Thu Sep 19 6:25pm ET
By STEPHEN WHYNO
AP Sports Writer
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (13) looses control of the ball as Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman (24) looks on in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Washington Redskins quarterback Case Keenum (8) celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Paul Richardson in the second half of an NFL football game against Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) throws against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) breaks away from Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman (24) to run downfield in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. Also on the field is Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (13). (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Mitchell Trubisky wants the Bears to believe this will be the week their struggling offense gets going.
It might actually be that week because Chicago is facing a Washington Redskins defense that hasn't been able to stop much of anything.
The Bears (1-1) go into Monday night's matchup with the third-worst offense in the NFL through the first two weeks of the season. Fortunately for them, the Redskins (0-2) rank third-worst on defense and are dealing with some key injuries contributing to that disappointing start.
''They got some openings where we could have some success on offense this week,'' Trubisky said Thursday. ''We've got to believe that this offense can explode at any minute because of the playmakers and the special guys we have in the locker room.''
Chicago's offense has produced just one touchdown through two games - a 1-yard-run by David Montgomery last week - and Trubisky is a combined 42 of 72 for 348 yards and an interception. The 2017 second overall pick is near the bottom of the league at 4.8 yards a completion.
''Right now, it's just about getting into that rhythm and then understanding the execution of the plays,'' coach Matt Nagy said. ''And us as coaches, too, making sure that we're putting them in optimum position to make the plays with whatever play call is made. We're not running different plays. We're not running anything different than we did last year. It's a long season.''
That's the mantra inside the Redskins' locker room where injuries to defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and cornerbacks Fabian Moreau and Quinton Dunbar have contributed to them getting worn down as games go on. Coach Jay Gruden said it's not time to panic yet, but the defense underachieving is alarming.
Washington has allowed a combined 569 yards in the second half in losses to Philadelphia and Dallas .
''We're struggling a little bit, but it takes time,'' defensive tackle Tim Settle said. ''The more we work together as a team, the more we progress as a team, the better we're going to get. We're going to get things rolling. It's going to be pretty.''
Not much is pretty about the Redskins' defense or the Bears' offense so far. Settle mentioned communication as an issue, and first-year Washington middle linebacker Jon Bostic pointed to a lack of cohesiveness on the defensive side of the ball.
''Everybody's got to be on the same page,'' Bostic said. ''If you got 10 guys on the same page and one guy that's off it, it's going to lead to an explosive play. Explosive plays win ballgames for you.''
A big kick by Eddy Pineiro won the Bears their game last week at Denver, and they're still looking for the big plays that have eluded them.
''That comes down to everybody being locked in, making sure that everybody's on being on the same page - no miscues on any part of the offense,'' Chicago receiver Allen Robinson said. ''It just comes down to everybody being on the same page and executing.''
Some things to watch when the Bears visit the Redskins on Monday night:
MONSTERS OF THE MIDWAY
Unlike the Redskins, the Bears' defense is doing just fine. It's ranked fourth in the league and sixth against the run under new coordinator Chuck Pagano after Vic Fangio left to take the Broncos' head coaching job.
''They're physical in the middle and they have speed at linebacker,'' Gruden said. ''They have good edge play. They have a safety that's a ball hawk. Their corners are pretty good and experienced. They don't really have a weakness in their defense.''
Chicago has seven sacks through two games, two off the league lead.
KEENUM IN RHYTHM
Case Keenum won Washington's starting QB job essentially by default because longtime backup Colt McCoy is still injured and first-round pick Dwayne Haskins isn't ready. But Keenum is far from a problem for the Redskins, throwing for 601 yards and five touchdown passes with no interceptions.
''I'm well aware of Case Keenum and what he can do,'' Nagy said. ''He's obviously having a good year right now. Statically he's protecting the football. He's very, very football smart. So his football IQ is high. He gets the ball out.''
The Bears brought in a long line of kickers during the offseason after letting the embattled Cody Parker go following his double-doink miss in the playoff loss to Philadelphia at Soldier Field. They ultimately went with Pineiro, and he just might be winning them over.
He nailed a 53-yard winner as time expired last week after hitting from 40 and 52 earlier in the game and is 4 for 4 this season. The big boot against the Broncos came after Nagy chose to go for a first down on fourth-and-10 in the opener against Green Bay at home rather than try a 51-yarder.
''I'm trying to gain trust from them,'' Pineiro said. ''Now that he's seen me hit a couple 50-yarders, maybe he lets me try a few longer ones. So it's all a trust process. But we work for that moment behind the scenes at practice. Last-second kick, your team loses, we've been doing this for the past four months now.''
STILL NO REED
The Redskins hoped to get matchup nightmare tight end Jordan Reed back last week after being concussed Aug. 23. This is his fifth documented concussion in seven years, Reed didn't practice again Thursday and all possible caution being taken means he could miss the Bears game, too.
''This is all a part of the process of recovering from this ordeal,'' Gruden said. ''We're just taking it very slowly, making sure he goes through the right process to make sure it's right before he goes back on the field.''
Sunday Morning Update: Week 3
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense was dominant in the Week 3 win over the Broncos, getting six sacks, 10 quarterback hits, and two picks. The Bucs took advantage of an injured Broncos offense and capitalized with a dominant performance. The schedule looks promising for next week as they will likely face rookie QB Justin Herbert when they play the Chargers.
Tennessee Titans TE Jonnu Smith saw a team-high eight targets in Week 3, finishing with five receptions for 61 yards in a 31-30 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Fantasy Spin: Smith failed to score for the first time this year, but he finished with a season high in catches and targets. Smith could be headed for a TE1 campaign, and he is at least worth streaming while A.J. Brown is sidelined.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr tossed two touchdowns in a Week 3 loss against the Patriots. Carr's fantasy value continues to rise with six touchdown passes and no interceptions on the year. There are a lot of elite fantasy quarterbacks, so Carr probably isn't a starter quite yet. He generally has the same type of performance every week, so that makes his ceiling a bit lower than other players. With that being said, he can be counted on for consistency and he typically won't put up a terrible performance. He will have another challenge against the Bills next week who have one of the top secondaries in the league. He should probably stay on the bench but is worth considering for a start depending on who the other option is.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz made four catches in Week 3, gaining 48 yards. He was targeted six times and was still pretty well-involved in the passing game. He took a clear step back from being the featured receiver in Week 2, but he maintained enough playing time and passing routes to remain a relevant fantasy tight end, especially in deeper leagues. He should settle into a fantasy role much like traditional Cowboys tight ends: solid, with a high floor, but not much of a ceiling.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein made both of his field goal attempts in Week 3 along with one of his two extra points. Zuerlein's field goals came from 43 and 42 yards out. He continues to be a solid fantasy kicker, and with the Cowboys offense clicking on most cylinders, he should continue to put up points for fantasy managers.
The Dallas Cowboys Defense struggled again in a Week 3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The Cowboys defense allowed 36 points, recording four sacks and one fumble recovery. Through three weeks, the Cowboys defense has allowed 95 points, recorded six sacks, and just one interception. They won't be a recommended fantasy option in Week 4 against the Cleveland Browns.
Green Bay Packers LB Christian Kirksey (shoulder) left the Week 3 game against the New Orleans Saints in the second quarter and he is questionable to return.
Tennessee Titans WR Corey Davis caught five of his six targets for 69 yards in a 31-30 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: Davis continues to have a steady role in the passing game, and he is currently on pace for 80 catches and more than 1,000 yards. With A.J. Brown reportedly recovering slowly, Davis could have flex potential for the foreseeable future.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs had an average performance against the Patriots, rushing for 71 yards and catching three passes for 12 yards. This is not the type of performance you would like from a star running back like Jacobs, but the Patriots are not an easy matchup. Jacobs has yet to rush for over 100 yards in the first three games of the season, and he will look to eclipse that mark for the first time next week against the Bills. The Bills have a solid defense but surrendered 167 yards on the ground in Week 3 against the Rams. The Raiders' offensive line is good at run blocking, so there is a good chance Jacobs sees more success in Week 4.
The Las Vegas Raiders defense struggled again, giving up 36 points to the Patriots. They managed to grab an interception and sack Cam Newton twice but gave up over 400 yards in total offense. They have a young secondary, and their only real pass-rusher is Maxx Crosby. Through the first three weeks, the Raiders have not shown any signs that warrant them being on any fantasy team, let alone in the starting lineup. They take on the Bills next week who are showing signs of an elite offense through three weeks. It is reasonable to expect that game to be a shootout, so the Raiders would be a horrible play in Week 4.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Ced Wilson came out of nowhere in Week 3 to score two long touchdowns in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Wilson was targeted seven times, catching five for 107 yards and the two scores. Wilson's first score was on a 40-yard pass in the second quarter. He followed it up with a 42-yard score in the third quarter. There's a good chance this will be Wilson's best game of the season, as he's still no higher than fourth on the wide receiver depth chart. Still, it's hard to ignore his performance, so fantasy managers with a free bench spot can probably snag him off the waiver wire before Week 4.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper made nine catches in a Week 3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He was targeted a team-leading 12 times, gaining 86 yards on his nine grabs. Cooper tied with Ezekiel Elliott for the team lead in targets and led the team in catches, but fell behind Michael Gallup and Ced Wilson in yards. Both of those guys scored touchdowns in this one as well, while Cooper is still looking for his first score of the season. The Cowboys have all kinds of options in the passing game, which may limit Cooper's upside this season. He may settle into the high-end WR2 range for most games, but he'll often have WR1 upside.
Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb caught five passes in a Week 3 loss, gaining 65 yards. He was targeted six times in this one, ending up fifth on the team in targets. Ced Wilson came out of nowhere and Michael Gallup along with Amari Cooper took on most of Dak Prescott's targets in this one. Lamb should continue to have solid games like this one, but his upside is somewhat limited by all of the other strong options in the Dallas passing game.
Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill completed 23 of his 37 pass attempts for 321 yards and an interception in a 31-30 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: It was a season high in yards for Tannehill, but he failed to throw a touchdown pass after tossing a combined six in the first two games. The Tennessee offense will continue to revolve around Derrick Henry and the ground game, but Tannehill is able to keep defenses honest and is a solid QB2.
Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry rushed 26 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns and caught two of his three targets for 11 yards in a 31-30 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: Henry found the end zone for the first time this season, recording his second 100-yard game. The workhorse back has logged at least 25 carries and topped 80 rushing yards in all three games, and Henry's volume gives him one of the highest floors among fantasy backs.
Carolina Panthers LB Shaq Thompson finished with 13 total tackles and two passes defensed in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was held in check for once in Week 3. The Seattle Seahawks Defense did a good job keeping Elliott from doing much. He ended up running the ball 14 times, gaining just 34 yards but scoring on a one-yard plunge in the first quarter. He added six catches on 12 targets, gaining 24 yards through the air. "Zeke" tied for the team lead with the dozen passing targets, but couldn't do much with them. It was a down game from the elite RB1, but he should get back on top of things next week against the Cleveland Browns.
Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard touched the ball only once on offense in Week 3. Pollard did not record a rushing attempt, and he caught his only target, losing five yards on it. Pollard continues to play as a distant backup to three-down back Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott saw 12 targets in the passing game in this one, a spot that Pollard may have been used in in the past. Pollard remains a backup with league-winning upside but is not a starting option in any format as long as Elliott is healthy.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup played very well in a Week 3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Gallup caught six passes on nine targets, gaining 138 yards and scoring a touchdown. Gallup's touchdown was an impressive 43-yard catch at the end of the third quarter. Gallup was much more involved in this one, ending up third on the team in targets behind Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper. Gallup will have more big games like this one, but he'll be hard to predict on a game-to-game basis. He's a WR3 with upside next week against the Cleveland Browns.
Carolina Panthers WR D.J. Moore registered two receptions for 65 yards on four targets in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Fantasy Spin: Moore saw his lowest catch total, and he was back to an average receiving total after hitting the century mark in Week 3. He'll search for his first visit to the end zone in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals.