NFL Game Recaps: Week 4, 2019

Eagles 34, Packers 27
  • If the NFLPA wants to provide evidence for why Thursday night games are so perilous, this is might be the only tape they need. While this contest between the Eagles and Packers was a thrilling affair with tons of exciting plays, it was a blood bath as well, with several key players suffering injuries.

    Two players were carried off the field on a stretcher. This game was bookended by those instances, with Packers running back Jamaal Williams getting knocked out on Green Bay’s first offensive play from scrimmage, while Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox suffered a brutal injury on the final drive of the evening. There were numerous other injuries, including those to talented Packers like Davante Adams and Bryan Bulaga. The former exited in the second quarter, while Adams had to leave with some sort of toe issue at the beginning of the final frame. The Packers certainly could have used both on the team’s final two drives, which ended with failures in the red zone.

    Meanwhile, other role players had to exit the field with issues, including cornerbacks Kevin King and Sidney Jones. Fletcher Cox, meanwhile, appeared to be knocked out, but was able to return to the field. This game was a nightmare for both teams, and NFL coaches should begin to consider sitting some of their starters on such short rest.

  • Despite the injuries to Bulaga and Adams, the Packers had a chance to tie twice in the fourth quarter. The first possession ended with a turnover on downs inside the five, while the second concluded with an Aaron Rodgers interception. Rodgers tried to force in a pass on a slant, but the ball got deflected and sailed into the arms of Nigel Bradham. It was a nice redemptive moment for Bradham, who dropped a potential Rodgers pick-six in the third quarter.

    These were a couple of lowlights for Rodgers, who was spectacular otherwise. Rodgers finished 34-of-53 for 422 yards, two touchdowns and the final interception. Rodgers had another turnover – a strip-sack at halftime – but this was a terrific performance for Rodgers’ fantasy owners, who saw their quarterback post three consecutive lackluster statistical performances. Though the Packers lost, perhaps Rodgers’ output will quell some of the tension he has had with new head coach Matt LaFleur.

  • It’s a shame Adams had to leave the game because it appeared as though he would be able to eclipse the 200-yard barrier. In slightly more than three quarters of action, Adams caught 10 passes for 180 yards. No one in Philadelphia’s injury-ravaged secondary had an answer for him.

    Despite Adams posting monstrous numbers, he failed to find the end zone. He nearly did, but a shoe-string tackle ruined what would’ve been a score of about 65 yards in the opening quarter. Instead, Rodgers threw touchdowns to Jimmy Graham (6-61) and Geronimo Alison (3-52). Graham drew a pass interference flag, while Allison made a great catch on third-and-6 right before halftime to set up a touchdown.

    Meanwhile, Marquez Valdes-Scantling had a disappointing stat line, hauling in just three of his seven targets for 47 yards. One misfire was a play in which LaFleur challenged for pass interference. It was an obvious penalty, yet the officials disagreed for some reason. LaFleur’s failed challenge ended up costing his team a timeout. This timeout would have allowed the Packers to force the Eagles not to kneel down at the very end, so the incompetence of the officials impacted this game in more ways than one.

  • With Williams being knocked out, Aaron Jones handled all of the workload. Jones couldn’t find any running room – 13 carries, 21 yards – but he scored a touchdown and helped his PPR owners with six catches for 37 receiving yards.

  • The Packers nearly won at the end, but they should’ve never been in that position. The Eagles were up 34-27 with about six minutes remaining. Carson Wentz was faced with a third-and-6 near midfield, but missed an open Alshon Jeffery. Had Wentz converted, the Eagles would’ve been given a chance to kick a field goal, putting this contest out of reach.

    That was one of Wentz’s few lowlights, as he played very well otherwise. Wentz finished 16-of-27 for 160 yards and three touchdowns. The yardage isn’t great, but the Eagles were ahead for most of the evening and thus were able to run on 27 occasions, matching Wentz’s passing attempt total.

    Of the 27 runs, Jordan Howard edged out Miles Sanders, 15-11. Darren Sproles had the lone, remaining attempt. Sanders gained 72 yards on those 11 attempts and looked great. However, his fantasy owners had to be very upset with Howard’s three touchdowns, as well as Howard’s 87 rushing yards and three catches for 28 receiving yards. This sort of production is going to vary from week to week, so it’s going to be a frustrating situation. Both backs have great upside, but also possess low floors because of the shared workload.

  • Aside from Howard, Jeffery (3-38) and Dallas Goedert (2-16) caught Wentz’s touchdowns. Zach Ertz didn’t find the end zone, but led the team with seven catches and 65 receiving yards. The Packers used top cornerback Jaire Alexander to cover Ertz at times.

  • Titans 24, Falcons 10
  • What a difference 10 days can make! The Titans looked dreadful in their loss to the Jaguars last Thursday night, but the long layoff worked wonders for them in what turned out to be a dominant victory over the Falcons.

    Marcus Mariota was terrific in this contest. Most of his throws were on the money, and some of them were special. For example, he hit A.J. Brown with a couple of terrific back-shoulder throws, one of which resulted in a score. He moved the chains effectively, torching Atlanta’s beleaguered cornerbacks mercilessly. This allowed his team to outgain the Falcons by a wide margin in the opening half. Tennessee averaged 7.3 yards per play prior to intermission.

    Mariota finished 18-of-27 for 227 yards and three touchdowns. The yardage total may not impress, but keep two things in mind: First, Mariota threw just eight times in the second half because the Titans sat on a huge lead. And second, there were several drops by his receivers in the opening half, including one by Corey Davis on what looked to be a key third-and-7 in the second quarter that forced the Titans to attempt a field goal.

    That said, it’s also fair to say that Atlanta’s defense offered zero resistance. Mariota wasn’t pressured at all, while the Falcons couldn’t cover anyone. One instance in the early stages of the afternoon really stood out. The Titans were faced with a third-and-15 deep in their own territory. The Falcons couldn’t force a stop, as Mariota completed a basic pass to Davis to convert the first down. It was ridiculously easy for Tennessee to move the chains all afternoon.

  • While Davis dropped a ball, that was the only target he failed to reel in during this contest. Davis atoned for the drop later with a touchdown, catching five passes for 91 yards otherwise. However, Brown was the big story, as he hauled in three balls for 94 yards. He and Davis were the only Tennessee players with more than 15 receiving yards.

  • Derrick Henry didn’t break any very long runs, yet was able to reach the 100-yard barrier right on the dot. It took him 27 carries to get there. Eighteen of those attempts came after intermission.

  • As for the Falcons, their disappointing season continues. Their offensive line wasn’t completely to blame for the scoring unit failing to do much, but it struggled in key moments. For example, Matt Ryan was strip-sacked in Tennessee territory by Jurrell Casey in the early portion of this game. The blocking unit then failed to open up a running lane for Devonta Freeman, who was stuffed on a fourth-down try. The game effectively ended on a fourth-and-1 failed attempt midway through the third quarter. Ryan was sacked on the play.

    Atlanta’s offensive struggles may not be apparent for those looking at the stat sheet. Ryan, after all, went 35-of-53 for 397 yards. However, a big chunk of this came in garbage time. Ryan had just 145 yards by halftime, and he should have been picked twice on a pair of deep shots. This was yet another instance where Ryan inflated his numbers based on nonsense action in a blowout defeat. This is all great for fantasy, but the real-life ramifications are that Atlanta’s offensive line is killing the team.

  • Given that Ryan nearly hit 400 yards, it’s disappointing that Julio Jones reached just 52 yards on four catches. Jones was being looked at on the sideline at one point during the game, so perhaps this had something to do with his poor output. A dropped pass didn’t help matters.

    Elsewhere in the Atlanta receiving corps, Calvin Ridley was also a disappointment with three grabs for 32 yards. He dropped a pass as well. Austin Hooper (9-130) and Mohamed Sanu (9-91) were the two leaders in receiving. With Ryan not getting any help from his poor line, it made sense that he would pepper Hooper on shorter routes. Hooper was terrific, as he made a great play on one instance where he leapt over a defender and extended the ball past the first-down marker while falling out of bounds.

  • Freeman, who was stuffed on the aforementioned fourth down, struggled to run, as he was limited to just 28 yards on 12 carries. He also had a touchdown vultured by Ito Smith (2-11). However, Freeman salvaged his fantasy day with eight catches for 72 receiving yards.

  • Patriots 16, Bills 10
  • Though the Bills battled the Patriots tough and kept this margin to within six, it’s clear that Josh Allen still has a long way to go in his development. Allen had a disastrous game from start to finish, although the finish came earlier than Allen anticipated.

    Allen was an absolute mess when he was on the field. He failed to complete half of his passes and was responsible for numerous turnovers and errant throws. Allen appeared to lose a fumble in the early stages of the afternoon, but that was negated. It ultimately didn’t matter because Allen heaved an interception into double coverage, setting up a New England touchdown. This was the first of three Allen picks, with the second being a pass off his back foot that was underthrown as a consequence. The third was an extremely dumb mental error, as Allen fired the ball late over the middle of the field into triple coverage on a first down.

    It was more than just the turnovers. Allen made a horrible overthrow to Cole Beasley on a third down. He also overthrew John Brown because he launched the ball off his back foot. He then took a bad sack right before halftime as a result of holding the ball too long, prompting the Bills to miss a field goal as a result.

    Allen finished 13-of-28 for 153 yards and three interceptions and many horrible throws being released off his back foot. His afternoon ended when he scrambled for a first down, but took a vicious helmet-to-helmet shot. Matt Barkley took over and appeared to throw the game-winning touchdown, but T.J. Yeldon dropped the pass. Barkley then went on to heave two interceptions of his own. The first was the result of a deflection on a high throw. The second occurred when his arm was hit on the final drive to end the game.

  • All of this ruined a spectacular effort from Buffalo’s defense. The Bills limited Tom Brady to just nine points (seven came on a blocked punt), which is a great feat. In fact, Brady, like Allen, failed to complete half of his passes. He went 18-of-39 for 150 yards and an interception.

    Brady heaved numerous ugly passes in this contest, with some helplessly sailing out of bounds. The Bills really made him feel uncomfortable, as they were able to use the 2007 and 2011 Giants formula of pressuring him with four players and playing man to cover his weapons. It worked perfectly, excluding the opening drive. If Allen happened to be just a bit better, the Bills likely would have prevailed.

  • While Buffalo’s defense had a huge hand in this game, the Patriots’ banged-up receiving corps was certainly a factor. Julian Edelman was hurt entering this contest and was limited to just four catches for 30 yards, along with a drop. Meanwhile, Josh Gordon (3-46) and Phillip Dorsett (2-10) were smothered by Buffalo’s stellar cornerbacks. Gordon dropped a ball, while Dorsett drew an interference flag that salvaged a drive featuring what might go down as the worst intentional grounding call of all time. Brady was flagged for this even though the ball landed two yards next to Edelman. The official who threw the flag needs his eyesight checked.

  • New England’s running backs did most of the work. Sony Michel gained 63 yards on 17 carries, while James White led the team in receiving with eight catches for 57 receiving yards. One of White’s catches was a spectacular over-the-shoulder grab.

  • Buffalo’s two running backs also were big-time producers. Frank Gore somehow eclipsed the century mark, dashing for 109 yards on 17 carries, reaching the 15,000 career rushing yards in the process. Yeldon, meanwhile, caught four balls for 68 receiving yards, but had the aforementioned killer drop.

  • Yeldon finished behind Beasley (7-75) and John Brown (5-69) on the receiving list. Brown dropped a pass, though he should’ve drawn an interference flag on one instance, but the officials didn’t penalize New England for some reason. Meanwhile, tight end Dawson Knox looked good again, catching three passes for 58 yards. He made a ridiculous catch while falling down right before halftime. It made me wonder why Allen didn’t target Knox more often.

  • Chiefs 34, Lions 30
  • The legend of Patrick Mahomes continues. Detroit scored a go-ahead touchdown with 2:26 remaining on the clock. The Lions were up three, so all the Chiefs needed to do was get into field goal range. Mahomes, however, led the Chiefs on a 79-yard touchdown drive in 2:06, which featured a fourth-and-8 conversion by Mahomes on a scramble. Mahomes then hit Travis Kelce with a pass, and the talented tight end made an athletic and intelligent play to get out of bounds. This allowed the Chiefs the luxury of running the ball when they got into the red zone, and Darrel Williams was able to plunge into the end zone for the decisive score.

    Mahomes’ fantasy day wasn’t a great one because he didn’t score a touchdown, but he still managed to eclipse the 300-yard mark on 24-of-42 passing. Unfortunately for Mahomes’ fantasy owners, he lost touchdown opportunities by his running backs scoring thrice on the ground. He also lost possessions on a fumble returned by a touchdown and a fumbled kickoff to begin the second half. The important thing is that Mahomes played very well, including one instance where he looked back at an official to check for a flag before scrambling, which displayed some amazing awareness on his part. Conversely, he and Andy Reid were responsible for some dubious clock management at the end of the half for the second week in a row.

  • Referencing that fumble returned for a touchdown, this game was effectively decided by what transpired on consecutive red-zone trips by the Lions. Following the aforementioned fumble on a kickoff return, the Lions appeared to score a touchdown, thanks to a brilliant catch by Kenny Golladay, but replay review saw that Golladay bobbled the ball before falling out of the back of the end zone. On the very next play, Matthew Stafford committed a turnover on a strip sack. On the next trip into the red zone, Kerryon Johnson fumbled right at the goal line. The Chiefs returned the ball 100 yards for a touchdown.

    These two trips into the red zone provided a 21-point swing in this game. Had the Lions just been more efficient in the red zone, Mahomes may not have even had a chance to engineer his game-winning drive.

  • While Johnson had that horrible moment that changed this entire contest, he was still impressive on the ground, rushing for 125 yards on 26 carries. He also caught two passes for 32 receiving yards.

  • Although Golladay had his touchdown wiped out, he still managed to score twice. He caught five of his nine targets for 67 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the score that put the Lions ahead with more than two minutes remaining, as he did an amazing job to tap his toes inbounds before falling out of play. That said, it seemed as though Golladay’s second foot was on the white out-of-bounds paint, but it was ruled a touchdown.

    Elsewhere in the Detroit receiving corps, Marvin Jones (3-77) actually had more yardage than Golladay. Meanwhile, T.J. Hockenson (3-27) scored once, but had to be carted off after he foolishly tried to hurdle a defender. It’s become en vogue to hurdle players this year, but Hockenson is the first of many to pay the price after this foolishness ends.

  • Going back to the Chiefs, LeSean McCoy (11-56) found the end zone once, while Williams (8-13) scored twice. It’s amazing that Williams is having so much fantasy success because he’s so slow and sluggish. I imagine he’ll be phased out once Damien Williams returns from injury. It’s puzzling as to why Darwin Thompson isn’t getting these touches. Thompson barely played.

  • Kelce paced Kansas City in receiving yardage, catching seven of his eight targets for 85 yards. Watkins (3-54), Demarcus Robinson (4-35) and Mecole Hardman (2-9) were all major disappointments. Watkins was charged with a lost fumble while trying to reach for the first-down line. Hardman, meanwhile, dropped a touchdown, though Justin Coleman deserves credit for punching the ball out of his arms.

  • Raiders 31, Colts 24
  • I’ve written that I believe the Colts, aside from their quarterback situation, have the best roster in the NFL. Things have changed because of injuries, however. They didn’t have their top two defenders, Malik Hooker and Darius Leonard, available for this contest, while their best offensive threat, T.Y. Hilton, also sat out. The result was an ugly loss to an Oakland team that looked incompetent in a blowout loss to Minnesota last week.

    Nothing worked well for the Colts. They had trouble stopping the Raiders, who averaged 6.6 yards per play in the second half. Meanwhile, the offense struggled as well, as Hilton’s absence limited the offense. Indianapolis’ backup receivers had five drops in the opening half alone, which can’t be a surprise to anyone who remembers what occurred last year when the Colts dropped 19 passes in the three games Hilton missed.

  • Though the Colts lost, Jacoby Brissett was able to throw for 265 yards and three touchdowns. Keep in mind that much of this occurred in garbage time, as Brissett was just 10-of-21 for 86 yards and a score at halftime. Don’t completely blame Brissett, as he was victimized by a ridiculous seven drops. That said, Brissett effectively lost the game when he fired an interception, down seven in the final quarter. Brissett stared down his receiver, allowing the Raiders to snatch the turnover and run it back for a touchdown.

    Brissett finished 24-of-46 for 265 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. The pick-six was bad, but Brissett didn’t play poorly otherwise. His stat line would have been so much better if it weren’t for those seven drops.

  • Brissett’s touchdowns went to Eric Ebron (1-48), Chester Rogers (3-48) and Jack Doyle (4-22). Doyle took a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit from Vontaze Burfict, who was promptly ejected. Ebron, meanwhile, had a whopping four drops, including one on a third-and-20 deep shot that would have moved the chains.

    Zach Pascal led the team with a four-catch, 72-yard performance, though he was flagged for offensive pass interference. Rookie Parris Campbell (5-25) fumbled in the red zone.

  • Given that the Colts were trailing for most of the afternoon, Marlon Mack didn’t get a chance to do much. He mustered just 39 yards on 11 carries. He left the game late in the fourth quarter with some sort of injury.

  • As for the Raiders, they got out to a quick, 14-0 start, featuring a 75-yard drive and then a trick play on an end-around to newly acquired Trevor Davis. They tried to let the Raiders back into the game when Derek Carr and Josh Jacobs fumbled on a botched exchange, setting up a quick touchdown for Indianapolis. However, the Raiders played more efficiently after that, making very few mistakes (at least very few that counted.)

    Carr finished 21-of-31 for only 189 yards and two touchdowns. He should’ve thrown a third score, but Tyrell Williams dropped the ball in the end zone. That said, it wasn’t the most precise attempt, as the pass was a bit behind Williams. Even worse, Carr was fortunate that he didn’t toss two interceptions. He appeared to be picked once, but the ball was underthrown and hit the ground. The second near-interception was heaved recklessly into triple coverage.

  • Williams finished second on the Raiders’ receiving chart, hauling in three balls for 36 yards and a score. He trailed only Darren Waller (7-53), who had yet another solid PPR performance.

  • Given that the Raiders never trailed in this game, it was disappointing to see that Jacobs carried the ball just 17 times. He rushed for 79 yards. He also caught two passes for 29 receiving yards. Jacobs ran tough at the end and made a great juke on a burst of about 15 yards.

  • Panthers 16, Texans 10
  • Words can’t properly describe how stupid of a head coach Bill O’Brien is, but I’m going to try my hardest.

    Houston’s offensive game plan was horrific throughout the entire afternoon. O’Brien, for some strange reason, was set on Carlos Hyde running the ball on first down early in the afternoon, when advanced analytics have determined that this is a losing proposition. To no one’s surprise, except O’Brien’s, Houston’s first two drives ended on the series of downs in which Hyde was given a first-down carry.

    It appeared as though the Texans recognized this late in the second quarter. They had a nice drive going to potentially break a 3-3 tie. They hit a number of big plays and were able to reach the red zone as a result. The Panthers seemed to have no answer for Deshaun Watson’s passing, so O’Brien decided this was a good time for a trick play. He had DeAndre Hopkins fire a helpless pass across the field, which was intercepted. Carolina returned the give-away into scoring range, and the Panthers parlayed that into a touchdown. That play effectively decided this game because the Texans couldn’t muster any sort of offense in the second half. They had 104 net yards of offense following intermission, and their only score, a touchdown, occurred as a result of a Kyle Allen lost fumble.

    Meanwhile, O’Brien seemed to have no answers for Watson’s poor pass protection. He saw Watson take six sacks despite the absence of top defensive lineman Kawann Short. The Texans couldn’t maintain drives once the Panthers made adjustments at halftime. Watson finished 21-of-33 for only 160 yards. He also lost a fumble on a strip-sack.

  • With Watson struggling as the result of bad coaching and worse offensive line play, his receivers’ stats were extremely limited. Hopkins was restricted to just five catches for 41 yards, while Will Fuller (3-23) didn’t do anything of note, though he was open for a potential deep score. Watson overthrew him.

    It looked like the Texans wanted to feature Kenny Stills as a big part of their offense, as Stills caught two early passes for 24 yards. However, he left the game with a non-contact injury when he converted a third-and-1 play.

  • I mentioned Hyde earlier. The Texans ran the ball with him too often on first downs to start the game, but they quickly gave up on that. Hyde gained 58 yards on 12 carries, which gave him a nice yards-per-carry figure. However, YPC numbers are often misleading, and this one was as well, as 25 yards came on a weird backward pass by Watson, which absolutely shocked the Panthers because no one was around Hyde. Meanwhile, Duke Johnson continued to see little work in the passing game (2 catches, 22 yards), which is more proof of O’Brien’s incompetence, if you needed any.

  • Let’s get to the victors: Kyle Allen is now 3-0 as a starting quarterback in the NFL, which is remarkable. While Allen helped win this game for the Panthers, he didn’t do anything spectacular. In fact, he nearly lost this game because of some killer mistakes.

    I wrote last week that Allen has a ball-security problem, and that continued to fester in this game. Allen lost an early fumble near the red zone of the opening drive, with this being the first of three strip-sacks he was guilty of in this contest. The second occurred in the red zone later in the first half, while the third gave the Texans a free touchdown on a short field. Allen will need to clean up this problem in the coming weeks, or he’ll begin to accrue losses as Carolina’s quarterback.

    Allen was otherwise 24-of-34 for 232 yards. One of his best plays was when he appeared to be sacked, but he somehow escaped the tackle and found a receiver to convert a third down. It almost looked like Eli Manning in the Super Bowl, except there was no helmet catch on the receiving end.

  • Allen relied heavily on Christian McCaffrey, and rightfully so. McCaffrey had a monster PPR day, catching all 10 of his targets for 86 yards. He also rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown. The highlight of the afternoon was when McCaffrey made a diving double catch in the fourth quarter and slid past the first-down marker when he was untouched. For some reason, O’Brien decided to challenge this play even though it was evident that McCaffrey secured a first down. Again, this was just more proof of O’Brien’s horrid coaching.

  • Excluding McCaffrey, Carolina’s leading receiver was Jarius Wright, who caught five passes for 59 yards. D.J. Moore (3-44) and Curtis Samuel (3-22) were both disappointments in what was billed to be an easy matchup. Samuel was at least able to draw an interference flag.

  • Giants 24, Redskins 3
  • This wasn’t anticipated to be a battle between the top two quarterbacks chosen in the 2019 NFL Draft, but that’s exactly what it turned out to be when the Redskins benched Case Keenum in the second quarter for ineffectiveness, perhaps as a result of his foot injury that put him in a walking boot on Wednesday.

    Given that this was a battle between two quarterbacks with one combined career start entering the contest, it shouldn’t have surprised anyone that there were numerous turnovers and penalties in this affair. The Redskins kicked things off when Keenum was picked when he tried to fit a ball into a tight spot, which set up a touchdown for the Giants. New York was actually up 14-0 when Daniel Jones began having problems. He tossed two consecutive interceptions, one off his back foot, and the second when he tried to fit the ball through a tight window. Dwayne Haskins, who entered the contest following Jones’ second turnover, was pick-sixed in the third quarter as a result of throwing off his back foot. This put the Giants up 24-3, putting the game out of reach.

  • Aside from the two interceptions, Jones played well. He went 23-of-31 for 225 yards and a touchdown otherwise. He made some terrific passes that were right on the money, keeping drives alive and allowing his team to drain out the clock. At one point, he completed nine consecutive passes, and the streak was disrupted by a drop. The Giants were 8-of-13 on third down – compared to 2-of-11 for Washington – and they were able to win the time-of-possession battle by about 12 minutes as a result.

    Haskins, conversely, didn’t look like he was ready to play. He held the ball in the pocket too long and ultimately fired three interceptions. One wasn’t his fault – the ball bounced off Vernon Davis’ chest – but Haskins was lucky to get away with a fourth pick on an underthrown toss downfield. Haskins barely completed half of his passes, going 9-of-17 for 107 yards. He also rushed for 23 yards on two scrambles, making Stephen A. Smith proud.

    Haskins did not play well at all, but I don’t think it’s fair to judge him based on this performance. He wasn’t prepared to play in this game, especially on a short week. The Redskins, for whatever reason, thought that starting Keenum (6-11, 37 yards, INT) was a good idea even though Keenum was in a walking boot on Wednesday. I don’t understand this thought process, and it’s one of many reasons why Jay Gruden will be fired soon.

  • Getting to some of the top fantasy producers this week, Wayne Gallman lived up to the hype for the most part. He rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, and he also caught six balls for 55 receiving yards and a second score. Gallman looked much better than I expected, as he broke numerous tackles. However, he made a couple of mistakes, dropping a pass and fumbling the ball away late in the fourth quarter.

    Still, Gallman is entrenched as the starter for the time being, so he’ll continue to have plenty of opportunities to be productive. His direct backup, someone named Jon Hilliman, lost a fumble in the red zone during the third quarter.

  • Gallman’s scores blew opportunities for Sterling Shepard (7-76) and Evan Engram (4-54). Both played well, but didn’t get a chance to reach the end zone. Golden Tate will return next week, which will hurt Shepard.

  • The Redskins, meanwhile, didn’t have any significant stat producers because of the incompetence of their two quarterbacks. Chris Thompson was the only Washington player with more than 20 receiving yards, as his four catches went for 56 yards. Paul Richardson (3-14) and Trey Quinn (2-10) were both duds, though Quinn would’ve had two touchdowns had Keenum not missed him on a pair of deep shots. Terry McLaurin was a late scratch.

  • Washington couldn’t run well either. Adrian Peterson was limited to only 28 yards on 11 carries.

  • Browns 40, Ravens 25
  • Cleveland’s disappointing 2019 season was put on hold with this shocking blowout victory over the Ravens. The Browns dominated Baltimore’s defense, beating them both through the air and on the ground. The Ravens, meanwhile, simply couldn’t quite keep up as a result of some mistakes.

    It wasn’t a surprise that the Browns were able to throw all over a secondary missing multiple starters, but it was shocking to see Baltimore struggle to defend Nick Chubb. The dynamic back had an unbelievable performance, rushing for 165 yards and three touchdowns, which includes an 88-yard burst in the second half. Chubb also caught three balls for 18 receiving yards, but he also dropped a screen pass.

  • Baker Mayfield seemingly had a mistake early in this game when he fired an interception through a tight window, but that might have been the result of Jarvis Landry stopping his route. Mayfield had a strong game otherwise, as he went 20-of-30 for 342 yards, one touchdown and the pick. Pass protection was not nearly as much of an issue for Mayfield in this game, which wasn’t a surprise, considering that Baltimore lost its top two edge rushers during the offseason.

  • Though Mayfield had a huge passing day, Odell Beckham Jr. barely did anything. He was blanked for most of the afternoon by Marlon Humphrey. He managed to finish with two catches for 20 yards. He also committed a drop.

    Instead, Landry dominated the Ravens aside from that one bad play. He reeled in eight balls for 167 yards, though he left late in the game with a concussion. Meanwhile, tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (3-82) caught Mayfield’s sole score.

  • As for the Ravens, Lamar Jackson went 24-of-34 for 247 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, one of which was a deep shot downfield. However, this stat line is yet another example of numbers being skewed by garbage time. Jackson had just 34 passing yards by halftime. He ran well – nine scrambles, 66 rushing yards – but that doesn’t matter because we all know he can scramble, and his willingness to do so will diminish with each passing game and injury.

    Jackson needs to improve as a passer to be successful in the NFL, and thus far, we’ve only seen him torch two of the worst pass defenses in the league this season. Jackson couldn’t get it done in this game even though the Browns were missing three starters in the secondary. I’m more bearish on Jackson than most, and yet I still expected him to perform well in this game. That didn’t happen, which is alarming.

    That said, it wasn’t all Jackson’s fault. There were a few drops, while the offensive line failed to hold up versus Cleveland’s ferocious front; Baltimore’s first two drives concluded because of sacks.

  • Marquise Brown had a very disappointing performance in this game, thanks to Jackson’s poor passing. Brown snatched four of his seven targets for just 22 yards. He was guilty of two drops. At least Mark Andrews found the end zone, adding six much-needed fantasy points to his four-catch, 31-yard day. Andrews, however, struggled as well. He dropped a pass and was half-responsible for a miscommunication with Jackson on a fourth-down try that effectively ended the game.

    Jackson’s two other touchdowns were thrown to Willie Snead (2-61) and Miles Boykin (3-32). Snead’s score came at the very end of the afternoon, so it shouldn’t be taken seriously.

  • Mark Ingram didn’t have a quality performance either. He didn’t get much of a chance to run the ball because the Browns were well ahead for most of the afternoon – 12 carries, 71 yards – but he lost a fumble near the red zone in the third quarter, which really turned the game in Cleveland’s favor.

  • Chargers 30, Dolphins 10
    By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

  • EDITOR’S NOTE: For a second, it looked like the Dolphins might pull the upset. But then I remembered that the Dolphins are the worst team in NFL history.

  • Los Angeles badly needed a win after dropping two straight and was lucky to have the rebuilding Dolphins scheduled for Week 4. Miami had a decent first half, but the Chargers put the game away in the third quarter as self-inflicted wounds caught up with the Dolphins.

  • The Chargers struck first with a field goal drive that was led by a 24-yard pass to Lance Kendricks (2-37). On the next drive, Miami had a lucky break with a tipped pass falling into the arms of Preston Williams (4-46) for 26 yards, and a few plays later, DeVante Parker got wide open for a 34-yard touchdown. That gave the Dolphins their first lead of the year.

    Los Angeles took the lead with a possession that got moving on a 21-yard checkdown to Derek Watt with a tacked-on 15-yard penalty. Rivers scrambled and made a smart throw to backup running back Troymaine Pope, who darted into the end zone for a 13-yard score.

    Rosen responded by leading a field goal drive to tie the game at 10. In the final minutes of the first half, Rivers got the Chargers the lead when he stepped up in the pocket to draw linebackers in and then flicked the ball to Austin Ekeler, who ran into the end zone for an 18-yard score. The Dolphins got in position for a 52-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter, but Jason Sanders missed his second field goal of the half to give the Chargers a 17-10 lead at intermission.

    Rivers led a field goal drive in the third quarter, and then early in the fourth quarter, the Chargers put the game away. Rivers hit Dontralle Inman (5-76) for two catches for 37 yards and then a 12-yard pass to Sean Culkin set up a short touchdown run for Ekeler. Rosen promptly threw an interception to Michael Davis, which set up a 51-yard field goal to give the Chargers a 30-10 lead that held.

  • Rivers completed 24-of-30 passes for 310 yards with two touchdowns. Allen had 48 yards on five receptions.

  • Ekeler ran for 60 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown and had five receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown. Melvin Gordon suited up but did not play, as he was for emergency use only.

  • Rosen completed 17-of-24 passes for 180 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Rosen started the game well, throwing accurate passes and reading the field well, but then midway through the game, he started making mental mistakes, taking some bad sacks, failing to get rid of the ball when he had time, not seeing receivers wide open downfield, and throwing a bad interception right to a defender.

  • Drake ran for 44 yards on nine carries. Parker had four receptions for 70 yards.

  • Desmond King had an excellent game for the Chargers with four tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Taco Charlton played well for the Dolphins with six tackles and a sack.

  • Jagurs 26, Cowboys 24
    By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

  • EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s fair to wonder at this point if Vic Fangio will be one-and-done as a coach. The Broncos are now 0-4, and only one of their opponents had a winning record heading into their games.

  • The Gardner Minshew hype train will continue to roll following the fourth-quarter comeback for the win he led in Denver. Minshew made some clutch throws, while Leonard Fournette had the best rushing total of his career with 225 yards. Disgruntled cornerback Jalen Ramsey was inactive after dealing with an illness, back injury and personal matters over the past week. But the Jaguars’ offense picked up the slack for their defense, which had some problems defending the pass.

  • The Broncos struck first when Phillip Lindsay broke off a 28-yard run, and on the next play, Noah Fant (2-31-1) took a tight end screen 25 yards for a score. It should not have been a score because Denver had illegal linemen downfield, but the incompetent NFL officiating gave a break to Denver. Jacksonville responded with Minshew using Fournette to move the ball down the field before stalling for a field goal. Flacco responded by hitting Emmanuel Sanders for a 39-yard gain, targeting Jalen Ramsey’s replacement Trey Herndon, and on the next play, Flacco found Courtland Sutton for a touchdown.

    Flacco continued to pick on Herndon to set up a field goal for Denver, but Ronnie Harrison intercepted Flacco late in the half, and his 32-yard return moved the ball to midfield. Minshew threw a touchdown strike to D.J. Chark (4-44), but the third penalty of the first half on Cam Robinson took the score away, and the Jaguars settled for a field goal to cut the Broncos’ lead to 17-6 at intermission.

    Minshew led a third-quarter drive down the field during which Fournette converted a key fourth-and-1. Minshew made a great play to end the drive, dodging multiple sacks in the pocket before finding Ryquell Armstead open in the end zone for a 7-yard score. The Jaguars forced a three-and-out, and they took the lead after Fournette raced up the middle of the field for 81 yards. Some penalties pushed them back, but then Minshew found James O’Shaughnessy open for 18-yard touchdown.

    Early in the fourth quarter, Jacksonville put a drive together with Fournette taking off on a 26-yard run, a 16-yard run to Armstead, and a third-down conversions to Mariqise Lee and Chark to set up a short Josh Lambo field goal. The Broncos were down 23-17 with just under three minutes remaining. Flacco came alive, hitting Sanders for 16, Sutton for 27, and a 27-yarder to Sanders set up a first-and-goal. Flacco then found Sutton open for an eight-yard touchdown strike to give Denver a 24-23 lead with 1:32 remaining.

    The refs made another terrible call with a phantom roughing-the-passer penalty on Von Miller. The next play saw Minshew hit Dede Westbrook (5-66) for 32 yards, and Minshew then tossed a 17-yard pass to Chris Conley set up Lambo to hit the game winner from 33 yards out on the final play of the game.

  • Minshew was 19-of-33 for 213 yards and two touchdowns.

  • Fournette ran for 225 yards on 29 carries with two reception for 20 yards.

  • Flacco was 22-of-38 for 303 yard with three touchdowns and a interception.

  • Lindsay had only nine carries, which he turned into 53 yards.

  • Sanders had 104 yards on five receptions, while Sutton totaled 62 yards on six catches with two touchdowns.

  • The Denver defense had five sacks, with two coming from Von Miller. His second sack was the 100th of his career. Surprisingly, the Broncos’ offensive line kept the Jaguars without a sack.

  • Seahawks 27, Cardinals 10
    By Chet Gresham – @ChetGresham

  • EDITOR’S NOTE: This is going to be a tough one to swallow, as the Cardinals gave the Seahawks seven free points on a tipped pick-six, and lost out on six points themselves via two missed field goals by Lil’ Zane Gonzalez. At least Dick Stockton was entertaining with another bad gaffe: “Kyler Murray stops the clock with an interception.”

    Jadeveon Clowney started off Seattle’s touchdown scoring by making a tremendous one-handed interception off of a Kyler Murray screen pass, returning it for a 27-yard touchdown and making it a 10-0 lead, which ended up matching the Cardinals total output for the game, while Seattle went on to score 17 more points.

  • It wasn’t all awful for the Cardinals, as Kyler Murray looked sharp on their first touchdown drive, eluding the pass rush and finding receivers. Later, he finished off a drive with his first rushing touchdown of his career. But that 9-yard score came with about 10 minutes left in the game and cut the score to 20-10.

  • Seahawks running back Chris Carson came into this game with his nose sticking out of the doghouse after four fumbles in the first three games, including a costly one that was returned for a touchdown last week by the Saints. Luckily for Carson, Rashaad Penny was out for this game with a hamstring injury. Penny’s absence, coupled with coach Pete Carroll staying positive about Carson’s fumbling troubles, set him up for another game as the lead back, and he showed up.

    Carson rushed 22 times for 104 yards and caught four passes for 41 more yards. He was the motor behind his offense after getting out to an early lead, as he had eight first downs on the ground and two more through the air, all without fumbling. He should be safe for now as the primary starter and lead back.

  • David Johnson again looked like Arizona’s best weapon, as he put up 139 total yards on 19 touches. His 11 targets led the team and all running backs in the league, while his 99 yards on eight receptions led all running backs in receiving yards. This is the Johnson we remember, and now the Cardinals need to get the rest of their offense working do he can have more chances around the goal line.

  • Murray continues to throw short, averaging 6.4 yards per pass play, which is mostly due to poor line play. That is why we see David Johnson leading the team in targets and receptions, and it makes perfect sense to get your best runner the ball when you’re under duress.

    Murray took four sacks, which is half of the sacks he saw last week, but it’s still not good, and he had plenty of times he avoided sacks as well. At this point, it seems to make sense for Murray to run more than he has been. His four rushing attempts for 27 yards and a touchdown are reasonable, but if he can’t find receivers open quickly enough, he needs to tuck the ball and go.

  • Russell Wilson had another efficient day, completing 78.6 percent of his passes for 240 yards and a touchdown, but that early pick-six by Clowney and the stuck-in-the-mud offense from Arizona didn’t push Wilson to throw the ball much. His lack of usage is troubling in fantasy. Although he went off last week when trailing, usage doesn’t matter one iota to Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who wants to win by scoring just as many points as they need. Seattle could have trounced this Cardinals’ pass defense and won by 30 points, but why win by 30? It seems ostentatious, I guess.

  • The Cardinals once again were smacked in the face by their opponent’s tight end, as Will Dissly caught 7-of-8 targets for 57 yards and a touchdown. Getting trounced by tight ends has become a common theme for Arizona, which been dismantled by T.J. Hockenson, Mark Andrews, the ghost of Greg Olsen, and now by a tight end who is coming off a torn patellar and runs a 4.87-second 40. You can probably fire up C.J. Uzmoah, Tyler Eifert and Drew Sample for your fantasy teams next week.

  • C.J. Prosise didn’t get much work backing up Carson this week, but he sure looked good on his touchdown run right before the 2-minute warning. His quickness jumps out at you when you’ve been watching Carson all day, but Penny should be back next week, and Prosise will continue to see spotty touches.

  • Larry Fitzgerald caught five passes for 47 yards and moved into second place behind Jerry Rice with 1,326 career receptions. The Hall of Fame awaits Fitzgerald.

  • On the day, Seattle went into cruise control after halftime instead of putting the screws to the Arizona defense. That gave the Cardinals a little window to come back, but they didn’t have what it takes while the Seahawks looked listless. Seattle was easily the better team, but didn’t play like it at times. The Seahawks will need to get their offense going for all four quarters, or they’re going to lose more games like they lost to New Orleans last week.

  • Arizona is rebuilding, and it shows. The Cardinals need to strengthen their offensive line while Kliff Kingsbury refines his offense for the NFL, and the same is true for Murray. Murray will continue to show flashes and should have some big-time games this year, but Arizona will need time.

  • Bears 16, Vikings 6
  • Another game against a winning team, another loss for Kirk Cousins. The Bears had complete control of this game, but Cousins couldn’t do very much whenever he had the ball. Meanwhile, Mitchell Trubisky didn’t get a chance to screw up because he barely played, falling hard on his shoulder on the opening drive of the afternoon.

    Beginning with Cousins, it was astonishing how inept Minnesota’s offense was until the Bears took their foot off the gas. That moment appeared to be the end of the third quarter, as Chicago limited the Minnesota offense to just 45 net yards in the first 43 minutes of the afternoon. The Vikings finally moved the chains after that, but only because the Bears were playing prevent while nursing a 16-0 lead.

    Cousins finished 27-of-36 for 233 yards, but most of that was the result of garbage time. He had just 49 passing yards by halftime, and he was guilty of a strip-sack to open the third quarter. It was hardly a surprise that Cousins choked once again. He does that all the time in big games, and he’s been a colossal disappointment for Minnesota.

  • Stefon Diggs was also able to benefit from garbage time. He had just two catches for 17 yards in the opening half, but finished with seven grabs for 108 yards. He converted every single target, but lost a fumble in the second quarter. Adam Thielen, meanwhile, was a major disappointment with just two catches for six yards. He should’ve scored a long touchdown, but Cousins overthrew him in the opening quarter. I thought there was a chance the Vikings would put Thielen in the slot after the injury to Chad Beebe, but they stubbornly kept him outside, where he hasn’t been nearly as productive.

  • With the Vikings trailing throughout, Dalvin Cook was limited to just 35 yards on 14 carries. However, he scored a late touchdown and was able to be productive in the passing game with six catches for 35 receiving yards. He dropped a couple of passes, though he would’ve been blown up on one of the instances, so he was smart to let one of the passes slip through his hands.

  • As touched on earlier, Trubisky suffered an injury at the beginning of the afternoon, as he attempted only three passes. Chase Daniel played most of the afternoon and was his usual, reliable self.

    Daniel misfired on just eight occasions, going 22-of-30 for 195 yards and a touchdown. He hardly did anything spectacular, but he managed the game very well. One of his best moments was when he converted a fourth-and-3 late in the second quarter on a pass to Anthony Miller. The only blemish on the afternoon was Daniel’s play in the red zone. The Bears kicked too many field goals because they bogged down deep in Minnesota territory, but it didn’t end up mattering.

  • With the Bears being very conservative offensively, only two of their receivers had more than 16 yards. Allen Robinson led the way with seven catches for 77 yards, while Tarik Cohen was responsible for Daniel’s sole score.

  • David Montgomery is finally getting most of the carries, though Cordarrelle Patterson was still involved on a stupid trick play on a third down, which just needs to stop. Montgomery didn’t have much success against Minnesota’s stalwart defensive line, mustering 53 yards on 21 carries.

  • Buccaneers 55, Rams 40
  • What a weird game! I thought the Buccaneers would keep this game close and potentially win outright – they were a high-unit selection on my NFL Picks page – but I never would’ve expected Jameis Winston to throw all over the Rams. Winston somehow had one of the best performances of his NFL career against Wade Phillips’ defense, which was astonishing.

    On the other end of the spectrum, Jared Goff’s struggles were predictable. And yes, Goff struggled. He threw for 517 yards and two touchdowns, but all of this occurred in garbage time. He was partly responsible for the Buccaneers establishing a quick 21-0 lead, but he was able to benefit from some major garbage time.

    Goff really struggles with pressure, and that’s been a major problem for him this season. His offensive line saw two departures this offseason, while long-time left tackle Andrew Whitworth is finally beginning to decline because of age. Goff saw tons of pressure in his face from an improved Tampa pass rush, and he missed numerous receivers as a consequence. He tossed two interceptions early, and while the first wasn’t his fault – his arm was hit by Shaq Barrett (nine sacks on the year) as he released the ball – the second was a rookie mistake, as he didn’t see a player dropping in coverage. His accuracy in meaningful action was not ideal, but he was able to pad his stats with two-and-a-half quarters’ worth of garbage time.

    If you’re looking for the actual numbers, Goff went 45-of-68 for 517 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions and a lost fumble, while Winston was 28-of-41 for 385 yards, four touchdowns and a pick. The two quarterbacks were separated by more than 100 passing yards, but there’s no question as to which player performed on a higher level. While Goff struggled with pressure, Winston was nearly flawless. He made one horrible mistake when he heaved a pick-six while up 45-34 with eight minutes remaining. To his credit, however, Winston came back on the next drive and drilled a third-and-6 conversion to Mike Evans to set up a score.

  • Speaking of Evans, the Rams did everything in their power to prevent him from doing much. They sent constant double teams his way, which is why he was limited for most of the afternoon. Evans, however, eventually broke free for a 67-yard score which pushed his stats to four receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown.

    The Rams’ strategy to double team Evans made sense because Chris Godwin was uncertain to even play in this game. Godwin, however, had a monstrous performance, hauling in 12 of his 14 targets for a ridiculous 172 yards and two touchdowns. Cameron Brate (3-36) had the fourth Winston score.

  • Both of Tampa’s primary running backs each scored on the ground. Ronald Jones (19-70) was predictably the superior of the two backs, as Peyton Barber’s nine attempts went for only 19 yards.

  • Speaking of rushing ineptitude, Todd Gurley couldn’t get anything going on the ground, as his five carries went for only 16 yards. However, Gurley saved his fantasy owners for the first time in weeks, as he scored twice and also caught seven of his 11 targets for 54 receiving yards. Gurley should’ve scored a third time, but Goff overthrew him.

  • Gurley was fourth on the receiving chart, as the Rams’ three primary receivers were able to benefit from all of Goff’s garbage yardage. Robert Woods led the way with 13 grabs for 164 yards. Brandin Cooks hauled in six passes for 71 yards. Cooper Kupp, meanwhile, snatched nine passes for 121 yards and a touchdown. Gerald Everett (5-44) secured Goff’s other score.

  • Saints 12, Cowboys 10
  • With the Panthers and Buccaneers beginning to find themselves, the Saints had to keep winning without Drew Brees to remain in control of the suddenly very competitive NFC South. So far, so good, as New Orleans is 2-for-2 with Teddy Bridgewater as the starter.

    Though Bridgewater prevailed, this was not a pretty game. Things began poorly when he threw an interception, though Ted Ginn was mostly responsible for batting the ball into the air. Bridgewater made some other mistakes, including a sack that he took with 1:50 remaining, taking his team out of field goal range. This gave the Cowboys one more chance to move within kicking range, but the Saints put heavy pressure on Dak Prescott on the final Hail Mary attempt, resulting in an underthrown pass to end the game.

    Bridgewater completed most of his passes, going 23-of-30. However, he threw mostly checkdowns, which would explain his 193-yardage total. He did well to manage the game, though he didn’t recognize some blitzes, and his pocket awareness wasn’t very good. With that in mind, it would be very difficult to trust Bridgewater in a shootout unless he has the luxury of battling a horrible defense.

  • Conversely, the Cowboys’ loss moves the Eagles and Giants to within one game of the division lead. This defeat potentially carries extra ramifications, as left tackle Tyron Smith was helped off the field on the final drive. Not only did this cost Dallas 10 valuable seconds, Smith’s potential absence in future games could result in defeats, as Dallas’ offensive line is the primary reason the team established a 3-0 record to start the season.

  • Prescott finished 22-of-33 for 223 yards and an interception on the final play of the game. He didn’t have a great performance, but he didn’t make many mistakes. In fact, we can look at his teammates as a reason for this defeat, as a Randall Cobb drop and an Amari Cooper offensive pass interference ruined drives in the second half, while a Jason Witten fumble wrecked a possession in the early stages of the evening.

  • Speaking of Cooper, he had a disappointing output, catching five balls for 48 yards. Marshon Lattimore had a slow start to the season, but he came up big in this matchup. He smothered Cooper, nearly erasing Prescott’s top receiver.

    With Cooper limited, Dallas’ tight ends were the two receiving leaders, with Jason Witten (4-50) pacing the way despite his aforementioned fumble. Blake Jarwin (3-49) was next, while Cobb (3-41) was a disappointment, as referenced earlier with the key drop.

  • Prescott had some success on play-action as usual even though the Saints did a great job of limiting Ezekiel Elliott. The star runner needed a touchdown to salvage his fantasy performance, as he was limited to 35 yards on 18 carries. He also caught six passes for 30 receiving yards. However, the dark cloud over his night was a lost fumble when he attempted to convert a fourth-and-1 right before halftime. This set up a field goal for the Saints, which ended up being the difference in this game.

  • Alvin Kamara had a better rushing performance compared to Elliott, as he tallied 69 yards on 17 carries. He surprisingly saw just three targets, however, converting all of them for 20 receiving yards.

  • Michael Thomas had a monster game for not finding the end zone. He snatched all nine of his targets for 95 yards, including a terrific back-shoulder catch in the opening quarter. Tight end Josh Hill was next on the stat sheet with three catches for 29 yards. He was guilty of a drop in the red zone.

  • Steelers 27, Bengals 3
  • Thanks to Cleveland’s upset victory over the Ravens on Sunday, the winner of this matchup would suddenly be in position to move within a game of the divisional lead. The loser, conversely, would be 0-4, and no team with that record has reached the playoffs since the 1992 Chargers.

    Given that both of these squads were 0-3 entering the evening, it was fair to expect a sluggish affair that happened to be low-scoring and close. That’s what the game was at first. In fact, the Bengals established a 3-0 lead, thanks to a Diontae Johnson lost fumble. The Steelers struggled to maintain drives after that, constantly stalling near midfield. One possession concluded when James Conner was stuffed on a fourth-and-1, while another was disrupted when a backup receiver was flagged for offensive pass interference.

    The Steelers led by just a touchdown at intermission, but came alive in the second half. Conner and Jaylen Samuels had some nice gains while sharing the backfield together, and this opened up a deep touchdown from Mason Rudolph to Johnson. Pittsburgh’s defense, meanwhile, completely clamped down on the Cincinnati offense, which had no chance to do anything positive.

  • Both Conner and Samuels each handled 10 carries, turning them into 42 and 26 yards, respectively. Samuels scored on the ground and also caught all eight of his targets for 57 receiving yards. Conner also reeled in all eight of his targets for 83 yards and a touchdown. The two worked very well together, with Samuel even operating some RPO situations. He ran into the end zone on one such play.

  • If you couldn’t tell, Rudolph threw mostly short passes. His running backs were targeted a whopping 16 times, after all. Rudolph dinked and dunked to his heart’s content in the opening half, with his passes traveling slightly longer than two air yards per attempt on average, which is an insanely low number. The Steelers played it very safe with Rudolph, and rightfully so.

    Rudolph took more chances after intermission, including the play in which he hit Johnson for a 43-yard touchdown. He also dropped in a nice, 17-yard completion to new tight end Nick Vannett after buying himself some time in the pocket.

  • Aside from the running backs, Johnson led the Steelers in receiving, hauling in all six of his targets for 77 yards and the long score. Johnson, a third-round rookie, is now entrenched as Pittsburgh’s No. 2 receiver. He must be added in all formats.

    Meanwhile, JuJu Smith-Schuster had a disappointing night, as he caught just three passes for 15 yards. Smith-Schuster has great upside, but he’ll have to endure low-production games like this with Rudolph under center.

  • As for the Bengals, this was an absolutely dreadful performance. The only points came via an early fumble, and Andy Dalton was sacked a whopping eight times. His offensive line is a mess with left tackle Cordy Glenn in concussion protocol. In fact, Glenn’s replacement, Andre Smith, was beaten by Bud Dupree on a strip-sack play.

    Dalton finished 21-of-37 for only 171 yards, a lost fumble and an interception in desperation time. Dalton had to dink and dunk, but he can’t be blamed for this loss, as Cincinnati continues to be down three starting offensive linemen.

  • Joe Mixon hasn’t been able to find running room all year. He gained 62 yards on 15 carries, all while catching four passes for one whopping yard. Things will improve when (or if) Glenn returns from his concussion.

  • Auden Tate led the Bengals in receiving with four grabs for 50 yards. John Ross (3-36) and Tyler Boyd (3-33) had no chance to post quality stat lines. Ross suffered some sort of injury in the fourth quarter, though it’s not clear how severe it is.

  • For more thoughts, check out my updated NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.

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    2016 NFL Week 15 Recap - Dec. 19
    2016 NFL Week 16 Recap - Dec. 26
    2016 NFL Week 17 Recap - Jan. 2
    2016 NFL Week 18 Recap - Jan. 9
    2016 NFL Week 19 Recap - Jan. 16
    2016 NFL Week 20 Recap - Jan. 23
    2016 NFL Week 21 Recap - Feb. 6

    2015: Live 2015 NFL Draft Blog - April 30
    2015 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 12
    2015 NFL Week 2 Recap - Sept. 17
    2015 NFL Week 3 Recap - Sept. 24
    2015 NFL Week 4 Recap - Oct. 1
    2015 NFL Week 5 Recap - Oct. 8
    2015 NFL Week 6 Recap - Oct. 15
    2015 NFL Week 7 Recap - Oct. 22
    2015 NFL Week 8 Recap - Oct. 29
    2015 NFL Week 9 Recap - Nov. 5
    2015 NFL Week 10 Recap - Nov. 12
    2015 NFL Week 11 Recap - Nov. 19
    2015 NFL Week 12 Recap - Nov. 26
    2015 NFL Week 13 Recap - Dec. 4
    2015 NFL Week 14 Recap - Dec. 11
    2015 NFL Week 15 Recap - Dec. 18
    2015 NFL Week 16 Recap - Dec. 25
    2015 NFL Week 17 Recap - Jan. 4
    2015 NFL Week 18 Recap - Jan. 11
    2015 NFL Week 19 Recap - Jan. 18
    2015 NFL Week 20 Recap - Jan. 25
    Super Bowl 50 Recap - Feb. 8

    2014: Live 2014 NFL Draft Blog - May 8
    2014 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 5
    2014 NFL Week 2 Recap - Sept. 12
    2014 NFL Week 3 Recap - Sept. 19
    2014 NFL Week 4 Recap - Sept. 26
    2014 NFL Week 5 Recap - Oct. 3
    2014 NFL Week 6 Recap - Oct. 10
    2014 NFL Week 7 Recap - Oct. 17
    2014 NFL Week 8 Recap - Oct. 24
    2014 NFL Week 9 Recap - Oct. 31
    2014 NFL Week 10 Recap - Nov. 6
    2014 NFL Week 11 Recap - Nov. 13
    2014 NFL Week 12 Recap - Nov. 20
    2014 NFL Week 13 Recap - Nov. 27
    2014 NFL Week 14 Recap - Dec. 5
    2014 NFL Week 15 Recap - Dec. 12
    2014 NFL Week 16 Recap - Dec. 19
    2014 NFL Week 17 Recap - Dec. 29
    2014 NFL Week 18 Recap - Jan. 4
    2014 NFL Week 19 Recap - Jan. 11
    2014 NFL Week 20 Recap - Jan. 18
    Super Bowl XLIX Live Blog - Feb. 1
    Super Bowl XLIX Recap - Feb. 2

    2013: Live 2013 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
    2013 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 10
    2013 NFL Week 2 Recap - Sept. 17
    2013 NFL Week 3 Recap - Sept. 24
    2013 NFL Week 4 Recap - Oct. 1
    2013 NFL Week 5 Recap - Oct. 8
    2013 NFL Week 6 Recap - Oct. 15
    2013 NFL Week 7 Recap - Oct. 22
    2013 NFL Week 8 Recap - Oct. 29
    2013 NFL Week 9 Recap - Nov. 4
    2013 NFL Week 10 Recap - Nov. 11
    2013 NFL Week 11 Recap - Nov. 18
    2013 NFL Week 12 Recap - Nov. 25
    2013 NFL Week 13 Recap - Dec. 2
    2013 NFL Week 14 Recap - Dec. 9
    2013 NFL Week 15 Recap - Dec. 16
    2013 NFL Week 16 Recap - Dec. 23
    2013 NFL Week 17 Recap - Dec. 30
    2013 NFL Week 18 Recap - Jan. 6
    2013 NFL Week 19 Recap - Jan. 13
    2013 NFL Week 20 Recap - Jan. 20
    Super Bowl XLVIII Recap - Feb. 3
    Super Bowl XLVIII Live Blog - Feb. 2

    2012: Live 2012 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
    2012 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 10
    2012 NFL Week 2 Recap - Sept. 17
    2012 NFL Week 3 Recap - Sept. 24
    2012 NFL Week 4 Recap - Oct. 1
    2012 NFL Week 5 Recap - Oct. 8
    2012 NFL Week 6 Recap - Oct. 15
    2012 NFL Week 7 Recap - Oct. 22
    2012 NFL Week 8 Recap - Oct. 29
    2012 NFL Week 9 Recap - Nov. 5
    2012 NFL Week 10 Recap - Nov. 12
    2012 NFL Week 11 Recap - Nov. 19
    2012 NFL Week 12 Recap - Nov. 26
    2012 NFL Week 13 Recap - Dec. 3
    2012 NFL Week 14 Recap - Dec. 10
    2012 NFL Week 15 Recap - Dec. 17
    2012 NFL Week 16 Recap - Dec. 24
    2012 NFL Week 17 Recap - Dec. 31
    2012 NFL Week 18 Recap - Jan. 7
    2012 NFL Week 19 Recap - Jan. 14
    2012 NFL Week 20 Recap - Jan. 21
    Super Bowl XLVII Recap - Feb. 4
    Super Bowl XLVII Live Blog - Feb. 4

    2011: Live 2011 NFL Draft Blog - April 28
    2011 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 12
    2011 NFL Week 2 Recap - Sept. 19
    2011 NFL Week 3 Recap - Sept. 26
    2011 NFL Week 4 Recap - Oct. 3
    2011 NFL Week 5 Recap - Oct. 10
    2011 NFL Week 6 Recap - Oct. 17
    2011 NFL Week 7 Recap - Oct. 24
    2011 NFL Week 8 Recap - Oct. 31
    2011 NFL Week 9 Recap - Nov. 7
    2011 NFL Week 10 Recap - Nov. 14
    2011 NFL Week 11 Recap - Nov. 21
    2011 NFL Week 12 Recap - Nov. 28
    2011 NFL Week 13 Recap - Dec. 5
    2011 NFL Week 14 Recap - Dec. 12
    2011 NFL Week 15 Recap - Dec. 19
    2011 NFL Week 16 Recap - Dec. 26
    2011 NFL Week 17 Recap - Jan. 2
    2011 NFL Week 18 Recap - Jan. 9
    2011 NFL Week 19 Recap - Jan. 16
    2011 NFL Week 20 Recap - Jan. 23
    Super Bowl XLVI Live Blog - Feb. 6

    2010: Live 2010 NFL Draft Blog - April 22
    2010 Hall of Fame Game Live Blog - Aug. 8
    2010 NFL Kickoff Live Blog - Sept. 9
    2010 NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 13
    2010 NFL Week 2 Review - Sept. 20
    2010 NFL Week 3 Review - Sept. 27
    2010 NFL Week 4 Review - Oct. 4
    2010 NFL Week 5 Review - Oct. 11
    2010 NFL Week 6 Review - Oct. 18
    2010 NFL Week 7 Review - Oct. 25
    2010 NFL Week 8 Review - Nov. 1
    2010 NFL Week 9 Review - Nov. 8
    2010 NFL Week 10 Review - Nov. 15
    2010 NFL Week 11 Review - Nov. 22
    2010 NFL Week 12 Review - Nov. 29
    2010 NFL Week 13 Review - Dec. 6
    2010 NFL Week 14 Review - Dec. 13
    2010 NFL Week 15 Review - Dec. 20
    2010 NFL Week 16 Review - Dec. 27
    2010 NFL Week 17 Review - Jan. 3
    2010 NFL Week 18 Review - Jan. 10
    2010 NFL Week 19 Review - Jan. 17
    2010 NFL Week 19 Review - Jan. 24
    Super Bowl XLV Live Blog - Feb. 6

    2009: Live 2009 NFL Draft Blog - April 25
    2009 Hall of Fame Game Live Blog - Aug. 10
    2009 NFL Kickoff Live Blog - Sept. 10
    2009 NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 14
    2009 NFL Week 2 Review - Sept. 21
    2009 NFL Week 3 Review - Sept. 28
    2009 NFL Week 4 Review - Oct. 5
    2009 NFL Week 5 Review - Oct. 12
    2009 NFL Week 6 Review - Oct. 19
    2009 NFL Week 7 Review - Oct. 26
    2009 NFL Week 8 Review - Nov. 2
    2009 NFL Week 9 Review - Nov. 9
    2009 NFL Week 10 Review - Nov. 16
    2009 NFL Week 11 Review - Nov. 23
    2009 NFL Week 12 Review - Nov. 30
    2009 NFL Week 13 Review - Dec. 6
    2009 NFL Week 14 Review - Dec. 13
    2009 NFL Week 15 Review - Dec. 20
    2009 NFL Week 16 Review - Dec. 27
    2009 NFL Week 17 Review - Jan. 4
    2009 NFL Week 18 Review - Jan. 11
    2009 NFL Week 19 Review - Jan. 18
    2009 NFL Week 20 Review - Jan. 25
    Super Bowl XLIV Live Blog - Feb. 7

    2008: Live 2008 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
    2008 NFL Kickoff Blog - Sept. 4
    NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 8
    NFL Week 2 Review - Sept. 15
    NFL Week 3 Review - Sept. 22
    NFL Week 4 Review - Sept. 29
    NFL Week 5 Review - Oct. 6
    NFL Week 6 Review - Oct. 13
    NFL Week 7 Review - Oct. 20
    NFL Week 8 Review - Oct. 27
    NFL Week 9 Review - Nov. 3
    NFL Week 10 Review - Nov. 10
    NFL Week 11 Review - Nov. 17
    NFL Week 12 Review - Nov. 24
    NFL Week 13 Review - Dec. 1
    NFL Week 14 Review - Dec. 8
    NFL Week 15 Review - Dec. 15
    NFL Week 16 Review - Dec. 22
    NFL Week 17 Review - Dec. 29
    NFL Wild Card Playoffs Review - Jan. 4
    NFL Divisional Playoffs Review - Jan. 11
    NFL Championship Sunday Review - Jan. 19
    Super Bowl XLIII Live Blog