Sun Oct 6 4:25pm ET
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden watches play against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
New England Patriots defensive tackle Danny Shelton (71) is sacked by Washington Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy (12) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks with umpire Clay Martin (19) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) works under pressure in the pocket against Washington Redskins defensive end Matthew Ioannidis (98) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Washington Redskins wide receiver Steven Sims (15) runs for 65-yards for a touchdown against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) works in ther pocket against the Washington Redskins during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
New England Patriots defensive end Chase Winovich (50) sacks Washington Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy (12) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Tom Brady picked apart the lowly Washington Redskins, helped the New England Patriots stay unbeaten and climbed past a former NFL star in the record book.
Brady threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns, and the Patriots got another strong performance from their defense in a 33-7 rout of the winless Redskins on Sunday.
Now in his 20th season, Brady whisked by Brett Favre into third place on the career list with 71,923 yards passing. The 42-year-old Brady now trails only Peyton Manning (71,940 yards) and Drew Brees (74,845).
Brady also edged closer to Manning's record 539 touchdown passes, connecting with Julian Edelman, Brandon Bolden and Ryan Izzo to bring his total to 527.
Shrugging off four sacks, Brady completed 28 of 42 passes - including a 15-yarder to Edelman in the third quarter to eclipse Favre.
This is the fifth time in franchise history that New England has started the season 5-0, and only the second time since 2007.
Playing for the first time since breaking his leg against Philadelphia last December, Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy went 18 for 27 for 119 yards and an interception. McCoy began the season behind Case Keenum and rookie Dwayne Haskins Jr., but got the start over the injured Keenum and inexperienced Haskins for the Redskins (0-5).
McCoy was sacked six times, marking the first time in franchise history New England has four straight games with at least five sacks.
In addition, the Patriots completed a fifth consecutive game without allowing a touchdown pass, the first team to pull off that feat since the 1988 Cleveland Browns.
The defeat kept the pressure on Redskins coach Jay Gruden, whose job status appears to be tenuous in the wake of his team's 0-5 start. Gruden is 35-49-1 over five-plus seasons with Washington.
Many in the crowd were wearing dark blue jerseys and cheering for the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots. There were plenty of empty seats, a scenario more likely attributable to the Redskins' poor play this season than because baseball's Washington Nationals were hosting a playoff game on Sunday night.
After Brady's 10-yard TD pass to Izzo with 9:14 left made it 33-7, the chant ''Brady! Brady!'' rose from the stands while thousands of Redskins backers fled to the exits.
McCoy completed a 12-yard pass on Washington's first play from scrimmage. Two short runs and a sack followed, but New England's opening possession also ended with Brady getting dumped in his own backfield.
The Redskins jumped on top when Steven Sims Jr. scored on a 65-yard end around, but the Patriots led 12-7 at halftime and tacked on two touchdowns in the third quarter.
The difference between the seasoned Brady and untested McCoy (now 1-6 as a starter with Washington) was made evident late in the second quarter. With 58 seconds left, McCoy forced a pass that was intercepted by Jason McCourty, who took it 16 yards to the Washington 11.
Brady cautiously completed a short pass and twice threw the ball away before accepting a field goal try that kept New England's momentum flowing into halftime.
Mike Nugent handled the kicking for the Patriots after Stephen Gostkowski (hip) was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. Nugent's first attempt was a botched conversion, but he bounced back with three extra points and field goals of 37 and 23 yards.
Patriots: WR Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) did not play the second half. ... RB Rex Burkhead (foot) was inactive. ... S Patrick Chung (heel) and S Nate Ebner (groin) were inactive. ...
Redskins: DL Daron Payne (knee) left in the second quarter but returned. ... OT Morgan Moses (stinger) played through the injury. ... CB Quinton Dunbar (stinger) left in the fourth quarter... Keenum (foot) was inactive.
Patriots: New England faces another NFC East foe, the visiting New York Giants on Thursday night. The Patriots are 55-14 against NFC teams since 2002.
Redskins: Washington is presented with an ideal opportunity to nab its first victory against winless Miami next Sunday.
The Cleveland Browns will likely be looking to replace defensive end Olivier Vernon this offseason, as he's due to make $15.25 million in 2020. Vernon will either be released or will need to take a pay cut to stay in Cleveland. If Vernon is released, the Browns could look to defensive end Everson Griffen or free safety Anthony Harris on the open market. New head coach Kevin Stefanski is familiar with both players from his time with the Vikings. The Browns will be looking to upgrade their pass-rushers and safeties in the offseason. Vernon, 30 this October, played in just 10 games in 2019 with the Browns and recorded just 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
There's a real chance that the Baltimore Ravens move tight end Hayden Hurst this offseason, and the Patriots could be involved, according to sources. The Patriots were heavily linked to Hurst prior to the 2018 draft. Hurst was selected with the 25th overall pick in the first round that year, but he's underwhelmed with 43 catches for 512 yards and three touchdowns in his two seasons in the NFL and has fallen down Baltimore's depth chart behind Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle. New England will be looking to beef up their receiver depth, including at tight end, so Hurst could be a player on the rise if he's dealt to New England. Of course, the Patriots might not have Tom Brady under center in 2020 either.
Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons said in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday that he expects to receive the franchise tag. Over the Cap estimates that the tag for safeties this year will be worth $12.7 million. Simmons is hoping that he'll be able to work out a long-term deal by the deadline of July 15 if the Broncos put the tag on him. The former third-round pick on 2016 is developing into one of the better safeties in the league. The 26-year-old had 93 tackles (65 solo)and a career-high four interceptions over a full season in 2019. Simmons has had 90-plus total tackles each of the last two seasons and should remain in Denver for the long-term.
Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said that the team hasn't met or negotiated with quarterback Dak Prescott's agent Todd France since September of last year. There haven't been talks between the two sides this offseason, but they may meet during the scouting combine this week. Jones also said that no contracts with Prescott or wide receiver Amari Cooper will be agreed upon until the new collective-bargaining rules for 2020 are decided. The Cowboys had a "very upbeat" conversation with Cooper's representation during Super Bowl week. The Cowboys continue to say that Prescott is their quarterback of the future. Expect talks to heat up this week, with Prescott ultimately staying in Dallas as a high-end QB1 for fantasy owners.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (neck) is expected to take part in spring workouts to some degree. "Once we see him, we'll have a better feel for it. But he'll have some limitations up until training camp before we really turn him loose," executive vice president Stephen Jones said. Vander Esch was a stud in his rookie season, but he played in just nine games in 2019 because of his neck injury, recording 72 tackles (43 solo), half a sack and one forced fumble. If fully healthy entering the 2020 season, LVE can be an IPD force because of his tackling ability from sideline to sideline. The Cowboys need him in the middle of the field on defense.
In a discussion between ESPN reporters Jeff Darlington and Adam Schefter on the Rich Eisen show last week, Darlington said that he expects the Tennessee Titans to "be in the mix" to sign New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who will become a free agent next month. The Raiders might also try to make a splash and sign Brady if the Patriots let him reach the open market. It would be a surprise if Brady left New England, but he's considering other options and could choose a playoff contender like the Titans after they reached the AFC Championship last year. Brady also played with Titans head coach Mike Vrabel in New England. Brady lacked weapons in the passing game in 2019, but he also looked a little washed up. If he were to go to Tennessee's run-first offense, Brady would be squarely in the QB2 mix with limited fantasy upside.
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue wants a long-term deal and is looking for $22 million annually. Ngakoue said he would be unlikely to show up until Aug. 11 if he had to play under the franchise tag. The young pass-rusher has compiled 37.5 sacks (second on the all-time franchise list) since being drafted in the third round of 2016. He also has 14 forced fumbles in that time. If the Jags place the tag on Ngakoue, which ESPN's Mike DiRocco expects, it would be for around $19.3 million in 2020. The 24-year-old (25 next month) had eight sacks, four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception last year and is firmly in the mix in IDP leagues with what he's done the last four seasons.
The Indianapolis Colts are unsure if kicker Adam Vinatieri, who will be a free agent next month, will return in 2020. The 47-year-old future Hall of Famer is rehabbing the knee injury that he dealt with last season, and he hasn't decided yet on if he will retire. The 2019 season was the worst year of Vinatieri's long career, as he missed 14 kicks total -- eight field goals and six extra points -- and landed on Injured Reserve in Week 13. The Colts also signed Chase McLaughlin to a one-year extension in January, so Vinatieri might not be back even if he decides to keep playing.
The Atlanta Falcons are expected to pick up quarterback Matt Schaub's $2 million option for the 2020 season, according to a source. Schaub made just one start in 2019 and was underwhelming in place of Matt Ryan. The veteran signal-caller attempted 67 passes for 580 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in parts of six games last season. He'll be 39 in June and is a shaky backup option if Matty Ice were to miss any more games next season due to injury. Even if Schaub is starting games at some point next year, he'd be a shaky second QB in two-quarterback leagues.
Free-agent LB Vontaze Burfict (Raiders) was reinstated by the league in January and has reportedly been working out at his alma mater (Arizona State) in an effort to returning to the NFL in 2020. Burfict was suspended for the final 12 games of the 2019 season after delivering a helmet-to-helmet hit to Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle.
Jacksonville Jaguars impending free-agent DE Yannick Ngakoue is seeking a long-term deal that pays $22 million annually. The franchise tag would be worth around $19.3 million if used on him.
Fantasy Spin: Ngakoue was tied for fifth in fantasy points at the position last season in 15 games. It was a down year that he only had eight sacks, and there is certainly is more in the tank.
Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler needs to see 15 to 20 touches per game, according to head coach Anthony Lynn.
Fantasy Spin: Ekeler is one of the more versatile backs in the NFL, and he finished 2019 with 92 catches and eight receiving touchdowns. There's a good chance he will be he unquestioned top back and a potential RB1 in 2020 if Melvin Gordon doesn't return, but even if Gordon is back, Ekeler can be a RB2 in PPR formats.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said on Sunday that the team isn't pursuing a long-term contract extension with running back Marlon Mack currently. It doesn't mean that it's not on the table or that the Colts don't want to keep Mack around for the long-term, but it's not a pressing issue. The 23-year-old (24 next month) is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2020 season. He's been the starter the last two years and had 247 carries for 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019. However, he's also missed eight games the last two seasons, so Indy might be hesitant in thinking he'll continue to be a lead back for years to come. Mack does have a strong offensive line in front of him, but he'll be more of a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 going into the final year of his contract in 2020.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR DJ Chark Jr. credits his success in 2019 to an improved commitment to preparation, and Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com believes Chark should deliver 1,000 receiving yards and eight to 10 touchdowns in 2020.
Fantasy Spin: Chark emerged as the top receiver for the Jaguars in 2019, and while Jacksonville is unlikely to have a high-powered passing attack, Chark should be able to deliver WR3 production as the No. 1 option.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster had eight catches on 11 targets in the six quarters he played with QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) in 2019, and Brooke Pryor of ESPN believes Smith-Schuster needs another 'reliable offensive weapon' to be at his best.
Fantasy Spin: While Smith-Schuster's numbers would have been better with a healthy Roethlisberger under center, we still don't know if he can replicate his monster 2018 numbers as the go-to option of the passing attack.
Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki will likely be used as a slot receiver in sets featuring three or more receivers in offensive coordinator Chan Gailey's system, according to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com.
Fantasy Spin: After a quiet rookie year, Gesicki showed signs of life in 2019, finishing with 51 catches for 570 yards and five touchdowns. He could be worth a flier as a high-upside TE2.
The Baltimore Ravens are hopeful of re-signing DE/LB Jihad Ward, a pending unrestricted free agent. The team thinks he fits well with them and they like his motor, versatility. The two sides have had discussions over the past week.
New England Patriots FS Devin McCourty might be a candidate for the franchise tag, and he could cost $11.5 million against the cap if that's the route head coach Bill Belichick and company elect.
New England Patriots PK Stephen Gostkowski (hip) has one year remaining on his contract, but he is 36 years old and coming off hip surgery. Releasing him would free up nearly $3.5 million in salary cap space.
Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack is not in line for a contract extension at this time. '(Marlon), we love him, but we love the other two guys. We want him back and he wants to be back, really. There were some mis-reports that we were pursuing an extension there. That's not the case. I don't know where those came from,' team owner Jim Irsay said Sunday, Feb. 23.