December 28, 2018 / 11:10 PM / 2 months ago

NFL notebook: Steelers could be without Brown for finale

Needing a tie or win — and help — to get into the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers will fight for their season on Sunday without their kicker. And perhaps their best weapon on offense.

FILE PHOTO: Dec 23, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (23) breaks up a pass intended for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) in the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

According to multiple reports, All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown has not practiced at all this week after feeling discomfort in his knee last Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. Head coach Mike Tomlin told the media Friday that Brown will undergo tests on his knee, but made it clear Brown has not been ruled out of Sunday’s home game against Cincinnati and the team listed him as questionable on the injury report.

Brown, 30, has started all 15 games this season and has 104 catches for 1,297 yards a league-leading 15 touchdown receptions.

Also on Friday, the Steelers placed kicker Chris Boswell on injured reserve and signed Matt McCrane to replace him. Boswell made just 13 of 20 field-goal attempts through the first 15 games of the season, as well as 43 of 48 extra-point tries. He was a constant target of fans’ ire, and the team did not specify the nature of his injury.

A Steelers victory or tie coupled with a Cleveland victory over Baltimore will give Pittsburgh the AFC North title. Should both the Steelers and Ravens win, Pittsburgh can still get into the playoffs if Tennessee and Indianapolis tie in the league’s final regular-season game on Sunday night.

—Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers because of his sore left knee.

It will mark the second consecutive missed game for the star running back, who originally injured the knee in the season opener. He reinjured the knee in Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles and hasn’t practiced since.

C.J. Anderson is likely to receive much of the work against the 49ers after rushing for 167 yards on 20 carries in his team debut against Arizona last week.

—Needing a win Sunday against the Oakland Raiders to cement home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, the Kansas City Chiefs unexpectedly listed safety Eric Berry as questionable after he missed practice Friday with a sore left foot.

Berry, who turns 30 on Saturday, has missed nearly all of the past two seasons after tearing his left Achilles in the 2017 season opener. He returned to play in the Chiefs’ last two games, playing 30 and then 69 snaps.

—Having locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, the New Orleans Saints will start Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers and give 39-year-old Drew Brees a rest.

Bridgewater, acquired by the Saints in an August trade with the New York Jets, has not started a game since January 2016 with Minnesota. In August 2016, he suffered a significant non-contact knee injury in practice and missed the season. He did not return until Week 15 of the 2017 season, when he made a brief appearance in a mop-up role.

—Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams will retire after Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins. He was a fifth-round draft pick of the Bills in 2006 and has spent his entire career with Buffalo, starting 177 of 182 games he has played in entering Sunday’s game.

Williams has racked up 607 tackles and 48.5 sacks during his 13 seasons in Buffalo, five times being selected to the Pro Bowl along the way. He has 31 tackles and 5.0 sacks in starting all 15 games this season, as Williams was voted as an alternate to the Pro Bowl.

—Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he expects he will be back with the team in 2019 despite its sub-.500 record, reportedly explaining, “My conversations with the owner have been all positive.” If the Panthers lose to the Saints, they will become the first team since the 1978 expansion to a 16-game schedule to finish 6-10 after a 6-2 start, according to ESPN.

—New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will miss Sunday’s season finale against the Dallas Cowboys, his fourth straight missed game after sustaining a quadriceps injury in Week 12. He has 77 receptions for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games this season.

—The Jets announced an agreement with wide receiver Quincy Enunwa on a multiyear contract extension, reportedly for four years and worth up to $36 million (about $20 million guaranteed). Enunwa, 26, has 118 receptions, 1,621 receiving yards and five touchdowns in his career.

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—The Bengals announced that wide receiver Tyler Boyd (knee), linebacker Jordan Evans (ankle) and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (shoulder) were all placed on injured reserve ahead of the season finale against the Steelers.

—Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien says running back Lamar Miller will be ready for Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars after missing last weekend with a sprained ankle.

—Field Level Media

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