Tar Heels in NFL: Hollins plays well; Dalton makes NFL debut; Ezeudu gets first NFL start; Fox has best NFL game

By R.L. Bynum

On a day that most UNC alums didn’t put up big numbers, there were some nice stories with defensive end Jalen Dalton finally making his NFL debut, rookie offensive lineman Joshua Ezeudu making his first NFL start and rookie linebacker Tomon Fox playing his best professional game.

Wide receiver Mack Hollins was one of the few bright spots for the Las Vegas Raiders in their 24–0 road loss to the New Orleans Saints. Hollins caught seven passes on eight targets for a team-leading 64 yards, including a 14-yard reception. Star wide receiver Davante Adams, who battled through sickness last week, only had one catch on five targets for three yards.

James Hurst started for the Saints at left tackle and played all 64 offensive snaps.


Running back Michael Carter was back in the New York Jets’ starting lineup after the season-ending torn ACL that rookie Breece Hall suffered. In the Jets’ 22–17 home loss to the New England Patriots, Carter had seven carries for 26 yards and four catches for 35 yards for 10.1 fantasy points.

Carter got 56% of the offensive snaps, while James Robinson, acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, was in for 22% of the snaps. Robinson ran for 17 yards on five carries and had no catches on one target.


Dalton, whose four-year UNC career ended in 2018, made his NFL debut for the Atlanta Falcons in their wild 37–34 overtime home victory over the Carolina Panthers. He had one tackle for the Falcons after they elevated him from the practice squad before the game. Dalton played 13 defensive snaps and six on special teams.

After 93 career tackles for the Tar Heels, Dalton spent time with the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints but never played in a regular-season game. He missed the 2020 and 2021 seasons with injuries, then was in training camp this season with Atlanta. The Falcons waived him because of a leg injury on Aug. 23 but signed him to their practice squad on Oct. 19.


Fox only had four tackles and three assists on the season before the New York Giants’ 27–13 loss at Seattle, but collected six tackles (two for losses) and two assists against the Seahawks.

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Ezeudu had played well and finished the game at left tackle against Jacksonville one week earlier, earning his first career start. After playing 111 offensive snaps in the first seven games, he played 65 (100%) on Sunday.


For the second consecutive Pittsburgh game, rookie Kenny Pickett went the whole way at quarterback for the Steelers, and Mitchell Trubisky didn’t play they lost to Philadelphia 35–13.

Pickett was 25 of 38 for 191 yards, no touchdowns and one interception for a 66.9 passer rating. Trubisky’s passer rating in four of his five games this season was higher, including a 142.4 when he last played in the second half of the 20–18 Week 6 victory over Tampa Bay.

In his first game with the Eagles after being dealt by Chicago last week Robert Quinn didn’t start, played only 20 snaps and had a quarterback hit.


Sam Howell is another former UNC quarterback who sat and watched on Sunday as he still awaits his regular-season NFL debut.

Washington started Taylor Heinicke for the second consecutive week in place of the injured Carson Wentz (fractured ring finger), and he played the entire game as the Commanders won at Indianapolis 17–16. Heinicke was 23 of 31 for 279 yards, 1 touchdown and one interception.

Washington linebacker Cole Holcomb (foot injury) and wide receiver Dyami Brown (groin injury) both missed the game.

Dyami Brown, Washington Commanders wide receiver
Age 22 | 6–0, 195 | second NFL season | UNC 2018–20

17–16 win at Indianapolis Not active for the game with a groin injury
Season statistics — 6 games, 3 catches on 9 targets for 111 yards (37.0 average, 75 longest), 2 TDs; 1 special-teams assist
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Minnesota, Fox
———————————————

Michael Carter, New York Jets running back
Age 23 | 5–8, 201 | second NFL season | UNC 2017–20

22–17 loss vs. New England Started; 7 carries, 26 yards (11 longest, 3.7 average); 4 catches on 7 targets, 35 yards (17 longest, 8.8 average); 10.1 fantasy points; 33 offensive snaps (56%)
Season statistics — 8 games, 6 starts; 92 carries, 254 yards (25 longest, 2.7 average), 2 TDs; 24 catches on 30 targets, 180 yards (37 longest, 6.0 average)
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Buffalo, CBS
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Jalen Dalton, Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle
Age 25 | 6–6, 300 | third NFL season | UNC 2015–18

37–34 OT win vs. Carolina (career debut) 1 tackle; 13 defensive snaps (16%), 6 special-teams snaps (17%)
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Fox
———————————————

Joshua Ezeudu, New York Giants offensive lineman
Age 23 | 6–4, 308 | rookie NFL season | UNC 2018–21

27–13 loss at Seattle Started at left guard; 65 offensive snaps (100%)
Season statistics — 8 games, 1 start; 176 offensive snaps, 136 special-teams snaps
Up next after Week 9 open date —
1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13 vs. Houston, CBS
———————————————

Tomon Fox, New York Giants linebacker
Age 24 | 6–3, 260 | rookie NFL season | UNC 2016–21

27–13 loss at Seattle Played off the bench; 6 tackles (2 for losses), 2 assists, 7.0 fantasy points; 27 defensive snaps (42%), 17 special-teams snaps (57%)
Season statistics — 5 games; 4 tackles, 3 assists, 1 sack, 1 QB hit
Up next after Week 9 open date — 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13 vs. Houston, CBS
———————————————

Charlie Heck, Houston Texans left tackle
Age 25 | 6–8, 311 | third NFL season | UNC 2015–19

17–10 loss vs. Tennessee Played off the bench; reported tackle-eligible twice; 3 offensive snaps (6%), 2 special-teams snaps (7%)
Season statistics — 7 games, 1 start; 15 offensive snaps, 21 special-teams snaps
Up next — 8:15 Thursday vs. Philadelphia, Prime Video
———————————————

Cole Holcomb, Washington Commanders middle linebacker
Age 26 | 6–1, 240 | fourth NFL season| UNC 2015–18

17–16 win at Indianapolis Missed game with foot injury
Season statistics — 7 games, 7 starts; 37 tackles, 32 assists
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Minnesota, Fox
———————————————

Mack Hollins, Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver
Age 29 | 6–4, 221 | sixth NFL season | UNC 2013–16

24–0 loss at New Orleans 7 catches on 8 targets, 64 yards (9.1 average, 14 longest); 14.4 fantasy points
Season statistics — 6 games, 4 starts; 1 of 1 passing, 4 yards; 23 catches on 31 targets, 348 yards (15.1 average, 60 longest), 2 TDs
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday at Jacksonville, CBS
———————————————

Sam Howell, Washington Commanders quarterback
Age 22 | 6–1, 220 | rookie NFL season |UNC 2019–21

17–16 win at Indianapolis Active for the game but didn’t play
Season statistics — Hasn’t played
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Minnesota, Fox
——————————————

James Hurst, New Orleans Saints tackle
Age 30 | 6–5, 310 | ninth NFL season | UNC 2010–13

24–0 win vs. Las Vegas Started at left tackle; 64 offensive snaps (100%)
Season statistics — 8 games; 8 starts, 1 fumble recovery, 1 tackle on an interception return; 543 offensive snaps (100%), 24 special-teams snaps
Up next — 8:15 p.m. Sunday vs. Baltimore, ESPN, ESPN2
———————————————

Robert Quinn, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end
Age 32 | 6–4, 245 | 12th NFL season | UNC 2008–09

35–13 win vs. Pittsburgh Didn’t start; 1 quarterback hit; 20 defensive snaps (26%)
Season statistics — 8 games, 7 starts; 6 tackles (1 for a loss), 2 assists, 1 sack
Up next — 8:15 p.m. Thursday at Houston, Amazon Video
———————————————

M.J. Stewart Jr., Houston Texans safety
Age 27 | 5–11, 200 | fifth NFL season | UNC 2014–17

17–10 loss vs. Tennessee Played off the bench; 4 tackles, 1 assist; 18 defensive snaps (31%), 25 special-teams snaps (93%)
Season statistics —
6 games; 4 tackles, 1 assist, 5 special-teams tackles, 3 special-teams assists
Up next —
8:15 Thursday vs. Philadelphia, Prime Video
———————————————

Mitchell Trubisky, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback
Age 28 | 6–2, 220 | sixth NFL season | UNC 2014–16

35–13 loss at Philadelphia Didn’t play
Season statistics — 5 games, 4 starts; 78 of 138, 797 yards (36 longest), 3 TDs, 2 INTs, 5 sacks; 13 rushes, 29 yards
Up next after Week 9 open date — 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13 vs. New Orleans, Fox
———————————————
Out for the season
Running back Javonte Williams, Denver (torn ACL in right knee); 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)
On injured reserve
Running back Giovani Bernard, ankle injury, Tampa Bay (hasn’t played in regular season)
Running back Ty Chandler, Minnesota, broken thumb (2 games, 1 special-team assist)
On practice squads
Cornerback Kyler McMichael, Buffalo
Linebacker Chazz Surratt, New York Jets (released by Minnesota)
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
Tight end Bug Howard, Tampa Bay
Released after Week 3
Running back Antonio Williams, New York Giants
Released after Week 5
Linebacker Andre Smith, Buffalo Bills (hasn’t played; served a suspension for violating NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy)
Released after Week 6
Defensive back Myles Dorn, Minnesota Vikings (3 games, 1 assist)

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