Tar Heels in NFL: Holcomb shines; more Javonte magic; Brown, Hollins start; Ebron TD; Quinn mocks Rodgers

By R.L. Bynum

Washington had a rough day against the Kansas City Chiefs. But in another terrific game, third-year linebacker Cole Holcomb had his moments battling quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce.

Holcomb had nine tackles, one assist, a forced fumble and his first sack of the season in the Chiefs’ 31–13 win in Washington.

On the next play after Holcomb was called for pass interference on Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, he hustled across the field to punch the ball out of the hands of Kansas City’s Mecole Hardman to force a fumble on a jet sweep. Teammate Kamren Curl recovered the fumble.

“Saw reverse and just took off,” said Holcomb, who played all 82 defensive snaps. “They always say take a shot on the ball. Took my shot; it came loose.”

In another Holcomb-Kelce matchup, Holcomb likely would have intercepted a pass if not for offensive pass interference by Kelce.

In the first half, Washington’s defense played well and held the Chiefs to 10 points.

“I think we just got back to the basics, playing our technique really well, playing the ball we know we can play and playing a lot of energy, playing fast,” Holcomb said.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Washington defense, which has to deal with Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers next week.

“We’ve got to dig deep,” Holcomb said. “We’ve got another good quarterback next week in Aaron and it will be another great challenge. Have to bring it again.”

Wide receiver Dyami Brown, who was questionable most of the week with the same knee injury that forced him to miss last weekend’s Washington game, not only played but started. He caught three of the six passes targeted to him for 30 yards playing in place of the inactive Curtis Samuel (groin injury).

Brown dropped a contested pass in the end zone and a defensive pass interference could have been called on another one of his targets.

The Denver Broncos lost their third consecutive game after winning their first three. But in their 34–24 home loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, there was more Javonte Williams magic.

He took a third-quarter handoff, faked going through the line and then sped past a defensive end and around the right side of the line on a 30-yard run. As he ran down the right sideline, Raiders safety Tre’von Moehrig positioned himself to bring down Williams only to have the former UNC running back hurdle over him for a few more yards.

Williams finished with 11 carries for 53 yards to give him 300 yards for the season, and caught all three passes targeted for him for 15 yards. Starter Melvin Gordon had 10 carries for 50 yards.

Williams also had a tackle after a fourth-quarter interception.

Wide receiver Mack Hollins got his first start for the Miami Dolphins and took advantage of the opportunity in a 23–20 loss to Jacksonville in London. His chance came after wide receivers DeVante Parker (shoulder/hamstring injury) and Preston Williams (groin injury) were both inactive for the game.

After catching his first pass of the season last week for 10 yards, he caught four passes on five targets for 61 yards, including a 20-yard reception. He was called for offensive pass interference in the third quarter but if you saw his expression after the call was made, it was obvious that he didn’t agree with the call.

It was his best game since catching five passes for 66 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs last season on Dec. 13.

He’s still versatile for the Dolphins as he made three special-teams tackles in addition to getting a tackle after an interception.


In the Chicago Bears’ 24–14 home loss to Green Bay, outside linebacker Robert Quinn had three tackles, one assist, one sack, two tackles for losses and one quarterback hit. An NBC Sports Chicago commentator said that Quinn has been the Bears’ best defender all season.

After that sack of Rodgers in the first quarter, Quinn mocked the quarterback with the discount double-check motion just as he had done three years earlier.

That’s probably a bad idea.

Rodgers returned the favor after scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown run, yelling “I still own you” to the Bears fans. Although many speculated that it fired up Rodgers, he said after the game that the belt gesture didn’t bother him.

Fans of both teams ridiculed Quinn on social media for mocking Rodgers.

In the second quarter of the Pittsburgh’s 23–20 overtime home win over Seattle on Sunday night, Steelers tight end Eric Ebron had a 1-yard touchdown run on a jet sweep.

It was the fourth rushing touchdown of Ebron’s career. He had two in 2018 for the Indianapolis Colts and one in 2016 for the Detroit Lions. Sunday’s run was Ebron’s first since 2018.

Ebron also had two catches on two targets for 10 yards.

Giovani Bernard returned for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their 28–22 Thursday win at Philadelphia after missing the previous week with a knee injury. He caught both passes targeted to him for 5 yards, including an 8-yard reception, and played 16% of the Bucs’ offensive snaps.

How Tar Heels did in Week 6

Giovani Bernard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back
28–22 win Thursday at Philadelphia — 2 catches on 2 targets for 4 yards (8 longest); 1 tackle after an interception; played 12 offensive snaps (16%) and 4 special-teams snaps (17%)
Season statistics — 5 games, 4 rushes, 21 yards; 17 catches, 97 yards (5.7 average, longest 32 yards), 2 TDs, 1 fumble
Up next — vs. Chicago, 4:25 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Dyami Brown, Washington wide receiver
31–13 loss vs. Kansas City —
Started; 3 catches on 6 targets for 30 yards (longest 13); played 47 offensive snaps (80%)
Season statistics — 5 games, 8 receptions on 20 targets, 81 yards (10.1 average, longest 22 yards); 1 rush for -4 yards
Up next —
at Green Bay, 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox

Michael Carter, New York Jets running back
Off this weekend
Season statistics — 5 games, 47 carries, 165 yards (3.5 average, longest 14 yards), 2 TDs; 9 receptions, 64 yards
Up next — at New England, Sunday, Oct. 24, 1 p.m., CBS
Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end
23–20 OT win vs. Seattle — 2 catches on 2 targets for 10 yards; 1 rush for 1 yard, 1 TD; 34 snaps (45%)
Season statistics — 6 games, 7 reception, 47 yards (6.7 average, longest 19); 1 rush, 1 yard, 1 TD
Up next — Off next week; at Cleveland, 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, CBS
Charlie Heck, Houston Texans right tackle
31–3 loss at Indianapolis —
Started; played all 75 offensive snaps and 1 special teams snap
Season statistics — 4 games, 2 starts; 136 snaps, 9 special-teams snaps
Up next — at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Cole Holcomb, Washington outside linebacker
31–13 loss vs. Kansas City —
Started; 9 tackles, 1 assist, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 QB hit; played all 82 defensive snaps
Season statistics — 6 games, 37 tackles, 21 assists, 2 tackles for losses, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, 1 interception
Up next — at Green Bay, 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox
Mack Hollins, Miami Dolphins wide receiver
23–20 loss vs. Jacksonville in London —
Started; 4 catches on 5 targets for 61 yards (20 longest); 2 special-teams tackles; 1 tackle after an interception; played 68 offensive snaps (97%) and 16 special-teams snaps (57%)
Season statistics — 6 games, 5 catches, 71 yards; 3 special-teams tackle; 1 tackle
Up next — vs. Atlanta, 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox
James Hurst, New Orleans Saints left tackle
Off this weekend
Season statistics — 5 games; 2 starts; 137 snaps, 18 special-teams snaps
Up next — at Seattle, 8:15 p.m., Monday, Oct. 25, ESPN
Robert Quinn, Chicago Bears outside linebacker
24–14 loss vs. Green Bay —
Started; 3 tackles, 1 assist, 1 sack, 2 tackles for losses, 1 QB hit; 47 defensive snaps (80%) and 1 special-teams snap (5%)
Season statistics — 6 games, 15 tackles, 4 assists, 6 sacks, 4 tackles for losses, 3 QB hits, 1 forced fumble
Up next — at Tampa Bay, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Andre Smith, Buffalo Bills weakside linebacker
34–31 loss at Tennessee No statistics; called for illegal blindside block (declined) and offensive holding; played 18 special-teams snaps (62%)
Season statistics — 4 games, 2 special-teams tackles, 1 special-teams assist
Up next — Off next weekend; vs. Miami, 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, CBS
Chazz Surratt, Minnesota Vikings weakside linebacker
34–28 OT win at Carolina —
Not active for game
Season statistics — 4 games, no statistics
Up next — Off next weekend; vs. Dallas, 8:20 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 31, NBC (WRAL in Triangle)
Mitchell Trubisky, Buffalo Bills quarterback
34–31 loss at Tennessee Didn’t play
Season statistics — 2 games; 2 of 2 passing for 9 yards (longest 8); 10 rushes for 27 yards (longest 22), 85.4 passer rating
Up next — Off next weekend; vs. Miami, 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, CBS
Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos running back
34–24 loss vs. Las Vegas —
11 carries, 53 yards (4.8 average, longest 30 yards); 3 catches on 3 targets for 15 yards; 1 tackle after an interception; 38 snaps (47%)
Season statistics — 6 games, 65 carries, 300 yards (4.6 average; longest 49 yards), 1 TD; 14 catches, 90 yards (6.4 average, longest 17 yards)
Up next — at Cleveland, 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Fox (WRAZ in Triangle), NFL Network
Tar Heel on injured reserve
M.J. Stewart, Cleveland Browns safety (hamstring injury; eligible to return Week 9)
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 out for the season
Jalen Dalton, New Orleans Saints defensive tackle, suffered triceps injury
Ryan Switzer, Cleveland Browns wide receiver, had ankle surgery Aug. 20

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