NFL Briefs

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SAN DIEGO - Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd was hospitalized overnight in Kansas City after sustaining a collapsed lung in Sunday's victory against the Chiefs.

Floyd was flying to San Diego on Monday, coach Norv Turner said.

"They wanted to do some tests on him," Turner said. "Things look good and it'll be day to day in terms of where he is at the end of the week and if he'd be available for the game."

Floyd caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers with 1:13 left in the game. After the Chargers recovered an onside kick, Rivers threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Vincent Jackson with 36 seconds to go to give the Chargers a 22-21 victory.

Floyd had five catches for 67 yards.

San Diego (6-8) remained mathematically alive in the AFC West race. The Chargers are two games behind Denver with two to play. San Diego visits Tampa Bay on Sunday before finishing the season with a home game against the Broncos.

Center Nick Hardwick, knocked out of Sunday's game with a concussion, underwent tests Monday.

"He felt good," Turner said. "Again, we know with the head injuries we'll be super careful. Everything was very positive in terms of where he is right now."

Giants

Corey Webster, who has developed into one the NFL's top cornerbacks over the past year, signed a five-year, $43 million contract extension.

Webster will receiver $20 million in guaranteed money under the deal that runs through 2013. The fourth-year player would have been a free agent at the end of the season.

"Corey has been a outstanding person and player in his short career for the Giants," general manager Jerry Reese said. "We are very happy to get this deal done."

Webster has started every game at right cornerback this season. He has three interceptions, tied with fellow cornerback Aaron Ross for the team lead. He also has two forced fumbles.

"He really came into his own the latter part of last year, and that has carried over into the 2008 season, where he has shown that he is one of the top corners in the league," Reese said Sunday evening.

Webster was the Giants' second-round draft choice in 2005, the 43rd overall selection. After being benched early in the year, he moved into the starting lineup for the playoffs when Sam Madison suffered a sports hernia.

Webster held Tampa Bay's Joey Galloway to one catch in the NFC wild-card game. A week later, he had five tackles, broke up a pass and helped limit Dallas to 182 yards passing in the divisional playoff.

Webster set up the Giants' overtime victory in the NFC title game when he intercepted Brett Favre in Green Bay. In the Super Bowl, he helped limit Randy Moss to five catches.

Bills

Rookie wide receiver James Hardy will miss the rest of the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee early in the first quarter against the Jets on Sunday.

Hardy, the Bills' second-round pick out of Indiana, was hurt blocking down the right sideline on a 35-yard run by Marshawn Lynch. He had nine catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Bengals

Quarterback Carson Palmer is doing well in his comeback from an elbow injury and could throw in practice this week.

Coach Marvin Lewis said Palmer is throwing hard in his personal workouts and having no problems with the elbow. Palmer has a partially torn ligament and tendon in the right elbow, which was injured in the third game of the season.

Palmer rested the elbow for the last two months, but resumed throwing two weeks ago. Lewis said he might be allowed to do some limited throwing in practice this week, though he's not going to play in any of the Bengals' last two games.

"It would be fun for him to get back into the practice routine of being out there totally with the guys, and that would be good," coach Marvin Lewis said. "Again, the healing process is going well, and we don't want to do anything to jeopardize that."

Palmer is hoping to avoid reconstructive elbow surgery.

Lions

The winless Lions are sticking with quarterback Dan Orlovsky.

Detroit coach Rod Marinelli said Monday that Orlovsky would make his second straight start in part because Daunte Culpepper is questionable because of a shoulder injury.

Detroit (0-14) hosts the New Orleans Saints as a 6½-point underdog in its home finale, hoping to avoid being the NFL's first 0-15 team, then closes the season at Green Bay.

Orlovsky was 23-of-34 for 233 yards with a touchdown in a 31-21 loss Sunday at Indianapolis. He tied the game early in the fourth quarter with a 2-point conversion after leading a 13-play, 91-yard drive.

Culpepper threw four TDs and six interceptions over five starts before he hurt his shoulder Dec. 7 against Minnesota.

Jaguars

Linebacker Mike Peterson will be back in the starting lineup, just not the way he wanted to get there.

Starting middle linebacker Daryl Smith injured his groin Sunday against Green Bay and won't play Thursday night against Indianapolis, allowing Peterson to reclaim his spot on defense.

Peterson was one of coach Jack Del Rio's first free agent acquisitions nearly six years ago and was a mainstay in the middle of the field for the Jaguars (5-9) \u2013 until last month.

The 32-year-old team captain was sent home twice for insubordination, fined $10,000 and then benched for one game. It was the first time in his 10-year career he missed a game without being injured. Peterson has played mostly on special teams and in a backup role since.

"I'm going to continue doing what I've been doing, trying to help this team win," Peterson said Monday. "If that pushes me in the starting lineup, that's the way it'll be. Before, it's been on special teams and coming in the game when needed. Maybe it'll be a little different (now)."

Peterson's downfall began Nov. 5, when Del Rio criticized him during a team meeting for a muscle-flexing celebration following a sack at Cincinnati. Peterson tried to defend himself, but Del Rio had already told players he didn't want to hear any excuses, so the coach sent him home to end a heated confrontation.

The linebacker returned the following day and was sent home again. Del Rio also broke up the linebacker corps by moving the lockers of Smith and Justin Durant away from Peterson's stall. The Jaguars are 2-4 since the moves.

Peterson is in the final year of a six-year, $21 million contract, and given his deteriorating relationship with Del Rio, doesn't expect to be in Jacksonville next season. So getting back in the starting lineup \u2013 against his former team, Indy, no less \u2013 will give him one more chance to audition for another job.

"That's been my approach to this thing the whole season," Peterson said. "I understand the business."

Bears

While some teammates were glued to the TV set, nose tackle Anthony Adams kept an eye on his cell phone as he shopped for Christmas presents on Sunday.

There was one gift he didn't get: a loss by the Vikings.

All he got instead was another blow to his playoff hopes when Minnesota beat Arizona. The Bears (8-6) would be out of the running for the NFC North title by the time they host Green Bay on Monday night if the Vikings beat Atlanta this week, although they would still have a mathematical shot at the wild card.

If Adams was tempted to toss his phone as the Vikings-Cardinals updates flashed across the screen, he resisted the urge. Even if he let it go, the damage probably would have been minimal.

"Luckily, I've got this little rubber thing on it and it would bounce back," he said Monday.

The Bears have no cushion now, and Vikings weren't about to give any assistance on Sunday.

"It's natural to look back and think about those games we had early in the season," left tackle John St. Clair said. "But right now, we can't think about that."

All they can do is hope for some big assists even if they beat Green Bay and Houston six days later.

Rams

Wide receiver Derek Stanley will require reconstructive knee surgery for an injury sustained on a lost fumble in Sunday's loss to the Seahawks.

Stanley, who also has been used in the return game, will be the Rams' 11th player to go on injured reserve.

Coach Jim Haslett said Monday that Stanley had a torn ligament and cartilage in his left knee and would undergo surgery in two to three weeks after swelling goes down. He was injured on an end-around that was stopped for no gain, and Jordan Babineaux returned the fumble 27 yards to tie the game at 7 in the first quarter.

Haslett said Kenneth Darby would likely return kicks and Dane Looker would return punts on Sunday against the 49ers.

Cardinals

The Cardinals have established their dominance of the NFC West. The rest of the NFL is still giving them trouble.

The latest example came Sunday, when the Minnesota Vikings drubbed Arizona 35-14 on the same field where, a week earlier, the Cardinals wrapped up their first division title in 33 years. The ugly loss left Arizona 8-6, but only 3-6 against teams outside its division \u2013 and 2-5 against winning teams.

Those numbers hung over the Cardinals like the low clouds that greeted the players as they trickled in to the team's headquarters Monday morning.

"This whole thing is a process; we have to understand that," said quarterback Kurt Warner, who threw a touchdown pass and an interception and was sacked four times by Minnesota. "As much as we want to be the best team in the league right now, we're just not there yet."

Indeed, the Cardinals want to soar into the playoffs, but they seem to be skidding. In the two weeks before it clinched the division, Arizona lost to the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants 37-29 at home, then got blitzed at Philadelphia 48-20.

Arizona wrapped up the NFC West in a 34-10 rout of woeful St. Louis on Dec. 7. One week later, the Cardinals heard boos as they fell into a 21-0 hole in the first quarter against the Vikings.

Ravens

If the Ravens are to put a positive finish on the regular season, they must play better at the end of the game.

A 13-9 loss to the Steelers on Sunday eliminated Baltimore from contention in the AFC North, but the Ravens (9-5) will earn a wild-card berth if they win their final two games: at Dallas on Saturday night and at home against Jacksonville on Dec. 28.

That will be their focus this week. Coach John Harbaugh said Monday there is nothing to be gained by lamenting the ending of the Pittsburgh game, in which Santonio Holmes was credited with a touchdown catch after a replay review reversed the on-field decision that the Steelers receiver came up short of the goal line.

Whether the referees got it right or not is debatable, but there is no disputing Harbaugh's disappointment in Baltimore's play leading up to the touchdown. Taking over at its 12 with 3:36 left, Pittsburgh used pass completions of 12, 13, 16, 16, 9, 24 and 10 yards to get into position for the winning score.

"It's our job not to put the official in position to have to make that call," Harbaugh said. "If we do our job better, if we finish in crunch time, it won't even be an issue. We don't need the officials' help to win a football game."

The game probably wouldn't have hinged upon a last-minute call if the Ravens had taken advantage of their opportunities against the league's top-ranked defense. Three times Baltimore got inside the Pittsburgh 20, and three times had to settle for field goals.

"We killed ourselves," said Le'Ron McClain, who gained 87 yards on 23 carries. "We had them on the ropes. We couldn't knock them out."


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