New York Jets 34, Washington Redskins 17
What you need to know
New York Jets
- It’s still hard to buy into this offense, though it has looked pretty good the last two weeks. It’s come against some bad teams, though, so that should give anyone pause. LeVeon Ball is struggling hard, Robby Anderson
is an afterthought and Ryan Griffen is inconsistent. The only player you should feel ok trusting is Jamison Crowder
, who is a high-target, solid output player. He may not be a fantastic start but in a PPR league he should be consistent.
- Dwayne Haskins
showed some positive signs as a growing quarterback. He is still skittish in the pocket and needs to get much better with his pocket presence but his ability to make plays had bright spots today. Washington is in a rebuild through the second half of the year and Dwayne's growth is a major part of what they will look like moving forward. The lack of weapons makes it hard to fully evaluate him, but being able to see him gain some chemistry with Terry McLaurin
is encouraging. Derrius Guice
looks healthy as well and this game showed his game breaking potential. Both guys should be highly featured through the late portion of this season.
QB Sam Darnold
, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 30 - 293 - 4 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - -3 - 0 - Since back-to-back bad outings against New England and Jacksonville, Sam Darnold
has thrown just two interceptions compared to six touchdowns. Darnold had a season high in passing yards, his second highest yards per attempt on the year with 9.8 and looked both calm and poised under center. Admittedly, Washington's defense is not good in any way, but Darnold did an excellent job looking off the defense, moving through his progressions and stepping away from pressure while keeping his eyes downfield. Those last two parts were on display for his first touchdown, a 20-yard throw to tight end Daniel Brown
. On the play, Darnold saw the pocket collapsing and squirted out to his left. He had open space to run, and that pulled defender towards him, including the coverage on Brown. The tight end broke free in the end zone, and Darnold immediately tossed the ball to him before the coverage could react. It was Darnold's fourth complete pass in a row and the fourth week in a row the Jets scored on their opening drive. Darnolds second touchdown throw was more straightforward, bootlegging to his right and hitting Robby Anderson
on a corner route in the end zone. His third touchdown showed a great read and quick reaction by the quarterback as Darnold saw Ryan Griffin
slip behind coverage in zone and delivered the ball quickly before the defense could adjust. On the fourth touchdown, Jamison Crowder
did a nice job getting a few steps on his coverage and Darnold threw a dime, dropping the ball right in Crowder's hands along the sideline, catching the receiver in stride for a score. Darnold continues to still have some bad habits, as we saw on his interception. On the play, the offensive line allowed a lot of pressure and Darnold, throwing off balance overthrew his intended target, right into a Washington defender’s hands. It was a bad decision and a bad throw, something which continues to be an issue for the second year quarterback.
RB LeVeon Bell
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 59 - 1, Rec: 2 - 33 - 0 (2 targets) - Bell continues to struggle behind this offensive line, but some of it is definitely self-inflicted. Bell appears to hesitate now before hitting the hole, and several times doesn’t seem to trust that the hole will hold. He continues to show plenty of toughness running, as shown by the extra push he gave to score his touchdown, but overall Bell is struggling. He was also sick last week, and has an issue with his knee, so both things may be holding him back as well. Bell did see a little bit of work in the pass game, and lined up in the slot once or twice, including on a 21-yard catch, but he’s not seeing much use as a receiver.
RB Bilal Powell
, 16 offensive snaps, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 42 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets) - Powell got more carries than normal in part because the game was so lopsided and he actually looks a little more confident than LeVeon Bell
does, hitting the holes more quickly and getting through them more swiftly. As a result Powell was very effective in this game, particularly in the late first quarter when he did most of his damage, including hitting on runs of 14 and 17 yards. As the game progressed, though, Powell saw less and less work and by the end was non-factor.
RB Josh Adams
, 7 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 6 - 0 - The second year back had no luck behind this offensive line and was merely there to give everyone in front of him a breather.
RB Ty Montgomery
, 15 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 11 - 0 (1 targets) - Wondering where Montgomery was for the last few games? Well we finally had proof of life, as he actually saw the field on something other than special teams. It was only two carries, though he was also the target on Darnold’s interception. On top of that, Montgomery fumbled on a return, though Washington couldn’t capitalize.
WR Jamison Crowder
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 76 - 1 (8 targets) - Crowder continues to get targets from Sam Darnold
and is clearly the receiver the second year quarterback trusts the most. Crowder’s sharp route running and sure hands continually allow him to make the most of his chances, and he made a nice catch down the sideline for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. On the play, Crowder sped past the defender and Darnold dropped a nice pass right in Crowder’s hands along the sideline, which the receiver then took the rest of the way to the end zone.
WR Demaryius Thomas
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 44 - 0 (5 targets) - Thomas is not the receiver he once was, but he is slowly gaining more of Sam Darnold
and the offense’s trust, and if his impact is a bit limited due to his waning skillset, he still makes some nice plays, such as on his catch and run for 13 yards in the first quarter. Still, his use is scattershot, and he’s not a top option in this offense.
WR Robby Anderson
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 1 (3 targets) - Anderson’s a one-trick pony and generally speaking, that trick doesn’t work in an offense with no pass protection. He did have a nice catch on a corner route to kick things off for the Jets scoring, and was able to get behind the defense on the play to get open and present a nice target for quarterback Sam Darnold
. For some reason though, the team isn’t getting him as involved short as he could be, and that continues to hurt his prospects and limits his targets greatly.
TE Ryan Griffin
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 109 - 1 (5 targets) - Chris Herndon
is out again, but the Jets have found gold in Ryan Griffin
who had a massive day, including catching all five of his targets and a nice touchdown. On that play he found his way behind the defenders, who appeared to be playing zone and let him pass but didn’t hand him off to anyone. Quarterback Sam Darnold
saw this immediately and hit Griffin with a quick pass, which the tight end took into the end zone.
TE Daniel Brown
, 19 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 20 - 1 (1 targets) - Brown saw the field more than usual this week, playing 19 snaps on offense, and snagging his first touchdown of the year and the second of his career. On the play, the pocket collapsed and quarterback Sam Darnold
ran to the left. The defense stepped up, including the coverage on Brown, and Darnold quickly threw the ball to the tight end, who was wide open in the end zone.
QB Dwayne Haskins
, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 35 - 214 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 5 - 0 - Dwayne Haskins
had an outing that showed improvement. His pocket awareness and willingness to keep plays alive was evident early in this game. He still has plenty of room to grow as a quarterback going through his progressions but trying to be a playmaker is encouraging. He completed nineteen passes and threw two touchdowns. His best pass of the day came in the third quarter when he extended a play and found Terry McLaurin
over forty years down field, but the play was called back. Both touchdown passes came on plays that demonstrated his ability as a playmaker. However, he still had too many errant throws and inability to get through his reads quickly. Today was an improving performance but there is still plenty of room to grow as he plays the position.
RB Adrian Peterson
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 25 - 0, Rec: 2 - 5 - 0 (2 targets) - Adrian Peterson
wasn't as involved this game as he shared the backfield with Derrius Guice
. Also due to short drives and a larger deficit the run game couldn’t be a focal point. Adrian had nine carries for less than thirty yards and had two catches that weren't impactful. It will be interesting to see how much Adrian is involved moving forward considering the Redskins are looking towards the future.
RB Derrius Guice
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 24 - 0, Rec: 1 - 45 - 1 (2 targets) - Derrius Guice
had a combined eight touches in this game but also showed his ability to make plays. He scored one of the Redskins two touchdowns on a screen pass that went for forty-five yards. He also added seven carries but the run game was stagnant against the stout Jets run defense. Derrius could end up being the starter as early as next week being that the Redskins are looking to emphasize player development with some of their younger players.
RB Wendell Smallwood
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (3 targets) - Wendell Smallwood
was exclusively used as a passing down back. He caught one pass for eleven yards while being targeted three times.
WR Kelvin Harmon
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 53 - 0 (6 targets) - Kelvin Harmon
had his most productive game of the season as he recorded five catches for fifty-three yards. He was targeted six times which also shows his involvement. With Paul Richardson
inactive today, Kelvin was able to step up and contribute. As a bigger receiver, Dwayne found comfort in finding him down field while scrambling.
WR Terry McLaurin
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 69 - 0 (4 targets) - Terry McLaurin
got back on track a little bit in this game showing some chemistry with Dwayne Haskins
. He tallied three receptions for sixty-nine yards on four targets. Terry could have had an even bigger day if a deep pass didn't get called back. It is evident he is by far Washington's best receiver and if he can continue to build chemistry with Dwayne, that will pay off well moving forward.
WR Trey Quinn
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (4 targets) - Quinn was not a valuable contributor in this game as he only had two catches on four targets for less than ten yards.
WR Steven Sims
, 9 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (4 targets) - Steven Sims
Was activated today versus the Jets. However, he wasn't used much as he only had two catches for less than ten yards. Most games Steven won't be on the field due to be low on the depth chart.
TE Jeremy Sprinkle
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 16 - 1 (3 targets) - Jeremy Sprinkle
only had two catches but scored a touchdown versus the Jets. Jeremy's touchdown came in garbage time but his presence as a redzone threat could potentially grow with Dwayne being a young quarterback.
Buffalo Bills 37, Miami Dolphins 20
What you need to know
- The Buffalo Bills beat the Miami Dolphins on Sunday to improve to 7-3 on the season. Josh Allen
was at his best, with three touchdown passes, a touchdown rush, and no turnovers. Allen threw two of his touchdowns to John Brown
, while adding a third to Dawson Knox
, and a fourth touchdown on the ground. Buffalo continues to lean more heavily on Devin Singletary
ahead of Frank Gore
in the running game.
- All good things must come to an end, and that happened this week for the Miami Dolphins after they fell to the Buffalo Bills 37-20. Buffalo was always going to be a tough defensive matchup and Miami was just not able to keep up this week. Jakeem Grant
stepped up in a big way with a 101-yard kick return and a rushing touchdown and Ryan Fitzpatrick
threw for more than 300 yards. The Dolphins were able to move the ball through the air but had drives killed by giving up 7 sacks for 43 yards lost and only rushing 13 times for 23 yards as a team. The defense did not record a single sack this week and only managed to hit Josh Allen
twice the entire game. The Dolphins were on the brink of turning things around before half time after they scored their first touchdown and recovered a successful onside kick. Unfortunately, Allen Hurns
fumbled the ball after making a 20-yard catch and things proceeded to go downhill after that. Miami will travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns next Sunday and have a very favorable schedule the rest of the way outside of the Patriots to end the season.
QB Josh Allen
, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 33 - 256 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 56 - 1 - Josh Allen
had a strong performance with four touchdowns against the Dolphins on Sunday. Allen threw two touchdown passes to his favorite target, John Brown
. The first was a cover 2 beating throw along the perimeter that Allen threw on time and accurately to allow Brown to make a big run after the catch. Allen’s second touchdown to Brown was a bootleg in the red zone where he hit Brown through zone coverage in the end zone. Allen also added a touchdown to Dawson Knox
on a good throw to Knox who was able to make a defender miss for a run after the catch score. He also added a scramble for a touchdown in the red zone. Allen was largely accurate and on time during the game and made good decisions. In recent weeks, Allen has avoided the mistakes he made early in the season and was finally able to connect for a big play in the passing game which has been absent most of the season. Allen will get a home matchup against the Broncos next week.
RB Devin Singletary
, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 75 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets) - Devin Singletary
continued to the featured running back in the Buffalo offense against the Dolphins. Singletary continued his recent stretch of strong play, including a big gain on the first play from scrimmage. Singletary ran well between the tackles despite his short frame but fumbled the ball twice. Fortunately for Singletary, both fumbles were recovered by Buffalo but Frank Gore
was notably the primary clock-killing back at the end of the game. Singletary had only one short reception for four yards on his only target. Singletary will get a good matchup next week as a home favorite against the Broncos.
RB Frank Gore
, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 27 - 0, Rec: 1 - 18 - 0 (2 targets) - Frank Gore
continued to work in a secondary role behind Devin Singletary
in the Buffalo offense against the Dolphins on Sunday. Gore’s work was predominantly on interior carries and failed to establish any consistent success. Gore saw two series late in the game when the Bills were in clock-killing mode and saw five carries and a target, but both series were three and outs. Gore will get a good matchup against the Broncos as a home favorite next week.
WR John Brown
, 71 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 137 - 2 (14 targets) - John Brown
had the best game of his strong season against the Dolphins. Brown scored two touchdowns on Sunday. The first was against cover 2 on a perimeter route where Josh Allen
made a good timing throw to thread the needle to Brown between the corner and safety, which allowed Brown to make the safety miss for an easy touchdown. The second was a red zone bootleg, where Brown ran an over route when Allen threw the ball through a tight window for the score. Cast as a deep threat coming into the season, Brown has consistently made catches all over the field, and Sunday was no different. Brown has developed into a consistent number one receiver for Allen and his quickness allows him to create separation in the short game for Allen and he can make plays after the catch when Allen’s throws are on time and accurate. Brown had other red zone chances including a fade in the end zone and a catch over the middle that was stopped short of the goal line on another drive. Brown also was missed on a deep over route that could have been another long gain. Brown will face Denver at home next week.
WR Cole Beasley
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 38 - 0 (4 targets) - Cole Beasley
had another quiet game against the Dolphins on Sunday as John Brown
had a strong performance as the leading receiver. Beasley caught all four of his targets which were primarily in the short passing game. Beasley’s volume has waned in recent weeks as the passing game has revolved around John Brown
, but he continues to be the clear second receiver in the offense. He will look to bounce back next week at home against the Broncos.
TE Dawson Knox
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 32 - 1 (3 targets) - Dawson Knox
had a touchdown against the Dolphins on Sunday. He was targeted over the middle in man coverage in the red zone and able to beat a safety with an athletic run after the catch for the score. He also had a quick flat route that he turned upfield for a run after the catch, while adding a drop. Knox is a big-bodied target in the offense with good athleticism and has shown the ability to make plays after the catch this season. He will face the Dolphins next week at home.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 32 - 45 - 323 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0 - For a brief moment we all thought that Fitz-Magic was back, and the Dolphins were going to make a late charge. He threw for more than 300 yards this week, completed passes to 7 different receivers, and showed a clear connection with DeVante Parker
. The duo connected on a 50-yard pass to help setup the first touchdown of the game. Parker ran a deep crossing route and had the corner coming over in coverage fall down after he tried to make a play on the ball. It was a beautifully thrown ball by Fitzpatrick that hit Parker in stride and let him run after the catch. Fitzpatrick looked good this week outside of the offensive line not being able to protect him at all. The offensive line allowed 7 sacks for a loss of 43 yards and he was hit a total of 14 times. Fitzpatrick looked to be harassed on almost every single one of his drop backs and rarely had a clean pocket to make a play. The Dolphins have been playing to draft their next quarterback all season, but they may want to think about putting a line in front of someone first or they will never find any success. Fitzpatrick should get the nod again next week against the Browns and have a bit easier of a matchup.
RB Kalen Ballage
, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 9 - 1, Rec: 5 - 8 - 0 (6 targets) - It looked like it was going to be a good game for Ballage and then the Dolphins dug themselves in an early hole that they could not get out of. He averaged just a single yard per carry and was only given the ball 9 times. His longest rush went for 7 yards and that accounted for more than 2/3 of his total rushing yards. Ballage did score the first touchdown of the game for Miami after he powered the ball 3 yards up the middle. He put his head down and did not run into much resistance on the way to the end zone. This score was setup by a big 50-yard pass play to DeVante Parker
. Ballage chipped in 5 catches on 6 targets for another 8 yards, but it did not do much to boost his overall stat line. In the end, he had 14 total touches for 17 yards and a touchdown. Kenyan Drake
has found a better home in Arizona and Ballage is going to have to play a lot better if he wants to keep an increased role when Mark Walton
WR DeVante Parker
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 135 - 0 (10 targets) - It has been the Parker show since Preston Williams
went down with a season ending injury. He has seen the greatest bump in targets outside of Allen Hurns
and has done the most with it so far. Parker caught 7 of his 10 targets this week and went over 100 yards receiving for the first time this season. He also had his longest play of the season with a 50-yard reception in the first half to help setup a touchdown. Parker ran a deep drag route across the middle and Fitzpatrick hit him in stride for the big gain. The Bills were in zone coverage and the corner that was supposed to fill that zone had fallen down and allowed Parker to run for big yards after the catch. It was by far the best game of the season for Parker and the only thing he did not do this week was find the end zone.
WR Jakeem Grant
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 7 - 1, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (3 targets) - It seems like it should be easy to make a name for yourself in the Miami offense. They have traded away the majority of their skill players and are giving several guys a chance to make big plays. Enter Grant this week and his 2 touchdowns. The first score came on a 101-yard kick return. He fielded the ball in the end zone and took off down the middle of the field. After making a few guys miss and cutting to the outside it became a foot race to the end zone with only the kicker to beat. This brought the score to 23-14 and gave the Dolphins some hope going into the second half. Grant then made another big play when the offense ran a trick play with Ballage taking the direct snap and handing to Grant on the end around. Grant took the ball 7 yards off the right end and into the end zone. Both plays were an impressive showcase of speed and ability to make a defender miss. Grant also caught all 3 of his targets for 32 yards and showed that Miami should work him into the offensive game plan more often.
WR Allen Hurns
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 53 - 0 (6 targets) - It was difficult for Hurns to find room in this offense behind Parker, Williams, and Grant but he has done just that in the past few weeks. With Williams done for the season, Hurns has stepped up and seen the biggest jump in playing time. He caught 4 of his 6 targets this week and was second on the team with his 53 receiving yards. Unfortunately, he made one big mistake and fumbled the ball after making a 20-yard catch across the middle. The Dolphins had just recovered an onside kick and were trying to take a shot down the field. The play was originally ruled incomplete, but upon further review it was ruled a fumble and clear recovery by Buffalo. It killed what could have been a big turning point in the game for Miami and could hurt his playing time going forward after Jakeem Grant
stepped up this week.
TE Mike Gesicki
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 18 - 0 (6 targets) - Another week and another disappointing performance from Gesicki. We have been waiting for him to break out all season long and make good on the promise of an athletic tight end in an offense that needs to throw the ball a lot. He still looks lost running his routes at times and has not done a good job in run blocking at all. He caught 4 of his 6 targets for 18 yards this week. 10 of those yards came on a single catch and Miami just did not call his number deep down the field at all. Fitzpatrick was harassed all day and did not have time to let the tight end run routes deeper down the field. Gesicki still does not have to fear Nick O’Leary behind him, but he will have to play much better if he truly wants to be their tight end of the future.
Pittsburgh Steelers 7, Cleveland Browns 21
What you need to know
- The Steelers were in for one of it’s toughest challenges over recent weeks. The Steelers most recently played against the Rams, who were traveling east, Colts, who were missing Jacoby Brissett
for a majority of the game, and the Miami Dolphins. The Steelers last challenge was back in Week 5 against the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers were finally going to get a real test of their opportunistic secondary.
The Steelers offense sputtered throughout the game. Starting with a missed field goal on their second possession and then turning the ball over on downs on their fifth possession of the first half of the game. The Steelers were not only seeing routine pass rush from the opposition, they were also dealing with injuries to James Conner
, Juju Smith-Schuster, and Diontae Johnson
. Through the first half of the game the Steelers offense was barely over 100 total yards. The first score of the game for the Steelers first came in the third quarter after the Browns committed four penalties and marched the Steelers down the field. The final penalty of this drive was a defensive pass interference call in the end zone when the Browns defender did not turn around for the ball and went chest to chest with Johnny Holton
. The best plays for the Steelers all night had been defensive penalties. In the fourth quarter, down seven points, the Steelers go for it on fourth down. Mason Rudolph
almost throws an interception and the ball is turned over on downs.
Finally, in the closing final seconds, there was a brawl between the Steelers and the Browns after Myles Garrett tried sacking Mason Rudolph
. Long story short, this fight between the two teams ended with multiple ejections and heavy suspensions and fines being issued. These two teams will square off again in two weeks.
- he Browns beat the Steelers for the first time since October 2014. Unfortunately, the win was marred by an ugly brawl at the end of the game that resulted in Myles Garrett getting suspended indefinitely, prompting many to question whether the current coaching staff has installed any sort of discipline within the team. The Browns were up 14-0 at halftime and played extremely conservatively in the second half, running frequently to milk the clock. Pittsburgh lost both James Conner
and JuJu Smith-Schuster
in the game and their offense struggled mightily to move the ball while the Cleveland defense notched four interceptions and four sacks.
QB Mason Rudolph
, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 44 - 221 - 1 TD / 4 INT, Rush: 2 - 15 - 0 - Week 11 for Mason Rudolph
was the convergence of bad decision making and little offensive line protection. Rudolph was routinely taking either pressure or being hit when he was trying to deliver the football. On a third down and short Rudolph made an inaccurate pass to Juju Smith-Schuster which would have continued a drive when the Browns were only up by seven points. Late in the second half, Rudolph started turning the football over. Rudolph’s first interception of the night came on a deep pass off of a flea flicker. Denzel Ward turns and tips the ball in the air and Morgan Burnett makes the interception. On the following drive, Rudolph fumbled the ball in the last two minutes of the first half. Sheldon Richardson had the opportunity to scoop the ball up but was too focused on what to do after the recovery. This is Rudolph’s fourth fumble not lost. After not turning the ball over, Rudolph took another sack on the Steelers’ last play of their last possession of the first half. Rudolph’s second interception was on an inaccurate pass behind the receiver over the middle of the field. Rudolph’s fourth interception came when he was throwing a six route and he didn’t see the defender underneath the route. Luckily, Rudolph caught up to the Browns defender and was able to stop the defender from scoring. The final interception of Rudolph’s day came in the fourth quarter. Rudolph overthrew Vance McDonald
and there was good deep coverage on the day. Even Rudolph’s lone touchdown pass on the game saw plenty of pressure. While dropping back to pass, the Browns pass rush almost reached Rudolph for another sack. Rudolph saw Jaylen Samuels
open in the flat just in time.
RB Jaylen Samuels
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 26 - 0, Rec: 5 - 19 - 1 (6 targets) - Similar to the passing protection on the night, there wasn’t much room for the rushing attack either. Samuels’ best run of the night was up the middle. Samuels showed good explosion as he was picking his way through the center of the defense. Samuels did flash as a dual threat when he scored his touchdown on a route out of the backfield. When it looked like Mason Rudolph
was about to take another sack, Rudolph spotted Samuels wide open.
RB James Conner
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 10 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (2 targets) - In Week 11, James Conner
returned from a shoulder injury he suffered two weeks prior. It was believed Conner was held out of Week 10’s matchup to save himself for this game. Conner’s night started off almost breaking a long run to the outside when he was taken down by a shoestring tackle. Conner even fell down on a route out of the backfield. He eventually got up and flashed as a checkdown for Mason Rudolph
for a short gain. Unfortunately, similar to previous weeks, Conner’s night was cut very short. He exited the game with an aggravation of his shoulder injury from two weeks prior.
WR James Washington
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 49 - 0 (5 targets) - With so many key skill position players out after the first half of the game it is quizzical how Washington ended the evening with only five targets. Early on, Washington drew a defensive pass interference which led to a 33-yard gain and a first down. Throughout the evening Washington and Rudolph and Washington displayed good chemistry. Rudolph was able to hit Washington on a curl route. The ball was delivered perfectly as Washington was coming out of his break and back towards the ball. Washington’s blemish on the evening was a reception breakup. Washington was running a shallow crossing route from left to right and the pass was perfectly on target. The defender simply put his hands between Washington and the ball.
WR Diontae Johnson
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (4 targets) - In the first quarter Johnson was h in stride for a short reception. Johnson was able to break the first tackle, but couldn’t make the second defender miss to gain a first down. On a helmet to helmet hit on a defenseless receiver, Johnson drew a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down. Johnson was out for the remainder of the game and the defender who hit Johnson was ejected from the game.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
, 22 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (4 targets) - Similar to the rest of the Steelers offensive skill position players, Smith-Schuster has a relatively short a unproductive evening. Early on, the Cleveland Browns were playing off coverage against Smith-Schuster and not allowing him to beat them deep. He was hit over the middle of the field on a short crossing route. Smith-Schuster was able to convert the Steelers first down of the game. On a key third down and short play, in the first quarter, Smith-Schuster was open for a first down to keep a drive alive. Mason Rudolph
threw the ball too far in front of Smith-Schuster and failed to convert the third down. Smith-Schuster’s night was cut short at the beginning of the second quarter after taking a helmet to helmet hit after making a catch. Smith-Schuster would not return to the game with a concussion.
TE Vance McDonald
, 71 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 33 - 0 (7 targets) - The target volume is high, but the quality of the targets was low. Every target McDonald had to work for and when he was targeted it was in traffic with Cleveland Browns defenders draped on him or the target was in traffic with no room to work. McDonald was not given the opportunity to maximize his targets in deeper parts of the field.
QB Baker Mayfield
, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 32 - 193 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 1 - Mayfield had a solid day throwing the football and his three scores where the most he has had all season. That being said, his chemistry with Odell Beckham
Jr. remains a work in progress. It looked like the two had a 43-yard touchdown at the end of the first drive but official review determined that Beckham’s knee hit down inside the one-yard line before the ball crossed the goal line. Mayfield followed that play with a one-yard quarterback sneak for the rushing touchdown. In the second quarter, Mayfield showed some of his elusiveness in the pocket. He had a pass rusher bearing down on him; pump faked the pass and got the defender to jump in the air. Then Mayfield stepped over and completed a deep 41-yard completion to KhaDarel Hodge. He targeted Hodge in the end zone on that same drive, with Hodge drawing a defensive pass interference flag. Mayfield took his only sack in the third quarter when he held onto the ball too long. He then had Jarvis Landry
wide open and overthrew him on what could have gone for a big gain. On the ensuing drive, Mayfield made a nice pass deep down the seam to Demetrius Harris
. Harris had a chance at the catch but offsetting pass interference penalties were called against both him and his defender. Mayfield then took a deep end-zone shot to Beckham but there was a miscommunication between the two. Mayfield threw toward the sideline while Beckham had turned toward the middle of the field. In the fourth quarter, he and Beckham showed nice timing on an 11-yard completion. Mayfield struggled with his accuracy again after that as Beckham got wide open and Mayfield threw way too high for the receiver to even make an attempt. He tried Beckham in the end zone again on the sixth drive of the second half, throwing an end zone fade from the Pittsburgh four-yard line. Beckham caught it but was unable to get both feet down inbounds on the play. Mayfield’s final touchdown came on a risky pass to rookie tight end Stephen Carlson
. Mayfield ripped an eight-yard strike to Carlson in the back of the end zone. Carlson leapt and reached over the defender’s helmet to make the catch. The pass could have been an interception had the defender been facing the play but he had his back to Mayfield while in coverage.
RB Nick Chubb
, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 27 - 92 - 0 (1 targets) - Chubb saw a season-high 27 carries in the victory, including nine in the third quarter where Cleveland played extremely conservatively. His first carry went for a 10-yard gain but he then lost a yard on the ensuing carry. In the second quarter, Chubb saw two red zone carries. He lost a yard on a carry from the Pittsburgh nine-yard line and then gained three yards down to the Pittsburgh seven. In Chubb’s busy third quarter, he ripped off another 10-yard gain and later broke a tackle to pick up another eight yards. In the fourth quarter Chubb was mostly quiet, although he did see another red zone carry from the Pittsburgh four-yard line. He lost four yards on the play. He took three carries on the final drive to kill the clock. It appeared he may have tweaked something on his final carry of the game. He came off the field holding the inner area of his upper leg and was spotted on the sideline stretching out his groin. The team has yet to update Chubb’s status. The presence of Kareem Hunt
has cut into Chubb’s role in the passing game. He is still seeing a high volume of carries but has become a more touchdown-dependent option.
RB Kareem Hunt
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 12 - 0, Rec: 6 - 46 - 0 (8 targets) - Hunt’s first touch was an impressive leaping reception where he jumped up and reached over a defender for a 20-yard catch. He followed that with another impressive reception on third-and-11. He caught a short pass, broke a tackle, and dragged a defender for a first down. The Browns then lined him up as a wide receiver and he caught a three-yard pass. He was quiet in the second quarter. In the third, however, Hunt was busy. He saw a carry, which went for a two-yard gain. He and Nick Chubb
then were both lined up in the backfield and Hunt had a five-yard carry from that formation. He followed that with an excellent route out of the backfield, catching an 11-yard pass in the process on a third-and-five. He converted another first down on second-and-four with a five-yard run. In the fourth quarter, Hunt lost two yards on his first carry as he was met in the backfield. He then caught his final pass, which went for a loss of one. He saw two final rushes on the team’s final offensive possession as they attempted to kill the clock.
WR Jarvis Landry
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 43 - 1 (7 targets) - Landry had another solid game, finding the end zone for the third-straight contest. His first target didn’t come until the fourth drive of the game. He got wide open and hauled in a 25-yard reception. He capped off that drive with a one-yard touchdown. Landry ran from right to left along the goal line on the route. The defense lost track of him along the way and he was all by himself for the one-yard score on the left side of the end zone. On the following drive he picked up a six-yard catch on third-and-10. On the sixth drive, he made a diving attempt but couldn’t haul in the target. He was targeted again on that drive but the defense broke up the pass. It looked like contact was made before the ball got there but there was no flag on the play. In the third quarter, Landry got wide open again down the left sideline but Mayfield overthrew him. That play could have gone for a big gain had they connected.
WR Odell Beckham
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 60 - 0 (10 targets) - Beckham came extremely close to posting a big game but again a bit of bad luck along with shaky chemistry between him and Baker Mayfield
held him back. His first catch was a seven-yard gain on a short slant. On the same drive, it appeared he and Mayfield connected for a 43-yard touchdown. The officials reviewed the scoring play and determined that Beckham’s knee touched down inside the one-yard line before the ball crossed the goal line. Beckham had to settle for a 42-yard reception as Mayfield punched in the one-yard score. On the second drive he caught a short pass which went for no gain. On the following drive he saw another target but the pass was too high for him to catch. In the second quarter, he saw a target near the left sideline. It was a catchable ball but Beckham dropped it. In the third quarter, Beckham saw a deep end zone shot. Unfortunately, there appeared to be a miscommunication between him and Mayfield as the ball was placed near the sideline while Beckham had turned toward the middle of the field. Beckham saw several targets in the fourth quarter. He and Mayfield showed nice timing on an 11-yard reception near the right sideline. Mayfield went back to Beckham twice more on that drive but they couldn’t connect, with one target too far out of bounds and the other thrown way too high for a wide-open Beckham. He came close to scoring yet again on his final target of the game. Beckham caught a four-yard end zone fade but was unable to get both feet down inbounds.
Kansas City Chiefs 24, Los Angeles Chargers 17
What you need to know
Kansas City Chiefs
- The Kansas City Chiefs beat the LA Chargers 24-17 to improve their record to 7-4 on the season. Patrick Mahomes
completed 19 of 32 passes for 182 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Mahomes also rushed five times for 59 yards. Damien Williams
rushed four times for seven yards, LeSean McCoy
rushed seven times for 29 yards and a touchdown, and Darrel Williams
rushed 11 times for 35 yards and a touchdown. Tyreek Hill
was held to zero catches on two targets before leaving the game with a hamstring injury, while Sammy Watkins
caught two passes for 26 yards. Mecole Hardman
caught two passes for 13 yards. Tight end Travis Kelce
led the Chiefs with seven receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown.
Los Angeles Chargers
- Philip Rivers
continues to make poor decisions while being constantly harassed by the opponents' pass rush. Despite a fair amount of early success, he threw four more interceptions in this game including a back-breaker on the game's final drive with the Chargers just 14 yards away from possibly tying the game.
was unstoppable in the passing game, and both he and Melvin Gordon
were extremely effective on the ground as well. The Chargers lost this game because of turnovers and costly penalties, not because the offense or defense struggled in any way.
tied Austin Ekeler
for the team lead in targets and did manage to find the end zone, but he continues to do an inordinate amount of work close to the line of scrimmage. Thirty of his 71 yards came on one play, meaning that his other seven receptions went for just 41 yards. Owners won't complain about his stat line, but he just hasn't had those deep gains like we saw from him a year ago or even earlier this season.
QB Patrick Mahomes
, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 32 - 182 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 59 - 0 - Patrick Mahomes
completed 19 of 32 passes for 182 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the Chiefs win over the Chargers on Monday. Mahomes also rushed five times for 59 yards, leading the Chiefs in rushing yards on the evening. The rushing total was a career high for Mahomes, and this speaks volumes about Mahomes ability to impact a game because it came on a night when he had his career low with respect to passing yards. Mahomes could not get much going on a night where he lost Tyreek Hill
early in the game with a hamstring injury. The Chargers were dropping into coverage and forcing the Chiefs to beat them on the ground, but in doing so they lost track of Mahomes ability to scramble. This directly influenced the game as Mahomes was able to run for critical first downs on third and two (20 yard run) and third and seven (24 yard run). Both of these plays highlighted the fact that the Chargers were willing to let the Chiefs beat them on the ground, as they had dropped so many men into coverage that once Mahomes got outside the pocket he didn’t hit his first defender until nearly 20 yards downfield. Mahomes only touchdown pass of the night came with the Chiefs facing a first and ten from the Chargers 23 yard line. Mahomes took the snap out of the shotgun and while dropping back, was hit with a Chargers pass rush from both sides. Mahomes continued to fade back, giving himself time to throw the ball downfield. Mahomes made a very accurate throw to Kelce, who was running an outside post from the left side of the formation. The ball was exactly where it needed to be, out in front of Kelce and out of range of the two Chargers defenders that had let Kelce get to the perfect spot in between them. Kelce made a fantastic toe tapping catch in the end zone, and this touchdown proved to be the difference in the game.
RB Darrel Williams
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 35 - 1, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (3 targets) - Darrel Williams
rushed 11 times for 35 yards and a touchdown, while also catching two passes for eight yards on three targets. Williams saw all of his work in the fourth quarter after Damien Williams
and McCoy were both forced to leave the game with injuries. Williams doesn’t have the dynamic skillset of McCoy, or the overall ability of Damien Williams
, but he is a consummate pro and a player that Andy Reid trusts and depends on. In many ways he reminds me of Jamaal Williams
(Packers), as he is not going to come in and make plays all on his own. However, if you put him in the right position with playmakers around him, he will take advantage of the opportunities he is given. With the Chiefs facing a second and two from the Chargers six yard line, Mahomes took the snap under center and handed the ball off to Williams on a play that resembled the off-tackle-right play that McCoy scored on earlier in the game. This time though, the Chargers sealed off the right edge and forced Williams back to the middle of the field. Williams stopped with a jump cut back to the left and patiently found a hole in the middle of the line to squeeze through. He then put his head down and ran over a Chargers defender at the goal line for the six yard touchdown. Williams is really good in the red zone, as his patient running style and vision give him an advantage when the Chiefs spread out the defense in the short field. The Chiefs do not play again until week 13, so it will be interesting to see how McCoy and Damien Williams
fare with their injuries. If Williams is the lone healthy back for the Chiefs, he becomes the most important free agent pickup of the season.
RB LeSean McCoy
, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 29 - 1, Rec: 4 - 28 - 0 (6 targets) - LeSean McCoy
rushed seven times for 29 yards and one touchdown, while also catching four passes for 28 yards on six targets. A week after being a healthy scratch, McCoy was playing well while sharing time with Damien Williams
. In the first half, McCoy scored the lone Chiefs touchdown, and looked very good with respect to his speed and quickness. Unfortunately for McCoy, he had to leave the game in the second half with a suspected concussion, which led the way for Darrel Williams
to come in and have the Chiefs backfield all to himself. McCoy’s touchdown run came with the Chiefs facing a first and goal from the Chargers six yard line. Mahomes took the snap under center and handed off the ball to McCoy on an off-tackle right play. McCoy took his time and waited for his blockers, allowing them enough time to open a hole which he easily broke through for a six yard touchdown. While McCoy looked very fresh in this game, he did have another fumble, which came on the play where he was concussed. Luckily for McCoy, the fumble in the red zone was recovered by the Chiefs. Still, it is unnerving that McCoy fumbled again, especially at a time when he was going to see the majority of the touches with Williams injured. McCoy will have two weeks to clear the concussion protocol before the Chiefs next game in week 13.
RB Damien Williams
, 12 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 7 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets) - Damien Williams
rushed four times for seven yards and had one catch for six yards before leaving the game with a rib injury just before halftime. His injury status has not been updated yet but look for more news on Wednesday regarding this injury.
WR Sammy Watkins
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 26 - 0 (3 targets) - Sammy Watkins
caught two passes for 26 yards on three targets in the Chiefs win over the Chargers on Monday night. Even with Hill leaving the game early in the first half, Watkins did not see the targets that you would expect as the #1 receiver in the Chiefs offense. Outside of week one, Watkins does not have a touchdown or game with more than 65 receiving yards, a puzzling stat considering his quarterback as well as the talent surrounding him. If Hill were to miss time, Watkins becomes an auto-play, yet barring that, Watkins can only be depended on for his rather mediocre floor.
WR Mecole Hardman
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (4 targets) - Mecole Hardman
caught two passes for 13 yards on four targets in the Chiefs win over the Chargers on Monday. Hardman doesn’t have a ton of value in the Chiefs offense when everyone is healthy, however with the top two running backs injured, and Hill leaving this game with an injury, Hardman may have stumbled into a great position during the stretch run of the regular season. Hardman was contained in this game, partly because the Chiefs could not get much going in the passing game, and partly because the Chargers were not going to let the Chiefs beat them down the field. It would have been the perfect game to unleash Hardman on some end-around’s, reverses or receiver screens, but Reid did not go in that direction. This isn’t a great sign for Hardman, but pay attention to the injury report before the Chiefs week 13 game against the Raiders. Hardman makes for an interesting play if Hill, Williams and McCoy were to miss time.
TE Travis Kelce
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 92 - 1 (10 targets) - Travis Kelce
caught seven passes on 10 targets for 92 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs win over the Chargers on Monday. Kelce was the extent of the Chiefs passing game, leading the team in receptions, yards, touchdowns and targets, while being responsible for more than half of Mahomes passing yards on the night. The Chargers chose to drop their defenders into coverage in an effort to minimize the big play potential of the Chiefs pass catchers, and for the most part they did just that. With that said, Kelce made them pay for in the intermediate passing game, and when he lined up outside, the Chargers guessed that he would be breaking towards the middle of the field. They guessed wrong on Kelce’s touchdown catch. With the Chiefs facing a first and ten from the Chargers 23 yard line. Mahomes took the snap out of the shotgun and while dropping back, was hit with a Chargers pass rush from both sides. Mahomes continued to fade back, giving himself time to throw the ball downfield. Mahomes delivered a great throw to Kelce, who was running his post-route to the front left corner of the end zone. The ball was dropped directly in front of Kelce, but was close enough to the sideline that Kelce had to make a fantastic catch by outstretching his arms and then tapping both feet before his momentum carried him out of bounds. It was a play that not many tight ends in the league can make, as Kelce had to be fast enough to beat the Chargers zone defense, with great hands to make the catch, and the athleticism to get his feet down before he went out of bounds. On a night where the Chiefs desperately needed a win, they turned to Kelce after Hill went down with an injury, and their star tight end did not disappoint. He continues to be far and away the best fantasy tight end in the league.
QB Philip Rivers
, 80 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 52 - 353 - 1 TD / 4 INT - It was a very bizarre game for Rivers, a game that kind of mirrors how the season has gone to this point for Los Angeles. Rivers threw 52 passes in the game, most of which were very crisp and on-target. At times, he picked apart the defense with chunks of yards at a time and looked very efficient in doing so. The problem is, the passes that were NOT crisp and on-target were so incredibly bad, that they were game-changing mistakes. He utilized the short passing game for most of the first half, finding Austin Ekeler
on swing passes and screens for huge gains at a time. He leaned on Hunter Henry
along the sidelines. And he repeatedly found Keenan Allen
over the middle. But on one pass, his arm was hit as he threw it and the ball popped right into the hands of a waiting defender. Late in the first half, Rivers made what looked to be a very foolish decision on an attempt to Allen. It appeared he simply didn't see the defender, who stepped right into the passing lane and nearly returned it for a touchdown. Early in the second half, he again had his arm hit as he threw. This time, a defender was camped out under it for what should have been the easy interception, but the ball simply slipped through his fingertips. The Chargers capitalized, as Rivers later found Keenan Allen
with a bullet pass for the short score. He then found a wide open Hunter Henry
for the two point conversion to bring the Chargers within seven points. In the fourth quarter, the Los Angeles defense held strong multiple times, giving Rivers four separate drives with a chance to move the ball downfield for the tie or win (they trailed by seven at the time). The first two drives were four and out followed by three and out, and the last two drives both ended with interceptions. The first interception was a bad decision and a forced pass down the seam into triple coverage to Andre Patton
. That represented the first time in his career that Rivers had ever thrown six interceptions over a two-game span. After the Charger defense held, Rivers got the ball back at his own 9-yard line with no timeouts left and under two minutes left to play. Rivers threw an absolutely perfect pass down the sideline to a diving Mike Williams
, who was ruled to have gotten out of bounds to stop the clock. That enabled the Chargers to regroup the offense and try and move towards the end zone. They got as close as the Kansas City 14-yard line. On a second down pass play with :24 left to play, Rivers flipped a fade pass to the end zone for Austin Ekeler
. The defender read it the whole way, stepping in front of the undersized receiver for the interception to end the game (and perhaps the season for Los Angeles). Poor offensive line play was certainly to blame for a lot of Rivers' mistakes, since he is so often under duress and forcing passes is something that tends to happen with pressure all around. But there have been some whispers that Rivers may actually be benched relatively soon in favor of Tyrod Taylor
, since his athleticism may enable him to avoid some of the pressure that Rivers simply cannot elude. The Chargers will go into the bye week with a lot of questions, including the one position that has had zero question marks since Rivers took over in 2006.
RB Melvin Gordon
, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 69 - 0, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (5 targets) - Gordon's evening started off strong, with big chunk gains throughout most of the first half. The Kansas City defense was getting carved up by Gordon, who was running over, around, and through them almost at will. After scuffling a bit in his first few games back, Gordon definitely looks fully back to his old self. The offensive line opened up some nice holes for him, including excellent downfield blocking. But even without that, his own athleticism enabled him to slash through the defense and continuously power ahead for extra yardage after contact. But after halftime, the Chargers took to the air a lot more with very little success for the most part. About the biggest contribution Gordon made in the offense after halftime was an easy drop in the flat that could have gone for nice yardage. But he tried turning upfield before fully securing the ball, as it went for a drop.
RB Austin Ekeler
, 46 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 24 - 0, Rec: 8 - 108 - 0 (12 targets) - Ekeler was very efficient in both the running and the passing game (though it should be noted that 18 of his 24 rushing yards came on one play, so his other four carries went for just six yards). That one long run resulted in taking it down nearly to the goal line early in the second quarter, a drive that resulted in a field goal. But it was the passing game where Ekeler certainly did the majority of his damage. His first reception was a swing pass where he was hit perfectly in stride. Rivers fired it out to him up the right side, and Ekeler did the rest darting 37 yards up the sideline for the huge early gain. Ekeler then saw a look from the 5-yard line on a crossing route, but the defender knocked it away at the last second. Even if it had been caught, the play wasn't really going anywhere. Ekeler had two more chunk plays late in the half, for 16 and 18 yards as he continued to be the go-to guy in the passing game for Rivers. In the second half, Ekeler was seen briefly getting looked at by the training staff, but he came back in a few plays later. Ekeler was targeted deep down the seam and while the pass fell incomplete, Ekeler did draw the long pass interference penalty when his arm was grabbed with the ball in the air. Curiously, Ekeler was also the target on the final play of the game. With the Chargers deep in Kansas City territory and driving for the potentially game-tying or game-winning score, Ekeler was targeted on a fade pattern in the end zone. The diminutive Ekeler was beaten to the ball by the much taller defender, which sealed the victory for Kansas City.
WR Keenan Allen
, 71 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 71 - 1 (12 targets) - Allen was targeted twice on the opening drive, both for minimal yardage. The second one was from the 10-yard line, but never had a chance to get into the end zone. Soon after, he picked up 30 on an in and out move when the defender bit hard on the inside cut. He took off up the left side for big yardage after the catch. Rivers again looked Allen's way at the 3-yard line, but Allen was drilled upon getting the ball in his hands and it was jarred loose. Even if he had held on, he would have been down at the 3 and not in the end zone. He was helped off the field with the help of the training staff after the hard hit. He did eventually return and was actually targeted on a deep ball in the end zone. He was essentially triple-covered on the play and still almost came down with the pass, but it fell incomplete. In the second half, he made a terrific diving grab stretching out to pick up a much-needed first down late in the third quarter. He capped that drive by snagging a bullet pass in a tight space and then lunging into the end zone. Hunter Henry
followed with a two point conversion that cut the deficit to seven points, but the Chargers wouldn't get any closer than that.
WR Mike Williams
, 74 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 76 - 0 (5 targets) - Williams may not have seen a great deal of targets, but he made them count. He went up high on a deep ball down the sideline and looked like he had the ball in his hands as he was being dragged down, but it popped out just as he hit the ground. He made up for that on the ensuing drive to pick up 26 yards on a deep shot over the middle. He went high over the defender to snatch the pass at its highest point to come down with it. In the second half, he drew a 25-yard pass interference penalty on a fade pattern down the sideline. But he saved his best for last on the team's final desperation drive. With the Chargers backed up on their own side of the field and no timeouts remaining, Williams made one of the best plays of the year in hauling in a 50-yard bomb down the sideline. He was ruled to have gotten out of bounds to stop the clock, which enabled the team to settle in and get the ball into scoring position. Unfortunately for the Chargers, the drive stalled there as Williams wasn't targeted again with the team in the red zone.
TE Hunter Henry
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 69 - 0 (9 targets) - Henry snagged a 16-yard floater on the first offensive play of the game. He tripped just as he hauled it in, otherwise it could have gone for 25+ yards easily. He picked up a strong grab over the middle later in the first half, showing excellent strength to hang on despite a defender all over him. Following the Keenan Allen
touchdown in the second half, Henry got wide open along the back of the end zone for an easy two point conversion. Henry capped his evening with an awesome leaping grab along the sideline late. He showed full extension with the leaping/diving catch to turn in yet another solid fantasy performance since returning from injury.
TE Virgil Green
, 24 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets) - Green caught just one short pass, an 8-yard gain over the middle that came on a blitz pickup that left him wide open. He was otherwise uninvolved in the gameplan.
Chicago Bears 7, Los Angeles Rams 17
What you need to know
- Mitchell Trubisky
was pulled from the game against the Rams in the fourth quarter, with what was purported to hip injury. Trubisky was again disastrous, holding back the offense and looking skittish throughout the game. Allen Robinson
drew a lot of coverage from Jalen Ramsey and produced one of his worst games of the season. David Montgomery
played in the game after being a game-time decision with an ankle injury, but Tarik Cohen
was the more productive running back.
Los Angeles Rams
- While notching the win in Week 11, it was the Rams defense controlling the game not their offense carrying the load. The Rams offense shrunk with a ball-control approach, leaning on Todd Gurley
with 28 touches as Jared Goff
threw a mere 18 passes, three of which were to Gurley. Brandin Cooks
and Robert Woods
both missed the game and Cooper Kupp
and Gerald Everett
saw a total of four targets in the quizzical distribution of looks. The Rams will need far more firepower from their offense against Baltimore next week.
QB Mitchell Trubisky
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 43 - 190 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0 - Mitchell Trubisky
was pulled from the game against the Rams on Sunday in the fourth quarter with what the broadcast said was a hip injury. Trubisky was bad throughout the game, a consistent trend in his play this season. He was inaccurate in this throws and was skittish in the pocket throughout the game. Trubisky has consistently looked like a quarterback who has lost his confidence and nerve, which continued against the Rams. He did manage a touchdown on a back-shoulder throw to Tarik Cohen
but otherwise provided little fantasy value. Despite a plethora of bad throws, Trubisky’s interception was not his fault as the ball was tipped into the air for an interception by his receiver. Trubisky has a good matchup next week against the Giants if he is not benched in favor of Chase Daniel
QB Chase Daniel
, 7 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 4 - 9 - 0 TD / 0 INT - Chase Daniel
came in to replace Mitchell Trubisky
late in the fourth quarter against the Rams on Sunday. Daniel was under pressure on the lone series he played and completed only one of his four passing attempts. The Bears face a Giants defense that has struggled this season, so Daniel will have viability if he replaces Mitchell Trubisky
as Chicago’s starters.
RB David Montgomery
, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 31 - 0, Rec: 1 - 19 - 0 (3 targets) - David Montgomery
started for the Bears after a midweek ankle injury that left him a game-time decision. Montgomery struggled to find interior room to run against a Rams defense that overwhelmed Chicago’s offensive line. Montgomery caught a ball in the flat and was able to turn the ball upfield for a run after the catch in an open runway. He did lose time to Tarik Cohen
who saw extended time in a traditional running back role and carried the ball nine times. The Chicago offense is very limited and Montgomery has a hard time creating a rhythm or successful opportunities. He will get a good matchup next week against the Giants next week.
RB Tarik Cohen
, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 39 - 0, Rec: 5 - 35 - 1 (6 targets) - Tarik Cohen
had a large role in the Chicago offense on Sunday against the Rams. Cohen saw nine carries and played as the lead back in the offensive extensively in the second quarter but struggled behind an offensive line that was overwhelmed against the Rams’ defensive line. Cohen was used in the passing game, including lining up in the slot and drew nine targets and had a highlight back shoulder reception for a touchdown. Cohen’s other targets were limited by Mitchell Trubisky
’s inaccuracy that caps Cohen’s ability to make plays after the catch. Cohen will face the Giants next week and would benefit from Chase Daniel
starting in place of Trubisky.
WR Taylor Gabriel
, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 57 - 0 (14 targets) - Taylor Gabriel
led the Bears with 14 targets against the Rams on Sunday. Gabriel was a featured part of the offense because Jalen Ramsey shadowed Allen Robinson
while Mitchell Trubisky
found every excuse to check down during the game. Despite the big workload, Gabriel provided little value, because he dropped multiple passes and his receptions were typically off-target, which provided little opportunity to run after the catch. Trubisky was benched at the end of the game, so his status is important to watch during the week as the Giants have a good matchup next week against the Giants.
WR Anthony Miller
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 54 - 0 (11 targets) - Anthony Miller
was the second most targeted Chicago receiver with 11 targets. His work was largely confined to the short passing game as Mitchell Trubisky
frequently checked down during the game but missed a big opportunity down the seam where he broke open but a defender made a strong play to break the ball up. Miller will face the Giants next week.
WR Allen Robinson
, 75 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 15 - 0 (6 targets) - Allen Robinson
struggled against the Rams on Sunday. The struggles were a combination of poor performance, poor quarterback play, and Jalen Ramsey’s coverage. Robinson had a drop and a miscommunication with Mitchell Trubisky
on a back shoulder throw. Trubisky struggled throughout the game and has shown an inability to throw to Robinson in tight coverage, which was a bad combination in a game where he was frequently matched up against Ramsey. Trubisky was pulled for Chase Daniel
at the end of the game which is a storyline to watch during the week as Robinson faces the Giants next week.
QB Jared Goff
, 55 offensive snaps, Pass: 11 - 18 - 173 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 3 - 0 - The air came out of the Rams’ offense in the defensive-minded win over the Bears. Goff threw just 18 passes as the offense was without Brandin Cooks
and Robert Woods
of note. Goff derailed a promising opening drive with a rollout touchdown and had a near-interception on another early throw, late on a sideline target. Goff also missed a wide-open Josh Reynolds
on a deeper crossing route of note. Goff did have his moments with quality throws, however, especially later in the game. Goff broke the game open with a deep post touchdown to Josh Reynolds
, but it was called back by penalty. In the closing minutes, Goff had a big time throw to Gerald Everett
on his back shoulder with perfect timing and accuracy, the pair’s lone connection (and target) of the game. The schedule softens with the Ravens, Cardinals, and Seahawks next for the Rams offense. Getting weapons back will be key for Goff to rebound after two games of no touchdown and three total interceptions of late.
RB Todd Gurley
, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 25 - 97 - 1, Rec: 3 - 36 - 0 (3 targets) - Gurley returned to workhorse usage in Week 11 in the low-scoring and ball-control home win. The Rams were without Brandin Cooks
and Robert Woods
notably out of the lineup. Gurley saw 28 touches, by far a season high as he churned out more than 130 total yards. Gurley lost a fumble on the opening carry of the game, but otherwise was the sustaining force for the Rams offense. Gurley’s burst through the line of scrimmage and sharp cuts were trademark elements to his successful runs, plus he added a reception in the flat for more than 20 yards. The Rams’ offensive line had one of the better efforts of the season as a run-blocking unit.
RB Malcolm Brown
, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 15 - 1 - Brown was the primary backup to Todd Gurley
’s workhorse role against the Bears with a strong snap advantage over rookie Darrell Henderson
. Brown did not find the field until the mid-second quarter but notably powered in for a goal line touchdown in the closing minutes of the game.
WR Josh Reynolds
, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -5 - 0, Rec: 3 - 55 - 0 (6 targets) - Reynolds doubled any other Rams receiver in targets, six, in the low volume passing attack against the Bears. Reynolds had a long touchdown called back by penalty and a wide-open deep crossing route missed by an errant Jared Goff
throw. Reynolds had a huge third-down conversion late in the game amidst some of his missed opportunities. Reynolds benefitted from no Robert Woods
or Brandin Cooks
in the lineup this week.
WR Cooper Kupp
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 53 - 0 (3 targets) - Kupp saw a mere three targets after his no-show box score from a week ago. The Rams’ ball-control offense and only 18 pass attempts siphoned a potential bounce-back for Kupp, who did not see a target until nearly halftime. Kupp nearly scored on his lone notable big play, coming wide open on a deep route and stretching for the end zone. Kupp was originally ruled a touchdown but on review stepped out at the one-yard-line, fortunate for Kupp as he also fumbled as the play was completed. Kupp fumbled on a screen reception, but the Rams recovered and Kupp logged a false start penalty in the game. Despite all the missed opportunities, Kupp had a deep crossing route reception called back by penalty which would have pushed him close to 80 yards on the game.
TE Gerald Everett
, 14 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 20 - 0 (1 targets) - Everett quizzically saw only one target against the Bears despite Robert Woods
and Brandin Cooks
being out of the lineup. Everett’s lone opportunity came in the closing minutes of a tight game with a highlight back-shoulder reception from Jared Goff
down to the goal line. The pair exhibited perfect timing and chemistry on the play as the Rams ultimately scored a touchdown to essentially ice the game.
Arizona Cardinals 26, San Francisco 49ers 36
What you need to know
- For the second time in three weeks the Cardinals were competitive until the final minutes with one of the best teams, by record, in the NFL. Arizona had a fourth quarter lead until the 49ers raced back for the high-scoring win. For the Cardinals, Kenyan Drake
was the clear starting running back as David Johnson
sparsely played, posting 80 yards and largely being held in check. Christian Kirk
paced the passing game with nine targets, but his tepid stat line was shaded by three defensive pass interference penalties beyond the box score and a dropped pass. While not resulting in a win, Kyler Murray
and the offense continue to show promise as they fade from 2019 playoff probabilities.
San Francisco 49ers
- Emmanuel Sanders
tried to play through his rib injury, but had to tap out midway through the third quarter. However, Deebo Samuel
came up big in his stead, including making one of the greatest catches of the season. Matt Breida
remains sorely missed in the backfield. Jimmy Garoppolo
nearly cost San Francisco the game ... twice, but then threw a fourth quarter game-winning touchdown... twice.
QB Kyler Murray
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 33 - 150 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 8 - 67 - 1 - Murray showed well against division rival San Francisco for the second time in three weeks, logging zero turnovers and being an x-factor as a runner. Murray showed speed to the edge on his highlight run of the game to take a fourth quarter lead from distance. Murray also had a touchdown to Charles Clay
called back by penalty and several defensive pass interference penalties siphoned from his tepid-looking box score tally. Murray, however, avoided mistakes, his calling card thus far through 10 games with just five interceptions and no fumbles lost on the season and no turnovers against the 49ers in two contests. Murray was stuffed on a goal line keeper as another opportunity to find the end zone.
RB Kenyan Drake
, 61 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 67 - 0, Rec: 6 - 13 - 0 (7 targets) - Drake was a workhorse in his role against the 49ers, seeing 22 touches and David Johnson
barely playing and not seeing an offensive touch. Divergent from their matchup two weeks ago, Drake had tough sledding throughout the game with every rushing yard being challenged by the 49ers defense especially between the tackles with few clear opportunities to the second level by the offensive line. Drake did log multiple third-down conversion in shorter yardage situations as his most positive contributions on the ground. As a receiver, most of Drake’s yardage came on a split-out screen with after-the-catch yardage.
RB David Johnson
, 9 offensive snaps - Johnson sparsely played against the 49ers as Kenyan Drake
has emerged as the clear starter since his arrival from Miami. Johnson, working through his own injuries, is a shaky bet to see significant work until further notice, seeing only nine snaps and no touches against the 49ers.
WR Christian Kirk
, 68 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 6 - 41 - 0 (9 targets) - Kirk’s impact against the 49ers went beyond the box score as the second-year receiver drew three defensive pass interference penalty, two down the field and another on third down. Kirk added a third-down drop to his performance, making for a tepid stat line despite a hearty nine targets and coming off a three-touchdown effort against the Buccaneers last week. The 49ers held Kirk in check in their previous meeting as well with Kirk totaling 6-49-0 on 14 targets against their divisional foe this season.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 37 - 1 (5 targets) - Fitzgerald converted all five of his targets against the 49ers, including his first touchdown since Week 3. Fitzgerald got loose at the goal line with a missed assignment by the defense, standing alone for the straight-forward score. Fitzgerald added a chunk of yards-after-the-catch on his other notable reception but was largely held in check by the San Francisco defense, who limited Fitzgerald to less than 40 yards in their matchup two weeks ago.
WR Andy Isabella
, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (4 targets) - After two quality contributions Isabella crashed back to earth in impact against the 49ers. Isabella saw a career-high four targets but only one downfield opportunity of note. Isabella and Kyler Murray
were not on the same page with a deep back-shoulder target. Isabella added a short screen gain as his lone reception.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo
, 77 offensive snaps, Pass: 34 - 45 - 424 - 4 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0 - Garoppolo threw two absolutely awful interceptions, both on 3rd down, and both inside Arizona's 25-yard line. On the first, he threw to a bracketed Emmanuel Sanders
at the goal line, but it was actually a third defender, an underneath linebacker that he didn't see, who made the interception. On the second, Garoppolo high and behind Ross Dwelley
, who helpfully tipped the ball into the waiting arms of safety Jalen Thompson. Despite how awful these were, they actually shed light on why he's still plenty good enough to have produced a 400-yard, 4-touchdown, game-winning performance. Namely, Garoppolo a) makes reads and gets the ball out as fast as anyone in the league, b) he's willing to throw as he's about to get hit, and c) he defaults towards pushing the ball downfield rather than checking down. These are good traits for an NFL quarterback, but they sometimes manifest themselves in hero throws that shouldn't be made; say, on 3rd-down in the red zone when you're about to gain or extend a second-half lead.
RB Tevin Coleman
, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 14 - 0, Rec: 3 - 48 - 0 (4 targets) - Vintage Coleman, this was. Except for one carry, he only gained what was blocked for him. Becase Arizona frequently employed eight-man boxes on running downs, that meant not a lot. In the passing game, he could have had a walk-in touchdown on a swing pass at the goal line, but Jimmy Garoppolo
led him toward the goal line, whereas Coleman kept his route flat. He did have a 37-yard catch to start the second half, however. On that play, Coleman actually lined up in the slot and ran a shallow cross uncovered through Arizona's short zone. After the catch, he used his speed to run untouched down the sideline until being touched by Budda Baker. Then he went down.
RB Raheem Mostert
, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 13 - 0, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (3 targets) - Unfortunately, Mostert's passing-down role in place of Matt Breida
, although placing him on the field more because of the 49ers being down most of the game, didn't result in touching the ball more because Jimmy Garoppolo
was throwing downfield with reckless abandon.
WR Deebo Samuel
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 134 - 0 (10 targets) - Samuel's first six targets came either on third down or in the red zone. The sixth of these produced both the highlight reel catch of the day and a first down the 49ers desperately needed while down three in the fourth quarter. On 3rd-and-9 at the 49ers' 26-yard line, Samuel ran a deep out route to the left sideline against slot cornerback Kevin Peterson. Jimmy Garoppolo
was hit as he threw, so the pass was underthrown, which actually caused a faceguarding Peterson to badly interfere with Samuel. No big deal, as he leapt, popped the ball up to himself behind Peterson's back, followed it in the air as it bounced off Peterson's helmet, then caught it while diving to the sideline and being tackled by both Peterson and safety Jalen Thompson.
WR Kendrick Bourne
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 31 - 1 (6 targets) - Bourne's second target nearly produced a carbon copy of the "while wide open, drop a slightly high throw and tip it to the defender for an interception" play that he pulled off against Seattle last week. He redeemed himself two targets later by badly beating cornerback Byron Murphy, Jr., on a quick slant at the goal line for a touchdown that gave the 49ers a fourth quarter lead.
WR Emmanuel Sanders
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 33 - 0 (5 targets) - Sanders couldn't make it through three quarters in his attempt to play through the rib injury he suffered last week. He was visibly affected by it while on the field, as several of his receptions were followed by Sanders wincing as he slowly got to his feet. Sanders' final play involved being the target of Jimmy Garoppolo
's first red zone interception, and that route involved a quick twist back to the inside, which he did not execute quickly at all.
TE Ross Dwelley
, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 14 - 2 (5 targets) - Both of Dwelley's touchdowns came on blown coverages near the goal line. On the first, safety Budda Baker never picked Dwelley up when he cut towards the corner of the end zone. On the second, linebacker Hasson Reddick didn't pick Dwelley up when he came off the line after feigning a run block. Heck, even a third touchdown that was nullified by penalty resulted from a blown coverage.
Dallas Cowboys 35, Detroit Lions 27
What you need to know
- Dallas exploited a prime matchup to the tune of 35 points, which included missed early opportunities in what could have been a historic performance by the offense. Amari Cooper
was held in check by the Lions lone defender of note, Darius Slay, with shadow duty, but Randall Cobb
and Michael Gallup
carved the Detroit secondary for more than 100 yards each. Amari Cooper
limped off the field multiple times as he has played dinged up through much of the season. Ezekiel Elliott
was held in check as a runner for the second consecutive week but did find the end zone twice, once as a receiver, for the first time since Week 7. Tony Pollard
continues to flash with any expanded opportunity as a simmering talent if needed for starter touches in the future.
- Jeff Driskel
started in place of an injured Matthew Stafford
in a loss to the Cowboys on Sunday. Driskel is a more mobile and less polished passer in the offense than Stafford, which allows the offense to continue to move, but the production to translate into more running stats for Driskel at the expense of passing yards. Marvin Jones
scored two touchdowns and continues to be the best passing game weapon at the receiver position while Bo Scarbrough
was the clear lead running back on the ground, including a touchdown and a second near-miss.
QB Dak Prescott
, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 46 - 444 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 18 - 0 - Prescott enjoyed a third game this season over 400 passing yards against the exploitable Detroit defense. Prescott had a clean performance with no turnovers, posting 35 points on offense, but did have two mistakes with a red zone sack and a near-interception on an early third down. While they dominated the game at times on offense, the Lions were within reach due to empty drives. Prescott targeted Michael Gallup
and Randall Cobb
with ease throughout the game as Amari Cooper
was dinged up and shadowed by Detroit’s lone defender of note, Darius Slay. Prescott found Gallup on a perfect deep ball for a long gain and a post touchdown to Cobb during an impressive close to the first half, including 322 total yards for Dallas. Prescott enjoyed great protection overall by the offensive line and a rare pressure in the second half resulted in Prescott shedding a tackle attempt for a dump-off completion. Prescott’s rushing stat line was muted against the Lions but did add a notable third-down run to convert and a red zone scramble down to the goal line.
RB Ezekiel Elliott
, 66 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 45 - 1, Rec: 2 - 28 - 1 (3 targets) - Elliott had an ominous start against the Lions with an opening carry lost fumble, his second of the season. Elliott was held in check as a runner but excelled as a receiver in his limited opportunities as Dallas were nearly unstoppable through the air. Elliott’s most notable sequence on the ground included nearly scoring on a red zone carry, down at the goal line, before churning in for the point-blank score on the following play. Through the air, Elliott picking up a target from his cleat tops and Dallas’ well-blocked screen pass beat the blitz to rumble for the red zone touchdown, Elliott’s first of the season as a receiver.
RB Tony Pollard
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 12 - 0, Rec: 4 - 44 - 1 (4 targets) - Pollard flashed with big plays for the first time since his Week 3 explosion for 128 yards. Pollard showed his speed for more than 10 yards on a jet sweep and a nice cutback on another run. Pollard came wide open on a reception, breaking a tackle on his way for a chunk touchdown. Pollard also added a two-point conversion and quality kickoff return against the Lions to round out his contributions. Pollard has massive upside if pressed into the starting role in Ezekiel Elliott
should miss time.
WR Michael Gallup
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 148 - 0 (13 targets) - Gallup led Dallas in targets and yards in their impressive offensive showing and win over the Lions. With Amari Cooper
absorbing Darius Slay’s coverage, Gallup feasted with three receptions in the first 10 minutes of the game and more than 100 yards in the first half alone. Gallup’s highlights included a 40+ yard deep sideline grab in a 50-50 situation, corralling a low slant target, and consistently winning on intermediate routes throughout the game.
WR Randall Cobb
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 115 - 1 (7 targets) - Cobb surpassed 100 yards for a second consecutive week, notching a touchdown as well against the Lions. Cobb came wide open on a deep post and absorbed a big hit at the goal line for his touchdown foray. Cobb added nearly 50 yards on another wide-open reception over the middle the field as Darius Slay was occupied by Amari Cooper
in the game and the Lions secondary is suspect-at-best otherwise. Cobb had two drops to prevent his big game from being even more pronounced and pushing 150 yards.
WR Amari Cooper
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 38 - 0 (8 targets) - Cooper was second on the team in targets with eight against the Lions but was the notable offensive piece left out of the impressive showing overall. Cooper limped off the field multiple times during the game, always to return, and was also shadowed by Darius Slay. Cooper had a single reception entering the fourth quarter, adding a deep out and impressive high point catch later in the game. The Patriots offer another tough test for Cooper next week.
TE Jason Witten
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 33 - 0 (7 targets) - Witten saw a hearty seven targets against the Lions but did little with them. His lone reception downfield was a third-down crosser route which he converted. Otherwise, Witten was relegated near the line of scrimmage as depth chart mate Blake Jarwin
produced two big plays in the game. Witten is averaging a paltry nine yards per reception on the season.
TE Blake Jarwin
, 23 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 38 - 0 (2 targets) - Jarwin saw only two targets against Detroit but turned both into quality plays. He turned upfield on a crossing route for 15 yards after the catch and added additional yardage again on a well-designed play-action reception in the closing minutes of Dallas’ road win.
QB Jeff Driskel
, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 26 - 209 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 8 - 51 - 1 - Jeff Driskel
started in place of Matthew Stafford
for the second consecutive game on Sunday. Driskel struggles with his progressions as a passer and is quick to pull the ball down and run. Driskel was an effective runner on Sunday, including a keeper on a zone read for a touchdown, which creates a strong weekly fantasy floor. Driskel was effective as a passer, throwing for two touchdowns, both to Marvin Jones
. The first was a well-executed scramble drill where Driskel threw to Marvin Jones
along the backline of the end zone. The second was a deep dig route where Jones was able to break tackles for a touchdown. Driskel will get a good matchup next week against Washington if Stafford misses another game. His passing is a liability to the offense, but he is tough and a good runner with plenty of fantasy viability in any week Stafford misses.
RB Bo Scarbrough
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 55 - 1 - Bo Scarbrough
drew the start for the Detroit Lions at running back against the Cowboys on Sunday. Scarbrough ran physically on the interior throughout the game, including a short touchdown on his second red zone opportunity of the first drive of the game. Scarbrough nearly had another touchdown on an interior run but was dragged down just short of the end zone. Scarbrough had no passing game involvement as J.D McKissic continued to operate as the passing game back. He will face Washington next week which could create a favorable game script.
RB J.D. McKissic
, 15 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 13 - 0, Rec: 3 - 40 - 0 (4 targets) - J.D. McKissic
continued to have a strong role in the passing game on Sunday against Dallas. McKissic was able to make multiple defenders miss after the catch and ran elusively in limited touches in the running game. Bo Scarbrough
has a limited passing-game resume, so McKissic should continue to have a role on third down and in negative game script. He will face Washington next week.
WR Marvin Jones
, 57 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -4 - 0, Rec: 4 - 43 - 2 (5 targets) - Marvin Jones
had a strong game, propelled by two touchdowns against Dallas on Sunday despite Matthew Stafford
missing his second consecutive game with an injury. Jones worked a scramble drill with Jeff Driskel
in the back of the end zone for the first touchdown and made a terrific run after the catch on a dig for the second touchdown. Without Stafford, the offense is more limited in the passing game, but Jones continues to make plays to help Jeff Driskel
. He has a favorable matchup next week against Washington.
WR Danny Amendola
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 47 - 0 (5 targets) - Danny Amendola
continued his role in the short passing game, despite Matthew Stafford
missing his second consecutive game with an injury. Amendola’s work in the short passing game included multiple third down conversions, before a deep catch down the middle of the field on a scramble drill. Amendola is a lower upside player without Stafford in the lineup and will hope for his return in a good matchup next week against Washington.
WR Kenny Golladay
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 34 - 0 (5 targets) - Kenny Golladay
had a quiet game against the Cowboys on Sunday, reeling in his only catch late in the fourth quarter. Golladay made his catch count as he hauled in a highlight jump ball down the field while also drawing a facemask penalty on the play. The remainder of his game was forgettable as he failed to catch two contested balls down the field and was undercut on a slant route. He will look for a strong matchup next week against Washington if Matthew Stafford
returns from injury.
TE T.J. Hockenson
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (2 targets) - T.J. Hockenson
had a quiet game against the Cowboys with his lone catch a short pass over the middle. His only other target was an out route that was undercut by a Dallas defender. Hockenson has a good matchup against Washington in week 12.
Denver Broncos 23, Minnesota Vikings 27
What you need to know
- Denver took a 17-0 lead on Minnesota, but watched the Vikings mount a comeback as the Broncos offense could not find the end zone after two quick 1st quarter touchdowns. Quarterback Brandon Allen
made some impressive throws on deep balls to Sutton and Tim Patrick
, who had a solid day in his return from IR. Sutton topped 100 yards again and also got involved as a runner and a passer in the Wildcat, with a 38 yard connection to Patrick. RB Lindsay dominated the backfield touches but saw fullback Janovich vulture the easy touchdown run in the 1st quarter. Tight end Noah Fant
drew a team-high 11 targets and even carried the ball on a couple of ineffective tight end sweeps. Denver drove down to the Minnesota red zone at the end of the game, but could not seal the game with a touchdown as Allen failed to connect on passes to Sutton, Patrick, and Fant in the end zone. Denver missed a field goal earlier in the 4th and QB Allen tossed an interception in the Minnesota red zone at the end of the 1st half. Fullback Janovich will miss the rest of the season with a dislocated elbow.
- The Vikings had no right to win this game after digging a 20-point hole at half time against the Broncos. The offense could not move the ball in the first half and the defense made countless mistakes and penalties that kept the chains moving for Denver. Bad penalties gave Denver a first down twice after the defense had made a stop on 3rd down and it almost happened a third time on a field goal attempt before the referees talked and picked up the flag. Denver completely bottled up the Vikings rushing attack and limited the entire team to 37 yards on 18 carries. Kirk Cousins
must have figured something out at half time and looked like a completely different player in the second half. Long plays to Stefon Diggs
and Kyle Rudolph
put the Vikings ahead late in the 4th quarter and it was up to the defense to get a final stop. The Broncos drove all the way down to the Viking 4-yard line and had 3 shots at the end zone to win the game. The defense made 3 consecutive stops and the Vikings walked away with their 8th win of the season. Minnesota will head into their Bye week with a firm grasp on a wild card spot and have plenty of time to get Adam Thielen
healthy. Their next game comes in 12/2 against Seattle on Monday Night Football.
QB Brandon Allen
, 81 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 39 - 240 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 18 - 0 - Allen tossed a few nice deep balls in this contest. He took some big shots off play action on the Broncos first drive, narrowly missing Sutton for a big gain and then connecting with Fant up the seam for 31 yards off of a fake to Lindsay. Allen connected with Sutton later in the 1st quarter with another beautiful play action pass, with Sutton making an amazing leaping grab between two defenders for a 48 yard gain. Allen took a shot for Sutton in the end zone on the next play, drawing a pass interference penalty that set Denver up on the goal line. Allen found backup tight end Fumagalli for a short touchdown on a stick route two plays later. Allen and Sutton hooked up again for 40+ on a deep ball down the middle late in the 4th quarter.
Allen returned a gift to the Vikings at the end of the 1st half. Minnesota fumbled a kickoff return, giving the Broncos the ball in the Viking red zone, but Allen threw a pick on the first snap of the drive, ending the first half of play. Allen and the offense drove down to the Minnesota red zone at the end of the 4th quarter, but were denied by a staunch effort from the Vikings defense. Allen tried but failed to connect with Fant twice and Patrick once in the end zone as time ran out. Allen added 18 yards on the ground with a few scrambles.
RB Phillip Lindsay
, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 67 - 0, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (2 targets) - Even with the game script going his way as the Broncos jumped out to an early lead, Lindsay did not rack up a big statistical day. He averaged a solid 4.2 YPC while out-touching Freeman 18-9. Freeman got first shot at a 1 yard touchdown plunge after Lindsay ran the ball down to the goal line late in the 1st, and fullback Janovich vultured the score after Freeman's first attempt failed. Lindsay couldn't break anything big, with a long run of 11 yards. He had a 16 yard run on the final drive of the game that was called back for a holding penalty on rookie tight end Fumagalli. Lindsay managed just a couple of short catches out of the backfield in the 2nd and 3rd quarter.
RB Royce Freeman
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 31 - 0, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (1 targets) - Freeman started mixing in with Lindsay on Denver's third offensive drive of the game. Lindsay saw more work as he out-touched Freeman 18-9. Freeman was stuffed on a goal line carry from the 1 yard line late in the 1st quarter. Fullback Janovich vultured the score on the next play. Freeman's biggest play of the day was his lone target in the passing game, a wheel route out of the backfield late in the 4th quarter that picked up 14 yards on 3rd and 13.
RB Andy Janovich
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 1 - 1, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets) - Janovich vultured a 1 yard touchdown plunge after Phillip Lindsay
was stopped at the 1 and Royce Freeman
failed to punch it in on the next snap late in the 1st quarter. Janovich had a short reception in the 2nd quarter, but dislocated his elbow on the play. He will miss the rest of the season.
RB Devontae Booker
, 5 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0 (2 targets) - Booker saw very limited work as the third back in the rotation. He logged one 4 yard carry and could not haul in either of his two targets.
WR Courtland Sutton
, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 38 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 10 - 0, Rec: 5 - 113 - 0 (9 targets) - Sutton and Allen showcased a growing rapport with a couple of 40+ yard connections. They narrowly missed a big connection when Allen overthrew him on a play action pass for the first offensive play of the game. The two connected later in the 1st quarter when Sutton made an amazing leaping grab over two defenders, good for a 48 yard gain on another play action from Allen. Sutton drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone on the next play, setting the Broncos up for an easy 1 yard touchdown pass to tight end Fumagalli. Sutton also burned the Vikings for a 43 yard gain right up the middle of the field in the 4th quarter, catching the ball between All-Pro safety Smith and CB Rhodes.
Sutton got involved in the wildcat formation in the 1st half, taking an end around handoff from Lindsay and then throwing a beautiful 38 yard pass to Tim Patrick
, who made a leaping catch over his defender. Sutton also rushed twice on end-around plays, including once inside the Minnesota red zone where he was stopped from scoring by a great tackling effort from safety Harrison Smith.
WR Tim Patrick
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 77 - 0 (8 targets) - Patrick returned from the IR to man the outside spot opposite Courtland Sutton
. His first reception was actually thrown by Sutton on an end-around pass from a Wildcat formation. Patrick made a difficult leaping catch over his defender for a 38 yard gain. Patrick had another big gain of 29 yards on a deep ball down the left sideline in the 3rd quarter. Patrick made a clutch catch on a toughly contested crossing route to convert 4th down on Denver's final drive of the game. Allen took a shot at Patrick in the end zone on the next play, but couldn't put the ball in play. Patrick hauled in another short reception to move the chains on the drive, and Allen targeted him once more in the end zone, but could not connect as time ran out for the Broncos offense. Patrick finished the day with a career-high 8 targets.
TE Noah Fant
, 70 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - -7 - 0, Rec: 4 - 60 - 0 (11 targets) - Fant had an up and down day as he continues to showcase tough running after the catch. He got wide open up the seam on a play action pass from Allen early in the 1st quarter, gaining 31 yards on the play. Fant picked up another catch and run on an out route late in the 2nd quarter. Fant came up with a clutch 12 yard reception on a crossing route that converted 4th and 6 on Denver's final offensive drive of the game. Allen targeted Fant in the end zone on the final drive, but overthrew the tight end on the seam route. Denver tried not once but twice to get Fant going on an end-around sweep play, but the tight end got blown up behind the line of scrimmage on both plays. Fant drew a team-high 11 targets, including two looks in the end zone at the end of the game.
TE Troy Fumagalli
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 1 (3 targets) - Fumagalli worked as second tight end and scored his first NFL touchdown on his only target of the day. He ran a beautiful route, heading to the sideline on an out route before cutting back inside where Allen hit him with a laser for a short score in the 1st. Fumagalli had a costly holding penalty that nullified a 16 yard Phillip Lindsay
run during the final drive of the game.
QB Kirk Cousins
, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 35 - 319 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0 - It was a tale of 2 halves for Cousins this week. The first half was borderline embarrassing as the Vikings failed to put up a single point at home. Cousins flipped some sort of switch at half time and came out to throw 3 touchdowns and lead the Vikings to an improbable comeback against Denver. The first touchdown pass came on the opening drive of the second half. Cousins unloaded a 44-yard deep pass to Diggs to det the Vikings up at the 10-yard line. After another failed rushing attempt from Cook, Cousins found rookie Irv Smith
for his first career touchdown in the back of the end zone. Cousins had a clean pocket and found Smith open in the seam with a step on his man and delivered the ball just before he went out of the back of the end zone. The second touchdown pass was a thing of beauty. Cousins unloaded a 54-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs
. It was a play action stretch play and the entire defense bit on the third and short play. Cousins rolled to his left and gave Diggs enough time to break free of his man deep down the middle of the field. The perfectly thrown ball hit Diggs in stride and let him walk into the end zone and brought the score to within 3. The final touchdown came after the Broncos missed a field goal and the Vikings drove the ball 67 yards for the go ahead score. Cousins found Rudolph all alone in the flat and the big tight end rumbled 32 yards down the sideline for the score. It was the exact same play as the Diggs touchdown and the defense again bit on the play action with Cousins rolling to his left. Cousins finished the day with more than 300 yards passing in what was essentially a half of football. All of Minnesota is relieved to have a Bye week so they can calm down after that game before taking on Seattle.
RB Dalvin Cook
, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 26 - 1, Rec: 5 - 31 - 0 (6 targets) - It was not a great game for Cook and the Viking rushing attack. Cook averaged just 2.4 yards per carry on 11 carries and only just salvaged his day with a touchdown in the second half. It was a 3-yard plunge off the right end and capped off an 18 play 70-yard drive. The Vikings elected to go for 2 on the play and called Cook’s number again. He tried to sweep it off the right end and was stopped short of the goal line as the attempt failed. Cook added 5 catches on 6 targets for another 31 yards. 21 of those yards came on a single screen play where he was able to weave through defenders and down the sideline for a big gain. The Broncos sold out to stop Cook and the run game this week and were content letting Cousins try and beat them. Cook deserves the rest heading into their Bye week and then has 2 great matchups against Seattle and Detroit in the following weeks.
RB Alexander Mattison
, 4 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 5 - 0 - The Broncos did not just do a good job against Cook, they also bottled up Mattison and anyone else who tried to run the ball this week. Mattison had just 3 carries and averaged 1.7 yards per carry and did not have a single target in the passing game this week. The Vikings were the only team in the NFL who had run the ball more than they passed it this year, but nothing was working on the ground and that spelled disaster for Mattison and his chances this week. With some easier matchups on the way, Mattison will look to get back on track against Seattle and Detroit after the Bye week.
WR Olabisi Johnson
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 35 - 0 (9 targets) - Johnson has been the biggest beneficiary of Thielen being hurt and was the 3rd leading receiver for the Vikings this week. He caught 6 of his 9 targets for 35 yards and has helped immensely for a team that lacks a true 3rd receiver. Johnson was the Vikings 7th round pick out of Colorado State and has filled the spot they had hope Laquon Treadwell
was going to. His longest catch went for 9 yards this week and he should continue to see a role in the offense even when Thielen returns.
WR Stefon Diggs
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 121 - 1 (5 targets) - This was not a great matchup on paper as Diggs would be shadowed by Chris Harris this week. Harris has shut down some of the game’s best receivers this season and it looked to be no different for Diggs in the first half. Diggs really turned things on in the second half and had 2 big plays for the Vikings. His first was a 44-yard reception to help setup an Irv Smith
touchdown. Diggs simply outran his coverage and Cousins floated a deep ball right over his shoulder for the big play. It was the closing speed and a diving tackle by the defender as the only things that prevented a touchdown. The second big play was his 54-yard touchdown catch to bring the Vikings within 3 points. It was a play action stretch play with Cousins rolling to his left. The defense had bit on the play action and Cousins had time to let the play develop and for Diggs to come open deep down the middle of the field. He let loose another deep pass and split the safeties allowing Diggs to walk into the end zone. By the time the game was over, Diggs had caught all 5 of his targets for more than 100 yards and a touchdown.
WR Adam Thielen
- Thielen did not practice at all this week and it was almost a guarantee he was not going to play against the Broncos with his hamstring injury. The Vikings were about to head into their Bye week and a week off here would have allowed Thielen to rest all the way until 12/2 and the Vikings Monday Night Football game against Seattle. The Vikings have a tough stretch to close out the season and need a healthy Thielen to make the playoff push.
TE Kyle Rudolph
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 67 - 1 (5 targets) - Something seems to have a lit a fire under Rudolph in the past few weeks as he now has touchdowns in 4 out of his last 5 games. The big tight end caught all 5 of his targets this week and was the Vikings 2nd leading receiver behind Diggs. He had no catch bigger than the go ahead 32-yard touchdown late in the 4th quarter. It was the same play that Diggs had scored a 54-yard touchdown on the previous drive. Cousins faked the stretch play to Cook and rolled to his left. The defender on Rudolph crashed to the rolling Cousins to make sure he did not run for a first down and it left Rudolph open in the flat all by himself. It was an easy catch for a first down and turned into a long touchdown run when Rudolph realized the entire defense had committed to the run on the other side of the field. It has been a great stretch for Rudolph as he is making a case for the Vikings to involve both tight ends in the offense heavily.
TE Irv Smith
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 20 - 1 (3 targets) - After closing ground and taking playing time away from Rudolph, Smith finally made good and caught his first touchdown of his young career. He has watched Rudolph score 5 touchdowns in their last 5 games and wanted to get in on the action. It was the Vikings first touchdown of the game and was a nicely thrown ball by Cousins to Smith who had a step on his man in the seam. The ball was delivered just before Smith went out the back of the end zone and set off the first 20-point deficit at half time come back in the last 99 such games in the NFL. Smith finished the day catching all 3 of his targets and had his longest catch go for 10 yards. The rookie tight end should play a big role in the offense the rest of the season and be the tight end of the future for the Vikings.
New England Patriots 17, Philadelphia Eagles 10
What you need to know
New England Patriots
- Though it may not be the most talented bunch in the NFL, receiving pecking order beyond Julian Edelman
is going to be tough to predict on a weekly basis. N’Keal Harry, Mo Sanu, James White
, Philip Dorsett, and others will all see targets.
Isaiah Wynn’s return is a big one to watch. If he stays healthy and performs as he has in limited time, it will make the offense better.
- The Eagles were silenced on offense at home at the hands of the Patriots defense. While the game was within reach and one score, it was daunting to drive the field throughout and string together positive plays. The passing game was without DeSean Jackson
and Alshon Jeffery
with Jordan Howard
absent from the running back depth chart. The tight ends carried the load with 17 targets and Nelson Agholor
was the de factor top receiver without much success. Carson Wentz
’s playmaking was on display even with the muted overall results on the stat sheet and scoreboard. The offense has bounce-back potential over the next month with shaky defenses including the Seahawks, Dolphins, Giants, and Washington.
QB Tom Brady
, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 47 - 216 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0 - Another mediocre day for the Patriots offense and Tom Brady
, as they’ve displayed mediocrity throughout the season for the most part. Luckily for them, the defense held the Eagles to 10 points. The gameplan called for a pass heavy script, which made some sense given the Eagles’ stout run front, but Brady’s 4.6 yards per attempt was about right in line with the eye test. The windy conditions may have played a factor in his inaccuracy, but he missed several throws and nearly threw picks on a few occasions, including a blatantly bad throw and oversight in the end zone. Another instance was a bad overthrow on a simple screen pass that was nearly picked. Pass protection was fine, as this was more a case of him playing poorly and no run game to speak of. With that said, the return of N’Keal Harry should help some, and getting Isaiah Wynn back should hopefully materially change protection. If not, this is a team that will need to continue to rely on defense and special teams to win games.
RB Sony Michel
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 33 - 0, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (4 targets) - Against a good Eagles defensive front, Michel was bottled up, and his lack of skill wasn’t able to make up for a tepid day at the office. He got nothing going besides a good cutback run of 10+ yards in the first half. This was a good example of how Michel can be phased out of a game, as James White
had more targets + carries than Michel did, and even Rex Burkhead
got in on some of the action. Michel is a low-floor touchdown or bust option in fantasy on most weeks, and will continue to be game script dependent.
RB James White
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 20 - 0, Rec: 4 - 16 - 0 (7 targets) - There were plenty of plays drawn up for James White
including screens and runs, but none of them went much of anywhere, especially with Tom Brady
inaccurate on even some basic throws. He’ll have better days through the air going forward.
WR Julian Edelman
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 15 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 5 - 53 - 0 (10 targets) - With a sample size of 1 pass, Julian Edelman
was the best quarterback on the field during the game. Kidding aside, Edelman’s highlight play was one you’ve likely already seen, a trick play where he rifled a strike to Philip Dorsett for a touchdown. Beyond that, he was once again the Pats leading receiver and did look a bit banged up here and there, but finished the game and was the best offensive weapon on a sluggish offensive day.
WR NKeal Harry
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 18 - 0 (4 targets) - N’Keal Harry didn’t play a full complement of snaps, but surprisingly, he wasn’t in on red zone or end zone packages. Expect his snap count to rise.
WR Phillip Dorsett
, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 33 - 1 (5 targets) - Dorsett’s highlight was catching a touchdown pass from Julian Edelman
early in the 3rd quarter, but he was knocked out of the game after the catch with a head injury. Beyond that, there wasn’t much to speak of since he missed nearly half the game, but he was still seeing good snaps.
TE Ben Watson
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 52 - 0 (4 targets) - Watson had a great diving catch for a chunk play, but on a day where the offense didn’t do much, there wasn’t much else to speak of. He’s still low on the totem pole for targets, especially with N’Keal Harry back.
QB Carson Wentz
, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 40 - 214 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 17 - 0 - It was tough sledding for Wentz against the Patriots defense. Plus, the Eagles offense was without Jordan Howard
, DeSean Jackson
, and Alshon Jeffery
of note. Wentz moved well to extend plays, but the lack of weapons was a clear limitation to stretch the field and win head-to-head matchups. Wentz avoided interceptions and shaky decisions throwing the football with his lone misstep being a strip fumble in the pocket before halftime. Wentz peppered Zach Ertz
and Dallas Goedert
with modest success but the lack of wide receiver impact was a difference in the game. Wentz’s best throws were a laser slant to Goedert for a goal line touchdown and escaping pressure in his own end zone for a long completion to sparsely used rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
pressed into playing time.
RB Miles Sanders
, 64 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 38 - 0, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (4 targets) - With Jordan Howard
out of the lineup, Sanders drew the start against the Patriots and logged one of his least impressive games of the season with the stingy matchup. Sanders’ best plays were solid cuts as a runner but for modest gains. Sanders added a third-down conversion through the air, but he was held in check as a receiver after five straight games of making impact plays. The schedule softens significantly in upcoming weeks for Sanders to bounce-back with better performances.
RB Boston Scott
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 26 - 0 - Scott elevated to the primary backup spot against the Patriots with Jordan Howard
missing the game. Scott was held in check as a runner outside of a 12-yard run, exhibiting a nice cut away from the defense. Scott did add a long defensive pass interference penalty beyond the box score as a receiver.
WR Nelson Agholor
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 40 - 0 (9 targets) - Agholor easily led the Eagles gutted wide receiver corps with nine targets against the Patriots. DeSean Jackson
and Alshon Jeffery
both missed the game. Agholor had opportunities for a bigger game than his tepid 40 yards, including a near-touchdown on an end zone target running out of room on the back line before securing two feet in bounds. Also, Agholor could not haul in a fourth-down end zone target on another occasion. Agholor has not hit 50 yards in a game since Week 3 and has yet to find the end zone over the same span.
TE Zach Ertz
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 94 - 0 (11 targets) - Ertz saw a hearty 11 targets for the second consecutive game. Against the Patriots, Ertz was a short and intermediate route maven as the most predictable chain-mover for an otherwise limited passing game without DeSean Jackson
, Alshon Jeffery
, and Jordan Howard
in the lineup. Ertz’s highlight play was a deep over route between defenders for more than 20 yards, a strike by Carson Wentz
. Ertz also showed a quality stiff arm for after-the-catch yardage on another reception.
TE Dallas Goedert
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 36 - 1 (6 targets) - Goedert saw a season-high six targets with the Eagles shorthanded as DeSean Jackson
, Alshon Jeffery
, and Jordan Howard
missed the game against the Patriots. Goedert hauled in a laser slant throw from Carson Wentz
on a goal line touchdown and logged more than 15 yards on a screen pass. Goedert continues to simmer as an ancillary target in the Eagles offense with explosive upside if Zach Ertz
should miss time in the future.
Jacksonville Jaguars 13, Indianapolis Colts 33
What you need to know
- Despite the return of Nick Foles
, the Jacksonville Jaguars put forth a putrid offensive performance during the team's 33-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Six of the team's 13 points came in pure garbage time as the Colts were sitting on a 31-7 lead late into the fourth quarter and other than one scoring drive on Jacksonville's second offensive possession, the Jaguars' offense did nothing to inspire confidence from a production standpoint.
- The Colts found most of their offensive success through their rushing attack against the Jaguars. Marlon Mack
and Johnathan Williams found huge holes to run through. Marlon Mack
looked unstoppable until a hand injury forced him out of game allowing Williams to take over. Williams played very well and showed impressive quickness. Expect Williams to handle most of the early down rushing duties if Marlon Mack
misses time with Nyheim Hines
getting some carries and work in the passing game. Jacoby Brissett
faced frequent pressure but played well without his top target in TY Hilton. Marcus Johnson
did most of his damage on a single possession with 3 catches including a touchdown. Zach Pascal
drew two pass interference penalties and Brissett missed him when he a little separation deep downfield. Pascal did have a drop late in the game that led to an interception.
QB Nick Foles
, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 33 - 47 - 296 - 2 TD / 1 INT - Sunday was Nick Foles
' first full game as the Jaguars' starting quarterback and the first time he has attempted a pass since Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs. While the Jacksonville coaching staff put Garnder Minshew II on the bench in favor of Foles due to Foles' veteran pedigree, that veteran presence did next to nothing to help elevate the Jacksonville offense against the Colts. Foles finished the game 33/47 for 296 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. One of the touchdowns and close to half the yardage came when the game was 31-7 and were Blake Bortles
-esque garbage time stats.
As a whole, Foles looked below-average on Sunday. His throws lacked velocity as it looked like he was still trying to get back to full strength after his Week 1 clavicle injury and this showed often when he tried to test the Colts' secondary vertically. Too many times he threw it into double, and sometimes even triple coverage when attempting to throw deep, and most of the passes were floaters that the Jaguars' receivers had to breakup to prevent interceptions.
Foles did a good job with his short to intermediate accuracy, notably on DJ Chark's 34-yard as he threw it to Chark in stride in the middle of the field and helped him transition from receiver to ball carrier. He was also able to step up in the pocket decently vs. a feisty Colts' pass rush, but his lack of mobilty also hurt the team at times, such as when the Colts sent mass blitzes.
Overall Foles underthrew or floated too many passes and simply didn't do anything extraordinary to elevate the Jaguars offense. He checked down a lot and took the safe throws, but he also made some terrible decisions, such as when he threw a deep pass into double coverage with less than a minute left in the first half that was then intercepted by Rock Ya-Sin.
RB Leonard Fournette
, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 23 - 0, Rec: 7 - 34 - 0 (7 targets) - Leonard Fournette
was a complete afterthought in the Jaguars' playcalling on Sunday, carrying the ball a career-low eight times, with only two of those carries coming in the second half. Fournette was able to get chunks of yardage early on but the Jaguars completed abandoned running the ball in favor of letting Foles throw it 47 times. Fournette finished the game with only eight carries for 23 yards.
Fournette did salvage some production in the passing game, catching all seven of his targets for 34 yards, but he once again was kept out of the end zone and for the most part was harly noticeable on the field. It was hardly Fournette's fault though, as the Jaguars' coaches just gave him zero chance to make an impact.
RB Ryquell Armstead
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (2 targets) - Ryquell Armstead
had one early carry for six yards but did not receive another carry for the rest of the game. He caught each of his two targets for a total of 13 yards and was used by Jacksonville more as a pass blocker on third downs than he has in past games, so that is really the lone noticeable development for the rookie running back.
WR D.J. Chark
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 104 - 2 (15 targets) - Despite the Jaguars' offense laying a complete egg on Sunday, DJ Chark once again showed why he is one of the AFC's top wide receivers. He caught eight of his 15 targets (Foles threw several deep passes at him that had zero chance at being completions), and totaled 104 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown came on the game's second drive as he beat man coverage with an inside breaking route, gainign easy seperation thanks to his body control and quickness out of his break. He caught the pass across the middle and then outran the rest of the Colts' defense to give the Jaguars their only meaningful score on Sunday.
His second touchdown was an impressive play as well, even with the game already over. He beat the cornerback on a go route and then coralled the ball in his hands in the corner of the end zone for his eighth touchdown of the season.
Overall, Chark showed the whole package on Sunday. He ran good routes, made good hands catches and was a terror after the catch. The Jaguars' offense may have stunk, but Chark certainly didn't.
WR Chris Conley
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 58 - 0 (8 targets) - Chris Conley
got close friend Nick Foles
back in the lineup and many expected for his production, especially as a vertical receiver, to increase because of it. Against the Colts though, Conley made only a few short catches on curl and comeback routes before garbage time. He finished the game with six catches on eight targets for 58 yards.
Conley's most impactful plays came when the game was already decided in the fourth quarter, with the best one an impressive dig route over the middle of the field where he was able to catch a low Foles pass and turn it into a 24-yard gain. Conley was targeted deep a few times but Foles was never able to connect with him due to underthrows or double coverage.
WR Dede Westbrook
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 32 - 0 (6 targets) - Despite being a focal point of the offense during Foles' time at quarterback in training camp, Westbrook was not much of a factor Sunday. He caight four passes on six targets for 32 yards, with almost half of those yards coming on one catch early in the game. Westbrook ran a lot of short routes out of the slot and was not targeted deep, though it was surprising that Foles did not target him more as a checkdown target after he became more conservative as the game wore on.
WR Keelan Cole
, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 41 - 0 (5 targets) - Keelan Cole
had a rough play on the first drive of the game when he failed to turn his head on a third down pass intedended for him, which almost led to a Malik hooker interception. He had a solid game after this gaffe though, catching four of his five targets for 41 yards. His best play came on third and 10 when the Jaguars' threw him a perimeter screen and asked him to pick up the yards after the catch to convert a first down. He glided past defenders and then lowered his shoulder at the marker to ensure he would move the chains, a good effort play.
QB Jacoby Brissett
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 24 - 148 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 12 - 1 - Jacoby Brissett
and the Colts found most of their success with their rushing attack. The Colts struggled to pass protect against the Jaguars and Brissett faced frequent pressure. Brissett was sacked and fumbled near the end of the first half but the Colts recovered. Nearly all of the Colts' offensive success in the first half was a product of their rushing attack. Brissett found his rhythm in the second half with a touchdown drive that included 3 completions to Marcus Johnson
. The most impressive was a 1 yard touchdown on 4th and goal from the 1 yard line. Brissett went through his progression, saw everyone was covered, decided to run but was quickly walled off, retreated, was nearly brought down, reset and drifted to his right before firing a bullet to Johnson in tight coverage for the 1 yard score. Brissett and the Colt put together another touchdown drive after a turnover on downs. Brissett capped the drive with a keeper on a bootleg for a 5 yard touchdown run. Brissett's mobility was a huge asset in this game. On a number of occasions Brissett was able to create a positive play when nothing was there initially. Brissett threw an interception with the Colts holding a 24 point lead but it wasn't Brissett's fault because the pass bounced off the hands of Pascal.
RB Jonathan Williams
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 116 - 0, Rec: 1 - 31 - 0 (1 targets) - Johnathan Williams looked great in relief of Marlon Mack
. Williams picked up 16 yards with a series of quick and impressive cuts on a sweep play. Williams picked up 31 yards on 3rd and long on a screen pass. Williams did a great job of waiting for his blocks to develop before exploding into the open field. Williams ability to change direction stands out. Williams found a huge crease up the middle and broke into the open field after shaking off an ankle tackle for a 48 yard run. Williams has impressive speed but his quickness seems to be what sets him apart. Williams seems to have great awareness of where his blockers and defenders are. Williams accelerated through a very small hole that closed as he ran through it and found room down the side line for 17 yards. Expect Williams to step into the Marlon Mack
role with Nyheim Hines
playing a complimentary role if Mack were to miss time.
RB Marlon Mack
, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 109 - 1 - Marlon Mack
was playing great until a hand injury forced him out of the game. Mack followed a great block from Ryan Kelly at the second level and burst for 13 yards. A few plays later Mack found another hole up the middle and slipped a tackle from Myles Jack on his way to a 16 yard gain. Later on the same drive Mack spun twice to avoid two tackles and then outraced defenders on the edge to the pylon for a 13 yard touchdown. Mack should have been stopped for no gain but magically escaped two tackles. Mack got around the edge uncontested and picked up 13 yards before ducking out of bounds. Mack once again followed some great blocks and went nearly untouched for a 20 yard gain off left tackle. Mack left the game with a hand injury following the play and would not return. Mack reportedly has a broken hand.
RB Nyheim Hines
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 11 - 1, Rec: 3 - 24 - 0 (4 targets) - Nyheim Hines
saw a few additional carries with Marlon Mack
suffering a hand injury but expect Johnthan Williams to handle much of the early down rushing work in Mack's absence. Hines made a catch in the flat and made a nice move along the sideline to pick up 19 yards. Hines found a nice hole up the middle and spun out of a tackle to score a 7 yard touchdown
WR Marcus Johnson
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 38 - 1 (4 targets) - Marcus Johnson
made 3 nice plays on a single drive for the Colts. Johnson picked up 10 yards running a slant. Johnson picked up 17 yards running an in breaking route. Johnson showed off strong hands making a tough contested catch with AJ Bouye in coverage for a 1 yard touchdown. The throw was a bullet from Brissett making the catch even more impressive.
WR Zach Pascal
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (6 targets) - Zach Pascal
had two drops and could have had a much bigger game. Pascal ran a curl route and made a nice move after the catch to pick up 14 yards. Pascal dropped an underneath catch. Pascal drew a 13 yard pass interference penalty as he was interfered with at the top of his route. Brissett missed Pascal on two occasions in the first half; one was simply off target from Brissett. The second was a potential big play but Pascal had only half a step of separation and it would have had to have been a perfect throw. Pascal drew another 13 yard pass interference penalty this time on a back shoulder throw inside Jacksonville's 5 yard line. Pascal had a potential 30 yard catch bounce off his hands and get intercepted. Pascal appeared to absorb contact before the pass arrived but Pascal has made tougher catches before. Look for Pascal to bounce back in a more favorable match up.
TE Eric Ebron
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 27 - 0 (4 targets) - Eric Ebron
made some plays underneath despite battling an illness. Ebron made a very impressive 14 yard catch along the sideline as he absorbed a hit. Ebron did a nice job of working to get open as Brissett scrambled and did well getting his feet in bounds on the play. Ebron made a 7 yard catch running a curl over the middle. Ebron picked up 6 yards on a check down from Brissett. Ebron had a 13 yard catch negated by penalty.
New Orleans Saints 34, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17
What you need to know
New Orleans Saints
- After an embarrassing let down last week against Atlanta, the Saints got back on track this week with a win against Tampa Bay. It was a dominating performance on both sides of the ball as Drew Brees
threw 3 touchdowns and the defense added on of their own on an interception returned for a touchdown. The defense also had 12 passes defended, 12 quarterback hits, 3 sacks, and 4 interceptions this week. The rushing attack got back on track in a small way with a combined 100-yard performance against one of the league’s toughest rush defenses and Michael Thomas
became the first player in NFL history to have 90 receptions in their first 10 games of the season. Everything was firing on all cylinders this week and the Saints were back to looking like the top team in the NFC. New Orleans will play host to the Carolina Panthers next Sunday afternoon and currently hold a 3-game lead in the division over their rival.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- It was a weird box score for the Tampa Bay offense as Cameron Brate
and Scotty Miller led the team in receiving yards. Tampa Bay fell behind early after a poor effort from Howard resulted in an interception. The coaching staff benched Howard and appeared to feature long-forgotten Cameron Brate
with 14 targets just to spite Howard. Tampa Bay got zero production from their ground game, and receivers Evans and Godwin had slow days. QB Winston followed the first interception that wasn't his fault up with several that were, including a pick-six near the end of the 4th quarter and another pick on the following drive to finally end the game.
QB Drew Brees
, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 35 - 228 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 0 - 0 - There were a lot of things that went right for Brees and the Saints this week but the biggest change from their let down loss a week ago was he did not get sacked a single time this week. Untimely sacks derailed drives last week and that was the biggest area they cleaned up against the Buccaneers. Brees connected with Michael Thomas
for the first touchdown of the game after an interception of Jameis Winston
. Thomas ran a wheel route underneath Ted Ginn
who was running a slant. The defense jumped Ginn’s route and Thomas was wide open for the easy 16-yard score. The second touchdown went to Jared Cook
for 3 yards in the back of the end zone. Brees dropped back and threw the ball high off his back foot to Cook in the back corner of the end zone. Cook had to go up and over his defender to make the catch and was able to hold on to the ball as he went hard to the ground. It was a pass that was either going to be caught by Cook or go out the back of the end zone. His third and final touchdown went to Ted Ginn
after Tampa Bay had pulled within 10 points. The touchdown pass was setup by a 41-yard catch and run by Thomas down the sideline. The 6-yard touchdown pass to Ginn came across the middle after he settled into a small void and Brees zipped the pass into a small window. After the touchdown, 2 Tampa defenders looked at each other and seemed to ask who was supposed to be covering Ginn. It was an all-around good game for Brees with 3 touchdown passes, no turnovers, and no sacks.
QB Taysom Hill
, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets) - It was not a great game for Hill. He was sacked on his only passing attempt for a loss of 9 yards and then had a reception and rushing attempt that both went for 2 yards. The Saints did not need any trick or gimmick plays from Hill to beat Tampa Bay this week and Thomas, Cook, and Kamara took care of everything through the air. Better games are ahead for Hill, but he has seen a decrease in his usage since Cook started playing better.
RB Alvin Kamara
, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 75 - 0, Rec: 10 - 47 - 0 (10 targets) - This was always going to be a tough matchup for the running game with Tampa playing so well against the run. Their pass defense was also so horrible that there was really no point in trying to force anything on the ground. Kamara seemed to get back on track this week as he averaged 5.8 yards per carry on 13 carries. This was 3 more than Latavius Murray
who has carved a much bigger role in the rushing attack than the beginning of the season. Kamara’s longest run went for 14 yards, but he has still not found the end zone since week 3 against Seattle. Kamara’s value this week came in the passing game where he was the second leading receiver on the team and caught all 10 of his targets. His longest catch was a dump off that went for 17 yards down the sideline. The Saints have always been thin at receiver behind Thomas and Ginn and Kamara often lines up out wide and runs routes as a receiver to try and fill that void. It has been a long time since he has found the end zone and that may prove tough again next week against a stout Carolina defense.
RB Latavius Murray
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 27 - 0, Rec: 2 - 5 - 0 (3 targets) - This was a game to forget for Murray again this week. HE was given a fair amount of carries this week with 10 but was unable to do anything with them. He averaged just 2.7 yards per carry and almost half of his yards came on a single 12-yard rush off tackle. Murray did not make up for this shortcoming in the pass game like Kamara did. HE caught 2 of his 3 targets for 5 total yards and did not make much of an impact. Murray has still earned the right to a fair number of touches in the offense, but he is going to need to perform better if he wants to keep it that way. Rushing attempts were almost 50/50 this week but could start to trend in the other direction if he continues to struggle.
WR Michael Thomas
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 114 - 1 (11 targets) - Another week and another dominating performance by Thomas. The top receiver for the Saints caught 8 of his 11 targets for more than 100 yards and a touchdown this week. He became the first player in NFL history to have 90+ receptions in their team’s first 10 games of the season. Thomas has a chance to catch Marvin Harrison
’s record of 143 in a season but would still need several big games to do so. Thomas kicked off the scoring with a 16-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter after Jameis Winston
threw an interception on the Tampa side of the field. Thomas ran a wheel route underneath Ginn’s inside slant and the defense had no idea what to do. The outside corner started working in with Ginn before realizing Thomas was wide open down the side line for the walk-in score. It was an easy pitch and catch for a touchdown on a great play design. Thomas added a 41-yard catch and run on what looked like almost the exact same play but with different players. This time it was Thomas who came on the in cut with Taysom Hill
working the wheel to the outside. The defense stayed to the outside and Thomas caught the ball across the middle for an easy first down and then turned on the jets down the side line for a 41-yard gain. It has been an outstanding season for Thomas so far and he is on pace for 150 receptions and over 1800 yards receiving. Look for another big game next week against the Panthers.
WR Ted Ginn
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 14 - 1 (4 targets) - It was a relatively quiet game for Ginn this week outside of his touchdown catch. The Saints held a lead and got a dominating performance from the defense, so they did not need to take any shots down the field with Ginn. He caught 2 of his 4 targets for just 14 yards this week and a 6-yard touchdown. The touchdown gave the Saints a 17-point lead and came on the heels of a 41-yard catch and run by Thomas. Ginn ran a curl route and settled down in a void between defenders right at the goal line. Brees put the ball on his chest and Ginn made the catch going to the ground to avoid any potential hit that he may not have seen coming. Ginn will always be there to run the deep route when the Saints need it, but they simply did not need it from him this week.
TE Jared Cook
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 33 - 1 (2 targets) - Everything continues to turn around for Cook as he is making more plays in the offense and seems to have put the early season struggles behind him. He was the 3rd leading receiver this week behind Thomas and Kamara and he caught both of his targets. He had a big 30-yard catch where he went right up the seam and rumbled down the field for the big gain and then he had a very athletic 3-yard touchdown catch. It was Brees’ second touchdown pass of the game and looked like it was going to be a pass out the back of the end zone before Cook made a leaping and acrobatic catch. He went up and over his defender and absorbed a hit from a crashing safety and still completed the catch to the ground for the touchdown. This is the type of play that the Saints signed him for, and he continues to trend towards the TE1 they thought they were signing as the season goes on.
QB Jameis Winston
, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 30 - 51 - 313 - 2 TD / 4 INT, Rush: 2 - 23 - 0 - Winston's first interception was not his fault as tight end Howard bobbled an easy, short crossing route and attempted to secure it behind his back, giving a defender time to creep up and intercept the ball. The coaching staff appeared to take offense to Howard's effort, as he was benched for the rest of the game and Cameron Brate
was peppered with 14 targets.
Winston set the Bucs first touchdown up with a deep ball to Scotty Miller in the 2nd quarter that went all the way to the Saints 1 yard line. Winston bobbled a snap and lost 5 yards, putting the Bucs in 3rd and goal from the 7 instead of 2nd and goal from the 2, but fortunately he found Barber for a touchdown pass on a stick route the next play. Winston was looking for Godwin deep on his second interception, but underthrew the pass where it was tipped from one defender to another. Already down 27-17, Winston tossed a pick-six to Marcus Williams late in the 4th quarter to make it 34-17 while looking for Evans, then finished the game out with another interception in the end zone on the next drive. Winston was looking for Evans on a jump ball that was brought down instead by a defender. Winston sadly led the team with 23 yards rushing, all of it coming on a 4th quarter scramble.
RB Ronald Jones
, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 13 - 0, Rec: 2 - 1 - 0 (4 targets) - Jones led the team with 4 carries on a day with no ground production whatsoever. He caught a screen for a short gain in the 4th quarter. Ogunbowale got the only goal line carry.
RB Dare Ogunbowale
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 0 - 0, Rec: 3 - 10 - 0 (4 targets) - Ogunbowale got his usual work in passing situations as the Bucs attempted the two minute drill at the end of the 1st half. Winston peppered him with three receptions-including a desperate 3rd down toss with his left hand- to extend the drive. Ogunbowale got stuffed on a goal-line carry in the 4th quarter.
RB Peyton Barber
, 12 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 11 - 1 (2 targets) - Barber, like Jones, did quite literally nothing on the ground(0 carries) with Tampa Bay playing from behind. He did have a nice touchdown catch on a 7 yard stick route from Winston late in the 2nd quarter.
RB T.J. Logan
, 1 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets) - Logan secured his only target for an 11 yard gain on an out route from the backfield. He fielded kickoffs and punts.
WR Mike Evans
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 69 - 0 (8 targets) - Evans had a quiet first half, finally drawing a pass interference penalty late in the 2nd and hauling in a short curl route just before halftime. Evans had a brutal drop on an easy crossing route that would have converted 3rd down in the 2nd half. Winston overthrew Evans badly on his 3rd INT. Evans left briefly with an injury late in the 4th quarter, but he returned on the next drive to record his longest reception of the day, a 27 yard catch and run that he took all the way to the Saints one yard line. Two plays later, Winston underthrew a pass to Evans in the end zone and was intercepted to cap a woeful day for the offense.
WR Scott Miller
, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 71 - 0 (6 targets) - Miller showed his wheels off on what was nearly his first NFL touchdown in the 2nd quarter. Winston hit him down the right sideline and Miller's defender managed to trip him up just shy of the goal line after a beautiful 48 yard catch in stride. Miller narrowly missed another deep ball with a diving effort in the 3rd quarter, then followed that play up with a nice toe-tapping reception on the left sideline. Miller finished with a career high in targets(6), catches(4), and yards(71).
WR Chris Godwin
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 47 - 1 (6 targets) - Godwin, like Evans, couldn't get much going on a day when the coaching staff seemed determined to feature Cameron Brate
just to spite OJ Howard. Winston was looking for Godwin deep on his second interception, but underthrew the pass where it was tipped from one defender to another. Godwin finally got on the board with a short crossing route in the 3rd. Godwin collected most of his yards on a nifty catch and run in the 3rd quarter. Winston hit him on a crossing route from the left slot, and Godwin wove his way through 30 yards through the secondary to walk into the end zone untouched.
TE Cameron Brate
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 73 - 0 (14 targets) - Brate, forgotten for weeks in this offense barren of tight end production, appeared to be the beneficiary of the coaching staff's frustration with Howard. Howard bobbled an easy catch on a short route in the 1st, resulting in an interception. Howard was benched after the interception. Brate was targeted across the middle on Tampa's next offensive play, and went on to draw a team-high 14 targets. Brate and Winston couldn't get any of their big connections down the seam going, instead working the short middle and outside of the field with out and crossing routes. Brate collected 10 of his 14 targets, but did not draw any looks in the end zone.
TE O.J. Howard
, 17 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Howard bobbled an easy catch on a short crossing route then clumsily attempted to corral it behind his back, resulting in an interception late in the 1st quarter. He was benched after the play, and Cameron Brate
was peppered with 14 targets as the coaches appeared to take offense to Howard's effort.
Houston Texans 7, Baltimore Ravens 41
What you need to know
- The tight ends, Jordan Akins
and Darren Fells
, were a non-factors the entire game despite getting enough playing time.
remains limited in practices due to his hamstring issue and will be a game-time decision heading into Thursday Night football.
- Lamar Jackson
and the Ravens offense functioned like a well oiled machine. Jackson started 1 for 6 as a passer but put together another great performance. Jackson was great throwing the ball and contributed key plays with his legs including a spectacular must see 48 yard carry. Mark Andrews
and Mark Ingram
were Jackson's favorite targets. Andrews continues to see involvement in the red zone and looks to be over a foot injury that bothered him earlier in the season. Andrews' athleticism was on full display on a 51 yard catch and run. Marquise Brown
made a few plays but did not seem to be at 100 percent. Mark Ingram
made the most of his opportunities as a receiver including an impressive 12 yard touchdown where he ducked what should have been a sure tackle. Gus Edwards
played very well and had two explosive runs but his 65 yard touchdown came when the game was well out of hand.
QB Deshaun Watson
, 57 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 29 - 169 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 12 - 0 - It was an unproductive day for Deshaun Watson
and his first game of the season without a touchdown. The Ravens did everything to limit his throws downfield and add in the most sacks of him this season with seven. It was a recipe for disaster. Watson turned to Hopkins for most of his work, completing seven passes for the longest of the day going for 20 yards. There were two costly turnovers for Watson with a fumble and interception he should not have thrown. It was a rare down game for Watson and one that should be a blip on the radar screen.
RB Carlos Hyde
, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 65 - 1 (1 targets) - From a production standpoint, it was a pretty insignificant day for Hyde until he broke a 41-yard touchdown run late in the game during garbage time. Outside of that long run, Hyde had tough sledding, only rushing for 24 yards on eight carries.
RB Duke Johnson
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 40 - 0, Rec: 2 - 4 - 0 (2 targets) - Johnson had the most success as a runner rushing for 40 yards and catching two passes for four yards. Johnson continues to have success running the football and, more importantly, get touches as a runner making defenders miss.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 80 - 0 (12 targets) - The Texans other bright spot in the offense with seven catches for 80 yards. His longest reception was for 20 yards, but most of his work continued to be on shorter routes helping out Watson trying to get going. He did get targets deep, but he and Watson could not connect when needed, including a costly no-call pass interference on a 4th downplay that would have set the Texans up at the one-yard line. Hopkins continues to get his opportunities in the passing game.
WR Kenny Stills
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 27 - 0 (7 targets) - Continuing to take the snaps that Will Fuller
has vacated due to his hamstring injury, Stills is getting opportunities, but due to the total down day on offense, it was an unproductive day. Stills was open on plenty of plays, but due to breaking down in protection or Watson not seeing him, it lead to missed opportunities. Still did have four receptions, but he is doing enough to get open, it is just up to Watson to find him.
WR Keke Coutee
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (3 targets) - The return of Keke Coutee
happened on Sunday, and it did not go according to plan. Sloppy routes and a dropped pass, Coutee had three receptions for 25 yards. It was clear Coutee was rusty, and it was a while since he played with the offense. It will be interesting to see his usage moving forward with the offense if he can clean up his routes in a hurry.
QB Lamar Jackson
, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 24 - 222 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 9 - 86 - 0 - Lamar Jackson
started the game 1 for 6 as a passer but ended up putting together another MVP type performance. Jackson completed 13 consecutive passes after the slow start and finished the game with 4 touchdown passes. Jackson also created big plays with his legs including another spectacular run. The Ravens first two possessions came up empty with a missed field goal followed by a failed fake punt on 4th down. Jackson moved the Ravens down the field for a touchdown. Jackson went 5 for 5 with each completion going to a different target and capped the drive with a 15 yard strike to Seth Roberts
. The Ravens offense again moved into the red zone this time on the strength of their rushing attack. Jackson threw another dart down the middle of the field for an 18 yard touchdown to Andrews on a post route that looked very similar to his first touchdown pass. Jackson got the Ravens on the board again with a 30 pass interference penalty to set up a 25 yard touchdown pass to Mark Ingram
. It was a simple pass to the flat and Ingram went uncontested to the end zone for the score. Jackson made two defenders miss near the line of scrimmage on a read option play then narrowly avoided 3 more tacklers at the second level with a series of cuts and moves before being brought down after a 39 yard run. Multiple defenders had Jackson within reach but whiffed. The run set up a field goal attempt. Jackson hit Mark Andrews
in stride on a crossing route allowing him to run for a 51 yard gain. The pass set up a 12 yard touchdown to Mark Ingram
. Jackson was replaced by Robert Griffin III
following the score.
RB Mark Ingram
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 48 - 0, Rec: 3 - 37 - 2 (4 targets) - Mark Ingram
played very well and did much of his damage in the passing game. The Ravens continue to scheme Ingram targets. Ingram has proven to be match up problem against linebackers and the Ravens are using him in different ways to attack defenses. Ingram was targeted downfield after releasing up the seam on a 3rd down but Ingram was well covered on the play and the pass fell incomplete. Ingram picked up 11 yards on an inside carry running behind Bradley Bozeman. Ingram made a catch in the flat and went practically uncontested for a 25 yard receiving touchdown. Mark Andrews
set a pick for Ingram on the play leaving him all alone along the sideline. Ingram picked up 9 yards running off right tackle thanks to a great block by Patrick Ricard on the edge. Ingram made a catch in the flat with a defender closing him down and ducked under the defender in a single legged squat to escape for a 12 yard touchdown. It was one of Ingram's best plays of the season as the defender had him dead to rights.
RB Gus Edwards
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 112 - 1 - Gus Edwards
ended the game as the Ravens leading rusher thanks to two explosive plays. Edwards followed a great block from a pulling Nick Boyle
and sprinted into the open field off left tackle for a 25 yard gain. Edwards showed off his impressive speed on the play. With the game well in hand Edwards went untouched for a 65 yard touchdown. Edwards got great blocks from Patrick Ricard and Miles Boykin
. Edwards showed great vision and did a nice job of following his blocks. Edwards seems to have fresh legs and the Ravens may rely on their power back more as the season progresses.
WR Marquise Brown
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 23 - 0 (4 targets) - Marquise Brown
made some contributions for the Ravens but played a limited role. Brown ran a comeback route from the slot and picked up 17 yards on his first reception. Brown drew a questionable 30 yard pass interference penalty on a deep shot from Jackson to help set up a Ravens touchdown. Brown did absorb some contact but it didn't seem to impact the play. Brown did not seem to be at full speed on the play as he was dealing with foot and ankle issues. Brown made a 6 yard catch on 3rd and 5 running a crossing route.
TE Mark Andrews
, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 75 - 1 (4 targets) - Mark Andrews
looked fully healthy and is a matchup problem for defenses. Andrew's speed combined with his size and hands make him very hard to cover especially in the red zone where the Ravens had struggled earlier in the season. His ability after the catch also stood out in this game. Andrews picked up 8 yards making a catch in the flat. Andrews ran a post route from the slot and caught a 17 yard touchdown form Jackson. Andrews used his big frame to shield the ball from his defender. Andrews had a 17 yard reception negated by penalty. But the following play Andrews ran a crossing route. slipped a tackle, and escaped down the sideline for a 51 yard catch and run. Andrews made two defenders miss on the play and his speed was evident.
Cincinnati Bengals 10, Oakland Raiders 17
What you need to know
- -Ryan Finley
had a tough game, throwing an interception, losing a fumble, and taking five sacks.
started hot with a couple long gains and a highlight-reel early touchdown but was held in check after the first quarter.
led the team in all receiving categories. He suffered a concussion and neck injury on a dirty hit that could end his season.
had one catch for zero yards and voiced his displeasure after the game, making his case for getting more looks from Finley.
- -A couple turnovers and some red zone inefficiency led to the Raiders scoring just 17 points despite generally moving the ball with ease against Cincinnati.
was able to hit each of his three favorite targets (Tyrell Williams
, Darren Waller
, and Hunter Renfrow
) for multiple long gains.
picked up some chunk yardage but had a red zone fumble and was dropped for no gain on multiple red zone carries.
QB Ryan Finley
, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 13 - 31 - 115 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 47 - 0 - Pass protection was a major issue for the Bengals offense. Finley took five sacks and was regularly forced out of the pocket due to pressure. On the opening possession of the game, the defensive end blew right past left tackle John Jerry and knocked the ball out of Finley’s hand as he started the passing motion. The Raiders recovered. Finley’s second turnover came on a fourth-quarter interception. He was forced to scramble to buy time. He directed traffic and tried to fit one in to Alex Erickson
but didn’t put enough air on it, which allowed a Raiders cornerback to step in front of the receiver and pick it off. He had a couple other throws to the outside that defensive backs were able to undercut that were almost interceptions. His lack of zip on passes outside the hashes might be a problem. Finley did make some positive plays despite pressure. He scrambled up the middle for a 24-yard gain early and tucked it and ran for a 17-yard pickup when nobody was open on a play-action bootleg pass. He was able to hit a couple nice gains after scrambling to avoid pressure as well.
RB Joe Mixon
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 86 - 1, Rec: 1 - 17 - 0 (3 targets) - Mixon started the game off hot. On the first offensive play, he caught a short swing pass and bounced off a defender near the line of scrimmage and then stayed in bounds down the sideline for a 17-yard pickup. His second touch, he took a pitch and dashed through a small crease on a 30-yard run. Later in the first quarter, he had one of the more impressive 3-yard touchdown runs of the season. He took a pitch left and a slew of Raiders were there to drop him for a loss but he spun out of a tackle and completely reversed field, weaving his way back to get into the end zone. The impressive run was the Bengals first rushing touchdown of the season by anyone other than Andy Dalton
. After the first quarter, it was tougher sledding to Mixon. He had a couple nice gains, including a 15-yard rush on a pitch off of right tackle. However, the Raiders shut down the run for the most part and the Bengals poor pass blocking made it impossible to sustain drives.
RB Giovani Bernard
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 30 - 0, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (3 targets) - Bernard played 52% of the offensive snaps, his highest total in a month, and played more than a handful of snaps on the field together with Mixon. Bernard showed impressive vision and patience on a draw up the middle. He stutter-stepped, allowing time for a small hole to open up and darted through for a 10-yard pickup down to the Raiders 8-yard line. Bernard showed tremendous burst to get to the edge and turn it up the sideline for an 18-yard pickup.
WR Auden Tate
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 56 - 0 (6 targets) - Tate led the team in targets, catches, and receiving yards on the day. He was targeted in the end zone early in the game and drew a holding call on cornerback Trayvon Mullen, setting up the Bengals lone offensive touchdown. He caught a 14-yard pass over the middle in traffic in the two-minute drill before halftime. Tate picked up 18 yards on a scramble drill play, working back across the field to give Finley a target after the quarterback broke the pocket. Tate made a 20-yard catch on 3rd-and-19 midway through the fourth quarter, going low to make the grab in front of the safety. He took a cheap shot hit to the head and neck area as he was going down and had to be carted off the field. He suffered a concussion and was also diagnosed with a cervical strain. Early speculation is that the injury could be season-ending.
WR Tyler Boyd
, 61 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 10 - 0, Rec: 1 - 0 - 0 (3 targets) - Boyd played all but two offensive snaps but was only targeted three times. He was uncharacteristically blunt in expressing his frustration after the game, noting that he was open and the team needed to get him the ball. While he didn’t directly criticize the play of Ryan Finley
, the target of his frustration was obviously the rookie passer.
WR Alex Erickson
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 0 - 0 (5 targets) - Erickson showed no ill effects from the injury that ended his Week 10 prematurely. He played 75% of the offensive snaps but was held without a single receiving yard despite seeing five targets. He didn’t have a real chance to make a play on any of the incompletions. In fact, three separate times Trayvon Mullen undercut his routes and got his hands on the ball. Mullen nearly had an interception on a pass that went through his hands in the third quarter and finally did pick one off in the fourth quarter. Erickson tried to wrestle the ball away but wasn’t able to.
TE Tyler Eifert
, 23 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (4 targets) - On an early 4th-and-3, Eifert lined up next to the left tackle and was left uncovered over the middle of the field. He caught the short pass and accelerated up the field for an 18-yard gain. Eifert played just 23 snaps, most of which came on obvious passing downs.
QB Derek Carr
, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 29 - 292 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 1 - 1 - Carr was efficient but he and the Raiders offense weren’t as productive as they could have been against the Bengals defense. Carr completed his first 14 passes and had only five incompletions on the day. He hit Foster Moreau
for a 2-yard touchdown on a misdirection play that fooled the Bengals defense and left Moreau all alone for an easy throw and catch. Carr just missed Darren Waller
for what should have been a 3-yard touchdown. It looked like Carr expected Waller to sit down in the open spot in the zone while Waller instead kept running, causing the throw to be behind him. Aside from the one misstep with Waller, he and his top targets had a nice connection on the day. Carr hooked up with Tyrell Williams
on four downfield passes, each of which went for gains of at least 17 yards. He had three 20+ yard completions to Darren Waller
(one of which was brought back due to a penalty). Carr also hit Renfrow for big gains on a number of 3rd down conversions. He became a little too predictable in his 3rd-down reliance on Renfrow with a Bengals safety jumping the quick slant to Renfrow and picking Carr off.
RB Josh Jacobs
, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 112 - 0, Rec: 3 - 12 - 0 (3 targets) - Jacobs gashed the Bengals all day outside of the red zone. He ripped off a 21-yard carry on the first play of the game, sprinting through a big hole off of right tackle. He had another 21-yard run on a pitch play in the fourth quarter. He was regularly able to get to the edge and pick up chunk gains on the Bengals defense. The lack of red zone success was the only thing that kept Jacobs from a big day. On his first carry inside the 20, Jacobs gained nine but in trying to pull a defender for an extra yard at the end of the run took a hit on the ball and fumbled it away. He was stuffed for no gain off of right tackle at the two-yard line midway through the second quarter. The Raiders scored off of play action the next play. He had another goal line carry from the two-yard line later in the second quarter and was again stuffed for no gain, with the Raiders scoring through the air a couple plays later. Jacobs had a 1st-and-goal carry from the six in the fourth quarter that went for a minimal gain as he was tripped up from behind. A couple plays later the Raiders opted for a short field goal instead of giving Jacobs a chance on 4th-and-goal from the one-yard line.
RB Jalen Richard
, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 0 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - Richard played just 23% of the snaps and failed to make an impact. He was dropped for a four-yard loss on a pitch play. He caught a short pass on a dump off for a 7-yard gain with the defense playing way back on 2nd-and-19.
WR Hunter Renfrow
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 66 - 0 (6 targets) - Renfrow was on the field a bit less (44% of the snaps) but was again one of Carr’s favorite targets and the go-to guy on third downs. He picked up 27 on a diving over-the-shoulder grab down the right sideline on 3rd-and-6. Just before halftime, Renfrow had another key third-down catch. He caught a quick slant over the middle and picked up 10 yards, getting tripped up just two yards shy of a touchdown. He came through on a third down again the next drive, picking up 20 yards after catching a short pass over the middle with plenty of room to run. The Raiders went to the well one too many times on the quick 3rd-down slant to Renfrow, however. Bengals safety Jesse Bates jumped the route and picked it off. Renfrow picked up five yards on a 3rd-and-6 screen in the red zone. He was able to spin forward to setup a 4th-and-short that the Raiders were able to convert on.
WR Tyrell Williams
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 82 - 0 (4 targets) - Williams was the primary deep threat for the Raiders. He caught a deep crossing route over the middle at full speed, weaving past the first defender for a 24-yard pickup. He picked up 20 yards deep down the middle, hanging on despite taking a big hit. Williams picked up 21 yards on a deep out route along the sideline. His fourth catch went for 17 yards, with Williams catching a deep crosser and again holding on despite contact right after the catch.
WR Zay Jones
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (3 targets) - Jones was targeted on a quick out route down by the goal line. He wasn’t quite able to get the edge and was dropped a yard short of the end zone, forcing the Raiders to settle for a field goal. Jones picked up 13 on a key 3rd-and-6 late in the fourth quarter to keep the clock running.
TE Darren Waller
, 66 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -2 - 0, Rec: 5 - 78 - 0 (7 targets) - Waller caught a slant route and made the first tackler miss to pick up 14 yards and get the Raiders down to the Bengals two yard line, setting up the first offensive touchdown a couple plays later. He nearly had a 3-yard touchdown catch on the next drive but he and Carr weren’t quite on the same page. The Bengals were playing a zone defense and got confused with two players picking up Tyrell Williams
on a short out route in the front of the end zone and another defender dropped Waller to pick up the running back. It left Waller all alone in the back of the end zone. However, Carr threw it behind Waller and he wasn’t able to make the twisting grab. Carr expected Waller to slow down once he found the huge hole in the zone but Waller kept running and the two clearly weren’t on the same page. Waller picked up 32 yards on a deep crossing route from the slot. He broke a tackle to add an extra 10 yards at the end of the play. Waller had a 29-yard catch and run down the right sideline that was called back due to holding. The very next play, Waller easily beat a Bengals linebacker to the inside on a slant route and accelerated after the short catch to pick up 23 yards.
TE Foster Moreau
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 8 - 1 (2 targets) - You will rarely see a guy as wide open as Foster Moreau
was on his 2-yard touchdown catch. He lined up to the right and slid through traffic away from the motion of the play. No Bengal defender was within 20 yards of him.
Atlanta Falcons 29, Carolina Panthers 3
What you need to know
- Atlanta’s defense sacked Kyle Allen
during the first three drives, all from the right side of Carolina’s front—and earned four sacks overall in the first half and five for the day. Takk McKinley had two of those three sacks, injuring his shoulder at the end of the first quarter but he returned in the second half. Atlanta’s defense also had four consecutive stops on third-down attempts in as many series and two fourth-down stops during the third quarter, including a great team effort against Christian McCaffrey
from the I-formation on a fourth-and-short. Atlanta intercepted Kyle Allen
four times—three times inside the Atlanta five and all pressure-induced. Atlanta’s special teams also got into the act when Kenjon Barner
returned a punt 78 yards for the first touchdown of the game. Matt Ryan
and Calvin Ridley
had a strong afternoon. Ryan made a pair of huge throws under pressure in the first half, including a deep shot to Julio Jones
that set up a first and goal plunge by Qadree Ollison
from inside the two with less than two minutes left, extending the first-half lead by 20. Ryan routinely found Ridley throughout the afternoon, including a 42-yard fade route while under heavy pressure early in the fourth quarter. Although Barner and Ollison were more productive during the first three quarters, the Panthers were dead-set on stopping Hill and Barner and Ollison were earning opportunities in scheme-friendly situations. If not for a questionable holding call, Hill would have had a touchdown after some nice closeout carries in the fourth quarter.
- Kyle Allen
crashed back to earth in devastating and humiliating fashion, dooming the Carolina offense with poor decisions and costly red zone turnovers. Atlanta’s pass rush deserves credit for harassing Allen and rushing him at times, but Allen’s pocket presence and immaturity let him down. He looked nothing like the confident passer who took over in Week 3. Christian McCaffrey
was the offense’s spark plug as usual, but he mostly fed on underneath passes, with the Panthers forced to get away from the ground attack due to the huge deficit on the scoreboard. D.J. Moore
stood out among the receivers, coming close to breaking away on one play for what would have been a 70+-yard touchdown. Curtis Samuel
was largely shut down by an outstanding Atlanta secondary, while Greg Olsen
continued to show good chemistry with his quarterback. Defensively, Carolina showed very little and, if this pattern continues, more game scripts such as this one will be on the horizon.
QB Matt Ryan
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 31 - 311 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 0 - 0 - He began the game with the conversion of the third-down on an easy slant against off coverage to reach the Atlanta 40 and followed up with a tough throw under heavy pressure from Bruce Irvin on a play-action comeback to a wide-open Calvin Ridley
for 34 yards to cross midfield. Mario Addison earned his eighth sack with a tackle of Ryan in the red zone during Atlanta’s second drive, setting up a second field goal attempt from 38 yards that he missed off the right upright. Ryan had just enough time to look at one read before Addison wrapped him. Ryan seemed reticent for two third-down throws in a row to target the middle of the field when Carolina used two high safeties and on the second attempt, Shaq Thompson nearly picked off Ryan’s check-down attempt to the flat. Ryan found Calvin Ridley
on consecutive passes to cross midfield during a fourth drive and nearly delivered a scoring pass on a scramble to his right to Russell Gage
who dropped the ball after contact from safety Tre Boston. Ryan returned to Gage over the middle while climbing the pocket from pressure, leading to a first down inside of the two-minute warning. On the next play, Gerald McCoy sacked Ryan for a loss of six after the line gave up quick pressure. He followed up with a deep seam to Julio Jones
matched with Luke Kuechley for 47 yards with Mario Addison in his face. Ryan found Ridley for a six-yard score to go up by 26 after climbing from pressure and sliding to his left midway through the third quarter. Dontari Poe sacked Ryan to end a third-quarter drive near midfield—the third Carolina sack of the afternoon on Ryan. Ryan once again delivered under pressure in the fourth quarter, hitting Ridley on a fade for 42 yards.
RB Brian Hill
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 30 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (3 targets) - Replacing Devonta Freeman
as the starter, Hill earned minimal gains during the first three quarters of this game due to constant penetration from Carolina defense. He began from the I-formation to begin the game and Kenjon Barner
replaced him in a second-and-long passing situation. Hill lost a yard up the middle to begin Atlanta’s second series. On the next play, he took a check-down up the seam and split a pair of linebackers for eight yards before exiting the game on third and short. Hill struggled through penetration two plays later for a gain of one. Once again, Atlanta tried to ram Hill up the middle for the third consecutive time to begin a drive and only earned a yard. Hill took the ball off left guard on the next play for four yards, fighting through contact to push for the gain. Hill pushed his way for three yards up the middle on a second-and-four midway through the second quarter. Early in the fourth quarter, Hill once again took an I-formation run up the middle that Carolina was ready for with penetration that tripped Hill up for no gain. Hill earned 3-4 up the middle in the fourth quarter and then bounced out a second-and-seven play to right end for 11 yards to get inside the Carolina 5. Hill then spun off two tackles and pushed his way to the Carolina one. Hill made a nice cut for the score on the next play but a questionable holding call nullified the carry.
RB Qadree Ollison
, 12 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 11 - 1 (1 targets) - Ryan rushed a check-down that he tossed well behind Ollison with less than two minutes left in the half, leading to a third-and-long. Ollison scored off right guard with less than two minutes left in the half. He dropped his pads on Eric Reid for a few yards of right end to set up a second-and-goal in the middle of the third quarter. Ollison fumbled a carry late in the game on his first carry of the fourth quarter but Atlanta recovered the loose ball.
RB Kenjon Barner
, 14 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 3 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 15 - 0 - He outgained Brian Hill
in this game for the first three quarters because Atlanta used him on draw plays on second-and-long runs after Carolina would stop Hill on the play before with penetration and run-oriented defense on first downs. He returned a punt up the middle and then up the left sideline for a 78-yard score late in the first quarter. He did a great job reversing field to the middle after the catch and then weaving his way to the boundary. He earned seven yards with a nice spin move against the linebacker on a draw play to get Atlanta into the red zone midway through the second quarter.
WR Calvin Ridley
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 143 - 1 (8 targets) - He earned a throwback off play action across midfield for 34 yards. He was wide open and made the catch as he exited the boundary. Ridley earned a first-down near midfield on a 12-yard gain over the middle and followed up with a corner route on the next play for 26 yards against man coverage, earning a great release on the cornerback. Ridley earned an over-the-shoulder target up the flat to reach the Carolina 22 midway through the third quarter but ran gingerly off the field after the play. Ridley returned later in the drive to catch an anticipation throw to the left sideline in the back of the end zone to go up 26. Ridley ran the diamond release into a slant, making a diving catch early in the third quarter for nine yards on s2nd and 10. He followed up on a fade for 42 on a perfect throw from Ryan under pressure.
WR Julio Jones
, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -4 - 0, Rec: 6 - 91 - 0 (8 targets) - He gained three yards on a third-and-seven crossing route before taking a hard hit, setting up an opening-drive, 38-yard field goal. Jones converted a third-and-short for a gain of four yards on a pivot route to the left flat during Atlanta’s second series. The catch got Atlanta inside the Carolina 20. Jones caught a deep dig to kick off a fourth series early in the second quarter, getting Atlanta to its 39. Jones earned a short past in the flat for five yards to reach the Carolina five and set up a third and four. Jones earned nearly 50 up the seam with a catch over his shoulder with Luke Kuechley tight to his side, setting up a scoring plunge from the two to earn a 20-0 lead. Ryan found Jones midway through the third quarter over the middle for a first down to get Atlanta inside the Carolina 35. Tre Boston cut down Jones on an end-around in the third quarter for a three-yard loss to begin a drive late in the third quarter.
WR Justin Hardy
, 12 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (4 targets) - Took a jet sweep towards left tackle in the red zone but only managed a yard during a second-quarter drive. Hardy earned a short slant for a 12 yards and a first down on a fifth drive of the half but couldn’t dig out a route working back to the quarterback in the right flat on the next play.
WR Russell Gage
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 32 - 0 (4 targets) - He earned a slant on the first third-down of the game, earning the ball against a huge cushion on the outside for a first down to reach the Atlanta 40. Gage worked the scramble drill on third and four inside the Carolina five. Ryan threw on the move to his right and Gage nearly made the diving catch in the end zone for the score but safety Tre Boston knocked the ball loose, leading to a third field goal attempt. Ryan climbed the pocket under pressure on second-and-long to find Gage over the middle just before the two-minute warning. Gage made a man miss and earned the first down near midfield on the play.
WR Christian Blake
, 10 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets) - He took a reverse to right end for three yards, taking a huge hit.
TE Jaeden Graham
, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 23 - 0 (2 targets) - The Yale product made a catch of a low throw over the middle midway through the third quarter form a two-tight end formation, settling into the zone over the middle to reach the Carolina nine for a 12-yard gain. Graham shed Shaq Thompson one-on-one in the flat to convert a third-down midway through the fourth quarter.
QB Kyle Allen
, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 31 - 50 - 325 - 0 TD / 4 INT, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0 - Kyle Allen
played his sloppiest game as a professional, succumbing to Atlanta pressure and consistently displaying bad habits to put his team in a bind. An early interception proved to be an omen for what was to come: after Atlanta successfully snuffed out a screen pass, Allen, trying to throw the ball into the turf, dumped it into the right flat and right into the waiting arms of a Falcons defender. As the pressure built on Allen – his offensive line did him no favours – bad habits crept in, particularly when he retreated from pressure, not trusting his line to protect him if he stepped up in the pocket. That decision invited more pass rushers, who gobbled him up routinely. The offense was bogged down, with dump-off passes and short completions the order of the day. Atlanta’s downfield coverage was excellent, denying Allen on the occasions he tried to link up with his receivers on deep shots. It was in the red zone that Allen struggled mightily, tossing a second interception as he failed to diagnose the cornerback undercutting the route of D.J. Moore
. Allen appeared to have a clear throwing window as he stepped up in the pocket on the play, but it was closed quickly and decisively. Allen rallied in the second half, showing better composure and poise as he took what the defense was giving him. He converted on a key fourth-down play when he bought time and, veering to the right sideline, fired a pass back across the field to a waiting Jarius Wright
. The red zone woes haunted Allen again soon after as he tossed a third interception on a high pass intended for Moore, his mechanics letting him down as he failed to step into the throw. The final nail in the coffin – and the fourth interception – came late in the game. With the pocket collapsing around him, Allen threw a prayer of a ball down the seam, only to see it snatched away by a lurking safety.
RB Christian McCaffrey
, 70 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 70 - 0, Rec: 11 - 121 - 0 (14 targets) - Christian McCaffrey
was largely kept in check on the ground by a disciplined Atlanta front seven, though as a receiver the running back was nearly unstoppable. The game script demanded that Carolina utilise McCaffrey as a pass-catcher, with Atlanta’s defense rattling Kyle Allen
and taking away the downfield passes effectively. McCaffrey churned through yardage as an underneath receiver, taking advantage of Atlanta’s underneath coverage. When McCaffrey had the opportunity to carry the ball, he was able to find some lanes, but they were few and far between. Carolina’s red zone woes prevented McCaffrey from getting any goal line carries, so he had to make do with run-after-catch opportunities.
RB Reggie Bonnafon
, 7 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (3 targets) - Reggie Bonnafon
was the target of a seam pass that had cleaved through the Atlanta coverage, with Kyle Allen
delivering a perfect touch pass. Unfortunately for the offense and Bonnafon, the back was unable to hang on after initially grasping the football. A glancing blow from a defender knocked it loose just as he touched down.
WR D.J. Moore
, 74 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 95 - 0 (15 targets) - D.J. Moore
was able to wade through the mud that the entire Carolina offense was marooned in, producing key catches and providing a struggling Kyle Allen
with a reliable target. Moore caught every catchable pass thrown his way, with some targets downfield, for example, broken up well by defensive backs. Some shorter targets were too high for Moore to haul in, most notably a hitch route late in the game that Allen threw too high, resulting in an interception. Moore made hay in the short to intermediate range of the field, winning on slants and hitches and showing good timing with his quarterback. In the second half, Moore caught a pass on a slant and managed to break free from the would-be tackler, sprinting up the field. It appeared he would be able to go the distance, but an excellent last-ditch tackle from Desmond Trufant caught him at midfield. Moore was targeted in the end zone soon after on a post route, but once again the Atlanta defensive back had perfect position and broke it up.
WR Curtis Samuel
, 72 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 25 - 0 (7 targets) - Like most of the Carolina offensive players, Curtis Samuel
endured a torrid day against an Atlanta defense that was revitalised and played with spirit and verve. A quick screen into the right flat was snuffed out early, with Samuel unable to manoeuvre through the traffic. Samuel had to feed on scraps, catching only a handful of short passes. His lone deep target on a fade pattern in the end zone was too high to be hauled in.
WR Jarius Wright
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 19 - 0 (2 targets) - Jarius Wright
stayed alive on a crucial fourth-down play, adjusting his route to give his quarterback an easy target. On the play, he used a subtle double-move to confuse the defensive back and bailed out Kyle Allen
, who was rolling right and in trouble.
TE Greg Olsen
, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 57 - 0 (5 targets) - Greg Olsen
provided a safe pair of hands for Kyle Allen
, who struggled mightily against Atlanta’s pass rush. The veteran tight end continued to show good chemistry with Allen, connecting well on seam routes off play action, on which the two produced a pair of chunk plays. Olsen’s output was limited, however, by the offense’s inability to sustain drives.