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Jesse Pantuosco

Football Daily Dose

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Dose: Rodgers Rescues Packers

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


Redemption thy name is Mason Crosby.

 

Crosby was lucky to keep his job after missing five kicks (four field goals and an extra-point) in last week’s loss to Detroit. But rather than making him pack his bags, Green Bay double-downed on its long-time kicker and on Monday night, their faith was rewarded.

 

Kicking in 30-degree weather at Lambeau Field, the 34-year-old knocked home all four of his attempts against San Francisco including a 27-yarder in the closing seconds as the Packers walked off with a 33-30 victory on Monday Night Football. The last one was a gimme, but Crosby also booted kicks from 29, 39 and 51 yards out. The 12-year vet melted down against the Lions but back on his home field in Green Bay, he was automatic.

 

 

Crosby may have put the finishing touches on Green Bay’s win, but as usual, it was Aaron Rodgers who did the heavy lifting. The two-time MVP masterminded a furious fourth-quarter comeback, orchestrating a pair of late scoring drives to finish off a feisty Niners team playing with house money. Even with a depleted receiving corps, Rodgers still made it rain, topping 400 yards for the second time in as many weeks.

 

Three Packers cleared 100 yards receiving on Monday night including Davante Adams, who starred with 132 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Adams’ second end-zone visit of the night tied the game at 30 with 1:55 remaining in the fourth quarter. With Randall Cobb (hamstring) and Geronimo Allison (hamstring) sidelined the past two weeks, Adams has put on an absolute clinic, shredding defenses to the tune of 272 yards and three touchdowns on 19 catches. Cobb and Allison will likely return after the Packers’ upcoming bye week but neither pose a threat to Adams’ well-deserved alpha status.

 

The pass-catching trio of Adams, Jimmy Graham (five catches for 104 yards) and rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling (three grabs for 103 yards) propped up the Packers’ offense on Monday night, though Aaron Jones was productive when called upon, compiling 41 yards on eight carries (5.1 yards per attempt). Jones was initially credited with a touchdown during the first quarter but officials later ruled him down at the one-yard line. The 23-year-old has surged to a robust 5.9 yards per carry this season while vastly outperforming teammate Jamaal Williams (3.8 yards per attempt). But with coach Mike McCarthy unwilling to abandon the team’s backfield committee, it doesn’t look like Jones will shed his platoon label anytime soon.

 

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Since losing free-agent prize Jerick McKinnon to a season-ending ACL tear, San Francisco has employed a similar timeshare, splitting backfield reps between veteran Alfred Morris and undrafted 23-year-old Matt Breida. Playing on a sprained ankle, Breida had a busy night for the Niners, tallying 61 yards and a touchdown on a season-high 14 carries. Morris has been Robin to Breida’s Batman this year but on Monday night, San Fran reversed course by feeding fourth-year speedster Raheem Mostert a career-high 12 carries for 87 yards. Meanwhile Morris was limited to a single snap.

 

No explanation was given for his unusually light workload, but based on Monday’s happenings, it appears Alf has fallen out of the team’s backfield rotation. Breida has had a breakout year (third in the league in rushing yards, second in yards per carry) and is certainly deserving of his newly-attained lead status, though it’s odd the Niners would pair him with Mostert, a career special teamer and one of the league’s smaller backs at 5’11”/197. Despite his limitations—Morris is as one-dimensional as they come—the 29-year-old at least provides a power element that Breida and Mostert both lack. Maybe the coming weeks will bring more clarity to San Francisco’s continually evolving backfield.

 

San Francisco’s passing attack was expected to take a major hit without franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who is out for the year with a torn ACL, but that hasn’t exactly been the case. C.J. Beathard has been surprisingly productive in Garoppolo’s absence and Monday may have been his best game yet. The 2017 third-rounder lit up the Packers for 245 yards on 16-of-23 passing, contributing two touchdowns and an interception. That pick proved costly, giving Aaron Rodgers, a proven late-game assassin, the ball back with 1:13 remaining in the fourth quarter.

 

Still, it was an encouraging outing for Beathard, who has quietly averaged 297.3 passing yards per game with seven touchdowns (six passing, one rushing) over his last three contests. Both of his touchdowns went to former Olympian Marquise Goodwin, who erupted for a season-best 126 yards on four catches. Hamstring and quad injuries have hindered the deep threat off and on since Week 1, though Monday may have been the healthiest he’s looked all season. This marked the first multi-touchdown game of Goodwin’s six-year career.

 

Monday was a night to forget for Richard Sherman. In addition to getting stiff-armed into another universe by Jamaal Williams, the four-time Pro Bowler also committed a bone-headed illegal contact penalty on the game’s final drive. That flag negated DeForest Buckner’s sack of Aaron Rodgers, which would have pinned Green Bay deep in its own territory on fourth-and-19. Sherman is often thought of as one of the league’s most cerebral players but his brain cramp Monday night likely cost San Francisco the game. The road won’t get any easier for the 49ers with the undefeated Rams coming to town in Week 7. The Packers’ next game will also be against Los Angeles, though at least they’ll have the bye week to prepare.

 

Quick Hits: The Buccaneers parted ways with defensive coordinator Mike Smith on Monday. No team has allowed more points per game (34.6) than Tampa Bay this season. With Smith out of the equation, defensive coordinator duties will fall with linebackers coach Mark Duffner … According to beat writer Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, the Steelers are not expecting Le’Veon Bell to end his holdout this week despite reports to the contrary. James Conner has fared well in Bell’s absence, delivering 710 yards from scrimmage with seven touchdowns in his first six games … Texans coach Bill O’Brien doesn’t expect D’Onta Foreman back for Week 7. Foreman is eligible to come off the PUP list but is still recovering from a torn Achilles he suffered in 2017 … Browns coach Hue Jackson said Baker Mayfield is “fine” despite injuring his ankle in a Week 6 loss to the Chargers. The rookie should be back in action Sunday at Tampa Bay … The Raiders are reportedly seeking a first-round pick for Amari Cooper. It could be difficult to trade the fourth-year wideout following his concussion in Week 6 … Derek Carr left Week 6 with an arm injury but isn’t expected to miss any time. He’ll have the bye week to heal up … Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he never considered benching D.J. Moore despite losing two fumbles in Sunday’s loss to the Redskins. The rookie out of Maryland has gotten off to a slow start, managing just 10 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown through five games … Bills coach Sean McDermott is unsure of Josh Allen’s status for Week 7. Nathan Peterman and Derek Anderson would be candidates to start if Allen (elbow) can’t get the green light against Indianapolis … Niles Paul sprained his MCL against Dallas in Week 6. With Austin Seferian-Jenkins (core muscle) already on I.R., the Jaguars are in rough shape at tight end … Cooper Kupp is expected to miss Week 7 with a sprained MCL. The second-year slot receiver suffered the injury in Sunday’s win over Denver. Kupp’s absence would open up targets for Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods as well as running back Todd Gurley … Sunday’s win was a costly one for Atlanta as veteran kicker Matt Bryant went down with a strained hamstring in the victory over Tampa Bay and will likely miss at least one game. Calvin Ridley (ankle) and Mohamed Sanu (hip) also came away with injuries in Week 6, though both are expected to suit up Monday night against the Giants. After sitting out Sunday’s game with a foot injury, Devonta Freeman is looking doubtful for Week 7 … Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Jamison Crowder (ankle) won’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday. With Crowder looking like a long shot for Week 7, Maurice Harris could see an expanded role Sunday against Dallas … Quincy Enunwa will miss time after being diagnosed with a high-ankle sprain. The fourth-year receiver has been a valuable contributor for the Jets, leading the team in catches (22), receiving yards (287) and targets (43) … Seahawks owner Paul Allen passed away on Monday after battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The co-founder of Microsoft was 65. Allen also owned the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers.



Jesse Pantuosco is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld. He has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. Follow him on Twitter @JessePantuosco.
Email :Jesse Pantuosco



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