Sun Sep 27 4:39pm ET
By KYLE HIGHTOWER
AP Sports Writer
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) celebrates his touchdown pass to running back Rex Burkhead (34) in the first half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
The New England Patriots and the Las Vegas Raiders play in an empty Gillette Stadium due to the coronavirus pandemic in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, left, gives running back Rex Burkhead a lift after Burkhead's touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead falls backward toward the end zone for a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden works along the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick works along the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Las Vegas Raiders tight end Foster Moreau (87) catches a pass for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, center, runs with the ball against the New England Patriots in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Las Vegas Raiders safety Johnathan Abram (24) celebrates his interception with teammates in the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Maurice Hurst (73) tackles New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby (98) gets a poke in the eye as he closes in to sack New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) passes under pressure in the first half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) hands off to running back Josh Jacobs (28) in the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) passes against the New England Patriots in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
The New England Patriots run onto the field surrounded by empty Gillette Stadium seats, absent of fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic ,before an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) gives a shout as the team warms up before an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Rex Burkhead scored three touchdowns and Bill Belichick became the third coach in NFL history to reach 275 regular-season victories in the New England Patriots' 36-20 win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.
Sony Michel finished with nine carries for 117 yards. Burkhead had two rushing scores and an 11-yard TD reception.
Cam Newton was 17 of 28 passing for 162 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Shilique Calhoun had two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for a score.
The Patriots have won the last six meetings with the Raiders and improved to 47-9 in regular-season games following a loss. Raiders coach Jon Gruden dropped to 0-3 against Belichick.
Derek Carr finished 24 of 32 for 261 yards and a two TDs for Las Vegas. But he had two fumbles which led to a New England field goal and a late touchdown when he lost the ball in the end zone and it was recovered by Calhoun. Josh Jacobs also had a fumble.
Las Vegas opened the season by scoring at least 34 points in its first two games with six red zone touchdowns. The Raiders were also second in the NFL, converting on 57 percent of third downs.
They went just 2 for 5 in the red zone and 3 of 9 on third down Sunday.
The offenses were stagnant early as both teams struggled to get into a groove because of turnovers and poor performance on third down.
Things changed for the Patriots on their first drive of the third quarter when Michel, who struggled in the first two games, broke free for a 38-yard run.
A 15-yard pass from Newton to Burkhead got the Patriots into the red zone. Three plays later Burkhead capped the drive with a spinning 5-yard TD run to stretch New England's lead to 20-10.
After both teams traded field goals, the Patriots took over with 11:22 remaining and ate up more than five minutes of clock with a 10-play, 86-yard drive that was capped with a 5-yard TD plunge by Burkhead.
FAST AND FURIOUS
It took until the final minute of the first half for both teams to reach the end zone.
Leading 6-3, Newton found Burkhead over the middle for a short pass, which he carried the rest of the way for a leaping 11-yard touchdown with 34 seconds left.
Following the kickoff, the Raiders got help from a pass interference call on Stephon Gilmore to get into Patriots territory. Two plays later Carr hooked up with Hunter Renfrow for a 26-yard completion to get to the 1. He then found tight end Foster Moreau for a 1-yard TD to trim New England's lead to 13-10.
Both teams were missing key starters.
The Raiders played without speedy rookie receiver Henry Ruggs III because of injuries to his knee and hamstring. Also sidelined were starting right tackle Trent Brown (calf) and linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (pectoral muscle). Left guard Richie Incognito (Achilles tendon) went on injured reserve Wednesday. Agholor started at receiver, rookie John Simpson at left guard and Denzelle Good at right tackle.
The Patriots were down center David Andrews and rookie linebacker Josh Uche after both were placed on IR Saturday. Running back James White was also out for the second straight game following the passing of his father. Joe Thuney shifted over to center, and rookie Michael Onwenu started at left guard.
Raiders: Cornerback Damon Arnette left with a thumb injury.
Raiders: Host Buffalo next Sunday.
Patriots: Visit defending champion Kansas City next Sunday.
Five Hot Plays: Week 8
Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore had a quiet game in a 25-17 loss to the Falcons on Thursday Night Football. Moore caught two of six targets for 55 receiving yards, including a huge 42-yard reception on a 3rd-and-17 in the fourth quarter. In a strange turn of events, Moore went without a catch until the final drive of the fourth quarter. Fortunately, the 23-year-old still saw six targets, second on the team to only fellow wideout Robby Anderson. There should be better days ahead for Moore, as he had compiled at least 93 receiving yards in three straight contests coming into this one. He'll get a Week 9 matchup against Kansas City in what could turn out to be a high-scoring affair.
Carolina Panthers running back Mike Davis carried the ball 13 times for 66 rushing yards and caught one of two targets for 11 receiving yards in a loss to the Falcons. The 27-year-old disappointed in likely his last ride as the Panthers' lead back, as Christian McCaffrey (ankle) is expected to return in Week 9 against Kansas City. Davis was a PPR machine in McCaffrey's absence, with at least six targets in four games as the starter. He was so impressive at times that it's possible he earned himself a bigger role, though it likely won't amount to much with McCaffrey around to gobble up the majority of the touches. Keep Davis rostered until we find out McCaffrey is back for sure.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage finished Thursday's win with two receptions for 25 yards on three targets. Gage continued to show his inconsistency on Thursday after coming into the game having gotten at least 54 yards in the past two contests. The WR is definitely streaky, which makes him a risky play most weeks. An ankle injury suffered by fellow wideout Calvin Ridley is worth monitoring. If Ridley cannot play next Sunday, Gage's value will surely go up, but it would still be hard to trust him for good production given his lackluster numbers this season.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson hauled in five of eight targets for 48 receiving yards in a 25-17 loss to the Falcons. It could have been a bigger day for the former Jet, as he nearly made a one-handed touchdown grab on a throw from backup P.J. Walker, who came in relief of Teddy Bridgewater for one series. It certainly didn't help Anderson that Bridgewater was under constant pressure the whole night. However, his fantasy managers can take solace in the fact that he's now seen at least eight targets in six of eight contests this season. That sort of volume should keep him in the WR2 mix next week, even in a tough matchup against Kansas City.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones had seven receptions for 137 yards on 10 targets in the Week 8 win over Carolina. For the past three weeks, the WR has been playing at a tremendous level and has gotten at least seven receptions, nine targets, and 97 yards the past three games. His volume keeps him in the WR1 tier each week.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 15 of 23 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown along with 30 yards rushing on five attempts in a 25-17 loss to Atlanta. Bridgewater left the game after taking a nasty hit in the third quarter, but he was able to return after making it through the league's concussion protocol. The 27-year-old made some nice throws when he was given time, including a beautiful deep ball to Curtis Samuel on a flea-flicker. Unfortunately, he was constantly under pressure, as he was sacked twice and hit six times by the Falcons Defense. A bounce-back could be in the cards next week- Carolina may need to rely on Bridgewater's arm in Week 9 against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley finished with three receptions for 42 yards on four targets in Week 8. The WR went down with an ankle injury in the first half of the game and didn't return. Managers will now have to monitor the status of the WR heading into the Week 9 clash against the Broncos.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst finished with five receptions for 54 yards on seven targets in the Week 8 win over Carolina. Hurst has now seen seven targets in the past two games and has gotten at least 50 yards in four of the past five games. The TE has a decent role in this offense and the latest numbers are backing that up. Hurst should be considered a low-end TE1 each week given his consistency.
Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill finished with 11 carries for 55 yards and two receptions for nine yards on Thursday. It was the RB2 of the team who surprisingly led in rush yards, but this was a rare occurrence. Hill doesn't see enough weekly touches to merit good fantasy value going forward.
Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley II finished Thursday night's win with 18 carries for 46 yards and a score. The back still had a decent night despite Brian Hill getting more rushing yards total. Gurley has now had at least 18 carries in the past three games and has three rushing touchdowns in the past two games. With a steady number of carries each week, the RB should remain in the low-end RB1/high-end RB2 tier every week.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan went 21-for-30 and gained 281 yards and one interception in the Thursday night win over the Panthers. It was a rainy game and many players were clearly affected by the conditions. Ryan finished with an average night, which he has sometimes had this season. With a high-powered offense, the QB should remain in the starting tier most weeks, but is most effective in favorable matchups.
Teddy Bridgewater, after being tripped while trying to scramble, took a shot to the head as he fell to the ground against the Falcons. Obviously, the first concern after a hit to the head is a concussion. Bridgewater's head abruptly twisted to the side and he went into the tent shortly thereafter. The Panthers' backup tonight is XFL sweetheart, P.J. Walker.
Calvin Ridley has been ruled out for the Falcons' Week 8 game against the Panthers. He was tackled by a defender and his left foot got caught under the defender. Ridley immediately grabbed his left foot and went to the locker room. His status for Week 9 will now be in question.
New York Jets running back La'Mical Perine has been buried on the depth chart for most of the season. However, head coach Adam Gase mentioned last week that he wants to get Perine more involved. Perine was on the field for 70 percent of the offensive snaps during the Week 7 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He saw 11 carries for 40 yards and a touchdown in the loss. He'll get a decent matchup here against the Kansas City Chiefs who are average against the run this season. Perine could be worth looking at as a desperation option for owners in need of a running back.
New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder (groin) was able to go through limited practice on Thursday. That is actually an upgrade since Crowder sat out of practice the day prior. Crowder has been basically the only bright spot for this team all season long. His absence would doom the Jets chances of doing anything at all on offense versus the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8. Crowder has seen 10 or more targets in each game that he has played in this season. He'll be a reliable WR2, assuming he suits up here.
New York Jets running back Frank Gore has seen a significant role in the backfield this season. The departure of Le'Veon Bell has opened up lead back duties for Gore over the last few weeks. Sadly, the Jets offensive line and team as a whole is horrible this season. Gore has done what he can, but will likely see his role decrease going forward. Head coach Adam Gase wants to see La'Mical Perine more involved in the offense. That means, Gore is going to be a tough option to trust versus the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold showed no signs of life during the loss to the Buffalo Bills last week. Darnold returned after a two-game absence, but was torn apart by the Bills Defense in Week 7. He finished with 120 passing yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions in the loss. To be fair, Darnold doesn't have many weapons on the Jets, but his play under center has been difficult to watch. It won't get any easier for Darnold as he'll face off with the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8. A secondary that has allowed the ninth fewest amount of fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. There is no reason to start Darnold unless you absolutely have no other options. Hopefully Ben DiNucci is available because he's a better fantasy option this week than Darnold.
During the second quarter, Calvin Ridley was tackled from behind and immediately grabbed his left foot. Common injuries in the foot and ankle include lateral ankle sprains, high ankle sprains, mid-foot sprains, and turf toe. His status to return to the game is unknown at this time but considering this is a divisional game, the Falcons will do everything in their power to get him back on the field. His practice availability leading into Week 9 will be worth monitoring.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis has put together a few decent performance this season. Sadly, his production has been inconsistent and it's tough to predict when he's going to see a significant role in the offense. Last week, Davis saw three targets and caught one of them for 11 yards in the victory over the New York Jets. Davis is not expected to be a reliable streaming option against the top-10 secondary of the New England Patriots in Week 8. Fantasy owners might be able to use him as a low-end desperation deep league option, but that's about it.
The Seattle Seahawks will have a running back active Sunday versus San Francisco, although whether it's any of the trio of Chris Carson (foot), Carlos Hyde (hamstring), or Travis Homer (knee) remains to be seen. None of the aforementioned trio practiced in any capacity Thursday, furthering the notion that DeeJay Dallas may be heavily relied upon for the game versus the 49ers. Of the three, Carson seems the most likely to miss the contest after initially being deemed week-to-week with a foot injury. Should Hyde or Homer suit up (with the other being ruled out), they'd immediately garner RB2/Flex intrigue due to the lack of depth in the Seattle backfield. Check back over the coming days to get a better idea of how the Seahawks' backfield woes will shake out.