Sun Sep 25 11:56pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) passes against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Trent Williams (71) is helped off the field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, foreground, is tackled by San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw during the first half of an NFL football game in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo smiles in the huddle during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
DENVER (AP) Melvin Gordon atoned for two fumbles with a late 1-yard touchdown run and safety Kareem Jackson recovered Jeff Wilson Jr.'s fumble with 1:05 left to preserve the Denver Broncos' 11-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night.
Russell Wilson and the Broncos (2-1) won despite going three-and-out nine times. Their only sustained drive was a 12-play, 80-yarder that included a 12-yard scramble by Wilson. Gordon capped it with a 1-yard run with 4:10 remaining, but Wilson's 2-point pass was batted down, leaving the Broncos clinging to a one-point lead.
Jimmy Garoppolo, in his first start for the injured Trey Lance, who broke an ankle in Week 2, drove the 49ers (1-2) to midfield but his pass to Deebo Samuel was tipped by Jackson and intercepted by linebacker Jonas Griffith at the Denver 42 just before the 2-minute warning.
The Broncos went three-and-out for the ninth time in their 13 possessions, and the Niners got the ball back at their 15 with 1:42 left after punt returner Ray-Ray McCloud recovered his own muffed punt.
Bradley Chubb sacked Garoppolo for a 12-yard loss to the San Francisco 3. Then, Wilson hauled in the pass and coughed up the football on a hit from P.J. Locke, and Jackson scooped up the loose ball with 65 seconds left at the 49ers' 24.
The only other game in NFL history that finished 11-10 came on Nov. 16, 2008, when the Steelers edged the Chargers.
Before Gordon's score, Garoppolo's 3-yard strike to Brandon Aiyuk in the first quarter stood as the only touchdown on the night.
For a while it looked like this might be the first 7-5 finish since Washington beat Detroit on Oct. 16, 1938.
Garoppolo and the 49ers may never have been happier for a safety, because he stepped out of the back of the end zone while tossing a pass that Chubb picked off at the 3 and crossed the goal line for what the Broncos thought was a pick-6 that would have erased a 7-3 deficit.
But it was a safety, leaving the 49ers clinging to a 7-5 lead in the third quarter.
Garoppolo isn't the only NFL quarterback to lose track of where he was on the field and step out of the back of the end zone. It infamously happened to Dan Orlovsky on Oct. 12, 2008, while playing for the Detroit Lions. Orlovsky was trying to get away from Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen when he stepped out of bounds numerous times before the play was stopped.
Immediately after Garoppolo's blunder, Orlovsky posted on his Twitter account: ''IVE NEVER BEEN HAPPIER ... FFFFREEEEEDDDOOOMMMM.''
San Francisco star left tackle Trent Williams injured an ankle on the play and walked off the field and through the tunnel to the locker room. He didn't return.
The Broncos drove into field goal range after the subsequent free kick, but Brandon McManus was wide right on a 53-yard attempt that would have given Denver its first lead.
Robbie Gould's 51-yarder then gave San Francisco a 10-5 edge with 14 minutes remaining.
Dogged by play-calling problems, penalties and other operational miscues in his first two games as Denver's head coach, Nathaniel Hackett hired longtime NFL assistant and former Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg, 66, to help him manage the game better and get calls into Russell Wilson faster.
Rosburg, who had been retired since 2019, was in the booth Sunday night and Denver's operations were cleaner, although a false start on Jerry Jeudy and a hold by Garett Bolles spoiled the Broncos' final drive before halftime.
Jeff Wilson reeled off a 37-yard run up the middle that set up San Francisco's first touchdown, a 3-yard catch by Aiyuk.
The Broncos didn't get a first down until the final play of the first quarter on Russell Wilson's 34-yard pass to Courtland Sutton out of his own end zone.
That eventually resulted in a 55-yard field goal by McManus that cut Denver's deficit to 7-3.
Linebacker Josey Jewell made his 2022 debut after missing two games with a calf injury and he recovered a fumble by Garoppolo at the 50-yard line early in the third quarter. But Denver's offense again went three-and-out.
San Francisco LB Azeez Al-Shaair left in the second quarter with a knee injury and didn't return. Broncos OLB Baron Browning left in the second quarter with a knee injury, and DT D.J. Jones left in the third with a head injury.
The 49ers host the Rams on Monday night, Oct. 3, and the Broncos visit the Raiders on Sunday.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Allen Robinson II was targeted five times and caught two passes for 23 yards. The 29-year-old has been held under 25 yards in two of his first three games as a Ram. After three weeks, he ranks as the No. 4 receiving option on the team, behind Ben Skowronek. While it may take time for a new WR to mesh with a new offense, A-Rob has now had 12 targets in three weeks and has only caught 7 of them and never gained more than 53 yards in a game. Fantasy managers hoping for a return to the 2019 and 2020 Robinson may end up disappointed.
The Seattle Seahawks defense had a rough time against the Falcons, who have an underrated offense. The defense did a good job putting Atlanta quarterback Marcus Mariota under pressure and racked up three sacks. Unfortunately, the secondary had a hard time trying to contain tight end Kyle Pitts, allowing him to finish with five receptions for 87 yards. The Seattle defense will be up against the Lions next week, a team that has had a surprisingly effective offense this year. The Lions offensive line has been great this season and was able to keep quarterback Jared Goff from being sacked this week. Seattle should likely be left on waivers for Week 4.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Breshad Perriman caught three of four targets for 44 yards while losing a fumble in Sunday's 14-12 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He failed to make a significant impact on Sunday with Mike Evans (suspension), Chris Godwin (hamstring), and Julio Jones (knee) were inactive. Russell Gage led the way with 12 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown in the Week 3 loss. Evans will return next week, and Perriman will only see an uptick in target share if Godwin and Jones remain out. The 29-year-old is mainly an option in deep-league formats against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Ben Skowronek caught all four passes thrown his way for 66 yards in the Rams' 20-12 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3. The second-year player set a new career-high in receiving yards and led the team. After three weeks, he ranks second amongst Rams wide receivers in yardage and receptions. Skowronek has taken advantage of the additional opportunities he is getting with No. 3 receiver Van Jefferson (knee) injured. Not only did he catch key passes, he also lined up as the fullback and made a block that opened up a lane for running back Cam Akers' rushing touchdown. Head coach Sean McVay praised him after the game: "You feel the physicality. This guy's a maniac and you love what he does for our football team." With Jefferson on Injured Reserve, Skowronek will maintain this role for at least the next four weeks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop went 2-for-2 in field goal attempts during Sunday's 14-12 loss to the Green Packers. He drilled both 45-yard goal tries and is now 8-for-9 in attempts this season. Tampa Bay has struggled in the red zone in 2022, and the veteran has taken advantage by tallying up 27 points. The 36-year-old is one of the most reliable kickers and continues to be a vital fantasy asset. Succop is a must-start option in a projected high-scoring affair against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate caught five of six targets for 52 yards in Sunday's 14-12 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He saw an uptick in targets with Mike Evans (suspension), Chris Godwin (hamstring), and Julio Jones (knee) were inactive. The 31-year-old is Tampa Bay's top tight end, but once the wide receivers are back at full strength, he will be down in the pecking order for targets from Tom Brady. Brate will see an uptick in targets if Godwin and Jones are sidelined, but the veteran is borderline TE2 against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4.
Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller caught three passes for 22 yards in a 24-22 loss to the Tennessee Titans. The star tight end only received five targets in this one as he saw his fellow tight end Foster Moreau receive five as well. Waller has been one of the best tight ends in fantasy football this season. This performance certainly comes as a surprise to fantasy managers in what seemed to be a plus matchup. Regardless of this bump in the road, Waller is a top-tier tight end and should be started week in and week out. Look for the top-5 option to bounce back in Week 4 against the Denver Broncos.
Dynasty | Dameon Pierce carried the ball 20 times for 80 yards in the Week 3 loss to the Bears. Dynasty Analysis: Pierce appears to have taken full control of the backfield. Veteran Rex Burkhead carried the ball just three times. The rookie from Florida saw two targets in the passing game as well, catching them both for another 21 yards, putting him over the century mark on the day. The Texans offense lacks a big passing attack to open things up but the volume alone makes him at least an RB2 on a weekly basis.
Dynasty | David Montgomery left Sunday's game after suffering a lower leg injury in the first quarter. Dynasty Analysis: Montgomery got rolled up on after logging three carries for 11 yards. It was a dream matchup for Monty owners and second-year pro Khalil Herbert was the next man up. Herbert took advantage, putting up 157 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Early indications are that the injury is minor and the Bears are initially listing Montgomery as day-to-day.
Dynasty | Khalil Herbert filled in for an injured David Montgomery on Sunday and racked up 169 total yards. Dynasty Analysis: Herbert took full advantage of the early injury to David Montgomery and likely earned a larger role in the offense moving forward. The Virginia Tech grad tallied 30.9 PPR points, more than Montgomery has ever scored in his career. The matchup was a dream one so we should reserve judgement for now. At the very least, Monty owners need to go shopping for his backup. The veteran is a free agent after the season so Herbert could be the back of the future in the Windy City.
Dynasty | Cole Kmet caught two of three targets for 40 yards in Sunday's Week 3 win over Houston. Dynasty Analysis: Kmet had surprisingly been held out of the stat sheet for the first two weeks of the season. The performance is still a disappointing one considering the coaching staff said they would be opening up the offense this Week. Kmet can be left on fantasy benches until the new regime in Chicago proves they can successfully execute a gameplan that involves some semblance of a passing attack.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette rushed 12 times for 35 yards and caught five of six targets for 35 yards in Sunday's 14-12 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He was held in check for a second straight week and had his lowest output on the ground in Sunday's loss. The 27-year-old did have his best game as a pass catcher, reeling in a season-high four passes. Tampa Bay's offense has struggled this season and has reached the 20-point mark just once in three games. Fournette will look to bounce back against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4 in what is projected to be a high-scoring battle.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage caught 12-of-13 targets for 87 yards and a touchdown while losing a fumble in Sunday's 14-12 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He was Tom Brady's top target after Mike Evans (suspension), Chris Godwin (hamstring), and Julio Jones (knee) were inactive. The 26-year-old led the team in catches, receiving yards, and targets. Brady connected with Gage for a one-yard touchdown with 12 seconds remaining in the game. The 12 catches were a career-high for Gage and will continue to have a vital role in the offense while Godwin and Jones are sidelined. Gage will look to build on Sunday's performance in next week's matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp hauled in four of six targets for 44 receiving yards and rushed once for a 20-yard touchdown in the Rams' 20-12 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3. It was his first career rushing touchdown, and it extended his streak to nine straight games finding the end zone despite not catching a receiving touchdown. The modest day by Kupp's standards was due to LA getting off to an early lead and cruising. They threw just 25 passes all game. While his 24% target share on the game was less than his 37.6% target share over the first two games, it is nothing to worry about. Kupp might not have single-handedly won you your fantasy matchup this week, but he still gave fantasy managers a solid 16 points in PPR setups, which looks like it could finish in the bottom of the top-24 WRs.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Mack Hollins caught eight passes for 158 yards and a touchdown in a 24-22 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Hollins led all receivers in this game in catches and yards. His 10 targets tied for the most on the team with Davante Adams. Hollins is becoming a useful weapon in a struggling offense, continuing to produce chunk plays when the Raiders need it most. He saw added opportunity with Hunter Renfrow (concussion) missing this game and made the most of it. With his recent productivity, we should see an increased role moving forward for Hollins. He will continue to operate as the third target in this offense and should be on the fantasy radar after this showing.
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Dustin Hopkins was successful on his lone field goal attempt and also drilled his only extra-point try in a 38-10 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Hopkins has not been asked to do much through the first three weeks of the season. Brighter days are hopefully ahead as Los Angeles likely won't finish many games with 10 or fewer points. He is not off the fantasy radar, but managers can drop Hopkins in favor of a kicker who is producing more consistently if there is one available.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw for 302 yards while throwing two touchdowns and one interception in the Raiders 24-22 loss to the Tennessee Titans. He added two carries for 17 yards on the ground. Fantasy managers should feel good that this ended up being the final stat line for Carr, as the offense struggled for most of the game. An 80-yard drive put the Raiders within a two-point conversion with about a minute remaining. It was looking like a disappointing game until that drive. It was Carr's most yards of the season as the team continues to see good passing volume while falling into a pass-heavy game script. With two touchdowns in each game this season, Carr remains a starting fantasy option going forward.
Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III only had three carries for 19 yards in the Week 3 loss against the Atlanta Falcons. The rookie running back was expected to share the workload with Penny this season, but it has been evident over the past couple of weeks that Penny is the lead. More often than not, the Seahawks are playing from behind and have not been the rush-heavy team that was expected during the offseason. With Rashaad Penny getting most of the touches, Walker is just a handcuff and should be left on waiver wires in shallow leagues.
The Los Angeles Chargers' defense allowed 38 points to the Jacksonville Jaguars and failed to record a sack or force any turnovers in a Week 3 blowout loss. Los Angeles was without All-Pro cornerback J.C. Jackson (ankle) entering the contest and also lost Pro Bowl edge rusher Joey Bosa (groin) in the first half. The Chargers do have favorable matchups with the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns in the next two weeks, but fantasy managers should monitor the status of the team's defensive stars before deciding to deploy their DST in starting fantasy lineups.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins caught five of his seven targets for 93 yards during the win over the Jets. Despite not finding the end zone in Week 3, the wideout still had a solid showing, amassing an impressive average of 18.6 yards per catch. He did take a nasty helmet-to-helmet hit, so it remains to be seen if it will impact his status for Thursday Night Football versus Miami. However, if Higgins is available, which he likely will be, fantasy managers should keep him starting.