San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo reacts on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) is sacked by Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Addison (97), center rear, and Harrison Phillips, right, during the second half of an NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers are heading across the country banged up and bitter after blowing a fourth-quarter lead in their season opener.
The defending NFC champions are 0-1 - and will try to avoid a two-game skid to start the year when they face the hapless New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
''We've just got to move on, get to Week 2 and get this thing rolling now,'' quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. ''You've got to deal with the situation that you're given and control what you can control.''
For the 49ers, it's about not letting another late lead slip through their hands, as they did in a 24-20 loss to Arizona last Sunday. They became the first Super Bowl runner-up to lose a season opener since Carolina fell 21-20 to Denver in 2016. San Francisco will also try to avoid becoming the first to start 0-2 since Seattle in 2015.
(For more in-depth coverage of the NFL, listen to the AP Pro Football Podcast apple.co/3iGiX8a )
While the Jets looked awful in a 27-17 loss at Buffalo last Sunday, a victory at the Meadowlands might not be such a sure thing for the 49ers who are dealing with numerous injuries. Cornerback Richard Sherman (calf) is out, tight end George Kittle (knee) is uncertain to play, and wide receivers Deebo Samuel (foot) and Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring) didn't play in the opener.
''We've dealt with this before,'' Garoppolo said. ''I think every team, you've got to deal with your injuries. Next man up mindset.''
The Jets know exactly what the 49ers are dealing with. They'll be without star running back Le'Veon Bell (hamstring), who's on injured reserve, and leading receiver Jamison Crowder is uncertain to play after also injuring his hamstring.
That will put even more strain on quarterback Sam Darnold, who struggled mightily in the opener with his mechanics, footwork and decision-making. He finished 21 of 35 for 215 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but those numbers were largely padded by a strong final drive.
''My timing needs to be better,'' Darnold said. ''I think I did hurry some things. I feel like just at the beginning of a game I've just got to relax and take a deep breath, ease myself into it and make the throws when they're there.''
The Niners will be missing a key piece on defense after placing Sherman on injured reserve. He was by far the most dependable part of the secondary last season for a team that allowed the fewest yards passing in more than a decade.
Emmanuel Moseley struggled across from Sherman in the opener. There are questions about the other starter with Ahkello Witherspoon trying to get back from a concussion.
The 49ers have lost all three games Sherman has missed the past two seasons, allowing nearly 10 points more per game and a passer rating that is 11 points higher without him.
''I know guys are ready to step up,'' linebacker Fred Warner said. ''I think guys are ready and if we put the right week of practice in like we know we should, we should be firing on all cylinders this week.''
Niners coach Kyle Shanahan remembers studying Frank Gore's college film back when he was getting his start in the NFL as a quality control coach in Tampa Bay in 2004.
Gore is still going 16 years later and is set to get the start for the Jets this week against the team that drafted him in 2005. The 37-year-old Gore is the third-leading rusher in NFL history.
''I loved him then, I loved him every year,'' Shanahan said. ''He runs so hard. The guys that run that hard very rarely can play to his age, which just shows how dedicated he is, how much of a football player he is and obviously extremely talented, but he's a special dude.''
One of the few bright spots for the Jets against Buffalo was the play of safety Marcus Maye, who stepped into the role Jamal Adams played before he was traded this summer to Seattle.
Maye was all over the field, racking up 10 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble, two passes defensed, two tackles for loss and two quarterback hits.
''Talk about a guy that probably did everything imaginable at the safety position,'' Jets coach Adam Gase said. ''I don't think there's many guys that could do what he did this last week, as far as the variety.''
Running back Raheem Mostert played a big part in the 49ers' run to the Super Bowl last season, rushing for 773 yards and 12 TDs in his final 10 games in the regular season and postseason combined. He did all that work as a backup but made the most of his first career start in Week 1.
He had 151 yards from scrimmage and scored on a 76-yard TD pass, showing off his improved receiving skills.
''Raheem has grown in every aspect,'' Shanahan said. ''He gets better and better the more opportunities he gets. He got a real good opportunity on that look Sunday and did what he was capable of and that was a house call. So, it was awesome.''
Five Hot Plays: Week 8
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (ankle) was limited in practice on Friday, but head coach Kevin Stefanski expects Garrett to play in Week 8 against the Raiders. Garrett had another two sacks in the Week 7 win over the Bengals and now leads the NFL with nine sacks and four forced fumbles through seven weeks. He's also accumulated 22 combined tackles (19 solo), five tackles for loss, 13 QB hits and two fumble recoveries. The 24-year-old is a must-start IDP option at his position and should be available for fantasy managers this Sunday. His presence on the field will make things difficult for Las Vegas' offensive line and quarterback Derek Carr.
Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy isn't ready to completely rule out quarterback Andy Dalton (concussion) for Week 8 against the Eagles, but owner Jerry Jones said that Dalton "should be ready to go next week" against the Steelers. Rookie Ben DiNucci has taken all the first-team repetitions in practice this week and is in line to make his first career start after going 2-for-3 for 39 yards in relief of Dalton in Week 7. Dalton would need to practice on Saturday to have a chance at playing this Sunday, but that's a long shot at this point since he's still in the concussion protocol. Garrett Gilbert would serve as DiNucci's backup if Dalton is inactive. DiNucci shouldn't be considered anything more than a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues this weekend.
Minnesota Vikings linebacker Todd Davis is being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive on Friday. Davis is being quarantined but the Vikings Week 8 game against the Packers remains on schedule for this Sunday. It's more bad news for a Vikings Defense that has really fallen apart in 2020. They already traded defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to the Ravens and rank 22nd in the league with 13 sacks through seven weeks of the season. Fantasy-wise, Minnesota ranks 29th in the NFL in overall fantasy points, which means they should continue to sit on the waiver wire this weekend against the high-scoring Packers attack.
New York Jets wide receiver Braxton Berrios could be headed towards a big game with the team banged up heading into their Week 8 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs. Both Jamison Crowder (groin) and Breshad Perriman (head) are considered questionable for Sunday's matchup. That means, Berrios could be in line for the start and plenty of targets here. He saw seven targets against the Buffalo Bills last week, but hauled in four of them for 35 yards in the loss. Berrios could see a heavy volume of targets this week, but he still remains a desperation deep league option.
The Seattle Seahawks plan to sign running back Alex Collins to their practice squad next week, according to sources. Collins flew in to Seattle on Thursday to start his COVID-19 testing. The 26-year-old was a fifth-round pick by the Seahawks in 2016, but he played just one season for them before landing with the Ravens for two years. He hasn't played in an NFL game since 2018 with Baltimore, however, when he was released following a car accident. Collins averaged just 3.6 yards per carry in his final season with the Ravens and lost his job at the time to Gus Edwards. Seattle is hurting at the position with Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde and Travis Homer all banged up, so Collins will provide some much-needed depth. He can be ignored for fantasy purposes for now.
New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims made his NFL debut against the Buffalo Bills in Week 7. He finished with four receptions on seven targets for 42 yards in the loss. A decent outing for Mims, considering the Jets offensive unit is horrendous. It appears that the Jets want to get Mims heavily involved in the gameplan. His fantasy value is trending up with Jamison Crowder (groin) unlikely to suit up for the Week 8 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. Mims could make for an interesting PPR streaming option this week.
X-rays on Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (ankle) came back negative after he was knocked out of the Thursday night win over the Panthers in the second quarter, according to sources informed of the situation. Ridley will undergo an MRI exam to determine if he can return in Week 9 against the Broncos, and the good news is that Atlanta will have extra rest before that contest next Sunday. However, with a bye coming in Week 10, it's possible that the team plays it safe and holds Ridley out. He had three catches for 42 yards before leaving on Thursday and has 43 receptions for 657 yards and six touchdowns in eight games this year. Whenever Ridley is ready to play again, he needs to be in all fantasy lineups.
New York Jets wide receiver Breshad Perriman (head) entered the league's concussion protocol earlier this week. It's uncertain if Perriman will be cleared in time for the Week 8 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. He hauled in both of his targets for 27 yards last week versus the Buffalo Bills. Perriman has only finished with 30 receiving yards or more in a game once this season. The Jets offensive unit cannot be trusted besides Jamison Crowder. Fantasy owners should consider Perriman a desperation deep league option here.
New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (knee) tweaked his knee in practice on Thursday and underwent an MRI exam. His injury is considered to be minor, but his status for Week 8 against the Bills isn't clear. Losing the 30-year-old All-Pro shutdown cornerback would be a big loss this Sunday against the division-rival Bills and gunslinger quarterback Josh Allen. On the flip side, it would be a boost to the fantasy value of Bills No. 1 receiver Stefon Diggs, who would carry WR1 upside. The Patriots Defense is a streaming option for fantasy managers in a bind this week, but they certainly won't have as much upside if Gilmore cannot play.
Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said that quarterback Andy Dalton (concussion) remains in the NFL's concussion protocol and that the team is preparing rookie Ben DiNucci to start in Week 8 against the Eagles. A final decision will be made on Saturday. "He's a confident young man. He has a lot of tools to work with," McCarthy said about DiNucci. Dalton is a long shot at this point to play against the division-rival Eagles, so DiNucci looks set to make his first career NFL start. He should be considered a desperation low-end QB2 for superflex leagues, while receivers Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup need to be downgraded even against Philly's shaky secondary. The Eagles Defense will be a strong streaming option Sunday.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (foot) is missing practice again on Friday, making it likely that Giovani Bernard will be starting for the second straight week on Sunday against the Titans. Mixon didn't play in Week 7 and hasn't practiced at all this week, so things are looking grim for him suiting up this weekend. Bernard carried the ball a season-high 13 times for 37 yards in the Week 7 loss to the Browns, adding five catches for another 59 yards and his second touchdown of the season. He should see most of the backfield touches once again if Mixon is inactive, which will make him an RB2 against a Tennessee defense allowing the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.
The Baltimore Ravens signed All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley to a five-year contract extension on Friday. It comes after the team recently signed cornerback Marlon Humphrey to a long-term deal, showing that they are committed to keeping their young talent on the roster for the long haul. Stanley has been a key asset for Baltimore's offensive line ever since he was taken sixth overall in the 2016 draft. The 26-year-old earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2019. The deal is for $98.75 million and carries $70.9 million in guarantees and locks in Stanley as quarterback Lamar Jackson's blind-side protector for years to come.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (foot) had X-rays on his injured foot, which were negative. He'll have an MRI to determine his fate for the next few weeks.
Fantasy Spin: Ridley will have about 10 days to heal up before Week 9, and the team has a Week 10 bye. He has been one of the few bright spots on the struggling team and remains a WR1.
New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (knee) is likely headed to the Reserve/Injured list after having surgery to clean up his knee.
Fantasy Spin: Ian Rapoport also went as far to say that Edelman's knee was a bone-on-bone situation, which spells doom for a football player. You can stash Edelman on an IR spot for now in hopes of getting something from him in the stretch run, but this was a grim report for a gritty player.
Carolina Panthers WR Curtis Samuel caught four passes for 31 yards and a touchdown during the team's Week 8 game against the Atlanta Falcons. Samuel also carried the ball three times for 23 yards and a score.
Fantasy Spin: Samuel scored both of Carolina's touchdowns on Thursday night, one on a run up the middle and the other on a flea flicker. The fourth-year pro is a valuable do-it-all option for the Panthers offense, but gadget guys are tough to count on from one week to the next. Still, Samuel should be able to offer value as a flex most weeks.
Carolina Panthers WR Robby Anderson caught five passes for 48 yards against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday, Oct. 29. Anderson was targeted eight times.
Fantasy Spin: Anderson led the way in targets and receptions but most of his work was underneath as, outside of a 27-yard grab, his four catches covered just 21 yards. Atlanta simply refused to let Carolina's WRs get over the top and seemed to be a step ahead of the Panthers protection schemes all night long. Nobody delivers every week at the receiver position, but Anderson remains a steady WR2 going forward.
Carolina Panthers WR D.J. Moore caught two passes for 55 yards against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 8. He was targeted six times.
Fantasy Spin: Moore hauled in a 42-yard jump ball on Carolina's final drive to salvage a little respectability from a game where he was otherwise a complete nonfactor. You can blame some of it on the elements, but the offensive line didn't help matters either as Teddy Bridgewater seemed to be constantly under pressure. Keep Moore in your lineup in Week 9 and hope for a better performance.
Carolina Panthers RB Mike Davis had 13 carries for 66 yards against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday, Oct. 29. Davis also caught one pass for 11 yards.
Fantasy Spin: Davis looked physical against the Falcons Thursday night in what's likely to be his last start since Christian McCaffrey is expected to return in Week 9. While that should be the end of Davis' immediate value he's proven to be a quality handcuff for all Run CMC owners. A disclaimer: don't drop Davis until it's confirmed that McCaffrey will play against the Chiefs. Setbacks happen.
Carolina Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater (neck) completed 15 of his 23 passes for 176 yards, a touchdown and an interception against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday, Oct. 29. He also ran five times for 30 yards.
Fantasy Spin: Even before exiting the game temporarily following a nasty hit to the head, Bridgewater wasn't getting much done, settling for a steady diet of shallow crossing routes amid surprising pressure from the Falcons. Entering the final drive he'd barely topped the century mark in passing yards and his final throw was a terrible interception that had zero chance to be completed. It'll be interesting to see if the offense adjusts significantly following the expected return of Christian McCaffrey in Week 9.
Atlanta Falcons RB Brian Hill had 11 carries for 55 yards against the Carolina Panthers in Week 8. He also caught two passes for nine yards.
Fantasy Spin: Thursday represented the second time in three games that Hill has hit double digits in carries, and he's averaging a respectable 46 total yards per game over the last month. That's not enough to give him standalone value most weeks, but given Todd Gurley's workload and injury history Hill is certainly someone you could feel good about stashing on your bench.