NFL Sunday primer: Packers, Bengals, Titans, 49ers, Rams must rebound

BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens, seeking a 2-0 start to the season, got a pair of quick-strike touchdowns and lead the Miami Dolphins, 28-7, at halftime at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Ravens had a 13-second touchdown drive, as Devin Duvernay went 103 yards with the game’s opening kickoff, and a 10-second touchdown drive, on a 75-yard catch and run by wide receiver Rashod Bateman. Quarterback Lamar Jackson also threw touchdown passes of one yard to tight end Mark Andrews and 12 yards to wideout Demarcus Robinson.

Jackson had a perfect pass rating of 158.3 in the first half. He completed 11 of 13 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns.

Another would-be touchdown for the Ravens was overturned on an instant replay review that showed Jackson was down shy of the goal line. The Ravens lost a fumble on a fourth-down attempt from inside the 1-yard line on the following play.

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa provided a six-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jaylen Waddle but also threw a pair of first-half interceptions.

Alvin Kamara is inactive as Saints against Buccaneers

The New Orleans Saints will be without tailback Alvin Kamara as they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an early-afternoon game Sunday.

The Saints placed Kamara on their game-day inactive list. He had been listed as questionable on the injury report because of a rib injury.

Quarterback Jameis Winston will play for the Saints as they try to beat the Buccaneers for a seventh straight regular season meeting. Winston had been listed as questionable on the injury report because of a back injury. Winston is playing with four fractures in his back, Fox reported.

The Buccaneers will be minus wide receiver Julio Jones. He is on the inactive list after being listed as questionable on the injury report because of a knee injury. Jones joins fellow wideout Chris Godwin, who is inactive after previously being ruled out because of a hamstring injury. Tailback Leonard Fournette and wide receivers Mike Evans, Russell Gage and Breshad Perriman are active for the Buccaneers and will play after all were listed as questionable.

In Baltimore, Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters is active and is expected to make his season debut. He missed all of last season because of a torn ACL in his knee.

Tailback JK Dobbins and left tackle Ronnie Stanley are on the Ravens’ inactive list. Patrick Mekari is expected to start at left tackle in Sunday’s early-afternoon game against the Miami Dolphins.

Tyrod Taylor sued Chargers doctor over 2020 injection

Former Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor filed a lawsuit last year seeking damages from the doctor for the team who administered a painkilling injection that caused Taylor to suffer a collapsed lung in September 2020.

Taylor, now with the New York Giants, filed the lawsuit in May 2021 in California Superior Court for Los Angeles County. The suit accuses David S. Gazzaniga and the Newport Orthopedic Institute of negligence, medical malpractice and medical battery and seeks damages of at least $5 million.

“As a direct and legal result of the negligence, carelessness and other tortious, unlawful and wrongful acts and conduct of the Defendants … Plaintiff Taylor was prevented and/or limited in following his profession as an NFL starting quarterback, and has, therefore, suffered past and future loss of earnings and diminution of earning capacity; Plaintiff’s injuries caused him to lose his position as the starting quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers for 2020 NFL season,” the lawsuit says. “Plaintiff’s contract with the Los Angeles Chargers ended in 2020 and as he returned to free agency, he entered as a back-up quarterback as opposed to a starting quarterback. The economic difference between a starting quarterback’s salary and a back-up quarterback salary is at least $5,000,000.00 and is more than likely much greater.”

Gazzaniga administered painkilling injections to Taylor before a Sept. 20, 2020 game at SoFi Stadium after Taylor suffered rib fractures a week earlier. According to the lawsuit, Taylor experienced “unusual pain” after returning to the field and “reported numbness traveling up towards his clavicle.” He consulted with Gazzaniga and underwent an X-ray. Taylor was transported to a hospital by ambulance on the recommendation of other medical personnel, according to the lawsuit. Tests there revealed a pneumothorax, or collapsed lung.

“The failure of Dr. Gazzaniga to create, follow, and/or maintain an adequate, consistent protocol for the local anesthetic injections, including but not limited to, administering a higher volume of the anesthetic, with a lower percentage, and the method of administration without appropriate guidance, including but not limited to radiological imaging, into the areas around Mr. Taylor’s ribs, and thereafter the failure to timely recognize, diagnose and treat a pneumothorax suffered by Taylor caused, and continues to cause Taylor extreme pain and suffering, “Taylor’s lawsuit says.

According to ESPN, which first reported the lawsuit Sunday, Gazzaniga is involved in the care of Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, who suffered a rib injury during Thursday night’s loss at Kansas City. Coach Brandon Staley announced Friday that Herbert had suffered a fracture of his rib cartilage, calling Herbert’s playing status day-to-day. Herbert succeeded Taylor as the Chargers’ starter after the 2020 incident with the painkilling injection.

The Chargers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After opening-weekend craziness, season begins for real

Now the NFL season can begin for real, with the arrival of the second Sunday of the regular season.

The season’s opening weekend can be a mirage. That is particularly true now that some regard the early weeks of the longer, 17-game regular season as, in effect, the new preseason. Many coaches are increasingly wary of playing starting quarterbacks and other key players during the actual preseason, meaning those players must knock the rust off their games once the regular season begins. That can make for some ragged play — and misleading results — in Week 1.

The Los Angeles Rams, the defending Super Bowl champs, lost the NFL’s season-opening game. At least they had a good excuse, given that they were facing the team regarded by many as this season’s Super Bowl favorite, the Buffalo Bills.

NFL reset: Team rankings, the Cowboys’ woes and the Broncos’ gaffe

The Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers all were losers last Sunday, results that were met with varying degrees of surprise. The Denver Broncos ushered in the Russell Wilson era by losing Monday night in Seattle to the quarterback’s former team, the Seahawks.

So it is a bounce-back Sunday for those teams, or at least they hope so. The Patriots play an early-afternoon game at Pittsburgh. The Rams, 49ers, Bengals and Broncos are part of the late-afternoon slate. The Packers hosted the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on Sunday night. (The Titans don’t play until Monday evening at Buffalo.)

This is familiar territory for quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Recall that last season, Rodgers threw two interceptions, and the Saints overwhelmed the Packers, 38-3, in an opening game relocated to Jacksonville, Fla., because of the effects of Hurricane Ida on New Orleans. Even so, the Packers won their next seven games on their way to a 13-4 record during the regular season and the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. Rodgers secured his second straight league MVP award.

The Titans, similarly, were the top seed in the AFC playoffs last season despite opening with a 38-13 defeat to the Arizona Cardinals.

Justin Herbert’s grit isn’t enough as Chiefs rally past Chargers

So as Rodgers famously once instructed Packers fans in supposedly dire circumstances that turned out not to be so insurmountable: RELAX.

For some teams, it could begin to feel late in the season awfully early. The Dallas Cowboys not only lost their opener to the Buccaneers; they also lost quarterback Dak Prescott to a thumb injury that required surgery. They’ll have Cooper Rush at quarterback Sunday when they host the Bengals. Niners quarterback Trey Lance struggled mightily in the wet, sloppy conditions at Soldier Field in last weekend’s loss to the Bears. He’ll need an improved performance Sunday at home against the Seahawks to keep the speculation about a potential switch back to Jimmy Garoppolo from intensifying.

So there is plenty at stake Sunday, as always, in the NFL. Year 0-1 start? That very well could be an aberration. But an 0-2 beginning? Well, that just might be a trend taking hold.

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