Packers’ Jace Sternberger: Sets career high in receiving yards

Sternberger caught three passes for a career-high 46 yards in Sunday’s loss to the Vikings.

One week after scoring the first regular-season touchdown of his career Sternberger set a new career high in single-game receiving yards. He also played a career-high 28 snaps and — at least for fantasy purposes — seems to have pulled ahead of Marcedes Lewis in the Packers’ tight end hierarchy. While Sternberger is becoming more involved in the offense and the Packers like utilizing multiple tight ends, he remains both a distant second behind Robert Tonyan on the depth chart and a fringy option in most fantasy leagues.

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QB Kellen Mond becomes A&M’s career total yards leader

Here are five takeaways from No. 8 Texas A&M’s 42-31 win over Arkansas:

Defense overcomes slow start

On its first drive, Arkansas went 87 yards on 12 plays to open scoring in its first visit to Aggieland since 2012. However, after allowing 63 rushing yards on the opening drive, which included a 28-yard run by Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks, A&M gave up just 56 yards before halftime. Arkansas finished the game with 222 rushing yards and 239 passing.

Not only did the Aggies’ run defense improve after the opening drive, but the pass rush saw improvement as well. Junior defensive end Tyree Johnson sacked Franks for a loss of six yards on a third-and-7, as the Aggies brought down Franks four times in the game. Junior defensive tackle Bobby Brown III recorded two of A&M’s sacks.

Mond continues breaking school records

Senior quarterback Kellen Mond was a threat both through the air and on the ground against Arkansas.

Like he was much of last season, Mond was a key part of A&M’s run game. By halftime, Mond had recorded 32 yards on the ground on six carries, almost a third of the Aggies’ total first half rushing yardage. On A&M’s last drive of the first half, Mond got the Aggies into Arkansas territory with a 14-yard run, which he followed up with a 32-yard pass to sophomore tight end Jalen Wydermyer to give A&M a 28-14 lead. He finished the night with 32 rushing yards on six carries.

He also added 260 yards through the air, going 21-of-26 with three touchdowns and no interceptions. On a 15-yard touchdown pass to Wydermyer, Mond overtook former A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel’s career total yardage record.

A&M run game finding its legs

Though it struggled much of last season, A&M’s run game has been the source of much of its success in 2020. Sophomore running back Isaiah Spiller led the Aggies on the ground against the Razorbacks with 82 on 21 carries. He added one score in A&M’s win. Sophomore running back Ainias Smith and Mond also combined for over 30 yards each, with Smith tallying 31 and Mond 32. Freshman running back Devon Achane also saw some playing time in the second half, recording 39 yards on four carries and recording the first touchdown of his career on a 30-yard run at the end of the third quarter.

By halftime, the Aggies had accumulated 101 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground against the Razorbacks, finishing the night with a total of 182 yards on the ground.

Hezekiah Jones returns

After missing A&M’s first four games of the season due to an injury sustained during fall camp, junior wide receiver Hezekiah Jones made his 2020 debut against Arkansas. Jones recorded 47 yards on five catches in the game.

Miscues

Penalties continued to hurt the Aggies, as they finished the night with nine for a total loss of 100 yards. Though they eventually scored, a pair of holding penalties on their first

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Watch Ohio State football’s Garrett Wilson run for 62 yards on first career carry at Penn State

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Prior to Saturday night, Ohio State football had only used receiver Garrett Wilson’s blazing speed in the passing game.

That changed on the first play against Penn State.

The sophomore lined up wide on the right side, the opposite end from Jeremy Ruckert and Luke Farrell in the Buckeyes’ double-tight formation. Then he came streaking across at the snap, took the handoff from Justin Fields and raced away on a jet sweep. Ruckert’s big block on the edge helped free him up.

The result was a 62-yard gain down to the Penn State 13-yard line. Master Teague covered that span on two carries, and the Buckeyes took a very early 7-0 lead.

Wilson totaled 129 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions in a season-opening victory over Nebraska. The sophomore had never taken an OSU handoff, however, before Saturday.

Watch the clip above.

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Depth chart for Penn State, since the Buckeyes won’t release their own

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Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf posts career highs in catches, yards a week after Tyler Lockett’s outburst

DK Metcalf wowed the world last week with his sprint to catch up to Arizona’s Budda Baker and deny a seemingly sure-thing 98-yard interception return for a touchdown.

A play he turned in Sunday that proved critical in Seattle’s 37-27 win over the 49ers at CenturyLink Field might not have been as jaw-dropping. But to his coaches and teammates, Metcalf’s 46-yard catch-and-run that gave Seattle its first touchdown might in its own way have been just as impressive.

“When he caught the ball on the crossing route, I started screaming that they weren’t going to get him, right when he was way over there, because he’s just too fast,’’ coach Pete Carroll said via Zoom. “He just circled the whole defense and put it in the end zone, and I don’t even think they touched him. It was a great play.’’

Metcalf, lined up on the left side, caught a short crossing route about 10 yards downfield, then continued across the field, juking past San Francisco linebacker Dre Greenlaw and turning up the sideline, finding a clear path thanks to a block from teammate Jacob Hollister and sprinting into the end zone.

“That play he made where he caught the ball today and ran it across the field and ran into the end zone, there is nobody faster in the world than him on the field,’’ said quarterback Russell Wilson. “He’s just pretty special in that sense.’’

Metcalf downplayed it all a bit later, first shouting out Hollister.

“He blocked his butt off on the sideline long enough for me to turn the corner,” Metcalf said. “I saw a lot of open grass and I just took off running. I saw a linebacker, and once I passed him, he couldn’t stop me, then Jake had my back and led me to the promised land.”

It was the beginning to a most-enchanting day for Metcalf, who finished with career highs of 12 receptions and 161 yards a week after being held to two receptions for 23 yards in a 37-34 loss to Arizona.

Metcalf, of course, could have had the winning touchdown against Arizona if not for a holding call on David Moore that Carroll said could have just as easily not been called, and his whole day would have looked differently.

And then there was that chasedown of Baker, which figures to go down as one of the top plays of this or any NFL season.

“The play really doesn’t matter in my mind because we lost,’’ Metcalf said. “My teammates really spoke highly of me and gave me a lot of congratulations. In my mind that is something that I was supposed to do, not just an epic play that the world just saw.’’

Metcalf was held down against Arizona in part because the Cardinals sicced perennial All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson on him. That meant it only made sense for the Seahawks to instead look to Lockett, who responded with 15 receptions for 200 yards, each also career highs.

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Stillwater’s Qwontrel Walker nearing 7,000 career rushing yards

STILLWATER – One can only think of how many yards Qwontrel Walker could have had he been able to play in every game this season. 

Stillwater’s senior running back has an argument for the best running back in state history, and he can add to his case Friday when the Class 6A-II No. 2 Pioneers travel to Midwest City to face the No. 3 Bombers in a showdown that’s likely to decide a district title. Walker sits at 6,878 career rushing yards, which is 11th in state history. 

Averaging about 250 yards per game this season, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Walker surpass 7,000 career rushing yards Friday. Consider Stillwater has lost three games because of COVID cancellations or lack of players for its opponents, and Walker would be closer to 8,000 yards.

Walker still has a shot to reach 8,000 career yards, which would put him in the top five in state history. If Stillwater plays every possible game through the playoffs, meaning the final two regular-season contests and four postseason games, and he averages at least 200 yards in each of those, he could even get as high as third. 

Hulburt’s Jacob Bruce, who graduated in 2018, holds the all-time record of 8,586 rushing yards. Although Walker’s chances of reaching that threshold are low, don’t count anything out. He’s the state’s best running back for a reason.

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Packers vs. Texans score: Davante Adams sets career high in receiving yards as Green Bay cruises

Davante Adams proved he’s still one of the elite wide receivers in the NFL, as he set a career high with 196 receiving yards as the Green Bay Packers cruised to a blowout victory over the Houston Texans, 35-20. Green Bay avenged its embarrassing loss last week thanks to the play of Adams, whose 13 receptions fell one shy of tying the franchise record for catches in a game set by Adams and Hall of Famer Don Hutson. Aaron Rodgers was dominant in the victory too, tossing four touchdowns and throwing for 283 yards while recording a 132.4 passer rating. 

Rodgers had his 26th game with four-plus passing touchdowns, extending his franchise record. He threw touchdowns to three different receivers, as Jace Sternberger and Malik Taylor caught the first touchdowns of their careers. Rodgers now has 17 touchdown passes to just two interceptions on the season. The Packers have never lost back-to-back games in head coach Matt LaFleur’s two seasons and kept the streak intact by scoring the first 21 points of the game en route to the victory. 

Adams had the fifth most receiving yards in a game in Packers history, falling four yards shy of becoming the fifth wide receiver to eclipse 200 yards in a game — and the first since Jordy Nelson in 2014. The Packers, missing Aaron Jones and David Bakhtiari, racked up 380 yards of offense on just 59 plays (prior to kneeldowns), an average of 6.4 yards per play. Jamaal Williams, filling in for Jones, finished with 114 total yards. 

Deshaun Watson threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns in the loss and Will Fuller caught a touchdown pass for the fifth consecutive game, joining DeAndre Hopkins as the only players in franchise history to have five straight games with a touchdown catch. Fuller’s 21 touchdown catches are the most through a player’s first 49 career games. Watson is the first player in franchise history to throw for 250-plus passing yards in each of the team’s first seven games in a season. 

Here are the takeaways from this one, and check out our live blog below for updates from the game. 

Why the Packers won

Green Bay had its way against a Houston pass defense that came into the contest with the second-worst passer rating allowed to opposing quarterbacks. That number ended up being higher thanks to Rodgers lighting up Houston’s secondary, throwing for 283 yards and four touchdowns in the dominant victory. Matt LaFleur didn’t make the offense difficult, setting Adams up early and often as the receiver had arguably his best day as a pro. Adams against the Houston secondary was a mismatch from the opening kickoff. 

Why The Texans lost

No matter how Deshaun Watson plays, the Texans defense just can’t stop their opponent on a consistent basis. Watson was good enough to keep this game from being a blowout — but the Houston defense allowed the Packers to go 7-for-12 on third down and 4- for-4 in the red

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Bengals’ Tee Higgins: Posts career-best 125 yards

Higgins caught six of eight targets for 125 yards and carried once for two additional yards during Sunday’s 31-27 loss to the Colts.

Higgins finished second on the team in targets and receptions while finishing with a new career high in receiving yardage thanks in large part to a brilliant 67 yard long gain. He excelled even as A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd received their fair share of targets, which is a positive sign for his fantasy outlook. Higgins seems to be earning more trust with each passing week and will look to take advantage of a favorable matchup against the Browns next Sunday.

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Cam Newton hits 5,000 career rushing yards, Pats trail 18-9

It hasn’t been a great day for the Patriots on offense, but they’re still alive in the fourth quarter after quarterback Cam Newton notched another milestone.

Newton went over 5,000 career rushing yards with a 38-yard run in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Broncos. That gave the Patriots the ball inside the Denver 10-yard-line and Newton plunged in from a yard out three plays later.

A two-point attempt didn’t work out, however, and the Patriots trail 18-9. The decision to go for two at that point will likely be fodder for questions at Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s postgame press conference, but he knows now he needs two scores rather than with little time left on the clock.

The rushing mark is a highlight on an otherwise sluggish day for Newton. He’s been intercepted twice and had not gotten much going on the ground until the scoring drive.

That sluggishness has been shared by most of the Patriots, although their third down defense has been strong enough to force the Broncos to settle for six Brandon McManus field goals. That’s kept the door open and the defense will need to stay strong for the Patriots to get through it.

Cam Newton hits 5,000 career rushing yards, Pats trail 18-9 originally appeared on Pro Football Talk

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