New York Giants 21, San Francisco 49ers 31
What you need to know
New York Giants
- The only Giants receivers worth starting currently are Shepard and Engram, both have strong value however. Engram has a knack for finding the endzone every week and Shepard can be a monster in PPR leagues with his versatility.
The Giants showed some life on the ground with Darkwa this week but it isn't reliable unfortunately. He is still the clear #1 RB in this offense but he hasn't been able to find the endzone enough this season.
San Francisco 49ers
- Plain and simple, San Francisco took advantage of a bad defense that either didn't prepare well or didn't execute what they prepared. In the running game, New York's aggressive overpursuit constantly allowed cut-back runs without a tackler in sight. In the passing game, they constantly blew coverages and missed tackles. To Kyle Shanahan's credit, he gameplanned to take advantage of New York's (many) defensive weaknesses, and it was highly effective. The caution, however, is to not expect this every week unless, during San Francisco's bye, the NFL decides to allow these two teams to play each other each week for the rest of the season.
QB Eli Manning
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 37 - 273 - 2 TD / 0 INT - Eli Manning
had a respectable stat line for fantasy owners but it wasn't representative of his effectiveness throughout the game. Manning's second touchdown came in garbage time on the final drive as the game was out of hand. He forced a lot of passes into tight windows due to the close coverage that the 49ers had on the Giants receivers for a lot of this game. Manning generally moved the ball well between the 20's but several miscues and poor redzone efficiency hampered the entire offensive production. He threw a lot of curl/comeback routes and patterns over the middle to keep the chains moving. Manning lost the ball in the first half with a bizarre play that looked like he tried to throw the ball away at the last second as he was going down but ended up fumbling it instead. He did manage to connect with King/Shepard several times downfield on fade/corner routes, placing the ball where only his receiver could get it. Manning also overthrew Shepard deep along the sideline, and missed Engram over the middle which almost caused another turnover on a tipped ball. His second touchdown came on a simple hook route to Lewis who turned around vs soft coverage and hauled in the catch for the meaningless score.
RB Orleans Darkwa
, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 70 - 0, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (2 targets) - Orleans Darkwa
ran really well for the Giants on sunday and had several explosive runs to keep the defense honest. He had a wide variety of carries throughout the game, owing it to his versatility as a running back. Darkwa showed the power necessary to burst through the hole and carry defenders. He also found big gaps outside on the outside with toss plays and burned the defense with great set up from his offensive line. Darkwa hauled in some passes but he's mostly just a checkdown option for Manning. The Giants did not perform well in the redzone and redzone touches were too few for Darkwa. The offensive line blocked reasonably well for him and he's still clearly the #1 back for this offense. Gallman and Vereen were rotated in as always but they do not get as many touches as Darkwa does in a game. He remains a respectable flex play going forward but expectations should be low as he rarely gets into the endzone.
WR Sterling Shepard
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 11 - 142 - 0 (13 targets) - Sterling Shepard
was an absolute staple for Eli Manning
on Sunday as he made big play after big play down the field. Shepard made some incredible catches and got open consistently against the 49ers secondary. He ran routes all over the field and showed his incredible versatility as a receiver. Shepard caught slants/curls/fades/corners and Manning was locked into the receiver. He made an excellent diving catch on a corner route in the first half, just almost scooping the ball off the ground to secure it. Shepard later made an unbelievably impressive one handed grab along the sideline on a fade route, which was held up after further review. Shepard's final catch showed what a truly dangerous athlete he can be, juking a defender in open space before getting many yards after the catch. His value is probably reaching his ceiling in games like this, obviously it will be inflated during Beckham's absence but there's no denying the talent this receiver has. His route running is his best asset, he can get open all over the field.
WR Roger Lewis
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 33 - 1 (4 targets) - Roger Lewis
jr. was a non factor in this game and has failed to fill the Beckham void in any shape or form. Lewis was hardly involved in the passing game at all and got most of his targets on the final drive. He ran a nice curl route and snagged a tight ball, despite the defense getting flagged for defensive pass interference on the play. His touchdown came on a simple hook route in the redzone. The defense was playing soft as a 49er victory was secured, allowing Lewis to haul in the ball and stroll into the endzone untouched. He is not startable in fantasy leagues right now, not nearly enough targets to warrant even a roster spot in most leagues.
WR Tavarres King
, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 11 - 0, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (4 targets) - Tavarres King
showed some flashes with his incredible athletic talent but isn't anywhere near a complete receiver to pose a consistent threat right now. He got an end around play in the first half, finding enough room on the outside to secure a first down. King got wide open on an in breaking pattern over the middle, using his speed to achieve separation before securing the first down. He got his hands on a deep pass along the sideline from Manning but he took a big hit after and the ball subsequently was knocked loose. King is a specialty player that the Giants use for certain plays and like to get the ball in his hands from time to time. His hands/size/route running don't resemble that of a typical well rounded receiver unfortunately.
TE Evan Engram
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 31 - 1 (9 targets) - Evan Engram
continues his streak of finding the endzone and fantasy owners have to be delighted with that. Engram remained an important cog in this offense on Sunday, though Manning had a slightly softer spot for Shepard on the day. Engram was an excellent chain mover for the Giants over the middle, providing an escape route for Manning when under pressure. He showed consistent hands by securing tightly contested balls over the middle and an athletic ability that defenders have to respect. His touchdown came on a redzone passing play. Engram ran an out n'up, getting enough separation for Manning to threw a high ball while the defender was turned around. Manning tried to hit an open Engram over the middle on the final drive but the pass was too high and almost picked off. Engram is an excellent threat over the middle that the Giants have needed for some time. A more balanced offense in the future will only allow him to grow as a player.
QB C.J. Beathard
, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 25 - 288 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 15 - 1 - Although Beathard played better than he had in recent games, the best one can describe his performance was that he efficiently took what was given to him. The Giants defense was constantly out of position, blowing coverages, and missing tackles; all of which made for wide-open throwing windows and long completions. To wit, all three of the touchdowns Beathard accounted for featured one or more blatant errors by the opposition. On his touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin
, Goodwin ran by the cornerback, who thought he had safety help over the top; he didn't. Beathard's touchdown pass to Celek was aided by both bad coverage and bad tackling. And finally, Beathard's own rushing touchdown resulted from a red zone scramble in which the entire Giants defense for some reason or another decided to remain in the end zone rather than making an attempt to tackle him.
RB Carlos Hyde
, 46 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 98 - 0, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (3 targets) - This was likely one of the easiest 90-plus yard rushing days of Hyde's career. Sure, there existed a modicum of his usual bruising running style, but the holes were enormous against the Giants. And it wasn't so much that San Francisco's line blocked extremely well, as it was that New York's defense repeated overpursued, thereby allowing wide-open cut back lanes into wide-open terrain. This phenomenon started early, as in the first play of the game. Hyde took a pitch to the left and eluded Olivier Vernon's immediate tackle attempt behind the line. With Jason Pierre-Paul eschewing his backside contain responsibilities, Hyde was able to cut back to the right and run by him for 28 yards.
RB Matt Breida
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 55 - 1, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (2 targets) - With Carlos Hyde
finding little resistance from New York, Breida returned to his role of giving a breather. That's why it wasn't until a three-play span during garbage time that Breida gained 49 of his 55 rushing yards, the capper being a 33-yard touchdown run. On the play, Breida lined up in a single back formation and took the hand of on an outside zone run. Like Hyde, Breida benefitted from overpursuit by the Giants' front seven, cutting back through a wide chasm and going untouched into the end zone.
WR Kendrick Bourne
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 42 - 0 (3 targets) - Bourne had a higher snap percentage than usual because San Francisco leaned heavily on two-wide receiver sets, and Aldrick Robinson
mostly sees the field in three-wide receiver sets. All three of Bourne's targets came on third down, and he was able to convert all three for first downs. All three of his targets came when he was wide open against the Giants' zone coverage.
WR Marquise Goodwin
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 18 - 0, Rec: 1 - 83 - 1 (2 targets) - Goodwin was -- understandably, given his personal situation that was only revealed later -- not heavily involved against the Giants. On his lone catch, an 83-yard touchdown, Goodwin split the Giants' disguised -- and ultimately blown -- Cover-2 zone. Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie dropped from slot cornerback to second safety just prior to the snap, but bit on the slot receiver's route, thereby leaving fellow cornerback Janoris Jenkins several yards behind Goodwin on his post route and with no safety help.
WR Louis Murphy
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 48 - 0 (2 targets) - Murphy started after being signed midweek, but didn't see his first target until the third quarter -- and what a target it was! On the play, Murphy went uncovered, running free through the middle of New York's Cover-3 zone: At the time of his reception, no Giants defender was within 10 yards. Being so wide open allowed Murphy to add 23 yards after the catch.
WR Aldrick Robinson
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (1 targets) - With San Francisco focusing on the run and therefore leaning heavily on 21 personnel (i.e., two running backs, two wide receivers, and one tight end), Louis Murphy
and Kendall Bourne saw the field ahead of Robinson for much of the first half. Robinson's only target came early in the second quarter lined up outside against Janoris Jenkins -- which seems to contradict the above 21-personnel hypothesis. Regardless, he beat Jenkins' zone coverage on a dig route and made a tough catch in the middle of the field.
TE Garrett Celek
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 67 - 1 (6 targets) - Celek did almost all of his damage on three consecutive plays inside the two-minute warning before halftime. First, he made a nice hands adjustment for a 7-yard gain. Then he reached down to catch a low throw across the middle for 9 yards. To cap things off, he scored a 47-yard touchdown by beating Jonathan Casillas' man-to-man coverage and then juking Janoris Jenkins near the 20-yard line.
New York Jets 10, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 15
What you need to know
New York Jets
- * Penalties, pressure, and punts; those three things spelled doom in Tampa Bay. New York, one of the most penalized teams in the NFL, added eight more penalties to their total. Guard, Brian Winter racked up holding penalties against Gerald McCoy while Austin Seferian-Jenkins
was also flagged multiple times. Those penalties directly correlated with Tampa Bay's pass rush. McCown was sacked six times as Tampa Bay defenders routinely penetrated the backfield. Punter Lachlan Edwards punted seven times and will need the Week 11 bye week to recover.
* Four-in-a-row. Robby Anderson
extended his touchdown streak with a late fourth quarter touchdown grab.
* Seferian-Jenkins was held catch-less for the first 54 minutes, but added six grabs in 'garbage time'.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Tampa Bay played without Jameis Winston
, who is resting his injured shoulder, and Mike Evans
, who served a one-game suspension for his part in a sideline brawl against New Orleans in week 11. Brent Grimes had a beautiful interception of Josh McCown
early in the 2nd quarter that Ryan Fitzpatrick
followed up with an interception of his own on the very next play. Patrick Murray
was 3/3 on field goals, including a successful 49 yard attempt. Lavonte David recovered a Bilal Powell
fumble late in the 3rd quarter.
QB Josh McCown
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 39 - 262 - 1 TD / 1 INT - Out-of-sync for all four quarters. That's the simplest way to describe McCown's afternoon. Offensive coordinator, John Morton, schemed a conservative game-plan against Tampa Bay's 28th-ranked defense, but New York's execution was poor. The ground game was never established and the offensive line had trouble blocking Gerald McCoy and Co. McCown was sacked a season-high six times as he failed to complete at least 60 percent of his passes for the first time this season. In the first half, McCown threw an ugly interception as he overshot Robby Anderson
on a deep post route. McCown would somewhat atone for this error by connecting on a late 38-yard touchdown strike to Anderson. McCown dropped a dime to Anderson who was streaking down the right sideline. New York enters its bye week with a 4-6 record and its playoff hopes appear grim.
RB Elijah McGuire
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 22 - 0, Rec: 4 - 36 - 0 (7 targets) - Matt Forte
was inactive, so McGuire served as Powell's back-up. The talented rookie primarily made an impact as a receiver. Showing smooth hands and improved route running, McGuire was sent out on wheel routes and was used on designed screen passes. He had a long gain of 13 yards on a third-and-long.
RB Bilal Powell
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 30 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (2 targets) - Matt Forte
was inactive, so Bilal Powell
started. New York's offensive line had trouble blocking Tampa's Front 7, limiting Powell's opportunities. Powell had one long run of 21 yards on a toss, but otherwise, was completely contained.
WR Jermaine Kearse
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 35 - 0 (8 targets) - Jermaine Kearse
made some tough grabs over the middle of the field, but also had some bad drops. He had a long grab of 14 yards on a deep drag route.
WR Robby Anderson
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 85 - 1 (7 targets) - Four-in-a-row. For the fourth straight week, Anderson scored a touchdown. Late in the fourth quarter, McCown and Anderson hooked up for a 38-yard score on a deep sideline route. McCown dropped in a back shoulder dime as Anderson scooted into the end zone. Outside of the scoring play, Anderson was a fixture on 3rd downs and made some tough grabs over the middle. Anderson was targeted on McCown's lone interception, but McCown air-mailed him.
WR Chad Hansen
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 33 - 0 (4 targets) - Playing in-place of the suspended Jeremy Kerley
, the rookie out of California was solid. Operating out of the slot, Hansen was deployed on short-to-intermediate routes. Hansen did a nice job finding soft spots in the zone for short gains.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 67 - 0 (9 targets) - Playing against his former team, Seferian-Jenkins was held catch-less for 54 minutes. Seferian-Jenkins, however, made an impact as New York was attempting a late rally. Seferian-Jenkins found space on in-breaking routes over the middle of the field. He had a long catch-and-run of 28 yards on a deep seam route.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 34 - 187 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 9 - 0 - Fitzpatrick got the start while Jameis Winston
rests his injured shoulder for "at least a couple of weeks". He had to work without Bucs top receiver Mike Evans
, who served a one game suspension for a sideline brawl last week. In Evans' absence, Fitzy concentrated his throws on Desean Jackson and rookie Chris Godwin
, who were both targeted 10 times. Tight ends Brate and Howard weren't a big part of the game plan, as Brate was targeted three times and Howard none. Fitzpatrick and the offense led a long, methodical drive that ate up much of the 1st quarter, converting 3rd downs with passes to Jackson, Brate, and Godwin before eventually having to settle for a field goal. Fitzpatrick unfortunately gave the football right back to the Jets after Tampa Bay's Brent Grimes intercepted Josh McCown
in the 2nd quarter. Chris Godwin
ran a deep crossing route on the next play, and Fitzpatrick threw the ball behind him, giving the trailing defender a play on the ball.
Fitzpatrick found Charles Sims
for a short touchdown reception late in the 4th quarter to put the game on ice. The score capped off another lengthy offensive drive. Sims lined up to the left of Fitzy in the shotgun, then took off right on a shallow crossing route. Fitzpatrick led him perfectly, allowing Sims to catch it in stride and beat pursuing linebacker Demario Davis to the right pylon for the score. Fitzpatrick was forced to scramble on the ensuing 2 point attempt, and gave a valiant effort before being taken down hard inside the 1 yard line.
RB Doug Martin
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 51 - 0 (2 targets) - Martin got the start but was mostly bottled up by the Patriots front seven. The Bucs ran a lot on first down, constantly finding themselves in 3rd down situations that Fitzpatrick had to throw his way out of. Martin had a 15 yard run negated by a holding penalty on the opposite side of the line in the 3rd quarter. He was targeted twice out of the backfield but could not secure a catch. Jacquizz Rodgers
spelled Martin for a couple of brief drives, and Charles Sims
handled 3rd down work.
RB Charles Sims
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 20 - 0, Rec: 3 - 10 - 1 (4 targets) - Sims saw his first action early in the 2nd quarter, catching a swing pass out of the backfield for a short gain. Sims picked up a 3rd and 15 conversion with a 21 yard run around left end in the 4th quarter, and then sealed the game with a touchdown reception to cap the same drive. Sims lined up on the left side of Fitzpatrick in the shotgun, then took off right on a shallow crossing route, catching the ball and beating pursuing LB Demario Davis to the pylon.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers
, 6 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 12 - 0 - Rodgers entered the game during a long 1st quarter drive, relieving Doug Martin
for a few snaps after the offense extended the drive with several 3rd down conversions. Rodgers carried the ball a couple more times late in the 4th quarter, finishing with 3 carries total and no targets.
RB Peyton Barber
, 7 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - -2 - 0 - Barber saw himself demoted back to special teams duties after a season-high in carries Week 9. Barber did receive a couple of carries on offense that went for no gain, but appeared to be back behind Martin, Rodgers, and Sims in the backfield pecking order.
WR DeSean Jackson
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 82 - 0 (10 targets) - Jackson and rookie Chris Godwin
started at the outside receiver positions with Mike Evans
absent due to a one game suspension. Djax and Godwin both collected a team-high 10 targets, with Djax posting the slightly better overall statline. Jackson hauled in his first target for a nice catch and run on a crossing route in the 1st quarter, then helped extend the lengthy drive with a short reception on a slant and a deep corner route that picked up 15. Fitzpatrick found him running a seam route from the slot early in the 3rd quarter for another solid gain, then hit him on a deep post on the next play for a gain of 22, Tampa's longest play of the day. Jackson bounced up after being clobbered by DB Buster Skrine on a sideline catch in the 3rd, drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty for helmet-to-helmet contact.
WR Chris Godwin
, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 68 - 0 (10 targets) - Godwin got the start for Mike Evans
while the star receiver served his one-game suspension. The rookie tied Desean Jackson with a team-high 10 targets. Godwin lined up wide left and caught a curl route to convert 3rd and 7 and extend the Bucs first scoring drive in the 1st quarter. Fitzpatrick hit Godwin on a skinny post for a gain of 20 on the first offensive play of the 2nd half. Godwin caught a deep comeback down the left sideline late in the 3rd and nearly broke a tackle for a much bigger gain on the play. Fitzpatrick targeted Godwin on deep ball down the right sideline on the next play, but couldn't connect against tight coverage. . Godwin caught another short curl route in the 4th and spun away from several tacklers for extra yards. Godwin also recovered New York's onside kick attempt at the end of the game, securing the win for the Bucs.
WR Adam Humphries
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (4 targets) - Humphries started in his usual slot position, but had a quiet day in Evans and Winston's absence. Humphries made a nice move to get open on a skinny post in the 1st quarter, but contact from a defender knocked the ball away as he was securing it. Humphries caught a bubble screen from the right slot for a short catch-and-run in the 3rd quarter, and a crossing route in the 4th for another short gain.
TE Cameron Brate
, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (3 targets) - Brate and rookie TE OJ Howard were not a big part of the game plan in Winston and Evans' absence. Brate flexed out into the slot and picked up 10 yards on an out route to convert 3rd and 9 late in the 1st quarter, his only catch. He was targeted two more times on the day, well behind Desean Jackson and rookie WR Godwin.
Green Bay Packers 23, Chicago Bears 16
What you need to know
Green Bay Packers
- The decimation of the backfield makes that position hard to figure out, as Jamaal Williams
looked shaky on Sunday and we have little idea of what Devante Mays
is capable of. They’ll
feed one or both the ball, but it will be a week or two before we know who is in charge and Ty
Montgmery could be back by then. Davante Adams
is finally turning his targets into production,
as he and Brett Hundley
seem to be the only two on the same page in the passing offense.
- Even with a week to prepare for the Green Bay, the Chicago Bears still were not prepared for this home matchup against the Packers, losing 23-16.. The Bears were outcoached and outplayed in every sense of the words.
played the best game of his short NFL career, completing 21 of 35 passes for 297 yards and one touchdown. Six first half penalty flags did not help his cause, neither did the five times he was sacked.
ran into the backs of his offensive lineman more than he ran anywhere else. Tarik Cohen
, who? Why bother even putting the guy on the field if he’s only going to touch the ball on two occasions. Quite possibly the most exciting outcome of Sunday’s game was newcomer Dontrelle Inman
. He caught six passes on eight targets for 88 yards. He’s the guy to watch as the season winds down.
QB Brett Hundley
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 25 - 212 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 16 - 0 - Hundley’s previous three starts were concerning, but this was almost like watching a different
quarterback. While far from perfect, Hundley made better reads and decisions, avoided big
mistakes and delivered some nice passes, most notably to Davante Adams
, both for long gains.
While the 42-yard strike was longer, the 19-yard touchdown was a better pass in a more critical
moment. The Packers were on the Bears’ 19-yard line, on a 2nd and 9, when Hundley rolled out
to his right under pressure. He spied Adams at the right-front corner of the end zone and threw
a nice pass to Adam’s outside shoulder, where only his receiver could get it. While not as sharp
a pass as Aaron Rodgers
would throw, it was similar in positioning and accuracy and a hopeful
step towards seeing more of this in an offense used to it on a regular basis. Hundley did pull a
hamstring while running during the game, but played through it and is slated to start against
Baltimore next week.
RB Jamaal Williams
, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 67 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - Williams was the last man standing on a day when Ty Montgomery
and fellow rookie Aaron
Jones both went down with injury. He had a few decent moments, but looked a bit plodding and
struggled to gain any ground especially after first contact. He will probably get the start next
week, but could see competition from rookie Devante Mays
or someone off the street. Williams
should have a chance to show improvement though with that next start.
RB Ty Montgomery
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 54 - 1, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (2 targets) - Montgomery left the game with a rib injury, but was able to break a long touchdown run in the
second quarter. The offense did a great job opening a hole for Montgomery, and he hit that gap
quickly before accelerating into the open field. Nobody came anywhere near him as he easily
RB Aaron Jones
, 6 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 12 - 0, Rec: 1 - 0 - 0 (1 targets) - Jones left the game on a cart during the first quarter, and reports have him missing 3-6 weeks
with a MCL injury.
RB Aaron Ripkowski
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 3 - 0, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (1 targets) - Ripkowski was on the field for 22 snaps, much more than usual, which isn’t surprising given the
injuries to the backfield. He was mostly a blocker but had a nice catch for 12 yards.
WR Randall Cobb
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 8 - 0, Rec: 3 - 52 - 0 (4 targets) - Cobb didn’t have a ton of luck overall, but did show some of the yard after the catch agility
which has been absent for some time now on a catch he turned into a 38-yard gain. The team
tried to use him running the ball as well, setting him up in a Wildcat, but it wasn’t effective.
WR Davante Adams
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 90 - 1 (8 targets) - Brett Hundley
has targeted Adams a lot, and it finally paid off. Adams was able to find
separation for a couple of catches, most critically his 19-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to
seal the win. On the play, Adams lined up inside, and ran a corner route. He got behind
cornerback Kyle Fuller, and then Brett Hundley
threw one of his better passes to Adams, a
throw to the outside shoulder only Adams would catch. The two are on the same page, and
Adams is starting to reap the benefits.
WR Jordy Nelson
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (4 targets) - Nelson and Brett Hundley
are just not on the same page, and it doesn’t look like it will change
anytime soon. Nelson has to be waiting anxiously for Aaron Rodgers
TE Lance Kendricks
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (2 targets) - Kendricks was on the field for 76 percent of the offensive snaps, mostly as a blocker trying to
help open holes for the injury riddled backfield or protect Brett Hundley
TE Richard Rodgers
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets) - Rodgers is still behind Lance Kendricks
in terms of targets, snaps and general playing time. He
was on the field as a blocker for the most part.
QB Mitchell Trubisky
, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 35 - 297 - 1 TD / 0 INT - The rookie quarterback still should not be anywhere on your radar for fantasy purposes, but he’s moving in the right direction.
played his best game as a pro in Sunday’s 23-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He completed 21 of 35 passes for 297 yards and one touchdown.
Arguably the best play Trubisky made all day was a near touchdown that was overturned into a touchback. A very strange play it was. Coach John Fox thought Benny Cunningham
got into the end zone, but Fox failed to notice that Cunningham lost control of the ball before he and the ball hit the pylon. The play came on a play-action boot to the left, where Cunningham left the backfield to get in position for a screen pass up the right side. Trubisky did a great job of pulling the defense to the left, leaving Cunningham open for a catch and run.
Moving on … Six first half penalty flags did not help his cause, neither did the five times he was sacked. Trubisky only will be able to do so much as quarterback of *this* team. The biggest area of improvement for Trubisky needs to be in instances when the defense drops seven guys into coverage. Four of the five sacks that occurred against Green Bay came when the Packers sent four or fewer rushers. Let that settle in for a second.
One thing to watch as we move forward, the on-field relationship of Trubisky and newly acquired wide receiver Dontrelle Inman
. The pair hooked up six times for 88 yards in Sunday’s loss. Inman gives Trubisky a tool he didn’t have a few weeks ago.
RB Jordan Howard
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 54 - 0 - Not much going on here. Jordan Howard
looked … overmatched? Green Bay stacked the box with as many bodies it could in Sunday’s 23-16 win over Howard and the Bears. The running back gained 54 yards on 15 carries. Howard found himself running into the backs of his offensive lineman more than he ran anywhere else. The game looked to be shaping up to get Howard 30-plus carries, but the game script changed and the Bears were forced to throw more. The snap-count numbers tell the story: Howard 29 snaps, Benny Cunningham
28 snaps, Tarik Cohen
Howard, we think, is a great NFL running back. However, his lack of consistency tells us a different story. Howard has been running behind a weak and injured offensive line, no doubt. An argument can be made, though, that a running back of Howard’s caliber needs to be able to break free from some of the contact he takes in the backfield to turn negative runs into positive runs, even if it’s taking a two-yard loss and making it a two-yard gain. Third and long with a rookie quarterback at the helm is not an optimal thing to have happen on a consistent basis.
Bottom Line: Howard needs to be better if he wants to be considered in the conversation with the league’s best.
RB Tarik Cohen
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (2 targets) - This one is a puzzler. Tarik Cohen
only played 13 snaps in Sunday’s 23-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Cohen rushed the ball one time for one yard and caught one pass on two targets for 10 yards. For reasons unknown to most, John Fox and Dowell Loggains elected to give Benny Cunningham
28 snaps in a game where the Bears were trailing the majority of the game.
It’s probably best to stay away from Cohen until the rest of the Bears’ offense goes through more growing pains. Cohen won’t be able to his max potential until there are receivers on the field who can help spread out the defense.
WR Dontrelle Inman
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 88 - 0 (8 targets) - Welcome to the Chicago Bears, Dontrelle Inman
. The former Chargers wide receiver played a team-high 57 snaps, catching six balls on eight targets for 88 yards in Sunday’s 23-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Inman brings something new and different to this Bears’ offense. Inman has that rare combination of size and speed. With more time on the field with Mitchell Trubisky
, there’s no reason to think Inman won’t see between 7-10 targets a game, on par with many No. 1s in the league. He already looks like the best route runner on the squad; and there’s no question that he gets more separation than any other pass catcher. Those two facts were entirely apparent against the Packers, especially in man coverage scenarios.
It’s hard not to drink the Inman Kool-Aid after seeing Kendall Wright
, Josh Bellamy
and Deonte Thompson
(now gone) flop around out there all season. Inman goes for 7-114-1 next time out, you watch.
WR Kendall Wright
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 46 - 0 (8 targets) - Kendall Wright
looked like a better receiver in Sunday’s 23-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Wright saw eight targets, catching five of them for 46 yards.
With Dontrelle Inman
now in the mix, Wright can slide back into the fold a bit more and not have to be the top receiving target on every play. Having a longer and faster receiver on the field, like Inman, opens holes for Wright to catch and run. Until this week, Wright had been catching passes before taking near-instant contact.
Wright finished the game with 46 snaps, second-most on the team. As the Bears’ offense continues to sync up, expect Wright to thrive in the slot role, given no more injuries take place that force Wright elsewhere on the field.
Minnesota Vikings 38, Washington Redskins 30
What you need to know
- There were several storylines as the Vikings took on the Redskins in week 10. Teddy Bridgewater
made his emotional return to the field as he suited up to play behind Case Keenum
. Bridgewater's return seemed to light a fire under Keenum as he threw for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns against a tough Washington secondary. Stefon Diggs
also finally returned from an early-season groin injury to look like his former self and Adam Thielen
topped 100 yards and added a touchdown. The running game looked impressive early with Latavius Murray
getting the start again, but faltered as the game wore on. The final score looks close, but the Vikings were in control most of the game. Minnesota will face a tough test when the L.A Rams come to town next week.
- Washington's secondary got to torched against the Vikings. This was not expected considering they have everyone back healthy. They might need to let Josh travel with #1 receivers so that they can at least have a stop gap in opposing team's passing attack. The run game is still an issue which puts the game on Kirk's shoulders. That can be detrimental to their chances of winning. The running game doesn't seem to be improving so Kirk will get a chance over the remainder of the season to prove he can be a franchise leading quarterback. Defensively, if they can't limit teams in the red zone or get off the field on third down then the offense will crumble anyway from constantly playing ‘catch up.’
QB Case Keenum
, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 29 - 304 - 4 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - -1 - 0 - It was really a tale of two quarterbacks with Keenum this week. There were times when he looked like an All-Pro quarterback and then others that showed why he was a free agent signing. Keenum did top 300 yards passing and threw a career-high 4 touchdowns, but it was the two interceptions that left the door wide open for a Teddy Bridgewater
return. The first interception came on the Redskin's side of the field when he tried to hit Kyle Rudolph
down the left sideline. Keenum scrambled out of the pocket and lobbed a ball off his back foot for an easy interception. He would have been better off throwing this ball away or trying to run for a few yards up the sideline as Rudolph had no chance to make the catch. The second interception was worse as he again tried to force the ball to Rudolph and had the route undercut by DJ Swearinger. The only saving grace was Keenum was able to knock the ball out of Swearinger's hands at the 2-yard line or else it would have been a pick-6. These two mistakes aside, Keenum did have a lot of success and found the end zone 4 other times to Diggs, Thielen, Wright, and Morgan. Diggs and Thielen accounted for 17 of his 29 targets and more than 60% of his total yardage. Thielen and Diggs accounted for the explosive plays of 49 and 51 yards and Keenum completed passes to 6 different receivers. This was Keenum's best game for Minnesota to date, but with a tough stretch of the schedule coming up there may be a lot of people calling for Teddy Bridgewater
to take his starting job back.
RB Latavius Murray
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 68 - 1 - The Vikings run game looked amazing at the start of the game. Both Murray and McKinnon were ripping off nice chunks of yards and Murray even found the end zone. This is when the Washington game plan switched to stacking the box to stop the run and making Case Keenum
beat them with his arm. Unfortunately for Washington, Keenum did just that but Murray's numbers suffered from that point on. Aside from his 14-yard rush to set up a 1-yard touchdown pass and his 1-yard touchdown run, Murray could not get anything going on the ground. Murray was also not targeted in the passing game at all today and saw a 1-yard touchdown go to David Morgan
through the air later in the game. Murray seems entrenched as the starter and had 7 more carries than McKinnon today. It will be interesting to see if the Viking's success throwing the ball this week opens anything up on the ground next week.
RB Jerick McKinnon
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 32 - 0, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (2 targets) - It has been a back and forth affair with Murray and McKinnon all season, but there seems to be more of a pattern developing lately. McKinnon is clearly the better pass catching back and plays a role on special teams, while Murray is used in more power and rushing situations. McKinnon averaged 3.2 yards per carry and had almost a third of his yards come on one carry. It has been a struggle in the Viking's backfield since Adrian Peterson
left, but there seem to be more clear and defined roles for McKinnon and Murray now. Despite the gaudy passing numbers for Keenum, McKinnon only had 2 targets and was used very sparingly in the passing game. It will be interesting to see if the Viking's success throwing the ball this week opens anything up on the ground next week.
WR Adam Thielen
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 166 - 1 (12 targets) - It looked like it was going to be the Stefon Diggs
show early against the Redskins, but Keenum and Thielen found a rhythm from the second quarter on. Thielen lead the Vikings in targets, yards, and added an impressive touchdown grab and a 49-yard reception. The 49-yard reception came at the expense of Josh Norman
and was entirely through the air. Thielen ran right up the seam and Keenum escaped the pass rush and rolled to his left. Had the ball been thrown a little further, Thielen could have avoided a diving Norman and taken the ball into the end zone. On the touchdown drive, Thielen accounted for 3 of the 6 plays and 62 total yards. The Vikings capitalized on the poor play of Bashaud Breeland and Thielen eventually found the end zone. Keenum had rolled to his right and found Thielen just over the goal line for the touchdown. The most impressive part was how Thielen wrestled the ball away from the defender after it was thrown just behind him. Thielen also added a 38-yard reception on this drive after beating Breeland in coverage. This was Thielen's second game with 150+ receiving yards, adding him to TY Hilton and Antonio Brown
as the only receivers with more than one.
WR Stefon Diggs
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 78 - 1 (5 targets) - Diggs was coming off a groin injury and a root canal and had a tough matchup with Josh Norman
and Bashaud Breeland. None of this slowed Diggs down as he added a 51-yard reception with Norman in coverage and a 3-yard touchdown early in the game. The 51-yard reception came after he simply ran past Norman on an out and up down the sideline. It looked as if Norman misjudged Diggs' speed and was slow to turn his hips and run. Diggs was pushed out of bounds at the 2-yard line after Norman was able to close the distance when Diggs slowed to catch the ball. The 3-yard touchdown was a well-executed out route, but the noteworthy part was Diggs' embracing the goalpost in his celebration and being assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. When healthy, Diggs and Thielen have combined to be one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL and it looks like Diggs is finally healthy again.
WR Jarius Wright
, 15 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 7 - 1 (1 targets) - Wright only had one target against the Redskins, but it ended up being the most important one. Wright took a 7-yard screen-play into the end zone on 3rd and 5 and provided the final touchdown to put the game away for the Vikings. Wright followed his blockers and was not touched by a Washington defender on his way to the end zone.
TE Kyle Rudolph
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 37 - 0 (7 targets) - Keenum wanted to get the ball to Rudolph today, so much so he threw both of his interceptions after targeting the big tight end. Rudolph was second on the team with 7 targets, all of which were caught, two by the other team. Rudolph has not been a huge factor in the Viking's offense with Case Keenum
at quarterback but continues to draw additional coverage in the red zone and on third down. Keenum was able to hit him for 12 yards on a skinny post, but outside of that there was no catch and run opportunities for Rudolph. The Vikings had a lot of success in the air against Washington this week, but Rudolph did not play a big role in that.
TE David Morgan
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 1 - 1 (1 targets) - It may have only been 1 catch for 1 yard, but it was an important 1 yard for Morgan and the Vikings. After faking a jet sweep to Diggs, Keenum was able to find Morgan all alone in the end zone for a touchdown. The Vikings run game had faltered at this point and Minnesota needed to try something different to put points on the board. Morgan has not been very active in the offense to this point but came up big when he was needed today.
QB Kirk Cousins
, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 45 - 327 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 5 - 2 - Kirk Cousins
had a seemingly big day statistically, but in reality, he didn't play as well. Kirk was constantly inaccurate in a pass heavy game. He attempted forty-five passes barely completed over half of them. However, he threw a thirty-six yard dime on the opening drive that was caught for a one-handed touchdown. Kirk also accounted for two rushing scores in the red zone which is rare. Washington was down double digits but the defense gave Kirk great field position to capitalize and make a comeback. Pressure was a factor for Kirk in this game but some of the throws he had were simply off. As the franchise quarterback, it is a must that he plays better in order for Washington's offense to put up points. The inability to sustain drives on 3rd downs is also a huge factor in the offense stalling for Kirk. When the run game is sputtering he will need to make more plays and hasn't shown the ability to carry the offense when needed. Kirk only had one turnover despite the high volume of passing in today's game. The turnover was on a brutal misread in which he seemed to predetermine where he wanted to throw the ball. It should also be noted that Josh Doctson
dropped a potential touchdown where Kirk placed the ball out for him to make a play.
RB Chris Thompson
, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 26 - 0, Rec: 3 - 41 - 0 (7 targets) - Chris Thompson
had a combined twelve touches and was relatively quiet versus Minnesota. He hasn't had as many ‘splash’ plays the last few weeks, but he did have a twenty-seven yard reception in this game. He lined up outside and took advantage of the safety trying to cover him one on one as they usually design ways to use him. Chris hasn't been able to put his stamp on the passing game and that has slowed down the offense to some extent. He had a couple of plays today that could have gone for big gains had it not been for timely tackling. Having the offensive line back also helps Chris as well, most notable in the screen game. Chris wasn't very productive on the ground against the stout Vikings front seven but he doesn't specialize in the run game.
RB Samaje Perine
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 35 - 0, Rec: 1 - 25 - 0 (1 targets) - Samaje Perine
filled in for Rob Kelley
following an injury that knocked him out of the game. He didn't find much success as he had nine carries for less than forty yards. Samaje lacks explosion in the run game and the deficit didn't allow him to get in rhythm due to heavy passing. He did have a dump off pass that went for twenty-five yards. That was his biggest play of the day but he was mostly ineffective coming in for Rob. Samaje will struggle until he becomes a more decisive runner.
RB Rob Kelley
, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 10 - 0, Rec: 2 - 4 - 0 (2 targets) - Rob Kelley
only had four carries and let this game early due to injury.
WR Jamison Crowder
, 60 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 4 - 76 - 0 (11 targets) - Jamison Crowder
looks to be hitting his stride in the 2nd half of the season. Coming off injury, he continued his strong play as he paced the Redskins receivers in reception yards. He only had four receptions but his big play ability after the catch seems to be back. Washington has made more of an effort to get him involved with Jordan Reed
unavailable. Jamison hasn't had to worry about Jordan soaking up targets over the middle of the field lately. He had a thirty-six yard reception which was his longest reception and demonstrated his sudden burst as he gained separation at the top of his route. Jamison was targeted an additional two times but his production and activity level is trending up. This was a tough matchup and he still found way to be a factor. That is an encouraging sign going into the 2nd half of the season.
WR Josh Doctson
, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 30 - 0 (7 targets) - Josh Doctson
is still struggling to become the playmaker Washington craves in this offense. He had four receptions and didn't even eclipse the fifty-yard mark. However, he did drop a thirty-five yard ‘would be’ touchdown that would have certainly made for a more productive day. He didn't find many opportunities in this game as the Vikings secondary has been elite all year.
WR Ryan Grant
, 9 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (3 targets) - Ryan Grant
continues to be a part time receiver and not being a focal point in the offense. He left this game with a concussion.
WR Maurice Harris
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 50 - 1 (3 targets) - Maurice Harris
had a spectacular one-handed touchdown grab on the opening drive of the game. This looked like a specific play design that was meant to utilize him in efforts to possibly throw off the Vikings. These types of plays should be going to Josh Doctson
but nonetheless Maurice only totaled two receptions. His playing time was sporadic as a newcomer to the receiving core, but the coaching staff clearly felt he could be useful.
TE Vernon Davis
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 76 - 0 (11 targets) - Vernon Davis
led the team in receptions and was very active against the Vikings. Considering how productive he has been over the past month, today was even more impressive. He was often an outlet for Kirk while facing immense pressure at times. This game had a pass heavy script so Vernon's reception total is a season high for him. He didn't have one of his typical long receptions in this game, as the Vikings kept him in check. Vernon has been a terrific fill in for Jordan throughout his injury riddled year. However, the ‘spread it around’ nature of the Washington offense makes his productions somewhat unpredictable on a weekly basis.
Cleveland Browns 24, Detroit Lions 38
What you need to know
- The Browns, and rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer
, showed improvement coming off the bye week but the end result was still the same as the defense couldn't slow Matthew Stafford
and the Lions in the fourth quarter. Kizer left the game at the end of the third quarter with a rib injury and didn't return until the team's final offensive drive of the game. Cody Kessler
filled in for Kizer and did not look good under center. If nothing else, Kessler's performance showed that Kizer is the one who should be starting for this team. Kizer played one of his best games of the season but he wasn't without blame, either. With the Browns on Detroit's two-yard line, 15 seconds on the clock, and no timeouts remaining before the end of the first half, Kizer audibled to a quarterback sneak. He didn't get in and time ended up expiring before the Browns could stop the clock. In addition to Kizer's rib injury, the Browns also lost linebacker Jaime Collins to an MCL injury on an interception return.
- The Detroit Lions rebounded after a slow start for 31 offensive points and a defensive touchdown. The offense was led by Matthew Stafford
's fine second half play. Stafford benefitted from the return of Kenny Golladay
who added a vertical element to Detroit's offense. Detroit played well in the red zone after recent struggles, converting both opportunities touchdowns with a touchdown run by Ameer Abdullah
and a reception by Theo Riddick
. Golden Tate
led Detroit's passing attack, as Marvin Jones
had a lackluster performance after strong play in recent weeks.
QB DeShone Kizer
, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 37 - 232 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 7 - 57 - 1 - Kizer played one of his better games of the season against Detroit. He came out of the bye week making quicker decisions and getting the ball out quicker. He also did an excellent job running the ball as his ability to scramble helped keep the Detroit front seven at bay. His first pass of the game was a deep strike to Sammie Coates
down the left sideline for a 38-yard gain. Kizer then connected with Kenny Britt
for an 18-yard touchdown pass on the second drive of the first quarter, Kizer's first touchdown pass since Week 3. He left several other scoring chances on the field, however, as he missed tight end David Njoku
on at least two fade routes in the end zone during the course of the game. Kizer also committed a rookie mistake at the end of the first half. With the Browns on Detroit's two-yard line, 15 seconds on the clock, and no timeouts left, Kizer audibled to a quarterback keeper. He didn't score and time expired before the Browns could get off another play. Kizer bounced back to lead the Browns on two scoring drives in the third quarter, including one where he punched in a one-yard touchdown on the ground. He took a big hit at the end of the third quarter and was replaced by Cody Kessler
for most of the fourth quarter. He did return for his offense's final drive and led the team down the field before throwing an interception in the end zone. He had Ricardo Louis
for a touchdown had he thrown a back shoulder pass but his accuracy failed him, resulting in the pick. Kessler's inability to do anything while Kizer was sidelined should further cement Kizer as the team's starter for the remainder of the season, health permitting.
QB Cody Kessler
, 7 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 3 - 5 - 0 TD / 0 INT - Kessler took over for DeShone Kizer
at the end of the third quarter and led the team for just over two offensive possessions. The Browns went three-and-out in both of his drives with Kessler taking three sacks and completing just one of three passes. If nothing else, the marked difference between Kessler and Kizer's play on Sunday showed that it is Kizer who should be starting for the team.
RB Isaiah Crowell
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 90 - 1, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets) - Crowell turned in his best statistical performance of the season on Sunday against the Lions. His 90 rushing yards served as a season-high while he managed to find the end zone for the second consecutive game. Crowell remains the Browns' preferred option on running plays in the red zone as he saw four red zone carries against Detroit. He was stuffed on his first two chances, coming in the first and third quarters, before he managed to punch in a four-yard score in the third quarter. On the scoring play, Crowell bounced the handoff outside to the left to beat the defenders to the goal line. Later in the third quarter he saw a carry from Detroit's one-yard line but was stuffed. The Browns have been slower to abandon the run over the past two games, which has led to Crowell's best two performances of the season.
RB Duke Johnson
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 54 - 0, Rec: 6 - 34 - 0 (6 targets) - Johnson set season highs in carries (10) and total touches (16) against the Lions on Sunday. When he got the ball, he was his typical slippery self as he managed to elude tackles throughout the afternoon. Johnson continues to serve as one of the better pass-catching running backs in the league. It was only one week but if the coaching staff starts to commit to getting him the ball like they did against Detroit, he could emerge as a major offensive factor down the stretch.
WR Kenny Britt
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 38 - 1 (3 targets) - Britt was demoted to second string receiver before the game but he didn't show any ill effects as he posted one of his best games as a Brown. Britt scored his second touchdown of the season on the Browns' second drive of the game. He caught a short pass and then broke a Nevin Lawson tackle for a 19-yard score. Britt could have had a bigger game but he saw a 29-yard reception nullified by an offensive holding penalty. On the final drive of the game, Britt drew an end zone target from DeShone Kizer
, but the ball was thrown much too high for him to have a chance at the catch. Much maligned this season for not appearing to be fully invested at times, Britt even showed some fire in the second half when he fired his helmet to the ground after Cody Kessler
missed him on a pass.
TE Seth DeValve
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 70 - 0 (6 targets) - DeValve had a productive game as he led the Browns in receiving and tied for the team lead with six targets. He did, however, commit an extremely costly fumble in the second quarter which resulted in a defensive touchdown for the Lions. On the play, DeValve caught a nine-yard pass and was fighting for the first down when he was stood up and stripped by the defender. In the third quarter he came very close to scoring a touchdown as he was brought down at the one-yard line after a 35-yard catch.
TE David Njoku
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (6 targets) - Njoku only managed one catch on Sunday but he was heavily targeted when the team was in scoring position. He drew an end zone target on a fade route in the first quarter but the ball was thrown too high. Later in the first quarter he committed a drop on a perfect pass down the seam. On the last drive of the second quarter, he had another drop but was bailed out by a pass interference penalty on the defense. On that same drive he saw another end zone target, this time failing to get his feet down in bounds.
QB Matthew Stafford
, 52 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 26 - 249 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 17 - 0 - Matthew Stafford
rebounded for a solid game after a poor start. On the second series, Stafford threw a bad interception when he threw the ball across the middle into traffic off his back foot with pressure in his face. The throw had little chance of success even if Jamie Collins was not standing in the line of the pass, and the throw was easily intercepted. The ball was amongst the worse throws Stafford has made this season. The interception set up a Cleveland touchdown which created a 10-0 Cleveland lead. Detroit leaned on the run game and a defensive touchdown to take a 17-10 lead while Stafford struggled to find his groove. Detroit went up tempo in the second half, which allowed Stafford to find a rhythm and throw three touchdown passes. The first was a red zone throw to Theo Riddick
for an 8-yard touchdown. The second was a well thrown ball to Eric Ebron
on a double move down the sideline, and the third was a screen pass to Golden Tate
. Stafford threw the ball well in the game, including a pass he dropped into Golladay over a Cleveland cornerback that set up a 50-yard gain. Detroit found success relying on Stafford in the red zone after struggling in recent weeks, including his touchdown pass to Riddick. Stafford continued to show solid mobility with two runs for third down conversions, and shows no ill effects of his earlier season ankle injury.
RB Ameer Abdullah
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 52 - 1, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (2 targets) - After fumbling twice last week, Ameer Abdullah
saw no limitation of his role against Cleveland. Abdullah was involved in the running game early, where he saw improved blocking on the left side of the line of with the return of LT Taylor Decker from the PUP list. Abdullah capitalized on a solid hole created by Decker and TE Michael Roberts
for a 20-yard carry and another 19-yard carry to the left side of the line. Abdullah accelerated well through the hole on both plays, but was unable to make anyone miss in the second level. Abdullah also saw red zone work, and was able to capitalize on his lone carry inside the 10-yard line for a seven-yard touchdown up the middle. Abdullah was limited to two targets and only one catch for three yards as Theo Riddick
continues to be the primary receiving back.
RB Theo Riddick
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 35 - 0, Rec: 3 - 12 - 1 (3 targets) - Theo Riddick
was involved early in both the run and the pass game. Riddick had two carries over ten yards, and showed ability to salvage a gain when there is no room to run by cutting back across the formation. Riddick continued to be the secondary back despite Ameer Abdullah
's two fumbles last week, but saw a season high 35-yards rushing. Riddick continued as the lead receiving option out of the backfield, catching all three of his targets for 12 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown pass was an angle route out of the backfield, where Riddick broke open to the middle of the field, for the catch. Detroit's goal line offense has been stagnant in recent weeks, and the use of Riddick is an expansion of his offensive role.
WR Golden Tate
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 97 - 1 (7 targets) - Golden Tate
led Detroit in receiving for the third consecutive week. Tate's work in the early part of the season was nearly exclusively in the screen and short area, but Tate for the second consecutive week, had a catch on an intermediate in breaking route that he turned into a run after the catch opportunity. This week's catch was a 35-yard completion on a dig route where he made multiple defenders miss after the catch. Tate's touchdown occurred on a fortunate play call. Detroit called a screen to Tate where Cleveland was bringing a near all-out blitz. Stafford executed the throw to Tate quickly and precisely and Tate was able to set up blocking for a 40-yard touchdown.
WR Kenny Golladay
, 11 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 64 - 0 (3 targets) - Kenny Golladay
played for the first time since September, and resumed his role as a deep target in the office. Golladay was only targeted three times, but two were high value. One was a deep target in the end zone that Matthew Stafford
threw into coverage and too far off the sideline for Golladay to catch. The second was a deep throw down the sideline that Stafford dunked over the cornerback, which Golladay caught and ran for a career long 50-yard catch. Golladay is a deep target where Marvin Jones
and T.J. Jones
have found success with Stafford in recent weeks, and fit right into that role in his first game back.
WR Marvin Jones
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 22 - 0 (2 targets) - Marvin Jones
's lone catch was a comeback route, which he executed well then broke a tackle to create a 22-yard gain. After being a primary weapon for Detroit the past two weeks, Jones was quiet against Cleveland, with only two targets on the game. Kenny Golladay
shares a similar target profile as Jones, so his return is a potential threat to monitor Jones's workload.
TE Eric Ebron
, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 39 - 1 (3 targets) - Eric Ebron
scored his first touchdown since week two, on a stop and go double move while split to the perimeter of the field. Ebron created separation on the move, and caught a well thrown pass from Matthew Stafford
. Ebron's only other reception was an early check down pass. Ebron is an ancillary piece to the offense, particularly with the return of WR Kenny Golladay
, but again outproduced back up Darren Fells
in the game.
Seattle Seahawks 22, Arizona Cardinals 16
What you need to know
- CJ Prosise got hurt again and doesn't look like he'll be a contributor for a while, if at all this year. Richard Sherman went down with an achilles rupture and the Seahawks games could be more high-scoring for it. The running game is stuck in neutral, but it didn't boost the passing game. Jimmy Graham
continued to be a red zone force and should be the first option when the end zone is in striking distance.
- If the loss itself is not a nail in the coffin of the Cardinals 2017 season, the injuries that took place likely will be. DJ Humphries, the team’s only good offensive linemen, likely tore his ACL. Tyvon Branch too suffered a knee injury, TE Ifeanyi Momah
likely broke his ankle too. The Seahawks lost a fair share of players Thursday evening as well, including Richard Sherman, once again bringing to light the health and safety issues Thursday Night Football presents. In a season in which the league has been decimated by injuries, you simply have to wonder how this is worth it for players or fans.
QB Russell Wilson
, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 32 - 238 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 19 - 0 - Wilson made the most of three or four big plays on the day. Two were short TD throws to Jimmy Graham
: on each play, he got the mismatch he wanted, with Graham towering over a DB and easily outmaneuvering him in the end zone to make the catch. One other was to Paul Richardson
, taking advantage of his speed; and finally, the highlight of the game, after quite possibly his longest scramble of the season, Wilson tossed one toward the sideline and found Doug Baldwin
– who actually drew a blocking assignment on the initial play – who leapt for it and subsequently turned it into a 54 yard gain. For most of the game, he had a hard time finding an open receiver in the face of a formidable Cardinals secondary. In the end, Wilson’s patience won the day. Rather than make risky throws, he kept it simple and did just enough for the victory. The Cardinals also did a good job of containing him as a runner.
RB Thomas Rawls
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 27 - 0, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (2 targets) - Rawls had the lead back duties all to himself for a change. Unfortunately, the Seattle offense is not yet ready to open holes up for him, so he didn’t do much with the chance. He looked all right on his one long carry, which gave him most of his yards on the day. On that play, and ONLY on that play, suddenly the line opened up a running lane for him. We’re far enough into the season to say that try as they may, the Seahawks are simply unable to establish a consistent running game. Consider Rawls a desperation play only, even if he’s the primary ballcarrier.
RB J.D. McKissic
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 26 - 0, Rec: 4 - 20 - 0 (5 targets) - McKissic remains the most intriguing option out of the backfield, but currently doesn’t get enough carries to be a difference maker. What is promising is that he was a target or ball carrier on half of the snaps that he played (10-of-20), and caught 4 of 5 targets. He’s easily the fastest RB on the team but isn’t suited to inside running due to his size. On the other hand, the Seattle line can’t seem to create any holes inside, so that’s a moot point. It would be interesting to see the Seahawks commit to him for a game, running outside and throwing him the ball. He often played passing downs and lined up outside, so his skills there are for real. Still a very deep speculation pick.
WR Doug Baldwin
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 95 - 0 (6 targets) - Baldwin had a slow start to the season but has really picked up his game over the past 4 matchups. In this one, he was at first relied on only for short gains in the first half. Later on, he two bigger chances, in each case, after a long scramble by Russell Wilson
. The first was incomplete, but the second was clearly the play of the game. As Wilson flashed his now patented scrambling skills out of the pocket, Baldwin left his blocking assignment and got open as Wilson desperately tossed one his way. The catch surprised everyone, including maybe Baldwin as well, who then turned it into a 54-yard gain.
WR Paul Richardson
, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 43 - 0 (2 targets) - Richardson was questionable heading into the match. Though he was pronounced active before the game, for much of it, one had to wonder if he was on the field at all. Despite being on the field for thirty snaps, he only saw two targets. On the first, he had excellent position on a slant pattern but the defender got a hand in the way to knock the ball out. The good news is that he made the most of his one catch, a timely big play of 43 yards just before the half. And on the catch, he blew by the defenders with an awesome show of speed, so the groin injury did not appear to be slowing him down. Richardson is a bit of an enigma; clearly capable of bigger games, but in the Seahawks “WRBC”, he is merely a small part of a well-oiled machine.
WR Tyler Lockett
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (2 targets) - Lockett seemed more visible than usual, possibly due to Paul Richardson
nursing a groin injury – but in the end, he only had the one catch on two targets, same as Richardson. Lockett did have a chance at a deep ball, but the coverage was simply too good for him to bring it in. Lockett and Richardson are both talented and are essentially sharing the productivity of one receiver, dampening each of their values considerably.
TE Jimmy Graham
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 27 - 2 (9 targets) - Graham made a series of short catches, none of which were anything to write home about, except… two of them were touchdown catches. The Seahawks know what they have in Graham, and he was the first play call on both red zone drives. They got the mismatch they wanted (Graham vs. ANY DB, since they simply can’t overcome his size differential), and Graham capitalized, twice. He is also quite capable of big yardage games, but even with the small total, it doesn’t get much better than this at the TE position.
QB Drew Stanton
, 80 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 47 - 273 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0 - Stanton put forth a truly admirable performance Thursday night. Scrambling frequently and taking hits often, Stanton gave full effort to provide enough of an offensive spark to overcome the division rival. The combination of injuries, poor offensive play around him, and his own shortcomings unfortunately prevented that from happening. Stanton’s biggest issue, his inaccuracy, plagued him early and often, but far too often his supporting cast failed to help their Quarterback. Whether it was the makeshift offensive line, now without DJ Humphries, who was lost to a knee injury in the first quarter, or the receiving corps dropping nearly every contested catch, Stanton was consistently failed by those around him. The Cardinals were always going to have to play near perfect to walk away with a win, a tall order considering the team’s overall health and talent, but it remains disappointing to see a backup quarterback at least attempt to rise to the occasion while so many of the team’s starters never could.
RB Adrian Peterson
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 29 - 0, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (2 targets) - Peterson fumbled away the team’s opening possession and that set the ton for the offense all night. Coming off a career high 37 carries, there was not as much indication Peterson was worn out as the offensive line simply could not open any holes. Peterson’s paltry 1.4 yards per carry shows just how little room the running back had. Peterson later failed to escape the end zone, a play resulting in a safety, but much of the blame there can be directed towards the punt team who opted to filed a punt at the two-yard line.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
, 80 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 113 - 0 (14 targets) - Despite a few uncharacteristic drops, Fitzgerald was the only offensive player put forth an actually impressive game. On a night in which Fitzgerald made history, becoming the sixth player in NFL history to amass 15,000 receiving yards, Fitzgerald was the same strong and dependable target he always is. Despite so few other receiving options, Fitzgerald continues to beat defenders and find holes in zone coverage. Fitzgerald’s 14 targets doubled the next closest receiver, by far making him Stanton’s preferred target. The majority of Fitzgerald’s damage was done working the middle, intermediate area of the field; one of the few areas Stanton thrives throwing to. As the team has crumbled around him, Fitzgerald continues to produce as he always has.
WR John Brown
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 27 - 0 (6 targets) - Brown was an utter non-factor in the game, but by default of playing on such an unproductive receiving corps, managed to earn the group’s second-most targets. As has been the case all season, Brown failed to do anything with those opportunities. The failures were not all on Brown; Stanton was never really close on any of his deep balls which Brown was often the target for, but the once game-changing threat is nothing more than an afterthought at this point.
TE Jermaine Gresham
, 72 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 64 - 1 (7 targets) - Every season Gresham has a few games that he rises above his usual play and puts on a bit of a show. Thursday night was one of those games for Gresham, scoring the team’s only “real” touchdown, and providing Stanton with an important security blanket all even long. Gresham finished second on the team in targets, receptions and yards, and his first quarter touchdown kept the team in the game far longer than anyone anticipated. That play, a simple tight end screen, saw the Cardinals taking advantage of an active Seattle pass rush allowing Gresham to all but waltz into the end zone for the score. In typical Gresham fashion, he later dropped what could have been another touchdown, but credit where due Gresham played one of his better games of the season.
Miami Dolphins 21, Carolina Panthers 45
What you need to know
- The Miami Dolphins lost to the Carolina Panthers, 45-21 on Monday night, dropping their record to 4-5 on the season. After having his best game of the season in week nine, Jay Cutler
took a step back, completing 22 of 37 passes for 213 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Running back Kenyon Drake continued to impress as a starter, rushing seven times for 82 yards and a touchdown, while also catching two passes for 10 yards. Fellow running back Damien Williams
had a harder time finding running room, totaling 19 yards on nine carries. He also chipped in with two receptions for 20 yards. DeVante Parker
caught six passes for 66 yards, which trailed only Kenny Stills
(five receptions for 67 yards) for the team lead. Jarvis Landry
had five receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown, which was his fifth touchdown reception in his last six games. Julius Thomas
had a disappointing night, catching only two passes for eight yards, although he did catch his second touchdown pass in as many games after not scoring in the Dolphins first seven games.
- The Carolina offense presented Miami with problems it couldn't solve. Backfield action, play fakes, zone read and veer concepts doomed them to a night of missed assignments. The ground game's success was the key to unlocking that part of the offense, which suddenly resembles its 2015 form. Jonathan Stewart
looked revived behind a solid effort from the offensive line. A two-touchdown performance from Devin Funchess
, featuring some beautiful timing connections between he and Cam Newton
, is very encouraging for the outlook of his QB-WR duo. Christian McCaffrey
got into the end zone twice and continues to look quick, nifty and nigh on impossible to corral.
QB Jay Cutler
, 57 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 37 - 213 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0 - Jay Cutler
completed 22 of 37 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. While his stats do not too bad, Cutler was far from sharp on the night and a majority of his passing yards came in the second half with Carolina holding a commanding lead. Cutler’s untimely interception late in the first half (deep in his own territory) allowed the Panthers to score a touchdown, which put them up 17-7. Carolina then received the second half kickoff, marched 78 yards in eight plays and scored another touchdown, stretching the lead to 24-7, which effectively put the game out of reach for Cutler and the Dolphins. The Miami offensive line did a good job of giving Cutler time to throw, as the Panthers did not sack him once throughout the game, but he still only completed 59% of his passes. This was not an instance of Cutler taking deep shots repeatedly either, he just flat out missed open receivers and at times looked rushed in the pocket despite having time to go through his progressions. Cutler’s inaccuracy nearly ended Jarvis Landry
’s season too. Landry ran a crossing pattern to the middle of the field and Cutler threw a soft ball out in front of his receiver only to have an oncoming Panthers defender crush him right as he attempted to make the catch. It is the type of throw that you cannot make in the middle of the field, especially to an undersized receiver who makes his living gaining yards after the catch. This was an important game for the Dolphins, as a win would have put them in second place in the AFC East and tied for a wild card spot. A week after playing his best game of the season, Cutler threw away a great chance to put the Dolphins in the playoff hunt, a fact that may not be lost on the Dolphins coaching staff moving forward.
RB Damien Williams
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 19 - 0, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (3 targets) - Damien Williams
rushed nine times for 19 yards and caught two of three targets for 20 yards against the Panthers on Monday night. Although Kenyon Drake remains the starter, he and Williams split time evenly, and Williams actually had one more touch than Drake against Carolina. Williams runs with a natural toughness and absorbs hits without losing his balance, but he is also at the mercy of his offensive line as he is neither fast nor quick. His effectiveness comes on his ability to gain the tough yards that Drake cannot, and for this reason he is seeing time on all three downs and in the red zone. Williams is tough to bring down in space which is why he has been very good catching passes out of the backfield, especially when the Dolphins are able to spread out defenses and get him in one on one situations. The Panthers were able to dominate the Dolphins offensive line which is why Williams only averaged 2.1 yards per carry. Even on the plays where he was able to break off an arm-tackle in the backfield, there was always one or two more Carolina defenders waiting to take him down. He will continue to split carries with Drake, and will be an interesting fantasy asset as the season goes and more running backs miss time with injuries.
RB Kenyan Drake
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 82 - 1, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (2 targets) - Kenyon Drake played another fantastic game on Monday night, rushing seven times for 82 yards and a touchdown, while also catching two passes for 10 yards on two targets. Drake’s biggest asset is his speed and he showed that off with a 66 yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter. Drake took the handoff on an off-tackle left and hit the hole decisively, cutting back once to the middle of the field and exploding through the line. He ran away from the linebackers and turned a Panther safety around with a quick juke where he barely slowed down. From there, he used his speed to outrun the rest of the Panthers secondary and was not touched the entire play. Drake is never going to be a bell-cow back, but in his first two games as the Dolphins starting running back, he’s rushed 16 times for 151 yards (9.4 yards per carry) and played a big part in their ability to move the ball on offense. It is a shame that the Dolphins could not find a way to involve him when Jay Ajayi
was still in town, as they would have made a potent combination. This is especially confusing when you factor in the Dolphins inconsistency in the passing game. Drake will have weeks where he is unable to break a big play, and those will be frustrating weeks for fantasy owners. With that said, his natural pass catching skills and big play ability will make him an important part of the Dolphins offense moving forward.
WR DeVante Parker
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 66 - 0 (9 targets) - DeVante Parker
caught six passes for 66 yards on nine targets against the Panthers. It is the fifth time in six games that Parker has caught at least four passes for 66+ yards, and has led the Dolphins in receiving yards in four of those games. Parker is normally targeted heavily in the intermediate and deep passing game, but in this contest he saw six of his nine targets within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. He did a good job of creating yards after the catch and also adjusting to Jay Cutler
’s inaccurate throws, including a nifty catch on the sideline on a comeback route. Even so, Parker did most of his damage after the game was well out of hand and the Panthers were more focused on keeping the clock running and avoiding big plays deep down the field which explains why he saw most of his targets in the short passing game. Parker has shown no lasting effects from the injury that kept him out of three games, and continues to be the Dolphins big play threat in the passing game. Parker only has one touchdown in six games, which is disappointing because he is really the only big bodied receiver that the Dolphins have and is a mismatch in the red zone where he can use his elite athleticism and jumping ability to high point the ball on fade routes and jump balls.
WR Jarvis Landry
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 42 - 1 (10 targets) - Jarvis Landry
caught five of ten targets for 42 yards and a touchdown, which marked the fifth touchdown that he’s caught in his last six games. Opposing defenses know that Landry runs a majority of his routes in shallow space, where he looks to get into space and exploit one on one coverage by gaining yards after the catch. The Panthers did a great job of containing Landry after the catch, and Jay Cutler
did him no favors by throw inaccurate passes that he was either unable to corral, or had to slow down to make the catch. Considering the high percentage routes that he runs, it is rather pathetic that Landry is only catching 62.8% of his targets. He has great hands, so it is not his fault and even as a smaller receiver, he is able to take punishment and hold onto the ball. This fact was evident on his touchdown catch where Cutler was able to scramble outside the pocket. Landry lined up on the right side of the formation and ran a shallow crossing route to the middle of the field. As Cutler scrambled, Landry ran into the end zone (from the five yard line) and then moved with Cutler toward the right sideline. Cutler hit him open in the end zone, but as soon as Landry caught the ball he was drilled by a Carolina defender but managed to hold onto the ball. Landry is a tough player, but even he has limits and if Cutler keeps hanging him out to dry in the middle of the field, it is going to be hard for him to stay healthy for 16 games.
WR Kenny Stills
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 67 - 0 (8 targets) - Kenny Stills
caught five of his eight targets for 67 yards, which led the Dolphins pass catchers in receiving yards on the night. While Stills is the #3 option in the passing game, his eight targets were more of a function of the Dolphins having to throw nearly the entire second half, as opposed to a consistent number to rely on each week. Stills is often used as a deep threat in the Miami offense, but with the Panthers secondary slacking off the Dolphins receivers to keep them from making big plays, Stills had to settle for intermediate routes 10-15 yards down the field. His two catches of 17+ yards made him the only Miami receiver to eclipse that mark on Monday night, however it should be said that both of those catches came on play-action where Stills was wide open and he was quickly tackled after making both catches.
TE Julius Thomas
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 8 - 1 (5 targets) - Julius Thomas
caught two passes for eight yards and a touchdown on five targets against the Panthers. Thomas’s touchdown catch came on an interesting play where he lined up on the right side of the formation and ran behind his offensive line while Jay Cutler
scrambled left and then threw him a shovel pass. Thomas was used mostly as a blocker against the Panthers and the small number of targets he did see were either thrown inaccurately by Cutler where he had no chance of making the catch, or dropped by Thomas, including one easy pass where he just took his eye off the ball trying to look downfield before securing the catch.
QB Cam Newton
, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 35 - 254 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 95 - 0 - In what was a controlled and mature performance from Cam Newton
, the offense really came together in every way possible. After an early hiccup or two with inaccurate passes, Newton fired a pass off play action into Russell Shepard
that seemed to ignite him. The Panthers utilized his legs once again on the quarterback draw on a few occasions, and he was able to break off a 50+-yard scamper late in the game on a zone read play. Newton was fortunate not to be picked off on a throw back across his body in the red zone; the defensive back allowed the ball to trickle free of his grasp. A couple of inaccurate throws ñ one to Ed Dickson
and the other to Curtis Samuel
ñ would have frustrated Newton, but he bounced back. His first touchdown pass was an incredible job of ball placement on a post route to Dickson in the red zone. Newton fired the pass high and away from the defender, and Dickson made his quarterback look good with a sprawling grab. Newton could have added a touchdown pass on a perfect pass to Curtis Samuel
in the end zone had the rookie not dropped the ball. Newton's second touchdown pass came on a wonderfully executed bubble screen after an audible. Seeing an all out blitz look from Miami, Newton changed the play and had only to flick the ball out to Devin Funchess
, who scooted up the sideline to score. Newton's third touchdown pass came on a zipped effort to Christian McCaffrey
, who had run a quick out. Newton rolled that direction and fired a low ball to the rookie, who impressively hauled it in with two knees down. Newton finished off what was a near-perfect game with a back shoulder pass to Funchess for a fourth score. The cornerback in coverage was in no man's land, and the ball placement was such that Funchess could twist away and score easily.
RB Jonathan Stewart
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 110 - 0 - After fumbling twice last week against Atlanta, Jonathan Stewart
looked like a new man on Monday night. His first few touches were indicative of what was to come, as the Panthers offensive line blew open holes and allowed Stewart to find his rhythm. He showed good patience on a toss play to the left before later tiptoeing along the sideline to get a first down. The constant backfield movement and window dressing caused Miami problems, and Stewart was able to take advantage in the second half as the Dolphins' gap discipline faltered. Stewart ran with authority to close out the game, but was unable to break any long ones.
RB Christian McCaffrey
, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 23 - 1, Rec: 3 - 27 - 1 (7 targets) - While the yardage totals were not eye-popping for Christian McCaffrey
, his impact was once again felt. The spry rookie showed off his incredible shiftiness in space on the Panthers' first third down, juking Kiko Alonso out of his shoes on a quick pass into the left flat. McCaffrey would repeat the feat on his rushing touchdown in the red zone. The Panthers ran a veer, with Cam Newton
putting the ball into McCaffrey's belly as he came across the formation left to right. Newton pulled the ball after making the correct read, allowing McCaffrey to make a man miss and score. McCaffrey would add a second touchdown in the red zone, this time with an incredible catch near the pylon. Put in motion to the slot right, McCaffrey ran a quick out and continued to move with Newton, who had begun to roll right. Newton fired a pass low for McCaffrey to haul in, and the rookie had the presence of mind to put both knees down in bounds while making the grab.
RB Cameron Artis-Payne
, 12 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 68 - 1 - The third member of the Carolina backfield was able to get involved in the mauling of Miami, but most of his important touches came with the game well out of hand. However, he was able to get into the end zone on a well executed counter play. Artis-Payne has excellent feet at the line of scrimmage and is able, like backfield mate Christian McCaffrey
, to stop and change direction with a suddenness that leaves defenders grabbing at air. His touchdown was an excellent example, as he delayed his burst until the gap appeared, before bursting up the middle. Artis-Payne finished the game with a fantastic gallop up the left sideline after once again showing sweet feet at the line of scrimmage in traffic.
WR Curtis Samuel
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 45 - 0 (7 targets) - In a game that finally saw Curtis Samuel
become a consistently involved piece of the passing attack, he unfortunately had the injury bug bite again. Prior to the injury (early reports indicate an ankle sprain), Samuel was dragging tacklers on bubble screens and was unlucky not to haul in a back shoulder pass from Cam Newton
. His most impressive catch came on an ’over' route as he crossed the field between defenders. Newton's zipped pass found him in a tight area, and despite absorbing a huge hit he held on. Samuel showed his quickness and route-running ability on a couple of shorter routes before sustaining the injury. Bizarrely, the play that he was injured on could have been a touchdown. Samuel seemed to track the ball all the way, but ended up dropping it.
WR Devin Funchess
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 92 - 2 (6 targets) - A two-touchdown performance from Carolina's new full-time split end Devin Funchess
will have quieted the lingering doubts about trade of Kelvin Benjamin
. Funchess was slow to get into the game initially, but as the Panthers began to establish the run he came to life. Funchess found a soft spot in the zone coverage of Miami to secure a first down catch to kick things off before converting a key third down in the red zone on a slant pattern. Funchess' first touchdown came on a brilliantly executed audible from Cam Newton
. Seeing an all-out Miami blitz look, Newton changed the play to a bubble screen. A quick toss out to Funchess - and a pair of great blocks to spring him - left him an easy jaunt to the end zone. The big receiver wasn't done yet and he added his second touchdown on a beautiful back shoulder hook-up with Newton. The pass was perfectly placed, allowing Funchess to pivot and waltz into the end zone.
WR Russell Shepard
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 40 - 0 (7 targets) - Russell Shepard
was perhaps the only part of the offense that didn't shine on Monday night, dropping a pair of simple passes - one of which would have been a 20+-yard completion. Making up for his early errors, Shepard aggressively attacked the next target that came his way, a bullet pass on a slant off play action. This time he didn't disappoint. Shepard seemed to up his game from that point on, looking explosive on a bubble screen and converting a third down by settling down at the sticks to give Newton an easy pitch and catch.
TE Ed Dickson
, 73 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 33 - 1 (5 targets) - On a night the Carolina offense was firing on all cylinders, even oft-forgotten pass catching weapon Ed Dickson
got in on the act. After Cam Newton
missed him on a straightforward sideline pass that was floated too high even for the towering tight end to catch, Dickson got involved with some short catches and a nice grab on a corner route. It was his sprawling effort to haul in a zipped Newton pass in the red zone that was most impressive. Dickson ran a post route to box out the defender in coverage and bobbled the ball before securing it for a touchdown.
Pittsburgh Steelers 20, Indianapolis Colts 17
What you need to know
- The Steelers came from behind with 17 second-half points to win their fourth consecutive game by a score of 20-17 over the Indianapolis Colts. The Steelers offense was unable to find any rhythm until the third quarter when their back was against the wall. After the game, Mike Tomlin said that Joe Haden broke his fibula and is out indefinitely. Mike Mitchell also left the game and was carted to the locker room with a right ankle injury.
- The Colts offense and Jacoby Brissett
did not play well. The Colts offensive production in terms of yards and points largely came on two plays. Donte Moncrief
came wide open running a very nice double move for a 60 yard touchdown and Chester Rogers
scored a 61 yard touchdown thanks to a blown coverage. The Colts were otherwise unable to sustain offense and get first downs. Frank Gore
saw a lot of carries early in the game and found success, but the Colts got away from the run game in the second half despite leading. TY Hilton was almost a non-factor with only 4 targets after being questionable with a groin injury. Jack Doyle
was also not very involved in the offense and had an ugly drop that led to an easy interception for Ryan Shazier. Marlon Mack
made plays on his limited touches but took a backseat to the reliable Gore.
QB Ben Roethlisberger
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 31 - 236 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0 - Ben Roethlisberger
completed 19 out of 31 passing attempts for 236 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. On the second play from scrimmage, Roethlisberger targeted Martavis Bryant
with a deep pass that was underthrown and intercepted. After a slow first half, Roethlisberger was resilient passing for 164 yards and two touchdowns during the remainder of the game. Mid third quarter on a first and goal, Roethlisberger completed a seven-yard touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster
. On the play, Roethlisberger was able to quickly get rid of the ball as soon as Smith-Schuster got open. Early fourth quarter on a third and goal, Roethlisberger found tight end Vance McDonald
wide-open in the right side of the end zone. On the play, Roethlisberger was able to buy time in the pocket until he noticed McDonald all alone on the right side of the field. On the following play, Roethlisberger found Bryant while running in stride for a successful two-point conversion. With just over three minutes left in the game, Roethlisberger led a ten-play 70-yard drive which resulted in the game winning field goal.
RB LeVeon Bell
, 65 offensive snaps, Rush: 26 - 80 - 0, Rec: 5 - 32 - 0 (6 targets) - Leveon Bell finished with 26 rushing attempts for 80 yards. He added five receptions for 32 yards in the passing game. Bell was often met at or around the line of scrimmage by Colts defenders. The Steelers were persistent and kept putting the ball in the running back’s hands throughout the game. The team is now 6-0 this season when Bell has at least 25 touches.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 97 - 1 (7 targets) - JuJu Smith-Schuster
kept his hot-streak going with five receptions for 97 yards and one touchdown. Smith-Schuster looked sharp while running his routes and has developed chemistry with his quarterback. Mid third quarter on a first and goal, Smith-Schuster ran a quick slant for a seven-yard touchdown reception. On the play, Smith-Schuster was able to find an open area in the middle of the end zone for the touchdown.
WR Martavis Bryant
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -9 - 0, Rec: 3 - 42 - 0 (5 targets) - Martavis Bryant
returned after serving his one-game team suspension. Bryant finished with only three receptions for 42 yards but had a few impactful plays. The wide receiver scored on a two-point conversion to tie the game early in the fourth quarter. On the play, Bryant ran a crossing-route and beat the coverage for the two-point conversion. With less than a minute left in the fourth quarter on third and four, Bryant ran a crossing-route for a 19-yard reception. On the play, Bryant did a fabulous job picking up yards after the reception and getting out of bounds. This play helped to set up the Steelers game-winning field goal.
WR Antonio Brown
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 47 - 0 (7 targets) - Antonio Brown
finished with three receptions for 47 yards. Early second quarter, Brown was open while running down the right sideline, but Ben Roethlisberger
was unable to connect for the reception. Brown had only two receptions for 15 yards until very late in the game. He was able to draw multiple pass interference penalties. With 45 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Brown ran a delayed crossing-route for a 32-yard reception. On the play, Brown outran multiple Colts defenders before running out of bounds on the left sideline. This play set up the Steelers game-winning field goal.
TE Vance McDonald
, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 16 - 1 (2 targets) - Early fourth quarter on a third and goal, Vance McDonald
ran a crossing-route for a seven-yard touchdown reception. On the play, McDonald was able to escape coverage and was wide open for the easy touchdown.
QB Jacoby Brissett
, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 24 - 222 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 7 - 0 - The Colts offense could not get anything going on their first two possessions. The first sign of life for the offense came when Jacoby Brissett
connected with Donte Moncrief
, who came wide open running a double move, for a 60 yard touchdown to get the Colts on the board. Brissett put together another scoring drive on the Colts ensuing possession. Brissett connected with TY Hilton, Chester Rogers
, and Marlon Mack
for first downs to set up a field goal attempt. Brissett held the ball too long and took an ugly sack to stall the Colts final possession of the half. Brissett connected with Rogers twice to open the second half first to convert a 3rd down. Then Brissett found Rogers wide open downfield on a blown coverage for a 61 yard touchdown. The Colts gained one first down on their next two possessions and the first down was thanks to on a hands to the face penalty on Pittsburgh. Brissett was examined after taking a hit to the head but did not miss a snap. Brissett was intercepted on the ensuing possession. His pass went through the hands of Jack Doyle
right to Ryan Shazier. The Colts went three and out on their next drive with Brissett absorbing three hits and two sacks unable to find anyone downfield. With 6 minutes remaining and with the game tied, the Colts offense could not muster any points.
RB Frank Gore
, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 54 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - Frank Gore
was featured early against the Steelers and produced. Gore was able to pick up chunks of 4 and 5 yards consistently early but clearly lacked explosiveness when he managed to gain only 9 yards despite the offensive line opening a massive hole for him. Gore followed a block from Jack Doyle
and picked up 8 yards showing good vision. Gore followed two nice blocks from Haeg and picked up 9 yards. Gore picked up 7 yards on check down from Brissett. Gore did not receive many first second half carries as the Colts went away from him and struggled to sustain offense.
RB Marlon Mack
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 7 - 0, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (4 targets) - Marlon Mack
played well in his limited opportunities. Mack was hit and dropped 4 yards deep in the backfield on his first carry. Mack was again hit in the backfield on his second carry but spun away, reversed fields, and managed an 8 yard gain. Mack broke two tackles along the sideline on a check down from Brissett for 11 yards and a 3rd down conversion. Mack lined up in the slot and dropped a slant with two defenders closing in. Mack made an 8 yard catch on a check down to convert another 3rd down.
WR Chester Rogers
, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 6 - 104 - 1 (6 targets) - Chester Rogers
was the Colts most productive and consistent offensive weapon against the Steelers. Rogers made his first catch wide open in the flat and picked up 11 yards. Rogers gained 9 yards running a curl to convert a 3rd and 7. Rogers picked up 10 yards running a slant from the slot to convert another 3rd down. The following play Rogers came wide open downfield on a blown coverage. Rogers capitalized on the opportunity with a 61 yard catch and run for a touchdown. Rogers gained the necessary 6 yards running a curl to convert a 3rd and 6.
WR T.Y. Hilton
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 23 - 0 (4 targets) - TY Hilton did not appear to hampered by his injury but only saw 4 targets against the Steelers. Hilton had a half a step of separation running a 9 route on his first target but Brissett’s pass was well out of reach. Hilton hauled in his second target for 16 yards running an out route in front of the safety. Hilton picked up 7 yards running a quick out route. Hilton was targeted on a comeback route 15 yards downfield but the pass was knocked away.
WR Donte Moncrief
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 60 - 1 (1 targets) - Donte Moncrief
burned Artie Burns for a 60 yard touchdown running a beautiful double move. Moncrief gained about 3 yards of separation from Burns and made it an easy throw for Brissett. The touchdown was Moncrief’s only target.
TE Jack Doyle
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (5 targets) - Jack Doyle
was primarily utilized as a blocker and did not play well in the passing game. Doyle picked up 3 yards on a check down from Brissett. Doyle made a catch on a screen pass and was upended after a 6 yard gain. Jack Doyle
dropped a check down from Brissett and the deflected pass went right to Ryan Shazier for an easy interception.
Dallas Cowboys 7, Atlanta Falcons 27
What you need to know
- The Cowboys played their first game of the season without finally-suspended feature back Ezekiel Elliott
. The replacement committee of Alfred Morris
, Rod Smith
, and Darren McFadden
was lackluster for a vast majority of the game. The bigger concern to Dallas’ imbalanced offense was the futility of the offensive line, hemorrhaging eight sacks of Dak Prescott
and struggling to control the line of scrimmage. When faced with a hearty deficit, the pressure on Prescott prevented any comeback effort. With strong defensive fronts in the Eagles and Chargers up next, Dallas has little time to correct their offensive line and balance concerns on offense to keep Dak Prescott
from a bevy of pressure and long-yardage situations.
- The Cowboys were missing Ezekiel Elliott
, and more importantly, All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith in this game. Smith’s absence was the most difficult for Dallas to overcome. Falcons defensive linemen Adrian earned a team-record six sacks of Dak Prescott
– all against Smith’s replacement Chaz Green – including additional pressures and two strips of the quarterback. Dallas also lost its best linebacker Sean Lee in the first quarter, which led to huge creases and undisciplined gap coverage from the remaining Dallas linebackers. Despite Atlanta missing Devonta Freeman
, the Falcons had more depth to sustain quality play than Dallas with its losses. This included Tevin Coleman
, who earned multiple strong gains when it counted most. He wasn’t as shifty or as consistent as Devonta Freeman
, but he was productive enough to force Dallas to respect Atlanta’s play-action fakes. Atlanta took a permanent lead in the second quarter, thanks to a pass interference call against Dallas on a target intended for Taylor Gabriel
that culminated with a Tevin Coleman
plunge behind defensive tackle-turned-fullback, Dontari Poe. Atlanta then mounted a six-minute, thirty-second third-quarter drive with a good balance of run and pass and capped it off with a short post route from Ryan to Justin Hardy
that extended the lead to 10. Atlanta dominated the remainder of the second half with a balanced attack and extended the lead beyond the Cowboys’ reach.
QB Dak Prescott
, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 30 - 176 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 42 - 1 - The usually-efficient Prescott faced an uphill climb against Atlanta. Without Ezekiel Elliott
, the Dallas run game struggled to execute outside of a stretch of a few chunk gains by Alfred Morris
in the third quarter, leading to long-yardage situations and Prescott evading (or succumbing) to pocket pressure. Prescott’s mobility was on full display when Dallas’ offense was its comparative best this week. On Dallas’ lone touchdown drive of the game, Prescott put on a show with back-to-back red zone plays. On the first, Prescott extended the third down play to convert to Rod Smith
as an outlet receiver and the next saw Prescott use boot action to find the end zone for a touchdown. Stalled drives on the fringe of scoring range and obvious passing down sacks were the theme of the game, however, as Tyron Smith was absent from his left tackle perch as the position became a turnstile for defensive pressure. Even in garbage time, down by three scores in the fourth quarter, Prescott struggled to amass meaningful yardage outside of short passes to Jason Witten
. Prescott’s highlight throw amidst the consistent pressure was a beautiful perimeter pass to Brice Butler
on third-and-long. Prescott’s six rushes and 43 yards on the ground both mark season highs. Unless Dallas’ offensive line improves quickly before facing the Eagles and Chargers over the next two weeks, Prescott’s mobility will be paramount to any sustained drives for Dallas’ offense.
RB Alfred Morris
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 53 - 0 - As expected, Morris was the lead back for Dallas with Ezekiel Elliott
starting his suspension in Week 10. The Dallas offensive line provided minimal help to the Cowboys rushing attack, however, as Morris struggled throughout the first half to find the second level of the defense. In the third quarter strung together three runs of at least 10 yards, two of which were well-defined holes for Morris to gain momentum into the secondary. This stretch of three carries encompassed most of Morris’ production on the day as Dallas fell behind as the game progressed and Rod Smith
, the passing down back of choice, saw more playing time. On the positive side, Morris had a solid market share of snaps when the game was within reach if Dallas can hang in future games to sustain Morris’ volume with better blocking at the point of attack.
RB Rod Smith
, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 14 - 0, Rec: 4 - 15 - 0 (6 targets) - Smith played ahead of Darren McFadden
as the second back to Alfred Morris
’ starter status against Atlanta. Smith assumed the former Morris role to Ezekiel Elliott
with sporadic snaps on rushing downs until the game turned into catch-up mode. Smith played more over the final quarter and a half as Dallas shifted to a pass-first approach. Smith piled up much of his passing down production when the game was already decided. The good news for Smith is he was firmly ahead of Darren McFadden
, who saw a rogue snap or two during the game.
RB Darren McFadden
, 1 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -2 - 0 - McFadden was active with Ezekiel Elliott
beginning his six-game suspension this week against Atlanta, but was a distant third in the running back rotation. Alfred Morris
was the lead back with Rod Smith
in the secondary role and seeing passing game work. McFadden did not get into the game until the fourth quarter and was stuffed on his lone carry with backfield penetration, a common theme of Dallas’ offensive line play in the blowout road loss.
WR Dez Bryant
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 39 - 0 (8 targets) - Bryant was active early for the Dallas offense as their running game struggled to find consistency against Atlanta. Bryant led the team in targets, but did not make an impact on any deeper routes. Bryant’s production came on three hitch routes and an intermediate reception, relying on after-the-catch skills for any additional yardage. Bryant also dropped a slant route target on the day. This week marked Bryant’s second-lowest yardage total of the season and his third straight game without a touchdown. With Atlanta being a pass efficiency defense to exploit and the next three opponents top-half passing defense units, Bryant and the Dallas offensive line in pass protection will need to be at the top of their respective games for a short-term turnaround.
WR Cole Beasley
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 23 - 0 (3 targets) - Beasley was buried on the pecking order for targets against Atlanta, logging only three looks (10% of the team total) from Dak Prescott
. Beasley has still yet to eclipse 40 yards in any game this season. Beasley had a quality low reception late in the first half called back by penalty. His two highlight receptions later in the game including another low grab, as Prescott struggled with pressure and accuracy more than usual this week, and a deep out route buried in garbage time of the road loss.
WR Brice Butler
, 22 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 30 - 0 (1 targets) - Butler made the lone downfield play of Dallas’ woeful offensive showing in Atlanta. Butler is averaging more than 24 yards-per-catch on the season as a situational deep threat. Butler’s wow play came when the game was still in doubt. Hand-fighting with the defensive back added to the catch difficulty as Butler high-pointed the long sideline target for the third-and-long conversion. Butler also corralled a fake punt reception to convert, aligned as the gunner, but was called for offensive pass interference on the play. Butler continues to make plays with his sparse opportunities.
WR Terrance Williams
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (4 targets) - After one of the best games of his career in Week 9, Williams was a shadow in Week 10 against Atlanta. Dallas’ passing game struggled to find any impact down the field, relying on short routes when stringing together any rhythm in their drives. Williams’ lone reception came on a quick in-cut in the final minute of the first half with no after-the-catch yardage available. Even in garbage time, it was Jason Witten
to collect receptions as he padded his stat line, not Dez Bryant
or Terrance Williams
TE Jason Witten
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 59 - 0 (7 targets) - Witten led the team in receptions by a decent margin this week, but aggregated his catches in garbage time of the blowout loss in Atlanta. Outside of a single Brice Butler
deep reception, Dallas’ passing game struggled to win on more than short-range hitches, crossing routes, and out routes. Witten collected five of his receptions in the closing minutes, including a seam route for close to 20 yards. Witten did not see a target until close to halftime and his box score impact did not align with how his production was obtained. With Dallas’ offensive line struggles, Witten is a candidate to see more in-line time to protect Dak Prescott
with more strong pass-rushing units on deck for Dallas in the coming weeks.
QB Matt Ryan
, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 29 - 215 - 2 TD / 1 INT - Mohamed Sanu
tipped Ryan’s first pass after the cornerback hit Sanu from behind on a curl route and Xavier Woods made the interception deep in Atlanta territory. Even so, Ryan was sharp and his timing with his receivers during the first two series – including this play, was a strong. Ryan later overshot a wide-open Marvin Hall
on a deep cross to the left sideline during the second series of the game. After that, Ryan and the Falcons stuck to short and intermediate timing routes with greater success – especially with the aid of play-action passing. Ryan took advantage of a 17-yard run by Tevin Coleman
to open the 3rd quarter with a 24-yard play-action crossing route to Julio Jones
to get Atlanta inside the Dallas 35. He converted a third-down pass to Taylor Gabriel
with a tight-window throw at the Dallas six while breaking the pocket up the middle and throwing on the move. Ryan then capped the long drive with a post route to Hardy in the back of the end zone. Ryan later found Gabriel in the fourth quarter with an excellent dig route for a long gain that flipped the field and led to consecutive play-action drag routes to Austin Hooper
to extend the lead to 17.
RB Tevin Coleman
, 44 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 83 - 1, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets) - When Coleman had to deal with penetration in the backfield, he failed. Anthony Hitchens forced Coleman to jump cut into an occupied crease on 2nd and short, forcing a one-yard loss and a 3rd and 3 during the second possession. Penetration from David Irving through right guard stuffed Coleman on 1st and 10 at the Atlanta 47 and forced Coleman to run into his lineman and the defender while trying to spin inside of them. He lost four. However, when Coleman earned a downhill runway behind a full back or as a single back, Coleman put Dallas on its heels and opened the play-action passing game for Atlanta. He made a nice cut inside the safety on a 1st and 10 run off right tackle from the 13 of Atlanta, stumbling past the defender for a gain five. While it was the type of run that Freeman would have made without stumbling and probably gained more, it was the type of play that Coleman couldn’t have made three years ago because of his footwork. Later, Coleman took a toss play to the right end and dipped inside a lead block in the flat for a gain of 20 up the right sideline before he was pulled down by the earhole, and dropped at the boundary. This tackle incurred a face mask penalty and got Atlanta across midfield. He then lost a yard on a run up the middle where Irving once gain beat the right guard with penetration into the backfield. When Atlanta reached the end zone, Coleman tried to leap over the top on a 1st and goal run from the Dallas two. He scored a play later on a violent run up the gut behind Dontari Poe and pushed through with good second effort. This score put Atlanta ahead late in the first half. To begin the second half, Coleman earned 17 yards when Dallas’ two linebackers in nickel took the same gap and left open a huge crease. Coleman had several strong gains in the second half, including runs of 15 and 18 yards on outside zone runs.
RB Terron Ward
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 23 - 0 - He made a solid block up the middle against the blitz during the second drive. Later in the first half, Dallas stuffed Ward for a loss with penetration. Ward then earned a carry up right guard for two yards from the 13 of Dallas. In the second half, Ward gained over 20 yards with a cutback around right end on a 2nd and 1 run to get Atlanta inside the Dallas 15. He followed up with three yards up the middle.
RB Devonta Freeman
, 2 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 3 - 0 - Anthony Hitchens delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit on Freeman during his second carry of the game and he was clearly woozy as he slowly climbed to his feet. It was the last we saw of Freeman. He left the field with 6:26 in the first quarter and did not return.
WR Julio Jones
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 57 - 0 (8 targets) - His first catch was a curl of seven yards against tight coverage in the left flat and he had great timing with Ryan. He followed up two plays later with a great extension against tight coverage on a slant on 3rd and 3. He had to leave the field after the play and walk off his lingering injury. Jones caught a stop route near the right boundary to begin the third drive. He worked through the defensive back to get the first down with the move to the inside. He was again on the sideline during the third series, favoring his leg. He gained five yards on a screen pass up the left flat and nearly broke it. Once again, he had to leave the field. He got inside the Dallas 35 on a deep crossing route off play-action for 24 yards. He made a tough adjustment on a crossing route that Ryan delivered under pressure at the Atlanta three in heavy traffic. Jones dropped a 3rd and 6 pass on a short in-cut inside the Dallas 5, leading a 29-yard field goal to extend the lead to 20.
WR Taylor Gabriel
, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 15 - 0, Rec: 3 - 58 - 0 (3 targets) - His first opportunity was a jet sweep to left end on 1st and 10 with 5:00 in the half. He picked up a good lead block by Austin Hooper
at the numbers on a linebacker. This block opened a huge lane up the flat for a gain of 16. Gabriel drew a pass interference against the defender on a corner route late in the half that put Atlanta at the Dallas two. Gabriel made a good stab inside at the top of his stem that forced the defensive back to wrap the receiver at the waist as Gabriel broke outside. He caught a hitch in the flat, spun outside a defender, and fought for the first down during the initial drive of the third quarter. He earned another first down on 3rd and 6 at the 20 of Dallas when Ryan climbed the pocket and fired into a tight window over the middle where Gabriel made a leaping grab turning towards the trailing coverage at the Dallas six. Gabriel made the first man miss after catching a dig route in stride late in the third quarter for 34 yards and flipped the field to Dallas territory.
WR Mohamed Sanu
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 29 - 0 (5 targets) - He tipped the first pass of the game on a curl route after he was hit in the back while trying to extend for the ball. The tipped ball was intercepted by Xavier Woods inside Atlanta territory. Sanu caught a five step in-cut for 11 yards into the thick of coverage, taking a hit from Sean Lee head-on within a step of catching the ball on this play-action pass. He caught a short outlet in the left flat on a play-action boot to the left by Ryan during the third series for three yards, setting up 3rd and 2. He got Atlanta into the red zone on a third-down pass over the middle before the two-minute warning. Late in the game, he held a defender on a Coleman run up the left sideline that nullified a touchdown.
WR Justin Hardy
, 21 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 7 - 1 (2 targets) - His first catch was a four-yard gain on a screen pass to the left side during the first drive of the second half. Ryan found Hardy on a post route in the back of the end zone to cap a drive of six and a half minutes to begin the third quarter. Hardy was the outside trips receiver working behind the defense.
TE Austin Hooper
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 49 - 1 (6 targets) - He gained seven on 2nd and 14 on a crossing route near midfield during the second series, nearly breaking a tackle at the end of play. Hooper earned the first down on the next play; a route to the right flat. Hooper side-stepped the safety at the sideline and then stiff-armed a second defensive back to reach the first down marker before he extended to the 40 for a gain of 10. A few plays later, he earned nine yards on a 3rd and 11 late in the drive at the end of the quarter. This play set up a 50-yard field goal at the end of the quarter. Taylor Gabriel
picked up a good lead block Austin Hooper
against a linebacker at the numbers of the left flat on a jet sweep. Hooper’s efforts opened a huge lane up the flat for a gain of 16. Hooper caught a boot-action drag route in the shallow zone during the first drive of the third quarter on 2nd and 8. He caught the pass 3 yards down field, side-stepped the cornerback at the 26, earned the first down, and leaned though a wrap at the 20 for a gain of nearly 13. However, the officiating crew penalized Levine Tiololo for block in the back on Jaylen Smith and it nullified the play. Hooper put Atlanta inside the Dallas one on a play action drag route to the right flat from the Dallas 15. He caught the ball at the 13, worked up the right sideline, and leaped inside a defender shooting for his legs at the four. His momentum carried him to the one, and Atlanta extended its lead to 17 by running the same play to Hooper on the next snap.
TE Levine Toilolo
, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets) - Coleman and Ryan had a miscommunication with the nature of a 3rd and 2 during Atlanta’s third offensive series. Coleman presumed he was running a drag route to the right flat and it appeared Ryan was running a play-action fake or possibly a stretch play intended for the back to tack the exchange. Coleman was already exiting the backfield well away from Ryan’s fake and it forced Ryan to find Levine Toilolo
in the middle of the field while avoiding pressure.
New England Patriots 41, Denver Broncos 16
What you need to know
New England Patriots
- -It appears Mike Gillislee
is the odd man out of the backfield for now with all running backs healthy.
had a very clean pocket for much of the day. The Broncos pass rush hasn't been what it once was, but hopefully, this is a sign of things to come.
-The Patriots controlled this game from the start, so the passing game didn't need to fire off 50 passes to win.
- The Broncos were woeful in all facets of the game, most of all special teams. Isaiah McKenzie
fumbled and lost a punt less than three minutes into the game, and the Patriots scored two plays later. Denver's kickoff team allowed Dion Lewis
to return a kickoff for a touchdown before the 1st quarter ended, and Denver's punt team had a punt blocked in the 2nd quarter. Kicker McManus was 3/3 on field goal attempts.
QB Tom Brady
, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 34 - 266 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0 - With good protection, complementary defensive and special teams plays, and all-around success, Tom Brady
had it easy against the Broncos, something which almost never happens. Brady never really needed to put his foot on the gas, as the Patriots ran away with the game from the start, sporting a 27-9 lead at halftime. Brady was efficient, especially when targeting Broncos linebackers in coverage, a matchup he exploited continually. Over half his completions went to backs or tight ends, as he took what the defense gave him. His first touchdown was to Rex Burkhead
, who beat a defender on a slant route that he first sold like an out route. His second was an 11 yard out route to Dwayne Allen
on a play that was actually Allen's first catch of the season. His final touchdown was an easy one to James White
thanks to some great juking by the running back. The Pats did do a better job of converting in the red zone, something that has been underwhelming this year. Brady could have also had a fourth touchdown to Rob Gronkowski
, but the play was called incomplete when it likely shouldn't have been. All in all, this is the type of performance Brady wants ñ clean, efficient, and not too high stress.
RB Dion Lewis
, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 55 - 1 - Lewis rotated in and out of the lineup, and though he was the best runner on the day, his impact was most felt on a 103 yard kickoff return touchdown. It was simply a case of wheels and good blocking, as so many return touchdowns are. Lewis also ran in a touchdown from 8 yards from the shotgun formation, which opened up a bit more room on the play. He wasn't involved in the passing game, but is clearly one of the lead rushing backs now for the Pats.
RB Rex Burkhead
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 36 - 0, Rec: 3 - 27 - 1 (3 targets) - Burkhead played a featured role throughout the game in Week 10, displaying his versatility above all else. He caught a few passes, including one on a slant route for a 14 yard touchdown. He carried the ball with some success. Most importantly, he blocked a punt that set the Patriots up for a score. Now that he's healthy, Burkhead will clearly have a role with the team.
RB James White
, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0, Rec: 3 - 11 - 1 (3 targets) - White didn't need to be involved much in the game, as the Patriots controlled it from the outset. He did score a short touchdown on a beautiful stutter move, but beyond that, wasn't heard from much.
WR Brandin Cooks
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 74 - 0 (11 targets) - After a quiet first half, Cooks was much more involved later in the game, being targeted on several intermediate and deep passes. His long was a 27 yard chunk play, and he handled his tough cornerback assignments well, most notably using his speed on routes he won. His arrow is pointing up as long as Chris Hogan
is out of the lineup with injury.
WR Danny Amendola
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 36 - 0 (4 targets) - Facing off against Chris Harris for a large part of the game, Amendola didn't make much noise against the Broncos, but that was mostly due to the aforementioned matchup. Tom Brady
simply had better places to go with the ball.
TE Rob Gronkowski
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 74 - 0 (7 targets) - Though his stat line doesn't look huge, Gronk narrowly missed out on a much bigger one. Tom Brady
threw a deep pass to his tight end, and it was called an incompletion. However, the pass likely should have been called complete, though replay was apparently inconclusive for the refs. Regardless, the Broncos paid special attention to Gronk, often double covering him with a safety and linebacker or some combo of two defenders. It did free up other offensive players, which shows how Gronk impacts games even when he doesn't have gaudy touchdown totals.
QB Brock Osweiler
, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 33 - 221 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0 - Poor special teams play early in the contest dug the Broncos into a hole that Osweiler just wasn't able to pull them out of. Osweiler led a couple of scoring drives early, leaning on a solid connection with Emmanuel Sanders
. Unfortunately, Denver couldn't find the end zone and settled for field goals while the Patriots racked up touchdowns.
Osweiler finally found Demaryius Thomas
for a touchdown late in the 3rd quarter, dropping back into the pocket while Thomas boxed his defender out on a crossing route for the score from the New England 7.
Osweiler was intercepted by safety Patrick Chung late in the 4th after making a questionable throw to TE Heuerman, who was double covered on an out route.
RB C.J. Anderson
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 54 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (1 targets) - The Denver backfield situation continues to evolve into a three-way committee. Anderson was the most effective on a per-carry average. Anderson received 10 carries, and Charles and Booker 8 each. Anderson broke a 21 yard run right up the middle late in the 1st quarter, his longest carry of the day. Anderson punched the ball into the end zone in the 3rd quarter after cutting a run back left and racing a linebacker to the pylon, but the play was negated by a holding penalty on the offensive line.
Anderson caught a short out route in the 2nd quarter, his only target of the day.
RB Devontae Booker
, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 24 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets) - Booker entered the game late in the 1st and played nearly as many snaps as Anderson for the second week in a row. However, he posted a lower per-carry average on his 8 carries than Charles or Anderson. Booker did not get his usual work in the passing game, catching his lone target for a five yard gain. Booker continues to return kickoffs as well.
RB Jamaal Charles
, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 38 - 0 (1 targets) - Charles entered the game late in the 1st quarter near the Patriots red zone. He was targeted on an out route from the backfield on 3rd and long, but couldn't haul in a difficult over-the-shoulder pass from Osweiler against tight coverage. Charles broke an 11 yard run up the middle in the 3rd quarter, his longest of the contest. Charles carried the ball down to the Patriots 7 yard line on a dive right up the middle later in the 3rd, setting up a Demaryius Thomas
touchdown catch on the next play.
WR Emmanuel Sanders
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 137 - 0 (11 targets) - Sanders appears to have returned to form after an ankle injury caused him to miss a few starts this season. In addition to creating space and getting open downfield, he did a fantastic job running the ball after the catch. Sanders broke quite a few tackles on his shorter receptions, racking up yards after the catch. He came out hot, amassing nearly 100 yards before the 1st quarter ended. He got open for a gain of 31 down the left sideline on Osweiler's first pass attempt of the day. He caught another deep curl down the right sideline and broke a tackle for a nice run after the catch later in the drive. Sanders converted 3rd and long later in the 1st with a 38 yard catch and run on a slant from the right slot. Sanders made a beautiful leaping catch over a defender midway through the 2nd quarter, and another toe-tapper on the sideline that same drive, putting him over the 100 yard mark before halftime. Sanders had a step on his defender in the end zone just before the half, but Osweiler put too much air under the ball, sailing it out the back of the end zone. Sanders converted another 3rd and long in the 3rd quarter by getting wide open on an out route, but cooled considerably in the 2nd half.
WR Demaryius Thomas
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 44 - 1 (8 targets) - Thomas lined up in the backfield and hauled in his first target, a swing pass for a minimal gain in the 1st. Thomas was targeted again on a short out route later in the 1st, nearly breaking a tackle for a bigger gain. Osweiler found Thomas for Denver's only touchdown of the day in the 3rd quarter. Lined up on the 7 yard line, Thomas split out wide right and worked his way inside on a crossing route, using his big frame to box out his defender for the score. Thomas had a nice stiff-arm on an out route later in the 4th, picking up extra yardage after the catch. Thomas finished well behind Sanders in catches and yards, but managed to save his fantasy performance with the TD.
WR Cody Latimer
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (5 targets) - Latimer caught a shallow crossing route in the 3rd, turning it up the sideline for a short gain. Osweiler found him on a short curl route from the left slot later in the 4th quarter.
Latimer secured one last throw on an out route from the left slot, ending his day with the third highest yardage and target totals on the team.
TE Jeff Heuerman
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (3 targets) - Heuerman split out to the left slot and got his hands on a seam route in the 3rd quarter, but a defender smacked him in the chest before he could bring the pass down, jarring the ball loose. Osweiler hit him on a shallow out route two plays later for a gain of 4. Heuerman was the target on Osweiler's 4th quarter interception, a questionable pass that was thrown into double coverage.
TE A.J. Derby
, 14 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets) - Derby caught a short crossing route towards the end of the 2nd quarter for a minimal gain. Osweiler hasn't shown the same fondness for Derby that Siemian displayed, instead peppering Sanders and Thomas with nearly all his targets.
New Orleans Saints 47, Buffalo Bills 10
What you need to know
New Orleans Saints
- The Saints blew out the Buffalo Bills this week, but you may be surprised as to how they scored their 47 points. The defense was dominant, and the running game exploded for 298 total yards and 6 touchdowns. We talked a few weeks ago about how rare it is for Drew Brees
to go without a touchdown pass and this is the second game this season he has failed to reach the end zone in the air. Brees did add a rushing touchdown to his credit and the two feature backs eclipsed 100 yards on the ground. The Saints had such a comfortable lead that they were able to play backup Chase Daniel
and rookie Trey Edmunds
extensively in the second half. This is the Saints 7th win in a row and is a far cry from the back to back losses they took to the Vikings and Patriots in weeks 1 and 2. The Saints host the Washington Redskins next week as they try and extend their win streak to 8 in a row.
- The Buffalo defense was dominated by the New Orleans offense, which limited Buffalo to less than 19 minutes time of possession. When Buffalo's offense was on the field, they were penalty prone, and in bad down and distance. Tyrod Taylor
too frequently checked down underneath the sticks on third downs which left little opportunity for the Buffalo offense to sustain drives. The lone Buffalo touchdown was a touchdown pass in garbage time to TE Nick O'Leary.
QB Drew Brees
, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 25 - 184 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 6 - 1 - This game is an anomaly if compared to any other game in Brees' career. He threw for under 200 yards, did not throw a touchdown, completed 72% of his passes, and more than half of the yards came to one receiver. Brees has made a living spreading the ball around and finding the end zone through the air, but this week the Saints were able to do it on the ground. Brees threw 117 of his 184 yards to Michael Thomas
, and only completed multiple passes to 2 receivers. His biggest plays on the day came on a 28-yard crossing route by Michael Thomas
just before halftime. Thomas streaked across the middle of the field and hurdled one defender in an effort to get in the end zone His second big play came on 3rd and 13 to Brandon Coleman
. The pass was right down the middle of the field and Coleman was able to follow a block and break a tackle for 30 yards to help set up an eventual Mark Ingram
touchdown. Brees did not need to be his normal self today with how well the rest of the team played. Brees will face a Washington secondary that allowed over 300 yards passing and 4 touchdowns to Case Keenum
RB Mark Ingram
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 131 - 3 - The Saints rushing offense outpaced the passing attack 48 attempts to 25 and Ingram's success played a huge factor in that. Ingram eclipsed 100 yards rushing and added three touchdowns for his best game of the season. Ingram's touchdowns all came from within the 10-yard line at distances of 1, 3, and 3 yards. Ingram helped to set up his own touchdown after taking a 4th and 1 carry 25 yards right up the middle of the Buffalo defense. Each of Ingram's touchdowns were power runs right up the middle and showed that he is the thunder to the thunder and lightning duo that is Ingram and Kamara. One interesting note is that Ingram was not targeted in the passing game at all this week. He is the clear starting running back but has been relegated to more of the rushing attack rather than passing with the emergence of Kamara. The touches were very close with Ingram taking 21 and Kamara at 17. It will be interesting to see the shift in workloads if the Saints are ever losing at any point again this season.
RB Alvin Kamara
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 106 - 1, Rec: 5 - 32 - 0 (5 targets) - The Saints have built a two-headed rushing attack that is quickly surpassing everyone else in the league. Kamara has come in and established himself from day 1 and shows no signs of slowing down. Kamara's biggest asset is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. In a game where passing yards were a premium, Kamara was the only running back to register a catch. He caught all 5 of his targets and ranked only behind Michael Thomas
in both yards and targets. Kamara's biggest plays came on the first drive of the second half. After taking the ball 19 yards off the right end and being pushed out of bounds on the 5-yard line, Kamara promptly took the next hand off the last 5 yards into the end zone with the exact same play on the next snap. Kamara had the first 100-yard rushing game of his career, the most rushing attempts of his career, and a rushing touchdown for the third consecutive week.
RB Trey Edmunds
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 48 - 1 - It is rare to see two feature backs on a team rush for 100 yards and multiple touchdowns, but even more rare to see a third string guy almost reach 50 yards of his own and add a touchdown. With the game firmly in hand, the Saints turned to Edmunds to see what they had in their other rookie running back. Everything looked pretty bleak as Edmunds first 8 carries only netted 8 yards, but the Saints were rewarded for their patience with a 41-yard burst for a touchdown off the left end. Edmunds took the Chase Daniel
handoff to the short side of the field and was not touched by a single Bills player on his way to the end zone. It will be interesting to see if this one big play gets him any additional work as the season continues.
WR Michael Thomas
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 117 - 0 (10 targets) - In a game that was anything but normal for the Saints offense, Thomas was able to surpass 100 yards receiving for the first time this season. Thomas also registered double-digit targets for the fifth time in 9 games and registered his second-highest average per catch this season. He was unable to reach the end zone for the 5th consecutive game, but with the Saints on a roll, there is no one complaining. Thomas had several plays over 10 yards on easy crossing routes, but his biggest play came on a 28-yard strike just before halftime. Thomas had worked his way across the field and caught the ball along the right sideline. He hurdled his defender that dove to make a tackle, but lost his balance and slowed down just long enough for the safety to come over and make a play. The drive ended in a field goal but could have been a touchdown if Thomas had not stumbled. The touchdowns will come for Thomas as the season wears on, but there is no reason to shift off the running game that has been so successful.
WR Brandon Coleman
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 30 - 0 (4 targets) - Coleman is a mere blip on the stat sheet this week with his 1 catch. However, that catch was huge as it came on a 3rd and 13 play and helped to set up a Mark Ingram
touchdown. Coleman worked his way across the field from right to left and caught the ball just in front of the safeties. He followed a Michael Thomas
block and broke another tackle for 30 total yards. He was targeted 3 other times but failed to make any of the catches. Coleman and Ted Ginn
seem to trade big plays each week and it was Coleman's turn to make one against Buffalo.
QB Tyrod Taylor
, 37 offensive snaps, Pass: 9 - 18 - 56 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 27 - 0 - Tyrod Taylor
had his worst performance of the season against the New Orleans Saints. Taylor led a scoring drive on the first possession, which included a well-designed quarterback run. However, Taylor overthrew new WR Kelvin Benjamin
on a fade, then underthrew him on an out route. Taylor's best attributes are his mobility and limiting mistakes, but when Buffalo is behind, he does not make enough aggressive throws to generate big comeback attempts. Taylor spent the afternoon checking down, including on third downs well short of the yardage to gain. Taylor did not get much help including from his supporting cast, including on his interception where Charles Clay
deflected the ball directly into the hands of Sheldon Rankins. Taylor did make two deep throws to Deonte Thompson
, one of which Thompson dropped and the other was overthrown. Taylor was pulled in the fourth quarter for Nathan Peterman
who led a late touchdown drive in garbage time.
QB Nathan Peterman
, 11 offensive snaps, Pass: 7 - 10 - 79 - 1 TD / 0 INT - Nathan Peterman
came on in relief for Tyrod Taylor
in the fourth quarter, leading two drives including a touchdown drive in garbage time. Peterman got the ball out of his hands quick, including two throws to Kelvin Benjamin
and the lone catch by Jordan Matthews
on the day. Peterman threw a touchdown pass in the red zone to Nick O'Leary. Peterman looked to inject life into the stagnant Buffalo offense, but also broke down mechanically under pressure.
RB LeSean McCoy
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 49 - 0, Rec: 3 - 11 - 0 (5 targets) - McCoy was involved early in the game on a well-designed misdirection play that got McCoy to the edge of the New Orleans defense for a 36-yard gain. McCoy was used in the passing game to stretch the boundaries, but found little room to move outside of his long carry. McCoy was limited by horrible game script for the second consecutive week, as Buffalo fell behind early, and saw few sustained opportunities on offense. McCoy did fumble in the game, and Buffalo was fortunate that Dion Dawkins recovered the fumble.
RB Mike Tolbert
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - -2 - 0, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (2 targets) - Mike Tolbert
was limited to four touches against New Orleans. He served as the clear second back in the Buffalo offense, and there was little change in play selection when Tolbert substituted for McCoy.
WR Kelvin Benjamin
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 42 - 0 (6 targets) - Benjamin was involved early in the game, with the first three targets of the game, including an overthrow by Tyrod Taylor
into the back of the end zone on a red zone target. Benjamin ran a diverse route tree, including inbreaking routes, vertical routes, and outbreaking routes, despite only being with the team for less than two weeks. Benjamin had a drop, and had another ball thrown behind him go off his hands. Two of his three catches on the day were in garbage time from Nathan Peterman
WR Deonte Thompson
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -5 - 0, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (4 targets) - Deonte Thompson
had a brutal day. He dropped a deep pass in contested coverage and was called for a holding penalty that negated a big play by Charles Clay
. He was also overthrown twice, including an end zone target by Nathan Peterman
. His lone catch was in garbage time on a Peterman throw to the outside.
WR Jordan Matthews
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (2 targets) - Jordan Matthews
was limited to a single catch on a garbage time throw from Nathan Peterman
. Jordan Matthews
is a poor fit with Tyrod Taylor
at quarterback, but works in the intermediate area and across the middle of the field where Peterman is more comfortable throwing the football.
TE Charles Clay
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (3 targets) - Charles Clay
returned from injury and played well in minimal opportunities. He officially caught two passes for 13 yards, but his day should have been much better. Two other catches were called back on penalties, one a solid catch and run across the middle and the other a screen pass. Clay had a bad drop that resulted in a Sheldon Rankins interception as the ball ricocheted off Clay's hands directly to Rankins. He has returned to a lead role in the offense after missing several weeks with an injury.
TE Nick OLeary
, 19 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 7 - 1 (2 targets) - Nick O'Leary's lone catch was a seven-yard touchdown reception on a garbage time pass from Nathan Peterman
late in the fourth quarter. With Charles Clay
's return from injury, O'Leary was relegated to TE2 duties in the Buffalo offense.
Los Angeles Chargers 17, Jacksonville Jaguars 20
What you need to know
Los Angeles Chargers
- Other than two touchdown drives that resulted in Austin Ekeler
scores, the Chargers offense struggled to put together drives and keep the Jaguars from having chances to win the game. Ultimately, the failure to seal the game combined with two dreadful late-game turnovers to result in the loss.
- This game, which was mostly a sloppy one by the Jaguars offense, was the antithesis of what the Jags offense has been for most of this season. The Jaguars aired it out with Bortles and Fournette and Ivory each either did not get much work or they were not effective. This was a wacky game that came down to turnovers and field position, not any offensive fireworks.
QB Philip Rivers
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 37 - 235 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - -1 - 0 - Rivers had a solid day but did nothing spectacular. He often found his targets underneath or in the soft spots of the Jaguars zone coverages. He did a good job of getting the ball out quickly vs the Jaguars pressures and still made clean throws under pressure. Each of his two touchdowns was dump offs to Ekeler that Ekeler made a play on. His late-game heave down the field into blanket coverage turned into an interception and ultimately cost the Chargers the game.
RB Melvin Gordon
, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 27 - 0, Rec: 5 - 15 - 0 (8 targets) - Gordon took a backseat role to Ekeler due to his ineffectiveness on the day. His longest run was for five yards and he did not make plays as a pass catcher. Ekeler got the late game snaps over him.
RB Austin Ekeler
, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 42 - 0, Rec: 5 - 77 - 2 (5 targets) - Ekeler was the primary offense for the Chargers. His first touchdown came on a dump off where he outran Myles Jack to the edge and then powered through a poor effort-level Jalen Ramsey tackle. He kept his balance down the sideline and then ran it in with the quickness. His next score came on a dump off but this one was more about his open field speed. With nothing but green in front of him, Ekeler outran the Jaguars D for the score. As a runner, he showed great agility and explosion but his lack of size and power shows up often.
WR Keenan Allen
, 59 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0, Rec: 4 - 48 - 0 (7 targets) - Allen did not see many targets as he was matched up with Jalen Ramsey during most of the game, but he made the most out of the targets he did get. He converted several third downs on zone beating inside option routes and showed great awareness for the markers and in his routes. His biggest play came on a 19-yard corner route where he beat Jalen Ramsey and stayed in bounds against contact.
WR Tyrell Williams
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 49 - 0 (5 targets) - Williams saw a good amount of deep ball targets, but he dropped an easy touchdown in the second half. The Chargers did not go to him much more after that.
WR Mike Williams
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (2 targets) - Williams saw two targets for the day but made each a positive gain. On one he got separation vs AJ Bouye on a post, thanks to a good release off the line. He is showing comfort going across the middle for a pass.
WR Travis Benjamin
, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 13 - 0 (3 targets) - Benjamin saw three targets but had zero catches due to one drop and the other passes being either out of bounds or intercepted.
QB Blake Bortles
, 84 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 51 - 273 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 5 - 34 - 0 - Bortles threw only one incompletion in the entire first half. Most of his passes were short ones underneath, but the efficiency was a welcomed rare sight regardless. This changed in the second half. While Bortles was under duress from Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram for much of the day, he was still erratic in the second half. He threw two back-breaking INTs in the fourth quarter that should have lost the game for the Jaguars. His runs were ineffective, and he failed to put together drives. His best drive of the game was one early in the second half in which the Jaguars marched down the field in 10 plays, all passes, thanks to big chunk gains by Keelan Cole
and Allen Hurns
. This resulted in Bortles' lone touchdown of the game, a strike to Marqise Lee
near the front pylon.
RB Leonard Fournette
, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 33 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (4 targets) - For the first time in his career, Fournette looked ordinary. He was unable to evade defenders or break off long runs. He got a few key first downs on one to two-yard short-yardage chances, but that was about it as his longest run was eight yards. He showed his usual strength but the explosion was not the same as in other games. He was held out of a number of series during the game but did play in overtime. In the passing game, he made more of an impact as a blocker than as a pass catcher, an area he has shown improvement in.
RB T.J. Yeldon
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 11 - 0, Rec: 6 - 39 - 0 (8 targets) - Yeldon had a classic T.J. Yeldon
game. He did virtually nothing of note as a runner, but he was targeted a ton out of the backfield. He turned a couple dump off into first downs but he simply looked better in that role than Ivory had previously in the season. Expect his targets to remain consistent.
RB Chris Ivory
, 8 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 1 - -5 - 0 (2 targets) - Ivory had one carry for the Jaguars and has clearly fallen behind T.J. Yeldon
on the depth chart.
WR Allen Hurns
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 70 - 0 (9 targets) - Hurns left the game with an injury late but he had a fantastic game. He made two terrific catches to move the chains on slants. Bortles threw it to tight windows behind Hurns, but he adjusted and made acrobatic catches in front of multiple defenders.
WR Marqise Lee
, 71 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 55 - 1 (11 targets) - Lee saw more targets than any other Jaguar but he was up and down performance wise. He caught the team's only offensive touchdown for the second week in a row but he also had a couple of awful drops that were uncontested and he had a taunting penalty at the goal line late in the game that cost the Jaguars a chance to put the game away. He is their most inconsistent target but he is the one they turn to the most right now.
WR Keelan Cole
, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 61 - 0 (8 targets) - Cole has become more integrated into the Jaguars offense each week. He has officially become their go-to deep option. He does not catch everyone as his catch radius is small, but he is fast enough to get a step on defenses and has become better at tracking the deep ball.
Houston Texans 7, Los Angeles Rams 33
What you need to know
- Tom Savage
is dragging the offense down to the bottom of the ocean. Lamar Miller
is running well, but the game scripts aren't giving him a chance to build momentum. DeAndre Hopkins
is still outstanding, but his ceiling is being lowered by Savage. Will Fuller
went out with a rib injury, but CJ Fiedorowicz returned from a long absence due to a pair of concussions.
Los Angeles Rams
- The Rams continued their dominance this week as they regained the lead just before half-time after a sluggish first half but then were almost perfect in the second half of this game as they scored on four of their six drives in the second half. The Rams continue to utilize creative play calling with misdirection, play-action, and screen plays which led to all three of their passing touchdowns. Jared Goff
continues to show his improvement and control of this offense as the quarterback looked extremely comfortable this week. Todd Gurley
struggled on the ground outside of a few burst plays but was heavily utilized in the passing game this week.
QB Tom Savage
, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 36 - 221 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 2 - 0 - 0 - It started strong for Tom Savage
but quickly fell a part after 4 turnovers that doomed the Texans. Savage threw for 221 yards with a touchdown to Bruce Ellington
on a 26 yard touchdown pass. Savage looked comfortable in the second quarter going 6 of 10 with the touchdown to Ellington and a pick late in the 1st half in the red zone. Savage then went backwards with a fumble on a blitz that was in his face and took the sack. He also fumbled early in the game after his guard was beat with no issues and he did not see them prior to the sack. Savage struggled to make a mark on the field only completing 18 of 36 and continually threw into coverage. There were only 2 interceptions on the day but it could have been 4 if the Rams would have hung onto the ball or not committed penalties. It will be interesting to see the route the Texans take moving forward with the quarterback position with two poor performances by Savage in a row.
RB Lamar Miller
, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 60 - 0, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (1 targets) - t was a strong start for Lamar Miller
who had runs of 18 and 21 yards but after that he was passed over for a passing game to try and get the Texans back into the game. The Texans worked the running game early against the Rams and Miller was the beneficiary in that department. Averaging 5.5 a carry, Miller was the clear best offensive weapon the field. Miller also had a reception for for 14 yards that was a nice out route to beat a line backer to set the Texans up for a field goal attempt.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 111 - 0 (14 targets) - The Texans continued to force feed the ball to DeAndre Hopkins
and with 7 receptions for 11 yards with his longest reception for 36 yards. Savage got the football to Hopkins in space and Hopkins continues to separate and it doing a much better job getting vertical while Hopkins also chipped in a 32 yard reception. Hopkins has been being called for offensive pass interfaces and had a big catch of 20+ yards wiped out because of it. Hopkins did most of his work on the outside with comebacks and curls but it is clear that he will continue to get the bulk of the targets in the passing game.
WR Bruce Ellington
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 41 - 1 (8 targets) - Last week Bruce Ellington
was winning from the slot position and he did the same this week and hauled in 4 receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown. He dropped a key first down pass to open the game but got back on track soon after. Ellington scored on a 26 yard reception out of a bunch trips look that sound him open up the seam for an easy pitch and catch from Savage.
WR Will Fuller
, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (3 targets) - Only two receptions for Fuller on the day, he was knocked out of the game after a big hit in the middle of the field. Fuller ran a quick slant and the ball was late and it led him into the safety who knocking him out for the game after a big hit to his back. Fuller’s ribs were the issue and did not return after the hit.
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (6 targets) - It was the return for Fiedorowicz since week one and it was a slow day for him as the starting tight end. Fiedorowicz had 2 receptions for 10 yards and they came on simple out routes from the middle of the field. This is a positive step for Fiedorowicz who has missed majority of the season due to a concussion.
QB Jared Goff
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 37 - 355 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 3 - 0 - Jared Goff
continues to show his development as he had a tremendous game this week looking through his check downs to find open receivers. Goff was accurate and one of his best throws was a perfectly placed ball to Robert Woods
for a 94-yard touchdown hitting him in stride about 50-yards down the field showing off his arm strength. One of Goff's best attributes in this game was the utilization of the play-action pass as he was able to sell the fakes perfectly often getting the defense to over-commit to the run which setup a significant part of the passing offense this week.
RB Todd Gurley
, 54 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 68 - 0, Rec: 6 - 68 - 0 (7 targets) - Todd Gurley
as a running back reverted back to some of the tendencies we saw early this season and all of last season where he danced in the backfield trying to have a huge play. Of Gurley's 68 yards on the ground, 60 of them came on three carries including a 34-yard carry in which he took a run off-tackle in the fourth quarter and was caught by the shoelaces from behind in what otherwise would have been a 70-yard touchdown. Gurley was heavily utilized in the passing game this week as he saw seven targets, catching six of those passes including a 43-yard screen pass in which Gurley was able to use his open field
WR Robert Woods
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 171 - 2 (10 targets) - Robert Woods
had the game of his career so far as he was able to show off his speed on a 94-yard pass reception in which the team utilized a play-action pass for Woods to use his speed to get behind Johnathan Joseph. Woods later scored a second touchdown on a creative play call in which Woods started in motion as if he was going to do an end around, he quickly stopped and then went back the direction that he came from as the play was being snapped. Goff hit him on the pass and Woods was able to find the end zone.
WR Cooper Kupp
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 47 - 0 (7 targets) - Cooper Kupp
's role in this game was to be a possession receiver for short quick passes as we have seen a lot of time this season. Kupp averaged just 7.8 yards per reception and was a favorite for Goff when he felt a blitz. Kupp led the team in snaps in this game which was the first time that he has done so all season. Kupp who was second in the league in red zone targets had just one target inside the red zone this week and was unable to convert it for a touchdown.
WR Sammy Watkins
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 41 - 1 (3 targets) - Sammy Watkins
continues to have a limited role in this offense and is someone who has become touchdown dependent. Both of Watkins' two catch came on the same drive in which he caught a 24-yard reception over the middle and then on the next play, Watkins was able to score a 17-yard touchdown on a wide receiver screen in which Andrew Whitworth did a tremendous job as the lead blocker. The play call was a tremendous one as the Rams went play action and threw back to the other side of the field with just Watkins and Whitworth on the left side of the field. Watkins did injure his foot during this game and while he did not miss significant time during the game, it was clear that it was bothering him throughout the game and is something to keep an eye on.
TE Tyler Higbee
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (4 targets) - After scoring his first touchdown last week, Higbee had just two receptions and was largely a non-factor in this game. While Higbee continues to be on the field for a significant amount of snaps, the reality is that he is not a focal point of this offensive passing game and is often kept inside to block as Goff utilizes Todd Gurley
as his safety valve in the passing game instead of the tight end.
Cincinnati Bengals 20, Tennessee Titans 24
What you need to know
- The Bengals scored on long touchdown passes to A.J. Green
(70 yards) and Brandon LaFell
(37 yards) and had some measure of success throughout the game throwing quick slants. The Bengals clearly game planned to get the ball out quickly and were creative with play action and roll outs to try to buy Andy Dalton
time behind a shaky offensive line. The run game was non-existent again, with just 11 rushing attempts combined for Joe Mixon
and Giovani Bernard
. Without a reliable run game and rarely afforded the time to take deep shots in the passing game, the Bengals offense is pedestrian.
- Marcus Mariota
started how but had an up and down day as he finished with an interception and just one passing touchdowns while his receivers dropped four passes on the day. Corey Davis
was the number one target for the Titans, but it was Delanie Walker
who led the team in both receptions and receiving yards. Demarco Murray had a triple-touchdown outing as he hauled in one and ran for two on goal line carries yet only finished with 42 rushing yards on 14 attempts while Derrick Henry
finished with 52 rushing yards on 11 carries with a number of mistakes behind those 52 yards.
QB Andy Dalton
, 51 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 35 - 265 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0 - The Bengals went to a quick-strike attack in an attempt to scheme around the poor offensive line play. Much of the attack was built on quick slants off of play action from a shotgun formation to hold the linebackers. On the few deep pass attempts, the Bengals used misdirection, roll outs and play action to buy time. Dalton threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell
. The Bengals used a play-action fake to the running back and a fake end around to the wide receiver to confuse the Tennessee defense, which allowed LaFell to run uncovered right down the middle of the field for an easy pitch and catch. Dalton lost a fumble on a strip sack from behind when Brian Orakpo ran right around left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi. After leading the Bengals inside the Titans 10-yard line on the next drive, Dalton fumbled the snap on 1st-and-goal and wasn’t able to recover it. Dalton mostly made the best of what was available to him as a passer but did under throw A.J. Green
on his lone deep ball attempt to his star receiver. Green was behind the defense. Dalton did put the Bengals in position to pull off the upset with a late 70-yard touchdown strike to A.J. Green
on a slant. However, the Bengals defense couldn’t hold the lead and a last minute Hail Mary attempt by Dalton didn’t come close.
RB Joe Mixon
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 37 - 1, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (3 targets) - With Jeremy Hill
placed on injured reserve, Mixon is the clear lead back with Bernard being used as a change-of-pace and third down back. Mixon played 30-of-51 snaps and 9-of-11 running back carries. When Mixon had space, he was dangerous. He showed tremendous burst and the ability to change directions at high speed on early runs of 8 and 13 yards. Too often, the Titans had free runners hitting Mixon in the backfield right when he took the handoff. On back-to-back early carries, he was blown up for losses of 3 and 4 yards. The first loss came due to a well-timed Safety run blitz allowing a defender to arrive untouched off the edge. The next loss was due to a defensive tackle plowing through the line and meeting Mixon the instant he took the shotgun handoff. After an interception set the Bengals up with 1st-and-goal from the 4-yard line, Mixon pounded in the touchdown. He started left and then put his foot in the ground to cut back to the right through a big hole for the score. The Bengals tried to get Mixon involved as a receiver but failed. One screen attempt was set up well and would have likely gone for a big gain but Dalton threw too high for Mixon to handle. A later attempt at a screen was sniffed out by the Titans and blown up before Mixon could haul in the pass.
RB Giovani Bernard
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 10 - 0, Rec: 5 - 38 - 0 (5 targets) - Bernard played 21-of-51 snaps but had a relatively quiet day. He mostly played on third down and in the hurry-up offense but got a handful of snaps on first and second downs as well. Bernard racked up nearly half of his yardage on dump offs against prevent defense in a last-minute drive with the Bengals needing a touchdown.
WR Brandon LaFell
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 95 - 1 (10 targets) - LaFell played all but three snaps and was a big part of the game plan, with the Bengals offense getting the ball into his hands on some designed plays. He went for a short gain on a wide receiver screen early. LaFell benefitted from a slick play design that led to a busted coverage for a 37-yard touchdown catch. The Bengals faked a handoff to Mixon and then fake a reverse to the wide receiver on the short side of the field before Dalton spun to throw downfield. None of the Titans defensive backs were within five yards of LaFell on his deep post and he easily hauled in the deep touchdown. He nearly broke off another long touchdown on another nice play design. He lined up offset behind the line and the Bengals ran a variation of the triple option with Dalton and Mixon running option right and LaFell sneaking behind the line and taking the forward toss from Dalton for 25 yards. He nearly broke the tackle of the deep safety but was dragged down by his shoelaces at the 35-yard line.
WR A.J. Green
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 115 - 1 (7 targets) - Green was having another quiet game until late. He caught a couple slants and a comeback route early for solid gains but sat at just 45 receiving yards heading into the fourth quarter. With just under 10 minutes left, he got behind the Titans defense deep down the field but Dalton under threw the pass and Green didn’t have a chance to make a play on it. With five minutes to play, Green again caught a quick slant for what would have been another solid gain. However, this time the trailing defender dove to knock away the pass and fell to the ground, Green ran through the tackle attempt by the safety, and then was off to the races for a 70-yard touchdown. The big play put the Bengals up three late but the defense couldn’t hold the lead.
WR Josh Malone
, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets) - With Tyler Boyd
still out, Malone is clearly the #3 receiver and again played over half of the snaps (30 of 51). However, he was targeted just once (on the opening drive), catching a short pass.
WR John Ross
, 6 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Ross was active but played just 6-of-51 snaps. He was targeted on a deep ball early and the pass was thrown well by Dalton but Ross seemed to pull up in the middle of the route and just stopped running. To say things are progressing slowly for the rookie first-rounder would be an understatement.
TE Tyler Kroft
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (6 targets) - Kroft had a tough day. He wasn’t able to get any separation against the Titans and was held to just one catch.
QB Marcus Mariota
, 90 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 44 - 264 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 6 - 51 - 0 - Marcus Mariota
got off to a hot start leading the Titans offense as he completed all four of his passes for 55 yards on the first drive that would end in a touchdown. Mariota had a nice 28-yard run on an option play that included Adoree Jackson as the decoy. He showed no signs of a hamstring injury this week as Mariota ran a few designed runs throughout the game, including one that nearly went for a touchdown as he dove for the pylon but was just short. Near the end of the first half, Mariota did give up an interception to a leaping Bengals defender that Mariota didn't notice in his passing lane. Mariota was not sharp after halftime though as he took back to back sacks on one drive while missing on some good opportunities to make easy plays on their first few drives of the second half. Later in the fourth quarter, he did a great job running five yards for an important first down near the goal line, but Mariota was shaken up on the play as his head slammed against the ground. He came immediately back into the game and overthrew his receiver in the end zone on back to back plays before finding Demarco Murray on a short dump-off for his only passing touchdown of the day to win the game.
RB DeMarco Murray
, 67 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 42 - 2, Rec: 4 - 30 - 1 (4 targets) - Demarco Murray may not have ran efficiently, but he definitely ran effectively in this last week's game against the Bengals. He set up his two-yard touchdown run with a nice misdirection run to the left side for nine yards, showing great power as he fought off opposing tacklers. While this would be his longest run of the game, Murray found plenty of ways to contribute as he also hauled in four passes for 30 receiving yards. Murray leapt in for his second touchdown of the game just before halftime as he dove over the pile from the one-yard line, extending the ball over the plane for the score. Murray made what ended up being the game-deciding play on the Titans final drive, hauling in a pass just inside the 10-yard line and banging his way to the goal line before fully extending to dive for the game-winning touchdown. This would be Murray's third touchdown of the game, his first multi-touchdown game of the season and first three-touchdown game since 2013.
RB Derrick Henry
, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 52 - 0 (3 targets) - Henry did not look great in his limited opportunities despite the fact that he was more efficient on the ground than Demarco Murray. On a drive midway through the third quarter, Henry received a carry but stumbled to a one-yard loss. A few plays later, Henry was targeted on a dump off but dropped the ball as he started to run before focusing on bringing in the catch. Henry had another opportunity to make a play with his hands in the fourth quarter, and although Mariota threw it slightly high, it bounced off both of Henry's hands. Henry did bust off a nice run for 23 yards early in the second quarter, but this was one of his only notable highlight. Henry continues to split carries with Murray, which is encouraging for his prospects but still frustrating for fantasy owners.
WR Rishard Matthews
, 78 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 50 - 0 (7 targets) - Rishard Matthews
finished with five catches for 50 yards and a few missed opportunities in last Sunday's contest against the Bengals. He gained 28 of his yards on the first drive after hauling in Mariota's first pass of the game for eight yards followed by a 20 yard catch and run to get the Titans into the red zone. Matthews dropped what would have been an easy touchdown midway through the second quarter as he was wide open down the middle of the field. He also nearly hauled in a touchdown late in the game, but it was a tough catch in the middle of two defenders while falling backwards into the end zone. Matthews ranked third in targets here behind Corey Davis
and Delanie Walker
, but he remains an integral part of this offense.
WR Corey Davis
, 78 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 48 - 0 (10 targets) - Corey Davis
led the Titans in targets with 10, but he only managed to grab four of them for 40 receiving yards. Davis hauled in his first two targets in this game for nine and 15 yards. On this 15-yard reception, Davis pivoted back to the ball just in time, actually looking surprised as the ball was out of Mariota's hands while Davis's back was still turned. Davis bobbled it, but did bring in the reception, showing great control and focus. In the third quarter Davis hauled in a nice catch underneath into the red zone, and he had a good run at the goal line but the ball came loose while he extended for the pylon. While the play was originally called a touchdown, it was overturned and ruled as a touchback instead. Davis would not have another reception after that play.
TE Delanie Walker
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 63 - 0 (9 targets) - Walker put in another consistent performance as he led the Titans with six receptions and 63 receiving yards, his fifth game of the year with at least 60 receiving yards. Walker was consistently involved throughout the game as he was very much a safety blanket option for Marcus Mariota
. He hauled in a couple receptions on the Titans two-minute drill before halftime to help set up move along a field goal drive. Walker was called for a false start on the Titans' first drive of the second half, but he followed up the penalty by nearly making up for it with a 16-yard reception on third down, falling just one yard short of the first down. Walker made a huge 20-yard reception on a deep crossing route to jolt the Titans into Bengals territory on their game-winning drive. Walker was targeted three times on this drive as he was a big part of the offense then the game mattered most.