Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Thomas' NFL Rewind: Black Monday Arrives Early

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Thomas' NFL Rewind: Black Monday Arrives Early

Article excerpt

Jeff Fisher of Los Angeles, Gus Bradley of Jacksonville and Rex Ryan of Buffalo didn't even make it to the finish line of the 2016 season, being fired in the late stages of the season.

Chip Kelly of San Francisco and Mike McCoy of San Diego barely did but were ousted after their team's season finales Sunday.

And Gary Kubiak of Denver apparently is leaving on his own accord, telling his team after the game he is resigning.

Will there be anything left to decide on Black Monday, the day after the regular season ends when NFL coaches and front office executives traditionally are fired?

The New York Jets spared the suspense by announcing after their 30-10 victory Sunday over Buffalo that head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike McCaggan will be back for 2017.

But the 49ers fired GM Trent Baalke on Sunday.

But Mike McCoy could be in jeopardy in San Diego, where the Chargers finished 5-11 and may want a fresh start if they relocate to Los Angeles.

Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson might have bought some time when the Colts rallied to beat Jacksonville and finish at .500 for the season at 8-8.

Apparently John Fox is safe in Chicago, where the Bears are only 9-23 after his first two seasons in the Windy City.

And lastly, rumors circulated Sunday on NFL.com that there is "mutual interest" between Los Angeles and coach Sean Payton.

Payton remains under contract with the Saints, so there would have to be some kind of compensation made by the Rams if there's anything to this.

IT'S A PASSING LEAGUE

There were all sorts of passing milestones set around the league Sunday to close the regular season.

* In Minnesota, former Ram Sam Bradford set an NFL single-season record for completion percentage at 71.6, completing 395 of 552 passes in 15 games. The previous record was 71.2 by Drew Brees of New Orleans in 2011. Bradford's 395 completions set a Minnesota single-season record.

* In Philadelphia, Eagles QB Carson Wentz broke Bradford's record for most completions by a rookie in a season with 379. Bradford's mark of 354 was set in 2010, with the St. Louis Rams.

* In Tampa, Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston became the first player in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards in his first two seasons.

* Last but not least, the Saints' Brees topped 5,000 yards passing for the fifth time in his storied career. There have only been four other 5,000-yard passing seasons combined in league history, with no one else doing it more than once.

HATS OFF TO ...

* San Diego's Antonio Gates, who tied Tony Gonzalez's NFL record for most career touchdown catches by a tight end (111).

* Baltimore wide receiver Steve Smith "Mr. Feisty" and Indianapolis linebacker/defensive end Robert Mathis "Mr. Strip- Sack" who are retiring.

* Ageless wonder Frank Gore of Indianapolis, who at age 33 became the oldest player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since John Riggins, 35, in 1984. …

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