NFL notebook — Nov. 8

Beacon Journal wire services The Detroit Lions’ Calvin Johnson said he suffered nerve damage from two big hits in a September loss to the Minnesota Vikings that’s made it tough for him to grip the football. Johnson, who missed practice all of last week and hasn’t practiced this week because of a lingering knee injury, said the nerve problems have subsided though he’s still dealing with some aftereffects. “Taking those hits, they’re real violent,” Johnson said. “They definitely have a lot of lingering impact on whether it be your neck or your head in [Jahvid Best’s] case. It can do a lot of stuff.” Johnson dropped a touchdown pass late in the first half of the Lions’ 20-13 loss to the Vikings at Ford Field when safety Harrison Smith hit him in the sternum with his right shoulder. In the fourth quarter, Johnson took a helmet-to-helmet hit from linebacker Chad Greenway that knocked him temporarily out of the game. Johnson said he suffered a concussion from the Greenway hit, though Lions coach Jim Schwartz said for the second time on Thursday that wasn’t the case. Greenway was fined $21,000 for the hit.

Colts 27, Jaguars 10

The Indianapolis Colts became the latest team to hammer the Jacksonville Jaguars at home, winning Thursday night behind two rushing touchdowns from rookie quarterback Andrew Luck.

Darius Butler returned an interception for a score as the Colts (6-3) won their fourth consecutive game and snapped a three-game losing streak in the series. The Jaguars (1-8) have lost six straight.

The Colts had cause for concern following an emotional victory four days earlier, one in which cancer-stricken coach Chuck Pagano delivered a passionate, postgame speech in the locker room. Interim coach Bruce Arians was worried the team might crash from the emotional high. Not even close.

Indianapolis scored on three consecutive possessions in the first half, opening a 17-0 lead that started emptying the stands at EverBank Field.

Seymour still hurting

Trying to stop Baltimore running back Ray Rice was already a monumental task facing the Oakland Raiders this week. Doing it without seven-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour will make the challenge even more daunting.

Seymour missed his second practice in a row Thursday due to a lingering hamstring injury and is questionable to play in Baltimore on Sunday. The 12th-year veteran was already on a light practice schedule as a result of his troublesome knees.

Neither Seymour nor Raiders coach Dennis Allen sounded too optimistic about the prospects of the 33-year-old defender playing against the Ravens.

Jets remain optimistic

Antonio Cromartie picked up where his coach noticeably left off, favoring faith over probability and practicality.

While Rex Ryan has shied away from making guarantees, his cornerback offered his own assurance Thursday — one that caught even the most ardent Jets fans off guard.

“The Jets will make the playoffs this year,” Cromartie pronounced on NFL Network’s NFL AM morning show. Some members of Jets Nation probably cringed at that seemingly implausible promise. But his teammates share that belief — and so does their coach.

The Jets (3-5) don’t believe their situation is as dire as it might appear. But finishing the season 6-2, the bare minimum to earn a playoff berth, is a daunting task but not an impossible one. The Jets had the third-toughest schedule to this point, but they have the sixth-easiest second-half schedule, according to ESPN Stats and Information.


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