This was a brutal game to watch. Even Tom Brady couldn’t handle it. Brady had one of his servants tweet out the following during the second quarter:
“I’m turning off this game I can’t watch these ridiculous penalties anymore.”
Brady wasn’t kidding. It seemed like there was a holding infraction on every other play in the opening half. When there wasn’t a hold, there was an instance of offensive incompetence. Even the Jaguars, who were able to establish a 14-0 lead, thanks to the help of a bone-headed Adoree Jackson muffed punt, converted only one third down prior to the final quarter.
While the Jaguars didn’t play well offensively outside of a few instances, they were far superior to the Titans, who couldn’t get anything going. Tennessee had just 108 net yards at halftime, averaging a meager 3.5 yards per play.
Marcus Mariota was especially poor. Garbage time makes his stat line – 23-of-40, 304 yards – look better than it should, as he was just 6-of-16 for 62 yards at intermission. It’s not quite clear if the quad injury he was listed as having during the week had any impact on his performance. What we do know is that Tennessee’s offensive line had no chance against Jacksonville’s front. Mariota took a ridiculous nine sacks, with Calais Campbell recording three of those. Campbell was unbelievable, though it’s clear that the Titans really miss Taylor Lewan.
Lewan’s return will help, but Mariota needs to perform better. He held on to the ball too long on some occasions, and he missed several wide-open receivers, including Tajae Sharpe for a deep touchdown.
Meanwhile, Gardner Minshew played well for an entire game for the first time. Minshew went 20-of-30 for 204 yards and two touchdowns, and he scrambled four times for 18 rushing yards. Minshew threw several terrific passes, including a great back-shoulder toss to D.J. Chark. While Minshew had a few bad passes, he played a strong game overall, and it must be noted that his stat line could have been better, as Dede Westbrook dropped three passes, including one in the end zone.
Minshew’s favorite receiver continues to be Chark, as the LSU product caught four of his five targets for 76 yards and a touchdown. Westbrook was next on the stat sheet despite his drops, as he made five grabs for 46 yards. James O’Shaughnessy (2-18) hauled in Minshew’s other score.
The Titans had Leonard Fournette bottled up for most of the evening. After three-and-a-half quarters, Fournette had minus-8 rushing yards. However, he was able to break free for a 69-yard burst in the final few minutes. He nearly scored, but was tackled inside the Tennessee 10-yard line. Fournette never reached the end zone, but he finished with six catches for 26 receiving yards in addition to his rushing numbers (15 carries, 66 yards.)
The Jaguars treated Derrick Henry similarly. They limited Henry to 44 yards on 17 carries, though he was able to help his fantasy owners with a touchdown. Henry had gains of 12 and six wiped out by penalties, and he dropped a pass.
Adam Humphries, of all people, was Tennessee’s leading receiver, but that was solely the product of garbage time. He caught six passes for 93 yards, but several of those receptions came on the meaningless final drive.
Elsewhere in the Titans’ receiving corps, tight end Delanie Walker led the team in catches with seven for 64 yards. Corey Davis (3-44) didn’t have much success getting open against Jacksonville’s excellent corners. A.J. Brown also struggled. He caught one pass for four yards and was guilty of an offensive pass interference.
Bills 21, Bengals 17
Though this game finished with a four-point margin, the Bills dominated for most of the afternoon. They were able to generate more than 250 net yards against Cincinnati’s poor-tackling defense in the opening half alone. Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s offense couldn’t get anything going because Andy Dalton was under constant heavy pressure behind his miserable offensive line. Andy Dalton didn’t even complete his first pass until the 10-minute mark of the third quarter! Based on how Buffalo’s dominated this affair, the team should have been up by three, maybe even four touchdowns in the third quarter.
And yet, the Bills were leading by just 14 because of some mistakes. For instance, T.J. Yeldon fumbled in the red zone when the Bills were up 11-0. Later, Josh Allen overthrew a wide-open Zay Jones. Allen then fired a horrible interception, which finally breathed some life into the Bengals. Cincinnati was able to turn that give-away into a touchdown, cutting the margin to seven. The Bengals were able to gain momentum and finally move the chains against a tired Buffalo defense. They even eventually had the lead, 17-14, but Allen was able to engineer a 78-yard scoring drive that clinched the victory for Buffalo.
Allen had a mixed performance, going 23-of-36 for 243 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He had some nice moments in the clutch and was able to even improvise well on one instance, as he tripped over his running back’s feet, grabbed a loose ball, got up off his feet, avoided pressure and found Tommy Sweeney for a 3-yard completion. This was one play after Allen spun away from a potential sack to connect with another tight end for a decent gain. Conversely, Allen made some blunders that I referenced earlier. This isn’t a surprise, considering that the very raw Allen is still developing. He’ll need to be way more consistent for the Bills to have a chance to upset New England next week.
Allen’s sole score was thrown to rookie tight end Dawson Knox (3-67), who had the key, 49-yard reception on the decisive drive. Knox caught a deep pass and broke out of a couple of tackles to set up the Bills deep in Cincinnati territory. John Brown (4-51) didn’t have as good of a game as expected, while Cole Beasley hauled in eight of his 10 targets for 48 yards.
With Devin Singletary out, Frank Gore handled two-thirds of the rushing workload. He gained 76 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while Yeldon tallied 30 yards on eight tries. Yeldon, as mentioned, nearly ended up costing Buffalo a victory.
While Dalton didn’t complete a pass in the first 19 minutes of this game, he ended up 20-of-36 for 249 yards, one touchdown and a pair of interceptions, one of which was a desperate attempt at the end of the game. Don’t blame Dalton for the loss, though. Not only did his offensive line offer him zero protection; his receivers killed him with some drops.
One Cincinnati player who had multiple drops was John Ross. The speedy receiver thrived in his first two games, but struggled in this contest. He caught two passes for 22 yards and killed his team with drops, including one on third down.
Elsewhere in the Cincinnati receiving corps, Tyler Boyd saw tight coverage and had just one catch for minus-3 yards in the opening half. However, he was able to finish with six grabs for 67 yards, trailing only Auden Tate (6-88).
Joe Mixon apologized to his fans for not producing ahead of this game, so he was able to respond with a solid performance. Mixon’s rushing yardage doesn’t stand out – 15 carries, 61 yards – but that was impressive because Cincinnati’s offensive line couldn’t open up anything for him. Mixon helped his fantasy owners with a receiving touchdown.
Cowboys 31, Dolphins 6
It’s hard to believe, but there was some doubt at halftime that the Cowboys would even win this game. They were up just 10-6 because they made some critical mistakes. Dak Prescott nearly threw an interception in the red zone because he fired a pass off his back foot. Prescott then overthrew a wide-open Blake Jarwin, and that was after a long Ezekiel Elliott run was wiped out by a hold. Prescott followed this up by throwing a late interception across his body prior to intermission. And if all of that wasn’t bad enough, a 74-yard Randall Cobb touchdown was negated by another penalty.
The Cowboys looked arrogant and disoriented for most of the afternoon, and yet they still won by 25. That’s how utterly horrible the Dolphins are. There’s no question Miami is the worst team in NFL history.
That said, the Cowboys deserve credit for making the appropriate halftime adjustments. I imagine most of this was via offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, as Prescott was way more accurate following intermission. Prescott was just 9-of-20 for 106 yards, one touchdown and a pick in the opening half, but was a nearly flawless 10-of-12 for 230 yards and a touchdown following halftime.
Prescott ended up 19-of-32 for 246 yards, three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) and a pick. Those numbers are solid, considering that Prescott got off to such a rough start. That said, if Cobb’s touchdown would have stood, Prescott would’ve likely won people lots of money with a 300-yard, four-score performance.
Elliott’s production was also impacted by a penalty, as mentioned earlier. Despite the long rush being eliminated, Elliott was able to gain 125 yards on 19 carries. That said, it had to be a frustrating afternoon for his fantasy owners, as Tony Pollard (13-103) vultured a touchdown and plenty of carries when this game was out of hand.
Speaking of disgruntled fantasy owners, those who started Cobb saw a huge afternoon wiped out by a penalty. Cobb ended up with just two catches for 23 yards, while Devin Smith (2-39) also disappointed. Meanwhile, both of Prescott’s touchdowns went to Amari Cooper, who caught six of his seven targets for 88 yards.
Once again, I will not discuss the Dolphins very much because they’re intentionally trying to lose. What I will say is that Josh Rosen (18-of-39, 200 yards) was better than Ryan Fitzpatrick in that he didn’t commit any turnovers. Rosen was checked for a concussion at one point, but only missed a couple of snaps. Otherwise, it was a comedy of errors for the Dolphins, as Kenyan Drake fumbled in the red zone, while DeVante Parker dropped a deep pass. Miami also couldn’t pass protect whatsoever.
Packers 27, Broncos 16
The Broncos gave this game away. Quite literally. They were guilty of two crucial fumbles that effectively decided the outcome of this contest.
The trouble started when this matchup was tied at 10. The Broncos had possession deep in their own territory. Packers first-round defensive lineman Rashan Gary had a great rush of Joe Flacco, forcing a strip-sack. Green Bay took over on Denver’s 5-yard line, setting up an Aaron Jones touchdown. This resulted in a Denver seven-point deficit going into intermission, but the Broncos had a chance to even the score at the beginning of the third quarter. However, first-round rookie tight end Noah Fant lost a fumble near midfield. The Packers turned that into a touchdown on a short field once again, with Jones plunging into the end zone once more.
What was a 10-10 affair quickly turned into a two-touchdown lead for the Packers that Denver could not overcome.
I was concerned about Aaron Rodgers’ hand coming into this game, as he expressed some discomfort with it during last week’s scoreless second half. Rodgers quickly showed that this was not an issue, as he was able to connect with Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a touchdown on a free play of the opening drive. Rodgers also hit Valdes-Scantling with a 28-yard shot on a third-and-15 after he was able to escape out of pressure.
However, Rodgers didn’t do much else. He threw for fewer than 100 yards following intermission despite firing 15 attempts. Rodgers ultimately finished 17-of-29 for 235 yards and a touchdown. Some of his receivers dropped passes, but it wasn’t anything too drastic. This was a tough matchup, but it’s fair to wonder if Rodgers’ days as an elite fantasy quarterback are over, at least as long as Matt LaFleur is his head coach.
Valdes-Scantling finished with a strong stat line, as you might imagine. He caught six passes for 99 yards and a touchdown, barely missing out on the three-point Draft Kings bonus for eclipsing the century plateau. He would’ve gotten it had he not dropped a ball near the sideline. Davante Adams (4-56) was next, as he didn’t get much of a chance against very tight coverage. Meanwhile, Geronimo Allison struggled once again. Allison hauled in only one of his three targets for minus-1 yards. He dropped a pass in the opening quarter.
Jones, as mentioned earlier, scored a pair of touchdowns. His owners needed those scores because Jones’ yardage wasn’t there against a stout Denver front seven that welcomed back Todd Davis from injury. Jones was limited to 19 yards on 10 attempts. In fact, Jamaal Williams (12-59) had more carries, which was a curious development.
Going back to the Broncos, Flacco completed a high percentage of his passes, going 20-of-29 for 213 yards. However, the turnovers he and Fant committed murdered the Broncos. Flacco was guilty of the aforementioned lost fumble, and he also threw an interception in an area in which there were no Denver players. His arm appeared to be hit, but I still don’t know whom he was throwing to.
Flacco had an up-and-down game, but Green Bay’s defense made things very difficult for him. Preston Smith dominated the trenches, while Gary showed some signs of his great potential.
Phillip Lindsay had a monstrous performance. The Broncos gave him more touches than Royce Freeman this week, as Lindsay gained 81 yards on 21 carries to go along with four catches for 49 receiving yards. Lindsay also scored twice, including one instance in which he was wrapped up short of the goal line on fourth down, yet Lindsay was able to use some unbelievable effort to get into the end zone somehow. Hopefully this will convince the Denver coaching staff to keep using Lindsay more frequently, though Freeman (15-63) was still heavily involved.
Emmanuel Sanders had a huge Week 2 outing, but the Packers took notice of this and did all they could to keep Sanders from dominating again. Sanders was limited to just two catches for 10 yards. With Sanders blanketed by Jaire Alexander, Flacco focused instead on Courtland Sutton, who led the team with five catches and 87 yards.
Lions 27, Eagles 24
The Eagles were in a rough spot entering this game. They suffered countless injuries the previous Sunday night in Atlanta, with their entire starting receiving corps getting hurt. Both Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson were ruled out, which limited Carson Wentz’s options. Meanwhile, the offensive line also suffered some casualties. Jason Peters, who got hurt Sunday night, once again had to leave the field. His backup, first-rounder Andre Dillard also got hurt. And if that wasn’t enough, cornerback Ronald Darby was knocked out with an injury, joining Malik Jackson and Timmy Jernigan as key defenders who were sidelined.
Injuries were far from the only issue. The Eagles are slated to battle the Packers in four days, so they couldn’t exactly completely focus on this matchup. They committed many blunders as a result. This includes surrendering a touchdown on a kickoff return – the first in the entire NFL season. Both Miles Sanders and Nelson Agholor lost fumbles later on, setting up field goals for Detroit.
Despite all this, the Eagles still had a chance to prevail in the final minutes. They blocked a Detroit field goal, giving themselves one more possession to send this game to overtime. It appeared as though they’d move into field goal range when Darren Sproles came up with a clutch catch on fourth down, but the reception was negated by obvious pass interference. This, as well as something else I’ll discuss in a bit, ended Philadelphia’s aspirations to avoid a 1-2 start to its season.
Considering that Wentz had to force the ball to Sproles on the second-most important play of the game shows how limited his options were. Wentz had absolutely nothing to work with, which would explain his mediocre passing stats; Wentz went 19-of-36 for 259 yards and two touchdowns. He also scrambled four times for 33 rushing yards. His fantasy owners were screwed out of a third score on the ground, as Wentz was tackled inches shy of the goal line. Jordan Howard scored on the next play.
Of course, Wentz also could have thrown a third touchdown twice. Once was a dropped pass by Dallas Goedert in the end zone. As for the second time, Wentz fired a pass to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside on the final drive. Arcega-Whiteside had the ball hit his hands, but he dropped it. For the second week in a row, the Eagles lost because a backup receiver dropped a touchdown.
Despite this, Wentz wasn’t overly sharp. He didn’t see some open receivers, and he was very lucky Darius Slay didn’t snatch a pick-six. It’s fair to wonder how healthy Wentz was after that brutal shot to the ribs that he took last Sunday night.
Some predicted a breakout game for Sanders, considering the status of Philadelphia’s receiving corps. Sanders actually ended up leading the Eagles in receiving, as he showed off his dynamic ability on his two catches, which he transformed into 73 receiving yards. Sanders also paced the Eagles in rushing with 53 yards on 13 carries, though Howard (11-37) scored the aforementioned touchdown. I wouldn’t exactly call this a “vulture,” as Howard was projected to be the goal-line back heading into the season. Sanders needs to work on ball security, as he had two fumbles on the same drive, losing one.
Agholor, like Sanders, had the aforementioned fumble, but he did well otherwise as Philadelphia’s de-facto No. 1 receiver. He caught eight of his 12 targets for 50 yards and two touchdowns, one of which saw him spin out of a couple of tackles. He appeared to score a third time, but that was negated by offensive pass interference by Mack Hollins, who caught four passes for 62 yards. Agholor dropped a pass on third down.
Save for Sanders, Zach Ertz was Philadelphia’s leader in receiving yardage, as he caught four passes for 64 yards despite dropping a 15-yard reception. Ertz was expected to do better, so this stat line was a surprise. There is some good news concerning Ertz, and that would be that he moved into second place in the Eagles’ all-time receptions total with 453, trailing only Harold Carmichael’s 589.
As for the victors, the Lions’ stat totals are suppressed because the kickoff return and the shortened fields as a result of the turnovers meant that they didn’t hold on to the ball as long. In fact, the Lions didn’t even have possession until the score was 10-7.
Matthew Stafford finished 18-of-32 for 201 yards and a touchdown. His score went to Marvin Jones, who led his team in receiving. Jones caught six of his nine targets for 101 yards and a score.
Elsewhere in Detroit’s receiving corps, Kenny Golladay had a horribly disappointing performance. No. 1 receivers had torched the Eagles all year, but Golladay couldn’t do that. He saw eight targets, but converted just two of them for 17 yards. Danny Amendola (4-37) even out-produced him.
Rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson’s stock has plummeted since his brilliant debut in Arizona. He caught just one pass for a single yard in this game. He had a chance for a pair of touchdowns, but he was flagged for stepping out of bounds the first time, then dropped the ball in the end zone at the end of the third quarter. There will be better days for Hockenson, especially in more favorable matchups.
Kerryon Johnson scored a touchdown to salvage his poor statistical outing. The Eagles, despite their injuries, still have a great run defense, and they were able to restrict Johnson to just 36 yards on 20 carries.
The Eagles weren’t the only team that suffered a major injury, as Slay was forced out of this game as well. Defensive lineman Mike Daniels was also knocked out with a foot problem.
Chiefs 33, Ravens 28
This might be surprising based on what the final score turned out to be, but the Chiefs couldn’t produce anything in the opening quarter. They were completely shut out, as Patrick Mahomes had issues with the pass rush, especially on the blind side. This, however, did not last very long. The Chiefs were able to gain some momentum on a Baltimore horse-collar tackle on third down. Instead of getting the Chiefs to a fourth down, the Ravens gave Kansas City a fresh set of downs in the red zone that resulted in a rushing touchdown to give the Chiefs a first down they wouldn’t relinquish.
The next drive featured another impactful sequence, as a weird 14-yard play in which Mecole Hardman nearly fumbled a lateral, then scooped the ball up and ran for a nice gain. This set up a Mahomes touchdown to Demarcus Robinson, who made a terrific reception in the end zone. Robinson reached for a one-handed grab while impressively tapping both toes inbounds before falling out of play.
This was the first of Mahomes’ three touchdowns. The second was a bomb to Hardman, while the third came on a short toss to LeSean McCoy. This gave the Chiefs an insurmountable 30-13 lead, which the Ravens trimmed in garbage time to cover the spread.
Mahomes finished 27-of-37 for 374 yards and three touchdowns. This was yet another spectacular performance by the best quarterback in the NFL. The only negative thing I’ll say about Mahomes pertaining to this game is that he and Andy Reid were guilty of some horrible clock management prior to intermission. They missed an opportunity to score a touchdown because they let too much time tick off before calling a timeout.
Hardman led the Chiefs in receiving, thanks to his 83-yard bomb touchdown. He finished with two grabs for 97 yards and the score. Travis Kelce was next with seven catches for 89 yards, followed by Sammy Watkins (5-64). Watkins fumbled on the opening possession, but a teammate of his recovered.
There was some panic regarding McCoy entering this game. He limped into the stadium and was the third running back in pre-game warmups. I removed McCoy from all but two of my 280 Draft Kings lineups, and I paid the price. McCoy didn’t receive a full workload, but he scored twice. He rushed for 54 yards on eight carries, while catching all three of his targets for 26 receiving yards. Darrel Williams – not Darwin Thompson – had more carries, as Williams gained 62 yards on nine attempts, while Thompson mustered just eight yards on four tries. I expected Thompson to at least garner the receiving work, but Williams did that as well; he caught all five of his targets for 47 receiving yards.
Moving on to Baltimore, this was going to be a huge test for Lamar Jackson, who was able to benefit from two extremely easy matchups to start the season. Jackson ultimately managed to keep the margin of this contest to within five points, but he didn’t play all that well.
Jackson went 22-of-43 for 267 yards to go along with eight scrambles for 46 rushing yards and a touchdown. We all know Jackson is a dynamic runner, so I’ll concentrate on his passing, which was rather lackluster. The stat line doesn’t look terrible, but it’s worth noting that his yardage total is a byproduct of garbage time, which featured two Hail Mary-type completions on a pair of fourth downs. At halftime, Jackson was just 8-of-19 for 75 yards.
Despite what Jackson did in the first two weeks of the season, he still has a long way to go as a passer. This wasn’t even that difficult of a matchup, and yet Jackson was exposed. Jackson had a number of poor passes. He overshot Marquise Brown early, then threw it at the feet of a receiver on a fourth-and-2. Jackson had a sequence in which he threw two passes off his back foot in a final effort to keep this game close in the second quarter. The poor footwork resulted in a near-interception and an overthrow toward Hayden Hurst.
Jackson’s big-time weapons in the first two weeks of the season were limited in this contest. Marquise Brown saw nine targets, but was able to convert just two of them for 49 yards. Mark Andrews, meanwhile, had seven balls go his way, which he turned into three receptions for only 15 yards.
Mark Ingram was the major fantasy producer for Baltimore in this contest. He rushed for 103 yards on 16 carries, and he found the end zone a whopping three times. He also caught all four of his targets for 32 receiving yards.
Vikings 34, Raiders 14
This was a completely one-sided affair in which the Raiders had no chance. The Vikings established a quick 21-0 lead before Oakland could get anything going offensively.
Given the dichotomy between Kirk Cousins’ performances versus winning and losing teams, this result should not have been surprising in the slightest. Cousins was bound to excel versus the hapless Raiders, and he did just that. The only question was whether or not Mike Zimmer would permit Cousins to throw the ball more than 10 times in this game script. The answer was yes, as Cousins attempted 14 passes in the opening half alone.
Cousins didn’t have to do very much in the second half because this was such a blowout. He finished 15-of-21 for 174 yards and a touchdown, though he was nearly picked off by Clelin Ferrell at the line of scrimmage. This was a nice performance for Cousins, but it still won’t alleviate any concerns about him performing poorly against winning teams.
Despite Cousins not throwing very much, Adam Thielen had a great fantasy performance. He caught a 35-yard touchdown, allowing him to finish with three catches for 55 yards. Adding to that was a rushing touchdown of sorts on an inside handoff. Conversely, Stefon Diggs (3-15) did nothing of note outside of drawing a face mask penalty.
To no one’s surprise, Dalvin Cook had a monstrous performance. He ripped off 110 yards and a touchdown on just 16 carries. His numbers would’ve been better, but Alexander Mattison (12-58) vulutred a score and received lots of action in garbage time. Still, Cook was amazing, as he was able to avoid countless Oakland defenders with his electric cuts.
The Raiders have immense problems covering tight ends, which would explain why second-round rookie Irv Smith Jr. led Minnesota in receiving with three grabs for 60 yards. Kyle Rudolph (1-11) was unlucky because he was tackled inches shy of the goal line. He also drew an interference flag deep downfield, but his owners won’t get any points for that.
Oakland’s offense, meanwhile, couldn’t get anything going prior to garbage time. The Vikings put the clamps on Josh Jacobs, who was restricted to just 44 yards on 10 carries. Jacobs didn’t look completely healthy, so I wonder if he should have even played in this game.
As for Derek Carr, he was constantly running for his life, as the Minnesota pass rush overwhelmed his offensive line. Carr took four sacks and had to throw mostly short passes. He misfired on just seven occasions, but his 34 attempts went for 242 yards. He was 27-of-34 with two touchdowns and an interception, which was a hideous overthrow. His one score in meaningful action came on a flea flicker to J.J. Nelson (4-36).
With Carr needing to throw short passes, Darren Waller had an explosive stat line. He hauled in 13 of his 14 targets for 134 yards, though it’s worth noting that nine of his catches came in the second half (i.e. garbage time.) Waller made one mistake on the lone misfire, which was a drop of about 20 yards.
Carr’s two scores went to Nelson and Tyrell Williams (3-29), who wasn’t even guaranteed to play in this game. The Vikings completely shut down Williams when they were trying.
FOX play-by-play guy Dick Stockton had a rough game, as he called Alexander Mattison “Albert Mattison.”
Patriots 30, Jets 14
This game was never going to be in doubt for the Patriots, but one prominent storyline emerged for New England, and that would be Julian Edelman’s chest injury. Edelman landed hard on his shoulder in the second quarter and had to exit the game.
The loss of Edelman, who caught seven passes for 62 yards and a touchdown, could be huge going forward if he suffered a multi-week injury because the Patriots already lost Antonio Brown. The Patriots had no rhythm offensively once Edelman left the game. They were up 20-0 rather quickly, but didn’t score again until they intercepted Luke Falk in the third quarter, and yet that was just a field goal after a couple of sloppy penalties in the red zone.
With Edelman gone, Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett became Tom Brady’s top receivers. Gordon ended up leading the team in receiving with six catches for 83 yards, while Dorsett hauled in six of his seven targets for 53 yards and a touchdown. Gordon is a solid threat, and Dorsett is a quality role player, but the Patriots will need to find some help if Edelman misses time, whether it’s through free agency or having one of their young receivers step up.
Another weapon who was missing was James White, who was absent because his wife was in labor. Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead were the only two backs remaining, and both scored touchdowns. Michel, however, was outgained by Burkhead, 47-11, and Burkhead had more carries, 11-9. The lumbering Burkhead was also more prominent in the passing game, as he caught six passes for 22 receiving yards.
Brady finished 28-of-42 for 306 yards and two touchdowns. This was a frustrating day for Brady as far as the officiating was concerned. He pleaded for Bill Belichick to challenge one of his incompletions, and he spent lots of time yelling at an official after being flagged for intentional grounding.
The Patriots won this game by 16, but the margin should have been 30. The Jets scored their two touchdowns via a muffed punt and a Jarrett Stidham pick-six. The latter touchdown covered this spread for the Jets, a ridiculous result considering how inept New York was throughout the afternoon.
The Jets had no chance to do anything offensively. They had just six first downs and were 0-of-12 on third down. They accumulated only 101 net yards, gaining 2.1 yards per play. It was a horrific showing, and understandably so, given the quarterback situation.
Third-string quarterback Luke Falk, who has no business being in the NFL, was 12-of-22 for just 98 yards and an interception. His leading receiver was former Patriot Braxton Berrios, who caught two passes for 29 yards. Neither Jamison Crowder (2-25) nor Robby Anderson (3-11) could accomplish anything.
Le’Veon Bell had no running room to speak of. He was limited to just 35 yards on 18 carries, all while catching four passes for 28 receiving yards.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The injuries are once again beginning to pile up for the Falcons. I don’t know why this keeps happening, but they really need to look into improving their training staff.
Jacoby Brissett is continuing to prove that the Colts are going to remain one of the tougher teams in the AFC as he outplayed Matt Ryan and a Falcons team that couldn’t stop committing penalties. Indianapolis improved to 2-1 and stayed tied with Houston atop the AFC South. The Falcons dropped to 1-2, but to make matters worse for Atlanta, just before halftime, Keanu Neal was carted off the field with an Achilles injury that looks very serious.
The Colts got moving with Jacoby Brissett using Marlon Mack and Parris Campbell to move into Atlanta territory on the opening drive of the game. Struggling kicker Adam Vinatieri bounced the ball off the upright, but it went through the goal posts to give Indianapolis three points. The Colts’ next drive saw Mack gash Atlanta for 14 yards, a 26-yard pass to T.Y. Hilton with a 15-yard helmet-to-helmet penalty on Ricardo Allen, two passes to tight ends, and an 18-yard touchdown pass to Zach Pascal (2-53-1).
Atlanta drove into Colts territory, but then Ryan overthrew Austin Hooper, and Clayton Geathers made a leaping interception right in front of the end zone. Starting at the 2-yard line, Brissett kept ripping the ball through the Falcons’ defense, including a 29-yard pass to Eric Ebron (3-47), but the drive stalled inside the 5-yard line and Indianapolis added a field goal to make it 13-0. Atlanta responded with a good run from Devonta Freeman and pass to Julio Jones to set up a Matt Bryant field goal. In the final minutes before the half, Atlanta couldn’t stop Brissett, who rifled passes through the secondary before throwing a short touchdown pass to Hilton. However, Hilton seemed to aggravate his ailing quad on the play, leading to him sitting out the second half. The Colts took a 20-3 lead into the half, and Brissett had 218 yards passing at intermission.
Matt Ryan caught fire in the third quarter to bring the Falcons back into the game. Jones got open for a 34-yard reception, and on the next play, Ryan found Hopper for a 13-yard score. A Vic Beasley sack quickly got the ball back for Atlanta, and Ryan kept throwing strikes, including a 22-yarder to Jones, and a good run by Freeman set up a first-and-goal. This drive also ended with a short scoring toss to Hooper (6-66-2) to cut the Colts lead to 20-17 early in the fourth quarter.
Brissett started to move the ball again, and the penalty-happy Falcons helped extend the drive. Brissett found Pascal in busted coverage for 35 yards, and Marlon Mack scored from four yards out to push Indianapolis up by 10. Atlanta answered with Jones making a superb leaping touchdown grab from 10 yards out to cut the Colts’ lead to three with just over four minutes remaining. Indianapolis went into the 4-minute offense to run out the clock behind its offensive line that was owning the point of attack. A pass to Ebron, a 26-yard run from Mack, and a critical third-down conversion to Jack Doyle allowed Indianapolis to take a knee.
Ryan completed 29-of-34 passes for 304 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
A bright spot for the Falcons was Freeman having his best game of the season with 88 yards on 16 carries and three catches for seven yards.
Julio Jones was phenomenal with eight catches for 128 yards with a touchdown.
Brissett completed 28-of-37 passes for 310 yards with two touchdowns and zero turnovers.
Mack ran for 74 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown and had two receptions for 14 yards.
Hilton had eight receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown, but injured his quad and didn’t return.
49ers 24, Steelers 20
EDITOR’S NOTE: If Mason Rudolph keeps sucking, the Steelers will forever have to live with the fact that they traded away a potential franchise quarterback for Minkah Fitzpatrick. Yuck.
These two historic franchises are going in opposite directions, with the 49ers improving to 3-0 and the Steelers falling to 0-3. It seemed like neither team wanted to win this game, as the 49ers committed five turnovers and the Steelers had two of their own. Eventually, the 49ers’ offense was able to hold onto the ball enough to produce some points, and Mason Rudolph showed why he is a backup quarterback.
Jimmy Garoppolo threw behind Matt Breida on the opening drive for a deflected pass that was intercepted by T.J. Watt, which gifted the Steelers a field goal. Pittsburgh’s newly acquired free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick made his mark right away, catching a tipped pass for an interception with a return just inside the 49ers’ 25-yard line, but once again, the Steelers settled for a field goal.
San Francisco then had two drives get inside the Pittsburgh 20-yard line, but both drives ended with turnovers, with Raheem Mostert fumbling one ball away and Garoppolo fumbling a snap inside the Steelers’ 10-yard line for the 49ers’ fourth turnover of the game. San Francisco finally avoided a turnover to turn a drive into a field goal for Robbie Gould, and the Steelers were up 6-3 at halftime despite doing nothing offensively.
Early in the third quarter, Mason Rudolph made a dumb throw across his body and was picked off by K’Waun Williams in Pittsburgh territory. A 22-yard pass to Kendrick Bourne set up a short rushing touchdown run for Jeff Wilson Jr. (8-18-2). Pittsburgh’s offense then finally produced a big play when Rudolph hit JuJu Smith-Schuster in stride and he exploded downfield for a 76-yard touchdown to put the Steelers up 13-10.
San Francisco responded with a drive that saw Garoppolo use Deebo Samuel (3-44) to move the ball downfield, and that set up another short rushing touchdown for Wilson. With Jason Verrett replacing the injured Akhello Witherspoon, the Steelers went right at him on consecutive plays. The first saw Verrett toasted, and he had to tackle James Washington to draw an obvious 32-yard pass interference penalty. On the next play, Diontae Johnson burned Verrett for a 39-yard touchdown.
The 49ers moved the ball inside the 10-yard line, but another fumble gave the ball back to Pittsburgh after the shotgun snap hit a wide receiver running in motion. Watt recovered the loose ball, but Arik Armstead forced a fumble from James Conner and DeForest Buckner pounced on it. Shortly later, Garoppolo threw a short touchdown pass to Dante Pettis to put the 49ers up 24-20 with 1:15 remaining, and the 49ers’ defense slammed the door on Rudolph to clinch the 3-0 start for San Francisco.
Garoppolo was 23-of-32 for 277 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
The 49ers split the carries for Mostert (12-79), Breida (14-68) and Wilson Jr. (8-18-2).
George Kittle led the 49ers in receiving with six catches for 57 yards.
Rudolph was 14-of-27 for 174 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Conner ran for 43 yards on 13 carries.
Smith-Schuster had three catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Panthers 38, Cardinals 20
The Cardinals were favored heading into this contest, but no one told that to the Panthers, as their undrafted backup quarterback, Kyle Allen, outplayed Arizona’s No. 1 overall signal-caller.
Kyler Murray struggled mightily in this game, though much of that can be blamed on the offensive line. Murray took a whopping eight sacks behind his flawed front, which didn’t stand a chance against a much-improved Carolina pass rush. When Murray wasn’t being brought down by Carolina defenders, he was dropping 10 yards in the pocket and panicking occasionally. He threw two interceptions, one of which was a hideous throw that ended any chance of Arizona prevailing. A few of his other passes were way off the mark as well.
Murray finished 30-of-43 for only 173 yards, two touchdowns and the pair of interceptions. He also scrambled eight times for 69 rushing yards. Murray’s passing stat line could have been better, as Christian Kirk and Trent Sherfield each dropped deep passes. Sherfield’s drop negated what appeared to be a potential touchdown, which would have given Arizona the lead at the end of the third quarter.
Larry Fitzgrald (5-36) and David Johnson caught Murray’s touchdowns. They both trailed Kirk on the receiving stat sheet, as the second-year pro hauled in 10 of his 12 targets for 59 yards. Kirk had a solid game overall, but the deep drop of about 45 yards is something he and his fantasy owners will think about all week.
While Johnson did well in the passing game – six catches, 28 receiving yards – he was limited on the ground versus Carolina’s vaunted front seven. Johnson was restricted to just 37 yards on 11 carries. He also dropped a pass.
As for the real undrafted free agent, Allen lit up Arizona’s banged-up secondary, going 19-of-26 for 261 yards and four touchdowns. You read that right: Allen had almost as many touchdowns as incompletions. He was terrific, though his performance should be taken with a grain of salt because of the opposition. Arizona’s secondary is a mess.
If there’s one thing to criticize Allen about, it’s ball security. He took the Panthers into the red zone during the opening drive, but the possession concluded with a Chander Jones strip-sack. Allen was strip-sacked once again in the second half, but he was lucky to recover deep in his own territory.
Two of Allen’s touchdowns were thrown to Greg Olsen, who caught six passes for 75 yards. Tight ends have lit up Arizona all year, so it wasn’t a surprise to see Olsen post a huge stat line. As for Allen’s other scores, Curtis Samuel (5-53) and D.J. Moore (1-52) came up with those. Samuel’s non-scoring highlight was an impressive toe tap along the sideline in the red zone.
Christian McCaffrey was able to rebound from a dismal performance last Thursday night. He rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, which featured a 76-yard sprint to the end zone in which he blew by the hapless Arizona defenders. McCaffrey also chipped in with three catches for 35 receiving yards.
Giants 32, Buccaneers 31
This game featured a ridiculously bad coaching moment and an epic choke job by the kicker, but the focus should be on Daniel Jones. The sixth-overall pick made the first start of his career, and he was every bit as good as advertised.
Jones made some strong plays to begin the game. He completed his initial third down with pressure in his face. He then converted another third down, as he brushed off a pass rusher and found a receiver for a first down. Jones finished this excellent drive with a touchdown.
Jones had a roller coaster of an afternoon. He made some brilliant passes, but was guilty of two fumbles. Jones had an excellent preseason, but ball security was a problem. Those issues festered once again in this contest, as Jones had tremendous difficulty with the pressure Shaq Barrett provided on the blind side. Barrett was unbelievable, racking up four sacks and two forced fumbles. If he’s not NFC Defensive Player of the Week, someone hacked the voting.
Thanks to the fumbles, the Giants found themselves down 28-10 at halftime. That’s when they put forth a great charge despite the injury to Saquon Barkley, who suffered a high ankle sprain and will undoubtedly be out for a few weeks. Jones was 11-of-17 for 213 yards and two passing touchdowns in the second half, and this stat line doesn’t include a rushing score to give the Giants the lead with barely any time remaining.
Jones finished 23-of-36 for 336 yards and four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing). This was a great performance, especially for a first-time quarterback. This came against an improved Tampa defense that frustrated Jimmy Garoppolo and Cam Newton in the first two weeks of the season, so it’s not like he did this against a sieve stop unit.
As mentioned earlier, Barkley will out for a while. He wasn’t getting much going against Tampa’s stellar defensive line, which shut down Christian McCaffrey the week before; he was limited to 10 yards on eight carries. He also caught four passes for 27 receiving yards.
With Barkley out, Jones had to concentrate throwing the ball to Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard. Both had massive performances, with Engram catching six of his eight targets for 113 yards, while Shepard snared seven of his nine targets for 100 yards. Both players caught touchdowns.
Now, to address the late-game blunders: Jameis Winston launched a bomb to Mike Evans to put his team within chip-shot field goal range with seconds remaining. However, Bruce Arians took an intentional delay-of-game penalty because he believed his kicker, Matt Gay, was better from long range, whatever that means. This was almost as bad as former Lions coach Marty Mornhinweg choosing to kick off in overtime in a game about 15 years ago because he trusted his defense. Despite Arians’ blunder, Gay still should have delivered from 34. He did not.
This errant kick spoiled a ridiculous output by Evans, who brought shame to Janoris Jenkins’ family for how horribly he abused the Giant corner. Evans caught eight passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns. No one else in the receiving corps did much, with O.J. Howard (3-66) and Chris Godwin (3-40) finishing way behind Evans.
With Evans showing out, it was easy for Jameis Winston to abuse the worst secondary in the NFL. Winston went 23-of-37 for 380 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Winston has his horrible moments, but he certainly cannot be blamed for this loss. He put his team in position to win, but both Arians and Gay failed him.
Those expecting Peyton Barber to build off his Thursday night performance were disappointed. Barber was limited to just 48 yards on 13 carries despite battling a weak Giants run defense. Ronald Jones outgained Barber by a wide margin (14-80), which left me wondering why Jones wasn’t featured this past Thursday night in the first place.
Texans 27, Chargers 20
I don’t know what happened to Deshaun Watson last week, as he was a completely different quarterback in this contest. Sure, the matchup was easier on paper, but Jacksonville was missing several key starters, and Watson was wildly inaccurate. I theorized that Watson may have been injured from the hard fall he had during the preceding Monday night affair, and I questioned him heading into this contest. This turned out to be a mistake, as whatever was bothering Watson completely disappeared.
Watson was terrific in this contest, especially in the second half. He was 12-of-17 for 199 yards following intermission, as he repeatedly somehow broke out of what appeared to be sacks. Watson was predictably pressured heavily in the backfield, but he somehow ducked out of tackles behind the line of scrimmage to find his targets for deep gains.
Watson’s final numbers were 25-of-34, 351 yards and three touchdowns. The Chargers simply had no answer for him after a slow start that featured a weird lost fumble on a backward pass that Watson tried to double clutch.
What’s truly remarkable about Watson’s performance is that he didn’t get to throw to DeAndre Hopkins very successfully because of Casey Hayward’s great coverage. Hopkins was held to six catches for 67 yards. He and Will Fuller (5-51) trailed Kenny Stills (4-89) and Jordan Akins (3-73) on the stat sheet. Akins scored two touchdowns, while fellow tight end Darren Fells (5-49) scored once.
Adding to the collection of Texans who weren’t expected to score touchdowns, Carlos Hyde flopped into the end zone once, which saved his fantasy day for the five people who started him. Hyde was restricted to just 19 yards on 10 carries.
As for the Chargers, this game was a microcosm of Philip Rivers’ career. Rivers has a Hall of Fame resume, but has often been let down by his supporting cast. That’s exactly what happened in this contest, particularly in the fourth quarter.
Down seven in the final minutes, Rivers made a clutch fourth-and-13 conversion to Keenan Allen. The drive stalled, however, because a great Rivers throw to Travis Benjamin was dropped in the end zone. That was immediately followed by a drop by backup tight end Sean Culkin. Rivers should have been able to lead his team to overtime at the very least, but his teammates disappointed him, as usual.
Despite the incompetence around him, Rivers finished 31-of-46 for 318 yards and two touchdowns. That said, Rivers can’t be free of criticism himself. He lost a fumble while in field goal range, which set up a touchdown for the Texans.
Allen certainly didn’t ruin things for Rivers. He had a monster game, hauling in 13 of his 17 targets for 183 yards and two touchdowns. Mike Williams (3-45) was next on the stat sheet.
Austin Ekeler continued to handle the majority of the carries despite being the inferior runner. He gained 36 yards on nine carries, while Justin Jackson, who had a touchdown wiped out by a hold, registered 26 yards on five attempts. Ekeler, of course, continued to be a dynamic threat as a pass-catcher, as he snared all seven of his targets for 45 receiving yards.
Saints 33, Seahawks 27
It appears as though the rumors of the Saints’ demise have been greatly exaggerated. Written off by many because of Drew Brees’ thumb injury, New Orleans went into Seattle and upset the undefeated Seahawks in dominant fashion. While the margin finished at six, the Saints were up by 20 at one point in the second half before Russell Wilson scored some garbage-time touchdowns.
Despite Brees’ absence, the Saints have the superior roster compared to the Seahawks at almost every position. This, apparently, includes special teams, as they were able to score a touchdown on a punt return in the early going. Deonte Harris, whom the Saints have been touting as the best return specialist in the NFL, blew by the Seahawks on a 53-yard sprint to the end zone. New Orleans later capitalized on a Chris Carson lost fumble, returning it for a score as well. This time, the officials didn’t blow the play dead.
While the Saints scored twice on defense and special teams, they were able to move the chains effectively via Alvin Kamara. The dynamic back was superb despite Drew Brees’ absence. He rushed for 69 yards on 16 carries, and he also caught nine of his 10 targets for 92 yards and two touchdowns overall. Kamara made some electric moves in this game that left CBS color analyst Tony Romo speechless. Kamara broke what seemed like infinite tackles on his first score, then somehow spun away from a sure-fire loss of four to pick up 14 yards.
With Kamara being amazing, and the defense and special teams contributing, Teddy Bridgewater didn’t need to do much beyond managing the game, and that’s exactly what he did. He went 19-of-27 for 177 yards and two touchdowns. Though Bridgewater was able to avoid any mistakes on the official stat sheet, he made two huge mistakes that nearly cost his team. He should’ve thrown an interception in the opening half when he overshot Josh Hill, but a Seattle defender dropped the ball. Bridgewater also had a dropped pick-six in the second half. Had Bridgewater been unfortunate, this could have been a nightmare result for him. The Saints should consider starting Taysom Hill next week.
Aside from Kamara, Michael Thomas had the most receiving yards, catching five passes for 54 yards and Bridgewater’s other score. Kamara and Thomas dominated the recepetion counts, as no other Saint logged more than 15 receiving yards.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, had some massively misleading stats. Russell Wilson threw for 406 yards despite not being very accurate. He went 32-of-50 for 406 yards and two touchdowns to go along with seven scrambles, 51 rushing yards and two more scores on the ground. However, he uncharacteristically missed open receivers, including Tyler Lockett in the end zone on fourth down.
Speaking of Lockett, he was able to benefit from garbage time despite the missed touchdown on fourth down. Lockett reeled in 11 of his 13 other targets for 154 yards and a score.
Elsewhere in the receiving corps, Will Dissly (6-62) caught Wilson’s other touchdown, while D.K. Metcalf was able to secure just two of his six targets for 67 yards. Metcalf nearly came up with a touchdown late in the afternoon.
With Rashaad Penny ruled out prior to kickoff, Carson had a chance to have a nice outing. Instead, he had a nightmare afternoon. As mentioned earlier, he coughed up the ball while rushing for 53 yards on 15 carries. He was also stuffed on a fourth down right after being stuffed on a third down. What was most strange was that Carson slipped on the turf four times in this contest. He changed his cleats after the first two slippages, but continued to have problems. Granted, the ground was wet, but no one else was having this issue.
With Carson struggling with countless mistakes, Penny could take over the majority of the workload in the near future.
Official Ron Torbert had a rough afternoon. His voice cracked when he said holding, as he sounded like, “HAWWOOLDING, HOLDING,” prompting him to shake his head in embarrassment. That wasn’t all, as Torbert then pointed the right way when signaling a penalty.
Rams 20, Browns 13
The Browns had tons of hype entering the season, but what those buying into Cleveland didn’t calculate was the ineptitude of the offensive line. The Browns traded away stud guard Kevin Zeitler and were entering the year with first-round bust Greg Robinson on the blind side. Robinson absolutely killed the Browns’ chances of winning this game, as he was beaten mercilessly.
Baker Mayfield did well when he was able to release the ball quickly. He had some bright moments, but was able to complete just half of his passes, going 18-of-36 for only 195 yards, one touchdown and an interception on the final play from scrimmage. Mayfield took three sacks, but that’s not indicative of the pressure he saw. The Browns must do something about this if they want to salvage their season. Trading for disgruntled Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams would be a great move.
Odell Beckham Jr. typically likes to show out on nationally televised games, but his stats were suppressed by the offensive line’s incompetence. Beckham was limited to six catches for 56 yards, though one of his receptions was a ridiculous one-handed grab. Beckham trailed Jarvis Landry (3-62) on the stat sheet.
Nick Chubb had a nice night, nearly hitting 100 rushing yards despite the Browns trailing for most of the evening. Chubb gained 96 yards on 23 carries, while catching four passes for 35 receiving yards.
It’s worth noting that Chubb was the recipient of a confusing play-call from head coach Freddie Kitchens. The Browns had a fourth-and-9 on the Rams’ 40-yard line early in the fourth quarter. They decided to go for it, which I was fine with. However, the play-call ended up being a draw to Chubb, who was tackled for just a 2-yard gain. I can’t say I understand the thought process behind that decision.
As for the Rams, they nearly gave this game away when Jared Goff fired a horrible interception while the team was trying to run out the clock. The Browns, who barely had anything going for them in the second half, were granted some new life. Cleveland took advantage of this give-away by driving inside the 10-yard line, but stalled on its goal-to-go opportunities.
This error was one of two interceptions from Goff, whose other pick was a late throw to the sideline. Goff played well at times – he was 24-of-38 for 269 yards and two touchdowns otherwise – but his lacking football IQ will cause him to make some blunders like this.
Goff threw 12 targets to both Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp. The latter scored twice, while catching 11 balls for 102 yards. Cooks didn’t score, but had more yardage, as his eight receptions went for 112 yards. Meanwhile, Robert Woods (3-40) didn’t do very much.
The Rams struggled to accomplish much offensively in the opening half, as their runs to the outside were ineffective. That would explain Todd Gurley’s lackluster line of 14 carries and 43 yards. Los Angeles went away from this for the most part following intermission, so credit needs to be given to the coaching staff for making the appropriate adjustments.
Bears 31, Redskins 15
The margin of this game isn’t nearly as indicative of how lopsided this affair was. The Bears completely dominated the Redskins, who completely embarrassed themselves on a national stage.
It was a comedy of errors for the Redskins, as they turned the ball over on several occasions, while doing nothing offensively themselves during meaningful action. It started innocently when third-string tight end Jeremy Sprinke dropped a ball, but that was child’s play compared to what occurred next. Case Keenum launched a pick-six toward former Redskin Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He was then strip-sacked twice; the first was recovered by the Bears, while the second would have moved the Redskins out of field goal range had it not been for a penalty. It didn’t end up mattering because kicker Dustin Hopkins whiffed on a chip shot anyway. Keenum launched a second interception later in the first half, then tossed a third pick when he telegraphed a pass toward Clinton-Dix once again.
The Redskins looked like a complete joke, as their quarterback was 9-of-14 for 92 yards and three turnovers by intermission. Keenum finished with five give-aways in total, but some garbage-time stats gave him a respectable stat line otherwise, as Keenum finished 27-of-38 for 288 yards and two touchdowns. It’s unclear why Dwayne Haskins didn’t play at all.
The Bears had a 28-0 lead late in the second quarter, but the offense can’t really take too much credit for that. The defense did most of the work, as Mitchell Trubisky continued to struggle. The stats may not show it because the numbers were solid – 25-of-31, 231 yards, three touchdowns, one interception – but Trubisky was a mess. He held on to the ball too long for an early sack from Montez Sweat on the opening drive that moved his team out of field goal range. Trubisky then nearly took a safety because he held on to the ball too long. He missed an open receiver downfield, then almost tossed an interception because he released the ball off his back foot. He was eventually picked on an underthrow into the end zone.
Chicago may have prevailed to improve to 2-1, but Trubisky’s poor play against a horrible secondary is still a major concern going forward.
Trubisky had some bright moments amid the lowlights, and those usually involved throwing to Taylor Gabriel. The gadget receiver usually is a boom-or-bust play, and he was certainly a boom play here, as he caught a whopping three touchdowns, breaking the DFS showdown slates. Gabriel reeled in six of his seven targets for 75 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, Gabriel’s night ended on a down note, as he had to leave the game with a concussion.
Elsewhere in the Chicago receiving corps, Allen Robinson (6-60) was the only person to trail Gabriel. Not shown in the stat sheet is that he drew an interference flag. Anthony Miller (1-15) once again did nothing.
The Bears were able to run effectively in the second half, as David Montgomery picked up 67 yards on just 13 carries. Montgomery’s best run was when he showed Le’Veon Bell-type patience to find a running lane to give him a 25-yard gain. It’s worth noting that Mike Davis was nowhere to be seen, but Cordarrelle Patterson received four carries (14 yards) for some strange reason.
Going back to the Redskins’ offensive play-makers, rookie Terry McLaurin continued to impress. Despite the tough matchup, he caught six passes for 70 yards and a touchdown, trailing only Paul Richardson (7-74), who also scored. Keep in mind that this all happened in garbage time.
The Bears clamped down on Adrian Peterson quite easily, limiting the future Hall of Famer to just 37 yards on 12 carries. It was odd to see Peterson on the sideline when the Redskins were trying to score a short-yardage goal-line touchdown in the second half. Washington opted to go with Chris Thompson instead. Thompson registered 73 total yards.
For more thoughts, check out my updated NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.