Rookies made the biggest NFL news on Monday. Kicker Harrison Butker lifted the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs to victory over the Washington Redskins in prime time, and earlier in the day Mitchell Trubisky was named the new starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears
Rookie kicker Harrison Butker played the hero role on Monday Night Football, nailing a go-ahead 43-yard field goal with eight seconds left in the Chiefs’ 29-20 win (Kansas City added a touchdown, with no time left on the clock, after Washington fumbled its lateral attempt on the ensuing drive). Picked up this week after starter Cairo Santos suffered a groin injury, Butker, a 22-year-old Georgia Tech alum, missed his first attempt (46 yards) but looked perfect on the next three. With the home win, the Chiefs remain the NFL's last undefeated team. "Buttkicker.com did a nice job," Andy Reid said afterwards. "Welcome to Kansas City."
But Butker wasn't the only rookie (or ACC product) to make news on Monday. "I think he's ready," Bears coach John Fox said when announcing that No. 2 overall draft pick Mitchell Trubisky will replace Mike Glennon as the starting QB in Chicago. Glennon had piled up eight turnovers for the 1-3 Bears. No one expects Trubisky to immediately lift Chicago to the heights Kansas City is now enjoying, but a lot rides on his success—perhaps even the futures of Fox and GM Ryan Pace. Maybe the Bears’ new QB can call up an old ACC foe for tips on how to handle the pressure as he prepares for next Monday night's matchup against the Vikings.
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1. Tom Brady leads the league in touchdowns and yards, yet the Patriots are .500 four games into the season. He's on pace to be sacked a career-high 52 times and the Pats’ defense "is a real concern right now." Chris Gasper writes, The Patriots can't keep leaving Tom Brady flying solo. Meanwhile, Scott Fowler explained how the Panthers managed their season changing win.
2. Derek Carr will be out at least two weeks with a fracture in his back.
3. A decade after Sean Taylor's death, John Keim looks back at the safety's best game.
4. Two worthy stories that ran over the weekend, both from the NFC North: one on Detroit long snapper Don Muhlbach, who's been the team's rock for 14 years, and the other about how Lambeau Field saved the Packers.
5. The Broncos’ defense has faced four running backs with 12 combined Pro Bowl trips. It has held them to a combined 95 yards on 50 carries. Do the math, writes Mark Kiszla.
6. The Lions dealt with an emotional locker room after Sunday's win when the game ball went to linebacker Steve Longa, whose father was killed on Thursday.
7. As was feared on Sunday, Dalvin Cook's season is likely over. The Vikings’ running back tore his left ACL. Seahawks running back Chris Carson also went on IR (with a left leg fracture), while Marcus Mariota is day-to-day with a strained hamstring. Monday night, Washington corner Josh Norman fractured his ribs; he'll likely miss several weeks. In Seattle, lineman Rees Odhiambo remained hospitalized yesterday but was eventually discharged with a bruised sternum.
8. "Sixteen away-game season!" said a voice in the Chargers' locker room after L.A. lost again in a StubHub Center full of visitors. (It's just now hitting me that this is playing out week after week in a stadium sponsored by a ticket resale marketplace. So perfect.)
9. The Buccaneers pulled out a win on Sunday, but all is not peachy in Tampa, and coach Dirk Koetter says DeSean Jackson "should be frustrated."
10. Buried by on-the-field news, Ezekiel Elliott's battle with the NFL continued in court yesterday. The player's lawyers are reportedly feeling good after a 60-minute session in front of the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The judges could rule this week on whether the Cowboys running back can continue to play while his original lawsuit against the league goes on.
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