This past week in the NFL has been hectic. A cluster of positive COVID-19 tests popped up around the league for the first time all season, including Cam Newton, and a high number within the Tennessee Titans organization forced the postponement of the team’s scheduled matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Although Mike Hilton and A.J. Brown weren’t able to suit up as planned on Sunday, the NFL Rebels stayed (mostly) healthy and had a quieter day that was highlighted by the large fellas on both sides of the ball. Here is how they fared:
- After getting his first start of 2020 in Week Three, Greg Little saw his snap count at left tackle increase for the Panthers from 39 percent to 71 percent. Few things in football are more fun than a pulling lineman who gets out in front of a screen and the Allen, Tx. native found himself in that position on Sunday. With the play designed to look like a rollout to the right, Teddy Bridgewater through back across his body to Robby Anderson, who was set up with a wall of Big Uglies in front of him. Little led the charge and ate the defensive back’s lunch to steamroll some space for the screen.
THIS BLOCK.— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) October 4, 2020
Sheesh @Thegreglittle pic.twitter.com/zjUEjHxFgJ
Head coach Matt Rhule commended Little for his performance after the game and said it should give him ‘elite confidence.’
- While he isn’t the lede this week, D.K. Metcalf had himself another spectacular performance and is tied for the league lead in receiving yards. He was kept out of the end zone for the first time this year, but still put up 106 yards on four catches in a win over Miami. His long went for 37 yards and quite nearly a touchdown.
@dkm14— NFL (@NFL) October 4, 2020
: #SEAvsMIA on FOX
: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/T1i6s2rIdv pic.twitter.com/ZjPkfkjlZY
Here is another angle, because Metcalf is really just that strong and that fast, despite his inability to perform in an irrelevant three-cone drill.
DK IS TOO STRONG @dkm14 @Seahawks pic.twitter.com/vsgBGdBdh6— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 4, 2020
Are you sick of the three-cone jokes yet? No? Good, me neither.
- Evan Engram and Dawson Knox were both relatively quiet at tight end. Eazy E was the Giants’ team leader with six receptions but couldn’t break them for more than 35 total yards. To his credit, New York’s offense is awful and not a single receiver went over 48 yards in a pathetic nine-point scoring effort. Knox, who returned from concussion protocol mid-week, had two catches for 16 yards.
- Don’t look now but the Indianapolis Colts and Jordan Wilkins are 3-1. Jonathan Taylor, as expected, has firmly solidified himself as the team’s top back, but the former 1,000-yard Ole Miss rusher is in the mix for carries. Wilkins and Nyheim Hines each were given nine carries and the Rebel alumnus added one catch for 16 yards. He isn’t a flashy backfield option, but he makes the most of his touches and often drives his legs for an extra yard or two after contact.
- With Nick Foles making his first start at quarterback in Chicago, his right tackle Bobby Massie continues to fly under the radar as a consistent producer. He took 100% of the snaps for the Bears for the fourth consecutive week and did not allow a sack.
- In non-53-man roster news, Jordan Ta’amu was emulating Newton for the Chiefs during the week and tested positive for COVID-19. There were some funny internet jokes about him taking his role too literally, but good wishes for a quick recovery come first. Chad Kelly was released from the Colts’ practice squad and continues to get overlooked because of his issues in the past.
- San Francisco took the field on Sunday night and fell five points short to Philadelphia. The defense held strong through three quarters of the losing effort and while the group was rolling, everybody was in on the dominance. That included our friend D.J. Jones. Carson Wentz dropped back to pass with 27 yards to gain on 2nd down in the 2nd quarter and was brought down in the backfield by a ferocious pass rush from the former Landshark.
DJ comin through @djjones_44— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) October 5, 2020
Jones went flying into the backfield off of a nasty interior lineman twist and made the sack for a loss of seven. I would not want to be running back Miles Sanders, who was stuck in a very unpleasant position as the last line of defense against a charging 304-pounder.
- Marquise Haynes was the top performer of the Rebels on the second level with two tackles for the Panthers, while Myles Hartsfield continued to wait in the wings on special teams.