Tar Heels in NFL: Loss by Coach Jeff Saturday’s Colts caps a frustrating Week 16 that started with Carter’s 50 yards

By R.L. Bynum

Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was back on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ bench. The hopes of making the playoffs for Coach Arthur Smith’s Atlanta Falcons ended. Interim Coach Jeff Saturday’s Indianapolis Colts lost their fifth straight. Texans defensive back M.J. Stewart Jr. suffered a concussion.

It was that kind of week with few highlights other than wins by the teams of two offensive linemen who played every offensive snap — Houston’s Charlie Heck and New Orleans’ James Hurst — and Michael Carter’s 50 totals yards to start the NFL week in the New York Jets’ 19–3 Thursday home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The week ended Monday night with Saturday giving quarterback Nick Foles his first start in a year. Foles threw three interceptions and for only 137 yards in the Colts’ 20–3 home Monday loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

In Saturday’s playing career as a center for the Colts, they never allowed six sacks in a game. Los Angeles sacked Foles seven times.

Carter only had two carries for six yards but caught all five passes targeted to him for 44 yards. After touching the ball only five times a week earlier, Carter got seven touches Thursday.

Former N.C. State running back Bam Knight continues to start ahead of Carter, but only had one more snap (24–23). Knight had six carries for negative two yards and caught the only pass targeted to him for 15 yards.

Baltimore eliminated Smith’s Falcons from playoff contention with a 17–9 home Saturday victory.

In a season full of narrow losses after a 3–3 start, Atlanta (5–10) suffered another, thanks to turnovers and inefficiency in the red zone, playing rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder for a second consecutive game.

“Ultimately, it’s about winning,” said Smith, an offensive guard for UNC from 2001 to 2005. “You can look at the progress that’s being made. But we’ve got to find ways to play with a lead. We’ve got to find a way to get over that hump.”

Defensive tackle Jalen Dalton had three tackles, one for a loss, in 19 snaps off the bench for the Falcons.

After not starting all season before last week, Heck started at right guard for the second consecutive week for the Houston Texans, playing all 67 offensive snaps. They pulled a 19–14 upset Saturday over the Tennessee Titans for their second victory of the season.


M.J. Stewart Jr. had no statistics in 22 total snaps off the bench but had a tackle on a play that an offensive penalty nullified. He left the game in the second half with a concussion.

Hurst started at left tackle and played all 54 offensive snaps for the New Orleans Saints in their 17–10 Saturday victory at Cleveland.

Mack Hollins had one catch for seven yards in the Las Vegas Raiders’ 13–10 road loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday night. Trubisky didn’t play for the Steelers, with Kenny Pickett back at quarterback after coming out of concussion protocol.

Dyami Brown had no statistics over 14 total snaps in Washington’s 37–20 loss at San Francisco. Sam Howell wasn’t active for the game.

In the New York Giants’ 27–24 loss at Minnesota, Tomon Fox had no statistics in 18 total snaps off the bench.

Giovani Bernard only played 17 special-teams snaps in Tampa Bay’s 19–16 overtime win Sunday night at Arizona, recording two tackles on punt coverage.

Giovani Bernard, Tampa Bay Bucs running back
Age 31 | 5–9, 205 | 10th NFL season | UNC 2011–12

19–16 OT Sunday win at Arizona 2 tackles on punt coverage; 17 special-teams snaps (52%)
Season statistics — 6 games, 1 carry, 0 yards; 2 special-teams snaps
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Carolina, Fox

Dyami Brown, Washington Commanders wide receiver
Age 23 | 6–0, 195 | second NFL season | UNC 2018–20

37–20 Saturday loss at San Francisco Played off bench, no statistics; 7 offensive snaps (10%), 7 special-teams snaps (26%)
Season statistics — 13 games, 5 catches on 12 targets for 143 yards (28.6 average, 75 longest), 2 TDs; 1 rush, 15 yards, 1 special-teams assist
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Cleveland, Fox

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

19–3 Thursday loss vs. Jacksonville Didn’t start; 2 carries, 6 yards (3 longest); 5 catches on 5 targets, 44 yards (12 longest); 10.0 fantasy points; 23 offensive snaps (39%)
Season statistics — 14 games, 9 starts; 110 carries, 396 yards (25 longest, 3.6 average), 3 TDs; 37 catches on 47 targets, 284 yards (37 longest, 7.7 average)
Up next — 4:25 Sunday at Seattle, Fox

Jalen Dalton, Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle
Age 25 | 6–6, 300 | third NFL season | UNC 2015–18

17–9 Saturday loss at Baltimore 3 tackles (1 for a loss); 19 defensive snaps (37%)
Season statistics — 6 games, 7 tackles, 4 assists
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Arizona, Fox

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

27–24 Saturday loss at Minnesota Played off the bench with no statistics; 1 defensive snap (1%), 17 special-teams snaps (59%)
Season statistics —
11 games, 2 starts; 7 tackles, 7 assists, 1 sack
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Indianapolis, CBS

Charlie Heck, Houston Texans tackle
Age 26 | 6–8, 311 | third NFL season | UNC 2015–19

19–14 Saturday win at Tennessee Started at right tackle; 67 offensive snaps (100%), 3 special-teams snaps (12%)
Season statistics — 11 games, 3 starts; 154 offensive snaps, 44 special-teams snaps
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Jacksonville, CBS

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

13–10 Saturday loss at Pittsburgh Started; 1 catch on 2 targets for 7 yards; 50 offensive snaps (94%), 2 special-teams snaps (9%)
Season statistics — 15 games, 11 starts; 1 of 1 passing, 4 yards; 4 rush, 40 yards (10.0 average; 17 longest); 52 catches on 83 targets, 635 yards (12.2 average, 60 longest), 4 TDs
Up next — 4:05 Sunday vs. San Francisco, Fox

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

37–20 Saturday loss at San Francisco Wasn’t active for the game
Season statistics — Hasn’t played
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Cleveland, Fox

James Hurst, New Orleans Saints tackle
Age 31 | 6–5, 310 | ninth NFL season | UNC 2010–13

17–10 Saturday win at Cleveland Started at left tackle; 54 offensive snaps (100%), 3 special-teams snaps (3%)
Season statistics — 12 games; 12 starts, 1 fumble recovery, 1 tackle on an interception return; 846 offensive snaps, 29 special-teams snaps
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday at Philadelphia, Fox

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

19–14 Saturday win at Tennessee Played off the bench with no statistics; had a tackle on a play an offensive penalty nullified; 9 defensive snaps (15%), 13 special-teams snaps (54%)
Season statistics —
14 games; 23 tackles, 5 assists, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 fumble recovery, 7 special-teams tackles, 3 special-teams assists
Up next —
1 p.m. Sunday vs. Jacksonville, CBS

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

13–10 Saturday win vs. Las Vegas Didn’t play
Season statistics — 7 games, 5 starts; 117 of 180, 1,252 yards (45 longest), 4 TDs, 5 INTs, 11 sacks; 19 rushes, 38 yards, 1 TD
Up next — 8:20 p.m. Sunday at Baltimore, NBC

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 Ty Chandler, Minnesota, broken thumb (2 games, 1 special-team assist)
Offensive lineman Joshua Ezeudu, New York Giants, neck injury (10 games, 2 starts; 245 offensive snaps, 136 special-teams snaps)
Linebacker Cole Holcomb, Washington, foot injury (7 games, 7 starts; 37 tackles, 32 assists)
Defensive end Robert Quinn, Philadelphia, knee injury (12 games, 7 starts; 8 tackles (1 for a loss), 2 assists, 1 sack)

On practice squads

Fullback Jake Bargas, Miami Dolphins (signed Nov. 9; released in camp first by Vikings, then by Bears)
Defensive tackle Aaron Crawford, New York Giants (signed Nov. 9; Ravens released him during training cap)
Defensive back Myles Dorn, Minnesota Vikings (5 games, 1 tackle, 1 special-teams tackle)
Cornerback Kyler McMichael, Buffalo Bills
Linebacker Chazz Surratt, New York Jets (released by Minnesota)

Signed to practice squads, then released

Wide receiver Dazz Newsome, Kansas City (released earlier in camp by Chicago)

Released during camp and unsigned

Linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel, Denver (earlier by San Francisco)
Wide receiver Austin Proehl, New York Giants
Offensive tackle Jordan Tucker, Pittsburgh

Released from injured reserve with settlement

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)

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