By R.L. Bynum

On a weekend when there were good and bad transactions for Tar Heels, running back Javonte Williams provided the biggest Week 9 highlights and wide receiver Mack Hollins caught his second touchdown pass of the season.

Williams, who combined for 100 total yards in the previous two games, ran for 111 yards on 17 carries to lead Denver to a 30–16 victory at Dallas for the Broncos’ second consecutive victory.

It came against a Cowboys defense that was giving up only 88.3 rushing yards per game, ranked sixth in the league, coming into the game.

Williams’ best run, a 30-yard play in the third quarter, was quintessential Javonte: Running over and past defenders.

“It was an outside zone play,” Williams said. “Most times when I break tackles, they just try to like bang me and think I’m going to fall down. [They] didn’t wrap me up, so I just kept running.”

Williams also had a big 20-yard run to ignite Denver’s first scoring drive that produced a 3-yard scoring run by starter Melvin Gordon III, who only had four more carries but only 80 yards.

The rookie became the first Tar Heel to run for at least 100 yards in an NFL game since Giovani Bernard rushed for 116 yards for Cincinnati in the Bengals’ 26–17 home win over the Detroit Lions on Dec. 24, 2017. Williams’ best previous rushing game was 64 yards in a 23–13 Week 2 win at Jacksonville.

Williams says that Denver (5–4) has moved past a stretch when the Broncos lost four consecutive games.

“I feel like our team had it, we just had to believe in ourselves,” said Williams, whose team had to deal with the loss of Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller when Denver traded him to the Los Angeles Rams last week. “Losing Von, I feel like it really made us look deep down in ourselves and say we really have got to step up if we want to fill that hole.”


In Miami’s 17–9 home win over Houston, former N.C. State quarterback Jacoby Brissett connected with a diving Hollins in the back of the end zone on a 5-yard scoring play in the final minute of the first half. Hollins had two other catches for a total of 22 yards.

Hollins started after Miami placed wide receiver DeVante Parker on injured reserve Thursday with a hamstring injury and wide receiver Preston Williams was inactive for the game.


In the New York Jets’ 45–30 Thursday night loss at Indianapolis, Michael Carter had 86 total yards with 13 carries for 49 yards and one catch for 37 yards.


With Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen struggling in the Bills’ 9–6 loss at Jacksonville, you might have wondered if they would give Mitchell Trubisky a chance. That couldn’t happen because the Bills placed Trubisky on the COVID-19 list Saturday.

That means that Trubisky either tested positive or was in close contact with somebody who tested positive. There was an outbreak in the quarterback room as Buffalo also added practice squad quarterback Jake Fromm to the COVID-19 list, which left Davis Webb, previously on the practice squad, as the back-up quarterback for the game.

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James Hurst made his sixth consecutive start at left tackle for New Orleans in the Saints’ 27–25 home loss to Atlanta. Coming into the game, Hurst had the best pass-blocking grade in the league at 88.5, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF rated him fifth after Week 6 (84.8) and fourth after Week 7 (85.0).


In Pittsburgh’s 29–27 Monday night victory over Chicago, the Bears’ Robert Quinn had four tackles, a sack, a tackle for a loss and a quarterback hit. The Steelers’ Eric Ebron missed his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury.


The Minnesota Vikings activated safety Myles Dorn from the practice squad after it placed safety Harrison Smith on the COVID-19 list. Dorn previously had only played in Week 2 when he played 10 special-teams snaps. He played but didn’t have any statistics in the Vikings’ 34–31 overtime loss at Baltimore.


The Cleveland Browns activated safety M.J. Stewart Jr. from injured reserve after he sat out three weeks with a hamstring injury, but he didn’t play in their 41–16 road win over Cincinnati.


On Tuesday, the Buffalo Bills signed wide receiver Austin Proehl to their practice squad. The Los Angeles Chargers released him last season on Oct. 26, 2020.

Giovani Bernard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back
Off this weekend
Season statistics — 7 games, 6 rushes, 51 yards (24 longest); 20 catches, 109 yards (5.4 average, longest 32 yards), 3 TDs, 1 fumble
Up next — at Washington, 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
———————————————
Dyami Brown, Washington wide receiver
Off this weekend
Season statistics — 6 games, 8 receptions on 20 targets, 81 yards (10.1 average, longest 22 yards); 1 rush for -4 yards
Up next —
vs. Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
———————————————
Michael Carter, New York Jets running back
45–30 loss at Indianapolis — Started; 13 carries, 49 yards (longest 16); 1 catch on 2 targets for 37 yards; 45 snaps (58%)
Season statistics — 8 games, 86 carries, 328 yards (3.8 average, longest 18 yards), 3 TDs; 27 receptions, 263 yards (9.7 average; longest 23)
Up next —
vs. Buffalo, 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
———————————————
Myles Dorn, Minnesota Vikings safety
34–31 overtime loss at Baltimore —
Played for the first time since Week 2, no statistics; 15 special-teams snaps
Season statistics —
2 games, no statistics; 25 special-teams snaps
Up next — at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. Sunday, Fox
———————————————
Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end
29–27 win vs. Chicago — Missed second consecutive game with a hamstring injury
Season statistics — 7 games, 7 reception, 47 yards (6.7 average, longest 19); 1 rush, 1 yard, 1 TD
Up next — vs. Detroit, 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox
———————————————
Charlie Heck, Houston Texans right tackle
17–9 loss at Miami —
Started; 69 offensive snaps (100%), 3 special-teams snaps (12%)
Season statistics — 7 games, 5 starts; 261 offensive snaps, 13 special-teams snaps
Up next —
Off next weekend; at Tennessee, 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, CBS
———————————————
Cole Holcomb, Washington outside linebacker
Off this weekend
Season statistics — 8 games, 47 tackles, 26 assists, 2 tackles for losses, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, 1 interception
Up next —
vs. Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
———————————————
Mack Hollins, Miami Dolphins wide receiver
17–9 win vs. Houston —
Started; 3 catches on 6 targets for 22 yards (10 longest), 1 touchdown; 60 offensive snaps (80%), 16 special-teams snaps (67%)
Season statistics — 9 games, 10 catches, 106 yards, 2 TDs; 4 special-teams tackles; 1 tackle
Up next —
vs. Baltimore, 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Fox (WRAZ in Triangle), NFL Network, Amazon
———————————————
James Hurst, New Orleans Saints left tackle
27–25 loss vs. Atlanta —
Started; had two false-start penalties; 76 offensive snaps (100%) and 3 special-teams snaps (11%)
Season statistics — 7 games; 6 starts; 224 offensive snaps, 24 special-teams snaps
Up next —
at Tennessee, 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
———————————————
Robert Quinn, Chicago Bears outside linebacker
29–27 loss at Pittsburgh — Started; 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 QB hit; 56 defensive snaps (78%)
Season statistics — 8 games, 21 tackles, 5 assists, 7 sacks, 6 tackles for losses, 4 QB hits, 1 forced fumble
Up next after Steelers —
Off next weekend; vs. Baltimore, 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 21, CBS
———————————————
Andre Smith, Buffalo Bills weakside linebacker
9–6 loss at Jacksonville — Played; no statistics; 14 special-teams snaps (67%)
Season statistics — 6 games, 2 special-teams tackles, 2 special-teams assist
Up next —
at New York Jets, 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
———————————————
M.J. Stewart Jr., Cleveland Browns strong safety
41–16 win at Cincinnati —
Didn’t play after being activated following three games on IL
Season statistics — 5 games, 8 tackles, 3 assists, 2 special-teams tackle
Up next — at New England, 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
———————————————
Chazz Surratt, Minnesota Vikings weakside linebacker
34–31 loss at Baltimore —
Not active for the game
Season statistics —
4 games, no statistics
Up next — at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. Sunday, Fox
———————————————
Mitchell Trubisky, Buffalo Bills quarterback
9–6 loss at Jacksonville — Is on COVID-19 list and wasn’t active for the game
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 — at New York Jets, 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
———————————————
Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos running back
30–16 win at Dallas —
17 carries, 111 yards (longest 30); 37 offensive snaps (47%) and 2 special-teams snaps (9%)
Season statistics — 8 games, 78 carries, 355 yards (4.6 average; longest 49 yards), 1 TD; 22 catches, 135 yards (6.1 average, longest 17 yards)
Up next — vs. Philadelphia, 4:25 p.m. Sunday, CBS
———————————————
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
Austin Proehl, Buffalo Bills wide receiver (signed Tuesday)
Antonio Williams, Buffalo Bills running back
———————————————
Injured and out for the season
Jalen Dalton, New Orleans Saints defensive tackle, suffered a triceps injury
Ryan Switzer, Cleveland Browns wide receiver, had ankle surgery Aug. 20
———————————————

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