MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NFL: Cowboys at Bears, 8:40 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Nuggets at Wizards, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Bryant at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Manchester at Butler, 8 p.m. (FS1)
NHL: Blue Jackets at Penguins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Premier League, Hull City at Swansea City, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
Broncos receiver Wes Welker scores a touchdown during Sunday’s win over the Titans, before being injured in the second quarter. (AP)
• The Bernard Pollard curse has struck again, but this time it’s an ex-Patriot who suffered the injury.
Welker, who earlier in the game caught his 10th touchdown pass of the season — giving the Broncos a record four players with 10 touchdown receptions this season — walked off the field under his own power but did not return in the second half.
The Broncos play again Thursday night against the Chargers, and there already is speculation that Welker, who also was concussed in a Week 11 win over the Chiefs but returned for the following week’s game against the Patriots, will skip that game. Per the league’s concussion protocol, Welker will have baseline testing Monday.
Pollard is well known to New England fans for causing injuries to Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Stevan Ridley. He also was the defender when Welker suffered a torn ACL and MCL in the final regular-season game in 2009, although Welker suffered the injury trying to make a move, without any contact.
• Meanwhile, Welker’s quarterback, Peyton Manning, heard the criticism about his play in cold-weather games, and he had a message for his critics after rallying Denver from an 11-point deficit for a 51-28 rout of the Titans on a day when the temperature was 18 degrees at kickoff.
“Whoever wrote that narrative can shove it where the sun don’t shine,” Manning said.
Entering the game, Manning had a career record of 3-7 in games when the temperature was 32 or below at kickoff. He proceeded to set a team record with 39 completions (on a team-record-tying 59 attempts). Manning passed for 397 yards and four touchdowns, closing to within five of Tom Brady’s single-season record of 50.
Said Manning: “I wasn’t trying to answer [the criticism], because I didn’t give it any validation in the first place.”
Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said he doesn’t expect Manning’s critics to relent.
“They’ll find something [to talk about],” Knighton said. “They’ll probably say, well, he’s not good … below zero or something. They’ll find something, but I consider us a weatherproof team, and he’s a Super Bowl champ. We’re not really worried about that. We’ll play anywhere, any weather, any conditions.”
On a side note, Broncos kicker Matt Prater also didn’t let the frigid temperatures bother him, as he kicked an NFL-record 64-yard field goal just before halftime. Two of the four kickers who shared the old record of 63 yards also kicked theirs in Denver, where the altitude offers some assistance — although Prater noted that the benefit from the thin air was evened out by the temperature (14 degrees when he kicked).
“Yes, it kind of takes out the altitude factor,” he said.
• Adrian Peterson did not enjoy his trip to Baltimore on Sunday. Not only did the Vikings suffer a 29-26 on a touchdown in the final seconds, Peterson was carted off the field in the second quarter with a sprained foot and did not play another down — although he did watch from the sideline.
But Peterson’s main issue was with the officials. The Vikings were called for pass interference on Baltimore’s winning drive, nullifying an interception. That was just one of the calls that had Peterson upset.
“Some of the calls that were made, you just went, ‘Wow. I can’t believe that was called,’ ” Peterson said.
The running back also had an issue with the Baltimore fans, who braved a snowstorm but were not as well-behaved as Peterson would like.
“They’ve got the worst fans in the NFL,” Peterson said. “[They were] throwing snowballs the entire fourth quarter, like kids.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Dec. 9, 1992, the Red Sox signed which free agent who eventually wound up in the Hall of Fame?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We had to make just about every play that we made at the end today, and, fortunately, we did.” – Patriots coach Bill Belichick, on Sunday’s 27-26 comeback victory over the Browns
‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): A violent brawl erupts at a soccer match in Brazil between Atletico Paranese and Vasco da Gama, forcing the evacuation of an injured fan via a helicopter, and a one-hour delay in the game.
From Saturday night, Damian Lillard hits a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left to force a tie against the Mavericks …
… but Monta Ellis responds with a long jumper at the buzzer to give the Mavs the victory.
A young fan runs onto the court during Saturday night’s Cavaliers-Clippers game to show Kyrie Irving his T-shirt that reads: “Kyrie don’t leave.”
Askia Booker hits a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Colorado to a victory over sixth-ranked Kansas on Saturday night.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Andre Dawson
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Jakob Dylan was born on this day in 1969.
Curran calls the boys live from Gillette to break down today's game against the Browns. He thinks Cleveland will be a much tougher opponent than most. He also gets into the Ridley situation and if the Pats will look to sign Edelman.
Dale brings up Stephen Gostkowski and how he's becoming automatic, almost as automatic as Vinatieri was during his time in Foxborough. They discuss Gostkowski's ranking among other kickers this season.
[0:00:17] ... the greatest single field goal kick I've ever watched in my life. AdamVinatieri. Happy opportunity and and made good on the opportunity to win SuperBowls and in my opinion should be in the hall -- some. Having said all that the guy that the patriots have right now performing at that -- the place kicking position. Not only will be the probable kicker for the AFC. I think he should be the all pro kicker as the best kicker in the NFL. You can make a case and -- just talk in regular season you can make it duties that Stephen is -- keys having the best regular season REV ticker. In history repeat retreat no going back and looking at the numbers obviously AdamVinatieri looms large military's best season. In Italy to new uniforms best regular season with the patriots with 2004. Windy US 31 for ... [0:08:24] ... the Houston Chronicle. There was a full page ad taken up by GaryKubiak. Thanking the the Texans thanking the people of Houston saying what an honor and privilege to was to return to his hometown. ...
Cleveland has struggled on offense this season and now with questions at QB, that doesn't help their situation. The trade of Trent Richardson to Indy earlier this season hurt the run game, so as Price says, it's starts and ends with Josh Gordon who has been on an absolute tear the last couple weeks. Talib will definitely be on Gordon, but he'll have help over the top. Chatham compares the way the Pats will play Gordon today to the way they played Julio Jones in Atlanta. The injuries have caught up to the Pats on defense where they've struggled as the season rolls on. They'll look to gain some confidence against the Browns this week.
The boys start to break this 1pm game down. Dale explains the rebuilding process that the Browns are in, but Matt and Chris say that they do have some quality players that have been looked over because of the overall performance and team record. Price mentions the CB's and specifically Joe Haden who can really shut down WR's. Brady will look to take what the Browns give him underneath with Amendola, Edelman and Vereen. Gronk has been huge! Also, how many carries will Ridley get today?
[0:00:11] ... straight Sunday at one game how about that. Patriots play host the ClevelandBrowns to put the ClevelandBrowns problems in perspective. The last time they wanna playoff game Bill Belichick was there and that's ridiculous this franchise to pass. I ... [0:00:51] ... chances are you're not going to be very successful. We don't beat JasonCampbell today but they've made that announcement what Friday. Is when they actually announced -- but let's talk specifically about the Patriots offense. Against the ClevelandBrowns defense and when I look at the up at the browns defensively. They don't give up a lot of rushing yards per ... [0:05:38] ... talk re port for. Ray Horton is the defensive coordinator for the ClevelandBrowns spent the last two seasons. With the Arizona Cardinals the Arizona Cardinals a year ago. Had a rather surprising upset win over ... [0:08:42] ... A total yards a lot the Patriots defense is worse than the ClevelandBrowns defense and all those other categories now. We know that that's all trumped by points allowed which is what their issue is here. This defense is probably better -- the ClevelandBrowns overall would he would lead beautifully. I think they're they're they're a better defensive unit I think brown diving. And that their defense isn't. There yeah from from doing prospective yeah yeah. I think we look at some of the and we talked about -- -- -- -- you're seeing from Cleveland. I think you can point to number these that this team keys to the patriots view when it -- from deep into perspective when when -- when people the -- years and it. A guy like RobNinkovich a guy like Taylor -- is having a guy like that according. Those are really impressive Portland for years -- and I ...