File-New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) loses the ball after being brought down by Oakland Raiders' Charles Woodson, right, while Greg Biekert (54) moves to recover the ball in the fourth quarter of their AFC Division Playoff game in Foxboro, Mass. Saturday night, Jan. 19, 2002. The play was appealed, and the Patriots retained possession. Raiders coach Jon Gruden says opening this season at Carolina and then playing New Orleans on made him feel like he was in a time warp. His nostalgia is even more amplified this week against New England. Its been nearly two decades since he walked out of a snow-covered Foxboro Stadium on the wrong end of a 16-13 overtime loss to the Patriots in the infamous tuck rule game during the 2001 playoffs. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
File-Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden shouts instructions during their overtime loss to the New England Patriots in an AFC Divisional playoff game in Foxboro, Mass. Saturday, Jan. 19, 2002. Gruden says opening this season at Carolina and then playing New Orleans on made him feel like he was time warp. His nostalgia is even more amplified this week against New England. Its been nearly two decades since he walked out of a snow-covered Foxboro Stadium on the wrong end of a 16-13 overtime loss to the Patriots in the infamous tuck rule game during the 2001 playoffs. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Jon Gruden still thinks it was a fumble.
It's been nearly two decades since the Raiders coach walked out of a snow-covered Foxboro Stadium on the wrong end of a 16-13 overtime loss to New England during the 2001 playoffs.
The game turned late in the fourth quarter when Tom Brady was hit from behind and lost the ball. Initially ruled a fumble, it was reversed upon review and determined to be an incomplete pass under the obscure ''tuck rule.''
The Patriots tied the game, won it on an Adam Vinatieri field goal and rode the momentum to the franchise's first Super Bowl win.
''Yeah, thanks for bringing that up,'' Gruden said this week. ''He did fumble that damn ball.''
Now back with the Raiders after stints in Tampa Bay and as a broadcaster, Gruden returns to New England on Sunday in search of his first coaching win against Bill Belichick's Patriots. In his only other trip to New England in 2005, Gruden's Buccaneers lost 28-0.
He said opening this season at Carolina and playing New Orleans on Monday night made him feel as if he was in a ''time warp'' and back in the NFC South as Tampa Bay's coach.
That nostalgia is even more amplified this week against the Patriots.
''Anytime you step in a stadium like that, it does bring back memories,'' Gruden said. ''Some of the memories aren't great, but we're excited to play.''
So, too, is New England, which is trying to rebound from a 35-30 loss to Seattle.
As two coaches who basically ascended the coaching ranks around the same time, Belichick said his respect for Gruden has remained strong, even during his decade-long coaching hiatus after leaving Tampa Bay in 2008.
''It's a lot easier to have a relationship with somebody who's not in direct competition with you,'' Belichick said.
He believes Gruden's time in the broadcast booth has given him a perspective he didn't have in their previous two meetings.
But Belichick expects they will tuck away most of the pleasantries Sunday.
''When you're in competition with somebody else, it just changes a little bit during that time period,'' Belichick said. ''But I'm sure at some point that it will be a different type of relationship.''
WATCH OUT FOR WALLER
Derek Carr's favorite target this season has been his athletic tight end Darren Waller. The two connected on 12 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown last week and Waller's 18 catches are the second most through two weeks in Raiders history.
''He'll definitely be a problem for us,'' Belichick said. ''There's not one thing you can take away from him. He does a lot things, does a lot of things well.''
Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore will likely draw the primary assignment on Waller. It comes a week after the reigning Defensive Player of the Year had a rough outing at Seattle, giving up a 54-yard TD to DK Metcalf. It was the first TD Gilmore has allowed as the primary defender on a play since 2018.
The Patriots secondary didn't fare better as a unit, allowing five passing touchdowns after giving up just four in all of 2019.
Carr isn't worried about what New England might employ to neutralize Waller.
''We're not a selfish team,'' he said. ''If they want to take something away, then other guys will step up.''
MOVING ON UP
New England quarterback Cam Newton enters Sunday needing just 1 rushing yard to pass Randall Cunningham for the second-most career rushing yards by a quarterback in NFL history. Michael Vick is first with 6,109 yards.
Newton has rushed for multiple touchdowns in each of the first two games this season. The Patriots' single-season record for consecutive games with two or more rushing TDs is three by Horace Ivory (1978) and Curtis Martin (1995).
OBEY THE RULES
The Raiders have spent most of their existence on the wrong side of the officials, typically being one of the most penalized teams each season. So far this season, that hasn't been the case. Las Vegas has just three penalties in each of the first two games of the season, with only the Patriots having fewer with five total. The Raiders have also benefited from penalties with their opponents being called for 15 for 194 yards, ranking second most in both categories.
FINISH THE DRIVE
The Raiders were successful moving the ball in 2019, but struggled to score in large part to some poor red zone play. That was a focus of training camp and the results are encouraging through two games. Josh Jacobs ran for three TDs in the red zone in Week 1 and Carr threw three red zone TD passes last week. In all, the Raiders have six touchdowns and two field goals on eight trips inside the 20.
Five Waiver Wire Adds: Week 8
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy doesn't intend to bench quarterback Nick Foles in favor of Mitchell Trubisky after the team's 24-10 Monday night loss to the Rams in Week 7. The Bears are 5-2 but rank 27th in points per game (19.7), 30th in yards per play (4.8), 30th in yards per run (3.8), 29th in yards per pass (5.6), 30th on third-down conversions (35.1 percent) and 29th in red-zone efficiency (47.6 percent). Foles took over for Trubisky in Week 3 and was 28-for-40 for 261 yards and two interceptions against the Rams. Foles has thrown for 1,139 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions in five appearances (four starts) this year. The Saints -- Chicago's Week 8 opponent -- allow the sixth-most fantasy points per game to signal-callers, but Foles remains a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues in Chicago's stagnant offense.
Atlanta Falcons wide receivers Julio Jones (hip) and Russell Gage (knee) were both limited in practice on Tuesday. Jones' injury is new, but the 31-year-old always seems to be fighting through some sort of injury and he should be fine for the Thursday night matchup with the Panthers. The All-Pro wideout missed the Week 5 matchup with Carolina due to an injury, but he should be fine for this one and he remains a locked-in, must-start WR1 whenever he's on the field as the team's No. 1 receiver. Jones has 16 receptions on 19 targets for 234 yards and two touchdowns in the last two weeks against the Vikings and Lions. The Panthers allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to wideouts, but Jones should be in all starting lineups regardless. Gage should play on Thursday, but he's been a non-factor the last five weeks and can be left to the waiver wire in shallow leagues.
The San Francisco 49ers reached an injury settlement with wide receiver Tavon Austin (knee) on Tuesday, and he is no longer on their Injured Reserve list. Austin was put on IR before the 2020 regular season started. He spent the last two years in Dallas, recording 21 catches on 37 targets for 317 yards and three touchdowns in 21 games. The eighth overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Rams, Austin had his best season in 2016, catching 58 passes for 509 yards and three touchdowns. He has just 15 touchdowns in seven NFL seasons and has essentially become a little-used gadget player in recent seasons. Don't expect Austin to resurface anywhere in 2021 as a fantasy relevant option.
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said that rookie third-round safety Terrell Burgess (ankle) broke his ankle in the Monday night win over the Bears and will miss the rest of the season. The 21-year-old will finish his rookie season with eight tackles (seven solo) and one pass defensed in seven games of action. Burgess was taken with the 104th overall pick in April and has the versatility to also play nickel cornerback in the NFL. He's a smart player and anticipates routes in coverage. The former Utah Ute should have plenty of time to recover in time for training camp next summer.
Because of COVID-19 protocols, the Detroit Lions Defense will not have newly acquired defensive end Everson Griffen available to play in Week 8 against the Colts. Griffen's debut with Detroit will come on Nov. 8 against the Vikings, the team that he spent the first 10 years of his career with while earning four Pro Bowl nods. The Lions sent a sixth-round draft pick in 2021 to the Cowboys for Griffen's services on Tuesday, and he'll be a veteran present for Detroit's defensive line the rest of the season. While the 32-year-old isn't an IDP starting option at his position on a weekly basis, he should help improve their defensive line. However, the Lions defense overall is near the bottom of the league in fantasy points through seven weeks, so you should continue to avoid them everywhere.
Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee (hand) could be ready to play against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8, according to head coach Sean McVay Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Fantasy Spin: Higbee was forced to sit out Week 7 for his first missed game of the season. He has 18 catches on 21 targets for 222 yards and three touchdowns through six games and is a low-end TE1 most weeks.
Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't being shopped for a trade, according to a source with direct knowledge Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Fantasy Spin: Fitzpatrick would definitely have at least some measure of fantasy value on any one of the NFL's current QB-needy teams, but it appears he'll be staying in Miami to mentor rookie Tua Tagovailoa. It will help Tagovailoa, but it's a shame for fantasy managers in two-QB leagues.
Tennessee Titans RB D'Onta Foreman, PK Tucker McCann, QB Trevor Siemian and LB Tuzar Skipper were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR Deon Cain, RB Trey Edmunds, LB Jayrone Elliott and RB Wendell Smallwood were named to the team's Week 8 practice squad protection list Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers PK Greg Joseph and DT Jeremiah Ledbetter were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.
New York Giants RB Alfred Morris, P Ryan Santoso, G Chad Slade and QB Clayton Thorson were named as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.
San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (knee) could be back in the mix as soon as Sunday versus Seattle, with head coach Kyle Shanahan saying that he was hopeful that they'd have Coleman for the game. The 49ers' backfield has been a constant shuffling endeavor with Raheem Mostert (ankle) and Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle) both now out of the mix for the foreseeable future. Coleman's return coincides with Jerick McKinnon likely moving up the depth chart, although how any share of carries would be split remains unclear. Coleman started 11 games for San Francisco last season, so despite having compiled just 30 yards across 18 carries this year, he's likely to see an increased role whenever he's officially ready to return. Check back throughout the week for updates on his status as they become available.
Los Angeles Chargers RB Kalen Ballage, RB Darius Bradwell and RB Troymaine Pope were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers has not been much of a season-long fantasy commodity in 2020, aside from those leagues in which two QB's are rostered. But after a three-touchdown, 371-yard passing performance last weekend, it appears that Rivers has plenty of zing left in his right arm. He gets a middle-of-the-road showdown against Detroit come Sunday, having had ample time to prepare as the Colts come off their bye week. Averaging better than an interception per game throughout his career versus the Lions, Rivers has rough waters ahead with Baltimore and Tennessee looming as potential pitfalls to his fantasy relevancy. The veteran is likely best utilized in deep season-long formats or contrarian DFS scenarios this Sunday.
Cincinnati Bengals NT Andrew Brown, G Deion Calhoun, DT Kahlil McKenzie and WR Stanley Morgan were named to the team's Week 8 practice squad protection list Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Cleveland Browns RB John Kelly, QB Kyle Lauletta, DE Cameron Malveaux and PK Matthew McCrane were protected from selection off the practice squad for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.
New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman may wind up being the bell cow out of the backfield for Monday's contest against the Buccaneers after starter Devonta Freeman (ankle) worked on the side during practice Tuesday. Freeman exited the team's game last Thursday against Philadelphia early, carrying the ball only three times. While Gallman notched his first touchdown of the season when given an increased role, he'll have a stout matchup Monday, as the Buccaneers Defense has made opposing run games obsolete in 2020. Opposing backs have combined to rush for just 66 yards per game versus Tampa Bay, the lowest mark in the league, capping Gallman's fantasy intrigue, even if he does ultimately get tabbed as the starter.
Atlanta Falcons QB Kurt Benkert, DE Austin Edwards, LB Edmond Robinson and WR Chris Rowland were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Carolina Panthers DT Bruce Hector, G Mike Horton, DB Natrell Jamerson and WR Marken Michel were made protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.