Healthy Gillislee finally on the run with Patriots

Healthy Gillislee finally on the run with Patriots

FOXBORO -- Sometimes the new guys just don’t know any better. I suspect Mike Gillislee will get more familiar with the Patriot way, at least when it comes to discussing injuries, after Tuesday’s locker room session.

Gillislee, who has a history of hamstring injuries and showed up to mini-camp with a pre-existing problem from prior workouts with the Bills, suffered yet another pull on the first weekend of training camp and had been unable to practice with the team until today.

“It’s something that just happened,” said Gillislee. “I tried to burst on one those plays at the beginning of camp, it just happened and I was able to get an MRI and everything was good.”

So good, in fact, that the former Bills and Dolphins running back claimed that he's now 100 percent, and was a full participant at practice. That’s good news for the Pats, who clearly were betting on Gillislee to help fill the role that LeGarrette Blount had a season ago. Of course, betting on the 26-year old isn’t necessarily a sure thing. Those hamstrings issues have plagued him throughout his career, even costing him an entire season in 2014.

“Far as injuries, no football player can’t control it,” said Gillislee when asked if he had modified his training regimen to account for these recurrence of hamstring problems. “That was something that was bothering me, but I’m good now.”

Bill Belichick has been pleased with the running-back situation, despite not having Gillislee a full go, terming it a “good competition” just a day ago. Dion Lewis was explosive in the second preseason game, looking like the same player who took the league by storm in 2015 before tearing up his knee. Rex Burkhead has justified Belichick’s faith in him to this point, capable of running between the tackles, down by the goal line and catching the ball. James White has basically had an easy go of it, but we know how the Pats feel about him (they rewarded the Super Bowl hero with a contract extension this offseason). So does that leave Gillislee in catchup mode after the layoff?

“I went out there and I don’t think I missed a step because I was studying and took visual reps each and every day,” he said. “I studied and was able to go out today and fly around a little bit.”

Good to hear. But with his history, something that bears watching in the days, weeks and months to come.

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INTERCONFERENCE: Titans score 21 straight points in 3rd, beat Seahawks, 33-27

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INTERCONFERENCE: Titans score 21 straight points in 3rd, beat Seahawks, 33-27

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Marcus Mariota threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns, and the Tennessee Titans scored 21 straight points in rallying to beat the Seattle Seahawks 33-27 Sunday.

Pro Bowl running back DeMarco Murray rushed for 115 yards, including a 75-yard TD run . Ryan Succop also kicked four field goals as Tennessee (2-1) scored at least 30 points for a second straight week.

The Seahawks (1-2) finally scored a bunch of touchdowns with Russell Wilson throwing for 373 yards and four TDs. His second TD, a 10-yarder to Chris Carson , put Seattle up 14-9 in the third quarter.

Then the Titans took control with Mariota answering with TDs on the next two drives for Tennessee.

Mariota tossed a screen to Rishard Matthews, who ran 55 yards to the end zone for a 16-14 lead midway through the third. Matthews and tight end Jonnu Smith celebrated taking pretend selfies in the end zone.

On the next possession, Mariota found a wide-open Jonnu Smith for a 24-yard TD and a 23-14 lead.

Murray's TD gave Tennessee a 30-14 lead late in the quarter, and Tennessee finished with 195 yards rushing.

Wilson pulled Seattle within 33-27 with his fourth TD, an 8-yarder to Paul Richardson with 1:50 left. But Titans tight end Delanie Walker recovered Seattle's onside kick.

The Seahawks had one last chance with the Titans lined up to punt on fourth-and-3 with 11 seconds left. Then officials flagged the Seahawks for 12 men in the formation, giving Tennessee the clinching first down.

Both teams chose not to take the field for the national anthem on a day of protests around the NFL. Meghan Linsey, a runner-up in "The Voice," took a knee when she finished singing.

Then Wilson locked arms with center Justin Britt, followed by his teammates as the Seahawks walked onto the field. In the other corner, Mariota locked arms with Tennessee tight end Delanie Walker and linebacker Wesley Woodyard, defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and linebacker Brian Orakpo as the Titans walked out.

INTERCONFERENCE: Howard's 19-yard TD in OT leads Bears over Steelers, 23-17

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INTERCONFERENCE: Howard's 19-yard TD in OT leads Bears over Steelers, 23-17

CHICAGO - Jordan Howard pushed through the pain in his right shoulder to give the Bears the lift they needed.

Howard scored on a 19-yard run in overtime to lead Chicago to a 23-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

Howard's winning score came two plays after rookie Tarik Cohen broke off an electric run for what appeared to be a 73-yard game-winning touchdown . But he was ruled out at the Pittsburgh 37. Howard took over from there and got a big assist as he ran along the left side. Deonte Thompson might have grabbed Pittsburgh's Artie Burns while pushing him out of bounds. But no flag was thrown, and the Bears (1-2) came away with a surprising victory.

"You always dream about stuff like that but it never happens so it was real crazy," Howard said. "Definitely, it was a very wacky game but through everything that happened we found a way to win."

Howard came up clutching his right shoulder - which has bothered him since the opener - several times and wasn't sure he would make it through this game.

He wound up with 138 of Chicago's 220 yards rushing and two touchdown runs. It was just what the Bears needed with quarterback Mike Glennon delivering another lackluster performance.

The Steelers (2-1) stayed off the sideline for the national anthem in the wake of President Donald Trump's comments that players who kneel in protest should be fired. Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva - an Army veteran - stood near the tunnel with his hand over his heart.

Once the game ended, they found themselves in a familiar spot - losing to a lesser team and losing in Chicago, where they are 1-13 against the Bears.

The Steelers have had at least one head-scratching loss every year going back to 2012.

Last year, Pittsburgh fell 34-3 to Philadelphia, which finished with a losing record. In 2015, the Steelers were surging toward a playoff spot, when they lost late in the season to a Baltimore team that went 5-11.

Despite the victory, Glennon did nothing to stop the calls in Chicago for No. 2 overall draft pick Mitchell Trubisky, throwing for just 101 yards with a touchdown and interception.

Marcus Cooper committed an inexplicable fumble after the Bears blocked a field goal in the closing seconds of the half. With a clear path to the end zone, he slowed down and had the ball poked away at the 1.

But the Bears won for just the first time in nine September games over three seasons under coach John Fox.

Ben Roethlisberger blamed himself for Pittsburgh's loss.

"I think I was off today," he said after throwing for 235 yards and a touchdown. "For whatever reason, I did not make all the throws I normally would and make the plays I normally should."

Antonio Brown had 110 yards receiving and a touchdown. And Le'Veon Bell ran for 61 yards and a TD for Pittsburgh.

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