It has not been easy for the NFL to navigate COVID-19 throughout the start of the 2020 season, but the play continued with limited schedule changes in Week 5. It wasn’t the most productive week for the former Ole Miss Rebels playing on the next level, but it didn’t keep the playmakers from making plays. Here is how they fared:
- It was uncertain as to whether the game would be played as planned due to COVID-19 concerns, but the Titans and the Bills squared off on Tuesday night for a matchup that pit two former nWos (one honorary) against one another. Playing his in first game after taking some time off to nurse a bone bruise, A.J. Brown announced his return with a team-high seven catches for 82 yards and the team’s first touchdown of the night.
We are here to report that the Mayor of Starkville is, in fact, back.
- On the other sideline, Dawson Knox appeared to be at full strength for the first time since his Week 2 exit with concussion symptoms. Literally, full strength.
Knox had only the one catch, but a typically-potent Bills offense struggled all night.
- Only two players have posted 1350 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns & an average of 17+ yards per reception in their first 21 games in the last 25 years. The first is Randy Moss and the second is D.K. Metcalf. He was doing freak things in warmups again.
That unmatched physicality continued into game time and led the former second round pick (oops) to six catches for 93 yards and two scores. His first came in the third quarter to take Seattle’s first lead of the game and made it very clear as to why defenses shouldn’t run man coverage on Metcalf.
Minnesota did not learn from its mistakes and left him in isolation late in the fourth quarter. The Vikings held a five-point advantage with a chance to get the ball back to the offense and let Metcalf get loose down the sideline for a big fourth-down conversion.
For whatever reason, the single-coverage trend continued and the 6-foot-4, 229-pound monster burnt the coverage over the middle for the game-winning touchdown. Russell Wilson has raved about his leading receiver’s work ethic and continues to look his way during crunch time. He showed why he is so clutch again on Sunday.
Here is another angle, because he deserves a replay.
Maybe Minnesota should have tried to defend him with three cones. Because Metcalf’s three-cone drill at the NFL Combine caused 31 teams to pass on him, twice. Get it?
- The offensive line led the way for the Ole Miss alumni group last week and followed it up with another good performance in Week 5. Greg Little didn’t see much time against the Falcons but continues to be the future at left tackle for the Panthers, while Laremy Tunsil took 100 percent of the Texans’ snaps for the fifth straight week and did not allow a sack. However, it was Bobby Massie who headlines the former Ole Miss Big Uglies with a crucial fumble recovery. He played every snap for Chicago and fell on a loose ball that kept his offense alive late on Thursday night. Had he not recovered the fumble, the Bears might not have pulled the upset over the Buccaneers.
- Evan Engram continues to produce, despite his team’s glaring ineptitude. The Giants showed some signs of life in their close loss to the Cowboys, but quarterback Daniel Jones went 20-of-33 for only 222 yards and no touchdowns, which doesn’t bode well for his tight end to light up the box score. Engram made one catch for 22 yards and added a nifty touchdown on a speedy end-around to the pylon.
- When it comes to Rebels that can run, Jordan Wilkins is one of the best single-season producers in school history. He had been trending toward more touches with the Colts until he received only one touch on Sunday. Even still, he played a huge role on a scoring play with a massive edge block for kick returner Isaiah Rodgers, who went 101 yards.
Great ST block from Jordan Wilkins to clear a lane for Isaiah Rodgers pic.twitter.com/unFzdQfIXq— Grayson Weir (@GsonJW) October 11, 2020
- Even in a week where he was burnt over the middle on a few occasions, Mike Hilton continued to show why he deserves a paycheck and headlines the defensive standouts from Ole Miss again this week. He led the Steelers with eight solo tackles and a sack against the Eagles.
No. 28 also led the team in pregame drip.
- Marquis Haynes had one sack in his first two seasons with Carolina. He now has two sacks in his last three games after bringing down Matt Ryan on Sunday and added a pass defense. Panthers defensive tackle Zach Kerr said after the game that he is surprised that the former Landshark doesn’t have more sacks to his name after a very impressive training camp.
- Although his team is struggling to begin 2020 and the 49ers lost to the Dolphins on Sunday, two Rebels found themselves on the statsheet. Defensive tackle D.J. Jones made his 19 snaps count with two tackles and a tackle for loss, while his teammate Ken Webster recorded a special teams tackle.