the rookie despite Smith’s struggles in the last several games.
Smith wasn’t surprised when he was told Monday morning by quarterbacks coach David Lee that he would start the home game Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
Seahawks 34, Saints 7
Seattle — Russell Wilson threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns, Michael Bennett returned Drew Brees’ fumble 22 yards for a touchdown and Seattle routed New Orleans.
Seattle wrapped up a playoff berth with a victory over the Saints, and the matchup between the top two teams in the NFC was anything but competitive. With the win, Seattle gained a two-game lead over both the Saints and Carolina Panthers for home-field advantage in the NFC. The Seahawks also hold the tiebreakers with head-to-head victories over both teams.
The Seahawks had 315 yards of offense at halftime, the second time in three games they had at least 300 in the first half. They had a season-high 316 yards against Atlanta in Week 10. Wilson threw for 226 yards in the first half with touchdowns to Zach Miller and Doug Baldwin.
After Seattle forced a three-and-out on the Saints’ opening possession, Wilson hit fullback Michael Robinson for 21 yards, ran for 10 more and completed a pass to Golden Tate for 12 yards. New Orleans managed to hold inside the red zone, and the Seahawks settled for Steven Hauschka’s 26-yard field goal.
On the second play of the Saints’ ensuing possession, Cliff Avril knocked the ball from Brees’ hand as the quarterback prepared to throw. Bennett caught the ball and raced into the end zone.
After another three-and-out, the Saints left Miller uncovered as Wilson connected for a 60-yard gain to the 4. Three plays later, Wilson and Miller hooked up again on a 2-yard scoring pass.
Playing without two of its top three cornerbacks, the Seattle defense held the Saints’ high-powered offense to 90 yards. Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane stepped in for Seattle with Walter Thurmond serving a four-game suspension and Brandon Browner out with a groin injury.
Brees led New Orleans on a 13-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter. The Saints converted three third downs and picked up another first down on a penalty on the drive. Brees connected with Jimmy Graham for a 2-yard touchdown strike.
Graham has a team-record 12 touchdown receptions this season to tie Calvin Johnson for most in the NFL this season. Graham has already tied the NFL record for most 100-yard receiving games in a season by a tight end with six.
Brees was held to 92 yards passing through three quarters. Graham managed just two catches for 22 yards. Graham was held without a catch against the New England Patriots in Week 6. He has caught at least three passes in every other game for the Saints this season.
After New Orleans’ touchdown, Wilson and the Seahawks quickly answered back. Wilson found Doug Baldwin for a 52-yard gain on third-and-3 from the 23 to move back into New Orleans territory, and Hauschka made a 20-yard field goal.
The Seahawks weren’t finished. After another Saints three-and-out, Seattle began its next possession from the 12 with 2:05 left. Wilson made plays with his arm and legs as Seattle marched quickly downfield. With 18 seconds remaining, Wilson hit Baldwin with a 4-yard touchdown pass.
Seattle benefited from a defensive penalty from the Saints to keep their second drive of the third quarter alive. Wilson threw incomplete for Baldwin on third-and-3, but a roughing the passer penalty against Akiem Hicks for a blow to the head gave the Seahawks a fresh set of downs.
Wilson picked up his third touchdown strike of the night in unusual fashion. Facing second-and-goal from the Saints 8, Wilson threw a pass intended for reserve tight end Kellen Davis. The ball went through Davis’ hands and deflected into the air, where fullback Derrick Coleman grabbed and fell into the end zone for a score. Coleman had stepped out of bounds on the play, but had re-established himself inbounds before making the catch. Because he wasn’t the first player to touch the ball, the touchdown was confirmed following a review.