What We Saw: Week 9

The What We Saw team recaps everything you missed from a wild Week 9 in the NFL.

Chargers @ Falcons

Final Score: Chargers 20, Falcons 17

Writer: Dave Cherman


Atlanta Falcons




Marcus Mariota: 12/23, 129 yards | 5 carries, 24 yards


Marcus Mariota was accurate all day and was getting the ball out quickly and making simple reads. When his initial reads were taken away, the pressure got to him, but he did a good job protecting the ball and letting the run game lead the way. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make plays when they really needed him to — as has been the case all season. Mariota managed the game, but couldn’t be the guy the Falcons needed to go out and win a game. He chipped in his usual rushing volume, but without a touchdown, his day was a fantasy disappointment.


Running Back


Tyler Allgeier: 10 Carries, 99 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 24 Yards

Cordarrelle Patterson: 13 Carries, 44 Yards, 2 TD | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 9 Yards

Caleb Huntley: 7 Carries, 34 Yards


Arthur Smith had a great play call to get the ball to Tyler Allgeier on the outside, sparking a 44-yard explosive play to jumpstart the offense.



The Chargers have been very susceptible to the running game all season and Allgeier showed great physicality to break tackles along the way. Allgeier picked up chunk gains throughout the game, looking impressive in his role in the offense.

Overall, the game belonged to Cordarelle Patterson though. In his first game back, Patterson was the RB1 in terms of snap share and touches and routinely showed quickness and decisiveness in space as well as power through initial tackle attempts, plus a pretty aggressive truck stick for a TD.



He’s back. Caleb Huntley mixed in a few nice rushes as well in a balanced rushing attack but was third in the rotation at running back.


Wide Reciever/Tight End


Kyle Pitts: 7 Targets, 2 Receptions, 27 Yards

Drake London: 7 Targets, 3 Receptions, 23 Yards, 1 Fumble (Lost)

KhaDarel Hodge: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 19 Yards

Olamide Zaccheaus: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 19 Yards

MyCole Pruitt: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 6 Yards

Avery Williams: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 2 Yards

Damiere Byrd: 1 Target


Kyle Pitts struggled to get open against the Chargers, shadowed by Derwin James for most of the day. Derwin is one of the best in the game at covering tight ends so this shouldn’t come as a massive surprise. Pitts should’ve had a touchdown in the 4th quarter, but Nasir Adderley got away with a hold. With 4 and a half minutes left, Pitts was wide open for a long touchdown, but he and Mariota couldn’t link up, as Mariota overthrew him by several yards.

Drake London was quiet again but showed strength in space. That is until he got bum-rushed by Khalil Mack, who simply ripped the ball away from him for a crucial turnover in the play below.



Los Angeles Chargers




Justin Herbert: 30/43, 245 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT | 1 Carry, 3 Yards


All things considered, this was a good game for Justin Herbert. Let’s remember the context: Keenan Allen? Out. Mike Williams? Out. Starting left tackle? Out. Starting right tackle? Hurt in the third quarter. Second tight end? Out. And still, he made the plays when it mattered. Despite up-and-down play by his receiving corps for most of the day, he found Carter and Palmer for big pickups when it mattered. As he has for most of the season, he took very few deep shots down the field in this one because A) he has no receivers who can threaten the top of a defense and B) his offensive line is too injured to give him time for those routes to develop anyway. The big takeaway though? Herbert looked healthy.


Running Back


Austin Ekeler: 14 Carries, 47 Yards, TD | 9 Targets, 7 Receptions, 24 Yards, TD | 1 Fumble (Lost)

Sony Michel: 1 Carry, 12 Yards | 1 Target

Isaiah Spiller: 7 Carries, 29 Yards


Remember when we were panicked about Austin Ekeler finding the end zone? Ekeler showed again on Sunday that he’s one of the best dual threats in the game. He picked up important yardage in this one but nearly cost them the game with one of the craziest plays you’ll see outside of Madden.



Sony Michel rotated in early, but after a penalty followed immediately by a BAD drop, he struggled to find playing time. Isaiah Spiller finally got into an NFL game and looked okay, but we did not see enough to really make any assessments. He looked like the backup to Ekeler though, at least until Joshua Kelley returns.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Joshua Palmer: 10 Targets, 8 Receptions, 106 Yards

DeAndre Carter: 6 Targets, 5 Receptions, 53 Yards

Gerald Everett: 1 Carry | 8 Targets, 5 Receptions, 36 Yards

Michael Bandy: 8 Targets, 5 Receptions, 26 Yards

Richard Rodgers: 1 Target


Justin Herbert has no speedy deep threat to take advantage of his arm strength, so he’s forced to live in the short to intermediate game. The hope was that Josh Palmer would step up and fill the Keenan Allen role in the offense, and despite some hiccups, he did. The big mistake? After Khalil Mack’s takeaway, Palmer dropped a bullet pass thrown right at him.



There are a few things going on here. First, Palmer needs to pull that in. Plain and simple. It’s thrown right at his face. Second, Herbert needs to not throw it as if he’s aiming 30 yards downfield. If Herbert took something off it, he could easily still get it there without forcing Palmer into a difficult catch. Down the stretch, Palmer pulled out major conversions, including the game-winning reception with under a minute to play.

Nobody else really existed for the Chargers in this one. Gerald Everett got a few early screens but wasn’t a big factor in the second half. DeAndre Carter again had a few decent plays and was regularly open on 3rd down and short for a few important catches but couldn’t put up any big yardage plays. This is an offense lacking explosive playmakers that desperately needs guys to get healthy.

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