New York Giants 3, Dallas Cowboys 19
What you need to know
New York Giants
- Shane Vereen
showed he still has a presence in the passing game on Sunday night as he racked up 9 receptions from Manning. The Giants offensive line was pathetic in both run&pass blocking which led to an unbalanced offense. Vereen could be the better fantasy play over Perkins in games where the Giants struggle and are forced to pass but they are inconsistencies across the board right now for the Giants so everything comes with risk.
was invisible on Sunday night and may need Beckham across him to really come to life. Fans must be careful not to overreact to one game but Marshall really accomplished nothing on the outside. Manning targeted Lewis/Sheppard and even Engram a more often than Marshall, fantasy owners tread carefully.
played poorly and did not play well for most of 2016 either. Age is rumoured to be a big factor but his offensive line is not giving him much of an opportunity, it is difficult to judge the Giants offense under Manning at this current time.
- Dallas needed little on offense to win comfortably against their divisional rival Giants in Week 1. While they moved the ball at will in the middle of the field, stalling for field goals regularly is an area of concern against more potent offensive opponents going forward. Dak Prescott
struggled with accuracy on a number of throws, especially in Dez Bryant
’s direction. The defense looks improved, particularly in the front seven, which is a positive sign for Dallas’ game script in most games. Ezekiel Elliott
, Jason Witten
, and Cole Beasley
form one of the best chain-moving trios in the NFL to sustain drives, highlight players this week for the Cowboys.
QB Eli Manning
, 56 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 38 - 220 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0 - Eli Manning
did not play well on Sunday night in Dallas but he had very little support, especially from his offensive line. The Cowboys did not blitz the Giants much and were able to get consistent pressure by only sending 4 men. This gave Manning and his receivers a hard time in the passing game. The much maligned Giants offensive line was as porous as ever and Manning had to rush through his progressions a lot. He failed to find open receivers a lot of the time and this offense seemed lost without Beckham as the focal point. The offense went 3 and out a lot and were rarely in Cowboy territory. Mannings accuracy was also inconsistent and generally poor, he missed many open receivers over the middle. He threw behind Marshall on a slant play over the middle and did not give his receivers much room to work with after having to adjust to some off target balls. Manning rarely had the time to look downfield and the Giants attempted few deep balls. His interception came on a bad decision to threw into a tight window on a slant route as the Cowboy defender undercut the route. The Giants were very rarely in the redzone and the entire passing game got a lot of garbage yards on the final drive when the game was effectively over. Manning has to get better protection from his offensive line and he needs to improve his accuracy if this Giants offense is to show any life this season.
RB Shane Vereen
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 51 - 0 (10 targets) - Shane Vereen
was the leading receiver for the Giants in terms of receptions and was salvagable in PPR leagues but this performance was as a result of many checkdown passes. The Giants were not able to throw downfield much in this game and thus Vereen got his hands on many quick outs from Manning when he was under fire. Vereen often had little or no room to work with after the catch as the Cowboys played 7 in coverage for most of thiis game. Vereen did his best, using his quickness in screen passes and flat passes to get as many yards after the catch as possible. His hands looked solid and very dependable. He was critical for Manning in the passing game as his offensive line was giving up quick pressure too easily, leading to quick throws to avoid sacks. Vereen never got much attention in the redzone and was not a threat to score but the entire Giants offense was lackluster on Sunday. He was more involved in the passing game than any other back as is his usual role, so could be a decent play in PPR leagues only if you are in a tight spot but nothing more.
RB Paul Perkins
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 16 - 0, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (3 targets) - Paul Perkins
and the entire Giants offense never got into any semblance of rhythm on Sunday and they were forced to abandon the running game into the second half. The Giants offensive line was a disaster and they became one dimensional which really hurt the fantasy potential of Perkins. Perkins was not as involved in the passing game as Vereen, who is clearly the favourite back in obvious passing situations. The offense had no balance and the Cowboy defense did not let the Giants establish any sort of running game. He ran inside for the most part and tried to pick gaps in the front 7 but rarely had any effective plays. The Cowboys swarmed to the ball well and he only had one redzone rush attempt. A truely abysmal performance for the Giants offense, hopefully the unit can rebound and breathe life into players like Perkins.
WR Sterling Shepard
, 56 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0, Rec: 7 - 44 - 0 (8 targets) - Shepard managed 7 grabs to salvage something in PPR leagues for fantasy owners who played him but really struggled to pose a threat to the Cowboys. The Giants offensive line was on life support Sunday, struggling to give their QB any time in the pocket to survey the field. This obviously hurt the production of guys like Shepard. Shepard had to settle often for short balls that Manning had to fire his direction when the defense was breathing down his neck. Shepard was good at turning flat routes and very short balls into decent gains after-the catch with his quickness. He caught many balls in traffic and secured passes that were thrown into very tight windows, which will continue to instill the Giants confidence in the young receiver. He is not capable of carrying an offense, especially not one as fragile as the Giants currently are unfortunately. Still, he was targeted more often than Marshall and deserves to be rated higher until we see otherwise.
WR Roger Lewis
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 54 - 0 (6 targets) - Roger Lewis
was able to provide a small bit of excitement for the Giants on a 22 yard pick up down the sideline after he briefly broke free but it wasn't enough to rescue his team from the anaemic Giants offensive on Sunday night. He got his hands on quick plays inside also and was able to pick up several first downs to keep the Giants on the field which was a positive contribution to his team. Lewis is known for downfield plays but is unfortunately buried under more well known talent, though nobody can knock his heart on the field. Lewis could be a risky but decent/desperate play as a number 3 receiver in PPR leagues if Beckham misses any more time but should definitely be left on the waiver wire otherwise.
WR Brandon Marshall
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (4 targets) - Brandon Marshall
's debut as a Giant was a complete dud as the veteran reciver didn't register a catch until the final drive. Manning rarely threw his direction throughout the game as the Giants offensive line was woeful blocking for their Quarterback. Marshall was targeted on a few throws but he could just not connect with Manning. His accuracy was scattershot due to the pressure he was facing and missed Marshall on several throws. Marshall was clearly open on a few plays over the middle but the pass was usually thrown behind him. These plays were relatively short however and would not have contributed much on their own, even if caught. He finally got a catch at the end of the game but this was in garbage time as the Cowboys played off coverage to give up the quick pass.
TE Evan Engram
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 44 - 0 (5 targets) - Evan Engram
was not a factor in this game but it is unfair to expect much from a rookie in that environment. The passing game for the Giants lacked any real power or consistency and was downright pitiful at times. Engram worked underneath routes for the most part and got his hands on a few balls despite his Quarterback struggling. Engram got some looks on drag/out and patterns over the middle that he was able to haul in a few balls. He had a short catch negated by an illegal offensive penalty from another player. Engram got open down the sideline for one play and looked good securing the pass down the field for the Giants biggest play of the night. Engram will have much better opportunities to showcase his athletic talent, this was just not one of those games. The Giants still lack a presence over the middle and Manning will look to the rookie to see if he can fill that role.
QB Dak Prescott
, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 39 - 268 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 24 - 0 - While Prescott gets credit for the win, his game was up-and-down against the Giants. Little was required of the passing game outside of a few third down conversions due to the Giants’ offensive futility. However, Prescott accuracy waned on bigger throws, specifically deep routes and end zone looks to Dez Bryant
, resulting in field goals instead of touchdowns on the board. Prescott’s game was not without highlight moments as his deep connection with Brice Butler
down the sideline marked one of the better throws of Week 1 for any quarterback. Prescott was situational with his rushing, including a scramble of 15+ yards late in the first half to move into field goal range. Prescott, for such a mobile quarterback, was primarily a rock-and-fire pocket quarterback in this game.
RB Ezekiel Elliott
, 60 offensive snaps, Rush: 24 - 104 - 0, Rec: 5 - 36 - 0 (5 targets) - With 29 touches Elliott was the central figure of the Dallas offense. Darren McFadden
was a surprise inactive after running as the No.2 back for Dallas in the preseason. Alfred Morris
rarely saw the field as Elliott dominated snaps against the Giants. It was a slow start for Elliott as he ran into contact for modest gains early on. However, Elliott’s opportunities in space expanded as the game progressed. By late in the second quarter Elliott’s physical running style – and Dallas’ sheer volume of plays in the first half – took their toll and Elliott’s rate of breaking tackles increased. Elliott logged three straight chunk gains as the first half concluded and punished the Giants in the second half as Dallas began to milk the clock. Elliott did not see any optimal looks for the touchdown in the game as Dallas’ lone drive to the goal line ended with three straight targets in Dez Bryant
’s direction, a notable change from Elliott’s typical chances to churn into the end zone a year ago in those situations.
RB Alfred Morris
, 8 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 1 - 0 - With Darren McFadden
a surprise inactive against the Giants, Morris was the clear No.2 back to Ezekiel Elliott
. While Morris did not make an impact on his low volume of snaps, the depth chart shift is a notable change from the preseason if Elliott should begin serving a suspension in the coming weeks or miss time by injury.
WR Terrance Williams
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 68 - 0 (7 targets) - Williams thrived against secondary coverage of the Giants en route to leading the team in receiving yards (68) in Week 1. Williams converted three key third downs, including two wide open receptions. One was a well-blocked wide receiver screen while the other was a clear-out slant for 20+ where yards-after-the-catch was easily attainable. Brice Butler
may prove to be a challenger to Williams’ snaps this season, but Williams excelled in his role opposite Dez Bryant
to open the season.
WR Cole Beasley
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (5 targets) - Beasley’s opportunities for impact were limited in the comfortable win over the Giants. However, Beasley converted two key third down plays including the highlight catch of Week 1. Beasley bobbled an out route target, only to corral the pass on his back with one hand as he continued to the out of bounds line. On the other occasion, Beasley pivoted back to the inside after the catch for additional yardage to convert a third down.
WR Dez Bryant
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 43 - 0 (9 targets) - Despite a team-high nine targets, Bryant and Dak Prescott
struggled to establish a strong connection against the Giants. Bryant saw three straight end zone targets on a red zone drive, all coming up empty. Bryant also got loose deep only to be missed by Prescott down the sideline. Bryant drew a deep defensive pass interference penalty as well. Only a broken tackle on a slant route for 35 yards prevented Bryant’s game from being a complete bust in the box score. Bryant’s burst and ball skills were present, but the consistent missed opportunities were roadblocks this week.
TE Jason Witten
, 74 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 59 - 1 (9 targets) - Witten was the featured chain-mover of the Dallas passing game in Week 1, leading the team in targets and receptions. While Dak Prescott
struggled with accuracy in Dez Bryant
’s direction in the end zone and downfield, Prescott and Witten were sharp. Witten converted Dallas’ lone touchdown, a too-easy play-action red zone score over the middle on a slant route. Witten’s after-the-catch ability has waned in recent seasons, but his hands and route running are sturdy elements continuing to pay dividends in his twilight years.
New York Jets 12, Buffalo Bills 21
What you need to know
New York Jets
- • An expected ugly season got off to an ugly start in Buffalo. Josh McCown
threw two ugly interceptions late in the game, Bilal Powell
didn’t touch the ball until mid-way through the second quarter, and the Jet defense gave up three 1-yard touchdowns. It was an unimpressive game plan by new offensive coordinator, John Morton, that lacked rhythm and showed no signs of any big-play elements.
• The team lone offensive touchdown belonged to Josh McCown
, who scored on a 1-yard QB sneak.
• LeSean McCoy
brutalized an uninspired Jet squad, outgaining the lowly Jet offense 94-86 in the first half.
- The Bills offense featured LeSean McCoy
in both the running and passing game. He led the Bills with 27 touches, and capitalized on the strong performance of the Bills offensive line. Tyrod Taylor
threw for two touchdown goal line touchdowns and should have had a third, but Charles Clay
dropped a pass which was intercepted. Clay was the best pass catcher in the game and is the most capable playmaker outside of McCoy in the passing game.
QB Josh McCown
, 58 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 39 - 187 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 2 - 0 - 1 - For all intents and purposes, Josh McCown
is purely a stop-gap until either young QB is ready to play. When given a clean pocket, McCown could find the open receiver against Buffalo’s zone coverage. Those clean pockets, however, were few and far between as McCown was under duress throughout the game. Of note, McCown locked onto the newly acquired, Jermaine Kearse
, who grabbed a team-high seven catches on eight targets. The route concepts and combinations were basic as the Morton opted to call a lot of short-to-intermediate underneath routes. McCown scored the lone offensive touchdown, keeping the ball on 1-yard QB sneak. It’s going to be a long season in New York.
RB Bilal Powell
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 22 - 0, Rec: 5 - 17 - 0 (6 targets) - Bilal Powell
functioned as the clear back-up behind Matt Forte
. In fact, Powell did not receive his first touch until four minutes before halftime. When his number was called, Powell showed decisiveness, finding the hole before putting his foot down and accelerating. As a receiver, Powell served a check down that was quickly met by Buffalo defenders. He had a scoring opportunity, but Powell was tackled on the 1-yard line after catching a quick dump off from McCown.
RB Matt Forte
, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 16 - 0, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (5 targets) - Alike the team’s third pre-season game, Matt Forte
functioned as the team starter, but is not the team’s best running back. Back-field mate, Bilal Powell
didn’t see his first touch until 4:00 minutes before halftime, leaving many to question the decision making on Morton. The Jets trailed for the entire game, reducing Forte’s role to check downs and occasional runs. Forte was able to pick-up what was blocked, but he doesn’t possess any big-play explosiveness anymore. Forte asked Morton for a larger role in the passing game, and he got it, but also dropped two easy passes that would resulted in first downs on catches and runs.
WR Jermaine Kearse
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 59 - 0 (9 targets) - Newly acquired Jermaine Kearse
was the leading receiver for New York. Kearse operated out of the slot and split out wide, but primarily drew McCown’s eye when operating out of the slot. Kearse had a knack for finding the soft spot in Buffalo’s zone coverage, converting easy catches, but not offering much after the catch.
WR Robby Anderson
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 22 - 0 (8 targets) - Robby Anderson
made a few nice catches over the middle, but Kearse seemed to be McCown’s preferred target. Towards the end of the game, Anderson ran a deep sideline route and made a leaping grab. Anderson and safety, Jordan Poyer battled for the ball, but Anderson came down with the ball. The official ruled Poyer made the interception, a curious call, given the outcome of the play.
WR ArDarius Stewart
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (5 targets) - The rookie wide receiver from Alabama made two acrobatic catches for short-gains and had a touchdown catch over-ruled by the replay booth. On the overturned play, Stewart made an acrobatic drive towards the pylon, but briefly stepped out of bounds. Stewart is an exciting player that will hopefully get more catches in upcoming weeks.
TE Will Tye
, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 34 - 0 (3 targets) - The ex-New York Giant joined the Jets after being cut. Tye offered McCown a strong, athletic presence that could get down the seam. In fact, Tye secured a 21-yard gain on catch-and-run in the second quarter. Tye played nearly all the snaps after today’s starting tight end, Eric Tomlinson
, left with an injury.
TE Eric Tomlinson
, 13 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 25 - 0 (2 targets) - With Austin Seferian-Jenkins
serving a suspension, Eric Tomlinson
started and made a few plays as a receiver. In the first quarter, Tomlinson secured a 25-yard gain on a deep crossing route.
QB Tyrod Taylor
, 77 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 28 - 224 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 8 - 38 - 0 - Tyrod Taylor
had two touchdowns in the game against the New York Jets, but the game could have been better. On the first drive of the game, Tyrod Taylor
was intercepted in the end zone on a deflection by Jets' DB Justin Burris. The ball was thrown on target to Charles Clay
and the ball went through Clay's hands where it deflected right to Burris. Taylor bounced back later in the game with a pair of touchdowns from the one-yard line. The first, was a quick out to Charles Clay
in the slot. The second, was a play action misdirection play where Andre Holmes
ran across the formation simulating he was sealing the backside end before slipping into the flat for a wide-open pass from Taylor. Taylor added eight rushes for 38 yards, and showed his mobility both as a runner and creating time as a passer.
RB LeSean McCoy
, 54 offensive snaps, Rush: 22 - 110 - 0, Rec: 5 - 49 - 0 (6 targets) - LeSean McCoy
was the focal point of the Buffalo Bills offense from the start. He had 27 touches, and produced big plays in both the running and passing game. Those included three carries over 20 yards and receptions of 18 and 21 yards. McCoy got some good blocking against the Jets' defensive line, and capitalized with runs into the second level, showing off his elusiveness. The key question for McCoy from the game is his goal line usage. On two red zone trips, the Bills threw for two one-yard touchdowns, and on a third, the Tyrod Taylor
threw an interception on a pass intended for Charles Clay
. McCoy appeared heading for a scoring opportunity in the fourth quarter when he carried the ball from the four-yard line down to the one-yard line on first and goal. However, McCoy ran off the field holding his hand and was replaced by Mike Tolbert
, who scored a one-yard rushing touchdown on second down. While the box score may show what appears to show Tolbert vulture a touchdown from McCoy, it is notable that McCoy was running inside the five before his injury. McCoy returned to the game on the next series and showed no ill effects from the injury.
RB Mike Tolbert
, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 42 - 1, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (1 targets) - Mike Tolbert
spelled McCoy at multiple times during the game and was the clear second running back. He is a north-south runner who is listed at 250 pounds, and he uses his frame when met with contact. Tolbert ran powerfully when the Bills were not trying to run him on outside zones. Tolbert is not a fast player, but was decisive and direct on interior runs, including a 16-yard gain on an inside zone run where he finished by running through first round pick Safety Jamal Adams. Tolbert replaced McCoy when he was injured in the fourth quarter at the goal line and scored a one-yard touchdown on a dive the next play.
WR Jordan Matthews
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 61 - 0 (3 targets) - Matthews was limited to two catches on the game, but produced a highlight catch on a crossing route, where he broke the initial tackle then reeled off a long run after the catch for 47-yard gain to set up a Bills touchdown. He looked healthy and full speed on the run and catch after missing extensive time in training camp with a chipped bone in his chest. A positive game script limited the Bills to 28 passes in the games, but Matthews looked the best of the wide receivers in the game on his limited opportunities.
WR Andre Holmes
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 1 - 1 (1 targets) - Andre Holmes
was targeted early in the game and drew a pass interference penalty against Morris Claiborne on a go route. He also scored a touchdown on a play action pass on goal line where he ran across the formation for a one-yard touchdown. He has difficulty separating from coverage on the outside and was an ancillary piece to the offense.
WR Zay Jones
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 21 - 0 (4 targets) - Zay Jones
was limited to one catch on the day. The catch was on a dig route across the middle and turned upfield for a positive run after catch, but was otherwise limited in a low volume day. Jones was used both on the perimeter and in the slot throughout the game.
TE Charles Clay
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 53 - 1 (9 targets) - Outside of LeSean McCoy
, Charles Clay
was clearly the best target in the offense. Clay got open in multiple areas including the middle and on the perimeter. Clay was targeted in the end zone on what should have been a touchdown but the ball deflected off his hands and was intercepted. Clay was covered on the play, but the ball should have been caught, and his mistake cost the Bills points. He redeemed himself later in the game on a quick out from the slot on the one-yard line for a touchdown and later had a 35-yard completion where he beat Jamal Adams. He led the team with nine targets, which should continue given Clay's playmaking ability which the rest of the receiving corps lacks.
Carolina Panthers 23, San Francisco 49ers 3
What you need to know
- Receivers continued to struggle to separate at times, with Kelvin Benjamin
in particular having a hard time
The Panthers used both Christian McCaffrey
and Jonathan Stewart
in the backfield together very often, and clearly plan to feature this as a staple of their offense
settled into the game in the second half and looked much more comfortable. He played within himself as the Panthers defense kept the game well in control.
may not have lit up the stat sheet, but his impact was felt from the first snap. Used as a wildcat quarterback and all over the formation as a runner and receiver, he will play a huge role for the Panthers this year.
San Francisco 49ers
- Brian Hoyer
is fine when the play is well-protected and the first read comes open, but he is otherwise a limiting factor on this offense. Carlos Hyde
was in top form, but couldn't get in a rhythm with the offense unable to sustain drives. Pierre Garcon
was getting open at will and should fulfill his PPR promise.
QB Cam Newton
, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 25 - 171 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 6 - 3 - 0 - Comfort was the key for Cam Newton
in the early stages, and offensive coordinator Mike Shula's play calls were clearly with his quarterback's confidence in mind. The talents of backfield duo Jonathan Stewart
and Christian McCaffrey
were heavily emphasised as the passing game sputtered in the first few drives. Newton had an early fumble on a center-quarterback exchange, and was nearly intercepted after being baited into a throw by linebacker Reuben Foster. Newton eventually knocked off some of the rust, however, and fired a nice touchdown pass to Russell Shepard
. The receiver found a weak spot in the 49ers' zone defense, and Newton's pass gave him the opportunity to juke a defender and score. Typically, Newton's inaccuracies came to the fore at times; his most flagrant error being missing a wide open touchdown pass to tight end Ed Dickson
. The offensive line afforded Newton fantastic protection throughout the game, keeping him very clean. When pressured, he showed good poise and vision to keep his eyes downfield and link up with McCaffrey and others. His second touchdown pass came on a well-designed play that exploited the 49ers' attention on McCaffrey. With both McCaffrey and Stewart in the backfield, the rookie pulled away the underneath coverage with a flat route, allowing Stewart to sneak in behind his offensive line mates. Newton had a simple dump off pass to Stewart for the score, who finished impressively by diving over the top. Newton was locked in with his passes in the second half, looking like a totally different player. He delivered on time and accurately to Kelvin Benjamin
and Devin Funchess
on crucial third down plays to keep drives alive and to salt the game away. His interception was a throw that perhaps he shouldn't have made, but such is his trust in Benjamin he attempted it anyway. It came on a deep route to the burly receiver, but the 49ers' single high safety made a great break on the pass and intercepted it with one hand.
RB Jonathan Stewart
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 65 - 0, Rec: 2 - 17 - 1 (2 targets) - Lacking the flash of debutant Christian McCaffrey
, Jonathan Stewart
nonetheless produced a quality outing for the Panthers offense. Things did not go as smoothly as they would have liked on the ground, with Stewart often having to break a tackle or two to earn even meagre gains. Not cowed by the physical 49ers front seven, Stewart continued to pound the ball through narrow gaps and showed good burst to bounce outside on occasion. At times both he and McCaffrey featured in the backfield together, with jet sweep motion and other pre-snap moves giving Stewart clearer running lanes as the defense was forced to respect the rookie. Stewart was the main man when it came to the red zone. Although he was stopped a couple of times, he scored a touchdown on a well executed screen pass. On the play, McCaffrey was lined up in front of Stewart in an offset I formation. McCaffrey flew into the flat and attracted the underneath coverage, giving Cam Newton
a simple dump off pass on a screen to Stewart, who dived over the top for the touchdown.
RB Christian McCaffrey
, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 47 - 0, Rec: 5 - 38 - 0 (7 targets) - Statistically, the big unveil of the eighth overall pick Christian McCaffrey
may have left some disappointed. Dig deeper, however, and his debut had much more positives than negatives. The Panthers made it an emphasis to get the ball into McCaffrey's hands early and often, using him as a wildcat quarterback, in the slot, out wide and as a conventional back. Even when McCaffrey wasn't touching the ball, his presence was attracting defensive attention, opening up room for other players to prosper. He and Jonathan Stewart
often shared the backfield at times, with a fake jet sweep to McCaffrey opening up a lane for Stewart to run through. At times McCaffrey tried to do too much and didn't trust his instincts. One play in particular saw him stutter and hesitate a little too much before making a cut upfield, allowing the pursuit to close and tackle him. He proved his worth as a pass catcher, giving Cam Newton
an easy option on some dump off passes and turning them up the field for nice gains. As a runner, he and Stewart found it tough sledding against the 49ers front seven, but McCaffrey ripped off some nice game-killing first down runs at the end of the contest. The only blotch on his score card on what was otherwise a fine debut was his fumble. After being handed the football, McCaffrey was quickly stoned in the backfield. He managed to spin off the contact and ran laterally to get outside the pursuit. Despite having two hands on the ball, however, two 49ers defenders converged on him and the hit popped the ball loose. To his credit, he responded well to finish the game and looks to be a central figure if this game is anything to go by.
WR Devin Funchess
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (2 targets) - The forgotten man on a day the Panthers passing attack wasn't required to do much, Devin Funchess
did his job when called upon. An excellent route to set up the defensive back to open his hips up allowed Funchess to get inside leverage on a skinny post pattern in the second half. Featured often, Funchess simply wasn't targeted as Cam Newton
sprayed shorter, higher percentage passes to the likes of Christian McCaffrey
and Kelvin Benjamin
WR Russell Shepard
, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 53 - 1 (2 targets) - One of the new faces in the Panthers offense scored their first touchdown of the season. Lined up in a three by one set in the tight slot, Shepard sprinted up the seam and bent his route towards the sideline. The 49ers defense overplayed the deeper patterns run by Devin Funchess
and Kelvin Benjamin
, leaving Shepard unaccounted for. Cam Newton
's pass was on the money, and Shepard made the pursuing safety look silly with a beautifully executed spin move to escape his grasp. Shepard was mostly featured in four-wide sets, with Benjamin and Funchess the de facto starting duo. Later in the game Shepard made a nice catch on a high fastball from Newton, attacking the football with his hands.
WR Kelvin Benjamin
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 25 - 0 (5 targets) - A lack of rhythm in the passing game had a direct effect on Kelvin Benjamin
in the early stages. Always a trusted target of his quarterback, Benjamin found it tough to establish any kind of separation against a well marshalled 49ers defense. Cam Newton
was almost baited into an interception on a quick slant to Benjamin. Linebacker Reuben Foster read the quarterback's intentions and buzzed underneath the throw, but was unable to come up with it. The Panthers continued to line Benjamin up in stacked alignments to avoid him facing press coverage, but this did not have the desired impact. Subsequent targets on a shallow crossing route and on a sideline pattern were both incomplete. Newton finally let loose and targeted Benjamin on a deep pattern, but an excellent interception by a 49ers safety put paid to any potential big play. The ball was slightly underthrown, forcing Benjamin to reach back for it. The big receiver made a nice catch on a skinny post route late in the game, but this will be a clash he remembers more for missed opportunities than anything else.
TE Greg Olsen
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (4 targets) - On a day dominated by a Panthers front seven that kept the feisty 49ers at arm's length, the offense stayed conservative. Opportunities for Cam Newton
's favorite target of the past few seasons, Greg Olsen
, were few and far between. The passing game sputtered in the early stages as Newton got his feet under him. Olsen found some room to roam on a seam pattern in the second half and earned a personal foul for an illegal hit on a defenceless player. When he wasn't engaged with defensive players at the line of scrimmage as a blocker, Olsen remained a consistent part of the passing attack; he just didn't get many looks. Late on, he made a nice grab in traffic to set up a red zone opportunity, absorbing a sandwich hit from two 49ers.
QB Brian Hoyer
, 57 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 35 - 193 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - -5 - 0 - Hoyer looked good on plays that went as designed. When he had a clean pocket and the first option was open, Hoyer was accurate and on time. When there was pressure from the Panthers defense, he was ineffective. Drives sputtered because of sacks, penalties, and unsuccessful plays and the 49ers were unable to score a touchdown in this game. Hoyer was also picked to open the second half, killing any chance the 49ers had to create momentum. CJ Beathard will get to start before the season is over.
RB Carlos Hyde
, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 45 - 0, Rec: 6 - 32 - 0 (6 targets) - Hyde was primed for a big game, but the 49ers couldn't sustain drives and get him in a rhythm. He got to the second level on multiple runs and ran with great burst and power. The Panthers tough linebackers met him with equal force at the end of runs to limit his yards after contact. Hyde was used more as a receiver in the second half and looked good in the role. He was the red zone offense on a late drive deep into Panthers territory but couldn't crack the Panthers defense for a score.
RB Matt Breida
, 12 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 11 - 0 - Breida got some work to spell Carlos Hyde
and looked quick through the hole, but won't value unless Hyde goes down.
RB Kyle Juszczyk
, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (4 targets) - Juszczyk got the first target of the game, but also had a few drops and couldn't convert a fourth-down opportunity. He'll be part of this offense, but the volume and talent level aren't enough to create fantasy value.
WR Pierre Garcon
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 81 - 0 (10 targets) - Garcon got open easily all day and also added value with hard-nosed running after the catch. With better pass-blocking, he could have had 8 or 9 catches and 100 yards receiving. Garcon didn't shy after from tacklers or have any problems creating separation off of the line. He broke a tackle for a long gain on a fourth down reception and is clearly the primary option in the passing game.
WR Marquise Goodwin
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (6 targets) - Goodwin got one good deep shot from Hoyer that he couldn't haul in and was overthrown on another that he had at least a step on his opponent. Later he was featured more as a short-range receiver and even got a red zone target in the end zone. Goodwin was getting a big cushion on an easy first-down creating reception and looks like he'll be a steady part of the gameplan every week.
TE George Kittle
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 27 - 0 (6 targets) - Kittle was a surprise active after being listed as questionable a hamstring injury. He got a handful of short receptions where the 49ers were asking him to beat the first tackler to create a larger play and he couldn't. Still, his role size was encouraging for a rookie and as he gets healthier, he could approach fantasy relevance in deeper leagues.
Seattle Seahawks 9, Green Bay Packers 17
What you need to know
- The Seahawks defense and special teams are the only things that make this look like a remotely close game. The D did a great job of (mostly) shutting down Aaron Rodgers
and Co., and in week 1, looks ready for prime time. The special teams unit kept giving the ball to Green Bay with terrible field position. Meanwhile, the offense struggled mightily. Most glaring was an offensive line that played a bit like a sieve, while QB Russell Wilson
ran for his life. The running game did him no favors either, as they were not able to establish any presence on the ground. Seattle was miraculously up 3-0 at halftime, and only gave up a score after Wilson turned over the ball on their own 5 yard line in the 3rd quarter.
Green Bay Packers
- The Packers are committed to Ty Montgomery
in the backfield, but he’s already nicked up. So
it’s worth keeping an eye on Jamaal Williams
and seeing how they work him in as the season
progresses. Williams is a solid back with some upside, so having him as a handcuff could be a
smart move given there are concerns about Montgomery’s ability to stay healthy.
The other thing to note is how crowded the Packers receiving options are. Yes, Jordy Nelson
will get the bulk of Aaron Rodgers
’ love across the length of the season, but are we trusting that
continues to get consistent No. 2 targets? Or will we see Davante Adams
next week against Atlanta, only to get replaced by Martellus Bennett
the following week? For
NFL purposes, this is an embarrassment of riches, but for fantasy purposes, it’s a little bit of a
QB Russell Wilson
, 49 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 27 - 158 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 40 - 0 - On the first play from scrimmage, Wilson had to scramble and threw incomplete. Second play was a complete pass for negative yardage, and third was a repeat of the first. And so it went. There was barely a drive in the entire game in which Wilson was not running for his life on passing plays. On the plus side, Wilson’s mobility is not in question, as he looked fast and nimble scrambling on the majority of passing plays – and on his two rushes. Wilson had a few chances at TD throws but was just off on each of them, and in most cases the throw seemed rushed. He spread the ball around, which will be one of the keys to a successful offense, but too often missed on the big throws. Despite the trouble with offensive line, the Seahawks first half schedule is relatively weak; expect a bounce back of some sort. The biggest blemish was his turnover at the Seahawks 5 yard line, which turned out to be a game changer.
RB Chris Carson
, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 39 - 0, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets) - Carson has the most upside here and is worth taking a flyer on, but his rushing line of 6-39 should be taken with a grain of salt, as he gained 30 yards on one of those carries. Carson made a quick reverse cut and was able to get outside, showing good speed and elusiveness on the play, which is pretty much the best thing that can be said about any Seahawks running back in this game. Carson also looked impressive catching with his readiness, catching the ball out of the backfield with his QB under pressure. Depending on how Thomas Rawls
looks upon his return, you can expect Carson to at least share the load in week 2 versus the 49ers.
RB Eddie Lacy
, 7 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 3 - 0 - With Thomas Rawls
declared out, Lacy had a prime chance to prove his naysayers wrong, but he did nothing of the sort. He looked sluggish hitting the line and was not targeted as a receiver. It can’t be said enough that the Seahawks offensive line was atrocious, but compared to the other backs, Lacy paled in comparison. In the end, he gave way to both C.J. Prosise
and rookie Chris Carson
, finishing with a paltry 7 (yes, seven!) offensive snaps on the day. When Rawls returns it would be a surprise to no one if Lacy were benched completely, or even cut.
RB C.J. Prosise
, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 11 - 0 - Prosise has been touted as the 3rd down back but was under-utilized in the role this week. He had more playing time than Lacy and less than Carson. In theory, his workload shouldn’t be effected by theirs, but time will tell going forward as the RB shuffle works itself out.
WR Doug Baldwin
, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -3 - 0, Rec: 4 - 63 - 0 (4 targets) - Baldwin was held in check for most of the game, as was the entire Seattle offense. His first catch was early on, a quick hitch/screen pass which went exactly nowhere. In the 4th quarter, he caught one over the middle for a first down and followed up with a crossing route for about 7 yards before getting tackled. He is the undisputed number one on this team, and today’s mediocre showing was merely a reflection of the poor offensive game overall.
WR Paul Richardson
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 59 - 0 (7 targets) - Richardson looked good with his chances. Given the poor state of the O-line, he had to make a few quick turnaround catches, something that he did quite well. Wilson targeted Richardson near the goal line on one play, but the pass was off target. Of note is that Richardson played significantly more snaps than Tyler Lockett
. If he retains that role, he should have some fantasy value on most weeks.
WR Tyler Lockett
, 26 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (3 targets) - Lockett’s snap count was presumably held back some as he is coming back from last season’s broken leg injury. He looked as though back to health in every way. It will be interesting to see if he comes back fully to the #2 WR role, or if the Seahawks will continue to use him purely as a slot/3rd receiver. Lockett looked dangerous on his kickoff returns – he appears to be back 100% from his broken leg. It’s hard to say from one game whether he will eventually fill the #2 WR shoes, but for now he is behind Paul Richardson
on the depth chart.
WR Amara Darboh
, 5 offensive snaps (1 targets) - After a terrible pre-season, the Seahawks want to see what Darboh is capable of. In this one, he made one pretty spectacular catch near the goal line. Only problem? He was airborne and with 3 defenders on him already, had zero chance of landing in bounds.
WR Tanner McEvoy
, 9 offensive snaps (2 targets) - McEvoy is an afterthought in the offense, but gets mention because he was targeted in the end zone. He’s a big man but was strangely thrown to very low. He was in position to catch it, too, but the pass was underthrown.
TE Jimmy Graham
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 8 - 0 (7 targets) - Graham was targeted often but still finished with a subpar line. He was too often the check down option on 3rd and long – and too often left blocking to help out the porous offensive line. He showed uncharacteristically bad hands with a couple of drops that shouldn’t have been. The saving grace here is that he was a top target, something that you couldn’t say last season for every game. That, and he remains a key red zone target for Russell Wilson
QB Aaron Rodgers
, 82 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 42 - 311 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 7 - 21 - 0 - The Packers offense has started slow the last few years and things looked to be going that way
again early in this game., but Aaron Rodgers
hung in there and eventually his receivers woke
up. Rodgers did see a lot of pressure throughout the game, and was sacked four times, three of
them coming in the second quarter. The offensive line did a better job in the second half,
though, and between Rodgers’ ability with his legs and the improved line play, the passing
offense really took off. There were signs it was primed to, as despite the pressure Rodgers
managed to pass for 153 yards and, more critically, eight first downs. He was picked off once,
but that was balanced out by Rodgers’ consistent ability to bark the aggressive Seahawks
defensive line offsides and get a free play. Eventually, Rodgers had chipped away enough at
the Seattle defense to where they gave up a touchdown to Jordy Nelson
. It actually came on
one of Rodgers’ free plays as well, as he caught the Seahawks with too many men on the field
and risked a deep throw down the middle of the field where he got the ball to Nelson for the
score. One thing to note about Rodgers’ ending stats. While he only ended the day with one
pick, he had two nullified by penalties. While they were a credit to the defense the Seahawks
plays, it is unusual to see Rodgers dodge that many bullets in a game and a sign that, in some
ways, Rodgers and the passing offense seemed just as off as they were early last year.
RB Ty Montgomery
, 74 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 54 - 1, Rec: 4 - 39 - 0 (4 targets) - This was Montgomery’s chance to prove he should have the full load of carries, but his paltry
2.8 yards per carry is a little concerning. Still, the Packers look like they are dedicated to making
him the main back, and gave him 23 touches to erase any doubt observers had. The Seahawks
are a tough run defense though, and they hit him at the line regularly and swarmed him on the
rare occasions when he got free. He did look good running the ball on his touchdown, which
came after the defense forced a fumble during a sack of Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson
That score showed you a couple of things to like as Montgomery was quick to get the ball,
showed good vision to find the seam, then a nice ability to get skinny and get through early
traffic. Montgomery was stopped at about the one and bulled his way over the goal line for the
first Packers touchdown of the year. Montgomery did leave the game briefly with an ankle or
foot issue, but came back in.
RB Jamaal Williams
, 6 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 9 - 0 - Williams only got some carries when Ty Montgomery
was briefly sidelined with an ankle injury.
He’s clearly the next man up if something happens to Montgomery, but aside from that it doesn’t
appear he will get much work if that doesn’t happen
WR Randall Cobb
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 85 - 0 (13 targets) - Things got off to a better start for Cobb this year, as he was targeted almost as much in the first
game as he maxed out with in any one game last year. He caught most of them too, so perhaps
he has put a train-wreck of a 2016 behind him. Cobb looked confident and sharp throughout the
game and was absolutely Aaron Rodgers
’ favorite target of the day. Head coach Mike McCarthy
told everyone in preseason that he wanted Cobb to see the ball more, and it is very clear he
WR Jordy Nelson
, 76 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 79 - 1 (8 targets) - While Nelson didn’t see as many targets as Randall Cobb
, he made the most critical one. His
touchdown came near the end of the third quarter when Aaron Rodgers
, as Aaron Rodgers
does, saw the Seahawks had too many men on the field and sent Nelson on a seam route
downfield. Nelson got open, made the catch and stretched the Packers’ lead to eight points,
which turned out to be insurmountable.
WR Davante Adams
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 47 - 0 (7 targets) - Adams was third in the pecking order among Packers wide receivers and struggled at times to
reel in his targets. Overall he looked as good as he normally does—his routes are fine and he
has speed—but he has to do better than miss half his targets especially with the amount of
choices Aaron Rodgers
has to throw to.
TE Martellus Bennett
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 43 - 0 (6 targets) - Bennett had some good moments—a 26-yard reception to ice the game in the fourth
quarter—and some bad ones, such as when he drew an unnecessary roughness penalty near
the end of the third quarter. For what it’s worth, he was protecting Aaron Rodgers
, who took a
hit while sliding near the sideline and that’s one of those penalties most coaches and fans are
TE Lance Kendricks
, 21 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (4 targets) - Kendricks actually saw four targets which is more than we expected from a guy who will
primarily be a blocker.
Indianapolis Colts 9, Los Angeles Rams 46
What you need to know
- The Colts offense had an abysmal performance against the Rams. Scott Tolzien
was unable to make good decisions and avoid pressure. Tolzien had 2 interceptions that were returned for touchdowns and made another throw to Moncrief that could have been a 3rd. Tolzien seemed unresponsive to pressure, making no effort to move or escape the pocket. Tolzien was benched for Jacoby Brissett
who orchestrated a touchdown drive upon entering the game. TY Hilton and Donte Moncrief
both showed they are still dynamic playmakers but are in need of more consistent quarterback play to fantasy relevant. Jack Doyle
caught 2 passes for 21 and 20 yards early in the game but was not involved in the offense as the game progressed. Marlon Mack
showed off his playmaking ability with a 21 yard catch that may have been a touchdown and a 24 yard run but also lost a fumble.
Los Angeles Rams
- The Rams dominated this game from the start of it they were incredibly efficient from a passing standpoint in this offense. Jared Goff
has developed nicely compared to where he was last year looking comfortable and in command of this offense. Todd Gurley
ís running remains a concern as he averaged just 2.1 yards per carry in this game as he was unable to get anything going in this game. Cooper Kupp
was terrific as he is a legitimate deep threat in this offense averaging 19 yards per reception in this game and continued his terrific form that we saw in the preseason.
QB Scott Tolzien
, 41 offensive snaps, Pass: 9 - 18 - 128 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0 - Scott Tolzien
’s first throw was to TY Hilton who was blanketed by Trumaine Johnson
. Johnson undercut the pass and returned the interception 39 yards for a touchdown. The pocket was collapsing around Tolzien when he threw but Hilton was never open. Tolzien was able to orchestrate some successful offense. Tolzien completed passes of 21, 20, 21, 10 and 16 before missing Kamar Aiken
downfield for a potential big third down conversion. Tolzien was able to make a few plays but could not find consistency and he did not receive much help from his team. Tolzien was sacked on the Colts next two possessions forcing the Colts into difficult down and distances the offense could not overcome. Tolzien’s second half included the same mistakes and failures as the first half without the positive plays. The Colts first 4 possessions of the 2nd half totaled -1 yards, 2 sacks and a pick six. Tolzien tried to find TY Hilton in the flat but was undercut by Lamarcus Joyner who intercepted the pass and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. Tolzien was replaced by Jacoby Brissett
RB Marlon Mack
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 24 - 1, Rec: 1 - 21 - 0 (1 targets) - Marlon Mack
showed his playmaking ability and that he will have a role in this offense going forward. The Colts got Mack involved early as receiver and featured him as a runner inside the Rams 5 yardline. Mack was knocked out of bounds at the 1 yard line after gaining 21 yards on a simple check down from Tolzien. Mack showed impressive burst on the play. Mack received 2 carries from inside the 5 yard line the following two plays but could not find the end zone. Mack got the edge thanks to a nice block from Donte Moncrief
and ran down the sideline for 24 yards. Marlon Mack
got another opportunity to score from inside the 5 yard line and took advantage with a 3 yard touchdown. The ensuing offensive play Mack got stood up in the backfield and was stripped. The fumble went into the Colts end zone but was recovered by Jacoby Brissett
for a safety.
RB Frank Gore
, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 42 - 0, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets) - Frank Gore
saw more snaps and the same number of touches as Marlon Mack
and played well. Gore picked up 42 yards on his 10 carries compared to 24 for Mack. The game script makes it hard to predict usage going forward because the Colts trailed by a large margin the majority of the game. Gore followed a nice block from Anthony Costanzo and picked up 16 yards running off tackle. Gore caught a screen pass and fought through tacklers for a gain of 10.
WR T.Y. Hilton
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 57 - 0 (7 targets) - TY Hilton looked like the same dynamic player who made huge plays for the Colts last season. Hilton made his first catch running a shallow crossing route for a 10 yard gain but had the ball punched out of his hands as he dove for additional yardage by Trumaine Johnson
. Hilton made a 16 yard grab along the sideline beating Johnson on his next target. Hilton beat Kayvon Webster down the seam for a 32 yard gain.
WR Kamar Aiken
, 26 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (2 targets) - Kamar Aiken
gained separation running a deep crossing route but Tolzien’s throw was late and behind Aiken allowing the defender to knock the pass away. Aiken made his first catch early in the 3rd quarter running a shallow crossing route for a 3 yard gain.
WR Donte Moncrief
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 50 - 0 (4 targets) - Donte Moncrief
did not see his first target until late in the 3rd quarter. Moncrief caught his first pass from Jacoby Brissett
running a 9 route but the throw was essentially a jump ball Moncrief hauled in for a 50 yard gain.
TE Jack Doyle
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 41 - 0 (3 targets) - Jack Doyle
saw a couple of targets early in the game but became a nonfactor with Tolzien’s struggles. Doyle ran a shallow crossing route, beat his man, and escaped down the sideline for 21 yards. Doyle got wide open thanks to a busted coverage the ensuing play and picked up 20 more yards down the seam.
QB Jared Goff
, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 29 - 306 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0 - Jared Goff
continues the development that we saw in the preseason. The matchup was a good one heading into this week against a Colts defense that is without Vontae Davis, but Goff was able to throw for his first 300 yard game of his career. The offensive line gave Goff all the time in the world to throw which allowed him to progress through his receivers very nicely. His best throw of the day was in the second quarter in which he hit rookie tight end Gerald Everett
on a corner route in which Goff was able to place the ball perfectly to where only Everett could catch it.
RB Todd Gurley
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 40 - 1, Rec: 5 - 56 - 0 (6 targets) - Todd Gurley
looked the same as he did in 2016 which is disappointing as we had hoped that we would see some improvement since his disappointing year last year after not seeing much from him in the preseason. The issue continues to be that he has too many runs where he does not get any yardage as 9 of his 22 carries went for one yard or less. Gurley was able to find the end zone on a goal line shotgun carry where he was stopped at the one but a second effort found the end zone. The bright spot for Gurley is that he was productive in the passing game which made up for the lack of productivity in the rushing game. Gurley highlight was a play-action dump off pass that he was able to find open space to turn it into a 23 yard gain.
WR Sammy Watkins
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 58 - 0 (5 targets) - Sammy Watkins
played a role that we are typically not used to seeing him in, as he was used in short to intermediate routes in this game. He was able to catch all five of his targets including a 24 yard reception where Watkins made a nice adjustment to his route 14 yards downfield to find the soft spot in the zone defense and was able to run for an additional 10 yards after the catch.
WR Cooper Kupp
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 76 - 1 (6 targets) - The rookie continues to be the one of the bright spots in this offense. The rookie out of Eastern Washington is showing why he was the most productive wide receiver in college football history. Kupp connected with Jared Goff
for a touchdown on a deep crossing route in which he just ran past the wide receiver for an easy touchdown. Kupp made a great one-handed catch in which Goff overthrew him but Kupp was able to tip the ball to himself to make the catch on the run.
WR Robert Woods
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 53 - 0 (5 targets) - Robert Woods
was a surprise in this game as he was involved in down-field routes compared to his history as a possession receiver. Woods was able to connect with Goff on a deep crossing route in which Goff was able to hit him on the run for 27 yards. Woods led the wide receivers in snap counts as he was on the field for 66% of the offensive plays which is very encouraging moving forward for Woods.
WR Tavon Austin
, 7 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 11 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - Austin appears to have lost his role in this new Sean McVay offense as he was only on the field for 7 offensive plays in this game after being on the field 72% of the plays last season.
Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Cleveland Browns 18
What you need to know
- Steelers play was undisciplined as they committed 13 penalties for 144 yards. The Steelers were dominated in time of possession during the first quarter as they held the ball for only 2 minutes and 33 seconds. Most of that time was spent in a possession stifled due to offensive holding penalties. Special teams made an impact by scoring the first touchdown of the game when Anthony Chickillo recovered a blocked Browns punt in the end zone. Throughout the game, the Browns defense focused on stopping the rushing game and left plenty of room by playing off the Steelers receivers. The Steelers countered with quick short passes to Antonio Brown
and Jesse James
- Cleveland rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer
showed well in his NFL debut. He led his team on two touchdown scoring drives, passing for one touchdown and running for another. While he played well, he did make some rookie mistakes. Kizer held onto the ball too long on several plays, taking seven sacks against the Steelers. He overthrew a few targets and an underthrown ball led to him throwing his lone interception of the afternoon. One last tidbit to note: Duke Johnson
didn't see any handoffs in the game, instead mostly lining up as a receiver. Rookie Matthew Dayes
appeared to be operating more as Isaiah Crowell
's backup, seeing five touches in a reserve role. This is a development worth keeping an eye on going forward.
QB Ben Roethlisberger
, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 36 - 263 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - -8 - 0 - Ben Roethlisberger
produced a solid game-winning performance with 24 completions on 36 pass attempts for 263 yards and 2 touchdowns. The offense started out of the spread formation passing the ball on the Steelers first five plays. However, offensive holding penalties quickly stopped any momentum. The offense struggled getting into rhythm until late in the 2nd quarter when Roethlisberger targeted Antonio Brown
on three consecutive passes which resulted in gains of 50, 11, and 19 yards. Roethlisberger finished the 7 play 91-yard drive by completing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jesse James
. On the 3rd and goal, Roethlisberger placed the ball in a small window in the middle of the end zone. Roethlisberger finished the half with 13 completions on 20 pass attempts for 148 yards and 1 touchdown. Mid 3rd quarter, Roethlisberger led a 6 play 75-yard drive which concluded with his second touchdown pass of the afternoon to James. On the drive, Roethlisberger completed passes of 14 yards to Martavis Bryant
and 10 yards to Le’Veon Bell. On 3rd and goal, Roethlisberger found James peeling off of his block for the short touchdown pass. Early 4th quarter on a 3rd and 9, a pass intended for Martavis Bryant
was tipped and intercepted by the Browns.
RB LeVeon Bell
, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 32 - 0, Rec: 3 - 15 - 0 (6 targets) - Le’Veon Bell finished with only 13 touches and he did not receive his first touch until the final play of the first quarter. He did not have any room to run on the limited amount of touches that he was given. At halftime, Bell totaled 4 rushes for 8 yards and 1 reception for 6 yards. Bell’s timing with Ben Roethlisberger
was also off on multiple short passes throughout the game. Mid 3rd quarter, Bell caught a short pass for a 10-yard reception. Bell had rushing opportunities on first and second and goal but came up short of the end zone. Late 4th quarter, Bell finished the game with a 15-yard gain while running off the right tackle.
RB James Conner
, 8 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 11 - 0 - James Conner
entered the game during the Steelers 3rd offensive possession but did not make an impact with his first two rushes. Late 3rd quarter, Conner was in to start his second series of the game by running up the middle for a 5-yard gain. He didn’t have any success the rest of that possession.
WR Antonio Brown
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 11 - 182 - 0 (11 targets) - Antonio Brown
was the focal point of the Steelers passing game finishing with 11 receptions on 11 targets for 182 yards. Mid 2nd quarter, Brown ran an out-route for 10-yard reception. Late 2nd quarter, Brown was targeted on three consecutive plays. The first was a 50-yard reception where Brown ran a slant and caught a tipped pass before dashing up the middle of the field. Brown followed that up on the next play by running a drag route for a 11-yard reception. On the following play, Brown caught a short pass and ran for a 19-yard gain. Brown finished the half with 6 receptions for 102 yards. Early 4th quarter on 3rd and 3, Brown caught a short pass for a 9-yard reception. A couple of plays later, Brown found a soft spot in the defense for a 16-yard reception. Mid 4th quarter on 3rd and 4, Brown ran a slant for a 12-yard reception. Brown displayed amazing concentration on the play as the ball was tipped and he completed the reception while a defender was hanging on his arm. Late 4th quarter, Brown ran a crossing-route and came down with a phenomenal 38-yard reception while defended on the right sideline.
WR Martavis Bryant
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (6 targets) - Martavis Bryant
struggled early dropping an easy pass and tipping another pass that almost resulted in an interception. Mid 2nd quarter, Bryant caught a quick pass but the Browns defense was there to meet him and the play resulted in no gain. Mid 3rd quarter, Bryant ran a comeback-route for a 14-yard reception.
WR Eli Rogers
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (4 targets) - Eli Rogers
had a quiet afternoon with only receptions. Early 2nd quarter, Eli Rogers
ran a short curl route which resulted in a 9-yard reception.
TE Jesse James
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 41 - 2 (8 targets) - Jesse James
made an impact in the short passing game with 6 receptions for 41 yards and 2 touchdowns. Early 2nd quarter on a 3rd and 10, James was left uncovered and hauled in an easy 19-yard reception. Late 2nd quarter on a 3rd and goal, James ran a slant route for a 4-yard touchdown reception. On the play, James found an open spot in the middle of the end zone and showed good concentration completing the reception. Mid 3rd quarter while on 3rd and goal, James ran a tight end screen pass for a 2-yard touchdown reception. Late 4th quarter, James caught a short pass for an 8-yard reception.
QB DeShone Kizer
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 30 - 222 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 17 - 1 - Kizer did some good things against a tough Steelers pass rush on Sunday. He also made some rookie mistakes, as would be expected. He once again showed the arm talent that made him one of the top collegiate quarterbacks in last year's draft class before he went back to school. Kizer threw several off-balance strikes to his receivers and also had a great back-shoulder completion to Corey Coleman
. He did overthrow a few receivers who were open, including Duke Johnson
, who had Joe Haden beat and may have scored a touchdown had the pass been on target. Kizer's main issue is that he continues to hold onto the ball too long. He took seven sacks on Sunday, mostly on plays where he was moving around in the pocket and not getting the ball out quick enough. He did come close to completing a touchdown pass to David Njoku
in the first quarter, but Njoku was held and drew a pass interference flag around the Pittsburgh two-yard line. Kizer showed the ability to make plays with his legs, running a quarterback sneak for the Browns' first touchdown of the game.
RB Isaiah Crowell
, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 33 - 0, Rec: 2 - 33 - 0 (2 targets) - Crowell's best series came on the first drive of the game. He broke a few five-yard runs, although the second one was nullified by offensive holding. After that, Crowell starting having trouble finding room to operate. He was consistently stuffed at or near the line of scrimmage during the game. He did see a red zone carry from the Pittsburgh 11 yard line in the third quarter, but was quickly brought down for a two-yard gain. His best pickup of the game came on a short pass in the fourth quarter which he turned into a 23-yard gain by weaving through would-be tacklers. While the Browns have a good run-blocking offensive line, it was clear that the Steelers loaded up on stopping him in order to force DeShone Kizer
to beat them.
RB Matthew Dayes
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 7 - 0, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (2 targets) - With Duke Johnson
playing almost exclusively at wide receiver, Dayes saw the allotment of backup running back touches. The rookie even earned a red zone carry in the fourth quarter, although he was stuffed soon after touching the ball.
RB Duke Johnson
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (5 targets) - The Browns talked about using Johnson in the slot and as a receiver more this season and they did just that on Sunday. Johnson didn't receive a carry, although he did see five targets in the passing game. He got free against the Pittsburgh defense twice, but was overthrown by DeShone Kizer
on both instances. He could have had a big game had Kizer been able to find him on at least one of those. He did limp off the field at one point in the third quarter, but returned soon after.
WR Corey Coleman
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 53 - 1 (6 targets) - Coleman and rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer
continue to show nice chemistry together. Coleman and Kizer hooked up for several completions, including an impressive back-shoulder catch in the third quarter. Coleman also had what would have been a big gain erased by a pass interference penalty against the defense. Coleman did notch a receiving touchdown in the fourth quarter on a short-slant from three yards out. He took a huge hit at the goal line but was able to hold on for the score.
WR Kenny Britt
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (3 targets) - Britt's sluggish preseason carried over to the regular season against the Steelers. Britt made only one catch, a 13-yard grab on an out route in the third quarter. He and DeShone Kizer
also had a miscommunication on a route in the second quarter as Kizer threw the ball toward the sideline while Britt went down the middle of the field. Britt also committed a bad drop on the team's second-to-last drive of the game. He was wide open on the play and would have picked up at least 20 yards, but he tried to turn and run with the ball before securing the catch.
TE Seth DeValve
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 42 - 0 (5 targets) - DeValve made several big catches for the Browns against the Steelers, including a big catch to convert fourth-and-two in the fourth quarter. He had a step on his man in the second quarter, but was slightly overthrown and was unable to make a leaping catch. While he doesn't get as much notoriety as rookie tight end David Njoku
, DeValve appears to be a big part of the Cleveland offense this season.
TE David Njoku
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (2 targets) - Njoku wasn't targeted heavily in the game, but his red zone usage in his first game was encouraging. Njoku saw a pass come his way right near the goal line during the first quarter. He reached up to make the catch but was interfered with by the Pittsburgh defender, leading to a pass interference penalty which put the ball on the Pittsburgh three-yard line. Later, on Pittsburgh's 10-yard line, he caught a short pass in the flat which he turned into a seven-yard pickup. This time he was one broken tackle away from his first NFL touchdown. Njoku is a big, athletic target for Cleveland and could be a player to watch in the red zone as he gains more experience.
Kansas City Chiefs 42, New England Patriots 27
What you need to know
Kansas City Chiefs
- The Kansas City Chiefs kicked off the NFL season by shocking the New England Patriots, 42-27 in a week one win. It wasn’t just that the Chiefs won, but how they pulled off their victory. Gone was the ball control offense of years past, replaced by a more up-tempo passing game that showcased the speed that the Chiefs have at the skill positions. Alex Smith
was 28 of 35 for 368 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing five times for three years. Rookie Kareem Hunt
was the star of the night, rushing 17 times for 148 yards and a touchdown, and chipping in five catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Tyreek Hill
continued to be a force on offense, catching seven passes for 133 yards and one touchdown. Travis Kelce
was largely quite for the night, catching five passes for 40 yards.
New England Patriots
- Danny Amendola
was the top target but left with a concussion. Rob Gronkowski
was shut down by Eric Berry, and Chris Hogan
was shut down by Marcus Peters. Mike Gillislee
had the full LeGarrette Blount
role and scored three times, limiting Tom Brady
's line on a tough night for the quarterback.
QB Alex Smith
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 35 - 368 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 3 - 0 - Alex Smith
played the game of his life against the Patriots in week one, completing 28 of 35 passes for 368 yards and four touchdowns. Smith has survived in the NFL by being an extremely accurate passer, while minimizing his mistakes and keeping his team in the game. He displayed a willingness to take shots down the field that was not there in recent years, which is interesting considering the Chiefs let Jeremy Maclin
- who is more of a prototypical #1 wide receiver than Hill- go in the off season. Smith’s best asset is his accuracy, and he did an incredible job of hitting his wide receivers in stride to take advantage of their speed on the outside. He was able to connect on a 75 yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill
, and a 78 yard touchdown to Kareem Hunt
. A lack of explosive plays have kept the Chiefs from advancing in the playoffs in recent years, but if Thursday was any indication of things to come in Kansas City, the AFC may have a new representative in the Super Bowl this season.
RB Kareem Hunt
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 148 - 1, Rec: 5 - 98 - 2 (5 targets) - Spencer Ware
’s injury may have been a blessing in disguise for the Chiefs, as Ware’s plodding nature was replaced by Kareem Hunt
’s bruising running style that was able to wear down the Patriots defense. After fumbling on the first run of his career, Hunt rebounded to rush 17 times for 148 yards and a touchdown, while also catching five passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Hunt did not look the part of a rookie, wasting no motion behind the line of scrimmage and routinely getting downhill and attacking the second level of Patriots defenders. His offensive line did a great job neutralizing the Patriots defensive line, and then Hunt made the secondary pay time after time. Considering the fact that Hunt was able to break off a 58 yard run, and a 78 yard touchdown catch, the Chiefs would be wise to get him the ball as much as possible in the coming weeks.
WR Tyreek Hill
, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0, Rec: 7 - 133 - 1 (8 targets) - Tyreek Hill
got off to a fast start this season, catching seven passes for 133 yards and one touchdown against a talented Patriots secondary. This included a 75 yard touchdown catch where Hill ran a straight go route and left the Patriots secondary in the dust. Alex Smith
delivered an accurate pass that traveled around 50 yards in the air, which is about as far as Smith has ever been able to throw the ball. There was not a Patriots defender within 15 yards of Hill when he caught the ball, which is a testament to his blazing speed as well as the Patriots being caught off guard by the Chiefs running deep routes. It is obvious that the Chiefs view Hill as their #1 receiver, and will use him in a variety of ways to get him the ball in space. He’s as exciting a player as there is in the NFL right now.
TE Travis Kelce
, 67 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 5 - 40 - 0 (7 targets) - After putting the Chiefs offense on his back last season, Kelce was largely a spectator in Kansas City’s week one win against the Patriots. He caught five passes for 40 yards on nine targets, and although he did not have a great game by his standards, he played a big role in freeing up both Hunt and Hill in space. The Patriots came into the game knowing that Kelce could beat them in the middle of the field, and they game planned against that. What they hadn’t considered was that by focusing their defenders between the hash marks, they were giving the Chiefs exactly what they wanted, space on the outside to showcase their blazing speed. This was evident on Tyreek Hill
’s 75 yard touchdown catch. Hill and Kelce were lined up tight on the right side of the formation. Kelce took the inside position and immediately started up the center of the field, while Hill faked like he was running an eight yard out-route to the right sideline. As Kelce continued veering inside, the safety help over the top took an angle on him. Instead of breaking off his route, Hill went to the right sideline and then up the field on a double move. The result was a long touchdown where there was not a Patriots defender within the camera frame of Hill as he caught the ball. Without Kelce running his route the way he did, there is no way the Patriots leave Hill on the outside with no safety help over the top. It was one of those rare instances where a play works out perfectly, especially against such a talented and disciplined team like the Patriots.
QB Tom Brady
, 81 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 36 - 267 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 0 - 0 - If it seems like it's been years since Tom Brady
has played this poorly, you're right. It was clear that the offense missed safety valve Julian Edelman
, and Brady showed some serious rust, missing several throws he would normally make. It started with the first throw of the game, when Brady overthrew a wide open Dwayne Allen
on a medium length pass. To be fair, there were often times his receivers were blanketed throughout several plays. The 27 points the Patriots put up were also aided by an inordinate amount of Chiefs penalties. Make no mistake ñ the offense did not look good. Brady zero touchdowns could have been different as there were two P.I. instances in the end zone, which gave the running game the scores instead. Danny Amendola
was also concussed during the game, which takes away an additional safety blanket for Brady. Going forward, Brady is too good to have more performances like this, but the offense may take some time to gel.
RB Mike Gillislee
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 45 - 3 - Gillislee operated as the clear goal line back, which was notable. It was an up and down game for Gillislee, who did score three times on short runs, but also whiffed on a couple key conversions, including on fourth down. His weekly touches may be volatile given the Patriots' stable of running backs, but it seems like the goal line touches will be his.
RB James White
, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 38 - 0, Rec: 3 - 30 - 0 (5 targets) - Despite having running back competition, White operated as the clear third down and hurry up back, even splitting wide at times. White also ran the ball 10 times, which indicates he'll be involved in the offense going forward. One of his blemishes was a route which wasn't run with proper depth, allowing Kansas City to tackle him just before the first down marker. With injuries to Edelman and Danny Amendola
, White may be relied upon even more for third downs, which is critical for his forward outlook.
RB Rex Burkhead
, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 15 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (3 targets) - Though he was hyped coming into the game, Burkhead only played 10 of 81 snaps for the Patriots offense. The semi-good news is that he was targeted or touched the ball on 6 of those snaps, including one end zone target. Even though this backfield will likely be fluid, Burkhead's role seems minimal right now.
RB Dion Lewis
, 6 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 9 - 0 - Lewis was the odd man out in the backfield, only receiving a couple carries. He did look good on a 5 yard gain he had, but his role seems fairly small right now.
WR Danny Amendola
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 100 - 0 (7 targets) - The good news was that Amendola was one of Brady's preferred targets and paced the team in receptions and yards. The bad news is that Amendola was concussed in the second half of the game, and may be looking at an absence from games. The injury actually happened on a punt return, an area the Patriots are extremely thin at right now. Amendola also lost a fumble, which is a big no-no in Patriots world, and ran a crucial route just short of the first down line, a clear mental error. Amendola will be a factor when healthy, but that ‘when' is anyone's guess.
WR Chris Hogan
, 73 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 17 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (5 targets) - Expectations were high for Hogan, but he simply could not produce against the Chiefs. He was well covered for most of the game, and in fact had more carries than catches, as the Patriots used him on 3 reverse sweeps with mixed results. Hogan should see more success in the future, but will remain a volatile asset on a week to week basis.
WR Brandin Cooks
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 88 - 0 (7 targets) - Brandin Cooks
had a couple highlights on the day, but still has some work to do in terms of rapport with Tom Brady
. He showed off his wheels on a 54 yard deep catch, which he caught in stride. Cooks also drew two critical P.I. penalties in the Chiefs end zone, setting up touchdowns for Mike Gillislee
. Expect him to be a huge part of the game plan for the year with Patriots receiver injuries mounting up.
TE Rob Gronkowski
, 78 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 33 - 0 (6 targets) - Gronk was well covered throughout most of the night by Eric Berry. His most notable play was a near touchdown catch that would have been a great diving grab, but upon further review, the ball dislodged itself when he hit the floor. Beyond that, it was a very quiet day, but things will get better soon given the injuries mounting up for the Patriots receiving corps.
Arizona Cardinals 23, Detroit Lions 35
What you need to know
- What elevated Sunday’s miscues beyond simple Week 1 struggles were that they were the offensive issues that dogged the team all summer. Did they have enough talent at wide receiver? Would the offensive line be able to protect Palmer? Which Palmer would show up? It would be a lot easier to write these off as struggles of a sluggish start had they not been questions surrounding this team for the last four months. While these issues appear to be legitimate causes for concern all season long, a week two matchup against the dilapidated Colts may be just the short-term remedy this team needs.
- Matthew Stafford
was efficient in the passing game with four touchdowns and one interception. He frequently targeted Golden Tate
who broke the century mark, while Kenny Golladay
debuted with two touchdowns, including a highlight diving catch where he slid into the end zone. In the running game, the offensive line struggled to create room for Ameer Abdullah
QB Carson Palmer
, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 48 - 269 - 1 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0 - After an offseason built around staying fresh, Palmer simply looked out of sync Sunday afternoon. Whether it was the frequently underthrown digs and outs, or the overthrows into the middle of the field that resulted in interceptions, Palmer simply could not connect. While Palmer deserves-and shouldered- a lion’s share of the blame for Sunday’s offensive futility, he was far from the only one to struggle. The offensive line’s inability to keep an average at best pass rush at bay undoubtedly contributed to Palmer’s rushed execution. Whether this was a singular sluggish effort or a harbinger of season-long offensive struggles remains to be seen, but the fact that offseason causes of concern have already materialized in week one is not a good sign.
RB David Johnson
, 46 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 23 - 0, Rec: 6 - 68 - 0 (9 targets) - The big news for Cardinals fans and Johnson fantasy owners was the wrist injury the star RB suffered. Reports indicate Johnson’s X-Ray was negative, but he'll still have surgery and miss 2-3 months. Before the injury however, Johnson struggled in the season opener. Fumbling twice, Johnson’s ball security was an issue all day, and largely was unable to find workable holes through the offensive line that generated no push all afternoon. Johnson’s lone big play, a 24-yard reception, came on an exceptional catch off a wheel route, setting up Kerwynn Williams
’ 3-yard touchdown.
RB Kerwynn Williams
, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 10 - 1, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets) - Despite the glory of scoring a touchdown, Williams did not a fare any better than Johnson when running against the Detroit defense on Sunday. Whether the team looks for additional help outside in the event of a long-term injury to Johnson remains to be seen, but Williams will serve as the primary back in that situation. Williams has seen success in games in which he has been more prominently featured, but with the Cardinals offensive line looking so ineffective, it is hard to imagine anyone having much success running behind it.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
, 74 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 74 - 0 (13 targets) - While Fitzgerald undoubtedly played the best of anyone involved in the Cardinals aerial attack, it still was not an entirely sharp game for the future Hall of Famer. Fitzgerald failed to wrangler in a few balls, including one that should have been a touchdown and another that nearly became an interception. With Johnson likely missing extended time, Fitzgerald will likely become the focal point of opposing defensive game plans.
WR John Brown
, 63 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 10 - 0, Rec: 4 - 32 - 0 (9 targets) - The majority of Brown’s success on Sunday came during the 2-minute drill before the first half. During that drive Brown was effective utilizing his speed to gain separation on dig and out routes. Unfortunately, that same speed never translated to any deep balls, whether due to Brown’s lingering hamstring injury or simply the Lions defensive game plan. Without the deep ball, Brown is still an effective offensive weapon, but far less an overall threat. Protection issues undoubtedly forced quicker reads and throws, further contributing to Brown’s struggles. Whether these are one-week or season-long offensive issues remains the million-dollar question.
WR J.J. Nelson
, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 43 - 1 (6 targets) - Coming off a disappointing preseason, Nelson did not fare much better week one. Despite catching the team’s only passing touchdown of the game, Nelson was largely a non-factor throughout much of the afternoon. His lone deep attempt, a 40+ yard throw down the left sideline, was badly dropped before being somewhat salvaged by a defensive unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. While Palmer made clear that much of the blame for the poor passing attack fell on his, not the wide receivers shoulders, it was hard not to feel like a sub-par group played a sub-par game. Even considering Fitzgerald’s credentials, this is a unit that lacks top-end talent. How much can be manufactured to overcome that remains to be seen, but Sunday showed little to inspire confidence in that idea. Nelson, and the rest of the receiving corps, simply must step their play up.
TE Jermaine Gresham
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 15 - 0 (4 targets) - Gresham picked up right where he left off in 2016; becoming more of a focal point of the offense while still impeding it with costly penalties. On Sunday, three of Gresham’s four targets were all in the red zone, one of which would have been a touchdown had it not been for Gresham’s own holding penalty. At this point the costly penalties seem so imbedded in Gresham’s game its foolish to expect otherwise. What is curious is the uptick in red zone targets. Is it a function of the lack of weapons elsewhere or a genuine desire to see him more involved in the passing attack with his newly minted contract extension? While neither reason would point to Gresham becoming a viable fantasy starter, it will be an interesting development to follow throughout the season.
QB Matthew Stafford
, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 41 - 292 - 4 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 14 - 0 - Matthew Stafford
was efficient completing 29 of his 41 passes. He targeted Golden Tate
12 times primarily in the short and intermediate area of the field. Stafford moved well in the pocket and avoided pressure to extend plays, including a scramble drill in the red zone to Marvin Jones
Jr. for a touchdown. Stafford also threw a touchdown to Kenny Golladay
for a corner route in the red zone that was well placed and capitalized on Golladay's size. Stafford was content early in the game to work the short and intermediate area of the field. Stafford showed comfort with Theo Riddick
repeatedly on third downs and targeted him on an option route in the red zone that Riddick ran for a touchdown after the catch. Stafford's deep ball was rare, but he made it count. With Detroit up 21 to 17 with less than five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Stafford hit WR Kenny Golladay
on a go route for a touchdown. Arizona had packed the box with eight defenders, leaving Golladay with single coverage on the play. Stafford led Golladay a little too far, forcing Golladay to dive and catch the ball and then slide into the endzone. Stafford had an interception on his first throw of the game which Justin Bethel returned for a touchdown. The throw was to Tate on a shallow cross where Tate got bumped running through a zone. Stafford tried to anticipate his route and throw Tate open, but Tate did not make the spot because of the contact, and Bethel stepped in for an easy interception.
RB Ameer Abdullah
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 30 - 0, Rec: 3 - 11 - 0 (4 targets) - Ameer Abdullah
started the game and was the clear lead back but did little with the opportunities. Abdullah's runs were limited by Detroit's offensive line which allowed penetration frequently. However, Abdullah did little beyond what was created. On one rare run where Abdullah had the opportunity to make a big run he tripped on a defensive lineman's hand. He also got one on one with Tyrann Mathieu on a cut back run, but was unable to make Mathieu miss and was tackled for little gain. As a ball carrier, Abdullah showed that he had a quick first step, but did little after contact. He showed little ability to make defenders miss or to break a tackle, even when he was one on one in space. Abdullah did see four targets in the passing game, catching three but was limited to 11 yards, on passes in the flat and a curl route. Abdullah was clearly behind Theo Riddick
in terms of backfield passing preference. Abdullah also gave up carries to Dwayne Washington
in the red zone and in short yardage situations.
RB Theo Riddick
, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 6 - 27 - 1 (7 targets) - Theo Riddick
was the clear passing preference out of the Detroit backfield throughout the game. Riddick scored a touchdown on a option route, where he ran to the middle of the field to catch the ball in the soft spot of a zone. After the catch, Riddick spun toward the right boundary to avoid two Arizona linebackers before diving into the end zone. Riddick was a reliable option for Stafford in the short passing game, which functioned as a replacement for the limited running game. On one third down and two, Riddick ran a check down route right to the line to gain and secured a catch while being immediately hit by an Arizona defender. He also had a 13-yard gain to start the two minute drill at the end of the second quarter to set up a Detroit field goal. While Riddick was locked in as the lead passing option out of the backfield, he was limited to one carry in the game.
RB Dwayne Washington
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 22 - 0 - Dwayne Washington
functioned as the goal line and short yardage back in replacing Ameer Abdullah
. He converted a short third down with additional linemen in the formation, and ran through contact at the second level. Washington served as the kick returner but misplayed a short kick creating bad field position for the Lions. Assuming he continues in the kick returning role, Washington is locked into the short yardage and goal line role as Detroit's third running back ahead of Zach Zenner
WR Golden Tate
, 63 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0, Rec: 10 - 107 - 0 (12 targets) - Golden Tate
led the team with 12 targets and dominated the short and intermediate area of the field. He was used frequently in screens and crossing routes, and added two running plays. One run on an end around was a 15-yard gain but was called back on a illegal block in the back. Tate was the focal point of the offense, and did not see coverage from Patrick Peterson, who instead shadowed Marvin Jones
, Jr. Tate did appear to experience pain in his left hand at multiple points during the game. He removed his glove after leaving the field, but there were no immediate visible signs of an injury. He returned to the game but again left the field after a catch because of pain in the same hand. Tate returned to the game again and finished without limitation, but was spotted with a split on his left ring finger after the game.
WR Kenny Golladay
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 69 - 2 (7 targets) - Kenny Golladay
flashed his promise during his first NFL game by catching two touchdowns passes. The first was a red zone target where Golladay used his size and frame to catch the ball above Justin Bethel. The second was a go route late in the fourth quarter. Golladay gained a release against Bethel and dove to catch the ball at the goal line before sliding into the end zone for the touchdown. Golladay made some mistakes including a drop with bad hand technique on third down that would have been a conversion. He was also targeted on an unsuccessful two-point conversion on a fade route. Golladay did not extend to high point the ball on the play, and as a result, Bethel was able to break the pass up. Golladay rotated in the game at the third wide receiver position with T.J. Jones
, but tied for the second most targets, and they came in high leverage situations.
WR Marvin Jones
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 37 - 1 (2 targets) - Marvin Jones
Jr was shadowed most of the day by Arizona CB Patrick Peterson. Jones was limited to two targets and converted both for catches. The first was on a scramble drill in the end zone where Jones created separation from Peterson by working back to Stafford along the sideline for a touchdown. The second was a deep out against zone coverage where Jones caught the ball behind Peterson along the sideline before making a safety miss and creating yards after the catch.
TE Eric Ebron
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (3 targets) - Eric Ebron
was limited in the game to three targets. He was moved around the formation, including on the outside where he ran a dig route for a third down conversion. However, his role was limited with the passing game running through Tate and the red zone targets going towards Golladay.
Oakland Raiders 26, Tennessee Titans 16
What you need to know
- The Raiders offense was outstanding. Carr missed a couple throws high, but made up for it with some elite throws into tight windows that only a few quarterbacks in the league can hit as consistently as Carr does. Amari Cooper
received a bunch of targets, including four inside the 10-yard line. His solid fantasy day was close to being a lot better. The unspectacular numbers for Marshawn Lynch
don’t tell the full story. He looked fantastic and could dominate in more favorable matchups.
- The Titans ran an uncharacteristically pass-heavy offense with 41 pass attempts to only 21 rushes in the loss to the Raiders. Marcus Mariota
made some great plays and sustained long drives, but was inefficient in the red zone outside of a 10-yard rushing touchdown. Demarco Murray found little room to run, while Delanie Walker
led the stat sheet amongst a crowded list of receivers with four players receiving eight or more targets.
QB Derek Carr
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 32 - 262 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0 - Carr was excellent and fully in control of the offense. He showed off his elite arm strength and accuracy on some difficult throws. He did sail a few easier throws, but overall was very good. It took the Raiders all of four plays (and two minutes) to go 50 yards and score their first touchdown of the season after the Titans attempted an onside kick to open the game. Carr completed all three of his passes for 36 yards on the opening drive, capped off by an 8-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper
. Cooper caught a short slant and did all of the heavy lifting in getting the ball into the end zone. The Carr-Cooper had some highlights, but also misfired quite a bit. Carr threw it over Cooper’s head on three different plays over the course of the game. The duo was also unable to hook up on three straight attempts from the 2-yard line. Carrying over a theme from last season, Carr was again masterful running the hurry-up offense. He drove the team 41 yards in 43 seconds for a field goal before half time. Carr’s best throw of the day was a bullet placed perfectly in between three defenders for a 19-yard touchdown to Seth Roberts
. He even looked off the safety before firing off the perfect pass.
RB Marshawn Lynch
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 76 - 0, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (2 targets) - Lynch looked fantastic in his Raiders debut. The explosiveness, power and quick feet that made him special in his prime were all present. Lynch took his first regular-season carry for Oakland 14 yards straight up the middle. Late in the first quarter, he showed definitively that he can still go into beast mode. On a 4th-and-1 carry inside the 5-yard line, he should have been stuffed for a loss. But he side-stepped the first tackler and then somehow powered forward for two extra yards when a second defender had him dead to rights in the backfield. One of the biggest differences between the 2017 Raiders and the 2016 team is having a back with the ability to make a play entirely on his own in short yardage. For some reason, the Raiders didn’t reward Lynch for the effort and threw the ball unsuccessfully three straight times from the 2-yard line before settling for a field goal. Lynch made things happen when he was able to touch the ball with some space to run. He took a screen pass for 16 yards down the right sideline, patiently setting up his blocks and then finishing the run strong for a couple extra yards. He lined up as a wide receiver on the next play and was open, but Carr airmailed the pass after the quick snap. Lynch ran hard in the second half and helped the Raiders bleed the clock and hang on for the win.
RB Jalen Richard
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 22 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets) - Richard was the third back in, but split snaps and touches pretty evenly with Washington. Richard had more success as a runner than Washington on a very small sample size against the Titans. But as long as Lynch is dominating the carries and Richard and Washington are sharing the backup job, neither has any fantasy value. Richard’s best play of the day came on a 3rd down reception over the middle. He got to the sticks and went low to snag the ball and held on despite a big hit.
RB DeAndre Washington
, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 4 - 0, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (2 targets) - Washington was the first back off the bench and took over for the third drive. After a few snaps, he gave way to Jalen Richard
. Any hope that Washington had created some separation and earned the role of primary backup to Lynch was quickly dashed however. Richard rotated in after a few snaps and the touches were again split evenly between the pair. As long as the two are splitting touches, neither will have any fantasy value. Washington’s biggest play came in the two-minute offense before halftime. He faked like he was going to pick up the blitzes then pirouetted and slipped out to catch a screen pass, turned up field and picked up 13 yards.
WR Michael Crabtree
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 83 - 0 (7 targets) - Crabtree had a strong day, showing a knack for making contested catches and an ability to make plays after the catch. Hisfirst catch of the season came back when he was whistled for offensive pass interference. There’s a fine line between savvy veteran hand play to create separation and pushing off that Crabtree often skirts. He made up for the mistake two plays later by drawing a 24-yard defensive pass interference call to keep the chains moving on 3rd-and-16. He looked spry after catching a short slant, shaking a tackle and accelerating upfield for a 25-yard gain into the red zone. Crabtree had a 17-yard contested catch down the right sideline later in the first half. He came close to drawing another offensive pass interference call on himself, but the referee held the flag. Crabtree was the go-to guy in the hurry up offense and made a pair of nice plays along the sideline to help get the Raiders into field goal range before halftime.
WR Amari Cooper
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 62 - 1 (13 targets) - There were some positive signs in Week 1 that Cooper could have the breakout season many expected, but also some signs that Cooper still has a ways to go to be a true lead receiver. On the positive side, he was the target of a whopping 41% of Carr’s passes on the day and almost doubled (13 to 7) Michael Crabtree
’s targets (and had another target wiped out by penalty). The negative was that Cooper still didn’t make the plays in the red zone that are expected from an elite receiver. Cooper started the 2017 season off with an impressive 8-yard touchdown in the first two minutes of the game. He caught a short slant at the 6-yard line, spun through an attempted tackle to somehow keep his feet and push forward. He was stood up at the 2-yard line, but his offensive line rushed in to push him across the goal line as he kept his feet churning. The second drive of the game, Cooper’s inexplicable red zone troubles reared their ugly head again. Carr and Cooper couldn’t connect on three straight attempts from the Titans 2-yard line. First, Carr fired a quick slant that bounced off Cooper’s hands. Cooper had his man beat but the throw was a little high and he wasn’t able to bring it in. The very next play, Carr again went to Cooper in the end zone. This time on a fade route that was batted away at the last second by the corner. Cooper had a shot at the difficult contested catch but couldn’t make the play. On the third play, Cooper was open in the back of the end zone but the ball was tipped by a linebacker and Cooper wasn’t able to adjust quickly enough to go down and make the catch. Instead of a big-time fantasy day, Cooper was merely solid due to not making the most of his opportunities to score. The very next drive, Carr went right back to Cooper on his first throw. Cooper caught the short pass, made two guys miss and weaved his way ahead for a 12-yard gain. Cooper had a 14-yard catch called back due to a penalty on the offensive line. Overall, it was a good day for Cooper. But there were some troubling signs that, despite the early touchdown, the frustrating lack of red zone success could remain an issue.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets) - The Raiders were creative in getting Patterson a couple early touches. He rushed for five yards on an end around, showing his power by running through the first tackle attempt. Deep in the red zone, Patterson lined up in the backfield as a running back next to Carr and caught a short swing pass. He managed just two yards as the corner made a nice open field tackle. He didn’t have a touch or target after the first quarter.
WR Seth Roberts
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 19 - 1 (1 targets) - Roberts is going to see less targets with the arrivals of Cordarrelle Patterson
and Jared Cook
. However, he looks like he’ll remain a red zone favorite for Carr. His only catch of the day was a 19-yard touchdown where he ran past the slot corner and Carr rifled it in before the safety could get over.
TE Jared Cook
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 56 - 0 (5 targets) - Cook looks to be the clear third target in the Raiders passing game. He was outstanding in his Oakland debut. Cook showed the wide receiver-like skills on his first two catches, easily separating from overmatched linebackers. His third catch was over the middle against tight coverage and Cook showed the hand strength to hold on and pull the ball in while a defender tried to knock it from his grasp. Cook’s fourth catch came on a short crossing route as the clock ticked down in the first half and put the Raiders into field goal range. If he continues to show reliable hands and playmaking ability, Cook has TE1 fantasy upside.
QB Marcus Mariota
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 41 - 256 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 26 - 1 - Marcus Mariota
had a mediocre day on the stat sheet as he completed 25 of 41 pass attempts for 256 passing yards and no touchdowns. Mariota's first drive of the game was definitely his best, as he led the team 75 yards to their only touchdown of the game. Mariota looked poised in the pocket on this drive as he converted three third downs of eight or more yards thanks to plenty of time from his offensive line along with very impressive throws to Rishard Matthews
and Corey Davis
. Mariota also looked very impressive rushing as he tucked it away for a 10-yard rushing touchdown to cap off that drive. Outside of this first drive, things did not look great as the Titans offense really fizzled with Mariota taking much heavier pressure from the Raiders pass rush. He made some solid throws in the second half, but also made some very bad reads throwing into double coverage on multiple occasions. Next week, Mariota will have to visit a Jaguars defense that looked rock solid against the Texans this week.
RB DeMarco Murray
, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 44 - 0, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (2 targets) - Demarco Murray received less work than expected in Week 1, rushing only 16 times for 44 yards with two receptions for 16 yards. Against what was supposed to be a beat-able Raiders defensive front, the Titans seemed to struggle to establish their ground game as neither Henry nor Murray saw sustained success. Murray had one flash of brilliance with a very impressive run up the middle for 21 yards near the end of the third quarter to set up a Titans field goal. Outside of that run, Murray never rushed for more than seven yards while rushing for two or fewer yards on seven of his 12 carries. Derrick Henry
took over for Murray on the second and third series of the game, but Murray resumed his role after that and for the rest of the game.
RB Derrick Henry
, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 25 - 0 - Derrick Henry
managed to gain 25 yards from his six rushing attempts against the Raiders this week. While his stats were nothing to write home about, Henry was allotted half as many carries as Demarco Murray (6 for Henry, 12 for Murray). Henry was in the game for all of the Titans' third series, on which he received four of his six carries for 15 yards. Henry showed great explosiveness when he had the ball in his hands, he just needs more of an opportunity to make him a true factor in terms of fantasy production.
WR Corey Davis
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 69 - 0 (10 targets) - Corey Davis
had a very solid outing in his regular season debut, hauling in six receptions for 69 yards. Davis certainly did not look like he had been dealing with a hamstring injury, as he appeared very quick off the line and was routinely finding space against the Raiders cornerbacks. Davis shined on his first catch of the game, hauling in a well-thrown ball over the head of a defender while falling backwardsógood for 23 yards, his longest reception of the day. Davis led the team in targets with 10 total, however, four of those came on the Titans last drive with Marcus Mariota
targeting him on four consecutive plays. While Davis was not on the field as much as the likes of Rishard Matthews
or Delanie Walker
, expect for him to quickly turn into a significant contributor in this offense.
WR Rishard Matthews
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 71 - 0 (9 targets) - Rishard Matthews
was targeted nine times, hauling in five of those for 71 receiving yards. Matthews looked very sharp on the first drive, making a couple of critical third-and-long catches for a combined 28 yards. Matthews received the first target of the game, and five of his nine targets came on third and long situations - showing a clear level of trust between him and Marcus Mariota
that has carried over from 2016. Despite the talent added this offseason, Matthews looks to still be heavily involved in this Titans offense.
WR Eric Decker
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 10 - 0 (8 targets) - Eric Decker
did not look sharp in his Titans debut, catching three of his eight targets for 10 total yards. Decker was definitely out-shined by his counterparts Rishard Matthews
and Corey Davis
, despite his relatively equal target share. Decker was routinely covered and rarely open. In one opportunity to make a big third down catch mid-way through the third quarter, Decker simply tripped up on his route instead of hauling in what would have been at least as 15-yard completion. On a positive note though, Decker did receive a couple of targets in the red zone - an encouraging note for a proven red zone threat such as Decker.
TE Delanie Walker
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 76 - 0 (9 targets) - After being nearly non-existent in the first half with only two targets with one reception for 10 yards, Delanie Walker
finished with a team-leading seven receptions and 76 receiving yards. Starting with Mariota's first pass of the second half, Walker reminded everyone of the chemistry he can develop with Marcus Mariota
. Walker proceeded to catch six of his seven balls in the second half, including a 23-yard diving reception on the final drive of the third quarter, ending in a field goal for the Titans. Walker had two more long receptions on subsequent drives, for 17 and 13 yards respectively. He finished as the most efficient target amongst primary Titans receivers here, only missing out on two of his nine targets.
Jacksonville Jaguars 29, Houston Texans 7
What you need to know
- The Jaguars offense was short on big plays but they did what they wanted to do, which was move the chains and control the clock. They'll need to do a better job at turning field goals into touchdowns, but the Leonard Fournette
lead offense exceeded expectations. Sadly, Allen Robinson
was lost for injury on the 3rd play of the game and never returned.
- C.J. Fiedorowicz
, Ryan Griffin
and Bruce Ellington
all sustained concussions putting their games in jeopardy for the short week.
had plenty of snaps but was only offered one target the entire game.
returns from his one game suspension the next game.
QB Blake Bortles
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 11 - 21 - 125 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 13 - 0 - If this was any indication on how the Jaguars want to scheme their offense around Bortles' limitations, Bortles will hardly be relevant from a numbers standpoint. He was tasked with few deep passes other than two corner routes to Allen Robinson
(on the play he was injured on) and Allen Hurns
early on, but from then on he was tasked with managing the game. He was up and down as a passer, sailing a few passes, but he didn't make any mistakes to hurt the team and his mobility helped. He did fail to convert several key third downs in the red zone but none came back to bite the team. With his big play threat in Robinson sidelined, it is hard to see the team ask Blake to have many performances unlike the one he had against Houston. His lone touchdown pass came on a play action to the Fullback from he one yard line.
RB Leonard Fournette
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 26 - 100 - 1, Rec: 3 - 24 - 0 (3 targets) - The star of the show. Fournette was everything that he has been billed as and the Jaguars fed him like a workhorse back. He had touched the ball over 20 times by the end of the first half alone. They trusted him as a receiving back, giving him chances on a screen and as a dump off option. As a runner, he was down right punishing. The blocking was inconsistent in front of him but when given the room he dominated the Texans linebackers and defensive backs. He wore them down with his power on contact and showed better feet and quickness than anticipated. His best play was a run to the outside where he was able to beat one defenders angle and then use a deadly stiff arm to advance the ball to the goal line. He was given several goal line carries and should be the teams sole back in that regard.
RB Chris Ivory
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 42 - 0, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (2 targets) - Ivory was used to spell Fournette and had one of his better performances as a Jaguar. He ran hard, broke tackles, and created his own opportunities as a runner. He is less of an explosive threat than Fournette is but he is still the veteran among the Jaguars running backs and the team seems to value that. His best run came on a counter ran behind the right guard and right tackle. He exploded through the hole and then used leverage to make the inside linebacker miss, and then broke a tackle attempt from a defensive back. He did not get any goal line snaps but he got several 3rd down snaps.
WR Allen Hurns
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 42 - 0 (4 targets) - Hurns had one bad drop but other than that he was the Jaguars best wideout. He was consistently open and helped move the chains on several key third downs. His best play was a dig route where he beat tight coverage and converted a 3rd-and-eight by catching a pass in a contested situation. Him and Bortles have a strong rapport so expect for his workload to increase with Robinson sidelined.
WR Allen Robinson
, 3 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 17 - 0 (1 targets) - Robinson was targeted on the first pass of the game for the Jaguars but was injured on the same play and never returned.
WR Marqise Lee
, 53 offensive snaps (4 targets) - Lee did nothing of note but he was the WR that received the few down the field opportunities that the Jaguars utilized after Robinson was injured. He had one poor drop that should've lead to a first down, but other than that it wasn't a day of note for Lee, or the passing offense.
QB Deshaun Watson
, 48 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 23 - 102 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 16 - 0 - Watson was inserted int he second half to help the jump start the Texans offense. It started with Watson equalizing the Jaguars pass rush with his running ability rushing for 16 yards. His first drive saw him her Hopkins multiple times on the right side of the of the field. Then on a nice play action pass in the red zone he hit Hopkins for a four yard touchdown run. Then it went South for Watson who struggled with accuracy and only completed one pass in ten attempts over 10 yards. Watson looked good throwing to the right but struggled mightily throwing to the left.
QB Tom Savage
, 31 offensive snaps, Pass: 7 - 13 - 62 - 0 TD / 0 INT - Tom Savage
did not get much help today playing quarterback but part was his fault too. Holding onto the ball too long caused some unnecessary hits and sacks but he was 7 of 13 for 62 yards with two fumbles lost due to being hit from the blindside. Savage had some nice throws to C.J. Fiedororicz to the middle of the field for 15 yards to his big tight end. Also, Savage had a nice 3rd down throw to Stephen Anderson
for 11 yards to extend an early drive. What made matters worse for Savage was no help from his receivers who had four drops behind him. Ryan Griffin
dropped a pass after being hit, Bruce Ellington
dropped an easy pass outside of the number but DeAndre Hopkins
gave zero help. Hopkins dropped a crossing route that would have been a catch and run but the worst of them all came on a deep ball from Savage on the first drive that hit him right in the hands only to fall incomplete. No doubt Savage needs to speed up but he received little help from his supporting cast.
RB Lamar Miller
, 64 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 65 - 0, Rec: 2 - 31 - 0 (2 targets) - Lamar Miller
was one of the few offensive players who had a strong day. 65 yards on the ground and 31 through the air. Miller did have a 26 yard receptions that he should have put into the end zone but was tackled with ease by the safety. Miller actually had more success with Watson in the game running the football and doubled is yards per carry with Watson. It was a solid day and he might be a better fit with Watson in the running game.
RB Tyler Ervin
, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 8 - 0, Rec: 4 - 18 - 0 (5 targets) - It was an interesting today for Ervin and he had 71 all-purpose yards on the day. They moved him around to wide receiver, running back and returner. He did most of his work in the slot catching 4 passes for 18 yards. Ervin is still learning the position but it is clear that the Texans are trying to work him into the offense to make him a play maker. Also, Ervin had 8 yards on three carries but there was not much to the running game for the Texans on the day.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
, 79 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 55 - 1 (16 targets) - 16 total targets on the day and coming down with seven sound like a solid day but it could have been way better. Hopkins did have a four yard touchdown catch off the arm of Deshaun Watson
but his lack of hauling in the ball resulted in four drops on the day. One was one well thrown ball from Savage on a deep ball down the left sideline and the torahs were just simple routes that had no real traffic that he just did not complete. Hopkins struggled last year with consistently catching the football last year and it carried over to this game. He left so many yards on the field but they forced fed Hopkins the football and it was not the best results.
Philadelphia Eagles 30, Washington Redskins 17
What you need to know
- The Eagles passing offense came out firing in the week one opener. Carson Wentz
showed his maturity heading into the second season as had full command of this offense in this game. From a receiving standpoint, Nelson Agholor
and Zach Ertz
led the way in this game as Alshon Jeffery
was blanketed by Josh Norman
in a tough matchup. From a rushing perspective all signs had pointed to this being a split backfield between LeGarrette Blount
and Wendell Smallwood
, but in this game it was primarily Blount rushing the ball and Darren Sproles
as the secondary running back receiving the ball out of the backfield.
- Kirk has to be a better decision maker under pressure because every pass attempt won't be a clear eye view. However, the offensive line must do a better job of setting the tone so that the offense can get off to a faster start. If they can't run the ball it will be tough for Kirk to be effective. The red zone is still a question mark for the offense but they must actually get there to be evaluated properly. Washington's defense can make plays but the offense often hangs them out to dry by forcing them to be on the field too long. This team goes as the offense goes and today's display was horrific and peppered with errors.
QB Carson Wentz
, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 39 - 307 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 6 - 0 - Carson Wentz
looked in control of this offense this week as he enters his second season. Wentz threw an early interception that was returned for a touchdown on a ball that was tipped at the line of scrimmage, but recovered nicely for a very productive day. His best highlight of the day was Wentz scrambling in the pocket avoiding a sack and he kept his eyes downfield to find Nelson Agholor
for a 58 yard touchdown. Wentz used his mobility several times in this game to evade the blitz to hit Zach Ertz
on plays that he should have been sacked. The one area for improvement for Wentz is turnovers, he threw a backwards swing over his receivers head for a fumble.
RB LeGarrette Blount
, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 46 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 1 (1 targets) - LeGarrette Blount
answered the question this week on whether he would receive a full workload of carries as he out carried Wendell Smallwood
14 to 4. Blount was only on the field for 23 total plays. This is going to be a situation to watch all year as while Blount had the carries his longest run was only 7 yards and he only averaged 3.3 yards per carry. Wentz did find Blount for a receiving touchdown on a one yard pass on the goal line which was a nice bonus as this was his only target that he had in this game.
RB Darren Sproles
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0, Rec: 5 - 43 - 0 (8 targets) - Sproles continues to have a role on this team out of the backfield as he was tied for the team high in targets with eight in this game. Sproles led the running backs in snaps as he was on the field for 49% of the plays while Blount was at 34% and Smallwood as at 22%. Sproles is going to continue to have a role in this offense and with the departure of Jordan Matthews
it opens up targets for him to be more utilized than he was last season.
WR Nelson Agholor
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 86 - 1 (8 targets) - Nelson Agholor
had the game of his career in this game which was highlighted by a 58 yard touchdown reception in which Agholor smartly kept his eyes on Carson Wentz
as Wentz was scrambling and adjusted his route to get wide open for the long touchdown. Outside of this long catch, Agholor was used primarily in the slot in this game as a possession receiver.
WR Alshon Jeffery
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 38 - 0 (7 targets) - Alshon Jeffery
had a tough matchup this week going up against Josh Norman
and Bashaud Breeland. Jeffery was still targeted 7 times in this game and almost had a touchdown on a long pass which was broken up by Bashaud Breeland. Jeffery was on the field for 88% of the offensive plays, and will clearly have a big role in this game. The team attempted to force targets to him even when he was not open which is a good sign moving forward in easier matchups that he should continue to be the number one receiver in this offense.
WR Torrey Smith
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 30 - 0 (3 targets) - Smith was largely a non-factor in this game as he was only targeted three times in this game while completing only one of those receptions in which Torrey Smith
sat down in the soft spot in the zone for a 30 yard completion. Smith was on the field for 71% of the snaps in this game, so he will look to increase his production in the upcoming weeks.
TE Zach Ertz
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 93 - 0 (8 targets) - Zach Ertz
was able to take advantage of the tough matchup that Jeffery had in this game as Wentz targeted Ertz eight times and Ertz took advantage of this catching the ball all eight times. He remains the most consistent option in this offense as he was tied with the most snaps and most targets in this game. Ertz continues to try to get open and adjusts his route to Wentz to get open as Wentz was able to scramble out of pressure to hit Ertz several times in this game.
QB Kirk Cousins
, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 40 - 240 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 30 - 0 - Kirk Cousins
had a difficult time finding his rhythm today due to constant pressure. He got off to a slow start as he misfired on several occasions trying to connect with his receivers downfield. He had a couple of near interceptions in the first half as well resulting from bad reads. Kirk only accounted for one offensive touchdown on the day as he connected with Chris Thompson
in the 2nd quarter. Cousins accounted for three turnovers as he had two fumbles and an interception. One of his fumbles went for a defensive touchdown. He was harassed all afternoon and could not sustain enough drives to get the offense out of its funk. Kirk had forty pass attempts but barely completed over half of them. Without solid protection, he does not feel comfortable making plays downfield. The Eagles often made him skittish in the pocket and indecisive with his reads. The receivers had a few drops that didn't help his case, but Kirk's inability to make plays under duress was on full display against Philly. Kirk had an opportunity to seize control of the game with a seven-play drive in the third quarter. As it looked like they may have established some continuity, he throws an errant pass over the head of Jamison Crowder
. The pass was intercepted in the end zone and that was an illustration of how most of the day went for Washington's Kirk Cousins
RB Rob Kelley
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 30 - 0 (1 targets) - Robert Kelley's day running the football was abysmal. He is more of a volume based runner and the offense not being capable of staying on the field hindered his effectiveness. Rob only had ten carries total and averaged three yard per tote. He doesn't have much homerun ability or elusiveness so the tough runs weren't plentiful enough for him to take advantage. He isn't much of a factor in the passing game so with a lackluster run game he was basically nonexistent versus the Eagles.
RB Chris Thompson
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 4 - 0, Rec: 4 - 52 - 1 (5 targets) - Chris Thompson
didn't have much of a presence in the run game, but he was a major factor in the passing game. He totaled four receptions and scored the only passing touchdown of the game. Chris' elusiveness helped turn a dump off pass into a twenty-nine-yard touchdown. Chris has great ability to make defenders miss after the catch and Kirk was comfortable finding him under pressure.
RB Samaje Perine
- Samaje Perine
was not involved in today's game. He is buried on the depth chart behind two veterans.
WR Terrelle Pryor
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 66 - 0 (11 targets) - Terrelle Pryor
had a modest day statistically, but he was targeted heavily. It was clear by his eleven targets that Kirk is trying to establish a connection with the new number one receiver in Washington. Pryor's day could have been much bigger if Kirk could have located him on a couple of deep balls. Pryor's six receptions led the team but he was unable to turn any of them into points. Kirk routinely found him over the middle of the field as he used his big frame to give Kirk a comfortable target. If Kirk can connect on a few deep balls with Pryor this offense will take off. Pryor is still sharpening his skills and timing as a receiver which showed on a couple of drops where he looked raw. He should be a big difference maker in this passing offense.
WR Ryan Grant
, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 61 - 0 (6 targets) - Ryan Grant
had a productive game considering he wasn't viewed as a starter. He had four receptions and his longest went for thirty-four yards. Ryan's speed can be an asset to the Washington offense but he is merely a fill in until they can get their young promising receiver Josh Doctson
up to speed. The quick passing game Washington uses is perfect for Ryan as he can use his outstanding acceleration after the catch. Overall, none of his catches made much impact as the entire offense struggled on the day.
WR Jamison Crowder
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 14 - 0 (7 targets) - Jamison Crowder
was hampered by a hip injury and that might explain his three-reception day. He also had a fumble which compounded his quiet game. He was in and out of the lineup throughout the game which showed his isn't fully healthy. Kirk threw an awful interception off his back foot looking for Jamison in the end zone. The ball sailed over his head and he had no chance at making a play on the ball. Jamison's entire game is built on quickness and change of direction in the slot. It will be interesting to see how effective he can be moving forward.
WR Brian Quick
, 6 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets) - Brian Quick
recorded one catch for eleven yards. He isn't a factor in this offense as of yet.
WR Josh Doctson
, 20 offensive snaps - Josh Doctson
did not record a catch as he continues to work his way back to full strength.
TE Jordan Reed
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 36 - 0 (8 targets) - Jordan Reed
had a quiet day as he only totaled thirty-six yards on five catches. Jordan is trying to play through a fractured toe and his ability is somewhat hampered. The Eagles forced Kirk to get rid of the ball earlier than he really wanted to which led to off timing. Jordan mainly worked near the line of scrimmage and became more of an outlet rather than a down the seam threat that makes him so dangerous. As he gets healthier he should become the playmaker that Washington needs.
New Orleans Saints 19, Minnesota Vikings 29
What you need to know
New Orleans Saints
- Drew Brees
and company came into Minnesota looking to pit their number one overall offense from last year against the third overall defense. This was to be a premiere matchup of opposing strengths and would decide if offense or defense is what truly wins games. Unfortunately for New Orleans, their offense fell flat in the redzone and only managed three field goals and one touchdown in four trips. The Vikings defense disrupted Brees all night and a punch less New Orleans defense gave up more than 340 yards against Sam Bradford
and a Vikings offense that ranked near the bottom of the league last season. The Saints get a short week and turn around to face a Patriots team coming off a loss.
- In a game that was to feature the Saints number one offense and the Vikings number three defensive from a season ago it was Sam Bradford
and the Vikings offense that stole the show in this one. Bradford picked apart the Saints porous secondary and threw for over 340-yards and 3 touchdowns. The Vikings defense took advantage of a beat-up Saints offensive line and never really let Drew Brees
get comfortable. Tonight, was also a breakout for Dalvin Cook
as he broke Adrian Peterson
's rookie debut rushing record with 127 yards. The aerial attack was paced by Stefon Diggs
and Adam Thielen
who both had monster games.
QB Drew Brees
, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 37 - 291 - 1 TD / 0 INT - Drew Brees
did his best to carry this offense in week one but just could not find enough against a stingy Vikings defense. The Saints running backs averaged less than 3 yards a carry and the Vikings secondary was able to sit back and play the ball. Brees targeted Michael Thomas
more than any other receiver, but had the most success with Coby Fleener
and Mark Ingram
. Brees biggest play came when Tommylee Lewis beat Viking's corner Trae Waynes for a 52-yard strike. Waynes also interfered with Lewis on the play but the young receiver still came down with the ball. Unfortunately, the Saints had to settle for another field goal despite being on the 8-yard line. Brees lone touchdown came late in the fourth quarter when Coby Fleener
went straight up the seam and caught the ball over Viking's corner Trae Waynes. This was not a typical Drew Brees
game but he will look to exploit a Patriot's secondary that gave up over 300-yards to Alex Smith
in their first game.
RB Alvin Kamara
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 18 - 0, Rec: 4 - 20 - 0 (6 targets) - To make the Saints backfield situation even more complicated, the rookie out of Tennessee lead the team in rushing attempts tonight. He was not any more effective than either Ingram or Peterson, but did manage one more carry than both backs and played a role in the passing game. Head coach Sean Peyton showed a willingness to use the rookie and we could see his role expand if the discord between Peyton and Peterson grows.
RB Mark Ingram
, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 17 - 0, Rec: 5 - 54 - 0 (5 targets) - The story with Ingram is very similar to that of Adrian Peterson
. There was no room to run against the stout Vikings rush defense. Ingram's value came in the passing game during the second half. Brees targeted Ingram on three straight plays to help move the Saints into the redzone. The Saints adjusted to the Vikings sitting back in coverage and started finding Ingram underneath with room to run. Ingram and Peterson were both listed as number one running backs on the saint's depth chart and the snap distribution seemed to confirm that.
RB Adrian Peterson
, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 18 - 0 (1 targets) - This was not the homecoming that Peterson was looking for. The former star running back was only given 6 carries and targeted once in the redzone. Peterson was visibly heated on the sideline and could be seen yelling at head coach Sean Peyton. Peterson downplayed the situation in his interview after the game, but he appears to still be adjusting to his new life as a role player rather than feature back. You could also see Peterson totally baffled as to why they ran a bootleg and targeted him in the passing game from the 2-yard line rather than let him run it. The Saints could not commit to the run all night and the carry distribution was almost identical across all three running backs.
WR Michael Thomas
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 45 - 0 (8 targets) - Michael Thomas
has to fill the void left by Brandin Cooks
departure and was Drew Brees
favorite target all night long. Thomas had more targets than anyone else but was unable to find any separation after the catch. Thomas would come open on slants and posts across the middle but was tackled almost immediately after making the catch. Thomas was thrown off by a very physical Vikings defense and was visibly frustrated and looking for pass interference flags on almost every play. Thomas made a nice 14-yard grab in traffic to give the Saints a first down early in the second half but was again tackled immediately. Thomas will have his chances against a porous New England secondary that was exposed against the Chiefs in week one.
WR Ted Ginn
, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 4 - 53 - 0 (5 targets) - Ginn had the potential for a big night as he was covered by 39-year old corner Terrance Newman for the majority of the night, but was unable to really break free. Issues with the Saints' offensive line did not give Brees enough time to let many of the longer developing plays to Ginn to really get going. The lone big play came on a 27-yard strike to Ginn where he burned Newman down the sideline to help setup another Saints field goal. Some of Ginn's deep routes were taken by speedster TommyLee Lewis
, and Ginn's name was only called on one jet sweep in the running game.
TE Coby Fleener
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 54 - 1 (6 targets) - Fleener had the most productive night of any Saint in the passing game as he took advantage of the soft coverage by the Vikings. Brees was able to find Fleener up the seam or settled in between the void behind the linebackers and in front of the safeties. Fleener accounted for the lone Saints touchdown in the fourth quarter when he went up to take a ball away from corner Trae Waynes in the end zone. Fleener is expected to play a big role in the red zone as was a safety valve for Drew Brees
QB Sam Bradford
, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 32 - 346 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - -3 - 0 - Bradford looked like an elite quarterback behind a completely retooled offensive line. The starting unit did not have a single snap together before today, not even in the preseason. Bradford was only sacked one time and was able to pick on rookie corners and a Saints defense that was supposed to have been rebuilt. Bradford found Thielen on several crossing patterns for big gains and was lights out on third down. Bradford found Stefon Diggs
for two of his three touchdowns and his big tightend to seal the victory. Bradford methodically moved the Vikings down the field and seemed to lead almost every receiver perfectly so they could run after the catch. The best play of the night came on Diggs acrobatic catch from the two-yard line late in the second half. Bradford put the ball up in the air where only Diggs could come down with it for the Vikings second touchdown. Bradford to Thielen was the connection of the night as the duo connected on 9 of their 10 attempts for 157-yards.
RB Dalvin Cook
, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 22 - 127 - 0, Rec: 3 - 10 - 0 (5 targets) - In a night where the Vikings hosted their all-time leading rusher, Dalvin Cook
stole the show. The rookie running back broke Adrian Peterson
's rookie debut rushing record and was able to find room to run all night. One of the best things Cook did all night was show his development in pass protection as well. He picked up every blitz that came his way and cemented himself as the lead back in the Minnesota offense. The only knock came on an early drop in the passing game that was almost intercepted had it not been for two Saints defenders running into each other. Cook's best run came on a 33-yard scamper that he broke to the outside and took down the sideline. Cook did not play a huge role in the passing game, but was not needed with the show that Diggs and Thielen were putting on.
RB Latavius Murray
, 3 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 6 - 0 - Murray watched from the sideline as Dalvin Cook
took control of the lead running back role for Minnesota. On his first carry of the night the former Raider fumbled, recovered by the Vikings, and only saw one more carry for the rest of the game. Murray appears to have not shaken off the rust from his injury, but will most likely see his workload diminish even further as Cook gets established.
WR Adam Thielen
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 157 - 0 (10 targets) - Thielen picked right back up where he left off to end last season with another big game tonight. The undrafted wide receiver was targeted more than any other Vikings player and complied more yards after the catch than anyone. Bradford was able to hit Thielen in stride several times tonight for big gains and no one on the Saints seemed to be able to cover him. Thielen has mastered using Kyle Rudolph
to screen his defender and run free across the middle. Look for the Vikings to use Thielen more and more out of the slot to get into the redzone before deferring to Rudolph and others in goal to go situations.
WR Stefon Diggs
, 58 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -6 - 0, Rec: 7 - 93 - 2 (8 targets) - Diggs fell just shy of 100-yards receiving on the night, but more importantly hauled in two touchdowns from Sam Bradford
. The second-year receiver had a very shaky third preseason game, but that was quickly forgotten as he shredded the New Orleans defense all night. Most of Diggs' damage came on the outside and through contested catches over the Saints corners. There was his 2-yard touchdown catch where he came down with both feet as he juggled the ball and his big 30-yard gain down the side line where he just barely managed to tap his second toe before going out of bounds. Thielen may have outpaced Diggs in the yards department but #14 was the true star receiver for the Vikings last night.
TE Kyle Rudolph
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 26 - 1 (3 targets) - Rudolph looks to be the Vikings number one threat in the redzone as the big tight end has proven to be able to catch the ball in traffic. Bradford went to Rudolph late from the 15-yard line to put the Vikings back up by two scores late in this one. Rudolph ran a perfect post route to make a catch over the middle for the Vikings third touchdown of the night. Bradford also used Rudolph in third and long situations to sustain drives and keep the Vikings offense on the field. Rudolph did not have a big yardage total but did throw a key block in Dalvin Cook
's 33-yard scamper in the second half.
Los Angeles Chargers 21, Denver Broncos 24
What you need to know
Los Angeles Chargers
- The offense will flow largely through Melvin Gordon
. He touched the ball on over 40% of the team's offensive plays from scrimmage, and was almost equal parts runner and receiver in this game. He rarely left the field, and appears to be one of the league's rare true three-down backs.
showed he can still fill up the stat sheet in a hurry, especially when he's surrounded by as many offensive weapons as he's got now. Despite completing just six of eleven first half passes, he still completed 16-22 in the second half and nearly eclipsed 200 yards en route to a three touchdown performance. If the defense plays as poorly as it did in this game, Rivers could be in line for huge offensive performances while the team tries to play "catch-up"
It's anybody's guess who will be the leading receiver in a given game, although Keenan Allen
is certainly the top option in the passing game. But it's an odd stat line when the quarterback throws three touchdowns, while the number one receiver (Keenan Allen
) averages seven yards per carry, the young upstart tight end (Hunter Henry
) isn't targeted, and the third-string running back (Austin Ekeler
) goes for more yardage than a future Hall of Famer (Antonio Gates
- The inactives on Denver's week 1 injury chart included backup RB Devontae Booker
and backup QB Paxton Lynch
on offense, as well as defensive linemen Jared Crick and Zach Kerr. Brock Osweiler
was re-signed to hold down backup duties in Lynch's absence. Denver agreed to terms on a 3 year extension for kicker Brandon McManus
Monday before the game. Receivers Isaiah McKenzie
and Cody Latimer
returned punts and kicks, respectively, but did not contribute in the passing game at all.
QB Philip Rivers
, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 33 - 192 - 3 TD / 1 INT - With the Chargers trying to keep it close early on, they leaned heavily on the run game. Rivers completed just 6-11 passes in the first half, and they weren't really attacking down the field. But as has been the case so many times, when the team fell behind and took to the air, Rivers started finding his rhythm. Despite being under duress throughout the game, he was putting up respectable stats if not a huge volume of pass plays. He even found Melvin Gordon
on a short dumpoff over the middle for a score, although the majority of that touchdown was the result of a fantastic individual effort by Gordon. Early in the second half, Rivers' lone turnover came on a slant intended for Keenan Allen
. Both Rivers and Allen screamed profusely at the official for a pass interference or illegal contact flag, but it wouldn't come. Finally, the Chargers broke through with another score when Rivers found a wide open Allen near the back of the end zone to make the game 24-14. Following a Broncos fumble, Rivers took over and immediately connected with Travis Benjamin
on a wide open 38-yard touchdown bomb. It was thrown in perfect stride, with Benjamin beating everyone on the play. On the team's final last-gasp drive to try and tie it up, he was nearly intercepted on a pass over the middle but would have been bailed out by the pass interference flag anyway. Rivers managed to drive the team close enough to attempt a game-tying field goal, but the kick was blocked.
RB Melvin Gordon
, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 54 - 0, Rec: 5 - 25 - 1 (6 targets) - Granted, it was only one week. But Gordon amassed 23 touches from scrimmage on 55 offensive plays for the Chargers. Touching the ball on ten of the team's first sixteen plays, it would appear that this offense will once again run through him. His very first carry of the game was a 21-yard scamper up the middle from the shadow of his own end zone. The offensive line opened a nice hole, and he did a good job picking where to take it. His next run went up the left side and he pushed the pile for five yards. That's the good news. The bad news is that the remaining 16 carries went for just 28 total yards. There was very little room to operate after that first big gain, but fortunately he also made his presence felt in the passing game. He tied a game high with five receptions, including his first touchdown reception of the season. He circled out of the backfield, waited for the dumpoff from Rivers, and leap-frogged over and through the defender as part of a tremendous individual effort for the score. In the second half, there was even less room as the Chargers trailed by multiple scores. Facing a fourth down call around midfield down by 17 points, Gordon was met in the backfield and never had a chance. Later on the last-gasp attempt to tie the game, Gordon was given yet another chance on fourth down but this time he converted. That helped extend the drive, but the Chargers would ultimately fall short when the game-tying field goal attempt was blocked.
RB Branden Oliver
, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 10 - 0 (1 targets) - Oliver came on early in the second quarter, taking a couple of handoffs for a total of eight yards. Starter Melvin Gordon
came back on for the third down run, then exited immediately after converting. Oliver got another couple of handoffs on the next set of downs, but that was the extent of his work. If this game is any indication, it appears that Gordon is a true three-down back, with Oliver and Austin Ekeler
merely providing relief work.
WR Tyrell Williams
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 54 - 0 (7 targets) - Williams is expected to fill the role as the number two wide receiver for the Chargers this season. And with the return of Keenan Allen
from injury it was expected that Williams' target share will greatly decrease from last year. But at least in this game, Williams tied for the team lead in receptions and actually led the team in receiving yardage. He was targeted on the first play of the game, but didn't record his first reception until late in the first half. With the offense largely running through both Allen and Melvin Gordon
, it was difficult for Williams to get in a rhythm. But in the second half, his targets were more reminiscent of 2016. The quick inside slants and crossing routes were how he did most of his work - and he nearly added another somewhat long reception on the last drive, but a great play by the Denver defender was the only reason it was stripped away for an incompletion at the last moment.
WR Keenan Allen
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 35 - 1 (10 targets) - A year removed from a torn ACL, Allen re-staked his claim as the top option in the Los Angeles passing game. He didn't have a great game, and even suffered a couple of rare drops, but he made his presence felt with a lot of activity. The volume of passes that went in his direction is all the evidence we need that he is the go-to guy for Philip Rivers
. Allen did most of his work over the middle of the field as usual, with a healthy dose of slants and crossing patterns. On his lone deep target, he was able to draw a pass interference penalty on the play. His next-longest target was a mid-range pass that went for a second half touchdown. Allen broke off the line on a slant and got wide open in the back of the end zone for the easy score, but was whistled for a personal foul penalty after it appeared he tossed the ball at a Denver defender. There didn't appear to be any plays where Allen really tested his surgically-repaired knee, as his lone visibly hard cut back came on his left leg. If he isn't 100% recovered from his injury last year, he appears to be extremely close.
WR Travis Benjamin
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 43 - 1 (4 targets) - Benjamin didn't get a ton of action in the game, but he sure made his one big opportunity count. Trailing by ten late in the fourth quarter, the Chargers took over after a Denver turnover. Benjamin streaked down the left side of the field to beat the last man and Philip Rivers
connected for a perfect 38-yard bomb touchdown to cut the deficit to just three. As the fourth or possibly even fifth option in the passing game, Benjamin will lack for volume in most games. But if he can convert those few opportunities into big plays, he'll stand to gain a lot more work if injuries should strike.
TE Antonio Gates
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (3 targets) - Gates was nearly invisible for the majority of the game, with just one target through the first three quarters. He finally hauled in his first catch on an 11-yard grab early in the fourth quarter. On one of the late fourth quarter drives, he caught a short pass over the middle to set up a third and short situation. But the majority of the offense ran through the wide receivers and Melvin Gordon
in this game.
TE Hunter Henry
, 23 offensive snaps - Henry, a potential breakout pick of several pundits this year, had a very inauspicious start to his season with zero receptions. In fact, he wasn't even looked at in the passing game. The Charger tight ends as a whole only saw two short catches, both by Antonio Gates
QB Trevor Siemian
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 28 - 219 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 6 - 19 - 1 - Need to Know
The inactives on Denver's week 1 injury chart included backup RB Devontae Booker
and backup QB Paxton Lynch
on offense, as well as defensive linemen Jared Crick and Zach Kerr. Brock Osweiler
was re-signed to hold down backup duties in Lynch's absence. Denver agreed to terms on a 3 year extension for kicker Brandon McManus
Monday before the game. Receivers Isaiah McKenzie
and Cody Latimer
returned punts and kicks, respectively, but did not contribute in the passing game at all.
Siemian scored 3 touchdowns on the night, connecting with Bennie Fowler
twice for passing touchdowns. The first was quick thinking on Siemian's part, as San Diego jumped offsides before the Broncos snapped the ball in the red zone. Siemian quickly called for the ball and scrambled until he could find a diving Fowler in the back of the end zone on the free play. His second touchdown pass came again in the red zone, with Fowler the closest of 3 receivers flexed to the left of the formation. Siemian took the snap from the shotgun and fired a laser up the seam to Fowler. Siemian also had a rushing touchdown on a bootleg run in the 2nd quarter from the 1 yard line.
Siemian's rushing stat line doesn't reflect how effective he was with his mobility, extending several passing plays with his feet before finding receivers. He did not throw any interceptions, though he had a close call on an ill-advised throw in the 4th quarter.
RB C.J. Anderson
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 81 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (3 targets) - Anderson got the start and shared time in the backfield with Jamaal Charles
. The duo proved to be an effective 1-2 punch, posting nearly identical YPC(Anderson-4.1, Charles 4.0). Anderson got most of the tough carries between the tackles, toting the ball 20 times to Charles' 10. Anderson bounced a carry outside off left tackle and juked a defender out of his shoes midway through the 2nd quarter for a big gain. He was stuffed on a 1st and goal carry inside the 1 yard line later in the drive. Anderson had a touchdown run up the middle in the third quarter that was called back for an illegal offensive shift. He caught 1 of 3 targets for a gain of 7.
RB Jamaal Charles
, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 40 - 0 (1 targets) - The Broncos used Charles as the only change of pace to lead back CJ Anderson, with Anderson garnering twice the carries(20 to 10). Charles did post a nearly identical YPC.
J.C. had a couple of impressive carries midway through the 3rd quarter, and a goal line carry(his only of the night)that was blown up by an unblocked defender. Charles could not secure his only pass target of the night. He looked good as a receiver in preseason and should contribute more in the passing game in the future.
WR Demaryius Thomas
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 67 - 0 (8 targets) - Thomas missed several practices since injuring his groin in week 3 of the preseason, but the injury didn't appear to slow him any after resuming practice Wednesday in full. DT had a diving catch for a 11 yards on an out route in the 1st quarter. He let a good pass glance off his hands on a quick slant in the 3rd quarter, but Siemian went right back to him on the next play for a big gain on an over-the-shoulder catch down the right sideline. Thomas hauled in an out route for a 12 yard gain midway through the 3rd quarter. Though he did not find the end zone, DT finished the night with the team-high target, catch, and yardage totals.
WR Emmanuel Sanders
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 26 - 0 (6 targets) - Sanders just narrowly missed a diving catch in the end zone on a deep corner route in the 1st quarter. The touchdown pass glanced off his fingertips. He hauled in a quick screen in the 3rd quarter for a 1st down. Sanders had an amazing catch and run midway through the 3rd quarter, catching a quick pass and bouncing the ball all the way across the field on his way to making most of the team miss. He secured a touchdown pass but landed out of bounds in the waning seconds of the 3rd quarter, ending the night with the 2nd most targets(6), 3 catches, and a paltry 26 yards.
WR Bennie Fowler
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 21 - 2 (4 targets) - Fowler posted a career night. His first catch was a 10 yard out route in the 1st quarter. Fowler scored soon after on a broken play when San Diego jumped offsides before the snap. Siemian called for the ball, scrambled right and hit Fowler, who made a great diving effort on the catch, in the back of the end zone for the first points of the game. Fowler caught another touchdown pass in the third quarter, flexing just off the offensive line and running a quick route up the seam for a quick touchdown pass from Siemian. Fowler played about half the Broncos offensive snaps, most of them from the slot. His two touchdowns were a career high, but he was only targeted 3 times all night.
TE A.J. Derby
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 34 - 0 (3 targets) - Derby flexed out in the slot and caught a curl route for 1st down yardage in the 2nd quarter. Derby nearly scored on a similar play later in the drive, carrying the ball down inside the 1 yard line. He picked up another 12 yards on a catch and run in the 3rd quarter, finishing with a short but efficient stat line- 3 targets, 3 catches, and 31 yards.
TE Jeff Heuerman
, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 20 - 0 (2 targets) - Heuerman secured his only target, a seam route from the inline position for a big gain in the 1st quarter.
TE Virgil Green
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 44 - 0 (1 targets) - Green made the most of his lone target of the night, hauling it in for a 44 yard gain down the right seam in the 4th quarter. Green turned around while sprinting full speed in the other direction and deftly plucked the football over the defender's head. Green has great athleticism, he just never seems to be a featured part of Denver's passing attack.
Baltimore Ravens 20, Cincinnati Bengals 0
What you need to know
- The Ravens offense was extremely conservative and inefficient. Joe Flacco
looked healthy against the Bengals but did not play well. Joe Flacco
failed to complete a pass in the second half and the Ravens offense could not capitalize on 5 turnovers forced by the defense. Buck Allen and Terrence West carried the load in a run heavy approach churning out consistent yards but not making explosive plays. West and Allen each had more carries than Flacco had pass attempts. Danny Woodhead
was heavily involved on the Ravens first possession before leaving with what appeared to be a serious hamstring injury. Flacco tried to get Breshad Perriman
involved early but the two could not connect. Flacco then looked to connect with Jeremy Maclin
who took a slant route 48 yards to the house thanks to a play design that gave him plenty of room to run. Mike Wallace
saw only 1 target.
- The game was a debacle in all aspects. Andy Dalton
made a couple bad decisions that led to interceptions. The offensive line, especially the center and tackles, was absolutely dominated by the Ravens front. The atrocious line play led to five sacks and the running backs regularly getting hit in the backfield. The backfield was a full-fledged committee approach with Jeremy Hill
, Joe Mixon
and Giovani Bernard
each rotating in to take a turn as the primary back for a series. It will remain a situation to avoid for fantasy owners until one back separates from the pack and the Bengals offense shows some signs of life.
QB Joe Flacco
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 9 - 17 - 121 - 1 TD / 1 INT - Joe Flacco
and the Ravens offense took a hyper conservative approach against the Bengals. The offense was inefficient and failed to take advantage of the 5 turnovers forced by the defense. Flacco attempted 1 pass downfield but otherwise relied on the run game, short passing game, and defense to generate offense. The game plan became even more conservative after the Ravens took 17-0 lead at halftime. Flacco did not complete a pass in the second half and both Terrence West and Buck Allen ended the game with more carries than Flacco had pass attempts. Flacco heavily targeted Danny Woodhead
on the Ravens opening possession. The drive stalled in the red zone with a wayward Flacco pass falling between Woodhead and Breshad Perriman
forcing a field goal attempt. The Ravens following possession ended with a quick 3 and out. On 3rd down Flacco threw at the feet of Jeremy Maclin
who had separation in the middle of the field. The Ravens again went 3 and out the ensuing possession. This time Flacco was sacked on 3rd down after holding the ball far too long and not throwing to Nick Boyle
who was open underneath. Flacco connected with Boyle off of play action for 14 yards and hit Jeremy Maclin
on a slant route who took the catch 48 yards to the end zone for the Ravens first touchdown. Under pressure Flacco threw off target on a check down to Terrence West. The pass was tipped and intercepted. Flacco did not complete a pass for the remainder of the game.
RB Javorius Allen
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 71 - 0 (1 targets) - Buck Allen saw a carry even before Danny Woodhead
left the game with injury. Allen was going to play a role for this offense even before the Woodhead injury. His role increased significantly following the injury and Allen ended up with more snaps and carries than Terrence West. The numbers are slightly skewed by the fact that West did not play in the Ravens final two possessions which featured 6 running plays to Allen. However, the fact remains that the Ravens trust Allen more than West as a pass catcher and Allen ran as well or better than West. Allen appeared to be faster and more sudden than West but perhaps not as powerful. Buck Allen had a 10 yard gain on a nice inside run negated by penalty. Allen also had a 14 yard reception negated by a holding penalty.
RB Terrance West
, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 80 - 1 (1 targets) - Terrence West played well against the Bengals. With Danny Woodhead
leaving the game during the Ravens first possession West split touches and snaps with Buck Allen. In fact Allen saw more snaps than West. West will be listed as the starter and function as the goal line back but Allen will play significant snaps every week. West kept the Ravens offense on schedule consistently finding yards inside. West did not produce any explosive plays but consistently churned out chunks of yardage to move the chains especially on the Ravens 10 minute 3rd quarter drive. West had a 4 yard reception on a check down negated by penalty. Following an interception the Ravens took over at the Bengals 2 yard line. West got the 1 and only carry needed to punch the ball into the end zone running behind Ronnie Stanley. West saw a pass he could have secured go off his hands for an interception.
RB Danny Woodhead
, 6 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 3 - 33 - 0 (3 targets) - Danny Woodhead
looked like he would be a staple in the Ravens offense until leaving the game with injury during the Ravens first possession. Woodhead made his first catch for a gain of 12 running a quick out route and out flanking his defender. Woodhead caught his second target lined up in the slot and matched up against a linebacker for a 13 yard gain. Woodhead picked up 8 more yards running another out route and converting a 3rd down in the red zone. Woodhead fell and clutched his hamstring running another route in the flat a few plays later. Woodhead was carted off the field and did not return.
WR Jeremy Maclin
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 56 - 1 (4 targets) - Jeremy Maclin
made his first grab in the flat serving as a check down for Flacco and picked up 7 yards. Maclin ran a simple slant route and got a beautiful pick on Darqueze Dennard thanks to Ben Watson
giving him room to run. Maclin capitalized and took the slant 48 yards for a touchdown showing off his impressive speed. Maclin drew a pass interference flag running a curl route. Maclin slipped and fell at the Bengals 5 yard line running a slant route.
WR Mike Wallace
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets) - Mike Wallace
caught a slant route from the slot for a gain of 8 on his only target. Wallace saw the second most snaps of Ravens wide receivers, only 1 snap behind Jeremy Maclin
, but did not see many looks from Flacco.
WR Breshad Perriman
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (4 targets) - Breshad Perriman
caught his first targeting running a curl route for a 5 yard gain. Perriman was targeted in the endzone running a skinny post but the pass was broken up by Darqueze Dennard. Perriman dropped a pass that was thrown slightly behind him running a slant.
TE Nick Boyle
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (1 targets) - Nick Boyle
made his first reception in the flat off of play action for a 14 yard gain. Boyle saw the most snaps of the Ravens tight ends but was not involved in the passing game.
QB Andy Dalton
, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 31 - 170 - 0 TD / 4 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0 - Dalton was awful. He turned the ball over five times and took five sacks. While much of the blame for the abysmal offensive performance clearly falls on the quarterback, he was setup to fail by poor play calling and horrific protection. Two pass attempts on the opening drive were emblematic of the problems in Week 1. On the first, Dalton looked to get it quickly to A.J. Green
, but Green was held up. Bengals center Russell Bodine was immediately walked 7 yards straight back by a bull rush to destroy the pocket. There was no time to even get to a second read before Dalton was forced to throw it away. The next play, a 3rd-and-long, the Ravens got instantaneous pressure from the outside in both directions and Dalton was quickly sacked. Dalton has always struggled against pressure, but even the best quarterback in the league would have had a rough day given the surrounding circumstances. The second drive ended on a Dalton interception. He was trying to hit Green on a slant but Ravens linebacker Patrick Onwuasor made an extremely athletic play to quickly drop and leap to get a hand on the pass, tipping it up in the air into the cornerbacks arms. Not a great decision by Dalton, but you have to tip your hat to the defender for an outstanding play. The third drive of the game ended with Dalton’s only truly egregious mistake. After driving the team 82 yards out of the shadow of their own end zone, Dalton made an awful choice to throw towards Brandon LaFell
in double coverage in the middle of the end zone, resulting in his second interception of the day. Dalton’s worst throw of the day came on the next drive. Cody Core
was streaking down the right sideline and had his man beat by at least five yards for what should have been a long touchdown, but Dalton sailed the pass out of bounds. Wind was a factor all game, but it was a throw Dalton has to make. The third interception came just before halftime. Dalton tried to throw a quick slant to Tyler Boyd
but Terrell Suggs leaped and the ball ricocheted off of his helmet high into the air and eventually into the hands of a Raven defender. Dalton had another turnover inside the Ravens 10-yard line after he was stripped from behind while trying to roll out to buy time.
RB Joe Mixon
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 9 - 0, Rec: 3 - 15 - 0 (3 targets) - Mixon was a big part of the Bengals tailback rotation and played every snap on the second series of the game. After being stuffed on first down, he was able to make something out of nothing on the next play. Mixon caught a short dump off from Dalton, made the first man miss and then accelerated down the sideline for a 10-yard gain and first down. Mixon took his next carry for eight yards, showing nice patience before making a sharp cut to get upfield. The two highlight plays early in the first quarter were the only positive plays Mixon had on the day. He managed only seven more yards total on his final ten touches. Mixon played the second most snaps at running back (22) and likely would have led the team had the Bengals not fallen so far behind early in the game.
RB Giovani Bernard
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 40 - 0, Rec: 1 - 39 - 0 (2 targets) - Bernard led the Bengals backs in snaps with 26 and played well. However, much of the usage was probably due to game script as the Bengals were behind by three scores for the entire second half and Bernard is the back the Bengals use in the two-minute offense. The Bengals came out rotating running backs by drives. Bernard came in for the third drive of the game and gave the offense a spark. His big play on the drive was a 23-yard run up the middle. He burst through the line and made a Ravens linebacker fall down on a quick juke at the second level to turn a solid gain into a big play.
RB Jeremy Hill
, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 26 - 0, Rec: 1 - -2 - 0 (1 targets) - The Bengals rotated backs with each getting a series mostly to themselves early. Hill was the first back in the rotation and had the first drive to himself (except for one third down). His best run of the day came on his first touch, cutting through a big hole up the middle and running straight ahead for a gain of 12. Hill started the first drive of the second half as well, but had no room to run. At some point he tweaked his ankle and sat out the final 20 minutes after playing just 10 snaps. With the Bengals trailing, he likely wouldn’t have been part of the game plan down the stretch anyway. He indicated after the game that his ankle was fine.
WR A.J. Green
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 74 - 0 (10 targets) - Green was targeted often, but often saw extra coverage with the Ravens putting an emphasis on stopping the Bengals top playmaker. Green made some plays on the Bengals best drive of the game to open the second quarter. He caught a 14-yard out route, sliding to catch a well-thrown Dalton pass. Two plays later, he caught another 14-yard reception on a post route. Early in the second half, Green caught a short dump off in the red zone and was pushed out of bounds at the seven yard line.
WR Brandon LaFell
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 24 - 0 (5 targets) - LaFell had a quiet day, but it was a positive sign that Dalton looked his way twice in the end zone. On the first play, Dalton looked for LaFell in the middle of the end zone, but linebacker C.J. Mosely sunk underneath and made a leaping interception. A couple drives later, LaFell was open in the end zone and Dalton attempted to get it to him but the ball was tipped out of his hand from behind before he could get the throw off.
WR Tyler Boyd
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (4 targets) - Boyd was targeted on a quick slant that was tipped at the line for a Ravens interception. His only reception came on an option route to the outside that he took for 11 yards to convert a 3rd-and-9 and get the team into the red zone.
TE Tyler Eifert
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets) - Eifert had a surprisingly quiet day. He was targeted just once, catching the ball underneath on a short crossing route. Eifert was open a few times in the first half but Dalton didn’t look his way. In the second half, Eifert was often asked to chip the end to help out struggling left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi.
Atlanta Falcons 23, Chicago Bears 17
What you need to know
- Matt Ryan
had a few big plays to Austin Hooper
but otherwise not creating big plays and points for the Falcons. Tevin Coleman
and Devonta Freeman
split the running back touches almost equally, with Freeman getting the goal line score. Hooper was running free twice as the secondary focused on Jones and the receivers.
- The Mike Glennon
era in Chicago started off as we thought it would. The Bears squandered multiple opportunities to beat the Falcons, instead it ended 23-17 after a sack on fourth down in the red zone. Many first-time Bears took the field Sunday, some rookies and some not. Easily the most effective Bear was Tarik Cohen
and his five carries for 66 yards and eight catches for 47 yards and a touchdown. Without Cohen, the loss would have been much greater and much more painful to watch.
QB Matt Ryan
, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 30 - 321 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 11 - 0 - Ryan hit his first five passes on the drive to four different receivers to get inside the 29 of Chicago to set up a field goal to complete an 11-play 62-yard opening drive. He overthrew Sanu on third down in the second drive to set up a punt. The Bears sacked Ryan on first down in the middle of the second quarter. Followed up with a crossing route to Jones for 25 to get inside the red zone. Slid inside the 5 on 2nd and 13 against edge pressure to avoid the sack and set up the open lane in the late second quarter for 13 yards. Freeman then bounced it outside for the TD. It was their second 11-play scoring drive. Pressured twice in a row on first drive of the third quarter for Falcons and sacked on second play on third down by Akeem Hicks up the middle. Split a double team due to outside pressure by nickel backer to open the double team. Justin Hardy
Juggled a 3rand 8 deep out that he tight roped the sideline and incomplete but Matt Ryan
roughed with late hit on the ground in the third quarter with 5:10 left. Ryan hit Austin Hooper
for an 88-yard score and then later a 40-yard catch and run to set up a field goal to put the Falcons up six with only a few minutes left.
RB Devonta Freeman
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 37 - 1, Rec: 2 - 2 - 0 (2 targets) - He gained six on the first offensive touch of the game on a toss right to a wide open perimeter. Great bounce out on a short draw from shotgun on the third down for the first down. Picked up a good 3rd and 1 with a nice cut back outside penetration up the middle for a first down. Bounce left for the five-yard score with 4:30 in the half. Good read and bounce. Strung out ot the left early in the third quarter. Another good stop-start cut inside for a five-yard gain. Freeman wasn't as involved in the passing game as Coleman and this was close to an even split in touches.
RB Tevin Coleman
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 16 - 0, Rec: 4 - 42 - 0 (6 targets) - Coleman went head over heels on a short run up the middle and slipped on a short pass in the let flat on a second and seven after that. He was stuffed on 3rd and 1 on a run inside against good penetration at the 29 of Chicago to set up a Matt Ryan
48-yard FG. Coleman was then targeted on a throw-out to the left flat but the pass was thrown inaccurately due to penetration in the backfield and Coleman had to pounce on the throw thrown behind him. He caught a flat pass on 1st down for 8 yards. Coleman cut back and was stuffed for third down on 2nd and short because head and pads come down too early. Forced a 3rd and 1. Later a run to left end foiled by holding call to Jake Matthews that would have gone for about 5-6 yards. Followed up with a pull through the wrap at the LOS for seven yards to set up 2nd and 13 manageable. Well covered by Leonard Floyd in the right flat and broken up in the third quarter. Broke a Kyle Fuller tackle on a crossing route circling form the backfield to get inside the 25 for his fourth catch. A bigger gain was lost when he slipped on a cut downhill on 2nd down and it seemed to happen for Freeman on the same side of the field although twice for Coleman.
WR Mohamed Sanu
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 47 - 0 (9 targets) - Sanu gained three yards on 2nd and 4 on a short pass and officials screwed up giving him a first down, coming back to the ball. He caught a second short pass over the middle for seven yards. Later a good cross with outside-in stem and took the hit by the LB head-on for a third down conversion with 6:30 in the third quarter. Sanu went up the seam in the middle inside the 10 for 15 yards. The short passes continued with a diving seven yard catch thrown to back shoulder in the early fourth quarter. Overthrown on quick slant on 3rd and 3.
WR Julio Jones
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 66 - 0 (5 targets) - Jones caught a slant on a backside slant and spun inside the safety for the first down and additional yards, for 19 off the PA pass. He gained 18 yards on corner route opened by motion of Austin Hooper
to same side on out. crossing route to Jones for 25 to get inside the red zone. Then Jones was not targeted the entire third quarter. Jones was thwarted later by a good break on the ball on a spot out cut off by Cooper. Short hook well covered under the zone on 3rd and 10 for a short gain and set up a 37-yard FG.
WR Taylor Gabriel
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 36 - 0 (4 targets) - Gabriel gained about 15 yards on a route inside the right flat. Jones the high corner route with Hooper running the out underneath to open the field. He caught an easy slant for 18 yards on the back shoulder in second quarter to get across mid field. Gabriel made the first man miss on 2nd and 10 but wrapped at the 10 with 3:00 in the third quarter trying to bounce it to the right sideline on a short pass. Targeted on the next play, a 3rd and goal out cut with Julio the decoy but overthrown by Ryan.
WR Justin Hardy
, 15 offensive snaps - Hardy juggled a 3rd and 8 deep out that he tight roped the sideline and incomplete but Matt Ryan
was roughed with late hit on the ground in the third quarter with 5:10 left.
WR Andre Roberts
, 2 offensive snaps - He returned the opening kick 60 yards, weaving through the middle of the defense from the left flat to the right sideline, but an illegal block in the back by Kemal Ishmael early in the run nullified the play.
TE Austin Hooper
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 128 - 1 (2 targets) - Hooper had the biggest gain in any game with 88 yards on Ryan scramble in pocket to stay alive and hit him at the 50 and then a stiff arm and a block by Gabriel to get up the right sideline. Then a delayed release in the mid fourth to catch the ball, stiff arm a defender and run through a second wrap for 40 yards. Hooper and a third catch and dive on third and short catch short of the marker, but a holding call by Marcus Cooper on Taylor Gabriel
gave the Falcons a first down.
QB Mike Glennon
, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 40 - 213 - 1 TD / 0 INT - It wasn’t the prettiest of efforts, but Bears fans will take it. Glennon completed 26 of 40 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown and zero turnovers in Sunday’s 23-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. The most important factor of Glennon’s performance is the zero turnovers. Not turning over the ball is what will keep him on the field and Mitchell Trubisky
on the bench.
It was evident Sunday that Glennon has no one who can stretch the field. Kevin White
was drafted to be that guy for the Bears, but he’s now out for the season with a shoulder injury. His stable of talent is unlikely to get better this season, either.
Glennon has very little value from a fantasy perspective.
RB Jordan Howard
, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 52 - 1, Rec: 3 - 14 - 0 (5 targets) - Jordan Howard
likely wants to forget the events of Sunday. On the wrong end of the 23-17 loss, Howard failed to convert on multiple opportunities that would have pushed the game in the Bears’ favor. Howard finished the game with 53 yards on 13 carries and 14 yards on three catches.
Howard dropped two passes, one of which would have tied the game under the two minute mark. Glennon found Howard mostly open near the far left pylon. All Howard needed to do was catch the ball and fall backwards into the end zone.
Pass catching seemingly has been Howard’s bugaboo since he entered the league one season ago. Howard dropped seven passes on 50 targets as a rookie, and he needed to improve upon that mark now or else Tarik Cohen
will take a stronghold on the passing downs.
Howard’s value will hold for now, but he clearly is going to be pushed by the youngster Cohen.
RB Tarik Cohen
, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 66 - 0, Rec: 8 - 47 - 1 (12 targets) - Welcome to the NFL, Mr. Cohen. Wow. Just wow. OK, sure, he didn’t run for 200 yards or score something ridiculous like four touchdowns, but he most certainly was a whirling dervish every time he touched the ball. Cohen carried the ball five times for 66 yards and caught eight passes on 12 targets for 47 yards and a touchdown.
Cohen’s best play came on a run left that quickly broke down and turned into a run right. Cohen’s quick decision to turn it back right was the only decision to make, one that resulted in the rookie beating every Falcon defender to the edge. Cohen ended up with a 46 yard gain on the plan.
Cohen was everywhere in Sunday’s 23-17 loss to the Falcons. He saw crucial snaps late in the game as the game was getting tighter, a clear sign that he’s earned the trust of this coaching staff. Given the lack of offensive talent elsewhere on the roster, there’s no doubt that Cohen will be leaned upon for output, heavy output, for that matter.
If Cohen still is available in your league, especially a PPR league, it would make sense to throw a hefty amount of change in order to secure him this season.
WR Kendall Wright
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 34 - 0 (4 targets) - “Not good” likely is the best way of describing Kendall Wright
’s first game with the Chicago Bears. Wright only received four targets on the day, catching three passes for 34 yards.
With Cameron Meredith
out of the season and Kevin White
in the locker room during the first half, Wright did very little to take advantage of the newfound opportunity. While Wright is a slot receiver at heart, the Bears are relying on him for much more.
The Bears have exactly zero receivers that can stretch the field, and opposing defenses are very much aware. Until the personnel changes, there won’t be much room for Wright to operate in the middle of the field.
Wright is a great PPR target for future weeks.
WR Kevin White
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (4 targets) - Broken scapula, out for the season again.