San Francisco 49ers 16, Minnesota Vikings 24
What you need to know
San Francisco 49ers
- Kyle Shanahan's game plan and play-calling produced at least five plays wherein a receiver was completely uncovered. He manipulated Minnesota's defense by moving Kyle Juszczyk
, George Kittle
, Matt Breida
, and even Alfred Morris
all over the formation. Those plays may have succeeded, but execution elsewhere was lacking. If there's anything to take away from this game, it's that, continuing their preseason trend, the 49ers will be spending most of their time in two wide receiver, one tight end personnel, and that tight end is Kittle. Similarly, they'll have Juszczyk on the field more than Trent Taylor
, and Marquise Goodwin
(or Dante Pettis
) on the field more than Pierre Garcon
- There were storylines galore as the Vikings took on the San Francisco 49ers in week one. Dalvin Cook
made his return after a lost year to injury and looked to pick up right where he left off while Jimmy Garoppolo
looked to improve on his 7-0 mark as a starter. This was a game where the Vikings dominated early, and it almost felt as if they had a big lead the entire game. It was the defense who came up big this week with 3 interceptions, a forced fumble and recovery on the two-yard line, and a touchdown of their own. The 49ers managed to pull the game within a score but could not find the end zone late to try and tie things up. Kirk Cousins
looked good in his debut as he tried to justify his new fully guaranteed contract. The Vikings travel to Green Bay next week to take on a healthy Aaron Rodgers
and a Packers squad who looks to get revenge for last season.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 33 - 261 - 1 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 2 - 6 - 0 - Garoppolo had a mixed performance. Not the kind of mixed performance that various 49ers quarterbacks have been described as in this space in previous years. It was higher variance, if you will. Garoppolo took shots when the situation warranted it and generally found his receivers to fail him. George Kittle
dropped a wide-open, over-the-shoulder pass that would have at least gained 30 yards. Pierre Garcon
dropped a touchdown pass. That said, he did benefit from a spectacular touchdown catch by Dante Pettis
. And he also continued the trend from preseason wherein he threw high and inside to in-breaking receivers. Two of his three interceptions were of this variety, including Minnesota's pick-six to extend their lead to 17-3.
RB Alfred Morris
, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 38 - 0 - Unsurprisingly, Morris gained all of his rushing yardage on inside zone runs. Otherwise, the story of Morris' usage and performance found its genesis deep in Vikings territory. Twice, he lined up out wide as a pawn in Kyle Shanahan's neverending chess match. This bit of trickery resulted in 31 yards and a touchdown for other receivers. Also twice, he fumbled near the goal line, the second of which resulted in a turnover when San Francisco was about to tie the game.
RB Matt Breida
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 46 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets) - As was the case in San Francisco's third preseason game, Breida did not start, instead substituting in for Alfred Morris
when the down-and-distance situation warranted. Especially odd was that, for a running back who figures to be the pass catcher of the two, Breida wasn't utilized much there either; ditto the red zone.
WR Trent Taylor
, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 28 - 0 (6 targets) - As is to be expected when an offense is trailing the entire game, Taylor played more snaps than usual. Performance-wise, he didn't do much outside of a couple of well-designed pass plays that found him open in space thanks to defensive indifference. Usage-wise, however, Kyle Shanahan seemed to send him out wide in the formation (i.e., rather than in the slot) more than he did last season.
WR Pierre Garcon
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (6 targets) - As was the case in San Francisco's third preseason game, Garcon was removed for a substitute far more than you would expect for a true No. 1 wide receiver. He caught a ball and fell on the ground hard? Wave on Kendrick Bourne
. He caught a pass after playing a number of consecutive snaps? Wave on Kendrick Bourne
. This isn't Garcon's fault. He's old. But with a trend so notable, it's worth taking account. Oh by the way, he also dropped a touchdown pass.
WR Dante Pettis
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 61 - 1 (5 targets) - As was telegraphed during San Francisco's third preseason game, Pettis assumed Marquise Goodwin
's role when he left the game, up to and including being the lone wide receiver in 22 personnel formations (i.e., two running backs and two tight ends). The highlight reels will show his improvisational, acrobatic touchdown catch with the 49ers down 20-6 early in the third quarter, but the (other) hidden variable going forward is that Kyle Shanahan used Pettis for jet-sweep play action four times in the first half after not using Goodwin at all in that capacity.
WR Marquise Goodwin
, 17 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Goodwin left the game via injury early during the second quarter. He hadn't done anything prior to that except act as a decoy prior to that. And yet, there are positives to take away from his time on the field: 1) He continues to be the receiver slated for duty in one-receiver formations; and 2) He was getting shadowed by All-Pro cornerback Xavier Rhodes before getting hurt.
TE George Kittle
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 90 - 0 (9 targets) - As was predicted in this space during the Preseason Week 3 recap, Kittle was on the field for over 75 percent of San Francisco's offensive plays. He was targeted early and often, but especially when the 49ers found themselves trailing by one score or more. Down 10-0 in the second quarter, Shanahan called Kittle's number on consecutive plays for a total of 31 yards. On the next drive, down 10-3, Kittle had gains of 23 and 9 yards, the latter of which came on a nifty play design in the red zone that sent Alfred Morris
(of all players) outside to wide receiver.
QB Kirk Cousins
, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 36 - 244 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 26 - 0 - It was not an eye-popping day stat wise for Cousins, but he did manage to do enough to pull out the win for the Vikings. He was not overly accurate, completing only 55% of his passes, but he did show more chemistry with his receiving group and did have to endure three drops from his normally sure handed receivers. His best play of the day came on a 22-yard bullet down the sideline to Stefon Diggs
. The ball was laid out perfectly to Diggs, who had a step on the corner in coverage, and led him right into the end zone. The second touchdown came on an 11-yard pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph
right up the seam. Cousins took the snap in the gun and knew right away where he was going for the ball, finding Rudolph in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. While he may not have been as accurate as he wanted, he did show off his legs on a few occasions and even picked up a big 13-yard carry for a first down. There was one scary moment where he tried to dive forward on a run for a first down but was rudely met by a defender and stopped in his tracks. Cousins had lowered his head but managed to avoid any helmet to helmet contact but did take a big blow to his throwing shoulder. He could be seen wincing after the play but managed to stay in the game and pull off the victory.
RB Dalvin Cook
, 57 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 40 - 0, Rec: 6 - 55 - 0 (7 targets) - The big question coming into the week was whether Cook was going to be on a snap restriction. If he was, this plan went out the window on the first drive as he touched the ball on 6 of the first 9 plays of the game. The drive resulted in a punt, but it showed that the Vikings were committed to their second year back. Cook did not find much success on the ground behind a patched together offensive line but did show his threat of catching the ball out of the backfield hauling in 6 of his 7 targets. In a single game, Cook is already more than half way to his receiving totals from a year ago. On the ground, Cook could not find any room to run up the middle but did manage a 15-yard scamper off the right side for a first down. Cook also fumbled on this run and gave way to Latavius Murray
for a few snaps before coming back into the game. His biggest contribution was a 17-yard catch and run swing pass out of the back field for another first down. The Vikings did spell him late in the game after an earlier fumble cost the team points, but it was only temporary as Cook still saw meaningful carries at the end of the game.
RB Latavius Murray
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 42 - 0 - It is easy to forget the Murray was a Pro Bowler and had a season with over 1,000 yards when he was in Oakland as he fights to remain relevant in Minnesota. He was the only back to find any sort of rhythm or success against the 49ers this week, though very limited. He led the team in rush yards despite 5 less carries than Cook. His biggest contribution came in the form of insurance. After Cook had fumbled away the ball on the 49ers side of the field in the first half, Murray was used down the stretch to help run out the clock and save wear and tear on Cook. Murray managed a lone 9-yard run for his best play of the game and was not targeted in the passing game at all. The Vikings did not spend a lot of time in the red zone today or near the goal line. It will be interesting to see which back is given the ball in a 1st and goal to go situation as the season progresses.
WR Adam Thielen
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 102 - 0 (12 targets) - Thielen looked to continue his breakout season from a year ago, just like Diggs, and benefitted from the 49ers paying more attention to Diggs. Cousins targeted Thielen a team high 12 times, but he only managed to bring in half of those targets. Thielen, normally a sure handed receiver, did drop two of the balls and could have had an even bigger day. He was targeted out of the slot again and ran his normal short crossing routes to try and get open. His big gainer came on a 34-yard busted coverage play. Kirk Cousins
stared him down the entire play, yet Thielen managed to be standing all alone down the left side line. There was no defender within 10-yards of him and he sprinted down the sideline before being pushed out of bounds by the safety. The only real knock against Thielen is the lack of touchdowns, but if he continues to get 12 targets a game there is a much higher chance of him finding the end zone more this season.
WR Stefon Diggs
, 61 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0, Rec: 3 - 43 - 1 (6 targets) - There is a lot of competition in the Vikings' receiving core for targets, but the bulk are going to go through Diggs and Thielen. This may be one of the only times you see Diggs not in the top 2 players for targets in a given week. He finished a close third behind running back Dalvin Cook
, but did one thing no other receiver did, found the end zone. Diggs had to contend with Richard Sherman and a stingy 49er secondary and only hauled in half of his 6 targets this week. He did bet his man down the left sideline for a 22-yard touchdown but could not find very much room to run outside of that. All the extra attention paid to Diggs did help open things up for Thielen and Treadwell, but Cousins struggled with accuracy this week and both receivers had at least one drop. Diggs looks to continue his breakout season from a year ago but is going to have a difficult time as opposing teams key in on trying to stop him.
WR Laquon Treadwell
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (4 targets) - This is going to be a make or break season for Treadwell. The big bodies receiver was a first round pick but has not lived up to that billing at all. Plagued by drops and poor route running in his first two seasons, Treadwell is on his last leg for the Vikings. He shows glimpses of being a big-time receiver, but still struggled this week. There was a ball thrown to him in the first half that nearly hit him square in the chest that he dropped, but then another play where he snared the same pass, broke two tackles, and dove for a first down. 16 of his 18 yards came on that single play this week but Cousins kept trying to get him involved in the offense. It is going to be an uphill battle for Treadwell this season, but he could emerge as a great sleeper play if he starts to use all the extra room created by Diggs and Thielen when defenses key in on them.
TE Kyle Rudolph
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 1 (2 targets) - It was a very quiet day for Rudolph this week with the big tight end only receiving two targets the entire game. All three of the Viking tight ends caught a pass this week, Rudolph's just happened to be in the end zone. His greatest asset is his size and jumping ability in the red zone. Rudolph hauled in an 11-yard pass right down the seam for a Viking touchdown. Cousins knew exactly where he was going with the ball before it was even snapped. Outside of this play, Rudolph was locked down by an athletic core of linebackers for the 49ers. Always a boom or bust candidate, Rudolph continues to rely heavily on red zone touchdown opportunities.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48, New Orleans Saints 40
What you need to know
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Rookie RB Ronald Jones was inactive for week 1. Justin Evans returned a Mike Gillislee
fumble 34 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Desean Jackson left late in the game with a concussion, and has entered the leagues concussion protocol. Tampa Bay scored on 6 of their first 7 possessions. Kicker Catanzaro was 6 for 6 on extra points, and 2 of 3 on field goal attempts.
New Orleans Saints
- This was supposed to be an easy win for the Saints. A kickoff game against the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers who were starting a washed-up backup quarterback against a high-powered offense and stingy defense looking to avenge their playoff loss to the Vikings. However, the game did not go as planned and despite Drew Brees
looking like an early MVP candidate, the Saints were taken to the woodshed and gave up the most points of the weekend. Tampa Bay hung 48 points and Ryan Fitzpatrick
threw for over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns against a defense that ranked near the top in almost every category last season. Alvin Kamara
could not find any success on the ground despite a few goal line carries and Drew Brees
had to air out the ball all game while playing catch up. The defense had no answer for Fitzpatrick and was burned by big play after big play. The Saints will look to rebound next weekend against the Browns at home.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 28 - 417 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 12 - 36 - 1 - Fitzpatrick lit the Saints defense up on their own turf, out dueling Drew Brees
as the Tampa Bay receiving game showed off its many weapons. Fitzpatrick was extremely efficient with his top receivers, as Evans(7 of 7) and Jackson(5 of 5) both converted all of their targets into catches, including several long touchdowns. Fitzpatrick's deep ball was incredibly accurate throughout the contest, and he did a great job of moving around with his feet to buy time in the pocket and even scramble for positive yardage on several occasions. He scored on his second pass attempt of the game, finding Desean Jackson down the right side of the field from a shotgun formation. On Tampa Bay's next drive, Fitzpatrick set the offense up in the New Orleans red zone with dime passes to Chris Godwin
and Mike Evans
. After driving down inside the five yard line, Fitzy faked a handoff from a goal line set and rolled right, lowering his shoulder and powering through a tackle attempt for a touchdown. Fitzpatrick found Chris Godwin
while scrambling right late in the second quarter for his third touchdown of the day. The receiver fought through press coverage and secured a perfect back shoulder pass from Fitzpatrick. The fireworks continued later in the third quarter, as Fitzpatrick found Evans deep down the right side of the field, burning his only defender for an easy 50 yard score. Fitzpatrick hooked up with Desean Jackson again for a 36 yard touchdown early on in the 4th, laying up a beautiful ball on a deep post. The Tampa Bay offense looks to be in capable hands until Winston's return from suspension.
RB Peyton Barber
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 69 - 0 - Barber had a solid but unspectacular game as Ryan Fitzpatrick
and the receiving core lit it up. Barber drew the start, breaking his longest run off left tackle for a 23 yard gain in the first quarter. The Bucs kept running just enough to make the play action effective. Barber had a goal line touchdown vultured by Fitzpatrick in the 1st, as the QB faked a handoff and a rolled out on a bootleg, punching the ball in himself. Barber got a couple more carries inside the five yard line later in the third quarter, but was unable to find the end zone. The Bucs used Barber to grind clock in the 4th quarter as they held off Drew Brees
and the Saints offense. Barber wasn't target in the passing game, but backup Jacquizz Rodgers
only logged 3 touches to Barber's 19.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers
, 15 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets) - Rodgers mixed in to relieve Peyton Barber
occasionally. He saw his first action at the end of the second quarter, catching a short screen pass for a minimal gain on his first snap. Rodgers finished with 3 touches to Barber's 19.
RB Shaun Wilson
, 2 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0 - Wilson played special teams and logged one carry late in the game for a six yard gain.
WR Mike Evans
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 147 - 1 (7 targets) - Evans had a monster day as Fitzpatrick tossed dimes all over the field . Despite drawing the coverage of Marshon Lattimore, who gave him fits in both matchups last season, Evans converted all seven of his targets into receptions. He hauled in a back shoulder throw from Fitzpatrick down the right sideline late in the first quarter for a big gain on his first target. Fitzpatrick found Evans on a deep post route in the third quarter for a big gain that set the Bucs up inside the New Orleans five yard line. Evans left the game briefly in the 3rd quarter, but returned to score a 50 yard touchdown, lining up wide right as the only receiver his side of the formation and burning Lattimore with ease. Evans escaped the game unharmed and could absorb some more targets if Jackson misses time.
WR DeSean Jackson
, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 146 - 2 (5 targets) - Jackson had a big day that started early. He hauled in Fitzpatrick's first pass attempt for a short gain on an out route, then scored two plays later. For his first touchdown, Jackson lined up just off the offensive line, then took off on a fly route down the right side of the field. His defender totally lost him, and Fitzpatrick laid the ball up for an easy score. Jackson flexed a couple of yards off the line of scrimmage and burned his defender right down the middle of the field for a 36 yard touchdown early in the 4th quarter on another dime pass from Fitzpatrick. The two hooked up on another deep ball down the right sideline on the Bucs' next drive, with Jackson going down after the catch. He left the game and was later diagnosed with a concussion. Jackson was a perfect five of five on his targets before leaving the game.
WR Chris Godwin
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 41 - 1 (4 targets) - Godwin worked in the third receiver spot with Humphries, depending on the offensive personnel grouping. He started his day with a beautiful diving catch up the right seam near the end of the first quarter. Fitzpatrick found him again on a skinny post early in the 2nd. Godwin fumbled at the end of the catch and run but was able to recover the ball. Godwin made a strongly contested catch just over the front pylon of the end zone late in the second quarter for the Bucs' third touchdown of the game. He split out wide right of the formation, putting a double move on his defender before hauling in the score. Despite the hot start, Godwin was only targeted once in the second half. He could see more targets next week if Jackson misses time with his concussion.
WR Adam Humphries
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 27 - 0 (5 targets) - Humphries played his usual role as slot man in multiple WR formations. He was quiet in the first half but contributed a few catches in the second half. Humphries did have a huge gain on a screen pass that was called back at the end of the first half for a holding penalty. He had his biggest gain on a nice catch-and-run in the third quarter that netted 20 yards. Humphries may see some extra targets next week if Desean Jackson misses time with a concussion.
TE O.J. Howard
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 54 - 0 (2 targets) - Howard's targets were limited as receivers Jackson and Evans drew most of the looks from Fitzpatrick. Howard had a big 35 yard pickup early in the second quarter, outrunning his defender down the right sideline after high pointing a Fitzpatrick pass over two defensive backs. Howard split off wide right of the formation on the next offensive drive and made a leaping catch over is defender for another big gain. Howard was only targeted the two times, but had nearly twice as many offensive snaps as fellow TE Cameron Brate
TE Cameron Brate
, 24 offensive snaps (2 targets) - Brate wasn't used much in the passing game as Fitzpatrick was dialed in with receivers Evans and Jackson. Brate nearly made an amazing high-point catch near the end zone in the second quarter, but he was forced out of bounds by a defender. It was his only target of the day. OJ Howard had nearly twice as many snaps as Brate.
QB Drew Brees
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 37 - 45 - 439 - 3 TD / 0 INT - After playing second fiddle to the run game last season, it was the Drew Brees
show this week as the Saints were playing catchup all game. Brees was attempting to match Ryan Fitzpatrick
who was torching his own defense and found a rhythm with top receiver Michael Thomas
. Brees surpassed 400 yards passing, did not throw an interception, but could not muster one final touchdown drive to try and tie the game. 25 completions and almost 300 of his yards came in the form of 29 passes to Michael Thomas
and Alvin Kamara
. The run game was all but abandoned due to an early deficit and Brees went about extracting large chunks of yards with every pass. Brees first touchdown came on a beautifully thrown ball to Ted Ginn
Jr. Brees laid the ball deep down the right sideline for a 28-yard touchdown. Ginn simply ran past his man for an easy touchdown. The second touchdown was a 6-yard slant to Michael Thomas
into the end zone. Brees put the ball right on the numbers for another easy touchdown. His third and final touchdown came on a short swing pass to Alvin Kamara
who sprinted into the end zone for another easy score. Brees also added 2 two-point conversions to try and even the score. Brees may have had his best game in the past two seasons, but he was outdueled by Ryan Fitzpatrick
and got no help from his own defense. Brees will look to get back on track against a Brown's defense that created 6 turnovers against Pittsburgh.
RB Alvin Kamara
, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 29 - 2, Rec: 9 - 112 - 1 (12 targets) - It is hard to get anything going on the ground when your team is down, and the opposition seems to be able to score at will. Kamara was able to cash in on some easy goal line touchdowns as well as one through the air within 10 yards. The vaunted rush attack that kept teams at bay last season was never able to get going as they collectively rushed the ball 13 times for 43 total yards. Kamara found success rushing the ball off the ends for 5 and 1-yard touchdowns and a two-point conversion right up the middle. Kamara also made his presence felt in the passing game catching 9 of 12 targets for over 100 yards. He also took a quick swing pass into the end zone, again striking from the outside. The Saints will need to do a better job establishing the run next week against the Browns to have a more balanced offense. Kamara will continue to see the bulk of the work while Ingram is serving his suspension and while Gillislee is recovering from his disastrous fumble today.
RB Mike Gillislee
, 7 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 9 - 0 - This is a game that Gillislee will soon want to forget. The backup running back fumbled one of his three carries and the ball was picked up and returned for a touchdown by Tampa. Thankfully the Saints had abandoned the run and he did not get a chance to touch the ball again. Gillislee is a temporary backup while Mark Ingram
is serving his suspension.
WR Michael Thomas
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 16 - 180 - 1 (17 targets) - This is the kind of game that fantasy owners dream about for Michael Thomas
. Not only did he finally get over his end zone allergy, but he also hauled in 16 of his 17 targets for almost 200 yards. He did cough up the football once, but he made up for it with sheer volume. There seemed to be no one that could cover Thomas today. Tampa tried zone coverage, one on one with their best corner, and even put a safety over top to help and he just could not be stopped. Brees and Thomas found a weakness in the defense just behind the corner and in front of the safety and were able to exploit it all day. Whenever Tampa seemed to key in on it, they would simply move Thomas to the other side or run a route to the inside to keep the defense honest. His touchdown came on an easy 6-yard quick slant where he was not even touched going into the end zone. The rest of his yards came in 10-15-yard chunks aside from one 35-yard reception where he broke free down the side line. Thomas had a hard time finding the end zone last season, especially in goal to go situations. With the run game currently in flux, Thomas should see a lot more opportunity to catch the ball. This was a monster game for the top Saints' receiver and he has another great matchup next week against the Browns.
WR Ted Ginn
, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 5 - 68 - 1 (6 targets) - The ball was flying all over the place this week and Ginn managed to cash in. It was Tampa Bay who had receivers haul in touchdowns of 50+ yards, but Ginn showed he has not lost a step when he ran past his man for an easy 28-yard touchdown. On the first play of the second quarter, Ginn simply ran past his man and Brees laid a beautiful ball right into the bread basket for an easy touchdown. Ginn caught 5 of his 6 targets but was competing with Michael Thomas
and Alvin Kamara
who accounted for 2/3 of all completions and most of the yards. Ginn is a threat over the top on every single play and it was a little surprising they did not take more shots down the field with him, especially when they were trailing late in the game.
TE Ben Watson
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 44 - 0 (4 targets) - The ball was flying all over the place today, but Watson did not play a major role in that. He was targeted 4 times and hauled in every ball that came his way. He was limited to under 50-yards and almost half of his total came on a single play. Brees launched a pass 19 yards down the sideline and Watson came down with it falling forward for another 2 yards. Watson did not play a major role in the red zone and Thomas and Kamara took most of that work. Brees has historically done well with very athletic tight ends but it may take some more time to build chemistry and get Watson going.
Tennessee Titans 20, Miami Dolphins 27
What you need to know
- In the longest game in NFL history due to nearly four hours of lightning delays, the Titans suffered a multitude of losses not reflected on the scoreboard. Marcus Mariota
looked sharp until taking a hard hit to his throwing elbow and throwing interceptions on back to back pass attempts thereafter before exiting the game. The Titans started with Derrick Henry
in the backfield, but quickly shifted that workload to Dion Lewis
, who was much more effective both on the ground and through the air. Corey Davis
was the center of the passing attack with a career-high 13 targets, but the Titans may have lost Delanie Walker
for the season due to a late-game ankle injury.
- This was a very sloppy game featuring two teams who did not quite look ready for the season to start. Tennessee was favored but Miami was able to claw and fight its way to a victory. Both teams had to combat two weather delays and wet field conditions. Miami knocked out Titans' starting quarterback Marcus Mariota
but still almost allowed them back into the game. Had it not been for a monster game by Kenny Stills
, the Dolphins would be 0-1 right now. The defense created 3 turnovers, but the offense gave the ball right back twice. The Dolphins will travel to New York to face the Jets next week.
QB Blaine Gabbert
, 33 offensive snaps, Pass: 11 - 22 - 117 - 0 TD / 1 INT - Blaine Gabbert
was thrust into the game early in the second half due to an elbow injury sustained by Marcus Mariota
. Gabbert completed just 50 percent of his pass attempts while throwing an interception. He did not look sharp in this limited playing time and may need to start next week depending on Mariota's injury status.
QB Marcus Mariota
, 36 offensive snaps, Pass: 9 - 16 - 103 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - 15 - 0 - Marcus Mariota
started out hot in his season debut, completing seven of his first eight pass attempts while moving the Titans down the field on two solid drives. He was making great decisions while hitting his targets routinely on these first couple of drives. On his second possession, Mariota did a great job picking up on an incoming blitz to get the ball out quickly to an uncovered Tajae Sharpe
for a 17-yard gain. On that same drive, Mariota would hit Luke Stocker
with a 33-yard bomb over the middle as he perfectly lofted the pass after a well-executed play action. Mariota and team would fail to convert that drive into any points though as they fizzled out on downs near the goal line. Near the start of the second half, Mariota would take a hard hit to his throwing arm elbow that sidelined him until the next offensive series. Things would then go downhill fast for Mariota. On his very next throw, Mariota would overthrow his intended target for his first interception of the game. After returning from a second lightning delay of nearly two hours, Mariota would throw yet another interception before being pulled for the remainder of the game. With his only two pass attempts after the hit to his elbow resulting in interceptions, it was clear something was not right with Mariota. His status will require monitoring throughout the week.
RB Dion Lewis
, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 75 - 1, Rec: 5 - 35 - 0 (8 targets) - Dion Lewis
did not see his first touch until the Titans' third series, a few minutes into the second quarter. His first carry actually went for negative yardage as Lewis made a poor attempt to cut back on a toss before being smothered behind the line. Lewis would haul in a dump-off and make some nice juke moves to gain 12 yards on the next play though.
On the next drive to close out the first half, Lewis shot out of the backfield and plowed over a defender on his way to a powerful 9-yard gain. This would be the last play prior to the first lightning delay of nearly two hours. Lewis looked unstoppable on his longest run of the day near the end of the third quarter as he cut back to find a hole before spinning to avoid a defender and powering his way 26 yards downfield requiring two defenders to take him out of bounds. Later on that drive, it was Lewis who got the nod from within the five-yard line for his first rushing touchdown of the season. This was a big carry for Lewis, as everyone expected Henry to be the primary goal-line back. Lewis ended the day as the Titans' second most targeted receiver with 21 overall touches.
RB Derrick Henry
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 26 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets) - Derrick Henry
started the game as the lead back and put together a few decent runs behind good blocking, but his efficiency was lackluster overall with only two of his runs resulting in more than three-yard gains. Henry was targeted once and hauled it in for five yards. After his high usage in the first quarter, Henry was basically an afterthought to Dion Lewis
, who out-touched him 21-to-3. The game script may have played a role here with the Titans being behind and Lewis the better pass-catching back.
WR Corey Davis
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 62 - 0 (13 targets) - Corey Davis
was a very big part of this Titans offense early and often, finishing with a career-high 13 targets. The issue here is that Davis really didn't do much with those targets as he only managed to haul in six of them for 62 yards. His first catch of the game was a great wheel route across the middle for a 17-yard pickup. Davis then led off the next drive with a 10 yard gain from a short pass. Davis seemed to struggle under solid coverage from rookie cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick and Xavien Howard throughout the day, as they were instrumental to some of his missed targets. Davis had a chance to score near the goal line during the first half, but he simply could not overcome the coverage from Fitzpatrick to haul in the catch.
WR Tajae Sharpe
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 17 - 0 (3 targets) - Tajae Sharpe
saw some significant playing time with Rishard Matthews
still learning the new offense after missing the preseason. Sharpe was targeted three times but hauled in just one reception for 17 yards coming off a cornerback blitz where he was left wide open.
WR Rishard Matthews
, 36 offensive snaps - Rishard Matthews
was not targeted in Week 1 as he is still learning this new offense after missing the entire preseason. Matthews did see some snaps on special teams as he returned a punt while also playing limited offensive snaps.
TE Delanie Walker
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 52 - 0 (7 targets) - Delanie Walker
was targeted seven times, hauling in four receptions for 52 yards. He got off to a slow start though, with only eight of those yards coming from Marcus Mariota
before yielding to Blaine Gabbert
after injury. The big news here, however, is the gruesome injury Walker suffered late in this contest as he had to be carted off with only a couple minutes remaining in the game. Early reports indicate Walker suffered a dislocated ankle along with a likely fracture, which should sideline him for the remainder of this season.
TE Jonnu Smith
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (3 targets) - Jonnu Smith
was targeted only three times in limited snaps, with two of those targets coming after the injury to Delanie Walker
. Smith hauled in one target for 12 yards on a nice route across the middle. Smith will assume the role as a starter with Delanie Walker
QB Ryan Tannehill
, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 28 - 230 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - 4 - 0 - This was a very up and down game for Tannehill. He showed some flashes of brilliance and the ability to make the big play, but also the rust that comes from a lost season due to injury and poor decision making. He was able to connect with Kenny Stills
for two touchdowns and had a run game that supported him to the tune of just over 4 yards per carry, but he could not put the Titans away late in the game. Tannehill also threw two interceptions that almost cost them a victory. The first touchdown was a 10-yard strike to Stills who took a quick out up the sideline for a touchdown. The defense doubled the inside receiver and left Stills open to the outside for the easy score. The second touchdown came on a deep ball right down the middle of the field that Stills took for 75 yards and a touchdown. He ran right between the safeties and was not touched all the way to the end zone. Tannehill did just enough for the Dolphins to win today but he is going to have to play much better if they want to fight for a playoff spot this season.
RB Kenyan Drake
, 46 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 48 - 0, Rec: 3 - 18 - 0 (4 targets) - The Dolphins started out with Drake as the clear-cut lead back, but as the game wore on he seemed to lose steam and Frank Gore
seemed to get going. Drake had 5 more carries than Gore and 13 fewer yards overall. He had one long run of 16-yards where he managed to break into the second level, but outside of that he was stopped at the line time and time again. Drake also did not contribute much to the receiving game either as his 3 receptions accounted for less than 20 yards. It was a very sloppy game for all parties involved and the weather really did not help things. Drake is still going to be the feature back going into next week, but if Gore continues to perform well, he may push the workload split closer to 50/50.
RB Frank Gore
, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 61 - 0 - It looked like it was turn back the clock night for Gore as he rushed to the tune of more than 6 yards per carry serving as the backup to Drake. Gore lead the team in rushing and looked like the most competent player not named Kenny Stills
. He broke a 21-yard gallop through the second level and looked poised in pass protection on third down situations. It may not be time to abandon Drake yet and buy in stock for Gore, but he certainly did not do anything to hurt his cause today. If he continues to find success, look for his workload to increase in the coming weeks.
WR Jakeem Grant
, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 38 - 0 (7 targets) - Grant was the second leading receiver this week but made more of an impact on special teams than he did with the first team offense. He was targeted 7 times but made minimal gains with all his catches. His big contribution was a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. This came right after the Titans had tied the game 10-10 to start the 4th quarter. Grant will have to continue to contribute on special teams if he wants to see a role in the offense, especially with the return of Davante Parker looming.
WR Danny Amendola
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 26 - 0 (6 targets) - The Dolphins' offense was a one man show this week with everything going through Stills. Amendola played in the slot and caught short passes. Tannehill was a little late with the ball and never quite hit Amendola in stride. His longest reception came out to be 8 yards and he had no chance to move the ball any further. Amendola has a very similar skill set to Stills and it will be hard to compete if Stills continues to excel. There should be ample YAC opportunity for Amendola as Tannehill gets more accurate and builds more rapport with his receivers.
WR Kenny Stills
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 106 - 2 (5 targets) - The entire offense seemed to run through Stills this week even though it was only two big plays. He had 5 total targets but surpassed 100 yards and two touchdowns. The first touchdown came when Tannehill noticed the defender jumping an inside route that left Stills breaking the outside wide open. The two receivers crossed in front of one another, giving just enough time for Stills to cut the corner and dive at the pylon for a 10-yard touchdown. The second touchdown was a beautiful bomb right down the middle of the field. Stills split the safeties and ran untouched for 75-yards and into the end zone. With Davante Parker out of commission with a broken finger, Stills stepped up to lead the team. The run game did just enough to open things up for Stills. It will be tougher for Stills to duplicate this performance due to the skewed number put up with the one big play. He serves best running routes underneath and in traffic. Look for his numbers to regress significantly next week.
TE Mike Gesicki
, 21 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (2 targets) - It was a very quiet day for any receiver not named Kenny Stills
. Gesicki was only targeted twice and hauled in one. The athletic rookie tight end was not utilized as much as many people thought he would be, but Tannehill struggled to get a rhythm going with any of his receivers. Gesicki's value comes in the red zone and the Dolphins did not spend a lot of time there this week. Look for his numbers to increase as the season wears on.
New York Jets 48, Detroit Lions 17
What you need to know
New York Jets
- While itís fair for Jets fans to be excited by Sam Darnold
ó even with some blemishes on the performance ó Fantasy GMs should continue to be wary. Ziggy Ansah was absent for most of the game with a shoulder injury and while the absence of one guy shouldnít have led to the disintegration of the Lions defense, it didnít help. This is still a work in progress. Quincy Enunwa
seems like a potential PPR option, but even he is a bit too risky to rely on frequently as more than a depth wide receiver. Isaiah Crowell
is intriguing, but we still see a RBBC here, and looking at the split in carries (12 for Bilal Powell
, 10 for Crowell), itís hard to rely on them as any more than a flex.
- The Detroit Lions struggled mightily against the New York Jets on Monday night. Matthew Stafford
was inaccurate and struggled with reads, which led to four interceptions, and a fifth by Matt Cassel
. LeGarrette Blount
was the lead back but Kerryon Johnson
was the more effective. The passing game saw Kenny Golladay
leading the offense, showing range and wider variety of route usage than last season.
QB Sam Darnold
, Pass: 16 - 21 - 198 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 6 - -1 - 0 - Things couldnít have gotten off to a worse start for the rookie quarterback Monday night, as his very first throw was picked off and returned for a touchdown. It was a questionable play call which saw Darnold rolling out to his right and then throwing across both his body and the entire field into what should have been an obvious safety. The Jets did a poor job of setting their quarterback up for success on that first play, and Darnold did a poor job of recognizing the play was going poorly and adjusting. In some ways, though, it seemed to take the pressure off Darnold, who came back and played, if not flawlessly, well enough for both the Jets and their fans to be happy. Darnold showed a lot of his good aspects ó resiliency, mobility, an ability to read defenses and adjust ó throughout the game. He also showed some flaws, whether it was underthrowing receivers or missing open routes. His 41-yard touchdown throw to Robby Anderson
showed both the bad and the good. On the plus side, he correctly baited the safety into stepping forward, costing the player time, which allowed Anderson to gain a few steps on him as the receiver ran his route downfield. On the negative side, the ball was underthrown, and required Anderson to leap up and fight the defender for the ball. The good far outweighed the bad for Darnold though, and he showed tremendous poise and tenacity in overcoming early miscues to execute the offense.
RB Bilal Powell
, Rush: 12 - 60 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets) - Powell started the game on six straight plays but had to leave with an eye issue. While Isaiah Crowell
ís numbers might make it tough to notice, Powell had a good day as well, averaging 5 yards per carry. He showed some good burst and the ability to run for tough yards as well. Powell and Crowell look like they are going to split carries, even when one has the hot hand, which Crowell seemed to.
RB Isaiah Crowell
, Rush: 10 - 102 - 2 - Crowell didnít get the start but looked very good in his first regular season game with the Jets. He finished off a critical drive in the first quarter with a 6-yard touchdown run and put the final nail in the Lionsí coffin with a late 62-yard score to finish off a 31 point third quarter. On that play, Crowell took the handoff and went right, finding a big hole opened by the Jets offensive line, which played very well Monday night. Crowell ran for the sideline, then followed it to the end zone, out-running the Lions defenders trying to catch him. On the first touchdown, Crowell showed determination and toughness in fighting his way and then stretching for the goal line while being tackled. Itís clear Bilal Powell
will get plenty of carries ó he actually had 12 to Crowellís 10 ó it certainly looks like Crowell will be a very effective runner when in the game.
RB Trenton Cannon
, Rush: 6 - 15 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets) - Cannon came in when the game was pretty much over and performed relatively well, though he didnít have the success the other two Jets backs had. A somewhat undersized player, Cannon isnít going to drag defenders very far, and has to make his yards by getting into open space which was not easy to come by when he was in the game. He was targeted once for six yards and showed good hands on the play.
WR Quincy Enunwa
, Rec: 6 - 63 - 1 (10 targets) - After a year off, plus some missed time during both the preseason and training camp, Enunwa seems to be back on track as the Jets go-to guy on short and intermediate routes. He definitely has rookie quarterback Sam Darnold
ís trust, receiving 10 targets with the next closest getting just three. Enunwaís touchdown came on a short out route, which the receiver then turned upfield on after he received the pass. While a Lions defender caught up with him at the 10-yard line, Enunwa spun through his grasp and slipped a different tackler on his way to the end zone. Itís very clear that Darnold trusts Enunwa and will probably look to him early and often in games.
WR Terrelle Pryor
, Rec: 3 - 49 - 0 (3 targets) - While Pryor was virtually invisible during the first half, he was targeted three times in the second half and caught all of them. His best catch of the night was on a 2 & 8 play where Pryor went deep and quarterback Sam Darnold
hit him for a big gain. Pryor had to extend to catch the high throw which resulted from Darnold having to scramble, and held onto the ball when he took a big hit to send him out of bounds.
WR Robby Anderson
, Rush: 1 - -9 - 0, Rec: 1 - 41 - 1 (1 targets) - Anderson only had one target but he made it count. On his 41-yard touchdown reception, Anderson was released by the corner, but the deep safety had been baited into stepping forward, not backpedaling, so by the time he caught up to Anderson, the receiver had prime position. The throw was a little short, but Anderson did an excellent job of leaping up and yanking the ball away from the defender.
TE Neal Sterling
, Rec: 3 - 27 - 0 (3 targets) - The Jets used all of their tight ends about the same amount of snaps during the game, but Sterling got the most snaps. He also the most targets with three, though all of them came in the first half. In fact, no tight end was targeted in the second half where they were used more as blockers or decoys.
TE Eric Tomlinson
, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - Tomlinson had just a single target on the day, a short out route for seven yards in the first quarter. He saw the field a fair amount throughout the game but the Jets didnít target their tight ends often, and not at all in the second half.
QB Matthew Stafford
, Pass: 27 - 46 - 286 - 1 TD / 4 INT, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0 - Matthew Stafford
had a terrible start to the season. He was inaccurate and made bad reads, which led to four interceptions. Stafford appeared injured twice. First, Stafford looked like he sustained a knee injury where his left tackle looked to clip his knee. Stafford hobbled for a few plays, but was able to remain in the game, and maintained his movement ability. The second injury was where he got hit while he was throwing by two defenders. He remained on the ground for a period but was able to return on the next series. The injury looked more like he had the wind knocked out of him than a risk for a head injury. Stafford was inaccurate and looked to be rusty after similar struggles in the third preseason game. Stafford could have saved his fantasy day in garbage time, but the team stalled out in the red zone including a T.J. Jones
drop in the red zone. Several Jets defenders commented after the game Stafford was tipping his plays based off their knowledge of his hand signals and calls at the line, a trend that will likely require an adjustment.
RB Theo Riddick
, Rush: 4 - 20 - 0, Rec: 5 - 15 - 0 (7 targets) - Theo Riddick
saw extended time with the Lions playing in garbage time but was largely ineffective. He averaged just over two yards per target and three yards per catch on check down type passes. Riddick was the clear passing game player with Abdullah inactive.
RB Kerryon Johnson
, Rush: 5 - 17 - 0, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (3 targets) - With Ameer Abdullah
inactive, Kerryon Johnson
was the clear second back behind LeGarrette Blount
. Johnson did not get large volume in a game that got out of hand early but looked good in limited carries. He was able to get to the edge and offer more versatility than Blount in the running game. Johnson was also used in the receiving game, where he made a good one-handed catch on a ball behind him. With Blount leaving the game with an injury, Johnson could be in line for a larger role in coming weeks.
RB LeGarrette Blount
, Rush: 4 - -3 - 0 - LeGarrette Blount
earned the start against the Jets but was limited to only four carries for negative three yards. Blount has taken over the early down role for the Lions, but his usage is largely predictable for opposing defenses. Blount left the game with an injury in the second half but returned to the sideline later in the game with his helmet. However, Blount did not return to the game. He appears to be the starter in Detroit, but his usage was severally curtailed by bad game script.
WR Golden Tate
, Rec: 7 - 79 - 1 (15 targets) - Golden Tate
scored the Lions lone offensive touchdown on a beautifully designed play. Tate and Marvin Jones
lined up in the slot in an empty set. The Lions chose to show heavy personnel on first down, and split Blount and two tight ends wide, allowing Tate an ideal matchup against New Yorkís base defense. The rest of Tateís night was limited to short routes, and totaled an inefficient seven catches on 15 targets, including several off target throws by Stafford.
WR Kenny Golladay
, Rec: 7 - 114 - 0 (12 targets) - Kenny Golladay
was the most effective Lion on a disastrous night. Golladay ran with Marvin Jones
in multiple two receiver sets, ahead of Golden Tate
. He showed his range and size catching a couple of high balls from Stafford. Golladayís package last season was a limited route tree of screens and deeper routes and the first game showed more extensive route usage.
WR Marvin Jones
, Rec: 4 - 54 - 0 (8 targets) - Marvin Jones
was the third most targeted receiver against New York. Jones had a solid run after catch for 28 yards and was overthrown on a deep ball into the end zone. Jones continued to run as a first team receiver, despite being out targeted by Golladay (12 to 8) and should remain a focal point of the deep passing game
TE Luke Willson
(1 targets) - Off season acquisition Luke Willson
was limited to one target and no catches against New York. With Kenny Golladay
taking a step forward in week one, Willsonís passing game usage may be more limited than expected entering the season.
Buffalo Bills 3, Baltimore Ravens 47
What you need to know
- The Buffalo Bills put forward a pathetic display on offense against Baltimore. Nathan Peterman
started at quarterback but was replaced in the second half by Josh Allen
. The offensive line played poorly, racking up penalties and QB pressures. With both the quarterbacks and the offensive line struggling, there were no viable fantasy options at running back, wide receiver or tight end.
- The Ravens offense looked much improved over the unit last season. Joe Flacco
threw a touchdown to each of his trio of new wide receivers; John Brown
, Michael Crabtree
, and Willie Snead
. Each of the Ravens top three running backs also scored touchdowns. Alex Collins
started the game as the workhorse but fumbled the ball twice and rode the bench for a portion of the game. Kenneth Dixon
played in garbage time and left the game with a knee injury which could lead to an expanded role for Buck Allen going forward. Nick Boyle
will function as the Ravens number one tight end until Hayden Hurst
QB Josh Allen
, 32 offensive snaps, Pass: 6 - 15 - 74 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 26 - 0 - Josh Allen
replaced Nathan Peterman
in the second half. Allen was running from pressure frequently and received little help from his offense. He led a scoring drive, that should have been a touchdown when he threw a strike to Kelvin Benjamin
that was dropped. The throw showed Allenís promise, and the impact his arm strength can have on a game. Allen also to the offense with his rushing ability, getting carries of 11 and 14 yards.
QB Nathan Peterman
, 32 offensive snaps, Pass: 5 - 18 - 24 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0 - Nathan Peterman
had a disastrous performance against the Ravens. The weather was poor, but that did not prevent Joe Flacco
from lighting up the Buffalo defense. Peterman was inaccurate, missing several throws wildly and led an offense that did not gain a first down in the first half. Peterman was replaced by Josh Allen
in the second half after throwing his second interception. Peterman threw for 1.3 yard per attempt prior to leaving the game and finished with a quarterback rating of 0.0.
RB LeSean McCoy
, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 22 - 0, Rec: 1 - -1 - 0 (3 targets) - McCoy got very little opportunity to run with no extended drives in the first half for Buffalo. The lack of success created second and long opportunities that limited McCoyís opportunity. He did manage a vintage McCoy run, cutting back across the formation for an 11-yard gain, showing his speed and elusiveness. There should be better days ahead for McCoy.
RB Marcus Murphy
, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 31 - 0 (2 targets) - In a backfield where Chris Ivory
looked like the backup to LeSean McCoy
, it was Marcus Murphy
who saw the first non-LeSean McCoy
running back carries. Murphy was also targeted twice in the passing game, both incompletions.
RB Chris Ivory
, 7 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 3 - 0 - Chris Ivory
worked as a backup running back, getting the third opportunity at the position. Ivory only managed 3 yards on his 3 carries, but his job is one to monitor, with Marcus Murphy
appearing before Ivory in the game.
WR Zay Jones
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 26 - 0 (6 targets) - Zay Jones
led the Bills in receiving against the Ravens. Jones struggled with drops last year and was able to haul in a sliding catch that required high level of concentration, so there was positive to take from his performance.
WR Kelvin Benjamin
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (7 targets) - Kelvin Benjamin
struggled against the Ravens. Benjamin had two bad drops, one a back-shoulder throw and second an end zone target that should have been a touchdown. Benjamin managed only one catch on a team high seven targets.
TE Jason Croom
, 18 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (3 targets) - Jason Croom
saw two receptions against Baltimore. He was an undrafted player who converted from wide receiver to tight end, but had positive trends in training camp that have translated early to the regular season.
TE Charles Clay
, 40 offensive snaps (2 targets) - Charles Clay
was held without a catch on two targets. The offense was a putrid display and Clay was no different.
QB Joe Flacco
, 54 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 34 - 236 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 3 - 0 - Joe Flacco
played an excellent game and was even better than his stat line suggests. Flacco made accurate throws all over the field, showed mobility to escape pressure, and protected the football. Flacco opened the game with a 25 yard completion to Nick Boyle
off of play action. Flacco did a nice job extending the play. Flacco then hit John Brown
for 29 yards to convert a 2nd and 26. The drive was capped with a 8 yard run by Alex Collins
for a touchdown. Flacco moved the Ravens down the field methodically on their third possession with completions to Mark Andrews
and Buck Allen. Flacco then found John Brown
in the back of the end zone for a 7 yard touchdown. The Ravens offense slowed down slightly with three failed possessions but still managed two field goals thanks to excellent field position. Flacco got the offense back on track with two nice 20 yard completions to Michael Crabtree
and Willie Snead
. Flacco capped the drive with a perfect throw on a fade route to Crabtree for a 12 yard touchdown. Following a turnover Flacco hit Snead in stride for a 13 yard score. Another touchdown following an interception allowed Flacco to take a seat and Lamar Jackson
entered the game 5 minutes into the second half.
QB Lamar Jackson
, 31 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 4 - 24 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 39 - 0 - Lamar Jackson
did see snaps while the Ravens starting offense was on the field. Jackson was lined up at wide receiver and was used to create misdirection. Jackson did get the ball on a designed throw but wisely threw the ball away with no one open downfield. Jackson replaced Flacco early in the 3rd quarter as the Ravens held a huge lead over the Browns. Jackson was not asked to do much downfield passing but rather protect the ball and run clock. Jackson's best throw of the game was a nice touch pass over the middle of the field for 24 yards to convert a 3rd and 15. Lamar Jackson
showed a nice stiff arm and his trademark speed on a 16 yard run to set up a Kenneth Dixon
RB Kenneth Dixon
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 44 - 1 - Kenneth Dixon
is clearly behind Alex Collins
and Buck Allen on the depth chart currently. Dixon did not see action until the game was well in hand. Dixon played well and ran hard against stacked boxes as the Bills knew the Ravens wanted to ice the game. Dixon showed good burst and strength to fight through tackles. Dixon scored a 3 yard touchdown on an inside handoff. Dixon left the game with a knee injury and immediately went to the locker room.
RB Javorius Allen
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 17 - 1, Rec: 5 - 15 - 0 (6 targets) - Buck Allen caught a nice back shoulder throw from Flacco on 3rd and 6 for 11 yards. Allen scored a touchdown from one yard out lined up as a fullback with Alex Collins
also in the backfield.
RB Alex Collins
, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 13 - 1, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets) - Alex Collins
appeared to not know the play call and put his first handoff from Flacco on the ground. Collins had a 14 yard gain negated by a holding penalty. Collins showed his strength and quickness on an impressive 8 yard touchdown run. Collins tried to make one too many moves in the backfield, stopped his feet, and was stripped by Tremaine Edmunds. Collins was lined up in the backfield when Buck Allen scored a touchdown. Allen was lined up at fullback and Collins was lined up at running back.
WR John Brown
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 3 - 44 - 1 (4 targets) - John Brown
picked up 29 yards on his first target exploiting a large cushion that was given because of his game changing speed. Brown worked back to Flacco to make the catch as he extended the play. John Brown
got the ball on an end around but found no room to run. Brown ran an excellent route and found a whole in the Bills defense for a 7 yard touchdown. John Brown
was the target of a two point conversion attempt but the play was well defended.
WR Willie Snead
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 49 - 1 (6 targets) - Willie Snead
drew a 28 yard pass interference penalty on a pass that was likely uncatchable but Snead had his man beat on the play and did well to draw the flag. Snead made his first catch for a 20 yard gain running down the seam from the slot. Snead ran a slant from the slot and showed his speed and strength to find the end zone for a 13 yard touchdown.
WR Michael Crabtree
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 38 - 1 (6 targets) - Michael Crabtree
's first target went through his hands as he tried to turn and adjust to the throw. Crabtree had his second target again go through his hands. Crabtree was not wearing gloves and the wet conditions likely played a role in the drops. Michael Crabtree
sparked the Ravens passing game with a 20 yard catch over the middle against good coverage. Crabtree capped the drive with a 12 yard toe tapping touchdown in the back of the end zone.
TE Mark Andrews
, 22 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 31 - 0 (4 targets) - Mark Andrews
made his first catch up the seam and did well to secure the pass as he absorbed a hit. Andrews caught a back shoulder throw for 12 yard down the sideline and absorbed a hard shot from Jordan Poyer.
TE Nick Boyle
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 40 - 0 (6 targets) - Nick Boyle
was the target of Joe Flacco
's first two passes. Boyle made his first catch off of play action for a 25 yard gain. Boyle has shown the ability to make defenders miss with the ball in his hands and pick up yards after the catch. Boyle made his second catch in the flat and rumbled for 11 yards. Boyle dropped a pass underneath.
Seattle Seahawks 24, Denver Broncos 27
What you need to know
- WR Doug Baldwin
left the game with a knee injury (it was the other knee, however; he did not aggravate the existing injury. In either case, itís not good news). Russell Wilson
spread the ball around, and despite being chased far too often by Von Miller and Co., looked in control and never seemed Ďon the runí Ė even when he was. The RB position so far is a timeshare, in which Chris Carson
and Rashaad Penny
both made positive contributions. Time may tell if if itís a one-off, but TE Will Dissly
quickly made Seahawks fans forget the Jimmy Graham
- Von Miller had a monster night with three sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Justin Simmons intercepted Russel Wilson late in the 3rd, and Adam Jones picked him off again in the 4th quarter. Brandon McManus
was perfect on field goals and extra points.
QB Russell Wilson
, 57 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 33 - 298 - 3 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0 - Wilsonís first TD pass came on a play action call at the 15 yard line Ė field position gifted to him by a turnover Ė to TE Will Dissly
at the goal line, who was a favourite target in the first half. The connection with the rookie continued with a confident throw over the middle, hitting him in stride, which Dissly took nearly all the way to the end zone, for a 66 yard gain. Early on, Doug Baldwin
left the game, and Wilson didnít skip a beat, utilizing the talent around him well as he spread the ball around. The Seahawks simply werenít able to solve the Broncos blitz, and though Wilson was sacked a horrific six times (three by Von Miller), he never lost his cool, never panicked with the ball. Wilsonís vision was excellent on a couple of scoring plays, as he found a wide open Tyler Lockett
on play action rollout play that confused the defense enough for him to throw a rainbow pass perfectly into his arms on a deep post route; and to the rejuvenated Brandon Marshall
, as the pass was again lofted perfectly into the tightly covered receiverís arms for the 20 yard score. Wilsonís first interception was clearly a mistake as he threw poorly into zone coverage, but the second one was simply a final play desperation pass. He also fumble the snap on the final drive, which cost them a chance to move the ball with one minute left and no time outs. It also should be a concern that as the Broncos pass rush intensified throughout the game, Wilson was rarely able to get loose and run, but overall, he had a positive outing.
RB Rashaad Penny
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 8 - 0, Rec: 4 - 35 - 0 (5 targets) - Pennyís numbers may not tell the tale here. He looked very good in space Ė catching the ball and running outside Ė but, did not really impress when given the ball between the tackles. The key takeaway Ďs here are simply that he looked healthy Ė and dangerous at times. After sitting out much of the pre-season with an injury, he may need some time to get up to game speed. The numbers here say he put up a dud, but the Seahawks clearly want to get him the ball, so heís one to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.
RB Chris Carson
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 51 - 0, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (5 targets) - Carson not only started the game, but had the better stats to show for it, versus the rookie, Rashaad Penny
. Carson was asked to do a bit of everything, and he really shone on a highlight reel juke-and-leap over a defender early in the game. He also looked good in between the tackles as well as catching the ball. In fact, he had a long screen pass called back on penalty that would have given his reception yards total a big boost. Though Carson did everything that was asked of him, he also fumbled the ball, giving the Broncos the ball in Seahawks territory. Carson is clearly the lead back for now, but this could easily evolve into a timeshare.
WR Brandon Marshall
, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 46 - 1 (6 targets) - Marshall carried over his pre-season enthusiasm and work ethic and it paid off with a TD in his first regular season game with the Seahawks. On his 20 yard scoring play, Marshall was just ahead of the DB down the sideline, and caught a perfectly thrown pass as he entered the end zone. He had another TD catch negated (granted, due to a penalty on him Ė but at least it shows that Wilson was looking his way). At least as important as the scoring play(s) were the less memorable catches, the ones that simply moved the chains. Marshall worked hard in traffic as well as the sideline work. He was the intended target on an interception, but the turnover was no fault of his.
WR Tyler Lockett
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 59 - 1 (4 targets) - Lockett was all but invisible for the first half of the game, but looked excellent when his number was called. Early on, he caught a couple of short reads, a screen and swing pass, for very small gains. It was not until the 4th quarter that he made his presence known, streaking downfield, wide open on a post pattern, easily catching the well thrown ball and running for a 51 yard score. With Baldwin out for an extended period, expect Lockett to pick up some of the slack.
WR Doug Baldwin
, 11 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Baldwin left the game early on after hurting his knee, without recording a catch. He has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 MCL sprain, which can take several weeks to heal.
TE Will Dissly
, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 105 - 1 (5 targets) - Itís too early to tell if this week was a one-off or Dissly is the real deal as a receiving threat. Either way, his NFL debut was exciting to watch. For a guy who got drafted for his run-blocking prowess, he sure looked like a natural fit catching passes from Russell Wilson
. Picking up where Jimmy Graham
left off (and wearing his old 88), Disslyís first catch was a 15 yard touchdown, as he got reasonably open on a play action call, and hauled in an easy catch at the goal line. After that, he followed up with a great catch in traffic, as he caught the ball in stride, over the middle, and nearly took it all the way, finishing inside the 10 for a 66 yard gain. In the second half, he disappeared, however, likely to help stop the increasingly effective Broncos pass rush.
QB Case Keenum
, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 39 - 329 - 3 TD / 3 INT - It was an up and down performance for Keenum, who tossed three touchdowns as well as three interceptions. Keenum was picked off by Earl Thomas
early in the contest. The safety was playing deep and jumped the pass as Keenum looked for Demaryius Thomas
up the seam. Keenum was picked a second time late in the second quarter as the Broncos attempted to score with their two minute offense. The interception was mostly due to a fantastic diving effort by defender Bradley McDougald. Keenum's third interception was an ugly one, as he simply overthrew his receiver(Sanders) and hit defender McDougald right in the hands in the third quarter.
Keenum's first touchdown was all Phillip Lindsay
, as the back caught a short out route from the backfield and turned it up the sideline for a 29 yard score in the 1st quarter. Keenum found Emmanuel Sanders
in the 2nd quarter for his second touchdown of the day on a play action. Sanders split wide left and ran a deep crossing route, losing his defender in the middle of the field where Keenum found him. The receiver turned on the jets and took the ball up the right sideline for a score. Keenum led a 75 yard scoring drive to take the lead in the 4th quarter. His short memory was apparent as he fearlessly stared down McDougald(who had already picked him twice) and threw a laser past the defender to connect with Demaryius Thomas
for his third touchdown. The receiver made fantastic effort to catch the ball and touch both feet down as he fell out of bounds.
RB Phillip Lindsay
, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 71 - 0, Rec: 2 - 31 - 1 (3 targets) - Lindsay was the third back in the game for Broncos, but his was the most impressive performance after he entered the game late in the 1st quarter. Lindsay lined up in the backfield in a shotgun formation, catching a short out route and turning it up the sideline for a 29 yard touchdown on one of his first snaps. Lindsay showed off his speed on a pitch play in the 4th, turning the corner on the defense for a big gain up the left sideline. He was effective between the tackles as well, picking up several nice gains and moving the chains. Lindsay also showed great effort when he ran down Earl Thomas
after an interception, saving a touchdown. Though Freeman got the start, Lindsay finished with the same amount of carries and yards, as well as performing better than Freeman or Booker in the passing game.
RB Royce Freeman
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 71 - 0 - Freeman got the start, but wound up nearly splitting time with Phillip Lindsay
. He and Lindsay interestingly posted nearly the exact same stat line in the rushing game, with both backs tallying 71 yards on 15 carries(Freeman's longest run was 17, Lindsay's 14). Freeman fumbled a carry in the 1st quarter but managed to recover the ball himself. Freeman was deployed to grind out the clock and had a couple of impressive runs right up the middle late in the 4th quarter, moving a pile of defenders downfield as he churned out tough yards. Freeman was not targeted in the passing game, with Devontae Booker
working some passing downs and Phillip Lindsay
scoring a nice receiving touchdown.
RB Devontae Booker
, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (2 targets) - Booker was overshadowed by the two rookie backs and did not have much of a role in week 1. He worked some passing downs early and was featured at the end of the first half as the Broncos fielded their two minute offense, catching a screen pass for a short gain. Booker picked up one other reception late in the 4th as Keenum dumped it off to him under duress. He was outsnapped by both rookie RB's and was not as effective a receiver as Lindsay.
WR Emmanuel Sanders
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 135 - 1 (11 targets) - Sanders clearly has the best chemistry with Keenum of all the receivers at this point. He led the target share with 11 targets to Thomas's 10, and he was much more efficient with his looks, hauling in 10 total. Sanders got hot early, clearing 115 yards and 7 receptions in the first half alone. He snagged his first target of the day, a toe-tapping 15 yard gain that converted 3rd and long on Denver's opening offensive drive. Sanders got wide open and showed off his speed on a deep crossing route in the second quarter, hauling in the pass from Keenum then turning it up the sideline for a 43 yard touchdown. Sanders had a beautiful diving catch down the left sideline late in the second quarter for another big gain. Sanders tacked on a few more catches in the second half, with DT taking over more in the last half of the game.
WR Demaryius Thomas
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 63 - 1 (10 targets) - Keenum looked to Thomas plenty, but the two struggled to connect on anything other than short curls and slants. Thomas had a bit of a rough start in the first half, letting a couple of passes clang off his hands and getting called for a holding penalty. DT had a great catch and run late in the first that picked up 23 yards and moved the Broncos out of their own end zone. Denver was down on their own 2 yard line until Thomas caught the ball at the line of scrimmage and wove his way through defenders for the pickup. Thomas saved his fantasy day with a late touchdown in the 4th quarter. Denver drove down to the Seattle 4 yard line and Thomas made an amazing toe-tapping effort as he fell out of bounds on a quick out route from Keenum. Thomas finished with 10 targets to Sanders' 11, but Sanders had a much better day. Still, the offense clearly runs through the top two receivers.
WR Courtland Sutton
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 45 - 0 (5 targets) - Sutton worked behind Sanders and Thomas in 3WR sets, catching a deep post for a nice gain on his first target of the game. Sutton lined up in the right slot in the 4th quarter and hauled in a skinny post for another big gain. He was targeted five times overall. Sutton is clearly the third receiver behind Thomas and Sanders, but he probably won't have much value unless one of them go down.
WR Tim Patrick
, 9 offensive snaps (2 targets) - Patrick was targeted once near the end of the 2nd quarter, but did not see many snaps on offense.
TE Jake Butt
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 29 - 0 (4 targets) - Butt split time at TE with Heuerman and was targeted twice in the passing game. He had a short catch on an out route in the 2nd quarter. He made his second catch down the left seam late in the 4th for a gain of 22, despite drawing a defensive holding flag on the play. It's hard to say which of the two starting tight ends is the best option in the passing game, and it looks as though the Broncos passing offense is going to run through the two top receivers and the running backs.
TE Jeff Heuerman
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (1 targets) - Heuerman started alongside Jake Butt
in 2TE sets. He wasn't used much in the passing game. He made a nice back shoulder catch in the second quarter for a gain of 15, his only target of the day.
Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Cleveland Browns 21
What you need to know
- If the Steelers didnít have enough to deal with in this game being undermanned, they were also battling the elements. With the rain pouring down, the Pittsburgh Steelers experience six turnovers (three interceptions and three fumbles) and Myles Garrett constantly in the backfield meeting Ben Roethlisberger
. Going into the fourth quarter the Steelers were up by 14 points and had shifted to a conservative and predictable run heavy offense. The predictability allowed the Browns to keep the Steelers in third and long situations and force two late game backbreaking turnovers to force overtime. The elements showed up one more time in overtime preventing the Steelers to regain their offensive footing.
- It was a rainy, wet day in Cleveland, which affected both offenses to varying degrees. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor
struggled badly with his accuracy in the game, missing receivers throughout the afternoon. He did take a big hit from T.J. Watt on the second drive of the game and came up holding his arm awkwardly. After the hit it seemed as though his accuracy dipped. Jarvis Landry
was the same target magnet he was with the Dolphins, seeing a team-leading 15 targets. Despite playing way more than pregame reports indicated, Josh Gordon
was an afterthought, earning just three targets even though he had no problems getting open in one-on-one coverage. Rookie cornerback Denzel Ward made an impressive debut, intercepting Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger
twice in the contest. Both teams traded missed field goals toward the end of overtime, resulting in a tie.
QB Ben Roethlisberger
, 84 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 41 - 335 - 1 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 3 - 16 - 0 - The new look slimmer Ben Roethlisberger
struggled early. His first interception was thrown into heavy coverage, interception two came on a miss-fire to Antonio Brown
, and his third came when the Steelers were driving on the Browns. Unfortunately, this was only in the first half. In the second half things didnít get better. Roethlisberger added a fumble in the fourth-quarter and another interception that looked like an interception during overtime. Roethlisberger displayed his signature escapability on a 15-yard run and his uncanny ability to find Antonio Brown
for a touchdown, even in double coverage. The elements were largely to blame for such a bad start to Benís season.
RB James Conner
, 77 offensive snaps, Rush: 31 - 135 - 2, Rec: 5 - 57 - 0 (6 targets) - Conner drew the first start of his career and did not disappoint. To start the game Conner was used just like LeíVeon Bell would be. Conner was physical between the tackles and was consistently breaking off long gains. Connerís receiving ability was the most impressive, and improved, part of Connerís game. His versatility allowed the Steelers to move him around the formation from running back to split out wide receiver. Having the ability to stay versatile early allowed the Steelers to show different looks in the first half. The biggest blemish on Connerís resume from Week 1 was his fourth-quarter fumble allowing the Browns to get back in the game. With 36 total touches (31 carries and 5 receptions on 6 targets) in one game, the Steelers clearly trust James Conner
to be their workhorse while Bell is out.
WR Antonio Brown
, 83 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 93 - 1 (16 targets) - Brown was clutch and his connection with Ben Roethlisberger
bailed out the Steelers when they needed it most. Even with double coverage, Brown caught a 22-yard touchdown after two consecutive scores were called back due to penalty. It isnít like Brownís stats were bad, youíd just like to see more from him when he is targets 16 times.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 119 - 0 (8 targets) - Playing second fiddle to Antonio Brown
still provides plenty of opportunities when you have the trust of Ben Roethlisberger
. After the Browns tied the game 7-7, the momentum had shifted to the Browns. Enter JuJu Smith-Schuster
answering almost immediately with a long gain to silence the Browns crowd with a 67-yard reception. Even though Smith-Schuster didnít record a catch in overtime, it was still a productive showing for the second-year wide receiver.
WR Ryan Switzer
, 7 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets) - Switzer will not show up much in the stat sheet, but he may have been the most impactful player for the Steelers on Sunday. Switzer relieved Antonio Brown
of his punt return duties and took five kicks back for an average of 11.2 yards. Switzer consistently put the Steelers in good field position and could provide a boost to the team if he can play as a WR3.
QB Tyrod Taylor
, 89 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 40 - 197 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 8 - 77 - 1 - Taylor was uncharacteristically inaccurate in this game, missing receivers high, low, and to the side repeatedly on makeable throws. He took a big hit, which resulted in an unnecessary roughness penalty, at the end of the second drive of the game. He came up holding his arm awkwardly, which may have contributed to his struggles. The rainy weather didn't help either as Taylor doesn't have a big arm. He threw several passes that floated and others that were too short, causing receivers to adjust their routes to make the reception. At one point in the second half, Taylor threw nine-straight incompletions. Taylor made up for his passing struggles by dominating on the ground. He wound up as the Browns' leading rusher in the game and his 20-yard touchdown run got his team on the board for their first score. Taylor ran over a defender who tried to tackle him low at the goal line to power his way into the end zone. Taylor had one interception in the second quarter nullified by a defensive holding penalty. His interception that stood was a back-breaker as he tried to throw a jump ball to Josh Gordon
from Pittsburgh's 43-yard line toward the end of the fourth quarter. The ball was badly underthrown and resulted in an easy interception for the defense. Earlier in the quarter, Taylor did find Josh Gordon
for a touchdown in the game, putting the ball just high enough to be out of the defender's reach right at the goal line. Outside of those two plays, Taylor mostly ignored Gordon in the game.
RB Carlos Hyde
, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 22 - 62 - 1, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (2 targets) - For the most part, Hyde struggled to get much going on the ground. He spent much of the afternoon getting tackled at or near the line of scrimmage. His best series came when the Browns went extremely run-heavy in the first drive of the third quarter. Hyde ripped off runs of nine, 12, and six yards to power his team down into the red zone. In all, the Browns ran on nine straight plays on that series. Hyde later scored a one-yard touchdown after a Cleveland interception put him in excellent scoring position. Hyde continues to operate as the team's clear lead back on early downs. He lost just three carries to rookie Nick Chubb
in the game. Hyde was only targeted twice in the passing game and doesn't appear to be a big part of the team's plans in that phase of the game.
RB Duke Johnson
, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 17 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (6 targets) - Johnson finished third on the team in targets, with six, but was only able to turn one of those looks into a reception. He was one of the biggest casualties of Tyrod Taylor
's inaccuracy with the football. He had one target thrown too far outside to his right and another later which short-hopped him. Johnson remains entrenched as the team's passing-down back and should bounce back if more accurate throws start coming his way.
WR Jarvis Landry
, 81 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 106 - 0 (15 targets) - Landry led the team with 15 targets on a rainy day in Cleveland. The veteran receiver wasn't especially efficient with the looks, catching just seven, although many of the incompletions were uncatchable passes. The Browns targeted Landry all over the field, allowing him to pick up some large chunk plays. He caught a deep 33-yard pass down the left sideline in the second quarter where he was wide open. He actually had to come back a bit on the pass, which was underthrown. In the third quarter the Browns took another deep shot to him but the pass was overthrown. He bounced back on the next possession with a 39-yard reception. Landry had a shot at a touchdown in the fourth quarter as he was open in the end zone, but the pass was overthrown.
WR Josh Gordon
, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 17 - 1 (3 targets) - Gordon was rumored to be in on roughly only 20 snaps in Week 1, but he wound up playing on 78% of the offensive snaps (69-of-89). That being said, he was not used extensively, seeing just three targets. Gordon was able to get open frequently against one-on-one coverage but quarterback Tyrod Taylor
preferred the short and intermediate passes to Jarvis Landry
, David Njoku
, and Duke Johnson
. Gordon did manage to make his presence felt, turning his only catch into a 17-yard touchdown. Taylor threw the ball to the outside and Gordon went up over the defender to secure the catch right at the goal line. He had another deep end zone target in the fourth quarter but he was well-covered by cornerback Joe Haden. Gordon was the intended target on Taylor's fourth quarter interception but the pass was underthrown. The two didn't get much time to work together in the preseason with Gordon away from the team. Hopefully Gordon and Taylor develop more chemistry as the season goes on.
TE David Njoku
, 78 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 13 - 0 (7 targets) - Njoku had a rough afternoon. The second-year tight end struggled with drops, committing two in a row during a third quarter series. He also injured his ankle following a catch in the third and stayed down on the field for a short while. He was able to return on the following possession so there shouldn't be much concern here. He did injure an ankle during the preseason, as well, although it is unclear whether it was the same leg on Sunday. Njoku came close to converting a big play on the first drive as Tyrod Taylor
targeted him down the seam on a deep pass. The ball was thrown high and Njoku got his hands on it, but two defenders converged to assure he wasn't able to secure the catch. Better days will be ahead for the athletic tight end.
Kansas City Chiefs 38, Los Angeles Chargers 28
What you need to know
Kansas City Chiefs
- The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers 38-28 in the opening week of the NFL season. Sophomore quarterback Patrick Mahomes played excellent in his new role as the Chiefs starter, completing 15 of 27 passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns. Mahomes also rushed five times for 21 yards. Running back Kareem Hunt
had a quiet day, rushing 16 times for 49 yards, and did not catch a pass the entire game. The difference in this game was Tyreek Hill
. Hill caught seven passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns, while also returning a punt 91 yards for a touchdown. Travis Kelce
was also quiet on offense, catching only one pass for six yards. In his first action with the Chief, wide receiver Sammy Watkins
caught three passes for 21 yards.
Los Angeles Chargers
- Philip Rivers
continues to put up huge stats, despite a lack of help from many of his receivers. Despite suffering through at least five dropped passes (several of which likely would have been touchdowns), he still lit up the stat sheet and spread it around to whoever was the most open receiver.
and Austin Ekeler
were a two-headed monster at running back, and Ekeler's contributions didn't really put a dent in Gordon's productivity. With less emphasis on the tight end in this year's offense, it's possible that both players will have regular workloads within the game scripts.
picked up right where he left off in 2017, and actually looks even better and more explosive if that's possible. He is the team's clear go-to guy in all situations, and a definite fantasy WR1.
QB Patrick Mahomes II
, 56 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 27 - 256 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 21 - 0 - In his first game as the Chiefs starter, Patrick Mahomes led them to a 10 point victory over division rival, The Los Angeles Chargers, while completing 15 of 27 passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions. Mahomes also added 21 yards on five carries. The Chiefs coaching staff did a remarkable job of simplifying the types of reads that Mahomes would see in his opening game as the starter, and this was especially true on third down. Two of Mahomes four touchdown throws came on shovel passes to Tyreek Hill
and DeAnthony Thomas
, where the Chiefs used pre-snap motion to get the defense leaning one way, and then had Thomas and Hill run across the formation in the opposite direction. They were essentially runs, but you can give Mahomes credit for executing the plays properly and with the right timing. Mahomes did have an beautiful 36 yard touchdown pass to fullback Anthony Sherman
. Sherman lined up on the left end of the formation and ran a sort of wheel route to the left sideline and then up the field. Mahomes threw a perfect pass, lofting it over Shermanís defender while also hitting him in stride, leading to an easy touchdown. Perhaps his best play of the day came on 58 yard touchdown strike to Hill. Mahomes lined up in the shotgun, took the snap and made play action fake to Hunt in the backfield. The Chargers were bringing pressure, but Mahomes was able to stand tall in the pocket and throw a dart to Hill, who was running a slant route from the right side of the formation. The throw was perfect and allowed Hill to use his speed to get up the field for a 58 yard touchdown where he was only partially touched once by a Chargers defender.
RB Kareem Hunt
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 49 - 0 (1 targets) - Kareem Hunt
rushed 16 times for 49 yards against the Chargers, and did not catch a pass on his only target of the game. The story of the day was Mahomes and Hill, so there was little need for Hunt to break out in the same way he did at the beginning of last season. Of his 16 carries, five of those went for either no gain, or negative yards. His longest carry of the day came on a run to the right end of the formation, while lined up in the shotgun. Hunt was able to get to the corner before a Chargers defender could catch him, and he picked up 13 yards before being pushed out of bounds. While it is concerning that Hunt only saw one target in the passing game, after Andy Reid talking of getting him more involved in this facet of their offense, the game script will not always be one that phases him out as the game progresses.
WR Tyreek Hill
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0, Rec: 7 - 169 - 2 (8 targets) - Tyreek Hill
led the Chiefs in receptions, yards, touchdowns and targets against the Chargers, catching seven passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Hill also returned a punt 91 yards for a touchdown and rushed twice for 4 yards. Hill was the difference in this game, as the Chargers had no answer for his speed and Mahomes ability to find him whenever he was open. Hillís first touchdown came on a slant route where Mahomes did a great job of not letting pressure impact his pass. Mahomes hit Hill in stride in the middle of the field and Hill was able to get to the outside so quickly that the Chargers safety only managed to get a hand on his leg as Hill flew by him for a 58 yard touchdown. Hillís next touchdown catch came on a shovel pass from the 1 yard line. Hill came across the formation and took the pass easily for a touchdown without being touched by a Chargers defender. Hillís punt return touchdown was a thing of beauty, and came before Kansas City was even able to run an offensive play. The punt was a good one and Hill was able to run back so that when he caught the punt, he was moving away from the Chargers punt coverage. That allowed him to get to the left sideline where he simply outran the Chargers, and scored a 90 yard touchdown without being touched.
WR Sammy Watkins
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (5 targets) - In his Kansas City Chiefs debut, Sammy Watkins
caught three passes on five targets for 21 yards. Much like the rest of the Chiefs offense, there was little need for Watkins to provide a spark, as Tyreek Hill
did that all by his lonesome. Mahomes did target Watkins five times, and looked for him deep down the field on two occasions. Watkins longest catch of the day went for 16 yards up the middle of the field on a deep in-route. It was the kind of play that Watkins can make in his sleep, but it was also the type of play that the Chiefs were not getting with their previous #2 receivers. As defenses start to key in on Hill, Watkins will see plenty of single coverage. With his ability to make plays down the field, you will see Watkins splash for the Chiefs this season, it just may not be consistently with so many mouths to feed on offense.
TE Travis Kelce
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (6 targets) - Travis Kelce
caught one pass for six yards on six targets against the Chargers on Sunday. Kelce has led the Chiefs in targets for the last three years, but if Sunday is any indication of things to come, Kelce will be surrendering that title to Tyreek Hill
. Kelceís lone catch came on a short out-route to the left sideline where he caught the ball and was immediately tackled for a six yard gain. While Mahomes was guilty of some wild throws, Kelce did also drop an easy catch that came on a curl-route where there was no reason to drop the pass. Hill is not going to dominate the touches every game, and there will be plenty of work for Kelce going forward.
QB Philip Rivers
, 82 offensive snaps, Pass: 34 - 51 - 424 - 3 TD / 1 INT - It took him over fifty pass attempts but as usual, Rivers put up huge statistics. After just one touchdown pass against six interceptions in his two games against the Chiefs last season, Rivers turned those stats around in a big way. And those numbers could have been even bigger if his receiving corps had given him a bit more help. There were multiple dropped passes in the game, most of which were potentially big plays and several of them would have likely been touchdowns. There were a handful of pass attempts that were slight overthrows or slight underthrows, most of which were still the fault of the receivers more often than not. But there were also at least two pass attempts that hit receivers right in the hands in the end zone for easy scores, and they failed to hang on. The running game was effective and the backs hauled in most of their passing targets, so it's not as if Rivers had zero help. And both Keenan Allen
and Mike Williams
seemed to catch everything in site. But Tyrell Williams
and Travis Benjamin
did their quarterback no favors in this one. Rivers looked outstanding, consistently putting the ball right on his receivers fingertips in positions to continue the play, and on several occasions he made perfect passes despite some heavy defensive pressure coming right at him. His first touchdown was a floater to Austin Ekeler
in the end zone in single coverage. He read the coverage perfectly as the defense was bearing down on him. In the second half, he flipped an easy score to a wide open Keenan Allen
and then later bought some time on a rollout to find Tyrell Williams
in the back of the end zone for another score. But on what should have been his fourth touchdown pass, Benjamin just allowed it to bounce off his fingertips in the end zone. Rivers didn't play mistake-free football, as he threw one interception that was clearly his fault, and nearly threw another one on an underthrown ball. But on a day that the Chargers trailed throughout, he was relied upon far more than he should have been. With his old teammate Antonio Gates
back in the fold, the two didn't have a regular connection out of the gate. But they did connect on a successful two point conversion attempt in the second half.
RB Melvin Gordon
, 62 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 64 - 0, Rec: 9 - 102 - 0 (13 targets) - The Kansas City defense was bottling up Gordon consistently in the very early going. But once he hit the hold for his first big gain, it really softened them up and he started running wild. Gordon used the full bag of tricks in this game, showing nice moves in the open field, power up the middle, and his trademark excellent vision. He also dominated in the passing game, leading all players with nine receptions (though he did drop a pass in the flat in the red zone). He picked up chunks of yardage late in the game as the Chargers furiously tried to come back with multiple dumpoff passes over the middle. Gordon didn't find the end zone for a touchdown, but he did get a handoff on a two point conversion attempt. The Kansas City defense appeared close to bottling him up, but he found just enough of a hole to maneuver through and get in for the conversion.
RB Austin Ekeler
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 39 - 0, Rec: 5 - 87 - 1 (5 targets) - Ekeler teamed with Melvin Gordon
to form a strong 1-2 punch in this game, which looks like it may be a preview of their usage patterns throughout the season. After a training camp featuring a lot of speculation of Ekeler having a regular role (rather than just a true backup role), Ekeler found himself very involved in the game plan as a complementary piece in the running game. He showed extremely tough running on the inside, almost never going down on first contact and dragging defenders for yards at a time. And despite Gordon leading all players in receptions, Ekeler found himself as a key piece in the passing game as well. He demonstrated excellent concentration and acrobatics on a deep ball down the left sideline that may have been intended for Keenan Allen
. Allen deflected it with one hand and Ekeler managed to reach up and hang on with one hand of his own despite being blanketed by a defender. He then absorbed a huge hit from a defender, which added even more yardage on the penalty. Late in the first half, Rivers hoisted a floater up to him in the end zone in single coverage. Again he absorbed a big hit just as the ball got there, but he managed to hang on for the score. Just as importantly as his apparently regular usage pattern, is the fact that he appears in line for a regular featured role to himself if anything were to happen to Gordon.
WR Keenan Allen
, 72 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 108 - 1 (11 targets) - It would be difficult to improve upon what he did a season ago, but Allen somehow looks even quicker and more athletic. He is playing at a slightly lighter weight than in 2017, and the result is that he looks very explosive. He had an abnormally quiet first half, but with the Chargers in catch-up mode in the second half, he really turned it on. At one point, he made a terrific leaping grab along the sideline to seemingly put the Chargers around the 3-yard line, but the officials correctly ruled that he had stepped out of bounds prior to the catch. That miscue negated a big play and a really awesome highlight-reel type of catch. But it mattered little to fantasy owners, because a couple of plays later he shook his defender free for a wide open touchdown from 20 yards out. He just ran right by him at the snap, and the defender was helpless to catch back up to him. He did the same thing late in the game to convert a 4th and 2 down to the 5-yard line. Allen was so fast off the line that defenders almost don't even have a chance to jam him. And with so many other Charger receivers having trouble hanging onto the football in this game, it was clear that Allen was one of the only players he trusted down the stretch.
WR Mike Williams
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 81 - 0 (6 targets) - After a rookie season that was almost a total loss, fantasy owners were excited to see what Williams had in store for his first fully healthy extensive NFL action. The end result was mostly positive. He was targeted on an early two point conversion attempt that the defender made a nice play on, but he showed a real knack for being able to get open almost at will in the second half. The announcers mentioned that Rivers compared him to Vincent Jackson
or Malcom Floyd
, a big-bodied receiver who can win the jump balls deep down the field and use his frame to shield out defenders. Williams had several such opportunities in this game, and ran good routes featuring nice cuts. Additionally, he was one of the few Charger targets who didn't drop a pass in this game, which certainly endeared him to Philip Rivers
as the game went down the stretch.
WR Tyrell Williams
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 8 - 1 (5 targets) - Williams somewhat salvaged his fantasy owners with a late touchdown where he got loose in the back of the end zone, but it could have been so much more. On a day when several Charger receivers let Philip Rivers
down with some drops, Williams had perhaps the most egregious of them all. Earlier in the game, he was targeted on a deep ball that went through his hands. It would have been a difficult catch and he may have been interfered with a bit when his arm was grabbed at the last moment, but the end result was an incomplete pass. But later in the first half, he shook loose from the defense and was wide open in the end zone. Actually the defender inexplicably dropped his coverage on Williams and he had nowhere near him when Rivers lofted the easy pass attempt for him. But the ball somehow bounced right through Williams' hands for an incompletion on what should have been one of the easiest touchdown receptions of his career.
WR Travis Benjamin
, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 19 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (5 targets) - Benjamin's afternoon opened on a positive note, going for 19 yards on a reverse handoff. And it was all downhill after that. He was targeted on a deep ball by just a bit, but Benjamin allowed the ball to bounce off of his fingertips. It was perhaps slightly overthrown, but it should have been caught and could have gone for a touchdown. He then took an inside screen for 14 yards that was negated by a block in the back on Tyrell Williams
. Late in the first half, Benjamin again got wide open way past the defender. He again had to wait a bit for the ball to come down since Rivers threw the pass under duress, but it went right through Benjamin's hands and bounced off his thigh. For some reason, he kind of jumped just as the ball got to him, which seemed to throw off his rhythm. As if the first two weren't bad enough, he capped his afternoon with another dropped touchdown (this one definitely would have gone for a score since he dropped it IN the end zone). It was a perfectly-thrown bullet pass by Rivers, but he just let it go right through his hands. Benjamin does a great job of getting open in the deep secondary, but if he doesn't start hanging on to some of these passes he is going to find himself on the outside looking in at targets.
TE Antonio Gates
, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (3 targets) - Gates didn't see the field until the middle of the first quarter. His first catch wasn't even an official reception, as he snagged a two point conversion in the second half to pull the Chargers closer. His first official catch didn't come until there were about eight minutes left in the game, and the second one came right after it. His involvement was minimal after not taking part in any preseason action, but he should see more work in the coming weeks.
TE Virgil Green
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (2 targets) - Green caught a sharp bullet pass over the middle for a first down early on, but once Antonio Gates
came in the game Green's involvement was minimal. He caught just one more ass all game (Gates himself caught just two for the game), but it doesn't appear as if Green will have a very prominent role going forward.
Chicago Bears 23, Green Bay Packers 24
What you need to know
- This really was a tale of two stories for the Bears as they came out firing on all cylinders in the first half. The Bears came out early in the game spreading the Packers out wide utilizing their speed with Taylor Gabriel
and Tarik Cohen
. On the two drives, the Bears used the short passes to set up two deep passes one to Taylor Gabriel
on the first drive on a deep out, and one to Allen Robinson
on the second drive on a fly route. The Bears got conservative after the first two drives relying on short passes trying to get their players in space which was unsuccessful while occasionally mixing in a deep ball in which Mitchell Trubisky
was inaccurate overthrowing these deep chances. Jordan Howard
was tremendous in both the running and passing game showing significant growth compared to last season in the receiving game.
Green Bay Packers
- In a thrilling week 1 victory, the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears, 24-23 on Sunday Night Football. Aaron Rodgers
completed 20 of 30 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions. Running back Jamaal Williams
rushed 15 times for 47 yards. The Packers wide receivers came up big, none more than Randall Cobb
though, as Cobb caught nine passes for 142 yards and a touchdown, including the 75 yard game winning touchdown deep in the 4th quarter. Davante Adams
caught five passes for 88 yards and a touchdown, and Geronimo Allison
caught five passes for 69 yards and a touchdown. Jimmy Graham
had a quiet night, catching only two passes for eight yards.
QB Mitchell Trubisky
, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 35 - 171 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 32 - 1 - Trubisky averaged just 4.9 yards per completion in this game often checking the ball down or taking the safe completion trying to get his guys into space. Trubisky completed 9 of his 23 completions behind the line of scrimmage and 18 of his 23 completions behind the line of scrimmage or within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. When he did throw deep, he threw two beautiful balls to Taylor Gabriel
on the first drive on a deep out, and Allen Robinson
in contested coverage on a ball that was placed perfectly. Outside of those two throws, however, he overthrew the ball on the deep routes missing some open receivers. Trubisky did show nice mobility including a six-yard scramble for a touchdown on a play that was breaking down in the first drive.
RB Jordan Howard
, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 82 - 0, Rec: 5 - 25 - 0 (5 targets) - Jordan Howard
was a bright spot for the Bears as he showed a cutback ability to find the hole in between the tackles and more importantly showed growth from last year in the receiving game. Howard was in the game for a significant number of third downs which was something that we typically did not see as he had struggled in the passing game in previous seasons.
RB Tarik Cohen
, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 25 - 0, Rec: 3 - 16 - 0 (4 targets) - The Bears success was largely determined based on if Tarik Cohen
was touching the ball on that drive. Cohen had eight touches in this game, and seven of those touches came on the Bears drives that ended in points. The Bears utilized Cohen to keep the defense honest as they used him on lateral runs and on his three receptions. The one concern for Cohen is the emergence of Jordan Howard
in the receiving game as Howard had more receptions in this game with five receptions compared to Cohen's three which could lead to Howard staying on the field more than anticipated this season.
WR Taylor Gabriel
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 25 - 0 (5 targets) - The Bears tried to utilize Gabriel's speed in this game, and had success on the first drive as he was wide open on a deep out getting separation from the defensive back on him as Kevin King had to respect Taylor Gabriel
's speed on a streak route leaving Gabriel wide open when he cut the route off and turned toward the sideline. Outside of this reception, Gabriel did not do much as he had four receptions for negative six yards as the team tried to get him involved in bubble screens and get him out in space, however, this was largely unsuccessful.
WR Allen Robinson
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 61 - 0 (7 targets) - Allen Robinson
was a big part of this offense adding a vertical threat to this offense that they desperately needed. Six of Robinsons' seven targets were ten or more yards downfield. Robinson played a significant role in the Bears early success on a beautiful catch on a contested throw 33 yards down the field with Jaire Alexander all over him. Robinson was able to use his size advantage to reach up and grab the ball over the smaller Alexander for a big gain.
TE Trey Burton
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (6 targets) - Burton was a disappointment in this game as he and Trubisky just could not get on the same page for most of this game. While he had six targets, he and Trubisky just were not in sync for most of the game this week.
QB Aaron Rodgers
, 46 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 30 - 286 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 15 - 0 - In a game that will live on in Packers folklore for quite some time, Aaron Rodgers
completed 20 of 30 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing once for 15 yards. This game was special because Rodgers was injured in the first half and had to be helped off the field, leading to DeShone Kizer
coming in for seven passes, one of which was intercepted. At halftime, the Packers had little to be happy about, they were down 20-0 and Rodgers was injured. Like Superman donning his cape though, Rodgers heroically came back in the game to lead the Packers to a field goal and three touchdowns in the 4th quarter. Rodgers first touchdown pass came on a 39 yard strike to Geronimo Allison
. Rodgers was given time in the pocket and ignored the pressure mounting around him long enough to throw a deep ball across the field to Allison in the right corner of the end zone. It was a perfect throw and Allison did a good job of getting his feet down and holding onto the ball. Rodgers struck again on the next possession, first by completing a 51 yard pass down the left sideline to Davante Adams
, where he had to throw a touch pass to hit Adams in stride. Adams did a great job of shaking off the initial tackle and then gaining another 40 or so yards after the catch. Three plays later, Rodgers and Adams struck again, this time for a touchdown. Rodgers got the ball out to Adams on the left sideline, and Adams turned around with no defender on him, but was met by three Bears defenders who were between him and the end zone. Adams threw a nifty fake to the inside and then cut back to the sideline, while bullying a Bears defender into the end zone for a touchdown. With two minutes and 29 seconds left in the game, and the Packers down six points, Rodgers found Randall Cobb
for a 75 yard game-winning touchdown. Rodgers gets some credit for extending the play in the pocket, but the rest was all Cobb. Rodgers hit Cobb in the middle of the field, just past the first down marker. Cobb was able to turn around with no defender on him, as the Bears made a colossal coverage error, as there was no defender within ten yards of Cobb. Cobb was able to score a 75 yard touchdown up the middle of the field, without so much as being touched by a Bears defender until a late dive at the one yard line.
RB Jamaal Williams
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 47 - 0 (2 targets) - Jamaal Williams
rushed 15 times for 47 yards against the Bears. Williams was given the first crack at the starting running back job for the Packers, as Aaron Jones
is suspended, and Ty Montgomery
will be used as a change of pace back more than as a bell-cow. Unfortunately for Williams, he did not do much in this game to help his cause, as eight of his 15 carries went for two yards or less. Williams averaged only 3.6 yards per carry on 153 rushes last season, so his 3.1 yards per carry in this game was not a good sign of Williams prospects going forward. The Bears do have a tough run defense, bolstered by the signing of Khalil Mack, so it is possible for Williams to improve as the season progresses, but Jones will be back after week two and he is the superior runner. Williams best attribute is his versatility, so it was disappointing to see him finish with zero catches on two targets.
WR Randall Cobb
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 142 - 1 (10 targets) - Randall Cobb
caught nine passes for 142 yards and the game winning touchdown against the Bears on Sunday night. Cobb caught nine of 11 targets and did most of his work in the short passing game, although he did have a 29 yard catch prior to his 75 yard touchdown. Cobb only has one 1,000 yard season on his resume, in 2014, but it seems that fantasy managers have been talking about him breaking out every year since then. With Jordy Nelson
now in Oakland, Cobb looks like he is poised for another big season. Cobbís 75 yard game winning touchdown came deep in the 4th quarter with the Packers down six points. Cobb ran a shallow in-route, and had the presence of mind to sit his route down in the middle of the field as Aaron Rodgers
worked to escape pressure in the pocket. Rodgers hit Cobb 12 yards down the field, and Cobb turned around to find no Chicago defender within ten yards of him. Cobb took off up the middle of the field before breaking outside to the right sideline. He then cut it back to the middle of the field at the Bears 10 yard line to escape a Chicago defender and waltzed into the end zone without so much as a tap by a Bears defender until a last gasp effort at the one yard line. The play was a major blunder for the Bears, but Cobb deserves the credit for keeping himself in the play and allowing Rodgers to find him open in the middle of the field.
WR Davante Adams
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 88 - 1 (8 targets) - Davante Adams
caught five passes on eight targets for 88 yards and a touchdown in the Packers thrilling win against the Bears in week one. Adams looked the part of a #1 receiver, making contested plays and gaining yards after the catch. Adams long gain of the night came on a 51 yard reception where he came down with a catch on the left sideline, and while staying in bounds, he pushed his defender away and turned the ball up field, gaining another 40 yards after the catch. Adams was not done bullying the Bears defense yet though, as his touchdown catch showed why he is so hard to bring down. Adams caught a short pass in the left flat and turned to find three Bears defenders between himself and the end zone. Adams planted his right foot and faked to the inside of the field before cutting back to the sideline and taking a Bears defender head on. Adams managed to push his defender backward and score on a play that looked like it should have been a two yard gain.
WR Geronimo Allison
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 69 - 1 (8 targets) - Geronimo Allison
caught five passes for 69 yards and a touchdown on eight targets against the Bears on Sunday. Allison had been stuck on the sidelines for the first two years of his career, before the departure of Jordy Nelson
opened up a spot for him as the Packers #3 wide receiver. In his first game as a starter, Allison played very well and caught the touchdown that started the Packers comeback in the 4th quarter. Allison saw single coverage on the right sideline and ran a straight go-route, managing to get a step in front of his defender. Rodgers was able to create time in the pocket and threw an absolute dart to Allison deep on the right side of the end zone. Allison made a veteran move of extending his right leg just prior to the catch in order to get his right foot down short of the back of the end zone, and then drag his left foot behind him. With as much pressure as there was on that one play, Allison deserves a lot of credit for coming down with the touchdown catch that started the Packers 4th quarter comeback. The Packers have sustained three fantasy worthy wide receivers in years past, and it looks as though Allison could be heading for that role, as he has certainly gained Rodgers trust.
TE Jimmy Graham
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (4 targets) - Jimmy Graham
caught two passes on four targets for eight yards against the Bears on Sunday. Graham failed to make a big impact as a pass catcher for the Packers, however his mere presence played a big part in the Packers receivers seeing one on one coverage. Graham wonít approach 1,000 yards this season, and I donít think he will have 60 catches, but he will have a big impact for the Packers, and that is especially true in the red zone. The Packers were able to gain a lot of yards after the catch, particularly in the middle of the field, and after looking at the replays, it was clear that the Bears made sure Graham didnít beat them. By doing that, they enabled Cobb, Allison and Adams to beat them deep down the field. Graham stats this year wonít tell the whole story in terms of how he is helping the Packers.
Dallas Cowboys 8, Carolina Panthers 16
What you need to know
- The Cowboys struggled mightily on offense in their 2018 season debut against Carolina. For much of the game, the rushing attack and Ezekiel Elliott
struggled to generate any significant holes or gains. On the flip side, the passing game was by far Dallasí weakest unit. The play-calling was conservative, the wide receivers struggled to separate outside of Cole Beasley
, and the tight end presence was minimal. In their first eight drives of the game Dallas had six punts, a missed field goal, and the one drive ended by the first half.
- If this game is any indication, Cam Newton
will take a lot of hits this season as the offensive line continues to unravel. Newton was often inaccurate due to the pressure, though he looked fantastic as a runner and gashed Dallas multiple times. The beneficiary of this offensive line problem appears to be Christian McCaffrey
. The second-year back was the recipient of several dump-off passes and looked explosive and quick on every touch. A red zone fumble was the only blemish on his report card. The passing game lost Greg Olsen
to a foot injury, forcing Newton to rely on McCaffrey and Devin Funchess
, who suffered due to a lack of accuracy from his quarterback. The rest of the passing attack was toothless and the receivers struggled to gain separation. Right tackle Daryl Williams' new injury could spell disaster for this unit.
QB Dak Prescott
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 29 - 170 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 19 - 0 - Prescott got off to a sluggish start to the season against Carolina. Independent of Prescott being largely inaccurate on any throws but outlet targets near the line of scrimmage, the perimeter wide receivers offers Prescott little in terms of separation and winning one-on-one matchups to clarify Prescottís throwing windows. Held scoreless until the fourth quarter, Prescott had a myriad of passing errors from overthrowing Allen Hurns
on a deep route to Rod Smith
when setting up a screen, which was well blocked, to underthrowing Blake Jarwin
down the field on third down. While Dallas was within reach entire the game, the margin could have easily been in blowout zone. There was finally some momentum and rhythm to Dallasí offense when they shifted to no-huddle in the fourth quarter. Prescottís best moments came on a comeback route to Deonte Thompson
and a red zone scramble for a critical third down conversion on their lone scoring drive of the game. On their last gasp effort, Prescott threw behind a wide open Michael Gallup
on a crossing route and the offensive line struggled to protect Prescott.
RB Ezekiel Elliott
, 59 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 69 - 1, Rec: 3 - 17 - 0 (4 targets) - It was a tale of two halves for Ezekiel Elliott
against Carolina. Elliott saw few running lanes early in the game, consistently been held to minimal gains with an occasional yard or two created after contact. Elliott salvaged a decent performance with a series of successful runs on Dallasí only scoring drive with two power runs of more than 10 yards into the red zone and scoring a touchdown on an option look with Dak Prescott
. In general, Elliott looked lethargic from his typical power running self and benefitted primarily from good blocking on his most notable runs. In the passing game, Dak Prescott
was inaccurate on a target to Elliott in the flat and Elliott did not beat a defender in a one-on-one open field situation on another occasion.
RB Rod Smith
, 4 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets) - Smith saw minimal playing time as Ezekiel Elliott
dominated the snaps against Carolina. Smith saw time in the late first quarter only because Elliott needed a rest. Smith did post a solid gain by dragging a defender for additional yardage. Smithís best opportunity in the passing game came on a well-blocked screen play, only to be overthrown by Dak Prescott
WR Cole Beasley
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 73 - 0 (8 targets) - Beasley was arguably the lone strong performer among Dallasí skill position players against Carolina. Beasley separated well from defenders within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage and benefitted from some of Dak Prescott
ís few accuracy deliveries in the game. While not a fast receiver, Beasley has quality short area quickness, especially with option routes from the slot. Beasley also added a contested slant reception this week in addition to his wide open looks.
WR Michael Gallup
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets) - The second-round rookie receiver saw his regular season debut against the Panthers, but had minimal impact as Dallasí passing game struggled to find any consistency. Gallup was gobbled up on deep routes by coverage, but did see some success as he came wide open on a crossing route, only to be thrown behind by Dak Prescott
. Gallup made a quality low catch on a slant route and drew a defensive illegal contact penalty beyond the box score.
WR Allen Hurns
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 20 - 0 (3 targets) - Hurns had the second-most snaps of Dallas wide receivers, but had only a single notable play against Carolina. Hurns showed quality ball skills high-pointing a pass over the middle in the third quarter. Hurnsí other opportunity of note came on a deep out route, only to be overthrown by Dak Prescott
on the play. With the entire Dallas receiver group struggling outside of Cole Beasley
in the slot, Hurns can emerge as a central figure for Dallas with better quarterback play.
TE Geoff Swaim
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 18 - 0 (4 targets) - Swaim had a dominant snap count against the Panthers in Week 1. Swaim was the primary run-blocker of Dallasí tight ends and added three catches. The most encouraging sign was Swaim being featured on a tight end screen, which was well blocked and Swaim showed some burst for more than 10 yards. Without prominent red zone wide receivers on the roster, Swaim is poised to have a role near the end zone in future weeks with more productive offensive showings.
QB Cam Newton
, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 26 - 161 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 13 - 58 - 1 - Cam Newton
produced a solid, if unspectacular, effort against the Cowboys, as he found himself under duress constantly. The Panthers' offensive line was already a question mark entering the game, the return of Daryl Williams notwithstanding, but Williams didn't even finish the game and more shuffling ensued. Newton offset the pass rush early on with some quarterback runs on keepers and veer plays. Dallas defenders continued to play the inside handoff to the back, so Newton gashed them for their ill-discipline. Newton piled up the rushing yards early and got into a nice rhythm. It was in the passing game that the problems occurred, with receivers struggling to get open and Newton having to get rid of the ball in awkward situations. A clean pocket was a luxury, though even when afforded time Newton failed to connect with his receivers, throwing too high. Newton cashed in on a red zone opportunity with a rushing touchdown - again the Cowboys failed to stay with their assignments. The passing game started to build momentum, albeit on a small scale, in the second half, as Newton found Devin Funchess
on some laser passes.
RB Christian McCaffrey
, 57 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 50 - 0, Rec: 6 - 45 - 0 (9 targets) - The Norv Turner era began in Carolina with the grand unveiling of the Christian McCaffrey
Show on offense. Offensive line inconsistently held back the passing attack, but this forced quicker releases and allowed McCaffrey to thrive on underneath routes. The Dallas defenders couldn't deal with him in space, with the quick-twitch back winning time and again. As a runner, McCaffrey's day started off in a rough way as he had a red zone fumble. The defender who knocked it out made a terrific play to weave through the blocks, but McCaffrey failed to secure the ball with two hands. McCaffrey showed burst and power on a 13-yard inside handoff later, lowering his shoulder into contact and dragging a tackler or two. Cam Newton
was inaccurate on some simple passes to McCaffrey in the flat, or the second-year back could have had an even more productive game. McCaffrey proved a thorn in the side of the Cowboys and acted as the engine of the offense.
RB C.J. Anderson
, 12 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 35 - 0 - C.J. Anderson
played second fiddle to Christian McCaffrey
throughout, but gave the coaching staff plenty to ponder. The fleet of foot Anderson showed terrific patience, vision and burst to pick up small chunks of yardage that helped to wear the Cowboys down. Anderson spotted cutbacks and lapses by Dallas quickly and exploited them. His best carry was a beautiful red zone run; bending it left initially, Anderson spotted a crease between center and right guard, sidestepping into and then through the gap, weaving his way past would-be tacklers and unfortunately getting tackled at the one-yard line.
RB Alex Armah
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 1 - 1 - Alex Armah
's only touch of the game was a one-yard touchdown as he piled over to finish a drive that proved decisive on the scoreboard.
WR Jarius Wright
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 23 - 0 (5 targets) - Offseason acquisition Jarius Wright
was solid in all aspects of the game as the Carolina offense struggled to protect Cam Newton
, leading to a downstream negative effect on the receivers. Wright made his mark in the short passing game, with a beautiful adjustment on a low pass from his quarterback, rolling sideways as he hauled it in. Wright bamboozled defenders and broke a couple of tackles on a bubble screen, fumbled the ball after biting off more than he could chew, and subsequently recovering his lost fumble.
WR Devin Funchess
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 41 - 0 (5 targets) - Devin Funchess
played like the Panthers' Ďnumber one' receiver in the season opener, overcoming what was a forgettable performance from the passing game. Funchess had to bide his time initially. Cam Newton
was under near-constant pressure on his dropbacks, exacerbating the usually erratic Newton's accuracy issues. Two early targets - one a deep pass, the other a corner route - were too high for Funchess. It wasn't long before Funchess made another grab for a chunk play, but it was called back by an offensive holding penalty. Funchess came to life in the second half despite some less-than-ideal Newton passes, the ball often arriving off target. Nevertheless, Funchess made the most of the opportunities and kickstarted the passing game with some tremendous catches in heavy traffic.
WR Torrey Smith
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (2 targets) - The wide receivers struggled to get separation against a stubborn and disciplined coverage unit of the Cowboys, with Torrey Smith
perhaps the most affected - and least targeted - of the bunch. Smith showed good quickness off the snap to get inside leverage on the cornerback and catch a slant pass from Cam Newton
, but otherwise was a non-factor.
WR D.J. Moore
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0 - D.J. Moore
had an inauspicious debut against the Cowboys as the Panthers failed to muster a consistent passing attack. Moore had only one reception - a flair pass into the left flat that was instantly snuffed out - and featured primarily as Žwindow dressing' pre-snap, motioning and acting as a satellite player in the backfield. Notably, he was often the lone receiver on the field in red zone opportunities.
TE Ian Thomas
, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 4 - 0 (2 targets) - Rookie Ian Thomas
stepped into the breach and assumed a larger role - at least in terms of snap count - after Greg Olsen
was forced to leave the game due to injury. Thomas had a nice catch and run in the red zone on a well-placed Cam Newton
pass on a bootleg, but his only other involvement in the passing game came on a tight end screen which was unceremoniously blown up by the Dallas pursuit.
TE Greg Olsen
, 16 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 33 - 0 (2 targets) - Greg Olsen
lasted only a little over a quarter against the Cowboys. On a straightforward seam route, Olsen's foot was stood on by the defender in coverage. Olsen finished the play and ended up making a 19-yard reception after a slip from a defender but did not return to the game. He was spotted wearing a walking boot on the sideline. Olsen had been looking comfortable prior to the injury, reeling in a nice 14-yard catch on an intermediate dig route.
Washington Redskins 24, Arizona Cardinals 6
What you need to know
- Washington consistently won the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and had control of this game throughout. The physicality of this team stood out and it was a welcomed site to have healthy bodies back to display this production. The threat of a running game also helped keep the Washington offense on schedule and balanced. If Washington can stay healthy they have the personnel to be a tough out for any opponent. Alex may prove to be key part of the rushing attack simply by his threat as a runner.
- Arizona was thoroughly dominated in time of possession and total plays by Washington, especially in the first half (Washington with 44 plays, Arizona 14) to a pronounced deficit. It was not until down 24-0 Arizona found some offensive rhythm with Washington playing a prevent style defense in the fourth quarter. Arizonaís wide receivers struggled to separate and Sam Bradford
was uncharacteristically inaccurate on fundamental throws. David Johnson
had a quality showing in his regular season debut since missing almost all of 2017 with a wrist injury.
QB Alex Smith
, 79 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 30 - 255 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 8 - 14 - 0 - Alex Smith
had a somewhat impressive debut for his new team the Washington Redskins. The first thing that immediately stood out with Alex running this offense is his mobility. Alex did a decent job most of the game escaping pressure to extend plays. Coach Gruden also implemented a few designed read option plays to utilize his legs if needed. Alex completed twenty one of his thirty passes as he displayed full command of the intermediate passing game. He added two touchdowns as well with both receivers using RAC to get in the endzone. Washington's ability to control the line of scrimmage gave Alex ample opportunity to read the field and get the ball into the hands of his playmakers. He totaled two hundred and fifty-five yards passing which productive considering how much they ran the ball in this game. Alex is used to spreading it around in the passing game and his ability to extend plays will be a bonus moving forward.
RB Adrian Peterson
, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 26 - 96 - 1, Rec: 2 - 70 - 0 (3 targets) - Adrian Peterson
received a massive workload in his Redskins debut. He totaled twenty-eight touches with all but two coming from handoffs. It was clear that Adrian still has a little juice left as a runner by his display of jump cuts along with short area acceleration. His vision is still there as well with several instances shows of him finding cut back lanes. Adrian longest carry of the game went for seventeen yards and it should be noted his yards per carry were below four yards. The 2nd half of this game he didn't have as many running lanes and often got stuffed. One of Adrian's two receptions was a screen pass that went for fifty-two yards. Washington is willing to use Adrian in the passing game as well which shows they are all in on him being the bell-cow back. He scored the first touchdown of the day from the goal line and was the preferred back in the redzone. It will be interesting to see how fresh he stays throughout the year with such a large workload. Today may have had much to do with game script as Washington was in control majority of this game.
RB Chris Thompson
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 65 - 0, Rec: 6 - 63 - 1 (7 targets) - Chris Thompson
picked up right where he left off from last season. Showing no signs of rust coming off injury, Chris had a combined eleven touches that went for over one hundred and twenty yards. He also chipped in a touchdown for this game as he used his route running ability to take advantage of a linebacker. The play design looked to be an option route coming out of the backfield. It was an easy read for Alex as Chris took the short dump off about ten yards for the score. Chris is a major component to the Washington offense and his double-digit touches along with the efficient production shows he is ready to contribute immediately.
RB Rob Kelley
, 8 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 7 - 0 - Rob Kelley
has been relegated to third running back duties and is now phased out of this offense. He totaled three carries on the day.
WR Paul Richardson
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 22 - 0 (6 targets) - Paul Richardson
couldn't get on track in this game as he put together a four catch, twenty-two-yard effort. Alex took a couple of shots downfield to Paul that came up empty but would have given him better numbers on the day. Paul's big play ability as a deep threat wasn't needed as much considering Washington had control of this game from the start.
WR Jamison Crowder
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (4 targets) - Jamison Crowder
wasn't utilized as much in this game. He had three catches for thirty-two yards and was targeted just four times. Jamison's production will be inconsistent throughout the year if Jordan Reed
and Chris Thompson
are healthy. Jamison is Washington's slot receiver which means he runs most of his routes over the middle of the field. This is problematic considering Jordan dominates the targets in this area.
WR Josh Doctson
, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (3 targets) - Josh Doctson
was a forgotten man in Washington's offense as he only managed one catch for eleven yards. Josh has been talked up as the primary redzone threat along with Jordan Reed
, but his number wasn't called in this game. Josh's role in this offense remains unclear.
TE Jordan Reed
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 48 - 1 (5 targets) - Jordan Reed
had the most productive day of all Washington receivers as he totaled four receptions for sixty-eight yards with a touchdown. Jordan looks to be healthy now after battling lower body injuries all last season. His touchdown displayed his trademark quickness as he shook loose from his defender to gain separation in coverage. Jordan ran a quick out route then used his run after catch ability to turn up field and pick up five yards to the endzone. Alex and Jordan look to have developed chemistry and is primed to lead Washington's receiving core. If he remains healthy.
TE Vernon Davis
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets) - Vernon Davis
reverted to 2nd string as Jordan is now healthy. Vernon had one catch for nine yards. Most of his impact comes when he is the starter, so his production will stay minimal with Jordan Reed
in the lineup.
QB Sam Bradford
, 53 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 34 - 153 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0 - Bradford and the Arizona offense barely saw the field in the first half, both because of Washingtonís offensive efficiency and Arizonaís own inefficiency, logging a mere 14 plays. Bradfordís first half play of note was nearly throwing an interception on a slant route to Christian Kirk
as the offense sputtered to 36 total yards. Bradford found more rhythm in the second half, delivering a long accurate throw to Larry Fitzgerald
on a corner route for more than 25 yards and another deep out to Fitzgerald to get Arizona finally into Washington territory late in the third quarter. Washington playing prevent defense as the second half progressed with a big lead did play a part in Arizona finally moving the ball. Bradfordís handful of successful throws downfield, however, was marred by an overthrow of a wide open Ricky Seals-Jones
for an easy interception and an underthrow of Seals-Jones in the end zone in the closing minutes. To end the game, Bradford was stripped of the ball in the closing seconds. Without a notable deep threat, Arizona will need to see improvement from Bradford with intermediate and short route ball placement and see more receiver separation in the coming weeks.
RB David Johnson
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 37 - 1, Rec: 5 - 30 - 0 (9 targets) - After playing only one game in 2017 due to a wrist injury, Johnson returned to the field against Washington in Week 1. A mere 14 touches is a light day at the office for Johnson, but Arizona struggled to sustain drives and was dominated in time of possession in the first half specifically. Johnson was involved early in the game with two runs of more than 10 yards, exhibiting strong cuts. However, he did not flash again until the late third quarter as Arizonaís offense as a whole struggled to stay on the field. Johnson did find the end zone with a goal line plunge as Arizonaís lone touchdown in the game. As the Cardinals played catch up, Johnson did uncharacteristically drop two passes among his nine targets, second on the team.
RB Chase Edmonds
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 24 - 0, Rec: 4 - 24 - 0 (4 targets) - Edmonds was the primary backup running back to David Johnson
in Arizonaís Week 1 blowout loss to Washington. Edmonds did not see snaps until the third quarter on offense, mostly due to Arizona logging only 14 total plays in the first half. Edmonds had a nice cut and eluded a defender on his most notable carry, buried in the fourth quarter. Edmonds also accrued most of his production in garbage time with the outcome already well decided.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 76 - 0 (10 targets) - Fitzgerald led Arizona is targets with 10 against Washington. Overall, Fitzgerald struggled to separate on his short and intermediate routes. Fitzgerald collected most of his yardage on two downfield catches, a corner route with an excellent throw by Sam Bradford
for more than 25 yards and a deep out route as Arizona finally gained some offensive momentum late in the third quarter. Fitzgerald had a touchdown opportunity with a goal line shovel pass, but was stuffed on the play by Washington front seven.
WR Christian Kirk
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (2 targets) - Kirk saw a strong snap share as the third wide receiver for Arizona; however, he saw a mere two targets. One was a slant route well short of the first down marker on an early-game third down. Kirk was targeted on a two-point conversion attempt, but well covered and overthrown by Sam Bradford
. Kirkís biggest impact came on special teams with a long punt return to keep Arizonaís comeback chances on life support in the second half.
TE Ricky Seals-Jones
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 19 - 0 (6 targets) - Seals-Jones rarely left the field as Arizonaís starting tight end. His impact was minimal, however, has Seals-Jonesí long deep target was tipped away by a well-covering defender. On two quick out route receptions, Seals-Jones was tackled immediately. Seals-Jones did have a touchdown opportunity with an end zone target from the red zone, but Sam Bradford
underthrew Seals-Jones in the closing minutes of the game.
Jacksonville Jaguars 20, New York Giants 15
What you need to know
- Last year, the Jaguars were one of the best offensive teams in the league in terms of first quarter production. The same was true on opening day against the Giants. Sans one drive that ended in an interception, every first half drive for the Jaguars ended in points. Miscues in the redzone kept the Jaguars to just one touchdown scored in the first half. The Jaguars did not hold the ball for almost 8 full minutes of gametime from the end of the first half through the beginning of the second quarter, and the time off seemingly made their offense sputter. Every single drive in the second half ended with a punt.
New York Giants
- - Eli Manning
looks competent and like he's not finished playing at a reasonably high level yet. His pass protection from Flowers on the right side was poor but the Jaguars defense can give many offenses troubles. Manning was accurate
and decisive when afforded time.
- Beckham looks as dangerous as ever and could have had several scores in this game, was unlucky to miss out on a few attempts. He is poised for another big season.
- Any running back other than Barkley is not worth starting and maybe not even worth owning at this point. Shepard and Engram will have strong games but predicting them will be difficult. Beckham will get the majority of the targets every week.
QB Blake Bortles
, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 33 - 176 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 42 - 0 - Bortles' rhythm, timing, accuracy were all good on the opening drive. He is comfortable early in games when the offense is working off of it's script. Vertical targets to Donte Moncrief
were a black hole Ů resulting in wasted downs on shot plays (at best) with the worst outcome being a Janoris Jenkins interception. Bortles showed great placement on a touchdown Corner route target to Sefarian-Jenkins that was nullified by an offensive line penalty. He was almost intercepted by Jenkins again on the next play, as Jenkins undercut a corner route intended for Niles Paul
. Jenkins' deflection almost went for a touchdown, as Paul almost made the catch after the ball popped up in the air. With better trajectory on this throw, he actually could have given Paul an opportunity at an over-the-shoulder catch. His biggest play of the game came in the second half, when he got the Jaguars offense out from the shadow of their own goalpost on a 41 yard RPO keep down the left sideline. Like with all of the Jaguars' second half drives, however, the series ended with a punt after a skipped pass and a false start left the drive with an insurmountable 3rd and 13.
RB T.J. Yeldon
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 51 - 0, Rec: 3 - 18 - 1 (7 targets) - Yeldon mixed in sporadically early in the game and took over lead back duties once Fournette went out with an injured hamstring. His first attempted touch of the game came on a pass attempt where Yeldon was split out as the weakside slot receiver in an empty formation. He won his route (a quick Out) against the linebacker, but bobbled the catch with an opportunity to catch-and-run for additional yardage. He made a big time conversion on a 3rd and 5 checkdown where he caught the ball behind the LOS and got upfield quickly through traffic. Yeldon had an impressive series of runs towards the end of the second half, including a 15 yard scamper featuring multiple broken tackles where he got the ball to the one yard line. On the following play, he scored a receiving touchdown after carrying out a play action fake and leaking to the flat. His ability as a receiver has always been there, but his strength and quickness have noticeably improved over the last two seasons. He did have another drop on an easy checkdown with under 5:00 left in the 4th that stopped the clock and set up a 3rd and 10, eventually leading the drive to a punt. Had just 4 yards on three carries when running out the clock under 2 minutes.
RB Leonard Fournette
, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 41 - 0, Rec: 3 - 14 - 0 (3 targets) - Fournette started the game off exactly how one would expect Ů as a workhorse lead back. Most encouraging were a catch-and-run off of play-action from the I formation on the first drive of the second half and his effective on shotgun runs/RPO gives. Unfortunately, he left the game midway through the second quarter with an injured hamstring, as his leg got caught underneath him as during a tackle.
RB Corey Grant
, 6 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0 - Entered the game on the first drive in a split backfield set with Fournette. Ran a quick swing route and made the catch for a couple of yards. Really only used as a decoy in the second half, with his occasional snaps mainly leading to play action fakes. The Jaguars used him as a second RB in their two back shotgun package on just one play. He simply was not involved in the gameplan from a manufactured touch standpoint from this week and got almost no traditional RB looks even after Fournette went down. His usage will be interesting to monitor, especially next week against New England - whom he burned on manufactured touches in the teams' AFC Championship Game meeting last year.
WR Dede Westbrook
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 51 - 0 (6 targets) - Westbrook's first target came of a Deep Over on the first drive. Bortles' ball placement was excellent, but Westbrook was not able to make the catch. It appears that the safety's hit dislodged the ball, but the ball was already coming out before contact as Westbrook tried to awkwardly trap the ball against his chest. Bortles went right back to him for a 3rd and 4 conversion on a quick Out on the next play. He was targeted again on the same Deep Over concept he dropped on the first drive and he secured it for a 20 yard gain. He came notably wide open on a dig route in the 3rd quarter that Bortles checked down prematurely for an incompletion. He made a crucial 3rd and 3 conversion on a quick out with 5:30 remaining in the 4th quarter that allowed the drive to extend and some additional time to run off.
WR Keelan Cole
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 54 - 0 (4 targets) - Cole beat Janoris Jenkins on a 9 route on the second play of the game. Tracked the ball perfectly over his shoulder and held onto the catch through contact. He was peppered with occasional targets afterwards, but so far through the preseason and week one, the Jaguars offense is not calling a lot of pure dropback pass plays where he is the primary receiver. He and Westbrook are the main recipients when the Jaguars throw on RPOs and Packaged Plays, but these targets are at the mercy of how the defense lines up and/or reacts to the run action.
WR Donte Moncrief
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (5 targets) - The Jaguars are clearly trying to make Moncrief into their new version of Allen Robinson
. Most of his targets came on low chance of success plays. Bortles interception came on Moncrief's second target - a 9 route with Janoris Jenkins in his hip pocket down the field. The ball underthrown and easily intercepted by Jenkins. It looked like Bortles was trying to target a back-shoulder throw. Jenkins had really good coverage; the best Moncrief could have done was to come back and play as a defender on Jenkins instead of allowing his momentum to take his jump upfield. He was argeted on a back-shoulder fade on 3rd and 5 in the 3rd quarter that was not open and the ball was not put in play. His first catch didn't come until the beginning of the 4th quarter on a Switch-Curl. Heargeted again on a Fade on 3rd and 7 on this drive, but was well-covered (this was a theme - all of these were wasted targets on pre-snap decisions by Bortles).
WR D.J. Chark
, 13 offensive snaps - Chark mainly comes in as the lone WR in one WR sets, however these plays are mostly all runs or play action checkdowns.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (5 targets) - Seferian-Jenkins was not involved until the second quarter, when he converted a first down off a dumpoff play action boot pass. He was targeted and caught a corner route for a touchdown from the 11 yard line that was nullified by an offensive line penalty. He won on his route against a linebacker and completed the catch through contact. He allows pressures vs defensive backs in pass pro, which is a huge downgrade out of what the Jaguars have gotten for the last ten years from former tight end Marcedes Lewis
. Seferian-Jenkins started getting a lot of junk checkdown targets during the fourth quarter.
QB Eli Manning
, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 37 - 224 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0 - Eli Manning
played well for the most part in this game but was under heavy pressure, particularly from his right side. The Giants moved Flowers to right tackle but he didn't fare any better in his new role, giving up pressure often and quickly at times. Manning didn't trust his protection at times and this lead to some erratic throws throughout the game. Manning had a nice rollout play deep to Engram but this was negated by a hold up front.
He displayed excellent chemistry with Beckham as always. The pair hooked up all over the field and kept the Jaguars guessing. Manning got a lot of flags downfield as he looked to take advantage of one on one coverage when he saw it.
Beckham and Engram drew defensive penalties as they ran downfield and many of these flags kept Giant's drives alive which lead to points. He looked to Beckham often and showed no hesitation trying bombs downfield. Manning overthrew a wide open reciever as they were running in the endzone, placing the ball 1/2 yards ahead which could have easily been a touchdown. He got hit more as the game progressed and threw several erratic balls to escape pressure.
Unfortunately for him, one of these was tipped at the line of scrimmage and picked off by the Jaguars defense for a touchdown. Manning showed accuracy and play making ability in this game and can still play at a high level. However, his protection could be an issue yet again this season. Barkley wasn't able to get going much in this game either so the workload fell on Manning's shoulders, which is a tough task against this Jaguars defense.
RB Saquon Barkley
, 55 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 106 - 1, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (6 targets) - Saquon Barkley
was shut down for most of this game and rarely broke into the secondary but rescued fantasy owners with one play. Barkley showed toughness and speed, despite mediocre production in the first half.
He used a strong stiff arm to get separation from chasers and followed his blocks well. The Jaguars run defense was stout however, and they rarely give up any room up front. The Giants offensive line did not create many gaps and Barkley had to take what was there. He was stuffed in the redzone on several attempts but did manage to get some decent gains on toss plays outside. Barkley also showed utility as a reciever, getting screen passes and swing passes which he was able to turn into decent gains. Barkley showed top tier talent on his touchdown run, which is what everyone was waiting for. He cut a running play to the outside, used a stiff arm to deny a tackler and simply exploded down the sideline for the big run. The acceleration and max speed was evident on the play and this kind of play should keep Giants fans/fantasy owners excited.
RB Jonathan Stewart
, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 8 - 0 - Jonathan Stewart
accomplished very little and only got two carries. The Giants are going to use Barkley a lot this season, veteran Stewart will have no fantasy value with the team as it is. He should not be owned in any league.
WR Odell Beckham Jr
, 68 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 11 - 111 - 0 (15 targets) - Odell Beckham looked as explosive and dynamic as ever and Giants fans can relax as their young playmaker is going to be around for a while. He was involved throughout the entire game and Manning looked his wayoften. Beckham caught balls all over the field and kept the Jaguars honest as they had to respect his deep threat potential. He had a slant play early negated by a penalty and had to wait for an underthrown ball which limited its potentialbut these were the minor issues with his production on Sunday. Beckham caused panic from the Jaguars secondary as he ran deep routes, drawing several pass interference calls as he tried to haul in passes. Beckham was also wide open in the endzone on another deep route but unfortunately the ball was overthrown and fell incomplete. He worked the middle of the field very well, getting massive separation at times on the sideline. Beckham was unlucky not to score in this gamebut he will have big games coming this season.
WR Sterling Shepard
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 48 - 0 (7 targets) - Sterling Shepard
was relatively quiet in this game but saved you somewhat in PPR leagues as he had 5 grabs. He worked the short game on Sunday and hauled in slants/drag routes over the middle.
Shepard didn't have much room after the catch and often had to fight for the ball in tight coverage but did a solid job hanging onto the ball. He had a terrific catch along the sideline, keeping his feet in bounds to secure the gain. He also showed great concentration going low to get a diving catch on a slant route to save Manning's slightly errant throw. He did drop one pass over the middle on a drag but this is generally uncharacteristic of Shepard.
Shepard was targeted deep late in the game on a corner route but the separation was not there, the pass was also way underthrown and it fell incomplete.
TE Evan Engram
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (5 targets) - Evan Engram
had an early big play down the field on a rollout pass play negated by a hold unfortunately. He had a shot at a deep target from Manning which he was not able to secure but the defender was flagged for passinterference subsequently. Engram drew a holding call also on another target after play action, using his speed to gain some separation. Engram could only get his hands on short balls and was unable to turn several of these into first downs.
Beckham was the star of the show on Sunday and Engram was targeted at times but he could never manage to haul in the big play. The Giants were in pass happy mode but poor pass protection hampered the passing attack and guys like Engram suffered as a result. He will have stronger games going forward.
Houston Texans 20, New England Patriots 27
What you need to know
- Will Fuller
and Keke Coutee
are both respectively working back from hamstring injuries. Sammie Coates
Jr. also filled in at wide receiver but had limited offensive snaps.
Rookie Vyncint Smith
touched the field to be the Texans vertical threat instead of Fuller and he did have two targets with no receptions in limited work.
Rookies Jordan Akins
and Jordan Thomas
has extended work on offense and caught their targets. Griffin remains the Texans primary tight end until further notice.
New England Patriots
- Philip Dorsett is operating as the clear WR2, and out targeted Chris Hogan
Brady is going to spread targets liberally, which will make for inconsistent passing game stats beyond Gronk
With Jeremy Hill
hurt, expect Rex Burkhead
to be the primary ball carrier on early downs, while James White
continues to get passing game snaps
QB Deshaun Watson
, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 34 - 176 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 8 - 40 - 0 - It was not the start the Texans wanted to see from Deshaun Watson
especially after an opening play fumble by him trying to handoff to Lamar Miller
. Watson was inaccurate most of the game and was lackluster to start the first half. He only threw for 61 yards in the first half and was out of sorts paying attention to a rush that was not near him. His only interception came from forcing the football to a receiver double covered in the end zone that he should have not thrown. The second half was a little better for Watson completing 12 passes but it still wasnít enough to pull the win out for the Texans. He did hit Bruce Ellington
for a 4-yard touchdown and even added 40 yards on the ground showing that his ACL is just fine. Watson looked rusty and made some poor decisions but as the game wore on, he did some good things.
RB Lamar Miller
, 57 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 98 - 0, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (2 targets) - Knocking on the door step of rushing for a 100 yards, Lamar Miller
had one of his better games for the offense. Ripping off a 31 yard run to get the Texans out from deep their own territory, Miller looks much stronger and quicker this season. He showed the ability to break tackles and more importantly gain positive yards. Still the Texans top back, Millerís 20 carries are right in his sweet spot of when he is most effective. Add in 1 reception for 11 yards, it was a good showing for Miller and the running game.
RB Alfred Blue
, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 36 - 1 - There were only 10 offensive snaps for Blue but he produced 36 yards on 5 carries. Which was more impressive is how he pounded the rock and moved the pile. Blue had a 1-yard touchdown run to get the Texans their first touchdown of the season. Blue remains a spot filler for Miller but it was a good showing for the veteran back.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
, 73 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -7 - 0, Rec: 8 - 78 - 0 (11 targets) - DeAndre Hopkins
was blanketed by Stephone Gilmore all game but he was able to produce 8 catches with his longest being 17. Hopkins remained the Texans primary target in the passing game and even when Deshaun Watson
was struggling, the offense adjusted and moved Hopkins to the slot. With that simple move it opened up easier throws to hit Hopkins. There was not many yards after the catch but the Texans will continue to feed him the ball at all costs.
WR Bruce Ellington
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 37 - 1 (8 targets) - With so many injuries all ready to the wide receiver group, Bruce Ellington
was the second most experience player at the position. Ellington was moved around and was used primarily as the slot until Hopkins was moved there. Ellington dropped two passes on catchable passes and going back to the preseason the past three games he has dropped 5 passes in that stretch. Ellington did have a 5 yard touchdown reception on a designed play for him to get into the opening of the defense. Ellington also showed some catch and run ability but his drop issue is a slight concern.
TE Ryan Griffin
, 63 offensive snaps (5 targets) - Ryan Griffin
is the primary tight end and even though he had zero receptions during the game, he was wide open on four of those targets in which Watson delivered poor passes. The most egregious one was when Griffin was 1-on-1 with a safety, had him beat to the end zone and Watson threw a inaccurate pass no where close for Griffin to make a play. Griffin had golden chances to make plays but was let down by Watson who couldnít deliver.
QB Tom Brady
, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 39 - 277 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0 - Brady and the Pats offense came firing out of the gate, then slowed down a bit in the second half as the Texans defense found their legs. With an injury to Jeremy Hill
, Sony Michel
out, and the rest of the running game producing middling results, Brady was relied upon as usual to help carry the team despite a dearth of pass catchers. Only 13 of Brady's 39 attempts went to wide receivers, while 17 went to running backs. Unsurprisingly, his best connections were with Gronk, though Philip Dorsett played a surprisingly efficient chain mover role. Brady's first touchdown was a nice throw to Gronk placed just near the big tight end's back shoulder near the end zone on a deeper ball. Gronk was double covered, but naturally made the catch and scored anyways. The next two scores were fairly easy - one was to a wide open James White
out of the backfield, and the other was to Dorsett on an out route. Brady did misfire several throws, including an easy touchdown toss to Rex Burkhead
. All in all, though, he looked like the same old star for much of the game.
RB Rex Burkhead
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 64 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (3 targets) - Burkhead saw more snaps than expected due to an injury to Jeremy Hill
, but wasn't able to produce much despite seeing 19 touches. His best run was a 12 yard scamper between a hole, and his day would have been much bigger if Tom Brady
hadn't overthrown him for a TD on a pass route where he easily beat a linebacker. He also committed a fumble, but luckily the Pats recovered. Big days will be ahead if Hill's injury is serious.
RB James White
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 18 - 0, Rec: 4 - 38 - 1 (9 targets) - James White
was used as a receiver more often than as a runner despite Jeremy Hill
's injury, which wasn't a surprise. His biggest play of note was a wide open touchdown catch out of the backfield. He was used in a variety of formations, and did start at the running back position and flexed out wide multiple times. White will continue to be used in a bit fashion mostly in the receiving game, especially with Julian Edelman
WR Phillip Dorsett
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 66 - 1 (7 targets) - Surprisingly, Philip Dorsett was a main vein in the passing game against the Texans, moving the chains several times. The Texans defensive backs weren't exactly world beaters, but he did what he had to do as Tom Brady
searched for weapons. His touchdown was a nice out route that thoroughly beat his covering defender. He may show inconsistency week to week, but his snap and target count showed that he's towards the top of the WR pecking order while Julian Edelman
WR Chris Hogan
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (5 targets) - Hogan had a fairly disappointing day, as he wasn't targeted much, and didn't separate as well as normal. With a thin WR corps and Julian Edelman
on suspension, he should kick things into gear, but his Week 2 matchup doesn't get any easier.
TE Rob Gronkowski
, 75 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 123 - 1 (8 targets) - To absolutely no one's surprise, Gronk was Tom Brady
's top target, catching multiple chunk seam passes and scoring a touchdown to boot. His score was a nice deep back shoulder throw in double coverage that saw Gronk simply snare the ball away from defenders and narrowly prance into the end zone for a score. The big blemish on the day was that he fumbled a ball, and Jeremy Hill
was hurt chasing the fumble. Still, he will be the focal point of the offense for at least the next few weeks.
Cincinnati Bengals 34, Indianapolis Colts 23
What you need to know
- -Joe Mixon
dominated the running back snaps and touches. Not only did he see 17 carries to Giovani Bernard
sí 1, he also out-targeted Bernard 7 to 1. He looked fantastic, fueling optimism about his chances of a breakout second season.
was an afterthought and should be considered mostly a fantasy handcuff to Mixon at this point, with little weekly appeal as long as Mixon stays healthy.
fumbled twice (losing one), a major issue he needs to fix. He was otherwise strong, getting behind the Colts defense twice. Once, for a long touchdown and then to draw a 36-yard pass interference penalty.
-Along with Green, Tyler Boyd
and John Ross
received basically all of the snaps at wide receiver. Ross caught a short touchdown but Boyd saw more targets (5) than Ross (2).
played 65% of the snaps and caught all three of his targets in a successful return to action.
- The Colts showed the same play calling tendencies they did in the preseason. The Colts play calling favored the short and quick passing game with only a few downfield throws. Luck had two accurate throws downfield but otherwise was well off target. Luck could have had as many as 4 turnovers and the Colts were inefficient in the red zone. TY Hilton dropped a pass downfield and faced tight coverage from the Bengals corners all game. Jordan Wilkins
holds the job as the early down back and Nyheim Hines
holds the role of 3rd down back. Hines racked up 6 targets in two minute hurry up situations. Jack Doyle
was the target of a Luck interception and had a late fumble that gave the Bengals the game. Eric Ebron
was involved and made plays underneath and downfield.
QB Andy Dalton
, 55 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 28 - 243 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 8 - 0 - It was an excellent start to the season for Dalton. He threw with accuracy, showed athleticism to escape pressure, and displayed a strong rapport with each of his top receiving targets. The game started on a down note, however. Daltonís first pass of the game, he was trying to hit Joe Mixon
on a swing route but rookie center Billy Price got destroyed and the defensive tackle hit Daltonís arm as he released the pass. The ball fluttered into the hands of a Colts defender. Dalton made a strong open-field tackle to save a touchdown, which ended up saving seven points as the Colts turned the ball over. Daltonís toughness also showed up on a game-changing 3rd-and-6 scramble late in the game when Dalton dove head first for a first down, taking a big hit instead of sliding. It setup the go-ahead touchdown. Dalton hit A.J. Green
for a 38-yard touchdown on a perfectly thrown deep ball. He released the ball early, lofted it over the safety in the middle of the field and allowed Green to run under it in the end zone. Dalton also connected with John Ross
for a touchdown on a well-thrown fade route from three yards out. The only negative for Dalton moving forward was that the pass protection from the right side of the line didnít hold up even against the Colts mediocre stable of rushers, with both the right guard and right tackle allowing five pressure each. Against teams with better defensive ends, Dalton is going to see a lot of pressure in his face.
RB Joe Mixon
, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 95 - 1, Rec: 5 - 54 - 0 (7 targets) - Mixon was fantastic, both as a runner and pass catcher against the Colts and looks to be well on his way to a breakout season. The Bengals clearly wanted to get him established early, with six of the first seven plays of the game either handoffs or passes to Mixon. He quickly made his presence with a decisive 7-yard run straight up the gut on the first play of the game. He opened the second drive with runs of 4 and 7 yards and then burst for a gain of 21 on a screen pass down the left sideline. He looks noticeably faster and more explosive after slimming down in the offseason. His speed was evident on his long run of the day as well. He outran a Colts linebacker to the edge on an outside run and flew down the sideline for a gain of 21. Mixonís touchdown came from a yard out. The Bengals lined up in a heavy formation with a defensive lineman in at fullback and Mixon leaped over the top to get in. Mixon dominated in terms of usage, with over 90% (22 of 24) of the running back touches on the day. On the game-winning fourth-quarter drive, Mixon was the key, touching the ball on 7-of-10 plays. His seven targets show the Bengals plan to use him heavily as a pass catcher, which makes him an elite fantasy option going forward.
RB Giovani Bernard
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -2 - 0, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets) - Bernard was a non-factor in Week 1. Though he played 25% of the snaps, he touched the ball just twice. He was stacked up in the backfield for a loss on his only carry and he received just one target in the passing game. Bernard had a third touch that went for a big loss but he drew a horse collar tackle to nullify the loss. Bernardís minimal usage is especially troubling from a fantasy perspective considering the Bengals trailed nearly the entire game.
WR A.J. Green
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 92 - 1 (8 targets) - There were plenty of highlights and lowlights for Green in an uneven performance. He fumbled twice, losing one and getting lucky when Tyler Boyd
was able to recover the second fumble. Green also had a drop in the end zone on what should have been a 3-yard touchdown. The fumbles were both caused by defensive backs punching at the ball when Green was trying to get yards after the catch. He will need to work on his ball security, which was also a major issue down the stretch of the 2017 season. His long arms, which are so helpful extending to catch the ball also make it tougher for him to tightly secure the ball after the catch. Aside from the three mistakes, Green was borderline dominant. He lined up in the slot and ran a deep post, flying past the safety in the middle of the field and then diving to secure the catch for a 38-yard touchdown. He also drew a 36-yard pass interference penalty inside the Colts 5-yard line to setup another Bengals touchdown. Green was efficient with his eight targets (nine when counting the pass interference), catching six and looked dominant against overmatched Colts defensive backs.
WR Tyler Boyd
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 26 - 0 (5 targets) - Boyd took most of the snaps in two-wide receiver sets and played 87% of the snaps overall. His 5 targets against the Colts were third on the team behind only A.J. Green
and Joe Mixon
. Boyd made a key play late, picking up 17 yards on a 3rd-and-long to keep the chains moving. He caught the ball short but found room to run down the right sideline. Boyd also made one of the most important plays of the game recovering an A.J. Green
fumble amidst a trio of Colts.
WR John Ross
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 1 (2 targets) - Ross played 65% of the snaps and was on the field every time the Bengals went to three wide receivers (which is the base offense). Andy Dalton
looked his way early on a go route but press coverage forced Ross close to the sideline and Dalton had to throw it away. Ross caught a 3rd yard touchdown on a fade route. He badly beat the press attempt of the defensive back off the line with his quickness and made it look easy, catching the ball in the back of the end zone.
TE Tyler Eifert
, 22 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 44 - 0 (3 targets) - It was a positive opener for Eifert. He played 65% of the snaps and looked to be the same player he was in his very successful 2015 season.
Eifert started quickly with a 29-yard gain on a crossing route early in the first quarter. He is in shape and showed a nice burst running after the catch.
QB Andrew Luck
, 82 offensive snaps, Pass: 39 - 53 - 319 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0 - After taking over in excellent field position following an interception, Andrew Luck
threw an ugly red zone interception. Luck threw behind Jack Doyle
into double coverage. Andrew Luck
methodically moved the Colts down the field with the short passing game but the drive once again stalled in the red zone leading to a Adam Vinatieri
field goal. The Colts fixed their red zone struggles by scoring from outside the red zone on their ensuing possession. Luck methodically moved the ball down the field with completions to TY Hilton and Eric Ebron
before connecting with Ebron downfield for a 26 yard touchdown. The Colts once again settled for a field goal after moving ball down field. The drive stalled with a miscue between Hilton and Luck. The Colts managed yet another field goal thanks to their short passing game and a roughing the passer penalty. Luck had consecutive passes that should have been intercepted. The first was an underthrow to Hilton and the second was well off target throwing to Jack Doyle
nearly leading to an interception. The Colts final scoring possession was more of the dink and dunk passing game all the down the field. Luck found Hilton on a slant route for a 5 yard touchdown. Luck had a fumble negated by a roughing the passer penalty because Carlos Dunlap forced the fumble with his helmet. Luck moved the Colts down the field trailing by 4 running the two minute offense. The drive ended with a Jack Doyle
fumble as the Colts were entering the red zone.
RB Jordan Wilkins
, 46 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 40 - 0, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (3 targets) - Jordan Wilkins
started the game at running back for the Colts. Wilkins followed nice blocked from Quenten Nelson and Jack Doyle
through a big hole for 13 yards. Jordan Wilkins
took an 8 yard catch down to the two yard line before being knocked out of bounds. Wilkins was stuffed the following play on an inside handoff.
RB Nyheim Hines
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 19 - 0, Rec: 7 - 33 - 0 (9 targets) - Nyheim Hines
was the second running back to see action behind Jordan Wilkins
who started the game. Hines beat man coverage underneath and showed his speed to pick up 17 yards over the middle. Hines made back to back catches during the two minute drill for gains of 7 and 8 yards. Hines was targeted 4 consecutive times running the two minute offense on the Colts final possession. Hines gained 8, gained 3, lost 5 yards, and the last target was a throw away.
WR Ryan Grant
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 59 - 0 (9 targets) - Ryan Grant
caught a slant for a 3 yard gain. Ryan Grant
ran a curl route and picked up 6 yards. Grant made a nice catch over the middle working between the linebackers and safeties for 13 yards. Grant made consecutive catches underneath for gains of 8 and 13 yards. Grant ran a quick out route for 5 yards. Grant was targeted downfield on back shoulder throw but the pass was well defended. Grant made back to back catches of 4 and 8 yards.
WR T.Y. Hilton
, 80 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 46 - 1 (11 targets) - TY Hilton made his first catch running a shallow crossing route for a 7 yard gain. Hilton ran a very nice double move and picked up 13 yards over the middle. Hilton made a very nice sideline catch running a comeback route for a 13 yard gain. Hilton had pass interference called against him after making a 24 yard catch. TY Hilton beat his man running a slant and caught a 5 yard touchdown. The two deep targets Hilton saw from Luck looked like wounded ducks flying threw the air and were uncatchable. Hilton had his third deep target bounce off his finger tips on what would have been a 25 plus yard gain. Hilton made a catch running a curl for 8 yards.
WR Chester Rogers
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 18 - 0 (3 targets) - Chester Rogers
picked up 8 yards running a slant on 3rd and 2. Rogers converted another 3rd and 2 this time running a crossing route for 6 yards.
TE Jack Doyle
, 77 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 60 - 0 (10 targets) - Jack Doyle
was targeted inside the 5 yard line but Luck's throw was well off target and was intercepted. Doyle made his first two catches running the two minute drill before halftime for gains of 5 and 8 yards. Doyle picked up 9 yards running a curl route inside the 10 yard line before being upended. Doyle beat man coverage running an out route for 12 yards. Doyle made a 3 yard catch underneath the following play. Doyle again beat his man running an out breaking route for a solid gain but was wrapped up and stripped of the ball to seal the game for the Bengals.
TE Eric Ebron
, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 51 - 1 (5 targets) - Eric Ebron
picked up 12 yards on a check down from Luck running a crossing route. Eric Ebron
came wide open downfield on what appeared to be a blown coverage. Luck found Ebron for an easy 26 yard touchdown. Ebron beat man coverage over the middle for a gain of 12.
Los Angeles Rams 33, Oakland Raiders 13
What you need to know
Los Angeles Rams
- The Rams offense had sporadic production in the first half against the Raiders. The team is notably using new addition Brandin Cooks
in a wider variety of routes than Sammy Watkins
was last year. Robert Woods
had the biggest potential missed plays out of all the Rams wide receivers. After somewhat sputtering in the first half, the Rams got back on track by turning their offense over to Todd Gurley
in the second half. He remains the best parachute in the league. He and the Rams offensive line slowly wore down an overmatched Raiders front 7. The Raiders defense played admirably - especially early - but were physically dominated throughout the second half. While the game was close through the third quarter, the final score eventually reflected the talent disparities between the two units by game's end.
- -30 of Derek Carr
ís 39 passes were to tight ends or running backs, leaving just 9 targets total to the wide receiver trio of Amari Cooper
, Jordy Nelson
, and Seth Roberts
. Carr was at fault on all three terrible interceptions.
-While Marshawn Lynch
started strong, it was a full blown running back by committee approach with Jalen Richard
the most productive of the bunch (11 targets). Richard played 50% of the snaps while Lynch played 36% and Martin just 14%.
was the lone offensive bright spot. He had a massive 9-180-0 performance on 12 targets and consistently beat single coverage both out of the slot and lined up out wide.
QB Jared Goff
, Pass: 17 - 32 - 233 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0 - Goff had tons of time in the pocket vs Oakland, and was not challenged in this game at all by Oakland. Held ball too long and takes a sack vs man coverage on 3rd and 8. His accuracy in this game did leave something to be desired. He was almost intercepted twice in the redzone. Once on a Spacing concept against zone coverage. Nothing was open, he needs to learn to throw it away instead of forcing it for a potential turnover in scoring range. He was almost intercepted again trying to throw to Kupp in the endzone later. The Raiders played man coverage and Kupp won from the slot on a double move. It was a bang-bang tight window but open very quickly - the ball was thrown behind and deflected (almost picked). He also just missed Robert Woods
on multiple shot play opportunities in the second half. His touchdown throw to Kupp was a well-executed play. His touchdown throw to Todd Gurley
came on a 19 Touch Pass - a Jet Sweep that is a forward toss instead of a handoff.
RB Todd Gurley
, Rush: 20 - 108 - 0, Rec: 3 - 39 - 1 (5 targets) - The Rams did not involve Gurley early, and the Raiders were able to take a lead on the Rams into halftime. In the second half, the Rams leaned on Gurley and made him the centerpiece of the offensive attack. He took his second touch of the game to the house - officially recorded as a reception but it was a 19 yard Touch Pass/Jet Sweep from inside the redzone. He started as the weakside perimeter receiver from an empty formation and motioned into the backfield pre-snap. He was almost untouched on his way to the endzone, making a few nice cuts to avoid contact in the open field off his blocks. In the second half, he carried the Rams offense. He ran inside zone, tosses, screens and opened up the passing game with play action. He only exited the game for a few plays in the early fourth quarter.
WR Cooper Kupp
, Rush: 2 - 16 - 0, Rec: 5 - 52 - 1 (9 targets) - He is the de-facto tight end for this offense, and you can see it by his alignment, routes run, and use as a blocker in the run game. His opening target was dropped (a PA Drag that turned into a Wheel Route from Bunch). He had another drop again on a quick out that was thrown behind. He was targeted heavily in the redzone, although Goff almost had potential turnovers throwing to him. On one of the throws, he won on a inside-breaking double move that should have been his first receiving touchdown, but Goff threw it slightly behind him, allowing the defensive back to almost intercept it. On his touchdown, he faked a seal block on the CB before releasing to the flat off Play Action. The run block fake really helped sell the route.
WR Brandin Cooks
, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0, Rec: 5 - 87 - 0 (8 targets) - The Rams made a focus to get Cooks involved on a variety of targets in the pass game. He is clearly going to be more involved down-to-down than Sammy Watkins
was, even though he is replacing Watkins as the X receiver in the Rams offense. His opening touch was a carry on Jet SweepHis first pass target came on a quick Curl on third down, and he dropped it vs physical coverage. He still does not particularly deal well with press/man coverage. He had another drop on a quick Out again where the defender was able to put his body on Cooks through the catch. His biggest contributions to the Rams offense came on drawing huge Pass Interference penalties down field - the Torrey Smith
special. The fist one was a great outcome for the offense, but he did not much separation on the route. On his second PI drawn, he was allowed free access off the line of scrimmage and just ran past the CB and safety help. The ball was underthrown and he was interfered with as the DBs caught back up to him with the ball in the air. Once the team began leaning on Gurley, it opened things up for Cook more. He got more free access opportunities to get open on runaway inside breaking routes like Skinny Post and Deep Over.
WR Robert Woods
, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0, Rec: 3 - 37 - 0 (9 targets) - Overall, it was a very quiet day for Woods, especially in the first half. The team looked to get Cooks more involved as the primary receiver early. In the late third/early fourth quarters, the Rams finally started going to Woods on shot plays. He beat the defense over the top on a Post that was slightly overthrown by Goff. Woods might have been slowed up a step because the Post broke in the dirt infield at Oakland's stadium. Goff just missed him again on (another) very open Play Action Deep Over that was thrown slightly behind and above his head. The pass was not accurate, but was potentially catchable. Two plays later, Goff overthrew him again on a Deep Post off Play Action. These were all potentially huge plays that were all open that were all just missed.
TE Tyler Higbee
- Whereas Kupp is the de-facto Tight End of the Rams offense, Higbee is the de-facto third Offensive Tackle. He does get flexed as an outside WR. It allows the team to use Woods and Kupp inside, and gives significant coverage clues pre-snap for Goff based on which player follows Higbee outside. As far as being a pass threat, he might as well be a QB flexed out wide in the Wildcat. The team simply does not involve him as an option in the progression. They are more than happy for defenses to waste an outside CB's attention on him or to give the coverage away by having a linebacker follow him outside.
QB Derek Carr
, Pass: 29 - 40 - 303 - 0 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0 - Carr started off hot before everything fell apart in the second half. In the opening drive of the season, Carr led the team on a 75-yard scoring drive highlighted by a 45-yard completion on a slant route to Jared Cook
. Carr was sharp for most of the first half, including a spectacular throw on a deep out to Cook for a 28-yard gain to set up a field goal. Carr completed 20 of 24 passes for 199 yards at the half. His lone early mistake came on an under-thrown end zone fade route to Cook. Carr didnít lead him enough, which allowed the safety to pick it off. The second half was an unmitigated disaster. Prior to a garbage-time drive in the two minutes, the Raiders offense netted just 82 total yards of offense in the half. Carr was also responsible for two of the most poorly thrown interceptions of the season to date. The first was most inexplicable. It was unclear if he was trying to hit Jordy Nelson
down the left sideline or if he was attempting to throw the ball away and just didnít put enough on it to get it out of bounds. The ball floated directly to Rams linebacker Cory Littleton for an easy pick. The second interception, returned for a touchdown by Marcus Peters, came on a crossing route with Carr trying to hit Cook. It appeared Cook slowed up part way through the route but the throw was ill-advised regardless. If Cook slowed, it was likely because he saw that Peters had jumped the route and didnít expect Carr to make the awful choice to throw the pass. The Rams defense is going to give a lot of quarterbacks fits this season but Carr has to play much better or the Raiders are going to have a rough season.
RB Jalen Richard
, Rush: 5 - 24 - 0, Rec: 9 - 55 - 0 (11 targets) - Richard had a major role as the pass-catching back and led the Raiders running backs in touches and snaps (50%). He was critical on a long field goal drive in the two-minute drill before half, touching the ball seven times to help set up a last-second field goal. When the Raiders fell behind by six points midway through the third quarter, Gruden made the decision to go with Richard the rest of the way. Richard did his part, making a number of plays. The most impressive was a one-handed snag along the sideline on third down to keep the chains moving. As the Raiders fell further and further behind in the second half, Richard continued to play a primary role in the offense and ended up leading the team in both touches and receptions. Some of the usage was clearly due to game script and canít be counted on to continue. However, if the Raiders really are as bad as they looked in the second half, Richard could have a lot of favorable game scripts going forward.
RB Marshawn Lynch
, Rush: 11 - 41 - 1, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (2 targets) - Things couldnít have started better for Lynch and the Raiders. He carried the ball 4 times for 19 yards on the opening drive and also had a short catch, touching the ball on 5 of the first 7 plays. He capped it off with one of the toughest 10-yard touchdown runs you will ever see. Lynch was stood up at the five-yard line with a man clinging to one leg and he just kept churning his legs until the offensive linemen arrived to give him a push. He stayed on his feet and helped push the pile forward into the end zone. It was the type of tone-setting run that makes Lynch more valuable than his stats may suggest. Doug Martin
came in and took all of the snaps on the second drive. Lynch came back out for the third drive and touched the ball four times on a long field goal drive. After those two drives, Lynch was barely used. He touched the ball just 4 times in the final 44 minutes of the game. The plan seemed to be to rotate Lynch and Martin every other series while also using Jalen Richard
on obvious passing downs, in the two-minute offense, and when trailing. Perplexingly, the move to Richard came with the Raiders down just one score and 20 minutes still to play and Lynch played just 36% of the snaps.
RB Doug Martin
, Rush: 4 - 20 - 0, Rec: 2 - -3 - 0 (2 targets) - Martin had the entire second and fourth offensive series of the game to himself in the backfield. If the game script would have been more favorable in the second half, Martin likely would have seen double-digit touches. However, with the Rams pulling away, Oakland went almost exclusively with Jalen Richard
late. Martin showed pretty good burst on a run off of right tackle that went for 13 yards but that was his only highlight. He was stacked up in the backfield on multiple occasions, including both of his receptions. Martin didnít see the field after the two early drives and played just 14% of the snaps
WR Jordy Nelson
, Rec: 3 - 23 - 0 (4 targets) - While Amari Cooper
ís quiet game will get most of the attention, Nelson was also a non-factor with just four targets. All of them came on short passes. While Nelson looked fairly spry, it was clear that the Raiders were mostly content to ignore the wide receivers and avoid the coverage of Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib.
WR Amari Cooper
, Rush: 1 - 9 - 0, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (3 targets) - Cooper was an afterthought offensively despite being on the field for 93% of the snaps. He had nine yards on an end around on the first drive. He made a nice 16-yard grab with a toe drag along the sideline in the first quarter but it was wiped out by a holding call. Cooper had a nine-yard catch on a short pass over the middle in the two-minute drill before half and then saw only two more targets the rest of the way. One was a throwaway out of bounds in his general direction. Another was a missed connection with Carr on a crossing route. Based upon Carrís reaction after the incompletion, Cooper didnít adjust his route properly to account for the zone coverage. It was a strange game with 30 of Carrís 39 pass attempts going to the tight ends and running backs and just 9 going to the wide receivers. Cooperís lack of opportunities in the first glimpse of John Grudenís new offense is a major red flag after Cooper was a fantasy non-factor most of last season. It is hard to trust him in fantasy lineups.
WR Seth Roberts
, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (2 targets) - Roberts was the third receiver and played extensively, though the Raiders also employed two-tight end sets often. Roberts only catch came on a quick wide receiver screen on third and long, which he was able to convert into a gain of 11 yards to pick up the first down.
TE Jared Cook
, Rec: 9 - 180 - 0 (12 targets) - Cook took on a starring role against the Rams. His 180 receiving yards were the most for a tight end in Raiders history. The Rams played mostly man defense throughout the night, which left Carr to target whichever pass catcher had the most favorable one-on-one matchup. Most of the time, it was Cook matched up against a safety while Cooper and Nelson faced elite cornerbacks. Cook dominated from the first drive. He lined up in the slot on the first drive, caught a slant and sprinted past the safety for a 45-yard gain. Cook still has elite speed even at age 31. It was just the first of many big plays. Cook ran a deep out route and snagged a 28-yard reception along the sideline despite being held. He also had big gains of 11, 14, and 32 yards with the latter two coming on passes down the seam. Carr was intercepted twice while targeting Cook, however. The first came on an end zone target from 21 yards out. Cook ran a fade route and had a step on the defender but the ball was badly under thrown. The second came near the end of the game on a crossing route when Marcus Peters jumped the route and beat Cook to the spot.
Atlanta Falcons 12, Philadelphia Eagles 18
What you need to know
- Atlantaís red zone woes from last year carried over to this game. The offense failed to execute on consecutive first and goal series in the red zone and came away with only three points and Julio Jones
failed to make a play on a red zone fade with one second left that would have been the game winner. Devonta Freeman
missed the second half of the fourth quarter with a knee that he couldnít get loose. Atlanta was earning good yardage early in the game with interior runs but abandoned these plays for outside runs that didnít work Ė especially at pivotal points. Matt Ryan
had difficulty throwing the ball accurately over the middle during the first half and his intermediate accuracy dwindled in the second half. By the fourth quarter, Ryan lacked velocity with multiple throws and one of them led to an interception inside the Eaglesí five. Ryan made three critical throws during the two-minute drill to Julio Jones
to reach the red zone. However, Jones couldnít pull down an end zone fade with one second left for the game-winner.
- The Eagles offense was more of a concern area than the red hot postseason offense seen last season with Nick Foles
under center. Jay Ajayi
emerged with a decent workload, but his snaps were centralized in the second half as Darren Sproles
and Corey Clement
were highly involved in the first half. Without Alshon Jeffery
, Mike Wallace
was the primary deep threat and Nelson Agholor
dominated the short targets. The play-calling was a limiting factor as Nick Foles
was managed and rarely took an intermediate or deep shot against the Falcons.
QB Matt Ryan
, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 43 - 251 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 8 - 0 - Ryan found Julio Jones
twice during the first drive with a quick out and a third-down sail route to reach the red zone. He overthrew Devonta Freeman
on a shallow route to the right flat on third and one with a yard to go. Ryan extended the second drive with a third-down scramble to the right sideline after overthrowing Mohamed Sanu
two plays beforeóearning field goal range. Ryan found Tevin Coleman
on a throwback screen for 26 yards to reach the Eagles 10. Ryan was consistently wide or high on targets over the middle during the first quarter. His throw was well outside Sanu on a route up the left sideline. Ryan was a beat late to Calvin Ridley
and nearly picked off late in the half. Ryan found Jones on a double move in the third quarter that could have flipped the field but the official said Jones failed to maintain possession of the ball. On the next play, Ryan committed an intentional grounding penalty. Ryan threw behind Jones on a third down late in the third quarter, forcing another punt. Ryan then threw a poor deep post to Jones that was nowhere near the target. He finished the drive with an interception that he airmailed without velocity to Jones at the left sideline inside the Eaglesí five. Ryan took a third sack during the game and lost the ball in the middle of the fourth quarter after cycling through three progressions. He regained his accuracy inside the two-minute warning on a post to Julio Jones
for 36 yards but took a fourth sack with less than two minutes left. He then found Jones for another 18 yards while taking a hit. He took the fifth sack in this game while in the red zone, which forced a third down with 30 seconds left.
RB Tevin Coleman
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 19 - 1, Rec: 1 - 26 - 0 (2 targets) - He earned a quick five yards up the middle to begin the second series. Coleman failed to cut back inside on a toss play once he reached the edge and was forced to the sideline for a loss of three yards on a first-down run in Eagles territory. On the next play, he earned 26 yards on a throwback screen. Coleman earned six yards late in the third quarter around left end nullified by a clipping call. Coleman scored from an I formation run with a nice cut at the second level to take the lead.
RB Devonta Freeman
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 36 - 0, Rec: 3 - 14 - 0 (5 targets) - After Jones earned about 15 yards on an end around, they ran a toss with reverse action to Jones that opened the right side of the field for 20 yards. Two plays later, Ryan threw an RPO high and behind Freeman, resulting in a 3rd and 10. Freeman earned the first red zone carry and spun away from penetration in the crease for a gain of eight to reach the Falconsí one but stuffed on the next two carries. Ryan then overthrew Freeman at the one on a third-down shallow route and the defense rallied to the left flat to stop Freeman on a fourth-and-goal run to left end. Freeman gave up a sack on a bull rush by the blitzing linebacker on a third down that pushed the Falcons field goal range to a 52 yarder. Freeman earned a swing pass late in the half to set up a third-and-short in-cut that Julio Jones
dropped with less than a minute in the half. Freeman suffered a knee injury that kept him out of the game late. He was walking on the knee at the sideline after using a heat wrap.
WR Julio Jones
, 57 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 11 - 0, Rec: 10 - 169 - 0 (19 targets) - Jones began the game with a spot-out for 10 yards against the zone and followed up with an end around where he stiff-armed the safety to reach the sideline for a first down. Four plays later, Ryan found Jones on a wide-open sail route on 3rd and 10 to reach the red zone on the opening drive. Jones dropped a pass over the middle to begin the third series. The ball arrived a little behind Jones. Jones caught a comeback to begin Atlantaís fourth series. Jones had to wait on a sideline route during a two-minute drill. He dropped a third-and-short in-cut that bounced off his chest in tight coverage late in the half and it led to a punt. Jones dropped a deep route up the sideline that was subject to one of those minutiae rulings that frustrate coaches, players, and fans alike. Jones ran a beautiful post during the two-minute drill for a 36-yard gain and then an 18-yard gain on an out for a first down. With one second left, Jones misplayed the fade route and couldnít stay in bounds. Most fans will believe it was a bad throw but it was a bad attack of a fade route. Receivers are supposed to jump towards the ball and the ball wasnít too high for Jones to attack with a leap straight up.
WR Mohamed Sanu
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 18 - 0 (6 targets) - Ryan was wide of Sanu on a pass to the left intermediate hash to begin the second series. Sanu converted a third down in the red zone on an in-cut to make a catch over the middle.
WR Calvin Ridley
, 46 offensive snaps (2 targets) - Ridley dropped his first target on a hitch in the middle of the field when the Eagles defense hit him in the back. Ryan didnít go back to him for the rest of the contest.
TE Austin Hooper
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 24 - 0 (4 targets) - He earned four on a low-and-away throw in the red zone off a bootleg left. A defender trailing a route outside of Hooper collided with the tight end within five yards of the line of scrimmage and threw off the timing of a third-down red zone pass to force a field goal to finish the second offensive series. Hooper earned 15 yards on a play-action crossing route. He earned a hitch route in the two-minute drill.
TE Eric Saubert
, 13 offensive snaps (1 targets) - The tight end dropped a third-down route over the middle late in the third quarter after taking a hit in the back by the safety, leading to another punt. Saubert committed a facemask of Darren Sproles
late in the game on a punt return that gave the Eagles strong starting field position..
QB Nick Foles
, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 34 - 117 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (1 targets) - With Carson Wentz
still recovering from his knee injury, Nick Foles
drew the start to open the Eaglesí season against Atlanta. There was a clear game plan for conservative play calling. It was a clunky start for Foles and the passing game with two empty drives including a bobbled snap which thwarted a third down attempt. Without Alshon Jeffery
, an occasional deep shot to Mike Wallace
was the lone opportunity down the field for Foles. In terms of accuracy, Foles was off-target often this week, highlighted by missing a wide open Zach Ertz
on a third down out route and being late on a deep crossing route, which should have been an interception if not for a drop from the defensive back. Foles highlight recalled a moment from their Super Bowl victory, the ĎPhilly Specialí, as Foles caught a third down pass from Nelson Agholor
on a reverse to convert.
RB Jay Ajayi
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 62 - 2 - Ajayi ended up with a decent snap share (39%), but most of his usage came in the second half. Over the first two quarters the Eaglesí rotation was firmly Darren Sproles
and Corey Clement
. Ajayiís lone contribution in the first half was a broken tackle off a spin move for nine yards. In the second half, however, Ajayi dominated the backfield and looked like a feature back. Ajayi nearly broke a long run, but stumbled in the hole after less than 10 yards, a missed opportunity for a big gain. Ajayiís two touchdowns both came in the second half and breaking tackles in the red zone.
RB Darren Sproles
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 10 - 0, Rec: 4 - 22 - 0 (7 targets) - Sprolesí season debut at 35 years old was an impressive one with a strong share of the snaps in the first half. Jay Ajayi
shifted to prominence in the second half, but Sproles saw primary snaps, plus the two-minute drill over the opening 30 minutes. Sproles had a touchdown opportunity with a goal line toss, but was tackled at the one-yard-line. Sproles also broke a tackle on a third down reception for a key conversion in the closing minutes. The Eagles ultimately scored the game-winning touchdown on the drive. Sproles was an uncharacteristic disappointment in the passing game with a drop and being covered easily on multiple short routes.
RB Corey Clement
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 26 - 0 - Clement was mixed in with Darren Sproles
as the primary running backs for the Eagles in the first half against Atlanta. Clement had a rough outing, however as he saw minimal holes created by the offensive line and regular penetration stopped his runs before they started. In the second half, Jay Ajayi
took over with most of the snaps and Clement saw minimal time on the field. On one of his few opportunities, Clement exploited a huge interior hole on third-and-short for a long gain and setting the Eagles up in the red zone.
WR Nelson Agholor
, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 15 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 16 - 0, Rec: 8 - 33 - 0 (10 targets) - Agholor rarely left the field for the Eagles with Alshon Jeffery
out against the Falcons. Agholor was the featured receiver, but his routes and targets were centered on routes within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Agholor had more success as a runner and passer in the game than impact plays as a receiver. Agholor had a solid run on a third down toss play and threw to Nick Foles
on a third down reverse successfully. While Agholorís volume was solid with Jeffery inactive, it was clear Agholor will be used in ways to maximize his yards-after-catch ability more than downfield.
WR Mike Wallace
, 66 offensive snaps (3 targets) - Without Alshon Jeffery
in the lineup, Wallace saw the second-most snaps for Eagles wide receivers to Nelson Agholor
. Wallaceís skill set down the field, however, did not mesh with the Eaglesí game plan focusing on short routes and minimal risk. Wallace had three deep targets all denied by double coverage or poor throws by Nick Foles
. Wallaceís highlight beyond the box score was drawing a defensive pass interference penalty on third down in field goal range.
TE Zach Ertz
, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 48 - 0 (10 targets) - Ertz rarely left the field against the Falcons and played a good amount of snaps as a split out receiver. Ertz had only two of his targets in the first half and his lone reception was a third-and-long catch well short of the first down marker. Ertz saw more volume in the second half as the Eagles offense as a whole improved their play. However, Ertz logged three drops and drew an offensive pass interference penalty running a pick play. Also notable is rookie tight end Dallas Goedert
did see situational snaps, including an end zone target on a fade route.
TE Dallas Goedert
, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (3 targets) - While Goedertís aggregate snap count was low (24%), Goedert did see three targets, including an end zone fade route. Goedert corralled the target in a contested situation, but was out of bounds when he landed. Goedert nearly made another contested catch down the seam, but a big hit jarred the ball into the air for an interception in the second half.