Welcome to Around the NFL, where Cale Berger of Steelers Now will recap the week’s action and take a look ahead at some of the most important matchups from the Pittsburgh Steelers perspective.
Baltimore Ravens 33, Houston Texans 16
Houston’s nightmarish start to the 2020 season went from bad to worse Sunday, as they have now started 0-2 with losses to the Chiefs and Ravens.
The Texans did fairly good job of keeping quarterback Lamar Jackson contained on the ground, but Baltimore’s plethora of running backs picked up the slack. Gus Edwards, Mark Ingram II and J.K. Dobbins combined for 176 yards and a touchdown, averaging a startling 8.38 yards per carry.
Jackson still found a way to make an impact with his arm, throwing for 204 yards and a scores. He completed 75% of his passes and connected with nine different receivers.
Baltimore’s defense did their part as well, making like difficult for quarterback Deshaun Watson. They sacked him four times and intercepted him once. Former Steelers linebacker L.J. Fort also returned a Keke Coutee fumble for a touchdown.
With the Ravens firing on all cylinders and Pittsburgh also sitting at 2-0 on the year, their Oct. 25 meeting cannot come soon enough.
Things will not get easier for either team in Week Three. The Ravens are set for another heavyweight slugfest on Monday Night Football next week versus the Chiefs, while the Texan’s brutal opening slate continues against the Steelers at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Los Angeles Rams 37, Philadelphia Eagles 19
A week after he was sacked eight times by Washington in the season opener, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz struggled again on Sunday, but the pass protection was not to blame this time. Philadelphia’s patchwork offensive line did not allow a single sack to star defensive tackle Aaron Donald and company, yet Wentz still looked inaccurate and inconsistent.
The former No. 2-overall pick went 26 of 43 for 242 yards and no scores with two costly interceptions. Wentz was even booed off the field after missing a wide-open receiver on a crucial third down. Unfortunately for Wentz, there were no fans in attendance at Lincoln Financial Field.
Even in a pandemic, Philly gonna Philly.
Carson Wentz was getting booed off the field with NO FANS in Philly 💀pic.twitter.com/MZ7pfQruTn
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) September 20, 2020
The man picked prior to Wentz in the 2016 NFL Draft looked great in contrast, as quarterback Jared Goff completed 20 of 27 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. All three of Goff’s touchdown tosses went to tight end Tyler Higbee, who made his fantasy owners across the country jumping for joy.
Former Steelers defensive tackle Javon Hargrave made his Eagles debut yesterday, but played sparingly and recorded no stats. In comparison, Hargrave’s replacement on the Pittsburgh defensive line Tyson Alualu was a problem for the Broncos’ offense all afternoon, posting a sack, a tackle-for-loss, batting down one pass and hitting the quarterback twice.
The Rams will travel to Buffalo next weekend. The Eagles will host the Bengals and visit the 49ers, before travelling to Pittsburgh in Week Five.
Arizona Cardinals 30, Washington 15
Reigning NFL Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray was stellar again on Sunday, accounting for three total touchdowns (one passing, two rushing) and accounted for 353 yards of offense, as the Cardinals improved to 2-0 to start the year.
Murray also looks to have seamlessly built a rapport with his newest weapon DeAndre Hopkins, who had eight receptions for 68 yards and touchdown in the win. The duo has already combined for 22 completions and 219 yards through two games.
Running back Kenyan Drake also rushed for 86 yards, as Arizona looks like a contender in a stacked NFC West division.
Washington’s offensive duo of the future did not disappoint either, with quarterback Dwayne Haskins completing 19 of 33 passes for 223 yards and a score. Fellow Ohio State Buckeye Terry McLaurin was the biggest beneficiary Sunday, catching seven passes for 125 yards and the score. Still, their connection was not enough to overcome their porous defense.
Washington will battle a pair of AFC North foes in the Browns next Sunday and the Ravens Week Four. Arizona faces Detroit next at home.
REST OF THE SCHEDULE
Cleveland Browns 35, Cincinnati Bengals 30 (Thursday)
Chicago Bears 17, New York Giants 13
Dallas Cowboys 40, Atlanta Falcons 39
Green Bay Packers 42, Detroit Lions 21
Tennessee Titans 33, Jacksonville Jaguars 30
Indianapolis Colts 28, Minnesota Vikings 11
Buffalo Bills 31, Miami Dolphins 28
San Francisco 49ers 31, New York Jets 13
Pittsburgh Steelers 26, Denver Broncos 21
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31, Carolina Panthers 17
Kansas City Chiefs 23, Los Angeles Chargers 20 (OT)
Seattle Seahawks 35, New England Patriots 30
New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders, 8:15 p.m. Monday, ESPN
Report: Ravens Planning to Sign Dez Bryant to Practice Squad
The Baltimore Ravens are planning to sign veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant to their practice squad, according to a report by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The #Ravens plan to sign veteran WR Dez Bryant to the practice squad if his workout goes well and he passes a physical, source said. Baltimore previously worked out Bryant in August, so this is more of a check-in. He should land in Baltimore, finally.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 22, 2020
The 31-year-old had signed a one-year contract with the New Orleans Saints last season, but suffered a torn Achilles his first day on the practice field.
Baltimore explored adding Bryant back in August, but it never materialized, likely due to ongoing concerns regarding his health.
While he may not provide much of a boost to the Ravens passing game on the field, he could add some much needed experience and a veteran presence in a young receiver room.
Bryant spent the first eight years of his career with the Dallas Cowboys, catching 531 passes for 7,459 yards and 73 touchdowns. He has been selected to three Pro Bowls, and named First-Team All-Pro once.
Report: Ravens Trade for Vikings DE Yannick Ngakgoue
The Baltimore Ravens are reportedly trading for Minnesota Vikings defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, according the ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Ravens will send a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick to the Vikings in acquiring Ngakoue.
Vikings and Ravens finalizing a trade to send DE Yannick Ngakoue to Baltimore for a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick, sources tell ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 22, 2020
Vikings initially sent 2021 second-round pick and 2022 conditional fifth-round pick to Jags. Now get most back.
Minnesota had just sent a 2021 second-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a trade for Ngakoue this offseason, but are clearly trying to recoup their losses and sell high after their 1-5 start.
The Ravens will now pair Ngakoue alongside his former Jaguars teammate in star defensive end Calais Campbell, who they also added in a trade this offseason.
Ngakoue arrives in Baltimore to even more firepower to a defense that is already one of the best in the league. The Ravens are second in the league in scoring defense (17.3 points per game), second in takeaways (11) and second in sacks (22), trailing only the Pittsburgh Steelers in all three categories.
Selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Maryland by the Jaguars, Ngakoue has become one of the league’s most fearsome pass rushers in a short amount of time. The one-time Pro Bowler has 42.5 career sacks, 16 forced fumbles and 47 tackles-for-loss. He also has two career interceptions.
According to Schefter, the Ravens have attempted to trade for Ngakoue multiple times and he had been positioning himself to land in Baltimore ever since thing went sour in Jacksonville. Having grown up in Bowie, Maryland, he is finally home at his desired destination after a short layover in Minneapolis.
Schefter also reports that Ngokoue will arrive in Baltimore sometime over the next 24 hours to undergo COVID-19 testing with the Ravens on their bye. If all is well on the virus front, Ngakoue will be in line to make his Ravens debut in a massive Week 8 matchup against Pittsburgh.
Baltimore has attempted to acquire Yannick Ngakoue multiple times in recent months; Ngakoue hoped to land in Baltimore all along. He grew up in Bowie, Md., starred at Maryland, then was drafted by Jacksonville. Baltimore is his third team in three months, but what he wanted. https://t.co/B3NQfDaRqG— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 22, 2020
Report: Seahawks Positioning to Sign Antonio Brown
The Seattle Seahawks are reportedly positioning themselves to make a run at free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Brown is currently serving a suspension for multiple violations of the league’s personal conduct policy, but will be eligible to return after Week 8.
With Antonio Brown’s suspension eligible to end after week 8, the Seattle Seahawks are now positioned to make a push to sign him, though they’re not alone, league sources tell ESPN. Other teams also are interested. pic.twitter.com/ykn1NJ6LUm— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 21, 2020
Adding the four-time All-Pro would give Seattle an embarrassment of riches, considering they already boast the MVP frontrunner in quarterback Russell Wilson and a tandem of dynamic wide receivers in Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf.
Wilson leads the league with 19 passing touchdowns and 129.8 passer rating. He is also completing an absurd 72.8% of his passes. Metcalf and Lockett have five and four touchdowns thus far, respectively.
The Brown-to-Seattle rumors are nothing new, as the star wideout generated buzz when he was seen working out with Wilson in California this summer.
Selected by the Steelers in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Brown spent the first nine years of his career in Pittsburg before playing a single game with the New England Patriots last season. He is second in franchise history in receptions (837), yards (11,207) and receiving touchdowns (74), trailing only Steeler legend Hines Ward, although Brown played 87-fewer games.
If Seattle is in fact pursuing the troubled wide receiver, it would appear the unbeaten Seahawks are thinking Super Bowl or bust in 2020.