Monday's NFL: Rams’ Talib could return vs. Lions
Veteran cornerback Aqib Talib had barely gotten started with the Los Angeles Rams when he went down because of an ankle injury.
After two months as a supportive voice on the sideline while his new team soared without him, Talib is rejoining the Rams as their playoff push really begins.
The Rams (10-1) designated Talib to return from injured reserve Monday when they returned from their bye week. Talib hasn’t played since Sept. 23. He is eligible to return when the Rams visit Detroit Sunday, but coach Sean McVay said the team won’t decide until Talib goes through the week of practice.
(At) Houston 34, Tennessee 17: Deshaun Watson threw for 210 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a third as the Houston Texans set a franchise record with their eighth straight win.
Demaryius Thomas scored his first two touchdowns as a Texan and Lamar Miller ran for 162 yards, including a 97-yard TD.
In the first game since founder and owner Robert “Bob” McNair died on Friday, the Texans (8-3) honored him by wearing decals on the back of their helmets in the shape of a football with white block letters bearing his initials of “RCM.”
With that reminder on their helmets, they became the first team in NFL history to win eight games in a row after starting 0-3. They lead Indianapolis by two games in the AFC South.
The Texans trailed by 10 early before reeling off 27 straight points. Tennessee (5-6) finally scored again on a 48-yard reception by Corey Davis late in the third quarter, but the second TD by Thomas — this one for 10 yards — made it 34-17 with just more than eight minutes left.
Marcus Mariota, who missed the second half of last week’s game after suffering a stinger, was 22-of-23 for 303 yards and two touchdowns. He completed his first 19 passes before an incompletion with just more than a minute remaining.
Miller’s 97-yard breakaway in the second quarter made it 21-10. It was the longest run in franchise history and the longest run in the NFL since his dash of the same length for a touchdown on Dec. 28, 2014, while with the Dolphins. He’s now the only player in league history with two career rushing touchdowns of 95 yards or longer.
The Titans went ahead 3-0 on their first possession, and Jonnu Smith had a career-long 61-yard catch-and-run touchdown that extended their lead less than halfway through the first quarter.
Houston got going after that, cutting the lead to 10-7 when Thomas grabbed his first touchdown since being traded from Denver on Oct. 30, a 12-yard grab with about six minutes left in the quarter.
Watson put the Texans on top when he scrambled 15 yards for a score on the first play of the second quarter.
The Titans went for it on fourth-and-inches from the 3 later in the second, but tight end Luke Stocker was stopped for no gain.
Miller’s long TD, which helped Houston set a franchise record with 281 yards rushing, came on the next play. He took the handoff in the end zone and darted through a crowd of Titans before shedding one tackle and simply outrunning the rest of the defense.
The Texans kicked a field goal as time expired in the second quarter to take a 24-10 lead into halftime.
Jaguars revamp offense
The NFL suspended Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette one game without pay for leaving the sideline, running across the field and throwing punches at Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson.
Fournette and Lawson were ejected in the third quarter of Buffalo’s 24-21 victory and continued jawing at each other as they exited the field and entered the tunnel to the locker rooms. Fournette has three days to appeal the suspension.
Also Monday, the Jaguars sacked offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and quarterback Blake Bortles one day its seventh consecutive loss.
Coach Doug Marrone promoted quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich and backup quarterback Cody Kessler to try to jump-start one of the league’s worst offenses.
Beckham rips play-calling
Odell Beckham Jr., who had spoken of the Giants running the table and making the playoffs got frustrated after Sunday’s setback and questioned coach Pat Shurmur’s play calling against a banged-up Philadelphia secondary.
The coach fended off questions Monday about his decisions; his limited use of halfback Saquon Barkley in the second half; Eli Manning’s status as the starting quarterback; and his refusal to rebuke Beckham, saying his star receiver was venting after an emotional, last-minute 25-22 loss.
Shurmur, who grew up in Dearborn Heights, downplayed Beckham’s questioning the play calling, noting the Giants threw 37 times and ran 18. He noted the passing game had seven plays of 18 yards or better, one off the team’s high for the season.
Mayfield slams ex-coach
A day after throwing four touchdown passes in a win over Cincinnati and then rejecting a postgame hug from his former coach, Baker Mayfield called Hue Jackson “fake” as the Browns rookie fended off criticism of his behavior.
Mayfield was upset with comments made about him by ESPN’s Damien Woody, who said the quarterback was acting childish for saying Jackson should not have joined the Bengals’ staff after he was fired last month in Cleveland.
Tight end Jeff Heuerman’s breakout season came to a premature end Monday with word that he suffered broken ribs and a bruised lung in the Broncos’ 24-17 win over the Steelers.
... Andy Dalton is out for the season because of a thumb injury suffered in the Bengals’ latest loss. Jeff Driskel will start for the Bengals the rest of the way.
... ABC is joining the NFL draft broadcast business and will televise all three days of picks next April.