Tar Heels in NFL: Trubisky benched at halftime of Steelers’ loss; Javonte Williams exits with knee injury

By R.L. Bynum

There wasn’t that much good news for UNC alums in the NFL on Sunday, with Pittsburgh benching quarterback Mitchell Trubisky at halftime, Denver running back Javonte Williams injuring his right knee and Jets running back Michael Carter putting up a season-low rushing total.

At least for now, Trubisky’s time as Pittsburgh’s starter appears to be over in favor of rookie Kenny Pickett, the former Pitt star, after the Steelers’ 24–20 home loss to the New York Jets.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin wouldn’t commit to Pickett as his starter for next week’s game at Buffalo.

“I’m not going to talk [for an] extended [time] as we sit here,” Tomlin said. “We did what we needed to do to put ourselves in position to win this game and would do it again. But I like to just keep it where we are in terms of what transpired here today; we’ll deal with next week, next week.”

Trubisky’s 41.8 passer rating was the second-worst of his NFL career with at least 10 pass attempts, behind the 33.3 in a 16 of 30 performance with one touchdown and three interceptions in a 15–6 win for Chicago on Dec. 9, 2018, against the Los Angeles Rams.

Against the Jets, Trubisky completed 7 of 13 pass attempts with an interception. His final pass of the game, a Hail Mary attempt at the end of the first half, was intercepted. He generated only two field goals in the first half and Pittsburgh trailed 10–6 at halftime.

“We just thought we needed a spark,” Tomlin said. “We didn’t do much in the first half, not enough offensively, and thought [Pickett] could provide a spark for us.”

Pickett’s first NFL pass was intercepted. He ended up with the same number of pass attempts as Trubisky (13) but completed 10 passes for 120 yards with three interceptions for a 65.1 passer rating.

Trubisky’s passer rating through four games is 73.7, the lowest of his career other than last season’s 47.4 as a backup for the Buffalo Bills. His lowest season passer rating with the Chicago Bears was 77.5 in 2017, his rookie season.

New York’s Michael Carter had another tough game: a season-low 15 yards on nine carries and only two catches for 14 yards. While he got only 31 snaps rookie Bryce Hall, a former Virginia player, played 46 snaps and had 17 carries for 66 yards.


For the fourth time in four games, running back Javonte Williams started for Denver. But he left on the first play of the second half with a right knee injury in the Broncos’ 32–23 road loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Before the injury, he gained 28 yards on 10 carries and had one catch.

Williams stayed down after a carry. He began to walk off the field but could not put his full weight on his right leg and was helped into the medical tent. Monday, it was revealed that he tore his ACL and possibly also his LCL and will miss the rest of the season.

One week after a career-best game, Raiders wide receiver Mack Hollins had three catches on five targets for 33 yards, but helped down a punt at the Denver 1.

Hollins made a fantastic catch in the right side of the end zone in the second quarter. After being initally ruled a touchdown, it was overruled because one foot was on the line.


Meanwhile, another quarterback who is struggling, Washington’s Carson Wentz, played the whole game in the Commanders’ 25–10 road loss to Dallas as rookie Sam Howell again was inactive for the game.

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Middle linebacker Cole Holcomb, who has started all four games for Washington, collected four tackles and four assists. Dyami Brown was targeted four times for passes and made his first catch of the season for six yards.


Ty Chandler made his NFL debut in the Minnesota Vikings’ 28–25 win in London over the New Orleans Saints, getting in for 19 special-teams snaps with no statistics. Myles Dorn was back on the practice squad for the Vikings. James Hurst started at left tackle for the Saints and played all 60 offensive snaps.


Defensive end Robert Quinn had another quiet game, with only one assist in the Chicago Bears’ 20–12 road loss to the New York Giants. Tomon Fox had one tackle and one assist in 15 defensive snaps for the Giants, and Joshua Ezeudu played eight offensive line snaps and five special-teams snaps off the bench.

The Giants released running back Antonio Williams on Monday. He signed with the Giants in the offseason after playing one game and spending most of the previous season on the practice squad for the Buffalo Bills.


In Houston’s 34–24 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, offensive lineman Charlie Heck played one offensive snap and five special-teams snaps. M.J. Stewart Jr. played 24 special-teams snaps, forcing a fumble, with one tackle and one assist for the Texans.

Dyami Brown, Washington Commanders wide receiver

25–10 loss at Dallas — 1 catch on 4 targets for 6 yards; 21 offensive snaps (28%), 8 special-teams snaps (27%)
Season statistics — 4 games, 1 catch on 4 targets for 6 yards; 1 special-teams assist
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Tennessee, CBS
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Michael Carter, New York Jets running back

24–20 win at Pittsburgh — Started; 9 carries, 15 yards (5 longest); 2 catches on 3 targets, 14 yards (11 longest); 4.9 fantasy points; 31 offensive snaps (44%)
Season statistics — 4 games, 4 starts; 37 carries, 137 yards (22 longest, 3.7 average); 15 catches on 19 targets, 88 yards (12 longest)
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Miami, CBS
———————————————

Ty Chandler, Minnesota Vikings running back

28–25 win vs. New Orleans in London — Played in first NFL game, no statistics; 19 special-teams snaps
Season statistics — 1 game, no statistics
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Chicago, Fox
———————————————

Joshua Ezeudu, New York Giants offensive lineman

20–12 win vs. Chicago Played off the bench; 8 offensive snaps (12%), 10 special-teams snaps (33%)
Season statistics — 4 games; 45 offensive snaps, 122 special-teams snaps
Up next —
9:30 a.m. Sunday vs. Green Bay in London, NFL Network
———————————————

Tomon Fox, New York Giants linebacker

20–12 win vs. Chicago 1 tackle, 1 assist; 15 defensive snaps (24%)
Season statistics — 3 games; 3 tackles, 1 assist, 1 sack, 1 QB hit
Up next — 9:30 a.m. Sunday vs. Green Bay in London, NFL Network
———————————————

Charlie Heck, Houston Texans left tackle

34–24 loss vs. Los Angeles Chargers Played 1 offensive snap (2%) and 5 special-teams snaps off the bench
Season statistics — 4 games, 1 start; 10 offensive snaps, 16 special-teams snaps
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday at Jacksonville, CBS
———————————————

Cole Holcomb, Washington Commanders middle linebacker

25–10 loss at Dallas Started; 4 tackles, 4 assists; 61 offensive snaps (100%); 6.0 fantasy points
Season statistics — 4 games, 4 starts; 13 tackles, 18 assists
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Tennessee, CBS
———————————————

Mack Hollins, Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver

32–23 win vs. Denver Started; 3 catches on 5 targets for 33 yards; 72 offensive snaps (96%); 9 special-teams snaps (28%)
Season statistics — 3 games, 2 starts; 1 of 1 passing, 4 yards; 14 catches on 19 targets, 240 yards (17.1 average, 60 longest)
Up next — 7:15 p.m. Monday at Kansas City, ESPN
———————————————

Sam Howell, Washington Commanders quarterback

25–10 loss at Dallas Inactive for game
Season statistics — Hasn’t played
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Tennessee, CBS
——————————————

James Hurst, New Orleans Saints tackle

28–25 loss vs. Minnesota in London Started at left tackle; played all 60 offensive snaps
Season statistics — 3 games; 3 starts, 1 fumble recovery, 1 tackle on an interception return; 258 offensive snaps (100%), 7 special-teams snaps
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Seattle, Fox
———————————————

Robert Quinn, Chicago Bears defensive end

20–12 loss at New York Giants Started; 1 assist; 0.5 of a fantasy point; 43 defensive snaps (62%), 1 special-teams snap (3%)
Season statistics — 4 games, 4 starts; 4 tackles, 2 assists, 1 sack, 1 tackle for a loss
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday at Minnesota, Fox
———————————————

M.J. Stewart Jr., Houston Texans safety

34–24 loss vs. Los Angeles Chargers Forced fumble, 1 special-teams tackle, 1 special-teams assist; 24 special-teams snaps (83%)
Season statistics —
4 games; 5 special-teams tackles, 2 special-teams assists
Up next —
1 p.m. Sunday at Jacksonville, CBS
———————————————

Mitchell Trubisky, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback

24–20 loss vs. New York Jets — Started; 7 of 13, 84 yards (26 longest), 0 TD, 1 INT, 41.8 passer rating; 1 rushes, 1 yard; 33 offensive snaps (52%); 2.46 fantasy points
Season statistics — 4 games, 4 starts; 69 of 126, 653 yards (5.51average, 36 longest), 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 5 sacks, 73.6 passer rating; 7 rushes, 24 yards
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday at Buffalo, CBS
———————————————

Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos running back

32–23 loss at Las Vegas Started; 10 carries, 28 yards (13 longest); 1 catch on 1 target, -1 yard; 24 offensive snaps (45%); 3.7 fantasy points
Season statistics — 4 games, 4 starts; 47 carries, 204 yards (4.3 average, 17 longest); 16 catches on 22 targets, 76 yards (4.8 average, 13 longest)
Out for the remainder of the season
———————————————
Suspended (violating performance-enhancing substance policy)
Linebacker Andre Smith, Buffalo (first game will be Sunday, Oct. 30 vs. Green Bay)
On injured reserve
Running back Giovani Bernard, Tampa Bay
On practice squads
Defensive back Myles Dorn, Minnesota (has 1 assist in two games)
Cornerback Kyler McMichael, Buffalo
Linebacker Chazz Surratt, New York Jets (released by Minnesota)
Released after Week 3
Running back Antonio Williams, New York Giants
Released during camp and unsigned
Fullback Jake Bargas, Chicago (earlier by Minnesota)
Defensive tackle Aaron Crawford, Baltimore
Linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel, Denver (earlier by San Francisco)
Wide receiver Dazz Newsome, Chicago
Wide receiver Austin Proehl, New York Giants
Offensive tackle Jordan Tucker, Pittsburgh
Released from injured reserve with settlements
Defensive lineman Jalen Dalton, Atlanta
Tight end Bug Howard, Tampa Bay

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