Taking a quick rundown of the Sunday NFL games with a fantasy perspective.
CHI 30, ATL 26
There are precious few absolutes in the world, but one seems to be don’t bet on the Falcons to hold a lead. Yet again, they gave up 26-10 lead at the start of the fourth quarter. At home, no less. David Montgomery only ran for 45 yards on 14 carries as the rushing effort fell flat. Mitchell Trubisky only completed 12-of-22 for 128 yards and one score with one interception when he was benched for Nick Foles midway through the third quarter. Foles used the final 21 minutes to throw for 188 yards and three touchdowns in a dramatic comeback as the Falcons, once again, crumbled in the final quarter. Allen Robinson (10-123, TD) and Jimmy Graham (6-60, 2 TD) did the most damage while Anthony Miller caught the game-winning 28-yard touchdown with under two minutes left to play.
Matt Ryan only managed 238 passing yards and one score to Hayden Hurst on his only catch in the game. Julio Jones was out but Calvin Ridley continues to impress with five catches for 110 yards that included a 63-yard gain. No other receivers had more than 41 yards or scored. Todd Gurley ran for 80 yards and a score on 14 carries while Brian Hill turned in nine runs for 58 yards and a touchdown. There’s going to be more than a little soul-searching by the Falcons who blew huge leads in the last two games and are now 0-3 and playing in Green Bay this week. The 3-0 Bears host the Colts.
WAS 20, CLE 34
This was a win in the manner that the 2020 Browns hope to do every week. Nick Chubb ran 19 times for 108 yards and two touchdowns while Kareem Hunt ended with 46 yards on 16 rushes plus two catches for 18 yards and a score. The combination of the two works very well when games are kept close and both offer up significant fantasy value so far. Baker Mayfield only threw 23 passes and ended with 156 yards and two scores. Odell Beckham (4-59) and Jarvis Landry (4-36) were still the top two receivers for the Browns and yet still had minimal fantasy points.
The Football Team backfield is, and will always be, a mess. Antonio Gibson ran for 49 yards and a touchdown on nine carries but only added 11 yards on three receptions. Five other backs and wideouts recorded at least one carry though none had more than 22 yards. Dwayne Haskins threw for 224 yards and two scores but also three interceptions. Terry McLaurin (4-83) led the group though Dontrelle Inman (3-38, 2 TD) did all the scoring. The defense is still good, at least against the pass, but isn’t nearly good enough to cover for the mediocre offense. The 1-2 Football Team host the Ravens while the 2-1 Browns head to Dallas this week.
TEN 31, MIN 30
Game-o-the-week contender. The struggling Vikings kept just ahead of the Titans from the second quarter onward and took a 30-25 lead with about ten minutes left to play but then gave up two 54+ yard field goals over the last six minutes to lose. Derrick Henry ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns while Ryan Tannehill passed for 312 yards. Kalif Raymond was a surprise with three catches for 118 yards while Corey Davis (5-69) was next best. Jonnu Smith still managed 61 yards on five receptions. The Titans had problems punching in touchdowns and Stephen Gostkowski went from a disastrous season opener to kicking six field goals with three over 50 yards.
The Vikings had success on offense. Dalvin Cook ran for 181 yards and a score on 22 carries plus 18 yards on two catches. Kirk Cousins finally had a big day with 251 yards and three touchdowns. The rookie Justin Jefferson enjoyed his breakout performance with a team-high seven receptions for 175 yards and a score. Adam Thielen (3-29, TD) and Kyle Rudolph (2-11, TD) both scored but did little else in the game. This could have been a sorely-needed win for the 0-3 Vikings who now hit the road to play the Texans. The 3-0 Titans host the Steelers for Week 4 and start a three-game streak of home games.
LV 20, NE 36
The outcome was never in question but both teams score more than expected. Derek Carr threw for 261 yards and two scores with Hunter Renfro (6-84, TD) as the only receiver with more than 48 yards. Josh Jacobs ran for 71 yards on 16 carries and added three catches for 12 yards for a down performance that was expected. Darren Waller was held to only nine yards on two receptions which less surprising after last week’s fireworks showed the Pats that he was the primary receiver to shut down.
Cam Newton only ran for 27 yards on nine rushes and passed for 162 yards and one score – a big step down from the first two games but likely a game plan for future defenses. Rex Burkhead was a nice waiver wire scrape that was the leading receiver with seven catches for 49 yards and a score plus he ran for 49 yards and two touchdowns and 49 yards on six runs. Sony Michel gained 117 yards on nine runs and added two catches for 23 yards. This was a solid win by the Patriots who didn’t need to pass much. But a bad sign for the passing game elements whenever the Pats play at home or against lesser teams. The 2-1 Raiders host the Bills in Week 4 and the 2-1 Patriots head to Kansas City.
SF 36, NYG 9
Both teams were dealing with significant injuries, but the Giants were able to remotely compensate for their missing players. Jerick McKinnon was the primary back but only gained 38 yards on 14 carries but scored once and caught three passes for 49 yards. Jeff Wilson only had 15 yards on 12 carries but also scored via a rush and again on his three receptions for 54 yards. Brandon Aiyuk was the starting wideout, and he led the team with five catches for 70 yards and even ran in a touchdown on his three rushes for 31 yards. Nick Mullens is still a great plug-in. He threw for 343 yards and one score with no turnovers. The names may have changed on the 49ers offense, but the results were still the same.
The first game without Saquon Barkley and the 2020 prospects are dim. The backfield used all three running backs – in a home game – and only gained 17 yards on ten rushes. Daniels Jones was the leading rusher with 49 yards on five runs but he only passed for 179 yards and one interception. Darius Slayton (3-53) was the leading receiver. The Giants couldn’t generate much offense even with the 49ers missing several defenders. The rest of the season went dark the moment that Saquon Barkley left the field. The 2-1 49ers host the Eagles this week while the 0-3 Giants travel to play the Rams.
CIN 23, PHI 23
Oh boy, a tie. And just when you thought that at least one team would get their first win. The Bengals only rushed for 49 yards on 17 carries by Joe Mixon who added two catches for 16 yards. Joe Burrow continues to play very well for a rookie and passed for 312 yards and two scores that both went to Tee Higgins (5-40, 2 TD). Tyler Boyd led the team with ten catches for 125 yards while A.J. Green (5-36) continues to underwhelm in his return. Burrow had a 105.5 QB rating and looks like a veteran. This was yet another game that he almost won.
Carson Wentz played more like a rookie than a veteran. He only threw for 225 yards and one score against two interceptions with a QB rating of 62.8. Miles Sanders ran for 95 yards on 18 carries and added four receptions for 12 yards. Wentz ran for 65 yards and a score that he stole from Sanders. The only notable receivers were Greg Ward (8-72, TD) and Zach Ertz (7-70). Both DeSean Jackson and Dallas Goedert left injured. The tie has to be more of a win for the Bengals and just continued proof that the Eagles offense has taken a big step down, and maybe with worse to come since they continue to suffer injuries on the offensive line. The 0-2-1 Eagles head to San Francisco this weekend while the 0-2-1 Bengals host the Jaguars.
HOU 21, PIT 28
The Texans led 21-17 at the half but then remembered where they were and who they are. David Johnson scored once but only ran for 23 yards on 13 carries with no rush for more than five yards. Deshaun Watson passed for 264 yards and two scores with one interception and he did a solid job spreading the ball around against the Steelers secondary. Randall Cobb (4-95, TD) and Will Fuller (4-54, TD) led the receivers and Brandin Cooks (3-23) still cannot shake coverage. Keeping the score difference to just one touchdown was a victory of sorts for the Texans defense.
James Conner distanced himself from the embarrassing Week 1 by rushing for 109 yards and one score and adding four catches for 40 yards. Ben Roethlisberger turned in a moderate showing with 237 yards and two scores that were divided between Eric Ebron (5-52, TD) and Juju Smith-Schuster (4-43, TD) while no other receivers gained more than 36 yards. The Steelers opened sluggishly and fell behind 14-3 in the second quarterback but then got into gear and finished the game. The 0-3 Texans host the Vikings while the 3-0 Steelers head to Tennessee.
NYJ 7, IND 36
This matchup went even more poorly than expected, and it had almost no expectations on the injury-ravaged Jets. Frank Gore gained 57 yards on 15 rushes but Sam Darnold only managed 168 passing yards and one touchdown against three interceptions. Braxton Berrios (4-64, TD) was the only notable receiver and all others remained below 45 yards with no scores. Darnold has no time to throw and no one to throw to, so his 47.0 QB rating is not hard to understand. The Jets defense really isn’t that bad, but they are constantly placed into impossible situations.
The Colts defense scored two touchdowns and recorded a safety. The offense was held to only 59 yards and a touchdown for Jonathan Taylor and Philip Rivers passed for 217 yards and a score on just 21 passes thrown. T.Y. Hilton (3-52) led the team while Mo Alie-Cox (3-50, TD) caught the only passing touchdown. The Colts defense won this because the Jets offense just gets worse and cannot afford the injuries. The 0-3 Jets host the Broncos while the 2-1 Colts head to Chicago to face the Bears.
CAR 21, LAC 16
The Panthers lost their all-world running back, so of course they win a road game against a good defense. Mike Davis ran for just 46 yards and 25 of those came on one run. He added eight catches for 45 yards and a touchdown though as yet another reminder to back-up your first-round running backs. Teddy Bridgewater was efficient, completing 22-of-28 for 235 yards and the one score to Davis. DJ Moore (2-65) and Robbie Anderson (5-55) were the top receivers in this mildly surprising win that thanks to five field goals by Joey Slye.
The Chargers had offense. Austin Ekeler ran for 59 yards and a touchdown plus caught 11 passes for 84 yards while Joshua Kelley tacked on 43 more on eight runs. Justin Herbert threw for 330 yards and one score with one interception. Keenan Allen again profited with 13 catches for 132 yards and the one passing touchdown. Hunter Henry (5-50) helped out but no other receiver turned in more than 23 yards. The problem for the Chargers was the interception and three lost fumbles. They ruined a chance to start out with two wins but now the 1-2 Chargers head to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers while the 1-2 Panthers host the Cardinals.
DET 26, ARI 23
Here is another game that says “don’t get too comfortable yet.” The winless Lions came in with their confusing backfield and struggling passing game but apparently Kenny Golladay makes all the difference. Adrian Peterson ran for 75 yards on 22 carries with a ten-yard catch. Kerryon Johnson only ran three times and had one reception as a non-factor. Matt Stafford finally looked to be in his 2019 form (pre-injury) when he passed for 270 yards and two touchdowns. Golladay (6-57, TD) led the receivers while T.J. Hockenson (4-53) and Marvin Jones (3-51) were next best. It was the first sign that the Lions offense might start to resemble the formidable passing attack of last season.
Kenyan Drake ran for 73 yards on 18 rushes but only caught one pass for six yards. Kyle Murray scored the only rushing touchdown when he ran for 29 yards on five scampers, and also threw for exactly 270 yards and two touchdowns but added three costly interceptions. DeAndre Hopkins (10-137) is still a pass sponge but Andy Isabella (4-47, 2 TD) finally showed up and will no doubt leave waiver wires this week. The Lions defense played better than expected and held the Cards scoreless in the fourth quarter while Matt Prater kicked field goals to tie and then to win as time expired. The 1-2 Lions return home to face the Saints while the 2-1 Cardinals head to Carolina to meet the Panthers.
TB 28, DEN 10
The Broncos offense couldn’t begin to stay in this game without Drew Lock, though the outcome would likely had been much the same with him there. The Buccaneers backfield remains indecipherable, this time swinging back towards Ronald Jones who ran for 53 yards on 13 carries while Leonard Fournette crawled back under the rock with just 15 yards on seven rushes. Both caught two short passes and neither scored. Tom Brady turned in his best game as a Buccaneer with 297 yards and three touchdowns without any interceptions. Chris Godwin (5-64, TD) was effective before leaving against with a hamstring issue. Mike Evans had the ever-so rare two catches for two yards and two touchdowns. Scott Miller led the team with 83 yards on five catches. The passing offense looked great while the rushing offense is a weekly coin flip that sometimes no one wins.
The Broncos couldn’t generate much offense. Melvin Gordon was held to only 26 yards on eight runs as they abandoned the run. But Jeff Driskel completed 17-of-30 for 176 yards and one score with one interception and was benched. Brett Rypien was no better throwing for 53 yards and one interception. The Broncos added Blake Bortles last week, so he may show up in Week 4. Jerry Jeudy was able to play but only totaled 55 yards on five receptions while Noah Fant was next best with just 46 yards on five catches. The passing game is in the dumpster right now and doing no favors to the rookies Jeudy or KJ Hamler. The 2-1 Buccaneers host the Chargers this weekend and the 0-3 Broncos head to New York to face the Jets.
LA 32, BUF 35
The Rams were all the Bills could handle and they almost won despite trailing 28-3 in the third quarter. The Rams reeled off four straight touchdowns to lead 32-28 with only 4:30 minutes left to play but Josh Allen led a drive to the LA-30 yard line on third-and-25 and took a timeout on when Stephon Diggs caught a 17-yard pass with 25 seconds left to play. On fourth-and-three, he threw an incompletion but the Rams were called for defensive pass interference and made it first down at the three yard line with 21 seconds left. Allen connected with Tyler Kroft for the winning score and the Rams ruined a near-historic comeback.
Darrell Henderson ran for 114 yards and one touchdown and Jared Goff also ran in a touchdown. He passed for 321 yards and two touchdowns between Cooper Kupp (9-107, TD) and Robert Woods (5-74, TD). Josh Reynolds (4-60) also helped in the comeback that almost was. Goff only totaled 94 passing yards at the half and almost all production came in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Devin Singletary ran for 71 yards on 13 carries with Zack Moss out and also added 50 yards on four receptions. Josh Allen once again blew up with a rushing touchdown while passing for 311 yards and four touchdowns. Cole Beasley (6-100) and Gabriel Davis (4-81) were the top receivers while John Brown left injured. Stefon Diggs (4-24, TD) and Tyler Kroft (4-24, 2 TD) mattered most near the end zone. The Rams fall to 2-1 and host the Giants for a “get right” game. The 3-0 Bills head to Las Vegas to play the Raiders.
GB 37, NO 30
Yet another Game-o-the-Week contender. Both teams had great quarterbacks that missed their elite wideouts. But the Packers had the better defense, if only marginally so. Aaron Jones ran for 69 yards and one touchdown with two catches for 17 yards and almost a second score. Aaron Rodgers passed for 283 yards and three touchdowns that mostly went to Allen Lazard (6-146, TD) and Robert Tonyan (5-50, TD). The score was tied 27-27 entering the fourth quarter but the Packers scored ten straight points while the Saints could only manage a field goal at the end. The Packers are using their tight ends much more often in recent games and two of the top three receivers were Tonyan and Jace Sternberger (3-36).
Without Michael Thomas, Drew Brees still threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns but struggled to connect with the wide receivers or sustain drives as he once did. Alvin Kamara was their best weapon with 58 rushing yards on just six carries and 13 receptions for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Emmanuel Sanders (4-56, TD) and Tre’Quan Smith (4-42) were the next best in this game of constant checkdowns to Kamara. Jared Cook left injured as well but from the start, Kamara was the only way to move the ball. The 3-0 Packers return home to face the Falcons with what should be an obscene amount of points scored. The 1-2 Saints stumble into Detroit to meet the Lions.
DAL 31, SEA 38
At this rate, the only question is if the Game-o-the-Week contains the Cowboys, Seahawks or Falcons. Each can post a ton of points and yet cannot stop other teams from doing the same. In a word – “delightful.”
The only difference between the Cowboys win over the Falcons and their loss to the Seahawks is that Russell Wilson can accomplish that final winning drive that eluded Matt Ryan. The Seahawks led 30-15 in the third quarter when the Cowboys reeled off two touchdowns and then kicked a 42-yard field goal to take the lead 31-30 with 3:59 left to play.
The Seahawks took over on their own 25-yard line and Wilson marched them down the field and then had a fourth-and-three from the Dallas 47-yard line. Wilson connected with Greg Olsen for 11 yards for the first, then Travis Homer ran for seven yards because Chris Carson was injured. On the first play after the two-minute warning, Wilson hit DK Metcalf for a 29-yard touchdown.
The Cowboys reached the Seattle 26-yard line with 16 seconds left to play when Prescott threw an interception. It was a wild game and hopefully both teams will continue to provide such a bounty to the fantasy community.
Ezekiel Elliott only ran for 34 yards on 14 carries but he scored once and added six receptions for 24 yards. Dak Prescott ended with 472 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. Michael Gallup (6-138, TD) and Cedrick Wilson (5-107, 2 TD) took care of the scoring while Amari Cooper (9-86) led in receptions. CeeDee Lamb was relatively quiet with five catches for 65 yards. With 472 yards to distribute, everyone was involved. The Seahawks tried to shut down Cooper and Lamb and were almost killed by Gallup and Wilson.
Chris Carson ran for 64 yards on 14 rushes and caught three passes for 12 yards but left injured. Russell Wilson set an NFL record by throwing for 14 touchdowns over the first three games of the season. He passed for 315 yards and five scores that mostly favored DK Metcalf (4-110, TD) and Tyler Lockett (9-100, 3 TD). Metcalf should have scored a
Greg Olsen (5-61) also had a big role though Jacob Hollister scored on his only catch. It was a wild game that the Cowboys almost pulled off. They committed the one unforgivable error this year – they left Russell Wilson too much time.