New York Giants 26, Detroit Lions 31
What you need to know
New York Giants
- 1. Jones was a lot better at evading pressure and took less sacks but is still too casual when it comes to ball security. He easily could have had 2-4 turnovers in this game.
2. Slayton - Jones chemistry was on display as the duo connected for two touchdowns down the field. Jones will surely continue to look to his play making receiver as the season develops.
3. Tate has value as a PPR play but isn't likely to get into the endzone often. The Giants need their defense to play better so they can run the ball more and use play action.
- The Detroit Lions improved to 3-3-1 with a win against the Giants at home on Sunday. The Lions benefited from an early defensive touchdown and got a strong performance from Matthew Stafford
. Stafford threw three touchdowns, including one to Marvin Hall
and two to Kenny Golladay
. Tra Carson
started in place of injured Kerryon Johnson
ahead of Ty Johnson
and ran physically on the interior, while Johnson played more snaps.
QB Daniel Jones
, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 41 - 322 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 13 - 0 - Daniel Jones
had a very productive game for the Giants and looked a lot better but still had a few plays that should have resulted in turnovers that he got away with. In the first quarter, Jones threw an ill advised ball short to Barkley that was ruled a lateral and Detroit took it into the endzone. Jones got away with a throw that should have been intercepted but the Detroit player couldn't keep his feet in bounds. He began to relax after this and
looked downfield to connect with Slayton for his first touchdown. Jones simply gave his receiver a chance to come down with the ball as the coverage was good but Slayton used his better positioning to snag the big score. His decision
making was generally better and he forced less balls. Jones took less sacks, got rid of the ball and seemed to feel the rush in this game. He scrambled a lot outside, connected with players for first downs and managed to shake off a
potential sack before getting rid of the ball to live for another day. Jones hit Slayton again on a close coverage pass down the field, there was a bit more separation this time and placed the pass just where his target could catch
it. The rookie duo seem to have incredible chemistry and trust with each other, which should benefit the Giants a lot going forward. Jones found Engram wide open after a rub route on the goal line left his target wide open for the
easy score. Jones fumbled the ball in the pocket later but managed to recover it. He should have been picked off again on a short pass to the outside that was clearly forced but his receiver managed to break it up. Jones tried to connect for a third time in the endzone with Slayton but the coverage won the battle this time. He found Barkley in the flat for an easy score as the game was ending. The Giants failed to recover the onside kick. Jones made several
big throws down the field and avoided pressure a lot more but still is too reckless with the ball at times. He will have to reduce his turnovers and "turnover-worthy" decisions.
RB Saquon Barkley
, 61 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 64 - 0, Rec: 8 - 79 - 1 (10 targets) - Saquon Barkley
couldn't get much going on the ground for the Giants as the Lions were stout at the line of scrimmage. The Giants tried to stick with the run throughout the game, even though they were behind for almost the entire duration. Barkley was patient, followed his blocks and exploited any gaps up front vs Detroit but the big play on the ground never happened. Still, he pushed the pile well, routinely knocked back defenders at contact and couldn't be faulted for the Giants lack of rushing production. Barkley had more value as a receiver out of the backfield. He broke a big play over the middle and almost fell over, which caused him to slow down and get tackled.
He displayed incredible agility to avoid 2 tackle attempts on the outside and punishing strength to stiff arm another tackler to the ground before securing a big first down. Barkley dropped a sure touchdown late in the game on a quick
out in the redzone. The Giants came right back to him however and he scored on a similar route the very next play. Barkley was explosive and dynamic as always but the Giants couldn't run the ball as much as they would have liked due to the score line.
WR Golden Tate
, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 85 - 0 (10 targets) - Golden Tate
had the most receiving yards and was a frequent target for Jones in this game. He was used in the short - intermediate game, as is his strength, to decent success against his former team. Tate made the first tackle
attempt miss on a catch over the middle and escaped for a big first down. He showed good chemistry with Jones, connecting on scramble attempts on the outside. Tate made a nice grab on a back shoulder pass and was wide open on a flea flicker play but this catch was negated due to a hold. Tate's defender was flagged for pass interference late in the game on a clear foul and this helped set up the Giants for a score. Tate routinely made tough catches in traffic over the middle and he excels at this. His concentration and hands are top tier, though he doesn't have the talent anymore to burn defenses deep. Tate still has an important role in this offense and has decent value as a #3 receiver in PPR leagues.
WR Darius Slayton
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 50 - 2 (5 targets) - Darius Slayton
had only two grabs against the Lions but he made the count. The chemistry with Jones was clearly evident on these plays and he is becoming known as a big play receiver down the field. Jones floated a high ball
deep for Slayton early in the game. Slayton fought hard and won the ball by having better positioning than the cornerback and timing his jump to secure the score. He scored again on another big play on a go route. Jones led his
target by just enough and Slayton did an excellent job to haul in the ball in traffic and secure it for another impressive score. Both of his scores were made with tight coverage, though he does possess the speed to burn defenders
deep on his own. Worth owning in most fantasy leagues as a big play threat. He rarely gets a lot of targets however, so there is boom/bust risk potential with this play.
WR Cody Latimer
, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 28 - 0 (3 targets) - Cody Latimer
got very few looks on Sunday but made some nice catches. He ran a good comeback pattern early in the game and snagged a deep pass outside with one hand while maintaining control in bounds for a big conversion.
Latimer was largely invisible for the rest of the game however. The Giants have too many options ahead of Latimer and this is very unlikely to change as the season progresses, best to leave Latimer on the waiver wire.
TE Evan Engram
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 40 - 1 (7 targets) - Evan Engram
wasn't heavily involved on Sunday against the Lions but made his mark with a late touchdown. Engram was wide open due to a rub route in the redzone and Jones found him for the easy score. Engram had another catch ruled incomplete as the ball was jarred loose. He caught some other balls over the middle and helped move the Giants at times but you might expect the rookie quarterback to lean more on his tight end than he has been. Jones takes risks and throws the ball downfield and Engram rarely runs these deep patterns. Still a good play in fantasy, it looks like there is a lot more potential for Engram in this offense.
QB Matthew Stafford
, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 32 - 342 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - -3 - 0 - Matthew Stafford
had a good performance against the New York Giants on Sunday, throwing for three touchdowns. Stafford threw an ill-advised interception on the first drive of the game, where he severely underthrew Marvin Jones
in double coverage. Stafford bounced back with an efficient game and showed a particularly good rhythm with Danny Amendola
. Stafford’s first touchdown was a deep ball to Marvin Hall
, who has become a shot target for Stafford in recent weeks. Stafford added two touchdowns to Kenny Golladay
, the first a contested catch along the sideline on a red zone throw and the second a trick play where the Giants busted a coverage. Stafford continues to get better protection from the offensive line than he has in prior years and will get a good matchup next week against the Raiders.
RB Tra Carson
, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 34 - 0 - In a surprise, Tra Carson
started for the Detroit Lions against the New York Giants with Kerryon Johnson
out of the season. Carson started hot, running well on the perimeter with physicality on the first drive, before struggling later in the game. Carson played with the Packers earlier in the season and was claimed off waivers prior to the Johnson injury. His workload from week 8 projects him to work as an interior runner in a committee with Ty Johnson
and J.D. McKissic
next week at the Raiders.
RB Ty Johnson
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 25 - 0, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (4 targets) - Ty Johnson
entered the week as a popular projection to replaced injured Kerryon Johnson
, but he worked behind Tra Carson
early in the game against the Giants. Johnson entered the game on the second drive and saw his first carry after Carson had five touches. Johnson had the best run of the day where he displayed his speed by burning the perimeter containment to the edge. Despite finishing behind Carson in touches, Johnson had the opportunity to salvage his day, but dropped a target on a wheel route and had a near miss later in the game on a ball off his fingertips that was just overthrown. Johnson likely would have scored on the play, but it would have taken a remarkable one-handed catch to haul in the throw. He also added a good physical interior run that was called back by penalty. Johnson projects for a committee role next week against the Raiders.
WR Danny Amendola
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 95 - 0 (8 targets) - Danny Amendola
had another strong game against the New York Giants on Sunday. Amendola started hot, with three receptions on the first drive, including a catch up the seam from the slot. Amendola was consistently open in the short area of the field and is a preferred option for Stafford as a chain moving option, but the target up the seam is an expansion of his usual route tree. Amendola will look to continue his strong role in the offense next week against the Raiders.
WR Kenny Golladay
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 123 - 2 (8 targets) - Kenny Golladay
had a quiet start against the Giants before erupting for two touchdowns and a 100-yard game. Golladay’s first reception was on an intermediate crossing route late in the second quarter, but he had a strong second half that included two touchdowns. The first was a terrific body control catch in tight coverage along the sideline in the red zone. The second was a wide-open target on a trick play where the Giants busted a coverage. Golladay also had a strong catch on a crossing route in tight coverage but added a fumble late in the game that the Giants recovered. Golladay will get a good matchup next week against the Raiders.
WR Marvin Jones
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 22 - 0 (5 targets) - Marvin Jones
had a quiet game against the Giants after his breakout performance last week. Jones drew a deep target on a double move but was underthrow by Matthew Stafford
in double coverage for an easy interception. He got his first reception in the middle of the second quarter and his work was confined to the short area of the field while taking a backseat to Kenny Golladay
and Danny Amendola
during the game. Jones did see a red zone reception on a curl, but the play was well defended and gave Jones little chance for a touchdown. Jones will look to rebound next week against the Raiders.
TE T.J. Hockenson
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 21 - 0 (1 targets) - T.J. Hockenson
had a quiet game against the New York Giants catching his only target on an out route for a first down. Hockenson has been inconsistent with limited targets as a rookie and will look to get on track next week against the Raiders.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23, Tennessee Titans 27
What you need to know
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- The Bucs fell again to a bipolar performance from Jameis Winston
, who made some beautiful throws to Mike Evans
but also turned the ball over a total of 4 times, with several other close calls. Evans had a monster day to the tune of 198 yards and two touchdowns as the Titans attempted to cover him with a backup CB. The Tampa Bay run game was nonexistent as neither back picked up more than 35 yards while splitting carries. Tight end OJ Howard missed the game with a hamstring injury, but fellow tight end Cameron Brate
still posted a mundane stat line as backup TE Hudson drew more red zone targets from Winston. Tampa Bay forced a fumble on a fake punt late in the second half, but a referee mistakenly blew the play dead as Andrew Adams was running towards the end zone for a sure-fire touchdown. Coach Arians placed the blame for Winston's INT's on the receiving core after the game.
- Ryan Tannehill
threw for three touchdowns, aided mostly by excellent play from his defense to set up a short field for two of those. The Titans offense overall was relatively sluggish as Tannehill leaned heavily on his tight ends, notably Jonnu Smith
, to move the ball downfield. Derrick Henry
had a mediocre outing with a couple of big runs while all Titans wide receivers struggled outside of short touchdowns for A.J. Brown
and Tajae Sharpe
. Titans linemen Roger Saffold and Taylor Lewan both exited the game early with injuries.
QB Jameis Winston
, 83 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 43 - 301 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 8 - 53 - 0 - Winston had another mistake-filled performance as he threw two touchdowns, two interceptions, and lost two fumbles. The first turnover shouldn't be held against him as he lost a fumble in the 1st quarter when his center snapped the ball too early. His first interception was a bad throw that sailed over Chris Godwin
's head and into the arms of a cornerback sitting in a deep zone. He nearly threw another pick at the start of the next drive, as his pass was batted at the line of scrimmage and was tipped around by no fewer than four defenders before it hit the ground. Winston appeared to throw another interception midway through the second quarter, but an official review determined that the ball hit the ground as the defender was securing the catch.
Winston finally led the offense to a touchdown at the end of the 1st half after settling for 3 field goals. He set the score up with a magnificent 46 yard bomb to Mike Evans
down the right sideline, then capped the drive with a touchdown pass to Evans on a slant route in the end zone. The pair hooked up for a big gain again on the Bucs' first drive of the 3rd quarter as Winston hit Evans on a deep corner route for a 43 yard gain. Winston capped the drive with a touchdown to Evans a few plays later, tossing the ball over the head of a helpless defender on a back corner fade. Winston was able to connect with Evans for a total of 198 yards and both scores as the Titans attempted to cover Evans without their starting corner Jackson.
Winston led the team in rushing yardage as he peeled off several impressive scrambles. He converted two first downs in a row with long runs during a 2nd quarter drive that unfortunately ended in an interception. His longest run of the day was a 20 yard scamper down the left sideline late in the 4th quarter.
RB Ronald Jones II
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 35 - 0, Rec: 1 - 17 - 0 (4 targets) - Jones basically split backfield duties with 11 carries to Peyton Barber
's 10. He had a better average, though neither back had any success at breaking big plays. Jones picked up a 7 yard carry in the 3rd quarter for his longest tote of the day. He managed to secure one target for a 17 yard gain. Jones did not get any carries in the red zone, though fellow backs Barber and Ogunbowale both got opportunities at the goal line.
RB Peyton Barber
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 20 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (3 targets) - Barber(10 carries) continues to be locked into an unproductive time share with Ronald Jones(11 carries), as he ground out 20 yards total. Barber got stuffed on a goal line carry early in the 1st quarter after Evans set the offense up inside the 5 yard line with a PI flag. Barber nearly scored on a red zone screen pass that he took down to the Titans' two yard line in the 3rd quarter, his only catch of the day on 3 targets. He was stuffed on a 4th and 1 attempt late in the 4th quarter.
RB Dare Ogunbowale
, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -2 - 0, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (3 targets) - Ogunbowale got a couple of goal line opportunities in the 2nd quarter. He was targeted on an out route in the end zone that was well defended, and then he got a carry from the goal line that was stopped short by Breshad Perriman
, who mistakenly came across the formation in motion, running over Ogunbowale as he was taking the handoff from Winston. Ogunbowale was targeted again inside the 5 yard line at the end of the 2nd quarter on a short out route that he could not secure. Ogunbowale only secured one target for a short(but hard-earned) 3 yards that picked up a first down on the Bucs' final drive of the game.
WR Mike Evans
, 76 offensive snaps, Rec: 11 - 198 - 2 (12 targets) - Evans was the winning lottery ticket in the Tampa Bay passing game this week. Tennessee's starting CB Jackson missed the game, leaving Evans to abuse his backup Sims for multiple gains of 40+ yards as well as several costly defensive pass interference calls. Evans did most of his damage in the first half outside of the numbers, working the sideline with out routes and curls. He beat his defender on a deep ball early in the 1st, missing the ball but drawing a holding penalty. He was targeted on the next snap, but couldn't bring the ball in on a crossing route in the back of the end zone. Evans finally got the downfield passing game going with a crazy 46 yard reception on a deep ball over the head of safety Byard with less than a minute left in the 1st half of play. Evans shook his man with a nice cut on a slant route two plays later, sealing the drive with a touchdown pass from Winston just before halftime. The pair picked up right back where they left off after halftime, with Winston connecting with Evans on a deep corner route from the left slot for a 43 yard gain on the Bucs' first offensive play of the 2nd half. Evans sealed the drive with another touchdown a few plays later, catching a back corner fade over a helpless defender. Evans finished with a team-high 12 targets, converting 11 of them into 198 yards and Tampa Bay's only two touchdowns.
WR Chris Godwin
, 82 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 43 - 0 (8 targets) - Godwin played second fiddle to Mike Evans
in this one as Evans dominated the downfield passing game as well as red zone looks. Godwin made lemonade out of lemons on a broken play in the 1st quarter, catching a shallow crossing route from Winston and making some nice moves after the catch to pick up positive yardage. He was targeted in the end zone but overthrown by Winston on a 1st quarter drive that eventually ended in a field goal. Godwin picked up a two-point conversion on the Bucs' first drive of the 2nd half of play. He made an impressive leaping effort on a 3rd quarter out route, then finished with a short reception on the final drive of the game. Godwin finished with 8 targets, second to Evans with 12.
WR Breshad Perriman
, 58 offensive snaps (4 targets) - Perriman had a forgettable performance in week 8. He appeared to mistakenly go into motion on a goal line play in the 2nd quarter as he ran over the ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage and killed the play. Winston hit Perriman in the back corner of the end zone on a two point conversion attempt at the end of the 1st half, but the receiver could not get both feet down inbounds. Fellow receiver Scotty Miller continues to see more snaps in the offense, and could be pushing Perriman down the pecking order.
WR Scott Miller
, 10 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Miller continued to mix into the receiver rotation despite the return of Perriman, who had a rough game. Miller had a step on his defender on a deep ball in the 2nd quarter, but couldn't quite haul in an overthrown pass from Winston.
TE Cameron Brate
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (6 targets) - Brate unfortunately did not see an uptick in his usage with OJ Howard this week. He caught a deep out route for a 12 yard gain early in the first drive of the game. He made a tough catch in traffic on a curl route in the 2nd quarter, and finished with a short reception in the 3rd, totaling a paltry 32 yards on the day. Backup tight end Hudson actually drew more looks in the red zone.
TE Tanner Hudson
, 21 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Backup tight end Hudson, who had some impressive performances in the preseason, saw some snaps this week with OJ Howard missing the game. Hudson was targeted once in the end zone but couldn't quite bring the ball in with a diving effort.
QB Ryan Tannehill
, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 33 - 193 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - -3 - 0 - Ryan Tannehill
dinked and dunked his way to 193 yards and three touchdowns in his second win starting under center for the Titans. Tannehill rarely had to push the ball downfield as he reaped the benefit of short fields on two occasions due to costly turnovers by the Jameis Winston
. He did take a few deep shots in this game, but he couldn’t connect on a pass of longer than 13 yards to any of his wide receivers. He would make a number of excellent passes to his tight end Jonnu Smith
though, including his longest play of the game for 26 yards coming just before halftime. Tannehill simply lofted the ball right over a defender as Smith hauled it in, in stride, over his shoulder to make the catch. Tannehill’s first touchdown of the day also went to Smith on his first pass of the game, an easy throw to the wide-open Smith from five yards out as Smith was set up for a great mismatch in coverage. His next touchdown was a beauty as he hit Tajae Sharpe
from six yards out on a perfectly thrown fade to the corner of the end zone. Tannehill made a couple of terrible throws on back-to-back plays late in the third quarter, but he was bailed out of both by defensive penalties that negated would-be interceptions. He would find the end zone a third time though, throwing a rocket to A.J. Brown
from eight yards out for what would be the game-winner.
RB Derrick Henry
, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 75 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets) - Derrick Henry
was bottled up for most of the afternoon against one of the league’s toughest run defenses. Over half of his runs before halftime actually went for negative yards, but he made up for it on his second carry of the game, which would be Henry’s best play of the afternoon. Lining up from their own one-yard line, the Titans handed it to Henry who hit a very well-blocked hole as Henry sped into the second level and shed two tacklers on his way to a 34-yard run. Henry made a blunder just after halftime though, as he was on his way to a 10+ yard run but fumbled right at the first down marker as he committed the only turnover of the day for Tennessee. A couple drives later, Henry had another big run as he found the edge on the right side of the field and accelerated to an 18-yard gain. Henry would haul in his only reception of the game on that drive as well, taking a screen pass eight yards. He had another pair of big runs for 11 and 15 yards on the Titans’ first drive of the fourth quarter, but his first one of 11-yards would get called back from a holding penalty. Henry’s 15-yard run was a beauty though as he turned on the wheels for a toss right that he accelerated 12 yards before even being touched.
WR Adam Humphries
, 28 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 24 - 0 (6 targets) - Adam Humphries
had another quiet day moving the chains, including converting a third-down with a simple three-yard catch near the end of the third quarter and converting a second-down on the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter with a 13-yard reception from a quick slant route. Humphries did see back-to-back red zone looks near the goal line earlier in the game, but neither could be converted for a score against his former team.
WR Tajae Sharpe
, 23 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 18 - 1 (3 targets) - Sharpe hauled in all three of his targets for 18 yards and a touchdown this week. His first catch was the biggest as Sharpe was the recipient of a very well-thrown fade to the corner of the end zone from six yards out, hauling it in for his second touchdown of the season. Sharpe now has scored in back-to-back games despite receiving a very low volume of targets this season. Sharpe did also make a big catch in the fourth quarter as he hauled in a contested ball on a short third down to keep what would end up being the game-winning drive alive for the Titans.
WR A.J. Brown
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 11 - 1 (3 targets) - A.J. Brown
had a quiet day with just three targets, but he found the end zone for what would end up being the game-winning score in the fourth quarter. The touchdown came from eight yards out as Brown ran a great route to cut off the defender and haul in a rocket thrown from Tannehill for the score just inside the pylon on the left side. Brown also saw a deep target before halftime but the ball was slightly overthrown as Brown couldn’t come down with it.
WR Corey Davis
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (6 targets) - Corey Davis
was nowhere to be found in this week’s win over the Buccaneers, finishing with just two receptions for nine yards. He was targeted six times, one of which was a well-thrown deep ball just barely batted out of his hands near the end of the first quarter. Davis also saw a deep target in the end zone but couldn’t successfully compete for the ball to haul it in.
TE Jonnu Smith
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 78 - 1 (7 targets) - Jonnu Smith
flourished with an opportunity to step up given Delanie Walker
’s inactive status this week as Smith finished leading the Titans in all receiving categories. His first reception was a touchdown from five yards out--also the first completion of the day for Tannehill. Smith took the defense by surprise lined up wide left and ran quick slant which ended in the easy reception for the score. He did drop a short pass near the end of the first quarter, but Smith’s next opportunity netted him 26 yards on the biggest pass play of the day. Tannehill found Smith with a great ball in stride as Smith hauled it in over the shoulder and took a big hit, but held on to the ball to complete the catch. Smith was called for a false start penalty to lead off the second half, but he made up for it with a short six-yard reception on the next play. Smith would play a big role in the game-winning touchdown drive as he led it off with a 17-yard screen pass where he picked up extra yards after nearly being tripped up. Two plays later, Smith was wide open down the seam for another big gain of 20 yards as he accounted for the first 37-yards of this critical drive.
Green Bay Packers 31, Kansas City Chiefs 24
What you need to know
Green Bay Packers
- The Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 31-24 to improve their record to 7-1 on the season. Aaron Rodgers
played brilliantly, completing 23 of 33 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Aaron Jones
showed off his versatility, rushing 13 times for 67 yards, but then completely smashed the Chiefs with seven receptions for 159 yards and two receiving touchdowns. Jamaal Williams
rushed seven times for 22 yards and a touchdown, while also catching three passes for 14 yards and a touchdown. Allen Lazard
caught five passes for 42 yards while Geronimo Allison
caught one pass for seven yards and Jake Kumerow
caught two passes for 48 yards. Jimmy Graham
caught three passes for 20 yards.
Kansas City Chiefs
- The Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Green Bay Packers 31-24, dropping their record to 5-3 on the season. With Patrick Mahomes
missing this game, Matt Moore
completed 24 of 36 passes for 267 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Lesean McCoy rushed nine times for 40 yards and caught four passes for 23 yards. Damien Williams
rushed seven times for 30 yards and a touchdown. Tyreek Hill
led the Chiefs receivers with six catches for 76 yards, and Sammy Watkins
had five catches for 55 yards. Mecole Hardman
caught two passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. Travis Kelce
caught four passes for 63 yards and a touchdown.
QB Aaron Rodgers
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 33 - 305 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 29 - 0 - Aaron Rodgers
completed 23 of 35 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in the Packers in over the Chiefs on Sunday night. Rodgers also rushed six times for 29 yards, showing off his mobility and rushing prowess when getting outside the pocket. This was one of those games where Rodgers made things look so easy it would not be hard to overlook his production in favor of Jones ridiculous stat line. That would be a mistake though as Rodgers completed a master class in putting his playmakers in the best position to gain yards after the catch, and he made several throws that no quarterback in the NFL, sans Patrick Mahomes
, is capable of making. Rodgers first touchdown pass came with the Packers facing a second and three from the Chiefs four yard line. Rodgers motioned Jones across the field from the right hash mark to the inside left slot position. Rodgers then took the snap and dropped the ball to Jones coming back across the formation to the right, which played out like an off-tackle rush would, with Jones following his blockers all the way to the end zone. Rodgers second touchdown pass was a prayer, or a thing of beauty depending on how you look at it, but regardless it was vintage Aaron Rodgers
. With the Packers facing a third and one from the Chiefs three yard line, Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and got a clean pocket for the first three seconds before the Chiefs were able to penetrate and force him out of the pocket to the right. With Rodgers about to get tackled from behind, he unleashed an Uncle Rico-esque flip pass from his right hip. It was an arching pass that found its way perfectly to the back right portion of the endzone, where Jamaal Williams
was running across the field. If there was a bucket right inside the back right portion of the endzone, the ball would have dropped right into it. IT was an incredible play, and one that is easy to say was just a prayer unless you look at how perfectly the ball came down with an arching trajectory, just over the Chiefs secondary, and in stride to Williams. It also came on third down and put the Chiefs up 24-17 deep in the third quarter. It is a play we will be watching for years to come. Rodgers final touchdown pass came with the Packers facing a second and three from their own 33 yard line. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and immediately threw a quick pass to Jones on a wide receiver screen route. The Packers blockers did their job creating an opening running lane for Jones, who then did the rest by weaving his way through the porous Chiefs secondary and outrunning everyone on his way to a 67 yard touchdown that won the game for the Packers.
RB Aaron Jones
, 44 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 67 - 0, Rec: 7 - 159 - 2 (8 targets) - Aaron Jones
rushed 13 times for 67 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per carry in the Packers win over the Chiefs on Sunday night. It was Jones work in the passing game that was incredible though, as he caught seven passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns on eight targets. Jones was simply un-guardable as a receiver and it came from the Packers putting him in advantageous positions and trusting him to run the type of routes receivers have to practice every day to perfect. It is worth noting from the jump that Jones had a 60 yard touchdown reception that was called a touchdown on the field but was reversed on replay after it showed Jones had just stepped out of bounds at the 10 yard line. The route was a double move where Jones was motioned to the left outside position, the mismatch occurring with a Chiefs linebacker moving out to cover him on the outside. Jones then ran a double move, slant and go, where he faked a post route to the inside and then took off to the left sideline. Watching the replay, the Chiefs had absolutely no shot, as there was not another Chiefs defender on the left side of the field by the time Jones faked his defender out of his shoes on the double move. I watched the replay three times and it is still hard to see where exactly Jones stepped out of bounds, but it was also such a great tactical play that I think it deserved to be a touchdown. After that, Jones first touchdown catch came with the Packers facing a second and three from the Chiefs four yard line. Rodgers motioned Jones across the field from the right hash mark to the inside left slot position using pre-snap motion. Rodgers then took the snap and dropped the ball to Jones who was then coming back across the formation to the right. The Packers blockers got very good depth pushing forward, allowing Jones to follow them all the way into the endzone for the three yard touchdown. Jones second touchdown catch came at a pivotal point in the game with the score tied 24-24 with roughly eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. Jones was set up as the outside receiver on the right hand side and then came in motion and set up just behind his slot receiver at the same time that Rodgers took the snap. Rodgers then flipped the ball to Jones who was set up on a screen pass. The Packers offensive line and receivers executed the blocking perfectly to give the play a chance to develop, as Jones caught the ball and the Packers slot receiver set up his block pushing his defender toward the sideline and opening up the middle of the field for Jones. From there it was all Jones, as he got up to top speed quickly, followed his blockers perfectly to the middle of the field and then took a perfect angle up the field so that he could weave subtly first in and then back outside where he outran the entire Chiefs secondary for the 67 yard game winning touchdown. Jones has broken out as one of the most exciting running backs in the NFL this year, and as a playmaker, is up there with the likes of Tyreek Hill
and Saquon Barkley
in terms of players who can turn any play into a long touchdown The Packers have not gotten much production from their receivers in Davante Adams
absence, which prompted them to put Jones in positions to excel in the passing game. He has become must-see TV every time the Packers play.
RB Jamaal Williams
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 22 - 1, Rec: 3 - 14 - 1 (3 targets) - Jamaal Williams
rushed seven times for 22 yards and a touchdown, while also catching three passes for 14 yards and a receiving touchdown. I have consistently noted in this column that Williams is not on par with Jones when it comes to raw-ability, but I do have to give him credit for stepping up his game from a jack of all trades, master of none, type plodder to a guy who has really made some impressive plays when his number is called. Williams is dependable, he executes his assignments very well and that counts for something in the Packers offense, especially when your quarterback is Rodgers with his level of attention to detail. Williams rushing touchdown came with the Packers facing a second and goal from the Chiefs one yard line. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and handed off to Williams who got downhill and powered through after getting great blocking from his offensive line. Williams touchdown catch was much more dramatic though. The Packers were facing a third and one from the Chiefs three yard line, and Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun. He got a clean pocket for the first three seconds before the Chiefs were able to penetrate and force him out of the pocket to the right. With Rodgers about to get tackled from behind, he unleashed he flipped a pass from his hip, arching it to the back of the end zone where Williams was flying across the back of the end zone. You have to give Williams credit though, he started in the right slot position and ran a shallow crossing route toward the left side of the field. He then reversed field and got to the back of the end zone, creating a play for Rodgers to make. He also made a nice catch on the play, and was a great example of Williams ability to execute and understand exactly where he needs to be, and how to help his quarterback. He doesn’t have the flash of Jones, but he just gets the job done.
WR Allen Lazard
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 42 - 0 (5 targets) - Allen Lazard
caught five passes for 42 yards in the Packers win over Chiefs on Sunday night. Lazard caught all five of his targets and is smoothly overtaking both Geranimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling
in the Packers pecking order. He played more snaps than both players and equaled their targets on his own. This wasn’t a big game for Lazard, but it was a steady one and he’s been really dependable as an intermediate target for Rodgers, which showed as he caught all of his targets.
WR Geronimo Allison
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (3 targets) - Geronimo Allison
caught one pass for seven yards on three targets in the Packers win over the Chiefs. Much like Valdes-Scantling, Allison has taken a backseat to Lazard and Jake Kumerow
, the latter not playing a whole lot of snaps over the last several weeks but seems to make a play every week that continues to put him in the mix for targets. Allison Catching only one pass is a trend that continues to play out, and he has no weekly fantasy value at this time.
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (2 targets) - Marquez Valdes-Scantling
caught one pass for four yards on two targets in the Packers win over the Chiefs. Rodgers threw 33 passes and passed for 305 yards, so it was surprising to see Valdes-Scantling be a complete non-factor, especially with the Chiefs secondary looking like a complete mess covering receivers down the field.
TE Jimmy Graham
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (5 targets) - Jimmy Graham
caught three passes for 20 yards on five targets in the Packers win over the Chiefs on Sunday. IT was the sixth straight game this season where Graham has been held under 65 yards receiving, although he does have three touchdown catches on the season, which puts him on the fringe as a #2 tight end, and a potential bye week replacement. The days of Graham being a playmaker are officially over, and the Packers have even been using Marcedes Lewis
as a deep target when they want those type of routes from their tight end.
QB Matt Moore
, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 36 - 267 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0 - Matt Moore
completed 24 of 36 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns in the Chiefs loss to the Packers on Sunday night. Moore played very well in this game and dueled with Aaron Rodgers
for most of this game before the Chiefs were unable to get more than seven points out of their last four drives of the game. Moore is what he has always been, a capable backup who can keep an offense afloat if he has playmakers around him. Even so, the Chiefs are as talented at the skill positions as any team in the NFL, but they still couldn’t overcome a very good team like the Packers without Mahomes making those players betters and put them in the best position to succeed. Moore’s first touchdown was actually a thing of beauty from the veteran quarterback. With the Chiefs facing a first and 10 from the Packers 29 yard line, Moore took the snap out of the shotgun and faked a handoff to his receiver who was coming in motion across the formation, Moore then faked a delayed pitch to his running who was running through the center of the formation, Moore then lightly faded to his right before unleashing a high arching pass to Kelce running straight down the field. The pass play was originally designed to be straight down the middle of the field, but Moore put enough air under the ball to lead Kelce back to the right sideline. With Kelce being wide open, and adjusting very well to the pass, it was an easy 29 yard touchdown after Kelce caught the ball. While it was a great adjustment for Kelce, Moore made this play happen with two perfectly timed fakes, and then the wherewithal to lead his receiver to where the opening was, it was a very impressive play from an X and O’s standpoint. Moore’s second touchdown pass was much less so, as he got credited with a the score after dropping the ball in front of him in the shotgun to Hardman streaking across the formation. From there it was all Hardman, as the receiver outraced everyone to the endzone for a 30 yard touchdown. Moore’s reign as starter may only last a week as Mahomes is trying to target next week for his return. Either way, Moore did enough to solidify himself as Mahomes top backup.
RB LeSean McCoy
, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 40 - 0, Rec: 4 - 23 - 0 (4 targets) - LeSean McCoy
rushed nine times for 40 yards and caught four passes for 23 yards on four targets in the Chiefs loss to the Packers. McCoy led the Chiefs backfield in total touches and look to be the preferred option, gaining solid yards for an offense that was keeping pace with the Packers explosive offensive unit. However, McCoy later fumbled on a key possession late in the third quarter, which ended up giving the Packers the lead. It was the second time McCoy has fumbled in a critical situation in the Chiefs losses, and despite his consistency on early down running plays, Andy Reid will not continue to put up with McCoy’s lack of ball security. It was obvious from then on that Reid looked to Damien Williams
to lead the Chiefs in the fourth quarter. McCoy is still running like the best option for the Chiefs, but there’s a limit to his upside because he isn’t seeing enough touches to really pop and Williams is seeing the red zone carries.
RB Damien Williams
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 30 - 1 - Damien Williams
rushed seven times for 30 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs loss to the Packers on Sunday night. Williams took a backseat to McCoy for much of the game until McCoy fumbled late in the third quarter. Williams ended up playing all of the fourth quarter and capitalized on a Packers penalty in the red Zone by converting a close carry for a touchdown. With the Chiefs facing a first and goal from the Packers three yard line, Williams took the carry out of the shotgun and looked spry breaking quickly off the left tackle before cutting back to the middle of the field for an easy touchdown run. The blocks were set up well for Williams, but he also showed some quickness by converting two crisp jump cuts on the touchdown run. Williams is a product of volume, he isn’t going to break many big plays unless he sees 20 touches a game, which isn’t going to happen, so he has become touchdown dependent and McCoy is even seeing more work on early downs in the passing game.
WR Tyreek Hill
, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 6 - 76 - 0 (9 targets) - Tyreek Hill
caught six passes on nine targets for 76 yards against the Packers on Sunday night. Hill was Moore’s most targeted player on the offense, and he did well with the opportunities he was given. Hill’s main weapon is his speed, but Moore is not the type of target who is going to throw him open down the field like Mahomes, so Hill depended mostly on his ability to gain yards after the catch in the short and intermediate passing game. Hill had a long gain of 21 yards that set up a Chiefs field goal, bringing them from near midfield to the Packers red zone. With Mahomes coming back next week, Hill’s value remains a high value target and a proven playmaker who will convert long touchdowns with an average target volume for a #1 receiver.
WR Sammy Watkins
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 45 - 0 (8 targets) - Sammy Watkins
caught five of eight targets for 45 yards in the Chiefs loss to the Packers on Sunday night. Watkins returned in this game from a hamstring injury and was given a full slate of snaps (86%) and a bevy of targets, tying Kelce for the second most, and one behind Hill. Unfortunately, those targets were pretty vanilla plays where Watkins was looked to in the short passing game on comebacks, shallow crossing routes and slants. Watkins did have one deep target and he was able to make a big catch for 25 yards and take the Chiefs from the Packers 46 yard line down to the their 21 yard line. This play played a big part in setting up Williams touchdown run. Watkins is seeing a solid volume of targets and as we saw in week one, he is capable of erupting for a big game, especially with defenses focused on the immense talent surround him. It will be hard to say when that will come though, and in the meantime Watkins is #3 wide receiver with a solid floor in PPR formats.
WR Mecole Hardman
, 9 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 55 - 1 (2 targets) - Mecole Hardman
caught two passes for 55 yards and a touchdown on only two targets in the Chiefs loss to the Packers on Sunday night. Hardman was once again electric, churning out to the two longest receptions of the Chiefs offense on his only two touches of the game. Hardman’s touchdown catch came with the Chiefs facing a first and ten from the Packers 30 yard line. Moore took the snap out of the shotgun and dropped the ball in front of him to Hardman who was coming across the formation from the right to the left side. The Chiefs offensive line and fellow receivers set up blocks very well for Hardman to get him downfield enough for him to use his speed. Hardman got going downhill and then made one cut back to the middle of the field that was incredibly smooth, and it happened so fast that a Packers defender missed a wide open diving tackle that he had a great angle on but just could not time it right with Hardman running so fast. Hardman was not touched on the play until right after he crossed the goal line, giving the rookie receiver his fourth touchdown of the season and his second consecutive game with a touchdown. Hardman gives the Chiefs yet another incredible athlete with speed on the outside and inside slot, but what was once thought of as a luxury pick (or a potential replacement for Tyreek Hill
had he encountered the wrath of Roger Goodell) has turned into a pivotal player in the Chiefs offense, regardless of his lack of volume. He’s the type of player who can break any play wide open for a long touchdown, and he has earned his way onto the field by outplaying Demarcus Robinson
pretty badly over the last six games.
TE Travis Kelce
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 63 - 1 (8 targets) - Travis Kelce
caught four passes for 63 yards and a touchdown on eight targets in the Chiefs loss to the Packers on Sunday. Kelce’s day was highlighted by a 29 yard touchdown in the second quarter where he was left wide open but made an fantastic adjustment on a long pass from Moore. Moore took the snap out of the shotgun and faked a handoff to his receiver who was coming in motion across the formation, Moore then faked a delayed pitch to his running back who was running through the center of the formation, Moore then lofted a pass to Kelce who was running straight down the field and looking for the ball over his left shoulder. Moore threw Kelce open to the right sideline though, and Kelce made an awesome switch to now looking over his right shoulder before making the catch, staying in bounds and converting the 29 yard pass for a touchdown. That was by far his most impactful play though, as the Packers then shut him down for the rest of the game and it certainly played a part in the Chiefs lack of scoring in the second half.
New York Jets 15, Jacksonville Jaguars 29
What you need to know
New York Jets
- What is there to say about this team? Nothing works, and the suck has even caught up to Le’Veon Bell, who didn’t see much work on the ground and even less through the air. Ryan Griffin
had two scores, but you can’t count on that from and offense which has had almost no touchdowns this season. The Jets are a mess, the offensive line is bad at both pass and run blocking and to say the playcalling is uninspired is to insult truly uninspiring things. The Jets are mired below mediocrity and there’s nothing here a fantasy owner should depend on as more than an emergency spot.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars pulled off a 29-15 home win against the struggling New York Jets on Sunday thanks to a complete game from the offense and defense. Offensively, they racked up 21 first downs and almostÊ400 yards of offense despite facing a stingy Jets defense. The Jaguars offense was able to score in only four plays on their first drive and ultimately had two plays over 60 yards, showing signs of the explosive offense the Jaguars had in the earlier part of the season.
QB Sam Darnold
, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 30 - 218 - 2 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0 - This week wasn’t awful, but only because last Monday against the Patriots set the bar low. It’s hard to gain any real insight into Darnold’s ability when he’s under constant pressure, and the eight sacks, while a lot, could have been added to if not for the odd timely block or scramble by Darnold. The offensive line is awful, the playcalling is sub-par and doing him no favors, and both are contributing to his turnovers. By the same token, he needs to make better decisions. He forces a ball when he should take a sack or throw it away, holds the ball when he needs to get rid of it or run and generally has regressed rather majorly over the course of those season. Darnold does not look prepared to play since returning to active status, but that could be said of the entire team.
RB LeVeon Bell
, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 23 - 0, Rec: 3 - 12 - 0 (5 targets) - It’s baffling that a player who is as good as Bell was as underutilized as he was against Jacksonville, especially with as badly as his quarterback was being beaten on. Bell only carried the ball nine times, and just three times in the second half. He didn’t see the ball on passing downs very often either, which makes it three weeks in a row where he’s a minimal factor in the passing game. Bell continues to show patience waiting for holes to form and quickness running through them, but they are few and far between and this week the defense he faced finally slowed him down enough to limit his yards per carry. He did do a great job as a misdirection on one of tight end Ryan Griffin
’s touchdowns, as most of the defense followed the former Steeler and Griffin was left relatively open. Again, though, nine carries is not much for a back like Bell.
RB Bilal Powell
, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 11 - 0 - Powell just did some cleanup work for Bell. He continues to not be a factor.
WR Demaryius Thomas
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 63 - 0 (5 targets) - Thomas caught all of his targets but didn’t make much of an impact overall. Whether because he gets open quickly or because it’s being schemed to happen, Thomas is getting as many looks as anyone on this offense, but he’s not able to break free enough to pile up any real yardage.
WR Robby Anderson
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 43 - 0 (6 targets) - Anderson should have had a long reception but was called for offensive pass interference, and was the target on two of Sam Darnold
’s interceptions. There’s no time for Darnold to throw behind his terrible offensive line, so it’s a bit shocking that Anderson gets as many targets as he does, considering his game is mostly deep vertical routes.
WR Vyncint Smith
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 13 - 0, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (4 targets) - Smith was the target on Sam Darnold
’s second to last interception, but found some success on a solid 13-yard run late in the game.
WR Jamison Crowder
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 24 - 0 (5 targets) - While everyone hoped the return of Sam Darnold
would mean a rise in Jamison Crowder
’s prominence, that hasn’t been the case. Crowder still seems to get open on a semi-regular basis but either Darnold isn’t seeing him or the play is schemed away from Crowder. Given Crowder’s ability on short-to-intermediate routes, you would think the Jets would use him as an outlet for Darnold when under pressure, but that’s not happening. Whatever magic they had in Week 1, it’s long gone.
TE Ryan Griffin
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 66 - 2 (4 targets) - Overall he has shown himself as more than a blocker, and it’s likely that ability which has allowed the Jets to keep Chris Herndon
off the field until he’s completely healed.
QB Gardner Minshew
, 76 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 34 - 279 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 8 - 28 - 0 - Gardner Minshew
had his worst two-game stretch in Weeks 6 & 7, but he rebounded in Week 8 and had perhaps his best performance all season. He finished the game 22/34 for 279 yards and three touchdowns, and also added on 28 yards on the ground. It was Minshew's first three-touchdown game of his career and it was a result of a drastic improvement in pocket movement and awareness from the rookie. Instead of getting happy feet and bailing from pressure too early, he stayed tough in the pocket, set his feet and delivered strike after strike. He saw mostly man coverage on Sunday and was able to hit his wideouts with both touch and velocity passes to take advantage of open windows.
His three touchdowns were the result of good chemistry between him and his wide receivers, as well as a keen ability to extend plays and create positive gains when the structure of a play breakdown. The best examples of these were Minshew's second and third touchdowns -- a 70-yard pass to Chris Conley
and a eight-yard yard pass to DJ Chark. On the pass to Conley, Minshew was designed to sprint out to his right but a blitzing Jamal Adams met him on the edge. He sidestepped Adams and then threw a touch pass to Conley while on the move, with Conley taking the catch all the way for a score.
On the throw to Chark, Minshew once again evaded Jets defenders but this time it was more than just ont blitzing safety. As the play progressed, no receivers found themselves open so Minshew broke to his right. He was met in space by two Jets defenders but was able to find space behind the LOS to avoid them before tossing a perfelctly placed pass to Chark for a score.
RB Leonard Fournette
, 60 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 76 - 0, Rec: 7 - 60 - 0 (7 targets) - Leonard Fournette
had one of his toughest tests of the season against a Jets defensive front that has done a good job of stopping the run all season, but he started the game off with a bang as he took his first handoff 66 yards into Jets territory. The play was a good example of Fournette showing patience on inside zone before breaking a tackle at the second level. Unfortunately for Fournette, he was caught from behind by Jamal Adams after he made a poor decision to cut back to the other side of the field during the run, which has been far too frequent of an occurrence this season.
Fournette struggled on the ground for the rest of the game due to a gluttony of negative runs caused by poor blocking from the OL, TEs and WRs. He finished his day with 76 yards on 19 rushes, with 66 coming on that one carry. He did contribute greatly as a pass catcher, however, catching all seven of his targets for 60 yards. The best play came on 3rd down in the fourth quarter in the red-zone, a play that helped set up the aforementioned Chark touchdown. On this play, he ran a wheel route out of the backfield and created easy separation against the linebacker before doing a great job of tracking the pass along the sideline and bringing it in for the conversion.
Fournette once again failed to register a touchdown, but he was given the ball often and for the most part he made the best of his opportunities.
RB Ryquell Armstead
, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 7 - 0 - Rookie running back Ryquell Armstead
played the most snaps he has played all season but he had the same tough sledding that Leonard Fournette
had, carrying it six times for only seven yards. Like Fournette, Armstead simply had zero running room. He did get a few red-zone carries and was the primary running back every time Fournette was not on the field, so the hope is he can still poach a touchdown here and there.
WR D.J. Chark
, 56 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 6 - 79 - 1 (12 targets) - DJ Chark continued his strong 2019 campaign by recording a six catch for 79 yards performance, with the aforementioned touchdown added in. He gained easy seperation against the Jets' defensive backs all game long, particually beating them on inside breaking routes such as slants and digs. He caught one 19-yard pass on a backside dig that showed an improved ability to win the rep off of his release off of the line, eating up cushion with long strides that creeped up on the corner.
His touchdown was the result of good chemistry with Minshew. He ran a drag from the backside of the formation and once he saw Minshew break from the pocket, he looked for a hole in the Jets' zone coverage before settling in near the sideline nearest to Minshew. He did have one 3rd down drop for the second week in a row, but Sunday was another positive step for the second-year wide receiver. He saw six targets, the second-most on the team behind Fournette's seven.
WR Chris Conley
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 103 - 1 (7 targets) - Chris Conley
had his second consecutive big game for the Jaguars, hauling in four of his seven targets for a career-high 103 yards and one touchdown. The vast majority of his yards came on a 70-yard touchdown, which saw him run a crossing route against cover 3. The Jets' linebackers bit downhill when Minshew stepped up in the pocket and gave Conley a wide-open space to catch the ball in, and he then showed off his tremendous speed as he simply outran the rest of the defenders for the longest touchdown of his career. He did drop a pass, but ultimately he provided a big-bodied target for Minshew to hit underneath and across the middle of the field.
WR Keelan Cole
, 26 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 12 - 1 (2 targets) - Keelan Cole
caught two passes for 12 yards in relief of Westbrook and an injured Marqise Lee
, and he caught a touchdown for the second week in a row. His touchdown was the result of good route running as he beat Jamal Adams on an zig route for a six-yard score as he made Adams bite on his outside move before Cole won the inside leverage and provided an easy target for Minshew in the back of the end zone.
WR Dede Westbrook
, 31 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Dede Westbrook
only played one half of football before leaving with a shoulder and neck injury, but he did not record a catch on his lone target. Westbrook has been amongst the Jaguars' most heavily targeted players all season, so if he continues to deal with a shoulder injury it would be a big loss for the Jacksonville offense.
TE Josh Oliver
, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (2 targets) - Josh Oliver
was only targeted twice on Sunday and finished his day with one catch for six yards with one drop. He did a good job of finding open zones and eating up linebacker cushions off of his releases, but he has yet to make a big impact on the passing game. His drop came when Minshew threw a pass slightly behind him before he adjusted his body for the ball. While he got his body around, the pass went in and out of his hands.
Cleveland Browns 13, New England Patriots 27
What you need to know
- All things considered, this game could have been way worse for the Browns on a rainy afternoon in Foxborough. They turned the ball over three straight times in the first half, including two lost fumbles by Nick Chubb
and an interception by Baker Mayfield
. The defense put up a valiant effort but the turnovers gave New England excellent field position and additional scoring chances. The Browns continue to be way too sloppy, especially on offense. Cleveland was whistled for 13 penalties, including six false start penalties.
New England Patriots
- N’Keal Harry and Isaiah Wynn should be off IR soon, which could change the offense for the better. 4 WR sets will have Julian Edelman
as a staple, and will likely use Mo Sanu on a good chunk. The guess is Harry and Jakobi Meyers
rotate initially, but Harry is more of an X receiver, so it remains to be seen how snaps shake out.
QB Baker Mayfield
, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 31 - 194 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 18 - 0 - Mayfield’s play wasn’t terrible as he put together a decent outing in tough conditions against one of the top defenses in the league. He does continue to take way too many sacks as the Patriots dropped him five times. On the first drive, Mayfield hit Antonio Callaway
but the pass was too far outside for Callaway to stay in bounds. He then threw too high for a wide-open Jarvis Landry
in the middle of the field. Mayfield’s interception came on an odd play on the fourth drive of the game. He attempted a forward pitch to Landry but wound up pitching the ball straight into the hands of a New England defender. Mayfield’s lone touchdown was a 21-yard dime to Demetrius Harris
right at the goal line. He showed excellent accuracy in hitting the wide-open tight end. On the opening drive of the second half, he found Landry for a 21-yard completion and then had Harris open deep down the left sideline. The ball to Harris was underthrown, however, hitting a Patriot defender on the back of the helmet with the pass. On the following drive, he threw an excellent back shoulder pass to Odell Beckham
on the right which Beckham dropped. In the fourth quarter, Mayfield hit Rashard Higgins
for around a 25-yard gain which was called back on an offensive pass interference penalty against Higgins. He then threw too high for Beckham on a deep shot on the left side of the field. Mayfield’s fantasy output hasn’t been great through seven games but Cleveland’s schedule does open up significantly going forward.
RB Nick Chubb
, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 131 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - Chubb finished with an excellent yardage total but he lost two fumbles on consecutive carries which ruined his afternoon. Besides those lost fumbles, Chubb looked good when he got touches, operating as Cleveland’s best means of moving the ball against New England’s defense. Chubb lost a fumble on his very first carry which was picked up and returned for a defensive touchdown. Upon viewing the replay, the ball was kicked out of Chubb’s hands by a falling offensive lineman. He fumbled again on his very next carry, this time ruining what was a beautiful 44-yard run. This time, the ball was punched out by a defender at the end of the run. From that point forward, Chubb calmed down. He showed excellent vision and tackle-breaking ability on many of his runs, often ripping off large chunks of yardage.
WR Jarvis Landry
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 65 - 0 (10 targets) - Landry led the Browns in receiving in the loss. On the first drive, he got open in the middle of the field but Mayfield delivered a pass that was too high for Landry to catch. In the second quarter, he was closely covered but was able to make a catch which went for 13 yards. He followed that up with a 12-yard gain on the left side of the field. Landry was quiet in the third quarter but came back to post a productive fourth quarter. He got wide open and hauled in what was about a 30-yard reception but the play was nullified by an offensive pass interference call. The penalty was assigned to Landry but replay showed that it was Antonio Callaway
who set a pick on Landry’s defender on a crossing route. He then tacked on a short seven-yard reception on the ensuing possession. The third possession of the quarter saw plenty of work for Landry. He had an incompletion on a target thrown behind him, then a 12-yard reception to the right, and then another incompletion down the middle of the field. Landry looked like he wanted a pass interference flag on that play but none came.
WR Odell Beckham
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 52 - 0 (7 targets) - Beckham was on his way to a slow outing before he caught a 31-yard pass in the fourth quarter. He predictably struggled against blanket coverage from Stephon Gilmore, one of the top cover corners in the league. His first catch was a seven-yard gain on a quick screen to the left. On the next drive, he caught another short screen, this time going for three yards. In the second quarter, he caught two more passes, a sliding seven-yard gain off play action and a four-yard gain for a first down on third-and-three. He was quiet in the third quarter, dropping his lone target on a well-thrown back shoulder pass down the right sideline. He appeared to turn around a bit late and couldn’t adjust in time to make the grab. In the fourth quarter, Beckham got open deep down the left sideline but the pass was thrown too high for him to make the leaping catch. His final catch was impressive as he made a leaping, 31-yard grab between two defenders and absorbed a big hit right after securing the ball.
TE Demetrius Harris
, 14 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 33 - 1 (3 targets) - Harris had his best game as a Brown in Week 8 against the Patriots. He caught the team’s lone touchdown, a 21-yard strike from Baker Mayfield
in the second quarter. Harris got open near the end zone and was able to twist his body to cross the goal line before his defender was able to get a hit on him. In the third quarter, Harris got a step on his defender down the left sideline. Mayfield saw him but his pass was underthrown, hitting Harris’ defender in the back of the helmet. The tight end’s other catch was a 12-yard gain down the middle of the field. Harris and Ricky Seals-Jones
have been alternating solid fantasy performances, making it difficult to guess who will have a big game in any given week.
QB Tom Brady
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 36 - 259 - 2 TD / 0 INT - Another decent day for Tom Brady
and the Patriots offense made to look better by the defense. The offense started and finished well, but had a chunk in the middle of the game where they could not get anything going. As usual, that included some offensive line missteps and one misstep from Brady that should have been an interception. With Josh Gordon
gone and playing in the rain, Brady naturally focused in on Julian Edelman
, who was the only consistent offensive player for the Pats. The first touchdown connection between the two was Edelman beating one on one coverage on a slant route in the middle of the field. Nothing crazy, just a touchdown with good time in pocket. The second was a great move and throw by Brady, who slide to avoid a sack in the pocket and threw a dart to Edelman while on the run. You could call it Russell Wilson
-esque if Brady was...quicker. Beyond that, 59 of his 259 yards came on a screen to James White
, and there wasn’t much else in the “wow” column. Another day with a so-so offense and a worldbeating defense.
RB Sony Michel
, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 74 - 0 - Though Sony Michel
was once again a shell of his 2018 self, he did make a couple good runs that won’t show up on the stat sheet. His vision seemed better this game than in other games, with tough running at times behind an offensive line that wasn’t beating the Cleveland defensive line on most plays. Michel was also making better cuts upfield than in games prior. He didn’t get many opportunities to score in this game, though he was stuffed at the 1 yard line at one point. For better or worse, he didn’t do anything to dissuade the notion he’s still the early down guy going forward.
RB James White
, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0, Rec: 4 - 75 - 0 (5 targets) - James White
’s lone play of note was a screen play that went 59 yards thanks to good blocking and nifty running. Beyond that, his 6 touches were less than normal thanks to game flow and Rex Burkhead
’s return, though Burkhead only touched the ball 4 times.
WR Julian Edelman
, 66 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -3 - 0, Rec: 8 - 78 - 2 (11 targets) - Meet the one consistent offensive skill player for the Patriots. Julian Edelman
accounted for most of the yards (that weren’t James White
’s screen) for Tom Brady
, catching key passes including two touchdowns. His first was a stutter slant route in one on one coverage in the middle of the field, and with about 10 yards of space to work with, he beat his defender fairly easily. His second was all Tom Brady
, who avoided a sack and slung the ball while running to his right side. Edelman also had a nice 4th down conversion, and nearly had another touchdown but was tackled at the 1.
WR Phillip Dorsett
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 43 - 0 (6 targets) - Dorsett’s highlight was a chunk back shoulder catch from Tom Brady
early in the game. He did get 6 targets, but wasn’t able to do much else with them.
WR Mohamed Sanu
, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 23 - 0 (5 targets) - Sanu only played about half the snaps, and made his presence known on a couple blocks and one first down conversion. He should see more snaps as he gets more familiar with the offense.
TE Ben Watson
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 26 - 0 (1 targets) - Watson had a really nice 26 yard converting catch while sliding, but wasn’t targeted much beyond that. He also blocked reasonably well on a few plays.
Carolina Panthers 13, San Francisco 49ers 51
What you need to know
- The Carolina offense was blotted out entirely by a physical, dominant and unrelenting 49ers defense. Kyle Allen
threw his first career interceptions and was under constant duress as the San Francisco front seven continued to win the battle in the trenches. Allen became skittish at times and took sacks instead of remaining poised and throwing the ball away. Christian McCaffrey
did his best to pick the offense up, accumulating over 100 rushing yards behind some excellent blocks and aggressive running, but he was out of the game by the fourth quarter as the Panthers waved the white flag. Among the receivers, Curtis Samuel
could have produced a much bigger statistical output had a pair of Allen deep passes hit their mark. D.J. Moore
did his damage in the short to intermediate range of the field, but the entire passing game was nullified. Greg Olsen
’s contributions as a blocker to spring McCaffrey for a handful of big runs didn’t match his impact as a receiver, where he was held to a pair of catches. Carolina’s offensive line was overwhelmed, especially left tackle Dennis Daley, whose inability to handle Nick Bosa proved costly. That said, the entire offensive line lost the battle to a strong 49ers front.
San Francisco 49ers
- The gaudy numbers for San Francisco's running game resulted less from individual running skill than from untouched carry after untouched carry. To give nearly all credit to the blockers (and the scheme that tells them who and where to block) isn't necessarily a negative for the 49ers' running backs. Rather, if the blocking continues to be this good, they'll continue reaping the rewards on the stat sheet. One other thing you need to know is that newly acquired Emmanuel Sanders
seamlessly moved into the role previously occupied by Marquise Goodwin
QB Kyle Allen
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 37 - 158 - 0 TD / 3 INT - In Kyle Allen
’s toughest test as a professional he simply could not stand up to a formidable 49ers defense that harried, hurried and hit him all game long. On Allen’s first third-down dropback, the 49ers played zone and pattern-matched the Carolina receivers, providing no clean throwing window for the quarterback. Allen hesitated and was chased down by a relentless San Francisco pass rush. He was often chased out of the pocket, or simply flushed out of his own volition as he sensed pressure closing in. On two such occasions Allen showed poor awareness and gave up a pair of sacks when throwing the ball away would have been the best option. Despite the dominance of the 49ers up front, when Allen had time he took shots downfield. A deep post to Curtis Samuel
was thrown just a little too far out in front, while an end zone target to Samuel in the first quarter was just a few inches too high. Allen’s first career interceptions were a combination of the 49ers’ defensive pressure accumulating and poor decisions. The first pick came on a target to Samuel on a curl route. The cornerback read the route combination of the three receivers on that side of the field and timed his break perfectly to take the ball away. After nearly throwing an interception on a lofted pass to the right side on one play, the very next play saw Allen attack the same side. This time, he was punished by Richard Sherman, who was lurking in zone coverage to jump the route. It appeared that Allen and D.J. Moore
were not on the same page. Allen’s offensive line struggled to contain the San Francisco pass rush, with rookie left tackle Dennis Daley in particular being victimised by Nick Bosa. The younger Bosa brother picked off Allen for a third time, hopping back up after a cut block and leaping up for the impressive pick.
RB Christian McCaffrey
, 54 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 117 - 1, Rec: 4 - 38 - 0 (5 targets) - On a day to forget for the Panthers offense, Christian McCaffrey
showed no lack of heart or will to keep his team in the game. McCaffrey was met hard by the 49ers defenders on his first couple of touches, a sign of things to come, as it turned out. He found a lot of joy running off tackle, with Greg Olsen
providing some key blocks out in front. McCaffrey squeezed through a gap between center and left guard on an inside give, sprinting down the field for a 43-yard gain – only to have the play called back due to holding. McCaffrey remained a factor in the passing game, despite the struggles of the offensive line, providing an outlet for an overwhelmed Kyle Allen
. McCaffrey’s persistence paid off eventually, with key blocks from D.J. Moore
and Olsen springing him off the left side for a long touchdown run. His pace on the play left the chasing 49ers defenders in the dust. McCaffrey converted the subsequent two-point play, reaching the ball out over the plane of the goal line after it appeared he had been stopped. The remainder of the game saw the 49ers pull away, prompting the Carolina coaching staff to sit their star running back to preserve him.
WR D.J. Moore
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 38 - 0 (9 targets) - D.J. Moore
didn’t light up the box score against the 49ers, but it was largely down to the passing game’s inadequacies. Kyle Allen
struggled to deal with the San Francisco pressure, and it appeared to affect his accuracy on some downfield targets to Moore, notably a deep post. Moore mostly operated in the short to intermediate range, showing good concentration and strong hands at the catch point. Allen went back to Moore on a deep shot in the second half, but the pass was a couple of yards out of bounds. It was a disappointment for Moore, who tracked the ball beautifully. As the Panthers offense dialled it back towards the end of a game that was already over, Moore caught a couple of dump-off passes against zone.
WR Curtis Samuel
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 46 - 0 (11 targets) - On a day to forget for the Carolina passing game, it proved to be a day of ‘almost’ for Curtis Samuel
. Early in the game, Samuel was the target of a deep ball in the back corner of the end zone, the football just a yard or two out of his reach as he made a despairing attempt to haul it in. Kyle Allen
went back to the deep ball well later in the game, but this time a streaking Samuel couldn’t catch up to the quarterback’s pass, which was thrown too far out in front. Samuel was largely a non-factor despite leading the team in targets, but the 49ers defense marshalled him well and did not give the Panthers a sniff overall.
WR Jarius Wright
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (4 targets) - Jarius Wright
was limited to a pair of short receptions in the flat as the Panthers tried to attack underneath against the 49ers’ zone coverage. On both occasions the San Francisco defense rallied to make the tackle, with yards after the catch very tough to come by.
TE Greg Olsen
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (2 targets) - Greg Olsen
, much like the rest of the Carolina passing attack, was snuffed out as a receiving option. After a Luke Kuechly interception in the first quarter gave the offense the ball inside the 49ers half, Kyle Allen
and Olsen linked up on a timing route off play action. Otherwise, Olsen’s impact in the passing game only went as far as Allen’s efficiency – in other words, not very. Olsen sprung Christian McCaffrey
for big runs as a pulling lead blocker, however.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo
, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 22 - 175 - 2 TD / 1 INT - With the 49ers' running game meeting minimal resistance, Garoppolo wasn't asked to do much. This was especially true in the second half, where he only threw five passes. That said, when called upon early, he delivered, and the two demerits on his stat sheet weren't as bad as what he's capable of sometimes. Garoppolo's first touchdown was a perfectly threaded pass between two defenders at the goal line. He also perfectly executed a shovel pass to Matt Breida
and a screen pass to Tevin Coleman
, both in the red zone. And on third downs, he went 4-for-5, converting a first down on all 4 completions. With respect to his interception and safety, the former was more of a great play by all-world linebacker Luke Kuechly (in coverage against George Kittle
), while the latter resulted from a blown block by Justin Skule, who'll be returning to the bench when Joe Staley returns in the next week or two.
RB Tevin Coleman
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 105 - 3, Rec: 2 - 13 - 1 (2 targets) - One should never assert that a player with 118 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns had anything less than a great game. However, taking a second look at Coleman's performance reveals almost all of his production came before being touched by a defender. Coleman's first touchdown was a simple inside handoff that went 19 yards untouched. His second was on a screen pass to the left flat, where he ran 16 yards untouched. His third was on another inside handoff, which he took for 48 yards; again untouched. It wasn't until Coleman's fourth touchdown where he had to contend with potential contact because it was on the goal line. And yet, even then, he waltzed into the end zone from 1 yard out having been slightly nudged through a wide open lane. Again, Coleman had a great game. He just wasn't Jim Brown
out there or anything.
RB Matt Breida
, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 35 - 0, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (1 targets) - Breida gained 32 of his 50 scrimmage yards on two plays. On San Francisco's first drive, which ended in a touchdown, Breida ran untouched for 15 yards down to the Panthers 2 yard line after faking a handoff, then turning around to catch a shovel pass. This was more a particularly clever design by Kyle Shanahan than anything. Then, just before the 49ers scored their third touchdown, Breida took an outside zone pitch 17 yards down to Carolina's 10 yard line -- once again untouched until being tackled.
WR Deebo Samuel
, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 29 - 1, Rec: 3 - 19 - 0 (3 targets) - Samuel's skill set -- and the way Kyle Shanahan wants to employ it -- was in full effect on consecutive third quarter plays. With Carolina having cut the lead to 27-13 and San Francisco facing 3rd-and-8 from the Panthers' 28-yard line, Shanahan called Samuel's number on a dig route at the sticks, which he used perfect hands technique to grab in traffic. Then, on the next play, Samuel motioned tight to the line as if he was going to block, but then took a handoff behind right tackle, hit the hole, turned on the jets, and ran untouched for 20 yards into the endzone. It should also be noted that that was Samuel's third run of the game. His first was a jet sweep for 2 yards (technically shoveled to him for a reception), and the second was a reverse for 9 yards.
WR Emmanuel Sanders
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 25 - 1 (5 targets) - Even though Sanders didn't post a huge stat line in his first game with San Francisco, his likely usage going forward was apparent. Namely, he's taken over the Marquise Goodwin
role, and will be relied upon in crucial situations. To wit, two of Sanders' four receptions came on third down, both of which he converted. The first was a 3rd-and-11 reception where he sat down in Carolina's deep middle zone and went to the ground to catch a low throw. The second was a 3rd-and-4 where he once again sat down in a zone, though this time it was short right. It should be noted that Sanders also had a near miss deep, when he beat cornerback Russ Cockrell on a 20-yard out route. Unfortunately, Jimmy Garoppolo
was hit as he threw, so the pass sailed high and out of bounds.
WR Dante Pettis
, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (3 targets) - This game highlighted (or more like lowlighted?) what seems to be wrong with Pettis this season. His first target came on a deep out route where he was late out of his break, so Jimmy Garoppolo
's throw was out of reach. His second target came on a swing pass out of the backfield. This time, Garoppolo lead him upfield, but Pettis stayed flat on his route, so the ball fell incomplete after Pettis made a half-hearted stab at it. Finally, on Pettis' third target, an actual completion he gamely went down to the ground to catch, Garoppolo's throw was again timed incorrectly, this time low and behind. It seems clear that these two aren't on the same page at all.
TE George Kittle
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 86 - 0 (7 targets) - In what has to be trolling from someone, somewhere, Kittle once again had a touchdown nullified by penalty. Another red zone touchdown was prevented by the pass interference of safety Eric Reid. Later in the game, he beat Reid down the seam for 25 yards. On Kittle's 29-yard first quarter reception, linebacker Shaq Thompson covered him downfield, but then passed him off to a deep defender who was nowhere to be found. The rest of Kittle's yardage came on a couple of tight ends screens, which Kyle Shanahan hadn't used to a significant extent this season.
Seattle Seahawks 27, Atlanta Falcons 20
What you need to know
- Russell Wilson
went back to his ultra-efficient ways, which was good news for both the running and passing game. Chris Carson
got most of the carries, but a healthy Rashaad Penny
did some damage on his few touches, and got some red zone snaps as well. DK Metcalf
’s two TDs were the sort of plays that the injured Will Dissly
would have been slotted for. And Tyler Lockett
just keeps on rolling, making hard plays look easy, as he and Wilson have one of the best QB-Receiver rapport’s in football.
- Matt Bryant
continued his slump, hooking a 50-yarder at the top of the second quarter and another one that he pushed to the right late in the half. He was released after this performance. Devonta Freeman
ran well but didn’t have a lot of good blocking at the second and third level of the defense and a pair of Alex Mack holding calls nullified two of his longest gains. He also fumbled away a pass reception inside the five late in the game trying to make an extension with the ball. Matt Schaub
threw an interception in the second quarter and should have thrown another at the end of the half. He was also late on pocket throws on timing routes, curtailing three drives and nearly getting Calvin Ridley
seriously injured on targets just behind his receivers. Still, he was successful on play-action rollouts, especially throw-back plays and gained over 400 yards passing, most of it in garbage-time. Atlanta’s defense made multiple communication errors—including a pair in the red zone for touchdowns to Seattle receiver D.K. Metcalf in the second quarter with Atlanta down 0-24.
QB Russell Wilson
, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 20 - 182 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 4 - 0 - Wilson got himself back on track after a blip last week against Baltimore. With not much pass rush to worry about for most of the game, he was able to key on his wide receivers a bit more than usual, spreading the bulk of the targets between Tyler Lockett
, DK Metcalf
, and David Moore
. Lockett, as always, was his money connection when they needed to move the chains; while Metcalf started to fulfill his promise as an end zone target, with two TDs to show for it. Moore got the most snaps as the third WR, but came up almost blank despite some well thrown balls in his direction. Wilson has found himself a replacement for the injured Will Dissly
’s end zone presence, and his name is DK Metcalf
. He and Wilson hooked up on two short passing scores, and almost had a third (albeit on the same drive as one of his scores), a perfect 22-yard pass to the end zone, but Metcalf couldn’t hold on.
RB Chris Carson
, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 90 - 1 (1 targets) - Let’s just get this out of the way: Carson easily could have had a day with multiple TDs, if the red zone play calling had favored him. Throughout the first half, on all but the obvious short yardage plays, he had huge holes to run through. Even with the Seahawks starting Center going down early in the game, Carson still found plenty of room up the middle, including on his red zone carries. Ah, but the story of the red zone. Carson brought the ball to the 4-yard line, only to lose the TD opportunity to a passing play call. Next time up, Rashaad Penny
carried a couple of times to get the ball to the one-yard line, and Carson scored on a counter play, cutting back and beating two defenders with his speed, to the right corner. A third time, Carson ran the ball from the 7-yard line to the 2-yard line, only to once again see a passing play (and score) called. As usual, not many of his plays stand out as highlights, but overall it was a good day for Carson. He showed great initial burst, read his blocks well, and shed tacklers when he had any open space (which was rare). Carson’s only blemish was a drop of a short pass to the flat area, early in the game.
RB Rashaad Penny
, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 55 - 0 - Penny returned as the change of pace back, and had a lot of success in his limited action. His first carries were not until the second quarter, as he made cutbacks on consecutive plays, which gave him room to run and gains of 9 and 17. Immediately after those two carries, Carson subbed back in. Later in the quarter, Penny surprisingly had two red zone carries, first going for twelve yards running left, then again from the 5-yard line but he was stopped just short. And then… Carson came back in and scored from in close. Overall, his skill set of speed/quickness, give the Seahawks a very different look from Carson’s game, so as long as he’s healthy, he could carve out a slightly larger share of the carries.
WR Tyler Lockett
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 100 - 0 (6 targets) - Lockett caught all of his targets, many of them in tight coverage, showing once again an excellent rapport with Russell Wilson
. Lockett started off catching the ball well behind scrimmage on a reverse-screen play, turning it into a 15-yard gain. Then, a 14-yard pickup over the middle, finding a nice opening in the zone defense. Lockett continued his penchant for snagging improbable receptions, as he was just barely ahead of his man on a crossing route, yet somehow caught it in stride – making the incredibly skilled play look so easy. In the red zone, he made another magical/easy-looking catch in tight coverage, bringing the Seahawks to the 7. In the second half, he added to his total, finding a nice opening on the left side of the field for 19 yards. He just missed on what would have been his biggest play of the day, as Lockett was wide open and had the pass is on his fingertips, but couldn’t bring it in. As the run game broke down slightly in the final quarter, Lockett became the preferred target as the Seahawks worked on protecting their lead. On the final scoring drive, he and Wilson accounted for most of the yardage.
WR DK Metcalf
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 13 - 2 (5 targets) - Metcalf had no targets until his TD catch in Q2. On his first score, he lined up tight, and quickly got wide open in the middle of the end zone, making the easy catch to cap things off. His one non-scoring catch was a short sideline reception on a first down. It looked like he and Wilson had finally hooked up for a longer TD, but after doing a great job of getting open and then dragging his toe to stay in bounds, Metcalf dropped the ball as he went down.
WR David Moore
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 1 - 23 - 0 (4 targets) - Moore was given the lion’s share of the third WR snaps… and did virtually nothing with them. He was targeted twice in a row early on, and couldn’t haul in the ball in coverage, effectively killing the Seahawks drive. On the first play, Moore lined up wide and was targeted in the end zone. In both cases, he just didn’t get enough separation to be able to make the catch. His third target was on a third down play. Another miss, another stalled drive. Moore carried the ball on a first down reverse handoff, for only a 2-yard gain. And – finally! -- he caught one in the fourth quarter, and easily knocked down a defender to add yards after the catch.
WR Malik Turner
, 7 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 21 - 0 (1 targets) - Turner was the opening starter in 3-wide sets, catching a 21-yard catch over the middle on the first play. After that, he gave way to (mainly) David Moore
, and didn’t see the field enough to make any further impact.
WR Jaron Brown
, 17 offensive snaps - Just as Brown was getting himself noticed as the 3rd WR over the past two games, his snaps were reduced dramatically and he was irrelevant in this one.
QB Matt Schaub
, 80 offensive snaps, Pass: 39 - 52 - 460 - 1 TD / 1 INT - He converted his first third down with a short flat route to Austin Hooper
to extend the initial drive. He followed up with a short pass to Devonta Freeman
to the opposite flat near midfield. Calvin Ridley
dropped a short slant on third and six of the first drive after cornerback Shaq Griffin knocked the ball away. The target was at the receiver’s back shoulder. Although it should have been caught and secured, the placement made the corner’s job easier to defend the target. Schaub began the second series with a play-action out for 25 yards to Julio Jones
. Schaub worked a variety of play-action passes in this game and got Atlanta past midfield with a pair of throws. He took pressure up the middle but found Austin Hooper
for a couple of yards to prevent the sack. James Carpenter’s replacement Wes Schweitzer committed a false start to force a third and long. Schaub overshot Jones on a skinny post during the third series. Schaub found Jones a couple of times later in the drive, but one of them was a pass interference on Jones up the right sideline while Schaub fired the ball under pressure up the middle. Mychal Kendricks anticipated Schaub’s passing lane on a skinny post to Jones later in the drive and made a leaping interception. He found Jones on a play action out route against zone late in the half. Once again Schaub was just behind Justin Hardy
on a slant that Griffin broke up at the catch point. Seattle’s safety Akeem King dropped what should have been an easy interception on second down from the Seattle 35 late in the half. No receiver was in the area. He lost a fumble at the end of the half against a three-man rush on a Hail Mary situation. Schaub found Hooper on a play-action throwback screen for a big gain to begin the second half with a 35-yard gain. He found Julio Jones
on a fin route to reach midfield during the second drive of the third quarter and then a pair of targets to Jones late in the third quarter on the following drive to get Atlanta to midfield once again. He found Jones for 22 yards on a slant that was actually accurate early in the fourth quarter but then threw a hospital ball to Ridley on a corner route thrown behind the receiver inside the 10. Ridley hit his head on the turf after catching the ball, taking the hit and holding on. Schaub led Atlanta’s two-minute offense to a drive that cut the lead to 10 points with a play-action touchdown under pressure with a low throw only where Austin Hooper
could make the catch. After a three-and-out by Seattle, Jones caught a deep out on a well-anticipated throw by Schaub but came up limping after the wrap at the boundary. He then found Ridley across the middle to get Atlanta to the Seattle 45 on a 30-yardpickup. Schaub drove Atlanta with less than three minutes left to cut the lead to seven points with 1:17 left and another shot at an onside kick.
RB Devonta Freeman
, 64 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 39 - 0, Rec: 8 - 63 - 0 (8 targets) - He began with a six-yard gain with a bounce to left end and a spin off an oncoming defender to reach the flat. Mychal Kendricks stuffed Freeman on the next play, setting up a third and five. A few plays later, he was dropped at the line of scrimmage by Marquise Blair while trying to bounce to the right side. Freeman caught a short pass to set up a third and six. Freeman earned positive yards off left tackle for a first down once past midfield. Freeman took a third and long screen pass up the right flat within a couple of yards of the marker to the Seattle 33, setting up a field goal attempt than Matt Bryant
hooked off the left upright. Freeman earned a nice dip inside a fullback who couldn’t block the oncoming linebacker as the lead blocker on a power play and earned a hard three yards to begin the third series. Freeman earned a nine yards on a short dump-off in the left flat late in the half and then a toss play for about 10 yards to reach the Seahawks’ 35 and earned the first down. Freeman gashed Seattle up the middle for 14 yards but a holding penalty on center Alex Mack on Bobby Wagner nullified the play. Two plays later, he earned 5-6 yards up the left sideline on a short throw to the backside flat. He earned four yards on a toss play to the right later in the drive. Freeman earned seven yards on a throwback screen to begin the second drive of the third quarter, spinning off a defender halfway through the run. Mack earned another holding penalty in as many drives, on a stretch play to Freeman for a short gain after the screen pass. Freeman later broke a tackle up the left sideline on a short pass to reach the Seattle 36 and then hit a crease on the next play for eight yards. Marquise Blair foiled a great setup of a screen to the right flat that limited the gain to four yards to begin the fourth quarter. Freeman caught a short route inside the five and his second-effort resulted in a called fumble on the field and confirmed with replay.
RB Brian Hill
, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 29 - 1 - He earned a score on a toss play with a 23-yard run in the third quarter with a nice block by Austin Hooper
to seal the outside. Hill got stuffed for a couple of gains but missed the A-gap blitz by Bobby Wagner during a drive late in the third quarter while trying to work through the play-fake as the blitzer arrived.
RB Kenjon Barner
, 5 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0 - He earned a yard up the middle on a run during the second offensive series.
WR Julio Jones
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 152 - 0 (12 targets) - He began the second series by breaking off an out route on a play-action pass for the catch one-on-one with a defender and gained 25 yards, mostly with the reception. Schaub overshot Jones on a skinny post during the third series. Schaub found Jones for a short gain on an out but the Seahawks tackled Jones a yard shy of the marker. Jones pushed off Shaq Griffin before making a leaping catch of a fade route up the right sideline. Jones worked through two zone defenders for his third catch on a play action out late in the first half. Jones got open on a fin route and earned a first down at midfield during the second drive of the third quarter. He earned a first down at the end of the third quarter on a curl route off play-action to get Atlanta to the Atlanta 31. He followed up with a catch at the 48 yard-line on a high target a little behind him on a crossing route. Jones earned close to 20 yards on a quick slant during the same drive to get Atlanta into field goal range. Schaub found Jones over the middle at the one between a pair of linebackers with 3:30 left in the game, earning the first down on this third-down attempt. Jones caught a deep out during Atlanta’s final drive for a first down, but he exited the sideline with a limp after rolled up during the tackle.
WR Russell Gage
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 58 - 0 (9 targets) - He gained close to 10 yards in the left flat and up the sideline early in the second series to get Atlanta to midfield. Gage earned a stick route for five yards on second and long to begin the second half. Gage ran the slant late in the third quarter and was wide open but Schaub was once again behind his receiver, leading to a 47-yard field goal. He earned 11 on a stick route with a good push after contact up the middle. Schaub then found Gage for a diving catch across midfield on the next play for another first down with 5:00 left and down 16 points. Gage earned garbage time yardage again with a gain of five in the left flat to reach the red zone. Two plays later, he worked inside the 10 with a short target to the left boundary. He earned a pair of catches over the middle inside the two-minute warning.
WR Calvin Ridley
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 70 - 0 (7 targets) - He dropped a short slant after cornerback Shaq Griffin knocked the ball away. The target was at the receiver’s back shoulder. Although it should have been caught and secured, the placement made the corner’s job easier to defend the target. He made a diving leaping catch near the end line for a two-point conversion on the Brian Hill
touchdown run in the third quarter. Schaub threw a hospital ball to Ridley on a corner route thrown behind the receiver inside the 10. Ridley hit his head on the turf after catching the ball, taking the hit and holding on early in the fourth quarter. He passed an evaluation in the medical tent but rookie Olamide Zaccheaus
replacement him during a fourth-quarter drive. Ridley was well covered on a fade in the end zone late in the game by Jamar Taylor. Ridley gained over 40 yards on two catches during garbage-time late in the game on passes over the middle. The first was a crossing route where he fumbled the ball after he was hit, but Austin Hooper
WR Justin Hardy
, 12 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 23 - 0 (4 targets) - Schaub found Hardy for eight yards on a play-action boot to the right. He got open on a slant late in the half but threw the ball behind the receiver and Shaq Griffin knocked it loose. Hardy and Hooper got crossed up on the direction of a route break that put them in the same area of a third quarter pass that fell incomplete. He earned a first down on a screen pass up the left sideline late in the game.
TE Austin Hooper
, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 65 - 1 (7 targets) - He converted a third and five with a short flat route from the slot against the rookie Marquise Blair. He earned two yards on a short stick route to the flat with his quarterback under pressure. Hooper began the second half with a huge gain up the left flat on a backside screen where he dipped inside a double team in the flat and hurdled a safety’s attempt at midfield to reach Seattle’s 35 for a 35-yard gain. He made the first man miss working inside on a pass to the flat for a first down during a two-minute drill late in the game. Schaub overthrew Hooper on an out route in the end zone, which was more likely a throwaway more than a high pass. A few plays later. Hooper caught a low throw inside the end zone on a short stick route against K.J. Wright to close the game to 10 late in the fourth quarter. Schaub targeted Hooper once again on a two-point conversion attempt but the window between two defenders was too tight.
TE Luke Stocker
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 18 - 0 (1 targets) - He earned 17 yards up the right flat on a short dump-off with less than 30 seconds in the half.
TE Jaeden Graham
, 6 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets) - Graham earned a first down on a short route out of motion on a fourth and one and earned another five yards after the catch during the third series of the game.
Miami Dolphins 14, Pittsburgh Steelers 27
What you need to know
- Just when it looked like everything was starting to turn around and that Miami might finally get their first win, the offense stalled, and the defense could not stop James Conner
in the second half. The Dolphins kicked things off with an interception and a stop on 4th down in the 1st quarter and turned both turnovers into touchdowns. They held the lead going into half time and then the wheels fell off. Miami replicated what the Steelers did in the 1st quarter and threw an interception and then was stopped on 4th down and had both ensuing Steeler drives go for touchdowns. Miami proceeded to fumble twice in the 4th quarter and again turned it over on downs. It was a great first half and then a very forgettable second half. Miami traded away their starting running back in Kenyan Drake
before their Monday night game and the rushing attack floundered. Miami drops to 0-7 on the season and will take on the New York Jets at home next weekend.
- Sometimes it just takes the a team a little time to warm up. In these cases the team needs something to rally around or something to get them all on the same page. In Week 8, the Steelers spent 90% of the first half sleep walking through the game. On the first pass attempt of the game, Mason Rudolph
threw an interception. After a lack of sustained success on the following draft, and almost throwing an interception, the Steelers were finally able to start moving the football on their third drive and were really able to start hitting on all cylinders late in the second quarter when, on a blown assignment, Diontae Johnson
scored right before half.
Going into the second half, even being down a touchdown, the momentum shift towards the Steelers. The defensive line was able to get to penetrate through the Dolphin’s offensive line and the secondary was making plays. The Steelers were able to end the game with 27 unanswered points and the Steelers new acquisition from the Dolphins, Minkah Fitzapatrick, ended the game with two interceptions.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 34 - 190 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 5 - 17 - 0 - Everything was looking great in the first half for Miami and Fitzpatrick. He was completing short throws and moving the ball down the field at will and turned two separate drives into touchdowns for a 14-0 lead. The first throw came after a Pittsburgh interception and went for 5 yards to Albert Wilson
. It was a short throw with Fitzpatrick rolling to his left and finding Wilson in the flat after motioning all the way across the formation. A wash of receivers worked to the inside and picked off Steelers defenders and made for an easy path to the end zone for Wilson. The second touchdown went to Allen Hurns
from 12 yards out. Hurns caught the ball well short of the first down and a combination of poor tackling and defenders trying to strip the ball rather than take him to the ground allowed him to power into the end zone. The play should have ended well short of a touchdown, but the Steelers could not wrap him up. It was after this point that the wheels fell off for Fitzpatrick and the entire offense. The rushing attack stalled, and the Steelers were able to sit back and defend the pass. Fitzpatrick threw an interception just before half time as he was targeting Nick O’Leary. The pass was behind him and was tipped into the arms of former Dolphin Minkah Fitzpatrick. The ball looked to hit O’Leary in the chest and should have been caught, but instead it was intercepted, and the Steelers drove down for a touchdown and pulled the game to 14-10 before half time. The second interception came on a deep shot to Jakeem Grant
where Fitzpatrick over threw his receiver. The ball was again intercepted by Minkah Fitzpatrick and the Steelers scored a touchdown on their ensuing drive. Fitzpatrick was intercepted by Fitzpatrick twice this week and it led to 14 points for Pittsburgh. The final nail in the coffin came in the 4th quarter when Fitzpatrick was sacked, stripped, and recovered by T.J Watt. It was a 10-point game at this point, but the Miami offense had done nothing to make it look like they would score again. The great start was wasted, and Fitzpatrick will have to try again against the Jets next week.
RB Mark Walton
, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 35 - 0, Rec: 3 - 19 - 0 (6 targets) - Walton was handed the keys to the Dolphins offense when the team traded Kenyan Drake
to Arizona, but he was unable o do anything with them. Walton rushed a team high 11 times with his longest rush going for 9 yards. There was no competition from Ballage behind him and the next closest rusher was Fitzpatrick this week. The team rushed a total of 19 times for 60 yards and Walton only accounted for a little more than half of that. He chipped in 3 catches on 6 targets and his longest reception also went for 9 yards. The biggest issue this week was putting the ball on the ground. The Steelers had just taken a 10-point lead and Miami was driving to try and get back into the game. Walton made his 9-yard reception and was stripped as he was going to the ground and diving for the first down. It was the epitome of the Dolphins season thus far. Walton has little competition for carries the rest of the season, but Miami will most likely continue to play from behind and abandon the run early. He is the lead running back on a bad team behind a poor offensive line.
WR DeVante Parker
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 59 - 0 (8 targets) - Parker continues his turn around and led the team in receiving yards again this week. He caught 6 of his 8 targets and had the second lonest play of the game with a 15-yard reception. Grant had more yards receiving than anyone had rushing or receiving. He was used as a possession receiver this week with short to intermediate passes for first downs. Parker has been one of Fitzpatrick’s favorite targets since taking over for Josh Rosen
and the chemistry is apparent. The fire sale has continued in Miami and Parker is a name that has been mentioned in trade rumors and could be the next player on the move out of Miami.
WR Preston Williams
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 42 - 0 (7 targets) - One of the lone bright spots for the Dolphins this year has been Williams. He has traded top weeks with Parker and has been good for a few plays. This week he caught 4 of his 7 targets for 42 yards and had his longest catch go for 14 yards. The offense did not try and push the ball down the field this week and outside of the poor tackling on the Hurns touchdown, the Steelers wrapped up the other receivers and did not leave many yards after the catch. Williams has been one of the best undrafted rookies this season and looks to be safe in Miami for next season.
WR Allen Hurns
, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 1 (1 targets) - Hurns looked like he was going to be the odd man out with Jakeem Grant
, Albert Wilson
, DeVante Parker
, and Preston Williams
getting the majority of the looks. This week he was able to make the most of his lone reception and take it 12 yards in for a touchdown. Fitzpatrick got the ball to Hurns in the seam short of the first down marker and Hurns put his shoulder down, protected the ball, and forced himself into the end zone. The Steelers seemed more interested in trying to strip the ball and worked to hold Hurns up rather than tackle him to the ground. Hurns powered it in for the score and caught his lone target this week. The receiving core for the Dolphins is looking very crowded right now and it will be tough for Hurns to see consistent work.
WR Albert Wilson
, 18 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 1 (2 targets) - It has been a very slow start for Wilson after returning from injury. In the last 3 games he has just 44 yards on 7 catches and has not been heavily involved. This week he finally broke through with a touchdown on his lone catch of the day. Wilson came in motion across the formation and ran a rub route into the flat with the outside receiver carrying his coverage into Wilson’s man. Wilson caught the ball in the flat and walked into the end zone for an easy 5-yard score. It was a simple and well executed route for the first touchdown of the game.
QB Mason Rudolph
, 77 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 36 - 251 - 2 TD / 1 INT - For a young quarterback it is important to start in a rhythm. Unfortunately, Week 8 did not start off well for Mason Rudolph
. His first pass of the game went for an interception when he was targeting Juju Smith-Schuster. The line in front of Rudolph was collapsing on him and his arm was hit as he threw the football. On the second drive of the game for the Steelers things almost were worse for Rudolph. On his first deep pass of the game, the call originally on the field was another interception. Rudolph threw the ball to James Washington
and the ball popped out of his hands and a defender made the play. Fortunately, the defender stepped out of bounds before he had control and the ball was given back to the Steelers who ultimately turned the ball over on downs. At the end of the second quarter, with less than a minute left, the Dolphins brought a blitz against Rudolph and left Diontae Johnson
in man coverage. The Dolphins blew their assignment and allowed Johnson to have free run over the middle on a slant route. Rudolph was able to deliver an on-time pass to Johnson which allowed him to work after the catch. Rudolph’s best throw of the night came in the third quarter. The Steelers were still down 14-10 and were marching down the field. Rudolph delivered a well placed 50-50 ball right in front of the end zone for Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster was able to take the ball away from the defender and score a touchdown. Against another defender on another team, this well placed ball could have easily been an intercepted pass.
, Rushing 23-145-1, Receiving 3-5-0 (5 targets)
In this game, Conner was the engine of the offense. He had his longest run of the season, 25-yards, and was routinely shedding tackles and stiff-arming defenders to the ground. Conner’s best run of the game came on a broken play in the second half. The play was drawn to go to the left side of the line, but the offensive line was collapsing in front of him. Conner had the vision to cut all the way back across the formation, shed a tackler and carry the ball for a 17-yard gain. Conner’s lone touchdown of the game was on a touchdown to bring the Steelers to the 9-yard line. The Steelers were in the shotgun formation and they ran a simple draw up the middle. Conner, as always, followed his lineman up the middle. Conner stretched his arm out and reached the ball just over the goal line for a touchdown. Overall, without Jaylen Samuels
on the field the Steelers do lose versatility. James Conner
is the workhorse and the player who spells him, Benny Snell
, works between the tackles and not in the open field as a receiver. Conner left Week 8 with an apparent AC sprain. No additional information has been released on his health or if he will be available for Week 9.
RB Benny Snell
, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 13 - 0 - This was not the right game for Benny Snell
. While he did have opportunities, Snell’s skillset matches up to what the Miami Dolphins do well between the tackles. To take things a step further, Snell had one run of five yards. His remaining 4 carries went for eight total yards. Snell left Week 8 with an apparent knee injury. No additional details have been released.
WR Diontae Johnson
, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 84 - 1 (7 targets) - This is Johnson’s fifth game with over five targets, third game with a touchdown and highest yardage total of the season. All of this and Johnson wasn’t targeted for the first time until the second quarter. Overall, Johnson’s game was a step forward, but there were still some mistakes. Johnson was called for an offensive pass interference. The call was reviewed, but there was not enough proof to rise to the level of overturning the call on the field. On another play, Johnson slipped at the top of his route and was not able to come back for the ball. Johnson’s touchdown on the day came on a 3-20. For some reason the defense dialed up a walk around blitz and left the receivers in man coverage. The coverage on Johnson was blown and Johnson was free on a slant route over the middle of the field. Johnson displayed exceptional burst after the catch and good vision around the end zone where he had the ability to turn around the defender and follow his blockers for a touchdown.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 103 - 1 (9 targets) - Smith-Schuster had his best game of the season and his first 100-yard game since Week 16 of 2018 against the Saints. The star receiver was targeted heavily in this game, but didn’t connect with Rudolph until the second quarter. Smith-Schuster’s first target of the day ended up being an interception. The day didn’t get any easier for Smith-Schuster until the offense found ways to scheme him away from Xavien Howard. In the second half, after Howard exited the game due to injury, Smith-Schuster began to come alive. Smith-Schuster’s touchdown came in the third quarter on a contested catch. For most wide receivers they wouldn’t have fought for the ball. Smith-Schuster not only fought for the ball in the air, but he took it away from the defender and was able to dive towards the end zone to score. Smith-Schuster wasn’t done on the day. On the Steelers’ last touchdown drive of the day, Smith-Schuster drew a 25-yard defensive pass interference and made a 9-yard reception to bring the Steelers inside the 5-yard line.
TE Vance McDonald
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 19 - 0 (4 targets) - McDonald’s performance was forgettable in Week 8 against the Steelers. When McDonald was targeted, it was as a fourth option behind Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson
and James Conner
. Even with Mason Rudolph
finally throwing the ball more than five-yards beyond the line of scrimmage, McDonald was only able to achieve an 8.8 aDOT.
Arizona Cardinals 9, New Orleans Saints 31
What you need to know
- The Cardinals offense showed promise this week, but again struggled to convert drives into touchdowns against the Saints. David Johnson
missed the game and Chase Edmonds
exited in the second half with a hamstring injury, leaving the depth chart on fumes with Zach Zenner
the last man standing, who was in Arizona a matter of days before kickoff as a recent signing. The Cardinals were pass-centric in consistent comeback mode anyway and Kyler Murray
did have Christian Kirk
back in the lineup, who more than doubled than Arizona player in targets, including Larry Fitzgerald
. The injury to David Johnson
and/or Chase Edmonds
could be more serious than originally thought as Arizona was swift to trade for Kenyan Drake
in their preparation for their Thursday night game against the white-hot 49ers.
New Orleans Saints
- All is again right with the world. Drew Brees
returned to action for the Saints this week and had more than 300 yards passing and 3 touchdowns as the Saints handled business against the Cardinals before heading into their Bye week. The game stayed particularly close until late in the second half. The Saints held a 10-6 lead at half time and the Cardinals managed to keep it within a 1 score game as late as the end of the 3rd quarter. The defense held the Arizona offenses to just 40 rushing yards on 11 carries and registered 4 sacks this week. Brees shook off the rust this week and connected with Michael Thomas
11 times on 11 throws. The Saints took a commanding lead in the NFC South this week with the Carolina Panthers losing to San Francisco. New Orleans will have their Bye week next week and allow for players to get healthy before resuming their campaign against Atlanta in week 10.
QB Kyler Murray
, 46 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 33 - 220 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 13 - 0 - For the fourth time in five games Murray did not throw a touchdown pass, this time in a sound blowout loss in New Orleans. Murray, however, has done an outstanding job avoiding turnovers and this week was another feather in his cap in the category in addition to weathering the storm of a hostile road environment early in the game. Murray was without a rushing attack for much of the game plus Chase Edmonds
was out with a hamstring injury and Zach Zenner
was so new to the team Murray was consistently coaching Zenner between the play call and snap on assignments. Through the air, much of Murray’s production came on a handful of chunk plays downfield, one a long flea-flicker design to Charles Clay
on the opening drive. Murray is unfazed by the small windows of the NFL, consistently sticking passes into said windows over the middle and between defenders. Murray nearly had an interception on a deep ball towards Christian Kirk
in double coverage. Murray also threw behind Larry Fitzgerald
on a fourth-down slant in the fourth quarter when the game was still relatively in doubt. The 49ers offer Murray the stiffest test of the season to-date on a short-preparation week on Thursday night in Week 9.
RB Chase Edmonds
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 8 - 0, Rec: 2 - 5 - 0 (4 targets) - Edmonds was the clear starter against the Saints with David Johnson
inactive, but was consistently stuffed as a runner, including a fourth down attempt and red zone reception on third down of note. Arizona was pass-centric in comeback mode most of the game and Edmonds also limped off the field with a hamstring injury late in the third quarter. Zach Zenner
took over in relief and Arizona traded for Kenyan Drake
after the game. Even if healthy for Week 9, the 49ers offer a stingy matchup for the Arizona rushing attack.
WR Christian Kirk
, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 19 - 0, Rec: 8 - 79 - 0 (11 targets) - Kirk returned to the Cardinals lineup after a three-game absence to a hearty 33% team target share. Kirk did not see a target until the mid-second quarter, but more than doubled any other Arizona player in terms of targets. Kirk excelled in the short-to-intermediate game on hitches, slants, and comeback routes, but also added a big-play opportunity on a long pass if not for an inaccurate throw from Kyler Murray
. Kirk added a 19-yard end-around rush to his successful day. The 49ers offer a substantial test for the second-year receiver in Week 9.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (4 targets) - Fitzgerald was a non-factor against the Saints with Christian Kirk
the clear lead receiver and stifled by tight coverage. Fitzgerald converted a third-down slant of note but also missed on his overt big-play opportunity in the game. A beautiful slot fade pass from Kyler Murray
on third down was just out of bounds by Fitzgerald’s feet on a potential touchdown. The 49ers offer another tough test in Week 9 and Fitzgerald’s volume has been a season-low level over the past two games, resulting in a 3-20-0 overall stat line.
QB Drew Brees
, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 34 - 43 - 373 - 3 TD / 1 INT - After watching Teddy Bridgewater
lead the Saints to a 5-0 record in his absence, Brees had seen enough. New Orleans could have easily held him out this week in favor of Bridgewater and given his thumb another 2 weeks to heal, but Brees showed everyone why it is his team and that he was ready to lead it again. Brees finished with more than 300 yards passing and 3 touchdowns in what looked to be a tune up game for him. He connected on a 15-yard pass to Latavius Murray
in the flat for his first touchdown. It was a simple 3-yard check down pass that his running back turned up field and ran in for the score. His second touchdown was a 5-yard out route that went to Taysom Hill
. Brees found Hill for an easy score between defenders and had all the time in the world to throw the ball. His final touchdown went to Michael Thomas
and put the game out of reach for Arizona. It was a simple drag route across the middle of the field that Thomas caught for 5 yards and then spun and powered his was in for the last 4 for the touchdown. Brees threw the ball a lot this week as the Saints ran 72 offensive plays with almost 2/3 of them being passes. Brees made one mistake on the day when he tried to force the ball to his full back on a deep wheel route. He over threw Line and Patrick Peterson came down with an acrobatic interception. Outside of that play, Brees looked like his old self and ready to lead the team that has emerged as a favorite in the NFC. His thumb will get a week to heal while the Saints are on a Bye before taking on Atlanta in week 10.
QB Taysom Hill
, 15 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 63 - 1 (3 targets) - The man who can do it all for the Saints had a big week against the Cardinals. New Orleans looked to exploit the hole that is Arizona’s tight end coverage and used Hill at the position exclusively. Hill did not line up as quarterback or rush the ball a single time this week, but he did catch all 3 of his targets, including a touchdown. Hill caught a big 36-yard catch and run to help set up a Michael Thomas
touchdown in the 4th quarter. Hill ran a wheel route out of the back field and caught the ball in a massive void between the corner and safety. He was able to run 15 yards before being tackled. His touchdown catch went for 5 yards and capped off a 75-yard drive. Hill ran an out route and caught the ball right over the goal line and in front of his defender. It was an easy pitch and catch from Brees to Hill and the Saints did a great job exploiting one of the biggest weaknesses of the Arizona defense.
RB Latavius Murray
, 62 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 102 - 1, Rec: 9 - 55 - 1 (12 targets) - New Orleans continues to show just how much depth they have at key positions as Murray filled in for an ailing Kamara again this week. Murray rushed for more than 100 yards and added touchdowns through the air and on the ground against a porous Cardinals defense. Murray had the first touchdown of the game as he powered the ball 8 yards off the right guard. He slipped through a big whole and was not hit by a defender until he was crossing the goal line. This capped off a 7 play 71-yard drive and put the Saints up 10-3 in the 2nd quarter. His second touchdown was a 15-yard catch and run down the side line. Murray caught the ball 3 yards down the field in the flat and turned it up the field for 12 more yards before tip toeing into the end zone. Murray averaged just under 5 yards per carry this week and helped to take a lot of pressure off of Brees in his return to the lineup. Murray led the team with 12 targets and caught 9 of them for an additional 55 yards. Murray has shown he can handle the duties of a lead running back and should have worked his way to a bigger role when Kamara returns from injury. We should not expect a 50/50 split but at least a much bigger percentage based on how he has played.
RB Alvin Kamara
- Kamara was ruled out again this week with an ankle injury. He is projected to return 11/10 against the Falcons after getting an additional week of rest during the Saints Bye week.
WR Michael Thomas
, 68 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -9 - 0, Rec: 11 - 112 - 1 (11 targets) - Even though Thomas seemed to connect with Teddy Bridgewater
, he got an instant boost when Brees returned to the lineup. Thomas caught all 11 of his targets this week, including a long 28-yard pass across the middle that helped set up a Latavius Murray
touchdown run. Thomas chipped in with a touchdown of his own to put the game out of reach for the Cardinals. The drive was set up by a 28-yard Murray run and a 36-yard pass to Taysom Hill
. Brees then found Thomas across the middle on a drag route where the big receiver spun and powered his way into the end zone. Thomas recorded 100+ yards receiving for the second straight week and is primed to have another big day when the Saints take on the Falcons after their Bye week. Brees to Thomas is a connection we are going to hear a lot for the rest of the season.
WR Ted Ginn
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 42 - 0 (2 targets) - The string of average games for Ginn continued this week after catching both of his targets from Brees. He took a long catch and run for 28 yards and chipped in a 14-yard catch. Ginn did not see a big bump in production with the return of Brees but he continues to flash his speed and big play ability. It is only a matter of time before he totally breaks free and hits the long home run. Ginn should get that chance in week 10 against an awful Atlanta secondary.
TE Jared Cook
- Cook was ruled out again this week with an ankle injury. He is projected to return 11/10 against the Falcons after getting an additional week of rest during the Saints Bye week.
Denver Broncos 13, Indianapolis Colts 15
What you need to know
- Denver fell to a late field goal by Indianapolis as the offense continues to sputter. This was Denver's first game since trading Emmanuel Sanders
, and receiver Fred Brown
took Sanders' outside spot in most sets as Daesean Hamilton remained in the slot. Receiver Tim Patrick
is close to a return from IR as well. Joe Flacco
did not turn the ball over, but did not throw any touchdowns as Denver kicked two field goals and scored one touchdown on a short Royce Freeman
touchdown run that was set up by a pass interference penalty on a deep ball to Courtland Sutton
. Freeman and Lindsay split duties in the running game, with Lindsay drawing a few more looks in the passing game this week and Freeman scoring on a goal line run for the second week in a row. Receiver Sutton is the clear number 1 option in the passing game, and tight end saw extra snaps and targets after fellow tight end Jeff Heuerman
went down with a knee injury before the half and did not return. Flacco has been ruled out of week 9.
- The Colts struggled offensively against the Broncos. The Colts passing game struggled to find consistency or make big plays. Brissett frequently couldn't find anyone open downfield with the Broncos playing man coverage. As a result Brissett held the ball a lot and faced pressure. Brissett made some nice plays escaping the pocket with his legs. TY Hilton struggled with the coverage of Chris Harris for the most part. Harris played very physical and was able to disrupt Hilton as he went to make plays on the ball. Zach Pascal
who had made a number of plays the previous week was very quiet. Jack Doyle
was the Colts most effective offensive weapon but only saw a pair of targets downfield. Marlon Mack
played well but was dropped for a loss a number of times which the Colts struggled to overcome. Two of the Colts 4 scoring drives were aided by a personal foul penalties by the Denver defense.
QB Joe Flacco
, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 32 - 174 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 9 - 0 - Denver was more successful at keeping Flacco upright against a stout Indy defense this week, as he took only 3 sacks for a total loss of 8 yards. Flacco benefited from better play from the offensive line, but also showed a little extra mobility this week, moving around better in the pocket and showing some decent wheels on a 9 yard scramble that converted 3rd down. Flacco did not turn the ball over this week as he fumbled once, but recovered it. That's about all of the good news, as he still failed to find the end zone for the third week in a row. Flacco totaled 174 yards on his 20 completions. His longest play of the day was a 33 yard catch and run on a deep post route to Courtland Sutton
, who made a strong effort after the catch. Flacco led two scoring drives that ended in field goals in the 1st half and set up the Broncos lone touchdown run in the 3rd with a deep ball to Sutton in the end zone that drew a pass interference penalty. Flacco was seen to be having some issues with his neck late in the game, but did not miss time. However, he has been ruled out for week 9 with a herniated disc.
RB Phillip Lindsay
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 59 - 0, Rec: 5 - 17 - 0 (5 targets) - Lindsay led the rushing attack but wasn't able to break any big plays against a strong effort from the Colts defense. He out-carried Freeman 14-12 with a better rushing average, but he saw Freeman convert a goal line carry for the second week in a row. Lindsay's longest run of the day was an explosive 11 yard burst right up the middle in the 3rd quarter. Lindsay also drew more passing looks than Freeman, securing all five of his targets from the backfield on wheel routes and halfback screens.
RB Royce Freeman
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 40 - 1, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets) - Freeman carried the ball 12 times to Lindsay's 14 had a slower day than usual in the passing game with only two looks. His longest carry of the day was a 10 yard plunge right through the middle of the defense late in the 1st quarter. Freeman answered the call on a goal line carry in the 3rd quarter, converting the score from the 4 yard line after Courtland Sutton
drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone. Freeman had a bad drop on a slant route that he ran from the left slot position in the 3rd quarter.
RB Andy Janovich
, 28 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (2 targets) - Fullback Janovich caught an out route for a minimal gain in the 1st and another for a gain of 7 early in the 2nd quarter.
WR Diontae Spencer
, 7 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (2 targets) - Spencer returned punts and had some limited work in the receiver rotation. He made a nice catch in traffic on a slant route from a scrambling Flacco that converted 3rd down in the 1st quarter. Spencer carried the ball once for a loss on an end-around that the Colts sniffed out behind the line of scrimmage.
WR Courtland Sutton
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 72 - 0 (6 targets) - Sutton only caught 3 of 6 passes in Emmanuel Sanders
' absence, but he was the clear cut number one option in the passing game, also drawing two significant pass interference penalties that put the Broncos in scoring position. Sutton should have hauled in a deep crossing route for a nice gain in the 1st, but he let the pass clang off his hands. Sutton's highlight of the day was a catch and run on a deep post route that gained 33 yards. Sutton threw a defender to the ground with a nasty stiff arm at the end of the run. Sutton was targeted in the end zone at the end of the drive, but was badly overthrown by Flacco. Sutton had another big gain up the left sideline with a diving catch in the 3rd quarter. Sutton drew a pass interference flag in the end zone on a deep ball from Flacco in the 3rd quarter, setting up a short Royce Freeman
touchdown run. Sutton was able to draw another big PI penalty at the end of the 3rd on a deep ball down the left sideline.
WR Fred Brown
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (2 targets) - Brown surprisingly out-snapped Daesean Hamilton, working as an outside receiver in place of Emmanuel Sanders
. Brown. narrowly missed a toe-tapper on the right sideline in the 3rd quarter. He caught a deep crossing route from Flacco on a flea flicker early in the 4th quarter, good for 16 yards.
WR DaeSean Hamilton
, 45 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Hamilton posted a disappointing dud in the first game without Emmanuel Sanders
on the roster. He did most of his work from the slot, and was out targeted and out snapped by Fred Brown
TE Noah Fant
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 26 - 0 (8 targets) - Fant saw an uptick of targets in Sanders' absence, drawing a team-high 8 looks. An injury to fellow TE Jeff Heurman in the 1st also boosted Fant's snaps. He made a nice catch up the right seam late in the 1st quarter for a 17 yard gain, his only official catch of the day that wasn't some sort of underneath route. Fant caught a pass from Flacco in the back of the end zone in the 2nd quarter, but couldn't bring it down inbounds. Fant picked up a short 1st down conversion with a shallow crossing route in the 3rd. Heuerman could miss at least a week, meaning more playing time for Fant.
TE Jeff Heuerman
, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets) - Heuerman had a nice catch in stride on a skinny post from Flacco at the end of the 1st quarter. He went down with a knee injury before halftime and did not return.
QB Jacoby Brissett
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 25 - 202 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 34 - 0 - Jacoby Brissett
and the Colts found limited success on offense. The Colts struggled to sustain offense or generate explosive plays. Colts receivers struggled to win their individual match ups and the Colts ground attack was ineffective for stretches of the game. Brissett faced frequent pressure and made a number of nice plays with his legs. Brissett escaped the pocket numerous times to pick up positive yardage. The Colts managed 3 first half points with the field goal coming just before halftime. The field goal was set up with 2 pass plays to Nyheim Hines
. Brissett set up another field goal to start the 3rd quarter with completions to TY Hilton and Eric Ebron
. The Colts found the end zone late in the 3rd quarter. Brissett moved the Colts into the red zone with 2 completions to Jack Doyle
. A personal foul set up a 10 yard touchdown by Marlon Mack
. Facing pressure Brissett tried to step up to escape the pocket and was stripped. The Broncos recovered the fumble near midfield with a 1 point lead and 7 minutes remaining in the game. Trailing by 1 with less than 2 minutes remaining Brissett was nearly sacked for a safety but spun out of sack and hit TY Hilton on the run for 35 yards down the sideline. It was as good of play as Brissett had made all season. Another personal foul set up a 51 yard potential game winning field goal attempt by Vinatieri which he made right down the middle.
RB Marlon Mack
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 76 - 1, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (1 targets) - Marlon Mack
played well and consistently gained the yardage that was blocked for him. Mack was hit in the backfield with some frequency in this game but did well to churn out positive yardage most of the time. Mack found a big hole and got a nice block from Chester Rogers
at the second level on his way to a 16 yard gain. On the following play Mack caught a swing pass in the flat from Brissett and picked up 14 yards before being forced out of bounds. Mack made a nice jump cut to the outside after finding no room to run inside and picked up 12 yards. Mack found a huge hole running a sweep and followed a key block from Zach Pascal
on a 10 yard touchdown run. Mack showed good patience on the play and followed his blocks well.
RB Nyheim Hines
, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 12 - 0, Rec: 3 - 34 - 0 (3 targets) - Hines made catches of 9 and 20 yards with the Colts running their two minute offense. Hines was left uncovered after helping in pass protection on the 20 yard gain. Hines catches helped set up a field goal attempt before halftime.
WR T.Y. Hilton
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 54 - 0 (6 targets) - TY Hilton struggled against Chris Harris. Hilton's first target was on a shallow crossing route and the pass was undercut and knocked away by Chris Harris. Hilton made his first catch in the 3rd quarter for 19 yards finding a soft spot in the Broncos' defense. Hilton made a huge play when the Colts needed it most. Hilton made an outstanding 35 yard catch along the sideline with Brissett scrambling to escape pressure. Chris Harris was in tight coverage on the play and Hilton did an amazing job of getting both feet in bounds. Harris had Hilton locked down for the majority of the game but Hilton made a big play when it mattered most.
TE Jack Doyle
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 61 - 0 (5 targets) - Jack Doyle
made some plays against the Broncos and was the Colts most effective offensive player. Doyle ran a quick out route from the slot and converted a 3rd and 4 with a 9 yard gain. Doyle came wide open downfield on what appeared to be a busted coverage and made a catch for 19 yards. Doyle fumbled along the sideline as he was brought down but the ball went out of bounds. Doyle came uncovered in the flat off of play action and picked up 16 yards down the sideline. Doyle beat single coverage running a corner route and made a 17 yard catch along the sideline.
TE Eric Ebron
, 22 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 26 - 0 (4 targets) - Eric Ebron
was not very involved against the Broncos but made some plays underneath. Ebron picked up 9 yards running a curl over the middle. Ebron made a 5 yard catch running a quick out route. Ebron picked up 12 yards running a shallow crossing route.
Oakland Raiders 24, Houston Texans 27
What you need to know
- -The Raiders had their starting offensive line together for the first time all season in this one but it didn’t last long. Center Rodney Hudson went down with a first-half ankle injury that could keep him out for a while.
broke a tackle on a short slant and sprinted for a 65-yard touchdown.
returned after missing three weeks with plantar fasciitis and grabbed a 46-yard touchdown.
was a little bit off throwing to Darren Waller
, completed just 2-of-8 passes to him but the pair did hook up for an 8-yard touchdown.
- Wide receiver DeAndre Carter
received all the slot snaps on Sunday against the Raiders. He one reception for 46 yards and still had all of the kick and punt return duties for the game.
was healthy but did not get a single offensive snap on Sunday, O'Brien discussed that he needed to get him into the game plan more. His situation is worth monitoring moving forward.
remains out with a hamstring injury, Kenny Stills
assumed his role in the offense.
QB Derek Carr
, 56 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 30 - 285 - 3 TD / 0 INT - Carr performed well on the road in a tough environment. He threw an 8-yard touchdown to Darren Waller
, who ran it in after catching a short dump off. Hunter Renfrow
also did most of the work on his 65-yard touchdown. He caught a quick slant and split a pair of defenders to get loose for a long run after the catch. Carr’s best play was his 46-yard touchdown pass to Tyrell Williams
. He was able to buy time by rolling to his right and then made an accurate pass while getting hit that allowed Williams to catch it in stride and take it the rest of the way to the end zone. Carr was a little off with his accuracy targeting Darren Waller
. He just missed him high a couple times and also had Waller open on a key fourth-quarter third down play and threw it too low, allowing the trailing linebacker to get his hands on it.
RB Josh Jacobs
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 66 - 0, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (2 targets) - Jacobs had 17 touches despite playing just 31 snaps. He started the game off by getting around the edge for 13 yards, running through an arm tackle attempt that nearly ripped his jersey. He again got to the edge and accelerated on a second-quarter run for 22 yards. The Raiders tried the same play on the next drive but J.J. Watt exploded into the backfield to drop Jacobs for a 6-yard loss. It was another solid performance from Jacobs who gutted through a nagging shoulder injury.
RB DeAndre Washington
, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 23 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets) - Washington didn’t get many opportunities but was able to gain solid yardage on each of his carries and caught his lone target.
RB Jalen Richard
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (3 targets) - Richard played 30% of the snaps, his most since Week 3. He made a 20-yard grab, beating a linebacker with a quick cut back to the middle of the field. He showed nice acceleration to split a pair of defenders to get into the second level.
WR Hunter Renfrow
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 88 - 1 (4 targets) - Renfrow played 64% of the snaps, his most since Week 2. He caught a short slant and was able to stay on his feet through attempted arm tackles by the cornerback and safety to get loose for a 65-yard touchdown. He was called for an offensive pass interference penalty on a rub route where he tried to get in the way of the linebacker to free up Darren Waller
WR Tyrell Williams
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 91 - 1 (6 targets) - Williams returned after a 3-week absence due to plantar fasciitis and stepped right back into the No. 1 wide receiver role. He led the group in snaps (89%), targets (6) and yards (91). He made his first grab, for 23 yards, early in the third quarter, catching the ball over his shoulder along the right sideline. Two plays later, Williams almost came down with a pretty 30-yard catch down the left sideline. He leaped over the defender and hauled it in but the ball popped out of his hands as he hit the turf. Carr went back to him the very next play and Williams came wide open on a deep crossing route, grabbing it and sprinting into the end zone for a 46-yard touchdown. Williams caught a deep out route along the sideline for a 22-yard gain. Williams nearly made a spectacular 25-yard grab on 3rd-and-16 late in the fourth quarter but the ball was punched out as he went to the ground.
WR Zay Jones
, 22 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 27 - 0 (2 targets) - Jones played 39% of the snaps in his Raiders debut. He caught a crossing route for 12 yards and a post route for 15 yards. He wasn’t targeted in the second half.
WR Trevor Davis
, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (2 targets) - Davis wasn’t able to come up with a slightly overthrown deep ball down the right sideline. He made a 15-yard catch on 3rd-and-20. The Texans conceded the short pass and were easily able to make the tackle short of the sticks. After playing over 75% of the snaps while Tyrell Williams
was out, Davis played less than 50% of the snaps with Williams back in the lineup.
TE Darren Waller
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 11 - 1 (8 targets) - In recent weeks, the Raiders had waited too long to get Waller involved but they went to him early against the Texans. On the second play of the game, he was targeted deep down the left sideline but the ball was thrown too far to the inside and Waller was unable to make a play on it. He was unable to come up with any of his five targets in the first 20 minutes of the game. Waller caught an 8-yard touchdown on a play the Raiders have used regularly and to great success. He lined up inline to the right of the formation and then worked his way back across the formation behind the OL after the snap and then caught a short dump off and sprinted to get inside the pylon. When a linebacker is responsible for him, it is hard for the defender to work through traffic while also matching Waller’s elite speed and it allows Waller to get to open for easy completions. Waller had a 30-yard catch wiped out due to a very questionable offensive pass interference call on Hunter Renfrow
who ran a rub route. Gruden challenged the call but it wasn’t overturned. Waller was only targeted one time in the second half. The linebacker undercut the route and should have intercepted it when Carr threw it too low. Carr was just slightly off all day when targeting Waller.
TE Foster Moreau
, 22 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (2 targets) - Moreau caught it short over the middle and then turned upfield and pushed a pair of defenders back for a 10-yard gain.
QB Deshaun Watson
, 83 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 39 - 279 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 10 - 46 - 0 - In grand Deshaun Watson
fashion, he remained the Texans' most important player on the field on Sunday. Throwing for 279 yards and three touchdowns, Watson continues to grow as a quarterback. The biggest change in his game is that he is more patient as a passer and not forcing the football into terrible situations. Willing to take throw underneath, he hit Darren Fells
for two touchdown passes, including a one-eye pass that resulted in him being kicked in the eye by a Raiders' defender. Watson spun out two potential sack attempts and his Fells for a nine-yard touchdown pass. Watson did not attempt many big throws downfield, but he was able to hit DeAndre Carter
for a 46-yard gain to set up the Texans for a field goal attempt. Watson also continues to rack up yards on the ground. He had 46 on the day.
RB Carlos Hyde
, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 83 - 0 (1 targets) - It always seems that Carlos Hyde
needs his customary fumble to get going, and it happened again against the Raiders. Hyde only had 25 yards rushing in the first half, but then after a fumble that he recovered on his own, he went to work. Hyde rushed for 58 yards in the second half, including a 20-yard rush after injuries to a key offensive lineman. Hyde carried the offense down into scoring territory for the game-winning touchdown. He continues to be the Texans be running back between the tackles.
RB Duke Johnson
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 1 - 0, Rec: 4 - 33 - 1 (5 targets) - The touches keep coming for Duke Johnson
, and he started the scoring off for the Texans when he caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Watson beating a linebacker out of the backfield inside the red zone. Johnson had a similar play earlier in the year that Watson missed him on but was able to hit him at this time. Johnson also rushed the ball for 46 yards with his longest run being 12 yards, and he also had 33 yards in the passing game. Johnson is being used much more as the season goes on, and part of it is that O'Brien is becoming comfortable with Johnson's skill set.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
, 80 offensive snaps, Rec: 11 - 109 - 0 (13 targets) - The Texans remain faithful to DeAndre Hopkins
, and the past two weeks, the offense has run through their best offensive player. Hopkins did not get into the end zone, but he was able to rack up eleven receptions. He did most of his damage in the middle of the field, getting nearly 10-yards a clip every time he touched the football. His best reception came on a 21-yard catch and throw between him and Watson. Hopkins is starting to get warmed up, and that is a good sign for the star wide receiver.
TE Darren Fells
, 75 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 58 - 2 (6 targets) - The red zone favorite target of Deshaun Watson
remains to be Darren Fells
. This time Watson hit Fells for two touchdowns, one on a well run RPO that saw Fells wide open in the back of the end zone. The other was on a 9-yard touchdown pass that saw Watson pull out his one-eyed touchdown throw with Fells reaching over a Raiders' linebacker for the game-winning score. What should not be overlooked is the fact Fells is on the field more than second tight-end option Jordan Akins
. Fells caught the game ending reception to give the Texans the first down to run out the remainder of the clock.
Washington Redskins 9, Minnesota Vikings 19
What you need to know
- Everything for Washington is now about the development of their first-round quarterback. The coaching staff needs stability and the proper resources to aid his maturation. He doesn't look ready at all and it's not clear who is at fault. As currently constructed, the team isn't built to win and need to deal as many valuable assets as possible. The organization is in disarray from top to bottom so building for the future should be their primary concern.
- This game had all of the story lines that could make for a let down and the first half trended that way as each team traded field goals and were unable to finish drives. The Vikings welcomed Case Keenum
and Adrian Peterson
back to town and Kirk Cousins
took on his old team in a prime-time matchup. The Vikings seemed to escape with a 19-9 win and moved to 6-2 on the season. Minnesota rushed for more than 160 yards and Stefon Diggs
had his 3rd straight game with 125+ receiving yards. The defense struggled early and let Keenum move the ball down the field at will until he was knocked out of the game with a concussion. Dwayne Haskins
took over with Colt McCoy
inactive this week and almost immediately threw an interception. The Vikings made some mistakes this week but were able to come away with their 4th straight victory. Minnesota will travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs next Sunday.
QB Case Keenum
, 29 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 16 - 130 - 0 TD / 0 INT - Case Keenum
had a good start to this game until the untimely turnover. He led the offense to three first downs and completed his first three passes before giving the ball back to Minnesota. Case had the Redskins in scoring position twice but only came away with field goals. Play-action passing, and the run game worked surprisingly well against the Vikings defense. However, Case only came away with two field goals and exited the game at halftime due to concussion. Its unfortunate Case went down because this was the best the offense had looked in weeks.
QB Dwayne Haskins
, 14 offensive snaps, Pass: 3 - 5 - 33 - 0 TD / 1 INT - Dwayne Haskins
came in the game to replace Case Keenum
and looked completely unprepared. He attempted five passes and completed three, but they were all fairly safe throws. The offense only generated three points in the second half with him leading the offense. Most drives were stalled as Dwayne looked indecisive in the pocket. Too many 3-and-outs and negative plays left the offense completely unplugged in the second half. Dwayne had an awful interception throwing high to a wide open received over the middle of the field. He will need to clean up his decision making and play with more command if he gets the start next week.
RB Adrian Peterson
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 76 - 0, Rec: 2 - 27 - 0 (2 targets) - Adrian Peterson
was the lone bright spot for Washington on offense. He had fourteen carries and averaged over five yards per carry. He constantly gained chunk yardage, but his production dissolved along with the offense in the second half. It's clear that the ability is still there for Adrian, but the offense is simply too inconsistent for him to make a bigger impact. He made violent jump cuts all night to elude tackles and keep plays alive. Washington had one possession in the redzone and did not call Adrian's number. That may have been the only downside for Adrian in this game.
RB Wendell Smallwood
, 12 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 9 - 0, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (2 targets) - Wendell Smallwood
had a total of three touches in this game. Other than a first down catch, he did not contribute in this game.
WR Terry McLaurin
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 39 - 0 (6 targets) - Terry McLaurin
was on his way to a productive night but once Case Keenum
went down his involvement was minimal. Terry record three receptions in the first half and showed great route running to gain separation in coverage. His speed has started to put defensive backs on their heels. Terry was targeted twice in the second half and was missed badly over the middle on a potential reception. Playing with the backup quarterback in the second half diminished any opportunity for a big game.
WR Paul Richardson
, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 34 - 0 (4 targets) - Paul Richardson
was more involved in this game than he has been in the last few weeks. He caught the first pass of the game to gain a first down but was only targeted three more times. He tallied three catches on four targets. The entire passing game was downgraded once Case went down. Paul was able to easily get open on his receptions, but the offense was shut down in the second half.
WR Kelvin Harmon
, 11 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (1 targets) - Kelvin Harmon
managed one first down catch but was otherwise ineffective against Minnesota.
WR Trey Quinn
, 24 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (3 targets) - Trey Quinn
recorded one catch on three targets. With a limited passing game, he was not able to get involved.
TE Jeremy Sprinkle
, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (2 targets) - Jeremy Sprinkle
once again filled in for Vernon Davis
. He only had two catches for twelve yards as a 4th option at best in a limited passing game.
QB Kirk Cousins
, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 26 - 285 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0 - The stat line seems a little misleading when you look at the final score. Cousins set a Viking franchise record in completion percentage this week and threw for nearly 300 yards again, but he did not have a single passing touchdown and the Vikings only punched it into the end zone once. Cousins was very efficient this week and completed passes to 7 different players on a roster that has been hurting in the receiver department. The re-connection with Diggs continued this week with another 100-yard game. The duo connected on long plays of 33 and 39 yards where Diggs turned a deep crossing route up the field for big gains. The Vikings would have had a great opportunity for points on the first drive had it not been for a fumble by Diggs. Cousins dealt with pressure from the Washington line and was sacked 3 times for a loss of 12 yards, but what he did well was throw the ball away when he was in trouble and not trying to force anything. 2 of his 3 incompletions were on passes that he threw away to not take a sack. Cousins has turned the corner since the start of the season but will still need to prove that he can win the big game. The Chiefs will be a big test coming up next.
RB Dalvin Cook
, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 98 - 1, Rec: 5 - 73 - 0 (6 targets) - Cook fell just short of his 6th 100-yard rushing performance of the season, but he more than made up with it in total yardage. The Viking offense had no trouble moving the ball in between the 30’s this week but had trouble punching it into the end zone. Cook scored the lone Viking touchdown this week on a 4-yard power run just before half time where he took the ball off guard and extended the ball into the end zone. The goal to go situation was setup by a 31-yard screen pass he caught where he started to the outside and cut back across the field for the big gain. The Vikings let the clock wind almost all the way down before the 3rd down play that went in for the touchdown. Cook had 23 rushes and 6 targets this week and saw another 13 carries and 2 targets go to Alexander Mattison
. Cook is the clear number 1 and work horse in Minnesota but the Vikings trust both of their running backs right now and that should help reserve the legs of Cook for the entire season.
RB Alexander Mattison
, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 61 - 0, Rec: 2 - 3 - 0 (2 targets) - With every week that passes, it looks more and more like the Vikings got this draft selection right. Mattison showed flashes of speed, power, and hands catching the ball out of the backfield this week. He had his second highest number of carries and yardage on the season and would have had 30 more yards had 2 runs not been called back by penalties on the final drive of the game. Mattison had a 28-yard run where he showed bother power and speed by getting to the outside and lowering his shoulder to run through a defender to finish the run and would have tacked on a similar 19-yard run that was called back due to penalty. He also caught both of his targets but only managed 3 yards on screen plays that were read by the Washington defense. Mattison has been a great pickup for the Vikings and should see more and more work as the season goes on.
WR Stefon Diggs
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 143 - 0 (7 targets) - Diggs tied Randy Moss
for the Viking franchise mark of 3 straight games with 125+ receiving yards this week. He caught all 7 of his targets and the only blemish was a fumble on the 1st drive of the game. Diggs and Cousins have turned things around since the receiver voiced his displeasure with how the season was going and the Vikings continue to push the ball down the field. Diggs did not get his home run shot this week but did have receptions of 39 and 33 yards on deep crossing patterns that he turned up field on his own. Cousins had a chance to find him on a boot leg play where Diggs had clearly beaten his man, but Matt Ioannidis was already in his face and Cousins had to throw the ball away. Diggs leads all receivers with 3 fumbles so far this season but that has been the only issue in recent weeks for the Vikings star receiver. He got a boost this week with Adam Thielen
ruled out, but there looks to be enough targets to go around when he comes back. Bisi Johnson has not done enough to take away too many targets from Diggs and his only other competition is the number of times the Vikings choose to run the ball.
WR Olabisi Johnson
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 27 - 0 (2 targets) - The Vikings have been without a true third receiver almost this entire season. They resigned Laquon Treadwell
and have not seen any sort of return and do not have many other options. Enter Johnson who had his 1st career touchdown last week but followed it up with a quiet game this week. He caught both of his targets and had a long catch and run of 16 yards this week. He is not going to put up flashy numbers with Thielen, Diggs, and Cook taking the majority of the touches in front of him, but he is proving to be a nice possession receiver and good third option when needed.
WR Adam Thielen
- Thielen was inactive this week with the same hamstring injury that knocked him out of the game last week. It was a short turn around and the Vikings did not want to risk further injuring their star receiver. If everything heals correctly, he should be in line to start again against Kansas City next week.
TE Irv Smith
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (3 targets) - The numbers do not jump off of the stat sheet this week, but Smith continues to push for more playing time in the Viking offense. Smith caught all 3 of his targets and showed an ability to run complex routes. He has seen his snap percentage increase almost every week while Rudolph has started to see a decline. Smith’s longest catch went for 11 yards against the Redskins and he looks to be one of the missing pieces in the Viking offense. Until a third receiver steps up, Smith should continue to see steady targets in the offense.
TE Kyle Rudolph
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 17 - 0 (3 targets) - After finally breaking through with his first touchdown of the season last week, Rudolph went back to having a quiet game against the Redskins. The big tight end caught all 3 of his targets but did not make much of a dent this week. His longest catch went for 7 yards and he failed to pick up a key first down in the first half when he elected to try and run around a defender rather than through him. Irv Smith
was also targeted 3 times and was unable to do much with his receptions either. All of the offense this week went through Cook and Diggs and Rudolph put up another dud of a game.
Philadelphia Eagles 31, Buffalo Bills 13
What you need to know
- The Eagles gutted out a road win in blustery conditions in Buffalo in Week 8. The Eagles’ run game dominated the ball with Jordan Howard
rushing for nearly 100 yards and Carson Wentz
avoiding mistakes and throwing just 24 passes. Miles Sanders
left the game with a should injury but was an impact big-play threat again with a long touchdown run, two-point conversion, and chunk screen pass. Speed is still a missing element in the pass game, outside of Sanders, with DeSean Jackson
out of the lineup.
- The Bills struggled in a loss to the Eagles on Sunday. The game was played in heavy winds, but Josh Allen
struggled with accuracy and was late on critical throws, limiting the passing game against a suspect Philadelphia secondary. Frank Gore
played ahead of Devin Singletary
early in the game, but Singletary saw the passing game work and added a touchdown with a good run after the catch. John Brown
again topped 50 yards a feat he has accomplished every game this season while Cole Beasley
added a red zone touchdown despite lower passing volume than recent weeks.
QB Carson Wentz
, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 24 - 172 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 8 - 35 - 0 - Battling the wind and a tough Buffalo defense, Wentz emerged with the impressive road win in a run-centric offensive attack. Wentz’s play focused on timely passes to continue drives more than an air-raid approach with the wind being a substantial impact especially in the quarters driving towards the gust. Wentz’s best plays came on third down, including a scramble, designed run, and deep out to Alshon Jeffery
, all to extend drives. Wentz paired with Jeffery on a perfect sideline throw for nearly 40 yards for his longest play of the game and nearly added a touchdown on a deep out to Zach Ertz
down to the goal line on another occasion. With DeSean Jackson
still out of the lineup there is a deep element missing from the Eagles passing game as Miles Sanders
to some extent has served as a proxy. However, Sanders exited with a shoulder injury.
RB Jordan Howard
, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 96 - 1, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (2 targets) - Howard had the perfect storm for a season-high 24 touches against the Bills in Week 8. The windy conditions shifted the Eagles to a more ball-control offense and Howard continued his clear advantage over Miles Sanders
for interior work. Howard ground through contact regularly, especially in the fourth quarter as the Eagles salted away the road win. Howard churned up the gut for 20 yards and two more for 10+ yards in his best moments. Howard’s lack of passing game involvement remains a limitation to his overall production, seeing two targets overall even with Miles Sanders
playing an ancillary role. Howard did convert his lone reception into a 15-yard screen pass gain this week, his second-highest receiving yardage total of the season. Howard has nine receptions in eight games as a touchdown and volume-centric option as a runner alone.
RB Miles Sanders
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 74 - 1, Rec: 3 - 44 - 0 (3 targets) - Jordan Howard
was the clear preferred option on interior runs again against Buffalo this week in the windy conditions. Sanders, however, is the home run threat of the two, breaking on two huge plays, one for a touchdown. Sanders benefited from a Howard lead block through a small hole inside, showing his speed all the way for a 65-yard touchdown. Sanders also cut across the field on a screen pass for 25 yards through the air. Sanders has not received 10 touches or more since Week 5 and yet had another quality performance this week. Sanders exited in the second half with a shoulder injury but is not expected to miss significant time by early reports of the Bears matchup in Week 9.
WR Nelson Agholor
, 55 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0, Rec: 4 - 7 - 0 (4 targets) - Agholor logged a second straight non-factor performance, this time against the Bills. Agholor converted a quick out on third down and a jet sweep for 15+ yards as his highlights but was stuffed for a massive loss on another rushing attempt and was invisible for most of the game as a route runner. Agholor has not been a big factor in the passing game since Week 2 despite DeSean Jackson
being out of the lineup and the offense leaning on Miles Sanders
as the speed threat as a proxy, not Agholor during Jackson’s absence.
WR Alshon Jeffery
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 64 - 0 (6 targets) - In a low-volume attack against Buffalo, Jeffery led the team with six targets. Much of his production came on a perfect deep throw from Carson Wentz
for 38 yards. Jeffery flashed his ball skills on a full-extension grab on another occasion and Jeffery added a third-down deep out route conversion as well. Jeffery had a 50/50 back shoulder target which was not converted. Jeffery has been a consistent intermediate target for the Eagles this season but looks to have lost a step or two from his prime to expect consistent big plays or a legitimate vertical dimension to the offense.
TE Dallas Goedert
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 22 - 1 (5 targets) - Goedert found the end zone for the second straight week, seeing more targets than teammate Zach Ertz
. Goedert scored on a goal-line slant and added a screen pass for 10 yards of note. Goedert also had a reception called back in the game. Goedert was largely invisible until the last three weeks where he has piled up 17 targets for a hearty 12-139-2 stat line. The Bears offer a quality matchup for opposing tight ends to continue his promising play in Week 9.
TE Zach Ertz
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (4 targets) - Ertz looked notably frustrated at times during the Eagles’ road win over Buffalo with a paltry two receptions. Even without DeSean Jackson
active for most of the season, Ertz is a significant pace behind his 2018 season. Ertz got down to the goal line on one of his receptions and also added a third-down defensive pass interference penalty beyond the box score. Ertz was stuffed on a third-down dump off and also had a one-handed contested opportunity for a highlight play but was a high degree of difficulty. While never a high touchdown rate option in his career, Ertz has a mere one touchdown on 37 receptions in 2019 as a regression candidate over the second half of the season.
QB Josh Allen
, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 34 - 169 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 8 - 45 - 0 - Josh Allen
struggled on Sunday against the Eagles. Allen struggled with ball security, including fumbling three times, two of which were in the pocket and a third on a running attempt which he lost. Allen ran frequently in the game, on both scrambles and designed runs, and was able to avoid big hits from defenders, something he has worked to avoid in recent weeks. He threw two touchdown passes. The first was to Cole Beasley
in the red zone, where Allen moved from the pocket and kept his eyes up to see Beasley on a crossing route for an easy score. The second was to Devin Singletary
on a flat pass where Singletary did the hard work after the catch for the score. Allen played the game in heavy winds, which resulted in some errant throws, including a missed deep ball to Robert Foster
. He also missed a critical opportunity late in the game on a late throw to John Brown
that was broken up by an Eagles defender. Allen will get a good matchup next week against Washington.
RB Frank Gore
, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 34 - 0 - Frank Gore
started for the Buffalo Bills against the Philadelphia Eagles working ahead of rookie Devin Singletary
early in the game before Singletary’s role grew in the second half. Gore had success on the interior early in the game, but Singletary had a more pass centric game script as the game went along limited Gore to only nine carries. Gore should have plenty of positive game script next week against Washington at home.
RB Devin Singletary
, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 19 - 0, Rec: 4 - 30 - 1 (6 targets) - Devin Singletary
played behind Frank Gore
against the Eagles on Sunday but grew into a larger role as the game progressed. Singletary was inconsistent during the game. On the positive side, he was able to turn a dump-off pass in the flat into a touchdown by making a defender miss and setting a block up on the perimeter. He also had a chunk play on the first offensive play in the second half that was called back by penalty. On the negative side, Singletary had two drops in the passing game. Singletary is a role player in the Buffalo offense that needs a score for fantasy viability while he is playing behind Frank Gore
. He will get positive game script in week nine against Washington.
WR John Brown
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 54 - 0 (8 targets) - John Brown
had a strong first half but turned in a quiet second half against the Philadelphia Eagles. Brown was the best threat in the Buffalo offense early in the game, working both the perimeter and interior of the field, including a diving catch on a comeback along the sideline. Brown was quiet in the second half because of a combination of heavy winds and Josh Allen
errant throws. For example, Brown won on a deep in route on fourth down in the second half, but Allen was late on the throw which allowed the Philadelphia corner to make a recovery play on the ball. Brown will have a good matchup next week against Washington.
WR Cole Beasley
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 41 - 1 (7 targets) - Cole Beasley
had a low volume but effective fantasy day against the Eagles on Sunday. Beasley had a touchdown in the first half on a crossing route in the red zone where Josh Allen
extended the play with his feet and pulled the defense away from Beasley for an easy score. He had a quiet remainder of the half before catching an out route and extending the play with a run after the catch. The remainder of Beasley’s work came in garbage time when Buffalo was trailing, including two errant passes by Josh Allen
. Beasley will have a good matchup next week against Washington.
TE Tyler Kroft
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 32 - 0 (4 targets) - Tyler Kroft
led the Buffalo tight ends with two receptions on Sunday against the Eagles, making a tough catch along the perimeter and holding the ball through contact. He also had a flat reception with easy run after the catch yardage. While Kroft’s numbers were low, his usage is notable, because Buffalo schemed up two vertical perimeter shots to Kroft, both of which were incomplete. Kroft was used ahead of Dawson Knox
and could continue to grow in role as he integrates into the office after returning from injury. He will get a good opportunity next week against Washington.
Los Angeles Chargers 17, Chicago Bears 16
What you need to know
Los Angeles Chargers
- Philip Rivers
' numbers look a bit underwhelming, but he wasn't helped much by his receivers. They dropped at least two would-be touchdowns, fell down on several other passes, and failed to fight for a ball that ended up as an interception. He did well just to get to the stats he put up.
The much-ballyhooed return of Melvin Gordon
has resulted in the opposite of what the Chargers expected, as their running game has gone in the tank since Melvin Gordon
returned to the lineup. Gordon continues to see much more work in the run game than Austin Ekeler
(8 rushes to 3), as Ekeler has essentially been doing work as a receiver.
was very off, stumbling three different times just running routes, and also dropped what would have been a long touchdown. He has now failed to score a touchdown or exceed more than 65 yards in five consecutive games.
- After struggling last week, the Bears turned to a run centric approach featuring David Montgomery
against the Chargers. Montgomery turned in his best game as a pro including his first 100-yard game and added a touchdown while running with physicality on the interior. Mitchell Trubisky
continued to struggle, taking bad sacks and turning the ball over twice while stalling the offense out in the red zone. Allen Robinson
was hindered by the heavy rushing volume but was consistently the most dangerous element of the offense.
QB Philip Rivers
, 45 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 29 - 201 - 1 TD / 1 INT - Rivers played much better than the stats indicate. Almost all of his production came late in the game as his receivers really did him no favors early on. The lack of help started on the very first possession, when he threw a pass to a wide open Keenan Allen
that would have gone for a first down if Allen hadn't fallen down on the play. The pass was nearly intercepted due to Allen falling, but it fell incomplete. Allen again got open for what could have been a 20+ yard pass play, but again he inexplicably fell coming out of his break. Later in the half, Rivers faced intense pressure up the middle for really the first time all game. Throwing off his back foot, the pass didn't have much on it. It was not a good pass and was definitely underthrown, but Mike Williams
failed to come back to the football. The defender made a big break instead, stepping in front of Williams for the pick. Soon after that one, Hunter Henry
outright dropped a pass along the sideline. Early in the second half, Rivers began moving the team downfield on a decent drive. He put a deep ball right in the hands of Williams, who allowed it to slip through for an incompletion. It was a perfectly thrown pass that went for nothing. Williams wasn't the only one who cost the team a touchdown with an end zone drop, either, as Keenan Allen
let a floater drop out of his hands after the defender had badly mis-timed his jump. Rivers continued putting the football in places where his receivers could work with it, but they were continuously letting him down. Finally in the fourth quarter, the Chargers started moving the ball with a bit more ease. He found Henry with a bullet pass that put the ball on the 2-yard line and nearly found Austin Ekeler
on an inside slant, but the bullet pass was deflected away at the last minute. The Chargers settled for a field goal on that drive, but ended up scoring later when Rivers found Ekeler in the flat off a play action fake. The pass itself was nothing special, but Ekeler beat his defender at the 5-yard line and darted to the end zone for the outstanding individual effort and score to give the Chargers the late lead (which they did not relinquish).
RB Melvin Gordon
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 31 - 1, Rec: 2 - 3 - 0 (3 targets) - Outside of one spectacular run, Gordon had another highly nondescript game. He out-touched Austin Ekeler
10-5, but couldn't really get much going either on the ground or through the air for most of the game. The one big run was a 19-yard touchdown where he showed excellent vision and balance by bouncing an inside handoff back to the left, taking off towards the end zone, and then dragging defenders in over the last five yards (with a helpful push from his offensive linemen). That being said, his other nine touches went for a total of just 15 yards from scrimmage. There was simply no consistency to the Charger run game, a disturbing trend that has continued since Gordon's return from a holdout several weeks ago.
RB Austin Ekeler
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 3 - 0, Rec: 2 - 19 - 1 (3 targets) - Ekeler couldn't have been quieter in the early going, with just one touch prior to halftime. This is a player who was dominating the offensive playbook in the early portion of the season. Ekeler's first handoff didn't come until 6:15 remained in the third quarter, as the team was almost abandoning the run for large chunks of the game due to a complete lack of success. He was wide open on a 2-yard inside slant, but some great awareness by Khalil Mack resulted in the pass being deflected away at the last moment to prevent what would have been an easy score. Later in that possession, Ekeler got an inside handoff from the 2-yard line, but was completely swallowed up by the Chicago defense on a very slowly-developing play. Finally late in the fourth quarter with the Chargers driving for the lead, Rivers found Ekeler in the flat off a play action fake. Ekeler caught the pass and was met by a linebacker at the 5-yard line, but Ekeler managed to slip the tackler and dart up the field for the score. He was hit hard at the end of the run, but all that did was help propel him even more into the end zone. That score gave the Chargers the lead, which they would not relinquish.
WR Keenan Allen
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 53 - 0 (10 targets) - Allen had a very busy afternoon, although not a very successful one. He was questionable to play coming in with a hamstring issue, and most observers felt he wasn't going to play. Once it was announced that he was playing, reports came with the caveat that he may be on a "limited snap count". Instead, Allen played the entire game and didn't really look any worse for wear in terms of any injury issues. About the only thing that looked out of the ordinary was the fact that he inexplicably fell down three times during the course of the game. The announcers speculated that he may have had the wrong shoes on, or that it could have been weakness in the hamstring. Whatever the reason, he fell down on his first target which nearly resulted in a Chicago interception. He then stumbled for the second time in three targets going over the middle on a play that could have gone for over twenty yards. Early in the second quarter, he converted the first Chargers first down of the game, moving well across the field with ease. Late in the game, he took an inside screen with blockers in front of him for a meager three yards. The reason why that play is noteworthy, is because he again stumbled just as he tried turning up the field (the play probably could have gone for 8-10 yards or more). Finally, he was targeted on a deep ball in the end zone that would have given the Chargers the lead. His defender mis-timed his jump and Allen had the ball sitting in his hands if he just secured the pass, but he allowed it to bounce off his forearms for a terrible drop. After the game, Allen apologized to fantasy owners on Twitter, letting them know that he "owes them".
WR Mike Williams
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 69 - 0 (6 targets) - Despite seeing roughly half the number of targets and receptions as Keenan Allen
, Williams out-gained him through the air thanks to a 43-yard first half bomb. He went deep down the sideline and made a tremendous effort to sky high for the deep ball, out-leaping both defenders who were converging on the football. Williams sort of owed that kind of effort to Rivers after making a weak effort to come back to the ball on a Rivers interception. The pass was woefully underthrown, but Williams waited for the ball while the defender made a big break on the pass, and picked it off. Williams could have had a much bigger day, as he allowed a deep ball to go through his hands in the end zone. He had beaten his defender and Philip Rivers
put the ball exactly where it needed to be, but Williams couldn't corral the pass. Williams came up hobbling after the play and briefly left the game. He came back in two plays later, but his relevance to the game ended with yet another dropped pass.
TE Hunter Henry
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 47 - 0 (6 targets) - Like much of the Chargers passing game, Henry had a quiet first half but picked things up in the second half. He had a good opportunity to convert a third down pass along the sideline early on. It wouldn't have been a huge gain, but the ball was right there and he just outright dropped it. Henry's first reception didn't come until he made a short grab over the middle with 8:04 remaining in the third quarter. He grabbed another reception on the next play, but it was negated by an offensive pass interference penalty called against Henry. He more than made up for that penalty by hauling in yet another reception, this time a 20-yard gain to convert the first down after the penalty. With the Chargers driving, Henry snagged a bullet pass at the 2-yard line with a defender all over him, so there was really no chance to lean back in for the score. Finally, Henry caught a third down pass late in the fourth quarter with the Chargers trying to run out the clock. A first down would have all but ended the game and Henry made a tremendous effort to get there, twisting and spinning for the first down marker, but he came up just a foot short. Henry was very upset with himself after the play, although he made as strong an effort as he could have, perhaps because he didn't extend the football at the end of the play towards the first down marker. There was no harm, however, as the Chargers punted the ball away but the Bears missed the potential game-winning field goal as time expired.
TE Virgil Green
, 13 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets) - Green showed nice hands to snag a short dumpoff just before it hit the turf. But Hunter Henry
again had a busy day from the tight end spot, which is always going to cap Green's upside.
QB Mitchell Trubisky
, 82 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 35 - 253 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 10 - 0 - Mitchell Trubisky
started against the Chargers after a dismal performance last week. Trubisky was again a limiting element to the offense as he struggled with decision making and accuracy. The Bears tried to play close to the vest with a run centric and short passing game approach after Trubisky struggled last week but the design did not help. He was particularly weak in the red zone, including a trip where he had a snuffed out shovel pass to Cordarelle Patterson, a near interception, a batted ball, and a broken up pass, which forced the Bears to settle for a field goal despite a penalty during the sequence that placed the Bears on the one yard line for first and goal. Trubisky had another bad sequence three-play sequence in the second half where he threw an interception late to the perimeter, then missed Taylor Gabriel
deep on a possible long touchdown, before losing a fumble in the pocket. Trubisky also took a couple of bad sacks, including one that knocked the Bears out of field goal range on third down. Trubisky had some success during the game, including passes across the middle to Tarik Cohen
, Trey Burton
, and Anthony Miller
, but he continues to be too inconsistent to create consistent success for the Bears offense. Trubisky will look to rebound next week against the Eagles.
RB David Montgomery
, 60 offensive snaps, Rush: 27 - 135 - 1, Rec: 4 - 12 - 0 (5 targets) - David Montgomery
had the best game of his professional career against the Chargers in a loss on Sunday. Montgomery was a focal point of the offense from the start after the Bears only ran the ball seven times last week. Coach Matt Nagy took responsibility for the lack of running game during the week and leaned heavily on Montgomery against the Chargers so the usage is a good sign for Montgomery’s potential future role in the offense. Montgomery was physical running between the tackles and ran with power when he was attacking downhill. Montgomery was noticeable more focused on running downhill against the Chargers after spending too much time running side to side in early weeks. He did break off a huge gain in a two-minute drill at the end of the first half but was run down from behind on what would have been a touchdown if Montgomery was faster. Montgomery did get work at the goal line and was able to score a touchdown off the right side. Montgomery was involved in the passing game with four receptions, but his targets were primarily short receptions that were well defended. Montgomery will travel to the Eagles next Sunday.
RB Tarik Cohen
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 9 - 0, Rec: 3 - 37 - 0 (3 targets) - After leading the Bears in carries last week, Tarik Cohen
took a backseat to David Montgomery
against the Chargers after Coach Matt Nagy promised a stronger rushing attack during the week. Cohen was involved on the first drive of the game in the running game but only had four carries to David Montgomery
’s 27. Cohen was only targeted three times in the passing game and managed a long gain down the seam from the slot, but otherwise was held in check during the game. Cohen will look to increase his volume next week against the Eagles that gave up a long receiving touchdown from the Buffalo backfield this week.
WR Allen Robinson
, 73 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 62 - 0 (7 targets) - Allen Robinson
had a lower volume game after a dominant performance last week. Coach Matt Nagy expressed disappointment with last week’s pass-heavy approach and Robinson’s target volume was one of the places where the rushing attempts came from. Robinson’s passing volume came largely in the short range of the field and he was strong at the catch point, particularly on his lone deep reception. Robinson also drew two defensive pass interference penalties, including one in the end zone. Robinson was also targeted another time near the goal line, but Mitchell Trubisky
threw the ball behind him. Robinson will have a favorable matchup next week against the Eagles.
WR Anthony Miller
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 67 - 0 (3 targets) - Anthony Miller
led the Bears in receiving on Sunday against the Chargers. Miller was only targeted three times, but caught all three passes, including a deep dig and deep over reception. Miller has been quiet this season with Mitchell Trubisky
struggling, but his performance on Sunday showed his ability to make contributions if Trubisky’s play improves this season. He will look to carve out a role next week at Philadelphia.
TE Trey Burton
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (4 targets) - Trey Burton
had a quiet week against the Chargers, with his first and only reception coming in the fourth quarter across the middle. He also drew a target in the red zone that was overthrown. Burton is limited this season by Mitchell Trubisky
’s play and is an unpredictable fantasy player at this point in his career.
Cincinnati Bengals 10, Los Angeles Rams 24
What you need to know
- -The Bengals moved the ball well between the 20s but there weren’t a lot of big plays and the offense struggled in the red zone, turning it over on downs twice in the red zone.
had a strong first half with a number of 10+ yard runs but the running game disappeared in the second half.
was Dalton’s go-to target in the fourth quarter with 10 targets.
-The Bengals featured Tyler Eifert
who set season-highs in almost every category, perhaps to pump up his trade value before the deadline.
Los Angeles Rams
- The Rams exploited a ‘get well’ matchup for a second straight week, defeating the Bengals soundly. Todd Gurley
sparsely played in the second half of the comfortable win as Darrell Henderson
accrued 13 touches, largely in relief. Cooper Kupp
putt on a route-running and yards-after-the-catch clinic to the tune of 220 yards as Brandin Cooks
exited early with a concussion and Robert Woods
played almost a running back role than a wide receiver one. Gerald Everett
came back to earth after a strong Week 7 performance and Josh Reynolds
was the benefactor of Cooks’ absence with 73 yards and a touchdown on a hearty eight targets.
QB Andy Dalton
, 83 offensive snaps, Pass: 32 - 52 - 329 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 1 - -4 - 0 (1 targets) - Dalton put up big numbers due to throwing 52 times but left too many plays on the field. He had a strong first half, completing 14-of-15 passes early with the only incompletion coming on a slightly overthrown deep ball to Tyler Boyd
. His lone touchdown was an easy 1-yard toss to a wide open Joe Mixon
. On a couple of occasions, Dalton held the ball too long and took costly sacks. The Bengals drove down to the Rams 30-yard line just before halftime and were in position for a field goal that would have cut the lead to four going into the break but Dalton took a 10-yard sack on third down that pushed the team out of range. Dalton narrowly missed out on a couple touchdowns in the fourth quarter. He threw it three times inside the 10-yard line with seven minutes left and a chance to cut the lead to one score. One was dropped by Auden Tate
and Stanley Morgan
was stopped a couple yards shy of the goal line on a 4th-down slant. He had a chance to add a garbage time touchdown in the final minute but Auden Tate
again dropped a well-thrown ball in the end zone.
RB Joe Mixon
, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 66 - 0, Rec: 4 - 11 - 1 (4 targets) - Mixon only averaged 3.9 yards per carry but even that was an improvement compared to recent performances. Despite playing from behind, the Bengals were also able to get Mixon a season-high 21 touches. He had some success in the first half with a number of chunk gains that have been rare for the Bengals offense this season. He found some room off of left tackle on a 13-yard run the second play of the game. On a second-quarter touchdown drive, Mixon touched it seven times and gashed the Rams right up the middle for runs of 11 and 12 yards. He converted with a tough run up the middle on a fourth down to keep the drive alive and eventually finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown catch on a pretty play design that the Bengals used successfully against Buffalo. The Bengals motioned a receiver across, causing the defense to vacate the right side of the field and leaving Mixon all alone for an easy catch. After a strong first half with no negative carries and a few chunk Gaines, the second half Bengals rushing offense reverted to form. Mixon lost yards on two of first first three carries out of halftime and didn’t gain more than four yards on any run.
RB Giovani Bernard
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 31 - 0, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (2 targets) - Bernard handled the majority of the snaps in the second half and played 41% overall for the game. However, he is not racking up the big receiving numbers in these games the Bengals are trailing like he did in past seasons because he is usually being tasked with staying in and blocking. This was especially true against the Rams as the Bengals were rightfully worried about Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers bringing interior pressure. Bernard had just two touches in the fourth quarter. He did flash in limited opportunities, however. He spelled Mixon for a single play in the Bengals lone touchdown drive and ripped off a 25-yard run, bouncing off of multiple tackle attempts to get the Bengals into the red zone.
WR Tyler Boyd
, 75 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 6 - 65 - 0 (9 targets) - Boyd made a beautiful 22-yard catch on a back shoulder fade on a 4th-and-2 despite very good coverage, showing the strong hands that are his best asset. He had a step on a deep ball down the middle of the field but Dalton threw it five yards too far or it might have been a long touchdown. He made an 11-yard grab against tight coverage over the middle. Boyd made another 11-yard grab on a well designed rub route where he came wide open from the slot. Boyd came through in the clutch again with an 18-yard grab on 4th-and-13 to set the Bengals up inside the Rams 10-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. Boyd had a touchdown chance on a garbage time target near the goal line but the timing appeared to be off between him and Dalton and the ball was thrown high and in front of him.
WR Alex Erickson
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 97 - 0 (7 targets) - Erickson’s snaps were down slightly (60%) as the Bengals used more 12-personnel. He did well with his limited opportunities, showing sure hands and strong run after the catch skills. He took a wide receiver screen for 11 yards. He did most of his damage on one garbage time 52-yard catch in the final minute of the game. Jalen Ramsey looked almost disinterested as he just let Erickson run right by him down the sideline.
WR Auden Tate
, 81 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 65 - 0 (13 targets) - Tate rarely left the field, playing 81 of 83 snaps on the day. Once again, he was the biggest beneficiary of garbage time. Tate was targeted 10 times in the fourth quarter. He made a spectacular grab for 27 yards on a double move down the left sideline. He was grabbed as he ran by the cornerback (drawing a flag), who had been caught flat-footed which caused the ball to be overthrown but he was still able to go get it with a diving, fingertip grab at full extension. Tate had a key drop in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter that would have brought the Bengals within one score. He had both hands on a well-place high ball in the front corner of the end zone but couldn’t hold on through contact and the Bengals eventually turned it over on downs. Tate had back-to-back end zone targets in the final seconds of the game. It was initially ruled that he had caught a 9-yard touchdown but on review it was overturned because the ball moved as he hit the ground.
TE Tyler Eifert
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 74 - 0 (9 targets) - Eifert’s season-high in snaps prior to this game was 38. He played 60 snaps against the Rams. The increased usage led to season highs in targets, catches, and receiving yards. Eifert was able to win consistently against single coverage. He made a season-long 27-yard gab over the middle on a post route. He lowered his shoulder to pick up a few extra yards at the end of the play. It is fair to wonder if the Bengals featured Eifert just to try to pump up his trade value before the deadline. He is rumored to be on the block with the Bengals asking for a 3rd-round pick.
QB Jared Goff
, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 31 - 372 - 2 TD / 0 INT - Goff played a second straight clean game, avoiding turnovers and notching a needed win over a struggling (Cincinnati) opponent. Goff regularly saw open receivers, many times Cooper Kupp
, and benefitted from substantial yards after the catch to boost his gaudy stat line of 372 yards on just 31 attempts. Brandin Cooks
was lost to a concussion early in the game with Josh Reynolds
elevating into the starting lineup and posted a strong game in relief. Goff delivered accurate passes to Cooper Kupp
on a reverse throw-back design for a 65-yard touchdown and hit a smaller window to Kupp later with a perfect deep ball. Goff’s clean stat line did benefit from three potential interceptions not being converted by the Bengals as Goff was late on a deep out on one occasion and threw into traffic over the middle of the field on another of note. Goff after a promising schedule over the second half of the season after their Week 9 bye.
RB Darrell Henderson
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 49 - 0, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (3 targets) - Henderson mixed in with Todd Gurley
in the first half but saw most of his playing time and touches in the second half of the home win over Cincinnati. Henderson had a nice cut for 15 yards on his biggest gain and broke a tackle on another occasion for additional yardage. Henderson notably had a third-down drop as a receiver.
RB Todd Gurley
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 44 - 1 (1 targets) - Gurley was the clear lead back early in the game against Cincinnati but barely saw the field later as the Rams salted away the easy home win and ceded time to Darrell Henderson
. Gurley curiously saw only one target as a non-factor in the passing game. Gurley has received one target or fewer in more than half his games this season. Gurley’s stat line was bolstered by a 20+ yard run in the closing minute of the first half on a relative give-up play on third-and-10. On his most impactful drive Gurley converted third-and-short in the red zone and capped the drive with a goal-line touchdown to the edge of the defense.
WR Cooper Kupp
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 220 - 1 (10 targets) - Kupp logged his fifth 100-yard game of the season with a new career-high 220 yards. Kupp found wide-open zones of the defense regularly to fuel yards-after-the-catch for massive chunks of yardage. Among Kupp’s highlights included adjusting to a throw behind him on a third down, a trick play 65-yard touchdown, and converting a well-covered deep ball target from Jared Goff
. Kupp added a rare drop in the game to thwart an even bigger performance. As a centerpiece in the Rams passing game, Kupp is on pace for more than 1,500 yards this season and more than 110 receptions with a conducive schedule after the Rams’ Week 9 bye.
WR Robert Woods
, 61 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 6 - 0, Rec: 2 - 36 - 0 (2 targets) - Woods saw a mere two targets even with Brandin Cooks
missing most of the game with a concussion against the Bengals. Woods caught his lone big-play opportunity, a play-action flat route for 30 yards into the open field. However, Woods was used also like a running back for a chunk of the game for the second time in three games, accruing four rushing attempts without much fanfare. Josh Reynolds
benefited from Cooks’ absence and Cooper Kupp
logged a monster game as Woods lacked involvement.
WR Josh Reynolds
, 55 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 3 - 73 - 1 (8 targets) - Reynolds benefited from an early-game Brandin Cooks
concussion exit for his best game of the season. Reynolds saw a hearty eight targets, including his highlight seam touchdown. Reynolds also had a yards-after-catch-infused reception called back and a third-down drop to prevent his stat line from ballooning to more than 100 yards on the day. Reynolds also corralled a small window reception down the seam for more than 25 yards and was stuffed on a reverse. The Week 9 bye allowed additional time for Brandin Cooks
to be cleared for a return to play from concussion, but Reynolds stands to benefit if Cooks is not ready for Week 10 against the Steelers.
WR Brandin Cooks
, 3 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Cooks sustained a concussion on an early first-quarter slant route. He dropped the ball post-hit for an incompletion. He left the field for evaluation and did not return. Cooks has additional time to be cleared with the Rams’ Week 9 bye up next.
TE Gerald Everett
, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (3 targets) - Everett took a step back in offensive involvement for the Rams, who featured a wide receiver-centric passing game in the home win over Cincinnati. Everett did not see a target until the late second quarter when he hauled in an in-cut reception of note, his lone moment of relevance. This was Everett first game with fewer than five targets since Week 3.