Mon Nov 23 7:52pm ET
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia watches during the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
DETROIT (AP) As poorly as the Detroit Lions have played this season, this might have been a new low.
That meant some predictable questions for coach Matt Patricia.
The Lions were shut out 20-0 Sunday by a Carolina team that was missing its quarterback and star running back. It was the first time Detroit went scoreless since 2009. The Lions managed only 10 first downs and 185 total yards, utterly failing to take advantage of a weakened opponent.
On Monday, Patricia was asked what he's been told about his job security.
''Our focus right now is on Houston,'' Patricia said, referring to Detroit's Thanksgiving opponent later this week. ''Any conversations that I've had with ownership, I always keep those private.''
Patricia is in his third season with the Lions, and they've gone 13-28-1 since he took over. That includes a 4-6 mark this season so far.
The Panthers were without quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and running back Christian McCaffrey on Sunday. Detroit's offense was a bit depleted as well, with running back D'Andre Swift (concussion) and wide receivers Kenny Golladay (hip) and Danny Amendola (hip) all out.
But that doesn't explain how Detroit allowed P.J. Walker to throw for 258 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL start.
Detroit's annual Thanksgiving game had already lost some of its luster because of the coronavirus, and now Patricia's future - and that of general manager Bob Quinn - are looming over the team. Players have still been publicly supportive of Patricia.
''I love Matt as a head coach,'' said safety Duron Harmon, who played for New England when Patricia was a defensive coordinator there. ''Whatever he asks of me to do, his approach as a coach, I'm going to follow him. I'm going to ride with him until the wheels fall off.''
Patricia was asked what a fair time frame is to evaluate a coach.
''We certainly are critiqued and judged every day by the job that we're doing,'' he said. ''We try to improve every day from that standpoint and try to do it better and always try to be the best that we can be.''
Not much. The Lions do have the NFL's leading punter in Jack Fox. He had six opportunities Sunday, averaged 42.2 yards and put four inside the 20.
WHAT NEEDS WORK
Detroit's offense was not at full strength in this game, but this was still an inept performance against a Carolina defense that had allowed 79 points in its previous two games. Matthew Stafford - who was questionable in the days leading up to the game - did play but only threw for 178 yards. The Lions allowed five sacks.
''One thing that Carolina did, that we knew they did a bit of, was they would play some odd defenses, and there'd be kind of some wonky looks,'' offensive lineman Taylor Decker said. ''We had to try to get them out of that and we never really did. Things were identified well, I thought, from an offensive line standpoint, but not necessarily always executed properly.''
It's hard to think of anyone who played for the Lions who came out of this game looking particularly good. Former coach Jim Caldwell - who had three winning seasons in four years with Detroit before being replaced by Patricia - probably looks a little better as the Lions continue to flounder.
With Swift out, it was left to Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson to handle most of the running duties, and neither had any real success. They combined for 35 yards on 13 carries.
Cornerback Phil Ford left in the third quarter with a concussion. The Lions did not practice Monday but released participation designations based on estimations - Swift and Amendola were listed as not practicing, and so were Ford, rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah (shoulder) and defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand (groin).
Golladay was listed as limited in practice.
2 - The number of punts Carolina forced in its previous four games before forcing six against the Lions.
The Lions have almost reached the end of an easier stretch in their schedule, but they face Houston (3-7) on Thursday first.
Five of Detroit's past six opponents currently have losing records. The Lions went 3-3 in those games.
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 11
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hip) has been sidelined since Week 8 due to a hip ailment, but despite the quick turnaround ahead of a Week 12 matchup versus Houston, the team's top receiver was listed as a would-be limited practice participant Monday. While he will likely need to log some actual practice time in order to suit up Thursday, his status is beginning to trend in the right direction for potentially facing an exploitable Texans secondary. Golladay has exceeded the 100-yard plateau as a receiver in each of his last two full contests in 2020, making him a must-start asset should he eventually get the green light to suit up. Check back over the coming days to get a better read on his status with the Lions taking the field for practice Tuesday.
Houston Texans wide receiver Randall Cobb (toe) would not have been available to participate in Monday's practice had there been one. After leaving Sunday's win over New England due to a toe injury, Cobb is not trending in the right direction to return for Thursday's matchup with the Lions. Keke Coutee earned praises in the slot in place of Cobb, and would figure to continue seeing an increased usage with the veteran sidelined. The Lions Defense is allowing the fifth-most receiving yards to opposing wide receivers this season, putting Coutee, Brandin Cooks, and Will Fuller V in line for increased usage should Cobb ultimately not make it back in time for the contest.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Dez Bryant was moved back to the practice squad following the team's Week 11 win over Tennessee. While Bryant saw a drastic upswing in usage versus the Titans, even securing four receptions for 28 yards, he cannot be viewed as a fantasy asset in any sized season-long format due to his fluctuations between the active roster and practice squad. The Ravens can recall the former All-Pro to the 53-man roster once more before needing to sign him full-time. While he may not be available for Thursday's meeting against Pittsburgh, the fervor to utilize him against his former squad, Dallas, would be strong during Week 13. Check back for any updates as it pertains to Bryant's status within the Baltimore offensive gameplan.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (shoulder) continues to work his way back from a shoulder injury, with the expectation that he can return to practice Wednesday. Darnold has expressed some optimism that his shoulder has improved with the time off, although how aggressive the Jets will be in rushing their young QB onto the field remains to be seen. Joe Flacco has filled in for Darnold, leading the offense to 27 and 28-point performances, respectively, in the past two weeks with the team's full allotment of wide receivers at his disposal. Even when healthy in 2020, Darnold has done little to inspire confidence in fantasy managers, making the Jets quarterback room an avoidable conundrum heading into Week 12 no matter who eventually gets tabbed to make the start.
The San Francisco 49ers placed defensive linemen D.J. Jones and Jordan Willis on the COVID-19/reserve list Sunday, with the move becoming public Monday. With San Francisco having been on its bye week, the duo did not have to worry about missing game action, although their status for next Sunday's matchup against the Rams remains in question. (Players do not have to test positive to be placed on the list.) Jones has started all 10 games for the 49ers Defense this season, having compiled 14 tackles (six of which have come for a loss), in addition to two quarterback hits and two sacks. Willis has been utilized with less frequency, but the loss of either against Los Angeles would be a hit to the team's defensive line depth. Check back to see how San Francisco moves forward throughout the week as they continue to combat roster moves within the organization.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (thigh) would have only been able to practice in a limited capacity Monday had one been available to him. With the Ravens taking on the Steelers on Thanksgiving, the team's primary pass-catching threat has just three days to recover from the team's Week 11 matchup to get ready for its arch nemesis. Andrews had arguably his best game of 2020 on Sunday, compiling a season-high 96 receiving yards versus the Titans, while also hauling in his sixth touchdown of the year. The Steelers Defense gave Andrews fits during their Week 8 matchup, limiting him to three catches for 32 yards, as the Pro Bowl tight end is yet to find the end zone in four career meetings against Pittsburgh. Check back throughout the week to receive updates to his status as they become available.
New York Jets running back La'Mical Perine (ankle) is expected to land on injured reserve due to a high ankle sprain, ruling him out for at least the next three weeks. The move paves the way for Frank Gore to become the bell cow out of the backfield, with Ty Johnson set to serve as his backup. Perine notched his second rushing score of the season Sunday, and figured to continue seeing a solid amount of reps down the stretch in 2020 as New York attempts to gauge his skill level heading into next year. But the injury will complicate the Jets' offense even more than before, making them a targetable group for fantasy managers deploying the streamer option for season-long defensive units. It's possible that Perine could return before the conclusion of the year, but in the meantime, Gore can be added off of the waiver wire as an RB3/Flex in medium-sized or larger season-long formats.
The Las Vegas Raiders made a splash earlier Monday by signing Vic Beasley to their practice squad, following up that announcement by claiming outside linebacker/defensive end Takk McKinley off of waivers. McKinley has already failed a physical with two different organizations, with the Raiders hoping to add him to their defense for the stretch run of the 2020 season. In four starts with the Falcons this year, McKinley has compiled eight tackles, seven quarterback hits, one pass defended, and one sack. The move may come as particularly appealing to McKinley, who could get a chance to face Atlanta as soon as Sunday, as the Raiders are set to travel to take on the Falcons in Week 12. Even with McKinley in the mix, the Raiders defense remains outside of fantasy consideration in all but the deepest of season-long formats.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Ravens on Thanksgiving, thereby having just three days' rest between their Week 11 and 12 contests; if the estimated practice attendance for Monday is any indication, they may be at far less than 100 percent for that contest. A whopping 15 players were listed as "DNP" had a practice session happened, headlined by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (non-injury related), but also including JuJu Smith-Schuster (foot), Eric Ebron (non-injury related), cornerback Joe Haden (knee), and defensive end Cameron Heyward (non-injury related). Many of those absences could be chalked up to the Steelers attempting to limit their players' reps ahead of a key matchup, but check back throughout the coming days to see how their practice participation status progresses.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin (ankle) and running back Antonio Gibson (ankle) were both listed as DNPs on the team's injury report for Monday, indicating that they would not have been able to suit up for practice, had there been one. With just three days to recover from Week 11 before facing the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, two of Washington's key offensive cogs will have a short window to heal up. McLaurin roasted the Cowboys' secondary earlier this year for seven receptions, 90 yards, and a touchdown, but his absence would pave the way for Cam Sims, Steven Sims Jr., and Isaiah Wright to take on larger offensive roles in Week 12. As for Gibson, J.D. McKissic looms as the biggest beneficiary out of the backfield if Gibson's ankle ailment proves problematic. Check back for updates on both players as they become available.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein (back) appears to be heading into Thursday's matchup against Washington at less than 100 percent after sustaining a minor back injury during Week 11. Zuerlein missed an extra point versus Minnesota -- his third of the year -- but he added another field goal to his total, making him a flawless 17-for-17 inside of 50 yards this season. Head coach Mike McCarthy expects Zuerlein to be ready for Thursday's game, and with the Cowboys offense having begun to trend back in the right direction with Andy Dalton at the helm, Zuerlein reclaims much of the fantasy shine that had worn off due to the team's floundering offense. Check back prior to kickoff on Thanksgiving to make sure Zuerlein gets the green light to suit up.
New York Jets QB Mike White was released Monday, Nov. 23. TE Ross Travis was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list and returned to the practice squad.
The Las Vegas Raiders signed former Falcons and Titans outside linebacker Vic Beasley to their practice squad on Monday. Beasley didn't work out for the Titans this year and was released three weeks ago after recording only three combined tackles and one forced fumble in five games in 2020. Beasley was the eighth overall pick by the Falcons in the 2015 draft out of Clemson, and he excelled as an inside linebacker with Atlanta in 2016. Beasley recorded a league-high six forced fumbles (one for a touchdown) and 15.5 sacks that year on his way to being named a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro. Since then, though, the 28-year-old has 18 sacks in four seasons. He'll provide intriguing pass-rushing depth for Las Vegas.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Nov. 23.
Fantasy Spin: It's unclear at this point whether or not Thielen tested positive or was deemed a close contact - the distinction being that the former would rule him out for Week 12 while the latter would give him a chance to play against the Carolina Panthers. Stay tuned. If Thielen can't go, Justin Jefferson would step up into the lead role. Olabisi Johnson would likely start opposite him, but he'd be a desperation play at best. Irv Smith might stand to benefit the most from a fantasy perspective.
The Minnesota Vikings placed wide receiver Adam Thielen on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday. It's not immediately clear whether Thielen actually tested positive for the virus or if he's just a high-risk close contact of another individual on the team or otherwise that tested positive for COVID-19. If Thielen is just a high-risk close contact, he has a shot at playing in Week 12 against the Panthers if he continues to test negative while quarantining all week. But this news will put his availability in question for this weekend. Thielen has 123 yards receiving in Week 11 and has four touchdowns in the last two weeks, so losing him would be big for fantasy managers and the Vikings. Rookie Justin Jefferson would become the team's top wideout, with OlaBisi Johnson and Tajae Sharpe or Chad Beebe likely joining him in three-wide sets.
The Seattle Seahawks placed tight end Greg Olsen (foot) on Injured Reserve on Monday. The 35-year-old veteran suffered a ruptured plantar fascia in his foot in the Thursday night win over the Cardinals, most likely ending his season and possibly his career. Olsen has been in the league for 14 years and considered retirement previously after dealing with foot injuries while at the end of his tenure with the Panthers. He wasn't very fantasy relevant in 10 games this year with Seattle, catching 23 of his 35 targets for 224 yards and one touchdown. With Olsen out for most likely the rest of the year, Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister should split pass-catching duties at tight end, making it hard to predict which player will be more productive on a weekly basis.
Detroit Lions WR Danny Amendola (hip), CB Mike Ford (concussion), DL Da'Shawn Hand (groin), CB Jeff Okudah (shoulder) and RB D'Andre Swift (concussion) did not participate in practice Monday, Nov. 23. DE Austin Bryant (thigh), LB Jarrad Davis (knee), WR Kenny Golladay (hip), WR Marvin Hall (toe), S Will Harris (groin), TE T.J. Hockenson (shoulder), OG Jonah Jackson (knee), LB Christian Jones (knee), LB Reggie Ragland (ankle), QB Matthew Stafford (thumb) and OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai (foot) were limited. The Lions did not practice on Monday, so the report is an estimation.
Chicago Bears S Eddie Jackson was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Nov. 23.
Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule considers running back Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) week-to-week with his injury, but McCaffrey is considered unlikely to play in Week 12 against the Vikings, according to a source. All fantasy managers can do now is hope that the Pro Bowl running back can return during the fantasy playoffs, which run from Weeks 14-16 in most leagues. Backup Mike Davis had 19 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown and caught two passes for 15 yards in the Week 11 shutout win over the Lions. He'll remain Carolina's featured back with RB1 upside for as long as McCaffrey continues to be sidelined. Keep an eye on McCaffrey's practice status later in the week but have other plans ready in case he misses another game.
Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said that he expects quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (knee) to practice on Wednesday. Bridgewater is dealing with an MCL sprain in his right knee and was inactive in the Week 11 shutout win over the Lions. Backup QB P.J. Walker went 24-for-34 for 258 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the start with Bridgewater sidelined. He'd have some low-end QB2 upside against Minnesota's defense if he were to make another start for Bridgewater. Fantasy manager would like to see Bridgewater get in a full practice at some point this week in order to feel comfortable rolling with him as a QB2 if he were return to action on Sunday.