2023 NFL Preseason Recap and Fantasy Football Notes: Week 3

Aaron Rodgers Jets
**** NOTES FOR EVERY GAME WILL BE UP AS SOON AS I WATCH THEM **** Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

2023 Preseason Notes: Week 1
2023 Fantasy Football Stock Pages: Preseason Stock Week 1

Texans 17, Saints 13

  • The Saints announced that they would be sitting their starters, but the Texans wanted to give C.J. Stroud more reps. Stroud and the rest of Houston’s first-stringers were on the field for two drives, scoring a touchdown on the second possession. The first drive didn’t go anywhere, but it featured a perfect deep pass from Stroud to Nico Collins, which was dropped. Collins was able to redeem himself by scoring a touchdown on the ensuing possession.

    Stroud finished this game 2-of-4 for 16 yards and a touchdown. The stats don’t stand out, but Stroud looked good in limited action. He has improved since his poor debut a couple of weeks ago, but he’ll be tested at Baltimore in the season opener.

    Here were Stroud’s targets:

    Nico Collins: 2 (1 end zone)
    Dalton Schultz: 1
    Robert Woods: 1

  • As for the Saints, they featured Kendre Miller as their primary running back for a half. Miller didn’t play very well, mustering just 14 yards on eight carries. He caught three passes for 10 receiving yards, but he struggled to avoid or break tackles.

  • On the other end of the spectrum, Jimmy Graham played a chunk of the first half for the Saints. Graham somehow looked like the dominant tight end from 2013, catching three passes for 34 yards and a touchdown in which he “boxed out” his defender. Be prepared for Graham to vulture some touchdowns away from Juwan Johnson this year.

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    Broncos 41, Rams 0

  • Looking at this final score, you may guess that the Broncos played their starters and steamrolled through the Rams as a result. This was not the case, as Jarrett Stidham played the entire opening half with the rest of the second-stringers. Denver’s backups were just so much more dominant than the Rams’ reserves.

    Stidham posted some incredible numbers – 17-of-28, 236 yards, one touchdown – for just one half of action, but it was his supporting cast that deserved the spotlight. One such player is rookie Marvin Mims, who has a golden opportunity to showcase his talent in the wake of Jerry Jeudy’s injury. Mims was inches shy of scoring a touchdown on the opening drive, and he followed that up by blazing past the Rams defense for what appeared to be a 75-yard touchdown. Replay review showed Mims was down by contact, but he was still able to register a 50-yard reception. Mims’ two catches went for 51 yards. He’s someone to consider late in fantasy drafts.

  • Another Denver player who had an explosive offensive performance was the forgotten Albert Okwuegbunam. The tight end was in Nathaniel Hackett’s dog house, but he made the most of his opportunity with Sean Payton. Okwuegbunam caught seven of his eight targets for 109 yards and a touchdown.

  • While the Denver players thrived, the Rams’ offensive reserves were absolutely dreadful. This includes rookie quarterback Stetson Bennett, who was a total disaster against the Broncos. Bennett began by passing behind his receiver and then threw an interception because he didn’t see the defender. Bennett followed that up with another pick, as he failed to recognize rookie linebacker Drew Sanders in coverage. Bennett finished 4-of-9 for only 14 yards and the two picks. He was so bad that he logged negative points on DraftKings!

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    Jaguars 31, Dolphins 18

  • While many teams sat their starters this week, the Jaguars and Dolphins opted to play theirs for a quarter. Both Trevor Lawrence and Tua Tagovailoa were on the field for a quarter with most of their weapons.

    Of the two quarterbacks, Lawrence was the superior player. He made an accurate throw to convert a fourth-and-6 to Christian Kirk in his own territory, and then he floated a perfect downfield pass to Calvin Ridley for a 28-yard connection. Lawrence finished 8-of-10 for 92 yards.

    Here were Lawrence’s targets:

    Travis Etienne: 1
    Luke Farrell: 2
    Zay Jones: 3
    Christian Kirk: 2
    Calvin Ridley: 2

  • Calvin Ridley had a strong performance in his final preseason game. He caught all three of his targets for 60 yards. One reception was a great diving catch. Another one was a tremendous leaping grab where Ridley was initially ruled out of bounds before replay review showed that he somehow landed in the field of play. Reports indicated that Ridley was geared up to play football after so much time off, and that certainly appears to be the case.

  • Good news, bad news for Travis Etienne: The good news is that Etienne looked explosive, rushing for 39 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. The bad news is that Tank Bigsby was heavily involved with the first string. Bigsby was mixed in for several touches on the opening possession, and he even received a goal-line opportunity at the end of the drive. Bigsby lost a fumble at the 1-yard line, but this didn’t deter the coaching staff from feeding the ball to him. Bigsby rumbled for 37 yards on six carries.

  • As for the Dolphins, their opening drive featured an explosive play by Tyreek Hill, who zoomed by the bewildered Jacksonville defenders for a reception of 32 yards. However, the Dolphins gave nearly all of it back on the next play when the snap sailed over Tagovailoa’s head. A Miami player recovered, but the damage was done for a loss of 25 yards. Tagovailoa didn’t do much in this game outside of the one pass to Hill; he finished 4-of-6 for 67 yards.

    Here were Tagovailoa’s targets:

    Robbie Anderson: 2
    Tyreek Hill: 1
    Alec Ingold: 1
    Raheem Mostert: 1
    Durham Smythe: 1

  • NFL Preseason Announcers: The Jaguar announcers didn’t know how to pronounce Durham Smythe, calling him “Durham Smith.”

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    Cowboys 31, Raiders 16

  • Neither team used their starters in this game. In fact, the Cowboys had their fourth-string quarterback on the field the entire evening. One would think this would be a liability for them, but that was hardly the case.

    The fourth-string quarterback in question is Will Grier. We’ve seen Grier struggle mightily over the years, whether it’s been in exhibition contests or regular-season action. However, with Dak Prescott serving as the offensive coordinator, Grier came alive. Grier was somehow flawless, and that’s not an exaggeration. Every pass was thrown with exact precision. Every decision was pristine. And every scramble had the Raider defenders reeling.

    Grier went 29-of-35 for 305 yards and two touchdowns. He also scrambled 10 times for 53 rushing yards and two more touchdowns on the ground. Grier looked like a combination of Tom Brady and Lamar Jackson. It was unbelievable.

  • I was more excited to watch Aidan O’Connell entering this contest, given that the rookie had been incredibly sharp this preseason. O’Connell took a bit of a step backward, but he did not play poorly. O’Connell continued to make quick decisions and accurate passes, but he didn’t have any great moments. He finished 17-of-26 for 178 yards.

  • It’s not a great sign for Michael Mayer that he was playing in this game, given that no one else of note was on the field for either team. Mayer caught a couple of passes for 20 yards.

  • NFL Preseason Announcers: Once again, I was disappointed in Dallas’ new broadcasting team. The Cowboys used to have a guy named Babe in the booth, and he’d bring on former greats like Michael Irvin, Moose Johnston, and even Emmitt Smith. It was here where we heard Emmitt say, “They gonna have to go back to square zero.” Alas, this new team didn’t have any such cameos.

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    Buccaneers 26, Ravens 20

  • Baker Mayfield was named the Buccaneers’ starter a week ago, but that didn’t stop Todd Bowles from having Mayfield play a couple of drives in the preseason finale. Mayfield was incredibly sharp with his starting receiving corps available to him for the first time. He completed all six of his passes for 43 yards and a touchdown.

    Here were Mayfield’s targets:

    Kaylon Geiger: 1
    Chris Godwin: 4 (1 end zone)
    Rachaad White: 1

  • It seems as though Chris Godwin is Baker Mayfield’s favorite target. It’s a small sample size, but Godwin saw four targets in two drives from Mayfield in the preseason finale. Godwin made the most of his opportunity, catching all four passes for 30 yards and a touchdown.

  • A report indicated that Rachaad White was sharing first-team reps with rookie Sean Tucker recently. This was surprising, given that Tucker was an undrafted free agent. White ran well in this game, tallying 39 yards on seven carries, while Tucker was nowhere to be seen until the second half. The Tampa Bay announcers were so impressed with White, they were begging for the coaching staff to remove him from the game so he could avoid injury. As for Tucker, he rushed for 34 yards on 10 carries, but had to leave the game with cramps.

  • Once Mayfield was done, Kyle Trask entered the game and was never removed. Trask began poorly when he missed a wide-open David Moore, but he eventually settled in and played well. He finished 19-of-31 for 192 yards and a touchdown.

  • As for the Ravens, they didn’t play any starters. They even rested some key backups, so I have nothing to say about them. Well, aside from the fact that John Harbaugh absolutely murdered my bankroll this preseason. Harbaugh hadn’t lost a preseason game in eons, yet he somehow didn’t cover a single spread this August.

  • NFL Preseason Announcers: This Buccaneers broadcast had one of the weirdest openings I’ve ever seen. The announcer ominously said, “The time is now,” as an hourglass emptied and a clock tower chimed. So serious for a preseason game!

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    Redskins 21, Bengals 19

  • This was a battle between Jacoby Brissett and Jake Browning, so there isn’t much to discuss about this game. The Redskins apparently didn’t want to put their starters on the field after playing them for an entire half on Monday night. The Bengals, conversely, haven’t used their starters at all this entire August.

    If there’s one player worth discussing, it’s Bengals rookie running back Chase Brown, who was given a chance to handle a decent workload in this game. Brown ran well, tallying 39 yards on 11 carries, as he was able to generate decent yardage after contact. His best run was a 9-yard burst in which he made a nice cutback.

  • Another Bengals rookie, Andre Iosivas, continued to play well this preseason. He caught three passes for 35 yards and a touchdown on six targets. He won’t see much playing time in the regular season because the receiving corps is so crowded, but he at least gives Cincinnati a promising player for the future.

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    Jets 32, Giants 16

  • Aaron Rodgers hadn’t played in a preseason game since 2018, but he apparently wanted the reps with his new team. Rodgers was on the field for two drives in this contest, leading his team down the field for a touchdown on one of the two possessions.

    Rodgers was mostly sharp, going 5-of-8 for 47 yards and a touchdown. His only poor pass was an overthrow in C.J. Uzomah’s direction. Otherwise, Rodgers was able to execute extremely well, especially on his touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson, which was a perfect fade throw into the end zone.

    Here were Rodgers’ targets:

    Randall Cobb: 1
    Tyler Conklin: 1
    Mecole Hardman: 1
    C.J. Uzomah: 1
    Garrett Wilson: 4 (1 end zone)

  • Garrett Wilson was the only Jets receiver to see multiple targets from Rodgers. He had four passes go his way, and he was able to reel in three of those passes for 30 yards and a touchdown. Wilson looks great, so it would be shocking if he didn’t have a huge year with the colossal upgrade at quarterback.

  • Though Rodgers started, there was no clarity regarding the running back situation. Breece Hall, Dalvin Cook, and even Israel Abanikanda sat. Zonovan Knight led the team in rushing with 21 yards on six attempts.

  • The Giants sat all their starters. I was at least hoping to see Jalin Hyatt, but he was given one target on the opening series. Hyatt blew by Sauce Gardner, but Tyrod Taylor overthrew him. That was it for Hyatt’s evening.

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    Bills 24, Bears 21

  • It’s so odd how coaches handle preseason games. The recap below featured two teams, the Vikings and Cardinals, who didn’t play any starters. The Bills and Bears, conversely, had both starting quarterbacks on the field for their preseason finale.

    Josh Allen played one drive, and that’s all it took him to lead his team into the end zone. Allen looked sharp, going 5-of-7 for 49 yards. The Bears had no answer for him, but then again, few teams do.

    Here were Allen’s targets:

    Gabriel Davis: 3
    Stefon Diggs: 2
    Deonte Harty: 2

  • One thing of note on the opening drive was that Damien Harris was given the goal-line carry. James Cook handled all the workload otherwise. Cook ran well – he gained 23 yards on five carries – but his fantasy owners couldn’t have been happy to see Harris get the touchdown. Then again, this can’t have been much of a surprise.

  • As for Justin Fields, his numbers don’t look as impressive as the stats he compiled in that bizarre performance two weeks ago. Fields was just 2-of-6 for 51 yards. However, he endured a drop from Khalil Herbert, so his stats should have been better. Fields also scrambled thrice for 16 rushing yards. He was in position to lead the Bears into the end zone, but the coaching staff pulled him in the middle of the drive because they saw him take a hit.

    Here were Fields’ targets:

    D’Onta Foreman: 1
    Khalil Herbert: 1
    Cole Kmet: 1
    Darnell Mooney: 1 (1 end zone)
    D.J. Moore: 2

  • Herbert and D’Onta Foreman were both given two carries, but Herbert was on the field first and was only removed when he needed a breather. He dropped a pass, but he redeemed himself later with a reception he made from the backup quarterback.

  • Rookie Roschon Johnson was the third running back on the field, but he impressed. He made a nice jump cut to pick up a 6-yard gain when nothing appeared to be available. He then caught an 11-yard pass via a screen, and he followed that up by shedding a tackle in the backfield to salvage a 3-yard gain. Johnson tallied 22 yards on nine carries to go along with his sole 11-yard reception.

  • NFL Preseason Announcers: This isn’t anything major, but the Bears’ announcer annoyed me by pronouncing Khalil Herbert’s first name as “Ky-LEEL Herbert.”

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    Cardinals 18, Vikings 17

  • I don’t have much to say about this game. Both teams sat their starters. In fact, some key backups weren’t even on the field. This includes Minnesota’s second-string running back Ty Chandler. We’ve seen Chandler play well this preseason, but the Vikings deemed him too important to use in this preseason finale.

    The two starting quarterbacks in this game were both rookies. Clayton Tune got the nod for the Cardinals, while Jaren Hall played the entire game for Minnesota. Beginning with Tune, he lost a fumble when he got destroyed on a strip-sack via pressure from the right side. However, he was able to rebound with a terrific 26-yard pass to Greg Dortch, which he fired over a defender. Tune ended up 9-of-12 for 85 yards, and one of his three incompletions was a Dortch drop.

    As for Hall, he had an inconsistent showing. He made some nice plays, including a 14-yard completion to Jalen Reagor in which he rolled right and found his receiver. However, Hall made some mistakes in the pocket. He took bad sacks, and on the final real play of the game, he went way over the line of scrimmage to fire a deep pass downfield. He actually completed the throw, but the officials flagged him for the obvious penalty. Hall finished 16-of-27 for 178 yards, one touchdown and an interception.

  • NFL Preseason Announcers: Minnesota’s play-by-play guy goes crazy sometimes. He was so excited about the aforementioned Tune strip-sack that he began yelling things you’d read in a comic book. Unfortunately, he ran out of gas shortly after that. Here’s how it went:


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    Chiefs 33, Browns 32

  • Patrick Mahomes played in the Chiefs’ first two preseason games, but he sat out this one. Instead, the Browns used their starters, as Deshaun Watson played into the second quarter.

    Watson, as a whole, was not very impressive in the preseason finale. In fact, it looked like there was something wrong with Watson. He looked off, as he was hesitant to pass at times, almost as if he weren’t seeing the field properly. I expected this from Watson late last year, but I thought he would be better after a full offseason of getting re-adjusted into the NFL. Watson looked shaky instead, completing half of his passes against Kansas City’s backups.

    Watson finished 5-of-10 for 92 yards and a touchdown. He made one great play where he scrambled left and found Amari Cooper wide open downfield for a 53-yard reception, but this was a disappointing output from Watson overall.

    Here were Watson’s targets:

    Amari Cooper: 3
    John Kelly: 1
    Zaire Mitchell-Paden: 1
    Elijah Moore: 3
    David Njoku: 1 (1 end zone)
    Donovan Peoples-Jones: 1

  • Dorian Thompson-Robinson was the second quarterback on the field for the Browns. He was solid and didn’t make any mistakes, going 7-of-12 for 92 yards. It was surprising to see him scramble just once, doing so for only four yards.

  • Another rookie, Chiefs receiver Rashee Rice, didn’t quite replicate his eight-reception performance from a week ago. In fact, Rice was far worse. He able to reel in three receptions for 29 yards. The problem? He dropped three passes.

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    Packers 19, Seahawks 15

  • The Packers played their starters in this game, which includes No Cookie Jordan Love. The young quarterback was on the field for about a quarter-and-a-half, so we were able to see some positives and negatives from him.

    Love had potential for a big play when he targeted Christian Watson for a deep touchdown. Love, however, underthrew Watson, which allowed a defender to break up the pass. Love struggled to move the chains for a while, but was able to get into a rhythm on his final drive, particularly when targeting undrafted rookie Malik Heath. He eventually found Watson in the end zone for a touchdown on his final pass of the afternoon.

    Love finished 9-of-15 for 63 yards and a touchdown. He also scrambled thrice for 21 rushing yards. Something to keep in mind is that Love had most of his first-string offense playing with him, yet he was battling Seattle’s backups.

    Here were Love’s targets:

    Malik Heath: 5
    Luke Musgrave: 2
    Jayden Reed: 3
    Patrick Taylor: 1
    Samori Toure: 1
    Christian Watson: 3 (1 end zone)

  • As mentioned earlier, Watson had a chance for a deep touchdown, but Love underthrew him. Watson eventually scored, but he was able to haul in just one of his three targets for six yards.

  • The Packer announcers spent lots of time talking up Malik Heath, who has apparently enjoyed a great training camp. Jordan Love was locked in on Heath during the preseason finale, targeting him more times (5) than any other Green Bay receiver. Heath ended up with four receptions for 35 yards.

  • For Seattle, Drew Lock started and played most of the way, so there isn’t much to say about the passing game. His backfield mate was Zach Charbonnet, who couldn’t find any running room. Charbonnet mustered only one rushing yard on three carries. This poor production was the result of Seattle’s backup offensive line trying to block Green Bay’s first-string defensive front.

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    Lions 26, Panthers 17

  • The Lions once again sat their starters, but the Panthers had Bryce Young on the field for two drives. The Carolina announcers seemed to imply that Young and the rest of the first-string offense was going to remain on the field until the group scored a touchdown for the first time this preseason. That occurred on the team’s second drive.

    Young made a great play on the opening possession by juking a pass rusher to avoid a sack. He then ran for a first down by avoiding another potential sack. He eventually got into a rhythm, especially with Adam Thielen. He ultimately found Thielen for a touchdown.

    Young finished 7-of-12 for 73 yards and a touchdown. He also scrambled thrice for 21 rushing yards. This was an encouraging performance for Young, though it must be emphasized that he and the rest of the starters were battling Detroit’s scrubs.

    Here were Young’s targets:

    Raheem Blackshear: 1
    Jonathan Mingo: 2
    Shi Smith: 1
    Adam Thielen: 5 (1 end zone)
    Ian Thomas: 1
    Derek Wright: 3 (1 end zone)

  • There was a scary moment in this game when Thielen was down on the ground in pain and then had to leave the field. Thielen appeared to hurt his ribs, and he was not happy about it, as he had some choice words for the Lions’ sideline. Fortunately for the Panthers, Thielen was able to return to action after a handful of plays. Thielen caught four of his five targets for 48 yards and a touchdown against the Lions. Before you get too excited about Thielen, it’s fair to question his ability to get open against starting defensive backs. However, it’s clear that he and Bryce Young have a strong connection that can’t be ignored.

  • Jonathan Mingo didn’t do much despite the Panthers not having D.J. Chark and Terrace Marshall. Mingo saw two targets, catching one for 14 yards. It looked like his reception would have gone for more yards, but he couldn’t escape the Detroit defender over the middle of the field.

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    Chargers 23, 49ers 12

  • The big news entering this game was that the 49ers dealt Trey Lance to the Cowboys. You can view my NFL Trade Grades by clicking the link, but as for this game, Brock Purdy started and played two drives. Had a 49ers running back not fumbled at the goal line, Purdy would have led San Francisco to a pair of touchdown drives. Purdy looked sharp, going 5-of-9 for 73 yards. He would have thrown a touchdown pass had Brandon Aiyuk not been tackled at the 1-yard line.

    Here were Purdy’s targets:

    Brandon Aiyuk: 3 (1 end zone)
    Kyle Juszczyk: 1
    Jordan Mason: 1
    Deebo Samuel: 3

  • Aiyuk, as mentioned, nearly scored a touchdown, but was tackled at the 1-yard line. He had an adventerous evening, as he also dropped a pass that would have been difficult to make. Aiyuk’s one reception went for 35 yards. Meanwhile, Deebo Samuel hauled in two of his three targets for 18 yards.

  • As for the Chargers, they played their backups, including Quentin Johnson. The rookie receiver didn’t have anything to write home about, catching two passes from Easton Stick for 15 yards.

  • Stick played for a chunk of the night, but eventually gave way to rookie Max Duggan. The TCU product spent plenty of time checking the ball down, which would explain his stat line: 4-of-19 for 15 yards and a touchdown. He did most of his damage on the ground, scrambling six times for 51 yards. He would have rushed for a touchdown, but just barely stepped out of bounds on a long run.

  • NFL Preseason Announcers: One of the announcers called Jordan Mason “George Mason.” One’s an NFL running back; one’s a university. Meh, close enough.

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    Titans 23, Patriots 7

  • Ryan Tannehill was the lone starting quarterback to take the field for these two teams, as Mac Jones sat after playing last week versus Green Bay. Unfortunately, I can’t give you any sort of analysis on Tannehill because he didn’t throw a single pass. Tannehill was on the field for one drive, a three-and-out, and all three plays were Tannehill handing the ball off to backup running back Tyjae Spears. This was not a surprise to the Tennessee announcers, who said that Mike Vrabel just wanted to see Tannehill go through the motions. All the motions, that is, except for actually throwing the ball.

  • Speaking of Spears, he had trouble finding any running room to start because New England’s starting defensive line made finding any room impossible. However, Spears eventually had a 20-yard run, which featured a devastating stiff arm. Spears rushed for 28 yards on nine carries.

  • This game was mostly played by Bailey Zappe and Malik Willis. Zappe struggled, going 8-of-15 for only 57 yards. Willis began slowly (1-of-5), but picked things up as the night progressed. He finished 15-of-20 for 211 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. A guest the Titans announcers had in the booth noted that Willis has had a habit of starting slowly and then catching fire. This had me wondering if this was because he played against starters and then transitioned to battling backups.

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    Colts 27, Eagles 13

  • The Colts made a bizarre decision not to play Anthony Richardson last week. They made amends for that in this game, as they had Richardson play the entire first half against Philadelphia.

    To say that Richardson struggled to throw the ball would be putting it nicely. Despite having his entire first-string offense – minus Jonathan Taylor – and battling against Philadelphia’s backups, Richardson couldn’t come close to completing half of his passes. He began by overthrowing Michael Pittman Jr., and shortly afterward, he was nearly intercepted when he stared down Pittman. Richardson then threw behind Josh Downs on an intermediate pass, and he followed that up by overthrowing Deon Jackson on a 3-yard toss.

    Richardson’s passing stats were dreadful: 6-of-17 for 78 yards. Again, he was going against Philadelphia’s backups. On the bright side, Richardson was brilliant as a runner. He scrambled five times for 38 rushing yards, yet he had a 15-yard run on a third-and-15 negated by a hold. The Colts also didn’t design any runs for Richardson; his entire rushing performance was out of desperation to avoid being sacked. If the Colts can treat Richardson like the Bears did Justin Fields in the second half of last year, they’ll have a chance to have decent offensive production when not battling top-10 defenses.

    Here were Richardson’s targets:

    Josh Downs: 2
    Kylen Granson: 3
    Deon Jackson: 2
    Andrew Ogletree: 1
    Alec Pierce: 4
    Michael Pittman Jr.: 5

  • There was a scary moment in this game for the Colts when their top receiver, Michael Pittman Jr., had to be helped off the field after suffering a leg injury. Fortunately for the Colts, Pittman was healthy enough to return to action after missing a couple of drives. Pittman caught two of his five targets for 24 yards.

  • The Eagles also didn’t play any of their offensive starters. None of Kenneth Gainwell, D’Andre Swift, or Rashaad Penny saw the field. In fact, Philadelphia dressed only two running backs! Trey Sermon received most of the workload, yet he couldn’t average two yards per carry.

    At quarterback, the Eagles had Marcus Mariota on the field for only one possession. Tanner McKee played a ton after that, and he had another fine performance. McKee, who went 19-of-34 for 154 yards, made a perfect pass to Sermon to convert a third down. He then rolled left to escape pressure and found his target for a first down. He also had a potential touchdown nullified by a Kenny Brooks drop. There’s a good chance that McKee may have won the No. 2 job.

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    Steelers 24, Falcons 0

  • Pittsburgh’s starting offense had been on the field for three drives entering this game, and the unit scored touchdowns thrice on those possessions. The first-stringers played two more drives in this game, and they found the end zone on both possessions, so make it five-for-five.

    We’ll have to see if this continues in the regular season, but Kenny Pickett looks like a completely different quarterback now that he’s in his second year and is protected by an improved offensive line. Pickett launched two perfect deep throws in this game: one to Diontae Johnson for 33 yards, and the other to George Pickens for a 35-yard reception. Both throws were drops in the bucket, and Pickens was even covered well by the opposing cornerback.

    Pickett finished a perfect 4-of-4 for 86 yards. He’s seldom drafted in the mocks we’ve done on the WalterFootball.com After Dark Show, but he should definitely garner some consideration, given his weapons, bolstered offensive line, and improved ability.

    Here were Pickett’s targets:

    Najee Harris: 1
    Diontae Johnson: 1
    Breshad Perriman: 1
    George Pickens: 1
    Allen Robinson: 1

  • Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren continued to rotate within the first-team offense. This time, Harris was given more touches, as he carried the ball four times for 18 yards and a touchdown. Warren, meanwhile, gained 14 yards and a touchdown on two attempts. I’m expecting a 50-50 split for the two backs.

  • I have no notes on the Falcons. All of their starters, including Desmond Ridder and Bijan Robinson, sat out the preseason finale.

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