Sun Sep 8 4:35pm ET
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku celebrates after scoring a 3-yard touchdown during the second half in an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Tennessee Titans inside linebacker Rashaan Evans (54) and strong safety Kenny Vaccaro (24) celebrate a safety during the first half in an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, left, congratulates running back Derrick Henry after Henry scored a 1-yard touchdown during the first half in an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) scrambles during the first half in an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) avoids Tennessee Titans cornerback Adoree' Jackson (25) during the first half in an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws under pressure from Tennessee Titans cornerback Logan Ryan (26) during the first half in an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) hands off the ball to running back Derrick Henry (22) for a 1-yard touchdown during the first half in an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry rushes for a 1-yard touchdown during the first half in an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws during the first half in an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield looks to throw during the first half in an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is introduced before an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
CLEVELAND (AP) Maybe Marcus Mariota and the Titans deserved all the hype.
Tennessee's quarterback threw three touchdown passes - one a stunning 75-yarder to big back Derrick Henry - and the Titans rolled to a 43-13 rout Sunday over the Cleveland Browns, who fell flat on their faces in their highly anticipated opener.
Titans tight end Delanie Walker had two TD catches in the fourth, and Tennessee's defensive backs intercepted Baker Mayfield three times in the fourth period.
Cameron Wake sacked Mayfield in the end zone for a safety in the first half, and the Titans dominated the undisciplined and perhaps overblown Browns, picked by some to contend for a Super Bowl title after adding Odell Beckham Jr.
The Browns committed 18 penalties for 182 yards, a poor reflection on first-year coach Freddie Kitchens. Cleveland also had a player ejected for kicking a Titans defender. The performance left Cleveland fans and wondering if they've been duped.
The Browns are 1-19-1 in openers since 1999.
The Titans always seem to be overlooked, but after just missing the playoffs last season, coach Mike Vrabel had his team ready.
Mariota finished 14 of 24 for 248 yards, completing his two scoring passes to Walker in a span of 3:29 of the final quarter when the Titans opened a 23-point lead.
Mayfield, who took several big hits while playing behind a patchwork line, brought Cleveland within 15-13 with a 3-yard TD pass to David Njoku. But the Titans countered immediately as Henry, who sat out the preseason with a calf injury, took a short pass, picked up a few blocks and rumbled down the sideline for the long score.
Kevin Byard picked off Mayfield moments later, and Mariota connected with Walker for an 11-yard score. The three-time Pro Bowler was making his return after suffering a season-ending broken leg in last year's opener.
Mayfield was then picked for the second time and Tennessee's Logan Ryan led the entire defense to the far end of the field, where they taunted Cleveland's rabid Dawg Pound section.
Mayfield went 25 of 38 for 285 yards, with his last throw returned 38 yards for a TD by Malcolm Butler. Beckham finished with seven catches for 71 yards in his Cleveland debut.
The first half was a mess for the Browns, flagged 10 times, saw starting left tackle Greg Robinson get tossed, and had his backup, Kendall Lamm, go down with a knee injury on Wake's sack.
Robinson was booted for booting safety Kenny Vaccaro in the head.
Tennessee's Cairo Santos, signed earlier this week, made two field goals, from 53 and 37 yards. Santos was brought in after Ryan Succop was placed on injured reserve.
Browns: RB Dontrell Hilliard left with a concussion in the first half. ... Lamm never returned after going down. ... TE Demetrius Harris left briefly with a right shoulder injury.
Titans: host Indianapolis on Sunday. The Colts won both meetings last season by an average of 22 points.
Browns: visit the New York Jets on Sept. 16 in matchup of first teams to play on Monday night.
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said that running back Todd Gurley (thigh) is "on a good pace to hopefully be able to play on Sunday" in Week 7 against the Falcons after he was inactive last week. McVay also said Gurley is "feeling good" and is "going to participate in a limited fashion" in practice again on Thursday. Gurley is trending towards returning this weekend, but there's a good chance he'll be limited. Malcolm Brown is also dealing with an injury, but if both are active they should split the backfield duties between the two of them with rookie Darrell Henderson mixing in. That would make Gurley more of a low-end RB2 with more volatility, albeit in a great matchup against the Falcons.
Indianapolis Colts tight endJack Doyle hasn't had the resurgent season he was hoping for after dealing with a hip injury last season. In Week 7, it's unlikely for that to change. He's had no more than 46 receiving yards in any game this season, and in four out of the five he's gone for 22 or fewer yards. After the top echelon of tight ends, it becomes mostly a dart throw at the position. However, when selecting your dart, you'll want to reach for a different player than Doyle for this week.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal has seen a surge in his workload over the past few weeks. Thanks to his size and athleticism, he's been able to get onto the field and he makes big plays happen, as he's had catches for 53 and 72 yards in the last three weeks. Against a Houston Texans offense that figures to score a fair amount of points, the Colts could use a big night out of him. The Texans are giving up over 250 passing yards per game, and Pascal should be on the receiving end of a few of those. If he can break one for a long touchdown, it could win you your week in deeper leagues.
Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron has struggled this year. He's caught just one ball in three out of the five games he's played, and he's been plagued with drops thus far. The key for him is getting into the end zone. Last season when he was a top-five tight end, he scored 14 total touchdowns. The Colts don't have another elite threat in the red zone, and he just has to come down with the ball when it's thrown to him. He's seen at least four targets in all but one game, so the opportunity is there. If he can come down with at least one touchdown, that will give him a solid stat line for the week.
The Indianapolis Colts Defense doesn't do anything all that exciting, and they aren't loaded with star power. However, they are well-coached and disciplined in their scheme. Despite that, you should still look to start a different defense in Week 7. The Houston Texans offense is sixth in the NFL in yards per game, and they've been heating up in recent weeks. Moving forward, the Colts may have some streaming upside in certain weeks, but Week 7 is not the right one.
Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri has shaken off the struggles from the beginning of the season, and he's been rolling as of late. The Colts offense does a great job of moving the ball down the field, but they can struggle to put the ball into the end zone at times, which is where Vinny shines. He's not going to get you a lot of the long balls that you'll get from other younger kickers, but on the shorter end of things he's the best to ever do it.
Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack was a workhorse in Week 5 with 29 carries and 32 total touches. However, he wasn't able to punch the ball into the end zone. In Week 7, he should get some opportunities to carry the ball, but his workload is almost guaranteed to be lower. The Houston Texans are allowing just 88 yards on the ground at 4.4 yards per carry. They have a stout front and their team has been rolling as of late. Mack is the clear lead back for Indianapolis, and he belongs in your lineup. However, it is wise to temper expectations on his upside this week.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett is coming off the bye with a good matchup awaiting him. The Houston Texans are allowing the 24th most passing yards in the NFL. In the team's last game prior to the bye, Brissett had a quiet game because the team chose to ride running back Marlon Mack against the Kansas City Chiefs. With how the Houston offense has been putting up points, Brissett will likely be given more opportunities to air it out. This gives him his usual safe floor as a QB2 with some upside.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (quadriceps) is off of the injury report and he needs to be in your lineups for Week 7. Despite not playing with quarterback Andrew Luck, Hilton is proving that he is a must-start every week. He's scored four touchdowns in the four games that he has played, and he gets a juicy matchup against the 24th ranked passing defense of the Houston Texans. Additionally, this game is at home for Indianapolis, which will give the offense less of a struggle with crowd noise. In his eight-year career, he's had just one season in which he didn't put up at least one 100-yard game against Houston.
Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Kirk (ankle) will not play until his ankle is 100 percent, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who added that Kirk's ankle is not there yet.
Fantasy Spin: Kirk hasn't played since Week 4, and though Kingsbury added that the receiver is closer to playing than he was last week it certainly looks possible that Kirk will miss his third straight game this Sunday.
Houston Texans QB Alex McGough was waived Wednesday, Oct. 16.
Los Angeles Rams CB Aqib Talib (rib) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Oct. 16.
Dallas Cowboys DE Tyrone Crawford (hip) was officially placed on the Reserve/Injured list on Wednesday, Oct. 16.
The Oakland Raiders worked out free-agent RB Bo Scarbrough (Cowboys) on Wednesday, Oct. 16.
Free-agent RB LeGarrette Blount (Lions) worked out for the Oakland Raiders on Wednesday, Oct. 16.
Oakland Raiders TE Darren Waller was signed to a three-year contract extension through the 2023 season, a source said Wednesday, Oct. 16. He was slated to be a restricted free agent in March 2020. His deal is around $9 million annually.
Fantasy Spin: Waller has emerged as a low-end TE1 in most fantasy leagues, as he is a legit option in the passing game in Oakland. The Raiders head to Green Bay to tangle with the Packers in Week 7.
Oakland Raiders WR Tyrell Williams (foot) has yet to return to practice, and head coach Jon Gruden said Wednesday, Oct. 16 that the wideout is dealing with plantar fasciitis. 'Whatever that is, he has,' Gruden said. 'It's not getting much better.''
Fantasy Spin: It's uncertain when the de facto No. 1 receiver for Oakland will be able to return to the practice field or game action. Plantar fasciitis can take a lot of time to heal, even with aggressive treatment. Fantasy owners will want to make alternate plans for Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard will not be traded at the deadline, according to a source. The organization can also have him under control for two to three more years depending on franchise or transition tags, too.
Fantasy Spin: Howard is having a down year statistically, as head coach Bruce Arians has relied upon the tight end more for his blocking ability. At this point he has devolved into a TE2 in most fantasy formats, but at least it appears he won't be changing organizations anytime soon.
Green Bay Packers SS Ibraheim Campbell (knee) and TE Jace Sternberger (ankle) were able to practice Wednesday, Oct. 16. The team has 21 days to let them practice to decide upon activating them and having the players count against the 53-man roster.
Miami Dolphins DE Robert Nkemdiche (undisclosed) and CB Cordrea Tankersley (undisclosed) returned to practice Wednesday, Oct. 16. Both players started on the Physically Unable to Practice (PUP) list. The two players can practice up to 21 days before the team has to decide to activate them and count against the 53-man roster.