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Houston Texans LT Laremy Tunsil to have thumb surgery, could miss four weeks

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HOUSTON — Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil will have surgery on his left thumb on Thursday, head coach David Culley said.

Culley said Wednesday that the Texans are “thinking right now” Tunsil could miss four weeks, but said, “we’re not really sure.”

Tunsil injured his left thumb in Sunday’s loss to the New England Patriots. After the game, Culley said Tunsil “couldn’t punch” on blocks after the injury so he only played “a little bit on the field goal and extra-point team because all he had to do was just sit there and spread his hands out and not punch.”

Culley also said quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who is eligible to return from injured reserve this week, is “progressing very well, but he’s not ready right now.” Taylor injured his left hamstring in the Texans’ Week 2 loss to the Cleveland Browns and was replaced by rookie third-round pick Davis Mills.

A week after a 40-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills, Mills had the best game of his young career on Sunday, completing 21 of 29 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns. The rookie is 0-3 this season in his three starts since taking over for Taylor.

Regardless of how Mills plays while Taylor is out, Culley said, Taylor will be the Texans’ starting quarterback when he is healthy. Culley said he does not believe in a quarterback losing his job to injury and that he is hopeful that Taylor will be able to play again this season.

“[Taylor] gives us the best chance to win,” Culley said. “He’s our starting quarterback. He was our starting quarterback when he went down. He was doing an excellent job. When he comes back, he’ll still be our starting quarterback.”

Wide receiver Nico Collins is also eligible to come off injured reserve this week and Culley said the team will “take it day-to-day” with Collins, but that he will be able to practice this week on a limited basis. Culley also said wide receiver Danny Amendola, who has not played since Week 2 due to a thigh injury, “will be on the field” on Wednesday.

The 1-4 Texans play the Indianapolis Colts on the road on Sunday.

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Follow live: AFC East rivals meet in playoffs as Bills host Patriots

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Los Angeles Rams safety Taylor Rapp fails to clear concussion protocol, will miss playoff game

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Los Angeles Rams free safety Taylor Rapp did not clear concussion protocol this week and has been ruled out for Monday night’s wild-card playoff game against the visiting Arizona Cardinals.

Rapp suffered a concussion in the Rams’ overtime loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. They also lost strong safety Jordan Fuller to a season-ending ankle injury in that game, meaning they’ll be without both starting safeties.

The team lists backup running back Buddy Howell (hamstring) as doubtful. Receiver Van Jefferson (shoulder) is listed as questionable, but coach Sean McVay expects him to play and said everyone else should be available.

McVay called Rapp’s absence a “big loss” and added that “he’s doing everything in his power to get back as quickly as possible.”

Fuller (113) and Rapp (94) were the Rams’ top two tacklers this season while playing 16 and 17 games, respectively. Rapp shared the team lead in interceptions (four) with cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Their injuries led the team to sign Eric Weddle to their practice squad this week, bringing the 37-year-old safety out of his two-year retirement.

McVay confirmed that Weddle will be added to the active roster for Monday night’s game and will contribute in a to-be-determined role. The Rams also have Nick Scott and Terrell Burgess at safety.

Weddle, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, retired after spending the 2019 season with the Rams. Monday will mark 750 days since his last NFL game.

“He’s done a great job,” McVay said. “He’s brought a great energy. He’s a great communicator. He’s a great leader. He’ll be ready to go. What exactly that role looks like, we’re still working through. Got a lot of confidence in Nick Scott and Terrell Burgess as well.”

McVay said there’s “a lot of ranges” to how much Weddle might play against Arizona before reiterating his confidence in Scott and Burgess.

“But I do know as a competitor when he’s out there, if he’s going and he gets into the flow, he’s gonna want to go,” McVay said. “If he’s feeling good and there’s no risk and we’re in a good flow, we’ll kind of just take it a snap at a time. I think it’s hard for me to realistically put a parameter around it because this is something that’s never been done before. It could be 10; it could be 30. I think in a lot of instances too, it depends on what kind of personnel groupings we’re presenting to the Cardinals’ offense as well.”

Fuller, a captain, was the Rams’ defensive signal-caller. McVay said it’s likely that linebacker Troy Reeder will take over those duties.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford, who had his toe landed on against the 49ers, was listed as a full participant in all three practices this week.

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Bengals QB Joe Burrow finds Tyler Boyd for TD just before stepping out of bounds

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CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Joe Burrow to bring the team success it hasn’t had in a long, long time.

The quarterback is on his way to doing that in Saturday’s wild-card game against the Las Vegas Raiders. On third-and-4 near the end of the first half, Burrow scrambled out of the pocket and somehow found Tyler Boyd for a 10-yard touchdown.

Burrow was perilously close to being out of bounds before he released the ball, which prompted a discussion from the officials and seemed to elicit an inadvertent whistle.

According to the NFL rulebook, the play should have been blown dead because of the whistle. Instead, the sequence was allowed to continue and the Bengals took a 20-6 lead on the throw with 1:51 left in the first half.

The Bengals own the NFL’s longest drought without a playoff victory. Cincinnati hasn’t won a playoff game in 31 years. Burrow is doing his part to change that and produce a historic win.



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