It’s the hit all tight ends dread: Defensive backs go low on their knees. And it could have ended Kyle Pitts’ season on Sunday.
The Falcons placed Pitts on injured reserve with what some are reporting is a torn MCL. He’s out at least four weeks, and if the MCL is indeed torn, he won’t be back on the field until 2023.
Sources: #Falcon standout TE Kyle Pitts is believed to have suffered a torn MCL that would require surgery. This is after his MRI today. A brutal blow to one of the game’s best young players. He will have a second opinion before deciding what to do next. pic.twitter.com/bR4PyMJNks
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 21, 2022
It’s a tragic end to an all-around disappointing sophomore campaign for Pitts. His numbers are down considerably from his historic rookie season, when the Falcons turned into a run-heavy first team — thanks in no small part to a quarterback who is ridiculously inaccurate, especially when targeting Pitts.
If Pitts is indeed done for the year, he can rehabilitate himself knowing the Falcons will definitely have a new guy under center next season. Pitts should be back with a vengeance — and it might help if Atlanta finds someone to get the ball somewhere near him.
The streak is over
CJ Gardner-Johnson didn’t catch an interception last week. That’s notable because he’s had at least one in five straight games — and six in total. Despite the rare goose egg, Ceedy Duce had a career-high 11 games.
And as one Eagles reporter noted, he still leads the rival Giants in catches this season by $72 million.
Football Gods Smote Down RBU
My assumption that UF had entered a golden era of running was apparently a curse. Dameon Pierce had his worst day as a pro. Malik Davis slipped back into his third-string role and averaged less than two yards per carry in garbage time — a per-carry average that still doubled Pierce’s. And current Gators Montrell Johnson Jr. and Trevor Etienne combined for 41 yards on 15 carries against Vanderbilt.
I am deeply sorry for offending the football gods and as penance I will launch the gassers.
The return of the Mac
Evan McPherson’s incredible rookie season, capped by perhaps the greatest postseason in NFL history, made him superhuman. But all players — except Justin Tucker — are going through slumps.
McPherson had missed his last two field goals and an extra point in the previous two games. While McPherson didn’t doubt himself, many fans began to question if he was as good as he appeared to be a year ago. On Sunday, he calmed down the critics.
Given the circumstances and elements, this 54-yard FG is as big a FG as Evan McPherson has had this season. Just a clutch. 27-23 Bengals with :31 left in the third.
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) November 20, 2022
McPherson drilled all seven kicks — four XPs and three FGs, including the 54-yarder. He did it in Pittsburgh, one of the toughest places in the league, and in windy conditions.
Money Mac is back.
XFL Preliminary rosters
The XFL returns this spring, and several former Gators are looking to restart their pro careers in the league. The following players were selected in last week’s draft:
WR Josh Hammond – DC linebackers
With Matt Elam (!!!) – Orlando Guardians
TE Deandre Goolsby – San Antonio Brahmas
RB Matt Jones – Vegas Vipers
Other highlights of week 11
CJ Henderson had a career-high 11 games on Sunday. Unfortunately, when a cornerback makes so many tackles, it’s because he gives up a ton of catches — many of them below for player of the week. Henderson needs to trust his skills more and close the space between himself and receivers.
I asked Coach Wilks how he would rate CJ Henderson’s game last night. His answer…
“Not Good Enough”
I also questioned him playing so far away from opposing receivers. This is what he said: pic.twitter.com/K6qjmBknTp
— Carolina Blitz (@KeepBlitzin) November 21, 2022
Jabari Zuniga made his debut in 2022 after being called up by the Saints from their practice squad. He had two traps.
Trent Brown was apparently benched for the Patriots to start Sunday’s game against the Jets.
Belichick says sitting Trent Brown to start the game was a “coaching decision.” #Patriots.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) November 20, 2022
It was the first time Brown has been healthy without starting since his rookie season in 2015. He’s been up and down this year — as have most of his Patriots offensive linemates — but it was still a surprise not to see him with the first unit.
Brown then re-entered the game as an injury replacement — and subsequently gave up two sacks against a dynamic Jets defensive front. It’s been a strange year in New England.
Taven Bryan had another sack to bring his season total to 2.5. That’s a career high for the former first-round pick. He’ll never live up to those first-round expectations, but he’s having his best season in his first year in Cleveland.
Player of the week
As we all expected, Demarcus Robinson is the Gators best receiver in the National Football League this season. D-Rob hit all nine of his targets on Sunday to set a career high in catches in a single game. His 128 receiving yards were his second-highest total in the pros.
Over the past few weeks, Robinson has become a target for Lamar Jackson. And maybe it’s not much of a surprise: After signing with Baltimore at the end of training camp, he quickly impressed both Jackson and coach John Harbaugh.
Ravens WR Demarcus Robinson was open (more than 3 yards apart) on 5 of his 9 targets, hauling in all 5 passes for 52 yards, for @NextGenStats.
“He turned the lights out,” Lamar Jackson said. “We knew what he was capable of; we just have to keep feeding him the ball.”
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) November 21, 2022
John Harbaugh on Demarcus Robinson injury at WR: “It’s big. It’s huge. Here’s a guy who gets an opportunity and comes in here and does nothing but go to work. … It pays off it.”
Harbs almost gave him a game ball but gave him one after the last play.
— Sarah Ellison (@sgellison) November 20, 2022
Robinson has the run due to his superior running. He was excellent at beating defensive backs one-on-one with subtle moves.
Remember when Demarcus Robinson had that double TD run in the preseason in his first game as a Raven? D-Rob sells this double move really well. This time he breaks it off for a 20 yard gain. pic.twitter.com/wvosBw1xzS
— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) November 22, 2022
His hands have always been good — just four career downs — but his footwork has also seen a huge jump this season. On Sunday, he worked along the sideline with some stellar taps.
Demarcus Robinson made a great onside catch — off a neat throw from Lamar Jackson — to convert a 3rd-and-1 in the Ravens’ 13-3 Week 11 win. Selling a vertical, losing DB and then a questionable, toe tap catch on a sidearm shot by LJ.#RavensFlock #Ravens #NFL pic.twitter.com/nmP3zB78FM
— All 22 Cuts (@All_22_NFL_Cuts) November 22, 2022
The catch was one of many against fellow Gator CJ Henderson. Henderson had pretty good coverage on this play, but Robinson was just better. And he clearly enjoyed getting the better of another Florida Gator.
D-Rob earned Pro Football Focus’ (PFF) fourth-highest grade of the week. His trend is rising and he will start for many fantasy football teams in the future.
Game of the week
Dante Fowler has to love playing on an explosive Cowboys defense. After never really lining up in his career, Fowler goes one-on-one with guards and centers and eats.
Fowler’s speed is unmatched by most interior linemen. He’s up to five sacks on the season and has a chance to reach double figures for just the second time in his career.
Here are all the Week 11 stats (ranked and ranked by performance):
- Demarcus Robinson, BAL, WR
Week 11: 9 reps (9 targets), 128 yards, 54 snaps (78%)
- Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, PHI, S
Week 11: 11 tackles, 1 TFL, 65 snaps (100%)
- Dante Fowler, Jr., DAL, OLB
Week 11: 1 sack, 2 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 QB hit, 22 snaps (39%)
Week 11: 1 sack, 1 tackle, 1 TFL, 1 QB hit, 43 snaps (66%), 11 ST snaps (37%)
Week 11: 3/3 FG, Long 54, 4/4 XP
Week 11: 3 reps (5 targets), 43 yards, 24 snaps (44%), left with knee injury
Week 11: 3 reps (5 targets), 41 yards, 47 snaps (73%)
Week 11: 5 tackles, 2 QB hits, 72 snaps (95%)
- Jonathan Bullard, MIN, DT
Week 11: 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 37 snaps (51%)
Week 11: 2 rec, 16 yds, 1 rush, -1 yd, 1 KR, 34.0 avg, 2 PR, 4.5 avg, 20 snaps (31%), 16 ST snaps (52%)
Week 11: 3 tackles, 2 PD, 41 snaps (71%)
Week 11: 3 tackles, 64 snaps (100%)
Week 11: 10 attempts, 1 TFL, 69 snaps (100%), 10 ST snaps (43%)
Week 11: 10 rush, 8 yards, 2 rec, 9 yards, 43 snaps (77%)
Week 11: 1/1 FG, Long 32
Week 11: 3 tackles, 42 snaps (75%)
Week 11: 43 shots (68%)
Week 11: 2 punts, 46.0 avg
Week 11: 1 tackle, 1 PD, 23 snaps (35%)
Week 11: 7 rushes, 13 yards, 2 rec, 22 yards, 13 snaps (18%), 17 ST snaps (61%)
Week 11: 2 sacks, 25 snaps (39%)
Week 11: 2 tackles, 22 snaps (33%), 6 ST snaps (27%)
Week 11: 1 tackle, 27 snaps (37%), 6 ST snaps (17%)
Week 11: 1 target, 0 catches, 1 punt return, 5.0 avg, 14 snaps (22%), left with hamstring injury
- Marcell Harris, NYJ, LB/S
Week 11: 5 shots (8%), 20 shots ST (67%)
- Keanu Neal, TB, S: Bye week
- Jawaan Taylor, JAX, RT: Bye week
- Teez Tabor, SEA, S: Bye week
- Stone Forsythe, SEA, T: Bye week
- Kyle Trask, TB, QB: Bye week
- Kaiir Elam, BUF, CB: Inactive (ankle)
- DJ Humphries, ARI, LT: Inactive (back)
- Max Garcia, ARI, G: Inactive (on shoulder)
- Feleipe Franks, ATL, TE: Inactive (calf)
- Jonathan Greenard, HOU, DE: Injured reserve
- Antonio Callaway, DAL, WR
- Tyrie Cleveland, DEN, WR
- Jarrad Davis, DET, LB
- Jean Delance, ARI, OL
- Fred Johnson, PHI, OL
- Freddie Swain, MIA, WR
- La’mical Perine, MIA, RB
- Jeff Driskel, HOU, QB
- David Sharpe, BAL, T
- Jeremiah Moon, BAL, LB
- Duke Dawson, PIT, DB
- Quincy Wilson, PIT, DB
- Jonotthan Harrison, ATL, OL