December 24, 2017 (AP)(STL.News) The Latest on the 16th Sunday of the NFL regular season. (all times Eastern):
Turnovers are becoming the story in the Falcons-Saints game.
Early in the second half, Falcons linebacker Deion Jones intercepted a pass that deflected off of receiver Ted Ginn’s hands and returned it inside the Saints 5-Yard line.
Jones, a former LSU player, now has intercepted Brees three times in his first four games against his hometown team.
But the Falcons couldn’t take advantage because running back Devonta Freeman fumbled on a hit by defensive tackle Tyeler Davison, with linebacker Manti Teo recovering.
Late in the first half, Saints defensive back Marshon Lattimore made a memorable interception that bounced off his backside before he grabbed it. That led to a Ginn touchdown catch.
The Saints lead 13-3 in the third quarter.
— Brett Martel reporting from New Orleans
Bills running back Travaris Cadet has been carted off the field late in the second quarter with a severe right ankle injury.
Cadet was inserted into the game for Buffalo’s two-minute drill, and on his first rush of the game had his ankle bent awkwardly as he was tackled by Trey Flowers.
Several players from both teams took a knee as Cadet was attended to by Buffalo’s training staff. His ankle was placed in an air cast. He was helped to the cart after several minutes.
— Kyle Hightower reporting from Foxborough, Massachusetts. (edited)
2:07 p.m. ET
New Orleans’ Drew Brees has eclipsed 70,000 yards passing for his career, becoming the third quarterback in NFL history to do so.
The Saints’ all-time leading quarterback, now in his 17th season, joins Peyton Manning (71,940 yards in 17 seasons) and Brett Favre (71,838 yards in 20 seasons).
Brees entered the game with 69,961 yards.
— Brett Martel reporting from New Orleans
The loss of Pro Bowl kicker Greg Zuerlein already has cost the Los Angeles Rams at least four points.
Sam Ficken, the replacement signed to replace Zuerlein when the Rams had to place him on injured reserve , missed an extra point in the first quarter. Then coach Sean McVay sent Ficken out to attempt a 35-yard field goal — his first career attempt — and the kick hit the right upright.
That might be why McVay chose to let punter Johnny Hekker throw from the Titans 32 on the opening drive. The Rams first took a delay of game penalty the Tennessee Titans declined, then Hekker threw deep to Michael Thomas only to have his pass knocked incomplete.
The Rams lead Tennessee 6-3 in the middle of the second quarter needing a win to clinch the NFC West for the first time since 2003.
— Teresa M. Walker reporting from Nashville, Tennessee
Four NFL players protested during the national anthem before the early games in Week 16.
Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters stayed off the field until after the anthem was played in Kansas City, while Dolphins Kenny Stills and the injured Michael Thomas kneeled as they have been doing much of the season.
Titans receiver Rishard Matthews stayed off the field until after “The Star-Spangled Banner” in Nashville, while Rams linebacker Robert Quinn raised his fist while Lee Greenwood sang. Three Titans, Wesley Woodyard, Jurrell Casey and Brian Orakpo raised their fists after the song.
Several Saints kneeled before the anthem in New Orleans, but stood during the song.
After a week of uncertainty, Brock Osweiler is starting at quarterback for the Denver Broncos at the Washington Redskins.
Coach Vance Joseph had refused to name his starter between Osweiler and Paxton Lynch. Joseph on Friday said Lynch, who was listed as questionable with an ankle injury, was about 90 percent healthy and was good enough to back up.
It’s Osweiler’s fourth start and sixth appearance of the season. He has completed 55.2 percent of his passes for 895 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions.
— Stephen Whyno reporting from Landover, Maryland
The Christmas Eve NFL schedule is full of games with playoff implications, and as many as six teams could be out with a loss.
The highlight of the early afternoon is the NFC South matchup with the Falcons in New Orleans. Tampa Bay travels to Carolina, and those results could decide the division, though it might come down to the Panthers at Falcons next week.
The Titans need a win at home against the Rams to stay in the AFC South race. The Bills are the No. 6 AFC wild card, but need a win over the Patriots and some help to stay there.
The Chargers would be out of the playoff race if they lose at the Jets, as would the Lions with a loss at Cincinnati. The Dolphins need a win at Kansas City to stay alive.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
By The Associated Press – published on STL.News by St. Louis Media, LLC (MS)
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