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Monday Night Football, Week 3: Chicago-Washington Game Threadby Evan "Tex" Western on September 23, 2019 at 11:45 pm
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports The Bears head to the nation’s capital to try to stay a game back of the Packers in the NFC North. Monday night has arrived, and with it comes the close of week three in the NFL. The weekly Monday Night Football game this evening features one of the Green Bay Packers’ divisional rivals on the road in an attempt to keep pace and stay just one game back of the green and gold in the division. That team is the Chicago Bears, who narrowly pulled off a last-second victory a week ago in Denver. The Broncos took the Bears to the brink before some fortunate clock operation late in the game allowed kicker Eddie Piniero to boot a 53-yard field goal at the end of regulation for a win. Tonight, they are in Washington to face a team that has struggled mightily out of the gate. Washington’s defense is among the worst in the league through two weeks, so this could be a chance for the Bears to get their offense going. Tune in and join the APC crowd as we follow along with tonight’s game. WHO? Chicago Bears (1-1) vs. Washington (0-2) WHERE? FedEx FieldLandover, Maryland WHEN? Monday, September 23, 20198:15 PM Eastern Time HOW? TV Broadcast ESPNCommentators: Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland, Lisa Salters Online Streaming ESPN A
Packers, Eagles release lengthy Monday injury reports for Thursday night gameby Evan "Tex" Western on September 23, 2019 at 8:40 pm
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images It’s going to be an interesting game on Thursday night given all the injuries on both rosters. Short weeks are tough on any NFL team, but this week will apparently be particularly tough on the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles. With the two teams playing on Thursday Night Football in week four, they were required to issue an injury report on Monday, and both teams’ reports are quite long. The Packers did not practice on Monday, needing instead to rehab following Sunday’s 27-16 win over the Denver Broncos. However, their estimated practice participation report included three players listed as non-participants and another ten individuals who were projected to be limited. Of the non-participants, one is tight end Jimmy Graham, who fought through an injury to play on Sunday. However, his play raised questions of whether he should have done so, as his only play of consequence was receiving a penalty for holding. The limited participants are a long and notable list. Among those players are critical defensive starters — Kenny Clark and Blake Martinez — as well as the Packers’ two veteran running backs in Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. An absence for any of those players on Thursday would be a bad sign against an Eagles team that has a strong offensive line and run game as well as a stout defensive front. Philly, however, looks like they will be missing key players of their own. Cornerback Ronald Darby is likely to miss a few weeks with an injury, while wide receivers DeSean Jackson and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and backup left tackle Andre Dillard joined him as DNPs. Meanwhile, a number of other key players were listed as limited as well, so Thursday’s inactives report should be a very interesting one to follow. Stay tuned this week for further injury updates. Packers Injury Report Did Not Participate DL Montravius Adams (shoulder) ILB Oren Burks (chest) TE Jimmy Graham (groin/quad) Limited Participation OT Bryan Bulaga (shoulder) DL Kenny Clark (knee) OLB Kyler Fackrell (shoulder) OLB Rashan Gary (calf) RB Aaron Jones (shoulder) CB Kevin King (chest/illness) WR Jake Kumerow (shoulder) ILB Blake Martinez (shoulder) S Will Redmond (knee) RB Jamaal Williams (neck) Full Participation WR Darrius Shepherd (hamstring)Eagles Injury Report Did Not Participate WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (heel) RB Corey Clement (shoulder) CB Ronald Darby (hamstring) OT Andre Dillard (knee) WR DeSean Jackson (abdomen) DT Tim Jernigan (foot) Limited Participation DE Derek Barnett (ankle) LB Nathan Gerry (calf/knee) TE Dallas Goedert (calf) WR Alshon Jeffery (calf) Full Participation LB Kamu Grugler-Hill (knee) QB Nate Sudfeld (left wrist)
Packers punter JK Scott is off to a stellar start to his second seasonby Evan "Tex" Western on September 23, 2019 at 8:25 pm
Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Scott also started his rookie season well, however, so he will need to find a way to maintain his great play moving forward. The Green Bay Packers have a secret weapon who is becoming less and less of a secret with each passing week. JK Scott, the team’s second-year punter, had a middling rookie year with Ron Zook in charge of the Packers’ special teams. But in year two, with Shawn Mennenga running the show, Scott has seemingly taken a big leap forward and is turning into a true field position problem for the Packers’ opponents. Through three games in 2019, Scott has been busy, in part due to the Packers’ inconsistency on offense. But in his 21 punts — second-most behind only the Jets’ Lac Edwards — Scott has averaged 48.6 gross yards per punt, ranking him sixth in the NFL. And Scott’s net punting average comes in at 43.7, tying him for 9th place among qualifying players. Those are big numbers compared to Scott’s 2018 season averages. He is up almost four yards gross and five yards net on last year, when he averaged 44.7/38.8. But beyond the raw numbers, Scott has provided some of his biggest and best kicks for crunch time. In each of the Packers’ games this season, Scott has had a tremendous kick at a critical juncture of the game. In week one it was a 63-yard bomb with less than two minutes to go, which pinned the Bears inside their own 20. Week two saw him launch a five-second 59-yarder from the Packers’ own 16-yard line that would have been a great net if not for a few blown tackles by the coverage team that led to a 15-yard return. Then in week three, Scott delivered perhaps his best boot of the year, a 66-yard line drive that sent return man Diontae Spencer all the way back to his own two-yard line. Although the hang time on that kick was actually sub-par (4.66 seconds), the angle and trajectory of the punt actually caused Spencer to lose track of where he was on the field, and with Will Redmond covering well, he was unable to gain any significant yardage on the return. That punt was critical for flipping field position in a one-possession game, though the Broncos flopped it back with a 52-yard pass to Courtland Sutton a few plays later. With all this being said, Scott actually started hot last season as well but trailed off starting in week four. He even had a slightly better gross average through the first three games of 2018 than he did in 2019, at 48.8 yards, though that came with a slightly lower net average at 43.3. However, he is landing punts inside the 20 at a better rate this year (43%) than through three games in 2018 (36%) and significantly better than 2018 as a whole (27%). But starting in week four last year, Scott’s numbers began to drop precipitously. Between weeks 4 and 10, he averaged just 41.4 gross yards per punt, and despite a nice three-game stretch in the middle of the year, he stumbled across the finish line with a 42.5-yard average in the final four games. Thus, the challenge for Scott — and his coverage team — will be to maintain consistency as the weather begins to turn colder.
Week 3 Snap Counts: Rashan Gary is carving out a role on defenseby Evan "Tex" Western on September 23, 2019 at 2:10 pm
Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images The Packers’ top rookie continues to get more snaps each and every week. Sunday was a day of firsts for a number of Green Bay Packers rookies. For second-round pick Elgton Jenkins, the week 3 game against the Denver Broncos was his first career NFL start, and he largely looked solid at left guard. Safety Darnell Savage, a first-round pick, recorded his first interception. Then there is the team’s first draft pick in April, edge rusher Rashan Gary. In week one, Gary played just six snaps with minimal impact. He got a few more reps in week two, but failed to crack the stat sheet. This week, however, he got a much more robust workload, and he responded with his first stats of his career. Gary cracked the stat sheet with a fumble recovery in the first half, then landed a sack of Joe Flacco, his first as a pro. While headlines will speak largely about the Smiths — and rightfully so, after they combined for five sacks on Sunday — Gary deserves some credit for providing some returns on the Packers’ investment in him on Sunday. OFFENSE (57 plays) Quarterback Aaron Rodgers 57 Despite the offense bogging down at times, particularly in the third quarter, Rodgers set a season-high in passing yardage. He finished the game 17-of-29 for 235 yards, one score, and no picks, making it all three games with at least one touchdown and no interceptions. His numbers were buoyed by an early 40-yard touchdown bomb, helping him finish the day with a yards-per-attempt number north of 8 for the first time all year (he was at 6.8 and 6.2 in the previous two games before landing at 8.1 in week three). Running Backs Jamaal Williams 35, Aaron Jones 22, Danny Vitale 19 Aaron Jones appeared to be fighting a minor injury midway through the game, but it was Williams who was the more consistently effective back against Denver’s defense. The Broncos seemed to keep Jones bottled up, preventing him from breaking any big runs. Meanwhile, Williams averaged almost five yards per carry with 59 yards on 12 totes, and he added a pair of receptions for 27 yards. Jones did salvage his day for fantasy owners with a pair of short-yardage touchdowns, however. Vitale got fans of the fullback position excited, however, catching a 27-yard near-touchdown pass on a gorgeous wheel route. He also split out wide on the first play of the game. Wide Receivers Davante Adams 52, Marquez Valdes-Scantling 50, Geronimo Allison 26, Allen Lazard 5, Darrius Shepherd 2 The target breakdown in this game is not something that will excite Adams, but that was likely a function of the matchups. Valdes-Scantling saw ten targets, catching six for 99 yards and the opening 40-yard touchdown, while Adams caught the four balls thrown his way for 52 yards. It has been a bit of a slow start for Adams this year, at least by his standards, but he is catching passes at a career-high rate (over 70 percent) and his yards per reception average (13.2) about matches his career high from 2016 (13.3). Meanwhile, Allison continues to be a drag on the Packers’ offense, catching just one pass out of three targets for a loss of one. Tight Ends Marcedes Lewis 31, Jimmy Graham 24, Robert Tonyan 17, Evan Baylis 1 The Packers got just a pair of receptions out of the tight end group, a 19-yard gain by Lewis and a four-yarder for Tonyan. Graham saw one target but could not haul it in. Tonyan did have a couple of other chances, but one was a pass that Rodgers air-mailed over his head near the sideline. The other could have been a touchdown pass, but it appeared that Tonyan slowed down slightly on the route and could not haul in a pretty good pass from Rodgers in the end zone. Offensive Linemen David Bakhtiari 57, Elgton Jenkins 57, Corey Linsley 57, Billy Turner 57, Bryan Bulaga 57 For the third straight game, the Broncos finished without a sack, and much of that credit goes to the Packers’ offensive line. They kept Rodgers upright all game, allowing just one hit on him. To be sure, Rodgers’ mobility in the pocket helped, as he avoided a few other hits with his legs, but this was a great day for the line in pass protection. The line’s only holding penalty came in the run game, and they were less effective in that phase as the team averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. DEFENSE (73 plays) Defensive Linemen Kenny Clark 56, Dean Lowry 45, Tyler Lancaster 38, Kingsley Keke 12, Fadol Brown 7 Despite the Packers using their bigger linemen heavily in much of this game, the front got bullied by the Broncos’ offensive line in the run game. There were often big lanes for Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman to run through, as the two combined for 144 yards. They did it with consistent four- and five-yard gains, however, as neither had a run of longer than 13 yards. Lancaster led the group with seven tackles, while Lowry had six, Clark had four, and Keke had one. Outside Linebackers Preston Smith 63, Za’Darius Smith 59, Rashan Gary 26, Kyler Fackrell 24 This group terrorized the Broncos’ offensive tackles throughout the game, as the Smiths and Gary were responsible for all six of the Packers’ sacks. Preston Smith had three on his own, including a forced fumble, while Za’Darius Smith had a pair and Gary got the first sack of his career. Gary also came up with the recovery on Preston Smith’s fumble and finished with four total tackles. Gary’s snap count continues to increase steadily, however. After just six snaps in the opener and 14 in week two, he was in on 26 plays this week, out-snapping Fackrell for the first time. That’s an increase in playing time from 21% to 35%, and it is becoming clear that Mike Pettine is getting more comfortable putting Gary on the field more frequently. Inside Linebackers Blake Martinez 73, B.J. Goodson 25 As usual, Martinez led the team in tackles, making 12 total stops including two for losses. Goodson had a pair of assists as the team only lined him up on about one-third of their snaps. Safeties Adrian Amos 73, Darnell Savage 73, Will Redmond 27 Redmond took a number of snaps as a third safety, including a couple as a dime linebacker. He finished the day with three total tackles, while Amos added seven, many from in the box in run support. Savage had another great game, however, with five tackles and his first career interception. Cornerbacks Jaire Alexander 73, Kevin King 68, Tramon Williams 45, Josh Jackson 15, Tony Brown 1 While the starting boundary corners stayed out on the outside for most of the game, the other Packers corners were all over the place. Williams and Jackson played some slot, some safety, and some dime linebacker in the game. King in particular had a rough go in this contest, as Courtland Sutton made him look silly on a couple of occasions. He finished with nine total tackles, but had no plays on the football. Alexander, meanwhile, had seven tackles, but recorded a pair of pass defenses and had a tremendous strip of the football on tight end Noah Fant. Despite Williams’ fairly heavy usage in this game, he did not show up on the stat sheet, while Jackson had a single solo tackle. SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS B.J. Goodson 18, Tony Brown 16, Danny Vitale 14, Robert Tonyan 14, Ty Summers 14, Will Redmond 14, Josh Jackson 13, Mason Crosby 12, Allen Lazard 12, Tremon Smith 10, Chandon Sullivan 10
Monday Cheese Curds: Defense continues its big play binge en route to 3-0by Evan "Tex" Western on September 23, 2019 at 1:30 pm
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images The offense had a few positive moments, but the defense’s sacks and turnovers will draw the attention once again. The Green Bay Packers’ offense hit its high water mark in points scored this season on Sunday, scoring 27 points en route to an 11-point victory over the Denver Broncos. However, the defense continues to be the story, despite allowing the Broncos to consistently sustain long drives. Denver had three series that lasted more than six minutes in length, including back-to-back scoring drives in the first half. However, it was the big-play nature of Mike Pettine’s defense that came up big, giving the offense a pair of short fields to work with. To their credit, the offense converted touchdowns on both of those drives, and they were able to run nearly eight minutes off the clock with a sustained series of their own in the fourth quarter, extending their lead to two possessions and running out more than half of the remaining time on the clock. It was another fairly inconsistent performance from the offense, however. The unit looked disjointed at times, particularly on a two-series sequence in the third quarter. Still, it’s the six sacks and three turnovers that will draw the headlines, and rightfully so. Let’s take a look at those headlines in today’s curds. Packers defense continue takeaway binge against Broncos | Packers WireOnce again, turnovers were the difference in Sunday's game. The Packers got 14 points off of their three turnovers, converting on a pair of short fields. If not for the takeaways, this game could have been very different, given the Broncos ten-minute advantage in time of possession. Rashan Gary, Darnell Savage earn early milestones | Packers.comGary got on the stat sheet on Sunday with a fumble recovery and his first sack, while Savage recorded a great interception off Joe Flacco -- and might have returned it for a touchdown had the referees not blown the play dead as an incompletion at first. The Smiths' five sacks set defensive tone again in Packers' run to 3-0 - ESPNFor your information, the Packers Pro Shop now has Za'Darius Smith jerseys on sale online. I've got mine on order after a tremendous first three games. Davante Adams wants more targets; Aaron Rodgers wants 'to play better' | Packersnews.comAdams has not scored a touchdown yet this season, the first time in several years that he has gone three games without a score. He also had just four targets on Sunday, though he had a tough matchup with Broncos corner Chris Harris. Adams can eat against anyone, but hopefully he can have a big game on Thursday with a softer one-on-one matchup against the Eagles' corners. Uni Watch: Steelers-49ers best looking uniform combination from Week 3 | SI.comNo arguments here -- the 49ers' current uniforms are a little retro, adnd they look great. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh always looks clean and classic. Seal 'helps' bust alleged international drug ring in Australia - BBC NewsA giant seal plopped himself down on top of a pile of seaweed, under which the alleged offenders had hidden a massive stash of drugs. That allowed police to disrupt the deal gone bad.