Dubbed the game of the week, Seahawks-49ers very much lived up to the hype Monday.
This was a physical, NFC West slobber-knocking slugfest that featured 10 combined sacks, seven fumbles, and a pair of interceptions by both defenses along with handfuls of big-time hits. Jadeveon Clowney dominated on the Seahawks' defensive side of things with a sack, five QB hits, and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. On offense, Russell Wilson was the best player, improvising outside of structure and creating big plays. He nearly gave the game away with an overtime interception in the red zone, but the Seattle defense held firm just enough to force a missed 47-yard field goal to get the ball back to Wilson. He ran for 21 yards on an OT scamper to get the ball in field goal range, and Jason Myers sunk the game-winner from 42 yards out as the clock hit zeroes. The Niners were handed their first loss, and it put Seattle in position to take the division down the stretch. The Seahawks go on their bye at 8-2 and sit a half game back of the now 8-1 49ers, who will host the Cardinals in Week 11.
Opposite Wilson, Jimmy Garoppolo's 46 attempts were easily a new season-high by nine throws, and his 52.2% completion rate marked a season low. Garoppolo absorbed five sacks and numerous hits despite getting LT Joe Staley and RT Mike McGlinchey back from month-plus-long injuries. As mentioned, Clowney wrecked this game for the Seahawks Defense, and Garoppolo could have easily thrown five-plus picks Monday night. He looked scared in the pocket at times and collapsed as things crumbled around him. His receivers didn’t help him at times, however, with numerous drops. It was easy to see why the Niners entered this one with the highest run-play percentage. Garoppolo is unable to carry an offense.
We also had numerous injuries from this one that bear watching this week. Emmanuel Sanders left in the first quarter with a ribs injury and never returned. Tyler Lockett was sidelined for overtime with a leg issue that kept him glued to the bench for the extra period. And Matt Breida again was hurt, aggravating a pre-existing ankle issue in the second half.
Banged Up Birds
The Falcons pulled the shocking upset of the Saints in New Orleans Sunday, but they lost a pair of key offensive contributors in the process. Both Devonta Freeman (foot) and Austin Hooper (knee) exited early from the eventual win. Freeman has been diagnosed with a sprain, and Hooper an MCL issue that will require a second opinion. Both players are expected to miss at least one game with Hooper looking at the slightly longer absence.
Coach Dan Quinn said he’s “confident” in Brian Hill as Freeman’s replacement for however long he’s needed in that role. Hill ran circles around the competition in the Atlanta backfield in the preseason. While he didn’t tear up the box score in New Orleans with a mediocre 20-61-0 rushing line along with a 10-yard touchdown catch, he offers good size and three-down ability. Hill deserves to be the No. 1 waiver add of the week with the Panthers’ league-worst run defense on deck. As far as tight end goes, the Falcons don’t have a pass-catching replacement, which should funnel more targets to Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, who have slumped a bit.
Another bird of a different breed, David Johnson of the Cardinals returned to the lineup Week 10 against the Bucs but did not look healthy at all. Coach Kliff Kingsbury admitted Johnson is still “obviously” hampered by his back and ankle issues. Kenyan Drake played ahead of Johnson most of the game after Johnson produced just 10 yards and a lost fumble on six touches. Tampa’s run defense is the real deal, but Drake needs to be viewed as the preferred back until Johnson shows he’s over his injuries. I’m still of the belief that Johnson never regains workhorse status the remainder of 2019. He needs to be treated as an RB2/3 until further notice.
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Conner Expected Back Thursday Night
After missing Weeks 9 and 10 following his monster 23-145-1 night against the Dolphins in Week 8, Conner returned to a full practice Monday and is fully expected to play Thursday night against the Browns. Conner was averaging 19.6 touches per game since Ben Roethlisberger’s injury and should be one of the top fantasy backs down the stretch as an every-down player. After the Browns, Conner gets the Bengals, Browns again, Cardinals, Bills, and Jets to round out the fantasy season. The Steelers have been a run-the-ball-and-play-defense team.
Quarterback & Running Back Quick Slants
Lions rookie RB Ty Johnson remains in the concussion protocol. … Coach Frank Reich said if Jacoby Brissett (knee) practices fully Wednesday, then he will start Week 11. … Panthers claimed RB Mike Davis off waivers from the Bears. He should not affect Christian McCaffrey’s workhorse status. … Matthew Stafford (back) is truly day to day, week to week, according to coach Matt Patricia. … Drew Lock (thumb, I.R.) is expected to practice this week. … Ryan Fitzpatrick will remain the starter for the foreseeable future, per coach Brian Flores. … Interim coach Bill Callahan announced rookie Dwayne Haskins will be the starter for the remainder of the season. It’s bad news for Terry McLaurin.
Wide Receiver & Tight End Quick Slants
Brandin Cooks (concussion) has already been ruled out for Week 11 against the Bears. Josh Reynolds went 3-49-0 on five targets in the Rams’ pitiful offensive showing in Pittsburgh, and he’ll remain an every-down wideout in Cooks’ absence. … 49ers activated TE Garrett Celek off reserve/PUP in time for Monday’s Week 10 tilt with the Seahawks. … Panthers waived WR Greg Dortch. … Devin Funchess (clavicle, I.R.) is expected to return to practice this week. … T.Y. Hilton (calf) remains day to day. … Ricky Seals-Jones (knee) was limited in Monday’s practice. … Rhett Ellison is in the concussion protocol. Evan Engram (foot) is dealing with a sprain. The Giants luckily have a Week 11 bye. … Coach Zac Taylor continues to say A.J. Green (ankle) is day to day. … Chris Herndon (ribs) will be sidelined an extended amount of time. It’s been a lost season for the sophomore. He can be cut in all redraft formats. … Will Fuller (hamstring) is back at practice out of the bye week. … Dede Westbrook (shoulder) is expected back at practice this week following the Jaguars’ bye.