What We Saw: Week 9

The What We Saw team recaps the action from a wild Week 9

Commanders @ Patriots

Final Score: Commanders 20, Patriots 17

Writer: Ben Brown (@BenBrownPL on Twitter)


The Patriots were without starting left tackle Trent Brown and wide receivers DeVante Parker and Kendrick Bourne. The Commanders’ most notable inactive was WR Curtis Samuel. This meant an increased role for Jahan Dotson, who stepped up with a huge 33 yard touchdown catch that tied the game midway through the third quarter. Neither quarterback played particularly well, but Sam Howell flashed brilliance at times and then bonehead at other times. This was a tough game to watch for a fan of either team, and I can’t imagine there were too many fans of other teams that enjoyed watching this game at all.

Three Up

  • Jahan Dotson – Curtis Samuel is the only thing keeping him from being a reliable WR2
  • Rhamondre Stevenson – A 64 yard touchdown run helped many fantasy managers today
  • Antonio Gibson – Didn’t light up the stat sheet but was more involved today. Looked quick

Three Down

  • Patriots 3rd Down Defense – The Patriots could not get off the field on 3rd down and it lost them the game
  • Mac Jones – Stink, stank, stunk.
  • Sam Howell – Some will say Howell should be in the three up category instead, but he made some very questionable decisions in this game and was lucky to come away with a win


Washington Commanders




Sam Howell: 29/45, 325 yards, TD, INT, 3 sacks | 5 carries, 27 yards

Hero-ball Howell had an up and down first half. He led the Commanders down the field on three of their six drives, resulting in a field goal, a touchdown run by Robinson, and a terrible interception in the back of the end zone. To be fair, Dyami Brown should have had a touchdown reception two plays earlier after letting the ball go right through his hands in the back of the end zone, but Howell needs to be smarter. All of this was after he scrambled to convert 3rd and 23.

He threw one ball across his body while on the run, another terrible throw, but Byron Pringle bailed him out with a nice catch on the other side of the field. Howell continued to make plays in the 2nd half, especially on third down. Washington converted over 50% of their third down attempts in this game, and most of them were through the air. Howell did a good job of spreading the ball around to his various weapons, not focusing in on any one player. It never seemed like Howell had “his guy” – He threw to whoever he felt was open. Whether they were actually open or not.

Howell really struggled in the red zone, throwing that really bad interception and then stalling out two other drives with multiple incompletions. Both of those two drives resulted in field goals. In real life, Howell played well enough to earn a win and he was a big contributing factor in this win. For fantasy purposes, man, it would have been nice if Dyami Brown had caught that touchdown.



Running Back


Brian Robinson Jr.: 18 carries, 63 yards, TD, Fumble (lost) | 2 targets, 1 reception, 4 yards

The Patriots have been solid against the run this season, so it’s no surprise that Robinson’s yardage total was down today. His touchdown was a thing of beauty – he hit the hole very hard and exploded through for the score. He fumbled the ball early in the 2nd half – it was a great punch-out by Patriots linebacker Jahlani Tavai, but Robinson has to hold onto the ball. Robinson did sustain an injury midway through the third quarter and apparently hobbled off the field (I had stepped away), but he did return a couple plays later.


Antonio Gibson: 6 carries, 34 yards | 5 targets, 5 receptions, 42 yards

It wasn’t an eye-popping day for Gibson, but he was heavily involved early and initially it looked like he was primed for an RB1 type of day. The targets subsided as the day went on, and obviously he played second fiddle behind Robinson on the ground, but it was a nice day for the former Memphis stud nonetheless.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Terry McLaurin: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 73 yards

I would classify this as a quiet day for Scary Terry with the exception of back to back plays. Howell made a perfect throw to McLaurin on the sideline and Terry got both feet in bounds for the 26 yard catch. On the very next play, Howell threw a bullet to McLaurin near the left hash, right between two defenders, and Mclaurin hauled it in and ran for 36 yards. So 62 of his 73 yards came on two catches, and that was pretty much the day for Terry.


Jahan Dotson: 8 targets, 4 receptions, 69 yards, TD

Dotson benefited from Curtis Samuel sitting out for a second consecutive game. His 33 yard touchdown reception in the third quarter tied the game and put the Commanders in the driver’s seat. He dropped his first target on what should have been an easy third down conversion that could have gone for ten yards. He was also targeted down the right sideline on two occasions, getting his right hand on the ball both times while having his left hand held by the defender. Neither were called for defensive pass interference.


Logan Thomas: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 31 yards

Thomas had a quiet day but was targeted in the end zone, though the ball sailed over his head and was uncatchable.


Jamison Crowder: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 23 yards

Dyami Brown: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 33 yards

Dyami Brown let a touchdown pass sail through his fingers two plays before a Sam Howell interception. He even got both feet down in bounds. It was a disappointing day for the young receiver.


Byron Pringle: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 55 yards

Pringle surprisingly showed up to bail out Howell on multiple occasions, but he was an afterthought for most of the day.


New England Patriots




Mac Jones: 24/44, 220 yards, TD, INT | 3 carries, 3 yards

This was a bad game for Mac. He was all over the place, throwing it too high, throwing it too low, throwing it outside, throwing the ball away on purpose but somehow leaving it in a place where it’s almost intercepted. He held this offense back today. He was much more active pre-snap, making adjustments with his receivers, but it did not translate into a better output on the field. I wouldn’t say they lost this game because of Mac (3rd down defense did them in), but he was a big contributing factor in the loss.


  • Shakey on first drive. Missed an open Tyquan Thornton on 4th and 3 inside Washington territory
  • 0/3 targeting Tyquan Thornton on 3rd or 4th down in the first half
  • Perfect throw to Hunter Henry for the touchdown
  • Bad throw to Reagor, nearly intercepted but Reagor saved the INT by breaking up the pass
  • Near-perfect ball downfield to Reagor, drop
  • Underthrew a wide open Rhamondre Stevenson, could have resulted in a TD if ball was thrown in stride


Running Back


Rhamondre Stevenson: 9 carries, 87 yards, TD | 6 targets, 4 receptions, 42 yards

Stevenson had his best game of the year thanks to a 64 yard touchdown run in the second quarter that gave New England a 14-10 lead. It was Stevenson’s longest regular season touchdown run of his career. He dropped his first target of the game but followed it up with a 14 yard catch and run to convert third and long on the next play. Later in the game, Stevenson was one-on-one vs a linebacker out of the backfield and had a step on him. Mac threw it his way but put too much air under the ball. The defender was able to make up the ground and deflect the pass. If Mac had hit Stevenson in stride, it might have been another long touchdown catch and run. It was the difference between a really good day and a monster day for Stevenson.


Ezekiel Elliot: 6 carries, 17 yards | 5 targets, 3 receptions, 15 yards

With no red zone work to be found, it was a quiet day for the former stud back. He was lightly used in a pass-heavy approach for the Patriots on Sunday.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Demario Douglas: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 55 yards | 1 carry, 0 yards

Many people, including myself, thought this would be the Demario Douglas breakout game for the Patriots. He has shown flashes as their best receiving option this year, with a unique ability to use his quick feet to get open in traffic. Douglas had a solid day for a 6th round rookie but it wasn’t the breakout we all wanted. He showed flashes of being a rookie – fielding a punt inside the 10 that he should have let bounce into the end zone, looking gassed on their final possession and not completing his routes. I was disappointed, to say the least. Some of the routes he was running were also confusing – lining up outside, running downfield, when his strengths really shine in short yardage out of the slot. Is that coaching? Is that scheme? Is that on the player? Either way, it was notable that he wasn’t running in motion nearly as often as he had in the previous two weeks. I don’t think he was used properly in this game, but it just goes to show that nobody should be relied on in this offense right now.


Hunter Henry: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 39 yards, TD

Hunter Henry caught an early touchdown on a beautiful throw from Mac Jones, however he was not heavily involved after that. The targets were there but a couple were uncatchable. For fantasy purposes, he is a touchdown-dependent option at a weak position.


  • Caught a perfect throw from Mac Jones for the score. Faced a linebacker in single coverage, safety was late to help over the top


JuJu Smith-Schuster: 7 targets, 6 receptions, 51 yards

JuJu was quiet for most of the first half until he had a nice catch and run midway through the second quarter. He was not a top option for Mac until really the final drive when he had two catches on three targets for 19 yards. One of those two catches was a phenomenal diving grab on 4th down to keep the Patriots alive, however two plays later he was on the receiving end of yet another poor, low throw from Mac Jones that bounced off JuJu’s diving hands and into the arms of a defender for the game-clinching interception. It wasn’t JuJu’s fault he couldn’t make a diving catch in double coverage – just another bad throw by Mac. Just another reminder not to trust any of these guys on a weekly basis for fantasy purposes.


Mike Gesicki: 1 target

Gesicki was targeted once and I honestly don’t even remember it. He is literally an afterthought in this offense.


Tyquan Thornton: 4 targets, 1 reception, 7 yards

Thornton was busy early, logging all four of his targets in the first half. Unfortunately, three of them were on either 3rd or 4th down, and he was unable to catch any of them. One was not his fault – he was wide open downfield on fourth and short but Mac threw it too far outside. One was questionable – Mac threw it into coverage, Thornton tried to make a play on it but had a defender draped all over him. One was absolutely on him – it was a poor throw by Mac, but Thornton didn’t even turn around to look for the ball. He had room to attempt to catch it but simply didn’t see it. As a Patriots fan, I’ve had enough of the Tyquan Thornton experience.


Jalen Reagor: 6 targets, 1 reception, 11 yards

Reagor is doing a lot of little things that won’t show up on the stat sheet. He made a great block to help spring Rhamondre’s 64 yard touchdown run. He later made a pass break up on a terrible throw by Mac Jones that should have been intercepted, but Reagor was there to defend it. Near the end of the third quarter, Reagor beat his defender downfield and Mac threw a perfect ball his way, but Reagor dropped it. It would have been a big play, if not a touchdown. Six targets for Reagor is way too many.

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