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Sam Darnold
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Football Daily Dose

SpookySZN: Darnold Sees Ghosts in MNF Loss

by Nick Mensio
Updated On: October 22, 2019, 11:30 am ET

In case you missed Monday night’s tilt between the world-class Patriots and the laughingstock Jets, well, you didn’t miss much other than Sam Darnold completely going up in flames and Sony Michel scoring a trio of goal-line touchdowns. The Patriots slept-walk to a 33-0 win.

Darnold completed just 11-of-32 passes for 86 scoreless yards and tossed four mind-numbing interceptions. He also lost a fumble on the lone sack he absorbed. After Darnold's impressive outing in his return from mono last week against Dallas, this game was the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Darnold finished with a 3.7 QB rating. Although he was sacked just the one time, Darnold was under heavy pressure early, as Bill Belichick dialed up countless blitzes, daring Darnold to beat him. Spoiler: He didn't. And Darnold was even mic'ed up for this game by ESPN and was caught admitting in the first half that he was "seeing ghosts" in the pocket. It was evident. Darnold threw off his back foot at an alarming rate, sometimes even in a clean pocket. All four of his picks were hideous throws, and two of them were red-zone ducks into the end zone that resulted in easy grabs for the defender. The Patriots field a historic defense, so this was no easy test, but Darnold was beyond bad. He'll try to rebound next week at Jacksonville, but he has to be shook after this one.

Michel's 2.2 yards per carry average is hideous, but this has been the story of his season. He came into this one averaging a pitiful 3.5 YPC. His scores came from three, one, and one yards away. But Michel has a desirable role as the Patriots' early-down and goal-line back for an offense that is routinely finding the end zone. Michel has six touchdowns in seven games and will be a TD-dependent RB2 next week against the Browns at home. He appeared to knock knees with a defender late in the fourth quarter but should be fine. Michel is a case of bad player in a perfect role right now.

Kerryon Johnson to Miss ‘Some Time’

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Kerryon Johnson (knee) is considered week to week and is expected to miss "some time." We still have very little clarity on what's going on with Johnson, but it sounds like he's going to miss at least Week 8 at the minimum against the Giants. Ty Johnson is expected to slide into Kerryon's role on early downs after taking over that role following Kerryon’s Week 7 departure, making him arguably the top waiver add of the week, while J.D. McKissic remains the Lions' pass-down back.


Panthers Rolling with Kyle Allen for Week 8

Coach Ron Rivera announced Kyle Allen will start Week 8 against the 49ers. Cam Newton (foot) will continue to rehab. Allen is 4-0 and has earned another start, and rushing Newton back against the Niners’ vaunted defense probably isn’t in his best interests. Allen has been fine in Newton’s absence as a game manager-type, but he won’t be a recommended fantasy start against San Francisco. Newton could be looking at a Week 9 return. Unless Allen wins again.


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Thielen, Fuller Looking at Absences

Adam Thielen had to leave early in the Week 7 win over the Lions with a hamstring strain after catching a touchdown, and with the Vikings on a short week ahead of a winnable game against the Redskins, Thielen is reportedly aiming for a Week 9 return. Olabisi Johnson stepped in for Thielen following his departure and would soak up plenty of snaps opposite Stefon Diggs. Diggs would be a candidate to hog targets with a good chance at a third straight 100-yard game.

Will Fuller also left early in Week 7 with a hamstring injury. Oft-injured Fuller is expected to miss “several weeks.” Kenny Stills was essentially an every-down player following Fuller’s departure and went over 100 yards against the Colts. He’s the big winner in this offense, but Keke Coutee also benefits, as he should be locked into three-wide sets. Coutee scored against Indianapolis.


Quarterback & Running Back Quick Slants

Todd Gurley played a season-low 60.5% of the snaps in the Week 7 blowout win over the Falcons. It came after he played a season-high 93% of the downs in Week 5 before missing Week 6 with a quad injury. The blowout likely played a factor, but Darrell Henderson did register 12 touches to Gurley’s 19. This backfield remains fluid behind Gurley. … Devin Singletary played just 39% of the snaps in his return from a five-week hamstring injury. He’s the 1B behind Frank Gore right now. … Free agent C.J. Anderson will work out for the Raiders. … Chris Thompson (toe) was listed as did not practice Monday after missing Week 7. The Redskins have a short week before a date with the Vikings Thursday. Adrian Peterson (ankle) was also absent Monday but obviously will push to play against his longtime team. … Coach Kliff Kingsbury admitted David Johnson (ankle) didn’t feel right after playing a couple snaps early in the Week 7 win over the Giants, which is why Chase Edmonds stole the show. … Ito Smith (concussion) has already been ruled out for Week 8 against the Seahawks. … Matt Ryan (ankle) is day to day and could play against Seattle in Week 8. Julio Jones owners hope so. … Baker Mayfield (hip) is good to go for Week 8 against the Patriots. … Coach Pat Shurmur has no plans to turn back to Eli Manning and bench Daniel Jones despite the rookie’s struggles. … Free agents Jay Ajayi and Spencer Ware will work out for the Cardinals this week. … Kareem Hunt returned to practice Monday and is eligible to play Week 10. … Case Keenum will remain the Redskins’ starter for Week 8 against the Vikings Thursday night. … Drew Brees (thumb) plans to resume practicing this week. The Saints have no reason to rush him right now.


Wide Receiver & Tight End Quick Slants


Allen Lazard led all Packers wideouts in snaps (85%) and routes in the Week 7 win over the Raiders, but Lazard was the only one not in on the touchdown fun. His usage was still promising, however, but Lazard looks like only a dynasty hold for now with Davante Adams (toe) due back soon. … Delanie Walker (ankle) is considered day to day after he labored through Week 7 and didn’t catch a pass against the Chargers. … Vernon Davis (concussion) was limited in Monday’s practice ahead of Thursday night’s tilt with the Vikings. … Coach John Harbaugh is “optimistic” Marquise Brown (ankle) will return in Week 9 after the bye. … Coach Jon Gruden considers Tyrell Williams (foot) questionable for Week 8. He’s missed the last two games. … A.J. Green (ankle) has yet to be ruled out for Week 8. … Sammy Watkins (hamstring) remains day to day. … Free agent WR Eli Rogers will work out for the Texans this week. … The Patriots have inquired about the availability of O.J. Howard but were told he’s not available.

Nick Mensio

Nick Mensio has been covering the NFL for NBC Sports Edge since 2012. He can be found on Twitter at @NickMensio.