Preseason Week 1 Recap: Winner & Losers, Plus Notes on All 32 Teams

Preseason Week 1 Recap: Winner & Losers, Plus Notes on All 32 Teams

This article is part of our NFL Observations series.

This was a surprisingly interesting weekend by Week 1 preseason standards. Some teams still rest starters, but it's no longer a given the way it was in the days of four preseason games. 

Below are my notes on all 32 teams, after watching portions of all 16 games. I did a longer recap for the Thursday games, one of which I attended, if you're interested in checking that out. The level of detail below will vary by team, with those that played starters getting more attention. It's sorted by team, rather than game, hopefully making things a bit easier for those who just want to skim for specific points.

Before we get into the breakdowns, let's make a quick list of some notable winners/losers.

Winners

RB Brian Robinson

RB Isiah Pacheco

RB Mike Davis

RB Dontrell Hilliard

RB Qadree Ollison

RB Anthony McFarland

RB Josh Jacobs

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

WR Zay Jones

WR Jahan Dotson

WR Romeo Doubs

WR Isaiah McKenzie

WR Noah Brown

TE Daniel Bellinger

TE Tyler Conklin

     

Losers

Remember that this is relative. It doesn't mean the guys below shouldn't be drafted at all. Playing with backups in the preseason opener is no kiss of death, especially for a rookie. It's more concerning for veterans, to be fair.

QB Zach Wilson (knee injury)

RB Antonio Gibson

RB Ronald Jones

RB Benny Snell

RB Kenyan Drake

WR Treylon Burks

WR Jamison Crowder

WR Simi Fehoko

TE Albert Okwuegbunam

TE C.J. Uzomah

    

Team-by-Team Recaps/Notes

Arizona Cardinals (at CIN)

  • The Cardinals rested starters, which meant the main thing to watch was competition for backup RB spots behind James Conner.
    • Veteran RB Darrel Williams also was rested. A good sign for him, though reports from camp seem to favor Eno Benjamin.
    • Benjamin got the start, with Jonathan Ward mixing in with the second-team offense and punching in a pair of one-yard TDs. 
      • Benjamin finished with five carries for 14 yards and one incomplete target. Ward had six carries for 15 and two TDs.
    • Rookie RB Keaontay Ingram got his first touch on Arizona's first snap of the second half. He finished with 7-27-1 rushing and two catches for 18 yards on two targets... solid work for a debut.

        

Atlanta Falcons (at DET)

  • INJURY: WR Drake London left with a knee injury, after catching his lone target for 24 yards on Atlanta's opening drive (the Falcons played starters).
  • Marcus Mariota had quite an opening drive, completing both of his pass attempts for 36 yards and adding three carries for 23 yards and a TD. He also had a seven-yard scramble called back on a holding penalty. His first two carries were scrambles; the third a designed run ( the TD from six yards out).
  • Cordarrelle Patterson played one snap. Kyle Pitts played 10. Neither saw the ball.
  • Damien Williams and Qadree Ollison split playing time on the first-team offense's lone drive. Ollison took four carries for 28 yards; Williams had three for 10.
    • On the second drive, Ollison split work with Caleb Huntley, while rookie fifth-round pick Tyler Allgeier didn't get his first touch until the third quarter
  • London and KhaDarel Hodge were the starting WRs, though Olamide Zaccheaus, Geronimo Allison and Damiere Byrd also got run with the first unit. (Bryan Edwards was held out with a shoulder injury; he's been practicing in a non-contact jersey for the past week.)
  • Rookie QB Desmond Ridder played the entire game after the first drive, completing 10 of 22 passes for 103 yards and two TDs (including a game-winner on 4th-and-9) and taking six carries for 59 yards.
    • Ridder made some mistakes, but he also was hurt by three drops and at least one or two other catchable passes that weren't brought in. The rookie was more accurate than 10-of-22 passing suggests.

        

Baltimore Ravens (vs. TEN)

  • Baltimore rested nearly every starter, including all the skill-position guys.
  • Mike Davis took five of the six RB carries on Baltimore's first two drives, going for 22 yards and a TD (from four yards out). He's in good position for a Week 1 role, with Gus Edwards (ACL) looking unlikely and even J.K. Dobbins (ACL) not a sure thing. Even if Dobbins is fine, the Ravens don't figure to use him as a workhorse right away.
    • Justice Hill, coming back from last year's Achilles tear, was second through the RB rotation but got only three carries for 11 yards.
  • Fourth-round rookie TE Isaiah Likely was Baltimore's star of the first half, catching each of his four targets for 44 yards, including two tough grabs and another easy one where he then made at least three defenders miss. He also had two holding penalties, and the 235-pound rookie probably won't see many snaps/targets unless Mark Andrews misses time. (Fellow fourth-round rookie TE Charlie Kolar is recovering from sports hernia surgery.)
  • Rookie UDFA Shemar Bridges put up 4-64-1, with his TD coming late in the first half from second-string QB Tyler Huntley (the starter Thursday night). Bridges played well, but it's hard to get too excited about a 24-year-old undrafted rookie.
  • I did a more detailed recap of the Thursday games - check it out here for more notes on Titans-Ravens and Giants-Pats.

    

Buffalo Bills (vs. IND)

  • The Bills rested most of their key players — a group that included RB Devin Singletary and WR Isaiah McKenzie.
    • Jamison Crowder, meanwhile, played in the game, finishing without a catch on two targets. He, Khalil Shakir and Jake Kumerow got most of the WR snaps with Case Keenum and the second-stringers.
      • Shakir, a fifth-round rookie, was the standout of the bunch, catching each of his five targets for 92 yards. He had two catches on the opening drive and continued playing into the third quarter.
  • Zack Moss started at RB, but second-round pick James Cook also got a bunch of snaps (plus three carries and a target) with the second-team offense.
    • Cook managed 10 yards on four touches, getting all his work early in the game.
    • Moss took three carries for 37 yards and caught two of three targets for five yards, doing the vast majority of his damage on the opening drive.

    

Carolina Panthers (at WAS)

    

Chicago Bears (vs. KC)

  • Justin Fields and Darnell Mooney played three drives (all ending in punts), while Cole Kmet and David Montgomery were held out with minor injuries. 
    • Apart from a 26-yard completion to Mooney, the Bears offense couldn't get much going until the Chiefs started pulling guys. Even then, the Bears didn't score, though Tajae Sharpe made a brilliant 19-yard catch along the sideline to convert a 3rd-and-long.
    • Khalil Herbert accounted for three of Fields' seven targets... all incompletions.
  • Equanimeous St. Brown and Tajae Sharpe joined Mooney as the first-team wideouts, though it doesn't mean much with Byron Pringle (quad) and Velus Jones (undisclosed) both sidelined. N'Keal Harry (ankle) had surgery last week and won't be available early in the season (not that he'd necessarily have a role if he was healthy).
  • With Montgomery out, Khalil Herbert dominated first-team RB snaps.
    • Herbert finished with seven carries for 20 yards and no catches on three targets (one drop, one bad pass, one batted pass).
    • Fifth-round rookie Trestan Ebner got most of the second-team work, with Darrynton Evans mixing in. Ebner took six carries for 31 yards and scored a 12-yard TD on his lone target.

    

Cincinnati Bengals (vs. ARI)

  • The Bengals rested all their starters, plus backup RB Samaje Perine.
    • It's a good sign for Perine, and it doesn't hurt that Chris Evans had a brutal night while serving as the lead back early on (eight carries for minus-three yards, and one catch for nine yards).
    • Perine likely remains ahead of Evans for the No. 2 role, which often means subbing in for Joe Mixon on passing downs. Just note that Perine did miss some time this summer due to injury, which may (or may not) have been a role in sitting out Friday.

    

Cleveland Browns (at JAX)

  • The Browns rested a bunch of key players, but some of their starters played, including QB Deshaun Watson, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones and TE David Njoku.
  • Starting center Nick Harris left with a potentially serious knee/leg injury after the second snap.
  • Watson completed only one of five passes for seven yards across three drives (nine snaps). One of the drives ended early on a fumble by D'Ernest Johnson, who got the start with Chubb/Hunt sidelined (and finished with zero yards and the fumble on three carries).
    • Watson missed a wide-open Anthony Schwartz on the first snap of the game. Schwartz dropped the other two targets. Chemistry!
  • Njoku played every snap with Watson and had the only reception from him, but second-year wideout Anthony Schwartz accounted for three of the five targets.
    • Njoku, Schwartz and DPJ were regulars alongside Watson, with Demetric Felton coming in as the third receiver and Harrison Bryant as the second tight end.

    

Dallas Cowboys (at DEN)

  • Both teams rested starters and some key veteran backups. The only guy we really care about who played is Jalen Tolbert, the third-round rookie wideout.
    • Tolbert caught two of seven targets for a mere 10 yards, with one drop and a false start penalty. He mostly played the slot, and did at least see all his targets in the first half.
    • Note that Noah Brown was held out in a coach's decision, leaving Tolbert, Semi Fehoko and Dennis Houston as the team's top wide receivers early in the game.
      • Fehoko did nothing early but then scored a 12-yard TD in the fourth quarter.

    

Denver Broncos (vs. DAL)

  • TE Albert Okwuegbunam was the only projected starter to play for Denver's offense. Which only adds to the doubt about his role, though rookie TE Greg Dulcich has missed most of camp (and Saturday's game) with a hamstring injury.
    • Okwuegbunam and Eric Tomlinson both got run early in the game. Neither was targeted.
  • Mike Boone started at RB and finished with minus-one yard on three touches. Max Borghi was next through the rotation and took five touches for nine yards.

    

Detroit Lions (vs. ATL)

  • Jared Goff and the starters played one drive, scoring a TD.
  • Craig Reynolds was the next RB in the game when Swift/Williams were pulled along with other starters after the opening drive. Jermar Jefferson did have a target on the second drive, but mostly it was Reynolds getting the ball.
  • First-round pick Aidan Hutchinson stuffed Qadree Ollison for a three-yard loss on ATL's second snap of the game. It looked like bad blocking more so than good defense, but Lions fans still had to be happy to see it.

    

Green Bay Packers (at SF)

  • The Packers rested starters and gave both QB Jordan Love and WR Romeo Doubs extended playing time.
    • Doubs caught three of seven targets for 45 yards and a TD, hitting paydirt from 33 yards out on a fourth down in the first quarter. The much-discussed fourth-round pick burnt Tarvarius Moore deep and made the Niners pay for a blitz.
    • 2021 third-round pick Amari Rodgers also got snaps while Love was in the game, and also scored a TD, but it was Rodgers' only catch of the night and came in Q4 with Danny Etling at QB
    • Love finished with two TDs and three INTs, completing 13 of 24 passes for 176 yards.
  • Tyler Goodson was the starting RB, took the first carry and dominated snaps with the second-string offense. Patrick Taylor also subbed in. 
  • Josiah Deguara and Tyler Davis both got a bunch of snaps at TE, with Deguara pulling in two of three targets for 12 yards.

    

Houston Texans (at NO)

  • QB Davis Mills handled two drives, both 3-and-outs, completing all three of his passes for 14 yards.
  • Marlon Mack started at RB and managed only three carries for six yards. Dare Ogunbowale subbed in on passing downs, while Rex Burkhead didn't play and Dameon Pierce ran with the backups.
    • Pierce gained six or more yards on each of his five carries — all in the second quarter.
      • An INT bounced off his hands, but on a play where he was hit hard while trying to make the catch. It was a dumb throw by Jeff Driskel, who threw two other picks.

    

Indianapolis Colts (at BUF)

  • The Colts largely played their key guys, apart from Jonathan Taylor. Nyheim Hines played every snap alongside Matt Ryan, with Phillip Lindsay then coming in after the starters were pulled.
    • The Indy starters scored three points on four drives, and only that much because of a short field after an INT.
    • Ryan completed six of 10 passes for 58 yards. Three targets went to Michael Pittman, with two apiece for Hines, Parris Campbell and Alec Pierce.
  • Pierce worked as the No. 3 receiver, playing a few less snaps than Campbell but mostly staying on the field with the first-team offense.
    • He was targeted on a slant on the Colts' first third-down attempt, with fellow rookie Kaiir Elam (first round) breaking it up for Buffalo. Pierce later had a short catch on a 2nd-and-long. Underwhelming, but he at least played a lot with the starters.
  • TE Mo Alie-Cox wasn't targeted despite playing most of the snaps with the starters. Kylen Granson and Andrew Ogletree also got some PT at tight end.
  • Hines took eight carries for 26 yards and two catches for 13.

Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. CLE)

  • The Jags played their starters for three drives. The first was a 78-yard FG drive. The second produced a FG without a first down (after a D'Ernest Johnson fumble). The third was a 63-yard TD drive.
  • Travis Etienne dominated snaps on the first three drives, with Snoop Conner subbing in briefly. (James Robinson (Achilles) isn't ready yet, no surprise.)
    • Etienne took nine carries for 23 yards and caught one of three targets for 10 yards.
    • He looked quick and picked up 12 yards on his first carry, but after that he dropped a pass and didn't have much room to run. A six-yard loss left him at 2.6 YPC despite mostly running well. He did make one mistake on a toss play, trying to reverse field when he didn't have room or an angle, and ultimately losing two yards on a play where he could've gained one or two by simply running forward into the crowd.
  • The first two passes were downfield to Zay Jones, who picked up 32 yards on the first of those throws.
    • Jones finished with two catches for 47 yards on four targets, all while working with QB Trevor Lawrence.
  • Evan Engram's lone catch was a nine-yard TD on 4th-and-2, the final snap for the first-team offense.
    • He saw two targets from Lawrence. Travis Etienne got three. Laquon Treadwell saw two, with a third wiped out by a penalty.
    • Engram and Chris Manhertz split snaps, with the latter mostly blocking but also seeing one target.
    • Marvin Jones and Zay Jones both were on the field for every snap with the first-team offense, while Treadwell was the No. 3 receiver (Christian Kirk missed the game with a minor injury). This supports what Jags reporters have said from camp, with Jones, Jones and Kirk being a clear Top 3, followed by Treadwell as the likely No. 4.
  • Lawrence completed six of 12 passes for 95 yards and a TD, adding one carry for 11 yards.
    • He wasn't perfectly accurate but did look confident in the pocket, and also was comfortable 
  • Are the Jags' wide receivers better blockers than TE Evan Engram?

    

Kansas City Chiefs (at CHI)

  • The Chiefs played starters, including Patrick Mahomes, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Travis Kelce, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
    • JuJu and MVS were the top two wide receivers, with Mecole Hardman coming on some as the No. 3. Rookie Skyy Moore didn't play at all until backups entered the game.
  • Edwards-Helaire got most of the first-team snaps, but rookie Isiah Pacheco also subbed in for three plays, including a carry for two yards and a catch for five.
    • Pacheco got just one carry after that with the second unit, picking up four yards.
  • Skyy Moore was busy with the second-stringers, catching each of his three targets for 23 yards and 
  • Ronald Jones and Derrick Gore split second-team snaps. RoJo finished with four carries for one yard, and was still in the game in the third quarter with third-stringers. So much for those early-camp reports about Jones getting most of the second-team work...

    

Las Vegas Raiders (vs. MIN)

  • The Raiders held out starters again.... and this time Josh Jacobs was among them. Also note that Ameer Abdullah didn't play, nor did Brandon Bolden. Assuming Abdullah is the third-down back and Bolden a key special teamer, it's hard to see where Kenyan Drake fits (he doesn't, unless there's an injury.
    • Jacobs played in the Hall of Game Game, even though most starters were rested. It was cause for concern, at least mild concern, though Josh McDaniel downplayed it.
  • The Raiders presumably wouldn't cut Zamir White, a fourth-round pick who looked good in the preseason opener and then started Sunday's game.
    • White was held to 13 yards on five carries in this one, while Drake took four carries for 15 yards and caught two passes for 17 yards.

    

Los Angeles Chargers (vs. LAR)

  • This was another Saturday stinker with all the key players held out.
  • Josh Palmer did play, and saw four targets early... but caught none of them.
    • Joe Reed scored from 41 yards out on the opening drive and finished with 4-61-1 on six targets, though he didn't see many snaps early apart from his long TD. The Chargers mostly used Palmer, Jalen Guyton and DeAndre Carter at WR early on.
    • Jalen Guyton caught both his targets for six yards. He and Palmer seemingly are battling for the No. 3 role, with Palmer the one of more fantasy interest (2021 third-round pick who finished last year strong).
  • RB Joshua Kelley got the start and split second-team work with Larry Rountree.
    • Kelley took three carries for 16 yards and three catches for 28.
    • Rountree finished with three carries for eight yards.
  • Rookie Isaiah Spiller came in for the fifth drive and had a nice series of gains, though he never broke one for more than six yards. He finished with 10 carries for 34 yards and caught his lone target for 20 yards. 

    

Los Angeles Rams (at LAC)

  • Hard to find anything to care about here, with so many starters (and key backups like RB Darrell Henderson and WR Ben Skowronek) held out... assuming Henderson is the backup, and not Cam Akers (who also didn't play, of course).
    • Some guy named Lance McCutcheon caught five of six targets for 7 yards and a TD> he's a rookie UDFA out of Montana State.
  • Jake Funk started at RB, while Kyren Williams (recently off PUP) didn't play.
    • Funk had seven touches for 26 yards.
  • Tutu made it big time!

    

Miami Dolphins (at TB)

    

Minnesota Vikings (vs. LV)

  • The Vikes rested most starters but did play Alexander Mattison and KJ Osborn, briefly.
  • Ty Chandler took five carries for 50 yards, with Kene Nwangwu toting seven times for 41 yards. The two speedy backs likely are competing for the No. 3 job, which could come down to special teams (advantage: Nwangwu). Maybe Minnesota keeps four RBs, though.
  • WR Albert Wilson is alive and caught two TDs! (Both in the second half.)

    

New England Patriots (vs. NYG)

  • The Patriots rested starters, plus Rhamondre Stevenson. (And Ty Montgomery.) 
    • James White (hip) just retired, and either Montgomery or Stevenson look like the best bets to handle passing downs.
  • J.J. Taylor got the start at RB, over Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris, both of whom ultimately had mediocre nights.
    • Harris had seven touches for only seven yards, but did score a TD. Strong had seven touches for 25 yards.
    • Taylor took five carries for 16 yards and one catch for 11.
  • Second-round pick Tyquan Thornton generated some buzz with a short TD catch, and it was he, Kristian Wilkerson and Tre Nixon dominating WR snaps while QB Brian Hoyer (Thursday's starter) was in the game.
    • Thornton finished with only two catches for nine yards, though, while Wilkerson had eight for 99 on 12 targets (including two for 42 from Hoyer).
  • I did a more detailed recap of the Thursday games - check it out here for more notes on Titans-Ravens and Giants-Pats.

    

New Orleans Saints (at HOU)

  • The Saints held out starters and key players, including RB Mark Ingram.
    • Dwayne Washington started in the backfield and got most of the snaps early, spelled by Tony Jones.
    • UDFA Abram Smith didn't get work until the second half but did pick up 42 yards on eight touches. He, Jones, and Washington all had solid nights, keeping the competition for the No. 3 job hot and heavy.
  • Chris Olave caught his lone target for four yards.

    

New York Giants (at NE)

  • The Giants played starters, with Saquon Barkley getting one drive while Daniel Jones, Kenny Golladay and most of the others played two.
  • Golladay, Collin Johnson and Wan'Dale Robinson got most of the first-team WR snaps, with Darius Slayton mixing in. (Kadarius Toney was held out with a minor injury.)
    • Robinson didn't see any targets, whereas Johnson caught seven passes for 82 yards (but also lost a fumble). 
    • Golladay, Toney and Robinson are the likely top 3 for Week 1.
  • Rookie TE Daniel Bellinger dominated TE snaps with the first unit and also played some with the second-stringers. He finished with just one catch for five yards. Another rookie who could be the Week 1 starter, if only for lack of competition.
  • Starting LG Shane Lemieux left the game with a toe injury, per SNY's Alex Smith.
  • Golladay saw three targets, including one in the end zone and one near it, but he finished with only one catch for six yards and a third-down drop.
  • Gary Brightwell was the second RB through the rotation, though it doesn't mean much with Matt Breida (undisclosed) being held out.
  • I did a more detailed recap of the Thursday games - check it out here for more notes on Titans-Ravens and Giants-Pats.

    

New York Jets (at PHI)

  • INJURY: QB Zach Wilson suffered a bone bruise and meniscus tear. He'll need minor surgery and is likely out 2-4 weeks.
    • That happened on the second drive. Wilson first threw a brutal INT on the Jets' opening drive.
  • WR Garrett Wilson caught two of three targets for 25 yards, but he was only the No. 4 receiver for the first-team offense, playing behind Elijah Moore, Corey Davis and slot man Braxton Berrios. Wilson's one target from the other Wilson was an incompletion due to an overthrow.
  • Michael Carter got the start, with Breece Hall mixing for a couple snaps on the first-team offense (one carry) and then getting four more carries with the backups. The rookie finished with five carries for 15 yards, while Carter had three for five and one catch for seven yards.
  • Tyler Conklin played every snap alongside Wilson, with C.J. Uzomah only coming on as the second tight end.

    

Philadelphia Eagles (vs. NYJ)

  • Jalen Hurts completed each of his six passes for 80 yards and a TD. He had a 12-yard scramble TD called back on a holding penalty, then threw a 22-yard score to Dallas Goedert (who is a monster) on the next snap. Not bad, though the drive did continue on a late hit after an unsuccessful third-down play around midfield.
    • Quez Watkins filled in for an injured Devonta Smith, with Jalen Reagor coming on as the third receiver (Philly used 11 personnel on seven of eight snaps, so Reagor was mostly on the field).
    • A.J. Brown wasn't targeted on eight snaps. Watkins and Sanders saw two targets each, then Goedert had the TD and backup TE Jack Stoll had one catch.
    • Sanders played every snap on the drive, catching two passes for 20 yards and finishing without a carry.
  • The second drive featured Gardner Minshew at QB, Jason Huntley at RB and Zach Pascal seeing two targets at WR. 

    

Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. SEA)

  • The Steelers started Mitchell Trubisky but held out a bunch of guys who are either healthy or have minor injuries.... RB Najee Harris, WR Diontae Johnson (hip), WR Chase Claypool (hamstring) and TE Pat Freirmuth (hamstring, maybe).
  • Anthony McFarland dominated RB snaps early on, though it might not mean that much given that Benny Snell (ankle) didn't play.
    • McFarland did well with seven carries for 63 yards, though the next guy up (Jaylen Warren) was also impressive with six carries for 34 yards and a 4-30-1 receiving line on five targets.
    • McFarland gained 24 yards on his first carry.
  • Fifth-round rookie Calvin Austin (foot) was also held out.
  • George Pickens, a.k.a. the main event, had a nine-yard catch on Pittsburgh's first snap. He saw an overthrown deep ball a few plays later, then caught a 26-yard TD from Mason Rudolph on the Steelers' third drive.
    • Pickens ultimately saw each of his five targets within the first four drives, catching three for 43 yards and a TD.
      • The TD featured a perfect toe-tap in the back corner of the end zone. That'll add to the hype, and maybe it should.

    

San Francisco 49ers (vs. GB)

  • Trey Lance just got a little more expensive. He led the Niners to 10 points on two drives, completing four of five throws for 92 yards and a TD. Lance gained seven yards on his lone carry.
    • Third-round pick Danny Gray (4.33 30) scored a 75-yard TD on a 9 route to convert a 3rd-and-long. He was wide open, and Lance put the ball in the right place to complete the long TD.
  • The Niners rested a lot of starters, including Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Elijah Mitchell (hamstring) and Brandon Aiyuk. They also rested veteran RB Jeff Wilson.
  • With Mitchell and Wilson held out, Trey Sermon played every snap while Lance was in the game.
    • Sermon took six carries for 11 yards, while rookie Tyrion Davis-Price had 10 for 33. They saw one target apiece.

    

Seattle Seahawks (vs. PIT)

  • Geno Smith started and played the first half, producing 10 points on five drives. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 101 yards and ran twice for nine yards and a TD.
    • Drew Lock got the second half and completed 11 of 15 passes for 102 yards and two TDs. He also lost a fumble with 70 seconds remaining, setting up the game-winning TD to break a tie and hand Pittsburgh the win.
    • Neither had much to work with at WR. The main first-team WRs were Dareke Young, Bo Melton and Penny Hart... no worries if you haven't heard of any of them.
      • Freddie Swain (back) and Dee Eskridge (hamstring) were unavailable, on top of Metcalf and Lockett sitting. So the Seahawks essentially were missing their top four WRs.
  • Rashaad Penny (groin), DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett didn't play.
  • Noah Fant saw a team-high three targets from Geno, catching two for 20 yards.
  • With Penny out, Kenneth Walker got the start and took five carries for 19 yards and one reception for 11 yards.
    • Travis Homer subbed in for third downs and the two-minute drill in the first half.
  • DeeJay Dallas flashed in the second half with 10 carries for 73 yards plus a 17-yard receiving TD.

    

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. MIA)

  • The Bucs rested all their starters and key players. Giovani Bernard got all the second-team work, with Ke'Shawn Vaughn taking third-team snaps and being spelled by rookie Rachaad White.
    • White finished with seven carries for 32 yards and two catches for 13 more.
    • Vaugh had 10 carries for 19yards and a TD, plus two catches for 22 yards.
  • Kyle Trask threw for 258 yards and a TD on 33 attempts but also tossed a pick and lost a fumble.

    

Tennessee Titans (at BAL)

  • The Titans rested starters and some other key players. The healthy players held out included RB Dontrell Hilliard and WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine; that's because both are locked in for Week 1 roles. (Hilliard is the passing-down back, NWI likely the second or third receiver.)
  • WR Treylon Burks didn't start. QB Malik Willis did. Burks got some work with Willis and the second unit, but the first-round pick also played with the third-stringers into the fourth quarter, and he finished with one carry for four yards and a lone incomplete target.
  • Willis made some really nice plays, but he produced only 10 points on seven-plus drives and was pulled for Logan Woodside after two snaps in the third quarter. Mike Vrabel isn't wrong that Willis spent too much time running around and not enough time passing, but the rookie QB did have a few really nice plays, including completions of 48 and 19 yards and a seven-yard rushing TD. 
    • All five of his carries were scrambles. He attempted only 11 passes on 18 dropbacks (two sacks, five scrambles).
  • RB Hassan Haskins, a rookie fourth-round pick, came in behind undrafted rookie Julius Chesnut, who fumbled the ball away on Tennessee's second drive but then had a 12-yard catch and 29-yard run on the third drive.
    • Haskins ultimately had a busy night with six carries for 19 yards and three catches for 29 yards, but it's still not a good sign for him to be second through the rotation on a night when the top two guys were held out.
  • I did a more detailed recap of the Thursday games - check it out here for more notes on Titans-Ravens and Giants-Pats.

    

Washington Commanders (vs. CAR)

  • Washington played starters, with Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel getting regular snaps for the first three drives alongside Carson Wentz.
    • Dotson wasn't targeted but appeared to play every snap Wentz played.
  • Antonio Gibson started and was stuffed for no gain on the first snap. His second carry was a lost fumble, after Gibson led non-RBs with six fumbles last year. Not great. Third-round rookie Brian Robinson then replaced Gibson and helped Washington put together a long TD drive, with J.D. McKissic subbing in some on passing downs. Gibson's hot seat is getting even warmer, though he's by far the most physically gifted back Washington has.
    • Robinson did well, taking six carries for 26 yards and a TD and catching both of his targets for 15 yards.
    • 2021 UDFA Jaret Patterson didn't get any run until Taylor Heinicke and the second unit entered the game. Patterson made a start last year and did alright, but Robinson has moved ahead of him already.
  • TE Armani Rodgers was targeted on Wentz's second, third, fourth and fifth pass attempts, catching three balls for 12 yards.
    • Wentz sent two targets apiece to Samuel, McLaurin, Robinson and TE Curtis Hodges, plus one to J.D. McKissic. So nine of his 13 attempts went to RBs or TEs.
    • TE John Bates didn't play. He had a calf injury earlier this summer but has since returned to practice. He could be back, and starting, in the second week of the preseason. (TE Logan Thomas is still on the PUP list after last year's ACL tear.)

    

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Donabedian
Jerry was a 2018 finalist for the FSWA's Player Notes Writer of the Year and DFS Writer of the Year awards. A Baltimore native, Jerry roots for the Ravens and watches "The Wire" in his spare time.
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Thursday Night Football Picks: NFL Best Bets and Player Props for Cincinnati Bengals vs. Miami Dolphins
NFL Game Previews: Dolphins-Bengals Matchup
NFL Game Previews: Dolphins-Bengals Matchup
Exploiting the Matchups: Week 4 Start/Sit and Streamers
Exploiting the Matchups: Week 4 Start/Sit and Streamers
Thursday Night Football DFS Breakdown: Cincinnati vs. Miami
Thursday Night Football DFS Breakdown: Cincinnati vs. Miami
Yahoo DFS Football: Week 4 Sunday Baller
Yahoo DFS Football: Week 4 Sunday Baller