The Cowboys’ David Irving had promised to do something, saying “it’s not about the flag in the first place, you know,” and it appeared to involve briefly making a motion with his fist after the anthem. The Cowboys were playing the San Francisco 49ers, one of the teams that has been a leader in the demonstrations this season, and the 49ers again had several players taking a knee.
On Sunday, individuals around the league knelt, locked arms and raised a fist. Others did not take the field for the playing of the anthem. In MetLife Stadium, seven members of the Seattle Seahawks remained seated on the bench during the anthem.
During warmups, the Indianapolis Colts wore black T-shirts that said “We Will” on the front and “Stand for equality, justice, unity, respect, dialogue, opportunity” on the back. They locked arms during the anthem.
Many of the New Orleans Saints players knelt briefly, then rose and linked arms for the anthem while the Green Bay Packers linked arms and stood.
Several players took advantage of being given the option of not taking the field for the anthem. Miami’s Kenny Stills, Julian Thomas and Michael Thomas stayed in the tunnel. Tennessee’s Rishard Matthews stayed in the locker room.
That came after NFL owners and players met last week to consider how to channel the activism and passions shown by those who take a knee or link arms into community action. The NFL stopped short of pleasing President Trump by demanding that players stand.
Trump refrained from tweeting about pro football Sunday morning, but an online fundraising organization for Trump and Vice President Pence did up the ante last week.
“The President has asked for a list of supporters who stand for the national anthem. Add your name below to show your patriotism and support,” said the petition, published by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee on the Republican National Committee website. The RNC has not said how many signatures it has received.
Last week, Trump made known his displeasure with the result of the owners-players meeting, tweeting, “Total disrespect for our country!” He had called on the NFL to institute a policy requiring players to stand for the anthem, but owners and players were concentrating on community activism. And owners seemed divided on the issue, with Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan saying that Trump’s frequent criticism stems from being “jealous” of Khan and other owners. Khan also called the president “a divider, not a uniter,” and claimed that Trump’s “attacks” on some minority groups, including Muslims and Jews, are far more “offensive” than any issue emanating from the NFL.
John Mara, the Giants’ co-owner, had asked his players to stand and was not pleased when some did not, but he admitted that he has mellowed because of what he’s learned from them. “I think my position has evolved a little bit,” Mara said. “When it first happened, I think I probably had a little more of a hard-line position on it. But since I’ve spoken to players and heard what they’ve had to say and tried to understand what it is they’re protesting, I think my position has evolved a little bit.”
Meanwhile, owners and players plan to meet again this week to discuss activism on social issues.
Seattle is somehow a Super Bowl contender
The Seahawks beat the Giants, 24-7, on Sunday to reach 4-2 for the season. They’re only a half-game back of the NFC West-leading Los Angeles Rams, a team Seattle has beaten already this year.
In the tumultuous NFC, where the Green Bay Packers have lost two in a row and are without quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Dallas Cowboys likely will, at some point, lose start rusher Ezekiel Elliott, the Seahawks chances of reaching the playoffs and making a run to the big game in Minneapolis are as good as anyone’s. (Read more.)
Carson Palmer has a broken left arm
In London, Arizona’s Carson Palmer broke his left arm in the second quarter of the loss to the Los Angeles Rams and is expected to have surgery this week.
Palmer is expected to be out at least eight weeks, and could potentially miss the rest of the season. He was replaced Sunday by Drew Stanton, whose day began with him warming up while wearing a Supergirl costume. It stinks to lose a contest. (Read more.)
Joe Thomas’s amazing streak ends
Browns left tackle Joe Thomas, who has never missed a snap in 11 years — that’s 10,363 — left the game in the third quarter with a left elbow injury as he tried to finish a block. Thomas was ruled out for the rest of the game with a triceps injury.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but there was another a change at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, with Cody Kessler coming in to replace DeShone Kizer after back-to-back interceptions.
Wallace has concussion after monstrous hit
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace entered the league’s concussion protocol after his helmet-less head slammed into the turf during the first quarter of a game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Wallace’s helmet flew off and landed 10-15 yards from his body after one of the hardest hits of the season, delivered by the Andrew Sendejo while Wallace was being wrapped up by another Viking defender. Wallace immediately left the field, bleeding from the mouth, and was walked by trainers to the locker room.
Wallace also lost the ball on the play and the Vikings recovered.
Call it Super Bowl LI II, more or less.
Oh, the jokes. So. Many. Jokes.
The Atlanta Falcons have heard them all, not that anything can really take away the sting of what happened in the second half of Super Bowl LI, when a championship that looked pretty certain with a 28-3 lead dissolved into an overtime loss.
The New England Patriots have happier memories, of course, but all they need do is look at the 283 gems (get it?) in their Super Bowl rings. So forgive the Falcons if some Patriots have established residence in the recesses of their minds since February, a situation that only makes the rematch Sunday night in Gillette Stadium more interesting.
“I feel like, you know, that’s something that runs through our minds, my mind, especially when you feel like you lost something you should have had,” linebacker Vic Beasley said last week. “You get a chance to play these guys again; you want to give it your best shot.”
Neither has been a juggernaut this season. At 3-2, Atlanta has been outscored, 72-40, in the third and fourth quarters and blew a 17-point lead in a loss to the Dolphins. They very nearly lost on the last play to both Chicago and Detroit. Without Kyle Shanahan, the offensive coordinator who left to become the head coach in San Francisco, the Falcons are averaging nearly 10 points less per game.
But at least they’re healthy. The Patriots have had a slew of injuries, losing Julian Edelman early. But Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady (despite an injured shoulder on his non-throwing side) remain upright and, with the help of a call last week against the Jets, they’re 4-2 despite having the NFL’s worst defense.
The game will have a bit of a different look, with NBC adding a second SkyCam to the broadcast. The original SkyCam zooms 12 feet to 40 feet above the playing field and the new one will go from 40 to 80 feet. Among other things, look for it to play a role on goal-line plays. Like on, say, a James White touchdown run in overtime.
Elsewhere around the league . . .
Three of the early games went down to the wire, with Buffalo beating Tampa Bay 30-27 on a field goal with 14 seconds left; Tennessee keeping Cleveland winless with a 12-9 overtime victory and Miami coming up with a 31-28 victory over the New York Jets with Matt Moore in for Jay Cutler, who went out with a chest injury.
The Panthers took their 3-0 road record to Chicago, with Cam Newton having, dare we say it, another MVP type season. He’s completing 71.3 percent of his passes on the road and Bears fans are doing the calculus on Coach John Fox’s future. So what happened?The Bears won, of course, 17-3.
Bye, Beast: The NFL suspended Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch for one game for running onto the field to confront an official during the game against the Chiefs. (Read more.)
The NFC East: While the 1-5 Giants play Seattle and the 2-3 Cowboys play winless San Francisco on Sunday, the 3-2 Redskins and 5-1 Eagles prepare for a showdown Monday night in what will be a rematch of the teams’ season opener. The Redskins look a lot different now than they did in Week 1. (Read more.)
‘I’m not doing this to be recognized’: Eric Reid was the first to follow Colin Kaepernick. He’s still trying to change the world. (Read more.)
There’s no give: NFL owners refuse to give in to Trump on anthem protests. Now what? (Read more.)
49ers owner comes around on his former QB: Jed York says it’s ‘really hard to disagree with Colin Kaepernick’s anthem protest. (Read more.)
‘Total disrespect for our great country!’: President Trump really hates the NFL’s non-decision on anthem demonstrations. (Read more.)
Redskins’ first-round bad luck: Jonathan Allen’s Lisfranc sprain means that for the second straight year the team’s first-round pick has had an injury-shortened season. (Read more.)
Power rankings: The Eagles got to be No. 1 the old-fashioned way. They earned it. (Read more.)
Week 7 byes: The Lions and Texans are off.
The Green Bay Packers placed quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the injured reserve list Friday afternoon, a move that gives them flexibility as the quarterback begins his recovery from surgery to repair the broken collarbone he suffered last week.
Rodgers will be eligible to come off the IR list after eight weeks, which means he would be available for the Dec. 17 game against Carolina if the Packers are in playoff contention and if he recovers well from the operation, which took place Thursday. Although he missed seven games with a broken collarbone in 2013, that injury was to his left shoulder; this one is to his right, throwing shoulder.
Rodgers himself announced Thursday that the surgery had gone well with a hospital-bed Instagram post in which he used the hashtags #comebackstartsnow and #riseagain. However, there were conflicting reports Sunday about whether he would be able to come back in 2017. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that doctors think Rodgers will be able to begin throwing again in six weeks; the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport says that the team believes he may not play against this season and it won’t know for sure for weeks.
The Packers lost to the New Orleans Saints, 26-17, with Brett Hundley in for Rodgers. They head into the bye week with a 4-3 record, then play the Lions, Bears, Ravens, Steelers, Bucs and Browns before the possibility exists of having Rodgers back, with the Vikings and Lions up after the Panthers.
Not that you needed the reminder, but it’s been a brutal season for some of the best players in the league — and it’s only Week 7.
Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly remains out after suffering a concussion in the Oct. 12 game against the Eagles.
Jacksonville rookie RB Leonard Fournette was out this week with an ankle injury, a big blow to an offense that wants to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible.
Inactives for 1 p.m. games
Willie Snead (hamstring)
Leonard Fournette (ankle)
Jason McCourty (ankle)
Jeremy Maclin (shoulder)
Jordan Leggett (knee)
Benny Cunningham (hamstring)
Jabril Peppers (toe)
Andre Ellington (quadriceps)
Lane Taylor (back)
Breshad Perriman (concussion)
Michael Floyd (hamstring)
4 p.m. inactives
Justin Durant (groin)
Stephon Gillmore (concussion)
Fantasy football advice
Best/worst matchups: At either end of the spectrum, we have Matt Ryan and Cam Newton. (Read more.)
Fab five: The five moves you absolutely must make. (Read more.)
Week 7 cheat sheet: The choicest tips for Week 7. (Read more.)
Week 7 Start/Sit: Don’t be afraid to trust Blake Bortles this week. Really. (Read more.)
The Fantasy Football Beat: The Post’s fantasy football experts run down the trade fixes for your fantasy — and reality — teams. (Listen.)
The top trends and insights from Las Vegas. (Read more.)