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“FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA” – WEEK 15 NOTES & QUOTES

“I’m not used to seeing Tom Brady just throw the ball up and panic like he’s a rookie.” – Rodney Harrison

“I said last year, they’re a dump truck. Put the big dump truck back there and get going with it.” – Tony Dungy on the Titans & RB Derrick Henry

“They beat the Dallas Cowboys by playing like the Dallas Cowboys.” – Harrison on the Colts

STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 16, 2018 – Mike Tirico hosted the Week 15 edition of Football Night in America tonight from NBC Sports’ International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn., in advance of the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Los Angeles Rams.

Tirico was joined on the set by analysts Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, and Chris Simms, as well as NFL Insider Mike Florio. Liam McHugh co-hosted Football Night on site from Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which hosted its first ever Sunday Night Football regular-season game. McHugh was joined by the SNF team of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya, and conducted pre-game interviews with Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and Rams DT Ndamukong Suh.

Following are Notes & Quotes from the Week 15 edition of Football Night in America:

ON EAGLES

Tafoya on a pre-game interview with QB Carson Wentz: “Wentz confirmed that this lower back issue is related to previous lower back problems, though he would not address a report that he had seen a back specialist here in Los Angeles. I asked him about the three-month timetable placed on his recovery by Doug Pederson, and Wentz wouldn’t commit to that other than to say, he would not need surgery.”

Collinsworth on QB Nick Foles playing tonight: “It’s kind of rekindled a little bit of that spirit that they felt during that Super Bowl run…there is a lot going on within this football team emotionally right now, but I think Nick Foles has given them a little bit of a lift… (players say) if you’re thinking about Thanksgiving Day, and you’re playing in the backyard, that’s what it’s like to be in the huddle with Nick Foles.”

Dungy: “I was there in Philadelphia for their week of preparation before the Super Bowl, and I can tell you just what Cris is saying, those guys believe in Nick Foles. They had the absolute faith that he could go out there and outplay Tom Brady…Nick Foles is going to help them tonight.”

Harrison on Nick Foles: “He does a better job of spreading the ball around, getting everyone involved, as opposed to Carson Wentz, who gets really comfortable with one guy, and that’s Zach Ertz.”

Simms: “The Eagles are their most dangerous on the offensive side of the ball when they go through their run game. They were special last year, and I think that’s really one of the reasons they’re struggling this year.”

ON RAMS

Simms on Rams QB Jared Goff’s recent struggles: “The first thing is, locking on to receivers. We know (Sean) McVay is an amazing play-caller, play designer. I do think Goff is a little spoiled with the fact that the first guy he looks at is usually wide open, and he had issues getting off that first guy last week against the Bears.”

Tirico while showing footage of DT Aaron Donald arriving to the stadium: “There’s a lot of traffic in L.A., so this is always the most important part of a Rams game, Aaron Donald arriving.”

Harrison on Rams DL Ndamukong Suh: “I thought Suh would have more of an impact. I think he’s been solid, but he hasn’t been great. When he makes up his mind to dominate, there are not many guys that can block him one-on-one. Unfortunately, he doesn’t play every play like it’s his last play.”

Harrison on Rams RB Todd Gurley: “They need to redirect the offense back to Todd Gurley…Let him be the focal point of your offense.”

ON PATRIOTS

Simms: “Messing up situational football, which we don’t ever see from New England…and then we saw Tom Brady for the second week in a row in the red zone do things that we don’t ever see him do (including fourth-quarter interception).”

Harrison on the Patriots: “I’m definitely concerned about them. They can’t stop the run and Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) looks old.”

Dungy on the Patriots: “I am worried about the New England Patriots. Fourteen penalties, we’re not used to seeing this. I’m used to seeing the defense improve as the year goes on. It looks like they’re regressing.”

Harrison on QB Tom Brady’s fourth-quarter interception: “I’m not used to seeing Tom Brady just throw the ball up and panic like he’s a rookie.”

ON COWBOYS

Harrison: “The Dallas Cowboys lost, but I wouldn’t panic. They still have a very good team and I think they’re going to bounce back…they didn’t play with that edge I’m used to seeing them play with.”

ON COLTS

Harrison: “They beat the Dallas Cowboys by playing like the Dallas Cowboys.”

Dungy: “(General Manager) Chris Ballard, I really have to give him a shout-out. They had two glaring weaknesses last year – no speed on defense. They addressed that and fixed that. They’re playing very fast. Their offensive line was a sieve, and this year, protection for Andrew Luck and that running game is opening up some great line play.”

Harrison: “They’re young, they’re having fun and now I’m a believer. I really enjoy this defense. They have really good young linebackers; the secondary played well the last couple of weeks against DeAndre Hopkins and Amari Cooper.”

Harrison on Colts HC Frank Reich: “He might be Coach of the Year.”

ON BEARS

Dungy on Bears LB Khalil Mack: “He has made this defense special.”

ON TITANS

Harrison on Titans RB Derrick Henry: “I think early on he was frustrated because he had to split carries with Dion Lewis. Now, they’re making him the featured back and it seems like he’s got his confidence back.”

Dungy: “And this is their formula, cold-weather win. I said last year, they’re a dump truck. Put the big dump truck back there and get going with it.”

ON BILLS

Simms on Josh Allen: “He has elite traits…his ability to run…we haven’t seen anybody do some of the things he’s done. So every week he’s answered the bell there and then we’ve seen some of his arm talent. He has the kind of strength in his arm like a Patrick Mahomes or an Aaron Rodgers…so the future is bright. They just need to get some weapons around him in Buffalo.”

--FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA--

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