The Washington Football Team has announced that it will unveil a new name and logo on February 2.

Team President Jason Wright released a statement on Tuesday saying, despite the preference appearing to be to use the name Wolves, trademarks by other teams meant that this, and the variation RedWolves, were not feasible.

"Early on we understood Wolves - or some variation of it - was one of our fan favourites," he said. "As I've said all along, we take feedback from our fans seriously, and because of your interest in this name, we put Wolves on a list of options to explore fully.

"Once we began looking into Wolves, however, we became aware of a notable challenge: trademarks held by other teams would limit our ability to make the name our own. And without Wolves, variations like RedWolves wouldn't have been viable either for these and other reasons.

"We can't wait to hit the ground running with our team name and identity on a clear path - one without distracting obstacles, legal or otherwise.

"And while we've always understood it would be a nearly impossible task to select a name that all of our fans would identify with as their first pick, we are very excited about our final selection, which aligns with our values, carries forth our rich history, represents the region and, most importantly, is inspired and informed by you, our fans."

Washington have been known simply as the Washington Football Team since July 2020 after dropping the previous name of the "Redskins".

The organization had been called the Redskins since 1933, but in July 2020, a group of 87 investment firms and shareholders signed three separate letters to Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo threatening to end relationships with the team unless it dropped the racially insensitive moniker.

FedEx, which sponsors the team's stadium, requested that action be taken by the franchise, and a review began the following day that ended with the decision to drop the name and seek a new one, which is finally set to be announced next month.

Washington sit third in the NFC East and out of playoff contention on a record of 6-10 after losing 20-16 to the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday.

Their final game of the season is a trip to the New York Giants on Sunday.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield revealed after defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers that he will undergo shoulder surgery during the offseason.

Mayfield has carried the problem – a torn labrum in his non-throwing left shoulder – since Week 2 of the season.

The 26-year-old has endured a difficult campaign, and was sacked nine times against the Steelers on Monday as Pittsburgh kept their playoff hopes alive. The Browns were already out of postseason contention before the game at Heinz Field.

Mayfield has been sacked 43 times across 14 games, up from 26 sacks in 16 appearances last season, while he has also been intercepted on five more occasions (13 to eight).

Only two quarterbacks – Joe Burrow (51) and Ryan Tannehill (46) – have been sacked more times this term.

His 3,010 passing yards is the lowest total of his career, with his tally of touchdown throws also a low mark (17), while his interception percentage of 3.1 ranks as the fifth-worst in the league.

Mayfield's season may now be over, with discussions set to take place within his camp on whether he will be available for the Browns' final game of the season against the Cincinnati Bengals, who have already clinched the AFC North.

"I'm an extremely competitive guy," Mayfield told reporters after Monday's game, in which he at one stage failed to complete a pass on 10 consecutive throws.

"Now it's time for me to start looking at what's in the best interest of me and my health. It's not gonna always be pretty or smooth, but I'm a fighter.

"If anybody ever questions how much I want it, just turn on this tape. It wasn't pretty, but I kept going, kept swinging; that's who I am, and that's what I will continue to be.

"I've continued to lay it out on the line when I haven't been healthy and tried to fight for our guys. Right now, I'm pretty damn beat up, to be honest with you. There's no way around it. I gave it everything I had tonight."

Next season could be Mayfield's last with the Browns. His rookie contract runs through the 2022 campaign.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger struggled to rein in his emotions as he reflected on what seems likely to be his final home game.

Roethlisberger is all set to retire at the end of the season, but he gave the Steelers fans another reason to laud his name as he helped Pittsburgh to a vital 26-14 win over the Cleveland Browns on Monday.

Pittsburgh are now 8-7 in the AFC North, and will need to beat the Baltimore Ravens in Week 18, whole relying on the Jacksonville Jaguars to do them a favour against the Indianapolis Colts, to make the playoffs.

Should the Steelers clinch a postseason berth, it will be the 12th time they have reached the playoffs in Roethlisberger's 18 seasons with the team.

The 39-year-old threw for one touchdown, 123 yards and a touchdown on what was his last regular-season start at Heinz Field, which he has called home since 2004.

He has thrown for 69,478 yards across his 18-season career so far (both regular and postseason), ranking him third among NFL quarterbacks during that time, behind Tom Brady (85,046) and Drew Brees (80,111), who are also the only QBs to have tallied up more appearances than Roethlisberger's 269.

Roethlisberger ranks fourth during that timespan for touchdown passes (450), behind Aaron Rodgers (492), Brees (579) and Brady (629). Only eight quarterbacks to have played over 100 games have registered a higher touchdown percentage than the Steelers veteran (4.9).

In a postgame, on-field interview with ESPN, Roethlisberger could not hold back the tears.

"It's funny. Probably not the way you wanted it, other than the win, and that’s all that really matters, that's kind of been the story of my career," he began.

"Not always pretty but we find a way. Man, did our defense step up tonight and it was just so much fun to be out here. These players, this place.

"I didn't think I was going to take the field again, but it's the best play as an offensive player in football, to take a knee. I'm glad I got to do it one last time."

Asked what it felt like leaving Heinz Field, Roethlisberger replied: "I don't know, with a win."

"I'm just so thankful for the fans, my family obviously," he added.

"The good Lord has blessed me in so many ways. We’ve still got another game obviously, excited for that but this is just an awesome place."

"Probably about now," he said when asked if the occasion had sunk in. "This is the end of it, having the chance to go back out there.

"I'm just so excited for these fans and this place, there's not another place like it.

"I'm so thankful and blessed to be able to call this place home for almost half my life. In front of these fans, seeing all the signs, all the jerseys. I've been so blessed and I'm just so thankful."

The night may have belonged to Roethlisberger, who walked to the midfield logo alone for the opening coin toss, on what was his 135th start at Heinz Field.

However, Najee Harris was the star man for the Steelers, running in a career-best 188 yards and a touchdown, with Chris Boswell kicking four field goals and Defensive Player of the Year candidate T.J. Watt sacking Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield four times.

Watt is now on 21.5 sacks for the season, one short of the NFL record set by Michael Strahan in 2001.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians insisted he had "no regrets" over signing Antonio Brown following his bizarre walk-off during the clash with the New York Jets on Sunday.

With the Buccaneers down 24-10 and just over three minutes left in the third quarter, Brown appeared to be talking to team-mate Mike Evans on the sidelines before removing his jersey and shoulder pads, taking off his under-shirt and throwing it into the crowd, and then waving as he jogged towards the tunnel.

The 33-year-old had taken three receptions for 26 yards before leaving the game, which the Bucs went on to win 28-24 and move to a 12-4 record in the NFC.

Speaking after the comeback victory, Arians told reporters: "He is no longer a Buc. That's the end of the story. Let's talk about the guys that went out there and won the game."

The Bucs signed Brown in October 2020 after a short stint at the New England Patriots in 2019.

Arians had initially called Brown a "diva" and said "there's no room" for him at the Bucs.

But despite an eight-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy after punching a delivery truck driver, they did eventually sign him. 

He served another three-game ban this season after an NFL investigation found that he had produced a fake COVID-19 vaccine card.

Arians is happy with his decision to sign Brown, however, and hopes this latest incident can act as a turning point for the 33-year-old. 

"I have no regrets [over signing him]. I just hope the best for him," he told a media conference.

"It was very hard. I wish him well. If he needs help, I hope he gets some. It's very hard because I do care about him; I care about him a bunch. I hope that he's OK."

Asked if Brown told him he was injured, Arians said: "No. It's pretty obvious what happened. He left the field and that was it. We had a conversation, and he left the field."

Brown had played in just six games this season prior to Sunday, managing 39 receptions for 519 yards and four touchdowns.

Kyle Shanahan praised an efficient and at times explosive performance from Trey Lance but did not rule out Jimmy Garoppolo returning and starting for the San Francisco 49ers in Week 18.

With Garoppolo sidelined due to torn ligaments in his thumb, rookie third overall pick Lance got the start and recovered from a shaky first half to help the 49ers to a 23-7 win over the Houston Texans.

Lance tossed a bad interception in the first half but appeared more settled after a field-goal drive to end the second quarter and subsequently threw a pair of touchdowns, including a 45-yard strike to Deebo Samuel, to put the Niners a win away from a playoff berth.

He finished the game 16 of 23 passing for 249 yards and also ran for a further 31 yards.

The Niners will reach the postseason for the second time in three seasons if they beat the 12-4 Los Angeles Rams in Week 18 or if the New Orleans Saints lose to the Atlanta Falcons. Should San Francisco lose and the Saints beat the Falcons, the Niners will miss out on the postseason.

That places the situation at quarterback into sharp focus, with head coach Shanahan leaving the door open to Garoppolo making a quick return despite reports he will need surgery after the season.

Asked if Garoppolo tried throwing on Saturday or Sunday, Shanahan replied: "I don't know if he threw today [Sunday]. I didn't even ask, just talking to him yesterday I had a pretty good idea that we weren't going to even push it today.

"I think he'll be able to do it this week. Still, that's just me giving you guys an honest guess. Hopefully, I'll have a better idea by Wednesday.

"If Jimmy's a hundred per cent healthy and could do everything, like perfect, then I would definitely go with Jimmy. I'm not just going to throw a guy in after one game like this, when Jimmy's been doing it for us all year.

"I think it's going to be hard for Jimmy to be a hundred percent, which is how most people are right now at this time of year. But Trey did a good job, if Jimmy can't go, we won't hesitate at all. But if we feel Jimmy can go and play confident, then Jimmy will be out there."

Assessing Lance's performance, Shanahan said: "I think he did some real good things, besides the bad interception, I thought he protected the ball real well.

"That was a big thing going into this game and he did a good job on all those except for one play. I think he was very efficient, just looking at his numbers. That big play at the end was huge. For the most part, he made some pretty good decisions running the ball.

"I thought the defense and special teams played really well. Holding them to three yards per play on defense, special teams, we've been down here over this last month and this at least felt like that was one of our better games in a while.

"I think that allowed us to be more comfortable on offense, start to get into a rhythm and not really press and just let it happen naturally."

Ryan Tannehill insisted the Tennessee Titans are "just getting started" after they clinched the AFC South title and moved into the one seed in the conference.

Tennessee punched their ticket to the postseason as division champions with a 34-3 rout of the Miami Dolphins, who were eliminated from playoff contention.

With the Kansas City Chiefs losing to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Titans' victory saw them jump to the top of the AFC, meaning they will clinch a first-round bye and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with a Week 18 win over the lowly Houston Texans.

While the Titans donned AFC South champion t-shirts in the locker room after the game, Tannehill conceded he was struggling to find a balance between celebrating that achievement and focusing on what they still have to do.

"That was a battle I was having in [the locker room] myself," the Titans quarterback said. "I'm thinking: Try to enjoy the moment and celebrate, but I'm going around telling the guys that we're just getting started.

"It's a big step and enjoy it, but we're just getting started. We've got a long way to go and that was kind of my message going around to the guys.

"Definitely try to enjoy the moment and celebrate today for what it is, but just knowing in the back of our minds that our ultimate goals aren't done yet.

"We've still got a long way to go."

Tannehill's top target, wide receiver A.J. Brown, added: "We had to worry about ourselves and we had to win today.

"We are not really worried about anyone else no matter what cards we were dealt. We had to win today, and we got the win today.

"Next week, it's going to be winning next week, against Houston. We know that right now, it's playoff football. And we are already trying to get in form, because it gets tougher."

The Green Bay Packers have the number one seed in the NFC, and their MVP quarterback appears to be getting healthier.

Green Bay clinched the top seed in their conference with a 37-10 rout over the Kirk Cousins-less Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

Back in Week 11, the Packers lost a 34-31 shootout to the Vikings, with quarterback Rodgers revealing afterward that he was battling a severe toe injury.

He has continued to play through the problem and was once again in imperious form as the Packers ripped off their fifth straight win and improved to 14-3.

Rodgers completed 29 of his 38 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns in a performance that helped ensure the NFC playoffs will go through Lambeau Field.

And further encouragement that this could be Green Bay's year came in Rodgers' post-game comments about the health of his toe.

"This is a first game that my toe got through the game without any issues," Rodgers said. "No pre-game painkiller shot. I'm feeling good. I'm happy about it.

"There was definitely a time a few weeks ago when I started to project out and think if we can get the one seed, it could be two-plus weeks of rest.

"I'm going to play next week, and I expect Davante to play and our guys to play. So, we're looking forward to finishing off the season on a high note and then getting the bye."

Though they have nothing to play for, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur indicated he would play his starters for at least some of their regular-season finale at the Detroit Lions.

But, with the bye week secured, Rodgers will have the chance to rest his seemingly improving toe ahead of another push for the second Super Bowl title of his stunning career.

In-form quarterback Joe Burrow says everyone laughed off the Cincinnati Bengals' divisional hopes in preseason in the wake of clinching the AFC North with Sunday's 34-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Burrow starred with four touchdown passes but ended the game on the bench with a knee issue as the Bengals won the division for the first time since 2015.

The Bengals had finished last in the AFC North last year with a 4-11-1 record, which makes this season's accomplishments more impressive.

"In the preseason we were talking about the playoffs and I said the goal was the playoffs and the easiest way to do that is to win the division," Burrow said at the post-game news conference.

"Everyone laughed at us a little bit, but we knew the kind of team we had and the kind of guys in the locker room we had, and we knew we could go out and do it."

The Bengals QB insisted the knee complaint that had him benched was "good enough" in the wake of throwing 971 yards in the past two games, which is the most in consecutive wins in NFL history.

Burrow completed 30 of 39 attempts for 446 yards with four touchdown passes and no interceptions against the Chiefs.

Wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase also made history with the rookie record for most single game receiving yards (266). It was also a Bengals franchise record and the most ever against the Chiefs.

Chase added: "We can go as far as we want to. We just won the AFC North."

The Dallas Cowboys are fearing the worst with wide receiver Michael Gallup sustaining a suspected torn ACL in his left knee in Sunday's 25-22 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Gallup landed awkwardly when he caught a touchdown in the second quarter of the defeat, before limping off the field and leaving for the locker room on crutches.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones confirmed Gallup will undergo an MRI on Monday to confirm the severity of the injury but teammate Dak Prescott and head coach Mike McCarthy feared the worst.

"It was tough, very tough," Prescott said at the post-game news conference. "Coming in at half-time and going to see him, just unfortunate. A guy that I love. Can't get a better teammate than MG. Sick about it."

McCarthy added: "Feel terrible for Michael. Obviously made a huge play, but you could see just the way he came down."

Gallup has had 35 receptions for 445 yards and two touchdowns this season for the playoff-bound Cowboys.

The Green Bay Packers locked in the top seeding in the NFC after a 37-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on a chilly evening at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams spearheaded the Packers victory, connecting 11 times for 136 yards including one touchdown as Green Bay became the first team in NFL history to win 13 games in three consecutive seasons.

Adams brought up 118 yards in the first half which was his most yards in a half since 2019, as the Packers raced to a 20-3 half-time lead.

Rodgers threw 29 of 38 passes for 288 yards with two touchdowns, while running back AJ Dillon had 14 carries for 63 yards and two touchdowns.

The Vikings struggled without starting quarterback Kirk Cousins who entered COVID-19 protocols late in the week, managing only 70 total yards in the first half which was their fewest in a first half since 2019.

Back-up Vikings QB Sean Mannion, making only his third NFL start in his seventh season, threw his first career touchdown to KJ Osborn in a rare bright spot for the visitors. Mannion completed 22 of 36 passes for 189 yards with no interceptions.

The win means the Packers have secured a first-round bye in the postseason and home ground advantage from the divisional playoffs.

The Green Bay Packers locked in the top seeding in the NFC after a 37-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on a chilly evening at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams spearheaded the Packers victory, connecting 11 times for 136 yards including one touchdown as Green Bay became the first team in NFL history to win 13 games in three consecutive seasons.

Adams brought up 118 yards in the first half which was his most yards in a half since 2019, as the Packers raced to a 20-3 half-time lead.

Rodgers threw 29 of 38 passes for 288 yards with two touchdowns, while running back AJ Dillon had 14 carries for 63 yards and two touchdowns.

The Vikings struggled without starting quarterback Kirk Cousins who entered COVID-19 protocols late in the week, managing only 70 total yards in the first half which was their fewest in a first half since 2019.

Back-up Vikings QB Sean Mannion, making only his third NFL start in his seventh season, threw his first career touchdown to KJ Osborn in a rare bright spot for the visitors. Mannion completed 22 of 36 passes for 189 yards with no interceptions.

The win means the Packers have secured a first-round bye in the postseason and home ground advantage from the divisional playoffs.

The Arizona Cardinals continued their excellent road form as they edged the Dallas Cowboys 25-22 in a potential-playoff preview with Kyler Murray leading the way on Sunday.

The Cardinals improved their season record to 11-5 and their road record to 8-1, snapping a three-game skid, with Texas-born Murray throwing two touchdowns as he completed 26 of 38 attempts for 263 yards.

The Cowboys had trailed 22-7 at the final charge but stormed back into contention as Dak Prescott threw three TD passes for the game but Murray expertly managed the clock late.

Murray found Antoine Wesley for two TDs including a spectacular catch in the third quarter, while Jonathan Ward made a remarkable helmet catch on a fake punt.

The Cowboys lost Michael Gallup to injury upon his second-quarter receiving touchdown and did not return, not helping their cause.

Prescott, who completed 24 of 38 passes for 226 yards along with 20 rushing yards, found Cedrick Wilson and Amari Cooper for final-quarter TDs to tighten the game but he also had a costly fumble at 22-14.

Chargers snap skid as Williams scores 101-yard return

The Los Angeles Chargers snapped a two-game skid with a 34-13 victory over the Denver Broncos to boost their Wild Card hopes as they improve to a 9-7 record.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert threw 22 of 31 passes for 237 yards with two touchdowns, breaking the franchise record for single-season touchdown passes at 35.

Andre Williams scored a 101-yard kickoff return touchdown in the fourth quarter, while Austin Ekeler returned to LA's line-up and was important, with 17 carries for 58 yards and a touchdown, along with three receptions for 54 yards.

 

Lance leads 49ers to key win in Wild Card race

Trey Lance stepped in for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo and provided two touchdown passes as the San Francisco 49ers won 23-7 over the Houston Texans.

Lance completed 16 of 23 passes for 249 yards with the two TDs and an interception to help the 49ers improve to 9-7 in the NFC Wild Card pursuit.

Deebo Samuel and Elijah Mitchell scored the touchdowns as the 49ers scored 20 second-half points to secure the win.

Matthew Stafford inspired the Los Angeles Rams to move one step closer to securing their second straight NFC West title with a 20-19 win over the slumping Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

The defeat for the Ravens, who were without quarterback Lamar Jackson for the third straight game, leaves them perilously close to slipping out of the Wild Card hunt after their fifth consecutive loss.

Justin Tucker's field goal had put the Ravens up 19-14 with 4:33 left but Stafford launched a game-winning 75-yard drive to overhaul the deficit.

Stafford completed a 15-yard pass to Tyler Higbee and a 24-yarder to Cooper Kupp, before finding Odell Beckham Jr twice in a row, with the latter being the decisive TD.

The Rams QB finished with 26 of 35 passes for two touchdowns but also two interceptions, including a Chuck Clark first-quarter pick six, as well as a sack.

Clark's TD was the Ravens' only for the game, as QB Tyler Huntley completed 20 of 32 passes for 197 yards.

Rams running back Sony Michel had 19 carries for 74 yards including a TD along with wide receiver Kupp with six receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown.

Over a month ago the Ravens had been 8-3 and looking good for the AFC top seed but now they are scrapping for a playoffs spot after a series of narrow defeats and desperate for Jackson's return.

Carlson field goal gives Raiders edge in Wild Card race

The Las Vegas Raiders claimed a crucial last-gasp win from Daniel Carlson's 33-yard field goal in the AFC Wild Card race with a 23-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz cleared protocols for the game but completed 16 of 27 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown, while running back Jonathan Taylor had one TD from 20 carries for 108 yards, with the defeat marking the first this season when he has rushed more than 100 yards.

The Raiders pipped the Colts in the final quarter, trailing 17-13 at the final break with QB Derek Carr hitting Hunter Renfrow on a fourth-down play for a TD, before Michael Badgley squared the game with a 41-yard field goal, only for Carlson to win it with one from 33 yards as time expired. The Raiders improve to 9-7, pulling ahead of the 9-7 Colts in the AFC Wild Card race.

 

Bengals clinch maiden AFC North title

The Cincinnati Bengals clinched their first-ever AFC North title as Evan McPherson kicked a late 20-yard field goal to secure a 34-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase set an NFL rookie record and franchise record with 266 yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches, while QB Joe Burrow threw 30 of 39 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns.

Burrow got the better of opposing QB Patrick Mahomes who completed 26 of 35 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns as the Chiefs, who have already won the AFC West title, moved to 11-5.

 

Brady cool after Brown meltdown

Tom Brady was cool in a crisis after Antonio Brown stormed off the field as the NFC South-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied to win 28-24 over the New York Jets.

Brady completed 34 of 50 attempts for 410 yards and three touchdowns, including leading them on a 93-yard drive in the final minutes to clinch the victory.

The game was marred after Brown's meltdown, storming off the field in the third quarter with the Bucs 24-10 down, with head coach Bruce Arians confirming "he is no longer a Buc" after the game.

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