San Francisco 49ers 31, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17
What you need to know
San Francisco 49ers
- This wasn't an explosive offensive performance to be sure. Having said that, San Francisco was tantalizingly close to putting up tons more yardage and points. The reasons they didn't can be boiled down to two things. First, they had three -- yes, three -- touchdowns nullified by penalty. Second, Jimmy Garoppolo
struggled mightily with his ball placement, repeatedly throwing slightly behind receivers who had wide open running space in front of them. One final detail worth noting: Deebo Samuel
played 90 percent of snaps; Dante Pettis
played a total of 2 snaps.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Tampa looked dreadful on offense as the offensive line struggled to protect Winston, who responded by turning the ball over multiple times with bad decision making. Winston was sacked three times and threw three interceptions, with two being returned for touchdowns. Tampa's offensive players fumbled several other balls that weren't recovered by San Francisco. Tampa Bay went three and out to open the day and had the ensuing punt blocked deep in their own territory. Chris Godwin
was the only real bright spot for the offense, but backup halfback Ronald Jones showed off some strong runs and tight end Cameron Brate
scored two touchdowns that were called back for holding penalties. Vernon Hargreaves returned an interception for a Tampa Bay touchdown in the second quarter.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo
, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 27 - 166 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - -2 - 0 - Garoppolo's pick six may have been more of a great defensive play than a bad throw, but there were still plenty of bad throws to go around. Matt Waldman likes to distinguish between general accuracy and pinpoint accuracy. Garoppolo completely missed a couple times, but the vast majority of his errant throws were examples of pinpoint inaccuracy. No fewer than five times, Garoppolo had a situation in which throwing to his receiver in stride would have led to huge yardage, but he threw it to either the back hip or the back shoulder. One of the only times -- if not the only time -- he did not mess this up, he hit Richie James
in stride deep downfield for a 39-yard touchdown.
RB Matt Breida
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 37 - 0 (1 targets) - Because of linebacker Lavonte David playing like a heat-seeking missile, only three of Breida's touches went for more than three yards, two of which came on consecutive third quarter plays. The first of these gained 10 yards off left tackle, 5 of which came after Breida juked cornerback Vernon Hargreaves out of his shoes. On the next play, also out of the rare 22 personnel (two running backs, two tight ends), Breida slithered through heavy traffic off right tackle and picked up 13 yards.
RB Raheem Mostert
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 40 - 0, Rec: 1 - 0 - 0 (1 targets) - Mostert entered midway through the second quarter in place of an injured Tevin Coleman
and immediately scored a touchdown...that was nullified by penalty. The running lane outside was so wide open that Mostert probably would have scored anyway, but Richie James
couldn't help himself from grabbing a fistful of jersey. Late in the fourth quarter, Mostert provided a run that went a long way towards putting the game away. Running out of the I, Mostert took the handoff and ran off left tackle. About 10 yards downfield, he lowered his shoulder and ran over safety Darian Stewart before finally being tackled 8 yards later. To add insult to potential injury, Stewart was flagged for initiating with his helmet, so the play actually netted San Francisco 33 yards and a first down at the Tampa Bay 31-yard line.
RB Tevin Coleman
, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 23 - 0, Rec: 2 - 33 - 0 (3 targets) - Coleman didn't do much of anything as a runner before leaving the game with an ankle injury, but he did have a 31-yard gain as a receiver. Of course, it was one of those "pick that's not a pick" plays, wherein Coleman ran free on a shallow cross because Kyle Juszczyk
baited two Buccaneers defenders to run into each other. At the end of the play, Coleman did the same thing he did at the end of seemingly all of his runs, i.e., went down upon first contact.
WR Deebo Samuel
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 17 - 0 (3 targets) - Samuel got the somewhat-surprising start and played nearly 90 percent of snaps. His three targets were a potpourri of good and bad. Among the good were a great hands catch on a slant and an elusive end-around shovel pass that was nullified by penalty. On the negative side, Samuel fumbled away a sure-fire, go-ahead field goal with 20 seconds left in the first half.
WR Dante Pettis
, 2 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - Not only did Pettis play only two snaps. Those snaps didn't come until the second quarter, and they came on consecutive plays. His day was literally "stand on the sideline, catch one pass, block one guy, go back and stand on the sideline."
WR Richie James
, 26 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 39 - 1 (2 targets) - James served as San Francisco's slot receiver in place of the injured Trent Taylor
. His 39-yard touchdown gave the 49ers a lead they would never relinquish. On the play, James ran a delayed wheel route from the left slot against cornerback M.J. Stewart. His initial stutter step threw Stewart off balance, thereby gaining several steps worth of separation. From there, it was an easy catch downfield and jog into the endzone. One demerit for James was that he committed a completely unnecessary holding penalty that nullified a 49ers touchdown on a drive where they ended up having to settle for a field goal.
WR Marquise Goodwin
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (3 targets) - Goodwin's only catch of the game could have gained much more yardage if not for Jimmy Garoppolo
throwing it slightly behind him on a wide open quick slant. The only other thing of note from Goodwin's performance was drawing a pass interference penalty on third down to extend a second quarter scoring drive.
TE George Kittle
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 54 - 0 (10 targets) - In a sign of what's likely to come this season, Kittle was targeted four times on the 49ers' first drive alone. One of those targets doesn't show up in his stats because it was an 8-yard touchdown nullified by penalty. Then, late in the first half, Kittle had yet another touchdown taken off the scoreboard. Even though it didn't count, this one was Kittle's most impressive play of the game, as he bounced off 214-pound safety Darian Stewart's tackle attempt as if he wasn't even there.
QB Jameis Winston
, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 36 - 194 - 1 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 5 - 13 - 0 - Winston made a plethora of bad decisions with the football as San Francisco whipped Tampa Bay's offensive line. Winston should have been intercepted midway through the first quarter as he lobbed a weak pass right into the arms of a linebacker who just refused to catch the ball. He got careless and had the ball slapped out of his hand as he was preparing to pass in the 1st, but a Tampa Bay lineman recovered in the Bucs' backfield. Winston did extend some plays with his feet, including a nice completion to Mike Evans
in the 1st quarter that turned a would-be sack into a third down conversion. Winston connected with Cameron Brate
for an 18 yard touchdown on a well-executed tight end screen in the 1st, but the play was called back for a holding penalty on the offensive line. Winston found Brate again later in the back of the end zone, but once again the play was nullified by a holding penalty on Demar Dotson.
Winston finally officially found the end zone in the third quarter, faking a play action and rolling right to extend the play, where he eventually found Chris Godwin
working his way open in the end zone. Winston led the Bucs into San Francisco's red zone in the second quarter, but OJ Howard killed the drive by losing a fumble inside the red zone. Howard also missed another pass before halftime that he deflected up into the air and the waiting arms of a San Fran defender.
Winston opened the second half up by fumbling a snap and taking a sack as he fell on the ball in the third quarter. Winston made a dreadful throw in the next play, overthrowing RB Peyton Barber
, who had split out wide right for a short slant route. The ball sailed to corner Richard Sherman, who returned the pass for a touchdown. Coach Bruce Arians later blamed the play on Barber's route running, but it was a really bad look from Winston. Winston and the offense got the ball back with a 6 point deficit and just over two minutes left in the 4th quarter, but Winston threw a careless interception in the face of heavy pressure on the first play of the drive, sealing the ballgame in San Francisco's favor.
RB Ronald Jones II
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 75 - 0, Rec: 1 - 18 - 0 (1 targets) - Jones entered the game in relief of starter Barber later in the first quarter. His first run was a hard charge up the middle of the defense for 10 yards. He converted 3rd and 17 with hard running after catching a swing pass out of the backfield in the 2nd quarter. Three receivers lined up on the left side of the formation and faked deep routes before blocking for Jones, who broke a couple of tackles and tip toed his way up the sideline for the conversion. Jones didn't really get rolling on the ground until the 3rd quarter, carrying the ball with authority between the tackles and picking up several first downs on the ground. He dodged a tackle in the backfield with a wicked stutter-step on one particularly nifty play. Jones was pretty much featured from that point on, logging several impressive carries in the 4th quarter, all between the tackles as he out-carried Barber 13-8 on the day and appeared to run with a little more juice in his legs.
RB Peyton Barber
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 33 - 0, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (4 targets) - Starting halfback Barber bounced a 14 yard run off left tackle in the 1st quarter, his longest gain of the day. He didn't do much else on the ground. He was the target on Winston's second interception of the day, splitting out wide right to run a slant route. Winston overthrew him badly, but coach Arians later blamed the play on Barber's route-running. Barber caught a halfback screen in the 1st quarter for a short gain. He caught another pass out of the backfield in the third quarter and fumbled, but managed to recover the ball. Ronald Jones came on strong in the second half, ripping off runs up the middle as he out-carried Barber 13-8 on the night.
RB Dare Ogunbowale
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 33 - 0 (5 targets) - Ogunbowale slid right into the third down/passing back roll that he was expected to, though Barber did draw his fair share of targets while moving around the formation and even lining up some at WR. Ogunbuwale did not log any carries in his pass-catching role, but he did secure four of five targets for 33 yards with the Bucs playing from behind much of the game.
WR Chris Godwin
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 53 - 1 (6 targets) - Godwin shined as Howard turned the ball over and Evans was ineffective. He worked mostly as the slot receiver with Perriman and Evans outside. His first catch showed some nifty athleticism as he secured the ball while simultaneously spinning away from a defender who got to him the same time the ball did. Godwin dodged the tackle and darted up the sideline for extra yardage after the spin. Godwin scored in the third quarter, working his way open on a crossing route in the end zone as Winston scrambled to extend the play. He finished with a team-high six targets and five completions.
WR Breshad Perriman
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (5 targets) - Perriman started on the outside with Evans and contributed quietly as the third receiver on an offense that wasn't having a great day. He had a nice conversion on 3rd and 5 in the first quarter, snagging an out route and tapping his feet on the way out of bounds. He snagged another short curl route later in the 3rd quarter.
WR Mike Evans
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 28 - 0 (5 targets) - Evans missed some practice time this week with an illness, and may not have been at full speed as he and the Tampa Bay offense sputtered. Evans started on the outside with Perriman. He hauled in a diving catch on a slant route in the 1st quarter as Winston scrambled away from a would-be tackle. The 16 yard gain was his longest of the day.
TE O.J. Howard
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 32 - 0 (5 targets) - Howard was featured more prominently in the passing game than Cameron Brate
, but he caused two brutal turnovers while Brate scored two touchdowns that were both called back for penalties on Demar Dotson. Howard snagged a shallow drag route for no gain on Winston's first pass attempt of the game. He killed a long drive in the second quarter when he caught a short curl route and fumbled the ball inside the San Francisco red zone. Howard committed another costly gaff at the end of the second quarter as he deflected a pass into the air where it was intercepted by a San Francisco linebacker. Howard caught a deep crossing route for 15 yard gain(his longest of the day) at the end of the third quarter. Howard was credited for two tackles in some formats, which would have helped alleviate the points lost to the fumble for anyone with IDP scoring.
TE Cameron Brate
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (2 targets) - Brate scored on a beautifully executed tight end screen from Winston in the 2nd quarter, faking a block and running untouched in to the end zone, but the play was called back for a holding penalty on the offensive line. Brate had yet another touchdown nullified by a holding penalty(both were on Demar Dotson) later in the same drive after he made an amazing toe-tapping catch over two defenders in the back of the end zone. Brate finished the day with two official catches for just 8 yards.
New York Giants 17, Dallas Cowboys 35
What you need to know
New York Giants
- 1. The Giants offensive line has much improved since last year, especially in pass protection. Run blocking was solid too.
2. Manning was asked to do too much in this game, Dallas kept scoring and this forced the Giants to try to keep up with them. The Giants weapons aren't good enough to score that much.
3. Engram and Barkley are likely the only consistent options in terms of fantasy. Latimer has explosive potential to score in non PPR leagues and Shepard could perform well in PPR leagues occasionally but you will have to pick your games
well to start them in.
- Dallas’ offense gouged the Giants in the comfortable win, one of the dominant performances of Week 1 on offense around the NFL. Dak Prescott
showed development in his intermediate and deep accuracy, a troubling sign for opposing defenses with their progressing wide receiver corps as Randall Cobb
was added and Michael Gallup
took a step forward entering Year 2. Ezekiel Elliott
’s workload was protracted in his debut following minimal ramp up to Week 1 as his contract was finalized, however the workhorse back found the end zone amidst his 14 touches and was subbed out on many passing downs and late in the game.
QB Eli Manning
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 30 - 44 - 306 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0 - Eli Manning
made a lot of good throws in this game and kept his team moving the chains for the most part but the Giants weren't able to finish several drives which ended up costing them.
Manning was accurate and decisive from the pocket. He knew where to go with the ball and had Barkley to keep the Dallas defense honest. His offensive line looked much improved compared to last year and he had enough time to survey the field on most of his attempts. Manning looked to Engram throughout this game to move the ball and he him with a quick seam route to convert in the first quarter. He finished this drive with a rollout play to the left which completely caught the Cowboys off guard as Engram was alone in the flat for an easy score. Manning had a few balls that fluttered into the air or were off target that could have been picked off but he got away with them. Manning made two errors in short situations that really hurt the Giants. He was called for intentional grounding on 3rd and 1 after a great drive stalled near the redzone. Manning later attempted a rollout and scramble for first down on 4th & 1 but he looked extremely slow and was tackled well short of the marker. He did manage to stay on his feet on one miraculous play, picking himself back up and hitting Latimer deep along the sideline after a potential sack was evaded.
The Giants passing game was predictable, with so few proven weapons to threaten Dallas with. He almost hit Shepard on a slant in redzone for a touchdown but the coverage was just good enough to break up the play. Overall, Manning had to pass too much to keep up with Dallas, it forced them into several bad situations and they lacked the consistency on offense to score most drives. Barkley was somewhat under utilized and the pass protection has been improved so there is hope that the Giants can be marginally better this year but it might be only a matter of time before Jones is inserted into the starting line up.
RB Saquon Barkley
, 55 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 120 - 0, Rec: 4 - 19 - 0 (6 targets) - Saquon Barkley
looked dynamic and explosive as ever against Dallas but the Giants curiously only gave him 15 overall touches. The Giants used Barkley a lot early in the game but once Dallas had secured the victory, they pulled Barkley for Gallman and preserved their elite running back. The day started rough for Barkley who fumbled the ball on the first drive but the Giants recovered it. He then took an inside run to the left all the way into Dallas territory after some excellent blocking by the Giants gave Barkley a lot of space to work with. He took another handoff inside and pushed back the first defender, just short of the goal line. Barkley got stuffed on the next carry and the Giants went to the passing game to secure the score. Barkley looked very tough to tackle and get a hand on. His spin move shook off several first tackle attempts and he wouldn't go down easy. Barkley took several hits and kept moving at the line of scrimmage and really showed incredible talent in this game. He has the strength, speed and agility to punish defenses that make mistakes. Barkley never made into the endzone and was somewhat replaced by Gallman as the game developed with Dallas easily securing the win. The offensive line made some gaps for him however, and he will have far more productive games going forward.
RB Wayne Gallman
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 17 - 1, Rec: 3 - 24 - 0 (3 targets) - Wayne Gallman
entered the game in the second half to relieve Barkley somewhat as the Giants were well behind Dallas on the scoreboard. Gallman looked explosive out of the backfield and secured many catches with his reliable hands. Gallman scored a nice touchdown in the redzone, fighting for extra yards and reached the ball out just enough to break the plane which got the Giants their second score. Gallman got several checkdown passes sent his way towards the end of the game in garbage time. He is a fine player but won't be fantasy relevant as long as Barkley is healthy.
WR Sterling Shepard
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 42 - 0 (7 targets) - Sterling Shepard
caught a lot of balls but these were very short plays that didn't give him much to work with. Dallas played prevent defense in a lot of this game thanks to their massive lead. This allowed Shepard to secure easy curl routes and quick grabs from the line of scrimmage. Sterling and the Giants passing attack rarely threatened however. He got some slants/quick outs and curls and was good at finding space for his QB. Shepard had a shot at a touchdown in the redzone on a slant play. The coverage from Dallas was excellent however the DB was close enough to break up the pass. Shepard didn't threaten apart from this. The Giants passing game is mediocre and Engram will get a lot of the targets. Shepard will have a few games where he gets a lot of balls, valuable in PPR, but predicting those will be tough and he will have many quiet games like this also. He was diagnosed with a concussion after the game.
WR Cody Latimer
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 74 - 0 (8 targets) - Cody Latimer
made some explosive plays for the Giants on Sunday and looked like a real threat at times. He made a terrific one handed grab along the sideline, securing it in bounds and getting away from the defense for some extra yards. Latimer did an excellent job keeping the play alive for Manning, getting free in the secondary and giving Manning a massive window to throw into along the sideline for a big play. Manning tried to hook up with Latimer on a few other occasions but the defense did an excellent job in coverage, not leaving much separation. Latimer has upside with his explosive play but the consistency is unlikely to be there as a fantasy option.
TE Evan Engram
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 11 - 116 - 1 (14 targets) - Evan Engram
played very well on Sunday and was the only consistent weapon the Giants had in the passing game. Engram is tough to cover over the middle and has the speed/agility to get separation from linebackers.
He grabbed a short seam route early in the game and held onto the ball after a big hit. Engram scored later in the redzone on a rollout play. He faked the block before releasing and was wide open in the endzone. Engram caught several more plays over the middle, showing excellent hands as he had a lot of plays in traffic. He made some catches on off target throws and really helped the Giants to move the ball. Engram's issue has mainly been his health.
He has an incredible opportunity to produce in this offense this season and should be a valuable fantasy play almost every week.
QB Dak Prescott
, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 32 - 405 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 12 - 0 - Prescott posted a career day, completing nearly 80% of his passes for more than 400 yards and four scores against the overmatched Giants defense. Prescott’s biggest progression from previously in his career was his accuracy on intermediate and deep passes, an unlocked area of his game. Prescott drove the field for two touchdown drives in the first 20 minutes of the game and the rout was on against the divisional opponent. Prescott found Michael Gallup
on a tight window in-cut throw and a perfect deep throw versus the blitz as Dallas warmed early in the game. Later, Amari Cooper
was the target on two on-point deep throws and Prescott also found Blake Jarwin
and Randall Cobb
down the seam for a touchdown each. Prescott did not even utilize his rushing ability much (12 yards, only one third-down keeper to convert) which has been a staple of his game to-date. The Cowboys get Washington in Week 2, who were boat-raced after staked to an early lead against the Eagles in Week 1.
RB Ezekiel Elliott
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 53 - 1, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (2 targets) - Elliott has a new contract and was managed in his snaps and touches in Week 1 as projected. The Cowboys did not need much from Elliott as the passing game ruled the day against the Giants in the comfortable win. Elliott was subbed out regularly on passing downs and Dallas was able to get additional reps for rookie Tony Pollard
in the process. Elliott had a mere two targets but did manage a red zone touchdown late in the third quarter to essentially ice the game, his highlight run in an otherwise pedestrian performance. Washington was gouged for 116 rushing yard by the Eagles’ running backs in Week 1 and is on deck for Elliot in Week 2.
RB Tony Pollard
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 24 - 0 - Pollard saw extended work in his NFL debut with Ezekiel Elliot on a managed workload (and not needed much) in the win over the Giants. Pollard saw minimal success on the ground, looking far more pedestrian than his preseason flashes over the past month. Pollard was not targeted in the passing game, a forte of his by the college profile, as Dak Prescott
diced the Giants to wide receivers and tight ends. On the positive side, Pollard was the clear (as expected) backup to Ezekiel Elliott
. There could be mop-up duty again in Week 2 against Washington for Pollard to see double-digit touches.
WR Michael Gallup
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 158 - 0 (7 targets) - Gallup surged along with the rising tide of Dallas’ electric passing game in the divisional win over the Giants in Week 1. Gallup got loose deep on multiple occasions, including a long yards-after-the-catch foray and a perfect Dak Prescott
deep throw against the blitz to Gallup. Gallup looks to have competition for targets from top receiver Amari Cooper
and added Randall Cobb
, but the 2019 debut for the second-year receiver showed a well-rounded usage (plus the downfield connection with Prescott) pointing to promise this season.
WR Amari Cooper
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 106 - 1 (9 targets) - Cooper’s route-running acumen was on display against the Giants as he led the team in targets. Cooper produced on all three levels of the field (short, intermediate, deep), including two deep receptions as a backbone to his production against the Giants. Cooper added two drops, both on slant routes, as Prescott was hyper-accurate on mostly of his throws. Dallas’ passing game was white-hot against the Giants and looks to keep the momentum against Washington in Week 2.
WR Randall Cobb
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 69 - 1 (5 targets) - Cobb stepped right into the departed Cole Beasley
slot role in Dallas with positive results against the Giants. Cobb added yards after the catch on multiple occasions, showing a solid stiff arm and being schemed into a swing pass design on another. Cobb added a drop but also had a reception called back by penalty amidst his efficient performance on a mere five targets.
TE Jason Witten
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 15 - 1 (4 targets) - Witten made his return to the NFL after 2018 in broadcasting to his traditional role as the chain-moving and short-range option in the Dallas offense. He found the end zone off a play-action design at the goal line but was limited to short routes throughout the game. Secondary tight end Blake Jarwin
showed well as more of a seam-stretcher and Witten’s snap count was closer to a tight end-by-committee rotation for the Cowboys than Witten as the dominant starter.
TE Blake Jarwin
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 39 - 1 (3 targets) - Jarwin was the secondary tight end to Jason Witten
in terms of snaps (40% versus 66%) but Jarwin showed well down the seam for a back-shoulder touchdown as Dallas surged as a passing offense against the Giants. With Witten limited to short areas of the field, Jarwin offers a more well-rounded role to the position, notable for the upcoming weeks.
Tennessee Titans 43, Cleveland Browns 13
What you need to know
- The Titans offense rolled this week thanks in large part to the strong play of their defense and a spectacular showing from Derrick Henry
, who finished with 159 total yards and two touchdowns. Marcus Mariota
started slow but finished strong as he passed for a touchdown on three consecutive pass attempts during the second half. One of those touchdowns was a 75-yard screen to Derrick Henry
, while the other two went to Delanie Walker
in the red zone. Corey Davis
, on the other hand, finished with just three targets and no receptions as he was well-covered all day.
- The Browns thrilled the home crowd with an opening-drive touchdown but it was all downhill from there. The team was sloppy, committing a whopping 18 penalties in the loss. Even more concerning was the offensive line's inability to protect Baker Mayfield
. Not surprisingly, Mayfield got time to operate on the opening drive but after that the Titans starting hitting him too frequently. He wound up taking five sacks, including one that went for a safety in the end zone. The constant pressure clearly affected Mayfield as he made some uncharacteristic poor throws. Of course, it didn't help that starting left tackle Greg Robinson
was ejected in the second quarter for kicking a Tennessee defender. This team will need to find a way to improve the offensive line in a hurry if they are to meet the lofty expectations placed upon them in the offseason.
QB Marcus Mariota
, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 24 - 248 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 24 - 0 - Marcus Mariota
had a great game on paper, but overall, he struggled to make the difficult throws for most of this contest as his stat line was padded by excellent after-the-catch play from his receivers. He was inaccurate throughout the first half, including overthrowing A.J. Brown
in the end zone midway through the second quarter and missing Corey Davis
on all three of his targets. Mariota did connect with A.J. Brown
on a couple of occasions for deep balls of 47 and 51 yards. The first came off play-action on the first drive of the game as Mariota lofted the ball deep to a wide-open Brown who fought his way for a few extra yards. The second also came off play action, but Mariota threw it just 12 yards before Brown took it downfield for the 51-yard gain. Neither of the Brown catches would be Mariota’s longest pass of the game though, as Derrick Henry
took a simple screen pass 75 yards to the house for a touchdown to mark Mariota’s first touchdown pass of the season. The next drive to start the fourth quarter led to Mariota flashing his speed as he tucked it on third-and-four to not only convert but pick up 13 yards as he sprinted down the left sideline. Mariota would follow up on the very next play with a strike to Delanie Walker
for the 11-yard touchdown. The throw was a little high, but he led Walker perfectly in stride with a defender on his heels. The next drive would start in the red zone based on a Baker Mayfield
interception, and Mariota would find Walker yet again on his very next throw for an easy touchdown from seven yards out.
RB Derrick Henry
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 84 - 1, Rec: 1 - 75 - 1 (2 targets) - Derrick Henry
was not finding much room to run early in this game, but he did make it count early in the red zone as Henry saw a couple of goal-line carries--one of which he punched in from the 1-yard line for the Titans’ first touchdown of the season. On the first play of their next possession, Henry made a great read bouncing a run to the right side as he sprinted to an 18-yard gain. He followed that up with another good run a few plays later as he followed his blockers for a gain of eight yards. Overall, Henry would finish with 19 carries for 84 rushing yards as he saw ample opportunities to grind out tough yards on the ground later in the game. Where Henry flashed this week, however, was through the air as he owned the longest play of this game--a 75-yard screen pass that he took to the house for a touchdown late in the third quarter. The play was set up and blocked very well, but it was Henry who showed his acceleration and speed to sprint downfield as he outran the Browns defense.
RB Dion Lewis
, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 7 - 0, Rec: 3 - 6 - 0 (4 targets) - Dion Lewis
had a rough day as he managed only 13 total yards on six touches. He was not a factor on the ground with Derrick Henry
carrying 19 times to just three for Lewis. His day through the air did not get off to a great start either as Lewis dropped an easy screen pass on third down, leading to a failed conversion and field goal on the opening drive. Most of his targets came either on designed screens or as the final read as a check down. His only truly positive play came as the last read on third-and-long where Lewis hauled in the short pass for seven yards but failed to convert for the first down.
WR A.J. Brown
, 26 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 100 - 0 (4 targets) - A.J. Brown
’s official NFL career started with a bang with a few huge plays in his first NFL regular season game. The first came very early as he hauled in 47-yard reception on the opening drive-. Brown found space in coverage as he was wide open for the catch. He then kepd pushing downfield with a defender around his waist until he shed the tackler and gained a few more yards. Later in the first half, Brown could have had a decent chance at a touchdown reception had Mariota not dramatically overthrown his target. Brown would come back on the first play of the second half with another huge play. He caught the ball in stride about 12 yards downfield before striding across the field, shedding 1 tackler, and making two more defenders miss as he turned it upfield to complete what would be a 51-yard gain. Overall, Brown would finish with 100 receiving yards from three receptiosn in his NFL debut.
WR Adam Humphries
, 22 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets) - Officially, Adam Humphries
was limited to just one reception on one target for five yards. He actually was targeted on a third-and-long near the start of the second quarter and would have hauled it for around a 15-yard gain in if not for a defensive holding penalty.
WR Corey Davis
, 45 offensive snaps (3 targets) - Corey Davis
was invisible on the stat sheet as he finished with no receptions from three targets. He struggled to get open throughout the game, and even when he was open, Mariota was not accurate enough to get him the ball.
TE Delanie Walker
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 55 - 2 (6 targets) - Delanie Walker
received the first pass of the season for the Titans, which he did haul in for 11 yards before the play was negated by a penalty. Two possessions later, he dropped his next target. This was likely for the best as he would have been tackled for a loss. Walker had no problem with his next target though, making a 16-yard reception streaking over the middle of the field. Walker’s third catch of the game came during a two-minute drill to close out the second half as he hauled in a first-down pass for 11 yards. The second half was much more efficient for Walker, as both of his targets resulted in touchdowns. The first touchdown, near the start of the fourth quarter, came from 11 yards out as Walker did a great job getting off coverage at the line of scrimmage and hauling in a relatively high throw with a defender on his heels. Walker would find the end zone for the second time on the next drive from seven yards out as he simply leaked to the right side of the field from a pick play to be wide open and easily stride into the end zone. This was Walker’s first multi-touchdown game since the 2015 season.
QB Baker Mayfield
, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 38 - 285 - 1 TD / 3 INT - Mayfield was sharp on the opening drive, completing 4-of-5 passes and leading his team to a Dontrell Hilliard
rushing touchdown. That was also basically the only drive where the offensive line gave him adequate protection. Tennessee starting getting to him on the second drive and threw off the entire offense for the remainder of the game. The first drive was almost a bust, actually, as he almost threw an interception on his first pass attempt which was tipped. His 35-yard pass to Rashard Higgins
got the team down to the Tennessee four-yard line and was a perfectly placed laser of a throw. Mayfield took a safety in the second quarter when he was hit from behind by Cameron Wake. Wake took a very wide route to the quarterback and ended up hitting him from behind. Mayfield never knew he was coming, although he did hold onto the ball for too long, which gave Wake the time he needed to get to the QB. His lone touchdown pass came in the third quarter. He dropped a perfect 34-yard pass to Jarvis Landry
and then hit David Njoku
on a three-yard pass in the middle of the end zone for the score. Things got ugly after that as he threw three interceptions across the end of the third and entire fourth quarters. His first interception was a pass forced into triple coverage which was easily picked off. He then had a short pass to Landry jumped by the defender for his second interception. His final interception was a pick-six to Malcolm Butler on a high pass that sailed on him. Mayfield is much better than he played in Week 1 but the Browns have to make some improvements to their offensive line play.
RB Nick Chubb
, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 75 - 0, Rec: 3 - 10 - 0 (4 targets) - Chubb had a solid game although the game script got out of hand as the Titans started to pull away in the fourth quarter. Chubb displayed a nice cutback on his first run, which went for 10 yards. He wound up getting vultured by backup running back Dontrell Hilliard
at the end of the team's touchdown drive on the opening possession. Chubb's longest run was a burst up the middle in the third quarter which went for 15 yards. He had a pretty play on a seven-yard catch in the third quarter where he evaded a tackle and then spun his way forward for extra yardage. Chubb saw decent usage in the passing game, hauling in 3-of-4 targets. He could have caught the fourth target but wound up tipping it in the air on what was almost an interception.
RB Dontrell Hilliard
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 1, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (2 targets) - Hilliard got off to a good start, scoring a four-yard touchdown on the team's opening drive. The pass-catching specialist also wound up with a 14-yard catch toward the end of the second quarter. Unfortunately, Hilliard suffered a concussion in the third quarter and was placed in the league's concussion protocol. If healthy, it appears he is earmarked for a decent role behind starter Nick Chubb
WR Odell Beckham
, 73 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 71 - 0 (11 targets) - It was a tale of two halves for Beckham, who caught all but one of his passes in the first half of the contest. The Titans managed to find a way to limit him to just a 12-yard grab in the second half. His first catch as a Brown was a 16-yard gain where he showed his electric run after the catch ability to tack on some additional YAC. His next catch was a 12-yarder which was negated by an unnecessary roughness penalty. He went on to rack up an eight-yard and four-yard catch on the two ensuing first-quarter drives. He opened the second quarter with a 24-yard grab and then had another reception, this time an 18-yarder, negated by penalty. His only catch in the second half was a 12-yard reception in the third quarter. He came close to pulling in a decent gain in the fourth quarter but couldn't quite hang onto the ball along the left sideline. For what it is worth, Beckham looked just as explosive as usual, putting to rest any concerns over the training camp hip injury that held him out of all four preseason contests.
WR Jarvis Landry
, 73 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 10 - 0, Rec: 4 - 67 - 0 (7 targets) - Landry took a backseat to former LSU teammate Odell Beckham
in the game but he still operated as the No. 2 option in the passing attack. His first touch was a 10-yard rush to the left. Baker Mayfield
took a deep shot to Landry down the right sideline but Landry just couldn't bring the ball in for the reception. His two best plays of the afternoon came in the third quarter and led to the Browns' second touchdown. First, he caught a 23-yard pass on 3rd-and-16 to keep the drive from stalling out. Then he hauled in a 34-yard catch down the middle and brought it all the way down to the Tennessee three-yard line.
WR Rashard Higgins
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 46 - 0 (3 targets) - Higgins had a big role on the game-opening touchdown drive and then wasn't heard from again. The receiver pulled in an 11-yard reception on the second play of the game and then caught a 35-yard pass from Baker Mayfield
that brought the Browns down to the Tennessee four-yard line. After the first drive, Mayfield only looked his way once more in what wound up being an incomplete pass. He missed time with an ankle injury.
TE David Njoku
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 37 - 1 (6 targets) - Njoku wound up catching Baker Mayfield
's only touchdown in the loss. His first target of the game was a catchable one down the middle of the field but Njoku let the ball go through his hands. On the third drive of the game, Njoku ripped off an 18-yard gain. In the second quarter Njoku failed to bring in another catchable ball, this time on a 3rd-and-13. The Browns needed that pass to earn a new set of downs but Njoku couldn't bring in the contested catch. His touchdown was a three-yard pass right near the middle of the goal line. He got inside position on the defender and used his large frame to box out the defender on the catch. His final catch was a nine-yarder in the fourth quarter. As the only starting pass-catcher taller than 6'1î, Njoku remains the preferred red zone threat for the Browns
Green Bay Packers 10, Chicago Bears 3
What you need to know
Green Bay Packers
- The Green Bay Packers opened the 2019 season with a 10-3 win over the Chicago Bears. Aaron Rodgers
had an efficient day, completing 18 of 30 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing three times for eight yards.
- Mitchell Trubisky
struggled mightily to move the offense against the Green Bay defense in week one but managed to perform just well enough to provide a 100-yard game for Allen Robinson
. The running back position was a true committee with Mike Davis
working ahead of David Montgomery
, while Tarik Cohen
played a slot centric receiving role. The offense outside of Robinson struggled, with Anthony Miller
receiving no targets and only one reception for Adam Shaheen
QB Aaron Rodgers
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 30 - 203 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 8 - 0 - Aaron Rodgers
completed 18 of 30 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown in the Packers 10-3 win over the Chicago Bears in week one. The Packers managed to beat the Bears with their defense, a surprising outcome given their defensive struggles over the last several seasons. While Rodgers statistics do not look dominant in any way, he did a great job of taking what the Bears defense was giving him which allowed the Packers to consistently win the battle of field position. With the Packers trailing 3-0 to start the 2nd quarter, Rodgers took a shot down the field to emerging second year wide receiver, Marquez Valdes-Scantling
. Rodgers took the snap under center, faked the handoff to Aaron Jones
and then faked a reverse to Davante Adams
before throwing deep to Valdes-Scantling who had a step on his man in the center of the field. The 47 yard completion was the longest play of the day, accounting for nearly 25% of Rodgers total passing yards, while also setting up the Packers for their only touchdown of the game. With the Packers facing a first and eight from the Bears eight yard line, Rodgers took the snap under center with Jimmy Graham
and Davante Adams
bunched up in the slot on the right side of the formation. Rodgers quickly looked left, then right and then back left again before settling with his weight on his back foot looking as though he was ready to throw the ball away. Instead, Rodgers saw Graham in one on one coverage and gave his tight end a chance to make a play on jump ball. It was an aggressive throw given the Packers relative struggles putting up points, not to mention there were several Bears defenders either even with Graham or behind him in coverage. Luckily the ball was thrown in the right spot and Graham was able to go up and convert the catch for a touchdown, which ended up being the only score the Packers needed to win this game.
RB Aaron Jones
, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 39 - 0, Rec: 1 - 0 - 0 (1 targets) - Aaron Jones
rushed 13 times for 39 yards in the Packers 10-3 win over the Chicago Bears on the opening night of the 2019 NFL season. Jones also caught his only target in the passing game, although the catch was credited as having not gained any yardage. Much like the rest of the Packers offense, Jones was unable to find a groove against a stout Bears defensive front. Five of Jones 13 carries went for no gain, while another three went for gains of two yards or less. The only upside for Jones in this game was the fact that he out-touched Jamaal Williams
14 to seven. Williams gained a total of zero yards on five carries, so it looks as though Jones will continue to see the lions share of the touches in the Packers backfield.
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 4 - 52 - 0 (6 targets) - Marquez Valdes-Scantling
caught four passes for 52 yards on six targets, while also rushing one time for zero yards. Valdes-Scantling led the Packers in both receptions and yards and if you had to award an offensive MVP in this game, he would most certainly be it. His total statistics were not anything to write home about, but Valdes-Scantling made what would go down as the play of the night, a 47 yard reception that set up the Packers only touchdown of the game, and coincidently the only score they would need to beat the Bears. With the Packers trailing 3-0 to start the 2nd quarter and facing a first and 10 from their own 26 yard line, Rodgers took the snap under center and faked the handoff to Aaron Jones
before also faking a reverse to Davante Adams
. Rodgers then set his feet and unleashed a frozen rope down the center of the field to Valdes-Scantling who had two steps on his man. The throw was just slightly behind Valdes-Scantling, but he made a very nice adjustment and came back to the ball, securing the 47 yard catch, which was the longest play of the day by a mile for a both teams. It was this type of catch that has set up Valdes-Scantling to be a major contributor for the Packers this year, as well as Rodgers preferred deep threat.
WR Davante Adams
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 36 - 0 (8 targets) - Davante Adams
caught four passes for 36 yards on eight targets in the Packers win over the Bears on Thursday night. Dating back to last year, Adams has been immune to the Packers offensive struggles, consistently putting up big numbers regardless of whether Green Bay is able to move the ball on their opponent. This was not the case against the Bears though, as Adams finished with his lowest yardage total in his past 20 regular season games. Rodgers targeted Adams a team high eight times, but even the passes that fell incomplete were contained to within 12 yards of the line of scrimmage. There were some growing pains to be expected with the Packers installing a new offense under first year head coach Matt LaFleur, so Adams inability to match the output many were expecting of him this year should be taken with a grain of salt, especially against an elite defense and division rival in the Bears.
TE Jimmy Graham
, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 30 - 1 (6 targets) - Jimmy Graham
caught three passes for 30 yards and a touchdown on six targets in the Packers week one win against the Chicago Bears. Graham was tied with Valdes-Scantling for the second most targets for the Packers, and although is better days are behind him, Graham’s understanding of how to shield off his defenders in the red zone paid big dividends for the Packers in this game. With the Packers facing a first and goal from the Bears eight yard line, Rodgers took the snap under center with Graham and Adams bunched up tight in the right slot. Rodgers quickly looked left, and then right before fading onto his heels, waiting to see if he could find anyone open in the end zone before he would have to throw the ball away. Rodgers saw Graham in one on one coverage and gave his tight end a chance to make a play on jump ball, which is exactly what Graham did by boxing out his defender and high pointing the ball for the game’s only touchdown. Graham may not be an elite tight end at this stage of his career, but he still has the ability to be an elite red zone threat if given enough volume.
QB Mitchell Trubisky
, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 45 - 228 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 11 - 0 - Mitchell Trubisky
struggled against the revamped Green Bay Packers defense in the opening game of the NFL season. He struggled throughout, with nine out of the first ten drives finishing in punts while the other was a field goal. His best success was throwing to Allen Robinson
on the perimeter for two tight catches, but otherwise, he was ineffective. Trubisky threw a bad interception intended for Robinson in the end zone that he both stared down and threw off his back foot, allowing the safety to make an easy interception. He also threw multiple passes inaccurately along the sideline, forcing receivers out of bounds on catches. He was not helped, by drops from Robinson and Tarik Cohen
, but Trubisky’s struggles in his progressions in the pocket and his inaccuracy are his own. Things do not get easier for Trubisky in week two against a good Denver defense, but he will, fortunately, have 10 days to regroup.
RB Mike Davis
, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 19 - 0, Rec: 6 - 17 - 0 (7 targets) - Mike Davis
was the leading rusher in the Chicago backfield but struggled to get running room against an improved Green Bay defense in a home loss in week one. Davis the first series and finished with 41 snaps compared to 28 from rookie David Montgomery
and notably played ahead of Montgomery in the two-minute drill offense. Both Davis and Montgomery played less than Cohen, but Cohen had more slot receiver usage than traditional running back positional alignment. The backfield looks like a committee between Davis and Montgomery with Cohen’s snaps more focused as a receiver and faces a tough test at Denver in week two.
RB Tarik Cohen
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 49 - 0 (10 targets) - Tarik Cohen
played a strong receiving role in the week one loss to the Green Bay Packers. Cohen had two carries that did not show up on his stat line but were called back by penalty so he left the game without an official carry, which was a good description of his role. Cohen was nearly exclusively a target in the slot, while Mike Davis
and David Montgomery
worked the traditional running back position. Cohen was used primarily in the short area passing game, including on the receiving end of RPOs. He was the leader in snaps for the Chicago backfield, but his snap count projects to be independent of Davis and Montgomery if the current deployment of the offense holds. Cohen will face Denver next week.
RB David Montgomery
, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 18 - 0, Rec: 1 - 27 - 0 (1 targets) - David Montgomery
struggled against the Green Bay Packer defense in a week one loss. Montgomery played the second series of the game, behind Mike Davis
who started. Montgomery struggled, with all his attempts coming to the left of the formation. His best play was a catch down the seam that he made a good adjustment to catch. Montgomery played 28 snaps compared to 41 for Davis, as the two worked in the traditional running back role, while Cohen played significantly in the slot. Montgomery and Davis are in a committee for the traditional running back role and face a tough test in week two at Denver.
WR Allen Robinson
, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 102 - 0 (13 targets) - Allen Robinson
was the best offensive player for the Chicago Bears in a disappointing offensive performance against the Green Bay Packers in week one. Robinson made two strong catches along the sideline in tight coverage and could have had another but was pulled out of bounds on an errant Mitchell Trubisky
throw. Robinson was also targeted in the end zone but given no chance by Trubisky who stared Robinson down the entire route and lobbed an easy interception on what could have been a touchdown throw. Robinson will face a strong Denver defense in week two.
WR Taylor Gabriel
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (5 targets) - Taylor Gabriel
was the only receiver other than Allen Robinson
to catch a pass against the Green Bay Packers, in a woeful offensive performance by the Bears. Gabriel could have had a respectable day but was led out of bounds on a perimeter target and called for pass interference on a long reception. Gabriel will look to improve on his ancillary role in the offense next week against Denver but needs Mitchell Trubisky
to improve to be fantasy viable.
TE Adam Shaheen
, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (2 targets) - Adam Shaheen
started in place of an injured Trey Burton
against the Green Bay Packers but managed only one reception. Shaheen played less than half the offensive snaps and is likely off the fantasy radar against Denver.
Buffalo Bills 17, New York Jets 16
What you need to know
- Josh Allen
was high variance against the New York Jets, turning the ball over four times, but leading the Bills back from a 16 point deficit with a rushing and passing touchdown in the fourth quarter. Frank Gore
was the starting running back but was outplayed by a more explosive Devin Singletary
. The passing game revolved around John Brown
and Cole Beasley
who combined for over half of Buffalo’s attempts, with Brown, in particular, showing a good rapport with Allen.
New York Jets
- This offense was not what was promised, but we should have seen it coming given the mediocre nature of Adam Gase’s tenure in Miami. Perhaps he gets creative next week – we sure saw more creativity in the preseason – but it’s hard to buy into until it happens. One thing he is doing is using LeVeon Bell
, and if that keeps up Bell will do well when he’s not facing a tough defensive front like Buffalo’s. We are curious as to whether or not Sam Darnold
will hone in on Jamison Crowder
like he did this week, or if the Jets will try to stretch the field more with Robby Anderson
. Those are two guys worth watching – especially in PPR leagues where Crowder feasted this week — but the jury remains out as more than a lower end starter until we know what to trust.
QB Josh Allen
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 37 - 254 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 10 - 38 - 1 - Josh Allen
struggled early against the New York Jets, before leading a fourth-quarter comeback win on the road in week one. Allen lost a fumble on a bad sack on the first drive of the game, then threw a pick-6 on a ball intended for Cole Beasley
that deflected off his hands for an unlucky interception. Allen also threw another deflected interception and lost a second fumble but was able to overcome the errors in the second half. He capped off a scoring drive with a roll out for a red zone touchdown and taking the lead on a perimeter throw to John Brown
where Brown worked back inside on the play for a contested-catch touchdown. Allen had a good rapport with Brown and Beasley during the game and was allowed to play up-tempo and in a pass-heavy game script from the start, where the first running back carry was on the fourth drive. He will return to the Meadowlands next week to face the New York Giants, who were shredded by Dak Prescott
RB Frank Gore
, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 20 - 0 - Frank Gore
was the leading ball carrier for the Buffalo Bills in a win against the New York Jets. Gore got the first running back carries of the game, but on the fourth drive of the game as Buffalo began the game playing with tempo in a spread pass-heavy game plan. Gore got the first work of significance was on the fifth drive of the game, with back to back carries to start drive but failed to get much success in the running game. He played ahead of rookie Devin Singletary
, but Singletary was the far more explosive player. Outside of a nine-yard carry, Gore was of limited impact and was stopped in his own end zone for a safety. Gore will face the Giants next week but is at risk of getting passed on the depth chart by Singletary.
RB Devin Singletary
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 70 - 0, Rec: 5 - 28 - 0 (6 targets) - Devin Singletary
struggled early against the New York Jets, dropping two passes, including one that was negated by an offensive penalty. Singletary worked behind Frank Gore
, who led the running backs in carries, but Singletary was the far superior performer after he settled into the game. Singletary broke big gains on each of his four carries, including two that set up a Josh Allen
rushing touchdown and his explosiveness sparked the Buffalo offense in the comeback attempt. He faces the Giants next week and his workload is a critical story to monitor in the coming weeks.
WR John Brown
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 123 - 1 (10 targets) - John Brown
was the leading wide receiver in his first game for the Buffalo Bills against the New York Jets in week one. Brown was terrific, consistently separating in coverage, especially running crossing and over routes. Brown drew two targets near the end zone that were both broken up by strong defensive plays but found the end zone on the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The play highlighted the relationship between Josh Allen
and Brown, as Allen threw the ball into a contested coverage to Brown, letting him work back inside to catch the ball and break a tackle for a touchdown. Brown’s skill set looked like an ideal match for Allen’s strengths and that came to fruition in week one. Brown will look to continue his strong play in week two against the New York Giants defense that was carved up by Dak Prescott
in week two
WR Cole Beasley
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 40 - 0 (9 targets) - Cole Beasley
operated as a safety blanket for Josh Allen
in a week one win against the New York Jets. Beasley worked his typical slot and underneath role, creating space and easy throws for Allen that he rarely saw last season. Beasley’s performance did hold back Allen as he contributed to a Dallas pick-6 on a low throw that he should have caught. Instead of catching the pass, Beasley deflected it into the air, and it was easily intercepted by the Jets and returned for a touchdown. He also dropped an excellent touch throw along the sideline. Beasley will face the New York Giants defense next week.
QB Sam Darnold
, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 41 - 175 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0 - For all the talk of a dynamic offense and an improved Sam Darnold
, Jets fans were treated with none of that in Week 1. Some of that was the very poor play of the offensive line, which left Darnold scrambling too often while under duress. It’s worth noting that while the Bills defense was well-reagarded overall last season, they rarely got to the quarterback. So Darnold being hit nine times and sacked four times could be quite the indictment of this offensive line. That said, there were times Darnold just flat out missed throws. Twice it occurred late in the game when the Jets were trailing by one point with just under three minutes to go and both of those times were on deep routes by Robby Anderson
where he was open. The first time, Darnold was extremely lucky the defender didn’t hang onto the ball, as it was thrown very short on a 3rd and 1 attempt. The second time, just two plays later, was overthrown by a wide margin. There were flashes to get excited about, such as when he scrambled on a two-point conversion attempt before completing a pass to LeVeon Bell
. Still, the bad outweighed the good for Darnold this weekend, and hopefully both the line and gameplan will improve soon.
RB LeVeon Bell
, 72 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 60 - 0, Rec: 6 - 32 - 1 (9 targets) - The big free agency signing on the offensive side of the ball, Bell was a bright spot on the offense against the Bills, despite a shaky offensive line. While his overall yards per carry was just 3.5, that was when the Bills defensive front was working to tee-off on Bell and stacked the box. In the first half he had way more success, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Not coincidentally, that was when the offense was having more success through the air as well. He was also a frequent target in the passing game, and showed off not only his ability after the catch on short screens, but great hands, specifically on his shoe-string catch for a touchdown in the third quarter to give the jets a 16-0 lead.
RB Ty Montgomery
, 5 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0 - For all the talk of getting Ty Montgomery
involved, that didn’t happen. Not only was Montgomery barely utilized, he was only on the field for five snaps of offense. Both his runs came in the late third/early fourth quarter and he was not targeted at all in the passing game.
WR Jamison Crowder
, 65 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 14 - 99 - 0 (17 targets) - Along with LeVeon Bell
, Jamison Crowder
was the only real bright spot for the Jets offense. Crowder was by far the most targeted member of the team as well as the one with the most catches. Unfortunately he has the dubious honor now of being the first player in history to have 14 catches but under 100 yards. Crowder had a knack for getting open out of the slot, and even when he didn’t, he did a fine job snagging the ball even while being blanketed by coverage.
WR Robby Anderson
, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 23 - 0 (7 targets) - Along with LeVeon Bell
, Jamison Crowder
was the only real bright spot for the Jets offense. Crowder was by far the most targeted member of the team as well as the one with the most catches. Unfortunately he has the dubious honor now of being the first player in history to have 14 catches but under 100 yards. Crowder had a knack for getting open out of the slot, and even when he didn’t, he did a fine job snagging the ball even while being blanketed by coverage.
WR Josh Bellamy
, 6 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (1 targets) - Bellamy’s one catch came in the first quarter and the journeyman receiver showed some decent speed after the catch. He will remain more of a special teams player.
WR Quincy Enunwa
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - -4 - 0 (3 targets) - Enunwa was hurt in the first quarter, but gutted it out until well into the fourth quarter. He was clearly hampered by the injury though to what extent isn’t clear. He struggled to get open, and quarterback Sam Darnold
looked elsewhere most of the time. Enunwa also was called for offensive pass interference, wiping out a Ryan Griffin
TE Ryan Griffin
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 10 - 0 (4 targets) - Ryan Griffin
saw some action, though much of it was blocking. That said, he had a touchdown called back due to a Quincy Enunwa
offensive pass interference penalty.
Indianapolis Colts 24, Los Angeles Chargers 30
What you need to know
- Jacoby Brissett
ran a more conservative and run heavy version of the offense Andrew Luck
ran last year. The Colts passing game was limited especially on downfield throws. Brissett played well enough for the Colts to win the game and they might have if not for missed kicks by Vinatieri. Marlon Mack
was effective in the first half but became featured in the second half. Mack consistently kept the offense on schedule with good smart running and contributed a 63 yard touchdown run. TY Hilton was clearly Brissett's favorite target. Hilton showed his prowess to separate and make plays underneath when the deep ball wasn't available. The rest of the Colts offense including the tight ends were quiet. Deon Cain
made a couple of nice plays and could see more targets going forward with Funchess suffering an injury.
Los Angeles Chargers
- For one game at least, the Chargers didn't miss a beat without Melvin Gordon
in there. Austin Ekeler
stepped in for the holdout starting halfback, and lit up the stat sheet. Ekeler dominated both on the ground and through the air, and became the first running back in team history to total 150+ yards from scrimmage and 3+ touchdowns in the team's opening week game.
put up big stats, but his play wasn't particularly crisp. He threw a really bad interception that nearly cost his team the game, and almost turned it over on several other occasions. He appeared to hold the ball too long several times, and a lot of his passes were either too far ahead of or too far behind the intended targets. But the numbers were there, and should continue to be as long as he's got this passing game talent around him.
had a very solid afternoon, but he played even better than the statistics suggest. He was targeted early and often, and one got the sense that he could have done even more if he had some more targets. He's not physically imposing, but he really knows how to use his body to win at the point of the catch, and that was on display on more than one occasion in this game.
QB Jacoby Brissett
, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 27 - 190 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 9 - 0 - Jacoby Brissett
played well enough for the Colts to win but wasn't great. Brissett struggled with pressure as he is somewhat stationary in the pocket and his accuracy was inconsistent at times. Brissett played well when the Colts were able to stay ahead on the down and distance especially with the run game. Brissett moved the Colts down the field for a touchdown on a methodical drive. The drive consisted of running plays and short passes. Brissett capped the drive with a nice throw on a slant to TY Hilton for a 4 yard touchdown. Brissett moved the Colts into field goal range with a nice drive before halftime featuring completions to Deon Cain
and Devin Funchess
but Adam Vinatieri
missed the field goal. Following a muffed punt the Colts were unable to secure any points. Eric Ebron
dropped what should have been an 11 yard touchdown and then Vinatieri missed another field goal. Trailing by 8 with 8 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter the Colts got the ball back. Brissett connected with TY Hilton twice for big plays on the drive. The first was a 19 yard over the middle. The second was a shallow cross that Hilton took to the end zone for a 19 yard touchdown. A two point conversion from Mack sent the game to overtime but the Colts did not get a possession in overtime because the Chargers scored a touchdown on their drive.
RB Marlon Mack
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 25 - 174 - 1 - Marlon Mack
had a huge second half against the Chargers. Mack picked up 25 yard running a sweep on the first play of the second half. Mack got excellent blocking on the play and showed good patience before exploding into the open field. A few plays later Mack made a nice cutback at the line of scrimmage to find a crease for 10 yards. Mack followed excellent blocking into the open field and slipped two ankle tackles on his way to outracing the defense for a 63 yard touchdown. Mack got an excellent block from Quenten Nelson on the play. Mack converted a two point attempt with a run right up the gut.
RB Nyheim Hines
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 13 - 0, Rec: 4 - 4 - 0 (4 targets) - Nyheim Hines
made an 8 yard catch on a screen pass. Hines played a complimentary role to Marlon Mack
WR T.Y. Hilton
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 87 - 2 (9 targets) - TY Hilton did most of his damage underneath but still looked like the same dangerous player with lethal speed. Hilton made his first two catches underneath for 8 yards. Hilton 3rd catch was a slant between two defenders for a 4 yard touchdown. Hilton picked up 12 yards running a comeback route from the slot. Hilton picked up 9 yards running a curl route. Hilton gained 16 yards on a screen pass on 3rd and long but still came a yard short of the line to gain. Hilton made a 19 yard catch running an in breaking route over the middle. TY Hilton made a catch on a shallow crossing route and broke a tackle to evade two defenders before escaping up the sideline for a 19 yard touchdown. Hilton should have been stopped for a minimal gain on the play.
WR Devin Funchess
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (5 targets) - Devin Funchess
made an 8 yard catch running a comeback route. Funchess made a back shoulder catch along the sideline for 16 yards. Funchess made a physical play for 8 yards on 4th and 3. Funchess was targeted in the end zone on the Colts final possession and landed hard on his shoulder. Funchess left the game and reportedly suffered a broken collarbone.
WR Deon Cain
, 11 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 35 - 0 (2 targets) - Deon Cain
made an impressive 10 yard contested catch running a comeback route against Casey Heyward. Cain made a 25 yard catch on a back shoulder throw from Brissett. Cain ended the game second in receiving yards on the team trailing only TY Hilton. With the injury to Funchess Cain could see more targets going forward.
TE Jack Doyle
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 20 - 0 (2 targets) - Jack Doyle
picked up 20 yards coming free running a shallow crossing route.
TE Eric Ebron
, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (3 targets) - Eric Ebron
dropped what should have been an 11 yard touchdown. Ebron initially caught the pass but bobbled it as he went to the ground in the back of the end zone.
QB Philip Rivers
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 34 - 333 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0 - Rivers put up big stats, although it should be noted that much of the production came from his receivers doing damage after the catch. It's perhaps slightly unfair because he did put them in position to gain that yardage, but more often than not Rivers' passes tended to be a bit off the mark. He overthrew Justin Jackson
early on a fade attempt in the end zone for what could have been an easy touchdown. He later found Austin Ekeler
for a short 3-yard touchdown that didn't involve any sort of difficulty (Rivers has now thrown a touchdown in 29 of his last 30 games). He later connected with Keenan Allen
for a score, but the ball was essentially thrown up for grabs. A fantastic individual effort by Allen is the only reason the ball ended up being a touchdown. And on Rivers' third touchdown pass, he dumped off a screen pass to Ekeler who just absolutely ran through defenders en route to the end zone. He later overthrew a wide open Travis Benjamin
on a deep sideline route that could have gone for a big gain. And in between the scores, Rivers showed a propensity to hold the ball a bit too long. And he was slightly careless at times, twice having it knocked out of his hands by defenders. He was nearly intercepted on a badly advertised screen pass to Justin Jackson
off a bootleg, and then actually DID throw an interception in the end zone when he failed to account for a defender dragging across in front of Keenan Allen
for a 1-handed pick. It wasn't all doom and gloom in his performance; he made a couple of perfect passes right on the money to Allen in traffic. And it's tough to be too critical, because Rivers does sometimes just get the ball to his playmakers and let them make plays. It has sort of been his M.O. for much of his career. But it would just feel better for his owners if the passes he was making in this game were consistently crisp and in stride rather than too far behind or in front of the intended targets.
RB Austin Ekeler
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 58 - 1, Rec: 6 - 96 - 2 (7 targets) - The stat line makes it obvious, but Ekeler may have played even better than the statistics suggest. He was very busy from the opening series all the way through to the game-winning touchdown run, and dominated in just about every way possible. The Chargers designed numerous plays specifically for him, and he took advantage of the room the offensive line was opening up for him up-front. His first score of the game came on a 3-TE set when he leaked out of the backfield to get wide open in the end zone. It was a perfect play design, and he was mostly just the beneficiary of some lapsed coverage. That wasn't the case on his second score, when he took a very well-blocked screen reception up the right side with blockers in front. Once the defense met him, they tried to strip the ball instead of just going for the tackle. Ekeler proved too strong to be dragged down by strip attempts and weak arm tackles, and kept charging ahead. One last block sprung him ahead for the 55-yard score. On the overtime possession, he showed a lot of patience running west to east before finding the seam and bursting through it. He later capped that drive with a twisting run into the end zone to end the game, breaking a tackle at the 2-yard line before lunging for the goal line and his third score of the game. With Melvin Gordon
's holdout continuing and showing no end in sight, Ekeler is proving to be extremely valuable at least in the short term.
RB Justin Jackson
, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 57 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (3 targets) - Jackson was out-touched 18-7 by starter Austin Ekeler
, and the usage patterns suggest that that could be a pretty reasonable expectation of how the split will be handled between the two players. Jackson looked very good in the run game, setting a career high with a 23-yard gain on his first touch of the season. He later beat that career-best run with a 24-yarder late in the second half. In between those two runs, he showed very good shake with the ball in his hands and ran very smooth and fluid. On the first long run, the offensive line opened a gaping hole that he shot through. On the second long one, the hole wasn't as obvious. But he found it and he hit it hard. Jackson had a long gain on a designed screen pass on third and 8 that was called back for an illegal formation penalty on the Chargers. It turned a first and goal inside the 10-yard line into a third and long situation at the 28-yard line. Philip Rivers
made sure it didn't matter by throwing a touchdown to Keenan Allen
on the ensuing play, but Jackson's afternoon could have had a bit more yardage (and he may have remained in the game on the red zone possession for a scoring chance if the penalty hadn't been called).
RB Derek Watt
, 15 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0 - Watt is certainly not a featured part of the offense, but he does get the occasional short yardage attempt on third and fourth downs or sometimes on the goal line. In this game, he had two such short yardage attempts, and converted them both.
WR Keenan Allen
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 123 - 1 (10 targets) - Allen was involved every which way in the passing game for the Chargers, and was a force from beginning to end. In the early portion of the game, it was Allen and Austin Ekeler
getting nearly all of the passing game looks, with almost no involvement from any other player. And Allen was turning those opportunities into production. He made a terrific leaping grab for a touchdown with two defenders in the area (and one basically draped all over him). He did a great job using his body control to box out the defender, who actually appeared to have better position on the ball. But Allen boxed him out with his prolific catch radius to shield him from getting near the ball. After a mostly quiet third quarter, Allen got involved again in the early fourth quarter. A quick slant over the middle resulted in a 21-yard gain, and had a huge grab on third and 3 with the Chargers up by one score to get first down yardage. With the Chargers attempting the knockout punch, however, Rivers targeted Allen along the back line of the end zone for a potential touchdown. But the Indianapolis defender made a fantastic break on the football, picking it off one-handed and preventing the score. After the Colts tied and sent the game to overtime, Allen made an incredible catch that won't necessarily show up on the highlight reels. It was a low pass by Rivers, but Allen went lower to get his arms under the ball and pull it up to his chest. It was such a difficult catch, that every Colts defender in the area immediately signaled to the sideline to challenge the call since it seemed so unlikely that he had made a clean grab.
WR Mike Williams
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 29 - 0 (3 targets) - The early passing targets were dominated by Keenan Allen
and Austin Ekeler
. In fact, Williams' first catch didn't come until there was 3:24 left in the first half. He and Rivers just didn't seem to be on the same page on multiple occasions. Williams made a big catch over the middle in the second half for 17 yards, but tried making a few cuts after the catch to pick up extra yardage. It initially appeared that he had injured his hamstring, but it was later reported as a knee injury. For what it's worth, Williams remained on the sideline in the second half after the injury.
WR Travis Benjamin
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (3 targets) - Even with Mike Williams
leaving the game early due to injury, Benjamin didn't see a whole lot of looks. He rarely gets targets that are consistent enough to provide fantasy value, and this game was no different. He was unable to shake loose for anything deep downfield (his specialty), although he did have a step on his defender late on a deep out and was way overthrown by Philip Rivers
WR Dontrelle Inman
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets) - Inman was recently re-signed to provide some depth in the receiving game. Despite Mike Williams
leaving the game in the second half, Inman still wasn't really a featured part of the offense. He caught just one first half pass, showing nice hands on a ball that was thrown a bit behind him. But that was the extent of his involvement.
TE Hunter Henry
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 60 - 0 (5 targets) - Henry took awhile to get going, but made some noise late to somewhat make up for it. After his name wasn't even mentioned the entire first half, he finally made his first catch with 9:13 left to play in the third quarter. He soon after shook loose in the secondary for a big gain over the middle for 22 yards. Late in the fourth quarter, the Chargers had very little time to try and drive downfield for a potential game-winning field goal. Henry caught a short pass in the flat and was immediately hit on the knee (his surgically-repaired knee), got up off the ground, and limped to the sideline. While he was out, backup Virgil Green
caught a short sideline pass. But Henry returned shortly thereafter, adding a key long catch in overtime to put the ball on the Indianapolis side of the field and help extend the drive. With wide receiver Mike Williams
injuring his knee in the game, Henry's involvement could grow even more in the coming weeks.
TE Virgil Green
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets) - Green had one short sideline catch, coming just after Hunter Henry
briefly left the game after banging his knee. In other words, Green is a non-factor in this offensive gameplan.
Pittsburgh Steelers 3, New England Patriots 33
What you need to know
- There were plenty of questions coming into Sunday night football for the low drama Pittsburgh Steelers, but the most glaring was ìwhat does this offense look like without Antonio Brown
? Also, there are many offshoots of this question to dive into. Can Juju Smith-Schuster handle the wide receiver one chair? Will anyone be able to step up behind Juju Smith-Schuster to take some pressure off? How will Ben Roethlisberger
adjust to life without his former top wide receiver? Unfortunately, after Week 1, we are left with those same questions and host of new ones. On Sunday Night Football the Steelers sputtered on offense as they were looking for rhythm and big play ability out of their receivers. When Ben Roethlisberger
did have time in the pocket, the football was being dropped and separated from the intended receiver or predictable play calling was putting Ben Roethlisberger
in less than advantageous situations.
New England Patriots
- Rex Burkhead
can do a bit of everything, James White
can catch, Sony Michel
can run. This will be a fluid backfield with some of the fantasy headache mitigated by 2 RB sets and RBs split wide
. If he keeps his head on straight and follows orders, this offense could be lights out. It will also make target share unpredictable on a weekly basis for other receivers
QB Ben Roethlisberger
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 47 - 276 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0 - Drops and overthrows are the story of Ben Roethlisberger
's night against the New England Patriots. Similar to last year, Ben Roethlisberger
and his offensive coordinator, Randy Fichtner, started the game with short passes and allowing Roethlisberger to get into rhythm. In fact, Roethlisberger started the game three for three with a pinpoint pass to Juju Smith-Schuster converting a first down on their opening drive. Unfortunately, instead of continuing to pick the Patriots apart underneath, Roethlisberger took a deep shot on third down to Johnny Holton
. The ball was underthrown and Holton was not able to make a play to keep the drive alive. As the game continued, Roethlisberger was trying to find other weapons to step up due to tight coverage on Juju Smith-Schuster from Stephon Gilmore. Roethlisberger not only found safety in dumping the ball off underneath to both James Conner
and Jaylen Samuels
, but also found reliability in slot receiver Ryan Switzer
. Unfortunately, Roethlisberger's best throw of the night came on a dropped pass in the end zone by Donte Moncrief
. The pass was exactly where it needed to be for an 18-yard touchdown, but the ball was separated from Moncrief by the defender. Ben did have one other highlight toss second year wide receiver James Washington
on a 45-yard completion. The ball was thrown well ahead of the receiver and Washington made a good play tracking the ball. Ultimately, something we to remember from this game is that things could have been a lot worse for Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger ended the game with one turnover, an interception in the end zone in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand, and he easily could've had two more. One from a fumble in the red zone when he was hit from behind and another when a defender undercut Juju Smith-Schuster's route.
RB James Conner
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 21 - 0, Rec: 4 - 44 - 0 (4 targets) - After touching the ball on four out of the first five plays of the game, it looked like the Steelers were planning on feeding Conner a healthy workload against the Steelers. Conner did not have any big gains to start the game, but was picking his way through the Patriots defense patiently and taking what was given. After the first five plays of the game, James Conner
did not see another touch until the second quarter of the game, when he was stuffed on a third and short, forcing the Steelers to punt the ball. On their fourth possession of the game, Conner received three straight toss plays. On the first, Conner picked up five yards and followed his pulling guard perfectly. The second, was a quick toss to the left from shotgun where Conner caught the ball and picked his way through the center of the Patriots offense. On the third straight toss, which looked identical to the first, linebacker Jamie Collins cut through the Steelers offensive line and tackled Conner for a four yard loss on third down, stalling another Steelers drive. Conner's best run came in the second quarter. He was lined up in the slot and ran a drag route. Conner made the defender miss and was able to take advantage after the catch. Conner looked to be removed from the game early when it was out of hand.
RB Jaylen Samuels
, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (2 targets) - Stepping in for Conner, Samuels showed he will be involved in the offense during the entire season. Samuels did not see entire drives until the end of the game, but was used at wide receiver, in two running back sets, and as a fill-in when Conner needed a breather.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 78 - 0 (8 targets) - Going from second chair wide receiver to first chair is never easy. You draw either double coverage or the opposing team's best defensive back on every plan. On Sunday night, Juju Smith-Schuster went toe to toe with the Patriots top defensive back, Stephon Gilmore, and had a long night. Smith-Schuster dealt with tight coverage from the start and had to work for every yard. On his first reception of the game, Smith-Schuster had to high point the ball over the defender and concentrate as he brought the ball into his body with another defender draped on him. His second catch on the evening was his easiest by far. Smith-Schuster had inside position on his defender and when he cut his route inside the defender was left trailing him. By the end of the evening things did end up loosening up for Smith-Schuster. With off coverage, Smith Schuster was able to convert a couple garbage time catches before injuring himself on his last reception of the game. After the game new has come out Juju Smith-Schuster was sent after the game for an x-ray after suffering a toe injury on his last reception.
WR Ryan Switzer
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 29 - 0 (6 targets) - The Patriots philosophy is always ìtake away what your opponent does best. For tonight, the Patriots were focusing on taking away Ben Roethlisberger
's safety blanket, Juju Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster was instead replaced with Ryan Switzer
. While he was not the downfield playmaker Antonio Brown
was, Switzer put himself in good positions to convert first downs and keep drives alive.
WR Donte Moncrief
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 7 - 0 (10 targets) - The next week for Donte Moncrief
may be spent purely on the jugs machine. After being the most targeted wide receiver for the Steelers, Moncrief ended the night with at least four drops, including an 18-yard touchdown which was thrown perfectly. He also had a second end zone target where Ben Roethlisberger
was not able to throw the fade route well enough and Moncrief could not get to his spot fast enough. Moncrief showed no tenacity when catching the ball and allowed defenders to separate him from the ball multiple times. The times Moncrief did catch the ball were on shallow crossing routes over the middle where defenders couldn't create contested catch situation.
WR James Washington
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 51 - 0 (6 targets) - One of the few bright spots of the game came from James Washington
in the third quarter. With the Steelers looking for answers downfield, Washington had over the top overage. His defender felt Washington bump against him and then Washington was able to pull away. He tracked the pass deep for a 45-yard gain. Washington's only other reception on the evening also went for a first down conversion in the fourth quarter.
TE Vance McDonald
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 40 - 0 (4 targets) - The reports during the offseason often talked about how involved Vance McDonald
would be, how he would rarely come off the field, and how he would step up as the second impact receiving option to Juju Smith-Schuster. In Sunday night's match-up Vance McDonald
was impactful in his lack of production. McDonald was held in check until deep in the fourth when he managed his first reception of the game on a third down and long. McDonald's second reception only came because the Patriots, for some reason, chose to call a timeout before the past play of the game which allowed the Steelers to run one more plan.
QB Tom Brady
, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 36 - 341 - 3 TD / 0 INT - It's as if the offseason didn't happen. Tom Brady
didn't miss a beat, spreading the ball around the different receivers and throwing at various depths of the field. The Patriots used several different formations, including more 2 RB sets than normal, thanks to James White
and Rex Burkhead
. There was a bit of rust at the start, including a couple underthrows and overthrows, but that soon changed with some nice throws, including his absolute dime touchdown to Philip Dorsett. Dorsett ran a go route, and Brady looked off the safety and placed the ball well for his receiver. Dorsett's second touchdown was another long one where he simply ran past zone coverage in what was debatably either really shoddy or a blown assignment. Blown/bad coverage helped on more than that play, as the Steelers defense simply didn't compete on several plays. Brady's first touchdown was a crossing route to Josh Gordon
, who broke a tackle on his way to the end zone. Obviously, it elicited a huge roar from the crowd. It's been the same old for the GOAT for years - more of the usual dominance we've seen with no signs of slowing down.
RB Sony Michel
, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 14 - 0 - You could call this a dud for Michel, who didn't do much of anything despite great game script. On the positive side, he did see touches. On the negative side, he split plenty of time with James White
and Rex Burkhead
. There weren't huge holes in terms of running room, but he didn't do much with what was given, looking fairly ordinary. He did not, however, look injured or held back, so this may be one to chalk up to rough play. Better days are likely ahead, especially given the look of this offense.
RB Rex Burkhead
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 44 - 0, Rec: 5 - 41 - 0 (8 targets) - Surprisingly, Rex Burkhead
was active, playing a healthy complement of snaps and logging 13 touches after being hurt most of last year. He played in 2 RB sets with James White
, as well as some single RB sets in both the pass and run game. It's very clear the Patriots value his versatility, and he'll have a role health permitting.
RB James White
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 26 - 0, Rec: 5 - 56 - 0 (7 targets) - White operated in his usual role, though he did split snaps with Rex Burkhead
, which may limit his upside going forward. He still got 7 of Tom Brady
's 36 targets, and 1 of Julian Edelman
's on a trick play to boot. There was nothing significant of note beyond the usage numbers, something to monitor no doubt.
WR Julian Edelman
, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 32 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0, Rec: 6 - 83 - 0 (11 targets) - Edelman did typical Edelman things against the Steelers, including a trick play showing off his arm, which seems to happen once or twice a season. Edelman did miss a catch, but also caught one in the second half where he was absolutely whacked and still hung onto the ball. There wasn't much rust to speak of, but with all the weapons the Patriots have, it's fair to wonder if he will be as consistent as he usually is in the stat column. That said, the trust he has with Tom Brady
WR Phillip Dorsett
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 95 - 2 (4 targets) - It may be his high watermark for the year, but Dorsett had himself a game, including two touchdowns on deep throws. His first was a go route where he ran past defenders on a great throw by Tom Brady
. His second touchdown was semi-broken coverage against the zone, and he simply ran straight ahead for an easy touchdown. His snap share is likely to go down with Antonio Brown
in the fold, but he showed he still has value to the Pats.
WR Josh Gordon
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 73 - 1 (4 targets) - Edelman did typical Edelman things against the Steelers, including a trick play showing off his arm, which seems to happen once or twice a season. Edelman did miss a catch, but also caught one in the second half where he was absolutely whacked and still hung onto the ball. There wasn't much rust to speak of, but with all the weapons the Patriots have, it's fair to wonder if he will be as consistent as he usually is in the stat column. That said, the trust he has with Tom Brady
Detroit Lions 27, Arizona Cardinals 27
What you need to know
- The Detroit Lions blew a 24 to 6 lead to tie the Cardinals in a road game at Arizona in week one. Matthew Stafford
played well and was protected well for the most part and looked sharp despite a couple of missed opportunities by his receivers. Kerryon Johnson
worked in a tandem with C.J. Anderson
but was limited in the passing game. Kenny Golladay
was the leading wide receiver, but benefitted from blown coverage and failed to elevate his situation, while Danny Amendola
worked in the short-range creating separation and easy throws for Stafford while Marvin Jones
was limited in workload but effective. T.J. Hockenson
had a terrific debut, breaking big plays in the passing game and looked smooth as a receiver.
- Arizona got off to a sluggish start against Detroit and a huge deficit. However, Kyler Murray
and the offense woke up just in time for a comeback and ultimately a tie game through overtime. Murray did not use his mobility as much as projected (three rushes), but his arm talent showed through with many tight window throws. The Cardinals utilized a number of four-receiver formations sans tight end and all four regular receivers (Larry Fitzgerald
, Christian Kirk
, KeeSean Johnson
, Damiere Byrd
) caught at least four passes.
QB Matthew Stafford
, 88 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 45 - 385 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 22 - 0 - Matthew Stafford
had a solid week one performance against the Cardinals building a big lead before the Cardinals forced a tie. Stafford’s touchdowns were two easy throws to Danny Amendola
and Kenny Golladay
on schemes that created broken coverages, then a good scramble drill with T.J. Hockenson
in the red zone. Stafford was not perfect, as he was stripped from the blind side sack. He found easy success on targets to Hockenson, Marvin Jones
, and Danny Amendola
, while he struggled to connected with Kenny Golladay
, including a throw that could have sealed a Detroit win that Golladay did not break on. Stafford has the opportunity for another big game in a could be shoot out in week two at home against the Chargers.
RB Kerryon Johnson
, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 49 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (2 targets) - Kerryon Johnson
drew the start for the Detroit Lions at Arizona in week one, but only had 16 carries while C.J. Anderson
had 11. Johnson ran well early, getting interior rushing space and churning yardage after contract. However, Anderson ate into his workload throughout the game and Johnson had limited passing game work. He had only two receptions, including one late on a drive attempting to kill the clock, which was a disappointment after his heavy preseason usage. Johnson’s workshare with Anderson will cap his fantasy production and the allocation of touches is important to watch in future weeks including his week two game against the Chargers.
RB C.J. Anderson
, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 35 - 0 - C.J. Anderson
worked as the lesser half of a committee with Kerryon Johnson
at the Arizona Cardinals in week one. Anderson ran with power but failed to move the offense with his carries, and failed to convert two third and short carries. He was not targeted in the passing game and operates more as a cap on Johnson’s upside than a standalone value outside of a Johnson injury.
WR Danny Amendola
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 104 - 1 (13 targets) - Danny Amendola
had a strong debut with the Detroit Lions in week one against the Arizona Cardinals. He was targeted frequently and involved early in the offense. He played both the slot and outside, getting easy separation on an out route while playing the perimeter. He was shifty in his movements in the short area. Amendola did score a long touchdown on a blown defensive coverage but added a critical mistake on the final drive of overtime where he did not get out of bounds, forcing the clock to run out and essentially guaranteeing a tie. Amendola has intrigue in a potentially high scoring game in week two against the Chargers.
WR Marvin Jones
, 71 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 4 - 56 - 0 (4 targets) - Marvin Jones
was the third most targeted wide receiver for the Detroit Lions but had an effective day on low volume. He was sporadically involved in the offense early, with a slot reception and a screen catch in regulation before two nice targets in overtime. He caught two passes in overtime, a good dig route where he gained good separation and a downfield sliding catch. Jones consistently gets more separation from Kenny Golladay
and helps create easier opportunities for Matthew Stafford
. He will face the Chargers in week two.
WR Kenny Golladay
, 86 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 42 - 1 (9 targets) - Kenny Golladay
had a strong statistical game against the Cardinals in week one. He had two good catches early including a dig across the middle and a crossing route and was the beneficiary of a blown coverage that resulted in a wide-open red zone touchdown. Yet, Golladay continued a trend from last season of failing to separate from defenders, including a deep perimeter pass and a target in the end zone where he had good positioning but failed to catch a high point pass on what could have been a game-winning touchdown. He also appeared to be targeted late in the fourth quarter on a back-shoulder throw that he did not break back for, that would have sealed a Detroit win. Detroit found easy completions while targeting Danny Amendola
, T.J. Hockenson
, and Marvin Jones
, while Golladay’s targets are a higher degree of difficulty. Golladay will look to improve in week two against the Chargers.
TE T.J. Hockenson
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 131 - 1 (9 targets) - T.J. Hockenson
had a terrific debut against the Arizona Cardinals in week one. He was smooth as a pass catcher and consistently turned catches upfield for yards after the catch. He showed good separation ability on a play where he was motioned across the formation and ran an over route, creating separation for a big play. Hockenson also ran a good scramble drill in the end zone with Matthew Stafford
, to work away from defenders in coverage for a touchdown.
QB Kyler Murray
, 89 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 54 - 308 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 13 - 0 - Murray’s NFL debut was a tale of two games for the first overall pick. Arizona’s offense showed no dazzling play design or creativity early and certainly no use of Murray’s mobility to unlock the Cardinals offense. Murray’s biggest mistake also came early in the game as the rookie floated a pass down the sideline when the play appeared over and time to throw the ball out of bounds and live to fight another down. Detroit promptly picked off the pass and build a strong lead. However, Murray and the Arizona offense came alive in comeback mode and Murray minimized mistakes from that point forward. Murray’s arm talent unlocks tight windows and areas of the field few quarterbacks will trust. Murray’s highlight throws included a deep seam pass to Larry Fitzgerald
, again to Fitzgerald on a deep corner route, and a seam touchdown to David Johnson
. Murray’s mobility was not a huge factor in the game as he preferred to deliver from the pocket and extend plays when needed, not the typical pattern from an athletically gifted rookie signal caller. Murray will be tested to a much higher degree in Baltimore in Week 2.
RB David Johnson
, 77 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 82 - 0, Rec: 6 - 55 - 1 (7 targets) - Johnson was the absolutely workhorse against Detroit, rarely leaving the field for a breather. Johnson’s receiving upside was unlocked compared to 2018 as he saw a healthy seven targets and made a highlight touchdown catch down the seam. On the downside, Johnson had a single realistic touchdown opportunity on the ground, running out of bounds at the one-yard-line, logged a drop, and had a chunk run called back by penalty. Solid running lanes were more prevalent than last season with the new Kliff Kingsbury
offense and the threat of Kyler Murray
alongside Johnson in the backfield. Johnson faces the stingy Baltimore defense in Week 2, which held the hapless Dolphins to 10 carries for 12 yards in Week 1.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
, 85 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 113 - 1 (13 targets) - Fitzgerald, like the entire Arizona offense, got off to a slow start against Detroit, not logging a catch until the second quarter. Fitzgerald found his timing with rookie quarterback Kyler Murray
as the game progressed, however, especially downfield. Fitzgerald made one of the wow plays of the game in overtime as the pair connected on a deep corner route, an encore to a diving seam catch Fitzgerald corralled earlier in the game. Fitzgerald came wide open on a goal line rollout for a straight-forward score to add to his strong performance. Fitzgerald led the team in targets despite Arizona deploying a strong number of four-receiver sets.
WR KeeSean Johnson
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 46 - 0 (10 targets) - Johnson’s NFL debut was a positive one on the uptick Arizona offense. Johnson got off to a slow start, like much of the Arizona weapons, but progressed well. Johnson was primarily an intermediate route runner within the Cardinals offensive design with deep in-cut and out-breaking routes his forte this week, including a quality catch away from his body. Johnson’s biggest missed opportunity came on a contested back shoulder target. The Cardinals run a heavy majority of four-receiver sets on offense, a positive sign for Johnson’s snap count and targets without much of a tight end presence in Arizona.
WR Christian Kirk
, 83 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 12 - 0, Rec: 4 - 32 - 0 (12 targets) - Kirk collected 12 targets against Detroit, a hearty 22% of the team total. However, Kirk and Kyler Murray
were not on the same page for many of the pair’s possible connections. Kirk was wide open on a slot fade route, which Murray missed high, one of his most glaring misses of the game. They did connection on a key third-down slant in overtime and a game-tying two-point conversion in the closing seconds of regulation. Kirk was buried in behind Larry Fitzgerald
in production this week, but the usage and upside were present with quickly developing Kyler Murray
WR Damiere Byrd
, 78 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 42 - 0 (7 targets) - Byrd continued his offensive involvement from the preseason, collecting seven targets against Detroit in the season opener. Arizona ran a high number of four-receiver sets and Byrd collected three of his receptions between the final drive of regulation and overtime, two of which were key plays on third down. Byrd also added a red zone slant reception along the way. Byrd was a distant fourth in the pecking order of Arizona’s wide receivers, a sign for pessimism of Byrd’s big picture impact in terms of predictability, but Byrd offers the most speed to unlock Kyler Murray
’s deep accuracy.
Kansas City Chiefs 40, Jacksonville Jaguars 26
What you need to know
Kansas City Chiefs
- The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 40-26 in their week one matchup on Sunday. Patrick Mahomes
picked up where he left off last year, continuing his MVP caliber play and completing 25 of 33 passes for 378 yards and three touchdowns. Damien Williams
rushed 13 times for 26 yards and a touchdown, while also catching six passes for 39 yards. Newly acquired running back LeSean McCoy
showed that he still has plenty left in the tank, rushing 10 times for 81 yards while also catching one pass for 12 yards. Tyreek Hill
caught only pass for five yards before exiting the game with an injury, with the Chiefs keeping him out for the remainder of the game as a precaution. In his absence, Sammy Watkins
completely showed out, catching nine passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Travis Kelce
caught three passes for 88 yards on eight targets.
- The outlook for the entire Jacksonville Jaguars offense changed dramatically in the 40-26 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Early on in the first quarter, starting quarterback Nick Foles
landed hard on his collarbone while throwing a touchdown pass and fractured his clavicle, leading to the Jaguars having to change their offensive game plan on the fly — both for Sunday and the foreseeable future.
QB Patrick Mahomes
, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 33 - 378 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0 - Patrick Mahomes
completed 25 of 33 passes for 378 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing one time for two yards. Mahomes wasted absolutely no time in putting the rest of the league on notice this season, connecting with Watkins for a 68 yard touchdown on the Chiefs third offensive play of the game. With the Chiefs facing a third and three from their own 32 yard line, Mahomes took the snap out of the Shotgun formation and pump faked to the right side before going through his progressions. After pumping to the left side, Mahomes hit Watkins over the middle at the Chiefs 40 yard line. Watkins primary defender tried to jump the route but was late getting to the ball, allowing Watkins to turn the ball up-field. At the time of Watkins catching the ball, he is surrounded in a circle by six Jaguars defenders with only DeMarcus Robinson
as a capable blocker. That wasn’t a problem for Houdini Watkins though, as he cut up the field and juked two Jaguars defenders out of their shoes while expertly using Robinson’s block to create an angle where the Jaguars defenders could not catch him on his way to a 68 yard touchdown. Mahomes next touchdown pass came with the Chiefs facing a first and 10 from the 50 yard line. Mahomes took the snap under center with four receivers bunched in the slot on both sides, with no offensive players lined up outside the hash mark. Mahomes play-action faked to Damien Williams
in the backfield and then looked off the Jaguars safeties with his eyes, drawing coverage to the left side of the field. Mahomes waited for Watkins to run a shallow crossing route from the left to the right, only the played called for Watkins to turn upfield similar to a wheel-route. It was a genius level play call by Andy Reid, as by the time Watkins had turned up field, there was not a Jaguar defender within 10 yards of him. Mahomes threw a perfect lob pass to Watkins, capping off a 50 yard touchdown for their second connection of the game. But wait, there’s more! Mahomes finished his day with a third touchdown pass to Watkins, this time from three yards out with the Chiefs facing a second and goal. Mahomes took the snap out of the shotgun, directing McCoy to motion to the left side of the formation before snapping the ball. On the right side, Watkins was lined up out wide and ran a quick drag to the middle of the field before stopping on a dime and pivoting hard to the right side of the end zone. It is a route that Travis Kelce
has been using his size/speed combination to kill his defenders with the last two seasons, and Watkins followed his lead to a tee. Watkins quick cut gave him a step on his defender and then Mahomes threw a perfect pass out away to the sideline, which allowed Watkins to use his length to snag the touchdown catch without his defender having a chance to make a play on the ball.
RB Damien Williams
, Rush: 13 - 26 - 1, Rec: 6 - 39 - 0 (6 targets) - Damien Williams
rushed 13 times for 26 yards and a touchdown, while also converting all six of his targets for six receptions for 39 yards. Williams was given the start after playing very well down the stretch last season, and although he was unable to break any big plays, he has proven himself capable of being a versatile and important component of the Chiefs offense. Williams does most of his damage in the passing game and in the red zone, and this game was no different. With the Chiefs facing a first and goal from the Jaguars one yard line, Mahomes took the snap out of shotgun and handed the ball off to Williams. Williams is a very patient runner in the red zone, and on this play he followed his blockers and made one cut inside to convert an easy touchdown. The signing of LeSean McCoy
will undoubtedly take away from William’s volume, but he will continue to see high quality touches on the best offense in football, making him a very valuable commodity.
RB LeSean McCoy
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 81 - 0, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (1 targets) - LeSean McCoy
rushed 10 times for 81 yards and caught his only target, for 12 yards in his debut with the Chiefs. McCoy showed that he still has plenty left in the tank, displaying the vision and cutting ability that has made him one of the best running backs of the current generation. McCoy may not have the durability to be a 300+ carry running back, but with the Chiefs he doesn’t need to be. The Chiefs will constantly put him in advantageous situations and with opposing secondaries forced to play the pass in almost every situation, McCoy is in a great position to be successful alongside Damien Williams
this season. McCoy was able to take advantage of the Jaguars linebackers, as he was basically gifted the second level because Jacksonville could not match the Chiefs speed from sideline to sideline.
WR Sammy Watkins
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 198 - 3 (11 targets) - Watkins caught nine passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns, striking fear in the Jaguars secondary every time he touched the ball. Watkins has always been thought of as having the natural talent to be a #1 receiver, which speaks to his speed, athleticism and strong hands. His problems were not of the football variety, but more his inability to stay healthy for long periods of time. In the Chiefs offense, Watkins is a luxury that matches up with opposing #2 cornerbacks, and that usually leads to one on one coverage. Watkins has a very solid season in his first year with the Chiefs in 2018, but there was an underlying thought that Watkins still had so much more to offer the Chiefs, which would have taken the offense to a completely new level, a scary thought when you have a third year MVP at quarterback and the architect of the NFL’s best offense. If week one is any indication of where the Chiefs are heading, and what role Watkins is going to play in getting them there, then sit back, relax and enjoy the show. It did not take Watkins long to set the party off for Kansas City, all of two plays actually. With the Chiefs facing a third and three from their own 32 yard line, Mahomes took the snap out of the Shotgun formation and pump faked to the right side before going through his progressions. After pumping to the left side, Mahomes hit Watkins over the middle at the Chiefs 40 yard line. Watkins primary defender tried to jump the route but was late getting to the ball, allowing Watkins to turn the ball up-field. At the time of Watkins catching the ball, he is surrounded in a circle by six Jaguars defenders with only DeMarcus Robinson
as a capable blocker. That wasn’t a problem for Houdini Watkins though, as he cut up the field and juked two Jaguars defenders out of their shoes while expertly using Robinson’s block to create an angle where the Jaguars defenders could not catch him on his way to a 68 yard touchdown.
Watkins next touchdown catch came with the Chiefs facing a first and 10 from the 50 yard line. Mahomes took the snap under center with four receivers bunched in the slot on both sides, Mahomes play-action faked to Williams in the backfield and then looked off the Jaguars safeties with his eyes, drawing coverage to the left side of the field. Mahomes waited for Watkins to run a shallow crossing route from the left to the right, only the played called for Watkins to turn upfield at its apex, similar to a wheel-route. It was a genius level play call by Reid, as by the time Watkins had turned up field, there was not a Jaguar defender within 10 yards of him and a perfect lob pass made it an easy 50 yard touchdown for Watkin’s second of the day. Watkins finished his day with a third touchdown catch from Mahomes, this time from three yards out with the Chiefs facing a second and goal. Mahomes took the snap out of the shotgun, directing McCoy to motion to the left side of the formation before snapping the ball. On the right side, Watkins was lined up out wide and ran a quick drag to the middle of the field before stopping on a dime and pivoting hard to the right side of the end zone. It is a route that Travis Kelce
has been using his size/speed combination to kill his defenders with the last two seasons, and Watkins performed the route in a similar fashion. Watkins quick cut gave him a step on his defender and then Mahomes threw a perfect pass out away to the sideline, which allowed Watkins to use his length to snag the touchdown catch without his defender having a chance to make a play on the ball.
WR Tyreek Hill
, 12 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (2 targets) - Tyreek Hill
caught two passes for 16 yards on two targets, while also rushing one time for five yards. Hill left early in the game with what has been described as a “sternoclavicular joint injury” which was originally thought to be sending him to Injured Reserve. Hill managed to avoid IR, and the latest injury reports have him slated to miss somewhere between three and five weeks.
TE Travis Kelce
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 88 - 0 (8 targets) - Travis Kelce
caught three passes for 88 yards on eight targets in the Chiefs win over the Jaguars in week one. Kelce is very rarely called an afterthought, especially when he finishes with an average of nearly 30 yards per catch. He was however forced to take a backseat to Watkins in this game, and it did not seem to bother him a bit as he was genuinely happy celebrating Watkins monster game. Kelce should have gone over the 100 yard receiving mark in this game, however he had three catches called back due to offensive penalties. Kelce made his presence felt despite having only three catches, as two of his catches went for 42 and 41 yards, respectively. Interestingly enough, both catches set up the Chiefs with first downs inside the Jaguars 40 yard line, but Kansas City was unable to come away with touchdowns, settling for field goals on both occasions.
QB Gardner Minshew
, 47 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 25 - 275 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0 - Minshew played most of the game in relief of Nick Foles
and the sixth-round puck exceeded all expectations. After struggling with composure and accuracy in the preseason, Minshew looked calm, cool and collected at all points vs. the Chiefs, which is impressive considering he came off of the bench cold. He ended the game 22/25 for two touchdowns and one interception, which bounced off of Leonard Fournette
’s hands. If Minshew can continue to show good decision making and an ability to distribute the ball, the offense might not falter as much as some say during his rookie year.
QB Nick Foles
, 11 offensive snaps, Pass: 5 - 8 - 75 - 1 TD / 0 INT - Nick Foles
only played two possessions (11 snaps) before suffering a fractured left clavicle when Chiefs defensive tackle landed on him hard. Before exiting the game, Foles was 5/8 passing for 75 yards and a touchdown. His first few throws were forgettable checkdowns, but his second drive featured a nice play when he shrugged off a Chris Jones
sack and converted a 3rd and 18 with an accurate pass over the middle to Chris Conley
. He capped the drive off with a beautiful 35-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone to Chark, but that would be the same play that would end up sidelining him for the foreseeable future.
RB Leonard Fournette
, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 66 - 0, Rec: 4 - 28 - 0 (6 targets) - Because of the collapse of the Jaguars defense, Fournette was only sparingly used against the Chiefs. The deficit simply became too large and they got away from the run. But before that, Fournette looked explosive, ran with a purpose, and showed better open died moves than he has in the past two seasons. He ended the game with 13 carries for 61 yards and four receptions for 28 yards. He lost his first career fumble, but aside from that he had a good day at the office. Maybe most encouraging was the way offensive coordination John DeFilippo utilized him early on. He moved him all over the field to put him in favorable situations, including lining him out wide to set up a tunnel screen that Fournette gained 12 yards on.
WR Chris Conley
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 97 - 1 (7 targets) - Chark was the star of the Jaguars offense Sunday after having a terribly inconsistent rookie season. His catching woes seemed to be behind him for at least Sunday as he showed strong hands and good ball tracking ability on both his 35-yard touchdown and his 69-yard catch and run. He provides a speed/size combo that only Chris Conley
otherwise offers on the roster. He has improved his route running and if he remains consistent catching the ball, could develop into a legitimate WR2 for Jacksonville.
WR Dede Westbrook
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 5 - 30 - 1 (6 targets) - Because of the collapse of the Jaguars defense, Fournette was only sparingly used against the Chiefs. The deficit simply became too large and they got away from the run. But before that, Fournette looked explosive, ran with a purpose, and showed better open died moves than he has in the past two seasons. He ended the game with 13 carries for 61 yards and four receptions for 28 yards. He lost his first career fumble, but aside from that he had a good day at the office. Maybe most encouraging was the way offensive coordination John DeFilippo utilized him early on. He moved him all over the field to put him in favorable situations, including lining him out wide to set up a tunnel screen that Fournette gained 12 yards on.
WR D.J. Chark
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 146 - 1 (4 targets) - Chark was the star of the Jaguars offense Sunday after having a terribly inconsistent rookie season. His catching woes seemed to be behind him for at least Sunday as he showed strong hands and good ball tracking ability on both his 35-yard touchdown and his 69-yard catch and run. He provides a speed/size combo that only Chris Conley
otherwise offers on the roster. He has improved his route running and if he remains consistent catching the ball, could develop into a legitimate WR2 for Jacksonville.
WR Marqise Lee
, 12 offensive snaps - Much like Cole, Lee also only played 12 offensive snaps and he was not targeted once on Sunday. He was however active for the first time after suffering a torn ACL last preseason, which is encouraging.
WR Keelan Cole
, 12 offensive snaps - Cole only played 12 offensive snaps and he was not targeted once on Sunday. He is simply at the bottom of the team’s depth chart and with Nick Foles
out, don’t expect that to change.
Denver Broncos 16, Oakland Raiders 24
What you need to know
- The Broncos offense struggled to finish drives, settling for field goals in the red zone three times before finally scoring a touchdown late in the 4th. The Bronco scored with 2:15 left in the game and three timeouts remaining, narrowing Oakland's lead to 8 points, but the defense couldn't get a stop as the Raiders ran the clock out. Halfbacks Lindsay and Freeman look to be in a timeshare, with Lindsay drawing more work in the passing game. Receiver Sutton and new QB Flacco showed good chemistry throughout the game, with Flacco taking several deep shots to Sutton. Star wideout Sanders had a slow first half, but saved his day with a strong 4th quarter stat line. WR Tim Patrick
and RT Ju'Wuan James both missed the second half with injuries.
- -Josh Jacobs
shined in the workhorse role, handling 89% of the running back touches and scoring twice.
operated as a true No. 1 receiver, rarely leaving the field and lead-ing the team in targets. He looked comfortable in the role and could be primed for a big season.
was the 1B to Williams’ 1A in the passing offense. He was fantastic, grabbing all seven receptions and never leaving the field.
-The Raiders base offense looks like it will feature two tight ends (Waller and Mo-reau) with Williams and Grant as the starting wide receivers.
QB Joe Flacco
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 31 - 268 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0 - It was a slow debut for Flacco, who took several sacks(two that killed drives on third down in the Oakland red zone) and didn't find the end zone until late in the 4th quarter. He did show good chemistry with Courtland Sutton
on deep throws, and managed to get things going with Sanders late in the game as well. Flacco hit Deasean Hamilton right in the hands for what should have been a touchdown at the end of the 3rd quarter, but the receiver let the pass fall to the turf and Denver had to settle for a field goal. Flacco found Emmanuel Sanders
on a deep bomb right down the middle of the field in the 4th quarter, his longest gain of the day at 53 yards. Flacco and Sanders hooked up again on a short back shoulder out route for Denver's only touchdown of the day at the end of the 4th quarter. The defense had a chance to hold the Raiders up by 8 with 2:15 left and three timeouts, but they couldn't get a stop to give the offense another chance.
RB Phillip Lindsay
, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 43 - 0, Rec: 4 - 23 - 0 (6 targets) - Lindsay was featured for the first couple of offensive drives, but the backfield quickly devolved into a timeshare with Freeman. Lindsay caught his first target for a minimal gain on a halfback screen in the 1st quarter, then snagged a swing route out of the backfield on the next play, crashing through a couple of defenders for hard fought yardage. Lindsay lined up wide right and wide left as a receiver at the end of the 1st half of play, but didn't record any catches while flexed out. Flacco checked it down to him a couple more times in the second half of the game, but Lindsay couldn't get much going via ground(long run of 9 yards) or air in this one.
RB Royce Freeman
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 56 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets) - Lindsay was featured in the backfield for the Bronco's first two drives, but Freeman got in on the action later in the 1st quarter. His biggest gain of the day was a 26 yard run that he bounced off right tackle and turned up the sidelines in the 3rd quarter.
Freeman caught a checkdown pass from Flacco at the end of the 1st half, picking up a few yards underneath prevent coverage. Freeman split out wide left in a bunch formation in the Oakland red zone in the 3rd quarter, catching a bubble screen that got blown up behind the line of scrimmage.
WR Courtland Sutton
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 120 - 0 (8 targets) - Sutton was a bright spot for the Denver offense, providing a big target across the middle and deep downfield for Flacco. Sutton ripped off a deep post for a big gain in the first quarter only to have the play called back for a block in the back on tight end Fant. Sutton made a beautiful catch in traffic on a deep crossing route later in the 1st. He then ripped off another big gain up the right seam to start the 3rd quarter, breaking several tackles on his way to a 30 yard gain. Flacco round him on a deep crossing route for a gain of 25 yards in the 4th quarter. Flacco hit him again across the middle later in the 4th quarter, and Sutton was just a couple of yards short of a touchdown.
WR Emmanuel Sanders
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 86 - 1 (7 targets) - Sanders didn't get going until late in the 1st half, pulling in a slant route for a short gain from the slot on his first target. He turned up the heat in the 4th quarter with a 53 yard gain straight down the middle of the field on a bomb from Flacco. Sanders tiptoed down the sidelines and spun away from a tackle for a big run after the catch on the next drive, then capped it off with a touchdown on a back shoulder short out route from the Oakland two yard line with just over two minutes left. Sanders was second on the team in targets and looked to be behind Sutton as Flacco's number 2 option for most of the game.
WR DaeSean Hamilton
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 5 - 0 (4 targets) - Hamilton's first catch was part luck, part great reflexes as Courtland Sutton
cut in front of him on a slant route and deflected the ball, where Hamilton deftly plucked it from the air for a short gain. Hamilton was forced out of bounds on what was nearly a beautiful toe-tapping catch later in the 2nd quarter. Hamilton caught one more pass for no gain in the 3rd quarter as Flacco threw behind him on what could have been a big play. Hamilton's biggest play of the night was a bad one, as he dropped a touchdown at the end of the 3rd quarter, forcing the Broncos to settle for a field goal.
TE Noah Fant
, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -5 - 0, Rec: 2 - 29 - 0 (5 targets) - Fant got the start at tight end alongside Heuerman in two TE sets, but he didn't secure a pass until the 3rd quarter, when he made a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch on a corner route for a 20 yard gain. He had one more short gain on an out route late in the 3rd quarter. Fant carried the ball once on a tight end sweep that was dropped for a five yard loss on the first drive of the game. No other tight ends were targeted in the passing game.
QB Derek Carr
, 58 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 26 - 259 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0 - Carr was fantastic in his 2019 debut. He looked confident and in control of the offense and seemed to be having fun, which was a rarity in 2018. He was extremely efficient, completing 85% of his passes. He showed a real rapport with both Tyrell Williams
and Darren Waller
, who look to be his top targets. After a couple long hookups with Waller to get into the red zone, Carr finished off the opening drive of the game with a bullet between defenders to Williams for an 8-yard touchdown. Carr looked comfortable on play action, executing fakes and turning to find open receivers across the middle. Carr also showed a bit more playmaking than last year. He scrambled on a third down in the red zone and fired a 10-yard pass to Hunter Renfrow
just shy of the end zone to setup the Raiders second touchdown. Carr audibled to a play action pass on a 3rd-and-1 when he saw Williams in single coverage and was able to connect on a deep ball for a 43-yard pickup. Facing 3rd-and-8 at the two minute warning, Carr went to Gruden and suggested a screen to Williams. Gruden agreed and Carr was able to complete the pass for 10 yards to essentially ice the game. Overall, it was one of Carr’s best performances in recent years.
RB Josh Jacobs
, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 85 - 2, Rec: 1 - 28 - 0 (1 targets) - Jacobs was a true workhorse in his NFL debut. He played 73% of the snaps and handled 89% of the backfield touches. He showed great power between the tackles, twisting through attempted tackles and consistently falling forward to keep the Raiders offense on schedule. Richard leaped over the pile and then twisted to extend the ball over the goal line for a 2-yard touchdown late in the first half. He was able to hit the hole quickly on a third and short and broke through the line for an 11-yard gain. Jacobs made a game-changing play on a 28-yard catch and run. He caught it short over the middle, accelerated between two would-be tacklers, and then plowed through two other defenders and stayed on his feet to pick up another 10 yards. A few plays later, Jacobs squirted through a small hole off of right tackle, was able to keep his feet despite taking a hit, and powered his way into the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown. Jacobs locked up the win with a powerful 13-yard run with just under two minutes left that allowed the Raiders to take a knee and escape with an 8-point win. It also put Jacobs over 100 yards on the day, making him the first rookie back to get 100 total yards and score wise since LaDanian Tomlinson in 2001. All in all, it was a dream debut for Jacobs.
RB DeAndre Washington
, 5 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 8 - 0 - Washington played just five snaps. He made a nice cut and spun through the first tackle attempt for a gain of seven yards. Washington was stacked up at the line for a minimal gain on his only other carry.
RB Jalen Richard
, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0 - Richard played nine snaps, mostly on third downs. He handled just one touch. He took a draw on 3rd-and-4 for a three yard gain, getting dragged down just inches short.
WR Tyrell Williams
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 105 - 1 (7 targets) - Williams almost never left the field, playing 52-of-55 snaps on the day. He looked good in his first chance as a true No. 1 receiver. Williams showed great extension to reach out and pluck the ball in front of him for an 8-yard touchdown on a crossing route on the game’s opening drive. He was wide open for an easy 15-yard catch over the middle off of play action. Williams beat single coverage on a 3rd-and-1 and got behind the defense for a 43-yard catch. Carr took another deep shot to Williams on a deep post but it was well-covered by the Broncos. Williams grabbed a 24-yard completion on a skinny post near the end zone, leaping up and snatching the ball above Chris Harris. Williams made one of the key plays of the game late, picking up 10 yards on a 3rd-and-8 screen pass at the two minute warning with the Raiders nursing a one-score lead. His Raiders debut couldn’t have gone much better and Williams looks like a potential impact fantasy option moving forward.
WR Ryan Grant
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 16 - 0 (4 targets) - Grant was the clear No. 2 receiver for the Raiders, playing 73% of the snaps. Aside from Tyrell Williams
, he was the only Raiders receiver to play more than 30%. Grant made a tough 5-yard grab against tight coverage to move the chains on an early 3rd-and-4. Grant dove to the ground to snag a low pass on a slant route for a 9-yard gain. After the opening drive, he was only targeted twice.
WR Hunter Renfrow
, 16 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (3 targets) - Renfrow was the clear third receiver for the Raiders but still played just 29% of the snaps because the Raiders mostly lined up in 12 or 21 personnel. His first catch went for a short gain on a bubble screen. Renfrow was targeted on a quick out but the pass was batted at the line. Renfrow found a soft spot in the zone over the middle and made a 10-yard grab just shy of the end zone. He wasn’t targeted at all in the second half.
TE Darren Waller
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 70 - 0 (8 targets) - Waller was a clear beneficiary of Antonio Brown
going AWOL and lived up to every bit of the offseason hype. He was on the field for every single snap and garnered a whopping 31% of the targets. The Raiders often used him as essentially the No. 2 WR, as he lined up detached from the line on 40% of the snaps. His first catch came lined up out wide. He caught a short comeback and then plowed through the defender to turn a modest gain into 11 yards. A couple plays later while again lined up out wide, Waller made an athletic 25-yard grab on a fade route down the sideline. Waller was able to use his elite speed to separate from a cornerback on a drag route to pick up a first down. Waller also got an easy catch for 8 yards on a screen pass. Waller looks like the 1B in the Raiders passing offense behind only Tyrell Williams
Washington Redskins 27, Philadelphia Eagles 32
What you need to know
- Everything Washington wants to do offensively is rooted within the ground game. The play-action passing, and deep shots won't be as effective if they can't establish the run. Today was a glaring example that without their all-pro left tackle it will be tough sledding. As for the defense, they will need to generate a better pass rush and get off the field on third downs. The long drives they allowed in the second half kept their offense on ice for far too long. Ultimately, there is a lack of skill in key areas on both sides of the ball that will show week to week.
- The Eagles staked Washington to a huge early lead with defensive breakdowns, but Philadelphia’s offense surged back for the second half comeback and divisional win in Week 1. The Eagles rolled out a three-headed running back committee with elder veteran Darren Sproles
a heavy contributor especially early in the game. DeSean Jackson
unlocked the deep game for Carson Wentz
, surging to nearly half of the Eagles’ receiving yards for the game plus two touchdowns. The combination of a healthy Carson Wentz
and strong weapons made the Eagles a difficult offense to stop in Week 1.
QB Case Keenum
, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 30 - 44 - 380 - 3 TD / 0 INT - Case Keenum
had a perfect start to this game, literally. He demonstrated great command of the offense and established a rhythm to offset the Eagles pressure. The opening drive touchdown pass may have been the result of poor tackling as Case threw a quick out to Vernon Davis
. The bad tackling turned into a forty-eight yard touchdown. The most impressive part of Case's first half performance is that they weren't running the ball well. The short passing game opened up a few deep shots as Case connected with Terry McLaurin
on a deep post to record his 2nd touchdown of the first half. Case rung up 20 twenty points for the Washington offense in the first half and looked great. The second half was a different story. The Washington offense had only managed ten plays and thirty yards as it got late into the 2nd half. A few three and outs to go along with long drives by the Eagles left Washington on the sidelines a ton. Case managed one late garbage time touchdown but the game had already been decided. Case couldn't capitalize on the minimal opportunities in the second half as the Eagles were rallying. Case did overthrow a potential touchdown in the third quarter that could have been a huge momentum booster if he connects. Nonetheless, the offense was shut down in the second half and Case's solid game was cut short.
RB Derrius Guice
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 18 - 0, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (3 targets) - Derrius Guice
was unable to get on track today as the run game was kept in check. He had ten rushes but only averaged 1.8 yards per carry. Washington's offensive line loss the battle in the trenches and Washington's offense was finding more success through the air. This game was close for over half the game but with so few opportunities in the second half, the offense didn't do much of anything. Derrius was involved in the passing game as well with three receptions. It's clear that he will be a big part of the offense, but they'll need better o-line play for Derrius to make his presence felt. It should also be noted that he didn't quite look like he fully has his burst back so that is something to keep an eye on.
RB Chris Thompson
, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 10 - 0, Rec: 7 - 68 - 0 (10 targets) - Chris Thompson
was busy in this game as he tallied seven receptions. His seven receptions lead the team as well. As it became clear Washington wasn't going to be able to establish the run, Chris' role grew in this game. He added three carries, but they only totaled ten yards. None of Chris' work in this game was game changing or made much impact as a few catches came in garbage time. Chris will have better days as it is clear he will be the definitive backup to Derrius. His passing game role will continue to be a vital piece to the Washington offense.
WR Terry McLaurin
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 125 - 1 (7 targets) - Terry McLaurin
had his way with the Eagles secondary today. His speed was alarming as a lid-lifter in Gruden's offense. Terry was able to get behind the defense for a sixty-eight yard bomb in the first half as he burned the Eagles on a deep post route. Case overthrew him on a potential 2nd touchdown in the third quarter. He had five total receptions which indicates he may be a player the count on moving forward. His speed and explosive ability downfield will be utilized to offset the intermediate passing game. The coaching staff did a good job scheming up deep shots to him. Today proved he can be dangerous as a deep threat for Washington's offense.
WR Trey Quinn
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 33 - 1 (6 targets) - Terry Quinn did not make much of an impact in today's game. Trey was most involved during garbage time as he caught two of his four receptions and scored a last-minute touchdown. The slot receiver is a key cog in the Washington offense but today was quiet for Trey. There might be some inconsistency amongst the receiving core as roles are being defined early in the year.
WR Paul Richardson
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 36 - 0 (7 targets) - Paul Richardson
was mostly ineffective against the Eagles. He had four catches on seven targets but gained only thirty-six yards. He helped convert a couple of first down in the first half, but his ability downfield was not utilized. Paul is a big play threat, but the coaching staff didn't seem to dial up his number today. It will be interesting going forward because he is the most experienced receiver among the starters.
WR Kelvin Harmon
, 15 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 31 - 0 (2 targets) - Kelvin Harmon
is a big body receiver that Washington can use but they didn't call upon his services today. Kelvin is a backup as well so his impact will likely be inconsistent week to week.
TE Vernon Davis
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 59 - 1 (7 targets) - Vernon Davis
showed that he can still be a playmaker for Washington. He cashed in on Washington's first touchdown of the day scampering for almost fifty yards. He still has speed in the open field as he broke a few tackles before outrunning the Eagles secondary. With Jordan Reed
being out, he caught four receptions on seven targets. He didn't do much beyond the long touchdown but Vernon is still a solidified playmaker.
QB Carson Wentz
, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 39 - 313 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 5 - 0 - Wentz played a clean game against Washington without a glaring poor decision or wildly inaccurate miss downfield. Wentz found DeSean Jackson
on two long touchdowns, an element does not present for the 2018 Eagles offense. Wentz extended a third-and-goal play, rolling out to hit Alshon Jeffery
for a score as well as another play extension on third down to Zach Ertz
later in the game. Wentz was efficient with his rushing attempts beyond the box score with a third down and fourth conversion respectively. With the Eagles’ collection of weapons, Wentz showed the potential of this offense after a relatively slow start for more than a quarter against Washington.
RB Miles Sanders
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 25 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (2 targets) - Sanders’ debut resulted in leading the Eagles running backs in snaps but failed to provide much impact against Washington. Sanders was regularly stuffed near the line of scrimmage and was stuffed twice on point blank goal line attempts. Sanders also fumbled in the game and dropped a screen pass, one of only two targets for the rookie. Sanders’ highlight play, multiple cuts on his way to a touchdown, was called back by penalty, halting a potentially solid stat line. The most positive aspect of Sanders’ game was leading the running back committee in snaps and his 12 touches being clearly ahead of Jordan Howard
. The Eagles head to Atlanta in Week 2, a defense who struggled to contain Dalvin Cook
and Alexander Mattison
in Week 1.
RB Darren Sproles
, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 47 - 0, Rec: 3 - 16 - 0 (3 targets) - Sproles saw plenty of early snaps and touches against Washington as the Eagles formed a three-back rotation in Week 1. Sproles ceded snaps to both Jordan Howard
and Miles Sanders
(more Sanders than Howard) as the game progressed. Sproles exhibited his jitterbug qualities and phone booth quickness on several occasions, including a highlight spin move for a two-point conversion. Sproles’ snap rate was a distant second to Sanders, but Sproles was clearly the most productive back for the Eagles to open the season.
RB Jordan Howard
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 44 - 0, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (3 targets) - Howard was on the short end of the Eagles’ three-headed running back committee against Washington. Howard was the battering ram to the all-around game of Miles Sanders
and jitterbug style of Darren Sproles
. Howard did not see a touch until the second quarter and pushed the pile and through contact well on many of his carries. Howard’s biggest run of the game came as he bounced outside for more than 15 yards. Howard looks to need missed time from Miles Sanders
for any predictable workload in future weeks.
WR DeSean Jackson
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 154 - 2 (10 targets) - Jackson’s return to Philadelphia was a rousing success, producing nearly three times the receiving yardage of any other Eagles player, including two long touchdowns against Washington. Jackson’s speed, plus some help from defensive breakdowns on the backend of Washington’s secondary, contributed to Jackson’s big-play impact and ultimately Philadelphia’s comeback win. Jackson huge game could have been even bigger if not for a dropped pass, being stuffed on a screen reception, and he was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty along the way. Jackson’s chemistry with Carson Wentz
downfield is a positive sign for this all-star roster on the Eagles offense going forward.
WR Alshon Jeffery
, 60 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 1, Rec: 5 - 49 - 1 (6 targets) - Jeffery saw the most snaps of Eagles receivers against Washington but was largely overshadowed by DeSean Jackson
’s two long touchdowns. However, Jeffery operated well on short-to-intermediate targets, including converting a third-and-goal touchdown off an inside screen design and extending a fourth quarter drive with a critical third-down reception. With so many weapons on the Eagles offense, Jeffery’s weekly role is questionable in terms of targets as was the case in Week 1 behind DeSean Jackson
and Zach Ertz
TE Zach Ertz
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 54 - 0 (7 targets) - Ertz’s 2019 debut was a tempered performance coming off his record-breaking season in 2018. Ertz did not produce much in the first half but finished second on the team in targets (seven) including two critical third-down receptions in the fourth quarter. Ertz dropped a low slant target and nearly scored on an after-the-catch opportunity down to the goal line as missed opportunities. On a positive sign, Ertz was second on the team in targets and clearly ahead of promising second-year tight end Dallas Goedert
TE Dallas Goedert
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (3 targets) - Goedert saw a mere three targets against Washington, buried among the strong skill position players for the Eagles in the passing game. Goedert absorbed a big hit on a deep sideline target which he could not corral and showed a quality stiff arm for yards-after-the-catch on his notable reception. Goedert is a tough projection for his weekly involvement without a Zach Ertz
Houston Texans 28, New Orleans Saints 30
What you need to know
- WR DeAndre Carter
- Started at the slot but did not get a target
TE Jordan Akins
- One reception for 17 yards but is not the starter.
TE Darren Fells
- The starting tight end but only one target
WR Keke Coutee
- Coming back from his ankle injury. Ran routes before the game but was held out to make sure he is fully healed for the season.
New Orleans Saints
- By far the best game of the weekend, the Saints got a last second win against the Texans. It was a slow start for the Saints as they only scored 3 points in the first half. Drew Brees
threw a rare red zone interception and they missed a kick just before half time. The Texans moved the ball up and down the field against the Saints defense, but they came up big and made plays when they needed. Alvin Kamara
was held in check for the majority of the game, but broke out in the second half and had nearly 170 total yards this week. The best part of the game was the 4th quarter where each team traded the lead in the final minute of the game. The Saints kicked a field goal to go up by 6 points with 55 seconds remaining, then two big plays by the Texans resulted in a touchdown and a tie score. The Texans missed the extra point on the first attempt but a late roughing the kicker flag allowed them to re-kick and make the try. Drew Brees
had 37 seconds to work with and completed large chunk passes to Ginn and Thomas to setup a game wining 58-yard field goal try. Will Lutz
drilled the ball right down the middle and the Saints walked off with a win. New Orleans will travel to Los Angeles to try and avenge their playoff loss to the Rams next weekend in what should be a very high scoring affair.
QB Deshaun Watson
, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 30 - 268 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 40 - 1 - It was a slow start for Deshaun Watson
but he got rolling as the game go going. He opened the scoring with a 21-yard touchdown run that saw him flip into the end zone. He was slow to get up an appeared to bruise his back. That did not slow him from opening up the passing game through the air hitting Deandre Hopkins twice in the end zone and a strike to Kenny Stills
on a 37-yard post in the middle of the field. Watson did not get much help at times, there were four dropped passes that he threw that would have helped his numbers but he made some big throws when the Texans needed them. Watson’s big mistake came forcing a pass into double coverage to Will Fuller
on a ball that should have never been thrown.
RB Duke Johnson
, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 57 - 0, Rec: 4 - 33 - 0 (5 targets) - It was also a productive day for Duke Johnson
who put up 13 total touches for the offense and 90 total yards. His longest play was a 32-yard rush that saw him break a tackle in open field to go get more yards. His pass catching ability remains his best assist and he was second on the offense in targets only behind Deandre Hopkins.
RB Carlos Hyde
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 83 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets) - A surprised in the running game, Carlos Hyde
was able to infuse lift into the backfield. Hyde was breaking the first tackle consistently and eating up yards. His longest run was 20-yards and he averaged 8.3 yards a carry. He was productive moving the football and appears to be in line to be the Texans primary ball carrier in the running game.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 111 - 2 (13 targets) - It should have been a bigger day than what it was for Deandre Hopkins. Hopkins dropped three passes in the first half but woke up in the second half looking like the Hopkins many know. Catching touchdown passes for 2 yards and 16 yards, Hopkins continues to do his work when asked. His best reception came on a pass late in the 4th quarter down the left side line for 38-yards to set up a touchdown pass the next play.
WR Kenny Stills
, 28 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 37 - 1 (3 targets) - There were three receptions for Kenny Stills
in limited work, two jet sweeps and one post route to the middle of the field for a 37-yard touchdown strike. Stills will continue to be worked into the offense and his big play ability is evident.
WR Will Fuller
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 69 - 0 (3 targets) - The Texans offense was looking for anything after slow start then Watson went to a big throw to Fuller for 54 yards over Eli Apple. It was on an under thrown ball but it was adjusted well to by Fuller to make the reception. Fuller also had another target intercepted when Watson forced it into double coverage.
QB Drew Brees
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 32 - 43 - 370 - 2 TD / 1 INT - The legend of Drew Brees
continues to grow with every late 4th quarter comeback. The first half was rough for Brees as he threw an uncharacteristic red zone interception and only managed to put 3 points on the board before half. The interception came when the pocket collapsed and Brees scrambled to his right before trying to find Murray in the flat. The play was read perfectly by the defense that knew he was not a threat to run the ball and the linebacker was able to drop back in coverage for the interception. Brees made up for it later with his 2 touchdowns and the game winning drive was only 35 seconds left. The first touchdown came to Taysom Hill
and was an easy read up the middle. Brees dropped back and found his quarterback/tight end across the middle for the score. The second touchdown came on the first play of the 4th quarter to TreíQuan Smith and was because Brees fled the collapsing pocket and created more time for himself, Brees was able to find Smith open after the receiver saw his quarterback in trouble and worked back towards him in the end zone. Brees let loose a low pass that only Smith could catch by going into a slide. In the 4thquarter, Brees hit Ginn for 41 yards on a 3rd and 2 play, and moved the ball 35 yards in 30 seconds to setup the game winning field goal. Look for Brees to have another big year in the high powered Saints offense.
QB Taysom Hill
, 15 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 8 - 0, Rec: 1 - 9 - 1 (2 targets) - The man continues to do it all. Hill lined up as a tight end, quarterback, and played special teams again this week. He did not throw a pass under center and it was clear they were going to run the ball each time with the zone read. The biggest drive came in the 3rd quarter where Hill was given a chance under center and then caught a touchdown pass on the next play. Hill faked to Kamara on the zone read and took the ball 6 yards down the sideline as he lowered his shoulder and ran over the Texans corner. On the very next play, he shifted back to receiver and Brees found him in the middle of the end zone for an easy touchdown. Bridgewater still looks to be the actual backup quarterback for the team, but Hill shoes his value in being able to play all over the place. The red zone snaps for Hill cuts into the value of Cook or any other tight end the Saints have on the field.
RB Alvin Kamara
, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 97 - 0, Rec: 7 - 72 - 0 (8 targets) - It looked like it was going to be a quiet first game for the star running back until he turned it on in the second half. Kamara did most of his damage through the air this week as the Saints routinely exploited the mismatch any time Kamara had a linebacker in coverage. The speedy back ripped off a 41-yard reception where he caught the ball across the middle and turned it up the seam for a big play. He also had a 28-yard rush where he bounced off several would be tacklers and sprinted towards the end zone. Kamara fumbled the ball on this same play and it was recovered by Jared Cook
without being advanced. Had the Saints challenged the play they would have seen it was not a fumble, but no flag was thrown. Kamara was held out of the end zone this week but still managed almost 170 all-purpose yards. He carried the ball more than twice the amount Murray did and was the primary back in passing situations. Kamara will be the work horse this year and Murray does not pose much of a threat outside of being a change of pace back.
RB Latavius Murray
, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 43 - 1, Rec: 2 - 4 - 0 (3 targets) - With the departure of Mark Ingram
, the Saints signed Murray in the offseason to compliment Kamara in the back field. He is the bigger back and is used in power situations and when the Saints need to run off some clock. In his first regular season game, Murray did not disappoint and managed to do everything that was asked of him. He averaged 7.2 yards per carry (inflated by a 30-yard run), caught 2 of his 3 targets, and looked good in pass protection. Murray is not the same back that Ingram is and will not see the same workload over the course of the year, but he seems to have a clear role and the Saints are not afraid to use him. Murray's 30-yard run went for a touchdown and was straight up the middle. Murray burst through the second level and made a sharp cut to the outside before turning on the burners and outrunning the entire defense. He showed that he is not just a power back and that he has break-away speed when he needs it.
WR Michael Thomas
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 123 - 0 (13 targets) - Another week and another 10 catch, 100-yard performance for Thomas. He continues to be Brees favorite target and can lineup anywhere on the field and run any route. Thomas caught 10 of his 13 targets and made big chunk plays all over the field. He continues to be the most dangerous on short crossing routes and quick out routes 10 yards down the field. His longest play of the game was a 24-yard catch and run down the sideline to help setup a red zone chance for the Saints. Thomas also played a big role in the final drive where he grabbed an 11-yard reception to push the Saints over mid field and setup the next play to get into field goal range. Thomas did not find the end zone this week and was double covered in the red zone and goal to go situations. Thomas is a lock to find the end zone several times this year with the sheer volume of passes coming his way. If Ginn can stay healthy, teams will not be able to double Thomas or provide help over the top as much and it should open things up even more. Look for Thomas to have another big week next weekend against the Rams.
WR Ted Ginn
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 101 - 0 (7 targets) - The veteran receiver Ginn showed up when the team needed him and made big plays in the 4th quarter to setup a field goal to go up by 6 and then the eventual game winning field goal. Ginn's big play came on a 3rd and 2 play where the Saints sent everyone deep down field. Ginn beat his man in the first 10 yards and then caught a beautifully thrown ball by Brees over his shoulder for 41 yards. Ginn also had 2 catches on the final drive to get the Saints into field goal range for the game winning kick. The most impressive being the 7-yard comeback route where he catch the ball and instantly went to the ground to call the time out for the field goal. Ginn registered his first 100-yard game of the season and still looks to be the burner he was in years past. If Ginn can stay healthy, he should play a big role as the clear second receiver for the Saints.
WR TreQuan Smith
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 26 - 1 (2 targets) - It was a rather quiet day for Smith until the first play of the 4th quarter when he hauled in a 14-yard pass from Brees for a touchdown. Smith ran a crossing route into the middle of the end zone and then appeared to stop when it looked like the play was breaking down. As the pocket collapsed, Brees rolled to his right and Smith darted into an open void in the end zone. Brees let loss a low pass that only Smith could get to with a sliding catch for the score. There is a lot of competition for targets in this offense with Ginn, Thomas, and Kamara seeing the bulk share, but Smith should be good for a few big plays the rest of the year.
TE Jared Cook
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 37 - 0 (3 targets) - It was a quiet debut for Cook with the big tight end only garnering 3 targets, and losing red zone snaps to Taysom Hill
. Cook ripped off a 31-yard catch up the seam that accounted for the majority of his 37 yards, but was quiet outside of that. There was a moment late in the second half where he scooped up what looked like a Kamara fumble and had a clear path to the end zone, but was tackled and the call went unchallenged as he did not advance the ball. Cook was brought in to be the big play tight end that the Saints have been missing since Jimmy Graham
, but his quiet debut may point to a bigger issue.
Baltimore Ravens 59, Miami Dolphins 10
What you need to know
- The Ravens and Lamar Jackson
looked unstoppable. The Lamar Jackson
to Marquise Brown
connections were the biggest story coming out of the game. Jackson seems to have taken his fundamentals and confidence to the next level. Jackson's deep passing was as good as it gets against the Dolphins. Mark Andrews
was one beneficiary of Jackson's improvement. Andrews had 6 second half catches and could have scored an additional touchdown. The Ravens ground attack looked strong with Mark Ingram
leading the dance. Ingram was physical and explosive. Gus Edwards
ended up with more carries than Ingram but many of those came with Robert Griffin III
at quarterback in the 4th quarter. The Ravens offensive line hardly allowed any pressure and opened big holes in the rung game.
- It was al all around ugly showing for Miami. They were decimated 59-10 by the Baltimore Ravens and hardly showed any sign of life on either side of the ball this week. The defense was unable to stop anyone and dug the team into a 42-10 hole by half time. It was such a poor showing that it is reported that players have begun requesting trades away from the team. The quarterback situation did not get any clearer when the coaching staff benched Ryan Fitzpatrick
for Josh Rosen
at the end of the 3rd quarter. Rosen completes a short pass to the tight end and is then promptly intercepted on the next play. The Ravens controlled the clock for 13:30 of the 4th quarter and the Dolphins did not even get to see if Rosen could bounce back. Miami abandoned the run early and went into catch up mode, but still were unable to rack up any significant yardage for any one player. Things do not look to get any easier with the Dolphins playing host to the New England Patriots in week 2.
QB Lamar Jackson
, 54 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 20 - 324 - 5 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 6 - 0 - Lamar Jackson
looked like a different player than the one who led the Ravens to the playoffs last season. Jackson was an order of magnitude more confident, composed, and accurate. Jackson led the Ravens down the field on their opening possession for a touchdown but the drive consisted almost entirely of running plays. Following an interception Jackson connected with Marquise Brown
over the middle on a slant and Brown took the pass to the end zone for a 47 yard touchdown. Jackson's next throw was a 40 yard bomb that hit Marquise Brown
perfectly in stride for an 83 yard touchdown. Jackson completed passes to Mark Andrews
and Brown to move the Ravens into scoring position. Jackson capped the drive with another very nice deep ball this time to Willie Snead
down the slot for a 33 yard touchdown. Following a muffed punt the Ravens took over in excellent field position. Jackson capped the drive with a 5 yard touchdown to Miles Boykin
. Jackson faced immediate pressure on the play and was forced to retreat more than 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage and make the throw to Boykin off his back foot. The play demonstrated his chemistry with Boykin. Jackson showed off his chemistry with Mark Andrews
in the second half. Jackson connected with Andrews for 39 yards down the seam to set up a 1 yard touchdown toss to Patrick Ricard. Jackson took a seat on the bench for the 4th quarter with the Ravens holding a 42 point lead.
QB Robert Griffin III
, 23 offensive snaps, Pass: 6 - 6 - 55 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 9 - 0 - Robert Griffin III
came in in relief of Lamar Jackson
with the Ravens holding a huge lead. The Ravens offense was conservative with such a big lead but Griffin did well running the offense. Griffin threw a 3 yard touchdown to Mark Andrews
to cap a drive that consisted mostly of running plays. Griffin and the Ravens were able to eat the final 8 minutes of game clock on a single possession.
RB Gus Edwards
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 56 - 0 - Gus Edwards
was frequently met at or near the line of scrimmage on a number of his carries. The Dolphins defense seemed to be keying on the fact that the Ravens are likely to call a running play when Edwards was in the game. Edwards gained 11 yards on his first carry following a block from Nick Boyle
to the second level. Edwards got a carry from the two yard line but he was met at the line of scrimmage by Reshad Jones.
RB Mark Ingram
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 107 - 2 - Mark Ingram
followed a beautiful block from Patrick Ricard and ran over a defender at the second level to break into the open field and pick up 49 yards on his first carry. Ingram got two carries inside the Dolphins' 6 yard line and scored a 1 yard touchdown. Ingram ran hard each time he got the ball. The collisions he created with defenders were very loud and violent. Ingram scored his second touchdown of the game off left tackle and went untouched for the 2 yard score. Ingram was able to gain chunks of 8 or 9 yards consistently throughout the game and was never stopped for a loss of yardage.
WR Marquise Brown
, 14 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 147 - 2 (5 targets) - Marquise Brown
had a nearly perfect professional debut. Brown beat his man running a slant, slipped his defender, and raced 47 yards for an uncontested touchdown. It was Brown's first target and reception in the NFL regular season. On his next target Brown bested Minkah Fitzpatrick in single coverage and caught a bomb from Lamar Jackson
that went for 83 yards and touchdown. Brown showed off his speed and awareness to reach the end zone with Fitzpatrick in pursuit. Brown took advantage of the massive cushion that was afforded to him following his big plays. Brown picked up 14 yards running a curl. Brown had two other deep targets from Jackson that narrowly feel incomplete.
WR Willie Snead
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 41 - 1 (3 targets) - Willie Snead
beat his man running a post from the slot and made a nice catch for a 33 yard touchdown on his first target. Snead had a 13 yard reception negated by penalty. Snead dropped what should have been a 5 yard 3rd down conversion.
WR Miles Boykin
, 18 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 1 (1 targets) - Miles Boykin
broke off his route exactly when Lamar Jackson
expected him to to score a 5 yard touchdown.
TE Mark Andrews
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 108 - 1 (8 targets) - Mark Andrews
made a 9 yard catch running an out route. Andrews drew a holding call in the end zone on what could have been a touchdown. Andrews picked up 20 yard running a crossing route showing off his speed to separate over the middle. A few plays later Andrews made consecutive catches for 10 yards. Andrews released up the seam from an line alignment and beat his man for a 39 yard gain. Andrews was brought down at the 1 yard line. Andrews converted a 3rd and long with a 21 yard reception again making a play up the seam. Andrews did well to find a hole in the zone defense. Andrews caught his touchdown pass from Robert Griffin running a shallow crossing route for a 3 yard score.
TE Hayden Hurst
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 41 - 0 (4 targets) - Hayden Hurst
made a 7 yard catch running a quick out route. Hurst picked up 23 yards working to get open as Jackson scrambled. Hurst made an 11 yard catch on 3rd and 4 running an out route.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
, 45 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 29 - 185 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0 - It was not the start that Fitzpatrick envisioned when given the starting job in Miami to open the season. The score was 28-0 early in the second quarter and Fitzpatrick only had 14 plays on offense across 3 drives. His first drive ended in an interception when he tried to hit Kenyan Drake
on a wheel route. There were 2 receivers in the area along with 5 Raven defenders. Neither player looked to make much of an effort to catch the pass and Fitzpatrick got off to a rocky start. It was not until the 2nd quarter that Fitzpatrick led the team on a scoring drive. A 49-yard catch and run deep down the middle from DeVante Parker
put the ball on the Baltimore 49 before the offense proceeded to have plays of -1 yard, -3 yards, and a 5-yard penalty. Fitzpatrick missed on 3rd down and the Dolphins settled for a 54-yard field goal. On the Dolphins final drive of the 1st half, Fitzpatrick led them on a touchdown drive. With big plays to Parker, Allen Hurns
, and an eventual 6-yard touchdown pass to Preston Williams
, it was the first time the team showed life all game. Fitzpatrick found Williams across the middle in the back of the end zone for the score. He was wide open on the play because the Ravens defender fell in coverage. It was an all-around ugly day that included 2 sacks and a less than 50% completion rate for Fitzpatrick.
QB Josh Rosen
, 5 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 3 - 5 - 0 TD / 1 INT - It may not be fair to judge Rosen solely on this performance as he was only given 3 pass attempts. The first was a 5-yard completion to Gesicki, the second an interception on an over thrown ball, and the third an incompletion. The team was being blown out by the time he got the ball and it appeared as if everyone else on the field had quit at that point. The Dolphins made the off-season trade for Rosen, but also signed Fitzpatrick. Neither looks to be the quarterback of the future in Miami and most expect a quarterback taken with a high draft pick in the off season. If given the chance to start this season, Rosen will have to prove his worth to even continue to be a backup in the NFL.
RB Kalen Ballage
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - -1 - 0, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (1 targets) - It was surprising to see the Dolphins give Ballage the ball 5 times. This led the team in carries, and he rewards them with -1 yards on the ground. Ballage had a long run of 6 yards and then was unable to pass the line of scrimmage again on his other 4 carries. He did manage to catch his lone target and take it for 13 yards, but the damage had already been done on the ground. The team was playing catch up and abandoned the run early, but there appeared to be no sign of life from Ballage this week with the limited looks he got.
RB Kenyan Drake
, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 12 - 0, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (3 targets) - It was a bad day for the Miami rushing attack as the team totaled 12 carries for 21 yards total. Drake led all runners with 12 yards on the ground, and 9 of those yards came on a single play. He also chipped in 2 catches on 3 targets with a long of 10 yards. Drake did not look explosive and was often met in the back field by a Ravens defender before he even had a chance to find a hole. Drake does not have to worry about competition from another back as the next closest running back had -1 yards this week. This team is going to be playing from behind a lot this year and that is going to make it difficult for Drake to get anything going.
WR Preston Williams
, 21 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 24 - 1 (5 targets) - With all the other receivers on the team, it was surprising to see Williams be the one to score the touchdown. However, it took a Baltimore defender running into another player and falling to make that happen. Williams rubbed his defender off in the red zone and was standing all alone in the back of the end zone for what should have been an easy touchdown. That is when Fitzpatrick let go a high pass that Williams had to leap for and fight to get both feet down in the back of the end zone. Williams chipped in another 2 catches and totaled 24 yards on the day. Williams is going to have to fight for targets in the offense and will have to continue to succeed in order to cut out a bigger role.
WR DeVante Parker
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 75 - 0 (7 targets) - It has been an interesting turn for Parker. He went from being the odd receiver out on the depth chart and the guy the team really wanted to trade, to the top performer on a very bad team this week. Parker was targeted a team high 7 times this week and managed to bring in 3 passes. The big play was a 49-yard homerun down the middle of the field from Fitzpatrick, and he also added a 14-yard catch and run down the left sideline on the Dolphins lone touchdown drive. There will be plenty of completion for catches with Allen Hurns
, Jakeem Grant
, and Albert Wilson
all fighting for playing time, but this is the final season for Parker to prove he is a capable NFL receiver. Look for him to finish the season at or near the top of most receiving categories for a very bad Dolphins team this year.
WR Albert Wilson
, 6 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (4 targets) - The ugliness continues for the Dolphins and Wilson after he managed to catch 2 of his 4 targets for just 13 yards. 12 of those yards came on a single play and the rest of the day it seemed as if he was barely on the field. Wilson injured his calf at one point in the game and his return was questionable. Some may wonder if he truly hurt himself or if he did not want to go back on the field as the team continued to get embarrassed. Wilson will have to battle with Parker, Hurns, and Grant the rest of the season for targets.
WR Allen Hurns
, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 22 - 0 (3 targets) - It was not a great day for anyone, but Hurns can celebrate his single big play contribution on the lone Dolphins touchdown drive this week. Fitzpatrick found Hurns 22-yards down the field after evading a tackle and rolling to his left. Hurns had settled into the gap between the corner and covering safety. The ball was a little high and Hurns had to go up and get it without any chance of coming down and running after the catch. It could have been a bigger play if the ball had been more accurate, but it helped setup the only touchdown of the day for the Dolphins.
WR Jakeem Grant
, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - -3 - 0 (3 targets) - The ugliness continues for the Dolphins and Wilson after he managed to catch 2 of his 4 targets for just 13 yards. 12 of those yards came on a single play and the rest of the day it seemed as if he was barely on the field. Wilson injured his calf at one point in the game and his return was questionable. Some may wonder if he truly hurt himself or if he did not want to go back on the field as the team continued to get embarrassed. Wilson will have to battle with Parker, Hurns, and Grant the rest of the season for targets.
TE Mike Gesicki
, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 31 - 0 (6 targets) - After all the talk in the off season about how Gesicki looked lost and how Nick OíLeary was going to take over, it was Gesicki that saw the playing time this week. Gesicki was one of the few bright spots this week after catching a big 26-yard pass down the sideline and bailing out Rosen with his lone 5-yard completion. Look for Gesicki to serve as the security blanket for whoever ends up playing quarterback in Miami for the rest of the season.
Cincinnati Bengals 20, Seattle Seahawks 21
What you need to know
- -Andy Dalton
had a career-high 418 passing yards, looking decisive and in control of the new offense.
suffered an ankle injury early in the second half that knocked him out of the game but doesn’t appear serious.
had a career game, catching a pair of long touchdowns.
-Three Bengals WRs played 79% of the snaps or more: Ross, Tyler Boyd
, and Damion Willis
looked good and played roughly half of the snaps, finishing third on the team in target behind Ross and Boyd.
- On the Seahawks side of the ball, there really is not much to say. This really is a textbook case of them doing “just enough to win”, without doing much at all. The only category in which they were actually better than the Bengals, was the final score. Russell Wilson
looked uncharacteristically cautious under pressure, while the rest of the team did enough – which, again, was very, very little – to squeak out a victory, despite the Bengals dominating the time of possession. Positives to be gleaned were: the running game got going … eventually; and the rookie wideout, D.K. Metcalf, was not only healthy but a trusted part of the offense throughout the game. Overall, it was a very disappointing effort. Clearly, Wilson and the Seahawks have got some work to do.
QB Andy Dalton
, 77 offensive snaps, Pass: 35 - 51 - 418 - 2 TD / 0 INT - The 418 passing yards were a career high for Dalton. In fact, the Bengals had gone 13 straight seasons with Marvin Lewis as the head coach without a 400-yard passing game. In Zac Taylor’s debut, the Bengals were much more pass heavy than in past seasons. Dalton threw 51 times despite Cincinnati never trailing by more than four points. Dalton had some missteps. He missed low on what should have been an easy short completion to John Ross
, under threw a deep ball to an open Tyler Boyd
, and had the rain soaked ball slip out of his hand for a costly fumble in the red zone. He also had a few passes batted at the line. Despite the few miscues, Dalton was excellent overall. He was in full command of the new offense, getting the ball out quickly and on target. He read the defense well and understood where the vulnerabil-ities were. Dalton also had a few highlight-reel worthy throws. The most impressive came on a 55-yard touchdown pass to John Ross
in the final seconds of the first half. Dalton threw it over 50 yards in the air, just over the head of the safety, and hit Ross in stride for the long score. He also showed nice touch on a 33-yard flea-flicker touch-down pass to Ross, dropping the ball in behind the corner and in front of the safety.
RB Giovani Bernard
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 21 - 0, Rec: 2 - 42 - 0 (3 targets) - Prior to Joe Mixon
getting hurt in the second half, Bernard did not touch the ball at all. Once Mixon was sidelined, Bernard became heavily involved. His first drive of the game, he touched the ball on four straight plays. In all, he garnered nine touches in the second half. Bernard’s production was feast or famine on the day. He took a screen for a 35-yard gain. It looked like he might be tripped up for no gain but was able to scoot away from a chasing defensive lineman and sneak through some traffic down the sideline for the long completion. He also bounced off a tackle attempt to gain 11 yards on a running play off of left tackle. Bernard also was dropped for a loss or no gain three times, including a 4th-and-1 play where he wasn’t able to keep his feet after first contact and was dropped short of the first down by an arm tackle. Bernard was also stacked up for no gain for a fourth time down near the goal line but Seattle elected to accept the holding penalty. It was an okay day for Bernard. His playmaking ability was on display but so too were his limitations in the every down role.
RB Joe Mixon
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 10 - 0, Rec: 2 - 7 - 0 (3 targets) - The Bengals had a screen setup well for Mixon but Jadeveon Clowney was able to leap and tip the pass away. Dalton went right back to the same play the next down but Seattle was all over it, dropping Mixon for a 3-yard loss. There was no room to run for Mixon early. His first quarter carries went for 1, -1, 3, and 2 yards. He looked dangerous in the open field on a 10-yard reception on a swing route. After the quiet first half, Mixon rolled his ankle on the third play of the second half and never returned. He was spotted on the sideline late in the game walking gingerly on the an-kle. Early reports indicate the injury looks more mild than originally feared and Mixon may even be available for Week 2.
WR Tyler Boyd
, 61 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 8 - 60 - 0 (11 targets) - Boyd led the team in targets but a poorly thrown deep ball from Dalton that could have gone for a long touchdown spoiled the potential for a big fantasy day. While he didn’t rack up big yardage totals, Boyd did make plenty of plays in the middle of the field. He made three catches on the opening drive, the highlight coming on a 14-yard grab on 3rd-and-long with a defender draped all over him. Boyd’s strong, reliable hands were on display, catching the ball away from his body and hauling it in despite the defender getting a hand in. He made a 13-yard grab over the middle that may have been his most impressive of the day. The ball was deflected by a defender at the line and Boyd was able to adjust quickly and reach behind him to make the grab. Dalton and Boyd hooked up on a pair of 6-yard gains on similar plays that were probably RPOs. Dalton lined up in shotgun, faked the quick run handoff to suck the linebacker up, and then hit Boyd running the slant into the space opened up by the linebacker. On the missed big-play connection, Boyd lined up in the slot and then ran right behind the defensive line, getting lost in the mass of bodies before cutting upfield on a wheel route down the seam. He was wide open but Dalton threw the pass too much to the inside and short, which turned a potential long touchdown into an incompletion. Boyd played 79% of the snaps, which was good for just third best amongst the wide receivers.
WR John Ross
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 158 - 2 (12 targets) - To say it was a career day for Ross would be an understatement. In two previous seasons, he managed just 210 receiving yards total and nearly doubled that on Sunday with his 158-yard performance. Despite the eye-popping numbers, there were plays Ross left on the field. On the opening drive, Ross stumbled out of his break on a deep post route and had the ball bounce off of his chest, nearly being intercept-ed. A couple plays later, he couldn’t quite scoop out a low throw by Dalton. Under previous coaching staffs, Ross might not have received any more opportunities after the slow start but Taylor stuck with Ross. He played 82% of the snaps and was the first read on many plays throughout the game. Ross benefitted from the Seahawks paying extra attention to Boyd. He made an early 20-yard grab out of a five wide receiver formation in which he was the middle receiver of the three lined up to the right. Boyd, lined up inside of Ross, ran straight down the middle and drew two defenders which opened up the middle for Ross to cut into the opening behind him for the long gain. Ross had a 6-yard catch called back due to illegal formation. Ross scored a 33-yard touchdown on a flea-flicker. Ross ran a wheel route down the right sideline and the trickery allowed him to get behind the defender. He caught the ball inside the 10-yard line and made a nice cut after the catch to elude a defender near the goal line and get into the end zone. Ross had an awful drop just before the half but Dalton went right back to him the next play and connected on a 55-yard touchdown with less than 20 seconds left in the first half. Ross ran a deep post and had some separation from the cornerback. The safety tried to undercut the pass but misjudged it, which allowed it to sail over his head and right into the arms of Ross. Ross grabbed a 24-yard pass on an out route, showing off his ability to run full speed and then stop and cut quickly. Ross has struggled with his confidence, so the huge Week 1 could be a springboard to big things.
WR Damion Willis
, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 30 - 0 (5 targets) - While John Ross
made the big plays and stole all of the headlines, Willis actually led the wide receivers in snaps (90%). He caught a 3rd-down slant for six yards. Willis made a 17-yard grab, sitting down in the soft spot of the Seattle zone for an easy grab. He drew a 15-yards pass interference penalty on a key 4th-quarter play. It was a relatively quiet debut for the undrafted rookie but he looks like he is going to be a big part of the offense for as long as A.J. Green
TE Tyler Eifert
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 27 - 0 (6 targets) - As expected, Eifert was far from an every down player, logging just 49% of the snaps. Despite the situational usage, he still managed to finish third on the team in both targets and receptions. When Eifert is on the field, he will be one of Dalton’s favorite options and should be able to see at least a handful of targets most weeks even in the part-time role. The majority of Eifert’s snaps came on passing downs and he was usually on the field for third downs and in the red zone. Eifert made his cut too shallow and came up a yard short of the sticks on 3rd-and-5. He lined up out wide to grab a 7-yard reception on a key 3rd-and-4, establishing inside position against the safety and holding on through contact. Eifert also made a sweet hands catch for a 5-yard gain on 3rd-and-3 to keep the chains moving. There weren’t any big plays but it was a positive debut for Eifert, who looked as healthy as he has been in years.
TE C.J. Uzomah
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 66 - 0 (5 targets) - Despite rotating with Tyler Eifert
and Drew Sample
, Uzomah was able to make a solid impact. He made a nice knee-level grab while on the run to pick up 33 yards down the seam. Uzomah picked up 15 yards on a TE-screen to the left and then gain 9 yards on a screen pass to the right. Dalton tried to hit Uzomah on the screen a third time but a defensive lineman was able to get his hand up to deflect the pass.
QB Russell Wilson
, 53 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 20 - 196 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 8 - 0 - It was a disappointing day for Wilson, who somehow always seems to salvage the day statistically, which he did with two TDs on the day. He was sacked twice early on and continued to go down throughout the game. He played more cautiously than we are used to seeing – in fact, he took more risks in the pre-season – which seemed to fuel the Bengals fire, as they were after him the whole game. The Seahawks had no long, sustained drives, and so the best of Wilson can be summed up on a couple of long passing plays. First to Metcalf, who easily caught the ball on a medium slant pattern, and later to Lockett in final frame, who somehow was wide open as usual, for his first and only catch of the day, for a 44 yard score. In between, Wilson kept the ball close, throwing to the running backs, and showed immense trust in the rookie, D.K. Metcalf, feeding the ball to him at will on short patterns, and even targeting him in the end zone. Near the end of the game, Wilson ran the ball himself, showing that he can be a threat after all, but on his last play of the game, a bizarre QB keeper play on 3rd & 17 resulted in him getting hit hard from behind.
RB Chris Carson
, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 46 - 1, Rec: 6 - 35 - 1 (7 targets) - Carson’s game was a real mixed bag. On one hand, there was no consistency in the ground game, which is evident by the final numbers. But… there were times when Carson looked almost unstoppable. He showed his speed on a jet sweep in the first half, catching the Bengals off guard and picking up ten yards before they could blink. He also proved to be an important passing outlet, which was not a part of his resume last season. A couple of highlight worthy plays include both TDs, first powering through easily and untouched on a goal line carry; then he showed his speed yet again, as he caught a short pass and not only eluded the defense, but simply bounced off a defender to keep running for the score. In the second half. Perhaps his best play was a short third down conversion late in the game. Carson expertly found the hole on a short yardage play, broke loose for a few more yards, and THEN, dragged a defender at least another five yards, ending with his longest run, just over 20 yards. One blemish is the fumble he committed in the second half, which dashed what little bit of momentum the Seahawks had mustered.
RB Rashaad Penny
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 18 - 0 - Penny neither disappointed nor shone, posting the roughly the same YPC as starter Chris Carson
. Problem is, Penny only had about 25% of the touches as compared to Carson, and significantly, none of his were receptions. Penny did have one standout play, however, a 20 yard gain which was called back on holding. But, he did a very good job on the play of working around his blockers, showing both patience and poise. It definitely looked like an improvement over his work last year.
WR DK Metcalf
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 89 - 0 (6 targets) - Metcalf mad a splash in his NFL debut. He did not get on the score sheet, but did become Russell Wilson
favourite target, and deservedly so. Metcalf looked not only dependable, but also showed off some acrobatics, catching the ball in traffic and on the run for a big gain of 25, which set up a touchdown the following play. Perhaps most importantly, he made a lot his catches look very easy. Metcalf also contributed by drawing a pass interference call in the end zone. Oh, and he was also called for offensive pass interference. Win some, lose some.
WR Tyler Lockett
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 44 - 1 (2 targets) - Lockett was Mr. Invisible until the fourth quarter, when he finally found himself inside the ten, and wide open on play action pass play. He caught the deep ball over the middle at the 7 yard line and ran in easily. Without that catch, one had to wonder if he was going to see the ball at all.
TE Nick Vannett
, 24 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (2 targets) - Both of Vannett’s receptions were garbage plays -- medium gains on third and long, both as pure outlet passes when Wilson ran out of options.
TE Will Dissly
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (2 targets) - Dissly looked good on his one reception, a nice seam catch for first down. But neither tight end was targeted enough to warrant fantasy consideration.
Los Angeles Rams 30, Carolina Panthers 27
What you need to know
Los Angeles Rams
- The Rams escaped with a narrow road win, depending on their defense and running game than their prolific passing attack from 2018. Jared Goff
struggled overall despite Cooper Kupp
returning from injury to reform the Rams’ strong trio of receivers and Todd Gurley
surpassing 100 total yards on 15 touches. Malcolm Brown
was the clear No.2 running back and impressed with two red zone touchdowns as Darrell Henderson
barely saw the field.
- Cam Newton
was evidently still knocking off some ring rust in his first game of the season, with several passes sailing high and some basic plays not being executed correctly. Newton's downfield accuracy left him down on several occasions, including a pass to Curtis Samuel
that, had it been completed, could have been a long touchdown. The offensive line kept Newton clean for the most part, but he often failed to capitalise from a clean pocket. Christian McCaffrey
picked up the slack, dominating in all facets of the game. The running back even lined up as a receiver on a few snaps, making short work of the Rams defenders in coverage. McCaffrey was close to unstoppable and showed excellent vision, balance and power throughout to make life miserable for those chasing him down. Jordan Scarlett
, who the Panthers picked in this year's NFL Draft to spell McCaffrey, did not feature; it was McCaffrey's show - and the offensive line's run blocking was outstanding as a support act. D.J. Moore
was involved in two turnovers, the first of which was a throwback to his rookie year ñ trying to do too much after the catch and having the ball punched free. Samuel could have had a bigger game if not for some passing game inaccuracy from Newton. Greg Olsen
, too, was let down by his quarterback at times, though the Rams started to key on him as the game wore on.
QB Jared Goff
, 77 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 39 - 186 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 0 - 0 - The Rams escaped with a narrow road win, depending on their defense and running game than their prolific passing attack from 2018. Jared Goff
struggled overall despite Cooper Kupp
returning from injury to reform the Rams’ strong trio of receivers and Todd Gurley
surpassing 100 total yards on 15 touches. Malcolm Brown
was the clear No.2 running back and impressed with two red zone touchdowns as Darrell Henderson
barely saw the field.
RB Todd Gurley
, 54 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 97 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets) - Gurley was a full-go by reports for Week 1, however, he logged a mere 15 touches and Malcolm Brown
was heavily involved with 11 carries, including high-leverage red zone work. Gurley was sluggish on his scant opportunities in the first half but surged to life in the second half with two runs of more than 15 yards and two other strong runs through contact, vintage Gurley plays. Gurley posted more than 100 total yards but did not see any touchdown opportunities as Malcolm Brown
was the preferred short-yardage option near the goal line. The Rams draw the Saints in Week 2, a potential shootout in Los Angeles.
RB Malcolm Brown
, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 53 - 2 - Brown was on the field for less than half the snaps of starter Todd Gurley
but saw all the meaningful red zone work and short-range touchdown opportunities against Carolina. Brown was the clear No.2 back over rookie Darrell Henderson
, who barely saw the field in Week 1. Brown was excellent versus contact on inside runs in his first action back from a midseason injury in 2018. Brown broken multiple tackles on a highlight red zone carry and saw more snaps as the game progressed. Despite the disparity in snaps, Brown had 11 touches to Gurley’s 15 on the day.
RB Darrell Henderson
, 2 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0 - Henderson barely played in his NFL debut as he was on the field for only two snaps, including being stuffed on a red zone carry. Henderson is clearly behind Malcolm Brown
as the No.2 back and Brown excelled in his first game back from a midseason 2018 injury. Henderson needs at least one of the backs ahead of him out of the way to be a viable projection for weekly usage until further notice.
WR Robert Woods
, 73 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 16 - 0, Rec: 8 - 70 - 0 (13 targets) - Woods was the central figure in the Rams passing game against Carolina, seeing a team-high 13 targets. Despite the usage, Woods was limited to short range targets outside of a wide-open opportunity downfield, which Jared Goff
airmailed over Woods. The veteran receiver logged two drops to temper his overall performance, a clunky one for the Rams passing game overall. Woods added two rushing attempts, including a surprising inside run design. Woods rarely left the field with a 95% snap share as the Rams had three receives all log at least 90% of the snaps.
WR Cooper Kupp
, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 46 - 0 (10 targets) - Kupp’s offensive involvement against the Panthers, his first game back from injury in 2018, was front-loaded to the early moments. Kupp had four receptions on the opening drive alone, adding two third-down conversions later in the game to bolster his volume-infused stat line. Kupp’s targets were all close to the line of scrimmage and Kupp offered minimal yards-after-the-catch opportunity on his receptions.
WR Brandin Cooks
, 71 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 39 - 0 (6 targets) - Cooks performance had potential against the Panthers, but Jared Goff
overthrew the speedy receiver on a long target to siphon one big-play opportunity and Cooks drew a defensive pass interference penalty beyond the box score on another downfield attempt. Cooks’ receptions both came in the second half of a subpar overall performance by the Rams passing game and Cooks was third on the team in targets to Robert Woods
and a back-from-injury Cooper Kupp
TE Tyler Higbee
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 20 - 1 (5 targets) - Higbee has a new contract, but his snaps were merely a shade above Gerald Everett
as a concerning aspect against Carolina. Higbee did find the end zone on a goal line curl route in the fourth quarter, a critical play for the Rams’ struggling passing offense in the game. Higbee, more of the blocker compared to Gerald Everett
, was fourth on the team in targets and offers minimal big-play upside outside of getting lost by defensive coverage.
TE Gerald Everett
, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - The Rams utilized a split committee at tight end against Carolina in terms of snaps and Everett did not see a target until late in the first half, juggling a catch over the middle. Everett also added a holding penalty in the game in his non-descript performance clearly behind their strong three wide receivers.
QB Cam Newton
, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 38 - 239 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - -2 - 0 - Cam Newton
's first real game action since last season started off encouragingly, with a beautiful completion from the left hash to the right sideline on a comeback route to D.J. Moore
. The offense seemed to be energised by that moment, but things bogged down soon after. A play fake was botched as Newton faked to the right when the backs had veered left, then a touch pass to Moore was thrown too far in front for him to haul in. Newton's old demons haunted him again as the game progressed, with passes sailing ahead of receivers and taking potentially explosive plays off the board. He managed to re-establish his rapport with Greg Olsen
on some short to intermediate throws, but he let a few get away from him with inaccurate passes. The team's second turnover of the game was partially Newton's fault, a pass into the left flat to Moore being thrown backwards, making it a fumble. Moore was unable to corral it, but it appeared the pass should have been thrown out in front of Moore so that he could run behind the blocks set up for a screen. Newton missed Curtis Samuel
and Olsen on critical third down plays; on both occasions the passes were outside of the catchable range. Newton threw a pick late in the game, with LB Cory Littleton reading his eyes and breaking on a pass intended for Olsen. To his credit, Newton made the eventual tackle to prevent a touchdown.
RB Christian McCaffrey
, 67 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 128 - 2, Rec: 10 - 81 - 0 (11 targets) - Christian McCaffrey
made every touch look like it could be his last in this game, setting the tone for the entire offense with his tenacious running style. The offensive line asserted itself effectively against the Rams front seven, blowing open holes that McCaffrey was more than capable of exploiting. The shifty back added value to every touch, seeing the field well and frequently breaking tackles. A beautiful cutback run on his second carry summed up his drive. The play was designed to go left, but McCaffrey spotted the right side of the line caving in the Rams' front and cut back right for a nice gain. McCaffrey frequently lined up as a wideout, putting the defense in a bind. Expectedly for a player of his talent, he fully exploited those opportunities and often added yards after the catch. As an outlet receiver, McCaffrey was as reliable as ever, beating defenders in space and displaying great toughness into contact. McCaffrey capped off an incredible performance with two rushing touchdowns. The first came on a direct snap in the red zone, with Cam Newton
lined up alongside McCaffrey. After a fake to his quarterback, McCaffrey followed his blockers through a gaping hole into the end zone. His second score came on a physical carry close to the goal line. It appeared he had been stopped shy, but he kept his knees off the turf and reached the ball out the last two yards to break the plane. The only blotch on McCaffrey's copybook was a missed assignment in pass protection, with Dante Fowler busting in past him to get to Newton for a sack.
WR D.J. Moore
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 76 - 0 (10 targets) - D.J. Moore
suffered some rookie year redux against the Rams, coughing up a fumble early in the game after a routine catch in the right flat. Moore put a stutter-step move on the defenders who were closing in, but as he tried to shoot the gap between them the ball was popped loose with a punch. Moore was involved in another turnover as the first half progressed. Lined up in the backfield, he motioned into the left flat and Cam Newton
tossed him the ball on a screen pass. The ball, however, was thrown backwards and Moore was unable to handle it. The Rams pounced for a crucial sudden change turnover. Moore came alive when the offense went to no huddle, using his quickness and route-running nous to bamboozle defensive backs. He made a particularly nice snag in traffic on a deep dig in the two-minute drill, hanging on despite contact. Two deep targets from Newton were too far out in front of Moore for the receiver to haul in, though he was open on both occasions.
WR Curtis Samuel
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (4 targets) - Curtis Samuel
was unable to carry forward his momentum from the preseason into the first live game action. He slipped and fell on his first catch, preventing him from turning up the field. After that Samuel came alive, adjusting well on a comeback route near the sideline and showing off his trademark speed on a shallow crossing route catch and run. Samuel put on a move Neo from the Matrix would have been proud of later, securing a pass before ducking under a would-be tackler and scooting up the field for bonus yardage. Samuel was wide open on a streak pattern down the right sideline on a crucial third down in the second half, but Cam Newton
's pass was too far in front to be hauled in.
WR Jarius Wright
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (1 targets) - Jarius Wright
caught only one pass, settling down in the Rams' zone coverage to find a soft spot for his quarterback to zip a ball into him.
TE Greg Olsen
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 36 - 0 (9 targets) - Greg Olsen
's first outing of the 2019 season amounted to an exercise in frustration. On multiple occasions his connection with Cam Newton
lacked precision, an issue that was apparent on a seam pass ñ a link-up the two have made routine in the past ñ that was thrown to the wrong shoulder. Newton missed his tight end on two straightforward and expected completions ñ one on a pass into the flat off a bootleg action which was too high; the other a third down pass to the right sideline which was too tall as well. There were times the two were in sync, including a low throw that Olsen scooped up on a crucial third down late in the game, but most targets failed to find their mark. Olsen looks every bit the player he was pre-injury.
Atlanta Falcons 12, Minnesota Vikings 28
What you need to know
- Xavier Rhodes faced Julio Jones
for 12 plays yielding 2catches for 15 yards during the first three quarters of the game. Jones’ score came against a rookie cornerback in garbage time. The Vikings defense sacked Matt Ryan
four times and Everson Griffin beat Jake Matthews for two of them—each from spin moves. Matthews gave up a third sack due to a missed assignment on a late shift during the first drive of the game. The Falcons offensive line allowed enough pressure that it forced Matt Ryan
into a pair of interceptions—including one in the Vikings’ end zone in the third quarter. The Vikings running backs and offensive line eviscerated the Falcons defense with a variety of run plays.
- After a disappointing season last year, the Vikings set out to make a statement in week 1. They were able to do just that as the dismantled the Falcons from the start. The final score made this one look much closer than it really was. The Vikings ran all over the Falcons and showed that they do not need Kirk Cousins
to throw the ball 50 times in order to win but can do it with a team effort. The defense stepped up with a blocked punt, a fumble recovery, 2 interceptions, and 4 sacks this week. Xavier Rhodes did a great job shadowing Julio Jones
and limiting the damage, and the running game kept Cousins from having to throw too much. Dalvin Cook
and Alexander Mattison
looked as advertised with their combined 160 yards on the ground, and everything just seemed to click. It is a good day when your quarterback only has to throw the ball 10 times and the team can win with less than 100 yards passing. Minnesota will travel to Green Bay next week to take on the divisional rival Packers.
QB Matt Ryan
, 78 offensive snaps, Pass: 33 - 46 - 304 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 2 - 24 - 0 - Minnesota’s blitz packages wreaked havoc on Atlanta offensive line and when Ryan wasn’t sacked or forced to throw the ball away, he made a pair of throws with pressure in this face that led to interceptions. The first was a crossing route intended for Julio Jones
that Anthony Harris pulled away from Jones for an interception. The second was a route to the back pylon in the end zone that Luke Stocker
did not continue and it gave Harris a chance to run down the ball. The Vikings gave up flat routes to Austin Hooper
when the game was still a contest. By the fourth quarter, the game was out of reach and Ryan was able to find Calvin Ridley
on two big-play throws—including a touchdown thrown to the front pylon and a crossing route where Ridley made multiple defenders miss until he reached the Vikings’ two. Middle pressure or pressure in Ryan’s face has always been the best way to break-down Ryan’s game and the Vikings succeeded this week.
RB Devonta Freeman
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 19 - 0, Rec: 3 - 12 - 0 (4 targets) - The runner took what he could get during the first quarter but Atlanta wound up in pass mode after the Vikings went up by 14 points early in the game. Freeman lost a fumble while trying to split a pair of defenders at the edge of the defense early in the second quarter. He continued to earn most of the touches, rotating time with Ito Smith
late in the half. Late in the game Freeman caught a pair of passes as the check-down option—only one of them went for positive yards. Overall, Freeman ran hard and hit creases decisively, but there weren’t many open creases during the game and the gaem script got away from Atlanta to sustain the run.
RB Ito Smith
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 31 - 0, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets) - A bright spot during this debacle, Smith’s best gain was a 17-yard run on a cutback from a two tight end set and later in the same drive a pass reception that set up a short-yardage run for a first down. Smith had a pair of blitz pickup opportunities during the game. The first came late in the half when he got pushed back into Matt Ryan
’s lap by Anthony Barr and the second was a nice pick-up through the A gap that set up a third-down conversion for Austin Hooper
. Smith later spun off a pair of tackles on a cutback during the fourth quarter.
WR Julio Jones
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 31 - 1 (11 targets) - Atlanta kept the tight end and running back at the line to pass protect the Vikings’ edge defenders who had the physical advantage, which led to pressure and Ryan throwing an interception into traffic over the middle with Julio Jones
as the intended target. The pass protection plan asked the tight end and running back to cross the line of scrimmage to match up each opponent and they were out-matched. Ryan and Jones were not on the same page during the third series, which led to a target where Ryan should have been called for intentional grounding. Ryan found Jones on third down during this series but threw the ball well behind the receiver on a crossing route while under pressure and forced a difficult catch. Ryan tried to target Jones over the middle but Eric Kendricks broke up the pass. Xavier Rhodes faced Jones for nine plays yielding two catches for 15 yards during the first half. Jones dropped a crossing route over the middle when Eric Knedricks wrapped up the receiver on a high third-down throw at the end of the third quarter. Jones dropped another late-game target on a high throw with Harrison Smith delivering the hit ot his back. He caught a short crossing route on fourth down late in the game. A few plays later he caught a fade with a minute left against a rookie defensive back Mark Fields.
WR Mohamed Sanu
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 57 - 0 (6 targets) - He caught a crossing route for a first down but a James Carpenter hold nullified this play inside the two-minute warning. Sanu’s biggest gain came as the clock ran out during the first half when he caught a target across an open zone. Sanu earned a short gain in the flat but had more if not for a great ankle tackle by Eric Kendricks in the open field.
WR Calvin Ridley
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 64 - 1 (6 targets) - His first catch came with 5:25 in the third quarter for a first down in the right flat. Ryan targeted Ridley in the end zone late in the third quarter and drew a defensive pass interference call that was questionable, at best. Ridley dropped a low throw against tight coverage late in the third quarter. Ryan exhibited good touch on a throw to the pylon where Trae Waynes tied up Ridely during the stem, but Ridley worked free and ran to the pylong and under the target for the touchdown with nine minutes left. Ridley’s most impressive play was a crossing route where made multiple men miss in the open field with a little more than a minute left to reach the Vikings two.
WR Justin Hardy
, 22 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 41 - 0 (5 targets) - He caught a five-yard check-down during the third series. A few plays later, Ryan found Hardy for 23 yards on a check-down in the zone and gave Hardy room to run. Hardy dropped a slant against tight coverage from Xavier Rhodes on third and five with less than 10 left in the game. He dropped a two-point conversion against tight coverage on a fade against Xavier Rhodes. He caught a comeback late in the game against Rhodes down 6-28.
WR Russell Gage
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (2 targets) - He took a double reverse for a loss of a yard when the Vikings stayed at home on this play late in the first quarter. He made a leaping catch on a crossing route near the boundary on third and long during the third drive of the first half but Ryan threw the ball too high for Gate to land in bounds. He made a tough catch over the middle and was helped off the field after taking a hit ot his shoulder.
TE Austin Hooper
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 77 - 0 (9 targets) - Hooper led Falcons receivers and was left open in the flats repeatedly in this game, catching five of his nine targets in this area of the field. Only one of his receptions was a pass over the middle. Hooper and the rest of the Falcons offensive line and backs struggled to contain the Vikings blitz as pass protectors and there were some questionable designs from the offensive staff in an attempt to use the backs and tight ends in this area of the game.
QB Kirk Cousins
, 53 offensive snaps, Pass: 8 - 10 - 98 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 4 - 1 - It was a very rocky first year for Cousins and all eyes were on him in week 1 to see if he would rebound and earn all of the money Minnesota gave him. To everyones surprise, Cousins only had to throw the ball 10 times this week and let the running game take over. Cousins found Thielen on the first drive of the game after a blocked punt for a 23-yard touchdown. Thielen worked his way across the middle of the field and Cousins threw him open with a great ball on the deep crossing route. Thielen did the rest of the work and broke 2 tackles for the touchdown. Cousins also helped his own cause on the ground with a rushing touchdown on a quarterback sneak up the middle. Cousins served as more of a game manager this week and it worked out for the Vikings. It will be a much different game next week against a revitalized Packer defense that held the Bears to 3 points in week 1. Cousins will be asked to do a little more next week and again all eyes in Minnesota will be on him to see if he is worth the money they paid.
RB Dalvin Cook
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 111 - 2, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (2 targets) - Vikings fans have been waiting for Cook to be healthy since he was drafted in 2017. It looks like they may have finally gotten their wish as Cook torched the Falcons on the ground and looked to be every bit of the back he was with Florida State. Cook showed speed, power, and vision as he carried the Vikings to their first win in 2019. Cooks first touchdown came on a 19-yard burst off the left side. He outran the defensive end to the corner and then followed the lead block of Thielen into the end zone for an easy touchdown. Cook showed a quick burst of speed and proved that his knee is finally healthy. His second touchdown was a 7-yard power run right up the middle. Cook and a host of Viking linemen pushed the pile the last 4 yards into the end zone. Cook had a 23-yard run off the right side for the longest play on the ground for either team. The Vikings exploited the speed of Cook and his ability to get the edge on several plays and helped amass his first 100-yard game of the season. Cook was the work horse this week and the Vikings do not appear to be limiting his reps to try and keep him healthy in the early going.
RB Alexander Mattison
, 12 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 49 - 0 - There is a reason the Vikings took Mattison in the 3rd round last season and he proved that this weekend. Serving as the primary backup to Cook, Mattison amassed 49 yards on the ground and averaged 5.4 yards per carry. He was not targeted in the passing game, but only 4 Vikings were total this week. Mattison ripped off a 23-yard scamper off the right side for a big first down and accounted for nearly half of his yards on a single play. This was the same play the Vikings called for Cook on his 22-yard run and touchdown. The only threat to Mattison right now is Ameer Abdullah
, but the Vikings seem to trust their rookie runner with the primary workload behind Cook to start the season.
WR Adam Thielen
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 43 - 1 (3 targets) - After reeling off 8 straight games with 100 yards to start the year last season, Thielen had a much quieter debut this year. Thielen caught all 3 of his targets this week and added the only touchdown through the air. It was a beautiful 23-yard deep crossing route where Cousins threw him open and Thielen did the rest of the work after the catch. He turned the ball up field, out ran his defender, and then ran over 2 more at the goal line for the touchdown. Thielen came into the season saying he did not care about personal stats and just wanted to see the team win. He showed this later by throwing the key block on a Dalvin Cook
rushing touchdown later in the game. There will be games where Thielen is targeted 10+ times, but this week they just did not have to rely on him at all with how well the rushing attack worked.
WR Stefon Diggs
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 37 - 0 (2 targets) - It was a question all week as to if Diggs was going to play this weekend. He had been nursing a strained hamstring and was questionable heading into the weekend. Diggs was able to go, and the Vikings only had 4 receivers suited up for this game. Diggs hauled in both of his targets and looked great on his 31-yard catch and run down the sideline. He did not look limited at all this week; the Vikings just did not need him. Diggs and Thielen will make up the bulk share of targets again this season and he should have a great shot at eclipsing 1,000 receiving yards again this season.
WR Josh Doctson
- The former first round pick signed with the Vikings a week ago after being cut by the Redskins. Despite having played with Kirk Cousins
before, the Vikings felt it best he practices another week with the offense before suiting up on Sunday. Doctson should carve out a big role with the Vikings as the team needs a reliable third receiver. The Vikings only had 4 receivers active this weekend and will need Doctson when they have to throw the ball more than 10 times in a game.
TE Kyle Rudolph
, 53 offensive snaps (1 targets) - It was a tough week for Rudolph. He did not register a single catch and had 1 target the entire game. That is not a good look when a highly drafted tight end is lurking behind him on the depth chart. However, it was not his fault this week as the offense only threw the ball 10 total times and ran it 38. Rudolph has always been touchdown dependent and will continue to be so this season. There is a lot of competition in the red zone for the Vikings and it will limit the overall value for Rudolph.