Morning Bites (11/3): NFL and Bengals news and links

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a look at the stories around the league and Cincinnati on Sunday morning.

Len Pasquarelli with the National Football Post writes that the overtime safety that lost Thursday night's game against the Miami Dolphins may have been the third safety to end an overtime game, but it's the first that directly led to points on a quarterback sack.

In case anyone is wondering, the overtime sack Cameron Wake had on Thursday night to win the game over Cincinnati, 22-20, was the third game-ending safety in NFL history, but really the first time one occurred on which a quarterback was actually sacked for the two points.

The first overtime safety was in Minnesota’s 19-17 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 5, 1989. In that game, Vikings linebacker Mike Merriweather blocked a Dale Hatcher punt out of the end zone for the safety. In the other, Chicago’s 23-21 victory over Tennessee on Nov. 14, 2004, the play was a bit stranger. On a third-and-14 from the Tennessee five-yard line, Bears’ defensive linemen Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye combined to sack Tennessee quarterback Billy Volek, who fumbled into the end zone. The fumble was recovered by Chicago tackle Fred Miller, who was tackled by Ogunleye for the safety.

For the record, we weren't wondering.

Five painful sports injury memories
Cincinnati sports fans are, sadly, no strangers to devastating sports injuries. From the great what-ifs of Greg Cook to Tim Krumrie to Kenyon Martin to Carson Palmer, we've seen the mighty go down at the worst of times.

Division race brewing in AFC North
With the Bengals' loss on Thursday, the Ravens-Browns matchup Sunday suddenly has high stakes.

Ravens, Texans and Colts will define seasons coming off byes in Week 9
For every NFL team, the bye week is important for many reasons. It’s a few extra days of rest to get bodies ready for the stretch run. It’s a chance to self-scout, to assess strengths and look for ways to improve.

USA TODAY Sports' midseason NFL predictions, awards
Our preseason Super Bowl forecasts are largely intact, but we've changed our tune on the rookies.

The 7 things to know today in the NFL
Here are the seven things everyone is talking about today in the NFL.

Prisco's Picks - Week 9's host of NFL experts provides expert picks, grades and analysis for each game during the season.

NFL Week 9 preview: Examining Chicago Bears- Green Bay Packers, more games
Chris Burke and Doug Farrar get you ready for the weekend with The Playbook, a detailed weekly preview that gives you everything you need to know about the upcoming slate of games. Main Events Chicago (4-3) at Green Bay (5-2) -- Monday, 8:30 p.m.

John Fox, Denver Broncos coach, to undergo heart surgery
Broncos coach John Fox needs heart surgery and will miss several weeks, team spokesman Patrick Smyth confirmed Saturday night.

Six for Sunday: Backup quarterbacks usually mean losses
Backup QBs are a problem more times than not, which is bad news for Philly, St Louis and Houston among others this week. Also, turnover differential is a good indicator of how teams will play.

What happened to the 100-yard rushing efforts?
Hitting the century mark on the ground an increasing rarity in pass-happy league full of dual backfields.

Rolando McClain's self-imposed exile
The old man takes a seat. He warns everyone that he's been drinking. Crown Royal Black. "Smooth as a baby's ass," he says. He wants to talk Alabama football, a random drunk guy with stories to tell. The first game that he attended: 1958, against LSU. Bear Bryant's debut as coach. Blew a lead and lost. Still gnaws at him. Then one of the young men -- the biggest of the three, with massive arms and shoulders that extend from his neck like a perfect square -- says, "I used to play here."

NFL coordinators who are ready to become head coaches
With more NFL coaches landing on the hot seat, here's a look at four coordinators who are ready to make the jump in the off-season and become head coaches.

Rex, Rob Ryan will 'try and beat each other's brains in'
It's not exactly the "Book of Manning." No, the "Book of Ryan" is a little less wholesome and a little more edgy. There was that foot fetish video episode that New York Jets coach Rex Ryan had to respond to concerning his wife Michelle in 2010.

Proof that Peyton Manning is the most dominant QB in the NFL
He's the best in the business ... and it's not even that close.

Dez Bryant's blowup: How far can you go on the sideline?
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant's sideline histrionics last weekend didn't bother Minnesota Vikings end Jared Allen. Truth be told, Allen kind of liked what he saw.

Dolphins on Jonathan Martin: 'Bullying is based on speculation'
The Dolphins released a statement on Sunday morning, saying that any notion of "bullying is based on speculation' when it comes to tackle Jonathan Martin.

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