Thu Sep 17 6:48pm ET
By FRED GOODALL
AP Sports Writer
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater meet on the field after an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers expect to be better against the Carolina Panthers.
The six-time Super Bowl champion struggled in his debut with his new team, was called out by his coach for throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown, and only knows one way to move on from a rare season-opening loss for him.
''Every week's a different challenge,'' Brady said. ''I think it starts with great communication, understanding how to win the game, how to lose the game, being on the same page with my teammates so we can go execute.
''Obviously, to turn the ball over, makes it difficult to win. ... It's a game of scoring points. You've got to figure out how to score more points than the other team,'' he added, noting the Bucs (0-1) also need to eliminate penalties and other negative plays. ''There's been a lot of focus on those things this week.''
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There's also been unwanted attention from the outside following coach Bruce Arians' blunt assessment of the quarterback's two-turnover performance in a 34-23 season-opening loss at New Orleans.
Arians shrugged off criticism of his decision to express his feelings publicly, saying the relationship between him and Brady is fine.
''So I don't really care what other people think,'' Arians said. ''It's just what he and I think.''
For his part, the quarterback didn't say much.
''He's a coach. I'm a player,'' Brady said. ''Just trying to win a game.''
The Panthers (0-1) expect the 43-year-old Brady to rebound and play well.
''I have the utmost, utmost, utmost respect for Tom Brady,'' said first-year coach Matt Rhule, a 34-30 loser to the Las Vegas Raiders in his Carolina debut.
''To me, you (learn) about a quarterback when things go wrong,'' Rhule said. ''Some things went bad in the game, but Tom brought them back, got them within 10 points and still had a chance to win. ... We know we'll have our hands full. No one's better in bouncing back from a loss than Tom Brady.''
Brady will face a young Panthers defense that includes three rookie starters, including tackle Derrick Brown, end Yetur Gross-Matos and cornerback Troy Pride Jr. Carolina's defense struggled in Week 1 against the Raiders, allowing Derek Carr to lead six scoring drives in the Raiders first eight possessions, three of which resulted in touchdowns. ''We need to do a better job of tackling,'' Rhule said. Getting off the field on third down was a struggle for the Panthers.
The Bucs are familiar with Teddy Bridgewater, though not necessarily the offensive system the quarterback is running in his first season with the Panthers.
With the coronavirus pandemic forcing cancellation of preseason games, the only tape of what Carolina is doing under Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady was last week's season opener.
Arians was impressed with what he saw.
''The coach and the quarterback have history in the same offense, so it's not like they're starting from scratch,'' Arians said.
''Teddy is a very, very bright guy and has very few turnovers in his history. That part of it didn't surprise me at all,'' the Bucs coach added. ''(Christian) McCaffrey never surprises me because if he gets a crack, he's going. It all starts with him. I thought they did a good job of feeding him and Teddy played really well.''
Rhule said the Panthers want to get McCaffrey about ''25 to 28 touches per game,'' which was right along the game plan last week. However, Rhule also would like to work in No. 2 running back Mike Davis a little more against the Buccaneers. Rhule said because the Panthers only had three offensive possessions in the first half against the Raiders that was difficult to do.
Panthers left tackle Russell Okung said it has been a tough week for the offensive line knowing they failed to pick up 1 yard on a fourth down run late in the game on a potential winning drive in a 34-30 loss to the Raiders. Fullback Alex Armah was stopped cold on a run up the middle, turning the ball over on downs. ''Honestly, the game comes down to fourth-and-1,'' Okung said. ''We did not do enough to win the game, especially when it was on our backs. ... We needed more. And we've got to figure out a way to win those situations.''
Sunday Morning Update: Week 7
The Washington Football Team defense had another good game against a banged-up offense as they dominated the Andy Dalton-led Cowboys. Dallas was playing without several starters on the offensive line and Washington took advantage as they sacked Dalton six times with one sack leading to a safety. Cole Holcomb led the charge for Washington with an interception and a sack from the middle linebacker position. In all, Washington allowed three points, recorded six sacks, a safety, and an interception on a great day for fantasy managers. The Football Team will have a bye in Week 8 but have another juicy matchup versus the Giants in Week 9 where they will be a startable unit in fantasy.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green had seven catches (13 targets) for 82 yards during the loss to the Browns on Sunday. The veteran recorded another convincing performance against Cleveland while combining for 15 receptions (24 targets) over the team's previous two contests. Although fantasy managers may not see this type of production against the Titans in Week 8, he could have some more favorable outings over Cincy's remaining nine games, especially if Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd continue to open things up for him.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marquez Callaway caught eight of 10 targets for 75 receiving yards in a 27-24 victory over Carolina. Callaway led the team in targets in the absences of both Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19). Somewhat quietly, the 22-year old rookie has compiled 16 targets over his last two contests. With Sanders definitely out and Thomas's status looking murky, Callaway makes for an interesting waiver add. He did sustain an ankle injury and had to be helped off the field to the locker room. If Callaway's ankle isn't anything serious, fantasy managers should consider him as a streaming option against Chicago.
The Dallas Cowboys Defense didn't fare well in Week 7 despite being matched up against a Washington Football Team that was allowing the third most fantasy points to opposing fantasy defenses. The Cowboys defense allowed 23 points, recording two sacks but no turnovers. The Cowboys will take on the Eagles in the battle of bad NFC East defenses next week, where they will not be a recommended fantasy option.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins caught all five of his targets to finish with 71 yards and a touchdown against the Browns on Sunday. The rookie now has three touchdowns on the year, finding the end zone for the first time since Week 3 against the Eagles. With Joe Burrow leading a pass-heavy attack for Cincy, Higgins may continue to benefit, especially with Tyler Boyd and A.J. Green drawing the attention needed to open things up for him over the remaining nine games of his inaugural season.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd caught 11 of his 13 targets to finish the Week 7 matchup against the Browns with 101 yards and a score. After fizzling out against the Colts last Sunday, the 25-year-old recorded one of his most convincing performances of the 2020 campaign. Boyd has now logged at least eight targets in five of Cincy's seven contests and should continue to benefit from the stellar play of rookie signal-caller Joe Burrow. However, things may get difficult for the former Pittsburgh Panther in Week 8 against the Titans, with Tennessee looking to rebound after suffering its first defeat of the year against the Steelers.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein attempted a field goal in Week 7, and it was good for the only three points the Cowboys scored in an ugly 25-3 loss to the Washington Football Team. Zuerlein made his kick from 45 yards out and was never on the field on offense again. The Dallas offense is in total shambles, possibly moving Zuerlein out of the top-15 fantasy kickers going forward. He should continue to be solid, but may not get enough opportunities to score significant fantasy points.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup came up empty in a rough Week 7 loss. Gallup was targeted twice but couldn't come down with either pass, ending up with a blank box score and zero fantasy points. Gallup was working as a field stretcher with Dak Prescott around, but now with Andy Dalton and possibly Ben DiNucci throwing the ball for the Cowboys, Gallup seems much more likely to hit the "bust" part of his boom-or-bust fantasy outlook.
Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas caught all four of his targets for 60 yards and a touchdown in a Week 7 win over the Cowboys. Thomas played second-fiddle to Terry McLaurin in the passing game as no other Washington player had more than two targets. Thomas made them count catching several big passes to move the chains while finding the end zone for the third time this season. Thomas has had an up-and-down season but is getting enough weekly targets to be considered a borderline starter in 12-team fantasy leagues. He'll be a touchdown-dependant starter in his next matchup in Week 9 versus the Giants.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard racked up 37 yards off 13 carries during the heartbreaking loss to the Cleveland Browns. He also added five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. The veteran filled in admirably for Joe Mixon (foot), who is considered week-to-week after being injured during the Week 6 encounter with the Colts. At this point, the 28-year-old has likely found a home on fantasy rosters. However, if he is still floating around the waiver wire, managers should pick him up before it's too late, especially if Mixon cannot suit up against the Titans in Week 8. Although Bernard isn't the most efficient runner, he should continue to benefit from the team's pass-heavy offense.
New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray posted 56 scrimmage yards on 12 total touches in a victory over the Panthers. Murray's 4.3 yards per carry were a bit skewed, as he picked up 25 yards on one run and just 22 yards on the other 10 carries. Still, the opportunity Murray is getting is encouraging for those who have him rostered, as the coaching staff clearly trusts him. It bears repeating, but if something were to happen to Alvin Kamara, Murray would be an easy start as an RB1.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin posted a 7-90-1 line versus the Cowboys to help lead Washington to a win over their division rival. The sophomore receiver was a huge part of the game plan against a bad Dallas secondary as McLaurin was targeted 11 times, his fourth game this season with double-digit targets. It could have been an even bigger game for McLaurin but he came up inches short of the goal line on his first catch of the game. He made up for it a couple of drives later as he torched Trevon Diggs for a 52-yard score. McLaurin doesn't operate in the NFL's most electrifying offense, but his combination of skill and target-floor make him one of the best WR options in fantasy. He'll have another solid matchup with the Giants in Week 9 after the bye.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara carried the ball 14 times for 83 rushing yards and caught all eight targets for 65 receiving yards in a 27-24 win. The 83 rushing yards tied a season-high for Kamara, as the running room was easy to find against Carolina's ground defense. Amazingly, the star halfback has exceeded 100 scrimmage yards in every game but one- and he ended up with two scores in that contest to salvage his day. There might be no better player to roster in fantasy football right now, so managers should keep riding the Kamara wave into a Week 8 contest against a Bears Defense that can be had on the ground.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (knee) will have an MRI performed on Monday. The veteran was forced out of Sunday's matchup against the Bengals after injuring his left knee in the first quarter. Although the team fears the worst, fantasy managers should wait until official confirmation before hitting the panic button. Heading into Week 7, the 27-year-old grabbed 23 of his 42 targets for 319 yards and three touchdowns.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz made two catches in Week 7, gaining 22 yards. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Schultz ended up second on the team in both catches and receiving yards. He was targeted four times in a game in which the Cowboys couldn't do much of anything on offense. Even if Andy Dalton (head) is able to play next week, Schultz may be no better than a mid-range TE2. Things are rough on both sides of the ball in Dallas right now.
Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb was targeted five times in an ugly Week 7 loss, failing to catch any of those targets. He was given one carry and gained one yard. In standard scoring leagues, Lamb put up just 0.1 fantasy points. It was a bad game for pretty much everyone in a Cowboys uniform. Even if Andy Dalton (head) isn't forced to miss time, Lamb and all of the Cowboys pass catchers are getting a huge downgrade compared to when Dak Prescott (ankle) was under center.
Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan caught only two passes for 32 yards in the Packers 35-20 romp over the Texans in Week 7. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was generous with his offensive distribution but Tonyan was unable to enjoy the fruits of the teams prosperity. Fantasy teams that raced to pick up Tonyan after his three-touchdown performance in Week 4 have been rewarded with only five catches for 57 yards over the last two weeks. Tonyan's fantasy value will continue to sink heading into Week 8.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper had the only remotely productive offensive game for the Cowboys in Week 7. He caught seven passes for 80 yards and added a carry for five more yards on the ground. Cooper was targeted seven times and caught everything sent his way. He ended up leading the team in catches, targets, and yards all by a significant margin. It was a rough game for the Cowboys in all aspects, but in the "someone has to catch the ball" situations that the Cowboys may have going forward, Cooper is the most likely to be that "someone". Cooper will remain a volume-based WR2 option regardless of the Cowboys quarterback situation going forward.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams caught 13 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns in the Packers 35-20 win over the Texans in Week 7. Adams simply could not be stopped, wreaking havoc all over the field with his team-high 16 targets in the game. The Packers offense simply is a different beast when Adams is on the field, as the star receiver now has two enormous fantasy performances under his belt this season. Adams heads into Week 8 with 36 receptions for 449 yards and four touchdowns through only four games this season.
Another week, another touchdown reception for Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V, who now has one in five consecutive games. It seems like his Week 2 game where he wasn't targeted triggered some kind of change in this offense. Fuller finished Sunday's loss to Green Bay with three catches for 35 yards and the score. He wasn't as involved as he had been recently, but if Fuller can keep having such a nose for the end zone, he'll be a solid WR2 play moving forward for fantasy managers.