After missing a month of games thanks to a concussion and positive COVID test, Andy Dalton returned to the Dallas Cowboys, and thus, the Cowboys returned to the win column. The Red Rifle looked good Sunday afternoon against a hot Vikings team, throwing for three touchdowns and leading his team on a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter.
Jason Verrett, CB, San Francisco 49ers
Ben Banogu, DE, Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis won a thriller over the Packers in OT Saturday, as Aaron Rodgers and Phillip Rivers traded blows in a back and forth affair. Banogu was a healthy scratch Sunday, as the second year pro continues to get left off the game day roster as the season winds down. The talent is there, but according to coach Matt Eberflus, it’s “about practice”, and it can take 2-3 years for the light to come on for a D-End. Here’s hoping Big Ben gets his chance.
Joey Hunt, C, Indianapolis Colts
Joey was activated to the active roster ahead of Sunday’s game as a COVID-19 replacement. I don’t think he got in the game, but great to see Hunt back on an active roster.
Ross Blacklock, DT, Houston Texans
Blacklock only played 14 snaps on defense Sunday, but had two tackles and a nice hit on Cam Newton in the Texans’ win over New England.
Though he didn’t play a ton, his post-game evening seemed to go just fine:
Lmfaoooo i was there for the waffles— Ross Blacklock (@1krozayy) November 22, 2020
L.J. Collier, DE, Seattle Seahawks
LJ had a really solid game in the Seahawks’ win over Arizona Thursday, recording a sack, a tackle and a QB hit and grading out at a 79 overall. He drew a holding call against JR Sweezy in the end zone for a safety, which ended up being a big two points in the game.
Former Seahawk J.R. Sweezy called for a hold on L.J. Collier, who had him beat. That's a safety. 25-21 Seahawks.— Ben Arthur (@benyarthur) November 20, 2020
Collier has had himself a nice evening.
Any time you can sack Kyler Murray, you’ve had yourself a good day.
Andy Dalton, QB, Dallas Cowboys
What a day for Dalton, who connected with Dalton Schultz with less than two minutes remaining in the game to help lock down a victory in a crazy back and forth affair Sunday afternoon. Dalton threw for 203 yards and three touchdowns — his first three touchdown game of the season and 25th of his career — in propelling the ‘Boys right back in the thick of the NFC East race with six games to play (even though they are 3-7 LOL).
Dalton earned player of the week honors from Dallas, and was celebrated across the league by players and pundits, and for making history:
Andy DALTON and DALTON Schultz just connected for a touchdown— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) November 23, 2020
This marks the first touchdown pass in NFL history in which the passer’s last name is an exact match with the receiver’s first name
Andy Dalton is still better than Carson Wentz.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) November 22, 2020
Dalton found nine different receivers in the win over the Vikings, including himself:
Andy Dalton pass complete to Andy Dalton pic.twitter.com/7wyT3xXG80— Mo (@MoAburish) November 23, 2020
And his off the field legacy continues to grow, too:
I don’t remember this being much of a thing before the Andy Dalton pass three years ago, but it’s a trend I can get behind. https://t.co/KrpDjYf7oT— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 23, 2020
And though Andy committed some Frog on Frog crime, to quote former Frog Jeff Olson, he shared a nice moment with rookie Jeff Gladney, another in the TCU brotherhood, after the game:
Sewo Olonilua, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Back to the practice squad, it appears.
Jeff Gladney, CB, Minnesota Vikings
Well, Jeff got burned by Dalton for a touchdown Sunday, but otherwise had another good day, recording five tackles and playing every defensive snap. The announcing crew raved about the rookie, who has been raved about by his coaches.
Gladney is very familiar with the player he lined up against Sunday afternoon, and as he did a few times in their collegiate careers, CeeDee Lamb got the better of the TCU-OU matchup. But, despite four catches on six targets, Lamb had just 34 yards through the air, holding him well below his 14 yards per catch average this season.
Even the touchdown took a Herculean effort, and Gladney was just a hair away from making the play:
Jerry Hughes, DE, Buffalo Bills
Joe Noteboom, OL, Los Angeles Rams
With Andrew Whitworth out with a knee injury, the future is now for Noteboom and the Rams. He got his first career start at LT Monday night against the Buccaneers, and with Whitworth out at least until the playoffs, it will be his job to protect Jared Goff’s blindside for the most crucial stretch of the season for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. The fourth year pro has learned plenty from his veteran mentor:
“(He’s) definitely an irreplaceable guy, being a 14-,15-year veteran,” Noteboom said during a video conference after Thursday’s practice. “But I feel the coaching staff, everyone here, they have a good gameplan for this game. Watching him for three years, I definitely feel prepared to go in there and do as well as he did.”
“Joe is a guy that we’ve always anticipated in projected as somebody that we do feel like as a starting caliber left tackle in this league. He’s got the length. He’s got the athleticism. I think he’s doing a great job of continuing to grow his repertoire in terms of understanding the techniques, the fundamentals that we want to implement and utilize in the run game and protection. I was pleased with him yesterday, but it’s going to be something that you’ll certainly miss Andrew and everything that he means to us. But, whether you look at it as an audition, I think it’s an opportunity for Joe to step up and I expect him to play.”
Matt Pryor, OG/OT, Philadelphia Eagles
Pryor started Sunday’s loss at Cleveland, and struggled a bit — though the loss wasn’t on him. As Carson Wentz continues to lead the league in both interceptions (14 — matching his rookie season already) and fumbles (10), the Eagles are going to be and stay a mess.Wentz was sacked five times Sunday — some of that was poor line play, some of that was holding the ball too long — but man, Philly is going to have to answer some questions if they think he’s the guy long term.
Jalen Reagor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
After having one of his best games as a pro a week ago, Reagor added four more catches on five targets Sunday for 52 yards. Philly fans, known for their calm demeanor and slowness to judge (HAHA) are continually #MADONLINE that Reagor was picked instead of Justin Jefferson. But, now that he’s healthy, you can see how much he, too, can impact a game. And honestly, it’s hard to think his modest numbers are really his fault when you see stuff like this:
This type of play is just unacceptable from Carson Wentz. He knows the O-Line isn't at full strength, has a WIDE OPEN Jalen Reagor with plenty of room to run, yet holds on to the ball and takes a sack. #Eagles pic.twitter.com/LoV8FnmxVa— @JDM5335 (@JDM5335) November 23, 2020
Austin Schlottmann, OG/C, Denver Broncos
In an upset of sorts, the Broncos beat Tua and the Dolphins, with Schlottmann getting a role on offense. Though he got just ten snaps at RG in relief of an injury-battling Glasgow, his impact was felt in a positive way:
Phillip Lindsay follows Austin Schlottmann for a big gain. pic.twitter.com/bw2iav2d0S— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 22, 2020
Vernon Scott, S, Green Bay Packers
Scott was on the active roster but did not record a sack In the Packers’ loss at the Colts.
Ty Summers, LB, Green Bay Packers
Summers had two tackles in limited defensive snaps, primarily having his presence felt on special teams, where he has been a solid contributor for Green Bay.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OT, Detroit Lions
Detroit got shut out by a Carolina team playing a QB that most fans had to google pre-game. Big V was benched at the half in favor of Oday Aboushi, and though he was nursing a foot injury (still), his time in the Motor City has been anything but a cruise. No one is happy:
The Lions signed Vaitai to a $45 million deal during free agency to be the team’s supposed right tackle of the future. He’s logged 54 snaps at right tackle in seven games, struggling to stay on the field in the guard hole. Vaitai made it 24 plays at right guard before Aboushi came on for the final 32 reps (57%). Stafford was sacked five times, hit 11 times and the rushing attack couldn’t muster much.
“Yeah, that’s not good,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said. “We have to protect our quarterback. We have to give him a pocket so we can get the ball downfield. We have to do a better job there. Certainly, those aren’t good numbers.”
Pro Football Focus found something to like in Vaitai’s play on 24 snaps, ranking him as the 11th best guard in the NFL in Week 11. PFF has surprisingly been somewhat high on the big man when he’s on the field, for the most part. The main problem has focused on the fact that he’s been injured pretty much since arriving in Allen Park. He came into Sunday’s game questionable with a foot injury. Detroit did not announce an injury coming out of the break, so it’ll be interesting to hear what Matt Patricia has to say about Vaitai’s absence and progress moving forward.