By R.L. Bynum
The first NFL battle between former Carolina teammates Javonte Williams and Michael Carter went decisively the way of Williams’ Denver Broncos.
Williams scored his first NFL touchdown in Denver’s 26–0 home victory Sunday over Carter’s New York Jets as the Broncos moved to 3–0 and the Jets fell to 0–3.
Williams collected 62 total yards and scored in the first quarter on a 1-yard run. He gained 29 yards on 12 carries and caught three passes on four targets for 33 yards. Williams played 27 offensive snaps (40%), compared to 36 (54%) for starter Melvin Gordon III, who had 61 yards on 18 carries.
Carter started and ran for 24 yards on nine carries and caught two passes on three targets for five yards. He played 23 offensive snaps (43%), compared to 31 (57%) for Ty Johnson, who had three carries for 17 yards.
After getting only four catches in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first two games, Giovani Bernard had nine catches on 10 targets for 51 yards and a touchdown in their 34–24 road loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
The score came late in the Bucs loss on a 7-yard pass play with quarterback Tom Brady. Bernard became the 89th receiver to receive a Brady touchdown pass (87th in the regular season.)
Bernard was shaken up on the scoring play and banged his left knee. Bucs coach Bruce Arians said that Bernard’s knee should be fine although he worried about it swelling up on the plane ride back to Florida.
Bernard also took a big hit from Kenny Young.
Brady’s longest completion of the day was a 32-yard connection with Bernard late in the first half on a short pass.
At the end of one fourth-quarter play, Bernard knocked over Arians.
After no Tar Heels scored in the first two weeks of the NFL season, Williams and Bernard changed that in Week 3.
In Washington’s 43–21 loss at Buffalo, Cole Holcomb equaled his tackle total of the first two weeks with 10 and added four assists and a tackle for a loss in playing all 79 of the defensive snaps.
Holcomb had bad moments to go with good ones, though, missing a chance to tackle Bills quarterback Josh Allen late in the first half (above) and getting beaten on a touchdown pass (below).
For the first time in his young NFL career, Dyami Brown was held without a catch. He was targeted twice, one that was on a deep ball and one on a catchable short pass. He also had one run for a four-yard loss. Brown played 65% of the offensive snaps.
Buffalo’s Mitchell Trubisky finally got the chance to run some plays a week after kneeling on his first two plays of the season in Week 2.
On the Bills’ final possession, Trubisky led the Bills two a pair of first downs on five plays before kneeling three times. Trubisky connected on his only pass for a yard gain. He also scrambled around the right side for a 22-yard gain before Holcomb, his former Carolina teammate, tackled him.
It’s interesting that Trubisky ran for 22 yards on the same day that the Chicago Bears, who gave up on him, collected 47 total net offensive yards.
Andre Smith had one tackle on kickoff coverage for the Bills in his first game of the season after being inactive the first two weeks.
Left tackle James Hurst had a good game in the New Orleans Saints’ 28–13 loss at New England. Hurst was tackle-eligible for the game’s first play and got in for numerous snaps after tackle Terron Armstead left in the first quarter with a left elbow injury.
“For the most part, I thought upfront we blocked them well,” said Saints coach Sean Payton, who mentioned Hurst’s performance as being particularly impressive.
Hurst finished with 55 offensive snaps (89%) and six special-teams snaps (21%).
Outside linebacker Robert Quinn had one tackle, one assist, 1.5 sacks, one tackle for a loss and a quarterback hit in the Chicago Bears’ 26–6 loss at Cleveland. He was one of the bright spots on a tough day for Chicago.
“As a defense, no matter how many plays we’re out there, the objective is to keep zero points on the board. And, well, we didn’t do that. So, you can always point the finger at us,” Quinn said.
For the Browns, M.J. Stewart Jr. played exclusively on special teams, getting one tackle on kickoff coverage in his 21 special-teams snaps.
It was a day to forget for the Pittsburgh Steelers and tight end Eric Ebron. In their 24–10 home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, he didn’t start and had no catches on three targets. Steelers fans on Twitter weren’t kind to him Sunday.
He played 47 offensive snaps (57%).
On Thursday, right tackle Charlie Heck played in the Houston Texans’ 24–9 home loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Heck missed Week 1 for the 1–2 Texans after a positive COVID-19 test. He returned for Houston’s 31–21 loss last week at Cleveland but played only one offensive snap and four special-teams snaps. Heck came off the bench to play Thursday, reporting as tackle-eligible for one play on his only offensive snap. He also was in the game for two special-teams snaps.
Giovani Bernard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back
34–24 loss at L.A. Rams — 9 catches on 10 targets for 51 yards (including a 32-yard reception), 1 touchdown; played 33 offensive snaps (45%) and 7 special-teams snaps (23%)
Season statistics — 3 games, 13 catches, 79 yards, 1 touchdown
Up next — at New England Patriots, 8:20 p.m., NBC
Dyami Brown, Washington wide receiver
43–21 loss at Buffalo — Started; 0 catches on 2 targets (one on a deep pass); 1 rush for -4 yards; played 35 offensive snaps (65%)
Season statistics — 3 games, 4 receptions, 32 yards (longest 22 yards); 1 rush for -4 yards
Up next — at Atlanta, 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox
Michael Carter, New York Jets running back
26–0 loss at Denver — Started; 9 carries, 24 yards; 2 receptions on 3 targets, 5 yards; played 23 offensive snaps (43%)
Season statistics — 3 games, 24 carries, 89 yards; 5 receptions, 48 yards
Up next — vs. Tennessee, 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end
24–10 loss vs. Cincinnati — Didn’t start; 0 catches on 3 targets; played 47 offensive snaps (57%)
Season statistics — 3 games, 1 reception, 19 yards
Up next — at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Charlie Heck, Houston Texans right tackle
24–9 Thursday loss vs. Carolina — Reported tackle-eligible on his only offensive snap; played 2 special-teams snaps
Season statistics — 2 games, no starts; 2 offensive snaps; 6 special-teams snaps
Up next — at Buffalo, 1 p.m., CBS
Cole Holcomb, Washington outside linebacker
43–21 loss at Buffalo — Started; 10 tackles, 4 assists, 1 tackle for a loss; played all 79 defensive snaps
Season statistics — 3 games, 18 tackles, 10 assists, 1 tackle for a loss
Up next — at Atlanta, 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox
Mack Hollins, Miami Dolphins wide receiver
31–20 OT loss at Las Vegas — No statistics; downed a punt; played 24 offensive snaps (29%) and 19 special teams snaps (58%)
Season statistics — 3 games, no statistics
Up next — vs. Colts, 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
James Hurst, New Orleans Saints left tackle
28–13 loss at New England — Started; reported as tackle-eligible on game’s first play; played 55 offensive snaps (89%) and 6 special-teams snaps (21%)
Season statistics — 3 games
Up next — vs. New York Giants, 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox
Robert Quinn, Chicago Bears outside linebacker
26–6 loss at Cleveland — Started; 1 tackle, 1 assist, 1.5 sacks for 8.5 yards in losses, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 quarterback hit; played 63 defensive snaps (78%)
Season statistics — 3 games, 5 tackles, 2 assists, 4 sacks, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 QB hit
Up next — vs. Detroit, 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox
Andre Smith, Buffalo Bills weakside linebacker
43–21 win vs. Washington — 1 tackle on kickoff coverage in first game of season
Season statistics — 1 game, 1 special-teams tackle
Up next — vs. Houston, 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox
M.J. Stewart Jr., Cleveland Browns strong safety
26–6 win vs. Chicago — 1 tackle on kickoff coverage; played 0 defensive snaps and 21 special-teams snaps (78%).
Season statistics — 3 games, 3 tackles, 2 assists, 1 special-teams tackle
Up next — at Minnesota, 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Chazz Surratt, Minnesota Vikings weakside linebacker
30–17 win vs. Seattle — Played but had no statistics; played 0 defensive snaps and 8 special teams snaps (32%)
Season statistics — 2 games, no statistics
Up next — vs. Cleveland, 1 p.m. Sunday
Mitchell Trubisky, Buffalo Bills quarterback
43–21 win vs. Washington — 1 of 1 passing for 1 yard; 4 rushes for 19 yards, including a 22-yard run (tackled by Cole Holcomb), all on Bills’ final possession; played 8 offensive snaps (10%)
Season statistics — 3 games; 1 of 1 passing for 1 yard; 6 rushes for 17 yards
Up next — vs. Houston, 1 p.m., CBS
Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos running back
26–0 win vs. N.Y. Jets — 12 carries, 29 yards, 1 touchdown; 3 catches on 4 targets, 33 yards; played 27 offensive snaps (40%)
Season statistics — 3 games, 39 carries, 138 yards; 5 catches, 39 yards
Up next — vs. Baltimore, 4:25 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Tar Heels on practice squads
Jake Bargas, Minnesota Vikings fullback
Myles Dorn, Minnesota Vikings safety (played 10 special-teams snaps on Week 2)
Dazz Newsome, Chicago Bears wide receiver
Antonio Williams, Buffalo Bills running back
Injured Tar Heels
Jalen Dalton, New Orleans Saints defensive tackle, suffered season-ending triceps injury
Ryan Switzer, Cleveland Browns wide receiver, had ankle surgery Aug. 20