Week 3 of the preseason is in the books, and these are some notes from all of the games, what I saw to be the most relevant takeaways.
New York Giants vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Eli Manning played in just one series, completing four of eight passes for 41 yards. His receivers didn’t do him any favors with a few drops, including one that came in the end zone. In three preseason games Manning is 9 of 13 for 86 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Daniel Jones finished 9 of 11 for 141 yards, with a couple of big gainers to Brittan Golden and Darius Slayton. Evan Engram made his first preseason appearance, and caught the one pass thrown his way for 9 yards. Wayne Gallman took 8 carries for 31 yards, and caught one pass for 10 yards, making his case as the backup to Saquon Barkley.
Andy Dalton played in three series and finished the game 7 of 10 for 104 yards, with a 26 yard touchdown to tight end CJ Uzomah. Uzomah looked like a less athletic Tyler Eifert as he rumbled down into the end zone. Ryan Finley finished the first half with 155 yards on 14 of 20 passing. He did not throw an interception, but was sacked three times. There is a strong suspicion that Finley takes over starting duties at some point during the regular season. Tyler Boyd caught one pass for 18 yards. The Bengals offensive line is in terrible shape
Washington Redskins vs. Atlanta Falcons
Case Keenum drew the start at quarterback completing 9 of 14 for 101 yards, with one lost fumble on a sack. In total, five possessions that led to six points. Keenum, for the first time this preseason, completed more than half of his passes. The offensive line looked horrible, and Keenum was under constant and immediate pressure. Rookie Dwayne Haskins was much better against a lesser Falcons defense. He led the Redskins to three scoring drives, and completed 7 of 13 for 74 yards in the second half. Keenum will be the favorite leading into Week 1, but Haskins should take over at some point during the season. Derrius Guice got the rock right away with a seven yard gain. He finished the opening drive with three carries for 15 yards, and also made one catch for four yards. In total, Guice ran for 44 yards on 11 carries, in what was his first game since his 2018 knee injury that ended his rookie season. A positive sign for Guice. However, come Week 1, he will be splitting time with both Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson. The hope is that he can win the timeshare in this backfield. Jordan Reed left the game with what turned out to be a concussion. Perhaps it is time for Reed to hang up the cleats. This is his fourth concussion in the NFL, and dating back to college, marks his ninth or tenth.
Matt Ryan was active for the first half and was perfect on his first eight attempts totaling 60 yards. Ryan passed for 74 yards on 9 of 14 attempts, with neither a touchdown nor interception. He added two rushing attempts for nine yards. He looks ready to roll for Week 1. Ito Smith scored on a five yard touchdown run, and finished the game with 23 yards on five carries, including one reception for nine yards. Smith has scored in all three preseason games, but it will be difficult for him to see much action with Qadree Ollison and Brian Hill stealing volume. Mohamed Sanu caught three passes on three targets for 23 yards. His most significant reception came on a 14 yarder, showing that he has rebounded from his knee injury. Giorgio Tavecchio missed on a 39 yard field goal attempt, after missing two last week from 42 yards. It may not be long before he is cut.
Carolina Panthers vs. New England Patriots
Cam Newton was injured on a sack in the first quarter, and left the Thursday night game early with a foot injury. Newton after the game was spotted in a walking boot. He went 4 for 6 for 30 yards prior to the injury. Christian McCaffrey and Greg Olsen made their preseason debuts. McCaffrey finished the game with 16 yards on three carries, and brought in a 10 yard reception. He was targeted twice. Olsen had one catch for four yards. Curtis Samuel was targeted three times and caught two passes for 16 yards. He hooked up with Newton on the third series of the game.
Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Josh Gordon, and Demaryius Thomas all sat out. Tom Brady made his first appearance in the preseason, and finished the game 8 of 12 for 75 yards. He played in a total of three drives, as he gets set to embark on his 20th season in the NFL. Undrafted rookie wide receiver Jakobi Meyers continues to prove he should make the team. He finished the game with seven catches on 12 targets for 74 yards. Three of the five incompletions came with Brady throwing the ball. Phillip Dorsett contributed seven receptions on seven targets for 47 yards. Five of those receptions came with Brady on the field. Rookie running back Damien Harris left in the second quarter with an undisclosed injury. According to Nick Underhill of the Athletic, it appears to be nothing of concern.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Ravens starter Lamar Jackson watched from the sideline, along with Mark Ingram, Kenneth Dixon, Gus Edwards, and three projected starters from the offensive line. Marquise “Hollywood” Brown saw action for the first time since his Lisfranc injury to end his junior season at Oklahoma, catching three passes for 17 yards. Justice Hill got the start and had seven carries for just eight yards. He did add two receptions on three targets for an additional eight yards. There are several running backs to get through for volume, but Hill a fourth round pick has done enough to earn a spot in the rotation.
Carson Wentz sat again. Josh McCown had two touchdowns in his Eagles debut, coming out of retirement. McCown’s first score went to rookie J. Arcega-Whiteside for 20 yards, and he would later hit Alex Ellis in the third quarter on a nine yard pass. Arcega-Whiteside’s touchdown was his first of the preseason, and he finished the day with eight receptions on nine targets for 104 yards and that touchdown. JJAW is a second round selection of the Eagles out of Stanford. Also, the first player in the NFL born in Spain.
Green Bay Packers vs. Oakland Raiders
Matt LaFleur sat 33 players, including both Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones. Rodgers hasn’t played in the preseason. Jake Kumerow caught two passes for 20 yards and a touchdown.
Oakland sat Derek Carr and Antonio Brown. Rookie wide receiver Keelan Doss continues to make a name for himself, as the “Hard Knocks” star caught four balls for 52 yards.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Miami Dolphins
Nick Foles made his first appearance this preseason, playing in the first quarter and connecting on 6 of 10 passes for 48 yards and one touchdown, with one interception. Foles’ touchdown pass went to Dede Westbrook from 10 yards out. Westbrook would finish with four receptions on seven targets for 29 yards, and seems to have chemistry with Foles. The new quarterback for Jacksonville looks his way often. Westbrook is off to a great start and looks to be the Jaguars primary receiver. Leonard Fournette carried the ball seven times for 27 yards in the first quarter. He also surprised with two catches for an additional 19 yards. Fournette seems to be back running over people. On his 15 yard pass play, he trucked a defender. Foles will give Fournette some breathing room, instead of consistently facing stacked boxes.
Josh Rosen did well against the backup defense of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He finished the game five of seven passing for 59 yards and a touchdown. He also added four runs of 23 yards. Rosen did enough to close the gap on Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started and played 2 ½ quarters, finishing with 12 completions on 18 attempts for 126 yards and a score. This was Fitzpatrick’s first touchdown as a Dolphin in three preseason games. He also didn’t complete a pass to a wide receiver until the third quarter, with Kenny Stills involved on a 14 yard completion. “There is still evaluation,” coach Brian Flores said. “We saw a lot from both guys today. Fitzy did a good job. Josh did a good job. As a staff, we’ll get together and talk it over. We’ll make a decision we feel is best for this organization.” Kalen Ballage has 12 carries for an abysmal 17 yards, and six of those carries went for zero or negative yards. His blocking had a lot to blame for his lack of production.
Buffalo Bills vs. Detroit Lions
Starting quarterback Josh Allen completed just three of six pass attempts for 49 yards. He also had an interception, but a roughing the passer penalty negated the turnover. LeSean McCoy got the start at running back, and finished the game with 37 yards on six carries. Frank Gore alternates with McCoy at running back, and finished the game with 57 yards on eight carries. The Bills are going to focus on the run with deep throws by Allen. “We tried to set our minds to establishing the run first,” Allen said. Buffalo has a deep running back core of McCoy, Gore, Devin Singletary, and TJ Yeldon. Singletary’s first rush of the game went for a nine yard touchdown. The only rushing attempt he received in this contest.
Matthew Stafford saw action for the first time this preseason, throwing a touchdown pass to running back Ty Johnson from 11 yards out, and finishing the game 12 of 19 passing for 137 yards and a score. Kerryon Johnson got just two carries for four yards. He did catch one of his two targets that went for seven yards, but was limited to just one quarter. CJ Anderson worked in as well, and finished the game with 24 yards on eight carries. He also made two catches on two targets for 17 yards. Ty Johnson also got some snaps with the first team. Johnson looks like a Theo Riddick type back. He could have made the transition easier for the team when they did decide to release Riddick. TJ Hockenson caught three of his four targets for 52 yards. Hockenson would have been perfect if he didn’t drop the pass, which would have been a massive gainer of 32 yards. Hockenson looks ready, which is not typically said of tight ends their rookie season.
Cleveland Browns vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baker Mayfield looks like his timing is off, overthrowing several passes; however, these are not the players that will be with him on the first-team offense. Mayfield completed 10 of his 26 passes for 72 yards, and also threw a pick. Albeit, the offensive line didn’t give Mayfield much protection.
Mike Evans sat out the game. Jameis Winston was mostly inaccurate, completing just nine of 19 passes for 88 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions. Winston did add six yards rushing, and played a total of seven series. Dare Ogunbowale had seven carries for 22 yards, including catching two of his four targets for an additional 19 yards. Ogunbowale was given the rock three straight times just outside Cleveland’s ten yard line, showing that Bruce Arians has trust in him. Ogunbowale gained eight yards on those carries, and this may have solidified his position on the Buccaneers roster. Ronald Jones just can’t move the ball. Jones carries the rock four times for only eight yards. He also was targeted once but could not bring in the throw. Peyton Barber does not look any better than Jones running the ball. Barber finished the game with three yards on three carries. His first carry went for three yards. Both Jones and Barber were in on the opening three possessions with the first string offense, and both looked equally bad. Chris Godwin continues to make strides. This week Godwin caught four of his six targets for 52 yards.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Minnesota Vikings
Kyler Murray looked much better than the debacle against Oakland. Murray spread the ball around to many different receivers, and would complete passes to nine different players, targeting Damiere Byrd and KeeSean Johnson many times. He finished 14 of 21 passing for 137 yards, and also ran four times for nine yards. Murray was also throwing on the move effectively. He did this in Week 1 of the preseason. David Johnson rushed for 34 yards on nine carries. Also, Johnson caught two passes for seven yards. Johnson had a long run of 12 yards and wasn’t too impressive. The Cardinals offense looked back on track after getting slaughtered against the Raiders. KeeSean Johnson caught all seven of his targets for 85 yards. His first catch came late in the first quarter, and he also made two deep receptions of 19 and 29 yards. Johnson is looking more like the number three receiver on this team. Christian Kirk struggled with two catches on six targets for only five yards. Kirk is the number two receiver, but needs to show more.
Adam Thielen sat out. Kirk Cousins was erratic completing just three of 13 attempts for 35 yards. Cousins had one completion to Stefon Diggs go for 29 yards to close out the half. Up until then, he had two completions for a total of six. Yuck! Cousins played the entire first half, which included six series. Dalvin Cook busted a big 85 yard touchdown run, that looked more like he was facing a college defense, than juking his way through. Cook finished the day with two carries for 88 yards. Rookie Alexander Mattison had a stellar day with 41 yards on ten carries. With that performance, he is probably a lock for RB2 duties behind Cook. Mattison can be a goal-line opportunist as well.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Jimmy Garoppolo looks to be a whole new quarterback. Garoppolo was accurate, and not making the same mistakes as last week, finishing his day 14 of 20 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown. He assured San Francisco to scoring on three of five drives in the first half. Matt Breida had a stellar day, as he ran seven times for 44 yards. Breida also caught two balls for 31 yards and a touchdown. Tevin Coleman was not as successful as Breida. Coleman had just 19 yards on nine carries. He did add a reception for two yards. Coleman should be the starting running back, but Breida has a lot to say about that. Coleman has skills as a pass catcher and a runner, but will need to learn to break tackles to become the bell cow in this offense.
Patrick Mahomes teamed up with running back Damien Williams on a pitch, catch, and run for a 62 yard touchdown play. Mahomes moved the offense on a 12 play 68 yard drive that turned into three points for the Chiefs. He was on target eight out of ten attempts for 126 yards and a touchdown. Mahomes also added eight yards rushing. He is the real deal! Mahomes has completed 73.7 percent of his passes, with 10.7 yards per attempt. Damien Williams didn’t do much with the rock, going just two yards on one carry, but his 62 yard touchdown reception made up for it. Tyreek Hill was perfect on all three of targets, turning it into 31 yards. Working with Mahomes, Hill was targeted on 30 percent of Mahomes passes.
Chicago Bears vs. Indianapolis Colts
The Bears basically rested all of their starters this week against the Colts. Those players included Taylor Gabriel, tight end Trey Burton, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, running back Tarik Cohen, receiver Allen Robinson, receiver Anthony Miller, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, tight end Adam Shaheen, running back Mike Davis and running back David Montgomery.
Deon Cain scored on a 46 yard touchdown pass from Chad Kelly. Cain caught three passes for 74 yards and a touchdown on four targets. Cain had another strong preseason performance and will add depth to the receiver core. Andrew Luck retiring has the whole fantasy community in shock.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans
Ben Roethlisberger connected with JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 17 yard touchdown strike. Roethlisberger attempted 13 passes, and completed 8 of them for 63 yards and a touchdown. He played just one quarter. James Conner had 41 yards on eight carries, and added 15 yards receiving on two receptions. Conner also played just one quarter, rushing eight times for a total of 41 yards. He also added 15 receiving yards on two catches in Sunday’s 18-6 preseason win over Tennessee. Smith-Schuster caught four passes for 37 yards and a touchdown.
Marcus Mariota only threw three passes in the start, completing zero. Mariota was also sacked once. Ryan Tannehill completed six passes on nine attempts for 62 yards. Corey Davis made one catch for 25 yards, and AJ Brown chipped in with one catch for 10 yards.