Referee sends Tyrod Taylor into concussion protocol after illegal hit despite his objections

Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor was removed from Thursday’s game against the New York Jets by the officials to be evaluated for a concussion under the NFL’s protocol. Taylor was cleared, and after two offensive plays on the sideline, he returned to the game.

The Cowboys still can’t win without Tony Romo and other reasons for NFL fans to panic. Pump the brakes on eulogizing Darrelle Revis’ career, though.

Keyshawn Johnson said that “Jeff Fisher was forced to draft Jared Goff.” Rams ownership wanted to make a splash. Jeff Fisher just wanted his draft picks. Neither Fisher or the team has said a peep about Keyshawn’s allegation, and they won’t. But it does make for some intriguing backdrop with reports of a potential contract extension coming.

The 49ers knew what the Rams offense was going to do as soon as the Rams did. The particulars of Monday night’s shutout loss continue to haunt the Rams, leaving even more questions for the new team in Los Angeles.

Perhaps the most egregious tackle of the night came from Stewart, who crashed into Newton while the Panthers were driving for a game-winning score. It was the only headshot that was flagged, but the penalty was offset due to an intentional grounding call.

Marshall said the Broncos are not a dirty team. “We just play hard, man,” Marshall said via Andrew Mason of the team’s official website.

“And I feel for [Darian] Stewart and them safeties. Those guys are 200 pounds, 210 pounds, so when they get a 250-pound guy running at them, they’re going to either hit them high or low,” Marshall said. “They’re going to get them down any way they can.

“[Cam] is bigger than all of our linebackers.”

On Sunday, the NFL Players Association announced it’s launching an inquiry into the handling of Newton, who never missed a snap despite taking several vicious shots to the head. Though the Carolina Panthers say Newton passed four concussion tests after the game, he was never examined during the contest.

A league spokesman told NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport last week that Newton wasn’t checked out because an independent neurotrauma consultant and Panthers physician concluded there was no indication that he had suffered a concussion. NFL.com’s Judy Battista also says medical officials did go to Newton on the sidelines during a stoppage of play.

Despite those reports, the NFLPA is going forward with its investigation. The NFL is also looking into the matter. For the first time this year, the NFL and NFLPA have the ability to designate a representative to investigate whether the mandated concussion protocol was properly followed. If the two sides disagree, then the decision will go to an unaffiliated arbiter. Teams that are found to violate the procedure could face severe fines and even the loss of draft picks.

Colin Kaepernick kneeling protest featured on cover of ‘Time’ magazine

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is featured on the cover of Time magazine’s Oct. 3, 2016 issue, showing just how far reaching the conversation started by his kneeling protest during the national anthem has grown.

Kaepernick’s protest was first captured at the end of August, when he sat during the national anthem of the third preseason game of the year for the 49ers. On Aug. 26, he protested the treatment of minorities in the United States, and police brutality. While he sat during the first two preseason games, he wasn’t in uniform and the protest went unnoticed. But in the month since his protest has captured attention, the message has been heard loud and clear.

The Patriots turned to Martellus Bennett in the absence of their usual TE1. Bennett started the season slowly with an anonymous performance against the Cardinals, but was an invaluable safety net for the team’s young quarterbacks — Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett — in a Week 2 win against the Miami Dolphins.

Having Gronkowski back on the field should benefit Brissett, who will be starting against the Texans as Garoppolo is sidelined with a sprained AC joint he suffered against the Dolphins.

Bennett should have a reduced role with Gronkowski back in the lineup, but Bill Belichick will find a way to utilize his dynamic tight ends. The Patriots helped revolutionize the two-TE lineup at the beginning of the decade with Gronkowski and the since-disgraced Aaron Hernandez; the pair combined for 2,237 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns in 2011.

So far, injuries have been the only effective way of slowing the big tight end down. He missed five games in the 2012 season after breaking his arm in special teams duty, then nine more games in 2013 due to offseason back surgery as well as a torn ACL in December.

If history is any indication, the Patriots tight end will come back as strong as he ever was. Gronkowski shook off those 2012 and 2013 injuries to regain his All-Pro status and was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2014 after catching 82 passes in 15 games.

The Washington State Attorney General’s office tweeted that they had watched Baldwin’s presser “with interest,” and said they will be reaching out to him soon to initiate a discussion.

Broncos’ Gary Kubiak returns after health scare, week at home

Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak was back at work Monday and said he’s ready for whatever comes in the remainder of the Broncos’ season and over the long term.

“I feel good, I feel really good,” Kubiak said. “I got too much rest. Unfortunately, I didn’t want it, but I got it. I feel very good. All my tests came back great; it’s great to be back to work. … The doctors that are here, the doctors in Houston got together and talked through some things. … The biggest thing for me is really helping me sleep a little better.”

Kubiak spent the past week at home after he was taken to the hospital by ambulance following the Broncos’ 23-16 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 9. Kubiak spent the night in the hospital with what was diagnosed as a “complex migraine condition.”

Kubiak underwent additional evaluation in the days that followed as doctors attempted to find what triggered the headaches. He did not make the trip to San Diego last week and was not on the sideline for the Broncos’ 21-13 loss to the Chargers on Thursday night.

Joe DeCamillis, the Broncos’ special-teams coordinator, served as the team’s interim coach last week.

“When you’re a football coach, taking two days away from what you do is like, ‘What the hell is going on here.’ It’s like having a summer off or something,” Kubiak said. “It just makes you appreciate the players, the coaches.”

After failing to impress early on this season, the Packers and their middling passing offense were the subject of a scathing review from well-respected Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer Bob McGinn, who picked apart Aaron Rodgers, Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff. You can take issue with some of McGinn’s points (Rodgers is a surefire Hall of Famer, for one), but his message is on point and raises many fair questions about whether the Packers have peaked with Rodgers under McCarthy’s stewardship.

“Well, you definitely want to,” McCarthy said when asked if he’d like another running back this week. “It just depends on how you want to play the game. How they line up and what they have on the other side of the ball factors into that, too. It’s a long year. If you start making roster moves, it’s just really never one factor that factors other positions. Because, frankly, you have players that you may have to jeopardize putting out there.”

Their experience last week when they cut quarterback Joe Callahan was the perfect example of that. The Packers wanted to bring back the rookie on the practice squad but lost that chance when the New Orleans Saints claimed him off waivers. The Packers made two major roster moves last week, releasing Callahan and defensive tackle Brian Price to add defensive end Mike Pennel and cornerback Demetri Goodson off the suspended list.

“The plan with Joe was to be here,” McCarthy said. “And you take that chance, you accept that risk, and that’s what happens. So those are things that you have to weigh in. We had an ongoing three- or four-day conversation last week, and it’ll be the same here. We’ve just got less time to do it.”

McCarthy also said right tackle Bryan Bulaga (back) and receiver Davante Adams (blow to the head) are still being evaluated. He said he expected Bulaga to play because “it’s going to take a big, big injury to keep him out of a football game.” McCarthy did not confirm what Adams told ESPN.com after the game, that he did not have a concussion, but said, “I was told he’s feeling pretty good. That’s the only thing that they told me.”