San Francisco 49ers 23, Indianapolis Colts 26
What you need to know
San Francisco 49ers
- With Carlos Hyde
unable to play up to his usual standards, Kyle Shanahan's Swiss Army knife of an offense has increasingly taken shape over the past two weeks. Last week against Arizona, Trent Taylor
was his go-to receiver in the middle of the field. This week gainst Indianapolis, it was George Kittle
. Once again, Kyle Juszczyk
filled his role of lulling a defense to sleep with typical fullback play, only to show up in the slot or take a shovel pass for a touchdown when the time is right. Similarly, one the outside, Pierre Garcon
got peppered with possession passes, thereby allowing Marquise Goodwin
to eventually beat the Colts for a bomb. All the while, Brian Hoyer
is successfully filling his role as the distributor, although he had a number of passes that were scheduled for delivery in Indianapolis, but ended up in Terre Haute.
- The Colts had an inconsistent offensive performance against the 49ers. At times the Colts offense looked like an explosive and unstoppable force. At other times the offense looked lethargic and was unable to get out of first gear. Brissett likewise had an up and down game. Brissett made a number of great throws downfield to TY Hilton but missed a few easy completions and had what could have been a costly interception in overtime. The Colts offense continues to be plagued by procedural and holding penalties that kill drives. TY Hilton and Marlon Mack
each contributed several explosive plays that helped the offense stay productive. Hilton was too much for the 49ers’ secondary and roasted Dontae Johnson repeatedly. Mack showed his elite speed and ability to gain chunks of yardage in a hurry.
QB Brian Hoyer
, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 46 - 353 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 0 - 0 - If last week Hoyer played better than his stats suggested, this week he played worse than they suggested. In the first half, he missed a wide open Marquise Goodwin
on 3rd-and-9, nearly had another pass picked off by an unseen linebacker in underneath zone, and had two miscues handing off the ball to a running back. In the second half, he threw an awful deep ball to Goodwin, underthrew Pierre Garcon
on another deep ball, missed both George Kittle
and Carlos Hyde
on short throws, and threw high and inside to Garcon on an out route. Two of these passes were nearly intercepted. Even in the midst of leading San Francisco on their game-tying drive at the end of regulation, he didn't even look at a completely uncovered Aldrick Robinson
-- for the second time in the game -- and overthrew an easy swing route to Matt Breida
RB Matt Breida
, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 49 - 0, Rec: 3 - 22 - 0 (5 targets) - With Carlos Hyde
sidelined for long stretches while nursing his hip injury, Breida played more than usual in this game and was actually able to portray a reasonable facsimile of Hyde's role in the 49ers' offense. He had several runs of 5 yards or more, including consecutive third-quarter carries of 13 and 14 yards. He was also active in the passing game, both as an outlet for Brian Hoyer
and as a primary receiver on a quick slant on third down that kept San Francisco's touchdown drive alive at the end of the third quarter. That said, he wasn't anything at all like Hyde in terms of breaking tackles, as several of the aforementioned intermediate-length runs would have been even-longer gainers if not for Breida going down via the slightest bit of contact. He may have built a reputation for missed tackles in college and the preseason; just didn't demonstrate it against Indianapolis.
RB Carlos Hyde
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 11 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - As foreshadowed in Week 4, Hyde clearly wasn't operating at 100 percent against Indianapolis. Early in the game, he wasn't given his usual modicum of carries, although he did turn one negative-4 yard run into a positive 4-yard run through his usual modicum of elusiveness. (He also had a 10-yard run nullified because Marquise Goodwin
unnecessarily held a defender.) Shortly thereafter, he went to the sideline for the rest of the first half, came back for San Francisco's first drive of the second half, then left again, and then came back again for the final five minutes and overtime. On several of his carries during this endgame participation, Hyde seemed unable to accelerate through openings to the extent that we're used to seeing.
RB Kyle Juszczyk
, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 2 - 14 - 1 (4 targets) - Juszczyk is not the prototypical gadget-play guy, but this game saw him once again fill his niche as the "snake in the grass" of Kyle Shanahan's offense. He lead-blocked, and lead-blocked, and lead-blocked; and then he motioned into the slot, caught a linebacker flat-footed, and hauled in an 8-yard catch on 2nd-and-7. Then he went back to lead-blocking for a while...until he scored a touchdown as the designed recipient of 2017's play du jour, a backside shovel pass at the goal line.
WR Pierre Garcon
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 94 - 0 (11 targets) - Garcon was targeted early and often: 7 of his 11 targets and 7 of his 8 receptions came in the first half. It had already reached the point of absurdity midway through San Francisco's first drive, when Brian Hoyer
connected with Garcon for 40 yards on three consecutive plays, which were basically the same play: A play action backside slant against the coverage of cornerback Rashaan Melvin. Two of Garcon's other receptions didn't require much skill, as one went for 25 yards against prevent defense at the end of the first half and another went for 13 yards on 3rd-and-10 due to a miraculous deflection that fell into his hands rather than those of the multiple defenders around him.
WR Marquise Goodwin
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 116 - 0 (11 targets) - Goodwin may have ended up with over 100 receiving yards, but he only had a handful of notable plays. On San Francisco's opening drive, which ultimately produced a field goal, Goodwin made up for an unnecessary hold that nullified Carlos Hyde
's 10-yard run by converting a 2nd-and-19 into a first down on the ensuing play. Next, Goodwin set the 49ers up for a field goal at the end of the half by beating Vontae Davis' off-man coverage on his deep out route, and snatching the ball away from Davis in midair. Finally, with the 49ers down 14 in the fourth quarter, they started their drive with two completions to Goodwin. On the first, Goodwin went uncovered down the seam for 20 yards. On the second, he made a great diving catch against double coverage for 51 yards to set up his team's first touchdown in nearly nine quarters.
WR Trent Taylor
, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (2 targets) - After being Brian Hoyer
's go-to receiver in Week 4, Taylor was, for all intents and puroses, Hoyer's no-to receiver in Week 5. Taylor's first target (and lone reception) didn't come until the first play of the second half. Then his second (and final) target wasn't until midway through overtime.
TE George Kittle
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 83 - 1 (9 targets) - Based on Kittle's second target, one would never have predicted what was to come later. It was 3rd-and-4 from the Colts' 10 yard line. Kittle ran a corner route from the slot and was open for a touchdown, but he dropped the pass. What's more, between those two targets on San Francisco's first drive and their last drive of regulation, he still hadn't done much anything of note: 1 target for 1 reception and 7 yards. But then all of a sudden, he became Brian Hoyer
's go-to receiver with the game on the line. Backed up on their own 11-yard line, Kittle ran a corner route against a soft Cover-2 defense and was wide open for a 27-yard catch. Two plays later, Kittle was targeted again on a short out route, but Hoyer's pass was wide of the mark. When they faced 4th-and-1 a few plays later, Kyle Shanahan called for a play-action pass, which Kittle caught between the cornerback and safety for 19 yards. Two plays after that, he beat the man-to-man coverage of safety Darius Butler on a post route for another 19 yards. Finally, with the 49ers facing 4th-and-goal, Shanahan dialed Kittle's number again, this time on a quick slant out of the slot, which he caught before muscling his way into the end zone.
QB Jacoby Brissett
, 76 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 34 - 314 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 8 - 14 - 1 - Jacoby Brissett
moved the Colts into field goal range on their opening possession. Brissett threw completions to Aiken, Moncrief and Brandon Williams
but the drive stalled with a penalty and sack. The Colts next four possessions stalled with Brissett unable to connect with his receivers downfield while the run game struggled, and penalties and sacks piled up. The most notable play was when Brissett dropped a dime to TY Hilton 40 yards downfield but Hilton dropped the easy catch. Brissett got back in gear with completions of 16 and 26 to Hilton. Brissett did very well escaping the pocket and making a precise throw on the 26 yard completion. An incompletion to Hilton at the goal line forced a field goal attempt. A methodical drive aided by penalties once again put the Colts in the red zone but a sack and a fumble forced another field goal attempt. The Colts first touchdown drive featured a 26 yard screen pass to Frank Gore
and two nice runs by Marlon Mack
. The ensuing possession Brissett completed an impressive 60 yard bomb to Hilton that went for a gain of 63. Brissett’s delivery looked effortless and he hit Hilton in stride. Brissett capped the drive with a 3 yard touchdown on a designed quarterback draw. Brissett made 2 beautiful throws to Moncrief and Hilton for gains of 15 and 46 to open overtime and move the Colts into the red zone. Brissett then threw an ugly interception to an underneath defender he did not see on a potential game winning throw. A long run by Marlon Mack
set up the game winning field goal.
RB Frank Gore
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 48 - 0, Rec: 3 - 38 - 0 (4 targets) - Frank Gore
did not have a strong outing against his former team. Gore picked up 12 yards on a check down from Brissett. Gore showed a nice burst and cut at the second level on a 16 yard run. Gore had the ball punched out of his hands on a short outside run but luckily the ball went out of bounds. Gore fumbled a wildcat snap a few plays later for a significant loss of yardage. Gore made a man miss in the open field on his way to a 26 yard gain on a well blocked screen pass.
RB Marlon Mack
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 91 - 1, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets) - Marlon Mack
showed off his explosive play making ability. Mack beat a defender to the edge with speed on his first carry for a gain of 9. Mack showed the ability to break angles and avoid would be tacklers with pure speed on consecutive carries. First Mack gained the edge and picked up 11. Then Mack bounced an inside run outside and outraced several defenders to the edge for a 22 yard touchdown. On 3rd and 15 Mack out ran 3 defenders to the sideline and dove for a gain of 16 that was initially ruled a touchdown but reversed upon review. Mack ripped a 35 yard run again gaining the edge and simply outrunning everyone to set up the Colts game winning field goal.
WR T.Y. Hilton
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 177 - 0 (9 targets) - TY Hilton had a monster game and could have had an even more impressive stat line. Hilton picked up 7 yards on his first catch and target running a curl route. TY Hilton beat double coverage running a corner route but dropped what would have been a 40 yard completion. Hilton beat his man badly running an out route for a gain of 16. Hilton worked to get open as Brissett scrambled and snagged a nice toe tapping 26 yard reception. Hilton was targeted in the end zone but could not make a tough catch on what would have been a 5 yard touchdown. Hilton got behind Jimmie Ward for a 63 yard catch and run. Hilton picked up 10 more yards beating his man on an inside breaking route. Hilton was clearly interfered with 20 yards downfield on a potential reception but defensive holding was called instead of pass interference. Hilton again easily gained vertical separation and shielded the ball with his body as he hauled in a 46 yard catch in overtime.
WR Donte Moncrief
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (3 targets) - Donte Moncrief
ran a quick out route, made a catch and ducked out of bounds for 10 yards. Moncrief made a 15 yard catch running a very nice out route. Moncrief worked back to Brissett and made a 7 yard grab. Moncrief is now clearly functioning as the number three wide out behind Kamar Aiken
WR Kamar Aiken
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (7 targets) - Kamar Aiken
picked up 13 yards running a comeback route on his first target. Aiken saw his second target fall incomplete because of a low throw form Brissett. Aiken beat his man inside on a slant route for 9 yards. Aiken had a 13 yard reception negated by penalty. Brissett missed Aiken badly on a deep crossing route that could have sealed the win in regulation.
Green Bay Packers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31
What you need to know
Green Bay Packers
- We don’t know what the backfield will look like when Ty Montgomery
returns but it appears as if Aaron Jones
is the guy to follow back there. He looked very good against Dallas, although the Cowboys are in the bottom half of the league against the run and allow 118 yards a game to backs. So we should be optimistic, but cautiously so. Meanwhile, we have to watch for reports on Jordy Nelson
, as an injury could mean big things for Davante Adams
and Randall Cobb
- In a shootout as expect, the Dallas offense put the team in a position for a home win against Green Bay. However, their defense continues to underperform in key moments when needing a stop. Dak Prescott
had arguably his best game of the season, sharp on short and deep throws plus using his mobility in optimal situations. The offensive line struggles at times – the first half against the Packers is a good example – but paved enough second half holes for Ezekiel to churn out more than 100 yards for the first time since Week 1. Balance returned to the Dallas passing game as three receivers (Dez Bryant
, Jason Witten
, Brice Butler
) surpassed 50 yards in the game and Coley Beasley collected two touchdowns. Expect consistently high scoring games with Dallas’ questionable defense and firepower to keep up on the offensive side of the ball.
QB Aaron Rodgers
, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 29 - 221 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 32 - 0 - Never give Aaron Rodgers
the last say in a football game—something the Dallas Cowboys should know by now. They gave Rodgers that in this game though, and it burned them as Rodgers hit Davante Adams
for a 12-yard touchdown pass with 16 seconds left in the game, taking the Packers to victory. The score capped a 9-play, 75 yard drive which took 1:02 off the board and saw Rodgers buy time—including an 18-yard first down—with his legs. This was a day where Rodgers didn’t get the ball as much, because Dallas held the ball for 35:06 compared to Green Bay’s 24:54. Still, what chances he got, Rodgers made the most of. On the game winning touchdown, Rodgers kept it simple. He took a three step drop and immediately looked to his left, seeing Davante Adams
heading for the end zone. While the defensive coverage wasn’t bad, Rodgers still made the throw, aiming for Adams’ backside shoulder. Adams jumped up and caught the ball, easily keeping both feet in as he did.
RB Aaron Jones
, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 125 - 1, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets) - Jones has stepped in for an injured Ty Montgomery
and a banged up Jamaal Williams
, and he was really effective, with a 6.6 yards per carry average on 19 carries. He looked quick and elusive throughout the day, especially during his 7-yard touchdown run with less than a minute left in the first half. On that run, he did a good job rapidly getting to the line of scrimmage, then finding the crease to get past the defenders there and out into the open. Jones didn’t see a ton of time in the passing game, but he was on the field on passing downs and did set up his own touchdown with his sole reception. Overall it was a nice start for the rookie and as of now it seems clear he is the backup to Montgomery..
RB Jamaal Williams
, 2 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0 - Williams is allegedly healthy now, but he didn’t see the field beyond two snaps but at least one of them involved a carry.
RB Aaron Ripkowski
, 7 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0 - The fullback barely saw the field, playing just seven snaps. He didn’t even really serve as a replacement for Aaron Jones
when the rookie needed a breather.
WR Davante Adams
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 66 - 2 (11 targets) - Adams was recently in the concussion protocol but you wouldn’t have known it by the game he played. Leading the team in both targets and catches, Adams was a key figure in both keeping pace with a Dallas team which was putting points on the board as well as winning the game. On the final offensive play of the game for Green Bay, Adams ran a short route into the end zone as Aaron Rodgers
dropped back to pass. Rodgers saw Adams was covered but trusted his receiver and aimed a throw at Adams’ backside shoulder. Adams went up and made the catch, making sure his feet landed in the end zone for what would be the game winning score. Adams continues to be the second weapon behind Jordy Nelson
in this offense, occasionally outproducing Nelson when the latter is blanketed in coverage. He’s proving that if a team chooses to do that, Adams will make them pay.
WR Randall Cobb
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 29 - 0 (5 targets) - Cobb seemed to be a big target in the first half, but Aaron Rodgers
went away from him in the second. Some of that might be the lack of time the Packers offense was on the field, but it seems sure that Adams has supplanted Cobb as the No. 2 and while he will occasionally produce, it will not be consistently.
WR Jordy Nelson
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 24 - 1 (4 targets) - Nelson had a really nice catch over the middle for a touchdown as he somehow was left uncovered, but the most notable moment was one he wasn’t involved in at all—the Packers game-winning drive. Nelson was not on the field for it, and while the Packers didn’t mention an injury after the game, there had to be something going on. Michael Silver of the NFL Network mentioned a hamstring injury, but until we see some confirmation, his absence is a mystery.
WR Geronimo Allison
, 13 offensive snaps (2 targets) - Clearly a fifth wheel, Allison was on the field for just 13 snaps, and saw only two targets.
TE Martellus Bennett
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 53 - 0 (3 targets) - Bennett was invisible in the first half, as he struggled to get open. He saw three targets in the second, all of which he caught, and made an incredible catch for 33-yards, and was targeted for a big 14-yard pickup on the final game-winning drive. Bennett has been inconsistent, even though it seems as if Aaron Rodgers
trusts him in big moments.
TE Richard Rodgers
, 6 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (1 targets) - Rodgers, who has rarely been on the field this year, was only on for a handful of snaps and caught one pass in the second quarter.
TE Lance Kendricks
, 18 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 24 - 0 (1 targets) - Kendricks had one catch, but it was a big one. Aaron Rodgers
hit him for 24 yards and a big first down, setting up the Packers’ first touchdown of the game. Kendricks was otherwise a blocker when he was on the field at all.
QB Dak Prescott
, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 36 - 251 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 37 - 1 - Prescott had one of his finest games as a pro against the Packers in Week 5. While the defense allowed a long touchdown drive in the closing minutes to Aaron Rodgers
, Prescott was consistently impactful. Prescott had multiple occasions where he eluded pocket pressure and delivered an accurate intermediate or deep throw on the move. He has shown the ability for accurate ball placement both rolling right and left this season. Prescott’s mobility is a difference-making trait especially on third down and in the red zone. Three of Prescott’s four rushes in the game came in key moments from picking up a third down in field goal range to a fourth down sneak conversion to a red zone read option touchdown. While Prescott could pile up more rushing production if a focal point of his game, through more than 20 career starts it is clear Prescott is a pass-first quarterback in his mindset. Prescott staked Dallas to a 21-6 first half lead, but trailed by the early fourth quarter in a hotly contested game. Prescott’s interception, returned for a touchdown, was not his fault. An accurate pass sailed through Terrance Williams
’ hands on a simple hitch route. With a bye week up next, Dallas can get their defense in order as the schedule softens for Dak Prescott
and the passing game with San Francisco, Washington, and Kansas City following the week off.
RB Ezekiel Elliott
, 64 offensive snaps, Rush: 29 - 116 - 0, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (2 targets) - Elliott had tough sledding against Green Bay with a season-high 30 touches. His volume was high on the opening drive, but did not begin to find a rhythm until the fourth quarter. Dallas’ offensive line has been up-and-down as a run-blocking unit through the opening month of the season and this week was no exception. Elliott found room to the perimeter for 25 yards early in the fourth quarter, turning into a string of quality runs as Dallas looked to secure the win. Elliott, like on the opening drive, was the centerpiece element of Dallas’ scoring drive to take lead late in the game. A highlight of Elliott’s game was converting on fourth-and-one (ultimately reviewed) with second effort through contact. Elliott did not see an optimal goal line opportunities or much work in the passing game as Dallas worked through their wide receivers more this week and Elliott blocked on plenty of snaps.
WR Dez Bryant
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 52 - 1 (8 targets) - Bryant played with a notable chip on his shoulder against Green Bay with early energy in his routes and after the catch. Bryant’s biggest impact came on two contested targets. One of them was a classic Bryant high-point on a red zone fade for a touchdown. On the other, Bryant played defense to break up a likely interception over the middle. Bryant had the opportunity for another touchdown, but failed to control a low target in the end zone. Yet to hit 100 yards in a game this season, Bryant will have an easier schedule after Dallas’ Week 6 bye with San Francisco up next.
WR Cole Beasley
, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 23 - 2 (6 targets) - Beasley’s typical third down-centric role for Dallas shifted to the red zone against the Packers en route to two short-range touchdowns. Both were easy scores for Beasley. On the first, Beasley ran a speed out, beating the defender to the pylon for the score. On the second, Beasley had a free release on a goal line post for the straight-forward touchdown.
WR Terrance Williams
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (3 targets) - Williams’ grasp on the No.2 receiver job remains tenuous as Brice Butler
continues to perform well in spot duty and Williams logged another lackluster game. Williams did not see a target until the second half and produced an interception as a Dak Prescott
pass sailed right through Williams’ hands, returned for a touchdown to make matters worse. One of Williams’ receptions was a short screen pass on third-and-long. With Cole Beasley
and Jason Witten
having bounce back games, Williams’ pecking order position for the Dallas passing game is an ancillary one.
WR Brice Butler
, 22 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 57 - 0 (2 targets) - Brice Butler
continued his big play role for Dallas with two critical receptions. The most notable came on the opening third down of the game as Dak Prescott
operated from a congested pocket to deliver a deep throw on a line to Butler. With prototypical size and movement for the position, Butler is an upside element for Dallas if Terrance Williams
misses time or is supplanted as the No.2 receiver in base formations.
TE Jason Witten
, 73 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 61 - 0 (10 targets) - Witten bounced back from two non-descript games as the leading receiver for Dallas against Green Bay. Amidst the success, Witten did log a fourth quarter drop. While uncommon at this stage of his career, Witten did not have any after-the-catch opportunities, relying on contested catches for most of his yardage. The 49ers are one of the most difficult matchups for opposing tight ends in efficiency allowed waiting for Jason Witten
after Dallas’ Week 6 bye.
Tennessee Titans 10, Miami Dolphins 16
What you need to know
- The Titans offense struggled with Matt Cassel
under center, amassing only 188 total yards and one touchdown. All offensive contributors struggled in this game as the Titans only established one successful drive, capped with tight end Phillip Supernaw
's 11-yard touchdown reception - the first of his career. Demarco Murray out-touched Derrick Henry
18-to-4 - the largest workload gap between the two so far this season.
- The Miami Dolphins moved to 2-2 on Sunday by defeating the Tennessee Titans, 16-10. Quarterback Jay Cutler
played one of his worst games of the season, completing just 12 of 26 passes for a paltry 92 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Running back Jay Ajayi
rushed 25 times for 77 yards while catching two passes for two yards. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry
led the Dolphins passing attack with five catches for 44 yards and a touchdown. DeVante Parker
caught one pass for 6 yards before exiting the game with an ankle injury. Kenny Stills
and Julius Thomas
each caught one pass, totaling 13 and 15 yards, respectively.
QB Matt Cassel
, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 32 - 141 - 1 TD / 0 INT - Matt Cassel
had a rough day against the Dolphins Defense, completing 21 of 32 pass attempts for only 141 yards and one touchdown. The Titans struggled to move the ball for most of this game as they really missed starting quarterback Marcus Mariota
. Cassel made a number of errant throws, routinely missing his target or having to throw it away as nobody could get open. Cassel threw a nice deep ball to Delanie Walker
late in the first quarter, but what would have been a 59-yard touchdown was called back due to an offensive pass interference penalty. Two plays later on that same drive, the officials made a very questionable call that Cassel fumbled instead of throwing an incomplete pass, resulting in a Dolphins touchdown. than positive in the first half. Cassel showed great control on a floater to tight end Phillip Supernaw
midway through the third quarter for his first and only touchdown of the day. The Titans offensive line struggled to protect Cassel as he was sacked six times, with one of those sacks nearly resulting in a safety. Left tackle Taylor Lewan left in the first quarter with a knee injury. He returned in the second quarter but sat out the rest of the game after halftime.
RB DeMarco Murray
, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 58 - 0, Rec: 4 - 11 - 0 (5 targets) - Demarco Murray only managed 58 rushing yards on 14 carries while adding 11 receiving yards on four receptions as he and the entire Titans offense struggled. The Titans could never sustain a drive long enough for Murray to find a rhythm on the ground here. He busted off a couple of nice runs on the Titans one decent drive that set up their only touchdown, but outside of that, this game was a forgettable one. Murray also fumbled early in the game, but that surprisingly did not result in any additional touches for Derrick Henry
as Murray out-touched him 18-to-4.
RB Derrick Henry
, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 9 - 0 - Derrick Henry
was very quiet this week as he only received four carries for a total of nine yards. Henry was not on the field much here, as he appeared to be an afterthought compared to Murray's 18 touches. Henry's first carry of the game came late in the first quarter, and it was his best play of the game as he rushed for 11 yards by bouncing to the left side with help from his wide receiver blocking. Henry's next carry came a couple drives later and was not as spectacular, as he tried to similarly bounce a run to the outside but was stuffed for a five-yard loss.
WR Rishard Matthews
, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -3 - 0, Rec: 3 - 34 - 0 (6 targets) - Rishard Matthews
tied for the lead in targets for the Titans this week with six, hauling in three of them for 34 yards. Matthews received one carry on the game in the first half, but it was blown up as he lost three yards. Matthews made a very impressive catch by pinning the ball against his leg to keep it from hitting the ground, resulting in a 17-yard gain - the longest play of the day for the Titans. Outside of that, Matthews really lacked highlights as this entire offense struggled.
WR Eric Decker
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 34 - 0 (6 targets) - Eric Decker
had another mediocre outing this week, amassing only 34 yards from four receptions. Decker tied for the team lead in targets with six, which is encouraging from a usage perspective as he has been an afterthought in this offense for most of the season. Three of Decker's four receptions came on the Titans only touchdown drive on their first possession after halftime. Outside of that drive, Decker was ineffective as this entire offense struggled.
TE Jonnu Smith
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 21 - 0 (5 targets) - Jonnu Smith
led the team in receptions as he hauled in all five of his targets for a meager total of 21 yards. Smith was commonly left uncovered as the Dolphins focused on more notable pass-catchers, leaving him as an easy option for Cassel to find for easy completions. Smith was called for a questionable pass interference penalty that cost Delanie Walker
a big touchdown pass early in this game.
TE Delanie Walker
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (5 targets) - Delanie Walker
hauled in what would have been a very impressive 59-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter, but the play was called back due to a pass interference penalty on the other tight end Jonnu Smith
. Walker ended up finishing with only three receptions on five targets for a disappointing total of 25 yards. Nearly half of Walker's yards came on the last play of the game as he caught a 12-yard pass across the middle. Everyone had a tough day for the Titans here as the Titans are anxiously awaiting the return of Marcus Mariota
TE Phillip Supernaw
, 14 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 16 - 1 (2 targets) - Phillip Supernaw
, typically a blocking specialist, got his first NFL touchdown in this game on an 11-yard reception midway through the third quarter. This touchdown came after Supernaw was responsible for back to back pre-snap penalties, moving the Titans from the one-yard line to the 11-yard line. This was Supernaw's second reception of the season.
QB Jay Cutler
, 58 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 26 - 92 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 8 - 0 - Jay Cutler
completed only 12 of 26 passes for 92 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Cutler also added 8 yards on two rushing attempts. Cutler has now thrown for 256 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions over his last two games. Despite the fact that the Dolphins won their game against Titans, it was of very little thanks to their offense. Cutler was unsettled in the pocket, often throwing to wide receivers who were tightly covered, or overthrowing his intended receiver on the small number of throws he attempted down the field. The Dolphins strategy to bring Cutler out retirement was seen as a way to bring in a veteran who could captain a projected playoff team in Ryan Tannehill
’s absence. Through four games, Cutler has yet to look like the veteran that Miami had in mind when they signed him, showing indecision and timing difficulties with his receivers, while committing his fair share of turnovers in the process.
RB Jay Ajayi
, 46 offensive snaps, Rush: 25 - 77 - 0, Rec: 2 - 2 - 0 (3 targets) - Jay Ajayi
rushed 25 times for 77 yards, while also catching two passes for two yards. While the 77 yards were an improvement over the last two weeks, the 77 rushing yards pale in comparison to what we saw Ajayi do with a full workload last season. It is not entirely his fault though, as the Miami offensive line has failed to open adequate holes for him to run through, and in the instance where Ajayi is able to break through his first tackler, there are often several other defenders waiting to take him down. Ajayi’s ability to gain first downs while the passing game was largely ineffective was key in Miami winning the field positioning battle. Without that, the Dolphins would have fell to 1-3 on a day when their defense was largely responsible for sealing the win against the Titans.
WR Jarvis Landry
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 44 - 1 (10 targets) - Jarvis Landry
five passes for 44 yards and also scored his first touchdown of the season on Sunday against the Titans. Landry was in many ways, the passing game for Miami on a day when Jay Cutler
completed a total of seven passes to other Dolphins receivers. Landry made two significant plays on the day, the first a 17 yard reception where he caught the ball on a hook-route in the middle of the field, before shaking two defenders with a spin move and picking up a total of 17 yards on the play. It was the longest play of the day for the Miami passing attack. That play, set up a six yard touchdown reception where Landry ran a shallow in-route from the slot, and Jay Cutler
threw a nice ball in between two Titans defenders. Both defenders hit Landry, but he was able to secure the ball for what went down as the only touchdown of the day for the Dolphins.
WR Kenny Stills
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (2 targets) - Kenny Stills
caught one pass for 13 yards on two targets against the Titans on Sunday. While DeVante Parker
was forced out of action early in the contest due to an ankle injury, Stills was not targeted more frequently due to the fact that the Miami passing game was largely ineffective. Stills continues to be a deep target for Jay Cutler
, but the Miami quarterback was not given enough time to go through his progressions, and Stills was unable to create separation on his intermediate routes in time to be targeted.
WR DeVante Parker
, 3 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets) - DeVante Parker
caught his only target of the game for six yards. Parker injured his ankle early in the first half against the Titans and was ruled out after halftime. The ankle injury is not believed to be serious and Parker’s injury status is uncertain as he heads to week 6.
TE Julius Thomas
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (4 targets) - Julius Thomas
caught one of his four targets for 15 yards against a stout Titans secondary on Sunday. With DeVante Parker
out with an injury, Thomas saw a target or two more than he normally would, but was unable to make them mean anything. Thomas’s only catch showed that he had a little more left in the tank that I had originally thought, as he took a short pass over the middle and managed to fake out a defender, lowering his shoulder and running over a Titans defender before being tackled at the Tennessee five yard line. The play set up Jarvis Landry
’s touchdown, which ended up being the deciding factor in the game.
New York Jets 17, Cleveland Browns 14
What you need to know
New York Jets
- * Three-in-a-row! The New York Jets (3-2) are one of the biggest surprises in the NFL and currently sit in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East. The winning streak hasn't been pretty - and today's win over Cleveland emphasized this point. New York's offense, which was out-gained 419-to-212, struggled for three quarters, but made enough big plays to win. Josh McCown
threw two second half touchdown passes, New York's defense generated three turnovers, and made a key fourth-down stop deep in its own territory that completely changed the outcome of this game. In fact, this defensive stop led an eight play, 97-yard drive that ended with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse
. Kearse's touchdown gave New York a 17-7 advantage, an advantage the defense would not relinquish.
* Matt Forte
(toe) was inactive for the second straight week. Bilal Powell
(calf) left in the first half and did not return. Elijah McGuire
assumed lead back duties, but only rushed for 20 yards on 11 carries. He didn't find much room to run. Powell was on the sideline for the entire second half, but did not re-enter. Powell's injury doesn't appear to be serious, but is worth monitoring.
- It was another tough day at the office for the Browns in Week 5. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer
struggled to move the ball in the first half and he committed two red zone turnovers on the rare occasions the team was in scoring position. Kizer was benched at halftime and replaced by second-year quarterback Kevin Hogan
. Hogan looked much better than Kizer, making quick decisions and getting the ball out to his receivers quickly. Isaiah Crowell
turned in his best performance of the season but still didn't do much on the ground while Duke Johnson
continues to look like the team's best offensive player. The defense received a boost from the debut of Myles Garrett, who delivered two sacks in limited playing time.
QB Josh McCown
, 53 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 30 - 194 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - -3 - 0 - It wasn't pretty, but McCown and the Jet offense made enough plays to win. After nearly three quarters of futile play, McCown and the Jet offense came alive. Following a Kevin Hogan
interception late in the third quarter, McCown hit Austin Seferian-Jenkins
on a fade route for a 2-yard touchdown. New York rolled out a three-by-one look, with Seferian-Jenkins matched one-on-one against the boundary defender. Seferian-Jenkins high-pointed the ball, using his size to win against a smaller defender. In the fourth quarter, McCown led an eight-play, 97-yard touchdown drive that culminated with an easy 24-yard strike to Jermaine Kearse
. McCown baited Cleveland's defenders on a play-fake to Robby Anderson
, who was used as a decoy on a screen pass, and hit a wide-open Kearse in front of the pylon for an easy score. Next week, McCown will square off against Tom Brady
in a battle between first place clubs.
RB Elijah McGuire
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 20 - 0, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (3 targets) - Elijah McGuire
was deployed as New York's featured runner in the second half once Bilal Powell
(calf) was ruled out. McGuire, however, did not find any room to run against an inspired Cleveland front. Powell's injury did not appear to be serious, so McGuire's time as the featured runner may be short-lived.
RB Bilal Powell
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0, Rec: 4 - 28 - 0 (5 targets) - Bilal Powell
suffered a calf injury in the first half and did not return. Powell, however, was on the sidelines, but the coaching staff opted to hold him out. Prior to the injury, Powell did not find much room as a runner, but was effective as a pass catcher. Powell had four grabs for 28 yards, serving as McCown safety blanket on check downs.
WR Jermaine Kearse
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 38 - 1 (4 targets) - Jermaine Kearse
bounced back with a solid performance after last week's tough match-up against Jalen Ramsey. He secured all four of his targets, which include a 24-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. McCown faked a wide receiver screen to Robby Anderson
and hit an uncovered Kearse for the score. Credit McCown for selling the play-fake to give Kearse an opportunity to score.
WR Jeremy Kerley
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 39 - 0 (4 targets) - For the first time this season, Kerley led the team in receiving yardage. Operating out of the slot, Kerley did not have any trouble getting open. In the fourth quarter, McCown hit Kerley on a deep sideline route for 18 yards on a key third down. Kerley displayed impressive poise and body control to secure the grab. One play later, McCown hit Kearse for the game-winning touchdown.
WR Robby Anderson
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (5 targets) - Another week, another quiet performance by Anderson. Anderson once again had trouble creating separation at the line of scrimmage and settled for short gains on crossing routes.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 29 - 1 (8 targets) - He's back! Seferian-Jenkins saw a team-high eight targetsóand made the most of them. In the third quarter, McCown hit Austin Seferian-Jenkins
on a fade route for a 2-yard touchdown. New York rolled out a three-by-one look, with Seferian-Jenkins matched one-on-one against the boundary defender. Seferian-Jenkins high-pointed the ball, using his size to win against a smaller defender. It was an easy pitch-and-catch. Seferian-Jenkins did not have any long catches and runs, but he routinely used his big body and physically to separate from smaller defenders.
TE Eric Tomlinson
, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 34 - 0 (1 targets) - Tomlinson made one of the biggest plays of the game. During New York's eight-play, 97-yard scoring drive, McCown found Tomlinson on 3rd-and-2 for a 34-yard gain. Cleveland forgot to cover the big tight end, who spent most of the game trying to block Myles Garrett.
QB DeShone Kizer
, 42 offensive snaps, Pass: 8 - 17 - 87 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 6 - 29 - 0 - Kizer struggled again in Week 5, committing two red zone turnovers and getting benched at halftime. Watching backup Kevin Hogan
make quick decisions and get the ball out quickly really emphasized how much Kizer has struggled in those areas. While the rookie signal caller has a big arm he has struggled to make quick decisions and often holds the ball too long. He did make a few impressive throws against the Jets but too often missed his targets. In the first quarter, he most likely would have had a touchdown pass to Isaiah Crowell
on a short route but he waited too long to throw the pass and then threw the ball too high. Crowell couldn't make the grab and the defense would have been able to stop him before he reached the goal line even if he did. Kizer's two turnovers were back breakers. He appeared to panic on a designed QB keeper near the goal line and threw a poor pitch to Isaiah Crowell
which resulted in a lost fumble. Later, Kizer came back and threw an interception from New York's four-yard line. The defender simply jumped the route on a target that was intended for Seth DeValve
. He was benched at halftime in favor of Hogan.
QB Kevin Hogan
, 34 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 19 - 194 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 30 - 0 - Hogan took over for starter DeShone Kizer
after halftime after the rookie struggled against the Jets. The difference between Hogan and Kizer was instantly apparent. Hogan made quick decisions and got the ball out quickly, something Kizer has not done in his rookie season. Hogan doesn't have the arm that Kizer possesses but he's just as dangerous with his legs. His first touchdown came on an impressive throw and an even more impressive catch by tight end David Njoku
. Hogan put the ball where only a diving Njoku could make the grab. Hogan's interception came on a misfire to Ricardo Louis
. He threw the ball too high to Louis and it landed in the hands of the defender for the pick. Hogan's second touchdown came on the Browns' final offensive play of the game on a 41-yard catch-and-run by Duke Johnson
. While Hogan gets credit for the 41-yard touchdown pass, Johnson did all of the heavy lifting on the play, making the catch around the line of scrimmage and weaving his way through New York's defense to score. Hogan has a real shot to start in Week 6, but the Browns haven't tipped their hand just yet.
RB Isaiah Crowell
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 60 - 0, Rec: 2 - 7 - 0 (3 targets) - Crowell had his best rushing game of the season against the Jets in Week 5. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to pick up his first touchdown of the season, although he did see several red zone looks. On the second drive of the game, Crowell received a red zone carry from the New York six-yard line. He picked up three yards on the rush. DeShone Kizer
went right back to Crowell on the next play, targeting him with a pass. The pass was too high for Crowell to make the grab. He probably would have been able to beat the defender to the pylon for a score had Kizer delivered the ball more quickly and on target. He later saw another red zone target in the third quarter. This time he was able to catch the ball but was brought down pretty quickly thereafter.
RB Duke Johnson
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 20 - 0, Rec: 3 - 63 - 1 (3 targets) - Johnson scored in his third straight game, this time on an impressive 41-yard catch-and run on the team's final offensive play of the game. He caught the ball near the line of scrimmage and was able to weave his way through New York's defense before breaking a few tackles near the end zone. Even with the score, Johnson could have had a bigger game on Sunday. He had a 20-yard reception nullified by an offensive holding penalty. He also badly burned the linebacker covering him in the second quarter but quarterback DeShone Kizer
overthrew him. Johnson could have had a touchdown on the play had Kizer thrown the ball on target. Johnson continues to be the team's best offensive player when he gets the ball. The Browns coaches have been hesitant to give him a full workload, however, perhaps in attempts to keep him healthy.
WR Ricardo Louis
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 71 - 0 (8 targets) - Louis benefitted from the absence of wideout Kenny Britt
. He led the team in targets, catches, and receiving yards. While Rashard Higgins
was a popular waiver add a few weeks back, it appears Louis is the better long-term bet for receiving production on the team. He was targeted heavily by both DeShone Kizer
and Kevin Hogan
throughout the game. That being said, two of Louis' catches and 37 of his yards came on the final drive with the Jets playing back and conceding catches in front of them. Louis could have had a bigger day but he was overthrown on a deep route down the middle during the fourth quarter.
WR Kasen Williams
, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 33 - 0 (5 targets) - Although it didn't show up in the box score, Williams showed the ability to make contested catches against the defense. He drew a red zone target from the Jets' eight-yard line but was only able to pick up four yards. Williams also had a 29-yard catch overturned after a challenge revealed he didn't get both feet down inbounds. It was still an impressive catch in which he leapt and fought off the defender for the ball. Williams has shown the ability to make tough, contested catches in his limited playing time.
WR Bryce Treggs
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 28 - 0 (6 targets) - After being signed off of Philadelphia's practice squad in the middle of the week, Treggs was a big part of the offense right away. The receiver brings elite speed to a Browns' receiving corps that is sorely missing that element, especially with Corey Coleman
sidelined. Treggs saw several deep shots throughout the game but was unable to connect on any of them. He did have an 18-yard sideline catch in the second quarter he didn't get both feet down inbounds so it was ruled incomplete. His combination of heavy usage and speed makes it just a matter of time before he and whoever is quarterbacking the Browns connect for some deep splash plays.
TE David Njoku
, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 3 - 48 - 1 (3 targets) - Njoku had the best game of his young career and flashed the impressive athletic ability that made him one of the top tight end prospects in this year's draft. Njoku scored his third touchdown of the season in the third quarter, making a very impressive diving, one-handed catch at the left side of the end zone. It was a very difficult catch that he made look easy. He later made another diving catch coming across the middle of the field. Njoku even saw a carry on an end around in the game. He only gained one yard but the fact the Browns used their tight end on an end around shows what they think of his athletic upside.
Buffalo Bills 16, Cincinnati Bengals 20
What you need to know
- The Buffalo offense struggled in a rain soaked game, where Charles Clay
injured his knee. The receivers failed to create separation down the field, and as a result, LeSean McCoy
had little room to run. TE Nick O'Leary led the team in receiving with most of his work coming after Clay was injured.
- In a pouring rain, Andy Dalton
had another strong outing. The Bills stacked the box and dared the Bengals to beat them through the air. Dalton was up to the task, throwing for 328 yards against one of the league’s top pass defenses. A.J. Green
had an up-and-down game. He was directly responsible for three turnovers (a fumble and two interceptions that bounced off his hands) but also made a number of big plays, including a 77-yard touchdown reception. Joe Mixon
continues to see the majority of the work at running back and scored his first career touchdown but isn’t finding much room to run.
QB Tyrod Taylor
, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 37 - 166 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0 - Tyrod Taylor
struggled with accuracy during a rain soaked game in Cincinnati. In the past two weeks, Taylor demonstrated the ability to read through multiple progressions, but regressed this week. Taylor frequently held the ball too long in the pocket, and was indecisive when he decided to scramble. Taylor's struggles are not all attributable to him as the offense is devoid of playmakers at the receiving position. Outside of running back LeSean McCoy
, Taylor's most reliable weapon was Charles Clay
, who was injured in the first half. Without Clay, and injured receiver Jordan Matthews
, Taylor had few opportunities to throw to open receivers. As a result, Taylor was forced to frequently check down to LeSean McCoy
and backup tight ends Nick O'Leary and Logan Thomas
in the flat and short areas of the field. Taylor threw one touchdown pass on the day to reserve wide receiver Brandon Tate
. Tate ran a seam route in the red zone out of the slot and Taylor threw the ball high where only Tate could catch it. Tate caught the ball while dragging his feet for the touchdown. Taylor had a second chance for a touchdown on a red zone fade to Zay Jones
. Jones created separation on the route, but the throw was low and led Jones too far to the sideline to stay inbounds as he dove to catch the ball. Taylor threw one interception that was intended for Zay Jones
on the final drive of the game. Taylor forced the ball into heavy coverage on third down in a desperation comeback attempt, but the ball was high and intercepted by Cincinnati. Taylor took six sacks on the game.
RB LeSean McCoy
, 54 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 63 - 0, Rec: 6 - 26 - 0 (9 targets) - Buffalo's offensive line created some running room for McCoy in this game, particularly in plays behind pulling LG Richie Incognito. However, there were too many defenders near the line of scrimmage for McCoy to have any regular success on the ground. Buffalo has no ability to scare defenses down the field, so defenders are free to crowd the line to contain McCoy. McCoy had 25 touches, but the approach limited him to 89 total yards. McCoy did have a carry of 44 yards, however, the play was called back by a holding penalty against TE Logan Thomas
. Buffalo's offense never got inside the Cincinnati 10-yard line to establish any goal line trends. McCoy was targeted a team high 9 times, and aligned in the formation where he ran routes on multiple occasions. McCoy fumbled once but the ball was recovered by Buffalo. McCoy remained in the game and his workload was not limited by the fumble.
RB Mike Tolbert
, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 16 - 0, Rec: 3 - 18 - 0 (3 targets) - Mike Tolbert
saw limited action in spelling LeSean McCoy
. His role in the running game is a downhill power back, which he performed well on his three carries. Tolbert's three targets in the passing game were of the check down variety. He is operating as the clear number two behind LeSean McCoy
WR Brandon Tate
, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 25 - 1 (4 targets) - Brandon Tate
was targeted four times and finished with two catches and 25 yards. One of his catches was a touchdown on a seam route from the slot. Tate extended for a high throw and dragged both feet to secure the catch. Tate also served as the team's punt returner.
WR Zay Jones
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (6 targets) - Zay Jones
was targeted six times on the game, but only managed a catch for nine yards. Jones had his weekly drop on a screen pass. The ball was low, but Jones had his hands on it before dropping the ball. Jones was targeted in red zone on a fade route where he got separation on the play but the ball was low and in front of him. Jones dove and caught the ball but the ball dragged him out of bound before he could establish possession. His one catch was a sliding catch across the middle of the field. Jones did manage to draw a defensive pass interference penalty on a catchable ball on in the intermediate portion of the field. However, Jones continued his season long trend of looking overwhelmed against NFL corners.
TE Nick OLeary
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 54 - 0 (6 targets) - Nick O'Leary capitalized on absence of Charles Clay
with a team high five catches for a team high 54 yards. O'Leary was a reliable but non- dynamic option in the passing game. He is at best an average athlete at the position, and gained what was open, but is not expected to create more for Buffalo's offense. O'Leary was the clear replacement for Clay after Clay left with an injury.
TE Charles Clay
, 13 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 31 - 0 (3 targets) - Charles Clay
caught two of his three targets for 31 yards. His long was a 24-yard catch on a corner route, where he went awkwardly to the ground on a glancing tackle to his leg. His knee bent awkwardly on the play and he was carted off the field and he did not return. Clay was the most important player in the Buffalo offense outside of LeSean McCoy
so any time he loses creates a void of targets in the offense.
QB Andy Dalton
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 36 - 328 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 5 - 2 - 0 - Dalton hobbled his way through a gutsy performance to lead the Bengals to victory. In the first quarter, he took back-to-back shots to his left knee and ankle from Jerry Hughes (one of which was flagged) that left him limping. Dalton came out in the second half with the ankle heavily taped and limped throughout the game but should be okay going forward with a Week 6 bye allowing extra time to recover. Dalton came out of the gates firing to A.J. Green
and the pair hooked up for an early 77-yard touchdown. Dalton faked the handoff and then lofted a perfect pass deep down the right sideline that Green caught in stride and took the distance. Under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, the Bengals have been incorporating some run/pass option (RPO) plays and have had a lot of success with the concept. Dalton has been able to read the linebacker and pull the ball back from the running back and fire it out on a short slant multiple times in recent games. Dalton threw two interceptions. The first one was partially his fault. He threw the ball a little too high and it went through the hands of a leaping A.J. Green
. It was a catch Green typically makes without much trouble but the degree of difficulty was made higher due to the high throw and pouring rain. The second interception was on a perfectly thrown slant that hit Green in the chest before popping up in the air. Dalton came back to Green on the next drive and the duo was able to connect for a 47-yard gain. Dalton stood in and delivered the ball 20 yards downfield just over the defender’s hands. Green sprinted toward the end zone and was tripped up just a few yards short of another long touchdown. While Dalton has struggled more than most quarterbacks in the face of pressure, he was much better in that regard against the Bills. He stood in and threw strikes with men in his face and also did a nice job scrambling to buy time for guys to get open when the pocket broke down.
RB Joe Mixon
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 51 - 1 - For the third straight week, Mixon played over half of the snaps (36 of 66) and dominated the backfield touches. He did well to make something from nothing on several occasions. He took one handoff that should have gone for a loss for an 8-yard gain. He had nowhere to run and bounced it outside where a linebacker was waiting to make the tackle. Mixon made a huge jump cut to the outside and then ran through the defender’s diving tackle attempt before accelerating forward for the solid gain. Mixon’s 5-yard touchdown came on a similar play. There was no room up the middle, so Mixon made a jump cut to the outside and outraced a defender to the edge before turning the corner and sprinting into the end zone. Mixon has shown the speed and lateral agility necessary to be a big-play threat and it is only a matter of time until he breaks off some long gains. Far too often, Mixon was swarmed in the backfield and dropped for minimal gain or a loss. Some of the Bengals issues running the ball are due to poor offensive line play but it also seems like teams are guessing right on run blitzes with regularity. The offensive coaching staff needs to use the bye week to determine if it is tipping plays with formations or tendencies.
RB Jeremy Hill
, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 16 - 0 - Hill continues to start every game but played just 11 of 66 snaps. He touched the ball four times and was solid. He gets what is blocked and is able to finish runs with some power.
RB Giovani Bernard
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0, Rec: 2 - 30 - 0 (2 targets) - Bernard played 22 of 66 snaps but only touched the ball four times. His biggest gain came on a 3rd-and-21 screen that went for 17 yards. He was ineffective as a runner. Bernard was stuffed for a loss on a 3rd-and-short carry.
WR A.J. Green
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 189 - 1 (13 targets) - Green had a season’s worth of lowlights and highlights in one game. He was directly responsible for three turnovers (a fumble and two interceptions that bounced off of his hands). When Green wasn’t turning it over, he was busy dominating the Bills secondary and making game-changing plays. The Bengals game plan was obvious right out of the gate. Dalton came out firing it to Green for consecutive completions of 15 and 7 yards on the first two plays of the game despite the game taking place in a steady downpour. The drive quickly stalled but the Bengals went right back to Green on the opening play of the next drive. Green was lined up wide to the right in single coverage on rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White and ran right past him on a go route, getting almost five yards of separation. Dalton lofted a perfectly thrown deep ball which Green caught in stride for a 77-yard touchdown. The first turnover came on a quick slant route. The pass from Dalton was a little high but Green went up and got both hands on it. The wet ball slipped through his grasp and into the arms of a Bills safety. The second tipped interception by Green was even worse. He was wide open on a short slant and the ball went through his hands, hit him in the chest and bounced into the arms of a Buffalo defender. The next drive, Green turned it over again. He caught a pass down the seam and had some room to run. He had a gain of 20 yards into the red zone before taking a big hit that popped the ball out. After the turnovers, the Bengals kept going back to their star receiver and were rewarded when Green made a nice grab and raced for a 47-yard gain. He almost scored but was tripped up inside the 5-yard line.
WR Brandon LaFell
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 32 - 0 (8 targets) - LaFell was solid as the secondary option in the offense. He converted an early third-down with a sliding catch over the middle. The corner had tight coverage but Dalton threw it low and away where only LaFell could make a play on it and he reached back to snag the ball inches off the ground.
WR Alex Erickson
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -6 - 0, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (1 targets) - Erickson saw some extra snaps after Tyler Boyd
went out with an early knee injury. He made a sliding catch for 12 yards after Dalton bought time scrambling out of the pocket.
WR Tyler Boyd
, 5 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (2 targets) - Boyd had a pair of short catches early on quick out routes to the sideline in the game’s first 10 minutes. On his second catch, Shareece Wright dove low and took out Boyd’s knee. He left the game with has been diagnosed as a sprained MCL that will sideline him for at least a few weeks.
TE Tyler Kroft
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 38 - 0 (5 targets) - Kroft had another strong game in relief of Tyler Eifert
. He is a solid blocker and has made major progress as a receiver this season. Kroft was Dalton’s go-to target on a late field goal drive. He had grabs of 11 and 15 yards over the middle and continues to gain Dalton’s trust. Kroft should be a viable streaming tight end option while Eifert is out for fantasy teams hit with injuries at the position.
Minnesota Vikings 20, Chicago Bears 17
What you need to know
- The Vikings were rather unspectacular in their win Monday night against the Bears. The offense is still reeling since losing emerging star running back Dalvin Cook
, but the return of Sam Bradford
was supposed to jump-start a cold offense. However, Bradford looked like he was nowhere near 100% and was relieved just before half by Case Keenum
. Stefon Diggs
completely disappeared and Jerick McKinnon
did everything he could to carry the team. The Vikings defense forced two turnovers against rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky
, but was fooled badly on a fake punt and triple option play on a two-point conversion. The Vikings were vastly outplayed by the Bears but were able to do just enough to get the road win. The Vikings take on Aaron Rogers and the Packers next week at home.
- The Mitchell Trubisky
era is underway in Chicago. The rookie’s first game resulted in a loss, however, 20-17 at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings.
Trubisky only completed half of his passes for 128 yards with touchdown and a very costly late interception. His cast of characters didn’t stand out, either. It was a very quiet day from the running backs, Jordan Howard
and Tarik Cohen
, and the no-name bunch of receivers did little to stand out.
The coaching staff, by the looks looks of it, did not do Trubisky any favors. The game plan consisted of a lot of movement, hoping to capitalize on Trubisky’s speed and ability to throw on the run. Unfortunately, the game plan didn’t play out at smoothly as the coaching staff had hoped.
The offense really didn’t find a rhythm during Trubisky’s first start. With the Baltimore Ravens defense up next, it won’t be getting any easier for the rookie.
QB Case Keenum
, 44 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 21 - 140 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 22 - 0 - With a struggling Sam Bradford
, Keenum was thrust back into the starting role late in the second quarter. Keenum fared much better than Bradford but relied heavily on his running backs and tight end. Of his 21 pass attempts, 16 targeted running backs or tight ends and Stefon Diggs
and Adam Thielen
were almost nonexistent. The best thing Keenum did all night was move around in the pocket and avoid being sacked like Bradford in the first half. His lone touchdown came on a broken coverage to Kyle Rudolph
. Keenum rolled to his right on a bootleg and found Rudolph all alone behind the defense for a 13-yard touchdown. The entire defense rolled with Keenum as if he was going to run the ball and Rudolph was never even touched. The rest of the night was about playing it safe and not turning over the ball. With Bradford's status uncertain for next week there is a good chance Keenum will get another start.
QB Sam Bradford
, 26 offensive snaps, Pass: 5 - 11 - 36 - 0 TD / 0 INT - Bradford was supposed to come back and relive his magic from week one against the Saints. However, he looked more like he should have spent another week on the bench recovering. Bradford was slow all night and had no mobility in the pocket. Bradford was sacked four times and lost 35 yards on the night. The offensive line is a weak spot for the Vikings, but Bradford did nothing to help out in escaping the pass rush. The last sack before Bradford being pulled came when his center was pushed straight back into him and he fell without being touched by the defender. Bradford's status for next week is uncertain but he clearly reaggravated his knee injury and is trending towards not playing against Green Bay.
RB Jerick McKinnon
, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 95 - 1, Rec: 6 - 51 - 0 (6 targets) - McKinnon appeared to be the only Viking that truly showed up on the offensive side of the ball and contributed to all aspects of the game. McKinnon rushed and caught the ball out of the backfield as well as returned kickoffs. McKinnon played with a reckless abandon for his body tonight and was hit hard by the Bears defense. There were several occasions where it looked like he might be knocked out of the game and merely bounced back up and returned to the huddle. McKinnon lead the team in both rushing and receiving and added a 58-yard rush off the right end for a touchdown to put the Vikings up 17-9. McKinnon out touched Murray for the game and may even be in line for the start next week after this performance.
RB Latavius Murray
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 31 - 0, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (2 targets) - After losing the starting job to Dalvin Cook
, this was supposed to be the week that Murray re-established himself in the Vikings offense. Unfortunately, Murray disappointed again and was outperformed by Jerick McKinnon
. Murray was given every chance early in the game to establish himself but only carried to the tune of 2.6 yards per carry. Murray's most effective play came on an 8-yard scamper off guard on the Vikings first drive of the game. Murray is going to need to do a lot more if he wants to remain the starter and if today was any indication he was already passed by McKinnon in the second half for that role.
WR Adam Thielen
, 68 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 11 - 0, Rec: 5 - 34 - 0 (8 targets) - Thielen had a better game than Diggs but he still got lost in the wash of poor quarterback play in the first half and then lack of targets in the second half. The most exciting play for Thielen was an 11-yard end around that was the second longest rush on the day for the Vikings. Thielen also had a drop in the third quarter that would have resulted in a first down but he simply took his eyes off the ball and tried to turn upfield. Thielen and Diggs are an emerging wide receiver duo that benefits from the volume of targets in order to break their big plays. The Vikings had a nearly 50/50 split for rushing and passing plays (31 to 32 respectively). There are better days ahead for Thielen and the Vikings passing game but it will take a better effort from the quarterback to achieve it.
WR Michael Floyd
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 19 - 0 (1 targets) - This was Floyd's first game back from suspension and he played a non-factor for most of the game. He did account for the longest pass play of the night with his 19-yard reception down the sideline, but he did not have another target the rest of the game. It will be interesting to see how Floyd fits into the offense as the season progresses and how many targets he will be able to pull from Diggs, Thielen, and Rudolph. There are heavy performance incentive clauses in Floyd's contract but due to the suspension and slow start to the season he is nowhere near a pace to reach them.
WR Stefon Diggs
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (4 targets) - Diggs performance suffered more due to quarterback play rather than defensive coverage or his groin injury. He was clearly hurting as he was seen limping up and down the sideline but an ineffective Bradford and a Case Keenum
who threw 16 of 21 passes to running backs and tight ends did not help. Diggs is nursing a groin injury and that is something to monitor this week during practice. There should be a lot of room to run against Green Bay next week if Diggs can get healthy and have more consistent quarterback play.
TE Kyle Rudolph
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 45 - 1 (9 targets) - Rudolph had more targets than any other Viking this week and was the only receiver to get into the end zone on a passing play. Rudolph showcased his basketball background by going up and over corners again this week but his touchdown catch came on a broken play. Case Keenum
rolled to his right and the entire defense followed. Rudolph was standing all alone in the back of the end zone for an easy 13-yard touchdown. Rudolph may have had the volume of targets but he also suffered from inconsistent quarterbacks and small check down routes for short yardage. The offense as a whole will need to perform better next week against the Packers if they want to try and keep pace in a competitive NFC North.
QB Mitchell Trubisky
, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 25 - 128 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 22 - 0 - Mitchell Trubisky
did little to impress in his first start as a member of the Chicago Bears. The rookie quarterback completed 12-of-25 passes for 128 yards with one touchdown, one interception and one fumble lost.
The game plan clearly was designed to move Trubisky outside the pocket, which is a great strategy for a rookie quarterback who moves well and throws well on the run. It simply did not work out as planned. It was clear, at least Monday night, that this rookie quarterback will not be able to carry the Bears grouping of below-average receivers.
Now, it wasn’t all bad for Trubisky. He did make some very nice throws. He also did a great job of recognizing pressure in the pocket as he only was sacked one time by the tough Minnesota defense.
The biggest key to success for Trubisky will be limiting turnovers. He's already at such a disadvantage with his personnel grouping that he cannot afford to make drive-halting mistakes. This happened twice Monday night against the Vikings, in a game that the Bears could -- and possibly should -- have won.
RB Jordan Howard
, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 76 - 0 - Jordan Howard
clearly isn't he back he played like last season, his rookie season, when he was putting up elite-level numbers. Battling a shoulder injury, Howard put forth an average-at-best performance, rushing for 76 yards on 19 carries -- 4.0 yards per carry.
With Tarik Cohen
's impact diminishing over the past week or two, Howard has regained the number of touches that an elite back requires. For a while there, the first three weeks of the season, the coaching staff clearly was trying to jam Cohen into the game plan as much as possible, much to the chagrin of Howard.
Howard led the running back carries 19-6, and the running back snaps by a large margin. Howard should have totaled a much higher number of yards (around 35+) against the Vikings had Marcus Wheaton not been called for a holding penalty that nine out of 10 times isn't a penalty.
As long as Howard's shoulder injury doesn't get worse throughout the season, there's no reason to think he can't still be a top-10 running back in this league, especially now that the Bears appear to have a more competent quarterback under center in Mitchell Trubisky
RB Tarik Cohen
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 13 - 0, Rec: 1 - -1 - 0 (1 targets) - The start to Tarik Cohen
's NFL career has been up and down, to say the least. Cohen was the talk of the league following the Bears' Week 1 loss to Atlanta. In only a few weeks, Cohen's role in this offense has been toned down quite a bit, to the tune of only seven touches in Monday night's 20-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Cohen saw the bulk of his snaps Monday night lined up as a receiver, most often in the slot. Cohen, however, only saw on target from first-time starter Mitchell Trubisky
. The rookie quarterback clearly was looking downfield more than Mike Glennon
had in past weeks, which could explain why Cohen only saw one target this week. There was such an overcompensation to go downfield that the short passing game was nowhere near our frames of reference.
While it makes perfect sense that Cohen, all 5-foot-nothing of him, would slow down once NFL defense started to see actual NFL game tape, the Bears coaching staff needs to figure out how Cohen can be the lynchpin Trubisky's success in the NFL. How do you move Trubisky around in the pocket while Cohen basically yo-yo's with him. Cohen is the shiftiest pass catcher on the roster. He needs to be put in positions to be shifty.
WR Kendall Wright
, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 46 - 0 (5 targets) - Kendall Wright
led the Bears in catches (4) and receiving yards (46) in Monday's 20-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Coming off a zero target effort two weeks ago, Wright has managed to put together back-to-back solid weeks, all things considering.
Wright's matchup against a very tough Minnesota secondary was not an exploitable one. Re-watching the game tape, Wright did about as much as he could given the play calls from OC Dowell Loggains. Given the Bears inability to throw downfield thus far this season, Minnesota appeared to bring down its defense by 5-10 yards on a regular basis. This really hampered Wright's ability to find space in the middle of the field.
The value of a competent slot receiver with a rookie quarterback under center cannot be overstated. Wright will be a great tool for Mitchell Trubisky
as he continues to grow into the role of an NFL quarterback. And if Trubisky successfully can start stretching the field, expect Wright to take advantage of the space he'll be given.
Seattle Seahawks 16, Los Angeles Rams 10
What you need to know
- After last week’s coming out party, the offense went back to it’s Jekkyl and Hyde ways against the surprising Rams. Much of the blame can be directed squarely at the suddenly pitiable ground game – from which they have lost two productive starters in Chris Carson
and third down back C.J. Prosise
and replaced them with Eddie Lacy
and Thomas Rawls
, who both appeared to be moving in slow motion compared to the other two. Into the mix is also J.D. McKissic
, who surprised with two scores last week, but though they tried to get the ball in the playmakers hands, this time the defense was ready for him and countered easily. Perhaps the best thing that can be said about Russell Wilson
’s play is that he spread the ball around well. The downside of that is that no one Seattle player topped more than 37 (yes, you read that right) reception yards. This wasn’t pretty, but they’ll take it. From a fantasy standpoint, the Seahawks have plenty of great options, but until they figure out any consistency with their running backs, none of them are reliable options. A stout defense, and a Rams offense that repeatedly shot themselves in the foot (apologies to Plaxico Burress
for the expression) are the real reasons the Seahawks came away with a checkmark in the win column.
Los Angeles Rams
- The Rams have put together a very strong season to this point and faced their first bit of adversity today when the offense was just not clicking. Facing a Seattle defense that is a far cry from the elite unit it has been in the past, the Rams made several costly mistakes and gave this game away. The defense held strong with two interceptions and holding Seattle's offense to 16 points after costly turnovers by their own offense. The game looked to start on a high note until Todd Gurley
fumbled the ball against the pylon in the first quarter and then it went downhill from there. It will be interesting to see how this team responds to the tough loss next week when they travel to Jacksonville.
QB Russell Wilson
, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 37 - 198 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 16 - 0 - Wilson disappointed in almost every way, against the Rams. He had just come off of a couple of very good games, so perhaps the expectations were high. But even so, no one expected this. No receiver had more than 37 yards total, and the complete lack of ground game put the focus of the Rams defense squarely on the passing game. Wilson did a fair job of avoiding pressure, with “only” three sacks, but did not gain enough on the ground to make a difference – a trait that has saved the day a time or three for the Seahawks. Wilson will bounce back, of course. But the loss of RB Chris Carson
is really hurting him, since no other back seems capable on the ground, and though Wilson is a bit of a Miracle Man at times, he simply cannot be expected to do it all himself.
RB Thomas Rawls
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 20 - 0, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (3 targets) - Rawls shared the backfield with Eddie Lacy
and rookie J.D. McKissic
. He failed to take advantage of the wide open opportunity, however, and pretty much matched Lacy’s 9-19 production with a 8-20 line of his own. Rawls looked capable as a receiver on a couple of short plays, and thus likely has a slight leg up on Lacy going forward. That said, it’s easy to imagine another back coming into the picture. The “poor O-line” card can only be played for so long. After all, rookie Chris Carson
was reasonably productive before his injury, with the same O-line.
RB Eddie Lacy
, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 19 - 0, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets) - Lacy failed to impress, yet again. He shared the backfield primarily with Thomas Rawls
, whose equally poor play actually made Lacy look good on occasion. The small, shining, diamond in the rough here is that Lacy seemed to gain steam as the game went on. This could be a trend or it could be coincidence, as last week he did quite well with the lead, in what was arguably garbage time. Tough to see the Seahawks handing him the keys for the full game just to find out, though.
RB J.D. McKissic
, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 0 - 0, Rec: 3 - 36 - 0 (5 targets) - McKissic’s electric 2-TD game last week, was a hot topic heading into this matchup. Apparently the Rams heard about it, too, because the safeties were watching him and were simply all over him each time he was targeted. McKissic showed good speed and instincts for the ball, but he could only do so much in double coverage. He had a couple of carries, one for a four yard loss and one for a four yard gain, but was used primarily on passing downs, and utilized as a receiver. It was also apparent that McKissic was not quite ready for prime time when it came to pass blocking. He picked up the blitz well enough, but didn’t have the strength or technique to slow the defenders from getting to the QB.
WR Tyler Lockett
, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0, Rec: 3 - 26 - 0 (4 targets) - Lockett did not have a huge day as far as volume goes, but was relied on often in the clutch. He was especially looked to on third downs, and did not disappoint, pulling in those attempts and getting first down yardage each time. He also proved to be a great weapon on the ground, with a 7 yard red zone carry, but (there are a lot of ‘but’s’ with all the receivers this week…) Lockett simply did not see enough volume to be a fantasy factor.
WR Doug Baldwin
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 37 - 0 (8 targets) - Baldwin, along with every other Seahawks receiver, was a forgotten man. Baldwin can always be counted on to be Russell Wilson
’s favoured target, and such was the case with the Rams, as his eight targets tied with Jimmy Graham
for the team lead. Baldwin wasn’t able to get many yards after the catch, though, limiting his yardage total. He is presumably still dealing with his recent groin injury and so next week’s bye week will hopefully be just what the doctor ordered, so he can get back to his productive ways in week 7.
WR Paul Richardson
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 35 - 0 (5 targets) - Richardson was largely ineffective against the Rams. He can usually be counted on for a big play or two, but never really had that opportunity in this game. His first two targets weren’t really catchable, and after that he made a few pedestrian catches – i.e.: the kind any NFL receiver should make – but the opportunity was simply not there for much more.
TE Jimmy Graham
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 37 - 1 (8 targets) - Graham came down with a score to help his line, but the yardage total doesn’t exactly impress. He was mainly used on very short routes, and had a long catch of the day of nine yards. The TD gives hope, however, since he is a dangerous option in the end zone, and the Seahawks clearly know that. Given the uncertainty around Doug Baldwin
’s groin injury, Graham might be the best bet on this offense to produce from week to week.
QB Jared Goff
, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 47 - 288 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 22 - 0 - It has been a tale of Jekyll and Hyde with Goff all season. The young quarterback has looked like the top draft selection he was at times and has also looked like a guy who is still trying to figure out the NFL. Despite all of that Goff still had the opportunity to win the game on the final drive just to see the ball fall out of the hands of Cooper Kupp
in the end zone. It was amazing that Goff even had the opportunity to make this final drive after giving up two interceptions and a strip sack recovered by Seattle on consecutive drives. However, he was able to hit Tyler Higbee
up the seam for 35-yards and Robert Woods
for 20-yards to give the Rams a few final shots at the end zone. Goff's interceptions came on a tipped ball at the line while setting up a screen and then a horribly thrown wobbling ball across the middle. The offense was inconsistent all day and it started with Goff. The Rams face a tough secondary in Jacksonville next week that intercepted Ben Roethlisberger
five times. Another interesting note is Goff was unable to connect with his top passing option in Sammy Watkins
despite four targets.
RB Todd Gurley
, 56 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 43 - 0, Rec: 2 - 7 - 0 (4 targets) - The first drive looked like the picture-perfect start for Gurley and company. The offense marching right down the field and Gurley appeared to score from 12-yards out. Gurley took the ball up the middle, broke to the sideline, and tiptoed into the end zone. The call on the field was initially a touchdown but upon further review, Gurley fumbled the ball as he tried to reach across the goal line and the ball hit the pylon. By rule, this is a touchback and Seattle ball. Gurley never really got going again as his longest going on the day was the 11-yards before the fumble at the goal line. Goff targeted Gurley four times in the passing game including a deep wheel route on the final drive, but he was not able to break one free. Jacksonville has one of the top-rated pass defenses in the league and the game plan should call for a lot of Gurley on the ground from the get-go.
WR Tavon Austin
, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 27 - 1, Rec: 3 - 14 - 0 (5 targets) - At first glance, it looks like Austin had a great day with his 27-yard rushing touchdown to begin the second quarter. However, the bigger story was his troubles with returning punts. Austin muffed two catches and Seattle was able to recover one. This came in the fourth quarter with Seattle only winning by three and put the deficit to six. Austin was used in his normal quick hitting role in the passing game but had no success. The Rams actually handed him the ball in the backfield more than they threw it to him in the air (six to five attempts). This is a game the entire Rams offense will want to forget but especially Austin's issues returning punts.
WR Robert Woods
, 64 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0, Rec: 5 - 66 - 0 (8 targets) - Woods quietly had a very solid game and has emerged as a favorite target for Goff. Woods is listed ahead of Tavon Austin
for the second wide receiver spot on the Rams depth chart and it showed with his eight targets on the day. Woods was able to shake his defender for 20-yards on the game's final drive to give the Rams 3 shots at the end zone from the 20-yard line. The only thing that would have made the play better would have been if Woods had gotten out of bounds. As teams focus on Tavon Austin
and Sammy Watkins
, Woods should have more opportunities for the rest of the season.
WR Cooper Kupp
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 44 - 0 (8 targets) - Kupp had the opportunity to play hero in this one but was unable to bring in Goff's pass on the final play of the game in the end zone. Kupp beat his man to the inside and the ball went right off his fingertips. The ball was slightly overthrown by Goff but it is still something you would expect a pro wide receiver to catch. As for the rest of the game, Kupp was very quiet aside from his 19-yard out route in the first quarter to set up an eventual Tavon Austin
rushing touchdown. Kupp may find some luck next week as Jacksonville keys in on Sammy Watkins
and Tavon Austin
but it is going to take a while to get over dropping the game-winning touchdown in this one.
WR Sammy Watkins
, 59 offensive snaps (4 targets) - Sammy Watkins
continues to be an enigma in the Rams' offense. After breaking out for 106 yards and two touchdowns against the 49ers, Watkins has one catch for 17 yards in the past two games combined. Today Watkins had four targets and was unable to catch any of them. The biggest opportunity came on the final drive when Goff tried to connect with Watkins on a deep go route down the sideline. Today was a mixture of an inaccurate Goff and lock down coverage by Richard Sherman. Watkins is not going to have any easier of a day against Jacksonville next week.
TE Tyler Higbee
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 98 - 0 (8 targets) - Higbee had the best day of any Ram on the offensive side of the ball today falling just short of a 100-yard game. The biggest play came on a 35-yard seam route on the final drive of the game to give the Rams a few shots at the end zone. Higbee has emerged as the top pass-catching tight end option for the Rams and should see his role expand if Watkins and Austin continue to struggle. Higbee tied Robert Woods
and Cooper Kupp
for the team lead in targets with eight and was able to do more damage than anyone else for the Rams.
Carolina Panthers 27, Detroit Lions 24
What you need to know
- With the rushing attack not finding much joy against a stout Lions front seven, the Panthers put the game in the hands of Cam Newton
ñ and he responded with a magnificent performance. The spectre of shoulder surgery seems a distant memory now, as Newton looked sharp, accurate and poised throughout. His timing and rhythm kept the offense humming along. This looks a lot more like 2015 Newton.
and Jonathan Stewart
were kept quiet on the ground, but both had a role to play in the passing game. McCaffrey scored his first NFL touchdown on one of the craftiest shovel pass plays you will see, while Stewart was often the lead dog when it came to red zone touches.
showed his speed and route-running prowess on several big plays, including a 60+-yard catch and run. Dickson had an excellent connection with Newton, and the tight end made some nice adjustments to passes that were not ideally placed.
Carolina's offensive line will be the unsung heroes of this contest. Newton had ample time to survey the field and was rarely pressured. This unit is coming together nicely despite an injury to anchor Ryan Kalil.
- The Detroit Lions struggled to give Matthew Stafford
time to throw against Carolina. Ameer Abdullah
was limited in the game to only 31 yards, 28 of which came on two nice carries. The passing game was capped with Marvin Jones
leading the team with only 54 yards receiving. Eric Ebron
continued to struggle in the passing game, and backup TE Darren Fells
scored two touchdowns late in the game.
QB Cam Newton
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 33 - 355 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 0 - 0 - All eyes were on Cam Newton
in this game to see how he would respond, not only to off field criticism, but to pundits who dismissed his performance against New England as a fluke. The seventh-year quarterback put those critics in their place with another near-flawless display. It seems Newton is well and truly back from his shoulder surgery and looked poised throughout behind a well-drilled offensive line. With that platform to work from, Newton eschewed the short to intermediate passes and instead made his intentions clear with chunk plays. It was Ed Dickson
who was the beneficiary for the most part, as Newton peppered him with passes down the seam. The play calling of Mike Shula allowed the Panthers to keep the Lions defense off balance, with a naked bootleg toss to Dickson for a huge gain on 3rd and short a prime example. Shula's call for Newton's first touchdown pass was one of sheer brilliance. Set up in the red zone, Newton took the shotgun snap and veered left with Jonathan Stewart
looking ready to accept an option pitch. All the while, Christian McCaffrey
was moving right to left and sneaked behind the offensive line to receive a shovel pass from Newton for the score. The initial movement had the Lions defenders in a bind, and McCaffrey was unaccounted for. As Newton began to get into his stride, he tossed a second red zone touchdown pass to Devin Funchess
. Newton had ample time to go through his reads, but had to buy time after his first couple were covered. Funchess adjusted his route smartly and Newton fired a bullet pass ëabove the rim' to his tall receiver, who came down with a tough catch. Newton's third touchdown pass was a thing of beauty as he lofted up another arced, high pass to Kelvin Benjamin
streaking down the left sideline. Benjamin established position at the snap, giving Newton a green light to throw up a rainbow. Benjamin answered the call and made an impressive catch. Newton would maintain his composure on the game-clinching third down play, zipping a pass to Benjamin on a slant route to cap a magnificent display.
RB Jonathan Stewart
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 21 - 0, Rec: 3 - 23 - 0 (3 targets) - The Lions made things very difficult for the Panthers as far as establishing a ground game, and Jonathan Stewart
had to work hard for every yard. At times, however, Stewart became a little impatient and overeager, perhaps, as he tried to bounce it outside when the original point of attack was covered. Stewart got involved in the passing attack with some short dump-offs on screen and flair passes, and managed to juke a Lions defender out of his shoes on one particular play. When he got back to basics and ran north and south, he found some joy and trucked a couple of would-be tacklers. He was denied in the red zone on a couple of occasions, as it was the passing attack that carried the day.
RB Christian McCaffrey
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 7 - 0, Rec: 5 - 31 - 1 (7 targets) - As it was against New England last week, the Carolina rushing attack struggled to establish itself. The Lions front seven played a big part in this, and Christian McCaffrey
found little room to roam on the ground. On the plays he did touch the ball, however, he showed his usual shiftiness and soft hands. Featured often, it was usually Jonathan Stewart
who got the bulk of the traditional running back workload. McCaffrey was unable to find much joy on screen passes, but the offense went to him more as the game progressed. McCaffrey finally scored his first professional touchdown on a well-designed play in the red zone. Cam Newton
took the snap and had Stewart to his left ready to receive the pitch in an option look, but McCaffrey was sneaking across the line of scrimmage right to left. With the linebackers frozen and waiting for the option, Newton tossed it to McCaffrey on a shovel pass, and he had an easy walk-in score.
WR Devin Funchess
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 53 - 1 (8 targets) - Michigan native Devin Funchess
had a point to prove in front of his home crowd, and he met expectations with another polished display. Turning a defender around on the second play of the game, Funchess nabbed a zipped pass from Cam Newton
on a deep out from the far hash, tapping both feet casually in bounds. Funchess made some nice plays on simple, underneath patterns, getting open quickly and absorbing contact to keep the chains moving. One shallow crossing route saw him snag a pass with his vicegrip-like hands despite a defender being draped all over him. Funchess capped his solid day with a beautiful touchdown catch along the back line of the end zone. With Newton buying time after his first couple of reads were covered, Funchess adjusted his route on the fly and called for the ball. Newton was on the same page and zipped a pass ëabove the rim' to the six-four receiver, who seized it with two hands and somehow got both feet down despite instant contact from a defender. After the game, Funchess called it one of the toughest catches of his career.
WR Kelvin Benjamin
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 58 - 1 (6 targets) - Ed Dickson
may have taken up most of the Panthers passing pie against the Lions in terms of yardage, but Kelvin Benjamin
made his presence felt as well. An early red zone target on a fade to the left corner was broken up by a pair of Lions as they seemed to read Cam Newton
's intentions from the snap. Benjamin showed his typical strength and gritty perseverance on short routes, refusing to go down easily. A drop on a simple slant route was followed not long after by a beautiful touchdown catch. Lined up outside left, Benjamin established position with a stab inside at the stem before breaking outside and getting position on the defensive back. With a six-inch height advantage, Newton's high pass allowed Benjamin to grab it above his head, but the receiver did well to get both feet down and maintain control as he tumbled to the turf. Benjamin's most crucial catch came on third down with the game in the balance ñ a first down would end the game for Carolina. Benjamin was physical at the snap and got inside leverage on the defensive back, catching a zipped Newton pass on a slant route.
WR Russell Shepard
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (2 targets) - Russell Shepard
saw plenty of snaps, with the Panthers opting to use empty sets quite often. It was not a fruitful day on the stat sheet for the veteran, however, as he was rarely targeted. Most of the time he ran off the coverage with deeper patterns, allowing players like Ed Dickson
and Devin Funchess
to capitalise on underneath routes.
WR Curtis Samuel
, 15 offensive snaps (2 targets) - The Panthers continue to get the rookie receiver snaps, mostly in situations where they can take advantage of his speed on jet sweep looks and quick screens. Samuel was targeted by his quarterback, but each time the passing window was tight and the Lions defenders closed quickly to break it up. Samuel was a fixture of ‘window dressing' plays where he would run a jet sweep motion across the formation before a handoff was made.
TE Ed Dickson
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 175 - 0 (5 targets) - Ed Dickson
announced his intentions early with a beautiful adjustment on a seam pass thrown slightly behind him, attacking it with his hands for an 18-yard connection. Cam Newton
went back to his athletic tight end with a perfectly zipped pass on a skinny post pattern, with Dickson nonchalantly shoving tacklers aside and trucking his way down the field for a 64-yard gain. The Lions defense was fooled by a well-crafted naked bootleg on 3rd and short; Newton rolled out left and, after faking a block, Dickson leaked out into his pattern. Nobody tracked the tight end, and it was a simple lofted pass for another chunk play. The Panthers continued to attack the middle of the field with Dickson, who made a couple more nice catches in traffic to give the offense a dimension it lacked the last couple of games.
QB Matthew Stafford
, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 35 - 229 - 2 TD / 0 INT - For the second week in a row, Matthew Stafford
was under pressure throughout the game. Like last week, Stafford was sacked 6 times. Stafford also fumbled twice, losing one. The pressure Stafford faced during the game caused his accuracy to suffer, particularly on throws to the boundary. Stafford made several nice throws earlier in the season with touch, which was an area he struggled in this game. Stafford missed T.J. Jones
on a throw along the right sideline between corner and safety coverage, on a throw where he tried to line it to Jones. Stafford made a similar throw to T.J. Jones
in the red zone on a fade. Jones worked behind man coverage on the route, but Stafford's throw gave Jones no room to work for the ball. He likewise overthrew Golden Tate
on a corner route. Stafford manufactured two late touchdown drives to salvage his fantasy day. Stafford connected with Darren Fells
for two touchdowns, the first a scramble drill play where Fells worked himself open and the second an out from the slot where Fells ran after the catch for a touchdown. While Stafford was not sharp, he was not helped by his supporting cast. Stafford showed little trust in Eric Ebron
, which is for good reason after Ebron dropped what should have been a touchdown pass. Stafford also targeted T.J. Jones
in the end zone on Detroit's first scoring drive where T.J. Jones
was interfered with, which set up a goal line touchdown by Zach Zenner
RB Ameer Abdullah
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 31 - 0, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets) - Ameer Abdullah
built on last week's successes early but was limited to only 10 carries for 31 yards because of bad game script. Abdullah ran well on his first carry for 16 yards, and a third quarter carry where he set up blocking well for 12 yards. Otherwise, Abdullah was limited to three yards on his other eight carries, with the offensive line generating little room for Abdullah to run. Theo Riddick
was more widely featured on passing plays than Abdullah during the game, and Abdullah had only one catch. Abdullah saw red zone work, including two carries where he drew face mask penalties, and a carry from the five-yard line, but was replaced by Zach Zenner
on a first and goal from the Carolina one-yard line.
RB Theo Riddick
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 8 - 0, Rec: 4 - 45 - 0 (5 targets) - Theo Riddick
finished third on the team with five targets while finishing with four catches and 45 yards. Riddick is trusted by Matthew Stafford
in important areas, and Riddick frequently rewards Stafford by making defenders miss and getting yards after the catch. Riddick contributed two carries for eight yards, but was a clear ancillary plan in the running game.
RB Zach Zenner
, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 11 - 1 - Zach Zenner
again functioned as the third running back for Detroit against Kansas City. Zenner converted one of his two short yardage runs, and converted his lone goal line carry for a one-yard touchdown.
WR Marvin Jones
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 54 - 0 (8 targets) - Marvin Jones
led Detroit with six receptions for 54 yards on eight targets. Jones was successful working the intermediate area of the field and across the middle, which is an expansion over his earlier season usage. Jones also worked well along the perimeter including a comeback along the sideline. Jones was targeted on a deep pass on Detroit's first drive where he drew a defensive pass interference, but otherwise was limited down the field in a game where Matthew Stafford
had little time to throw.
WR Golden Tate
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 48 - 0 (8 targets) - Golden Tate
tied Marvin Jones
with a team high eight targets and caught five passes for 48 yards. Tate's passing game involvement followed his season long trend of quick passes in the wide receiver screen game and underneath passes than allow Tate to work after the catch. Tate had the opportunity for a big plau on a corner route, but the ball was overthrown by Stafford and was unable to secure the ball off his fingertips.
WR T.J. Jones
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (4 targets) - T.J. Jones
continued to fill in for the injured Kenny Golladay
against Carolina. He was limited to two catches on four targets for 12 yards. However, Jones had the opportunity for a much bigger day, drawing an end zone pass interference penalty that set up Detroit's first touchdown. Jones was also targeted on a fade in the end zone where he separated from his defender in coverage. However, Matthew Stafford
's throw had little touch and did not allow Jones the ability to catch the pass.
TE Darren Fells
, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 24 - 2 (2 targets) - Darren Fells
made the most of his two targets converting both targets for touchdowns. One target was on a red zone scramble drill where Fells adjusted to Stafford scrambling and worked himself open for a touchdown. Fells was targeted again on an out route on Carolina's 20-yard line which he converted for a run after the catch for a touchdown. Fells had four career touchdowns before the game.
TE Eric Ebron
, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (4 targets) - Eric Ebron
continued his struggles in the game. He dropped a target in the end zone and also dropped a pass in the middle of the field that was negated by a defensive offsides. Ebron caught one of his four targets for only six yards. Matthew Stafford
continues to look like he has lost faith in Ebron. On one of Stafford's scramble plays, Ebron worked the middle of the field on a crossing route, and Stafford looked away to scramble instead of targeting Ebron on the route.
Kansas City Chiefs 42, Houston Texans 34
What you need to know
Kansas City Chiefs
- The Kansas City Chiefs continued their reign as the NFL’s only unbeaten team, beating the Houston Texans 42-34 to improve to 5-0. Quarterback Alex Smith
was 29 of 37 for 324 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing five times for 19 yards. Kareem Hunt
had yet another 100+ yard rushing game, gaining 107 yards on 29 carries, while also catching three passes for 9 yards. Tight End Travis Kelce
led the team in both receptions and receiving yards, finishing with eight catches for 99 yards. Tyreek Hill
had four catches for 68 yards, and also managed to score on a 82 yard punt return
- Ryan Griffin
and Stephen Anderson
continue to the the Texans top two options at tight end. Anderson had two receptions for 63 yards and his longest was 43 yards and it came on a final heave prior to the end of the game. Griffin was quiet with 2 receptions for 22 yards and long reception of 13 yards.
D’Onta Foreman had a costly fumble that turned the tide to the Chiefs. HE did have a run of 25 yards up the gut of the defense but he only had 4 carries on the day.
QB Alex Smith
, 77 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 37 - 324 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 19 - 0 - Alex Smith
has begun to separate himself from the pack at MVP thus far into the season, piloting the Chiefs to an NFL best 5-0 record. He played brilliantly again on Sunday night, completing 29 of 37 passes for 324 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions. He also rushed five times for 19 yards. Smith’s rushing total does not really explain how well he managed to escape the pocket and extend plays. While the Chiefs wide receivers after Tyreek Hill
and Travis Kelce
are unheralded, they have been able to contribute this year more than other’s due to the fact that Smith has been so good at extending plays and finding them wide open. Smith completed 14 of his 29 passes to receivers not named Hill, Hunt or Kelce, by far the highest of the 2017 season. Smith’s 8 yard touchdown pass to Charcandrick West
was a product of Smith’s ability to break the pocket and force defenders to choose between letting him run in the red zone or abandoning their passing lane.
RB Kareem Hunt
, 55 offensive snaps, Rush: 29 - 107 - 0, Rec: 3 - 9 - 0 (4 targets) - Kareem Hunt
continued the hot start to his rookie season by running for 107 yards on 29 carries, while also catching three passes for 9 yards on five targets. The Texans did a good job of not allowing Hunt to break the big plays that have largely defined his rookie season thus far. He was held to a long gain of 23 yards, but that didn’t stop him from have a large effect on the game. In a shootout that totaled 76 points, Hunt’s ability to handle a big workload and continue to move the chains proved extremely important for the Chiefs offense. As long as the Texans had to worry about Hunt being fed the ball repeatedly, they couldn’t drop as many men into coverage as they would have liked. This was proven even more difficult after JJ Watt left the game due to a serious injury. The Chiefs balanced their running and passing perfectly, keeping the secondary off balance with early down throws, while trusting Hunt to hold onto the ball and giving him a huge workload.
WR Tyreek Hill
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 68 - 0 (6 targets) - Tyreek Hill
caught four passes for 68 yards on five targets, and would have had over 100+ receiving yards if not for a close call where he saw a 38 yard reception overturned after review. Despite catching only four passes for 68 yards, Hill was able to influence the outcome of the game by returning a punt 82 yards for a touchdown. Hill has proven to be able to affect the outcome of game by ways that do not include him catching passes, either as an effective decoy for Hunt and Kelce, or similar to what he did in 2016, returning punts and kicks for touchdowns and setting up the Chiefs with great field goal position. It is why he remains one of the most electric and fun players in the NFL to watch.
TE Travis Kelce
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 98 - 0 (11 targets) - Travis Kelce
led the Chiefs receivers in targets, receptions and receiving yards by catching eight passes for 98 yards on 11 targets. During the first possession of the game by the Chiefs, opposing linebacker JJ Watt was injured and forced to leave the game. It would easy to say Kelce’s dominance was due in large part to Watt’s absence, it would be shortsighted. Kelce has already caught two passes on the drive, and was targeted a third time. What it did do was force the Texans defense to spread out more, which allowed Kelce to continuously find room down the middle of the field. One of one of these plays, Kelce lined up on the right slot position before running a deep in-route. Smith threw a perfectly thrown ball to Kelce’s inside shoulder which allowed his receiver to shield his body from two Texans defenders. The reason Kelce was so wide open was due to him having no one covering him for the first portion of his route, which allowed him to break off his route at the precise location and gain 20 yards on the reception.
QB Deshaun Watson
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 31 - 261 - 5 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 31 - 0 - He started off slow for the Texans offense and the first half saw Watson only complete 4 of his 12 attempts to start the first half. Looking mainly for DeAndre Hopkins
in the first half, the offense sputtered looking for answers. His stats look great in the end but it was not the best passing day for Watson who completed 16 of his 31 passes on the day. His main target in Hopkins did not go well orly completing 33% of his passes to him while any other player he targeted he completed 82% of his attempts. He did have five touchdown passes late in the game when the game was in chase mode. Watson hit Will Fuller
for 2 touchdowns and DeAndre Hopkins
for 3 touchdowns. When Watson looked other ways in the passing game, the offense opened up. Watson had a strong day late but the slow start to the first half prevented him from having even bigger one.
RB Lamar Miller
, 56 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 74 - 0, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (3 targets) - Only one catch in the passing game, Miller did the majority of his work on the ground with 74 yards on 15 carries. His longest run came on an 18 yard run that saw him break some tackles and run over a safety in the process. Miller was one of the few Texans offensive players that showed some life the entire game. Miller continues to be the Texans top back and will continue moving forward.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 52 - 3 (12 targets) - Another high volume target day for DeAndre Hopkins
, he finally got going late in the first half and late in the game when the Texans were playing catchup. Hopkins only had four receptions during the game and three of them went for touchdown receptions. His first touchdown reception came on a 6 yard play action pass from Watson to get the scoring going for the Texans. His other two touchdown receptions came on a post route where it was thrown into double coverage and he went up to high point the ball to bring in it for a 34-yard touchdown reception. Also, he caught a 1 yard touchdown reception wide open in the end zone on the final play of the game.
WR Will Fuller
, 59 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 2 - 57 - 2 (3 targets) - Once again the impact of Fuller is bigger than most realize and it starts with the construction of the Texans offense. Only two receptions on the night and both with for touchdowns. Fulller had a solid 9-yard touchdown reception on a broken play where Watson bought time scrambling only to hit him in stride and Fuller did the rest for the touchdown. Fuller’s biggest play where he went vertical, beat his man and Watson laid up a pass for him to go get that resulted in a 48 yard touchdown reception. Fuller is showing his ability to get into the end zone the past two games and becoming a viable option in the passing game.
WR Bruce Ellington
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 30 - 0 (3 targets) - It was a quiet day for Ellington who had 2 receptions for 30 yards on the day. The Texans did try to get Ellington a chance to throw a pass back to Watson but that play was slowed down by the Chiefs defense. Ellington is getting a good portion of the snaps with the offense at the slot but chances just did not go his way.
Arizona Cardinals 7, Philadelphia Eagles 34
What you need to know
- Quite simply, this is just a very bad football team. They are old, slow, injured, and talent deficient. They are also playing their third 10am game in five weeks. The early start times have been unfortunate, but the rest falls squarely on the front office and coaching staff. This team is headed towards a top-10 draft pick, not the playoffs.
- The Eagles answered the call in a very difficult pass matchup going up against the Cardinals this game as the Eagles went right after the passing defense of the Cardinals exposing the cornerbacks outside of Patrick Peterson in this game. The Eagles utilized deep passing to Torrey Smith
and Nelson Agholor
while also utilizing the short/intermediate routes to Zach Ertz
. From a running game standpoint, Wendell Smallwood
missed this game due to a knee injury, so LeGarrette Blount
saw the majority of carries this week and continues to rely on the big play as he had half of his total yardage on one play in this game on a 37-yard run off-tackle.
QB Carson Palmer
, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 44 - 291 - 1 TD / 0 INT - Palmer’s box score shows a Quarterback playing within a terrible offense and mostly a victim of his circumstances. There is a large degree of truth to that, but it fails to paint the full picture. Three of Palmer’s incompletions should have been easy interceptions. Two of those three should have been returned for uncontested touchdowns. Each of those throws had additional circumstances that could distribute blame to other areas of the offense. They were also truly awful throws, brought on mostly by desperation. This is what makes evaluating Palmer’s 2017 season so difficult. There clearly are throws, specifically those outside the numbers, that Palmer cannot seem to hit with any consistency and zip this season. But his head coach and play-caller has made no adjustments to this, his skill position players are rarely able to get open, and his offensive line is so porous that no Quarterback has been hit as often as Palmer. Where Palmer’s blame ends and that of those around him begins is the biggest question mark of the season, but regardless of distribution, this is a very bad offense with little chance at improvement.
RB Chris Johnson
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 21 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets) - While understanding that the ragtag offensive line does him no favors, Chris Johnson
looks done. There is no room to run inside, and he rarely can get the edge anymore. Johnson’s nine carries were considerably higher than anyone else, but the production was nonexistent. It is fair to say even David Johnson
would have struggled running behind a line as hapless as this one, but Johnson clearly seems at the end of his rope.
RB Andre Ellington
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -2 - 0, Rec: 9 - 65 - 0 (10 targets) - Ellington only registered one carry on Sunday, but his nine receptions and ten targets were both team highs. Ellington’s heavy use in the passing game is in part an extension of an offense heavily built around David Johnson
, but more significantly illustrates the team’s greater offensive problem; its lack of protection. Palmer’s lack of time due to a constant pass rush forces quick, short throws and Ellington is the obvious target. While this strategy does nothing beneficial for the offense, look for it to continue out of pure necessity. Ellington’s value in a PPR league may ever so slightly be on the rise.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 51 - 0 (10 targets) - Fitzgerald’s third quarter catch extended his consecutive games with a reception streak to 200, but Fitzgerald failed to make an impact on the game beyond that personal milestone. There is little Fitzgerald can do with an offense as inept and sluggish as this and a defense as good as the Eagles, but it is still unusual to see Fitzgerald so unengaged. While he was tied with Ellington for most targets, Fitzgerald’s first reception did not com until the game was well out of hand, and all subsequent ones were insignificant as well.
WR J.J. Nelson
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 14 - 0, Rec: 4 - 80 - 0 (6 targets) - Despite John Brown
catching the team’s only touchdown, it was really J.J. Nelson
who made the bigger impact in the passing game on Sunday. Nelson’s combined yardage, with a 14-yard run tacked onto his receiving total, made him far and away the most impactful offensive player on Sunday. He also had the team’s best offensive play of the game, a 28-yard catch and run that he proceeded to fumble out of the end-zone for a touchback. Yes, the team’s best offensive play ended up being a turnover, but that is the sorry state of the Arizona Cardinals offense. Nelson still struggles with ball security and contact, issues he’ll likely never improve on significantly enough to be anything more than a team’s #3 receiver, but at least on Sunday the effort never waned
TE Jermaine Gresham
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (2 targets) - TE Jermaine Gresham
Gresham was a complete nonfactor in the game, contributing little beyond one first-down catch, and little more in the run game. Gresham’s contract continues to look like a mistake.
QB Carson Wentz
, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 30 - 304 - 4 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 6 - 11 - 0 - Carson Wentz
showed off his ability in this game as his accuracy was very impressive in this game. His ability to hit his receivers in stride deep down the field was shown off on two passes to Torrey Smith
and Nelson Agholor
, while his touch passes were shown off on a perfectly thrown wheel route for a touchdown to Trey Burton
. Wentz looked calm in the pocket and was helped out tremendously by his offensive line as he was only sacked once in this game as he was able to use his feet to shift based on on-coming pressure. Overall a tremendous performance from Wentz in this game as he completed 70% of his passes which is something he has not done since October 30th, 2017.
RB LeGarrette Blount
, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 74 - 0 - With no Wendell Smallwood
in this game, LeGarrette Blount
saw the primary role as the running back this week. Blount continues to run the ball in his limited action on the field as he saw 26 snaps while carrying the ball 14 times on those 26 snaps. He continues to use his power behind this offensive line. Blount got off to a slow start in this game, but in the third quarter, he was able to have a run off the left tackle for about 25 yards untouched and then carry defenders for another 12 yards for a gain of 37 yards which was half of his total yardage on one carry. Outside of this run there really was not a lot to mention for Blount as he had 13 carries for 37 yards and one of those was a 14 yard run up the middle.
WR Torrey Smith
, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -3 - 0, Rec: 3 - 70 - 1 (4 targets) - It seems every week Torrey Smith
has been near the top in terms of snap counts for this Eagles team, but the production had not been there. That changed this week as Smith finally connected on a long pass from Carson Wentz
on a 59-yard post route in which Smith used his speed to run by Justin Bethel in one-on-one coverage with no safety over the top. This was Smith's first touchdown of the season and first catch over 30 yards on the season.
WR Nelson Agholor
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 93 - 1 (5 targets) - Nelson Agholor
continues to use the big play in this offense as a large part of his productivity is coming from the deep passes. Agholor's highlight this week was a 72-yard touchdown pass which was the longest touchdown reception of Agholor's career so far. Agholor caught the ball around the 20-yard line and was hand fighting with Budda Baker before Baker slipped and fell down allowing Agholor easy access to run into the end-zone with no one around him.
WR Alshon Jeffery
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 31 - 0 (4 targets) - The tough matchups continue for Alshon Jeffery
who was shadowed by Patrick Peterson in this game and it showed as he only had 4 targets in this game as the team elected to take advantage of the other matchups in this game.
TE Zach Ertz
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 61 - 1 (12 targets) - Ertz continues to be the reliable and consistent piece in this offense as once again he led the team in targets and receptions as he had 12 targets this week. Ertz continues to be the first or second read in almost all of plays that they design especially since the team is not even looking Alshon Jeffery
's way due to the tough matchups that he has encountered so far this season. Ertz was able to make a highlight reel catch for a touchdown on an in-route in which Ertz caught the ball at the four-yard line and barreled over the defensive player on a second effort for the touchdown.
Jacksonville Jaguars 30, Pittsburgh Steelers 9
What you need to know
- The Jaguars defense, for the second straight week, essentially matched the offense in offensive production but that didn't matter on this particular Sunday. The Jaguars were in clock control mode by the time they started getting 2nd half possessions which meant Leonard Fournette
and Chris Ivory
got a healthy dose of action and the most Bortles did was hand it off. At one point in the 2nd half, the Jaguars had run on 18 consecutive plays.
- The Steelers were embarrassed losing at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 30-9. Not capitalizing on red zone opportunities in the first half cost the Steelers as they had the ball on the Jaguars two, nine, and sixteen-yard lines and had to settle for three field goals. The Steelers were leading 9-7 with six minutes left in the third quarter when the wheels fell off. Ben Roethlisberger
threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns and the game spiraled downward. The offensive game-plan can be questioned as the Steelers finished with 15 rushing attempts and 55 pass attempts.
QB Blake Bortles
, 54 offensive snaps, Pass: 8 - 14 - 95 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 9 - 0 - There really isn't much to say about Bortles from this game. Even more so than week 1, the team showed that they want him to be a part of the offense as little as possible. He was under pressure a good bit when he did drop back to pass but he did a good job of hanging in the pocket and throwing. He completed one deep pass to Marqise Lee
under pressure but also missed Lee badly on two deep passes, one of which should have been a TD. He is an uber inconsistent QB who is frankly just better if you try your best to ignore him.
RB Leonard Fournette
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 28 - 181 - 2, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets) - Fournette was a star vs the Steelers defense. He had a ton of runs that went for minimal gains but he had several games changing plays that show how big he is to the Jaguars franchise. His first touchdown run was a leap over the entire OL/DL that started at the 5-yard line and ended in the end zone. His second touchdown run was a burst to a small opening and then leaving every defender in his trails as he scored from 90-yards out. Maybe his best run was on a 12-yard run where he invited safety Mike Mitchell to come tackle him and then ran him over for the first down. Fournette is the real deal, is scoring touchdowns at a good rate and the Jaguars are finally giving him more work. He did give up one sack in pass protection.
RB Chris Ivory
, 15 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 41 - 0 - Ivory, finally, saw less important snaps this week but he was still the back that the team leaned on when Fournette needed to take a few snaps off. The team is not afraid to run it with Ivory anymore than they are with Fournette so he will always get some work. Against the Steelers, he showed better vision and explosiveness than he typically does, though it was
WR Allen Hurns
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (3 targets) - Hurns didn't put up numbers since the Jaguars passing game was made such a non-factor. He was the target on two different 3rd downs and hauled in one tough pass but other than that he was not really involved with the game.
WR Marqise Lee
, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 49 - 0 (4 targets) - Lee bounced back after maybe the worst game of his career and had an ok game, which is saying a lot for somebody in the Jaguars passing game. He was Bortles only targets on deep passes and was getting open on all of them, being able to haul in the one pass Bortles got near him. His best play was on a sideline comeback, as he got to the sideline and extended vertically to high point the ball while staying in bounds.
QB Ben Roethlisberger
, 79 offensive snaps, Pass: 33 - 55 - 312 - 0 TD / 5 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0 - Ben Roethlisberger
threw a career-high five interceptions as the accuracy on his deep passes has been off-target all season. His completion percentage is now 61% on the season, the lowest mark for the Steelers quarterback since 2009. Late first quarter, Roethlisberger was pressured and quickly threw a pass that was intercepted by Jalen Ramsey, who jumped a Vance McDonald
route. Mid third quarter, a pass intended to Antonio Brown
was tipped at the line of scrimmage directly into the hands of Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith, who returned the interception for a touchdown. During the next series on a third and 18, a high pass intended for Brown was tipped into the hands of Barry Church for a 51-yard interception return. Late fourth quarter on a third and ten, Roethlisberger threw his fourth interception when JuJu Smith-Schuster
was tripped up while running a route. Late fourth quarter, a pass intended for Brown was thrown well short resulting in his fifth interception of the afternoon. During a post-game interview, Roethlisberger commented that “maybe I don’t have it anymore.”
RB LeVeon Bell
, 73 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 47 - 0, Rec: 10 - 46 - 0 (10 targets) - Leveon Bell finished with only 15 rush attempts for 47 yards, good for 3.1 yards per carry. Run-blocking was inconsistent as the offensive line struggled to open holes unlike they did last week versus the Ravens. When Bell was in space, he ran hard and picked up small chunks of yardage. He was a major factor in the short passing game with ten receptions for 46 yards. Bell had four opportunities in the red zone and was tackled on the two-yard line on a short pass reception early in the third quarter.
WR Antonio Brown
, 75 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 157 - 0 (19 targets) - The squeaky wheel got the grease as Antonio Brown
finished with team-leading ten receptions for 157 yards. Brown looked sharp both running his routes and gaining yards after completion. He was quick to his breaks creating space against a tough Jaguars pass defense. On the Steelers first play from scrimmage, Brown ran a go-route for a 49-yard reception. Late fourth quarter, Brown had a 28-yard touchdown reception nullified due to an offensive holding penalty.
WR Martavis Bryant
, 62 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 13 - 0, Rec: 5 - 21 - 0 (8 targets) - Martavis Bryant
was added to the injury report late in the week with an illness. He played but was relegated to screen passes and short underneath crossing-routes. Ben Roethlisberger
has been unable to connect with Bryant on long pass attempts yet this season.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 58 - 0 (6 targets) - JuJu Smith-Schuster
has cemented his role as the Steelers slot receiver option with Eli Rogers
a healthy inactive for the second consecutive week. Early third quarter Smith-Schuster ran a crossing-route for a ten-yard reception before he was tackled on the Jaguars five-yard line.
TE Jesse James
, 72 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 24 - 0 (5 targets) - Jesse James
continued his role as a secondary option in the short passing game. James finished with an uneventful three receptions for 24 yards.
New England Patriots 19, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14
What you need to know
New England Patriots
- -The Patriots seem to want to push the ball down the field often, but this hasn't worked because the line isn't giving Brady the protection he needs. As a result, players like Brandin Cooks
will have their volatility.
-Red zone conversion was horrible against the Bucs, something the Patriots will likely remedy when Rob Gronkowski
is healthy again.
-Don't be surprised if Dion Lewis
starts to carve out a bigger role - he looked explosive at times.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- A roughing the passer penalty at the end of the 2nd quarter gave Nick Folk
a chance at a 56 yard field goal that he missed. Folk also missed a 49 yard attempt early in the 4th and a 31 yard attempt late in the 4th that would have put the Bucs within one score of the Patriots. Tampa played defense without starting safety TJ Ward or starting linebackers Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David. RB Doug Martin
returned from suspension and looks to be in fine form.
QB Tom Brady
, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 30 - 40 - 303 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0 - Through 5 weeks, Tom Brady
has taken more sacks than the entirety of his 2016 season. That fun little stat showed up in spades against a Buccaneers team who had barely sacked anyone on the season, highlighting the abhorrent state of the New England offensive line. Under constant harassment, Brady was not able to put many points on the board, leading his team to one touchdown. He was playing without Rob Gronkowski
, who may have done well against Tampa Bay's backup linebackers, but alas, had an injury to deal with. Brady's only touchdown of the day was a short score to Chris Hogan
, who has suddenly become a prime red zone target, perhaps due to fairly consistent route running and good cornerback matchups. Brady did fumble once due to a thunderous blindside hit. His interception was one of the worst you'll see from any quarterback, vastly overthrowing his intended receiver with absolutely no pressure in his face. The safety he threw to did make a great catch, but it was no excuse for an ugly throw. Brady also had a couple chunk gains to Brandin Cooks
, including a 35 yarder when his receiver beat two cover men. Still, it was a fairly shoddy day for the offense.
RB Mike Gillislee
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 52 - 0 - After a hot start to the season, Gillislee has now found it to be tough sledding for 3 weeks on the ground. The offensive line hasn't been opening up huge holes, and due to his lack of passing game usage, Gillislee remains a classic two down, touchdown dependent back. As with LeGarrette Blount
last year, he will continue to be game script dependent.
RB Dion Lewis
, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 53 - 0, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (2 targets) - Dion Lewis
was arguably the most explosive Patriots player against the Buccaneers, outrunning Mike Gillislee
on 5 less carries. His highlight was a 31 yard gain with a decent hole that Lewis squirted through, looking quicker than almost every defender near him. One wonders if this will lead to a more stable touch role going forward since his touches have been minimal.
RB James White
, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 3 - 0, Rec: 7 - 57 - 0 (9 targets) - Surprise surprise - James White
was often Tom Brady
's safety outlet, being used in the passing game more than anything else. He did have a nice 20+ yarder, but other than that, his big play upside remains limited due to the nature of the route he primarily runs. In fact, White does run some of the shorter routes Julian Edelman
used to run.
WR Chris Hogan
, 74 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 74 - 1 (11 targets) - Chris Hogan
's role has become very stable, and was especially so against the Bucs with Rob Gronkowski
sitting out. Hogan scored the only touchdown of the day for the Patriots, a short 5 yard stick route that the defender wasn't able to bat away. He and Danny Amendola
were the primary reasons the offense was able to do much of anything, and he'll continue to remain a valuable asset.
WR Danny Amendola
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 77 - 0 (8 targets) - Amendola looked no worse for wear after his injury earlier in the year, consistently catching key conversions and beating the Bucs in the middle of the field. Most of his routes were short to intermediate, but he worked them well, particularly when the Bucs went into zone looks. His catch share may have been inflated due to a Gronk injury, but he will still get plenty of work going forward.
WR Brandin Cooks
, 72 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 85 - 0 (8 targets) - Cooks was able to connect with Tom Brady
on a couple chunk plays, including a 34 yard deep pass. However, these plays will be limited if the offensive line continues to give Brady no time in the pocket, as deep plays need time to develop. As a result, Cooks will continue to be a volatile contributor on the field, though he will always command respect from defenses.
QB Jameis Winston
, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 46 - 334 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 11 - 0 - Winston struggled with accuracy and continues to make questionable decisions. His protection wasn't consistent, but Winston just wasn't making some of the throws that you expect from a quarterback with his pedigree. The Patriots dropped back in zone coverage to limit big plays by Evans and Jackson, leaving Winston dinking and dunking in the short passing game most of the day. He tried to flick a pass deep to Desean Jackson with a defender draped over his back in the 1st quarter, nearly resulting in an interception. Winston also overthrew an open Humphries in the end zone on the Bucs' first scoring drive. Winston continued to force it to Jackson, dropping a pass into double coverage at the end of the 2nd quarter that would have been intercepted had the ground not jarred the ball loose from the diving defender's grasp. Jackson got open down the right sideline in the 3rd, but Winston sailed the ball long again. Winston scrambled down to the 3 yard line late in the 4th quarter, lowering his shoulder instead of sliding and taking a hit that surely made the coaching staff cringe. He scrambled around right end for a touchdown on the next play, but the score was negated by an illegal hands to the face penalty. Winston was tackled awkwardly again on a scramble with 3 minutes left in the 4th, then dropped the snap on the next play, resulting in a sack.
Winston and the offense just couldn't finish drives, as Nick Folk
missed 3 field goal attempts.Winston led a scoring drive at the end of the 4th quarter, capping it off with a touchdown to Cameron Brate
on the seam route that he and Winston have connected on many times in the red zone. The Bucs failed an onside kick attempt with just over 2 minutes left, but they still got the ball back one last time. Winston and company drove down the field but ran out of time before they could score, with Winston one slinging one final pass to a double-covered OJ Howard in the end zone.
RB Doug Martin
, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 74 - 1, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (3 targets) - Martin made his 2017 debut on Tampa Bay's second drive of the game, picking up 7 yards on his first carry and then missing a high pass from Winston a couple plays later. Martin heated up quickly, peeling off consecutive runs of 11 and 12 yards on the next offensive drive. He carried the ball again for 9 yards on the same drive, and capped it off with an 11 yard touchdown run that was overturned after an official review determined he was down inside the 1 yard line. Martin took the next snap and dove over the top of the pile for his first official touchdown of the season. Tampa Bay fell behind early and were forced to pass the ball more as time ticked away, limiting Martin's touches despite his 5.7 ypc average.
Martin caught a short pass in the 3rd and bounced off a tackle before weaving between a couple more defenders for extra yardage. Martin's two other targets were both out routes that Winston threw too high for the short running back to secure.
RB Charles Sims
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 5 - 31 - 0 (7 targets) - Sims saw his most involvement in the passing game all year in week 5. The Bucs fell behind early and had several "2 minute drill" situations at the end of the 1st and 2nd half that saw Sims featured in the backfield. New England's soft zone coverage, intended to limit Evans and Jackson's big plays, left room underneath for Sims to work the short passing game. Winston peppered him with 7 targets, starting with a deep route down the left sideline in the 1st quarter that was just out of Sims' reach. Sims was targeted on a crossing route in the 2nd quarter that Winston threw behind him. SIms caught 2 quick, consecutive crossing routes at the end of the 2nd quarter as the Bucs attempted a scoring drive with 34 seconds left in the half. Sims gathered a short curl route and another improvised toss from Winston for a 1st down as the Bucs drove downfield with 4 minutes left in the game.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 2 - 0, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (1 targets) - Rodgers lined up in the backfield for Tampa Bay's first offensive drive of the game, but quickly took a backseat to Martin. He reappeared for a few snaps in the 3rd quarter. Rodgers carried the ball just three times and secured his only target of the day, a swing route out of the backfield for a nice gain.
WR Mike Evans
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 49 - 0 (8 targets) - New England's zone defense limited big plays by Evans and opened up more opportunities in the short game. Winston also struggled with accuracy, leading to a slow day for Evans. Evans scooped up a diving catch during Tampa Bay's first offensive drive, and was targeted on a deep crossing route that Winston sailed high. Evans was targeted again on the first play of Tampa Bay's second offensive drive, hauling in an out route on the left sideline. New England's soft zone coverage kept Evans from stretching the field much. He hauled in another out route for a short gain early in the 4th, and a comeback route two plays later. A scrambling Winston chunked a desperation pass at Evans in the back of the end zone later in the 4th, but it was more of a throwaway than anything. Evans collected 5 targets, his lowest so far of the season as Winston continues to force the ball in Jackson's direction.
WR DeSean Jackson
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 106 - 0 (9 targets) - Jackson and Winston continue to struggle with their chemistry, but the new receiver was able to contribute with some big plays later in the game. Jackson caught his first target, tapping his toes on the right sideline after Jameis extended the play with a scramble. Jackson caught one of the bubble screens that we see Humphries running often, but the play was blown up behind the line of scrimmage by cornerback. Jackson finally got rolling in the 4th quarter, taking a slant route 41 yards on 3rd and short from deep in Tampa Bay's own territory. Jackson had a clutch reception on 3rd and long later, securing the catch on the sideline and tapping his toes before getting blasted by a defender. Winston found Jackson one last time on a deep crossing route with less than a minute left in the game. Jackson went down awkwardly and was replaced by Chris Godwin
for the last 34 seconds. He was seen leaving the stadium with ice on his right forearm after the game. Jackson finished tied for the most targets(9) with Brate.
WR Adam Humphries
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 51 - 0 (5 targets) - Humphries had a step on his defender on an endzone corner route in the 2nd quarter, but Winston sailed the ball over his head. He finally secured his first target on a crossing route in the 3rd quarter. Patriots LB Hightower popped Humphries in the chest on a late 4th quarter out route, but the receiver held on and bounced off the tackle for extra yards. Humphries grabbed one final out route with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game. Humphries played plenty of snaps, but tight end Brate and RB Sims gathered more targets than him in the short and intermediate game, with Jackson also stealing a couple of routes that Humphries tends to run.
WR Chris Godwin
, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (2 targets) - Godwin caught a quick slant in the 2nd quarter, bouncing off a big hit to pick up a few extra yards. It was his only target of the day, as he did not see much action other than replacing Desean Jackson late in the 4th.
WR Bernard Reedy
, 4 offensive snaps - Reedy returned punts and kicks, and saw a few snaps on offense, carrying the ball once on an end around in the 2nd quarter that was negated by a penalty.
TE Cameron Brate
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 68 - 1 (9 targets) - Brate had another strong performance and barely missed several opportunities to pile up more stats. He had a step on a deep post route at the end of the 1st quarter, but safety Patrick Chung made a great diving play on the ball to break up the pass. Brate leaked out into the left flat uncovered and picked up 20 yards down the left sideline later in the 2nd, but a penalty on OJ Howard negated the play. Safety Chung thwarted another big reception by Brate when he broke up a deep crossing route with another diving effort in the 3rd quarter. Brate hauled in a slant route to convert 3rd and long later in the same drive. Winston targeted Brate in the end zone halfway through the 4th quarter on the seam route that we see them connect on so often, but Brate was again blanketed by two defenders. Chung reached around Brate and knocked another pass loose on a comeback route with less than 3 minutes left in the game. Brate got the upper hand on the next play as he lined up in the right slot and took off up the seam for a touchdown reception. Winston found Brate one final time on a curl route as the Bucs attempted to drive and score with less than a minute left in the game. Brate finished the day tied with Jackson for a team-high 9 targets.
TE O.J. Howard
, 41 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Howard negated a 20 yard gain by Cameron Brate
and another 8 yard run by Doug Martin
in the 2nd quarter with holding penalties. His only target of the game was the final pass, a desperate heave into double coverage by Winston as the game clock expired.
Los Angeles Chargers 27, New York Giants 22
What you need to know
Los Angeles Chargers
- The Chargers gutted out a narrow road victory against the Giants through inconsistency on offense. Philip Rivers
’ inaccuracy was exacerbated by Chargers receivers dropping passes. Melvin Gordon
looked far healthier than last week’s dud performance against the Eagles. In the hit-or-miss dialogue of Hunter Henry
’s early 2017 production, Henry was heavily involved (second on the team in targets) and had the potential for a second touchdown as Antonio Gates
continues to physically look like a shell of his former self and closer to a liability than potential impact player any given week.
New York Giants
- The Giants passing game is wide open at this point for younger players to try and emerge. With Beckham definitely missing time and possibly Marshall/Shepard, the passing attack is in a massive state of flux. Players like Lewis and Engram will likely have their roles inflated and could prove valuable in fantasy.
and Orleans Darkwa
looked more impressive in past two weeks than Perkins/Vereen have for some time. The dynamic duo were ripping off big gains and deserve more playing time. Darkwa left with an injury so that must be monitored but Gallman finished the game. Darkwa has work to do in the passing game but fantasy owners would do well to pay heed to these players, one could easily become the starter.
The fantasy forecast for Manning and the Giants offense does not look good with the incredible amount of injuries they sustained Sunday. One can only wait and see who is fit to play but losing Beckham has proved fatal to this offense before.
QB Philip Rivers
, 78 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 44 - 258 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 5 - 0 - Rivers completed less than half his passes for the first time since the middle of last season. While inaccuracy was prevalent on a number of Rivers’ deliveries, his receivers did not help matters much with dropped passes. Rivers was surprised by an early snap, ultimately hitting the ball out of the end zone for a safety early in the game. The offense in general had little rhythm until late in the second quarter. Rivers took an intentional grounding penalty and overthrew Travis Benjamin
, who was wide open for an easy touchdown before halftime. The struggles continued in the second half with an ugly interception in the end zone and missing Keenan Allen
and Hunter Henry
on other end zone throws late in the game. On a positive note, Rivers had a beautiful third down throw to Keenan Allen
and then a corner route to Hunter Henry
for a touchdown to take the lead in the second half.
RB Melvin Gordon
, 65 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 105 - 0, Rec: 6 - 58 - 2 (8 targets) - After being dinged up in previous weeks, Gordon looked healthier in Week 5 against the Giants. Gordon logged 26 touches, his highest usage of the season, and was a centerpiece element in the red zone. Gordon showed high effort through contact, including a highlight second half run for more than 10 yards where he ran over a defender and used a spin move for additional yardage. Gordon was too quick for a linebacker in coverage, getting to the edge on a red zone receiving touchdown in the first half. Late in the game, the same sequence occurred as Gordon came wide open in the flat for another red zone receiving touchdown. With Branden Oliver
out of the lineup, Gordon rarely left the field and was the sustaining element to the Chargers offense. On the down side, Gordon logged a drop and false start penalty this week.
WR Keenan Allen
, 71 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 67 - 0 (12 targets) - Allen led the team in targets against the Giants, but squandered his volume opportunity with three dropped passes (one in the end zone) and Philip Rivers
missing him in the end zone on another occasion. Allen nearly made a highlight reel highpoint reception down the sideline, but could not control the pass to the ground. Allen did not log a reception until the second half with all of his receptions coming on third down.
WR Travis Benjamin
, 46 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 14 - 0, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (3 targets) - Benjamin was an ancillary element of the Chargers offense against the Giants. While using his speed to get loose on a reverse, Benjamin was held in check through the air. Benjamin’s best opportunity for impact came when Benjamin gained separation deep, but Philip Rivers
overthrew the speedy receiver. An accurate throw would have resulted in an easy touchdown.
WR Tyrell Williams
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 22 - 0 (2 targets) - With Melvin Gordon
and Hunter Henry
each seeing eight targets, Williams took a backseat this week against the Giants with only two opportunities. A pick play designed fueled Williams for a chunk catch-and-run on a short crossing route late in the first quarter. Later, Williams dropped a comeback route target. Oakland offers one of the worst passing defenses in the NFL for Williams to get on track next week after his lowest target game of the season.
TE Hunter Henry
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 42 - 1 (8 targets) - Henry is one of the most boom-bust tight ends this season with two weeks of zero targets in the opening month of the season. This week was one of activity for Henry, collecting eight targets, second-most on the team. Henry logged most of his yardage on a long touchdown, one of Philip Rivers
’ few beautifully thrown passes of the day to Henry on a corner route. Henry dropped a third down target and had an end zone pass tipped away, which should have been higher by Rivers. With Antonio Gates
struggling to separate or run effective routes, Hunter Henry
’s role projects as a stable one as the season progresses.
TE Antonio Gates
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 23 - 0 (3 targets) - Gates’ three targets marked the lowest total of the season as the grizzled veteran has yet to surpass 30 yards in a game. One of Gates’ receptions came well short of the sticks on third-and-long. Gates’ biggest possible impact comes near the goal line, but he did not see any short-range end zone targets against the Giants.
QB Eli Manning
, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 36 - 225 - 2 TD / 1 INT - Eli Manning
did not play well on Sunday against the Chargers. He had many issues to contend with, including a flurry of injuries late in the game but he had a low completion percentage and turned the ball over at crucial moments in the game. Manning was hurried a lot in this game and had to eat many sacks in the pocket as his tackles struggled. He overthrew Beckham in the first half which should have been a touchdown as the defender was nowhere near the play. Manning connected over the middle well for the most part, with slants and in breaking routes with play action but struggled to connect down the field. He tested the chargers deep occasionally but the passes were generally off target. He also forced a lot of passes into tight windows that led to easy break ups. He finally got going in the second half as he found Lewis in the endzone. Manning floated the pass perfectly away from the corner on a deep go route and Lewis was able to haul it in along the sideline for the score. Manning had another impressive touchdown pass to Beckham, evading a blitzer off the edge before throwing down the field to a wide open Beckham after an out and up route. He fell apart late in the game however. On the second last drive, he fumbled the ball deep in Giant territory after a sack. He then began to lead the Giants down the field for a chance to take the game but forced a bad ball over the middle that was intercepted easily. Manning lost all his star power on offense late in the game, which clearly hampered the final two drives. His tackles gave up a lot of pressure also to the Chargers defensive line. The touchdown passes were incredible plays but there were so many mistakes and poor decisions in the rest of the game that lead to another Giants loss.
RB Wayne Gallman
, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 57 - 0, Rec: 5 - 25 - 0 (5 targets) - Wayne Gallman
had another impressive outing with the Giants and he's beginning to get noticed. Gallman's workload was not big as he had to share time with Darkwa/Vereen but he made the most out of the touches he got. He was used up the middle, often from the shotgun. Gallman showed a good spin move and an ability to play in the passing game, catching check downs and screens from Manning. Gallman showed excellent vision throughout the day, being patient as he read the gaps in the defense before exploding through the hole. He cutback and changed direction when he saw space in the defense and was effective keeping the Giants moving down the field. With Darkwa and Perkins dealing with injuries, Gallman could have some opportunity to make a name for himself. The Giants haven't been able to run the ball consistently for some time but he was very productive against the Chargers. It might be too early to pick him up right now but it could be worth keeping an eye on his workload next week as the complicated Giants backfield tries to sort itself out.
RB Orleans Darkwa
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 69 - 1, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (4 targets) - Orleans Darkwa
left the game late in the second half against the Chargers with an injury but ran extremely well prior to that. Darkwa got a heavy workload early in the game and punished the Chargers front 7 with big gains up the middle. Darkwa had good vision and got some decent blocks from his line up front at times. Most of his carries were simple dive runs that he was able to turn into good gains as he saw gaps develop. Darkwa had an explosive touchdown run early in the game off rightside. He ran through an arm tackle and nobody was able to catch him at that point. Darkwa's only negative was his hands in the passing game. He let several passes bounce off his hands and should have converted first downs as Manning found him open. He sustained an injury late in the game but his presence in the rushing attack was impressive and more productive than Perkins had been thus far.
WR Odell Beckham Jr
, 55 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0, Rec: 5 - 97 - 1 (8 targets) - Odell Beckham had an excellent performance on Sunday that unfortunately ended in total misery for the superstar receiver. Beckham and Manning were testing the Chargers deep throughout the game but struggled to connect initially. He was wide open in the endzone but the pass from Manning was overthrown, it easily could have been a touchdown with a better ball. Beckham was electric in open space with the ball in his hands, and he got many short balls/sweep plays to assist this. He was crucial in moving the chains as he converted many downs with curl/comeback plays on the outside. The defensive back was cautious against Beckham, giving him room to avoid a big play down the field. Beckham completely fooled the corner on an out & up route, faking inside before becoming completely wide open down the field as Manning found him for the big score. Beckham sustained another injury to his lower body on a slant play and will likely miss many weeks, if not the entire rest of the season.
WR Brandon Marshall
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (3 targets) - Brandon Marshall
had another miserable performance with the Giants and he is not worth owning in fantasy at this point in almost any league. Marshall got a first down early on a drag route over the middle and another nice conversion on a curl route but got injured later. Manning tried to connect with Marshall on a deep ball along the sideline but he came down awkwardly and subsequently left the game. Marshall just hasn't looked himself with the Giants to this point and this injury is just making things worse. Even if he returns to the lineup, he should not be started.
WR Roger Lewis
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 29 - 1 (2 targets) - Roger Lewis
tried to make the most of his starting opportunity with all of the injuries that the Giants sustained. Lewis managed only one grab but it was a beautiful touchdown play down the sideline. Lewis got a step ahead of the Chargers defensive back and hauled in a perfectly placed ball from Manning over the shoulder for the score. The Giants offense struggled with Beckham/Shepard out and Lewis was not able to carry the load at that point but fantasy owners could keep an eye on him going forward. Lewis has always shown flashes as a deep threat with big play potential, a lot will depend on the health of his teammates.
WR Sterling Shepard
, 24 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (2 targets) - Sterling Shepard
also got injured in this game, leaving fantasy owners slightly frustrated as his production has been very inconsistent. Shepard caught one slant over the middle for 9 yards but left after he attempted to haul in his second catch. Shepard's status will need to be monitored. With Beckham out indefinitely, Shepard could prove valuble if his injury was not too serious.
TE Evan Engram
, 57 offensive snaps (4 targets) - Evan Engram
was almost invisible on Sunday in an unusual performance. He got very few targets from Manning and not one catch. Manning tried to connect with him deep on sideline ball but the pass was overthrown. Engram really didn't get many other targets as Manning looked elsewhere. Likely a blip on his rookie season, he still has value in PPR leagues going forward.
Baltimore Ravens 30, Oakland Raiders 17
What you need to know
- The Ravens offense had their best performance of the season against the Raiders. Joe Flacco
had by far his best game of the season. Flacco made multiple throws downfield for big plays and made quick and accurate throws in the short to intermediate passing game. The Ravens game plan focused on limiting pressure on Flacco with quick passes and placed an emphasis on the run game. The Ravens were able to sustain offense and maintain an early lead with their ground game. The interior of the Ravens offensive line deserves credit for consistently opening holes. Mike Wallace
had a breakout performance contributing 3 big plays on his 3 targets. Buck Allen functioned as the primary running back and got stronger as the game progressed.
- Poor Raiders defense and a Jared Cook
fumble that was returned for a touchdown quickly put Oakland in a 21-3 hole that they couldn’t dig out of. EJ Manuel
was a bright spot for Oakland, capably filling in for Derek Carr
. He established a nice connection with Michael Crabtree
. Crabtree was clearly the top option in the pass game, seeing eight targets while Amari Cooper
was targeted just twice. Marshawn Lynch
and Jalen Richard
split snaps equally and both had some early success on the ground before the Ravens run defense stiffened.
QB Joe Flacco
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 26 - 222 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - -4 - 0 - Joe Flacco
played well and had his best game of the season against the Raiders. Flacco opened the game with a very nice 52 yard completion down the sideline to Mike Wallace
. Vince Mayle
capped the drive with a 2 yard touchdown run off of misdirection. Flacco kept the offense on schedule as the running game got going on the Ravens ensuing possession. The Ravens clearly emphasized the run game and getting the ball out of Flacco’s hands quickly. Flacco completed twice to Maclin moving the Ravens into the red zone. Buck Allen capped the drive with a 1 yard touchdown run. Flacco delivered another bomb to Wallace for 54 yards. A perfect throw would have seen Wallace score a 62 yard touchdown but Flacco did well to complete the pass 50 yards downfield. The Ravens executed poorly to open the second half and began the half with 2 three and outs. Flacco got the offense back on track picking up 40 yards with completions downfield to Perriman and Wallace. A few plays later Flacco targeted Maclin in the end zone but Reggie Nelson defended the pass well forcing a field goal attempt. Red zone passing was the one area where Flacco struggled. The Ravens went run heavy with their play calling for the remainder of the game and ran out the clock.
RB Javorius Allen
, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 73 - 1, Rec: 4 - 12 - 0 (5 targets) - Buck Allen took over duties as the lead back after Terrence West left the game with injury. Allen saw a favorable split between himself and Collins. Allen functioned as the goal line back receiving very red zone carry and handled the passing game duties. Allen received 3 consecutive carries inside the Raiders 5 yard line and scored a 1 yard touchdown on his 3rd attempt. Allen picked up 8 yards on a check down from Flacco. Allen got broke more tackles and got stronger as the game progressed. The Ravens final possession consisted of almost entirely run play calls and the Raiders were unable to stop the Ravens ground game. Allen and Collins moved the chains and ran out the clock with tough interior running.
RB Alex Collins
, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 55 - 0 - Alex Collins
took a back seat to Buck Allen who led the backfield in snaps and carries. Collins found a crease behind Ryan Jensen and bounced the run outside for a 25 yard gain. Collins held the ball high and tight as he broke into the open field. Collins kept his feet moving and pushed a massive pile of bodies for an impressive 6 yard gain. Collins took a clear back seat to Allen after getting the start and fumbling the previous week.
RB Terrance West
, 3 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 17 - 0 - Terrence West started the game and carried the ball twice for 17 yards before exiting the game with a calf injury. West would not return and was carted to the locker room.
WR Jeremy Maclin
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 43 - 0 (8 targets) - Jeremy Maclin
was Flacco’s favorite target against the Raiders. Maclin slipped and fell making a cut on his first target but still managed to haul in the pass for 14 yards. Maclin picked up 6 catching a wounded duck from Flacco to convert a 3rd and 5. Maclin caught a quick out for an 8 yard gain. Maclin picked up 10 yards running a curl route underneath. Flacco narrowly missed Maclin down the seam for a potential 20 yard play. Maclin was targeted in the end zone but Nelson disrupted the play. Maclin picked up 8 more yards and a first down running another out route. Maclin’s stat line was less than impressive but a couple of missed opportunities hurt his production.
WR Mike Wallace
, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 133 - 0 (3 targets) - Mike Wallace
converted all 3 of his targets into big plays against the Raiders. Wallace picked up 52 yards beating Sean Smith down the sideline on a go route. Wallace got behind Smith and Reggie Nelson and hauled in another bomb from Flacco gaining 54 more yards. Wallace picked up 27 on his final reception running a deep crossing route and easily gaining separation.
TE Ben Watson
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 2 - 0 (4 targets) - Ben Watson
was targeted on two consecutive plays in the end zone but both passes fell incomplete. Flacco missed Watson who was wide open 10 yard downfield. This was the first time this season Watson and Flacco did not appear to be on the same page.
QB EJ Manuel
, 56 offensive snaps, Pass: 13 - 26 - 159 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 15 - 0 - Derek Carr
was held out after suffering a back injury in Week 4 giving Manuel his first start for Oakland. Manuel acquitted himself well. He didn’t turn the ball over, used his athleticism to buy time and made some nice plays to extend drives. The Raiders quickly fell into a 21-3 hole but Manuel slowly got Oakland back into the game, making it a one possession game in the third quarter after he led a pair of long touchdown drives. Manuel made some plays with his legs, rushing for a couple key first downs and also escaping the pocket at times to allow his receivers extra time to get open. He scrambled to buy time on a play-action pass that was supposed to go deep to Amari Cooper
. When Cooper drew triple coverage, Manuel scrambled to his right and hit Michael Crabtree
in the end zone for a 42-yard touchdown. Manuel also completed a key third down pass for 22 yards down the left sideline to Seth Roberts
after scrambling to buy time. Manuel converted a 3rd-and-9 in the red zone with a weaving scramble in which he eluded multiple Ravens defenders and dove for the first down. He almost scored but came up just a couple yards short.
RB Marshawn Lynch
, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 43 - 1, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (2 targets) - Even with DeAndre Washington
out, Lynch still didn’t play half of the snaps (48% of the offensive snaps), splitting time almost evenly with Jalen Richard
. With his modest passing-game work, it is hard for Lynch to carry much fantasy value in a part-time role. Lynch had some early success and looked as if he might be on his way to a strong fantasy week. He rattled off impressive runs of 7, 9 and then 6 yards for 22 yards on his first three carries in the opening five minutes of the game. He managed just 21 rushing yards the rest of the way though. While the Raiders opened the game as home favorites, the game script quickly flipped negative for Lynch. The Ravens jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first four minutes and the Raiders had to play from behind all day. Lynch scored a short touchdown untouched up the middle. Manuel scrambled for a first down at the 2-yard line and the Raiders went hurry up and snapped the ball before the Ravens were set, allowing the easy score for Lynch.
RB Jalen Richard
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 37 - 0 (2 targets) - With DeAndre Washington
sidelined, Richard played a season-high 45% of the snaps. He was able to find some early success, including a darting 14-yard run weaving his way off of left tackle on his first touch of the game. But he was mostly bottled up the rest of the way. The Raiders tried to set up screens to Richard on two separate occasions but the Ravens sniffed them out and forced Manuel to throw the ball away.
WR Michael Crabtree
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 82 - 1 (8 targets) - While Crabtree played just 64% of the snaps, he led the team with 8 targets. Crabtree was the go-to target for Manuel and showed no ill effects from the chest injury that sidelined him in Week 4. Manuel and Crabtree hooked up for a 42-yard touchdown after Manuel scrambled to buy time. Amari Cooper
ran a deep route from the slot and drew the attention of the deep safety. The cornerback covering Crabtree looked like he expected safety help and let Crabtree run wide open down the right sideline on a blown coverage, which allowed Manuel to hit Crabtree in the end zone for the score. Crabtree showed his strength and competitiveness on some key third down conversions. On a 3rd-and-7, he caught the ball a couple yards short of the first down with a cornerback draped on his back but powered through the tackle and reached the ball out past the marker. The next play, Crabtree juked past a defender and was wide open in the end zone for what could have been a 12-yard touchdown but Manuel overthrew him.
WR Seth Roberts
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 34 - 0 (4 targets) - Roberts played 50 of 56 snaps but wasn’t a huge part of the game plan. Most of his yards came on a 22-yard completion down the sideline. Manuel rolled right and then reversed field to roll back to his left to buy time. Roberts sprinted down the sideline to get open and pick up the big gain.
WR Amari Cooper
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (2 targets) - Another week, another shockingly quiet game for Amari Cooper
. Unlike past weeks where Cooper saw targets but struggled to convert them, it seemed EJ Manuel
rarely looked his direction. Cooper played 55 of the 56 offensive snaps but still saw just two targets (only one of which was catchable). Cooper’s first target was a short comeback route in the red zone that Manuel sailed way over his head. It was unclear if it was a misfire or if Manuel intentionally threw the ball away. Cooper caught his second target for eight yards on a quick slant. Cooper does still have value to Oakland even if he’s not catching passes. He drew three defensive backs (including the deep safety) his direction on a deep route towards the left sideline that allowed Crabtree to slip free down the right sideline for his long touchdown.
TE Jared Cook
, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (6 targets) - Cook had a rough day. On the Raiders third offensive play, Jared Cook
caught a short screen pass and fumbled. The ball was picked up and returned for a touchdown that put the Raiders down 14-0 early in the first quarter. He also had a couple costly drops in the second half. Cook has tantalizing talent but continues to have bouts of inconsistency and poor play that keep him from emerging as a top tight end.